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By his hands?_asked the Marchesa, with chesa, in a faltering voice; It was touched by strong emotion. Think, once more, father. a fearful hand! Vespers were over long ago!
They were both again silent and thoughtful. Daughter, said Schedoni, somewhat sternly, The Marchesa, at length, said, Father, I rely you said you had a man's courage. Alas! you upon your integrity and prudence ; and she laid have a woman's heart. a very flattering emphasis upon the word inte- Excuse me, father ; I know not why I feel grity,--and I conjure you to let this business be this agitation, but I will command it.—Tha: finished quickly, (suspense is to me the purga
chamber? tory of this world, but not to trust the accom- In that chamber, resumed the confessor, is : plishment of it to a second person. She paused, secret door, constructed long ago. and then added, I would not willingly owe so And for what purpose constructed ? said the vast a debt of obligation to any other than your fearful Marchesa. self.
Pardon me, daughter ; 'tis sufficient that it is Your request, daughter, that I would not there ; we will make a good use of it. Through confide this business to a second person, said that door–in the night--when she sleeps Schedoni, with displeasure, cannot be accorded I comprehend you, said the Marchesa, I conto. Can you suppose, that I, myself
prehend you. But why,--you have your reasons, Can I doubt that principle may both prompt no doubt,—but why the necessity of a secret and perform the deed? interrupted the Marchesa door in a house which you say is so lonelywith quickness, and anticipating his meaning, mhabited by only one person while she retorted upon him his former words. A passage leads to the sea, continued Schedoni, Why should we hesitate to do what we judge to without replying to the question. There, on the be right?
shore, when darkness covers it; there, plunged The silence of Schedoni alone indicated his amidst the waves, no stain shall hint of displeasure, which the Marchesa immediately Hark! interrupted the Marchesa, starting, understood.
that note again! Consider, good father, she added significant- The organ sounded faintly from the choir, ly, how painful it must be to me, to owe so in- and paused, as before. In the next moment, finite an obligation to a stranger, or to any other a slow chanting of voices was heard, mingling than so highly valued a friend as yourself. with the rising peal, in a strain particularly
Schedoni, while he detected her meaning, and melancholy and solemn. persuaded himself that he despised the flattery, Who is dead? said the Marchesa, changing with which she so thinly veiled it, unconsciously countenance; it is a requiem! suffered his self-love to be soothed by the com- Peace be with the departed ! exclaimed Schepliment. He bowed his head, in signal of con- doni, and crossed himself ; Peace rest with his sent to her wish.
soul! Avoid violence, if that be possible, she added, Hark! to that chant! said the Marchesa, in immediately comprehending him, but let her a trembling voice; it is a first requiem; the die quickly! The punishment is due to the soul has but just quitted the body! crime.
They listened in silence. The Marchesa Fras The Marchesa happened, as she said this, to much affected; her complexion varied at every cast her eyes upon the inscription over a con- instant; her breathings were short and interfessional, where appeared, in black letters, these rupted, and she even shed a few tears, but they awful words, “ God hears thee !” It appeared were those of despair, rather than of sorror. an awful warning: her countenance changed; That body is now cold, said she to herself, which it had struck upon her heart. Schedoni was too but an hour ago was warm and animated! much engaged by his own thoughts to observe, Those fine senses are closed in death! And to or understand, her silence. She soon recovered this condition would I reduce a being like myherself; and, considering that this was a com, self! Oh, wretched, wretched mother! to what mon inscription for confessionals, disregarded has the folly of a son reduced thee! what she had at first considered as a peculiar She turned from the confessor, and walke! admonition ; yet some moments elapsed, before alone in the aisle. Her agitation increased; she could renew the subject.
she wept without restraint, for her veil and the You were speaking of a place, father, resumed evening gloom concealed her, and her sighs were the Marchesa-you mentioned a
lost amidst the music of the choir. Ay, muttered the confessor, still musing—in Schedoni was scarcely less disturbed, but bis a chamber of that house there is
were emotions of apprehension and contempt. What noise is that? said the Marchesa, in- Behold, what is woman! said heThe slave terrupting him. They listened. A few low and of her passions, the dupe of her senses! When querulous notes of the organ sounded at a dis- pride and revenge speak in her breast, she detance, and stopped again.
fies obstacles, and laughs at crimes ! Assail but What mournful music is that? said the Mar. her senses, let music, for instance, touch some
Feeble chord of her heart, and echo to her fancy, her with intense solicitude, had hitherto forbore and lo! all her perceptions change:-she shrinks to renew a subject, which, by agitating her from the act she had but an instant before be- spirits, might affect her health, now, that her lieved necessary, yields to some new emotion, health strengthened, ventured gradually to menand sinks--the victim of a sound! 0, weak and tion his fears lest the place of her retreat should contemptible being !
