distinct era, and other events are dated from it, as
one dates from the accession of a sovereign.
In the family annals the change is known as his
" second conversion." Many striking and minute ac-
counts of it are given. We will content ourselves
with Jacqueline's story as we have read it in that long
letter to their sister. It can not fail to be a faithful
picture, though less sharp in its outlines than most
of the Jansenist writers have made it.
There can be no doubt that, during those years
when mental activity was denied him, Blaise Pascal
made a thorough trial of material pleasures, yet the
Btraitest of the Jansenists — those who most bitterly
242 Sister and Saint.
deplore those years of defection — are careful to
say that no hint of vice ever attached to his hfe.
" His feet, indeed, trod the mire," says one, "but his
divine wings remained forever unsoiled."
During these years, a young nobleman — the Due
de Roannez — was Pascal's most intimate friend.
There is a suspicion of an attachment on Pascal's
part for the duke's sister, a ^irl of sixteen — an un-
spoken love, however, if it existed at all, and hope-
less, probably, in the lover's mind, on account of the
great difference in rank and fortune.
A treatise on " Love," probably written about this
time, goes toward establishing the theor}^ But stu-
dents of Pascal's life differ in their opinions, and it is
one of those questions which can never be settled.
Sainte-Beuve believes that " Pascal never passionately
loved any being but his Lord and Saviour."
Mdlle. de Roannez became for a time a novice at
Port Royal, but was urged by her friends into a mar-
riage which proved most unfortunate. Pascal corre-
sponded with her at intervals throughout his life.
Her brother, the duke, became warmly interested in
the Port Royal party, and was one of the editors of
the first edition of Pascal's " Thoughts."
When such a young man as we know Blaise Pascal
to be " came and sold all that he had " and followed
Jesus, we should expect great ardor and enthu-
siasm from him, and we find it showing itself
Teaching the Convent School. 243
sometimes in painful forms. Even the nun Jac-
queline, as we see, is obliged to reprove him for
his neglect of the body, while he revels in his new-
found spiritual joy. Ill-health, doubtless, deepened
the naturally somewhat ascetic tone of Pascal's
mind, and we see through all the remainder of his
life a relentless crushing out of much that is beautiful
and noble in human nature.
He was a most ingenious self-tormentor and did not
always remember that those who loved him were, of
necessity, included in the torment. While Jacqueline's
character is budding anew into fragrance and bloom,
his seems to be growing hard and dry, like some
brown lily-bulb which gives no hint of the glory and
sweetness within. Both bud and bulb will burst into
spotless beauty when the full summer comes !
But at his harshest and his driest, Jacqueline, his
twin soul, understands him.
" I felt astonished and discouraged by his coldness
and occasional rebuffs," writes Madame Perier, speak-
ing of a time when he was ill at her house, " I did
not then know that he thought it wrong to testify
affection. I wrote about it to my sister and com-
plained that my brother was unkind and did not love
me, and that I really seemed to displease him even
when I rendered him the m.ost affectionate services.
My sister wrote me that I was mistaken, that she
knew the contrary. He loved me dearly, — as well as
244 Sister and Saint.
I could desire, — and if opportunity offered for him
to help me in any way, he would prove by deeds
what he thought it wrong to express in words. And,
indeed, I afterward found it so."
We have mentioned her brother's conversion as
one reason for Jacquehne's happiness. Another
reason was her busy hfe. " I am never able to write
above two dozen lines," she says, "often not more
than five or six without being interrupted by some
question." For, in addition to her other duties, Jac-
queline was soon appointed to teach in the convent
school of Port Royal de Paris. It was a large and
popular boarding and day-school — as popular, proba-
bly, as any young ladies' school in Paris is to-day. Mrs.
Schimmelpenninck says, " It would be easy to cite a
prodigious number of young ladies educated in these
schools " (that at Port Royal dcs Champs and the one
in the city), " who have since edified the world, the
court, or the cloister by their wisdom, piety, and tal-
ent. It is well known with what sentiments of admi-
ration, gratitude, and reverence they always spoke of
the education they received at Port Royal."
