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At last night came. A lamp replaced the fading her weep, and he wept for sympathy. Both were day-light. The window was deserted for the table. silent, agitated, uneasy, and happy. William and Karl Van Amberg came in. The But the night was fine, the moon shed its softest former took a book; his brother busied himself with light, the ripple of the stream had a harmony of its commercial calculations. The lamp gave a dull own, the light breeze cooled their cheeks, the sail light; all was silent, sad, and monotonous in the bent over them like the wing of an invisible being ; apartment. The clock slowly told the succeeding they were young, they loved, it was impossible that hours. When its hammer struck ten, there was a joy should not revive in their hearts. movement round the table; books were shut, work “ Thanks, Christine, thanks !” exclaimed Herwas folded. Karl Von Amberg rose ; his two bert, " thanks a thousand times for so much devoeldest daughters approached him, and he kissed tedness, for such confidence and love! Ohhow their foreheads in silence. Christine, no longer a beautiful will life now appear! We are united captive, but still in disgrace, bowed herself before forever!” her father. Uncle William, grown drowsy over “Forever!” repeated Christine, her tears flowhis book, put up his spectacles, muttering a "good- ing afresh. For the first time she felt that great night.” The family left the parlor, and the three happiness, like great grief, expresses itself by tears. sisters ascended the wooden staircase. At her Her hand in Herbert's, her eyes raised to heaven, chamber door, Christine felt a tightness at her she gazed upon bright stars and fleecy clouds, sole heart. She turned and looked er her sisters. and silent witnesses of her happiness. Presently “Good-night, Wilhelmina! good-night, Maria !” she was roused from this sweet reverie.
The sisters turned their heads. By the faint “ See there, Herbert !” she exclaimed ; light of their tapers Christine saw them smile and sail droops along the mast, the wind has fallen, we kiss their hands to her. Then they entered their do not advance." rooms without speaking. Christine found herself Herbert took the oars, and the boat cut rapidly alone. She opened her window; the night was through the water. Wrapped in her mantle, calm ; at intervals clouds flitted across the moon, Christine sat opposite, and smiled upon him. Onveiling its brightness. Christine made no prepara- wards flew the boat, a track of foam in its wake. tions for departure; she only took her mother's Daylight was still distant; all things favored the rosary, and the blue ribbon so long attached to the fugitives. Again Christine broke silence. guitar ; then she wrapped herself in her black man- Herbert, dear Herbert, do you hear nothing?" tle and sat down by the window. Her he: beat Herbert ceased to row, an istened. “I hear quick, but no distinct thought agitated her mind. nothing," he said, " save the plash of the river She trembled without terror; her eyes were tear- against its banks.” He resumed the oars ; again ful, but she felt no regret. For her, the hour was the boat moved rapidly forward. Christine was rather solemn than sad ; the struggle was over, and pale ; half risen from her seat, her head turned back, she was irrevocably decided.
she strove to see, but the darkness was too great. At last midnight came ; each stroke of the clock “ Be tranquil, best beloved," said Herbert with thrilled Christine's heart; for an instant she stood a smile. "Fear creates sounds. All is still.” still, summoning strength and courage; then, turn- Herbert,” cried Christine, this time starting up ing towards the interior of the room
in the boat, “I am not mistaken! I hear oars “ Adieu, my mother!" she whispered. Many behind us pause not to listen living creatures dwelt under that roof. It seemed Heaven's love, row !!! to Christine as if she left her only who was no Her terror was so great, she seemed so sure of longer there. “Adieu, my mother!" she repeated. what she said, that Herbert obeyed in silence, and
Then she stepped out of the window ; a trellis, a sensation of alarm chilled his heart. Christine twined with creepers, covered the wall. With seated herself at his feet. light foot and steady hand, Christine descended, “We are pursued !” she said ; “the noise of aiding herself by the branches, and pausing when your own oars alone prevented your hearing. A they cracked under her tread or grasp. The still- boat follows us." ness was so complete that the slightest sound “ If it be so," Herbert cried, “ what matter! assumed importance. Christine's heart beat vio- That boat does not bear Christine, is not guided by lently; at last she reached the ground, raised her a man who defends his life, his happiness, his love. head, and looked at the house. Her father's win- My arm will weary his, his bark will not overtake dow was still lighted. Again she shuddered with mine." And Herbert redoubled his efforts. The apprehension; then, feeling more courage for a veins of his arms swelled to bursting; his foreminute's daring than for half an hour's precautions, head was covered with sweat-drops. The skiff she darted across the meadow and arrived breath- clove the waters as though impelled by wings. less at the clump of willows. Before plunging Christine remained crouched at the young man's into it, she again looked round. All was quiet and feet, pressing herself against him, as to seek refuge. deserted ; she breathed more freely and disappeared Other oars, wielded by stalwart arms, now struck amongst the branches. Leaning upon the old tree, the water not far from Herbert's boat. The young the witness of her former rendezvous, she whis- student heard the sound; he bent over his oars and pered, so softly that none but a lover could hear, made desperate efforts. But he felt his strength “ Herbert, are you there?”
