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would hardly wish to make intimates of Roman Catholics, surely, mamma?”
“I don't see that at all,” says the mother; “ it would be very narrow-minded and absurd never to make friends of any but Protestants,-very uncharitable, too, to suppose there are no good people out of our own Church.”
Certainly that would be uncharitable; but I only meant there could be no real sympathy between persons differing on so important a subject as that of religion,” said Agatha.
• They should agree to differ then, and if they are wise they will,” replied Mrs. Courtney rather sharply; " but come, Agatha, give us our coffee, or we shall have the Abbé calling before we have done breakfast."
Money difficulties now begin. Mrs. Courtney's economy cannot keep pace with the diminution of her resources. The lawyer has become so enamoured of them, that at last they have stopped altogether. Absolute penury is staved off for a little while by an action which the reader is evidently intended to consider as one of the most astonishing of the heroic actions of the incomparable Agatha. Rather than starve, she resolves upon selling a valuable ring. Through the help of the landlady (who, in spite of her being a Catholic, appears to be an exceedingly charitable and benevolent woman) of the hotel at St. André, she finds a customer in the form of a travelling Jew. Helped by the kind innkeeper, she drives a hard bargain with the pedlar; and to say the truth, the young lady appears to have had a genius of her own for bargaining, and to have made by no means a bad deal of it.
Meanwhile, the Abbé de Fleurier had been pouring comfort into Mrs. Courtney's troubled soul, at the same time that he was meditating succouring her poverty, in a manner which evinced as much delicacy as benevolence. Agatha arrives with the proceeds of her ring just as the priest is leaving. “ Thank you, M. l'Abbé, for all your kind words of comfort," are Mrs. Courtney's words to him as he rises to leave, and she stretched out her hand to him. A brilliant dialogue then ensues, and which, like the rest of the book, almost disposes us to agree with Dr. Whately so far as to account it "safe" reading, whatever we may think of its being “agreeable and beneficial.”
“What a good kind man he is! You don't know what a comfort he has been to me, Agatha, or you would not look so grave. How people can say that Roman Catholics are not religious, I cannot think! I wish I were half as religious as the good Abbé.” She can control herself no longer.
“Oh, do not say so, dear mamma,” said Agatha ; "his is, I fear, a false religion, which says peace, peace, when there is no peace.
Does it not deny us the only real comfort in our trials--the Bible ?"
The elder lady, with her usual good sense, replies: “One cannot read oneself into a resigned state of mind; there are so many difficult things in the Bible that one is not always up to its study; and as the Abbé was rightly observing, unlearned persons easily fall into mistakes." “ But, mamma," rejoins Agatha, " was it not written for
” the unlearned and simple ? and is it not, in all parts essential to salvation, plain and easy, so that he who runs may read ?”
Agatha now feels that she has got to the end of her logic; and compassionating her mother, whom our readers will admit she has left in easy possession of the field, she displays by way of a diversion some of those creature-comforts which the price of her ring had enabled her to procure, and which she imagines will act as a counterpoise to the Abbé's more spiritual consolations. Agatha sighed as she produced the packages, the sight of which she rightly imagined would best divert her mother's mind. As she triumphantly unfolded " a large packet of coffee and rolls, and white sugar too," she evidently hoped that a dogma of the hated faith would yield to each fresh purchase.
“ Clara danced about with glee while the remarks that accompanied this convincing procedure were being made.” Agatha, however, cannot quite get over her sense of being done by a Jew. “I ought to have got more for it,” she says. Then followed a little family consultation, the result of which is, that Mrs. Courtney's watch is decided to be the next victim. But the watch is rescued from the three balls' by the benevolent intervention of the Abbé's cousin, the Baroness de Fleurier, who, without any recommendation but the poverty of the family, succours them with a delicate and attentive consideration, which is certainly not calculated to lower our estimate of Catholic practice. The families become somewhat intimate; and Agatha, all whose emotions appear to be of the sensuous type, encourages the love of the young baron, Raymond de Fleurier. This young gentleman is introduced to us a sceptic in religion, and a mauvais sujet in morals. But all this is atoned for by the circumstance of his falling in love with Agatha; and, in obedience to his passions, forswearing the faith of his fathers, insulting his mother, by going with his lady-love to Mr. Marcel's little conventicle without a cross," and suffering a portion of his devotion to Agatha to be transferred to the “Protestant version." As Raymond, however, grew more enamoured of Agatha and her book, Mrs. Courtney grew more enamoured
VOL. II.-NEW SERIES,
of the realities of the dogma and worship of the Church. In the words of our authoress, “her religion now seemed turning to a sentimental admiration of the Roman-Catholic ceremonies and so-called piety, which made Agatha tremble both for her and for the children.”
Meanwhile Agatha makes friends with Mr. Marcel, a gentleman who presides over the little congregation to whom the cross on the Catholic churches is a "stumbling block and a rock of offence.” She is not troubled with backwardness; and very speedily Mr. Marcel and she are hob-nobbing over a “ chapter.
To Agatha's sore dismay, her mother gets worse and worse daily; when one day, whilst even the elder sister is hesitating to rebuke and warn her parent, Clara, the younger, who is a sort of mild Agatha, takes up the parable, and says: “Mamma, do
you know we must take care of our kind, polite old Abbé, for we find he is very clever at perverting people, especially foreigners ?"
“ Perverting! What do you mean, child ?"
Why, making them turn Papists,” said Clara, looking wonderingly at Agatha.
“You should not use so harsh an expression, Clara," said her mother; "for if the Abbé has converted any persons to his Church, it could only be with the purest intentions; of course he thinks his Church the best."
“But people may conscientiously do a wrong thing,” said Agatha.
