He passed his arm round the woman, raising her head with his other hand, fixing his eyes on those of Sagrario, which were shining in the starlight bright with tears.
“We shall be two souls, two minds who cherish one another without giving rein to passion, and with a purity such as no poets have imagined. This night in which we have mutually confessed one to another, in which our souls have been laid open to one another is our wedding night; kiss me, companion of my life!”
And in the silence of the cloister they kissed each other noiselessly, slowly, as though with their lips joined they were weeping over the misery of their past, and the brevity of a love around which death was circling. Above, the lament of Beethoven went on unfolding its sad modulations, which floated through the cloister and round the sleeping Cathedral.
Gabriel stood erect sustaining Sagrario, who seemed almost fainting from the strength of her feelings; he looked up at the luminous space with almost priestly gravity, and said, whispering close to the young woman’s ear:
“Our life will be like a deserted garden, where amid fallen trunks and dead branches fresh foliage springs up. Companion, let us love one another. Above our misery as pariahs let spring arise. It will be a sad spring, without fruit, but it will have flowers. The sun shines for those who are in the open, but for us, dear companion, it is very far. But from the black depths of our well we will clasp each other, raising our heads, and though his heat will not revive us, we will adore him like a distant star.”
In the beginning of July Gabriel began his nocturnal watch in the Cathedral.
At nightfall he went down into the cloister, and at the Puerta del Mollete, joined the other watchman, a sickly-looking man who coughed as badly as Luna, and who never left off his cloak even in the height of summer.
“Come along, we are going to lock up!” said the bell-ringer, rattling his bunch of keys.
After the two men had entered the church, he locked the doors from outside and walked away.
As the days were long, there still remained two hours of daylight after the watchmen entered the Cathedral.
“All the church is ours, companion,” said the other watchman.
And like a man used to the imposing appearance of the deserted church, he settled himself comfortably in the sacristy as in his own house, opening his supper basket on the chests, and spreading out his eatables between candelabras and crucifixes.
Gabriel wandered about the fane. After many nights of watching, the impression produced when he first saw the immense church deserted and locked up had not yet faded. His footsteps resounded on the pavement, his strides shortened by the tombs of prelates and great men of former days. The silence of the church was disturbed by the strange echoes and mysterious rustlings; the first day Gabriel had often turned his head in alarm, thinking he heard footsteps following him.