Miriam Coles Harris.

Marguerite's journal; a story for girls online

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8. A PEEPECT ADONIS. (Just Ready.)

"The Stories by the author of 'Eutledge' are told with
real dramatic power, and a genuine dramatic
pathos, which combine to make them
universally read with thorough
satisfaction and plea

All Issued uniform with this volume. Price 1.50 each,
and sent free by mail, on receptof price,


G. W. CARLETON & CO., Publishers.
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the many reasons which, have influenced
those who have been interested in the repro
duction of this little book, may be mentioned the
following :

First, the story has seemed a singularly fine illustration
of development of character. But too often in books, char
acters stand still. We have them in this stage of develop
ment, or in that ; good photographs. But here, little
Marguerite grows before our eyes from a passionate,
every-day child to a thoughtful, self-controlled, devout
young soul, whom all might emulate.

Secondly, it contains so easy and unintentional a picture
of French life and customs. It is so pleasant a way of
teaching a child, how French children live, and in how
small a part of the world his or her nursery rules prevail.
The sea voyage and the life in the tropics, without appar
ent effort at instruction, give so much and such excellent

And thirdly, there is a tone of high breeding and refine
ment in the story, that is perhaps the least easy of all


things to define, and yet which is something we could wish
more often graced the books we put before our children.
It is not enough that a book has no coarseness of senti
ment ; it should have a flavor of good breeding, an aroma
of culture, if we wish it to help our children to good
manners and the graces of life.

.One pauses with a little awe before putting a book into
the eager young hands stretched out for it. How great its
influence may be. Before you have well thought it over,
it may be assimilated and a part of your child's very being.
It was with a thought of those " who watch as they that
must give account," that this has been prepared. And
it is offered in the strong hope that it may do a beneficent
office to some mother's heart. Some one, perhaps, reading
it with watchful eyes, lest a poisonous flower should
reach her child's hands unawaresj may find in its deep
teaching renewed assurance of an already precious faith,
or a development of principles, which, if unfamiliar, may
be to her as a gate of hope.

What a watch it is, from the day in which the mother
first lifts her heart towards God and implores that He
" bless this child also," unto the day when the babe, grown
into full womanhood, goes forth from her fathers home,

to become in her turn a watcher also ! What discourao-e-


ment comes over her as, one by one, the dreary number of
the Deadly Seven is told before her eyes, and she sees that
not one root is wanting from, which to look for the sad
fruit. How hotly anger kindles in the baby eyes, how
fiercely are the soft fingers clenched, how madly is the toy
dashed to the ground, before one articulate word can give
utterance to the passion. How soon does the little brow
cloud with envy, if it be but of a mother's svnile or a
father's caress. How incessantly the coveted possession


of brother or sister causes heart-burnings and strife ; in
how many nurseries is the constant desire for what has
been seen elsewhere a weariness and pain. How early
does the dainty promised mouthful become a source of
influence. AVith what marvellous celerity do pride of
birth and station, and vanity, growing with the food of
fine clothes and pretty looks, show their power. How
soon, when industry is matter of obedience, and for a dis
tasteful object, does sloth appear. And with the inevi
table knowledge of good and evil, how soon is the list
completed! Here stands the "old Adam" perfected.
With what a cry, day and night, do faithful mothers
entreat the mercy of God for their little ones ; how do
they compass sea and land to build about their children
a defense on the right hand and on the left against the

This little story is that of a successful combat. It is
the story of our dear Lord's life in the soul of a child. It
would woo all the grave sisterhood of those who walk
forward, clasping little hands in theirs, to see the ever
new miracle of the indwelling Christ driving the Evil One
from a human heart. We stand in speechless awe and
thankfulness at the manger of Bethlehem, in vain striving
to realize the wonder of an incarnate God ; looking down
upon our children we might see an ever new incarnation,
the divine growth of the Lord JESUS in the heart.

