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ing her, returned; ambition and insensibility resumed their influence over his mind, and the wrongs and sufferings of Valeria were forgotten.


WEEKS passed away, and though the Signor Montalva corresponded regularly with the count, yet there was not a hint given by him of an intention to return to the castle D'Rosonio.

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"Stephano's absence is unusually long, Maria (said the count to his wife one day, in the presence of the Signora Di Soranzo): he has boasted so long of escaping the power of Cupid, that I should not wonder if he was caught at last, and a reluctance to leave the object of his passion prevented him from seeing us." The heart of Valeria beat at these

Takes mo




words, and fearing that her emotion
would be visible to her friends, she left
the room.

"I fear, my dear lord (cried the countess), that your friend has unconsciously robbed my poor Valeria of her heart; I have observed that since he left us she has appeared melancholy and dejected.

"I hope you are mistaken (replied the count), for I much fear that Montalva is not likely to return her affection; and to a heart like her's, no torment could be equal to a hopeless pas



"I have thought (replied the countess), that he regarded her with tenderness; but his long absence, for which he does not assign any sufficient reason, makes me fear I was mistaken.”

Every day increased the dejection of Valeria; but what words can paint the distraction of her mind, when in a short time she had reason to believe herself pregnant? Despair and horror took pos

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session of her soul, and for a moment she entertained the thought of putting an end at once to her miseries and her life; but this idea was momentary; and, falling on her knees, she implored the pardon of the Almighty for so impious a thought.

To let the Signor Montalva know her situation was now her first wish, but from the idea of addressing him by letter she shrunk involuntarily; yet there was no other way that she could take to communicate it to him: a latent hope. yet remained that this circumstance might induce him to perform his mise, and in a few incoherent lines she acquainted him with the consequence of their indiscretion.

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Montalva was dressing for a gay party when the letter of Valeria was delivered. to him; and he could not help muttering execrations on his own folly, as he perused it. What was to be done, to prevent D'Rosonio knowing the circumstance?"I must remove her privately.

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The moment he had an opportunity bea of speaking to her in private, he tenderStanly lamented his absence, which business. of the most vexatious nature, he assured her, only could have occasioned; his affairs, he grieved to say, were much deranged, and at present it was absolutely impossible for him to offer her his hand; a short time he hoped would put it in his power to perform his promise; but 'till he did, there was but one way for her to avoid discovery; he would provide an asylum, where she could remain 'till he, in the face of the world, owned


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from the castle (thought he), and when
all is
over, immure her for life in a con-
vent but will she consent to this? She
must, if once I have her in my power."

Too politic to answer her letter otherwise than in person, he hastened to the castle of D'Rosonio; he was received by the count and countess with pleasure, and Valeria presaged every thing that she could wish from the promptitude with which he had hastened to her.

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