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A Forbidden Love
It was 1812. The Catholic Church ruled everything. There were priests there, of course. And as everyone knows, they are not allowed to marry. I was a girl who broke that rule for one of those priests. I have never liked the way that the Catholic Church rules everything in England. I often did protests with others on this subject. The Catholic Church despised me, and I was happy about this. But there was one thing I did that made them want to kill me.
Today was unlike any other day. I woke up and got out of bed. The fire had burned out last night so it was very cold in my little cottage. I started up the fire again and it slowly became warmer in the house. I looked out the window and it was pouring the snow! I loved the snow so much. Winter was such a beautiful month. I put my favorite green dress on and my green stockings. I put my bonnet on and before I walked out the door, I slipped on my shoes. I breathed in the cold morning air. I smelled very fresh and lively. I knew I had to go to the baker's because I was getting low on bread, so I started towards the baker's.
Once I reached the baker's I opened the door and a rush of warm went over my skin. 'Good day Miss Huston.' said John the baker. I had known John since I was a little girl. He would always give me pieces of bread for free when I was young.
'Hello John, I need to buy myself so bread. I have no more left.'
'Well, you came to the right place.' replied John. I let out a small laugh while I waited for my bread.
'How much do you want Isabella?' asked John.
'I want four loaves please.'
'Okay, that will be three shillings.' replied John. I handed John the money and he took it.
'Thank you very much. It will just take a few minutes to bake your bread.' I smiled at him.
'All right Isabella, here is your four loaves of bread.' John handed me my bread and before I waked out the door I said,
'Thank you very much John.' I thought I heard him chuckle, but I wasn't sure. I knew I had to get my bread home before I did anything else so I walked back home and put my bread in the house. I had forgotten to put out the fire before I left so I put it out when I went home to drop the bread off. Once everything was settled, I walked out of my house towards St. Paul's Church.
Once I had arrived at the church I walked up the steps leading into the church. I opened the door and walked in. It was not Sunday today, but I was going to the church today to pray. My brother had been drafted into the war. People were starting to call this war The War of 1812. I hoped that he would not be killed. He had lived with me prior to him leaving. I didn't have to work at all because he left me with much money. I sat down on a pew and bowed my head.
I prayed to myself. Dear God, please let my brother live through this war. I miss him terribly. He has been the only man I have ever looked up to, well except for my father and John. Protect him and let him come home safely. And God, help me find someone who I can become friends with while he is away. No one really likes me because I protest about the church. I do believe in you and you know that. I just don't like how the church controls everything. That is not their job. Anyways, let my brother come home safe. Amen.
I lifted my head and began to cry. I knew that God would protect my brother, but I missed him so much and worried about him every day. I finally stood up and started to head towards the door when I saw a man dressed in a black robe with a white shirt up to his neck staring at me. He had a hood over his head so I couldn't see his face. I thought he was a priest because that is what they usually wore. When the man realized I was looking at him he turned around and walked away. I went after him and said, 'Wait, why were you looking at me?'
The man just kept walking. I started running so I could catch up to the man. When I thought I had reached him he opened a door and closed it behind him. I knocked on the door a couple times and said,
'Will you not open the door? I just want to ask you something.' He didn't open the door and he didn't answer me back.
I gave up trying to get him to open the door so I walked away towards the door. I wondered why a priest would be staring at me. Priests were not allowed to marry women or be with women. I just couldn't understand why he was staring at me. He shouldn't even be interested in me. I knew I had to figure out who this man was. I knew it would be risky, but I couldn't help myself.
I was up very early this morning because I wanted to get to the church to see if I could see that monk again. I knew I was being stupid going over there and trying to get a monk to talk to me, but I had done worse things. I walked out my door and the whole town was very quiet. It was barely daylight but I was wide awake. I reached the church and walked up the steps and opened the door. I walked in the church and looked around to see the man I saw yesterday. I hoped I didn't try to run after a monk that wasn't the one I saw yesterday.
I finally sat down on a pew and let my head rest. I was actually very tired but I knew if I feel asleep he would come. I heard footsteps and lifted my head. I saw him. He was walking up some steps. I had to follow him this time. I just had to make sure he didn't know I was following him.
I stood up and quietly walked toward the stairs he was walking up. I only stepped when he stepped. We had finally gotten up the stairs when he walked into a room. He didn't close the door behind him and I was very happy! Now I could talk to him and ask him some questions. I tip- toed to the room he was in and walked into the room. I closed the door behind me.
