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Title: The Orphan of the Rhine
Author: Eleanor Sleath
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eBook No.: 0606561.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2006
Date most recently updated: August 2006

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The Orphan of the Rhine
Eleanor Sleath

Volume 1

Chapter 1

Thou art indeed ill-fated;
Snatch'd, when an infant, from thy nurse's arms.
And borne we known not whither.

Near that long tract of hills, known by the name of Mount Jura, was
situated, in the year 1605, the cottage of Julie de Rubine; commanding
on one side a view of Geneva and its Lake, lying north of the town,
and on the other an extensive plain, covered with pine-woods and
pasturage: beyond which arose, in various forms and directions, that
vast range of Alps which divide Italy from Savoy, forming a natural
barrier to Geneva and its little territory.

The owner of this secluded retreat, having met with some peculiar
misfortunes, originating from the depravity of those with whom she was
unhappily connected, had disengaged herself from the world at that
period of existence when it usually presents the most alluring
prospects; and accompanied by her infant son and one faithful
domestic, had taken refuge in retirement.

After having passed some years in uninterrupted solitude, she was one
evening returning from a monastery, near Ripaille, which formerly
belonged to the hermits of St Maurice, whither she had been at
confession, and was pursuing her way through a large forest, whose
vistas terminated upon the Lake, when she observed a cabriolet move
along at some distance before her, which afterwards stopped at her

Before Julie de Rubine arrived at her cottage, the traveller, who was
a female, had alighted, and on hearing her name, advanced some paces
to receive her. She was a tall thin woman, of a pale, healthy
appearance. Her dress bespoke her of the middle rank of life, and an
infant that she held in her arms, which was entirely obscured in a
mantle, intimated that she acted in the capacity of nurse.

After having unfolded the occasion of her visit, the stranger
presented the recluse with a letter, which she informed her was from
the Marchese de Montferrat. Julie de Rubine started, and appeared much
affected. The messenger observed these emotions with concern, and
endeavoured to remove the cause by introducing a new subject of
conversation. She discoursed upon the temperature of the climate, the
fineness of the weather, and related many little adventures they had
met with upon the road, not forgetting to recite the difficulties they
had encountered as they journeyed over the rocky steeps of Mount
Cennis, on their way from Turin thither, which she assured her had
cost them much labour and fatigue. Julie, who perceived the kindness
of the intention, attempted to subdue the acuteness of those feelings,
which had prevented her from welcoming the stranger with her
accustomed courtesy, and, having in some measure succeeded, ventured
to turn aside the mantle with which the infant was covered, and beheld
a very beautiful female child, apparently about four months old.
Having expressed her astonishment that the stranger should travel so
far with so young a companion, she ordered Dorothe, her servant, to
prepare some refreshment; and taking the Marchesse's letter, with
trembling hand she opened it, and read as follows:

The Marchese de Montferrat having, after many unsuccessful inquiries,
discovered the abode of Julie de Rubine, and wishing in some measure
to compensate for the misfortunes he has occasioned, is willing to
offer his protection to her, and also to her son, for whom he will
hereafter amply provide, on condition that she will take into her care
a young female infant, and perform, in every respect, the part of a
mother. She is also requested not to make any inquiries relative to
the child, but to rest satisfied that there are reasons, which, if
known, would be deemed sufficient for the justification of his
conduct, however mysterious it may appear. If Julie de Rubine agrees
to these proposals, the Marchese will provide for her an asylum, in
which she will find every accommodation suitable to her rank; he will
also send a person to convey her to her new habitation, and will
settle upon her a handsome annual sum as a provision for herself and
the children. He also considers that, to avoid the effects of an
impertinent curiosity, it will be at once prudent and necessary to
take another name and to assume the character of a widow. If Julie De
Rubine acquits herself in this affair with that uniform propriety of
conduct which she has hitherto never failed to support, she and her
child have every thing to hope from his patronage; but on the
contrary, if she refuses to comply with his desires, and presumes to
disclose the most unimportant incident respecting this circumstance to
any individual living, she has everything to fear from his

Amazement for the moment almost deprived the agitated Julie of reason!
That the Marchese should select her from the rest of the world, to act
as a mother to the orphan; her whom he had so materially injured, and
that this child should be conveyed to her under circumstances so
peculiar, was equally surprising and inexplicable! That it was
deprived of maternal attention was beyond a doubt, or why send it to
her, to perform the part of so tender a relation? It might yet have a
father living, and who could that father be? An universal trembling
seized her as the idea occurred--an idea which the whole of the
proceeding apparently justified, that it was no other than the
Marchese. She knew that he had not been long united to a woman of high
rank and considerable fortune, to whom he had offered himself on an
early and superficial acquaintance, when resident in the neighbourhood
of Padua, whither he had spent some time in the society of a friend to
whom he had been long attached. His love of gallantry was too
generally known to allow the probability of his affections being long
in the possession of any one; she, by melancholy experience, was
convinced of the truth of this assertion: the child could then be no
other than the offspring of an illicit amour. She knew that, previous
to his marriage, he had seduced the affections of a young Neapolitan
beauty, the daughter of a merchant, whose name was Di Capigna, less
celebrated for external charms than for those seductive and elegant
accomplishments, 'that take the reason prisoner'.

Her father, she had been informed, did not long survive the loss of
his daughter's reputation, which event so seriously affected the
Signora that she suddenly left the Marchese, some believing that she
was dead, and others that she had thrown herself into a convent; but
the truth of this singular affair was not known.

Every circumstance seemed to favour the opinion that this might be the
child of the Signora Di Capigna, whose birth, added to her own
distresses, probably occasioned her death. She had not indeed heard of
an infant; but this, considering the secrecy with which affairs of
this nature are usually conducted, was not a matter of surprise,
particularly as the marriage of the Marchese must have taken place
before the birth of the child. Every thing being thus collected, there
no longer remained a doubt in the breast of Julie de Rubine, but that
this was indeed the daughter of the Marchese, and consequently of the
Signora Di Capigna.

The conclusion of the letter contained a threat, if she refused to
comply with his desires; yet the pride of conscious innocence revolted
at the idea of receiving pecuniary support from a man, who had stooped
to the most humiliating and degrading falsehoods, merely to tarnish
the brightest of all gems, a stainless reputation. But when she
considered the unprotected situation of her child, her Enrco, who
would find a bitter enemy, where from the ties of nature he might
reasonably expect the tenderest of friends, her own inability to
provide for him, the hardships to which he might be exposed, pleaded
powerfully the cause of the Marchese, and staggered her accustomed
firmness. This little innocent too, sent to solicit her protection--
what sorrows, what distresses, might it have to encounter, what
treatment might it experience from the harsh and the mercenary! These
reflections, excited by the unexampled generosity of her nature, sunk
deep into her heart, and elevated her above every ignoble and selfish
consideration. For herself she would have been contented to have lived
and died in obscurity, and would have endured without murmuring the
severest penury rather than have thrown herself upon the liberality of
one, for whom she now felt no softer sentiment than horror and
resentment But her son had no doubt a claim to his protection; on his
part it might be considered as a debt, not as a bounty; and as to the
infant, a handsome allowance might certainly be demanded for such a
charge, without incurring an obligation; but the matter was too
important to be immediately determined. Silent and deliberating she
quitted her apartment, and returned into the room, where she had left
the nurse and child.

The latter was now awake, and as Julie de Rubine pressed its cheek
gently to her lips, it smiled; she took its hand; it grasped her
finger and she imagined looked as if imploring her protection Agatha,
Which was the name of the messenger, sent by the Marchese observed
these maternal attentions with apparent satisfaction. And discovering
much humanity and softness in the deportment of the recluse
endeavoured to direct these amiable traits of character to the
advantage of her employer by dwelling with a. Tender concern upon the
beauty and innocence of the child, from whom she lamented she was so
soon to be separated. She expatiated also on the generosity of the
Marchese, extolling the benevolent solicitude he had displayed in the
cause of the infant, who but for him, she added, might have perished
for want, as few were at once invested with power and inclination to
patronize the unfortunate Madame de Rubine, after having complimented
the stranger upon her sensibility, inquired how long the infant had
remain under her protection, and was informed ever since it was born
That it was consigned to her care by Paoli, her husband, at the desire
of the Marchese, with whom he had resided some years in the capacity
of steward; but that whose it was, or from whence it came, she was
incapable of ascertaining, though she had sometimes ventured to
interrogate Paoli upon the subject; his answers being always short,
undecisive, and frequently uttered with hesitation and displeasure.

She then demanded whether she herself saw the Marchese, and if any
time was fixed for her return? The former part of the question was
answered with a negative; the message respecting her embassy was also
conveyed by her husband, who had intimated a desire that the affair
should be speedily determined as his Lord had some thoughts of
removing from the Castello St Aubin, his present residence in the
environs of Turin, to another estate to which he had recently
succeeded, in consequence of the death of a near relation, who, having
suddenly disappeared, was supposed to have been slain by banditti, as
he was returning from a remote province to his paternal seat; which
mournful event had, she added, so serious an effect upon his lady,
that she scarcely survived the intelligence; and during her illness
the affectionate attentions of the Marchese and Marchesa, who were
sent for to assist and administer consolation, so excited her
gratitude, that she bequeathed them all her valuables.

Julie then inquired if she was acquainted with the name of the
nobleman whose life had been terminated by this fatal disaster, and
whether he was also an Italian, and an inhabitant of Turin. But with
these particulars Agatha was totally unacquainted; she had, she said,
endeavoured to gain some information upon the subject, but her
exertions had been at present unsuccessful, as a variety of reports
had been circulated in the neighbourhood, few of which assumed the
appearance of truth. She then modestly reminded Madame de Rubine of
the necessity of entering into a speedy determination concerning the
child; as if the proposals conveyed in the letter were rejected, she
had orders to return without further delay, that it might be committed
to the protection of some other, who would not scruple, in
consideration of the terms proposed, to undertake the important

Julie, having assured her that she would re-examine these proposals,
and adopt, as soon as possible, a final resolution concerning them,
observed, that the infant was again fallen asleep, and requested that
it might be put to bed. Agatha, being much fatigued, agreed to the
proposition; and, after having laid the little innocent to rest, and
partaken of some refreshment with Dorothe, retired herself to repose.
But Madame de Rubine's mind was too much agitated and perplexed with
the strange occurrences of the day, to feel the least inclination to
sleep. The Marchese's letter, which contained such promises of
protection to her son, was flattering to the hopes of a fond and
affectionate mother. But could a man of his character be relied upon?
Might he not, from caprice, if not from a more reasonable motive, be
induced at some future time suddenly to withdraw that protection and
might not this be more severely felt, than if it had never been
afforded? But could she with justice suppose this possible? From his
former conduct, without departing, in the smallest instance from the
native candour of her mind, he was unable to form a judgment upon his
conduct decisively to his advantage. To her she was sensible he had
not acquitted himself as a man of principle or of honour; but maturer
years she considered might have corrected the errors of youth, and her
misfortunes, united with those of the Signora Di Capigna, might have
led to repentance and reformation. There had been instances of many
who had entirely forsaken their offspring, exposing them without pity
all the hardships of poverty and oppression; but crimes of this nature
were not become familiar to him; he seemed interested in their
unprotected situations, and was anxious to defend them from the
insults and cruelty of an unfeeling world.

The threat which the letter contained, appeared to have been made use
of merely for the purpose of conquering those little scrupulous
delicacies which might eventually stand in the way of her son's
advancement. If he was not concerned in their welfare, why not have
sent the infant to the care of some other; for doubtless many would
have received such proposals with transport. She was pleased to find
some traits of virtue in a character which resentment had for some
time placed in an unfavourable light; and being accustomed to behold
every circumstance with an eye of candour, she began to hope, at
least, that the Marchese was become a convert.

Weary and irresolute, she retired to her apartment; but to sleep she
found was impossible. Enrco lay in a small bed by the side of her's;
his slumbers were undisturbed, though a smile occasionally played upon
his cherub lip. Julie, with all the fondness of parental affection,
stood and gazed anxiously upon him as he slept. A tear fell upon her
cheek when she reflected how soon the serenity of that angel
countenance might be disturbed-at some future time what might be his
suffering! A thousand mournful presages now arose in her mind; and
willing to divert her thoughts from so painful a subject, she walked
pensively towards the window.

It was a calm and serene night; the moon slept upon the brow of the
hill, and the whole face of nature wore an appearance of gentleness
and tranquillity. She thought of the days of childhood, when she used
to ramble with her father in the stillness of evening, to hear the
song of the nightingale. What vicissitudes had she known since then!
Could her parents have foreseen her misfortunes, what would have been
their anguish; and what was now their situation! Her imagination then
wandered to distant worlds; she raised her eyes towards the stars of
heaven; their number, the immensity of their distance, excited her
adoration and wonder! 'Possibly the spirits of the departed,' cried
she, 'may inhabit those glorious luminaries! How enviable is their
situation; now how far are they placed beyond the reach of misfortune;
their griefs, their inquietudes are now no more!' Full of these
reflections she retired to her bed; but it was long before she forgot
in sleep the strange occurrences of the day.

In the morning she arose early, and again perused the Marchese's
letter. He had mentioned nothing of the melancholy story which Agatha
had imperfectly related, nor of the large estates he had succeeded to
in consequence of it. But this being an event in which she was not
immediately concerned, any information on this subject might be deemed

As soon as the nurse and child arose, Madame de Rubine again took the
infant into her arms, whose complexional delicacy and beauty equally
attracted her admiration and astonishment. Whilst she continued to
gaze upon its sweet innocent countenance, it appeared conscious of her
attention; the soft sentiment of pity was already ripening into
affection, and she perceived, if she parted with it, it would be with
reluctance. She considered likewise it would a companion for Enrco,
and that much domestic comfort might reasonably expected from this
lovely object of her compassion, the stillness of uninterrupted
retirement, particularly during the time of her separation from
Enrco; which, however painful the reflection was, she was convinced
in the present state of affairs indispensably requisite, as he must
endeavour, by every necessary exertion, to secure promotion and
independence in that department, which would eventually prove the
least repugnant to his feelings and inclinations. These suggestions
determined her to accept the proposals made to her by the Marchese;
and, having acquainted Agatha with her intention, she addressed a few
lines to him in return, in which she expressed her astonishment at
this singular and unexpected adventure; at the same time assuring him
that, having consented to take the child under her care, she was
resolved to fulfil, in every respect, the part of a parent; that he
might also depend upon her secrecy in the affair, and as he had
offered her an asylum, which nothing but the welfare of the children
could have induced her to accept, she must desire that he would never
attempt visit them in their retirement, as she should consider an
interview of that kind as highly improper.

Agatha, being impatient to return from her embassy, besought
permission to depart; which being granted, the carriage that had
conveyed her hither, and was left at a small inn near the cottage, was
immediately ordered. She then took an affectionate leave of the
infant; and, after many tender adieus and good wishes to Madame de
Rubine, set forwards on her journey.

Chapter 2

Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort.
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit.
That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.

Nothing material happened at the cottage till near a fortnight after
the departure of Agatha, when Paoli, her husband, and the
distinguished favourite of the Marchese, came to conduct Julie and the
children to their destined abode. He also brought a letter from his
lord, in which he expressed his entire approbation of her conduct;
assuring her, at the same time, that if the secret, with which she was
partially entrusted, remained inviolable, she might depend upon his
friendship and protection, and expect on his part the most scrupulous
attention to her desire, concerning his not visiting the retreat he
had chosen for her, which was a castle on a German estate, beautifully
situated near the Rhine. He also informed her, that he had given
orders for every necessary preparation to be made against her arrival;
and that he intended to remit her a considerable sum quarterly, which
would be more than sufficient to defray every expence; and requested,
that she would acquaint him, at the return of Paoli, if any part of
the arrangement, which he had formed for her establishment, should not
be agreeable to her wishes. He also desired that, immediately on her
arrival in Germany, she would name the infant, which name he left
entirely to her decision, and as to her son, she might depend upon his
honour to fulfil the promises already made.

When Madame de Rubine had perused this epistle, she questioned the
steward respecting her new situation, and inquired whether any
servants were sent thither by the Marchese, or whether he expected her
to provide them.

Paoli assured her that every thing was in readiness for their
reception; that two servants were already there, an elderly woman and
a man, who had been some years in the service of his lord, at the
castello St Aubin, and who were either to remain or to return, as she
thought proper. The appearance of Paoli did not prejudice his fair
auditress much in his favour. His deportment was stern, harsh, and
forbidding, and she thought in the character of his brow she read
determined villainy. He seemed to behold, with the most scrutinizing
eye, her every look and action, forming in the whole of his behaviour
a striking contrast with the tenderness and artless simplicity of his
wife. She felt uneasy in his presence, and earnestly longed for the
time of his dismission to arrive. The consequence he assumed, from the
known partiality of the Marchese, bordered on rudeness, and he
frequently obtruded himself into her presence contrary to the rules of
good breeding, which, however, he affected to understand. He seemed to
possess an infinite deal of cunning, and to be every way formed for
intrigue and dark design. Being unwilling to resent this want of
address, she endeavoured, as much as possible, to divert her mind from
the uneasiness his unpleasant society occasioned, by nursing her
little charge, and listening to the childish simplicity of Enrco.

The ensuing week was now fixed for their departure, and Madame de
Rubine and Dorothe were busily employed in making every necessary
arrangement for their journey. The few household goods she possessed,
which were of the simplest kind, were divided among the neighbouring
poor, by whom she was tenderly beloved.

After a residence of near four years in this beautiful retreat, the
amiable Julie found she could not bid it adieu without extreme
reluctance. In these calm and peaceful shades she had taken refuge
from the censure of a rash unfeeling world; and had in some degree
gained a tranquillity and composure of mind, which she once believed
it impossible ever to recover. She had endeavoured to reconcile
herself to her misfortunes, and to check, as much as in her power, the
natural sensibility of her disposition, which she was convinced was
too acute to admit of lasting comfort.

She knew that true happiness was only to be found in the bosom of
religion and virtue, and the warmth of her affection led her to
indulge in that glow of religious enthusiasm, which elevates the soul
beyond every earthly pursuit, and renders it susceptible of the most
worthy impressions. On the evening preceding their departure, she
wandered once more along that beautiful valley she was now soon to
quit for ever; and casting her eyes over the clear expanse of waters,
heaved a sigh at the recollection that she might probably, in that
situation, never behold it more. To part from these scenes, to which
she had been long inured, was like parting from a beloved friend,
which, though only known in the moments of sorrow, were still dear to
her. The sun had long sunk beneath the horizon, yet she still
continued her walk. It was now the gay season of the vintage, but the
rural sports were over, the shepherd's pipe was silent, and nothing
was heard from the mountains but the distant sound of the mournful
sheep-bell, and at intervals the rustling of the leaves, that faintly
sighed in the evening gale. Every object on which she gazed, wore that
soft and tender melancholy so congenial to her feelings, and impelled
her with an irresistible charm to linger in her favourite walks. The
large plane-tree, which had so often afforded her shelter, the bank on
which she used to sit selecting flowers for the playful Enrco, were
objects of regret; and it was not till the shades of night were
perceptibly stealing upon the meek grey of the twilight, that she
recollected the impropriety of wandering so far from her cottage
alone, and at so late an hour. The danger to which this imprudent
conduct had exposed her, precipitated her steps, and she was surprised
on finding she had strayed so much farther from her little retreat,
than she had at first imagined. As she advanced, it became so much
darker that she was irresolute whether to proceed, or to call at one
of the huts of the peasants to procure a guide; but recollecting that
there were several others on the road leading to her home, she
ventured to continue on her way. On arriving at the side of the wood,
near to which the cottage was situated, the moon, bursting from a
cloud in its meridian splendour, partly dissipated her fears; and the
melodious song of the nightingale, who was concealed in the inmost
recesses of the wood, again arrested her steps. As she listened, the
strain swelled still louder, and more plaintive; and she thought there
was a pathos in the note she never remembered to have heard before. It
seemed the language of complaint, and the frame of mind she was then
in heightened the tender sensation of pity that the lay inspired.
Sitting down on a bench, which she had formed under the shade of a
chestnut, she took out her pencil, and wrote the following lines,
which have certainly but little poetical merit, yet sufficiently
evince that her griefs, though softened by time and the comforts of
religion, had made an impression too great ever to be perfectly


Hail, chantress sweet, who lov'st in woodlands drear.
And shades unseen beneath the pale moon's ray.
To pour thy sorrows in eve's listening ear.
And charm the nightly wanderer's lonely way;
Say, is it love that wakes the melting song?
Or pity's tender throe, or wan despair?
If such thy woes, ah! yet the strain prolong.
Still let thy wild notes float upon the air;
Yet spring's next visit shall, sweet bird, restore
Those ravag'd joys that wake the thrilling lay.
Sad mem'ry's open'd wounds shall bleed no more.
And happier love adorn the future day:
But not on me can spring one charm bestow.
Or make this pensive breast with her wild raptures glow.

Madame de Rubine had been absent on her evening walk so much longer
than usual, that Dorothe, beginning to be alarmed, was going in
search of her; but was agreeably surprised on seeing her safely seated
under her favourite tree. Having again reminded her of the lateness of
the hour, which she had recently ceased to recollect, she thanked the
affectionate girl for her attention, and returned to the cottage.

After a night spent in broken slumbers she arose, and every thing
being in readiness for their journey, and Paoli impatiently waiting
with the mules, they prepared to depart.

At first she was much alarmed at the necessity of the children
travelling without a carriage; but the steep and craggy mountains they
had to ascend rendered that mode of conveyance impossible. The mule on
which Dorothe and the infant were seated, was led by a peasant; Julie
guided her own, and poor Enrco was reluctantly left to the care of

Having slowly descended the hill, on which the cottage was situated,
they travelled along the beautiful and picturesque borders of the
lake, and without any material occurrence, arrived at Lausanne, where
the party was compelled to stop for a few days, being fatigued with
the ruggedness of the road, and the unpleasant motion of the animals
destined to convey them to their new abode. After this salutary
revival, they recommenced their journey along the finely cultivated
mountains between Lausanne and Vevay. The scenery of this country,
which perhaps is scarcely to be equalled, the mildness of the season,
and the wild harmony of the birds that inhabited the branches of the
pines, withdrew the attention of Madame de Rubine from the unpleasant
conversation of Paoli, which was gloomy, morose, and artful. Chagrined
at his behaviour, she avoided mentioning any thing relative to the
Marchese, and interrogated him as little as possible as to their
future residence. Dorothe and Enrco were less disposed to silence;
they saw much in the novelty of the objects presented to them to
attract their admiration, and expressed it with all the simplicity of
youth and nature. In the evening they arrived at a small post-house on
the road, which was merely a cottage, though from its casual situation
it had acquired some importance. As soon as the host appeared, Paoli
inquired of him whether he could accommodate a party of travellers and
mules with lodgings for the night. The good man seemed doubtful, and,
after some minutes' conversation with his wife, informed them, that
they had but two beds fit for the reception of strangers, and that one
was already in use. 'This is unfortunate, indeed,' cried Julie,
perplexed at this unexpected disaster, 'as it is impossible to proceed
any further tonight with two children, and one an infant.' 'I am
heartily sorry,' replied the host, with much apparent concern; 'but
what can be done in the affair? There is a gentleman in the best bed,
who is so ill that my heart has ached for him ever since he has been
here; and as to his daughter, poor young creature! She has taken no
rest night or day since their arrival; and if he dies, which will
probably be the case, she will certainly die with him!' 'It is no
matter who is ill,' interrupted Paoli, haughtily, 'we have no leisure
to hear affecting stories; if we cannot procure beds here we must go
on.' 'For heaven's sake,' cried Julie, 'do, if possible, contrive
somewhere for the children to sleep; as to Dorothe and myself, we
will submit to any thing if you will endeavour to accommodate them.'
The host, pleased with the gentle manners of Madame de Rubine, which
derived no inconsiderable advantage from being contrasted with the
callous moroseness of the steward, assured her, that he and his wife
would sit up themselves rather than they should suffer such an
inconvenience; and if she would accept of their bed, which was indeed
a very common one, in addition to that reserved for the use of their
guests, it would give him pleasure to have it in his power to oblige
them. This proposal Paoli would willingly have accepted; but Julie's
delicacy objected to making this temporary disarrangement, observing
that a night's rest was too valuable to those who were condemned to
arduous employment, to be sacrificed to the service of strangers. Her
arguments were, however, powerfully overruled by the host, who did not
fail to convince her, that his wife and himself were better able to
sustain the loss of a nights repose than they who had undergone the
fatigue of a long and tedious journey. After a little gentle
reluctance, which the countenance of Paoli sternly reproved, she
ventured to dismount, and was conducted into a small but decent room,
enlightened with a blazened fire, which the hostess had just kindled
for their reception, made of the dried stalks of the vine. The
appearance of neatness and cheerfulness, which reigned throughout this
humble dwelling, animated the drooping spirits of Madame de Rubine,
who was now relieved from apprehension respecting the children, for
whom she experienced the most tender concern and solicitude Paoli
himself seemed to lose something of his natural gloom; he even
condescended to converse with the landlord on the manners of the
country, its verdure, and of the mode of cultivating the mountains.
The hostess now appeared; who, spreading a clean coarse cloth upon the
table, assured her quests, that had she known of their arrival, she
would have prepared them a more comfortable meal. Their daughter, a
pretty looking girl, apparently about eighteen, then entered with a
small number of boiled eggs, some bread, chiefly composed of rye, and
the vin du cot, which was all the house afforded The bloom of
Madelina, which was the name of the host's daughter, could not fail to
attract the attention of our travellers. She was not tall, but
elegantly shaped; her eyes possessed all the vivacity and fire which
is chiefly ascribed to the Gallic brunette, mingled with a certain
expression of softness and sensibility, which added much to her native
loveliness. Her fine fair hair, which was remarkably luxuriant, fell
in curls about her neck, and shaded a forehead of the finest
proportion, which was simply ornamented with a neat straw hat and
black ribbons; the mode of dress which prevails, without individual
exception, among the mountain nymphs of Switzerland. As soon as
Dorothe had conveyed her young charges to bed, Julia questioned the
landlady about the gentleman her husband mentioned, in terms so
replete with compassion, being desirous of knowing whether he was
indeed so ill as he had been represented, and if he had received any
assistance from medicine. Alas! Madame,' replied the hostess, 'he
seems to care for no advice but that of his ghostly confessor; and as
to Mademoiselle his daughter, she has scarcely partaken of any
refreshment since she has been here, and weeps continually. There is
none but herself to attend upon her father; and though I have
frequently offered my assistance, she has seldom accepted the
proposal.' 'What a comfortless situation!' cried Madame de Rubine,
much affected by the landlady's simple eloquence. 'Ill from home, and
without assistance, a young woman too, his only attendant! Can you not
inform me from whence they came, and whither they are going and is it
not possible we may be of service to them? The unfortunate have an
irresistible claim on our protection, and may we not obey the impulses
of inclination when they, are consistent with duty?' The hostess
replied, 'that she knew nothing more of them than that their names
were La Roque; that they arrived at the inn about four days ago, since
which time the poor gentleman had been so ill, that, though his
disorder was somewhat abated, his recovery was still very doubtful.
That his daughter seldom quitted his apartment except it was to
prepare something of refreshment for her father, and seemed herself to
be sinking under the calamity!' 'This is very singular,' cried Madame
de Rubine, 'that a gentleman, and an invalid, should travel into a
distant country attended only by his daughter! There must be something
in this circumstance of a very peculiar nature; I wish it was possible
to know more of it. Do commend me to the lady, and tell her, though a
stranger, I feel interested in her distresses, and should be happy to
have it in my power to alleviate them. Surely ceremony in an affair of
this nature may be dispensed with.' 'I will go to her instantly,'
returned the hostess, 'poor young lady! I am sure so kind a message
will comfort her. But would it not be better, Madame, if you was to
take a night's rest before you visit them? You seem weary, and such a
scene will, I fear, be too much for you.' 'We must not selfishly
consider our own ease,' replied Julie, 'when with a little exertion we
may render ourselves useful to others; besides, I have heard too much
already to be able to sleep, and, as we are travelling in haste, we
must pursue our journey to-morrow at an early hour.' Whilst this
conversation passed concerning the unfortunate La Roque, Paoli was
silent; but his looks sufficiently expressed his disapprobation of her
conduct. The luxury of doing good was a luxury unknown to him. Totally
devoid of benevolence himself, he did not believe it really existed in
the heart of another; and whilst Madame de Rubine was indulging the
fond and not delusive hope, that she might soften with her tenderness
the pang of misfortune, he was revolving in his mind what secret
purpose of her's this was to answer, and reflecting whether it was not
possible that treachery might not be concealed under the veil of
humanity. From the infamy of his own conduct he formed his opinion of
others; and when he could not make the intentions and actions of the
greater part of the world wear a colour dark as his own, he believed
himself outdone in cunning, and gave them credit for a superior degree
of duplicity. In a few minutes the hostess returned with the warmest
acknowledgments of gratitude from the gentleman and his daughter, with
an earnest desire of thanking her personally for her attention.
'Monsieur,' added she, 'has just awaked from a fine refreshing sleep,
and seems better; if you will permit me, I will shew you the room.'
She then conducted Julie up stairs, and having led her into the
interior of the apartment, introduced her as the kind stranger, and
withdrew. The young lady, who, notwithstanding the paleness of her
looks, and the disorder of her dress, appeared extremely lovely,
stepped forward to receive her, closing at the same time her missal,
having been recently engaged in devotion, which she replaced by a
small image of the Virgin, that adorned one of the angles. As her fair
visitor began to unfold the reasons that had actuated her to this
singular mode of procedure, she endeavoured to express the high sense
she had of the obligation; but an impulse of gratitude stifled her
utterance, and the words she would have articulated died upon her
lips. She then gently undrew the curtain and having removed a stool,
on which was placed a lamp and a crucifix, led her to the side of the
bed. As she advanced, the invalid, attempting to raise himself, held
out his hand to receive her; then gazing upon one of the most
affecting Countenances he had ever seen with mingled surprise and
admiration 'May I ask, Madame,' cried he, 'to whom I am indebted for
this unexampled benevolence, and what angel has directed you to sooth
with your kindness the most forlorn and unhappy of men?' Julie having
returned this compliment to her sensibility with her usual grace,
apologized for the liberty she had taken; to which she assured him she
was not instigated by a principle of idle curiosity, but from having
cherished the idea that she might possibly have it in her power to
alleviate his sufferings. She had been informed, she added, that he
had at present no medical assistance; and as business of a peculiar
nature rendered it necessary for her to quit the post-house early on
the following day, she intended, with his permission to send a
physician to attend him, from the nearest town. 'You are too, too
good, Madame,' cried the amiable young stranger speaking through her
tears; 'but my father, I fear, will never consent to it. I have urged
the necessity of it without ceasing; yet he is deaf to my entreaties.'
'Why, my child,' interrupted La Roque, 'should I endeavour to prolong
a life only productive of evil? Have I not been an unnatural parent, a
cruel husband? Yes,' resumed he, fixing his hollow eyes upon a small
picture, which was fastened round his neck with a black ribbon, 'my
Helena! My much injured Helena! I was thy murderer!' Then heaving a
profound, convulsive sigh, he sunk again upon the pillow. 'Oh! my
father,' replied Mademoiselle, in a voice rendered tremulous by
emotion, 'how unjust, how cruel are these self-accusations! And why
will you thus aggravate affliction by remorse? Reflect how conducive
to health is serenity of mind, and for my sake, if not for our own,
embrace the means of recovery: for though retched at present from
circumstances not in our power to prevent, let us look forwards with
comfort and hope to better days.' Madame de Rubine, who, during these
pathetic exclamations had regarded Mademoiselle La Roque with a gaze
of earnest inquiry, endeavoured, by the most forcible arguments she
could summon to her aid, to reconcile him to the application of means
to accelerate his recovery, not only for the sake of his child, who
would feel so severely his loss, but from a principle of duty;
assuring him, at the same time, that, if he absolutely rejected her
proposal, she should depart with extreme reluctance. Finding, from the
expressive looks of the invalid, that what she had advanced was not
totally disregarded, she ventured to ask, why they travelled without a
servant? and requested permission to inquire in the village for a
suitable person to attend them. 'Your generosity, Madame,' returned La
Roque, 'is unbounded; and language can but feebly express the warmth
of my feelings on this occasion. The servant who attended us from home
was murdered by a party of banditti about nine leagues from this
place, whilst we narrowly escaped with our lives! I was then ill, and
the grief and apprehension this melancholy accident excited, increased
my fever, which, I have some reason to hope, is now abating. Was your
residence at the inn to be prolonged, I might possibly be induced to
venture upon a story long and mournful; but thus much I will unfold:
My real name is not La Roque; we are taking refuge from the vilest,
the most infamous of men-a wretch, who has been long resolutely
determined to accomplish my destruction!' 'May I ask,' cried Julie,
with apparent astonishment, 'who is this persecutor, and what are his
intentions?' 'His intentions are,' returned La Roque, 'to the murder
of a son to add that of a father; and was there a greater fiend than
himself, I would address him by that name, it is the Marchese de
Montferrat.' As he uttered these last words, Julie started, and turned
pale. She had, however, presence of mind to conceal her emotion, and
bade him proceed. 'It would detain you too long, Madame,' replied La
Roque, 'and my spirits are unequal to the task; but should we ever
meet again you shall be thoroughly acquainted with the history of my
misfortunes.' 'That we should ever meet again is, I fear, too
improbable to be depended upon,' cried Madame de Rubine, hesitatingly;
'yet I feel much interested in your narrative. May I ask where is your
intended residence?' 'In one of the convents on the borders of
Germany,' returned Mademoiselle La Roque, 'when my father's health
will allow us to travel. 'Then it is not impossible, as I am myself
going to reside in Germany, and may be fortunate enough to succeed in
my inquiries.' 'If then,' cried the invalid, 'you will so far honour
me as to visit the convent, the name I mean to take is Father
Francisco; and should my disorder prove fatal, my daughter will be
there as sister Maria.' Mademoiselle La Roque, who was sitting by the
side of the bed attending earnestly to this discourse, wept as he
reverted to the danger of his situation. The idea of parting was not
become familiar to her, and covering her face with her handkerchief,
she sobbed aloud. Madame de Rubine, whose heart 'was so finely tuned,
and harmonized by nature', that it vibrated at the slightest touch of
human calamity, endeavoured to console her young friend, by a
assurance that her fears were ill-founded respecting her father, who
was visibly in a state of convalescence; signifying also her intention
of sending a physician and a servant to attend him. Having removed
some slight objections that were offered by invalid, in opposition to
her benevolent proposal, she arose to depart; and taking the hand of
Mademoiselle with the tenderness and familiarity of an old
acquaintance, she informed her, that she would join in her prayers for
the recovery of Monsieur La Roque, and would spare no effort to
discover the convent to which they were retiring. After many grateful
adieus on the part of the strangers, his daughter following Julie out
of the apartment, requested the favour of her name, that by mutual
inquiries they might hasten second meeting. Not immediately prepared
to reply, she hesitated, blushed, and was silent. The impropriety of
mentioning a name she was soon to disown, was too evident; to be
absent from her thoughts, and the embarrassment she had already
discovered, filled her with new confusion. Yet aware of the necessity
of framing a reply, she evaded the question, by informing her, that
she would avail herself of every possible means of learning their
place of abode, and would then take the earliest opportunity of
acquainting her with every circumstance she was permitted to disclose.
Though harassed and fatigued with traversing the mountains, Julie's
mind was too much discomposed by this strange unexpected adventure to
allow her to hope for repose. The story she had heard was imperfect,
yet the villainy of the Marchese was evident; and she reflected with
terror on the certainty that she had thrown herself upon the
protection of a man capable of the most deliberate cruelty. She wished
that her curiosity had either been gratified or unexcited; but was
resolved to commence her inquiries immediately on her arrival in
Germany. La Roque had mentioned their having fallen into the hands of
banditti, who had murdered his servant, and that his daughter and
himself had escaped with difficulty: consequently they must have been
plundered by these lawless wretches, and probably had nothing left to
defray their expenses, which accounted in some measure for his having
no person to attend upon him. With sensation of exalted pleasure,
peculiar to the noble and disinterested mind, she recollected she was
empowered to assist them; but this was an affair that required to be
conducted with the greatest delicacy imaginable, and she was for some
time irresolute in what manner to proceed. At last, however, she
thought of a expedient which would prevent every unpleasant
consequence that might otherwise arise from her benevolent intention--
She had lately received fifty ducats, the quarterly portion of her
income; which, on mature deliberation, she determined to inclose in a
paper and leave to be delivered by the hostess after her departure
from the inn. Then advancing slowly towards the stairs, she paused for
a moment to listen if Paoli was yet retired. Finding all was silent,
and remembering the lateness of the hour, and that he was probably in
bed, she ventured to proceed towards the kitchen, where she discovered
the host, his wife, and Dorothe, sitting by a cheerful fire. Having
asked for a pen and ink, which was instantly procured, she returned to
her room, and framing an elegant apology, in which she folded up the
ducats, gave it to the landlady, with orders to deliver it to
Mademoiselle immediately on her quitting the inn. In the morning she
arose early, and having satisfied the kind host for his civility, put
another piece of gold into the hands of his wife, desiring her to
provide a servant to attend upon La Roque and his amiable daughter,
and then hastened to join the rest of the party, who had already
mounted their mules. After they had each taken leave of the hospitable
cottagers, they pursued their journey towards the Castle of Elfinbach
which was the name of the mansion selected for them by the Marchese de

Chapter 3

Yes, let the rich deride, the proud disdain.
These simple blessings of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart.
One native charm than all the gloss of art:
Spontaneous joys, here nature has its play.
The soul adopts, and owns its first-born sway;
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind.
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfin'd.

As they advanced, the most picturesque objects of nature were
presented to their view; mountains crowned with the oak, the beech,
and the pine, and the most beautiful woods, groves, and lakes,
interspersed with vineyards and fertile fields! To behold such a
combination of beauties rivalling each other in grace, yet improving
by contrast the effect of the whole, without experiencing the most
pleasurable emotions, would have been scarcely possible; even Paoli
appeared not to be entirely insensible of the power of sylvan
attraction, for his features lost much of their accustomed austerity.

He praised the rich verdure of the landscape, listened with apparent
satisfaction to the responses of the birds, which were concealed in
the pine-forests, and was for the moment, or affected to be, pleased.
He inquired about the strangers at the inn, what were their names, and
whither they were going; and whether the melancholy account of the
invalid, as delivered by the host, had not been exaggerated.

Julie in this instance mistook curiosity for humanity; from the
uncontaminated purity of her own heart she formed the most liberal
opinion of others, and was not a little gratified on finding in the
character of Paoli, at least one trait that bore the semblance of a

But when he found that some of his interrogatories were evaded, and
others answered undecisively, the look of gentleness which he had
assumed, vanished, and his brow wore the cloud of disappointment and
of anger.

The conversation, which this transient good-humour had animated, now
sunk into silence. Madame de Rubine, who found no difficulty in
ascertaining the cause, lamented that she had been deceived, though
she had the internal satisfaction of knowing that it was candour, not
childish credulity, that had thus momentarily obscured her better

Her spirits were, however, both soothed and invigorated by the glowing
landscape before her; and she felt refreshed by the soft salute of the
zephyr that wafted the perfume of the flowers which adorned the

The peasant girls were busily employed in carrying baskets of grapes
from the vineyards; the chamoix, who during the extreme heat of the
day had secluded themselves in the rocky glens of the precipices, or
in the darkest recesses of the woods, were now skipping about them;
while the loud laugh, the jest, and the song, accompanied their
labours, and sometimes the wild harmony of the shepherd's pipe,
attuned to the notes of the Kuhreihen, (The herdsman's song) echoed
from the mountains that simple fascinating air, which is
indiscriminately used by the inhabitants of the Alps, when they drive
their cattle from the valleys to the cultivated tops of the eminences.
As the evening advanced, the rural dance, beneath the deep shade of
the trees, began, and the voices of merriment and delight were every-
where heard. Those who were too ancient to join themselves in the
sports, were pleased spectators of those juvenile delights, which many
of them had, perhaps, reluctantly resigned, who appeared to catch
something of the spirit of youth as they contemplated the happy groups
before them. Uncorrupted simplicity was never more forcibly expressed,
nor was ever the charm of content more successfully delineated; for
the peasantry of these beautiful regions seemed to have forgotten all
the cares and anxieties inseparable from humanity, in the unrestrained
enjoyment of mirth and festivity.

Julie sighed as she surveyed these innocent pastimes, but it was a
sigh not of envy, but regret. She recalled to her recollection days
long past, which memory had too faithfully treasured among her stores,
when she also was gay, sportive, and animated as those who were now
blissfully partaking of pastoral amusement. The road being less rugged
than on the preceding day, and the mountains they had to ascend less
rocky, they were enabled to proceed farther than they at first
intended, and in the evening arrived at a small hotel, or post-house,
finely situated near the much-admired Lake of Murat, which is so
justly celebrated for its crystal surface.--Here they remained during
the night, and in the morning continued leisurely on their way; Paoli
still silent, Madame de Rubine thoughtful, and Dorothe and Enrco gay
and talkative.

After having previously passed through a number of those rich and
beautiful fir-woods, for which this country is deservedly eminent, the
travellers arrived at the town of Bern, where it was deemed necessary
for them to remain resident at least for a few days in order to
recruit their strength and spirits, in which time they had an
opportunity of surveying that master-piece of Gothic architecture, the
cathedral, which, for taste and greatness of design, scarcely to be
equalled in Switzerland, and of beholding those beautiful walks that
run along its side, commanding, from their elevated situation, one of
the most finished prospects in the world. The large number of handsome
fountains too, which were variously disposed throughout the principal
streets, came in for their share of admiration, as they united beauty
with convenience, and gave an air of coolness and cleanliness to the
appearance of the whole.

Julie recollecting that she was to take another name immediately on
her arrival in Germany, after much revolving in her mind, fixed upon
Chamont, and bestowed upon the infant that of Laurette. She also
engaged the most skilful physician to attend La Roque; and several
days having elapsed during their continuance at Bern, they proceeded
on their journey.

Chapter 4

High o'er the pines that, with their darkening shade.
Surround yon craggy bank, the castle rears
Its crumbling turrets; still its tow'ring head.
A warlike mien, a sullen grandeur wears.

It was at a late hour when the party arrived at their destined abode,
and the shades of evening had conspired, with the solitude of its
situation, to give an air of gloomy magnificence to the scene. The
castle, which was seated upon an eminence, about a quarter of a league
from the bed of the river, seemed to have been separated by nature
from the habitable world by deep and impenetrable woods. Two of the
towers, which were all that remained entire, were half secreted in a
forest; the others, which were mouldering into ruins, opened into a
narrow, uncultivated plain, terminating in a rocky declivity, at the
bottom of which flowed the Rhine, wide, deep, and silent. Paoli,
having dismounted, conveyed them through the principal portal to the
door of the great hall; when heaving a massy knocker, which returned a
deep-toned hollow sound, he waited for some time in visible
impatience, and no one approaching, again repeated the alarm. In a few
moments, the bolts being undrawn with a suspicious caution, the heavy
doors were unfolded by an aged domestic, who came forwards to welcome
them, and to lead them into the interior of the mansion. They were
then conducted through a spacious hall into a room newly fitted up for
their reception, which seemed, from the many vestiges of ancient
grandeur which remained, to have been formerly the grand saloon of the
castle. The antique furniture, consisting of many articles long fallen
into disuse, and the dark wainscot composed of larch-wood, which was
overhung with a number of grotesque figures, aided the gloom of its
appearance, and might have awakened unpleasant sensations, had not the
effect been counteracted by the cheerful blaze of a fire, which
animated the sinking spirits of the travellers till the hour that
called them to repose. Julie, having enquired if necessary
accommodations were made for the children, which was answered in the
affirmative, partook of some refreshment; and, after lingering for a
few minutes to examine the figures upon the walls, expressed a wish to
retire, and was conducted by Margaritte, the old female domestic, to
her room. As she passed along the hall, which was feebly enlightened
with the expiring ray of a dim and solitary lamp, she shuddered
involuntarily at the gloom of its appearance, and followed her guide
in pensive silence. Having ascended the stairs, and passed through the
corridor, into which opened several apartments, Margaritte informed
her of the one designed for herself, and wishing her a good night,
left her to repose. Thoughtful and dejected, she retired to her bed.
The desolate aspect of the mansion had already affected her spirits,
and as the wind howled in hollow murmurs round the turret, in which
her chamber was situated, and sometimes in hollow gusts agitated the
decayed tapestry with which it was hung, she looked fearfully around,
and shrunk with a superstitious dread entirely new to her. It seemed
as if the dreary abode, to which she was consigned, had long been
forsaken by humanity, and was now become the asylum of supernatural
agents; but reproving herself for this momentary weakness, and turning
her thoughts towards Laurette and Enrco, her mind dwelt with
something like comfort upon the future, and she sunk into a tranquil
slumber. The sun shone in full splendour when she awoke, and reminded
her that she had slept past her usual hour. Hastily arising, she
endeavoured to ring the bell, that she might inquire of Dorothe how
the children had rested; but from long neglect it seemed to have
forgot its office, and it was some time before she succeeded. In a few
minutes her faithful servant attended with the infant and Enrco;
whilst the innocent smiles of the former, and prattling simplicity of
the latter, contributed to chase away every melancholy impression
which her new situation had occasioned. Having pressed them to her
bosom with maternal tenderness, she desired breakfast to be instantly
prepared, and dressed herself in haste. The day, which was chiefly
devoted to domestic arrangements, passed with unusual rapidity. The
attention of Madame de Rubine was now chiefly divided between her
children, and the cares of her household, which two material concerns
so entirely occupied her thoughts, that she did not revert so
frequently as before to the primary cause of her inquietudes. The
family, which was stationary before their arrival, consisted of
Margaritte, an old female servant, the same who had directed her to
her apartment on the preceding night; Lisette, who was her
granddaughter, and Ambrose, a man who had been long resident in the
family of the Marchese, to whom she was introduced by the name of
Chamont. The countenance of Paoli still wore the same forbidding
expression; and though Julie found it necessary to consult with him on
some subjects relative to her present establishment, she still
retained an unconquerable aversion to his general conversation and
deportment, which gave an air of reserve to her manners, that not
escaping his penetration, excited an equal degree of distrust in his
breast, which he endeavoured to smother in silence. As it was
necessary, both from the desire of the Marchese, and from the age of
the child committed to her care, that the baptismal rites should be
performed, a friar, from a neighbouring monastery, of the Carthusian
order, was applied to, who, according to the usual ceremonies of the
Romish church, gave her the name of Laurette. When this was concluded,
Julie, who had not yet examined the different apartments in the
castle, wandered for some time in uninterrupted silence through a long
extent of desolated chambers, some of which were hung with old arras,
and others wainscotted with cedar and Spanish oak. The furniture,
which seemed to be nearly coeval with the building, being formed of
the most durable materials, had long resisted the attacks of time; but
was now, with the damps and with age, falling fast into decay. She
then proceeded through a gallery to a suite of rooms that communicated
with the eastern turret, the last of which opened into the oriel. Here
she observed several portraits, which appeared to have been the
workmanship of some of the best Italian masters. Two of them which
were apparently more modern than the rest, chiefly engaged her
attention; though even these were so covered with dust, and so injured
with the damps, as to have lost much of their former beauty. The first
was the figure of a young warrior, who was supposed to have been
mortally wounded in an engagement. He was supported by two grey-haired
veterans; an allegorical figure of Death approached with a dart, which
Valour, accoutred as Mars, opposed with his shield. The other was the
figure of a female leaning upon a tomb; it possessed uncommon beauty
and expression; the hands were clasped as if in prayer; the eyes,
which were dark, were directed towards heaven with peculiar sweetness,
and spoke, in a language the most eloquent, the extreme sensibility of
the mind. Having gazed for some time upon these pictures with silent
admiration, she proceeded through a gallery which led to the western
side of the structure; in which were also several spacious and
forsaken apartments that received additional gloom from the evening
twilight, and made her shrink with fearful apprehension. She wondered
why the Marchese had placed her and the children in this comfortless
abode; or, if this was indispensable, why he had not made it more
habitable? It seemed as if he was uninterested in her happiness, and
careless of her fate:--the words of La Roque returned forcibly upon
her mind; he had pronounced him a murderer; she shuddered at the
thought, and reproved herself for not prevailing upon Mademoiselle
when she led her from the room, to give her the outlines of the story;
though she entertained the hope that in a short time she should be
able to discover their residence, and might then be informed of the
whole. Wrapped in silent meditation, she rambled for some time through
the long winding passages, without being able to find the marble
staircase which she had first ascended; but was relieved from this
incertitude on reaching the corridor, which she descended in haste,
leaving the greater part of the mansion to be explored at some future
time. Though an air of melancholy distinguished every object around,
there was much of the sublime and the beautiful in the appearance of
the castle, and also in the surrounding scenery. Julie, having again
crossed the hall, proceeded towards the portico, being resolved to
examine more minutely the awful grandeur of its external aspect, which
she had never attempted before, having been engaged in the duties of
her family the greater part of the day. Walking into the inner court,
which was wild and grass-grown, she stopped to observe a figure, which
haste and the darkness of the evening had prevented her from
perceiving on her arrival. It was a column of the Corinthian order, on
whose summit was erected an equestrian statue of black marble,
representing a young hero in complete armour, which, on examination,
she found was designed for the same as the portrait she had observed
in the oriel. It seemed to aid the solemnity of the scene, and
acquired additional character from the loneliness of its situation;
surrounded by lofty walls, which were overgrown with wild weeds, and
the deadly night-shade, whilst the thread moss encrusted the fragments
of the fallen ramparts which lay scattered at the base of the pillar,
it seemed to stand as if exulting in its strength, and triumphing amid
the desolation and ruin it surveyed. She now proceeded through a gate
into the outer court, which was still more wild than the former one,
leading to the principal portal. The grey mist of the twilight, which
now deepened and reflected upon every object a dusky hue, made her
fearful of venturing through the avenues at that lonely hour, and
occasioned her to return again towards the castle. As she surveyed
that lofty edifice, which seemed to shrink from observation in the
deep recesses of the wood, her imagination dwelt with horror upon the
miseries of war, which rendered necessary those impenetrable
fortresses, those massy walls that spoke of murder and imprisonment,
in which the proud possessor, wrapped in selfish security, listened to
the cry of anguish and the groan of death with sullen apathy. She was
roused from these reflections by the appearance of Paoli, who had just
emerged from the wood, and with his arms folded upon his breast, in
the attitude of musing, was crossing the inner court. As soon as the
gloom permitted him to distinguish her, he started and retreated, as a
person who, conscious of guilt, recedes from the eye of observation,
lest his secret designs should be displayed; but, anxious to learn for
whom the statue was designed, and the pictures she had seen in the
oriel, she followed him into the hall, and interrogated him concerning
them. He seemed, however, averse to gratifying her curiosity; but
whether this proceeded from his ignorance of the subject, or his own
uncommunicative disposition, he was too great a master of
dissimulation for her to discover; but though he did not give her the
information she immediately desired, he indulged her with a piece of
intelligence of a more interesting nature, which was, that he intended
to quit the mansion on the following day. This intimation was received
with pleasure not only by Julie, but also by the rest of the family,
who all acknowledged themselves weary of his unprepossessing
deportment and manners. When the morning arrived, whilst Paoli was
preparing to depart she wrote a few lines to the Marchese, to acquaint
him, that, agreeable to his former request, she had named the infant;
and from his not having signified any desire of fixing upon it
himself, previous to her residence in the castle, she had ventured to
give it that of Laurette. She concluded this concise epistle with
informing him, that she considered herself as strictly bound to fulfil
the promises already made, and depended upon his honour for a future
provision for Enrco. This being folded up, and delivered to the
steward, he repeated his formal adieus, and set forwards towards
Italy. Julie, whose time was now uniformly devoted to the service of
her little favourites, and other laudable occupations, became
gradually reconciled to her new situation; and habit so powerfully
prevailed, as to render scenes, which were at first beheld with an
unconquerable emotion of terror, interesting and even charming. She
frequently rambled in the woods, which were beautiful and wild, and
sometimes on the banks of the Rhine; where, taking her pencil or her
lute, she would oftentimes linger till the close of the day, till the
sun having sunk beneath the horizon, was lost beyond the distant
hills. A long acquaintance with sorrow had given strength and
elasticity to her mind. She had acquired by effort an advantage which
Nature, though in other respects liberal, had withheld; an advantage
which enabled her at once to endure misfortune, and to triumph over
it.--She knew that a state of uninterrupted happiness was never
intended to be the lot of mortality, and that to suffer with uniform
fortitude was true dignity. This lesson, which her mother had
inculcated in youth, she had cherished in maturity. The meek and
unaffected piety of that excellent parent was never absent from her
thoughts, and she exerted her most strenuous endeavours to emulate her
virtues. Time, though it had thrown a veil over the acute sorrow which
her loss had excited, had awakened a more tender, if a less melancholy
sensation, when her imagination reverted with more than filial
affection to the past; and as in rural scenes the mind is more
abstracted from worldly pursuits, it is also more susceptible of
amiable impressions. This directed her to the recollection of every
estimable precept delivered by her deceased and much-lamented parent,
which had been hitherto the established rule of her conduct. As no
material incident occurred at the castle of Elfinbach for a
considerable time after the arrival of the family, it may here be
proper to introduce the story of Julie de Rubine, that the reader may
be acquainted with the nature of these misfortunes which had
occasioned her to embrace, in early youth, a life of almost total

Chapter 5

Canst thou not minister to minds diseas'd.
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow.
Raze out the written troubles of the brain.
And with some sweet oblivious antidote.
Cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff
That weighs upon the heart

Julie de Rubine was descended from an ancient and illustrious family,
long resident in the southern part of France. Her father's name was
Gerard, who was the only son of St Herbert de Rubine. He had entered
at an early period of life into the service of his country, and
signalized himself in the victorious battles of Henry the Third; but
not receiving from this Monarch those honours which he considered as
the just reward of his valour, he abandoned the Court and the sword
together, and retired, with an amiable wife and his only daughter, to
a chateau on a small paternal estate in the province of Artois.

Nothing could be more congenial to the disposition of Madame de Rubine
than the sequestered situation of this beautiful retreat. The chateau
was of Gothic construction, and seemed to have withstood the attacks
of ages; but the northern side of the edifice was now visibly falling
to decay, and St Gerard's mind was entirely occupied by endeavouring
to make this part of the structure habitable, without destroying that
appearance of ancient simplicity which formed its most striking
beauty; but when this was completed, and the ardour of pursuit was
over, he again experienced all that chagrin and restless
dissatisfaction, which is too often the consequence of disappointed

This change Madame de Rubine beheld with extreme regret, and attempted
to remove the cause with all the tenderness of a refined and
inviolable affection, hoping, by the example of her own exemplary
piety, she might be enabled to elevate his mind above the trifling
consideration of worldly dignities; but she knew not all the
distresses of the unfortunate Gerard. Previous to his seclusion from
the gay circles of life he had contracted debts, that the narrowness
of his annual income, which he had long vainly hoped to increase,
rendered impossible to discharge; and the solicitude he felt in behalf
of his amiable wife, had imprudently confined the secret to his own

He had no sooner quitted Paris than he received a letter from his
principal creditor, demanding the immediate payment of a large sum.
This event determined him to write to Madame Laronne, his only sister,
who had been some years a widow, and was left in affluent
circumstances, to acquaint her with the embarrassed situation of his
affairs, and also to request the loan of a sum sufficient to discharge
the debt.

But here his too sanguine expectations were again deceived Madame
Laronne assured him, that had it been possible, nothing would have
contributed more to her happiness than to have given him a proof of
her regard by affording pecuniary assistance; but the stile of
elegance, to which she had been accustomed, was now become necessary
to her happiness; and her expenses were lately so considerably
increased, that she was sorry to add she must endure the painful
sensation which refusing his request would inevitably excite.

Grief and resentment, the natural consequence of unexpected
ingratitude, now agitated the mind of the astonished Gerard. He knew
that Madame Laronne's rank in life, and also her ambition, required
the ostentatious display of wealth and grandeur; but he was also
convinced that, without materially injuring herself, she had it
sufficiently in her power immediately to relieve his necessities. When
the mingled emotions of indignation and anguish had, in some measure,
subsided, he seemed to have lost all his energy of soul; nothing
bestowed even a transitory pleasure, and he sunk into the most
alarming melancholy! Not even the conversation of Madame de Rubine,
nor the undeviating gentleness of her manners, could for a moment
withdraw his thoughts from the painful contemplation of his real and
imaginary distresses. That smile of affection, and that look of
sentiment, which once cherished his vivacity, and rewarded her
tenderness, was now lost in the gloom of disappointment, disgust, and

Julie, having now entered upon her thirteenth year, was remarkably
tall of her age, and elegant in her person. Her disposition was mild,
frank, and benevolent; and she united, with admirable discretion the
unadorned graces of youth, with the uniform sedateness of maturer
years. In obedience to the will of her father she had learned to play
upon the lute, and her voice, which was exquisitely sweet, was
perfectly adapted to the soft and plaintive tones of that charming
instrument. During the few first months of their residence at the
chateau, St Gerard frequently rambled with her by moon-light through
the beautiful woods, and sometimes over the fine range of hills which
appeared so picturesque from the chateau; where he would desire her to
play one of his favourite airs, selected from the sonnets of Ariosto,
or expressing the melting sorrows of Petrarch.

The look of settled despondency which was so strongly portrayed on the
features of the unfortunate veteran, when his new situation no longer
afforded amusement and variety, did not remain unobserved by his
amiable daughter, who exerted herself unceasingly to remove it by the
sprightliness of her wit, the melody of her voice, or the soft pathos
of her lute; but his mind, enervated by sorrow, was no longer alive to
the fine touches of harmony; and frequently, in the midst of one of
his favourite songs, to which he had formerly listened with all the
rapture of enthusiasm, he would start as from a dream, and hasten from
the room as if agitated by the appearance of some frightful demon.

His constitution, which in the early part of his life had suffered
much from the severity of military discipline, now became visibly
impaired; the disorder of his mind daily increased; melancholy became
habitual to him, and so rapid was the progress it made in undermining
his health, that Madame de Rubine began to be seriously alarmed.
Advice was immediately procured, and change of air prescribed; but not
to quit the chateau was the unalterable determination of Gerard. A
nervous fever was the consequence of this resolution, which in a short
time terminated his existence.

This shock Madame de Rubine supported with that true dignity of soul,
which gave a peculiar grace and energy to every sentiment and action.
She felt severely her loss, but she felt it with the resignation of a
Christian; she mingled patience with sorrow, and was enabled, through
the most pure and elevated piety, to triumph over the repeated attacks
of calamity. But the lovely Julie possessed not at this early period
of life that exalted strength of mind, which she admired, without
being able to imitate, in the character of her mother. That exquisite
sensibility, which glowed upon her cheek, and spoke, in the fine
language of her eyes, the tenderness of a father, she had cherished as
a grace, without reflecting that, if indulged, it would degenerate
into weakness, and cease to be a virtue.

Soon after the remains of St Gerard were deposited in the chapel of
the chateau, Madame de Rubine, whose health was much injured by her
unceasing attention to her husband, was advised by the physician who
attended her, to try the effect of a softer climate.

About this time she received a consolatory letter from Madame Laronne,
with a pressing invitation to visit her at her seat near Turin; which
proposal would have been accepted with gratitude, had not the
coldness, bordering upon contempt, which marked her behaviour towards
her brother, lessened her in the estimation of his affectionate widow.
For the sake of Julie, however, she was un willing to refuse this
offered kindness; she considered that her illness might possibly prove
fatal, and in that case it would be right to secure a friend for her
child, though she ardently wished that friend had been any other than
Madame Laronne.

Every thing was now properly arranged for the intended journey, and
the time fixed for their departure, when Madame de Rubine as attacked
by a malignant disorder, which threatened a speedy dissolution. It was
her mind only that was masculine; for her frame being excessively
slight, and delicately formed, was incapable of sustaining unusual

Julie, who had not yet recovered from the shock occasioned by the
death of her father, now felt her former loss was small, when compared
with what she should experience in being parted from her beloved
mother; and when she reflected upon the probability of this event, the
dreadful presentiment worked so powerfully upon her feelings, as
almost to deprive her of reason.

Madame de Rubine beheld the anguish of her daughter with extreme
concern, which was augmented by the mournful idea of a separation, as
the dangerous symptoms of her disease hourly increased; this she
believed was inevitable, and being fully apprized of her situation,
with that calm dignity which accompanied every action of her life, she
desired that a friar from a neighbouring monastery, who was her
confessor, might attend with the consecrated water, and read the
service for the dying.

This customary ceremony being over, and the extreme unction
administered, she appeared for some moments unusually agitated; but
after a second interview with the monk, became more serene and
tranquil. Being firmly persuaded that the awful hour was approaching
that was to remove her from, and dissolve all her earthly connexions,
she requested that Julie might be instantly called.

Pale and trembling, she entered the apartment, leaning upon the arm of
a servant, and without attending to the common forms by addressing the
holy visitor, who had just risen from a small altar erected near the
window, threw herself by the side of the bed, and fixing her languid
eyes upon the faded, yet interesting, countenance of her mother, burst
into a flood of tears!

The venerable friar regarding her with an aspect on which pity and
affection were strikingly depicted, endeavoured to console her with
the comforts of religion, by reminding her of the gracious promises of
protection which the doctrines of Christianity afforded, in a stile
replete with simple and unaffected eloquence; but finding that her
feelings were too acute to admit of premature consolation, with an air
of tenderness mingled with sorrow, he withdrew.

Madame de Rubine, who beheld these emotions of severe distress with
inexpressible concern, besought her to receive, and consider with
gratitude, the salutary and valuable advice of the holy father.
'Remember, my child,' added she, with the look and accents of a
departing saint, 'that this separation, though to us mournful and
afflictive, is the will of the Most High God, and that we ought to
submit without a murmur to his unerring Providence! Let us then,
instead of arrogating to ourselves the right of disputing his mercy
and equity, prove, by the most implicit obedience to his divine
decrees, that we are not unworthy to be called his servants; and give
me reason to believe, my Julie, that the lessons of fortitude, which I
have so frequently given you, have not been delivered in vain.

'I leave you, my darling alone and, almost unfriended, in a world in
which you will find much occasion for the exercise of this estimable
virtue, The only relation you will have left is Madame Laronne; and
though for many reasons she is not the person I should have selected
from all others as the guardian of my child, yet as she is the only
surviving sister of your father, it cannot easily be dispensed with.
Let me then endeavour, if possible by timely advice, to prevent the
evils which might otherwise ensue from the precepts and example of one
who may probably have some virtues, but who I fear, has many follies.
I must now, my love, enter upon a subject that appears at this crisis
more than usually important: I must demand from you, my Julie, before
I leave you for ever, a solemn promise, upon the performance of which
depends both your temporal and eternal welfare.'

Here the meek sufferer paused, as if unable to proceed, whilst her
daughter, with an assumed resignation, that shaded but imperfectly the
emotions of her soul, assured her, that whatever was the nature of the
request, she was prepared to comply with it, and would instantly
ratify her resolve with the most solemn vow.

'You are not, my dear, sufficiently aware,' resumed Madame de Rubine,
'of the little respect that is paid to the religious, and even the
moral, duties of life, amid the dissipation and gaiety of the world.
Madame Laronne is a woman of rank, and undoubtedly from a motive of
kindness, but, I fear, a mistaken one, will introduce you into the
most brilliant and fashionable circles. She will also desire, in the
common acceptation of the term, to see you advantageously married;
but, though desirous of leading you to happiness, she may
unfortunately mistake the way. In her choice of a husband for you,
religion, I am convinced, will be only a secondary consideration, and
a disagreement of sentiment in this important affair has been the
occasion of innumerable evils. Promise me then, my Julie, that
whatever arguments may be employed to dissuade you from your purpose,
never to unite yourself to a man, however estimable in point of
morals, and however splendid in situation, who does not exactly agree
with you in all the articles of the Catholic Faith. Say then, my
child, that whatever trials and temporal distresses this resolution
may involve you in, that nothing shall prevail upon you to marry a

Julie, who equally revered with her mother the doctrines of the Church
of Rome, and whose zeal in the cause of her persuasion was not less
animated, readily acquiesced in the proposal; and, having assured her
dying parent in a manner the most solemn and impressive that she
should consider this promise as sacred and inviolable, an exquisite
expression of joy irradiated for a moment the features of Madame de
Rubine, who, having uttered a few words as in prayer, sunk upon the
pillow, and her spirits being greatly exhausted, fell into a slumber,
from which she awoke unrefreshed and in a few hours breathed her last!

Immediately on the decease of Madame de Rubine, the friar, who had
attended her as confessor, came with a consolatory message and
invitation to Julie from the prioress of an adjacent convent; but this
nothing could prevail upon her to accept till the funereal rites were
over, and she had paid every possible respect to the memory of her
lamented relative.

In a few days the body of the deceased was entombed by the side of St
Gerard, in the chapel of the chateau, which was accompanied to the
place of interment by a few of the domestics, and Julie, who attended
as chief mourner.

Mindful of the lesson of resignation that her mother had so recently
delivered, she attempted to appear tranquil; but the effort was
ineffectual, and the service, which was pronounced with peculiar
solemnity, was frequently interrupted with her convulsive sobs.

The next day, at the request of Father Austin, the confessor, she was
conducted to the convent of St Catherine, and introduced to the
superior of the order, who received her with much apparent tenderness
and concern, which Julie attempted to repay with the modest effusions
of her gratitude.

The prioress, having been informed by the monk of the forlorn
situation in which she was left, and also of the losses she had lately
sustained, took the earliest opportunity of offering her an asylum
until she could be more eligibly accommodated; and when she beheld
her, endeavoured, with the most affecting gentleness of demeanour, to
alleviate her affliction.

There was an air of solemnity in the manners of the superior, but it
was tempered with mildness; and though the language of her countenance
was expressive of sorrow, it was sorrow softened by resignation,
reflection, and piety.

After a week's residence in the convent, Mademoiselle de Rubine, by
the desire of her new friend, wrote to Madame Laronne, her aunt, to
acquaint her with the death of her mother, and to inform her under
whose care she was placed; requesting likewise to know, whether she
was to remain under the maternal protection of the prioress, or to
repair to Italy.

In a few weeks she received an answer from her aunt, in which she
expressed her concern for the death of her sister, and also declared
her intention of visiting the Netherlands for the purpose of conveying
her into Italy, which address was concluded with many affectionate
acknowledgments of unalterable regard.

The promises of support which this letter afforded, were thankfully
and cordially received by the lovely Julie; yet the idea of being
launched into a world, which she had been taught to believe was
pregnant with vice and immorality, filled her with apprehension and
uneasiness; and made her ardently wish that, instead of attending her
aunt into Italy, she might be permitted to remain in the cloister,
sheltered in the bosom of Religion and Virtue from the evils that
threatened her in the world.

Soon after her admission into the convent, she attached herself to one
of the sisters, whose name was Ursula. She was much older than
herself, and from her many estimable qualities, had been recommended
to her as a companion by the superior. In the society of this amiable
nun, and that of her noble protectress, Julie became composed, and at
times somewhat animated. Attentively observing the rules of the order,
she arose early to matins, and as regularly attended at vespers,
whilst the intermediate hours were chiefly engaged in assisting the
prioress in embroidery, or other elegant employments, who expressed
herself much gratified with her performance, and complimented her
highly on the evident superiority of her taste.

After some time had elapsed in this calm, uninterrupted retirement,
whose solitude was so entirely congenial to her present frame of
spirits, a carriage and splendid retinue appeared at the gate, and
announced the arrival of Madame Laronne.

Julie was walking in the shrubbery with sister Ursula and another
lady, who was a novice, when she received an order to attend upon her
aunt in the apartment of the superior.

Madame Laronne met her with many flattering appellations; but there
was nothing of that genuine sensibility in her demeanour which
communicates itself to the heart. When she condescended to listen to
the plaint of misery, and to wipe away the tear from the cheek of the
unfortunate, it was evidently more to display her own fancied
superiority, than for the sake of experiencing that pure and heartfelt
satisfaction, which in amiable minds accompanies the performance of a
generous action.

After having continued a few weeks in the convent, which time was
employed in settling the affairs of St Gerard, she desired her niece
to prepare for the intended journey, whom she rallied on her
partiality to that sequestered retreat, and her strict adherence to
the rules of the institution. Julie, having obtained permission to
visit once more the grave of her beloved parents, which she again
watered with her tears, took an affectionate leave of the prioress,
her favourite Ursula, and the rest of the sisterhood; and placing
herself in the carriage with Madame Laronne, they were driven from the

It was in vain that Julie attempted to conceal her emotions when she
cast her eyes, for the last time, upon that hospitable mansion, which
had so humanely afforded her shelter; she, however, exerted her most
strenuous endeavours to appear cheerful; but these efforts were
painful, and sometimes ineffectual; and Madame Laronne condemned that
sensibility, which having never felt, she knew not how to

Chapter 6

Far to the right where Apennine ascends.
Bright as the summer Italy extends.
Its upland sloping decks the mountains side.
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride.
While oft some temple's mould'ring top between.
With venerable grandeur marks the scene.

The rich and variegated landscape that every way presented itself, had
a happy but transient effect upon the spirits of Julie, and for some
time diverted her mind from the painful contemplation of her own
misfortunes. Amidst the vast and magnificent scenery arose mountains
crested with pines, in high cultivation and verdure, some of which
seemed retiring, and to have formed themselves into the most
picturesque lines, whose slopes were decorated with mosses, tinted
with a variety of hues, which gave a sylvan richness to their surface.

The rapidity of their motion occasioned a hasty succession of
beautiful imagery; sometimes a venerable abbey, half mouldering into
ruins, reared its majestic head above the thick foliage of the wood,
and sometimes in the meek hour of evening, or before the sun had risen
upon the eminences, the shepherd-boy, as he led his flock from the
valleys, would lean upon his staff, and listen to the chaunted hymn,
or early matins, as the sound floated upon the gale along the surface
of the water.

As they arrived near the mansion of Madame Laronne, the magical
influence of the picturesque scenery was at an end; and as Julie fixed
her eyes upon the turrets of the chateau, which were gilded with the
last rays of the retiring sun, a thousand melancholy presages arose in
her mind, and awakened sensations of grief and terror.

The chateau was situated on an extensive lawn between two mountains,
which opened to a clear and beautiful lake; the banks of the river,
the lawn, and the hills, were clothed in the finest and richest
verdure, whilst the whole of the scenery appeared capable of the
highest improvement; but nothing like taste was displayed in the
design. The mansion, which was lofty and extensive, had been formerly
a fortified castle, but was now modernized with the addition of two
large wings; but neither the building nor the grounds surrounding it
discovered any traces of taste or judgment. The walks were gloomy and
ill contrived, no elevations or windings displayed to advantage the
grandeur of the mountains; nor did this appear to have been the
intention of the artist, as they seemed to have been originally
designed to lead as avenues to some fanciful but inelegant structures,
which terminated their prospect.

When Madame Laronne and Julie had alighted, they were conducted into a
spacious saloon, which was richly ornamented with the most costly
furniture and valuable paintings. The ostentatious magnificence of
every thing around formed a striking contrast with that unadorned and
charming simplicity which characterized the former dwelling of Julie,
so congenial to her feelings, and that of her mother.

Madame Laronne, anxiously displaying all the grandeur that surrounded
her, expected from her niece that tribute of applause which she
considered she had a right to demand; but was evidently mortified when
Julie's countenance discovered nothing of either pleasure or surprise
as she contemplated the splendour of her new abode.

After partaking of a slight collation with her aunt, Julie gained
permission to retire to her chamber; and a servant having conducted
her up a winding staircase, and through a long suite of rooms,
informed her which was her apartment.

It was a large half-furnished room, situated in the ancient part of
the edifice, hung with tapestry, and ornamented with the ancient
portraits of the family; she was, however, too much fatigued, and too
spiritless to examine them, and hastily undressing, retired to her

In the morning she arose much earlier than the rest of the family, and
amused herself for some time with observing the pictures. The greater
part of them were allegorical, but in general ill-designed and
executed, much damaged by neglect, and the colouring so materially
injured by time, that the figures were scarcely perceptible.

When she had gazed for a considerable time upon these relics of
ancient greatness, she opened the high Gothic casement of her window,
which was adorned, on the upper part, with a variety of saints,
crucifixes, and other holy devices, and cast her eyes over the fine
extent of landscape with the most pleasurable emotions. The sun was
just rising, but had not yet power sufficient to entirely dissipate
the mists that had veiled the summits of the mountains; yet some parts
of them were tinged with its faint radiance, which shed an effusion of
the most soft and delicate tints.

Cheered and animated by the objects that were presented to her view,
she wished to ramble through the grounds that she might examine more
attentively the fine features of nature, and enjoy the first charms of
the morning. Having unclosed the door, she listened for a few moments
to hear if any of the family were stirring; but finding all was
silent, and believing that none of the servants were at present
arisen, she closed it, and taking a small volume of Metastasio from
her pocket, sat down to read.

In about an hour she again opened the door, and hearing footsteps upon
the stairs, ventured to proceed. It was Madame Laronne's woman, who,
having conducted her to the outward gate, informed her which was the
avenue that led to the principal part of the gardens. After walking
slowly and thoughtfully through rows of pine and chestnut, the scene
opened into a circular plain, which was decorated with a collection of
statues and vases, neither of which possessed a sufficient degree of
merit to invite observation.

Having taken an extensive ramble through the most considerable part of
the grounds, she began to fear she had been absent too long, and
returning rapidly to the chateau, found Madame Laronne in the
breakfast-room impatiently awaiting her arrival.

After much uninteresting conversation on subjects little calculated to
bestow pleasure on a refined and cultivated mind, which were
introduced by the lady of the mansion at once to impress her niece
with an idea of her importance, and to make her feel more forcibly her
own dependant situation, Julie now, more than ever inclined to seek
for consolation in solitude, retired to her room, and having indulged
in a flood of tears, which she found it impossible to restrain,
endeavoured, by serious reflection, to arm herself with courage to
endure the evils of her destiny with becoming firmness. The example of
her excellent mother, and the precepts she had delivered with her
dying breath, recurred continually to her thoughts, tending to
reassure and strengthen her mind, so as to prepare it to withstand the
attacks of misfortune.

Having regained, in some measure, that enviable serenity of soul,
which never long abandons the virtuous, she left her retirement, and
was proceeding leisurely through the gallery, when the stopping of a
carriage, announcing the arrival of visitors, arrested her steps, and
determined her to return again to her apartment, and await their
dismission, lest she should be obliged to attend them in the saloon.

In about an hour, on hearing the carriage roll from the door, she
ventured to descend, and found Madame Laronne alone, and in high
spirits, having been honoured with a visit from the Contessa di
Romilini, from whom she had received an invitation for that day in the
next week to a fete; which condescension, she informed Julie, was
politely extended to herself, at the same time observing that all the
nobility in the neighbourhood were to be present on the occasion, and
that it would be necessary to prepare habits immediately suitable to
the nature of the entertainment, and the company of which it was to be

'But let me tell you, niece,' resumed Madame Laronne, 'that you must
not indulge yourself in these imaginary distresses when you are
introduced to circles of fashion; that pensiveness of demeanour, which
you believe to be so fascinating, will be thought not only
unseasonable but ridiculous, and will be considered in a young woman
as a piece of unpardonable affectation. Besides, this extreme languor
which you fancy so becoming and so amiable, if allowed to become
habitual, will render you unfit for the society of those who may be a
means of advancing your fortunes. Who do you suppose will think of
addressing a girl who can do nothing but weep and sigh? Men in general
are not partial to people of this cast, and indeed they are only fit
to be the companions of groves and fountains.'

'If my misfortunes, Madame,' replied Julie, meekly, 'have, as you have
justly observed, rendered me unfit for the society of the fashionable
part of the world, I must solicit you to dispense with my attendance,
as there is but little probability of my being able to conduct myself
either to your satisfaction or my own.'

'I am sorry to find, niece,' continued Madame Laronne, 'a degree of
obstinacy in your disposition, which I was not prepared to expect; but
so long as you are under my protection, I am in some measure
answerable for your conduct: I therefore think it right to inform you,
that I shall expect, on your part, the most implicit obedience. Though
your ideas of propriety and mine may not exactly accord, not to accept
the invitation of the Contessa, an honour you could not reasonably
expect from a person of her rank, particularly as you was not present
at the time, would be considered not only as a deviation from the laws
of politeness, but a breach of gratitude-an error of which I thought
you people of sentiment were never to be accused.'

Finding that no powers of persuasion were likely to prove effectual,
Julie silently acquiesced, and the intermediate time was chiefly
employed in preparing dresses suitable to the occasion.

When the expected evening arrived, which was so fondly anticipated by
Madame Laronne, they were conveyed to the chateau of the Contessa di
Romilini. It was a large magnificent structure, situated on the brow
of a hill, which commanded a rich and extensive prospect. The
architecture was a mixture of the Tuscan and Composite; the pillars,
which were remarkably lofty, were finely polished and ornamented with
a number of lamps of various colours, which being formed into the most
beautiful wreaths, had an unspeakably fine effect. The trees that
surrounded the lawn and the walks, which were long and winding, were
also fancifully adorned with a profusion of lights, and garlands of
flowers elegantly and artfully disposed, were carelessly hung upon the
branches of the larch and the laburnum. Seats were placed in the
gardens and baskets of fruits, the finest that Italy could produce,
were held by a number of beautiful girls, habited as wood-nymphs in a
style equally simple and alluring.

The assembly was large and brilliant; all the fashion of Turin and its
environs were present. Julie, being personally unknown to the lady who
presided, was introduced first to the Contessa, and then to the rest
of the company, who were already seated on the lawn. Nothing could be
more lovely, more interesting, than her appearance. Her hair, which
was somewhat darker than flaxen, waved upon her neck in the most
charming profusion, decorated only with pearls formed into a garland
of jessamine, which gave an air of lightness and grace perfectly
correspondent with the rest of her figure. Her long mourning robe,
which displayed to advantage the fine symmetry of her shape, was
clasped and fastened with a cestus of the same, and the whole of her
form and demeanour displayed that irresistible grace and sweetness
which the utmost eloquence of language can but feebly describe. Every
eye was fixed upon the beautiful stranger, who, unconscious of her
powers of attraction, averted her blushing cheek from the gaze of
admiration with evident distress.

All the company being assembled, and the music in readiness, the dance
began. Julie was led out by Signor Vescolini, the only son of the
Conte della Croisse, and Madame Laronne by the Marchese de Montferrat.

In a few hours, the evening being far advanced, they repaired to the
saloon, where a banquet was prepared, chiefly composed of dried
fruits, cream, and sweetmeats.

Elated beyond measure at the preference shewn her by the Marchese, and
anxious to cultivate an acquaintance so flattering to her ambition,
Madame Laronne gave him a general invitation to visit her at her
chateau, in which his relation, Signor Vescolini, was included, whose
marked attentions to her niece were beheld with secret satisfaction.

It was late when the party separated for the night; yet she left with
regret an entertainment which had, as was seldom the case, more than
answered her most sanguine expectations. The solicitude of her
partner, aided by her own vanity, had deluded her into a thousand
inconsistences. She reflected upon her beauty with triumph, without
considering that, though once fascinating, it was beauty in the wane,
and was in idea already a Marchesa.

Her captivating niece, who had formed no very flattering hopes of the
evening's amusement, experienced more satisfaction than she believed
it could produce, and felt gratified with the attention she received,
without one spark of vanity being excited in her bosom.

On the morrow, by mutual agreement, the Marchese de Montferrat and the
Signor Viscolini waited upon the ladies at their chateau, to inquire
into the state of their healths after the fatigue of the preceding
evening. As the Signor addressed himself to Mademoiselle de Rubine,
there was an air of respectful tenderness in his deportment which did
not elude the observation of her aunt, who would probably have felt
somewhat mortified at the preference thus evidently shewn to her
dependant, had not the conversation of the Marchese been chiefly
directed to herself.

The remains of a fine person were still visible in Madame Laronne,
notwithstanding the form which Nature had bestowed upon her, was
continually distorted with unpardonable affectation. Having but just
entered her fortieth year, she still retained a sufficient portion of
beauty to attract regard, though the pains she employed to display and
improve it, too frequently counteracted its effects.

Dress was her favourite occupation, which she studied as a science;
but a false taste was perceptible in her choice of attire a dazzling
and ill judged finery, which ever renders less lovely the most
delicate forms, being usually substituted in the room of that
attractive simplicity which indicates a refined and elegant mind.

As the morning was fine, a walk in the gardens was proposed and
acceded to, during which ramble Julie was compelled, with a slight
degree of uneasiness, to endure the increasing attentions of Signor
Vescolini, which she feared would not escape the penetration of her
aunt, who would probably on her return rally her upon a subject, which
the present tone of her spirits would render insupportable; and which
determined her to absent herself on his next visit.

It was late in the day before the Marchese and the Signor arose to
depart, when Madame Laronne, who in their presence had exhausted all
the graces of her eloquence, again reminded them of her former
invitation, which she desired them to consider as a general one; and
having, with a gracious smile particularly directed to the Marchese,
repeated her adieus, attended them to the gate.

Glad to be thus released from the society of her new acquaintance,
Julie hastened from the room, that by this means she might escape the
scrutinizing glances of her aunt, which beamed nothing of feminine
tenderness, and indulge the sadness of her feelings in the solitude of
her closet. In spite of every effort to the contrary, she too often
reverted to the past; and when she compared her former felicity, when
blessed with the counsel and society of her parents with the
forlornness of her present situation, the poignancy of her affliction
was scarcely supportable, and tears, that refused to be suppressed,
fell fast upon her cheek. Once nurtured, protected, and caressed in
the bosom of maternal affection, now consigned to the care of a
haughty relation, who, notwithstanding her former professions, seemed
to feel nothing of genuine regard, nor even the sentiment of pity for
her misfortunes, she was lost in these melancholy reflections, when
the loud tone of the dinner-bell summoned her into the dining-parlour,
where Madame Laronne, with more than her accustomed dignity, was
seated to receive her. As soon as the cloth was withdrawn, and the
servants dismissed, she began, after a short preparatory address, to
congratulate her niece upon the conquest she had made over the young
Signor Vescolini. Julie blushed, but remained silent.

'His family and connexions,' resumed Madame Laronne, 'are
unexceptionable; and though sanguine expectations are too frequently
founded on error, we may sometimes innocently indulge them. At present
his attentions may be directed to no other object than that of
momentary amusement; but if you receive them with due gratitude and
humility, it is possible it may terminate fortunately.'

Disconcerted at these hasty and indelicate effusions, Julie was at
first unprepared for a reply, whilst her aunt, who construed this
silent embarrassment into joy for such unexpected good fortune, began
to enlarge upon the subject, endeavouring at the same time to
contaminate the pure principles of her heart with the precepts which
had infected her own.

As soon as Mademoiselle de Rubine could command courage enough to
answer, she assured Madame Laronne that, however eligible such a
connexion might appear in the eyes of the world, she was convinced she
could never descend to the meanness of accepting an alliance in which
her heart had no interest, merely for the sake of attaining that
elevation of rank and precedence which she had been taught to consider
as unimportant, and which was only to be obtained by the humiliating
circumstances she had mentioned; not omitting to observe, that,
however the attentions of the Signor might appear to be directed to
herself, those enviable distinctions to which she had recurred must
eventually preclude every idea of the kind. 'Can I, Madame,' resumed
she, raising her soft blue eyes from the ground, which were half
obscured with her tears, 'submit to the meanness of dissimulation for
the sake of ripening into affection what may be nothing more than
momentary admiration? Can I throw myself upon the generosity of a
family who, from motives of ambition, may reject me, and doubly
despise me for my presumption in entering it? Rather let me endure the
severest mortification that neglect and penury can inflict, than
lessen myself in my own estimation, and by yielding to the erroneous
prejudices of the multitude, justly incur the censure of the most
worthy and discerning.'

'I little thought, niece,' resumed Madame Laronne, 'that when, in
consideration of your unprotected youth, I condescended to take you
under my care, of the difficulty attending so important a charge, or
that obstinacy and caprice were so strongly featured in your
character. Had the assiduities of the Signor been displeasing to me
you would have been eloquent in his praise, and would have discovered
a thousand amiable qualities which have now escaped unnoticed.'

'I hope, Madame,' continued Julie, mildly, 'that you have had no
reason to pass this severe censure upon my conduct, as, should I ever
form an attachment, my happiness will be materially augmented by your
approbation of my choice.'

'But this is not an affair,' replied Madame Laronne, raising her voice
still higher, 'in which we are likely to agree. You have, or pretend
to have, an aversion to those things which only make marriage
desirable, at least in the opinion of the reasonable part of the
world; but I am sorry to add, niece, that you are a very romantic
girl, and when it is too late, may possibly repent your error. Your
mother had many strange prejudices as well as yourself, and it would
have been much to her advantage if she had been enabled to conquer

'If I imitate her example, Madame,' returned Julie, wiping an
obtruding tear from her cheek, 'which I hope will ever be the rule of
my conduct, I shall not prove myself unworthy of your protection.'

Madame Laronne was preparing to reply, but her lovely dependant, being
willing to escape from so unpleasant a conference, precipitately
withdrew, leaving her offended relation to vent her anger in secret.
The reflection cast upon the character of her mother, whom she
considered as the brightest pattern of female excellence, Mademoiselle
de Rubine could but ill support. She had, indeed, formed no very high
opinion of Madame Laronne's tenderness, or of the delicacy of her
sentiments; but to mention this revered parent in terms of
disapprobation, convinced her that she was not only destitute of
sensibility, but of candour.

Not a day passed in which the Marchese de Montserrat and the Signor
Vescolini did not visit the chateau. The assiduities of the latter
increased; but, though Julie admired his person, which was cast in the
finest mould, and was by no means insensible to his numerous
accomplishments, he was unable to interest her affections. His
continual solicitude displeased her, and the levity with which he
treated the articles of the Romish Church, from whose tenets he had
recently dissented, determined her to preserve an apparent
indifference of deportment towards him, which she hoped, by offending
his pride, would eventually terminate his visits.

Signor Vescolini, having received his education in Germany, had
embraced the Reformed Religion through the doctrines of Luther; and
Julie, after having been for some time deceived by the artifice of
Madame Laronne respecting his religious opinions, was convinced, by a
conversation with the Marchese, that he had relinquished what he
termed his former errors; and owing to the native pliability of his
disposition, had been prevailed upon, by the adherents of this
celebrated reformer, to embrace Protestantism.

A few days after this discovery she was summoned into the apartment of
her aunt, who informed her, to her inexpressible uneasiness, that the
Signor had made a formal declaration of his passion, and moreover had
solicited her interference in his behalf. Perfectly aware of the
consequence of this sudden and indiscrete avowal, Julie started, and
appeared much agitated.

'You have certainly been peculiarly fortunate,' continued Madame
Laronne, regarding her attentively as she spoke; 'and, notwithstanding
the unjustifiable caprice and insensibility you discovered on a former
conversation, I cannot believe you mean seriously to reject such
honourable proposals. I would feign not imagine it possible you could
hesitate for a moment. How many young women have been obliged to
accept of inferior alliances, who may boast of an equal share of
beauty and discretion!'

'I am sorry to affirm, Madame,' replied Julie, hesitatingly, 'that
there are reasons which must subject me to the painful necessity of
refusing my obedience to your and the Signor's requests. The religious
opinions of the person you have proposed to me as a husband are
repugnant to my own, and a want of concord in that important article
must ever prove hostile to domestic happiness.'

'So you would actually decline a connexion with one of the first
families in Italy,' returned Madame Laronne, indignantly, 'because the
person who addresses you, happens not to be so bigoted and so
ridiculous as yourself?'

Julie observing that he might be equally bigoted, even though his
principles were erroneous, ventured to disclose the motive which had
instigated her to this sudden rejection of a suit, she candidly
acknowledged a mind less unambitious than her own, unbiassed by more
weighty arguments, might have acceded to with pleasure; not doubting
but when her aunt was thoroughly acquainted with the whole of the
circumstance, that she would finally applaud her conduct.

A promise, administered in so solemn a manner to her last and dearest
friend, in the moment of approaching dissolution, appeared to the
reflecting mind of the dutiful Julie as an unsurmountable obstacle;
and she could scarcely conceive it possible that Madame Laronne,
however destitute of religion herself, would presume to descant upon
the subject with her accustomed levity.

