I’ve been a rake, and the single point I ask you is, considering that my own scruples, and the fact that in the eye of the law my husband is only missing, will keep any man from marrying me until seven years have passed—am I free to entertain such an idea, even though ’tis a sort of penance—for it will be that?
There are no more uses of "penance" in the book.
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prayers of penance
A foreign policy of penance was counterproductive.