He pronounced these words in a manner and with a smile that he would not have dared to use if he had been speaking to a fellow-Spaniard. He added that she would, no doubt, come down and sup with me, as he was going to sup with his brother.
"My dear Don Diego, don't let there be any false compliments between us. Before you go out, tell your daughter not to put herself out for me, and that I do not pretend to put my society in comparison with that of God. Tell her to keep her room to-night, and she can sup with me another time. I hope you will take my message to her."
"As you will have it so, you shall be obeyed."
After my siesta, the worthy man said that Donna Ignazia thanked me and would profit by my kindness, as she did not want to see anyone on that holy day.
"I am very glad she has taken me at my word, and to-morrow I will thank her for it."
I had some difficulty in shaping my lips to this reply; for this excess of devotion displeased me, and even made me tremble for her love. I could not help laughing, however, when Don Diego said that a wise father forgives an ecstasy of love. I had not expected such a philosophic remark from the mouth of a Spaniard.
The weather was unpleasant, so I resolved to stay indoors. I told Philippe that I should not want the carriage, and that he could go out. I told my Biscayan cook that I should not sup till ten. When I was alone I wrote for some time, and in the evening the mother lit my candles, instead of the daughter, so in the end I went to bed without any supper. At nine o'clock next morning, just as I was awaking, Donna Ignazia appeared, to my great astonishment, telling me how sorry she was to hear that I had not taken any supper.
"Alone, sad, and unhappy," I replied, "I felt that abstinence was the best thing for me."
"You look downcast."
"You alone can make me look cheerful."
Here my barber came in, and she left me. I then went to mass at the Church of the Good Success, where I saw all the handsome courtezans in Madrid. I dined with Don Diego, and when his daughter came in with dessert he told her that it was her fault I had gone supperless to bed.
"It shall not happen again," said she.
"Would you like to come with me to our Lady of Atocha?" said I.
"I should like it very much," she replied, with a side-glance at her father.
"My girl," said Don Diego, "true devotion and merriment go together, and the reason is that the truly devout person has trust in God and in the honesty of all men. Thus you can trust in Don Jaime as an honest man, though he has not the good fortune to be born in Spain."
I could not help laughing at this last sentence, but Don Diego was not offended. Donna Ignazia kissed her father's hands, and asked if she might bring her cousin too.
"What do you want to take the cousin for?" said Don Diego; "I will answer for Don Jaime."
"You are very kind, Don Diego, but if Ignazia likes her cousin to come I shall be delighted, provided it be the elder cousin, whom I like better than the younger."
After this arrangement the father went his way, and I sent Philippe to the stables to put in four mules.
When we were alone Ignazia asked me repentantly to forgive her.
"Entirely, if you will forgive me for loving you."
"Alas, dearest! I think I shall go mad if I keep up the battle any longer."
"There needs no battle, dearest Ignazia, either love me as I love you, or tell me to leave the house, and see you no more. I will obey you, but that will not make you happy."
"I know that. No, you shall not go from your own house. But allow me to tell you that you are mistaken in your estimate of my cousins' characters. I know what influenced you, but you do not know all. The younger is a good girl, and though she is ugly, she too has succumbed to love. But the elder, who is ten times uglier, is mad with rage at never having had a lover. She thought she had made you in love with her, and yet she speaks evil of you. She reproaches me for having yielded so easily.