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among the clouds, formed a grand and sublime picture in the back-ground of the scene. The city of Palermo was also distinguishable; and Julia, as she gazed on its glittering spires, would endeavour in imagination to depicture its beauties, while she secretly sighed for a view of that world, from which she had hitherto been secluded by the mean jealousy of the Marchioness, upon whose mind the dread of rival beauty operated strongly to the prejudice of Emilia and Julia. She employed all her influence over the Marquis to detain them in retirement; and, though Emilia was now twenty, and her sister eighteen, they had never passed the boundaries of their father's domains.

Vanity often produces unreasonable alarm; but the Marchioness had in this instance just grounds for apprehension; the beauty of her lord's daughters has seldom been exceeded. The person of Emilia was finely proportioned her complexion was fair, her hair flaxen, and her dark blue eyes were full of sweet expression; her manners were dignified and elegant, and in her air was a feminine softness, a tender timidity, which irresistibly attracted the heart of the beholder. The figure of Julia was light and graceful-her step was airy-her mien animated, and her smile enchanting; her eyes were dark, and full of fire, but tempered with modest sweetness; her features were finely turned-every laughing grace played round her mouth, and her countenance quickly discovered all the various emotions of her soul. The dark auburn hair, which curled in beautiful profusion in her neck, gave a finishing charm to her appearance.

Thus lovely, and thus veiled in obscurity, were the daughters of the noble Mazzini. But they were happy, for they knew not enough of the world seriously to regret the want of its enjoyments; though Julia would sometimes sigh for the airy image which her fancy painted, and a painful curiosity would arise concerning the busy scenes from which she was excluded. A return to her customary amusements, however, would chase the ideal image from her mind, and restore her usual happy complacency. Books, music, and painting, divided the hours of her leisure, and many beautiful summer evenings were spent in the pavilion, where the refined conversation of Madame, the poetry of Tasso, the lute of Julia, and the friendship of Emilia, combined to form a species of happiness, such as elevated and highly susceptible minds are alone capable of receiving or communicating. Madame understood and practised all the graces of conversation, and her young pupils perceived its value, and caught the spirit of its character.

Conversation may be divided into two classes the familiar and the sentimental. It is the province of the familiar to diffuse cheerfulness and ease to open the heart of man to man, and to beam a temperate sunshine upon the mind. Nature and art must conspire to render us sus

ceptible of the charms, and to qualify us for the practice, of the second class of conversation, here termed sentimental and in which Madame de Menon particularly excelled. (To good sense, lively feeling, and natural delicacy of taste, must be united an expansion of mind, and a refinement of thought, which is the result of high cultivation. To render this sort of conversation irresistibly attractive, a knowledge of the world is requisite, and that enchanting ease, that elegance of manner, which is to be acquired only by frequenting the higher circles of polished life. In sentimental conversation, subjects interesting to the heart and to the imagination are brought forward; they are discussed in a kind of sportive way, with animation and refinement, and are never continued longer than politeness allows. Here fancy flourishes-the sensibilities expand and wit, guided by delicacy, and embellished by taste-points to the heart.

Such was the conversation of Madame de Menon; and the pleasant gaiety of the pavilion seemed peculiarly to adapt it for the scene of social delights. On the evening of a very sultry day, having supped in their favourite spot, the coolness of the hour, and the beauty of the night, tempted this happy party to remain there later than usual. Returning home, they were surprised by the appearance of a light through the broken window-shutters of an apartment, belonging to a division of the castle which had for many years been shut up. They stopped to observe it, when it suddenly disappeared, and was seen no more. Madame de Menon, disturbed at this phenomenon, hastened into the castle, with a view of inquiring into the cause of it, when she was met in the north hall by Vincent. She related to him what she had seen, and ordered an immediate search to be made for the keys of those apartments. She apprehended that some person had penetrated that part of the edifice with an intention of plunder; and, disdaining a paltry fear where her duty was concerned, she summoned the servants of the castle, with an intention of accompanying them thither. Vincent smiled at her apprehensions, and imputed what she had seen to an illusion, which the solemnity of the hour had impressed upon her fancy. Madame, however, persevered in her purpose; and, after a long and repeated search, a massy key, covered with rust, was produced. She then proceeded to the southern side of the edifice, accompanied by Vincent, and followed by the servants, who were agitated with impatient wonder. The key was applied to an iron gate, which opened into a court that separated this division from the other parts of the castle. They entered this court, which was overgrown with grass and weeds, and ascended some steps that led to a large door, which they vainly endeavoured to open. All the different keys of the castle were applied to the lock, without effect, and they were at length compelled to quit the

place, without having either satisfied their cu- to sleep, they agreed to watch for the remainder riosity, or quieted their fears. Everything, how- of the night. For this purpose they arranged ever, was still, and the light did not re-appear. themselves in the east gallery, where they had a Madame concealed her apprehensions, and the view of the south tower from which the light family retired to rest.

