« PreviousContinue »
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
but not wholly untinctured by usiasm; with the most fervent den did she beseech the assistance er patroness, the Virgin, and she from prayer with a mind soothed -elieved.
ard, however, was her task when rto opened to her his whole heart; ecret of hers, hovered on her lips, prudence suppressed it; yet had rto no reason to complain of her viour, she did not indeed own her on; but her varying countenance, eyes, in which every emotion of her was painted, told a tale that her ue refused to utter; and Sforza ced her happiest of the happy.
welve years nearly had elapsed e Montalva had placed Isabel in the ude of St. Teresa and vainly had ought in every pursuit an antidote the remorse which preyed upon his For years past he had resided at castle of D'Rosonio, and lost in om and despondeney, he renounced
all idea of ever again mixing with the world. One evening, as he sat lost in melancholy musing, the distant sound of laughter struck his ear, he listened, and heard it more distinctly; he summoned one of his domestics, and sternly enquired the cause of their riotous meriment.
"So please you my lord (replied Antonio), a wandering minstrel besought from us a shelter for the night, he is in truth not meanly skilled in melody, and it was one of his romances that caused the laughter which has disturbed your excellenza."
A low, but sweetly plaintive strain, at this moment arrested the count's attention; he waved his hand as a signal for Antonio to throw open the folding-doors -again the strain vibrated on his ear.
"Thou art right, Antonio, this minstrel is indeed a master of his art (said he), bring him before me."
"The delighted Antonio flew to obey the orders of his lord. From the
bitual sternness of the count, he had red a severe reprimand, for the voice mirth was rarely heard in Montalva's stle; and never had one of his doestics seen his cheek dimpled by a nile. The minstrel now entered the amber, and for a moment the eye of ontalva rested upon him with curios. y and surprise. He appeared of mide age, his countenance his countenance was fine, ough pale; and there was an indescriable expression in his dark and pierc. ■g eye, that rivetted the attention of he count. Antonio, in a low voice, bade im make his obeisance, and he obeyed ;~; ut the bow of the minstrel was not the.... wly bend of a vassal to his lord, it as slight and haughty.
"Montalva motioned Antonio to eave them, and then desired the mintrel to play again the plaintive air that ad caught his ear before he saw him; The minstrel began, and with an attenion the most profound, Montalva