March 17, 2011

Quotable: In This House of Brede (5)

On Ash Wednesday afternoon each nun had to give in her poverty bill, an exact account of everything in her cell and, if she had one, her workroom.  "We don't want to collect things," Dame Clare explained to her novitiate.  No nun, from the least to the most important escaped.  Abbess Catherine was gentle, if exorable--"and very thorough," said Dame Veronica feelingly.  "Do you really need all those books? Choose three." "One watch is all you can use," or, "Dear child, you seem to have enough pens for an army."  "Everyone should have the same," was the hothead cry of some. "If you pause to think, you could not say that," said Mother Prioress in mildness.  "Dame Agnes, for instance, may need twenty books; Dame Perpetua needs one, as she would tell you herself, or perhaps none."
--In this House of Brede, by Rumer Godden

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