Page:The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton.djvu/755
The Sword Falls
and Sufiism, Catholicism would undoubtedly have offered strong attractions; for the links between the highest form of Sufiism and the Gospel of St. John, the Ecstasis of St. Bernard, and other writings of the Fathers of the Church who were of the Alexandrian school, are well known, and could hardly have been ignored by Burton, who made a comparative study of religions.
This, however, is by the way, and has only an indirect bearing on his wife's action. She, who knew him best, and from whom he had no secrets, believed that, in his later years at least, her husband was at heart a Catholic. He gave her ample grounds for this belief, and she acted upon it in all good faith. That he may have deceived her is possible, though not probable; but that she would have deceived a priest of her Church at the most solemn moment of her life, and on one of the most sacred things of her religion, is both impossible and improbable. The whole nature of the woman, her transparent truthfulness, her fervent piety, rise up in witness against this charge, and condemn it. And to what end would she have done this thing? No one knew better than Lady Burton that there is One whom she could not deceive; for with her the things invisible were living realities, and the actualities of this life were but passing things which come and fade away.