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As the time drew near for us to go, it seemed as if everybody multiplied kindness. The two ladies gave me more pretty things with generous words, and Lady Mary whispered, pressing my hand, My dear, remember that a Radcliffe must always be a Catholic,' and I said · Yes; that I knew it well,' thinking that she meant only that her nephew must not be converted to the Church of England by me. Lady Katharine took both my hands in hers, and kissed me on the forehead, saying that no doubt I should be led, by pleasant ways, to see the beauty and joyfulness of that Fold wherein alone poor sinful man could find peace and rest for his soul. This, too, I took for little meaning, because she was so good and so pious a woman that she wished everybody to belong to her own Church. Nor did I yet understand what was meant by the text which forbids an unequal yoke. Certainly, we who had been brought up among so many Catholics, seeing them no worse (if no better) in honour, loyalty, and virtue than ourselves, were not likely to consider a man an unbeliever because he attended
Mass. To this day, though I have long pondered upon the matter, I cannot quite persuade myself that St. Paul, when he set down certain instruction of his command, was thinking of the Pope and his followers. No; I was thinking if I turned my thoughts at all in that direction, which I doubt, that my lord might go to Dilston Chapel and I to Hexham Church, a separation painful in the idea, but doubtless it would be made tolerable in time.
Mr. Errington, of Beaufront, hinted at the matter more plainly. He said that he was rejoiced to find that my lord's fancy was so soon, and so happily, fixed. That the Forsters were fully the equals of the Radcliffes, though there was not yet an earl or a baron among them.
• My dear,' he said, being an old gentleman of a very soft heart, anxious to make ladies happy when he could—my dear, I knew and loved Lady Crewe ten years before she married the Bishop: a beautiful creature, indeed, she was, and full of great majesty, yet not so beautiful as you, my second Dorothy, believe me. For thou art as sweet, and gracious withal, as she was dignified. We country gentlemen were too rude and plain of speech for her. I blame her not, and she was born to be a Peeress, as was manifest by her beauty and the awe with which she surrounded herself, as you, my child, for your beauty too, and for your sweetness. Hath my lord told you that your smile is like the sunshine on a field of growing corn ?'
"Oh, sir !' I replied, “my lord hath paid me many sweet compliments, and I think my head is half turned.'
Nay; a beautiful woman cannot rejoice too much in her beauty. See now, Miss Dorothy; we are all of us pleased that my lord shall marry a North-country maiden,
urselves : the marriage of his father was not happy; we desire to keep all Radcliffes to the north ; moreover, generous as he is, it cannot be denied that his lordship does not know our gentlemen and their ways; nor our people and their ways; he must put off a little of the Versailles manner and descend to plain folk.'
Oh !' I declared, one would not wish him altered one jot from what he is.'
Nay, keep him as he is; but make him something more. It is not enough to give; he must understand his people. Well, he can have no kinder schoolmaster. Pretty Dorothy! Thy blushes become thee, child, as its bloom becomes the peach. As for the one obstacle, to my mind it needs not to be named. One religion will take a man to heaven as well as another, though Mr. Howard would not acknowledge it ; and I am a Catholic, and should not say so. Let not pride prevent the removal of that obstacle. A religion held by so goodly a part of Christendom cannot be wrong ; and you shall be rewarded with the noblest young lover that exists, I believe, in the whole world.'
This speech chilled my spirits very considerably. For to change my religionwhat would her ladyship say? What, my father? what, my brother Tom ? what, the Bishop ? Yet what matter what all together said, if it made my lord happy? And so, at the moment, it seemed a small thing and easy to change one's articles of religion and accept the chains of the Roman Faith.
Next, Mr. Howard sought me and begged a word. He said, speaking very gravely, that no one could affect ignorance of the fact that my lord was fully possessed with the idea of a certain lady; that the subject was much in his own mind ; that, on the one hand, it was greatly to be hoped that he would ally himself to a family of the north, and with a gentlewoman whose good sense and moderation would prevent him from falling into the snares always laid for such as his lordship. But these dangers were increased in his case by his ignorance of England and the English people; for example, that there was, he believed, great exaggeration as to the strength of the Prince's cause, and therefore great caution must be observed as to any decisive movement; that he believed myself—that certain lady, namelycapable of giving good and wise counsel, and he earnestly prayed—at this point of his discourse the tears came into his eyes—that should the thing which he suspected proceed farther, such a measure of light and grace might be accorded to that young lady as to lead her to the bosom of the ancient