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majority of the conditions in question will be found, in the case of our own sun, to be favourable to the permanence of his position as fire, light, and life of the planetary system.
From The A thnnsnum.
SAINT JANE FRANCE3-FKEMYOT DB
The present volume of "The Life of St. Jane Frances de Chantal" is a very readable and interesting compilation from more voluminous works, not readily acces-' Bible to general readers. It is, of course, highly condensed, and gives only a slight insight into much that we should have desired to read at greater length. The author intrudes very little of herself upon the reader, and has done her work faithfully and conscientiously. A woman of genius would have made a more interesting book out of the materials. Although we are thankful for what we have received, we are left with an earnest desire that somebody would write the life and times of Madame de Chantal, without the medium of spiritual adulation in which saintly biographers feel themselves bound to indulge.
Jane Frances de Chantal was born at Dijon, on the 23rd of January, 1572. Her father was Bdnigne Fremyot, the stouthearted President of the Burgundian Parliament, and of a good old Burgundian family. Her mother died when Jane was only a year-and-a-half old. Jane was brought up in considerable independence,' and associated more with her father and his friends than with children or young people. The religious and political discords between the Catholic party and the Calvinists at that period ran very fiercely at Dijon. Jane was early imbued with the short, sharp dogmatic elements of the Catholic faith, and she took them in with the undoubting belief of a child. It is told that one day her father and a Calvini-t visitor had been for a long time disputing about " the Real Presence " before Jane, who was then not quite five years old. After a while, she rose from her seat, and going up to the Calvinist with flashing eye?, sue said. "But, my Lord, we must believe it." The gentleman, after a playful reply, suited as he thought to such a juvenile adversary, gave her a pocket of
• The Life qf Saint Jam Francet-Fremyot de Chantal. By Kmlly Bowles. Quarterly Series, Vol. 11 (Burns, Uatee, fc Co.)
sweetmeats. Jane took them gravely from his hands, and going straight to the fireplace, she flung them into the flames, saying, "Look, my Lord I that is how heretics will be burned in the fire of Hell, because they do not believe what our Lord has said 1"
A most uncompromising little miss! She had through life a strain of fierce, overbearing strength and austerity in her nature, which it needed many years, ranch sorrow, and the gentle culture and example of St. Francis de Sales to temper before she became the loving and wellbalanced character which she subsequently was. We are told that Jaue's education was carefully attended to — that she learned to read, write, dance, and to play on several instruments; but that, above all, she was instructed in religion — that she loved the Catechism, and "delighted in the definiteness and accuracy of dogmatic teaching." She had early dreams and aspirations after self-sacrifice, and the entire dedication of her life to the service of God; sometimes she desired to be a martyr for her faith, and at others to give herself up to the service of the sick and poor. In 1587 Jane's elder and only sister was married to the head of a considerable family in Poitou, and Jane, then about sixteen, was sent to live with her for a while, both to see society and to be out of the way of the religious and political troubles at home. It was the timo of the League and the Civil Wars. The President, Fremyot, was devoted to the party of Henry the Third, and when bis Parliament revolted, and joined the insurgents, he left Dijon and retired to the country. He wag a high-minded old man, and had an uncompromising sense of honour and loyalty, which Jane inherited from him. In her sister's family she was placed under very dangerous influences for so young a girl. The dame de compagnie, who was intended to take care of her, tried to entice her into the use of magic, in order that she might marry one of. the great noblemen of Poitou. She encountered other dangers, more insidious, in the admiration and flattery which she met with; but we are told that she put herself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, and gave herself more resolutely tp her religious duties. She seems also to have stoutly resisted the love of magnificent attire, although many years afterwards St. Francis waged war against the lace and embroidery in which she indulged, and the elegant fashion of her dress, also against her long and beautiful hair, which he induced her to cut off. Jane was -endowed with much good sense, and she evinced her judgment in the matter of her suitors. She refused two brilliant marriages because one of the gentlemen was a concealed Huguenot, and the other a man without any sense of religion. In 1591, she was recalled home to Dijon, and there she met the individual whom her father had selected as her husband,— one of his own friends and companions in arms, Christopher de Chantal, Baron de Rabutin, who, though under thirty, had fought Do less than eighteen duels,— which Bussy de Rabutin ascribed to the great meekness and suavity of his demeanour. One of Madame de Chantal'g grandchildren (Gabrielle de Toulougon) became the lirst wife of I in. v de Rabutin; and that fascinating scapegrace led her such a