« EelmineJätka »
this occasion, she quoted several passages from the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.-Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
For by it the elders obtained a good report, Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance :-they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, in mountains, and dens, and caves of the earth; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy.) (Heb. xi. 1, 2, 33-35, 37, 38.)
She hence took occasion to remind her daughters, that the children of God are in all ages required to prove their faith, and to give evidence of their divine adoption, by rejecting those pleasures of the world and sense which in any way interfere with their heavenly calling She also endeavoured to make them understand, that the enjoyments provided for the children of the Holy One, even in this world, are entirely of a different nature from those which are sought after by the unregenerate, of a nature infinitely more refined and lasting, and such as the world cannot deprive them of. “Let us call to hind, my children,” she said, “the evidences of internal peace which your dying father exhibited. Let us remember the many occasions on which, though racked with sore disease, he lifted up and hands towards heaven, praising God for the happiness he was permitted to enjoy; a happiness, he said, which passed all understanding, and which was bestowed upon him through the free and unmerited favour of his heavenly Father, with no reference whatever to any works or deservings of his own. And O may you, my dear daughters," added the pious widow, “be brought to esteem this peace, this rest of the soul, above all the imaginary pleasures of this world! Of this peace, my dear children, the holy day of the Christians is an expressive emblem; and in a due observance of this holy day, many who are pow in glory, enjoyed, even here
upon earth, the foretaste and earnest of their heavenly rest. O, my children, may the Almighty give you grace to withstand the numerous temptations with which this country abounds, and preserve you especially from polluting the Lord's-day by entering into those dissipations which custom allows here on this day! Be assured too that the time will come, even in this our native land, when these customs shall no longer prevail in it; when our people will look upon them as the residue of heathen profligacy, and when the sound of praise-praise of our heavenly Father-praise of our crucified Saviour --praise of the Spirit which regenerates and sanctifies the sinner-will arise from every lawn and every forest, and when, throughout the day of holy rest, the harsh gratings of the violin, and the voice of profane merriment, will give place to holy hymns and songs of never-ending gratitude. O, France, O, my beloved country,” added the pious mother, “how infinitely sweet it is to feel the assurance, that thou art included in the promises given to the whole world! Vain and full of levity and infidelity as thou now art, the time will assuredly come, when all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children; (Isaiah liv. 13.) when violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders: but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” (Isaiah lx. 18.)
In this manner the pious mother conversed until the evening was far advanced, and till neither · voice nor step was heard of the returning crowd from the scene of their sports. A deep and soothing stillness had succeeded to less holy sounds; and, no doubt, the cheering prospects thus renewed in the mind of Rosalie tended, with the divine blessing, in no small degree, to confirm that peace which the incidents of the evening might otherwise have disturbed.
In the mean time, many Lord's-days passed away, while the absence of the two pretty daughters of Madame de Foix from the Guinguette afforded subject of discourse among the peasants, many of whom were offended; and as they could not understand the real motives of the mother in thus keeping her children at home, they began to attribute her conduct to pride, and would
have it that she did not consider their society sufficiently honourable for them.
At length, Monique Andelly, the widow of a carpenter who formerly resided in the village, an old woman, and a notable gossip and busy-body, took upon her to remonstrate against the conduct of Madame de Foix in this particular; and for this purpose she improved a slight acquaintance she had already made with her when passing by her door to market, as her cottage lay in the same direction of the country. She accordingly called upon her, and, being invited to sit down, began, with the freedom and ease possessed by persons of all ranks in this country, to call her to account for the retirement in which she kept her young people; adding, that if she were blessed with two such daughters, she should undoubtedly pursue a very different line of conduct with regard to them.
“I do not doubt the truth of your assertion, my good neighbour Monique,” replied the widow of the merchant.
