which as yet have found no entrance into her heart ;
but who would lose, irrecoverably lose, the patience
and repose of a spirit given to God, the peace of a soul
now triumphing over earthly sorrows ; lose the quiet of
an unspotted conscience, and the sure happiness of a
childlike undoubting faith."
"How can you ascribe such a pernicious influence to
these harmless novels ? They are designed only for
momentary amusement, but, at the same time, they in-
sensibly improve the understanding."
"We take," was Hold's reply, "such books for what
they are — mere fruits of the imaginative faculty — and
are too well acquainted with the life which they describe
to find in them any thing except ourselves in a new cos-
tume. But for Maria, if she could understand them,
they would open a new world, a world which would
kindle as ardent desires, and therefore would be as in-
jurious to her, as America was, on its first discovery, to
the Spaniards. But I am forgetting that your wish for
Maria's improvement was only a preface to your playing
the same part with her that your sister is now doing
Oswald did not again attempt to vindicate himself
from this reproach. He seized rather, with an eagerness
which betrayed his satisfaction at seeing the conversa-
tion likely to take another direction, the opportunity to
bring forward Idalia as the subject of discussion.
"How can she help it," said he, "if her attractions
are so irresistible? She has already seen at her feet,
men very different from this Godber."
"How can she help it!" said Hold, sarcastically.
"These words seem to me like an outwork which is