University of Virginia Library


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The good Father Antonio returned from his conference
with the cavalier with many subjects for grave pondering.
This man, as he conjectured, so far from being an enemy
either of Church or State, was in fact in many respects in
the same position with his revered master, — as nearly so
as the position of a layman was likely to resemble that of
an ecclesiastic. His denial of the Visible Church, as represented
by the Pope and Cardinals, sprang not from an
irreverent, but from a reverent spirit. To accept them as
exponents of Christ and Christianity was to blaspheme and
traduce both, and therefore he only could be counted in the
highest degree Christian who stood most completely opposed
to them in spirit and practice.

His kind and fatherly heart was interested in the brave
young nobleman. He sympathized fully with the situation
in which he stood, and he even wished success to his love;
but then how was he to help him with Agnes, and above all
with her old grandmother, without entering on the awful task
of condemning and exposing that sacred authority which all
the Church had so many years been taught to regard as infallibly
inspired? Long had all the truly spiritual members
of the Church who gave ear to the teachings of Savonarola
felt that the nearer they followed Christ the more open was
their growing antagonism to the Pope and the Cardinals;


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but still they hung back from the responsibility of inviting
the people to an open revolt.

Father Antonio felt his soul deeply stirred with the news
of the excommunication of his saintly master; and he marvelled,
as he tossed on his restless bed through the night,
how he was to meet the storm. He might have known, had
he been able to look into a crowded assembly in Florence
about this time, when the unterrified monk thus met the
news of his excommunication: —

“There have come decrees from Rome, have there?
They call me a son of perdition. Well, thus may you
answer: — He to whom you give this name hath neither
favorites nor concubines, but gives himself solely to preaching
Christ. His spiritual sons and daughters, those who
listen to his doctrine, do not pass their time in infamous
practices. They confess, they receive the communion, they
live honestly. This man gives himself up to exalt the
Church of Christ: you to destroy it. The time approaches
for opening the secret chamber: we will give but one turn
of the key, and there will come out thence such an infection,
such a stench of this city of Rome, that the odor shall spread
through all Christendom, and all the world shall be sickened.”

But Father Antonio was of himself wholly unable to come
to such a courageous result, though capable of following to
the death the master who should do it for him. His was the
true artist nature, as unfit to deal with rough human forces
as a bird that flies through the air is unfitted to a hand-to-hand
grapple with the armed forces of the lower world.
There is strength in these artist natures. Curious computations
have been made of the immense muscular power
that is brought into exercise when a swallow skims so


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smoothly through the blue sky; but the strength is of a
kind unadapted to mundane uses, and needs the ether for
its display. Father Antonio could create the beautiful; he
could warm, could elevate, could comfort; and when a
stronger nature went before him, he could follow with an
unquestioning tenderness of devotion: but he wanted the
sharp, downright power of mind that could cut and cleave
its way through the rubbish of the past, when its institutions,
instead of a commodious dwelling, had come to be a loathsome
prison. Besides, the true artist has ever an enchanted
island of his own; and when this world perplexes and
wearies him, he can sail far away and lay his soul down to
rest, as Cytherea bore the sleeping Ascanius far from the
din of battle, to sleep on flowers and breathe the odor of a
hundred undying altars to Beauty.

Therefore, after a restless night, the good monk arose in
the first purple of the dawn, and instinctively betook him
to a review of his drawings for the shrine, as a refuge from
troubled thought. He took his sketch of the Madonna
and Child into the morning twilight and began meditating
thereon, while the clouds that lined the horizon were glowing
rosy purple and violet with the approaching day.

“See there!” he said to himself, “yonder clouds have
exactly the rosy purple of the cyclamen which my little
Agnes loves so much; — yes, I am resolved that this cloud
on which our Mother standeth shall be of a cyclamen color.
And there is that star, like as it looked yesterday evening,
when I mused upon it. Methought I could see our Lady's
clear brow, and the radiance of her face, and I prayed that
some little power might be given to show forth that which
transports me.”

