Timar's Two Worlds, by Mór Jókai

Chapter xii.

The Penitent in “Maria-nostra.”

The court sentenced Athalie to death for attempted murder. The king’s mercy commuted this sentence into imprisonment for life in the penitentiary of “Maria–Nostra.”

Athalie still lives. Forty years have passed since then, and she must be nearly seventy years old, but her defiant spirit is unbroken; she is obstinate, silent, and unrepentant. When the other prisoners are taken to church on Sundays, she is locked into her cell, because it is feared that she might disturb the devotions of the rest. Once when she was forced to go there, she yelled out to the priest “Liar!” and spat on the altar.

At various times during this period great acts of amnesty have been passed, and on national festivals hundreds of prisoners have been liberated, but this one woman was never recommended to mercy. Those who advised her to repent in order to secure a pardon received the reply, “As soon as I am free I will kill that woman!”

She says it still; but she whom she hates has long fallen into dust, after suffering for many years from that last stab inflicted on her poor sick heart.

After the words “Timar still lives,” she never could be happy again: like a cold phantom it overshadowed her joy; her husband’s kisses were forever poisoned to her. And when she felt the approach of death, she had herself taken to Levetinczy, that she might not be placed in the tomb where God knows who mouldered away under Timar’s name. There she sought out a quiet willow grove on the Danube shore, in the part nearest to where her father, Ali Tschorbadschi, rested at the bottom of the river: as near to the ownerless island as if some secret instinct drew her there. From her grave the island rock was visible.

No blessing rested on the wealth Timar left behind him.

The only son Timéa bore to her second husband was a great spendthrift: in his hands the fabulous wealth vanished as quickly as it had grown, and Timéa’s grandson lives on the pension he receives from the fund bequeathed by Timar for the benefit of poor nobles. This is all that is left of his gigantic property.

On the site of his Komorn palace stands another building, and the Levetinczy tomb has been removed on account of the fortifications. Of all the former splendor and riches not a trace remains.

 

And what is passing meanwhile on the ownerless island?

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:11