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tion which his pride could not submit to;" yet, every day her beauty and softness made a deeper impression upon him, and his manner to her became more tender. The count's castle was situate at some distance from Naples, and Montalva had prolonged his visit much beyond its usual length; he did not love the country, and he was incapable of participating in the happiness which the count and countess enjoyed: he was therefore in general anxious to escape from their society; but now, the presence of Valeria acted as a spell upon his senses, and he seemed to have no power to fly.
"Confusion! (said he mentally); what am I about? I will return to Naples, and in the smiles of venal beauty, lose the remembrance of Valeria."
He mentioned his intentions to the count that day; Valeria was present, and he watched her looks while he spoke of leaving the castle; she avoided meeting his eye, but the deep suffusion of her cheek, the ashy paleness that
almost instantly succeeded it, and the trembling of her whole frame, proved that she did not hear the intelligence with indifference.
Nay, Montalva, (cried the count), we cannot consent to lose thee: How say you Maria, (turning to the countess, who at that moment entered), will you and Signora Di Soranzo suffer Montalva to depart?"
"No, in truth, (replied she), if our commands to the contrary have power to stay the signor."
They would be irresistible; (cried Montalva, bowing); but that business of import"
"Heed him not Maria, 'tis but a mere excuse, (interrupted the count,) he is tired of the peaceful shades of D'Rosonio, and sighs for the dissipation of Naples ; is it not so, Stephano?"
No, on my word you wrong me, count, (said Montalva); it is business, and of consequence, that obliges me to tear myself from this castle."
They did not press him further, and the next day he quitted them; but he sought in vain to banish the remembrance of Valeria; her lovely image was ever before him, and for the first time, he turned with disgust from the blandishments of the fairest conrtezans in Naples.
The signor Fiorenzo, who was distantly related to D'Rosonio, became at this period an inmate of his castle for a short time; the lovely Valeria caught his heart, and he did not hesitate to offer her his hand. The Signor Fiorenzo was of middle age, his person had been accounted handsome, and might still be reckoned fine; his temper was open, cheerful, and benign, and his birth and fortune were far beyond what Valeria could expect. The count and countess D'Rosonio rejoiced at a proposal so flattering to the signora, whom they both loved with the tenderest affection; and Maria undertook to acquaint her with it.
"Methinks, (cried the countess to Valeria), we have been more cheerful since the arrival of our new guest, who will I hope remain with us for some time. What does my Valeria think of the Signor Fiorenzo?"
"He appears good and amiable," replied Valeria.
"And his person, (cried the countess); we women generally mention that first, what think you of it?
"Indeed (cried the signora), I hardly know what to say, for the truth is that I never have observed it."
"But the signor has not been so unobservant, (said the countess); he thinks Valeria De Soranza equally lovely and amiable; (she paused, but no expression of pleasure appeared in the intelligent countenance of Valeria, and the countess continued)," the heart of Signor Fiorenzo has hitherto been inaccessible to love, and some of the fairest of our Neaapolitan dames, have tried their charms in vain; but he now acknowledges