an earnest prayer

Missionary work indeed in heathen countries was being carried on with some energy, but Theobald did not feel any call to be a missionary.  Christina suggested this to him more than once, and assured him of the unspeakable happiness it would be to her to be the wife of a missionary, and to share his dangers; she and Theobald might even be martyred; of course they would be martyred simultaneously, and martyrdom many years hence as regarded from the arbour in the Rectory garden was not painful, it would ensure them a glorious future in the next world, and at any rate posthumous renown in this—even if they were not miraculously restored to life again—and such things had happened ere now in the case of martyrs.  Theobald, however, had not been kindled by Christina’s enthusiasm, so she fell back upon the Church of Rome—an enemy more dangerous, if possible, than paganism itself.  A combat with Romanism might even yet win for her and Theobald the crown of martyrdom.  True, the Church of Rome was tolerably quiet just then, but it was the calm before the storm, of this she was assured, with a conviction deeper than she could have attained by any argument founded upon mere reason.

“We, dearest Theobald,” she exclaimed, “will be ever faithful.  We will stand firm and support one another even in the hour of death itself.  God in his mercy may spare us from being burnt alive.  He may or may not do so.  Oh Lord” (and she turned her eyes prayerfully to Heaven), “spare my Theobald, or grant that he may be beheaded.”

— Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh