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Title: The flowers of the forest
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082971/00001
 Material Information
Title: The flowers of the forest
Physical Description: 106, 2 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Baxter ( Binder )
Clay, Richard, 1789-1877 ( Printer )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Publisher: Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: R. Clay
Publication Date: [185-?]
Edition: New ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Faith -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Anti-Catholicism -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Students -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1855   ( rbgenr )
Baxter -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1855   ( rbbin )
Hand-colored illustrations -- 1855   ( local )
Bldn -- 1855
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Hand-colored illustrations   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by the author of "Little Henry and his bearer."
General Note: Date of publication based on binding indicating publication in 1850's.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note: Bound by Baxter.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy illustrations are hand-colored: probably by young owner.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082971
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002237393
notis - ALH7880
oclc - 227210045

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
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    Flowers of the forest
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    Advertising
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text











































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THE


FLOWERS OF THE FOREST.



BY THE AUTHOR OF

"LITTLE HENRY AND HIS BEARER."















A NEW EDITION





LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
Instituted 1799.
SOLD AT THE DEPOSITORIES, 56, PATERNOSTER ROW,
65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD, AND 164, PICCADILLY;
AND BY THE BOOKSELLERS.











THE


FLOWERS OF THE FOREST.




I SHALL commence my narrative by stating
that I am a native of France, though now re-
siding in England, and a very old man. More
than forty years since I was a cur6, or as
such a one would be called in England, a
minister, of a small parish situate in the
beautiful province of Normandy, in France;
that province which gave her conquerors and
her princes, for many generations, to the
country in which I have now taken up my
abode.

Whilst residing in Normandy I was a
Papist, though now, through the influence of
a clearer light shining upon my soul, I am a
Protestant; and I humbly pray that my
mind may never again be brought under the
A 3





O THE FLOWERS
dark delusions in which it was involved in
my younger days.

It is possible that my youthful readers may
not precisely understand the points on which
the Protestant and the Papist are at variance.
These particulars are numerous, and many of
them are not easily ascertained, because the
Papists do not present the doctrines of their
church in a simple or well-defined form.
When a Protestant refers to the works which
are held in authority among them, and points
out the errors contained therein, they shift
their ground, and in all possible ways evade
a straightforward line of argument. Their
most authenticated modern formularies are
deduced from the decrees of the council of
Trent, which commenced its sittings in
1545, and continued, though a long interval
intervened, until 1563. That council was
held by the command of the pope at Trent, a
city in the north of Italy, and many autho-
ritative decrees were issued by it, both as to
matters of faith and ceremonies. These
were sanctioned by the highest authority of
the church of Rome, and never have been in
any way repealed or modified; they may





OF THE FOREST. 7
therefore be referred to as the authorized
statement of popish doctrines, and Protest-
ants may reason respecting them as the rule
of faith of the Romish church. It is true
that they were not received with the same
degree of implicit submission by all the
countries which continued to profess them-
selves followers of the church of Rome; and
in Protestant countries, at the present day,
the Papists are unwilling to admit fully, that
they, as such, are bound by the decrees of
the council of Trent : their policy appears to
consist in continually shifting their position,
and presenting new forms of defence, which,
being of a shadowy, mysterious, and irre-
sponsible nature, are incapable of being over-
turned by the artillery of reason, or other
means which might be used against their
errors if advanced in a more substantial form.
The Protestant, on the other hand, uses no
subterfuge -wvereby he may confound his
enemies and escape the consequence to which
the principles he recognizes must lead, but
simply maintains his belief in Scripture, and
asserts that whatsoever is not read there-
in, nor may be proved thereby, is not to
be required of any man that it should be






6 THE FLOWERS
believed as an article of faith, or be thought
requisite or necessary to salvation.

But I forget that I am writing for such as
cannot be supposed to enter fully into dis-
cussions of this nature. I shall therefore
avoid going more deeply into them; simply
requesting my youthful reader to bear these
things in mind, namely, that of the two
principal orders of persons calling themselves
Christians, the first, namely the Protestants,
profess to take the Bible as their rule of
life and of belief; the second, the Papists,
bind themselves to obey the commandments
of their church, of which the pope is, as
they pretend, the father, the spiritual head,
the absolute and infallible ruler; and the
priests of that church assume to themselves a
power and authority far beyond that of any
mortal being, in all matters connected with
religion.

But to proceed with my narrative. As
I before said, I was born in France, and
educated for the pastoral office; the parish
which was appointed me lies upon the
Seine: it extends along the left bank of





OF THE FOREST. U
that beautiful river, which, as is well known,
rises near Saint Seine in Burgundy, and
mingles itself- with the sea below the city of
Rouen.

It is a region rich in orchards and vine-
yards, in fragrant meadow lands, and thymy
downs : to the north thereof lies a forest,
extending itself for several leagues over a
space most beautifully diversified with hill
and dale, and affording within its deep re-
cesses such a great variety of cool grottos,
waterfalls, and natural bowers as I have
seldom seen in any other part of the world.
There is the sweet village, each little dwell-
ing of which has its thatched roof, its rural
porch, and its gay flower garden. We had
our chateau also, which, being built of grey
stone, and having a commanding site, af-
forded a pleasing object to the road which
runs from Paris to Rouen on the other side
of the Seine; its fanes and turrets at that
time being exalted above the neighboring
woods, though, as I now understand, they
are levelled to the dust: and near the
chateau was the Tour de Tourterelle, which






10 THE FLOWERS
gave the title to the family-a huge old
tower coeval with the first dukes of Nor-
mandy.

When first admitted to my cure, the family
at the chateau consisted of many individuals,
but one and another of these being removed
by death or marriage, Madame la Baronne
only was left to us after a few years; and
such was the kindness and amiable deportment
of this lady, that it was commonly said of
her, that all the virtues of the long and
illustrious line of ancestry, of which she
was the last in that part of the country, had
centred in her. In fact, her conduct merited
our sincere affection and gratitude; but
when we are made acquainted, through the
Divine teaching, with the fallen and corrupt
state of human nature, we dare not use or
admit that high strain of panegyric which
more presumptuous individuals employ with-
out apprehension.

Between the village and the chateau stood
our church, built also of grey stone, in the
Norman Gothic style; and near to the





OF THE FOREST. 11
church was a large black-timbered house,
with two gable ends pointed with wooden
crosses, where lived a decayed gentlewoman,
a widow, whom I shall call Madame Bul6.

This lady, being an accomplished woman
for that day, and much reduced in her for-
tune, received young ladies into her house
for their education, and was, I believe, as far
as the dark state of her mind would admit, a
faithful and laborious guide to her young
people.

Near to Madame Bul6's seminary was my
own little mansion, nay, so near that the
window of my study, which was an upper
room, projected over the garden wall of the
seminary and I used often to amuse my-
self by showering bonbons from thence upon
the little ones who were assembled on the
lawn beneath.

From the period of my entering my cure
until I was more than forty years of age, I
enjoyed a long interval of comparative peace.
I was fond of a retired life. I had a par-
ticular delight in the study of nature, and in






12 THE FLOWERS
that part of it especially which refers to the
habits and formation of the vegetable world.
I made a collection of all the plants in the
neighbourhood, and would walk leagues for
the chance of obtaining a new specimen. I
had other pursuits of the same kind which
filled up the intervals of my professional
duties, and through the Divine goodness,
kept me from worse things during those
years of my life in which I certainly had not
that sense of religion which would have up-
held me in situations of stronger excite-
ment. Thus I was carried on in a com-
paratively blameless course, through a long
period of my life, for which I humbly thank
my God, and take no manner of credit to
myself; though I feel that it is a mercy for
which an individual cannot be too grateful,
when he is brought to a sense of sin and to a
knowledge of his own weakness, to find that
in the days of his spiritual darkness he has
been guarded, on the right hand and on the
left, from shoals, and rooks, and whirlpools
in which wiser persons than himself have
made terrible shipwrecks. But as I said
above, I was led on from year to year in a
sort of harmless course; and whereas I en-






OF THE FOREST. 1i
joyed much peace, so was the same bestowed
upon my neighbours in general, in a larger
proportion than could have been expected,
when the agitated state of our country, as
it regarded religion and politics, is brought
under consideration. In the mean time, the
little establishment of Madame Bul6 was car-
ried on in a manner so peaceful and tranquil,
that it can hardly be questioned but that the
protecting hand of Providence was extended
over this academy, although undoubtedly the
instructions there received partook of the
spiritual darkness at that period spread over
the whole country.

At length, however, as Madame became less
able to exert herself, and as new modes of in-
struction and more fashionable accomplish-
ments became requisite, in order to satisfy
the parents of the pensioners, (or boarders,)
she thought it right to procure an assistant;
and Mademoiselle Victoire, a young lady who
had been educated in Paris, was appointed to
the situation. Thus the wolf was admitted
into the fold; for this young person, being
exceedingly vain and worldly-minded, no sooner
found herself established in the family of
B






14 THE FLOWERS
Madame Bul6, than she began to disturb the
peace of its inmates.

All those accomplishments which delight
the senses were what were chiefly held in
esteem by Mademoiselle; she had no value
for the qualities of the heart, and no discern-
ment of retiring and humble merit: hence
her favours were ever lavished on the vain
and frivolous, provided they were possessed
of such qualities as she admired: whilst some
of the most amiable young people in the
seminary were continually exposed either to
her ridicule or her reproaches.

In consequence of this unjust conduct, she
presently raised a very unamiable feeling
among the young people, many of whom began
to form false estimates of each other's merits,
and to hate and envy those individuals among
their companions who possessed any of those
qualities or distinctions, whether mental, per-
sonal, or accidental, which were calculated to
insure the favour of Mademoiselle. And
then it was that I first observed a change in
the air and appearance of the young people,
when they came out to amuse themselves in






OF THE FOREST. 10
their garden during the intervals of their
studies : then it was that the voice of anger
first rose towards my window, and my ear
was then first saluted with the tones of dis-
cord, disturbing the beautiful harmony of the
scene. I observed also, after a while, that
there was an entire cessation of those games
-and diversions in which the young people
formerly seemed to take such interest; nei-
ther did I hear those cries of joy proceeding
from the playground which were in former
periods so delightful to my ear as I sat in my
study: for worldly purposes and feelings had
crept into this little society; and I, as if
aware that these symptoms observed amongst
these young people were only the beginnings
of misfortunes, frequently at that time looked
back on the days of innocent (comparatively
innocent) pleasure which were fast passing
away, with a sort of regret which seemed
even more bitter than the occasion war-
ranted.