had issued. The night, however, passed withThis circumstance dwelt on the mind of Ma- out any farther disturbance; and the morndame de Menon, and it was some time before she ing dawn, which they beheld with inexpressible ventured again to spend an evening in the pavi- pleasure, dissipated for a while the glooms of lion. After several months had passed, without apprehension. But the return of evening renewfarther disturbance or discovery, another occur- ed the general fear, and for several successive rence renewed the alarm. Julia had one night re- nights thedomestics watched the southern tower. mained in her closet later than usual. A favourite Although nothing remarkable was seen, a report book had engaged her attention beyond the hour was soon raised, and believed, that the southern of customary repose, and every inhabitant of the side of the castle was haunted. Madame de Mecastle, except herself, had long been lost in sleep. non, whose mind was superior to the effects of She was roused from her forgetfulness, by the superstition, was yet disturbed and perplexed, sound of the castle clock, which struck one. Sur- and she determined, if the light re-appeared, to prised at the lateness of the hour, she rose in inform the Marquis of the circumstance, and rehaste, and was moving to her chamber, when the quest the keys of those apartments. beauty of the night attracted her to the window. The Marquis, immersed in the dissipations of She opened it; and observing a fine effect of Naples, seldom remembered the castle, or its inmoon-light upon the dark woods, leaned for- habitants. His son, who had been educated unwards. In that situation she had not long re- der bis immediate care, was the sole object of mained, when she perceived a light faintly flash his pride, as the Marchioness was that of his afthrough a casement in the uninhabited part of fection. He loved her with romantic fondness, the castle. A sudden tremor seized her, and she which she repaid with seeming tenderness, and with difficulty supported herself. In a few mo- secret perfidy. She allowed herself a free inments it disappeared, and soon after, a figure, dulgence in the most licentious pleasures, yet bearing a lamp, proceeded from an obscure door conducted herself with an art so exquisite as to belonging to the south tower ; and stealing along elude discovery, and even suspicion. In her the outside of the castle walls, turned round the amours she was equally inconstant as ardent, southern angle, by which it was afterwards hid till the young Count Hippolitus de Vereza atfrom the view. Astonished and terrified at what tracted her attention. The natural fickleness of she had seen, she hurried to the apartment of her disposition seemed then to cease, and upon Madam de Menon, and related the circumstance. him she centered all her desires. The servants were immediately roused, and the The Count Vereza lost his father in early alarm became general. Madame arose and de- childhood. He was now of age, and had just scended into the north hall, where the domes- entered

the possession of his estates. His tics were already assembled. No one could be person was graceful, yet manly; his mind acfound of courage sufficient to enter into the complished, and his manners elegant; his councourts; and the orders of Madame were disre- tenance expressed a happy union of spirit, dignigarded, when opposed to the effects of supersti- ty, and benevolence, which formed the principal tious terror. She perceived that Vincent was traits of his character. He had a sublimity of absent, but as she was ordering him to be call- thought, which taught him to despise the voluped, he entered the hall. Surprised to find the tuous vices of the Neapolitans, and led him to family thus assembled, he was told the occa- higher pursuits. He was the chosen and early sion. He immediately ordered a party of the friend of the young Ferdinand, the son of the servants to attend him round the castle walls; Marquis, and was a frequent visitor in the faand with some reluctance, and more fear, they mily. When the Marchioness first saw him, obeyed him. They all returned to the hall, she treated him with great distinction, and at without having witnessed any extraordinary ap- length made such advances, as neither the hos pearance; but though their fears were not con- nour nor the inclinations of the Count permitted firmed, they were by no means dissipated. The him to notice. He conducted himself towards appearance of a light in a part of the castle which her with frigid indifference, which served only had for several years been shut up, and to which to inflame the passion it was meant to chill. The time and circumstance had given an air of favours of the Marchioness had hitherto beer singular desolation, might reasonably be sup, sought with avidity, and accepted with rapture posed to excite a strong degree of surprise and and the repulsive insensibility which she now ex terror. In the minds of the vulgar, any species perienced, roused all her pride, and called int of the wonderful is received with avidity; and action every refinement of coquetry. the servants did not hesitate in believing the It was about this period that Vincent was sei southern division of the castle to be inhabited zed with a disorder which increased so rapi by a supernatural power. Too much agitated ly, as in a short time to assume the most alarn



