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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 voluntary sacrifice of their pride to his love; or yield mistakes, nurtured by prejudice and by willing indulgence, to truth and a sense of justice. In the mean time, the plans, which would be formed for separating him from Ellena, might succeed, and he should lose her for ever. Above all, it appeared, that the best, the only method, which remained for confuting the daring aspersions that had affected her name, was, by proving the high respect he himself felt for her, and presenting her to the world in the sacred character of his wife. These considerations quickly determined him to persevere in his suit; but it was impossible to urge them to Ellena, since the circumstances they must unfold, would not only shock her delicacy and afflict her heart, out would furnish the proper pride she cherished with new arguments against approaching family who had thus grossly insulted her.

a

While these considerations occupied him, the emotion they occasioned did not escape Ellena's observation; it increased, as he reflected on the impossibility of urging them to her, and on the hopelessness of prevailing with her, unless he could produce new arguments in his favour. His unaffected distress awakened all her tenderness and gratitude; she asked herself whether she ought any longer to assert her own rights, when, by doing so, she sacrificed the peace of him, who had incurred so much danger for her sake, who had rescued her from severe oppression, and had so long and so well proved the strength of his affection.

As she applied these questions, she appeared to herself an unjust and selfish being, unwilling to make any sacrifice for the tranquillity of him, who had given her liberty, even at the risk of his life. Her very virtues, now that they were carried to excess, seemed to her to border upon vices; her sense of dignity appeared to be narrow pride; her delicacy, weakness; her moderated affection, cold ingratitude; and her circumspection, little less than prudence degenera

ted into meanness.

Vivaldi, as apt in admitting hope as fear, immediately perceived her resolution beginning to yield, and he urged again every argument which was likely to prevail over it. But the subject was too important for Ellena, to be immediately decided upon; he departed with only a faint assurance of encouragement; and she forbade him to return till the following day, when she would acquaint him with her final

Of the walls that enclosed her he scarce ever lost sight; the view of them seemed cherish his hopes, and, while he gazed up their rugged surface, Ellena alone was pictur on his fancy; till his anxiety to learn her dis position towards him arose to agony, and b would abruptly leave the spot. But an in ble spell still seemed to attract him back again and evening found him pacing slowly beneat the shade of those melancholy boundaries, the concealed his Ellena.

Ellena was already in the parlour; she wa alone, and rose in disorder on his appro His steps faltered, his voice was lost, and his eyes only, which he fixed with a wild earnes ness on hers, had power to inquire her rese tion. She observed the paleness of his com tenance, and his emotion, with a mixture of concern and approbation. At that moment, be perceived her smile, and hold out her hand him; and fear, care, and doubt, vanished once from his mind. He was incapable of thanking her, but sighed deeply as he presse her hand, and, overcome with joy, supported himself against the grate, that separated them

You are, then, indeed my own! said Vivaldi at length recovering his voice-We shall be no more parted-you are mine for ever! But you countenance changes! O Heaven! surely I have not mistaken! Speak! I conjure you, Ellena; relieve me from these terrible doubts!

I am yours, Vivaldi, replied Ellena, faintly oppression can part us no more.

She wept, and drew her veil over her eyes What mean those tears? said Vivaldi, with alarm. Ah! Ellena, he added in a softened voice, should tears mingle with such moments as these! Should your tears fall upon my heart now! They tell me that your consent is given with reluctance with grief; that feeble, your heart-yes, Ellena! that your whole heart is no longer mine!

is

Her day was not more tranquil. Wheneve prudence and decorous pride forbade her to be come a member of the Vivaldi family, as c stantly did gratitude, affection, irresistible to derness, plead the cause of Vivaldi. The mory of past times returned; and the very cents of the deceased seemed to murmur fr the grave, and command her to fulfil the egagement, which had soothed the dying ments of Bianchi.

On the following morning, Vivaldi was a the gates of the convent long before the pointed hour, and he lingered in dreadful in patience till the clock struck the signal for bis

entrance.

determination.

your

This interval was, perhaps, the most painful he had ever experienced. Alone, and on the banks of the lake, he passed many hours in alternate hope and fear; in endeavouring to anticipate the decision, on which seemed suspendel all his future peace, and abruptly recoiling from it, as often as imagination represented it

to be adverse.

