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constantly and fervently do I pray for her!"-then, burying her face in her handkerchief, she sobbed aloud with convulsive anguish.
Emily hung over her unhappy friend, and wept in sympathy and grief. Her heart burned to unmask these detestable superstitions; but she durst not give her feelings utterance, and could only lift up her thoughts in silent prayer. Rose was now becoming more composed, but a step was heard in the adjoining room; the mourner hastily dried her tears, and, on the entrance of Mad ame d'Elfort, Emily retired to her own apartment.
Here she sank on her knees, and, after having fervently prayed that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, might be granted to her friend, to dispel the darkness from her mind, and introduce her into the glorious freedom of the gospel, she sat down near the window that overlooked the garden, to reflect on the incidents of that evening. Emily had become somewhat inclined to melancholy. A deep sense of her own sinfulness, and perhaps the habit of dwelling too much upon it, frequently obscured the glories of redemption from her view, and united with a recently-contracted lowness of spirits, to produce the most distressing doubts in her mind. It was but seldom indeed that she could "rejoice in the Lord," and her confidence was, at all times, rather a trembling hope, than a settled and joyful assurance. She looked too much to her own sins and short-comings, and too little, perhaps, to her all-sufficient Saviour; and the dejection attendant on these imperfect views, would not always allow her to receive comfort from the "great and precious promises" of the gospel. She had, that evening, been urging those promises on the attention of another, and dwelling on that blessed "full assurance of faith," which is the privilege of every Christian. She felt, however, that she herself could not then realize them;-that she herself did not enjoy that assurance; and the enemy of souls was busily employed, in taking advantage of the moment, by suggesting that " she had neither part nor lot in the matter." The hour, also, and the scene that presented itself to her view from the window, had a considerable tendency to sadden her feelings. Emily was an enthusiastic admirer of nature, and her mind very frequently took the tone of the scenery and prospects around her. This disposition is often found in persons of ardent imaginations, and whose characters are slightly tinged with enthusiasm and romance; and, though it may be exceedingly prejudicial in its effects, yet there is a nameless charm attending it, which gives it an almost incredible power over the affections.
In the present instance, indeed, there was something in the evening, which wonderfully suited the melancholy of Emily's feelings. The storm was almost hushed, but the state of the atmosphere seemed to presage its speedy return. Twilight had
spread her dusky robe on every surrounding object, and night was fast approaching to close the scene. The gentle moon had risen in the firmament, but was obstructed in her progress by a thick, heavy mist, which completely veiled the beauties of the sky, and through which she was at times seen, struggling for freedom; now emerging from it in pale, watery brightness, then disappearing again from the view, behind its envious shroud. A rising gale vras heard, sometimes shaking with fitful gusts the almost leafless trees, then moaning with a hollow sound along the deserted walks of the garden. A few heavy rain-drops occasionally fell in the mournful blast; and all nature seemed enveloped in a shroud of gloom and sadness.
Emily rested her head against the open window, and for some time resigned her mind to its own painful reflections. The scene that lay before her seemed, in a very striking manner, to picture forth the state of her friend's soul. The rays of divine truth did, indeed, in some measure, illumine the darkness there; but not enough to produce comfort, or dispel the gloomy mists of error and superstition. The deep and sad moaning of the gale, seemed a fit emblem of her desponding feelings. "And alas!" thought Emily, "there seems no way open, at present, by which the heavenly light may pierce those almost impenetrable clouds !"
From the subject of Rose's distress, her mind recurred to her own case. Faith and unbelief were struggling for pre-eminence; but the sweet light of hope seemed gradually dawning on her soul. She felt that if "her heart was not right before God," she at least desired earnestly to have it probed; and while the prayer of David burst from her lips, "Search me, O God! and try my heart; prove me, and examine my ways; and see if there be any way of wickedness in me, and fead me in the way everlasting, she felt the tears of softened feeling silently moisten her cheek, and a sweet, filial confidence, succeeded to the cheerless despondency of her soul. 'My Father!" she exclaimed, "thou art the guide of my youth!" These words, uttered with a sentiment of renewed trust, were like balm to her wounded spirit; she still wept, but her tears were those of tender and almost joyful emotion; and the moon at that moment, bursting in triumphant splendor from the vanishing mists, seemed to confirm the delightful assurance, that "the shadows would soon flee away" from every mind which was seeking for the light of divine truth.
Emily had remained a lorg time, absorbed in these various feelings, when a soft step entered the room. It was Louisa Selwyn; -she perceived that her friend had been in tears, and anxiously inquired the cause. "It was not grief, dear Louisa, but tenderness, and even pleasure. I was thinking of the mercy of God, and my spirits were overcome. I have passed some very painful, but very sweet moments, this evening "
Louisa turned away with a sigh, and was thoughtful for a moment. "I came," said she at length, "to invite you into the garden. The night has now become tolerably calm, and I thought you might not feel disinclined for a walk. Lydia and Helen are there already; for you know we are favorites with Mademoiselle Laval; and we obtained permission for ten minutes, though not without some difficulty."
Emily readily assented, and they descended to the garden. Having met Lydia and Helen, they walked for some time in company, till they came to an open terrace, which gave them an enchanting view of the surrounding objects. The moon was sailing in triumphant loveliness through a sky of the deepest blue, yet greatly varied by numerous flying clouds, which occasionally veiled her face, but from which she always emerged with renewed strength and glory. "Just such is the Christian," said Emily, in reply to an observation from Lydia. "His mind is often clouded by doubts and fears, and enveloped in the darkness produced by remaining sin and corruption; but, through the reflected rays of his glorious Redeemer, he triumphs over all these difficulties. Like the moon, he is dark himself, but the 'Sun of Righteousness' is his glory, and his everlasting light."
