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that have oppressed it (thought he); and in my mother I shall, during my absence, have a warm and zealous friend. He was indeed right, the sig nora was most tenderly attentive to Valeria, who, in her soft soothings, and the natural kindness of the lady abbess began again to taste of peace: but happiness pure and unmixed is destined never to be the lot of humanity, and the heart of Valeria was yet, at times, torn by the remembrance of her father's crimes.
Signora Sforza had a female servant about her person, who had lived with her for years, and who was uncommonly attached to her; one day she sent this woman to her cabinet, where the portrait, whose resemblance to Valeria she had once noticed, was deposited. The case that contained it happerred to be open; an exclamation of surprise from her servant occasioned the signora to enquire into the cause, and she learned that her woman knew
the signor for whom the portrait was taken.
"Poor Signora Bianca (continued she), it had been well both for her and the Signor Montalva if."
"Was that portrait taken for Signor Montalva ?" (interrupted the Signora Sforza).
"It was, indeed, lady (replied the woman). I was then in the service of Signora Bianca; but, perhaps, you know her story?"
The signora replied in the negative, and she related to her Signora Lupinetti's story.
"When, my lady (pursued she), found herself treated with disdain by Count D'Rosonio, I thought that the violence of her rage would have destroyed her love for him; but I was mistaken; she grew melancholy, and instead of conquering her passion, it daily increased. The Signor Montalva became odious to her. That portrait had been given her at her own desire;
and on receiving it, she had vowed never to part with it; and for a long time she wore it day and night suspended from her neck. One day when the Count D'Rosonio had, I believe, answered a letter that she sent him in a manner that displeased her, she tookthe portrait from her bosom.
"Here (said she to me), hide this from my sight; would I had never seen it.' I did not presume to reply, but I placed the portrait in a casket that contained her jewels.
"For some time she continued a prey to melancholy, and at last she declared. to me a resolution of retiring from the world, and ending her days in a convent. She quitted Naples, and I accompanied her to the monastery which she had fixed upon as her future residence. With tears did I see my beloved lady enter this gloomy abode, never more to leave it; but all places, she said, were now alike indifferent to
her. She generously recompensed my past services, and I returned to Naples, where I remained till I entered your service, signora.”
The Signora Sforza was now convinced that the portrait was that of Valeria's father; but she kept the discovery to herself, as she rightly judged that a knowledge of it could not afford her young friend any pleasure.
The year was three parts gone when Alberto ventured to return. The joy
that sparkled in the eyes of Valeria, assured him of that welcome which her faultering tongue almost refused to give him; and when the first congratulations were over, she was obliged to leave the room abruptly, in order to give vent to her tears.
The signora found her on her knees, in her own apartment, in fervent prayer. "Oh, my. beloved mother! (cried she,) what transcendant happiness would be mine, did I but dare to enjoy the en
viable lot that offers itself to me; but memory poisons the delightful hope of future bliss."
The signora raised and pressed her to her bosom. Every thing that maternal love could inspire, did she say to banish the apprehensions of the timid girl. "Never, my beloved Valeria (cried she), never will you be less dear than you are at present to our hearts. Cruel indeed must that being be that could attach reproach to innocence like yours."
At the earnest intreaty of the signora, Valeria quitted the convent for some time; and accompanied the family of Sforza to Naples. "A sight of that world which she has hitherto been prevented from mixing with, will be of use to her spirits (said the signora to the lady abbess); and the event proved that she was right. Valeria was amused, and her mind was diverted from brood
ing over its own cares. But though adulation followed her footsteps, yet