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the fact and substituting the word patient for the less respectful monosyllable which I found in the original.
I confess I was quite delighted with the bulletin, worded as it might have been; for, when the crisis seemed to be so evidently at hand, every cross word I had uttered with regard to young Falwasser seemed to rise up in judgment against me, although when he was well I scarcely ever saw a human being I hated so much.
We are strange creatures, and I, perhaps, one of the oddest; however, I ate my dinner with a better appetite than I expected; and after it was over, drank, conjointly, the healths of Fanny Wells and Lieutenant Philip Merman. This seemed strangest of all.
THE CHILD AT PLAY WITH A WATCH.
BY MRS. OSGOOD.
ART thou laughing at Time in thy sweet baby-glee?
LUNACY IN FRANCE.-NO. IV.
❝ on a
It was fortunate for Irenée that his permanent retreat was the monastery of the Camalduli de la Corona: he will never leave it for another for its solemn beauty grew on his fancy, and on his heart; and made the one more brilliant, and the other more serene: height amid ancient forests, its loneliness does not weary; it has the freshness of immortality. The air is very pure." The recluse, who, like this man, is of a fine and gentle nature, is scarcely conscious of the little, ceaseless, ineffable influences of the scenes where his passionless life is gliding away. The Aliené, in the asylum of Ivery, with his piano, his sports, his lovely walks, has more hourly mercies and voices on his spirit than many a solitary in the wilderness. "I am planting flowers on my children's grave," said a lady, as she stooped over a little lonely bed in the garden, that was touched by no hand save her own; "there are none so beautiful;" here she came almost every evening to mourn and talk as if to her lost ones. Was not her spirit, warped as it was, happier than that of a solitary monk whom we visited? around his desert walls, no tree or herb grew: but its flat roof was a garden of flowers; he watered them at sun rise and set, and in the summer at noon also: "this is my little world of beauty and comfort," he said; "but for my garden I should be miserable." It was all the fruit of his own taste and labour. The garden of the Camalduli was poor in comparison to that of Monte Giove, the first retreat of Irenée, on whose hyacinths, tulips, ranunculus, &c., he dwells in his letters: but the Florentine solitude had other features, better suited to his rich imagination; alike free from the fogs of Ancona, and the extreme heats of the Canonica de Lodi; in its noble forests there was a companionship, and in their often savage recesses a wildness and sublimity that was dear to the contemplative mind. A few miles distant was a retreat of hermits, followers of St. Remualdo, whose hardships were so great as to cause them often to die piecemeal; the novices rarely survived many winters. He was not a slave to the superstitions of his church; still less so to its fiercer austerities: he had warred early with real sufferings and despair, and could not now be a self-tormentor; he had read mankind well, yet indulgently, in camps, and in the more subtle conflicts of luxurious and refined society: monasticism could not now make him intolerant, selfish, or stern. Yet his spirit gradually obtained a quiet ascendancy over that of his brethren: they were proud of his genius and his eloquence; he made less pretensions to exalted piety than many among them, whose forte it was; they felt also the influence of that simplicity of soul that interests alike in the monastery and the salon, which makes words, thoughts, and looks all flow, or seem to flow, feelingly and naturally; this had been his characteristic through life. And when this simplicity and candour are united to an enthusiasm of temper, are they not irresistible? He had ever found them so in the world, and now, in the Camalduli, it was beautiful to see how they bore him above the malignity and jealousy of some, calmed the rivalry of others, and made the rough places plain."
His next letter is in the following year, for he was permitted by his Superior to write but rarely, a privation he seems to feel, but does not
complain of it :-"My mother, I have read in the life of St. Remualdo, his great solicitude for his parents' conversion. I admire him for this, though not for some other things: the rules he instituted, and which he obeyed, were too severe. There are among our religious a few who seek to die to the affections of our nature, and talk of their families, whom they have left for ever, without being moved, as if the remembrance was injurious to their spirituality. God has not made me thus, and be assured I will never try to make myself thus. If a portion, and I do not doubt it, of our happiness in heaven is to meet those we love there, is the Camalduli a more holy or spiritual place than paradise, that these thoughts and memories must not be indulged in in it?
