One desire still remained; it was to see Rosina previous to my departure, that I might explain the cause of my delay. Conviction told me that it was wrong; but the impulse I could not resist: had I not yielded to it, I should have been unfortunate, but not guilty.
I wrote to her upbraiding her for her precipitation, and imploring a final interview. Her answer was affecting—it brought showers of tears from my eyes, and again inflamed my love. The interview was refused, as it could be productive of no benefit, and would only call forth feelings in opposition to her duty; but it was so kindly, so gently negatived, that it was evident her inclination was at variance with her pen; and on my repeating the request, as a proof that her affection had been sincere, she unwillingly acceded.
We met—for our misery—for our guilt, we met.—From that moment, I resolved never to abandon her—religion, virtue, morality, every feeling was borne away by the re-appearance of the object of my adoration; and before the interview was over, I again dared to breathe vows of fidelity to one who had devoted herself to her God. “This cannot be, Henrique,” said Rosina; “we must meet no more; reflect, and you will be convinced of its impropriety. No dispensation from the vow will be permitted by my parents—all hopes of union in this world are over—Oh! may we meet in heaven!” and she clasped her hands in anguish as she disappeared.
I returned home, every pulse beating to madness. Again I addressed her, imploring another meeting; but received a firm denial. So far from being baffled at this addition to the obstacles which presented themselves, it but increased my determination to surmount them. To overcome her duty to her parents, to induce her to trample on her vows to God, to defy the torments of the Inquisition, to release her from bolts and bars, to escape from a fortified and crowded city—each and every difficulty but inflamed my ardour—every appeal of conscience but added to my willful determination.
Although hitherto I had abhorred deceit, my first act was one of duplicity. I wrote to her, stating that I had been permitted an interview with her friends, and had made known to them what had passed; that they had listened to me, and were disposed to yield; and although it was kept a secret from her, in a few months her vows would be dispensed with.
How cruel—how selfish was my conduct! but it answered my intention. Buoyed up with the prospect of future happiness, Rosina no longer struggled against the fatal passion—no longer refused to see me, and listen to my vows of eternal fidelity. Deeper and deeper did she drink of the intoxicating draught, until it had effaced from her mind, as it had already done from mine, every other sensation than that of love. Although I could have kissed the ground which she trod upon, and have suffered the torments of a martyr for her sake, it was with the pleasure of a demon that I witnessed my success, and hailed her falling off from religion and from virtue.