They ought rather to tell you, replied Ellena, that it is all your own; that my affection never was more powerful than now, when it can overcome every consideration with respect to your family, and urge me to a step, which must degrade me in their eyes,-and, I fear, in my own.

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; you forget that we are waiting.

The officiating priest made a signal that he had nearly concluded his orison; but the other brother rose immediately and spoke with Vivaldi, who desired that the doors of the chapel might be fastened, to prevent intrusion.

We dare not bar the gates of this holy temple, replied the Benedictine; it is a sanctuary, and never may be closed.

But you will allow me to repress idle curiosity, said Vivaldi, and to inquire who watches beyond that door? The tranquillity of this lady demands thus much.

The brother assented, and Vivaldi stepped to the door; but perceiving no person in the obscure passage beyond it, he returned with lighter steps to the altar, from which the officiating priest now rose.

My children, said he, I have made you wait, -but an old man's prayers are not less important than a young man's vows; though this is not a moment when you will admit that truth.

I will allow whatever you please, good father, replied Vivaldi, if you will administer those vows without farther delay;-time presses.

The venerable priest took his station at the altar, and opened the book. Vivaldi placed himself on his right hand, and, with looks of anxious love, endeavoured to encourage Ellena, who, with a dejected countenance, which her veil but ill concealed, and eyes fixed on the ground, leaned on her attendant sister. The figure and homely features of this sister; the tall stature and harsh visage of the brother, clothed in the grey habit of his order; the silvered head and placid physiognomy of the officiating priest, enlightened by a gleam from the lamp above, opposed to the youthful grace and spirit of Vivaldi, and the milder beauty and sweetness of Ellena, formed altogether a group worthy of the pencil.

The priest had begun the ceremony, when a noise from without again alarmed Ellena, who observed the door once more cautiously opened, and a man bend forward his gigantic figure from behind it. He carried a torch, and its glare, as the door gradually unclosed, discovered other persons in the passage beyond, looking forward over his shoulder into the chapel. The fierceness of their air, and the strange peculiarity of their dress, instantly convinced Ellena that they were not inhabitants of the Benedictine convent, but some terrible messengers of evil. Her halfstifled shriek alarmed Vivaldi, who caught her before she fell to the ground; but, as he had not faced the door, he did not understand the occasion of her terror, till the sudden rush of footsteps made him turn, when he observed several men, armed, and very singularly habited, advancing towards the altar.

Who is he that intrudes upon this sanctuary? he demanded sternly, while he half rose from the ground, where Ellena had sunk.

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You may believe what you please, signor, replied the chief officer, but you and that lady are our prisoners.

Begone, impostor! said Vivaldi, springing from the ground, where he had supported Ellena, or my sword shall teach you to repent your audacity!

Do you insult an officer of the Inquisition! exclaimed the ruffian.-That holy community will inform you what you incur by resisting its mandate!

The priest interrupted Vivaldi's retort. If you are really officers of that tremendous tribunal, he said, produce some proof of your office. Remember this place is sanctified, and tremblefor the consequence of imposition! You do wrong to believe that I will deliver up to you persons who have taken refuge here, without an unequivocal demand from that dread power.

Produce your form of summons, demanded Vivaldi, with haughty impatience.

It is here, replied the official, drawing forth a black scroll, which he delivered to the priest; Read, and be satisfied!

The Benedictine started the instant he beheld the scroll, but he received, and deliberately examined it. The kind of parchment, the impres sion of the seal, the particular form of words, the private signals, understood only by the initiated-all announced this to be a true instrument of arrestation from the Holy Office. The scroll dropped from his hand, and he fixed his eyes, with surprise and unutterable compas sion, upon Vivaldi, who stooped to reach the parchment, when it was snatched by the official.

Unhappy young man ! said the priest, it is too true; you are summoned by that awful power, to answer to your crime, and I am spared from the commission of a terrible offence!

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