In Two Volumes.
Printed for C. Dilly, in the Poultry. 17911791.
The following Work was written ſome years back by an original hand, now cold, whoſe manner will probably be traced and reliſhed by thoſe Readers 100vi A3v ii Readers who are inclined to rank nature and truth above the extravagant fictions which are daily ſerved up under the title of Genuine Hiſtory and Adventures.
The Editor truſts the Reader will find incident, intereſt, and character in the ſtory now before him:—To ſay more might be looked upon as 100vii A4r iii as impertinent; and it would not be acting as a friend to the Work and the memory of the Author to ſay leſs.
Eugenia and Adelaide.
Adelaide and Eugenia were both natives of Salerno, in the kingdom of Naples; the one, daughter of the Baron St. Seberina; the other, to Signior Lorenzo Burganeze, of the illuſtrious houſe of Sulmona.
Theſe two young perſons had contracted a friendſhip almoſt in their infancy, which the intimacy ſubſiſting between their parents ſerved to ſtrengthen as they grew up. Adelaide was never Vol. I. B eaſy 1002 B1v 2 eaſy without her dear Eugenia; nor could that lady be happy in any company but that of her charming friend.
The years of childhood ſtole away inſenſibly, in the enjoyment of a tender and mutual friendſhip, their pleaſures were the ſame, and their pains (if they had any) were ſo too. In ſhort, there was ſo perfect a union between them, that they appeared to be informed by one mind. But the time was now arrived when they muſt part, and each experience different fortunes and cares, unfelt before.
Signior Burganeze died, and left his widow and daughter in ſuch moderate circumſtances, as obliged them all at once to retrench their expences. Madame Burganeze, mortified at this ſudden change in her condition, determined to 1003 B2r 3 to leave Salerno and retire to a monaſtery, ſince ſhe could no longer appear there with her uſual ſplendour. She was already preparing to depart, when ſhe received a very obliging letter from her brother the Marquis of Peſcara, who at that time reſided at Milan, where he had a conſiderable poſt.
This nobleman, on receiving an account of the death of Signior Burganeze, wrote to his ſiſter in the warmeſt terms, inviting her and her daughter to accept of his houſe for their future abode, aſſuring them they ſhould meet with a reception anſwerable to the love he bore them.
Madame Burganeze did not heſitate to accept of ſo kind an offer: ſhe bid her daughter prepare for their journey; and, having their equipage conſiderably B2diminiſhed, 1004 B2v 4 diminiſhed, they were ſoon in readineſs to leave Salerno.
Whatever pleaſure Eugenia felt on the proſpect of ſo agreeable a change in her fortune, ſhe could not think of being ſeparated from her beloved companion without a lively ſorrow; but when the day of her departure came, on which ſhe was to bid adieu to Adelaide, tears and embraces were on this occaſion employed to ſupply the place of words; and Eugenia, unable to ſpeak, broke from the arms of her friend; and, throwing herſelf into a chariot (in which her mother was already placed at the door) they ſet out directly for Milan.
We will here for a while take leave of the diſconſolate Adelaide, and accompany Madame Burganeze and her daughter, who by eaſy journies arrived in 1005 B3r 5 in ten days at Milan; and were received by the Marquis of Peſcara with the higheſt marks of affection.
This nobleman was many years younger than Madame Burganeze, being her brother only by the father’s ſide. He was handſome, accompliſhed, and magnificent; which, joined to one of the gayeſt tempers in the world, made his houſe the rendezvous of all the youth of quality in Milan: but notwithſtanding the merits of the Marquis had rendered him the diſtinguiſhed favourite of the fair, he had as yet preſerved his heart; and, whilſt many in ſecret ſighed for him, he behaved towards all with equal appearance of gallantry, though he felt nothing but real indifference.
After the arrival of Madame Burganeze and Eugenia, numbers of ladies B3had 1006 B3v 6 had come to viſit them, who had no pretence for appearing at the houſe of the Marquis before, but were now glad of this opportunity of ſeeing and converſing with him. In ſhort, the concourſe of nobility, of both ſexes, who flocked daily to the palace of Peſcara, formed it into a kind of little court.
Madame Burganeze was in her fortyfifth year; perſonal vanity her reigning foible; a paſſion for admiration was of courſe the reſult of ſuch a turn of mind: but during the life-time of Signior Burganeze, ſhe had been obliged, as much as poſſible, to hide this diſpoſition, as he was not of a temper to allow for it, in the ſmallest degree. She had never loved him; and was but moderately afflicted at his death. Her daughter ſhe conſidered rather as a rival than a friend; but concealed thoſe ſentiments as carefully,fully, 1007 B4r 7 fully, and thoſe that more immediately concerned herſelf. Her freedom recovered, and her brother’s invitation to what ſhe knew muſt be a ſcene of gaiety, had rouſed thoſe latent ſparks of vanity that time had nearly ſubdued; and ſhe went to Milan with the ſtrongeſt hopes of finding every wiſh of her heart gratified. She had now for almoſt a year been a partaker with her daughter in thoſe pleaſures which reigned, and perpetually ſucceeded each other, at the houſe of the Marquis; but alas, ſhe was more and more convinced ſhe was no longer able to charm! cold reſpect was all ſhe met with from the men; and from the younger part of her own ſex a ſort of inſipid kindneſs, that ſhowed her how little formidable ſhe appeared to them. This obſervation at firſt ſenſibly afflicted her; when, reflecting that if ſhe ſhould continue with the Marquis, B4ſhe 1008 B4v 8 ſhe ſhould only expoſe herſelf to new mortifications every day, ſhe reſolved at once to abjure thoſe pleaſures which (to her) had now loſt their chief reliſh. Thus determined, ſhe took an opportunity one day (after having expreſſed the warmeſt acknowledgments for her brother’s tenderneſs) to inform him, that it was now high time for her to think of bidding adieu to the vain enjoyments of this life, and of dedicating the remainder of her days to devotion. She told him, the Prioreſs of St. Bridget’s, who was her relation, had invited her to her houſe on the death of Signior Burganeze, and ſhe was about to accept of her offer when ſhe received the kind and generous tender of his ſervice; that it was chiefly on Eugenia’s account ſhe had declined the invitation made her by the prioreſs, whom ſhe acknowledged ſhe would not think of ſecluding from the 1009 B5r 9 the world but with the greateſt reluctance; yet, finding herſelf now diſpoſed to reaſſume her firſt intentions, ſhe was inclined to take her daughter with her; beauty and innocence being all her portion, ſhe dreaded leaving her expoſed to the many temptations which youth and want of experience might lead her into, and with which, ſhe ſaid, the houſe of the Marquis was ſurrounded: perhaps, ſaid ſhe, my daughter may marry below her quality, or have her charms blaſted by ſome envious tongue. Oh, brother, I tremble at the thought! and would ſooner bury Eugenia in a nunnery, than—The Marquis interrupted his ſiſter here, and conjured her to baniſh ſuch thoughts; telling her, if ever ſhe loved, or confided in him, ſhe would not ſcruple to truſt Eugenia to his care. I will be as tender of her happineſs, added he, as you yourſelfB5ſelf 1010 B5v 10 ſelf would be; and as I mean to give her a fortune equal to her birth, I have even caſt my eyes on a huſband for her; in whoſe poſſeſſion (if he has your approbation, and I find his eſtate ſuitable to his other endowments) I ſhould think my niece happy. Let me therefore, dear ſiſter, beg of you to talk no more of a cloiſter, ſince there are much more deſirable proſpects for your daughter. The Marquis added many arguments to diſſuade Madame Burganeze from her intentions of retiring; but ſhe aſſured him, her reſolution with regard to herſelf was fixed:—I yield Eugenia however to you, ſaid ſhe, and transfer all my right in her to your fraternal goodneſs: take her, brother, diſpoſe of her; for I am ſure your prudence will make no choice but ſuch as I ſhall approve of; and as I ſhould be glad to ſee her under the protection of a huſbandband 1011 B6r 11 band before I go to my retreat, tell me who the perſon is you have thoughts of beſtowing her on?—He is a Spaniard of high quality, anſwered the Marquis: his name is Don Clement Pimenteles, and he is deſcended from the Houſe of Telbes, one of the moſt ancient in Caſtile. He was introduced to me a few days ago by the Prince of Baſſiniano, with whome he came into Italy. The Prince has a particular eſteem for him: and indeed he is ſo very amiable, that I think it is impoſſible to ſee him without loving him.—I ſee, brother, said Madame Burganeze, that you are already charmed, and will make my daughter ſo too, if you paint him in ſuch fine colours.—As for that, replied the Marquis, you ſhall neither of you be left to judge by my deſcription of him; for he is to dine B6with 1012 B6v 12 with me to-day, and you will then ſee whether I have done him juſtice.
Eugenia entered the room juſt as the Marquis ſaid theſe words: We are ſpeaking of a perſon, ſaid he, addreſſing himſelf to his niece, whom Madame Burganeze already prophecies you will fall in love with: for my part, I own, were I a woman, I ſhould prefer him to all the men I have ever yet ſeen; and if I could find one of your ſex every way ſo charming as Don Clement Pimenteles, I ſhould no longer have that liberty to boaſt of which I have hitherto preſerved. In a word, this young cavalier is ſo very agreeable, that I was ſtruck with him at firſt ſight. The Prince tells me his wit is as engaging as his perſon; and indeed, by what I could judge from the ſhort converſation I had with him, he is perfectly accompliſhed. Such 1013 B7r 13 Such a conqueſt therefore, Eugenia, proceeded he, ſmiling, would do no ſmall honour to your beauty.
Though Eugnenia had but little occaſion for the help of art to ſet off one of the fineſt perſons that ever nature formed, ſhe was not free from the little vanity of her ſex: ſhe omitted nothing in her dreſs that day which could add to her charms. The Marquis was rallying her on the great pains ſhe had taken to adorn herſelf, when a page came to inform him that Don Clement was come.
The Marquis went to receive him, and ſoon returned with him into Madame Burganeze’s apartment; where preſenting him to that lady and Eugenia, one after the other, You ſee, Signior, ſaid he, that I am more devoted to the 1014 B7v 14 the fair than people imagine: theſe ladies live with me; and I think myſelf the happieſt man in the world in their ſociety. My ſiſter indeed has formed an unkind purpoſe of leaving me, in order to retire into a convent: perhaps if you join with me, we may yet diſſuade her from it, though I have been ſo unhappy as not to ſucceed in my endeavours towards it: nay, it was with ſome difficulty that I could prevail to have Eugenia left with me.
Madame Burganeze, anſwered Don Clement, has more juſtice than to rob the world at once of two ſuch ornaments. But you, my Lord, I muſt ſay, are too ſelfiſh in deſiring to engroſs ſo much merit and ſo many charms, and to deprive the convent of the ſhare it has a right to by the pious choice the lady, your ſiſter, has made. It was eaſy 1015 B8r 15 eaſy to perceive which part of this compliment was addreſſed to Madame Burganeze; and though it ſeemed rather to encourage her in her reſolution than diſſuade her from it, yet it did not diſpleaſe her; every thing which Don Clement ſaid was accompanied with a gracefulneſs that could not fail of charming. The moſt delicate praiſes from one who is diſagreeable to us may be uttered without the leaſt effect; but the ſlighteſt compliment pronounced by a beautiful mouth, is ſure to make an impreſſion. This obſervation Madame Burganeze already found verified in herſelf, and that her years and piety were too feeble a guard againſt youth and irreſiſtible charms; for ſuch Don Clement was poſſeſſed of: no wonder then if the breaſt of Eugenia, defenceleſs as it was, was warmed as ſoon as that of Madame Burganeze.Don 1016 B8v 16
Don Clement diſcovered ſo much wit and delicacy in his converſation, that his company was as acceptable to the two ladies as it was to the Marquis:—he ſtaid till it was late; and the Marquis would not ſuffer him to retire, without firſt making him promiſe to paſs the next day at his houſe.
When Eugenia was alone ſhe had time to reflect on the perſon and behaviour of this ſtranger: ſhe thought her uncle’s menaces were not without foundation, and that ſhe ought to have ſecured her heart againſt charms that ſhe already began to find too powerful. In ſhort, ſhe perceived a change in it which alarmed her; ſhe paſſed the night unquietly, and no ſooner ſaw day-light than ſhe aroſe and called her woman to dreſs her.She 1017 B9r 17
She waited impatiently for the hour which was to bring Pimenteles to her ſight:—at length he appeared; and Eugenia thought him a thouſand times handſomer than before. This ſecond day’s interview entirely ſubdued her heart. With what joy then did ſhe hear the Marquis (who was highly charmed with Don Clement) inſiſt on his living at his hotel during his ſtay at Venice! The young Spaniard accepted his invitation with pleaſure; of which Eugenia flattered herſelf ſhe might be the occaſion.
He was now become their gueſt: ſhe ſawandſaw and converſed with him ever ydayevery day; and every day became more and more enamoured. She was not ignorant of her uncle’s deſigns; and longed to know how Don Clement’s heart was affected towards 1018 B9v 18 towards her, when an opportunity offered to ſatisfy her impatience.
She was alone walking in the garden, her thoughts full of Pimenteles, when ſhe ſaw him enter with the Marquis; to whoſe diſcourſe he ſeemed liſtening attentively. Eugenia did not care to interrupt them by her preſence; and had juſt time to ſlip behind an alabaſter ſtatue when they paſſed her by, and turned down a cloſe walk that was almoſt darkened by a thick row of orange trees, which ſhaded it on each ſide.
Eugenia heard her uncle pronounce her name as he walked by her; when, ſeized with a lover’s curioſity on finding herſelf the ſubject of their converſation, ſhe ſtole ſoftly into a little alley, which ran parallel to the walk in which the Marquis and Don Clement were engagedgaged 1019 B10r 19 gaged in diſcourſe. The former ſpoke ſo loud, that Eugenia could eaſily hear him ſay, and yet I could not prevail on my ſiſter till I aſſured her I had other views for Eugenia; and that, as I could give her a fortune equal almoſt to any lady in Milan, I intended to look out for a match for her ſuitable to her rank. If Madame Burganeze perſiſts in her deſign of going into a convent, I muſt be the more ſpeedy in diſpoſing of my niece; for my houſe, without a mother’s care, may not be a ſanctuary for one ſo young and handſome.—Your prudence, my Lord, is highly to be commended,’ anſwered Don Clement; and turned the converſation with an indifference that touched Eugenia to the quick: ſhe had not loſt a word of what her uncle had ſaid, and liſtened greedily to what Don Clement would reply to ſo broad a hint; but the coldneſs of his anſwer 1020 B10v 20 anſwer filled her with a good deal of confuſion.—What can be the meaning of this! ſaid ſhe; Don Clement is very young, and, if I have any judgment, far from being inſenſible; I am not diſagreeable, and have ſome advantages which might recommend me: perhaps he is in love elſewhere, or has diſcovered my weakneſs for him; or— I know not what to think. Cruel Pimenteles! how eaſy are you in that indifference which is ſo tormenting to me! Here ſome tears ſtole down her cheeks, which a conſciousneſs of her own worth made her ſo aſhamed of, that ſhe quickly wiped them off. It is a ſufficient mortification for a woman’s pride to find her heart in the poſſeſſion of a man who never aſked her for it; but to find that man even cold and negligent, is a circumſtance that few know how to ſupport:—ſuch was Eugenia’s ſituation; and 1021 B11r 21 and ſhe now began to experience all thoſe viciſſitudes of hopes, fears, and jealouſies, of which before ſhe had but an imperfect idea.
Now it was ſhe wanted a faithful friend to complain to: a thouſand times did ſhe wiſh for Adelaide; but thoſe wiſhes were fruitleſs, and ſhe continued in a kind of languor, which with all her endeavours ſhe could ſcarcely hide. At length ſhe reſolved to write to her friend, and hoped for ſome conſolation. Her letter was as follows: —Though ſince we parted I have perpetually regretted your abſence, yet I now feel the loſs of you more ſensibly than ever. I wiſh you were with me; but alas, I can no more entertain you as I uſed to do: Eugenia is no longer the ſame! You will doubtleſs aſk the occaſion of this change, and I will confeſsfeſs 1022 B11v 22 feſs it to you:—Don Clement Pimenteles, whom I mentioned to you in my laſt, has worked this ſtrange metamorphoſis; and, from the moſt cheerful perſon in the world, has made me the moſt melancholy: in ſhort, I ſhall ever love him. Dear Adelaide, if you were to ſee him!—and yet, would you believe it, he is as cold as marble! and I could kill myſelf for having the leaſt tenderneſs for him. Oh that my ſighs would bear me to happy Salerno, the ſcene of all my paſt innocent pleaſures! where I firſt taſted the ſweets of friendſhip, when unacquainted with the pains of love! Why did I leave you? or why did Don Clement leave Caſtile? Adieu, my Adelaide: adviſe and pity me.
Eugenia had but juſt diſpatched this letter to her friend, and was paſſing along a gallery which led to her apartment,ment, 1023 B12r 23 ment, when ſhe met the Marquis and Don Clement; the latter of whom ſaluting her, ſtepped back, and haſtily threw a little note at her feet, and, without ſpeaking, immediately joined the Marquis.
Eugenia ran, or rather flew, to her chamber, to ſee what this unexpected billet contained: ſhe was ready to tear it, ſo great was her impatience to get it open. Theſe were the contents:—I have long wiſhed for an opportunity to reveal the ſecrets of my heart to you; but my wiſhes have always been diſappointed: it is in your power to deliver me from the greateſt anxiety of my ſoul. Suffer me then, fair Eugenia, to throw myſelf at your feet this night, in your own appartment, where I may, without witneſſes, make an explanation to you —on 1024 B12v 24 —on which the happineſs of my life depends.
The pleaſure that Eugenia felt on reading theſe words is not to be conceived by any but thoſe who have been in the like circumſtances. She, who the moment before had abandoned herſelf to ſorrow, was now tranſported with joy: what was paſt appeared like a dream to her; and ſhe perſuaded herſelf that ſhe was as dear to Don Clement as he was to her. The ſatisfaction ſhe took in this reflection was nevertheleſs not unmixed with ſome alloy of doubt: ſhe could not account for the reſerve of Don Clement’s behaviour on the Marquis’s conference with him in the garden; nor had ſhe in his whole conduct towards herſelf ever remarked any ſymptoms of love. However, as we find it an eaſy matter to perſuade ourſelves 1025 C1r 25 ourſelves to believe what we wiſh, ſo Eugenia, ſatisfied that Pimenteles loved her with a flame equal to her own, entirely gave way to the agreeable reflection. No doubt, ſaid ſhe, he has prudent reaſons for having hitherto concealed his love, which he now means to lay open to me in this interview.— Yes, Don Clement, ſaid ſhe, I will ſee you to-night, and deliver both you and myſelf from the pain of cruel ſuſpenſe.
She ſaw Don Clement at ſupper; he watched her eyes; and they did not fail to give a favourable anſwer to his note. She retired early to her apartment, and, diſmiſſing her woman, ſhut herſelf into her dreſſing-room: ſhe took a book in her hand to beguile the tedious minutes till Pimenteles ſhould arrive. Her eyes indeed were fixed on the paper, and ſhe Vol. I.Cſtrove 1026 C1v 26 ſtrove to attend to what ſhe was reading; but her thoughts were too much agitated for ſuch an employment, from which ſhe was not releaſed ſo ſpeedily as ſhe wiſhed; for the clock ſtruck twelve before Don Clement approached. At length ſhe heard him rap ſoftly at the door which opened from her dreſſing- room to the back-ſtairs: ſhe aroſe, trembling, to let him in; he entered, and ſeemed to be in as much confuſion as herſelf. He excuſed his ſtay, by telling her the Marquis had engaged him till that minute; and added, How much am I obliged to you, amiable Eugenia, for this piece of condeſcenſion! and how miſerable would a denial of my requeſt have made me!
I cannot tell you, Signior, ſaid Eugenia, how I can anſwer it to diſcretion, to admit a viſit from a young cavalier 1027 C2r 27 cavalier ſo unſeaſonably; and, I aſſure you, you are indebted entirely to my curioſity for this compliance.—I bleſs the motive, let it be what it will, anſwered Don Clement, that has procured me ſuch a favour. But I dare not proceed, without being firſt aſſured of your forgiveneſs; which, thus ſuppliant, I entreat.—Saying this, he bent one knee to the ground, and, taking Eugenia’s hand with a reſpect mixed with tenderneſs, Do you promiſe to pardon me, Madam, ſaid he, if I declare myſelf freely? Oh tell me,—for you are all my hope—excellent Eugenia, may I ſpeak!—You may, anſwered Eugenia, in a broken voice (her confuſion almoſt depriving her of ſpeech) you may ſpeak; but don’t take advantage of this liberty, by ſaying more than I ought to hear.C2Don 1028 C2v 28
Don Clement, after a ſhort pauſe, was going to reply, when Madame Burganeze (whoſe apartment joined cloſe to thoſe of her daughter) hearing two perſons talk in that lady’s chamber, roſe out of bed, and, with her night-gown only thrown looſe about her, entered the room with ſome precipitation.
