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know not how to understand the strain of my dear Lorenzo's letter; it is long, yet it appears written with restraint; and although he pours out all a son's joy at the restoration of his father's honour, and all the gratitude of a soul that knows no bounds to laudable feeling when he speaks of my affection, still there seems some sad thoughts which poisons all things. My daughter has taken away the letter, but I remember one passage which has strangely affected me; the sense, if not words, rau thus: In a few days I shall be at your feet; expect not to see me the same as when I left you. I am changed, I am ill; I am so unfit for the enjoyment of this world that it seems to me I have now accomplished the only public task allotted me to fulfil, and that Heaven points out my future destinationreligious retirement.'-Here he breaks off abruptly, and leaves me to conjecture the rest. Does he doubt the constancy of my daughter? He cannot, must not-will not after he sees her again."
Francois was on the point of replying, when the entrance of visitors prevented the necessity, and afforded him the opportunity he wished of retiring from the Palazzo.
The crisis was now at hand; the fate of his beloved sister, and scarcely less dear friend, hung on the events of a few days; Francois felt alarmed as the moment approached in which he must mount the very summit of deception, to induce Aldonga to break with Solerno. He now almost wished that he had not undertaken the task; but once in he must proceed. And taking measures for concealment from Lorenzo whose concurrence in a stratagem he dared not reckon upon, he left Venice, hastened to a little casino some miles distant, and dispatched his servant with a letter to the Marchioness.
This letter contained nothing but groans, despair, death! He had learned from her father that his rival was expected; that she was willing to give him her hand; he could not bear to witness such a scene. He was gone, in short, to die of grief among the gloomy shades of his casino.
Francois charged the bearer of this letter with another for the Marquis Solerno; in which he simply requested him not to men
tion their former acquaintance, as he had very powerful reasons (which he would explain satisfactorily hereafter) for wishing their intimacy unknown to the Bertolini familyDuronce, the confidential valet of Francois, was ordered to learn the probable time of Solerno's arrival, and to manage matters so as to give this billet into his own hands ere he entered the Palazzo.
Business thus put in train, St. Hypolite's next concern was to give an air of desolation to his own appearance. To persuade Aldonga of the violence of his passion would be absolutely necessary; and a lover in despair was never yet heard of with a glowing complexion and a firm step. Poor Francois must keep Lent out of season; he fasted, he was let blood, he drank water, lay on the ground that he might not sleep; broke all his essence and perfume boxes, left his hair uncombed, half shaved himself, and instead of an embroidered mantle, wrapped himself round in a careless robe de chambre. During this strict discipline, billets were continually passing from the Marchioness to him, and from him to the Marchioness; his letters were all frantic, hers all sorrow; again and again he solicited an interview at the casino; but she was craftily ill, or craftily timid; in short, Aldonga wished to stimulate his passion by difficulties, to elevate his notion of her virtue, and to see whether the Marquis Solerno were or were not so handsome as when she first wished to become his wife. To the profligate mind of Aldonga it seemed easy to reconcile an incliuation for both lovers. She had really burned with passionate ardour for Lorenzo; and though his absence, his coldness, and a certain libertine habit, had kindled new fires in her breast for the animated St. Hypolite, she yet felt that she could not relinquish Solerno without proving that he was no longer charming. It was her policy to evade an interview with Francois till after she had seen Solerno; should she be disappointed in the latter, then she would break her engagement, aud make a merit of it to the other lover; but should she find him still beautiful and love wakening, she would play the honourable woman, the dutiful daughter, complete the marriage, and as her inclination contiuued or declined, pur
CHATEAU OF ROUSSILLON.
sue or crush her amour with St. Hypolite.The Marchioness had just determined her line of conduct, and sent a tender denial to Francois, who was again urgent for an interview at the casino, when a courier arrived at the Palazzo announcing the expected arrival of his master, the Marquis Solerno, on the morrow. Duronce learned this intelligence as he waited for Aldonga's reply to the note from his lord; and hastening with them to the casino, he proposed to his master to go himself to the Palazzo, where he might enter free from interruption, as Count Bertolini was at the Senate House, on state business which would detain him through most part of the night.
Francois adopted this advice on the instant. While his carriage was getting ready he has tened to consult his counsellor the mirror; and found, to his satisfaction, that he looked as love-lorn and woeful as the most tyrannical mistress could desire. His matted hair, his neglected dress, his pale cheek, and sunk eye, but above all, his large dark roquelaure, made him appear a suitable candidate for the severe order of La Trappe. He began indeed to fear that he looked too woeful; Aldonga's love was not of that spiritual cast which could bear the wreck of the object's beauty, though shattered by grief for her; and if St. Hypolite were to appear quite transformed, she might not perhaps feel any emotion but disgust. However, the die was cast, he must abide by the throw; what he wanted in personal attraction he was resolved to make up in ardour, and even ardour alone animates any face into charms.
By the adroit management of Duronce, St. Hypolite alighted unnoticed at the piazza of the Bertolini palace, and hurrying across the hall, and up the grand staircase, proceeded to the evening apartment of Aldonga. She was alone, and upon the point of ringing to order her gondola for a moon-light visit to a female friend. St. Hypolite rushed towards her, and fell at her feet with well-acted impetuosity. "Dear, adored, cruel Aldonga!" he exclaimed ; see me at your feet; I come to die. Yes, I swear to die thine, unless you promise never to bestow upon this hated rival the beauties I dare not make my own!"
Aldonga raised him with surprise and plea sure. Never had St. Hypolite looked so irresistible; his coarse wrapping dress was picturesque if not elegant, his disordered hair heightened its effect, and though his person was evidently thinner, and the general glow of his complexion faded, impatience had brought a bright flush to his cheek, and given such a wild lustre to his eyes, that Aldonga saw only a picquant alteration in his appearance.
A diverting scene of mutual deception followed; but Francois knew exactly how far her duplicity extended, while she was the complete dupe of his feiued despair. She pleaded her immaculate virtue, which rendered it almost criminal in her to receive the mere vows of love from a married man; she urged her duty to her father, her promise given to Solerno when she had no particular preference for any one; she wished to know what he could offer her to tempt her to renounce these duties and claims.
Francois had a rhapsody on his lips in a moment. His whole life and heart would be devoted to her though he could not plight the vow at the altar; he would abandon his family and his country; he would live at Venice; he would respect her immaculate virtue while she continued to think so rigidly; but if she did not marry, and he gave up the wife that had been forced upon him, he should venture to hope that at last that heaven of beauty to which he aspired. Here he was interrupted by Aldonga; her blushing face bid itself on his shoulder, that she might not hear the conclusion: and while she lay there softly sighing, Francois had full time to observe, that if he chose to subdue that immaculate virtue, he need not fear any difficulty in the conquest. It required some address to escape this danger without lessening the apparent fire which made his passion so powerful; however, he managed it; and once more exerted all bis eloquence to persuade the Marchioness that he would accept no other proof of her love than a fixed rejection of the Marquis the instant of his arrival; and that if she failed to give it him, he should either plunge into the Adriatic, or rave himself into madness.
So flattered was A'donga by this prodigious passion; so awakened by his tears, embraces
and ardent glances; so swelled by the idea of || nership in illicit passion. Happily for St.
his sufferings; and so more than ever charmed by his graces, that she was frequently on the point of giving him the promise he demanded; but the very excess of his love alarmed her to think how it would make him tyrannise, were she thus to give him a secret but absolute authority over all her actions: how much better to retain him in her chains by favours occasionally granted as a boon, when she should be the wife of a man too studious to go with her into public and observe her conduct, and too guileless himself not to be easily blinded by her. Fortified by these ideas, Aldonga was able to persevere in efusing to give her lover the promise desired, though she was profuse in professions and testimonies of preference. St. Hypolite wearied with the farce, and somewhat afraid of trusting himself top long with so beautiful and licentious a woman amid the temptations of night and silence, abruptly started away from the fair hand which courted his lips, and repeating his vow of not outliving her obedience to her father, hastened back to his casino.
