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the thought of making her my wife; to return tenfold the pecuniary obligation I was under to her, and to love and protect her, as a mistress, I was resolved; but to marry her, after what had passed, was impossible. I still continued to visit her as frequently as ever, for my inclination for her person rather
increased than diminished; but our connection had a consequence which, though natural, I had not foreseen: she proved with child; and when she revealed the circumstance to me, she claimed, though in the most gentle terms, my promise to make her mine by the rights of the church. I pleaded the ruin that would attend us both, if the marriage was discovered; but Viola, who had hitherto appeared the gentlest of her sex, and whom I thought I could at any time persuade into a compliance with my wishes, whatever they might be, now firmly insisted on my making her my wife. It was, she said, the only way to save her from that disgrace
which must otherwise overwhelm her. After endeavouring in vain to evade an immediate compliance with her request, I was obliged positively to refuse her, and we parted, for the first time, in anger.
"When I again visited her, I saw only Fiametta, who told me that Viola was ill; I desired to see her instantly. Pardon me, signor, (cried she), but before you do, have you made up your mind
to grant her request ?'
"Nay, (continued she, seeing me look surprised) it was impossible for the signora to keep her situation a secret from me; and why indeed should she try to do so, since a confidant would be necessary, and she has experienced my fidelity.'
"I began to use to Fiametta the same arguments which I had before tried with Viola, but she did not allow me to proceed.
""Your marriage may be kept secret as long as you please, signor (said she),
my lady does not object to that, but her honour must be repaired, and your child must be legitimated. Ask your own heart, signor, whether Viola is not entitled to justice, and she asks no
"She seeks our mutual ruin, (cried I, passionately), and I must be a mad
man to consent to it.'
"You are then determined not to marry the signora?' (said Fiametta). "She knows that I cannot immediately,' (answered I).
"But you will not object to give her a written promise to do so at the death your aunt (cried Fiametta.)
"This was a question for which I was not prepared, and I hesitated, for, to say the truth, I knew not how to answer it.
"Oh! my poor deceived lady, (cried Fiametta), I see too plainly you have undone yourself; yet if a spark of honour, of humanity, remains in your breast, signor, save her, I conjure you,
from that ruin which your breach of faith will bring upon her. Keenly susceptible as her nature is, the agonies that she suffers would move any heart not callous, and can you, signor, reflect, without pity, that you are the cause of them?
"I was touched with the manner in which Fiametta spoke; but could I make a wanton the legal partner of my bed? No; honour forbade that sacrifice, and I was compelled to refuse Viola the promise she demanded.
"Fiametta heard me with calmness, and left me without a reply; I had supposed that the matter would have ended there, and that, finding me inflexible, Viola would at length agree to continue mine on my own terms; for I yet loved. her too well to think willingly of giving her up. Fool that I was; I knew not the nature of the sex; I knew not the lengths to which an offended woman's resentment will carry her. Instigated by Fiametta, Viola revealed the whole
to my aunt, who sent for me, and after the bitterest reproaches, enquired whether I was prepared to do the injured girl justice.
My love for Viola was now converted intò hatred, and I think, that sooner than have espoused her, I would have put a period to my existence. My aunt ordered me never again to appear in her presence, and immediately took Viola, who was then dangerously ill from a miscarriage, under her protection; from that moment I was banished from her affection and her house; and the only condition on which I could regain her favour, was, she assured me, my mar riage with Viola.
"Then I must be for ever an alien, (cried I), for I will perish sooner than espouse her.'
"My allowance was withdrawn, and penury and disappointment together influenced me to take the desperate step which has placed me in your house. I have now, signor, gratified