Page images

som, plunged it in the breast of De Vinci, at the same moment that the duke's sword entered his side.

[ocr errors]

The screams of Claudia brought up her domestics. The wretched woman, whose discovery of her guilt was the cause of the fatal catastrophe, was nearly frantic when she saw Carlo weltering in his blood, and her violent outcries alarmed the neighbourhood. The house was presently filled, and of ficers of justice were sent for,

The duke expired almost immediately upon receiving his wound, but Carlo still survived. He was, together with Claudia and the domestic who accused herself as the cause of all, committed to prison.

The feelings of the duchess upon this occasion were acute in the extreme, and with the most pious fervency did she supplicate the mercy of Heaven for her guilty husband. The short interval of kindness, which had succeeded his cruel treatment of her, had wholly oblite

rated from the gentle and feeling mind of Clementina all traces of resentment; and she wept bitterly, when she reflected upon the unprepared state in which he was called to his last account.

The lover who for years has sighed for an adored object that he despaired of ever possessing, and has at last enjoyed the transport of calling that beloved one his, only can conceive the rapture with which D'Rosonio learned that his Clementina was free.

Montalva and the Signora warmly congratulated him on this unhoped-for happiness. "You will soon revisit Naples, dear D'Rosonio (cried Montalva), and we must try to prevail upon my Clara to accompany us thither."

"You know (said she), that I have no will but yours, and when you wish to depart, I will go with cheerfulness."


She thought not that there was a storm gathering over her head, that would compel her to fly from Madrid,

[ocr errors]

and that malice and superstition would prevent her ever returning to it.

Don Juan D had never forgiven her rejection of him. His heart (naturally revengeful) was torn by the sight of the happiness which she enjoyed with Montalva, and he panted for an opportunity to be revenged on her. The mind that is enlightened by science cannot respect opinions or tenets, however ancient, that are erroneous: Clara had spoken freely on the subject of an Auto D'Fe, which was recently celebrated; and she had, in expressing the greatest pity for the unhappy sufferers, openly arraigned the justice of the power that punished them. To breathe but a syllable against the Inquisition, is to subject oneself to the most dreadful punishments, but the conversation would for ever have remained unknown, but for the malignity of Don Juan; he was told of it in confidence, by one of the guests of Montalva, who meant not harm

[ocr errors]

to Clara, and he denounced her to the Inquisition, as a scoffer at its power.

An accusation of less weight would have been sufficient to endanger the life of the Signora Montalva. Most fortunately for her, a concealed friend gave her notice that she was about to be arrested, by order of the Holy Tribunal, and advised her to seek for safety in flight.


NEARLY distracted with terror on his wife's account, Montalva would not suffer her to delay her escape; and from the hasty manner in which they quitted Spain, they took with them but little that was of value; and scarcely were they arrived in safety at Naples, when they received the unwelcome intelligence, that the whole property of the Signora Montalva was confiscated.

Montalva received this intelligence with more fortitude than Clara, who deeply regretted the loss of fortune, on her husband's account.

« PreviousContinue »