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might be the consequences should the Count make the remotest allusion to my history, I was compelled to embrace the desperate expedient of throwing myself on his mercy. I took him aside; he gave me his word to respect my secret.”

“ Did you tell all?"

“ I did not; in fact, I merely explained to him that I had taken orders in the Church of England, and hoped that, the past being past, I might trust in him, as a man of honour, to respect the secret of my former life.”

The Provincial sighed. He asked,

“ Do you imagine that he does not know your present connection ?”

Father Powel was surprised by a slight hesitation; but he answered, “ I fear he does. There was that in his

eye

which could not conceal all his thoughts, and his hands twitched convulsively."

The Provincial clasped his hands, exclaiming,

“Oh! what an abyss of infinite craft are the mind and heart of this awful man! Yes, his infernal vow is recorded in letters of fire on the walls of hell; he will torment us to the end."

Father Powel continued,

“The intimacy between the Count and my pupil increased. I cautioned the latter ; but, headstrong as he is, he disregarded my advice. There was my dilemma. I feared to exert my authority, lest I should compromise our hopes in my ward; for his resentments are strong, and were to be deprecated:

MIGHTIER HOPE THAN EVER.

75

whilst I feared to offend the Count, lest he should betray me; for what faith can be placed in the word of a libertine?

“By the time we reached Paris, I saw with grief that the man had completely fascinated my pupil, I could only dissemble my grief; it was expedient to yield. Alas! would that I could say that my worst fears were not realized !

In the short space of two months, the perverse youth has left nothing unlearned in the career of vice. Like a torrent bursting its banks, libertinism has deluged his heart; he has gratified every desire. I was compelled to have eyes, and yet not see-ears, and yet hear nota tongue, and yet not speak; for, as a consequence of his debaucheries, his impatience of reproof has increased tenfold, and his pride in his infernal “successes' is beyond computing.”

The Provincial raised his hands, exclaiming, “ Anima mea turbata est valdè! sed tu, Domine, usquequò ?* Brother, you have done all that could be done; God will.do what remains to be done. There is hope-yes, there is hope-mightier hope than

The violence of his transgression shall chastise the wayward youth-the hour of remorse shall come, and conquer. Did that hour not bring you to repentance ? Is not the satiety of vice the returning appetite of virtue ? And does not Heaven often make calamity the harbinger of grace descending? Do not such events perpetually hover over

*“My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long ?Psalm vi,

ever.

76

HOW TO BRING FORTH GOOD FROM EVIL.

those who live in habitual sin? Is not the scourge of the sinner always ready to fall, when mercy is decreed? And now that we have done all that could be done, what remains but to pray and watch, and bide the opportunity ? Yes, there is mightier hope than ever; difficulties are diminished; he shall be humbled. His self-righteousness was

an insuperable bar to the grace of conversion. Let his passions overpower him; we shall know how to bring forth good from evil. Oh! 't is the sedatethose who seem to themselves free from the vices of other men-'tis such as these who resist us. Their pride in righteousness renders them as stones to the showers of Heaven. Ay! better be a publican in sin, than a saint in self-righteousness.”

Thus ended this important interview. Its sequel was a “ consultation," or a summary of “progress, given by the reverend Provincial to his “ assistants."

PRIVATE MATTERS.

77.

CHAPTER II.

A CONSULTATION.

THE Provincial is seated at a table ; 'his papers are unfolded : the “ assistants” are about to be informed of an important matter—their natural curiosity is sanctified by its holy object. As in most other “consultations,” it will be found that all agree with the “ man in authority.” The Provincial is the man; he speaks :

“ There is good hope of the father's conversion, by means of his former mistress, whom he loves passionately, and proposes to marry. The conversion is to be ardently desired ; not so the marriage, which is, of course, for obvious reasons,* rather to be prevented. This “transaction' is in the hands of Father Percival, who has our instructions on the subject. He informs me that Mr. Devigne has seemed, of late, more disinclined than he had reason to believe him. He is unable to account for the change. The marriage is no longer talked of: the man's mind seems to be engrossed by some projectt

* On account of the inheritance. + Of course,

Mr. Benbow's proposal.

78

FATHER POWEL'S DOOM IN PROSPECT.

which he conceals from Father Percival, now his intimate friend. The knowledge of that fact might advance our object : Father Percival has the dis

covery at heart.

“ The position of the son is critical. He has taken to evil courses. The fiend of our Holy Society, Valremy, has pounced upon him; the tiger drinks the blood of his prey : but the prey still lives--he shall be saved. This unexpected conjuncture could not be obviated by Father Powel : I am satisfied with his conduct; but the knowledge of his former connection with that evil man may reflect dishonour on our Holy Society: that misfortune will be averted by our Holy Father General. Of course, he is recalled ; since his remaining with his debauched pupil would be a disgrace to our Holy Society if discovered, and be otherwise dangerous, as he would be blamed for neglect. There was peril in his removal, lest his place might be supplied by an enemy: still, the greater evil was to be shunned by preference; but, by the advice of Father Powel, delicately hinted, backed by the decided counsel of Father Percival, and the father's infatuation coinciding with the youth's perversity, the coast is clear: the youth proceeds to Rome unaccompanied. We have taken measures. You will find the details of the whole transaction' in this document, prepared for Holy Father General. Father Powel will start with it to-morrow, and will deliver it in person.”

The document being read, he resumed :

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