The time had been, nay, it was hardly
gone, when it had been the chief delight of
the pupils of Madame Bul6 to cultivate
flowers in all attainable varieties, and Ma-






16 THE FLOWERS
dame had given a small piece of ground to
each little girl for this purpose.

I had often busied myself in procuring
rare seeds and fine specimens of flowers for
these young people, by which small services
I had obtained the name of Le Bon Pare," *


" Le Bon PNre Raffr6," and was saluted with
cries of joy whenever I appeared in the gar-
den. Then with what eager delight did the
little rebels gather round me, and some


* The good father.






OF THE FOREST. 17
indeed were daring enough to thrust their
hands into my pockets to rob me of the
small packets of seeds or bulbous roots
which had been deposited therein to attract
the pretty thieves. More than once I have
seized a dimpled hand in the very act of
felony, and then it was my custom to take
out my large clasp knife, to open it wide,
to whet it on the nearest stone, and to pre-
tend that I was about to take instant and
cruel revenge ; whilst the sparkling and
blooming delinquents shrieked and danced
around me, now receding, now advancing,
now approaching, now retiring, till every
avenue of the garden re-echoed with the
merry notes of innocent delight. Oh, joyous
days of happy and unapprehensive youth,
when the light heart never wearies with the
same jest, however often reacted or repeated,
nor yawns at the oft-told tale !

Often, too, was I invited to the collation
at four o'clock, when the weather would
permit the little party to enjoy that simple
meal in the open air : and when Father
Raffr6 promised his company, most happy
was that little fair one who could contribute
B3






18 THE FLOWERS
the most elegant decorations for the feast,
or supply the most beautiful baskets of reeds
or osiers to stand in lieu of the china or plate
which adorn the tables of more magnificent
orders.

As I before said, I was then a Roman Ca-
tholic: it was the religion in which I had
been brought up, and although I will not say
that from time to time some faint apprehen-
sions might not have crossed my mind, even
then, respecting the soundness of the princi-
ples in which I had been nurtured, yet these
gleams of light had hitherto been transitory
as the irradiations which fall upon the earth
when the morning is spread upon the moun-
tains, and the clouds are driven forward
along the path of the sun. But this I trust,
that I may say of myself, and of many of my
brethren at that time, that, as far as our
knowledge went, we were sincere; and that
if we sometimes appeared to be otherwise, it
was because we were not always assured
that our faith had that foundation in truth
which it must needs have in order to be
effective. Notwithstanding which, I think I
may add, that I did endeavour when thus






OF THE FOREST. 19
familiarly associated with these young peo-
ple, to press upon them the importance of
spiritual things, and, with this view, directed
them often to raise up their hearts to God
when employed in their most ordinary ac-
tions. To this piece of excellent advice I
added, as might be expected, certain admoni-
tions respecting forms, of a nature which I
now see to have been decidedly prejudicial, in-
asmuch as outward forms so frivolous as those
which are commanded by the church to which
I then belonged, have a direct tendency to lead
the mind from seeking that inward and spi-
ritual grace, of which outward forms are but
the types. Amongst those forms which I
particularly enforced, I well remember one,
which was that of making the sign of the
cross many times during the day. I also
insisted that these young people should re-
peat the Av3 Maria, and certain other
prayers, which I taught them in the Latin
tongue, as often as they could make it con-
venient so to do; assuring them that by
their obedience or disobedience in these par-
ticulars, they would rise or fall in favour
with God and with the church. Thus I en-
deavoured, though on false principles, to shed






20 THE FLOWERS
the odour of sanctity on our little assemblies,
and for some years I had no strong reason to
perceive that the weapons of warfare which I
had placed in the hands of my little pupils,
were not sufficiently powerful to enable them
to resist the snares of Satan and the dangers
of the world. For, as I remarked above,
whilst Madame Bul6 alone presided over her
school, and whilst her pupils were small, the
ill effects of the heartless and formal system
inculcated by me did not appear; neither
did the evil break out till the general agita-
tion of the country was in some degree ex-
tended to this little society, by the arrival of
Mademoiselle Victoire, who, according to the
prevailing spirit of the age, no sooner found
herself established in the seminary, than she
took the lead, before her superior, and com-
menced that work of disorganization which
was already advancing in the capital.

At the time of which I am about to speak,
namely, the year 1789, there were in Ma-
dame Bul6's seminary, three young ladies,
whom I shall have particular occasion to
mention by-and-by, and shall therefore pro-
ceed to describe in this place. The eldest of






OF THE FOREST. 21
these was named Susette, and was, in point
of external perfection, the rose of the par-
terre-a blooming, lively young person, but
of a high and haughty spirit when opposed;
yet one, I think, which might have been led
to anything by a kind and gentle hand.

Susette was a chief favourite of Made-
moiselle Vietoire, and had her warm par-
tisans, her open admirers, and secret ene-
mies, in the little establishment. Neither
was she without her rival; for what favour-
ite is so happy as not to have sometimes
reason to dread the influence of another?
Mademoiselle was capricious, and whereas at
one time she caressed Susette, at another
time she was all complacency to Fanchon,
the only young lady amongst the pupils of
Madame Bul6 whose pretensions could be
brought in comparison with those of Su-
sette: but whereas I have called Susette a
rose, Fanchon, whose hair was of a bright
and rich auburn, might best have been com-
pared to the golden lily, the pride and glory
of the oriental gardens-that flower which
is, as some pretend, emblazoned on the arms
of that noble house, the star of which at one






22 THE FLOWERS
time seemed to have sunk in hopeless dark-
ness, though it has since arisen again, we
trust, to shine with superior splendour, and
with a purer light than in the period of its
former exaltation. It is my prayer, my
daily and hourly prayer, for my king and my
country, that the same light which has been
vouchsafed to me may be bestowed on them;
and that as the Holy Scriptures are now, I
trust, my only rule of life and test of faith,
so also they may henceforward be the
strength and bulwark of the people and land
of my fathers.

But to return to my narrative. I must
confess that the character of Fanchon never
pleased me. She had none of the candour
and openness of temper so agreeable in
youth, and which I would rather see in its
excess than its deficiency, although that
excess may border on imprudence; for age
assuredly must add prudence to the charac-
ter, whereas it seldom deducts from a spirit
of cold and selfish caution.

The third among the pupils of Madame
Bul6, whom I must particularly describe,





OF THE FOREST. 23
was a'n English girl, and an orphan. I
never knew by what chance this child had
been consigned to the care of Madame Bul6,
neither do I recollect her real name; but
she was called Aim6e by her preceptress,
and by that name she went amongst us.
Neither do I know more of her age, than
that she was thought too young for confes-
sion till she had been in the house more
than two years, and therefore I judge that
she was between eleven and twelve years of
age at the time of which I am speaking.
This little girl was small for her years, and
was one who would generally have passed
unnoticed in a group of children, yet when
closely examined, she had one of the sweet-
est countenances I ever beheld; her hair
and complexion marked her Saxon origin,
and the tender innocence, and dimpled
beauty of her face, brought her frequently in
comparison, in my imagination, with some
such figure as I have often seen of an infant
Jesus, whom the artist has represented in
the arms of his mother, looking down from
some high altar with love and compassion on
the multitude kneeling before him. Such
were the high comparisons which I made





24 THE FLOWERS
for the lovely little Aimee-yet why do I
call the comparison high? Are not images,
however beautiful, however exalted, however
held in honour, but blocks of wood and
stone, carved into the similitude of man by
the hand of man? and is not the body of
man the work of God himself, and in every
instance wonderful and past imitation, and
even past comprehension for what doth
David say on this subject 1 "I am fearfully
and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy
works; and that my soul knoweth right
well," Ps. cxxxix. 14.

Nevertheless, I own that the time has
been, when I bowed with religious awe be-
fore the graven image, and poured forth my
soul thereunto in solemn prayer, without
considering any of those subtle distinctions
which the learned of the papal church pre-
tend to make respecting relative and inferior
honour; for the Roman Catholic church,
when making its comments on the first com-
mandment, uses the following expressions,
which I shall give in the form of question
and answer, as I found them in the authorized
catechism published in England :-





OF THE FOREST. 25
"Does the first commandment forbid us to
give any kind of honour to the saints and
angels ?
"No: it only forbids us to give them
supreme or Divine honour, which belongs to
God alone; but it does not forbid us to give
them that inferior honour, which is due to
them as the faithful servants and special
friends of God.
And is it allowable to honour relics, cru-
cifixes, and holy pictures 7
Yes, with an inferior and relative honour,
as they relate to Christ and his saints, and
are memorials of them."

But, as I have already remarked, when
kneeling before these crucifixes and images,
I fear that I too often retained but very
imperfect ideas of these metaphysical dis-
tinctions, and in the too visible type or repre-
sentation too often lost the recollection of the
antitype.

To return to little Aim6e. She was a child
exactly formed to be the delight and joy of
some venerable grandmother, or of some
widowed and bereaved wife and mother.





26 THE FLOWERS
One who in retirement would have been the.
sweetest friend and companion which sad-
ness or sorrow could ever know, being no
doubt Divinely endowed with that holy
peace of mind and tranquillity of spirit
which the world can never disturb, because
the world can have no intercourse therewith.
Yet, at the same time, being a character
which was so entirely overlooked in scenes
of bustle and worldly commotion, that her
companions seemed seldom to take any fur-
ther notice of her than to push her aside
when she crossed their paths; still, however,
she possessed in so large a degree the spirit
of harmlessness so truly congenial with the
Christian character, that it would have been
impossible (one should have thought) to have
hated this little girl Nevertheless she did
incur the active hatred of Mademoiselle
Victoire, and this in a way which such as are
not somewhat skilled in the nature of the
human heart will not easily comprehend, but
which will be evident enough to those to
whom the secret recesses of that fountain of
all that is impure are in some degree re-
vealed. Some fault had been committed in
the house soon after the arrival of Made-





OF THE FOREST. 27
moiselle; the blame was laid on Aim6e, and
on the bare suspicion, Mademoiselle punished
her severely; neither would she remit her
punishment till Madame interfered; it was
found afterwards that Aim6e was innocent, but
Mademoiselle never pardoned her.