Anne Arnauld had been for some years the Princi-
pal of the Paris school. The pupils were very fond
of her, especially the younger ones. No wonder ! for
we are told : "It was so pleasant to her to gratify
them that she could not help giving them sweet
meats." However, being a nun — a Jansenist — a con<
Teaching the Co7ivcnt School. 245
scientious and truly loving as well as an indulgent
woman — " she always prayed before giving them that
the children might not like them very much ! "
"One day," the story goes, "the children were
naughty, and Sister Anne left the school-room saying
she should not return, for it grieved her too much to
see how little love they had either for God or for
their duty." The children, on their part, spent the
morning in tears, " entreating the other teachers to
go and fetch Sister Anne and tell her how sorry they
were. At length some one went, and she relented
immediately and came to them. They flocked around
her, and she said it was a great consolation to her
that they were sorry for their faults, because God for-
gave those who repented, and it was, therefore, quite
right that she should forgive them also. With this,
she drew a bag full of sugar-plums from under her
mantle and distributed them, saying that when St.
Louis wept as he thought of the Passion of our Lord
he found the tears which fell upon his lips were sweet
as honey ; and she gave them the sugar-plums in
order that they might remember that when we weep
for our faults our tears are sweet."
Sometimes Sister Anne would bear the burden of
the children's faults and do penance for them herself,
for she could not pass over the sins, nor could she
bear to punish the children. " She had not learned,"
says Frances Martin, " that the tenderness of their
246 Sister and Saint.
Father in heaven was as great as her own, and
thought that she must appease Him by her own suf-
And now to this deHghtful Sister Anne and to one
or two others of the talented Arnauld sisters, is add-
ed JacqueHne Pascal with her clear, well-trained in-
tellect, her talent, her noble, womanly character.
Fortunate school-girls ! Justly do the " Memoires "
say : " The education they here received under the
sisters of Pascal and of Arnauld, was far different
from that elsewhere afforded to ladies."
The new teacher was never so demonstrative as
Anne Arnauld. She proved her love in a very differ-
ent and certainly a far less beautiful manner.
In the opinions of her superiors she was clearly a
successful teacher, for, after two or three years' ex-
perience, she was directed by Father Singlin to draw
up a code of " Reglem.ents pour les Enfants," ac-
cording to the Port Royal plan. This was added to
the " Constitutions," though with the^caution that in
other places it might not be easy or even advisable
to carry them out fully. Some children might not
be able to endure so strict a discipline, neither could
all teachers enforce it, without losing the love and
confidence of their charge, " which is all-important."
No one who loves children can read these rules
without shivering. "Yet," says Vinet, " where must
be the eyes of those who can read them and not dis-
Teaching the Conv.ent School. 247
cover them to be full of the most considerate tender-
ness ? "
And we must remember that the chilliness and
harshness which so offends us is not to be charged to
the writer so much as to the whole of the false, un-
natural system of which she was one of the few re-
These poor little Port Royal girls are to rise at
half-past four or five, according to their size and
strength. " They must rise promptly, not allowing
themselves time to get thoroughly awake, for fear of
yielding to idleness."
Prayer, both silent and audible, is the first duty,
and then the elder ones comb each other's hair " in
perfect silence." This " deep, morning silence," is
strongly insisted on and lasts, so far as we can see,
through the greater part of the day. For, after
Prime, at half-past six, the beds are made by the
girls in couples, still in silence. Next, hands are
washed and mouths rinsed with wine and water,
and breakfast follows, during which " one of them
reads the Marty rology for the day."
At half-past seven, all withdraw to the work-room,
" where they must diligently improve their time and
keep a strict silence. If it is necessary to speak they
must do so softly, so as not to interrupt those who
are old enough, to hold communion with God. Even
the little ones are taught not to speak, though they
248 Sister and Saint.
are allowed to play when their work has been well
and silently done, but each must play by herself so
that there may be no noise." And here is the first
glimpse of the tenderness of which Vinet speaks, as
the writer adds, in her own simple, kindly way, " I
have found that this solitude does not trouble the
children, for when they are used to it, they seem
to amuse themselves veiy merrily." We have a
second view of her tenderness, and, at the same time,
a specimen of shrewdness and good management in
this remark : " We teach them that they ought to
perform disagreeable tasks with more industry and
good nature than pleasant ones. But, nevertheless,
zve do really Jnwior them in their tasks as far as we
can, without allowi^ig them to perceive itT
At eight o'clock, the governess reads till half-past
eight, when all go to church.