"I suppose you still have the same parties in which I used to find so much pleasure, and sought to amuse you by my repartees. I must confess I never knew what ennui was in them and in your society. Five times a-year our rules permit us to have a little fête: this day we go forth from our hermitage into the country to visit some religious and return in the evening. Our Superior intends, by these recreations, to recompense us for the austerities of the rest of the year. And thou, my mother, hast always the society of my father and brother. I dwell upon all your affection, and the little efforts often successfully made to amuse you. Often in my cell I think I should love to amuse you now : I have learned much in the years we have been separated; and I know that you would listen to me now as you used to do. I have been listened to by men who were the wits of the age, and by women of beauty and genius, and since by saints and fathers, the glory of our church: but never did this give me the pleasure as when you heard me. My voice is not changed: you used to say it was sweet; its tones are still the same, at least so they appear to me. At this season the nights are so beautiful and cool, after a sultry day, that I often sit up till matins, and then you fill my thoughts; and sometimes, as if you heard me, I talk aloud about things which I ought not now to talk of. And then I have need of a half-hour of mental prayer, to compose my thoughts, before I can sing matins. I am not permitted to write to you but twice a-year. "ST. IRENEO."
Perhaps the Superior perceived that the frequent indulgence of this correspondence was not good for a hermit of the Camalduli; that in these thoughts and remembrances there was much of the world's softness. In confession the latter was too candid to conceal them from his spiritual chief. He scarcely found a kindred spirit within the walls: in his letters he never mentions a single recluse with attachment; they did not understand his spirit-in its elevation and aspirings they could not sympathise. They were mostly an easy, cheerful set of men, enjoying their little fêtes and privileges, and kind to the guests who visited their impressive home. It was not for such a state that Irenée sought the Camalduli. In his fine and engrossing enthusiasm, his wild imaginings, his love of literature, he stood alone: there could be little communion of intellect with the other hermits: and this was at times a heavier solitude to bear than that of the walls that inclosed him. There were in the convent-life many lonely hours, many feeble and many restless ones, when the face of a man, after one's own heart, with whom to measure thought with thought, and sorrow with sorrow, would be as that of an
angel. Even in the world we cannot do without this companionship: and in the monastery, where we are to dwell always, till we rest in the little cemetery in the garden or the wild-if God vouchsafe us not a friend, we are desolate indeed. In no part of Bunyan's allegory is his knowledge of the heart more exquisite than when Christian, in the "dark valley of the shadow of death," suddenly hears, amidst his conflicts and terrors, the voice of one behind him, a chosen spirit, who was to be his companion till death.
There were seasons when the Camalduli was a place of shadows: when fearful musings troubled Irenée; more particularly during the fasts in the winter. His besetting sins were not those of the passions but of the mind-as fastidiousness, vanity, a thirst of the applause of men; austerities were no cure for such infirmities. But even in the dead of winter," the bread and water eaten on the ground, the naked feet, the severe vigils," every Friday, could scarcely be formidable to a soldier of Napoleon, who had passed two years in a Russian prison. The fastings which were sorest were not those of the frame, but of the spirit, which then strove to bind itself as with fetters of iron; but it refused to be bound.