This story shows the wonder-working of faith and
obedience. It is the demonstration of the Catholic faith ;
not Eoman faith though happily we see here that Rome
teaches it to her children but the true and only faith
taught by the Master Himself, the heritage of His little

It is the setting forth of the actual result of faithful


obedience and obedient faith. No. waiting for some pos
sible harvest at the end of life. No doubtful hope that
the precious soul may one day be accepted at the hands
of JESUS. It is the exhibition, in this child's life, of what
it means to become a real, yet unconscious member of
Christ ; of what a verity it is to be born again of water
and the Holy Ghost; of how the "old Adam" being
dead and buried under the still depths of the holy water,
the new man grows apace in the heart of the child in
corporated into Him. How, lead and taught by believing,
humble guidance, it begins early to tread down Satan
under foot, and breathe forth in every act the Spirit of
Holy Peace, showing the cross-mark in every thought,
" as wine tastes of its own grapes," through unity of sub

The act being of faith, and the life being of faith, it is
the manifestation, according to Him who cannot err, and
according to that witness who is " the pillar and ground
of the truth," of what must be the result: " that which is
born of the Spirit, is spirit."

Under the influence of the . " Sacrament of Promise,"
as it has been called the white dove of the regenerating
Spirit, hovering and brooding over the young heart it ex
pands into readiness for the " Sacrament of Realization,"
and the child we have learned to love is left at the opening
of her woman's life armed indeed, for hers is the armor
of the Holy Grhost, and fearless for her journey, since the
" new wine and the corn " are her food ; and she may speak
to Him whose insignia she has worn from her birth, for she
bears Him in her heart.

If one who has thought differently, or not at all, on this
subject should be moved by this little book to look upon
the sacramental life in her child's soul as more real that!


the perishing life of its body ; if one mother should
through it be constrained to declare to her little one its
inheritance, and to accept our Lord's own words as He
spake them, casting aside the torturing interpretation of
man, the humble little messenger will be blessed indeed.

M. C. H.

NEW YORK. October 11, 1875.



PARIS, October 7th, 18 . Tuesday.
AM ten years old to-day ! Mamma has kissed me
more affectionately than usual. Papa gave me a
beautiful five-franc piece quite new and he
too kissed me kindly. I am so happy ! My little sisters,
and Gustave also, came to offer me kisses, while, laughing
and bowing, they saluted me as a great personage, who
would certainly not tease them any more. However, it is
they who usually tease me, at least Gustave. But I did
not want to get angry so soon after papa and mamma
had embraced me, so I laughed too, and told them that I
really felt I was getting very large, and I hoped the
little ones would respect me, and Gustave too. It is true
that I do feel larger to-day, and that seems so funny to
me, for the feeling came quite suddenly after I had been
talking to Mademoiselle. Her manner was so grave, and
she was so good in trying to make me understand things.
I am going to write down our conversation, for she advised
me to trv and remember alwavs what she said. She still

/ i/

held me in her arms to-day, after I had given her my
" Good-morning " kiss, and said to me :

" Well, Marguerite, and now you are ten years old ! You
have long wished for this day to come. What impression
does it make upon you ? "
' I .replied at once, for I always tell her just what I think :


" Oh, I am so happy, for I shall have a holiday ! Mamma,
and you have promised it to me, and I shall enjoy it so
much ! Then I shall have a present, everybody will pet
me, and that is very pleasant ! " " That is all true, my
child," replied Mademoiselle. " But have you no other
thoughts? You are ten years old now, Marguerite. I
think now you can understand me if I speak more seri
ously to you than I have done as yet." " Yes, indeed,
Mademoiselle ! " I cried. " Listen to me, then, attentively.

