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self brought before the King, and pro- there were those who pretended to read in claims her innocence by taking the fact their dejected looks and faltering speech
a tale of disaster and disappointment. The
count himself observed that there was Ab ! hope no more thy pardon here to find, much mystery about the actions of PetroO glorious virgin ! O exalted mind!
ni, and even hinted his apprehensions that on vain, against the Tyrant's fury held, Love for defence opposes beauty's shield,
the hopes of Vincentio pointed to the Now doom'd to death, and sentenced to the same fatal source in which the ruin of flame,
his father had originated. After the With cruel hands they seize the beauteous dame Her
vell and mantle rent bestrew the ground, lapse of a few months, however, brighter With rugged cords her tender arms are bound. prospects seemed to open. It was ascerSilent she stands, no marks of fear exprexs'd, tained that Vincentio had remitted consiYet soft commotions gently heave her breast; derable sums to his steward, and had even Her modest cheeks a transient blush disclose; Where lillies woon succeed the fading rose.
directed certain repairs to be commenced, Meanwhile the people throng (the rumour in his palace, which seemed to indicate an spread)
intention of restoring it to its former granAud with the rest Olindo there was led : deur. Thus time rolled on till one month The tale he knew, but not the victim's name, Till near the tragic scene of fate he came ;
only of the stipulated period remained to be Soon as the youth the prisoner's face survey'd, accomplished, when Petroni suddenly preAnd saw, condemo'd to death, his lov-ly maid, sented himself at the villa Gheranzi.' 'His While the stern guards their cruel task pursue; pursuits, whatever they had been, had Through the thick press with headlong speed much changed him. His looks were wild,
he few. She's guiltless 1 (to the king aloud he cries) his features haggard—and there was a deShe's guiltless of th' offence for which she dies; gree of ferocity in his manner utterly foShe could not, durst not, such a work demands reign to the mild and urbane dignity of Far other than a woman's feeble hands ; What arts to full the keeper could she prove ?
his former character. And how the sacred image thence remove? “I come, count, a suppliant, but to She fondly boasts the deed, unthinking maid ! your justice rather than to your mercy. 'Twas I the statue from the mosque convey'd Where the high dume receives the air and light, The task you have imposed on me is im. I found a passage, favour'd by the night; practicable ; either extend the time, or The glory mine, the death for me remains, reduce the demand. I have toiled when Nor let her chun usurp my rigbtful pains;
even the herdsman slept; I have dared The punishment be mine, her chains I claim ; Mine is the pile prepared, and mine the kiu: that, which bụt for Agatha — and he dled Aume.
Book II. struck his forehead with his clenched hand
as he spoke-I had trembled even to look upon-Nay, hear me out I have ainassed a treasure which ought, which must
be accepted as a release froint further AGATHA GHERANZI.
“ Name it,” replied the count--" It
is a good earnest,” continued he, return(Continued from page 73.)
ing the papers to Vincentio, “and requires but a little more exertion to secure
the object of your desires. Nay, nay, 110 Agatha, informed by her father of the entreaties ; I am firm, Petroni." result of their conference, grew more com- “ Say rather hardened," exclaimed posed, and by degrees regained much of Vincentio, with bitterness; but I have ihat elasticity of mind which had shed its done ; I bow to no man. On your head fairy beams over her earlier years. Na- be the consequences of this fatal hour !" turally sanguine, and unversed in worldly Infuriated by conflicting passions, he affairs, she looked forward with hope, als rushed into the garden, where, at the foot. most with confidence, to the result of those of a temple which had been erected to the efforts which she understood from time to memory of the late countess, he beheld time employed the unceasing attention of Agatha, seated and looking on the declinVincentio. Of the nature of those efforts ing sun with a countenance in which Jittle was known. His absences from peace, innocence, and love, were sweetly Mantua were frequent, and often protract- depicted. He paused-he trembled, the ed; but the few domestics whom he yet big drops of emotion chased each other retained, and who were ancient servants, across his pale forehead, as he gazed on of the family, preserved a religious silence her who, still unconscious of his presence, on all that respected their master; yet seemed lost in happy musing.