The conſternation they were both in is not to be deſcribed. Eugenia remained with her face covered with bluſhes; her eyes fixed on the ground, not once ſo much as daring to lift them up towards her mother. Don Clement, who had ſtarted from his knees, was almoſt in the ſame condition with herſelf; and, not having the courage to ſpeak, gave Madame Burganeze an opportunity of looking at them both by turns, with eyes inflamed with anger, as if doubtful which ſhould firſt feel the effectsfects 1029 C3r 29 fects of her rage. At length ſhe turned it all on poor Eugenia; ſhe gave a ſhriek before ſhe could get her words out (for ſhe was almoſt choaked with paſſion) and then flying at her daughter with the utmoſt fury, ſhe would certainly have done her ſome miſchief, if Don Clement (who was by this time recovered from his ſurpriſe) had not interpoſed. I beſeech you, Madam, ſaid he, be pacified; or turn all your anger upon me, who alone deſerve it: Eugenia is not to blame. Who then is to blame, traitor? replied ſhe, turning fiercely towards him. Aſk yourſelf, Madam, ſaid he, aſſuming a languishing air; accuſe your own charms, which have been the cauſe of this intruſion.—How! ſaid Madame Burganeze, Was it the influence of my charms that brought you to my daughter’s chamber at midnight? Ah Don C3Clement! 1030 C3v 30 Clement! that is a weak pretence to ſcreen your own baſeneſs and Eugenia’s folly.—Alas, replied Don Clement, if you will but hear me, you will be ſatisfied of the injuſtice you do both your daughter and me.—Well, let me hear what you have to ſay, cried Madame Burganeze, who began to grow a little calm. Know then, Madam, replied Don Clement, that I have adored you from the firſt moment I beheld you; but the fear of offending you, always obliged me to conceal my preſumptuous flame. My Lord Marquis informed me of your reſolution of retiring to a convent:—a reſolution that, while it added to my love, heightened my deſpair. At the ſame time he encouraged me to raiſe my wiſhes to the fair Eugenia. To any other perſon this would have been a happineſs to be received with tranſport: but, prepoſſeſſed as I was 1031 C4r 31 was with another paſſion, I could only look upon the honour he intended me as a freſh obſtacle to my deſires. Thus embarraſſed, I knew no way to extricate myſelf, but by diſclosing the ſecret of my love to the generous Eugenia, and imploring her intereſt and aſſiſtance in ſo delicate an affair. Here Don Clement ceaſed; and caſt his eyes on the ground, as if waiting for a favourable anſwer.
Madame Burganeze remained ſome time in ſuſpense what to anſwer. At length, with a look half-ſmiling and half-reſerved, Methinks, Don Clement, ſaid ſhe, you have not acted altogether very diſcreetly: you had near made me very angry with my daughter. But I can forgive you, ſince it was owing to an exceſs of modeſty: —Modeſty is commendable in a young C4man. 1032 C4v 32 man. But go; I will hear no more at preſent, ’tis late: ſo I beg you may retire.— Eugenia, go to bed, child:—I am ſorry for what has paſſed; but you muſt forget it: you ſee I am pacified. With theſe words ſhe left the room, and locked the door on her daughter, having firſt made Don Clement withdraw; who had but juſt time to give Eugenia to understand, by a ſign, the part he intended to act.
If Eugenia, on the one hand, was rejoiced that ſhe had eſcaped her mother’s reſentment, ſhe was however not a little mortified at being diſappointed of the pleaſure ſhe propoſed to herſelf in hearing Don Clement breathe out his vows at her feet. She was in pain to think how he would extricate himſelf out of the difficulty into which he had been brought by this contrivance; for ſhe 1033 C5r 33 ſhe saw but too plainly with what pleaſure her mother had received the declaration he had made; and was terribly afraid of the conſequences.
She ſpent the remainder of the night in thoſe uneaſy reflections. Don Clement, on his part, was not without his cares:—and Madame Burganeze was as reſtleſs as either of them: but her thoughts were employed in the gayeſt manner imaginable. She had conceived an affection for Don Clement from the firſt moment ſhe ſaw him: nay, and flattered herſelf with the hopes of a return: but the great reſerve of that young Spaniard had almoſt tired her expectations.—How agreeably then was ſhe ſurpriſed, when he told her that he loved her! and that at a time too, when her jealous fears perſuaded her that he was paying his court to her daughter!C5She 1034 C5r 34
She did not indeed ſleep the whole night; but the thoughts of this new amour was ſo pleaſing to her, that it took place of every other conſideration: —the convent was no longer remembered; and her whole ſtudy was now bent on rendering herſelf agreeable in her lover’s eyes.
Accordingly ſhe was no ſooner riſen than ſhe ſeated herſelf at her toilet:— jewels were now to be placed advantageouſly in her hair; a vanity which ſhe had lately affected to have an utter abhorrence to. The weather was grown too ſultry for a veil; ſo that was thrown aſide, to diſplay the diamonds in her ears: and her woman was of a ſudden become ſo very unhandy, that ſhe was obliged to dreſs and undreſs her lady ſeveral times, before ſhe could get her clothes to fit with any tolerable grace.At 1035 C6r 35
At length Madame Burganeze, adorned as gay and as ſplendidly as ſhe was on her wedding-day, ſtood before her glaſs, to contemplate herſelf; and remembering Pimenteles had expreſſed his fear of offending her by a diſcovery of his love, —La Pointz, ſaid ſhe, have I any thing forbidding in my looks? I always thought I had rather an air of too much complaiſance.— Madame, anſwered the cunning La Pointz (who knew her lady’s failing) you have without doubt a moſt affable countenance; but then you have a certain air of majeſty in your eyes that muſt infallibly ſtrike an awe into every beholder.—Anſwer me another queſtion, cried Madame Burganeze, and anſwer me ſincerely; How old do I appear to be?—Why, Madam, ſaid La Pointz, only that I know, from the time that I have been in your Ladyſhip’s C6family, 1036 C6v 36 family, that you can’t be much under forty, I ſhould think that you had hardly ſeen three-and-thirty.—Impoſſible! cried Madame Burganeze: You flatter: you certainly flatter! I am ſure if I ſhould own to ſix-and-thirty no one would diſbelieve me.—Indeed but they would, replied the woman, laughing (who knew ſhe might have added ſeveral years to the account): I don’t believe any one that looked at you would be perſuaded of that.
The infatuated Burganeze, who was a coquette in addition to her other follies, did not perceive that her woman was ridiculing her vanity: and, beginning to reaſſume her former ideas, ſhe now looked upon herſelf as irreſiſtible; and made no doubt of her being able to secure Don Clement’s heart. But, notwithſtanding the good opinion ſhe had 1037 C7r 37 had revived of her own charms, ſhe was not without ſome fears on account of the youth and beauty of her daughter: and, as jealous eyes are more penetrating than others, ſhe for a long time had obſerved that Eugenia did not look upon Don Clement with indifference; and ſhe ſaw that the Marquis, her brother, was well diſposed to favour an union between them. Theſe two circumſtances, therefore, made her reſolve to be as watchful over her daughter’s conduct as poſſible: for this purpoſe ſhe placed an old waiting-maid about her (that ſhe had known and confided in for many years) with ſtrict orders to lie in her chamber, and attend her whereever ſhe went.
This unuſual reſtraint ſoon became intolerable to Eugenia; and the more ſo, as ſhe ſaw it gave Don Clement the greateſt 1038 C7v 38 greateſt uneaſineſs; for ſhe had it not in her power to ſpeak to him, but in her mother’s preſence, ever ſince he had declared himſelf that lady’s lover.
However, ſhe flattered herſelf that he would, by ſome means or other, find an opportunity of converſing with her. Nor was ſhe deceived; for, ſitting one evening in an arbour in the garden, ſhe ſaw her mother enter, leaning on Don Clement’s arm. Eugenia roſe up, out of reſpect to the former (to whom ſhe thought her preſence would not be very acceptable) and withdrew, to leave her the more at liberty.
Don Clement was vexed at her retiring ſo haſtily, as he had prepared a little billet, which he reſolved at all hazards to convey to her: but her ſudden abſenting herſelf diſappointed him in his deſign. 1039 C8r 39 deſign. He inwardly curſed Madame Burganeze, while ſhe was leading him to a ſeat, ſinging an amorous air. He was forced, however, to affect an appearance of ſatisfaction; and, placing himſelf by her ſide, he obſerved a book lying on one of the ſeats, which Eugenia had by accident left behind her: he immediately thought of ſlipping his letter between the leaves of it; and by that means to convey it into Eugenia’s own hands, without her mother’s ſuſpecting any thing of the matter: wherefore, taking up the book, after ſome diſcourſe with Madame Burganeze, he propoſed taking a turn or two more in the garden; and, riſing up, he gave that lady his hand, and led her towards that quarter of the garden to which he had ſeen Eugenia direct her ſteps: he ſoon perceived her ſitting at the end of a long terrace: but Madame Burganeze no ſooner 1040 C8v 40 ſooner ſpied her daughter than ſhe cried, Fye, Don Clement, what makes you chuſe this walk? It is the moſt unpleaſant of the whole garden.—I am of your opinion, Madam, replied Don Clement; and I know not how I came to wander hither: but ſince we are here, ſuffer me to reſtore this book to your daughter, which, I ſuppoſe, was her entertainment when we frighted her out of the arbour.—Let me ſee it firſt, cried Madame Burganeze; and immediately taking it out of Don Clement’s hand, the leaves, without mercy, opened directly at the place where the note was concealed:—What have we got here? ſaid ſhe, and ſtraight unfolded it; for it was but doubled careleſsly, without being ſealed. I leave my reader to judge what a ſituation Don Clement was in at this unexpected misfortune:—he curſed Madame Burganezeganeze, 1041 C9r 41 ganeze, the letter, and his own indiſcretion; and expected every minute that ſhe would upbraid him with his falſehood: but happy was it for him that his miſtreſs’s ſight was ſo impaired (owing to a heavy illneſs ſhe had had); ſhe could not read a word without the help of her glaſſes, which ſhe thought would be a diſgrace to make uſe of in the preſence of her lover: however, ſhe affected to examine the paper; when, returning it to Don Clement, Prithee, read this, ſaid ſhe; for, I proteſt, my eyes have been ſo weak ever ſince the death of my husband, that I can ſcarce diſtinguish a letter. Don Clement was rejoiced at this unexpected turn of good luck: It is only a ſong, Madam, ſaid he; and, pretending to read it, he repeated the firſt lines that came into his head, which Madame Burganeze was mightily pleaſed with, and 1042 C9v 42 and ſuffered him to reſtore the book and the ſong to her daughter.
Eugenia no ſooner found herſelf alone than ſhe peruſed her lover’s letter, which contained theſe words:—The conſtraint I am under towards you, and the complaiſance I am obliged to ſhew your mother, are equally painful to me; but the time is not yet come for me to undeceive her. You ſee the difficulty of my ſituation; and yet you do not know the half of what I ſuffer. Dear Eugenia, if you have any pity for me, permit me once more to talk to you without reſerve. If you will walk this evening, about ſeven o’clock, in the great wood adjoining the park, I will find means to converſe with you.—When you ſee a perſon covered with a white veil, know that for your obliged Pimenteles.The 1043 C10r 43
The reading this note revived Eugenia’s hopes again: ſhe returned into the houſe, with her thoughts more agreeably employed than they had been for ſome days paſt. She was told that Don Clement was juſt going to Lodi, in order to ſee a friend; and, making no doubt but that he feigned this journey, on purpoſe that he might have the better opportunity of meeting her at the expected rendezvous, ſhe longed for the appointed hour.
On account of Don Clement’s abſence ſhe the more eaſily obtained leave of Madame Burganeze to go abroad. Wherefore, ſetting out, attended by the oldwoman, ſhe quickly croſſed the park which joined the Marquis’s gardens; and, having reached the wood, ſhe was not long before ſhe diſcovered Don 1044 C10v 44 Don Clement in the diſguiſe he had mentioned in his letter.
He was covered with a white ſilk veil ſtriped with ſilver; which, reaching from head to foot, concealed him ſo entirely, that neither his ſhape nor clothes could be diſcovered; and, had not Eugenia been apprized of his deſign, ſhe could never have ſuſpected him for any other than what he appeared to be.
Don Clement was at ſome little diſtance; but, having ſpied Eugenia as ſoon as ſhe did him, and altering his voice, he called out to her; at the ſame time advancing to meet her.—Eugenia, affecting ſurpriſe, ran towards him:— Is it poſſible, ſaid ſhe, that this is Donna Aurora? Who would have dreamt of meeting you at Milan? How charmed 1045 C11r 45 charmed will my mother be to ſee you! —I have ſo ſhort a time to ſtay, anſwered the counterfeit Donna, that I can’t wait on Madame Burganeze; therefore I beg you will not let her know of having ſeen me. Saying this, he took Eugenia under the arm; and ſpeaking in a tone not to be heard by her attendant, Thus far, ſaid he, we have ſucceeded happily; but your troubleſome guardian purſues us ſo cloſely that I am as much to ſeek as ever; for ſhe will certainly ſuſpect ſomething if we whiſper too long.—I know no way to get rid of her, anſwered Eugenia but to tire her ſo heartily that ſhe will be glad to ſit down to reſt, and we may then ſaunter out of her hearing. Don Clement could not help laughing at this contrivance; and, much approving of it, they both walked as faſt as poſſible, reſolving to lead the old duenna ſuch a dance 1046 C11v 46 dance as would make her glad to ſit down, and leave them at liberty.
Urſina (that was the attendant’s name) trotted after them as faſt as ſhe was able, when, being unuſed to ſo much walking, ſhe called to them, conjuring them, for God’s ſake, not to walk at ſuch a rate, as ſhe found it impossible to keep up with them; and aſſured them ſhe was ready to faint with wearineſs. This was juſt what they wanted. Eugenia ſlackened her pace, and told Urſina, ſhe might fit down in the ſhade, whilſt ſhe and her companion continued their walk. The duenna begged they wouldn’t go out of ſight: which Eugenia faithfully promiſing, the old woman flung herſelf on the graſs, and, being much fatigued, ſoon feel aſleep.Now 1047 C12r 47
Now it was that the lovers found themſelves in poſſeſſion of a few undiſturbed minutes, which they had ſo ardently wiſhed for: but they could not enjoy this happineſs long enough to enter into an explanation, which would have ſpared each of them many ſighs.
They were got into a part of the wood which was by the ſide of a byeroad, and was ſeparated from it only by a ſhallow brook: the ſun was almoſt ſet, and Don Clement, fearing to loſe more time, prayed Eugenia to ſit down on the brink of the water, which they found very refreſhing. Eugenia would have made choice of a place ſtill more retired; but, fearing to alarm Urſina, leſt ſhe ſhould chance to awake and miſs them, ſhe conſented to remain where they were; when, ſeating herſelf on the brink 1048 C12v 48 brink of the rivulet, Don Clement placed himſelf by her.
He had drawn the veil from his face, as well for coolneſs as to be able to ſpeak with the greater freedom, and was juſt entering into a converſation equally deſired both by him and Eugenia, when they were alarmed by the appearance of two horſemen, well mounted and in Spaniſh habits, who came in a briſk trot towards them.
As they had rode out from a croſs path, Eugenia and her lover were not aware of them, till they were ſo near as to have their faces and dreſs diſtinguiſhed at once.
Don Clement no ſooner ſaw them than he endeavoured, with great precipitation, to cover his face with the veil, when, 1049 D1r 49 when, through the moſt unlucky accident imaginable, it had got faſt on a buſh which hung juſt over his head: the haſte he made to diſengage it, together with the confuſion he was in, ſerved only to entangle it the more; ſo that, making a violent effort to tear it from the buſh that held it, he dragged it quite off him; and at once made a diſcovery of what he ſo vainly endeavoured to conceal.
The two cavaliers, who had made a full ſtop from the firſt moment they obſerved him, now alighted from their horſes, which they gave into the hands of a ſervant, who was leading an empty calaſh after them; and one of them, crying out in a tone of the greateſt exultation, Ha! art thou found at laſt, vile fugitive? he leapt over the brook, Vol. I.Dand 1050 D1v 50 and ſeized hold of Don Clement’s ſhoulder.
Eugenia, in her firſt emotion of fear and ſurpriſe, fled to ſome little diſtance from the place where ſhe had been ſitting; but, her love overcoming her terror, ſhe turned back, reſolving to partake with her dear Pimenteles in the danger which ſhe apprehended threatened him; but great was her aſtoniſhment and grief at ſeeing him ſurrounded by three men. She could perceive that one of them wreſted a poniard out of his hand; whilſt the other two, who had come to the aſſiſtance of the firſt, took him under each arm, and, notwithſtanding his reſiſtance, forced him into the calaſh; the eldeſt of the two cavaliers getting into it with him, whilſt the other mounted his horſe again; and all drove off like lightening.Eugenia 1051 D2r 51
Eugenia during this tranſaction was almoſt ſenſleſs; when the cries of the old duenna, who was by this time awake, rouſed her from her lethargy. Urſina ran to her charge:—And are you ſafe? ſaid ſhe: Are you, Eugenia? What is become of the lady? and who are thoſe men that drove away juſt now?—I can anſwer none of your queſtions, replied Eugenia; for I am frightened to death.—Oh! ſo I have you ſafe, it is no matter, ſaid Urſina. Let us make haſte home. Madam, your mother will chide me for letting you ſtay ſo long.
Eugenia was ſo overwhelmed with grief that ſhe made her no reply; but, caſting her eyes towards the fatal ſpot where Don Clement had been forced away, ſhe ſaw his poniard lying on the ground, which had been dropped in the D2ſcuffle; 1052 D2v 52 ſcuffle: the handle was gold; on which his name was decyphered in ſmall diamonds. She ſnatched it up, and hid it under her gown, without being obſerved by her duenna.
As they were returning back, Urſina aſked her ſeveral queſtions about the ſuppoſed lady who had met her in the wood; and Eugenia, finding by her inquiries that ſhe had not diſcovered it to be Don Clement (for ſhe did not awake till the ſtrangers were driving away) ſhe reſolved not to let her into the truth of an adventure in which ſhe had ſo near and tender an intereſt.
That young lady, ſaid Eugenia, is called Donna Aurora de Silvio: ſhe is a particular friend of mine; and I ſhould be much concerned if I thought any misfortune had befallen her. She has 1053 D3r 53 has indeed been juſt now taken away by two cavaliers; but I am inclined to believe it is with her own conſent; for, you know, ſhe deſired me not to acquaint my mother with her being at Milan; and, at the ſame time, told me that ſhe was not to remain here long: therefore I charge you, Urſina, not to mention the leaſt word of any thing you have ſeen; for, if Donna Aurora’s relations come to hear of it, it may bring both you and me into trouble. Urſina, who was none of the cunningeſt of her ſex, promiſed to be ſilent.
Eugenia returned home; but with a heart much heavier than when ſhe left it. Her mother was indiſpoſed, and the Marquis was abroad; ſo ſhe ſaw neither of them that night: but the next day produced a diſmal hurricane in the family of the Marquis.D3Don 1054 D3v 54
Don Clement had promiſed faithfully to return next morning; when the impatient Burganeze, not finding him as good as his word, diſpatched one of the ſervants to Lodi, to inquire the occaſion of his delay. The meſſenger went to the houſe where he expected to find Don Clement; but returned with word that he had not been there at all.
Madame Burganeze, alarmed to the laſt degree at neither ſeeing nor hearing from him all that day, had now loſt all patience: when the night and the ſucceeding day paſſed over without bringing any news of him, ſhe ſtamped and raved like a mad woman; beat her maids, broke her china, and tore her hair. The Marquis, who till now was an utter ſtranger to her extravagant paſſion for Don Clement, was amazed at her behaviour. What then, Madam, ſaid 1055 D4r 55 ſaid he, and did you really love Pimenteles?—Yes, cried ſhe, furiouſly; and was beloved again.—I am ſurpriſed, anſwered the Marquis, with an indignant ſmile, that he ſhould ſo cruelly deſert you, if you were the miſtreſs of his heart.—Oh traitor! ſaid Madame Burganeze, are you then at the bottom of this contrivance, to rob me of my love? Be aſſured, if I find it out, I will make you an example to all perſidious brothers. She pronounced this in a reſolute tone, ſtaring all the while at the Marquis as if ſhe were poſſeſſed. For ſhame, ſiſter! ſaid he, calmly: moderate this exceſſive frenzy, or you will oblige me to abate of that reſpect I should chuſe to treat you with; which as I ſhould be ſorry to do, I will leave you to your cooler thoughts. Saying this, he made D4her 1056 D4v 56 her a low bow, and left her to vent her fury by herſelf.
Whilſt many fruitleſs inquiries were making after Don Clement, Urſina, who began to entertain ſome ſuſpicions about the adventure in the wood, addreſſed Eugenia thus: Here is a mighty work, ſaid ſhe, to know what is become of Signior Pimenteles! Why, I’ll be burnt if it was not he who carried away your friend Donna Aurora. It muſt be ſo. What other reaſon can he have for abſenting himſelf? If you ſhould find this to be the caſe, I hope you will allow me to be a woman of penetration.
Eugenia, pleaſed to find her in ſuch an error, ſaid ſhe was certainly in the right:—How ſtupid was I, ſaid ſhe, not to think of this! Aye, I make no 1057 D5r 57 no doubt that Don Clement was the traitor; for, added ſhe, the fright I was in would not ſuffer me to make any particular obſervations on the raviſhers. But you remember we are not ſuppoſed to know any thing of this matter; I beg therefore you may continue to keep the diſcreet ſilence you have hitherto obſerved. Urſina could hardly be prevailed upon to loſe the merit of this diſcovery: however ſhe at laſt promiſed to hold her tongue.
Eugenia, who ſaw that the Marquis was equally ſurpriſed and grieved at the ſtrange and abrupt manner of Don Clement’s diſappearing, reſolved to keep him no longer in the dark; but to confeſs the truth of this myſterious adventure. She knew that her uncle loved her, and was diſcreet. She therefore, with the greateſt candour, related the D5whole 1058 D5v 58 whole ſtory, from the beginning to the end, without diſguiſing the leaſt circumſtance, not even the paſſion ſhe had conceived for Don Clement: and concluded her narration with conjuring the Marquis to forgive her for having made a ſecret to him of an affair in which her heart was ſo nearly concerned; aſſuring him, at the ſame time, ſhe meant to conceal it no longer than till Don Clement had made the explanation he had promiſed; and which, ſhe was inclined to believe, would unfold a myſtery that had given her great uneaſineſs.
The Marquis heard her attentively, and with evident marks of ſurprize:— You were in the wrong, ſaid he, in not truſting me with this ſecret; and, had you ventured to make me your confidant, it would have ſaved us all ſome trouble. But Don Clement’s ſtrange 1059 D6r 59 ſtrange conduct aſtoniſhes me. If he really loved you, he had reaſon to believe that he had my approbation: for, to tell you the truth, Eugenia, I even gave him to underſtand ſo much in terms, which at once ſhewed my eſteem for him and the high opinion I had of his deſert. He indeed received the overture with all the appearance of gratitude and reſpect; and made uſe of words, to teſtify his acknowledgements, ſo paſſionate and expreſſive, that I thought his heart was ſenſibly affected. He thanked me for the honour I intended him; and, with his face covered with bluſhes, told me, he would endeavour to deſerve it.
