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The Nunnery Tales

The Nunnery Tales

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Published by ntop73

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Published by: ntop73 on Feb 05, 2013
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Renaissancewww.renebooks.comCopyright ©2001 by Renaissance E Books
NOTICE: This work is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Making copies of thiswork or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, including without limit email, floppy disk, filetransfer, paper print out, or any other method constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjectsthe violator to severe fines or imprisonment.
The Nunnery Tales
A Renaissance E Books publicationISBN 1-929670-79-6All rights reservedCopyright © 2001 by Renaissance E BooksThis book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission.For information contact:publisher@renebooks.comA Sizzler Edition
Chapter One
"Good news, Augustus,” my mother exclaimed upon reading the message she'd just receivedfrom a friend in Dieppe. “Your father has escaped France in safety.” We hugged each other,overjoyed to know that he'd avoided the inevitable fate, which, as an aristocrat, would havebefallen him at the hands of the purging Republicans. Then a look of distress crossed herface. “But until we get news from England to enable us to join him there, I hardly knowwhere we can look for refuge. I suppose we're guaranteed a temporary home, for my youngersister, Agatha, is Abbess of the convent of St. Claire, but now there is talk of suppressingconvents and priests altogether. My other fear pertains to you, my dear boy,” she said,wringing her hands. “Taking refuge and protecting you from danger is one thing; but how tosmuggle you, a young boy of seventeen, into a convent full of young nuns is a perfect puzzleto me.""Nonsense, Mother!” I exclaimed. “Before the convents are suppressed, we'll be in safety inEngland, and as for getting me snugly into the convent, we're about the same height andresemble one another, so you must dress me up the best way you can and introduce me asyour sister, or niece, or friend, or something or other.""You are impudent for imagining any such idea,” replied my mother, laughing, “but youforget one thing. It will be impossible to deceive my sister, Agatha.""Try, anyway,” I said, “and if the worst comes to the worst, we must let her into our secretand trust to her kindness.""Your plan is bold, if not rash, but as I can't think of anything else, we'll try it,” she agreedwith some misgivings. “Let me see,” she continued in a musing tone, “I'll present you as theniece of your father's wife, but even then Agatha may have her suspicions, but we'll risk it.”
She wagged a finger at me. “Mind you don't look so bold, and stride so wide in your walk asyou usually do, and I'll dress you suitably tomorrow morning."I shook my head. “We don't know what may happen this afternoon or tomorrow morning. If we are discovered here, we shall never see the Convent of St. Claire, or any other place of refuge.” I gathered up my jacket and walked to the door. “There is plenty of time left today,so while I go and hire a coach, why don't you lay out suitable apparel for me.""You are right, Auguste, or rather Augustine, as I must now call you,” Mother said. “Goquickly."I lost no time in getting a conveyance, the driver of which I knew I could depend upon. Andupon my return in twenty minutes with my mother's assistance, I was completelymetamorphosed from a handsome youth into a tall, bold-looking, but still not unattractivegirl. Of course, there remained one important physical difference. We packed up my mother's jewelry and some of our most valuable attire and prepared for the street. We had previouslygiven my mother's chambermaid a holiday. When she returned and found us gone, the clothesand jewelry missing, she would take it for granted that we had either attempted to make ourescape to join my father, or that we had been arrested and thrown into prison.Our plan proceeded without difficulty, and before sundown, we arrived at the back gate of theconvent of St. Claire. We were most cordially welcomed by my aunt, the Lady Abbess of St.Claire, who, however, could not help lamenting the necessity which there was for us to takerefuge with her. I noticed that she stared at me with great curiosity and whispered apart to mymother. The answer that she received seemed to be only partly satisfactory. She shrugged hershoulders and smiled slightly as she glanced at me. “I do not doubt your step-daughter'sdiscretion, but I hope that she will recollect that she is Mademoiselle d'Ermonville, and willbehave as becomes her rank and sex.” This was addressed to me with very pointed emphasis.I remained silent; my only reply was a low, sweeping curtsey, at which feminine performancemy mother could not repress her smiles."But my dear Henriette,” commented the Abbess, “I fear that I must now treat youinhospitably, and turn you out of the room. I am momentarily in expectation of the arrival of Father Eustace.""Oh, I know him very well indeed,” replied my mother, appearing to me rather confused,“and there is no necessity for my leaving the room unless you want a very private interviewwith him, Agatha!""None of your banter,” replied the Abbess tapping her sister's cheek. “The Father is cominghere on duty.""Those handsome young monks are always ‘on duty,'” muttered my mother. Just then wewere interrupted by a tap at the door. After the Abbess gave the necessary permission, a tall,attractive young nun entered. First she made a lowly obeisance to the Mother Superior, andthen a slighter recognition of my mother and me."I have come, Holy Mother, to receive my punishment,” she said quietly.

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