“If she be false, oh, then Heaven
I’ll not believe it.”
Don Ferdinand had scarcely quitted his mansion ere fleet steps resounded behind him, and turning, he beheld Don Luis Garcia, who greeted him with such a marked expression, both in voice and face, of sadness, that Morales involuntarily paused, and with much commiseration inquired what had chanced.
“Nothing of personal misfortune, my friend; but there are times when the spirit is tortured by a doubtful duty. To preserve silence is undoubtedly wrong, and may lead to wrong, yet greater; and yet, to speak, is so painfully distressing to my peace-loving disposition, that I am tossed for ever on conflicting impulses, and would gladly be guided by another.”
“If you would be guided by my counsel, my good friend, I must entreat a clearer statement,” replied Morales, half smiling. “You have spoken so mysteriously, that I cannot even guess your meaning. I cannot imagine one so straightforward and strong-minded as yourself hesitating and doubtful as to duty, of whatever nature.”
“Not if it concerned myself: but in this case I must either continue to see wrong done, with the constant dread of its coming to light, without my interference; or inflict anguish where I would gladly give but joy; and very probably, in addition, have my tale disbelieved, and myself condemned, though for that matter, personal pain is of no consequence, could I but pursue the right.”
“But how stands this important case, my good friend?”
“Thus: I have been so unfortunate as to discover that one is false, whom her doting husband believes most true—that the lover of her youth has returned, and still holds her imagination chained—that she meets him in secret, and has appointed another clandestine interview, from which who may tell the evil that may ensue? I would prevent this interview—would recall her to her better nature, or put her husband on his guard: but how dare I do this—how interfere thus closely between man and wife? Counsel me, my friend, in pity!”
“If you have good foundation for this charge, Don Luis, it is your duty to speak out,” replied Morales, gravely.
“And to whom?”
“To the lawful guardian of this misguided one—her husband.”
“But how can I excite his anguish—how turn his present heaven of joy to a very hell of woe, distrust, suspicion?”