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nothing but the rich Italian landscape, and the glorious vault of heaven
Studded with stars unutterably bright;' but, after watching a few minutes, the tall shadow of a jesuit's figure became visible in front of the balcony, in the garden. I looked at Marie-she was like sculptured alabaster—so white, so fixed, were her features. Her lips were as pale as her cheek-her cheek as her brow; and in the partial and uncertain light by which I viewed her, I could have thought that she had newly risen from the grave. As the lurid shadow of a thunder-cloud, so fell upon my heart a presentiment of what was about to happen.
“ • There—there !' whispered Marie, shrinking closer to me, and pointing cautiously to the jesuit's figure; 'you see him, love, do you not?' - Who is he?' I asked, and wound my arms about her with fond anxiety ; 'why are you so terrified ? She was trembling as she replied— He is a man I have always strangely dreaded, since I first saw him in the convent. He travels from monastery to monastery in different countries, and visits Rome once a year regularly. He is always loaded with the secret errands of the religious superiors, and is the medium of a confidential communication between them. It was whispered among the nuns that he had procured the pope's sanction for some superiors for very harsh proceedings. His appearance here, my beloved, bodes evil for us! I saw him in the vista, standing by an olive tree, while you were playing the bugle; he was looking at ine, as I fancied, with a very sinister air, which struck such a sudden fear on my heart, that I cried out, as you heard me.'
“She broke off, for the figure came into full relief opposite to us, and stood gazing on our window attentively, then drew back again into the shade. We remained immovable by the casement watching, but he appeared no more. The gay notes of a tabor and hautboy sounded from below; I closed the window; nothing is more unendurable than mirth to the oppressed heart.
“ Before we retired to rest, Marie's aspirations arose, not to the Virgin, but to Him, who, in her opinion, was the only hearer of prayer, that He would guard our sacred union, and interpose for us that we might never be torn asunder-but He had otherwise decreed.
“ Would you believe, Nicholas, that she was dragged from me that same night? I never could learn the particulars of her seizure, further than this—she had arisen, in the disquiet of her mind, in that hour which intervened between the setting of the moon and the rising of the sun, had dressed herself, and had gone into a gallery adjoining, intending to awaken her maid by knocking at the door of the room in which she was. pears she was there met hy two monks, who ordinarily travelled with the jesuit; these, acting under his authority, by some means unknown to me, compelled her to enter a chaise, and, accompanied by the jesuit, drove away with her.
" My amazement—my rage—my anguish—when I discovered my loss in the morning, unfortunately prevented me from acting with that presence of mind the case demanded. I threatened every one in the houseI raved—I rode furiously on horseback in every direction, continually returning back in madness and despair.
“ The host had seen Marie taken
without interfering; he excused himself by telling me that he was a good catholic, and could not in bis conscience attempt to hinder a nun from being carried back to her convent. The jesuit had shown him orders of the highest authority-one from the Cardinal Ximena himself, of Rome—for taking possession of the so called,' Marchioness of Rougemont, on behalf of the superior of St. Clare. To every question that I afterwards put to him, he only replied by mentioning the name of the Cardinal Ximena, which he had seen affixed to the papers the jesuit had shown him, and which it seemed to me bad deadened every feeling of humanity in his breast.
“ I hurried back to Rome; occasionally I nearly came up with the chaise in which my treasure was, but could not entirely reach it. I knew that I was in Rome at the same time with the jesuit, but yet I was unfortunate enough to let him leave it before me.
Still I was on his track, and got to the sea-side-in time to see a Canadian vessel, in which he was, go out of sight in the horizon. I would have given a million worlds to have been able to reach her—but it was impossible. However, I followed in the first ship that sailed to Quebec : contrary winds detained us on the passage, and when I reached the citadel I heard the news that was abroad among the Canadian citizens, that a runaway nun of St. Clare had been fetched back from Italy, and was to be imprisoned in her convent for life.
“ I had an interview with the superior, she spoke to me with the same cold formality I had before detested in her. I implored her, as a woman, to feel for me and Marie. I described the rise of our affection for each
other, showed her how circumstances had promoted it, how averse we both had been to the breaking of Marie's vows, and how much we both had endured before we took the rash step. I alluded to Marie's youth and inexperience, and brought forward other excuses, but they all fell pointless on that flinty heart.
“She answered with austere brevity, that my boldness in defending, to her face, the enormous crime of Marie Verche and myself, did not surprise her, since we had been found capable of committing it. It was not for her, she said, to punish my guilt, but as Marie was one of those, for whose observance of the holy rules of a monastic life she was accountable, she should deal with her as she merited; her marriage with me had been nothing short of adultery, as Marie had previously been wedded for everlasting to the church.
“ I could not restrain myself within the bounds of temperance, my indignation would break out. I hardly know what I said in the heat of the moment, but the scene ended in my unceremonious expulsion from the room and the convent, after I had been positively denied even the interchange of a word or look with my wife.
“ I visited the primate of Quebec, he was equally cold and stern with the superior. I sought the subtle jesuit who had robbed me of my beloved—he was not to be found. Against this man I harboured the fiercest revenge, and could I have met with him, I believe he would have received nothing less than death at my hands.
“ At this time the King of France robbed me of two thousand livres. Bygot, his financier, as you have heard, had absolute power over the civil and military establish
ments of Canada, at the time the English conquered the province. For thirty years Bygot had been in the habit of issuing what was termed “card money,' instead of sterling coin, and had paid the creditors of the government in bills of exchange, the King of France allowing it to be perfectly understood that he was responsible for both the card-money and the bills; and for the term of years I have named, my parents, and all others who had received the paper-currency, had had it faithfully redeemed when they so required. But now the King took it into his head to dishonour the billscommerce was involved in difficulty—the unfortunate Canadians, already injured by the war, saw nothing but ruin and misery before them; four per cent only was given to them for the current paper they held, and thus their loss was immense.
“ Everywhere around me I heard the execrations of the duped holders of the bills—but I held my peace. What was money to me then? Let the idolators of mammon experience such grief as I experienced, and their god would lose his power. But in the selfishness of my distress I could still feel for the poorer sufferers; I thought of their wives and families—my heart bled for them. The English, I must allow, did wonders in reviving the prospects of the Canadians, and by a liberal policy fairly won their respect and gratitude. I sometimes wondered at the changes of the world when I saw the people, against whom my father and myself had so determinedly fought, living in amity with the Canadians, ruling them so wisely, that those they had conquered were now ready with blood to maintain their sway.
“ But none of these events interested me beyond the