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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.
This conversation passed in a low
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 fas visible in the young man's countehance, created a sentiment of pity in
heart of Montalva; it was the first
time he had ever felt interested for a fellow being; for to the feelings of pity and benevolence he had hitherto been a stranger.
"Tell me (cried he), is it the loss you have this night sustained, that forces you to this dreadful determination ?"
"It is (replied the young man); the small.sum I had in my possession was risked in the hope of winning enoughto extricate me from the difficulties into which credulity and false friendship have plunged me. I had nearly gained the sum I wanted when you became my opponent; your good fortune prevailed, and I saw myself stripped of all.”
"Well (cried the count), taking out his pocket-book, this loss shall not drive you to despair; I will return your money, and if the additional sum is not a very large one, you shall have it
The sudden transition from misery to happiness was more than the stranger could bear; he staggered, turned
tone, but the count, who was ́particularly attentive to it, heard it distinctly. The gentleman soon after placed himself at one of the tables; he threw, and was successful. Never did Montalva behold anxiety so strongly depicted as in the countenance of this young and interesting man; he did not appear more than twenty, and his *features were strikingly handsome and expressive. For nearly an hour his success was uniform; at the end of that time his antagonist declined playing any more, and the count challenged him. The stranger readilly accepted his offer, and for a short time he continued to win; but Montalva's usual good fortune prevailed, till he had stripped the young man not only of all his gains, but a sum besides.
From the time he began to lose, his countenance had gradually changed from the expression of delight that it had worn while he was winning, to an