From All The Year Round.



portance of geometry by writing over his has constructed several useful schocldoor, “Let no one enter who is not a ye. books." The word construct suggests ometer.” The first word is often given with great neatness the nature of the incorrectly when the Greek words are process by which schoolbooks are some. quoted, the wrong form of the negative times evolved, implying the presence of being taken. I was surprised to see this the bricklayer and mason rather than of blunder about two years since in a weekly the architect. review of very high pretensions.

[Dr. Todhunter might have added It is very difficult in many cases to un- feature to the list of words abusively used derstand precisely what is attributed to by newspaper writers. In one number of another writer when his opinions are cited a magazine two examples occur : “A in some indirect way. For example, a feature which had been well taken up by newspaper critic finishes a paragraph in local and other manufacturers was the these words : “Unless, indeed, as the Pall exhibition of honey in various applied Moll Gazette has said that it is immoral to forms.” “A new feature in the social attempt any cure at all.” . The doubt here arrangements of the Central Radical Club is as to what is the statement of the Pall took place the other evening.”] Mall Gazette. It seems to be this: it is immorul to attempt any cure at all. But from other considerations foreign to the precise language of the critic, it seemed probable that the statement of the Pall

ANNE BERGUNION, THE BLIND WOMAN'S Mall Gazette was, unless, indeed, it is immoral to attempt any cure at all.

How much is done in this world by There is a certain vague formula which, though not intended for a quotation, oc strong woman in the right place! Car.

personal effort, by the strong man curs so frequently as to demand notice. Take for example: “... the sciences lyle may well be forgiven for a good deal of logic and ethics, according to the parti.

of the pettiness that comes out in the

“Life and Letters,” because he preached tion of Lord Bacon, are far inore extensive than we are accustomed to consider them." so well on that often-forgotten text. No precise meaning is conveyed, be to doubt its truih; and then, when a

Sometimes, in spite of Carlyle, I begin cause we do not know what is the amount

wicked whisper suggests of extension we are accustomed to ascribe to the sciences named. Again : “ Our That the individual withers and the world is knowledge of Bacon's method is much less

more and more, complete than it is commonly supposed to that one human being is for the most part be.” Here again we do not know what is powerless in this age of big cities, and the standard of

supposition. monster companies, and huge demonstra. There is another awkwardness here in the tions, I think of John Pound, cobbler, of words less complete : it is obvious that Bradford, in Yorkshire, the founder of complete does not admit of degrees. ragged schools. That is, I used to do so

Let us close these slight notes with very until I read M. Maxime du Camp's ac. few specimens of happy expressions. count of Anne Bergunion and her work.

The Times commenting on the slovenly Since then I have transferred my alle. composition of the queen's speeches to giance to her feeling that hers was a still Parliament, proposed the cause of the fact more uphill task ihan that which the as a fit subject for the investigarion of our Bradford cobbler set himself. professional thinkers.

The phrase sugi Anne was born in Paris in 1904, the gests a delicate reproof to those who as. sickly daughter of a small tradesman. lo sume for themselves the title of thinker, England she would nowadays have beimplying that any person may engage in come one of those female Ritualists who this occupation just as he might, if he are always egging their parson on to pleased, become a dentist, or a stock. offend the steady old stagers, or she would broker, or a civil engineer. The word have been a " Latter Day Saint," or one thinker is very common as a name of re. of Mr. Besant's “ Seventh Day Indepen. spect in the works of a modern distin- dents” — anything where there was plenty guished philosopher. I am afraid, how to do among the poor, combined with un. ever, that it is employed by him princi- limited “means of grace "and an absence pally as synonymous with a Comtisi. of the rowdyism which frightens off minds

The Times, in advocating the claims of like hers from the Salvation Army: a literary man for a pension, said, “He France'a few years earlier she would have


had, like many other good people, to wor. in England plenty of sisterhoods there ship by stealth, for the pepal laws of a would not be any room for “ Hallelujah republic which tolerated everything ex. Lasses ;” and that would be a great gain. cept Christianity, had closed the churches We think the sisterhood system a tyranand made it a crime to hear as well as to ny, forgetting that it is a self-imposed say mass.