“ With thee with thee, Vincentio--"
she slowly murmured. He was at her . See the Embellishment, illustrative of the feet. above, page 81.
“If you love me, Agatha-"
“ Vincentio, what means this ?" ex- wholly ignorant of the pace of his reclaimed the affrighted maid.
treat. “ It means," said he, wildly, “ that I Time, which pursues its undeviating am again rejected, spurned, despised, by course through good and ill, passed on; gour relentless father; that, to gratify his and a few days now only remained before ambition, his avarice, he would force me the expiration of that period on which the on courses which my soul abhors. Oh, fate of Agatha depended. Nothing, how. save me, save me, Agatha !” he cried, his ever, had yet been heard of Vincentio, tears bursting forth in an unrestrained and her fears augmented almost to disflood : " I am lost-dishonoured-wrete traction as hour after hour stole insensibly ched here and hereafter, but for thee! away. At this momentous crisis the count Thy gentle hand can alone lead me back received intelligence of the death of a refroin paths which but for thee I had never lative near Naples, with the important ad. trod !"
dition of a large property having devolved “ Vincentio, what mean you ?" on him. With the ardour of one whose
“ That to win you from your father, I whole soul was concentrated in the acquimust peril life, honour, my immortal sition of wealth, he gave orders for their soul!"
immediate departure to take possession of “Oh, frightful ! frightful ! speak not his newly-gained riches. In vain did thus ! by what means can I-"
Agatha urge the nearness of that hour on Fly with me! this instant fly! and I which her destiny seemed to rest. The am secure and happy !- -Happy ! oh count would hear of no opposition. what a word to express the bliss, the rap
Respect for the dead, Agatha," said ture of possessing thee !"
he, “ would at all events oblige ns to post“ Vincentio, it must not be !” exclaim- pone the nuptials. Indeed, we stand aled the maiden firmly; “ rather let us at this iogether in an altered situation : if there moment bid each other an eternal farewell was disparity of fortune before, how much than violate an oath sacred in the sight of greater is it now ?" man and Heaven. Nay, nay, look not. 'You would not break faith with Vin. thus upon me; fortune may smile on us centio, my father ?" exclaimed Agatha, yet."
faintly. “I cannot lose you !" cried he wildly ; “I am not yet called upon to keep it,” “ whatever be the issue, I must peril cried the count, pettishly ;
" when Vinall."
centio claims the performance of my, pro« Oh Vincentio, what mean you ?" mise, I shall know how to answer him.”
" Ask not ! know not !” he exclaimed ; Agatha shuddered; she read in her “Fate thrusts me onward-whither I dare father's eye the wavering, of his heart. not look-You are the prize, Agatha, to Alas! should Vincentio claim her hand gain whom nor earth nor heaven shall bar at the appointed day, would her father me.
fulfil his engagemeni ? and should he fail, “ Oh hold, Vincentio !"
what must be then her part !-" To keep “ It is too late,” he cried, as he im- my oath!” she mentally exclaimed ;printed a burning kiss on her lips ;“ even
« have I not sworn ?" This may be the last !”
They arrived at Rome in perfect safety ; He looked on her with a countenance the count elated with his good fortune, in which love and despair were strangely and Agatha proportionably depressed at mingled; waved his hand, and was out of the probable consequences of this seemsight in an instant.
ingly auspicious event. There they were The agitation of Agatha remained long advised to take an armed escort to protect after the immediate effects of this last mys. them from the brigands who were reportterious interview with her lover had pass. ed to infest some parts of the road to Na. ed away. Alas! the more she reflected ples, and whose depredations of late had on his dark insinuations, the greater was assumed a more daring and atrocious chaher terror at their impending issue ; yet, racter. The count, however, loved mo: unable to comprehend or even to guess at ney too well to part with it, unless in a the nature of his forebodings, she could case of absolute necessity. but weep and wonder, and seek in the “I have just learned, Agatha,” said he past noble career of Vincentio a trembling to his daughter, the morning after their hope and assurance of the future. That arrival, “ that the prince of Casti will he had left Mantua immediately on quit- leave Rome to-morrow; and as he is said ting her she soon learned. She could not, to have considerable treasure with him he therefore, if she would, have sought him, will, of course, take a proportionate esnor had she even the means of addressing cort : in his company, therefore, we may a letter to him, as his old steward had travel securely.---Why, girl, what are owned to her, on inquiry, that he was you thinking of ?"