But she soon discovered that this fondly cherished hope was delusive,
and that little was to be expected from the lenity of her offended
relation, who perceiving that the gentle measures, as she termed them,
which had hitherto been adopted, were not likely to avail, threatened
to have recourse to more violent ones; not neglecting to assure her,
that more misfortunes would inevitably ensue from a strict adherence
to so ridiculous a vow, than from an actual breach of it. She then
expatiated with equal success upon the consequences of indulged
superstition, and the indispensable necessity of endeavouring to
liberate the mind from the shackles of vulgar prejudices, which, she
concluded with remarking, was considered by the discerning as the
irrefragable testimony of an exalted mind.

Fearful of irritating her pride by a continued avowal of sentiments so
dissimilar to her own, Julie did not meditate a reply; but remained
with her eyes fastened upon the ground, whilst her cheek was one
moment suffused with vermilion, and the next faded into the paleness
of the lily, as actuated by the revolving passions of her mind.

Madame Laronne, flattering herself that her niece was reconsidering
the subject, and that the arguments she had employed in defence of her
favourite hypothesis, were recalling her to rationality, pursued the
discourse; and to add more weight to what she had before advanced,
stated the possibility of the Signor's reformation being effected,
should he fail in making her a convert to his own creed, providing his
attachment survived the matrimonial engagement; intimating that
whatever persuasion they embraced, it was unimportant, so long as it
was mutual.

Julie, finding her aunt was falling into a new error, which, if not
timely prevented, might be productive of fresh evils, declared, that
her resolution, however singular, was unalterable, and that she
desired nothing more ardently than to have an opportunity of verbally
convincing the Signor of her determination.

Astonished at the firmness of character this avowal exhibited, and
mortified that her niece remained unsubdued by her arguments, and
unmoved by her eloquence, Madame Laronne descended from persuasion to
invective, threatening her with the most arbitrary proceedings if
gentle ones continued inefficacious: then informing her, that if she
consented to what would contribute to her own happiness, she was
fortunate in having a relation who would guide her to the attainment
of it; but if she refused, that relation would compel her to accept
the only conditions which would eventually secure it. She darted an
indignant look at the affrighted Julie, and withdrew.

Chapter 7

Such fate to suffering worth is given.
Who long with wants and woes has striven.
By human pride or cunning driven.
To misery's brink.

The severity which Julie experienced from Madame Laronne, and the
unceasing visits of Vescolini, who seemed determined to persevere in
his addresses, had a visible effect upon her health; yet believing
that he was not thoroughly acquainted with her resolution, she
anxiously awaited an opportunity of convincing him that she meant
positively to reject the alliance, hoping that, when he was able to
ascertain the primary cause of this conduct, he would be less disposed
to continue his persecutions. But she knew not sufficiently the
character of her lover when she cherished this delusive idea. Young,
sanguine, and enterprising, every new obstacle increased his ardour,
and, regardless of the consequences of such a proceeding, he was
secretly persuaded that nothing but death should prevent the
accomplishment of his design.

Finding that all hopes, founded on his generosity of sentiment, were
likely to prove abortive, since no honourable motive could instigate
him to abandon the pursuit, she began to lose all esteem for his
character, and to reflect upon this authoritative mode of procedure
with mingled disgust and aversion.

The Marchese, whose attentions to Madame Laronne were less marked than
on the commencement of their acquaintance, was still a constant
visitor at the chateau; and Julie observed that he was now become
unusually thoughtful without in the least suspecting the cause, though
in conversation he was visibly abstracted from the subject in which he
had engaged, and he frequently gazed upon her with a degree of silent
and tender earnestness that heightened her distress. This change,
though it might have been easily penetrated by an uninterested
spectator, was unmarked by Madame Laronne, who was too much blinded by
an excess of unprecedented vanity to imagine that the Marchese could
behold any other than herself with an eye of approbation.

As Julie's indisposition now daily increased, she spent many hours in
her apartment, which was one of the most substantial comforts allowed
her under her augmenting afflictions. She was sometimes fortunately
excused from attending upon her aunt's parties, which were frequent
and uninteresting, and declined, as much as possible, all visits of

One evening, Madame Laronne being engaged at a route, to which the
Marchese was also invited, Julie was left alone in her absence to
meditate upon her own misfortunes, as well as to endeavour to arm her
mind as much as she was able against the accumulating adversities of
her fate.

As soon as her haughty protectress had left the chateau, she took a
long and solitary walk along the margin of the lake. It was a still
and beautiful evening; every object seemed to repose in uninterrupted
silence and tranquillity. The sun, retiring from the horizon, was
setting beyond the distant hills. Not a bird broke the stillness of
the night; not a breeze disturbed the universal calm of nature; not a
sound was borne upon the air, save a bell from an adjacent convent,
which was solemnly tolling for vespers, 'that the day, which had been
ushered in with blessings, might be closed with the effusions of

As she gazed upon that venerable pile, which was tinged with the last
ray of the retiring orb, she lamented she had not been consigned to a
similar abode, and reverted with tender regret to that in which she
had found so hospitable an asylum. Having yielded to a flood of tears,
she endeavoured to recall her mind from these painful contemplations;
but the attempt was inefficacious; the cruelty of her aunt, the
perseverance of Vescolini, and her own defenceless situation, were
invincible bars to returning peace.

The moon, now sailing majestically through the concave, was shedding
her mildest light upon the surface of the water, which warned her of
the approach of night, and precipitated her steps towards the mansion;
but not without an intention of extending her walk along the gardens
in this serene hour of moon-light.

Having reached the chateau, she took her lute, which had lain
neglected in one corner of her apartment, and repairing to a grotto
that terminated one of the principal avenues, played her service to
the virgin.

As the last notes, which were warbled with a peculiar taste and
sweetness, died into cadence, she fancied she distinguished the sound
of advancing footsteps, and willing to discover the intruder, hastily
arose from the place; but not being able to discern any one, and
finding all was again silent, she believed it to be only an illusion,
and again resumed her seat. The moon, now shining with redoubled
lustre, deepened the contrasting gloom of the walks, which were so
effectually shaded from its benign influence by the protuberant
branches of the chestnut, that her beams could only play on the tops
of the boughs. Again she thought she heard the approach of footsteps,
and a faint rustling among the leaves, and starting from her seat,
hurried to the door of the grotto, where she beheld, in the same
instant, the shadow of plumes waving upon the grass. Believing it
could be no other than Vescolini, an emotion of terror took possession
of her frame, and, without waiting to be assured whether she was right
or not in the conjecture, she quitted the recess.

It was the Marchese de Montferrat, who, having learned from Madame
Laronne that Julie was prevented by indisposition from joining the
party, to which he had repaired in the hope of meeting with her, had
suddenly retreated from this scene of splendour and gaiety soon after
its commencement, and had wandered about in pursuit of her. Finding
she was not at the chateau, he had rambled for a considerable time
along the grounds; and being still unsuccessful in his undertaking,
was alarmed lest any thing had happened, till he was at once relieved
from the anguish of fear and suspense by the wild harmony of her song,
to which he had listened attentively with the most pleasurable
emotions till the sound died away upon the air, and was succeeded by a
mournful silence.

Julie, being assured that the Marchese was of Madame Laronne's party,
was not less surprised than agitated at this intrusion; and supposing
that some material occurrence had occasioned it, eagerly demanded if
any thing had happened to her aunt.

Having dissipated her apprehensions, and made an inquiry concerning
her health, he began, in a stile at once the most seductive and
impressive, to assure her, that he had long sedulously sought for an
opportunity of soliciting her attention on a subject the most serious
and important.

After this preparatory address, he proceeded to inform her that
Vescolini, contrary to the nice dictates of honour, intended to have
recourse to the most infamous mode of conduct, if she refused to yield
to his entreaties; and that Madame Laronne was so earnestly engaged in
his interest, that every thing was to be dreaded without timely
interference. This, he added, had influenced him to quit rather
precipitately the society into which he had entered, as the
probability of her being sacrificed to a man who had proved himself
not only destitute of religion, but of honour, was insupportable and

He then endeavoured, with all the eloquence he could command, to
prevail upon her to accept his protection, since the means of
preventing the machinations of her enemies could only be accomplished
by instant flight; which arguments he attempted to enforce by an
avowal of his regard, and a declaration that his life would be
joyfully hazarded in her defence.

Julie, who had listened to this discourse with mingled confusion and
astonishment, replied with more warmth than was natural to her
disposition, but with the firmness inseparable from rectitude, and the
delicacy peculiar to her sex; which tended to convince the Marchese
that nothing could induce her to rush voluntarily into an act of
imprudence, which might hereafter be attended with the severest
remorse; and, though she acknowledged the high sense she entertained
of the honour he was anxious to confer, desired, if he valued her
esteem, he would desist from farther solicitation. She was then
hastening towards the chateau, when the Marchese, throwing himself at
her feet, again besought her attention.

'Say but that you pity me,' continued he, respectfully taking her
hand, which she instantly withdrew, 'that you forgive this premature
declaration, and promise that no arguments shall persuade you to
bestow yourself upon a man who has proved himself unworthy of your

Julie, having given him an answer sufficiently satisfactory concerning
Vescolini, whom she now began to reflect upon with increasing
indignation, quickened her steps towards the mansion, and had just
reached the edge of the lawn, pursued by the Marchese, when Madame
Laronne's carriage appeared at the gate.

Alarmed at her unexpected arrival, she ran to the side of the
carriage, and inquired if she was indisposed, or what had occasioned
her return, with that affectionate tenderness of deportment natural to
her character, whilst the Marchese endeavoured to escape unobserved
through the vista, which opened on the lawn, till perceiving he was
already discovered by the person whose notice he was visibly anxious
to elude, he was compelled to emerge from his obscurity.

Madame Laronne, having observed an alteration in the looks of her
imaginary lover, when she had mentioned the indisposition of
Mademoiselle de Rubine, and having also remarked that soon afterwards
he had suddenly disappeared, began to feel herself neglected by the
only individual in the company whose attention she was anxious to
secure, and by comparing the present with the past, and reverting to
some little occurrences which her vanity had prevented her from
considering before, suspected her niece as the cause. She had a
presentiment that he was with her during her continuance at the route,
and being determined to ascertain the truth of the surmise, had
pleaded a sudden indisposition as an excuse to return to her chateau.

Confused and chagrined at this discovery, the Marchese, though not
often off his guard, was unable to acquit himself with his accustomed
address; and after inquiring into the state of her health as he led
her from the carriage, which was answered with an air of unusual
formality, an awkward silence ensued. Conscious of the integrity and
purity of her conduct, Julie met the angry glances of her aunt with
patient firmness, who exerted herself to conceal her mortification
whilst in the presence of the Marchese.

As soon as he had retired, Julie perceiving from the countenance of
Madame Laronne, that she had but little to expect from the candour and
clemency of her offended relative, sat for some moments in silent
dread. 'Your taste for solitude is at last well accounted for,' cried
the irritated lady, darting a look of severity at her innocent niece;
'I little thought when I consented to take you under my protection,
that my kindness would have been repaid with such flagrant
ingratitude; but since the liberty I have allowed you in the disposal
of your time has induced you to form assignations which may lead to
the most dangerous consequences, I am resolved to prevent the bad
effects of a conduct which prudence would blush to reflect upon, to
hasten your marriage with the Signor; granting you a month only to
conquer your ridiculous scruples, during which interval I shall insist
upon you confining yourself to your chamber, excepting the evenings
when you will be permitted to have a private conference with your

Finding that no powers of persuasion were likely to soften the
invincible cruelty of Madame Laronne, Julie retired from her presence,
and, after some time spent in devotion with more than usual
earnestness, she endeavoured to find comfort in repose. But the
subject of her dreams had a reference to the past; her sleep was
transient and disturbed, for fearful and uneasy visions fleeted before
her fancy.

In the morning she arose long before her accustomed hour, and cast her
eyes over her ancient and gloomy apartment, which was now become her
prison, with a painful sensation, though even this was felicity when
compared with the prospects of the future.

Several days were passed by Mademoiselle de Rubine in this dreary
confinement, in which time she received no message or visit from
Madame Laronne, who avoided giving her any opportunity of repeating
her entreaties. Dorothe, one of the inferior domestics, who had
received orders to convey her food into the chamber, glanced upon her
a look of tender concern as she was performing her office, which
Julie, long unused to the language of sympathy, did not fail to

'This is a poor forlorn looking place, Mademoiselle,' cried the
simple-hearted girl, looking fearfully around as she spread the cloth
upon the table for supper; 'I little thought Madame would have fixed
upon this for your apartment, that looks for all the world as if it
was haunted by spirits, when there are so many handsome ones in the

Julie, being awakened from her reverie by these words, which were
uttered in an accent of condolence, was going to reply, when a message
from her aunt summoned her into the saloon.

Weak and trembling she descended the stairs, and a glow of resentment
crimsoned her cheek, when on entering the room she beheld, instead of
Madame Laronne, the Signor Vescolini. Amazed and disconcerted, she was
hastily retreating, when he caught her hand to prevent her retiring,
and closing the door, led her to a chair. As soon as she was seated,
he repeated his former professions, lamenting at the same time that
measures, seemingly so arbitrary, could not be dispensed with;
assuring her, that when he had attained the completion of his
happiness, he would endeavour to insure her's by the most unremitting
attention to her desires; and, though he could not so far divest
himself of every thing repugnant to her inclinations as to embrace the
tenets of the Romish Church, he would allow her the free exercise of
her religion, and would engage a confessor to attend her.

Julie, who rejected his proposals with dignity and energy, informed
him, that if he desired to make any alteration in her sentiments
respecting himself, that this could only be accomplished by his
desisting from further persecution, which, as her resolution was
irrevocably fixed, would be at once conducive to his honour and her

Pacing the room for some minutes with a perturbed air, and then gazing
wildly upon her face, he declared that nothing on earth should alter
his determination; and, though he had much rather use persuasion than
force, if one would not prove effectual, the other must.

'In a fortnight from this time,' resumed he, emphatically, 'you become
my wife; and as business of a peculiar nature will detain me from this
place during the interval, I must request you will employ it in
attempting to reconcile yourself to a destiny that is unavoidable.
Madame Laronne will see you no more till the ceremony is performed.'

The truth of the Marchese's assertion being now proved, Julie was
unable for the moment to utter a reply. She endeavoured to arise, but
could not; her limbs trembled her voice failed an ashy paleness
overspread her face and she sunk into a state of insensibility!

Vescolini, having caught her in his arms, rang the bell for some
water, which soon acted as a restorative; and wiping a tear from his
eye, uttered some incoherent expressions as he pressed her hand to his
breast, and suffered her to be conveyed from the room.

The next morning, her agitation being in some measure subsided, she
began to reflect seriously upon her situation, and to consider if by
any means she could prevent the success of the Signor's designs. Her
first resolve was, to send a note to Madame Laronne, to desire she
would indulge her with an interview, which intention was speedily
executed. To this an answer was returned, which was perfectly
consistent with her former conduct; it contained an assurance of the
request being granted, on her promise of acceding to the proposals of
Signor Vescolini, but on no other conditions, and a conviction that,
if she still continued to decline the alliance, she had nothing to
expect from her compassion.

Several days had elapsed after this event, in which time Julie was not
permitted to see any of the family except Dorothe. During this period
of suspense, the extreme agitation of her mind so seriously affected
her health, that the rose had forsaken her cheek, though without
considerably impairing her beauty, having left in its stead a
bewitching softness of complexion, a kind of interesting dejection,
which was infinitely more charming and attractive than the most
striking animation of colour.

One week of that fortnight which was to seal her inevitable doom, was
now past, and still no probable means of preventing the success of
these authoritative measures appeared. To escape unassisted from the
chateau was impracticable, and to stay (in the present situation of
affairs) would be attended with unavoidable misery; yet, possessing
much sanguineness of disposition, she did not yield, without
reflection, to the despondency of the moment. Some unexpected
assistance she still hoped might be administered, though no object was
presented to her imagination to justify and confirm the supposition.

This comfort, however delusive in its consequences, was cherished as a
divine emanation, and with spirits more tranquillized than before, she
partook of the evening's repast, whilst Dorothe, availing herself of
her permission, kindled a fire in the apartment, as the night was
unusually chill; and the hollow gusts of wind, penetrating through the
crevices of the walls, which were but partially covered with the faded
and decayed tapestry, made her shrink with cold.

Having drawn close to the fire, whose cheerful blaze enlivened the
gloominess of her extensive apartment, she thought in the pauses of
the wind she perceived the whispering of voices on the stairs. The
sound was indistinct; but on advancing towards the door, she easily
distinguished that of the Marchese, who, before she had time for
resistance, entered the room.

Alarmed at this intrusion, she uttered an involuntary scream, and
attempted to retire; but this he so resolutely opposed, that she was
compelled to desist. When he had in some degree quieted her
apprehensions, he acquainted her with the purport of his visit, which
was to convey some important and necessary intelligence respecting the
intentions of Signor Vescolini, who had determined, with the
assistance of Madame Laronne, to remove her either by force or
stratagem from the chateau at the expiration of three days, and to
oblige her to assent to the nuptials. How he had obtained this
information he seemed unwilling to disclose; but from what had already
occurred, the intimation was too probable to admit of a doubt as to
the truth of it; and the shortness of the intervening time appeared to
preclude all possibility of escape.

The Marchese, who beheld every movement of her soul in the expression
of her countenance, so tenderly interested himself in her concerns,
and applauded so warmly that uniform piety and rectitude of mind which
had hitherto withstood the attacks of severity and artifice, that,
though Julie continually besought him to resign her to her destiny,
she was not insensitive to the sympathy he discovered, which she
assured him would be ever gratefully retained in her memory.

He then ventured to repeat his former proposals, urging the necessity
of the measure with all the arts of persuasion he could summon to his
aid, which, he added, would insure his happiness, and, he presumed to
flatter himself, her own. That, if she would consent to accept of his
protection, a carriage should be stationed at a convenient distance
from the chateau, which would convey her with all imaginable speed to
the Castello St Aubin, where the ceremony, which was to complete his
felicity, might be instantly performed.

Though Julie at first strenuously opposed a proceeding which, on a
cursory survey, appeared rash and imprudent, she was finally
influenced by a mode of behaviour, which, but for the circumstance of
his having forced himself into her room, was at once amiable and
respectful; and ventured to promise, if he would immediately quit the
apartment, she would reconsider his proposals, and acquaint him with
the result of her reflections on the ensuing day.

As soon as the Marchese had retired, Mademoiselle de Rubine being
again alone, began to ruminate in silence upon this singular
adventure. The person who was solicitous to obtain her regard, had
hitherto conducted himself in her presence with the strictest
propriety and decorum. In respect to religion he was decidedly of that
persuasion in which she had been educated, and early taught to believe
was essential both to her temporal and eternal interests. His figure
was rather agreeable to her than otherwise; in manners he was
peculiarly elegant and alluring, whilst in point of rank, which was
only a secondary consideration, it was a match which she imagined as
far transcended her merit as expectations. To escape unassisted from
the power of Vescolini was impossible, and even could it be effected,
without a protector to act in her defence, she was still liable to
insult and persecution.

These arguments determined her to accept the offers of the Marchese,
could she be so fortunate as to prevail upon her favourite domestic to
attend her. This being easily accomplished, she awaited the evening,
when she was to deliver her final answer to him agreeable to her
promise, with a kind of fearful impatience.

Madame Laronne had so carefully concealed from Mademoiselle de Rubine
her extraordinary prepossession in favour of the Marchese, that the
most distant suspicion of this partiality never occurred to her
thoughts, or she might have concluded, from the present as well as the
past, that jealousy was the foundation of this arbitrary conduct.

When the time, in which her final decision was to be conveyed to the
Marchese, arrived, being anxious to spare herself the confusion of
another interview, Julie wrote a note to acquaint him with the whole
of her determination, which was carefully delivered by Dorothe.
Another was instantly returned, informing her that a carriage would be
in readiness to receive them beyond the walls of the mansion, at an
appointed hour, on the succeeding evening.

The intervening time was passed by Mademoiselle de Rubine in extreme
agitation of mind; she, however, endeavoured to combat her fears, and
when the hour of their departure approached, had reasoned herself into
some degree of composure.

Having with much difficulty escaped from the chateau, she ran,
attended by Dorothe, to the appointed spot; and the Marchese, after
placing them in the carriage, seated himself by their side, and
commanded the postillion to proceed.

In a few hours they reached the Castello St Aubin, the residence of
the Marchese, and a priest being in readiness, the nuptials were

As soon as this ceremony was performed, he acquainted Julie, that,
owing to his not having at present informed his friends of the
connexion, it was necessary for them to remove to another of his seats
till the affair should be unfolded. To this proposition Julie readily
assented, and was soon afterwards conveyed to a hunting villa, in a
very remote situation, half concealed in a wood.

Here the augmenting tenderness of the Marchese, aided by his amiable
and polished manners, soon ripened what was only esteem into the most
lasting affection; but the happiness of Mademoiselle de Rubine was
always of a transient nature. After the few first months had elapsed,
his attentions visibly declined; he was continually forming excuses to
absent himself, and at last nearly forsook the retreat. He was forever
engaged in parties of pleasure, in gaming, and expensive diversions;
and when he visited the villa, conducted himself towards Julie with a
chilling indifference of demeanour, which was perceived with
inexpressive uneasiness.

Yet still she retained some hopes that when the tender interest of a
father was united with that of a husband, his former affection might
be awakened, and his home endeared; but in this she was also deceived;
he still pleaded engagements; nor could the infantine innocence of
Enrco withdraw him from folly and dissipation.

Unable to endure the pressure of this severe and unexpected calamity,
she at last ventured to inquire of the Marchese in what way she had
been so unfortunate as to forfeit his regard, and if there was no
possible means of regaining it? But what was her grief and
astonishment when he informed her that their nuptials were not
solemnized by a priest, and that the marriage was consequently

For a considerable time after she had received this intelligence Julie
was too ill to bear a removal; but as soon as her health was
sufficiently re-established, she took an eternal adieu of the
Marchese, and with the child and Dorothe, after much fatigue and many
difficulties, repaired to the cottage on the borders of the Lake of

Chapter 8

I care not, Fortune, what you from me take.
You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace;
You cannot shut the windows of the sky.
Thro' which Aurora shews her brightening face;
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns by living streams at eve;
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace.
Of Fancy, Reason, Virtue, nought can me bereave.

Several years passed in an uninterrupted tranquillity at the castle of
Elfinbach, and its peaceful inhabitants, being perfectly reconciled to
their situation, had not a wish ungratified. No visitor, except Paoli,
broke in upon their solitude, and his visits being those of business
and necessity, were hastily terminated.

The amiable manners of Julie, whose real name will hereafter be
disguised under that of Chamont, and the uniform sweetness of her
disposition, so endeared her to her dependants, that the domestics
were cheerful and assiduous to oblige; and as she contemplated the
happy countenances around her, she felt that delightful sensation
arising from the performance of duty, which is frequently the only
temporal reward of virtue; but is, notwithstanding, a reward so
considerable, that the mind, which has once experienced its effects,
would not exchange it for every other advantage independent of it.

Ambrose, who had been long tutored in the family of the Marchese, did
not possess that openness of character which distinguished the rest of
the household. A mixture of selfishness and cunning was evident in his
disposition, which could not elude the penetration of an accurate
observer, though upon the whole he appeared quiet and inoffensive;
and, if he did not secure the esteem of his associates, he managed so
as to escape their censure.

Nothing could be more simple, more innocent, than the life of Madame
Chamont, which was occupied in the education of her children, in
family arrangements, and every other worthy employment which her
station required.

Both Enrco and Laurette displayed early in life quickness of parts
and gracefulness of demeanour, which were united with the most amiable
inclinations of which the human mind is susceptible. It was impossible
for any thing to exceed their mutual affection; one was never to be
seen without the other; in play, or in study, they were equally
inseparable; nor could one taste of any enjoyment, of which the other
might not partake.

Enrco possessed spirit, and energy of soul, sufficient to encounter
the greatest difficulties. He was sometimes impatient of controul, and
impetuous in his replies; but a fault was scarcely committed before it
was followed by repentance, and an earnest desire of removing the
consequent uneasiness of his mother by the most endearing caresses.

Laurette was blessed with an equal share of sensibility, but was
gentle and timid. Her manners were so invariably amiable, that she
never excited anger; when she did fall into an error, which was seldom
the case, a look of disapprobation was sufficient to recall her to a
sense of her duty, and an acknowledgment of her fault. Her charming
instructress had never imposed herself upon her as her mother, neither
had she intimated anything relative to the mysterious manner in which
she had been conveyed to her; but had taught her to believe that she
was an orphan, protected by the Marchese de Montferrat, to whom she
was under infinite obligations, and whose kindness she must repay with
the obedience of a child.

Nor was Enrco informed of the circumstances of his birth, his
affectionate parent having concealed from him, with equal discretion,
what she did not cease to reflect upon with unutterable anguish;
though sometimes in infantine simplicity he would touch upon the
subject, and ask some questions respecting his father, his innocent
interrogatories being only answered by tears and blushes, he had soon
penetration enough to discover they had awakened mournful
recollections, and a sufficient degree of prudence to discontinue the

Father Benedicta, a friar, who belonged to a monastery of Carthusians,
not far from the castle of Elfinbach, and who was Madame Chamont's
confessor, assisted her in the education of the children. He was a man
that had spent the early part of his life in the bustle and gaiety of
the world, in which he was supposed to have suffered much from
disappointment; but what were the misfortunes that had occasioned this
almost total seclusion from society, and from which he had taken
refuge in the gloom of a cloister, were unknown even to the
fraternity; but they were thought to be of a peculiar and mournful
nature. Yet, though removed from the pleasures, he was sensible to the
charities of life. To the unfortunate, the afflicted, or the dying, he
was a never failing source of support and assistance; he never heard
of a calamity in which he did not take an interest, or a request, if
virtuous, that he did not immediately grant. But the uniform
austerities of his own life were beyond the strictest rules of his
order, and it was only from the tender concern that he discovered for
the welfare of others, that he was supposed to feel any 'touch of

He overlooked the conduct of Enrco and Laurette with the mild
benignity of a saint; instructed them in the principles of religion,
as well as in the classics, and watched the unfolding of each infant
virtue with parental tenderness.

From the instructive conversation of this holy Father, Madame Chamont
reaped many advantages; he was her friend and adviser, as well as her
confessor, acquitting himself always to her satisfaction in every
undertaking; though his increasing affection for his pupils,
exclusively considered, was of itself sufficient to secure her esteem.

Of this Monk she made an inquiry concerning La Roque; but no Friar of
the name of Francisco had arrived at his monastery. At her request he
wrote to the Superiors of several others, but every attempt of gaining
intelligence upon the subject proved ineffectual, which made her
apprehend that either his illness had proved fatal, or that he had
fallen into the hands of his persecutors. His mournful, his
interesting expressions, the stingings of remorse that attended the
recollection of his sufferings, excited her Compassion whenever she
reflected upon them, and awakened new curiosity to be acquainted with
the sequel.

The undisturbed felicity which was experienced by Madame Chamont in
the bosom of her family, and in the exercise of religion and virtue,
was of a more pure and animated nature than any she had enjoyed since
the death of her parents. No society was to her like that of her
children, no hours passed so pleasantly as those dedicated to their
improvement and amusement; whilst on their part affection was so
entirely divested of fear, that they were never so happy as when in
her presence.

The mornings were chiefly devoted to study, and the evenings to
beautiful rambles in the woods, or along the margin of the river, and
sometimes to the adjacent villages, where they were enabled to feel
that tranquil delight arising from the practice of benevolence the
luxury of succouring the unfortunate, and of giving an expression of
joy to the face long accustomed to sadness.

The study of botany was one of Madame Chamont's favourite employments,
in which she had made some proficiency, which occasioned her to spend
many hours in the fields, improving herself in this useful and elegant
science. On these expeditions her young pupils were ever ready to
attend her, and taking an osier basket on her arm, she would
frequently wander with them in the stillness of the evening amid
scenes the most romantic and picturesque, where, seated upon a
hillock, or under the broad shade of a chestnut, she would weave a
garland for Enrco, or a chaplet to adorn the beautiful hair of
Laurette; and frequently they would exchange the fertile and
cultivated charms of Nature for her unadorned and more majestic works;
sometimes they would ascend the steep crags of the mountains, where
all was wild, waste, and rude, yet in its naked simplicity grand,
stupendous, and sublime. Here they would contemplate the awful beauty
of the scene, the retiring hills half lost in the distant horizon, and
the spires of some neighbouring abbeys just appearing amid the deep
gloom of the woods, and hearken to the faint sound of the vesper bell,
borne at intervals upon the wing of the breeze; and sometimes, when
not a breath of air disturbed the universal calm, or shook the light
foliage of the leaves, the distant chaunt of the Nuns would be heard,
now swelling into holy rapture, and now sinking into sweet and
mournful cadence, till softened by distance, or lost in the rising
flutter of the gale, it died away upon the ear.

To the admirer of Nature every object she presents becomes
interesting; the variety of her charms relieves the mind from satiety,
and, in the enjoyment of her beauties, the soul of the enthusiast
becomes elevated above the narrow boundaries of the world: he sees the
Creator in his works, and adores in silence the perfection of the
whole. At times a disposition of this cast will be inclined to
melancholy; but it is a sublime and tender melancholy, which he would
not resign for all the pleasures which gaiety could bestow, or wealth
procure. To such impressions as these the mind of Madame Chamont was
peculiarly susceptible, and she perceived this pensive sensation steal
upon her spirits, at that season above all others, when the rich bloom
of the landscape begins to fade, when the glow of vegetation and the
flush of maturity are past, and the whole scenery exhibits a more
saddened, but a more interesting appearance.

To these simple and innocent delights Enrco and Laurette discovered
an early attachment, which their amiable protectress beheld with
satisfaction. She knew the necessity of employment, being well aware
of the danger attending inactivity and indolence. She taught them to
value every moment of their existence, not allowing them to pass
without due improvement. Reading was a favourite occupation, and
Madame Chamont did not neglect the selecting such books for their
perusal as were capable of conveying both instruction and amusement,
the reading of which might be considered not so much a task as a
recreation. Enrco was partial to historical writings, and having been
permitted to examine, at an early age, the most eminent authors in
that species of composition, was soon well acquainted with the works
of the most celebrated Grecian and Latin historians. He was also an
ardent lover of ancient poetry, particularly of the epic kind. Homer,
Lucan, and Virgil, were perused with juvenile transport; nor was the
much admired Gerusalemme of Tasso disregarded: his soul was fired with
the illustrious atchievements of Rinaldo, and he burned with an
irresistible desire of attaining military honours. Madame Chamont, who
discovered his inclinations before he was conscious of having betrayed
them, endeavoured at first to check a propensity which she had not a
sufficient portion of fortitude to reflect upon with calmness: but
finding that his happiness depended upon the success of his hopes,
opposition appeared like cruelty; and having heard from Paoli that the
Marchese wished to provide for him in the army, where his interest
could not fail of being successful, she began to reason herself into
compliance. She considered that if his disposition had a strong bias
to a military life, he would not have an equal chance of rising to
eminence in any other profession; and that this disposition, aided by
the powerful interest of the Marchese, would doubtless raise him to
high preferment. Thus the fondness overcame the fears of the mother,
and she acquiesced in the proposition.

When this affair was determined upon, the Marchese being apprized of
Enrco's wishes, procured him a commission in the army of Maximilian,
Duke of Bavaria, and Paoli attending to conduct him from the castle,
he took an affectionate adieu of his mother and Laurette, and
proceeded on his journey.

For some time after the departure of Enrco every countenance
expressed concern and inquietude. Dorothe, who had been his nurse
from his infancy, was inconsolable for his loss, and continued to weep
incessantly; but being gradually reconciled to what was unavoidable,
the family regained their serenity.

In a short time Madame Chamont received a letter from him, which
contained the most pleasing intelligence, that he was well and happy.
He spoke tenderly of his dear companion, his little Laurette, and
desired she might be told that he would never forget her. This account
of the health and welfare of Enrco was received by his excellent
parent with the most lively rapture; and though sometimes this
temporary absence would cast a shade of sorrow upon her countenance,
which all her firmness could not enable her to subdue, she would
anticipate the future glory of her son; her sanguine imagination would
follow him through all the intricacies of his destiny, and represent
him covered with honours, and glowing in the pride of martial glory.

With redoubled attention Madame Chamont now devoted herself to the
education of her lovely charge. She instructed her without any
assistance in the French and Italian languages, as well as in drawing
and music. She also cultivated her taste for poetry, of which she was
passionately fond.

The songs of Laurette were generally of the plaintive kind, which she
accompanied with her lute with exquisite taste and judgment; though
she sometimes exerted herself in a lively air to dissipate the tender
dejection which was perceptible in the demeanour of Madame Chamont,
when her thoughts reverted too anxiously to her son, who felt she was
amply repaid for all the attention she had bestowed upon her orphan
charge, by her undeviating assiduity to please, and the sweetness of
disposition she displayed.

The absence of Enrco had for some time affected the spirits of
Laurette. She could ill support the loss of him who had been the
companion of her infancy, the sharer in her amusements and her
studies, and for whom she felt more than a sisterly affection.

Laurette in person was at the age of fourteen, in which time she had
nearly completed her growth, rather above the middle size. Her form
was of the most perfect symmetry, her complexion rather delicate than
blooming; her eyes were dark, sparkling, and tender, and when directed
upwards had an expression of sweetness, and sometimes of melancholy,
that was at once charming and interesting. When silent, there was a
certain softness in her countenance that was infinitely fascinating;
and when animated by the expression that her conversation diffused, it
was equally captivating and alluring. Though her cheek did not always
display the full and glowing tint of the rose, yet exercise, or an
emotion of surprise, awakened the most delicate bloom, and gave a
dazzling lustre to her beauty.

Whene'er with soft serenity she smil'd.
Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise.
How sweetly mutable, how brightly wild.
The liquid lustre darted from her eyes!

One of the rooms in the eastern part of the building, which was
entirely appropriated to herself, contained her music, books, drawing
implements, and embroidery. The windows of this room opened upon a
lawn, that was terminated by groves of laurel, fir, and flowering ash.
Here she spent many hours in the morning, improving herself, with the
assistance of Madame Chamont, in useful and elegant employments. She
usually arose early, and rambled for some time unattended through wild
and unfrequented walks, where too frequently the image of Enrco would
recur to her imagination, and melt her into tears. These rambles were
inexpressibly grateful to her at that charming season when all Nature
is rising as from her grave into perfect vegetation and verdure, when
the embryo leaves are just unfolding their beauties to the sun, and
all breathe harmony, delight, and rapture! It was after one of these
little romantic excursions that she penned the following lines, which
was the first effort of her muse: blended with the harsher lines of
calamity, each uniting to soften what could not be eradicated.


Come, lovely nymph, with all thy flow'ry train.
And let thy herald gem these mountains hoar;
With fragrant violets deck this lonely plain.
And bid rude Winter's whirlwind howl no more.
Thy soft approach the hawthorn buds declare.
That scent, with odours sweet, the passing gale.
And, clad in snowy vest, the lily fair.
Hides her meek beauties in the humid vale.
Oh! come, thou nymph divine, delightful Spring!
With all thy graces, all thy melting lays.
And mild Content, thy sweet companion, bring.
She that in sylvan shades and woodlands strays:
Whose angel form, health's blushing sweets disclose.
And on whose beauteous lip the eastern ruby glows.

Laurette's time was not so entirely devoted to music, reading, or the
study of languages, as to preclude the duties of society, nor the
tender and benevolent offices of charity. She frequently visited the
sick, the infirm, and the aged, and to work for the peasantry that
inhabited the border of the river, was a favourite occupation.

In one of these cottages was a poor widow, who was left with a
numerous family, without any other means of support than what was
afforded by her own industry. Here Madame Chamont and Laurette
oftentimes resorted to soften the acuteness of distress, and to
relieve the hardships of poverty. By their hands the younger part of
the family were entirely clothed, who no sooner beheld their
benefactresses, than they flocked around them with the most endearing
tenderness; their presence diffused universal pleasure, and never was
the sentiment of gratitude more eloquently expressed than in the
countenance of the widow. Those who have experienced the luxurious
sensation of contributing to the happiness of their fellow-creatures
will form some estimate of that heartfelt satisfaction, which animated
the amiable visiters as they contemplated the objects of their
benevolence; and will allow, that it is a luxury too pure, and too
refined, to exist in the midst of folly and dissipation, and, like
other virtues, usually retires from the bustle of the world to the
silent walks of domestic life.

Chapter 9

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot.
The world forgetting, by the world forgot;
Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind.
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep.
Obedient slumbers, that can wake and weep;
Desires composed, affections ever even.
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven.

The only female acquaintance cultivated by Madame Chamont in her
retirement was the Superior of a convent of penitent Nuns, of the
order of St Francis, to whom she was recommended by Father Benedicta.
This Abbess was a woman of high birth and education. Her aspect was
entirely divested of that stately reserve, which usually accompanies
undisputed authority. Her conduct was irreproachable, and she blended
judiciously all the elegances of refinement with maternal tenderness.
She loved the Nuns as her children, entering into all their concerns
and distresses with the lively interest of a friend, extending her
sympathy to all that were in need of it, her charity to the
friendless, and her succour to the oppressed. Her looks, her words,
were those of comfort and compassion, and her precepts, being
delivered with plainness and energy, never failed to persuade.
Misfortune had given pensiveness to her demeanour without throwing any
thing of gloom around. The whole of her countenance was expressive of
the most fervent piety; no appearance of bigotry disgraced it, for her
religion was that of the heart, that of sentiment rather than of
theory, which taught her to cherish every virtue that dignifies the
human mind, to instigate by example, and to reward with affection.

To such perfections as these Madame Chamont could not be insensible;
and on a first interview there was nothing she more ardently desired
than to be included amongst the number of her friends. She was not
long denied this enviable privilege; for the holy Benedicta had
advanced much in her favour, and her own insinuating address had done
more. The lady Abbess found in the graceful ease of her manners, a
charm every way congenial to her mind. She saw she had suffered, for
time and reflection had not yet erased the mark of sorrow from her
countenance; yet this was not its only character gentleness, meekness,
and resignation, were blended with the harsher lines of calamity, each
uniting to soften what could not be eradicated.

She was soon admitted into the cloister as an intimate, and spent many
hours in the society of her new acquaintance, who received her with
inexpressible tenderness, never allowing her to depart without a
promise to shorten her next absence. The difference of their years did
not preclude the advances of friendship of the most noble and
interesting kind, though in this the Abbess had considerably the
advantage. But age had given nothing of gloom to her deportment,
having rather added to, than detracted from, its natural grace. She
soon loved Madame Chamont as her daughter, cherished her as a friend,
and felt unusually animated in her presence. Some of the Nuns beheld
her with no symptoms of pleasure; the attentions of their noble
protectress, which had hitherto been confined to themselves, were,
they imagined, transferred to a stranger; and though respect for their
much-revered lady prevented them from murmuring, they could not
entirely conceal the cause of their chagrin.

At every meeting the two friends were more delighted with each other
than before, and this attachment led them to indulge in the luxury of
mutual confidence. The lady Abbess related to Madame Chamont the most
memorable events of her past life; they were melancholy, but not
uninteresting, and her gentle auditress, who listened to her with the
most lively concern, shed many tears at the recital; the substance of
which was as follows:


The Superior of the convent of the penitent Nuns, of the order of St
Francis, was of Gallic extraction, being the only daughter of the
Compte de Vendome, who was a General Officer in the service of the
Prince of Conde, when that renowned warrior fought the famous battle
of Jarnac with the Duke of Anjon.

His valour was the boast of his country, the admiration of Europe,
making him revered as an ally, and equally dreaded as an enemy! After
being celebrated, and almost idolized in France for the signal
victories he had gained, his hitherto successful armies were routed by
an attack from an unexpected quarter, and the enemy being joined by
numbers too powerful for resistance, they were called upon to

The Compte, unwilling to lessen his former fame by what he termed a
shameful acquiescence, resolutely refused to obey, chusing rather to
die in the field than to tarnish his spotless reputation by
relinquishing his arms. Some of the soldiers preferring captivity to
death, consented to the proposition, whilst others, who had caught
somewhat of that martial ardour that animated the invincible soul of
their leader, persisted in a refusal. The fight now became more
desperate; the enemy was joined by a detachment coveniently ambushed
near the place; the field was soon covered with the dead and the
wounded, and the father of the amiable Abbess, after having defended
himself bravely for a long time, was at last overpowered and slain!

This melancholy news was soon communicated to the Comptessa with all
imaginable delicacy, but she did not long survive the recital. She had
been for some time in a weak state, and this was a shock she was
unable to sustain. Immediately on her decease, Adela, her only
surviving child, was consigned to the care of her guardian, Monsieur
de Santong, who resided in a distant part of the province. He was a
widower, of reduced fortunes; with one son, who was finishing his
education at one of the public seminaries in Paris.

Monsieur was a man of stern and severe deportment, in disposition at
once haughty and morose, and his manners were so little calculated to
please, that Adela, having never since her birth left the side of her
mother, shrunk with terror from his gaze.

Before the Comte de Vendome quitted his beloved home, to undertake his
last fatal expedition, he settled all his temporal affairs, leaving
his daughter to the protection of this his only surviving relative, on
the death of her mother, should this event take place before she was
disposed of in marriage.

Monsieur de Santong, having been long disgusted with the world, had
retired from the haunts of society to a small estate that he possessed
in a remote and dreary situation, where he lived as peaceful and
undisturbed as if consigned to his grave. Previous to his seclusion,
he had mixed occasionally with people of various descriptions, but
without being able to select any one with whom he could remain in
habits of intimacy. He was a man of parts, without gaining the respect
that usually adheres to science, because he expected undue regard; and
in spite of the gravity of his appearance, the eccentricities of his
conduct frequently made him the sport of witticism: by the learned he
was rejected for his obstinacy, by the gay for his severity, and by
the candid for his misanthropy. Thus, after the death of his wife, and
the departure of his son, who was educated under the eye of one of his
mother's relatives in the metropolis, he was left a lonely and
solitary being, in whom no one was interested; few gave themselves the
trouble to inquire whether he was still in existence, and those who
did, lamented, when answered in the affirmative, that the useless were
permitted to survive the worthy.

His relation, the Compte de Vendome, was, perhaps, the only person of
his acquaintance by whom he was not thoroughly despised, though the
sentiments and disposition of this justly esteemed nobleman were so
diametrically opposite to his. The application and activity
inseparable from a military capacity, had indeed prevented a continual
intercourse, and the connexion subsisting between the families had
silenced many out of respect to the much-revered Compte, who might
otherwise have uttered much to Monsieur de Santong's disadvantage. He
had more than once visited Monsieur before he took refuge in
retirement; and, from the observations he was enabled to make, was
convinced that his knowledge was profound, though obscured by caprice;
and finding nothing to alledge against him but his inordinate love of
praise, and his eccentric indulgences, he fixed upon him as the
guardian of his Adela, should she be deprived of her parents before
that sacred trust should devolve to another.

The fair orphan, being not more than seven years of age, received from
Monsieur de Santong the first rudiments of her education. She was not
allowed, for reasons never to be penetrated, to receive it in its
usual form, in the shades of a cloister, though the mansion in which
she resided was equally dreary and secluded. Society, or unexpected
events, never retarded her progress, which enabled her soon to become
conversant in every branch of elegant literature, and to be well
acquainted with the classics, without being compelled to receive their
beauties through the medium of her mother tongue.

Monsieur de Santong, who, next to his own son, loved her as much as he
was capable of loving any one, beheld the proficiency she made with
surprise and pleasure; and when in conversation with her, relaxed so
much from his accustomed severity, that she became imperceptibly more
at ease in his presence; yet her youthful imagination would frequently
wander beyond the walls of the chateau, and portray scenes of gaiety
and happiness in the world, which the original would not have

But, upon the whole, the life of Adela passed less unpleasantly than
might have been imagined. A lively French woman, who was the director
of the domestic affairs, interested herself much in her happiness, and
saved her from many moments of despondency. Her name was Agnes; she
had received a respectable education at Moulines under the care of an
aunt, and after meeting with some misfortunes in life, respecting
pecuniary affairs, had accepted a superior kind of service in the
family of Monsieur de Santong.

In the society of this young woman, who possessed much genuine good
humour, she frequently rambled a considerable distance from the
mansion when the occupations of the day were over, and amused herself
with surveying the landscape which her secluded situation commanded.
But books were her chief amusements, and these were never denied her.
Those selected by her guardian for her instruction and entertainment
were mostly of the learned kind, though she was sometimes supplied
with lighter works by the assistance of Agnes, from which she reaped
less solid advantage.

Several years were passed in this manner without any material
incident, till the arrival of the younger Santong, who had just
completed his studies, occasioned an alteration in affairs.

He came attended by a schoolfellow, his principal companion, who was
introduced by the name of Clairville to Monsieur, who received him
with an air of coldness bordering upon rudeness. The young chevalier,
who did not fail to remark the unpleasant consequence of his visit,
appeared chagrined and uneasy, which Adela perceiving, endeavoured to
remove by every attention she was empowered to bestow. In this she
succeeded. His thoughts were soon abstracted from this slight cause of
distress, but were directed to a subject more dangerous to his peace.
He loved Adela the moment he beheld her, and without asking permission
of his reason for doing so: well aware of the distance at which
fortune had thrown him, he would have submitted, for the first time,
to have solicited her favours, could wealth have secured the
possession of his wishes.

Every interview increased his regard; he soon lived but for Adela, who
was by no means insensible to his merit; and from the native openness
of her disposition, felt no inclination to conceal from the
observation of others the sentiment she indulged in his favour.

The young Santong, who was evidently as much inferior to his friend in
mind as in person, beheld the decided preference shewn to him by his
fair relation with a degree of dissatisfaction and displeasure, which
he sometimes failed to disguise. He had bestowed upon the person and
accomplishments of Adela no common attention; but her birth and
splendid possessions were still more alluring in his eyes. His father
had intimated his intention of uniting him with his ward, whose early
seclusion from the world must have prevented the possibility of any
other attachment. He had acceded with rapture to the proposal before
he was introduced to her, and no sooner beheld her than lie considered
her as his future bride. Had his own vanity been less, he would have
avoided throwing a handsome young chevalier in her way, whose mind was
not less perfect than his person, and whose soul was formed for all
the delicacies and refinements of the tender passions.

Adela, being a stranger to disguise, would frequently, in the absence
of Clairville, speak eloquently in his praise in the presence of
Monsieur and the younger Santong, and perceived, not without
astonishment, the apparent coldness with which her guardian repressed
her innocent encomiums, and the flashes of anger that occasionally
darted from the eyes of his offended son. But unsuspicious of the
cause, she still continued to talk of him with that ardour of
friendship, which declared to the more experienced observer how
tenderly she was attached to the object of her commendation.
Clairville, who felt the awkwardness of his situation, endeavoured to
reconcile himself to the thoughts of quitting the chateau; but the
idea of never again beholding her, in whose fate he was so strongly
interested, and of the probability of her being soon disposed of to
his more fortunate rival, sunk upon his heart, and he became pensive
and disconsolate. Every day brought with it fresh proof that the
affections of his friend were estranged from him, and that common
courtesy only prevented him from accelerating his departure. Conscious
of this, he began internally to despise himself for having so long
yielded to the weakness of his feelings, and resolved to regain his
own esteem by naming an early day for his return to the metropolis.
Having once determined upon this mode of conduct, he hastened to
fulfil his intentions, and on the following morning, seeing his friend
walking alone in the shrubbery, he joined him with the resolution of
executing his purpose.

The young Santong did not immediately observe him, being lost in
musing, till the voice of the once-respected chevalier roused him from
his stupor; and turning towards him, he accosted him with an
expression of kindness that overcame him with surprise and pleasure.

Contrary to his original determination, he did not instantly make
known his intention; and being soon afterwards joined by Adela and
Monsieur de Santong, he continued to defer it.

The conversation now became general, and more than usually lively; the
young Comptessa discoursed with her accustomed sprightliness, whilst
the eyes of her lover, announcing every feeling of his soul, conveyed
a tender and earnest expression as they became riveted upon her's. Not
far from the mansion was an extensive wood; and Santong having heard
that it contained a large quantity of game, proposed to de Clairville,
as the morning was fine, to spend a few hours in the diversion of
shooting. His friend agreed to the proposal, though not without some
reluctance, as it would deprive him of the society of Adela, and they
began their excursion.

As soon as they were gone, the fair recluse retired pensively to her
library, willing to beguile the moments of absence with her books, her
usual resources in the moments of uneasiness. She felt, without
knowing why, an unusual depression of spirits, which she made many
efforts to dissipate, but without success. She reflected, with
dissatisfaction, on the solicitous attentions of Santong, who, she
easily perceived, was designed by her guardian for her future husband.
She compared him with the noble, the insinuating stranger, and for the
first time discovered the partiality which the merit of the latter had
inspired. He had never openly declared his passion for her; but his
expressive manners could not be misconstrued, and he was apparently
withheld, only by respectful diffidence, from making a verbal

Nothing appeared so dreadful to her as a marriage with Santong; yet
how was it to be avoided, if her guardian insisted upon her
compliance? How could she presume to oppose him, to whose will she had
hitherto yielded the most implicit obedience? She knew that he was
severe in his disposition, terrible in his displeasure, and capable of
adopting the most resolute measures, and of performing the most daring
actions. As to the younger Santong, he appeared to her somewhat
prejudiced mind to be deficient in every amiable qualification of the
heart. She wondered why the Chevalier de Clairville, who seemed to
possess every moral and elevated virtue, had enlisted him among the
number of his intimates, since there was certainly no reciprocity of
sentiment to unite them in the bonds of affection.

The young sportsmen, having been absent some hours, and nothing
happening to break the train of her reflections, she took a walk
towards the skirts of the wood, and having reached a heathy mountain,
seated herself upon a piece of broken rock, and continued to muse on
the subject which had so recently occupied her thoughts. She had not
been long in this situation before the report of a gun, proceeding
from the wood, convinced her they were returning from the excursion.
She started from her place without knowing whither she was going, and
advancing rapidly towards the spot from whence the sound was heard, a
dreadful scream alarmed her, and in the next moment she beheld young
Santong and the servant, who had attended them in their expedition,
bearing the bleeding, and apparently almost lifeless form of the
Chevalier de Clairville!

What a sight was this for Adela, the tender, the adoring Adela, to
sustain! But surprise and anguish soon depriving her of sensation, she
sunk into a state of insensibility. The cries of the servant (for
Santong, transfixed in horror, was unable to utter a sound) reached
the chateau, and the domestics, with anxious and terrified looks,
crowded around them. Adela, who was long before she discovered any
symptom of returning life, was conveyed to her room, where every
method was employed to restore and console her; but a fever and
delirium were the consequence of this dreadful alarm, which threatened
to terminate her existence. The physician that attended de Clairville
was called in to her assistance, who pronounced her to be in a state
of danger; at the same time desired that she might be kept as tranquil
as possible, as the only chance of success depended upon the
recomposing of her spirits. This induced her attendants to delude her,
in the intervals of reason, with the most flattering information
respecting the chevalier. The physician was also from necessity
compelled to aid the deception, by assuring her that his wounds were
not mortal, and that from their favourable appearance every thing was
to be hoped.

This joyful intelligence tended to accelerate her recovery, and as
soon as she was enabled to bear a repetition of the subject, inquired
how the accident had happened? But of this she could hear no
satisfactory account. The young Santong was alone acquainted with the
particulars, and he being in a state little short of distraction, was
not in a situation to answer inquiries.

As soon as Adela was sufficiently recovered from her illness to endure
the sight of de Clairville, he requested permission to see her. What
they might mutually suffer from so trying an interview, induced the
worthy physician to deny him the privilege; but as the necessity of
refusing a dying request is, perhaps, one of the severest inflictions
that benevolence can endure, he at last yielded, though not
unreluctantly, to his wishes.

As soon as Adela was informed of his desire, she quitted her room, for
the first time since she entered it, and proceeded, supported by
Agnes, to the side of his bed.

But what were her feelings when, instead of finding him in a state of
convalescence as she had been taught to expect, she beheld him with
the image of death stamped upon his countenance, saw his lips
quivering as if on the eve of closing for ever, and heard his short
convulsive breathings, with every other symptom of approaching
dissolution! The moment she fixed her eyes on the faded form before
her, a cold trembling seized her: she had but just power to repress
the scream that was escaping her, and afraid she should relapse into
insensibility before she should catch the last accents of his voice,
clung still closer to Agnes. The dying chevalier, though unable to
articulate, extended his feeble hand to grasp her's, with a look so
tender, so mournful, so touching, that her grief arose to agony!

Incapable of moving, she still continued by his side, with her eyes
fixed wildly upon his face, with such an expression of anguish, that
none present could refrain from tears! At last the wan countenance on
which she gazed assumed a more ghastly paleness, the films obscured
his sight, the pulse that had long beat, feebly fluttered, and then
ceased for ever, and that captivating, that once graceful form, became
stiffened in death! Adela's distress was now too acute to be
suppressed, and disengaging herself from Agnes, who could no longer
restrain her, she fell breathless on the bed! A deep silence, as of
the grave, ensued, which was only interrupted occasionally by the loud
sobs of Monsieur de Santong, who had remained in speechless sorrow at
the farther end of the room during this pathetic scene, unobserved by
the unfortunate sufferers. It was too much for human nature to endure
with firmness, and the stern, and before impenetrable, heart of the
misanthropist melted at the touches of sympathy!

As soon as the account of de Clairville's dissolution reached the ears
of his son, he flew into the room with the desperation of a maniac,
declaring himself his murderer. His cries recalled Adela to existence,
who, regarding him with speechless horror as he uttered the dreadful
truth, threw herself into the arms of her attendant, and was conveyed
to her apartment.

It was several days after this mournful event before she was in a
situation to see any one except her physician and confessor, and
during that period the remorse and distraction of Santong portended
the loss of his senses! He raved continually of Adela, besought his
father to plead for his forgiveness, and then resign him as a murderer
to the laws of his country. He acknowledged that it was jealousy alone
that had instigated him to the horrid deed, having observed the
attachment that had subsisted between his friend and the young
Comptessa ever since its commencement, particularly the tender looks
they had exchanged on the morning that had witnessed his guilt, which,
he added, had given fresh fuel to that unbridled resentment, which was
before too violent to be concealed or subdued.

Though Adela had been brought by this trying calamity nearly to the
brink of the grave, youth, united to a good constitution, finally
triumphed, and in a few weeks she was enabled to sit up in her room,
and to converse with her confessor.

Monsieur de Santong, who had made daily inquiries concerning his
unhappy ward ever since the death of de Clairville, ventured, at the
request of his son, to solicit an audience. Having gained the
permission he desired, he was ushered into the room, and, with an
aspect on which pity and distress were strikingly depicted, placed
himself on a chair by her side. Adela received him with a placid and
sorrowful air; but when he began to plead for his son, the assassin of
the noble chevalier, a slight blush of resentment tinged her cheek,
and she surveyed him with a look of mingled astonishment and
displeasure. But when he assured her that his son did not aspire to
her love, but only besought her forgiveness, and had convinced her
that the atrocious crime his unfortunate child had committed was not
the effect of deliberate and premeditated cruelty, the expression of
her countenance changed, and compassion gave new softness to its
character. A heart that could deny its pardon to a wretch, suffering
all the agonies of guilt and remorse, must have been made of sterner
materials than was that of Adela; and she bestowed it in accents so
gentle, that, though the younger Santong never presumed to obtrude
himself into her presence, when he received an account of it from his
father, he became more tranquil.

The wretched culprit did not continue much longer at the chateau; and
though despondency had prompted the request concerning a resignation
to the civil laws of his country, other considerations determined him
to purchase a dispensation from the Pope, and to close his existence
in some religious retirement. Monsieur de Santong did not oppose his
inclinations; this heavy calamity, inflicted upon him by the violence
of unregulated passions, had an effect upon his mind as powerful as it
was instantaneous. He was now no longer proud, vain, or inaccessible;
his favourite project, that of uniting his son to the heiress of the
noble house of Vendome, was at an end, and every earthly pursuit
seemed to have expired with it. Grief had the happy effect of
convincing him that he was not beyond the reach of misfortune, and by
teaching him the insufficiency of immoderate acquirements, had
conveyed a lesson of humility and wisdom. When the chevalier was first
introduced to him, he imagined, in his fine person and insinuating
address, he discovered a formidable rival for his son. He saw his
perfections with dissatisfaction, because he believed they could not
fail to attract the regard of the youthful and blooming Adela; but now
that he had paid so dear for his rivalship, he felt nothing of
prejudice lingering at his heart, and cherished a kind of melancholy
esteem for his memory. This sudden transition, from moroseness to
kindness, indicated that his former misanthropy was rather the effect
of circumstance than a natural inclination of the mind; for from this
time he became the mild guardian, the compassionate and tender father;
and could he have prevailed upon himself to have returned to society,
might have become the estimable friend.

As soon as Adela was recovered, she formed a resolution of secluding
herself in a convent, and took an early opportunity of informing
Monsieur de Santong of her design. Amazed at her intention, he offered
some slight objections, which she speedily removed, and then consented
to inquire for a situation suitable to her wishes.

About a week after she had made known her determination, the unhappy
Santong repaired to his monastery, which was somewhere in the southern
part of France; and on the succeeding day the Comptessa de Vendome was
conducted by her guardian to the convent, which, in obedience to her
former desire, he had selected for her residence: it contained a
society of Carmelite Nuns of one of the strictest orders in the
country. Here she was admitted as a boarder; but owing to its not
meeting with her entire approbation, did not continue her abode in
this place. There was not one among the sisterhood with whom she could
connect herself; for the Lady of the convent was reserved, haughty,
and mercenary, and the Nuns seemed invariably to emulate her example.

This influenced her intentions of not remaining in so unpleasant a
society during life, and led her to adopt a resolution of quitting it
as soon as she could inform herself of another more congenial to her
taste. Having executed her design, she left France, and removing into
Germany, entered into a convent of Penitent Nuns, of the order of St
Francis. Here she spent several years as a sister; and after the death
of the Abbess, having endowed this religious asylum with her vast
possessions, was preferred to the honour of succeeding her as Supenor.
When this little affecting narrative was concluded, which was
illustrated with many elevated sentiments and tender incidents, which,
unless recited with the grace and eloquence of the amiable narrator,
might fail to interest the reader, she drew a small gem from her
bosom, which contained the name of the chevalier, wrought with his
hair: it was suspended by a small string of rubies, and was worn
continually round her neck. As she gazed upon this precious relic, a
throbbing emotion disturbed her usually serene features; she sighed,
pressed it mournfully to her heart, and seemed to be insensible to
every thing for the moment but the recollection of her long-indulged

Madame Chamont, who had listened to her with a painful interest, bent
over the arm of the chair on which her friend was sitting, and mingled
her tears with her's, till their attention was recalled from
melancholy reflection by the appearance of a Nun who came to present a
piece of embroidery to the Abbess, which she had newly finished. As
she advanced towards the Superior with a pensive and dignified air,
she bent gracefully to Madame Chamont, and drawing aside her veil,
discovered to her one of the most lovely faces she had ever seen. It
was pale, and marked with sorrow; but there was a certain expression
of softness and resignation in her fine Grecian features an air of
meek, corrected sadness, that could not be perused without pity and
affection. As soon as she had delivered her work, and had received the
grateful commendation of the Abbess, she drew her veil again over her
face, and retired.

As soon as she was gone, Madame Chamont, willing to withdraw her
revered friend from the luxury of too tender remembrances, praised the
singular beauty of the sister, and requested to be informed of her
name. 'It is sister Cecilia,' returned the Superior, 'one of the most
devout Nuns of the order. She never enters into any of our amusements,
except at the holy festivals, and seems to dedicate the whole of her
life to prayer and religious exercises. She confines herself almost
entirely to her cell, seldom enters into conversation with any other
than her confessor, and preserves a life of uniform reserve and

'She is the only one of the sisterhood with whose story I am
unacquainted, though she has been in the society upwards of fourteen
years; nor have any of the Nuns, not even those for whom she possesses
the most decided regard, been able to gain admission into her
confidence. Yet, though she has preserved this invariable reserve,
none of the inhabitants of the cloister are more tenderly, more
universally beloved. She is the first to shew consolation and kindness
to all who are in need of it; her breast is the temple of benevolence,
the seat of truth and of virtue. Her charity is as unbounded as her
other excellencies, and she seems capable of no other enjoyment than
what she derives from the source of religion, and the happiness of her
fellow-creatures. Besides these solid and estimable virtues, she
possesses many charming accomplishments, which, but for their being
connected with the stable principles, the intrinsic excellencies of
the mind, might be justly deemed of little value. Nature has bestowed
upon her, amongst her other gifts, a rich and excursive fancy; the
devout pieces, which are used not unfrequently on the most solemn
occasions, attuned to the notes of the organ, are chiefly of her
composing; and for grace, delicacy, and energy of thought, may be said
to be nearly unequalled. In music she is an avowed proficient, and the
needle-work she has just brought for my inspection,' resumed the
Abbess, 'is an indisputable proof of her taste in that elegant

There was something in this account, united with the exalted, yet meek
devotion, that characterized the appearance of the Nun, so affecting
to Madame Chamont, that, when the Superior had finished, she still
listened, in hopes of hearing a farther account of her. But her
informer had related all that she knew of her, except that she was a
Neapolitan, and that it was believed she had suffered some severe
irremediable calamity previous to her retirement from the world.

Madame Chamont's curiosity was now more than ever awakened; she
thought of the Signora di Capigna, the supposed mother of Laurette,
and anxiety to be informed of the truth of this surmise arose to the
most painful impatience. The more she mused upon the subject, the more
probable it appeared, that the devout Cecilia was no other than the
once celebrated Neapolitan, the fair unfortunate victim of early
seduction, who, after the death of her father, was believed either to
have died of grief, or to have sought a remedy for it in some
religious seclusion. When she considered every thing the Abbess had
uttered, her grief, her silence respecting her family and name, her
penitential devotions, the length of time since she had entered into
the convent answering so nearly to the age of Laurette, her Italian
origin every circumstance seemed to convince her that the conjecture
was not founded on error, which determined her, if possible, to gain
further intelligence; but the difficulty of accomplishing her design
repressed the energy of the enterprize; was it likely that the fair
Nun, who had denied her confidence to so many with whom she was in
habits of intimacy, and even to the Superior herself, should impart it
to a stranger, one whom she had scarcely seen, and who had no possible
claim on her regard or attention?

As soon as she had quitted the convent, she returned silently towards
the castle, meditating as she went upon this new incident. If this was
really the Signora de Capigna, and her idea concerning Laurette was a
just one, she was doubtless ignorant respecting her offspring, who had
probably been conveyed from her without her consent or knowledge. The
actions of the Marchese were so veiled in mystery, that it was
impossible to comprehend, or to account for them. But the propriety of
acquainting sister Cecilia with the situation of her child, if by any
means Laurette could be proved to be her's, appeared, every time she
reflected upon it, more striking. After much consideration, she formed
the resolution of sending a few lines to the Nun by Father Benedicta,
who was confessor of the convent.

Some days passed before she had an opportunity of accomplishing her
design, not being able to gain an interview with him in private; but
having written a letter to be in readiness, in which she avoided
mentioning any thing of herself or her charge, merely asking if she
ever had a daughter, and was ignorant of her fate, she committed it to
the care of the Father. The holy Benedicta eyed the direction, which
was written in Italian, with a look expressive of surprise; and then
placing it silently in the folds of his habit, bowed meekly, and
withdrew. It was not long before the Monk returned again to the
castle, and as soon as he was admitted into the presence of Madame
Chamont, presented her with an answer to her epistle, which she
instantly opened. It contained many grateful acknowledgments,
elegantly and delicately expressed, and, without any reference to her
own peculiar misfortunes, informed her she never had a daughter. The
conclusion, expressive of the devout spirit of the writer, breathed a
solemn benediction, commending her with impressive fervency to the
protection of Heaven. The signature, which bore no other name than
that of Cecilia, a penitent Nun of the order of St Francis, seemed to
have been written with a disordered hand, and to have been watered
with her tears.

Satisfied that this either was not Signora di Capigna, or that
Laurette was not the daughter of that unfortunate beauty, she made no
further attempt to investigate the subject; and whether from chance or
design she was unable to ascertain, the Nun never more entered the
apartment of the Abbess when Madame Chamont was there.

Chapter 10

Down many a winding step, mid dungeons dank.
Where anguish wails aloud, and fetters clank
To caves bestrew'd with many a mouldering bone.
And cells, whose echos only learn to groan.
Where no kind bars a whispering friend disclose.
No sun-beam enters, and no zephyr blows.
He treads.

A considerable time had elapsed since the departure of Enrco, and no
recent account of him having arrived at the castle, a thousand
mournful conjectures destroyed the repose of Madame Chamont and
Laurette, who began to believe that he was either taken captive, or
was slain by his more fortunate foes, while bravely fighting the cause
of the great Maximilian. These dreadful apprehensions drew tears
incessantly from the eyes of his affectionate mother, whilst her
beautiful pupil, who endeavoured to appear cheerful in the presence of
her protectress, often retired to her apartment, or into the secret
recesses of the woods, to weep and suffer in silence.

The imagined fate of the young warrior was yet undecided, when Paoli
once more arrived at the mansion. From him they indulged a hope of
gaining some information respecting the Bavarian armies; but this
proving delusive, the family again sunk into sorrow and deep

Madame Chamont's mind was so extremely agitated with these distressing
surmises, that, unable to sleep, she frequently forsook her bed before
the sun had risen upon the mountains, and wandered for some hours
unattended in the solitudes of the forest; hoping, in the
contemplation of external objects, that she might be able to divert
her thoughts from a subject that was attended with the severest

One morning, having extended her walk much longer than usual, she
found herself in a part of the domain which she had never visited
before. It was more wild and picturesque than any thing she had ever
seen; an appearance of uncultivated grandeur was delineated in the
prospect it commanded, an air of desolation that was in unison with
her feelings, and to the frame of mind she was then in, was infinitely
more grateful than the more soft and glowing landscape.

As she continued her ramble through the most woody part of the
grounds, one object above all others engaged her attention, and
excited her surprise.

This was a small square tower that once belonged to the fortification
wall of the castle, which had formerly spread along a vast extent of
ground, including the principal part of the forest; the design of
which was evidently that, in case of a siege, a sufficient quantity of
cattle might be pastured to supply the inhabitants during the attack.
This solitary turret, which, with the aid of a buttress, had
strengthened one of the angles of the exterior polygon, was all that
remained of the out work, and even this was falling to decay. It was
overtopped with long grass, briery, and the enchanter's nightshade;
and being almost immersed in the deep gloom of the woods, seemed to
have become the residence of birds of prey.

Curiosity impelling her to examine the inside of the fabric, she
entered what had once been a door, and was proceeding through the arch
on the opposite side, when the sound of voices issuing from below
struck her with terror and dismay. The first idea that presented
itself, which the extreme solitude of the situation seemed to favour,
was, that it was the resort of a party of banditti, which made her
irresolute whether to stop for a few minutes to be convinced if she
was right in her conjecture, or to hasten from a place which
threatened her with danger, and return towards the mansion. Whilst she
was thus hesitating, she perceived, at the most remote part of the
structure, a small iron door, and on one side of it, nearly at the
bottom, a narrow grated aperture. An irresistible impulse impelled her
to kneel down, that she might be able to observe to what part of the
building this entrance led; but the light this window admitted was so
feeble, that she could but just distinguish a small extent of passage,
which apparently terminated in a flight of stone steps.

In a state of inconceivable dread she listened for some moments to be
assured from whence the voices proceeded; but the deep sighing of the
wind among the trees prevented her from discriminating any other
sound. Anxious to be assured who were the people thus strangely
secluded in the subterranean recesses of this gloomy abode, and to be
acquainted with the purpose of their concealment, she advanced
fearfully towards the door, and examining it attentively, endeavoured
to discover some way of opening it; but no visible means appearing,
she pressed forcibly against it, and to her utter astonishment it
unclosed. Thus enabled to gratify a curiosity which was augmented by
the small prospect of gratification the first view of it had
presented, she walked slowly through the passage, and was within a few
paces of the stairs when a deep groan, which was instantly succeeded
by the clinking of a chain, overcame her with horror and amazement.
Fear having suspended her faculties, she stood for a few seconds
motionless as a statue, totally unable either to proceed or to return,
till a loud voice, elevated as in anger, recovered her from her
stupor, which being answered in the low, mournful accents of entreaty,
convinced her that some unhappy being was suffering in that
unfrequented and dreary solitude; but, as the turret belonged
immediately to the castle, who could be the tyrant, and who the
prisoner, was strange beyond conjecture.

As soon as she was enabled to conquer the terror this incident had
occasioned, she again advanced towards the stairs, and in the pauses
of the wind heard these words distinctly pronounced, in a voice which
she immediately knew to be Paoli's:---

'You have had a sufficient time allowed you, and as death is
inevitable, and nothing can procure even a temporary respite, you have
only to chuse the means. I leave this place to-day. The moments are
precious, therefore be hasty in your determination.'

These incoherent expressions were enough to assure her that some
person was confined in that place for the purpose of being murdered.
Almost fainting with apprehension, she receded as far as the entrance,
and holding the iron door with her hand, was irresolute whether to
return again towards the steps, or to hurry from the spot. As she
stood for a few moments endeavouring to overcome the agony that this
strange adventure had excited, as well as to consider if it was not
possible, by timely interference, to avert the fate that awaited this
victim of perhaps unjust resentment, she heard a noise like the
undrawing of rusty bolts, which was followed by the sound of
footsteps, apparently proceeding towards her.

Knowing this could be no other than Paoli, she closed the door that
led into the passage, and rapidly retreating, concealed herself in the
thick foliage of the trees that surrounded the lonely turret; but in
such a situation, that she must unavoidably see him pass.

In a few minutes he quitted the tower; and having turned into the
glade, was hastily putting something into his pocket, when the
rustling of the trees, under which Madame Chamont had secreted herself
to elude being noticed by him, made him start involuntarily, and what
he was attempting to secure fell upon the ground. The grass preventing
any noise, he was unconscious of his loss, and, seemingly satisfied
with being undiscovered, walked speedily away.

Paoli having reached a considerable distance, Madame Chamont emerged
from her obscurity, and on gaining the spot the steward had recently
left, beheld, to her unutterable joy, a small rusty key, which she had
no doubt belonged to the dungeon where the sufferer was confined.

For some time she was undetermined whether immediately to release the
unfortunate captive from his state of misery and perplexity, or to
return to the castle, and to perform that office of humanity as soon
as Paoli had quitted it, who had just intimated an intention of
commencing his journey without further delay. On mature deliberation
the latter plan was adopted; as, should the careful steward be aware
of his loss before his arrival at the mansion, he would probably
return in hopes of being able to recover it, in which case her
generous designs would not only be frustrated, but instant death, or
new and unheard-of torture might be inflicted upon the ill-fated
object of her compassion.

This being resolved upon, she returned towards the castle elated at
the thoughts of being able to release a fellow-creature from the grasp
of inflexible tyranny, and secretly determining not to acquaint
Laurette with the adventure, as it was impossible that an affair of
that kind could be executed without the knowledge and consent of the
Marchese; consequently, was she to be informed of this singular
circumstance, she would reflect upon him, whom she had every reason to
believe was the author of her being, with horror and aversion.

As soon as she had reached the outer court, she beheld her beautiful
charge, with the airy lightness of a sylph, advancing to meet her; an
emotion of joy played upon her features, and the usual salutations
being over, she presented her with a letter from Enrco.

Madame Chamont's feelings on this occasion can better be imagined than
described. The intelligence the epistle conveyed was of the most
pleasing kind; he spoke highly of his Colonel, the Marchese de
Martilini, and rapturously of the way of life in which he had engaged.
He also informed them that, as his regiment, at the close of the year,
was likely to be stationed in a less remote province, he entertained
some hopes of being permitted to pay his respects to his beloved
mother and his dear Laurette, at the expiration of a few months.

Thus effectually relieved from a painful inquietude, Madame Chamont,
though she could not forbear slightly censuring the negligence that
had given rise to it, felt a degree of tranquillity and animation
which she had been long unused to.

As soon as she arrived at the castle, she found Paoli was already
returned; and being assured, from his manner, that he had not seen her
in the forest, scrupulously avoided mentioning any thing in his
presence relative to her excursion.

Immediately on his departure she resolved, though enervated with the
terror this occurrence had excited, to visit the solitary tower, and
to liberate the unfortunate captive. The more she considered this
singular incident, the more mysterious it appeared. If the Marchese
had received any material injury from the prisoner, why not resign him
to the laws of his country? Or, if the offence was of too venial a
nature for justice to punish with death, or sufferance, why confine
him at so vast a distance from his own residence, when assassination,
or torture, might have been inflicted with equal secrecy and success
in the dungeons of the Castello St Aubin? What Paoli had uttered
before he quitted his victim was expressive of the most arbitrary
conduct; for though it allowed him the choice of means, this affected
clemency was counteracted by a repetition of threats, which could not
fail to appal the most resolute mind. He mentioned, during this
conference, his intention of leaving the castle immediately, and the
necessity of a hasty determination respecting the method of
accomplishing the design; yet the matter seemed not to have been
decided; no violent measures had at present been adopted, no screams
of terror, or of agonizing torture, had pierced the deep solitude of
the woods. The unfortunate being was then assuredly alive, though
probably left to perish by poison, or the pining miseries of famine.
More than once it occurred to her thoughts that it might possibly be
La Roque; yet the length of time that had elapsed since her meeting
with him at the post house, did not justify the opinion, as, had he so
long escaped falling into the hands of his enemy, he would surely,
before this time, have placed himself beyond the reach of his malice.
The clinking of a chain, so distinctly heard from the place, convinced
her of the difficulty of her enterprize; but recollecting that amongst
a quantity of old lumber, in one of the chambers in the northern
buildings, she had observed several files, and other instruments,
which might be useful in the undertaking, she hastened to find them.

Having obtained the means of admission, she entered this range of
apartments, which, from superstition, or some more rational motive,
were kept constantly fastened, and in one of the most desolate-looking
rooms, discovered the objects of her search. They were thrown into a
remote corner, with a considerable number of broken helmets, shields,
corselets, and other military accoutrements, with some fragments of
different kinds of tapestry, and a large heap of rusty keys, which
seemed to have remained in a state of inactivity for many years. After
availing herself of these treasures, whilst Laurette was employed in
her morning amusements and exercises, with a hurried step and
palpitating heart she bent her way towards the tower.

When she arrived at the entrance, she looked fearfully round, lest any
one should observe her; but no one approaching, and no sound, not even
the flutter of the breeze, disturbing the awful stillness of the
place, she ventured to proceed. The iron door, as on a former
occasion, gave way to a forcible pressure, and having reached the
passage, that only admitted the light of a small grated aperture, she
distinguished the flight of steps which she had perceived before.

Beyond this all was dark; but having with much difficulty groped her
way till she had obtained the bottom of the stairs, she proceeded
through a vast extent of passage, and was then enabled to observe, by
the feeble ray of a lamp that glimmered through a crevice in the wall,
a door which, from the appearance of the light, seemed to be that
leading into the dungeon. As she paused for a moment, to find the key,
a deep sigh, that might be said to breathe the language of despair,
broke the sepulchral kind of stillness that had hitherto prevailed.

Having, with much difficulty, applied the key to the door, she
withdrew the bolts, which the wretched inhabitant of this dark abyss
supposing to be a prelude to death, or some new calamity, answered
with a scream. 'Whoever you are,' cried Madame Chamont, in a low
disordered voice, 'whom guilt or misfortune have brought to this
miserable abode, I beseech you to be comforted.' Having uttered these
words, she listened for a moment, but all was again silent; no sound
was returned, which made it probable that her words were unheard, or
disregarded. Much strength was requisite in the accomplishment of her
purpose, for the lock was so rusted by time and neglect, that it was
impossible for so feeble and delicate a hand to make it (without
painful exertion) perform its long-forgotten office. By repeated
efforts she was, however, enabled to put her designs in execution, and
opening the door, which turned sullenly on its grating hinges, she
beheld, in one corner of the dungeon, a pale, emaciated figure seated
upon straw. An emotion of terror seemed to have deprived him of
reason, which prevented him from attending to the compassionate
exclamation of his deliverer; and having covered his face with his
hands, he did not perceive her approach till she was within a few
steps of the place where he was sitting. A second address, however,
uttered in the plaintive accents of pity, roused him from his stupor,
and discovered to Madame Chamont the features of La Roque, who,
instead of the messenger of death which his affrighted imagination had
portrayed, beheld the still beautiful form of his former benefactress.

After quieting his apprehensions, by convincing him of the possibility
of effecting an escape, she raised the lamp from the ground and having
used many ineffectual efforts to release him from his fetters, finally
succeeded in her design.

The effusions of his gratitude for some time deprived the astonished
La Roque of utterance; but his feelings being now too violent to be
restrained, he burst into a flood of tears. Joy and compassion
operated as powerfully in the mind of Madame Chamont, who having,
after many arduous endeavours, entirely accomplished his deliverance,
assisted in raising him from the ground, and led him from the dungeon.

Those who have been long secluded from the beauties of Nature in a
miserable subterranean abode, can only form an adequate conception of
the raptures experienced by La Roque on his sudden emancipation from
captivity. A few minutes before, he was in continual expectation of a
miserable death, hopeless, and, as he believed, beyond the reach of
compassion; now he was restored to a world from which he imagined
himself separated for ever, was permitted to behold the beautiful face
of Nature, to hear again the melody of the birds, and to feel the
enlivening breath of the zephyr; yet so much was he enervated by
confinement, and his ancles were so weakened by manacles, that he was
unable to walk without support.

Madame Chamont, who at first thought only of the means of deliverance,
now foresaw difficulties which her mind had not been collected enough
to have contemplated before. She had now conducted La Roque from his
dreadful abode, but in what manner he was to be disposed of was an
idea that never occurred to her before. After having suffered much
from the dark vapours of a dungeon, from the miserable confinement of
chains and fetters, with the addition of spare and meagre diet, he
wanted assistance and support. This rendered it impossible for him to
prosecute his journey without needful rest and refreshment; yet how
was this to be procured, since it could not be accomplished without
assistance, and this would be attended not only with difficulty, but
with danger? She was resolved, however, to procure him some food
without further delay, and having seated him upon a projection of
stone in the turret, gave him a promise that she would speedily
return, and hurried towards the castle.

As she went, she began to reflect upon the necessity of coming to a
speedy resolution in this important affair, as to the manner of
proceeding in it; for should the loss of the key be discovered, it
might occasion the return of Paoli, which would render abortive every
scheme she had devised for the preservation of the prisoner.

After much consideration, she found it would be impossible to convey
La Roque to his place of destination without some one to assist her in
the enterprise; and knowing the prudence and secrecy of the faithful
Dorothe, resolved to make her a confidante in the undertaking. This
matter being settled, she proceeded towards the mansion with redoubled
alacrity; and having acquainted her servant with the adventure,
desired that she would take some food and wine to La Roque in the
turret of the forest. The good woman, whose tenderness and compassion
were equally awakened, cheerfully obeyed the summons, whilst Madame
Chamont retired to her apartment to consider the most effectual way of
rendering herself serviceable to the much-injured La Roque, that he
might be immediately placed in security, and herself avoid detection.
She saw the policy of a hasty removal, yet was anxious that he should
first recover from that state of weakness and indisposition, to which
grief and imprisonment had reduced him.

Whilst she still continued to muse upon this affecting incident,
without being able to adopt any plan for her future conduct, the
arrival of Father Benedicta, her confessor, broke in upon her

As she surveyed the placid countenance of this holy Father, lighted up
by the smile of benevolence, and glowing with universal philanthropy,
the idea of soliciting his protection instantly occurred to her. With
his assistance La Roque might take refuge in the monastery till he was
in a condition to travel, and in the habit of a Friar, which could
easily be procured, might be secure from the possibility of discovery.

This plan appeared so much more eligible than any she had before
conceived, that she was resolved to put it into execution. As soon as
the Monk was seated, having first expatiated upon the duties of
charity, she informed him that an unfortunate stranger, whom she had
lately met with under peculiar circumstances, which were at present
somewhat veiled in mystery, had much interested her compassion. That
there were reasons, with which she was herself partly unacquainted,
why he must be secluded from observation till he could prosecute the
remaining part of his journey without farther injury to his health;
and from the exemplary piety and general benevolence of her revered
Father, she had flattered herself that he would, if possible, offer
him an asylum till that period arrived. She forbore mentioning any
thing of the Marchese, and even of Paoli, and entirely avoided the
subject of his imprisonment.

Father Benedicta, who regarded her, during this discourse, with a look
of tenderness and admiration that encouraged her to proceed, easily
discovered, from the timid hesitation of her manner, that she was not
only much concerned in the fate of the stranger, but that there was
something connected with the affair which prudence forbade her to

Having desisted from any inquiry that might tend to heighten her
anxiety, he readily assented to her desire of affording him a place of
security, appointing an hour in which he would meet them at the end of
the eastern rampart, for the purpose of conducting him to the

As soon as the Friar was departed, Madame Chamont formed an excuse to
Laurette for her absence, and then returned towards the tower, where
she found La Roque considerably revived by the salutary relief which
the castle had afforded, and anxious to assure her of the extent of
his gratitude.

Having seated herself by his side, she informed him of her newly
concerted scheme of placing him in the monastery under the patronage
and protection of Father Benedicta, whose benevolent acquiescence had
delivered her, she added, from much apprehension and perplexity on his
account, from which place he might escape in the dress of the order;
and should his flight be discovered by the return of the steward, he
might be easily defended from the vigilance of his pursuers in so holy
a disguise.

This proposal, that promised at once secrecy and security, was
accepted with transport; and La Roque being evidently much recovered
by the attentions bestowed upon him since his confinement, Madame
Chamont made some inquiries concerning his daughter, who she learned
was consigned to the care of a generous protector; and then reminded
him of the promise made to her at the post-house of relating his
story, at the same time desiring him to desist if he found himself
unequal to the task.

Having acknowledged the justice of the claim, and given his assent to
the proposition, he hesitated for a few moments, as if to acquire
additional fortitude; and then checking a tear, the obtrusion of which
seemed to have been occasioned by the recollection of some recent
calamity, he thus began his narration.

Volume 2

Chapter 1


List a brief tale.
And when 'tis told, Oh! that my heart would break.
The bloody proclamation to escape.

'My real name, which from unavoidable circumstances I have for some
time disguised under that of La Roque, is Conte della Croisse.' Madame
Chamont started, and with much difficulty concealing her emotions, La
Roque proceeded:

'Being early in life deprived of my parents, I was consigned by my
father to the guardianship of the late Marchese de Montferrat; and,
immediately on his decease, quitted Naples, the ancient seat of my
ancestors, and repaired to the environs of Turin.

'Being too young to know the extent of my loss, the affectionate
behaviour of the Marchese, and still gentler attentions of the
Marchesa, soon relieved me from unpleasant recollections, and restored
me to my former felicity. Masters were procured to instruct me in the
classics and different sciences; as it was the particular request of
my dying father, who had an unconquerable aversion to public
seminaries, that my education should be a private one.

'My time, now chiefly devoted to literary pursuits, fled rapidly away;
and my guardian beheld the progress I made with satisfaction and

'The family at the Castello St Aubin, consisted of the Marchese, the
Marchesa, one daughter (who was somewhat younger than myself), and a
large number of domestics.

'The hospitality and generosity inseparable from the inhabitants of
this princely abode, was become proverbial. Every countenance
expressed disinterested affection, content, and innocence; and every
breast was animated with truth, sincerity, and virtue.

'The first serious uneasiness I experienced, after the loss of my
parents, was occasioned by the death of the Marchesa, who died, much
regretted, in consequence of a fever that proved fatal after a few
days' illness. The Marchese was for some time inconsolable for her
loss, and instead of mixing as usual with the world, abandoned himself
to solitude; till an habitual melancholy was stealing gradually upon
his mind, which threatened the most unhappy consequences.

'Whilst he was yet yielding to the influence of unavailing regret, he
received a visit from a relation who had been some years abroad, and
for whom he had conceived a peculiar regard. This unexpected event had
so happy an effect upon him, that with much persuasion, he consented
to accompany his friend on an expedition to Verona, for the recovery
of his health and spirits.

'He had not been there long before he was struck with the singular
beauty of a young Signora, much his inferior in point of rank and
fortune, but whose person, he imagined, resembled that of the once
lovely Marchesa. Opportunity threw her frequently in his way, and,
finding her affections were disengaged, he offered her his hand, which
she readily accepted; and the marriage being solemnized during the
Marchese's continuance at Verona, they returned to the Castello.

'It was easy to discover, even on a transient acquaintance, that the
mind of the young Marchesa was much inferior to that of her
predecessor; with whose manners, the haughtiness of disposition she
early displayed, formed a striking contrast. She did not long,
however, enjoy newly acquired dignities; but having given birth to a
son about a year after her marriage, soon afterwards expired.

'About this period, Helena, the daughter of my guardian, having
completed her education at Naples, returned to the Castello. Her
vivacity and sweetness of demeanour soon dissipated the clouds that
shaded the brow of the Marchese, and diffused universal tranquillity
around. During the infancy of the young Signor, her brother, she
attended to him with the undeviating affection of a parent; and the
family, under her gentle authority, were re-instated in their original

'To have been continually in the presence of the beautiful Helena
without feeling the power of her attractions, would justly have
exposed me to the imputation of stoicism; a short time convinced me
that I had too little of that cold philosophy in my heart to be
insensible to the most modest graces of her person, or the angelic
sweetness of her disposition. I had soon the consolation of
discovering that our feelings were mutual, and had the satisfaction of
perceiving that the Marchese beheld this growing attachment with

'The period was now arrived in which some knowledge of the world was
supposed to be requisite; and, accompanied by another young nobleman,
whose name was Berlotto, I made the tour of Europe.

'Having visited several of the principal Courts, and seen the most
valuable vestiges of antiquity, my companion became weary of the
expedition, and expressed his impatience to return; but as much
remained to be seen, which was sufficiently interesting to merit
observation, and as yet my thirst for information was ungratified, I
was deaf to the intreaties he employed for the accomplishment of his
desire, till an alarming account of the declining health of the
Marchese altered my resolution.

'On my arrival at the Castello St Aubin I found him much worse than I
had reason to apprehend; and soon afterwards the progress of his
disorder was so rapid as to preclude the probability of a recovery.
Perfectly sensible of his danger, he summoned me to the side of his
bed; and, warmly commending the young Signor to my friendship and
protection, soon afterwards expired.

'It was now necessary to exert all the fortitude that Nature had
bestowed upon me, as well to rouse myself from the state of
despondency that succeeded the death of so valuable a friend, as to
mitigate the sorrows of the affectionate Helena. During the illness of
the Marchese, a female relation of his was sent for to the Castello,
who was now resident in the family. She was past the bloom of youth;
but possessed some accomplishments and much good-humour, and seemed
anxious to afford consolation.

'When the time of mourning was expired, and grief had in some measure
yielded to the certain effects of time, finding that Helena still
continued to receive my attentions with courtesy, I ventured to
declare my love. She was too frank, too innocent for disguise; and,
confessing a mutual attachment, gave me her hand at once, to reward
and to confirm my virtues.

'After this event, as the time of my minority was expired, we repaired
to Naples; and, in that city, enjoyed more pure and uninterrupted
felicity than usually falls to the lot of mortality.

'The young Signor, now Marchese de Montferrat, soon after the
celebration of our nuptials, was removed to a public school in the
vicinity; and from the proficiency he made in all the branches of
literature, and the early genius he displayed, attained every mark of
distinction to which he had ambitiously aspired. But, as he arrived
towards manhood, it was easy to discover that his mind possessed more
brilliancy than energy; and through the exterior accomplishments of
the gentleman, an accurate observer might distinguish some qualities,
which, though early veiled in dissimulation, were unpromising as well
to the man as to the scholar.--He wished to appear virtuous, without
doing violence to his inclinations by becoming so; refusing to deny
himself the smallest gratification to obtain, what is much more
estimable than popular applause, the approbation of his own heart.
Wearing publicly the semblance of goodness, he so far succeeded in his
desires as to impose himself upon the greater part of the world, who
are only superficial observers, as a miracle of worth and honour.

