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but the soul of Montalva was unfitted for the enjoyment of domestic happiness, and those motives which formerly would have urged him to a mercenary marriage, had ceased to exist; he reflected with bitterness, that it was not himself, but his rank and riches that made the Neapolitan dames desirous of an alliance with him.
"While I was the untitled and the poor Montalva, I sought in vain for a rich wife (thought he), but now, when rank and wealth are mine, I am courted by those who turned from me formerly with disdain. Oh! gold, thou all powerful demon, at what a price have I purchased the possession of thee!"
His thoughts now reverted to Bianca, the original cause of his sufferings and his guilt; from the time she had refused him, and quitted Naples, he had never heard of her, and the love of revenge, which was a predominant trait in his character, had at times excited him to endeavour to discover the place of her
retreat, but every enquiry that he had hitherto made was fruitless.
Some years passed away, and the torments of his mind daily increased, till his existence became burthensome to himself. His company was no longer courted by the sons of riot and dissipation, and meretricious beauty turned from his harsh and ungentle manners with disgust; he resolved to hide from the world that wretchedness which he could not conceal from himself, and he quitted the gaieties of Naples for the solitude of the castle D'Rosonio. He had regularly remitted in advance the pension of the little Isabel, but he determined never to behold her again. Soon after he had placed her in the convent of St. Teresa, he had discharged the domestics who, for years, had served the family of D'Rosonio, and replaced them with others, to whom all former transactions at the castle were unknown; different indeed was the scene which its pompous hall now pre
sented, to what they had formerly exhibited; the cheerful hospitality, the unbounded munificence of the late Count D'Rosonio, died with him; haughty, gloomy, and tyrannical, the conduct of his successor, rendered him feared by his domestics, and abhored. by his vassals.
SOLITUDE, So delightful to the good, is beyond measure irksome to the wicked; this truth the unhappy Montalva daily experienced. Every object at the castle D'Rosonio recalled to his memory his murdered friend; he resolved to travel-and he quitted the castle in search of that peace he was destined never more to taste.
Madrid was the first place that he meant to visit, and he arrived there in safety. Change of scene had some little effect upon his spirits, and he endeavoured (by viewing the various
things so worthy of a traveller's atten tion in the capital of Spain) to dispel the bitter reflections which still preyed his mind. One evening, as he returned from vespers, he strolled along heedlessly, till he got to some distance from the city; and when he would have retraced his steps, he found himself puzzled by the intricacy of the path; a small cottage appeared at some distance, and he hastened to it to enquire his way; there was no person in it, and he sat down by a cheerful fire, which blazed on the humble hearth, to wait the return of its owner. In a few moments a woman appeared; she started at seeing him. but when he told her what he wanted,. she desired that he would wait the arrival of her husband, whom she expected every moment, and who would: accompany him a part of the way, for she was, she said, unable to direct him. Montalva consented, and his hostess busied herself in preparing sup