« Of the festival of St. Michael,” re- will not save you here, and may damn plied Agatha reproachfully.
you hereafter, if priests speak truth.” " True, true; the time draws near- “ No impiety," cried a hollow voice two days only, I believe : the greater behind. need, therefore, for haste, that we may *You are deceived, on my soul !” exreacó home in tiine for Petroni, who will claimed the count, in great trepidation; certainly not grudge to tarry for us a “ I am no prince, I am a poor traveller ; short time; to-morrow, therefore, we whom you but vainly impede—Drive on, start for Naples."
postillions !" They quitted Rome at sun-rise, to be “At your peril!” cried the briganj in advance of the prince of Casti, who who had last spoken, and who seemed the the count feared, would travel with leader of the hand, approaching the car. greater expedition than they could com- riage window :-"we are not deceived, mand. On reaching the house, in the sir prince, and you escape us not. Your Pontine Marshes where they were to reasure, or you die ! dine, nothing, however, appeared of the “Do I dream ?" said the countprince or his suite ; and after having “ that voice--" waited some hours for his arrival, the Delay is death !” exclaimed the bricount had the mortification to learn from gand, in a voice of thunder : “ will you a.courier who then passed, that his high- yield ?" ness, from some unexplained cause, had The count, seemingly para'y zed by deferred his journey till the following day. some inward emotion, auswered not. They had no choice, therefore, but to, “ Heaven forgive me, then !” cried remain at a wretched inn of very ques. the brigand, as he levelled his carbine : tionable safety, or pursue their route “ it is my last stake!” to. Terracina. In this exigency, the
“ Hold! hoid !” exclaiined the count, count, whose chief fears were for his as the ball entered his heart. wealth, of which he carried as little as Agatha reviving from her trance, lookpossible, decided on the latter course; ed up; as the body of her dead father sunk and speed was too consonant to the feel. on her knees, and at that moment the ings of Agatha to meet with opposition mask fell from the face of his murderer. from her, even had her apprehensions It was Vincentio !--Astonishment, horror been greater than they were. As night, and despair were depicted on his countefall approached, however, the timidity of nance. She sunk insensible a: his feet, the count increased
On recovering her senses, she found “ We shall be late in Terracina, Aga- herself in bed, with her only female attha; and, to say truth, I like not this tendant weeping at her side.
- It was mountainous pass; it savours of danger. then but a dream !” she exclaimed, “yet --Nay, nay, don't be alarmed :-look, thy tears, Marina, and oh ! that murder. girl, to the end of the vista, and see how ed form !" fixing her gaze on the dead gloriously the sun is setting-on Terra- body of her father, which, from want of cina, as I live, and the sparkling sea room, had been deposiied in the same behind it !”
apartment.-"Nay, hinder me not !" It was indeed a scene of brilliant beau- she cried, as she sunk back exhausted on ty, suggesting oply ideas of peace and in the bed : “I must go to him-he is my
Alas! 'that the loveliest haunts only parent !-Alas! have I a parent ?” of nature should be profaned by the law. The sense of her bereavement was 100 less rapacity of man! They were alrea- horrible for endurance. Convulsions sucdy emerging from the pass, calmed and ceeded each other with frightful rapidity; reassured, when a band of brigands, fully and in a few hours she was reduced to the armed and masked, rushed from a caverit brink of the grave. in the rock and demanded booty. The Long did she remain in this wretched count, in tottering haste, yet not without abode, hovering between life and death; an inward struggle, handed the contents and indebted, under Heaven, for her reof his purse, which to his astouishment, covery to the unremitting care of the geawas furiously repulsed by the robber, tle and affectionate Mariua. Of the past while Agatha, terrified and trembling at she seemed for a time to have bit a feehis violence, sunk half-fainuing to the ble and confused recollection. The sudback of the carriage.
