The White Sister

1
ITALY

2
- where lordly Vesuvius
waves his plume of peace
to a smiling city in the
        valley.

3
But deep within Vesuvius,
  as within the soul of
man, there lurks a seething
  ferment of unrest.

4
Dominating the city
 stood Chiaromonte
Palace, serene with
 age and destiny.

5
Prince Chiaromonte,
   devout Knight of
Malta, allowed no one
to disturb his hour of
      prayer - 

6
- not even the Marchesa
di Mola, daughter by a
  first marriage -

7
- nor Donna Angela,
ethereal child of a
second marriage, who
looked at him with
the sainted eyes of
    her mother.

8
"Count del Ferice
   is waiting!"

9
The observatory of Professor 
 Ugo Severi, high on the
 slope of Vesuvius.

10
Captain Giovanni Severi,
 the Professor's younger
 brother.

11
"The telephone, sir."

12
"Giovanni, I'm lonely!"

13
"Sorry, but I'm due at
 a portrait exhibit."

14
Professor Severi was
 devoting his life to a
 study of the volcano's
 moods.

15
  "Joke as you please -
   but some day I'll be
able to harness the power
in this old mountain for
the good of Italy!"

16
"Father has given me
 permission to attend the
 exhibition of a portrait."

17
"This conference bears
  on the welfare of your
 sister. Please see that
 there is no interruption!"

18
"I could never be as good
  as the picture looks -
 but it is nice of you to
 think that I might."

19
"But Durand, why shroud
  her in all this holiness?"

20
"She looks like a nun
  - a White Sister!"

21
"Madame Bernard has
  given me a title for
 my painting - The White 
 Sister."

22
"Count del Ferice, this
 marriage of Donna Angela
 with your son will unite
 two of the oldest families
 in Italy."

23
"Precisely - and incidentally
 - divide one of the largest
 fortunes."

24
Because of his hopeless
   love for Angela, the
 artist had painted her as
an unattainable ideal - a
woman too holy for mere
man to possess.

25
Riding to hounds - the
only pastime that ever took
Prince Chiaromonte away
from his religious devotions.

26
Angela mysteriously led
     her governess deep
within the fairylike shadows
of Chiaromonte Gardens -

27
But her thoughts were 
not on lessons - for -
just over the garden 
wall -

28
"Tomorrow I'm going to
  speak to your father
about our marriage."

29
Monsignor Saracinesca,
 scion of a noble family,
 was a lifelong friend to
 the stricken family.

30
"For the protection of
   the heirs, will you
 please take charge."

31
"The War Department orders
 you to command the ex-
 pedition of Engineers to
 Africa."

32
Immediately after the
 funeral the Marchesa
called for a settlement
of her father's estate.

33
"We have made a thorough
      search of his late
  Excellency's effects -
 There is no will!"

34
"Therefore, the title and the
 entire estate descend to 
 the elder daughter, the
 Marchesa di Mola."

35
"Your Excellency!"

36
"I'm sorry, but the Marchesa
 has given orders to admit
 no one."

37
"Since there is no will, and the
  Prince's second marriage,
  although performed in the
  Holy Church, was never
  registered with the civil
  authorities, Italian law will
  not recognize Angela as
  a legal child."

38
"This will cancel the
    marriage contract
 between my son and
 Donna Angela."

39
"What does he mean?"

40
"Keep still!"

41
"What did the lawyer
  mean?"

42
"That your mother was
  never married - you
 do not exist - you are
 nobody!"

43
A crushing sense of utter 
loss - a panic of longing
for love and tenderness.

44
"I hate you as I hated
  your mother!"

45
"She whined her way into
 my father's heart as you
 have whined your way into
 Giovanni's heart - the only
 man I ever loved!"

46
"Your mother whined her
   way into heaven, and
 I hope she can see her
 daughter now - a pauper
 foundling - begging for
 charity!"

47
"Father! Father!"

48
"You will leave my
  home - today!"

49
"See that Donna Angela's
  belongings are removed
  from the palace!"

50
"My house is small -
  but it is yours as
 long as I have a roof
 over my head!"