life, that the Capuchin Friar who preached her funeral sermon declared " that he scarcely knew which of the two, Madame de Chantal or Madame de Rabutin, would receive the brightest eternal crown " I but this was all long after the time we were speaking of. Madame de Chantal found her own husband a religious, cultivated, witty, and agreeable man, with whom she lived very happily, and whose death was the greatest grief in her life. Madame de Chantal had very noble elements in her character: she had an ever-present sense of duty; she had the courageous faculty of estimating things and people at their proper worth; ahe had a sense of the relative value1 of the different claims on her time and attention; she understood the beauty of proportion in all things. la after-life she became remarkably gentle and loving; but as a young woman she was harsh, imperious, and austere. The young couple resided at Bourbilly, a lovely country-seat, which afterwards came to Madame de Chantal's granddaughter, Madame de Sevigne". The civil wars of the League against Henry the Fourth were at their height; and the Baron de Chantal, one of the king's warmest adherents when he became a Catholic, was called to Paris, where he went, leaving to his young wife the sole administration of his large but dreadfully encumbered property. Jane showed herself equal to the trust; and her skilful economy and wise government, her bright and cheerful spirit — for when not opposed she was fascinating, — and her care for the servants, both in the castle and on the outlying portions of tbe estate, brought order, peace, and prosperity out of the confusion, and they form a pleasant picture of domestic life of the period. She
was a model chatelaine, and had a genius for administration and organization. She was singularly kind and merciful to all her husband's prisoners, brought, for whatever offence, to the dungeons of the castle; for of course the Baron exercised all the powers of justice and execution like the other Seigneurs of those good old times. Four children were born of the marriage, one boy and three girls: it was the boy, Celse Benigne de Chantal, who became in after years, the father of Madame de Sevigne', and narrowly escaped being hanged for his share in a duel, in his quality as second to Bouteville de Montmorency.
The message came to him on an Easter Sunday, whilst he was in church with his family, receiving the Communion: he jumped up from his knees, left the church, and ran, in his velvet shoes and gala dress, just aa he was, to the Porte St.-Antoine, fought his duel with Moutmorency's second, as was the rule in those days, killed his man, and fled for refuge to his sister, Madame de Toulougon. Bouteville de Montmorency was arrested and executed. Celse Benigne de Chantal was sentenced to death by the Parliament of Paris, and Madame de Chantal had actually made her preparations to go to him, to help him to sustain his punishment. He, however, escaped that danger, and was killed not long afterwards at the siege of La Roehelle, a death which his mother considered an honour. Madame de Chantal's brief married life came to an untimely end. Her husband went out one day shooting into the woods round Bourbilly with a friend and relative, M. d'Anlezy; his friend's gun went off by accident, and M. de Chantal was so dangerously wounded that, after lingering for nine days in great agony, he died, after adding a clause to his will, in which he declared his death purely accidental, and disinheriting any of his children who should seek to revenge it. Madame de Chantal nearly died of grief, but her mind regained its balance, and she devoted herself to her children, and to following out the wishes of her husband in the management of their property. Nearly her first action, we are told, was to seal her love to her lost husband by a vow of perpetual chastity. She reviewed all her goods, and gave her wedding-dress and all her rich clothes to the Church, made bundles of her husband's clothes, and gave them to the poor; pensioned off all the servants not absolutely necessary; and placed her household on a most moderate footing. She had at this time a singular prevision of the friend and director who
was to exercise such an influence over her'religious life she afterwards embraced, after life. Like all religious Catholics, she j For some years longer, however, she confelt the need of a wise director to guide tinued to live in the Castle of Monthelun, her. One day, as she was riding alone on bringing up her children wisely, and trythe outskirts of « little wood, whither she ing, by the force of example, to bring tbe had gone to look after some workpeople, j Baron and his household gradually into she saw at a short distance a person who some sort of order. Francis de Sales was looked like a bishop coming towards her, much attached to all the children of Madressed in cassock, rocket, and biretta. dame de Chantal, especially to Marie His countenance, serene and heavenly, gave Aymee, who became, whilst still almost a her a sense of great inward peace and con- child, the wife of his youngest brother, solation. At the same moment, the thought j Bernard de Sales. The letters that Mawas suggested within her, "This is the | dame de Chantal wrote to St. Francis are guide and man in whose hands you will unfortunately lost, for when her letters place your conscience." On riding up to were returned after his death, fearing they the spot, she found no one; but in after might be published, she destroyed them.
