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whether fancy or reality, I think it amply warrants your sending for Sir Edward. Without first seeing him, we must not, of course, venture to make any difference in our arrangements. It is a wonderful occurrence, whatever it be; and if it should be a Providential warning, it were most unwise and wicked in us to neglect it.”'
“I will send, then," said Theodora. “ I can send no one, I think, better than Barlaam.”
“And in good time," cried Euphrasia, “I hear Maria coming along the corridor."
It was even so. Maria,” said her mistress, as she entered the room,
“ desire Barlaam to go instantly to Sir Edward de Rushton, and to say that circumstances have occurred of that importance, as to make me most desirous of seeing him, though it were but for two minutes. What is the time ???
“ About the seventh hour,” replied Maria.
“He will probably be still at the Council, then: for it was not to meet till midnight. But bid him make all speed.”
Barlaam, with as little delay as could reasonably be expected, was on his way to the Cæsar's more especial court of the Palace. Constantinople at that moment presented a spectacle awfully beautiful. All along its northern side, from the seven towers to the upper portion of the Horn, the sky was aglow with the thousand fires of the Turks ; troops of beasts were arriving every half hour with loads of fascines ; ten thousand men, frequently relieving guard, were bringing them up to the edge of the ditch, as near as the engines on the walls would allow them to approach in safety; sappers and miners were at work ; spades, mattocks, pickaxes mingled their discordant sounds: the whole then known art of attack was exhausted in the parallels and approaches. Dervishes, through the live-long night, moved from post to postfrom advanced-guard to advanced-guard-from soldier to labourer-from Anatolian to ally. In the Horn, the galleys were already moored close to the walls, eighty in number, and the whole preparations for the storm on that side were most ably planned, under the incessant vigilance of Achmet Pasha and Leontius. One hundred
and sixty scaling-ladders had been prepared : each was given in charge to a sergeant, and was attended by two bearers; each was to be followed by twelve picked sol. diers, armed with poleaxe spears and matcblocks, or, in some instances, with what, for lack of a better word, we must call wheel-locks: though the real wheel-lock was first used by the soldiers of Leo X. The four extreme galleys on either side contained the forlorn hope ; the captains of the guns and their mates were busy in fixing the artillery after the clumsy fashion of the day, while fires blazed high and bright on deck, where the smiths were plying their trade, or heating their shot red hot for the deadly duty of the morrow. The ghastly glare of so many fires, threw a lurid light over the city: domes and towers looked rather the creatures of a dream, than the reality of existence; uncouth and pale shadows fell crossways in the streets; darkness seemed to have fled for ever, and yet it was scarce light that had come in its place.
So passed Barlaam on, through the flickering brilliancy of the Ottoman fires, till he reached the Cæsar's apartments. There he learnt that Sir Edward had attended the Emperor to S. Sophia's, where he was now engaged, but that undoubtedly he would return to the Palace before he went forth to his position.
THE RUINED CHURCH.
(Continued from page 139.)
Born of a noble Italian family, she lost her mother al
а most in infancy; and her father, therefore, determined to place his little Teresa in a convent: hoping that when her education was finished, ber wishes might induce her to take the veil. In a convent, therefore, my new friend passed the first quiet years of her happy childhood ; and, as she grew into womanhood, she was taught to look forward to spending her life in the same unvarying round of devotion and study, alms-giving, and works of Christian love. She had one only brother, Stefano, two years her senior; and the brightest days in her convent life were those on which she was permitted to receive his visits. Gay, spirited, and handsome, she admired no less than she loved him; and he, on his part, looked with tender, protecting affection on the young girl whose fair face would, he thought, have brightened their desolate palazzo, and cheered his widowed father's loneliness.
Yet Teresa was often grieved at the light, jesting tone with which he spoke of the life to which she was destined, and smiled at the idea of her finding happiness in the strict performance of her religious duties.
When about sixteen, Teresa commenced her Noviciate; and it was intended that, in the course of another year, she should assume the black veil, and speak those irrevocable vows which would shut her out for ever from world which, as yet, she neither knew nor regretted. The only pang she felt--and it was severe-arose from the anticipated separation from her brother: for she well knew that when once she had professed herself a nun, they should rarely, if ever, meet again.
