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Nobilis, dead and alive, rose up to prevent it. Dastard !" cried she, lowering her voice, and glaring at him with unutterable rage_“coward! villain! be gone from my presence."
To describe our contending feelings is impossible. The advocate, whose hopes had each moment become more sanguine, and who, an instant before, had seen himself in possession of his imaginary honours, looked crestfallen. Enrica, after vainly endeavouring to silence her aunt, sunk on a chair, and covered her face with her hands. The count, drawing himself up to his full height (and he was a noble-looking young man), was silent for a few seconds.
"Madame,” said he, coldly, "spare yourself and me the pain and ridicule of further altercation. I entered this room by accident."
“Oh, bello!” exclaimed the inveterate old lady, with a malicious laugh.
“Yes, I repeat it, I entered this room by accident, but, being here, I was overcome for a moment." “Oh, mighty fine !" cried the marchesa. 66 Overcome!
have been overcome by the law, eccellenza—by the law. Has he not, signor avvocato ?” And she seized that now most despairing gentleman by the arm, and dragged him forward much against his will.
“ Maledizione !” exclaimed the count, reddening with anger, “ you are a disgrace to your sex. Never, were your niece an angel from heaven, would I unite myself voluntarily to the blood of such a fiend. A thousand curses light on you !" continued he, with increased passion; "may your vendetta be bitter to you! may
I laid hold of his arm, shocked at the violent and unchristian scene, and led him, still swearing and gesticulating, from the room.
The advocate, seeing the agitation of poor Enrica, whose sobs were heard during the pauses of this furious dialogue, contrived to draw away the marchesa, who was literally foaming with rage.
The count was no sooner in the corridor than he rushed violently away from me.
I returned to Enrica, whom I found in a state bordering on despair.
67 Ah! he still loves me,” cried she. “Ah! those eyes once more looked on me as of old. Yes, Nobili loves me, and I am as I ever washis, all his. Ah! we must part, but never will I cease to adore him. Beloved Nobili ! Enrica's first and only love, now torn from her a second time. Oh, cruel destiny !-oh, inexorable aunt! Why, why did I live to this bitter hour? Oh, rather had the cold grave
At this moment a shot was fired. Enrica started up anxiously. A man's head appeared at the open window, and, as night had come on, we could not at first discern his features, but in another moment Count Nobili, muffled in a cloak, stood before us.
“Enrica!” exclaimed he, quickly, “if you do not conceal me I am a
“Oh, my beloved,” cried she, forgetting all that had occurred in this sudden appeal, “ here in these arms, on a heart all your own, will I shield
“Angel of heaven, thus do I atone !” exclaimed the count; “ true, faithful woman, thou hast conquered. Receive thy husband's first embrace,"
Enrica was folded in his arms. Long and speechless did she lie palpitating like a happy bird on his bosom.
«I do not pretend to say, signori miei,” said Don Tommaso, " that at the affecting sight I did not shed a tear; indeed, even now I cannot recal the scene without emotion." And the good father's eyes ran over with tears. “ It was all the marchesa's fault. I always said she never treated Nobili properly from the first; he was violent, but of a generous nature.'
“But the shot,” said I, “and his entrance into her room-how did that happen?"
Well,"continued Don Tommaso, " that was exactly what I asked the count when he was sufficiently composed to reply."
“Ah,” cried he, “it is all a wicked trick of that infernal marchesa. She had some idea that I had left the house, and actually made the fattore fire into the orange grove under Enrica's window, where I was hid, waiting for an opportunity of escape, under the idea that a band of robbers were concealed there, who were about to enter and plunder the villa. If I had not climbed up the vines I must have been shot."
Enrica clung still closer to him as he spoke.
“Ah, Nobili," said she, “ you are safe, and I am happy as an angel of Paradise.”
“ Yes, anima mia," said he, “but, per amore del cielo, let us escape from the cursed villa privately, for the taunts and insalts of your aunt I cannot endure.”
“ Escape privately!" repeated Enrica.
“ Yes, angelo mio. Is not Nobili your husband ?" And he smiled on her with such a mingled look of pride, happiness, and protection, I shall never forget it. His eyes seemed to penetrate her very soul.
“Yes-yes," cried she, “it is true ; but I am so confused—all is so hurried. We have met under such strange circumstances. Oh, forgive me,”
cried she, bursting into tears.
husband, and fear nothing; the Nobili of other days is returned, and he will henceforth protect you as on that dreadful night when these arms bore you in safety from the flames."
