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nal farewel, and quitted the hospitable shores of England for those of his native Naples, where he arrived in safety.
He hastened forward to his estate, where he found every thing in order ; his return was a cause of regret, rather than joy, to his dependants, who soon found that time had neither meliorated bis temper, nor enlarged his benevolence.
While the consciousness of guilt was withering the form, and rending the heart of Montalva, the innocent Isabel, in the solitude of St. Teresa, was daily increasing in goodness and beauty ; she was indeed beloved by the whole convent, and though Montalva had not expressed a wish that she should acquire any of the feminine accomplishments usually taught to the children of people of rank, yet the abbess had her carefully instructed in them, and well did her capacity and diligence repay the pains bestowed
her. Soon after Isabel became an inmate of
St. Teresa, the Signora Sforza placed her youngest daughter in the convent. Laura was about the age of Isabel, and the childish partiality which they soon discovered for each other, ripened in time into the tenderest friendship. The Signora Sforza, who was passionately fond of her daughter, soon became attached to Isabel; and the lady abbess could not refuse her repeated requests, that the young orphan should sometimes accompany Laura in her visits to her mother's castle.
The signora was a widow, and of large fortune; to inherit which, she had two daughters and a son, whoin she loved with more than maternal fondness. Julia, the eldest, was lovely in her person, but her haughty and ungentle temper, was a source of uneasiness to, her mother, who had tried every lenient method to reclaim her, but in vain. Laura, both in person and disposition, strongly resembled her mother : gracefn), feminine, and interest
ing, she was formed rather to be loved than admired; her features were not regularly beautiful, but the sweetness of her countenance, the mild lustre of her full, blue, expressive eyes, was sufficient to disarm the severity of even the cold est critic: and no one ever gazed upon Laura de Sforza without allowing her the meed of beauty.
Alberto, the pride and hope of his mother, gave promise even in the dawn of his youth, of every great and noble quality; he was not indeed free from faults, his temper was haughty and impetuous; keenly alive to the smallest insult, he resented it with the greatest asperity: yet, open to conviction, and attentive to the voice of deserved reproof, sullenness, or malignity, had no place in his disposition. His mother was not blind to the faults of his temper, but she was aware that they were faults which time would correct, and greatly indeed were they over-balanced by his virtues.
His sister Laura was Alberto's favou rite, and he soon loved Isabel also as a sister. The family of Sforza had free access to Laura, and she scarcely went to the grate to receive her mother or her brother unaccompanied by Isabel, The lady abbess and the signora had her been friends from infancy, and she re- 1 h joiced that her dear child, as she fondly called Isabel, was the distinguished fa- Y vourite of the Signora Sforza. * 1,66 Look at this portrait (said the sig
. pov nora one day to the mother of Teresa), Rome and tell me whether you perceive any para resemblance between it and any one whom
have seen." The abbess gazed upon it for some time in silence; at last (she said), het " the countenance, though handsome, has an expression of haughtiness, that totally disfigures it; yet, was it not for that circumstance, I should think that in the soft features of Isabel I could trace a likeness." “ I have thought so frequently cried
ce signora); the expression of the face deed is different, but in the features here is a resemblance. You have said, nat you know not ought of Isabel's amily, and I am ignoraut for whom his portrait was drawn; but from the nanner in which I became possessed of t, I have reason to believe the original vas of rank."
“ You know (continued she), that I was destined for the veil, and, during my noviciate in the convent of St. Clara, at Rome, a lady young, and of noble appearance, applied to the abbess for permission to reside in the convent; her dignified and elegant manners, as well as the large sun that she offered for her pension, made the holy mother readily grant her request. Scarcely ever did I behold a form and face so beautiful; but she appeared a prey to the deepest melancholy; and, after a little time, she avowed a resolution of taking the veil. I had just entered upon my noviciate when she became an in