'About a year after our marriage, the happiness we had hitherto
enjoyed was augmented by the birth of a son; which event was
celebrated by a fete, given at a beautiful villa in the environs of
Naples, to which, as a summer residence, we frequently resorted.

'On this occasion, several of the Neapolitan Nobles were present, and,
amongst others, the Conte de Pietro, who was introduced to me by an
acquaintance with whom I had been lately in habits of intimacy, having
newly arrived in the province.

'This much-esteemed courtier was just returned from his travels; and,
compared with many that were present, who had seen life with equal
advantages, displayed many shining perfections--in conversation he was
polite, easy, and communicative; and there was an air of unreserve,
and at the same time, of dignity in his manners, which could not fail
to attract the admiration of congenial minds. The deference he paid to
my opinion in every subject of discourse, and the warmth with which he
applauded every sentiment I expressed, could not fail of exciting
somewhat of vanity in my breast, when I perceived the countenances of
others soliciting his regard without equal success.--From this aera I
date most of my succeeding misfortunes. We had early conceived a
partiality for each other; and I naturally considered a man of his
easy address, fashionable accomplishments, and literary attainments,
as a most valuable acquisition to my domestic happiness.

'The affluence of his circumstances enabled him to indulge himself
unrestrainedly in those pleasures to which he was the most addicted,
and allowed him the gratification of performing many acts of
benevolence, which considerably exalted him in my estimation.

'The dissipation of the metropolis was every way suited to the gaiety
of his mind, where his rank, his person, and his lively parts quickly
introduced him into the first assemblies; gaining him universal
applause in all places of public resort which he honoured with his

'With the other sex he was a general favourite; for he was by no means
insensible to the attractions of beauty, though he might be said to be
incapable of a sincere and honourable attachment. No dissimulation,
however, veiled for a moment his natural character: he was
ostentatious in his gallantries, and open in his amours. He smiled
when I expatiated on the happiness arising from the endearments of a
beloved wife and a beautiful offspring; for his attentions having been
confined to the gay, the light, and the dissipated, he knew not the
value of an inviolable attachment. Anxious to lead me from those home-
bred pleasures that my Helena had endeared to me, he used many
arguments for the accomplishment of his purpose; and though at first
they were firmly opposed, yet, becoming by degrees too powerful for
resistance, they at length finally succeeded.

'When the mind once deviates from the path of virtue, it soon becomes
reconciled to vice; and the habits of life into which I was
continually led, began imperceptibly to destroy my natural feelings of
rectitude, and to take from depravity the restraints of conscience.

'From a long course of perpetual and, I may add, guilty indulgences,
what had formerly afforded the most serene satisfaction, became
tasteless and disgusting; since the most worthy occupations were
exchanged for debauchery, and that time, which used formerly to be
devoted to the welfare of my family, was divided between the Theatre,
the Opera, and the Gaming-house.

'The Contessa's attachment to the country occasioned her to reside
chiefly at the villa; and, as she partook but little of the amusements
of Naples, she was for some time spared the uneasiness which a
knowledge of my excesses would have inevitably produced. At first she
expressed some degree of pleasure at my having found entertainment in
society; but when my absences became more frequent, though she forbore
reproaches, her countenance sufficiently testified her disapprobation
of my conduct.

'A daughter was now added to our family; after which event my wife was
for some weeks so ill that her life was supposed to be in danger,
during which time my anxiety was so great that I never quitted her
room; but, contrary to my expectation, the disease, when arrived at
the crisis, took a favourable turn, and she recovered. My joy at this
moment was beyond all bounds; for a sense of her condition had
recalled me to reason, and I felt anxious, by convincing her of my
affection, to atone for the errors of my past conduct.

'No sooner was she restored to my wishes, than I received a visit from
the Conte de Pietro, who congratulated me on this happy event; and
observing that I looked ill, and that too much confinement had injured
my health, endeavoured to prevail upon me to accompany him on an
excursion to Padua. At first I persisted in rejecting the proposal;
but Helena, whose mind was reassured by the attention I had paid her
in retirement, and with the tender anxiety I had discovered on her
account, prevailed upon me to accept of it, and in a few days we
commenced our journey.

Chapter 2

Waked--from according Lyres the sweet restrain flows
In symphony divine; from air to air.
The trembling numbers fly, swift bursts away
The flow of joy.

'Not many days after my arrival in Padua, as I was walking with De
Pietro, by the side of the Brenta, our steps were arrested by the
tones of a lute, accompanied by a female voice, which breathed such
exquisite sweetness that we were unable to move from the spot. Whilst
we still continued to listen, in wrapt and silent attention, the
strain ceased, the plaintive notes of the instrument died into
silence, and, in a few moments, we perceived a gondola, from which the
melodious accents proceeded, approaching towards the margin of the
river. Anxious to behold the musician and songstress who had possessed
such powers of enchantment over us, we still lingered on the banks
till the gondoliers rested upon their oars, and we beheld two females
come on shore, who were escorted by a young Signor apparently of the
middle rank of life.--They were both veiled; but the graceful figure
of the younger, for the other seemed to have passed the summer of her
days, chiefly attracted our regard. Fancy had portrayed a face not
less beautiful than the form to which it belonged; and I was anxious
to be assured whether she had not been too profuse of her colouring,
when a ruder breeze from the water wafted aside the light texture of
her veil, and discovered the original.

'It was a face that could not be gazed upon with indifference; it did
not possess the insipid uniformity of perfect beauty; but there was
something in it infinitely more attractive than the most exact harmony
of feature could have bestowed, divested of that inexpressible charm,
which gave animation and loveliness to the whole. The blush that
suffused her cheek, at being thus unexpectedly exposed to the rude
gaze of admiration, gave new graces to her person. Having directed her
eyes upwards, which were dazzlingly bright, she drew her veil over her
face, with a look that expressed somewhat of distress; and taking the
arm of her companion, hastened along the banks of the river.

'The Conte having intimated a desire to follow them to their home, I
gladly consented to attend him; and, keeping a respectful distance, we
followed slowly behind.

'Our way lay, for a considerable time, along the borders of the
Brenta; and during this pursuit the beautiful Stranger frequently
turned, as if to discern whether we were near them; and then, in
apparent confusion, hastened her steps, as if anxious to elude our

'Having ascended the cliff, contrary to our expectation, they took a
road which did not lead into the city; and the young Signor that
attended them, who appeared to be only a school-boy, having resigned
the lute which he had carried for the beautiful songstress, took a
contrary direction.

'Our curiosity was now too much excited to enable us to relinquish a
project, whose novelty was attended with so much pleasure; and having
proceeded through a vista, we reached the confines of a simple but
elegant villa, whose situation was equally secluded and picturesque:--
It was seated upon a gentle acclivity; and being nearly surrounded
with groves of citron, acacia, and mountain ash, which were tastefully
interspersed with a number of variegated shrubs peculiar to the
climate of Italy, formed one of the most delightful landscapes we had
ever seen.

'Having arrived within a few paces of a gate, leading into a kind of
shrubbery, which seemed to be a private entrance, the laws of
politeness would have compelled us to recede, had not the necessity of
this conduct been prevented by a trifling occurrence:

'A snake, which had concealed itself in the grass, had assailed the
ankle of the youngest Signora, and the alarm this circumstance
occasioned was so excessive, that I had no sooner flown to her
assistance, and accomplished her release from this venomous attack,
than she fell senseless in my arms. A rivulet that wandered among the
recesses of the shade, inclosing this sylvan retreat, supplied us with
water, and soon afterwards, to my unspeakable satisfaction, she

'When this was effected, the elder lady abounded in the most eloquent
expressions of gratitude, whilst the young one thanked me rather with
her looks than with her words.

'Having supported the fair invalid into the mansion, we were ushered
into a room genteelly, but not expensively furnished, where we were
courteously accommodated with seats; and when the alarm was dispelled
that this little accident had produced, had the consolation of seeing
the countenance of the interesting stranger animated with smiles, and
sparkling with intelligence. She called me her deliverer; and when
addressing herself to me, there was a bewitching softness in her eyes,
a fascination in her voice and manners, that would have warmed a heart
less susceptible than mine. In those moments even Helena was forgot;
and, as the Conte steadfastly observed my emotions, there was an air
of triumph in his countenance when I adverted to the incident that had
obtained for us the gratification we desired, which did not escape my

'Laurentina, which was the name of the syren, at the desire of Signora
Bairdiella, who was her aunt, presented us with some fruit, the
produce of her garden; and then, at our joint solicitation, took her
lute, which she again touched with exquisite expression, and performed
some of the finest Italian compositions with inimitable grace and

'The hours flew so rapidly away that it was late before we departed;
which we could not prevail upon ourselves to accelerate without
requesting permission to repeat our visit at a more convenient season.

'In this we succeeded; and so well availed ourselves of this
indulgence, that not a day passed in which we did not repair together,
or severally, to the villa of Salazzar.

'Laurentina possessed wit, sentiment, and tenderness--every thing I
valued most, and least expected to find united with such youth and
beauty; and was apparently so much interested in my appearance, and so
much flattered by my attentions and conversation, that I felt
unusually delighted in her presence. Every interview tended to
increase her partiality in my favour, as well as to convince me that
my attachment to her person and accomplishments was become too
powerful for resistance, and that her society was necessary to my
happiness, if not to my existence.

'After about a fortnight's residence in the city, the Conte de Pietro
discontinued his visits to the villa; observing with a sarcastic
smile, at which I was not so much offended as I ought to have been,
that though Laurentina was as beautiful as an angel, he was too much
my friend to endeavour to deprive me of so inestimable a jewel; then
assuring me that if I continued the siege, she would not long continue
inexorable. He proceeded to inform me of some traits in the character
of her aunt, Signora Bairdiella, particularly that of avarice, which
might eventually prove favourable to my wishes; and of some hints
which he had received from a native of Padua respecting the conduct of
Laurentina. They were of a nature to encourage hope, and I felt still
more elevated at the discovery. 'The ascendancy over me that the Conte
possessed, was increased by a more powerful attraction than what had
hitherto cemented our affections--from the infatuated regard which my
own vanity and susceptibility, as much as her own art and loveliness
had made me experience for Laurentina.

'When under the dominion of passion we are insensible to the influence
of reason, Vice, on a nearer acquaintance, loses her deformity; and
the mind abating in its vigour, and being no longer able to resist the
force of temptation, finally espouses her cause.

'Having given a thousand imaginary perfections to the object of my
admiration, of which I could not easily divest her, the enterprize in
which I had engaged, on a transient survey appeared to me more
difficult than it eventually proved, which the extreme innocence of
Laurentina's looks and manners contributed to increase, at the same
time that it established the affection I had conceived for her on a
firmer basis.

'The unbounded hospitality with which I had been treated by Signora
Bertola, ever since the commencement of our acquaintance, aided by the
respectful politeness that accompanied her attentions, were
circumstances favourable to my wishes; particularly as I had never
imposed myself upon her niece as an unmarried man, and she was too
much a woman of the world to mistake the warm addresses of the lover,
for the temperate assiduity of the friend.

'Having some reason to believe, from what I had heard from De Pietro,
that she would not oppose my designs upon her beautiful dependant, I
requested an audience with her in private; and, after avowing my
passion for Laurentina, proposed a handsome addition to her own
fortune, with a considerable settlement upon her niece, on her consent
to accompany me to Naples. I lamented that it was not in my power to
offer her my hand; but did not neglect to assure her that unremitting
attention should be paid to her desires, since the affection her merit
had excited would find its chief gratification in ensuring her

'At first she objected to the proposition with a degree of
earnestness, which, considering what was past, and the report I had
heard previous to this declaration, filled me with surprise and
consternation; but the largeness of my offers eventually silenced her
scruples, and she promised to exert her influence in my cause.

'I did not long suffer the tortures of suspense; but the conditions
were such that, if I had not proceeded too far to recede, would have
recalled me to the path of rectitude: they were, that if, during the
lifetime of Laurentina, I should be left in a state of widowhood, I
was to repair her injured reputation by making her Contessa della
Croisse, should I have no reason to suspect her fidelity.

'This promise was to be delivered to Signora Bairdiella in writing;--I
complied, but shuddered as I penned it. The image of my Helena was
presented to my imagination at the moment when I was going to desert
her; the meek, the unoffending innocence of her conduct, her purity,
her tenderness, the unaffected graces of her person appeared as rising
up in judgment against me, and staggered my resolution. But one
empassioned look from the insidious Laurentina, one word from her,
uttered in the tremulous accents of genuine affection, were sufficient
to silence the eloquent pleadings of reason, and to stifle the
impulses of virtue and compassion.

'The time now drew near in which we were to quit Padua, and already
had I received several letters from my wife which gently chided my
absence; and having previously taken lodgings for Laurentina, in one
of the principal streets in the city, for her immediate reception, we
proceeded towards Naples. With a heart not much at ease, I placed my
fair favourite in her new situation, and repaired to the villa.

'Those who have lost that calm dignity of mind that accompanies
conscious rectitude, will only form an adequate idea of my feelings.
When I met those artless expressions of unalterable regard which
marked the deportment of Helena, I felt a sensation of anguish at that
moment more keen than I had ever experienced, and would have given
worlds to have regained that integrity of soul which I was now capable
of estimating--that internal satisfaction which is the offspring of
uncorrupted virtue. Reflection now became torture; and, unable to
escape from it whilst thus exposed to its influence, I fought to bury
it in dissipation.

'The conversation of Helena could only bestow a charm on minds serene
and angel-like as her's; and what had formerly so largely contributed
to my happiness, now became my aversion; I felt my inferiority, and
wished to hide it from all, and even from myself.

'My time was now chiefly divided between Laurentina and the Conte de
Pietro; for the former I took a house in one of the squares, which was
furnished with much expence and magnificence suitable to her taste and

'To conceal Laurentina from the knowledge of the Contessa, was a
matter which was attended with but little difficulty; since her mind
was too pure for suspicion and jealousy, and it was easy for a less
able dissembler than myself to deceive her. Independent of this, I had
also an experienced assistant in the Conte, who frequently, in her
presence, delivered a lecture upon the wise government of wives; in
which there was something so smart, and yet so unoffending, that it
was impossible not to be pleased with him.

'But when my absences became still more frequent, the mild dejection
of her looks testified her uneasiness at my conduct, whilst I was
compelled to hide the pang of distress and the stingings of remorse,
under an affected appearance of gaiety.

'When nearly two years had elapsed, I found my expenses were so
materially increased, having also lost many considerable sums at the
gaming-table, that I began to be seriously alarmed. Laurentina, under
a character which she had artfully assumed for the accomplishment of
my destruction, disguised many of her sex's frailties: she was
passionately fond of equipage and shew, and was not only elegant, but
magnificent in her attire. The profusion of jewels she demanded were
adequate to the expenses of my household; and finding that my
situation was becoming desperate, I hinted the affair to De Pietro,
who advised me to forsake Laurentina.

'Though from the uneasy sensations I had experienced ever since the
commencement of my folly, a separation would assuredly have been
desirable; but there appeared a degree of cruelty in this method of
proceeding which I could not immediately reconcile to my feelings. The
Conte anticipated my meaning, and took some pains to convince me, that
amours of that kind did not require that delicacy of sentiment which I
believed to be requisite; for having made a settlement upon the
Signora, her person and accomplishments, he added, would easily
procure her another lover; and she might possibly be a gainer by the

'The idea of her encouraging the addresses of another, my passion was
not sufficiently cooled to reflect upon without emotion, and I
replied, with some warmth, that I did not believe it possible that the
affections of Laurentina could be transferred; and having been the
means of wounding her reputation, I considered myself indisputably
bound to protect her. The Conte regarded me with a look of surprise
and dissatisfaction, and then asked, with an assumed gravity of
appearance, whether I did not suppose Laurentina had other admirers,
who were equally favoured with her attention?--I was too much
irritated by this question not to betray somewhat of anger; and
assured him, with a degree of impetuosity too natural to my character,
that nothing less than ocular demonstration should convince me that
she ever admitted any other visitors.

'The violence of my emotions during this discourse, too plainly
evinced that I was still the slave of an unfortunate attachment; and
De Pietro, with his usual address, finding the subject was a painful
one, endeavoured to change it; but that which he introduced was
foreign to my heart, and I could not join in it.

'When again alone, I began to reflect upon my situation with redoubled
energy; and, after much consideration, resolved immediately to visit
Laurentina, and to inform her, that the immense sums she had
squandered, threatened me with the most serious consequences; and that
it was necessary for her sake, as well as for my own, that new
measures should be adopted.

'Thus determined, I was hastening to execute my design when, having
arrived within a few steps of the door, I was agreeably surprised on
meeting with my old travelling companion, Signor Berlotte, who
expressed much pleasure at this unexpected event.

'He had not been many hours in the city; and having been informed at
Venice, where he was detained some time on business of an important
nature, that I had quitted Naples, he had not yet, he added, extended
his enquiries respecting my present place of residence; but as it was
now his intention to remain some months in that city, his happiness,
he assured me, would be materially augmented by my society.

'Though, in the early part of my life, I entertained no very high
opinion of the character of Berlotte, knowing that his sentiments were
mean, and his abilities contracted; yet allowing that years and
reflection might have refined the one, and expanded the other, though
I did not express myself on this occasion with equal warmth and
ardour, I was not insensible to his professions of friendship, or
undesirous of cultivating it.

'Having walked with him as far as the hotel, I requested that his
visits might be frequent and without ceremony; and, after giving him
my address, hasted back to Laurentina.

'Not expecting me at so early an hour, my visits being usually
nocturnal ones, I was told she was absent. Believing that she was only
gone on some trifling business, without regarding the answer, and
meaning to wait her return, I walked on to the saloon.

'Having entered this room, the first object that engaged my attention
was a small miniature portrait, suspended over the chimney-piece by a
chain of gold: It was the figure of a young Signor in a military
habit, of a noble and dignified appearance. The countenance was fine,
open, and impressive, and had at once an air of grandeur and of
sweetness. That this was some favoured lover of Laurentina's was an
idea that instantly occurred, and brought with it all the tortures of
jealousy and resentment. The words of De Pietro returned to my
recollection, who I now believed was acquainted with her inconstancy,
and was only prevented from disclosing it by an unreasonable warmth,
which determined me, on a next interview with him, to interrogate him
concerning her.

'When the first emotions of surprise and anger had subsided, I again
took the picture from its place, and was gazing upon it attentively,
when Laurentina entered.

'She started in visible confusion on observing me; but in a moment
recollecting herself, assumed an appearance of composure that filled
me with astonishment, since the miniature was still in my hand, which
I considered as a testimony of her falsehood;

'This, however, she seemed not to regard; but was advancing towards me
with one of those fascinating smiles, which had so often deceived me,
when I demanded, in an authoritative tone, for whom that portrait was
designed? She was too able a practitioner in the art of dissembling,
to suffer the least hesitation to betray her, and replied
emphatically, her brother. I regarded her earnestly as she spoke, but
the undaunted serenity of her countenance was unchanged; and having
expressed my surprise that I had never heard her speak of her brother,
she informed me that he had entered into the service of his country
very early in life, and having been some years abroad, he had sent her
that picture as a memento, which had lately been conveyed to her by
Signora Bairdiella.

'There was too much of the appearance of truth in this recital to
justify suspicion, which made me anxious, by the gentleness of my
manners, to atone for the want of confidence I had betrayed, as well
as to reward the patience with which she had supported it.

'This was no time for expatiating on the necessity of adopting a plan
of economy, being too much humbled by her artifice to propose any
thing on that subject; and having an engagement at the villa, I left
her with many expressions of tenderness, and hasted to fulfil it.

'The circumstance of the picture, and the conversation of the Conte,
in spite of all my efforts to the contrary, would frequently return to
my memory, and awaken unpleasant surmises. There was indeed nothing
improbable in the story of its being the portrait of her brother, nor
had I any reason, at present, to doubt her veracity; yet it by no
means amounted to conviction.

'Berlotte was now frequently at the villa, and generously made one in
our parties, on private as well as public occasions, though he was far
from being a general favourite. There was indeed nothing prepossessing
in his appearance; and he was justly suspected of shallowness and

'My wife, who was candour itself, could not sometimes forbear uttering
something to his disadvantage; his confidence distressed her, and his
conversation at once wounded her feelings, and excited disgust.

'I now anxiously sought an opportunity of questioning the Conte
concerning Laurentina; and was not long before I succeeded. I found
that nothing material could be alledged against her; but I was still
chagrined and unhappy. De Pietro observed my uneasiness, and being
convinced that a state of suspense is, of all others, the least
supportable, asked me if I would submit to a stratagem, that would at
once either remove or realize my suspicions. Having assured him that I
would gladly embrace any means that could be adopted with honour, he
proposed, that when I next visited Laurentina, I should inform her
that business of importance made me under the necessity of quitting
Naples for a few weeks. That on the supposition that I had put my
intentions in execution, she would consider herself at liberty to
follow her own inclinations; and in the mean time, avoiding detection,
I might observe her actions in those places of public resort to which
she was the most attached.

'This proposal was no sooner made than agreed to; and having
acquainted Laurentina with my design of leaving the city for a few
weeks, on an affair of importance, I became a spy upon her conduct.

'The masquerade was, I knew, a favourite diversion; and as this was
one of which the Contessa never partook, and a place of more security
than any other, I frequently spent my evenings there with Laurentina,
and determined to make my first trial there.

'I had not been long in this place before a number of dominos entered
the room. To ascertain her by her dress was I knew impossible, as she
seldom appeared twice in the same. But a figure of more than ordinary
elegance, who entered leaning upon the arm of a young Signor in a blue
domino, soon attracted my regard; and this, on a near view, I
conceived to be the object of my search. The jewels that braided her
hair, which I had lately presented to her, convinced me of the truth
of the conjecture; and the suspicion that the person who attended her
was a lover, was soon lost in conviction.

'It was with much difficulty that I was enabled to forbear discovering
myself to her, and of upbraiding her with the infamy of her

'My endeavours to overhear any part of the conversation were
unsuccessful, as it was invariably delivered in a whisper; yet I still
followed, in hopes of hearing something of which I might openly accuse
her, till the rest of the company unmasking, they suddenly retreated.

Chapter 3

Know'st thou not.
That when the searching eye of heav'n is hid
Behind the globe, and lights the lower world.
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen.
In murders and in outrage, bloody here?
But when from under this terrestrial ball
He fires the proud tops of the Eastern pines.
And darts his light through ev'ry guilty hole.
Then treasons, murders, and detested sins.
The cloak of night being pluck'd from off their backs.
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves.

'The various emotions of rage, jealousy, and remorse that the
conviction of her falsehood had awakened, for some time deprived me of
the power of action; and in a frame of mind little short of
distraction, I returned again to the villa.

'The ruin to which her artifice was leading me, now flashed upon my
mind; the altered looks of the Contessa added keenness to my
affliction, and I felt all the miseries of guilt and anguish.

'Several days passed before I had fixed upon any mode of proceeding
respecting Laurentina; in which time the agitation of my mind was so
great, that my situation was thought to be alarming.

'Affairs were in this train when a Monk of the Crucifix Order arrived
at the villa, who having intimated that his business was of moment,
requested an audience.

'Being admitted into a private apartment, after strictly enjoining me
to secrecy as to what he was about to relate, in a manner not less
singular than impressive, he proceeded to inform me of a piece of
treachery, which had been unfolded to him at the confessional of the
Order of the Holy Cross.

'Who the penitent was by whom the confession was made, was, he added,
unknown to him; and even could it have been ascertained, the rules of
the church absolutely forbade a discovery. But that a female had
attended on the preceding day, who appeared to suffer much from the
horrors of an awakened conscience; and, after an endeavour on his part
to console her with promises of forgiveness on a candid avowal of her
sins, she began to disclose the cause of her remorse.

'She had, she said, yielded to the solicitations of a young man, that
was employed by a courtezan, whose name was Laurentina Bertola, to
administer poison to the Contessa della Croisse. That he had addressed
her as a lover, and had so far insinuated himself into her affections
and wrought upon her by his promises, that she had finally consented.
Since which time she had suffered such dreadful, such uneasy
sensations, that she was resolved to abandon the project. And the idea
of having agreed to participate in a crime of such magnitude, returned
so forcibly upon her mind, that she had hasted to the Confessional, at
once to disburthen her conscience, and to obtain absolution.

'As it appeared probable to the Father that, without timely
interference, some other person would be employed to commit this
atrocious murder, he had, he continued, taken the earliest opportunity
of apprizing me of it.

'He then repeated his former injunctions respecting my secrecy in what
he had unfolded; since, if known, not even the necessity of the case
would excuse his disobedience to the ecclesiastical laws: the nature
of a confession never being permitted to be made public, unless the
priest to whom it is made, is called upon by the Courts of the
Inquisition to prove something which cannot otherwise be known in
cases where, for capital offences, the culprit is either punishable
according to the severe rules of that institution, or is given lip to
the civil powers, as in cases of murder, or of any other crime not
bearing the imputation of sacrilege.

'Surprise, horror, and resentment almost deprived me of utterance; but
when the first tumults had subsided, and the Monk had quitted the
villa, I loaded the authoress of my misfortunes with the most bitter
invectives; and having already formed a resolution never more to enter
her doors; but to make an assignation with her that I might convince
her I was not ignorant of her perfidy and ingratitude, I repaired to
an hotel.

'From this place I wrote a billet, in which I desired that she would
meet me in a retired spot in the evening, having something of
importance to communicate to her in private. In this I avoided
mentioning her name, and having given it to my valet, with orders for
him to convey it immediately as directed, hastened to the Conte de

'He was from home, and finding that he was not expected till the
evening, I was for some time irresolute how to dispose of myself, not
being sufficiently tranquil to be able to see Helena, who expressed
much anxiety about my health, without adding to her distress; which
determined me, after some consideration, to return again to the hotel,
and to wait there the hour in which I had appointed to meet

'Never shall I forget with what sensations I quitted this place, when
I went to fulfill the engagement--when I went to accuse the fair cause
of all my griefs and inquietude of premeditated guilt, and, by one
desperate exertion, to tear myself from her presence for ever.

The destined spot was near the borders of the sea; it yet wanted some
minutes of the time, and seating myself upon a fragment of rock, in a
state of mind not easy to describe, I listened to the moaning waves of
the ocean with divided attention, till the murmur of voices at a
distance roused me from my place. I started, without considering that
it was unlikely that she would bring an attendant; and, before I had
time for conjecture, perceived that the voices approached nearer to
the spot, and soon afterwards distinguished these words, which were
pronounced in low and tremulous accents:

'His frequent visits have distressed me more than I can express; and I
must, if possible, be released from them. You know how much I have
suffered, and that he is now more than ever my aversion.

'The answer was nearly lost in the flutter of the breeze; but I could
easily discover it was the voice of a man.

'In a few moments the female advanced towards me; I did not suppose it
could be any other than Laurentina, though her features were not
perceptible, for her veil and the deepening shades of the twilight
completely concealed them from my view.

'Having now a fresh proof of her ingratitude, as I felt assured that I
was the subject of their discourse, my rage increased to such a height
at the idea of having been so long the dupe of an infamous designing
woman, that nothing less than the death she meditated against the most
amiable of her sex, seemed adequate to her crime. Thus being worked
into a fit of desperation by the violence of contending passions,
without reverting to the cause, I obeyed the impulse of my feelings,
and instantly drawing my stilette from my cloak, plunged it into her

'She fell!--but just Heaven! what was the horror of my situation when
I heard my own name pronounced, in a voice which was not Laurentina's,
but which I immediately recognized as that of my wife, my much-injured

'This dreadful conviction was succeeded by a state of insensibility,
from which it was long before I awoke to a sense of my irremediable
crimes and misfortunes; when I did, I found myself in the hotel which
I usually frequented, attended by Dc Pietro and the Marchese de

'As soon as the powers of recollection were returned, I asked eagerly
for my wife; their looks told me she was no more; and I relapsed into
a state little short of distraction.

'My death was hourly expected, but the measure of my woes was not yet
full, and I recovered. I then declared the fatal mistake which had
occasioned this mournful catastrophe, and found, from the confession
of a servant, who sometimes carried letters to Laurentina, that he had
received a bribe from Berlotte to deliver the next into his hands; who
having artfully altered it, to suit it better to his purpose, inclosed
it in a cover, and directing it to the Contessa della Croisse, ordered
it to be conveyed to the villa.

'She had expressed her surprise at this strange appointment in the
presence of her brother, the Marchese de Montferrat, who offered to
accompany her, in a carriage, within a few yards of the place, as to
walk so far in her weak state was impossible, and to wait her return
at a convenient distance.

'This accounted for the voices I had heard, and the subject of the
discourse; doubtless Berlotte, who had long secretly endeavoured to
insinuate himself into the affections of Helena, as the most effectual
way, attempted to convince her of my falsehood.

'When the violent effects of overwhelming distress had in some degree
subsided, I found, upon enquiry, that this melancholy affair had been
managed with so much secrecy by the Conte and Marchese de Montferrat,
that it was not generally understood. The rumour that prevailed was,
that the Contessa della Croisse was assassinated when walking
unattended by the Bay of Naples, and it was supposed, though the cause
could not be investigated, that it was perpetrated by one of those
inhuman wretches who are too frequently hired for that dreadful

'It was long before I had courage to enquire for my children; when I
did, I learned that Vescolini, my son, was placed under the care of
one of his mother's relations in Germany; and that my daughter was
entered as a boarder in a neighbouring convent.

'The grief of the Conte de Pietro, who considered himself as the
primary cause of my misfortunes, though it was more calm, was but
little inferior to my own. What he before termed innocent amusement,
and attempted to palliate by the appellation of youthful levities, he
now discovered might lead to the most serious consequences, and be
productive of the most fatal effects. A short time after this event,
which had so materially affected his peace, he formed the design of
entering into a monastery of Carthusians, and soon afterwards put it
into execution.

'I would gladly have retired with him from the world, and have
submitted with him to the severe discipline of the Holy Fathers, and
had once adopted the resolution, but it was shaken by the entreaties
of the Conte.

'He bade me to consider my children, to watch over their educations,
particularly that of my son; and to guard him from those fatal errors
which had caused such severe calamity, and which inevitably lead to
lasting misery.

'During my illness he attended me with the greatest care and humanity,
never allowing Laurentina or any thing relative to the subject to be
mentioned in my hearing, till I was sufficiently recovered to bear it
with calmness; and then informed me that she was, by his orders,
conveyed to her former place of residence, and that the settlement
which she demanded, he had ordered to be paid.

'Persisting in his resolution of abandoning the world, he began to
make every necessary preparation; and having wrested a promise from me
not to avenge myself on Berlotte or Laurentina, but to leave them to
the tortures of a guilty conscience, he hastily quitted Naples, which
was become no longer supportable, and endeavoured to take refuge from
inquietude in the gloom of a monastery.

'When my health was so far re-established as to enable me to leave my
room, and dismiss my physician, I began to form some plan for my
future conduct. Society was now become irksome to me; every object
reminded me of her I had lost, and I finally resolved to quit the
scene of my guilt and my sorrows, and to bury myself in a castello
situated amid the solitudes of the Apennines. This to me appeared more
eligible than even a monastic life, since here I should find
interesting companions in my children, who were all that could make
life desirable.

'This resolution being fixed, I acquainted the young Marchese with my
intention, whose recent rectitude of conduct had considerably exalted
him in my esteem. At first he objected to the plan with some warmth,
but finding, from a second review of the subject, the propriety of the
measure, he offered his assistance in the regulation of my affairs.

'The immense debts I had contracted during my connection with
Laurentina, I found, upon enquiry, had been discharged by the Conte de
Pietro previous to his seclusion; and, also, that he had settled the
greater part of his princely fortune upon my son, which was made over
to a person, selected as a guardian in trust, till he should arrive at
years of maturity.

'Fearing that, by coming to the knowledge of this affair, I should
endeavour to frustrate his generous design, he had left Naples
precipitately, without even informing me, or any of his associates, of
his place of destination.

'Vescolini being still in Germany, I wrote to acquaint his relation
with the plan I had projected, and to request his return; but the
arguments he made use of to prevail upon me to permit him to remain
under his protection, at least for the present, were so persuasive
that I consented to his wishes.

'My daughter, my little Helena, whom I had not seen since the
commencement of my misfortunes, I ordered to be conveyed from her
convent; and soon afterwards, attended by a small number of domestics,
we proceeded on our journey by slow and easy stages, till we arrived
at this long forsaken mansion, which had been for many centuries the
abode of the Contes della Croisse.

'Here many years passed in uninterrupted retirement. My son's visits,
though not frequent, were long; the education of my daughter employed
much of my leisure; and though moments of dejection would occasionally
intrude, my griefs in some measure had yielded to the influence of
time, and I began to taste something like tranquillity.

'The Marchese de Montferrat having finished his minority, took
possession of the Castello St Aubin; and some time after this event,
Vescolini being on a visit to this relation, accidentally saw a young
beauty that was under the care of Madame Laronne, a widow of quality,
who occupied a chateau in the neighbourhood of Turin, with whom he
became instantly enamoured. Her charms were also too powerful for the
Marchese to withstand, who soon became a passionate admirer.'

Here Madame Chamont heaved a deep sigh, and covered her face with her
handkerchief, to hide the blushes and tears this narration excited,
whilst La Roque proceeded:

'I knew that during my son's residence in Germany he had embraced what
is sometimes termed the Reformed Religion; and found, upon enquiry,
that the lady he addressed was a Catholic, which had instigated her to
discourage his attention, and finally to reject the alliance. Being at
too great a distance from Turin to obtain a thorough knowledge of the
affair, and having previously determined not to influence my son in a
matter of such importance to his future happiness, I awaited the
result without further enquiry.

'But, merciful Heaven! what was my grief and my astonishment when I
was informed that Vescolini was assassinated in the streets of Naples
by one of the Lazarone; whither he had repaired to arrange his affairs
before his intended marriage.

'Who was the author of this bloody deed was for some time unknown; but
being at last discovered by an inhabitant of that city, through the
confession of the wretch employed, I was informed that the villain who
had stooped to this base, cruel, and dishonourable method of
gratifying an unconquerable passion, was the Marchese de Montferrat.'

Madame Chamont, being now no longer able to restrain her emotions,
sobbed aloud; whilst La Roque, who was unacquainted with the cause,
regarded her with redoubled tenderness, and hastily drying the tears
that fell in torrents from his eyes, continued his recital.

'Scarcely could I credit the assertion, till undeniable proofs
rendering unbelief obstinacy, I could no longer be deceived.

'In the desperation of the moment I resolved to see him immediately,
and publicly accuse him of these infamous proceedings; but a fever,
the consequence of extreme agitation of mind, prevented my design. Yet
though disabled from verbally declaring my resentment, as soon as I
had regained strength enough for the purpose, I wrote to assure him
that the crime he had committed was of too great magnitude to sink
into oblivion, and that it called aloud for justice.

'This menace had the effect I might have expected; he had satisfied
the Ecclesiastical Powers, and having of course nothing to fear from
the Civil, now vowed vengeance against his accuser. Soon after this I
received a letter from a person whose name was concealed, but who I
supposed was the Marchese's former steward, because I knew him to be a
benevolent character, informing me that my life was in danger so long
as I continued in my present abode; and that if I was anxious to
preserve my existence, I must take another name, and remove my family
from the Apennines, without further delay.

'Having availed myself of this intelligence, I assumed the name and
character of a Frenchman, the better to disguise me from notice; I
hastened with my daughter into Germany, meaning to have taken refuge
in a convent.

'With the circumstance of our being assaulted by banditti you are
already acquainted; and it was from your bounty we were enabled to
proceed, which I hope soon to have an opportunity of doubly repaying.'

Madame Chamont having assured him that she would never allow him to
repay the trifle it gave her so much pleasure to bestow, requested
that he would relate what happened to them after having quitted the
inn; and inform her, since he had so long escaped the vigilance of
those who were in pursuit of him, by what strange chance he had at
last fallen into the hands of his persecutors.

Chapter 4

To thee, yon Abbey, dark and lone.
Where ivy chains each mould'ring stone.
That nods o'er many a martyr's tomb.
May cast a formidable gloom;
Yet some there are, that free from fear.
Could wander through these cloisters drear.
And dauntless view, or seem to view.
As faintly flash the lightnings blue.
Thin shiv'ring ghosts from yawning charnels throng.
And glance, with silent sweep, the shaggy vaults along.

'Having, madame,' continued La Roque, 'by the assistance of the
physician, whom you benevolently ordered to attend me, sufficiently
recovered from my indisposition, with the addition of a servant we set
off from the inn, and for several days performed our journey with ease
and safety; till my daughter, whose constitution was ever delicate,
began to experience some symptoms of the disorder with which I had
lingered. In the evening she became so much worse that I began to be
alarmed, and we were compelled to stop once more at a small cottage on
the road.

'A few days, however, so far recovered her, that we were enabled to
pursue our journey; and being anxious to retrieve the time we had
lost, we travelled with all imaginable speed till we arrived at the
edge of a forest, whose woods seemed as if destined for the abode of
banditti; when night closing in upon us, we had not courage to

'We were now at too considerable a distance from the last inn to be
able to return, and no other human habitation appearing to offer us
shelter, we were for some time undetermined what course to pursue. At
length the sky became suddenly overcast with unusual darkness; the
wind rising in sudden gusts, swept along the mountains, and seemed to
portend an approaching storm.

'In a few minutes the thunder rolled awfully over our heads, the
forked lightnings ran dreadfully along the sky, and convinced us of
the danger of continuing exposed to the fury of the elements, or of
taking refuge in the woods.

'We were in this alarming situation when a sudden light from the
heavens discovered to us what seemed to be the remains of an Abbey,
which was not sufficiently in ruins to deny us an hospitable shelter.

'Elated by the hopes of finding safety in this desolate abode, which
appeared to have been long forgotten by humanity, we hastened to the
spot. Having entered the gate-way, our path was obstructed by large
fragments of the broken edifice, which lay either hurled from the
summit by the fury of the winds, or scattered by the decaying hand of
Time; but our case was too desperate to remain long irresolute, and we
ventured to proceed.

'Having burst open the door, which was too old to make a formidable
resistance, we entered a spacious hall, the roof of which was so
exposed to the severity of the tempest as not to wear an appearance of

'We then, with fearful steps, hastened through a long aisle; and, at
the end of this, perceived, by a sudden flash of light that darted
through the half decayed casements, a flight of steps. This was a
discovery that afforded us much consolation, and we advanced with
alacrity, till having descended them, we found ourselves involved in
total darkness, there being no grate to admit even a partial
glimmering of light. The mournful obscurity that veiled us, the loud
blasts that howled dismally around the pile, and the thunder that
echoed amongst the rocks, filled us with terrifying apprehensions,
making us unable either to return to that part we had quitted, or to
continue our pursuit.

'The fortitude of Helena, which had hitherto so wonderfully supported
her, now almost forsook her; and Nicola, our affrighted servant,
joined with her in entreaties for us not to proceed.

'Having felt about the walls, which were dropping with the damps, I at
last perceived a door, which opened without difficulty into a place
that offered an asylum from the violence of the storm.

'Here we remained till it gradually abated, and at last entirely
subsided, and then ascended the steps.

'It was long past midnight when we left our subterranean abode, and we
waited with some degree of impatience the approach of morning. At
length the grey mists stole meekly over the summits of the mountains;
all nature seemed restored to its accustomed serenity; and the rising
sun, bursting from the glowing horizon in unusual splendour, animated
our drooping frames, and restored us to new life and vigour.

'On examining our new situation, I found that a considerable part of
it was still habitable, and that there was also a sufficient quantity
of furniture for our immediate use, though much impaired by time, and
covered with dust and cobwebs.

'This was an asylum that promised peace and security to unfortunate
fugitives like us; and, upon mature consideration, I determined if
there was any town or village that could supply us with food, within a
few miles of the place, to remain there for the present. This scheme I
imparted to Helena, whose looks told me that she had not so
effectually quieted her fears as to relish the proposal; but, as she
always submitted her will to my judgment, she did not seriously oppose
it, and I persisted in my intention.

'Having cautiously provided ourselves with a quantity of provisions
before we proceeded from the post-house, we had yet suffered nothing
from the attacks of hunger; but the principal thing remained yet to be
proved, which was, whether more could be procured at a convenient
distance. It was also a matter of doubt, whether it would be better to
send Nicola on this expedition, or to go myself, as it was possible
that the blunders of a servant might betray us; yet should it be a
town of any eminence, it might be imprudent to venture there myself.

'I was yet irresolute what course to pursue, when walking thoughtfully
along the gallery, I observed a door in the corner, which I did not
recollect having entered before. Curiosity induced me to explore this
part of the building, which I found upon examination opened into an
entire suite of rooms, containing nothing like furniture except a
large iron chest.

'This object immediately engaged my attention, and brought with it the
idea that it probably contained the booty of robbers, till having
lifted up the lid, I beheld to my astonishment the complete habit of a
monk; which consisted of a white cassock, a scapulary and hood of the
same colour, a plited cloak, a cowl, and a pair of sandals.

'Having examined these different articles of dress, which were all
perfect, though they seemed to have remained for some years in their
present situation, I determined, in the evening, to cloak myself in
these newly acquired vestments, and to sally forth in quest of

'My first step was to take a view of the face of the country from one
of the neighbouring mountains, that I might be assured there was some
town or village within a few miles of the Abbey; as, should there be
none, it would be proper to defer the execution of my design till the
succeeding day.

'Having reached the summit of a rocky acclivity, which promised an
extent of prospect, I found that a great part consisted of forest
ground, intermingled with woods and lakes, but in general wild and
uncultivated; inhabited chiefly by fishermen and goatherds, whose
simple cottages just peeping beneath the deep foliage of the trees,
added much to the beauty of the landscape.

'The other side of the country was more fertile: several towns,
villages, and monasteries appeared within the reach of vision, which,
from contrast, received additional grandeur and beauty; but a little
hamlet that skirted a lonely precipice, which seemed to be but a few
miles from our abode, chiefly engaged my attention. It appeared to
have no connection with any other town from the distance at which it
was placed from all others, and to be distinguished for the loneliness
of its situation.

'Pleased with the observations I had made, which flattered me with
peace and security, I hastened to put my intentions into practice.
Having invested myself in my new habiliments, I ordered my mule to be
prepared; and, taking an osier-basket upon my arm, I threw the cowl
over my face, and proceeded towards the village.

'I had no difficulty either in finding the place which I sought, or in
procuring food; but I could not help observing that the inhabitants
seemed to be somewhat alarmed at my appearance, and felt the
awkwardness of my situation.

'There was certainly nothing very extraordinary in the figure of a
white friar; but the circumstance of being mounted on a mule, and
coming in quest of food to a village so little frequented, and so
totally uncivilized, was sufficient to awaken curiosity, and to lead
to conjecture.

'As soon as my business was dispatched I returned again towards the
abbey, so well satisfied with my expedition, that I resolved not to
leave it; and having again mentioned the affair to Helena, who began
to be more reconciled to the plan, she soon acceded with pleasure to
the proposal.

'It was not long before I discovered that the forest contained a large
quantity of wild fowl and venison, which we esteemed delicacies; and
that it also abounded in chamoix and wild goats, whose flesh and milk
were very acceptable in our retirement; and having provided myself
with a gun, we were soon amply supplied with provision.

'Some years had passed in uninterrupted quiet, till an unexpected
adventure occasioned a change of situation.

'As we were partaking of the morning's refreshment, in an apartment
adjoining the hall, we were alarmed with the cry of hounds, and in a
few minutes, before we had time for resistance, a stag darted into the

'This circumstance so much alarmed Helena, that she screamed and fell
lifeless into my arms; before I could recover her, two of the hunters,
who were in pursuit of the animal, entered the place in which it had
taken refuge, attended by a number of dogs, whose cries resounding
through the building, recalled Helena to life.

'If I was surprised at the appearance of strangers, they were no less
astonished to find the abbey was become once more the abode of
humanity; and, with many apologies for their intrusion, flew to the
assistance of Helena.

'The amiable solicitude they discovered for my daughter could not be
returned with indifference, and I requested them to accept of some
refreshment. They gladly acquiesced in the proposal; and, in the
pleasure that their conversation diffused, I lost for the moment the
fears of detection.

'I soon discovered that they were people of rank, as their
conversation was elegant, and their deportments dignified. Having
acquitted themselves with infinite grace and propriety, they asked
permission to repeat their visit; which being unreluctantly acceded
to, they departed.

'Though in cultivating an acquaintance of this kind, there appeared
some probability of its leading to a discovery, I felt an irresistible
inclination to gratify myself in this particular, and was resolved to
run some hazard to obtain that pleasure.

'In a few days they availed themselves of the permission I had so
willingly granted, and again arrived at the abbey.

'Helena being engaged in her household concerns, was not present; but
as the youngest of my guests enquired after the health of my daughter,
I observed a blush steal across his cheek, and a degree of hesitation
in his manner, which convinced me that the beauty of Helena, though
seen only in the languor of illness, was not beheld with indifference.

'I did not know whether to be pleased or otherwise at this discovery,
till I found that he was one of the first private Noblemen in Germany;
that the gentleman who accompanied him was his guardian; and that they
were not only men of rank, but of unsullied reputation.

'At present I had hinted nothing of my rank, neither had I related any
thing of my story, but only that I was unfortunate, and from some
wayward circumstances, was compelled to remain in obscurity.

'It was not long before I perceived that the insinuating manners of
Count Saalfield, which was the name of the stranger, had won the
affections of my daughter; and I beheld it with concern, till he
requested the honour of her hand, and engaged me to plead in his

'As this was an opportunity of settling my child eligibly in life, by
uniting her to a person equal to her in rank, superior in fortune, and
every way worthy of her regard, I could not reasonably object to it;
and a time was soon fixed for their nuptials.

'It was not till the eve of the day appointed for the celebration of
this event, that I informed the Count to whom he was going to be
united; which intelligence seemed to excite more surprise than
pleasure; for it was the virtues of my daughter that had won his
esteem, and this could not be augmented by a knowledge of her rank and

'Before this marriage could be solemnized, we were necessitated to
quit the hospitable retreat which had so long afforded security.
Custom had long reconciled me to its solitudes, and I left it with

'The length of time which had elapsed since I retired from the
Apennines, seemed to justify the supposition that time had quieted the
fears and softened the resentment of the Marchese de Montferrat; and I
was less afraid of mixing with the world than before; though I
cautiously avoided dropping any hints which might lead to the
knowledge of my family and connections, and was still known only by
the name of La Roque.

'Having drawn a considerable sum out of the hands of my banker
immediately on my arrival at Augsburg, which was the residence of
Count Saalfield, I took a small seat at a convenient distance from his
castle, where I remained near two years, experiencing more
tranquillity than I ever expected to enjoy; till walking one evening
in the city, unarmed and unattended, I was attacked by two ruffians,
one of which I soon discovered to be Paoli, who having fixed a gag
upon my mouth to prevent my crying for assistance, placed me in a
vehicle ready stationed for the purpose, which conveyed me with
inconceivable rapidity to this place.

'As soon as I was consigned to the dungeon, I was informed that I must
die; and the only indulgence that would be allowed me, was to chuse
the means.

'Dreadful as was the prospect of perishing by famine, I chose this in
preference to any other death that was offered me; and was vainly
endeavouring to reconcile myself to my destiny, when the arm of
Providence graciously interposed in my defence, and sent you, Madame,
for my deliverer.'

Chapter 5

Now o'er the braid from fancy's loom.
The rich tints breath a deeper gloom.
While consecrated domes beneath.
Midst hoary shrines and caves of death.
Secluded from the eye of day.
She bids her pensive vot'ry stray;
Brooding o'er monumental cells.
Where awe diffusing silence dwells.
Save when along the lofly fane.
Devotion wakes her hallow'd strain.

La Roque, having concluded his narration, was conducted by Madame
Chamont, agreeable to the appointment of the Monk, to the end of the
eastern rampart.

Though she had ill succeeded in the endeavour of concealing her
emotions during this pathetic recital; yet that Madame Chamont, by
which name only she was known to him, was Julie de Rubine, that
unfortunate beauty who was the innocent cause of the death of Signor
Vescolini, was a suspicion that never occurred to the agitated mind of
La Roque. And as she prudently avoided mentioning any thing relative
to her knowledge of the Marchese, he had no reason to suppose, even
had his mind been sufficiently tranquillized to have reflected, that
her story was in the least connected with his own.

Father Benedicta, who was faithful to the hour he had proposed, was in
readiness to receive them; and, the better to disguise the object of
his compassion from the gaze of curiosity, had conveyed a habit of his

As La Roque advanced towards the Monk, with a mournful yet dignified
air, the benevolent Father sprung forward to receive him, who, after
regarding him for a moment with a look of silent interrogation, threw
back his hood upon his shoulders; whilst La Roque, who instantly
recognized a long lost friend disguised under the habit of a
Carthusian, rushed into his arms.

Surprise and joy for some time deprived them of utterance, till the
name of De Pietro escaping the lips of La Roque, convinced Madame
Chamont that the penitent Father, who was now become eminent for that
meekness, piety, and virtuous resignation which dignify the Christian
character, was no other than the once brilliant Italian, whose
dangerous example and seductive accomplishments had ensnared the
affectionate, the once noble Della Croisse, and had finally
annihilated his happiness.

When the first transports of joy, grief, and astonishment, which were
alternately expressed in the countenances of La Roque and the Monk,
were in some degree subsided, the former was arrayed in the holy
vestment of a Carthusian; and after taking an affectionate adieu of
Madame Chamont, which was accompanied with an expression of gratitude
which words could not have conveyed, he put himself under the
protection of his newly discovered friend, and repaired to the

Pensive, thoughtful, and dejected, Madame Chamont continued on her way
towards the castle; musing as she went upon this singular adventure,
which now engrossed all her attention.

Having entered the gate leading into the outer court, she missed a
bracelet from her arm. It was one which contained the portrait of her
father, and she felt distressed and chagrined at the loss.

Thinking it probable that she might have dropped it in her way from
the tower, with hurried steps and a perturbed air she returned again
towards the forest.

After walking along the whole extent of the battlements, and through
the deep recesses of the wood which secreted the turret, without
success, she began to lose all hopes of recovering it, till
recollecting that she might have lost it when liberating La Roque from
his fetters, she descended once more into the dungeon.

The dim and nearly extinguished lamp that glimmered from a remote
corner of the abyss, throwing a melancholy gleam upon the dark and
mouldering walls, just served as a guide for her steps; having raised
it from the ground, she looked carefully around, but not discovering
the object of her search, she replaced the light, meaning to examine
those parts of the castle where she remembered to have been in the

When passing by the door of the chapel, it occurred to her that she
might have dropped it on assembling with the rest of the family at
matins; and that the surprising incidents of the day, which had so
strangely affected her mind, had prevented her from discovering her
loss before. But afraid lest Laurette should be alarmed at her long
absence, she determined first to partake of some refreshment with her,
and to endeavour at least to revive her deeply depressed spirits, and
then to explore the chapel.

The ill-assumed appearance of serenity with which Madame Chamont
attempted to conceal the grief La Roque's adventures had revived, and
which the recent loss of the picture had increased, appeared too
unnatural to escape the notice of Laurette, who watched every movement
of her countenance with an earnest anxiety.

The inexorable cruelty of the Marchese, the heart-rending sorrows of
La Roque, the murder of Vescolini, herself the primary cause, flashed
upon her mind in spite of every effort to the contrary, and heaved her
bosom with convulsive throbbings.

As soon as dinner was removed, she repaired to her apartment; and, as
was her custom when any new griefs or misfortunes assailed her, bowed
her knee before a small altar that was erected for the purpose, and
addressed herself to Heaven, in the hope that, with the divine
assistance, she might be enabled to triumph over the severest attacks
of human misery.

With spirits somewhat more composed she descended the stairs, and
proceeded, with a slow and measured step, towards the chapel.

It was a fine and cloudless evening, and no sound but the sighing of
the wind amongst the trees, broke the stillness that prevailed. The
sun was just quitting the hemisphere; its appearance was at once
sublime and beautiful, which induced her to pause for a moment to
survey it: now richly illuminating the western canopy with a crimson
glow, and then trembling awhile at the extremity of the horizon, and
at last sinking from the sight beyond the summits of the mountains.

Having opened the door of the chapel, she fixed her eyes upon the
ground, and walked slowly through the aisles, in hopes of discovering
the bracelet; but being still unsuccessful in the pursuit, and
believing it to be irrecoverably gone, she began to reconcile herself
to the loss.

At the corner of the chapel was a door which she had before frequently
observed, but without any hopes of being able to ascertain whither it
led, as it was always fastened whenever she had attempted to open it;
from which circumstance it appeared probable that it belonged to the
burial vault, in which the ancient inhabitants of the castle were

As she passed this door, which terminated one of the eastern aisles,
she perceived that it was not entirely closed, and curiosity induced
her to examine it.

Having opened it without difficulty, she descended a winding flight of
steps, and proceeding through a stone arch, whose strength seemed to
defy the arm of Time, entered a spacious building, which, instead of
being merely a receptacle for coffins, as her imagination had
suggested, appeared to have been originally used as a chapel; as the
monuments which it contained were more costly and ornamented than
those in the place which had latterly been appropriated to purposes of
devotion, and were evidently much more ancient. This surmise seemed
still more probable, when she considered that the part of the edifice
which was used as a chapel, was more modern than the rest of the
structure; and that neither the doors nor the windows were strictly
gothic, like those belonging to the other parts of the castle. A small
grated window at the farther end of the place, which dimly admitted
the light, discovered to her the last abode of man, and spoke of the
vanity of human greatness.

It was dreary and of vast extent; the walls, which were once white,
were now discoloured with the damps, and were mouldering fast into

At the upper end of the abyss were erected two statues, now headless,
which though not sufficiently entire to betray the original design,
gave additional melancholy to the scene.

Having lingered for some time amid the graves, whose proud arches
contained all that remained of former greatness, and whose
inscriptions were too much effaced to convey the intended lesson to
mortality; she felt herself impressed with a solemn awe, and an
emotion of fear, which she could neither account for, nor subdue,
directed towards the grated aperture.

The sky was clear and serene, and nothing but the light trembling of
the leaves, heard at intervals in the breeze, disturbed the silence of
the place. It was a moment sacred to meditation, and wrapped in
sublime contemplations, she beheld the deepening veil of the twilight,
which had just shaded the meek blue of the heavens, stealing upon the
surrounding scenery. As she gazed, the first pale star trembled in the
eastern sky, and the moon rising slowly above the tops of the trees,
sailed majestically through the concave; all lower objects the height
of the window had excluded, except the foliage of the trees that waved
mournfully over the place, and replied to the moaning of the rising

Unwilling to quit a scene so congenial to her feelings, and anxious to
examine the stately monuments that arose above the remains of former
greatness, she determined to convey a light to the place, since it was
now too dark to distinguish them, and another opportunity of
satisfying her curiosity she considered might not speedily occur.

This design was no sooner formed than executed; having procured a
lamp, unobserved by any of the family she again returned to the
chapel, and descending the stairs, as before, entered the vaulted

Having observed with the most earnest attention the stately busts that
adorned the niches, the heavy gloom of the impending monuments, and
the cross-bones, saints, crucifixes, and various other devices
suitable to the nature of the place, which were once painted on the
walls, but which time had now nearly obliterated, she felt an uneasy
sensation stealing upon her mind; and, as the partial gleam of the
lamp fell upon the ghastly countenances of the marble figures before
her, she started involuntarily from the view. Ashamed of having given
way to this moment of weakness, she seated herself upon a fallen stone
near the entrance, and, setting down the lamp by her side, cast her
eyes calmly around, as if determined to conquer the fears that
assailed her, and then taking her pencil from her pocket, wrote the
following lines:


Oh! thou, the maid, in sable weeds array'd.
Who haunt'st the darksome caverns, dreary shade.
Or wrapp'd in musing deep, mid charnels pale.
Meet'st in thy sunless realms the humid gale.
That sullen murmurs, and then loudly blows.
Disturbing Silence from her deep repose;
Whilst in the mournful, dreaded midnight hour.
The hermit owl screams from yon mould'ring tower.
Or flaps his boding wing, the death room nigh.
Waking grim Horror with his funeral cry.
Hence, horrid dame, with all thy spectre train.
And let Hope's star illume this breast again;
Not with that dazzling, that delusive ray.
Which oft misleads the youthful Pilgrim's way;
But that pure beam that burns serenely bright.
And leads to visions of eternal light.

Having raised the lamp from the steps, she arose, and perceiving that
it was nearly extinguished, was retiring in haste; when casting her
eyes over this extensive and gloomy abode, to take a last survey of
the whole, she thought she distinguished, by the expiring gleam of the
lamp, a tall white figure, who having emerged slowly from behind one
of the gigantic statues at the remotest part of the building, glided
into an obscure corner.

The alarm that this strange appearance, whether real or imaginary,
occasioned, was so great that Madame Chamont was for some moments
unable to move; but in a short time again collecting her spirits, yet
at the same time not daring to turn her eyes to that part of the
chapel where the phantom had appeared, she gained the steps she had
descended; willing to persuade herself it was only an illusion, yet
not daring to be convinced, when she thought she heard a faint
rustling, as of garments, which was succeeded by the sound of distant
footsteps. Fear added swiftness to her flight, but before she could
reach the top of the stairs, the lamp, which had been some time
glimmering in the socket, expired and left her in total darkness.

Having with much difficulty reached the door leading into the chapel,
exhausted and almost sinking with terror, she paused for breath, and
was for some moments unable to proceed, however dreadful her present

The aspect being an eastern one, the moon shining full into the window
partly dissipated her fears, and she again stopped to listen if all
was still. In the same minute the rustling sound which she had heard
upon the stairs returned; and, without closing the door which she had
entered, with the swiftness of an arrow she darted through the aisles,
not slackening her pace till she had reached that part of the building
communicating with the chapel; then turning once more to be assured
that no one was following her, she saw, by the partial beam of the
moon, a tall stately figure moving slowly by the window without the

Having reached a door which was open to admit her, she stopped at the
entrance, and following the phantom with her eyes, saw it sweep
mournfully along the corner of the edifice, and then glide into the
deep recesses of the wood.

This strange occurrence so much alarmed Madame Chamont, that it was
some time before she could recompose her spirits; and being too much
fatigued to endure conversation, she excused herself to Laurette,
whose looks anxiously enquired the cause of these emotions, and
retired to her bed. But her mind was not sufficiently tranquillized to
admit of rest; the strange appearance she had seen, continually
occurred to her memory, and when she sunk into forgetfulness, her
dreams were confused, wild, and horrible. Sometimes the image of
Vescolini would present itself to her fancy, covered with blood, and
gasping in the agonies of death; at others, the ill-fated La Roque
loaded with chains, weak, pale, and emaciated, torn from his tenderest
connections, and consigned to a dungeon as to his grave.

These terrible imaginations and dreadful realities worked too
powerfully upon her mind not to occasion indisposition, and she awoke
in the morning weak and unrefreshed. Her griefs were not of a nature
to be softened by friendly participation; for prudence forbidding her
to reveal them, condemned her to suffer in silence.

Laurette discovering that some hidden sorrow was preying upon the
spirits of her revered protectress, exerted every effort she was
mistress of to remove it; these gentle attentions were usually
rewarded with a smile, but it was a smile that expressed more of
melancholy than of pleasure, and which was frequently followed with a

Near a week had passed since La Roque's departure from the tower,
before Father Benedicta again visited the castle. By him Madame
Chamont was informed, that he had quitted the monastery on the
preceding day, and was continuing his journey towards Augsburg, being
anxious to relieve his daughter from that state of suspense and
apprehension to which his absence had reduced her.

When the holy Benedicta mentioned the name of his friend, there was a
swell in his language which spoke the tenderest affection, and the
deep and heartfelt sighs that accompanied the subject whenever he was
mentioned, convinced her of the sincerity of his repentance; and in
the penitent Benedicta she forgot the once dissipated De Pietro.

Chapter 6

Oh! How this spring of love resembleth
Th' uncertain glory of an April day.
Which now shews all the beauty of the sun.
And by and by a cloud takes all away.

Some months had elapsed since La Roque's departure from the tower,
before Madame Chamont was sufficiently recovered from the shock her
feelings had sustained, to be enabled to partake of those simple and
elegant amusements, which were formerly so conducive to her happiness;
till the unexpected arrival of Enrico, who declined mentioning any
thing of his intended visit, that joy might be augmented by surprise,
restored her once more to felicity.

The rapturous sensations which this meeting occasioned, must be left
to the imagination of those who are blessed with sensibility exquisite
as their's, and are capable of experiencing those fine, those delicate
emotions which are the offspring of a genuine affection.

After an absence of near two years from the Castle, the person of
Enrico was considerably improved. He had nearly entered his eighteenth
year, was tall and finely proportioned; his eyes were full of fire,
yet occasionally tender; and his countenance, which was frank, open,
and manly, being animated with the most lively expression, betrayed
every movement of his soul.

But the form of Laurette was more visibly improved than even that of
Enrico. Being some years younger, she had just attained the age when
the playful simplicity of childhood is exchanged for the more
fascinating charms of the lovely girl. The peculiar elegance of her
mind, which her amiable monitress had refined and cultivated with
unceasing attention, was finely portrayed in her features, which were
soft, pensive, and interesting; and though not exactly answering to
the description of a perfect beauty, possessed a something which
beauty alone could not have bestowed.

The presence of the young Chevalier diffused universal gladness
throughout the mansion. The domestics, who had conceived for him an
early regard, were anxious to convince him of their esteem, by the
most marked and assiduous attentions, which he never failed to repay
with that insinuating gentleness of demeanor which is frequently more
eloquent than words.

Dorothe, who loved him with a degree of tenderness but little
inferior to that of a parent, could not restrain the tears which
surprise and transport had excited on his arrival; and would
frequently pause longer than her duty required, to hear him enumerate
the difficulties he had encountered, the hardships he had undergone,
and the dangers to which he had been exposed.

But the pleasures which his profession afforded was a topic still more
productive of delight; and Madame Chamont, who listened to him with
undivided attention, beheld with satisfaction, that the mind of her
son was too strong to suffer either from the intoxication of success,
or the depression of disappointment.

When the subject was of a kind to awaken pity, Enrico marked with
affectionate concern the intelligent looks of Laurette. He saw the
blush overspread her cheek, then fade, and as suddenly disappear, as
conversation unfolded the powers and energies of her soul. The lifted
eye directed upwards in the language of sympathy, and the tear that
trembled beneath its lid, which gave new softness, expression, and
character to her appearance, he beheld with a degree of admiration
which he found it impossible to conceal.

As the only amusements which this sequestered situation afforded were
of the most simple kind, they were usually enjoyed in the open air;
under the thick shade of an oak or a plane tree, they would frequently
pass many hours listening to the harmony of the birds, and, in the
calm serenity of the evening, would extend their rambles along the
most wild and unfrequented paths, till the bat flitted silently by
them, and the cottage lights seen at intervals between the dark
foliage of the trees, reminded them of the approach of night; whilst
the music of the nightingale, immersed in the deep gloom of the woods,
broke softly upon the stillness of the hour.

In these little excursions Laurette would sometimes seat herself upon
a stile or a fragment of rock, and taking her lute, which she knew how
to touch with exquisite pathos, would play some charming air which she
accompanied with her voice, till the soul of Enrico was lost in an
extasy of delight, from which he was reluctantly awakened.

But their favourite walk was through a thick grove of beeches and
laburnums, that led to a little sequestered dell; there the distant
murmur of a waterfall gave a soothing tranquillity to the scene, whose
monotony was only occasionally interrupted by the lively tones of the
oboe, or the pipe of the shepherd, who having led his flock from their
pastures, had retired from the immediate scene of his labours and his
cares, and placing himself at the root of an elm or an acacia,
beguiled the moments with a song.

Such were the innocent delights of the rural inhabitants of this
lonely retreat; to Enrico they had the additional advantage of
novelty; but when he recollected that he must soon relinquish them,
must leave Laurette, his revered parent, all that was dear to him,
perhaps for ever, a sigh would agitate his breast, and an involuntary
tear would oftentimes start into his eye.

Madame Chamont was not insensible to these emotions, nor unsuspicious
of the cause; she observed, with tender anxiety, the looks of her son
when the subject of his departure was touched upon, and saw the colour
fade from the cheek of Laurette as the necessity of it was mentioned,
with evident concern. The suspicion that she was the daughter of the
Marchese de Montferrat, and consequently nearly allied to Enrico, was
a sufficient cause for distress; and as every circumstance she had
collected seemed to confirm the justice of the supposition, the
evidence, upon the whole, nearly amounted to conviction.

This growing tenderness, if not opposed, might ripen, she considered,
into a deep and lasting attachment; yet to give a hint of
disapprobation, without adding a reason sufficient to justify such a
proceeding, would seem arbitrary and capricious, and from its not
being conducted with an appearance of openness, might probably fail in
the design.

To a young and susceptible mind like that of Enrico, the beauty and
accomplishments of Laurette could not be indifferent; and when he
compared her with many of her sex whom he had accidentally seen on his
travels, whose manners contrasted with hers were coarse or unnatural;
her superiority was too evident not to attract his admiration, and
that admiration was of too exalted and refined a nature not to
terminate in a softer passion.

Yet this increasing affection, though it might have been easily
discovered by a common observer, was for some time concealed from the
objects by whom it was mutually inspired. They felt they were uneasy
in each other's absence without suspecting the cause, and looked
forwards to the moment of departure with painful inquietude.

The subject was too unpleasant to be unnecessarily introduced, yet
time flew rapidly away, and after a month spent in this enviable
retreat, he was in hourly expectation of an order from his Colonel to
summon him to join his regiment. This, notwithstanding his military
ardour, his thirst for honour and immortal glory, he now dreaded as
the approach of death; since it would tear him from society which was
become necessary to his happiness, from quiet, innocence, and rural

Yet constrained by situation to submit, without murmuring, to his
destiny, he combated as much as possible the sensibility that assailed
him, endeavouring to mitigate what he could not subdue, the poignancy
of uneasy reflections, by the cold, and frequently ineffectual,
dictates of reason.

Fearing lest his passion for retirement, which was endeared to him by
objects too tenderly beloved, should extinguish every vigorous,
active, and noble principle of his mind, he frequently retired
voluntarily from the presence of Laurette; and, in the vain attempt of
reconciling himself to this approaching separation, would walk alone
upon the borders of the wood; hoping, by this method of communication
with himself, that he might be enabled to recall the natural fortitude
of his mind, which had yielded without reflection to the impulse of a
premature attachment.

Yet though he wished so far to conquer his feelings as not to sink
into effeminacy, and to disgrace the soldier, he did not wish to be
insensible to the virtues and graces of Laurette, which, on a nearer
examination of his heart, he discovered to be the indissoluble spell
that had bound his affections to the place.

Was it possible that he could have beheld her perfections with
indifference, he would have sunk in his own estimation; he did not
wish not to love her; but he wished to love her with that moderation
which would not interfere with the performance of his duty; and should
he be so fortunate as to conciliate her regard, to look forward to her
as the invaluable reward of his perseverance and virtue.

Unconscious of what was passing in the mind of Enrico, Laurette, in
these temporary absences, sometimes appeared pensive and dispirited;
she observed after his return from the wood, which was always his walk
when alone, an air of thoughtfulness in his deportment, and oftentimes
of dejection, that awakened solicitude, and led to anxious enquiry.

Madame Chamont, who was a silent, but not an unconcerned spectator of
what was passing, was often absorbed in musing and abstraction, whilst
yet in their presence; but this being natural to her disposition was
disregarded, as the suspicion that their attachment was the cause,
never occurred to the minds of the lovers.

But these little absences arising from melancholy reflection, though
frequent, were not lasting; a lively air, a ramble in the forest, or
the artless tale of a cottage girl, delivered with that genuine
simplicity of expression which will continue to interest whilst nature
has a charm, was sufficient to restore them to animation, and even to

How rapturous were the sensations of Enrico when sometimes alone with
Laurette, he would linger amid the lonely recesses of the mountains,
and would point out to her the peculiar beauties of the landscape;
beauties which she had before observed, but never with such charming
sensations. How soon did the sun appear to sink upon the bosom of the
waters, and the night shades to fall upon the surrounding objects. And
how lovely did she seem to him amid scenes so picturesque; how
delicate, how undescribable were the emotions her beauty and innocence

Hurried away by a sanguine and warm imagination, he would sometimes
indulge hopes which a more experienced mind would have rejected as
fallacious; and at other times a causeless anxiety would prey upon his
spirits, and suspend every faculty of his soul.

After a six weeks' residence in the castle, the dreaded order, which
had been daily expected, arrived, and he now perceived, more than
ever, the necessity of conquering those feelings which, though in
themselves amiable, and the object that excited them every way worthy,
might, considering his situation, have a dangerous tendency.

Induced by the most honourable motive to preserve a perpetual silence
upon the subject, he had never yet verbally hinted to Laurette his
prepossession in her favour, and he resolutely determined not to make
an open declaration of his passion, either to her or to his mother,
but to strive to render himself agreeable to both, by those ardent and
vigorous exertions in his military capacity, which might eventually
lead to independence and to happiness.

Though to subdue the sentiment of affection, which occasioned this
intellectual weakness, was impracticable, he succeeded in the
endeavour of concealing it; and was congratulating himself on the
success attending it till the evening preceding his departure, when
some of those mournful presages, which too frequently assail minds of
extreme sensibility, threw him somewhat off his guard.

He was then sitting with Laurette in an oriel window, commanding an
extensive view, in the serene hour of moonlight; when the idea
presented itself that he might probably never more be placed in so
enviable a situation, since a few hours must inevitably separate him
from his dearest connections, and that death, or some wayward
circumstances, might prevent the fruition of those fondly indulged
hopes which had hitherto supported him.

Agitated by this surmise, he seized the hand of Laurette, and pressing
it to his lips with an impassioned exclamation, an immediate
disclosure of his sentiments would have succeeded, had not the
retiring dissidence of her manners checked the momentary impulse, and
given him up to the guidance of discretion.

When the time of departure arrived, which was early on the following
morning, a severe trial awaited him. The uneasiness expressed in his
looks was understood by his mother, who mingled tears with embraces;
whilst Laurette, whose feelings were not less awakened or acute, was
condemned by the laws of delicacy, which are sometimes severe and
arbitrary, to conceal them under an appearance of tranquillity.

Having torn himself from a scene too tender for his present frame of
mind, with a breast throbbing with emotion, he waved his hand to
Madame Chamont and Laurette, whose eyes anxiously followed him through
the portal, and departed from the castle.

That tender and interesting kind of dejection that steals upon the
spirits after the departure of a beloved friend, we often fondly
indulge; it is one of those amiable propensities that the heart
cherishes and approves. When under the dominion of this pleasing
melancholy, we love to retire from observation, to recollect every
parting expression, and to feed upon the remembrance of the past;
every affecting incident connected with those we have lost, every
interesting situation in which we have seen them, recurs to the
memory, and excites moving and pensive reflections.

It was this affectionate impulse that led Madame Chamont beneath the
spreading branches of an oak, where, in the society of Enrico, she had
often sat secluded from the influence of a mid-day sun; and where they
had sometimes partaken of a simple repast.

It was this stealing tenderness that soothes whilst it wounds, that
directed Laurette to the side of a foaming rivulet, which fell in a
natural cascade from a rocky acclivity, to whose murmurs they had
often listened with the most pleasurable emotions when they visited
the lonely dell.

But here she found it impossible to remain without enduring the most
poignant regret. Tears, which she was unable to restrain, fell fast
upon her cheek, and she was compelled to retire from the spot she had
chosen, that she might exchange it for one less mournful and

Enrico had not been gone many days from the castle before the arrival
of Paoli was announced. So unpleasant a visitor was not considered as
an acquisition to the happiness of its inhabitants, which occasioned
him to be received by all, though not with incivility, yet with
coldness. His presence was always a restraint upon the conduct of
Madame Chamont, but at this time fear also was mingled with aversion.

The circumstance of La Roque's delivery, though she reflected upon it
with satisfaction and self-complacency, was not unattended with
certain presages, which neither reason nor fortitude could subdue;
that he would repair to the turret, and also to the dungeon, in the
expectation of finding the body of his prisoner, she considered as
highly probable; that he would be both surprised and irritated at the
disappointment, and would take some pains to discover the author of
it, was equally certain; but that the suspicion should fail upon her,
or any of the family, she was willing to hope was unlikely.

Chapter 7

The midnight clock has told and hark! the bell
Of Death beats slow; heard ye the note profound?
It pauses now, and now with rising knell.
Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.

The strange variety of events that had recently occupied the thoughts
of Madame Chamont, prevented her from paying her respects to the Lady
Abbess so frequently as had been her custom; who beginning to feel
uneasy at her absence, sent a message by Father Benedicta to invite
her to the convent. Not more anxious to obtain that consolation which
the conversation of the Superior afforded, than to be released from
the society of the steward, whose haughtiness of deportment rather
increased than diminished, she readily acquiesced; and Laurette, who
was usually the companion of her walks, was allowed to accompany her
on her visit.

The features of the venerable Abbess were animated with a smile as she
came forward to receive them, but an expression of deep dejection soon
afterwards succeeded.

Believing that she had met with some new cause of distress, Madame
Chamont would have requested permission to have shared it with her;
but fearful of intruding upon the sacredness of her sorrow, she
remained silent with her eyes fixed upon the ground, till the
Superior, in a voice which she could scarcely command, informed her
that the sister Cecilia was so ill, that all hopes, founded on human
assistance, were likely to prove inefficacious. 'But as her life,'
resumed the Abbess, 'has displayed an example of the most uniform
piety, penitence, and submission; so her serenity at the approach of
death indicates that the hope of acceptance she has cherished is not
founded on error. If you will attend me to her cell,' continued the
Superior, 'you will witness the most perfect tranquillity in the midst
of exquisite suffering.'

Madame Chamont, who had every reason to believe that the beautiful
vestal had of late carefully avoided meeting with her, though she
could not easily account for it, would have excused herself from
visiting her cell; observing, that the presence of a stranger, in the
last moments of existence, might be considered as an intrusion. But
every objection that she offered was instantly removed by the Abbess,
who seemed so anxiously to desire her attendance, that she was
compelled to yield to the proposition. As they were proceeding along
the cloisters on their way to the chamber, they were met by a nun, who
advancing hastily towards the Superior, informed her that for the last
two hours the sister Cecilia had been rapidly declining; and, as the
moment of her departure was supposed to be near, her Confessor was in
waiting to perform the usual ceremony for the repose of her soul.

The Abbess replied only with a sigh, and a look directed eloquently
towards heaven, and then taking the hand of Madame Chamont, with the
fond affection of a mother, led her to a small door between two
columns which opened into the apartment.

Here on a mattress, at the end of the room, lay sister Cecilia. She
was attended by two nuns, who were seated on stools by her side, and
who, by the silent movement of their lips, appeared to be engaged in

Beneath a dim gothic casement on the eastern side of the apartment,
stood Father Benedicta. He held a missal in his hand, and seemed to be
so entirely abstracted from worldly affairs as not to observe their

The fair sufferer, who was apparently too near death to feel any acute
pain, cast a glance of filial tenderness upon the Abbess, and another,
not less affectionate, towards Madame Chamont. Her fine blue eyes were
not so radiant as before her illness, but in other respects she was
but little altered; her features still retained the same interesting
expression, and though overspread with that livid hue, which indicates
approaching dissolution, were still lovely.

'Daughter,' said the Superior, seating herself on the bed by her side,
'I have brought Madame Chamont to see you; I thought a visit from her
would not be unpleasant.'

The nun smiled serenely, and then, with a motion of her hand, invited
her to come forwards; whilst the Abbess walked towards the window
where the Confessor was stationed.

'Perhaps I have been unkind to you,' cried sister Cecilia, addressing
herself to Madame Chamont, in low and mournful accents; 'you have
discovered a tender interest in my misfortunes, and I have hitherto
denied you my confidence. You wrote to ask me if I ever had a
daughter, or had cause to lament the loss of one? The answer I
returned was as true as it was concise--I never had one. But had I not
previously taken a vow never to disclose any incident of my past life
to any other than my Confessor, the amiable sympathy you discovered
for my irremediable calamities, would have induced me to reveal them;
but this sacred vow, which has long bound me to secrecy, reaches but
to the confines of the grave. Father Benedicta is acquainted with my
story, and has my permission to give you any information you may
desire upon this subject immediately on my decease.'

Madame Chamont thanked the nun gratefully for her attention, who being
much exhausted by this slight exertion, uttered a benediction, and
then closing her eyes, fell into a gentle doze.

As soon as she awaked from this short slumber, the sisterhood were
summoned, by the ringing of a bell, to attend the mass.

The Monk was now arrayed in his priestly robes, and the ceremony was
performed with a degree of solemnity that was at once awful and

Madame Chamont attended to these pious rites with a devout enthusiasm
peculiar to her character; they reminded her of the last moments of
her revered mother, and sighs, which she was unable to subdue,
frequently convulsed her bosom.

As soon as these holy acts of devotion were concluded, the Lady Abbess
and the rest of the assembly, except the nuns whose business it was to
attend upon the dying, arose to depart. But the former being recalled
by the Monk, at the request of the sister Cecilia, remained in the
apartment, whilst Madame Chamont retired in procession with the rest
of the nuns.

Had she not been withheld by earthly connections, how willingly would
Madame Chamont have committed herself to this holy retirement. The
placid countenances of the sisters, the gentleness, the humility of
their deportments, the air of solemnity that dignified their
movements, were so grateful to her feelings, that she was tempted to
believe, from a transient review of the subject, that peace was only
to be enjoyed in the solitude of a cloister.

The deepening shades of the evening now convinced her of the necessity
of quitting the convent, and calling for Laurette, who had remained
below in the Abbess's parlour, they returned to the castle.

The next day the Father Benedicta was commissioned by the Superior, to
inform Madame Chamont of the death of sister Cecilia, which event had
taken place a few hours after her departure; and also to request, if
her spirits were equal to the task, that she would attend the funeral
of the nun, which was fixed for the evening of the ensuing day.

Seduced by that pleasing melancholy which scenes of solemnity inspire,
she assented to the proposal; and calling the Monk into a saloon which
was unoccupied, she besought him to acquaint her with some
circumstances relative to the departed sister, particularly that of
her name and former residence.

'Her name,' replied the Father, 'which I am now permitted to disclose,
is Di Capigna.'

Madame Chamont started; a blush passed suddenly across her cheek, but
instantly disappeared, leaving it more wan than before.

'Her place of residence,' resumed the Father, 'before the commencement
of her misfortunes, was Naples.' Madame Chamont's countenance became
still paler; whilst, without appearing to observe her emotions, the
Monk continued.

'She formed an attachment in early youth, an attachment not more
unfortunate than dangerous. Her lover was an Italian Noble of high
rank and immense possessions, but of libertine unstable principles; he
had been long initiated in all the arts of intrigue; and being
entirely divested of that energy of soul which resists evil
inclinations, became a slave to every passion that tyrannizes in the
heart of man. He seduced her affections under the appearance of
sincerity, and finally prevailed upon her to relinquish the protection
of her only surviving parent, and to become an inmate of his mansion.

'The father of the misguided Signora was no sooner informed of his
daughter's dishonour, than it began to have an alarming effect upon
his constitution: he raved incessantly of his child, though he
persisted in refusing to see her; and soon afterwards fell a victim to
his own and his daughter's calamities.

'The Signora was no sooner acquainted with his death, which she was
conscious of having hastened, than she fled from her lover, and
suddenly became the most austere of penitents. She undertook a
pilgrimage to the Chapel of Loretto, and afterwards consigned her
youth, beauty, and almost matchless accomplishments to the shades of a

'It is now upwards of fourteen years,' resumed the Father, 'since she
entered into the convent; and whatever irregularities may have marked
her former conduct, her penitence, her tears, and her sufferings have
been sufficient to expiate them.--Yes, her late exemplary life,'
continued the Monk, after a momentary pause, 'whatever errors she may
have committed previous to her retirement, we may venture to hope,
with humility, will ensure her eternal felicity.'

The conversation was here interrupted by the presence of Laurette, who
advancing towards the Father with an easy and sprightly air, drew her
chair near his, and seated herself by his side.

The holy Benedicta, who loved her with parental affection, gazed
placidly upon her beautiful face, and then taking her hand,
continued--'The death of the sister Cecilia presents to all,
particularly to the young and the sanguine, an awfully important
lesson; let us consider it, my daughters, and endeavour to profit by
it--She was once rich, lovely, and celebrated; but, by one act of
unrestrained error, became miserable, despised, and abject. A whole
life of austerity was scarcely sufficient to purify her contaminated
soul, and to prepare it for that unknown change that awaits us all.
The sting of conscience is, perhaps, the most acute pang which the
regenerated mind can endure. It is a wound we carry unhealed to the
grave; and at the hour of separation, when the parting spirit requires
every aid that conscious integrity can bestow, is, unless softened by
the interposition of divine grace, more dreadfully afflictive than at
any other period of existence.'

Madame Chamont perceiving that the latter part of this discourse was
delivered in a faltering voice, raised her tearful eyes from the
ground, on which they had long been riveted, and fixing them upon the
countenance of the Father, saw it was distorted by emotion: he seemed
to feel acutely the terrible sensation he had been describing, and
finding himself observed, embarrassment deprived him of the power of

But the pang of remorse was not of long continuance; hope reanimated
his breast, and the same placid expression which his features usually
wore, returned with more affecting interest.

He was unconscious of Madame Chamont's being informed of his story,
though he knew that she had released his friend from captivity, and
consequently that she had made herself acquainted with some of the
most remarkable events of La Roque's past life. Perhaps there was
nothing that the Father so ardently desired as to conceal from the
knowledge of the world the dissipated follies of his youth, though the
cause of this reluctance to reveal them could not be easily
ascertained; as of all men he was the most meek, humble, and
unassuming, the least apprehensive of censure, and by no means
solicitous to secure the applause of the multitude. To his God only,
he was accountable for his actions, and not to frail humanity. In his
service he preserved an uniform austerity of life, suffering all the
mortifications and bodily inflictions which the severity of his order
required. By this method he endeavoured to erase from his mind the
melancholy remembrance of the past; or, if it could not be forgotten,
at least to blunt the poignancy of his feelings with the comforts of
religion, attended by the elevated, and not presumptive hope, that the
atonement was accepted.

When the Monk had regained his composure, he continued the subject
till the chime of the vesper-bell, which was heard faintly on the
wind, warned him of the hour of prayer, and precipitated his departure
from the castle.

On the succeeding day Madame Chamont prepared, at the request of her
friend, to attend the funeral of the sister Cecilia; and putting on a
long black robe, with a veil of the same colour, but little different
either in form or texture to those worn by the order of Penitents, she
took her missal, her crucifix, and her rosary, and repaired to the

She was met at the gate by a friar, who usually attended for the
purpose of opening it, and on enquiry for the Abbess, was directed to
the Refectoire, where the nuns, who had taken the eternal veil, were
already assembled.

They all arose on her entrance, and courteously offered her a seat by
the fire, which, as the evening was cold and damp, she consented to
accept. When the first salutations were over, a mournful silence
ensued, which was interrupted at intervals by deep and heartfelt
sighs, proceeding from the farther end of the room.

Curiosity induced Madame Chamont to turn; it was Father Benedicta, who
had taken a place in a remote corner, to conceal what he mistook for
weakness, but what was really the effect of his humanity.

The hollow tolling of the bell, and the entrance of four lay brothers,
who passed hastily through the room, and departed at a contrary door,
announced the moment was at hand in which the remains of the beautiful
penitent was to be consigned to its last cold and cheerless abode.

As soon as these religious men had passed through the Refectoire, the
Superior gave orders for the assembly to remove to the edge of the
chapel-yard, to wait there till the body was disposed in the order in
which it was to be conveyed, and to be in readiness to attend it from
thence to the place of destination.

Having arrived within the gate of the burial-ground, they stopped, and
in a few minutes beheld the melancholy procession stealing solemnly
towards the spot. The coffin was supported by the four lay brothers
from the Carthusian Monastery, who were commissioned to attend for the
purpose; a friar walked before, holding in one hand a crucifix of
ebony, and in the other a small image of the Virgin; six of the same
order moved slowly behind bearing torches, followed by the novices and
boarders of the convent; these advanced at a short disttance, bearing
baskets of myrtle, laurel, and other evergreens, to decorate the new-
made grave of their departed sister.

The procession was now joined by the Lady Abbess, Madame Chamont, and
the train of nuns, who proceeded between the corpse and the following
monks, till they reached the door of the chapel; here they were met by
Father Benedicta, who being the sister Cecilia's Confessor, was
requested to officiate at the last mournful office, that of interment.

Having arrived at the interior of the edifice, the coffin was
deposited in a recess scooped out in the wall for similar occasions,
beneath the image of a Magdalen in the act of penitence. The chapel
was dimly lighted, except near the altar, which was splendidly adorned
with a profusion of valuable paintings and consecrated tapers. At some
distance from this stood the venerable Father: a gleam of light, which
fell upon his face, marked the shadowy lines of sorrow softened by
resignation; the hood which he usually wore being thrown back upon his
shoulders, as soon as the service was begun, the whole of his
countenance was visible and impressive.

At first his voice was low and faltering but as he resumed the
discourse, his words regained their accustomed solemnity of
expression, his features no longer retained the cloud of dejection but
assumed the vivid glow of hope and confidence.

An exhortation to survivors succeeded, delivered with all the moving
graces of eloquence: every auditor listened with reverence as the holy
Father proceeded, and felt impressed with the spirit and fire of
devotion as he continued to expatiate upon the beauty of holiness, and
the misery inseparable from vice and immorality.

As soon as this was concluded, the nuns, who had seated themselves in
the aisles during the ceremony, attended by the monks and the rest of
the congregation, advanced towards the burial-ground, whither the
deceased was borne, in the same order as before, till they reached the
edge of the grave. As they passed along the chapel on their way
towards the place, strains, almost divine, echoed through the
cloisters, which being aided by the voices of the choir, had a
charmingly sublime effect, tending to preclude as unholy every earthly
idea, and to wrap the mind in deep religious musings.

When the procession arrived at the consecrated spot, the tones of the
organ were still heard, and the voices that accompanied it, being
softened by distance, sounded to the ear of enthusiasm like the chaunt
of angels.

Madame Chamont listened with undescribable sensations till the notes
died into silence, and the Father made a sign for the coffin to be
committed to the earth. A short prayer was then delivered with much
fervency and emphasis, which was often interrupted by the sobs of the
audience, who loved the sister Cecilia with the most refined affection
and tenderness. Madame Chamont's tears flowed fast; and as she
returned towards the convent, her feelings became so acute that she
was compelled to take the arm of a nun for support.

As it was nearly dark when the funeral rites were concluded, the
Abbess used many arguments to prevail upon her friend to continue with
her during the night; but unwilling to leave her young charge, who she
considered might be uneasy at her absence, declined the proposal; and,
attended by one of the superior domestics of the convent, walked
thoughtfully towards the castle.

Deeply impressed by the awful scene she had witnessed, Madame Chamont
retired early to her room, and feeling little inclination to sleep,
placed herself in a large antique chair which was fixed at the side of
her bed, and taking her pen, her customary resource in the moments of
dejection, she endeavoured to beguile the solitary hours by inscribing
the following lines to the memory of the unfortunate Signora Di


Meek Flower, untimely doom'd to fade.
Ere half thy op'ning sweets were known.
To pine in drear Misfortune's shade.
Alike forgotten and unknown.
Tho' rob'd in more than mortal charms.
To quit thy peerless earthly frame.
O waste thy sweets in Death's cold arms.
That slowly, but relentless came.
Ah! what avails the vermeil dye.
The charm that Beauty's step attends.
The ruby lips, the halcyon eye.
And ev'ry grace that Nature lends;
Since all must meet the direful blow:
Nor could thy powers, Oh! Genius, save;
For thee the tear shall ever flow.
To grace thy silent, early grave.
And there no thistle rude shall grow.
No weedy flower of baleful hues;
But there the mournful poppy blow.
And bathe thy turf with opiate dews.
No spectre wan shall haunt the way.
Nor screaming owl with boding cry;
But Cynthia's bird, of sweetest lay.
Shall sooth the zephyr's evening sigh.