And as the monk plied his pencil, touching here and


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there, and elaborating the outlines of his drawing, he
sung, —

“Ave, Maris Stella,
Dei mater alma,
Atque semper virgo,
Felix cœli porta!
“Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos
Mites fac et castos!
“Vitam præsta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum
Semper collætemur!”[1]

As the monk sung, Agnes soon appeared at the door.

“Ah, my little bird, you are there!” he said looking up.

“Yes,” said Agnes, coming forward, and looking over his
shoulder at his work.

“Did you find that young sculptor?” she asked.

“That I did, — a brave boy, too, who will row down the


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coast and dig us marble from an old heathen temple, which
we will baptize into the name of Christ and his Mother.”

“Pietro was always a good boy,” said Agnes.

“Stay,” said the monk, stepping into his little sleeping-room;
“he sent you this lily; see, I have kept it in water
all night.”

“Poor Pietro, that was good of him!” said Agnes. “I
would thank him, if I could. But, uncle,” she added, in
a hestiating voice, “did you see anything of that — other

“That I did, child, — and talked long with him.”

“Ah, uncle, is there any hope for him?”

“Yes, there is hope, — great hope. In fact, he has promised
to receive me again, and I have hopes of leading him
to the sacrament of confession, and after that” —

“And then the Pope will forgive him!” said Agnes, joyfully.

The face of the monk suddenly fell; he was silent, and
went on retouching his drawing.

“Do you not think he will?” said Agnes, earnestly.
“You said the Church was ever ready to receive the repentant.”

“The True Church will receive him,” said the monk,
evasively; “yes, my little one, there is no doubt of it.”

“And it is not true that he is captain of a band of robbers
in the mountains?” said Agnes. “May I tell Father
Francesco that it is not so?”

“Child, this young man hath suffered a grievous wrong
and injustice; for he is lord of an ancient and noble estate,
out of which he hath been driven by the cruel injustice of a
most wicked and abominable man, the Duke di Valentinos,[2]


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who hath caused the death of his brothers and sisters, and
ravaged the country around with fire and sword, so that he
hath been driven with his retainers to a fortress in the

“But,” said Agnes, with flushed cheeks, “why does not
our blessed Father excommunicate this wicked duke? Surely
this knight hath erred; instead of taking refuge in the
mountains, he ought to have fled with his followers to Rome,
where the dear Father of the Church hath a house for all
the oppressed. It must be so lovely to be the father of all
men, and to take in and comfort all those who are distressed
and sorrowful, and to right the wrongs of all that are oppressed,
as our dear Father at Rome doth!”

The monk looked up at Agnes's clear glowing face with a
sort of wondering pity.

“Dear little child,” he said, “there is a Jerusalem above
which is mother of us all, and these things are done there.

`Cœlestis urbs Jerusalem,
Beata pacis visio,
Quæ celsa de viventibus
Saxis ad astra tolleris,
Sponsæque ritu cingeris
Mille angelorum millibus!'”

The face of the monk glowed as he repeated this ancient
hymn of the Church,[3] as if the remembrance of that general
assembly and church of the first-born gave him comfort
in his depression.


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Agnes felt perplexed, and looked earnestly at her uncle
as he stooped over his drawing, and saw that there were
deep lines of anxiety on his usually clear, placid face, — a
look as of one who struggles mentally with some untold

“Uncle,” she said, hesitatingly, “may I tell Father Francesco
what you have been telling me of this young man?”

“No, my little one, — it were not best. In fact, dear
child, there be many things in his case impossible to explain,
even to you; — but he is not so altogether hopeless as you
thought; in truth, I have great hopes of him. I have admonished
him to come here no more, but I shall see him
again this evening.”

Agnes wondered at the heaviness of her own little heart,
as her kind old uncle spoke of his coming there no more.
Awhile ago she dreaded his visits as a most fearful temptation,
and thought perhaps he might come at any hour; now
she was sure he would not, and it was astonishing what a
weight fell upon her.

