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ing— Rather, Marie, would I see you
your shroud, than in that dress! Think you I can live on in solitude and wretchedness here, knowing that you exist, and yet that I cannot see you ?—that others live with you and delight themselves in your affection, and yet that I am for ever shut out from such happiness? Oh, can it be right, that beings like you, born to illume this dark wilderness—to make home only inferior to ancient paradise —to be a help meet for man—a ministering angel to his sufferings—a sharer of his cares—a soother and a rewarder of his labours—a softener of his rugged path ;can it be right, that such beings should be allowed to exile themselves from that social life which God has framed, and live immured in-she interrupted
by my fate.
6. Stay, dearest Louis-what dangerous language is this! I am vowed to a conventual life, and must abide
' “ • Tell me not of vows !' I cried, almost beside myself. Such vows cannot-Marie, I will say it—be pleasing to heaven. I begin to think the protestants right, and that there can be no divine authority for nunneries ; I begin to think they are the inventions of our priests, and I tell you that you shall not be sacrificed to them.'
“« 0, Louis, you do not know what you are saying! cried the shrinking girl ; 'sorrow has bewildered your mind-it is no wonder,' she added, pressing her hands on her temples, it has bewildered mine.'
“Dearest! you must not desert me!' I determinedly exclaimed, throwing myself at her feet, and holding her habit firmly, as if I feared she would break from
but she was as reluctant to quit me as I to let
«. What would you have me do ? she asked; “ tell me, and I will do it, be it what it will, so be my witness, blessed saints.'
« « You must fly with me to another country,' I said, in a low, intense whisper. She started, then bending to me, said firmly, “I will go any where with you.
But would it not be better if we were to die, Louis ?'
"• What means my sweet girl ?' said I, folding her in my arms.
“ She repeated what she had just said, adding, “How quietly we shall rest together beside your dear mother. Ah! how I envied her repose as we looked on her the last time. There will be no separation for us in the tomb; all is unity and companionship there. Our bodies shall decay and moulder together, our dust shall mingle. Let us die, my love, and we shall neither feel sorrow nor incur blame!'
“ And in the desperation of the period we should certainly have destroyed ourselves had we not chosen the better alternative of flight.
“ Attired in a dress of my mother's, altered to suit her slighter figure, Marie departed with me for Italy, whither we arrived safely after a speedy voyage. I had left every directions for the household with my steward, a man on whom I could perfectly rely. I had taken the precaution to have it supposed in Rougemont that I had
gone to head some French troops in a distant part of Canada. A letter also, written by my steward, at my dictation, had been sent to the superior of St. Clare, informing her that in consequence of the ill health of
Marie Verche, and Italy having been recommended to her by the medical attendant of the Marchioness (which had been the case), she sought the indulgence of her superior to be allowed to enter an Italian convent of her order, instead of returning to Quebec. For the dissimulation of these proceedings Marie and I afterwards suffered a heavy punishment. I had left directions for my letters to be sent to a distant post-office on the Canadian frontier, whence they were to be forwarded to a second office still farther removed, and from thence to Rome Thus I hoped to eludle the emissaries of the convent, and yet learn what was going forward in Rougemont.
“ As soon as Marie and I had landed on the Italian shores, we were married by the curé of a village, and set forward to Rome by easy journies. Sometimes we loitered a day or two, or even a week, in some solitary place, that had pleased Marie's fancy; sometimes we proceeded by water on the lakes and rivers under a warm and delicious atmosphere, and somotimes on horseback or in a carriage, over bills and valleys little less romantic and subliine than those of the majestic country we had lest.
“ Marie's pale cheek began to assume the tenderest tints of the rose, and we were both in excellent health, and as happy in each other as poetry could imagine, when we arrived at Rome. A letter from the superior of St. Clare was there for me, enclosed in one from my steward. I concealed their contents from my bride, and though she observed me to be particularly meditative and cast down for a day or two, she attributed the change to a revival of my grief for my mother, not to
any untoward intelligence. But the letters had shaken me not a little. That from the superior was couched in a very peremptory style, commanding Marie Verche to return to the convent at Quebec within six days, on pain of severe censure and penance, according to the canons of St. Clare. That from my steward informed me that two ecclesiastics had come to Rougemont demanding the young lady who had been under the protection of the Marchioness, and threatening the heavy displeasure of the superior at Quebec if she were allowed to remain longer under my roof. My steward had told them that she had gone to Europe, but to what part of it he knew not, and the ecclesiastics had replied that they must make the strictest search after her, and that if she were found her punishment would be most exemplary. However, I quieted my mind by reflecting that she was far removed at present from the sphere of her superior's power, and I determined to keep her so.
“ I fixed upon making my way into France, and with this view left Rome with my bride after a very short stay there, in company with three French ladies and two Italian gentlemen, of fortune, who were going into Languedoc.
“I never could describe to you Marie's happiness during this too brief summer. Exercise, freedom of thought and feeling, a wider range of books than she had been used to, and the utmost contentment and satisfaction of mind, spread constant smiles on her lip, and continual peace in her sweet blue eye. The ladies with whom we travelled were protestants, and Marie soon showed an inclination to their opinions. Her conscience, she frequently assured me, was perfectly at
ease regarding the breaking of her vows. She was sure that her only sin had been in making them. A Bible was presented to her by one of her protestant acquaintances, and she commenced reading it for the first time in her life with the liveliest interest. For my part, I resolved not to interfere with the
progress of her mind in any way, my own prejudices still preponderated on the side of the venerable faith of my ancestors, but the late events regarding Marie had loosened many of the ties that bound it to my heart. .
- Up to the period of her quitting Quebec with me, her observation of nature had been, from her childhood, confined to the garden of the convent; at Rougemont, one of her greatest delights was in viewing the sublime scenery that extended itself to her view from every part of my estates; and now, when rich vales, shaded with the palun and plane trees-groves redolent with spicy odours-blue, lucid lakes, where the magic sounds of song and music, remote or near, were constantly heard -and ever-varying hills, green and verdant—when these succeeded to each other before her fascinated gaze, how did she look at me with sensations too sweet and full for utterance, while the eloquent tear of sensibility trembled and sparkled, like a pure diamond, on her eyelashes.
“She would then exclaim, holding my hand to her heart — What a lovely world is this! How amazinghow divine! In the convent I heard of the Creator, now I see Him-now I adore Him! What an infinity of His glorious productions do I now behold daily! my soul is filled with the rapture they inspire.
“ One afternoon, a little before the sun went down, our party stopped at the foot of a mountain, in a scene