“I was not then permitted. And now, I rely upon thy discretion to bury the secret in thy breast. Any other course might be fatal to us both.”
“Fear me not,” said Sir Christopher. “I have been examining my heart, and find I bear no malice against the holy Father. It was time we should be removed, and the means, though harsh, were politic; for suspicions of our being Catholics were rife, and what may sound strangely, our friendship, Albert, served to confirm them.”
“Explain thy meaning.”
“Out of my love to thee, and as a remembrancer for myself, I had made a note in my pocket-book of the time and place of thy admission into the holy Catholic Church, of the taking of thy scapula, and of thy degrees, whereunto I had appended no name. This book escaping from my pocket, was found and delivered to my judges, and considered pregnant proof against me.”
“The writing was a great imprudence,” said the stranger.
“Confiteor, and whatever shame I may have endured I accept as the fitting punishment of my sins. Alas! my individual sorrows are swallowed up in grief at the thought of the condition of the Church. How doth she sit like a widow in affliction! The flood-gates of error are opened, and the world is deluged with impure streams. When I look on the marble images of the crusaders, lying with crossed legs upon their tombs around us, and on the cold faces of the abbots and mitred bishops, standing in solemn dignity in their niches, they seem saddened and indignant at a reverse that hath changed the very temple erected by Catholic piety over their ashes, and wherein the incense of acceptable worship was offered unto the Lord, into a place of resort for impious and deluded heretics with their tasteless rites. Here, with these mournful monitors around me, I cannot indulge in private resentment while my heart is breaking for the sufferings of my people.”
“It is a holy and a commendable frame of mind, my brother,” said the stranger. “O, if the spirit that animates thee were universal in our order, how might the wilderness of the world be made to blossom as the Rose of Sharon, and the lamentations of Sion be converted into songs of deliverance!”
* * * * *
A TALE OF EARLY TIMES.
By the Author of “THE KNIGHT OF THE GOLDEN MELICE.”
“The style is fluent and unforced; the description of character well limned; and the pictures of scenery forcible and felicitous. There is a natural conveyance of incidents to the denouement; and the reader closes the volume with an increased regard for the talents and spirit of the author.—Knickerbocker Magazine.
“The style is direct and effective, particularly fitting the impression which such a story should make. It is a very spirited and instructive tale, leaving a good impression both upon the reader’s sensibilities and morals.”—Eclectic Magazine.