Her former trials had been sharp agony and strong excitement. Her present had neither the one nor the other; yet it was fraught with as heavy suffering, as any that had gone before it; even though she knew not, guessed not, _all_ that depended upon her conversion. It would have been comparatively easy to have endured, for her faith's sake, harshness and contempt; in such a case, self-respect rises to sustain us, and we value our own tenets the more, from their startling contrast with those which could command the cruelty we endure; but Father Denis used harshness neither of manner nor of words.
Firmly impressed in his own mind, that it was utterly vain for a soul to hope for salvation unless it believed in Jesus, the Virgin, the saints and holy martyrs; he brought heart and soul to his task; and the more he saw of Marie, the more painfully did he deplore her blind infatuation, and the more ardently desire, to save her from the eternal perdition which, as a Jewess, must await her.
"God save King Robert! then, say I," vociferated Alan, eagerly grasping the knight's hand. "Sit, sit, Sir Knight; and for the love of heaven, speak more of this most wondrous tale. Erewhile, we hear of this goodly Earl of Carrick at Edward's court, doing him homage, serving him as his own English knight, and now in Scotland--aye, and Scotland's king. How may we reconcile these contradictions?"