As it was, she was free to go rule that these daughters of the Roman to as many

“functions” as she pleased, obedience lay upon themselves. They and under an emperor whose aim it was are free to alter it if they like. Just as to stand well with the clergy, the sensitive, from Little Bethel, by a sort of religious impressionable little girl found plenty of gemmation, there often breaks away a yet "functions” to go to. Then came the littler Bethel, so from one Roman comRestoration, and monks and nuns had it all munity there often grows out another, their own way; and Anne, who had been held together by a more or less modified sipping at the sweets of a cloistered life, rule. joining in processions, delighting in mat- Still, it is a little startling to find that ins and primes and litanies, thought she after seven years' successful work Anne, had a vocation, and, being then sixteen set free by the death of her parents, years old, began, strongly against her handed her girls over to a trusty friend, parents' wishes, her novitiate at the Mère and went into the Convent of the Sacred de Dieu Convent at Versailles. At the Heart. Here she might have stayed all end of eight months she was called home her life, but for her health. In vain they by the total break-up of her mother's gave her dispensations, allowing her meat, health, and from this time till she was and what not, even on Good Friday. eight-and-twenty she was as devoted a She got worse and worse, and at last her nurse as one who was herself little better brothers persuaded her to come back to than a confirmed invalid could be. Her the home in what was then the Rue des own health, always weak, several times Postes. Here she met with Dr. Ratier, gave way so entirely that she was thought physician to the College Rollin, and parish to be in a dying state, and actually re. doctor (as we should say) to the Bureau ceived extreme unction. This did not de Bienfaisance of the Twelfth Arron. prevent her from accepting a dying broth- dissement - one of the poorest in Paris, er's legacy — a little doubly orphaned girl out by the Observatory. The good doctor of three years old, her care of whom gave was an enthusiast about teaching the her mind the turn which by-and-by made blind. Every day he used to gather some her so useful. Meanwhile, at home, busi- dozen little blind boys and girls in his ness was not thriving; the father was a consulting.room, and give them, not only Micawber for whom nothing turned up; a good meal, but such teaching as they, and Anne, dividing her days between too young or too dull to be received into nursing her mother and training her the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, were niece, sat up stitching the greater part of able to take in. " Now, Annette," he the night to earn enough to keep the would say to Mlle. Bergunion, “why do household together.

not you take in a few blind girls to work In 1837 a lady who knew Anne's worth with the rest of your flock ?” And while was founding a home for young girls, and she was deliberating, the secretary of the said to her: “Will you be manager?” Paris Indigent Blind Society joined in "I'll try,” replied Anne, and she suc. urging her to the work. “ The Institut, ceeded; such firmness and tact and power you see, takes them at six, and turns them of influencing girls through their affec out at eighteen; and what are the poor tions were centred in that wretchedly things to do then, thrown, many of them, feeble frame. She developed, too, what literally on the streets? We try all we: it is the fashion to call “ a power of organ. can to find them homes, but we cannot ization,” and before long her twelve girls deal with all; and there are scores who were in full work for one of the best live haphazard, in wretchedness, if not in ladies' ready-made linen shops in Paris. sin, with nothing before them but a possi

But, as I said, Anne had that foodness ble admission into the Quinze-Vingts, if for special services and special rules and they live to be forty.” dress for which Rome offers so much Before Anne had seen her way to do scope and Protestantism so little. This, what was wanted, the secretary actually wbich after all is human nature, is at the sent her two girls, whom she was to feed bottom of all that playing at soldiers which and teach for three hundred francs a year General Bootli's followers have made an each; and, as she did not care to shut her essential of true religion. If there were doors in their faces, what was to be

