The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 347 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.

“‘To the scorn and hate of man?’ Alas, gracious Sovereign, it is even so; but not to the ‘abiding wrath of God,’” answered Marie, suppressing with a desperate effort, her painful emotion.  “The very scorn and loathing we encounter confirms the blessed truth, of our having been the chosen children of our God, and the glorious promise of our future restoration.  We are enduring now on earth the effects of the fearful sins of our ancestors; but for those who live and die true to His law, there is a future after death laid up with Him; that, how may we forfeit for transitory joy?”

“If it were indeed so, we would be the last to demand such forfeit,” answered the Queen; “but were it not for the blinding veil of wilful rejection cast over the eyes and hearts of thy people, thou wouldst know and feel, that however thy race were once the chosen of God, the distinction has been lost for ever, by their blaspheming rejection of Jesus and his virgin mother; and the misery—­its consequence—­on earth, is but a faint type of that misery which is for everlasting.  It is from this we would save thee.  Father Denis has brought before thee the solemn truths which our sainted creed advances, in reply to the mystifying fallacies of thine; and, he tells me, wholly without effect.  My arguments, then, can be of such little weight, that I have pledged myself to my confessor to attempt none.  We summoned thee merely to tell our decision in this matter; of too vital importance to be left to other lips.  Once more let me ask—­and understand thee rightly!—­have all the Holy Father’s lessons failed to convince, even as all our affection has failed to move, thee?”

“Would—­would to Heaven I could believe as thou demandest!” answered Marie.  “Would that those lessons had brought conviction!  The bitter agony of your Grace’s displeasure—­of feeling that, while my heart so throbs and swells with grateful devotion that I would gladly die to serve thee, yet the proof thou demandest I cannot give; and I must go down to an early grave, leaving with thee the sole impression that thou hadst cherished a miserable ingrate, whom, even as thou hast loved, so thou must now hate and scorn.  Oh, madam! try me by other proof!  My creed may be the mistaken one it seems to thee; but, oh! it is no garment we may wear and cast off at pleasure.  Have mercy, gracious Sovereign! condemn me not as reprobate—­hardened—­more insensible than the veriest cur, who is grateful for the kindness of his master!—­because I love my faith better even than thy love—­the dearest earthly joy now left me.”

“Methinks scarcely the dearest,” replied Isabella, affected, in spite of her every effort for control; “but of that here after.  Marie, I have pledged myself to my confessor, not to let this matter rest.  He has told me that my very affection for thee is a snare, and must be sacrificed if it interfere with my duty; not alone as member of Christ’s church, but as Sovereign of a Catholic

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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