“Senor Don Inocencio,” she exclaimed, “let us die—there is no remedy but to die.”
Then she burst into a fit of inconsolable weeping.
“Courage, senora,” said the priest, in a moved voice. “Courage—now it is necessary to be very brave. This requires calmness and a great deal of courage.
“Mine is immense,” said Senora de Polentinos, in the midst of her sobs.
“Mine is very small,” said the canon; “but we shall see, we shall see.”
Meanwhile Rosario—with her heart torn and bleeding, unable to shed tears, unable to be at peace or rest, transpierced by grief as by a sharp sword, with her thoughts passing swiftly from the world to God and from God to the world, bewildered and half-crazed, her hands clasped, her bare feet resting on the floor—was kneeling, late in the evening, in her own room, beside her bed, on the edge of which she rested her burning forehead, in darkness, in solitude, and in silence. She was careful not to make the slightest noise, in order not to attract the attention of her mother, who was asleep, or seemed to be asleep, in the adjoining room. She lifted up her distracted thoughts to Heaven in this form:
“Lord, my God, why is it that before I did not know how to lie, and now I know? Why did I not know before how to deceive, and now I deceive? Am I a vile woman? Is this that I feel, is this that is happening to me, a fall from which there can be no arising? Have I ceased to be virtuous and good? I do not recognize myself. Is it I or is it some one else who is in this place? How many terrible things in a few days! How many different sensations! My heart is consumed with all it has felt. Lord, my God, dost thou hear my voice, or am I condemned to pray eternally without being heard? I am good, nothing will convince me that I am not good. To love, to love boundlessly, is that wickedness? But no—it is no illusion, no error—I am worse than the worst woman on earth. A great serpent is within me, and has fastened his poisonous fangs in my heart. What is this that I feel? My God, why dost thou not kill me? Why dost thou not plunge me forever into the depths of hell? It is frightful, but I confess it to the priest—I hate my mother. Why is this? I cannot explain it to myself. He has not said a word to me against my mother. I do not know how this is come to pass. How wicked I am! The demons have taken possession of me. Lord, come to my help, for with my own strength alone I cannot vanquish myself. A terrible impulse urges me to leave this house. I wish to escape, to fly from it. If he does not take me, I will drag myself after him through the streets. What divine joy is this that mingles in my breast with so cruel a grief? Lord God, my father, illumine me. I desire only to love. I was not born for this hatred that is consuming me. I was not born to