VOL. XLIX, 2508

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thenceforth her life's work, and was des her plans. He felt that one who had tined to outlive her, was thus begun. shown so much self-sacrifice deserved to

It was rather hard on Anne to send her have her way in trifles, and he got the two "incorrigibles" for her first attempt. vicar.general of the diocese to interest The pair of blind girls refused point-blank good Archbishop Sibour in the matter. to do anything in the way of work. They His Grace paid her and her girls a visit, were sent there to be waited on, and and allowed them a special dress, and waited on they would be, by Mother Anne, thenceforth Anne became "mother supeand by no one else. They made fun of rior," and the dozen girls (seven of them the prayers, and when a priest was set to blind) who felt a call and stayed with her scold them, they went off humming an were styled the Sisters of St. Paul. opera air. This was a bad example for How were they to get a chaplain? They Anne's girls, now increased in number to were too poor to pay one; and so they thirty-five; but, instead of turning the had to put up with any one who would rebels away, she determined to conquer come twice a week to hear confessions them by kindness, treating them like and say mass. That was by no means grown babies, and yet without wounding Anne's ideal; she liked to live in an atmotheir morbid sensitiveness. Her good- spliere of devotion, and so she was de. humor must have been as great as her lighted when a man of private means, the tact not to be wearied in such a seemingly Abbé Juge, lately returned from Rome, hopeless task; but she did win them over volunteered for the work. "I won't take so thoroughly that she was able to set a sou," said he. “ If you find you can them to teach some of Dr. Ratier's little spare anything for a chaplain, let it go,

The secretary was determined not after dressing up your chapel a little bet. to let her rest. He soon handed over to ter, to pay for one more blind girl.” They her six more blind girls, three of whom had long outgrown the house in the Rue had been sent back to the institute as in- des Postes, and had moved to Vaugirard; corrigible. Their bearts, too, she won, but their new home, besides being too and before long she had some of them small, was damp. “You will live much working in the kitchen, others house- more cheaply in the country,” said their cleaning, others combing and dressing the chaplain, "and it will be far bealthier for babes who belonged to some of the girls you all.” So he found them an old châin the home. Another she actually ven- ieau of Henry the Fourth, at Bourg la tured to send out on errands, and one Reine, and paid for it almost wholly out turned out bright enough to be such a of his own pocket. The grounds were wonderful sewing- mistress that, while beautiful, but the house small and incon. sitting among a group of stitchers, she venient, and the good abbé had left one was able, by her acute sense of hearing, to thing out in his reckoning. When you detect when a stitch was too long or too live on alms, you must live within easy sbort.

reach of the alms.givers. This would not But Anne was not satisfied. Hers was tell so much in England; but in France, a lay work, under the direction (as far as where they do not spend much in advershe was directed at all) of laymen, like the tising, but prefer to make a collection, or Indigent Blind secretary and Dr. Ratier. house-to-house gathering, it threatened to Her dream had always been to found an be fatal. There was nothing for it but to order; and, reading in the life of Mlle. de come back to Paris, and, after a world of Lamourous, the foundress of that house trouble in finding anything cheap, and any of mercy at Bordeaux which has now house-owner who would agree to be paid four daughter houses in other French by instalments with no security beyond towns, that “with the promise of a week's the word of the sisterbood, at last they got work, three rooms, and a crown-piece in a building belonging to the Maria Theresa one's pocket, one can found a commu. Infirmary, founded by Madame de Chânaute," she, smiling, but in thorough ear-teaubriand in the early days of the Res. nest, proposed to her girls to put them- toration. Here there was a good deal of selves under a “rule.” They would form building to be done; but the result was a a body of sisters some blind, some see pleasant, suitable home amid cedars grown ing, and they would manage the school from seeds which the author of the “ Génie and workshop attached to the home, du Christianismehad brought from Leb which should still, as heretofore, take in anon. Mother Anne and her indefatigable blind people of all ages, and keep them all abbé had to spend many weary months their lives, if they liked to stay.

