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fatal demons, Superstition, Ignorance, Tyranny, and Lust. There are, doubtless, plenty of true, conscientious, virtuous, and wise priests in Rome; but even these are deluded, blinded, and pledged to the service of an organisation which, if its claims are not all infinitely and absolutely true, is a stupendous blasphemy. Yet this is the fountain-head of the Christian religion, as understood by the great pivotal sect, the mother of all sects the only true religion, as the greater part of Christians believe. No wonder that the successors of the gentle peace-loving St. Peter should find it necessary to surround themselves with French and Austrian bayonets! There will be a general rising before long, mark my words; and war-war against the tyrant and the oppressor-will be the general cry.'

'War!' exclaimed Mrs. Seveer, who had been listening to her attentively-war is the worst of all evils. Men have no right to kill each other. I consider all war murder. Ah, thank God, we live in a civilised country, where human life is respected.'

'England!' Dorothea muttered, a curious smile playing round her finely-chiselled mouth-ah, England is answerable for far greater crimes than any which war can inflict. England with her commerce slays more, by the diffusion of deadly drugs and drinks, than do the other great States with their armies of hundreds of thousands of men. Armies can oppose armies, but no force of arms is able to prevent the march of the more insidious and terrible destruction. Commerce and literature slay more, by the dissemination of fallacies and abominations, than war on all its ghastly battlefields. The Jews murdered a few prophets and worthy religious men, and our Lord declared that the conse

quences of those murders should react in the destruction of their race and country-and that ruin came. Christendom, instead of murdering a few prophets, has slaughtered races and nationalities; instead of crushing a few representatives of charity and religion, has almost driven the spirit of charity and religion from the globe. Let us hope that a great change, a general revolution, may take place, and that men may repent and reform before it is too late!'

A radical change! impossible! I see no signs of it anywhere,' Lady Girnigoe said. 'The world is too far gone to be regenerated, unless a new deluge were to come and destroy all the wicked. Men's hearts are corrupted; their intellects are only employed in pursuit of gain. Italy! you speak of Italy! You say that in Italy ignorance and tyranny rule supreme, and that there will soon be a general rising. It is true that a few discontented people have already risen to the cry of "Liberty !" but what do they mean by that cry?-what is their chief motive in revolting? As you said yourself, the masses are no longer willing that the monopoly of power and wealth and lust should be enjoyed by a few; they want to enjoy these things themselves, and to install themselves in the palaces of the tyrants, and become tyrants in their turn. What you consider the spirit of regeneration in Italy I fear is but the triumph of organised selfishness. Many good and virtuous men may toil in the service of this revolution, but, the object of it being selfish, its results cannot but be base. It will be like that parable of our blessed Lord, of the man who expelled the unclean spirit from his heart, but later on permitted the same spirit, accompanied by seven others worse even than himself, to take possession of

him, and the last state of that man was worse than the first.'

Dorothea remained silent for a moment she seemed lost in deep thought.

The countess's words had evidently made a great impression on her mind. Could it be true that her grand hopes were but vain dreams of her exalted imagination? Dreadful doubts took possession of her for a moment, but her enthusiasm soon triumphed.

'If we look back to the history of those mighty efforts which have produced the greatest changes in the world,' she said, in a voice that seemed to enforce confidence on all her listeners, 'it is astonishing how many of them seemed hopeless to those who looked on in the beginning. But remember that the traveller who beholds the morning sun rising amidst clouds and mist, and the man who walks in an open country dazzled by its midday splendour, and who threads his way by its light, and the sage who contemplates the golden radiance of eve, behold but the same sphere, though how different the thoughts with which it inspires them! All great revolutions must have a beginning.'

'Of course the scorners will always appear to be wise!' Mrs. Seveer said, with a sneer, casting a severe look towards her nephew, who was flirting with the pretty Miss Forsinard at the other end of the room.

'As long as there is a remnant of national feeling and pride in men's hearts for the great past of their country, I suppose one need never despair,' said the countess. 'All that is wanted are a few influential men of great mind and strong energy, who will stir up amongst the people such memories and hopes as may inspire them with thoughts of liberty.'

Dorothea raised her noble head, and her face beamed as if with

inspiration. The flame of the fire lit up her clearly-cut features, and caused the star above her brow to sparkle with a kind of mystical lustre.