“Why am I not thankful?” she asked herself. “Why
am I not joyful? Why should I wish to see him again,
when I should only be tempted to sinful thoughts, and when
my dear uncle, who can do so much for him, has his soul in
charge? And what is this which is so strange in his case?
There is some mystery, after all, — something, perhaps,
which I ought not to wish to know. Ah, how little can we
know of this great wicked world, and of the reasons which
our superiors give for their conduct! It is ours humbly to
obey, without a question or a doubt. Holy Mother, may I
not sin through a vain curiosity or self-will! May I ever
say, as thou didst, `Behold the handmaid of the Lord! be it
unto me according to His word!'”


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And Agnes went about her morning devotions with fervent
zeal, and did not see the monk as he dropped the pencil,
and, covering his face with his robe, seemed to wrestle in
some agony of prayer.

“Shepherd of Israel,” he said, “why hast Thou forgotten
this vine of Thy planting? The boar out of the wood doth
waste it, the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Dogs
have encompassed Thy beloved; the assembly of the violent
have surrounded him. How long, O Lord, holy and true,
dost Thou, not judge and avenge?”

“Now, really, brother,” said Elsie, coming towards him,
and interrupting his meditations in her bustling, business
way, yet speaking in a low tone that Agnes should not hear,
— “I want you to help me with this child in a good commonsense
fashion: none of your high-flying notions about saints
and angels, but a little good common talk for every-day people
that have their bread and salt to look after. The fact is,
brother, this girl must be married. I went last night to talk
with Antonio's mother, and the way is all open as well as
any living girl could desire. Antonio is a trifle slow, and
the high-flying hussies call him stupid; but his mother says
a better son never breathed, and he is as obedient to all her
orders now as when he was three years old. And she has
laid up plenty of household stuff for him, and good hard
gold pieces to boot: she let me count them myself, and I
showed her that which I had scraped together, and she
counted it, and we agreed that the children that come of
such a marriage would come into the world with something
to stand on. Now Agnes is fond of you, brother, and perhaps
it would be well for you to broach the subject. The
fact is, when I begin to talk, she gets her arms round my
old neck and falls to weeping and kissing me at such a rate


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as makes a fool of me. If the child would only be rebellious,
one could do something; but this love takes all the
stiffness out of one's joints; and she tells me she never
wants a husband, and she will be content to live with me all
her life. The saints know it is n't for my happiness to put
her out of my old arms; but I can't last forever, — my old
back grows weaker every year; and Antonio has strong
arms to defend her from all these roystering fellows who fear
neither God nor man, and swoop up young maids as kites do
chickens. And then he is as gentle and manageable as a
this-year ox; Agnes can lead him by the horn, — she will
be a perfect queen over him; for he has been brought up to
mind the women.”

“Well, sister,” said the monk, “hath our little maid any
acquaintance with this man? Have they ever spoken together?”

“Not much. I have never brought them to a very close
acquaintance; and that is what is to be done. Antonio is
not much of a talker; to tell the truth, he does not know as
much to say as our Agnes: but the man's place is not to say
fine things, but to do the hard work that shall support the

“Then Agnes hath not even seen him?”

“Yes, at different times I have bid her regard him, and
said to her, `There goes a proper man and a good Christian,
— a man who minds his work and is obedient to his old
mother: such a man will make a right good husband for
some girl some day.'”

“And did you ever see that her eye followed him with

“No, neither him nor any other man, for my little Agnes
hath no thought of that kind; but, once married, she will


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like him fast enough. All I want is to have you begin the
subject, and get it into her head a little.”

Father Antonio was puzzled how to meet this direct
urgency of his sister. He could not explain to her his own
private reasons for believing that any such attempt would be
utterly vain, and only bring needless distress on his little
favorite. He therefore answered, —

“My good sister, all such thoughts lie so far out of the
sphere of us monks, that you could not choose a worse person
for such an errand. I have never had any communings
with the child than touching the beautiful things of my art,
and concerning hymns and prayers and the lovely world of
saints and angels, where they neither marry nor are given
in marriage; and so I should only spoil your enterprise, if I
should put my unskilful hand to it.”

