The convent faced a broad open square, and had a large walled garden in its rear. The coach stopped in front of a handsome doorway, and after the travellers had been scrutinised and interrogated by the portress through an opening in the door, they were admitted into a spacious hall, paved with black and white marble, and adorned with a statue of the Virgin Mother, and thence to a parlour dimly lighted by a small oil lamp, where they waited for about ten minutes, the little girl shivering with cold, before the Superior appeared.
She was a tall woman, advanced in years, with a handsome, but melancholy countenance. She greeted the cavalier as a familiar friend.
"Welcome to Flanders!" she said. "You have fled from that accursed country where our Church is despised and persecuted----"
"Nay, reverend kinswoman, I have fled