between Paris and Bourg la Reine; but Good Dr. Ratier entered warmly into at last, towards the end of 1858, the whole

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communauté was settled into the home how good they were, called the Comwhich still holds it.

munards all the names that an angry And so Anne saw her dream fulfilled. Frenchwoman can use, and took the sis. She had founded a sisterhood, and grafted ters to their own homes. The Abbé Juge, upon it a blind asylum, and had arranged being “a parson, only fit to be set up that the asylum should be the chief feeder against a wall and fired at," was put in of the sisterhood. But for her, these prison. Had he been locked up in the blind sisters who look (and are) so full of fourth section, he would have shared the loving intelligence, must, humanly speak- fate of the archbishop, the Abbé Deguering, have fallen into the clutches of some ry, and the rest; but he was put into the wretch who would have lived on what third section, where the prisoners, encour. they got by begging or doing worse. aged by their warders, showed fight, and

And yet, we are told, there was nothing held out till the Versaillese came in. Be. in Anne's appearance like that of the fore the end of May the sisters came back ideal saint. She was a plain, heavy-look- to find their house gutted, but their be. ing woman, with pursy cheeks and anæmia loved chaplain safe. The prefect of the stamped on her whole appearance, and Seine thought that housing and training nothing attractive about her except a look little blind girls was a work deserving of indescribable sweetness in her blue State belp; so they got four thousand eyes.

francs that year, and received a gradually She was not spared to do much more lessening sum up to 1876, when it was than give her work a fair start. In the finally withdrawn. spring of 1863 she broke down, and in And what sort of girls are those for spite of change of air, her dry cough whom Anne Bergunion gave up her life? showed that there was fatal mischief. Those who want to know something about Gathering the sisterhood round her, she them should read M, du Camp's paper in told them, day by day and week by week, this year's Revue des Deux Mondes for how to act when she was gone, whom to April ist. However much they may know choose as her successor, whom to put of English blind asylums, they will learn a into subordinate posts. She could not lie great deal from what he says about the down, the asthma was too bad; at last, in ways of blind people. What are their September, the end came. But the sisters dreams like? It seems the simplest thing were ready for it, and they are going on in the world when one comes to think of still, through the war of 1870 tried them it; and yet, if you were asked, you would greatly, and the Commune yet more. hardly answer off-hand that the dreams of

As soon as Paris was 'besieged they one born blind must needs be dark, colorpacked themselves as close as possible, less — all the life that is in them being in and made part of their house into an in the way of noise and touch. With those, firmary for sixty-three soldiers. They ran on the other hand, who have lost their up the Geneva Cross; but the Prussians sight, the dream-memory grows dimmer were bent on destroying the dome of the and dimmer, forming, while it is fresh, a Panthéon, and the home of the Sisters of sort of double life which a blind poetess, St. Paul, being in the line of fire, got three Berthe de Calonne, who, as a girl, saw shells through its roof.

the Swiss lakes, very prettily describes. How the place was kept going through I said that many of those described by the siege, none of the sisters could under. M. du Camp are affected with nervous stand. Subscriptions, of course, came to disorders, and no wonder, for many come an end; a collection was no use when of a half-mad stock. Ainong Anne's girls people were living on rats and sawdust was one poor creature whose mother bread. Happily the cellars of the home caught her as she came back from a visit were full of potatoes, and they had a good to her grandmother, and, sharpening a store of dried vegetables. No sooner was knife, deliberately put out her eyes. She the siege over than the Commune began. would have cut her throat but for the The sisters kept on their infirmary as a neighbors, whom the child's cries attracted protection; but at last, when May was just in time. Dr. Dupin got her sent to more than half gone by, the Communards the institute; but at eighteen she had to came in, crying, “ Come, you nuns, clear leave, and, finding it impossible to get a out!” And, despite the prayers of the livelihood in her own village, she came to wounded soldiers and the tears of the the sisterhood. M. du Camp found two schoolchildren, they had to go. The other girls who had lost their eyes in a women of the neighborhood, who knew I most remarkable way; pet birds had, in

an instant, pecked at them. Their case live by their work, and yet, small as is the touched him, for, when a child, he was pay they get, the Paris needlewomen very nearly blinded by a pet partridge. grumble. We hear the same thing in En

