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The three scenes just given had scarcely ended, M. Gramont had scarcely left the house when Leonard Devigne made his morning call.

He was received by M. Duplessis with the greatest civility; and an animated conversation soon ensued.

“How strange it is,” said M. Duplessis, “ that the differences in religious belief should so far blight the sympathies of men, as to make foes of natural brothers, as we all are!”

“ The more strange,” said Leonard, “when we reflect, that although he everywhere preached his pure morality, Christ condemned no man for his faith: but he lashed many for their hardness of heart, cruelty, and hypocrisy. In modern times, the reverse has taken place-Christians have chosen rather to imitate their pagan persecutors than their divine example.”

“I agree with you, Mr. Devigne; charity should be the mark to characterise the children of the God of charity. I, for my part, totally disap

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prove of the severities which our church-governors have thought proper at times, to inflict on those who conscientiously dissented from our creed.”

“And are you really a Catholic in the strictest sense of the word, M. Duplessis? Do you really believe all that strict Catholics are said to believe? You seem to me a man of the world: I confess your occasional pious' remarks have surprised

me.”

“No doubt, no doubt; the fact is, I am naturally inclined to sacred studies,—and, besides, why should religion render us gloomy? Still less should my religion, which has, I may say, spiritualised every human feeling, and purified even sensuality of its grossness."

“ I have been led to believe quite the contrary.”

“Doubtless. Everything is misrepresented : to ignorance and malice nothing is sacred: the ignorant and the malicious share the world.”

“ Then you would not have me believe that Catholics are priest-ridden; that the secrets of families are pried into for a purpose not always divine; in short, that whilst all your external senses are intensely gratified by the play-toys, if I may so call them, of religion, your minds and consciences are enslaved by the most uncompromising tyranny ?”

That view of the fact may be taken, my dear sir: but the Catholic sees no inconveniences in the fact as it presents itself to his mind: an influence is admitted, the consequences flow: he complains not:

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there can be no tyranny where men are willing to obey. You must distinguish between matters of mere discipline and matters of faith : to a man of your enlightened mind an examination of the subject in all its bearings would, I am convinced, lead to at least a neutral opinion, if I may be allowed the expression. In myself you see one who will quarrel with no man on account of his belief. Content if his feelings be right, I refer his faith to the tribunal above; and am ready to befriend Protestant as well as Catholic to the utmost of my power. So you perceive I am no persecutor.”

“Indeed, I like your sentiments: we shall agree right well."

“ You honour me by the assurance: I reciprocate the sentiment most cordially. Always welcome at my house, it will be my endeavour to render your stay at Paris agreeable, and we shall think of your visit with pleasure.”

This complimentary address was duly appreciated; -Leonard took leave more pleased than ever with his new acquaintance; but somewhat annoyed at not having seen Mlle. Duplessis.

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The reader need not be assured that there is something more than “civility” between Leonard and Mlle. Duplessis.

If the altercation between the father and daughter evinces less filial respect on the part of the latter than beseems a daughter, M. Duplessis proved, by his remarks to M. Gramont, what may be commonly observed, that parents do not always believe what they say. Children usually make this discovery, and then they repeat the fifth commandment as a task.

The captivation between the parties was mutual. Perhaps, a trivial commonplace coquetry—a species of dishonesty that is often indulged in without computing consequences, often so disastrous.

Leonard was aware of the lady's engagement; but the wild, disreputable career into which he had embarked, had already made desire the rule of his

H

98

THE MOST PERSUASIVE MYSTIFIER.

conduct. With regard to Mlle. Duplessis, his 'intentions were most honourable; but the error was in making, in the first instance, an advance into a territory preoccupied.

Had the lady not encouraged, perhaps the lover would have retired; for, in spite of the mystifications which young ladies sometimes put forth through spitefulness, or in self-defence, it may be certain that very rigid propriety in a young lady is sure to keep young gentlemen in order. How can Mlle. Duplessis be justified in thinking of another in her state of engagement? Has not the reader perceived in the lady's sarcastic replies to M. Gramont, a strong effort of conscience to justify the change of her sentiment? In those replies, the young lady's character is faithfully reflected. No one should justify prevarication : but the human heart-is it not a gay and fond deceiver ? Is it not a most persuasive mystifier -- fruitful in argument, always eloquent, generally successful in its endeavour to have its own way? But does Adele need defence ?

Perhaps the reader has sided with the lady in her contempt for her “whining” lover; perhaps he is a despicable man; perhaps it will appear so in the sequel; but for the present we have only to consider the lady's "prevarication," or change of mind, and wait for consequences.

Why did not M. Duplessis act the candid part with M. Gramont and Leonard Devigne, and so, perhaps, obviate unpleasantness ? His object was to serve the Jesuits, to whom he was under some very

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