“Really, Agatha, I have no head for controversy, as I am always telling you," said Mrs. Courtney impatiently; if your good Mr. Marcel can only teach you to be uncharitable and to think ill of my friends, I shall not be inclined to cultivate his acquaintance.”
At length Mrs. Courtney is reconciled to the Church; and it is ultimately arranged that herself, with her daughter Emily, should remove their residence to the neighbouring convent. The rest of this namby-pamby story is taken up in describing the proselytising loves of Agatha and Raymond, and the sayings and doings within St. Catharine's convent; and here the unscrupulousness of this writer reveals itself in all its licentious malevolence. We have two sisters in secret possession of a Protestant version, convinced of the falsehood of the religion of the Cross, but unable to make their escape. We have imprisonment in subterranean dungeons, and all the rest of the
ith which addle-headed gobemouches are stuffed respecting conventual establishments. Of course Clara is kidnapped into the same dismal abode; although why she should
be kidnapped when her mother's authority was sufficient, we are not informed. Agatha, who is of age, remains at large; and in conversations wherein the usual sentimentalities of courtship are mixed up with tirades against the Church and priests, and laudations of the Protestant version, the two young hearts get more and more bound to ne another. The baroness discovers the improper use Agatha had made of her generosity, and despatches her son to Paris, out of the way of Agatha and her Bible. Clara, who has no little share of her elder sister's conceit and obstinacy, is represented as an unwilling, sullen prisoner at St. Catharine's. She, however, does not waste her time. She assists the two discontented nuns in their gropings. Agatha makes a journey to London to interest her half-brother Mortimer in their troubles, and to obtain the liberation of the captive sisters. This gentleman is a Tractarian, and so long as his mother is alive, he very sensibly declines to interfere.
Mrs. Courtney exhibits an edifying devotion in her new abode,—though her practices are evidently intended as an exemplification of the works of superstition. The severity of her self-inflicted penances at length bring on a fatal disorder; and the dying woman receives some illuminations, of what precise nature we are not informed. We are only told that she feels extremely low and unhappy; for which state, a hypocritical nun, who kept the outward profession of religion, whilst an inward adherent to Protestantism, suggests an odd consolation. “ Try and recollect some hymn or text in English,” is the Sæur Camille's hopeful suggestion; "it would, I
l think, be peculiarly soothing to her just now.'
Mrs. Courtney then dies, in the soul-saving conviction that she is a sinner; Clara gets a double portion of bread-and-water severity; Agatha discovers the father of Sour Camille ; Mortimer writes for his sister after the demise of his mother; Raymond appears in the nick of time; virtue receives its reward, and Agatha becomes the Baroness de Fleurier.
Such is the "safe, agreeable, and beneficial” reading provided for an erring generation under the auspices of Archbishop Whately. We can only account for his having been willing to throw the ægis of his name around such lamentable trash by calling to mind that quotation from Thucydides, to which Dr. Whately himself is never tired of referring, and which has done duty in almost every book he has ever written: Ούτως αταλαίπωρος τους πολλοίς ή ζήτησις της αληθείας, και επί τα έτοιμα μάλλον τρέπονται. Which excellent saying Dr. Whately, when he undertook the editing of this instructive tale, no doubt freely rendered in his own mind as follows:-“Whenever any person is fool enough to write folly,
there are always plenty of people to be found still greater fools to believe him." If Dr. Whately really has some “great truths, properly illustrated,” to bestow upon us, we commend to his attention another of his own favourite Greek quotations :-Ο γάρ γνους, και μη σαφώς διδάξας, εν ίσω εί και μη ενεθυμήθη.
THEOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, &c. Of the Plurality of Worlds, an Essay; also a Dialogue on the same subject (2d edition. London, J. W. Parker). We reviewed Sir David Brewster's answer to this important work in our August number. At that time we had not seen this book, which is, we believe, attributed to Dr. Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. We had formed a high estimate of it from the misrepresentations of Sir David; and the perusal of it has more than satisfied our anticipations. The theory of the unity of the world, as all subordinate to a single orb that is the seat of intellectual and moral life, is once again raised to a respectable position in the scientific world, and a new theory of the solar system is put forward, according to which the earth occupies the only habitable space, the outer planets being either“mere shreds and specks of planetary matter," or else “only huge masses of cloud and vapour, water and air," while the inner planets occupy the region of "the hot and fiery haze," where there is neither water nor atmosphere. The region of the earth is alone “ fit to be a domestic hearth, a seat of habitation; in this region is placed the largest solid globe of our system,—which alone, of all the parts of the frame which revolves round the sun, has become a world." We invite our readers to make themselves acquainted with this really remarkable essay.
We cannot, however, refrain from expressing our entire dissent from the metaphysical system of this author, which is precisely that against which we have argued in an article on Magic in this present number. " The mind of man,” he says (r'. 363), “ is a partaker of the thoughts of the divine mind. The intellect of man is a spark of the light by which the world was created. The ideas, according to which man builds
his knowledge, are emanations of the archetypal ideas according to which the work of creation was planned and executed. Man, when he attains to the knowledge of such laws (he is speaking of mathematical and astronomical principles) is really admitted, in some degree, to the view with which the Creator beholds His creation ;-his intellect partakes of the nature of the supreme intellect, his mind harmonises with the divine mind, &c." Yet in a note he seems to admit that God may see the creation otherwise than in relations of time and space. “It appears to be safer, and more in conformity with what we really know, to say, not that the existence of God constitutes time and space; but that God has constituted man, so that he can apprehend the works of the creation only as existing in time and space. That God has constituted time and space as conditions of man's knowledge of the creation is certain : that God has constituted time and