The great value of the sisterhood is that gland — prison work brings down prices. the blind sisters, knowing what blindness During the Commune all prison work was is, and how it inverts the usual order of stopped (of course, the convents being thought, have been able to train the suppressed, their competition was not to novices so successfully, that almost every be feared); but, before long, work had to one about the place seems to have two be given out in the women's prison sets of faculties — those which are pecul. there was no other way of keeping them iar to the blind, and those which belong quiet. to the seeing. One knows how wonder. If the pay were better, the diet would fully the former are developed; it is as if be more generous, for that is M. du they saw with their foreheads, knowing at Camp's only grievance. These self-deny. once whether the blinds are down or not, ing sisters feed their poor pupils very whether there is a table in the middle of well, but they rather starve themselves. a room, and so forth, by the sensation of " Blindness is so often a sign of scroffulness or otherwise, which they receive ulous temperament that something better on coming into it. This sense is in the is needed than the thio beer which is forehead, or rather below the eyebrows; brewed on the premises.” M. du Camp for if you bind a handkerchief across a is clearly not an abstainer; he believes in blind man's eyes he is helpless; you may the virtues of that wine which so many of see blind children “blindfolded” and play. his countrymen are abandoning for baser ing blind man's buff with as much spirit liquors. Of course, there is plenty of as if they had their eyesight. Of course writing in the home. The strangest thing the sense of touch is also greatly intensi- in the world is to see a blind man or fied; the children never made a mistake woman reading with one hand, and with in naming whom they catch. That is the other making a copy of what he or why everything about these Sisters of St. she is reading. The sisters have a printPaul, their own dress included, is so scru. ing.press, and, besides printing their own pulously clean. We usually couple blind class-books, they print M. de la Size. ness with dirt, but a well-trained blind ranne's blind-magazine, the Louis Braille, person cannot bear a particle of dust on which comes out every month, and condress or person; it is a real annoyance to tains not only practical advice, but literary, the nerves which nature, by way of partial scientific, and musical news. M. de la compensation, has refined to such a pitch Sizeranne lost his sight when quite a child, of sensitiveness.

and has, since he grew up, devoted him. And what are all these bliod girls taught self as ardently as Mother Anne herself to do?

It is knitting – knitting from to the welfare of his brothers and sisters morning to night; none of the manifold in affliction. works which are attempted more or less The books of the sisterhood are, thinks successfully in our blind schools. The M. du Camp, too much of one class the blind can be taught to do these, but not goody-goody: He remarks how delighted so as to compete with those who have a class of the blind children were with their eyesight, thinks M. du Camp. He the reading of "Robinson Crusoe," and does not speak of mat and basket making, recommends that something should be but he mentions turning; and there, he done to cultivate the fancy as well as "the says, the work of the blind is a total fail-soul.” ure. They can be taught to use the lathe, But, even though they starve thembut what they make is so badly made, that selves, and starve, too, the imaginations nobody would buy it except as a curiosity of their girls, Anne Bergunion's sisters Knitting seems to come naturally to blind are doing a wonderful work. The home fingers. Sewing too hard; embroidery contains sixty-six blind girls, some of cannot be managed at all; and so Mother whom pay a little ; others are partly paid Anne's girls knit — and, like knitters in for by their parishes; the majority are England, get very poor prices for their wholly supported by the sisterhood. There work; three-halfpence for a pair of chilo are many good works going on in "frivodren's "booties, which have to be fin. lcus Paris,” but none which is so markedly ished off and the buttons sewn on by some the outcome of one woman's energy as one who can see. They certainly do not the Home of the Sisters of St. Paul.

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