He looked up at me and I still couldn't see his face because of his hood, but I had a feeling he would be mad. I knew he wasn't going to say anything to me so I said, 'Look sir, I know that you don't want me following you and I know why you don't. But I just really want to know why you were staring at me yesterday. I am a very curious person and always like to find out answers. If you don't tell me now I am always going to follow you and bug you until you do.'
He still didn't take his hood off but he said, 'I have never met a person like you. You seem so sure of yourself. Are you even a lady?' I couldn't believe he had just asked me if I was a lady! How rude of him!
'Sir, how dare you tell me that I am not a lady! What is wrong with you, can't you tell I am a lady? Am I that ugly that you must think of me as a man?'
'I never said that, I only said you do not act like a lady. I have never met a lady before, but I have seen the way they behave, and you do not act like them.'
'Well, I have been told this before, but you still do not have the right to tell me that. Now, will you please answer my question?' I asked.
'What was your question again?' he asked. I sighed,
'I wanted to know why you were staring at me yesterday?' 'I was only staring at you because you were crying and I was wondering why you were.'
'Why would you care if I was crying? You are not supposed to be with women or care of them.' I replied.
'I may not be allowed to be with them, but it doesn't mean I don't think any of them.'
I knew he wouldn't tell me the real reason he was looking at me so I asked, 'What is your name sir?'
'If I tell you, will you promise not to tell anyone I have met you?'
'I promise not to tell a soul about this to anyone.' I replied.
'My name is Benjamin Bronte. And what is your name?'
'I am Isabella Huston.'
'Isabella, what a beautiful name, you may think me a fool, but I have always loved that name. It seems a person of that name would be graceful and full of light and kindness.
' I stared at Benjamin for a minute without blinking. I couldn't believe that those words just came out of his mouth. I finally uttered out, 'Well'thank you. I have always loved my name also.'
Benjamin took off his hood and I could finally see what his face looked like. His hair was a dark brown and it was grown down to his neck. His eyes were a dark green. His skin was a dark tan color that was absolutely beautiful. At that moment I realized he was very handsome. I must have been silent longer than I thought because Benjamin said, 'I must go now, and I have certain duties to attend to. It was nice meeting you Isabella. Are you not going to follow me now?'
'I cannot promise you I won't stay away from you, but I won't go running after you. Good day to you.' I replied. I didn't even give him time to answer me because I walked away.
I was walking back to my house when a very tall man came up to me. 'Excuse me ma'am but may I ask you a question?' I had no idea who this man was and didn't want to talk to him. He looked very scary at times. He was tall, his face looked like the person who was very cruel, and I just didn't trust him.
'I am sorry, but I don't think you can ask me a question. I must go to my house and go and prepare dinner. Good day sir.' It looked like the man was about to say something, but I didn't give him a chance. I walked away very quickly and didn't look back. Once I reached my house I walked in and locked the door behind me. I then closed all my windows. That man scared me and if he did follow me, at least he couldn't see me. I started up the fire and then went to go and prepare my dinner.
It was a new day and I was going the church again to meet Benjamin. I didn't know if he would talk to me again, but I was counting on it. I also hoped that I didn't meet that same man that I met yesterday. He scared me. I walked to the church and went inside. I looked around the church for Benjamin, but of course I didn't see him. I then decided what I had to do; I was going to search the whole church until I found him.
I first went up to the room that we had talked in yesterday. He wasn't there. I walked out of that room and down a hallway. There were no rooms so far and I was getting discouraged. I looked below me and saw someone. I hoped it was Benjamin because I was going down there. I ran down the steps and yelled, 'Benjamin, if that is you please tell me!'
'Will you keep it down Isabella, I am not supposed to be with you.' said Benjamin.
I finally reached him and said, 'I am so very sorry Benjamin, I didn't mean to yell. I can just get very excited sometimes.'
'Well, if I ever see you again after this, don't yell for me.'
'I wouldn't yell for you if I knew where you were.' I replied. 'I am always in different places every day. You would never be able to find me.' 'Well, why don't we meet once a day in the same place so we can talk.' I said.
'Isabella, why are you doing this? You know that priests are not supposed to be talking to women.'
'I do know this but what I don't get is why you won't just tell me to leave you alone. I mean isn't that what you are supposed to do?' He didn't have an answer for this and I knew it. 'I am right, aren't I?'
