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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.
to shut the gates of hope upon her heart.  His remonstrances were urgent, for his horror was unfeigned.  He joined with Glyndon in imploring her to fly, if she felt the smallest doubt that her husband’s pursuits were of the nature which the Roman Church had benevolently burned so many scholars for adopting.  And even the little that Viola could communicate seemed, to the ignorant ascetic, irrefragable proof of sorcery and witchcraft; he had, indeed, previously heard some of the strange rumours which followed the path of Zanoni, and was therefore prepared to believe the worst; the worthy Bartolomeo would have made no bones of sending Watt to the stake, had he heard him speak of the steam-engine.  But Viola, as untutored as himself, was terrified by his rough and vehement eloquence,—­terrified, for by that penetration which Catholic priests, however dull, generally acquire, in their vast experience of the human heart hourly exposed to their probe, Bartolomeo spoke less of danger to herself than to her child.  “Sorcerers,” said he, “have ever sought the most to decoy and seduce the souls of the young,—­nay, the infant;” and therewith he entered into a long catalogue of legendary fables, which he quoted as historical facts.  All at which an English woman would have smiled, appalled the tender but superstitious Neapolitan; and when the priest left her, with solemn rebukes and grave accusations of a dereliction of her duties to her child, if she hesitated to fly with it from an abode polluted by the darker powers and unhallowed arts, Viola, still clinging to the image of Zanoni, sank into a passive lethargy which held her very reason in suspense.

The hours passed:  night came on; the house was hushed; and Viola, slowly awakened from the numbness and torpor which had usurped her faculties, tossed to and fro on her couch, restless and perturbed.  The stillness became intolerable; yet more intolerable the sound that alone broke it, the voice of the clock, knelling moment after moment to its grave.  The moments, at last, seemed themselves to find voice,—­to gain shape.  She thought she beheld them springing, wan and fairy-like, from the womb of darkness; and ere they fell again, extinguished, into that womb, their grave, their low small voices murmured, “Woman, we report to eternity all that is done in time!  What shall we report of thee, O guardian of a new-born soul?” She became sensible that her fancies had brought a sort of partial delirium, that she was in a state between sleep and waking, when suddenly one thought became more predominant than the rest.  The chamber which, in that and every house they had inhabited, even that in the Greek isles, Zanoni had set apart to a solitude on which none might intrude, the threshold of which even Viola’s step was forbid to cross, and never, hitherto, in that sweet repose of confidence which belongs to contented love, had she even felt the curious desire to disobey,—­now, that chamber drew her towards it.  Perhaps there might be found a somewhat to solve the riddle, to dispel or confirm the doubt:  that thought grew and deepened in its intenseness; it fastened on her as with a palpable and irresistible grasp; it seemed to raise her limbs without her will.

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