« VorigeDoorgaan »
ings, you bid these heretics a hasty farewell, or no farewell at all would be better, and immediately accompany me to Eaglescairn."
“ Father Eustace," replied Sir Allan, in a tone of deep-seated emotion, yet of manly energy, “it seems to me as if, within these few weeks of soli. tary thought, scales had fallen from my eyes. I have been almost miraculously preserved from the final renunciation of all God's gifts,--my property, my feelings, and my whole freedom of thought or action. A spell was over my soul, which is broken. I look back at myself as a recovered lunatic might be supposed to recal the delusions of his cell, and see that the vows I about to take would have made me your slave for life, body and soul. If you, a mortal man like myself, and of the same fallen sinful nature, had ordered me to commit the greatest of crimes, I should have been allowed no choice, whether it were to commit a treason against my sovereign, or the meanest villainy against my neighbour, such as cheating an old man on his death-bed, or decoying an innocent girl from the protection of her domestic home to a dungeon, or heartlessly leaving my kind friends here without any thanks for their
Father Eustace listened in a perfect stupefaction of rage, but he preserved his usual corpselike attitude, his feet and hands together, and his eyes on the ground, looking exceedingly like a lay figure, while Sir Allan, with increasing energy, hurried on, saying,
“ Before you relieve me of your presence, let me fully explain how my soul revolted long since from the degradation of mind and heart to which my uncle subjected me at College, when his sleepless eye was on me, and his continual discipline, like the incessant dropping of water that wears away the hardest adainant. You know how he made me swear, as a test of holy obedience, to be a tale-bearer, and repeat whatever my companions said which could criminate them. He offered me an indulgence for my own faults, provided I could criminate others. In truth, a common informer is not so bad as you and he would have made me, for it is not those who trust a common informer that he betrays. For months ny uncle did not even allow me at any hour of the night or day to shut my own door and be alone. Others were spies on me, as I was desired to be on them. In case one might be confidential with another, we were obliged to go always in a party of three, that there might invariably be one traitor present. I abhor and despise myself, that a Highland chief and British gentleman could be so degraded ! No Turkish slave was ever more considered his master's property than I was my uncle's, who has long pulled the wires of an obedient puppet; but now, I solemnly take upon myself the position in life that God has evidently appointed for me, to enjoy all its privileges, and to do all its duties. I have been set on the road to happiness, and the fault is my own hereafter if I do not pursue it, zealously and well, without slavishly obeying that super
stition which would have taught me to worship more deities, lesser and greater than the Lares and Penates of Pagan mythology."
“ Do you forget, Sir Allan," asked Father Eustace, in his blandest of tones, “ that the Council of Trent passed a decree in favour of Saintworship, enjoining us to instruct our flocks respecting the invocation of saints, the honour due to relics, and the lawful use of images ? That decree declares that those who say it is foolish to supplicate the saints reigning in heaven, entertain impious sentiments."
“ Father Eustace," replied Sir Allan, “ I have often been told that the agony of becoming sober after intoxication is so great, that it might cure any one of drinking; and, truly, my own return now to my sober senses, after being in a Popish delirium, so fills me with shame for my past folly, that it will prevent all danger of a relapse. I do not now believe that any human saints reign over our earth, nor acknowledge any but those recorded in Scripture. No mortal beings hear our prayers, nor does real religion consist in visiting those tombs where their bones are indiscriminately decaying to ashes. None were permitted to know where Moses was buried, to prevent, probably, all extraordinary reverence being paid to his remains ; but you and my uncle tried to persuade me that when the coffin of a saint is opened, it emits a delicious fragrance, and that a fleshless skull has even announced its own name, its former residence, and all the circumstances of its decease.
Father Eustace, from such a religion of dead men's bones and all manner of uncleanness, I am now and for ever emancipated. The lasso was dexterously thrown over my neck, but the captive is free again! Many thinking Christians believe that a time of persecution is again to arise in England, when no man may call his life his own; but should your frightful adulteration of Christianity become supreme in Britain,-should the reading of Holy Scripture become a capital offence, and our glorious land become once more devastated with superstition, I shall be found ready to contend for liberty of conscience, and the worship of an only Saviour. In such a cause, who might not welcome a martyr's grave, and a martyr's crown? In the words of Addison's hymn,
"Not in mine innocence I trust,
I bow before thee in the dust,
“Who serves the Master of the Pope is wise,
BEFORE the Bishop of Inverness retired, worn with his exertions of body and mind, to bed, he joined Lady Edith's cheerful tea-table, where in a high state of comfort Lord Iona had as usual made his way good, and who exercised his uncommon power of making amusement and pleasure, where ordinary minds would have seen only sadness and
Before his gay sunshine of mind, dulness passed away like a summer shadow, and all the party, except the heart-broken Mrs. Clinton, felt the frost of depression melting away like a Russian winter. For her there remained only " the dull deep pain, and constant anguish of patience.”
“What nerve you ladies displayed this morning during the riot!” said Sir Allan, turning to Lady Anne; "I am usually a total disbeliever in hysterics, but you treated us to not so much as a fainting-fit, a smelling-bottle, or even a mere glass of iced water !”
“We shall postpone such scenes till you require some excitement, Sir Allan. I knew a lady once, who always fainted at the head of her own dinnertable when the conversation flagged, and her exit