I had observed, as I have before remarked,
that since the arrival of Mademoiselle Vic-
toire, the simple, cheerful spirit which had
formerly animated the family of Madame
Bul6 had disappeared; and instead of the
lively games in which the pupils of all ages
had hitherto engaged, I could see from my
window that there were parties formed in the
young society. It was very evident that
there was an open rivalry established between
the rose and the fleur de lis (by the by, a
rivalry of old and renowned establishment);
also, I could perceive that there were few of
the young people who did not enlist them
selves under one or other of these banners,
and I could sometimes hear words running
very high amongst individuals of the different
parties, though I could not exactly understand
the precise subject of these controversies.
At length, however, it happened, as I was






28 THE FLOWERS
sitting one afternoon with my window open,
it being two days before the feast of Easter,
that I saw the young people proceeding in a
body from the porch; Mademoiselle Victoire
was in the midst of them, and she was talking
with great vivacity on a subject which seemed
to interest every one. They advanced in a
direction which brought them nearly under
my window, and then Mademoiselle sat down
on a garden chair in the centre of the grass
plat, whilst her two favourites stationed them-
selves on each side of her, and one by one
she called each of the other young people to
the footstool of her throne, for she sat in
much state, and after having looked into the
palm of every hand with the grimaces used
by a fortune teller, for so I understood the
scene, she dismissed each individual with some'
prognostic or witticism, which, as I perceived,
excited peals of laughter, but not such laugh-
ter as I felt agreeable to me. It appears that
the young people had at that moment forgot-
ten that it was possible I might be so near
them; for although I could see them well,
and distinguish every gesture, yet I was
myself so concealed by a jessamine just
bursting into leaf, which I had trained over a





OF THE FOREST. 29
part of my window, it would not have been
easy for the most penetrating eye to have
detected me behind this natural screen; and
thus, as I was not within their view, neither
was I in their thoughts at that period.

This pastime, of whatever tendency it might
have been, had proceeded for some time, and
each of the young people then present had
presented her palm, and heard the prognostics
of her future fate from the self-elected pro-
phetess, when suddenly a sort of demur arose
among the party, and I saw every one turn to
look around her; at length I heard the voice
of Mademoiselle calling Aim6e, and at the
same time I perceived that the little girl had
not been present. The next minute, all the
young party began to scatter themselves over
the garden, as if in quest of the child, and
the name of this little one proceeded from
the various parts of the pleasure ground, and
was returned by an echo, caused by an angle
formed by the tower and the body of the
church. Some minutes elapsed, it seems,
before the little lost one was discovered; she
was (as I afterwards learned) at last detected
in a bosquet formed of flowering shrubs, at
c3






U THE FLOWERS
the very bottom of the garden, cowering down
under the shade of a laurustinus, and deeply
engaged in reading a very small book. She
was instantly seized upon by Susette and
Fanchon, who both sprang upon her at the


same instant, and dragged her between them
into the awful presence of Mademoiselle Vic-
toire.
The little captive uttered no sound, and
used but little resistance: but when brought
directly before Mademoiselle Victoire, she fell
on her knees, and pointing to Susette, seemed
to be earnestly imploring some favour of the


;i
k
: Llt.sLt: ~





OF THE FOREST. 31
utmost importance. What this favour was I
could not discover; but I was made to under-
stand that so far from having obtained it, she
had only incurred more violent displeasure
by the strength of her pleadings, for I saw
Mademoiselle push her away several times,
and then I heard my own name repeated, with
an assurance that something, I knew not what,
should not be concealed from me.
Being thus, as I considered, called upon, I
arose, and putting my head out at the win-
dow, I called to Mademoiselle, and asked her
what had happened, and wherefore my name
was mentioned.

Mademoiselle, who had stood up to correct
the child, turned hastily at the sound of
my voice, and approaching as near to me as
possible, "My good father," she said, "we
have need of your advice and counsel; and
we hope that you will insist that this child
shall endure a severe penance:" here she
stopped to recover breath, of which her
passion had deprived her, and then pro-
ceeded. "This wicked little heretic," she
said, "whom Madame has always upheld as
a sort of saint amongst us, has, it seems,





JS THE FLOWERS
retained in her possession, ever since she
came into this place, a volume of the Holy
Scriptures in her native language, though
she knows that children like herself are not
competent to use these holy books to any
advantage. She has actually been disco-
vered, in a bosquet of this garden, deep in
the study of this volume, using such art in
so doing as shows the blackness and depravity
of her heart." Thus speaking, she gave
the child a push from her, with that sort
of expression of abhorrence which one would
use to a loathed animal.

"And where is this book V" I asked. It
was immediately held up to my view by
Susette, and 1 perceived that it was an
abridgment only of the sacred Scriptures,
being an exceedingly small volume, not
above four inches square; it looked old and
much worn; and it struck me that there was
a malicious feeling shown towards the child
in making so much of this insignificant
matter; and not, as I thought, much policy
in it, as it related to the interests of the
church to which I was then attached. I
therefore said, "Let the book be given to





OF THE FOREST. 03
Madame, and to-morrow I -will come over
and speak to her on the subject."
I hoped by this that I should have satis-
fied all parties; but in this I was mistaken.


No sooner did little Aim6e understand that
the tiny volume in question was to be given
to Madame, than she dropped on her knees
upon the grass, and looking up to me with
streaming eyes and united hands-"O dear
father, kind Father Raffr6," she said, order
me the severest penance, let me live on
bread and water for a year to come, but do





34 THE FLOWERS
not take away my book-my lovely little
book-do not take my poor little book !"

"Dear child," I replied, "dear child, wipe
away your tears; to-morrow I will meet you
in the church; you shall confess all to me
about your little book; and do not fear, you
shall have justice done to you." And thus
I dismissed the whole party, though I felt
that I had not given satisfaction to either
side by the manner in which I had answered
the appeal. Neither was I mistaken in this
my opinion, for Mademoiselle returned in a
very ill-humour to the house; and though
Aim6e and the affair of the book were
spoken of no more that evening, yet the
young ladies began to quarrel with each
other upon these grounds: namely, tha
Mademoiselle Victoire had promised to one
a prince and a coach and six; a duke to
another; a barouche and a marquis to an-
other; a simple baron to another; a rich
burgher to another; and to a less favoured
one a mere roturier. As I had suspected,
and I afterwards learned, Mademoiselle had
been telling her pupils their fortunes, or
rather, had taken this way of giving them






OF THE FOREST. 30
some idea of their several pretensions, and by
this means had excited in their minds every
sort of idea which ought to have been held
back from them and indeed so high did the
rancour of the several parties rise on this
occasion, that Madame Bul6 was obliged to
exert her authority, and very severe was the
reproof she gave when she understood the
cause of this uproar, which had disturbed
her peace. "Do you not know," said she,
"that the day after to-morrow is Easter,
and that to-morrow you are to meet Fa-
ther Raffi- for confession? and in what
spirit or temper will you be for this sacra-
ment, if you retire to rest in the indul-
gence of such angry passions For shame.
young ladies, do not thus convert an inno-
cent jest into a subject of discontent and
rancour."

It is -needless, surely, here to remark, that
in this reproof of Madame Bul6, which was
faithfully reported to me, there were two
important errors: in the first instance, con-
fession is no sacrament, neither a part of a
sacrament, there being but two sacraments
appointed by our blessed Saviour, namely,






3~ THE FLOWERS
baptism and the supper of the Lord;* and
the jest of Mademoiselle Victoire was every-
thing but innocent, therefore Madame should
not have so designated it.

Early the next morning, it wa. signified
to me that Madame Bul6 desired to speak
with me; and when I had obeyed her sum-
mons, the amiable woman opened her mind
to me, to the following effect: My dear
Father Raffr6," she said, "my mind has
lately been much troubled respecting my
pupils; the time was, as you well know,
when we enjoyed a degree of peace which
is now utterly foreign to our household. I
was then," she added, and the tear was in
her eye when she spoke, "more alert and
active than I now am, and better able to
endure the fatigues of my situation. It was
then," she continued, that every hour
brought its pleasures, and every change its
delights; my children came with cheerful-
ness to their lessons, and left them with glee

The church of Rome considers that there are seven
sacraments, adding to the two mentioned in the New
Testament five others, namely, penance, confession,
orders, matrimony, and extreme unction.






OF THE FOREST. 57
to enjoy their sports: if one did amiss, all
were humbled; if one were praised, all were
pleased; if one received a present, all were
to have a share in it-; if one were unwell,
all partook in her pain. Now the case is en-
tirely altered; I hear of nothing but of rival-
ries and of ill-will: if I praise one individual,
I offend twenty; and if I find fault with one
offender, I give cause of triumph to twenty
more. It is not now a question who can do
best, but who is most.accomplished ormost gen-
teel ; and instead of joy and peace, my house-
hold is one continued scene of dissatisfaction."
"And cannot you account, Madame," I
said, for this change in the character of your
household I Are you sure that the person
whom you employ to assist you is exactly
suited to your purpose "
"Mademoiselle Victoire," she replied, "is
diligent and accomplished; I might not get
better were I to dismiss her; but you, my
good father, shall confess my children, and I
am sure that they will find in you a faithful
and pious counsellor."

After this conversation I took the earliest
opportunity of calling the young people to
D






S3 THE FLOWERS
confession. The church was set aside for that
duty; and Madame Bul6 made a point of
being in the church with us, although she did
not remain within hearing.

As a confessor, I have, through the course
of a long ministry, heard many awful secrets,
and though I am now no longer of the
Romish church, I still would make it a point
of honour not to betray any confidence which
was placed in me under the character which
I formerly held of a father confessor. The
confessions, however, which were made to me
by the pupils of Madame Bul6 were not of
such a nature as to render it of the smallest
consequence whether they are or are not
divulged: neither, even if they were more
important, can they possibly now affect the
penitents in the smallest point. I shall there-
fore venture to inform my readers of what
passed that morning in the church between
me and those of the young ladies of the
establishment with whose names and descrip-
tions I have made them acquainted. Susette
was the first who was brought to me; and
when she appeared, the traces of tears were
upon her cheeks.





OF THE FOREST. 39
"Daughter," I said, "you are sad; what
has afflicted you Open your whole heart
to me, and be assured that the counsel I shall
give you shall be to your advantage." She
immediately burst into tears, and speaking
passionately, made it appear that injustice
was done to her by her companions, especially
by Fanchon.
Fanchon," she added, "who was once my
dearest friend, is turned against me, and that
because she is jealous of me. Some persons
think me handsomer than she is, and she
cannot endure a rival, and she bears herself
maliciously and spitefully towards me; and
if she can find a flaw in my conduct, she is
pleased, and makes it a rule to exhibit it, and
to make little errors appear in the light of
serious offences."

I shall not repeat all I said to her on this
subject. No doubt my advice, though in
some points good, was mingled with error, for
I remember well that, after having pointed
out to her the beauty of charity, and recom-
mended the exercise of it towards her com-
panions, I added, "For know you not, my
daughter, that charity remits sin, and gives





40 THE FLOWERS
spiritual life to the soul V" by which assertion
I set charity in the place of the Saviour, and
gave to our good deeds the power of redeem-
ing us from the consequence of our evil ones;
whereby I denied the words of Holy Scrip-
ture; for are we not taught "that a man is
not justified by the works of the law, but by
the faith of Jesus Christ V" Gal. ii. 16.

