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iv

any one on the subject of these volumes, I now request that you and all my family circle will, when for the first time you read this narrative, treat them as you always treat the Author, being “ to every fault a little blind.” or rather, if possible, completely so.

September 15, 1852.

PREFACE.

“But oh ! my soul, avoid the wondrous maze,
Where reason lost in endless error strays."

COWPER.

The object of this narrative is to portray, for the consideration of young girls now first emerging into society, the enlightened happiness derived from the religion of England, founded on the Bible, contrasted with the misery arising from the superstition of Italy, founded on the Breviary; and in exemplifying both from the best authorities, it has been done with a most careful and most laborious reference to the standard authors of the English Church, and of the Popish persuasion.

If an India-rubber quill could be invented to rub out every word that should not be written, the author would be particularly happy to obtain the advantage of it on this occasion,

as she never felt more deeply responsible for the use she makes of her own pen, though during many long years it has been her daily fervent prayer that whatever she writes amiss, however good the intention, may be at once and for ever forgotten. Having been much gratified lately, and most agreeably surprised, by the very favourable reception given to the volume she recently dedicated to her nieces, "Popish Legends and Bible Truths,” in which all the thoughts or anecdotes that seemed more peculiarly to bear on the subject of English Romanism were recorded, the author has been induced to follow up the subject by embodying in a fictitious narrative, what she knows to be true, of the irreconcilable hostility with which the Italian school of superstition looks upon the moral principles and domestic peace of a happy English fire-side. As the machinations of Popish emissaries to effect a division of faith and of feeling between families, have been hitherto chiefly directed, and chiefly successful, among ladies, generally very juvenile ones, it is hoped that the author may not be considered presumptuous in attempting thus to warn the young against being ensnared, who have not all had the same sad opportunities as

herself, to observe the rise, progress, and most calamitous termination of a taste for the excitements of Romanism. *

Cardinal Pole offered the Pope in his day to subjugate England by “ dealing with the consciences of dying men;" but though that plan is by no means now neglected, much more is done in the present time by dealing with the consciences of richly endowed ladies. The author can assure her young readers, and she entreats them seriously to consider the statement, which is very seriously and sorrowfully made, that among her own personal acquaintances there are already those who have left their heartbroken parents for ever, those who are now buried in foreign convents, those who have relinquished their beautiful estates, those who have beggared themselves of all they ever possessed, those who are shut up in a lunatic asylum, and those who have died in such a fever of popish perplexity, that the doctors declared, had they lived it would have been in a state of derangement.

All this began, like the fall of Eve, from mere unjustifiable curiosity, excited by those who wish to mislead the inquirer.

Kaleidoscope of Anecdotes.

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A young girl is induced by a proselyting friend to go and hear the “most delightful music” at a Popish chapel, and to visit in a popish house, where religion, she is assured, is the subject of all others that shall never be mentioned to her; and there she becomes acquainted with a Romish priest, who is warranted never to allude to religious differences, and who lends her books that she is told

any Protestant might read with pleasure. The author was told last winter by a young lady of fifteen, the only child of an esteemed landed proprietor, that when walking with her governess lately in a public garden, they were stopped by a "Sister of Charity,” who offered them some tracts to read, and said as she presented them, that if they wished for an explanation, they had only to ring at the bell of her convent, and to ask for “ Sister Margaret.” Some less prudent young ladies might have been tempted by the romance of such an adventure to go, and neither fathers, brothers, nor legislators can adequately protect a girl from such devices unless she also protects herself by avoiding them. As the first step in all such cases is made very easy and agreeable, the author has endeavoured, in these

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