Page images
[ocr errors]

Valeria! when I declared that I would renounce all right to the demesnes of D'Rosonio, I forgot of what a happiness I deprived myself—the power of doing good. Yes, dear Alberto, most cheerfully do I agree to a plan equally wise and benevolent; and oh!


the riches so dreadfully acquired, answer the pious and charitable purpose to which you intend to devote them.”

Tears of painful recollection fell from the lovely eyes of Valeria ; but the soothings of "Alberto soon dried them. The twelvemonths had now expired, and the signora reminded Valeria of her promise. She pleaded for yet a little longer delay; and as Signora Sforza had reason to think that her daughter Laura would soon add another votary to the train of Hymen, she consented; and prevailed on Alberto to indulge Valeria.

“ Think me not affected or capricious (said she to her lover), but indeed I feel most grateful to you for this indul.

your bride.”

[ocr errors]

mind has,

gence; my mind is daily recovering its peace, but I would, if possible, be free from every unpleasant reflection when I bestow upon you my hand. You merit a whole and undivided heart, no cankering cares, no painfuł recollections, should poison the happiness of

" “ Nor shall they, my beloved (cried Alberto). To share your regrets, and to endeavour to chase them from your mind, will be at once my pleasure and my care; that good and

pure in fact, no cause for painful recollections, but such as arises from its own susceptibility, and every day will diminish those.”

Valeria proposed, and Alberto agreed to request the good Francisco to take upon himself the superintendance of their monastic plan ; to which he readily consented. The spacious and noble castle of D'Rosonio, which had so long witnessed the pangs of unrepented villainy; was now appropriated to the


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

purposes of religion and charity. Money rendered the workmen employed in the necessary alterations expeditious; and it was soon fit for the reception of the monks. Father Francisco was their abbot, and well were the mild virtues of his character adapted to that sacred office. The monastery of St. Francis, as it was called, might indeed be termed of the order of mercy; for most truly did Father Francisco second the pious views of its founders ; and while, with the mild benignity of a true christian, he comforted the dismayed and guilty penitent, the treasures of the convent were eyer open to the distressed ; and never did the poor or destitute turn from its gates unrelieved.

A short time justified the signora's suspicions, that the heart of Laura had played its misstress truant, Count P'Albertini, a young and amiable Neapolitan, solicited from her the hand of her daughter, and the blushing Laura owned, that if her mother consented,

she had no objection to the signor, who


[ocr errors]

Laura could say no more, but her eyes spoke a language sufficiently intelligible to her fond mother, whose wishes coincided with her daughter's. The temper and disposition of Albertini was such as to give her every

rational prospect of happiness, and most gratefully did the signora thank Heaven, for bestowing upon her children that felicity which would constitute hers also.

The abbot of St. Francis bestowed the nuptial benediction upon the two brides, who were both agitated, though from different causes.. The natural timidity of Laura, and the reflection that she was about to quit a beloved mother, made the change peculiarly awful to her : Valeria, on the contrary, was to reside with the signora, whom she loved as a mother; and was it not for the single idea of her father's miserable fate, joy, the most pure and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

unmixed would have been her por


The benevolent abbess of St. Teresa felt all the satisfaction of a parent at the happy lot of her beloved child, who ever treated her with filial affection; and, perhaps, a happier family than that of Sforza could rarely be found. One single cloud disturbed the serenity of the signora's days: it arose from the fate of Julia. Too soon did she find that her mother was indeed a prophetess; and galling was the chain which she was destined for life to drag; it was rendered doubly so by the reflection, that she had rushed upon her fate, and that her sufferings were solely occasioned by her own fault.

Very indifferent was the fate of Laura and Valeria; the many virtues of Laura, and her angelic temper, while they rendered her adored by her husband, made her a blessing also to her mother, her children, and her






« PreviousContinue »