Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE UNFORTUNATE JESUIT.

69

PART II.

THE STRUGGLE.

King Henry. Why then, good morrow to you all, my lords ; Have you read o'er the letters that I sent you?

Warwick. We have, my liege.

K. Hen. Then you perceive, the body of our kingdom,
How foul it is ;-what rank diseases grow,
And with what danger, near the heart of it.

War. It is but as a body, yet distemper'd;
Which to his former strength may be restor'd,
With good advice, and little medicine ;-
My lord Northumberland will soon be cool'd.

Second Part of Henry IV. Act iii. Sc. 1.

CHAPTER I.

THE TWO JESUITS AGAIN.

FATHER POWEL, otherwise Mr. Bainbridge, had given to his Provincial in England a true and circumstantial account of his hopeful charge. Matters cursorily alluded to in Mrs. Balfour's letter to Mrs. Malcolm, had been fully detailed by the unfortunate Jesuit. What an example of self-devotion! Father Powel was conscious that the whole blame would

[blocks in formation]

be thrown on his shoulders; and yet he extenuated nothing; on the contrary, he described the present aspect of affairs as almost hopeless. In his cause every Jesuit forgets himself-or rather, that cause is himself: if it prevail, he prevails; if it sinks, he sinks. Hence the unity of will that constitutes the indomitable character of the body. What are the paltry shudderings of self-love, to the clamorous life-instinct of the same motive power? It is this life-instinct that rules the Jesuit heart, stifling every other selfish feeling when that life-instinct is endangered by the suggestions of the former.

Father Powel expected blame, though conscious that he was only unfortunate, as the sequel will prove; he was ready to bear the penalty, provided his truthful exposition of the case would, as he doubted not, suggest a remedy, or at least prevent a greater evil to the Society than the loss of a convert, and the contingent advantages.

He was ordered to appear before his Provincial. Such are “the imperious family matters which supervened, and compelled his speedy return to England," as he writes to Mr. Devigne.

To feel the full force of the culprit's castigation, the reader should imagine the man.

He stood above the average height; was strongly built, -a perfect union of manliness and intellectuality. His features were well chiseled; his nose straight; lips firm, habitually closed; and chin prominent; in short, when in repose, unmoulded into any shape, his natural expression of face was-determination.

[blocks in formation]

His castigator, the Provincial, was “a little man"small, thin, angular throughout-one of those men who either acquire to themselves boundless admiration and power, or crawl through life, like all little things, perpetually reminded of a deficiency-compelled to yield to the force of circumstances.

Father Powel stands; the Provincial sits,-his left hand hangs at his side; his right is clenched, and rests on the table. He begins,

“So, then, you have managed to compromise this most important matter! An enterprise, whose results promised to be so incalculable to the holy cause of religion. Wherefore were you chosen, but on account of that prudence, that discretion, which we had thought you eminently possessed ? How are we deceived in you? And you have compromised ruined all. You have done more,—you have surrendered a soul to perdition; can you answer for it? Can you wash your hands of that guilt, which is fearfully incurred by yielding the young to temptation? The ceaseless vigilance of three long years ; the patient preparation that must have succeeded; the flashing certainty of success,—all, all as if it had never been! Such is the omnipotent fiat of your infatuation! You began the glorious creation--you reached the middle of the splendid week-you repented of your work, resolved to annihilate what you had not patience to perfect, and determined, in your infatuation, that there should be no Sabbath for rest and rejoicing !"

Father Powel, with eyes downcast, heard the

72

THE CONSEQUENCES OF A SINFUL LIFE.

cause.

bitter reproaches inflicted " by virtue of holy obedience.” He presumed not to reply, nor evinced, by the slightest sign of impatience, a desire to defend, exculpate, or extenuate his conduct. The Provincial continued :

“Do you know this Count Emile de Valremy ?” I knew him before I entered religion.” “ Then you knew the foulest enemy of our sacred

No reprobate fiend has tormented us like that monster of wickedness, unless all the princes of darkness dwell in his mind and heart. Such is the man you knew. Ah! I suspected as much. Behold! behold the interminable-the eternal consequences of our transgressions !

Multa flagella peccatoris. Who shall number the stripes that must fall on the sinner's back? You repented of your evil deeds done in the flesh; you were absolved ; but your penalty is not complete. It scourges you even in your repentance; and, in

you, the holy cause which has deigned to admit you into the inheritance of the sons of God. Lacum aperuit et effodit eum; et incidit in foveam quam fecit.”*

The penitent sighed ; his reprover exclaimed

“ Beatus vir cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum, nec est in spiritu ejus dolus !+ Oh! happy is the lot of him whom Heaven has timely invited to give unto God the days of his innocence! Pure of

*“He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.”—Psalm vii.

+" Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."-Psalm xxxii.

THE STORM IS OVER.

73

heart and clean of hands, his spotless name shines forth a defiance to the enemy. Strong in his innocence, he can reprove unanswered the world of sin. Who shall dare to lift the finger, and say to him, You have done as I do ?”

The Provincial knelt, repeating the Veni Creator. Father Powel rehearsed the alternate stanzas in a firm, deliberate tone, and ended with gushing devotion; for he rejoiced in being deemed worthy to suffer reproach, without being conscious of having, in the immediate cause, deserved blame.

Then the Provincial rose, calm and placid, as part of a wave gathered in the basin of a rock, when that wave has broken and spent its fury. He resumed sweetly

“ Tell me, brother, all that has happened ; fill up the necessary blanks of your letters; and the Holy Spirit will direct us how to meet this evil, and turn it into good. Intellectum tibi dabo, et instruam te in viâ hâc, quâ gradieris: firmabo super te oculos

"*

meos.

“ I recognised the man as soon as he entered the vessel, though I had not seen him for many years. I tried to escape his notice, but failed. My pupil would remain on deck; whilst urging him to descend, Valremy approached. The recognition was unavoidable. I contrived to fence his questions, lest my position might be betrayed. When I found that he had interested my pupil, and reflected what

"I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." --Psalm xxxii.

« PreviousContinue »