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these two sisters were different in personal appearance and character.
Nature seems to have presided in a special manner over the moulding
of Aloysia's exquisite frame.  The symmetry of her person, hand and
foot of charming delicacy, azure eye and rosy cheek, garlanded with
nature's golden tresses, and the sweet expression of innocence in her
features, would suggest her at once as a model for one of Raphael's
Madonnas.  Her disposition, too, comported with the beauty of her
person.  She loved retirement, and read only books of the noblest
sentiment.  The poets were familiar to her; she copied and committed
to memory the passages of exquisite beauty.  There was one feature in
her character which bore a marked influence on her future destinies:
it was her love for her sister.

We do not believe at all times in the genuineness of brotherly or
sisterly love.  Perhaps familiarity has deadened its keenness.  Like
the appreciation of the sunlight which rushes with thrilling force on
the victim of blindness, separation or misfortune may rouse the dormant
affection and prove its nobility and its power; but in our experience
manifest fraternal charity is one of those things even the wise man
knew to be rare under the sun.  Where we have been privileged to look
in behind the veil of the family circle, we are more convinced than
ever that fraternal affection an all the boasted nobility of sisterly
love dwindle down to a series of petty quarrels and jealousies as
painful as they are unchristian and unbecoming.  The reserve, or rather
the hypocrisy of politeness, put on before strangers, is no criterion
of the inward domestic life.  Some one has said of ladies, "A point
yielded or a pardon begged in public means so many hair-pullings
behind the scenes."  But this is too sweeping; there are noble, glorious
exceptions in families where religion reigns, where fraternal charity
finds a congenial soil; for it blooms in the fragrance of the other
virtues, and is the first characteristic of a pious family.  The world
around are told to look for this as a sign by which they are to
recognize the disciples of Him who loved so much.

Aloysia, in a true, genuine feeling of love, was bound in adamantine
chains to her sister.  Time and fortune, that shatter all human
institutions and prove human feelings, consolidated the union of their
hearts and their destinies.  A stranger on stronger proof of the
influence of sisterly affection could not be adduced; it dragged the
beautiful, blushing Aloysia from the sphere of girlhood, to follow
in the track of hypocrisy and of bloodshed so desperately trodden by
her brave sister.

Our tale opens when the two girls had finished their education and
were living in luxury and enjoyment.  The days and hours passed merrily
by.  They would read in the shade, play and sing on the harp, would
paint or work at wool, and in the afternoon, when the burning sun had
left the world to the shade of evening, they would drive out in a
magnificent attelage to the fashionable rendezvous of Paris.

Dream too bright to last!  On the horizon is gathering the dark cloud
that will dim the sunlight of their bliss, and cause them, in the dark
and trying hour of trouble, to look back with the sigh of regret over
the brilliant hours of youthful enjoyment.

Chapter VI.
A Secret Revealed.

I thought to pass away before, and yet alive I am;
And in the fields all round I hear the bleating of the lamb.
How sadly, I remember, rose the morning of the year!
To die before the snow-drop came, and now the violet's here.

Oh! sweet is the new violet that comes beneath the skies
And sweeter is the young lamb's voice to me that cannot rise;
And sweet is all the land about, and all the flowers that blow;
And sweeter far is death than life to me that long to go.

                                 -- Tennyson.

It was a bright, cheerful morning in June.  The sinking, feeble
Madeleine had requested her domestics to carry her to the conservatory,
that she might gaze again on the flowers that were soon to blossom
on her grave.  Death had lingered in his approach.  The gay, the
ambitious, and healthy he had taken all too soon; but for Madeleine,
WHO LONGED TO GO, he tarried.  Her little violets had already given
their first fragrant kiss to breezes that passed with no mournful
cadence through the cypresses of the lonely cemetery.  Crumbling in
her hand a faded rose, she breathed the thought so beautifully versified
in after-times by the immortal bard of Erin:

         So soon may I follow
           When friendships decay,
         And from love's shining circle
           The gems drop away.
         When true hearts lie withered
           And fond ones are flown,
         Oh! who would inhabit
           This bleak world alone?

The sentiment was prophetic: other flowers of affection will be withered
by the vicissitudes of destiny; fond ones will flee, leaving the world
a wilderness for her last hours!

