« PreviousContinue »
“ I have saved thee, my love! (said he) and while thou art safe, how can I repine? Banish thy uneasiness, dearest Clara; we have still a competence, and the heart of my beloved sighs not, I well know, for the gratifications of luxury or ambition.”
Oh, Montalva! (cried she) when I think what a noble use thou wouldst have made of the princely inheritance of my ancestors, which, in thy hands, would have been a blessing to thousands, I cannot but repine that it is lost to us for ever."
Montalva wiped away the pearly drops i that stole down her cheek as she spoke,
and the fond soothings of her beloved husband soon, in a great measure, dissipated her uneasiness.
D'Rosonio speedily joined his friend, and the lovely duchess received him with a pleasure which she sought not to conceal. Relieved now from a tie that had been the bane of her happiness, Clemen. tina dared to acknowledge to her own heart, that she loved and was beloved by
the most amiable of men. Her nuptials with the count were celebrated as soon as decency would permit; and as the wife of D' Rosonio, she enjoyed a happsness even more transcendant than she had hoped for.
Similarity of temper and disposition soón united Clementina and the Signora Montalva in the strictest friendship, and the count and Montalva were delighted with the affection which they shewed for each other. Two years had elapsed since the marriage of Montalva, and his lovely wife had as yet given no promise of an encrease to his family ; but about the beginning of the third, Montalva had reason to hope that his wishes for a child would be granted; and at the same time the pregnancy of Clementina was announced.
• Should heaven send to the one a boy, and to the other a girl (said D'Rosonio to his friend); it will perhaps be a means of drawing our faunilies still closer, by the union of our children.”
Montalva heartily hoped that it might be so: but they were disappointed; for the ladies were delivered, within one month of each other, of two boys.
" Well! (said Montalva) our children will at least be friends, and should heaven send us others, our project may yet be realized." But
away, and neither of the ladies again proved with child. The boys were almost constantly together, and the fathers flattered themselves that their friendship would be perpetuated between their children.
The dispositions of D'Rosonio and Montalva were similar, though their tempers were different; but neither in disposition nor temper did there exist the smallest similarity between their sons. Open, generous, and unsuspecting, the heart of the
D'Rosonio. was formed for love and friendship. Though naturally acute and penetrating, the warmth of his temper rendered him blind to the faults of those whom he
loved ; and even in his childish days, the distresses of others had at
time power to deter him from the pursuit of his own gratifications, if by relinquishing them he could serve a fellow-creature.
Impetuosity of temper often led him into the commission of trivial errors, but these were acknowledged with candour, and no temptation could lead him to disguise or conceal the truth.
The domestics and the vassals of Count D'Rosonio looked forward, with hope and exultation, to so worthy a successor of their beloved master, who contemplated the opening virtues of his son with all the pride and tenderness of a doating parent.
Moutalva was less happy in his offspring: proud, selfish, and untractable, the disposition of the young Stephano embittered the happiness of his parents, who looked forward, with terror to the matyrity of those evil passions, which neither precept nor example could core rect. He possessed however, from his
earliest years, a degree of hypocrisy that enabled him, in some degree, to reil his faults from his father's eyes, but his mother was more clear sighted ; and frequently did she sigh in secret' as she reflected upon the natural, and as she feared, incurable depravity of her son.
Brought up together from their childish days, young D'Rosonio felt, partly from habit and partly from the natural goodness of his heart, the warmest friendship for his 'consin ; and if Stephano was capable of feeling the smallest interest or affection for any human being it was for Fernando, whose lively regard and incessant acts of kindness made some impression even on his callous heart.
When Fernando was about fifteen, as he was one day returning to his father's palace from the habitation of Signor Montalva, he observed a youth nearly his own age, whose appearance bespoke t'ie most extreme wretchedness, stop at the gate of a house that