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to be her heir, she did not, large as her fortune was, make me an allowance sufficient for my rank; and the habit of dissipation, which I had acquired, became my torment, when I lost the means of supporting it. A young Frenchman, who was one of the companions of my idle hours, advised me to have recourse to a jew; who would, he said, supply me with money; but on the most exorbitant terms. To that I was indifferent, the death of my aunt would put me in possession of immense wealth, and from her time of life it was an event which I thought must soon happen; I therefore told my friend that I was willing to agree to any terms that the usurer might demand, and he took me to the house of the jew, who was named Isaac Men+ dez; with the most fawning civility the extortioner offered me any money I wanted, and in an evil hour I borrowed a large sum.
I fully intended to be more prudent in my expenditure, than I had yet been,
and. I hoped that the money thus obtained, would last me till I had the means to satisfy my creditor; but I knew little of my own heart, and less of the temptations to which I should be exposed. When my friends, as they stiled themselves, were informed of the means by which I became possessed of money to continue the career of dissipation which I had begun, schemes of pleasure were daily proposed, which I had not the resolution to object to, and my money wasted rapidly.
In an excursion which I made a few miles from Naples, I was struck with the appearance of a small neat dwelling, embosomed in a grove; it appeared too humble to be the abode of affluence, and and yet too good to be inhabited by the children of poverty. Fatigue and heat had rendered me thirsty, and I determined to try whether the tenant of this lovely spot would afford me rest and refreshment. An aged domestic opened the rustic gate, and courteously invited
me to enter; he placed wine and refreshments before me; when I had satisfied my thirst, I asked him who inhabited the cottage besides himself.
"Two ladies, signor, whom I have the honour to serve," (was his reply); and as he spoke, they entered. I rose, and apologized for my intrusion.
"You are welcome, signor, (said the eldest), to what our cottage affords; its fare, though homely, may be acceptable to a weary traveller."
While I replied to this speech, I gazed attentively on the signora; she was upwards of fifty, but never did I behold a form so noble or so dignified; time had indeed stolen from her cheek its freshness, and from her eye some portion of its lustre; but he had no power over the graces of her countenance, and her figure was symmetry itself.
In thanking the signora for her hospitality, I requested permission to rest a few minutes longer; which she readily granted. Her young companion now
spoke to the domestic, and the melody of her voice attracted my attention; her figure was small, but beautifully formed; · and her countenance, though not striking, was rendered inexpressibly interesting, by the most expressive dark blue eyes 1 ever beheld.
"Retire to your chamber, Viola, and finish the drawing which you began this morning," (said the elder signora); and the fair Viola, timidly bowing to me, retired. Notwithstanding the noble frankness of the signora's air and manner, there was a dignity about her that forbade familiarity, and after I had rested for a short time, I again thanked her and retired.
"Strange, (thought I), that two women, whose appearance bespeaks them of a rank far superior to the vulgar, should be the inhabitants of so recluse a spot. The curiosity which I felt was but of short duration; new schemes of pleasure put the adventure out of my thoughts, and in a few days it was forgotten.
Want of money soon drove me again to the house of Isaac Mendez, and I found him as ready as before to accommodate me, but what was my surprise at beholding Viola under his roof; I almost thought my eyes deceived me, but the heightened colour of Viola, and the timid glance of recognition which she cast at me, convinced me I was right; she quitted the room, and I asked Mendez, carelessly, whether she was any relation?
"None (replied he); she is my ward;' and he tried to change the subject; but my curiosity was now so much raised, that I was determined to gratify it if I could; I therefore mentioned to the jew my having before seen Viola at the cottage, and expressed the surprise I felt at seeing her in so obscure a situation. 'She then resided with her aunt, Signora Velloni, (cried he), but the signora has quitted Naples, and Viola is entrusted to my guardianship, 'till her