Page images

which when contrasted with the openness and affability of D'Rosonio, made him appear to very great disadvantage.

[ocr errors]

The virtues of the Count D'Rosonio, amply compensated to his domestics and his vassals for the loss of his noble father; nor was he forgetful of Camillo Schedoni, who had been the object of his youthful benevolence, and who by the generosity of his late father was enabled amply to provide for his family; a visit to the house of Camillo was a treat which D'Rosonio often allowed himself, and with the warmest delight did the old man and his children welcome their benefactor; the young Camillo who had embraced his father's profession of a merchant, had a most advantageous offer to settle in Spain, which his filial piety alone, made him decline.

Camillo related the circumstance to the count, and then added, "thanks to your late noble father and yourself, my lord, I have no actual occasion to sepa

rate myself from my son; but I must not suffer a selfish regard to my own comforts, to interfere with his happiness and prosperity; he will most probably soon accumulate a fortune in Spain, and in his hands riches will be a blessing to many; I must therefore for his sake reconcile myself to his absence, and I shall be the better able to bear it from the reflection that I have performed my duty."

His daughter Victoria was present, and at the mention of her brother's departure, her soft eyes filled with tears; she tried to conceal them and to force a smile into her countenance, but she could not succeed, and she hastily left the room to conceal her agitation.

"Poor Victoria, (said her father,) she will sensibly feel the absence of her brother, to whom she is warmly attached; but she will be my comforter and in return I must be her's."

In a short time after this conversation, the young man left Naples for

[blocks in formation]

Spain. When he waited upon the count to take his leave, D'Rosonio warmly wished him that prosperity which he deserved, and slipped into his hand, what he called a small token of friendship; it was in truth a magnificent present; and Camillo would have declined it.

"I must be allowed the privilege of a friend, Camillo (said D'Rosonio), in assisting you to enter life with comfort; I insist then that you accept this trifle, without scruple." Camillo obeyed his benefactor, on whose head when he took his leave, he invoked the choicest blessings of heaven. The natural kindness of D'Rosonio's heart led him, when the young man more frequent in his

was gone, to be visits than he

had before been to Schedoni's, but these visits, which sprung from the most amiable motives, had nearly proved fatal to his own peace; the person of Victoria, who was two years younger han himself, was cast in nature's fairest ould, and her mind was a fit inhabi

tant of its lovely tenement; mild, susceptible, and affectionate, the gentler virtues were all her own. The only material defect in her character, was want of firmness, and that, to a young and lovely female, is often the most dangerous of all others.

This peculiar softness of temper led her deeply to regret the absence of her brother, whom she loved with more than a sister's fondness; and from the most benevolent motives D'Rosonio endeavoured to console her.

[ocr errors]

One day when he had been conversing with her upon the subject, he said, "If for the present you have lost one brother, you have gained another; if will accept of my fraternal regard."


"I shall think myself both honoured, and happy in your lordship's friendship," replied the blushing and delighted Victoria.

But alas! friendship was too cold a name for the sentiment which the count

soon inspired her with; and young and susceptible as D'Rosonio was, it cannot be wondered at that their passion became mutual: yet, both were for some time unconscious of its existence, and so they would probably have long remained, but for an incident that opened the eyes of both to the nature of their sentiments.

A young man the son of an opulent merchant, was captivated by the beauty of Victoria, and asked her hand from her father. Wholly unsuspicious that the heart of his daughter was not in her own possession, Camillo readily promised the young suitor his consent and interest with his child, whose affections he said he knew were disengaged; and highly pleased with the proposed alliance, he took the earliest opportunity of mentioning it to Victoria.

"The young D'Arfet has just been with me, (said he to her), you have seen him my love, what think you of him?"

« PreviousContinue »