He had an answer for me this time. 'I do not want to be rude to you, so I just talk to you.' 'That is not a very good answer sir. Maybe you are allowing me to talk to you because you want me to talk to you.'
'What, that is a preposterous idea!' roared Benjamin.
'You wouldn't be mad like this if it wasn't true.' I replied. 'I am mad because you are making accusations that are not true.'
'Oh, I know that you like talking to me, I just want you to admit it.'
'Isabella, I do enjoy talking to you, I must admit, but I can not meet you every day.' 'Well, why not? I see nothing wrong with it.'
'What if someone sees us? I would be killed for sure and who knows what they would do to you.'
'Would they kill me?' I asked.
'It is possible.'
'Look, I don't think anyone would catch us. I have been here very early in the morning and no one is here. Won't you please do this?' I begged.
'All right Isabella; I will meet you at 5 am once a day. But you must be sure that no one is following you here.'
'I will be sure Benjamin.' 'Okay, I will see you tomorrow. Good day.'
'Good day Benjamin.'
It was 5 am and I rushed over to the church to meet Benjamin. I had forgotten to ask him where we would be meeting, but I didn't care, I would eventually find him. I walked into the church and looked around for him. I saw him sitting on a pew. He looked back and our eyes met. A feeling of pleasure and joy went through me. As he started to walk towards me I blushed. I hoped he didn't see that.
'Hello Benjamin. I forgot to ask you where we would be meeting yesterday so I didn't know where to go.' I said.
'It is fine, I forgot to tell you. There is a room upstairs that is on the right hand side of the room where you and I first talked. Here is a key for you. You and I have the only keys that open that door.' He handed me the key and I put it in my pocket. 'Come, let us go there and talk.' said Benjamin.
I walked beside him as we walked up to the room. Once we reached the door, Benjamin unlocked the door and let me go in first. He came in after me and locked the door behind him. I sat down on a chair and a shiver went up my spine. I was very cold. I had forgotten to put on a cloak before I left my house.
'Are you shivering?' asked Benjamin.
'Yes I am. I forgot my cloak at home.'
Benjamin stood up and lit the fire. 'That should help.' said Benjamin.
'Thank you.' It was very silent for a while but I decided that I wanted to break the silence. We talked about everything from our hopes, dreams, religion, who are parents were, where were we born, where our relatives came from and many other topics. I could have talked for ever but I heard the clock strike six. We had been talking for an hour straight. 'Isabella, you must go, we have been talking for an hour. I must attend to my duties. We will see each other tomorrow.'
'Okay, I will see you then.'
We both stood up and I opened the door and walked away.
One Month Later
I had been going to see Benjamin for one month now. We had become such close friends. Today it was just like any other day when I went to the church to go and see Benjamin. I walked up the stairs and into the room where we always talked. I unlocked the door and saw Benjamin as usual. He turned and looked at me and his face turned into a smile.
'Isabella, how are you this morning?'
'I am wonderful, and you?'
'I am wonderful as well.'
We both sat down together. We talked of the weather and how people's behavior annoyed us, but to me, Benjamin didn't seem himself. 'Benjamin, is something wrong with you?' I asked.
'No, I am absolutely fine. What made you come to that conclusion?'
'You don't seem yourself.'
He was quiet for a minute and then he sighed and said, 'Isabella, you are right, there is something I need to tell you.'
'Well, what is it?'
'Isabella, I love you.' My heart stopped and I lost my breath for a second, or so I thought. 'You'love'me?' I asked in disbelief.
'Yes, I love you more than anyone could love another person.'
I thought about my answer for a minute and then said, 'I love you too.'
'Oh Isabella, this cannot be! I am a priest. I am not allowed to marry! I am not allowed to be with you right now, but because I love you, I am with you.'
'Benjamin, isn't there any way that you can stop being a priest?'
'No Isabella, unfortunately there is no way. I have pledged to be a priest for life.'
I started to cry. I couldn't stop myself from crying, I loved him and I couldn't be with him.
'Oh Isabella, don't cry.' Benjamin came closer to me and hugged me. I hugged him back and he looked down at me. Then, Benjamin kissed me. I had never been kissed before, and this kiss was one that was full of love and passion. Once we broke from our kiss Benjamin let go of me and said, 'I am so very sorry Isabella, I didn't mean to kiss you.' 'Don't be sorry, I enjoyed it.'
