« PreviousContinue »
THE STRONG MAN IS DYING.
murder, is set: she has shrunk from the scene of death.
The streets of the great city are not deserted; the passions people them still. The dead of night is their hour of life, -the passions, whose penalty we now behold.
But in this room all is still.
His eyes are closed; he breathes hardly; ever and anon a tremor shakes his frame.
Life is ebbing away, but he is still sensible ; he whispers faintly.
At intervals, some agonizing thought forces a tear from his eyes. He weeps ! the libertine weeps ! Valremy weeps!
He feels bitter regrets.
Count Emile de Valremy has just made his confession, and has been absolved by a priest—that priest a
JESUIT! And there the priest stands-Etienne Maugras, the Provincial of France, and Valremy's confessor in the days of his innocence, when a student at college.
When the terrors of death came upon him, he thought of his crimes, and then of the days of his innocence; and the thought of both brought to mind his oft-remembered confessor. He sent for the
Jesuit. The Jesuit came; and now he is leaning over the dying man, hearing the last words of the dying libertine-the implacable foe of the Jesuits, the proud, sensual, reckless Emile de Valremy.
What a retributive humiliation !—and yet humanity will rejoice if he die in peace with his offended God.
What a triumph for those who will have most cause to rejoice at his destruction! And yet may they moderate their rejoicing! May they be merciful in their exultation! Has not he humbled himself before them? Have they not promised him God's forgiveness ? Have they not “absolved” him?-wiped away his guilt?
Now listen to the dying man. “ I have now told you all,
“ Horror within-horror without! A quenchless flame devours me. But you promised me forgive
My crimes stand before me! My victims reappear! I see them all! They mock me! But you tell me God will forgive me!
“ 'Tis hard to die. I would not die. I cannot live. But you say I shall live.
“ I have abused the joys of earth-have merited hell; but you say I shall now go to heaven,
“I would hope. I do hope. But how can I hope? Why should I hope ? You tell me God is merciful!"
At these words, his eyes opened, wild with terror -screaming in agony.
POINTED ALLUSIONS TO
« There !- there !--the fiends are come ! Oh, God, forgive me! I burn! Save me!
Save me! I perish! I repent!”
In a dreadful convulsion, the wretched man leaped from his bed ; his head struck against the wall; he fell to the floor-a corpse !
Thus perished, in his thirty-eighth year, Count Emile de Valremy.
All the events of his life, herein briefly recorded, suggest their moral too vividly to require development. Each reader, according to his respective organization, will draw his own conclusions; and these will thus be far more to the purpose than
any which the author could suggest.
One remark may be allowed. Valremy was trained by the Jesuits : as their pupil he did them credit to the last; and if the Jesuits suffered by him, they have to reproach one of their own body for having made him an implacable foe.
Hereby is Valremy not justified, nor is Bramand exonerated.
But let the Jesuits justify, if they can, the fearful consequences that but too often follow their “ pious” machinations.
Bramand's conduct is what they daily pursuean undue interference in the concerns of families.
How they strive to make themselves necessary to the family! How they bind its members to themselves by the arts of pious seduction! Strange-but true, nevertheless. Even a temporary absence of
HUSBANDS AND FATHERS.
the female members is rendered productive of "pious thoughts,” by correspondence !
Such dismal consequences as the production of a Valremy do not always, providentially, follow their machinations; but the corroding anguish of a husband who may not sympathize with the Jesuits—the anxiety of a father who may not admire the Jesuits -serve, nevertheless, to make life miserable, though the “eternal interests of religion” are collaterally advanced.
The Jesuits may hold forth the specious pretence, as they do, that they only care about “eternal interests;” but in the specific instances which we have now' in view, “eternal interests” are not promoted, but temporal annoyance is produced.
Certainly, husbands and fathers are to blame if they submit tamely to such encroachments. But we must bear in mind that resistance, though natural to some, is a painful effort to others; and many a prudent man prefers a certain amount of evil in the present, to that which he “knows not of” in the contingent. Thus he submits and suffers, and is very reluctant to “stir up Leviathan.”
DEAD! YOUR FRIEND IS NO MORE!”
ING, AND ITS EFFECTS.
In his last moments the Count desired to see Leonard. The Jesuit promoted the wish; Leonard was sent for at his apartments. He was 'absent at the time; but when he returned and heard the affecting intelligence, he hastened to the hotel, entering the room just as the Count expired.
His friend lay dead on the floor; the Jesuit, in mute horror, standing beside the corpse, which was darkened by the shadow of his tall and venerable figure.
“ Dead! Your friend is no more!”
At the sight, and the words, Leonard shrank back, trembling with horror.
He had parted with his friend but a few hours before, the gayest of the gay; and gaily they had shaken hands, and promised each other a joyful meeting again.
He approached; he knelt; he grasped the dead, cold hand. He spoke not; but his gushing tears