The Wandering Jew — Volume 04 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 175 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 04.
they knew her poor, they should believe her capable of selling herself as a spy for the sake of high wages.  Sometimes, on the contrary, her natural delicacy revolted at the idea that a woman of the age and condition of the superior could descend to make a proposition so disgraceful both to the accepter and the proposer, and she reproached herself with her first doubts and asked herself if the superior had not wished to try her, before employing her, to see if her probity would enable her to resist a comparatively brilliant offer.  Mother Bunch was naturally so inclined to think well of every one, that she made up her mind to this last conclusion, saying to herself, that if, after all, she were deceived, it would be the least offensive mode of refusing these unworthy offers.  With a movement, exempt from all haughtiness, but expressive of natural dignity, the young workman raised her head, which she had hitherto held humbly cast down, looked the superior full in the face, that the latter might read in her countenance the sincerity of her words, and said to her in a slightly agitated voice, forgetting this time to call her “mother”:  “Ah, madame!  I cannot blame you for exposing me to such a trial.  You see that I am very poor, and I have yet done nothing to command your confidence.  But, believe me, poor as I am, I would never stoop to so despicable an action as that which you have thought fit to propose to me, no doubt to assure yourself, by my refusal, that I am worthy of your kindness.  No, no, madame—­I could never bring myself to be a spy at any price.”

She pronounced these last words with so much animation that her cheeks became slightly flushed.  The superior had too much tact and experience not to perceive the sincerity of the words.  Thinking herself lucky that the young girl should put this construction upon the affair, she smiled upon her affectionately, and stretched out her arms to her, saying:  “It is well, my dear daughter.  Come and embrace me!”

“Mother—­I am really confused—­with so much kindness—­”

“No—­you deserve it—­your words are so full of truth and honesty.  Only be persuaded that I have not put you to any trial, because there is no resemblance between the act of a spy and the marks of filial confidence that we require of our members for the sake of watching over their morals.  But certain persons—­I see you are of the number, my dear daughter—­have such fixed principles, and so mature a judgment, that they can do without our advice and guardianship, and can appreciate themselves whatever might be dangerous to their salvation.  I will therefore leave the entire responsibility to yourself, and only ask you for such communications as you may think proper to make.”

“Oh, madame! how good you are!” said poor Mother Bunch, for she was not aware of the thousand devices of the monastic spirit, and thought herself already sure of gaining just wages honorably.

“It is not goodness—­but justice!” answered Mother Sainte-Perpetue, whose tone was becoming more and more affectionate.  “Too much tenderness cannot be shown to pious young women like you, whom poverty has only purified because they have always faithfully observed the divine laws.”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 04 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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