'Such men are not wanting, believe me,' she said. Italy still possesses sons worthy of her. Before another year is over you will hear of them. Everything seems against them at present. The common people, weakened by long years of slavery and priest-rule, are too ignorant or too indifferent to respond at once to the call of freedom. The national governments are hostile, the rest of Europe incredulous; yet these men will not remain idle, and ere long the world shall ring with their noble names. All great revolutions must first have their existence in the brain of a few before they can become a tangible reality for the generality of the world. Every country must have its Washingtons and Lafayettes. Ah, let us honour the great patriots who feared not to risk all in the cause of liberty, who trembled not at truth for fear of being thought heretics; for truth and progress they lived and toiled and died. Let us remember with gratitude those who greatly dared because they greatly loved; who held the world's opinion, when compared with truth and its eternal law, as empty air; riches as mere dust under their feet-for what should we have been without them? All seekers after truth, all workers in the cause of liberty, should be held in high esteem. The thirst for knowledge never yet made men bad; the strife for freedom can never make them base. It is selfconceit and tyranny and ignorance, and that supercilious contempt which proceeds from them, and which fain would make their narrow minds the measuring rods of truth and progress, that make men bad and base. Let the world have liberty,-with it all other evils are soon remedied.'

Dorothea ceased, and every one felt more or less impressed by her words. There was a pause; but Sir Ronald, who loved to discuss every new opinion that was advanced in his presence, soon broke it by saying, in a voice which, manly though it was, sounded but poor and feeble after hers,

'Your ideas are certainly very grand, Mrs. Champion; but I fear Italians, as yet, are but little fitted for that liberty you so desire to give them.'

'I hold that no man is fitted for anything else,' Mrs. Seveer broke in.

Sir Ronald went on, without deigning to take any notice of this interruption: In Italy kings have always been despots, the priests have ever ruled supreme over the consciences of the masses. Everywhere it is some mighty Cæsar, some great Pope above, of whose name the earth is full, and the millions of unconsidered people below. Whenever I have spoken in Italy of giving more freedom to the common people, I have always been told that it was impossiblethat they could not bear liberty, and would abuse it. A nation which, like Italy, has always been ruled by an iron hand would find the waters of liberty, however pure, an intoxicating draught.'

Dorothea's face flushed. 'You are greatly mistaken, Sir Ronald,' she said. The Italians have never been slaves; on the contrary, it is they who have conquered and ruled other nations. The greatest days of Italy were those of her greatest freedom. It may be all very well to speak of countries like India and Persia and Egypt as being unfit for freedom-alas, they know not what it means-but the descendants of the Romans know full well what it is to be free; and every true Italian feels within him a thirst after those pure waters of

liberty of which you speak, which no other drink, however sweet to the palate for the moment, will ever satisfy.'

'Would you, then, overthrow the entire modern system of government in Italy ?'

'Yes. Italy must be a united nation; she can never be great and free until she is one, and she cannot be one as long as a different government exercises sway over each province.'

'But would you dethrone several princes to place the whole peninsula under one head? Would you rob Austria of her legitimate possessions, and pull down the Holy Father himself from his throne in the Vatican? Remember that many of these princes are wise and able rulers, and that to unite Italy would be, at best, but sacrificing the many to the happiness of the few."

'The cause of liberty, which is the cause of God's true kingdom upon earth, is often most injured by the men who carry within them the show of certain human virtues. An Austrian emperor has no right whatever to rule over Italians. Poor Venice! What has become of thy brave citizens, who once carried their triumphant arms to the very confines of Europe, and gave mankind such treasures of art and learning? Thy splendours fade whilst foreign tyrants grow rich on thy spoils! Ah, no! Venice is Venice still, though an Austrian flag waves so proudly from those masts in the great Piazza which once sustained the triple banners of the republic, and the bloodthirsty eagle of the tyrant feeds like a vulture on the winged lion of St. Mark's. As for the Pope, what have priests to do with the government of men? Their sway should be over men's souls, not over men's bodies. I reverence the Catholic Church as I reverence all that is true and

good, but for the Pontiff's temporal power I have no sympathy. I admire Pio Nono; he is a nobleminded man, a lover of progress and of the arts; yet I think he greatly undervalues his true mission by playing the part of an earthly tyrant when he might be a divine master. But the most wicked men, believe me, are not always the most insurmountable obstacles to the triumph of liberty. Oh, I fore

see long years of blood and massacre, and misery and sorrow, ere Rome becomes the capital of regenerated Italy.'

Her voice sank low as she said this, and her last words impressed every one with the deep feeling of sorrow, which she seemed to feel, in spite of all her enthusiasm, perhaps more deeply than the rest. All felt now that the discussion was at an end, and began to disperse, eager, like children, to return to their usual occupations, or to enter into the first vein of conversation that was suggested to their every-day minds; but the divine Dorothea still sat rapt and motionless by the fire, lost in deep and solemn thoughts.