It often happens in the course of life that we are driven by some
inexplicable fatality to suffer those very afflictions we dread the
most.  We are told of persons who trembled for a lifetime at the horrid
anticipation of being one day mad; it was the shadow of the judgement
that was creeping on them, which cast them finally amongst the victims
of the lunatic asylum.  The suicide is the prophet of his own doom;
the presentiment of death by drowning has but too often ended in a
watery grave.  Perhaps where the fibres of the heart are weakest, the
strain brought on them by excited fancy snaps them in the misfortune
that is dreaded; or perhaps some unseen spirit, charged with the decree
of our individual sorrow, casts the dark shadow of his wing over our
thoughts, and communicates the gloomy foreboding of a presentiment.
They dying mother had one of these heart-tearing presentiments, so
frequent and so mysterious in the history of human suffering.

She was guilty of a species of maternal idolatry; centered in her child
Louis Marie as rays gathered up into a focus, were all her hopes, her
aspirations, her ideas of the future.  If she could be assured she
would live to see her son leading the armies of the empire, ruling
in the cabinets of state or worshipped in the circles of the great
and learned, Heaven itself could not build up a greater joy in the
limited horizon of her hopes; but an awful conviction crept over her
that some misfortune would tear from her the object of her love like
the fruit torn from the stem, like the young branch from the oak.  In
dreams she saw him struggling in the torrent which bore him away, or
dragged to the hills at the feet of a wild horse.  More than once she
saw him on board a Government vessel, sailing with the hapless children
of guilt to the convict settlements of southern seas--not as a felon,
but an angel of light amongst the condemned.'

Whilst Madeleine was sitting in the conservatory, musing over the gloomy
anticipations her dreams had cast over her thoughts, Louis Marie came
towards her.  A beam of joy lit up her hectic cheek; she impressed
a kiss on the forehead of her darling son, and playfully reproved him
for the dreams that gave her so much trouble.

"Mother," we fancy we hear Louis reply, "you would not surely give
much credence to the imaginary evils of a dream.  You know nothing can
happen to us except by the arrangement of God; not even a hair can fall
to the ground without his permission.  I remember in college I was
very much delighted with a thesis one of the fathers gave us on the
Providence of God; it was so strange and so consoling to think that
great Being who created so many millions of worlds, and keeps them
flying around him with immense velocity, could occupy himself with us
human beings, who are no more than insects moving on this world, which
is but a speck in the immensity of the universe.  But I know how it
is--our souls are immortal, and hence we must soar higher than the
countless worlds, were they ten times as great.  Our blessed Lord, by
coming amongst us and dying to save those souls, showed us that he
thought more of us than of the bird of the air or the lily of the
field, clothed in such charming magnificence.  Is it unreasonable that,
since he has given to each star a course, to each lily and each bird
a time and a clime, he should also determine for us the course we
should follow for his greater glory?  And what, mother, if some unseen,
invisible destiny should really call me away; if it were for the glory
of God and the salvation of souls, would you not rejoice?

Madeleine paused for a moment before venturing a reply.  She trembled;
a struggle between affection and duty passed within.  Pleased with the
rich flow of virtuous sentiment that made her still more proud of her
child, she had caught the end of a golden thread and wished to unravel
it further, but feared it would be snapped by some unpleasant discovery.
Full of excitement, and her eyes filled with a penetrating, enquiring
gaze upon Louis, she answered:

"Louis, I should be false to the lessons I have endeavored to teach
you in these last fleeting hours of my ill-spent life, were I not to
rejoice in any destiny that would wrap up your future career in the
glory of God; but I fear the enthusiasm of your young heart will
misguide you.  I know, from the serious tone of your voice and look
in asking that question, you have been feeling your way to make some
crushing disclosure.  I saw you crying in the garden this afternoon,
and for some time past I have noticed a cloud of anxiety hanging over
you.  I had determined the first moment we were alone to know the cause
of this trouble; and I now conjure you, by the affection and duty which
you owe me as your mother, to let me share in your anxieties and in
your councils."

Louis had really come to broach the terrible secret to his mother, but
he had not yet courage; he struggled manfully to suppress internal
motions that might at any moment, like sullen rivers, overflow and
betray their existence in a flood of tears.  Fearing to venture suddenly
on the subject that was fullest in his heart, he partly evaded his
mother's energetic appeal, and made such a reply as would elicit from
her quick perception the declaration that trembled on his lips.

