Vi had never seen such things, but she had heard of them and knew what they signified. Glancing from the picture to the crucifix, she started back in horror, and without a word hastily retreated to the dressing-room, where she dropped into a chair, pale, trembling and distressed.
“Isadore, Isadore!” she cried, clasping her hands, and lifting her troubled eyes to her cousin’s face, “have you—have you become a papist?”
“I am a member of the one true church,” returned her cousin coldly. “How bigoted you are, Violet. I could not have believed it of so sweet and gentle a young thing as you. I trust you will not consider it your duty to betray me to mamma?”
“Betray you? can you think I would? So Aunt Louise does not know? Oh, Isa, can you think it right to hide it from her—your own mother?”
“Yes; because I was directed to do so by my father confessor, and because my motive is a good one, and ‘the end sanctifies the means.’”
“Isa, mamma has taught me, and the Bible says it too, that it is never right to do evil that good may come.”
“Perhaps you and your mamma do not always understand the real meaning of what the Bible says. It must be that many people misunderstand it, else why are there so many denominations of Protestants, teaching opposite doctrines, and all professing to get them from the Bible?”
Violet in her extreme youth and want of information and ability to argue, was not prepared with an answer.
“Does Virgy know?” she asked.
“About my change of views and my oratory? Yes.”
“And does she——”
“Virgy is altogether worldly, and cares nothing for religion of any kind.”
Vi’s face was full of distress; “Isa,” she said, “may I ask you a question?”
“What is it?”
“When you pray, do you kneel before that—that——”
“Crucifix? sometimes, at others before the Virgin and child.”
Vi shuddered. “O Isa, have you forgotten the second commandment? ’Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.’”
“I have not forgotten, but am content to do as the church directs,” returned Isadore, coldly.
“Isa, didn’t they promise Aunt Louise that they would not interfere with your religion?”
“And then broke their promise. How can you think they are good?”
“They did it to save my soul. Was not that a good and praiseworthy motive?”
“Yes; but if they thought it their duty to try to make you believe as they do, they should not have promised not to do so.”
“But in that case I should never have been placed in the convent, and they would have had no opportunity to labor for my conversion.”
Earnestly, constantly had Elsie endeavored to obey the command. “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”