« PreviousContinue »
manded the cause of that distress, so visible in his daughter's countenance.
"In truth, my lord, (replied Camillo), I know not what has deprived Victoria of her cheerfulness; but for some days past, she has indulged a melancholy that afflicts me; our neighbour D'Arfet has viewed her with partial eyes, and though he might aspire to a richer bride, he sought from me the hand of Victoria; but she refused to listen to his suit, nor would I cross her inclinations; not for the wealth of worlds would I see my child unhappy, and know myself the cause; but though I explicitly told her so, yet, from that time she has pined, and every hour seems to increase her dejection."
The words of Camillo gave to the heart of Fernando the most painful sensation it had ever experienced; he felt that he loved, and he recollected a thousand little circumstances that convinced him he was beloved; but the
transport, that had he been differently situated, would have accompanied such a conviction, was destroyed by the bitter remembrance of the insurmountable bars to his union with Victoria, and he sunk into a reverie that was unnoticed by Camillo.
"Your lordship has so kindly interested yourself for me, and mine, (continued the old man), that I know you will forgive my presumption in requesting one more favour. I think that the fear of making me unhappy, notwithstanding my assurances to the contrary, has rendered Victoria so melancholy; if would condescend to assure her,.. you that could I see her cheerfulness return, my felicity would be complete; your words would I know have weight with her: may I, my lord, hope that you will grant me this request?"
"Most readily, (replied the count), but not to-day, you shall see me soon again, and then, (added he, with a sigh),
we will try what can be done to restore the mind of Victoria to peace.
He interrupted the acknowledgments of Camillo, whom he quitted with a mind more disturbed than he chose to own, even to himself.
THE various emotions which he dared not indulge, and which he could not repress, robbed D'Rosonio for that night of repose; fancy pictured to him the happiness which he might enjoy in a union with Victoria.
"What! though her birth is humble (thought he), yet her virtues and her graces would add lustre to any rank; and shall I deprive myself of the possession of a woman so formed to render me happy, merely in compliance with prejudices which I ought to despise?" But when he asked himself
whether his father, his beloved and revered father, would, were he living, consent to his marriage with Victoria, he was compelled to own that such an union would never have received his sanction he recollected the admonition he had received from the late count:
“When you marry, my son, let wealth be your least consideration ; you are rich enough to support the dignity of your house; seek only for a woman whose virtues and whose birth will reflect lustre upon your choice."
Often had Fernando promised to his father implicit obedience on this point. "And does his death (thought he) exonorate me from my promise? Oh! no. It renders the performance of it a sacred duty. Yes, dear shade of my revered father, solemnly do I swear never to forget that injunction you have so often laid upon me."
Severely did he now blame himself for that intercourse, innocent as it was,