and that Mr. Yeats’s “Had I the heaven’s embroidered，
"May I ask," said the abbe, "what you now have in common with this young man? Are you not afraid that, embittered by the harsh treatment formerly lavished on him at Roche-Mauprat, he may refuse to see you?"
"I am certain that he will refuse; for I know the hatred that he still has for me," said the Trappist, once more looking towards the spot where I was. "But I hope that you will persuade him to grant me an interview; for you are a good and generous man, Monsieur l'Abbe. You promised to oblige me; and, besides, you are young Mauprat's friend, and you will be able to make him understand that his interests are at stake and the honour of his name."
"How so?" answered the abbe. "No doubt he will be far from pleased to see you appear before the courts to answer for crimes which have since been effaced in the gloom of the cloister. He will certainly wish you to forego this public expiation. How can you hope that he will consent?"
"I have hope, because God is good and great; because His grace is mighty; because it will touch the heart of him who shall deign to hear the prayer of a soul which is truly penitent and deeply convinced; because my eternal salvation is in the hands of this young man, and he cannot wish to avenge himself on me beyond the grave. Moreover, I must die at peace with those I have injured; I must fall at the feet of Bernard Mauprat and obtain his forgiveness of my sins. My tears will move him, or, if his unrelenting soul despises them, I shall at least have fulfilled an imperious duty."
Seeing that he was speaking with a firm conviction that he was being heard by me, I was filled with disgust; I thought I could detect the deceit and cowardice that lay beneath this vile hypocrisy. I moved away and waited for the abbe some distance off. He soon rejoined me; the interview had ended by a mutual promise to meet again soon. The abbe had undertaken to convey the Trappist's words to me, while the latter had threatened in the most honeyed tone in the world to come and see me if I refused his request. The abbe and I agreed to consult together, without informing the chevalier or Edmee, that we might not disquiet them unnecessarily. The Trappist had gone to stay at La Chatre, at the Carmelite convent; this had thoroughly aroused the abbe's suspicions, in spite of his first enthusiasm at the penitence of the sinner. The Carmelites had persecuted him in his youth, and in the end the prior had driven him to secularize himself. The prior was still alive, old but implacable; infirm, and withdrawn from the world, but strong in his hatred, and his passion for intrigue. The abbe could not hear his name without shuddering, and he begged me to act prudently in this affair.
"Although John Mauprat," he said, "is under the bane of the law, and you are at the summit of honour and prosperity, do not despise the weakness of your enemy. Who knows what cunning and hatred may do? They can usurp the place of the just and cast him out on the dung-heap; they can fasten their crimes on others and sully the robe of innocence with their vileness. Maybe you have not yet finished with the Mauprats."
The poor abbe did not know that there was so much truth in his words.
After thoroughly reflecting on the Trappist's probable intentions, I decided that I ought to grant him the interview he had requested. In any case, John Mauprat could not hope to impose upon me, and I wished to do all in my power to prevent him from pestering my great-uncle's last days with his intrigues. Accordingly, the very next day I betook myself to the town, where I arrived towards the end of Vespers. I rang, not without emotion, at the door of the Carmelites.
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