'Isabella, you must go. You can not come here anymore, I am sorry to tell you this, but I can't let anything happen to you.'
'Benjamin, how can I stay away from you, when I love you?'
'I don't know, but you must.'
Benjamin let me say no more and unlocked the door. When he opened the door we both gasped.
The pope was staring at his. The pope was standing with the same man that wanted to ask me a question a while ago. He was still as scary as ever. 'Benjamin, what are you doing?' asked the pope.
'What do you mean?' asked Benjamin.
'Why are you with a woman? You are a priest! You know the law!'
I didn't know if I should say anything, so I kept quiet.
'I'um'' was all Benjamin said.
'So I see. Harry, go and take Benjamin to the cells in the basements. Keep him there until we can have a proper trial.' said the pope.
Harry took Benjamin by the arm and pulled him away. Benjamin looked back at me and I saw fear in his eyes. I started crying. The pope turned to me and said, 'And as for you, are you crazy? He is a priest!'
'I do not think you should punish Benjamin. I was the one who pushed him into seeing me. I am the one you should be punishing.'
'Well, it doesn't matter what you did, it matters what Benjamin did. He is a priest and he knows that being with women is not allowed. Now, will you please leave; I only want to see you here on Sundays. Now, be off with you!'
I ran out of the church and back to my house. I opened my door and lay down on my bed. I cried and cried the whole night.
Today was Sunday, and I was going to go to church. I also was going to see Benjamin again. I walked into the church and sat down on a pew. Church had just started. There was singing for a while and then finally we could sit down and here the sermon. I knew that I wasn't going to stay the whole time because I had to go and see Benjamin. I discreetly stood up and walked towards some stairs that I saw Benjamin go down. I was watching Harry when he took Benjamin down those stairs while the pope was lecturing me.
I went down the stairs and walked straight for a while. I then came upon cells and I knew that Benjamin had to be in one of them. I looked at each cell until finally I saw him. 'Benjamin, are you all right?'
Benjamin must have been asleep because he rose up and whispered, 'What are you doing here?'
'I have to come and see you. I couldn't stand it anymore.'
'Oh Isabella, you cannot do this. You could get in lots of trouble. Did you sneak out of church?'
'Yes I did, and it is worth it to be with you.'
Benjamin stood up and walked towards me. He put his hands on the bars. I held my hands in his. 'Isabella, you can't be here. I have missed you terribly, but if they find you here, who knows what they will do.'
'Have they hurt you?' I asked.
'Well, yesterday I was whipped six times. While I was being whipped, I thought of you. That is what helped me get through the pain.'
My eyes filled up with tears and I said, 'Oh Benjamin, I must get you out of here! I can't let you be hurt!'
'No Isabella, you mustn't. The trial will be in one week. Please come.'
'What is the trial going to be about?' I asked.
'It is going to be about whether or not I should be put to death.' said Benjamin.
I suddenly fell to the floor and started weeping. I couldn't stop these tears. If I lost Benjamin, I would kill myself, there was no only solution. He was my other half.
'Benjamin, if they kill you, I will kill myself. I can't live without you.'
Benjamin knelt down and said with tears in his eyes, 'You must not kill yourself Isabella. I want you to have a life, even when I am gone.'
'But that is the problem, if you are gone, I have no life.'
'You must at least consider not killing yourself if I am put to death. Will you at least think about it?'
I knew I didn't want to tell him I would think about it, but he was very sad so I said, 'I will think about it.'
'Thank you Isabella, now you must go before someone sees you.' I nodded my head and walked away from my one true love.
One Week Later
Today was the day; the day of Benjamin's trial. I had prayed the whole night before that he wouldn't be killed. The trial was being held at the church. Judge George Brown was the judge at this trial. Rumor had it that this judge was the most cold-hearted person out there. This made me more afraid, but I had to have hope. I got to the church early in the morning because I wanted to try and sneak into Benjamin's quarter's to see if I could find anything that would let him not be a monk anymore.
I quietly walked up the stairs towards Benjamin's room. I took out the key to open the door. Once I unlocked it I walked into the room and locked the door. Benjamin had told me once that he had a document that he had to sign in order to be a priest. I tried very hard to think of where he put it, but I just couldn't remember. Then it hit me. Benjamin put that document in his desk drawer which was locked. I had the key to this, so I unlocked the drawer. When I opened it I saw that there was one piece of paper in it. I unfolded the piece of paper and read it. At that moment, I knew I had the evidence that would let Benjamin be free of being a priest.
