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by which they had entered, they go out two and two, the youngest last, and we see them no more.
I have since been told the supposed cause of the last of these two novices taking the veil; though it is but a common place story, it is not without interest to me, who saw her face that day. If you care to know it, it is as follows. Her father was a mer. chant of English descent. Her mother, a French Canadian, had died many years ago, leaving her and two younger daughters, who were brought up in the Roman Catholic religion. She devoted all her time and interest to give her little sisters whatever of accomplishments and education she had herself been able to attain. Her face was very pleasing, though not beautiful; her figure light and graceful; and she possessed that winning charm of manner with which her mother's race is so richly gifted.
Her father was occupied all day long with his busincss; when he returned home of an evening, it was only to sleep in an old arm-chair by the fire-side. She had no companions, and was too much busied with her teaching, and household affairs, to mix much in the gaieties of the adjoining town; but she was always sought for; besides her good, kind heart, winning ways, and cheerful spirit, an aunt of her father's had left her a little fortune, and she was looked on quite as an heiress in the neighborhood. The young gentlemen always tried to appear to their greatest advantage in her presence, and to make themselves as agreeable as possible. She was, perhaps, the least degree spoilt by this, and sometimes tossed her little head, and shook her long black ringlets quite haughtily, but every one that knew her, high and low, liked her in spite of that, and she deserved it.
About four years ago, at a small party given by one of her friends, she met, among other guests, the officers of the Infantry regiment quartered in the neighborhood. All were acquaintances except one, who had only a few days before arrived from England. He did not seem inclined to enter into the gaieties of the evening, and did not dance till near the close, when he got introduced to her. As soon as the set was over, he sat talking with her for a little time, and then took his leave of the party. She was flattered at being the only person whose acquaintance the new-comer had sought, and struck by the peculiarity of his manner and conversation. A day or two afterwards, he called at her house ; she was at home, and alone. A couple of hours passed quickly away, and, when they bid good evening, she was surprised to find it was so late. After that day the acquaintance progressed rapidly.
He was about six or seven-and-twenty years of age, the only son of a northern squire, of considerable estate, but utterly ruined fortunes. His father had, however, always managed to conceal the state of affairs from him till a few months previously, when an accidental circumstance caused it to reach his ears. Without his father's knowledge he at once exchanged from the regiment of Hussars in which he then was, to an Infantry corps, met the most pressing claims with the few thousand pounds this sacrifice placed at his disposal, and went home for a few days to take leave of his parents before joining his new regiment in Canada. At first they were inconsolable at the idea of parting with him, even for this short time; for all their love, and pride, and hope, were centred in their son, and he, in return, was devotedly attached to them. Soon, however, they were persuaded of the wisdom of what he had done; and, deeply gratified by this proof of his affection, with many an earnest blessing they bade him farewell.
Of an ancient and honored family, he bore the stamp of gentle birth on every limb and feature. His mind was strong, clear, and highly cultivated; his polished manner only sufficiently cold and reserved to make its relaxation the more pleasing. In early life he had joined in the wild pursuits, and even faults, which indulgent custom tolerates in the favored classes; but still, through all, retained an almost feminine refinement and sensi. bility, and a generous unselfishness, sad to say, so seldom united with the hard, but useful knowledge of the world. Though rather of a silent habit, whenever he spoke his conversation was always interesting, often brilliant. Such was her new ac. quaintance.
Poor child, in her short life she had never seen any one like him before: she was proud and happy that he noticed her; he, so much older than she was, so stately and thoughtful, and he spoke so beautifully. She was rather afraid of him at first, but that soon wore away; she fancied that she was growing wiser and more like him; she knew she was growing nearer, nearer ; fear brightened into admiration, admiration warmed into love. Without a mother, or grown-up sister, or intimate friend to tell this to, she kept it all to herself, and it grew a stronger and greater tyrant every day, and she a more submissive slave. He now called at the house very often, and whenever there was a country driving party, he was her companion ; in the ball-room, or riding, or walking, they were constantly together: it was the custom of the country—no one thought it strange.
