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habitual sternness of the count, he had feared a severe reprimand, for the voice of mirth was rarely heard in Montalva's castle; and never had one of his doniestics, seen his cheek dimpled by a smile. The minstrel now entered the chamber, and for a moment the eye of Montalva rested upon him with curios sity and surprise. He appeared of middle age, his countenance was fine, though pale; and there was an indescribable expression in his dark and pierc. ing eye, that rivetted the attention of the count. Antonio, in a low voice, bade him make bis obeisance, and lie obeyed ; but the bow of the minstrel was not the lowly bend of a vassal to his lord, it was slight and haughty.
" Montalva inotioned Antonio to leave them, and then desired the minstrel to play again the plaintive air that had caught his ear before he saw bim ; the minstrel began, and with an attention, the most profound, Montalva
6 Go on,"
listened to the sweet strains of his harpi they were indeed such as: “ Take prisoner ihe wrapt soul and lap it in elysium."
At length they ceased. (said the count).“ Would not your lordship wish to hear a sprightlier strain," demanded the minstrel.
“No (replied the count), I have no relish for the sound of joy."
“ 'Tis strange, (said the minstrel), the wretch oppressed by poverty or guilt, may indeed be deaf to the voice of joy, but why should the lord of these rich domains be a prey to gloom? why should the brow of the noble Montalva be overcast with care :"
“ What ! (haughtily exclaimed the count), darest thou enquire into the cause of my sorrows è rash presumptuwus man, retire, and thank the obscurity that shields thee from my resentment; a lowly minstrel is beneath the notice of the Count Montalva.
“ The lowlý minstrel need not thank
the clemency of the proud Montalvą; I am surrounded by agents most potent, though to thee invisible (cried he), I came here thy friend, but these taunts have changed my purpose. Know, that thou standest in the presence of one to whom every action of thy life is known. Yes, thou can’st insult a lowly minstrel; thou can'st boast thy rank and power ; say. how acquired?---The murdered D'Rosonio-The infant Isabel
“ Astonishment and horror rendered Montalva motionless;, he gazed in silence on the miostrel, whose countenance might have dismayed even a heart unappalled by guilt ; his large dark eyes were rivetted on Montalva, while round his mouth played a smile of demoniac joy at witnessing the agony he had caused."
“ I know not (at length exclaimed Montalva), by what means my crimes are discovered, nor wherefore thou thus rendest my heart, by recalling to my mind what I thought hidden from every
human eye; say, 'minstrel, how came these horrors known to thee?"
By no earthly means (replied the minstrel); but speak not thus Montalva, let monks and women talk of crime, it exists but in idea ; D'Rosonio stood between thee and happiness, thou did'st right to destroy him; but why doés Isabel exist "
" What can I have to fear from her?” (cried Montalva.)
Every thing (exclaimed the minstrel), even now is her hand solicited by one of the noblest youths of Naples ; - her birth may be discovered"
Impossible ?” (interrupted Montalva).
'“No! not impossible; I tell thee it : тау be discovered (continued the minstrel), what then becomes of thee?"
Montalva was silent.
“ Another blow (said the subtle tempter), and all is sure.”
" Again imbrue my hands in blood ? (cried Montalva). Oh! no, no.”
- Thou should'st have thought thus
before thou didst imbrue thy hands in blood (said the minstrel, with a malignant smile); but mark me, Montalva, I came here thy friend, why I am so it is not of import to thee to know. I tell thee, and thou wilt find it true, that one only means is left to hide ' what thou callest thy guilt from the world. While Isabel D'Rosonio exists thou art not safe; think of this warning, and if thou hast the spirit of a
man, take it."
A gleam of blue and sulphurous light Hashed round the minstrel, and in an instant he vanished from before the eyes of the astonished count ; for some moments the greatest horror took possession of the soul of Montalva ; when he could reflect, the only conjecture he thought it possible to form was, that his visitor must be a magician. He had avowed that his knowledge of Mona talva's guilt was not obtained by earthly means, yet, wherefore had he for twelve years kept the secret, and why did he now urge the wretched