“At any rate,” said Elsie, “don't you approve of my

“I should approve of anything that would make our dear
little one safe and happy, but I would not force the matter
against her inclinations. You will always regret it, if you
make so good a child shed one needless tear. After all,
sister, what need of haste? 'T is a young bird yet. Why
push it out of the nest? When once it is gone, you will
never get it back. Let the pretty one have her little day to
play and sing and be happy. Does she not make this garden
a sort of Paradise with her little ways and her sweet
words? Now, my sister, these all belong to you; but, once
she is given to another, there is no saying what may come.
One thing only may you count on with certainty: that these
dear days, when she is all day by your side and sleeps in
your bosom all night, are over, — she will belong to you no
more, but to a strange man who hath neither toiled nor


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wrought for her, and all her pretty ways and dutiful thoughts
must be for him.”

“I know it, I know it,” said Elsie, with a sudden wrench
of that jealous love which is ever natural to strong, passionate
natures. “I 'm sure it is n't for my own sake I urge
this. I grudge him the girl. After all, he is but a stupid
head. What has he ever done, that such good-fortune should
befall him? He ought to fall down and kiss the dust of my
shoes for such a gift, and I doubt me much if he will ever
think to do it. These men think nothing too good for them.
I believe, if one of the crowned saints in heaven were offered
them to wife, they would think it all quite natural, and not a
whit less than their requirings.”

“Well, then, sister,” said the monk, soothingly, “why
press this matter? why hurry? The poor little child is
young; let her frisk like a lamb, and dance like a butterfly,
and sing her hymns every day like a bright bird. Surely
the Apostle saith, `He that giveth his maid in marriage
doeth well, but he that giveth her not doeth better.'”

“But I have opened the subject already to old Meta,”
said Elsie; “and if I don't pursue it, she will take it into
her head that her son is lightly regarded, and then her back
will be up, and one may lose the chance; and on the whole,
considering the money and the fellow, I don't know a safer
way to settle the girl.”

“Well, sister, as I have remarked,” said the monk, “I
could not order my speech to propose anything of this kind
to a young maid; I should so bungle that I might spoil all.
You must even propose it yourself.”

“I would not have undertaken it,” said Elsie, “had I not
been frightened by that hook-nosed old kite of a cavalier
that has been sailing and perching round. We are two lone


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women here, and the times are unsettled, and one never
knows, that hath so fair a prize, but she may be carried off,
and then no redress from any quarter.”

“You might lodge her in the convent,” said the monk.

“Yes, and then, the first thing I should know, they would
have got her away from me entirely. I have been well
pleased to have her much with the sisters hitherto, because
it kept her from hearing the foolish talk of girls and gallants,
— and such a flower would have had every wasp and
bee buzzing round it. But now the time is coming to marry
her, I much doubt these nuns. There 's old Jocunda is a
sensible woman, who knew something of the world before
she went there, — but the Mother Theresa knows no more
than a baby; and they would take her in, and make her as
white and as thin as that moon yonder now the sun has
risen; and little good should I have of her, for I have no
vocation for the convent, — it would kill me in a week. No,
— she has seen enough of the convent for the present. I
will even take the risk of watching her myself. Little has
this gallant seen of her, though he has tried hard enough!
But to-day I may venture to take her down with me.”

Father Antonio felt a little conscience-smitten in listening
to these triumphant assertions of old Elsie; for he knew
that she would pour all her vials of wrath on his head, did
she know, that, owing to his absence from his little charge,
the dreaded invader had managed to have two interviews
with her grandchild, on the very spot that Elsie deemed the
fortress of security; but he wisely kept his own counsel,
believing in the eternal value of silence. In truth, the
gentle monk lived so much in the unreal and celestial
world of Beauty, that he was by no means a skilful guide
for the passes of common life. Love, other than that ethereal


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kind which aspires towards Paradise, was a stranger
to his thoughts, and he constantly erred in attributing to
other people natures and purposes as unworldly and spiritual
as his own. Thus had he fallen, in his utter simplicity,
into the attitude of a go-between protecting the advances of
a young lover with the shadow of his monk's gown, and he
became awkwardly conscious, that, if Elsie should find out
the whole truth, there would be no possibility of convincing
her that what had been done in such sacred simplicity on all
sides was not the basest manœuvring.

