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from her hold. “Now then, with the help of a higher power, the forfeited gift shall be restored, after many generations unblessed by its possession."
So saying, obedient to the vision's prompting, he immersed the goblet; when, lo! the waters no longer receded as had been their wont, clearing around the vessel an empty circle, but flowed with a soft, gurgling sound, into the pearl receptacle, by whose sole medium, even in the first days of the genii's boon, the precious liquid could be extracted from the fount, and thence imbibed, to the spirit's restoration, by the suffering members of his race. Turning to Winnifred, with a look of joyous exultation, he exclaimed
“'Tis done, 'tis done, the waters recede not from the goblet-the medium is re-invested with its miraculous properties to receive the liquid! The end is accomplished, the great end to which we have for centuries been tending. Now, indeed, shall the name of St. Valerie be extolled among the islands ! ”
Scarcely had he spoken, when they became conscious of a low, rumbling noise, proceeding apparently from the centre of the fountain, and gradually increasing till the air became filled with a mighty torrent of sound, that fell upon the ear like the roar of contending elements. At the same time, a bright silver sheen began to overspread the surface of the waters that flowed into the magic basin; and all around this lustrous centre became gradually involved in a mystic shadow, so that by the contrast thus made perfect, the one clear radiant circle appeared to be invested with a double glory. As Alaric gazed and wondered, it
a seemed as though the dazzling halo, which at first overspread the waters in one effulgent mass, gradually dispersed into a thousand particles, and then re-united at irregular intervals, slowly assuming the proportions of certain alphabetical characters, which, being rightly arranged and interpreted, conveyed to the awed spectators the following meaning
“ The atonement is accepted the fault of thy ancestor redeemed and the lost gift recovered to thy race. The long promised talisman is found. Alaric St. Valerie, it is Faith.”
The last word seemed to be illumined by a triple lustre, the letters shining forth with startling prominence, and almost obscuring by their superior size and brilliancy, the brightness of those by which they were preceded. Alaric and Winnifred stood amazed and bewildered at the strange sight presented to their vision, till they became conscious that the marvellous phenomenon had imperceptibly dissolved into the emptiness of space, leaving the mystic fount, with its musical rush of waters, which, though perpetually running, never filled to overflowing the magic basin, as still and clear in the broad sunlight as though it had not thus lately been made the scene of so miraculous a visitation.
“Wherefore is the liquid untasted in the goblet ?" exclaimed a voice behind St. Valerie. "Drink, and make light thy spirit from the fetters that are as loadstones to the free volitions of thy nature."
Alaric started, and turned round. It was Tiny.
TRANSLATION OF TINY.
"DRINK,” reiterated Tiny, “ drink, my foster-brother, content to thy spirit and perpetual oblivion of disaster.”
Alaric obeyed; and scarcely had the draught passed the rubicon of his lips, ere peace re-assumed her lost dominion in his soul; and the image of Estelle, with all its reproachful, tortuous memories, faded from his consciousness like the last fleeting phenomenon of a hideous dream, and the plain, homely person of his beautiful-souled betrothed, became invested, in the lover's eyes, with all the fair external graces that had so lately captivated him to the shrine of a false and spurious idol.
“Winnifred !” exclaimed St. Valerie, snatching his betrothed one fondly to his bosom.
"Are you happy, Alaric ?"
The lovers now turned round in search of their fairy companion, but Tiny had disappeared. In vain they stretched their anxious gaze around the vicinity of the fount; their little elfin foster-sister was nowhere to be seen. Gazing upward in the direction of the zenith, a small speck was observable checking the otherwise unclouded appearance of the atmosphere. The eyes of Alaric and Winnifred were attracted towards this little isolated faw by an influence which, though neither of them could account for, both alike felt to be irresistible. As they gazed the dark point to which their attention was directed seemed gradually to increase, extending its bulk till it could no longer be reckoned at an infinitesimal value. Gazing curiously at this second phenomenon, they became conscious that it presented itself in various external guises, until at last it dissolved into the indistinct resemblance of a diminutive human form. As they gazed the indefiniteness became supplied by a more positive object of sense, and lo! the fairy form of Tiny was revealed to sight, floating in the air, surrounded by a misty halo, and upheld in its ærial flight by some mysterious power beyond the cognizance of human reason. Still they gazed, and the Lilliputian proportions of the elf-like figure developed and expanded till they assumed the significance required to complete the artistic lineaments of a perfect full-grown woman.
