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sisters. One of them, a demon in the shape of
a nun, refused, one summer's night, to rise and
decently arrange a deceased companion. This
same lay sister had to lead a poor blind
creature to church on Sundays. Being tired of
the task, she asked to be discharged from it.
Her request not being granted, she one day
pushed her patient from the top of the staircase.
The consequences of the fall proved fatal.
The abbess was entreated to employ this
monster on any other duty than that of nursing the
infirm. The prayer was not listened to.

At nuns' funerals, neither pity nor regret is
manifested. Sincere grief, unaffected sorrow,
the tribute of a tear on the grave of a friend,
are, in a convent, rarer phenomena than the
sympathy shown by people of the world with
scenic emotions. Insensibility, which was a
virtue with the stoics, is with nuns the effect of
egotism and calculation. Interments take place
in the morning. As soon as the corpse is laid
in the ground, the breakfast-bell rings; and woe
to the lay sisters if, in consequence of their
attendance at the funeral, the macaroni gets
overdone.

In order to keep their patrimony intact for
the heir of their name, an unhappy family had
compelled their two eldest daugnters to take
the veil, and had reserved the same lot for a
third. With this intention, at the age of
twelve, the poor girl was brought by her
parents to Naples. She was accompanied to the
convent by a spaniel which she had brought up
from a puppy. At the moment of separation,
the dog could not be made to understand that
he must now absolutely quit his mistress.
More affectionate than her parents, he allowed
them to depart; but when lie lost sight of her,
he began howling piteously. In vain the porter
kicked him out, dogs not being allowed to be
kept in convents; he remained howling in the
streets all night long. Next morning, the
neighbours, out of compassion, offered him food,
which he refused. For two days and nights
the same thing continued. The new boarder
within was inconsolable. The nuns got tired
of this display of attachment, and resolved to
put a stop to it. The third morning, the
faithful animal was found killed, no one knew
how, before his mistress's living tomb.

How do nuns observe their solemn vow
of poverty? Their outer garment is a coarse
woollen gown, under which they wear the finest
of linen, including cambric and lawn pocket-
handkerchiefs. On fête-days, they have,
suspended at their side, garlands of silver, or of
silver gilt. Truly we may quote the proverb,
that the habit does not make the monk.
Their vow of humility prevents their having a
wrought-iron head-piece to their bed [the
curtains, often magnificent, are cleverly suspended
from an iron ring attached to the ceiling] ; but
the vow of poverty allows three soft wool
mattresses, and a pillow stuffed with feathers
and trimmed with lace. They may not have
articles of luxury on their bedside table ; but
corner cupboards can legitimately receive old
china-ware and valuable plate. They are
forbidden to keep much cash in their cells ; but
in the convent there is a place called the
" depôt," where all the nuns, separately, amass
all the money they please, or can.

As to their diet, their abstinence is in no
wise inferior to that of St. Jean the Faster.
In the morning, they partake of four dishes,
one of which consists of pastry; of one dish at
night. Their bread is of superior quality. Out
of devotion, they refrain from eating fresh fruits
on Fridays, which does not hinder their consuming
jellies, jams, and preserves at discretion.

Every nun has a particular saint for her
protector, and in whose honour she makes high
holiday; for which grand solemnity whole weeks
of preparation are required. Ingenuity is hard
pressed to render it as splendid as possible,
either by getting into debt if short of cash, or
by spending what they have in hand on presents
to the priests, monks, and clerks who are
employed in their church, and who serve at mass.
The same thing happens on the occasion of their
own proper fête-day. The festivities at Christmas
and Easter are on a scale which renders
description difficult.

But the principal occupation of convents is
the making of pastry. It is, for Christian
female communities, what cake-making is in
Oriental harems. Each convent has a reputation
for its own particular speciality. One is
renowned for buns, another for cakes.
Macaroons are the glory of a third, while a fourth
stakes its reputation on biscuits. The little
tarts sent out by the Carmelite confectioners
of the Croce di San Luca, would make a
Neapolitan turn his back upon pine-apples.
For pastry-making purposes, every nun has
the convent oven at her command for a whole
day, reckoning from midnight; but as that is
often insufficient, she keeps it going a second,
and even a third day. Consequently, the lay
sisters can hardly hold up their heads for want
of sleep, and the health of not a few of them
suffers. There are certain of the most elderly
nuns who have never witnessed the ceremonies
of the holy week, because, just then, they had
not the time to go to the choir to peep into the
church. A monk, who was preaching a course
of Lent sermons, found his audience dwindling
away day by day, until he was almost left in
solitude. The nuns were busy preparing their
confectionery.

When the sweets are distributed, parents and
relations always have the smallest share, thanks
to the priests, who insist on the practical
application of the precept, " Whosoever loves father
and mother better than me, is not worthy of me.—
If any one comes to me and does not hate father
and mother, wife and children, brothers and
sisters, nay even his own life, he cannot be my
disciple." In accordance with which, literally
interpreted, the confessors pervert these women's
natural affections, persuading them that they
constitute, they, their whole and sole family.
Thus isolated, they yield complete submission
to the empire of their spiritual fathers, who

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