Falling Faster Than a Helmet From the Sky.
In San Stefano, she receives a mandate, either accept the veil or marry the choice of the Marchesa, her kidnapper by proxy. Ellena’s response to the Abbess given with “an air of dignified tranquility” is so self-affirming to drop modern jaws (at least mine):
“My resolution is already taken, and I reject each of the offered alternatives. I will neither condemn myself to a cloister, or to the degradation, with which I am threatened on the other hand. Having said this, I am prepared to meet whatever suffering you shall inflict upon me; but be assured, that my own voice never shall sanction the evils to which I may be subjected, and that the immortal love of justice, which fills all my heart, will sustain my courage no less powerfully than the sense of what is due to my own character. You are now acquainted with my sentiments and my resolutions; I shall repeat them no more." (ch. 7)
"The sanctuary is profaned," said Ellena, mildly, but with dignity: "it is become a prison. It is only when the Superior ceases to respect the precepts of that holy religion, the precepts which teach her justice and benevolence, that she herself is no longer respected. The very sentiment which bids us revere its mild and beneficent laws, bids us also reject the violators of them: when you command me to reverence my religion, you urge me to condemn yourself." (ch. 7)
“This conversation isn’t going well. Besides...”
“I know. You already have a boyfriend. I’ll bet he’s not like me!”