When Madame Chamont had finished this little plaintive memorial, she
began to ruminate upon the subject of Father Benedicta's discourse on
the evening preceding the funeral. As the beautiful nun was
indisputably proved to be the Signora Di Capigna, agreeable to her
former supposition; from her own declaration she was assuredly not the
mother of Laurette, as she had verbally confessed, within a few hours
of her death, that she never had a daughter; which was perfectly
consistent with the assertion which her letter contained previous to
this event. This certainly communicated a slight gleam of satisfaction
to her mind; for if Laurette was not the daughter of this unfortunate
nun, it appeared highly probable that she was the orphan child of some
deceased friend of the Marchese's, whom pity had induced him to
patronize; and possibly, should time and reflection fix the attachment
between her and Enrico upon a still firmer basis, no adverse
circumstances might prevent their union.

Chapter 8

Oh! Conspiracy!
Sham'st thou to shew thy dang'rous brow by night.
When evils are most free? Oh! then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage?

Paoli had not been long resident in the castle before Madame Chamont
was convinced, that the uneasy apprehensions she had experienced
previous to his arrival, were not groundless; and that the noble part
she had taken in liberating the unfortunate from the grasp of
oppression, an unforeseen accident had early discovered.

The sullen reserve which had hitherto marked the behaviour of the
steward, and was peculiar to his character, was soon after his arrival
augmented; and he frequently fixed his eyes upon Madame Chamont, when
he accidentally and unavoidably met her, with a look conveying a
shrewd and malicious expression. This she perceived with some
appearance of emotion; whilst her tormentor, who seemed to derive
pleasure from her embarrassment, endeavoured, as much as possible, to
increase that distress he was conscious of having excited, with a
repetition of his former conduct.

That he had already visited the dungeon, and that his suspicions were
directed to her, nearly amounted to conviction; but why he should
suspect her, as the immediate cause of La Roque's escape from
captivity, without some recent information which might lead to the
conjecture, was at once strange and unaccountable. But from this state
of surmise and perplexity she was soon afterwards relieved, by the
certainty that a full discovery was the consequence of a trifling
inadvertency; which convinced her that she had every thing to fear
from the rage of her enemies, and that on her part the most strenuous
exertions of heroic fortitude were necessary.

The bracelet which she had dropped from her arm, whose loss she
lamented because adorned by the portrait of her father, was found by
Paoli amid the files and other instruments which she had employed in
the accomplishment of her design, in the dungeon of the turret.

This he secured and presented to her when she was amusing herself in
the selection of some of the finest flowers which the gardens
produced, to ornament the windows of the oriel; informing her from
whence he had taken it, and demanding, in an imperious and
authoritative tone, for what purpose she had visited the tower.

Being unprepared for an answer, Madame Chamont did not immediately
reply; nor could the conscious rectitude of her conduct, which had
hitherto dignified her misfortunes, prevent her from feeling some
portion of that acute pain, which is inseparable from the performance
of decided wrong.

The hesitation of her manner, and the paleness of her looks were a
sufficient confirmation of the truth of the conjecture; and the
haughty steward, having thus openly avowed the circumstance which had
led to the supposition, after eyeing her with a malignant sneer, that
insulted and wounded her feelings more than the severest invective,
retired from her presence, with the self-important air of a man who
congratulates himself upon some new and valuable discovery.

Soon after this event, Ambrose was dispatched with a letter to the
nearest town, addressed to the Marchese; which Paoli informed Madame
Chamont was respecting some business which was to be transacted before
his return into Italy, which could not be conducted without the
directions of his Lord; and at the same time avoiding any hint that
could justify the opinion that it had any relation to herself.

Some weeks passed without any material occurrence; in which time the
steward, in the presence of Madame Chamont, still preserved that
stately kind of reserve, which necessarily forbids the communication
of sentiment; seeming to regard the family at the castle as people of
an inferior order, whose welfare and happiness were entirely dependant
upon himself, and over whom he was permitted to exercise an unlimited

This behaviour could not pass without the deserved imputation of
arrogance; and Madame Chamont, who possessed a delicate sense of
propriety, and had been early taught to make reflections upon
character, though she did not allow herself to yield to the impulse of
a quick resentment, was not insensible to the indignity that was
offered her, and anticipated, with somewhat of impatience, the moment
of his departure.

A letter from the Marchese, that was directed to Paoli, in answer to
that which had been recently conveyed to him, was now brought to the
castle. The joy evidently expressed in the countenance of the steward,
on the perusal of it, could not pass unobserved; but the contents, or
even the subject of the epistle, was carefully concealed.

Madame Chamont, who was too well acquainted with the disposition of
the Marchese, not to be assured that she had much to fear from his
resentment, should he arrive at the knowledge of La Roque's release,
which she had every reason to believe would be the case, that she felt
depressed and uneasy whenever this was the subject of her thoughts;
and so terrifying were her apprehensions at times, that nothing but
the applause of her own heart, that internal reward of virtue, could
have supported her under them.

It was not without some astonishment that she perceived a considerable
alteration in the manners of Paoli soon after the receipt of the
letter: He appeared at some times unusually animated, joined
frequently in conversation, and lost much of that haughtiness of
demeanour which had hitherto precluded the advances of freedom.

To account for this sudden alteration was no very easy task, though
Madame Chamont could not forbear surmising, that it was assumed for
the concealment of some deep design; but from whatever motive it
proceeded, it contributed much to the comfort of that part of the
family who were entirely unsuspicious of the cause.

Laurette, whose heart was still occupied by the image of Enrico, took
every opportunity of being alone, when her necessary assistance in the
household concerns did not render her presence indispensable, that she
might ramble alone and unobserved in those walks which his society had
endeared; where she frequently remained till the close of the day,
recollecting every sentiment he had expressed, every object he had
admired, and soothing herself with the hope that she still lived in
his remembrance.

One evening, after having wandered for some time through the groves
and shrubberies surrounding the mansion, which were wild, lonely, and
beautiful, she was tempted to prolong her walk, and striking into a
new path, which apparently led into a wood not immediately connected
with the castle, she felt an irresistible inclination to follow the
track, and proceeded in it rapidly.

Having reached the precincts of the wood, she heard the trampling of
mules as advancing towards the spot, and stopped for a few moments to
distinguish whither they were going. She had not remained long in this
situation before voices were heard, which seemed to approach nearer,
and were soon afterwards succeeded by loud bursts of laughter,
evidently proceeding from intoxication. Alarmed at the consequence of
venturing so far unattended, she receded from the borders of the
forest, and being afraid lest she should be overtaken before she could
arrive at a place of security, ran swiftly towards home.

As soon as she had entered the gate leading into the second court, the
tolling of the vesper bell, which informed her she had been absent too
long, directed her towards the chapel.

The family were already assembled to render thanks for the blessings
of the day; and, as she placed herself in the aisle where the
congregation were kneeling, Madame Chamont's looks seemed gently to
reproach her inattention to the hour. Laurette felt severely the
reproof, and secretly determining not to merit it again, joined in
devotion with more than her accustomed earnestness.

As soon as vespers were concluded, Paoli requested that Madame Chamont
would indulge him with a few moments' conversation in private, as he
wished to consult with her respecting some repairs that were wanting
on the other side of the edifice. Our heroine fixed her eyes upon her
governess as the proposal was made, and perceived that she appeared
much concerned, though the cause was unknown to her, and that she
seemed unwilling to comply. After having made some objections, chiefly
arising from the lateness of the evening, which the steward removed by
observing that the moon was unusually bright, and that the distance
was so trifling as to preclude the possibility of danger, she
assented; Laurette, who innocently besought permission to attend them,
was repulsed by a frown from Paoli, and not daring to dispute his
authority, returned to the interior of the castle.

As the evening was cold and rather damp, she ordered a fire to be made
in the saloon; and taking one of her favourite authors from her store
of books that were arranged in an antique piece of furniture, designed
for the purpose, she sat down by the cheerful blaze, and endeavoured
to amuse herself with reading.

When nearly an hour had elapsed, she began to be alarmed at Madame
Chamont's absence, which appeared protracted beyond the time which
business required; and desiring Dorothe to accompany her, walked by
the side of the rampart wall till she had reached the northern
buildings, the way she recollected they had taken.

The melancholy stillness that universally prevailed, increased the
uneasy sensation that was stealing upon her spirits; and as she looked
anxiously around without distinguishing those she was in search of,
her fears began to augment, and she felt irresolute in what manner to

The apparent dissatisfaction and reluctance with which Madame Chamont
had yielded to the steward's proposal, recurred frequently to her
thoughts, though she was unable to form any conjecture as to the
reason of it, since there was nothing very surprising or singular in
the request.

Yet, notwithstanding the probability of his having something to
communicate in private, which could not well be dispensed with, she
was not unacquainted with the malignant disposition of the steward;
and had oftentimes beheld with astonishment the causeless aversion he
seemed to have conceived for her amiable protectress, ever since she
had been capable of forming a judgment upon the subject.

Having pursued their way for a considerable time without better
success, they mutually agreed to return, and to send Ambrose
immediately in search of them.

This was no sooner determined than they saw Paoli walking by the side
of the wood. He was alone, and unconscious of observation, was moving
slowly and thoughtfully along.

Dorothe being anxious to know what was become of her lady, called to
him, and roused him from his reverie. As he turned and advanced
towards them, he betrayed some symptoms of confusion; but recollecting
himself, proceeded to inform them that as he was conducting Madame
Chamont along the northern side of the battlements, a party of
banditti rushed suddenly from the wood, and, regardless of her cries,
or the threats and remonstrances that he had uttered, seized upon her
with violence, and placing her upon a mule, in spite of every effort
he had exerted to effectuate her release, fled instantly away. The
alarm this strange adventure occasioned had, he added, so entirely
deprived him of the power of action, that he was undetermined what
mode to pursue; and was meditating on the most probable method of
overtaking them, when he was roused from these reflections by the
voice of Dorothe.

Laurette, being overcome with grief and apprehension, was insensible
to the latter part of the discourse, for she had fainted in the arms
of her attendant, who, after many attempts to recall her to life, was
obliged, with the assistance of the steward, to convey her into the

Dorothe, though she had more command over her feelings, was not less
affected, and besought Paoli to send Ambrose immediately, accompanied
by some of the peasantry, in pursuit of the ruffians. To this proposal
he readily assented, though there appeared but little probability of
success; and Ambrose, with a party of men armed and mounted, were
instantly dispatched.

However unlikely it was that a few simple cottagers, headed by an old
servant, who was equally unskilled in the use of arms, should succeed
in an attack against a band of robbers, it was a hope that conveyed a
solace to the bosom of Laurette, and after many intreaties she was at
last prevailed upon to retire to her bed.

Chapter 9

Patience and Sorrow strove
Which should express her goodliest; you have seen
Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears
Are like a better May; those happy smiles
That played on her ripe lip, seemed not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropped; in brief
Sorrow would be a vanity most lov'd.
If all could so become it.

Laurette arose early in the morning unrefreshed by sleep, and being
informed that the party in pursuit of the robbers were not yet
returned, remained in a state of anxious expectation. Dorothe, and
the rest of the domestics, whose hopes were less sanguine, wept
incessantly at their loss; though they carefully concealed from
Laurette this appearance of sorrow, lest it should lead to the
suspicion that the case was hopeless.

It was not till the evening of the ensuing day that Ambrose and the
peasantry returned, without having gained any satisfactory
intelligence of the fate of Madame Chamont. All the information they
were enabled to obtain, was at a small village inn, about a league and
a half from the castle, where they were told that a lady, who seemed
to be a person of rank, had stopped for a few moments in the society
of three men of a strange suspicious appearance. They were unable to
give an accurate description of her person, as she was covered with a
veil of unusual thickness, which descended nearly to her feet; but,
from the little observation they had been able to make, she seemed to
be above the middle size; that during their stay at the door of the
inn, she had betrayed no symptom of fear or indisposition; and one of
the men, of a less ferocious deportment than the others, having
assured her in a low voice that she had nothing to apprehend, each of
the men took a glass of spirits, without alighting from their mules,
and galloped from the place.

As no hint respecting their future destination had escaped them whilst
they were refreshing themselves, the party in pursuit were, for a
short time, undetermined which way to proceed; but, as danger might be
augmented by delay, they finally resolved to follow the beaten track,
and to make a second enquiry at the next town. Here they arrived at
the break of day but were unable to gain any hint that could lead to
the knowledge they desired. They then pursued their journey for a
considerable way, without better success; and as there appeared but
little chance of overtaking them, or of gaining farther intelligence
upon the subject, they mutually agreed to return.

Laurette, now finding that the feeble hope which had sustained her was
delusive, felt the keenest affliction, and it was long before a
cessation of sorrow allowed time for reflection, or the animated
exertions of fortitude. To indulge in unavailing regret was, she had
frequently been told, vain and impious; but this was a trial which
youth and inexperience could with difficulty support. Every object
reminded her of her valuable friend, and she found it impossible to
resist the pressure of her grief, which now affected her spirits, and
undermined her health.

A letter from Enrico, which at an earlier period would have been
received with the most innocent effusions of rapture, now tended to
increase her uneasiness; it was directed to Madame Chamont, but having
been always allowed the privilege of perusing his epistles, she
ventured to open it.

As the tender, the dutiful expressions with which it abounded met her
eye, her tears flowed silently and fast; but when she got to that part
of the letter which treated of the danger of his situation, and
informed her that he expected soon to be called into action, her
feelings could no longer be restrained, and she wept and sobbed aloud.

Paoli, who at first affected to interest himself in her distress, now
either totally disregarded her, as a being unworthy of his attention,
or reproached her with severity for the indulgence of it.

The only consolation afforded her was derived from the conversation of
Dorothe, whose solicitude to remove her concern mitigated the
severity of her own.

The suspicion that Paoli was indirectly an auxiliary in the affair,
would sometimes occur to the imagination of Laurette, though she could
not effectually reconcile it to her reason or the native candour of
her mind. The voices that excited alarm, which she supposed to be
those of the ruffians, and the circumstance of the steward's
requesting the society of Madame Chamont alone, and at that silent
hour, and his walking apparently from the wood from whence those
voices proceeded, was food for conjecture; and a mind less pure and
inexperienced than her own, would have resolutely decided against him.
But she knew the value of that virtue which places the actions of
others in the most favourable light, and willingly rejects every thing
that tends to criminate, if it falls short of conviction.

Had she been acquainted with La Roque's confinement and escape from
the dungeon, which was carefully concealed from her, or had heard of
the bracelet which was found there by the steward, sufficient evidence
would have been collected to justify the opinion.

The only consolation that now offered itself, was the probability of
Madame Chamont's being still alive, and in a place of safety; for as
one of the men had assured her she had nothing to fear, there appeared
not to be any design upon her life.

Her silence and apparent tranquillity at the inn could not easily be
accounted for; but from whatever cause it proceeded, it wore an aspect
by no means unfavourable.

These circumstances she continued to reflect upon with hope; and as
the possibility of meeting again with her beloved friend was presented
to her young and sanguine imagination, her spirits gradually revived.

When the mind has once escaped from the influence of overwhelming
calamity, it endeavours to extract comfort from surrounding objects at
once to apply a balm to the wounds it has endured, and to compensate
for the losses it has sustained. So Laurette attempted to divert the
melancholy that assailed her by constant and unremitting employment;
at first her former amusements were irksome and uninteresting, in a
short time they became more supportable, and finally, as the reward of
effort, assumed the power of pleasing.

Though the lovely orphan was too much intimidated to venture far from
the castle alone, she continued to stroll as usual in the gardens,
whose wild and desolate appearance was in unison with her feelings,
and sometimes, under the shade of her favourite tree, where she had so
often sat with Enrico, would resign herself to the influence of
melancholy reflections.

One evening as she was returning from this spot, and had arrived at
the smaller gate which led directly to the mansion, she observed
Lisette, seemingly much affrighted, darting along the side of the
edifice. Anxious to be made acquainted with her cause of alarm, she
called to her, and desired her to stop. The girl, not immediately
hearing her, did not slacken her pace, till Laurette's repeating the
call occasioned her to turn.

Having made some enquiries, which the affrighted servant was too much
terrified to answer, she led her into the hall, and observing that she
looked unusually pale, called instantly for assistance. As soon as
Lisette revived, she informed them, that as she was returning from one
of the cottages on the margin of the river, whither she had been to
convey some food to a poor woman that was ill, according to her usual
custom in cases of a similar nature, she perceived a tall dreadful
looking figure gliding by the side of the rampart. She was too much
agitated, she added, to observe it minutely; but it appeared much
taller than any human being she had ever seen, and very ghastly.

As soon as she had arrived within a few steps of the court, she saw
the same figure, which she was assured could be no other than an
apparition, stealing along the avenue. Having turned hastily back, she
had, she said, the courage to look behind, and saw the spectre
pursuing her, who having waved its hand mournfully, as if beckoning
her to follow it, vanished suddenly from her sight. In a few moments a
terrible scream, which was more loud and dreadful than any thing she
had ever heard, and which was succeeded by a strange noise or
fluttering in the air, so considerably augmented her alarm as almost
to deprive her of her senses.

When a little recovered from the astonishment which this horrible
phantom had excited, she was, she said, hastening towards home, when
the voice of her young lady, which she believed to be that of the
spirit, increased her terror.

Laurette could not forbear smiling at the latter part of the recital,
and though she could not account for the strange unnatural appearance
she described, she was persuaded that the screams and flutterings in
the air which had so powerfully affected the girl's fancy, were
occasioned by the sudden flight of a number of owls that inhabited the
tops of the turrets. But it was difficult to convince Lisette that it
could otherwise be accounted for than by the interposition of
supernatural agency.

Father Benedicta, who had frequently been at the castle since the
departure of Madame Chamont, having been informed of the strange
incident that had been the cause of it, expressed much surprise and
uneasiness. As he was not ignorant of Della Croisse's escape from
captivity being effected by her means, he naturally suspected the
Marchese to be the primary cause. He knew that under an inscrutable
disguise he was capable of executing the most daring villainy; though
accustomed to think with candour, and act with gentleness, the mild
precepts of his religion did not render Father Benedicta insensible to
the vices of others, neither had they obliterated all traces of former

He reflected with concern upon the unprotected situation of Laurette,
and endeavoured to dissuade her from the indulgence of unavailing
sorrow. As she appeared to derive comfort from his society, his visits
were more frequently repeated than before the commencement of her
misfortunes, and he had the satisfaction of finding, that when he
expatiated upon the indispensable necessity of guarding against that
intellectual weakness, which is sometimes dignified with the name of
sensibility, and of the incontestible advantages arising from an
undiminished fortitude, that she listened to him not only with
attention, but with gratitude.

Though the Father had resolved to discover, if possible, whither
Madame Chamont was conveyed, and by what authority she was forced from
the castle, he executed his intentions with secrecy, lest it should
occasion the indulgence of unwarranted hope. Yet though he extended
his enquiries with perseverance and solicitude, they were ineffectual,
and he was finally compelled to relinquish an enterprize that was
attended with so little success.

Laurette was for some time irresolute whether to write to Enrico
immediately, to inform him of this unhappy event, or to defer it till
some future period. The former plan seemed to be the most eligible, as
his endeavours would be exerted in the cause; but the mournful
intelligence she had to communicate, so entirely deprived her of the
power of action, that though she several times began to frame an
epistle, she was long before she accomplished her design.

The idea that probably before the arrival of that letter Enrico might
be no more, would sometimes present itself to her disordered fancy,
with a thousand dreadful accompaniments: She saw him, in her terrified
imagination, borne bleeding and lifeless from the field; her heart
sickened at the thought, till a shower of tears that fell in large
drops upon the paper, which she had prepared for the purpose of
writing to him, relieved her almost bursting bosom.

She recollected every amiable qualification he possessed, his
graceful, his dignified deportment, the uniform delicacy of his
manners, his tenderness, and filial affection. When she remembered
these, and the expression of his countenance at the parting interview,
and saw the groves through which they had walked, and the flowers they
had together admired, her feelings were too painful to be endured, and
she quitted abruptly the place, as if desirous of escaping from the
memorials of her former happiness.

A letter from the Marchese to his steward now arrived at the castle,
which contained an account of the death of the Marchesa. She had
suffered much from a lingering and severe illness, with which she had
been afflicted some time. Having been separated from her husband soon
after her marriage, she had resided, during this state of premature
widowhood, in a mansion on a German estate, in a distant part of the

The Marchese, who had been long weary of his present residence, the
Castello St Aubin, determined immediately on the decease of his lady,
to have the mansion where she had resided repaired and modernized for
his reception.

This occasioned the removal of Paoli, who had orders to visit the
estate, to observe what repairs might be requisite, and to employ a
sufficient number of hands to accomplish the work with all possible
expedition. Having informed Laurette of these particulars, and of his
intention of returning as soon as the business was transacted, the
steward made some little necessary arrangements, and commenced his

Laurette, in the meantime, dedicated her hours to the most worthy and
useful employments, and with the assistance of the good Friar, the
Father Benedicta, was soon enabled to reflect upon the past, and to
anticipate the future, with some degree of tranquillity.

Her virtues were of the most active kind: she employed means of being
acquainted with the necessities of the indigent, and experienced the
delightful gratification of contributing to their comforts.

This diffusive humanity, which acquired additional excellence from its
being united with youth and beauty, so exalted her in the estimation
of those who were its objects, that they mingled admiration with
gratitude; and though they lamented the loss of their former
benefactress, who had so suddenly and so strangely disappeared, they
soon discovered that her young charge possessed all those valuable and
endearing qualifications which had rendered her so deservedly beloved.

Though Laurette, in the course of her reading, had met with some
fictitious tales of distress, those abounding in tender description,
and that irresistibly affect the fancy, were in some measure
prohibited. Madame Chamont, though she had retired early from society,
and of course had mixed but little with the world, was sufficiently
acquainted with the human heart to be convinced that works of this
kind might have a dangerous tendency. She therefore discountenanced in
her young pupil that unlimited indulgence, in the passive feelings of
sensibility, which inevitably unfits the mind for any undertaking that
requires firm and vigorous exertion; she knew that, when deeply
affected by tales of imaginary woe, the mind too often sinks into
imbecility; and when abstracted from the influence of romantic
delusion, it beholds real objects of compassion divested of those
false and glowing colours in which they have been exhibited by the
song of the Poet, or the pen of the Novelist--it beholds them without
that sympathetic interest which would extend the arm of active
benevolence for their relief.

Chapter 10

I'll read you matter deep and dangerous.
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o'erwalk a current, roaring loud.
On the unstedfast foot of a spear.

The gentle mind of Laurette, though strengthened by effort, was yet
tenderly alive to mournful impressions, which solitude and the native
softness of her disposition rendered sometimes irresistible. The
silence of Enrico increased her apprehensions, and though she
endeavoured to dissipate her fears, and to sweeten with hope the cup
of affliction, her anguish was sometimes too keen to be subdued, and
her life became a series of sufferance and exertion.

Paoli's absence being protracted beyond what he had intimated as
necessary, it began to be a matter of doubt whether it was his
intention to return, or to remain stationary in the family of the
Marchese; till the trampling of hoofs, heard in the silence of
evening, put an end to conjecture.

Laurette was sitting in her apartment when he arrived, endeavouring to
find comfort in employment, when a message from the steward, which was
delivered by Lisette, summoned her into the saloon, where he was in
waiting to receive her. As soon as she entered, he presented her with
a letter. She was unacquainted with the hand-writing, but, on opening
it, found it bore the signature of the Marchese de Montferrat. So
unexpected a circumstance covered her with confusion, and she perused
it with apparent emotion.

He expressed much astonishment at the intelligence that had been
recently conveyed to him concerning the departure of Madame Chamont,
and also informed her that it was his intention to remove her, in a
few weeks, from her present residence to a less ancient castle, that
was preparing for himself, in the principality of Salzburg. He was, he
added, by unforeseen events, prevented from repairing thither
immediately himself; but, as it would soon be in readiness for her
reception, he had given orders for his steward to convey her to the
mansion, where it was his intention for her to remain during the
winter season. He concluded with desiring her not to regret the loss
of her protectress, as all possible means of discovering the authors
of so unjustifiable a proceeding should be instantly employed.

Laurette examined the contents of this letter with mingled distress
and astonishment. To leave that beloved retreat, which had been her
home from earliest infancy; to be allowed to ramble no more over those
beautiful mountains, which had been the scenes of youthful festivity,
and which were endeared to her by the remembrance of former happiness,
was a subject of painful reflection; but when she recollected that the
felicity which she had once experienced in those delightful shades was
annihilated, and that those who had shared it with her were separated
from her, perhaps for ever, she endeavoured to reconcile herself to a
destiny which, from the unlimited power which the Marchese possessed
over her, she considered as unavoidable.

Paoli, in the meantime, began to make every necessary preparation for
a speedy removal. And as it appeared probable to Laurette that he was
to remain in the castle mentioned by the Marchese in the absence of
his lord, she endeavoured, though with little hopes of success, to
soften the native moroseness of his disposition with the undeviating
sweetness of her own. But though she frequently attempted to engage
him in conversation, she usually failed in her design; for his mind
was so entirely absorbed in its own reflections and concerns, that he
seemed scarcely conscious of her presence. Yet as the suspicion which
she once faintly entertained, respecting his having entered into a
conspiracy with the ruffians who had forced Madame Chamont into the
woods, was now entirely removed, she beheld him with less aversion.

As the time drew near which was to separate her from the scenes of her
earliest happiness, she found it difficult to support that serene
tranquillity of soul which she so ardently desired to retain, though
she did not fail to exert every effort in her power to preserve that
uniformity of conduct she had been taught to estimate and admire.

When Father Benedicta again repeated his visit, Laurette informed him
of the letter she had received from the Marchese, and also of his
intention of removing her to another castle in a distant part of the
country, whither she was soon to be conveyed.

The surprise and uneasiness expressed in the countenance of the Father
when the intelligence was communicated, could not pass unobserved by
his lovely young pupil, who beheld him with a silent and fixed

He asked eagerly under whose protection she was to be placed, and
whether the Marchese was to reside on this estate during her
continuance there.

Assured of the sincerity of his friendship, and grateful for the
interest he had ever discovered in her concerns, Laurette presented
him with the letter. Having perused it, he sighed, shook his head
mournfully, and, as if anxious to escape from enquiry, arose to
depart: 'I shall see you again, my child,' cried the Monk tenderly, as
she followed him towards the door.

Laurette regarded him steadfastly as he spoke, and thought she
perceived a tear steal down his placid cheek. She would have enquired
the cause, but her heart was too full for utterance, and having
attended him to the portal, she watched him as he proceeded along the
avenue till he was lost in distance, and then returning to the saloon,
placed herself in one of the recesses of the windows, and indulged the
acuteness of her feelings in secret.

It was evident from the words of the Friar, as well as from the tone
in which they were delivered, that there was something either in the
stile of the epistle, or in the proposal it contained, that did not
accord with his ideas of propriety. She wished she had been collected
enough to have requested the avowal of his sentiments, and looked
forwards to another interview with somewhat of impatience.

The Marchese she had never seen, consequently, though he had offered
her his castle, he was uninfluenced by affection. She had been taught
to believe that he was her only surviving friend and protector; yet,
as he had never conciliated her esteem by winning offices of kindness,
her gratitude was unmingled with tenderness.

The mysterious silence that had been preserved concerning her birth,
she had often considered with surprise; she was called Laurette, but
no other name was added; and when she ventured to extend her
enquiries, her questions were either evaded, or remained entirely
unanswered. When blessed with the protection of Madame Chamont, the
subject was attended with curiosity, and not with regret; but now that
protection was withdrawn, it returned forcibly upon her mind. She had
been told she was an orphan, but every hint that could tend to a
farther knowledge of this mystery was carefully avoided.

These reflections, which the forlornness of her situation suggested,
added to the uncertainty of the fate of Madame Chamont and Enrico; so
entirely occupied her thoughts, that the taciturnity of the steward,
and the presaging gloom of his aspect were unobserved, or beheld with
indifference. But on being assured that Dorothe and Lisette were to
attend her to her place of destination, her spirits became suddenly
reanimated and she began to prepare for her journey with redoubled

As to ramble alone in the wood, or along the solitary glens of the
mountains, was a charm the most suited to her mind, she yielded to the
impulse of her feelings, and often, in the meek hour of twilight,
would gaze with a tranquil kind of melancholy upon those dear, those
much-loved scenes she was soon to resign for ever.

One evening, on her return from one of these lonely excursions, she
seated herself against a window in the room which she always called
her own, because it contained the implements of her studies and her

When wrapped in pensive reflections, as she was gazing upon the moon
gliding silently along through a clear and cloudless sky, she observed
a white figure, somewhat answering to the description that Lisette had
given of the phantom which had occasioned her alarm, move slowly
beneath the arch of the window.

Though Laurette had before treated this appearance as an illusion, she
now felt a superstitious dread stealing upon her mind. Fear, for a
moment, arrested her faculties, but an effort of fortitude releasing
them, she arose and opened the casement. In a few minutes the same
figure emerged from the deep shade of the trees, and approached
towards the window.

She started and was retreating, till the sound of her own name,
uttered in a deep and hollow tone, rivetted her to the spot. She
stopped--it was again repeated, and venturing to raise her eyes
towards the object of her terror, she beheld a person standing before
her, of a pale and melancholy aspect, clad in the habit of a monk; he
was tall and of a singular physiognomy, he wore no cowl nor even a
cloak, and his dress being entirely white, except a narrow black
scapulary, added much to the ghastliness of his appearance.

As he moved towards the casement, he waved his hand, in token for her
to stop, and again repeating the name of Laurette, with deeper
emphasis, 'Beware,' cried he, 'of the Marchese de Montferrat.'

Laurette trembled, but was unable to articulate; she scarcely knew
whether the being addressing her was human or supernatural; a
sensation of mingled terror and awe almost overcame her, and it was
with difficulty that she could prevent herself from falling.

The Monk, not seeming to regard her emotion, drew a miniature from
beneath his garment, and then surveying her for a moment in silence,
added--'Will you, in consideration of my holy office, utter a solemn
promise, which nothing shall prevail upon you to violate, never to
disclose to any individual living what I am about to relate?'

Laurette's tremor increased; but not being allowed time for
reflection, and having no idea that a person in the garb of a
religious could act so inconsistently with that devout character as to
exact a promise which she could not make with impunity, she gave her
answer in the affirmative.

'Will you swear then,' resumed the Father, raising his voice still
higher, which acquired deeper energy of expression as he proceeded,
'by the ever spotless and holy Maria, by the accepted souls of the
departed, and by the blessed assembly of the Saints and Martyrs, to
keep this vow inviolable, till I shall call upon you to attest the
truth of what I shall hereafter declare, at some future and,
perchance, far distant period.'

Laurette tremblingly assented to the proposition, and the Father
repeating the form in which he wished it to be delivered, she
pronounced it after him.

When this impressive vow was recited agreeable to the desire of the
Father, he presented Laurette with the miniature which he held
suspended by a chain of brilliants, and then softening his voice,
added, 'Take this, it is the portrait of thy mother; wear it as an
invaluable gift, and to-morrow, as soon as vespers are concluded, meet
me at the equestrian statue in the inner court. Recollect the
solemnity of your promise, and I will unfold to you an important

She was going to reply, but before she was sufficiently collected, he
had glided amongst the trees, and had disappeared.

'The portrait of my mother!' cried Laurette, fixing her eyes upon the
picture with a look of undescribable astonishment, 'is it possible;
and have I then a parent living?' But in an instant remembering that
the delivery of the miniature by no means implied that she was still
in existence, a slight degree of disappointment was communicated to
her heart.

Dorothe, who entered the room to kindle a fire, broke unwelcomely
upon her solitude; but mindfull of the injunctions of her mysterious
visitor, Laurette arose, and, after secreting the portrait, assumed an
appearance of composure.

As soon as she was again alone, and her thoughts were somewhat
recomposed, she began to muse upon this singular occurrence. If this
was the person who had excited so much alarm in the bosom of Lisette,
it was strange that his nocturnal rambles had not been regularly
continued, as since that time no one had been seen about the grounds
in the least answering to that description; and as the subject of his
visits was undoubtedly herself, and the secret he had to declare was
of so important a nature, it was natural to suppose, instead of
avoiding her, he would have loitered within the boundaries of the
mansion, in the hope of meeting with her.

The solemn manner in which these words were pronounced, 'Beware of the
Marchese de Montferrat!' struck her with dismay. To beware of him whom
she had been taught to revere as a parent, and to look forwards to as
the patron of her future days, was not more astonishing than
afflictive. The admonition seemed to presage some impending evil from
which it was impossible to fly; and the dread of what she might have
to encounter, alone and unfriended, now entirely occupied her
thoughts, tending to make her fear more than ever the approach of that
hour which was to separate her from the much-loved scenes of her
earliest youth.

As she examined the features of the portrait, rendered infinitely more
touching by the sweet pensive cast of the countenance, she thought she
had somewhat seen a painting that strongly characterized it; and as
the castle contained all that had ever fallen under her observation,
she was resolved to regard them more attentively, and, if possible, to
trace the resemblance.

The chain, by which the miniature was suspended, did not fail to
attract her admiration; she had never seen any thing of the sort, and
the jewels, though small, being of the most valuable kind, possessed
unusual brilliancy and lustre.

As Laurette wished to ruminate in secret upon this singular adventure,
she retired to her room earlier than was her custom, at once to
abridge the moments of suspense, and to lose the society of Paoli. But
though weary and indisposed, she was unable to sleep, and arose in the
morning but little refreshed.

Her first resolve was to examine the portraits, which were very
numerous, and much defaced by time and neglect. She had wandered over
the greatest part of the castle, except the northern side of the
building which remained always unopened, before she recollected the
paintings in the oriel, which were more modern, and consequently less
injured than the rest.

Here she examined the picture which had attracted the attention of
Madame Chamont soon after her arrival at the mansion. It represented
the figure of a female leaning upon a tomb, the countenance of which
bore some resemblance to the miniature; the latter, indeed, appeared
somewhat younger, and, if possible, still more beautiful. It possessed
the same softness of expression, but there was less of melancholy; a
smile beamed from the eyes, which were dark, and full of the most
animated sweetness, while the light brown tresses that shaded the
forehead, and waved carelessly upon the neck, completed the character
of beauty.

But for whom the portrait was designed, which she imagined was so
lively a representation of that presented by the Monk, she had never
been informed; though she remembered having once questioned Margaritte
concerning it. But as her only hope of gaining intelligence upon the
subject depended upon the expected interview in the evening, she
awaited the hour with increasing solicitude.

Chapter 11

With what a leaden and retarding weight
Does expectation load the wing of Time!

Willing to divert her thoughts from a subject in which she was too
nearly interested, Laurette attempted, though without success, to find
amusement in employment: She took up her lute, but her fingers were
unable to perform their office; the notes she awakened were low,
spiritless, and inharmonious, and it was replaced with languor and
dissatisfaction. Her embroidery and books were equally ineffectual to
bestow the charm of content, and the more frequently this strange
incident recurred to her mind, the more insupportable were the moments
of suspense. That attractive composure of demeanour, which formerly
added the most winning softness to her motions, had in some degree
forsaken her; she reflected, with concern, upon her promise to the
Father, and seemed equally to dread and to desire the expected

As soon as dinner was removed, she arose and quitted the room, meaning
to ramble though the shrubberies; but as the afternoon was a
remarkably fine one, she determined to endeavour, at least, to calm
the more painful emotions by visiting the cottages that bordered the
river, whose simple and industrious inhabitants had been always the
objects of her bounty.

Having relieved the necessities of those who apparently suffered the
most from the hardships of poverty, and listened with peculiar
kindness to the infantine prattle of the children, who were each
anxious to gain a smile or a kiss from their lovely benefactress, she
continued her walk.

The loneliness of the road she had chosen was ill adapted to her
present frame of mind, as it failed, for want of variety in its
scenery, to fix her attention, and to recall her from that harassing
anxiety which enervates, and unfits for action.

The singular aspect of the Monk, his abrupt stile of addressing her,
the secret he had to disclose so dreadfully important as his manner
had indicated, were circumstances ever present to her thoughts.
Sometimes it occurred to her that the expected discovery related to
Madame Chamont, and that the person who had so strangely introduced
himself, having by some means become acquainted with the violent
measures that had been adopted in forcing her from her abode, and of
the primary cause of them, intended, by making it known to those who
were the most nearly concerned in her welfare, to prevent the unhappy
consequences that might otherwise ensue. But this, on a second review,
appeared unlikely; if the Monk had obtained any knowledge upon this
subject, he would doubtless have embraced some other means of
conveying this necessary intelligence at an earlier period, and of
rendering her such advice and assistance, as to the manner of
proceeding, as would have been consistent with his holy character and

What he had to unfold must then relate merely to herself, something
probably concerning her birth. This opinion the delivery of the
picture seemed to corroborate; but who it could be that had acquired
information upon a subject which had hitherto been so mysteriously
concealed, and by what means he had gained possession of the picture,
which he declared to be the portrait of her mother, were points
equally surprising and unaccountable.

The shades of night that fell fast upon the surrounding objects, now
warning her of the approaching hour, quickened her steps towards the

The soft stillness of the evening that seemed to breathe peace and
tranquillity, tended to revive her depressed spirits, enabling her to
reflect upon the appointment she had made with more composure and

As soon as she entered the hall, the shrill tone of the vesper-bell
reminded her of her mysterious visitor, and summoned her to nocturnal

When the service was concluded, and the family were retired from the
chapel, with trembling steps and a palpitating heart she prepared to
meet the Monk, according to her engagement.

Having waited for a few minutes in the outward court, in hopes of
seeing Paoli enter the castle, she observed, with some emotion, that
he turned into the wood that secreted the eastern side of the edifice.
But as he sometimes rambled alone in the evening for a considerable
time, she began to flatter herself into the opinion that he would not
return from his excursion during her conference with the Father.

She had no sooner entered the smaller court, and placed herself by the
column, than she perceived the mysterious Monk, with a thoughtful and
dejected air, moving slowly through the avenue.

When he had arrived at the vista he stopped, crossed himself, and then
numbering his Paternosters and Ave Marias on his rosary, a ceremony
which Laurette's impatience would at that moment gladly have spared,
he hastened to the appointed place.

A hood was added to his dress, which he threw back the instant he
recognized Laurette, and a small crucifix of silver was suspended on
his breast.

Having advanced within a few paces of the column--'I am come,' said
he, fixing his eyes upon her with a mild and steadfast gaze, 'to warn
you of the dangers that threaten you--to save you from misery, and
perchance from death. I am come also,' added he, sighing deeply, and
clasping his hands together, with a look directed meekly towards
heaven, 'to acquaint you with the wrongs you have endured, and to
unveil the hidden mysteries of your birth. Listen to me, my child; on
this moment, this important moment, depends your future destiny.'

Laurette trembled, and looking fearfully around, whilst the Father was
repeating his injunctions of secrecy in the same manner as on the
preceding day, she beheld Paoli embowered in some trees that projected
from the side of the wood, apparently listening to their discourse.
Fear almost deprived her of utterance: 'We are observed,' cried she,
in tremulous and broken accents, 'leave me, holy Father, I beseech
you--to-morrow at this hour.'

She could proceed no farther; the Monk glided amongst the trees, to
elude the observation of Paoli, who finding himself discovered, rushed
instantly from the wood.

Having demanded, in an imperious tone, with whom she was conversing,
and what was the subject of their conference, and Laurette, amazed at
his presumption and arrogance, resolutely refusing to answer, he
seized her rudely by the arm, and led her into the saloon.

Here he again repeated his command, but finding that neither this nor
menaces were likely to prove effectual, as she replied to his
interrogatories with a degree of firmness which he termed the most
daring obstinacy, he desired her to prepare for her departure from the
castle on the following morning.

This was a blow the gentle spirits of Laurette could with difficulty
support; yet no alternative remained. She was too well acquainted with
the disposition of the steward to believe he would yield to intreaty,
and she was also convinced, from the judgment she had formed of his
character, that if she ventured to expostulate with him, or to enquire
by what authority he was capacitated to remove her from her present
residence, without the knowledge and acquiescence of the Marchese,
before the expiration of the time proposed, that by thus appearing to
doubt his consequence in the eye of his Lord, he would only, by more
arbitrary proceedings, endeavour to convince her of the unlimited
extent of his power.

Being assured that all hopes of receiving the information she so
ardently desired, respecting her birth and connection, were now
entirely frustrated, she felt all the bitterness of disappointment and
perplexity; as she was perfectly convinced that was she even permitted
to remain a few weeks longer at the castle, she would doubtless be so
strictly watched by the suspicious eye of Paoli during the interval,
as to render a second interview with the Monk impracticable.

The night was passed by Laurette in a state of restless anxiety; what
she had heard from the Father increased her uneasiness, and nothing
but the rectitude of her intentions, and the conscious innocence of
her conduct, could have sustained her under this new cause of

Chapter 12

At night returning, every labour sped.
He sits him down the monarch of a shed.
Smiles by his chearful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze;
While his lov'd partner, boastful of her hoard.
Displays her cleanly platter on the board;
And haply too, some pilgrim thither led.
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

The sun had scarce risen upon the mountains before Laurette, by the
desire of the steward, was awakened from a soft slumber into which she
had recently fallen, with orders for her to prepare for an immediate

Dorothe, who was the unwilling messenger of these unpleasant tidings,
unable to bear the idea of this temporary separation, as it was
determined on the preceding night that she and Lisette were not to
accompany them, but to remain at the castle till the return of
Ambrose; Laurette, feeling more collected than she had been since her
interview with the Monk, assumed an appearance of serenity, and having
conversed with her faithful servant for some time, as she sat by the
side of the bed, with the most affecting tenderness, she gave some
necessary orders concerning her wardrobe, her books, and what other
things she wished to have conveyed to her future residence, and then
ordering breakfast to be served in her apartment, prepared to obey the

She had scarcely partaken of the morning's repast before she was
informed that the mules were in readiness, and that Paoli and Ambrose
were already impatiently awaiting her arrival.

Having taken a tender adieu of the kind Margaritte, who was too old to
be a follower of her fortunes, and had therefore determined to return
to the cottage she formerly possessed in an adjacent village; she
presented her with her five last remaining rix-dollars, as the reward
of her services; and waving her hand to her poor pensioners, who
crowded about her to give and to receive a last farewel, she held her
handkerchief to her eyes, as if afraid to trust herself with a last
look at the only home she had ever known, and advanced towards the

Being placed upon the mule that was guided by the steward, Ambrose
mounted the lesser one, and after some resistance on the part of the
latter, who had been for some time unaccustomed to discipline, they
pursued their journey.

It was a fine autumnal morning, and as the travellers advanced, the
face of Nature, which at the early hour they had chosen, wore a
lowering and unpromising aspect, now gradually brightened. The mists,
which had veiled the tops of the eminences, were suddenly dispersed,
and the sun, no longer watery and dim, spread over the landscape a
soft and silvery light.

The birds, whose responses were at first low, now swelled into choral
harmony; every object seemed to partake of the general joy; all was
melody, delight, and ecstasy.

Laurette meditated on them in silence, lamenting at the same time that
she could not join in these universal expressions of rapture, which
would have afforded her inconceivable pleasure, had melancholy
anticipation been banished from her heart.

The same gloomy reserve marked the behaviour of Paoli that was
peculiar to his character; sometimes he turned to Laurette, and asked
her some questions concerning the road, and whether the motion was too
slow or too rapid, and then, without attending to the answer, relapsed
into his former state of silence and thoughtfulness.

There were several small inns on the road that afforded them rest and
provisions, whose inhabitants frequently extended their civility
beyond the common bounds of hospitality, seeming anxious to
accommodate them with every necessary which their situation as
travellers required.

It was not till the evening of the third day that they arrived near
the boundaries of Salzburg, when Laurette was informed by the steward,
who appeared somewhat to relax from his reserve, that they were within
two days' journey of the castle of Lunenburg, which was the name of
her future abode.

The beauty of the landscape now visibly improved; the boundless and
variegated plains, innumerable lakes, rivers, brooks, and valleys of
tremendous depth, encompassed with huge rocks of granite, which, being
contrasted with the dark woods that waved from the cultivated
mountains, had an unspeakable fine effect, and could not be gazed upon
without the most sublime and exquisite sensations.

Every thing was presented to the eye in these beautiful regions which
the most fertile and picturesque imagination could conceive; and
Laurette, recalled from the contemplation of her own peculiar
distresses, beheld some of the finest scenery in nature with
indescribable astonishment.

Every beauty was augmented by contrast; sometimes the hut of a
shepherd, or the cottage of a goatherd, situated upon the hanging brow
of a precipice, caught her eye, shaded only by the foliated branches
of the oak from the inclemency of the weather. The roads in this
mountainous country being in general good, they proceeded on their
journey with less fatigue than would otherwise have been the case. The
most dreadful abysses were rendered passable by the assistance of
wooden bridges, which were hung in chains, some apparently so loosely
as to impress on the mind an alarming idea of danger. But of their
safety our travellers were assured by the peasantry, who asserted that
an accident very rarely happened from this mode of conveyance, as the
heaviest carriages had been known to pass over without receiving any
injury but what might be occasioned by a violent gust of wind, or a
sudden fall of snow in the spring.

Having left the town of Salzburg on the right, they proceeded on their
way with redoubled speed, in hopes of being able to reach the next
tolerable inn, which Paoli recollected was at some distance from the

But as the evening was approaching, and Laurette was somewhat fatigued
and indisposed, it was mutually agreed that the party should endeavour
to get accommodations at one of the cottages that lay scattered upon
the road.

One peculiar for its neatness riveted their attention, and Ambrose
being dispatched with a message, Laurette and Paoli stopped at the
bottom of the hill on which it was situated, to await the success of
his embassy.

In a short time the owner of this little retreat, attended by his
daughter, with all that diffusive hospitality which is characteristic
of the peasantry of Salzburg, mingled with a certain degree of
courtesy that seemed not to be wholly the gift of nature, appeared to
conduct them to the cottage.

All that Laurette had ever read of rural simplicity, content, and
innocence, and all that her imagination, though somewhat warm and
romantic, had formed, fell short of that which was presented to her in
the family of the cottager.

Zierman, which was the name of her host, having led them into a small
neat room, whose casement was embowered with the honeysuckle and the
eglantine, and which commanded a prospect of pastoral beauty almost
unequalled, left our heroine and the steward alone, whilst he went to
assist Ambrose in finding a place of security for his mules, and to
order refreshment for his guests.

In a few minutes he returned with some fruit, cream, and a thin kind
of wine, which was all that the cottage afforded.

Having partaken of this hospitable meal, which was animated with a
smile of unfeigned welcome, the spirits of the travellers were
recruited; and as Paoli conversed with the peasant, who seemed, though
placed in obscurity, to possess some knowledge of men and manners,
Laurette amused herself with observing the beautiful variety of every
thing around.

The little garden cultivated with care, that was surrounded with a
hedge blooming with briar-roses and wild honeysuckles, discovered not
only the simplicity but the taste of its owner; beyond which arose
hills formed into the most picturesque lines, and covered with
delightful verdure, which acquired an appearance of the most
flourishing vegetation from being contrasted with those tremendous
mountains, whose summits, penetrating the clouds, were veiled in awful

Much as she had been accustomed to admire the wild and extensive
scenery which her former residence commanded, the infinite diversity
of objects which were visible from this secluded retreat, could not be
contemplated without the sublimest emotions.

When Paoli and his host had conversed for some time upon common
subjects, the latter began to recite some particulars relative to
himself and his family, which were interesting, because in relating
them he discovered a sensibility of mind not usually found in that
sphere of life, the hard and laborious employments of which preclude
the cultivation of the nicer feelings.

Paoli, who neither understood nor internally applauded these amiable
traits of character which Laurette observed with increasing
admiration, apparently listened to the discourse, though his
intellectual powers were probably more profitably employed in the
contemplation of some favourite project.

'It is now ten years,' added the old man, with a sigh, and a tear
which he endeavoured to repress, 'since I lost my wife; she died
suddenly, and for some time this cottage, which was once so dear to
mc, and in which I had enjoyed so many hours of repose and happiness,
was by this unexpected event rendered insupportable, which determined
me to remove from it to another occupied by my daughter, that is
situated about a league and a half from this place; hoping to take
refuge from uneasiness in the society of my only child, who was united
to a young farmer, to whom she had been long attached, a few months
before the death of her mother.

'There I remained some time, till my natural affection to my little
paternal inheritance returning, I felt an irresistible inclination to
revisit it. Having obviated some objections on the part of my daughter
and her husband, I at length prevailed upon them to accompany me here;
and in their society, and in the amusement their little family
affords, I have regained that habitual cheerfulness of temper which I
am persuaded is one of the first blessings of life.'

Here Zierman was interrupted by the entrance of Ulrica, his daughter,
with two of her children, whom Laurette remembered having seen and
admired as she ascended the hill, when they were engaged in play with
their companions in the glens of the mountains.

As soon as Ulrica entered, she repeated the same friendly welcome with
which the party were at first received, and then seating herself by
the side of her young guest, to whom she more particularly addressed
herself, occasionally joined in conversation.

Laurette being now materially recovered from her fatigue by the
salutary rest and refreshment that had been administered, requested
permission to walk to the end of the garden, which terminated in a
kind of natural terrace, that she might be gratified with the beauty
of the prospect. The hostess agreed to the proposition, and attended
her to the place.

It commanded an infinitude of objects of the most interesting and
attractive kind: on the right was a beautiful lake retiring amongst
the hills into remote distance, whose silvery appearance, contrasted
with the dark woods that frequently interrupted its course, had a very
charming effect. On the left, appeared a range of rocks of an enormous
size, some of which, projecting forwards, frowned over the Saltza,
that rushed impetuously through the cliffs with the foam of a
cataract; except the noise of this boisterous stream, which, from its
being softened by distance, occasioned only a gentle murmur, no other
sound was to be heard, save the tones of a flute, resounding from the
valleys or from the brow of a precipice, to assemble the sheep around
the huts of the peasants.

As Laurette took a survey of this beautiful country, she was tempted
to believe that happiness was exclusively the portion of the shepherd
and the goatherd, and would at that moment gladly have resigned all
future advantages for a similar situation, could those she had lost
have been restored to her.

Having thanked Ulrica for her attention with the most insinuating
courtesy of manners, Laurette made some general enquiries concerning
the families of the mountaineers whose picturesque habitations had so
romantic an appearance, and then returned towards the cottage.

Here she found Paoli and his host regaling themselves with some wine
and grapes which the son-in-law of the latter had presented to them in
her absence, and of which, on being politely offered to her on her
entrance, she consented to partake.

The moon now shone full into the casement, and every sound being
hushed, except the light trembling of the leaves that overshadowed the
cottage, Laurette intimated a wish to retire, and was conducted by her
hostess to her room.

As she paused for a moment at the window of the apartment to enjoy the
serenity of the scene, the notes of a guitar, accompanied by a female
voice that breathed the most affecting sweetness, fixed her to the
spot. The air, which was a melancholy one, seemed to have been
awakened by no common sorrow, and throwing open the casement, she
stood for some time to be assured from whence it proceeded, and to
indulge herself in the soft sensation of sympathy which the song

As she still listened, the strain died away upon the air, and all was
again silent; but after a momentary pause it swelled louder, and
seemed to approach nearer towards the cottage.

In hopes of being able to get a sight of the harmonist, she still
lingered at the window, but, contrary to her expectation, the music
seemed to retreat again towards the woods, and was soon heard no more.

Ulrica, who re-entered the room to enquire if she could render her any
farther assistance, gave her some intelligence relative to the
musician, who she learned was a young woman who had met with a
disappointment in the tender passion, which had occasioned the loss of
her senses.

'I know but little of the story, Madame,' resumed Ulrica, 'but I
believe my father can inform you of the whole. All that I have heard
is, that she is the daughter of a goatherd, and that she lives in a
small hut on one of the neighbouring mountains;--her name is Ida; her
lover, I think, died on the day fixed for their marriage; but there
are many mournful circumstances attending the story which I am partly
unacquainted with, for it is now several years since they happened,
and at that time I was not resident in the neighbourhood. But ever
since the commencement of her misfortunes she has wandered about in
the woods, singing so sweetly that I have heard my father say, before
it was known to be Ida, it was reported that the woods were haunted.'

'And does no one attend her,' asked Laurette, 'in her nocturnal

'Yes, her father or her brother follows her at some distance,'
returned the hostess; 'but she will not allow them to break in upon
her solitude; if it was known to her that she was watched, she would
become desperate; so that they are compelled to indulge her in this
unfortunate propensity, which frequently deprives them of rest,
because her father, who adores her, will not allow her to be confined.
In the day-time she usually remains in her hut, though I have
sometimes seen her in the glens of the rocks culling flowers from the
interstices, and forming them into garlands, and then sing so sadly,
that I have been unable to refrain from weeping.

'But it is a mournful story, Madame,' continued Ulrica, observing that
her fair auditor appeared much affected; 'let us change the subject.'

Laurette forced a smile upon her features, and desiring that she might
no longer detain her, since it was a late hour, and the rest of the
family were in bed, wished her a good night, and endeavoured to forget
her own sorrows, and those of the unfortunate Ida, in repose.

As soon as the morning appeared, the travellers arose from their
slumbers, and after a simple repast, returned thanks to the cottagers
for their hospitable reception, who would accept no pecuniary reward
for their services, and then continued their journey.

It was not till the evening that they arrived within sight of the
place of their destination, and Laurette's heart sunk within her when
the first turret was partially seen through the dark foliage of the
woods with which it was surrounded.

As they advanced nearer, the body of the edifice gradually emerged
from the gloom, and the moon, throwing her soft light upon its summit,
discovered a magnificent abode, which, from comparison with the
desolate looking mansion they had left, appeared to the young and
astonished eyes of Laurette like the residence of an eastern prince.

Chapter 13

Bear me, embowering shades, between.
Through many a glade and vista green;
Whate'er can captivate the sight.
Elysian lawns and prospects bright;
Give me, fair Fancy, to pervade
Chambers in pictur'd pomp array'd.
Peopling whose stately walls, I view
The godlike forms that Raphael drew;
I seem to see his magic hand
Wield the wond'rous pencil wand.
Whose touches animation give.
And bid the insensate canvas live.

As soon as the travellers had alighted, Paoli conducted Laurette to a
private-door, and having ordered a female-servant to convey her into
the interior of the castle, left her whilst he gave some necessary
orders to Ambrose respecting the mules.

Our heroine in the meantime proceeded through a long extent of
passage, dimly lighted by a lamp, which terminated in a spiral stair-
case. As soon as she had ascended the steps, the woman who attended
her opened a door leading into an anti-chamber, which was furnished
with much taste and magnificence, where, to her inexpressible
astonishment, she beheld a lady, apparently about forty, genteelly and
rather elegantly dressed, seated upon a sofa.

Laurette being somewhat embarrassed at the appearance of the stranger,
who herself betrayed some symptoms of surprise, endeavoured to
apologize for her intrusion, and to explain the occasion of it.

Signora d'Orfo, which was the name of the lady, having acquitted
herself with much grace and propriety, led her to a seat, and
observing that she looked faint, rang the bell for refreshment.

The courteous manners of the stranger, whose aspect bespoke her a
woman of rank, soon dissipated the uneasy sensations of her guest, who
was early relieved from the suspicion that her arrival was unexpected,
though it was evident that it was precipitated without orders from the

The air of tender dejection that marked the features of Laurette, and
the peculiar elegance of her deportment, rendered still more
interesting by that gentle diffidence of manner, occasioned by the
exquisite sensibility of a mind yet new to the world, so insinuated
her into the affections of the Signora, that admiration was mingled
with pity, and she felt an irresistible desire to be more particularly
acquainted with her story, of which she had heard something, but not
distinctively, and to conciliate her regard. Yet being influenced by
the native gentleness of her heart, she forbore to make an immediate
enquiry, lest it should lead to melancholy remembrances; and having
prevailed upon her to partake of a repast that was prepared for her,
finding that rest was more than ordinarily requisite, she conducted
her to her apartment.

Laurette, when alone, began to ruminate upon an incident which, though
unlooked for, was attended with some degree of pleasure. Her first
conjecture was, that the lady who presided at the castle in the
absence of its owner, was related to the Marchese; and this opinion
the air of fashion that distinguished her, and the circumstances of
her being at the mansion previous to his arrival, to prepare it for
his reception, seemed to justify. But that Paoli, who consequently
must have been apprized of the affair, should have preserved so strict
a silence upon the subject, notwithstanding his disposition was
naturally uncommunicative, was a matter of astonishment.

In the morning Signora d'Orfo entered her room, and having made some
general enquiries concerning her health, which were answered with the
most captivating sweetness, they descended into the breakfast room.

Though Laurette exerted herself as much as possible to wear an
appearance of cheerfulness, she frequently sunk into fits of
abstraction. The uncertain fate of her lamented friend, whose loss had
so long wounded her repose, the mysterious silence of Enrico, whose
dangerous enterprize her fears had so materially augmented, preyed
upon her heart; and now that she was removed from the castle, it
seemed as if she was separated for ever from every vestige of her
former happiness. Yet to appear uneasy in the presence of her new
acquaintance, whose solicitude to please could not be misconstrued,
would, she considered, wear an appearance of ingratitude, or at least
of indifference, which might injure her in the estimation of a person
apparently so little deserving of neglect or inattention.

This reflection instigated her to endeavour, at least, to conceal that
regret which she found it was impossible to erase, under an assumed
tranquillity of deportment; but in this attempt she succeeded so ill
that the Signora, who possessed much penetration, united to a sound
judgment and a thorough knowledge of the world, easily discovered that
she was unhappy; and though partly acquainted with the cause, arising
from her own forlorn and dependant situation, which, joined to the
uncertainty of her birth, a mind of sensibility could not reflect upon
without pain, she believed there was some more recent occasion of
inquietude, and curiosity, as well as pity, was excited in her bosom.

As soon as breakfast was over, the Signora proposed a walk in the
gardens, observing, that since they were at present condemned to
solitude, they must accommodate themselves to what was unavoidable,
and extract comfort, if not happiness, from the means that were
offered them.

'There are some paintings also in the castle,' resumed the Signora,
'which are worthy of notice; and if you will permit me, I will conduct
you through the principal apartments, and we will then take a stroll
through the grounds.'

Charmed with the gentle attentions of her new friend, Laurette
unreluctantly assented to the proposal; and throwing an embroidered
scarf over her shoulders, followed the Signora through the corridor.

Several of the rooms were in an unfinished state, but those that were
completed were extremely magnificent, and much taste was displayed in
the decoration; some of them were hung with damask, others with costly
tapestry, and the inferior ones with gilt leather. The furniture
corresponded with these, and appeared so much superior to any thing
Laurette had ever seen, that she could not forbear expressing her
surprise. The Signora smiled at the simplicity of her remarks, and
anticipated her astonishment when she should behold the grand saloons
and principal rooms in the castle.

Having taken a general survey of the upper apartments, they proceeded
towards the northern gallery, which was ornamented with several
paintings from sacred history by the first masters of the Lombard
school, as Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoret, under which were
placed a number of ancient and valuable busts, particularly those of
the Emperors Trajan, Otho, Tibullus, and Augustus Caesar.

They then descended the marble staircase, and proceeded through a long
vaulted passage, which led immediately to the great hall. Here a scene
of wonders was presented to the astonished eyes of Laurette; it was
spacious and of vast extent; the floor was of marble; the walls, in
which were several recesses, were painted in fresco; the ceiling,
exhibiting a scene from the Odyssey of Homer, was supported by twenty
composite pillars, whose bandelets were of silver; the recesses were
adorned with statues from the antique of granite, porphyry, and parian

At the upper end of the hall was erected a stately organ, composed of
ebony, beautifully inlaid with ivory, and decorated with a variety of
ornaments. The curtain was of purple satin, fringed and drawn up with
tassels of gold; the pipes and pedals were of silver, and the upper
keys of the finest ivory.

The Signora having opened it, touched a few simple notes; the tones
were full and harmonious, and the effect was heightened by echo.
Laurette, to whom this instrument was new, requested that she would
favour her with a song; to this she immediately assented, and taking a
place at the organ, played and sung the following air:



From your wild aerial pleasures.
Sister spirits, haste away.
Join the dance, in frolic measures.
'Mid dark woods, in shadows grey.
On the zephyrs' pinion sailing
Swift we'll cleave the ambient air.
Catch the od'rous sweets, exhaling
From each herb and flow'ret fair.
Now our wild course earthward bending.
Where the sportive sun-beams play;
On the viewless winds descending
Through the silvery floods of day.
'Mid deep shades and glens advancing.
Where sequester'd mortals dwell.
Round the purple orchis dancing.
Or the lily's pendant bell.
From your wild aerial pleasures.
Sister Spirits, haste away.
Join the dance in frolic measures.
'Mid dark woods, in shadows grey.

Laurette having complimented the Signora upon a performance that
discovered much taste and judgment, was conducted by her into the
saloons, and other magnificent rooms in the castle, which were adorned
with a profusion of rare and valuable pictures by the most celebrated
of the Italian painters, and some that exhibited the bold and masterly
strokes of the Roman pencil.

All here appeared like the work of enchantment; the windows,
descending to the floors, opened into balconies, in which were placed
vases containing roses, myrtle, and Amaranthus that distilled
delicious fragrance; beyond these the most gay and beautiful
parterres, lawns, groves, and winding streams, being aided by the
natural grandeur of the scenery, presented to the eye of the
enthusiast a combination of beauties which Fancy herself could not so
successfully have delineated.

From the principal saloon they proceeded through a glass door, which
opened into the pleasure-ground. Here our lovely heroine, whose
astonishment could be only equalled by her admiration, was conducted
to several grottos, cascades, and beautiful declivities, where so
little method was observed by the artist, that they appeared like the
work of Nature when in one of her most wild and fanciful moods.

The timidity natural to minds of quick and delicate perception, which
had hitherto repressed the communication of sentiment, now
imperceptibly yielded to reciprocal affection; and the Signora,
ardently desirous of exciting an interest in the heart of her young
and amiable guest, began to relate several incidents of her past life,
endeavouring by her example to betray her into a similar and mutual

Laurette listened with attention; and some symptoms of curiosity
appearing in her looks, the Signora continued.

'My life, which has been hitherto almost invariably marked with ill-
fortune, can boast no great variety of incident; yet, though my story
is uniformly sad, it may not be altogether uninteresting; and a mind
that has been taught by reflection to think and to feel, will not
contemplate the misfortunes I have endured without an emotion of

Laurette, to whom the latter part of this discourse was particularly
addressed, bowed gracefully; and still more desirous of being
acquainted with a story, which though its prelude promised little to
entertain, yet much to interest, besought her to proceed.

The Signora hesitated some moments, as if to recollect or to arrange
some circumstances of her narrative, and then began as follows.

Volume 3

Chapter 1

The beauteous maid that bids the world adieu
Oft of that world will snatch a fond review.
Oft at the shrine neglect her beads, to trace
Some social scene, some dear familiar face.
Forgot when first a father's stern controul
Chas'd the gay visions of her op'ning soul;
And e'er with iron-tongue the vesper-bell.
Bursts thro' the cyprus walk, the convent cell
Oft will her warm and wayward heart revive.
To love and joy still tremblingly alive.

'My father, whose name was Ruberto, was lineally descended from a
younger branch of the noble and once honourable house of Manini. The
misfortunes of this family, which are well known, rendered it
necessary for my grandfather, the unhappy victim of Court intrigue, to
take refuge in obscurity. When the policy of this measure first
appeared, he felt the severity of his fortunes with the keenest
energy. To be compelled to quit his paternal inheritance in Naples,
long the residence of his ancestors, was to him dreadful as a Siberian
banishment; yet no alternative remained, and after many struggles, too
powerful to be immediately overcome, he repaired with his wife, who
was also a person of high birth and a numerous family, of which my
father was the eldest, to a chateau on the borders of France.

'Thus trained in obscurity, and disguised under an assumed name, the
children of the unfortunate Manini were deprived of the advantages of
birth, though not of education, as my grandfather instructed them in
the learned languages, and other branches of literature, with
unceasing attention; but at the same time that he assisted them in
classical acquirements, he instilled into them principles that were at
enmity with the social virtues.

'After some years, a political revolution occasioned a change of
circumstances; and my grandfather, whose character was finally cleared
from the false aspersions of his enemies, returned once more to his
paternal seat, and was restored to his former dignities. This sudden
transition from disgrace to favour, from obscurity to comparative
splendour, wrought so violent an effect upon his mind, that he, who
could once think nobly, and act vigorously, now became weak, vain, and
luxurious, a slave to passions he once boldly resisted, and to vices
which he felt no longer an inclination to oppose. He believed, because
he had met with some insincerity where he had the least expected it,
that all were vicious and ungrateful. With this conviction he
renounced all former friendships, he rather wished to excite envy than
esteem, and as the most effectual way of attracting the observation of
the multitude, enlarged his mansion, and increased his household.

'One expence naturally led to another, till his fortune, his peace,
and the future prospects of his children were eventually sacrificed.
In a few years this unfortunate and misguided courtier died insolvent;
his widow did not long survive him; his three sons were provided for
in the army, and his daughters forced into a convent, that the family
might not be disgraced by inferior alliances.

'My father was united, early in life, to a woman, elegant in her
manners, and amiable in her disposition. She was beautiful, but beauty
was her least perfection, for she possessed, in an eminent degree, all
those virtues and graces by which the female character is adorned and
dignified;--she was a native of Italy, and an only child; her fortune
was small, but her family respectable. Her parents dying in her
minority, left their fair daughter to the guardianship of an uncle,
who was distantly related to my father, which led to the connection
that afterwards formed all the happiness and misery of their future

'Soon after this marriage, which took place a short time after the
commencement of the acquaintance, my father's regiment being called
into action for the purpose of quelling a rebel troop of Condottieri,
he was necessitated to leave Mantua that he might join a detachment in
a distant part of the province, who were in readiness to march against
the foe.

'During this state of separation, which was equally afflictive to
both, my mother remained under the protection of Signor Montefico, her
uncle and former guardian, at his residence, which was a small but
elegant villa on the banks of the Po. My birth rapidly succeeded this
event, and my mother's attention was now entirely confined to the care
and education of her daughter; so much so that she seldom quitted her
solitude, and seemed to be insensible to every pleasure or amusement
but what I was empowered to bestow.

'Several years passed before the return of my father; and a report of
his death being circulated, which his unusual silence tended to
confirm, my mother resigned herself for some time to unavailing grief;
but recollecting the defenceless situation of her child, she exerted
herself to endure what could not be remedied, and in time regained
some portion of her former tranquillity.

'As no doubt remained concerning the truth of the report, she assumed
the dress of a widow, and with redoubled assiduity dedicated her time
and her thoughts to my instruction and improvement.

'But the serenity she had acquired was soon afterwards disturbed by
the death of Signor Montefico, who expired suddenly in a fit, without
having received the benefit of the sacrament, or the other customary
solemnities of the church. As he died without a will, his property,
which would otherwise have been my mother's, descended to the male

'Poverty, and other accumulated distresses, now threatened to destroy
the small remains of comfort which had hitherto been afforded; but my
mother, who possessed firmness sufficient to withstand the severest
attacks of misfortune, did not suffer herself to sink under them; but
having followed her venerable protector to the grave, and paid every
mark of respect to his memory which pecuniary embarrassments would
permit her to bestow, she prepared to quit the villa Santieri, which
had been her home almost from infancy, and to repair to the interior
of the city. But she was prevented from putting her design immediately
in execution by the arrival of Signor Gualando, the rightful heir to
the estates of her deceased friend, who came to assert his claim to
the personal, as well as landed, property of Signor Montefico.

'Something relative to the arrangement of his affairs rendered
frequent conversations with my mother indispensible, previous to her
quitting the villa. She was too beautiful not to attract his
admiration, and too amiable not to ensure his esteem. The soft
melancholy that pervaded her features, the easy dignity of her figure,
and the winning graces of her manners, inspired the most lively
sentiment in her favour.

'He felt that he loved her, but that love was so tempered with esteem
that it was long before delicacy allowed an avowal of his passion.

'At first he steadily opposed our leaving the villa, having no
intention of continuing there himself, as he possessed a considerable
estate, independent of this, in the neighbourhood of Pisa, the present
residence of his family. But my mother strictly adhered to her first
resolution, and soon afterwards, agreeable to her original intention,
removed into the city.

'She was frequently visited in her new abode by Signor Gualando, whom
necessary business detained some time in Mantua, who finally made her
an offer of his person and fortune.

'Though my mother had no remaining doubt concerning her widowhood, she
prudently declined the proposal, having already formed a resolution
never to enter into a second engagement.

'The disappointment and uneasiness which a knowledge of this
determination inflicted upon the Signor, cannot easily be described;
not only his spirits, but his health, seemed to yield to the force of
his attachment, which was too serious to allow him to relinquish the
pursuit, and too ardent not to expose him to real distress. Yet not
absolutely despairing of success, he ventured to continue his visits
under the sanction of friendship, and was meditating on the most
effectual method of insinuating himself into the affections of the
beautiful widow, as she was generally called, when the unexpected
return of my father, who had been confined five years in a fortress by
the forces of the triumphant Condottieri, terminated all his future

'The Signor Gualando was alone with my mother on his arrival, and, in
the attitude of intreaty, was pressing his suit with all the eloquence
of an inviolable regard, when my father, whom no motive of prudence
could restrain from precipitating himself into the presence of his
wife, burst into the room.

'The rapturous surprise experienced by my mother when she beheld the
long lost object of her affections, whose imaginary death she had so
long and so tenderly lamented, can better be conceived than described.
My father was sensible to the first impulse of joy, but far different
emotions succeeded. From this moment his mind became a prey to violent
and contending passions, which reason could neither bridle nor subdue.
In the Signor Gualando he believed he beheld the favoured lover of his
wife, to whom, supposing herself at liberty, she would shortly have
been united, had not his unexpected and unhoped--for return rendered
it impracticable. Though, from the natural expressions of transport
which were portrayed in the countenance of my mother, and the innocent
effusions of unfeigned rapture that succeeded, a mind collected and
unimpassioned would have decided otherwise; yet too much was he
blinded by an excess of jealousy to be enabled to observe the one, or
to feel the just value of the other.

'From this aera a gloomy reserve characterised his deportment towards
his wife, which no effort of tenderness, on her part, could soften or
dispel; though she cautiously avoided giving him any cause of
suspicion, by abstracting herself from society, and devoting every
moment of her time to domestic duties.

'Signor Gualando, in the mean time, suffered all the chagrin and
mental uneasiness which love and disappointment could inflict. He saw
the necessity of tearing himself from the object of his regard, and of
combatting these feelings by the most strenuous exertions in his
power; and, after repeated conflicts with himself, was enabled to put
his prudent resolutions into practice, and returned to his former

'The behaviour of my father, which was alternately sullen and severe,
was so injurious to the peace of my mother, that her natural vivacity
disappeared, and her health rapidly declined. Her cruel companion
beheld this change without either pity or remorse; he imputed it to
chagrin for the loss of her lover, not to his unmerited severity; and
this reflection, as distressing as it was unjust, marked his
appearance and manners with increasing asperity.

'In a short time this patient victim of groundless and unjustifiable
resentment, was removed from a state of sufferance and oppression to
receive the reward of uncorrupted innocence; and left him, who was
insensible of her value when living, to feel and lament her loss.

'As at this period I was not more than twelve years of age, my father,
who had no female relation living, was for some time irresolute in
what manner to dispose of me. At length he determined to board me in a
convent of Celestinas, which was about a league and a half from
Mantua, whither he promised to convey me at the expiration of the time
which he had fixed.

'That boundless love of variety, which is inseparable from youth and
inexperience, made me readily agree to the proposal; and my father
having previously entered into a contract with the Superior to admit
me as a boarder, I was conducted by him to the convent.

'The Lady Abbess received me with a stately kind of politeness but
little adapted to my sentiments or my years; and the nuns eyed me with
a kind of eager curiosity, which, young as I was, filled me with
confusion and displeasure.

'When my father had left me, which he appeared to do with little
regret, I felt the forlornness of my situation with redoubled energy.
I seemed to have awakened to a new state of existence, and to be
placed among beings of another order, which made it long before I was
sufficiently reconciled to my new abode to be able to enumerate its

'But as the mind naturally submits to necessity, and endeavours to
accommodate itself to those circumstances that are unavoidable, in
time I became tranquil and even gay; though I believe my satisfaction
chiefly arose from the too sanguine expectations I had indulged of the
future, when, being liberated from confinement, I should be restored
to society.

'With these hopes, which I conceived were shortly to be realized, the
hours fled rapidly away, and having no idea of continuing in the
convent longer than the time proposed, I felt the tenderest pity and
commiseration for those whom pride, bigotry, or other adverse
circumstances had condemned to perpetual retirement.

'Many of the sisters were young, and some of them were extremely
lovely. The dress of the order, which consisted of a loose white robe
simply confined at the bosom, and ornamented with a blue cloak, and
scapulary of the same colour, added grace to beauty; and had they not
been characterized by a certain air of discontent and dejection, they
would have appeared infinitely charming. But few had voluntarily
resigned themselves to a conventual life, and the hopelessness of
their situations was a source of continual dissatisfaction and regret.

'Whenever I contemplated features whose harmony and expression, if
lighted up by the animated smile of contentment and benevolence, would
have possessed undescribable powers of attraction, I mingled a degree
of silent indignation with my pity at the violated rights of human
nature, at once trampled on and overborne by creatures, formed and
endued with so many delicate and exalted affections. Can it be the
will of heaven, thought I, that beings, who are endeared to each other
by so many tender connections, should embrace a system which is
unquestionably subversive of all the ties of humanity? Is it virtue to
fly from the possibility of exercising those amiable principles which
are implanted in our natures for the noblest purposes, and to
relinquish those innocent sources of amusement and delight, that are
bountifully bestowed upon us to give value to our existence? It cannot
be--we are assuredly designed to be the mutual support and comfort of
each other; and as by mixing with the world our sphere of action is
enlarged, it is indisputably our duty to continue in it.

'But pardon me, Madame,' continued the Signora, 'I confess I have been
guilty of an egotism, and am now amusing you rather with sentiment
than narrative; but I will resume my story, and conclude it as briefly
as possible.'

Laurette replied only with a smile, and the Signora proceeded.

'Two years had elapsed before my father again visited the convent, who
I now believed was come to obtain my dismission. But what were my
feelings when he acquainted me with his determination, which was, that
I was to remain in the convent, and immediately to take the veil as a
novice! My anguish was now too acute to be concealed, and, throwing
myself at his feet, I besought him not to doom me to eternal regret--
not to exclude me from the blessings of nature, but to allow me to
return with him.

'The sternness that was gathering on his brow convinced me that I had
nothing to hope; and the peremptory tone in which his former
resolution was repeated, terrified me into silence; and knowing that
resistance would be in vain, and being fearful of exasperating him
with a refusal, I appeared to acquiesce. When he left me, his
countenance somewhat relaxed from its severity; and after an assurance
that he would see me again before the ceremony was performed, he
quitted the convent.

'The recollection of my sufferings when I was apprized of my
unalterable destiny, returns, even at this distant period, forcibly to
my thoughts, and brings with it a train of correspondent ideas. At one
time I resolved to disobey, and to purchase liberty at the expense of
duty and every moral obligation; at another, to submit patiently to
what was unavoidable, and to endeavour, at least, to alleviate the
sense of my uneasiness with the rectitude of my conduct.

'Had persuasion been used instead of those arbitrary means which had
been adopted, and had that persuasion been directed by reason, I could
have yielded myself a sacrifice, however painful the task; but as no
motive could be alledged to justify measures so repugnant to my
inclinations, they appeared so despotic and capricious that I could
neither reconcile them to my feelings or my understanding.

'The stately distance that was uniformly preserved by the Abbess,
precluded the possibility of winning her over to my interest; and
though I more than once determined to solicit her interference in my
behalf, her looks, her voice, and her manners were sufficient to awe
me into silence.

'Some of the sisters apparently pitied my situation, whilst others
secretly triumphed in my disappointment; for there were some that,
though trained to habits of hourly devotion, were destitute of
sensibility and every amiable principle of the mind.

'It was on the eve of the vigil of San Marco that my father again
repeated his visit, and as it is usual at this festival for nuns to be
professed, I naturally imagined that he had received some previous
intimation of it from the Superior, and was come at once to enforce
and to witness my vows.

'No powers of language can do justice to my feelings at that moment;
for though as a novice I was not absolutely a prisoner for life, yet
placing but little confidence in the paternal tenderness of my father,
and being perfectly aware of the watchfulness of the Lady Abbess, any
successful attempt of effectuating an escape from captivity would, I
knew, be impracticable, before the expiration of the year, when the
other veil would follow of course. Thus situated, I resolved, though
with no sanguine hopes of success, to soften, if possible, the native
ferocity of my father's temper; and, if every spark of affection was
not entirely extinguished in his breast, to strive to rekindle and
call it into action.

'As soon as I was admitted into his presence, which was not till the
Abbess had retired, I endeavoured to execute my intention by appealing
to his compassion; and, contrary to my expectation, he heard me with
complacency;--and whether it was my altered looks, for my complexion
was much faded by sorrow, or the result of a previous conversation
with the Superior, that occasioned it, I was unable to ascertain; but,
after fixing his eyes upon mine, which were streaming with tears, with
an expression of earnestness not unmingled with pity, after a few
gentle reproaches he granted me his permission to accompany him home,
and to remain resident there till my health was re-established; though
he took some pains to convince mc that his former resolution was
unchanged; but in compliance with my unjustifiable prejudices, as he
termed it, he would grant me the indulgence of postponing the
performance of it till another opportunity.

'Even this indulgence, though not augmented by a promise of its
permanency, so much exceeded my expectation, that, in the ecstatic
emotions of the moment, I loaded him with the effusions of my
gratitude; and having yielded to the intreaties of the Abbess to wait
the celebration of the festival, which was crowded with friars,
pilgrims, and other professed devotees, we quitted this religious
asylum, whose massy walls and solitary cells heard only the sigh of
regret and the groan of mental anguish, and repaired to Mantua.

'As I gazed upon the venerable spires of the convent retiring into
distance, which were half lost amid the rocks that surrounded them, I
secretly determined not to enter it again, since I believed that
misery and confinement were inseparable.

'Every object which I regarded, and every sound that I heard, had now
the advantage of novelty; the hills covered with verdure, the flowers
that embroidered the valleys, the low warblings of the birds from the
deep shade of the woods, all were in unison with my feelings, and I
felt as if just called into existence to enjoy the sublimities of
nature. With the vanity inseparable from youth and inexperience, I
anticipated the pleasures of society, anxious to display the few
accomplishments I had acquired, and to be convinced of their value.

'My solicitude to please being frequently carried to excess, my father
did not fail to observe, with concern, a propensity that threatened to
render his favourite scheme of professing me abortive. This induced
him resolutely to oppose my mixing with the world, which he constantly
represented as teeming with misfortune, folly, and insincerity.

'The only persons who were in habits of intimacy in the family, were
Father Alberto, a Jesuit, who was my father's Confessor; Signor
Lamberto, a man of fortune and connections resident in Mautna, and
Lorenzo d'Orfo, a young officer, who was committed to his care by his
last surviving parent, a short time before his death, which happened
in consequence of a wound received in a desperate engagement, a few
months after he had been raised by merit to the rank of Mareschal, not
without some hopes that a future provision might be the effect of this
politic arrangement, should this veteran, who had lately retired from
the toil and uncertainty inseparable from a military life, continue
single, or die without heirs.

'Signor Lamberto was not so rigid in his principles as my father, and
being informed of the decided aversion I had expressed to the solitude
of a cloister, and of his inexorable determination to oblige me to
take the vow, used some arguments to dissuade him from his purpose.
But they were overruled by the more powerful ones urged by the Jesuit,
who was my father's friend and adviser on every occasion, and who
contrived, from interested motives, to convince him that his eternal
salvation depended upon the sacrifice of his daughter; who, if allowed
to remain with him, would so far influence his affections as to
withdraw them from the only true source of all consolation.

'To be continually in the society of the Signor d'Orfo without feeling
a prepossession in his favour, would have been impossible. His manners
were easy and elegant, his figure was more than ordinarily graceful,
and his countenance expressive of a certain ingenuousness of mind,
which could not be contemplated without affection. I had not been many
weeks in the city before we mutually felt and acknowledged our
attachment, though it was necessary to conceal it from my father, his
Confessor, and even from Signor Lamberto; who, was every objection to
be removed on the part of my friends, would, we had every reason to
believe, vigorously oppose an alliance which, in the indigent
situation of his dependant, could not be justified by prudence. But
though we attempted to disguise our affection under an assumed
appearance of indifference, we were so narrowly watched by the
scrutinizing eyes of the Jesuit, who contrived to overhear our
conversation when we imagined ourselves in secrecy, that my father was
early apprized of it.

'Perfectly aware of the extent of my punishment, and more than ever
averse to a conventual life, which would inevitably separate me for
ever from the amiable object of my early love, I at last consented to
accept the protection of Signor d'Orfo, and to unite my destiny with

'My father, in the mean time, placing no confidence in the dutiful
acquiescence of his daughter, probably from a consciousness that he
had never deserved it, resolved to accelerate my departure, as the
most effectual method of preventing any future intercourse between us,
and desired me to prepare to accompany him to the convent on the
following week; at the same time commanding me not to quit my
apartment during the interval, on pain of his everlasting displeasure.

'Thus secluded from the possibility of obtaining another interview
with Lorenzo, I abandoned myself to despair; and since, in the
despondency of the moment, I believed the fate that awaited me was
irreversible, wished, for the first time, that I had never quitted my
prison, since I should now return to it with redoubled reluctance.

'By means of a confidential servant, a method of informing the Signor
of my confinement was with some difficulty effected; who I discovered
by a letter, which was immediately conveyed, was actually meditating
my escape.

'This, by the assistance of the domestics, who were bribed to our
interests, notwithstanding the vigilance of my father and his
Jesuitical Confessor, was finally accomplished: a ladder of ropes was
placed beneath the window of my apartment, which I unreluctantly
descended, and a vehicle being stationed at a convenient distance from
the mansion, I placed myself in it, without asking whither I was
going, and was conveyed rapidly away.

'It was the intention of the Signor to take a cross-road, lest a
premature alarm might occasion pursuit, and to alight at one of the
monasteries in the road, where a priest might be procured, and the
ceremony be performed.

'It was long past midnight when we commenced our journey; but the moon
shining with unclouded radiance, enabled us to prosecute it with
speed, till her light became gradually pale, and the grey mists of the
morning rose slowly upon the summits of the hills.

'Having arrived at a lonely and apparently deserted village, situated
at the foot of a mountain, we enquired for the nearest convent, and
was directed to one about a league from the place.

'Here we arrived when the Monks were returning from matins. It was a
society of Augustines, and having engaged a Friar of the Order to
officiate, the marriage was solemnized.

'As we had no fixed residence to return to, nor any friend or relation
to receive us, we mutually agreed to drive on to the next town that
could offer us accommodation, and to remain there till we could fix
upon some plan for our future conduct.

'Here we arrived early in the day; and as soon as my scattered
thoughts were somewhat collected, I wrote to my father, at once to
solicit his forgiveness and his patronage. Lorenzo also wrote to
Signor Lamberto, but our letters were disregarded; another and another
were written, but without success; and having no hopes of obtaining
the attention we requested, we determined to relinquish the pursuit.

'Near a month elapsed in this situation, when Lorenzo received orders
to join his regiment, that was stationed in a remote province,
whither, after some little preparation, I accompanied him.

'The journey was accomplished with little fatigue; and soon afterwards
we had the satisfaction of being placed in a state of security and
comfort, in which we experienced all the happiness that life could
bestow. Our circumstances were indeed limited, but we managed so as to
make not only a decent, but a respectable appearance, and might be
said to be rich in each other's affection.

'Some years had passed in unclouded tranquillity, without any
interesting event, except the birth of a son, who bore the name as
well as the resemblance of his father, but of whom death early
deprived me. Scarcely was I recovered from the indisposition this loss
had occasioned, before our regiment was ordered into another part of
the kingdom, to secure it from the invasion of the enemy, which
obliged us to remove with all possible speed.

'Alas! I knew not then it was destined to become the seat of war, and
being anxious to recover my spirits, exulted in the variety a change
of situation would afford.

'But not to weary you with too long a detail, the regiment was soon
afterwards engaged in a close action, and Lorenzo d'Orfo fell!

'Gracious heaven! what were my sufferings at that dreadful moment when
I was informed that he was amongst the numbers of the fallen; though,
to soften the intelligence, I was told he was only wounded. Frantic
with despair, I flew into the field with the wildness of distraction,
though it was night, and I had no one but a servant to attend me
thither. After examining for a considerable time the mangled forms of
the vanquished; which were so covered with blood as to render the
features scarcely perceptible, I discovered the object of my search.
But he was dead; the breath seemed newly to have forsaken the body,
and his limbs were not yet stiff in death.

'In an agony, not to be described, I pressed him to my heart; and it
was long before the people, whom my cries had attracted, could tear me
from the place. A fever and delirium succeeded, which brought me to
the brink of the grave; but the natural goodness of my constitution
finally resisting the attack, I was gradually restored.

'As soon as the disorder of my mind was in some degree removed, I
formed a resolution of returning to Mantua, for the purpose of
soliciting the protection of my father, who, I now believed, would
receive me with compassion and affection. When the physician who
attended me, pronounced me able to travel without endangering my
safety, I availed myself of his permission, and soon put my design
into execution.

'After a few days' journey, which was performed with less fatigue than
was expected, I arrived within the territories of Naples, and from
thence proceeded, by easy stages, to Mantua.

'Here I learned, to my inexpressible grief and disappointment, that my
father had been dead some time; and, on extending my enquiries
concerning the disposal of his property, was informed that he had
bequeathed the whole of it, which was indeed nothing very
considerable, to the Jesuit, his Confessor.

'Having now no other means of subsistence than what my own exertions
could procure, I had recourse to the embroidering of silks, to supply
the convents and principal nobility of the place; which, from some
skill in the art, more than supplied me with the actual necessaries of

'Near two years had elapsed without any incident worthy of attention,
when a cessation of hostilities, which was somewhat suddenly effected,
occasioned a visit from the Marchese de Martilini; who, having been
acquainted with my misfortunes, and the injustice of my father,
requested my acceptance of a sum sufficient to elevate me above want
and dependance. This, knowing the exalted character of the bestower, I
gratefully accepted; and, on the death of the Marchese de Montferrat,
which happened some years after this event, consented, at the request
of my patron, to accept of this situation, till one more eligible
could be procured. Here I hope, in the capacity of Casiera: to enjoy
at least peace and tranquillity.

'I have not at present been introduced to the Marchese de Montferrat;
but as the castle will soon be in readiness for his reception, it is
not probable that he will continue much longer in Italy. He has
already honoured me with two letters respecting the repairs, and the
disposal of the pictures, statues, vases, and other ornamental
effects, in which he has discovered much taste and sentiment.

'In his last letter he mentioned a young person of the name of
Laurette, who was shortly to be placed under my protection, with whose
person, he added, he was yet unacquainted, though he had maintained
and patronized her from infancy. This, I acknowledge, excited my
curiosity, and instigated me to extend my enquiries among the
servants, from whom I could gain no satisfactory intelligence upon the

Here the Signora was silent; and Laurette, who had listened with a
painful interest to this brief yet mournful narrative, in return for
such unlimited confidence, proceeded to inform her new friend of some
particulars relative to herself. The incidents of her life were few
and simple; but the tone and manner in which they were delivered, and
the tears that accompanied the recollection of infantine felicity,
gave importance to the most trivial event, and won the esteem of her

When she arrived at that part of her story which treated of the sudden
departure of her more than parent, the attention of the Signora was
fixed in astonishment; and when the name of Enrico escaped her lips,
the blush that suffused her cheeks, and the tremulous accent in which
the words were delivered, declared how tenderly she was interested in
his concerns, and breathed more than sisterly affection.

The Signora, who observed these emotions with the most refined
compassion, endeavoured to console her with an assurance that she
would make some immediate enquiries respecting the fate of the young
chevalier, desiring her at the same time to look up and be comforted;
not to give way to causeless suggestions, but to continue to rely on
the protection of that Supreme Power, which she had never wilfully
offended, and who consequently would never abandon her.

