Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/211

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191
A QUESTION OF CREED

home, that had strayed into the town by mistake. In some ways it was not like the Convent, greatly to my discomfort. The chapel there was dainty in detail, exqnisitely kept, the altars fresh with flowers from the Convent garden, and for congregation the nuns and the girls modestly and demurely veiled. But nothing was dainty about St. Joseph's,—men are as untidy in running a church as in keeping a house—it was not well kept, the flowers were artificial and tawdry, and the congregation was largely made up of shabby old Irishwomen. The priests—Jesuits—were mostly Italian, with those unpleasant habits of Italian priests that are a shock to the convent-bred American when she first goes to Italy. They had, however, the virtue of old friends, their faces were familiar, I had known them for years at the Convent which they had frequently visited and where, by special grace, they had refrained from some of the unpleasant habits that offended me at St. Joseph's.

There was Father de Maria, tall, thin, with a wonderful shock of white hair, a fine ascetic face and a kindly smile, not adapted to shine in children's society—too much of a scholar I fancied though I may have been wrong—and with an effect of severity which I do not think he meant, but which had kept me at a safe distance when he came to see us at Torresdale. But he had come, I could not remember the time when I had not known him, and that was in his favour.

There was Father Ardea, a small, shrinking, dark man, from whom also it was more comfortable to keep at a