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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

Sometimes amounting to sixteen or eighteen dollars


There

are three classes of inmates: those who are put here by their parents for insubordination or other grave faults; those who are sent here by order of a judge of the court for a limited period, and those who are recognized guilty of a misdemeanor, but are acquitted on account of their age, and must remain a certain time, sometimes until they have attained their majority, in houses of correction and education.

The Minister of the Interior pays twelve cents a day for pupils of the third class; the Prefect of Police four hundred dollars a year for those of the second class, whatever their number, only the establishment is bound to receive them at any time and at any hour.

There is a system of rewards, to promote good behavior, and those who profit by it can accumulate a small sum of money, sometimes amounting to sixteen or eighteen dollars, to have when they go out from here. In other cases there is a large indebtedness on the opposite side, which can never be collected.

The days are occupied in household work, washing, ironing, and sewing, and two hours of schooling. When the nature of the work will permit, instructive books are read aloud, or the deaconesses give pleasant talks on different subjects that will keep the thoughts of the workers busy, and give them helpful ideas to store away in their minds. As we went about in the sewing-classes, we noticed that the time was invariably

utilized in some way that was profitable to the girls. Most of them are pitiably ignorant of even the commonest knowledge demanded in life. There are separate court-yards for the recreations of the two divisions. The girls of the _disciplinaire_ are sometimes taken outside the institution for walks; those of the _retenue_, never. The work in this last division is especially difficult, and requires the utmost patience and love. These poor girls have to be watched carefully, and kept isolated from one another. Some are greatly influenced by the atmosphere of the place, the gentle, firm kindness of the sisters, and the restriction they receive. Others go out to take up again the old life of immorality, and are dragged away into the meshes of sin, finding their place, after brief delay, in the wards of a hospital, or sometimes a suicide's grave. It is a singular fact that the numerical appreciation of those influenced by this school of reform is precisely the same as that given in the report of the similar work at Kaiserswerth, although the two reports have no connection with one another, and one in no wise supposes the other. Thirty-three years ago one of the founders of the institution, Pastor Valette, said in answer to a question as to the amount of good accomplished, "Sixteen years ago this question came to my ears, and I stated as a principle that one cannot and ought not to answer it precisely and absolutely, because no one but God can give an appreciation of its real value. However, out of curiosity, I set myself at work to gather and register some results; and, matured by the experience of six years, I offer them, such as they are: One third of the moral results may be considered excellent; another third as offering good guarantees, and a final third has no value. It seems to me, however, as I am sure it will seem to you, that here is cause for rejoicing. Here is something for which to praise the Lord, and to encourage those who administer our affairs. For, I ask of the merchants who listen to me, if any one were to offer you thirty-three and one third per cent. assured, with the hope of a dividend, would you refuse the investment?"

In 1871 an occurrence took place worthy of being recorded. On April 13, at ten o'clock in the


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