I could not help ſmiling at his baſhfulneſs, at the ſame time that I thought it very amiable; but not caring to increaſe his confuſion. I for that D6time 1060 D6v 60 time dropped the ſubject. I imagined that Don Clement would, in politeneſs, have been the firſt who would have reaſſumed it; but quite otherwiſe;—I found he ever after avoided mentioning any thing that could introduce a theme which, I ſuppoſed, would have been moſt agreeable to him. He even grew melancholy, and ſighed whenever you appeared! I took occaſion for this to rally him a little on his ſhyneſs; he fell again into the ſame confuſion that he had diſcovered the firſt time I mentioned you to him. He told me that he was afraid he was not capable of touching your heart; and added, that he had a certain delicacy in his ſentiments that made him miſerable; for, ſaid he, the perſon who is to make me happy, muſt love me with a tenderneſs equal to that with which my ſoul is filled; and, alas! I dare not flatter myſelf that 1061 D7r 61 that I ſhall meet with that perſon in the beautiful Eugenia.
I muſt own, proceeded the Marquis, that I was much ſurpriſed at what Don Clement ſaid. I anſwered, gravely, I don’t know, Signior, how my niece is affected toward you; I ſuppoſe ſhe can’t be blind to your merit; and I have even heard her expreſs the good opinion ſhe has of you; but for thoſe tender ſentiments which you require, you are only to expect a diſcovery of them from Eugenia’s own mouth, and that as a reward of your love and conſtancy; but, ſince you are not inclined to make the experiment, we will drop a ſubject which may not be altogether agreeable to either of us.
I pronounced theſe laſt words in a tone ſo ſerious, and, at the ſame time, with 1062 D7v 62 with ſome mixture of reſentment, that I perceived Don Clement was almoſt ready to ſink with grief and ſhame. Oh my Lord, ſaid he, in a broken voice, you do me the greateſt injuſtice! Why will you entertain a thought ſo injurious to the reſpect I have always entertained for you? Ah, if you knew my heart, added he (laying hold, fearfully, of one of my hands) you would be convinced of the love, the gratitude, and the reverence which I bear you; yes, my Lord, continued he (preſſing my hand with a more aſſured air) it is nothing but a diffidence of my own worth which has prevented me from improving the favourable diſpoſition that you have towards me: for, notwithstanding the flattering proſpect which you have permitted me to entertain, I have remarked a cold- 1063 D8r 63 a coldneſs and reſerve in the fair Eugenia, which have damped all my hopes.
Don Clement ſpoke this, proceeded the Marquis, in ſo dejected a tone, that I could not forbear pitying him; and, altering my countenance all at once, I told him, laughing, that he had too much modeſty for a cavalier ſo young and handſome as he was; and that however neceſſary a certain degree of it might be to make one agreeable, yet an exceſs ſerved only to render thoſe who poſſeſſed it miſerable, by making them timorous, and filling their heads with vain doubts and apprehenſions. You don’t know your own ſtrength, added I; I believe my niece’s heart is not pre-engaged; ſhe is a woman, and I ſuppoſe, not more obdurate than the reſt of her ſex; and I think you have as much to recommend you as any of ours. 1064 D8v 64 ours. Don Clement anſwered this with a bow; but, at the ſame time, told me there was another obſtacle to his wiſhes which gave him new torment: Madame Burganeze, proceeded he, ſeems averſe from my deſires, and keeps ſo ſtrict a watch over her daughter, that I find it impoſſible to ſpeak to her but in her mother’s preſence.
I had, continued the Marquis, made the ſame obſervation myſelf; but, little ſuſpecting the real motive of her conduct, I only fancied your mother had conceived ſome ſecret diſlike to Don Clement; into the cauſe of which I had reſolved to enquire at a proper opportunity. In the mean while I told Don Clement that I would be an advocate for him, both with you and my ſiſter; and that, after having founded your inclinations, which I promiſed myſelf 1065 D9r 65 myſelf were favourable enough towards him, I was in hopes that Madame Burganeze would not oppoſe a union which ſhe would find acceptable to me and my niece. Be therefore contented, added I, for I will not reſt till I have diſpoſed Eugenia’s heart to make you all the kind returns you can wiſh.
This converſation, continued the Marquis, paſſed between Don Clement and me the morning of that day on which he appointed you to meet him in the wood. What his deſign was in this aſſignation, I am ſtrangely at a loſs to conjecture; but certain I am, that Don Clement was guided throughout his whole conduct by ſo mysterious a principle, that the more I reflect on it the more I am puzzled.
I am as much at a loſs as you are, my Lord, replied Eugenia; but I am 1066 D9v 66 am ſatisfied Don Clement had ſomething important to reveal to me, which probably would have cleared up a behaviour that now appears ſo unaccountable; and, had he not been purſued by the moſt whimſical deſtiny, two minutes would have diſcloſed what may now, perhaps, keep me to the end of my life in ſuſpenſe.
Time, anſwered the Marquis, may yet bring this myſtery to light; till then I will ſuſpend my judgment, and endeavour to think favourably of a man whom I could wiſh to find deſerving of the moſt warm eſteem I had for him.
While Madame Burganeze continued to make bitter lamentations for the abſence of her lover, poor Eugenia was a thouſand times more tortured on the ſame 1067 D10r 67 ſame account; for, not daring to let her mother be a witneſs of her tears, ſhe was obliged to live under the moſt painful conſtraint.
She hourly regretted the loſs of Don Clement; and ſome weeks having paſſed over without her hearing any news of him, ſhe begged her mother would permit her to reviſit her native Salerno, in order, once more, to ſee her old and dear friend Adelaide.
Madame Burganeze, to whom every thing was now become indifferent, eaſily conſented to let her daughter take this journey. Eugenia was quickly ready, little preparation ſerving for the time ſhe was allowed to ſtay; and ſhe ſet out for the kingdom of Naples, with her governante, and a retinue, more ſuitableable 1068 D10v 68 able to her quality than that with which ſhe had left it.
Eugenia had not given Adelaide notice of her arrival in Salerno; but impatient to embrace that dear friend, and having a mind to ſurpriſe her with the ſuddenneſs of her appearance, ſhe alighted at the Baron St. Seberina’s houſe, and, with her accuſtomed freedom, ran up into Adelaide’s apartment.
She found that Lady in her cloſet, ſeated at her bureau, where ſhe had juſt done writing a letter;—ſhe had her pen in one hand, and with the other held her handkerchief before her eyes. Eugenia waited ſome minutes, to try if her friend would quit this melancholy poſture; but finding her ſtill continue in it, ſhe ran to her, and embracing her tenderly,derly, 1069 D11r 69 derly, what ails my dear Adelaide? ſaid ſhe; you had not this ſorrowful air when I laſt ſaw you: I came to Salerno on purpoſe to receive ſome comfort from your ſweet ſociety; but I find you in a way which tells me you have yourſelf need of conſolation. And who is more capable of conſoling me than you? anſwered Adelaide, returning her friend’s careſſes; if I may yet hope for any happineſs, it is in the friendſhip of my Eugenia. Tell me, added ſhe, are Madame Burganeze and the Marquis, your uncle, well? But above all, ſay, is Don Clement ſtill coldly ceremonious, or am I to congratulate you on being happy?
Oh no! far from it, ansſwered Eugenia, with a sigh; I am more wretched than ever; I have loſt Don Clement; had him torn from me when hope 1070 D11v 70 hope began to flatter me! and may perhaps never ſee him again! Here ſhe related to her friend the particulars of all that had paſſed; ſome part of which ſhe had communicated to her by letter.
How much am I affected with your ſtory! ſaid Adelaide; there is a purity in our misfortunes that touches me ſtrangely, and if I loved you leſs, would force me to ſympathize with you.— How! cried Eugenia: is love then the occasſion of this ſad alteration which I perceive in you? is it to love you owe that dejection in your eyes, that faded colour in you cheeks, and that diſordered air about your whole perſon? To that ſelf ſame paſſion, anſwered Adelaide, aſſuming a little gaiety, to hide the confuſion her friend’s words had thrown her into; I ſhall tell you the whole ſecret, added ſhe; ’and 1071 D12r 71 and I had even diſcloſed it to you in a letter which I juſt concluded when you entered the cloſet. But come, it is now dinner-time, and you have not yet ſeen my father. Saying this, ſhe led her friend to the old Baron, who was highly pleaſed at ſeeing her again; and, after mutual civilities, they ſat down to table.
Eugenia was ſo impatient to be alone with her friend, that dinner was no ſooner over than, making a ſign to Adelaide, that lady immediately aroſe from her ſeat, and, telling the Baron, with a ſmile, that Eugenia and ſhe had many things to talk of, they retired to Adelaide’s apartment; where, having locked themſelves in, Eugenia claimed her friend’s promiſe.
You may remember, ſaid Adelaide, at your departure from Salernono, 1072 D12v 72 no, in how much grief you left me; and indeed, my ſorrow at loſing you was ſo great, that my health was viſibly impaired by it: my father, with the greateſt concern, ſaw my melancholy, but told me he would not ſuffer me to indulge it. He aſſured me I ſhould ſee you again, though he were himſelf to undertake a journey with me to Milan for that purpoſe;—mean time, ſaid he, I will find a companion for you, who, though not perhaps ſo beloved by you as your Eugenia is, yet may make you ſome amends for her abſence. I am now going to pay a viſit to my kinſman, Signior Caraſſa, whom I have not ſeen for ſome time; and I will aſk leave for his daughter to come and bear you company.
I thanked my father for his tenderneſs; and aſſuring him I would be very 1073 E1r 73 very glad to have my couſin with me, he went to wait on her father, who very readily granted his requeſt; and Fauſtina (that was my couſin’s name) came to me the ſame day.
My father was ſo pleaſed with the hopes of diverting my melancholy, that I could not help ſeeming highly ſatiſfied with her company. She was miſtreſs of a great deal of wit, and did not want for good-nature; but her carriage was a little too ſhy and reſerved to make her a very agreeable companion: and, in reality, I did not think myſelf over and above happy in her converſation.
She had now been ſome weeks with us, when, one morning, going to hear maſs (as was our cuſtom) we had but juſt kneeled down when FauſtinaI.Etina 1074 E1v 74 tina whiſpered in my ear,—Look, Adelaide, at that cavalier, who ſtands next the altar, in mourning, and tell me if you ever ſaw any thing ſo handſome?— I caſt my eyes where ſhe directed me, and ſaw the gentleman whom ſhe deſcribed. He ſeemed to be an agreeable genteel perſon, though ſomething paſt his bloom. I told her I thought he had nothing remarkable in him: and the place we were then in not being proper for obſervation of this kind, I turned my face away, and opened my breviary.
When maſs was over, I obſerved Fauſtina under ſome uneaſineſs; for the ſtranger (who had employed her thoughts and her eyes when ſhe ſhould have been minding her devotion) had ſuddenly ſtepped out among the crowd. She made all poſſible haſte to get out of church: 1075 E2r 75 church: I followed her; and we had but juſt got without the gate when we ſaw our cavalier talking very familiarly to an Abbé of our acquaintance— the latter bowed to us as we came towards him; and immediately the ſtranger whiſpered him, which I judged was to enquire who we were? for I immediately heard my name pronounced, and the cavalier ſay,—She is very handſome! Fauſtina heard thoſe laſt words; but not knowing to which of us they were directed, ſhe flattered herſelf they were meant for her.
When we got into our coach, Now, couſin, ſaid ſhe to me, tell me your opinion of that ſtranger: for my part, I think I never beheld any thing ſo beautiful.—I could not help ſmiling at ſo fantaſtical a taſte; which Fauſtina obſerving,—I ſee, ſaid ſhe, he has not E2the 1076 E2v 76 the good fortune to have pleaſed you; but as I think you have ſome ſkill in beauty, I ſhould be glad you would tell me what he wants to make him completely amiable?—He wants every thing, replied I, laughing out-right; and, if you will hear me patiently, I will deſcribe him in his true colours, for I examined him with a leſs partial eye than you did.—Come then, anſwered Fauſtina, peeviſhly, let me hear.
In the firſt place then, ſaid I, his ſtature is too low.—Why I grant you, ſaid ſhe, interrupting me, that it would be better if he was a little taller; but, to make amends for this deficiency, he is perfectly genteel.—I will allow, anſwered I, that he has a tolerable air, that at firſt ſight ſtrikes, but when you come to examine him, he wants ſhape; I could almoſt ſay proportion: then for his face, ſince 1077 E3r 77 ſince you take me for a judge of beauty, indeed, couſin, I think he has neither features nor complexion; and if I be not much deceived, he could almoſt be your father.
Though I ſtill kept up my rallying manner, I found that Fauſtina had loſt all patience.—Oh heavens! ſaid ſhe, that I ſhould fancy you have any taſte! I ſuppoſe you admire the coarſe look of a peaſant, that lyes down and riſes with the ſun. The cavalier has a delicacy of complexion that may indeed proceed from a weakly conſtitution; but his features are the moſt elegant I have ſeen: and for his age, which you have advanced ſo much, I can, for my part, ſee no diſparity between it and my own.
My couſin, who was naturally a little paſſionate, ſpoke this with ſo much E3earneſt- 1078 E3v 78 earneſtneſs, that I did not care to contradict her any further; and was glad that our converſation was broke off by the carriage ſtopping at our own door.
From what I have ſaid, you may judge what kind of a perſon this was. The next morning the Abbé, whom I mentioned to you, came to breakfaſt with us:—you may be ſure Fauſtina did not forget to enquire particularly after her favourite. The Abbe informed us that his name was Signior Ambroſia de Caſtellane; that he was a native of the iſland of Sardinia, and came to Salerno in order to take poſſeſſion of a ſmall eſtate that fell to him by the death of an aunt. To theſe he added ſome other particulars, which naturally fell in his way (or at leaſt were thrown there by my couſin); ſuch as, that he was unmarried; that he lodged in the college with 1079 E4r 79 with a ſtudent, his relation; and that he intended to ſtay ſome months in Salerno.
I know not whether it was by deſign or accident that Caſtellane, the next day, paſſed by our houſe. Fauſtina was leaning againſt the window of my dreſſing-room, which looked into the ſtreet; I was ſitting at my toilet. Come hither, quickly, Adelaide, ſaid ſhe, in a voice of tranſport: ſee the charming ſtranger!—I roſe off my chair, and, ſtepping to the window, ſaw Signior Ambroſia, who, remarking us, gazed for a minute, with a look more of curiouſity than politeneſs. How handſome he is! ſaid Fauſtina, with an air of ſurpriſe and pleaſure: what would I give (added ſhe, after a ſhort pauſe) that his quality and fortune were ſuch as would entitle him to aſk me of my father!—butE4ther! 1080 E4v 80 ther!—but what am I thinking of? he does not know me at all; much leſs does he know that I am charmed with him. We muſt inform him then, ſaid ſhe (looking at me, with an abſent air); and teach him to raiſe his wiſhes and his hopes. With this ſhe darted ſuddenly to my cloſet, and ſhut herſelf in.
I waited, with ſome impatience, to ſee what would be the reſult of her contemplations; little dreaming how ſhe was employed.
In about half an hour ſhe came out to me, with an air of much ſatisfaction in her face. She had a paper, wrote, in her hand.—I have ſomething to ſhew you, ſaid ſhe; but you muſt firſt promiſe you will not make any objections; for I tell you, before hand, I have taken a reſolution which nothing can make 1081 E5r 81 make me alter.—Then be aſſured, ſaid I, that I ſhall not make any attempts which, I am perſuaded, would be fruitleſs.—You are in the right, replied Fauſtina; and at the ſame time gave me the paper, which ſhe had held back whilſt ſhe was ſpeaking to me. The words it contained were as follows:— My tenderneſs forces me to diſcover what my pride would, in vain, perſuade me to conceal. I love you, Don Ambroſia; and, if you know your own worth, this confeſſion will not ſurpriſe you, though I add to it that it comes from a woman of the firſt quality in Salerno. I ſhall be at the ball which the Prince gives to-night, in hopes of ſeeing you there; for I propoſe no other pleaſure in going. I ſhall be in white and gold; and I ſhall wear a remarkable diamond in my breaſt, which will be enough to diſtinguiſh me: but, E5should 1082 E5v 82 ſhould chance alone direct your eyes to mine, they will be ſufficient to diſcover her who admires you above all mankind.
I read this aſtoniſhing letter twice (purſued Adelaide) before I could believe my eyes; when, returning it to Fauſtina, I aſked her, gravely, what ſhe meant to do with it?—To diſpatch it off hand, replied ſhe, to Caſtellane: I know where he lives, and my woman can be truſted.—With this ſhe was leaving the room, when I cried out to her, For heaven’s ſake, couſin, reflect one minute on what you are going to do: you, indeed, forbid me to contradict you, but I am too much your friend to obey you.—Spare yourſelf the trouble of arguments, interrupted Fauſtina; I believe you love me; and on any other occaſion I would be guided wholly by your 1083 E6r 83 your prudence; but in the intereſts of the heart, we ourſelves are our beſt counſellors. I knew every thing you would ſay, continued ſhe: you would tell me that I am raſh; that I forget what is due to my ſex and my quality; in a word, that I break in on the rules of modeſty and diſcretion. Ah, let it be ſo:—I know this is what you would ſay, and I even think I deſerve it; but, conſcious as I am of my own weakneſs, I have not power to oppoſe it. See then, Adelaide, if I can be reaſoned out of a prepoſſeſſion which all my own efforts have not been able to conquer: but don’t think I yield without reluctance; for, alas, I muſt yield, and you muſt aſſiſt me with your friendſhip.— With this ſhe embraced me; and I was ſo ſoftened by her words, that I found myſelf more inclined to pity than condemn her.E6“She 1084 E6v 84
She ſaw the temper ſhe had wrought me into; and, leaving me in a moment, ſhe took that opportunity to diſpatch her letter, flattering herſelf that, though I did not approve of her conduct, I would at leaſt not reproach her with it.
The meſſenger whom ſhe employed acquitted herſelf very well; for, not finding Don Caſtellane at home, ſhe gave the letter to his footman; and telling him it was of consequence, charged him to find out his maſter directly, and deliver it to him.
Fauſtina, having her head now filled with a thouſand pleaſing ideas, prepared for the ball. She was genteel, and, though not a beauty, might yet ſtand amongſt the foremoſt rank of the agreeable. I never ſaw her take ſo much 1085 E7r 85 much pains to dreſs herſelf as ſhe did that evening; and, having put on the clothes ſhe deſcribed in her note, ſhe added the jewel which, as a propitious ſtar, was to direct her lover. This ſhe made ſerve as a kind of claſp to faſten a bouquet of flowers in her boſom.
As I had been invited to the ball as well as Fauſtina, I went with her; and we had but juſt taken our ſeats when we ſaw our little cavalier enter, dreſſed as richly as any body there. He happened to place himſelf juſt oppoſite to us: but never did I ſee any one in ſuch perplexity as he ſeemed to be: there was a ſplendid appearance of ladies on all ſides of us; and, as we happened not to ſit in the moſt conſpicuous part of the room, he ſeemed utterly at a loſs where to fix; and I believe, had almoſt tired himſelf with looking for the lady to 1086 E7v 86 to whom he was ſo much obliged. When the ball opened, the Prince doing me the honour to dance with me, the company on this occaſion ſtood up; and Don Ambroſia, more intent on finding out his miſtreſs than on obſerving the dancers, at laſt diſcovered her; but whether by the bright ſignal on her breaſt, or the more expreſſive language of her eyes, I never yet could be certain.
He gave her to underſtand he had found her out by a moſt profound bow; which ſalute I juſt ſaw her returning, with looks full of more than complaiſance. When I was led back to my ſeat, I obſerved that Caſtellane began to give himſelf more airs than he had done before; and his eyes were ſeldom off my couſin or me during the whole entertainment.“Fauſtina 1087 E8r 87
Fauſtina wiſhed often to ſee him dance; but he did not give her that pleaſure. However, when the company broke up (which was not till near morning) we ſaw him preſſing through the crowd to get to us, in order, as I ſuppoſed, to lead us to our coach; when two gentlemen, who had waited on us to the ball, taking my couſin’s hand and mine, took that office upon themſelves; which Fauſtina, for her part, had much rather have beſtowed on Don Ambroſia. She therefore was obliged to content herſelf with caſting a look at him; which ſhewed with what reluctance ſhe gave her hand to another. He returned this with a low bow; and immediately went out with a crowd of other gentlemen.
If Fauſtina was charmed with him before, this laſt interview rivetted her chains. 1088 E8v 88 chains. She talked of nothing elſe;— What do you think he will do, ſaid ſhe, now that he knows by whom he is beloved? Do you believe the diſcovery was aggreable to him?—You need not doubt, replied I, that he will purſue a conqueſt which does him ſo much honour. Nor was I out in my ſuppoſition: Caſtellane was too proud of it not to uſe it to his advantage. He ſoon found means, by the help of Fauſtina’s woman, to get a letter conveyed to his miſtreſs. I happen to have it ſtill in my poſſeſſion. You will be a judge of it. With this Adelaide went to her cabinet, and taking the letter from thence gave it to her friend to read. Too ſure I am (ſaid the letter) that I have not merit enough to deſerve the happineſs you flatter me with; or you would certainly make me the vaineſt of mortals. If it be indeed poſſible that the ſentiments you 1089 E9r 89 you profeſs for me are real, I ſhall endeavour to render myſelf worthy of them: if feigned only to divert yourſelf, I can eaſily forgive ſuch an agreeable deceit: and, either way, I beg you will afford me an opportunity perſonally to thank you for the honour you have done me.—Eugenia having read this epiſtle, returned it to Adelaide, and begged her to purſue her ſtory.
Though my couſin (continued that lady) was pleaſed with the gallantry of Signior Ambroſia, relative to his requeſt of ſeeing her; though it was no more than what ſhe might have expected; ſhe well knew that, as he was not upon a footing with her, either in point of fortune or quality, ſhe muſt never hope to have him admitted as a lover, either by her father or by mine. Whatever, therefore, was to be done, it muſt be entirely 1090 E9v 90 entirely without the knowledge of either of them.
