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aided by the magic of Kemble's acting, brought his crime fresh to his memory, and he could almost have faneied he beheld the dying D'Rosonio; he sat with his eyes rivetted to the stage; but when Hamlet repeated the speech in
which are these lines:
-I have heard,
That guilty creatures, sitting at a play,
He could bear it no longer, but starting up, complained of illness, and Ellen, who was alarmed at the alteration visible in his countenance, hurried home with him immediately.
During their drive, Montalva was silent; but he frequently sighed deeply, and when Ellen, in the gentlest accents, inquired whether he felt himself better, be replied in the negative. Though he was in general temperate, he drank
freely of Madeira as soon as they reached home, in the hope that the potency of the wine would banish reflection, and enable him to obtain some rest; but he was disappointed; for he never closed his eyes, and the morning found him unrefreshed, and a prey to fever.
For some days his behaviour was so gloomy and strange, that Ellen wondered what had affected him, and as she knew that he spent some of his time at a gaming-house, she feared that he had probably injured his fortune by play; but in truth, though he often lounged there, he had never, till after the night on which his conscience was so dreadfully awakened, played but for small sums; from that time his mind was in so perturbed a state, that he hoped to alleviate the torments he suffered by plunging into the vortex of deep play.
This plan, in some degree, succeeded. The Neapolitans are fond of gam
ing, and Montalva had formerly been much addicted to it. His success was wonderful; night after night he rose from table a winner, and in a very short time he had realised a considerable sum.
ONE night two gentlemen entered, and placed themselves near the count.
"I think it will be madness (said. one to the other), for though the sum in question is too small to be of actual service, yet in what a predicament will the loss of it place you."
"It is now no time to deliberate (replied the other); it is wholly insuffi-. cient, and the loss of it cannot make me more wretched than I am; but should I succeed, what happiness awaits.
betrayed the greatest agitation, and heavy sighs burst from his bosom. On
a sudden he threw himself on his knees, and appeared to pray with uncommon fervency; he then rose, and taking a pistol from his pocket, he exclaimed aloud, "Oh! may Heaven forgive me." He grasped the pistol with an unsteady hand, and at that moment Montalva rushed forward, and seized his arm.
"Rash man! (cried the count) what would you do?"
Astonishment rendered the young man motionless for a few seconds; but he speedily recovered himself. "You have but delayed, not prevented my purpose (cried he). I must die, for never will I face the open infamy that awaits me if I live."
The inoon shone uncommonly bright, and the agitation, the deep distress, that has visible in the young man's countehance, created a sentiment of pity in
theart of Montalva; it was the first