Then comes a writing lesson (silent), before which
each offers a short prayer that God would help her
to perform that duty aright. " We try to impress
their minds gently with a holy habit of never begin-
ning an action of any importance without prayer."
At eleven, they all examine themselves and after-
ward repeat the Confiteor.
At length, " the dinner bell rings." Can they be
girls now and run down, waiting with bright faces
around the table till their teacher joins them ? " On
entering the dining-hall, they curtsey in pairs and do
Teaching the Co7tvent School. 249
the same in passing any of the sisters. They stand
modestly in their places till grace is said, their sleeves
falling over their hands They must keep their
eyes, always down, not looking on either hand, but
quietly listening to what is read."
On leaving the dining-hall, they have a recess.
And now for a little natural life !
" The little ones are kept apart from the elder ones
in order that the latter may converse more quietly
and discreetly." "If the recess is held in a room,
the elder ones gather in a circle round the mistress
and talk modestly and sociably, according to their
ability." " They may be allowed to play at innocent
games, such as battledore and shuttlecock. Not that
our girls avail themselves of this permission, for all
of them, except the very youngest, are so fond of
work that, as I have said, a holiday is irksome to
them." " The children are to avoid every kind of
personal familiarity, and never to caj'css, to kiss, or
even touch one miother on any pretext. Neither must
the elder ones pet the little children.
"The recess closes with prayers asking for grace to
enable them to pass holily the remainder of the day."
It would be wearisome to follow these school-girls
through the whole day, till the evening bell calls them
from their walk in the garden to undress " with silence
and dispatch," and go each to her separate bed. We
will simply make a- few more extracts from the rules :
250 Sister and Saint.
" We avoid talking much to the children, feeling
that instruction does more good if they are not
wearied with it."
" We do not seek to render them too spiritually-
minded, unless God himself has made them so, be-
cause either they might set too close a watch upon
themselves and so weary the mind and fancy, instead
of communing with God, or, on the other hand, might
feel too much discouraged at finding it impossible to
attain the perfection demanded of them."
" I find it a good way of forming a habit of indus-
try to allow them to do at recess some work which
they like and can not do at any other time. I taught
them, for instance, to make worsted gloves, and as
they can only do this during their recess, they are
very eager after it."
*' We are careful to make them speak politely, hold
themselves uprightly and gracefully, and curtsey
when they enter or leave the room."
" They must not speak of the singing of the sister-
hood, remarking that one sister sings better than
" Uncharitable conversation is specially prohibited,
and they are taught never to say anything that might
be unpleasant to one of their number, though in it-
self harmless, because it is enough to know that any
one present would prefer some other topic of dis-
Teaching the Convetit School. 251
" We try' to make them yield precedence to one an-
other from that holy politeness which charity alone
" I think that really to do children any good we
ought never to speak or act for their benefit without
first looking to God and asking His holy aid."
" We ought to be very kind and tender toward
them, never neglecting either their internal or exter-
nal wants, and showing them that we grudge nothing
to serve them."
" Example is the most effective method of teach-
ing. For the devil helps them to remember our
slightest failures, and hinders them from remembering
tlie little good we do."
" As to their trivial defects, I think it best seldom
to notice these, because they otherwise gradually get
accustomed to be found fault with."
" They ought to be treated politely, spoken to with
respect, and yielded to where it is possible."
" We ought to consider them as sacred deposits
placed by God in our hands, for which we must ren-
der an account to Him. Therefore it is best to say
little to the children, and much to God on their be-
More and more, as we proceed, does the hidden
love and wisdom become manifest, and as we read the
final word we are ready to say with Mrs. Schimmel-
penninck, " although many treatises on education have
252 Sister and Saint.
appeared in modern times, and many which have
been distinguished for the splendid talents of the
writers, perhaps not many among them surpass in
true wisdom, in a deep knowledge of the human
heart, or reality of experience, these * Reglements' of
Jacqueline Pascal." " Nor is it to be forgotten, that
whilst the press teems with numberless theories, this
little, but inestimable work details a system which
was tried, and that with unexampled success, for
above sixty years ; and which, at the end of a hundred
and fifty years, still entitles its author to the rever-
ence due to transcendent piety and the admiration
due to super-eminent talent."
