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the stoker raised their caps as they hurried by: and the man in charge of the gate, fell on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament, while, at the same time, he held up his white flag to the train. The house of Louise Lateau was now in sight, about two hundred yards beyond the level crossing, and just half a mile from the parish church of Bois d'Haine.

It is a small whitewashed cottage, standing by the roadside ; unpretending in appearance, but singularly neat and well kept. As we came near, the door was noiselessly opened from within. We passed first into a room of moderate dimensions, which answers the double purpose of kitchen and workroom ; for the family is poor, an aged mother and her three daughters having scarcely any means of support but what they earn by the work of their own hands. A sewing machine stood on a deal table at one side; and the walls, beautifully white and clean, were adorned here and there with pious pictures.

The next room, of smaller size, seemed to be the sleeping apartment of the family. In it was one of the sisters, kneeling in prayer. Directly before her was an open door ; and through this door we passed into the room of Louise. This room, about ten feet square, is a recent addition to the house. It was built for Louise, after the weekly recurrence of the bleeding and the ecstasy was fully established : for it was found desirable to give her a place of retirement, where she might remain undisturbed herself, and where she would not interfere with the routine of domestic work.

In this little sanctuary every thing was exquisitely neat and modest. Before us, a very small table, decorated with artificial flowers, and bright with burning tapers, was covered with a linen cloth of snowy whiteness, to receive the Blessed Sacrament. On the right, at the back of the door, was a tiny bed, carefully made up for the day, and at the foot of the bed was Louise herself upon her knees. She is twenty-two years of age, rather under the middle height, and somewhat plain in appearance. As she knelt there, waiting to receive Communion, her face bore a certain expression of sadness, but was not, by any means, melancholy or care-worn. Her dress, in perfect harmony with everything around, was simple and unpretending

Over her hands was spread out a long linen cloth, which she held up under her chin. Another of the same kind, saturated with blood, was on the bed close by, as if it had been changed for a fresh one just before we came in : beside it were lying her beads.

The blood stood out in drops on her forehead, which looked as if scratched and torn ; and, further back, it could be seen oozing out through her hair, under her little black cap. She remained perfectly motionless, and never raised her eyes. After receiving Communion she took a little water from the hand of the priest. The ceremony lasted altogether, from the time we entered the room, about three or four minutes; and before it was ended, the blood, which had been accumulating every moment on her forehead, was flowing down over her face in three separate streams.

When we came back to the Church, the Curé was finishing his Mass, in the presence of a large peasant congregation. As there were two altars, we had an opportunity of saying Mass, too, without much delay; and afterwards, the Curé invited us all to breakfast. I eagerly accepted the invitation, hoping to hear, from an authentic source, an exact account of the extraordinary phenomena manifested in Louise, and to learn, perhaps, some interesting details of her life. But I was doomed to disappointment. The worthy Curé was not communicative: it was only with reluctance he would speak about Louise at all; and he seemed rather disposed to rebuke our curiosity than to gratify it. One thing, indeed, came out, which was new to me, that Louise had eaten nothing since last March twelvemonth. But even this fact was drawn from him with difficulty, and he spoke of it without any expression of admiration or surprise.

It seemed to me as if the good Curé had been so long accustomed to supernatural wonders in the person of Louise Lateau, that they have ceased to be wonders for him. As Saint Augustine says, it is not what is really most wonderful that strikes us most, but rather what is rare. The countless marvels of the earth and of the heavens pass before our eyes, day after day, and we make but little account of them ; so, too, it would seem that those in daily intercourse with Louise, have grown so familiar with the prodigies which God has wrought in her, that the feeling of wonder has passed away, and they would now be more surprised at the cessation of these prodigies than they are at their continuance.

We learned, during breakfast, that Louise usually passes into her ecstasy between nine and ten o'clock on Friday morning, and comes out of it about five in the afternoon. As she is very unwilling to be made an object of exhibition, visitors are not admitted until after the ecstasy has begun, and they must leave before it is over. By this arrangement she is spared all confusion and embarrassment: for while the ecstasy lasts, she is completely unconscious of what is going on around her. Accordingly, when we were taking our leave after breakfast, the Curé directed us to return at half-past twelve, and engaged to come with us himself to the house of the Ecstatica.

I came punctually at the time appointed. The other priests had already arrived. But there was varied crowd of visitors besides, assembled in the hall and parlour of the Cure's house, who had come, not only from the neighbouring provinces of Belgium, but from distant parts of France, and England, and America. It was a troublesome and unpleasant task for the poor Curé to meet them all : to listen to their several stories, to hear their urgent petitions, and yet to refuse what they sought for so earnestly. He was firm, however, though gentle. He told them he had long ago promised admission to as many as the room could hold ; that those who had got his promise were already waiting for him at the house of Louise, and that it would be unfair to exclude them now, at the last moment, in order to make room for others, who had come late, and who had made no previous application.

We set out at length, and in a few minutes reached the house. Here we encountered another crowd, of perhaps forty people, many of whom had come without any arrangement with the Curé, in the vague hope of obtaining admission. Then followed the same unpleasant scene we had already witnessed, of expostulation and entreaty. In the end, the Curé, who acted with great tact, and a certain blunt courtesy, succeeded in getting together those whose claim he recognised, and arranging them close to the door of the house. He then tapped lightly at the window. The door was opened in a moment. We entered, to the number of about five-andtwenty, and the door was closed again.

