Sebastain walked up and down in the garden, pondering on the strange events that had bombarded him in this town. The lady had rushed him to her house then taken off again in a hurry, leaving him alone and wondering what was happening. He looked around him, half believing that he was dreaming. But this was the air, that was the glorious sun. He took a pearl out of his pocket. It was the pearl the lady had given him – he could see it and feel it – and though he was filled with amazement, he somehow knew it wasn’t madness. He wondered where Antonio was. He hadn’t been able to find him at The Elephant. He had gone there and they had told him Antonio had been roaming around the town, trying to find him. Antonio’s advice would be very valuable now, because, although his instincts were contradicting his reason that this could be some mistake rather than madness, this chance encounter was so unusual – so unlikely – that he was ready to disbelieve his eyes and argue with his reason when it tried to persuade him to any other conclusion than that he was mad. Or else the lady was mad! And yet, , if that were the case, she wouldn’t be able to rule over her house, command her servants, manage business matters and carry them out in the smooth, discreet and confident way he could see she did. There was something about this that didn’t ring true. But here she was.
She was accompanied by a priest. She rushed towards him and took his hands in hers.
‘Don’t condemn me for this haste,’ she said. ‘If you’re sincere, come with me and this holy man to the chapel. There, before him and underneath that consecrated roof, swear your vows of love and marriage so that my jealous and suspicious soul may rest in peace. He’ll keep it secret until you’re ready to make it public, after which we’ll have a wedding celebration fitting for my social rank. What do you say?’
‘I’ll follow this good man and go with you,’ he said, ‘and having sworn to be faithful, I will be forever.’
Olivia literally jumped for joy. ‘Then lead the way, good father!’ she exclaimed,. ‘and may the heavens so shine on us that they endorse this act of mine.’
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