failing; as he rowed he looked with agony at A cautious oar skimmed the water; a well Christine ; no one spoke, only the noise of the two known voice replied. The boat approached the boats interrupted the silence. Around, all was willow; the young student stood up and held out calm and serene as when the fugitives set out. his arms to Christine, who leaped lightly into the But the soul of the young girl had passed from life skiff. In an instant, they were out of the willow- to death ; her eyes, gleaming with a wild fire, folshaded inlet; in another, the sail—the signal of lowed with increased terror each movement of Hertheir loves—was hoisted to the breeze; the bark bert's; she saw by the suffering expression of his sped swiftly over the water, and Herbert, scarce countenance, that little hope of escape remained. daring to believe his happiness, was seated at Still he rowed with the energy of despair; but the Christine's feet. His hand sought hers; he heard fatal bark drew nearer, its shadow was seen upon
the water, it followed hard in the foamy track of | austere dwelling, the abode of silence and selfHerbert's boat. Christine stood up and looked denial, was she, the young, the beautiful, the back; just then the moon shone out, casting its loving, pitilessly consigned. It was as though a light full upon the pale, passionless features of M. gravestone had suddenly closed over her head. Van Amberg. Christine uttered a piercing cry. With her, the superior of the convent received the
“My father!" she cried, “ Herbert, 't is my following letter : father!"
“ Madame LA SUPERIEURE-I send you your Herbert also had recognized his pursuer. The niece, Christine Van Amberg, and beg you to youth had lived too long in Karl Van Amberg's oblige me by keeping her with you. I intend her house, not to have experienced the strange kind of to embrace a religious life ; employ the influence fascination which that man exercised over all around of your wise counsels to predispose her to it. Her him. Darkness had passed away to reveal to the misconduct compels me to exclude her my house ; fugitives the father, master, and judge !
she requires restraint and watching, such as are Stop, Herbert !” cried Christine, we are lost;
only to be found in a convent. Be pleased, dear escape is impossible! Do you not see my father?" and respected kinswoman, to receive her under
“Let me row!" replied Herbert, disengaging your roof; the best wish that can be formed for her himself from Christine, who had seized his arm. He gave so violent a pull with the oars, that the forever. Should she inquire concerning a young
is that she may make up her mind to remain there little boat bounded out of the water and seemed to
man named Herbert, you may inform her that he gain a little on its pursuer.