Hypolite, he had never been fascinated by
His first moments were given to repeated bursts of laughter over the scene in which he performed so admirably; his next thought, to vexation at her steadiness." If she will not renounce Solerno,” he exclaimed, when alone, "the plagues of Saint Anthony be her portion! What shall I do in such a case? Why, instead of drawing my friend quietly out of the snare, I must do the thing with eclat; I must get her into a scrape with me, and then threaten to expose her, unless she gives up the Marquis."-Francois paused upon this plan; his honourable and well-principled heart revolted from the commission of a libertine act, even with a woman whose virtue had been often forfeited; what motive could sanctify such pollution, and the less so, since it would be deliberately done by him? He now began to feel in its full force the rashness and impropriety of his scheme. The quixotism of friendship, like every other species of quixotism, was likely to lead to dangers, disgrace, and selfreproach: it seemed now too evident, that in pursuing a laudable end through illaudable means, through systamatic fraud, he would be forced to secure his object by a guilty part
The morrow, which was to bring the Marquis Solerno to Venice, rose upon Aldonga with emotion and expectation in its beams : her heart was beating between the recollection of former tenderness for Solerno, and present passion for St. Hypolite; vanity too contributed to her feelings, and abhorring the idea of being beheld with indifference, she called forth all the assistance of the toilet to heighten
that beauty which nature's band had finished beyond further addition. All the blushes of summer were on her cheek, its fragrance in her breath, its voluptuousness in her eyes and smiles, when seen through the embellishing mist of a transparent veil which covered her whole person; she presented herself to Solerno as he rose from embracing the knees of his venerable protector. Solerno turned round at her voice, its first accents had sent the blood to his heart freezing as it went. His cheek, therefore, was pale and lustreless; his eyes, dimned by frequent tears and anxious vigils while awaiting the Neapolitan decision, had not even that light in them which joy and affection can kindle in the dullest orbs; his figure, wasted by regret, offered but a graceful outline which youth, health, and peace might again fill up with beauty, but which now gave to Aldonga only the idea of sickness and feebleness. She started as she beheld him, and exclaimed involuntarily, "Santa Maria! how you are altered!"-Solerno believed her hap-revive them. Venice has still its innocent
details of all that related to it. Even this beloved topic, the restored frame of a departed parent, could not entirely banish from the brow of Solerno the gloom which darkened it; his looks were downcast and mournful; he sighed often and deeply; and all his views of the present and the future, seemed so dark and gloomy, that Aldonga contemplated with some alarm, the probable consequence of a union with a man of so melancholy a temperament. Count Bertolini knew not how to account for a melancholy so ill suited to his circumstances; this was not the period to question him, but he resolved to do it when they should be alone; and Solerno himself, occupied solely with the idea of anCouncing his resolve to retire into a monastery, felt the presence of Aldonga a restraint rather than an encouragement.
"I scarcely know you my Lorenzo," said Bertolini kindly," your spirits have been over. tasked in this arduous affair. We must try to
pily disgusted with him; the thought held out a prospect of hope, and that hope instantly spread his cheek with a bloom, and lighted up his eyes with a fire which restored not only animation, bat beauty to the most admirable of human countenances: "Do you observe this alteration?" he exclaimed. Aldonga's feelings changed as rapidly; she fancied this emotion of his proceeded from a lover-like gratification at the interest her remark expressed, and she saw that his personal graces though diminished, were not destroyed: it is true, no part of her former passion throbbed in her veins, but she could look at him witheut reluctance, and meditate the resolution of yielding her hand to him, for the sake of preserving her reputation, which would be lost were she to break off the engagement and render herself accountable to so wild a lover as St. Hypolite. Her answer was gentle and conciliating, and in proportion to her appearance of constancy, fell the spirits of her betrothed husband. The aged Bertolini looked at him with the concern of a parent, frequently in. veighed against that excess of anxiety which he must have yielded to, since it had altered his healthful appearance so much, and reverting to the success of his cause, led him into No. XXVIII. Vol. V.-N. S.
pleasures, and we have lately got acquainted with an amiable Frenchman who would animate sorrow itself. St. Hypolite is at his casino, is he not?"-Bertolini turned to his daughter as he spoke, while Solerno, with a bright flush of pleasure and doubt exclaimed: "St. Hypolite! what, Francois! the Chateau de Roussillon! is it possible?"