Elsie took Agnes down with her to the old stand in the
gateway of the town. On their way, as had probably been
arranged, Antonio met them. We may have introduced
him to the reader before, who likely enough has forgotten
by this time our portraiture; so we shall say again, that the
man was past thirty, tall, straight, well-made, even to the
tapering of his well-formed limbs, as are the generality of
the peasanty of that favored region. His teeth were white
as sea-pearl; his cheek, though swarthy, had a deep, healthy
flush; and his great velvet black eyes looked straight out
from under their long silky lashes, just as do the eyes of
the beautiful oxen of his country, with a languid, changeless
tranquillity, betokening a good digestion, and a well-fed,
kindly animal nature. He was evidently a creature that
had been nourished on sweet juices and developed in fair
pastures, under genial influences of sun and weather, — one
that would draw patiently in harness, if required, without
troubling his handsome head how he came there, and,
his labor being done, would stretch his healthy body to
rumination, and rest with serene, even unreflecting quietude.

He had been duly lectured by his mother, this morning,


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on the propriety of commencing his wooing, and was
coming towards them with a bouquet in his hand.

“See there,” said Elsie, — “there is our young neighbor
Antonio coming towards us. There is a youth whom I am
willing you should speak to, — none of your ruffian gallants,
but steady as an ox at his work, and as kind at the
crib. Happy will the girl be that gets him for a husband!”

Agnes was somewhat troubled and saddened this morning,
and absorbed in cares quite new to her life before; but
her nature was ever kindly and social, and it had been laid
under so many restrictions by her grandmother's close method
of bringing up, that it was always ready to rebound in favor
of anybody to whom she allowed her to show kindness.
So, when the young man stopped and shyly reached forth
to her a knot of scarlet poppies interminged with bright
vetches and wild blue larkspurs, she took it graciously, and,
frankly beaming a smile into his face, said, —

“Thank you, my good Antonio!” Then fastening them
in the front of her bodice, — “There, they are beautiful!”
she said, looking up with the simple satisfaction of a child.

“They are not half so beautiful as you are,” said the
young peasant; “everybody likes you.”

“You are very kind, I am sure,” said Agnes. “I like
everybody, as far as grandmamma thinks it best.”

“I am glad of that,” said Antonio, “because then I hope
you will like me.”

“Oh, yes, certainly, I do; grandmamma says you are very
good, and I like all good people.”

“Well, then, pretty Agnes,” said the young man, “let me
carry your basket.”

“Oh, you don't need to; it does not tire me.”


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“But I should like to do something for you,” insisted the
young man, blushing deeply.

“Well, you may, then,” said Agnes, who began to wonder
at the length of time her grandmother allowed this conversation
to go on without interrupting it, as she generally had
done when a young man was in the case. Quite to her
astonishment, her venerable relative, instead of sticking as
close to her as her shadow, was walking forward very fast
without looking behind.

“Now, Holy Mother,” said that excellent matron, “do
help this young man to bring this affair out straight, and
give an old woman, who has had a world of troubles, a
little peace in her old age!”

Agnes found herself, therefore, quite unusually situated,
alone in the company of a handsome young man, and apparently
with the consent of her grandmother. Some girls
might have felt emotions of embarrassment, or even alarm,
at this new situation; but the sacred loneliness and seclusion
in which Agnes had been educated had given her a
confiding fearlessness, such as voyagers have found in the
birds of bright foreign islands which have never been invaded
by man. She looked up at Antonio with a pleased,
admiring smile, — much such as she would have given, if a
great handsome stag, or other sylvan companion, had stepped
from the forest and looked a friendship at her through his
large liquid eyes. She seemed, in an innocent, frank way,
to like to have him walking by her, and thought him very
good to carry her basket, — though, as she told him, he need
not do it, it did not tire her in the least.

“Nor does it tire me, pretty Agnes,” said he, with an embarrassed
laugh. “See what a great fellow I am, — how
strong! Look, — I can bend an iron bar in my hands! I


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am as strong as an ox, — and I should like always to use my
strength for you.”

“Should you? How very kind of you! It is very
Christian to use one's strength for others, like the good
Saint Christopher.”