has sailed to Batavia, whence he will proceed to “ Herbert,"' cried Christine, “ I tell you we are
our most remote establishments. lost! 'Tis my father, and resistance is useless ! God will not work a miracle in our favor! Herbert, kinsman and friend,
“I am with respect, Madame la Supérieure, your I will not return to my father's house! Let us die
“ KARL VAN AMBERG.” together, dear Herbert !!! And Christine threw herself into her lover's Five years had now elapsed since the date of this
The oars fell from the young man's hands ; letter, when one day the convent gate opened to with a cry•of anguish he pressed Christine convul- admit a stranger, who craved to speak with the susively on his heart. For a single instant he thought perior. The stranger was an old man; a staff susof obeying her, and of plunging with her into the tained his feeble steps. Whilst waiting in the pardark tide beneath ; but Herbert had a noble heart, lor, he looked about him with surprise and emotion, and he repelled the temptation of despair. The and several times he passed his hand across his eyes next moment a violent shock made the boat quiver, as if to brush away a tear. “ Poor, poor child!" and M. Van Amberg stepped into it. Instinctively, he muttered. When the superior appeared behind Herbert clasped Christine more tightly, and re- the grating, he advanced quickly towards her. treated ; as if his strength could withhold her from “I am William Van Amberg,” he said, “ the her father; as if, in that little boat, he could retreat brother of Karl Van Amberg. I come, madame, to far enough not to be overtaken. With a vigorous fetch Christine, his daughter and my niece." arm, M. Van Amberg seized Christine, whose “ You come very late," replied the superior ; slender form bent like a reed over his shoulder. “ sister Martha-Mary is on the eve of pronouncing
“Have mercy on her!” cried the despairing her vows." Herbert; “I alone am guilty! Punish her not, “ Martha-Mary !—I do not know the name' and I promise to depart, to renounce her! Pity, said William Van Amberg; “I seek Christine sir, pity for Christine!”
my niece Christine." He spoke to a deaf and silent statue. Wresting “Christine Van Amberg, now sister MarthaChristine's hand from the student's grasp, M. Van Mary, is about to take the veil." Amberg stepped back into his boat and pushed - Christine a mun! Oh, impossible! Madame, Herbert's violently with his foot. Yielding to the they have broken the child's heart; from despair impulse, the boats separated ; one was pulled only would she take the veil; they have been cruel, swiftly up the river, whilst the other, abandoned to they have tortured her; but I bring her liberty and itself, was swept by the current in a contrary the certainty of happiness permission to marry him direction. Erect on ihe prow of his bark, his head she loves. Let me speak to her, and she will thrown back, his arms folded on his breast, M. Van quickly follow.” Amberg fixed a terrible look upon Herbert, and then “ Speak to her, then ; and let her depart if such disappeared in the darkness. All was over. The be her will." father had taken his daughter, and no human power Thanks, madame-a thousand thanks! Send could henceforward tear her from his arms. me my child, send me my Christine-with joy and
Within eight days from this fatal night, the gates impatience I await her." of a convent closed upon Christine Van Amberg. The superior retired. Left alone, William again
contemplated the melancholy abode in which he On the frontier of Belgium, on the summit of a found himself, and the more he gazed, the sadder hill, stands a large white building of irregular his heart became. He would fain have taken Chrisarchitecture, a confused mass of walls, roofs, angles, tine in his arms, as he did when she was litile, and and platforms. At the foot of the hill is a village, have fled with her from those chilly walls and diswhose inhabitants behold with a feeling of respect mal gratings. the edifice towering above their humble dwellings. "Poor child," he repeated, “ what a retreat for For there is seen the belfry of a church, and thence the bright years of your youth.
How is heard unceasingly the sound of pious bells, pro- you must have suffered ! But console thyself, claiming afar that on the mountain's summit a few dearest child, I am here to rescue thee !" devout souls pray to God for all men. The build- He remembered Christine as a wild young girl, ing is a convent; the poor and the sick well know delighting in liberty, air, and motion ; then as an the path leading to the hospitable threshold of the impassioned woman, full of love and independence. Sisters of the Visitation.
And a smile crossed the old man's lips as he thought To this convent was Christine sent. To this of her burst of joy, when he should say to her,
* Oh my
“ You are free, and Herbert waits to lead you to happy. I implored permission to marry you to the altar!” His heart beat as it had never beaten Herbert. You are no longer a rich heiress : your in the best days of his youth ; he counted the min- father gone, you need protection, and that of an old utes and kept his eyes fixed upon the little door man cannot long avail you. In short, your father through which Christine was to come. He could has agreed to all I asked; he sends you, as a not fold her in his arms, the grating prevented it, farewell gift, your liberty and his consent to your but at least he should see and hear her. Suddenly marriage
Christine ! you are free, and all his blood rushed to his heart, for the hinges Herbert awaits his bride !" creaked and the door opened. A novice, clothed in The long drapery of the novice was slightly agiwhite, slowly advanced; he looked at her, started tated, as if the limbs it covered trembled; she reback, hesitated, and exclaimed: “Oh God! is that mained some seconds without speaking, and then Christine?"
