Page images
PDF
EPUB

304

THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD.

CHAPTER XIV.

CORRESPONDENCE.

MRS. SELINA BALFOUR TO MRS. MALCOLM. MY DEAR FRIEND,

Your reply to my last letter was rather stiff and frosty ; but you see you have not deprived me of Christian charity. I was always devoted in my friendships, and never said black when I could possibly imagine white; but I must confess that your wonderful cousin would make me forgive you anything. You didn't manufacture him at Ringwood Hall—did you? Why, he's the very eighth wonder of the world. All Paris is in an uproar about him.

I alluded to his commencements in my last; but his middles and endings have far eclipsed the first. He fascinated right and left-scattered stings of desire in a thousand hearts, which he did not condescend to bless.

Your beautiful nephew went to Rome. Heaven only knows what else he did there ; but he made love to a pretty papist. No doubt she converted him for his pains, and with the aid of the celebrated Father Fraser. Well, he returned with her to

THE POOR YOUNG LADY.

305

Paris. Meanwhile, a former rival challenges your nephew. They fight; and—oh, your nephew's brilliant star! - he disarms his enemy; the sword sticks in the ground by the hilt; the enemy falls upon it, and dies blaspheming. Your nephew is horrified, thunderstruck, penetrated, as they say in France, and is very sorry. He goes home a true penitent, sends for a Jesuit, is now in the Novitiate, and, by the time I ain converted, I hope he will be the first to hear my confession—the fine, noble fellow, your admirable nephew.

Everybody's mouth is full of your nephew just now; and the affair of the duel is quite forgotten in the great manifestation. It is even said that the Queen of the French has ordered a grand mass of thanksgiving to be offered up on the holy conversion of your admirable nephew, Leonard Devigne, of Ringwood Hall, ci-devant Esq., now novice of the Society of Jesus; and Heaven only knows what to be hereafter. They say the Jesuits expect plenty of money with your nephew; but I hope good Mr. Devigne will last many years yet, for the sake of universal charity, &c. &c.

Hoping that this letter, at least, will interest you,

believe me,

Your affectionate,

SELINA BALFOUR.

P.S.--I open the letter to say I have just been informed that the poor young lady whom Leonard was to marry has gone mad, and has been taken to the Salpêtrière !

X

[blocks in formation]

THE NOVICE TO MRS. MALCOLM. MY DEAR Aunt,

My father's sudden death has afflicted me greatly; but it is most consoling to reflect that the grace which he received to embrace the truth was made efficient to lead him to eternal life. I pray for the repose of his soul, and shall continue to pray incessantly; thus enabled to prove my gratitude to my dear father in death more than it was my lot to manifest during his life, ere God in his mercy called me to Him.

Do not, my dear aunt, be indignant at my words. What I have done, I did in all sincerity, believing I did rightly : my conscience is at rest. I have embraced the one true faith ; and, earnestly praying that the same grace may be granted to you, whom I love more than ever, since I love you in God, Believe me ever to be, Your affectionate nephew,

LEONARD DEVIGNE.*

THE NOVICE TO Miss BRENTON,

Our good Father has announced to you the late events which have snatched me from the world to Heaven.

* The Novice had added the fact of his present position and deter. mination to enter the Society ; but he was ordered to strike out the announcement. It is also curious that he makes no allusion to his aunt's letter. He is very cautious, seemingly; he has not told all.

ALAS! POOR HELEN !

307

I have endeavoured, and am endeavouring, to remain faithful to the grace.

You first imparted to me the truths of our holy religion-you it was who first began the work of my conversion; and oh ! how thankful I am to you for that beginning, which was destined to be completed so ravishingly by the greatest blessings that Heaven can lavish on the heart of man-I mean the call to religion-a vocation to the state of perfection.

Oh! you will pray for me-you will pray that I may remain stedfast, that I may stand firm, and thus be enabled to retrieve my past life of worldliness, by leading others to repentance and to God.

Should any worldly feeling induce you to repine at my step, oh! think of what you once told me, that God alone can fill the heart, and He alone is worthy of its eternal raptures. Yes; you will exult at the fulfilment of your words—yes; you will pray that I may be filled with that grace from above which is now all the desire of

Your servant,

LEONARD DEVIGNE.

308

A PLAINTIVE VOICE IS HEARD.

CHAPTER XV.

THE BROKEN-HEARTED.

“How has she passed the night?”

“ As usual, doctor; not quiet one moment. Always singing, laughing, crying, or talking to some one she fancies with her. It 's dreadful to hear the poor lady. She won't touch a morsel of anythingand we haven't the heart to force her, poor dear soul. One would as soon touch an angel. And sometimes I think she looks like one. ...

Listen! She often sings that ..

A plaintive voice is heard : 't is poor Helen's.

“ Have I not prayed for my cruel love?
Yes; and I hope to meet him above :
Come to me, dearest, and bear me away-
Come to me, dearest, oh! do not delay.”

Poor soul; see, now she kneels oh! how beautiful those melting eyes, gazing above — she fancies she sees something. See how she turns following the vision. She's going to speak-she sighs --her features change — they are convulsed — she falls to the floor. 'T is but for a moment. Pale

« PreviousContinue »