She had recourſe to me in this emergency; and begged my advice and aſſiſtance. She told me ſhe was reſolved to ſee Caſtellane; but did not know in what manner to contrive an interview with him. I was ſorry to ſee her embarked in an affair that I foreſaw might end unhappily: but I knew her temper too well to hope for any thing by oppoſing her; eſpecially where her heart was ſo nearly concerned. All I could expect then was, that ſhe would conduct herſelf with as much caution and ſecreſy as ſo delicate a point required.
I told her I was ſatisfied ſhe ought to comply with Don Caſtellane’s requeſt of allowing him to ſee and talk to her, as there was no retreating handſomely, after 1091 E10r 91 after the advances ſhe had made. Yet I recommended it to her not to be too haſty in granting him a meeting, till we had concerted meaſures for our mutual ſafety.
She ſaw the reaſonableneſs of this advice; and, readily agreeing to it, ſhe anſwered Don Ambroſia’s letter in a few lines, telling him ſhe would conſider of the means to gratify him in the deſire he expreſſed to thank her for the favourable ſentiments ſhe had for him; the ſincerity of which ſhe aſſured him of, in a manner that left him no more doubt of her being in earneſt.
I ſhall not trouble you with a repetition of all the letters that paſſed on both ſides, and the contrivances that were formed, in order to effect the meeting between the two lovers, before any expedient 1092 E10v 92 expedient was fixed upon. At laſt an opportunity offered that determined Fauſtina in a deſire ſhe had before entertained, of receiving him here; which ſhe was afraid to venture on before, leſt my father ſhould diſcover it: but as he was now obliged, on urgent buſineſs, to be abſent from home for a few days, my couſin was reſolved not to let ſlip ſo favourable a juncture. She communicated her deſign to me:—I thought it feaſible, and much leſs liable to cenſure than to indulge him in an aſſignation in any other place. She thanked me for my concurrence; and wrote a little note to Don Ambroſia, appointing the manner and hour of his viſit, which was to be that evening.
He did not fail to come agreeably to his inſtructions; and was conducted by my couſin’s woman into a parlour remotemote 1093 E11r 93 mote from the reſt of the apartments. Fauſtina beſeeched me to entertain him for a few minutes, till ſhe had recollected her ſpirits, which were indeed much agitated at the thoughts of her being ſo near the object of her love. I went down into the parlour, where I found Caſtellane in a muſing poſture, with his eyes fixed on the ground. He ſtarted up on my entering the room; and I obſerved he changed colour as he ſaluted me. I was in ſome confuſion myſelf: however I prayed him to ſit down. He ſeemed embarraſſed; which increaſed the diſorder that the circumſtance of this whimſical adventure had thrown me into. We were both ſilent. I was very glad when Fauſtina came in to put an end to this aukward ſcene.
Her preſence ſeemed to inſpire him with more boldneſs; when, on the contrary, 1094 E11v 94 contrary, I ſuppoſed it would have rather added to his timidity. He thanked her in the politeſt manner for the honour ſhe had done him; and teſtified his gratitude in the moſt obliging terms; but it appeared to me he expreſſed himſelf with an eaſe and freedom that favoured more of the courtier than the lover:— his language wanted that warmth and energy which ſprings from the heart; the emotions of which are indeed more eaſily counterfeited than diſguiſed. In a word, I thought I penetrated into his breaſt, and did not find there ſo deep a ſenſe of the favours my couſin had vouchſafed him as I could have wiſhed.
After the firſt compliments were over (which threw Fauſtina into freſh agitation) Don Ambroſia artfully, and not ungracefully, turned the converſation; which, on becoming more general, I bore 1095 E12r 95 bore an equal part in. I found the Sardinian did not want wit; he was entertaining and ſprightly; had an agreeable voice, and a certain vivacity in his manner which rendered his company pleaſing enough. This was all I could ever bring myſelf to think of him, though Fauſtina diſcovered ſome new charms in him every time ſhe ſaw him.
Before he left us, he obtained his miſtreſs’s permiſſion to wait on her again the next evening. He came; and my cousin thought the hours ſhe ſpent with him too happy not to wiſh for a long continuance of them. In ſhort, though my father was to return the following day, and Fauſtina knew it was of the utmoſt importance to conceal her amour from him, yet, ſo blinded was ſhe by her paſſion for Don Caſtellane, that ſhe engaged him to renew his viſits on certaintain 1096 E12v 96 tain days which ſhe promiſed to appoint, with this caution only, that he ſhould always come at an early hour, when my father was engaged in his private devotions; which took a large portion of his time every evening.
Having thus concerted meaſures for their future meetings, Fauſtina had frequent opportunities of ſeeing her lover, without any danger of being ſurprized. It happened one evening that, juſt as Caſtellane had been admitted, Fauſtina received a letter from her mother on ſome buſineſs which required an immediate anſwer: ſhe begged I would go to him and make her excuſes. While ſhe wrote, the meſſenger waited for her letter, which I knew would employ her for ſome time. I went into the parlour, and, making an apology to Don Ambroſia for Fauſtina’s abſence, I told 1097 F1r 97 told him ſhe would haſten hither with all the diſpatch ſhe could make.—In the mean time, ſaid he (riſing off his ſeat, and advancing towards me with an aſſured air) we will make ourſelves as happy as if ſhe were here.—Saying this, he ſat down by me.—Would you be angry with me now, ſaid he, if I ſhould tell you that I love you better than I do your couſin?—As I was far from imagining him ſerious, I only anſwered with a careleſs ſmile, as a mark of the little ſtreſs I laid upon what he ſaid. But, inſtead of underſtanding it in this light, he, I ſuppoſe, looked upon it as proof of approbation, which encouraged him to go on.
Believe me, my charming Adelaide, ſaid he, I have adored you from the firſt moment I ſaw you; and have a thouſand times curſed my fate that did Vol. I.Fnot 1098 F1v 98 not give me your heart inſtead of Fauſtina’s.—He concluded this impertinent ſpeech with ſnatching one of my hands and preſſing it eagerly to his lips. A behaviour ſo unexpected quite confounded me. I pulled back my hand with indignation, and was going to ſpeak, when he prevented me by purſuing his ſpeech with ſaying, Will you ſuffer me to tell you the power you have over me,—the joy your preſence brings,—and the pain I feel at your abſence: that you are the object of my wiſhes,—the delight of my ſoul; and, in ſhort, that my exiſtence hangs upon you?—Hold, Signior, ſaid I, ſcornfully; you carry the jeſt a little too far! —Oh heavens! ſaid he, do you think I jeſt? Cruel creature! hear me but ſwear— Fye, fye, Don Ambroſia! ſaid I, interrupting him: What would Fauſtina ſay, if ſhe thought you capable of 1099 F2r 99 of ſo much treachery? Reflect but on what you owe her, and you muſt bluſh for your ingratitude.—Why, I own, replied Caſtellane, I owe obligations to that lady, and am ſorry I can’t make her the return ſhe deſerves: but, added he, with a ſigh (half-real and half affected) one can’t beſtow their heart where they pleaſe.—I ſay the ſigh was half- affected, becauſe Ambroſia was not a man that would die for love: and I believe that he even repented of having declared himſelf ſo freely to me, when he found in what manner I received his addreſſes. Be that as it will, I forbade him to ſay any more on that ſubject: and, in reality, I conceived ſuch a deſpicable opinion of him at that moment, that it remained ever after.
Fauſtina, who had by this time diſmiſſed her mother’s meſſenger, flew to F2us 1100 F2v 100 us with her uſual impatience; and but juſt gave Don Ambroſia (who heard her coming) time to return to the chair he had quitted at the beginning of our converſation.
He ran to meet her; and even complained of her being abſent ſo long: but, whether Fauſtina had remarked any diſorder in my countenance, or whether, as ſhe was naturally jealous and had more penetration than I, ſhe might have diſcovered ſome ſymptoms of his inclination for me, ’tis certain ſhe received him with more coldneſs than ſhe was uſed to do: ſhe ſpoke but little; and put Don Caſtellane in mind of retiring much ſooner than he was accuſtomed to do. When he was gone, I aſked her, in the kindeſt manner, what it was that made her ſo thoughtful in the preſence of one who uſed to baniſh every uneaſy reflection 1101 F3r 101 relection from her mind?—I was not, anſwered ſhe, in a humour that would ſuffer me to be a very agreeable companion to Don Ambroſia: but you, I hope, made amends for my unſociableneſs. How, added ſhe, fixing her eyes on me, did you entertain him before I came to you? No doubt he was ſtrangely impatient at my long delay: but was there no pretty obliging things paſſed between you, to make the time appear leſs tedious?—Indeed, couſin, anſwered I (a little confuſed at the ironical air with which ſhe ſpoke) our converſation was on matters merely indifferent. I don’t know what trifles they were we were talking of; but I believe you was partly the ſubject of our diſcourſe. —Don’t be inſincere, replied Fauſtina, gravely:—Do you know that it is poſſible for a woman to die of curioſity? Tell me therefore ingenuouſly, does not F3Don 1102 F3v 102 Don Caſtellane make love to you?—So home a queſtion made me bluſh extremely. I remained for ſome moments ſilent; notwithſtanding which, my couſin as if I had already anſwered her in the affirmative, cried, Aye, I know it; the ungrateful wretch!—who would have expected this from him?—Here ſhe was ſilent for ſome time; and walked to and fro in the chamber, with a very diſturbed air. I did not interrupt her; but was conſidering with myſelf in what manner I ſhould lay open Don Ambroſia’s falſhood, without too much ſhocking her tenderneſs; or leaving her room to ſuſpect I had given any encouragement to the ridiculous declarations he had made me.
If, on the one hand, I was grieved to wound her heart with the knowledge of 1103 F4r 103 of his perſidy; I was, on the other, highly pleaſed to think that ſo flagrant a proof of it would at once cure her of a blind paſſion, which ſhe had ſo unhappily conceived.—This laſt reflection made me reſolve what part to take immediately. Therefore, addreſſing Fauſtina:—That Caſtellane has made ſome fooliſh profeſſions of love to me I will not deny; but, if you think that I either heard him with pleaſure, or am inclined to make him the leaſt return, you do me the greateſt injuſtice. On the contrary, I moſt heartily deſpiſe him; and could wiſh to ſee him meet with the puniſhment which he deſerves:—I mean that of your baniſhing him from your thoughts, and forbidding him appearing before you again.—Ah! diſſembler! cried Fauſtina, this artifice is too groſs! Is it thus then you would have me puniſh Caſtellane? You would have me F4baniſh 1104 F4v 104 baniſh him my ſight, that you may for ever keep him in yours. Yes; you would engage me to caſt away my happineſs, in order to ſecure your own. No, Adelaide; no; ’tis you who muſt baniſh him your preſence. Alas! I don’t wonder that you love him: but, if you love me, and would have me believe you innocent, you muſt never ſee Caſtellane again.
I was ſtrangely ſurpriſed to hear Fauſtina talk thus. I imagined that, whatever ſhare of her reſentment I was to feel, that which ſhe would conceive againſt Don Ambroſia muſt produce the effects I wiſhed; and that nothing leſs than an utter contempt of him muſt have followed the diſcovery of his crime; but, by the moſt whimſical caprice imaginable, my couſin accuſed me of having a paſſion for Ambroſia whilſt ſhe overlookedlooked 1105 F5r 105 looked a fault in him, which is the laſt a woman can pardon in a lover.
I could eaſily forgive the firſt part of her error, as it is natural for us, when we are prepoſſeſſed with too favourable an opinion of another, to believe every one elſe poſſeſſed with the ſame ſentiments. However, I quickly undeceived Fauſtina as to this particular, by aſſuring her that Caſtellane was ſo very indifferent to me, that, if ſhe deſired no other proof of it than my never ſeeing him again, I ſhould conſent to it with a peculiar ſatisfaction; which, however, would be doubled if ſhe would join me in the ſame reſolution: and I proteſted to her, that I urged it from no other motive but a conſciousneſs of Ambroſia’s ingratitude, and a deſire to ſee her heart freed from engagements ſo unworthy of it.—I ſhall, F5replied 1106 F5v 106 replied Fauſtina, require no other teſtimony of your regard for me than that which I have already mentioned: for the reſt, leave it to myſelf.
I again repeated it to her, that I would never ſee Ambroſia more: and was as good as my word. But, at the ſame time, it gave me real concern to find, that the light I had given her into this inſincere man’s character had made an impreſſion on her ſo contrary to my hopes; and that, altogether neglecting my counſel, ſhe obliged me to abandon her to her own inclinations. And indeed, ſo far was ſhe from breaking with Caſtellane, that ſhe permitted him to viſit her a few days after; and, I found by her behaviour, this cunning ſtranger had the art to turn every thing which paſſed between him and me into ridicule. Fauſtina had no doubt accuſed him; and 1107 F6r 107 and I ſoon perceived that he had juſtified himſelf at my expence; for my couſin told me, after her firſt converſation with him, that I had been a little too haſty in giving credit to the profeſſions of love which Don Ambroſia had amuſed me with, purely out of gallantry, and to paſs away half an hour that hung heavily on his hands; but that he was far from ſuppoſing I could be ſo childiſh as to believe him ſerious, much leſs to repeat what he had ſaid to his miſtreſs.
I did not atempt to diſabuſe her;—and indeed it would have been in vain: for, notwithstanding that it was her own ſuſpicion which had given riſe to the diſcovery of Ambroſia’s falſehood, and that ſhe was at firſt perſuaded of the certainty of it; yet, ſo inconſiſtent was her judgment, and ſo great F6was 1108 F6v 108 was the aſcendant Caſtellane had over her, that he found it an eaſy matter to perſuade her to believe what ſhe wiſhed to be true. In a word, her paſſion became ſo extravagant, that I began to dread the effect of it; and was reſolved to adviſe her mother to recall her home; when an accident happened which prevented my deſign.
There was a property in the neighbourhood of Salerno which had for ſome years been in diſpute between my father and a lawyer, named Oſorio:—a ſuit had been depending on this occaſion for a long time: both parties were obſtinate in the defence of it; and the cauſe was purſued ſo warmly, that it coſt both my father and the lawyer almoſt the worth of the eſtate, without either of them being the nearer gaining their point; when, tired at length with the 1109 F7r 109 the delays they met with, they, by mutual conſent, let the affair drop.– Things remained in this poſture near two years, when a certain nobleman, who had ſet his heart on this domain (intending to dedicate it to ſome religious uſe) applied to the lawyer, in order to purchaſe it. This revived the controverſy. My father inſiſted on its being his property (as it really was); and Oſorio was as obſtinate in maintaining that the right lay ſolely in him; and was determined to diſpoſe of it, as ſoon as ever he could get poſſeſſion. My father, on the other hand, determined not to part with it out of his family, if he recovered his hereditary right to it.
This laſt circumſtance inclined the nobleman, who had a mind to be the purchaſer, to uſe all his intereſt in the favour of Oſorio. In ſhort, by the artificialcial 1110 F7v 110 cial management of the lawyer and his patron, my father was upon the point of ſeeing himſelf caſt, when he reſolved to apply to the Viceroy of Naples, to whom he had the honour of being perſonally known.—Accordingly, our whole family removed to that city: for my father, not caring to leave me behind him, begged of Fauſtina to accompany me: and, having before obtained leave of Signior Caraſſa, ſhe could not refuſe to go. I the rather preſſed her to this journey, as I believed it would be a more effectual means to remove Caſtellane from her thoughts; whoſe affairs I knew would not permit him to leave Salerno.—Alas! could I have foreſeen what miſeries this would plunge me into, I would not have laid the foundation for a change in that fickle heart, whoſe inconſtancy has occaſioned me ſo much torment.“This 1111 F8r 111
This then was the cauſe of her ſeparation from Caſtellane: he was not enough in love to marry without the hopes of advancing his fortune: and as Fauſtina’s depended entirely on her father, the mercenary lover could not venture on entering into any engagements. Fauſtina, on the other hand, wiſhing to ſecure his fidelity till ſome change might happen in her condition, was profuſe in her vows of conſtancy. She took a tender farewell of him the evening before our departure; and ſpent the whole night in tears, which ſhe did not even dry up in ſome days after our arrival at Naples. The firſt thing ſhe did was to write to her dear Caſtellane. Her letter was the moſt paſſionate one I ever saw. She reiterated her aſſurance of eternal love; and begged to hear from him often, as the only conſolation ſhe could hope for during ſo cruel an abſence!“I have 1112 F8v 112
I have troubled you with more particulars of Fauſtina’s hiſtory than were, perhaps, neceſſary to its connexion with mine; but, having a mind to ſhew you her perſidy and ingratitude in its full extent, I traced her ſtory back to the beginning.
My father now, in hopes of reinſtating himſelf in that right which his opponent was violently tearing from him, had prepared a memorial, with which he intended to wait on the Viceroy, when, unluckily, a ſevere fit of the gout (of which he had but juſt recovered when he left Salerno) returned on him with ſo much violence, that it obliged him to take to his bed. He was extremely vexed at ſo great a diſappointment; telling me that he knew that memorials were oftener thrown aſide than read or attended to, unleſs ſome 1113 F9r 113 ſome perſon, intereſted in their ſucceſs, preſented them, and endeavoured to engage the Miniſter’s protection. I told him that, as I had the honour of being known to the Viceroy’s lady, I thought myſelf obliged to pay my duty to her; and would, if he approved of it, wait on her with the memorial, which I was ſure ſhe would put in her Lord’s hands, and intereſt him in our favour. My father, approving of this, told me there was no time to be loſt; wherefore, dreſſing myſelf immediately, I prevailed on Fauſtina to accompany me to the Viceroy’s palace.
When we arrived there, I enquired for the Ducheſs D’Oſſuna; but was informed that ſhe was a little before ſet out for a country-ſeat, ſome leagues from Naples, where ſhe propoſed ſtaying a few days. I was mortified at this diſap- 1114 F9v 114 diſappointment; but reflecting that my father might be greatly injured by delay, I was reſolved not to go back without making ſome progreſs in the buſineſs he had entruſted me with. It was a gentleman belonging to the Ducheſs that informed me ſhe was abſent: I deſired to know if I might be admitted to the Duke himſelf: he ſaid he would enquire, and inform me preſently.— We were now in a kind of antichamber, in which were above a dozen gentlemen; moſt of them were walking backwards and forwards, with a reſtleſs unſatisfied air, except two or three of the youngeſt of the company, who had got together at a window, and were entertaining themſelves with looking at my couſin and me; and even whiſpering and laughing, with ſo little politeneſs, that it threw us into a ſort of confuſion. We thought every moment an age, till the Ducheſs’s 1115 F10r 115 Ducheſs’s gentleman brought us an anſwer; when, after making us ſuffer a full half-hour, under the ill-breeding of theſe loitering gallants, he at laſt vouchſafed to ſend one of the Viceroy’s pages, to tell us (which he did in very bad Italian; for he was a little Spaniſh boy, whom the Duke was fond of) that the Viceroy was to be ſpoke with; but that we might communicate our buſineſs to his Secretary. Chagrined to the laſt degree at this information, I thought of returning home, without acquitting myſelf of my errand; when, recollecting how much my father had ſet his heart on the ſucceſs of my little embaſſy, or rather urged on by my fate, I reſolved to ſee this Secretary at all events.
I begged the page to conduct me to him. He deſired us to follow him; which 1116 F10v 116 which we did through ſeveral apartments. He was all along, as he went, playing and jumping:—at laſt, bringing us into a ſort of lobby, he burſt out a laughing, and ran away; leaving us to make out the reſt by ourſelves.
Fauſtina and I looked at one another, with much embarraſſment:—we were in a vaſt large houſe, that we did not know which way to turn ourſelves in; nor do I believe we could have found our way out again,—the little miſchievous page had led us through ſo many rooms. I was quite aſhamed, and at a loſs how to behave; when I ſaw a door open at the end of the lobby, and two elderly gentlemen came out. I aſked one of them, could he direct me to the Secretary? He told me I ſhould find him in the office juſt before us; and, at the ſame time, obſerving that my 1117 F11r 117 my couſin and I were in ſome little confuſion, he, with great civility, ſaid, if I pleaſed, he would acquaint him that there were ladies who deſired to ſpeak with him. I thanked the gentleman for this piece of ſervice, which I gladly accepted of. He went in again; and, returning in a minute, ſhewed us into the office within the firſt, where the Secretary waited for us, as it was leſs public than the outer one.
He was ſtanding facing us, with his back to the fire, as we entered the room; by which means I had at once a full view of his perſon:—but never, Eugenia, never did I behold one ſo ſtriking!—He had ſomething ſo inexpreſſibly charming in his countenance, that, at the firſt glance, you would imagine nature never formed any thing ſo complete! He ſeemed to be about thirty 1118 F11v 118 thirty years of age; but then, he had a bloom in his face, that would have adorned the moſt youthful cheek; his eyes were black, and had a mixture of ſweetneſs and dignity in them. In ſhort, his countenance and perſon (which was of the talleſt) conſpired at once to form the moſt graceful object poſſible! In a word, I was ſtruck at firſt ſight; and, I believe never delivered myſelf ſo aukwardly, or with ſo much heſitation, as I did to the Chevalier de Ponces.
I told him, in as few words as my confuſion would let me, the occaſion of my applying to him; and, at the ſame time, delivered him the memorial; which I begged of him, with all convenient ſpeed, to lay before the Viceroy.—He juſt ran his eyes over it, with the utmoſt complaiſancy; when, laying it down on a bureau that ſtood by 1119 F12r 119 by him, and addreſſing himſelf to me, with a ſmile;—You, Madam, ſaid he, are, I ſuppoſe, the Baron’s daughter.— I told him I was.—And that lady (looking at Fauſtina) is you ſiſter, I preſume.—No, Sir, was all I anſwered, a little ſurpriſed at his curioſity; and adding immediately, I hope, Sir, you will take the firſt opportunity of acquainting the Viceroy with my father’s buſineſs, I roſe up to be gone.—You may depend upon it, Madam, ſaid he; and if you will let me know where I may wait on the Baron, I hope I ſhall have a ſatisfactory anſwer to give him to-morrow:—but, perhaps, ſaid he, ſeeming to recollect himſelf, his Excellency may be at leiſure in half an hour, if you can ſtay ſo long; and that may do better; for you can, probably, inform him of ſome circumſtances that may be of weight; and with which I am unacquainted.“I had 1120 F12v 120
I had riſen, as I told you, to go away; but ſat down quickly again; deſirous, as he imagined, of a conference with the Viceroy:—but, alas, it was the perſon with whom I was already talking that engaged my ſtay.