THE MASTERPIECE AND THE
THE MASTERPIECE AND THE MIRACLE.
T. CYRAN and Jansen were both in ihelf
graves, but the truth they loved lived after
them. Its enemies, 'too, were active still. The
hatred of the Jesuits was the rightful inheritance of
the second generation of Port Royalists who are now
on the stage.
In order to understand that hatred and the climax
it now reached, it will be well at this point to recall
some facts in regard to both Jesuits and Jansenists.
In the first place the Jesuits had an old grudge
against' the father of the Arnaulds, on account of a
remarkably forcible and eloquent charge he had made
against them when he was a rising young advocate.
This success, Pascal wittily said, was the " original
sin" of Jansenism. And some of the later sins had
been of the same sort. Such were those flourishing
and popular schools and the widely-circulated school-
books. And such were the irtcreasing num.bers of tal-
256 - Sister and Saint.
ented and influential men and women constantly
joining the Port Royal ranks. We remember, too,
that there was an old quarrel with Pascal in the mat-
ter of his atmospherical experiments. Father Noel
and his confreres could not be expected to love the
Jansenists any better after Pascal became one of their
More than this, the strict morals and ascetic habits
of these people were a constant though silent reproach
of the lax principles and " casuistic morality " of Jes-
uitism. The ideal of true Christian living was plainly
more nearly approached at Port Royal than in the
" A little church born of the Spirit, within the visi-
ble and regnant church," the Jansenist body has been
fitly called. Disowned, indeed, they were by the
Romish communion, but '' they obstinately refused
to accept that disavowal." It was " grievous " to
them, as Pascal said, " to find themselves in a strait
betwixt God and the Pope." But they did their best
for many years to stand in that difficult and danger-
We must remember, now, in addition to all this,
that the Jesuits had great influence with the Govern-
ment. "They especially coveted," we are told, " to
guide the consciences of men in power." "There
were very few princes on the throne, nobles in the
realm, dignitaries in the Church, or religious houses
The Masterpiece and the Miracle. 257
belonging to any order, which were not, either
directly or remotely, under their influence." The
young king, whatever else had been lacking in his
education, had been well indoctrinated by his Jesuit
confessor, Father Annat, with hatred of the Jansenists.
And it was an easy matter to persuade Anne of Aus-
tria and Cardinal Mazarin that the Port Royal schools
were ** hot-beds of heresy" and must be abolished.
Early in 1656, the year to which Jacqueline Pascal's
letters have brought us, the matter seemed to have
reached its crisis. Over the heads of the Port Royal-
ists hung the censure of the Sorbonne (the University
of France) on a book of Arnauld's, " De la frequente
Communion," and, worse than that, the author's con-
demnation by the Pope. And after bewildering and
almost interminable disputations, lasting from July of
one year to May of the next, the Holy See had con-
demned the celebrated " Five Propositions."
These propositions were referred to in the chapter
on Jansen, but we must look at them more closely
here. They were five statements, which Father Cor-
net, a Jesuist priest, had with marvelous subtlety and
art framed out of Jansen's " Augustinus." " They
were worded, ' Mrs. Schimmelpenninck tells us, "with
the most artful ambiguity. The phrases were so con-
trived as to be capable of two constructions, widely
differing from, each other." In some cases it was only
the question of a comma's position in the sentence.
258 Sister and Saint.
, ic .
Now, there was not one of these propositions which
the Jansenists would not have condemned, if bearing
the meaning the Jesuits imputed to them. But they
denied that they were to be found in any such sense
in the " Augustinus."
Hence, when a " formulary" was drawn up for them
to sign, condemning these propositions, they signed
without any ado, but, one and all, added a line stating
that the propositions were not to be iound in Jan-
sen's book, and pointing out wherein they differed.