/ / */

Ten years have passed, my dear child, during which God
has given you life, and to-day He begins for you a new
year. You have been overwhelmed by His benefits ever
since you were born. He has protected you unceasingly,
and has preserved your dear parents, your brothers and
sisters. He has surrounded you with kind and tender
friends." " Ah, yes ! " I cried, " JTe has given me you."
Mademoiselle kissed me while she continued : " Yes, my
child, He has given me to you, and you know how much I
love you. Well, then, for all these gifts which He has made
you, for the tenderness with which He has watched over
you, what return have you made ? Tell me, Marguerite,
h,ave you done anything for Him ? " I dropped my head
and I think I grew very red, but I said softly, " I was too
little." "How, then," said Mademoiselle, " have you found
means, little as you are, of offending God seriously ? " She
waited for an answer, but as I said nothing she continued :
.. " You know it, Marguerite ; your conscience tells you of it.
You have already committed many sins. You are too
quick-tempered and are often angry. It is true that God
has given you a good heart and enough intelligence to
understand the language of reason, but too often you fol
low only your bad inclinations, and you do almost always
what is wrong, instead of what is right. It is so with


your behavior to Gustavo, for although you love him dearly,
you are always quarrelling with him, and at such moments
you are so violent that afterwards you are thoroughly
ashamed of yourself." " But, Mademoiselle," I cried, " you
know that it is always he who begins." " No, not always,
my child ; but admitting that he is wrong, is that a reason
why you should be so ? If he offends God, do you wish to
offend Him also ? Besides, will you tell me that your sweet
little sister Stephanie teases and troubles you? Is not she
always ready to do whatever pleases you ? And yet do
you not constantly get angry with her ? Is it not the same
thing with dear little Berthe, who is only four years old ?
Have you not even once or twice' stamped yorfr feet, and
grown red with anger, because Baby cried when you tried
to amuse him? Were you then more reasonable than
he ? " " No, Mademoiselle," I replied, very much ashamed,
" but '' " You must see, Marguerite," continued Mademoi
selle, " that I only speak to you now of your principal fault.
But I do not wish to trouble you to-day, my child. I only
want to remind you that what you have left undone before
now, you can do in the future, and that now is the time
to undertake it. Your tenth birthday should make a mark
in your life, and you should try to prove to God your
gratitude for His benefits, as well as your repentance for
your faults, by resolving firmly to try and conquer your
self, and become a better child. From this moment set
yourself to the task. Pray, and God will help you. Now
go and amuse yourself. This day is yours, although it be-
longs first to God ; do not forget that. Remember, too, my
child, that this year you take your place in the Catechism
Class, to be prepared for your first communion. Oh, my
child, tell me, is not this thought alone enough to make yoti
earnestly desire to do better?" These words troubled me


greatly, and I began to cry, but still I was happy, because
I had determined to be good and try to correct my faults.
The idea of preparing* for my first communion it was
that which made me feel that I had grown so much.

After embracing Mademoiselle, and making her a thou
sand promises, I was running away, when she said to me.
"Marguerite, I have one favor to ask of you, and as this
day belongs to you, it is for you to grant what I wish. In
setting aside all your other duties to-day, do not neglect
your journal; on the contrary, write it more carefully than
usual. You will soon forget all I have said to you, if you
do not write it down at once, and it will be well for you
to remember it. Tou know how much you gain by this
good habit of relating faithfully the history of every day.
You like to read it over from time to time, and the more
serious thoughts you will find the most interesting. Do not
think the time is lost which is spent in writing down what
concerns this day especially, and do it conscientiously."
I promised, and I think I have succeeded. Besides, I have
begged Mademoiselle to read over my journal. It is
rather long, although I have written as quickly as possible.
But now I am going to play. I trust that with God's
help I shall not get angry to-day. I hear Gustave already,
w r ho is calling me because I do not hurry enough. I shall
take my hoop, which I would not lend him yesterday, and
will let him carry it for the walk. . Since I am ten years
old I must be more amiable. I am sure that Mademoiselle
would say so.

Wednesday, October ,8th.