years, when she first saw Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, she recognized him as the one whose appearance she had seen on this occasion. We are also told that at that same time, the bishop, being rapt in prayer in the old Castle de Sales, saw the vision of a young widow, whose face was unknown to him, and as if a curtain had been drawn up, he saw gathered together a new religious congregation, of which he was assured the young widow was to be the mother, and himself the guide and direct
In the beginning his influence upon her was admirable; he softened the vehemence and the asperities of her strong character, and under his guidance she became a matured and noble Christian woman. He helped her with counsels in the management of her children, softening her severity, and preventing her from making them hate religion by over-much anxiety. Nothing can be wiser or more beautiful than his watchful care over them. He says of himself— " I think I ha\e that kind of fatherly heart which is motherly too." To Fran
or. Signs and miracles were plentiful in
the lives of both of them. Madame de i coise, the youngest of the family, he writes
Chantal's widowhood was spent partly thus: —
with her old father at Dijon, and subsequently with her father-in-iaw in his gloomy old Castle of Monthelon. The Biron Ra
"I conjure you, my dear child, from day to day wean your heart from frivolous amuse
butin de Chantal was a dreadful old Turk, >
ments. I am not scrupulous, and I only call
, , , , , , , , . !frivolity the voluntary inclination to things
who often made h:s household tremble for ! which tarn away the ^ind from thoughts alfj
their lives; he, however, in his turn, lived j mediutions upon eternity." in bondage to his housekeeper, a terrible
virago, who wasted his substance, and reigned supreme in the castle along with her five children. Of course she hated Madame de Chantal, and resented her right to interfere. The Baron took the part of his tyrant, and when Madame de Chantal spoke once to him about the disorderly condition of things he exploded into such a burst of rage and insolence that she never again attempted to interfere, and the housekeeper enjoyed the power to mortify her in every possible way. But Jane was already in training for becoming a Saint; she took her new position patiently; tried to educate the five children along with her own, and even washed and dressed them, for their mother neglected them, and seems to have been an essentially bad, vulgar woman.
We cannot go into the details of her
He even interceded with her mother that the young creatures might be allowed to have the pretty things and fine clothes appropriate to their station, and which their hearts desired, although he seems to have been very scrupulous that the dress should not be "cut too low " for modesty. That which her Catholic biographers regard as the crowning virtue and great claim to sanctity in Madame de Chantal, we can only look upon as a great and grievous error. Led away by her love and over-estimation of the virtue of a conventual life, she left her father, who was then near eighty years old, she left her father-in-law, the old Baron Rabutin de Chantal, she left her children, in order to embrace the life of a nun, in the first convent of the Visitandines, an order founded for her by St. Francis himself. The account given of her
first meeting with St. Francis, nor the rule J departure and farewell to her family treats of life he gave her. It was mixed up with of the consent wrung with tears from the austerities, and a nun-like detachment from ' old father; of the poor old sinuer, the the world, and was the beginning of the Baron, who was nearly "senseless with
The old Court-yard of the " Oars d'Or" is full of warm light, but it ia not glowing Augnst sunshine.
