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out the least assistance from any one. My husband had abundance of writings deposited in his hands. I took an exact inventory of them, and sent them severally to their owners
, which, without divine assistance, would have been very difficult for me; because, my husband having been a long time sick, every thing was in the greatest confusion. This gained me the reputation of a skilful woman, as well as another affair which fell out thus.
A GREAT number of persons, who had been at law for several years, applied to my husband to settle their affairs. Though it was not properly the business of a gentleman, yet they applied to him, because he had both understanding and probity; and as he had a love for several of them he consented. There were twenty actions one upon another, and in all twenty-two persons concerned, who could not get any end put to their differences, by reason of new incidents continually falling out. My husband charged himself with getting lawyers to examine their papers, but died before he could make any procedure therein. After his death I sent for them to give them their papers: but they would not receive them, begging of me that I would accommodate them, and prevent their ruin. It appeared to me as ridiculous as impossible to undertake an affair of so great consequence, and which would require so long a discussion : Nevertheless relying on the strength and widom of God, I followed the movement he gave me to consent thereto. I shut myself up about thirty days in my closet, for all these affairs, without ever going out, but to mass and meals. The arbitration being at length prepared, they all signed it without seeing it. They were all so well satisfied therewith, that they could not forbear
publishing it every where. It was God alone who did those things; for when I had no more to do with those affairs, I knew nothing about them; and if I now hear any talk of such things, to me it sounds like Arabic.
· My friends, and persons of the greatest distinction in the country, now came to advise me to remove from my mother-in-law: For though I never complained of her, every one knew her humour. I answered that I should account it my place and duty to stay with her, if she would permit me. The view that was given me was not to go from the cross. Wherefore I resolved neither
to leave my mother-in-law, nor put away the girl I have spoken of.
I HOPE, sir, you will excuse me for writing in so little order. I cannot do otherwise, on account of so many different things I have to mention, which I can only recite as they present themselves.
CHAP. XXIII. THIS chapter is only a detail of her interior
hardships and sufferings during the time of total privation, as also great part of the 24, 25, 26, and 27th chapters, in which the like accounts often recur. The abridged account given in the 21st, may suffice on this head; yet all such particulars, as appear worthy of fresh notice in these chapters, shall be recited in their proper order.
CHAP. XXIV. BEING now a widow, my crosses, which one
would have thought should have abated, increased. That turbulent domestic I have so often mentioned, instead of growing milder, now she depended on me, became more furious than ever. In our house she had amassed a good fortune, and I settled on her, besides, an annuity for the remainder of her life, for the services she had done my husband. She swelled with vanity and haughtiness. Having been used to sit up so much with an invalid, she had taken to drink wine, to keep up her spirits. It had now passed into a habit. As she grew aged and weak, a small matter got into her head. I tried to hide this fault; but it grew to that height that it could not be concealed. I spoke of it to her confessor, in order that he might try, softly and artfully, to reclaim her from it; but instead of profiting by her director's advice, she was outrageous against me. My motherin-law, who could hardly bear that fault, and had often spoken to me about it, now joined in reproaching me, and vindicating her. This strange creature, when any company came, would cry out with all her might, “ that I had “dishonoured her, thrown her into despair, and “would be the cause of her damnation, as
İ “was taking the ready course to my own :" Yet at this time God gave me an unbounded patience. I answered only with mildness and charity all her passionate inyectives, giving her besides every possible mark of my affection. If any other maid came to wait on me, she would draw her back in a rage, crying out, that "I hated her on acconnt of the affection with
st which she had served
husband.” When she bad not a mind to come, I was obliged to serve myself; and when she did come, it was to ehide and make a noise.
When I was very unwell, as was often the case, this girl would
appear to be in despair. From hence I thought it was from thee oh LORD, that all this came upon me; for without thy permission, she was scarce capable of such unaccountable conduct. She seemed not sensible of any faults, but always to think herself in the right. All those whom thou hast made use of to cause me to suffer, thought they were rendering service to thee in so doing
I WÉNT to Paris on purpose to see monsieur BERTOT, who had been of very little service to me as a director.
Not knowing my state, and I incapable of telling him it, he grew weary of the charge. At length he threw it up, and writ to me to take another director. I made no doubt but God had revealed to him my wicked state; ard that desertion of me seemed a most certain mark of my reprobation. This was during the life of my husband. But now iny solicitations, and his sympathy with me on my husband's death, prevailed on him to resume my direction, which to me still proved of very little service. I went to Paris on purpose to see him. When there, I went twelve or fifteen times to him, without being able to tell him any thing of my condition: I told him indeed I wanted some ecclesiastic to educate my son, to rid hiin of his bad habits, and of the wrong impressions he had conceived against me. He found one for me of whom he had received very good recommendations.
I went to make a* retreat with M. BERTOT, and' Mad. de C. He spoke to me all the time 11ot a quarter of an hour at most.
As he saw that I said nothing to him, for indeed I knew not what to say, as I had not spoke to him of the favours which the Lord had conferred on me; (not from a desire to conceal them, but because the Lord did not permit me to do it, as he had over me only the designs of death) he therefore spoke to such as he looked upon to be more advanced in grace, and let me alone as one for whom there was nothing to be done. So well did God hide from him the situation of my soul, in order to make me suffer, that he wanted to refer me to certain considerations, thinking I had not the spirit of prayer, and that Mrs. GRANGER was mistaken in me when she told him I had. I did what I could to obey him, but to me it was entirely impossible. On this account Iwas displeased with myself, because I believed M. Berror rather than my own experience. Through this whole retreat my inclination, which I discerned only by the resistance I made to it, was to rest in silence and nakedness of thought; but in the settling of my mind therein I feared I was disobeying the orders of my director: And this made me think that I was decayed and fallen off from grace. I kept myself in my state of nothingness, content with my poor low degree of prayer, without envying the higher one of others, which I judged myself unworthy of. I would have however desired much to do the will of God, and to advance more to please
Many of the pious Romanists retire a day, week, or a month on
some fixed season--secluding themselves intirely from all worldly business and connections, in order to give up their whole time and heart to God in prayer, and this they call a retreat.