« PreviousContinue »
HEN Alberto 'reached the demesnes D'Rosonio, he found, on enquiring ongst the domestics at the castle, at the woman who had nursed the pposed Isabel was still alive, and reled in a cottage at no great distance. Iberto soon reached it, and found her one: he complained of fatigue, and arcella, with rustic courtesy, brought at such refreshments as her cottage fforded, and begged the signor to rest nd partake of them.
"I find (said Sforza) that there as been, within the last twelve years,
strange changes at the castle D'Rosonio."
"Ah! strange indeed, signor (cried Marcella), I did hope that the Lady Isabel would have supplied to the vassals the place of her good father, but Heaven was pleased to take the cherub. to itself."
"Have you lived here long?" (asked Alberto).
"From my birth, signor (replied she). Ah! I shall never forget the time the countess died. How grieved the count was, and the little Isabel was sent to my poor cottage to nurse, because the sight of her reminded him so strongly of her mother."
"You were then the nurse of the count's heiress?" (said Sforza.)
"Yes, signor (said she), and had the Lady Isabel but lived, Marcella would not have been the inhabitant of this poor place. But thank the saints, I am content."
"What, though you have been
of the grossest imposture;-tho' have substituted the child of anperson in the place of the heiress Rosonio (said Alberto, sternly), ou can be content?"
Oh! holy Virgin (cried the ashed Marcella), how has it been disred ?"
It is discovered; and the only way hich you can avoid the punishment threatens you (said Alberto), is by ank and open confession of the ns you used to perpetrate the d."
Pray, pray, signor (exclaimed the ified Marcella, dropping on her es), have mercy upon me, and I I tell you all; indeed, indeed, I 1."
Alberto raised, and reassured the mbling criminal by a promise of rdon, if she was sincere, and she oceeded.
"For some time after the death of e countess, the count did not see his
wearied Heaven with prayers for his recovery, but in vain; on the twentieth day he expired, and so great was the grief of Corinna, that I thought she would have followed him to the grave.
"Her youth and naturally good constitution prevailed, at length, over the violence of her disorder, and she slowly recovered; but in losing her son, she had lost all that could render life desirable to her. The hope of touching, and at length subduing my heart was vanished, and my poor Corinna found herself an isolated and unhappy being, though surrounded by every thing that in the eye of the world constituted felicity. Some time after the death of my son, I resolved on making a last effort to subdue the resolution of Lauretta, and I wrote to her. This letter I intrusted to the care of, as I imagined, a faithful servant: in it I painted in the most glowing colours, the violence of my love and my despair; I made use of all the sophistry in which I was then but too conversant, to prevail on her to
sacrifice what I called her prejudices to my happiness; and I solemnly vowed that without she did so, I, would not answer for the extremes to which disappointment and despair might' drive
"To this rhapsody Lauretta did not deign to return an answer, but as my evil genius would have it, the domestic on whose fidelity I thought I could depend, betrayed my secret to my wife. She read my letter to Lauretta, need I say that it pierced her heart with a thousand daggers? She charged the servant, as I afterwards learned, to bring her the answer to it; and when she found that there was none, she expressed a strong curiosity to see Lauretta; this curiosity she found means to gratify, and she formed the strangest resolution that ever perhaps entered into the head of woman.
"She expressed a wish to visit a convent at some distance from Rome, and as her absence was rather a relief than