In reply to what I had said, Susette an-
swered with a frankness which was natural
to her. She acknowledged that she had a
considerable portion of pride, and that she
could neither bear a rival amongst her school-
fellows, nor refrain from despising those whom
she thought her inferiors. She spoke again of
Fanchon as of one whom she looked upon with
envy and jealousy; and amongst others whom
she heartily despised, she mentioned Aim6e.
In reply to all which, I told her that pride
was counted by the church among the seven
deadly sins. "Pride," I said, "is an inordinate
love and esteem of our own worth and ex-
cellence : it is a mortal sin, and can only be
remitted by hearty contrition and the sacra-
ments of baptism and penance."





OF THE FOREST. 41
At the word penance, Susette started, as
under fear; on which I spoke soothingly to
her, and added, that she need not be afraid,
for I would not be severe.
The sacrament of penance, my daughter,"
I remarked, "consists of three parts, con-
trition, confession, and satisfaction. The tears
of contrition I have seen on your features; you
have performed the duty of confession; and
what now remains to be done is satisfaction."
"And in what," asked Susette hastily,
"does this duty of satisfaction consist q"
"In what I shall require of you to do," I
answered.
"Then, dear father Raffre," she answered,
"you surely will not make me ask pardon of
little Aimee, or seek a reconciliation with Fan-
chon ?"-and she looked imploringly at me.
"I shall exact of you," I replied, "before
I can venture to give you absolution, that
satisfaction which the church requires. For
satisfaction, which is the third part of the sacra-
ment of penance, is a faithful performance of
the prayers of good works enjoined by the
priest to whom the penitent confesses."
"I am willing, father," she replied, "to re-
peat as many prayers as you could desire."
u 3





42 THE FLOWERS
"Be it so, my daughter," I answered: and
I know not how many Ave-Marias and Pater-
nosters I enjoined, to be repeated before the
image of the Virgin in the closet of Madame
Bul6 before the hour of mass on the follow-
ing day: and thus having slightly healed the
wound of my penitent, or rather administered
fresh subject for future self-satisfaction to one
who was already but too well pleased with her-
self, and as it were added fuel to the fire I
should have sought to have quenched, I dis-
missed Susette, and proceeded to confess her
rival, who soon afterwards entered the church
and approached the confessional.
The confession of Fanchon was but a repe-
tition of that of Susette, with this difference
only, that this second penitent was more re-
served and guarded in her acknowledgment
of error than tbe former had been. I was,
in consequence. less satisfied with her, and
doubled her portion of Ave-Marias and Pater-
nosters, giving her also for the performance
of her service the gloom of evening, instead of
the bright morning hours: and this young
lady being withdrawn, I requested that Aim6e
might be brought to me.





OF THE FOREST. 43
There was some interval between the de-
parture of Fanchon (with whom Madame
Bul6 had gone out) and the entrance of
Aim6e. I was left alone, and the scene was
an impressive one. The church was an an.
cient Gothic edifice, richly decorated with
carved figures and ornaments; I was in a
chapel of the Virgin, which was situate at
the end of a long arched aisle; all was mo-
tionless around me, and no sound was heard
but the soft low murmuring of the wind
among the towers and battlements; my mind
was full of what had just passed, and the
anxious inquiry of Susette respecting what
satisfaction I should require of her recurred
to my thoughts. It was very natural, I per-
ceived, that she should expect me to insist on
her seeking a reconciliation with those whom
she had offended; common sense dictated
such a satisfaction, and common justice re-
quired it; but the church (to which I then
belonged) had demanded no such hard ser-
vice; to put its votaries out of humour with
themselves was no part of its policy. In the
case in question, I had acted as a faithful son
of the church; I had regarded its interests;
and the question was suggested to my mind,





44 THE FLOWERS
Had I or had I not applied a remedy which
would have the smallest efficacy in humbling
a haughty spirit ? Is then the policy of my
church calculated merely to promote the
pleasure and present comfort of its votaries,
and to quiet and soothe the conscience, or to
remedy the real evil of our fallen nature ?

I endeavoured to repress and banish these
thoughts, which appeared to me almost blas-
phemous. I crossed myself, and looking up
to the image of the Virgin, repeated the
angels salutation, "Hail, thou that art highly
favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art
thou among women;" to which I added, in
Latin, "Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord
is with thee; blessed art thou amongst wo-
men, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for
us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen."

I had scarcely concluded this prayer, when
a soft footfall sounded along the aisle, and
turning round, I saw a small figure just
entering through the narrow side-door of the
church. It was Aim6e; she was dressed in





OF THE FOREST. 45
white, and the air from without agitated her
flaxen ringlets and snowy drapery as she
advanced towards me, giving almost an ethe-
real lightness to her appearance. At one
moment, as she passed under each archway,
a deep shade was cast on her figure, and
again a golden gloom was shed upon it, as
she traversed those portions of the pavement
on which the rays of the sun descended
through the richly decorated windows above.
The lightness of this infant figure, together
with the innocent expression of her gentle
eye, as she ascended the steps of the little
chapel at the door of which I was standing,
and looked up to me half timidly, yet as it
were in the noble consciousness of having
nothing to conceal, suggested to my mind the
idea of some blessed spirit just restored to its
glorified body, and ascending from the grave
to mount to that place of happiness which is
prepared for the redeemed. The ideal resem-
blance was presently heightened in my imagi-
nation by the smile which illuminated every
feature, and sparkled in her eye, as I extended
my hand to her, and said solemnly, "The
Saviour of men, and the Lord of angels, bless
my little girl, and as she is called the beloved





46 THE FLOWERS
on earth, may she be truly the beloved in
heaven!" I then took my usual place and
invited her to confession, by asking her to
















account to me for the scene of the past night.
This question led to many others, and in the
end I obtained from the dear child the fol-
lowing narrative of her short but till then
comparatively perfect course, for indeed the
words of the wise man could never have
been more justly applied, than to this blame-
less infant: "He being made perfect in a
short time, fulfilled for a long time, for his
soul pleased the Lord; therefore hasted he to






OF THE FOREST. 47
take him away from among the wicked."
Wisdom iv. 13, 14.

"I was born in England, my father," said
the dear child. I remember well my native
place: it was a white house, and there were
woods near it, and a garden full of flowers;
the house stood on the side of a hill, and
from the windows we saw flocks feeding in
green fields, and blue hills at a distance, and
villages and groves of trees; and the woods
were so near to us, that when the windows
were open in the summer, we heard the wind
rustling among the trees, and blackbirds and
linnets singing in the branches, and waters
rushing, and bees humming. My father used
to make me hearken to these sounds, and now
I never hear sounds like these without think-
ing of my home. My parents were alive then,
my father dear," continued the little girl,
"and my mother, my kind mother, I remem-
ber her dressing-room, and her guitar, and
her cabinet. And I had a brother too,-he
was a year older than myself; he had golden
hair, and soft bright eyes; and I had a very
little sister too, father; when she was asleep
she looked like an angel; but she died first,






48 THE FLOWERS
and then, sir"-and the poor little girl burst
into tears-" then grief came; my little sis-
ter died, and my brother died; it was a fever:
and I was taken away, and was never sent home
again: and my parents are dead too, and I am
here. I was brought to this place, I know not
wherefore, and I have no home in England to
return to." And the child wiped away a few
tears, and then looked up again, as if awaiting
my further questions.

"And are you happy here, Aim6e I
asked.
"Yes, father," she replied; "Madame is
very kind to me."
"And have you nothing to complain of "
I asked.
"Nothing, father," she replied, "if I might
have my book again."
Why do you love that book so much ?"
I asked.
"It was my brother's," she replied; and
she wept again. May I not have it I"
"But it is not a proper book, Aim6e," I
said; "and I think you know that it is not
proper, otherwise why do you go into a re-
tired place to read it 2"





OF THE FOREST. 49
"I always do," she answered.
"And why do you," I asked, "if you do
not think you are doing wrong when reading
that book ?"
"Because nobody here cares for the things
that are in that book," she answered mildly;
"and those are the things which make me
happy."
What things I asked.
The things I learned when I was a baby.
I cannot forget them," she replied.
I again asked, "What things ?"
The things papa and mamma taught me,
father," she answered.
"Please to explain yourself, Aim6e," I said.
"What things did your parents teach you? "
They taught me that my heart is bad, sir,
and that I can do nothing good without God's
help."
"Go on," I said.
"And that God had sent his Son to die for
me, and his Holy Spirit to make me good;
and they taught me to read; and told me that
I was to love my Bible, and follow all that is
written in it."
"But how," I asked, can a child like you
understand the Bible I"





50 THE FLOWERS
"I don't know, father," she meekly an-
swered.
"Do you pretend to say, that you do un-
derstand it I" I asked, and drew her near to
me as I sat.
"I have not got a large Bible," she an-
swered; "there are only small bits of the
Bible in my little book; but even my little
Bible tells me many pleasant things."
"What pleasant things, Aim6e ?" I asked.
"It tells me," she replied, "what my Sa-
viour has done for me, and I find in it the
promises of that happy world where I shall
enjoy a home more pleasant than that which
I have lost, and see my papa and my mamma,
and my brother and sister again. And some-
times, my father, when I have been reading
that little book all alone in the garden, or
wherever I can get unseen, I have had such
sweet dreams and such delightful thoughts;
I fancy I see the world in that time when
Christ shall be King over all the earth. And
then I fancy I see places like what I re-
member of my happy home, and my papa and
my mamma, and brother and sister, all glori-
ous like angels, and the Lord Jesus Christ
in company with them, and I am so glad





OF THE FOREST. 0
to see them happy; and everything that is
pleasant in this place brings these things
fresher into my mind; and there is a valley,
sir, in the forest, which I often visited last
summer, which reminds me too of these
things. And when I hear music, or the bells
ringing, or the organ at mass, all these things
fill my heart with pleasure, and make me
wish that the time would come when I might
go to my dear parents; but I know that I
ought not to be impatient to leave this world,
where you and Madame and so many people
are kind to me."
"You talk of much kindness, Aim6e," I
said; "have you no unkindness to complain
of 1 have you no feelings of malice or envy in
your heart You know, that if you have
such feelings, it is your duty to confess them."
She looked very earnestly at me, and re-
peated the word "malice," as if she did not un-
derstand the signification, or at any rate as if
she did not take in the purport of my question.
"To be plain with you, Aim6e," I said,
"are the young ladies your companions so
kind to you that you never feel anything like
anger or ill-will towards them 1 Are you in
charity with every one "





