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“ He appears a good and ingenuous young man, (replied she), and was my brother's favourite."
“ His circumstances are good, (said her father), and he is now of an age to settle in the world; he wishes to do so, if he can obtain the hand of my Victoria.”
Camillo fixed his eyes upon his daughter as he spoke: he was surprised to see the colour forsake her cheek, and the next moment she burst into tears.
Why this agitation my beloved girl? (cried the fond parent), you know that your
choice shall be governed by your own inclinations; never will I force my Victoria to give her hand where her heart cannot accompany the precious gift."
He threw his arms round the weeping girl, and kissed away the tears that trembled
her cheek, “Oh, my father! my dear father, (cried she), how happy have your child; indeed, indeed, I should be miserable if I thought that you wished me to marry this man."
“ Your affections my Victoria, I know are disengaged, and I should have been happy to see them so worthily bestowed; but we will not now pursue the subject.”
Vietoria soon after retired to her chamber, her father's words vibrated upon her ear;
“ Your affections I know are disengaged." She trembled as she repeated them to herself. Oh, heavens! thought she, can it be, that the affection I have hitherto indulged without scruple, is of a nature that I ought to blush at? Can I have had the weakness to cherish a' passion for a man every way my superior?
The pang that rent her heart at this thought, was a sufficient confirmation that her fears were too just; that heart, equally gentle and pure, had indeed imbibed a passion the most fatal to her repose
Accident prevented the count from visiting the habitation of Camillo for some days, and in that short time the uneasiness of her mind had occasioned a visible change in the looks of Victoria. D'Rosonio was shocked to see her pale and languid ; her cheek Aushed as he entered the room, but the burning crimson that suffused her lovely countenance as her eyes met his, gave place the next moment to an ashy paleness.
The count hastily inquired whether she was indisposed, and received a reply in the negative.
“ What then has happened to distress you, dearest Victoria? for something has I am convinced," cried D'Rosonio.
The soothing tenderness of his tone, penetrated the heart of Victoria, and not daring to trust herself longer with him, she made an excuse for her absence and quitted the apartment.
In a few minutes her father entered, and from him D'Rosonio eagerly de
manded the cause of that distress, so visible in his daughter's countenance.
“In truth, my lord, (replied Camillo), I kņow not what has deprived Victoria of her cheerfulness; but for some days past, she has indulged a melancholy that assicts me; our neighbour D'Arfet has viewed her with partial eyes, and though he might aspire to a richer bride, he sought from me the hand of Victoria ; but she refused to listen to his suit, nor would I cross her inclinations; not for the wealth of worlds would I see my child unhappy, and know myself the cause ; but though I explicitly told her so, yet, from that time she has pined, and every hour seems to increase her dejection."
The words of Camillo gave to the heart of Fernando the most painful sensation it had ever experienced; he felt that he loved, and he recollected a thousand little circumstances that convinced him he was beloved; but the
transport, that had he been differently situated, would have accompanied such a conviction, was destroyed by the bitter remembrance of the insurmountable bars to his union with Victoria, and he sunk into a reverie that was unnoticed by Camillo.
“ Your lordship has so kindly interested yourself for me, and mine, (continued the old man), that I know you will forgive my presumption in requesting one more favour. I think that the fear of making me unhappy, notwithstanding my assurances to the contrary, has rendered Victoria so melancholy; if you
would condescend to assure her, .. that could I see her cheerfulness return,.. my felicity would be complete; your. words would I know have weight with her : may 1, my lord, hope that you , will
grant me this request?” “ Most readily, (replied the count), but not to-day, you shall see me soon again, and then, (added he, with a sigh)...