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"Are you now, convinced' (cried
"Yes (replied I), and the blood of the adultress shall expiate her crime?'
"Not so, my friend (said he), do not rashly presume to rob offended Heaven of its power to punish.'
"What (exclaimed I), would you then, that she should triumph in her guilt? would you have me still cherish in my bosom a wretch who has sacrificed my honour and her own.'
"No (said he), but there are modes of punishment more lenient in appearance, but as severe in reality to a guilty mind, as the one you have named; secluded from the world, and robbed of all those enjoyments to which she has been accustomed, the unhappy and guilty marchioness might, by a life of penance and austerity, expiate her faults.'
"For some time I would not listen to this plan, but at last I agreed to it; we
settled that I should the following day charge my wife with her guilt, of which the picture found in her cabinet would be sufficient evidence, and then remove her secretly to some convent at a distance from Madrid; that done, I proposed to visit England, and to execute, with my own hands, justice upon the destroyer of my honour and my peace.
"These resolutions were approved by the villain Carlos, and early the following day I entered the camber of my wife.
"She was in a sound sleep, and never had I seen her look more lovely.`'Oh, Heavens! (cried I), how can guilt so black as this woman's, taste of sweet repose?' The noise I made roused her, she started up. What, my dear lord (cried she), so soon returned ?'
"I am returned (replied I), to punish the perfidy of a wanton; know that I have at last discovered all.'
The steadiness of her countenance
I understand you not,
my lord (said she), what have you dis
"This is too much (exclaimed I), shameless, audacious woman! darest thou hope still to blind me? but I will instantly cover thee with confusion.'
"I flew to her cabinet, it was locked, and I demanded the key; she gave it to me with the utmost composure!
"I soon found what I sought for; I drew the portrait from its case, it was a strong resemblance of Clerimont; I held it before her, she shrieked and fainted.
"It was well for us both, that she did, since I cannot answer to what extremes my passion might have transported me; but her insensibility disarmed my rage, in some degree, and I hastily left the apartment.
"The marchioness's scream had brought up her woman, whom I met as I was rushing down stairs; I ordered Leonora, when her lady recovered, to
let me know, and in about half an hour she came to me.
"The marchioness has now recovered her senses; my lord, (said he), but she is so extremely ill, that she begs will not ask to see her.'
'Though I longed to upbraid her with her guilt, yet, I resolved to wait till she was in a condition to hear me, but the whole of that day she continued according to Leonora's account very ill, and the next morning she was delirious; though I had persuaded myself that I abhorred her, yet the shock that this intelligence gave me, proved that she had still too much power over my heart; I would fain have persuaded myself that she counterfeited, but the physicians, whose testimony I could not doubt, assured me that her life was in imminent danger.
"Never had I passed such a day of misery, at one moment, I reproached myself for what I had done; I ought
to have proceeded with more caution, (cried I), frail as she had been, I knew her sensibility, and if she dies I- I am her murderer.' These reflections, were almost immediately succeeded by others of a different nature.
"She deserves her fate (said I), and I am but an instrument in the hands of Heaven to punish her perfidy.'
"In these, and similar thoughts I spent the day. The night was perfectly still and serene, not a cloud obscured the face of the Heavens; and hoping that the air would a little relieve the agitation of my spirits, I walked out, and wandered I knew not whither.
"I continued to stroll for some hours, till at last, overcome by fatigue, I bent my steps homeward; I had in my pocket the key of a private door in the garden, and through that I resolved to
"I did so, and was proceeding to the house, when in passing a small temple, I thought I heard the sound of voices;