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and sad, and had evidently suffered much; but there was more friendliness, and less reserve, in her manner, than they had for some time seen, and when Emily informed her that she had written to her father, and was in daily expectation of his arrival she announced, with a sigh, her intention of complying with Mr. Howard's last wishes, by accompanying her uncle and family to England. Her sister and cousin heard this resolution with pleas ure, and began to indulge the hope that she might return to the path she had forsaken.
It was, therefore, with hearts considerably lightened, that they returned to their present abode. A letter lay on the table, directed to Emily, in a hand with which she was not acquainted. As the family were waiting supper for them, she took the letter in her hand, and as she descended to the supper-room, just opened it to look at the signature. It was "De Beauvais, curé de S,” and she reclosed it, satisfied that the subject was not one which demanded an immediate perusal. The Major observed the action, and said, "he was sorry she should be compelled to an act of selfdenial."
"It can scarcely be called so, my dear sir,” replied Emily, "for the letter is one which can very well wait. It is the long-promised epistle from Monsieur de Beauvais, the venerable priest who has kindly undertaken to make me a convert to his faith."
"Oh!" exclaimed the Major, "is it from the old priest at last? Well I wonder you are not all impatience to read it. I must confess, I am not a little curious to know how he will set about your conversion."
"There can be nothing in it,” replied Emily, "that I should not wish my friends to hear. If, therefore, you will take the trouble of reading it after supper, we can all profit by the good father's arguments."
"Volontiers," said the Major, and the conversation was changed, by Emily's repeating the substance of their conversation with Caroline, and the hopes inspired by her unusual frankness. Mrs. Fortescue shook her head, and begged them not to be too sanguine in their expectations.
Supper was now over, and the Major took up the letter. It began thus:
"This is the first time I have the honor of writing to you, and I am truly grieved that this letter should be the means of pouring a flood of sorrow into your good and affectionate heart."
"Oh! give it me, I beseech you !" exclaimed Emily, turning pale, and trembling with agitation; "that fatal letter contains some dreadful news, which I am not prepared to hear!"
She rose from her chair, and with breathless emotion, held out her hand for the letter.
Nay, nay," said the Major, soothingly, "you alarm yourself, perhaps without sufficient cause. Allow me just to glance over the first page, and, if it contains anything really painful, I will tell you so candidly, and give you back the letter."
Emily leaned against the chair, and, pressing her hands on her throbbing heart, watched his countenance in torturing suspense.
The Major read a few lines in silence, while his open countenance assumed an expression of pity and concern; then, hastily folding up the letter, he said, in a gentle voice,
"I will not read it to you just now; you had better read it your
Emily caught the letter, and, running up to her room, locked the door, threw the dreadful missive on the bed, and knelt down beside it. Her heart had already foreboded its contents; but she durst not trust herself to read it, till, like Hezekiah, she had "spread it before the Lord." Having in a few words of agonized earnestness, implored grace and strength from on high, to enable her to bear the trial as a Christian should, she arose, and, opening the letter with a trembling hand, read as follows:
"This is the first time I have the honor of writing to you, and I am truly grieved that this letter should be the maans of pouring a flood of sorrow into your good and affectionate heart. Your beloved and excellent young friend is no more! Our dear Rose de Liancourt has gone to receive, in heaven, the reward of her amiable virtues. She was seized, about ten days ago, with a brain fever, which yesterday proved fatal.
"Her death is an irreparable loss to her family, and a subject of grief to all who knew her. You, mademoiselle, were of this number; you loved her; she returned your affection with equal love; and your mutual attachment did honor to both, for it was founded on sympathy of character.
"Before her illness, Rose frequently spoke to me of you. She showed me your last letter, and requested me to answer the questions you proposed. I promised her to do so, as soon as I had some little leisure; but hitherto I have been unable to perform my promise. My time has been absorbed by my ministerial duties, and by other claims on it from without, which admit of no delay. As soon, however, as I am allowed a little rest, I hope to have the pleasure of exhibiting to your view the powerful reasons on which we rest our belief in those truths which you do not acknowledge. Do not fear that I shall seek to deceive you. I will tell you why Catholics believe those things, and you will judge whether they are right or wrong. But, first of all, let us seek help from God. You sincerely desire to know the truth; pray to Him, then, to teach you; for if He do not enlighten our minds, we must for ever remain in darkness.
"There was a doubt expressed in your letter, which, you will allow me to say, has pained me exceedingly. You seemed to fear, that, in the event of your not becoming a Catholic, I should forbid our dear Rose to love you, or to continue to write to you. There is no danger of that, now that your friend is no more; but, were she still living, as I wish from my heart she were, you may rest assured, my dear young lady, that, far from wishing to lessen her esteem and affection for you, I should rather have sought to increase your friendship, and promote your correspondence. I have only the honor of knowing you by what she told me of you, and by your letter, which she left with me; but these sources are sufficient to inspire me with the most lively esteem for your character, and to convince me that your intercourse with your friends can only be favorable to the interests of wisdom and virtue. This, mademoiselle, is the opinion I have formed of you, and which inspires me with those sentiments of esteem and respect with which I have the honor to be,
"Your very humble servant,
"DE BEAUVAIS, Curé de S―.”
