« PreviousContinue »
HELEN'S FORTUNATE RIVAL.
The Jesuit observed the change from the very commencement; and, though ignorant of Leonard's motives, he exulted in the fact. The lady had served
a decoy. His preparatory conversations with Leonard must now become more intentional. They were now to be “ business.” He gladly encouraged the advances of the youth to himself. He became the fortunate rival of Helen.
Helen fancied that her lover became daily more and more indifferent to her; but daily he was more and more in the company of Father Fraser. They were frequently closeted together.
At length she began to suspect the fact, that the Jesuit's object was to gain her lover to the Society; and then she traced all his advice and conduct in the matter, from the beginning, to that intention. Thus forced to admit herself a mere tool in the hands of the Jesuit, her bitterness of heart was increased. She felt humbled.
It must have been an interesting study to the Jesuit to observe the effect of his conversations on the youth ; to mark the gradual substitution of one feeling by another - or, rather, the different application or direction of the same. Thoroughly understanding his pupil, he dissected his sentiments so skilfully, pointed out their natural tendencies with such precision and certainty, that an older head would have surrendered to the seemingly divine penetration and power to guide, as evidenced by the Jesuit.
Consider yourself,” said the Jesuit; “dive into
your heart; ask yourself the question, What is my destiny? You hear no reply. But the reply is whispered. I will enable you to hear it. Hurried onward in the career which you have begun, your life is entirely external. You are unconscious of the powers, the faculties, the sentiments, which have been consigned to your mind and heart for the most exalted destiny.
“ Hitherto woman has been an object with you. But how? You have never loved.”
Leonard looked up. The Jesuit continued :
“I explain : I conclude this from your own admission. Have you not told me that your conquest is enhanced in your estimation by its difficulty ? That is not the sentiment of those who love strongly those who love because they cannot help loving. Those who love thus, love the more from being readily beloved. An irresistible sympathy draws them to the object. It is power that you seek : influence over the mind and the heart is the desire of
“ And how have you sought that boon hitherto ? How will you seek it henceforth? Shall the noble ambition of your soul be lowered to the grovelling of mere love-conquests, when boundless power is offered to its grasp over the minds, and hearts, and consciences of men ? A power is offered to you; wherewith endowed, single-handed, you may brave the very tyrant who sways the destinies of millions ; for your influence will be livine -his but brute force, which force can overcome.
The destiny offered to you will put you in possession of yourself, which is itself the highest reach of the mortal; and the same destiny will invest you with the powers of the Eternal, delegated to those only who rise above the weaknesses of their fellowmen."
“ And the means of finding that destiny ?”
“I belong to that Society whose name is a terror to the world “ Then
you are a Jesuit?” “I am a Member of the Society of Jesus, and exult in the name."
“ I have heard hideous things of the Jesuits.”
“ And yet, again I say, I exult in the name. From the foundation of our Order, envy has pursued the sons of Ignatius ; but through the thick mists of calumny, the central star of their glory has beamed brightly forth. It beams, and shall beam for ever.
Name me the men who have endured every calamity that man
on man inflicts.
You must name the Jesuits. Name me the men who have left no region of the habitable world without a monument of their labours. You must name the Jesuits. Think of those who have promoted every science - perfected every art. You think of the Jesuits. Cast your eyes over the map of the world. Call to the angels that preside over kingdoms. Ask them whose labours have been most indefatigablemost successful in spreading the name of Christ.
They must name the Jesuits. We bless God, as his instruments, and we thank him for the sufferings with which he has permitted men to reward us.”
This disclosure took place on the evening of Leonard's arrival in Paris. The whole conversation made a deep impression on his mind. The effect intended by the Jesuit was made. But Leonard was still “undecided.” Why should he leave the world, where he had every promise and earnest of success? Was he not wealthy ? True, the rewards held forth to his ambition were such as his heart desired. But the pleasures of life had still their voice in his heart. He had but tasted the world. He was not surfeited as yet. There was ample time to consider his “ destiny."
Such were his reflections.
Yes ; Leonard gave her a thought—and he also thought of his father's proposal.
His intention is to leave Paris in three days, to pay his respects to his expectant father at Ringwood Hall.
THE ALL-IMPORTANT TOPIC.
THE MEETING OF OLD FRIENDS.
MEANWHILE, “ The Ringwood Hall,” East Indiaman, has arrived.
The owner of the vessel and cargo is the only passenger, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Jane Benbow; of whose beauty, qualities, and wealth, her father and Mr. Devigne have spoken with merited approbation.
The rich Calcutta merchant is impatient to see his friend; or rather, to use his own words, he wants “ to enter upon the business without any digression."
Mr. Benbow also wishes to take his friend by surprise. The latter, with Mr. Percival, otherwise Father Percival, is now “thinking over" the allimportant topic which brings Mr. Benbow to England.
“ His letter is certainly very interesting,” ejaculated Father Percival, returning Leonard's letter to Mr. Devigne; .“ it is most gratifying: he writes with all filial respect, and cheerfully complies with your request. Besides, how promising his senti