replied, “ It is too late! I am the affianced of the William had cherished in his heart the memory Lord !” of a bright-eyed, sunburnt girl, alert and lively, William uttered a cry of grief, and looked with quick and decided in her movements, running more alarm at the pale, calm girl who stood immovable often than she walked, like the graceful roe that before him. loves the mountain steeps. He beheld a tall young
“ Christine !"' he cried,
you no longer love woman, white and colorless as the robes that Herbert?" shrouded her; her hair concealed under a thick “I am the affianced of the Lord!” repeated the linen band, her slender form scarcely to be distin- novice, her hands crossed upon her breast, her eyes guished beneath the heavy folds of her woollen vest- raised to heaven. ments. Her movements were slow, her black eyes
God!" cried William, veiled by an indescribable languor; a profound weeping bitterly, “my brother has killed his child ! calm was the characteristic of her whole being—a Her soul has been sad even unto death! Poor calm so great, that it resembled absence of life. victim of our severity, tell me, Christine, tell me, One might have thought her eyes looked without what has passed within you, since your abode seeing, that her lips could not open to speak, that here?” her ears listened without hearing. Sister Martha- “ I saw others pray, and I prayed also. There Mary was beautiful, but her beauty was not of the was a great stillness, and I was silent; none wept, earth-it was the beauty of infinite repose-of a and I dried my tears ; a something, at first cold, calm that nothing could disturb.
then soothing, enveloped my soul. The voice of The old man was touched to the bottom of his God made itself heard to me, and I listened! I soul ; the words expired on his lips, and he ex- loved the Lord, and gave myself to him." tended his hands towards Christine. On beholding Then, as if fatigued with speaking so much, her uncle, Martha-Mary endeavored to smile, but Martha-Mary relapsed into silence, and into that moved not, and said nothing.
absorbing meditation which rendered her insensible “Oh my child !” cried William at last,“ how to surrounding things. Just then a bell tolled. you must suffer here !"
The novice started, and her eyes sparkled. Martha-Mary gently shook her head, and the “ God calls me!” she said, “ I go to pray!” tranquil look she fixed upon her uncle, protested “ Christine! my daughter, will you leave me against his supposition.
thus?" “ Is it possible that five years have thus changed “ Hear you not the bell? It is the hour of my Christine?
My heart recognizes you, my child, prayer." not my eyes! They have compelled you to great “ But, Christine, dearest child, I came to take austerities, severe privations ?" “ No."
" I shall never leave these walls !” said Martha“A cruel bondage has weighed heavily upon Mary, gliding slowly away. As she opened the
parlor door, she turned towards William ; her eyes "No."
fixed upon him with a sad and sweet expression ; “ You have been ill then ?"
her lips moved, as if to send him a kiss; then she “ No."
disappeared. William made no attempt to detain “ Your poor heart has suffered too much, and has her ; his head was pressed against the grating, and broken. You have shed many tears ?”
big tears chased each other down his cheeks. How " I remember no longer."
long he remained thus plunged in mournful reflec“ Christine, Christine, do you live? or has the tion, he noted not. He was roused by the voice of shade of Annunciata risen from the grave? Oh my the superior, who seated herself, wrapped in her child! in seeing you, I seem to see her corpse, ex- black robes, on the other side of the grating. tended on the bed of death!”