den alarm, the fatal catastrophe, passed “ This is but mockery,” cried one of at intervals over her memory like an imthe party, in a dissonant voice:, “ we perfect image, pale and indistinct; and know you for the prince of Casti ;-your once she saw, or dreamed she saw, the treasure, or you die!”
figure of the murderer, through the scanty “No! on my life! on my soul !" curtains of her bed. It was no dream ; “Perjure not yourself, old man ; it the shade of her foriner lover-alas ! he
was now only a shade-hovered around can feel. Even he, however, wearied her, unseen by her domestics, and minis. and somewhat incensed at the firmness of tered to her safety ; he was, in fact, un- her rejection, seemed at last also to have controlled lord of the district, and his fiat abandoned a fruitless pursuit. was fate. Horror-struck at his crime, he To the catastrophe of that fatal evening had instantly fled the spot, leaving even she had never adverted ; nor did the pubAyatha, whose glance he dared not again lic voice reproach her with a supineness, meet, to the care of her attendants ; but which was variously attributed to timidity lost as she was to him now and for ever, or hopelessness of discovering the perpeher fate was still his; and his first after tralors of the deed. The crime was too course was to track her steps to the inn frequent, and the atonement too uncer. whither they had conveyed her, and the tain, to excite more than a temporary in occupants of which were the mere crea- terest. Vincentio, ever in her thoughts, tures of his will. Strange that the crime but never named by her, where was he? by which he had hoped in secure the pos. —Did he still live ? -Could he yet pursession of her should be the means of sue that guilty course, which had led him wresting her from his arms! Retributive to the commission of a crime, involuntary justice, though often slow, is not the less indeed, as to the person, but not the less sure. Once, indeed, a demoniac impulse, to be abhorred? Alas! had he but made which heritter helplessness alone could his peace with offended Heaven, his death have suggested, flashed across his excited were now the most welcome tidings that imagination ; yet, fallen as he now was, could have reached her ; but his fate was his better feelings recoiled with horror wholly unknown; he had never returned even from the thought of injuring such to Mantua, and his faithful steward, angelic purity. He but lingered round heart-broken at his absence, had sought the spot, like an unearthly being over the from the countess intelligence which he grave of his hopes, till the reviving senses believed, she only could give. It was a of Agatha warned him to begone ; when heart-rending scene; the tears of the old he departed, thanks to the inefficiency or man fell fast and unrestrained, while weakness of the Roman government, none Agatha, torn by the conflict of warring knew or inquired whither.
passions, with difficulty struggled through Youth, and an excellent constitution, at an interview which recalled the past in all length prevailed ; and Agatha, now Coun: its vivid horrors. tess Gheranzi, revived to the misery and The prince of Castel-Monti, though desolation that awaited her. With a ce- seemingly acquiescent in the rejection of lerity, which seemed to spring from a Agatha, had kept a strict but unobserved dread of encouraging the cause of that watch on her actions. He had marked, misery, she fled the scene of her depriva- with surprise, the long estrangement of tion, and sought that lonely home from Vincentio, who, it was generally expected which happiness was for ever banished. would have appeared to claim the hand Here a fixed but serene melancholy suce of the countess, now that every obstacle ceeded to those paroxysms of grief which to their union was apparently removed. had shaken her frame almost to dissolu. Long pondering on the strangeness of tion. Yet, severe as was the task of again his continued absence, he had been mingling with the world, she declined led to suspect, that it was in some shape not such consolation as friendship might connected with the death of the count ; yield; wholly disregarding, however, on and the shrinking, the alarm, of Agatha, ihe one hand, the splendid alliances which at some slight insinuations which he had were urged on her acceptance, and, on purposely dropped, had tended to strengthe other, the counsels of those who then his suspicions. If he loved her less would have persuaded her to retire to a than when he had first addressed her, he convent, and dedicate her vast fortune to was not the less desirous of possessing religious uses. Her sorrow was not of her. His-avarice was excited by her an ascetic character: to console the aged great accession of wealth, and his pride, and miserable, to heal the wounds of sick. which had been deeply wounded by her ness or misfortune, to feed the hungry, and disdain of his