He now and then applied to Fauſtina; but moſt part of his diſcourſe was addreſſed to me: and indeed his converſation had ſuch a charm in it, that, inſtead of half an hour, I ſtayed above a full one; when, recollecting that I kept him from affairs of more conſequence, though I well ſaw he was pleaſed with our company, I roſe a ſecond time to take my leave: the Chevalier got up at the ſame time. —I am afraid, Madam, ſaid he, I have detained you too long; and I am the more concerned at it, as I ſee no likelihood of our getting an audience of his Excellencylency 1121 G1r 121 lency this morning:—ſome important diſpatches, which he has received from Spain, engages him thus long; but you may depend on my care, added he, obligingly; for I am determined not to ſleep till I get an anſwer that will be every way agreeable to your moſt ſanguine wiſhes.
Though I could not help having a firm reliance on the Chevalier’s word, I was, however, a little mortified at having made no greater progreſs in the buſineſs entruſted to me.—I told him at parting, my father would ſend to him the next morning. He inſiſted on waiting on the Baron with the Viceroy’s anſwer: but as my father was then confined to his bed, I thought a viſit might not be ſo acceptable to him from a ſtranger; and therefore declined it.— He, very unwillingly, acquieſced, tellingI.Ging 1122 G1v 122 ing me I muſt be obey’d: and we left him.
When I returned home I gave my father an account of my negociation.— I found he was not ſatisfied that the memorial was left in the Secretary’s keeping.— He may neglect, ſaid my father, to preſent it in time to the Viceroy; or, if he ſhould keep his word with you, the Duke may, for want of being properly reminded, throw it in the heap of undiſtinguiſhed and neglected papers, that are every day preferred to his hand. —Grieved and mortified at what my father ſaid, I told him that, though I could not, without ſhewing the higheſt diſtruſt of the Secretary’s integrity, recall the memorial, after the promiſes he had made; yet, as I would never forgive myſelf if, through my inadvertance, our cauſe ſhould ſuffer, I was willinging 1123 G2r 123 ing to try my fortune again; and, for that purpoſe would, with his Lordſhip’s permiſſion, endeavour to get an audience of the Viceroy next morning. My father, who, as I already told you, had his heart much ſet on the ſucceſs of this ſuit, approved of this: and I pleaſed with the hopes that I ſhould probably ſee the object of my new-kindled love, retired with Fauſtina to my chamber.
The converſation immediately turned on the amiable Ponces.—Well, couſin, ſaid I, what do you think of this gentleman? Is your Caſtellane to be compared to him?—They are different kinds of men quite, ſaid ſhe: Caſtellane is certainly very handſome; but, yet I think—that Ponces is handſomer, ſaid I, interrupting her:—allow but that, and I will even forgive you for admiring Caſtellane. Alas! her heart was G2but 1124 G2v 124 but too conſcious of this truth: the poiſon was already received, which afterwards produced the moſt fatal effects.—She anſwered me, careleſsly, that ſhe had not noticed him enough to give her opinion; but that, upon the whole, he appeared to be very aggreeable. This was all that I could get out of her. She avoided talking of him the reſt of the day, and appeared more thoughtful than uſual: but this I attributed to nothing but her abſence from Don Ambroſia; whom I always believed uppermoſt in her mind.
The next morning I prepared to wait on the Viceroy. Fauſtina accompanied me; and, as I was determined not to return without having firſt been admitted to an audience with the Duke, I yet thought it previouſly neceſſary to enquire after the fate of the memorial; and, 1125 G3r 125 and, in caſe the Chevalier had not preſented it, I was determined to put it myſelf into the Viceroy’s own hands.— You will ſmile, Eugenia, and think I was glad of the pretence for ſeeing Ponces. I own it.—I ordered my coach to ſtop at the Secretary’s lodgings. We were ſhown into a handſome drawing-room; and the Chevalier, on hearing my name, immediately appeared. Though it was yet early, he was dreſſed with great elegance.—Oh! I could break in on my narration every minute, to expatiate on his graceful manner and appearance! But what is that now to me? He accoſted us with a polite and pleaſing air.—This unexpected honour, Madam, ſaid he, has ſaved me from committing a crime this morning; for I was going to diſobey you; and, notwithſtanding your injunctions, had reſolved to wait on you G3with 1126 G3v 126 with the news of my ſucceſs. The Viceroy, added he, is enraged at the injuſtice which has been done to my Lord, your father; and has already given orders to oblige Oſorio to withdraw his claim.—I endeavoured at making ſome aukward acknowledgments for the trouble he had taken; but he ſtopped me, by ſaying, in a ſoftened tone of voice,—If the Baron will allow me the honour of congratulating him, it will more than recompenſe me for my ſolicitude on this occaſion.—I bluſhed at this requeſt. There was ſomething in his looks the expreſſed a great deal more than his words.—I told him that I would venture to aſſure him, on the part of my father, that he would be proud to thank him for the favour he had done him, whenever he would give him that opportunity. His eyes ſparkled with pleaſure;—and he ſaid he 1127 G4r 127 he would, as ſoon as the Baron was able to ſit up, make uſe of the privilege I had allowed him.
We took our leaves; and, I know not whether the warmth with which the Chevalier ſeemed to intereſt himſelf in our affairs, did not give me at leaſt as much pleaſure as his ſucceſs.
I had occaſion to call at the houſe of a friend, on my return home, where Fauſtina was engaged to paſs the day. I ſat about an hour with this lady; who was one of the moſt ſenſible and polite perſons in Naples. Having told her the buſineſs we had been about, ſhe rallied me on my viſit to the Secretary; for whom ſhe ſaid all the ladies of the court were dying. He is indeed, added ſhe, worthy of being beloved; for his mind is as amiable as his perſon; he is, beſides,G4ſides, 1128 G4v 128 ſides, of a noble family; and few men can boaſt more accompliſhments than Don Enenique de Ponces.—This ſhort ſketch of his character delighted me the more, as coming from one ſuch underſtanding and veracity. It ſerved to ſtrengthen my love; and his praiſes were ſo grateful to my ears, that I could have thanked the perſon who uttered them.
Having left Fauſtina with our friend, I returned home alone; and, on the coach’s ſtopping at the door of our own houſe, I obſerved a footman walking backwards and forwards; and examining the windows, with great curioſity, as if he waited in expectation of ſeeing ſomebody whom he wanted. I immediately recollected his livery to be the ſame which I had ſeen but a little before, at the Chevalier’s lodgings; and, 1129 G5r 129 and, looking in the man’s face, I knew him to be one whom I had ſeen in the hall as I paſſed through it. He came up to the coach as I ſtepped out of it; and, ſlipping a paper, with a great deal of dexterity, into my hand, he walked away, without waiting for my aſking him any queſtions.
As I knew him to be one of the Secretary’s footmen, I would have imagined that the letter which he brought concerned only my father’s buſineſs: but the caution which the fellow obſerved in watching the door; his privacy in the execution of his errand; and his precipitate departure afterwards, made me ſuſpect that the billet contained ſomething of another nature.
I made theſe reflections whilſt I was going to my father’s apartment;— G5putting 1130 G5v 130 putting, therefore, the paper (which I found heavier than oridinary) into my pocket, I acquainted my father with what the Chevalier had done! and, at the ſame time, commanding his diligence, I told him that De Ponces purpoſed waiting on him, to wiſh him joy, when he would permit him that favour.
I made haſte to my chamber, to examine the packet which I had juſt received. I found, indeed, that it was a billet from the Chevalier de Ponces: and folded up in it there was a little ivory tablet, on the leaves of which were written, with a pencil, theſe words in Spaniſh:—I burn in flames more pure, more bright, more fierce, than thoſe which conſume the phœnix. But, alas! my fate is far more unhappy: the phœnix endures his pains but for a while;—mine may outlive the object who 1131 G6r 131 who creates them!—I understand ſo little Spaniſh, that I could ſcarce pick out the ſenſe of theſe lines: and was ſurpriſed that the Chevalier ſhould make choice of a language to expreſs his gallantry, in which, though it was his own native tongue, he might have imagined I, poſſibly, did not underſtand. I had not yet read his letter; but that ſoon explained this ſeeming impropriety. It was wrote in Italian: but I will ſhew it you, that it may not loſe by my repetition.—Here Adelaide read as follows:—I don’t know whether I ought to bleſs the tablets for furniſhing me with a pretence for writing to you, or accuſe them for poſſeſſing my heart with jealouſy:—but in the very ſame moment, I diſcovered it was filled with love.—Jealouſy, which to others ſerves only to allay an exceſs of happineſs, torments me before I have experiencedG6perienced 1132 G6v 132 perienced any joy, but barely that of loving you. The words written in the tablet convince me that your heart is given away. Oh! how much to be envied is his felicity, who is maſter of ſuch a treaſure!—how much to be pitied, the man who muſt never hope to poſſeſs it!
Nobody, my dear Eugenia, can better judge than yourſelf, of the pleaſure that this letter gave me. To be loved by Don Enenique, was to me a happineſs ſo tranſcendant, that were I left to chuſe a ſupreme good from all the bleſſings and bounties which the moſt indulgent ſtars ever ſhowered down on a mortal, this only would I have deſired to have been my lot. How delighted, then!—how tranſported was I, to find myſelf poſſeſſed of what I ſo ardently wiſhed. Gracious God, make me 1133 G7r 133 me always worthy of his love; and, if an innocent creature, who reveres thy laws, has any rights to thy favour, I aſk no other recompenſe on earth but this man’s conſtancy!—I ſpoke this with my hands joined fervently, and my eyes lifted up to Heaven; but my prayers were not heard.
The tablet which the Chevalier incloſed in his letter I had never ſeen before; therefore, at firſt I imagined that he had in reality only made that a handle for writing to me, under pretence that he had found it; and believing it to be mine, reſtored it to me. Such devices in love are very common; however, obſerving that the lines on the tablet were wrote in a hand which I thought I had ſeen before, I examined them again; and ſoon recollected it to be Fauſtina’s writing. I knew ſhe ſpoke 1134 G7v 134 ſpoke Spaniſh perfectly; and concluded that her love for Don Ambroſia had forced thoſe romantic compliments from her pencil.
I waited with ſome impatience till ſhe ſhould come home, in order to reſtore her her tablets; the loſs of which I was ſure would vex her. She did not return till late in the evening, when ſhe immediately ſhut herſelf up in her own apartment.
I went up to her chamber, and was not a little ſurpriſed at the ſituation in which I found her:—ſhe was lying on her bed, with her face bathed in tears; a letter lay open on the chair by her, which by the character, I perceived came from Caſtellane; and I made no doubt but ſomething relative to him was the occaſion of her grief.“I ap- 1135 G8r 135
I approached her with great concern:— Dear couſin, what is it that afflicts you? Is Don Ambroſia ſick, or has he committed any crime againſt you?—Nothing new, replied ſhe (without looking at me); but I begin to reproach myſelf for having ever loved a man that, I am now convinced, was unworthy of my regard.—Oh Fauſtina, ſaid I, had you thought thus before you engaged yourſelf ſo far, what an infinite deal of pain would it have ſaved you! —That is true, ſaid ſhe; but we are not always ſo happy as to be governed by our reaſon. Look at that letter (pointing to that which lay on the chair) and tell me if you think that love had any ſhare in the dictating of it.—As Fauſtina ſeldom indulged me with a ſight of any of her lover’s leters, I was ſurpriſed at this unwonted favour: I read it, and found it containedtained 1136 G8v 136 tained a great many compliments, and ſome ſlight aſſurances of affection.— This is, ſaid I, returning it to her, an exact copy of Don Ambroſia’s mind: and I will not flatter you ſo far as to ſay I believe you miſtreſs of his heart. —Can you then blame me, ſaid ſhe, interrupting me, if I ſtrive to baniſh him from mine? Would not you even aſſiſt me in a deſign which you yourſelf ſo often wiſhed to ſee accompliſhed?— Oh certainly, cried I (rejoiced to hear her talk thus); and, from the diſpoſition you ſeem to be in, I fancy there will be leſs difficulty in the taſk than we imagined. You need only to reſolve to like ſomebody better than Don Ambroſia, which I think you can’t fail of doing in a city like Naples, where you may have your choice of the handſomeſt and moſt accompliſhed gentlemen in Italy.—Suppoſe my choice was already 1137 G9r 137 already fixed, replied Fauſtina, ſmiling; I believe I ſhall have your voice for its being a good one, when I tell you that the Chevalier de Ponces has pleaſed me, and that, by encouraging an inclination for him, I hope, in a little time, to blot Caſtellane entirely from my memory.
If Fauſtina had named any one elſe, I ſhould have congratulated her on the change which I already ſaw was wrought in her heart; but, at the mention of the Chevalier, I was ſeized with ſuch an impulſe of indignation, that I could ſcarce forbear reproaching her with her weakneſs and inconſtancy.
My cheeks kindled up like fire. However, a moment’s reflection checked me; and I had ſo much command over myſelf as to reply, You ſhould take 1138 G9v 138 take care, couſin, how you give way to a new paſſion, before you are ſure that it will be more ſucceſsful than your old one. I am ſenſible of the Chevalier’s merit; but perhaps you may find his heart entertains an affection for ſome one elſe. Suppoſe I ſhould be the object of his love, would you perſiſt in nouriſhing a flame which, inſtead of working a cure on your ſick mind, might ſerve only to plunge you into new difficulties and misfortune?—Juſt ſo, ſaid Fauſtina, ſcornfully, you would have oppoſed my inclination for Caſtellane, becauſe you were but too well pleaſed with him yourſelf; and from the ſame motive, I make no doubt, you would ſtifle my growing love for Don Enenique. But know, Adelaide, that it already has taken root in my breaſt; and that I cheriſh this new fire more than ever I did that which I felt for Caſtellane 1139 G10r 139 Caſtellane.—See then, ſaid I (provoked at this declaration) what return you are to expect from the Chevalier. With this I put the tablets and the letter which incloſed them into her hands.
She now, in her turn, felt her cheeks glowing with bluſhes ſhe could not hide; and I perceived in her countenance, as ſhe read, a mixture of indignation, pride, and diſappointment. I was in ſome pain to think what effect theſe violent agitations might produce; when, all of a ſudden, and enraged, ſhe was going to ſatisfy part of the tranſport of her soul by tearing the letter, if I had not directly ſnatched it from her.— He might have ſpared, ſaid ſhe, thoſe fulſome compliments, or elſe beſtowed them in the right place.—Why, couſin, ſaid I, he thought, without doubt, the tablets were mine:—and, for the reſt, you 1140 G10v 140 you well know there is ſo much caprice in love, that you can’t blame the Chevalier for liking me, though you may be a thouſand times more amiable. I confeſs I am as much touched with his merit as you are; but I ſwear to you, that had you been the object of his love, I ſhould have cruſhed my tenderneſs for him in its birth for your ſake, as well as my own: and it is for your peace only that I would conjure you to uſe the ſame precaution.
I did not perceive while I was ſpeaking, that her tears began to flow again. I had no ſooner left off, than ſhe burſt into the bittereſt exclamations againſt the cruelty of her fate; and preſented to me, in a few minute, a picture of a weak heart torn by a multitude of different paſſions. I ſaw rage, grief jealouſy, pride, and love poſſeſs her alternately;nately; 1141 G11r 141 nately; and, to complete this hurry and tumult in her breaſt, ſhe had not one reſource in the midſt of ſo much diſtraction: the natural ſtrength and violence of her paſſions not permitting her even to endeavour to curb them, or ſo much as once to call reaſon to her aſſiſtance. This belief I am the more willing to entertain, becauſe I would rather attribute her crime to a frail nature than a corrupt heart. Be that as it will, I was ſo much affected with her tears, that I believe I ſhould have done any thing but reſign the Chevalier, to have reſtored her to her peace; but this was too great a ſacrifice. However, the tenderneſs of my nature would ſuffer me to aggravate her pain, by diſcovering the leaſt joy at the conqueſt I had obtained over a heart, which I was perſuaded ſhe as well as I thought ineſtimable. On the contrary, I aſſumed the utmoſt 1142 G11v 142 utmoſt moderation; and, affecting to ſpeak of the Chevalier’s paſſion for me with ſome indifference, I conjured Fauſtina to calm her tranſports; and endeavoured, by the moſt tender expreſſions, to aſſuage the pangs I ſaw her ſuffer. Nevertheleſs, I ſo well knew to what exceſſes the violence of her nature inclined her, that I was very cautious what words I made uſe of in trying to ſoothe her; and took care to avoid letting drop any hint that might encourage her in her unwarrantable love; for I was convinced by experience, that, were ſhe even poſſeſſed but with the ſmalleſt proſpect of ſucceſs, ſhe would have gone any lengths to accompliſh her wiſhes; I attempted, therefore, chiefly by my careſſes, to bring her mind to its former tranquillity; and flattered myſelf I had in ſome meaſure effected this before I left her.“Ponces, 1143 G12r 143
Ponces, I have already told you, had begged to make my father a viſit; he did not fail ſending to inquire after his health regularly; and in a few days, my father, being ſo well recovered as to ſit up, ſent the Chevalier word he ſhould think himſelf favoured by a viſit from him. You may be ſure he did not need a ſecond invitation. My father had ordered himſelf to be carried into his ſtudy, where Fauſtina and I were ſitting at work, when Don Enenique came to wait on him.
My father received him with all the marks of diſtinction that were due to his merit, as well as to a perſon to whom we were obliged. If the Baron’s preſence was ſome conſtraint on the Chevalier, Fauſtina’s was a thouſand times more ſo on me. She watched both our looks ſo ſtrictly, that I am ſure one 1144 G12v 144 one glance of Ponce’s did not eſcape her. I believe they were moſt of them directed to me. However, I kept ſo rigid a guard over my eyes that I ſeldom turned them towards him; but when I did, I could eaſily perceive what pain this ſeeming coldneſs of mine gave him.
He did not ſtay long with us; and took his leave without having an opportunity of ſaying a ſingle word to me in particular; but, to make amends, my father was ſo delighted with his company, that he inſiſted, in a free manner, on his coming frequently to ſee him during his ſtay at Naples; which he now reſolved ſhould be for the whole winter.
Whatever joy I conceived at this, it was not unmixed with the bittereſt pain. 1145 H1r 145 pain. I ſaw but too plainly that the unhappy Fauſtina pined away with love for the Chevalier; and, far from being ſenſible of her error, ſhe had only baniſhed CeſtellaneCaſtellane from her trifling heart, in order to make room for a man from whom ſhe could expect nothing but indifference. What did I not reſolve to ſay and do, to prevent, if poſſible, the growth of this malady? The moſt ſolid remonſtrances, the ſofteſt perſuaſions, I knew, to a temper like hers were equally vain; and I gave over all hopes of reaſoning her into a ſenſe of her folly. I once more deſigned to write ſecretly to her mother, to get her, on ſome pretence of other, recalled to Salerno; but I rejected this thought almoſt as ſoon as I had formed it. It would indeed, ſaid I, remove her from the Chevalier, and thereby rid both him and me from the uneaſiness which Vol. I.Hher 1146 H1v 146 her preſence muſt ſhortly give us, if ſhe perſiſts in her unſeaſonable love; and, though I have all the reaſon in the world to believe that abſence will work a ſpeedy cure on a mind ſo weak and inconſtant as hers; yet, ſhall I not have cauſe to reproach myſelf if Fauſtina ſhould, by returning to Salerno, again ſee Caſtellane, and reaſſume her former affection for him (which perhaps may be eaſily revived by her preſence); and by this means plunge herſelf into misfortunes that may be the utter ruin of her, and afflict her parents to the laſt degree. I might indeed have adviſed her mother to be watchful over her conduct, which might have prevented the evil I dreaded; but then, I thought I ſhould be guilty of a piece of cruelty, in not only removing her from Naples, which I knew muſt be a ſenſible affliction to her, but even debar her of the liberty and happineſs 1147 H2r 147 happineſs ſhe might enjoy in Salerno, by inſpiring her friends with ſuſpicions which muſt awaken all their vigilance. —Upon the whole, I dropped this thought; and even accuſed myſelf for entertaining it a moment. No; let me never owe my peace to any thing that is either ungenerous or inſincere; I will rather confeſs my love for the Chevalier to Fauſtina (ſhe already knows of his for me) and will conjure her, by the friendſhip that is between us, not to diſturb an affection which I flattered myſelf my father might be brought to approve of, as he was already ſenſible of Don Enenique’s merit, and knew he had a fortune not unſuitable to mine.
I ſo much applauded myſelf for this reſolution that I immediately went about the execution of it. I opened H2my 1148 H2v 148 my whole heart to Fauſtina, in terms the moſt moving I could think of; I aſſured her that the Chevalier had made an impreſſion on my heart before I diſcovered that I had touched his; but that now convinced of the sincerity of his love, I had endeavoured only to conceal my tenderneſs for him, in order to ſpare her the mortification of ſeeing us mutually dear to each other: I pleaded my right to his heart, and to my couſin’s friendſhip and aid, as ſhe formerly had mine on a like occaſion. She heard me with an air rather of melancholy than reſentment.—I ſee but too plainly, ſaid ſhe, what all this tends to: you marry the Chevalier: Is it not ſo? Yet I blame you not. You muſt, you will be happy! ’Tis I only that am marked out to be wretched.—She uttered theſe words in ſo mournful a tone, that it redoubled my compaſſion 1149 H3r 149 compaſſion for her. She thanked me for my tenderneſs; and aſſured me that, as ſhe knew her love was quite hopeleſs, ſhe would not only endeavour to ſubdue it, but would try to promote the ſucceſs of mine. I embraced her tenderly: I found my eyes moiſt with tears. Cheriſh, my dear Fauſtina, ſaid I, this noble, this amiable diſpoſition, and you will ſoon find yourſelf ſuperior to all the little ills that have afflicted you.