ing appearance. Despairing of life, he desired that a messenger might be dispatched to inform the Marquis of his situation, and to signify his earnest wish to see him before he died. The progress of his disorder defied every art of medicine, and his visible distress of mind seemed to accelerate his fate. Perceiving his last hour approaching, he requested to have a confessor. The confessor was shut up with him a considerable time, and he had already received extreme unction, when Madame de Menon was summoned to his bedside. The hand of death was now upon him, cold damps hung upon his brows, and he, with difficulty, raised his heavy eyes to Madame as she entered the apartment. He beckoned her towards him, and desiring that no person might be permitted to enter the room, was for a few moments silent. His mind appeared to labour under oppressive remembrances; he made several attempts to speak, but either resolution or strength failed him. At length, giving Madame a look of unutterable anguish, Alas, Madame, said he, Heaven grants not the prayer of such a wretch as I am. I must expire long before the Marquis can arrive. Since I shall see him no more, I would impart to you a secret which lies heavy at my heart, and which makes my last moments dreadful, as they are without hope.-Be comforted, said Madame, who was affected by the energy of his manner, we are taught to believe that forgiveness is never denied to sincere repentance.-You, Madame, are ignorant of the enormity of my crime, and of the secret-the horrid secret, which labours at my breast. My guilt is beyond remedy in this world, and I fear will be without pardon in the next; I therefore hope little from confession even to a priest. Yet some good it is still in my power to do; let me disclose to you that secret which is so mysteriously connected with the southern apartments of this castle.-What of them! exclaimed Madame, with impatience. Vincent returned no answer; exhausted by the effort of speaking, he had fainted. Madame rung for assistance, and, by proper applications, his senses were recalled. He was, however, entirely speechless, and in this state he remained till he expired, which was about an hour after he had conversed with Madame.


The perplexity and astonishment of Madame were, by the late scene, heightened to a very painful degree. She recollected the various particulars relative to the southern division of the castle-the many years it had stood uninhabited— the silence which had been observed concerning it the appearance of the light and the figure the fruitless search for the keys, and the reports So generally believed; and thus remembrance presented her with a combination of circumstances, which served only to increase her wonder, and heighten her curiosity. A veil of mystery enveloped that part of the castle, which it now seemed impossible should ever be penetrated,

since the only person who could have removed it, was no more.

The Marquis arrived on the day after that on which Vincent had expired. He came attended by servants only, and alighted at the gates of the castle with an air of impatience, and a countenance expressive of strong emotion. Madame, with the young ladies, received him in the hall. He hastily saluted his daughters, and passed on to the oak parlour, desiring Madame to follow him. She obeyed, and the Marquis inquired with great agitation after Vincent. When told of his death, he paced the room with hurried steps, and was for some time silent. At length seating himself, and surveying Madame with a scrutinizing eye, he asked some questions concerning the particulars of Vincent's death. She mentioned his earnest desire to see the Marquis, and repeated his last words. The Marquis remained silent, and Madame proceeded to mention those circumstances relative to the southern division of the castle, which she thought it of so much importance to discover. He treated the affair very lightly, laughed at her conjectures, represented the appearances she described as the illusions of a weak and timid mind, and broke up the conversation, by going to visit the chamber of Vincent, in which he remained a considerable time.

On the following day Emilia and Julia dined with the Marquis. He was gloomy and silent; their efforts to amuse him seemed to excite displeasure rather than kindness; and when the repast was concluded, he withdrew to his own apartment, leaving his daughters in a state of sorrow and surprise.

Vincent was to be interred, according to his own desire, in the church belonging to the convent of St Nicholas. One of the servants, after receiving some necessary orders concerning the funeral, ventured to inform the Marquis of the appearance of the lights in the south tower. He mentioned the superstitious reports that prevailed amongst the household, and complained that the servants would not cross the courts after it was dark. And who is he that has commissioned you with this story? said the Marquis, in a tone of displeasure; are the weak and ridiculous fancies of women and servants to be ob truded upon my notice? Away! Appear no more before me, till you have learned to speak what it is proper for me to hear.-Robert withdrew abashed, and it was some time before any person ventured to renew the subject with the Marquis.

