« PreviousContinue »
of public amusement, but in vain, when at the moment that he least expected it, chance brought about our meeting.
"This explanation overwhelmed me with unhappiness; and bitterly did I now regret the moment in which I had accepted your proposals, to deprive Pembroke of his child, was not to be thought of; for myself, my future plan is fixed in the most humble retirement; and equally distant from distant from the man whom I loved, and him whom I had injured, I purpose to wear out my future days; for every sentiment of pride and delicacy, forbade my listening to Percival's generous offer to forget the past.
"And now, my lord, farewel for ever, Heaven only knows how deeply I regret the pain, which I am sensible this discovery will cause you; may you
a more pure and fortunate connection, lose those bitter reflections, which my duplicity will occasion you. Be
lieve me, that to know you had recovered that peace which I can never again
hope to taste, would be a cordial to the heart of
The perusal of this letter, nearly unsettled the reason of the wretched Montalva; driven almost to frenzy, by remorse and despair, the affection which he felt for the little Stephano was the sole sweetener of his existence; from his supposed child must be derived the only comfort that he could promise himself in this world, and to the next the guilty and unhappy man dared not look. At one moment, he was inclined to suppose that Stephano was indeed his son, and that Ellen deprived him of the child, merely to conciliate the favour of her former lover; the next instant he recollected the circumstances of the birth of the child, Ellen's lowness of spirits, and the solemn manner in which she had implored him to
be a father to her child; these circumstances convinced him that her tale was indeed true, and that the child he had so fondly cherished as his own, was Pembroke's.
"The justice of Heaven pursues me, (thought he), and all efforts to evade it are vain: I will return to Naples, and shut myself for ever in the Castle de Rosonio, I will no longer seek, by mixing with society, to regain that peace, which it is my lot never more to
This resolution he determined to put immediately in practice; but a chance meeting with the Marquis de Santenos, delayed his doing so for a few days.
The marquis expressed the liveliest joy at seeing him, and made him many friendly reproaches for not delivering his letter of introduction to Lord Clerimont. "You have suffered much, my poor friend (said de Santenos, in a tone of commisseration), you are so altered as scarcely to be known, but
the society and attentions of your friends, will, I trust, restore you to your former self."
The kind intentions of the amiable marquis were however of no avail: the count obstinately persisted in return. ing to Naples within a few days. De Santenos was now easier in his mind, and his spirits were better: he had visited England, accompanied by the marchioness on the occasion of the nuptials of Lord Clerimont, with the lady to whom he had been so long attached; Montalva could not refuse the request of the marquis, to suffer himself to be introduced to Lord Clerimont, but the sight of the pure happiness which that nobleman appeared to enjoy, as well as the recovered peace of his friend De Santenos, and the delight which the marchioness apparently felt, from the felicity of her husband and her friends, was an aggravation of the horrors that preyed upon the mind of the count; he bade the marquis and his lady an eter,
nal farewel, and quitted the hospitable shores of England for those of his na tive Naples, where he arrived in safety.
He hastened forward to his estate, where he found every thing in order; his return was a cause of regret, rather than joy, to his dependants, who soon found that time had neither meliorated his temper, nor enlarged his benevolence.
While the consciousness of guilt was withering the form, and rending the heart of Montalva, the innocent Isabel, in the solitude of St. Teresa, was daily increasing in goodness and beauty; she was indeed beloved by the whole convent, and though Montalva had not expressed a wish that she should acquire any of the feminine accomplishments usually taught to the children. of people of rank, yet the abbess had her carefully instructed in them, and well did her capacity and diligence repay the pains bestowed upon her. Soon after Isabel became an inmate of