be discovered, and lest he yet might irrecoverThe Marchesa, at least, seemed to justify his ably lose her, unless she would approve of their observations. The desperate passions, which speedy marriage. At every visit he now urged had resisted every remonstrance of reason and the subject, represented the dangers that surhumanity, were vanquished only by other pas- rounded them, and repeated his arguments and sions; and, her senses touched by the mournful entreaties; for now, when he believed that time melody of music, and her superstitious fears was pressing forward fatal evils, he could no awakened by the occurrence of a requiem for longer attend to the delicate scruples, that bade the dead, at the very moment when she was him be sparing in entreaty. Ellena, had she planning murder, she yielded, for a while, to obeyed the dictates of her heart, would have rethe united influence of pity and terror. Her warded his attachment and his services, by a agitation did not subside; but she returned to frank approbation of his proposal; but the obthe confessor.
jections which reason exhibited against such a We will converse on this business at some concession, she could neither overcome nor disfuture time, said she; at present, my spirits regard. are disordered. Good night, father! Remem- Vivaldi, after he had again represented their ber me in your orisons.
present dangers, and claimed the promise of Peace be with you, lady! said the confessor, her hand, received in the presence of her debowing gravely, You shall not be forgotten. ceased relative, Signora Bianchi, gently ventured Be resolute, and yourself.
to remind her, that an event as sudden as laThe Marchesa beckoned her woman to ap- mentable had first deferred their nuptials, and preach, when, drawing her veil closer, and that, if Bianchi had lived, Ellena would have leaning upon the attendant's arm, she left the bestowed, long since, the vows he now solicited. transept. Schedoni remained for a moment on Again he entreated her, by every sacred, and the spot, looking after her, till her figure was tender recollection, to conclude the fearful unlost in the gloom of the long perspective; he certainty of their fate, and to bestow upon him then, with thoughtful steps, quitted the church the right to protect her, before they ventured by another door. He was disappointed, but he forth from this temporary asylum. did not despair.
Ellena immediately admitted the sacredness of the promise, which she had formerly given, and assured Vivaldi that she considered herself
as indissolubly bound to wed him as if it had CHAP. XVI.
been given at the altar; but she objected to a
confirmation of it, till his family should seem The lonely mountains o'er, And the resounding shore,
willing to receive her for their daughter; when, A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament!
forgetting the injuries she had received from From haunted spring, and dale,
them, she would no longer refuse their alliance. Edged with poplar pale, The parting genius is with sighing sent;
She added, that Vivaldi ought to be more jealous With flower-inwoven tresses torn The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thicket mourn.
of the dignity of the woman whom he honourMILTON
ed with his esteem, than to permit her making
a greater concession. While the Marchesa and the monk were Vivaldi felt the full force of this appeal; he thus meditating conspiracies against Elena, she recollected, with anguish, circumstances, of was still in the Ursuline convent on the lake of which she was happily ignorant, but which Celano. In this obscure sanctuary, indisposition, served to strengthen with him the justness of the consequence of the long and severe anxiety her reproof. And, as the aspersions, which the she had suffered, compelled her to remain. Å Marchese had thrown upon her name, crowded fever was on her spirits, and an universal las- to his memory, pride and indignation swelled situde prevailed over her frame; which became his heart, and so far overcame apprehension of the more effectual, from her very solicitude to hazard, that he formed a momentary resolution conquer it. Every approaching day she hoped to abandon every other consideration, to that she should be able to pursue her journey home of asserting the respect which was due to Ellena, ward, yet every day found her as incapable of and to forbear claiming her for his wife, till his ravelling as the last, and the second week was family should make acknowledginent of their already gone, before the fine air of Celano, and error, and willingly admit her in the rank of che tranquillity of her asylum, began to revive their child. But this resolution was as transient ner. Vivaldi, who was her daily visitor at the os plausible ; other considerations, and former rate of the convent, and who, watching over fears, pressed upon him. He perceived the strong improbability, that they would ever make a vo- Of the walls that enclosed her he scaras luntary sacrifice of their pride to his love; or ever lost sight; the view of them seemed yield mistakes, nurtured by prejudice and by cherish his hopes, and, while he gazed up willing indulgence, to truth and a sense of juse their rugged surface, Ellena alone was picten tice. In the mean time, the plans, which would on his fancy; till his anxiety to learn her és be formed for separating him from Ellena, position towards him arose to agony, and be might succeed, and he should lose her for ever. would abruptly leave the spot. But an inte Above all, it appeared, that the best, the only ble spell still seemed to attract him back on method, which remained for confuting the da- and evening found him pacing slowly bear ring aspersions that had affected her name, was, the shade of those melancholy