The majority of young Ferdinand now drew near, and the Marquis determined to celebrate the occasion with festive magnificence at the castle of Mazzini. He, therefore, summoned the Marchioness and his son from Naples, and very splendid preparations were ordered to be made. Emilia and Julia dreaded the arrival of the Marchioness, whose influence they had long been sensible of, and from whose presence they anti

cipated a painful restraint. Beneath the gen- against a scene so alluring, and she sighed at the tle guidance of Madame de Menon, their hours prospect, yet scarcely knew why. Julia pointed had passed in happy tranquillity, for they were out to her sister, the graceful figure of a young ignorant alike of the sorrows and the pleasures man who followed the Marchioness, and she exof the world. Those did not oppress, and these pressed her wishes that he might be her brodid not inflame them. Engaged in the pursuits ther. From the contemplation of the scene beof knowledge, and in the attainment of elegant fore them, they were summoned to meet the accomplishments, their moments flew lightly Marchioness., Julia trembled with apprehenaway, and the flight of time was marked only by sion, and for a few moments wished the castle improvement. In Madame was united the ten- was in its former state. As they advanced derness of the mother, with the sympathy of a through the saloon, in which they were presentfriend;

and they loved her with a warm and in- ed, Julia was covered with blushes; but Emiviolable affection.

lia, though equally timid, preserved her graceThe purposed visit of their brother, whom ful dignity. The Marchioness received them they had not seen for several years, gave them with a mingled smile of condescension and pogreat pleasure. Although their minds retained liteness, and immediately the whole attention of no very distinct remembrance of him, they look- the company was attracted by their elegance and ed forward with eager and delightful expectation beauty. The eager eyes of Julia sought in vain to his virtues and his talents; and hoped to find to discover her brother, of whose features she in his company, a consolation for the uneasiness had no recollection in those of any of the persons which the presence of the Marchioness would then present. At length her father presented him, excite. Neither did Julia contemplate with in- and she perceived, with a sigh of regret, that he difference the approaching festival. A new scene was not the youth she had observed from the was now opening to her, which her young ima- window. He advanced with a very engaging air, gination painted in the warm and glowing co- and she met him with an unfeigned welcome. lours of delight. The near approach of pleasure His figure was tall and majestic; he had a very frequently awakens the heart to emotions, which noble and spirited carriage ; and his countenance would fail to be excited by a more remote and expressed at once sweetness and dignity. Supabstracted observance. Julia, who, in the dis- per was served in the east hall, and the tables tance, had considered the splendid gaieties of life were spread with a profusion of delicacies. А with tranquillity, now lingered with impatient band of music played during the repast, and the hope through the moments which withheld her evening concluded with a concert-in the saloon. from their enjoyments. Emilia, whose feelings were less lively, and whose imagination was less powerful, beheld the approaching festival with calm consideration, and almost regretted the in

CHAP. II. terruption of those tranquil pleasures, which she knew to be more congenial with her powers and The day of the festival, so long and so impadisposition.

tiently looked for by Julia, was now arrived. În a few days the Marchioness arrived at the All the neighbouring nobility were invited, and castle. She was followed by a numerous reti- the gates of the castle were thrown open for a nue, and accompanied by Ferdinand, and seve- general rejoicing. A magnificent entertainment, ral of the Italian noblesse, whom pleasure at- consisting of the most luxurious and expensive tracted to her train. Her entrance was proclaim- dishes, was served in the halls. Soft music ed by the sound of music, and those gates which floated along the vaulted roofs, the walls were had long rusted on their hinges, were thrown hung with decorations, and it seemed as if the open to receive her. The courts and halls, whose wand of a magician had suddenly metamorphoaspect so lately expressed only gloom and deso- sed this once gloomy fabric into the palace of a lation, now shone with sudden splendour, and fairy. The Marquis, notwithstanding the gaiechoed the sounds of gaiety and gladness. Ju- ety of the scene, frequently appeared abstracted lia surveyed the scene from an obscure window; from its enjoyments, and in spite of all his efand as the triumphal strains filled the air, her forts at cheerfulness, the melancholy of his heart breast throbbed, her heart beat quick with joy, was visible in his countenance. and she lost her apprehensions from the Mar- In the evening there was a grand ball: the chioness in a sort of wild delight hitherto un- Marchioness, who was still distinguished for her known to her. The arrival of the Marchioness beauty, and for the winning elegance of her seemed indeed the signal of universal and un- manners, appeared in the most splendid attire. limited pleasure. When the Marquis came Her hair was ornamented with a profusion of out to receive her, the gloom that lately clouded jewels, but was so disposed as to give an air rather his countenance, broke away in smiles of wel- of voluptuousness than of grace to her figure. come, which the whole company appeared to Although conscious of her charms, she beheld consider as invitations to joy.