Lady Girnigoe was the first to approach her.

'I hear,' she said, 'that you sing beautifully; will you not favour us with a song?"

She raised her head as if awakening from a dream.

'I feel that I could only sing one song now-and I fear it is not one that you would care to hear; but if you insist upon my singing, I will do so.'

She went to the piano, and after playing a few mournful chords upon the instrument, which seemed to send forth wails and moans at her touch, she suddenly burst forth into a maddening, thrilling melody, and in a clear and sonorous voice sang the 'Marseillaise.'

The effect was almost electrical.

It was a song seldom sung in those days, and all present felt its strange exciting influence thrilling through their whole beings. Her deep rich voice and the intense expression she gave to the words seemed to endue them with a deeper significance than ever-a significance which, coming after her last speech, was the more felt; and for a moment no one breathed in the room, and the whole pile of that ancient castle, so full of memories of the dreadful tyrannies of the past, seemed to vibrate with the sound of the revolutionary cry for freedom.

CHAPTER XVI.

FRANK SPEAKS TO LADY LAURA.

EARLY on the following morning Mrs. Champion and her husband left Girnigoe Castle to catch the coach at Wick, which was to convey them to the castle of the Duke of Northland, and Frank Reymond saw no more of them.

It was perhaps better so, for had he seen and talked to her again in the midst of the hurry and confusion of departure, the impression she had produced upon him the previous night might have been weakened. As it was, he was destined to see this wondrous woman in his mind's eye, for many a long day, as she had appeared on that memorable night, radiant and beautiful, like the genius of a great and powerful nation that was yet to be.

Whilst he was dressing in the morning, Jack Howard came to his door, and asked to see him for a moment. Frank admitted him at once.

'Look here, old fellow,' the captain said, speaking hurriedly,— 'I fear I must leave you and return at once to England. I have just received a letter-' He hesi

tated for a moment, then went on: 'As you already know my secret, I suppose I must tell you all. I have received a letter-'

'From Miss Brown? Well, and what does she say? Am I to congratulate you or not?'

;

'Well, no; it is not from the girl herself, but from her father he asks me to meet him next week in London; so you see I have no time to lose.'

'He approves of you, then?' 'My dear fellow, you jump at conclusions a great deal too quickly. I hardly know myself if he approves of me or not. He wants to talk to me about settlements and all that; these business men are always very cautious-and quite right too.'

'And so you won't come with us to Westra ?'

'Ah, so you are beginning to fall a victim to her fascinations. Well, Frank, I wish you the best luck; she will make a capital wife for a fellow like you, who has plenty of money, and can marry the girl that pleases him best.'

'Nonsense, Jack!'

'Do you remember our conversation in the steamer going to Westra? Didn't I tell you then that you would be sure to fall in love with my fair cousin ?'

'But I am not in love with her!'

Of

'Ah, well! I suppose all men are not as open as I am. course I can't expect you to confide in me, though I have confided so fully in you. Bah! such is the world!

For a moment Frank had a great mind to open his heart to his

'How can I? I cannot be in friend, and to tell him with whom two places at once.'

'What will your cousin say to that ?'

'Oh, I shall explain it all to her. But, whatever you do, I must beg of you not to mention the reason of my departure to her. Of course I shall tell her all about it, only it flatters her to believe that she is my only confidante-don't you see?-and she would not like exactly to find out that you too know all about it. Women are very peculiar in some respects-they are so confoundedly fond of mysteries and secrets. Things that are done openly, and to the full knowledge of every one, have no charm for them. Laura is no exception to the rule, though she's awfully nice -don't you think ? and I would not like to deprive her of this little fancy of hers."

'You think your cousin is romantic, then?'

'All women are, in a way.' 'Do you think she would be one who would sympathise with me, then ?'

Be

he really was in love; but when he began to do so his courage failed him. He could not place entire confidence in this man, much as he wished to do so. sides, how could a man of the world like Jack Howard, who was going to marry a woman for her money, comprehend the tender feelings that filled his soul, and his passionate devotion for a poor girl whom his friend had scarcely deigned to notice? And he was going off, too, that very day. Even if he did confide in him, of what use would it be? No; he thought better of it-he would not tell him anything about it.

Lady Laura looked sad and cast down during breakfast. It was evident that her cousin had informed her of his intended departure, but in the excitement of saying farewell no one excepting Frank, who watched her closely, noticed this. 'I wonder if she really knows what is taking him away in such a hurry!' he thought. Directly afterwards they all

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