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to them that Saviour as he is revealed in his word, it is your duty to seize that opportunity, how unequal soever you may feel to the undertaking. And now farewell! and may the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus.'
"Oh! continue to pray for us, my dear, dear sir!" exclaimed the weeping girls, as they kissed the hand of the venerable man, which was kindly extended to bless them. Tears of inexpressible emotion stood in the eyes of Mrs. Morton. She pressed her young friends to her bosom, and with difficulty articulated"Farewell! may the Lord bless you! write to me often, and 'Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation!" "~
They parted without another word. Caroline threw herself back in the carriage, and sobbed with all the violence of unrestrained emotion. Emily covered her face with her hand, and found relief to her feelings in mental prayer. Thus they arrived at their respective homes, in sad and almost uninterrupted
A ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL.
In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.-MARK Vii. 7.
THE next day, on which they were to set out, was one of great bustle and preparation An unaccountable weight of dejection oppressed the mind of Emily; and a gloomy presentiment of, she knew not what, evil seemed to hover on the horizon of her future life. She had bidden her mother-in-law farewell; had cast a parting look at the scenes of her childhood; and, with her father, who was to accompany them to France, had repaired to her uncle's house, where they were to take up Caroline. Here she threw herself into a chair, scarcely able to control her feelings; but Caroline perceived her agitation, and, going up to the pianoforte, struck a few notes of the chorus of a hymn they had, a few days before, been practising together.
The tremu.ous, but triumphant chords, started Emily from her painful reverie. She felt ashamed of her dejection, and accused herself of want of faith in the promises of God. She recollected an observation she had lately read,-that when Elisha had lost the advantage of Elijah's instruction and guidance, he did not sit down in despondency, or mournfully inquire, where is Elijah, “ my friend, my father, my guide?" But he took the prophet's mantle, and smote the waves of Jordan, exclaiming, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" "It is true," thought she, "that I am about to lose, for a time, many of the outward privileges with which I have been favored; that I shall be, in a great measure, deprived of the blessings of Christian advice, encouragement, and communion; but I am not deprived of access to the God of all grace.' I am cut off from the streams, but I can still drink at the Fountain-head of all spiritual blessings." Her mind was cheered by this reflection; she thought of the Saviour's kind reproof to Peter-"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" and her heart tremblingly replied, “ Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!"
The momentary feelings of enthusiasm which had animated the mind of Caroline, at sight of the words which so forcibly recalled the glorious end of the Christian's pilgrimage, had now given place to the sorrow of parting from her family. But it would be superfluous to describe a scene which every affectionate daughter will readily imagine. A few moments of uncontrolled emotion, and she was seated in the carriage, between her uncle and cousin, and borne rapidly away from the scenes of her childhood. At the nearest sea-port they embarked, and after a favorable, and, on the whole, pleasant voyage, safely arrived on the Gallic shore. Here the novelty of the scenes they witnessed, and the variety of incidents connected with travelling, greatly amused the two cousins, and made them disregard the total want of comfortable accommodations, which every English person must experience while passing through that otherwise delightful country. At length they reached the place of their destination, and proceeded to the house of Madame d'Elfort.
This was a highly respectable establishment, and the strangers were received with marked attention. After waiting a short time, they were introduced to the principal, and were much struck with her appearance. She was a tall majestic woman, with an imposing aspect, and elegant address. There was something so superior in her air, that might well awe the young and timid strangers; but there was also a kindness in her manner, which could hardly fail of inspiring affection. Upright and conscientious in her principles, firm and undeviating in her conduct, her char. acter commanded general esteem. She was endowed with considerable talents, and peculiarly fitted by nature for the manage
ment of a school. Strict even to excess, in enforcing a constant observance of every rule: inflexibly just in the punishment of offences, yet not less kind and liberal in rewarding whatever she thought praiseworthy; anxious for the improvement of her pupils, and wholly devoted to the performance of her duties, she inspired the most profound respect, and exacted implicit obedience. Yet she knew how to unbend from the loftiness of her manner, without descending from her proper dignity; and there was a fascination in her kindness, which few young hearts were ever able to resist.
The establishment was very numerous, and consisted of both French and English boarders. To these she was equally just, and observed the most uniform impartiality of conduct. Herself a Roman Catholic, and perhaps one of the most devoted to her system of religion, she exacted from her French pupils the strictest performance of every rite commanded by their church; and offences of a religious character were always those which she punished with the greatest severity. She was zealous in promoting everything which could make Popery appear to her Protestant pupils in a favorable light; but, as she had pledged herself not to interfere with their opinions, she scrupulously avoided every intentional breach of that engagement.
A tolerably good understanding subsisted in the house, between the pupils of both denominations. Immediate expulsion was the penalty denounced against any attempt at controversy, and the subject of religion was therefore rarely introduced among them. The Protestants were allowed to attend the English chapel every Sunday morning, and to retire for a short time in the afternoon, for the purpose of reading the evening church service.
These particulars Mr. Mortimer ascertained, before he left his daughter and niece; as also that there was an English teacher resident in the house. Emily and Caroline were to have the privilege of a private bed-room, and to be allowed more liberty than the generality of their companions: in short they were to be what were called in the establishment grandes pensionnaires,—a term not exactly answering to the English idea of parlor-boarders, but somewhat analogous to it.
