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accidentally on the floor, which enclosed her young protegée the loan of a relic, to be placed under her pillow. It was a finger bone of St. Alphonso Liguori, preserved in a purple velvet bag, richly embroidered with pearls, and also a fragment of the coal used to burn St. Lorenzo. Mr. Ambrose in his note informed Beatrice, that “when St. Francis of the Reformed Franciscan order was attacked once by violent rheumatic pains, which daily increased until the physicians pronounced that he had not long to survive, he had placed this relic on his breast, saying-‘If thou, Liguori, art really in heaven, deliver me from this death;” and as soon as he had spoken these words he fell into a calm sleep, and awoke perfectly cured.” Mr. Ambrose, in his note, proceeded to intimate, that if Beatrice recovered from her present illness, she must consider it a special miracle worked by this precious relic, and, in gratitude to his Church, dedicate her remaining days to its service; as a preliminary to which he requested, almost in a tone of command, that she would receive his visits daily for the discussion of affairs to which he need not more particularly advert. “My dear Aunt Edith,” said Beatrice, after she received this strange note from her benefactress, “can there be rational persons, born and educated like ourselves, who are enticed into a Church where such trash is seriously taught, and such men are actually canonized? No wonder that Romanism has been called the parent of atheism.”
* Liguori's Life, p. 54.
“In the early Church,” replied Lady Edith, “men were called saints on the same principle on which every clergyman is now ‘The Reverend,' and every Bishop ‘Right Reverend,' whether appropriate to their actual characters or not. Such saints as are described in old popish books are mere nonentities of the imagination—mere wild chimeras of a heated brain; and when devotees are expected to believe their miracles as devoutly as those of Holy Scripture, their whole faith is generally thrown overboard, and they become infidels.” “Lady Eaglescairn read me lately, with enthusiastic delight, her favourite passage from the ‘Flowerets of St. Francis,' by Cardinal Bonaventure, which might, as Lord Iona remarked, have outdone the Arabian Nights,” continued Beatrice: “it asserted that the birds hung motionless in the air, or rested upon the boughs, to hear the Saint's words, and would not depart until they received his benediction.” “How perfectly credible!” said Lady Edith ironically; “and when St. Pacificus, who was canonized by a Cardinal in 1839, walked abroad, neither rain nor snow fell upon him, nor were his feet ever touched or soiled by the mud upon the roads, while his companions were obliged to change their habits, drenched by rain that had fallen during their journey. Beatrice, my very dear girl, it is well for us to fortify our minds by a timely study of the end to which Romanism leads, for once beguiled within the vortex of that strange whirlpool, there seem no limits to the infatuation that gradually warps the mind. Fables fit only to amuse the Italian donkey-boys, take gradual possession of minds once enlightened by education; and I see former friends of my own now professing to believe in legends, compared with which that of Androcles and the Lion is a mere matter-ofcourse.” “Many in this house are certainly ‘under strong delusion to believe a lie,’” said Beatrice, meditatively. “They are priest-ridden dupes, obliged to believe that the grass is red, if ordered to do so; till, at last, nothing is beyond the limit of their credulity. A child of eight years old could scarcely be got to credit the story Lady Eaglescairn told me of St. Veronica at four. She assured me, that when a pilgrim begged an alms, this juvenile saint, not knowing what else to give, took off one of the new shoes she had recently put on, and gave them to him. This act was so pleasing to God, that one of the shoes having stuck fast on an arch over the doorway, the pilgrim supernaturally rose to more than human height to reach it down; and the Virgin Mary appeared soon after to St. Veronica, with the shoes in her hand, both shining richly in jewels, and told her that she had herself personated the pilgrim to receive them. Such is the religion to which those priests would convert me, if they could, Aunt Edith ; but, thanks to a kind Protestant benefactress, while life and sense remain, your pupil is safe from all the wiles of a Church where pardons are bought and sold at a marketable value, and where bowing and genuflexions to the altar and priest are substituted for moral obedience to God himself. Could any courtier hope to obtain a pension and title merely by prostrations? A loyal subject, while paying all due attention to established etiquette, doing all that is right and usual in the presence of a sovereign, could never hope to improve his reception by introducing, at his own discretion, forms and ceremonies from the court of China.” “Yet there are such wrongheaded samples of humanity, who waste the noble energies of their intellect in a blind, headlong obedience to the most crushing and arbitrary authority on the earth, which chills the intellect of individuals like a palsy; but we must spurn at every enticement of the senses, to keep our faith untarnished in the holy light of Scripture.” Lady Edith felt, by this confidential discussion, much reassured against all apprehension respecting any intrigues to subvert the faith of Beatrice; who succeeded, with a generous hypocrisy, in looking so cheerful, that it seemed as if nothing remained to weigh down her usually animated spirit. It was a pleasant illusion; and the day at last came when Dr. M Indre assured Lady Edith that her precious invalid might be removed with perfect safety to Heatherbrae, as the change would, in fact, be very salutary. Little as Lady Edith relished applying to any one for a favour in that house, she found it necessary to ask Lady Eaglescairn for the loan of her close carriage, that the young invalid might be conveyed home without danger of cold. To her great perplexity, her hostess, generally cold and dignified as a statue, looked much confused when she spoke; and there followed such an interchange of curtsies and civilities between the two ladies, as had never taken place before, though it all ended in Lady Eaglescairn politely regretting to say that her chariot had been sent to the pier, five miles off, in the morning, where a foreign lady of distinction and her suite were expected that day to land. “But,” she added, eagerly, returning to her employment of drawing plans for encaustic tiles, “if you will accept the pony-carriage for yourself immediately, Lady Edith, I promise to bring our dear invalid to Heatherbrae to-morrow, should she wish to leave us.” At this moment, Father Eustace entered, with his usual long, stealthy step, his head bent down, and his wonted expression of dismal solemnity; while he glided into a chair, with a diffident, hesitating, cautious glance, as if he expected it would be snatched from under him. Lady Edith could not but think he would have been a perfect study for any good actor representing the Tartuffe, or, rather, he seemed to her like a jester performing sanctity in burlesque; and yet there was a deep, sharp, inquisitorial expression in his eye, when for a moment he raised it from the ground, where that eye in general remained immovably cast down beneath the half-closed lid. Lady Edith shrank from the priest as she would have done from the sting of a serpent; and there was a curious con