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the curiosity you expressed, and am
- Montalva had listened attentively to
"I will not give you up to those laws you have offended, (said he), on the contrary, I feel inclined to serve you; I want a secretary, and if I could be certain of your fidelity
Signor (interrupted the man), after what has passed, you have not, I own, much reason to credit my professions; I will not, therefore, make many; if you are indeed inclined to be my friend, trust me, you shall have no reason to complain of want of gratitude."
"Well, (replied Montalva), I will trust you; but on one condition, that you will acquaint me truly with your birth and family."
"The condition is a hard one, (cried
he), but it shall be complied with; my
name is Anselmo Di
and my fa
"I know is noble, (interrupted Montalva); come to-morrow to my Palazza, and we will talk further."
He then gave Anselmo his direction, and they parted.
“This man will suit my purpose well, (thought Montalva); but if he should betray me? Pshaw! why should I think he will? gold, all powerful gold, will secure his fidelity; and, once possessed of the rich domains of D'Rosonio, I shall have amply the means to bribe him to silence."
The following morning, Anselmo waited upon him, and Montalva took him immediately as his secretary. Some time elapsed before the signor gave to Anselmo the most distant hint of his intentions respecting Isabel; but he longed most impatiently for the time. when he could strip the innocent or phan of her rights; the remorse' which
he could not help feeling for the murder of D'Rosonio, he flattered himself would be obliterated by time; and in the possession of wealth, and the enjoyments which it would procure him, he fancied that he should be happy.
MONTALVA ventured slowly to give to Anselmo an idea that he wished to possess the inheritance of Isabel, but timidity and distrust, the inseparable companions of guilt, prevented him for a long time from being explicit; at length he ventured fully to disclose his wishes to Anselmo, who met them half-way.
"I am certain, (cried the artful Montalva), that I do no wrong to the memory of my late dear friend. I know from circumstances that the countess was unfaithful; and much do I doubt whether Isabel is really the child of D'Rosonio."
This pretence was too poor to impose upon Anselmo; but he seemed to be persuaded that the signor spoke the truth.
"It is indeed a pity that this infant should stand between you and so noble an inheritance; she must be removed." "But how, Anselmo?" (cried Montalva).
"That, signor (said he), demands consideration."
"You will observe, Anselmo, (said Montalva), Isabel's life must be sacred." "Heaven forbid that I should wish it otherwise, (said Anselmo); if we can devise any means to make the world suppose her dead, our point will be gained; and if you will allow me, signor, I dare say that I can soon think of some plan that will give you the domains of D'Rosonio, and consign Isabel to obscurity."
Montalva thanked his confidant, who in a few days afterwards proposed to him to give Isabel a sleeping draught,