, the by proving the high respect he himself felt for concealed his Ellena. her, and presenting her to the world in the sa- Her day was not more tranquil. Whenzie cred character of his wife. These considerations prudence and decorous pride forbade her ok quickly determined him to persevere in his suit; come a member of the Vivaldi family, as but it was impossible to urge them to Ellena, stantly did gratitude, affection, irresistible ? since the circumstances they must unfold, would derness, plead the cause of Vivaldi. The not only shock her delicacy and afflict her heart, mory of past times returned ; and the very x: out would furnish the proper pride she cherish- cents of the deceased seemed to murmura ed with new arguments against approaching a the grave, and command her to fulfil the efamily who had thus grossly insulted her. gagement, which had soothed the dying :
While these considerations occupied him, the ments of Bianchi. emotion they occasioned did not escape Ellena's On the following morning, Vivaldi was a observation; it increased, as he reflected on the the gates of the convent long before the simpossibility of urging them to her, and on the pointed hour, and he lingered in dreadful o hopelessness of prevailing with her, unless he patience till the clock struck the signal forts i could produce new arguments in his favour. entrance. His unaffected distress awakened all her tender- Ellena was already in the parlour; she wa ness and gratitude; she asked herself whether alone, and rose in disorder on his approa she ought any longer to assert her own rights, His steps faltered, his voice was lost, and be when, by doing so, she sacrificed the peace of eyes only, which he fixed with a wild earnes him, who had incurr so much danger for her ness on hers, had power to inquire her resetsake, who had rescued her from severe oppres- tion. She observed the paleness of his count sion, and had so long and so well proved the tenance, and his emotion, with a mixture al strength of his affection.
concern and approbation. At that moment
, les As she applied these questions, she appeared perceived her smile, and hold out her hand es to herself an unjust and selfish being, unwilling him; and fear, care, and doubt, vanished s to make any sacrifice for the tranquillity of him, once from his mind. He was incapable who had given her liberty, even at the risk of thanking her, but sighed deeply as he prese his life. Her very virtues, now that they were her hand, and, overcome with joy, supported carried to excess, seemed to her to border upon himself against the grate, that separated the vices; her sense of dignity appeared to be nar- You are, then, indeed my own! said Vitali row pride; her delicacy, weakness; her mo- at length recovering his voice-We sball be me derated affection, cold ingratitude; and her cir- more parted—you are mine for ever! But cumspection, little less than prudence degenera- countenance changes ! O Heaven! surely I bare ted into meanness.
not mistaken! Speak! I conjure you, Elena; Vivaldi, as apt in admitting hope as fear, relieve me from these terrible doubts ! immediately perceived her resolution beginning I am yours, Vivaldi, replied Elena, fainti; to yield, and he urged again every argument oppression can part us no more
. which was likely to prevail over it. But the She wept, and drew her veil over her efa subject was too important for Ellena, to be im- What mean those tears? said Vivaldi
, with mediately decided upon; he departed with only alarm. Ah! Ellena, he added in a softened a faint assurance of encouragement; and she voice, should tears mingle with such momens forbade him to return till the following day, as these! Should your tears fall upon my heart when she would acquaint him with her final now! They tell me that your consent is given determination.
with grief ; that your love s This interval was, perhaps, the most painful feeble, your heart-yes, Ellena ! that you he had ever experienced. Alone, and on the whole heart is no longer mine! banks of the lake, he passed many hours in al- They ought rather to tell you, replied Ellers
, ternate hope and fear; in endeavouring to an- that it is all your own; that my affection never ticipate the decision, on which seemed suspend- was more powerful than now, when it can opes
. ed all his future peace, and abruptly recoiling come every consideration with respect to the from it, as often as imagination represented it family, and urge me to a step, which must de to be adverse.
grade me in their eyes,-and, I fear, in my owi
O, retract that cruel assertion! interrupted that hung upon the mountains, and the birds Vivaldi. Degrade you in your own !-degrade circling swiftly over the waters, and scudding
you in their eyes ! -He was much agitated; his away to their nests among the cliffs ; and she 2 countenance was flushed, and an air of more noticed to Vivaldi, that, as a storm seemed apthan usual dignity dilated his figure, while he proaching, she wished to avoid crossing the lake.
