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" Where is she” (said -he, after a long pause). "I am here, signor” (said Isabel).
" I mean thy mother: Knowest thou not that she has burst the confines of the tomb, to save thee from perishing by a father's hand," groaned out Montalva.
«. Alas!' his senses. Wander" (said. Isabel), for to. her the spectre had not. been visible.
« I tell thee, I would have murdered: thee; yes, though thou art my child” . (cried Montalva),
- There is a convent near us, the . fathers are skilled in medicine” (said. Lopez).
• Fly then for one” (said Isabel), yet, the next moment she was terrified at the idea of remaining alone with Montalva.
“ His purpose here was, surely an evil one” (thought she), and she called back Lopez, but he was already gone. The count sunk into a state of stupor,
and when the domestic returned with one of the holy fathers, he was apparently calm.
The monk questioned Isabel as to the cause of the count's illness, but her account gave no clue to it. In mild accents, father Francisco addressed the uvhappy Montalva, but his reason had fled, and the wildest ravings, burst from his lips; yet from them the father could conjecture a part of the truth. For two nights, did the good Francisco watch by the bed-side of the wretched count: reason at length resumed 'her sway, and he hastened to make a full confession of his crimes ; but the hope of expiating them by penitence, was denied him; he had scarcely owned his guilt, when he again lost his senses. Many were the expiring sinners by whom Francisco had watched and prayed, but never did he witness a death-bed scene so full of horror: dreadful indeed were the agonies in which Montalva expired.
Almighty power! thy unerring
arm, though slow, is ever sure to puhish (said father Francisco, as he vainly presented the symbol of his faith to the expiring count). Oh! could the wretched children of avarice and ambition behold this scene, could they witness the torture which rack the bosom of this unhappy and guilty man, how would they shrink, appalled from the commission of crimes like his !"
Isabel, at the desire of the father, had forborne to approach the chamber of Montalva ; but when all was over, the good friar revealed to her the secret of her birth; and he now informed her, that as Montalva had no other heir, she was intitled to the castle and domains of the murdered count D'Rosonio.
“Ah! never, never (exclaimed Isabel), I will return to the convent of St. Teresa; there I shall find an asylum; but never will I call the inheritance purchased by blood mine."
« On this point, my child (said the
father), thy conscience must decide; nor will I urge thee; but calm thy spirits, lady Isabel, the crime of Montalva attaches not to thee; in the sight of Heaven, thou art guiltless."
“ Oh! holy-father (cried the weeping Isabel), can the child of a murderer hope for peace?".
“ Be not more severe to thyself, than Heaven is to thee (exclaimed the friar). I again repeat, that in its eye thou art guiltless; and in the duties of religion, in the consolations of friendship, thy. innocent mind will soon be soothed te peace."
“ Peace! (thought Isabel) Ah! can I hope for peace, when Alberto is for ever-lost to me? No prospect, however distant, of our union now remains; for never, never can I become his.”
The good friar procured for Isabel a conveyance, and a trusty escort to the convent of St. Teresa. The young orphan was formed to attract regard ; she had made her way to the heart of Father Francisco, and the benediction which he gave her on parting; was truly paternal. " Do not disiniss Fabricio, till you have reached the convent, my child (said the good father), and let me know by letter how you have borne the journey.”
Isabel promised to comply with the father's injunction, and again did he recommend her to the protection of the Virgin, as he placed her in the vehicle that waited to convey her to the con. vent.
Isabel (or rather Valeria), for so she had been named by her unfortunate mother), travelled without stopping, until she reached the abode of her infancy : great indeed was the joy of the lady abbess at once more clasping her favourite in her arms.
“My child, my Isabel (cried she), by what miracle art thou restored to me?"
“ By a miracle, indeed (said Valeria, as she returned the abbess's embrace). Oh! dearest mother, but for the pecų.