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per. His walk had given the count an appetite, and he looked with a longing eye upon Teresa's rustic fare.
"I could wish our humble supper was such as you could partake of, sir (said she), but it is too homely to tempt your appetite.”
Montalva replied in the negative, and Teresa flew to cover the board with part of the provisions prepared for her husband and son. Never had repast. appeared more luxurious to the count, for never before had he tasted a meal sweetened by so keen an appetite. In a little time, Teresa began to wonder that her husband was not yet re
"I can't think (said she, anxiously), what can delay Jacques, I never knew him so late." While she spoke, he entered. He was accompanied by his son, a youth of about nineteen. you are come at last, Jacques (cried his wife), in truth I began to be sadly
frightened! what can have detained you?"
Jacques and his son saluted the count, respectfully, and the former said, "Let us have some supper, Teresa, and then I will tell you our adven
Nay, prithee, tell me now" (cried
she). My hunger must be satisfied before your curiosity, wife," (replied he), and placing himself at the board, he began his meal with heartiness.
"And now, wife, (said he, when they had nearly finished their supper), Saint Francis be praised, Tomaso has saved the life of our neighbour's son, Vincentio."
"What! that wretch (cried she), who has occasioned so much mischief, and done us, in particular, so much harm? In good faith, I would not have saved him, for many there are that would have rejoiced at his death." "Wife, wife (cried Jacques), would you then suffer a fellow-being to perish
for want of succour, before your eyes, because he had injured you? No, Teresa, thou speakest not as thou wouldst act. But mothers, sir (said he, turning to Montalva); cannot forgive those who injure their children; Vincentio was married but a few weeks since, to a maiden whom we hoped to have seen the wife of our Tomaso. My boy deeply regretted the loss of his Ursula, and Teresa shares her son's grief, and his resentment."
Montalva cast his eyes upon the young man; his countenance bore the traees of dejection, and the agitation which he shewed at the mention of
his mistress, proved that she was still
dear to him. That a man should save the life of his rival, was a species of generosity which the count could not comprehend, and he desired to hear the tale.
"I will relate it to you, sir (said: Jacques), but you, Tomaso, had best retire to bed; your clothes are scarcely
dry, and you must, I think, feel fatigued."
Teresa laid her hand upon the arm of her son; she found, what she had not before observed, that his clothes were very wet; and, exclaiming that he must have caught his death, she hurried him from the room.
"From his early youth,, sir (said Jacques, addressing Montalva), my poor boy loved Ursula, and she returned his passion. Her parents, like ourselves, are peasants, and they approved of the young people's regard for each other. We agreed that, when they came to a proper age, they should be married; and Tomaso, who was always a good and dutiful boy, laboured incessantly, in order, as he said, to shew me how capable he was of supporting Ursula. We were content, and the young folks happy in the pect of their approaching union, when the family of Vincentio came to settle in our neighbourhood.
"Vincentio soon paid particular attention to Ursula, who is indeed the prettiest and the best girl for many miles round; but though Vincentio is handsome, and bought her many things, such as my son could not af ford to purchase, she listened to him with indifference, and refused to accept any of his presents; her parents, however, were mercenary, and they scolded poor Ursula severely for her behaviour to him; she pleaded her engagement to my son, but her mother declared that she would never consent to her marrying Tomaso, if she could, get a better match, and that if Ursula would but behave differently to Vincentio, there was little doubt that he would make her an offer of marriage; and poor Ursula, from a fear that he should, did all that she could. to disgust him by her coldness; but in vain. He asked her hand from her parents, and they commanded her to accept him for her husband. Ursula had