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THE SPELL OF THE CONSOLER.

CHAPTER VI,

MYSTIFICATION.-A MAGDALEN, AND EXPLANATIONS,

Sıx weeks have elapsed since the event just described. Ringwood Hall has witnessed the grief of a father mourning for his child—desponding, desolate.

Mr. Devigne and his sister have visited their relatives in Scotland. Mrs. Malcolm proposes to remain in that country till the winter. Mr. Devigne has returned to Ringwood Hall.

The change of scene has not dissipated the fond father's grief; and the last words of his dying child still linger in the chamber of his heart.

Those who are blest with the power to console us in affliction gain influence in our hearts; esteem repays them with gratitude, and love weaves a spell around the consoler, from whom we tear with difficulty our parched and thirsty souls. Was it to be wondered at that Father Percival, the “priest” of the dying scene, became dear to the bereaved parent whose grief he had assuaged, or endeavoured to

HOW TO WEIGH BOTH SIDES OF A QUESTION. 45 assuage; whose affliction he seemed so deeply to commiserate in the days of his mourning ? .

Frequent interviews had taken place. The Jesuit consoled, entertained, pleased his visitor; and Mr. Devigne at length found it impossible to pass a day without visiting Father Percival.

It is a very pleasant thing to most people to meet with a clergyman who does not “ bore them” by

obtruding." sacred topics into general conversation; and, nevertheless, who has the art to dismiss them in good humour with themselves, and all the world besides.

Had you asked Mr. Devigne, on leaving the Jesuit, what his conversation had been about, he might have been at a loss to reply; but if you had asked him whether it had been satisfactory, he would have answered with an emphatic affirmative.

What! the Jesuit did not strive at once to convert” him ?-did not bewilder him with texts from Scripture, and arguments from tradition ; in fact, lost the golden opportunity ?--Not the least in the world.

How then did it happen that Mr. Devigne's library now presented a whole shelf of controversial works, the divine panoply of Roman Catholicism? It were invidious to offer an opinion,—the fact must speak for itself. Are not children cheated into the alphabet by attractive toys given them by way of pastime? And can you not induce a man of a “ liberal, inquiring spirit,” to “weigh both sides of a question,” just-only just to form a relative

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A DISINTERESTED GUIDE.

opinion of their respective merits ?” Listen to this disinterested guide to the well of truth.

Here, sir, is an author who treats his subject very candidly, but is, perhaps, rather severe on what he deems historical falsifications; but he is so earnest that you, my dear sir, will be pleased with him, though not persuaded..... Oh! here we have quite a different mind. It's all logic—mathematical demonstration : you'll be at home with this author. Yes,—you may find something in this worthy; but the fact is, he was a convert, and so you must not judge too harshly his wild denunciations. In his later works, he cooled down to a more rational fixity. In short, my dear sir, I'll send you all :reject or embrace according to your right judgment.”

Perhaps Mr. Devigne's controversial shelf has been filled with this philosophical intention,~“only just to form a relative opinion,” &c.

So much for the controversial shelf.

The mother of Mr. Devigne's child has been reformed, or rather, reclaimed. She has become a “ fervent communicant," under Father Percival.

Letters have passed between Mr. Devigne and the Magdalen. He solicits with earnest entreaty. She refuses with deliberate firmness-as it would seem, of course.

Passion, in a weak mind, is increased to phrenzy. Mr. Devigne proposed marriage, Here is the Magdalen's reply :

“Deeply sensible of my past errors, I have prayed to Heaven for grace to make amends in the

A BODY OF SIN AND A SOUL OF GUILT.

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time allotted to me, by the practice of that holy religion which I have disgraced by my former

excesses.

“This is the fervent wish of my soul. My religion offers to such as myself a refuge and a home; a haven of rest and repentance. Too late have I thought of my God.

God. What have I to offer to my Creator but a body of sin, and a soul of guilt? And still, in His mercy, He will deign to accept even that unworthy offering, in consideration of the merits of Christ and the Saints.

A life of penance awaits me in the cloister. Such is my determination, with the approval of my spiritual director. In

In a very short time my resolve, with the blessing of God, shall be accomplished.

“ You offer me the holy state of matrimony. I am unworthy of it.

“My prayers shall be offered up-fervently offered for you. Yes, I shall incessantly pray for the fulfilment of that sacred promise which you made to our dying child; and may his prayers in heaven be the blessed means of uniting us hereafter in a holier love than that which existed between us here below.

“ God bless you!”

On the reception of this reply, Mr. Devigne hastened at once, as was expected, to his “friend,” the Rev. Thomas Percival. The interview must be given in full.

Of course it is premised that Father Percival knew already as much of the subject as

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A MAN TO BE RELIED ON.

Mr. Devigne himself, and a little more besides ; so that with the understanding that Mr. Devigne has explained the object of his visit, and the cause of his agitation, (to the apparent surprise of Mr. Percival), the parties will proceed to explain themselves.

“I believe, sir, she is your penitent?”

“She is: but perhaps, my dear sir, you will permit me. to observe that I cannot with propriety entertain any question or proposition that may

have reference to that relation.

“Oh! certainly not, my dear sir, I respect your honourable feeling, and would be the last person to compromise you. All I would ask you is whether you will use your influence to retard her hasty resolution, if only for a fortnight. Oh! sir, you will befriend me greatly: I am distracted.”

Compose yourself, my dear sir : you may rely on me, Mr. Devigne.” “ Thank you, thank you.

Such boundless kind. ness as I have experienced at your hands in every interview, has found me most grateful, I assure you. Ah! you have at least charity on your side, Mr. Percival; and I, for my part, know not what can be conclusively advanced against the faith you profess.

“Let not your feelings overpower your judgment to make hasty admissions, dear Mr. Devigne. Continue your search after truth. The spirit of Truth will direct your conscientious pursuit.”

“I'll be candid, at once. I see my way pretty

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