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Ms A 23r

[23r°] pretty hoop to encourage her in her studies. The poor little thing needed these family joys very much, for without them life at the boarding school would have been too hard.

Each Thursday afternoon was a holiday, but this wasn’t [5] like Pauline’s holidays; and I wasn’t in the belvédère with Papa. I had to play, not with Céline, which pleased me very much when I was alone with her, but with my little cousins and the little Maudelondes. This was a real penance for me because I didn’t know how to play like other children and as a consequence [10] wasn’t a very pleasant companion. I did my best, however, to imitate them but without much success. I was very much bored by it all, especially when we spent the whole afternoon dancing quadrilles. What I really liked, though, was going to the park,49 for there I was first in everything, gathering flowers in great profusion and, knowing how to [15] find the prettiest, I excited the envy of my companions.

What pleased me was when by chance I was alone with little Marie and, not having Céline Maudelonde dragging her into ordinary games, she left me free to choose, and I chose a game that was entirely new. Marie and Thérèse became two [20] hermits, having nothing but a poor hut, a little garden where they grew corn and other vegetables. Their life was spent in continual contemplation; in other words, one hermit replaced the other at prayer while she was occupied in the active life. Everything was done with such mutual understanding, silence, and so religiously that it was just perfect. When Aunt came to fetch us to go for our walk, we continued the game even on the street. The two hermits recited



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