Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/51

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33
BRITTANY.

memory of its gentle lady still lives, and is preserved in this benevolent institution for the sick, the old and poor.

A school for girls was kept by the good nuns, and the streets at certain hours were full of little damsels, with round caps on their braided hair, queer long gowns of blue, white aprons and handkerchiefs, who went clattering by in their wooden shoes, bobbing little curtsies to their friends, and readily answering any questions inquisitive strangers asked them. They learned to read, write, sew, and say the catechism. Also to sing, for, often as the ladies passed the little chapel of Our Lady, a chorus of sweet young voices came to us making the flowery garden behind the church of St. Sauveur a favorite resting-place.

In endeavoring to account for the freedom of the women here, it was decided that it was owing to Anne of Brittany, the "gentle and generous Duchesse," to whom her husband Louis XII. allowed the uncontrolled government of the duchy. Relics of the "fière Bretonne" as Louis called her, are still treasured everywhere, and it was pleasant to know not only that she was an accomplished woman,

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