Ah well ! Jhow can I ever count upon my good resolu-
tious? I had actually a quarrel with Gustave yesterday
my teiith birthday ! To be sure it- was not quite as bad a


quarrel as usual ; and then I did not get angry with Ste
phanie, nor with Berthe, although they did play wrong in the
goose-game. And Gustave did get very angry, and made
them both cry ; but I must not write about it, for Made
moiselle says I am writing a journal of only my own ac
tions. I had, then, a quarrel with Gustave, which was not
all my own fault ; but I lost my patience so much that I
felt greatly ashamed of myself. One thing that consoled
me a little was that I felt so sorry about it, and Mademoi
selle said my ten years served at least to make me under
stand how wrong I had been. I asked pardon of God,
and I kissed Gustave without any ill-temper. What a
pity that I lost my temper ! My day would have been
otherwise so nice. Mamma took us all in a carriage for a
lovely drive in the Bois de Boulogne, for the weather was
soft and beautiful. One might almost have thought that
the sky was smiling because it was my birthday. Then I
went with my maid to see Clara, where I had a very
pleasant visit. In the evening I played with Gustave and
my little sisters, and it was then that I had this tiresome
quarrel. To-day I have begun to work again, and I mean
to be very diligent. I had only eight faults in my
" dictee," although it was long, and I said my verb well.
My exercise in grammar was only tolerably good, but I
knew my other lessons, because I went over them this
morning as soon as I was dressed.

Thursday, October Qtk.

I am not quite dissatisfied with my day yesterday, for I
committed no very great faults, although there were
some little ones. I began to get angry with Stephanie,
but when I saw the tears in her eyes I stopped at once.
I only made Berthe cry twice, and mamma thinks I am


more gentle with Baby. Nurse even called me to come
and make him laugh. Little darling, he smiles like a lit
tle angel ! Gustave was at college all day, as the term has
begun ; that was the reason we had no quarrels. In the
evening, he talked with papa and mamma about his
studies and his professors, while I sewed with Mademoi
selle ; then I read history with her and mamma. I said
my prayers earnestly. I learned in the morning my first
lesson in the catechism, for in a few days I shall take my
seat in the class. I have known for some time the
smaller catechism and part of the other ; but yet I feel
sure that I shall be frightened when they question me.

Wednesday, October 15th.

Yesterday was the great day ! Oh ! how I trernbled-l
Mademoiselle took me to the Catechism Class, and mamma
went also, which made me doubly happy. My heart beat
so hard, and I felt so shy when I had to go forward all
alone amongst the other little girls ! I kept looking be
hind me to see where mamma and Mademoiselle were, so
that I did not see a priest who was beckoning to me to
come forward. Then he was kind enough to take my
hand, and lead me to a seat. I found myself next to two
little girls in deep mourning; it troubled me to look at
them. The eldest was so pale, and seerfted very sad.
The second was quite rosy, and did not seem to think of
her mourning ; but then she was very young. I wanted
to speak to them, especially to the eldest, and to know
their names, so I listened carefully to the priest who was
arranging the children on the benches. When he said
" Marie and Jeanne de Laval" they rose to go to the seat
he pointed out to them, and I resolved not to forget their


names. I was just feeling sorry at being separated from
them, when the priest called out " Marguerite Guy on."
I got up quickly, and they placed me beside the two little
girls. I looked at them and they smiled. I think we shall
be good friends. The priest did not ask us any questions
to-day, as it took so long to give us our places. But M.
1'Abbe Martin, who superintended the class, made us a
very nice address. He said, I think, that the class was
like a vestibule, which we entered in order to reach the
sanctuary that is, the altar where we were to receive our
first communion. It was beautiful, but I cannot repeat it
well. I prayed more earnestly to God afterwards, and it
seemed to me that He would surely bless us all. I joined
mamma and Mademoiselle in going out. Marie and
Jeanne went away with an old gentleman who seemed to
be their grandfather; his beard and hair were quite white.
lie gave his arm to Marie, while Jeanne followed them.
Everybody looked at them. I do not know why. The
priest recommended us to love our companions in the
class, which I should not find difficult for these little girls.
One thing annoyed me very much, and that was that Gus-
tave made fun of me in the evening, when I was telling
about it all. He asked if the grandfather did not look
like a " mummy." Mademoiselle could not but say that
it was very wrong to speak so of an old person, and I told
Gustave that it was hardly worth while for him to study
history if it were only to teach him how to make rude
comparisons. Certainly Gustave is very naughty, but
Mademoiselle says I ought not to say so. She reproved
Gustave for his bad manners, as I thought, too gently ; but
what she said checked him. I was not able to do a great
deal yesterday, 011 account of the catechism, and, besides,
I have been playing ; but to-morrow I shall do better.


