The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.
for the task.  That from that day Marie would not be called upon for either service or attendance on the Queen, but to devote her whole mind and energies to the task proposed; and that when Father Denis brought her information that Marie accepted the cross, that very hour she should resume her place in Isabella’s court, and be the dearest, most cherished there!—­be publicly acknowledged as the inheritrix of her husband’s vast possessions, and a future of love and joy would shine before her, so bright as to banish even the memories of the stormy past.

Marie would have replied, but Isabella, with gentle firmness, refused to hear her.  “I demand nothing now,” she said, “but obedience.  A willing heart, and open mind, are all you need bring with you to your task:  the father’s holy lessons, blessed with God’s grace, will do the rest.  I cannot believe that all the kindness and affection I have shown have been so utterly without effect, that thou too wilt evince the ungrateful obstinacy, so unhappily the characteristic of thy blinded people.  If banishment from our presence be a source of sorrow, which I do believe it is, the term of that banishment rests entirely with thyself.  The sooner we can hail the child of the Virgin, even as thou art now of our affections, the greater share of happiness wilt thou bestow upon us and upon thyself.  We have heard that nought but harshness and severity can have effect on thy hardened race.  It may be, but with thee, at least, we will not use it, unless—­” and her voice and her look grew sufficiently stern for Marie to feel her words were no idle threat—­“unless obduracy and ingratitude so conquer affection that we can see no more in the Marie Morales we have loved than a hardened member of her own stiff-necked race; then—­, but we will not pain ourself or thee, by imagining what thine own will may avert.  Go, and the holy Virgin bless thee.  Not a word; I know what will be thine answer now; but a month hence thou wilt thank me for this seeming severity.”

And Isabella turned somewhat hastily away; for her lip quivered and her eye swelled.  Marie did not see these indications of emotion, and silently withdrew.

CHAPTER XXXI.

  “I have lost for that Faith more than thou canst bestow,
  As the God who permits thee to prosper doth know. 
  In His hand is my heart, and my hope; and in thine
  The land, and the life, which for Him I resign.”

  BYRON.

Marie Morales had had many trials.  Her life had been one of those painful mysteries, as to why such a being should have been thus exposed to scorn, which while on earth we vainly try to solve.  Yet it is no imaginary picture:  hundreds, aye thousands, of Israel’s devoted race have thus endured; in every age, in every clime, have been exposed to martyrdom—­not of the frame alone, but of the heart; doomed but to suffer, and to die.  And how may we reconcile these things with the government of a loving father, save by the firm belief, which, blessed—­thrice blessed—­are those who feel; that, for such sufferers on earth, a future of blessedness is laid up in another and lovelier world—­where there is no more sorrow, no more tears!

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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