“It is Magdalen Soliveau; but I repeat, mademoiselle, that you had better ask for Mother Bunch, as I am hardly known by any other name.”
“I will, then, be in the Rue Brise-Miche to-morrow, at twelve o’clock.”
“Oh, mademoiselle! How can I ever requite your goodness?”
“Don’t speak of it: I only hope my interference may be of use to you. But of this you must judge for yourself. As for M. Agricola, do not answer his letter; wait till he is out of prison, and then tell him to keep his secret till he can see my poor mistress.”
“And where is the dear young lady now?”
“I cannot tell you. I do not know where they took her, when she was attacked with this frenzy. You will expect me to-morrow?”
“Yes—to-morrow,” said Mother Bunch.
The convent whither Florine was to conduct the hunchback contained the daughters of Marshal Simon, and was next door to the lunatic asylum of Dr. Baleinier, in which Adrienne de Cardoville was confined.
St. Mary’s Convent, whither the daughters of Marshal Simon had been conveyed, was a large old building, the vast garden of which was on the Boulevard de l’Hopital, one of the most retired places in Paris, particularly at this period. The following scenes took place on the 12th February, the eve of the fatal day, on which the members of the family of Rennepont, the last descendants of the sister of the Wandering Jew, were to meet together in the Rue St. Francois. St. Mary’s Convent was a model of perfect regularity. A superior council, composed of influential ecclesiastics, with Father d’Aigrigny for president, and of women of great reputed piety, at the head of whom was the Princess de Saint Dizier, frequently assembled in deliberation, to consult on the means of extending and strengthening the secret and powerful influence of this establishment, which had already made remarkable progress.
Skillful combinations and deep foresight had presided at the foundation of St. Mary’s Convent, which, in consequence of numerous donations, possessed already real estate to a great extent, and was daily augmenting its acquisitions. The religious community was only a pretext; but, thanks to an extensive connection, kept up by means of the most decided members of the ultramontane (i. e. high-church) party, a great number of rich orphans were placed in the convent, there to receive a solid, austere, religious education, very preferable, it was said, to the frivolous instruction which might be had in the fashionable boarding schools, infected by the corruption of the age. To widows also, and lone women who happened moreover to be rich, the convent offered a sure asylum from the dangers and temptations of the world; in this peaceful retreat, they enjoyed a delightful calm, and secured their salvation, whilst surrounded by the most tender and