“But I would use my strength for you because — I love
you, gentle Agnes!”

“That is right, too,” replied Agnes. “We must all love
one another, my good Antonio.”

“You must know what I mean,” said the young man. “I
mean that I want to marry you.”

“I am sorry for that, Antonio,” replied Agnes, gravely;
“because I do not want to marry you. I am never going
to marry anybody.”

“Ah, girls always talk so, my mother told me; but nobody
ever heard of a girl that did not want a husband;
that is impossible,” said Antonio, with simplicity.

“I believe girls generally do, Antonio; but I do not: my
desire is to go to the convent.”

“To the convent, pretty Agnes? Of all things, what
should you want to go to the convent for? You never
had any trouble. You are young, and handsome, and
healthy, and almost any of the fellows would think himself
fortunate to get you.”

“I would go there to live for God and pray for souls,”
said Agnes.

“But your grandmother will never let you; she means
you shall marry me. I heard her and my mother talking
about it last night; and my mother bade me come on, for
she said it was all settled.”

“I never heard anything of it,” said Agnes, now for the
first time feeling troubled. “But, my good Antonio, if you


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really do like me and wish me well, you will not want to
distress me?”

“Certainly not.”

“Well, it will distress me very, very much, if you persist
in wanting to marry me, and if you say any more on the

“Is that really so?” said Antonio, fixing his great velvet
eyes with an honest stare on Agnes.

“Yes, it is so, Antonio; you may rely upon it.”

“But look here, Agnes, are you quite sure? Mother
says girls do not always know their mind.”

“But I know mine, Antonio. Now you really will distress
and trouble me very much, if you say anything more
of this sort.”

“I declare, I am sorry for it,” said the young man.
“Look ye, Agnes, — I did not care half as much about it
this morning as I do now. Mother has been saying this
great while that I must have a wife, that she was getting
old; and this morning she told me to speak to you. I
thought you would be all ready, — indeed I did.”

“My good Antonio, there are a great many very handsome
girls who would be glad, I suppose, to marry you. I
believe other girls do not feel as I do. Giulietta used to
laugh and tell me so.”

“That Giulietta was a splendid girl,” said Antonio. “She
used to make great eyes at me, and try to make me play
the fool; but my mother would not hear of her. Now she
has gone off with a fellow to the mountains.”

“Giulietta gone?”

“Yes, have n't you heard of it? She 's gone with one
of the fellows of that dashing young robber-captain that has
been round our town so much lately. All the girls are wild


Page 232
after these mountain fellows. A good, honest boy like me,
that hammers away at his trade, they think nothing of;
whereas one of these fellows with a feather in his cap has
only to twinkle his finger at them, and they are off like a

The blood rose in Agnes's cheeks at this very unconscious
remark; but she walked along for some time with a countenance
of grave reflection.

They had now gained the street of the city, where old
Elsie stood at a little distance waiting for them.

“Well, Agnes,” said Antonio, “so you really are in

“Certainly I am.”

“Well, then, let us be good friends, at any rate,” said the
young man.

“Oh, to be sure, I will,” said Agnes, smiling with all the
brightness her lovely face was capable of. “You are a kind,
good man, and I like you very much. I will always remember
you kindly.”

“Well, good-bye, then,” said Antonio, offering his hand.

“Good-bye,” said Agnes, cheerfully giving hers.

Elsie, beholding the cordiality of this parting, comforted
herself that all was right, and ruffled all her feathers with the
satisfied pride of a matron whose family plans are succeeding.

“After all,” she said to herself, “brother was right, —
best let young folks settle these matters themselves. Now
see the advantage of such an education as I have given
Agnes! Instead of being betrothed to a good, honest,
forehanded fellow, she might have been losing her poor,
silly heart to some of these lords or gallants who throw
away a girl as one does an orange when they have sucked
it. Who knows what mischief this cavalier might have


Page 233
done, if I had not been so watchful? Now let him come
prying and spying about, she will have a husband to defend
her. A smith's hammer is better than an old woman's spindle,
any day.”

