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proper time he should have the happiness to receive the hand of Clementina from her father; and so in all probability he would, but for an accident that threw Clementina in the way of a richer lover. At a ball given by the countess D'Arfit, she was seen and admired by the Duke D'Vinci. Never till he beheld Clementina had he a thought of marriage; but the graces of her person, the fascinating simplicity of her manners, made an immediate impression upon his heart, and to think of her, except as a wife, he well knew would be vain; yet even with the lovely Clementina, he could not consider matrimony as desirable, and for sometime he wavered; but when he heard that her hand was sought by D'Rosonio, he hesitated no longer; he made his proposals, and they were eagerly accepted by the signor.
The heart of Clementina sunk at the news, and with tears, did she beseech her father not to sacrifice his child; but
ambition was the predominant failing of the signor. The alliance was indeed a splendid one, and he sternly vowed that he would be obeyed. The meek Clementina, who had hitherto been all obedience, now ventured to remonstrate; her father heard her with asto-. nishment.
"What! (exclaimed he,) thinkest thou that my purpose is to be shaken by the folly of an obstinate girl? or that an offer so splendid is to be rejected, merely to humour the caprice of a child, who knows not what she would have? rank, riches, and every earthly happiness await thee as the wife of the duke; and thou wilt enjoy the delightful consciousness of fulfiling a sacred duty, by complying with my will; but shouldst thou refuse, shouldst thou rashly presume to be the arbiter of thy own destiny, mark me; hope not, if thou becomest the partner of D'Rosonio's bed to taste of peace; the curses
of an offended parent shall follow thee."
He ceased, for the unfortunate Clementina sunk senseless at his feet; and it was long before she gave any signs of returning animation; but when she recover, all opposition to the signor's will was at an end.
"Oh, my father! do not curse your child, I will obey you, indeed I will; but, oh! for Heaven's sake, promise that you will not curse me."
"My child, my Clementina, thou shalt have my blessings; compose thy spirits, and all will be well (said the signor, kissing her cheek); she had been too much agitated to be able to obey him, and he soon left her, as he said, to repose."
But he had strewed the pillow of the unfortunate girl with thorns, and gladly would she have welcomed death, as a refuge from the misery of a forced marriage. The image of D'Rosonio, distracted at her supposed infidelity, pre
sented itself to her; but her father's curse yet vibrated on her ear, and she dared not suffer her thoughts, to dwell upon her lover; yet vainly did she try to recal them, and never till this moment was she sensible how wholly, how intirely her heart was the count's.
The manner in which she received the Duke D'Vinci, would have induced any man of delicacy to withdraw his addresses; but delicacy had no place in the mind of the duke. He saw the coldness, the aversion which she felt for him, but he saw it with indifference; he had always been a favourite with the fair, and he flattered himself, that when Clementina was once his, her sentiments would soon change, or if they did not, it was not of much consequence, her lovely person would be his, and he was incapable of appreciating the value of a heart like Clementina's.
He did not therefore betray the smallest symptom of discontent at her behaviour; he begged only that the
marriage might be hastened, and this request was readily agreed to by her
father; who wished it over, lest any. thing should happen to prevent it.
Immediately on the duke's proposals, signor D'Albici had forbid D'Rosonio his house, and he carefully charged his domestics to bring him every letter that came; he also observed with the greatest attention, that no person but her woman, on whose fidelity he relied implicitly, had access to his daughter; but vigilant as the signor was, yet love triumphed over his caution, and D'Rosonio contrived to convey to his Clementina the following letter:
"I cannot, I will not believe that it is possible for you to renounce me for ever; your father assures me that every thing is agreed upon, and that you have consented to give your hand to the Duke D'Vinci; but till it is confirmed by your own lips, I will not believe