Puslapio vaizdai
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business is not to moralize, but to relate my story. I found myself in a very unpleasant position, and, in spite of my good opinion of myself, of my general good fortune, - in spite of my philosophy which taught me to take all things easy, and never to go out of my way even for pleasure, I became a prey to contending emotions, and was crucified by my fears, doubts, and anxieties. Katharine had got into my head, and would not be expelled; she was fast winding her arms round my heart, and her embrace would not be relaxed. The only good I could see for me in life was to call this girl mine, and by a holy rite since I could—and would, now - by no other. I felt she was necessary to me; but was I necessary to her ?

I spent considerable time in brooding over the matter, and in contriving plans for bringing it to a successful issue. The more I dwelt on it, the more I fancied I loved ; and the more I persuaded myself I loved, the more I feared I might not be able to make my threat good. No plan I could devise seemed feasible ; one was adopted, and then another, each to be in turn rejected. Till at length it occurred to me, what I had forgotten, that Katharine was still my ward, and at any rate I might drive to the old-fashioned house, and call upon her. She could hardly refuse to see me, and if she did, it was but a refusal, and would be a refusal from which I could gather hope ; for it would prove that she had not ceased to regard me, and therefore feared to see me. I lost no time, called, was admitted without any delay, and found Katharine alone. “Fortune favors the brave," said I. “Every thing as I could wish.”

Katharine received me civilly, but coolly, invited me to be seated, and pursued her occupation. I was rarely at a loss, but at this moment I felt as awkward as the student just from the university, and almost wished for hat or cane to play with. But I rallied instantly. “Katharine,” said I, “I was very much displeased with the termination of our last interview."

“Why so, Mr. Morton.”

“ Because we are old friends, or rather, I am an old friend. We have always been much together from your childhood, and I am not willing to hear those rascally words, We meet no more.' They are sometimes, I own, pleasant words enough, but intolerable from beautiful lips, and especially from lips we love and have often kissed. One could more easily hear one's sontence to be hung.”

** But you have made them words of no meaning. Had they allocted you so seriously, you would hardly have come to hear them repeated."

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Stop there, Kate ; no repeating of them again. Say any thing else you will; but not that we meet no more.' For meet again we will. If you go to hell, I will meet you there; nay, I will even go to heaven but what I will meet you again.'

“ In the first mentioned place I hope neither of us will ever be found, and in the last, I trust I shall have no unwillingness to meet you.” “ Thank you for that, Kate.

for that, Kate. But would you really be willing to meet me in heaven ?”

Why not? You could not enter there without being thoroughly purified from all that makes me unwilling to meet you here, and there you would not be paying unacceptable addresses to a sinful mortal, but would be absorbed, heart and soul, in the love and adoration of Him who is love itself."

“ That can be without my going so far. My divinity is here, and I ask no higher good than to be permitted to worship at its shrine, and to feel that my worship is not altogether unacceptable.”

"Mr. Morton hardly does credit to his reputation. He does not understand the simplest elements of the art of Alattering.”

“ ì bit my lips, for I saw I had made a blunder. The girl was too sincerely devout to tolerate such a form of address.

6 Well, tell me, Katharine, do you really hope to go to heaven?"

Relying on God's goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.”

“ But what sins have you ever been guilty of ? ”

“ Pardon me, Mr. Morton. I believe it is my province to choose my own confessor. But this one sin I will confess even to you, that of having loved the creature more than the Creator.

“Do you continue to commit that sin ?" “I hope not.” "Some little remains of it are however left ; is it not so ?”

6 I think not. I think I can say with truth, O my God, I love thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, for thou art infinitely amiable and deserving of all love.''

" Then you reserve no love for us mortals. Your new creed is a very harsh one. What were we placed here for but to love one another, and help one another endure this vain world as well as we can ? "

“I am not forbidden but commanded to love all men, but

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for the love of God, because they are those whom God has created, and for whom Jesus Christ has died. We love the children for the sake of the father." " But this is not a love very flattering to us.”

Unquestionably not, and possibly a love that should be would be as little to the credit of him who should have it."

“ But how do you expect to spend eternity in heaven? Will you not get out of employment, or grow tired of singing for ever the same song ?

“ Did Mr. Morton ever tire of loving truth, beauty, good

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ness ? »

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“ Of loving beauty, no ; but as for your truth and goodness, I have never found them."

“ That is because you have not sought them where they were to be found.”

“ I have sought far and wide, in pretty much all nations and ages, in all creeds, literatures, and sciences.”

" I must correct Mr. Morton. He has never sought them in God, nor in the creed of God's Church. In all your study, tell me truly, did you ever study a Catholic book ?

“0, Catholicism I have not studied, I own; but then that was long since exploded by the Reformers, and it is unnecessary to reinvestigate it.”

