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ur lives. He of course made an address, which is supposed to have had a great influence over us, but I am afraid we did not remember long the many injunctions he laid upon us. In those halcyon days, in addition to our studies and school drudgery, girls of sixteen and upward had to make their own clothes, including a graduation dress of sheer, fine muslin, together with the slip to wear under it. All this was made by hand, which meant many hours of careful sewing after school hours, on Saturdays and holidays (forgive the term, under such circumstances). They not only had to make their own clothes, but had to assist the sisters in making the white dresses for the ten or a dozen orphans whom the sisters had on their hands to clothe and educate. Good-natured, jolly Sister Superior Isabella would journey by water to Louisville, Kentucky, to buy the material for the dresses, together with many bolts of blue ribbon for sashes and bow-knots, which every girl was obliged to wear on comme
our friend's husband continue his eternal sleep in unhallowed ground. Years afterward I confessed to Father Durbin who the heretics were, and the dear old man insisted he suspected us all the time; but, as we were pretty good girls with all our faults, he granted us absolution. The sisters were shocked; but, as we had all turned out very well, they pardoned us, but prayed us never to tell that we could do such a thing with one of them watching over us all the time. I remember that on one May-day all the girls got themselves up in their best clothes and escorted Sister Isabella to quite a high place up in the forest opposite the academy. Here we had built a throne, and, putting her on it, we crowned her the Queen of the May with so much enjoyment that we were all extremely happy. I can picture now how she looked sitting on her green throne in her uniform. A crown of flowers decked her cap, and a long rope of flowers hung around her neck and about her unsylphlike waist, with l
ore. Mother was almost overcome, as she read page after page of father's graphic stories of all that had taken place since he left us; of his disappointments and successes; of the legions of seekers after gold from every country on the globe; of his longing to return home and his tender messages to us children. No such long intervals between his letters again occurred, as the mails from California subsequently came by sea around the Horn. He remained two and a half years, reaching home in 1853, soon after Franklin Pierce's inauguration. Shortly after father's return home he was appointed by President Pierce registrar of the land office at Shawneetown, Illinois. It was an important appointment, on account of the passage by Congress of the Bit act, which meant that actual settlers inside the radius of the district of which Shawneetown was the headquarters could enter one hundred and sixty acres of land, at twelve and one-half cents per acre. As the time was limited for such ent
for my remaining for the school year of nine months and took his leave, while I, with tearful eyes, was led by Sister Isabella into the convent proper, and introduced to some of the older girls, who acted as hostesses to the new arrivals. At first I was very homesick, but soon forgot my unhappiness surrounded by light-hearted companions and the good, kind sisters who were ever ready to comfort and cajole the homesick and unhappy. To have any. idea of the conditions at Saint Vincent's in 1854-5, it would be necessary to turn back the leaves of time for more than fifty years, and to realize that scarcely a single advantage which the pupils at Saint Vincent's now enjoy then existed. We were literally pioneers, and the opportunities we had were of the most primitive character;--but, underlying them all was the lovely spirit of devotion, purity, and tenderness of the dear sisters, which made the simplest exercises beautiful and attractive. In those days we had the cabins of the s
my remaining for the school year of nine months and took his leave, while I, with tearful eyes, was led by Sister Isabella into the convent proper, and introduced to some of the older girls, who acted as hostesses to the new arrivals. At first I was very homesick, but soon forgot my unhappiness surrounded by light-hearted companions and the good, kind sisters who were ever ready to comfort and cajole the homesick and unhappy. To have any. idea of the conditions at Saint Vincent's in 1854-5, it would be necessary to turn back the leaves of time for more than fifty years, and to realize that scarcely a single advantage which the pupils at Saint Vincent's now enjoy then existed. We were literally pioneers, and the opportunities we had were of the most primitive character;--but, underlying them all was the lovely spirit of devotion, purity, and tenderness of the dear sisters, which made the simplest exercises beautiful and attractive. In those days we had the cabins of the slav
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