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her lord the duties of a wife. Proud, sensual, and vindictive, the duke, when satiated with the possession of her person, remembered with bitterness, the reluctance with which she had bestowed upon him her hand, and he treated her either with neglect or studied contempt; to this behaviour Clementina appeared blind; ever gentle and submissive, ever anxious to anticipate his wishes, her conduct would have claimed respect from any man not void of humanity; but engrossed by licentious pleasures, or ambitious pursuits, the heart of the duke was inaccessible to those sentiments which she was formed to inspire.
Almost a twelvemonth had elapsed since the marriage of his daughter, and signor Albici saw no reason to rejoice in the success of his cruel project: His. daughther was indeed surrounded by all that in the opinion of the world constitutes happiness; but the insufficiency of pomp and splendour to procure feli
city, was at last obvious to the signor, and he saw that his child was a miserable victim to his own ambition: this thought preyed upon his mind, and the care which the duchess took to conceal from him all the causes of actual unhappiness which she had, hurt him more than the keenest reproaches would have done; he determined to remonstrate with the duke, but this idea he relinquished, when he considered the character of his son in-law, whose behaviour to him had for some time past been so coldly civil, that the signor saw nothing would give him greater pleasure than an opportunity of breaking with him. "I am justly punished (thought he), but, oh! my poor sacrificed girl, thou shouldst not have suffered for my fault!"
One night, at a masquerade, the duke was accosted by an elegant figure in the dress of sylph, and no habit could be better calculated to shew to advantage, the delicacy, and the ex
quisite proportion of her light and graceful form; every limb was moulded by the hand of symmetry, and every charm was heightened by the studied display which she made of them. All eyes were fixed upon the lovely sylph, who glided along with all the lightness and grace peculiar to the ærial character which she had assumed.
"Look around thee, oh child of the dust (said she to the duke), all here is calculated to touch the senses, and to dazzle the imagination; the hand of beauty presents to thee the cup of pleasure, and her seducing voice invites thee to quaff the delicious draught; but thou, as if shell-bound by some evil genii, or malignant enchanter, gazest with torpid apathy on this enchanting
"I acknowledge, benevolent sylph (replied the duke, who had listened to her soft accents with pleasure), that the most gloomy reflections had, at that moment, taken possession of my mind,
but thy magic powers have already dispelled them, and one glance from thy brilliant eyes will perfect my cure."
The sylph glided from him without a reply; the eyes of the duke followed her, and he saw her address a lady, whom in a few moments she led up to him.
"If thou art willing (cried she), to take me for thy guardian genii, much happiness awaits thee, but my favour must be purchased by an entire obedience to my commands; say, art thou content to accept the terms I offer?"
The duke bowed, and she continued, "receive from me a partner for the dance. She put the hand of the lady into his, and then walked away.
The duke, though much disappointed, was yet too gallant to be unmindful of his partner, whom he led to join the dancers; had not his thoughts been fixed upon the sylph, he would have been pleased with her fair friend, who possessed much grace and vivacity, and
seemed studious to attract his notice. After they had conversed for some time, the duke tried indirectly to learn who the sylph was, but this the other lady cautiously concealed. When the dance was ended, she declined joining in another, and she told her partner that she would no longer tax his gallantry, as she expected some friends, whom she wished to join; the duke was not displeased to part with her, for he resolved, if the sylph had not left the rooms, to endeavour to discover her.
He made the tour of them unsuccessfully, and he was returning to the ball room, when in a small apartment which he had neglected to enter, he caught, as the door was a-jar, a glimpse of the fair form which he was in search of; she had thrown herself on a sofa, but she arose hastily as he entered.
The duke caught her hand, and pressed with ardour for a sight of her face. For a long time she sustained her character and evaded his solicitations, but