52 THE FLOWERS
"They were cross with me last night, my
father," she answered.
And are they not so often I I asked.
"I don't think they are," she replied.
"That is, you do not think much about
them I said.
"I do," she replied; "I love them; yes, I
hope I love them."
"Then you have not perceived that they
are unkind to you I added.
Not to me particularly," she answered:
"they sometimes quarrel a little amongst them-
selves; but is not that what we must expect ?
Are not our hearts bad, father; and do we
not all do wrong at times? But when they
are cross, I think of my happy home, and then
I do not mind it; and I have such delight
sometimes when I am alone in my room, and
see the sun set, and think of that distant time
when I shall be with my beloved Saviour, as
I could not describe."
Then it is because your mind is fixed on
the world which is to come, that you do not
enter into the quarrels of your companions.
My little Aim6e," I said, "if this be the true
state of the case, you are a happy child indeed,
happy and blessed beyond all the children I






OF THE FOREST. 53
have ever known; and tell me, my little girl,
how long your mind has been thus devoted to
heavenly things."
I do not think that I am devoted to
heavenly things, father," she replied; "for I
am not good, and people who are devoted are
good, I have heard Madame say so; but it is
now many months since my parents died, and
since I lost my brother and sister, and from
that time I have never had so much pleasure
in anything as in thinking of the time when I
shall see my relations again; and I know
that I never shall see them unless I love my
Saviour, and am enabled to obey him: and
these thoughts are always coming to my mind,
and I cannot get rid of them."
And why, my dear child," I answered,
"should you wish to get rid of them ? Do
they not make your happiness, and do they
not mark your call to a holy life 7 But think
you not, my daughter, that if you were to in-
tercede with the holy Virgin and the blessed
saints, that they would join their prayers with
yours, and that you might in this manner
more easily obtain all that you desire ?" And
I pointed to the image above the altar, and
directed the child to observe the benign and
E3






54 THE FLOWERS
beautiful expression of the countenance of her
whom I then called my Lady.
"That image cannot hear me," she replied.
But she whom it represents, namely the
holy Mary, can and will hear you, Aim6e," I
answered; "she will unite her prayers with
yours, in order that all you ask may be
granted you."
Was not she a woman?" said the little
girl, doubtingly.
She was," I replied; but as our Lord
was truly God, so she, his mother, was the
mother of God, and therefore is worthy that
we should address our prayers to her."
The little girl looked down upon the pave-
ment, but did not speak till I had repeated
some part of what I had before said; she then
lifted up her gentle eyes, and asked, Do you
pray to the saints, my father ? Is it right to
pray to them ? My mamma told me that
there is no other name under heaven by which
we can be saved but that of our Lord Jesus
Christ."

I have before hinted that I had already had
some little misgivings respecting the founda-
tion of my faith : and at that instant such. a





OF THE FOREST. 55
gleam of light shot through my hitherto
darkened soul that I could not answer the
child. I remained silent and confused, whilst
the little one stood meekly before me, being
wholly unconscious of my embarrassment. The
tolling of the clock was at that moment heard
from the tower of the church; I availed my-
self of it to say that I had an engagement
which demanded my immediate attention, and
bestowing a rapidly pronounced blessing on
the little girl, I hastened from the church,
assuring her that I would not only procure
the little book for her, but obtain permission
for her to study it whenever she pleased. I
spent the remainder of that day in the solitude
of my study. This little girl is a heretic, I
said to myself: what our church indeed calls
such; but there is no malice or bitterness in
her heresy : she has not yet even discovered
how widely our religion differs from her own;
there is therefore no prejudice mingled in her
mind with her prepossessions. She takes her
faith entirely from the Bible, as she has been
taught to do by her excellent parents; and
surely if the fruit is to prove the nature of
the tree, we cannot doubt from the beauty
of the fruit which this dear child is able to






06 THE FLOWERS
produce, that the root is excellent. Whilst
meditating on these subjects, I took a dusty
Latin Bible, which had once belonged to a
priest of the church of Geneva, from its shelf
in my study, and began to compare its con-
tents with the received doctrines of our church,
and was struck with the comparison of Matt.
xv. 19, "Out of the heart proceed evil
thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications,
thefts, false witness, blasphemies," with the
following clause in our catechism; namely,
"Is it possible to keep them all (speaking
of the commandments.) "Answer. It is, by
God's grace; Zacharias and Elizabeth were
both just before God, walking in all the com-
mandments of God without reproof." I felt
more and more confounded whilst meditating
on these things; and the result of these re-
flections was, that I resolved not to speak
even to Madame Bul6 of the heretical state,
as I then apprehended it to be, of the little
Aim6e.

Under this embarrassment of mind, I re-
mained in my study several days, or walked
in the most solitary places I could find, medi-
tating on many things. In the meantime,





OF THE FOREST. D'
Susette and Fanchon having wiped away their
offences, as they thought, by the repetition of
the prescribed modicum of Ave-Marias and
Pater-nosters, returned, not in the least hum-
bled thereby, to their usual situations in the
schoolroom, where presently they failed not
to administer fresh cause of dissatisfaction to
each other, which being taken up by the
parties on either side, the whole household
was shortly again all in flames, and Madame
Bul6 found it more difficult than ever to set
things in order. After various admonitions, all
of which she found inefficient, the worthy lady
sent a second time for me, and I undertook
to admonish the young people in a discourse,
which accordingly I delivered in an apartment
of the house set aside for purposes of this kind,
where I had formerly given many lectures on
different subjects to the young people.

I took the text, or motto, of my discourse
from the various beauties exhibited in a
highly cultivated garden. "I understand,
my daughters," I said, "that your minds
have lately been painfully, and I may say
sinfully, agitated by envious feelings re-
specting each other, and by the vain desire





00 THE FLOWERS
of outshining and surpassing each other in
those qualities which you esteem admirable
in a human creature. Of the sinfulness of
these feelings, my dear daughters," I con-
tinued, "I need not speak; but on their folly
I will enlarge, inasmuch as it seems that you
are not aware of this folly. The Almighty
is not so partial a Parent that he has not be-
stowed some beautiful and excellent quality
on each of his children. Look at the flowers
in that blooming parterre which extends itself
beneath the window: amongst these, some
attract the eye from a distance, some shed
powerful odours in the air, some are endowed
with healing qualities, some retire from the
view, and are only admirable when closely in-
spected; some excel in only one point, some
in several, some in every quality attributable
to the vegetable creation; but all are so ex-
quisite in their way, so perfect in their con-
formation and their internal construction, that
the utmost art of man would endeavour in
vain to imitate the simplest, the most humble
flower amongst them. Go forth into the
forest, and observe the leaves of the trees;
compare them one with another; remark the
delicacy of their texture, the infinite variety






OF THE FOREST. 0D)
of their forms, and make a comparison, if it
lie in your power, of the beauty of one with
that of another ; say, if you can, that one is
worthy of admiration, and another of con-
tempt; that one is surpassingly fair, and
another despicably ugly. And such are each
and all of you, my fair daughters; all and
each of you have some beauty, some per-
fection, some lovely quality, external or in-
ternal, which sets you more on a par with
each other than an inconsiderate observer
would at first suppose: thus the rose of this
parterre has no cause to triumph over the
violet, neither has the tulip any occasion to
envy the whiteness of the lily."

Having finished my exordium much to my
own satisfaction, though I believe with little
effect upon my audience, I withdrew, and that
very evening met Madame Bul6 at the chateau,
when Madame la Baronne happening to men-
tion that she intended to give an enter-
tainment to the young ladies on the day of
her fAte, (her birthday,) Madame Bul6 thought
it necessary to tell her the state of her family,
as it regarded the jealousies and rivalries which
subsisted among her pupils.






60 THE FLOWERS
Madame la Baronne smiled at this state of
affairs, and after some reflection said, Make
my compliments to your young ladies, Ma-
dame Bul6, and invite them on my part to
the chateau. Tell them that my fete this
year is to be called the Feast of the Flowers,
and I shall expect each young lady to appear
adorned with a garland or wreath of her
favourite flower;" adding, "I shall bestow a
crown on that young lady whose ornaments
please me best; and lest," she added, "my
taste should be disputed, there shall be a
motto woven with the myrtle of which my
crown is to be composed, which shall signify
the rule by which I am to make my se-
lection."

Madame Bul6 assured Madame la Baronne
that her message should be faithfully deli-
vered; and I was very solicitous to know of
the lady what was to be the import of her
motto.
"I assure you, father," she replied, "that
it shall be one you shall not dare to dis-
approve; but lest you should give a hint to
some little favourite you may have, I cannot
tell you." I was therefore obliged, after





OF THE FOREST. 61
having shrugged up my shoulders several
times, to acquiesce in my ignorance.

Madame Bul6 did not fail to inform the
young ladies of the kind invitation of the
Baronne; and the next day, when these
young people had concluded their morning
exercises, an envoy was sent to request my
company at the collation, in order that I
might be consulted respecting preparations
for the Feast of the Flowers.

As soon as I arrived, various questions were
put to me by one and by another, many of
which I was not able to answer.

"To whom," said one, "does Madame la
Baronne mean to give the crown, father I to
the one who has the fairest garland, or to the
one whom otherwise she likes best I"
"With respect to the beauty of the gar-
land," I answered, "it might perhaps be hard
to judge; taste may differ, one person may
think that no wreath can be compared to that
which is formed of roses, whilst another per-
haps might prefer a garland of jasmine as
being more elegant."





zs THE FLOWERS
Then you do not suppose," said another of
my inquirers, "that she will bestow the crown
on her who has the fairest wreath ?"
Indeed I cannot tell," I replied.
You are in the secret, we know, father
Raffre," said Mademoiselle Victoire; we are
sure of it."
Well, it may be so," I answered; but
you shall none of you be the better for my
knowledge. I will for once keep what I know
to myself."

Mademoiselle would have been angry at this,
had I cared for her anger: but, as I did not,
she proceeded to discuss the choice of the
garlands with her favourite pupils.

Each one was, it was understood, to select
a different flower, and the eldest chose first:
Susette chose the rose; Fanchon would, she
said, be royal, and adorn herself with the fleur-
de-lis; a third selected the jasmine; a fourth,
the white thorn. The laurel, the honeysuckle,
the sweet-scented clematis, the convolvulus, and
the orange flower were none of them forgotten;
and as there was a fortnight t6 elapse before
the day of the fete, great pains were taken to





OF THE FOREST. 06
nourish and preserve such flowers as might
then be required to add beauty and fragrance
to the festival.

