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"MAY Heaven renounce me when I forget thy generous friendship, dearest D'Rosonio" (cried Montalva, as he pressed the hand of his cousin)..
"In truth (replied the count), you owe me no obligation, what I did arose from actual selfishness."
Selfishness, Fernando! what, at the hazard of your own life to preserve mine? how can you prove that there
was any thing selfish in such an act?" said Montalva.
"Very easily (cried the count), had I abandoned to you your fate, I should never have known a tranquil moment; by sharing it, I had at least a chance of preserving you, and my life is not so very precious to me, that I should hesitate to venture it for a friend;" a momentary sadness clouded the ingenuous countenance of D'Rosonio as he spoke, and Montalva surveyed him with an eye of pity.
"Well, Fernando (cried he), we will not argue the point, but from henceforth, we are brothers;" he held out his hand, and D'Rosonio grasped it in his ; no protestations confirmed this league of amity, but it lasted during the lives of the friends.
The count D'Rosonio, and the signor Montalva were distantly related, but they had till now been almost strangers to each other; they had indeed often met, but their dispositions were apparently different, and though polite, they were not friendly. Mon
talva's temper was of the gayest kind, he was a soldier of fortune, and though his sword, and his descent from a long line of illustrious ancestors, was nearly the whole of his inheritance, yet few men were happier. Brave, generous, and unsuspecting, his heart glowed with universal philantrophy, and he lamented the narrowness of his fortune only, when he saw distress which he could not relieve.
Not less noble, or less feeling than his cousin, was the heart of D'Rosonio; but his temper, naturally grave, had been saddened even to melancholy, by a disappointment which he met with in the dawn of his life: he had loved from his boyish days the beautiful Clementina D'Albici, and she returned his passion; few female hearts could indeed be insensible to the merits of D'Rosonio. The father of Clementina was apparently pleased with their mutual attachment; and when D'Rosonio solicited
the hand of his daughter, he refused it only on account of her extreme youth.
"A little time will remove that obstacle, signor (eried the impatient lover), might. I but look forward to a certainty of calling the signora Clementina mine, were it even at the end of a whole year, though that would appear an age."
My daughter is yet a child (said the signor D'Albici, smiling at his warmth), and one year would not render her a woman, neither should I chuse to form any positive engagement for her; but be assured count, that I have the highest sense of the honour you do me in seeking my alliance, and I know not at present, that man to whom I would more willingly intrust the happiness of my child; but I will not enter into any positive engagements."
The decided tone of the signor prevented D'Rosonio's reply; and he endeavoured to persuade himself that at a