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The Flower of the Chapdelaines eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Flower of the Chapdelaines.

“Oh, yes!  One thing I was forgetting.  Just for the laugh I’ll tell you that.  You know, even in a life as quiet as mine, sometimes many things happening together, or even a few, will make you see bats instead of birds, eh?”

“I know, and mistake feelings for facts.  I’ve done it often, in a moderate way.”

“Yes?  Me the same.  But very badly, so that the sky seemed falling in, only once.”

Chester thought that if the two aunts, just then telling the biography of their dolls, were his, his sky would have fallen in at least weekly.  “Tell me of that once,” he said, and, knowing not why, called to mind those four soldiers in France, to her, for some reason, unmentionable.

“Well, first I’ll say that the archbishop he had been the true friend of papa, but now this time, this ‘once’ when my sky seemed falling, both mamma and papa they were already gone.  I don’t need to tell you what the trouble was about, because it never happened; it only threatened to happen.  So when I saw there was only me to prevent it and to——­”

“To hold the sky up?”

“Yes, seeing that, it seemed to me the best friend to go to was the archbishop.

“‘Well, my old and dear friend’s daughter,’ he said, ‘what is it?’

“’Most reverend father in God, ‘tis my wish to become a nun.’

“‘My child, that is a beautiful sentiment.’

“’But ’tis more; even more than my wish; ’tis my resolution.  I must do that.  ’Tis as if I heard that call from heaven to me, Aline Chapdelaine!’

“’Ah, but that’s not only your name.  Your mamma, up yonder, she’s also Aline Chapdelaine.’

“’Yes, but I know that call is to me.  Ah, your Grace, surely, surely, you will not forbid me?’

“’No, my daughter.  Yet at the same time that is not a thing to be done suddenly, or in desperation.  I’ll appoint you a season for reflection and prayer, and after that if your resolution remains the same you shall become a nun.’

“‘But, for the sake of others, will not that season be made short?’

“’For your own sake, my daughter, as well as for others, I’ll make it the shortest possible.  Let me see; I was going to say forty but I’ll make it only thirty-nine.’

“‘Ah, your Grace, but in thirty-nine days——­’

“He stopped me:  ‘Not days, my child; years.’  What he said after, ’tis no matter now; pretty soon I was kneeling and receiving his benediction.”

“And the sky didn’t fall?”

“No, but—­I can’t explain to you—­’twas that very visit prevent’ it falling.”

XXXVIII

It was in keeping with the coterie’s spiritual make-up that they should know a restaurant in the vieux carre, which “that pewblic” knew not, and whose best merits were not music and fresco, but serenity, hospitality, and cuisine—–­a haven not yet “Ammericanize’.”

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