There was great marvel in the face of Alaric, for he recognised, in what was thus miracu
lously made manifest to his vision, the correct representation of the portrait of his revered ancestress that hung in the long picture-gallery of the Castle of St. Valerie. As he gazed and pondered, the silence was broken by a low, soft voice, which thus addressed the amazed St. Valerie
"List to the exposition, Alaric, my sometime foster-brother. Tiny was but the embodiment of the spirit of thy dead ancestress, who a second time took upon herself the burden of the flesh that she might be present to direct into the right course thyself, the latest scion of her erring race. The task was hard, for thou hadst early imbibed the spirit of scepticism fatal to the perception of the truth. Thy heart was perverted, and thou wert treading in the path that leads to shame and inevitable affliction. Faith alone was the talisman by which the lost virtue should be redeemed to the mystic waters; for without faith how shall we arrive at a positive recognition of the true, in the feeble state of our imperfect understandings? There was faith in the heart of thy ancestress (whose spirit is even now communing with thy own) when, in generations back, she resigned her own happiness for a public good, faith in the justness of her cause, and the eternal reward which awaited her hereafter for her magnanimous abnegation of self. And this faith became productive of its own rich fruits in a manner which appeared miraculous, but which was but the natural result of the great permanent principle established in her nature. For lack of this faith did thy ancestor, Ernest St. Valerie, forfeit one portion of the privilege accorded to his predecessor's stedfast, well-evidenced conviction. In his heart there was doubt when, instead of imbibing the draught that would have conveyed to his soul oblivion of disaster, he blasphemed the spirit of the fountain, that he had not added to his already munificent boon another and more questionable grant. He doubted the effect of the balsamic waters; he questioned their efficacy in reconciling to failure and disappointment his perturbed and tortured spirit. And for that doubt, inherent in his nature, as well as for the blasphemy uttered in the spleen of baffled endeavour, was the more valuable part of the gift revoked. Thou hast been aided in thy successful searching for the talisman by an unseen power, of whose interposition in thy favour thou wert advisedly kept in ignorance. Farewell, Alaric St. Valerie, my mis. sion is ended ; my spirit cleaves no longer to the spot where was lingered out the period of my crude mortality ; far away it soars from the fleeting breath of time into the fathomless regions of eternity. Farewell! the talisman is found Faith-remember! All is as it should be. Farewell ! " She was gone.
Alaric and Winnifred peered in vain into the sunny, noon-day atmosphere, the spirit of Tiny had departed to its everlasting home, having performed its self-imposed mission of bringing about the redemption of a race. Each gazed significantly into the other's countenance, enlivened with the intelligence of a newly-received revelationa revelation in which both recognised the germ of divine, immortal truth. And the one who had never doubted was strengthened and confirmed in her untutored childlike belief, whilst he who had passed through every stage of the sceptic's arrogant rejection of what lies beyond his ken, had become purified to the perception of his error, and reposed himself at last in the same simple, unquestioning faith which, throughout all the trials of her loving nature, had characterised the bearing of his betrothed and gentle Winnifred.
We take a lingering farewell of many of the errors of the pagan world, and from none are we more unwilling to part, than from that of their distinction in morals between man and woman. It is still asserted that beneath the teaching of the Saviour, addressed to humanity at large, there is hidden a meaning which inculcates this difference, more especially in certain aspects of morals. So much for words ; in deeds, this so-called inevitable diversity is considered scarcely to require apology, though it is conceded that both sexes should unite in that popular but rather vague confession of a common liability to sin.
What is styled in the religious world a serious paper on this subject would be out of place here; but, in the face of the pagan-like morality insinuated to be so desirable, a stand must be made upon the divine law, whereon all human law should be based, and which the difference alluded to, if not exactly denying, certainly confuses or misinterprets. Humanity is the foundation of our nature-sex only a temporary difference, to be ended in this life ; whereas the moral distinction would make man sexual in the first place, human only in the second, and woman wholly sexual. A pair ever toppling towards each other, or diverging as crookedly, unable to stand upright, because wanting that broad common basis, bestowed upon them as humanity, on which to rest firmly here, and from which to ascend to the higher hereafter. That such a distinction is a contradiction of the divine law is proved in its results, as well as in other ways. “Men waxed so wicked, that God could endure them no more, and the floods swept them from the face of the earth." Instead of adoring the Eternal Spirit, they had set up an earthly idol. And in the long course of profane history, a similar lesson is learned ; all peoples abandoned to like disorder, fall through their own degeneracy, never to rise again. We are in these days advancing rapidly in wealth and power, but we are threatened with the reign of luxury likewise ; in some respects more moral than were the doomed nations of old, but in others, it is to be apprehended, we are their equals in immorality-at once better and worse than they, because more responsible.
It would be a vain attempt to raise humanity above what Nature made it, but the distinction in morals, sought to be upheld, sinks it lower. What is the meaning of such ideas as the following being brought forward ? “Woman," asserts a distinguished scientific foreigner, was created after man-as the inferior.” “Woman,"