« PreviousContinue »
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
"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 Montalya, 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.
The time of her novitiate was nearly expired, and the abbess thought that this melancholy event should rather hasten than retard her taking the veil..
"When Albertina contemplated her lot, her spirits sunk in absolute despair; she was persuaded that the tears which she incessantly shed, flowed only for the loss of her father; but she deceived. herself, the idea of renouncing every social tye, and burying her youth and hopes in the gloom of a cloister, cost her many pangs; of Di Soranzo she
did not suffer herself to think; yet, his ~idea would intrude, and vainly did she strive to vanish it from her mind: her perpetual struggles impaired her health, her soft cheek lost its bloom, and her eye its lustre, and it became a doubt whether she would live to take the
"Father Velasquez, the confessor of "the convent, saw and compassionated the struggles in the soul of the young novice; he communicated to the lady
abbess his fears, that obedience to the will of her deceased father alone influenced her to take the veil.
"But surely, father (cried the abbess), her repugnance to a monastic life will in time subside; she was destined to it even before her birth, and it is impossible for her to regret a world, to which she is a total stranger.'
"I cannot think (said the father), that she is obliged to fulfil the vow made by her mother; nay, I do not think her mother justifiable in making such a
"Father,' cried the abbess in a tone of astonishment
"No one (returned Velasquez), can, I trust, entertain a greater veneration for religion than myself; but no rational being can suppose that a parent's rights extend to such a length; and if this young creature is decidedly averseto a monastic life, I should advise her to get the church's permission to return to the world,'