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myself with the hope that heaven would bless us with a son; these hopes were however disappointed, we had not any more children, and I could not help repining, when I thought that we must one day lose our Albertina, who was the delight of our lives.
"When my child was about fifteen, it pleased heaven to deprive me of her mother; this was the severest blow I had ever met with; and but for Albertina, I should have sunk under it: she was indeed an angel of consolation, and her pious cares at length succeeded in calming my mind, and restoring me to. tranquillity, though not to happiness. I had taken care to keep my Albertina as much as possible secluded from society, that she might not have to regret those pleasures which she was destined never to enjoy but chance presented her to the view of the Count D'Avila ; he was captivated with my child, and he thought that his rank and immense wealth would make her accept his offer
patron, and was still my friend. Had not my wife's vow rendered the marriage of Albertina impossible; yet, never should she have become the wife of D'Avila; whose youthful depravity had tarnished the honour of the illustrious house. The air of proud condescension with which he made his proposals, roused my indignation; but I suppressed it, and coldly returning him thanks for the honour he intended me, informed him that Albertina was already dedicated to the church.
"I shall not attempt, my dear signor, to repeat to you the blasphemous things which this young libertine uttered, when he found that I was firm in my purpose. Respect for your father, young man, (cried I) prevents me chastising your insolence as it deserves; but I insist upon your instantly quitting my house he obeyed, but he vowed revenge, and I have but too much reason
to believe that he strove to keep his word. This is as I have told you the third attempt that has been made upon my life; and while I remain in Naples, I think I shall not be safe from the dagger of the assassin. It is now time that my daughter's noviciate should commence, but I have hitherto wanted resolution to part with her; the sacrifice must however be made, and when I have placed her in a convent, I mean to travel.'
"Di Soranzo approved of the signor's resolution, and after some time spent in conversation, he took his leave. Soon after, Verezzi quitted Naples; and at the time of his departure from that city, Di Soranzo was absent from it. Soon after his return, his cousin Martina Di Soranzo, made a temporary retreat from the world, in consequence of the loss of her mother; she took up her abode for some time with the nuns of St. Catherine; and Di Soranzo often visited her.
"We have here, (cried she one day
to him), one of the loveliest girls I ever beheld; she is a novice, but I pity her from my soul; for had she been allowed to chuse, I am well convinced that a convent would not have been her destination; she seems however resigned to her fate, but it is the resignation of despair, or I am much mistaken.'
"Di Soranzo joined with her in pitying the young novice whose name he thought not of inquiring, and when he visited Martina again, he saw a young and lovely female at the grate conversing with a lady advanced in life. When Martina addressed her cousin by his. name, the young novice started, and timidly regarding the signor, Surely, (cried she), I behold the preserver of my father; is it not to you, signor, that Verezzi owes his life ?'
"The service that I rendered Signor Verezzi was the mere result of accident, (replied Di Soranzo wishing to wave the acknowledgments with which Albertina overwhelmed him). Never had he
beheld such beauty, and he sighed when he reflected that she must for ever renounce that world, which she seemed born to ornament.
"I will not tire your patience Montalva, with an account of the progress of a passion, which Di Soranzo and Albertina disguised under the name of friendship; the innocent girl thought it was impossible for her to be too grateful to the preserver of her father; and Di Soranzo imagined that, knowing as he did . that their union was impossible, he could
regulate his desires, and love her as a sister: How many shapes does this insiduous passion put on, to deceive its votaries? and what caution, what prudence, can ward off its attacks? The first thing that opened Di Soranzo's eyes to the nature of his sentiments for Albertina, was the death of her father; Verezzi left to the convent the whole of his property, with a proviso that his daughter took the veil there; but if she proferred any other religious house, she possessed the power. of chusing any convent in Naples..