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for the schoolmaster of Heilthal. These gloves
were of a very ancient pattern, made of black
wool, wadded, lined with purple silk, and of
enormous sizean advantage for the poor
schoolmaster, who perhaps managed to put his two
hands into the odd glove without waiting a whole
year for its fellow.

The great paneled kitchen of Heilthal, in the
old part of the building, would perhaps have
looked a little cold and gloomy but for a most
glorious wood fire which burnt all day and lighted
up the ancient hall so as to produce a wonderful
effect. The oak carvings assumed a golden
tinge, and all the faces around glowed with a
beautiful blush as from the setting sun. Seldom
even in the palaces and halls of princes is there
seen anything as grand and picturesque as that
cloister kitchen with its glorious fire. The use
of such a fire, before which an ox might have
been roasted off-hand at any hour of the day, is
another question. The waste of fuel was said
to be enormous; the poor cooks, who had to
stand near it, were half roasted along with their
dozens of joints, and could never keep their
places long. The food was often spoilt, the
pots and vessels were burst by the intense heat,
and there were many applications for a change
to some more modern and reasonable cooking
apparatus. But the abbess always declined.

Early in the morning, after each lady had
given her orders for dinner, her maid sallied
forth to carry the required provisions to the
kitchen, to deposit them there, and to transmit
the directions to the head cook, who must needs
be a woman of great powers and wonderful
memory. This done, all ladies' maids and
superfluous persons were turned out at the kitchen-
door till dinner-time, when the old hall swarmed
again: every spinsterthe title of the ladies'
maidscarrying a large flat basket lined with
a snowy cloth, in which she had to take her
lady's dinner home.

The social intercourse between the cloister
and the families of the gentry in and around
Heilthal, was very lively. There were friendly
meetings every day, musical and reading evenings
especially patronised by the younger
members of society; select circlets of friends of
equal tastes, interests, or accomplishments, met
for a certain object; and large parties, where
everybody met everybody, and where the object
was not quadrilles but card-playing.

The company on such an evening assembled
at seven or soon after, and the first hour was
spent in conversation, generally very animated.
The ladies, sitting in a large circle in the
drawing-room or in small knots in the adjoining rooms;
the gentlemen standing hat in hand either before
them or behind their chairs; the servants going
round with tea and cakes. The tea was poured
out in cups of all shapes and colours; sugar-
basin, cream-jug, and two small decanters, one
with rum, the other with red wine, were placed
in the middle of the traythe rum and wine for
those gentlemen all of the olden times who
considered tea an old woman's beverage that
needed enlivening. Coffee is never served in
these German evening parties; it is only taken
for the early breakfast, and again shortly after

If the hostess were not very experienced, she
would, however smoothly and pleasantly everything
went on, feel nervous and uneasy, for
all depended on her tact in arranging the
card-tables. The moment would draw nearer
and nearer; now the hostess would glance at
her watchhalf-past eightand she would feel
still uncertain about the third and fourth table.
Of course, she had been considering the ceremonies
for days, but how could she know that
Major A. B. would be unable to come, and that
Fräulein v. C. D. would come, with her troublesome
headache. She must be sure that Frau v.
E. F. would be mortally offended if placed at
the third table, as she always aimed at the
second, if not at the firstbut how could it
be helped, when Count G. H. I. J. K. belonged,
of course, to the abbess-table, and she found
it impossible to shut out the prioress and the
dear Herr Pastor from the second.

There was a liberal party, a conservative
party, a sentimental party, and a strong-minded
party. The head of the latter was a very
peculiar woman. Masculine in appearance, and
without any apparent attractions, she exercised
a great influence over most of her friends,
whom she governed by her intellect and charmed
by her wit. She was always in opposition to
the abbesses, and that openly and defiantly
ready to fight her battle out with them to
the last. Independent in mind, she tried hard
to be so in every respect, and succeeded better
than any one else. She had her own little
intellectual circle, and formed it without the
least reference to rank and station; though
rumour saidand rumour had something to say
about everything and everybodythat she rather
preferred the talk of the opposite sex!

The soul of the sentimental party was a
canoness, extremely thin and fair, mild and
sympathising to a painful degree. She wore
a white or light grey dress, and spoke in a
faint voice. If any passion found place in her
breast it was a passion for music; though a
perfect pianoforte player herself, and a competent
judge, she would swallow every kind of music,
and so got the epithet of our musical glutton.
The organ-grinders were much favoured by her.
They were sure to play under her windows the
most heartrending tunes, and one coin after the
other would rain down upon them; a small
white hand would sign to them to repeat again
and again, until her next-door neighbour, in
despair, would rush in and cry, " For Heaven's
sake stop that man, I cannot bear him any

So the spirit of faction, jealousy, and
intrigue prevailed among us. But our prioress,
who never belonged to any of the opposing
elements, was esteemed and loved by all
parties. She was the good spirit of the cloister,
in form of a matron of nearly seventy, with plain
features, a very short stout figure, no waist
whatever, and a set of false brown curls. These

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