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he indulged, and he relapsed into those nightly horrors that rendered existence burthensome to him.
The time of Ellen's accouchement approached, and Montalva saw with concern that she suffered a great deal, and apparently more in her mind than in her health; the physician who attended her, was of opinion that it would be wrong for her to suckle her child, and Montalva insisted so strenu ously upon her giving it to the care of a nurse, that she reluctantly agreed; but her acquiescence with his wishes appeared to render her very unhappy, and for some days she suffered under the most dreadful depression of spirits. My dear Ellen (cried the count to her one evening), you will injure yourself, and the infant, by the indulgence of this melancholy; let me beg of you to lay it aside, what cause can you have for sorrow?"
My situation, my lord (replied she), makes me serious. Heaven only
knows how I shall bear the approaching trial; but whatever may happen to me,
I hope that
will be indeed a
father to--", she stopped, for she could not proceed, so excessively was she agitated.
"What part of my conduct (cried the count, sternly), makes you think me such a monster of inhumanity, as to behave unkindly to my own offspring?" He was proceeding, when Ellen burst into tears.
"Pardon me, my lord (said she), I meant not to offend you, but this weakness that hangs upon my spirits, renders me almost childish; and though I have not a doubt of your kindness to the babe, should it survive, yet, I would wish to be indulged with a solemn promise from your own lips, that whatever happens to me, you will protect and provide for it."
"Doubt it not (replied the count), may Heaven desert me, when I desert, or neglect the infant." A thought of
Valeria at this moment crossed his mind, and forced a sigh from his bosom. His promise seemed to tranquillize the spirits of Ellen, and she became more cheerful; her health amended with her spirits, but in going down stairs one day, when she was in the seventh month of her pregnancy, her foot slipped, and she was prematurely delivered of a fine boy. The infant, notwithstanding the circumstance of its birth, throve amazingly; and the mother, who recovered very fast, was well enough to suckle it herself: a task she fulfilled with delight. The pleasure that Montalva would have taken in seeing her execute the office of a nurse, was poisoned by more than one bitter retrospect. Often did the recollection of Valeria's tears, and distraction when he tore her infant from her arms, give a pang to his heart, while he witnessed the fond caresses which Ellen bestowed upon the little Stephano; and frequently while he gazed with delight upon the child, who was
indeed a lovely boy, the remembrance of the unhappy D'Rosonio, and the innocent wronged Isabel, dashed the cup of happiness with gall, and made
him in bitterness of heart curse the fatal action that had poisoned his life.
His feelings were one night roused to agony by a conversation that took place in a coffee-house, where he sometimes went. A few weeks before, two men of rank and fortune had fought a 'duel, one had fallen, and as it was surmised not fairly; his antagonist had fled, but tormented by the reproaches of his conscience, he had returned and surrendered himself to justice: a gentleman who was an intimate friend of the deceased, was relating the particulars of the duel, as the count entered.
"Poor Sydenham (cried he); his noble nature was above suspicion, he thought not of the villainous hands into which he had fallen, and he was utterly unconscious of the long cherished pique which Wilberforce harboured against
him; the dispute which was on a polltical subject, was of so trivial a nature that Sydenham would have thought no more about it; but to the villain Wilberforce, it presented an opportunity to execute his vile design; he sent for Sydenham, and desired satisfaction; the other was willing to accommodate the matter, but this, Wilberforce would not hear of, and Sydenham consented to meet him the next day.
"It is now too late (said Wilberforce), to trouble any of my friends, nor do I think a second necessary; you, Mr. Sydenham, will do as you please.'
"If you do not wish for a second, neither do I (replied Sydenham): this was all Wilberforce wanted. They met early the next morning; and before Sydenham was prepared to receive his antagonist's fire, a ball from Wilberforce's pistol, entered his heart; he fell, and expired without a groan.'
"The villain had now gained his long sought revenge; and he resolved on in