« PreviousContinue »
to her. The marchioness, who, to the natural dignity of virtue joins that pride, inherent I believe in every noble Castillian, repulsed him with scorn and indignation; but fearful of endangering my life, she did not acquaint me with the traitor's perfidy. This well meant precaution of her's, was the source of all the uneasiness which I have since suffered; Don Carlos conceived against her the most implacable hatred, and he resolved, to risk every thing in order to be revenged.
"He began by infusing into my mind a suspicion that the marchioness's love was not equal to my own; the delicate reserve of my Maria became to the jaundiced eye of jealousy, coldness and indifference; I doated upon her, and from the moment I suspected that her regard was inferior to mine, I was miserable: I became gloomy, and the marchioness wondered at, without suspecting the cause of the alteration in my behaviour.
"Amongst the number of my friends was a young Englishman, of the most engaging person and address; he had exiled himself from his own country on account of his ill success in an affair of the heart. The English are naturally a grave people, and the misfortunes of Lord Clerimont had given to his manners a seriousness, and at times, a melancholy, that was far from unpleasing to a Spaniard. The young Englishman won my friendship, and at my desire the marchioness was particularly attentive to him.
"The kindness of your lovely wife (said he to me one day), frequently opens those wounds which it is meant to heal; when I see her smiling cheerfully on your guests; when, with the benevolence of an angel, she endeavours to chace away my sorrows by the soft accents of peace and consolation, she brings to my recollection the similar virtues of that adored being whom I have for ever lost; and, for
give me, my dear friend (continued he, grasping my hand), but though I hate myself for it, yet, at those moments, I envy your felicity."
My heart bled for poor Clerimont; I returned the pressure of his hand, and we were both silent. Don Carlos, who was also present, had listened with an air of the most marked attention to the young Englishman, and. for some days after this conversation, I could not help noticing, that whenever Clerimont was with us, Don Carlos seemed to look with an eye of suspicion on his behaviour, and that of the marchioness; I too, became involuntarily attentive to the manners of both, and I could nothelp fancying, that there was a peculiar softness in the marchioness's eyes and voice, whenever she addressed him; the artful Carlos seemed to double the vigilance with which he watched them, but to me, he preserved a profound silence upon the subject.
"Matters continued in this state for
some time, when Clerimont received a summons to his native country; he parted from us with regret, and as his going destroyed in a great measure the suspicions I had entertained, I bade him adieu with much cordiality.
"I could not hide from myself, that from the time of his departure, the behavour of the marchioness gradually changed, she became gloomy and absent, and though she strove to treat me in her usual manner, yet, the change was too evident to pass unobserved by the prying eye of love; returning one day unexpectedly, I surprised her in tears, I besought her in vain to tell me the reason why she wept.
'My dear lord, cried she (attempting to hide her dejection under an assumed vivacity), I have no reason to be sad, but women are not always reasonable, and you must not expect that I should differ from the rest of my sex.; my spirits are low, but they will be better." I did not press her further,
but the idea I had before entertained, that her dejection proceeded from Clerimont's leaving us, returned. In a few days after this, I was sauntering in a close walk in the garden of my house, and within a few paces of me I perceived Don Carlos, he was alone, and his hurried step, and the agitation of his manner, betrayed a mind ill at ease. I hastened to join him, but at the sight of me, he started, and seemed inclined to avoid me; I inquired what had disturbed him, but for a long time he evaded a reply, at last――
"I know not how to answer you, my friend (cried be), I am indeed disturbed, and did you know the cause, you would be equally so; but for your own peace-sake, De Santenos, inquire no farther; ignorance in some cases, constitutes happiness.'
"My thoughts.were always fixed upon Maria's fancied coldness, and I could not help exclaiming, good Heavens! the marchioness is then--'