the beauty of Emilia and Julia with a jealous The tranquil heart of Emilia was not proof eye, and was compelled secretly to acknowledge, that the simple elegance with which they were benevolent affections; and she seemed anxious adorned, was more enchanting than all the stu- to impart to all around her, a happiness as undied artifice of splendid decoration. They were mixed as that she experienced. Wherever she dressed alike in light Sicilian habits, and the moved, admiration followed her steps. Ferdibeautiful luxuriance of their flowing hair was nand was as gay as the scene around ñim. Emirestrained only by bandellets of pearl. The ball lia was pleased; and the Marquis seemed to was opened by Ferdinand and the lady Matil- have left his melancholy in the castle. The da Constanza. Emilia danced with the young Marchioness alone was wretched. She supped Marquis della Fazelli, and acquitted herself with a select party, in a pavilion on the seawith the ease and dignity so natural to her. shore, which was fitted up with peculiar eleJulia experienced a various emotion of pleasure gance. It was hung with white silk, drawn up and fear when the Count de Vereza, in whom in festoons, and richly fringed with gold. The she recollected the cavalier she had observed sofas were of the same materials, and alternate from the window, led her forth. The grace of wreaths of lamps and of roses entwined the coher step, and the elegant symmetry of her fi- lumns. A row of small lamps placed about the gure, raised in the assembly a gentle murmur cornice, formed an edge of light round the roof, of applause, and the soft blush which now stole which, with the other numerous lights, was reover her cheek, gave an additional charm to her flected in a blaze of splendour from the large appearance. But when the music changed, and mirrors that adorned the room. The Count she danced to the soft Sicilian measure, the airy Muriani was of the party ;-he complimented grace of her movement, and the unaffected ten- the Marchioness on the beauty of her daughderness of her air, sunk attention into silence, ters; and after lamenting with gaiety the capwhich continued for some time after the dance tives which their charms would enthral, he men. had ceased. The Marchioness observed the tioned the Count de Vereza.--He is certainly general admiration with seeming pleasure, and of all others the man most deserving the lady secret uneasiness. She had suffered a very pain- Julia. As they danced, I thought they exhibitful slieitude, when the Count de Vereza select- ed a perfect model of the beauty of either sex ; ed her for his partner in the dance, and she pur- and if I mistake not, they are inspired with a sued him through the evening with an eye of mutual admiration.—The Marchioness, endeajealous scrutiny. Her bosom, which before vouring to conceal her uneasiness, said, Yes, glowed only with love, was now torn by the my lord, I allow the Count all the merit you agitation of other passions more violent and de- adjudge him, but from the little I have seen of structive. Her thoughts were restless, her mind his disposition, he is too volatile for a serious wandered from the scene before her, and it re- attachment.-At that instant the Count entered quired all her address to preserve an apparent ease. the pavilion : Ah, said Muriani, laughingly, She saw, or fancied she saw, an impassioned air you were the subject of our conversation, and in the Count, when he addressed himself to Julia, seem to be come in good time to receive the hothat corroded her heart with jealous fury: nours allotted you. I was interceding with the

At twelve the gates of the castle were thrown Marchioness for her interest in your favour, with open, and the company quitted it for the woods, the lady Julia; but she absolutely refuses it; which were splendidly illuminated. Arcades and though she allows you merit, alleges, that of light lined the long vistas, which were ter- you are by nature fickle and inconstant. What minated by pyramids of lamps, that presented say you would not the beauty of Lady Julia to the eye one bright column of flame. At ir- bind your unsteady heart? regular distances buildings were erected, hung I know not how I have deserved that characwith variegated lamps, disposed in the gayest ter of the Marchioness, said the Count with a and most fantastic forms. Collations were spread smile ; but that heart must be either fickle or under the trees; and music, touched by unseen insensible in an uncommon degree, which can hands, breathed around. The musicians were boast of freedom in the presence of Lady Julia. placed in the most obscure and embowered spots, The Marchioness, mortified by the whole conso as to elude the eye and strike the imagina- versation, now felt the full force of Vereza's retion. The scene appeared enchanting. Nothing ply, which she imagined he pointed with partimet the eye but beauty and romantic splendour; cular emphasis. the ear received no sounds but those of mirth The entertainment concluded with a grand and melody. The younger part of the compa- firework, which was exhibited on the margin of Dy formed themselves into groups, which at the sea, and the company did not part till the intervals glancel through the woods, and were dawn of morning. Julia retired from the scene again unseen. Julia seemed the magic queen with regret. She was enchanted with the new of the place. Her heart dilated with pleasure, world that was now exhibited to her, and she and diffused over her features an expression of was not cool enough to distinguish the vivid fare and complacent delight. A generous, frank, glow of imagination from the colours of real iz] exalted sentiment sparkled in her eyes, and bliss. The pleasure she now felt she believed dienated her inanner. Her bosom glowed with would always be renewed, and in an equal de

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