Louise was alone in the inner room. She was seated on a chair at the foot of her bed, just in the same place where she had knelt to receive Communion in the morning. Her body was bent slightly forward ; her hands rested on her lap, and were covered with a linen cloth, deeply stained with blood ; her face, partly turned round towards her right shoulder, was directed upwards; her eyes, full of expression, were wide open, and seemed to be fixed on some object that absorbed all her thoughts ; her whole attitude suggested the idea of eager and earnest attention. Though five-and-twenty people had, all at once, come into the little room, with a sort of rush, the ecstatic girl never stirred; her eyes were never for a moment diverted from the object on which they seemed to be immovably fixed; nor did she appear, in the least degree, conscious that her solitude had been suddenly invaded by an intensely eager, though reverent and awe-stricken, crowd.

There were four or five priests in the room. At a signal from the Cure they took out their Breviaries, and began to read aloud the Vespers of the day: it was the Eve of St. Laurence, Martyr. As soon as the first murmurs of prayer were heard, the countenance of Louise seemed to be suddenly lit up with an expression of innocent delight. It was no longer plain, but beautiful and attractive. At intervals, a sweet smile played across her features, and her eyes beamed with a more brilliant lustre. This was always the case at the Gloria Patri, and at the Ave Maria. But a more striking change came with the first verse of the Magnificat. The movement of her features betokened especial emotion ; she started with a sudden thrill of joy, and her hands, at the same moment, rose up from her knees, where they had before rested, into an attitude partly of wonder, partly of adoration.

By this last movement the cloth that had covered her hands was thrown off, and the stigmas became visible. At first they were somewhat concealed by the blood, which was slowly oozing through the skin. But some pious people, seeing that a favourable moment had arrived for getting a relic of this extraordinary scene, began to apply white handkerchiefs and linen cloths to the bleeding marks; and in a few moments all the blood was wiped away.

The nature of the stigmas was then more distinctly seen. They are oval marks of a bright-red hue, appearing on the back and palm of each hand, about the centre. Speaking roughly, each stigma is about an inch in length, and somewhat more than half an inch in breadth. There was no wound, properly so called, but the blood seemed to force its way through the unbroken skin. In a very short time, sufficient blood had flowed again to gratify the devotion of other pilgrims, who applied their handkerchiefs, as had been done before, until all the blood had been wiped away a second time. This process was repeated several times during the course of our visit. It has been remarked, however, that the blood does not usually flow so fast during the time of ecstasy as it does before and after.

When Vespers were ended the countenance of Louise subsided into an expression of greater repose, such as it had worn when we first came into the room ; but her hands still remained extended in the attitude of earnest prayer. No very remarkable change took place until twenty minutes to three o'clock. Some new and startling vision seemed then to arrest her attention : an emotion of painful anxiety fitted across her face: she rose up somewhat in her chair, but without leaving the sitting posture, and the next moment she fell forwards on the floor, her head coming gently into contact with the ground. There was something very peculiar about this fall. It was not accomplished, apparently, by a regular series of muscular efforts, but rather by one continuous uniform movement; and though the fall was quite sudden, there was no shock, the body reaching the ground with the lightness almost, and the softness of a sponge.

The Rosary was now said, also the Litany of the Saints, the Salve Regina, and some other prayers. No visible effect was produced upon Louise, except that during the prayers her head was slightly raised; when they ceased, it sank down again upon the pavement. About this time a train passed by, close to the window of the little room, and the harsh whistle of the engine disturbed, for a moment, the profound quiet that reigned around. What a startling contrast was here, between the scene without, representing the busy world in its onward march, noisy and self-confident, and the scene within, representing Christ crucified-a stumbling block, indeed, to the Jews, and a foolishness to the Gentiles, but to them that are called, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

From the way in which the Ecstatica had fallen to the ground, her body was partly doubled up, and her left arm was bent in under her breast. In this position she remained for about twenty minutes. But at three o'clock exactly a remarkable movement was observed. Her body became extended to its full length, her arms were stretched out at right angles to her body, and her right foot placed itself over her left. One of the priests who were present bent up her right arm into a more convenient position ; when the pressure was withdrawn, it was at once stretched out again as before. In like manner, when the Curé moved the right foot from its position, it was instantly carried back, as if by a secret spring.

After this, no further change occurred; and about twenty minutes past three, at the bidding of the Curé, we took our leave. Is we passed out, we saw the mother of

ouise in one om, sitting alone, apparently very infirm and stricken in years. In the next room were the two sisters, busied with their sewing machine and their needlework. All were simple and graceful; neither forward on the one hand, nor awkward or embarrassed on the other : not over eager to talk, yet entering with ease into conversation when spoken to. But the Curé was not the man to encourage idle gossip. He motioned to us, from behind, to move on, and got us out of the house as quickly as he could. After exchanging greetings with a few persons in the miscellaneous crowd, and thanking the Curé for his kindness, I turned my steps in the direction of Manage, and left, the same evening, by train for Ghent.

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