This was disappointing. Simple, straightforward
truth had cut the twisted knot ! But the Jesuits
were equal to the emergency, as we shall see.
They began their work of vengeance by getting an
order from Government for the breaking up of the
Port Royal schools — the schools for boys. " The offi-
cers of the police, accompanied by a troop of archers,
were sent to Port Royal des Champs, where they
made a list of the schools. They then proceeded to
each, and immediately turned out all the masters and
scholars." Racine, the poet, was a pupil in one of
the schools at the time of the dispersion, and has
given an account of it in his " Histoire de Port Roy-
al." The recluses were also driven away from Lcs
Granges on pain of imprisonment. Pascal took lodg-
ings in Paris, where he soon had plenty of work to do
for his cause.
" Immediately after, an order of council was signed
The Masterpiece ajtd the Miracle. 259
against the nuns. It was resolved that, every scholar,
postulant, and novice should be turned out of both
houses of Port Royal." The decree had been given
and was on the point of execution when two remark-
able events occurred which had the effect of delaying
the persecution for five years. One of these events
was the publication of Pascal's most famous work,
the " Provincial Letters " ; the other was a so-called
miracle, effecting a wonderful cure on the person of
Margaret Perier, Jacqueline's niece, who was a novice
of Port Royal.
The stoiy of the " Provincial Letters " is an inter-
esting one :
There was a good old nobleman, the Due de Lian-
court, living in Paris, who went one day to his church
in the parish of St. Sulpice to confess. The duke had
once made a retreat at Lcs Granges and he had a little
granddaughter in the boarding-school at Port Royal.
When he had finished his confession that day the
priest said, " I can not give you absolution. You are
guilty of two sins which you have not confessed : you
have a relative who is a pensionnaire at Port Royal
and you have dealings with those heretics — ^the gen-
tlemen recluses of Lcs Granges^
The aged duke admitted the facts, but was not
willing to confess them as sins, and quietly went
away without absolution. But the affair made a great
deal of talk.
26o Sister and Saint.
Arnauld ("the great Arnauld," Angelique's young-
est brother,) had been trying to keep still after his
last condemnation. But he was a born controversialist
and he could hold his peace no longer.
He came out in a series of letters on the subject,
and that was the signal for a wordy tournament, two
months long, between himself single-handed and the
doctors of the Sorbonne. Arnauld produced ream
after ream of solid argument (in Latin), and was
written down or talked down by the Jesuits, with
Pere Annat, Louis Fourteenth's confessor, prominent
The Due de Liancourt and his affair were very soon
left behind, as the combatants rushed once more into
the labyrinth of the " Five Propositions." Eighteen
or twenty sessions of the theological faculty were
spent on the question "du fait " — that is, whether
the propositions were, in fact, in the " Augustinus " ;
the remainder of the time on the question du droit —
that is, whether the propositions were orthodox if
they were there.
On the 14th of January — a few days before the dis-
persion of the recluses — Arnauld was censured on the
question oi fact, and the doctors went on to take up
the question of right, with the prospect of another
censure on that.
The great leader returned to his friends at Port
Royal, we may well believe a little dispirited. "The
The Masterpiece and the Miracle. 261
gentlemen there," Sainte-Beuve tells us, " all begged
him to write something in his defense — something
addressed to the public." His " labored, geometric
apologies," in Latin, addressed to the Sorbonne, did
not come anywhere near the people, and they, seeing
all this array of ecclesiastical and scholarly authority
against him, could only suppose th/it the very founda-
tions of the faith were in danger. "Address yourself
to the public," urged his friends. " It is time the
people should be undeceived. Are you going to let
yourself be condemned like a child that has nothing
to say for itself ? "
" He wrote, therefore," says Margaret Perier in her
Memoirs, " and read his production to them all. But
no one gave it any praise. M. Arnauld understood
their silence, and as he did not covet applause, he
said, ' I see very clearly you think this a poor perform-
ance, and you are right,' and turning to M. Pascal, he
added: 'You — you are young, — you might do some-
*' M. Pascal wrote the first Provincial, and read it
to them. M. Arnauld cried, ' That is excellent ; every
one will like that; it must be printed.'"