At this moment the door opened, and in an instant the count had hidden himself behind Enrica. It was a servant sent by the marchesa to assure Enrica that there was no cause for alarm, but that fancying robbers lurked in the garden the marchesa had ordered the fattore to fire.
In a few moments the marchesa entered herself, in her bedgown—an attire which certainly did not set off her appearance to advantage. Enrica, fearing that she might discover the count, turned pale with annoyance.
“Niece," said the old lady, gruffly, “I do not understand your conduct. You are a fool, and look as white as a sheet. Why have you not got more of my spirit ? I care neither for man nor devil, būt a single shot upsets such a child as you. We are not in much danger of robbers, carina,” continued she, looking slyly at me;“no fear of them, but the count has unaccountably disappeared, and this grieves and vexes me to the soul. A sneaking fellow, he won't sign the divorce now; but he shall, my -he shall sign it. He must be found in a few minutes, for it is impossible for him to climb the walls, and the gates have been locked for hours.
He is only skulking somewhere; in the mean time, prepare yourself, the moment he appears, to sign the divorce. Here, child-girl-why do you tremble so ? Do you hear? come hither. One would think you were nailed to the chair."
She seized on Enrica's hand and dragged her forward ; the count, who had done his best to conceal himself during the conversation, now at once rose, and advanced. The marchesa, towering with sudden sion, turned with fury on her niece.
“How, Enrica, have you dared to receive this man ?"' “Aunt-" replied she.
' “ Be silent ! How dare you admit him to your own apartment? he is husband ; and
you, Don Tommaso, to be a witness! But the divorce-the divorce-I will have it instantly signed.” And she seized Eprica's hand.
“Madame,” exclaimed Count Nobili, extricating her from her aunt's grasp
“ Enrica is my wife, and owns no other authority." “ Your wife !” shrieked the marchesa, who seemed on the point of having a fit, so violent was her rage-"your wife! yes, she may but Enrica never will, while I live, allow your claims, or obey you as a husband. If she dares to dream of such a weakness I will disown her, disinherit her."
“Oh, my aunt !" cried Enrica, “have I not suffered enough? Have mercy on me. I love my husband, he loves me. I am his now and for ever; disown me, drive me from your house, but I am his, and will follow him to the uttermost corner of the world. Oh, dear aunt, rather rejoice that we are reconciled.”
Nobili drew her to him as she spoke, and clasped her in his arms; in a moment he had drawn his sword. At this instant the advocate rushed in.
“Oh, gioia ! oh, felicità !" cried he, as he beheld the attitude of the dif. ferent actors in this strange scene ; "oh, giorno beato! Senta," continued he, turning to me, utterly indifferent to the angry endeavours of the marchesa to silence him, “I'vow three candles to the blessed Madonna of the Annunziata at Florence, to burn before her shrine for ever, in celebration of this auspicious event."
" “I cordially--con tutto il cuore--unite in your joy,” replied I; “ but the marchesa ?"
It was clear that she was preparing to say something tremendous. She became livid with rage, and walked up and down the room, striking her clenched fists against her forehead, apparently unable to articulate.
« Oh, never fear ; the marchesa will listen to reason, especially from an avvocato ; leave her to me,” replied he. And he drew her aside.
A long and earnest conversation ensued, but in so low a voice we could hear nothing But it was evident that the arguments he used were not without effect, and that the marchesa was gradually cooling. At length she turned towards Count Nobili
, who had stood immovable, clasping with one hand his almost fainting bride, in the other his drawn sword. He looked a very paladin. I forgave him cordially (as became a Christian and a priest) all his sins; I knew he would shortly confess them voluntarily to me. My heart was full; all seemed to turn on what the marchesa intended to say. At length, in a slow, measured tone of voice, she addressed him.
“ Count Nobili, do you desire to live with my niece as your lawful wife ?”
“I do,” replied he, solemnly. “ And may my soul go straight to the lowest hell
, if I speak not truth. I have always loved Enrica ; I never intended to desert her, although I was for a few months led away by bad companions, who enticed me to Paris. On my honour, I never intended to desert her.”
“ It is well,” said the marchesa. “ But further, count, will you publicly, before this company, burn the divorce which has been prepared ?"
“ God is my witness, I will destroy the fatal document with joy," cried he. “ Bring me a torch.” The avvocato Aew rather than ran from the
reappeared bearing a lighted torch. The parchment was consumed in a moment.
