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support the thought of your perfidy. You, in whom I had treasured up every hope of future happiness, for whom I would with transport have shed my heart's best blood, you who have always seemed so generous, so nobly disinterested, surely you can never, sacrifice yourself, a willing victim at the cursed shrine of ambition.
"I am convinced I must have been imposed upon, I am certain that your heart is still unchanged. Clementina, my angel, forgive me, for doubting your fidelity, even for a moment; write to me, I beseech you, send me but a single line, say only, my heart is yours,' and the universe combined, shall not tear you from
This incoherent, but faithful picture of a disordered mind, increased the anguish of Clementina; and for some time she hesitated about answering it. "Ah! (said she, mentally), let him think me perfidious, he will then be speedily re
stored to peace, he will remember me only as an ambitious, inconstant woman, and such a being he cannot regret." At this thought her tears flowed with added bitterness, and the romantic generosity which dictated her resolution, gave way to the desire of being justified in the eyes of her lover.
"I must write to him (thought she), I must return the precious token which I have so long worn next my heart."
She took it from her neck, and bitter indeed were the tears which she shed upon it, as she pressed it for the last time to her lips. It was a beautiful trinket, in the form of a heart, which her father had suffered her to accept from D'Rosonio, but the signor knew not, when he did so, that it contained the portrait of the count; a secret spring, known only to the lovers, presented to Clementina (when she wished to contemplate them), the features of D'Rosonio, and so artfully was it constructed, that the trinket might have been mi
nutely examined without its being visible. For more than a year she had constantly worn it, and often had she' thought that it would accompany her
The task of writing to the count, and of explaining to him her reasons for resigning him, was the severest she had ever known; but a father's cursecould she resolve to incur that? impossible, and to preserve herself from this dreaded malediction, she resigned every earthly hope of happiness.
Her letter was indeed a mortal stab to the peace of the unfortunate count. His mind was too rightly turned to attempt to influence Clementina to act in opposition to the dictates of her conscience, and unable to remain and witness her marriage, he quitted Naples for some time.
In a short period after his departure, she gave her hand to the duke. She called all her fortitude to her aid during the ceremony, and when it was over,
she begged to retire for a few minutes. The signor D'Albici followed her to her apartment, he found her on her knees before a little altar, which was dedicated to her tutelar saint; her hands were clasped in fervent prayer, while her lovely eyes raised to Heaven, and the deep distress impressed upon her countenance, shewed that in the divine mercy was her only hope. On her father's entrance she hastily arose, 66 my child (cried he), I see, and I lament the hold which this unhappy passion has taken of your heart; but my Clementina will struggle with her weakness; think, my love, how different would be your feelings, had you rashly dared to brave the sacred authority of a parent; then every day would have added poig nancy to your sufferings; the mists of passion would speedily disperse, and a father's maledictions would have poisoned your every enjoyment. Now you will find that every hour will di minish your regrets. In the new tie
which you have taken upon yourself; and in the consciousness of having fulfilled your duty, you will recover peace; and it must be some addition to your felicity, to know that you have rendered the declining years of your father happy. Take then, my beloved child, my thanks, and my blessing."
The signor's voice faultered as he pronounced the benediction, which his unfortunate daughter had purchased at so dear a rate; and it is probable that, at that moment, he might have regretted the sacrifice which he so inhumanly urged her to make. Clementina threw herself into his arms, and tears streamed from her eyes.
My father, my dear father (cried she), let me again hear you bless your child."
Oh, may Heaven bless thee as fervently as I do, my beloved girl" (said the signor), and he mingled his tears with hers. Hard was the struggle of the amiable duchess, to perform to