said, The time shall come, my Ellena, when He immediately ordered Paulo to dismiss the • they shall understand your worth, and acknow. boat, and to be in waiting with a carriage, that, i ledge your excellence. O! that I were an em- if the weather should become clear, they might
peror, that I might shew to all the world how not be detained longer than was otherwise nemuch I love and honour you !
cessary: Ellena gave him her hand, and, withdrawing As they approached the chapel, Ellena fixed her veil, smiled on him through her tears, with her eyes on the mournful cypresses which waved gratitude and reviving courage.
over it, and sighed. Those, she said, are funeral Before Vivaldi retired from the convent, he mementos-not such as should grace the altar obtained her consent to consult with an aged of marriage! Vivaldi, I could be superstitious. Benedictine, whom he had engaged in his in. Think you not they are portentous of future terest, as to the hour at which the marriage misfortune? But forgive me; my spirits are might be solemnized with least observation. weak, The priest informed him, that at the conclusion Vivaldi endeavoured to soothe her mind, and of the vesper-service, he should be disengaged tenderly reproached her for the sadness she infor several hours; and that, as the first hour dulged. Thus they entered the chapel. Silence, after sun-set was more solitary than almost any and a kind of gloomy sepulchral light, prevailother, the brotherhood being then assembled in ed within. The venerable Benedictine, with a the refectory, he would meet Vivaldi and Ellena brother, who was to serve as guardian to the at that time, in a chapel on the edge of the lake, bride, were already there, but they were kneela short distance from the Benedictine convent, ing, and engaged in prayer. to which it belonged, and solemnize their nup- Vivaldi led the trembling Ellena to the altar, tials.
where they waited till the Benedictines should With this proposal Vivaldi immediately re- have finished their orisons, and these were moturned to Ellena, when it was agreed that the ments of great emotion. She often looked round party should assemble at the hour mentioned the dusky chapel, in fearful expectation of disby the priest. Ellena, who had thought it covering some lurking observer; and, though proper to mention her intention to the Abbess she knew it to be very improbable that any perof the Ursulines, was, by her permission, to be son in this neighbourhood could be interested in attended by a lay-sister; and Vivaldi was to interrupting the ceremony, her mind involunmeet her without the walls, and conduct her to tarily admitted the possibility, of it. Once, inthe altar. When the ceremony was over, the deed, as her eyes glanced over a casement, Elfugitives were to embark in a vessel, hired for lena fancied she distinguished a human face laid the purpose, and, crossing the lake, proceed to- close to the glass, as if to watch what was passwards Naples. Vivaldi again withdrew to en- ing within, but, when she looked again, the apgage a boat, and Ellena to prepare for the con- parition was gone. Notwithstanding this, she listtinuance of her journey.
ened with anxiety to the uncertain sounds withAs the appointed hour drew near, her spirits out, and sometimes started, as the surges of the sunk, and she watched, with melancholy fore- lake dashed over the rock below, almost belieboding, the sun retiring amidst stormy clouds, ving she heard the steps and whispering voices and his rays fading from the highest points of of men in the avenues of the chapel. She tried, the mountains, till the gloom of twilight pre- however, to subdue apprehension, by considervailed over the scene. She then left her apart- ing, that, if this were true, an harmless curiosiment, took a grateful leave of the hospitable ty might have attracted some inhabitants of the Abbess, and, attended by the lay-sister, quitted convent hither, and her spirits became more the convent.
composed, till she observed a door open a little Immediately without the gate she was met by way, and a dark countenance looking from beVivaldi, whose looks, as he put her arm within hind it. In the next instant it retreated, and his, gently reproached her for the dejection of the door was closed. her air.
Vivaldi, who perceived Ellena's complexion They walked in silence towards the chapel of change, as she laid her hand on his arm, followSan Sebastian. The scene appeared to sympa
ed her eyes to the door, but, no person appearthize with the spirits of Ellena. It was a gloomy "ing, he inquired the cause of her alarm. evening, and the lake, which broke in dark We are observed, said Ellena ; some person waves upon the shore, mingled its hollow sounds appeared at that door! with those of the wind, that bowed the lofty And if we are observed, my love, replied Vipines, and swept in gusts among the rocks. She valdi, who is there in this neighbourhood whose observed with alarm the heavy thunder-clouds observation we can have reason to fear ? - Good
father, dispatch, he added, turning to the priest; What sacrilegious footsteps, cried the pries. you forget that we are waiting.