I had behaved hitherto with great reſerve to Don Enenique, on my couſin’s account, who, I ſaw, was on a perpetual rack whilſt I was in his fight; but having, as I thought, acquitted myſelf with reſpect to her, and obtained as it were her permiſſion to avow my love, I grew leſs conſtrained, and aſſumed a behaviour more obliging. De Ponces, who was a welcome as well as H3a fre- 1150 H3v 150 a frequent viſitor to my father, was too obſervant of me not to perceive this change; and, reſolving to improve a diſpoſition which appeared ſo favourable, he took the firſt opportunity of breaking that ſilence which had been ſo painful to him.
He came one morning to wait on my father, who happened to be engaged on buſineſs; the Chevalier made that the pretence for ſtepping into the garden, though in reality he had diſcovered me walking there, from a window in one of the apartments. I was alone, and did not expect ſuch an interview, when I was ſurpriſed with the Chevalier’s accoſting me. The air with which he approached threw me into ſome confuſion, though it was reſpectful and even timid; however, he had time to explain 1151 H4r 151 explain himſelf before I could recover from my diſorder.
Don Enenique had that kind of addreſs which captivates at once; and one muſt hear him favourably almoſt on any ſubject.—I can’t tell, Madam, ſaid he (bowing gracefully as he drew near me) what impreſſion my boldneſs may have made on you, ſince, from the time I reſtored your tablets to you till this hour, I have never been bleſſed with a minute’s converſation with you, but in the preſence of the Baron or your couſin. This difficulty forces me to be abrupt. Tell me therefore, I conjure you, have I offended paſt forgiveneſs? Or, added he, after a little pauſe (with a voice and look irreſiſtibly ſweet) will you allow me to hope for pardon?—I own to you, Eugenia, I never was ſo much embarraſſed in my life: I was H4unable 1152 H4v 152 unable to ſpeak: the want of words redoubled my confuſion: I caſt my eyes to the ground: the emotion of my heart was viſible in my face. Ponces, whoſe delicacy made him ſuffer for the confuſion he occaſioned me, endeavoured to give me a little more courage: he withdrew his eyes from my face; and preſenting me his hand, led me up ſome ſteps into a terrace-walk; for we had both ſtood from the time of his firſt accoſting me. I eaſily apprehended he did this in order to give me time to recover myſelf; for he proceeded in his diſcourſe as we walked:— Speak, amiable Adelaide, said he; I already begin to flatter myſelf; I know you have a ſoul too generous to take any pleaſure in the painful ſuſpenſe of one whoſe happineſs depends on you; —Speak therefore, and let the candour of 1153 H5r 153 of that excellent heart prevail over your timidity.
I raiſed my eyes to the Chevalier’s face; and thought I could read there the very dictates of his heart. In ſhort, his looks inſpired me at once with the ſame unaffected openneſs.—What muſt I ſay to you, Signoir, ſaid I; have you not reaſon to believe that I have the beſt opinion imaginable of you, and even the higheſt eſteem. If you ſuppoſe that I have kinder ſentiments for any other perſon, you are miſtaken; for the lines you ſaw on the tablets, and which indeed ſeemed to intimate ſome ſuch thing, were never wrote by me; and this, if I had had an opportunity, I ſhould have informed you of ſooner. I thought I had not ſaid too much; but Don Enenique, who I found knew my heart better than I did myſelf, put ſo 1154 H5v 154 ſo favourable a conſtruction on my anſwer, that he thanked me in expreſſions almoſt rapturous. In a word, he pleaded his love ſo ſucceſsfully, as forced me in the end to make ſome obliging returns to it.
After a converſation like this, you may be ſure the Chevalier let no opportunity ſlip of ſecuring his intereſt in my heart; and the artful Fauſtina had gained ſuch a command over her paſſion, that ſhe never let the leaſt ſymptom of it break out; in ſo much that I began to flatter myſelf ſhe had entirely vanquiſhed it; but, while I was applauding this perfidious creature for a conqueſt which I thought ſo conducive to her peace, ſhe was contriving my ruin.
She was now become ſo careleſs with reſpect to the Chevalier, that we uſed 1155 H6r 155 uſed ſometimes to converſe on the ſubject of our love even before her; and, though I did not altogether confide in her, ſhe yet was well enough apprized how matters ſtood between Ponces and me. In ſhort, his aſſiduity at laſt obtained what he ſo earneſtly ſolicited, my conſent to aſk me of my father. He did ſo the ſame day I granted it. I can’t tell you the particulars of what paſſed at this conference; but I ſaw the Chevalier leave my father’s apartment; and immediately I was called for, before I had time to hear from him what he had to tell me.—Come hither, Adelaide, ſaid he. What is this I hear? The Spaniſh Secretary has a mind for you, has he? This he ſaid with a ſevere look; and waited with his eyes fixed upon me for an anſwer.—I replied, the Chevalier, Sir, has made his addreſſes to me, which I confeſs I have H6liſtened: 1156 H6v 156 liſtened to; and am not a ſtranger to his having asked your Lordſhip’s approbation.—Approbation! interrupted my father, in an angry tone; why, he has juſt now in point blank terms formally demanded you in marriage; and I, in as point blank terms, have refuſed him; and that for ſuch reaſons as you ought to thank me for. Let it ſuffice for the preſent to tell you, that a nobleman of worth, and one of the firſt eſtates in the kingdom, ſeeks my alliance. I expect therefore you will acknowledge my tenderneſs for your welfare, inſtead of being chagrined at my denial; but no, added he, I think better of your obedience than to believe you can be diſpleaſed at any thing that I ſhall judge proper to chuſe for you. However, as I perceive that you are a little diſturbed, retire and ſhake it off. —I obeyed, without ſpeaking a word; for 1157 H7r 157 for I thought I could never get ſoon enough out of my father’s preſence; and indeed I was ſo ſhocked and confounded, that, without directing or even being ſenſible of my own motions, I found myſelf in the garden, not knowing how I came there.
I walked two or three turns, in the utmoſt diſtraction; and was endeavouring to compoſe my mind, when I entered a little ſummer-houſe, where I was ſometimes uſed to entertain the Chevalier. Thoſe thoughts which had poſſeſſed me on my firſt coming into the garden had rather agitated than afilictedafflicted me; but now, my ruffled and confuſed ideas began to give way to the moſt melancholy reflections. I was ſeized with an extreme penſiveneſs at the ſight of this little retirement; and ſighed the moment I entered it; and, I confeſs to you, 1158 H7v 158 you, Eugenia, my weakneſs was ſuch that I could not refrain burſting into tears. Oh, Don Enenique! ſaid I; and are all our hopes, then, come to this? I ſighed deeply; my tears flowed faſter than before; and I was obliged to lean againſt the colonade: my eyes were cloſed; and I can’t ſay but I was altogether in a ſtate of ſenſibility. I know not how long I ſhould have remained thus, if I had not been rouſed by the noiſe of ſomebody’s entering the ſummer-houſe. It was the Chevalier himſelf! What is it I ſee, dear Adelaide? ſaid he;—is it poſſible I ſhould be the occaſion of theſe tears? or rather, is it poſſible you can weep when Ponces is ſo near you?—Yes, anſwered I, drying my eyes; when Ponces and I muſt part for ever.—How, Madam? ſaid he; are you then as cruel as your father? I could eaſily ſupport his harſh denial, 1159 H8r 159 denial, becauſe I imagined myſelf ſecure of your heart, which I believed faithful.—What can I do? ſaid I, interrupting him; my father ſays I never ſhall be yours!—And I ſay you ſhall be mine, cried the Chevalier, in ſpite of all the fathers in the world: and I followed you into the garden, to tell you ſo.—Oh, Enenique! that is impoſſible! I know my father is inexorable; and will never be prevailed with to give his conſent.—How you talk, replied Ponces: why, I never mean to aſk the Baron’s conſent again: but, if you love me as you ought, that need not ſtartle you.—You know I do, replied I; but don’t take advantage of that by endeavouring to perſuade me to do any thing contrary to the obedience I owe my father.—Go, then, said he; act contrary to honour, to gratitude, and to love: break all the promiſes you have made 1160 H8v 160 made me; give yourſelf to the man your father intends you for; and leave me to miſery.—My father’s intentions, ſaid I, I was ignorant of till this day; when he equally ſurpriſed and ſhocked me with the news.—Why, anſwered the Chevalier, don’t you know the happy man whom the Baron prefers?—I aſſured him that many minutes had not paſſed ſince my father, for the firſt time, had mentioned this circumſtance to me; but. without naming the perſon he had in his thoughts. And I conjured Ponces at the ſame time, to believe me incapable of changing.— You can conceive me of that no way ſo effectually, ſaid he, as by conſenting immediately to give me your hand. I have an eſtate in Spain, where I will carry you; and then we ſhall be out of all reach.—I was ſo far from reliſhing this propoſal, that, on the contrary, it very 1161 H9r 161 very much ſhocked me; and it was not till after reiterated intreaties, that I could be prevailed on to liſten to the ſcheme which the Chevalier laid down. However, I inſiſted on his waiting a while, in hopes of ſome favourable change in my father’s intentions towards me; though, as I knew him ſteady in his reſolutions, I had but little reaſon to expect this.
Ponces, unwillingly, acquieſed. I know, ſaid he, we can have nothing to hope for from the Baron: the peremptory denial I received from him convinces me he is determined to beſtow you on another. Perhaps, if we let ſlip the preſent opportunity, you may be torn from me for ever.—I trembled at Don Enenique’s preſaging this cruel event; but ſtill conjured him to give me a few days, at leaſt, to conſider of what he propoſed.“We 1162 H9v 162
We parted: and as his viſits were now prohibited by my father, I promiſed to meet him every evening in the ſummer-houſe, in which we then were. For this purpoſe I gave him a key (which happened to be in my poſſeſſion) of a private door, that opened from the garden into a bye ſtreet; by which he was to let himſelf in at a certain hour.
I was extremely at a loſs to gueſs whom my father intended for my huſband. I knew he had an opinion of Fauſtina; and often confided in her judgment:—I did not doubt, therefore, but ſhe could give me ſome light into this buſineſs. I told her what had paſſed between my father and me; and I begged of her to inform me all ſhe knew of his deſigns in regard to his diſpoſal of me.—She anſwered, very naturally, that the Baron had not let her into 1163 H10r 163 into the whole ſecret; but had informed her that he had thoughts of beſtowing me on the Count de la Roſa.—Good God! ſaid I, interrupting her; to Count de la Roſa!—a man who might be my father; and is known to be one of the moſt avaricious wretches in Italy!— You know, anſwered Fauſtina, laughing, the Baron in that has ſome little reſemblance to him; and therefore does not like him the worſe for it.— However, I hope he will not preſs you to ſo diſagreeable a match: you know he loves you too well to force your inclination.
I ſhould have mentioned in the courſe of my ſtory (purſued Adelaide) that this Count de la Roſa had, before I left Salerno, often ſeen me at the houſe of Signior Caraſſa, Fauſtina’s father. He was pleaſed with me; and told 1164 H10v 164 told Signior Caraſſa that, if he could gain my approbation, he would demand me of my father: and, as a ſubſtantial proof of his love, he would ſettle any dower on me that my father ſhould require. Though my kinſman thought this would be a very advantageous match for me, he would not, however, encourage the Count, nor mention the propoſal to my father before he had conſulted me. I at firſt only laughed at the mention of De la Roſa’s paſſion; till Signior Caraſſa aſſuring me of his being ſerious, and at the ſame time deſiring my ſentiments. I begged of him to give the Count as polite a refuſal as he could; and I entreated my couſin to conceal the affair entirely from my father; whoſe regard to wealth I was afraid would incline him to liſten too favourably to the Count’s offer.“Signior 1165 H11r 165
Signior Caraſſa, who had both prudence and good-nature, promiſed to manage matters ſo, that I ſhould hear no more of it: and in effect he kept his word. I avoided afterwards going to my kinſman’s houſe, for fear of meeting De la Roſa: and I flattered myſelf that my old lover had forgot me; eſpecially as I left Salerno without hearing any more of him.
You may ſuppoſe therefore I was not a little ſurpriſed at Fauſtina’s naming this gentleman as the perſon my father intended for my huſband. I aſked her, could ſhe tell me by what means my father came to know of the Count’s inclinations for me? She anſwered, ſhe could not tell with certainlycertainty; but ſhe ſuſpected that De la Roſa, not being able to get the better of his love; and having no reliance on any thing but my father’s 1166 H11v 166 father’s authority over me, had applied directly to the Baron. And ſhe was even of opinion that the Count was then in Naples.—I was terribly alarmed at this ſuggeſtion; and feared Don Enenique had but too juſt grounds for what he had ſaid to me in the ſummer- houſe.
Fauſtina had been informed by my father of the conference that paſſed between him and Ponces. She condoled with me on the diſappointment of my hopes; and, aſſuring me ſhe had baniſhed Don Enenique from her heart, ſhe added, that ſhe would now with more joy ſee us united, than formerly it would have given her pain. Deceived with theſe aſſurances, and forgetting ſhe had ſo lately been my rival, I believed her ſincere.“She 1167 H12r 167
She aſked me what meaſures I purpoſed taking, in caſe my father urged my marriage with the Count? Though I had no diſtruſt of Fauſtina’s honour, I did not however chuſe to let her into the propoſal made me by the Chevalier: —I did not know but there might ſtill be ſome unextinguiſhed ſparks that lay ſmothered in her heart; and that, notwithſtanding, all her efforts might blaze out again on the thoughts of the Chevalier’s being loſt to her for ever; and perhaps occaſion ſome imprudence in her conduct, that would defeat all my deſigns:—I therefore only told her that, as I hoped my father would not force me to marry againſt my inclination, ſo I had as yet come to no reſolution at all. But my fate was nearer a criſis than I imagined.
I perceived a coldneſs in my father’s behaviour, that he had never ſhewn 1168 H12v 168 ſhewn towards me before. He ſpoke little to me all that day: and the next morning, as Fauſtina and I ſat at breakfaſt with him, he told us he intended in a few days to depart for Salerno.—If I was quite thunderſtruck at this information, Fauſtina ſeemed no leſs concerned! My father obſerved it in us both. —I ſee, ſaid he, the news is not pleaſing to either of you. It is for your ſake, Adelaide, that I remove from a place where I think you have attachments unworthy of you. I have already told you that I have other views for you than thoſe ignoble ones you have for yourſelf; and which I hope your prudence will teach you to reſign without reluctance. And as for you, Fauſtina, added he, looking at my couſin; I know not what reaſon you can have to regret leaving Naples, and returning to your friends and parents.—I had made my father no anſwer; 1169 I1r 169 anſwer; and Fauſtina ſaid, reſpectfully, ſhe would gladly attend him back to Salerno.
I was terrified at this unexpected reſolution of my father’s:—I dreaded being ſacrificed to the Count on my return to Salerno; for I concluded by this motion of the Baron’s, that De la Roſa was not at Naples, as Fauſtina had inſinuated. This occaſioned me to make ſome new reflections on the unaccountable manner of my father’s being made acquainted with the Count’s love for me; which I knew was a ſecret to every body but Signior Caraſſa and Fauſtina. However, theſe thoughts were but tranſient; and, without giving myſelf the trouble to dive farther into this myſtery, I turned my mind entirely towards the means of avoiding this hated match.Vol. I.I“I knew 1170 I1v 170
I knew the Chevalier’s arms were open to receive me;—the time I had to reſolve in was ſhort;—my heart and my vows were already Don Enenique’s. Do not blame me then, Eugenia, when I tell you that I at once determined to yield him my hand on the terms propoſed.—However, I concealed my thoughts from Fauſtina:—my father’s knowledge of De la Roſa’s paſſion for me had raiſed ſome doubts in my mind; and, though ſhe expreſſed the utmoſt concern on our going to Salerno, which ſhe ſaid was entirely on my account, I nevertheleſs did not chuſe to confide in her too far. She aſked me, would not I ſee the Chevalier before we ſet out? and (as ſhe knew our place of rendezvous, and that we often met) I made no ſcruple of ſaying I meant to ſee him that evening. I found ſhe endeavoured to penetrate into my deſigns; but I evaded 1171 I2r 171 evaded her queſtions, or gave her general anſwers.
I went at the appointed hour to the ſummer-house, where I found the Chevalier waiting for me. It was in the duſk of the evening, when my father always ſpent an hour alone in his oratory; ſo that I was ſure of having that portion of time to myſelf.—Ponces did not allow me to keep him long in ſuſpenſe; he immediately renewed the converſation we had had the day before. My fears now, joined to my love, ſerved to ſtrengthen his arguments; and I no longer refuſed to yield.—We agreed that Don Enenique ſhould the next night, between ten and eleven o’clock, bring his confeſſor with him, who ſhould join our hands in the little ſummer-houſe we were then ſitting in, in the preſence of my woman, whom I I2was 1172 I2v 172 was to take with me; after which, under covert of the night, we were to be conveyed in the Chevalier’s carriage (which was to wait at a private door) to the ſea-ſide, where a bark was to be in readineſs, to carry us directly to Spain; for it would be by no means expedient for the Chevalier, after ſuch an adventure, to continue in Naples.
Having thus ſettled our meaſures, we parted. Don Enenique went to prepare for our expedition; and I returned to the houſe, to take ſuch other ſteps as might be neceſſary to our design.
I would not allow myſelf to reflect, for fear of receding from my promiſe: but, putting up my jewels and other things of value, without once daring to conſider what I was doing, I called my woman, who had been all along privy to 1173 I3r 173 to my correſpondence with the Chevalier; and having, in a few words, imparted the ſecret to her, ſhe ſeemed ſo rejoiced at the project, that I began to loſe part of the fears that were already oppreſſing me.
I can’t ſay I was ſorry for the reſolution I had taken, though my mind was far from being eaſy. However, I got through the remaining part of the evening in making ſome ſecret preparations for my intended flight. My woman was very officious, and took upon her the conduct of a great many things; ſo that, relying entirely on her care and fidelity, I went to bed, in a ſtate of mind which, though not altogether tranquil, was yet free from pain. As I never cloſed my eyes, the night ſeemed very tedious; and notwithſtanding I did not wiſh for morning, I3it 1174 I3v 174 it however at laſt appeared, and I aroſe off my reſtleſs bed.
I paſſed moſt of the day with Fauſtina, to avoid giving her any ſuſpicion; and when night came, concluded the Chevalier would rather be before than after the appointed time; I ſent my woman into the garden, to prevent his impatience till I could diſengage myſelf from my father, who always expected my company at ſupper; after which I was my own miſstreſs, as Fauſtina and me, at that hour, uſually retired each to our ſeparate apartments.
My woman had been gone but a few minutes, when ſhe returned again quite out of breath. I felt a ſudden ſhivering at the ſight of her.—What, Thereſa! said I, is the Chevalier come? —No, Madam, ſhe replied; I have been juſt 1175 I4r 175 juſt now ſpeaking to his valet at the garden door, whom he ſent to acquaint you that the Viceroy has this minute received ſome unexpected and very important diſpatches from Madrid, which muſt unavoidably detain Don Enenique for half an hour longer than the appointed time: but that at eleven he will not fail. He conjures you to forgive him, and believe that nothing but his being locked up with the Viceroy himſelf ſhould have delayed him. His valet aſſures me that his maſter was obliged to deliver his meſſage haſtily to him at the Duke’s cloſet-door.—Thereſa ſpoke this very naturally:—there was nothing unlikely in what ſhe ſaid; and, as I knew Don Enenique’s valet was a faithful perſon, whom his maſter had often truſted with meſſages to me, I did not once doubt the truth of this account, but bid my woman wait for the ChevalierI4lier 1176 I4v 176 lier till he ſhould come, and then let me know it.
After I had wiſhed my father a good-night I retired to my own apartment. Fauſtina had complained of a ſlight indiſpoſition in the evening, and had withdrawn to her chamber much ſooner than uſual. My father had happened to detain me longer than was his cuſtom; ſo that it was now near eleven o’clock; and I expected every moment when Thereſa would come to acquaint me with the Chevalier’s arrival: but after waiting a conſiderable time without hearing any thing of her, I concluded ſhe had fallen aſleep ſomewhere, and that Ponces might be waiting for me in vain. In this opinion I ſtole down ſoftly into the garden, and called Thereſa;—but no Thereſa anſwered! I ſearched the little ſummer-houſe, and every 1177 I5r 177 every place wherein ſhe might poſſibly have concealed herſelf; but all to no purpoſe! when, to complete my amazement, I found the garden-door (of which Don Enenique had the key) wide open! The night happened to be exceeding dark, ſo that I moved along the walks in no ſmall terror of mind;— when, coming under Fauſtina’s apartment, the windows of which looked into the garden, I ſaw a light in her bedchamber.—I told you ſhe had complained of not being well when ſhe retired:—I was apprehenſive ſhe was now grown worſe, and that her woman had been called up. In this belief I ran up ſtairs; and, entering her chamber, I found every thing in the greateſt diſorder! The clothes which ſhe had worn that day were thrown on the floor; ſeveral of her drawers were lying open, and quite empty; and a letter directed I5to 1178 I5v 178 to me lay on her toilet! Theſe were the contents:— I am ſorry, couſin, that, to make myſelf happy, I muſt be the occaſion of making you wretched; but ſuch is the fatality that hangs over us. Remember, you robbed me of the heart of Caſtellane. Is it not juſt then, that I ſhould poſſeſs that of Don Enenique? But yet I will do the Chevalier juſtice:—he is ignorant of the deceit my love has made me practice. I overheard your diſcourſe in the gardenhouſe; and though my firſt intent in liſtening to it was only to fruſtrate your defigns by making them known to your father, on hearing the contrivance of your marriage, I reſolved boldly to turn it to a more glorious advantage.—I bribed your woman; and my ſtars have for once been propitious; for by the time this letter comes into your hands I ſhall be married to Ponces, in your ſtead, 1179 I6r 179 ſtead, and far away from Naples. But yet, believe me, I do not triumph in your misfortune; but could wiſh you a leſs ſevere lot. However, I know you are miſtreſs of reſignation enough to ſubmit to a fate that is not to be controuled.—Adieu for ever.
