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did I think that we were wholly responsible for the fatal separation. You have been often, and lived long, Lady Templedale, in Catholic countries. Did it never strike you how, by wise concession and compromise, the temporal authority has there obtained all, or nearly all, the privileges, the immunities and the rights, which it had legitimately contended for, when emancipated by the more enlightened ages ?”
“To a certain extent, perhaps, my dear; but, to tell you the truth, I never inquired very closely, as we cannot bring our mind to consider the great Reformation as an evil.”
“It has been no evil to our Church, I firmly believe," rejoined Cécile ; “ but a salutary though severe ordeal. Elsewhere, its ultimate results have yet to be shown. We can witness them daily now, in the fury with which you are constrained to assail the Catholic World, that the schism may not seem unjustified. No passion, no prejudice, no resentment can be allowed to slumber for an instant, and the very principles of the faith which we hold in common must be ceaselessly reviled and trampled under foot, lest the simple-minded should inquire why all Christians are not brothers ? Is this no evil, and is its end near at hand ?"
As Cécile thus spoke the clock struck two. She hastily arose now, and extending her hand to Lady Templedale, said :
“We have tried a dangerous experiment with wondrous success, but we must not repeat it. At all events, I have received no wound, and I trust that I have inflicted none."
“ None, whatsoever, my dear child,” replied Lady Templedale, embracing her, “but as I have a little more experience of the world than you have, perhaps you will allow me to whisper a secret in your ear."
“Certainly,” answered Cécile smiling.
“Well, remember my words: the torch of Latimer will never be extinguished in England.”
“I fear it much,” replied Cécile, “and rejoice to think that I am not framed to be an apostle any more than a martyr.”
“You might be both, you little witch, with your inspired eyes and voice. But we really must disperse now, for that old gentleman over the chimney-piece is frowning more grimly than ever upon us.”
“And well he may,” cried Constance, laughing, "for he was the first Basinstoke who renounced the Roman Catholic errors.”
“And not without very good reasons," observed Cécile, “as Sir Charles's rent-roll could tell to this day.”
“I hope that I misunderstand you, you most malicious saint;" said Lady Templedale, “but you think, I suppose, that your ancestors should have stood by the St. Edmunds' at the Boyne and at Sheriffmuir.”
Though the heir of that respectable and ancient line had been, since the origin of the conversation, ostensibly engrossed in studying a huge volume of engravings, it is not to be supposed that his thoughts and his eyes had never wandered in another direction.
“They were a faithful race, at all events," exclaimed he now, “ though they seem to have had a remarkable partiality for the losing side. Our first convert, I believe, was an orphan child, Miss Cécile."
“ So I have heard,” replied the Saint.
“Well,” observed the wise Constance as the small party were ascending the staircase: together, “I must make one concluding
observation : to what have you been appealing since you were first attacked, dearest Cécile, saving to our reason, whose testimony you so disdainfully reject ?”
"I do not entirely reject her testimony, darling Conny,” answered Cécile : "I look upon her as the slave who is to bear the torch before the footsteps of Faith, but not to direct her course.”
THE VOTIVE OFFERING.
CÉCILE's atmospheric prognostications turned out to be more accurate than will doubtless prove her religious previsions, for the day which followed the great wrangle was, as she had foreboded, a rainy one. The contemplated expedition to the Thornhills was therefore abandoned, and each party was constrained to shape out for itself some in-door occupation. In similar cases, the ladies, particularly when they are so intellectually gifted as those then assembled at Redburn Hall, have a great and unquestionable advantage over their sterner associates. We may presume then that the two fair cousins, Lady Templedale, and Lady Helen each passed