51
In a section of the city
  far removed from 
Chiaromonte Palace -

52
"Have - have you
  a letter for me?"

53
"He doesn't know where
 you are. Write a note
 and I'll take it to the
 barracks myself."

54
"I've searched everywhere
  for you."

55
"Nothing matters now
  that you are here."

56
"I have unpleasant news
 - that - that is hard to
 tell you."

57
"Only one thing could hurt
 me now. If it is that -
 please go quietly and -"

58
"Is that all? - How wonderful
 - to command an expedi-
 tion to Africa!"

59
"The transport sails
 at daybreak tomorrow
 - but I can't leave
 you like this!"

60
"But you must go. Italy has
 honored my Giovanni - you
 can't refuse just because of
 me."

61
Dawn - and each precious
moment a fond good-bye.

62
"The day I return will
  be our wedding day."

63
 "I'll wait for you,
Giovanni - I'll wait
for you forever."

64
"Madame Bernard, take
  care of her for me."

65
Professor Severi delved
deeper into the mysteries
of Vesuvius and at last
aroused the curiosity of
Italian scientists.

66
"- and in the course of
 my experiments I have
 perfected a volcanometer
 which shows the level of
 the lava."

67
"This signal will register the
 movement of the lava, step
 by step, to the rim of the
 crater."

68
Peacefully sleeping
under desert skies.

69
And Angela, ever dreaming
  of Giovanni's return, had
found peace of mind in
    helping others.

70
"Giovanni Severi has
  been killed."

71
"- Cap'n Severi killed!"

72
The Hospital of the
   White Sisters of
Santa Giovanna d'Aza.

73
Here Angela had lain
for days in a trance-like
state of dry-eyed despair.

74
"The terrific shock has
  paralyzed her emotions."

75
"I can understand a great
   love like hers."

76
"This is a painting from
 memory and a photograph.
 I wanted to do something
 for her."

77
Meanwhile, the tremendous
 task that still confronted
 Professor Ugo Severi was
 gradually breaking his
 health.

78
The flood of tears loosed
by Giovanni's portrait had
brought Angela well on the 
road to recovery.

79
"One cannot give up in life,
 no matter how great the
 sorrow. I want to work
 very hard - perhaps help
 a little in the world - in
 memory of Giovanni."

80
"Do you mean it is your
    wish to take up the 
 work in this hospital - 
 become a nun?"

81
Two years of diligent search
by the Italian Government
still failed to find the Arab
bandits who, safely beyond
pursuit, gave thanks to Allah.

82
Meanwhile Angela served
 her novitiate.

83
"We will be left here under
 a small guard. It's another
 chance to escape."

84
"Giovanni, I - I'm
  dying -"

85
Before taking her final vows
Angela paid her last worldly
tribute at the monument
erected in memory of the
ill-fated expedition.

86
"Death was jealous
  of me."

87
"He's dead."

88
While Giovanni struggled
 for liberty across the
 desert wastes, Angela
prepared to dedicate her
 life to his memory.

89
"Think well on what
  your final vows will 
 mean."

90
"Today you are at
 liberty to go out into
 the world - tomorrow
 the doors will be closed
 forever!"

91
"I am content."

92
At the end of the desert
  trail was a small
seacoast town under the
   flag of Italy.

93
Clothed in bridal array
 for her marriage to the
 Church.

94
"My orders are definite -
 you are to communicate
 with no one until you report
 to the War Department!"

95
Wedding Bells.

96
"Behold, we have left all
 things and have followed
 Thee."

97
The Bride.

98
The Bridegroom.

99
"I will pay my vows to
 the Lord in the sight of
 all His people, in the
 courts of the house of
 the Lord."

100
Divested of her worldly
garments as a symbol 
of Renunciation.

101
"Receive the ring of faith,
       the seal of the Holy
 Ghost, that thou mayest
 be called the spouse of
 Christ!"

102
"I am espoused to Him
 whom the Angels serve
 and at whose beauty the
 sun and moon stand in
 wonder!"

103
"He has placed His seal
  on my forehead - that
 I should admit no other 
 Lover but Him."