What effect the reading of this letter had on me is ſcarce poſſible to deſcribe! I continued the remaining part of this fatal night in Fauſtina’s chamber. Amazed and ſtupified at this cruel ſtroke of fate, I remained rather dead than alive: and day peeped in at the windows when, endeavouring to rouze myſelf a little from the lethargic ſtate I was in, I aroſe from the floor on which I had fallen (perhaps in a fainting fit) and continued there. After I recovered (if I could be ſaid to recover the whole night) I would have perſuaded I6myſelf 1180 I6v 180 myſelf what had paſſed was a frightful dream; when, finding Fauſtina’s ſhocking epiſtle ſtill lying by me, I read it over again; and was but too ſeverely convinced of the reality.
I told you I had entirely concealed my intended marriage with the Chevalier from Fauſtina: compaſſion for her weakneſs had for a long time made me conceal even my love. But what did my pity or my caution avail! I found myſelf betrayed in the cruelleſt manner. Had I ſuffered alone, my ſorrow would have been leſs poignant; but, when I conſidered that Ponces had fallen a victim to the ſame treachery that ruined me, my pangs were inſupportable.
I found that Fauſtina had taken the perfidious Thereſa along with her. Her own woman, who had never been let into 1181 I7r 181 into any part of this wicked ſecret, informed me, that her miſtreſs uſed to have frequent private converſations with that ungrateful creature; and that Fauſtina had that very evening forbid her to come near her, ſaying that Thereſa ſhould for the future attend her. I gave but little heed to what this woman told me; and only endeavoured to arm myſelf againſt the ſtorm which I ſaw was coming towards me; for I reſolved at once to confeſs the whole truth to my father, and endure the utmoſt of his reſentment rather than ſuffer Don Enenique to be branded with falſhood and ingratitude.
My couſin’s flight could not be long a ſecret. My father was prodigiouſly alarmed at her woman’s not being able to give any account of her; but, if I did not diſſipate his fears, I at leaſt put 1182 I7v 182 put an end to his uncertainty, by throwing myſelf at his feet, and, with many tears, relating to him the ſtrange circumſtances of the preceding night. My father heard me with more temper than I could have expected. He ſeemed even melted while I ſpoke; and raiſing me,—You were to blame, Adelaide, ſaid he; and I ſhould be angry at your indiſcretion, but that I think it mortification enough to you to loſe the perſon you love:—a ſuitable puniſhment, I may ſay, for your undutifulneſs. I ſuppoſe you can now have no reluctance to return to Salerno. Prepare therefore for your journey immediately. But, added he, I am grieved that, in return for Signior Caraſſa’s friendſhip, I have ſo mortifying an account to render him of his daughter.—I withdrew, without making any reply: my heart overflowed with gratitude for the tenderneſs of my father’s 1183 I8r 183 father’s behaviour to me. I quitted Naples in two days after this ſad adventure; and ſhould have departed with ſome ſatisfaction, but for the fear of my being preſſed to marry at Salerno.
My father and I ſet out in our coach; and on the journey I aſſumed a cheerfulneſs that was very pleaſing to him; he even complimented me upon it.—I am charmed with your ſpirit, Adelaide, ſaid he; I own I was apprehenſive that your heart was too much prepoſſeſſed in favour of that tall Spaniard, to permit you ſo ſoon to recover your former gaiety; but ſince I find your prudence and good-ſenſe will ſhortly teach you to overcome a childiſh and ill-placed paſſion, I have hopes that the ſame motives will incline you to believe, that it was your happineſs and intereſt alone that made me reject the 1184 I8v 184 the Chevalier’s ſuit; and I flatter myſelf that the huſband I have choſen for you, will ſoon make you forget the huſband of your abandoned couſin.— Oh, my Lord, ſaid I, I need not be put in mind, by that epithet, that Don Enenique is for ever loſt to me. I will baniſh him from my memory; and I am not without hopes that I have reſolution enough to effect this, without the aid of any new object; therefore, though I can never enough thank you for your indulgence, I conjure you to let me continue as I am. I go with you moſt willingly to Salerno; but, if you really wiſh your daughter’s happineſs, diſpenſe with my accepting this new lover, till a little time and my own reaſon will better diſpoſe my heart to receive him; mean while I pray you, my Lord, to name the perſon whom your paternal goodneſs has thought of for me.—’Tis the 1185 I9r 185 the Count de la Roſa, anſwered my father. I find he has loved you long, though it has been kept a ſecret from me, till your kinſman, Signior Caraſſa, informed me of it by letter; which I will now ſhow you, as Signior Caraſſa’s doubts have partly explained themſelves.—Saying this, my father put the letter into my hands. This was the ſubject of it:—
I could not juſtify it to the friendſhip I owe you, if I did not inform you of an affair on which I think your daughter’s happineſs depends. The Count de la Roſa loves her; and would long ago have aſked her of you in marriage, if he had not been prevented by me, who was moved to this by Adelaide’s reluctance to the match (for ſhe was not acquainted with his paſſion); but, as I think it too conſiderable to be 1186 I9v 186 be rejected, and the Count ſtill retains the ſame ſentiments for my cousin, he has requeſted me to apply to your Lordſhip for him. If your anſwer is favourable, he means to ſet out directly for Naples. I hope my young kinſwoman will have prudence enough to conſider her own intereſt on this occaſion: and that ſhe will take care not to compliment her fancy at the expence of her judgment. You need not let Adelaide know of your having received this notice from me. At a proper time I ſhall explain myſelf.—
When I had returned this letter to my father, he told me that he had communicated the contents of it to Fauſtina as ſoon as he had received it; that ſhe had enlarged upon the Count’s paſſion for me; but had entreated my father not to let me know that either ſhe or 1187 I10r 187 or Signior Caraſſa had given him any information on this head; for, ſaid ſhe, my couſin does not like the Count; and ſhe may take our interpoſing unkindly; and, as that Lord will certainly come to Naples as ſoon as he hears that you are inclined to favour his ſuit, the application will then appear to come immediately from himſelf.
I beſeeched my father to let me know what anſwer he had returned to Signior Caraſſa? He told me, ſuch a one as he thought the worth of the offer deſerved; and that he had in conſequence of that, received a letter from the Count de la Roſa himſelf, full of acknowledgments, and an aſſurance of waiting on him at Naples in a few days. —I have, added my father, expected the Count for ſome time paſt; when I received the diſagreeable news of his being 1188 I10v 188 being ill (from Signior Caraſſa) which obliged him to defer his intended journey; but I hope by the time we reach Salerno, to find him perfectly recovered.
Though (continued Adelaide) I eaſily ſaw that Fauſtina was at the bottom of this black intrigue, I was yet at a loſs to conceive by what means ſhe had engaged her father to intereſt himſelf ſo warmly in an affair which his kindneſs toward me had formerly made him decline meddling in: this, together with ſome ambiguous words he had made uſe of in his letter, convinced me that Fauſtina had uſed treachery to engage my kinſman to obſerve the conduct he had done. I made no reflections however on the matter to my father, knowing that on my arrival at Salerno all would be unravelled.“Signior 1189 I11r 189
Signior Caraſſa was the firſt to compliment us on our return. My father had not choſen to inform him by letter of his daughter’s flight, concluding that an event ſo ſhockingly circumſtanced would require all the alleviating powers of friendſhip to interpoſe, in order to enable the unhappy father to ſuſtain the news. In this my father judged wiſely; for, though he endeavoured to relate the ſtory with all the circumſtances he could think of to extenuate the wretched Fauſtina’s crime, her incenſed father had hardly patience to hear him out; he uttered the bittereſt imprecations againſt his daughter; and, turning towards me,—I am not ſurpriſed, Madam, ſaid he, that the ungrateful, treacherous creature ſhould take the pains ſhe did to promote your marriage with the Count de la Roſa; and to engage me, contrary to my promiſe,miſe, 1190 I11v 190 miſe, to eſpouſe his intereſt; but I little imagined, that whilſt ſhe appeared ſo ſolicitous for your honour, ſhe was contriving the means of ſacrificing her own. Oh couſin! ſaid he to my father, this vile creature told me that your Adelaide was on the brink of ruin; and that, if I did not interpoſe, nothing could ſave her. She wrote me word (forgive me while I relate it) that your daughter had fallen in love with a young man of very mean degree; and that ſhe was apprehenſive either of a ſtolen marriage, or of ſomething ſtill more fatal. She told me, ſhe was afraid to diſcover the ſecret to you, dreading the effects of your reſentment towards her couſin; and therefore, as the beſt means to ſave her from deſtruction, ſhe conjured me to ſound Count de la Roſa’s inclinations; and, if I found them ſtill bent towards Adelaide, to give him all the encouragementment 1191 I12r 191 ment in my power, and write directly to you; who, ſhe aſſured me, would liſten favourably to ſuch a propoſal. I did as ſhe requeſted. The Count eagerly embraced the motion; and would, long before this, have been at Naples, if a dangerous fit of illneſs had not attacked him, juſt as he was preparing to ſet out. My father here took occaſion to inquire very particularly after the Count’s ſtate of health, Signior Caraſſa’s diſtraction about his daughter having prevented him doing it ſooner; but he had the mortification to hear from that gentleman, that his illneſs was ſo much increaſed, that the phyſicians had no hopes of his life. Though my father was much diſturbed at this news, you may ſuppoſe it gave me little pain; and the poor Count’s death, which happened two days after, as it delivered me from my fears of becoming his wife, was the 1192 I12v 192 the only conſolatory circumſtance that could, in my ſituation, have befallen me.
I wiſh, cried Eugenia, I could heal your grief as effectually as I ſhare in it: but alas! my dear, I am as unfortunate as yourſelf. Have I not loſt the man I loved as well as you? —and loſt him in a way ſo unaccountable, as fills me with apprehenſions for his life; or, if even that is preſerved, I may never ſee him more.—Is your ſituation more unhappy?—Oh! a thouſand times more, replied Adelaide; you may ſtill call Pimenteles yours; and one fortunate day may yet make you amends for all that is paſt; but, as for me, I can’t even think of Don Enenique without a crime: his vows are dedicated to another: he muft live for Fauſtina; and I don’t flatter myſelf even with 1193 K1r 193 with the ſmalleſt hopes; for have I not reaſon to believe that he is not ſo diſſatisfied with my cruel couſin, ſince, in ſo long a time as he has been abſent, he has not once found means to let me hear from him? No, no; the cunning Fauſtina has found the way to his gentle heart; and has perhaps made a merit of her perfidy, by imputing it to an exceſs of love. Oh Heavens! (continued Adelaide, lifting up her eyes) thou ſuffereſt the treacherous and the deceitful to proſper, while the ſecure, the credulous, and the innocent are often undone!
But no more of this, added ſhe; your preſence, my Eugenia, brings me comfort; and, whilſt you are with me, I will, if it be poſſible, forget every thing that gives me pain. Let us be happy then, whilſt you remain Vol. I.Khere: 1194 K1v 194 here; and, when you return to Milan, I am reſolved to aſk leave of my father to go with you. This I am ſure he will not refuſe me, as it will be a means of diſpelling that melancholy, which, in ſpite of my endeavours to hide it from him, he ſees preys inceſſantly on my heart.—In effect, theſe two lovely friends aſſuaged each other’s grief by the moſt tender and ſoothing expreſſions. Adelaide endeavoured to perſuade Eugenia, that her dear Don Clement would one day be reſtored to her; whilſt ſhe, on the other hand, who had leſs conſolatory hopes to offer her friend, ſtrove only to prevail on the Baron St. Seberina’s daughter to believe that the Chevalier de Ponces would perpetually regret his ſeparation from her; and, ſo far from loving the author of it, would would certainly deteſt and fly her.The 1195 K2r 195
The time that Eugenia had allotted to her ſtay at Salerno, wanted a good deal of being expired, when one day, ſitting with Adelaide, a letter was brought to her, which by the character ſhe knew came from the Marquis, her uncle. As it was but a few days ſince ſhe had heard from him before, this packet was quite unexpected.—I have no reaſon, ſaid ſhe to Adelaide, to expect any agreeable change in my fortune; and yet ſomething whiſpers me that this letter brings moſt welcome news. Indeed ſhe had ſcarce glanced her eyes on the paper, when ſuch an unuſual joy diffuſed itſelf over her whole countenance that Adelaide eaſily gueſſed it contained ſomething in which her friend’s heart was nearly intereſted.— Come, ſaid ſhe, ſhew it me; I ſee Pimenteles writ in every line of your face.—Here, read, my friend, anſweredK2ſwered 1196 K2v 196 ſwered Eugenia, and participate with me in the extreme joy I am filled with. Theſe were the terms of the letter:— Your preſence here, my dear niece, is become neceſſary. Don Clement, whoſe loſs you ſo much deplore, is now at Milan: he arrived but this day. I am in haſte to communicate the news; which I am ſure will be very agreeable to you. I had a glimpſe of him as he entered a houfe adjoining mine; where I am informed he is lodged. My joy at ſeeing him again had almoſt made me fly to embrace him: however, I checked that emotion on reflecting what I owe myſelf and you. I pray Heaven Don Clement may be able to clear up his conduct in ſuch a manner as may make it conſiſtent with your honour and mine, to accompliſh the union I have ſo much at heart! Nevertheleſs, I ſhall not ſolicit any explanation till you return; as in 1197 K3r 197 in ſo delicate a point I do not care to proceed without your concurrence.— Your mother is almoſt out of her wits for joy. I dread the violence of her paſſions and the weakneſs of her conduct: haſten therefore on all accounts your departure from Salerno. In the mean time, be aſſured I ſhall be as tender of your love as of your fame.
When Adelaide had read this letter ſhe returned it to her friend.—I rejoice with you, happy, happy Eugenia, ſaid ſhe: This delightful event fills me with pleaſure in the midſt of chagrin. Let us go, my dear; let us fly; you to your faithful Don Clement; and I——from Salerno, from the remembrance of my ſufferings, and if poſſible, from myſelf. Eugenia was too impatient to delay her return to Milan; and the Baron St. Seberina having before K3conſented 1198 K3v 198 conſented that his daughter ſhould take that journey with her friend, theſe two ladies ſet out the following day, having each of them a governante and a ſuitable number of other attendants.
They arrived ſafely at Milan; where the Marquis of Peſcara welcomed his niece with all the marks of a tender affection; and Adelaide with the tokens of eſteem and reſpect that was due to ſo charming a gueſt.
Though Eugenia was very impatient to learn ſomething concerning Don Clement, ſhe yet thought it proper to be ſilent till the Marquis ſhould mention him firſt: wherefore, leaving that nobleman to entertain her beautiful friend, ſhe withdrew to pay her duty to her mother, who, as the Marquis told her, had 1199 K4r 199 had retired, a little indiſpoſed, to her chamber.
Though Eugenia judged (and not without good reafon) that her preſence would not be very acceptable to Madame Burganeze, ſhe yet thought it an indiſpenſable duty to wait on her immediately, after an abſence of ſome months. She ran to her chamber without the ceremony of having firſt appriſed her of her arrival. She found Madame Burganeze lying on a couch; but ſo far from having the appearance of a perſon diſordered by pain or ſickneſs, ſhe ſeemed rather to have renewed her former youth and ſprightlineſs: a looſe gown of ſilver brocade was wrapped careleſsly around her; and her hair was adorned with a variety of flowers, in the diſpoſal of which a luxurious and romantic fancy had exerted its utmoſt ſkill. K4Her 1200 K4v 200 Her hair, which when Eugenia had left Milan was inclining to grey, was now of the moſt agreeable brown; and hung in eaſy ringlets on her neck. To complete the picture, her cheeks bloomed with a freſhneſs as new as it was becoming. Eugenia was not a little ſurpriſed at this unexpected metamorphoſis. It was night; but by the light of a ſingle wax-taper (Madame Burganeze not caring for too much glare) ſhe had an opportunity of ſurveying this enamoured dame, as ſhe lay in reverie, ſomething between ſlumber and the moſt agreeable contemplation.
Eugenia, concluding from the gallantry of her mother’s dreſs that ſhe expected a more welcome viſitant (which was really the caſe) was going to withdraw, without diſturbing her, when the languiſhing Madame Burganezeneze 1201 K5r 201 neze ſuddenly ſtarted up; and the dimneſs of the light which was in the chamber, together with the like imperfection in her eyes, made her miſtake her daughter for another perſon for whom ſhe waited.
Good, ſaid ſhe, in a pretty loud voice, how impatient you are! Why it muſt want at leaſt an hour of the appointed time. Eugenia was ſtartled at theſe words: ſhe concluded that Don Clement was the impatient lover whom her mother meant; and was very much afraid, that, when ſhe ſhould diſcover her miſtake, her rage would be without bounds. She therefore thought it more prudent to diſſemble; and ſeeming not to have marked what her mother ſaid, ſhe approached her couch and, falling on her knees, deſired her bleſſing; but Madame Burganeze, whether thrown K5into 1202 K5v 202 into a more than ordinary confuſion, or not being thoroughly awake, or blind, or altogether, was ſo prepoſſeſſed with the notion that it was her expected lover who knelt before her, that, holding out one of her hands, ſhe cried, in the ſofteſt tone of voice, Here, ſweet Pimenteles, take my hand; but I conjure you aſk no more. Had Eugenia been leſs intereſted in this unlucky ſcene, ſhe could have laughed at it; but as her mother and her lover were ſo deeply concerned in it, it had a very different effect on her: ſhe bluſhed for the weakneſs of the former, and was ſeized with mortifying fears on account of the latter. The love-ſick dame ſtill held out her ſtretched hand; but Eugenia, willing to undeceive her (having firſt kiſſed it)—’Tis I, Madam; ’tis your daughter; ’tis Eugenia. I ſhould be under the greateſt uneaſineſs,neſs,’ 1203 K6r 203 neſs, added ſhe, for having broke your reſt, but that I fear your ſleep was much diſturbed; for you juſt now uttered ſome broken words, which ſeemed the effect of a troubleſome dream, from which I can’t repent having awaked you. Madame Burganeze, who was by this time perfectly rouſed from her rapture, was thunderſtruck at thoſe words. It was well her daughter had the preſence of a mind to impute her extravagance to a dream; for Eugenia already ſaw her mother was beginning to ſwell with indignation.—Your company, ſaid Madame Burganeze, looking diſdainfully at her, is as unwelcome as it was unexpected. If Don Clement were not at Milan, you would not have been in ſuch haſte to return to it; but let me tell you, child, you have no more ſhare in his affections than my chambermaid has, whatever your K6vanity 1204 K6v 204 vanity may ſuggeſt to you. His heart, I may venture to ſay, is devoted to me: and neither your unſeaſonable preſence nor your uncle’s policy ſhall deprive me of it. We don’t want you, added ſhe, with a malicious ſmile, for an internuncio. Don Clement has no farther occaſion for proxies.—You do me wrong, Madam, anſwered Eugenia, to ſuppoſe that Don Clement is the motive of my return from Salerno; it was in obedience to the Marquis, who recalled me. Beſides, you may remember I was not a ſtranger to Pimenteles’ paſſion for you before my departure from Milan; therefore can’t poſſibly entertain thoſe preſumptuous hopes you upbraid me with; and I aſſure you my ſentiments for Don Clement are the very ſame with thoſe I believe he has for me.—So much the better, anſwered Madame Burganeze, in a tone leſs ſevere 1205 K7r 205 ſevere than ſhe had ſpoke in before;— I ſhould pity you, to love without the hopes of being beloved again; for that would infallibly be the caſe. You did ill, ſaid ſhe, after a little pauſe, to come ſo abruptly upon me; I was not prepared to receive you; and till tomorrow ſhall diſpenſe with your attendance; for at preſent I am much more diſpoſed to reſt than converſation. With theſe words ſhe threw herſelf again on the couch, and waved her hand to Eugenia to retire.
It happened that Madame Burganeze, in flinging herſelf careleſsly on the couch, had dropped a letter out of her boſom, which Eugenia took up; and, though ſhe was immediately going to reſtore it, a ſtrong impulſe of curioſity prevailed with her to keep it, as ſhe imagined the contents might poſſibly diſcover 1206 K7v 206 diſcover ſomething in which perhaps ſhe had no inconſiderable ſhare. This reaſon ſhe thought might, in ſome meaſure, juſtify an action, which in its own nature ſhe would have condemned. Having quitted Madame Burganeze’s apartment, ſhe haſtened to her own to examine the letter. She found it ſubſcribed by Don Clement; and it contained theſe few words:—You are the firſt lady that ever reproached me with indifference; and, if I have been ſo long in Milan without diſcovering the leaſt gallantry, it is far from being owing to a want of ſenſibility in me; on the contrary, you will find no one more tender, or more grateful when I have the happy opportunity of kiſſing your hand, which I ſhall not fail to do at the appointed hour. Though Eugenia thought the character in which this note was written, was not that of Don 1207 K8r 207 Don Clement, yet his name ſubſcribed to it, together with her mother’s expreſſions, and ſome other concurring circumſtances, left her no room to doubt but that it came from him; and, as it ſeemed altogether an enigma, ſo ſhe ſuppoſed ſome new myſtery had occaſioned its not being written in his own hand.
She was impatient to ſpeak to the Marquis on this ſubject; but, recollecting that he was then engaged in converfation with Adelaide, ſhe returned to the apartment where they were, leaving Madame Burganeze impatiently expecting Don Clement.
And here it will be neceſſary to relate that part of the old lady’s conduct which was the occaſion of Eugenia’s finding her in ſo extraordinary a ſituation.Madame 1208 K8v 208
Madame Burganeze had no ſooner heard that Don Clement was returned to Milan than ſhe looked upon herſelf as poſſeſſed of all her wiſhes. She flattered herſelf that his being lodged ſo near the Marquis, was to have the more frequent opportunities of converſing with her: and expected every minute when ſhe ſhould receive a viſit from him, his avowed paſſion for her, and his friendſhip for the Marquis, her brother, being ſufficient motives for him to wave all punctilious forms; and, without ceremony, throw himſelf into the arms of two perſons by whom he knew he was ſo much beloved:—but, when ſeveral days paſt without her either ſeeing or hearing from him, ſhe began to be terribly alarmed!—The Marquis, extremely ſurpriſed at this ſlight, ſpoke of it in terms which gave her room to think he highly reſented it. Fearing therefore that 1209 K9r 209 that a total breach would enſue between her brother and her lover, ſhe reſolved at all events to uſe her endeavours to renew their former intimacy, though ſhe too plainly ſaw that Don Clement ſeemed rather inclined to avoid it.