Mutual inquiries and explanations followed; it seemed the same, and yet it could not be; this St. Hypolite was married, his friend was not so; this gentleman was inflexibly silent upon his other connections, place of residence, &c. his friend was candour itself, and fond of discoursing upon the places and persons he loved. Yet still the names, the face, the figure, and the age seemed to agree. All of them were puzzled; since Salerno could not imagine, if it were he, why he should not speak of their acquaintance; and Aldonga, from Solerno's answer to her questions, learned that he had only been an acquaintance made when travelling." As I was entering the Palazzo," observed Solerno, " I recollect some one put a note into my hand, with a request that I would read it instantly. I remember the fellow added, Do you recollect me, Sir? And I remembering the face, and thinking
him a domestic of a lady who was formerly very troublesome to me, answered in the affirmative, and went on. I think now the face was that of Duronce, the valet of Francois St. Hypolite."
As he spoke Solerno eagerly searched in his bosom for the billet which he thought he bad placed there; it was not to be found. "I must have dropped it by the way,” he added. Aldonga rose hastily; covering her burning cheeks with her veil, and trying to moderate the tone of a voice that was ready to burst out into suspicious invective, she offered to send
report I find it convenient to spread here, that I am a married man. What the duce need you care about my reasons; perhaps I want to cure some lady of a passion for me, by making her fancy it hopeless; perhaps I want to save my own virtue or that of some too yielding fair one, by presenting the ob stacle of infringement on marriage vows; or perhaps I want to obtain a beauty upon easier terms than she would grant if she knew me free to make her my wife. Beware of that perhaps, Solerno; by the mass you will injure me if you believe it: fancy me entertaining
her page to search for the lost note." Doubt-myself with a conquest I neither care for nor
less it will be found," she exclaimed; and with a lapwing's speed she was along the gallery, and at the foot of the grand staircase, ere Solerno could follow.
Her eagle glance caught a glimpse of something white which lay close to the entrance; she stooped, she raised it up-it was the note directed to Solerno in the hand-writing of St. Hypolite. Quickly thrusting it into her vest, she called aloud for the domestics, and leav ing them with directions to search for what she had just found, she hurried by a back way up to her own apartment, where securing herself from interruption, she opened and read the following billet:
"To the Margius Solerno-Be not too much surprized to find me at Venice, my dear friend I will account for my appearance at a fitter opportunity. All I request is, that you will continue to think me a tolerably honest fellow, although I intreat of you not to contradict a
mean to take the spoil of, and you will come nearer the truth. Not a word, I charge you, of my single state; not a word of former acquaintance when I meet you in public, and then you know you need not utter falsehoods.Adieu ! I rely on your discretion and friendship. "FRANCOIS ST. HYPOLITE."
Rage was in the heart of Aldonga, shame on her cheek, and the fires of revenge in her eyes, as she held the paper in the act of tearing it, when recollecting herself, she thrust it back into her vest, exclaiming, "It may be of use, perhaps; accursed billet! dissembling villain! What, despised, cheated, sported with, No, by Heaven he shall not enjoy the triumph! I will be revenged, I will blast his vain hopes! Yes, Amalfi shail be my instrument."-And as she spoke she rung for her page to prepare her gondola and attend her to the palace of Count Amalfi.
(To be continued.)
ANECDOTES COLLECTED FROM THE PRIVATE LIFE OF PETER
(Continued from Vol. IV. Page 309.)
PETER'S ORDINARY MODE OF LIVING.
AT four every morning Peter awoke; his Ministers then brought in their reports, and presented their different documents; he saw, he investigated, and passed judgment himself, gave his orders, and made notes; heard all objections, answered them, softened,
dictates of his righteous and enlightened mind. A slight breakfast was then brought him; he dressed himself, and went to the Admiralty, and was present at the Senate. He dined regularly at eleven o'clock; the dishes which were generally served up, and which he was most fond of, were cabbage soup, either made
changed, or corrected them, according to the || salt, or sour crout, gruel, a cold sucking pig,