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satisfied that my former conjectures respecting her visits to the sacred spot were true. Leaving the cloisters, I took a turn two around the garden, in order to compose my mind a little, and returned to the Abbey, just as the bell announced breakfast to be ready.
Our party were all assembled when I joined them, and by their usual friendly greetings I was assured that my walk, and the eventful circumstances connected with it, were unknown to all, save one, and she by her extreme pensiveness would have betrayed the more than common distress then preying upon her mind, had not those who were most in her confidence attributed her silence and dejection to the recollection of her recent misfortune, and this served to keep the real cause of it in the obscurity we both desired. I, indeed, plainly saw that she exerted herself, as I also did, to prevent our mutual friends from entertaining any suspicion of what had passed between us, or of the state of our feelings towards each other ; but the occasional, reserved interchange of looks sufficiently told me that whatever those feelings were, they were mutual.
It was some time after breakfast when pur
party had branched off in different directions after their respective pursuits, that Mr. Jordan and I, who had been sailing for an hour or two on the lake, and were returning to the Abbey, came up with a gentleman and his attendant on horseback, who were approaching the porch just before us. Upon seeing us, he turned round and asked whether he might be permitted to see the place. We informed him that our host was not at home, but that we could readily undertake to answer for him, and we offered ourselves to show him what remained of the ancient buildings and gardens.
He eyinced great quickness of observation, and we found him altogether so agreeable and full of information, that we invited him to take some refreshment. As he was not young, and betrayed symptoms of fatigue from his ride, he readily accepted the offer, and we conducted him to the great drawingroom where Miss Jordan and Eloise were sitting at work.
After partaking of the repast before us, we sat round the table in earnest conversation, while the ladies, more listeners than speakers, continued those occupations of their sex which possess the merit of engaging the sight without diverting the attention. The subject of our conversation was one, to which the Abbey itself had given rise, in the course of which our observations on its ancient purposes had led us back to times before the suppression of the monasteries; and from these to a discussion upon the splendid manner in which the service of the Romish Church had formerly been performed in this country, and the still more gorgeous manner in which it was celebrated abroad, and to some of its abuses.
“ When," observed Mr Jordan, “we reflect upon the mummeries, the deceptions, and the extravagancies of the catholic religion, it is evident that it cannot exist in the broad sunshine of intellectual freedom; for it is a superstition conceived in darkness, nursed by craft, and matured in ignorance; and it is surprising to me how any can be found weak enough to be duped by gew-gaws, and to adhere to that which cannot bear the light for a moment after it is exposed to it.”
“ Still,” said I, “when you reflect upon the striking and imposing manner in which the solemn service is performed, especially in countries where it is the religion of the state, you may cease to be surprised at its effects upon
minds that neither know nor can appreciate any other system. I can conceive nothing so calculated to impress the mind with solemn devotional feelings, as entering the Cathedrals abroad at the time of an evening service. The magnitude, the majesty, and grand aspect of the lofty, highlywrought building, abounding in all that strikes the eye with wonder, and the mind with awe ;the infinity of tapers, whose light is continually intercepted by the projections of the rich architecture, casting deep and broad shadows behind them ; – the full-toned organ, and the deepsounding instruments that accompany the multitude of voices, now clear and sweet, now deep and mellow, as alternately the youths and priests chaunt the solemn service; —these and all their associations lay hold upon the senses, and lead them captive, in a way that no one who had not witnessed can conceive. I confess that many times have I thought, if the Deity. could be propitiated by the force and manner of supplication alone, that the prayers of the Convent or the Monastery would prevail above all others: but when I have afterwards seen the deception practised by the priests upon their credulous adherents, and, indeed, upon themselves
also, I have thought that, as far as human judgment can lead us to a right estimate, they, of all Christian religionists, are the furthest removed from the purity of worship.”
“ And yet,” said the stranger, “when you consider for a moment the universality, as it may be called, of the Catholic religion, looking to the extraordinary prevalence of it throughout all the most highly civilized portions of the habitable globe ; and, what is still more striking, its unity, for it ever has been and ever must continue the same, one should
general a reception of it to mere craft, or say that it flourishes only in darkness and ignorance, when, in fact, it is the religion of the most enlightened states and people of the world. I, Sir, (said he; addressing himself to me,) have, like yourself, oftentimes abroad witnessed such scenes
have now described, and never without a feeling of such awe as makes me speak with reverence of what has, as often, taken possession of my soul: and, indeed, I think it unjust and unbecoming to censure any system in the sweeping manner in which the Catholic system is so frequently assailed. Such attacks
my opinion, by no means consistent with that spirit