As the Marquis had never let his ſiſter into the ſecret of Eugenia’s adventure with Pimenteles, ſhe could not penetrate into the reaſon of his reſentment againſt that gentleman; and, believing it proceeded only from the jealouſy of his friendſhip, which could not brook ſo cold a behaviour in one who had been ſo dear to him, ſhe hoped (if by any means ſhe could bring them to a meeting) the Marquis would ſoon forget his anger; and ſhe ſhould by degrees reconcile him to the union ſhe meditated between the youthful Don Clement and herſelf:—for ſhe ſtill was weak 1210 K9v 210 weak enough to flatter herſelf that, notwithſtanding his diſtant behaviour, his love for her had brought him back to Milan. Her hopes thus revived, ſhe ſent in the Marquis’s name to Don Clement, deſiring to ſee him; concluding that he would not refuſe the invitation; and that her brother, without knowing that ſuch a compliment had paſſed, would receive his friend with his uſual warmth:—but how was ſhe mortified at the ill-ſucceſs of her plot! Don Clement received the meſſage with the utmoſt politeneſs; but at the ſame time excuſed himſelf from waiting on the Marquis, on account of ſome perplexing affairs, which he ſaid for the preſent engroſſed all his hours.
Madame Burganeze was half diſtracted with rage and jealouſy at this reply: for ſhe now feared that it was on accountcount 1211 K10r 211 count of Eugenia’s abſence that Don Clement’s indifference proceeded.
The Marquis (without knowing the lengths his ſiſter had gone to allure Don Clement back again) was of the ſame opinion; nor did he wiſh for an ecclairciſſement till his niece ſhould arrive, whoſe return he now daily expected.— Finding therefore that Pimenteles perſiſted in his eſtranged behaviour, he became in his turn as cold and averſe to him as he had once been fondly and warmly attached to him; ſo that Madame Burganeze, deſpairing of a reconciliation between them, and trembling at the thoughts of loſing Don Clement again, and perhaps for ever, reſolved to put herſelf at leaſt out of ſuſpenſe; on which account, ſhifting her reſentment and compoſing her ruffled thoughts, ſhe wrote him the following lines, and ſent 1212 K10v 212 ſent them by her woman:—You have been eighteen long days in Milan, without ſeeing me! Unkind, cold Pimenteles! where is all your love? Muſt I forget that I am a woman, and woo you to your happineſs?—Ah! let me chide you for this ſtrange indifference; and if you hope for my pardon, fail not to aſk it to-night. The bearer will wait to conduct you to my apartment at ten o’clock; where, if the charming Don Clement repents, the tender Burganeze can forgive.
To this kind letter Don Clement returned the anſwer which Eugenia found in her mother’s chamber; and with which Madame Burganeze was ſo well pleaſed that, without conſidering how unbecoming and raſh her proceedings were, ſhe thought of nothing but how to appear amiable in her lover’s eyes. Accord- 1213 K11r 213 Accordingly ſhe adorned, or rather transformed, herſelf in the manner already deſcribed; and having diſmiſſed her daughter from her preſence, who happened to arrive at ſo unlucky a minute, ſhe diſpoſed herſelf to receive Don Clement. He was punctual to a minute; for the clock no ſooner ſtruck ten than ſhe heard him coming up ſtairs with La Pointz, who had introduced him the back way.—As he entered the room ſhe would have roſe to ſalute him; but he appeared ſo very handſome, that the extreme pleafure ſhe took in gazing at him made her forget all ceremonies; and ſhe continued leaning on her couch with her eyes languiſhinglyfi xedlanguiſhingly fixed on him. Don Clement, who, from the poſture ſhe was in, could have but an imperfect view of her face, drew nearer to her; and, putting one knee to the ground,—So unlooked-for a happineſs as 1214 K11v 214 as this, ſaid he, would more than recompenſe the ſufferings of an age:— and I flatter myſelf that fortune has yet fome favours in ftore for me; ſince when I leaſt expected it, ſhe has beſtowed ſo great a bleſſing.—How tranſported I am, ſaid Madame Burganeze, raiſing herſelf up, to find you fo conſtant:—but wherefore do you ſay this bleſſing was unexpected?— What had you not to hope from a love ſo ardent and faithful as mine?
Don Clement, inſtead of anſwering this ſoft language as fhe expected, ſtarted up from his knee; and, falling back two or three paces, ſeemed to ſurvey her with an air of ſurpriſe!—What ails the trifler? cried Madame Burganeze;—what new whim have you taken into your head?—Was it for this I ſent for you? Was it you then, Madam,dam,“ 1215 K12r 215 dam, anſwered Don Clement, who did me the honour to write to me?— This is very ſilly, anfwered Madame Burganeze; and if you continue theſe airs, I ſhall be downright angry with you.—I know not, cried Don Clement, whether to be ſerious or merry on this occaſion; but as I think I am more inclined to the former, we will, if you pleaſe, let the joke end here:— therefore, Madam, you muſt allow me to take my leave. Saying this, he turned towards the door, when Madame Burganeze caught him by the hand. Come, come, ſaid ſhe, no more of this foolery. I am diſpleaſed with you already; and let me tell you, you have gone too far.—Don Clement drew his hand gently from hers; and, bowing low at the ſame time, I have been in an error, Madam, ſaid he; and ſo I believe have you; therefore I beg 1216 K12v 216 I beg once more you will not detain me. With this he took two or three ſteps towards the door: but Madame Burganeze, now quite enraged, could contain herſelf no longer.—What poſſeſſes you? ſaid fhe; Does this behaviour agree with your former proteſtations of love? nay, with what you but juſt this moment ſaid?—Am I leſs amiable now than I was three minutes ago?—or can your heart rebel ſo ſoon? —Speak, coxcomb; and don’t provoke my anger too far.—As for what I juſt now ſaid, anſwered Pimenteles, a little nettled, it was not meant for you, Madam: and as to your talking of former proteſtations, not knowing that I ever had the honour of ſeeing you before, it makes me rather ſuſpect that it is you who are poſſeſſed;—therefore, lady, to avoid diſturbing the family, I beg once more that you will permit me to 1217 L1r 217 to retire.—Don Clement here again attempted to be gone; but, unluckily for him, La Pointz had locked the chamber-door on the outſide; ſo that he found himſelf under a neceſſity of ſuſtaining all Madame Burganeze’s fury. Ungrateful wretch, ſaid ſhe, have you forgot our mutual love?—Muſt all the tears which your abſence coſt me meet with this return?—And have you the inſolence, the barbarity, to own your falſehood, and aggravate it in the moſt preſumptuous manner?—Not only deny your having loved me, and confeſs thoſe raptures were meant for another, but even diſown that you ever ſaw me.—Monſter, added ſhe, your unparalleled villany ſhall not go unpuniſhed: and if Eugenia be the object of your love, ſhe ſhall be the firſt victim to my revenge.Vol. I.LThe 1218 L1v 218
The violent paſſion which this frantic woman had thrown herſelf into agitated her whole frame ſo much, that, happening to lean againſt a cabinet, on which ſtood a pyramid of rich china, ſhe unluckily threw down the whole pile; which, rattling on the floor with ſuch noiſe, greatly alarmed the Marquis with Eugenia and Adelaide, who were not yet riſen from ſupper. As Madame Burganeze’s apartment was not far diſtant from that in which they were ſitting, her brother and the ladies made haſte to her aſſiſtance; as did La Pointz and ſome more of the female ſervants who had been frightened at the noiſe. They all ran in together without ceremony: ſo that the chamber was filled in an inſtant.
Though Don Clement was under ſome confuſion, he nevertheleſs accoſteded 1219 L2r 219 ed the Marquis with great politeneſs; and, without giving him time to enquire into the fracas,—My Lord, ſaid he, I don’t at all wonder at the ſurpriſe you ſeem to be in at ſeeing me here. I confeſs, nothing can appear in a worſe light; but I hope this lady will do me the juftice to remove any ill impreſſions which this accident may have made on you. For my own part, I am ſo much aſhamed of having occaſioned all this diſorder, that I muſt for the preſent beg leave to withdraw; but will at any other time you pleaſe, ſatisfy your Lordſhip that, if I have committed an offence, it was unknowingly; and that, bold and ſuſpicious as this viſit may appear, I had no deſign to inſult any of your houſe.
Don Clement had time to make an end of this ſpeech without any interruption.L2ruption. 1220 L2v 220 ruption. Madame Burganeze was ſo overwhelmed with confuſion, that ſhe could not open her lips nor lift her eyes from off the ruins of the china; where they were fixed immoveably. The women who had ran in, in their firſt ſurpriſe, concluding that a ſcene of this nature was not ſo proper for them to be witneſſes to, had all ſtole out of the chamber; ſo that none but the three ladies and the Marquis remained.— Stay, Don Clement, ſaid the latter; there are no perſons now preſent but thoſe who are particularly intereſted in what relates to you; and there can be no time more proper than this for you to make that explanation we would wiſh to have:—therefore, with my ſiſter’s permiſſion, I muſt beg leave to enquire into the motives of this ſecret and unſeaſonable interview between you?Don 1221 L3r 221
Don Clement, who was unwilling to mortify Madame Burganeze by mentioning her letter, was ſomewhat at a loſs how to make a reply; when, caſting his eyes on that lady, as if to demand her leave to anſwer the Marquis’s queſtion, fhe (who read his looks) cried out,— Speak, cruel Pimenteles! my brother is not unacquainted with my weakneſs for you; nor can any thing you have farther to ſay make me more miſerable. With this ſhe flung out of the room, and, locking herſelf in her cloſet, left Don Clement at liberty to declare himſelf how he pleaſed.
I believe then, my Lord, ſaid that gentleman, addreſſing himſelf to the Marquis (and at the ſame time giving him the letter he had that day received from Madame Burganeze) you would think me a very inſenſible L3man 1222 L3v 222 man if I refuſed a ſummons like this: but I own I thought it had come from a fairer hand, or you would not have found me ſo rude a diſturber of your family.—’Tis my ſiſter’s writing, anſwered the Marquis; and I can’t imagine how you ſhould ſuſpect it came from any other perſon!—Nothing more natural, interrupted Don Clement; and if your Lordſhip and theſe ladies will have but the patience to hear me, you will be convinced of this yourſelf.
I had juſt received that letter, and was breaking open the ſeal when a gentleman with whom I had been intimate in Caſtile, and renewed my acquaintance with ſince my arrival here, came in to make me a viſit:—as there is an unreſerved friendſhip between us, I made no ſcruple of ſhewing him the note; 1223 L4r 223 note; and aſked him, laughing, how he would adviſe me to act; for my valet had told me that the woman who had brought it waited for an anſwer. As my reſidence in this city has been but ſhort, and my time ever ſince I have been here ſo wholly taken up with buſineſs, I had few moments for pleaſure; of courſe I have had no opportunity of making any acquaintance amongſt the ladies; on which account I imagined that ſome gay damſel had a mind to divert herſelf a little. I was not, however, willing to engage in an amour which was to commence ſo myſteriouſly, though I confeſs my curioſity inclined me ſtrongly to purſue it.— While I was making ſome reflections on the novelty of the thing, my friend was peruſing the letter with a good deal of attention.—Are you not acquainted, ſaid he, with the lady from whom this L4epiſtle 1224 L4v 224 epiſtle came?—No, replied I; I am a ſtranger to the name and the hand! and am in doubt whether I ſhall take any farther notice of it: for perhaps it may only come from ſome female adventurer, who has a mind to make herſelf merry at my expence; or, what is worſe, to lead me into an unlucky ſnare: as ſtrangers who appear to be of diſtinction are ſometimes treated. My friend laughed at my fears; telling me I need to be under no concern:—for if (ſaid he) this letter comes from the lady whoſe name is ſubſcribed to it, you are ſo far from being in the leaſt danger, that you ought rather to look upon yourſelf as the happieſt man in the world—to have inſpired Signiora Eugenia Burganeze with an inclination for you! I am ſurprised, continued he, that you ſhould be a ſtranger to this young lady, as ſhe lives next door to you, and is niece to the Marquis 1225 L5r 225 Marquis of Peſcara!—I told him that I had, indeed, received a compliment from that Lord; but that I had not the honour of his acquaintance, nor did I ever hear of his having any family but a ſiſter; who is a lady far advanced in years.—Yes, replied that gentleman, Madame Burganeze, the fair Eugenia’s mother. I have been abſent from Milan, added he, for ſome months, and know not whether that lady is ſtill with her brother; for when I left this city, ſhe deſigned retiring into a convent; and even talked of carrying her daughter along with her. Let us not flatter ourſelves therefore too far; for perhaps ’tis ſome other lady of the name who has wrote to you: or poſſibly ſome woman who has only aſſumed the name to engage you the fooner in her toils.— But we have the means to diſcover this in our own hands, cried I; for the L5woman 1226 L5v 226 woman who brought the letter waits below:—whereupon I called my valet, with a deſign to bed him bring the woman to me; when my friend happening to aſk him, did he know her?—the man replied that he believed ſhe was one of Madame Burganeze’s attendants; for that he had often ſeen her going in and out of the Marquis of Peſcara’s hotel.—Oh, ’tis enough, cried my friend, laughing:—we need aſk no more queſtions. Write an anſwer immediately, continued he: Signiora Eugenia is as virtuous as ſhe is beautiful; and though ſhe may have a mind to amuſe herſelf with an innocent piece of gallantry, yet, depend upon it, ſhe means nothing contrary to the ſtricteſt honour: and if you have in reality been ſo happy as to pleaſe her, it is the greateſt felicity that could have befallen you.—He added a great many other things, 1227 L6r 227 things, that inſpired me with ſuch an ardent deſire to ſee the lovely Eugenia, that I did not heſitate a moment what my reply fhould be:—and having in a few words anſwered the billet, which I now no longer doubted came from her, I thought every minute an hour till the appointed time arrived in which I was to be admitted to her preſence.—I came, my Lord, full of the idea which my friend had given me of your charming niece. But judge of my ſurpriſe and diſappointment! when, inſtead of her, I found myſelf on my knees before a perſon fit indeed to inſpire me with reverence, but far unlikely to create love!—Aſhamed to be thus deceived by my own too flattering hopes, I was ready to excuſe myſelf to the old lady, and to take my leave of her; when ſhe flew into a violent paſſion; urged former vows and proteſtations; told me of (I L6know 1228 L6v 228 know not what) love that was between us; and had almoſt raiſed herſelf into a phrenzy, when the deſtruction of the china luckily alarmed her friends!— This, my Lord, added Don Clement, is the truth you deſired to be informed of, and which Madame Burganeze herſelf muſt acknowledge. I have therefore nothing to ſay farther in my juſtification; but to implore the beautiful Eugenia’s pardon for my preſumption in entertaining, but for a moment, the belief of being honoured with her love. —Here he bowed low to Eugenia, and remained ſilent.
I believe my reader is by this time as much ſurpriſed at Don Clement’s behaviour as the Marquis and the two ladies were; and think him a very audacious and lying Spaniard: but we ſhall ſee preſently how he came out of this whimſical ſituation.’I know 1229 L7r 229
I know not, ſaid the Marquis, in a grave and reſolute tone, what has provoked you to frame this unaccountable ſtory; but certain I am, that nothing but my aſtoniſhment could have ſuffered me to let you run on ſo long. Whatever reaſons you may have for playing on my imprudent ſiſter, I think you owe ſomething to my friendſhip, and more to my niece; who has made me her confidant in an affair which you ungenerouſly ſtrove to conceal from me; notwithſtanding the regard I always treated you with.—How, my Lord? cried Don Clement, angrily; this farce is too long, and muſt needs end unluckily!—I am of your mind, anſwered the Marquis, briſkly. You are at preſent under my roof; remember that is your only protection:—for know, young Spaniard, that Eugenia’s honour is not a toy for ſuch boys as you to 1230 L7v 230 to ſport with.—By Heaven, you amaze me, cried Don Clement; and added, after a ſhort pauſe, I begin to think there muſt be ſome ſtrange myſtery in this affair, which I tremble to penetrate. But I declare to you, by every thing that is ſacred, that it is yet ſcarce three weeks ſince I firſt ſaw Milan; nor did I ever, during the whole courfe of my life, till this night, behold Madame Burganeze or her charming daughter.
Eugenia, who till now had been ſilent, could contain herſelf no longer; but turning to Adelaide, who had been a ſpectatreſs of this odd ſcene, Such inſolence, ſaid ſhe, is not to be borne; but, if it is poſſible to raiſe a bluſh in a face where boldneſs and deceit are painted, I will produce ſomething which muſt cover this daring man with confuſion.ſion.“ 1231 L8r 231 ſion. Saying this, ſhe ran to her apartment; and bringing thence the poniard which Don Clement had dropped in the wood, and which had been carefully preſerved by Eugenia ever ſince, ſhe put it into that gentleman’s hands:— Look there, Signior Pimenteles, ſaid ſhe, and if you can deny that poniard to be yours, on which your name is decyphered, I will allow you to be a maſter-piece of diſſimulation.— Don Clement looked at the poniard with manifeſt tokens of amazement; when, turning towards the Marquis, I am no longer in doubt, my Lord, cried he: this dagger has unravelled the whole myſtery. Alas! we have all been deceived by falſe appearances. That young ſtranger, who aſſumed the name of Don Clement Pimenteles, was a woman, and my unhappy ſiſter.’Hear 1232 L8v 232
Hear then, my Lord, and you ladies, that part of my ſiſter’s ſtory which gave occaſion to this ſtrange event.
We are twins; and owe our birth, as ſhe may poſſibly have informed you, to Don Manuel Pimenteles, whoſe houſe is not accounted the moſt obſcure in Caſtile. My ſiſter’s beauty (for ſhe was allowed to have much) had gained her a great many admirers; but my father would give acceſs to none of them, except Don Gabriel Sahabedras, Count of Caſtellar, who was poſſeſſed of an eſtate of eighty thouſand piaſtres a year. This nobleman was upwards of fifty years old; of an imperious, haughty temper; and without any thing to recommend him, but his immenſe fortune. You may be ſure my ſiſter looked upon him as a very unequal match. However, in obedience to my father 1233 L9r 233 father ſhe received his addreſſes civilly; but with ſo much coldneſs and indifference, that he ſoon perceived how diſagreeable he was to her. This did not however diſcourage him: he had none of thoſe delicate ſentiments with which a generous lover is affected; ſo as he was poſſeſſed of the perſon of my ſiſter, it was all he deſired. He uſed to tell her that the heart of a woman was too great a trifle for a ſerious man to ſpend his time in purſuit of; that he knew it was impoſſible to confine their inclinations for ever to one object, were it the moſt amiable; that therefore he was indifferent whether he was beloved or not; and that, ſo as he was but ſecured of the perſon of her he admired, he would take care to preſerve her virtue from any attacks; and, for the reſt, he would leave her to her own humour.’His 1234 L9v 234
His carriage was anſwerable to this unfeeling declaration; he took not the leaſt pains to make himſelf agreeable to my ſiſter; for, having obtained my father’s conſent to eſpouſe her, he aſſumed ſuch an air of authority over Clementina (ſo my ſiſter is called) as rendered him perfectly hateful to her. In vain did ſhe throw herſelf at my father’s feet, and beſeech him not to ſacrifice her to a man whom ſhe ſo much diſliked. He had engaged his promiſe to the Count, and was reſolved not to break it. Beſides, as Clementina was the youngeſt of three daughters, he thought it was an alliance ſhe ought to be proud of; and told her, in a peremptory manner, that ſhe ſhould marry Caſtellar, or never ſee his face again. My poor ſiſter, drove to the laſt extremity, came to me all in tears:—Dear brother, ſaid ſhe, if you have a mind to preſerve my life, endeavour 1235 L10r 235 endeavour to ſoften the obdurate heart of my father; for if he perſiſts in the reſolution he has taken, of marrying me to Don Gabriel, I aſſure you, you will loſe a ſiſter who loved you tenderly.—I promised her my aſſiſtance; and went that moment to my father. I found him in his cloſet with Sahabedras and a lawyer, who was buſied writing at a table. I gave the caufe over at this ſight; but, reſolving to make one effort more on my father’s tenderneſs, I begged of him to ſtep into the next room with me. He knew I was extremely fond of my ſiſter; wherefore, gueſſing my errand, he told me, in an angry tone, without giving me leave to ſpeak, that if I ſhould interpoſe in behalf of that obſtinate girl, I would incur the height of his diſpleaſure. Beſides, added he, ’tis now too late; for every thing is agreed on between the Count and me; therefore, 1236 L10v 236 therefore, Sir, be pleaſed to let your ſiſter know that I expect the laſt proof of her obedience within theſe eight days. —I went with this unwelcome meſſage to Clementina’s apartment. She received it with more calmneſs than I expected; and told me, that however rigorous her father’s commands were, ſhe was reſolved to obey them.
She concealed her chagrin ſo well, that none of us had the leaſt ſuſpicion of her deſign. On the contrary, we began to imagine that ſhe had reconciled herſelf to a lot which ſhe found it was impoſſible to avoid. In ſhort, the preparations for her nuptials were making with great magnificence, when, on the eve of the day appointed for the ſolemnization of them, Clementina and her waiting-woman diſappeared; and, notwithſtanding the ſtricteſt inquiry, there 1237 L11r 237 there was not the leaſt trace of them to be diſcovered. We found ſhe had taken all her jewels with her, and a pretty large ſum of money: at the ſame time I miſſed this poniard; but I did not ſuſpect that my ſiſter had diſguiſed herſelf in man’s apparel; I only ſuppoſed her fondneſs for me had induced her to carry it with her as a token of remembrance.
End of the First Volume.