How hard it is to imprison a luxuriant fancy, a lively intellect, whose issues, mingling with holier things, seem to the delicate conscience to render them of the colour of blood! and self-accusings rise, till the heart faints beneath its own bitterness. He had a friend, some years previous, who was resolved to share his retirement wherever he went: this was the ecclesiastic who went with him from Avignon to Marseilles, to embark for Italy: in the voyage to Leghorn they suffered shipwreck on the coast, which he describes in his first letter to his mother, but the details were too long for insertion. Several of the passengers and crew were drowned; he and his companion struggled to the land on a piece of the wreck, with the loss of all their clothes, money, &c. The ecclesiastic was cruelly wounded and bruised against the beach near the place where they were cast ashore was a wretched hamlet of fishermen's huts in one of these the wounded man lingered several days, destitute of medical aid, and of every comfort. Irenée watched the ebbings of his life, for he was greatly loved by this man, who had counselled him to go into Italy, and whose temper and character resembled his own. The survivor felt the loss bitterly: he saw him die, in great anguish, on a mat laid on the squalid floor; and helped to bear him to his grave, that was dug in a retired spot near the hamlet: there was no chapel or cemetery within a day's journey.
Time flies in monasteries faster than in the homes of love and pride: there is so little to mark its passage, or bid it linger on the memory: the glory of autumn was fled from the woods and heights of the Camalduli: the winter had set in severely.
"December.-The time is come when I am permitted to write again: it is my only letter. I have never written to my uncle the Marshal, nor my father or brother, nor one of my old friends. My Superior does not sufficiently consider this. When I cannot write you, during so many months, there is no one to whom I can pour forth the multitude of my thoughts and feelings. In your last letter you ask me if I am still
happy be assured that I am so: though the gaiety and great peace of my first years here are not constantly with me now: they are much broken.
"This is a fearful night. I have sat some time at the window of my cell watching it, and listening to the moan of the tempest and the torrent in the glen beneath: the blasts sweep from the mountains, and through the forests of ancient pines, which send forth awful sounds. You have travelled in Italy in your youth, and you will imagine that these solemn woods, and cliffs, and black abysses of the Apennine, are terrific on such a night as this. Within our walls there is a death-like calm. I am too excited to seek repose, like the other hermits, and will spend the time till matins in writing to you.
"The night is so dark that nothing can be discerned, except for a few moments when the clouds are broken by the wind, and a deadly gleam falls on the heights, and forests, and the walls of the Camalduli. I cannot withdraw my eyes from these gleams of light, for there is something woeful in them, as if they fell on a lost and struggling world. I remember that so looked the waters on the night of our shipwreck, so ghastly white were the waves over the dying, and over the mangled body of my dear companion.
"I had written thus far when I could no longer bear the sounds of the storm, and I went into the church to calm my feelings, on which the visit of this morning had left a deep sadness. The four chapels within the church-its whole body-and each of the altars-were illumined by a great number of tapers, for it was a high festival. Several of our paintings are of great beauty. I looked earnestly on them; for there fell a freshness and glory on the beatified and holy men, who sought here, like myself, a refuge from the world; and I thought that hereafter I should perhaps be placed beside them, perhaps for a like, though far inferior, unction of piety, and with a like heavenly expression of features. I fell on my knees before my guardian saint: gleams of joy darted to my spirit, and the smile on his lips seemed to say 'as I am, so shalt thou be.' I returned to my cell; and now I will tell you the event of this morning which so distressed me. I was sent to give extreme unction to one of the novices in the hermitage of St. Remualdo, who requested it at my hands. It is some miles up the mountain, in a frightful solitude, covered by mists during great part of the winter; the cells and chapel are very ancient, hewn out of the rock; there are no trees to shelter them from the inclement winds. A hermit conducted me to the cell of the novice, who was laid on a miserable bed on the floor; a fire of charcoal, for the cell was very cold, was placed near the bed, an indulgence only allowed in extremity. I had been here twice before; but it was in the summer. The dying man was very young, about my age when I fled from home; he had also forsaken his home and parents to devote himself to God. I cannot tell you what a sympathy I instantly felt for him; he was dying, friendless, and in misery as to outward comforts-and he was the only son of his mother. He conjured me, in confession, to acquaint her with his death. His body was emaciated to such a degree that it seemed to be little more than skin and bone; his hands were like those of the newly dead, as thin and as strangely white; his eyes had the wild and beautiful lustre