It was on the eve of the fste, as I was walk-
ing with Madame Bul6 in one of the avenues
of her garden, being deep in conversation on
subjects which at that time exercised our minds,
in common with many others-subjects which
had indeed some tendencies to what our church
would have deemed heretical, for my opinions
on many of our doctrines were beginning to be
more and more confused-when we suddenly
heard several angry voices, proceeding from
a bosquet, in the centre of which was a circular
range of seats, where the young people often
assembled during the hours of leisure. Stand-
ing still, and looking through the openings of
the trees, we saw several of the lesser children
gathered round Aim6e, who had formed a small
wreath for her waxen baby from an azure
flowering creeper, which hung in festoons from
an archway of lattice-work at the entrance of
the bosquet. The exclamations of rapture
uttered by the lesser children had, it seems,
attracted the attention of Susette, Fanchon,
and several others of the greater girls; and





64 THE FLOWERS
Susette had expressed so much admiration of
the wreath, as to declare that, after all, Aim6e
had made the best choice, and that there was
no wreath hitherto thought of that would prove
so light and beautiful as that she had chosen.
It was just at the moment she had uttered this
opinion, when Madame and I stood to listen to
what was passing.

The little sly thing !" said Fanchon. I
doubt not but that she had a wreath of this
kind always in her mind, and that she would
not mention it, lest any of her elders should
have insisted on taking it from her."
If she had such an intention she would
have done well to have waited a little longer,"
said Susette; for it is not now too late for
us, her elders, to change our minds. I am out
of humour with the idea of wearing red roses;
I have been thinking this very day that I
should prefer another colour for my wreath;
I like that beautiful azure, and I will wear it;
and therefore, my little lady, you must please
to look for some other ornament for yourself."
I am content," replied Aim6e, meekly;
adding, If you approve it, Mademoiselle, I
will help you to make your garland."





OF THE FOREST. 65
And what will you wear yourself said
Susette ; you shall, if you please, adopt the
rose I have relinquished."
I beg your pardon, Susette," said Fanchon;
" there is no one who can come before me but
yourself; you have given up the rose, and
I claim it. I here give notice, that to-morrow
I shall wear a garland of roses; and as we are
all to be different, no one else is to dare to
assume even a rosebud."

So violent an altercation then ensued between
the rivals, that Madame Bul6 thought it ne-
cessary to interfere; and requiring each of the
rival ladies to declare the name of the flower
she meant to adopt, she desired that no change
of plans might henceforth bQ resorted to. She
did not, however, insist upon the blue wreath
being relinquished to Aimee, as I should have
thought but just; it was evident that she was
under some dread of Susette and Fanchon, and
was afraid of provoking them too far; and it
certainly was not my business to interfere,
neither did I think the matter of sufficient
consequence to induce me so to do.
Susette accordingly declared again for her
wreath of roses, whilst Fanchon adopted that
v3





66 THE FLOWERS
of the azure creeper, which was in fact a
most elegant ornament. Madame and I then
withdrew; but I had scarcelyreached the garden
gate on my way home, when I was overtaken
by Aim6e, who placing her little hand within
mine, said, My father, you walk out, I think,
every morning before breakfast ?"


"I do, my child," I answered.
Will you permit me to accompany you to-
morrow i" said the little girl. "I have obtained
permission from Madame. Will you take me
to the forest ?"





OF THE FOREST. 0'
"Most willingly," I replied. "But for
what purpose, my child ?"
She smiled, and with a sweet innocent air
repeated these words from an ancient ballad
of her own province :-
"The garden is gay with the gaudy weed,
And attired like the jewell'd queen:
But the flowers of the forest are fair indeed,,
Though ofttimes doom'd to blow unseen."
The words, "Charming little creature!
what innocent device has that gentle bosom
now conceived?" were upon my lips; but I
did not utter my thoughts, and simply an-
swered, "I will be at the garden gate before
six o'clock to-morrow morning, my dear
Aim6e; be sure that you are punctual."

The dew was still upon the herbage, and
glistening on every leaf, as I knocked at the
garden gate; it was opened at the first signal
by the little maiden; she ran out to me all
prepared for her appointment, with a neat
basket in her hand.

"Good morning, lady fair," I said; "a
blessing from above be upon my little girl.
But whither are we to bend our steps 1"






56 THE FLOWERS

"To the forest, my father," she replied
"where I know of certain deep shades in
which those flowers grow of which I wish to


lit


make my garland. I only feared that some
other person might have thought of these
flowers of the forest, which are my delight,
and have asserted a prior right to them, but
they have not entered into the mind of any
one; and now no one can take them from
me."
"Oh! oh!" I said, smilingly, "you have,
I see, been acting a cunning part, my little
one."


.ij


.





OF THE FOREST. 69
"Cunning!" she repeated; "ah, father
Raffr6, that is an ugly word; do not call me
cunning. I would rather wear a wreath of
asphodel than be called a cunning girl."
"And why not wear a wreath of asphodel 1"
"Because it is bitter, very bitter," she
replied; "but," continued she, "was there
any harm in thinking of a flower, and not
mentioning it lest it should be chosen I I
would not be cunning, indeed I would not, for
the whole world; and I have no pretensions
to that crown of myrtle which the lady is to
bestow, indeed I have not: but I wish for my
favourite flower for a very particular reason."
"What might be that very particular rea-
son ?" I asked.
"I will give you my reason, father," she
answered, when you have seen my favourite
flower: but I must tell you that the dis-
course you made to us about a fortnight
since was what led me to think of these
things; and then I remembered a hymn
which I had learned when I lived at my
happy home, and some things which my dear
papa taught me when I was a very little child,
and I put all these things together; and when
I heard of the feast of the flowers, I then fixed





7U THE FLOWERS
upon the garland I should like to wear, though
I did not suppose it would have been left
for me."
Indeed, my Aimee," I answered, you
must be a little more explicit before I can
understand you: please to explain yourself.
Of what things did my discourse lead you to
think, and how was what I said connected with
what your father had taught you, and with
the hymn you had learned ? Please to explain
all these matters to me."
You compared us, sir," replied the little
girl, to so many flowers growing in a garden;
and what my dear papa taught me when I was
a little child was this, that the church of God
in this world is compared in the Bible to
a garden, in which grow all sorts of beautiful
plants and flowers; he taught me the very
verses, and I have not forgotten them."
Repeat them, if you please, my dear child,"
I said; for, although I confessed it not, I knew
so little of Scripture as to be utterly ig-
norant of that beautiful passage to which the
child alluded. She obeyed, and repeated what
follows.
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse;
a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy





OF THE FOREST. 71
plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with
pleasant fruits; camphire with spikenard,
spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon,
with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and
aloes, with all the chief spices; a fountain of
gardens, a well of living waters, and streams
from Lebanon." Cant. iv. 12-15.
Very beautiful," I replied, and well re-
membered; but tell me, who is supposed to
repeat this passage I"
She answered, Our Saviour, sir; and he
speaks it of his church."
Then you imagine," I replied, that the
garden inclosed is the true church, and all the
plants therein are the people 1"
Yes, sir," she said; "those who love God
are the plants growing in this garden, and
some of them are tall and noble, like the
cedar-tree, and others are small and of less
beauty; others supply pleasant fruit, others
are good only for shade, others are very lovely
to look at, and others fill the air with sweet
odours; but altogether they make the garden
very beautiful, and none are to be despised."
And do you suppose, Aim6e," I asked,
" that you yourself are one of the members of
this garden ? "





72 THE FLOWERS
She hesitated a little, and at length said, I
desire to be one, and I hope I am; but I know
that my place, if I have a place in this happy
garden, is a very low one, down in some very
deep valley, and under shade, and out of sight.
I think I should not do so well, if I were to
be removed to the higher parts of the garden,
and clothed with many colours, and made to
be an object of admiration; for when I am
praised I become vain, and take less delight in
holy things than when I am not noticed."
I was on the very point of commending the
ideas of this little girl, when her last remark
gave me a timely check, and I simply said,
" Apparently your parents took much pains to
give you instruction."
It was the Bible they used to make me
understand," she answered; and when they
taught me anything in the Bible, they showed
me something out of doors by which I was to
remember it; and by this means, now they
are gone away, everything almost which I see,
when I walk abroad, reminds me of something
I learned when I was a baby."
That is," I said, they took pains to as-
sociate natural with spiritual things, and by
this beautiful mode of instruction they have





OF THE FOREST. 73
succeeded in impressing their holy lessons so
strongly upon your mind that you never can
forget them. Let me tell you, my daughter,
that you have reason to bless God for having
given you such parents."

Two gentle tears dropped from her eyes as
I spoke; and at the same moment my con-
science reproved me for having bidden a child
to thank God for having given her parents who
were heretics! and then again such doubts
arose in my mind respecting my own principles,
and their foundation in truth, that I walked
on a considerable way in silence.

We had left the village and the chateau
behind us, and were entering on the precincts
of the forest, before I extricated myself from
the labyrinth of perplexing thoughts in which
I was involved. At length, as we passed under
the shade of the trees which skirted the wood,
I recollected myself, and said, Aim6e, where
are you leading me? How far are we to go?"
Are you tired, father?" she said. "If you
wish it I will go no further; I can make a
wreath of any flower I see in the hedges."
Tired my dear child," I said; tired in






74 THE FLOWERS
your company! No; could I not take you by
the hand, and travel the world over with you !
But you have raised some anxious thoughts in
my mind. I have been considering what place
I occupy in that garden of which we have been
speaking." She made no answer. I know not
what she thought; but she took my hand and
kissed it, with a courtesy and tenderness which,
in one so young, were peculiarly touching.
I think she had a religious dread of flattering
me on a subject so important, yet was anxious
to show her gratitude and affection.

We passed on, and for the space of a quarter
of a mile pursued a straight and wide road,
which leads through the centre of the wood.
At length, coming to a spot where the shade
was exceedingly thick, she pointed to a very
narrow pathway which put itself into the road,
and asked me if I should object to follow her.
I knew the path; it led to a small but deep
valley, at the bottom of which ran a pure cold
stream; but I was surprised at its being so
well known to the child, and asked her how
she came to be so well acquainted with the
windings of the forest.






OF THE FOREST. 75
"Last summer," she replied, I was sent,
after an illness, for change of air to a cottage
in these woods, and then I learned to know
where beautiful flowers grow, and sweet birds
sing ; and I have not forgotten these places,"
she added, smiling, and tripping lightly be-
fore me.