“ Count," said the marchesa, “ you have unaccountably prepossessed all around. Don Tommaso is your friend; the avvocato pleads for you with the vehemence of a brother; Enrica adores you. He that has conquered all shall conquer me also. Give me your hand.”
Sheathing his sword, Nobili advanced towards her, and falling on one knee, respectfully kissed the hand offered to him.
“It is all over,” whispered the avvocato, and joy glistened in his eyes. “ Congratulate me, amico mio ; I am sure of my patent of nobility and a court appointment. You will write to me as soon as the happy event is likely to occur. I feel I may depend on you."
I assured him he need give himself no anxiety on that head. So my dear Enrica departed with her husband, perfectly happy. And thus, sigoori miei rispettisimi, ends my tale about the marchesa's great lawsuit.
We all thanked Don Tommaso for his amusing story.
“ I remember the circumstances now," said Trenta, “ but when Nobili came with his bride the matter was little spoken of in Lucca, as being understood to be somewhat discreditable to the head of one of our noblest families.”
It is a capital story,” said Count M.“ I particularly admire the gentle, loving nature of Edrica, whose character reminds me somewhat of an ancestress of my own, known in our family as La Spergiurata, whose fate, however, was very different."
“Come," said'I, “ Don Tommaso has indulged us with one story; count, tell us another.” Agreed,"
.” cried the rest. « An excellent idea ; we must have the count's story—the adventures of La Spergiurata.”
“ Bravo !" cried the old cavaliere; this will be something wild, eccentric, horrible. I know the count's imagination. He will take us to heaven, and then down to the inferno, with a little visit to the purgatorio en route. We shall traverse the heavens and the depth of the sea, swim like fishes, and fly like birds ; indeed, it is a chance if we ever land again on terra firma. "No," said Count M., “I will merely relate you, you
desire it, a romantic legend well known in our family.”
“ Before you begin,” said Don Tommaso, " allow me to pledge the signori in a glass of rosoglio."
or With all our hearts," replied they.
MR. ALEXANDER ANDREWS, in his clever and painstaking researches, has, from motives which we all must appreciate, confined his investigations to the History of the British Press as it was. There is, however, much connected with the history of our contemporaries which may afford amusement to our readers, and we therefore gladly avail ourselves of a work just published by M. Cucheval Clarigny, late editor of the Constitutionnel, * to furnish art idea of the views entertained as to the British press by our gallant allies, but at the same time we disclaim the responsibility of many of the opinions set forth. We will omit all that portion of the work for which M. Clarigny is evidently indebted to Mr. Andrews's labours, and take up the subject with the daily papers, to which we owe in great mea. sure our political training. At the outset we gain information new to us : there is a daily paper published in London, called the Public Ledger, which has been existing for the last eighty years on its advertisements. Several attempts have been made to enlarge it, and render it similar to the other daily papers, but they have all failed, and the Ledger has fallen back into its insignificance, which, however, ensures its proprietors a very fine income. Its pages are devoted exclusively to commercial and shipping intelligence, and as every merchant is bound to see this paper, so they are equally bound to advertise in it: hence it has a secure circulation without being forced into any expensive efforts to obtain that varied stock of news which forms the charm of the other dailies. Nor need we devote much space to the Morning Advertiser, established in 1793 as the special organ of the hotel and inn keepers. It has since kept its ground, our author tells us, without attaining a great degree of prosperity. In politics, it supports the views of the Radical party, and, without going to the extent of Chartism, it makes vigorous war on the English aristocracy and the Anglican Church.
As Messrs. Cobden and Bright did not disdain at a meeting to ask the support of their hearers for the Daily News, that paper, which is much the youngest of the large daily papers, must be considered the organ of what is called in England the Manchester School. At starting, this paper displayed great brilliancy. Mr. Dickens published in it a series of articles, and the other writers were not unworthy of their collaborateur. Its opinions in politics and religion were decidedly liberal, but by no means exaggerated ; they were defended with vivacity and talent, but at the same time with a moderation and good taste not usually met with in the English press. Excellent critiques, careful articles on the labouring classes and the manufacturing districts, gave great variety to the paper, and rendered it extremely valuable. Either through the exhaustion of the subject, or economy, all this part of the Daily News disappeared to make room for reports of the Reform and Parliamentary Association, and other uninteresting matter. Mr. Dickens left the paper to start a magazine of his own, and there is reason to believe that many other writers followed him, for the Daily News lost its literary value in great measure, and its habitual
Histoire de la Presse en Angleterre et aux Etats-Unis. Paris: Amyot.