The tall fuschias in green tubs which border the court are scarcely in leaf; there are no blossom-buds on the myrtles, though they have put out bright tender little leaven of expectation; the fountain sparkles, but the fish are not gambolling in the basin below — they are still housed safely in the glass globe in Cle'mence's parlour.
The sun disports himself chiefly among the gueldres roses and lilacs, whirl! atone just now for the shabby brown show they will make in autumn, by a perfect luxury of blossoms; snowy masses with exquisite green and grey shadows in between; lilac flowers, now rich, now delicate — always exquisite, both in hue and fragrance.
It is almost May, and yet the keen March wind lingers so as to keep Eulalie the cook — there is no male chef at this old Flemish inn — mindful of her rheumatism, and unwilling to venture out of the warm shelter of her kitchen.
Eulalie is a small spare woman, with a clever face and dark eyes; these are full of vexation as she stands beside a small table on one side of the kitchen, and strips the leaves from crisp young lettuceplants.
"It is insupportable," she grumbles, as she drops each leaf deftly into the shining brass pan of water at her feet. "Mam'selle Cle'mence goes beyond reason; if her sister, Madame Scherer, were to ask for the gown off Mam'selle's back she would send it her. She gave Madame Scherer a husband, though it almost broke her heart, and that is enough — too much; it is folly to goon pouring wine into a full botlle."
Eulalie shrugs her shoulders and shreds off the lettuce-leaves faster than ever; she fa as a clever head and a warm heart, but
LIVING AGK. VOL. XXVI. 1238
her temper needs a safety-valve. Some time ago it had found this, when Madame de Vos — the mother of the landlord of the "Ours d'Or" — came self-invited to manage her son's household.
Eulalie disliked the fat pink-faced dame from the beginning, first for the petty vexations which Madame de Vos had inflicted on her son's wife, Eulalie's own dear mistress, but chiefly for the unceremonious way in which she had installed herself at-the "Ours d'Or" after her daughter-in-law's death.
Eulalie had put on her war-paint at that time, and had felt compelled to keep her fighting weapons sharp and bright, aud to say truth this process was in some way congenial to the skilful old woman.
At that time had happened the great sorrow of Clemence de Vos. Her betrothed lover, Louis Scherer, had returned at the appointed time to claim her as his wife; but Cle'mence was absent, and the extreme beauty of her young sister Rosalie, and, as Eulalie always persisted in affirming, the manoeuvres of Madame de Vos, so infatuated the young soldier, that Clemence voluntarily released him from his troth-plight, and he and Rosalie were married.
But Cle'mence's father had been unable to forgive the wound inflicted on his beloved child, aud, on Rosalie's wedding-day, madarae her grandmother went back to live in her own house at Louvain.
"Dame I what a happiness I what a relief I" Eulalie had said. "Mam'selle Clemence will now take the place that should always have been hers; and what an angel is Mam'selle Clemence I"
It may be that the principle which urged the cook at the " Ours d'Or " so constantly to brighten the shining brass pots and pans on her kitchen-wall was thorough, and led her also to fear lest her tongue too might grow dull and rusty unless she sometimes sharpened it against her master Auguste de Vos, and even against the "angel" Mam selle Cle'mence.
There is a slight sound, and Eulalie looks up.
A black-cloaked figure stands at the parlour door on the opposite side of the long, paved, arched-over entrance to the courtyard of the " Ours d'Or."
Eulalie comes forward to the- door of her kitchen, which is on the opposite side of the paved entrance way.
"Mam'selle Cle'mence,'' she says, shrilly.
"Yes, yes, Eulalie, I am coming :" the voice is so sweet that one is impatient to see the face which goes with it, but Cle- • mence has turned back to listen to ber father's last words.
