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human eye; say, minstrel, how came these horrors known to thee?"
By no earthly means (replied the minstrel); but speak not thus Montalva, let monks and women talk of crime, it exists but in idea; D'Rosonio stood between thee and happiness, thou did'st right to destroy him; but why does Isabel exist?"
"What can I have to fear from her?" (cried Montalva.)
Every thing (exclaimed the minstrel), even now is her hand solicited by one of the noblest youths of Naples; her birth may be discovered.” "Impossible?" (interrupted Mon
"No! not impossible; I tell thee it may be be discovered (continued the minstrel), what then becomes of thee?" Montalva was silent.
"Another blow (said the subtle tempter), and all is sure."
"Again imbrue my hands in blood? (cried Montalva). Oh! no, no.” "Thou should'st have thought thus
before thou didst imbrue thy hands in blood (said the minstrel, with a malignant smile); but mark me, Montalva, I came here thy friend, why I am so it is not of import to thee to know. I tell thee, and thou wilt find it true, that one only means is left to hide what thou callest thy guilt from the world. While Isabel D'Rosonio exists thou art not safe; think of this warning, and if thou hast the spirit of a man, take it."
A gleam of blue and sulphurous light flashed round the minstrel, and in an instant he vanished from before the eyes of the astonished count; for some moments the greatest horror took possession of the soul of Montalva; when he could reflect, the only conjecture he thought it possible to form was, that his visitor must be a magician. He had avowed that his knowledge of Montalva's guilt was not obtained by earthly means, yet, wherefore had he for twelve years kept the secret, and why did he now urge the wretched
who will conquer this weakness, of which she is indeed ashamed."
The abbess pressed her to her
"Thou hast no cause for shame, my dear and innocent girl (cried she), I know not whether I ought to inform you, and yet my word is pledged to do so; there is a chance, that if motives of prudence alone influence the Signor Valdorno in destining you to a monastic life, you may escape the veil.
"Alberto Sforza," she paused, and a glance at Isabel betrayed to her penetrating eye the reason of that reluctance which her young friend had expressed to a religious life: the heart of Isabel had unconsciously imbibed a passion for Alberto; treated by him as a beloved sister, she never suspected that her regard was different to what she would have felt for a brother; but this mention of his name gave birth to a thousand hopes and wishes that she had never hitherto dared to in
e, and her secret was for the first known to herself.
he abbess (without seeming to ce her confusion) continued “ AN ᎪᎨ Sforza loves you." The blood ed tumultuously into the fair face neck of Isabel, while in low, but ghted accents, she exclaimed, "good avens! is it possible?" "His passion perceive is not displeasing to you id the abbess), but this, dear Isabel, a subject on which you must not Bulge too much hope; recollect the wer which the Signor Valdorno possses, and remember that we know t how he may exert it." The flush of ope and exultation gave place to a eadly paleness, but Isabel continued lent.
"On your prudence, my beloved hild (said the lady abbess), Signora Sforza and myself rely; Alberto has eceived from his mother permission to Open to you his heart, but my Isabel must not let him see her's; if he is
once assured of being beloved; reason and prudence will plead in vain, and should Valdorno refuse his consent, we shall have, from the impetuosity of Alberto, much to fear; remember then dear Isabel, that on your guardian's decision every thing must depend."
Isabel promised an implicit compli ance with the wishes of her friend, and the lady abbess left her to her own reflections; she could not for some time arrange her thoughts. Alberto's passion, his mother's goodness in sanctioning it, and the strong probability, which to her appeared almost a certainty, that her guardian would rejoice in such an offer for her, formed altogether such a picture of enchanting, unhoped for happiness, that she could scarcely believe it real, and it was not till tears relieved her full heart, that she became sufficiently calm to pour out her whole soul in prayer before the throne of grace. Though educated in a convent, the piety of Isabel was free from supersti