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charges advantageously, she left them to join her companions, in the large space railed in before the principal altar. The service began with chanting Latin, after which the confession which was very general and solemn, was pronounced by the curé in French, and repeated aloud by all the congréganistes. There was something exceedingly interesting and picturesque, in the appearance of these young ladies, as they knelt before the altar, in their uni form white dresses, and long flowing veils: and the effect was heightened to enchantment, when, at the conclusion, they sang a hymn, in which the touching sweetness of their voices blended, in richest melody, with the majestic peals of the organ. Emily could not wonder at the tears of emotion which she saw trembling in the eyes of several of her companions, nor at the pale cheek and averted eyes of Caroline; her own feelings were strongly excited, and she could not help fearing the influence, which these fascinating appeals to the senses must exercise over the ardent imagination of youth.
A dreadful suspicion had lately forced itself on her mind;—she could not avoid admitting, however unwillingly, that Caroline's conduct evinced a growing partiality for everything French, and a leaning to the doctrines and observances of Popery. She had long watched her with anxious solicitude, and had sought her confidence in vain. The reserve in which she had intrenched herself had wounded and repelled Emily; and, though she longed to know the cause of her dejection, and to comfort her in the struggles she evidently endured, she had found it impossible to engage her in conversation, respecting the cause of her grief. And, besides all this, Caroline was now so completely absorbed by her friendship for Sophia Dorville, that the cousins saw but little of each other. The uneasiness produced by these concurring circumstances preyed deeply on the mind of Emily; but she comforted herself with the reflection, that in a few weeks their year of trial would terminate, and her father or uncle would come to re-conduct them to the shores of Protestant England, where the spells of Popery would, she trusted, be broken, and the sweet confidence of sisterly affection once more established between them.
That evening the young ladies were allowed to walk in the garden till supper-time, and Emily availed herself of the opportunity, to enjoy a ramble with her friend Rose. She had observed of late, that a shade of reserve was gradually stealing over the freedom of their intercourse, and she wished to inquire the cause of Rose's altered manner; for she feared that she might have taken offence, at a rebuke which she had given her about a week before. Emily had often been shocked, as every reflecting person must be, at the profanation of sacred terms, and the irreverent use of the name of God, so awfully prevalent among the Roman Catho lics. She was delighted to perceive that the piety and good
feeling of Rose generally preserved her from the contagion; but one day, being very much provoked by the malicious persecutions of Clémentine Vermont, she was inadvertently betrayed into uttering the customary 'mon Dieu!' so deplorably common in the school.
Emily, who was present, instantly laid her hand on her arm, and repeated, in a low but emphatic voice, the third commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Rose started at the words, and, at first, attempted to defend herself, by alleging that she had used the expression as an ejaculatory prayer; Emily, however, remonstrated on the sinfulness of trifling with so sacred a name, and the irreverence with which it is generally used; and Rose at length acknowledged herself in the wrong, and promised to avoid a repetition of the offence.
This evening, however, somewhat to the surprise of Emily she recurred to the subject.
"I have consulted my confessor about it," said she, “and repeated to him what you said to me; and his opinion is, that the cus tom is a bad one,—that it is very wrong, but not sinful."
"Dear Rose," replied Emily, "can you explain to me the difference between what is wrong, and what is sinful? For I own I cannot perceive the distinction, in matters that relate to God and religion."
"There is a great difference, no doubt," rejoined Rose, "though I am not equal to discussing the subject; it is my duty to submit on all such points to the opinion of my spiritual director."
But, my dear friend, does not the seripture declare that whatsoever is not of faith is sin ?"
"Excuse me, my dear Miss Mortimer, we must not speak of these things, and you will, therefore, allow me to request that the subject may be dropped."
Emily was silent, and a considerable pause in the conversation ensued, for her mind was occupied with indignant and sorrowful reflections, on the duplicity of the priest, and the melancholy subjection of her friend's mind to his dangerous influence. At length Rose resumed,—
"Have you heard the sad account of poor Thérèse Beaulieu's danger?"
"No, I did not know that her illness was considered serious. Is she in much danger ?"
"I fear so; and what makes her case more painfus, that her own imprudence seems to have been the cause; and some persons are severe enough to consider her complaint as a judgment from heaven.
"How so, dear Rose? pray, explain yourself."
"You know that Thérèse was vouée au blanc; that is, during a
dangerous illness with which she was afflicted, her parents, anxious to secure the blessed Virgin's intercession in her favor, laid her under a vow, in case of her recovery, not to wear any colors but white and blue, for the space of three years. This engagement she strictly observed till last month, when, being at home, she was invited to a large party. It only wanted two or three days to the end of the stipulated three years, and she was unfortunately tempted to anticipate their completion, by wearing some article of forbidden color. She caught a severe cold in returning home, and it has I brought on a return of her former complaint, which I am sorry to hear threatens to prove fatal. Poor Thérèse! I pity her sincerely, for she is a very good and amiable girl."
"And can you believe, Rose, that her illness is sent by heaven, as a punishment for wearing a dress of any particular color?" "I should be very sorry indeed to think so; but I dare not form any opinion on so difficult a subject."
Before Emily could reply, Rose left her to speak to Madame d'Elfort, and, as she did not return to her again, Emily joined Louisa, Lydia and Helen, and walked with them till the supperbell summoned them back to the house.