Mr. Mortimer then took his leave, and, bidding his daughter and niece an affectionate farewell, embarked the next morning on his return to England. The cousins shed many tears, on finding themselves thus left entirely among strangers; and Caroline, in particular, yielded to an excess of feeling which compelled Emily to exert herself, in order to comfort her. Their attention, however, was soon absorbed by the new scenes that surrounded them, and the necessity of conforming to rules of which, as yet, they knew nothing.
It was, indeed, a new world into which they were introduced, and one in which everything was widely different from all they
had ever known. They had been accustomed to a system of edu. cation, frequently varied by recreation, by amusement, and by every little indulgence that could render it agreeable, relieve its unavoidable monotony, and prevent it from appearing burdensome. But here education was indeed a toil, and frequently so laborious as to become truly insupportable, and even prejudicial to health. Constantly employed, from five or six in the morning till eight at night, with only one hour of relaxation during the day, and not unfrequently compelled to devote even that hour to study, the pupils looked forward with impatience to the time of their leaving school; as the slave would to the period of his final emancipation.
Those who were gifted with good abilities had, indeed, less difficulty in fulfilling their arduous duties; but lessons of thirty or forty pages of history, and from ten to twenty of geography, to be committed to memory, besides numberless other school-tasks, were certainly very formidable. Every personal consideration must be sacrificed to these absorbing studies, and even the necessary hours of sleep were often unavoidably encroached upon. And, to add to these discomforts, the poor girls were as constantly and closely watched as prisoners of state, and enjoyed none of those comforts which, to the natives of England, have become absolute necessaries.
Emily and Caroline suffered much at first, from the various obstacles which obstructed their progress, but they had received from the hands of their Creator abilities of no mean description; and, as they felt the necessity of diligent application, these diffi culties vanished by degrees, especially as they had few studies to begin entirely, and had already attained some degree of proficiency in most of the others. They were besides, as grandes pensionnaires, entitled to many advantages which their less fortunate compa nions did not possess.
One of these privileges was, the liberty of absenting themselves from morning prayers;-a circumstance which they found peculiarly agreeable; for, although the French boarders were obliged to attend mass before breakfast, and the Protestant pupils alone remained, yet they were not allowed to use a Protestant form, but were compelled to kneel round a French teacher, who read aloud a string of Roman Catholic prayers. These were partly in Latin, and altogether such as no conscientious Protestant could join in. This abuse of authority was repeated in the evening, and then no one was allowed to be absent, unless from illness.
This last service consisted of a number of short prayers, very few of which were addressed to God, and by far the greater part were not only unscriptural, but even blasphemous. It was some days before Emily and Caroline could understand them, for they were repeated with a rapidity which it was difficult to follow
but, when once understood, they appeared sufficiently shocking. They were, indeed, begun and ended in the name of the adorable Trinity; but, not being presented through the intercession of the Redeemer, nor offered through His merits, they could not be acceptable to Him who has so repeatedly commanded us to ask everything "in his name." That blessed Saviour's name was scarcely used at all, in its proper sense; and his dignity, his character, and his work, were openly insulted.
There was a confession of sins, addressed to "God Almighty, to the blessed Mary, always a virgin, to St. Michael the Archangel, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul, and all the saints;" and this was followed by the request, that the aforesaid saints would "pray for them to the Lord their God." Emily and Caroline shuddered, as, kneeling with the others before a crucifix, they were compelled to hear this antichristian invocation. The former thought of that explicit declaration of scripture," There is ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ;" and she felt how awfully derogatory to his dignity, and offensive to his character, such supplications must be.
The next thing that excited her particular notice was a short prayer, followed by the 130th Psalm in Latin, "for the souls of the deceased faithful in purgatory; that God would grant them the forgiveness of their sins, and that they might soon enjoy that glory which he had destined for them in heaven." Emily was extremely shocked at this petition; for, besides its having no foundation whatever in Scripture, and being decidedly contrary to the express declarations of God, it was another insult to the perfect and finished work of the Redeemer. After this came a number of short prayers, addressed to St. Joseph, and several others; then one to the different saints whose name each person present bore, and another to each one's guardian angel. This last, in particular, was a masterpiece of blasphemy. It was in the following terms;
"O holy angel, whom God has entrusted with the charge of my conduct, I thank you for your kind attention, and entreat you to continue it. Assist me always in my necessities; console me in my afflictions; keep me from all occasions of sin; protect me especially at the hour of death; and conduct me to the kingdom of eternal glory."
Where, then," thought Emily, "where is the necessity of prayer to God, if a created being, an angel, can do all this for us?" That awful moment immediately occurred to her mind, when the disembodied spirit is called to appear before its Judge, and when, if not clothed in the wedding-garment of the Redeemer's righteousness, and accepted through his blood, it must be "cast into outer darkness." She remembered the startling question of Job,
to which of the saints wilt thou turn ?" and again shuddered, as her fancy portrayed the horrors of that dreadful instant. when, if