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should find a daughter's home at Redburn, and this pledge was as faithfully kept as it was cordially given.
We will do Lady Helen the justice to say, that the consequent arrangement met with no sort of sympathy or assent on her part from the very first. Her foremost duty, she deemed, was to her own children ; nor did she conceive that she was acting up to that duty, with respect to one of them, at least, by introducing to 'her constant and hourly intimacy a companion whose faith, education and pursuits had been, as yet, the very reverse of what she herself had endeavoured to instil and to prescribe. Sir Charles encountered these objections with such arguments as the case suggested, among which, unfortunately, was a far too confident anticipation that, with judicious management, their young niece's mind and disposition, as well as her creed itself, might yet be refashioned agreeably to the notions of her new protectors.
This expectation, while realized in part, was, upon one essential point, destined to be frustrated. Cécile was wild and untutored enough at first; but whether through the continued
good example of Constance, or owing to the firm and unrelenting severity of Lady Helen's rule, she eventually became, not without some fierce struggles against her fate, as tractable and docile, upon general matters, as could well be required. But the more successful was her aunt's tuition in this respect, the more completely did it prove abortive in its principal endeavour, that of redeeming its charge from the errors and superstitions of the Catholic faith.
That religion little Cécile had vowed on her mother's death-bed never to forswear, and to the fulfilment of this pledge she adhered with invincible tenacity. In vain was she conducted to church, and instructed, not only by her aunt, but by the Rev. Doctor Wellendowed himself, in the leading principles of the Reformation: she could not be induced to recognise, as truly sacred, either the place, or the instruction, or the holy divine himself. Her rosary and crucifix were taken from her; her little library, one volume of Thomas à Kempis, two of Arnauld, and four of Bossuet—was summarily confiscated, and some of her less reverential repartees were visited with such punishments as her age might yet admit of: still she remained
inflexible. How much further would have been carried the proselyting zeal of Lady Helen, whose convictions are ardent as her character is tenacious, we cannot say, had not Edward Basinstoke interfered, and insisted upon his cousin being abandoned to the consequences of her own perverse, but apparently irrevocable determination. Through his agency, the pernicious books, the crucifix, and even the rosary itself were restored; after which, as the crowning concession of parental love, permission was actually obtained for Father Athanasius Fastwell, to undertake the spiritual guidance of the youthful Romanist. This new state of things, though unquestionably not equally agreeable to all the inmates of Redburn Hall, had, for nearly two years, received the more or less reluctant acquiescence of all, when the unfortunate incidents concurrent with the opening of our narrative, unavoidably led to renewed discussions and difficulty.
It may be conjectured, from the brief outline which we have thus traced, that, during her five years' stay under her uncle's roof, Cécile Basinstoke had not been completely exempted from those sorrows which, under one form or
another, would appear to be the predestined portion of all her fellow pilgrims upon earth. Indeed, so utterly intolerable to her at times, had been the yoke of iron which her aunt had finally succeeded in fastening upon her, that, more than once, she had been on the very point of spurning it under her feet, and then flying from it for ever. But, a complete stranger to the world without, she had been appalled to the heart at the notion of treading its dreary mazes alone: one thought besides respecting the kind and honest intentions of her uncle, the fraternal affection of Edward, and the more than sisterly love of Constance had ever been sufficient at once to quell the rebellious impulse. With regard to the true feelings which had sprung up between her and the heir of the house, we will only say, at present, that we trust we have accurately defined, as above, their real nature up to the period when our tale begins; but as to those that existed between the two fair cousins, it would be scarcely possible to exaggerate their impassioned character. While Cécile cherished the lovely Constance with the tenderness of a mother and of a sister, Constance worshipped the very ground upon which the
beloved Saint Cecilia trod. Nor is it to be imagined that, if her own independent station and disposition rendered her absolutely incapable of always perceiving and understanding the true bent and effect of Lady Helen's wounding admonitions and taunts, she ever once in her life wittingly suffered her cousin to be assailed or trampled upon without flying to her rescue.
To return to our narrative, however, St. Edmunds saw very little of any of the members of the family on the day after his arrival at Redburn, until they were assembled at dinner. There, Cécile was again his somewhat reluctant neighbour, but, as the worthy host was restored to his usual good humour, the conversation was so general and animated as to leave little opportunity for such a-partés as those of the previous evening.
“ Well, nephew," cried the Baronet, “what sport had you ?”
“ Most excellent, Sir Charles,” replied the young Viscount, “ for, though I shot very badly, I managed to bag eight brace.”
“ Besides a dog, I hear,” said Edward.
“No, no. I did not quite bag him, happily, though I may say that I brought him home;