Skip to main content

At St. Roque’s

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander. Note from the blogger: St. Roch’s chapel still exists in New Orleans, and greatly resembles the description given by Mrs. Alexander more than a century ago. Here is more information about the cemetery and chapel, and here is a collection of photographs from the place which I found very interesting.

“No visit to New Orleans is complete without a pilgrimage to St. Roque, and you must go there. I have some wishes to make, and will go with you.”

So said my friend, whom I will call “Nell.,” for short.

“Some wishes to make?” I repeated.

“Yes,” she said. “According to an old legend, one may get any wish granted by walking to St. Roque—never stopping on the way—saying a prayer, and making a wish.”

“How easy! And who, pray, might St. Roque be?” I asked.

“O, he was just a saint,” she said, lightly, “a very holy man. I don’t know much about him, but I do know that wishes are granted at St. Roque’s Church. I’ve tried it. I wished once for money, and got it.”

Nell. was not raised a Catholic, but has drifted that way from superstition and association.

Seeing that I was still unbelieving, she appealed to Miss Cecilia, a lovely Creole girl, a native of the city, and a pure and tender lamb of the Catholic fold. Read More

Is It I?

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Once I knew a joyous maiden,
Happy as a summer bird,
Laughing, singing ‘mong the flowers;
Her young heart with pleasure stirred.
O the happy days of childhood!
How they flit like phantoms by!
While I retrospect those hours,
Wondering vaguely: Was it I?

How I marveled then at faces
Growing graver with the years,
And at eyes that lost their brightness,
Quenched their light in bitter tears!
Now I marvel at the gladness
Of the days so long gone by,
While I sit a silent weeper,
Wondering: Can this be I?

Happy hours—they have fled forever;
Happy heart has left my breast;
Childhood’s days have fled like shadows,
Womanhood hath brought no rest.
All alone in wintry darkness
Sit I as the days go by,
Thinking of my happy girlhood,
Wondering: Can this be I?

The Tale of a Dinner

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

“Matilda,” said Mr. Sanders, putting his head in at the kitchen door, “Brother Grice and Brother Lee, from Bumbleton, are here, and will remain to dinner.”

Mr. Sanders was a preacher, who preached at Bumbleton once a month; Matilda was his wife.

“Mercy on me!” she said, staring at him; but in a moment her gaze wandered past him across the field—still farther. She was wondering what she would have for dinner.

“Well,” said Mr. Sanders, fidgeting about the door, “they are in the sitting room, and I must go back. It is ten o’clock, Matilda.”

“I know,” she said, trying to smile. “I’ll have dinner on time; never fear. Go back to your company.”

He looked back as he turned to go, saying, in a hesitating sort of way: “You—you can make out, Matilda.”

“I think so,” she answered. “Did I ever fail?” Read More

Hymn of the Week – How Sweet, How Heavenly

Poetry by Joseph Swain, 1792
Music by William Bradbury, 1844
Sound recording

How sweet, how heavenly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And so fulfill His Word.

When each can feel his brother’s sigh,
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.

When, free from envy, scorn, and pride,
Our wishes all above,
Each can his brother’s failings hide,
And show a brother’s love.

When love, in one delightful stream,
Through every bosom flows,
When union sweet, and dear esteem,
In every action glows.

Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above;
And he’s an heir of Heaven who finds
His bosom glow with love.

A Dream

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Last night in dreams I wandered
By the river’s pebbly strand,
While a bonnie boy and winsome girl
Held me by either hand.

But in my dream they vanished,
Though I sought them far and wide
With prayers and tears of anguish
By the river’s rolling tide.

I awoke. Wet was my pillow
With my unavailing tears,
And I knew that my bonnie babes
Were gone on the tide of years.