Emily spoke with a tone of voice which expressed the elevation of her feelings; and she saw that the subject was not devoid of interest to those who stood near her.
Helen Douglas said nothing, but she gazed steadfastly on her friend's countenance, with evident affection and pleasure.
Louisa also remained silent, but her thoughts seemed to be of a painful nature; she pressed the arm of Emily close to her, gazed on the sky for a few moments, then fixed her eyes on the ground, and sighed deeply. Lydia, however, could not forbear giving utterance to her feelings. O, Emily!" she exclaimed, "how happy you must be! But how is it that I cannot understand your sentiments? What is the reason that I cannot feel as you do?" "My dear Lydia, to enjoy religion we must experience its pow er; we must be desirous of devoting ourselves to God, before we can look up to him with confidence and love."
"Well; I do wish to love and serve God, but I cannot do it there seems to be an insurmountable barrier between me and re ligion. I often think it will never be otherwise. Do you think it ever will ?”
"I hope and pray that it may; but remember, my dear girl, there must be no reserves; they who will follow Christ, must learn to 'deny themselves, and to take up his cross."
Lydia pressed her hand thoughtfully to her forehead, and the friends proceeded towards an elevated seat, at a little distance from the spot where they had previously been standing. It was situated on a gentle-rising mound, and shaded by a drooping ash
and a beautiful laburnum. As they ascended the sloping path, they were startled by the sight of a figure, reclining against the tree. They stopped almost instinctively, and Lydia exclaimed with surprise, "It is my sister!" Caroline started at the sound of voices, and hastily rising from her seat, attempted to conceal a book she had been reading. Emily gently chid her for being out so late without a bonnet, and then attempted to draw her into conversation; but her fluctuating color announced the most distressing confusion; and, slipping away from her friends, she took the earliest opportunity of hurrying into the house.
Emily's eyes followed her retreating steps, and a thousand confused and painful thoughts rushed across her mind. She, however, took no notice of Lydia's conjectures on the subject, but pensively led the way back to the salon, and left her companions there.
Before retiring to rest that evening, she determined to request some explanation from Caroline. "My dear girl," said she, affectionately pressing her hand, "I can no longer endure the painful reserve which has for some time subsisted between us. It is entirely on your side, for you know that I have sought, by every demonstration of attachment, to win back your estranged confidence. Yet, distressing as your coldness is to me, I think I could sooner bear it, if I did not see you unhappy. But I am sure you have some secret sorrow preying on your heart, which you wish to conceal from me. O Caroline! this is not as it used to be! Where are those happy days, when we walked in sweet communion, and when we seemed to have but one heart, one interest, and one common feeling?" She was too much overcome to say more; and dropping her head on Caroline's shoulder, she gave way to her emotion in a burst of tears.
Caroline was evidently much agitated; she strained her weeping cousin to her heart, and replied, in a hurried voice, "Dearest Emily, you quite misunderstand me. I am not unhap......, at least, I am not silent from want of affection. Do not be uneasy on my account. Perhaps the time may come, when I shall be able to tell you everything; meanwhile, let me entreat that you will not question me."
Emily felt completely checked, by this evident determination not to satisfy her anxious inquiries; and she could not forbear weeping at this change in the conduct of her cousin. She found that, instead of regaining her confidence, this last step had only increased the distance between them; for Caroline now shunned every opportunity, which might have led to a renewal of the conversation
THE GREY SISTERS.
I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to know. ledge. ROMANS X. 2.
LYDIA's cough had lately returned, and her sister's attention was soon absorbed, by fears which this symptom of her former indisposition excited. The affectionate heart of Caroline was deeply alive to everything which affected, in the slightest degree, the persons she loved; and the mysterious gloom which had lately hung on her brow, immediately gave place to the expression of tender anxiety. She seemed to have forgotten everything, but the safety and comfort of this beloved sister. Once more kind and engaging, she seemed to be herself again, while she strove, by every affec tionate effort, to cheer the sometimes drooping spirits of Lydia, and promote that recovery of strength, which was so desirable for the interesting girl. Emily watched her varying feelings, as they were alternately affected by hope and fear, rejoiced at the returning freedom with which she now conversed on every subject but one, and endeavored to anticipate the time, when every cloud should at length vanish away.
Proper medical treatment, under the divine blessing, at length subdued those alarming symptoms which had threatened serious consequences to the health of Lydia. Exercise in the open air was strongly recommended. She therefore, whenever the weather was fine, walked out, under the care of Madame d'Elfort, or one of the teachers, and generally accompanied either by her sister or cousin.
It was during one of those excursions, that Madame d'Elfort proposed paying a visit to the " Sœurs de la Charité," or Grey Sisters, as they are usually called. The young people had heard of these Religieuses, who had an establishment not far from Madame d'Elfort's house; and, as they had often seen them in the street, and their costume and character had excited great curiosity in their minds, they joyfully accepted the proposal, which promised to make them better acquainted with so interesting an order of
The Grey sisters belong to the order of St. Vincent de Paule, They devote themselves to the relief of the sick, the poor and the afflicted. Their business is to seek out misery in its most retired haunts, and to spend their days in administering to the wants of the unfortunate. Their vows are annually renewed, and there is a certain period allowed them, at the end of every year, for deliberation, before they again contract the usual engagement. It hap