"If war were declared with our frontier foes, and our beloved King
commanded the youth of the country to gird on the sword for our national
defence, you, mother, would help me to buckle on mine?"

"Yes, Louis, I would give you proudly to the cause of France," continued
Madeleine, feigning a patriotism she scarcely felt.  "But, thanks be
to God, I am not called on now to claim an honor that is at best a
sacrifice and a calamity."

"But, mother, the war is declared, and I am to be a soldier in a sacred

"How!" cried Madeleine excitedly.  "Are the followers of the Black
Prince again attacking us?  The Turks seeking revenge for the defeat
of Lepanto? or Christian Spain still intoxicated with its own dream
of ambition?  Whence come the sound of arms, Louis, to fire thy young
ambition?  If I judge rightly, thy disposition leads thee more to
the cloister than to the battle-field."

"'Tis so," replied Louis, who had adroitly brought the conversation
to the subject that occupied his thoughts, and to the announcement
that would ring with such thrill on his mother's ears.  "And I am
going to join a religious community immediately, to become a soldier
in the great war of right against wrong--of this world against the
next.  To this war the trumpet-calls of grace have summoned me, and
I come to ask the mother who would give me to the cause of my country
to do the same for Almighty God."

A step was heard outside.  Louis glided into the garden, and Madeleine
was again found by her husband buried in tears.

Chapter VII.
Tears on Earth, Joy in Heaven.

Madeleine, with all the keenness of her maternal heart, had caught
the dift of Louis' mind, and felt the disclosure before it was made.
A rough, rude remark from Cassier, and he left her to the silence and
reflection she then vehemently desired.  Reflection, in bringing before
her a beautiful but sad picture, crumbled before her mental vision the
castles that her affection and her hopes had built on the shadowy
basis of Louis' future temporal glory.  She felt, however, from the
inspiration of faith a feeling of spiritual joy that he was called to
the higher destiny of a favorite of Heaven.  Had the fire of divine
love glowed more fervently in her heart, she would feel the joy of
ecstasy, such as consoled the death-bled of the mothers of the saints
when the revelation of the sanctity of their children was the last
crown of earthly joy.  Anticipating the privilege the fond maternal
heart would fain claim even in the kingdom free from all care, Madeleine
often found herself contemplating her son fighting the brave fight,
winning crown upon crown, and virtue flinging around him a shield more
impenetrable than the fabulous Aegis of pagan mythology.

In the flippant boastings of Christian mothers there are many who
pretend they have the fire of faith and divine love like the brave
Machabean woman; but when the sore hour of real separation comes, the
soft, loving heart bends and weeps.  Nature, corrupt nature, resists
the arrangements of God, and nature triumphs in the maternal tie.  The
spirit of Madeleine had made the sacrifice of her son, but the rude
hand of nature swept the fibres of her heart and tore them asunder.

Night has gathered around the house of Cassier.  Sleep has brought the
silence of the tomb on the inmates.  One alone is awake; gentle sobs
tell of a heart struggling with its own desires, but a faint ray of
moonlight shows him seeking strength on his knees before a crucifix.

Guide him, ye angels, in the sublime destiny to which Heaven calls!
Treasure up those tears of affection; they are pearls for a crown in
eternity!  A long, farewell look at the old homestead, and Louis has

In the night, when all were asleep, he stole down-stairs and into the
silent street.  The moon brightened the tears of his farewell; only
his guardian angel saw to register for his eternal crown, the inward
struggle in which he had trampled on every tie of affection and
pleasure.  Disappearing in the narrow streets, he disappears also from
the pages of our narrative until, in the extraordinary vicissitudes
of time, he makes his appearance again in a scene both touching and

The morning dawn revealed the broken circle, the vacant chair in the
family.  Cassier was confused.  Whilst others wept he moved about in
deep thought.  Stoic in his feelings and hardened in sympathies, he
still felt all the tender anxieties of an affectionate parent.  There
are moments in the career of even the greatest sinners when sleeping
conscience is roused to remorse.  The shock the old man received in
the loss of his amiable child opened his eyes to the unhappy state of
his own soul; every act of ridicule he cast on the religious tendencies
of Louis became arrows of memory to sting him with regret.

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