Thursday, October Wth.

I worked all day yesterday steadily, for Mademoiselle
said so herself ; and my dear mamma kissed me for it.
It is strange how happy I am when mamma kisses me as a
reward. And when papa looks at me smiling, and says,
" Thou art a good girl," it is just as if he had given me a
" Cross of Honor " like his own. Yesterday evening he
was all dressed in full uniform as captain of a vessel, for
he was going to the King. I was proud enough to look
at him ! I wonder if the father of Marie and Jeanne had
a cross of honor too ? Clara's father has not any, and I
said so one day to Clara, when she declared that her
mother was richer than mine. We were very angry that
day, but since then we have made friends ; and I like
Clara very much. She is very nice. Mademoiselle told me,
too, that such disputes were very foolish. When papa had
gone I saw that mamma seemed very sad, but she would
not tell me the reason ; and Mademoiselle called me to
read history. I am not sad when I see papa in uniform.
Perhaps mamma wanted to go to the Tuileries also, but
she has often been there. I will not, however, try to find
out why mamma was different from usual yesterday, for
that would be showing curiosity. But I do not like to see
mamma sad ; it troubles me.

Friday, October Vlth.

Papa too has seemed to be preoccupied for several days,
but we do not any of us understand it. Mamma and
Mademoiselle have constantly such long conversations, and
my lessons are interrupted, which is very strange. What
can be the matter ? Clara came to see me yesterday, and
they let us go out to walk with her maid. We met a poor
woman with three little children, but unfortunately I had
no money. Clara, who was just going to buy some cakes


for us both, asked me if it would not be better to give the
money to the poor woman. I said, " Oh ! much better," and
I thought it very good in her. The little children were so
happy that we were quite delighted. In the evening at din
ner, when I was telling this, my good little Berthe took the
biscuit from her mouth to give to the poor woman, although
we do not know where she lives, and Stephanie searched
for four sous, all her fortune, which she gave to Mademoi
selle for these poor people. Gustave made some jests
about it ; but he is generous, too, for he gives all he has,
and so is often obliged to borrow from me, which does not
please me very much, as he does not always pay me back.

Saturday, October 18t7i.

Now it is explained why they have been talking so
much. How surprised I was, for there have never been
any events in my life, and this may certainly be called an
event, and a great one too. Papa is appointed Governor
of Pondichery, in India, and as he will have to stay several
years, we are to go with him. What happiness ! I never
expected to know India except through my geography,
and it seems astonishing to me to think that I shall see
that country, that I shall go myself to Asia. And then
Governor, that is a great word ! Gustave declares that
over there it is like a king. It is funny to find myself
suddenly the daughter of an almost king. Oh ! I shall
ask many favors of papa, and I do not think he will be very
severe. What will Clara think of all this? But why does
mamma cry ? As for me, I am enchanted ! If we were
obliged to see papa go away without us, as he has done be
fore, I should cry too ; but since mamma will go with him,
and take us too, there is nothing but pleasure. To travel with
papa for perhaps six months, and at sea, too, when I have


always longed to know something of the sea ! To see
other countries, new trees, new fruits, the Creoles, and any
number of negroes-! I who have never seen any but the
little negro boy belonging to Madame Balde ! I am wild
with joy, and I do like events so much. Gustave feels as
I do, and for the time we are good friends, and we talk to
gether of all our plans. Mademoiselle is grave, and yet a

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Online LibraryMiriam Coles HarrisMarguerite's journal; a story for girls → online text (page 1 of 23)