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my heart, and I was compelled to own that, compared to his, my sentiments were cold; had he never appeareď dissatisfied with the nature of my sentiments, I should not have 'suspected that the existence of more impassioned feelings were necessary to my felicity ; but in giving me an idea that that was the case, he disturbed my tranquillity without increasing my regard for himself. While
mind was in this state my guardian died, and I removed from his house to that in which we are ať present. Signora Valdorna, a woman of family but reduced fortune, gladly accepted the offer of residing with me; and I renewed my assurances to Alberto that, when decency permitted our union, my hand should be his. I could no longer suffer him to see me daily, as he had been accustomed to do; and to dissipate the grief which his father's death occasioned him, he left Naples for a short period. He took his leave of me with evident emotion, and I strove to
persuade myself that I saw him depart with regret, but I could not conceal from my own heart, that I felt as if I was now for the first time at liberty ; and I shuddered when I reflected how inconsistent with real love such a sentiment was.
“Soon after the departure of Alberto D'Orsino, I chanced, signor, to see you at the church of St. Giovanni: after what has passed (added she, blushing), I ought not perhaps to scruple owning that the first sight of you convinced me Alberto was right, when he declared that my
heart was made for a warmer sentiment than the one I felt for him. Deeply did I now regrēt the engagement that I had formed; yet, when I thought of Alberto's declaration, I al. most doubted whether I ought, preposa sessed as I was in your favour, to marry him. I determined to see you, and if I found on conversing with you,
you were all that my fancy presaged, I thought I would at least make an effort to recover my liberty; but on the very day after you had made your first visit, a letter from Alberto apprized me of his speedy return, and that he had received an appointment from our sovereign for a foreign court; he besought me on this account to shorten bis probation, and consent to accompany him.
“This was a severe and unexpected blow, and I knew not what to resolye upon.
I had intended by degrees to prepare the mind of Alberto for intelligence which I was conscious would occasion him the greatest pain ; but this was now impossible, and I had no choice but to marry him, or to abruptly inforin him of the alteration in my sentiments. To be brief, he came. The agitation of my mind, on seeing him, was too great not to strike him forcibly, and he pressed to know the cause of it, which I at last summoned resolution to tell him. I shall not attempt to paint to you the scene that ensued; the generous Alberto gave me back my liberty, and we parted for ever.'
“ She ceased, and I thanked her with transport for the preference that she had given me; she suffered me to remain with her an hour, and before my departure I received permission to visit her as her acknowledged lover. And now, Fernando, I again demand your congratulations; I had indeed intended never to marry, but a wife like Bianca is a rare treasure: wit, beauty, birth, and riches, all combine to render her desirable; and senseless must the man be that would -reject such a prize.
MONTALVA ceased, and D'Rosonio again warmly congratulated him.
- Thou - must see my Bianca, my friend (cried he); my happiness will not be complete 'till you know and esteem each other; and to-morrow I will present thee to her.” Montalva now hurried away, and left D'Rosonio to ruminate on what he had heard.
Very different were the feelings with which the friends regarded the conduct of Bianca ; Montalva thought of nothing but the preference which she gave to himself, but D'Rosonio conceived that