Those who know what it is to suffer, and to have those sufferings
alleviated by the sympathy of friendship, will conceive the delightful
sensation that was imparted to the bosom of Laurette in thus finding,
contrary to her expectation, a person inclined to bestow that
consolation which her present feelings required, in a stile the most
grateful to her heart, and in whom, from what had recently passed, she
had reason to believe she might entirely confide.

The only part of her narrative which Laurette had concealed, was the
extraordinary appearance and behaviour of the mysterious Monk, with
the delivery of the picture. This circumstance she had strictly
promised to conceal; and though it returned frequently and forcibly to
her thoughts, accompanied with the most dreadful presages, she
resolved, agreeably to the solemn vow she had taken in the presence of
the father, never to disclose it.

Chapter 2

Oft at the silent shadowy close of day.
When the tir'd grove has sung its parting lay.
When pensive Twilight, in her dusky car.
Comes slowly on to meet the evening star.
Above, below, aerial murmurs swell.
From hanging wood, brown heath, and bushy dell.
A thousand nameless rills, that shun the sight.
Stealing soft music on the ear of Night;
So oft the finer movements of the soul.
That shun the sphere of Pleasure's gay controul.
In the still shades of calm Seclusion rise.
And breathe their sweet seraphic harmonies.

Laurette had not been long resident in the castle of Lunenburg, before
Paoli received an order from the Marchese to hasten his return into
Italy; who having made some necessary arrangements, and given general
orders to the Signora, prepared to depart.

His attention was so wholly directed to the business of rendering the
mansion a fit residence for his Lord, and he so seldom obtruded
himself into the presence of the ladies, that Laurette was scarcely
conscious that he was an inhabitant of the place. When he entered the
saloon to bid them adieu, being anxious to know when Dorothe and
Lisette were to be conveyed thither, she ventured to follow him
through the hall to make some enquiries concerning them, and was
informed, to her inexpressible uneasiness, that they were already
discharged; the Marchese having recently given orders for none of her
former domestics to attend her.

There was something in this circumstance so unkind, as well as
capricious, that had not her mind been occupied by nearer interests,
she would have felt severely the having been once flattered by
assurances which were probably never intended to be realized.

Though hope, the usual attendant on youth and inexperience, sometimes
brightened the future prospects of our heroine, she often yielded to
despondency; and though grateful for the comforts her present
situation afforded, which exceeded her most sanguine expectations, she
did not cease to reflect upon the past with the most poignant regret
and anxiety.

The picture, which was delivered by the Monk, she wore continually in
her bosom, carefully concealing it from observation, according to her
promise, and secretly cherishing it as an invaluable relic,
consecrated by the solemn manner in which it was bestowed and endeared
as being the portrait of her mother.

Though the conversation of the Signora d'Orfo, which was at once
animated and interesting, excited in the gentle mind of Laurette the
most lively emotions of gratitude, the exertion which was requisite of
wearing the aspect of cheerfulness, was often times painful, which
occasioned her to seize every opportunity of abstracting herself from
the rest of the family, when it could be done without a breach of
propriety, that she might wander alone through the grounds attached to
the castle, which were not more beautiful than extensive.

One evening, when the Signora was engaged in giving directions to the
persons employed in the repairs, concerning the ornamental parts of
the workmanship, Laurette was induced by the fineness of the weather
to ramble in an adjacent forest; and having reached a distant part of
it, seated herself upon a gentle eminence, to enjoy the prospect it
commanded. The evening was serene and cloudless--no sound, except the
song of the nightingale that was warbling its last farewell, or the
soft note of a far distant oboe, broke upon the calmness that
prevailed. These tended to recall to her memory the imagery of the
past, and, absorbed in tender reflections, she paused till every sound
was hushed, till even the night bird had forsaken his accustomed
haunts, and all was silence and repose.

Her mind was now tenderly susceptible of the finest impressions, and
the melancholy stillness that pervaded the woods, only occasionally
agitated by the last sigh of the zephyr, aided the poetic enthusiasm
that was stealing upon her spirits, and resigning herself to the
luxury of sadly pleasing emotions, she composed the following lines:



Where are the wreaths that Spring's young fingers wove.
Each op'ning bud, which she had gemm'd with dew;
Hypaticas that blush'd in every grove.
The heath flower, and the violet meekly blue.
No more beneath the woodbine's trembling shade.
Peeps the wan primrose from its silken cell;
No more the wild rose blooms along the glade.
Or modest cowslip hangs her golden bell;
Yet though no shrubs the Alpine steeps adorn.
Though Spring and Summer's smiling reign be past.
I love to linger in these shades forlorn.
And listen to the rude Autumnal blast.
And chief, when Evening hangs her glooms profound
On every pine-clad hill and valley fair;
When the noctule begins his nightly round.
In mazy circles, through the liquid air;
Then oft I climb some mountain's hoary side.
Whose craggy base the silent water laves.
And mark the wand'ring Naiades, as they glide
To meet the Sea Nymphs in their coral caves;
Or seek the moss-grown cavern's inmost dell.
The tangl'd wood walk, or the forest drear;
Where, as soft, dying gales at distance swell.
Methinks the Spirit of the rock I hear.
And when meek Eve, with matron step retires
With humid tresses newly bath'd in dews;
Then Fancy visionary dreams inspires.
Veiling each object in unreal hues.
Her magic wand bids fairy forms advance.
Forms that have slept in lily bells the day.
In frolic wild to celebrate the dance.
Beneath the silver moon-beam's trembling ray;
To keep their vigils far from mortal ken.
By side of fringed brook, or shadowy glade.
Or in some rushy cavern's hallow'd glen.
Till Day's bright orb the realms of Night pervade.
Then swift they fly, nor can e'en Fancy's power.
With all her magic spells, prolong their stay.
Till Cynthia's train leads on the silent hour.
And Night's sad minstrel tunes his parting lay.
Ah! so, before cold Reason's sober gaze.
Youth's fairy visions fade and disappear;
Dark Winter thus her chilling form displays.
Blasting the produce of the blooming year.
Yet Spring again shall dress her groves with flow'rs.
Perfum'd and tinted by a hand divine;
And Music's voice delight the laughing hours;
But when will happiness again be mine?

The deepening shades of the evening at length reminded her of her
distance from the castle, and that she had a long and lonely
wilderness to pass, which made it necessary for her to return with all
possible speed to the path she had quitted, which was the direct road
to the mansion, before it was too dark to be able to distinguish the

When she had reached the gate that marked the boundaries of the
pleasure grounds, being nearly exhausted with fatigue, she paused for
a moment to recover herself, and as she was now well acquainted with
the road, to take a survey of the beautiful range of hills that
bounded the horizon, and the rich, though half-foliated woods that
skirted the mountains.

Lost in the contemplation of these picturesque objects, she proceeded
leisurely along till having imperceptibly arrived at the vista, which
opened upon the lawn, her attention was recalled from the illusions of
fancy, to whose captivating power she had resigned herself, by the
voices of two people, apparently in earnest discourse, but whose
persons were concealed amid the trees of the avenue.

In the direction she had taken it was probable she must have passed
very near to them; but they were too much engaged in their own
concerns to perceive her approach, and the grass preventing her
footsteps from being heard, as she moved lightly beneath the shade of
the trees, occasioned their being unconscious of any observer.

It naturally occurred to her, that they were some of the servants
belonging to the castle; but, lest strangers might have intruded
themselves into these extensive domains, she emerged precipitately
from the gloom of the avenues, and bounded swiftly over the lawn.

In a moment she heard steps pursuing her, and before she had recovered
from her alarm, the sound of her own name, uttered by a well-known
voice, drew her attention upon the person who pronounced it. Turning
hastily around, she beheld, to her astonishment, a young chevalier in
a military habit, who immediately came up to her; and, before she was
restored to recollection, found herself in the arms of a stranger, in
whom she afterwards recognized the person of Enrico.

Surprise and joy operated so powerfully upon her feelings, that she
was near fainting; which made it some time before she was conscious of
her situation, or of the extent of her happiness.

When amazement had in some degree subsided, Laurette fixed her eyes
upon Enrico with an earnest and tender gaze, and, as the partial beams
of the moon fell upon his face, observed that he looked unusually
pale, and that his once animated features wore an expression of deep
dejection, which it was not difficult to interpret.

As soon as she had courage to introduce the subject, which had been
productive of so much uneasiness, she ventured to ask if he had
received the letter containing the melancholy intelligence respecting
Madame Chamont, and what had occasioned his unexpected arrival.

Enrico sighed deeply, and then proceeded to inform her, that on
account of his regiment having shifted its quarters, her letter did
not arrive till some weeks after the date; but that immediately on the
receipt of it, he obtained permission of his Colonel to absent
himself; and, attended by Anselmo, his servant, took the direct road
to the Castle of Elfinbach.

'You have been at the Castle, then,' interrupted Laurette, not
instantly considering the improbability of his being able to receive
information relative to her present place of residence by any other
means; as, at the time she addressed him, she was herself unacquainted
with the intentions of the Marchese, and consequently had mentioned
nothing of her removal. Enrico answered her question with an
affirmative, and having hesitated for a moment, continued--'Though
hopeless as to receiving any satisfactory intelligence concerning my
much-injured parent, which might serve as a clue to guide me in
pursuit, I resolved to hasten to the Castle; by these means to soften,
if I could not eradicate my grief, and to convince myself whether you,
my Laurette--my more than sister, was in safety. But what was my
disappointment and distress when I found the mansion silent and
deserted, and every vestige of my former happiness removed and

'It was night when I arrived; and the air of extreme desolation that
it exhibited, had my mind been sufficiently collected, or abstracted
from more painful interests, would have struck me forcibly; but my
feelings were too much and too tenderly wounded, to regard local

'Having reached the principal gate, I rapped violently, but without
success; no passing footstep answered to the summons, and surprise and
impatience succeeded. I then alighted from my horse, and desiring
Anselmo to follow my example, we fastened the animals to a tree, and
then walked round the courts, in hopes of being able to gain
admittance at the western side of the structure; but here our sanguine
expectations were again deceived. I called, but no voice returned an
answer but the echo of my own, which being aided by the loud rising of
the blast, that swept in hollow gusts along the mountains, had a
mournful and solemn effect.

'Impatience now yielded to the most excruciating anguish; I began to
imagine that you also was separated from me for ever. My heart beat
quick--my feeble limbs could scarcely support my agitated frame--and
throwing myself on a piece of the fallen rampart, I yielded to the
despondency that was stealing upon my mind.

'The clouds now passing rapidly over the sky, seemed to portend an
approaching storm; which Anselmo observing, reminding me at the same
time of the danger to which our present situation would expose us,
ventured to request my permission to release the horses from their
confinement; stating the necessity of our endeavouring to accommodate
ourselves for the night at one of the cottages by the side of the
river, as, by this method of proceeding, we might obtain shelter from
the storm, and be enabled to pursue our enquiries at leisure on the
following day.

'This advice, however reasonable, was suddenly rejected, as I still
flattered myself a possibility existed that the castle might be still
inhabited, though nothing appeared to justify the opinion. Anselmo
objected to the probability of the proposition, declaring that the
repeated alarms he had given were sufficient to have awakened the
dead; and besought me to consider my own safety while it was yet in my
power, and, plunged in unavailing despair, not to brave the fury of
the storm which was gathering fast over our heads.

'Having finally yielded, though reluctantly, to his entreaties, I
determined to make another attempt, and wheeling round the quadrangle
again, rapped loudly at the gate. But all was yet silent;--I called,
but no answer was returned; and a stillness, as of the grave, ensued.
Still more chagrined, though the hope that had inspired this last
effort was too feeble to admit of extreme disappointment, I walked
silently towards the oak, to whose trunk the horses were bound, and
began to liberate them.

'Anselmo, who had anticipated my second unsuccessful undertaking,
proposed, that since we had so little chance of obtaining admittance
into the interior of the mansion, for us to make the best of our way,
since we had a wild and dreary forest to pass, and a wood that
appeared like the abode of robbers; observing, that if it was really
the ease, our only chance of escape depended upon the threatening
aspect of the heavens, which might induce those outlaws, by whom these
solitudes are infested, to take refuge in their caves.

'Whilst I still continued to meditate upon the past, without forming
any plan for the future, Anselmo, after having employed many fruitless
endeavours to engage me in conversation, directed my attention towards
a tall edifice, which was partially seen as the light issued from the
sky, which he imagined to be a fane; remarking that if it was any
thing that could offer us an asylum, we were fortunate in having made
the discovery, as it would prevent the necessity of encountering the
peril and danger of traversing the wood, in whose tangled thickets we
might possibly be so entirely bewildered as to lose the track.

'Though I was too much lost in uneasy conjecture to be apprehensive of
consequences, and was too little inclined to attend to the loquacity
of Anselmo, to listen to the former part of his discourse; I turned
involuntarily towards the mountain to which he had pointed, and
beheld, by a second ray of light that flashed from the heavens, the
spires of a convent, which were half lost to the eye amid surrounding
foliage. Instantly it occurred to me that it was the convent of St
Angelo, belonging to the Carthusians, which determined me to make up
to it immediately and to enquire for Father Benedicta.

'The extreme perturbation of my mind accounted, in some measure, for
my not having recollected the propriety of this step before; as
information respecting the former inhabitants of the castle might,
with more appearance of probability, be obtained by this means, than
by any other that had been offered. Somewhat animated by this
reflection, we redoubled our speed, regardless of the storm that broke
in thunder over our heads, or the almost universal darkness that

'When we had arrived near the boundaries of the forest, Anselmo's
horse took fright, and threw him, with inconceivable force, against a
piece of broken rock. The scream he uttered on falling, and the deep
groan that succeeded, made me apprehensive of the worst. I called, but
he was unable to answer; the groans continued, but were fainter, and
being convinced that he was materially injured by the blow he had
sustained, if not already dying, I dismounted and hurried to the spot
from whence these melancholy sounds proceeded, though I was so
enveloped in darkness that it was with difficulty I could grope my

'The lightnings had ceased, but the thunder continued to roll, though
distantly, among the rocks, and the rain fell in torrents around.
Having, after many arduous endeavours, raised him from the ground,
being anxious to be assured he was still in existence, I demanded in
what manner he was afflicted. He spoke faintly, that his head only had
suffered, but the blow he feared was mortal. I put my hand upon his
forehead, it streamed with blood; and, being desirous of preventing
too copious an effusion, bound my handkerchief around his head, and
assisted in placing him on my horse.

'Recollecting that there was a hut, whose possessor I had formerly
known, at no very considerable distance from the place, I resolved to
convey him thither; though from the length of time that had elapsed
since I had last seen it, I was not assured of its exact situation.

'We were, however, fortunate in finding the place we sought; and,
though the family had long forgotten the cares of the day in the
tranquillity of repose, we roused them to the exertion of benevolence.

'Having procured something of a cordial nature, by means of the
cottagers, to restore the fleeting spirits of Anselmo, I ordered him
to be put to bed, but not till I had examined his wound, which my
skill in surgery, though slight, was sufficient to convince me was not
likely to have a dangerous tendency. But being unwilling to rely upon
my own judgment in so important a matter, lest it should prove to be
erroneous, I dispatched a peasant to the next village, where I was
informed that a surgeon of some eminence resided, to procure

'The good fellow, who appeared to possess many excellent qualities,
readily undertook the care of my servant; and mounting my horse (that
which had caused Anselmo's misfortune having escaped), galloped
towards the village.

'It was near midnight when the cottager returned attended by the
surgeon, whose countenance I steadfastly regarded as he examined the
wound, which I had soon the satisfaction of hearing him declare was
not mortal, no contusion having been effected; though he averred that
a slight fever would probably be the consequence of the accident,
which would render an early removal impracticable without a prospect
of further danger.

'The storm was now past; the light clouds dispersed rapidly towards
the horizon, and the moon gleaming palely from the sky, made me
anxious to pursue the way leading to the monastery; and having
convinced Anselmo that he was in good hands, and given him assurances
that I would be with him at an early hour on the following day, I
committed him to the care of the peasants, and quitted the cottage.

'The rude winds were now hushed, and the undisturbed tranquillity that
succeeded the boisterous warring of the elements, assisted the
melancholy of my reflections. Having descended into the valley, I
looked anxiously towards the mountain where the spires of the convent
had appeared, but they were lost in the gloom of the woods; and
finding it was impossible to obtain even a partial view of the
edifice, I began to apprehend I had taken a wrong path, and was on the
eve of determining to bend my way towards the cottage I had left, and
to wait there for the returning light of the morning, when the
midnight chaunt of the Monks broke softly upon the stillness of the
night, and directed me towards the place from whence it issued.

'As soon as I had struck into the glen that wound up the steep ascent
of the eminence, the meek and holy strain swelled louder, paused, then
sunk into deeper cadence, and in a few moments was heard no more.

'Fearing lest I should not be able to reach the monastery before the
Monks returned from the chapel, I redoubled my speed, knowing that
admittance could not be easily obtained, should the fathers have
returned to their cells before I could introduce myself to their

'When I had arrived at the outer gate, I perceived they were just
crossing the chapel yard; and, hanging the bridle of my horse round
the trunk of a chestnut-tree, I waited in hopes of being able to
distinguish Father Benedicta, to whom I could instantly make my self
known, and explain the occasion of this visit. But the faces of the
Monks were so shrouded in their cowls, that not a feature was exposed
to observation.

'The Superior walked first, and the rest of the order in procession.
They had nearly reached the arched door leading into the court, before
I had determined in what manner to address them; when finding I was at
present unperceived, I resolved to let them pass quietly into the
abbey. This done, I rapped loudly at the gate, and one of the lay
brothers appearing, I enquired for Father Benedicta.

'Without returning an answer, the person whom I addressed retired, but
soon afterwards came attended by a Monk, who, I felt assured, by his
gait and figure, was him for whom I had enquired. Believing I could
not be mistaken in this particular, I was advancing forwards to meet
him, and to express my satisfaction on seeing him, when he threw back
his cowl, and discovered a countenance meek, placid, and full of
devout expression, but it was not Father Benedicta's.

'The Monk bowed courteously, and seemed to await my introduction; I
informed him that I was a benighted traveller who had met with some
singular misfortunes, and had been induced, by the known benevolence
of the fraternity, to request a lodging for the night. The Monk again
bowing, I declared my name, and repeated my enquiries for Father

'"Our brother is ill," replied the Monk, mildly, "and has not been
able to attend public devotions for some days; but if you will have
the goodness to step into the Refectoire, I will visit his cell, and
will inform him of your name, and the circumstances you have
mentioned." Then ordering a servant to take care of my horse, he
desired me to follow him.

'Having entered the Refectoire, he offered me a seat by the fire, and
hastened to acquaint the Father with my arrival. I was soon ordered to
attend him, and accompanied my conductor to his cell.

'At the farther end of this little apartment was the holy Benedicta,
who had newly arisen from a mattress, probably for the purpose of
performing his midnight devotions. He appeared pale and emaciated, but
serene and cheerful. He arose on my entrance, and instantly
recollecting me, sprang forwards to receive me with an expression of
affection which words would have imperfectly conveyed.

'His looks and manner affected me so powerfully that I was unable to
speak, and sitting down by his side, I covered my face with my
handkerchief to conceal my emotions; when these had somewhat subsided,
I observed that his features were lighted up by a smile of more than
usual tranquillity, and he began to converse upon common topics of
discourse. I saw he wished to lead me from the subject of my griefs,
and I wished to flatter him with the hope that he had succeeded.'--

Laurette, who had listened with tender anxiety to this little
narrative, here interrupted Enrico, by asking if the Father Benedicta
was indeed very ill, and if his disorder was supposed to be of a
dangerous nature? On being assured that it was generally believed to
be otherwise throughout the monastery, she demanded eagerly, whether
the Monk had mentioned any thing relative to herself, or the Marchese
de Montferrat? Enrico's countenance visibly changed as she repeated
the question, and he appeared for the moment unable to reply.

'You hesitate,' resumed Laurette, tenderly, 'and consequently have
heard something you are unwilling to disclose;--but if you feel for me
as for a sister, agreeably to your former professions, I conjure you
to make me acquainted with it?' 'If I feel for you as for a sister!'
repeated Enrico, 'Oh, Laurette, is it possible you can be ignorant of
my sentiments?' But in a moment recollecting that he had never openly
avowed them, he checked himself; whilst Laurette, confused, and
anxious to change the conversation, asked whether he had been into the
castle previous to his meeting with her, and if he had been introduced
to the Signora? To this he answered that he had seen the Marchese's
casiera, whom he supposed to be the lady mentioned, and was directed
by her to that part of the grounds where, she observed, her young
guest usually walked when alone. A silence of some minutes then
ensued, which Laurette at length broke, by asking whether his servant
was sufficiently recovered to be able to attend him hither. 'He is
somewhere hereabouts,' returned Enrico, 'and will soon be here to
answer for himself. Anxious as I was to see you, I could not leave the
poor fellow alone in so melancholy a situation; which occasioned me to
prolong my continuance in the monastery, till the surgeon who attended
him assured me that he was in a situation to travel without
endangering his health.' 'You had then frequent conferences with the
Monk?' returned Laurette. Enrico assured her that he had; but it
required little penetration to discover that there was something
connected with the subject he was desirous to avoid. The discourse
then turned upon Madame Chamont, but this was too distressing to be
continued.--Enrico had gained no intelligence respecting her, as
Father Benedicta's exertions had been at present unsuccessful. The
Signora, who now crossed the court to remind them of the lateness of
the hour, a circumstance that never occurred to them before, summoned
her guests into the saloon, where a simple, but elegant, repast was

The conversation now became more animated, though less interesting,
than before; and the Signora joined in it with much spirit and
sentiment; she related many incidents concerning some of the most
celebrated families in Italy, and displayed much wit and vivacity.

Enrico insensibly became pleased with her, and, had not his attention
been so entirely engrossed by the companion of his earliest days, she
might have been a candidate for admiration.

It was late when the party retired to their beds; and Enrico and
Laurette were both too deeply interested in the occurrences of the
day, and too much inclined to reflection, to yield immediately to the
impulse of nature, by seeking forgetfulness in repose.

Chapter 3

Oh! let me still with simple Nature live.
My lowly field-flowers at her altar lay;
Enjoy the blessings that she meant to give.
And calmly waste th' inoffensive day.
When waves the grey light o'er the mountain's brow.
Then let me meet the morn's first beauteous ray;
Carelessly wander from my sylvan shed
And catch the sweet breath of the op'ning day.

Enrico arose early in the morning, and as no part of the family was
stirring, except the inferior domestics, endeavoured for some time to
amuse himself with strolling about the gardens. As the residence of
the lovely Laurette, scenes that might otherwise have been
contemplated without any extraordinary emotions, excited an interest
in his breast, and he wandered about the castle, wrapped in that
pleasing kind of melancholy which is peculiar to refined and
cultivated minds.

Often as he paced silently the terrace-walk that led to the inner
court, he turned an enquiring eye towards the upper apartments, in
hopes of seeing Laurette at the casement; but she was at present
invisible, and he could not forbear secretly chiding her for losing
the beauty of the morning. Still anxious to beguile the moments of
separation, he walked towards the western lawn, and having reached the
centre, attempted to open the door of the pavilion; but it was
fastened, which made him for a short time irresolute in what manner to
dispose of himself.

At length he determined to return towards the mansion, and to procure
the key; this being delivered to him by the porter, he again walked
pensively along the lawn, and before he applied the key to the door of
the pavilion, stopped to examine this magnificent structure with more
attention than he had before bestowed on it.

It was of Corinthian architecture, and ornamented with much taste and
splendour. It appeared not to have been coeval with the castle, which
was originally Gothic, though some part of the edifice was so
materially modernized that, except the embattled parapets, the chapel,
which was half in ruins, and the narrow pointed arch of the window, it
retained little of its primitive appearance.

The portico of the pavilion was composed of various coloured marbles,
and the pillars which supported it were of the finest porphyry. The
interior of the building was not inferior in magnificence, and
displayed an infinite superiority in point of taste and beauty. It
consisted of three apartments elegantly furnished; one as a banqueting
room, which being lofty and extensive, exhibited a profusion of rare
and valuable ornaments; the ceiling was richly adorned with paintings
by the most celebrated masters; and the floor covered with a carpet of
purple damask, which was beautifully embroidered with silver, in
fanciful and elegant devices. The walls being in fine relief, were
decorated with gilded trophies, whilst the canopies and other
ornaments harmonized with the splendour and magnificence that pervaded
the other parts of this superb apartment.

Behind this were two other rooms, smaller but not less beautiful than
the one he had examined. They were terminated by glass doors opening
into a shrubbery, whose entrance was guarded by two statues from the
antique, which were half lost to the eye amid the trees and flowering
shrubs that surrounded them. The floors of these apartments were
covered with tapestry, representing scenes from Lucan, Tasso, and
Ovid. The walls were adorned with historical and fanciful devices, and
the upper part of them decorated with valuable pictures by the first
Italian painters. One was a descending angel, by Pietro Perugino;
another a Madonna, by Raphael.

As Enrico gazed attentively upon the latter, which exhibited the
astonishing genius and cultivated taste of the inimitable artist, he
thought he discovered a charm that was familiar to his fancy. The
lifted eye, the melancholy, yet captivating, smile that was stealing
upon the features, he imagined so strikingly resembled the lovely
object of his affections, that he was unable to move from the spot.

Whilst he was regarding this performance with the admiration it
merited, Laurette entered the room, and finding his attention was
entirely absorbed in the contemplation of the picture, she seated
herself, without accosting him, on a small settee, which was placed
near the door, and amused herself with penciling a flower, which she
had selected for the purpose on her way thither.

When a few minutes had elapsed, finding that he still continued to
observe the Madonna with a fixed and earnest attention, she laid aside
her pencil, and advancing towards him, demanded why he continued to
examine that picture so minutely, when there were so many paintings in
the pavilion which were equally worthy of admiration?

Enrico, though effectually roused from his reverie, did not
immediately reply; whilst Laurette turning her beautiful eyes
alternately upon him and the picture, repeated the enquiry.

'Because it resembles,' returned Enrico, in a voice faltering with
emotion, 'my too charming sister she whose image is ever present to my
mind, and who is dearer to me than my existence.

Laurette blushed deeply, but was silent and Enrico proceeded:

'Did you know what I have suffered and that I still suffer on your
account, you would not deny me a part of that angelic pity and
commiseration which I have seen you bestow upon objects less deserving
of it.--I have long imposed upon myself,' resumed he, still more
agitated, yet endeavouring to stifle his emotions, 'a severe
restraint;--hitherto I have listened to, and obeyed the dictates of
prudence which instigated me to forbear verbally acknowledging an
attachment which must eventually form all the happiness or torment of
my future life. But doubts and melancholy presages recur frequently
and forcibly to my thoughts which neither reason nor reflection can
subdue. I would fain find a solace for my present inquietude by
anticipating the future, with those enthusiastic hopes which are
peculiar to youth and inexperience; but that future presents only
grief and disappointment to my disordered fancy.

'Whilst you are here, Laurette,' continued Enrico, pressing her
unreluctant hand to his breast, 'you are under the protection of the
Marchese de Montferrat; a man who has had art enough to impose himself
upon the superficial part of the world, as one of its most perfect
characters. I cannot absolutely assert that I am acquainted with any
material crimes that can be alledged against him; but from some hints,
inadvertently dropped by those who have received better information
upon the subject, I am convinced that there are reasons to justify the
suspicion that he is not what he pretends to be.'

Finding that Laurette continued to listen to him with eager attention,
he requested that she would take a seat upon the sofa, and, placing
himself by her side, proceeded:

'The Marchese is yet passionately attached to the pleasures and
luxuries of life, and his ample possessions at once gratify, and give
unlimited range to his desires; he is unaccustomed to controul, and
cannot submit to be shackled by discretion, when it is at enmity with
his inclinations.--Is such a man the proper guardian of youth and
beauty? or is it possible that he, who has hitherto never resisted
their power, can behold them with decided indifference. Besides he has
recently been released from a matrimonial connection, in which his
heart had no interest, and may possibly earnestly desire to contract
another less repugnant to his feelings and inclinations.'

'Why, Enrico,' interrupted Laurette, 'do you thus resign yourself to
unavailing despondency? why voluntarily yield to the impulse of a
quick and warm indignation, which at once enslaves and obscures your
better judgment?--Is it likely that the Marchese de Montferrat should
behold with decided preference a poor dependant orphan, whose birth is
veiled from all but himself in impenetrable mystery, and whose youth
must preclude the probability of his thinking of her but as a child?'

Enrico was meditating a reply, when a summons for breakfast prevented
a continuation of the subject.

As soon as they entered the castle they were met by the Signora, who
had prepared the morning's repast, and had been some time in waiting
to receive them. Having rallied them good-naturedly on their early
rising, she proposed a walk, after breakfast, to an adjacent village,
which, from its elevated situation, commanded an extensive prospect.
Laurette and Enrico readily acceding to her wishes, it was agreed that
a female servant should attend them, for the purpose of conveying a
basket of fruit, sweetmeats, and other articles of food, that the
party might not be obliged to return before the evening.

The Signora's favourite woman was also permitted to accompany them on
their excursion, more in the capacity of a companion than a domestic.
She was an Italian, and before the arrival of Laurette, was admitted
as a familiar into those apartments which were appropriated to the use
of her mistress, and was considered as her companion and confidante.
Since then she had been less conversant with the Signora, who was more
strongly attached to her new acquaintance, but was still highly
esteemed and beloved.

It was yet early in the autumn, and the weather remarkably fine. The
road leading to the village was for a considerable way through a lone
and beautiful wood, chiefly composed of oak, flowering ash, and wild
juniper; it skirted a neighbouring mountain which rose gradually from
the gloom, whose summit was crested with the village, which was the
object of their ramble. Its aspect was wild and picturesque, whilst
the profusion of trees that half screened it from observation, being
contrasted with the bare rocks and huge masses of granite, with which
they were surrounded, had a singular and beautiful appearance.

By winding round an obscure path, encircling the foot of the mountain,
they might have avoided a steep and rugged ascent, but they preferred
the unfrequented glade they had chosen, accessible only to the foot of
the enthusiast and the goatherd. Here they lingered amid the points of
the rocks, selecting mosses and flowers from the interstices, till the
sun, in its noon-tide radiance, spread over the variegated scenery
that full profusion of light and shade, which is deemed the most
favourable to landscape.

As they advanced within a few paces of the summit, the Signora's foot
unfortunately slipped; and had not Enrico, whose solicitude was
equally extended to all that were in need of it, caught her in his
arms, she must have fallen, and such a fall would consequently have
been attended with danger.

A slight hurt was however the result of this trifling accident; her
ankle was sprained, but being unwilling to give pain to others by the
expression of her own, she concealed it; and thanking Enrico for his
attention, agreed to accept of his arm the rest of the way.

Before they arrived at the village it was considerably worse, and she
was under the necessity of stopping at one of the huts, which were
dispersed over the brow of the mountain, to procure an embrocation. An
hospitable cottager received them with a hearty welcome, and as the
Signora's ankle was much swelled, and the pain still more acute, it
was thought necessary for the party to postpone the execution of their
design; and, as it was impossible for her to return without a
conveyance, it was proposed that Enrico and Laurette should return to
the castle, and send Ambrose or Anselmo with a horse; as no carriage
could be procured at a convenient distance.

This, however, the Signora earnestly opposed till they had taken a
view of the country from the extremity of the eminence, and had seen
every thing worthy of observation; at the same time informing them
that it was her intention to remain in the cottage till the evening,
if her hospitable hostess, addressing herself to the woman of the
house, would permit her to remain there.

The cottager acceded, with much good humour, to the request; and
leaving the room for a few minutes, presented them on her return with
some newly-gathered grapes, which her husband, she added, had just
brought from the vineyard. These, in consideration of the fruits and
other provisions which they had conveyed thither, were politely
refused; and the baskets being opened, some of the most delicious
sweetmeats were offered to the cottager, of which she modestly
consented to partake; some wine was then produced by the hostess,
which, more from courtesy than inclination, was accepted.

This simple repast being concluded, the Signora desired her young
companions would leave her to the care of her humane entertainer and
the female domestics who had accompanied them, and continue their

At first Laurette objected to the proposal, being unwilling to leave
her friend in a state of indisposition; but her arguments were
overruled by those of the Signora and Enrico, who could not forbear
joining in the request.

As they were retiring from the cottage, the entrance of the
mountaineer, who was its possessor, prevented their design; not being
prepared to expect visitors, his looks expressed surprise and
pleasure, but without making any enquiries, he drew chairs for his
young guests, and desired they would be seated. They obeyed, and the
peasant addressing himself to his wife, desired her to prepare some
refreshment. The Signora, who understood his meaning rather from his
gestures than his words, not being perfectly conversant in the German
tongue, informed him they had just been regaling themselves with some
fruits, and concluded with thanking him for his attention and

The party then alternately explained the occasion of their visit;
expatiating, at the same time, on the neatness and simplicity of the
cottage, the fineness of its situation, and the pure and exalted
felicities of rural life.

Enrico beheld, with an equal degree of curiosity and pleasure, the
peculiar form and countenance of the mountaineer: from some lines in
his face, his long beard, which characterizes the inhabitants of
Saltzburg, and the silver hairs which were thinly scattered among his
fine chestnut locks, he might have been supposed to have been upwards
of fifty, did not his light carriage, his glowing complexion, and his
fine dark speaking eyes, seem to contradict the supposition. An
inexpressible serenity of soul was pictured upon his brow, whilst the
whole contour of his face, which was regular, exhibited a certain
dignity of mind inseparable from a virtuous character. There was
indeed something altogether in his figure and deportment not easy to
describe; and our hero regretted his want of sufficient skill in the
provincial dialect, which prevented the agreeable communication with
him that this circumstance would have afforded.

Enrico having reminded Laurette of their intended ramble, they arose
to depart; and informing the Signora that they would call on her again
before they returned to the castle, they repeated their
acknowledgments to the host and his benevolent companion, and ascended
the summit of the mountain.

The prospect from this eminence was more extensive and picturesque
than they had ventured to imagine; and as they gazed alternately on
the surrounding objects, and on each other, they yielded to the
exquisite sensations of the moment; forgetting in the happiness of the
present, the unpromising aspect of the future, the approaching
separation, and the despondency they had so lately indulged.

The village consisted of a number of cottages, built of stone, and
straggled amid the rocks, without the appearance of design or order; a
few wooden huts, inhabited chiefly by shepherds and vine-dressers,
with the ruins of an abbey, standing lonely and solitary nearly at the
foot of the mountain, and what had formerly been the conventual
church, but was now left open for the devout accommodations of the
unlettered rustics.

The extremity of the eminence commanded, on one side, the wide part of
the valley which ran between two beautiful hills, parts of which were
cultivated to their summits with the vine and pomegranate, and other
parts covered with rich dark woods, encircled with lakes, whose effect
was not less singular than charming; on the other side were large
masses of yellow granite, rising in the most grotesque forms, and the
deep glen through which they had at first ascended, whose rocky points
were yet sparkling in the rays of the sun, whilst the depth below was
veiled in perpetual shade and obscurity. A vast chain of hills bounded
the horizon, which were scarcely to be distinguished from the clouds
which rested upon them, and which gave grandeur and sublimity to the

Being somewhat fatigued with traversing the mountain, Enrico and
Laurette seated themselves upon a rock, and in cheerful unrestrained
conversation, disregarded the lapse of time, and even the unequalled
magnificence of scenery which was every way presented.

As Enrico fixed his eyes tenderly upon Laurette, he thought she never
before appeared so beautiful as at that moment; her dress was more
than ordinarily negligent, and the wind, which had disordered her fine
hair, had given a soft bloom to her complexion, which no vermilion
could emulate. Whilst he continued to regard her elegant form, which
for grace and proportion might have been taken as a model for
perfection, and listened to the sweet accents of her voice, his soul
was resigned to the fascinating influence of love and beauty; but when
he reflected upon the Marchese, who, he was assured, could not behold
such inimitable perfections with indifference, he fell suddenly from
the most animated discourse into fits of musing and dejection, to
which a mind, less interested in his happiness than Laurette's, could
not be insensible.

She recollected what had passed in the pavilion, and also the
conversation of the preceding evening, when he mentioned having had
another conference with the venerable Carthusian, but was prevented
from acquainting her with the result by the appearance of the Signora.

The person from whom he had obtained information concerning the
Marchese, she believed could be no other than the Father Benedicta,
who, from his looks and manners when she presented him with the letter
previous to her quitting her former abode, and from some hints he had
then dropped, was evidently concerned on her account; and it was
equally certain that he was not much prejudiced either in favour of
the epistle or the writer.

Anxious to be acquainted with the extent of his fears, that she might
administer all possible consolation, yet fearful of increasing the
uneasiness of Enrico by reverting to the cause of it, she at last
ventured to ask how long Anselmo's indisposition had detained him at
the monastery? and whether the Monk had mentioned any thing in which
they were materially interested?

Enrico did not instantly reply; for it was difficult to command his
feelings, and the eyes of Laurette being fixed upon his with an
expression of earnest and tender solicitude, tended to heighten his
distress.--Finding, at length, that suspense was becoming painful, be
assumed an appearance of composure, and then began as follows.

Chapter 4

Love only feels the marvellous of pain.
Opens new veins of torture in the heart.
And wakes the nerve where agonies are born.

'My first visit to the father was short, for it was long past midnight
when I entered his cell. What happened at that interview I have
already related. He appeared at first much affected, but afterwards
became more tranquil; and a message from the Superior, who politely
accommodated me with a bed, put an end to all farther discourse.

'I was then conducted to my apartment by one of the lay brothers,
whose office it is to attend upon pilgrims, and being weary and
exhausted with grief and fatigue, obtained a transient forgetfulness
in repose. I had not slept long, before I was alarmed by the tolling
of a bell, whose hollow and heavy sound vibrating through the
buildings, produced a melancholy and solemn effect. Knowing that this
was not the usual summons to the early matins, I conceived it
portended some extraordinary event, and being desirous of learning the
occasion of it, arose and dressed myself in haste. These suspicions
were confirmed by the shutting and opening of doors, the murmur of
distant voices, and of the number of footsteps which were heard
passing and repassing the cloisters.

'I endeavoured, for a considerable time, to arrest the attention of
some of the Friars by calling at the door of my apartment, but without
success, and was retiring to my bed without being acquainted with the
cause of this alarm, when one of the brotherhood, whom I afterwards
discovered to be the same who had given me admittance on my arrival,
entered the chamber, and informed me that the bell I had heard
announced the departure of a soul that was just fled to its eternal

'I started, and without giving myself time for reflection, demanded
whether the person he alluded to was Father Benedicta. The answer was
a negative; it was Father Marco, who had been long ill, and whose
death had been some time expected. Thanking him for his attention, he
withdrew; and, glad to find my fears respecting the worthy Monk were
not realized, I endeavoured to compose myself to rest.

'In the morning I was introduced to the Prior, who received me with
much cordiality and friendship. We conversed for some time over the
morning's repast upon different subjects, which he discussed with much
ease and fluency, though it was not without reluctance that I entered
into a conversation, which, however animated on the part of the
Superior, was in my present tone of spirits, tedious and

'Having obtained his permission to revisit Father Benedicta, who I was
assured was in a state of convalescence, though not sufficiently
recovered to attend prayers in the chapel, I availed myself of the
indulgence, and repaired to his cell.

'On opening the door, I observed this devout Monk, being newly arisen,
was engaged in the performance of his devotions. He was kneeling at a
square stone table on the eastern side of the room, that was covered
with a black cloth, on which were placed a human scull, and other
mementos of mortality; a small ivory crucifix stood in the centre,
over which was suspended a painting, representing the resurrection of

'Fearing I had obtruded myself into his presence at an improper hour,
I apologized for my intrusion, and would have retired, but he
prevented my design, and leading me to a seat, "You are welcome, my
son," said he, with his accustomed mildness; "a visit from you can
never be unseasonable; it is a gratification which I have long
anxiously desired, and for which I have waited perhaps too

'Here he hesitated; and, on looking up, I thought I discovered
something more in his countenance than its usual expression: the fire
of devotion was still in his eyes; his face, which was marked with the
lines of penitence and sorrow, was animated with a faint glow that
crossed his cheek and disappeared, leaving upon the features it thus
transiently illumined, that kind of dignified tenderness which we
generally attribute to beings of a superior order.

'"You are doubtless acquainted with some unfortunate events that have
taken place since you last joined your regiment," resumed the Father,
"but possibly have not been able to ascertain the cause of the
compulsive and arbitrary measures employed; or to form any conception
as to what part of the Continent Madame Chamont, your excellent
parent, is conveyed."

'After assuring him that I had but recently received this unwelcome
intelligence, and was unable to form any conjecture concerning it, I
demanded eagerly why the castle was deserted; and whither you and the
rest of its inhabitants were removed?

"They are removed, I think," returned the Monk, meekly, "to a castle
in the principality of Saltzburg."

"Think, Father!" I replied, "gracious heaven! do you then only think?
If you are not certain they are there, or in some place of security, I
shall suspect that there remains another calamity to be unfolded,
another attack upon my peace, perhaps severer than the last."

"You are impetuous, my son," returned the Monk, "but these are trials
that put our virtues to the proof, and frequently render ineffectual
the most vigorous efforts of reason and fortitude. Though we must
endeavour to endure as christians, we must feel as men; nor can we
expect to see always the warm affections of youth corrected and
regulated by the calmness of discretion. Laurette, the subject of your
enquiry, is still under the protection of the Marchese de Montferrat,
though not under his eye; the Marchese being still resident at the
Castello St Aubin, in the neighbourhood of Turin.

"You have at last relieved me, holy Father, I replied, from a state of
perplexity and suspense that was becoming almost insupportable; and
which, I hope, will, in some measure, excuse that extreme impetuosity
of which you have justly accused me, and which the most perfect esteem
for your character would, on any common occasion, have prevented me
from discovering."

'Father Benedicta bowed; then asked if I had been introduced to my
patron, and, if not, whether he had never intimated a desire, either
by message or letter, of being personally known to me? On my
convincing him of the contrary, he was evidently much amazed; and
enquired, with some appearance of confusion, if I was acquainted with
the nature of the connection which had so long subsisted between the
Marchese and Madame Chamont?

'I informed him that I was not; for every thing that could lead to the
subject had been as much as possible avoided, and that whenever I had
ventured to introduce any thing likely to have this tendency, my
mother appeared chagrined and unhappy; that she never on any account
mentioned my father, and scrupulously concealed every circumstance of
her past life; that the name of the Marchese seldom escaped her lips,
though I was compelled to believe, from the earliest period of my
existence, that my only dependance was upon him; and that, from the
native generosity of his disposition, he had sent to the protection of
my mother a lovely little girl, who was supposed to be the orphan
daughter of a deceased friend: from which circumstance, as well as
from the conversation of his steward, I was taught to reverence him as
a father, to respect him as a friend, and to consider him as a man of
stainless honour and unblemished reputation, to whom only I could look
as to the patron of my future days.

'"Would to heaven you was not mistaken, my son!" returned the Monk,
mournfully, "perhaps I am not justified in advancing any thing which
may serve to counteract principles so heedfully instilled into your
mind in early youth, but I fear you have been miserably deceived. Is
it possible that you are unacquainted with the unfortunate story of
the Conte della Croisse?" resumed he, sighing deeply, and pausing to
await my answer. You have not, I think, been stationary at the Castle
of Elfinbach since a certain strange and, I may say, providential

'On my requesting to know what was the discovery he alluded to, he
betrayed many symptoms of astonishment, and then added, 'You are, I
find, designedly kept ignorant of the affair; and since, by extending
your knowledge, I might possibly injure your repose, an explanation
would be unpardonable.

"Indeed," continued the Monk, seeming to recollect himself, "I may
have been too uncandid in my conjectures; we are apt to reflect upon
our own frailties and imperfections with partiality, and to judge too
unfavourably of the conduct of others. The Marchese may have some

'Here the father was silent; and, being anxious to comprehend the
extent of his suspicions, I acknowledged myself much interested in
what had already been recited, and besought him to indulge me with an
explanation, and inform me who was the Conte della Croisse, and with
whom his story was connected. A violent emotion seemed to agitate his
frame as I repeated this request, and, without answering me, he arose
and paced the room for some time with quick and perturbed steps; and
then, after regarding me with a look of fixed and earnest attention--

'"My son," cried he, "this subject is too painful; neither my health
nor my spirits will allow me to continue it; and, since it will
inevitably endanger our mutual peace, we will defer it till some
future period, when, should an explanation be necessary, whatever
torment it may inflict upon myself, I will give it you."

'"Watch over Laurette with the tender solicitude of a brother; for she
is young, artless, and beautiful, and may have need of a disinterested
protector. I wished to have had some conversation with that dear
child, but she was taken suddenly from the castle, and every
precaution I had formed for her future welfare was, by this means,
rendered ineffectual."

'Having thanked him for the zeal he had discovered in your cause with
the ardour natural to my disposition, the Monk cast upon me a look of
tenderness, and continued--

'"It is needless to exhort you to exert your most strenuous endeavours
to inform yourself of the destiny of your unfortunate parent; but let
me request, nay command, that, should every effort prove
inefficacious, you will not allow yourself to sink into despondency;
but remember the duty you owe to your God, to yourself, and to your
country. Recollect that wherever she is, she is equally under the
protection of heaven, who never abandons the virtuous; and that your
utmost exertions are necessary as well for your own preservation and
advancement, as to support the unprotected innocence of your adopted

'Here the father remained silent; and the entrance of a Monk, who came
to enquire into the state of his health, put an end to all farther
discourse upon the subject. Having no hopes of renewing it, I took my
leave; and, with a mind but ill at ease, repaired to the cottage to
fulfil my engagement with Anselmo.

'I found him considerably better, and much more cheerful than on the
preceding evening. He told me he was in readiness to accompany me,
though his looks did not agree with the assertion, for he still
appeared pale and enervated.

'Having continued with him some hours, I availed myself of the Prior's
invitation to return to, and remain in, the monastery, till Anselmo
was in a situation to travel. During this period, my time was chiefly
devoted to the society of Father Benedicta; but nothing could prevail
on him to renew the discourse. He seemed to repent having touched upon
it at all, and we parted mutually dissatisfied; he regretting that he
had said so much, and I that he had explained so little.

'The rest of the narrative may be concluded in a few words: I left him
considerably recovered, and received his heavenly benediction, mingled
with tears and gentle remonstrances; and, having obtained a direction
to the Castle of Lunenburg, set forwards, attended by Anselmo, for
Saltzburg. No material incident happened on my journey, and with the
rest you are acquainted.

'I introduced myself to the Signora d'Orfo; she received me with
courtesy, and instructed me where to seek you. Contrary to my
expectations, you was beyond the boundaries of the walls. At the time
that you passed near the shrubbery on your return, I was conversing
with Ambrose, who, I was in hopes, might have seen what road you had
taken, but who was unable to give me any satisfactory intelligence.

'I have now, my Laurette,' continued Enrico, 'acquainted you with all;
and, from the circumstances I have related, you may guess all I feel,
and all I fear. We must part--a temporary separation is unavoidable. I
must go in search of my much-injured mother; and if she has not been
seized by banditti, but has been torn from her home, her family, and
all who are dear to her, by the daring machinations of designing
villainy, I will not rest till I have discovered the authors of this
premeditated cruelty--till I have restored her to her tenderest
connections, and have exposed the artifice of her persecutors. There
are laws, and if they cannot be enforced, I have a sword, never yet
drawn but in the exercise of justice, but which shall be raised
against the heart of the oppressor, in the cause of defenceless

'But, Oh Laurette! before I am compelled to quit these heavenly
regions, dear to me, because consecrated by your presence, and, in
compliance with my wayward destiny, prepare to bid you a long, and if
obliged to engage in any desperate enterprize, perhaps a last adieu;
tell me, I conjure you, that I am not indifferent to you, and that the
recollection of our juvenile felicity will endear to your remembrance
him who was a sharer of it--the companion of your earliest days; since
this is the only reflection that can soften the rigours of my fate,
and dissipate the cloudy atmosphere of my future prospects?'

Laurette, who had marked with concern every circumstance which he had
related, and had been comparing them with those that had fallen under
her immediate notice, now yielded to the softness that oppressed her
mind; and, leaning tenderly upon his arm, covered her face with her
handkerchief, and wept unrestrainedly.

'By heaven this is too much!' cried Enrico, endeavouring to command
his emotions, 'forgive me, dearest Laurette, if, in the attempt of
drawing from you a mutual confession, I have renewed that grief I
ought to have mitigated.--Say but that you love me and, from this
moment, all the energies of my soul shall be exerted in your cause,
and for the security of your happiness.'

'Is it possible, Enrico,' replied Laurette, 'that you can doubt the
sincerity of my friendship--a friendship I have so long, so tenderly
indulged; or believe that the son of my amiable benefactress, who
supplied to me the place of a parent, and deprived of whom, I now feel
the wants of one, can be reflected upon without esteem and gratitude.'

'Esteem and gratitude!' repeated Enrico, 'and is this all I must
expect or hope for--is the cold sentiment of friendship a sufficient
reward for inviolable affection--is this all you can bestow as a
recompence for the innumerable cares and anxieties I have endured?---
rather hate and abandon me at once--teach me to think of you, and
adore you no more--and let me wander over this desolated earth,
without a hope to stimulate exertion, or an object to endear
existence.--There was a time when I indulged the transient, delusive
idea that I could have insured your affection; but I have been
deceived, unhappily deceived, and you have assisted in the deception
that has undone me.'

'You wrong me, indeed you wrong me,' replied Laurette, in a voice
scarcely audible, 'how have I deserved this censure? and why, by
affecting to misunderstand me, will you thus add to my distress?
Enrico, you are not calm--you do not listen to the dictates of reason,
nor resign yourself to the guidance of discretion. By endeavouring to
work upon my feelings, in thus appealing to my heart, you have been
striving to wrest from me a confession, which perhaps I ought not to

'I am not insensible to your merit, nor do I affect to be so; but the
peculiarity of my situation forbids any advances but those of
friendship and brotherly affection, which I have ever tenderly
cherished. To enter into any engagement without the sanction of those
under whose protection I am placed, would justly expose me to censure,
and would appear, to the unprejudiced and discerning, as the height of
indiscretion and ingratitude.

'Besides, would not such conduct lessen you in the estimation of the
person, on whom your dependance, as well as mine, is placed? Would not
the Marchese openly resent the want of confidence we had betrayed, and
consequently withdraw his patronage, not only from me, but from you;
and should I not then consider myself as the author of your
misfortunes, and feel acutely the uneasiness such a reflection must

'Has he not withdrawn it already?' returned Enrico; 'has he ever
expressed a wish to see me, or exerted his interest to procure my
advancement? How slender would be my hopes if they rested entirely
upon him--But are you determined, Laurette, to resign yourself to the
power of the Marchese?'

'Alas! on whom can I depend?' replied she, sighing; 'I have no friend
but him on whom I can rely for immediate support, no relation living,
at least not to my knowledge, and am totally unacquainted with the
authors of my existence. If the Marchese proves himself unworthy of my
confidence, and I find any thing in his conduct which may eventually
prove injurious to my peace, it will then be time enough to relinquish
his protection, and to secure another asylum in a less splendid and
dangerous situation.'

Finding that she was too firm to yield to the force of a premature
attachment, and was too strictly guarded by delicacy to avow more than
a sisterly affection, till it was sanctioned by those who had a right
to the disposal of her; Enrico only ventured to request that, should
her present abode be less eligible than she expected, and he
sufficiently fortunate in his military department to secure an
independence, or at least the prospect of one, that she would then
allow him to resume the subject, and in the mean time permit him to
write to her; and that she would continue to think with tenderness
upon him, whose whole existence was dedicated to her service.

To this she cheerfully assented, and giving him her hand with the most
charming frankness, reminded him of the time they had been absent from
the cottage, and proposed their returning to it immediately.

Having watched, for a few moments, the sun sinking slowly upon the
surface of the water, they gradually descended the extreme point of
the mountain, and entered the cottage.

The Signora had been expecting them some time and, as her ankle was
still very painful, had sent one of the servants to the castle to
order Ambrose to bring a horse, for the purpose of conveying her home.

As no animal, except a mule, could traverse without danger the steep
ascent of the eminence, she was compelled to go near half a league
round; which obliged Laurette and Enrico to return without her by what
way they should think proper.

Ambrose soon appeared; and the Signora being mounted behind him, our
young wanderers took leave of the kind-hearted peasantry, and agreed,
as the difference in the length of the way was inconsiderable, to
return by the other side of the mountain, and to visit the solitary

Having descended the eminence by a lone and entangled sheep-path,
frequently turning aside to mark the purple tints of the western sky,
to listen to the last flutter of the breeze among the half leafless
trees, or the distant sound of a flute, or a vesper-bell, they arrived
at the long-neglected and forsaken abbey.

The deepening glooms of the twilight, which fell fast around them,
rendered the solitary grandeur of this lonely ruin still more
impressive and sublime, whose interesting appearance was materially
increased by the correspondent melancholy of the scenery. A clump of
dark firs, on one side, cast an almost impenetrable shade, whilst the
other opening upon an extensive heath, was exposed to the merciless
beatings of the not unfrequent storm. All here wore an aspect still
more dreary and deserted, from the total want of vegetation which was
every where visible.

'The thistle was there, on its rock, shedding its aged beard; the old
tree groaned in the blast; the murmur of night was abroad.'

The abbey was originally built round a quadrangle, in the manner of a
fortified castle, with spires instead of turrets. The entrance into
the court was rugged, overgrown with long grass, and scattered with
the fragments of the fallen edifice. The walls which marked the
circumference, wore an appearance of great antiquity, and of such
ponderous strength, that they contemplated with astonishment the
invincible attacks of time. The ivy and the elder had taken root in
the crevices of the stones, which were encrusted with moss, night-
shade, and wild gilliflower; and from the loop-windows, which were
fringed with weeds, a solitary sprig of the ash and the arbeal were
occasionally seen waving mournfully in the wind, and replying to the
murmurs of the rising blast.

The spires of the building were crumbling fast into dust, and the body
of this once massy structure was nearly sharing the same fate. Indeed
the whole of the remains were in so tottering a state, that Laurette
could scarcely prevail upon Enrico to allow her to enter what had once
been a door, to examine it more minutely.

A pile stupendous, once of fair renown.
This mould'ring mass of shapeless ruin rose.
Where nodding heights of fractur'd columns frown,
And birds obscene in ivy bowers repose;

Oft the pale matron, from the threat'ning wall,
Suspicious, bids her heedless children fly;
Oft, as he views the meditated fall.
Full swiftly steps the frighted peasant by.

On the eastern side of the court was a small chapel, which was less
ruinous than the rest of the fabric, though the narrow Gothic windows,
once filled with painted glass, that cast a dim and fading light, were
now shattered and decayed; whilst the pavement leading to the
entrance, which once resounded only to the foot of devotion, was now
rude and grass-grown.

Impressed with the awful scene of desolation that surrounded her,
Laurette felt a sublime and tender melancholy stealing upon her mind;
and as she surveyed the venerable pile sinking slowly into oblivion,
her imagination reverted to its former inhabitants, now long since
mingled with the dust.

The door of the chapel being made of the most lasting materials,
retained somewhat of its primitive appearance; a large stone, by way
of a step, was placed at the entrance, which being broken, and covered
with moss and fallen leaves, exhibited an aspect of gloom, neglect,
and silence.

The door was not quite closed, and desiring Enrico to follow her,
Laurette entered the chapel. It was dark, and was considerably larger
than she expected to have found it. A narrow window, at the farther
end, just discovered its extent; and turning round she distinguished,
in that part of it where the altar had been formerly erected, a figure
in the dress of a white friar, kneeling, and deeply engaged in

The idea of the mysterious Monk darted instantly across her mind, and
not being sufficiently tranquil to endure new scenes of surprise and
terror, she seized the arm of Enrico, and would have hurried him from
the place, without farther explanation.

Astonished at the alarm she expressed, and the sudden paleness of her
looks, he endeavoured to learn the occasion of her fears, and to quiet
them; informing her, in a low voice, that she had nothing to
apprehend, since it was doubtless some Friar from a neighbouring
monastery, who, walking round the ruin, had been suddenly inspired to
offer up his evening prayer at that once holy altar.

Laurette acknowledged the apparent probability of the remark; but at
the same time repeated her resolution of retiring, in a manner which
sufficiently displayed how much of terror was mingled with amazement.

Smiling at what he believed to be merely superstition, yet secretly
touched with the earnestness of her manner, he was leading her towards
the door, when the Monk, who either did not hear, or did not regard
the murmur of their voices, arose and advanced with quick steps
towards the entrance.

They stopped for a few seconds by the side of a pillar to let him
pass; and as he swept by them, as if before unconscious of witnesses,
he turned aside his cowl to survey them. It discovered a thin spare
face, marked with age and affliction; a ray of light that fell upon
it, gave life to a large, full, melancholy eye, that was lifted up
with an expression of mingled pity and sadness. There was indeed
nothing in his figure or countenance expressive of severity or austere
devotion; and Laurette thinking she recognized the person of her
mysterious visitor, clung still closer to Enrico, and endeavoured to
conceal herself behind one of the columns.

As he passed, Enrico bowed, and would have addressed him; but he drew
his cowl close, and heaving a deep sigh, left the chapel.

When they crossed the court, they beheld him standing by the side of
the building, as if surveying it, and frequently turning to see
whether he was observed. As they pursued their walk, Enrico gently
rallied her upon her superstition; for his mind, being somewhat
reassured by the promise she had made him of accepting his protection,
should she be obliged to relinquish that of the Marchese, he felt more
disposed to cheerfulness.

When they had arrived near the castle, Laurette turned, and perceived
the Monk, at some distance, apparently following them. Her suspicions
concerning it being the identical Friar who had delivered the
portrait, were now more strongly confirmed; but not seeming to regard
him, she hastened her steps, and, faint and fatigued, arrived at the

The Signora was already there, waiting with the evening's refreshment;
and after relating to each other the incidents of the day, they
separated and retired to their rooms: Laurette to reflect upon the
conversation during their ramble, with the strange adventure at the
abbey; and Enrico, upon the charming object of his regard, who was
never absent from his thoughts.

Chapter 5

When morn first faintly draws her silver line.
Or Eve's grey clouds descend to drink the wave;
When sea and sky in midnight darkness join.
Still, still he views the parting look she gave.

Enrico had remained some days at the castle of Lunenburg before he had
collected a sufficient degree of fortitude to enable him to endure the
idea of quitting it; till the dutiful impulses of his nature directing
his harassed thoughts towards his mother, determined him to fix an
early day for his departure.

This intention being imparted to his Colonel by letter, who was still
resident with his regiment, he began to reason himself into composure,
and to mark the limits of his intended route. No places, he believed,
were so likely to afford information as the hotels and village inns on
the borders of the Rhine, which made him resolve to let none of them
escape his enquiries.

Now secretly accusing himself of inattention by this transient delay,
and now yielding to apprehensions he could not possibly eradicate, the
mind of Enrico endured the most painful conflict; and so acute were
his feelings, that it was long before he could assume serenity enough
to acquaint Laurette with the day which he had appointed to leave her,
and to conjure her never to forget him.

On the evening preceding the time fixed for his journey, he detained
her for some hours longer in the saloon than was his custom,
inflicting new torment upon himself, by reflecting upon the fleeting
nature of his happiness, and the anguish of being compelled to leave
her innocent and defenceless beauty exposed to the rigours of a
destiny so full of danger; and the melancholy, but not improbable
conjecture, that they might meet no more.

These sad presages, which Laurette found it impossible to dispel, she
endeavoured to assuage, by representing the causelessness of his
surmises, and the indispensible necessity of exercising the virtues of
resignation and fortitude.

Enrico listened, and attempted to profit by so bright an example of
meekness and patient endurance, internally suffering from
disappointment and uneasy apprehensions, yet suffering with the most
collected firmness; but though his mind was naturally strong, noble,
and vigorous, it required an effort beyond it to bear to leave her
alone to contend with the adversities of her fate, without the
possibility of his being able to overlook the conduct of those in
whose power she was placed, or of investing himself in that authority,
which would give her a claim upon his immediate protection.

She had, however, promised to correspond with him, to remember him
with the affection of a sister, which recollection, at the same time
that it operated as an antidote to his present inquietude, permitted
him to look forwards to the future with less regret and solicitude.

On the morning that was to separate him from her, in whose society he
enjoyed all the felicity he was capable of experiencing, he arose,
pale and unrefreshed by sleep, long before the sun had risen upon the
hills that bounded the eastern horizon, and paced as usual, with slow
and thoughtful steps, the grand terrace walk, which was under the
range of apartments occupied by Laurette, the Signora, and other
branches of the family.

None of the domestics being arisen except Ambrose, who had opened him
the door of the portico, a deep and universal silence prevailed,
disturbed only occasionally by the distant sound of a cataract, the
stroke of a wood-cutter, or the distant and mellow tones of a flute,
to call the sheep from their nightly folds.

At length the sun emerged gradually from the waters into a clear and
cloudless sky, spreading over the whole extent of ether a meek and
silvery glow. The grey mists that had dimmed the summits of the
mountains, crept slowly into the interstices of the rocks, and the
gentle responses of the birds were heard feebly from the neighbouring

With a mind too much absorbed in its own reflections to be able to
feel the full force of sylvan beauty, or to listen with pleasure to
those simple and rural sounds so dear to the heart of the enthusiast,
Enrico continued to walk along the terrace with perturbed and unequal
steps, till he was roused from his thoughtfulness by the opening of a
casement. He turned--it was Laurette; she did not instantly perceive
him, and he retreated a few paces backwards to observe her motions.

She looked pale, and seemed to have been weeping, but her beauty was
nothing impaired by the sorrow she appeared to have indulged. A loose
robe was negligently thrown over her lovely person, without care or
art; it was of the purest white, long, and open at the bosom,
displaying to advantage her fine disordered hair, that wandered about
her neck loose and unconfined. Her eyes, which were yet filled with
tears, were directed towards the heavens, and her thoughts seemed to
have ascended with them.

Enrico was at present undistinguished, for he had placed himself
behind the spreading branches of a larch, and was sensible only to the
charming object of his affection. She sighed, and in the same moment
he heard his own name pronounced in a soft and tremulous accent,
accompanied by some words too indistinct to be heard. Unable to endure
the increasing tenderness that was stealing upon his mind, he sprang
forwards from the deep shade that had afforded him concealment, and
requested that she would descend, and walk with him in the gardens.

Confused at being thus unexpectedly exposed to the gaze of her lover,
she blushed, and drying away the tears that had fallen unrestrainedly
upon her cheeks, she forced a smile upon her features, and agreed to
meet him at the portal.

Having bound her beautiful locks with a turban, which she usually
wore, not because it was authorized by custom, but as it was a mode of
dress recommended by Madame Chamont, who imagined that it became her,
which was ornamented with a wreath of roses and violets, worked by her
own delicate fingers; she threw a thin shade upon her shoulders, and
left her apartment.

She met Enrico at the door of the great hall, who was impatiently
waiting her arrival; and, on observing with pity the extreme sadness
that was depicted upon his countenance, held out her hand to him, and
asked him, with a soft yet melancholy smile, if he was ill?

Transported with the tenderness of her manner beyond the powers of
expression or utterance, he could only press it eagerly to his lips,
and then hold it to his heart, as if he would never part with it
again. At length Laurette gently disengaging herself, asked him how
long he had been in the gardens, and whether he was inclined to
prolong his walk, or to wait in the terrace parlour till the Signora
was risen?

'Have you not promised to ramble with me,' returned Enrico, 'and would
you deny me a pleasure--' here he paused, 'the last I may ever
experience' he would have added, but his voice faltered; and Laurette
perceiving his emotions, without attempting a reply, took his offered
arm, and walked with him along the lawn.

The door of the pavilion being open, they involuntarily entered it;
and proceeding to the last of the apartments that opened into the
shrubbery, seated themselves upon a small sofa at the extremity. A
large marble table was placed before it, which was scattered over with
leaves of music; at one end of it lay a small lute, the property of
the Signora, who sometimes, when alone, had resorted thither, that she
might be enabled to beguile the moments of solitude with a song.

Laurette took it up, and played a little melancholy air; it was a
cantata from Metestasio, but too applicable to her present feelings to
bestow the charm of content. It breathed the sorrows of disastrous
love; and as she played, 'she waked her own sad tale from every
trembling string'.

At the conclusion of it, her lips faltered, the colour forsook her
cheek, and forgetting the lesson of fortitude which she had been so
lately instilling in to the mind of Enrico, and the resolution she had
made to wear, at least, the appearance of it in his presence, she was
compelled to lean upon the side of the sofa for support; and tears,
which she could no longer suppress, fell in large drops upon the lute.

Enrico, who had been lost to every other circumstance in the harmony
of her voice, now thought she had fainted, and would have caught her
in his arms; but an effort of fortitude revived her, and disengaging
herself from his embrace, she would have spoke to have quieted his
fears, but the entrance of Anselmo prevented her. He had been for some
time in quest of his master, and finding that the door of the pavilion
was unfastened, had ventured to intrude. His business was to inform
him that the horses were in readiness, and to know if he had any
further commands.

Enrico started as if he had received a summons for death; and after
walking to the other end of the apartment with hasty and agitated
steps, paused for an instant to recompose his disordered spirits. In a
few moments he assumed an appearance of composure, and returning again
towards Laurette, who had just risen from the sofa, he fixed his fine
eyes upon her's, with a look too expressive to be misunderstood, and
then added--

'The moment of separation, which has been long painfully anticipated,
is arrived; and nothing but the sweet consolatory hope that I shall
still live in your remembrance, could reconcile me to this cruel

Laurette was unable to reply; and having led her from the pavilion, he
reminded her again of her former promises, and, with an aching and
oppressed heart, gazed tenderly upon her pale but lovely face, and
heard her innocent farewel.

The Signora, who was but just arisen, came forwards to meet them at
the outer gate, and wishing Enrico much happiness with the appearance
of much sincerity and kindness, he mounted his horse; and, after
lingering some time for one more look at the beautiful Laurette, till
the white folds of her robe were lost in distance, he left the
boundaries of the castle, and pursued his journey.

Overcome with grief for the present, and sorrowful presages for the
future, our heroine returned pensively towards the mansion; and being
unable to conceal the uneasiness that preyed upon her heart, retired
to her apartment, that she might weep, and indulge it in secret. The
hope that Enrico would succeed in his enterprize, was too feeble to
sustain her; for the length of time that had elapsed since Madame
Chamont was forced from the castle, and the many ineffectual measures
that had been already employed, promised nothing of success to any
future ones that could be adopted. Sometimes she imagined that the
Marchese was materially concerned in it; and at others, though many
collected circumstances seemed to justify the opinion, she dismissed
it, as uncandid and illiberal.

What the Father Benedicta had uttered, agreed but too well with the
words of the mysterious Monk, though those of the latter were of more
dreadful import; and she remembered and reflected upon them with
increasing emotion. That he was the person whom she had seen in the
chapel of the ruin, she believed nearly amounted to conviction; both
from his dress, the height of his stature, and the attention with
which he had regarded them; this, added to the circumstance of his
following them, as if to be assured of the exact place of their
residence, was sufficient to confirm the suspicion.

It appeared reasonable to suppose, from the former conduct of the
Father, that he would loiter about in the evenings, in the hope of
meeting with her; but whatever symptoms of curiosity she had formerly
betrayed respecting her birth, and of being acquainted with the manner
in which he had obtained the possession of the picture, so much of
terror was mingled with it, and so little did she believe it would
avail her any thing as to her future happiness, to be informed of her
birth and connections, since she had no relation to claim, or to
protect her, that she resolved rather to avoid than precipitate an
interview, which could be productive of no real good, and might
possibly augment her uneasiness.

Accustomed from earliest youth to place an unlimited confidence in the
wisdom and goodness of Providence, she determined to act in every
respect with caution and dignity, and to endure those temporal and
unavoidable evils, which are the common lot of humanity, with patient

Had she not been so strictly enjoined to secrecy as to preclude the
advantage arising from the advice and participation of disinterested
friendship, she would have met him without reluctance; but thus
situated, another conference, even could it have been effected with
ease and safety, she was aware might lead to future inquietude and
danger; and therefore resolved to take no direct measures to further
his scheme, but rather to avoid any future opportunity of conversing
with him, unless some succeeding event should make another interview
necessary or desirable.

The violent emotions Enrico had betrayed, when he related the
conversation that had passed between himself and the pious Carthusian,
would have determined her, had she not already by a solemn promise
bound herself to perpetual silence upon the subject, not to disclose
what she had seen and heard, lest they should confirm his worst and
most terrible surmises. From the words of the mysterious Monk she had
every thing to fear, and nothing had happened, or was likely to
happen, at present, to obviate or remove the painful impressions which
they had left upon her mind.

But thus being prepared to encounter calamity, she resolved, if
possible, not to yield to its influence; but, by opposing the most
vigorous efforts of her fortitude, to endure what could not be
remedied, and to gain at least, by her most strenuous endeavours, the
applause of her own heart.

The picture which he had delivered, she wore constantly in her bosom,
suspended by the small string of brilliants to which it was fastened,
though she so entirely concealed it in the folds of her robe, that it
could not be perceived.

That it was really the portrait of her mother, was beyond a doubt. The
resemblance that it bore to herself she was perfectly aware of, for
the mild pensive east of the countenance, the soft cloud upon the
brow, the smile that played upon the lip, and the expression of the
whole, were too striking to escape the penetration of the most
transient observer.

As Laurette fixed her eyes upon the portrait, some portion of her
former curiosity returned; she was anxious to be informed of the
destiny of her parents, though it was probable they had been long
since numbered with the dead. Her tears streamed anew when she
reflected upon her hard unhappy lot, the obscurity of her birth, her
family (if any of them were still in existence) unknown to her;
commanded to beware of the only person whom she had been taught to
revere as a protector; deprived of the guardian of her infancy and
childhood; and with no human being, except Enrico and the Father
Benedicta, to interest themselves in her welfare; and these, from the
peculiarity of their situations, precluded from affording immediate
assistance, however necessary.

The Signora had indeed hitherto behaved to her with uniform kindness,
and she had no reason to apprehend that it was likely to be of short
continuance; for she appeared to possess a strong and well-informed
mind, a correct judgment, not easily to be led into error, and much
feminine grace and softness, which rendered it unlikely that she
should be misled by the sophistical arguments of designing falsehood,
or be induced to yield to the influence of decided wrong. The pains
she had already taken to console and re-assure her, were striking
proofs of her friendship; and this being one of the most substantial
comforts that her lot afforded, she resolved to endeavour to
conciliate her esteem by every gentle attention which her situation

To this conduct the natural sweetness of her disposition would have
directed her, unbiassed by other motives; but she now saw the
necessity of securing one friend, at least, in the place destined for
her future residence, who might be inclined to assist her on any
future emergency.

A gentle tapping at the door roused her from these deep and melancholy
reflections, and arising hastily from the side of the bed, on which
she had been sitting, she opened it, and beheld the Signora, who being
desirous of diverting her thoughts from the subject of her grief,
proposed a walk along the grounds. She could not, she added, alluding
to her late accident, undertake an extensive ramble beyond the
boundaries of the castle; but the day was too fine to be allowed to
pass without taking advantage of it, and she hoped she would indulge
her with her society, as she was anxious to have her opinion
respecting some intended improvements.

Laurette instantly assented, and succeeded so well in the endeavour of
tranquillizing her spirits, that she appeared little less animated
than usual. The fineness of the weather assisted her efforts; and the
vivacity of her companion, who exerted herself to soften the
affliction of her friend, tended to comfort and re-assure her.

There was something in the manners of Laurette at once so endearing
and fascinating, that no one could be acquainted with her without
feeling for her the most lasting affection; she entered with so lively
an interest into the joys and sorrows of others, and mingled such an
amiable concern with her assiduities, so entirely divested of art or
unnatural refinement, that she appeared to the Signora, who had been
also schooled in adversity, and whose native levity of disposition had
been checked, though not entirely annihilated, by the correcting hand
of Misfortune, as one of the most perfect creatures she had ever seen.
The amiable sentiment she had conceived for her fair young friend,
induced her to dwell upon the affecting incidents of her past life,
which she had before briefly and imperfectly related, and upon the
remembrance of those sorrows, which time had softened, but not
thoroughly erased; that, by convincing her that she was not singularly
unfortunate, she might teach her to endure her calamities with
patience, and convince her also of the possibility of finally
triumphing over them.

By a long course of useful and extensive reading, united to an
uncommon strength of memory, she was enabled to recollect many
anecdotes in real life, and many passages from the most polished
writers and historians of the age, which made her not only an
entertaining, but an intelligent companion, every way formed to engage
the affections of our heroine, and to deserve her confidence.

Having wandered for some time through the lawns and shrubberies, and
taken a general survey of the improvements, they discontinued their
walk; and music, conversation, and other innocent amusements shortened
the cares and fatigues of the day. In the evening, Laurette avoided
taking her accustomed stroll, lest she should see her ghostly visitor,
whom she determined, for the present at least, sedulously to avoid,
since so little comfort could be expected from intelligence which she
was not permitted to disclose.

Chapter 6

Nor peace, nor ease that heart can know.
Which, like the needle true.
Turns at the touch of joy or woe.
But, turning, trembles too.

Some weeks passed before Laurette heard from Enrico, and being alarmed
at this delay, she became anxious and dispirited; sometimes fearing
that the warmth of his disposition had led him into some dangerous
enterprize, and at others, that he was ill, or had met with some
unexpected obstacle in his pursuit. She was at last, however, relieved
from this painful suspense by a letter bearing his signature, which
contained no other unpleasant intelligence than that he had been at
present unsuccessful in his enquiries, though he was not yet without
hopes of obtaining the welcome information; and concluded with
desiring that she would write to him immediately, and relate every
thing that had happened.

She had stepped into an anti-chamber to read the epistle, and was
deeply engaged in the perusal of it, when the trampling of hoofs drew
her attention towards the window, and she perceived in the gloom of
the evening, for it was nearly dark, two men on horseback advancing
towards the gate. In one of them she imagined she recognized the
person of Paoli; but the dim grey of the twilight prevented her from
being certain that she was right in her conjecture, till she heard him
call loudly for Ambrose, and then saw him alight from his horse, and,
attended by a stranger, whom she believed to be one of the inferior
servants belonging to the Castello St Aubin, cross the second court,
and enter the private door, where she had gained admittance on her

The return of Paoli, thus suddenly and unexpectedly, to the castle,
indicated, she supposed, the approach of his Lord; and willing to be
assured of the truth of the conjecture, she gained the top of the
stairs, meaning to descend and inform herself of the whole, when an
universal trembling seized her, and being unable to proceed, she
leaned upon the spiral balustrade, in that state of breathless
suspense which frequently precedes some new and much-dreaded event.
Soon afterwards she heard a passing footstep in the hall, and saw
through the iron rails, over which she bent, the Signora ascending the
foot of the stairs. Knowing that she would afford her the
gratification she desired, Laurette returned to the room she had
quitted, and seating herself on a small settee by the fire,
endeavoured to prepare herself for what might happen.

The looks of the Signora as she entered, announced some hasty
intelligence, and before Laurette had power to request to be made
acquainted with the nature of it, she was told that the Marchese was
already within a day's journey of the castle, and meant to reach it on
the following day; that he had sent his steward and one of the
inferior servants to apprize them of his intention, that all things
might be in readiness for his reception, and was proceeding on his way
with all imaginable speed.

Though this was little more than Laurette expected, the moment she was
assured it was Paoli, the certainty that the Marchese was really upon
the road, and already so near the end of his journey, almost overcame
her; and she turned suddenly so pale, that the Signora was compelled
to throw open the casement, and to lead her towards the window. In a
few minutes she revived; and after thanking her amiable companion for
her attention, consented to walk into the air.

Leaning upon the arm of her friend, she descended slowly the marble
stair-case, and crossing the hall, stood for a few minutes at the
portico, surveying the placid face of the heavens, illuminated with
innumerable stars, and then proceeded along the court. When she had
passed through the great gate, she turned a fearful and enquiring eye
amid the trees of the avenues, expecting every moment to see the white
robes of the Monk glaring among the dark branches of the fir or the
mountain-ash, and fancying she heard the deep tones of his voice in
the hollow murmurs of the wind, amid the faded and almost leafless

A small repast was prepared for them on their return, of which
Laurette scarcely partook, and soon afterwards retired to her bed. The
night was spent in broken and uneasy slumbers, the intervals of repose
were short and disturbed, and the visions of her sleep were confused
and terrible. Unrefreshed by this transient respite from real
calamity, and unable to gain any comfortable repose, she arose by the
dim light of early morning, and amused herself for some hours in her
apartment, with reading that fine, melting, and descriptive kind of
poetry, for which the bards of Italy are so highly and justly

A summons for breakfast broke in upon her solitude, and descending
into the breakfast-room, she was received by the Signora with more
than her accustomed tenderness, who mingled the most refined
compassion with her solicitude; and after a short consolatory address,
which was delivered with the most attractive gentleness, besought her
to rely upon her friendship, which she might rest assured would never
be withdrawn from her, but should be ever exerted most sedulously for
her security and happiness.

Laurette could only answer with her tears, for her heart was too full
for utterance, and her gratitude far beyond the powers of expression.

The day was passed, as usual, in a variety of simple occupations, but
with less tranquillity than many of the preceding ones; and towards
the close of it, our heroine being in hourly expectation of the
arrival of the Marchese, repaired to an anti-chamber adjoining the
Signora's apartment, where she frequently passed many hours in the
morning, in reading, drawing, embroidery, or other works of taste and

As she was amusing herself in the arrangement of some books that were
placed in a recess in the wall, she discovered, amongst the rest, a
manuscript volume bound in black, the property of the Signora,
containing a number of Poems written by herself, chiefly of the
elegiac kind, from which she selected the two following little pieces
of poetry, apparently composed by the Signora in her affliction, after
the loss of Lorenzo d'Orso and her infant son.


Hail, awful Power, no human heart denies.
Who com'st unsought for, and when ask'd, denies;
Thou, who did'st give this bosom ceaseless woe.
Repress the tears which thou hast taught to flow.
Was 't not enough, with direful hand, to wrest
A beauteous infant from a mother's breast;
But must a husband, and a father, feel
Thy arm, relentless as the murderer's steel?
When first, Oh Tyrant! thy sad work began.
How thro' my veins the thrilling horror ran;
Awhile entranc'd in speechless grief I lay.
This heart forgot to beat, each pulse to play.
Till ling'ring, near her home, the vital flame
Faintly revisited her mortal frame;
These eyes, reluctant, met the op'ning light.
And long'd for slumbers of eternal night.
Oh! thou, at once the foe and friend of man.
In pity finish what thy rage began.
Oh! come, I hail thee now a welcome guest.
And with thee bring that long-sought stranger, Rest.
I ask no strains of elegiac woe.
No pensive tear on my cold urn to flow;
But young Delight shall clap his cherub wing.
And soft-ey'd virgins Hymeneals sing.
With freshest flowers shall strew the gladsome way.
And choral music melt on every spray;
Their vestal hands my hallow'd tomb prepare.
Whilst sounds celestial float upon the air.
When loosen'd from her mean companion, clay.
The soul, exulting, wings her heavenly way;
Quicker than thought, through constellations flies.
Leaves the gross air, and anchors in the skies.
Ah! come, Lorenzo, from thy bright abode.
Smooth the rude path, and lead me to my God!
Descend in all thy blaze of heavenly charms.
New woo me now to thy celestial arms;
Prepare thy roseate seats, seraphic bowers.
Nectarious sweets, and never fading flowers.
Fancy presents thy beauteous image now.
The amaranthus blooming on thy brow.
Whose varied tints surpass the Tyrian hues.
Sweeter than perfume of Arabian dews.
When the bright God of Day retires to rest.
And softly sinks on Ocean's silver breast;
When hush'd in night the stormy winds are laid.
And gentle moon-beams tremble through the shade;
If yet thy Emma claims thy guardian care.
In slumbers soft, etherial whispers bear;
Hush the rude tumults of each rising sigh.
And wrap my soul in visionary joy.


Ah! why, sweet Philomel, that plaintive song.
Why dost thou shun the day star's glitt'ring light.
To mourn, unseen, the woodland glades among.
And tune thy vesper to the Queen of night?
Art thou too widow'd? has relentless Fate.
From thy fond breast, thy sweet companion tore?
Does faithful Memory every charm relate.
And tell of raptures thou must know no more?
If such thy woes, sweet bird, ah! yet again
Pour through the shades of Eve the liquid strain;
Still dwell like me, on long-regretted hours.
Till Morn, bright sparkling through the murky gloom.
Sheds on the zephyrs' wing her wild perfume.
And wakes, to light and life, the op'ning flowers.

The distant rolling of a carriage at last announced the approach of
the Marchese; and, in a state of mind that partook of terror, Laurette
advanced towards the lattice, and in the same moment beheld a splendid
chariot stop suddenly at the gate, and soon afterwards the Marchese
alight. The dusk of the evening, for it was past twilight, prevented
her from distinguishing his figure, any otherwise than that he was
tall, and appeared stately.

He did not address any of the domestics that were crowded about to
receive him, except Paoli, and then walked silently through the

She now waited impatiently for the Signora, anxiously listening to
every approaching footstep till near an hour had elapsed, when she
ventured into the corridor to listen if she could hear her voice.

An universal stillness seemed to prevail through the castle, except in
that part of it which was inhabited by the servants, from which a loud
and coarse laugh occasionally proceeded. At last the long-expected
step was heard ascending the spiral stair-case, and Laurette,
overjoyed to be released from this state of inquietude, sprang
forwards to meet her beloved friend, and to ask if any enquiries had
been made relative to herself.

'My Lord,' returned the Signora, 'being fatigued and indisposed, means
to retire early to his room. He has mentioned you, but has not
intimated a desire of being introduced to you this evening; you may
therefore compose yourself, my dear friend, and be assured you have
nothing to fear. In the morning I shall be enabled to give you some
further information upon the subject, and in the mean time I request
you will endeavour to fortify your mind, and not allow yourself to
yield to imaginary distresses.'

The Signora was in fact unacquainted with the principal cause of her
uneasiness, and consequently was not capable of forming a judgment
upon the matter; but her valuable advice was not lost upon Laurette,
who always endeavoured to profit by the virtuous precepts and examples
of others, which she always received with gratitude, and beheld with

Thankful for this temporary release, and re-assured by the words of
the Signora, the night passed with less agitation than the preceding
one; and having yielded to the sweet influence of undisturbed repose,
she awoke more refreshed and tranquillized than before, and after
offering up her meek and plaintive devotions, waited patiently for the
Signora, who promised to visit her in the morning, and to breakfast
with her at the accustomed hour.

She entered at the appointed time, and observed, with pleasure, that
Laurette appeared less dejected than when she saw her last; and that
she was able to converse with ease, though not with vivacity, upon
indifferent subjects.

A summons for the casiera to attend upon the Marchese in the saloon,
put an end to all farther discourse; and Laurette requesting that she
would return to her as soon as she was again at leisure, remained in
her room, occasionally amusing herself with reading, drawing, or in
taking a survey of the rich and glowing landscape from one of the

The Signora found the Marchese busily employed in looking over some
papers, which had been delivered to him by his steward, which he laid
aside as soon as she entered, and politely offered her a chair. After
some general conversation, concerning the furniture and recent
improvements at the castle, he asked carelessly about Laurette, if she
seemed satisfied with her new situation, or lamented being removed
from the Castle of Elfinbach; and then, without waiting for an answer,
reverted to the former subject, and enquired how she had disposed of
the paintings and other ornamental effects; and then proposed taking a
view of the whole range of apartments, that he might give some
directions concerning them.

The greater part of the day was passed by the Signora in attending
upon her Lord, who was apparently highly gratified with her judgment
and taste; though she seized every interval of leisure, and dedicated
it to the society of her lovely friend, who now determined to confine
herself to her chamber, till the Marchese should intimate a desire to
see her; secretly wishing that moment might never arrive, which had
been so long anticipated with terror. Thus devoted to solitude and
silence, she employed her time in writing to Enrico, frequently
destroying what she had written, lest it should increase his
uneasiness; and then beginning other letters, and throwing them aside,
because as little to her satisfaction as the former ones.

Towards the evening she entered again into the balcony, and saw, at
the farthest extent of the terrace, the Marchese in conversation with
Paoli. They were a considerable distance from her apartment, but being
unwilling to be seen by them, she retired; and closing the casement,
stood for some minutes leaning pensively over the back of a chair,
which was placed directly under the windows, contemplating the fine
features of nature, and the beautiful variety of objects it commanded,
till she saw them descend from the terrace, (which, after extending
the whole length of the edifice, wound round the western turret, and
then terminated in a gentle slope); then ascending a winding path,
hewn in the rock below, which was shaded from her view by thick groves
of fir, acacia, and pomegranate, they glided into obscurity.

The Marchese, from this transient survey, seemed to be listening to
the discourse of his steward with much deference and attention, whilst
Paoli talked much; though, from distance, she could only distinguish a
faint murmur, which was accompanied with much eagerness of

As soon as they were gone, she retired from the window, and, stirring
up the almost decayed embers, sat down by the fire, and endeavoured to
finish her epistle; but it was nearly dark, and being compelled to
defer it for the present, she resolved to conclude it on the following

In about an hour the Signora returned to her room, with a message from
the Marchese, who desired to see her immediately, as he was waiting to
receive her in one of the lower apartments.

Knowing the necessity of obeying him, and having been in continual
expectation of a similar address, she summoned all her spirits to her
aid, and prepared to comply with the command.

They found him in one of the saloons, lounging carelessly upon a sofa,
with a book in his hand, which he appeared to be reading so
attentively that he either did not, or affected not, instantly to
observe them. The Signora's voice, however, roused him from his
abstraction, and fixing his eyes upon Laurette, with a look expressive
of surprise, he arose involuntarily as they advanced, and led her to a
seat. A silence of some moments ensued, which none seemed disposed to
interrupt, proceeding rather from embarrassment than any other cause,
till the Marchese, with many symptoms of confusion, began to make an
enquiry concerning the old castle she had quitted; at the same time
avoiding making any mention of Madame Chamont, and then suddenly
changing the discourse, as if fearful it might lead to a subject that
would be entered upon with reluctance.

If he was charmed with the beautiful form of Laurette, which, though
pale with apprehension and terror, was infinitely more charming than
any thing his imagination could have portrayed, he was not less so
with her manners; and the silent admiration with which he regarded
her, though it tended to heighten her distress, increased the natural
loveliness of her person.

Susceptible even to weakness, the mind of the Marchese became entirely
absorbed in the contemplation of so much delicacy and sweetness, which
no recent hint had prepared him to expect; and as he continued to
observe her with an earnestness that evinced the power of her
attractions, he soon became insensible to every other object.

Anxious to put an end to an interview, rendered painful by
embarrassment, Laurette arose soon afterwards, and would have
withdrawn; but this the Marchese so ardently opposed, that she was
compelled to relinquish the design, and to return, though reluctantly,
to her seat. There was something in her appearance and demeanour so
different from what his imagination had suggested, that he continued
to gaze upon her with augmenting surprise. But what was his
astonishment when that timid reserve, that retiring delicacy, which
had hitherto veiled many natural perfections, being now in some degree
conquered, she discovered what had only been transiently obscured, a
highly cultivated and accomplished mind, whose strength, softness, and
elegance gave power and energy to beauty. How much unlike the poor,
unpatronized, neglected orphan, which his fancy had delineated;
nurtured in solitude, and consigned early to grief and misfortune,
with a mind unstored with virtuous principles, and features marked
with no other expression than that of dissatisfaction and regret,
perhaps with rustic coarseness and vulgarity.

Nor was the interesting person of the Signora d'Orfo, or the polished
ease of her manners, unobserved or beheld with indifference, so little
expected in the humble capacity in which she had engaged; and, as
conversation awakened the powers of her mind, her superiority over the
greater part of her sex was so striking, that he resolved almost
instantaneously to make a companion of her, as well as of Laurette,
whom he now began to reflect upon with increasing partiality.

When the supper hour drew near, the casiera, not forgetting the
humility of her station, arose to depart; but the Marchese prevented
her design, by desiring that she would continue with him the evening,
which request he concluded by ordering a repast to be immediately
prepared in an adjoining room.

