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interesting collection of vestments, some of which were very ancient, and some of which had belonged to famous popes or cardinals.
The owner's rooms were also filled with beautiful and interesting objects; even the arm-chairs and settees had been made up out of the panels and decorations of the statecarriages used by the cardinals before the fall of the temporal power. The reader can have little idea what splendid and artistic pieces of furniture they made.
THE GOLDEN GATE AT LAST
It was somewhat of a surprise to Fernando that he was not put under instruction, as his intention of becoming a Catholic was well known to the Jesuits in charge of the church of St. Aloysius, which he now regularly attended. However, he was really instructing himself carefully.
One day, towards the end of October, one of his two Balliol friends asked him suddenly: Why aren't you received?"
"I'm not sure that I'm ready."
"What are you waiting for? Anyone can see you have the faith.”
"I hope so. But have I knowledge enough?"
"That will have to come gradually; one knows all about the Catholic Church the day he is received-there's too much of it. But you may just as well go on learning inside as outside. One must learn much
more inside than can be learned while one stays outside."
Fernando appealed to Mr. Hartwell-the Papal Chamberlain. He had a slight stammer, and gave a little kick as he answered:
"V-Valence is right. Th-there's nothing for you to wait for. And you're losing all the g-gr-aces you might be getting from the s-sacraments."
As Fernando was only too eager to be a Catholic he was very easily persuaded. And Mr. Hartwell began to make arrangements for the reception to take place in his oratory. A priestly friend of his, canon of a little church in Rome, was coming to stay with him and would receive Fernando on the 26th of October. On the twenty-fifth he arrived, and had a long talk with the young convert, asking many questions as to his motives, and concerning the history of his drawing to the Catholic Church. The canon was a very gentle, kindly little man, elderly and of much experience.
"It seems to me," he said at the end of the talk, “that you have been a Catholic all along. It is extraordinary in such surroundings you have had. How happy you will be
"I hope," said Fernando, " that you won't think-because I have told you all this-that I have been always a good boy. It would be much harder to go to confession to you to-morrow if you thought that. I have been
"Let us wait, my dear child, till you do go. to confession. It is not our Catholic way to say anything about our sins except in confession. Meanwhile, let us thank God that, whatever you may have done, He has given you this wonderful grace."
Presently Mr. Hartwell came in with another guest, a young Oxford graduate, heir to a title and a great estate, who had lately become a Catholic and was about to become a Benedictine monk. And, as the evening went on, other young men came in, all undergraduates of various colleges, perhaps a dozen or more in all. All the English ones were recent converts, but there were three or four young Irishmen whose parents had obtained permission from their bishops to send them to Oxford. At that time the English bishops did not allow Catholic parents to send their sons to Oxford. One of the Irishmen was a nephew of the great and famous Bishop Moriarty, one was the son of an Irish judge,
one was Fernando's Balliol friend, and one, I think, was called O'Flaherty, and said that over one of the gates of Galway, the metropolis of his part of Ireland, was carved "From the fury of the O'Flaherties, deliver us, O Lord." He seemed very proud of it, but he was not by any means furious-looking himself.
The whole group of young men, Irish and English, interested Fernando very much; they were so thoroughly different in politics, training and antecedents, and yet so unmistakably eager about the one thing they held in common-their Catholic faith. The Irishmen, had, between them, an inexhaustible fund of amusing stories. And Mr. Hartwell had plenty of stories too, Roman stories, especially about his revered and beloved master, Pius IX, who seems to have liked a joke as much as anyone and known particularly well how to make one.
Mr. Hartwell was a shining contradiction of the phrase "Inglese italianato diavolo incarnato," for he was a Roman by adoption, and even looked Italian, and a better creature could not be.
Apart from funny stories he was particularly interesting to Fernando in his talk about the