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THE FATAL CONVICTION.

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self for viler purposes-she has escaped destruction.' Such were the dying man's words; and I will add (since you seem doubtful still), that Leonard Devigne was in the same room with me immediately after the death of Valremy, and was absent from home when he was sent for to hear his friend's dying words; and therefore, Mlle. Duplessis, I ask you, after all your own admission, why

Adele fainted. The fatal conviction had flashed on her mind-she was deceived. The Jesuit's appeal remained unfinished.

Dreadful conviction! And so unprepared sudden! At one fell swoop all her gorgeous fabric of bliss was made a ruin.

And such is woman's love-such her hope--and but too often her cruel fate!

SO

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180

ADELE'S LOVE.

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE TENDER MERCIES OF THE WICKED.

AFTER the application of the usual remedies, Adele revived. The Jesuit took leave. M. Duplessis paced the apartment in anxious thought. Adele retired to her room.

Her strong mind summoned all its energies to endure the pangs of disappointment,—those bitter thoughts, which seem so hard to resist and compose, to many a gentle heart in its unequal conflict with a selfish world.

The reader will not fully comprehend the extent of Adele's disappointment, until she herself shall express it to her deceiver : the hopes of her generous, noble soul,- her ardent heart-a heart which had imagined a good thought, and fondly, too fondly, promised itself its speedy accomplishment.

Hers was a love of rapid growth ; like the growth of a tropical plant-nor less luxuriant, nor less beautiful, nor less adorned with brilliant flowersthe hope of fruit in due season.

The thoughtful girl had preconceived in her mind the pattern of those qualities which she desired THE PHILOSOPHY OF WOMAN'S LOVE. 181 in a husband. With the quick eye of woman, she fancied that she beheld those qualities in Leonard Devigne. She loved their seeming possessor; or, rather, she loved the qualities which Leonard seemed to possess.

Often is woman thus enamoured, and borne irresistibly, as it were, to the seemingly gifted object of love.

She is, in her strong determination, accused of “passion;" but, in most cases, her love has a more rational foundation. More impressionable, more sensitive, more spiritual, than man, love entirely possesses her soul; it captivates every sentiment of her heart. But as she is convinced that she sees proofs of a fancied endowment, she only worships that endowment, so to speak, “with all her mind and with all her heart."

Sensual feelings commonly vitiate the love of man : seldom do they intrude into the love of She is by nature purer than man ;

in spite of the contrary opinion too confidently expressed by those who mistake woman's entire devotedness to the object of her love for self-satisfying ecstacies. Perhaps no influence or power would shake the foundation of her virtue, could she read the heart of her deceiver. But how little cares man for the previous innocence of her whom he seeks to betray? Woman yields to vice, only because she hopes it will lead to virtue—trusting, as she fondly does, to the gratitude of man; and, unconscious of deceit, she surrenders to the man who swears eternal adoration. Love, to woman, makes all things law

woman.

182

ADELE'S REFLECTIONS.

ful, because love is the presiding divinity of her soul, and therefore demands her greatest sacrifice. When men would compass their designs, an appeal to her love is seldom made in vain.

But although she falls, she never loses her innate piety. She would rise from guilt sooner and more effectually than man, if the human sympathies of society would charitably forget that she was ever guilty. The roots of religion are still deep within, though withering, and demand but the dews of Heaven's grace to refreshen them, and make them put forth buds, and branches, and the fruits of blessedness.

Listen to Adele. She has just read over again Leonard Devigne's love-letter.

Strange that I did not see through it before ! How imagination has misled me! How insipid, fulsome, disgusting, these expressions seem to me now! Only an hour ago they warmed my heart, ravished my soul. I believed him. False! False ! I took thee for thy better, wretched man! Thou hast lost a heart that would have loved thee for ever. For the mind and heart which it worships perish not_fade not-change not.

“But perhaps he is slandered by the Jesuits, as so many are. Yet they always have a motive. What motive can they have for slandering Mr. Devigne ? I can see none.

“ Yes, alas ! it must be so. The dying man has spoken the truth. All the circumstances are suspicious. What, my lover the friend, the intimate

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friend, of Valremy, whose character is so bad! And called “honour itself” by my lover! What idea has he of honour ? Hideous thought! Merciful Heaven! I am grateful for thy intervention. Surely my father knew him to be the friend of the fearful Count. Why did he introduce him to me? Why did he always bid him welcome, knowing him to be the companion of that most unprincipled man? And yet, who could imagine his guilt from that open brow-from those lips, so eloquent of good on every topic most dear to my heart? Who could express so well my

mind's own thoughts, as if he could read their obscurities, so thrillingly did he interpret all my

doubts and difficulties. And all to deceive me! To deceive me, who loved him more and more who was ready to give him my heart for ever - all that I have or am-only craving his heart and mind in return! Was that too much to yield ? 'Tis done. I will be grateful to Heaven for its protection. I am resigned. The past shall be a light to the future,

“I shall declare my resolution to my father. I am mistress of my fortune. I shall follow the dictates of my heart, trusting that God will guide it. He has saved me from a libertine: I will myself discard a guilty wretch. I endured him for my father's sake; but even for his sake I cannot wed a guilty man,-even should he be base enough to press my engagement after what has passed. “This Jesuit means me no good,

I convinced. His eye was wicked this morning. He surprised

am

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