The trial had just begun when I sat down on a pew. They were at least 200 people at this trial. I wondered why it was causing so much attention. The judge banged his mallet on the table and said, 'Quiet, the trial is now beginning.' Everyone silenced. 'Bring him out.' said Judge Brown.
I saw Benjamin and Harry. Benjamin's hands were tied up because I could see them. Harry was there to make sure he didn't run off.
'Benjamin Bronte, you are coming to the stand first.' Benjamin's hands were untied and he walked up to the stand.
The pope had gotten himself a lawyer because he was the first one to question Benjamin.
'Mr. Bronte, when did you first meet Miss Huston?'
'About a month ago.'
'And have you seen here every day since then?'
'Yes, except when I have been in the cells.'
'Are you sure you did not see her in while you were in the cells, because we have witnesses that say they say a woman get up in the middle of church and walk away.'
'I can honestly say that I haven't seen here while I was in the cells.'
Why was he lying? He was going to get in more trouble! I looked at him and he looked back at me. I gave him a look that told him to tell the truth. He looked away and then said, 'I must tell you the truth, I did see Miss Huston while I was in the cells, but it was only once.'
'Oh I see. I have one more question for you Mr. Bronte. Do you love Miss Huston?' asked the pope's lawyer.
'Yes I do. I love her with all my heart. Nothing could take away the love I have for her.'
My eyes filled up with tears and I knew that he meant what he said. 'No more questions your honor.'
'You may now step down Mr. Bronte.' said Judge Brown.
'I now call Miss Huston to the stand.' said the pope's lawyer. I knew that Benjamin didn't have a lawyer because he couldn't afford one, so I had to show the evidence that would let Benjamin be free.
I sat down and then the pope's lawyer said, 'Miss Huston, did you know that Mr. Bronte was a priest when you first met him?'
'Yes I did know this. I could tell by his clothing.'
'Then why would you talk to him and ask him to talk with you alone. You must know that priest's are not allowed to be with women or marry.'
'I know this very well sir. I never expected I would love Mr. Bronte. I just thought of him as a friend at first.'
'And how do you feel now?'
'Sir, my love for Mr. Bronte goes deeper than you can ever imagine. He is my other half. I could never live without him. He would always be there for me and I for him. I know he loves me as much as I love him, and that in itself gives me much pleasure. You all must know I have never been in love with anyone before. He has been the only one. I never wanted him to get hurt when I saw him. I knew that he was risking much talking with me, but I enjoyed it so much. I could tell him anything. I could tell him all my secrets, hopes dreams anything. I will always and forever love Benjamin Bronte.'
I looked to Benjamin and he was crying very much. I started to tear up as well. 'That was a wonderful speech Miss Huston, but it doesn't prove anything.' said the pope's lawyer.
'Sir, I have evidence.'
'What kind of evidence do you have?'
'I have a document that Mr. Bronte had to sign in order to become a priest. The pope also had to sign it. In Article II it states 'If he wants to no longer be a priest, he has consent to do so without any trial. If he wants to go and fulfill his other desires he may in fact do this. And he may not be disowned by the church because of this.'
The crowd let out a gasp and the pope looked at me with daggers.
'Miss Huston, may Judge Brown look at this document?' asked the pope's lawyer.
I handed the document to him and then he gave it to Judge Brown. Judge Brown read the document and then said, 'This document is legal and binding. The Pope did sign this document, which means that Mr. Bronte does not have to be a monk if desires not to be. Case closed.'
The Pope and his lawyer stared at Judge Brown in disbelief, but said nothing. I ran off the stand towards Benjamin. Benjamin took me his arms and we kissed each other. I didn't even care if over 200 people were watching us; I was with Benjamin, and that was all that mattered to me.
Two Months Later
It had been two months since the trial and by now Benjamin and I were happily married. I loved being married to him. He was the best husband anyone could ask for. Benjamin got a job as a fisherman and I was happy with that kind of job. He loved it and so did I. We always had something to eat, which was a big plus. We still stayed in my little cottage, but if we ever had children, we talked about building a new house. Benjamin had changed my life and he always told me I changed his. I truly believe that he and I were meant for each other.
When we go out together people stop and stare at us, but I don't mind. All I care about is Benjamin. He has always been there for me. He has never let me down. Not even once. Most people thought our love was crazy, but you know what, it was a forbidden love. A love that once was forbidden was now permitted.