Thérèse Beaulieu was a tall, fair and slender girl, of sixteen, whose delicate appearance and transparent complexion betrayed a constitutional tendency to consumption, and seemed to mark her for the victim of early death. Emily's attention had been first drawn to her, by the circumstance of her never wearing anything but white and blue, and by the effect of these colors, in making her extreme paleness appear still more striking. She had been told the reason, and had often pitied the poor girl, whose life was thus supposed to be preserved by the efficacy of a superstitious She had long been a boarder at Madame d'Elfort's; but, as her parents resided near the town, she frequently spent a few days with them. It was during one of those visits, that an invitation to a gay party had led her to act on the supposition, that a few days more or less could not make much difference in the fulfilment of her vow, and that the Virgin would not be very strict in taking account of the time. It was not surprising, that, in the precarious state of her health, an exposure to the night air, after the fatigue and heat of dancing, should have been productive of a severe cold, which had subsequently settled on her lungs ; yet she was now the theme of conversation to the whole school and neighborhood, as having brought on herself the judgment of heaven, as a punishment for her broken vow.
To Emily's frequent inquiries about Thérèse, the constant answer was, that her disorder was rapidly increasing, and in a few days her recovery was declared hopeless. Her approaching death was announced by Madame d'Elfort to her pupils, and threw a chilling gloom over every heart.'
My dear children," said that lady, "I am happy to inform you that she bears her sufferings like an angel, and prepares for death like a saint. Such, indeed, is the tenderness of her conscience, that it made her at first very miserable. She had, somehow, persuaded herself that she was very sinful, and had a great deal to repent of. She wept bitterly for a long time, and refused to be comforted, calling herself a poor miserable sinner, and saying that no one needed a Saviour more than she did. Her friends were very much distressed at these gloomy fancies, for none knew so well as they the virtues of the interesting sufferer. In vain did they assure her that she had always been, even from her infancy, a dutiul daughter, an affectionate sister, and exemplary in the discharge of every relative, social, and Christian duty; she still wept, and accused herself, and it was not until her confessor had joined with her parents, in assuring her she had nothing to fear, that her conscience was tranquillized, and her mind restored to composure. I have seen her to-day, and can testify that her humility is truly edifying."
At the conclusion of this speech, the eyes of Emily and Lydia met, in a glance that seemed to speak volumes. Emily looked at Rose, and perceived that she was struggling to repress her tears; but, as she hurried into the garden, they flowed in unrestrained. abundance. Emily followed, and drew her arm through hers.
"My dearest Rose, you are unhappy! will you allow me to share your grief?"
Dear, kind Emily, I thank you; but I can only sadden your heart, and you can impart no consolation to mine. Madame d'Elfort's account of poor Téhrèse has been like a dagger to my soul. It has brought before me that awful moment, when I, too, shall stand on the brink of eternity! and oh, Emily, what shall I do, when my sins thus rise up in fearful array before me? No one can have more heart-sins to repent of than I have; and I feel, deeply feel, that I have no merit or righteousness to counterbalance them or sustain my sinking heart, in the prospect of appearing before a holy God."
Emily pressed the hand of the sobbing girl, and, in a voice almost inarticulate from emotion, exclaimed,
"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin;' my dear, dear Rose, can you not trust to that?"
The soft eyes of Rose were for a moment riveted on her friend's countenance, with an earnestness, an intensity of attention, that almost startled her. Her very soul seemed rising to her lips; but, on a sudden, the glow of emotion was succeeded by the paleness of death; she checked, with a painful effort, the words that were struggling for utterance; and, pressing one hand on her heart, while the other covered her eyes, she hurried into the house, as if she were afraid to trust herself any longer in Emily's society. Emily's eyes followed her with mournful interest, and then re
mained fixed on the ground, till she was aroused from her reverie by the approach of Lydia. Her face was flushed, and her eyesparkled with indignation.
"Oh! Emily," she cried, "what do you think of these wicked priests? How can they thus wilfully deceive a poor creature at the point of death? Did you not hear Madame d'Elfort say, that the confessor had joined in persuading poor Thérèse that her virtues would save her? Oh! how dreadful it is to trust in such men!"
"It is, indeed, my love, an awful delusion, they would force on the poor girl, for 'by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified;' but it is, unfortunately, in strict accordance with the doctrines of their church."
"But, Emily, they must know better; they cannot be in ignorance, like the people they deceive; for they are at liberty to read the Bible, and, therefore, cannot but see that what they teach is directly contrary to the Word of God. And oh! how cruel, how barbarous, to deceive at such an awful moment! I met the abbé Méry just now, going up stairs with Madame d'Elfort, and he spoke to me in his usual soft, insinuating tone, but I felt so angry with him and his whole fraternity, that I could scarcely be civil to him; and, when he had passed me, I felt very much inclined to tell him that he was an unfeeling, unprincipled deceiver.”
"Oh! it is indeed an awful and cruel thing, to endeavor thus to crush the salutary convictions of sin, which the Holy Spirit mercifully imparts, and to hurry the soul blindfold to the brink of eternity; but I hope and trust that the God of all grace' will have compassion on the intended victim, and by his Almighty power foil the machinations of her spiritual enemies. Let us pray for her, my dear Lydia, that'the prey may be taken from the mighty."'
A few days glided sadly away, and Thérèse Beaulieu was no Her dissolution was announced by Madame d'Elfort, with the additional information, that "she died like a saint;" and this was all that Emily could learn, on a subject which deeply and painfully interested her feelings. All the Roman Catholic pupils attended her funeral; she was buried in the church-yard of the village where her father's property was situated; flowers were strewn on her tomb, and her virtues recorded on the marble. An involuntary gloom rested on the school for a few days; Madame d'Elfort took advantage of it, to give occasional lectures on the necessity of paying the utmost attention to the duties of religion and morality; but the tide of every-day occupations, pleasures, and pursuits, soon rolled over the faint impression produced by the death of a school-fellow; and, in a short time, Thérèse Beaulieu was almost forgotten.
So dies in human hearts the thought of death,