without a doubt — and it may be a consolation to Mr.，
"Then I realize that what I most dread is not God's wrath, but the rope and the hangman that await me among my fellows. Well, it is time to end this sense of secret shame; not until the day when men crush me beneath their abuse and punishment shall I fell absolved and restored in the sight of Heaven; then only shall I account myself worthy to say to Jesus my Saviour: 'Give ear to me, innocent victim, Thou who heardest the penitent thief; give ear to a sullied but contrite victim, who has shared in the glory of Thy martyrdom and been ransomed by Thy blood!' "
"If you persist in your enthusiastic design," said the abbe, after unsuccessfully bringing forward all possible objections, "you must at least let me know in what way you thought I could be of service to you."
"I cannot act in this matter," replied the Trappist, "without the consent of a young man who will soon be the last of the Mauprats; for the chevalier has not many days to wait before he will receive the heavenly reward due to his virtues; and as for myself, I cannot avoid the punishment I am about to seek, except by falling back into the endless night of the cloister. I speak of Bernard Mauprat; I will not call him my nephew, for if he heard me he would blush to think that he bore this shameful title. I heard of his return from America, and this news decided me to undertake the journey at the painful end of which you now behold me."
It seemed to me that while he was saying this he kept casting side- glances towards the clump of trees where I was, as if he had guessed my presence there. Perhaps the movement of some branches had betrayed me.
"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."
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