Ursula eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 303 pages of information about Ursula.
to an injured man.  Ever since this scene Ursula’s evening prayers had been said in common with her godfather.  Day after day the old man grew more conscious of the peace within him that succeeded all his conflicts.  Having, as he said, God as the responsible editor of things inexplicable, his mind was at ease.  His dear child told him that he might know by how far he had advanced already in God’s kingdom.  During the mass which we have seen him attend, he had read the prayers and applied his own intelligence to them; from the first, he had risen to the divine idea of the communion of the faithful.  The old neophyte understood the eternal symbol attached to that sacred nourishment, which faith renders needful to the soul after conveying to it her own profound and radiant essence.  When on leaving the church he had seemed in a hurry to get home, it was merely that he might once more thank his dear child for having led him to “enter religion,”—­the beautiful expression of former days.  He was holding her on his knee in the salon and kissing her forehead sacredly at the very moment when his relatives were degrading that saintly influence with their shameless fears, and casting their vulgar insults upon Ursula.  His haste to return home, his assumed disdain for their company, his sharp replies as he left the church were naturally attributed by all the heirs to the hatred Ursula had excited against them in the old man’s mind.



While Ursula was playing variations on Weber’s “Last Thought” to her godfather, a plot was hatching in the Minoret-Levraults’ dining-room which was destined to have a lasting effect on the events of this drama.  The breakfast, noisy as all provincial breakfasts are, and enlivened by excellent wines brought to Nemours by the canal either from Burgundy or Touraine, lasted more than two hours.  Zelie had sent for oysters, salt-water fish, and other gastronomical delicacies to do honor to Desire’s return.  The dining-room, in the center of which a round table offered a most appetizing sight, was like the hall of an inn.  Content with the size of her kitchens and offices, Zelie had built a pavilion for the family between the vast courtyard and a garden planted with vegetables and full of fruit-trees.  Everything about the premises was solid and plain.  The example of Levrault-Levrault had been a warning to the town.  Zelie forbade her builder to lead her into such follies.  The dining-room was, therefore, hung with varnished paper and furnished with walnut chairs and sideboards, a porcelain stove, a tall clock, and a barometer.  Though the plates and dishes were of common white china, the table shone with handsome linen and abundant silverware.  After Zelie had served the coffee, coming and going herself like shot in a decanter,—­for she kept but one servant, —­and when Desire, the budding lawyer, had been told of the event of the morning and its probably consequences, the door was closed, and the notary Dionis was called upon to speak.  By the silence in the room and the looks that were cast on that authoritative face, it was easy to see the power that such men exercise over families.

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Ursula from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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