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dreadful but involuntary, and nothing so painful as this! Your tears flow before my sight, yet I must not kiss them away without trembling, nor soothe your audible grief upon my bosom—nor mingle my sighs with yours, though we breathe the same limited air and not in a distant clime. We were made for each other, as our mutual love acknowledges; and yet here, where there be none besides ourselves, we must be several and estranged. My heart is torn asunder by such imperative contradictions. Methinks there be but us two real creatures in the world, and yet the horrible phantom of a third steps in between and frowns us miserably apart! Oh, Bianca! I am crazed with doubts I dare hardly to name; but if fate did not mean to unite us in revocation of its former cruelty, why should we be thus thrown together, where there are none besides? As eternal a bar as was set up between us, is now fixed between you and your husband; nature herself, by this hopeless separation, divorcing you from all other ties. God knows with what scrupulous exactness I have aimed at the fulfilment of my promise—but it were hard to be bound to an impracticable solution. It was true we might not thus think of each other in Sicily—but we meet here as if beyond the grave. If we are, as I believe, in the forlorn centre of the vast ocean, what reasonable hope is there of our redemption :—since then, we are to spend the rest our days together in this place, we can wrong no one, but redress a great wrong to ourselves, by the stricter union of our fates, which are thus far already married together, until the tomb.w
The miserable Bianca wept abundantly at this discourse: however, she begged that Tebaldo would not mention the subject for at least seven more days, in which time she hoped God might save them from such a step by sending some ship to their succour. She spent almost all this interval in watching from the coast, but still there came no vessel, not so much even as a speck on the horizon, to give her any hope of return. Tebaldo then resuming his arguments, she answered him thus :■.—
"Oh, my dearest Tebaldo! let us rather die as we have lived, victims of implacable fate, than cast any reproach upon our innocent loves. As it is, no one can reprove our affection, which, though violently controlled, we have never disavowed; but it would kill me to have to blush for its unworthy close. It is true that in one point we are disunited, but there is no distance between our souls. We may not indeed gratify our fondness by caresses, but it is still something to bestow our kindest language, and looks, and prayers, and all lawful and honest attentions upon each other; nay, do not you furnish me with the means of life and every thing that I enjoy? which my heart tells me must be a very grateful office to your love. Be content, then, to be the preserver and protector, and the very comforter of my life, which it is happiness enough for me to owe to your loving hands. It is true that another man is my husband, but you are my guardian angel, and show a love for me that as much surpasses his love as the heavenly nature is above the earthly. I would not have you stoop from this pitch, as you needs must—by a defect of virtue and honour; still, if you insist, I will become what you wish, but I beseech you consider, ere that decision, the debasement which I must suffer in your esteem. Nevertheless, before such an evil hour, I hope God will send some ship to remove us, though, if I might prefer my own sinful will before His, I would rather of all be dead."
The despairing lovers at these words wished mutually in their hearts, that they had perished together in the waves that were fretting before them,—when Bianca, looking up towards the horizon, perceived the masts and topmost sails of a ship, whose hull was still hidden by the convexity of the waters. At this sight, though it had come seemingly at her own invocation, she turned as pale as marble, and with a faltering voice bade Tebaldo observe the vessel, which with a deathlike gaze he had already fixed in the distance :—for doubtless they would rather have remained as they were till they died, than return to the separation which awaited them in Sicily :—however, the ship still approached with a fair wind, and at last put out a pinnace, which made directly towards the island.
And now Tebaldo became a bitter convertite from his own arguments, confessing that it was better to breathe only the same air constantly with Bianca, than to resign her companionship to another; neither did she refuse to partake in his regrets: and more tears were never shed by any exiles on the point of returning to their native land. With heavy hearts, therefore, they descended, hand in hand, like the first pair of lovers when they quitted their paradise, to whom, no doubt, these sad Sicilians inwardly compared themselves, as they walked lingeringly to meet the boat, which belonged to a vessel of Genoa, and had been sent to obtain a supply