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dwelling; for from the height where he stood, the walls of both convents were visible. They now seemed to him two prisons. One heart he knew beat wildly in its cage; and his own grew heavy as he thought upon that glorious child, radiant in her youth and bloom, immured within that solitary cell, denied even the solace of a peasant nurse ; punished, fasting, and chidden even for the first impulses of nature,-gratitude and love. He thought of this, and asked, “ Could that be truth which crushed the very truth within the bud ?—could that be holy which forbade all holiness of heart, extorting duty from those worn down by penance and by fear? It seemed to him the first time he had thought upon these things. Hitherto, in his love of power, he had classed all men alike; but his visit to Clairvaux had suddenly opened his mind. Two spirits were there, wide as the poles asunder. He thought of the lady abbess, cold, fanatical, and narrow; and of the joyous Rosamond, beaming with life, and heroism, and generous love. Could the same rule apply to both ?could the flow of the majestic river stand still at a
word, and assume the dulness of the stagnant pond ?
Many of his calling would not have thought upon these things. But the prior was not one of the unthinking kind; he might be a leader, but never a follower of the blind. His perception was too acute, his judgment too sound.
The greater, therefore, would be his sin, should he take the wrong course. Hitherto, however, Father Thomas had been perfectly sincere. His profession had been decided, as it were, by accident; for, born of humble parents, he might not have been destined for the Church, had he not attracted the notice of Theobald, then primate of England, to whom his father had rendered a trifling service. This prelate, struck with the rare talents the young man seemed to possess, had indicated his career, and assisted in his education, and by his influence advanced him to the position he now occupied; which, considering his time of life, was one of no small importance. It was thus that he had become a priest; and hard had he worked in order to advance towards the goal of his desires-unlimited power. He
had toiled and submitted, even as he now forced others to toil and to submit, and this without question or remark, for such were forbidden by the church ; and never, till the present time, had he felt a doubt as to the fitness of such slavish acquiescence. Yet now he asked himself, if any spirit so coerced, could be true in its homage or loyal in its faith? The soft eyes of Rosamond had opened the volume of truth; and the look of the prior wandered over the huge pile of buildings composing the abbey, until he groaned to think of the hundreds within that living tomb, and of the hell within the breast of each who felt as he did.
Terrible thoughts shook his soul as he returned to the content walls, and his step was less steady than usual when he crossed the court. Having paused a moment beneath the porch, he entered the refectory, where the holy brotherhood were assembled, for it was the hour of meat. The monks rose upon the appearance of the prior; and the slight buzz which, in spite of all conversation being forbidden, was heard through the hall, suddenly ceased. As he passed down the long line, the prior seemed to scan
each countenance in turn, as if to read the realization of his own thoughts; but passive and immovable were the brows on which he gazed. Such was the terror of the Church, that those in authority were little less than absolute; and the prior, as he marked the cringing looks of all around, felt his heart swell once more with the godless love of power, by which it had long been filled. His better feelings were hushed within his breast; and though his judgment did not waver, his course he felt was taken. Boldly he must lay all upon the altar of his ambition; he must not hesitate or retract.
Swift as an arrow passed these thoughts through the bosom of Father Thomas. He awoke from his trance. Rosamond and her high-souled pride were for the moment forgotten ; and the poor monks stood before him as his subjects, and his slaves. Such rule was at least worth the preserving -it was the beginning of the end.
It was late at night, and yet the feeble glimmering of a lamp might hare been seen from the cell where Rosamond, in spite of content rules and terrors, still kept her lonely watch. It was the only hour that she could call her own; and although to be locked in within a small enclosure, not ten feet square, did not afford much apparent amusement, yet it was something to be alone, to be freed from the starch and stately reproof of the severe abbess;