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But,” said Lady Anne in an under tone of immeasurable alarm, “I never meant to betray Miss Farinelli. I cannot and will not do it. I could die first. Lady Edith shall fetch a warrant to search this house from the roof to the cellar."
“ That cannot be. Lady Edith has no legal right over Miss Farinelli, who comes here to-day, or goes abroad to-morrow, without any one having a right in law to hinder her. The fact is, my daughter, you will greatly impede the advantage of our Church if
do not consent to keep it secret, for a fortnight, where Miss Farinelli is. No one saw her depart in your carriage but those who were in the plot; but now that our bird is caged, do
you think there is the thing on earth that could influence me to betray the secret of Miss Farinelli being here, when her remaining is so important to the Church? Thousands a-year depend upon this little manoeuvre, and it shall positively be completed. Father Eustace must lay his injunction upon you to obey, and you know the greatest of all virtues is obedience. No matter whether
you think an order right or wrong, you must not judge, but obey. The more your confessor's command is opposed to your private judgment, revolting to your personal feelings, or wounding to your individual conscience, the greater your merit in being a mere machine. If nature says it is sin, and if the law of God says it is sin, but if Father Eustace says it must be done, then it must and shall. The responsibility is his, not yours.'
“ But you cannot mean it!” exclaimed Lady
Anne almost hysterically. “You would frighten me out of my wits if I had any wits to be frightened out of.”
Mrs. Lorraine turned away with so determined an air, that Lady Anne felt intimidated from any further remonstrance, but not the less determined rather to part with her head than to leave the convent without Beatrice, and never to take the pledge, as Mrs. Lorraine evidently intended she should, to mislead Lady Edith respecting the place to which Beatrice had been, through her own jesting inadvertency, decoyed. That any information had been sent by the abbess to Lady Edith she did not now believe. At this moment Lady Anne, in her hot indignation at having been cajoled into becoming the heedless instrument of so deep a plot, felt as if the scales were falling from her eyes,—as if her chain had snapped into fragments, and the iron bondage of Romanism were at an end. She saw the iniquity of that system which acknowledges no rule of truth or honour. The power of natural conscience, which for ever survives amidst the ruins of our fallen nature, once more asserted itself, the remembrances of Protestant principle appeared in all their brightness to her memory, and clasping her hands over her eyes, as one awaking from a dream, she mentally exclaimed, “My mother's prayers have been heard. Yes, I am preserved from the snare. I feel awake and in my right mind. Truly a man who teaches lying and treachery, like Father Eustace, may turn his eyes towards heaven, but his steps are towards hell
itself. I shall not advance with him another pace, or obey him for another hour, if such be the use he would make of his soul-enthralling authority. In promising implicit obedience to a superior, one would need to ascertain what that superior, when he has riveted his fetters on the soul, will then enjoin; or it may be an outrage on every law human and divine. What can I do to secure soonest the release of my dearest Beatrice, or even to be quite sure of my own escape ? Dear mamma, how she warned me against all this double-dealing and deceit! but every one must buy her own experience in life, and dearly some of us pay for it. I know she will be quite in a way about my coming here. Not that she ever is, or ever was really angry-perhaps it would be better for me had she been less indulgent; and oh, how often Father Eustace has said that the nearer the tie to a heretic, the more dangerous her influence, and the greater ny merit in steeling my heart against every such old association.
My own mother! Your child is restored to you—and how happy we shall now be together! How I long to tell you all, and to ask your forgiveness of the past!”
“ What a fearful superstition, which subsists on deception, and on the rupture of every domestic attachment!” exclaimed Beatrice shuddering, when Lady Anne had with grief and loathing confessed all her penitence and perplexity. “Yet I never look now at the most virtuous and talented of human beings without thinking, “there is in you the germ of that corruption which might, under
Popish enticements, be led gradually onwards to all the horrors of Jesuitism. It begins with an apparently innocent love of processions, flowers, music, perfumes, painted glass windows, stone altars, wax candles, and fairy tales; these all stand at the porch to entice the curiosity of heedless wanderers; but the Chamber of Horrors' is concealed within. If I am indeed to be detained a prisoner within these walls, my prayers shall be for protection against myself as much as against any other danger; for as Lot's wife was lost by forbidden curiosity, so do many now fall into the lowest depths of Romanism by being led on to contemplate these corruptions, which have an answering chord in the fallen nature of man
“Wanderer, come to me;
WHEN Beatrice retired at night to her cell in the convent of St. Ignatia, she felt her position so strange and new, that it was long before she could compose her mind to sleep. She had, however, at last been wrapped in a profound slumber for an unknown period, when she was suddenly awakened to the consciousness that a light was glimmering within the room. It seemed at first almost like a dream, but the next moment it became a certainty. She sat up, and silently drawing aside her curtain, a vision was before her quite equal in mystery and in beauty to any Popish legend she ever read or heard of.
A figure stood near the door, clad in white draperies, the face muffled up like that of a corpse, and carrying a light which seemed to spread a halo all around. Beatrice almost screamed with appre