CHAPTER 4. LASCIATE OGNI SPERANZA--LEAVE ALL HOPE BEHIND, YE WHO ENTER HERE.
"Oh my Phoebus!"
The priest dragged himself towards her on his knees.
"I beseech you," he cried, "if you have any heart, do not
repulse me! Oh! I love you! I am a wretch! When you
utter that name, unhappy girl, it is as though you crushed all
the fibres of my heart between your teeth. Mercy! If you
come from hell I will go thither with you. I have done
everything to that end. The hell where you are, shall he
paradise; the sight of you is more charming than that of God!
Oh! speak! you will have none of me? I should have thought
the mountains would be shaken in their foundations on the
day when a woman would repulse such a love. Oh! if you
only would! Oh! how happy we might be. We would flee--I
would help you to flee,--we would go somewhere, we would
seek that spot on earth, where the sun is brightest, the sky
the bluest, where the trees are most luxuriant. We would
love each other, we would pour our two souls into each other,
and we would have a thirst for ourselves which we would
quench in common and incessantly at that fountain of
She interrupted with a terrible and thrilling laugh.
"Look, father, you have blood on your fingers!"
The priest remained for several moments as though petrified,
with his eyes fixed upon his hand.
"Well, yes!" he resumed at last, with strange gentleness,
"insult me, scoff at me, overwhelm me with scorn! but come,
come. Let us make haste. It is to be to-morrow, I tell you.
The gibbet on the Grève, you know it? it stands always
ready. It is horrible! to see you ride in that tumbrel! Oh
mercy! Until now I have never felt the power of my love
for you.--Oh! follow me. You shall take your time to love
me after I have saved you. You shall hate me as long as you
will. But come. To-morrow! to-morrow! the gallows! your
execution! Oh! save yourself! spare me!"
He seized her arm, he was beside himself, he tried to drag