But my little guide in her glee had forgot-
ten that, where she could pass with ease, I,
being much taller and larger, would find a
thousand obstacles. Accordingly, when she
told me that she had but a very little way to
go for the accomplishment of her object, I
bade her hasten forward, whilst I followed at
my leisure, and in consequence I soon lost
sight of her; but still pursuing the same wild
and tangled path into which she had led me,
I presently arrived at a more open part of
the forest, from whence I looked down upon a
dingle, in the bottom of which was a pool, and
on the side of the pool a sward which, from
its smooth deep green, intimated the moisture
of the place. A ruined cottage, of which the
gable-end and doorway alone remained entire,
peeped out from amid the trees and underwood.
The rays of the morning sun shot slantingly





'70 THE FLOWERS
over the forest, and shed a flickering, trembling
light on the whole scene, presenting the most
beautiful varieties of light and shadow. This
also was a place for the sweet singing of birds,
and for balmy zephyrs, which, as they passed,
produced that agitation of the leaves, which,
together with the rushing of a waterfall, heard
but not seen, filled my senses with a degree of
delight I had not often experienced. At the
moment when I had reached the brow of the
dell, my little guide appeared near the bottom,
springing, like the gazelle, from one rude step
to another; and anon I beheld her stooping
down to gather certain flowers which grew
here and there on the green sward. The rude
trunk of a tree near which I stood formed a
convenient seat; I placed myself upon it, and
quietly awaited the return of the little Aimee.
A quarter of an hour had hardly elapsed, when
I saw her re-ascending the rocky side of the
glen, and presently she stood before me, all
glowing with delight. At my feet she set her
basket, which was filled with that lovely flower
we call the muguet, better known by its more
appropriate name, the lys des vallges, the lily
of the valley.
"There, my father," said she, "there are





OF THE FOREST. 'I
the flowers which are to compose my garland;
and those are the flowers I would choose for
my device. The rose," added the little girl in
high glee, is the emblem of beauty, the
laurel 'of glory, the heartsease of content, and
the fair maids of February of innocence; but
what are all these without my lily of the
valley? Tell me, father dear, what is any
good quality without humility "
"Aim6e," I said, in amazement and admi-
ration, not only of the sentiments of this dear
child, but of the elegant manner in which she
expressed them, "Aim6e, my little one, who
taught you all this"V
She looked innocently upon me, and said,
"Papa and mamma used to instruct me in these
things: it was poor papa who taught me that
the lily of the valley was the type of hu-
mility, and sometimes when I pleased him he
called me his lily. Ah, sir, I wish I were
really like the lily; for the lily loves the cool
valley and shadowy places by the streams of
living waters."
"Dear child," I answered, "you are indeed
a lily of the valley. Would to God," and
I crossed myself as I spoke, "would to God,
I were a lily too "






78 THE FLOWERS
No, sir, no," she replied, you shall not
be a lily, but you shall be a noble tree planted
by the water side, and I will dwell under your
shade."

I was affected-I could not help it. The
tear trembled in my eye; which the little girl
observing, she stooped down and kissed my
hand, at the same time taking up her basket.
Having obtained what we wanted, we turned
our steps towards our home, and as we went
along, we remarked other flowers growing in the
forest; amongst these the wood anemone and
the party-coloured vetch particularly attracted
our attention, and we wondered that things so
beautiful should have been formed in places
where none saw and none admired; and this
led me to speak of the infinite goodness of
God, and of his bounty towards the children
of men.
At length we reached our village, and part-
ing at the garden-gate, I retired to my study
to examine the Holy Bible respecting those
passages to which my little companion had
alluded. And ir that long quiet day, a day
never to be forgotten by me, such convictions
flashed upon my mind respecting the errors of





OF THE FOREST 7'
my church, that before the evening hour I
was almost, if not entirely, as much what my
people would have called a heretic as I now
am, although I had not yet made up my mind
to acknowledge my belief, and give all up for
the truth.
Scarcely had the ardent heat of the day
subsided, when, according to appointment, I
repaired to the chateau; where, on my hav-
ing passed the avenue of linden-trees, which
then extended from the gate of the domain to
the lawn in front of the mansion, I entered
upon a scene which chased away, for a time,
the perplexing thoughts by which I had been
agitated during the greater part of the morn-
ing. Figure to yourselves, my gentle readers,
an ancient, many-windowed, stone mansion,
whose fashion spoke of at least two centuries
past, in the almost perpendicular roof of which
were. three tiers of windows, peeping out from
the moss-covered '.tiles, closed with wooden
shutters instead of casements. In the front of
this ancient, and, in some respects, dilapidated
mansion, extended the lawn, in the centre of
which was a square marble basin, where a
huge Triton spouted water from a cone to the
height of many feet, affording rather the idea





80 THE FLOWERS
than the reality of freshness. On each side of
the lawn, yet answering exactly to each other,
a statue, a bosquet, an arbour, and an archway
of trelliswork opening into certain gardens
beyond, alternated with each other, according
to the formal taste then prevalent in my
country. The lawn was set forth with several
long tables, covered with fruit, cakes, cream,
and other refreshments 3 whilst on an elevated
scaffolding near the centre of the open space
was a band of musicians, who, from time to
time, gave us a national air, whilst waiting the
commencement of the dancing, which was to
take place towards the end of the evening.
The company for whom this fete was prepared,
were, without exception, every inhabitant of
the village who was able either to walk or be
carried to the chAteau, together with some
superior persons from the neighbourhood, who
had come by special invitation. These, the
superiors of the party, were, with the Baronne,
grouped at the upper end of the lawn, sitting,
standing, or moving about, as it suited them;
the inferior persons being at the lower end, or
in the centre, according to their stations in
society, but all seemed equally gay and happy;
I saw not a solemn countenance as I made my





OF THE FOREST. 51
progress round the circle. I had almost-
omitted to describe a very important part of
the show, whereat I much wonder, considering
that it is the feast of the flowers to which I am
endeavouring to bring my readers in imagina-
tion; and this was a statue on a pedestal
which stood exactly in a line with the front of
the house, at the bottom of the lawn. This
statue was a female one, and therefore suited
very well to serve as a representation of the
goddess Flora; she was richly decorated with
garlands and wreaths, and on her head was
placed the crown of myrtle, through which
was twisted an azure riband, on which a motto
was wrought in threads of gold. The crown
on the statue was pointed out to me by the
persons who stood near it, and I attempted to
decipher the motto, if such there might be;
but I was not able: the riband was so
curiously and artificially twisted that I could
only make out a part of a word here and
there, and was therefore obliged to rest in my
ignorance.

The party were all assembled when I arrived
on the lawn, with the exception of the family
of Madame Bul6; but whilst I was paying my





82 THE FLOWERS
compliments to the Baronne on the arrange-
ment of the scene, the amiable instructress
and her numerous train appeared at the end
of the avenue.
There come our queens of the May," said
the Baronne; and she ordered a beautiful and
lively air to be struck up, whilst she advanced
with the ladies and gentlemen of the party to
meet the elegant procession. And elegant
indeed it was, elegant and gay, and various
and fragrant. First came Susette and Fanchon,
the rival queens, all attired in white, and
decorated, the one with rosebuds, the other
with the azure creeper before mentioned;
ribands of rose-colour and of blue were mingled
with the several garlands; the next pair were
the acanthus and the laurel, with scarfs of
green and purple; then came the fragrant
hyacinth and the auricula; the woodbine and
the columbine adorned another smiling pair;
and as each couple passed by the group of
ladies and gentlemen, they greeted and were
greeted by smiles and courtesies, as gracefully
bestowed and received as if the lawn had been
a royal presence-chamber, and the Baronne
a crowned head. As each pair passed the
Baronne, the parties separated, and formed





OF THE FOREST. 83
a variety of blooming and lively groups around
the company, meriting and receiving that
admiration which was due to their smiling
and pleasing figures, and the taste which each
had displayed in the arrangement of her fra-
grant ornaments. The last of the procession
was Madame Bul6 herself, leading the youngest
of her pupils and little Aim6e by the hand.
The exercise and excitement of the scene had
given an extraordinary lustre to the complexion
of my little favourite, yet her eyes retained


their usually placid and gentle expression.
She seemed to be attentive to what passed,





64 THE FLOWERS
and also pleased; but there was not that
restless anxiety in her countenance which was
remarkable in all those amongst her companions
who thought they had any chance of obtaining
the crown; her enjoyment of the scene was
therefore as unmixed as it had been when she
was gathering her favourite flowers in the
depths of the forest. She, like the rest of her
companions, was attired in white, and with no
other head-dress than those clustering ringlets
which, together with the delicate tincture of
her skin, marked her Saxon ancestry. She
had formed a lovely garland of her lilies,
having woven them together with a band of'
light green ribands, tied on her right shoulder
with a knot, and falling under her left arm.
I saw the eyes of the Baronne rest uponi this
dear child for a moment; but as soon as
Madame Bul6 dropped her hand, she receded
into the back ground, and her elegant form
was soon wholly shrouded by the more splen-
did figures of her companions.

Our nation are remarkable for being able to
pay a compliment with grace and delicacy;
and what occasion, I would ask, could have
administered fairer opportunities of doing this





OF THE FOREST. d)
with truth than the present Neither were
the gentlemen, nor even the ladies, then
present, slow in availing themselves of these
opportunities; every comparison or simile
in which flowers have any concern was called
forth on the occasion, and the exhilaration
of the moment enabled even the most dull
to do this with effect. But did I say dull ?
What Frenchwoman was ever dull in a scene
such as the lawn then presented ?

"Your Feast of the Flowers, Madame la
Baronne," said the viscomtesse de T- "is
splendid, is superb: it surpasses all I could
have conceived of a thing of the kind. Yet
I cannot say that these elegant garlands add
beauty to these charming young ladies; I
would rather say that these flowers derive new
splendour from the beauty of those who wear
them." And she appealed for the confirmation
of her assertion to the comte de S- one
of the few specimens then remaining of the
court of Louis xv.
Being thus called upon, the old courtier
endeavoured to produce some compliment of
a superior nature to that of the lady, and
asserted, that the roses were grown pale, and





86 THE FLOWERS
the jasmines yellow, for envy to find that their
bloom and sweetness were entirely surpassed by
those who had chosen them for ornaments.

This species of light and trifling conversa-
tion had proceeded for some time, when the
Baronne took her place beneath the statue,
and having commanded the band to cease
their strain, caused the crown to be handed
to her; whilst, by the direction of Madame
Bul6, the young ladies formed a half circle
around her, the rest of the company, of
whatever degree they might be, gathering
close in the back ground.

