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The last mission to which we shall allude, is one that has been blazoned on the standards of Jesuitism as a triumphant example of its success in missionary warfare. We allude to Paraguay. Here were settled Indian tribes that had fled from the Spanish and Portuguese invaders; and the Jesuit ingratiated himself with them by defending them, and teaching them how to defend themselves from their cruel and rapacious oppressors. He brought in European fire-arms, planted the Indians in places that could be defended, established a civil system; and, in short, founded a government, of which the general of his order was the head, and the Jesuits the chief members. For years the existence of this empire was kept a secret; and, lest it should be divulged, the Jesuits enacted that no Indian should learn Spanish or Portuguese. A remarkable event broke the shell of this secret, and then the golden egg which the Jesuits were hatching was irretrievably ruined, for this country of Paraguay was a very mine of wealth to them.
The Pope, with marvellous liberality, gave all the discovered world in the east to Portugal, and all that in the west to Spain ; and, as the world is round, these two stupendous landholders met in the interior of South America, and commissioners had to be sent to draw their line of demarcation. But their labours were brought to an unexpected pause by a band of Jesuits ; and in a few days after they found that the whole population was arming, with Jesuits as their officers, so they were compelled to desist. Spain and Portugal applied to the Pope, and he issued a bull dissolving the Jesuit empire, and so this artfully-managed scheme came to an end.
Here we bring our brief glimpse at Jesuit missions to a close. We have written with no blind bigotry, that would not see the merits of a Jesuit, whilst condemning the vices of the system which he upholds. We have not brought prominently forward the charge of complicity in idolatrous worship which is laid at the door of the Jesuits, because we do not deem this an advantageous mode of exposing the evils of their system. Such a case as that of Roberti di Nobili we deem much more effective. And have we nothing to learn from the instances which have been detailed ? Is Jesuitism wholly a thing of the past, a rusted and edgeless weapon that can no longer be wielded? Would that this were the case! But the system is even now in busy operation at our very doors. In Spain, in Portugal, in Austria, in Germany,
in France, in China, in Polynesia, in Australia, in India, in Canada, the cancer of Jesuitism is festering. In this country the Jesuits exist in large numbers, and we may reasonably suppose that their most subtle and strenuous attacks are directed against an island which is one of the strong fortresses of Protestantism.
THE CASTLE OF ZUM GUTTEMBERG ; OR, THE LAST
OF THE SULGELOCHS.
A YOUTH, apparently about eighteen or nineteen years of age, was climbing, with the agility of a mountain goat, the steep sides of a rock, on the summit of which stood an old castle, the embattled towers of which were still distinctly visible, in spite of the gloom which the approach of night was rapidly casting over the surrounding landscape; a loud and piercing cry suddenly arrested the progress of the evening wanderer ; he paused to listen, and was on the point of resuming his aërial ascent, when a second cry, followed by a plaintive moan, again arrested his course.
“Who calls ?” said he, at the same time bending forward and listening attentively.
A ravine, made apparently by a stream rushing from the rock which formed the bank above, but which was now dried up by the heat of summer, lay below, and from thence the voice seemed to proceed.
“Whoever thou art, help an unfortunate traveller, who with his horse has fallen into a bottomless pit.”
“ You seem to have found the bottom of it, however,” replied the youth, as he descended the side of the rock, even more quickly than he had ascended ; "where are you ?” he added, as he leant over a sharp point close to the ravine.
“Here, down here,” was the reply, in the same pitiful tone.
“ Ah! just at the foot of the stairs,” said the light-hearted boy ; “ wait for me there then."
A few light bounds brought him to the side of a man, whose features he could not distinguish, but who eagerly grasped his hand, exclaiming, “I am crushed, bruised, half-killed; help me, I implore you, to extricate my feet from the stirrups; do not let my horse stir, or I am lost."
On observing that the horse was unhurt, and on its feet, the young man rightly concluded that it had not fallen, whatever its rider had done, but that having rapidly descended the steep bank, the shock on reaching the bottom had unseated the horseman; who, however, was no sooner released from his entanglement, than he sprang to his feet, and taking the offered arm of his deliverer with one hand, and his horse's bridle with the other, they commenced their ascent by the steep pathway, the steps in which had clearly been formed by men's feet rather than their hands. On reaching the top the youth's curiosity prompted him to inquire what had led the horseman into the predicament in which he had discovered him, and to what place he was going.