This was a proposal which contained too flattering a proof of her
Lord's esteem and condescension to be received without pleasure; and
had she been disposed to have rejected it, the expressive look
conveyed by her lovely young friend, would have counteracted the
intention. Being again seated, she joined in the conversation, which
now became general, with more than her accustomed vivacity; and
Laurette, though somewhat chagrined at not being permitted to retire
when she ventured to make the attempt, being considerably re-assured
by the Signora's continuance in the party, insensibly lost much of her
reserve, and though her lovely countenance retained the same
pensiveness of expression, it was occasionally enlivened with smiles,
and lighted up with intelligence.

As an Italian and a woman of birth, the Signora was acquainted with
several families of consequence in Italy, which were personally known
to the Marchese. This circumstance led to much unreserved
communication, and the frankness and ease with which she delivered her
sentiments, entirely divested of that servile kind of fear which
frequently accompanies conscious inferiority, so exalted her in his
estimation, that his behaviour was at once attentive and respectful.

After having partaken of a slight but elegant repast, with the
addition of some dried Italian fruits, by way of dessert, the ladies
were allowed to retire, but not without first promising to breakfast
with the Marchese on the following day.

As soon as they had quitted the room, the Signora could not forbear
speaking of her Lord in the highest and most respectful terms, and
awaited impatiently Laurette's opinion upon the subject, who confessed
he was more agreeable and condescending than she expected to have
found him; but it was easy to discover that her former prejudices were
not entirely removed, and, though she acquiesced in the sentiments of
her friend, her apprehensions relative to his future conduct were not

Chapter 7

In each wild song that wakes the vale around.
My fair one's fascinating voice I hear.
And Fancy bids the soft lute's silver sound.
Waft her mild accents to my ravish'd ear.
Deep grav'n by Love, thy image ne'er shall fade.
While Memory in this breast maintains her seat;
And when for thee it beats not, lovely maid.
Each trembling pulse of life shall cease to beat.

In the morning the ladies met in the breakfast parlour somewhat later
than the accustomed hour, and were soon afterwards joined by the
Marchese. He was more animated than on the preceding day, discoursed
with ease and elegance upon every subject that was introduced, and
directed his attentions so peculiarly to Laurette, that her confusion
and distress were evident.

Before she had been introduced to him, her imagination had suggested
that he was much older, and that he possessed more gravity, and
dignity of deportment. She was therefore not a little surprised when
she beheld a tall, graceful figure, of an insinuating and fashionable
address, apparently not more than forty; for the spirit and vivacity
of his countenance, when actuated by gaiety and good humour,
counteracted the effects of time, and his whole behaviour, when
solicitous to please, assisted in carrying on the deception. To the
Signora he was polite and attentive; but when he addressed Laurette,
there was an air of tenderness in his manners which he did not attempt
to disguise, and which it was impossible not to understand.

The apprehensions that Enrico had suggested were now communicated to
her own heart; the temporary vivacity that had enlivened her features
soon vanished, and was succeeded by a kind of thoughtful and tender
dejection, which, so far from detracting from the natural graces of
her person, bestowed an additional delicacy and softness.

The Marchese, who watched every change of expression with undeviating
assiduity, imputed this pensive cast of character to perpetual
retirement, and dwelt with energy upon the advantages arising from an
unrestrained intercourse with the world. This sentiment was warmly
applauded by the Signora, who, by enlarging upon the subject,
endeavoured to place her favourite persuasion in the most favourable
light; for if she had a weakness, it was certainly that of possessing
too great an attachment to the fashionable elegances of life, which
had lost nothing of value, but had rather gained additional importance
in her estimation, from having been long withheld from her. It was
this growing and seductive passion, so early implanted in her nature,
aided by that love of liberty so natural to the human mind, that
occasioned an invincible aversion to a conventual life, and which
taught her to submit her duty to her inclination, by accepting the
protection of a husband, without the knowledge or acquiescence of her
only surviving parent; which conduct nothing but his unjustifiable
severity could have excused.

The day passed without any material occurrence; the attentions of the
Marchese rather augmented than decreased, and he attempted, but not
always with success, to detach Laurette from her friend, that he might
more effectually insinuate himself into her favour and confidence. But
the melancholy he thus strove to dissipate, was by these measures
increased. She received his assiduities with coldness, and sometimes
with terror, which it was impossible to conceal or subdue; and the
animated emotion of displeasure with which she repressed the
familiarity of his advances, when respectful attention yielded to the
ardour of ungovernable passion, wounded and offended his pride.

But he was too well initiated in the arts of intrigue to suffer
himself to give words to his resentment; and, as he attributed this
uniform reserve to the cause of offended delicacy, since it appeared
not to be merely the effect of solitude and inexperience, he resolved,
if no possibility existed of contaminating the angelic purity of her
mind, since she was not only the most beautiful, but the most
interesting object he had ever beheld, finally to offer her his hand.
The rank to which she would be elevated by so splendid an alliance, he
imagined, could not fail to attract and dazzle so young and charming a
creature; who, if in the slightest degree conscious of the perfections
she possessed, would doubtless be anxious to place them in a situation
where they would meet with deserved admiration, and not continue, if
an opportunity offered of placing herself eligibly in the world, to
shroud herself in silence and obscurity.

On the death of the Marchesa he had indeed hastily, and too rashly
determined not to submit to what he termed the shackles of matrimony;
but other reasons, besides the extreme beauty and innocence of
Laurette, now influenced his conduct--reasons which he reluctantly
avowed even to himself; they were however sufficient to unfix his
wavering resolution; and the more he reflected upon this newly-
concerted plan, the more fascinating it appeared.

He still ventured to believe, that a considerable portion of flattery,
judiciously administered, might prove efficacious, as few minds, if
feminine, could resist its power. And as sophistry was not likely to
be detected by so young and inexperienced a girl, unremitting
attention to her desires, assisted by the most lavish praises he was
empowered to bestow, would eventually triumph over that retiring
diffidence of deportment, that guarded delicacy of conduct, which was
so strikingly featured in her character.

But, however sanguine his expectation, the artful means he employed
for the accomplishment of his purpose, not only retarded, but
prevented the success of the enterprize. What had been darkly and
mysteriously hinted, recurred frequently to her thoughts; and the
image of Enrico, noble, respectful, and tender, being presented with
all its interesting accompaniments to her mind, rendered the
solicitude of the Marchese still more unpleasant and disgusting.

She remembered, with satisfaction, the promise she had given him
previous to his leaving the castle; and was determined, if her new
lover deviated in the smallest degree from the nice rule of propriety,
to accept of his protection. Nothing, indeed, could prevail upon her
to alter her resolution respecting a marriage with Enrico, before he
was enabled to provide for her without involving him in new
difficulties; for though she could have been satisfied with a very
slender provision, if shared with the object of her affections, yet
her apprehensions of entering into life with embarrassments, which
might finally lead to sorrow and repentance, when the romantic
enthusiasm, peculiar to youth and inexperience, subsided, repressed
every yielding principle of her nature; and she thought only of
consigning herself, with his assistance, since she had so little to
expect from the exertions of the Marchese in his favour, to a convent,
or some other temporary place of security, till she could fix upon
some more eligible abode, or till the bars which prevented their union
were removed.

The letter, which had been conveyed to Enrico, did not remain long
unanswered, and she was agreeably surprised on receiving one much
sooner than she imagined it possible. This was delivered to her by the
Signora when she was alone in her apartment, and with mingled joy and
curiosity she perused the contents.

He informed her, in the first place, of his own situation, and want of
success in his undertaking; and then of the necessity of his quitting
Germany, at least for a short time, at the desire of the Marchese de
Martilini, his Colonel, who was prevented by indisposition from
remaining with his regiment, and was then resident at his seat near
Mantua. He had reason to fear, he added, from some recent accounts,
that his disorder was of a severe and dangerous nature; and, from its
frequent attacks, had so injured and debilitated his constitution,
that but little was to be expected from medicinal applications.

An epistle, penned by an unknown hand, had acquainted him with some
circumstances which made his attendance necessary, particularly that
of the strong desire which his Colonel had expressed to see him, and
his many anxious enquiries respecting his future destination.

He likewise informed her, that since his departure from the Castle of
Lunenburg, a cessation of hostilities had actually commenced; and
that, in consequence of this measure, a speedy termination of the war
was universally expected, which would probably precipitate his return,
and prevent the indispensability of his future absences.

He then reverted to the subject of her last epistle, expressing his
astonishment at the intelligence conveyed, which was that the Marchese
de Montferrat, contrary to his original intention, meant to reside
during the winter in Germany.

But this was a topic too productive of uneasiness to be dwelt upon;
and that part of the paper which contained it was written over with so
disorderly a hand, that the characters which attempted to convey those
undescribable sensations of tenderness that pained and agitated his
breast, were scarcely legible.

Then desiring that, should any thing happen to render her present
situation unpleasant, she would recollect her former promise of
accepting his protection, whatever distance might divide them, he
gently withdrew her from the immediate cause of their mutual
uneasiness, by reverting with tender concern to those blissful moments
of juvenile felicity, which once made existence happiness.

'How often, Laurette,' he continued, 'is your image presented to me in
the visions of my fancy! How often, since I have been wandering in
unsuccessful pursuits, have I dismissed Anselmo, that I might indulge
my melancholy in secret, and fastening my horse to the sapless
branches of an oak, have rambled about in the still and silent hour of
evening, endeavouring to recall the exact expression of your
countenance, to recollect the tones of your voice, and every word you
have uttered, in those charming moments of unrestrained and mutual
confidence which we have enjoyed together. Sometimes I seat myself
under the spreading branches of a larch or a sycamore, and gaze upon
the mild splendour of the setting sun, sinking gradually from my view
beneath the faded and half-foliated woods, in the sweet hope that the
same object is engaging your attention, and that I meet you in idea.

'In the course of my enquiries,' continued Enrico, 'I was
imperceptibly led into the neighbourhood of your former residence, I
may also add of my own, in the days of childhood. Finding I was within
a league of the castle, an irresistible inclination directed me to the
place; and dismissing my servant on some trifling pretence, I indulged
the pensiveness of my feelings, by wandering through those now
desolated shades, where we have once held unrestrained communication.

'To gain admittance into the interior of the edifice was denied me;
but with a melancholy pleasure I was enabled, through the high gothic
casements of the lower apartments, to discover dimly in the gloom the
scenes of our earliest happiness.--The furniture, every thing remained
the same, and methought I saw you indistinctly through my tears,
seated in one of the recesses in the saloon, where we have so often
sat, marking the fine tints of the sky, when the last ray of the
retiring orb had empurpled the sublime summits of the mountains, and
the blue mist of the twilight was overspreading the plains. Do you not
remember how often, in that mild and placid hour, we have rambled over
the dewy hills, marking the winding course of the river stealing
slowly along in the most romantic directions, or listening to the
sighing of the wind amongst the trees? Do you not remember, but is it
possible you can forget, how frequently we have lingered under your
favourite tree, till only the tinkling of a sheep-bell, or the mellow
tones of a flute were heard faintly from the margin of the river or
the plaintive orisons of the nightingale were warbled sadly from the

'Oh Laurette! the melting recollection of those moments overwhelms
me;--I sought out this spot, so tenderly endeared tome by the grateful
memorials of the past, and throwing myself on the rudely carved bench,
which was formerly so familiar to me, sat lost in pensive reverie.
Your image again presented itself to my fancy; I saw you in that white
robe which you usually wore, without any other ornament than a knot of
wild flowers, gathered from the interstices of the mountains; a lute
was in your hand, you bent over it, with one of those smiles which are
at once so seductive and fascinating, and as the rising breeze wafted
aside your locks, a blush ripened on your cheek. How strong, how
chimerical is the imagination of a lover! methought you touched a
chord of the instrument, which was answered faintly by an echo. The
sound communicated to my soul--I started from my seat--but the angelic
vision was no more; it came only for a moment to console me, and then
vanished from my sight.

'I know you will condemn these wild and romantic effusions of a
disordered mind; but you do not know what tender and interesting
reflections your idea imparts to it; I would not part with it to be
occasionally less wretched, because I should then lose all that can
make life desirable.'

In another part of his letter he adds, 'I am resolved to see you
before I visit Italy, whatever danger it may expose me to; I will
encounter the coldness, perhaps the displeasure of the Marchese, for I
find it impossible to quit Germany without one consoling glance. In a
few days after the receipt of this I may probably be with you; do not
mention my intention to any one; I wish it was possible to see only
yourself, for the necessity of my speedy arrival in Italy will prevent
my being stationary. I would desire to see you alone, and without the
knowledge of the Marchese, if I was not in danger of hazarding your
displeasure. You will not, I fear, adopt this mode of conduct, however
requisite, because it discovers a want of openness.

'But why, Laurette, will you forget that I am your brother? Why would
you deprive me of the sacred power of protecting you, the primary wish
of my soul; of defending you from future injuries, or of redressing
them if committed?'

Towards the conclusion of the letter he gave her an account of the
convents he had visited, and of the unsatisfactory intelligence he had
received; and then finished with a request, that she would indulge
him, if possible, with a private interview, since, contrary to his
original design, he was resolved to see her immediately.

Laurette perused the former part of this epistle with a painful
interest, and a ray of consolation was communicated to her bosom when
she arrived at that part of it which treated of his intended visit.
But the interview, for which he pleaded so forcibly, she feared could
not be easily obtained; as the Marchese seldom left her even for a
moment, and consequently that retirement, which had been long familiar
and dear to her, could only be enjoyed in the solitude of her own

Laurette was roused from these reflections by the ringing of the
dinner-bell, and before she had descended the stairs, the Marchese,
who thought every moment of her absence an age while she had been
engaged in the perusal of the letter, came forwards to conduct her
into the room which was appropriated for that purpose.

The empassioned glances which he cast upon her, as he advanced
forwards to lead her into the room, covered her with confusion; and as
he took her hand, on their way through the hall, it trembled so
excessively, that the animated expression of his countenance suddenly
changed, and surprise, mingled with displeasure, succeeded.

He would have demanded the cause of this alarm, but to avoid
interrogatories she hurried into the apartment, and seating herself by
the side of the Signora, endeavoured to conceal her chagrin by an ill-
assumed appearance of composure.

During the dinner hour, the Marchese, contrary to his custom, remained
totally silent, and seemed unusually thoughtful. As soon as the cloth
was withdrawn, without offering any thing of an apology, he arose from
the table, and traversed the room with a gloomy and disordered air,
regardless of the Signora and even of Laurette, though the
conversation of both was more than once directed to himself.

The repulsive coldness which was so evident in the deportment of the
beautiful orphan, in spite of all his insinuating efforts to secure
her affections, at once wounded his feelings, and exasperated his
pride.--What he formerly imagined proceeded merely from native
timidity, and that chilling reserve, which usually accompanies rigid
delicacy of sentiment on the first advances of freedom, he now
attributed to a different cause.

Paoli having been informed of Enrico's visit at the castle, did not
fail to communicate this intelligence to his Lord, who received it
with no sensation of pleasure. From what had been related to the
steward, he appeared to have been a favoured lover; and his person and
manners being spoken of in the most flattering terms, assisted in
justifying the surmise.

As Paoli did not conceal the smallest circumstance from the Marchese
relative to Enrico, he soon succeeded in his intention of inspiring
him with jealousy and aversion towards the amiable young Chevalier,
which now added keenness to the various and conflicting passions that
agitated his breast.

Had his rival been any other than his own son, he would probably have
meditated some dreadful revenge; but the ties of blood, however feebly
cemented by the bonds of affection, prevented him from exercising any
actual cruelty, though it tended not to mitigate his resentment, but
rather added warmth to the violence of his unrestrained passions. He
had before determined to disown and abandon him, notwithstanding his
former promises were delivered with a degree of solemnity which would
have awed a mind less strong and energetic than his own.

At an earlier period of existence, could he have allowed himself time
for reflection, he might possibly have shrunk from this act of
undeserved barbarity with the abhorrence it merited; but he was now
grown too familiar with vice to be shocked at, or even to detect its
natural deformity; and his love of virtue, of which it was evident he
possessed no larger a portion than what is inseparable from, and
inherent in, our natures, was so weakened by a long course of
debauchery and immorality, so secretly practised as to deceive
superficial observers; who, allured by his apparent generosity and
public benevolence of conduct, easily gave him credit for the reality
of every perfection which he found it necessary to assume; and being
thus satisfied with the outward semblance of goodness, he wanted not
only resolution, but inclination, to become virtuous.

Though the Marchese did not relax from his resolve respecting
Laurette, he discovered that it was requisite to adopt some new plan
for the accomplishment of his design; he easily perceived that she
regarded him with the most stoical indifference, which she now did not
attempt to disguise;--he was also conscious, that the spark of
gratitude which had once faintly beamed from her countenance was
extinguished; and, instead of appearing flattered by his attentions,
she carefully avoided giving him any opportunity of bestowing them.

Chapter 8

Some strange commotion
Is in his brain, he bites his lip, and starts;
Stops on a sudden, looks upon the ground.
Then lays his finger on his temple; straight
Springs out into fast gait, then stops again.
Strikes his breast hard, and anon he casts
His eye against the moon: in most strange postures
We've seen him set himself.

The Signora, who observed this almost immediate change in the
deportment of the Marchese, attributed it to the right cause. She
perceived, on his first interview with Laurette, the commencement of
his passion and saw, with extreme concern, the visible coldness of her
manners, and the air of unusual dejection which was delineated on her
countenance, when his assiduous attentions were more particularly
directed to her.

It was easy to discover, even on a superficial acquaintance, that the
passions of the Marchese were strong and invincible; and though the
Signora was totally unacquainted with his excesses, and was equally a
stranger to the insatiable cruelty of disposition he had formerly
displayed when any one dared to oppose him in his interests or his
pleasures, she had sufficiently penetrated into his character to be
aware of the danger of irritating his pride, and ventured gently to
remonstrate with her friend upon the subject.

She suspected the attachment which had so long tenderly subsisted
between our heroine and the handsome young Chevalier, even before she
was personally known to him, though the native delicacy of Laurette's
sentiments and feelings prevented her from openly avowing any
extraordinary prepossession in his favour. Yet as she no longer
retained, in any eminent degree, that enchanting frankness of
expression which once gave new charms to her conversation and
demeanour when in the presence of the Marchese, whose attentions could
not be misunderstood, what before was only conjecture, now ripened
into conviction.

The solicitude that the Signora discovered for the welfare and
happiness of her lovely favourite, was received with the most
attractive gentleness, and repayed with almost filial affection. But
when she reverted to the Marchese, dwelling upon the ardour of his
passion, and the unhappy consequence of such a rejection; which,
considering his rank, fortune, and accomplishments, could only be
occasioned by a premature attachment, a throbbing emotion agitated the
bosom of Laurette, and her tears flowed silently and fast. Since she
was now wholly in his power, the danger of exasperating his vengeance
was too evident to escape her notice, yet she could not, however
necessary, submit to the meanness of disguising her sentiments for the
sake of future advantage, or to the policy of apparently encouraging
hopes, which could not finally be realized.

The Marchese was now less frequently in the society of the ladies than
on his first arrival, and even in their presence, the deep musings of
his mind so entirely abstracted him from conversation, and threw at
times such a deep gloom over his features, that Laurette could not
observe him without a sensation of awe, mingled with terror. He was
frequently closeted with his steward for many hours in the day; and
when he returned into the saloon, his dark piercing eyes assumed a
ferocious and dreadful appearance, so different from their former
expression, that no one presumed to address him, except Paoli, who
possessed over his Lord an unlimited power; and, by constant and
unremitting perseverance, was enabled to prosecute his purposes with
all imaginable ease and success.

The aspect of the Marchese now indicated the most restless inquietude;
he often started wildly from his seat, without any apparent cause,
answered widely from the subject if a question was directed to him,
which was never unnecessarily the case, and threw his eyes strangely
around the room, like a man newly awakened from a dream, as if his
whole soul was absorbed in some desperate and important enterprize,
which he was alarmed lest any one should penetrate.

It was after one of these secret interviews with the steward, that the
Marchese informed the Signora of his intention of visiting the old
castle on the Rhine; having some thoughts of rendering it habitable,
that he might occasionally retire to it as a summer residence: at the
same time requesting, that she would prepare to accompany him thither
on the succeeding day, as he wished to have her opinion and assistance
respecting the alterations.

He slightly asked Laurette if she would consent to be of the party;
and, on her modestly declining it, left the room to give some farther
orders to Paoli, without repeating the invitation.

Having betrayed no symptoms of anger or resentment, the expected
consequence of her refusal, a ray of comfort was conveyed to the bosom
of Laurette; since she had been for some days in hourly expectation of
Enrico, and had now an opportunity of seeing him alone without the
knowledge of the Marchese.

To remain at the castle during his absence was a privilege so unhoped
for, that she could with difficulty conceal her satisfaction. But how
must she inform Enrico of her new cause of apprehension, without
augmenting his distress? though to avoid entering upon a subject, in
which he was so nearly interested, would be utterly impossible, since
he would assuredly introduce it, and reluctance on her part would
naturally kindle curiosity and lead to conjecture.

When the morning arrived, the family assembled early in the breakfast
room, and, as soon as they had partaken of the usual repast, the
carriage being in readiness, the Marchese informed Laurette that they
meant to return at the expiration of a week, and seating himself by
the side of the Signora, drove from the gate.

As soon as the chariot was out of sight, though she had reason to
lament the absence of her friend, the beautiful orphan felt as if
released from a long and mournful captivity; joy once more played
about her heart, and forgetting for the moment the presaging aspect of
the future, she yielded to the new and sweet emotion.

The only unpleasant circumstance with which this indulgence was
attended, arose from the presence of Paoli, who, contrary to her
expectation, received no orders to attend his Lord; but as he did not
often obtrude himself into her company, she reflected upon it with
less uneasiness, and, being alone, began to form some plan as to her
future conduct.

It was now the beginning of November, and the winds blowing chill and
bleak from the mountains, prevented her from frequenting her favourite
solitary walks; she sometimes, indeed, strolled along the lawn, or
through the thick shades of the shrubberies; but the cold and drizzly
rains, and the thick mists that pervaded the atmosphere, made her
fearful of continuing her rambles. When the weather did not permit her
to extend them, she observed, not without some astonishment, that she
was followed at an inconsiderable distance by Paoli, who seemed to
watch her movements whenever she advanced along the grounds with the
most uniform scrutiny, as if anxious to avail himself of every
opportunity of observing them, when she was the least apprehensive of
his intention. He never, however, attempted entering into any
conversation with her, even when aware of her notice; but this
restraint upon her actions, which was evidently the result of design,
confined her almost constantly to her apartment.

With somewhat of impatience she now awaited the arrival of Enrico, and
when several days had elapsed, began to reflect upon his absence with
grief and disappointment. Something might have happened since he had
last written, to have prevented the execution of his design; but his
not acquainting her with the occasion of his absence, when he had so
expressly declared his resolution of visiting her, was an omission for
which she could by no means account.

The week now drew rapidly to a close, yet still he did not appear;
and, as she was hourly apprehensive of the return of the Marchese, she
began rather to dread, than to desire the performance of his promise.

One evening when it was nearly dark, as she was standing at the window
of her apartment, she perceived, at some distance, a tall figure in a
white garment, stealing slowly through a copse beyond the boundaries
of the castle, as if desirous of concealment.--This she was convinced
could be no other than the Monk who had formerly forewarned her of the
danger of her situation, and whom she had of late studiously avoided.

As she continued to observe him, he advanced nearer, and entering a
small gate, at the extremity of the walls, swept hastily along the
grounds till he had reached a thick grove of evergreens which led to
the southern side of the building, when he suddenly stopped, and
remained stationary.

It now occurred to her mind, that the reason why she was so narrowly
watched by Paoli was, that by this means he might be enabled to
prevent a future interview with the Monk, which, from some cause, she
was incapable of investigating, and which was known only to the
Marchese and himself, was thus carefully to be hindered from taking

Curiosity, from a second review of the subject, triumphed for the
moment over every other consideration, and she felt an irresistible
inclination to descend, and hear him unfold the important secret,
which he was before prevented from disclosing.

As she still ruminated upon this singular event, new fortitude was
communicated to her mind; and leaving the room with an assumed
appearance of calmness, she resolved, if by any means the vigilance of
her tormentor could be eluded, who, as it was night, would probably
not suspect her of rambling from the castle, to go immediately to the

Scarcely had she descended the stairs before her resolution forsook
her, and fear and terror took possession of her faculties. The little
advantage that might possibly attend such a discovery, and the dangers
which might arise from this mode of procedure, in the calmer moments
of reflection, compelled her to abandon the design; and she was
returning pensively to the apartment she had quitted, without
attempting to gratify her curiosity, when the rolling of a carriage
announced the arrival of the Marchese.

Paoli ran instantly to the gate to welcome his Lord, whilst Laurette,
who experienced a slight degree of surprise and disappointment,
remained fixed to the spot.

In a few moments he entered the great hall, attended by his steward,
whom he hastily called aside, without apparently observing any other,
whilst Laurette waited to receive the Signora at the door of the

Surprised that she did not appear, she proceeded towards the portal,
and made an enquiry of one of the servants, who informed her, to her
unspeakable grief and astonishment, that she was left at the Castle of
Elfinbach, and was to remain there till the ensuing week, for the
purpose of overlooking the repairs.

The glaring impropriety of her situation now filled the unfortunate
Laurette with new terrors; she trembled, lest the Marchese had adopted
this plan that he might continue his persecutions successfully, and
more than ever distracted with tormenting apprehensions, she entered
the saloon, and throwing herself upon a sofa, which was fixed in a
recess under a window, burst into an agony of tears.

Having remained there some time, she heard steps in the hall which
advanced nearer, and believing it to be the person whom she most
dreaded to see, arose hastily, and endeavoured to open the window
which descended to the ground that she might effectuate an escape; but
the attempt was in vain, and the presence of the Marchese prevented
her from retreating by any other means.

He entered with an air of easy confidence, and as Laurette tremblingly
advanced forwards to welcome him, he led her courteously to a seat,
and then placed himself by her side. A deep blush now took possession
of her features; she cast her beautiful eyes upon the ground, and a
sigh, that refused to be suppressed, agitated her bosom.

The Marchese, after gazing upon her for some time with a look of
earnest tenderness, took her hand, and would have pressed it to his
lips, but she withdrew it hastily from his grasp, and a look of
displeasure awed him into forbearance.

'By heaven this is too much!' cried the Marchese; 'Laurette, you are
cruel--you are unjust;--you know I love you; my passion I have never
attempted to conceal, though it has been chilled with the most
provoking indifference. But, in spite of all your reserve, I cannot
believe you mean seriously to reject me; and to convince you that the
proposals I mean to make are as honourable as advantageous, I now
offer you my hand. Consent then, beautiful Laurette,' resumed he,
softening his voice, and regarding her with a look of ineffable
tenderness, 'to become the Marchesa de Montferrat, and to accept of a
situation which every other woman would embrace with transport.'

Keener agony now suppressed her utterance; her silence encouraged the
hopes of the Marchese, who watched every turn of her countenance with
the utmost impatience, and taking again the resisting hand she had
withdrawn, besought her to determine immediately.

Her answer was at once gentle and decisive: she acknowledged the
honour he was solicitous to confer, but conjured him not to distress
her by a repetition of his request, which would inevitably be
productive of uneasiness, and could never be attended with success.

The firmness of her tone and manner surprised and offended him; the
attachment, which he suspected had early subsisted between her and
Enrico, could only account for this conduct. Anger was again kindled
in his breast; the submissive tenderness of deportment which he had
assumed, vanished, whilst resentment and ungovernable pride struggled
for concealment.

He did not, however, yield without reflection to their influence, but
with all the eloquence he could command, pleaded forcibly his cause,
assiduously endeavouring to remove every obstacle which her
imagination could suggest. But to each new argument she replied with
the same decisive coldness, without assigning the reasons that
actuated her, though he frequently demanded them in a tone of
authority and displeasure.

Finding that she was not to be wrought upon by any means that had been
hitherto employed, resentment, no longer to be restrained, burst forth
with unbridled energy; his breast heaved with contending emotions,
which he found it impossible to resist, and a deep indignant glow
animated his expressive features.

'You are then determined to reject my suit,' resumed the Marchese,
rising hastily from his seat, and fixing his eyes upon her's with a
keen and penetrating glance.

'You have already received an answer, my Lord,' replied Laurette, 'and
why should I irritate you by repeating it? You have hitherto protected
me, and have, from that circumstance, a claim upon my gratitude. I was
taught, from the earliest period of my existence, to consider you as
my only surviving friend; and, when personally unknown to you, to
honour and revere you as a parent;--forgive me when I say no other
sentiment can be excited; and permit me also to add, that if you wish
for my esteem, you must instantly desist from farther persecution.'

Rage and exasperated pride now deprived him of utterance; and as he
still continued to pace the room with a perturbed and agitated step,
Laurette, willing to take advantage of this silence, arose and would
have retired. But this he resolutely opposed, and fastening the door
to prevent a similar attempt, compelled her to return to her seat.

New terror now took possession of her mind; but knowing that
resistance would be vain, and remonstrance equally ineffectual, she
ventured not to dispute his authority. As he still continued to
traverse the room, apparently musing upon some new project, an
universal trembling seized her, and scarcely dared she to raise her
eyes from the ground, lest they should meet his dreadful and indignant

A Venetian mirror that was placed on the opposite side of the saloon,
over which was suspended an Etruscan lamp, dimly reflected his figure,
which was altogether more stern and terrible than her fancy could have
formed:--His cloak hung loosely from his shoulder, his plume waved
haughtily over his brow, whilst his darkened countenance, that
expressed all the energies of a soul refusing to be subdued, was
strongly marked with rage, jealousy, and revenge. In a few minutes he
started from his reverie, and placing himself upon the sofa, again
demanded her reasons for rejecting him.

'You have already heard them, my Lord,' replied Laurette, mildly. 'My
answer, I think, was sufficiently decisive; and, as I have no more to
add upon the subject, I must request your permission to retire.'

'Presumptuous girl!' interrupted the Marchese, in a voice half stifled
with resentment, 'will you still persist in this daring obstinacy? Do
you dispute my power, or is it that you have a young Chevalier at hand
to protect you?'

As he uttered these words, which were accompanied with a disdainful
and sarcastic smile, a faint glow tinged the cheek of Laurette; the
tremulous sensation that was stealing upon her spirits prevented her
from framing an immediate answer; but the integrity of her mind
invested her with new fortitude, and as he paused with his eyes fixed
upon her innocent and blushing face, as if awaiting her reply, she
endeavoured so far to command her feelings as to give it with dignity.
When she had regained some portion of her native composure, she
attempted to convince him of the impossibility of gaining her
affections by this arbitrary conduct, or indeed by any other mode that
could be adopted; at the same time requesting him not to compel her to
lose all esteem for his character, as she should unwillingly
relinquish the favourable impression, and this could only be prevented
by a promise on his part never to resume the subject.

'Do you forget,' returned the Marchese, emphatically, 'your orphan and
dependant state? Do you forget that you are without friends, fortune,
or connections? that there is not a being existing on whom you have
any claim for protection--none who, from any other motive than that of
common humanity, would preserve you from the miseries of neglect and
poverty? Have I not hitherto defended you from these; and have I not a
right to be obeyed?'

'I am not insensible to these obligations,' replied Laurette, weeping,
'and I would not willingly have any thing happen to cancel them; I
would feign consider you as a tender and disinterested friend, still
honour you as the guardian of my helpless infancy--but as a lover, my
Lord, I must not, indeed I cannot return the affection with which you
have honoured me.

'You must not, and you cannot!' repeated the Marchese, with deeper
emphasis, whilst jealousy and rage lent all their fury to his
countenance 'But your reason for persisting in this refusal is
evident; some wretch has pilfered those affections which ought to have
been mine; and by heaven he shall not escape my revenge. Laurette, you
either accede to my wishes, or you are thrown from my protection, not
into the arms of your lover (for I will pursue him with unabating
vengeance), but into a situation sufficiently remote to elude his most
arduous researches; where, after lingering in obscurity, you will live
and die unknown and unlamented. Recollect that I will no longer be
trifled with; I have dedicated too much of my time already to the
indulgence of your caprice; and from henceforth, if you still continue
to practise it, I will assume the tyrant. Hitherto I have meanly
descended to supplicate, in hopes of inspiring you with a mutual
attachment, but my mind has regained its energy; consider me then no
longer as your slave, but remember I expect, nay command your
obedience, and that a contrary conduct will be attended with the
punishment it merits.'

Laurette heard not the latter part of the sentence, for she had
fainted; the assurance that Enrico would be involved in her
misfortunes, to whom he certainly alluded, quite overcame her, and she
sunk lifeless upon the sofa.

The Marchese, unwilling to call for assistance, made many fruitless
attempts to recall her to life; and taking her into his arms, ventured
to open the folds of her robe for freer respiration. Whilst he
continued to support her, with his arm encircling her waist, anxiously
gazing upon her colourless form, and impatiently awaiting the glow of
animation which had formerly added such loveliness to her person, the
string of brilliants, that was suspended round her neck, attracted his
attention; and, not doubting but the portrait of Enrico was fastened
to it, he snatched it hastily from her bosom, and starting, as if he
had seen an apparition, let it fall involuntarily from his hand. A
faint struggle now indicated returning life, and the Marchese taking
immediate advantage of it, demanded how she had obtained the
possession of that picture.

'The picture, my Lord,' replied Laurette, 'what picture?'

'That which was concealed in your bosom,' returned the Marchese,
sternly, 'by whom was it delivered? Speak, I command you, instantly.'

'Alas! I know not,' sighed Laurette, scarcely knowing what she had
uttered; 'it is the portrait of my mother.'

'The portrait of your mother,' repeated the Marchese; 'and who
informed you that the Contessa della Caro was your mother--who has
dared to utter such a falsehood? tell me this instant from whom you
have received this intelligence, or expect the severest inflictions
that rage and disappointment can suggest?'

The deep and dreadful tones of his voice when ascending the climax of
passion, so agitated and alarmed Laurette, that she relapsed into a
state of insensibility, and the Marchese having employed many
ineffectual means to restore her to life, was compelled to call for

In this lifeless condition she was conducted to her apartment by one
of the women of the castle, and, gradually reviving, retired to her
bed. When she was alone, and began to meditate upon the Marchese,
dislike arose into abhorrence; and though she felt that she must
inevitably suffer, she trembled less for her own fate than for that of
Enrico. If she persisted in refusing the hand of her persecutor, she
knew there was nothing to be expected from his clemency. He had
threatened to convey her to some remote and dreary solitude, where she
was to be left, without pity, to all the horrors of her wayward
destiny. To what place did he allude when he assured her, with
menaces, that it was beyond the reach of her lover? The astonishment
and terror that was delineated on his countenance, on the discovery of
the picture, was also food for conjecture. He declared that it was the
Contessa della Caro, but denied that it was her mother with a degree
of vehemence which tended rather to frighten than convince. Unable to
solve this inexplicable mystery, she endeavoured to find comfort in
repose; but it was long before she was relieved by slumber from these
harassing and tormenting apprehensions.

Chapter 9

Whither should I fly?
I've done no harm! But I remember now
I'm in this earthly world, where to do harm
Is often laudable, to do good, sometimes
Accounted dangerous folly; why then, alas!
Do I put up this womanly defence
To say I've done no harm? what mean
These faces?

Laurette arose with the first blush of early morning, and not daring
to quit the apartment, sat pensively by the side of her bed,
meditating upon a train of anticipated evils, which it was impossible
either to conquer or dispel. The melancholy sensation which the
conversation of the preceding evening had excited, having obtained a
transient respite by repose, returned to her waking faculties with
severer poignancy, and grief of the most corrosive nature overwhelmed
her heart.

Enrico, suffering for her offences, was incessantly presented to her
tortured imagination. She perused his letter again and again,
endeavouring, though without success, to inform herself of the
occasion of his absence, and still more of his unaccountable silence.

A strange and fatal presage told her they should meet no more; she
pressed the paper to her bosom, sighed, and wetted it with her tears,
and then breathing a prayer for his preservation, arose from the bed
on which she had been sitting, and attempted, in the contemplation of
the variegated scenery which was exhibited from her window, to
abstract her thoughts from those agonizing reflections that could no
longer be endured.

The morning was chill, and the sun shot only a pale and uncertain ray,
yet it was peaceful and serene; and as none of the inhabitants of the
castle were visible, she descended into the balcony, and gazed upon
the tranquil face of the heavens with a devout and tender emotion.

'The season, like her fortunes, had fallen into the sear, the yellow
leaf'; yet, though the glow of maturity was past, some remains of
vegetation appeared groves of fir, laurel, and other evergreen shrubs,
were thinly scattered upon the hills that inclosed the walls of the
mansion, whilst the spires of distant convents, seen only from the
woods when divested of their honours, added grandeur and beauty to the

All was serene and gentle; yet tinged with the melancholy that
assailed her bosom, all appeared desolate and mournful. With a pensive
and dejected air she leaned over the rails of the balcony,
endeavouring to find some single object that might fix her attention,
and soften the acute pangs of piercing reflection; but the woods, the
rocks, and the mountains were too familiar to her eye to have the
wished-for effect, and, except the low warblings of the autumnal
songsters, no sound, not even the pipe of the goatherd, broke upon the
stillness of the morning.

Finding no possibility of soothing herself into a transient
forgetfulness of her present sorrows, or of softening the recollection
of those hours now fled for ever--hours, in which she had enjoyed
happiness as exquisite as pure, she yielded to the softness that
oppressed her feelings, sometimes pronouncing the name of Enrico in
accents so tremulous that she was scarcely conscious of having uttered
it, and at others that of Madame Chamont, the amiable guide of her
inexperience, whose ill-starred destiny she still severely, though
secretly, lamented.

Resolved not to quit her room without the express orders of the
Marchese, she attempted to amuse herself with sketching some of the
finest features of the landscape before her; but enervated by
affliction, her trembling hand was unable to direct the pencil; she
endeavoured to read, but her attention wandered from the subject, and
she was finally compelled to resign every former source of
gratification, because they had lost their accustomed power.

The picture, which seemed to have led to some fatal discovery, still
hung in her bosom. She often drew it from its place, and gazed
mournfully upon the sweet expressive face, and having no doubt but it
was her mother, and from what had involuntarily escaped the lips of
the Marchese, that it was the Contessa della Caro, though he
positively denied that it was the portrait of her unknown parent.

But however the practice of guilt and hypocrisy may enable a man to
wear the mask of falsehood so successfully as to deceive the greater
part of the world, events for which he is totally unprepared,
frequently, by their suddenness, may surprise him into confession. The
language of nature is indelibly engraven on the human countenance, and
however the slave of vice and insincerity may hope to seclude it from
the eagle eye of Truth, there are moments when the mask of
dissimulation will drop, and the unfortunate being who has taken
refuge under so weak a subterfuge, if not totally abandoned to
irremediable guilt, will be covered with the blushes of shame and

The Marchese, for the moment off his guard by his own inadvertency,
betrayed a secret which the wealth of the world could not have wrested
from him; for though his selfish love of pleasure was unbounded, and
his schemes for the means of obtaining it were deep and unsearchable,
reputation was the leading principle of his mind, the soul of his
existence, and none but the immediate victims of his cruelty were
thoroughly acquainted with his excesses.

When Laurette considered the various inconsistences of the Marchese's
conduct, her candid and inexperienced mind found it difficult to
analyse his character: one moment he was solicitous to please, the
next haughty and reserved; his countenance now beaming with
tenderness, and lighted up by gaiety and animation; the next instant,
if not meeting with that attentive regard which he considered as his
due, darkened with anger, vexation, and disappointment.

Had no prior attachment removed a marriage with so capricious a tyrant
almost beyond the bounds of possibility, she would have instantly
rejected him; for her mind was too pure and unambitious to barter the
treasures of contentment for wealth or precedence, and to forsake the
substance of happiness for the shadow; though she was too prudent to
enter into a matrimonial engagement, even to save herself from the
present evils of her destiny, till there appeared a probability of
effecting it without involving the object of her tenderest attachment
in new and severe difficulties.

Laurette had remained the greater part of the day alone in her
apartment, without receiving any orders to leave it; in which time no
one intruded upon her retirement, except the servant who conveyed her
food, of whom she ventured to enquire if the Marchese was below, and
whether any thing had been mentioned relative to herself.

The young woman informed her, with many symptoms of compassion, that
her Lord had been, for the last half hour, in private conversation
with Paoli; that his thoughts seemed to be employed on some important
concern, as he scarce partook of a morsel at dinner, and as soon as it
was removed, called again for his steward, in whose society he had
spent some hours in the morning, and whose presence appeared more than
usually necessary.

Conceiving herself to be the subject of their discourse, Laurette
answered only with a sigh; and not doubting but that some new misery
was preparing for her, endeavoured to arm her mind with a sufficient
portion of fortitude to sustain it with serenity.

Next to the hated marriage with which she had been threatened, nothing
seemed so dreadful to her terrified imagination as a removal, without
the knowledge of Enrico, to a remote and dreary solitude; yet more
than ever convinced, that if she persisted in her resolution of
rejecting his proposals, this, or some other situation not less
hopeless, would be selected for her, she once half resolved to attempt
an escape from the castle, and to endeavour to gain admission into a
convent; but the little chance of success which this method of
proceeding offered to maturer reflection, prevented her from putting
it into practice. Could she be so fortunate as to elude the vigilance
of her haughty protector, the Argus-eyed Paoli would detect her design
before it was carried into execution; and even was it possible that
she should so far succeed as to gain some religious retirement, few
Superiors, she feared, were sufficiently disinterested to receive a
poor unpatronized female, however unhappy her situation, without a
friend to speak in her behalf, or the possession of any property by
which she might be enabled to pay for her maintenance. And was she to
throw herself upon the compassion of strangers, of an humbler rank of
life, who would dare to admit her, and much less to harbour her, when
the danger of incurring the displeasure of the Marchese would be the
price of their hospitality? And even should any one be so blind to
their immediate interests as to listen to the soft pleadings of
humanity, could she, wrapped in temporary security, act so
inconsistently with her own exalted sentiments, as to expose such
benevolence and refined generosity to his unbridled resentment?

These considerations determined her to abandon the design, and to wait
with humility for the interposition of Providence in her behalf, in
whom, she had been taught early, to place an unlimited reliance.

'Why do I tremble at the future,' cried the beautiful sufferer, with
that firmness and dignity inseparable from true greatness, 'when I
know that there is an Omnipotent Power who governs the world with
wisdom and equity, and who frequently turns the dark designs of the
wicked from their original bias, to the advantage of oppressed and
unrepining innocence.

'Forgive me, holy Saint,' resumed she, falling meekly upon her knees
before a small image of Saint Rosalie, 'forgive me if I have dared to
murmur; and Oh! infuse into my heart that pure and heavenly virtue
which taught thee to endure calamity with patience, and even with
transport. Shall I presumptuously repine when I look around, and, in
the narrow sphere of my observation, see others suffering the extreme
of misery, and expect exemption from the common lot of mortality?--No,
let me rather endeavour to fortify my mind with those invaluable
principles of religion which were instilled into my heart, from the
earliest period of my existence, by my first and dearest friend. And
may I, as the only proof of gratitude I am enabled to bestow, cherish
her inestimable precepts as much as I revere her memory! and if she is
already released from the shackles of mortality, and is become the
companion of angels, may she look down with compassion upon her
adopted child, strengthen her weak resolves, and lead her, by secret
inspiration, to that excelling and unassuming piety which dignified
her character!'

With a mind elevated above the narrow boundaries of the earth,
Laurette arose from her knees, and walked again towards the lattice.
The day was still fine, and her feelings being somewhat tranquillized
with these meek effusions of devotion, she surveyed the placid face of
Nature with a sensation of pleasure.

Knowing that the Marchese, when in secret conference with his steward,
frequently remained some hours in his closet, she resolved to descend,
by a private stair-case, and, if she was fortunate enough to escape
unobserved, to amuse herself with a ramble through the grounds.

Having executed her purpose unperceived by all, except the lower order
of domestics, she bent her steps towards the pavilion, and entering
the banqueting-room, seated herself upon a small settee that was
placed under a canopy.

Every thing remained the same as when she left it last, which was on
the morning when she parted with Enrico. The Marchese and the Signora
had been there in the interval, but nothing appeared to have been
displaced. The leaves of music still lay scattered upon the table, the
lute lay neglected upon a corner of the sofa, and her imagination
could have almost portrayed the form of Enrico sitting pensively in
the place which he had so recently occupied. His looks, his words, his
attitudes, returned with all their pathetic interest to her memory,
and connected his idea with more than usual tenderness.

Till the moment when she was taught to feel the most dreadful
apprehensions for his safety, she was not wholly acquainted with the
extent of her attachment; she had deluded herself into the suggestion,
that she loved him only with the affection of a sister, as the
companion of her infantine felicities, and as the son of her maternal
friend. But now that danger was suspended over his head, which
threatened finally to crush him, she acknowledged a warmer and more
tender sentiment in his favour.

Unable to continue long in a place, rendered too interesting by sadly
pleasing recollections, she reached the extent of the building, and
found in the apartment, beyond the room of state that she had quitted,
a small pocket volume of Italian miscellanies, which she remembered to
have seen in the hand of Enrico on the morning preceding his
departure. She opened it with an emotion of joy, and as his name,
which was inserted in the blank leaf, met her eye, resolved to avail
herself of what she esteemed an inestimable treasure, by securing it
in her pocket.

Afraid of being observed if she remained longer in her present
situation, she would have retreated by the way she had entered, but
voices approaching the pavilion prevented her design; and, before she
had time to recover from the breathless agitation of spirits this
unexpected incident occasioned, she distinguished the tones of the
Marchese, and soon afterwards those of Paoli.

Alarmed lest they should enter the apartment she occupied, and her
inadvertency by these means expose her to new evils, she endeavoured
gently to open the door leading into the shrubbery, in the hope that
she might be able to secret herself among the trees, till an
opportunity offered to favour an escape. But it was locked, and the
key being removed, she was compelled to remain in the pavilion
carefully avoiding any noise which might lead to detection.

Though Laurette could not descend to the meanness of voluntarily
overhearing conversation supposed to be private, there being only a
thin partition wall between the room she had chosen, and that occupied
by the Marchese, it could not easily be prevented, and she was
obliged, however reluctantly, to submit to what appeared unavoidable.

When apparently in the most earnest discourse, they spoke low, as if
afraid of being overheard, though unconscious that any one was near;
and some disjointed sentences, which seemed to be of dreadful import,
were occasionally communicated to her ear.

Soon afterwards she heard her own name hesitatingly pronounced,
followed by Enrico's; and curiosity triumphing over the nicer feelings
of her mind, directed her involuntarily towards the door.

A short silence succeeded, which was at length broken by Paoli, who
uttered something in a low key which she could not clearly understand,
and then exalting his voice, he added--'You are well aware, my Lord,
of the necessity of this measure; why then do you hesitate to adopt
the only possible means of ensuring you safety and reputation? Some
discovery fatal to your peace has been made--her silence, as well as
her indifference, confirms the justice of the suspicion; she is
treacherous, my Lord, and every thing is to be feared from the
artifice of a designing woman. That softness of character, which she
assumes at discretion, is it not worn as a veil to conceal the
blackness of her intentions? and is happiness to be obtained in a
state of continual fear?'

'To what would you advise me?' replied the Marchese, in a voice
agitated with contending passion; 'have I not already given orders for
her removal; to what further would you urge me?'

'To secure your own safety beyond the reach of circumstance,' returned
the steward; 'to teach you to act consistently with those exalted
ideas of independence, which have hitherto aggrandized your character.
Do you cease to remember, my Lord, that self-preservation is one of
the first laws of Nature, that it is wisely interwoven with our
existence for reasons too forcibly to be rejected, and becomes the
master-spring of all our actions? If a venomous insect assaults us, do
we not annihilate it? Who, but a maniac, would feel the sting of a
serpent, and not endeavour to release him self from its grasp?--Would
any one, not divested of reason, endanger his own life by listening to
the plea of humanity? If an assassin attacks us with the weapons of
death, and we succeed in disarming him, do we not instantly sheath the
stiletto in his breast; do we feel any thing of remorse or pity, when
we behold it reeking with the blood of an enemy? I need add no more,
my Lord; you must assuredly understand me; there are means to prevent
the evils which threaten you--it is you that are to apply them.'

'There are means,' repeated the Marchese, 'but they are dreadful ones;
yet, if it must be done, let it be done quickly; I would feign not
think of it again till it is beyond recall. Let me be acquainted with
the time and place, and then let the subject drop for ever.'

'About seven leagues from this spot,' continued Paoli, 'is a house
every way fitted for the purpose: it stands in a lonely and dreary
forest, and is fenced out from the civilized world by wild and almost
inaccessible woods. These are sometimes infested by banditti, but
never with any other human being; the beasts of the deserts are their
only inhabitants, and scarcely a vestige of man is to be found. Here
Silence has fixed her abode, disturbed only at intervals by the
howling of the wolf, or the cry of the vulture. In such a situation
actions have no witnesses; these woods are no spies. You understand
me, my Lord?'

'I do,' returned the Marchese, with seeming emotion; 'but the time,
have you thought of that?'

'Any time, my Lord, to-morrow.'

'To-morrow!' exclaimed the Marchese; 'Ah to-morrow, or tonight, it
cannot be too soon. I leave this business to you; but I command you,
let me hear of it no more till it is executed--I would fain escape
from the recollection.'

They now quitted the pavilion; and Laurette, anxious to hear the whole
of the conference, since she was certainly the subject of it, listened
in hopes of catching another sentence; but their voices, after being
imperfectly heard from the opposite side of the building, grew
fainter, and were soon lost in distance.

With trembling limbs, that could scarcely support her agitated frame,
she gained the door of the pavilion, when a death-like faintness
prevented her from proceeding, and she was obliged to lean against one
of the pillars of the portico for support. Somewhat revived by the
cool breeze, she looked fearfully around, and being assured that the
Marchese and Paoli were returned to the castle, began to reflect upon
the dangers with which she was surrounded, and to consider if there
was any possibility of eluding them.

Death, in its most terrifying form, was presented to her affrighted
imagination; and being convinced that, if she continued longer in the
power of her persecutors, it would be inevitable, she determined to
attempt an escape. Fear gave new swiftness to her motions, and with
rapidity, almost incredible, she ran, or rather flew to the small
arched door, which was usually unfastened, and was the direct road
from the castle. But this being locked, hope, the only balm of
affliction, forsook her, and had she not felt the indispensible
necessity of actual exertion, this new disappointment would have
overthrown her purpose. But the certain danger of delay animated her
resolves; and, however improbable it appeared that she could
effectuate an escape, unobserved, from the principal entrance, she
ventured to make a similar attempt. But here also she was denied
admittance; and being unable either to proceed or to return, in a
state of inconceivable suffering she threw herself upon a grassy
acclivity, under the shade of a larch, and endeavoured to reflect upon
some probable means of avoiding the horrors of her destiny. But she
was unable to direct her thoughts to any point that was likely to lead
to preservation; the gate of mercy seemed to be closed against her,
and the knife of the assassin ready to be plunged into her innocent
and unoffending bosom.

As Paoli, for what cause she was incapable of ascertaining, appeared
to be a more formidable enemy than even the Marchese himself, who
seemed, from the conversation in the pavilion, to have betrayed some
symptoms of remorse and pity, she once half resolved to throw herself
at the feet of her haughty lover, to convince him, if possible, that
she was innocent of the crimes alledged against her; and that no
attempt, on her part, to investigate circumstances intended for
concealment, had justly rendered her an object of resentment. But the
knowledge of his disposition, which she had already obtained, was
sufficient to dismiss the forlorn hope which had been recently
conveyed to her heart. For even was she allowed to see the Marchese,
which was an indulgence the wary steward was not likely to grant, lest
it should unfix the wavering purpose of his Lord, there appeared but a
small degree of probability in the supposition that she would be
enabled to interest his compassion, without making another sacrifice
more dreadful to her than that of life itself.

No prospect of effecting her safety by her own efforts, nor any human
assistance appearing, she could not acquire resolution to stir from
the place; but continued to sit, with her pale cheek resting upon her
still whiter arm, till the whole scene was involved in almost total
darkness, without her having fixed upon any plan that was likely to
lead to security.

The chill winds of the east now blew cold from the mountains, and
scattered the few remaining leaves from the half-desolated branches,
whilst scarcely sensible of existence, she continued to muse upon what
she had heard with undescribable anguish, till a deep and hollow
knell, proceeding from a conventual church at an inconsiderable
distance from the castle, at length recalled her to consciousness. She
started--it was the bell of death; and seemed, to her weakened and
almost deranged faculties, to foretell her own immediate dissolution.
Pale and breathless as a statue, she clasped her hands eagerly
together, and uttering a deep convulsive sigh, proceeded from the

Voices were now heard approaching towards the tree she had quitted,
and a pale uncertain light was dimly seen through a grove of dark firs
which led nearly to the spot. In the next moment she perceived two
men, apparently in pursuit of her, bearing torches, whom she soon
discovered to be Paoli and Ambrose. She was not long unobserved; and
the former accosting her in a rough voice, demanded whither she had
been, and what had induced her to ramble so far at that late and
perilous hour? Being in capable of framing a reply, he seized her by
the arm with the fury of a barbarian, and finding from the livid
paleness of her countenance that she was near fainting, commanded
Ambrose to assist in supporting her. In this manner she was conveyed
to the castle, more dead than alive, and soon afterwards into a kind
of garret, never before occupied by any of the family, and far removed
from her former apartment. To this place she was carried by Paoli,
who, having seated her upon an ancient leather settee, which was
placed at the extremity of the room, left her a lamp, and retired, not
forgetting the precaution of fastening the door, lest his dark designs
should be frustrated.

No doubt now remained in the bosom of Laurette but that the desolate
apartment to which she was conveyed by her inexorable enemy, was to
witness the perpetration of his bloody designs; and that the wretch
who was hired to commit the execrable deed, was to take the advantage
of night and of silence, the hour when all but herself were resigned
to the influence of repose. Her meek, her inoffensive life, was given
into the hands of an inhuman monster, a wretch incapable of pity, dead
to every principle of benevolence and virtue. He had appointed the
morrow for the execution of his villainy, in a dreary and unfrequented
forest; but as she was unable to learn the result of the conversation,
from not having heard the whole of it, he seemed to have yielded to
the request of the Marchese, and meant to execute his purpose

Though Laurette's apprehensions of death were too terrible to be
sustained with uniform fortitude, the sufferings of Enrico when he
should be informed of her destiny, was a reflection more difficult to
be endured; and this, aided by the probability of the persecutions of
the Marchese being extended to him, should one victim be insufficient
for the gratification of his resentment, completed the number of
melancholy sensations that pained and corroded her heart.

The more she endeavoured to unravel the mystery that had involved her
in such a series of calamities, the more inexplicable it appeared; and
being incapable of investigating the subject with the minute attention
it required, it seemed, from a cursory survey, to be the effect of
some deep-laid scheme, formed by the malicious disposition of Paoli,
for the accomplishment of her destruction, rather than the result of a
combination of casual occurrences, as she had formerly imagined; since
something had been evidently laid to her charge which no part of her
conduct could justify.

A thousand times she blamed the weakness, the cowardice which
prevented her from availing herself of the many opportunities that had
offered themselves of obtaining another interview with the Monk. But
this was beyond recall, and she was soon going to expiate this error,
the only one she ever remembered to have committed, with her blood.

It was now past midnight, and though she was at too great a distance
from the inhabited part of the castle to hear what was passing below,
she had reason to believe that all were retired to their beds.

A deep and mournful stillness seemed to reign throughout the mansion,
and being in hourly expectation of her murderer, she betook herself to
prayer, that she might prepare her mind, as much as possible, for the
awful change that awaited her, by soliciting the protection of Heaven
in the moments of dissolution, which she was well assured could bestow
comfort even in the agonies of death, and teach her to sustain them
with dignity.

As soon as her plaintive orisons were concluded, she took the volume
of poems from her pocket which she had found in the pavilion, and
connecting with it the idea of Enrico, bathed it with tears newly come
to her relief, and then opening it, accidentally met with one of the
beautiful sonnets of Petrarch, composed after the death of Laura. Not
daring to trust herself with the perusal of a poem whose subject was
so destructive to fortitude, she instantly closed it, and taking the
fatal picture from her bosom, whose saint-like countenance so finely
imaged her own, she pressed it to her lips, and breathing an eternal
adieu, replaced it in her bosom; and then throwing herself upon the
bed, endeavoured to await, with something like resignation, the doom
which she considered as inevitable.

As the morning advanced, her fears gradually subsided. If that
desolate apartment was intended for her death-room, the bloody deed,
she believed, would have been executed in the silence of the night;
and with no small degree of consolation she beheld the first dawn of
early day peep through the high lattices of her prison.

Somewhat re-assured by this unexpected clemency, and nearly exhausted
with fatigue, she yielded for a short time to the sweet influence of
sleep; but her slumbers were broken and disturbed, and dreadful
foreboding visions terrified her fancy.

She thought she saw Enrico with a wild unsettled look, haggard
countenance, and every symptom of suffering, dart into a forest,
whither she was conveyed for the purpose of being massacred, who,
after many ineffectual efforts to accomplish her release, was obliged
to resign her to her murderer. She was then conducted through
unfrequented woods, followed by Enrico, till they had reached a place
still more dreary than the last, when the assassin drawing a stiletto
from beneath his cloak, which he had previously concealed, gave her
the mortal stab; then, as if not sufficiently glutted with the sight
before him, he drew the instrument from her bosom, yet reeking with
her blood, and plunged it into the heart of Enrico.

This horrible dream, occasioned by the excessive agitation of her
spirits, had such an effect upon her mind, that, uttering a faint
scream, she started wildly from the bed, and saw, by the dusky light
which the narrow casement admitted, a tall figure, whose stature her
imagination heightened to a being of gigantic size, standing by her
side, apparently watching her as she slept. Not having courage to cast
her eyes again towards that part of the chamber where they had met the
object of her terror, to be convinced that it was not an illusion, she
uttered a deep and dreadful scream, and again fell senseless on the

No means being employed to recall her to life, she remained in this
state of insensibility till she found herself in the arms of the
steward, who had already conveyed her, assisted by Ambrose, beyond the
walls of the castle.

Paoli having mounted a mule that was in readiness at the outer gate,
commanded Laurette to be placed behind him, and ordering her to be
tied to the animal, to prevent her from effecting an escape, hurried
from the place; when he had somewhat relaxed from the pace with which
he had set out, she made a gentle, but hopeless, attempt to interest
his compassion.

'Oh save me! save me!' cried she, weeping, 'if ever you have known
what it is to suffer, or have felt the soft touches of sympathy; if
ever you have considered the value of existence, or have trembled at
the thoughts of losing it.'

'To what do you allude?' replied Paoli, sternly; 'what reason have you
to indulge yourself in fanciful conjectures, and what is it that you

'Alas! I fear every thing,' returned Laurette, mournfully; 'and it is
you only that can save me.'

'Is there any thing so very terrible in a removal from the castle,'
replied Paoli, angrily--'a place that you entered so reluctantly; are
you never to be pleased?'

'Ah! but I know--' cried the fair sufferer, weeping.

'What do you know?' interrupted the steward, turning round fiercely
upon his saddle; 'and what is it that you apprehend since you know it
to be the will of the Marchese?'

'Ah! but to be conveyed, I know not whither; to be carried into a
dreary wood, and to die; to have the rights of burial denied me, and
to be left a prey to the wolves of the desert--have I deserved all
this? and can I reflect upon it without fear?'

'Banish these ridiculous suspicions,' returned Paoli, with surprise,
'who has told you all this? who has imagined it for you? or what cause
have you to indulge in these improbable surmises?'

'No one has informed me of my danger,' replied Laurette, tremulously;
'Alas! I had no friend left in the castle to inform me of it. It was
myself only that heard it in the pavilion, when you was in
conversation with the Marchese.'

'And what demon,' interrupted the steward, 'has instructed you in the
art of overhearing secret conferences? what did you hear? tell me
instantly, as you value your safety.'

In hopes of being able to excite his compassion, Laurette acquainted
him with the circumstance of her having been in the pavilion previous
to their arrival, and of the fruitless attempts she had made to leave
it, that she might not be obliged to overhear conversation intended to
be secret. Then disguising some part of the discourse, lest it should
irritate him the more, she related what she had heard.

Some symptoms of confusion appeared in Paoli's countenance at the
recital, though he positively denied that it had any reference to
herself; and after endeavouring to convince her that no harm would
befall her, he sunk again into his accustomed reserve; whilst
Laurette, with a heart palpitating with terror, was compelled to
proceed on her journey.

Volume 4

Chapter 1

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by--
A fellow, by the hand of Nature mark'd.
Louted, and sign'd to do a deed of shame.
This murder had not come into my mind:
Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made a pause.
When I spake darkly what I purposed.
Or turned an eye of doubt upon my face.
Or bade me tell my tale in express words.
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off;
And these, thy fears, would have wrought fears in me.

The lovely orphan was no sooner conveyed from the castle, than the
Marchese appeared to labour under such an oppression of spirits, as no
change of circumstance, or of place, promised to remove.

Though he would willingly have spared himself this new cause of
remorse, by confining Laurette in a convent at the instigation of the
inhuman steward, he had at last determined upon her death. Offended
pride and disappointed hopes taught him at first to reflect upon it
with indifference, whilst the apparent necessity of committing this
horrid deed, to conceal the perpetration of another not less criminal,
actuated him still more powerfully; yet, probably, even these
arguments would not have possessed a sufficient portion of energy and
persuasion to have effected so sudden a resolution, had he not beheld
in the person of Paoli a wretch, whose mind, as well as aspect,
indicated him a villain, marked and selected by Nature for the
accomplishment of the most daring and bloody purposes; who being
entirely unrestrained by conscience, was ever ready to espouse the
cause of iniquity, for the sake of temporary advantage; and from a
long acquaintance with all the arts of intrigue, was enabled to direct
the weaknesses and vices of others to his immediate interests.

Three days had passed since Laurette's departure from the castle,
during which period a thousand internal conflicts destroyed the repose
of the Marchese, and lacerated his guilty bosom. He awaited with a
dreadful kind of impatience the return of Paoli. The sun of the
morning arose to him without exciting one sweet or pleasurable
emotion; and, as if anxious to escape from his penetrating and
reproachful beams, he frequently retired into the deep clefts of the
rocks, or the rude narrow glens of the mountains, as if alarmed lest
his very thoughts should have witnesses; but, though he dared not
trust himself to visit those scenes which were once rendered
interesting by the soft form of her, who was now the patient victim of
his cruelty, her beautiful image, adorned with all its innocent and
unassuming graces, was continually presented to him, even in the wild
and lonely recesses he had chosen. Since she had now paid so dear for
her offence, remorse and tenderness rapidly succeeded each other; and
sensations, as new as they were agonizing, were excited in his breast.
Conscious that to the mind diseased, no state is so insupportable as
that of suspense, he became still more impatient for the return of his
steward, though it was impossible he could communicate any
intelligence of a cordial nature, since he equally dreaded to hear
that Laurette was assassinated, or had effected an escape, as such an
event could not take place without the interference of another, which
must inevitably lead to a discovery productive of the most alarming

Four days had now elapsed, and still he did not return; something the
Marchese imagined must have happened to occasion this delay, and
sensations still more afflictive and terrible passed through his
disordered mind. Unable any longer to endure the pressure of his
uneasiness, which was now rendered still more acute by a thousand
memorials of her whom he had thus sacrificed to ambition and unjust
resentment, he adopted the resolution of repairing to the castle of
Elfinbach, in hopes that a new succession of objects might effect a
change of idea. This plan, as soon as formed, was communicated to
Ambrose, who was commanded to attend him thither and leaving orders
for Paoli to follow him immediately on his return, the Marchese
proceeded on his journey.

After a dreary and melancholy ride over barren heaths and rugged
precipices, the travellers arrived at this desolated castle, which,
from the heavy rains that had recently fallen, and the high winds
which had blown down the rampart-wall, and shattered the easements,
appeared more than usually gloomy. The Marchese surveyed it for a
moment in silence, and then alighting from his horse, asked eagerly
for the Signora, and was directed into one of the saloons.

He found her alone, engaged in some household employment; and being
surprised at his sudden return to a place not at present rendered fit
for his reception, she looked chagrined and embarrassed. The restless
agitation of mind that was so strongly delineated on the features and
manners of the Marchese, did not elude the observation of the Signora,
though the cause was inexplicable. She would have demanded the reason
of this conduct, but the reserve, with which he repressed every
inquiry she ventured to make that could lead to the subject,
occasioned her to desist.

She did not mention Laurette till the following day, fearing lest this
mysterious sadness was the effect of her coldness, and might be
increased by reverting to the cause; but anxiety to gain some
information respecting her lovely young friend overpowering every
other consideration, directed her simply to interrogate him concerning
her health. The name of Laurette, uttered by the Signora, roused him
from that state of stupor into which he had fallen. He started, and
confusion for the moment prevented him from framing a reply, till at
length recalling some portion of that studied composure, that masterly
command of feature, for which he was once so deservedly eminent, he
informed her, without recollecting that he had not answered her first
question, that Laurette had proved herself unworthy of his future
protection, by having escaped secretly from the castle, unknown to and
unobserved by any one.

The Signora now imagined that she was acquainted with the whole: every
thing that the Marchese had uttered relative to her escape, appeared
probable, when she recollected the boldness, and even aversion, with
which she had uniformly repressed the ardour of his passion. But in
what part of the province could she find an asylum that would defend
her from the power of her lover, or elude the vigilance of his
researches, should he be disposed to continue his persecutions, was
unanswerable. Her unprotected situation filled the mind of the
Signora, as she reflected upon it, with new terror; but afraid of
betraying too much emotion in the presence of her Lord, she abruptly
quitted the apartment, that she might consider it more deeply in

The Marchese now believing that he had convinced his Casiera that
Laurette had deservedly forfeited all claim to his protection from
having voluntarily quitted the castle, less frequently came into her
presence than before, still endeavouring to find that repose he had
lost amid the wildest scenes of Nature, which his dark discoloured
imagination rendered still more dreary.

Day after day passed in a state of mournful solicitude, yet Paoli was
not announced; 'the attempt, and not the deed', was dreadful! If the
bloody business was transacted, what could have detained him? A
thousand terrible surmises now agitated his breast; his nights
continued to be sleepless, and, before he had been a week resident at
the castle, his pallid countenance, and his emaciated limbs, foretold
alarming consequences!

A strange account of noises heard in different parts of the mansion,
and of spectres being seen gliding through the galleries at the dead
hour of the night, was now circulated among the domestics! The Signora
was informed of it, and, willing to remove what she termed causeless
superstition, endeavoured to convince them of the absurdity of
allowing themselves to be deluded by imaginary terrors; but the
arguments she made use of to quiet their apprehensions were
ineffectual. Ambrose averred, that he had met a figure clothed in
white, gliding through the corridor, who, without accosting him,
vanished apparently into one of the deserted apartments! The female
servants, who were procured by the Signora from the nearest village,
to assist in cleaning the castle, each declared they had seen the same
spectre, exactly answering to his description, in different
situations, and had all formed the resolution not to stir alone in the
night, nor even in the dusk, each declaring that she had rather meet a
wild beast than a spirit!

The Signora's woman, being the only one among them who had not caught
the contagion, proposed, if any one would accompany her, to explore
every room in the castle; but no individual in the family being
courageous enough to assist her in her researches, she was compelled
to abandon the design, though not without branding all, particularly
Ambrose, with the imputation of cowardice.

The Marchese in the meantime, though kept in total ignorance of the
affair, through the express orders of the Casiera, appeared to suffer
more internal horror than any of the servants. His meals were short,
and his answers, when any one addressed him, were far from the
purpose, and usually uttered with an aspect of displeasure. At some
times he seemed lost in the gloom of silent thoughtfulness, whilst at
others his strong expressive features were distorted by emotions; and
with his arms folded upon his breast, and his eyes fixed with a vacant
stare upon some object he was unconscious of beholding, his whole
frame appeared to suffer some dreadful convulsion. He usually retired
early to his room, but seldom to his bed: he never courted the sweet
influence of sleep, for he knew that it shunned the blood-stained
couch of the murderer, and descended only on the lid of unoffending

Chapter 2

What man dare, I dare;
Approach thou, like the rugged Russian bear.
The arm'd rhinoceros, or Hyrcanian tyger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble.

The room, which was selected by ambrose for his Lord immediately on
his arrival, was on the northern side of the edifice, and from its
remote situation, as well as from the circumstance of that range of
apartments having always remained locked during Madame Chamont's
residence in the mansion, had long fallen into disuse. It was a large
dreary looking chamber, partially hung with tapestry of no common
workmanship, representing a group of grim and ghastly figures habited
as knights, with their spears, bucklers, and other implements of war.
The bed, which was composed of crimson damask, was so much faded and
discoloured with age, and the curtains that hung loosely from the high
canopied tester, had been so long a prey to the moths and the night-
flies, that the windows were no sooner opened, after having been
closed for near twenty years, than they fell into fragments. A few
faded portraits, in the costume of the thirteenth century, and large
old-fashioned mirror, whose massy gilt frame appeared to have
withstood the assaults of ages, were the only ornaments this apartment
contained, if those could be called ornaments, which, instead of
relieving the eye, tended to make the correspondent gloom of the whole
more dreadfully impressive.

This room Ambrose endeavoured to convince the Signora was less exposed
than any other to the fury of the winds, and upon the whole a more
comfortable asylum than any other which the castle contained.

The Marchese, in any other frame of spirits, would have been shocked
at its desolate appearance; but horrors were now become familiar to
him, and taking a lamp and book, he usually retired to it early; and
if he ever closed his eyes, this transient respose was obtained in a
large antique chair, covered with green damask, that was placed by the
side of the fire.

The Signora, believing that this increasing malady was chiefly the
effect of sleepless anxiety, ventured one night, unknown to him, to
put something in his wine of a soporific nature, whose effect being
almost instantaneous, occasioned him to retire to his chamber still
earlier than before.

Scarcely had he entered the room before he perceived a soft composure
stealing upon his spirits, and contrary to his late custom, threw
himself upon the bed, and yielded to a transient slumber. But the
comfort of serene sleep was denied him; for his guilty soul conjured
up strange and dreadful images, not less appalling than his waking
terrors. He imagined that, for some crime committed against the
ecclesiastical powers, he was consigned to the dungeons of the
inquisition within the authority of Rome, where he remained in hourly
expectation of being summoned to the secret tribunal--a tribunal where
mercy, and even justice, are for ever excluded, to confess what must
doom him to immediate death, or have that confession extorted from
him, by means more dreadful than the human mind could conceive, by
inflictions more excruciating than the annihilation of existence. He
awaked; it was but a dream, and sleep still overpowering him, he
closed his eyes, and again yielded to its influence. The dreadful
vision still continued; he was now conducted by two of the officers
belonging to this hopeless prison, through dark subterranean passages,
to the secret tribunal. The grand inquisitor, with the three persons
that formed the tribunal, were seated on a lofty elevation. He arose
when he entered, and eyeing him with a dreadful kind of minuteness,
proceeded to judgment. The charge against him was read; it spoke of
murder and sacrilege. His accuser was called; it was a Monk, of a meek
and saint-like appearance, clad in the holy vestments of his order. He
came forwards; the trial proceeded; the facts alledged against him
were incontrovertible, and the tribunal, in a loud voice, demanded his
confession. The excessive agitation of his mind now released him from
the fetters of sleep, and starting from the couch, in an agony not to
be described, he pronounced the word 'Confess.' 'Confess,' repeated a
voice apparently proceeding from a distant part of the room, in a tone
at once deep and impressive. The Marchese's alarm increased; a sound
was certainly heard that echoed his words, and surprise and terror for
the moment deprived him of utterance. But a desperate kind of courage
was at length communicated to his mind, and in an accent not less
firm, though more furious, he retorted, 'Confess what?' 'Confess
what?' returned the same voice, delivering the last word in a tone of
deeper emphasis--'Dost thou ask what?' The sensation which the
Marchese now experienced, was little short of distraction; it could
not be an illusion, and he would have sprang from his couch to have
investigated this mysterious affair, and to have discovered, if
possible, from whence the tones proceeded; but throwing his eyes
wildly around, he perceived a tall, dreadful-looking figure moving
slowly from one of the angles into a remote part of the chamber. The
lamp was extinguished, and the dying embers refused to administer the
smallest portion of light; but the moon-beams that penetrated through
the half-decayed curtains, dimly discovered the figure.

With a countenance, on which extreme agony of soul was faithfully
delineated, the eyes of the Marchese continued to follow the
terrifying phantom, who, without appearing to observe him, moved
pensively along beneath the dim Gothic arch of the casement, in a kind
of white robe or cassock, which descending beneath the feet, swept
mournfully along the ground. A hood of the same colour covered its
face, and shaded the ghastliness of its features. The castle bell now
tolled one; the spectre stopped, turned, and in a few moments advanced
with a quickened movement towards the bed. The desperate courage which
the Marchese had assumed, now vanished; he threw himself back upon the
pillow, his breath shortened, the cold dews paced each other down his
forehead, he veiled his face, which exhibited a cadaverous paleness,
with the coverture; and stifled groans, and irregular respiration,
were all the symptoms of remaining existence!

In a few minutes he heard a rustling kind of noise towards the feet of
the bed; the curtains were soon afterwards undrawn, and had not the
alarm attendant on conscious guilt, wrapped him in obscurity, he might
have seen distinctly the form of the spectre bending silently over his

In this situation he remained till the light of the morning dissipated
the gloom that had veiled his dreary apartment; when venturing to
divest himself of his temporary covering, he perceived that the
phantom, which had excited such alarm, was vanished, though the door
of the chamber was still fastened.

This remarkable incident now completely engaged his attention; and
having communicated the affair to Ambrose, who was become a kind of
confident since the departure of Paoli, he contrived, with his
assistance, to remove the tapestry with which the apartment was hung,
that by these means they might be enabled to explore every part of the
wainscot, and to discover if any secret entrance was concealed behind
this grotesque covering; but no door, or any other possible method of
gaining admission, appeared, or any thing that could act as a clue to
conjecture. Still more perplexed and agonized, the mind of the
Marchese became a prey to superstitious terror. Afraid of being alone,
yet ashamed of acknowledging his weakness, he suffered a tumult of
distracting apprehension, which no effort of fortitude could subdue.

Chapter 3

Ah me! for aught that ever I could read.
Could ever hear by tale or history.
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood.
Or else misgrafted in respect of years.
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends.
Or if there were a sympathy in choice.
War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it.

Enrico had been prevented from visiting Laurette to his promise by a
second letter from Italy, which acquainted him with the increasing
indisposition of his Colonel, and convinced him of the necessity of
his quitting Germany immediately, if he was desirous of preventing the
danger of seeing him no more. The grateful heart of the young
Chevalier felt a severe pang of self-reproach when he perused this
epistle, and willing to repair this fault of omission with all
imaginable speed, he wrote to inform Laurette of the occasion of his
absence, and commenced his journey. As the Signora was removed from
the castle at the time this letter arrived, it unfortunately fell into
the hands of the steward, who, after intercepting and reading it
himself, discovered the contents to his Lord. Thus the two lovers
mutually upbraided each other without any actual cause, and felt,
through the meanness and vices of others, the most poignant regret and

As soon as Enrico had reached the borders of Italy, he made the best
of his way to Pietola, the customary residence of the Marchese de
Martilina when disengaged from the duties of his station.

Here he arrived but just in time to receive the last sigh of his
revered patron, and to bathe the almost lifeless hand that was
extended to welcome him with his tears! Perfectly sensible, though
unable to give his thoughts utterance, the Marchese gazed with silent
tenderness upon his young favourite, till the vital spark, which had
been long expiring, was extinguished, and he fell into the arms of
death as into a quiet slumber. The serenity displayed by this great
and good man at the hour of death, sufficiently evinced that his life
had been blameless: it was the cloudless evening of a tranquil day; no
ruffling gales disturbed the calm of his soul; all was comfort and

The affectionate Enrico felt as if he had lost not only a friend, but
a parent; and when he followed the adviser and protector of his youth
to his last mournful receptacle, he suffered an agony of distress,
which required a more than ordinary effort of fortitude to subdue.
Endowed with that exquisite perception of pain, or pleasure, which is
annexed to extreme sensibility, he found it difficult to tear himself
from the place which contained the sacred remains of his friend; till
anxiety to gain some intelligence relative to Laurette's silence,
which was as mysterious as alarming, determined him to remove from
Pietola without further delay, and to set forwards for the castle of

Having given orders to Anselmo for the horses to be prepared, which
were to convey them into Germany, he visited, for the last time, the
grave of his much-revered Colonel; and after having indulged the
sacredness of his sorrow in secret, was walking silently from the
spot, when he was accosted by the nearest relative of his deceased
friend, who, with much courtesy of address, requested an audience.

Enrico bowed assent, and following his conductor to a place appointed
for the purpose, was informed that the Marchese di Martilina had
bequeathed to him a thousand Louis-d'ors per annum, as a pledge of his
friendship and esteem. The heart of the noble Chevalier overflowed
with effusions of gratitude, which no eloquence of language can
express, as this event was recited; tears of tenderness and regret
rushed into his eyes, and having thanked the Signor for his
information, with a gracefulness of expression peculiar to himself, he
retired to indulge the luxury of his feelings in secret. Enrico had
accidentally heard that his much-lamented Colonel had accumulated a
considerable share of personal property, besides those ample estates
he possessed in many parts of the Continent, which devolved to the
male heir; but he never flattered himself into the supposition that he
should be remembered in his will, though on former occasions he had
experienced many proofs of his benevolence. A mind more sanguine and
disinterested than his own might, indeed, have collected some
circumstances to favour such an opinion; as the Marchese had no near
relation living, and consequently his immense possessions descended to
a distant branch of the family, to whom he was not much attached,
whilst the ever-increasing partiality he had discovered for the
amiable Chevalier wore the most promising aspect in his favour.

This worthy Nobleman had never formed a matrimonial connexion, owing
to his having experienced a severe disappointment in the early part of
his life, which directed him, as the most effectual way of subduing
it, into the service of his country.

New avocations now retarded the journey of Enrico for a few days; but
more than ever anxious to behold the charming object of his
affections, whose fair form too frequently obtruded itself into his
thoughts, as well as to learn the cause of her silence, as soon as
suitable arrangements were made respecting pecuniary affairs, he
proceeded on his journey.

The tender melancholy which pervaded the heart of our hero, was not
unmixed with pleasing sensations, when he considered himself as
advancing towards that mansion, which he had reason to imagine was
inhabited by her, whose presence was sufficient to compensate for the
loss of every other valuable connexion, and who, he flattered himself,
would mingle the breathings of affection with the blushes of retiring

He recollected that he now possessed a competency adequate to all the
comforts, if not the luxuries, of life, which, though by no means
equal to the merit of the person beloved, was yet, he was convinced,
far beyond her desires, as it would, at least, place them, would she
deign to listen to his proposals, above mediocrity; but when his mind
reverted with painful concern to his lost parent, whose destiny was
yet veiled in obscurity, a cloud of premature sadness overshadowed his
future prospects. Was she present to congratulate him on his new
accessions, and at the same time to confer upon him her orphan charge,
how pure, how unmixed, would have been his felicity; and how exquisite
would have been her sensations when empowered to bestow such

Lost in these reflections, Enrico proceeded silently along; nor could
the loquacity of Anselmo, who endeavoured to direct his attention
towards those 'cloud-capped' temples, decayed edifices, and lofty
columns, which on every side decorate the Italian landscape, giving
sublimity to beauty, withdraw him from thoughtfulness.

Having proceeded for many leagues along the winding borders of the Po,
by means of a gondola they crossed the Adda that communicates with the
Lago di Como, celebrated by Virgil under the name of Lake Larius,
which issuing out at the extremity, loses itself in that river, the
grand receptacle of all others, except the Adige, that washes the
vernal and fruitful soil of this romantic country. Had Enrico's mind
been entirely disengaged from nearer interests, with what solemn
emotions of awe and admiration would he have contemplated the scene
before him? The vast range of Alps, which serve as a barrier to divide
France and Germany from the Italian states, rose in irregular and
misshapen forms, some towering till their summits were lost in
perpetual obscurity, whilst others were broken into so many steeps and
inaccessible precipices, that the traveller, surveying them with that
kind of enthusiasm which is peculiar to the admirers of stupendous
imagery, feels an affecting kind of horror stealing irresistibly to
his heart.

After passing with much difficulty these dangerous acclivities, the
soul of Enrico became more animated. Every step he conceived brought
him nearer to Laurette; and though still far distant, he imagined the
wintry landscape, as he passed the boundaries of Germany, exhibited a
less saddened appearance. Hope again brightened his prospects, and
scarcely submitting to the delay of stopping for necessary food, he
redoubled his speed. A few days brought them within three leagues of
the castle, and having proceeded thus far, the travellers were
compelled, from the darkness of the night, to put up at a small
cottage on the road, meaning to prosecute the remaining part of their
journey on the ensuing mornmg; but Enrico had of late suffered so much
mental, as well as bodily fatigue, that he was obliged to remain at
the cottage some hours longer than was his intention, and also to take
something of a medicinal nature before he was enabled to proceed;
though his impatience arose almost to agony when he recollected how
inconsiderable was the distance which separated him from Laurette, and
yet that he was prevented from being with her, without having even
obtained an assurance that she was still in safety. Towards evening,
however, the symptoms, which had threatened him with severe
indisposition, abated, and, unable to endure the idea of
procrastinated happiness when his lovely enchantress was so near, he
determined to proceed; and, after bestowing upon the owners of this
little asylum many testimonies of gratitude, they continued their

It was night when the travellers arrived within sight of the mansion,
and new sensations assailed the mind of Enrico as he surveyed it. From
what had passed, he had every reason to believe that he must encounter
the displeasure of its possessor by venturing into his presence
without a previous invitation, who had never once hinted a desire of
being known to him on any former occasion; but the force of his
attachment soon weakened these unpleasant surmises, and as nearer
interests succeeded in his thoughts, he wondered how they had ever
troubled him. When Enrico had reached the high wall which encompassed
the castle, his heart beat high with expectation. He attempted to open
the arched door which had before given him admission; it gave way to
his touch; and desiring Anselmo to attend to the horses till he
received orders to the contrary, he advanced rapidly through the
grounds. The moon, which before gave only a pale and uncertain light,
now shrunk beneath a cloud, and it was with much difficulty that he
was enabled to proceed through the numerous shrubberies and low
coppices, which were every where scattered around. The path he had
chosen, though the most direct one leading to the portico, was winding
and irregular, frequently intercepted with small clumps of juniper,
almond, and pomgranate, or with knots of variegated evergreens, which,
in a more favourable season, perfumed the air with their fragrance.
When arrived at the principal entrance, he knocked, but the summons
was unanswered; he listened, but no step was to be heard; fear and
mistrust, with a thousand melancholy accompaniments, were now
communicated to his mind. He surveyed the front of the edifice; no
lights appeared at the windows. He ascended the solarium, and looked
through the glass door that opened into the terrace-parlour, which the
Signora d'Orfo and her fair friend formerly occupied when alone; but
it was deserted, and even the lamps, which used to be hung in the
balconies, were removed. Impatience now arose to the most painful
solicitude; he knocked again and again, but without better success,
and at length becoming desperate by this cruel disappointment,
endeavoured to scale the wall inclosing the court which led to the
portal. After many ineffectual attempts, he succeeded in his desires;
but the enterprise was a dangerous one, and as he alighted on the
other side, something placed there for the purpose lacerated his leg.
The pain, though acute, was disregarded; but the blood, which flowed
fast from the wound, obliged him to apply his handkerchief as a
bandage to the part till assistance could be procured. This accident,
though it retarded the execution, tended not to subdue the energy of
his resolves. He bounded instantly towards the door, and knowing that
a bell, resounding through one whole wing of the building, was here
the signal of approach, he repeated the alarm, and in a few minutes
had the consolation of hearing footsteps approaching slowly along the
hall. The door was now opened by a male servant, whom Enrico never
remembered to have seen during his former residence in the castle,
who, after surveying him with surprise, demanded his business. In a
voice rendered tremulous by emotion, he inquired for Laurette, and was
informed that she had eloped from the mansion without the knowledge of
the family, and was gone no one could tell whither.

To describe the sensations of the unfortunate Chevalier at this
moment, would demand powers of expression beyond the utmost eloquence
of language. He rushed into the castle in spite of the efforts of the
domestic, who endeavoured to prevent his design, and hastening along
the hall, stopped at the door of the saloon. He attempted to open it,
but it was locked. The Marchese and the Signora were then assuredly
removed, and whither must he go for information. The servant, by whom
he was admitted, having never seen him before, being entirely ignorant
of his intentions from the circumstance of his scaling the wall, as
well as the wildness of his looks, took him for a maniac, and had left
him to pursue his own inclinations only whilst he acquainted his
fellows with the adventure.

Lost in bewildering conjecture, Enrico stood with his eyes
unconsciously fixed upon the deserted apartments in a state of total
inaction; for surprise had deprived him of the power of exertion, and
made him sensible only of his own misfortunes and disappointment. One
solitary lamp, suspended from the ceiling in a central situation,
which cast a dim and partial light, scarcely dissipated the gloom that
was every where visible; but his mind was too much wounded to feel the
effect of accidental events, though all around appeared melancholy,
hopeless, and blank as his destiny.

The few remaining domestics now crowded about the forlorn traveller,
some to demand his business at that lone and silent hour, and others
to prove the truth of the assertion, by discovering whether he was
really touched with insanity. Extreme agony of mind prevented Enrico
from immediately undeceiving them; but recollecting the necessity of
recalling some portion of that resisting fortitude, which love only
could have weakened, he repeated his inquiries with all the calmness
he could command, and finally, by declaring his name, endeavoured to
make himself known. This avowal roused one of the women that followed
in the rear, who elevating her lamp as she advanced nearer, for the
purpose of examining his countenance, let it fall suddenly from her
hand, exclaiming, in evident astonishment, that it was indeed the
Chevalier Chamont. Somewhat animated by the certainty that he was
remembered, at least, by one of the domestics, Enrico made a second
attempt at recomposing his spirits; and having requested that she
would indulge him with a few moments' conversation alone, she opened
the door of the terrace-parlour to give him admittance, whilst the
rest stole silently away.

Fanchette, which was the name of the servant, possessing much natural
kindness, was easily prevailed upon to give him an audience; and when
she beheld his wild, unsettled appearance, and the many symptoms of
distress which marked his dejected features, compassion was so warmly
excited in her bosom, that, had it been in her power to have offered
him consolation, she would have bestowed it with pleasure.

The Marchese, as well as Ambrose, had confidently affirmed that
Laurette had voluntarily escaped from the castle ever since her
departure, and had taken much pains to circulate this report among the
servants; and as she had not been seen by any one but Paoli and
Ambrose after having left the pavilion, the probability of the
assertion was apparently justified; though Fanchette observed, that
the steward's quitting the castle at so early an hour in the morning,
without giving some previous intimation of his intentions, appeared
somewhat mysterious. The sudden removal of the fair orphan, in whose
fate all were interested, had been a subject of surprise and
conjecture in those apartments appropriated to the use of the servants
ever since the event had taken place. Various opinions were received
and propagated, which were faithfully recited by Fanchette; but from
these nothing was to be gathered that might lead to a future
discovery. Plunged still deeper in despair, the disconsolate Enrico
could scarcely be prevailed upon to continue in the castle during the
night, so anxious was he to commence his pursuit of Laurette, however
hopeless the attempt.

Having at length reluctantly assented to Fancliette's wishes, who
kindly applied something of an healing quality to his leg, which was
found upon examination to be very slightly injured, Anselmo's horses
were ordered into the stable, and he into the kitchen, to partake of a
comfortable repast, and the warmth of a blazing fire. Enrico's mind
was too much disturbed with internal conflicts to attend to the wants
of Nature, and throwing himself upon one of those sofas, on which in
happier times he had often sat with Laurette, he yielded to all the
melancholy forebodings of his agitated breast.

Chapter 4

Oh thievish night!
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious ends.
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars
That Nature hung in Heaven, and fill'd their lamps
With everlasting oil, to give due light
To the misled and lonely traveller?
For their way
Lies through the perplex'd path of this drear wood;
The nodding horror of whose shady brow
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger.

