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impetuosity, and he stopped a moment to consider whether he should interfere, he had but a moment, for the one made such a dexterous feint of retiring, that his adversary, in pressing forward, ran upon his sword and fell dead at his feet.
The moment he fell, the other hastened away,
but he had received a wound in the arm, which bled profusely; and the count, who followed him, saw him in a few moments stagger, and but for Montalva he would have fallen.
“ Let me support you, sir" (cried the count, catching his arm), the stranger thanked him, and readily accepted his assistance.
“ I witnessed your rencontre (cried Montalva), and I regret that it has been so fatal."
“And I rejoice that I have revenged the cause of injured truth and innocence upon the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced humanity (cried the stranger): the wretch whom you saw
perish by my hand, has tried to rob me of all that rendered life desirable to me, be poisoned for months a happiness that, but for his baleful wiles, might have been termed almost celestial, and not satisfied with rendering me a prey to all the horrors of jealousy and suspense, he had almost wrought my feelings to such a pitch of phrenzy, as to make me lift my hand against the life of a beloved and innocent wife; but Providence is ever just, and the villain has at last met with his re ward."
The blood, which still flowed profusely, and the exertion which he used in speaking, made the stranger so very faint, that it was with the utmost difficulty he could proceed; and the count rather carried, than supported him, till they reached a large and magnificent mansion, at which he knocked with the authority of a master; it was opened by a seryant, who started with af.
fright, when he beheld the situation of his lord.
The stranger invited Montalva to enter, and the count, whose curiosity was strongly excited, followed him into handsome apartment,
66 tell the marchioness that I am engaged (said the stranger), and send Agnes to me;" the domestic retired, and in a few moments an old female, who appeared something above the common class, entered.
“Oh! holy Mary (cried she), in what dreadful adventure has your excellency been engaged ?"-"Ask no questions, good Agnes (said he), but prepare to dress my arm, and remember I charge you on your life, not to let your lady know I am wounded."
Agnes did as the marquis desired, and though it was easy to see what pain, the dressing of his wound gave him, yet, he did not shrink from the
operation ; when she had done it, and retired, he turned to the count.
“ I have most probably to thank you for my life (said he), since without your assistance, I do not think that I could have reached my own house; when we have supped, I will relate to you all the circumstances that urged me to the act which you witnessed."
They now went into another apart. ment, where a magnificent supper was laid, the most exquisite viands, graced the board, and the most delicious wines, in goblets of gold, tempted the marquis and Montalva in vain; they neither did honour to the repast; which was soon concluded, and when it was over the marquis addressed Montalva as follows :
“ You see before you, sir, the Marquis de Santenos, sprung from one of the noblest families in Spain, and master of a princely fortune; I entered life with the happiest prospects ; while I was yet very young, I saw and loved
Donna Maria de Guzman; neither her birth nor fortune were equal to mine, but the graces of her mind and bosom, were such as to render her a wife for an emperor: she heard my vows with complacency, and as I stood high in the favour of her relations, we were speedily united.
“ For some time, nothing could exceed the felicity that I enjoyed; my Maria, at the end of a year, brought me a son ; if you have ever been a father, you may conceive the pleasure which I derived from this circumstance; with what delight did I behold my wife, bending with the sweetest smiles over her infant as it received nourishment from her bosom; never did she appear so beautiful in my eyes, as when enoployed in the tender offices of maternal love. I had, when I first married her, believed my happiness incapable of increase, but I saw it daily augment, and I bent in fervent grati.