Fragrance Quote November 13th, 2011-Louisa May Alcott: her life, letters, and journals By Louisa May Alcott

Fragrance Quote November 13th, 2011-Louisa May Alcott: her life, letters, and journals By Louisa May Alcott

Dear Papa, — Before we go on to fresh "chateaux and churches new," I must tell you about the sights here in this pleasant, clean, handsome old city. May has done the church for you, and I send a photograph to give some idea of it. The inside is very beautiful; and we go at sunset to see the red light make the gray walls lovely outside and the shadows steal from chapel to chapel inside, filling the great church with what is really "a dim religious gloom." We wandered about it the
other evening till moonrise, and it was very interesting to see the people scattered here and there at their prayers; some kneeling before Saint Martin's shrine, some in a flowery little nook dedicated to the infant Christ, and one, a dark corner with a single candle lighting up a fine picture of the Mater Dolorosa, where a widow all in her weeds sat alone, crying and praying. In another a sick old man sat, while his old wife knelt by him praying with all her might to Saint Gratien (the patron saint of the church) for her dear old invalid. Nuns and priests glided about, and it was all very poetical and fine, till I came to an imposing priest in a first class chapel who was taking snuff and gaping, instead of piously praying.

The File Dieu was yesterday, and I went out to see the procession. The streets were hung with old tapestry, and sheets covered with flowers. Crosses, crowns, and bouquets were suspended from house to house, and as the procession approached, women ran out and scattered green boughs and rose-leaves before the train. A fine band and a lot of red soldiers came first, then the different saints on banners, carried by girls, and followed by long trains of girls bearing the different emblems. Saint Agnes and her lamb was followed by a flock of pretty young children all in white, carrying tall white lilies that filled the air with their fragrance.

"Mary our Mother" was followed by orphans with black ribbons crossed on their breasts. Saint Martin led the charity boys in their gray suits, etc. The Host under a golden canopy was borne by priests in gorgeous rig, and every one knelt as it passed with censors swinging, candles burning, boys chanting, and flowers dropping from the windows. A pretty young lady ran out and set her baby in a pile of green leaves in the middle of the street before the Host, and it passed over the little thing who sat placidly staring at the show and admiring its blue shoes. I suppose it is a saved and sacred baby henceforth.