“Then why," returned the gossip, “why are you so unreasonable as to confine these young creatures with a rigour which would scarcely be exercised in the strictest convent? Is not youth the period of pleasure? and what pleasure do we poor country people enjoy equal to our dance on a Sunday evening, under the shade of our woods and forest? Can any thing be more harmless than our meetings in the open air? Are we not all, though simply clad, clean in our persons, and polite in our manners? and can any thing be more pleasing in the sight of God, or of the Holy Virgin and saints, than the simple pleasures of the poor? Let me tell you, Madame de Foix, that we are all hurt at your absenting yourself and your daughters from our fêtes, and that we cannot but take it as an offence from one whose pretensions are so well understood among us. For what," continued she, “what was your husband and the father of
your children, what was the good man Gaspard, but a merchant of hats and stockings? and, were he now here to speak, I doubt not but he would tell us that he considered himself no better than the farmers and decent peasantry of this village.”
“ Neighbour," replied Madame de Foix, "you utterly
mistake me, if you think that I look down upon the humblest cottager in Tostes."
Well then,” said Monique, "if you think us all decent and honourable, wherefore should you refuse to let your daughters partake of the amusements of our Sunday evenings?”
Madame de Foix being thus pressed, thought it right to explain the real motives of her conduct, which she accordingly endeavoured to do in as simple and plain a manner as possible. Notwithstanding which, her busy neighbour did not seem to comprehend any part of her reasonings; but availed herself of the first pause in the widow's discourse to exclaim, “Apparently, you are a heretic."
“No,” replied Madame de Foix, “I am no heretic. I take my religion from Scripture itself; how then can I be a heretic?"
“But bave you consulted the Curé upon this subject?” said Monique.
“I am well assured,” replied the widow," that there is not a priest in France who would not agree with me in my views of keeping the Sabbath; although our spiritual rulers perhaps think it would at present be a vain thing to attempt the enforcement of a duty, against which the larger part of the people would assuredly set themselves in opposition.”
“Excellent!” said Monique: “ and so you are attempting to bring about a reformation in the manners of the people, which you confess that the whole body of the priests, and, for aught I know, his Holiness himself, would not presume to attempt !
So saying, the notable dame took her leave, and returned to her house, resolved in her own mind to bring down the supposed pride of her neighbour, if she could by any means devise a method for so doing.
Monique had an only son, a private soldier belonging to a regiment at that time quartered at Hesdin, a small town in
is, and it was shortly after the above-mentioned conversation with Madame de Foix, that this young man having obtained leave of absence, unexpectedly appeared, one afternoon, before the door of his mother's house. Victor Andelly was a lively and smart youth, and
possessed that gentility of appearance which is not unfrequently seen among the private soldiers of the French nation; a gentility which, however, consisting entirely in a certain air and manner, and having nothing to do with the mind, will not bear the test of familiar inter
Nevertheless this young man had enough of smartness to render him an object of some consideration among the young peasantry of Tostes; and he was particularly admired for the agility with which he moved through the mazes of the quadrille.
It had occurred to Monique, that, as the daughters of Madame de Foix would inherit what she considered a considerable property at the death of their mother, and as they were pretty and genteel, her son could not do better than to seek one of them as a wife.
In compliance with this notion, Monique spoke much in favour of Rosalie and her sister before her son; neither did she find him averse to enter into her scheme, for the young man had heard of their beauty, and was exceedingly impatient to become acquainted with them. One difficulty, however, presented itself, which was that the retirement in which these young people lived was so extreme, that they were seldom seen excepting under the roof of their mother. Monique called once or twice, after her son's arrival, to see Madame de Foix, and to introduce her son to her: but although she found the mother sitting at work in the outer apartment, the daughters were not visible on either of these occasions.
At length, circumstances favoured her views; for one morning early, as she was crossing the halle with her son, she met Rosalie and Annette, who were returning home with some purchases which they had been making. Notwithstanding the singular dress of the Norman peasants, the beauty of these young women could not fail of striking the son of Monique. They wore high caps of stiffened lawn, with large wings, plaited and hanging down to their shoulders, their hair being combed smoothly up from their foreheads, and turned up in a large loop behind. They had petticoats of blue linen, extremely full, with short white jackets, and aprons of black silk. Uncouth, however, as this dress was, it was impossible that it should hide their slender and elegant shapes, or detract from the bloom of their charming features.