The time remaining between Vespers and supper is spent again in work, and at the evening meal the monks read and act as servers, in the same manner as at dinner. Another meeting in the common room, a brief spell of recreation, and the Compline bell proclaims the last conventual duty of the day. This office is, in some monasteries, chanted in the dark, two candles on the altar lighted for the singing of Our Lady's anthem.
After Compline the monks have leisure for their private devotions before retiring to their cells to rest. The "great silence," as it is called, lasts from this hour to after Lauds on the following day. Any communication demanded by absolute necessity has to be made in a subdued voice or in writing.
In this connection too, it should be noticed that the rule of silence obtains throughout the whole day in the monastery, with the exception of the brief periods after breakfast and supper, and the afternoon recreation mentioned above.
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