Anguste de Vos is a stont, florid Belgian, but he has dark hair and an intelligent face. lie looks younger and happier too, since he has been left to live alone with Clemence; he has the same blessed freedom from domestic worry that he enjoyed while his wife lived. Clemence has a dexterous way of keeping the bright side of life turned towards her father; even Eulalie's querulousness rarely reaches him. Auguste de Vos has never been a demonstrative man; but ever since the evening when Rosalie's marriage was decided, there has been a graver tenderness in his manner to his eldest daughter, a something not to be painted in words, but which often kindles in Clemence that strange emotion which brings a sob and a smile together.
"Well, my child," Augusts de Vos is saying, "if thou sayest it is needful, I yield; but remember always that Rosalie has three maids and only two children : it is to me inconceivable that after all her grandmother has done for her, and for Louis Scherer too, they should not contrive to nurse my mother in her sickness without thy help."
Clemence smiles: she haa a sweet pensive face, but her dark eyes light up at this smile, and sparkle brightly through the long black lashes.
"Poor Rosalie I Thou art severe, my father; but it is almost the first request she has made me since ber marriage, and
it seems a beginning, and "here Cle"
mence falter- and blushes, and then looks frankly into her father's eyes — he is father and mother both to her now — " only thou knowest well Rosalie has never been the same to me since she went away."
Her father's eyes are full of wistful tenderness.
"The fault is none of thy making, Cle"mence."
"I must go to Eulalie*:" she nods and leaves him. "Poor Rosalie," she says to herself, "she is not yet forgiven."
"Hein," Eulalie puts her head on one side like a pugnacious sparrow as Cle'mence steps into the kitchen, " fine doings, indeed; and it is true then, Mam'selle, that you go to-morrow to Bruges to nurse the bonne-maman who never was once good to youY"
"Hush, Eulalie, you may not so speak of my grandmother," Clemence's grey eyes look almost severe.
Eulalie turns to the table behind her.
"I speak as I find, Mam'selle. Duty is
dnty everywhere; and to me, Mam'selle, Monsieur is of more value than Madame his mother, and he will be sad without you; and she — well she would have perhaps a little neglect, what will you? Madame Scherer is young, and she loves her ease; but she will be obliged to take care of Madame de Vos, if you do not go, Mam'selle Cle'mence."
"Nevertheless I am going." Cle*mence speaks decidedly, and her bright smile quiets Eulalie. "Now I want some broth. a cold chicken, if you can spare me one, and some eggs. I am going to see your friend, the wife of the sacristan of St. Michel."
Eulalie grunts, but she produces the food demanded, and carefully stows it away in a basket.
"It is all very well," she says; "I don't grudge the food and drink which Mam'selle gives, but I ask myself, when Mam'selle Cldmence marries and goes away — and she will marry some day, I suppose — ah! but the man will be lucky I — what will then happen to the wife of the sacristan and all the other sick folk of our parish? She has used them to these dainties; ma foi I it will be harder to give them up altogether than to go without them now."
Louis Seherer left the army on his marriage; he has an appointment at Bruges, and Rosalie found housekeeping so little to her liking, that after the first few months she persuaded her husband to let Madame de Vos live with them.
For a time this arrangement had been successful. Madame doated on the young couple, managed the servants, and contributed liberally to household expenses; but when babies came — two with only a year's interval between — strife arose about their management, and the discord in his household disgusted Louis Scherer.
It was at his instigation that Rosalie had now written to ask Clemence to come and help to nurse Madame de Vos in her sickness.
Louis met his wife's sister at the railway station. Cle'mence had not seen him for more than a year: she thought ho looked aged; his fair, handsome face was full of worry.
They had met since the marriage, and all remembrance of the old relations had been effaced by the new, save it may be a certain self-complacency in the man in the society of the woman who had once so dearly loved him, and in the woman a cer tain blindness to faults 'vliich were visible