So passed away the winter: in summer the regiment was to return to England, but he had become much attached to the simple Canadian girl. Her confidence in him, her undisguised preference, joined with a purity that could not be mistaken, won upon him irresistibly. He saw that her mind was being strengthened and developed under his influence ;—that she did her utmost to improve herself and enrich the gift of a heart already freely, wholly given: he felt that he was essential to her happiness: he fancied she was so to his. They had no secrets from each other: he told her his prospects were ruined ; that his father's very affection for him, he feared, would make him more inexorable in withholding sanction from a step that might impede his worldly advancement: that the difference of their religion would add greatly to the difficulty. His father's will had ever been his law: before it came to the old man's time to “go hence and be no more seen," it was his fondest wish in life to be blessed with a father's blessing, and to hear that he had never caused him a moment's anxiety or regret.
Then they sat down and consulted together, and he wrote to his parents, earnestly praying them to consent to his wishes for this union, appealing to their love for him, and using every argument and persuasion, to place it in the most favorable light. He doubted, and trembled for the reply. She doubted not. Poor child! She knew that in the narrow circle about her, she and her little fortune would be welcomed into any household ; beyond that, she knew nothing of the world, its pride, its luxuries, its necessities : it was almost a pleasure to her to hear that he was
poor, for she fancied her pittance would set him at ease.
In short she would not doubt, and waited for the answer to the letter, merely as a confirmation of her happiness.
Weeks have passed away ; the time of the departure of the regiment is close at hand, but the English post will be in to.
The delay has been a time of eager anxiety to him : joyful anticipation for her. They agree to open the answer together. The post arrives. A heap of letters are laid on his table. He snatches up one, for he knows the handwriting well; it is a little imperfect, for the writer is an old man, but hard, firm, determined. He hastens to her house: they do not speak, but go out into the garden, and stop at the end of the walk on the little terrace.
The view over the broad rich valley is beautiful to-day: the young summer has painted earth in all her choicest coloring, but they do not observe it, they are looking on the letter; he pale, almost trembling: she flushed with happy hope ;-her tiny fingers break the seal. The summer evening of her land has but little twilight : the sun, like a globe of fire, seems to drop from out the sky behind the earth, and leaves a sudden darkness.
So, as she read, set the sun of hope, but the night that fell upon her soul had never a morning.
The Lunatic Asylum for Lower Canada has been lately established at Beaufort, five miles from Quebec. Thrte eminent medical men of this city have undertaken it, under charter from the provincial government, which makes an annual allowance for the support of the public patients. At present there are eightytwo under their care. The establishment consists of a large house, occupied by the able superintendent and his family, where some of the convalescents are occasionally admitted as a reward for good conduct. Behind this is a range of buildings forming two sides of a square, the remaining enclosure of the space being made with high palings. These structures stand in a command. ing situation, with a beautiful view of Quebec, and the broad basin of the river. A farm of a hundred and sixty acres is at. tached to them.
The system of this excellent institution is founded on kindness. No force or coercion of any kind is employed; the patients are
allowed to mix freely, work, or pursue whatever may be the bent of their inclinations. They dine together at a well supplied
. table, and are allowed the free use of knives and forks. On one side of the dining hall are the apartments of the female patients, on the other those of the males. They each consist of a large, well-ventilated room, scrupulously clean, with a number of sleeping wards off it; over head is also a large sleeping apartment.
In the morning-room of the female patients were about thirty women, as neatly clad as their dreadful affliction would allow of; many of them of every variety of hideously distorted frame and face. Some sat sewing quietly, with nothing uncommon in their appearance—at least as long as their eyes were fixed upon their work. Others crouched in corners, covering their haggard faces with their long bony fingers. Others moped about, grinning vacantly, and muttering unformed words; the unnatural shake of the head, the hollow receding forehead, the high cheek bones, and diminutive lower jaw, betokening hopeless idiotcy. Others, again, hurried eagerly about, all day long seeking in every corner with restless, anxious eyes, for some supposed lost treasure.
One tall, handsome girl about twenty years of age, sat by the window, looking fixedly on the ground, noticing nothing which passed around her. She was very neatly dressed, and looked so quiet, that at first I thought she was one of the nurses. When I spoke to her she answered me in rather a sullen tone, but with perfect composure ; she did not even move her large black eyes as she spoke, but I could see that they were dull, like beads. I could not learn the histories of many of these patients. They had been sent here from various parts of the country, without any description, and in some cases not even named. This girl's madness was desponding; she was occasionally very dangerous when apparently convalescent, and had several times tried to destroy herself.
One idiot woman stood all the time with her face turned to the wall, in a corner. She was not dumb, but did not know how to speak. It is not known to what country she belonged, her name, or whence she came. She was found a long time ago wandering wild in the woods, part of her feet bitten off by the frost. She