Many and bitter were the tears of sorrow shed over this kind and polite letter of the venerable priest. The ties of affection which subsisted between Rose and Emily were of no common character; they had entwined themselves with irresistible power, round the heart of the latter; they had mixed with her every feeling, so as almost to become a part of her very existence; and it was dreadful, it was heart-rending, to have them thus suddenly, thus distressingly, torn asunder. Her sobs of anguish almost terrified Lydia; but, after the first irrepressible burst was over, she was enabled to throw herself, in humble faith and resignation, at the feet of Him who has said that "He doth not afflict willing ly, nor grieve the children of men." She strove to yield her beloved friend into his hands, and to say, with the meek submission of filial confidence," Not my will, but thine, be done!”
There was something exceedingly dark and mysterious in this afflictive dispensation of Providence. So young, so interesting, so peculiarly gifted with every quality requisite to the formation of a lovely and useful character; the gentle soother of a mother's woes, the guiding star of her father's affections, whose sweet influence was insensibly leading him back to the paths of virtue, the affectionate instructress of her youthful sister,-the darling of her family, who beheld in her the pledge of brighter | and happier days to the small circle of which she was the centre ;it might have been reasonably hoped, that her life would be spared for great and beneficent purposes. And when Emily recollected
the still more beautiful and interesting features of her character, that depth and fervor of youthful piety, that conscientious sincerity of motives and action, that unreserved devotedness of heart and soul, to the God whom her anxious spirit panted so earnestly to know, she wept when she thought of all this, and of the hopes she had indulged, that He who had thus "begun a good work in her,"—would still further enlighten her mind by the bright beams of his Holy Spirit, and fit her for some important work, by which she might glorify him on earth. But "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
"Sweet Rose!" exclaimed Emily, as her thoughts dwelt with melancholy pleasure on the truly Christian excellences of her departed friend," thy weary and heavy-laden" soul is now at rest, on the bosom of thy God and Saviour. It was none but Himself who had inspired thee with those deep convictions, which so effectually counteracted the soul-deluding doctrines of an apostate church, and made thee feel that there was no hope of salvation for a sinner, but in His blood and righteousness. And the clouds of remaining error have now been entirely dissipated; thou art now permitted to see Him "face to face," and to "know even as thou art known." Thy drooping spirit shall no more be weighed down with the burden of sin, or pierced by the thorns of sorrow, or perplexed by distressing doubt, uncertainty, and darkness, for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed thee, and lead thee to living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from thine eyes."
When Emily had somewhat recovered the shock caused by this unexpected trial, she paid a long-intended visit to Madame d'Elfort; and, knowing with what affectionate tenderness that lady had regarded her beloved Rose, she took with her the letters she had received from her, as also that of Monsieur de Beauvais, feeling convinced that their perusal would be interesting to her friend. In this she was not deceived: Madame d'Elfort thanked her for this proof of confidence, and read the letters with tears of emotion. "They are just what I should have expected from her," she said; "dear Rose was, indeed, no common character, and her actions were ever those of a child of God. Our venerable cure gave it as his opinion, upwards of a year ago, that she was intended by heaven for some great and uncommon destiny; and most strikingly is his prophecy fulfilled. She is snatched fromthe sins and sorrows of earth, to enjoy the glories and the happiness of heaven; she has not long 'fought the good fight' of faith, but she has already won the victor's reward, even 'that crown of glory which fadeth not away.""
"That crown, my dear Madam," observed Emily, can never be the reward of human righteousness. It is the free gift of God; our beloved Rose, I trust, truly and deeply felt this; and she is now among the blessed number of those who have wash ed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;' and THEREFORE are they before the throne of God."
Madame d'Elfort regarded Emily, as she said this, with a look of peculiar meaning; then as if to change the subject, she observ ed, that it was incumbent on her to call on Monsieur de Beauvais, to thank him for his kindness, in apprising her of Rose's death, and offered to accompany her to the house of the venerable priest Emily accepted the offer; and, during their walk, her governess acquainted her with some particulars respecting the melancholy event they both deplored.
Some hopes had been entertained of the recovery of Rose; her delirium had subsided; and the fever seemed gradually abating Her father had been absent, but, having been sent for, had returned with precipitation, and, in the agony of his feelings, flung himsel at the side of her bed, exclaiming with vehemence, “Rose, my beloved Rose! my darling child! must I lose you?" The imprudence of this conduct was soon apparent:-the interesting sufferer had been in a quiet slumber, but at this cry she started uttered a shriek of terror, and relapsed into that state of delirium which eventually proved fatal. The wretched father was dis tracted; but it was a most extraordinary circumstance, that the unfortunate Baroness seemed, on this distressing occasion, to have recovered some portion of her long-estranged reason. It was she who attempted to comfort her husband, and spoke of her daughter as only removed from earth to heaven.
Madame d'Elfort added, that little Claire was very ill; that she had wept incessantly since the death of her sister, and, as she was a very delicate child, serious apprehensions were entertained of her not long surviving her.
By this time they had reached the residence of the cure, and fortunately found him at home. He received them with great urbanity and kindness, and spoke to Emily of her friend, in a way that soon melted her into tears.
"My dear young lady," said he, "your friend was an angel upon earth, and you were indeed happy in the friendship of such a being Here is your letter, which she put into my hand, and I wish I could give you even a faint idea of the impassioned fervor with which she longed and prayed for your conversion; the earnestness with which she entreated that I would leave no argument untried, tha: might be the means of leading you back to the fold of the Good Shepherd. This was her last request to me, the last time I sav her, which was only a few days before she was seized with the fatal disorder that terminated her existence I saw her not afte