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Page 411


A few days after the death of Savonarola, Father Antonio
was found one morning engaged in deep converse with

The Princess Paulina, acting for her family, desired to
give her hand to the Prince Agostino Sarelli, and the interview
related to the religious scruples which still conflicted
with the natural desires of the child.

“Tell me, my little one,” said Father Antonio, “frankly
and truly, dost thou not love this man with all thy heart?”

“Yes, my father, I do,” said Agnes; “but ought I not to
resign this love for the love of my Saviour?”

“I see not why,” said the monk. “Marriage is a sacrament
as well as holy orders, and it is a most holy and venerable
one, representing the divine mystery by which the
souls of the blessed are united to the Lord. I do not hold
with Saint Bernard, who, in his zeal for a conventual life,
seemed to see no other way of serving God but for all men
and women to become monks and nuns. The holy order is
indeed blessed to those souls whose call to it is clear and
evident, like mine; but if there be a strong and virtuous
love for a worthy object, it is a vocation unto marriage,
which should not be denied.”

“So, Agnes,” said the knight, who had stolen into the
room unperceived, and who now boldly possessed himself of
one of her hands — “Father Antonio hath decided this


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matter,” he added, turning to the Princess and Elsie, who
entered, “and everything having been made ready for my
journey into France, the wedding ceremony shall take place
on the morrow, and, for that we are in deep affliction, it
shall be as private as may be.”

And so on the next morning the wedding ceremony took
place, and the bride and groom went on their way to France,
where preparations befitting their rank awaited them.

Old Elsie was heard to observe to Monica, that there was
some sense in making pilgrimages, since this to Rome, which
she had undertaken so unwillingly, had turned out so satisfactory.

In the reign of Julius II., the banished families who had
been plundered by the Borgias were restored to their rights
and honors at Rome; and there was a princess of the house
of Sarelli then at Rome, whose sanctity of life and manners
was held to go back to the traditions of primitive Christianity,
so that she was renowned not less for goodness than for
rank and beauty.

In those days, too, Raphael the friend of Frà Bartolommeo,
placed in one of the grandest halls of the Vatican,
among the Apostles and Saints, the image of the traduced
and despised martyr whose ashes had been cast to the winds
and waters in Florence. His memory lingered long in Italy,
so that it was even claimed that miracles were wrought in
his name and by his intercession. Certain it is, that the
living words he spoke were seeds of immortal flowers which
blossomed in secret dells and obscure shadows of his beautiful