Unable to obtain even a moment's repose, Enrico arose with the dawn of
early day, and being determined to go instantly in search of Laurette,
roused his servant from a comfortable sleep into which he had recently
fallen, with orders for him to prepare to accompany him on his new
expedition. Anselmo hastily obeyed the summons, and the unfortunate
travellers, being again mounted, commenced their hopeless journey.

It was a dreary December morning, and the grey heavy mists that loaded
the atmosphere brought on a cold and drizly rain. The woods were now
disrobed of their honours; no choral harmony resounded through the
desolated branches; all was melancholy, repose, and silence! With no
guide but chance, and without having obtained any intelligence that
could serve as a clue to discovery, the wretched Enrico traversed the
barren hills and humid values, in a state of mind that partook of
agony. A thousand vague conjectures passed across his mind as he
continued to ruminate upon the subject. Sometimes he imagined that the
Marchese had conceived a passion for Laurette, and had adopted this
plan at once to separate her from the Signora, and to deceive the
domestics; at others, he conceived it probable that she had made a
voluntary escape to avoid falling a victim to his artifice, which, he
naturally believed, had been already exerted for the accomplishment of
her destruction. But why was the promise she made to him on parting
disregarded? Why did she not inform him of her danger, and accept of
his protection? A slight emotion of indignation accompanied this
reflection; she might be false, her affections might be another's, or,
what was still more probable, they might never have been his.

This apprehension brought with it a pang more acute, but it was only
momentary. He recollected the touching expression of her countenance
when he tore himself from the castle, the sweet languishment of her
charming eyes as they followed him towards the portico, and the tears
and speaking blushes that graced her last innocent farewels. These had
been indelibly impressed upon his memory ever since he had parted from
her in every distressing emergency; and amidst all the cross accidents
and unexpected calamities which he experienced, these sweet
remembrances conveyed a cordial to his wounded spirits.

Thinking that some information might possibly be obtained from the
peasantry, should they have providentially taken the same road as the
lovely young fugitive, they did not permit a village or town to escape
their inquiries;--but no one had seen any person the least answering
to the description; and a few incoherent words, accompanied by a stare
of idle curiosity, was frequently the only answer they received.
Wounded where he was the most vulnerable, the distracted Chevalier
suffered the keenest anguish that circumstance could inflict: it was
too deep for utterance; but the wildness of his aspect, and the
settled paleness of his countenance, discovered the inward working of
his mind.

As it advanced towards mid-day, the rain gradually ceased, the sun
looked meekly from the south, and a cold driving wind assisted in
dissipating the mists, which had enveloped the faded features of the
landscape. As Enrico surveyed the cheerless face of Nature, and
contrasted it with its summer appearance, he could not forbear
applying this melancholy change to his own more desolate situation;
and sighing deeply as the idea occurred, he turned involuntarily round
to contemplate the whole of the prospect, and observed, as his eyes
glanced towards those vast mountains that rise in all forms and
directions in this picturesque country, that which he had once rambled
over with Laurette, crowned with the rustic church. A thousand
mournful reflections were now communicated to his mind:--where was the
sweet wanderer gone, who appeared like the Hebe of that secluded
retreat? If alone, how could she avoid danger? And if conveyed away by
stratagem, how was it possible she should escape from it? The more he
reflected upon the subject, the more improbable it appeared that he
should ever meet with her again; yet he steadily resolved never to
relinquish the pursuit, since life without her, who could only make it
desirable, would be a tasteless potion.

Several leagues had been traversed without any material event, in
which time no intelligence had been obtained, though they stopped at
all the inns and cottages on the road, as well as at the convents, to
renew their inquiries.

Anselmo, who was naturally volatile, preserved throughout the whole of
the journey a respectful silence. He perceived that his beloved
master's uneasiness was too deep to be diverted from its source, and
could only be removed by the success of the enterprise, or by the
slow, but certain, effects of time. Knowing with what reluctance he
stopped to obtain a sufficient portion of food, the wary servant had
procured unknown to Enrico three flasks of Florence wine, the best
that part of the country afforded, which he secured in his wallet, to
be in readiness in case of emergency.

About the middle of the third day the travellers left the direct road,
and struck into one which took a different direction. This path was
more rugged than the one they had left, lying for a considerable way
among gloomy forests, desert heaths, and rocky precipices. No human
abode, except a few solitary huts, appeared within the reach of
vision, whose rude inhabitants were chiefly employed in leading their
goats from the shrubby tops of the mountains to the tinkling of a
bell, or the soft breathings of a flute, or in seeking for the moss-
lined nest of the marmot amid the clefts of the rocks. These wandering
rustics were frequently addressed by Anselmo; but his interrogatories
were usually answered with rudeness, or at best with incivility.

The scene now gradually became more barren; yet, though destitute of
the accompaniment of trees, it was still highly interesting and
charming to the admirers of romantic imagery. Large masses of granite
scowled beneath the eye, and mountains, whose crested summits
penetrated into the clouds, considerably augmented that sensation of
solitary sublimity that overwhelms and astonishes the mind of the

The melancholy air of neglect and depopulation, which was on every
side discernible, unenlivened by sun, threw a melancholy calm over the
spirits of our hero, though they tended not to subdue the energy of
his soul. As the evening advanced, a dark line of threatening clouds,
rolling in vast volumes round the heads of the eminences, were
productive of an effect, at once awful and sublime, which was
heightened by the scream of the eagle returning to her lofty abode, or
the repeated cries of the kestril, or the wurchangel, sated with the
triumph of rapacious pursuit.

Anselmo, alarmed and intimidated at the gloomy appearance of Nature,
aided by the approach of night, looked wistfully around for some
hospitable retreat; but they had now passed near a league beyond the
huts of the peasantry, and no place of security was to be seen. The
path, which had long wound among the mountains, now directed them by a
precipitant descent into a deep and extensive valley, bordered with
wood, and interspersed with lakes. Though this new scene afforded more
appearance of vegetation than those they had quitted, the entangled
thickets being occasionally intermingled with a variety of dark firs
and evergreen oaks, still it wore an aspect of melancholy and
desolation; the luxuriance that clothed the lofty side of the glen
being no where else perceptible, whilst the uncultivated mountain and
the frowning precipice were still the principal objects of this
lonely, yet sublime landscape, rising into the most majestic and yet
terrifying forms that imagination could conceive. A branch of the
Danube, rushing impetuously over several large fragments of broken
rock, only disturbed the universal silence, rendering the effect of
the whole more awfully impressive, as it foamed with dreadful and
inconceivable rapidity through the intervals between the masses of
rock that formed the bed of the torrent. It was with much difficulty
that they were enabled to proceed through this deep and rough glen,
rendered dangerous by the advance of night, and the motion of this
boisterous stream, which rushed impetuously in a series of broken
cascades, till it precipitated itself, with the force of a cataract,
into the bosom of the parent river. They now continued their way,
through long and winding sheep-walks, towards the extremity of the
valley, till they reached the border of a small clear lake, which
again intercepted their path. Here amid long grass, weeds, and rushes,
the solitary bittern had long fixed her abode, who having shaken off
her autumnal indolence, was seen rising in a spiral ascent, filling
the air with her cries, till she was lost in the immensity of
distance. Night, which now closed in, brought them to the edge of a
forest, dark, dreary, and almost inaccessible. As they advanced, the
gloom became more profound, and the clouds, which had long been
gathering over their heads, discharged their humid contents: even
Enrico felt appalled, and turned to descry, if possible, some place of
security. Anselmo was still more anxious to obtain an hospitable
shelter, but no vestige of habitation was to be seen; and the latter,
encouraged by the example of his master, ventured, though reluctantly,
to proceed. A path cut in the forest directed them along till they had
reached that dreary and unfrequented spot, known to the traveller by
the name of the Jammer Holtz, or Wood of Groans, situated near the
Ghorde. This place, which cannot fail of exciting in the occasional
visiter a sensation of fear and horror, did not lose its accustomed
effect, and they were each for the moment irresolute whether to
venture into the interior of the forest, or to return towards the
skirts of it, and await the approach of morning.

Anselmo, though he disdained the imputation of cowardice, pleaded
warmly for the former plan, observing that there were several trees,
whose interwoven branches were capable of affording them security from
the storm; and that in such a situation they would be in less danger
of becoming a prey to banditti, or to the beasts that infested the
deserts. Impatient of delay, Enrico did not yield immediately to the
proposition; but was giving it a second review, when Anselmo perceived
a light glimmering through the wood at no considerable distance from
that part of it in which they were stationed: it cast only a faint
gleam, and from the waving of the trees was seen only at intervals;
yet they were soon convinced that it proceeded from a taper, and not
from one of those watery exhalations, which in low boggy grounds
frequently leads the traveller astray. Elated by this unexpected
adventure, they dismounted, and tying their horses to the stump of an
oak, advanced towards the place. The storm was now past, and the moon,
emerging from a cloud, threw her soft light upon the tops of the
trees, and discovered half hid, among the unfoliated branches, the
shattered wing of a hunting villa. It appeared to have been once a
stately structure, but now exhibited an air of extreme neglect and
desolation. Part of the portico was still visible; but the pillars,
which were broken and decayed, scarcely supported its roof. A small
court led to the door, which was scattered over with masses of the
ruined edifice. It had once been paved; but the stones were so much
broken, that several self-planted trees had established themselves in
its area, which exalted their tall heads above the mouldering walls
that inclosed them. A light still gleamed from a window, and having
with much difficulty made their way through the heaps of rubbish that
on every side obstructed their path, they arrived at the entrance,
hoping in this long-neglected spot, which, doubtless, from the
circumstance of the taper, contained some solitary inhabitant, to gain
admittance for the night. Anselmo advancing first, heaved a large
rusty knocker, whose sullen sound was awfully reverberated through the
building, but no answering footstep approached. Again they repeated
the summons, but no one appeared; nor was any sound to be heard but
the deep murmurs of the wind, which blew in rising gusts round the
decayed mansion, and the loud roar of a distant cataract. In a few
moments the light receded, but no human being was visible; and half-
despairing of success, the unfortunate travellers walked round the
edifice to discover if it was possible to obtain admission at another
door; but no other entrance appeared, and they were returning
hopelessly towards that which they had quitted, when a deep groan,
proceeding from a kind of grate, or loop-hole, again riveted their

'Some one is suffering here,' cried Enrico, recalled from his
abstraction by this new incident, 'and Providence has, perhaps in
mercy, conducted us to this place for their deliverance. Let us make
another attempt, and if we are still unsuccessful, we will address the
prisoner, and, if possible, afford assistance.'

Anselmo did not wait for a second command, but sprang hastily round,
whilst Enrico lingered for some moments behind, with his eyes fixed in
astonishment upon the ivyed arch of the window, in hopes, as the moon
still shone full upon it, of being able to discern the unfortunate
sufferer who had thus interested his compassion. The groan was not
repeated; but, assured that it was not fancy, having heard it
distinctly in the pauses of the wind, he determined not to leave this
melancholy abode till the affair was investigated. Grown desperate by
delay, Anselmo again thundered at the door, and on hearing a slow
measured step advance towards the entrance, called loudly to his
master. Enrico instantly appeared, and the door being opened by a
being, whose aspect indicated the extreme of guilt and wretchedness,
they were asked who they were, and what had directed them thither?
Enrico, after informing him that they were benighted travellers, who
requested a lodging for the night, put a ducat into his hand, and
besought admittance. The haggard wretch, whose meagre countenance was
distorted by a long connexion with vice and misery, having already the
splendid present in possession, would have closed the door upon his
necessitous guests, had not our hero, who was aware of his design,
assured him that if he would allow them to remain there during the
night, he would present him with twice the sum on their departure.

This was a bribe too considerable to be rejected, and having thrown
open the door, which he had held half closed in his hand, they were
admitted into the interior of the structure. They then proceeded
through a long dark passage, in which opened two doors on contrary
directions, that on the right leading into a large desolate hall, and
the opposite one into a kind of kitchen, which the stranger observed
was the room usually inhabited by himself, and the only one with which
they could be accommodated during their continuance in the mansion.
This miserable apartment contained no other furniture than a few
broken chairs, an old worm-eaten cupboard occupying one of the angles,
a Norway oak table, whose grotesque frame was cut into numerous
devices, and an ancient time-piece, which was erected as a fixture,
and seemed, from the antiquity of its appearance, to be nearly co-
existent with the building. There was no fire, though it was the
middle of winter, and the room consequently rendered intensely cold by
several apertures in the wall, which admitted the bleak winds of the
east. Anselmo complaining of the chill air, besought the stranger to
kindle a fire upon the hearth, and also to prepare them some
refreshment. Masehero, which was the name of the host, eyeing him
askance as he made the request, replied sullenly that he had no food
in the house, except a few barley cakes, and a dish of goat's milk,
which were both of them stale and unpalatable. Enrico desiring that he
would bring these, and also some wood to kindle a fire, the stranger
took the lamp from the table, and withdrew. Anselmo knowing that his
master's thoughts were partly absorbed in a new subject of
astonishment, proposed that they should engage their host in
conversation during the greater part of the night, and take an
opportunity of searching the mansion when he was overpowered by sleep.

'How can this possibly be effected?' replied Enrico, hastily; 'if he
has an important secret in his possession, it is unlikely he should be
so little on his guard as to disclose it. Force is the only means that
can be adopted with success: and though I should unwillingly spill the
blood of a wretch like this, if innocence can by no other method be
released from the grasp of oppression, we must submit to necessity.'

'I have something in my wallet though,' returned Anselmo, rising with
a look of self-complacency, 'which, if properly applied, may be of use
notwithstanding, as it sometimes brings to confession as completely
and instantaneously as the most acute tortures of the inquisition.'

Enrico turned to him with a look of inquiry, and could not forbear
smiling when he saw him select from his store two flasks of wine which
he had thus fortunately procured. The matter was now hastily
determined; the liquor was to be presented to Masehero, who would
doubtless receive it with pleasure, and if it failed in the design of
making him sufficiently communicative, it would, at least, from its
inebriating qualities, lull him into a state of insensibility, till
they had explored the different apartments in the ruin, and had
accomplished their design.

In a short time the gloomy and sullen inhabitant of this miserable
abode returned with a log of wood, and a bundle of sticks. There was
no grate remaining; but throwing the fuel upon the hearth, a fire was
instantly kindled, and his guests, who had been long shivering with
cold, drew close to the blaze. The barley cakes were then placed upon
the table, with a small bowl of goat's milk, and a large old horn, to
be used as a drinking vessel. Anselmo, who was too hungry to be nice,
eyed them with satisfaction, whilst Enrico, though little inclined to
partake of this coarse, unpalatable fare, attempted to eat. The wine
was then produced, and the stranger was requested to taste of it. He
assented. It was a liquor he had been long unused to. The lineaments
of his face seemed to lose their hardness, and he began to join in the
conversation. Enrico demanded if the mansion contained any other
tenant? and being answered in the negative, discontinued the inquiry.
Finding from his name, as well as from his accents, that he was an

Anselmo availed himself of this discovery, by claiming him as a
countryman, and asking several questions concerning his family and
former residence; but the recluse was too wary not to elude his
inquiries, and soon convinced his guests that he had previously
determined never to unfold any particular with which they were at
present unacquainted. The wine now went cheerfully round; Masehero
drank plentifully, and was soon so much elevated as not to perceive
that Enrico and his servant, after having taken a very small quantity,
were satisfied with only raising it to their lips.

Accustomed only to spare and meagre diet, it soon arrested his
faculties, and before he had drained the second flask, he fell back on
his chair, and closing his eyes, sunk into a fast sleep. The success
of the design elated the spirits of our travellers, who anticipated
with pleasure the full accomplishment of the project they had so
artfully imagined. Anxious to commence the pursuit, Anselim arose from
his seat, and taking the lamp from the table, moved it slowly towards
the corner, in which Masehero was placed, to observe if his slumbers
were sound. The lids of his eyes did not move, and being convinced
that he was perfectly insensible, he was going to make a sign for his
master to proceed, when he perceived a small dagger just appearing
beneath the cloak of the stranger. The policy of securing this
instantly occurred, and drawing it carefully from its concealment, he
presented it with an air of triumph to his master, telling him, at the
same time, in a low voice, that he was ready to accompany him. Enrico,
having extended his arm to grasp this instrument of death, started
when he examined the blade, which was apparently rusted with blood.
He, however, repressed the expression of his astonishment, and
desiring Anselmo to follow him, quitted the room, without neglecting
the necessary precaution of fastening the door on the other side,
which was easily effected by means of a bolt. This, from long disuse,
could not be managed without some little noise; but the loud
breathings of Masehero convinced them that he still slept. Having
previously secured the lamp, they advanced along the hall, and
departing through a contrary door, which directed them into a long
vaulted passage, they were enabled to find their way through many
intricate windings to a stone stair-case. These steps, which were
mouldering into ruins, led them into a wide dreary gallery, in which
opened several rooms. Anselmo, being naturally superstitious, followed
slowly behind, and as the hollow gusts of wind hurried through the
deserted passages, expected every moment to see the form of a spectre
gliding into the remote corners; but ashamed of confessing his fears
in the presence of his master, he remained silent, whilst Enrico took
a general survey of the old chambers through which they passed. All
that had hitherto fallen under their observation were unfurnished. The
casements were gone, the walls were in several places decayed and
mouldered into dust, whilst the yarrow, the nettle, and other weedy
shrubs, which had taken root in the interstices of the broken stones,
were seen waving through the apertures. Birds of prey had long lived
unmolested in this dreary building, and seemed, from long possession,
to have laid claim to the most considerable part of it. The sight of
the lamp, however, put many of them to flight, whose screams
resounding through the whole range of apartments, had a dreadful and
solemn effect. Unappalled by these terrors, Enrico reached the extent
of the gallery, and undrawing a rusty bolt, opened the door of the
only room which had not before fallen under his notice. This chamber
was of a triangular form, low, gloomy, and extensive, containing
nothing like furniture except a small mattress at the farther end of
it, a stool, and a broken table. A high narrow grate was the only
means of admitting the light, and from the whole of its appearance, it
seemed to have been originally intended for a prison. Being well
assured, from the direction of the window, that this was the room from
whence the groan proceeded, Enrico desiring Anselmo to wait without
the door, advanced towards that corner where the mattress was laid,
and beheld, to his unutterable astonishment, the figure of a female,
whose face was covered with a veil, apparently asleep! Enrico's breast
now throbbed with new emotion; his heart beat quick, his limbs
trembled, and a feverish heat pervaded his whole frame. Having
proceeded within a few steps of the bed, he placed the lamp upon the
floor, and turning the veil gently aside, beheld the pale, yet lovely,
countenance of Laurette! She started, but did not awake, and never did
Enrico discover so much self-command as at this moment. Rapture and
tenderness struggled in his breast, and scarcely could he stifle those
feelings which would have prompted him to clasp her wildly to his
heart, and awaken her to a sense of unexpected happiness. But a
moment's reflection was sufficient to convince him that such a conduct
might be attended with danger; joy might operate too powerfully upon a
frame enervated by sorrow, and he prudently resolved to send Anselmo
to watch by her till she awaked, and gently to prepare her for an
interview; yet, after having thus determined, he could not deny
himself the luxury of gazing once more upon her beautiful face. Her
slumbers seemed now to be tranquil, yet mournful visions had recently
been presented to her fancy, for her cheek was still wet with tears.

As he stooped to take up the lamp, which he had placed by the side of
the mattress, he observed a small book, bound in red leather, that he
instantly knew to have been his own, and which he recollected to have
left at the castle of Lunenburg. He took it up, and saw on the blank
leaf that she had been attempting to sketch his likeness. Memory had
been too faithful to its task not to portray his exact resemblance,
and charmed with this new proof of her affection, all his senses were
absorbed in delight and rapture.

Fearing Laurette should awake, and endure an agony of surprise, which,
during her present state of indisposition, might overpower her
faculties, and plunge her again into insensibility, he receded towards
the door, and calling Anselmo gently forwards, who had remained in the
passage whilst his master explored the apartment, he informed him who
the prisoner was, and instructed him in what manner to proceed.

The delighted servant could scarcely suppress the acknowledgment of
his joy, and taking the lamp, with a heart bounding with rapture,
promised strictly to observe the rules which had been prescribed; and
entering the chamber, placed himself as far as possible from the
mattress, but in such a situation, that he might easily observe her
motion. Enrico, in the meantime, waited impatiently in the gallery,
whilst love, tenderness, and astonishment took possession of his mind.
How she had been conveyed thither, by whom, and for what purpose, was
as marvellous as inexplicable; and the more he reflected upon the
subject, the more intricate and wonderful it appeared.

'The wretch,' cried he,'who occupies the mansion, is undoubtedly an
assassin! The dagger, rusted with blood, is an undeniable proof of it:
was it then intended that her innocent life should be sacrificed? If
so, who could instigate the wretch to so horrid a deed--a deed so
disgraceful to humanity, that none but fiends could reflect upon it
without shuddering!'

Unable to solve this mystery, the mind of Enrico suffered a tumult of
distracting surmises, till the soft voice of Laurette, that dear, that
well-known voice, wrapped him in attention. She was uttering something
in a tone of supplication, but the words were undistinguishable, for
they were low and inarticulate; yet it was easy to ascertain that
Anselmo was offering something of condolence, which she did not
clearly understand. Still he listened in hopes of distinguishing her
words, till he heard a faint scream, not expressive of terror, but of
mingled surprise and rapture, which was instantly succeeded by the
name of Enrico, pronounced in those sweet, those melting accents,
which had ever possessed such powers of enchantment over him. Unable
to endure longer suspense, he did not wait to be recalled; but rushing
precipitately from his concealment, darted into the room, whilst joy
of the most ecstatic kind pained and agitated his breast.

Laurette had just risen from the mattress when he entered, and being
weak, almost to fainting, was obliged to lean against the wall for
support. As soon as she beheld him, from whom she believed herself
separated for ever, her soft bosom throbbed with new emotion, and the
powers of utterance forsook her; but as Enrico, with all the
enthusiasm of affection, called wildly upon her name, her beautiful
eyes were turned towards him with a look so full of affection and
tenderness, that his feelings arose almost to agony.

'And is it possible,' cried Enrico, pressing her gently to his heart,
whilst his words were almost stifled with transport, 'that I have at
last found her whom I so hopelessly sought? Oh Laurette! from this
moment one destiny shall unite us; we will separate no more.'

The fair captive attempted to reply, but tears of joy prevented her
utterance; and as Enrico surveyed her pallid cheek, her thin emaciated
form, and every symptom of alarming indisposition, solicitude
succeeded to rapture, and anxious as he was to be made acquainted with
every particular relative to this mysterious event, he forbore making
any immediate inquiry concerning it. As soon as the first tumults of
joy were subsided, Laurette, who was unable to move without
assistance, and whose delicate frame was still more weakened by this
sudden, though joyful, surprise, sat down upon the mattress, whilst
Enrico, after having dispatched Anselmo to convey the remaining part
of the wine, and some of the barley cake, which had been left in the
room where Maschero was confined, seated himself by her side,
supporting her with his arm, which encircled her waist, whilst tears
of tenderness and compassion fell copiously from his eyes, as he
marked the ravages grief had already made upon her angelic

As soon as Laurette had taken a small quantity of the wine and cake,
which Anselmo had fortunately removed without awakening his host, and
had received fresh assurances from Enrico that she was safe from the
power of the assassin, and that no danger was likely to befal him or
his servant on her account, she felt considerably revived, and joined
with her enraptured lover in returning thanks to Heaven for having
thus sent her a deliverer. Anselmo could not forbear weeping for joy;
his master's happiness was inseparable from his own, and he could not,
nor did he attempt to conceal his transports.

Laurette, having convinced Enrico that her indisposition entirely
proceeded from want of rest and necessary food, besought him to leave
her alone, and in the meantime to endeavour to procure some sleep in
one of the adjoining apartments, as she was assured from his
appearance he was in want of repose, promising on his return she would
gratify his curiosity respecting her present confinement. As it yet
wanted some hours of day, he assented, observing it was more for her
sake than his own that he was prevailed upon to leave her. Laurette
rewarded his acquiescence with a smile, and pressing her hand to his
lips as he bade her adieu, he quitted the chamber.

Anselmo recollecting that, in one of the unoccupied apartments, he had
seen a large old piece of tapestry lying at one corner of it, which
appeared formerly to have been used as a floor-cloth, assured his
master that this would make a most excellent bed, and that he would
engage, with the assistance of an old blanket that lay by the side of
it, to make him a more comfortable one than he had enjoyed for some
time. Enrico remarking that the assertion was by no means improbable,
since his couch, in whatever situation, had of late been a thorny one,
desired him to prepare it; adding, with a smile, that the knight, who
came to relieve distressed damsels, must not be afraid of a few
temporary inconveniences.

The tapestry being spread in several folds upon the broken floor of a
remote chamber, which was selected by Anselmo from the rest, because
the walls were more entire, Enrico lay down to rest; but as joy is as
great an enemy to repose as grief, he did not feel the least
inclination to sleep. His servant, at his desire, partook of the bed
he had so judiciously formed, as well as of the tattered blanket,
which served them both as a covering.

In this situation they remained till the morning dawned faintly
through the narrow shattered lattice of their room, which was so
fringed with weeds, that the sun was scarcely ever admitted.

Chapter 5

Can such things be?
And overcome us like a summer's cloud.
Without our special wonder!
Blood will have blood;
Stones have been made to move, and trees to speak:
Augurs and understood relations have.
By magpies, and by choughs and rooks, brought forth
The secret man of blood.

Anselmo's mind not being harassed with such a variety of strange
surmises as his master's, he sunk into a quiet slumber, from which he
did not awake till it was light; when, having forgotten the reality of
his situation in the visions of his fancy, he could not forbear
uttering an exclamation of astonishment; but soon recollecting the
past, he turned round to inquire of Enrico in what manner Maschero was
to be disposed of, who would probably soon become sensible to his
confinement, when he beheld with amazement that his master had quitted
his side. Starting instantly from the bed, he hastened into the
gallery, where he soon discovered him taking a general survey of the
building; endeavouring by these means to beguile the tedious moments
that must elapse before Laurette would again admit him into the
interior of her prison.

As they passed along one of the apartments, whose barred casements
looked into the court, they perceived a board to shake under their
feet, which, on examination, was found to be loose and unfixed.

'This is surely a trap-door,' cried Anselmo, with evident
astonishment, 'which leads into some strange, and still more dreary,
place. Let us explore it, Signor; who knows but we may find some
hidden treasure.'

Enrico made no reply; but desirous of being convinced whether it was
really a door, and if so, to what part of the ruin it led, attempted
to unclose it. He was not long unsuccessful, and on heaving up the
board, discovered that it opened upon a flight of steps, which being
steep, broken, and decayed, perfectly corresponded with the rest.
These they immediately descended, and soon found themselves in a
dismal old chamber, which contained, amongst a considerable quantity
of lumber, a large oak chest.

This, on opening, they perceived to be empty; but the lid was no
sooner closed, than it occurred to Enrico, that, from its external
appearance, it probably contained a false bottom. Having communicated
his thoughts to Anselmo, the chest was again examined, and the
suspicion ascertained not to have been groundless. The artfully-
contrived board was speedily removed, and our travellers beheld, to
their mutual astonishment, the plumed helmet of a warrior, a military
habit, with several other articles of dress, stained with blood; an
unsheathed sword rusted by time, and a cross of the order of St
Julias. Enrico started with an emotion of horror as he surveyed them,
whilst Anselmo observed, with a shuddering sensation, accompanied by
an expressive shake of the head, that there had been some foul play

'Gracious Heaven!' exclaimed Enrico, recovering from the stupor of
amazement into which he had been plunged, 'What do these garments
mean, and with whose blood are they stained?'

Anselmo, who had been examining them severally as his master spoke,
took up a piece of linen, which seemed to be connected with the rest
of the apparel; this was literally dyed in gore, and as he extended
his arm to display it to Enrico, it dropped into pieces with age.

'The unfortunate being who owned these things' cried Anselmo,
piteously, 'has long since been at rest. Can you conjecture, Signor,
whose they could have been?'

'Your question is a strange one,' returned Enrico, 'since I cannot
possibly ascertain to whom the ruin belongs, much less can I form any
idea of its present possessor; and even could that be discovered, I
should still be as far from the point as to the murder committed in

'But one may form some kind of a notion about it, Signor?'

'Indeed! then you have more penetration than I have, who am unable to
form any judgment upon the subject.'

'I do not mean to insinuate that I have more penetration than you,
Signor. Do not mistake me; but it is reduced to a certainty that blood
has been spilled-ah! and in this very place; the garments are here to
attest the truth of the assertion.'

'There is sufficient testimony of that,' returned Enrico; 'but I
thought you was endeavouring to discover the authors of this
assassination, and was applying to me for assistance.'

'That was not the case, Signor; you never will understand me without I
speak directly to the purpose. The whole of the affair then is this:
If you think as I do, you will from these evidences believe, that this
old building belongs to some great man, who keeps it as a kind of
slaughter-house, that when any one offends him, or stands in the way
of his advancement, he may send him to an eternal sleep without making
any one the wiser.'

Enrico appeared thoughtful, but made no reply; and Anselmo, having
replaced the bloody garments in the chest, disposing them in the same
manner as before, followed him up the steps. Scarcely had they reached
the trap-door leading into the chamber, before a loud knocking at the
outer gate filled them with new astonishment.

'Mercy upon us!' cried Anselmo, 'the ghost is surely coming to revenge
himself upon us for disturbing his old clothes; for what human being
would think of coming to such a place as this? If it is man, I can
soon do for him; for I have a weapon here,' resumed he, taking the
rusty dagger from his girdle, 'that will do his business quickly--ah!
and one too that, by the appearance of the blade, seems to have been
well employed; but, if it should be a spirit, Oh Sancta Maria! Signor!
what can we do with that?'

Enrico, without waiting till Anselmo had concluded his harangue,
walked towards the window which opened into the court, and beheld, to
his unspeakable surprise, four armed men taking a survey of the
edifice. At first he imagined them to have been banditti, who infested
the woods in the night, and were accustomed to inhabit a part of the
building during the day; but the appearance of him who seemed to
direct the motions of the rest, indicated nothing of the kind.

The alarm was now repeated, which being aided by the yells of
Maschero, who had just discovered his confinement, had altogether a
dreadful effect. Afraid that Laurette, from being ignorant of the
cause, might be disturbed and affrighted, Enrico ran hastily to her
room. She was just awake, and seemed better. The knocking still
continuing, she inquired the cause; and on his assuring her that
nothing was the matter, and that he would speedily return to her, she
consented to be left.

Not knowing whether the intentions of the strangers were hostile or
otherwise, Anselmo took the dagger from beneath his cloak, whilst
Enrico, clapping his hand upon the hilt of his sword, in an attitude
of defence, proceeded towards the door.

The person, who appeared to be the leader, advanced first with a
stately and dignified air. He seemed to have passed the autumn of
life, for locks of grey shaded his forehead, and his face was marked
with the lines of age. Struck with the benignity of his aspect, Enrico
raised his hand involuntarily from his sword, and courteously bowing,
offered him admittance. The stranger, after surveying him a moment in
silence, turned to the men, and said, 'There must be some mistake;
this is not the person we were taught to expect.'

'May I be allowed to understand the motive of this visit?' cried
Enrico, addressing himself to him who was evidently the superior,
'possibly I may be enabled to solve this difficulty.'

The stranger gave an assenting nod; and then desiring the men, who had
accompanied him, to await his orders in the wood, followed his
conductor into the hall; not without frequently turning an inquiring
eye towards the place from whence the cries of Maschero proceeded.

'I will unravel this mysterious affair immediately,' resumed Enrico,
finding his new acquaintance was much interested in these expressions
of distress, 'when we have reached a place convenient for the
purpose.' His guest again bowed, and continued to follow him.

The only seats they were able to find, were two large stones which had
fallen from the ceiling at the farther end of the hall, but by these
they were tolerably well accommodated; and the stranger having again
fixed his eyes upon the intelligent countenance of our hero with new
astonishment, requested to be made acquainted with his name; and since
it was impossible that neglected solitude could be his residence, by
what strange combination of circumstances he had been directed

Enrico did not keep him in suspense. He related his name, at least the
only one he had ever known, that of Chamont, and informed him briefly
of the most interesting events of his past life, as far as was
connected with the subject upon which they had touched; including the
mysterious manner in which his mother had disappeared, Laurette's
residence with the Marchese, her precipitate retreat from the castle,
though in what manner had not been investigated, and how strangely,
how miraculously she had been discovered in the prison of the ruin;
which little narrative he concluded, by declaring the means that had
been employed to intoxicate the assassin, who, he had every reason to
believe, meditated her death, though he had at present taken no
desperate method to accomplish it.

The stranger could scarcely wait for the conclusion; but throwing his
arms round the neck of Enrico, he exclaimed, in an agony of joy, 'Are
you then the son of Madame Chamont, the noblest, the most amiable of
women? And shall I, by presenting you to her after this long, this
hopeless absence, be enabled to discharge some part of that vast debt
of gratitude which I owe her. Behold in me the Conte della Croisse,
the once wretched La Roque, who, but for her interference, must have
perished in a dungeon.'

Enrico's amazement increased; he had never heard the name of Della
Croisse uttered by any one except Father Benedicta; and the little he
had been able to gain from what that Monk had inadvertently dropped,
was so wrapped in obscurity, that no opinion could be formed upon the
subject. But as the Conte's exclamation indicated that he was not only
formerly known to his mother, but was actually acquainted with her
present place of residence, his raptures could not be repressed; and
falling at the feet of his venerable guest, he besought him with tears
to inform him immediately where his revered parent was removed, and
whether he could not instantly be with her. Della Croisse's heart
melted within him when he beheld these effusions of affection; and so
much was the sensibility of his nature excited, that it was some time
before he could command his feelings sufficiently to comply with the
request. But finding his auditor could no longer endure a state of
suspense and anxiety, he informed him that Madame Chamont was in a
place of security not many leagues distant from the wood; and that he
might soon have an opportunity of being introduced to her, and of
bestowing upon this excellent parent that unexpected and exalted
happiness which his presence would inevitably confer.

'Having been recently apprized,' continued the Conte, 'of the alarming
situation of the lovely young captive, with whose fate I find you are
already acquainted, I brought a carriage to convey her from this place
to the convent in which Madame Chamont has found a secure asylum.'

'My mother is then safe in a convent,' repeated Enrico, rapturously.

'She is,' returned the Conte; 'and not having remained resident there
long enough to have commenced Nun, according to the established rules
of the Institution, will have no objection to remove from it.

'I have many circumstances to unfold,' continued Della Croisse, 'in
which you are materially interested, and must therefore request you
will allow me a patient hearing.'

Enrico bowed assent; but fearing lest Laurette should be uneasy at his
absence, excused himself for a moment before the Conte began his
recital, and hastened to her apartment. She had been expecting him for
some time with a degree of painful anxiety; but his presence soon
relieved her from uneasy apprehension, and after having taken, at his
desire, a small portion more of the wine and cake, which had been left
on the preceding night, he again quitted the room, with an assurance
that he would return to her as soon as suitable arrangements were made
relative to their intended departure.

The cries of Maschero still continuing to resound through the edifice,
producing a melancholy and dreadful effect, Enrico found it necessary
to silence him, by asserting that, since his criminal intentions were
discovered, his only hopes of obtaining that mercy he had so little
reason to expect, rested upon the compassion of his judges, and the
purity of his future conduct.

This had the desired effect, and Enrico, being anxious to hear the
important incidents which were shortly to be unfolded by the Conte
della Croisse, again seated himself upon the stone by his side, and
besought him to proceed.

'As it is necessary,' replied the venerable guest, 'that we should
remove from this place as speedily as possible, I shall relate all
briefly. You are, doubtless, informed that your birth is supposed by
all, even by your mother, who is, notwithstanding, Virtue herself, to
have been illegitimate.' Enrico shuddered, and looked surprised.

'You are, I say,' added the Conte, 'universally considered as the
illegal offspring of the Marchese de Montferrat.'

'Impossible!' returned Enrico impetuously. 'Who dares to asperse the
character of my mother?'

'None, none,' replied the Conte, 'can cast a shade upon her spotless
reputation: I would myself defend her with my life from the shafts of
calumny and malice; grant me but patience, and you shall hear the
whole. The Marchese de Montferrat is your father; you are his lawful
child, and consequently the next heir to his title and possessions.

'Great Heaven, is it possible!' cried Enrico, lifting up hands and
eyes in astonishment; 'and is this mystery but just unravelled?'

'The death of a wretch,' returned the Conte, 'who has been long
initiated in all the arts of cunning, and who has long secretly sought
my destruction, could only have unravelled it. The monster to whom I
allude, is the Marchese's steward; you are assuredly acquainted with
his character?'

'Is Paoli then dead?' interrupted Enrico.

'The same,' replied Della Croisse. 'That death, he so long meditated
against me, he received at my hands: I met with him by accident, or
rather by the direction of an interposing Providence; for to attribute
such events to blind chance is impious. He attacked me; I was
fortunately armed, and being aware of his infamous design, before he
could disengage the stiletto from his cloak, plunged mine into his
heart. He groaned, and fell; but his breathing convinced me he was
still alive. Little as he merited compassion, I found my breast was
not steeled against its influence; and ordering my servants, who were
not far behind, to convey the assassin to an inn, I followed him, and
sent for assistance. The wound was pronounced mortal; but the effect
was not instantaneous, as it allowed time for the confession of his
crimes. He informed me that Madame Chamont was placed in a convent,
whither she was to have remained for life; in which seclusion more
than ordinary restrictions were exercised over her. That, by the
express orders of the Marchese, she was not permitted to write from
the cloister; and the more effectually to prevent the circulation of
letters between her and her son, she was taught to believe that he had
been killed in an engagement, and that Laurette, her adopted daughter,
was already united to a young Nobleman, selected for her by her

'He then informed me,' resumed the Conte, 'that this fair young
creaturewas the daughter of the Conte Della Caro, whose father was
murdered in a wood by a wretch hired for the purpose by order of the
Marchese de Montferrat, who, if he died childless, was the next heir
to his estates; but as the Contessa brought forth an infant soon
afterwards, it was necessary that this also should be removed. Some
qualms of conscience seizing upon the Marchese at this time, prevented
him from sacrificing the child; but as to secrete it was indispensably
requisite, he found means of doing this so efficaciously, that no one
suspected his design, every body supposing that the infant expired
with its mother, who lived only to give it birth. Some peculiar
circumstances had, he added, induced the Marchese to believe the
mysteries respecting her origin had been unfolded to Laurette; but who
the person was who had obtained and conveyed this intelligence could
not be ascertained, as no one, he had imagined, had gained any certain
information upon the subject. This, together with her beauty and
inimitable accomplishments, instigated him to offer her his hand, as a
means of securing the secret to themselves; but, contrary to his
expectation, this was resolutely refused, and finding from another
conversation with her, and the discovery of a picture, bearing the
resemblance of her mother, the Contessa della Caro, that she had been
previously made acquainted with the secret of her birth, he had at
last determined upon her death.

'He then declared to me,' continued the Conte, 'whither she was
conveyed; at the same time giving me so minute a description of the
assassin employed, as to render a mistake impossible. Not expecting,
therefore, to meet any other being than the forlorn and guilty wretch
I was in search of, you may easily conceive my astonishment when I
beheld you, apparently an inhabitant of the ruin, at the time of my
arrival.'--Here the Conte remained silent, and Enrico, after
acknowledging his gratitude for the active part he had taken, and
expressing his surprise at the interesting events that had been
recounted, demanded in what convent Madame Chamont was now resident,
and how the legality of her marriage with the Marchese de Montferrat
was to be proved, since the person, by whom the confession had been
made, was removed by death.

'The convent in which your mother is placed is not far from this
place,' returned the Conte; 'she is in a society of reformed
Benedictine Nuns, of the congregation of Mount Calvary, and has
probably before this time entered into her noviciate state. As to the
priest who officiated at the marriage, being already acquainted with
his name and place of abode, there will be no difficulty in securing
him as an evidence, who will bring undeniable proofs of the truth of
the assertion.

'As to the murder committed on the body of the Conte della Caro,'
resumed the Conte, 'it must, if possible, be consigned to oblivion,
the offender being not only the husband of Madame Chamont, but your
father; and as the fair orphan may easily assert the justice of her
claim, without making so dreadful a disclosure, through the evidence
of the woman who acted in the capacity of nurse, the wife of Paoli,
whose testimony will be sufficient to vindicate the proceeding, and
who will be ready to appear in case of necessity.'

Enrico shuddered at the idea of the Marchese de Montferrat, who, he
was now convinced was his father, being brought to justice, and
inquired eagerly if it could not be prevented.

'Easily,' replied Della Croisse, 'if the offender will criminate
himself in a private confession, and restore Laurette to her rights,
by bestowing her upon you, and by investing you in his possessions, at
least the principal part of his property, on your nuptials, and in the
rest on his decease. But from what I was enabled to gather from the
last words of Pauli,' continued the Conte, 'the Marchese does not
consider your mother as his lawful wife; the steward having expressly
received orders from him to procure a person under the assumed habit
of an ecclesiastic to solemnize the marriage, instead of which, from
some secret motive, he applied to a secular priest, probably from this
consideration, that should the Marchese be induced to deny him
pecuniary assistance, he might, by disclosing the affair to him after
his union with the lady whom he afterwards married, procure large sums
by keeping the important secret. But this never happening in the
course of his stewardship, the Marchese, he confessed, was yet
ignorant of the truth; but the priest being yet alive, to whom I might
instantly apply, the fact would easily be proved. The unfortunate
wretch also acknowledged,' resumed the Conte, 'that he had artfully
instigated the Marchese to the murder of Laurette for some time before
the measure was adopted, fearing lest he should succeed in gaining her
affections, and by another connexion involve him in new difficulties,
as he had, he declared, suffered continual fear and apprehension
during the lifetime of the reputed Marchesa, lest the former marriage,
through the confession of the priest who united them, should be
publicly attested. The person, he likewise informed me, who was
employed to assassinate Laurette, was his brother, a native of Italy,
who had consented to execute the bloody business, according to his
engagement, in consideration of a splendid reward. That it was their
intention to have murdered her, as she slept, on the night of their
arrival at the wood, but that grief and terror had prevented her from
yielding to repose; and being each unwilling to undertake the task
allotted to them, during his continuance with Maschero, they had
mutually agreed to leave her to perish by famine, having previously
determined in what manner the body was to be disposed of, which was to
be entombed in an obscure part of the forest. The wretch, who was
necessary to the crime, whom he had acknowledged for his brother, he
commended to my mercy; and having particularly directed me to this
place, soon afterwards expired in inexpressible agony and horror.'

Enrico, who had listened with increasing amazement, now arose from his
seat, and stood for some time transfixed in astonishment. The scenes
of complicated guilt and depravity, which had been thus wonderfully
unfolded, quite overpowered him; and when he connected the tender name
of father with these enormities, the blood crept cold through his
veins, and a chilling sensation disordered his whole frame. But as
soon as his thoughts glanced upon Laurette and his mother, dwelling
upon the rapture the latter would experience on seeing him, tears of
affection and tenderness fell fast from his eyes; and requesting that
the Conte would liberate Maschero, and deal with him as he thought
proper, being in haste to depart, he flew again to Laurette, who had
been long impatiently awaiting his return.

Lost in doubt and perplexity, her spirits were now nearly exhausted;
and unable to form any conjecture concerning the person below, from
what she had heard, besought him to acquaint her who he was, and what
was his business. Unwilling that she should suffer even a transient
suspense, Enrico, after some little preparation, informed her all that
he deemed necessary for her to know, concealing every thing for the
present which could excite uneasiness, and even disclosing the joyful
part of the intelligence with the utmost circumspection. But when she
was convinced that her dear-lamented friend was in safety, and that
there was a probability of her soon being with her, joy could no
longer be restrained, and tears of tenderness and affection flowed
fast upon her cheek.

Fearing the effect of these indulged transports upon so delicate a
frame, Enrico endeavoured to calm them by an assurance, that nothing
should prevail upon him to remove her immediately, but a promise on
her part to become more tranquil.

Whilst Enrico remained in the prison with Laurette, Maschero was
released from his confinement by the Conte della Croisse, on his
solemnly declaring that he would never again participate in a crime of
such magnitude. The punishment for capital offences by the German
laws, being so much worse than death itself, was held in utter
abhorrence by his lenient accuser, the wretch who has committed them
being doomed to wear that external brand of infamy which precludes,
through a miserable existence, the possibility of a return to virtue;
that probably, had he been instigated by no primary consideration, he
might have been tempted to have declined a prosecution without
reflecting that by this clemency he would be espousing the cause of
vice, and violating the laws of justice.

Enrico had hitherto mentioned nothing to the Conte of the strange
discovery made in the old chamber previous to his arrival; and having
now every reason to believe that the Marchese, his father, was
materially concerned in the murder, evidently committed either in or
near that place, determined to avoid it. The bloody clothes found in
the chest were once, he imagined, the property of the Conte della
Caro, who was said to have been massacred in a wood, and whose body
was either buried or concealed in some part of the ruin. But Anselmo,
not being aware of his master's intention, and being anxious to
disclose to the stranger all the wonders of the place, conducted Della
Croisse, in his absence, through the trap-door leading to the
apartment, and displayed to him the object of their mutual surprise.

The Conte examined the sword, helmet, and garments severally, without
being able to ascertain the unfortunate possessor; but he no sooner
discovered the cross of the military order of knighthood, than he was
convinced that they originally belonged to the Conte della Caro, who,
he recollected, from Paoli's confession, was declared to have been
assassinated in a wood or forest. Deeming it imprudent, however, to
give Anselmo admission into the secret, he ascended the steps,
observing that the person, to whom those bloody garments had belonged,
was probably murdered by banditti, who, after having interred the body
in some adjacent place, had secured the clothes of the deceased to
prevent detection.

Anselmo appeared not perfectly satisfied with the conclusion, but made
no reply; and Della Croisse having returned again into the hall,
desired he would inform his master that the carriage had been waiting
for a considerable time at the skirts of the wood; and since all
preliminaries were adjusted, he was in readiness to depart.

Enrico, attended by the beautiful Laurette, soon entered the room; and
as she leaned gently upon his arm for support, there was something so
lovely, so interesting, in her appearance, that as Della Croisse
continued to gaze upon her with a mixture of pity and admiration, his
eyes were suddenly filled with tears; and scarcely could he subdue his
feelings sufficiently to answer the meek effusions of her gratitude,
which she bestowed upon him.

The party now quitted the ruin, and the armed men, who had attended
the Conte for the purpose of securing the assassin, were discharged
without executing their design. Enrico remembering the ducats he had
mentioned to Maschero as the price of their admission, on a promise,
solemnly delivered before them all, that he would quit his present
residence immediately, and endeavour to become an useful member of
society, did not withhold them. Laurette being supported, or rather
carried through the wood, was placed in the carriage with the Conte
and Enrico; the horses were consigned to the care of Anselmo, and the
whole party, thus relieved from fear and anxiety, commenced their

They travelled leisurely through the day, frequently stopping for
refreshment, as Laurette's weak state required the most strict care
and attention. In the evening they arrived at a small inn on the road,
not more than two leagues from the convent, where they were enabled to
procure a suitable person to attend upon Laurette, and comfortable
accommodations for the night.--During their continuance in this place,
Della Croisse acquainted Enrico with the melancholy incidents of his
past life. He also related the manner of his having met with Madame
Chamont at an inn, as she was travelling from the hills of Mount Jura
into Germany; expatiated with gratitude upon her amiable conduct
towards him and his daughter; the still greater obligations she had
conferred on him afterwards by saving him from a miserable death;
which little recital he concluded with a relation of that part of her
story which was immediately connected with his own.

Enrico listened to all with a painful concern, and thought every
moment an age till he could throw himself at the feet of that beloved
parent, from whom he had been so long, so strangely separated.

Chapter 6

Bring the rath primrose that forsaken dies.
The tufted crow-toe and pale jessamine.
The white pink, and the pancy freaked with jet.
The glowing violet.
The musk-rose, and the well-attir'd woodbine.
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head.
And every flower that sad embroidery wears.

Rest and nourishment had so happy an effect upon Laurette, that she
was enabled to prosecute her journey on the ensuing morning without
much apparent fatigue. The vehicle which had conveyed them thither,
was stationed at an early hour near the door of the inn, and our
travellers felt their hearts bound with new sensations of pleasure
when they entered it.

As soon as they were seated, Enrico besought Laurette to acquaint them
with all that had happened to her previous to her quitting the castle;
and also by what chance the letter which he had written to her,
remained unanswered.

The epistle he alluded to, she assured him, was never received; and as
letters very rarely miscarried, they were both internally convinced
that it had been intercepted. She then proceeded to inform him of the
strange events which had taken place during his absence; what she had
suffered from the unremitting assiduities of the Marchese, his
cruelty, his threats, when she repeated her resolution of rejecting
him; the conference overheard in the pavilion, and the unaccountable
manner in which she had been forced from the chamber.

Enrico listened with the most earnest attention as she continued her
little affecting narrative, which was frequently interrupted by her
auditors with exclamations of surprise and horror, particularly in
that part of it which treated of the conversation supported between
the Marchese and Paoli in the room of state.

When the steward had conveyed her, she added, about a league from the
mansion, he endeavoured to dissipate her fears by an assurance of
protection, solemnly declaring that the Marchese had no intention of
sacrificing her life; but had determined to place her in a convent
till he could think of some other method of disposing of her more
congenial to his inclinations.--This, she acknowledged, had the
desired effect, as she now imagined that a new plan had been adopted,
less terrible than her former surmises had suggested, and the
circumstance of being confined for life in a cloister, since she now
believed herself separated for ever from her earliest and tenderest
connexions, produced reflections unattended with regret: but her late
sufferings occasioned such languor and indisposition, that they were
obliged to alight at a small inn upon the road. A fever was the
consequence of these repeated alarms, which confined her for some days
to the place, during which time she was attended only by a woman of a
very unpromising aspect; a surgeon, resident in an adjacent village,
and Paoli, who expressing the utmost impatience for her recovery,
seldom quitted the room.

'Ah Laurette!' interrupted Enrico, 'how providential was this illness!
But for such an event, the benevolent exertions of the Conte della
Croisse, as well as my own efforts, to inform myself of your
situation, might have been fruitless.' The fair narrator directed a
look of gratitude towards Heaven, and then continued her recital.

'As soon as I was able,' resumed Laurette, 'to leave this inn, which
presented very indifferent accommodations, we pursued our journey; and
firmly assured, from what Paoli had advanced, that I was going to be
secluded in some religious retirement, I made no farther attempt to
interest his compassion, or obstruct the prosecution of his purpose.

'On the evening of the second day after our departure from the inn, he
informed me, that I should be at the end of my journey that night.
Again my fears began to take alarm; I looked wistfully around, but no
convent appeared. Night hung her glooms upon the landscape, but still
no hospitable asylum was to be seen. I now began to imagine I had been
deceived; apprehension succeeded to hope, and a thrilling sensation of
horror almost deprived me of reason. We then entered the precincts of
the wood, whose wildness and extent appeared dreadful. The sterile
sublimity of the rocks, which I had hitherto contemplated with awful
admiration, receded from my view. The deafening sound of the cataract
softened in a sad murmur; the wind moaned among the trees, and the
hollow sighs, that it sometimes uttered, seemed to lament my
approaching fate. As we entered the wood, the moon threw a pale,
uncertain light upon the eminences; but no sooner had we arrived near
the centre, than her beams were entirely excluded; briars and
entangled thickets frequently intercepted the path, rendering it not
more dreary than dangerous, and voices, heard at intervals in the
silence of night, filled me with new terrors. At length a light was
seen streaming through the trees, proceeding from a distant window. I
inquired to whom it belonged, and was informed it was a house not far
from the convent, which would accommodate us with lodgings for the
night. Thither, incapable of making resistance, I suffered myself to
be conveyed. Maschero gave us admittance; and having conducted us to
the liabitable part of the ruin, brought some food. I attempted to
eat, but could not; and pleading lassitude and indisposition,
requested to be directed to my room. Maschero led me to an apartment,
and after eyeing me with a malignant kind of curiosity, withdrew,
leaving me, at my desire, the lamp he had carried, which I considered
as an invaluable treasure. As soon as he had retired, I began to
examine the door, in hopes of discovering some possible means of
fastening it; but none appearing, I yielded without restraint to the
impulse of my feelings, which were now too violent to be subdued. When
I had indulged the first paroxysms of my sorrow, I advanced towards
the window, to take a minute survey of my situation, and to ascertain
if there was any apparent possibility of escaping from it, should I be
deserted by my artful conductor, and left in the power of Maschero,
whose unprepossessing appearance had given me justly the idea of an

'After a night passed in the utmost distress and anxiety, I was again
visited by this emaciated figure, whose aspect had excited at once
pity and terror. He entered without seeming to recollect that the room
contained any other inhabitant, and after setting a pitcher of water
and a cake upon the floor, would have instantly withdrawn; but I
prevented his design by inquiring whether Paoli was arisen; and being
answered in the affirmative, ventured to ask if he had mentioned any
thing relative to our intended departure?'

"You are at the end of your journey, I believe," replied Maschero,
with a malignant smile; "and since the person who brought you has
thought proper to leave you, must make yourself contented where you

'What I suffered from this intelligence cannot be easily imagined, or
rather what I suffered a short time afterwards; for having fainted, I
was not immediately conscious of what had passed. As soon as I
recovered, I found myself again alone. The door was fastened, and the
pitcher and the barley-cake were placed by the side of the mattress
upon which I had fallen. My distress now admitted of no increase,
death appeared unavoidable, and I now began to consider in what manner
it was likely to be executed. Sometimes I conceived it probable that
Paoli had only absented himself for a few days, for the purpose of
transacting some business in that part of the province, and meant to
return at the expiration of that time, and to fulfil his intention. At
other times, I imagined it likely that I was designedly left to
perish, either by poison or famine; and that the steward intended to
wait at a convenient distance, till after my decease, that he might
have the satisfaction of conveying the intelligence to his Lord.

'Two whole days passed in this manner without any material event, in
which time no creature approached the melancholy chamber selected for
my apartment. Hunger had obliged me to take a small portion of the
cake, with which my inhospitable host had supplied me; it was coarse
and unpalatable; but being ready to sink for want of food, I was
compelled to have recourse to it. The next day this pittance was
exhausted, and I soon discovered that it was not the intention of my
gaoler to present me with more, who having closed the door upon me
when I was in a state of insensibility, meant never more to break in
upon my solitude with a repetition of his services.

'As night advanced, I felt my indisposition considerably augmented; a
death-like faintness was communicated to my heart, and placing myself
again upon the mattress, I endeavoured to resign myself to my lot. At
last a loud knocking at the outer door roused me from my seat. I
started, and proceeded towards the grate; but the gloom prevented me
from distinguishing any object, though I had no remaining doubt but
that it was Paoli, who was come to witness the completion of his
dreadful purpose.

'Some hours passed in the utmost solicitude, till wearied Nature could
no longer resist the attacks of sleep. With what succeeded this
period,' resumed Laurette, 'you are already acquainted; but the extent
of my gratitude you cannot easily comprehend.'

The look, which accompanied the conclusion of the narrative, was
perhaps more expressive of her feelings than any thing she could have
uttered: and those bestowed upon her by Enrico displayed more of
compassion, affection, and tender concern, than the most forcible
language could have conveyed.

The spires of the convent were now discovered above the tops of the
trees, and the most pleasurable emotions succeeded. It was a stately
Gothic edifice, inclosing an extensive area. The walls, which were at
a considerable distance, were strengthened at the angles by small
square towers, which were partly in ruins; and these, together with
the whole of the out-works, though formed of the most ponderous
materials, were crumbling into dust, and were overrun with mosses,
lickens, and other weedy incrustations, which gave it rather the
appearance of a deserted than an inhabited mansion.

When the party had arrived at a large stone arch, leading into the
grounds, they alighted from the carriage; and having crossed the lawn,
were met by a Friar at the gate, who came forwards to receive them. Of
him the Conte della Croisse made an inquiry concerning the Superior of
the convent, and learned from him that the greatest part of the
building was inhabited by a society of Monks, who were also
Benedictines. This he considered was no unfavourable circumstance, as
Enrico and himself might easily gain admission into their order,
should their enterprize not be conducted with the facility they
desired: whilst Laurette might remain resident in the convent till
Madame Chamont had obtained permission to leave it, and could do it
without a breach of propriety.

Whilst the Conte continued in conversation with the Friar, the tolling
of a bell, proceeding from the chapel, which was situated somewhat
remote, fixed the attention of the travellers. Della Croisse inquired
the occasion of it, and was told that a Nun was going to be professed.

'You will find some difficulty in gaining an introduction to the
Superior,' resumed the Monk, 'till the ceremony is performed. Would it
not be better to defer the execution of your intention till
afterwards; and in the meantime, by mixing with the multitude, you may
be gratified with a view of the solemnities. Some of the sisters are
already proceeding towards the chapel, and if you will grant me
permission, I will accompany you thither.'

From what the Monk had declared, it appeared probable that the Abbess
would not indulge them with an audience till the profession was over;
and after thanking him for his courtesy, they agreed to the

The congregation was not at present assembled, and the Friar having
conducted them along the eastern aisle, placed them on a bench of
black marble, which was fixed near the altar, and then left them to
join a procession of Monks, who were commissioned to attend.

As soon as this religious had retired, the party contemplated, with
surprise, the magnificence and beauty of the chapel. It was supported
by pillars of Carara marble, of the most exquisite workmanship. The
niches of the walls were adorned with images of the saints and
martyrs, the performances of the most celebrated artists, and taste
and greatness of design were every where evident.

The organ was loftily situated in a gallery built for the purpose: it
was composed chiefly of ebony, and ornamented with curtains of crimson
velvet, which were curiously wrought with flowers of gold and purple.
The altar was decorated with a profusion of wax-tapers, interspersed
with vases, containing frankincense, and other costly perfumes. The
table was covered with an embroidered cloth, which was worked by the
ingenious hands of the vestals in the most chaste and sacred devices.
A large crucifix was erected in the centre, which was supported on one
side by an image of the Virgin, and on the other by that of Saint
Agatha. The altar-piece was the last supper, by Michael Angelo, which
was surrounded by a number of large medallion-paintings, by the most
admired artists, representing the deaths and sufferings of the

When they had paused for some minutes, to take a general survey of
these splendid decorations, they observed two of the Friars hastening
towards the aisle, to which they had been con-ducted on their arrival.
They were habited as Benedictines; but their garments being made of
coarser materials, bespoke inferiority of rank.

One of these religious spread a carpet, which he had brought for the
purpose, in the centre of the chapel, whilst the other laid a pall at
the steps of the altar. Soon after this preparation was over, a
multitude of spectators assembled, which curiosity, or some not less
active principle of their natures, had directed thither, who, having
placed themselves in the most eligible situations, awaited the
commencement of the sacred rites.

The funeral-bell, which had been for some time tolling, now ceased,
and the loud peals of the organ were heard in its stead. A train of
Monks, attended by their Superior, then advanced, who moved slowly
along the aisle; and the ceremony of the entrance, which was not more
striking than impressive, began. First came the novices, strewing the
floor with the most beautiful evergreens, preserved and reared for the
purpose; then the Lady of the convent, Iattended by the Nuns,
according to their order, with her mitre, and in robes of state; and
lastly, the fair devotee, who was come to take the sacred, the
indissoluble vow, which was to seal her inevitable doom. She was
conducted, or rather supported, by two of the sisterhood, who, with a
slow and solemn pace, led her towards the centre of the chapel, each
bearing a lighted taper in her hand. The music now ceased. A buz of
indistinct voices was heard for the moment, which gradually grew
fainter, and then died into silence. Our travellers, having eyed the
procession with a kind of painful curiosity, now left the place on
which they had been seated, and mingled with the throng. In vain did
Enrico endeavour to recognize the features of his mother; for the
veils of the novices were so artfully folded, that their faces were
entirely concealed.

As soon as the procession had reached the steps of the altar, the
Superior of the monastery addressed the devotee in an exhortation
replete with unaffected grace and eloquence, to which she gave the
most fixed and earnest attention. The easy dignity of his manners, the
deep pathos of his voice, and above all, the sublimity of his
doctrines, so affected his audience, that the whole congregation
listened to him with devout astonishment.

As soon as this was delivered, the sister, who was to take the veil,
advanced between two others of the Nuns, to make her profession. Her
voice was at first tremulous; but as she proceeded, it naturally
regained its powers; and having answered some questions which were
proposed by the priest, respecting the time of her initiation, she
knelt before him, and made her profession, which was delivered with
the most admirable articulation, and classical elegance.

The prayers appointed for the occasion were then read, in which the
Abbess and the rest of the Nuns, as well as the Monks who attended,
joined with much fervency, and apparent devotion. As soon as these
were concluded, the officiating priest came forward, and having laid
the proper dress of the order upon a small marble table erected on one
side of the altar, began to assort them; whilst the Lady Abbess took
the noviciate veil from the fair devotee, and prepared to enrobe her
in black.--When this covering was removed, the eyes of the spectators
were withdrawn from the priest, and fixed with a gaze of curiosity on
the sister. It discovered a very lovely face, full of the most
interesting expression. It was pale, but it was beautiful, and
received lustre and character from a pair of dark blue eyes, whose
fringed lids shaded a complexion of the most dazzling whiteness;
whilst the extreme delicacy of her form was rendered infinitely more
attractive from being finely contrasted with the long sable robe
descending far beneath the feet, the garb, in which the reformed
Benedictine Nuns of the congregation of Mount Calvary are clad.

As soon as the eternal veil was substituted in the room of the
noviciate one, and the broad belt and the rosary were adjusted, the
priest dipped the consecrated brush in the holy water, and, after
having repeatedly crossed himself, sprinkled the devotee, who being
then reconducted to that part of the chapel where the rest of the
sisterhood were assembled, remained for some time at her devotions.
Whilst this ceremony continued, the most solemn breathing strains
issued from the organ, which seemed to wrap the souls of all present
in a divine enthusiasm. These were succeeded by the choral voices of
the Monks, whose deep tones were softened and harmonized by the sweet
sound of female strains occasionally joining in and improving the
melody.--These rites being over, the professed arose from the place in
which she had been kneeling, to undergo that part of the solemnity
which appeared to the spectators more awfully impressive than the
rest. She was attended as before by two of the sisters, who having led
her into the centre, receded a few paces back, whilst she threw
herself, with a degree of collected earnestness, upon the carpet. Thus
humbled to the dust, she imprinted a kiss upon the earth, to express
her humility and lowliness of heart, as well as to signify that she
had now totally relinquished the pomps and vanities of the world, to
whose follies she was henceforth dead. The body of the fair votarist
was now covered with a pall, as if the spark of life, which had
animated it, was extinguished for ever; whilst the burial service was
chaunted to the notes of the organ, assisted by the vocal powers of
the Nuns, Priests, and Friars, whose wrapt souls seemed to be as much
elevated above the world, and its trifling concerns, as if they had
already shaken off the gross mould that inclosed them.

As soon as these lofty strains had ceased, the vestal was reconducted
to her place; and after some time spent in prayer, in which she was
devoutly joined by the Priests, Sisters, and whole fraternity of
Monks, the consecrated wafer was administered, and the awful
solemnities of the church in the rites of the Sacrament began. The
devotee having received it with an aspect of collected meekness almost
angelic, arose, and having kissed the robes of the officiating Priest,
she bowed herself, with inimitable grace, before the crucifix,
breathing at the same time a repetition of her vow. She then embraced
the rest of the sisterhood, and was conducted by them to the Lady
Abbess, who saluted her with a maternal smile, and afterwards to the
novices, who received her with the most cordial affection; while a
number of rose-lipped girls, fair and beautiful as angels, who were
resident for a convent education, strewed flowers over them as they
passed along to the last ceremony, that of the coronation, emblematic
of that crown of glory, which is promised as a reward to those who,
after suffering continual trials and mortifications, are admitted into
the regions of felicity.

When this was over, the bleeding cross of Mount Calvary was hung in
her bosom, whilst the chaunted hymn, which seemed to utter forth
celestial sounds, rose into deep and choral harmony. All present,
being wrapped in undivided attention, appeared to have forgotten that
they were among the inhabitants of that world, above which they felt
so strangely elevated. As the strains died into cadence, which seemed
to have proceeded from no mortal touch, the procession of Nuns and
Friars, attended by their Superiors, retired in the same order in
which they had entered; and our travellers, who during these
ceremonies had secluded themselves as much as possible among the crowd
of spectators, emerged from obscurity. As the novices, who followed in
the rear, moved slowly from the chapel, Enrico observed them with
peculiar attention, endeavouring to discover Madame Chamont, but
without success. Many were tall and graceful like her; but there
appeared so great a similarity, from being dressed exactly the same,
that one was scarcely to be distinguished from another.

Delay now became painful, and the whole party being anxious to obtain
some information relative to the best manner of proceeding, walked
rapidly from the chapel; and having reached the great gate leading to
the principal court belonging to the brotherhood, soon beheld, to
their satisfaction, the Friar who had given them admittance on their
arrival, standing with two of the Fathers of the Benedictine order in
the portico of the monastery.

The Conte instantly advanced to them, and after politely interrogating
them concerning their rules and institutions, repeated his foriner
inquiry respecting the Abbess. The Monk received him as before with
the most easy courtesy of manner; but on his requesting to know if
there would be any impropriety in desiring an immediate audience with
the Superior, was advised to defer it till she had given her charge to
the sisterhood--a ceremony never dispensed with.

'If you have any thing important to learn from, or to disclose to the
Abbess,' resumed the Monk, 'your arrival this day may be termed
unfortunate; as when the solemnities of our church are over, the day
is uniformly dedicated to innocent festivity, in which the Superior
herself condescends to join. A feast is always prepared on this
occasion in the refectoire of the convent, at which she also presides,
and a number of Friars, particularly those of the Benedictine
fraternity, and pilgrims are admitted. No business of any kind is
allowed to be transacted this day, which is rendered not only sacred,
but glorious, from its having entitled a beautiful spirit to that
eternal reward, which will be conferred upon those, who, from motives
of piety, resign the follies and vanities of the world.'

'But if I only interpose in the cause of oppressed innocence,'
returned the Conte, 'and endeavour to steal some hours of sorrow from
the heart which has too long felt its influence; if my business is to
bestow comfort upon those, from whom it has been long withheld, surely
this cannot be called an intrusion upon the rites of their festivity.'

'These arguments will have but little weight on the present occasion,
I fear,' replied the Monk, thoughtfully; 'and, perhaps, if your
request is forwarded with so little discretion, it may meet with a
refusal, or, if otherwise, not with that degree of attention which it
may merit. If you will take my advice, you will remain here to-night.
In this monastery the stranger and the pilgrim are always received
with hospitality; and, although the mode of life we have embraced
excludes us from what are generally esteemed the comforts of life, we
have at least the power of bestowing them upon others. And as to the
Lady,' continued the Friar, turning a look of inquiry towards
Laurette, 'I will introduce her to the convent, where she will be
allowed to remain till the morrow.'

Laurette courtesied meekly, and having thanked the Father for his
attention with that elegance of expression peculiar to herself,
awaited the result of the conference. Upon mature deliberation, the
plan, which was marked out for them by the Friar, was adhered to; and
the carriage being stationed at the outer gate, it was mutually
agreed, that the party should remove to some inn, or cottage, capable
of affording them accommodations till the evening, when they proposed
to accept the kind invitation of the Monk, who promised to introduce
them on their return to his Abbot, a man of exemplary goodness and
piety. Doomed a little longer to suffer the pangs of procrastinated
happiness, our travellers again entered the carriage, and soon arrived
at a small, but cleanly, hotel, in which comfortable situation they
obtained the rest and refreshment they required.

Laurette being much fatigued, at the joint request of Enrico and the
Conte della Croisse, consented to retire, and to endeavour, at least,
to obtain some repose; but the exquisite sensibility of her nature
prevented the approach of sleep; the idea of Madame Chamont, and the
scene she had just witnessed, which called forth all the soft, as well
as all the sublime emotions of her soul, pressed too much upon her
thoughts; and though she wished to steal into a transient
forgetfulness, that by salutary rest she might be better enabled to
meet, with becoming fortitude and composure, the tender scene that
awaited her, she found it could not be effected; and when informed
that the carriage was in readiness to convey them to the convent, she
arose without having once yielded to repose, and prepared to obey the

Having satisfied the master of the hotel, they drove from the door,
and arrived at the gate of the monastery just as vespers were

The benevolent Friar, who had been some time in waiting to receive his
guests, advanced forwards to meet them, and having conducted them into
a lofty apartment adjoining the refectoire, introduced them to the
Abbot. By him they were welcomed with that superior kind of courtesy,
which is not always attached to the manners of the recluse; offering
them at the same time an asylum in his monastery till the business
which had directed them thither was accomplished; and also to conduct
Laurette to that part of the convent inhabited by the Nuns, where, he
assured her, she would meet with all due respect and attention, which,
he observed, alluding to her languid appearance, seemed to be
necessary. Laurette, who considered that if she prolonged her stay at
the monastery after what the holy Father had said, she might be looked
upon by the fraternity as an intruder, after many acknowledgments of
gratitude, consented to accompany him. As they crossed the spacious
area, which directed her so near to her long-lost friend, all
composure forsook her; and she looked round with solicitude, in hopes
of being able to distinguish her among a party of novices, who, with
their veils partly drawn aside, were walking, as if in earnest
conversation, along the winding paths of the shrubberies.

As soon as she had gained admittance into the interior of the
cloister, a message was sent from the Abbot to the Superior,
requesting that she would take a female stranger under her protection
till the ensuing morning. An answer was immediately returned
expressive of the most hearty welcome, which was delivered by one of
the pensioners, who, attended by a Nun, came to conduct her into the
parlour of the convent.

Music, heard from a distant part of the edifice, convinced Laurette
that the festivities were not over; and being unwilling to detain
those who were constrained by situation to endure a life of austerity
and mortification from the means of occasional enjoyment, she besought
them to leave her alone; assuring the Nun, who was the most
assiduously attentive to her, that she should be enabled to procure a
sufficient degree of amusement from the novelty of the objects.

As it had been previously determined, that the Conte della Croisse,
after having gained an audience with the Abbess, should unfold his
welcome intelligence to Madame Chamont with all imaginable care and
circumspection, Laurette resolved to conceal herself as much as
possible from the rest of the Nuns; and having failed in her design of
dismissing the sister, whose office it was more particularly to attend
upon strangers, she pleaded weariness and indisposition, and requested
to be conveyed to her apartment.

Chapter 7

Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure.
Sober, stedfast, and demure.
All in a robe of darkest grain.
Flowing with majestic rain.
And sable stole of cyprus lawn.
Over thy decent shoulders drawn;
Come, but keep thy wonted state.
Even step, and musing gait.
And looks commencing with the skies.
Thy wrapt soul sitting in thine eyes.

As soon as Laurette arose, she received an invitation from the Abbess
to attend her in the breakfast-parlour, which was delivered by the Nun
who had directed her to her chamber on the preceding night,
distinguished from the rest by the name of sister Monica. Having
returned this mark of politeness with her accustomed grace, she
followed her conductor down the principal staircase, and was ushered
into the presence of the Superior, who arose on her entrance, and,
with an air of dignified gentleness, offered her a place by the fire.
Laurette blushed deeply at the awkwardness of her situation, being
thus led into the presence of a stranger without any previous
introduction, who, she considered, might possibly form an opinion of
her by no means to her advantage.

Having accepted her offer with a degree of modest diffidence, which
rather augmented than detracted from the natural elegance of her
manners, she awaited, with mingled anxiety and impatience, the arrival
of the Conte della Croisse.

Her wishes were uot long protracted; for scarcely had they partaken of
the morning's refreshment, before the Conte, attended by the Abbot,
after a short message to signify their intention, entered the room.
Laurette being aware of the necessity of leaving them alone, and
observing that some of the Nuns, among whom was sister Monica, were
walking in a grove of acacia and mountain ash, that overshadowed the
edge of the lawn, which the window of the convent-parlour commanded,
gained the Abbess's permission to retire, and hastened to join them,
rather wishing for the moment to avoid Madame Chamont than to meet
with her, lest the sudden surprise might be too powerful to be
sustained with fortitude. It was a clear frosty morning in the
beginning of December; the air was excessively chill, but the range of
hills that almost encompassed the monastery, as well as the high walls
which bounded the gardens, sheltered its inhabitants from those bleak
and petrifying winds, which are so much dreaded in mountainous
countries. The party of Nuns seemed to regard Laurette with a gaze of
curiosity as she approached, frequently turning to observe her as she
moved pensively through the avenues; whilst sister Monica, who was
apparently solicitous to conciliate her esteem by the gentle offices
of courtesy, advanced forwards to meet her, offering at the same time
to show her all that was worthy of notice in the gardens, as far as
the austerity of her rules permitted her.

Though secluded in this religious retirement from earliest youth, this
Nun understood and respected the laws of politeness; and though there
was much in the appearance of her new acquaintance to excite an
interest in her concerns, she forbore to infringe upon them by minute
interrogation. The rest of the Nuns having taken a contrary direction,
Laurette was left alone with sister Monica, who beguiled the moments
of suspense by leading her through the grounds allotted to the
vestals, which displayed through the neglected wildness of the whole
some vestiges of antique taste, perfectly in unison with the whole of
the structure, which, she was informed, had formerly belonged to a
suppressed society of a less modern institution than that of the
reformed Benedictine Nuns of the congregation of Mount Calvary, which
she learned, upon Inquiry, was newly founded by Madame Antonia, of
Orleans, Princess of France.

By this communicative Nun Laurette was made acquainted with many
anecdotes connected with the lives of several of the present
mhabitants of the cloister, to which she listened with eager
attention, being in momentary expectation of obtaining some
intelligence relative to her maternal friend; but on her sad story the
sister never touched, from which it appeared that she was either
totally unacquainted with it, or that some primary cause prevented her
from reverting to it. Though sister Monica possessed nothing of that
childish levitv, with which the manners of youth are sometimes
infected, there was a certain vivarnty of expression and a certain
correspondent look attending it, unobseured by the gloom of a convent,
which rendered her a very interesting and pleasing companion; and
Laurette, who, from the natural gentleness of demeanour she displayed
on a first introduction, had beheld her with partiality, now
experienced an increasing sentiment of affection in her favour.

As they walked slowly through the gardens, Laurette could not forbear
expressing her surprise at the wildness and neglect which was every
where visible; at the same time remarking, that those places
consecrated to religion which had hitherto fallen under her
observation, had generally exhibited a very different appearance.

'This will easily be accounted for,' returned the Nun, 'when you are
informed that the Superior of this convent, though in other respects
almost unexceptionahie in every species of goodness, allows her mind
to be contaminated with one vice, whose baleful influence deprives her
of that respectful regard which would otherwise be paid to her
virtues; namely, that of an inordinate love of wealth. This feverish
and ever-growing desire has been productive of many serious
distresses, not only to those who are under her immediate protection,
but extending also to herself. It has occasioned her to exist in a
state of continual warfare between duty and inclination. She is
sensible of the danger of this augmenting attachment; but wants
firmness and zeal to subdue it. This foible, or this vice,' resumed
the sister, 'for it deserves no softer appellation, has not only
blunted the natural edge of her sensibility, which I have frequently
heard her declare was too acute to be endured, but it has weakened her
judgment, and by constant and guilty indulgence has checked the active
benevolence of her nature, which might otherwise have been directed to
the noblest purposes. But I am wandering widely from my subject,'
continued the Nun, sportively, 'and must endeavour to return to it.'
She then gave Laurette an accurate account of every curiosity the
gardens contained, which were numerous, and from the antiquity of
appearance which the whole of them discovered, might be said to merit

Having rambled over a considerable part of the grounds, a walk,
conducting them through several little picturesque windings, directed
them into what the Nun termed the wilderness, which, from its
disordered and uncultivated state, might be allowed to deserve the
name which the recluse had bestowed upon it. A path was, however, cut
among the trees; and several recesses, in which were placed seats of
wood, or wicker work, frequently presented themselves. Laurette, at
the desire of her friend, took possession of one of them, and was
informed by her that this little melancholy retreat was a favourite
resort with the greater part of the society, who were probably walking
towards the contrary end, or had seated themselves in one of those
little summer recesses which were made for their accommodation. 'Some
of them I hear not far distant,' resumed sister Monica; 'speak low, or
they will overhear our conversation.'

She had no sooner made this remark than the sound of approaching
voices proved the truth of the assertion; and two Nuns, the one in her
noviciate state, and the other in her veiled one, moved slowly beneath
the thick plantation of firs that guarded the entrance, and then
advanced towards the arbour in which they were seated. Laurette did
not immediately perecive them, till her new acquaintance pulling her
gently by the sleeve, said, 'They are here. This nearest the recess is
she who was professed yesterday; and on the contrary side is sister
Juliana; they are inseparables; if we remain here a moment we shall
see them pass.'

She had scarcely ceased speaking before they came up close to the
arched tree under which Laurette and the sister Monica were seated. As
soon as they had arrived within a few steps of the bench, the newly-
professed Nun, after having given them a transient survey, courtesied
meekly, and passed on; whilst her companion, who was much taller,
moved pensively by her side with a mournful and dejected air, without
once lifting her eyes from the ground on which they appeared to have
been riveted. She had now, however, advanced many paces before she
turned, and raising her veil, that entirely covered her features,
discovered a face which Laurette imagined, from the cursory survey she
had obtained, was Madame Chamont's. But the hasty manner in which the
veil was replaced, and the obscurity of her own situation did not
allow her to be certain. Scarcely had she recovered from the agitation
this incident had occasioned, before one of the pensioners advanced
with a hurried step towards the sisters, and addressing herself to the
novice, informed her that she was wanted immediately in the apartment
of the Superior, where a person, whose business was of merit, was in
waiting to see her.

'To see me!' returned a voice, which Laurette instantly discovered to
be that of Madame Chamont, though it was rendered tremulous by
surprise; 'who can want me?' The pathetic energy of her articulation,
and the corrected sadness of her manners, as she turned towards the
messenger, pressed forcibly upon the heart of Laurette; and but for
the necessity of submitting her inclination to the dictates of
prudence, she would gladly have thrown herself into her arms, and have
acquainted her, without reserve, with the happiness that awaited her.

As soon as the Nuns had retired from the wilderness, Laurette ve
ntured to inquire of sister Monica how long the novice, to whom the
message was delivered, had been resident in the convent; and was
informed somewhat above a year.

'Do you know any thing of her story?' rejoined Laurette.

'I am not in her confidence,' returned the sister; 'but this
circumstance, as it does not detract from her worth, does not lessen
her in my estimation, as she has doubtless some secret reason to
justify the strict silence as to her former life, family, and
connexions, which she has hitherto preserved; and, notwithstanding
this secrecy, she is more beloved than the rest of the sisterhood,
though though I do not imagine any of them, not even the Nun to whom
she is most attached, are better informed upon the subject than

They had now passed through the wilderness, and were conducted by a
gentle descent into a little rocky recess, which appeared like a
natural cave. This perfectly coincided with the rest of the grounds;
for the entrance was so wild, that it was with difficulty they were
enabled to proceed. After some little exertion they, however,
accomplished their design; and entering this little romantic dell,
placed thernselvcs upon a stone seat, which was encrusted with moss,
whilst the number of weeds, and self-planted shrubs, that waved from
the brow of the arch, contributed to the correspondent gloom of its
appearance. Here they paused for some moments, listening, with tender,
yet melancholy sensation, to the murmur of a tinkling rill, which was
heard falling in gentle meanders among the channels of the
neighbouring hills. There was something in this soothing sound which
reminded Laurette of the past, of those days of juvenile delight,
which she had spent at the castle of Elfinbach, whose spacious domain
contained a wild and solitary spot riot unlike her present situation,
where she had often listened to the sad cadence of a waterfall in the
stillness of the evening. This brought to her recollection the
feelings connected with these memories, the numerous hopes, fears, and
anxieties that had oppressed and agitated her bosom, and the gloomy
hours of retrospection which she had afterwards suffered when those
days were remembered.

Wherever we have a kindred melody.

The scene recurs, and with it all its pleasures and its cares.

But the future, since she had now a generous protector who would never
forsake her, presented only visions of happiness; and at times she
found it as difficult to support that uniform calmness of mind, which
ever accompanies the greatness in the midst of expected felicity, as
to endure that appalling malignity with which fortune had hitherto
treated her.

As soon as they had retired from this lonely dell, they proceeded
through a vista towards the western lawn, which presented nothing
worthy of attention, except a large ancient cross, which was erected
in the centre. When arrived at the base of this sacred memento, sister
Monica numbered the beads upon her rosary, and then prostrated herself
before it; whilst Laurette, after bowing humbly as she advanced
towards it, paused for a few minutes to examine the figures which were
represented upon the pedestal, and the rudely-formed characters, which
age had long since obscured, and now nearly obliterated. The steps,
'which holy knees had worn', were almost sunk into the earth; the
stones were fractured and discoloured, and overgrown with several
vegetable encrustations; and though preserved by superstition from
actual decay, were broken and deranged by time.

Whilst Laurette stood musing upon the impossibility of saving even
these vestiges of holy record from the oblivious grasp of age, and the
meek Nun with bended knees was invoking the shades of the departed,
those long since mingled with the dust, to look down upon her, and to
assist her weak endeavours after piety; a novice, unperecived till she
had reached the side of Laurette, summoned her into the apartment of
the Superior. Though she had been for some time in expectation of a
similar address, a tremulous sensation took possession of her frame,
and sister Monica observing the sudden change of her complexion, which
from being more than usually pale, was instantly suffused with
blushes, and that shortness of respiration proceeding from extreme
solicitude, offered her arm, which Laurette gladly accepted, as she
advanced with a quick, unequal pace towards the door leading to the
cloisters. Having crossed these, she stopped for a moment to recollect
her spirlts, and heard, as distinctly as joy and agitation would
permit her to hear, the voice of Madame Chamont, elevated into notes
of transport. Impatience could now no longer be restrained, and
pushing open the door with a kind of gentle violence, she soon found
herself locked to the bosom of her long-lost friend. Any attempt to do
justice to the feelings of the beautiful orphan, of Enrico, or even of
the Conte della Croisse, who had just witnessed a scene as tender, and
if possible still more touching, when he introduced to his amiable
benefactress a son whom she had mourned as dead, would be vain.
Rapture broke forth into tears, and it was brig before the charming
Nun could believe the happiness that awaited her was not visionary,
before she could assure herself that she was not still under the
influence of some enchanting dream, from which she feared to he
awakened to a sense of former distress. It was not immediately that
Laurette was conscious that the room contained any other inhabitant
than Madame Chamont: even Enrico was absent from her thoughts, and the
tender glances which lie frequently conveyed to her whilst he saw more
than filial affection expressed in the fine language of her eyes,
were, perhaps, for the first time since they had been bestowed upon
her, unobserved or disregarded.

Chapter 8

But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloisters pale.
And love the high-embowed roof
With antic pillars massy proof
And storied windows richly dight.
Casting a dim religtious light.

The Conte Della Croisse, when admitted into the convent, after a
formal introduction by the Abbot, was left alone with the Superior,
who received him with that stately kind or politeness which is usually
attached to the station she filled. As soon as he was seated, he began
to open the occasion of his visit, and fixing his eyes upon her as he
continued the subject, with the minute attention of a physiognomist,
he perceived that her countenance relaxed with no symptom of pleasure
when he mentioned the necessity of Madame Chamont's quitting her
retirement immediately, to assert the legality of her claims, should
any new difficulties arise to render her presence indispensable.
Having entered into a full explanation of the subject as far as the
nature of the case required, preserving at the same time a scrupulous
reserve as to those events in which she was entirely uninterested, he
requested an audience with his fair benefactress, and politely
demanded her dismission, since he had already proved that all
proceedings against her had been hitherto illegal. As soon as the
Abbess had recovered from her surprise, she endeavoured to convince
the Conte of the impossibility of yielding to his desires unless the
intricacies of the affair could be unravelled, since she had nothing
to depend upon but the bare assertion of a stranger, which she
considered as insufficient to prove the justice of his claim. From the
intelligence which the Conte had received from Paoli in his dying
moments, he knew that a considerable sum had been paid into the hands
of the Abbess on Madame Chamont's entrance into the convent, which
accounted in some measure for the many insurmountable obstacles which
were thrown in the way of her departure.

Being perfectly aware of this, he took the most effectual method of
silencing her scruples, by convincing her that the sum, which was
consigned to her care for the benefit of the sisterhood, would never
be recalled; not forgetting to assure her, upon his honour, that he
would himself indemnify her from any loss she might sustain; and,
moreover; would venture to affirm, that if she would assist in
forwarding their design, Madame Chamont, when reinstated in her
rights, would richly compensate her for every proof of kindness and
attachment she had discovered, since she was unequalled in generosity
as well as every other mental perfection.

The Conte's arguments had the desired effect; and as the Abbess
listened with complacency to these eventual advantages, she became
gradually reconciled to the person by whom they were offered; yet, to
enhance the value of the obligation, and also to persuade her new
guest that she was not actuated by mercenary considerations, she
thought proper to propose a few more objections, which being delivered
with less energy than the former ones, were easily removed by the
Conte, who anxiously availed himself of every turn in his favour.

After much courtesy of address on the part of Della Croisse, aided by
a little well-timed flattery, agreeably and delicately administered,
which the Abbess was too young to receive with displeasure, the
requested interview was granted; and the noble Conte, whose generous
heart overflowed with the most lively effusions of gratitude, was
permitted to prepare Madame Chamont for that scene of delight she was
shortly to experience, and afterwards to contemplate the effect of
joy, the most exquisite in the completion of newly arisen hopes, when
she clasped her long-lost son to her maternal bosom! Such scenes of
ecstatic bliss cannot he justly delineated by the feeble hand that
attempts to sketch them; nor can the mind, which has not been
disciplined in the harsh school of adversity, form an adequate
conception of them. A sudden alteration in the manners of the Abbess,
after Madame Chamont's introduction to Enrico and Laurette, was
evident to all. The apprehensions which her avarice had excited being
lulled to repose, there was room for the exercise of those sympathetic
virtues which Nature had implanted in her mind; and now that her
interest was no longer at war with her inclination, she did not arm
herself against their influence. Anxious to remove any little
prejudices which she considered might yet lurk in the mind of the
Conte, she paid the most marked attention to her guests, giving
Laurette an invitation with more than ordinary kindness to remain in
the convent till all preliminaries were settled relative to their
departure, not omitting to repeat her permission for Madame Chamont to
resign her protection when the nature of her concerns rendered it

The Conte and Enrico now began to form plans as to the best method of
proceeding; and, after a second investigation of the subject,
determined to leave the ladies at the convent, whilst they went in
search of the priest by whom the marriage was solemnized, who they
learned upon inquiry had left his residence in Turin, and had entered
into an order of Franciscans not many leagues from Saltzburg. This was
a circumstance much in their favour, as it prevented them from
traversing a number of barren mountains and rocky precipices, which
would have considerably impeded their progress. To prove the truth of
Paoli's assertion, without taking this Friar as an evidence, whose
testimony would alone be sufficient for the execution of their
purpose, would, they knew, be impossible, even should they find the
Marehese more favourably disposed towards them than, from his former
conduct, they had reason to expect. To allow Madame Chamont and
Laurette to attend them on such an expedition, unless the Marchese
should intimate a desire to see them, would, they also considered, be
highly imprudent, since their reception might be far from a pleasant
one; though, by alarming the fears of the Marchese, it appeared
probable, since he was now entirely at their mercy, that he would be
glad to embrace any terms of reconciliation that would be offered him,
rather than suffer his crimes to be exposed.

As soon as they had informed the ladies of their newly-concerted plan,
they recommended them to the matronly protection of the Superior; and,
attended by Anselmo and two of the servants belonging to the Conte
della Croisse, commenced their journey.

As soon as Laurette was alone with Madame Chamont, she related every
interesting event that had befallen her since she last parted from
her; and requested, in return, that she would acquaint her with every
thing that had happened to her since she had been forced from the
castle, as this had long been a subject of painful surmise.

'You are already informed, my dear child,' replied the amiable Madame
Chamont, 'of the principal incidents of my eventful story: and what I
have to relate will, therefore, appear but like a repetition of what
has before been recited; yet, as you desire it, I will indulge you
with pleasure.