Agnes took her seat with her usual air of thoughtful gravity,
her mind seeming to be intensely preoccupied, and her
grandmother, though secretly exulting in the supposed cause,
resolved not to open the subject with her till they were at
home or alone at night.

“I have my defence to make to Father Francesco, too,”
she said to herself, “for hurrying on this betrothal against
his advice; but one must manage a little with these priests,
— the saints forgive me! I really think sometimes, because
they can't marry themselves, they would rather see every
pretty girl in a convent than with a husband. It 's natural
enough, too. Father Francesco will be like the rest of the
world: when he can't help a thing, he will see the will of
the Lord in it.”

Thus prosperously the world seemed to go with old Elsie.
Meantime, when her back was turned, as she was kneeling
over her basket, sorting out lemons, Agnes happened to look
up, and there, just under the arch of the gateway, where she
had seen him the first time, sat the cavalier on a splendid
horse, with a white feather streaming backward from his
black riding-hat and dark curls.

He bowed low and kissed his hand to her, and before she
knew it her eyes met his, which seemed to flash light and
sunshine all through her; and then he turned his horse and
was gone through the gate, while she, filled with self-reproach,
was taking her little heart to task for the instantaneous throb
of happiness which had passed through her whole being at
that sight. She had not turned away her head, nor said a


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prayer, as Father Francesco told her to do, because the
whole thing had been sudden as a flash; but now it was
gone, she prayed, “My God, help me not to love him! — let
me love Thee alone!” But many times in the course of the
day, as she twisted her flax, she found herself wondering
whither he could be going. Had he really gone to that
enchanted cloud-land, in the old purple Apennines, whither
he wanted to carry her, — gone, perhaps, never to return?
That was best. But was he reconciled with the Church?
Was that great, splendid soul that looked out of those eyes
to be forever lost, or would the pious exhortations of her
uncle avail? And then she thought he had said to her, that,
if she would go with him, he would confess and take the
sacrament, and be reconciled with the Church, and so his
soul be saved.

She resolved to tell this to Father Francesco. Perhaps
he would — No, — she shivered as she remembered the
severe, withering look with which the holy father had spoken
of him, and the awfulness of his manner, — he would never
consent. And then her grandmother — No, there was no

Meanwhile Agnes's good old uncle sat in the orange-shaded
garden, busily perfecting his sketches; but his mind was
distracted, and his thoughts wandered, — and often he rose,
and, leaving his drawings, would pace up and down the little
place, absorbed in earnest prayer. The thought of his master's
position was hourly growing upon him. The real world
with its hungry and angry tide was each hour washing higher
and higher up on the airy shore of the ideal, and bearing the
pearls and enchanted shells of fancy out into its salt and
muddy waters.

“Oh, my master, my father!” he said, “is the martyr's


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crown of fire indeed waiting thee? Will God desert His
own? But was not Christ crucified? — and the disciple is
not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. But
surely Florence will not consent. The whole city will make
a stand for him; — they are ready, if need be, to pluck out
their eyes and give them to him. Florence will certainly
be a refuge for him. But why do I put confidence in man?
In the Lord alone have I righteousness and strength.”

And the old monk raised the psalm, “Quare fremunt
” and his voice rose and fell through the flowery
recesses and dripping grottoes of the old gorge, sad and
earnest like the protest of the few and feeble of Christ's
own against the rushing legions of the world. Yet, as he
sang, courage and holy hope came into his soul from the
sacred words, — just such courage as they afterwards
brought to Luther and to the Puritans in later times.


Hail, thou Star of Ocean,
Thou forever virgin,
Mother of the Lord!
Blessed gate of Heaven,
Take our heart's devotion!
Virgin one and only,
Meekest 'mid them all,
From our sins set free,
Make us pure like thee,
Freed from passion's thrall!
Grant that in pure living,
Through safe paths below,
Forever seeing Jesus,
Rejoicing we may go!


Cæsar Borgia was created Duc de Valentinois by Louis XII. of France.


This very ancient hymn is the fountain-head from which through
various languages have trickled the various hymns of the Celestial City,
such as —

“Jerusalem, my happy home!”

and Quarles's —

“O mother dear, Jerusalem!”