“I foresaw your grief,” she said. " Our sister Martha-Mary raised her large eyes to heaven ; Martha-Mary refuses to follow you." she joined her hands, and murmured, “ My mother!" With a despairing look, William answered the
“ Christine, speak to me! weep with me! you nun. frighten me by your calm and silence
“Alas! alas !” he said, " the child I so dearly, Ah! in my trouble and emotion, I have as yet ex- loved met me without joy, and left me without regret. plained nothing
Listen : my brother “ Listen, my son,' resumed the superior; “lis Karl, by the failure of a partner, suddenly found ten to me.-Five years ago, there came to this conhis whole fortune compromised.' To avoid total vent a young girl overwhelmed with grief and sunk ruin he was obliged to embark immediately for the in terrible despair ; her entrance here was to her colonies. He set sail, expecting to return in a few a descent into the tomb. During one entire year, years; but his affairs prolong his absence, and his none saw her but with tears on her face. Only return is indefinitely postponed. His two eldest God knows how many tears the eyes must shed, daughters are with him. To me, who am too old before a broken spirit regains calm and resignation; to follow him, too old to remain alone, he has given man cannot count them. This young girl suffered Christine. I would not accept the precious charge much ; in vain we implored pardon for her, in vain my child, without the possibility of rendering you i we summoned her family to her relief. She
might say, as it is written in the psalm—'I am road, she closed her eyes and seemed to sleep. weary with my groaning : mine eye is consumed be- During the journey, William endeavored in vain io cause of grief.' What could we do, save pray for make her converse ; she had forgotten how to exher, since none would receive her back!
press her thoughts. When compelled to reply, “ Alas !" cried William, “your letters never fatigue overwhelmed her; her whole existence was reached us. My brother was beyond sea ; and I, concentrated in her soul, and detached entirely from having then no hope of changing his determination, the external world. At intervals, she would say to I had quitted his empty and melancholy home.” herself: “How long the morning is! Nothing marks
“ Man abandoned her,” continued the superior, the hours ; I have not heard a single bell to-day!" “ but God looked upon his servant, and comforted At last they reached the red house, and the carher soul. If he does not see fit to restore strength riage drove into the court, where the grass grew to her body, exhausted by suffering–His will be between the stones. Gothon came out to receive done! Perhaps it would now be wise and gen- them, and Martha-Mary, leaning on her uncle's arm, erous to leave her to that love of God which she entered the parlor where the family of Van Amberg has attained after so many tears ; perhaps it would had so often assembled. The room was deserted be prudent to spare her fresh shocks."
and cold; no books or work gave it the look of “No! no!" interrupted William, “I cannot habitation ; abandoned by its last occupants, it give up, even to God, this last relic of my family, awaited new ones. Christine slowly traversed this the sole prop of my old age. I will try every well-known apartment, and sat down upon a chair means to bring back her heart to its early senti- near the window. It was there her mother had sat ments. Give me Christine for a few days only for twenty years ; there had her childhood passed at Let me conduct her to the place of her birth, to the the knees of Annunciata. scenes where she loved. She is deaf to my en- William opened the window, showed her the treaties, but she will obey an order from you; bid meadow, the willows, and the river. Christine her return for a while beneath her father's roof? looked at them in silence, her head resting on her Should she still wish it, after this last attempt, I hand, her eyes fixed on the horizon. For a long will restore her hither."
while William stood beside her, then he placed his “Take her with you, my son," replied the su- hand on her shoulder and pronounced her name. perior, " I will bid her follow. If God has indeed She rose and followed him. They ascended the spoken to her soul, no worldly voice will move her. stairs, traversed the gallery, and William opened a If it be otherwise, may she return no more to the door. “ Your mother's room," said he to Chriscloister, but be blessed wherever she goes! Adieu, tine. The novice entered and stood still in the midmy son; the peace of the Lord be with you!" dle of the chamber; tears flowed from her eyes, she
Hope revived in the heart of William Van Am- clasped her hands and prayed. berg; it seemed to him as if—the convent threshold "My daughter," said William," she ardently deonce passed-Christine would revert to her former sired your happiness.” character, her youth and love. He believed he was “ She has obtained it," replied the novice. about to remove his beloved child forever from those The old man felt a profound sadness come over gloomy walls, and with painful impatience he him. It was like pressing to his heart a corpse to awaited her coming. Soon a light step was heard which his love restored neither breath nor warmth. in the corridor; William threw open the door, Martha-Mary approached her mother's bed, knelt Christine was there, and no grating now separated down, and kissed the pillow that had supported the her from her uncle.
dying head of Annunciata. “My beloved Christine !” exclaimed William, “ Mother,” she murmured, soon we shall meet
at last, then, you are restored to me; at last I again." can press you to my heart! Come, we will re- William shuddered. He took Christine's hand, turn to our own country, and revisit the house where and led her to the room she had formerly occupied. we all dwelt together.”
