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stant flight. No soul had witnessed the death of Sydenham, and he thought that there was no possibility of the manner of it ever being discovered; an affair of honour, as it is falsely termed, though it may exile a man from his native country, does not stamp him with the guilt of murder, and happy in the secrecy with which he had executed his diabolical purpose, he thought little of being compelled to quit England.
"But he speedily found that the completion of his crime was but the beginning of horrors that were to terminate only with his existence; for he acknowledges, that from the moment Sydenham fell, he has never known peace. He reached the place of his destination in safety, but the horrors of his mind were inconceivable; the murdered Sydenham was for ever before him, and the agonies he endured, had almost drove him to suicide, when the idea of giving himself up to justice
occurred to him, and he eagerly sought an ignominious death, as a refuge from the torments of conscience."
Unhappy man (cried a gentleman present), let us hope that his punishment will be only in this world, he is indeed a striking proof of the power of conscience; nor can we wonder at it, when we consider the heinousness of his crime; since, depraved as human nature is, there are, I hope, very, very few, whom any temptation could induce to be guilty of cool deliberate murder: what think you, sir?" (continued he, turning to Montalva).
It was with difficulty the count could reply, for the question shook his every nerve, and spite of his efforts to compose and collect himself, his agitation was visible; it passed, however, for illness, and on that pretence he left the room as soon as he could. (cried he, mentally, when he was alone), am I never again to taste of peace? Is every object to remind me of my
crime by what fatality is it that this accursed deed is for ever before me? oh! would to Heaven that it was possible to recal the past."
The endearing attentions of Ellen, and the smiles of his infant, were for some time lost upon Montalva; Henry Villars had. called upon him, but the transient feeling of pity which that young man had excited, was over, and the count did not ask him to repeat his
The birth of her child had effected a material change in the temper of Ellen; there were indeed times when she sunk into a fit of melancholy musing, but in general, she was more cheerful than the count had ever seen her, and the infant was to her a perpetual source of delight.
"I canrot conceive (said she one day to Montalva), how any human being can neglect an infant to whom they have given life; when I hang over the cradle of my child, and see,
his eyes the moment they are opened fixed upon me, when he smiles and holds out his little arms, as if he already began to notice, and to love me, how happy do I feel, I am convinced that the loss of life, would be a thousand times preferable to the loss of my Stephano, and that I should sooner forgive an attempt to deprive me of it, than to deprive me of him."
"What occasion is there for this. declaration? (cried Montalva, sternly), you are not about to be deprived of him."
"No; Heaven be praised (replied she), I have nothing of that sort to dread, but these reflections came into my head I believe from reading a pretty and affecting French tale, in which the distraction, and subsequent death of a mother deprived of her infant, is described in the liveliest colours."
Montalva half-uttered, half-suppressed the execration that was upon the point of bursting from his lips, and
hastily left the room; that moment had indeed amply avenged the wrongs of the unfortunate Valeria, conscience presented her to him as she was when he first beheld her; her soft cheek, glowing with the rich tints of health, her mild blue eyes, now sparkling with animation, now shooting through their long and silken lashes, glances, that spoke a heart the seat of innocence and peace. The voice of his internal monitor reversed the picture, and he saw her pale, emaciated, and a prey to melancholy; her eye robbed of its lustre, her cheek of its bloom, and her form of all those soft and attractive graces that had once rendered her the delight of every eye, and the wish of every heart: imagination carried the picture farther, and he shuddered as he, beheld his victim on the bed of death; her meek and uncomplaining spirit, awaiting with patience the moment that was to release her from her sufferings, and anxious only for the