thus rudely violate this holy place? The officiating priest made a signal that he Ellena was now insensible; and, the men com. had nearly concluded his orison ; but the other tinuing to advance, Vivaldi drew his sword to brother rose immediately and spoke with Vival- protect her. di, who desired that the doors of the chapel The priest and Vivaldi now spoke together
. might be fastened, to prevent intrusion. but the words of neither could be distinguist
. We dare not bar the gates of this holy temple, ed ; when a voice, tremendous from its loudnes replied the Benedictine ; it is a sanctuary, and like bursting thunder, dissipated the cloud e never may be closed.
mystery.--You, Vincentio di Vivaldi, and But you will allow me to repress idle curio- Naples, it said, and you, Ellena di Rosalbe
, ci sity, said Vivaldi, and to inquire who watches Villa Altieri, we summon you to surrender
, in beyond that door? The tranquillity of this lady the name of the most holy Inquisition ! demands thus much.
The Inquisition ! exclaimed Vivaldi, scaroly The brother assented, and Vivaldi stepped to believing what he heard,-here is some mistake the door ; but perceiving no person in the ob- The official repeated the summons, withou scure passage beyond it, he returned with light- deigning to explain. er steps to the altar, from which the officiating Vivaldi, yet more astonished, added, Dos priest now rose.
imagine you may so far impose upon my de My children, said he, I have made you wait, dulity, as that I can believe myself to have falla -but an old man's prayers are not less import- within the cognizance of the Inquisition. ant than a young man's vows ; though this is You may believe what you please, signer, tt not a moment when you will admit that truth. plied the chief officer, but you and that lady are
I will allow whatever you please, good father, our prisoners. replied Vivaldi, if you will administer those vows Begone, impostor! said Vivaldi, springing frosa without farther delay ;-time presses.
the ground, where he had supported #llega, er The venerable priest took his station at the my sword shall teach you to repent your and altar, and opened the book. Vivaldi placed him- city! self on his right hand, and, with looks of anxious Do you insult an officer of the Inquisition ! love, endeavoured to encourage Ellena, who, with exclaimed the ruffian.—That holy community a dejected countenance, which her veil but ill will inform you what you incur by resisting its concealed, and eyes fixed on the ground, leaned mandate ! on her attendant sister. The figure and homely The priest interrupted Vivaldi's retort. If features of this sister ; the tall stature and harsh you are really officers of that tremendous tibavisage of the brother, clothed in the grey habit nal, he said, produce some proof of your offee
. of his order ; the silvered head and placid phy: Remember this place is sanctified, and tremblefer siognomy of the officiating priest, enlightened the consequence of imposition ! You do wrong by a gleam from the lamp above, opposed to the to believe that I will deliver up to you persen youthful grace and spirit of Vivaldi, and the who have taken refuge here, without an unequmilder beauty and sweetness of Ellena, formed vocal demand from that dread power. altogether a group worthy of the pencil.
Produce your form of summons, demanded The priest had begun the ceremony, when a Vivaldi, with haughty impatience. noise from without again alarmed Ellena, who It is here, replied the official, drawing forth observed the door once more cautiously opened, a black scroll, which he delivered to the priest
; and a man bend forward his gigantic figure from Read, and be satisfied ! behind it. He carried a torch, and its glare, as The Benedictine started the instant be bebeld the door gradually unclosed, discovered other the scroll, but he received, and deliberately expersons in the passage beyond, looking forward amined it
. The kind of parchment, the impresover his shoulder into the chapel. The fierce- sion of the seal, the particular form of wenis ness of their air, and the strange peculiarity of the private signals, understood only by the ini. their dress, instantly convinced Ellena that they tiated—all announced this to be a true instrui were not inhabitants of the Benedictine convent, ment of arrestation from the
Holy Office. The but some terrible messengers of evil. Her half- scroll dropped
from his hand, and he fixed bis stifled shriek alarmed Vivaldi, who caught her eyes, with surprise and unutterable compete before she fell to the ground ; but, as he had not sion, upon Vivaldi, who stooped to reach the faced the door, he did not understand the occa
parchment, when it was snatched by the official sion of her terror, till the sudden rush of foot- Unhappy young man ! said the priest
, it is too steps made him turn, when he observed several
true ; you are summoned by that awful power, men, armed, and very singularly habited, ad- to answer to your crime, and I am spared from vancing towards the altar.
the commission of a terrible offence! Who is he that intrudes upon this sanctuary? he demanded sternly, while he half rose from crime, holy father, am I called upon to answer
Vivaldi appeared thunderstruck. For what the ground, where Éllena had sunk,
This is some bold and artful imposture, since it