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me that she hoped speedily to persuade Fiametta to liberate her, and to be the companion of her flight. "Our interview was
long, and I could not refrain from some professions of admiration, which Viola listened to with a blushing timidity, that rendered her, in my eyes, more lovely than I had ever before thought her. At parting, she promised to let me know as soon as she had settled her plan of
My situation now was a most unpleasant one; harrassed for money, which I had no means to raise, and、 not daring to apply to my aunt, lest my extravagance might injure me in her opinion. To add to my perplexities, Mendez, to my utter astonishment, sent to me for his money. I reminded him, that by the terms of our agreement he was not to be paid till my aunt's decease, and for a few days I heard no more from him. Just as I
bad begun to congratulate myself on
getting rid of the business, he came to me one morning.
"I am at present much distressed, signor (cried he), and if you cannot let me have the sum due to me, I must apply to your aunt; probably she may liquidate the debt.'
"I besought his forbearance, but for some time in vain; at last he promised to allow me a few days to make up the money; but he peremptorily declared that he must have it in a given time, and he left me. after his departure, I apartment in an agony,
For some time
which I had
never experienced before. At one moment I resolved to tell my aunt all, and the next I shrunk from a step, which would most probably occasion my ruin. While mind was in this state, I received a note from Viola, containing a request to see me that night, as she had something of consequence to say to me. I was punctual to the time, and Viola informed me, that she knew
Mendez had pressed me for the money, and that she feared a wish to be revenged on me for the disappointment I had occasioned him, would make him apply to my aunt. • Pardon me, signor (continued she, blushing), but from what Mendez said, I thought it might be inconvenient to you to settle with him. Should that be the case, perhaps it might be in my power to be of some service to you. My little fortune is at my own disposal, and if any part of it can be of use in this affair, you may command it freely.'
"I thanked the generous Viola in the warmest terms, but I declined accepting her offer; she was, however, peremptory in pressing it; she represented to me that it was but exchanging one creditor for another, and that if I did not do so, my aunt must inevitably know all, that I was so much interested to conceal from her. She added, that Fiametta had at last consented to her
escape, and had agreed to accompany her.
"The beauty and generosity of this lovely girl sensibly touched me, and I told her that, upon one condition, I was willing to become her debtor.'Situated as I now am (signora, cried I), I cannot ask you to accept my hand, but if you thought me worthy of your esteem, and would promise hereafter to become mine; ny aunt's health is precarious, and from that circumstance, and ner time of life, her dissolution may be speedily looked for; and what transport would it give me to repay my beloved Viola, by sharing with her the noble fortune of which I shall then become possessed.'
"The blushes and the downcast eyes of Viola convinced me that my proposal was not displeasing to her; and, after some hesitation, she agreed to it. I found out a retreat, which, though humble, was not devoid of comfort, and
thither, in a few days, she fled, accompanied by Fiametta. The sum which
I wanted to discharge the usurer's debt was, as I afterwards learned, nearly the whole of what my Viola possessed. She gave it to me chearfully, and I dis-. charged the debt, much to the surprise of Mendez.
"My aunt grew daily weaker, and I own I anticipated with pleasure, that the time would soon arrive when I could reward the generous conduct of my Viola, whom I now visited almost daily, and of whom every hour rendered me more enamoured. In an accursed moment, heated with wine, I presumed upon her apparent fondness, to take liberties, which she ought to have repulsed with indignation; she did not repulse them, and her compliance with my desires plunged us both into misery.
"I soothed the mind of Viola with assurances of eternal love and constancy; but in my heart I solemnly abjured