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The Nuns Of Carthage


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

At Carthage, New York, where the Black River bends gracefully about a
point, there was a stanch old house, built in the colonial fashion and
designed for the occupancy of some family of hospitality and wealth, but
the family died out or moved away, and for some years it remained
deserted. During the war of 1812 the village gossips were excited by the
appearance of carpenters, painters and upholsterers, and it was evident
that the place was to be restored to its manorial dignities; but their
curiosity was deepened instead of satisfied when, after the house had
been put in order and high walls built around it, the occupants presented
themselves as four young women in the garb of nuns. Were they daughters
of the family? Were they English sympathizers in disguise, seeking asylum
in the days of trouble? Had they registered a vow of celibacy until their
lovers should return from the war? Were they on a secret and diplomatic
errand? None ever knew, at least in Carthage. The nuns lived in great
privacy, but in a luxury before unequalled in that part of the country.
They kept a gardener, they received from New York wines and delicacies
that others could not afford, and when they took the air, still veiled,
it was behind a splendid pair of bays.

One afternoon, just after the close of the war, a couple of young
American officers went to the convent, and, contrary to all precedent,
were admitted. They remained within all that day, and no one saw them
leave, but a sound of wheels passed through the street that evening. Next
day there were no signs of life about the place, nor the day following,
nor the next. The savage dog was quiet and the garden walks had gone
unswept. Some neighbors climbed over the wall and reported that the place
had been deserted. Why and by whom no one ever knew, but a cloud remained
upon its title until a recent day, for it was thought that at some time
the nuns might return.

Next: The Skull In The Wall

Previous: The Green Picture

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