The little white-curtained bed was still there, the Sister Martha-Mary was still paler than at her guitar hung against the wall, Christine's favorite first interview with William. If any expression volumes filled the shelves of her modest book-case; was discernible upon that calm countenance, it was through the open window were seen the willows one of sadness. She allowed herself to be taken by and the river. Martha-Mary noticed none of these the hand and conducted to the convent gate; but things; the wooden crucifix was still upon the wall; when the gate was opened, and, passing into the she rapidly approached it, knelt, and bowed her open air, she encountered the broad daylight and the head upon the feet of Christ, closed her eyes and fresh breeze, she tottered and leaned for support breathed deeply, like one finding repose after long against the wall. Just then the sun rent the clouds, fatigue. Like the exile returning to his native land, and threw its golden beams on plain and mountain ; like the storm-tossed mariner regaining the port, she the air was clear and transparent, and the flat and remained with brow resting upon her Saviour's feet. monotonous horizon acquired beauty from the bnrst Standing by her side, William looked on in tearof light.
ful silence. Further off, Gothon wiped her eyes “See, my daughter," said William,“ see how with her apron. Several hours elapsed. The lovely the earth looks! How soft is the air we house-clock struck, the birds sang in the garden ; breathe! How good it is to be free, and to move the winds rustled among the trees; in the lofty towards that immense horizon!”
pigeon-house the doves cooed; the cock crowed in “Oh, my dear uncle !" replied the novice,“ how the poultry-yard. None of these loved and familiar beautiful are the heavens! See how the sun shines sounds could divert Martha-Mary from her derout above our heads! It is in heaven that his glory meditation. Sick at heart, her uncle descended to should be admired! His rays are already dim and the parlor. He remained there long, plunged in feeble when they touch the earth!”
gloomy reflections. Suddenly hasty steps were William led Christine to a carriage; they got in, heard ; a young man rushed into the room and into and the horses set off. Long did the gaze of the William's arms. novice remain fixed on her convent's walls; when “Christine! Christine !" cried Herbert ; “ where these were hidden from her by the windings of the lis Christine? Is it not a dream? M. Van Amberg
gives me Christine!
Once more in my
Her gaze upon the crucifix, her hands still joined, native land, and Christine mine."
the novice, as if able to speak only to her God, “ Karl Van Amberg gives, but God refuses her gently replied :-“Lord! he suffers as I suffered ! to you,” replied William, mournfully. Then he shed upon him the balm where with you healed my told Herberi what had passed at the convent, and wounds! Leaving him life, take his soul as you since their arrival at the house; he gave a thousand have taken mine. Give him that ineffable peace details—he repeated them a thousand times, but which descends upon those thou lovest!" without convincing Herbert of the melancholy truth. “Oh Christine! my beloved !" cried Herbert,
“It is impossible,” cried the young man ; " if once more taking her hand, “ do but look at me! Christine is alive, if Christine is here, to the first turn your eyes upon me and behold my tears! word uttered by her lover, Christine will reply.” Dearest treasure of my heart ! you seem to slum
“God grani il,” exclaimed William, “my last ber! Awake! Have you forgotten our tender hope is in you."
meetings? the willows bending over the stream, Herbert sprang up the stairs, his heart too full of the boat in which we sailed a whole night, dreamlove to have room for fear. Christine free, was for ing the joy of eternal union? See! the moon rises him Christine ready to become his wife. He has- as it rose that night. We were near each other as tily opened her chamber door; but then he paused, now; but then they tore us asunder, and now we as if petrified, upon the threshold. The day was are free to be together! Christine, have you ceased closing in, and its fading light fell upon Martha-10 love? Is all forgotten?"). Mary, whose form stood out like a white shadow William took her other hand. “ Dear child," from the gloom of the room. She was still on her he said, “we entreat you not to leave us! To you knees, her head resting on the feet of Christ, her we look for happiness ; remain with us, Christine." fragile person lost in the multiplied folds of her con- One hand in the hands of Herbert, the other in ventual robes. She heard not the opening of the those of William, the novice slowly and solemnly door, and Herbert stood gazing at her, till a flood replied : of tears burst from his eyes. William took his hand “ The corpse that reposes in the tomb does not and silently pressed it.