“To Zum Guttemberg," was the reply, “ to take a letter from my mistress, the Baroness Von Praet, to Mademoiselle Melanie de Sulgeloch."
“My sister !” exclaimed the astonished youth.
"You are then John Gensfleisch, the son of the last lord of Sulgeloch ?”
“I am," replied John, as he examined by the light of the rising moon the countenance of his companion, which now appeared to him to wear an expression of awkward constraint and reserve ; “ but I do not know the baroness, and cannot imagine what she can want with my sister."
The messenger hesitated, but taking a sealed letter from a leathern purse fastened round his waist, he merely observed, “ This will explain ;” and withdrawing his arm, as if he no longer required support, he followed John along the narrow path which led to the castle.
Without being able to explain the cause, John became grave and thoughtful, and something more than curiosity made him quicken his pace. Those well acquainted with the daily life of the inhabitants of Zum Guttemberg, might easily comprehend that this incident, simple as it appeared, was yet sufficient to excite curiosity, and even apprehension.
John Gensfleisch de Sulgeloch had lost his father soon after his birth ; his mother was left a widow with two children, himself and a daughter eight years older; she saw the fortune left by her husband almost exhausted by long and ruinous lawsuits, and finally sank under the trial, leaving her two children alone in the world. Melanie was then about eighteen, and John not more than ten. Six
years had passed away since that event; and the gates of Zum Guttemberg, which had closed upon the coffin of the widow of Sulgeloch, had since but rarely opened to admit either friend, neighbour, or visitor. The brother and sister were all in all to each other. The young girl had grown into a woman under the shade of the venerable woods which ornamented this ancient patrimony of the Sulgelochs ; she had never cared to go beyond its boundaries ; her flowers and birds, reading and walking, occupied her day; and each evening the brother and sister met in the large hall in the castle, not unfrequently being joined by two old and faithful servants, Gobert and Gertrude, and ere the party retired to rest, the sweet voice of Melanie was heard leading the evening prayer or hymn of praise. It may, therefore, easily be imagined that the arrival of one bearing a letter from a total stranger was more than enough to occasion the surprise of the young Sulgeloch.
On entering the outer court of the castle John gave a long and loud whistle, which quickly brought old Gobert to the top of the flight of steps : an expression of displeasure passed over his countenance on perceiving that a stranger followed his young master; “ Who have you picked up now,” said he, in a grumbling tone, "on whom to force your, hospitality ?”
“So far from that, he has claimed it,” replied John; “therefore conduct him to your room, and his horse to the stable, whilst I inform my sister that a messenger from the Baroness Von Praet is here."
On hearing this name, Gobert raised the woollen cap which covered his bald head, as he repeated respectfully, “ The Baroness Von Praet?”
“Do you know her?” said his young master.
“She is the noblest, the richest, and the proudest lady in all Mayence,” said Gobert; “and I shall be proud to offer her attendant a repast worthy of the house he represents; but we have had so many guests at dinner to-day in the great hall, let alone the poor who waited for what remained, that we may possibly find nothing left but some bread and a handful of chestnuts.”
At these words John gazed in astonishment at the old man, who, however, prevented his speaking by whispering, as he passed close to him to take the horse's bridle, “ Hush! you are too young to understand me; but say nothing."
The old man's caution could not, however, repress the gay laugh with which young Guttemberg passed through the arch into the castle, and which brought his sister to meet him, when he informed her of his adventure, and of Gobert's ingenious invention in order to account for any deficiencies the establishment might betray. A faint smile for a moment rested on his sister's face, but it quickly gave place to an expression of distress and anxiety.
“What can the baroness want?” said she, as she sank, evidently under the influence of strong emotion, on one of the old-fashioned chairs in the hall, which they had just entered.
“We shall soon know if we ask," replied her brother, as he left the apartment, apparently for that purpose.
Melanie roused herself, and busied herself in arranging the wick of a small lamp, which lit but a portion of the immense hall, leaving the rest in an obscurity which made it difficult to penetrate to its furthest extremity; having done this she awaited in some agitation the appearance of the messenger. He soon entered the hall, preceded by the young Sulgeloch, and followed by Gobert and Gertrude.