The morning dawned, and with its first beams came Father Francis to the prisoner. He found him calm and resigned: his last thought of earth was to commend Marie, if ever found, to the holy father’s care, conjuring him to deal gently and mercifully with a spirit so broken, and lead her to the sole fountain of peace by kindness, not by wrath; and to tell her how faithfully he had loved her to the last. Much affected, Father Francis promised—aye, even to protect, if possible, an unbeliever. And Stanley once mere knelt in prayer, every earthly thought at rest. The last quarter-bell had chimed; and ere it ceased, the step of Don Felix was heard in the passage, followed by the heavy tramp of the guard. The Prior looked eagerly in the noble’s countenance as he entered, hoping even then to read reprieve; but the stern yet sad solemnity on Don Felix’s face betrayed the hope was vain. The hour had indeed come, and Arthur Stanley was led forth to death!
“Oh! blissful days,
When all men worship God as conscience wills!
Far other times our fathers’ grandsires knew.
What tho’ the skeptic’s scorn hath dared to soil
The record of their fame! What tho’ the men
Of worldly minds have dared to stigmatize
The sister-cause Religion and the Law
With Superstition’s name! Yet, yet their deeds,
Their constancy in torture and in death—
These on Tradition’s tongue shall live; these shall
On History’s honest page be pictur’d bright
To latest time.”
Retrospection is not pleasant in a narrative; but, if Marie has indeed excited any interest in our readers, they will forgive the necessity, and look back a few weeks ere they again arrive at the eventful day with which our last chapter closed. All that Don Felix had reported concerning the widow of Morales was correct. The first stunning effects of her dread avowal were recovered, sense was entirely restored, but the short-lived energy had gone. The trial to passively endure is far more terrible than that which is called upon to act and do. She soon discovered that, though nursed and treated with kindness, she was a prisoner in her own apartments. Wish to leave them she had none, and scarcely the physical