The father, however, died suddenly, before the year of her Noviciate had expired; and Stefano, who thus became her sole guardian, determined not to suffer her, at so early an age, to bind herself by vows-which she might hereafter, as he thought, have reason to regret.
Besides, he said, he wanted her to live with him, and share the wealth he had now inherited; and Teresa, who so tenderly loved her brother, could not look forward without pleasure to the idea of dwelling always with him, although she still clung timidly to that convent home, in which were centred all the sweet associations of child. hood and youth: but Stefano Ghiberti was not one to be easily turned aside from any plan of his own forming; and Teresa was therefore soon installed as mistress of her brother's house. Not, however, of the proud palazzo, which she remembered in her childish days, but of a charming country villa, surrounded by gardens, and at some distance from the city.
To Teresa, with her simple convent tastes and habits, this villa was far more delightful than any palace could
have been. She wondered, indeed, sometimes, at the men who were her brother's chief associates in this retirement, and whose fierce looks and fiery words were little in harmony with her gentle spirit : but she believed her brother, when he said that her ignorance of the world made her difficult to please, and assured her that many of the haughtiest Italian nobles were proud to number such men amongst their friends.
There was one thing, however, to which Teresa could not be blind, deeply as it grieved her. She saw clearly that her brother, in spite of all bis affectionate kindness to her, was far from sharing her feelings, in matters of religion; and his friends, many of whom were Englishmen, often terrified her by their scornful allusions to things which she held dearer than life itself. Stefano, indeed, checked hastily any expression that sent a flush across her brow, or called up an expression of pain in her countenance; yet she knew he heeded such observations little on his own account: and from this, and many other causes, her life, within a short time after her first quitting the convent, became one of doubt, anxiety, and fear.
It was not long before she learned the meaning of all that had appeared to her so strange. Her brother, misled by some of the daring spirits of his time, and impatient of longer submission to the yoke imposed by strangers on his beautiful Italy, had engaged in the wildest schemes for obtaining his country's freedom : and he, with his friends and associates, were in truth Carbonari : most of them being as little disposed to submit to the rule of the Church, as to the laws of their civil Sovereigns. This feeling had been encouraged by several English and foreign Protestants, friends of Freedom—so called—who had joined the Carbonari ; and Stefano himself listened sometimes with indignation to their invectives against the faith which his ancestors had revered. Still, when the errors and defects in that system were brought so prominently before his eyes that they could neither be denied por defended, the ties of faith and obedience that had bound him to his Church were shaken and almost severed; though without substituting any purer faith,
leaving him, instead, to wander without guide or clue in the wide wastes of infidelity and irreligion. He would not listen to the pleadings of his gentle sister ; regarding her as merely the slave of her confessor; and still less could he be prevailed on to embrace the faith of those whose violence and want of charity seemed to him incompatible with the zeal for religion which they professed.
Teresa paused for a moment, wearied with her sad recital; and I could not but sigh to think how the prejudice and rash judgment of undisciplined minds, often tends to aggravate the evil they desire to remedy. Anxiously I inquired whether her brother had taken any active part in the insurrections which I knew had been so severely punished by the Government : and in the tears which alone replied to my question, I read a confirmation of my worst fears. He had been suspected and proscribed, and they were only enabled to escape through the fidelity of an old servant, who accompanied them to England, and under whose protection Teresa had been left by her brother, when he returned to Italy, there to prosecute his plans with greater energy and secresy. The old servant died, in the first winter they spent in England, and Teresa had since that time been quite alone, except during the few hurried visits paid her by her brother at distant intervals. At his last visit, he told her that they were on the eve of embarking their whole strength in one grand effort; and if this failed, he had resolved to abandon Italy for a time, until their strength should be more consolidated, and the general aspect of affairs more favourable. To this event Teresa had long been looking forward, full of fears for her brother's safety: as she knew his reckless courage would not suffer him to relinquish his plans, or make any attempt to save himself while there was yet the faintest prospect of success. And her fears were now realized : a letter had reached her that very morning, conveying the sad, yet expected intelligence, that the effort had been made, the blow once more attempted to be struck,-in vain. Stefano Ghiberti, sanguine to the last, had been severely wounded, and in that condition removed by some of his friends to a place of temporary concealment. He hoped