“ If you are not acquainted with Catholicism, how can you so promptly decide whether it was exploded or not ?"

Why, it is exploded by the judgment of the world, and according to the most enlightened minds of all countries for the last three centuries."

“How happens it, then, that we see no symptoms of its decline ? and that, in our own day, men who certainly stand at the head of all departments of literature, art, and science, are devoted Catholics?

" We will waive this discussion if you please. All creeds and religions are alike to me. So far as I prefer one to another, it is that which I learned from my father and mother, and which you learned from yours. We may dispute for ever on religious topics, and elicit no truth but this, that the subjects discussed are above, or below, the faculties of the human mind. Nothing certain is or can be known. We may have opinions, persuasions, nothing more. You have been caught by the romance of chivalry and the Middle Ages; perhaps, even, by that of abbeys and convents, and in a fit of spleen at your friend, or of momentary despondency, you have laid your head on the bosom of Mother Church. Let it repose there, you will wake all too soon. There is no long repose for the o’erwrought and wearied soul.”

“ You speak with confidence, with more confidence than it seems to me you are authorized to speak with. The Catholic Church promises you both certainty and repose, and millions, during eighteen hundred years, can testify that they have found them. How can you know, without having made the experiment, that the testimony of all these, many of whom, even you must admit, were the greatest, purest, and best men and women that have ever lived, is deserving no confidence ? How know you, Sir, that one cannot repose sweetly and securely on the holy bosom of this tender and loving mother? You talk of the wearied soul. Have you ever felt the wearisomeness of life ?"

“ Have I ? Ay, and felt that blessed would be the day when I could sleep in the tomb, and dissolve and mingle with my kindred elements."

" And of what have you had to complain? You have had all the world has to offer ; you have received its choicest gifts ; you have had no care, no anxiety, no trouble. You have on this point all that men of the world most envy. Rarely have you formed a wish which was not gratified almost as soon as formed. Wealth, talents, learning, health, pleasures for every sense, - what have you needed? In your boundless variety how could the soul become weary?

“No, there is one thing I want that I have not ; one acquisition I have not made, but which I might have made. Let me have that and I will be satisfied. Let me call my adored Katharine mine ; let her forget the insult she received ; let her consent to share my earthly fortune with me, and I should never again complain of weariness, or call this a vain world."

“ Perhaps at this moment you speak sincerely, and yet you can only be affecting sincerity. Your pride is wounded, and you would soothe it. Very likely, were I to grant your request, that wound would be healed. But the new pleasure would pall, the new toy would be cast aside, and you would still say, One thing is wanting !! " “No, Katharine, you wrong me.

I am sincere. I love truly, honorably, and honestly, and I feel in your presence a holy and chastening influence. You have power over me ; you would fix my affections and fill my heart.

And so you have said to a dozen others, just as sincerely, and as truly. Some of them believed you, and you laughed at your dupes, and cast them away.




“O, they were morning glories, closed, faded, and died at the first ray of sunshine that struck them. There was nothing of them.

“ As much as of me, and more too. No, talk not of this. I know your life is a gilded misery. I will not mock you. For your own sake I pity you. With all your learning, and wisdom, and talents, and possessions, you are the most miserable man of my acquaintance."

“ Those we pity we would relieve. Why not, then, out of pure charity, take compassion on me, and seek to make my life less wretched, and perhaps turn it to some good account ?'”

“Because to do what you ask would not be charity, but madness. There is no good for you in your present state. You bear in yourself the source of your wretchedness, and your misery comes from what you most esteem and most tenderly cherish.”

“ But who knows but you might bring me into a better state ? Perhaps you might even make a convert of me, and would have the glory of working out my reformation.”

“ Higher power than mine must do that. Nobody but God, and your own will coöperating with his grace, can change your condition, or render your reformation possible.”

“But God works by instruments, and he may have chosen you to be the instrument of my conversion. Your eloquence would be all powerful. Already I feel I could half become a Catholic for your sake.”

“But not for God's sake ? No. Then you cannot for mine. No, no, Sir, talk not of this. You think you can impose on my weak wit, and you would fain make me the dupe of my charity. You imagine that I cannot see through your hollow device, but will leave myself to be seduced by arguments which you yourself urge with a half sneer. You must resort to subtler arts, lay your plans deeper, or else give up all hopes. All this which you say is seen through at a glance, and would excite my mirth, if the subject was not too grave for laughter."

“Kate, this is too bad. You are trifling with me, you love me, you


do." "Certainly, for I am commanded to love my enemies, to bless them that curse me, and to do good to them that despitefully use me.” "I am not your enemy,

Kate." “How long since you were my enemy? Were those ruffians from whom the good old man rescued me the servants of

my friend ? "

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