Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French I).djvu/33

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passed there a great part of the time that the other monks consecrated to the liberal and mechanical arts. He was no longer sad and he no longer complained.

A behavior so singular excited the curiosity of the monks.

They asked themselves in the community why Friar Barnabas made retreats so frequently.

The prior, whose duty it is to ignore nothing of the behavior of the religious, decided to watch Barnabas in his solitude. One day that he was closeted in the chapel, Dom Prior came, accompanied by two elders of the convent; and observed through cracks in the door the things that were happening in the interior.

They saw Barnabas, who, before the altar of the Holy Virgin, head downward, his feet in the air, was juggling with six copper balls and twelve knives. He was doing, in honor of the Holy Mother of God, the feats of his trade which had provoked the most applause. Not comprehending that this simple man, thus placed his talent and his learning at the service of the Holy Virgin, the two elders cried that it was a sacrilege.

The prior knew that Barnabas's mind was innocent, but thought that he had fallen into insanity. They were preparing to drag him out of the chapel as quickly as they could, when they saw the Holy Virgin descend the stairs of the