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almost instantly succeeded it, and the trembling of her whole frame, proved that sbe did not hear the intelligence with indifference.
Nay, Montalva, (cried the count), we cannot consent to lose thee: How say you Maria, (turning to the countess, who at that moment entered), will you and Signora Di Soranzo suffer Montalva to depart?"
“No, in truth, (replied she), if our commands to the contrary have power to stay the signor.”
They would be irresistible; (cried Montalva, bowing); but that business of import”
“ Heed him not Maria, 'tis but a mere excuse, (interrupted the count;) he is tired of the peaceful shades of D’Rosonio, and sighs for the dissipation of Naples ; is it not so, Stephano ???
No, on my word you wrong me, count, (said Montalva); it is business, and of consequence, that obliges me to tear myself from this castle."
They did not press him further, and the next day he quitted them; but he sought in vain to banish the remembrance of Valeria; her lovely image was ever before him, and for the first time, he turned with disgust from the blandishments of the fairest conrtezans in Na. ples.
The signor Fiorenzo, who was distantly related to D'Rosonio, became at this period an inmate of his castle for a short time; the lovely Valeria caught his heart, and he did not hesitate to offer her his hand. The Signor Fiorenzo was of middle
had been accounted handsome, and might still be reckoned fine; his temper was open, cheerful, and benign, and his birth and fortune were far beyond what Valeria could expect. The count and countess D’Rosonio rejoiced at a proposal so flattering to the signora, whom they both loved with the tenderest affection; and Maria undertook to acquaint her with it.
age, his person
“ Methinks, (cried the countess to Valeria), we have been more cheerful since the arrival of our new guest, who will I hope remain with us for some time. What does my Valeria think of the Signor Fiorenzo?"
“He appears good and amiable,” replied Valeria.
“And his person,(cried the countess); we women generally mention that first, what think you of it?
*“Indeed (cried the signora), I hardly know what to say, for the truth is that I never have observed it.”
“But the signor has not been so unobservant, (said the countess); he thinks Valeria De Soranza equally lovely and amiable; (she paused, but no expression of pleasure appeared in the intelligent countenance of Valeria, and the countess continued), " the heart of Signor Fiorenzo has hitherto been inaccessible to love, and some of the fairest of our Neaapolitan dames, have tried their charms in vain; but he now acknowledges the force of beauty, and sues for the affections and the hand of my friend.".
Valeria turned pale. “ I feel grateful for the signor's notice,(cried she), but~"
“Nay, dear Valeria, (interrupted Maria,) think before you positively refuse; Fiorenzo is a man so formed to make you happy that --"
“ I own his merit, (cried she), but dearest friend, think, me not ungrateful, if on this one point, I must differ with you; indeed, indeed, my heart can never be the signor's; and never will I, friendless as I am, bestow my hand, where I cannot give my heart:" she burst into tears as she spoke.
“No, dear Valeria, (said the countess, embracing her); you are not friendless; never will I again speak to you of Fio
Are you not the sister of my heart? and does not D'Rosonio, equally with myself, love and regard you ? Banish then the unkind idea, that we could wish ought but your happiness.” “Oh! my friend, my dear friend, (cried
Valeria as she returned the countess's embrace,) why cannot I -" she stopped at that moment, her whole heart was upon her lips, but a natural and ingenuous shame made her hesitate to own her affection for Montalva. Ah! ill-fated Valeria, hadst thou confided thy secret to the bosom of friendship, what misery hadst thou been spared.
The countess mentioned to her lord the manner in which Valeria received the intelligence of Signor Fiorenzo's passion, and D'Rosonio agreed with her that it would be cruelty to importune the signora further.
"I am more hurt my friend than I could have supposed possible, (said Fioel renzo when D'Rosonio reluctantly ac
acquainted him with the ill success of his suit); I thought not that my heart was so deeply engaged, but the signora's will shall be my law, and as I cannot remain with safety to niyself, I must Ay from her presence."