104
The Candle symbolizing
 her Soul and Body placed
 forever in the Sacred
 Keeping of the Church.

105
Dedicating his all to Italy,
 Professor Ugo Severi had
 at last broken under his
 terrific task.

106
"Professor Severi, your
  condition is serious!
 You must go to the
 hospital!

107
"You are to see no one
 until you have reported
 to the Minister of War."

108
"Captain Severi's brother
    has been taken to the
 hospital of Santa Giovanna
 d'Aza."

109
          "You may visit your
          brother and then go
 directly to the observatory,
 keeping your identity a
 secret."

110
"Mother, I came to visit the
 hospital and make the usual
 family donation."

111
"Professor Severi
  is sleeping."

112
"You don't understand!
   When I went away we
 were to be married!"

113
"Had Angela married
 another man, would
 you ask her to break
 her marriage vows?"

114
"There is no difference."

115
"Marriage to the Holy
 Church is just as
 binding as marriage to
 a man!"

116
"The tyranny of the church
         - enslaving women
 who should be wives and
 mothers!"

117
"- I'll get her out!"

118
"He will come here - force
  me to listen to him!"

119
"He shall not see you!"

120
"Give me strength, Mother - 
  pray for me!"

121
Following a lull in this clash
 of human emotions came 
 a still and sultry night when
 Nature seemed to hold her
 breath.

122
A seething ferment
  of unrest.

123
"The Countess Torlonia
    wished me to thank 
 you for consenting to send
 the same nurse."

124
"The Countess is at her
  villa, not the palace
 where you nursed her 
 before."

125
"My guest should be
  here any minute."

126
"This was the only
    possible way I
 could see you alone."

127
"All I want you to do
  is sign a paper I have
 prepared."

128
"It's an appeal to the
 Pope for your freedom
 - you alone can ask
 for such a dispensation."

129
"I have pledged my word 
   to God and He alone
 can release me!"

130
The strangely oppressive
   night aroused a vague
and instinctive uneasiness
 in every living thing

131
"You promised to wait
  for me forever!"

132
"Have I not waited?
   Was not all this
 for you - that I might
 pray for our Heavenly
 meeting?"

133
"You never loved me!"

134
"You can't say that!
    Even now I would
rather we were together in 
the same grave than lost
to each other as we are!"

135
"Nothing matters if you
   love me! Forget your
 vows -"

136
"Do you think it costs 
    me nothing to keep
 my word to God?"

137
"No earthly power
   can release me
 from my vows!"

138
"- and the observatory is
 such an ideal place for
 their secret meetings."

139
"I came only to warn you."

140
"There is one other way -
 I'll keep you here, a prisoner
 - you'll be found here -
 a nun who has broken
 her vows to live with her
 soldier lover!"

141
"In the eyes of the world
  you'll be my mistress!"

142
"A broken officer and an
 outcast nun - without 
 honor, faith or hope! Is
 that your love?"

143
"Forgive us our sins
  as we forgive them
 that trespass against us!"

144
"It was my great love for you
  - but now - now I know
 you belong to God alone."

145
"I - I will never see
  you again -"

146
"Until God's Great 
  Tomorrow."

147
"Lower the top -
 it's stifling!"

148
The living spirit of his 
brother's sacrifice calling -
calling on him to warn his
people of the liquid fire
threatening to engulf the
sleeping villages below.

149
 Dying - her delirious
mind centered upon one
thought, a priest to hear 
    her confession.

150
"Father, Father - I want
  to confess!"

151
"Bless me, Father,
 for I have sinned."

152
Another menace -
raging water from a
broken reservoir.

153
"Father - I stole the
  will - burned it -"

154
"I turned my sister out of
  her home - I hated her."

155
"Will she forgive 
   me, Father?"

156
"Will she forgive me?"

157
"God is Love.
She has forgiven you."

158
Dawn found Vesuvius again
peaceful - but the sun
shone on a steaming slope
of desolation.

159
And the clustered refugees
offered up a prayer for the
"unknown" soldier who died
that others might live.

160
"They are praying for
 Giovanni - it was he
 who gave his life."

161
"There is no death - -
 O Lord keep him safe
 until Thou callest me."

The End


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