would occur to the mind of the reader of the
present day under such circumstances, would be an action for breach of
promise of marriage, and he would probably be aware of the very recent
origin of that method of procedure. The only reply, therefore, that he
would expect from Roberto would be a mild and sympathetic assurance of
inability to interfere; and he must be somewhat taken aback to find this
claim of Camiola admitted as indisputable. The riddle becomes somewhat
further involved when, having established her contract, she immediately
intimates that she has not the slightest intention of observing it
herself, by declaring her desire to take the veil.
5. This can only be explained by the rules current at the time regarding
spousals. The betrothal, or handfasting, was, in Massinger's time, a
ceremony that entailed very serious obligations upon the parties to it.
There were two classes of spousals--sponsalia de futuro and _sponsalia
de praesenti_: a promise of marriage in the future, and an actu