'You may possibly remember that, on the evening of my departure, Paoli
proposed, as soon as vespers were concluded, that I should accompany
him along the decayed side of the edifice, that he might consult me
respecting the repairs; and you may probably recollect that I acceded
rather reluctantly to the proposition, though at that time I was
incapable of ascertaining his intention, which was, after conducting
me to a remote part of the structure, to deliver me into the hands of
three ruffians, who, having covered me with a veil so thick as to
exclude every object from my view, placed me upon a mule, and conveyed
me, regardless of my cries, through the deepest recesses of the woods,
when, having arrived at a small inn, situated at the extremity of the
forest, we stopped without alighting for refreslnnent. As soon as we
had reached this place, one of the men, whose aspect indicated him
less ferocious than the rest, assured me that I had nothing to fear,
and promised, that if I would follow striefly the rules he should
prescribe, that he would engage to conduct me to some place of
security. This kindness, in a man of his profession, filled me with
astonishment; and though I could scarcely believe him sincere, I
ventured to assure him of my acquiescence.

'"You have then nothing to do," resumed the ruffian, "but to remain
silent. Any attempt to liberate yourself by your own exertion, or any
endeavour to interest the compassion of others, whom we may
accidentally meet with in our way, will render my scheme for your
preservation abortive. Appear resigned to whatever may be your
destiny, and leave the rest to me."

'His companions, who had remained a few moments behind to finish their
refreshment, now approached towards us, preventing by their presence
all further communication; but being somewhat re-assured by these
promises, my spirits gradually revived; and mindful of the injunctions
I had received, I preserved an uniform silence. We travelled all the
next day and the following one without obtaining any rest, till, from
fatigue and indisposition, I could scarcely proceed. My companions
frequently stopped upon the road to procure some food, of which they
always ofiered me a part; but never ventured to alight, probably
having some material reason for this precaution.

'It was not till near midnight that, after two days' harassing
journey, we arrived at the place of destination, which was an ancient
dreary habitation secreted in a wood. The impenetrable veil that was
thrown over my face did not allow me to distinguish the road; but I
was no sooner sat down that it was removed, and I found myself in a
large grass-grown court, with three ill-looking men, whose persons I
had only partially seen.

'Scarcely had I obtained leisure to reflect upon my situation before a
loud hallo, given by one of my companions, brought to the door of this
melancholy abode a being, whose appearance had more in it of savage
ferocity than was expressed in the countenance of my conductors.
Terror and consternation now almost overcame me, and so weakened was I
for want of sustenance and rest, that, had I not leaned against the
trunk of a tree, I must have fallen.

"You have no farther to go at present," cried one of the men roughly,
"but if you will follow your host into the hall, he will give you some
supper; for since you have eat so little upon the road, you must
doubtless be in want of refreshment."

'Finding there was no alternative, I obeyed; and the men, having
fastened their mules to a tree, entered the room into which my
conductor had directed me. Obliged to submit to the necessity of
mixing with this horrid group, I endeavoured to reconcile myself to my
lot; but no soonerr had I partaken of a small portion of the bread and
milk, which was prepared by our host, than the indelicate jokes, that
were occasionally mingled with their loud peals of laughter,
determined me to abandon their society; and addressing myself to the
person of the house, whose name was Maschero, I desired to be directed
to my apartment.'

'Holy Maria!' exclaimed Laurette, in a tone of astonishment, was you
then at the Jansmer Holtz, the abode of the assassin? Could it be the
intention of the Marchese that you also should be sacrificed? If so,
tell me briefly, I beseech you, how your escape was effected.'

'From what has since happened,' continued Madame Chamont, 'I have no
reason to suppose that the Marchese had any design upon my life; but
not to keep you longer in suspense. I will hasten to the conclusion of
my mournful narrative.

'I was then shewn into a large dreary-looking room, whose appearance
was sufficient to impress terror upon a mind not already occupied by
this dreadful sensation; but what more than any thing alarmed my fears
was the certainty of not having any means of fastening the door. My
conductor did not forget, however, to secure it, with the assistance
of a bolt, on the other side. 'As soon as I was alone, a thousand
melancholy conjectures passed along my mind; and unable to compose
myself to sleep, I paced the room for some time in silent agony,
frequently starting as the old boards shook beneath my feet; and
imagining I heard other steps beside my own, and saw grim and ghastly
figures gliding into remote corners. These apprehensions were
augmented by other noises, for which I could not immediately account,
but which struck me with more terror and dismay than I am able to
express. Deep groans were apparently uttered from an upper apartment,
and screams, which I was assured did not proceed from the nocturnal
revellers, whose voices, which I could yet sometimes distinguish,
broke upon the stillness that pervaded the room: I did not, however,
long suffer these imaginary terrors, which were not less appalling
than my real ones, being soon convinced that the sounds I had heard
were occasioned by a considerable number of owls that inhabited the
ruinous part of the building.

'I had not suffered more than an hour the forlornness of my situation
before the man, whose unexpected compassion had awakened my gratitude,
entered the apartment. I trembled as he approached; but my fears were
gradually dispersed when he assured me, that if I would bestow upon
him and his associates all the money and valuables I had about me,
they would not leave me to perish as was their original design, but
would convey me to a convent not far from the wood, where I might
easily obtain admission.

'"You were then employed for the basest of purposes," cried I,
astonished at his having made this avowal; "and you have agreed, no
doubt, for some considerable reward to take away my life, which, if
not more than ordinarily useful, has at least been innocent. Can you,
after such an acknowledgment, hope to obtain mercy?"

"The proposal I have made," interrupted the ruffian, "is at least
merciful; and if you refuse to accede to it, you are no longer an
object of compassion. But I have no leisure to parley, therefore be
swift. What is that gem upon your finger?" resumed the ruffian; "take
it off, and let me examine it."

'It was a ruby presented to me by my mother of considerable value, and
unable to bear the idea of parting with this little sacred memento, I
refused to yield to his wishes; at the same time delivering my purse,
which contained no inconsiderable sum. He counted the ducats with a
look of sullen dissatisfaction, and then demanded, in a stern voice,
if I was determined not to relinquish the jewel. Afraid of irritating
him by repeating my resolution, I endeavoured to interest his pity, by
informing him that it was the gift of my last surviving parent, from
whom I had been long separated, and as; such was invaluable.

"If it is more precious to you than your life," replied the ruffian,
maliciously, "you may assuredly keep it; you are certainly at liberty
either to accept the couditions, or to reject them."

'Finding that nothing less than the ruby would bind him to my
interest, since the sum in the purse was insufficient for the
gratification of his avarice, I was compelled to yield to his threats,
though not without shedding many tears at the sad necessity which
obliged me to part with it. 'The light of the morning now dawned dimly
through the grate of my prison, and soon afterwards I had the
satisfaction of quitting my gloomy abode to pursue my journey.
Melancholy as was the prospect before me, it was less dreary than on
the preceding night, and a small portion of that hope, which never
totally abandons us, returned with all its cheering accompaniments to
my heart. When I arrived at the convent, the Abbess left her room to
receive me; but what was my astonishment when I discovered from her
conversation that I was an expected guest. It was now easy to
investigate the truth even through the obscurity which veiled it. The
men were employed by the Marchese, or rather by Paoli, in obedience to
the commands of his Lord, to convey me by stratagem into this
religious asylum; and the wretches, selected by the steward for the
purpose, taking advantage of my fears and ignorance of their in-
tentions contrived to rob me of the little property I possessed.

'Scarcely was I settled in my new habitahon, when the arrival of Paoli
was announced, who came to makesome arrangements respecting my board.
He was closeted for some hours with the Superior; but the result of
this conversation was kept a profound secret.

'As soon, as he was gone I discovered, from the behaviour of the
Abbess, that she had been induced, through the insinuations of the
steward, to form an unfavourable opinion or me, as she never addressed
me with that maternal affection which characterized her deportment
towards the rest of the sisters; arid when her eyes accidentally met
mine, I observed they were usually turned from me with an expression
of contempt, and sometimes of horror, that penetrated my heart. That
Paoli had uttered much to my disadvantage, to excuse the infamy of his
proceedings, was evident; but of what nature were the aspersions he
had thrown upon my reputation, was not easy to be discovered. Often
did I half resolve to lay the ease before the Abbess, as well to
excite her compassion with a relation of my misfortunes, as to absolve
me from the crimes imputed to me by my enemies. But an irresistible
impulse withheld me for a time from putting this fluctuating design
into practice; and another unexpected event relieved me from the
indispensibility of again adopting a plan, which, from the probability
of being accused of adding dissimulation to treachery, wore rather all
unpromising aspect.

'One day, as I was sitting alone in my cell, a message was delivered
to me by one of the novices, desiring my attendance at the grate. The
surprise this incident excited almost overwhelmed me; hope had so long
sunk beneath the horizon of my prospects, that I believed it
impossible the morning of joy could ever more dawn upon them; a faint
sickness was communicated to my heart, and it was with difficulty that
I was enabled, even with the assistance of a Nun, to reach the
appointed place. It was late in the evening when I was summoned to the
grate; but the dusky hue of the twilight did not prevent me from
distinguishing that the person in waiting was Pali. His figure was too
strongly impressed upon my mind to allow me to mistake it; arid
knowing that a tongue like his could convey no welcome intelligence, I
surveyed him for a moment with a look of silent abhorrence, but
without uttering a word, till at length disengaging something from his
cloak, which I soon discovered to be a letter, "I am come," cried he,
with a malicious smile, "to bring you news of your son; this paper
will inform you of the whole"--I took it with a trembling hand, and
desiring the Nun, who accompanied me, to elevate her lamp, opened it
in haste. The first words which met my eye were these:--

'Our son, having been called into actual service, has lately died in
consequence of a wound received at the battle of Prague; and your
adopted daughter, in obedience to the will of the Marchese de
Montferrat, her guardian and lawful protector, is contracted to a
young Venetian nobleman. Any future inquiry after these persons will
therefore be useless."--The paper now dropped from my hand, a dimness
came before my eyes, and I fell lifeless on the pavement. The cries of
the Nun who attended me, brought others to my assistance; and on
recovering I found myself on a bed in one of those apartments which
are allotted to the Superior, with two of the sisters, who were seated
by my side. One of these I soon perceived was sister Agnes, the Nun
who was professed the day of your arrival, and the only one to whom I
had singularly attached myself.

'It was long before my health was re-established, and probably it
would have been still longer, had not the Abbess, who soon learned the
cause of my sorrow, assisted, with the utmost kindness and attention,
in the recomposing of my spirits. During the first three months of my
captivity, the use of pens, paper, and every other implement of
writing, was denied me; and so strictly was I guarded, that had I been
inclined to attempt an escape, I should have found it impracticable.
But after this melancholy event I was treated with more gentleness
than before; and not feeling any desire to be delivered from
confinement, since every earthly tie was dissolved, I endeavoured to
conciliate the esteem of my associates; and being entirely disengaged
from all worldly concerns, resolved to dedicate the rest of my days to
the exercises of religion.'--

Here Madame Chamont concluded her recital; and scarcely had Laurette
expressed her sense of the obligation, before the Lady of the convent
entered the room. The conversation now turned upon more general
subjects till the bell rang for dinner; when the party, retiring from
the Abbess's parlour, joined the Nuns, who were assembled in the

The rest of the day was passed by our heroine and her earliest friend
in a state of tender thoughtfulness. The absence of Enrico and the
Conte, as well as the motive of it, now the raptures of the meeting
were over, threw a soft shade upon the spirits of Madame Chamont. The
interview, which was shortly to take place between them and the
Marchese, had something in it peculiarly touching. Her son was gone to
claim him as a father; her spotless reputation was shortly to be
cleared from those cruel aspersions with which it had been tainted,
and how these important matters were to be conducted was a subject for
continual reflection. Laurette did not consider it so deeply;
happiness was alone presented to her in the visions of her fancy; the
Marchese, she believed, would not only confess, but repent of his
crimes. What he had meditated against her was already forgotten; and
unsuspicious of the murder of her father, she knew of little else that
could be laid to his charge. To walk together through the cloister in
the ealin hour of twilight; to wander among the massy pillars which
supported its arched roof; to mark the holy devices upon the dim
gothic windows, was a charm the most congenial to their feelings; and
often did Madame Chamont and Laurette steal away unobserved to enjoy
that melancholy kind of pleasure, which scenes of this kind never fail
to excite in devout and susceptible minds. With what pious sensations
did they pace the burial-ground of the convent, divided only from that
appropriated to the Monks by a terrace-walk bordered with cypresses!
How many of the sisters, who, after having lingered out a life of
solitude and penitence in that religious retirement, were now, they
considered, numbered with the dead! The second evening after the
departure of the Conte and Enrico, the chapel-door being left open
after the evening prayers, they went, attended by two of the sisters,
to see an ancient stately monument, which was erected to the memory of
the convent's Foundress, who from her exemplary conduct was reputed a
Saint. It was composed of black marble, and was situated on that side
of the chapel which was nearest the altar. It was almost encompassed
with some others, which had since been creeted to the memory of
several of the former Abbesses, which, though less splendid, were also
ornamented with a number of religious devices.

The privilege of being interred in the chapel was only granted to the
Superiors, the Nuns, whatever might be their rank, being always buried
without. Laurette could not forbear heaving a profound sigh when she
reflected upon the vanity of human distinctions and as she returned
slowly towards the cloister, she frequently turned to survey the
simple graves of the Nuns, which were covered with high grass, and
bordered with evergreens; it being one of the rules of the institution
that, after the profession of a vestal (an event which had recently
taken place) for the novices to replace the flowers and shrubs used in
the ceremony in the same baskets in which they were originally
gathered, and then to leave them at the foot of the altar till the
vigil is at an end: as soon as the festivities are over, the train of
Nuns proceed from the convent to the burial-ground, and being met at
the chapel-door by the novices bearing the baskets, strew them upon
the graves of their departed friends, chaunting at the same time a
requiem for the repose of their souls. This being concluded, the
vesper service is performed; after which the sisters are allowed
either to return to their cells, or to remain in the gardens till the
tolling of the second bell.

Chapter 9

Better be with the dead.
Whom we, to gain our place, hate sent to peace.
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless agony.

Near a week had elapsed since the departure of Enrico and the Conte
before any news respecting the success of their embassy arrived.
During this painful interval Madame Chamont's mind became a prey to
causeless anxiety. Joy arid sorrow had so uniformly succeeded each
other in her past life, that she could scarcely forbear dreading the
future; for having enjoyed so lately the raptures of unexpected
felicity, experience had taught her, that, in the general course of
human events, she might probably suffer the reversc. Long schooled in
affliction, her disposition, though it remained unsoured by
disappointment, had lost much of its sanguineness; and she sometimes
doubted if, when at liberty to return to the world, whether she should
acquit herself to her satisfaction, whether her weakened spirits could
support that elevation of rank to which she must shortly aspire, with
the bustle of society, and all those accompaniments of greatness,
which in high life are so seldom dispensed with. Respecting the
interview between the Marchese and her son, she indulged a variety of
vague conjectures. It was their first meeting; and what would be the
result of such an event? Anxiety was increased by reflection, and all
the tender, the indescribable sensations of the mother were called
into action.

From this state of suspense she was, however, relieved by a letter
delivered by Anselmo, who, as soon as he had entered the gate,
inquired eagerly for Madame Chamont, arid was directed to the convent
parlour. Having received it with breathless anxiety, she retired to
her apartment, and finding it bore the signature of Enrico, unfolded
and perused it in haste. It contained only a few lines; but these were
sufficient to quiet her fears concerning the effect of their journey.

'We have at present,' says Enrico, 'met with no material obstacles to
retard the success of our undertaking. The priest, who was the
principal object of our search, was easily found; and on a strict
investigation, we were mutually convinced that he also had been made
the dupe of designing villany, and was by no means accessary to the
plot, which appears to have been entirely conducted by Paoli.

'The Marchese has already entered into a full confession of his
crimes. He seemed, on our introduction, to endure much internal
affliction; for never did I behold remorse and acute anguish more
forcibly delineated than when his eyes met those of Della Croisse.
This self-condemning conduct induced us to proceed in the affair with
as much gentleness as possible, though we did not omit the necessary
information relative to the legality or his first marriage, and
Laurette's providential release from captivity and expected death!
This intelligence, as it served to assure him of her safety, seemed to
take an oppressive weight from his heart; though the starts of agony,
which frequently convulsed his frame when his distracted mind reverted
to his past crimes, were altogether more dreadful than the imagination
can conceive.

'But I am wandering from my original intention,' continues Enrico,
'which was only to state the policy or your leaving the convent
immediately. Anselmio, who is the bearer of this incoherent epistle,
will procure you a carriage from the Kaiser, which will convey your
charming companion and yourself to the castle of Elfinbach, our
present place of residence, and of late the abode of the Marchese:
perhaps it may be prudent to add, that it is his request also, who, if
we may judge by appearances, is anxious to obtain the forgiveness of
those he has injured. I need not entreat you to prepare for an
interview which may demand some exertion and fortitude, as I am
convinced your own superior understanding will instruct you in what
manner to act. I wish it was in my power to add, that the Marchese's
sincerity and repentance are likely to be proved by the purity of his
future conduct. But, alas I fear it will be otherwise; his
constitution seems to have yielded to intense sorrow, and much is to
be feared from its baleful influence. I mention this,' resumes Enrico.
'for the purpose of hastening your departure from the convent, as well
as to acquaint you with what may happen. Let nothing prevent you from
commencing your journey immediately.'

When Madame Chamont had communicated the contents of this letter to
Laurette, she gave orders for Anselmo to make every requisite
arrangement; and being informed in about an hour that the carriage was
in readiness, she took an affectionate leave of the sisterhood, and,
attended by her fair charge, pursued her way towards the castle.

After a few days' journey, in which no event happened worthy of
attention, they came within view of the mansion, whose rude, deserted
appearance brought to the recollection of Madame Chamont the ideas it
had first excited; and when they arrived at the great gate leading to
the outer court, her tears flowed fast and unrestrainedly, as her
memory reverted to the scenes she had wit--nessed since she last
quitted it.

The death-like silence, which seemed to prevail throughout the castle
as they advanced within a few paces of the portico, aided these uneasy
sensations; and already had they reached the door of the great hall,
which was thrown open for their reception, without having met with any
inmate of the mansion. At last one of the servants belonging to the
Marchese crossed the hall with a hurried step; and on being accosted
by Laurette, stopped to hear her commands. She inquired for the
Chevalier Chamont; and the servant having conducted them into one of
the apartments which they had formerly occupied, ran to inform him of
their arrival. They had not been many minutes in the room before
Enrico entered. His demeanour was mild, but dejected, and his face,
'like to a title-page, foretold the nature of some tragic volume'.
Madame Chamont, who, from the hints dropped in the letter, too well
guessed the cause, after a fruitless attempt to recompose her
feelings, inquired tremulously if they had arrived too late?

'The Marchese is yet alive,' returned Enrico; 'but we must not flatter
ourselves with delusive hopes--he is evidently dying. To me and to the
Conte he has made a full confession of his enormities, and may Heaven,
in consideration of his sincere, though late repentance, pardon his
atrocious crimes! A Carthusian Priar, who has been with him more than
two hours at confession, is so shocked with what has already been
related, that he has twice left the room without giving him
absolution, though, as his decease is hourly expected, I hope he will
be wrought upon not to postpone it.'

Madame Chamont, who now found it necessary to resist the native
softness of her heart with all the fortitude she could command,
endeavoured to mitigate the keenness of her sensibility by the most
vigorous exertion; whilst Laurette attempted to support the sinking
spirits of her friend with an external appearance of firmness, the
effect of painful effort. Since it was impossible for them to be
introduced to the Marchese during his engagement with the Monk, the
party resorted to the saloon, where they were soon joined by the
Signora d'Orfo, whose unbounded joy on beholding Laurette could only
discover itself in tears. She would have made a thousand inquiries
concerning her mysterious departure, and the events that had taken
place since that memorable era, could she have sufficiently commanded
her voice; but surprise, for she had not been taught to expect her
arrival, and the settled melancholy that was depicted upon the
countenances of all present, prevented her interrogatories. After
about an hour spent in painful reflection, the Conte della Croisse,
with the permission of the Marchese, came to conduct Madame Chamont
and Laurette into the chamber. Night and solitude combined to assist
the pensiveness of their feelings, as they advanced with a slow,
unsteady pace through the long winding galleries which led into the
apartment; and as Della Croisse laid his hand upon the door to give
them admission, Madame Chamont's spirits so entirely forsook her, that
she was obliged to lean against one of the pillars of the corridor for
support. A look from Enrico at length inspired her with new fortitude,
who, taking a hand of each, led them to the side of the bed on which
the Marchese was laid.

As soon as he was conscious of their presence, which was not
immediately, a deep groan agitated his frame, and an expression of
guilt and horror was marked in his wildly-looking eyes, which language
can but feebly convey. 'Great Heaven!' thought Laurette, as she
surveyed, with mingled pity and astonishment, the emaciated form
before her, 'look down with compassion upon this afflicted being
suffering in the last hours of existence the agony of an awakened
conscience; and Oh soften the rigour of thy justice with the effusions
of mercy!'

Madame Chamont's grief was silent, but it was deep; she frequently
attempted to articulate, but could not; low sobs prevented her
utterance, whilst her soft eyes were directed eloquently towards
Heaven with a look that was almost angelic; yet, anxious to convince
the Marchese that she came to offer him her forgiveness, and also to
assure him that nothing of enmity lurked in her bosom, she extended
her hand to grasp his, breathing at the same time a prayer for the
repose of his soul. Charmed with the manner in which this favour was
bestowed, he pressed it fervently to his heart; his ghastly
countenance lost much of its dreadful wildness, whilst his hollow
eyes, which before glared with deep and inbred honor, gradually
softened till sorrow, deep and immoveable, was the only expression
that remained.

As Madame Cliamont and Laurette continijed to kneel, though without
addressing him, the Marchese gazed alternately upon each, but was
unable to speak. They, indeed, appeared like two ministering angels
come to offer consolation to a soul bowed down with the weight of its
own irremediable crinies. But the awful distance at which he was
thrown from them, sealed his lips in silence. Their countenances were
irradiated by innocence, whilst his was depressed by guilt; and now
that adversity had brought conviction to his heart, he experienced the
weakness, the imbecility of vice when opposed to the innate dignity of

At length Madame Chamont broke silence, and in language the most
simple and pathetic, pronounced her forgiveness; dwelling likewise
with energy upon the promises of the Gospel in a stile so unassuming
and elegant, that her auditors listened with interest and emotion,
whilst the Marchese, at the same time that he found his whole
attention irresistibly attracted by the consoling truths she had
uttered, felt his hopes insensibly revive; and, after having received
the pardon of all present whom he had injured, he became gradually
more tranquil; though, when his eyes glanced upon Laurette, something
was evidently brought to his recollection, from the influence of which
he would gladly have escaped; and when he beheld the gentleness of her
demeanour, and saw the anxiety she discovered for his happiness, he
observed her with a kind of wrapt astonishment, as if he scarcely
believed that a being so injured could bestow compassion upon its

The interview was short, but affecting. The Marchese, as soon as his
sufferings would allow him command of language, addressed himself to
all present witli the most pathetic energy, expressing forcibly the
high sense he entertained of their unexampled goodness, who could thus
bestow pardon upon a wretch whose crimes had been productive of such
accumulated misery. Shortness of respiration, and sorrow at the
recollection of the past, prevented the Marchese from proceeding, and
being unable longer to support himself, he sunk back upon his pillow;
a cadaverous paleness overspread his face, whilst his quivering lips,
which were parched by the violence of his disease, appeared to be on
the eve of closing for ever. The scene now became insupportably
painful, and Enrico perceiving that his mother and Laurette were much
affected, would have conducted them from the room; but the Marchese
being aware of his design, gently recalled them, and fixing his dim
eyes alternately upon his son and Laurette, added, 'You have long
loved each other with an affection as pure as it has been lasting: I
only have been the means of rendering this attachment unfortunate; and
let me, as the only atonement I can offer for my past offences, bestow
you on each other.'

Laurette, not expecting such an address, bent her blushing cheek
towards the ground, whilst Enrico pressed her unresisting hand to his
breast, as he leaned over the bed with an air of melancholy attention
listening to the words of his father.

The Marchese paused for a moment, and then proceeded:

'Let him, whose crimes and weaknesses have clouded the days of
juvenile affection with premature sorrow, now sanction your future

'Sanction did I say!' continued the Marchese, interrupting himself;
'have I hitherto sanctioned any thing but vice; and is it not virtue
to disobey a wretch like me? But can you not, Laurette, meek-suffering
angel! as you contemplate the virtues of the son, forget the vices of
the father?---the fiend, who would have been thy murderer, from having
consented, after many struggles, to thy death, as well as to-.' Here
he stopped--his wandering eyes became fixed in horror--his limbs
shook--he struck his hand forcibly upon his forehead, as if a pang had
forced it there--and then, apparently exhausted, sunk again upon the

Enrico, finding that quiet and repose were necessary, conducted the
ladies from the room, whilst the Conte della Croisse remained with the
Marchese, who soon afterwards fell into a short slumber.

When they had descended the stairs, they were met by the Confessor,
who, with his cowl over his face, was moving thoughtfully along on his
way to the Marchese's chamber.

Enrico first observing the Father, addressed him for a few minutes
aside; whilst Laurette, hoping in this holy Friar to behold her early
instructor, the lather Benedicta, surveyed him attentively. The
subject he had entered upon, seeming to engage all his powers of
attention, prevented him from being conscious of the presence of any
other than the person to whom he was speaking, till accidentally
turning aside his cowl, she perceived, with amazement, the long pale
visage of her mysterious visitor. Her presence, in the moment he
beheld her, seemed to operate as powerfully upon his feelings; for his
cheek reddened, and his whole frame suffered a slight convulsion; yet
he remained silent, following her with his eyes till she had reached
the door of the saloon, where the Signora was in waiting to receive

Had not the mind of Lairrette been entirely occupied by the scene she
had just witnessed, this singular incident would have excited her
curiosity, arid possibly she might have taken some pains to have
unravelled an affair which had long engaged her in deep reflection.
But compassion for the fate of the wretched Marchese, whose suffering
she had so recently contemplated, was so forcibly impressed upon her
memory, that the recollection of past events, as well as of past
wrongs, were entirely obliterated from her heart.

As soon as Enrico had ended his conversation with the Monk, he entered
the room, and endeavoured, with an assumed composure of address, to
bestow comfort and consolation on the rest of the party. The night was
passed by all in a state of tender dejection, each retiring to their
apartments with a persuasion that the Marchese could not survive the
following day, as he every hour betrayed new symptoms of approaching

In the morning Enrico and Madame Chamont were summoned into the
Marchese's chamber as soon as they were risen; and Laurette, having
disengaged herself from the society of the Conte and the Signora
d'Orfo, felt an irresistible inclination to take a solitary walk
through the avenues, being willing to indulge the luxury of her
feelings amid the scenes of her earliest youth--scenes which memory
presented with more pathetic interest to her heart, when she compared
what had happened when resident there, with the long train of
adversities which had followed in the rear of her former felicity.

No sooner had she crossed the lawn, on her way towards the vista, than
she observed the mysterious Monk moving slowly beneath the leafless
branches of a chesnut in the attitude ofdeep reflection. The hints he
had once given her on a subject of so much importance to her
happiness, as he had so positively affirmed; the portrait he had
delivered with such solemn injunctions, with the various
inconsistencies which had hitherto marked his conduct, now crowded
upon her mind; and since she had nothing to fear from the persecutions
of those who had formerly been her enemies, she resolved, instead of
avoiding him as before, to throw herself in his way, that she might
demand what motive had instigated him to such a singular mode of

This was no sooner determined on than she advanced with a quickened
step along the avenue through which the Father had passed beheld him
stationed at some distance apparently lost in thought.

The sound of her steps did not rouse him from his reverie till she had
arrived within a few paces of the tree under which he was standing,
when starting as from a dream, lie seemed to survey her with
astonishment and painful emotion, but without speaking. Laurette's
newly-acquired courage now forsook her, and anxious as she was to have
these mysteries unravelled, she was unable to address him, and
slightly courtesying, passed on in silence. She had not proceeded many
yards before a sigh, which seemed as if it would rend in sunder the
breast that heaved it, again recalled her attention. She turned--it
was the Monk, who, without moving from the place in which she had left
him, stood gazing upon her with a rapt and earnest regard.

'He has certainly something to relate,' thought Laurette, 'which
materially concerns me, and why should I fear to know it? His conduct
has hitherto been inexplicable; but that by no means implies that it
is always to remain so; besides, he seems to be unhappy, and who knows
but I may have it in my power to comfort him?'--Thus released from the
dominion of fear, she returned again towards the Monk, who observing
her approach, threw his hood back upon his shoulders, and advanced a
few steps forwards; then, as if a sudden pang had seized him, he
stopped, fixed his tearful eyes upon the gniund, and again drawing his
cowl over his face, as if struggling to conceal an excess of
tenderness, turned round, and leaned upon his staff.

Compassion, as well as curiosity, now warmed the heart of Laurette;
and unable any longer to resist the amiable impulses of her nature,
she ventured to intnidc upon the sacredness of his sorrow by asking
him why he wept. Her words seemed to have the effect of electricity,
and so much of tenderness and pity was mingled with his astonishment,
that Laurette felt her bosom throb with new emotion; and anxious,
though fcarful, to enter upon a conversation whose prelude appeared to
have occasioned extreme distress, she at length besought him to inform
her who he was, and why he bent his eyes upon her so piteously without
unfolding the cause.

'Oh my daughter! my daughter!' cried the Monk, clasping her wildly to
his heart, 'Heaven, who alone is acquainted with my sufferings, knows
what I have endured; since, without a possibility of assisting you, I
have left you alone to contend with the adversities of your fate.'

Amazed at a conduct she could by no means explain or excuse, Laurette
disengaged herself from his embrace, and being terrified at the
raptures he had betrayed, for which she could not account, was
irresolute whether to remain with him till her curiosity was
gratified, or to return to the castle; till the Monk, after having
wiped away the tears that had fallen plentifully upon his cheeks,

'Dear orphan of her whom I so early lost, caust thou forgive him who
ought to have defended thee from the shafts of misfortune for having
thus forsaken thee? And wilt thou, by listening patiently to his
recital, acquit him of premeditated wrong?'

'Alas! what mean you, holy Father?' replied Laurette, interrupting
him; 'how have you wronged me, and what claim have I upon your
protection who never knew you?'

'An undoubted claim,' replied the Monk, emphatically--'the claim of a
child upon a parent.'

'Upon a parent!' exclaimed Laurette. 'Oh Heavens! are you then my

'I am not thy father,' returned the Monk, mournfully; 'but, as being
the last surviving parent of thy beloved, yet unfortunate, mother, am
bound to thee by the most sacred ties. From a long residence abroad I
was supposed to be dead; and on my return from imprisonment and exile,
was marvellously directed to this place.'

Joy and astonishment now animated the features of Laurette. To find a
relation of her mother in the mysterious Monk was an unexpected
blessing; and the idea of having it in her power to soften the
remembrance of the past, to tranquillize the future, and to sooth the
infirmities of age with the sweet affections of her nature, was a
source of immeasurable delight; and she besought him to inform her of
those past events which he had described as replete with misery.

An advancing footstep, which proved to be Enrico's, put an end to the
interview; and the Monk, having given her his permission to acquaint
her friends with what he had unfolded, immediately on the decease of
the Marchese, she retired. As Enrico attended her along the avenues,
he perceived that her spirits had been much agitated; but fearing to
distress her by an inquiry into the cause, he only rallied her gently
on her love of solitude, and her secret confidence with the Father,
and then conducted her into the terrace-parlour. Here she found Madame
Chamont alone, and in tears; for her last interview with the Marchese
had much afflicted her: having witnessed his repentance, she now
lamented that death would so shortly prevent him from proving the
sincerity of it. He had delivered her a packet with his dying hand,
expressly commanding that it should be opened on his decease, as it
contained papers conveying particular orders concerning the manner of
his interment. This parcel he presented with his blessing, conjuring
her at the same time to forget the unhappy wretch whose vices had
proved so injurious to her repose, and to endeavour to prolong her
life to augment the happiness of her children, who possessing the
advantage of her precepts and example, would reach the summit of

The day now passed silently towards the close. The physician, by whom
the Marchese was attended, having declared soon after their arrival
that his patient could not survive many days, they were in momentary
expectation of his death. The Monk, his Confessor, who had hitherto
denied him absolution, was called in towards evening to administer the
last Sacrament, and a few hours after midnight the soul of the
Marchese, after repeated struggles, took its flight into the regions
of eternity.

When this melancholy event was commumeated to the family, they
suffered for a time the severest distress; but knowing the necessity
of exertion, each assisted in consoling the othcr, till by repeated
endeavours they at length became reconciled and resigned, through the
not presumptive hope that his repentance, though late, would be
finally accepted.

Chapter 10

Now let the sacred organ blow
With solemn pause, and sounding slow;
Now let the voice due measures keep.
In strains that sigh, and words that weep.

A few days after the death or the Marchese, Madame Chamont, now
Marchesa de Montferrat, mindful of his last injunctiun, opened the
packet, so solemnly delivered, in the presence of the Conte, Enrico,
and Laurette, to examine the contents. It contained several papers
relative to the estates seized upon in the lifetime of their rightful
heir, the orphan daughter of the Conte della Caro, the testimony of
which was sufficient to prove the legality and justice of her claim,
and thereby to reinstate her in her immense possessions, should she
refuse to unite her fate with that of Enrico. Other papers were also
inclosed, which were penned by Father Paulo, the priest, who attended
for the purpose during the illness of the Marchese, in obedience to
the will of the Conte della Croisse, acknowledging Julie de Rubine,
long known by the name of Madame Chamont, to be the lawful wife of the
Marchese de Montferrat; and the youth, hitherto called the Chevalier
Chamont, to be his legitimate son and heir to the titles, as well as
the estates of his deceased father. Then followed the will, which,
after a properarrangement of the landed property, placed Julie,
hisacknowledged wife, in undoubted possession of all the personal
property, amounting to an astonishing sum, excepting only a few
legacies, which were to be paid at the expiration of a month; one to
the Conte della Croisse, the rest to a small number of broken
dependants, who had hitherto partaken of his bounty. The rest of the
writings contained some particular orders relative to his funeral,
which he requested might he conducted with as much privacy as
possible; and as he had no wish to be conveyed into Italy, for the
purpose of being entombed with his ancestors, he desired that his
bones might be laid quietly in the conventual church belonging to the
Carthusians; that no monument should be erected to perpetuate his
memory to futurity, but that every thing should be conducted with as
little ceremony as possible.

As soon as all these affairs were properly adjusted, the remains of
the Marchese were interred according to his desire in the church of
the convent of St Angelo, which was about a quarter of a league from
the castle. The new Marchesa, Enrico, Laurette, and the Conte della
Croisse, attended as mourners. The service for the occasion was read
by Father Benedicta, who delivered it in a stile so moving, that the
least affected of the audience could not refrain from tears. When this
ceremony was concluded, and the body consigned to the dust, a sermon
was presented from the centre of the church, replete with all that
simplicity and energy of expression which the solemnity of the subject
required, and ornamented with all those peculiar graces of eloquence,
for which the accomplished Monk was so deservedly eminent. It spoke of
the reward of the just, and the excellence of all unpolluted
conscience. The subject was of too affecting a nature to be introduced
without exciting emotion Laurette sobbed aloud, whilst the widowed
Marchesa drew her veil over her face to conceal her tears from
observation, as she leaned upon the arm of her son. The whole
congregation, which consisted chiefly of Friars and Lay-brothers
belonging to the monastery, and a number of the rustic inhabitants of
the adjacent villages, listened with undivided attention as the Father
proceeded, who dwelt upon the Divine promises concerning the fate of
departed penitents in a manner that seemed to diffuse peace and
comfort around. As he continued, the audience crowded still nearer; a
saint-like devotion was portrayed on every countenance, and hope,
which before had afforded only a pale and tremulous beam, now burst
forth with unclouded radiance. The path leading to eternal happiness
appeared no longer inaccessible; fear was succeeded by confidence, and
sorrow by resignation. This discourse was followed by a deep and
solemn strain attuned to the notes of the organ, which was full,
harmonious and sublime, such as was calculated to impress deeply upon
the mind the important truths which had been uttered.

This being over, the congregation dispersed, and the party returned to
the castle in a state of tender melancholy, not altogether unpleasing,
each disposed to reflection on the vanity of human desires, and human

On the following day Laurette availed herself of the Monk's
permission, and acquainted her friends of what he had already
disclosed relative to his mysterious appearances, and with every other
event worthy of notice, displaying at the same time the picture of her
mother, the Contessa della Caro, which she had till this period
carefully concealed. However highly the fair orphan had been estimated
by her amiable preceptress previous to this recital, the circumstance
just mentioned, as it discovered that no threats or afilictions,
however terrible, possessed suflicient influence to induce her to
forfeit the promise thus sacredly delivered to the Father, was a
convincing proof that she had early united all the winning delicacies
of her sex with a certain dignity of mind not usually connected with
youth and inexperience: that her son had made so excellent a choice
was not the least of her comforts, and she looked forwards to the
consummation of their happiness with a great degree of tranquil
delight. Enrico's eyes beamed with every virtuous sensation of which
the human mind is susceptible as the Marchesa dwelt upon her praises,
and anticipated with impatience that hour which would complete his
felicity by bestowing upon him the charming reward of his fidelity.

Father Benedicta did not long delay his visit of congratulation and
condolence, but came attended by the Monk, who had acknowledged
himself the near relation of Laurette, whom he introduced to the
Marchesa and the rest of the family by the name of Father Andrea. From
this Friar the pious Carthusian had heard of the many strange
occurrences which had lately taken place at the castle, and waited
anxiously till he could clasp his dear friend, the unfortunate Della
Croisse, to his breast without a breach of propriety. The meeting was
joyful, yet affecting; for busy memory recurred with melancholy
minuteness to the fatal incidents of their past lives, the follies
which had disgraced their earlier years, and thus planted thorns in
their future paths. So true is it, that the mind, though escaped from
the dominion of vice, dwells with pain upon the recollection of those
hours which have been dedicated to licentious pleasures.

In the edifying conversation of these devout Friars the family spent
much of their time, and gained from their religious, as well as moral
discourses, many solid advantages; Peace was soon established among
them, and comfort and joy, the reward of virtuous endurance, came in
her train. The Signora, whose affectionate attention to Laurette,
though she had been deprived through artifice of the power of
assisting her, was remembered with gratitude, and detained not as a
domestic, but a friend: and as soon as suitable arrangements were
made, agreeable to the will of the deceased, the Marchesa, whose
delicacy would not permit this truly-accomplished woman to consider
herself as a dependant, presented her with a very considerable sum as
a reward for her services to the Marchese, which she desired her to
receive not as a bounty but a debt, gently intimating that the
Marchese would have been aware of the justice of this measure, had his
mind been sufficiently collected to have considered it properly. This
piece of generosity was accepted as it merited, with unbounded
gratitude; and in such society as she now enjoyed, the Signora felt
that heaven had made her ample amends for all the former discomforts
of her lot.

Nor was Dorothee, the faithful servant of the Marchese, who had been
so injustly discarded, nor Margeritte, nor Lisette forgotten; these
had all taken refuge in obscure villages, which they gladly quitted to
be again received into the service of their long-lost and much-
lamented Lady. Blessed with an ample fortune, the Marchesa could now
indulge with impunity the diffusive generosity of her nature; and it
was with no common degree of delight that she beheld the same virtuous
principles which she had early instilled into the minds of her pupils,
now blossoming in maturity, bestowing upon their possessors those
undescribable sensations of happiness, which exalted benevolence can
alone experience.

After more than a month spent in the castle since the death of its
former inhabitant, it was deemed requisite for Enrico to be presented
at Court, that he might take possession of the Italian estates annexed
to the title those in Germany being the sole property of Laurette, now
Contessa della Caro, in right of her mother, the daughter of a
Bavarian Noble, an heiress of immense fortune. The Conte della Croisse
offered to attend him on this expedition, which, in the present
situation of affairs, could not be dispensed with, and as soon as
necessary anangements were made, leaving the ladies at the castle till
their return, they quitted this ancient mansion, and commenced their
journey towards Italy.

Father Andrea, who, in the person of Laurette, recalled the image of
her beloved mother, frequuently gazed upon her with tears; and so much
acute anguish did her memory cost him, that it was long before he
could trust himself again with the subject, or reply to Laurette's
anxious request to hear something of his story.

'We will waive it at present, my child,' was his customary answer.
'Perhaps a short time may enable me to be more explicit.'--This was
sufficient to repress the inquiries of our heroine, though not to
stifle her curiosity, who felt an ardent desire of being acquainted
with the destinies of her unknown parents. As Enrico wished her to
remain in ignorance of the murder of her father, he did not fail to
signify this to the Monk previous to his departure, who strictly
promised never to disclose it, since distress, unattended by any
advantage, would inevitably be the result of such a declaration. But
though averse to gratifying her desires immediately as to any
particular events that had befallen him, Father Andrea would
oftentimes accompany Laurette through the long galleries in the
castle, which were ornamented with the portraits of her family, and
inform her for whom they were designed. The painting in the oriel so
strikirigly resembled the miniature that she wore in her bosom, he
passed by in silence, but did not forget to explain the next which was
allegorical, and but for the apparent difference in the age, strongly
characterized the equestrian statue erected in the inner court. This
magnificent column, he informed her, was placed there in honour of
himself by his daughter, the late Contessa della Caro, who having
never heard from him since he had been engaged in a battle, which had
proved fatal to many, supposed him to have been dead; and by means of
an original portrait left at the castle, which was drawn in the early
part of his life, to gratify her filial affection had ordered it to be
copied agreeable to her own design, giving it, instead of the wrinkles
of age, the blooming graces of youth. From this intelligence it was
easy for Laurette to account for the attitude of the figure which was
the next in succession, since it was evident, from the position of the
picture, that it was designed to represent the affectionate Contessa
weeping over the tomb of her lamented Father.

'How elegantly is sorrow expressed!' thought Laurette, not allowing
herself to introduce so delicate a subject. 'What languor--what
softness is in these eyes--how beautiful is the tear that trembles
beneath the lid!'

Could the fair orphan have known, whilst she was internally bestowing
praises upon the portrait, the near resemblance that it bore to
herself; had she been conscious that her form was still more
attractive than that on which she gazed, and that her features, if not
more exact and regular, were of a more bewitching kind; that her eyes
were not less brilliant, and the whole of her figure not less lovely,
she might have accused herself of vanity as she lavished these
deserved encomiums upon the insensible object of her admiration. But
she was the only person who remained ignorant of her external
perfections, though, had she known their extent, this conviction would
not have detracted from her worth, since she valued not too highly
these accidental advantages, either to be elated by the possession of
them, or depressed by the revense.

Laurette, having received her education in the castle of Elfinbach,
and spent, under the guidance of the present Marchesa, some of the
happiest hours of her life in this gloomy mansion, retained for it an
affection which she believed it impossible for her to experience for
any other residence, however evident its superiority in point of
beauty and accommodation. The shades, the groves, and the mountains,
had been familiar to her from childhood, and a thousand tender
memorials were connected with them all. Nor was the Marchesa de
Montferrat less attached to this dreary abode, though a considerable
part of it had fallen into ruins since she had quitted it last; and
but for its amazing extent, they would have found it difficult to have
discovered a sufficient number of rooms for the accommodation of their

The rampart-wall had fallen entirely into fragments, and the northern
side of the structure was crumbling fast into dust; yet the greatest
part of the building, though not uninjured, was able to resist the
inclemencies of the weather; and the rooms which they usually
occupied, though they might have been presented to the curious as
models of antiquity, when animated by the blazing fire and the social
board, wore an appearance of more than modern comfort.

Chapter 11

Beauty alone is but of little worth;
But when the soul and body of a riece
Both shine alike, then they obtain a price.
And are a fit reward for gallant actions.

When Enrico and the Conte had been absent some weeks, their return was
daily expected; and as it was determined that the family should then
remove to the mansion on the Saltzburg estate, till the castle of
Elfinbach was made fit for their residence, Laurette besought the
Monk, whose spirits were less oppressed than before, to perform his
long-neglected promise before she quitted the seat of her ancestors.

'What relates merely to myself,' replied the Father, 'may be less
interesting than you imagine. A life which has chiefly been spent amid
the bustle of Courts and the clang of arms, though it may be marked
with some affecting incidents, does not usually form a pleasing
narrative: I shall therefore pass the greater part of it over in
silence. I have before informed you that your mother was a native of
Germany, and that my name was Ferdinand Baron Neuburg.

'It was in the reign Rodolph, the son of Maximilian the Second, that I
first entered into the service of my eountry, which at that time
suffered not only from internal commotion, but was involved in wars
with the Hungarians, and disturbed with the difference between this
Monarch and Mathias his brother, to whom he finally ceded Hungary and

'Under the patronage of Rodolph, who regarded me with the most
flattering attention, I became skilled in every military art, and
received many enviable proofs of his attachment; but scarcely was I
enlisted among the number of his favourites before an unfortunate
affair deprived me of this flattering distinction. In the Empress's
train was a young orphan beauty, whose name was Augusta, of a noble
but reduced family, who had received her education under the sanction
of her Imperial Mistress, and was introduced at Court much earlier
than damsels of rank usually are. Any attempt to portray the extreme
loveliness of this fair young creature, would convey but an imperfect
idea of her charms, as it was not so much the graces of symmetry, or
the bloom of complexion, though in these she excelled in an eminent
degree, as it was a certain delicacy of sentiment and ingenuousness of
mind, discovering themselves in every movement and action which
diffused such universal enchantement.

'To see frequently the lovely Augusta, without feeling the influence
of her charms, would have justly exposed me to the imputation of
stoicism, particularly when I perceived that she bestowed upon me a
decided attention whenever I presumed to address her, not less
grateful to my affection than my vanity. As she was always about the
person of the Empress, who distinguished her with peculiar marks of
her favour, seldom a day passed at Court which was not rendered
interesting by the object of my admiration and I observed, with no
common share of delight, when compelled, under the banners of the Duke
of Bavaria, to lead a detachment of the Imperial armies into Hungary,
that there was a transporting melancholy in her deportment, which
seemed to intimate that she suffered the keenest apprehensions for my

'My absence from Vienna was not long; the rebel armies were soon
routed, and I returned once more to lay my laurels at the feet of my

"You are brave, Ferdinand," cried Rodolph, rising graciously to
receive me, "and I would fain think of something to bestow as a reward
for your valour, something adequate to your worth I know you are not
mercenary, and either I mistake, or you are not ambitious, yet you
would not disdain to receive a recompence from your Sovereign. I would
raise you to the rank of General, did not your extreme youth stand in
the way of your advancement; but this is a difficulty which time will
remove, and an honour that may be conferred at some future period. If
in the meantime I can serve you in any other respect, you have only to
mention your request; and if it is within the bounds of possibility,
it shall be granted."

'Deprived of the power of utterance by this unexpected generosity, I
could not for some moments express the warmth of my gratitude. Rodolph
perceived my emotions, and finding I had something to ask, conjured me
not longer to deprive him of the power of obliging me, but to name my

'It was not immediately that I could form a reply; when I did, I
touched upon the subject nearest to my heart, and asked, as the reward
of my services, the hand of Augusta. Scarcely had I pronounced her
name before I observed art expression of uneasiness and displeasure in
his countenance which alarmed and perplexed me; and as I continued to
expatiate on the ardent affection I had long conceived for this
beautiful maid, he eyed me with a disordered air; and after assuring
me that this was a recompence not in his power to bestow without the
permission of the Empress, who would unwillingly part with her, and
that these were affairs in which he always considered it prudent to
remain neuter, he left me to all the chagrin and mortification that
grief and disappointment could inflict.

'As soon as I was awakened from my astonishment to a sense of my
hopeless situation, I naturally imagined that Rodolph was himself the
lover of Augusta; and this surmise was soon afterwards confirmed.

'It was in commemoration of a victory formerly gained by the Emperor,
Charles the Fifth, over the French King, Francis the First, that a
society of German Nobility assembled to partake of a sumptuous
banquet, given by the Duke of Bavaria in honour of this interesting
event. Being included among the number of patriots, I endeavoured, as
much as possible, to conceal the mortification I had lately
experienced under an aspect of assumed gaiety. The conversation,
though it was chiefly on the cabinet and the field, was lively and
unconstrained; unbounded hilarity universally prevailed, and, after
many attempts to obtain a temporary animation, r finally succeeded,
though my heart was still occupied by one favourite object-the image
of Augusta. As soon as the dinner was concluded, the wines sparkled on
the board, and the exhilarating draught went round. The name of
Rodolph was given--his praises echoed through the room. The flames of
my loyalty had been somewhat extinguished, yet I accorded with the
rest; I acknowledged him brave, noble, and warlike; I would have added
disinterested, but my heart contradicted the assertion.

'The Empress was then given; her virtues were applauded, and
encomiums, that would have enhanced the reputation of the immaculate
Portia, were bestowed, or rather lavished, upon her. Then followed the
Princes of the Blood, excepting only Mathias, whose disaffection to
his Sovereign justly excluded him from this honorary attention; and
then the Nobles in general, particularly those who had distinguished
themselves in the Senate or the Camp.

"We have hitherto confined our attention to the brave and the
virtuous," cried a young soldier, who was seated at the right-hand of
the Duke, because accidentally related to him. "Shall not beauty come
in for its share? has it not hitherto been offered as the reward of
military glory, and shall we not exalt its praise? Let us then,"
resumed he, filling high the sparkling goblet, "drink to the matchless
Augusta, the brightest gem of the Crown--the rose of Vienna!"

'I raised the cup to my lips, but scarcely could I keep it from
falling; her name penetrated my soul, and brought with it a thousand
uneasy sensations. The mirth of the assembly now became boisterous;
the name of Augusta was frequently repeated, and it was easy to
discover that sire was universally considered as the favourite of the
Emperor. My distress now became too deep for conccalrnent, and without
offering any apology for my conduct, I quitted the company abruptly,
that I might converse with my own soul in secret, and reconcile
myself, if possible, to my disappointment.

'In vain did I endeavour to combat my affection, or to convince myself
that she merited the oblique aspersions that had been thrown upon her
character; her modesty, her unexampled beauty, the dignity of her
demeanour, the retiring delicacy of her manners--all pleaded
eloquently her cause, and seemed to reproach me for having even
listened to a conversation tending to deprive them of their influence.

'A few days after this event I was summoned into the presence of the
Emperor, who received me with an affected satisfaction, which
displeased me, because I easily discovered that it was not genuine.
After having accosted me with his accustomed familiarity, he praised
my former exploits, and concluded with making known his intention of
sending me on another expedition into the precincts of Hungary. The
coldness with which I received this proposal, for I was a stranger to
the arts of dissimulation, offended him; but he cautiously avoided a
verbal confession of his displeasure, still endeavouring to conceal it
under an appearance of cordiality. He saw he had injured himself in my
esteem, and considered that from the intestine divisions of his
country, for many had secretly espoused the causc of Mathias, it would
be a politic measure to regain it. Easily penetrating his design, I
shrunk from the meanness of it with contempt; yet the strength of my
local attachment determined me to defend my country, though I now no
longer regarded with partiality the man who was reputed its father.

'Having acceded to his desires, I once more quitted Austria, but not
till I had first accomplished an interview with my Augusta, by means
of a confidential dependant. This was with difliculty effected, as
native modesty for some time prevented her from according with my
desires; but affection finally triumphed, and in accents which are
indelibly impressed upon my memory, she acknowledged herself concerned
in my welfare. Still, however, I was dissatisfied and restless; what I
had heard at the banquet, with what had fallen under my immediate
observation, gave room for conjecture; yet scarcely could I summon
resolution enough to make it known. To hint my suspicions, to throw a
shade upon her conduct which, if spotless, must so tenderly wound a
heart incapable of depravity, would, I considered, be raising an
insurmountable bar to my hopes. Yet to remain in a state of suspense,
to endure the idea that her affections were devoted to another, to
feel the possibility of doubting whether they were my own, was a
reflection that brought with it the most acute anguish; and at length
I resolved to free myself from these inquietudes by a disclosure of my
halfindulged surmises.

'The result of this conference placed her worth and honour beyond a
doubt, and occasioned me to depart with a full determination of
returning as soon as possible to Vienna, and of renewing my suit.
Released from these visionary distresses, I commenced my military
tour. Success crowned our endeavours--the enemy retreated as far as
Buda--the General of the Hungarian forces, after a severe and sudden
attack, laid down his arms--victory seemed on all sides to decide for
us--and, every way fortunate, we returned to the metropolis loaded
with spoils and honours.

"Surely," cried I, "Rodolph will no longer refuse to bestow upon me
the lovely Augusta. If my former deeds in arms have not entitled me to
so rich a reward after this change in his favour, he will no longer
slight my services but will confer upon me this mestimable maid, the
only return I shall require, or deign to receive."

'Full of these warm, these sanguine hopes, whose only tendency is to
mislead the judgment, I arrived at Vienna, and took the first
opportunity of throwing myself before the throne of Rodolph, whose
arms were open to receive me. But before I had time fully to acquaint
him with the extent of my good fortune, or to repeat my request, I
perceived a fixed expression of melancholy in his countenance, so
nearly connected with despair, that my heart glowed with every
sentiment of compassion. He observed it, and endeavoured to force a
smile upon his features, as he congratulated me on the success of my
undertaking; but it was a smile that had more in it of internal
sadness than of tranquillity. Finding that he listened to me with a
divided attention, and being unwilling to probe the wound he seemed
recently to have received, I left him with an intention of seizing a
more favourable moment of winning him to my interest. Scarcely had I
removed from his presence before Count Wallestein, a courtier in the
train of the Empress, crossed my path. I inquired of him the cause of
this universal silence which seemed to reign throughout the Court; and
was informed, to my unspeakable grief and astonishment, that my
Augusta was no more; that she had been attacked with a severe disorder
soon after I left Austria, which in a few days proved fatal! The
anguish I endured at this moment can be scarcely conceived; the Count
saw it, and offered something which he meant for consolation, at the
same time convincing me by his manner, rather than his words, that he
had been acquainted with the attachment subsisting between me and

'This unexpected calamity occasioned me to consign myself to solitude
for the space of some weeks, during which time I allowed no one to
intrude upon the rights of my sorrow, chusing rather to reconcile
myself to my misfortunes iii the solitude of my closet, than to
attempt to procure consolation amid scenes of dissipation. Peace being
soon afterwards proclaimed, I now felt disengaged from all earthly
pursuits; and, after much consideration, determined to bid my adieu to
my Sovereign, and to retire into one of those castles occupied by my
ancestors in the Dutchy of Bavaria. This resolution was at first
strenuously opposed by Rodolph, who held forth the most alluring
promises to divert me from a project by no means favourable to his
interests: hut finding I was not to be wrought upon by the sophistical
arguments made use of in his defence, he left me to pursue my own
inclinations with many marks of displeasure, without even hinting any
thing as to a reward for my former services. I had already made every
necessary arrangemerit for my intended expedition, and was preparing
to bid a long adieu to those scenes of illusion, which, from the
prejudices of education, and the force of habit, had long occupied my
thoughts, and was ruminating in silence on the new plan of life I was
going speedily to adopt, when my reflections were disturbed by Count
Wallestein, who having been long a concerned spectator of what was
passing in my heart, besought me, instead of prosecuting my former
intentions, to accompany him on a little rural excursion through
Switzerland and Savoy.

"I know the nature of your feelings too well," resumed the Count, "to
propose, what is usually recommended as a restorative to a wounded
mind, scenes of levity and dissipation. These generally fail in their
effect, and if otherwise, the remedy is too frequently a dangerous
one; yet, though I mean to discountenance this method of subduing the
pang of severe distress, I by no means approve the mode of conduct you
have recently, and I may add, too hastily adopted. You are at present
too young to bury yourself in total inaction; the duties of your
station require exertion, and he who believes he can discharge them in
solitude, suffers his judgment to be deluded. Much may be done, I
acknowledge, in the narrow sphere of domestic arrangements; sorrow may
be made to smile, and poverty to feel the diffusive power of
benevolence. Virtue and content are said to inhabit the path of rural
seclusion, and, like the wild flowers that decorate the forest, thrive
best, amid the unfrequented shades of Nature; yet in situations like
these, our sphere of action is too much contracted to lead to any high
attainment in virtue. It is in society only that our power is equal to
our inclination; and trust me, the blessings it bestows make ample
amends for those little wayward accidents in human life, which will
occasionally happen to the most fortunate however ardently they may
endeavour to escape from them. Let me then," resumed the Count,
"prevail upon you to renounce a plan which secludes you from the
participation of pleasure, without retaining power sufficient to
indemnify you from partaking of that joyless portion of bitter
disappointment, which inevitably lingers in the cup of human life."

'These and other arguments, seducingly delivered, at last prevailed
upon me to accede to the proposal, though I secretly resolved, on my
return from this rural expedition, to quit Vienna, and to repair, at
least for some time, to the seat of my ancestors. A few days after
this event we commenced our journey towards Switzerland, meaning to
perform it by easy stages, that we might occasionally loiter amongst
the most picturesque scenes of this romantic country. It was now the
beginning of June, and the heat not sufficiently intense considerably
to retard our progress. Every object that presented itself was enrobed
in that sublime simplicity which characterizes these charming regions,
whose imagery is at once lofty and impressive, lilling the mind that
contemplates it with the most exquisite emotions. Having coasted the
Alps, whose snow-capped summits were half obscured in the clouds,
viewing from these lofty eminences every unadorned beauty which the
most glowing imagination could portray, we arrived at a beautiful
village beneath the Alpine steep of a precipice, near St Julian in
Savoy, whose prospect was bounded by a fine range of hills retiring
into remote distance, which, being covered on one side with fine woods
and vineyards, formed a striking contrast with the naked sublimity of
the uncultivated side, deformed, or rather aggrandized by huge masses
of frowning rock, rising in the most romantic directions.

'We did not reach this village till near an hour after sun-set for as
we proceeded leisurely along the glen on our way thither, we
frequently paused to survey the rich vermeil hue left upon Mount
Blanc, long after the sun had receded from the horizon, which fired
the whole western hemisphere with the most glowing tints, till the
blue mist of the twilight stole meekly upon the scene, and the moon
sailing silently towards her destination, commenced her reign of
tranquillity. Fatigued with traversing these immense mountains, which
it was impossible to avoid, I proposed taking our nightly rest at a
small inn, situated about a quarter of a league from the village,
which, however, appeared to be near; but the Count objected to the
proposition, assuring me that the village was an object of too much
importance to be neglected, since it possessed more natural beauty
than many others which had attracted our attention; and as we were now
at such an inconsiderable distance, he must insist upon our reaching
it that night, intimating a desire that, for the sake of variety, we
should leave our carriage and mules at the inn, and descend gradually
the mountain till we had gained the object of our ramble. Feeling no
inclination to contend with him in a matter of so little importance, I
acquiesced; and having disposed of our mules and attendants agreeably
to his desire, we advanced towards the hamlet, which consisted of a
number of small white cottages, remarkable for their neatness and
beauty, almost surrounded with mountains. In this sylvan spot the
simple children of Nature, whose habitations were enclosed by these
almost inaccessible barriers, seemed to repose in uninterrupted quiet,
and to be equally removed from the cares and distresses of life. The
song of the herdsman, the bleat of the lamb, or the carol of the
hasty-footed passenger, tended to wrap the mind in that pleasing kind
of melancholy, which rural sounds and rural objects never fail to
inspire, when the heart is sufficiently at ease to be susceptible of
these amiable impressions.

'Having examined all that had hitherto fallen within the sphere of our
observation, we proceeded, by a little winding path, along a gentle
descent, till we reached a cottage so peculiarly beautiful, that our
senses were for some time absorbed in admiration. It was small, and of
exact proportion; and so much taste was displayed in the grounds which
inclosed it, that it appeared like the retreat of some sylvan deity,
who had exhausted all the beauties of nature to harmonize her
favourite residence. A little lawn led to the door, which was
ornamented with several fltnciful shrubberies, intermingled with a
variety of those many-coloured flowers, wilieli enamel, and perfume
with their odours, the flinty bosom of Savoy. A wood wound along its
side, through which a stream, that had spent its fury among the rocks,
was dimly and but at intervals seen through the deep-foliated branches
that hung over it, whose sound died away in a gentle murmur, as it
retreated from this beautiful dwelling to form a lake in front of the

'As we drew nearer to the cottage, a strain of music, so soft, so
sweet, that it seemed to proceed from no mortal touch, came faintly to
our ears in the silence of the night. It appeared to possess the
powers of enchantment, for we were unable either to return or to
proceed. Whilst we still listened, it paused, and then, accompanied by
a voice which was melody itself, struck into another measure. The
Count eyed me with a look of secret triumph, and then desired me to
follow him. I obeyed in silence till we arrived within a few steps of
the door, when I demanded in what manner he intended to introduce
himself to the fair syren who had thus riveted our attention.

"Your curiosity will soon be gratified," returned the Count, with a
smile, which was attended by a look I did not comprehend. "You have
nothing to do but to follow my steps, and be assured the adventure
will terminate to your satisfaction." While he yet spoke, the voice
ceased, the music sunk into cadence, and low sobs, broken, but
distinct, were heard in its stead.

"What can this mean?" cried I, interrupting him. "Can sorrow have
found an asylum in this sweet abode? If so, where call we look for
tranquillity?" The Count, without vouchsafing a reply, advanced
towards the window from whence the music was heard, and encouraged by
his example, I followed slowly along. The casement was thrown open to
admit the cool breeze of the evening; but a shade of fine lattice-
work, which was over-canopied with the clematis integrifolia,
eglantine, and a number of variegated evergreens, concealed the
inhabitants of this beautiful little cottage from the gaze of the
passenger. Whilst we yet paused to observe the tasteful simplicity of
its aspect, a rough breeze wafted aside the foliated covering, and
discovered a female, clad in a white robe, bending gracefully over a
harp. Her fine flaxen locks, which descended to her waist in the most
luxuriant tresses, were simply confined with a ribbon passing over her
forehead, and fastened, without the appearance of art, in a loose and
airy manner. A thin veil, of the slightest texture, covered her face,
to which imagination now gave all those charms of expression, all that
softness of eolour which glow in the mind of the painter, the poet,
and the lover. In a few moments she arose, replaced the harp by her
side, and then heaving a gentle sigh, advanced towards the window.

'Ashamed of being seen thus watching her movements, as the breath of
the zephyr allowed me partially to observe her, I receded some paces
back; but before I could conceal myself behind the interwoven branches
of the clematis, she drew up the lattice-work with an intention of
closing the casement, and gave us a full view of her person. Her veil
was yet over her face; but as the Count approached nearer to the
window she uttered an exclamation of surprise, and threw it back upon
her shoulders. I caught the tones of her voice; but scarcely could I
convince myself that I was still in existence, when, raising my eyes
from the ground, I beheld in the beautiful recluse my beloved Augusta.
To convey a just idea of my feelings at this moment would be
impossible; I shall therefore pass them over in silence, observing
only that she received me with those speaking tears, and blushing
smiles, which convey more eloquently than words the genuine force of

'As soon as I was a little composed, I desired the Count would explain
this eventful mystery, since it was evident that to lead me to this
spot was a preconcerted scheme, and that he was acquainted with the
strange circumstance which had given rise to the report of her death.

"You are right, my dear Ferdinand," returned the Count, whose fine
countenance was irradiated with a smile of benevolence; "I have been
the chief performer in this little drama, and if you will give me a
patient hearing, I will instantly explain my motive for having thus
led you from joy to grief, and from grief to happiness. You are not
ignorant of the passion that Rodolph cherished for Augusta, which he,
however, long concealed from her; but this unfortunate prepossession
increasing with her beauty, he was led, by slow progressive measures,
to the attempt of conciliating her affections, which he had some hopes
of effecting. Your attachment to his favourite, and the benignant
glances which she sometimes cast upon you, gave him more serious
uneasiness than he had ever before experienced. This accounts for a
behaviour which before this discovery was uniformly different, and for
the manner in which he precipitated your departure into Hungary.

"No sooner had you left the Court of Vienna than the Empress observed
his emotions in the presence of Augusta, and instantly guessed the
cause. In this affair she displayed less of that exalted magnanimity
of conduct than she had formerly discovered on every other occasion.
Her affection for Augusta was transformed into the most deadly hate,
which instigated her not only to withdraw her protection, but to
inflict some punishment as severe as undeserved. Hitherto I had been
honoured with her confidence in affairs of equal importance; and
fearing, lest the violence of her passions should plunge her into some
unexampled error, I called a little dissimulation to my aid, and
entering warmly into her feelings, promised to assist her design.
Fortunately at this crisis Augusta was so much indisposed as to be
obliged to remain in her apartment. This was favourable to my purpose;
and during her confinement I prevailed upon the Empress to allow me to
spread a report of her death, and also to permit me to convey her into
a convent, which would effectually prevent her from being either seen
or heard of more. Having undertaken the management of this affair, I
contrived to inform this fair victim of unjust resentment of these
newly-concerted measures; at the same time assuring her, that if she
would assist my enterprise, by wearing an appearance of joy in the
presence of the Empress at being allowed to end her days in a
religious retirement, instead of devoting her to a conventual life, I
would only remove her for a short time to a little romantic retreat in
a remote province till I had acquainted you with her situation, who, I
was convinced, would gladly liberate her from solitude. Since to leave
the Court had been for some weeks the primary wish of her soul, she
gladly consented to the proposal, and was immediately conveyed hither.
In the meantime the report of her death was circulated so successfully
by the Empress and her confidential dependants, who had bound
themselves by oath to an eternal silence upon the subject, in
consideration of a great reward, that none entertained any doubt of
its reality. A coffin, attended by all the ladies of the Court, who
knew not but that it contained the body of their companion, was
interred with all the rites of burial; and so artfully was every thing
conducted, that the Emperor, the Nobles, and the whole Court, were
completely deceived.

"As then, you must allow," resumed the Count, "that I have acted the
part of a friend, you will pardon me for having permitted you to taste
of calamity, since without the bitter ingredients of life, the sweets
would be deprived of their relish; and as you will have the justice to
allow that the few weeks of separation, which were necessary for the
furthering of our scheme, have been more than counter-balanced by the
joys of meeting, you have now nothing to do," continued the Count,
directing a playful smile at the blushing Augusta, "but to obtain the
hand of this fair wood nymph, who, if I have any skill in physiognomy,
bestowed her heart upon you almost before she knew she had one. A
priest may easily be procured, by whom the ceremony may be performed,
and your own prudence, as to secrecy, will instruct you how to act.--"

'The path being thus cleared, half the difficulties were removed; and
having renewed my suit with all the ardency of the sincerest
affection, she soon consented to bestow upon me the happiness I
sought; and a priest being engaged, I was soon permitted to address
her by the endearing appellation of wife.'--The Monk now paused for a
moment, to give a tear to the recollection of his former happiness,
and then proceeded---

'As soon as the marriage was solemnized, we repaired, attended by the
Count Wallestein, to this castle, in which I spent many years in
uninterrupted felicity. Heaven blessed us with a daughter soon after
our marriage, and the important secret remaining still undiscovered, I
removed occasionally to Court during the reign of Rodolph; but my
absences from the castle were never long, serving only to augment the
happiness I enjoyed in the society of my wife and daughter. At last,
however, it pleased Heaven to deprive me of my much-loved partner,
though not till she had seen her daughter eligibly and happily united
to the Conte della Caro, an Italian Nobleman, who accidentally saw her
as he was making the tour of Europe, and who, on my consent to their
marriage, promised to allow his bride to spend half the year in this
castle, to which she was singularly attached. Thus deprived by death
of my Augusta, I felt once more an inclination to travel, and to
resume, if occasion required, my former profession, that of arms.
Mathias had now succeeded to the empire; and though by no means
attached to this haughty Prince, I determined to defend my country,
now suffering from a confederacy called the Evangelical League, which
was, however, counterbalanced by an host equally formidable, the
assembly of the Catholics.

'Those who have courage to take an active part on either side when a
kingdom is divided against itself, are encompassed with innumerable
dangers, and few there are that escape persecution. Some trifling
inadvertency, which I could never perfectly understand, was alledged
against me, which was blackened with so many malicious insinuations,
that, without any formal accusation, I was conveyed by stratagem from
the kingdom, after having rendered it many services; and having found
means of escaping from my persecutors, was confined in a prison by
order of Mathias, who recollecting that in the reign of his brother I
was no friend to his unjust pretensions, eagerly listened to the
calumnious reports which were circulated by my enemies for the
accomplishment of my destruction. In this miserable situation I
remained near two years, and then, without any reason being publicly
given for this, or for my mysterious confinement, I was as strangely
released. Thus emancipated from captivity, I resolved to leave the
intrigues of Courts, and the uncertainty of arms, to the young and the
fortunate, and to return again to my former residence. Having put my
intention into practice, of resigning for ever a military life, I
returned to the castle of Elfinbach, anxious to clasp to my heart a
daughter from whom I had been so unjustly separated. But what was my
grief, when I was informed that both she and the Conte were dead, the
latter being slain by a party of banditti, or some other as lawless
wretches, which caused the death of the lovely mourner, his widow,
soon after she had given birth to a daughter, who, it was supposed,
had died with her! Though I had no suspicion of the falsehood of the
report concerning the fate of the infant, having never heard any thing
to the disadvantage of the late Marchese de Montferrat, who I knew to
be the nearest relative of the Conte della Caro, and consequently the
next heir to his estates if he died childless; yet I could not forbear
sometimes listening to reports which were circulated, though not
generally believed, in the neighbourhood of Turin (whither I
afterwards repaired) respecting a female infant, which was sent to
nurse by the Marchese de Montferrat, believed by some to have been the
daughter of the Contessa della Caro. This instigated me to call on the
woman who had accepted the charge; but, except a numerous family of
her own, she had no child in her care; and her replies were at once so
simple and so artless, that I easily credited her assertion, which
tended to convince me that all reports upon this subject were founded
in error. Weary of a world in which I was left al-e and unfriended, I
finally determined to find out some secure and peaceful asylum, where
I might terminate my days in peace and solitude; and at length fixed
upon a little alpine spot amid the mountains of Switzerland, which was
merely a cottage. In this melancholy retreat I remained many years
under an assumed character and name, leading literally the life of a
hermit, till a very singular dream, joined with an ardent desire of
visiting my former dwelling, induced me to quit my retirement.

'It was one night, when I had fallen into a sleep much earlier than
usual, that I thought a person approached me as I slept, and bade me
to repair without delay to the castle of Elfinbach, for in that
mansion the offspring of the unfortunate Conte della Care was
receiving her education, and that it depended upon myself not only to
reinstate her in the possessions of her ancestors, but to save her
from misery and from death. This visionary address was so deeply
impressed upon my mind, that it was long before I could recompose my
spirits, or convince myself it was but a dream. At the same hour the
next night the command was repeated; the same figure appeared to me
again in the visions of my sleep, bidding me depart, and watch
unobserved the movements of the present inhabitants of the castle; not
openly to declare what I had been told, but to wait the effects of
time, which would eventually unravel all. This repetition of the last
night's adventure determined me to adhere to the advice delivered; and
having procured the habit of a white Friar, the better to protect me
from danger and impertinence, I commenced, in the character of a
ghost, my nightly watchings. I soon, however, discovered means of
informing Ambrose that I was mortal, and from him gained an accurate
account of what was passing in the castle, and what had happened
before I reached its boundaries. From what he affirmed, I had every
reason to believe that my dream was founded on truth, though it was
riot sutflcient to lead to a certainty.

'To the chapel I had free access, continued the Monk, 'at every hour
of the night, and also to the burial-vault beneath, which I entered by
means of an outward door opening behind the headless statue erected at
the extremity, where I frequently spent some time in conversation with
Ambrose, or, when alone, allowed myself the sad indulgence of weeping
over the remains of my beloved Augusta, which were entombed in that

'When I beheld you, which was not, in spite of my utmost endeavours,
till several weeks after my arrival, the resemblance you bore to your
mother, convinced me you was her child; and thinking it necessary to
warn you of your danger whilst in the power of the Marchese de
Moutferrat, I delivered you her picture, and meant to have disclosed
the secret of your birth, and then to have offered you my protection;
but was prevented by the interference of Paoli and your sudden
removal. Not knowing whither you was conveyed, till after the return
of Ambrose, which did not happen till a considerable time afterwards,
I suffered the most restless anxiety for your safety. His presence,
however, when lie came to discharge the domestics, relieved me from
apprehension, though the information he gave me determined me to go
immediately in quest of you. Not knowing the exact situation of the
castle in the principality of Saltzburg, I was obliged to repeat my
inquiries; and being at first unsuccessful, was directed by chance, or
rather by Providence, into the chapel of a forsaken abbey, which you
afterwards entered, attended by a stranger of a dignified and amiable
aspect, who proved to be the present Marchese. His presence prevented
me from addressing you as I should otherwise have done; but by
following you along the mountains, I had soon an opportunity of
discovering your place of residence. After this event, I frequented
the castle of Lunenburg as I had formerly done this, but without
obtaining the accomplishment of my desires. Soon afterwards I learned
from Ambrose, whom I largely rewarded for this intelligence, that you
was sent into a convent on the borders of Italy, and that the Marchese
had retired in extreme perturbation of spirits and distress of mind to
the castle of Elfinbach. Knowing, if this was the ease, which I had no
reason to doubt, that I might be enabled by some means, during your
year of initiation, to contrive your escape, could I inform myself of
your place of destination, I repaired again to this ancient and almost
deserted mansion, entertaining some hopes that, with the assistance of
Ambrose, I might repeat with success my supernatural appearances, and
thus surprise and terrify the Marchese into confession; since it was
now evident, from the whole of his conduct, that he had concealed, and
usurped the rights of, a defenceless orphan. In this attempt I
succeeded, and by the assistance of a trap-door, so artfully contrived
as not to be perceived by the most careful observer, gained the
interior of his apartment, and so well accommodated myself to his own
guilty feelings, that the disorder of his mind hourly increased, and
was followed by an alarming disease, attended with many dangerous
symptoms. This occasioned him to send for a Confessor from the
Carthusian monastery, that he might have an opportunity of
unburthening his conscience.

'I was fortunately at the abbey of St Angelo at the time the message
arrived, in the society of Father Benedicta, with whoni, under my
assumed habit, I had accidentally formed a superficial acquaintance,
and whose worth and goodness led me to esteem his character long
before I was personally known to him. As to learn the substance of a
confession, which appeared to promise much important information, was
of the utmost consequence to my future interests, I formed the
resolution of attending as Confessor, as I knew the severity of the
ecclesiastical rules would effectually prevent my obtaining this
knowledge, however necessary, by any other means. This induced me to
make my intention known to Father Benedicta relative to my plan of
personating a Carthusian, though without disclosing to him that I was
not really a Friar; and with some difficulty, after making my reasons
partly known, prevailed upon him to supply me with a habit of the

As the Marchese had not signified a desire that any particular Friar
should attend, I was readily admitted, and soon learned the cause of
his remorse; but the purport of this singular confession I consider
myself as bound, by the strictest ties of religion, as well as of
honour, strictly to conceal, and should consider myself as culpable by
the laws of justice, if I suffered myself to reveal it, as if I had
taken the indissoluble oath administered in the period of initiation,
which binds to eternal secrecy as to the nature of confessions.

'When the Marchese had completely unburthened his conscience, which
was not till my third visit, and it was proved, after the arrival of
the Conte della Croisse, that you was in a place of security, which
appeared to take a considerable weight from his heart, I sent one of
the brotherhood to bestow absolution, not being empowered to perform
this ceremony myself, to whom also the substance of the confession was
repeated in the same manner as before, though from the appearance of
the Monk, which perfectly corresponded with my own, the Marchese was
not conscious of the deception.

'As soon as these ceremonies were properly adjusted, I informed Father
Benedicta of the artifice I had employed; and having thrown aside the
habit I had formerly worn, substituted that adopted by the
Carthusiaris; and entering juto the convent of St Angelo, agreeable to
mv former intention, took the name of Father Andrea.

'With all the rest, my dear child,' rejoined the Monk, 'you are
already acquainted. I have now related to you all the material
mcidents of my past life, which for many years has been marked with
severe misfortune; but Heaven, in your preservation and happiness, has
bestowed some sweeteners of my melancholy existence, and I receive
them with gratitude.'

Chapter 12

Swift o'er the lyre's harmonious strings
His magic hand the minstrel flings;
Obedient to the sprightly sound
The dancers' quivering feet rebound:
Diffusing wide their silver rays.
Aloft the sparkling lustres blare:
While milder emanations flow
From love-enkindling orbs below.

The Marchesa and Laurette did not neglect, amid the newly-acquired
happiness that surrounded them, to visit their amiable acquaintance,
the Abbess of the Order of Penitents, who received them with every
proof of the sincerest affection. To her society they devoted many of
the intervening hours passed in the absence of Enrico and his
venerable friend, finding in her conversation all that elegance of
expression, and delicacy of sentiment, which rendered her as charming
as respectable, even in the midst of age and infirmities.

It was now the latter end of May, and the season remarkably fine. The
groves and the woods were again clothed in the most delightful
verdure, whilst the hedgerows, which displayed that luxuriance of
foliage ever perceptible in this fertile country, were now beautifully
embroidered with honeysuckles, and overhung with the blushing wreaths
of the rosa canina; all Nature seemed to have awakened to joy and
harmony! With what emotions of delight did Laurette now wander along
the borders of that river, whose bank had formerly been the scene of
infant pastime, recalling fondly to her recollection the years that
were past, and alternately weeping and smiling at the vicissitudes of
fortune! How charming was it to bring back, with the aid of memory,
every interesting event in that uninformed period of existence, when
hope revelled in the heart unchecked by disappointment, and joy
suffered no decrease from gloomy retrospection! It was after one of
these sweet lonely excursions, which she had commenced in the absence
of the Marchesa, who had taken an early walk to the convent, that she
observed at some distance four horsemen advancing towards the castle,
which on a nearer view she discovered to be Enrico and the Conte della
Croisse, attended by Anselmo and another of the domestics.

Tremblingly alive to every sensation of pleasure, she bounded swiftly
from the mountains, and before the travellers alighted, arrived at the
portico. As soon as Enrico observed her, his eyes beamed with
inexpressible rapture, whilst love, in the most lively colours, was
depicted on his countenance.

The usual expressions of congratulation on meeting again being over,
which were accompanied, on the part of Enrico and Laurette, with those
melting looks of unspeakable affection which lovers only understand,
they were joined in the terrace-parlour by the Marchesa, and soon
afterwards by the Signora d'Orfo.

When the travellers had partaken of a little refreshment, they were
requested to relate the success of their journey, which, they soon
convinced their hearers had been every way fortunate; since proofs of
the legitimacy of Enrico's birth had appeared sufficient to silence
the claim of any other person, should an attempt to discountenance the
justice and truth of the fact be hereafter made.

'Yet my happiness is at present incomplcte,' cried Enrico, casting a
look of tenderness upon the timid blushing Laurette; 'will not she
then, who has it exclusively in her power to bestow on me the felicity
I ask, deign to confer it? Can she doubt the strength of my affection,
or refuse to reward it, after having received so many testimonies of
its permanency?'

'She does not mean to prevent, or even to procrastinate your
happiness,' replied the Marchesa. 'She is above dissimulation; and as
I have hitherto been allowed to influence her actions under the
character of a preceptress, she will grant me the privilege of naming
the day. Will you not, my lovely pupil,' resumed the Marchesa, with a
smile of ineffable tenderness, 'give me this new proof of your dutiful
acquiescence, the last I may have cause to demand?'

Laurette blushed deeply; and, having assured her beloved friend that
any request of her's would have the force of a command, permitted her,
after a little gentle reluctance, to name the same day on the
following week.

Enrico's joy on this occasion could only discover itself in tears;
every wish of his soul was gratified, and it now appeared impossible,
to his delighted imagination, that sorrow could ever again become an
inmate of his breast.

The week now passed rapidly towards the close, which was employed by
the Marchesa and the Signora in preparing for the intended marriage,
which was to be attended with all that diffusive hospitality, so
strikingly exhibited in the character of the former, and which she had
now the power, as well as the inclination, to display.

Enrico and Laurette, in the meantime, found an inexhaustible source of
delight in traversing those sublimc and beautiful regions in which the
castle was situated. The trackless mountain, whose rocky glens were
encrusted with moss or enamelled with wildflowers; the impenetrable
forest, sacred to the foot of the adventurer, were objects of
curiosity and wonder, which they were never weary of contemplating or
admiring, among which every day presented, from the variety of their
productions, some new subject for investigation.

At last the long-expected day, which was to ratify these solemn vows
already registered in heaven, arrived. The officiating priest was the
Father Benedicta, who, at his own request, had the felicity of
receiving the lovely bride at the hand of Father Andrea, in the chapel
of the castle, by the name of Laurette Contessa della Cano, and of
bestowing her upon Enrico Marchese de Montferrat.

The ceremony being performed in the morning, the remaining part of the
day was dedicated to rural festivity; and every luxury was procured in
honour of this event, that the country, within some leagues of the
mansion, could afford. The nuptials were, indeed, not celebrated with
the lofty appearance of courtly personages, as none, except the family
at the castle, could boast of a noble origin; the rest of the company
being composed of the tenantry and uninformed inhabitants of those
humble cottages, which were--variously dispersed on the banks of the
Rhine, who concluded the evenirig of this joyful day with a dance upon
the lawn, to the lively notes of the guitar and the hautboy; each
returning laden with presents to their homes, and pouring out
blessings upon their hospitable entertainers.

Nothing could exceed the happiness of Father Andrea, when he beheld
the felicity of his children thus hourly increasing. He seemed to have
forgotten already all his sorrows, and looked up to Heaven with pious
gratitude, which had thus recompensed his patience and sufferings,
long after lie had ceased to expect a temporal reward.

Inured to solitude, and naturally attached to it, the young Marchesa
never wished to stray beyond her native mountains; she had formed no
ideas of happiness beyond them, and it was not without some reluctance
that she quitted the castle of Elfinbach, the abode of her childhood,
to repair to the mansion on the Saltzburg estate till the former one
was rendered more habitable. This was, however, a necessary measure,
as a considerable part of the fabric was so much decayed as to form
but an uncomfortable asylum. On this expedition she was attended by
the whole of the family, except the Conte della Croisse and the
Fathers, as the former had determined upon visiting his daughter at
Augsberg during their absence from the castle, and the Monks were
obliged to remain in the convent of St Angelo.

In this modern and luxurious mansion, which to the elder Marchesa had
all the charms of novelty to recommend it, they prolonged their stay
till the castle of Elfinbach was made fit for their residence, which
seemed, from having been long known as well as from the circumstance
of its having been the seat of Father Andrea when dignified by the
title of Baron Neuburg, and of the late Contessa della Caro, to have a
prior claim to their regard. Laurette had already resolved to return
to it, and quit it no more; and Enrico, whose every wish centered in
her happiness, had adopted a similar resolution, being not less
attached to it than the beautiful Marchesa.

During their continuance at the castle of Lunenburg, the generosity of
this noble family was so unbounded, that on leaving it they were
followed for a considerable way by a large number of the peasantry,
who crowded about their carriages with tearful eyes, showering
blessings upon them as they repeated their adicus. How delightful were
these simple effusions of gratitude to those on whom they were
bestowed! And who that has a mind capable of reflection, and a heart
of feeling, would exchange those noble impulses of our nature, which
direct us to acts of Godlike benevolence, for the chillness of
unsocial grandeur? And how can it be truly estimated what they lose,
who suffer themselves to be deluded into an opinion that the bold pre-
eminence of rank and state can compensate for the absence of those
amiable aflections, which teach us to conciliate and to deserve the
love of others?

As the weather was more than usually favourable, they travelled
leisurely towards the castle, Enrico and Laurette occupying one of the
carriages, and the elder Marchesa and the Signora the other,
frequently stopping, and sometimes alighting; when any thing
particularly attracted their attention.

On the evening of the third day they arrived at the castle of
Elfinbach, which wore a much more comfortable appearance than when
they quitted it last. The rampart-walls, the turrets, and buttresses,
were repaired, and the fallen fragments, which before were only
partially removed, were cleared from the courts, which, with the whole
of the grounds, were new mown for their reception.

The Monks seized the first opportunity of welcoming them home, and a
few days afterwards the happiness of the whole partv was materially
augmented by the presence of the Conte della Croisse, who informed
Enrico, soon after his arrival, that he had long secretly formed a
resolution of entering into the convent of St Angelo; and having taken
leave of his daughter, was come purposely to fulfil his intention.

'The crimes of my youth,' resumed the Conte, 'stand yet in terrible
array before me, and the only atonement I can now make for my
offences, is to dedicate the remaining part of my life to prayer and
penitence. Hitherto I have been irresistibly withheld from the
execution of my intention; for the designations of Providence are
uncontroulable. It was the will of Heaven that I should continue in
society, to become an instrument of punishment to the guilty, and to
rescue innocence from the grasp of oppression, relieving myself by
these means from a debt of gratitude, which I should otherwise have
found it impossible to have discharged; but the end being
accomplished, why should I longer defer the prosecution of my purpose,
since I am already bending with years, and, in the common course of
nature, cannot reasonably expect to continue much longer an inhabitant
of this world?'

Enrico finding that his friend was bent upon this new project, and
being secretly gratified on his having fixed upon the convent of St
Angelo for his future abode, did not attempt to dissuade him from his
design but gained, or rather wrested a promise from him, that he would
remain in the family for the space of a month. Often in the society of
Laurette and Enrico did the penitent Della Croisse fix his eyes upon
them with an expression of earnest tenderness, as he witnessed their
mutual affection, whilst busy memory reverted to the scenes of his
youth, and presented the image of his Helena, with all its amiable
accompaniments, to his mind. When reflecting upon her, his thoughts
would frequently glance upon Laurentina, she whose Circean charms had
accomplished his overthrow, arid dwell with painful regret upon the
recollection of his complicated enmes and misfortunes.

'Learn from my fate, my children,' he would sometimes say, addressing
himself to the lovely pair, 'the danger of venturing on the borders of
vice. I was once virtuous as you are; but one fatal error, one
unsubdued passion, plunged me irito irremediable guilt; yet not aware
of my danger, even when on the brink of a precipice, I believed I
could return at discretion to the path of rectitude; but when once
tempted to deviate from the principles of truth and honour, how soon
is every amiable impression obliterated from the heart, how soon does
vice by familiarity lose its deformity! Yet what an inexhaustible
source of felicity is an untainted conscience, and how eternally
connected are guilt and misery!'

Often, as he thus movingly addressed them, did he melt his audience
into tears, who endeavoured, with all those gentle assiduities, which
sensibility like their's knew so well how to bestow, to delude him
into a transient forgetfulness of his past crimes; and sometimes
attempted to convince him that the purity of his present conduct,
aided by the sorrow he expressed for what could not be recalled, was
sufficient to atone for the errors of his youth; and that the
irregularities into which he had been precipitated through the
artifice of others, were not so much to be attributed to his faults as
his misfortunes.

Anselmo, whose faithful attachment to his master had rather increased
than diminished, was, in consideration of his former services, exalted
to the rank of steward, which the generous Marchese contrived to make
both an easy and lucrative post.

Thus restored to joy and tranquillity, the inhabitants of the castle
of Elfinbach enjoyed the most uninterrupted felicity.--Enrico, whose
dutiful impulses prompted him to the most benevolent exertions, set
apart annually a third of his princely income for charitable purposes;
and his mother, following his bright example, adopted a similar plan.
None that entered the portals of this hospitable mansion departed
without calling down blessings from Heaven upon its owners.

Della Croisse, at the appointed time, repaired to the convent of St
Angelo, and entered into the severe order of the Carthusians, where he
found, in the purified conversation of his early companion, the pious
Benedicta, and that of Father Andrea, all the consolation he was
capable of receiving.--Whilst blessed with health, virtue, and
innocence, the Marchese and Marchesa, in the bosom of their amiable
family, experienced the most refined sensations of happiness; and
anxious of possessing it themselves, felt a Godlike pleasure in
dispensing it to others. They were blessed with a numerous offspring,
lovely as themselves, and presented, in the whole of their lives to
the reflecting mind of the moralist, a striking instance of the
imbecility of vice, and of the triumphant power of virtue.


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