There was a momentary pause and dead
silence in the company, whilst a servant
climbed up the high pedestal of the statue,
and carefully lifted the crown from the head.
It was then delivered into the hands of the
Baronne, and, as I stood next to her, I saw
that it was a beautiful thing; it was not of
real myrtle, which would presently have
faded, but was an imitation of myrtle, the
leaves being formed of foil, the flowers of
gold and mother-of-pearl, and the berries, of
coral! It was beautifully executed, and the





OF THE FOREST. 87
motto, in letters of gold, wrought on a blue
riband, twisted into the wreath. The vis-
comtesse de T- who stood on the right
hand of the Baronne, as I did at the left,
would have taken it for a moment into her
own hands, exclaiming, "Permit me, Ma-
dame! ah, how beautiful! it is perfectly
captivating!" But the Baronne would not
part with it from her hand, nor suffer the
golden letters on the blue riband to be
read.

"I am, I feel," she said, "in a perilous
situation; I am about to make a choice amidst
so many beauties, that I shall be in danger
of incurring the odium of possessing a bad
taste in still rejecting the most worthy, let
my choice fall where it will; and I, therefore,
have nothing but my motto to depend upon
to extricate me from this difficulty; therefore
none must see my motto till I choose to
show it myself."

The Baronne then paused, and looked
around her, and as her eye ran along the
lovely circle, I saw that several of the young
ladies changed colour, especially the two at





88 THE FLOWERS
the head, namely, Susette and Fanchon; and
such indeed was the glowing bloom of one of
these young ladies, and the elegance of the
other, that I never doubted but that the
crown would be adjudged to one of them.
"You are at. a loss, Madame, I see," said
the comte de S- "and I cannot wonder
at your embarrassment; there are so many
beautiful figures in this circle, that it would
be very difficult to say to whom the golden
apple ought to be given."
"Pardon me, monsieur," replied the lady,
in a voice which, though low, was so distinct
as to be heard by all present; "but you have
mistaken my intention: it is not to the most
beautiful or the most accomplished, the fairest
or the ruddiest, the most witty or the most
discreet, that my crown is to be given; but to
her who, in my opinion, understands how to
select the most becoming ornament."
"So far we understand, Madame," said the
Abbe; "nor would we be so impolite as to
question your taste. Madame la Taronne
can never be supposed to judge amiss in the
eyes of persons of discernment, but perhaps
we may not all here present be persons of
discernment; and Madame has undertaken





OF THE FOREST. 8b
to render every person in this company
satisfied with her decision, and she depends
upon her motto to stop the mouths of every
malcontent. Upon my honour, Madame,
unless your motto be a very extraordinary
one, I do declare," and he shrugged up his
shoulders and smiled, "you are in great
peril. I am, I confess, in great pain for you,
Madame."
"Well then, my friend," replied the Ba-
ronne, "I will hasten to place you at ease.
Ladies and gentlemen, you shall hear my
motto, and I am assured that no one here
present will dispute its authority, when I as-
sure them that it is Divine, and that it is
taken from the Holy Scriptures." So saying,
she untwisted the riband from the myrtle
crown; and stating that the passage was
addressed by St. Peter to his female converts,
she proceeded to read it in a soft yet clear
and distinct voice; it was to the following
effect:-" Whose adorning let it not be that
outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of
wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
but let it be the ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of
great price." 1 Pet. iii. 3, 4.
H3





90 THE FLOWERS
When the Baronne had ceased to read, she
looked up, and her eyes were directed to
Aim6e. The lily of the valley," she said, "is
the acknowledged emblem of humility; this
sweet flower conceals its beauties within its
verdant covering; it is spotless, pure, and
fragrant; its leaves have a cooling and healing
influence; it loves retirement and shade, yet
when brought to view is exquisitely lovely.
The lily, therefore, I must consider as the best-
chosen ornament for a youthful female, and
therefore I must adjudge my crown to her that
wears the lily."

There was a murmur of applause through-
out the assembly on this decision, and every
eye was fixed on the little girl, who came
blushing forward at the command of the
lady.

"Aim6e," said the Baronne, as the dear
child bowed humbly before her, "I rejoice
that I can, with a sincere feeling of love and
esteem, bestow on you this simple preference;
your character has long been known to me;
and the humility and meekness of your con-
duct, since you. entered the family of Madame





OP THE FOREST. 91
Bul6, have not only been noticed by me, but
have filled me with admiration. In those
talents and external qualities which are pleas-
ing in our sex, you have many equals now
present, and you will thoroughly understand
that the regard I now express has no reference
to these qualities; it is your humility and
your holy harmlessness, your exemption from
envy, and your freedom from bad passions,
which are your chief and crowning ornament,
even that ornament which is above all price."





,, ,, i ./* ,'* ... ^ ,'-.., ,,





i r-





So saying she raised the myrtle crown
above the head of Aim6e, and was about to
place it there, when the little girl, bending







low, and falling on one knee, in a manner
which I thought exceedingly graceful, raised
her lovely eyes to the lady, and said, "Ah,
Madame, could I wear that crown, I should
prove to all here assembled, what is but too
true, that I have not deserved it. I desire, in-
deed, to be like the lily; but I am not so. I
know my own heart; I know that it is full of
evil passions, and if I do not betray these evil
passions so often as I feel them, it is not to my
own strength I dare to give the glory. My
dear lady, I implore you, do not put the crown
upon my head."

There was a dead silence in the assembly;
every one was impressed with a solemn feel-
ing: at length it was broken by the lady, who
said, whilst holding the myrtle wreath over
the head of the kneeling child, Aim6e, my
beloved, indeed you must not resist our united
entreaties; you must submit to wear the ho-
nour you have so justly merited."
"Ah, no, lady, lady dear!" she replied,
lifting up her face as she knelt, with a sweet
and unaffected earnestness; "no, no it
cannot be ;" and at the same time gently
removing the garland of lilies from her


92


THE FLOWERS





OF THE FOREST. 93
shoulders, and laying it on the grass at the
Baroness's feet. "I am neither worthy to
wear the lily nor the crown; sweet lady, place
the crown upon the garland, and then I will
endeavour to merit both; at least," she added,
"if not in life, yet perhaps in death, for then
-then I shall be- ." But we could not
catch the last part of the sentence, for the
little girl was unable to speak clearly by
reason of her tears.
Aim6e! lovely, lovely Aim6e! sweet, sweet
child! you have conquered," exclaimed the
Baronne, laying the crown at her feet upon
the garland; and then coming forward, she
embraced the child, and wept as she pressed
her to her heart.

It was an awful feeling that impressed
the company at that moment; the tear was
in every eye. The abbe whispered to me,
" Heaven have mercy upon me, a sinner! If
that child thinks herself impure in the eyes
even of her fellow-creatures, what am I in the
sight of God?" And he crossed himself. I
heard expressions of the same nature from
many mouths; and Susette pleased me much,
by assuring me that she now felt ashamed of





94 THE FLOWERS
herself and of her own vain-glorious opinion
of her merits.

It is hardly necessary that I should assure
my reader, that the conduct of Aim6e on this
and on all other occasions evidently showed
that there was no art or affectation in her
conduct-no pretence of humility which she
did not actually feel; but really a deep and
heartfelt sense of her own unworthiness, and
an utter disregard of what effect might result
from her conduct, or what impression it might
make on those who were present. I mention
this, for although it is a lovely thing to see
true humility in a child, nothing is more dis-
pleasing to God, or more offensive to those of
our fellow-creatures whose minds are well
regulated, than to perceive attempts to display
a humility which is not really felt.

In the meantime the Baronne ordered the
garland and crown to be carried to the church,
and to be placed in the Lady chapel there;
and it was some time before the assembly
could so far divest themselves of their serious
feelings as to enter into the amusements of
the evening. As to myself, I must confess





OF THE FOREST. up
that it was during that evening that I, for the
first time, made any serious reflections on the
violence which the mind suffers in being drawn
from solemn feelings into those which are
merely earthly, and the contrary; and I was
led to think that human wisdom consisted in
avoiding those excitements of earthly pleasure,
by which the feelings more suited to our state
as dying creatures are rendered distasteful and
uncongenial to our minds.

After the Feast of the Flowers, several
months passed, during which nothing par-
ticular took place in our private circle worthy
of record.

During this period our minds were much
agitated by public affairs; that dreadful revo-
lution in my country which was so awful in its
progress and so wonderful in its effects, had
commenced. The capital was already in con-
fusion, but we in the provinces still only heard
the thunder rolling in the distance.

In the meantime the remainder of the
summer and the whole of the autumn and
winter passed away. In the middle of the





06 THE FLOWERS
winter, I was seized with a rheumatic com-
plaint, which confined me to my bed till
towards the end of spring. During this
period a friend took my duty, and I saw little
of my people. My Bible was, I thank God,
my constant companion at that time, and the
reading thereof, I have reason to think, was
blessed to me, in a degree which can hardly be
conceived. It was thought, however, necessary,
when I left my bed, that I should change the
air, and accordingly I was carried from my
bed to the chaise which was to convey me to
the house of a married sister, who lived not
very far from Rouen; there I remained two
months, but at the end of that period was
much distressed by letters from the Baronne,
who informed me that a contagious disorder
had broken out with violence in the house of
Madame Bul6, that many of the children were
very ill, and that our little Aim6e was in peril
of her life. It was very late in the spring
when I received this news, and as my health
was nearly reestablished, I lost no time, but
hastened back to my flock-that flock which
I was destined soon to quit under the most
painful circumstances, and to quit for life;
for the door of my restoration to my former





OF THE FOREST. 97
place is for ever shut against me: my princi-
ples would now be held in abhorrence by those
who loved me formerly; nor could I, even if
permitted, now take a part in services of
whose idolatry I have been long assured.
But no more of this; it has no doubt been
good for me, and for others of my countrymen,
that their ancient ties have been dissolved
-ties which bound us to the world and to a
false religion, and which we should never have
had strength to break by our own efforts.

It was a glorious evening in the end of
May, when I arrived within view of my own
village, from which I had been absent many
weeks. I had quitted the public vehicle in
which I had travelled on the opposite bank of
the Seine; and having crossed the river in
a small boat I proceeded on foot the short
remainder of my journey. As soon as I left
the boat, I was in my own parish: I was in
fact at home, and I was taking my way along
an embowered pathway towards the. village,
when I overtook a decent peasant in her best
apparel going the same way. To my inquiry,
How is it with you, neighbour Mourque?
How are all our friends? she replied, "Ah,
I





9y THE FLOWERS
father Raffr6! we have lost one of our fairest
flowers, and I am now going to see the last
duties paid to her blessed remains."
Our flowers," I repeated; "not my lily, I
trust: is it Aim6e who is no more?"


L&


"It is, sir," she replied; "and when I
last saw her at the chateau, I thought the
little angel would never live to enjoy another
fete; such as she, father, are not for this
world,-nay, her own very words, when she
refused the crown and spoke of what she
should be, proved to me how it would be;
and others said the same. But the crown




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