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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 348 pages of information about The Daughter of an Empress.

“I had, perhaps, never loved her more warmly, more intensely, than in those dreadful hours when I was struggling with my poor tortured heart and imploring God for strength to renounce her and separate myself from her forever.  But God was merciful and aided my weakness with His own strength.  Letters came from her, and I had the cruel courage to read them; I had condemned myself to do it as an expiation, and while I read her soft complainings, her love-sorrows, I felt in my heart the same sorrows, the same disconsolate wretchedness; tears streamed from my eyes, and I flayed my breast with my nails in utter despair!  Ah, at such moments how often did I forget God and my repentance; how often did I press those letters to my lips and call my beloved by the tenderest names; my whole soul, my whole being flew to her, and, forgetting all, all, I wanted to rush to her presence, fall down at her feet, and be blessed only through her, even if my eternal salvation was thereby lost!  But what was it, what then restrained my feet, what suddenly arrested those words of insane passion upon my lips and irresistibly drew me down upon my knees to pray?  It was God, who then announced Himself to me—­God, who called me to Himself—­God, who finally gave me strength to understand my love and always leave her letters unanswered until they finally ceased to come—­until her complaints, which, however, had consoled me, were no longer heard!  The sacrifice was made, God accepted it, my sin was expiated, and I was glad, for my heart was forever broken, and never, since then, has a smile of happiness played upon my lips.  But in my soul has it become tranquil and serene, God dwells there, and within me is a peace known only to those who have struggled and overcome, who have expiated their sins with a free will and flayed breast.”

“And your beloved, what became of her?” asked the cardinal.  “Did she pardon your treason, and console herself in the arms of another?”

“In the arms of death!” said Ganganelli, with a low voice.  “My silence and my apparent forgetfulness of her broke her heart; she died of grief, but she died like a saint, and her last words were:  ’May God forgive him, as I do!  I curse him not, but bless him, rather; for through him am I released from the burden of this life, and all sorrow is overcome!’ She therefore died in the belief of my unfaithfulness; she did, indeed, pardon me, but yet she believed me a faithless betrayer!  And the consciousness of this was to me a new torment and a penance which I shall suffer forever and ever!  This is the story of my love,” continued Ganganelli, after a short silence.  “I have truly related it to you as it is.  May you, my son, learn from it that, when we wish to do right, we can always succeed, in spite of our own hearts and sinful natures, and that with God’s help we can overcome all and suffer all.  You see that I have loved, and nevertheless had strength to renounce.  But it was God who gave me this strength, God alone!  Turn you, also, to God; pray to Him to destroy in you your sinful love; and, if you implore Him with the right words, and with the right fervor, then will God be near you with His strength, and in the pains of renunciation will He purify your soul, preparing it for virtue and all that is good!”

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