Page images
PDF
EPUB

D'Rosonio knew too much of the human heart to press the signor to remain, and in a few days he quitted the castle D'Rosonio.

CHAP. X.

RESTLESS and unhappy, Montalva persuaded himself that he might without danger return to the mansion of the count.

"I can have nothing to fear from Valeria, (thought he,) and D'Rosonic will think my absence unkind. A letter of the count's containing the warmest invitation to the castle lay before him. "I must accept it," (said he, mentally); and the next day he left Naples for the castle D'Rosonio..

The count and countess welcomed him with all the warmth of friendship,

but in the glow of transport that lighted up the lovely countenance of Valeria, Montalva read a welcome the sweetest to his heart.

“We will make a prisoner of thee now, Montalva, (cried the count), and no business of import shall again rob us, of thee.”

“ You will not say so count, (replied Montalva, laughing); by and bye, for I have come to tire out the patience and the hospitality of my

friend." “ You observe the challenge Valeria, (said D'Rosonio), and remember, Montalva, that now thou art bound to stay."

Every glance which he stole at the varying countenance of the Signora Di Soranzo, betrayed to the acute and penetrating Montalva the emotions of her heart.

“ She loves me, (said he exultingly to himself); and passion for a moment silenced ambition.

Every day Montalva almost unconsciously shewed Valeria, by a thousand

minute attentions, the power she possessed over his heart; yet had he art enough to veil from the count and countess his love for the signora, who resigned her whole soul to the influence of a passion which she cherished with delight, un. conscious that it was soon to become the torment of her existence.

The day after Montalva's arrival, ÞRosonio told him of the Signor Fiorenzo's proposal for Valeria.

“ Had Fiorenzo' asked the hand of my sister, and she gave it to him willingly, I should be proud to call him brother; and for Valeria's sake I grieve that she should reject him, but her heart did not speak in his favour, and who shall dictate to the heart?"

“The signora's is probably engaged,". said Montalva confusedly.

“ The countess thinks not, (replied D'Rosonio); and indeed when we consider that she has been secluded in a monastry from her birth, 'till she accepted the countess's protection, I do not

think that her young heart has yet felt the power of love."

* I have heard you say that she is an orphan, but of her storyl know hothing ;" cried Montalva.

“ Her father was the friend of my Maria’s, (said the count), and never was there a braver or a worthier man than Di Sorånzo. Of noble birth, but scantily gifted with the favours of fortune, Di Soranzo sought by his sword to restore his name to its ancient splendour ; he fought and bled for Naples:-his sovereign acknowledged his services with thanks ; but laurels, not preferment, was the reward of his bravery; and though a nation's idol, he pined in honourable indigence. One night, that he had dined with a party of officers, and was returning home at a late hour; he observed a man much muffled up, slowly following a gentleman who was evidently unconscious that he did so; Di Soranzo saw him put his hand into his bosom and draw from it a stiletto, and he instantly con

« PreviousContinue »