lift the stone to reënter the world. The soul that “I am frightened," said Herbert, in a low tone. has seen heaven, does not leave it to return to “ That is not my Christine. A phantom risen earth. The creature to whom God has said, 'Be from the earth, or an angel descended from heaven, thou the spouse of Christ,' does not quit Christ to has taken her place.”
unite herself to a man; and she who is about to die “ No, she is no longer Christine," replied Wil- should turn her attention from mortal things!" liam, sadly.
“ Herbert !” cried William, “ be silent! Not For a few moments more Herbert stood in mourn- another word! I can scarcely feel the throbbing ful contemplation. Then he exclaimed—“Chris- of her pulse! She is paler even than when I first tine, dear Christine!”
saw her behind the convent grating. We give her At the sound of his voice the novice started, rose pain. Enough, Herbert, enough! Better yield to her feet, and pronounced his name. As in for her to God upon earth, than send her to him in mer days, when her lover called “ Christine,” Mar- heaven!” tha-Mary had replied, “ Herbert."
The old man placed the almost inanimate head The young man's heart beat violently; he stood of Martha-Mary upon his shoulder, and pressed her beside the novice, he took her hands. “It is I, it to his heart as a mother embraces her child. is Herbert,” he said, kneeling down before her. cover yourself, my daughter,” he said; “I will
The novice fixed her large black eyes upon him restore you to the house of God.” with an inquiring gaze ; a slight flush passed across Martha-Mary turned her sad and gentle gaze her brow; then she became pale as before, and said upon her uncle, and her hand feebly pressed his. gently to Herbert_“I thought not to see you Then addressing herself to Herbert : again upon earth.'
“ You, Herbert,” she said, in a scarcely audible “Dear Christine, tears and suffering have long voice, “ you, who will live, do not abandon him!” been our portion ; but happy days at last dawn upon “ Christine !” cried Herbert, on his knees before
My love, my bride; we will never part his betrothed. “ Christine ! do we part forever?" again!”
The novice raised her eyes to heaven. Martha-Mary extricated her hands from those of “ Not forever!" she replied. Herbert, and retreated towards the image of Christ. Some days afterwards the convent gates opened
“I am the bride of the Lord,” she said, in trem- to receive sister Martha-Mary. They closed upon bling accents. “ He expects me.''
her for the last time. With feeble and unsteady Herbert uttered a cry of grief.
step the novice traversed the cloisters to prostrate “ Christine ! dear Christine ! remember our oft- | herself on the altar-steps. The superior came to her. repeated pledges, our loves, our tears, our hopes. “Oh my mother!" exclaimed Christine, the founYou left me vowing to love me always, Christine, tain of whose tears was opened, and who wept as if you would not have me die of despair, remember in the days of her childhood, “I have seen him and the past.'
left him! To thee I return, oh Lord ! faithful to Martha-Mary's eyes continued riveted on the my vows, I await the crown that shall consecrate crucifix; her hands, convulsively clasped, were me thy spouse. Thy voice alone shall henceforextended towards it.
ward reach my ears ; I come to sing thy praises, to “Gracious Lord!" she prayed, " speak to his pray and serve thee until the end of my life ! heart as you have spoken to mine! It a noble Holy mother, prepare the robe of serge, the white heart, worthy to love you. Stronger than I, Her- crown, the silver cross; I am ready!” bert may survive, even after much weeping! Con- “My daughter," replied the superior, “ you are sole him, oh Lord!”
very ill, much exhausted by so many shocks; will "Christine ! my first and only love ! sole hope and you not delay the ceremony of profession?". joy of my life! do you thus abandon me ? " That No, holy mother! no; delay it not! I would heart, once entirely mine, is it closed 10 me for- die the bride of the Lord!
And I I have little time!" replied sister Martha-Mary.