suit, could only now be to clothe the naked--these were the only al. appeased by his final triumph. Could he leviations to agrief which grew more calm but penetrate that secret, of the existence but not less intense, as the strong lights of of which he was every day more firmly her sufferings yielded to the soft shading convinced, success was certain :-once of time. The perseverance of the prince master of that, the rest followed of course. of Castel-Monti, who only of her suitors In this mood he had watched the departure continued to persecute her with unavail. of Vincentio's steward from the villa ing addresses, disturbed for a space that Gheranzi; and determined, at all hazards, serenity of woe which the virtuous alone to profit by the occasion, he had, by the connivance of her major-domo, abruptly tracked.-Ha . a noise !—be speedy for entered the presence of Agatha, while her your lifecheeks were yet wet with the emotions of He heard it not, or, if he heard, disrethat fearful interview. Incensed at his garded it; his soul seemed to have drunk intrusion, she replied to his artful ques. in that sweet forgiveness, and to be venttions as to the cause of her disorder, with ing its transports in humble praise and a spirit and self-possession which, though gratitude to Heaven. At this moment, they baffled, did not the less irritate him. the prince of Castel-Monti, at the head of Finding, however, that he was but in- her servants, rushed into the temple juring the cause he had hoped to promote, “It is he !" they all exclaimed, as they he at length withdrew, breathing secret rushed forward to seize him; but Agatha, denunciations of vengeance against the by a sudden impulse, which the intense unfortunate countess.
lore of woman could alone have inspired, The spirit that had borne her through threw herself before him, and, by gesthis cruel attack faded with the disap- tures more impassioned than the words pearance of Castel-Monti, and a vague which died on her lips, commanded them dread of impending evil, not the less pain- to desist. ful because it was dark and undefined, “You know not what you do, lady!” took possession of her imagination. In exclaimed the prince. “ it is the assassin that utter despondency of soul which so of your father!" often follows strong excitement, she wan. « I will avouch him to be the murderer dered into the garden ; but the balmy, of my master !" cried one of the servants, gale of evening passed vainly over her ming forward. fevered brow; and, abandoning berself “ And if my eyes deceive me not,” to the indulgence of feelings which could said Castel-Monti, with a sneer of exult. not be repressed, she sunk down on the ing malice, which he could not repress, steps of that temple which had once be- « in that murderer I behold the marquis fore seemed ominous of ill, and wept Petroni, the betrothed of his daughter. without restraint. Did then the suspi- Agatha, pale, cold as marble, bowed cions of the prince point at the real mur- her head, but stirred not. derer of her father, and had his features “ Lady, his touch is contamination," been marked by her attendants ? True, continued the prince; “ leave us to deal as Petroni, he was unknown to all ex- with him as he merits. The murder of cept Marina, on whose fidelity she could thy father can only be expiated by the at all hazards rely. But should he re- blood of his assassin. appear at Mantua, might not the brigand “ Oh fatal haste !” slowly murmured be recognised in the marquis Petroni ?- Agatha, disregarding the serpent-glance Might not she at last be compelled to of the prince and the astonished looks of stand forward as the public accuser of her own domestics.- -“Cruel Vincentio ! one to whom her heart still involuntarily why fled you not ?". cleaved—ay, even to pursue him to the • I came but to die, Agatha; and thy death? A deep sigh disturbed her medie forgiveness has severed the last link that tations : she looked up–Vincentio stood hound me to life : yet Petroni must not before her ! That eye, that gaze, riveted die a felon's death. Pardon! sweet exon her countenance in sorrow, in love, in cellence !” he continued, drawing a sti. passionate adoration, could be only his; letto from his belt. but the haggard face, the matted locks, “ No, no !” she exclaimed, too well the spare altenuated form, that seemed to interpreting his fatal purpose, yet powerindicate the last stage of suffering nature, less to prevent it ; " not so, Vincentio !~ bore no trace of his former self. She hid My life !-my fortune !-I will save you her face in agony.
" Leave me !-fly, for the love of He looked on her with eyes that beamed Heaven !—This fatal spot will be your love, gratitude, almost exultation, as he death."
buried the fatal weapon in his heart. Even “ O mnight I but die thus,” he exclaim- as he fell dead at her feet, he caught at ed, gazing wildly on her, “I were blest hei upraised hand, and attempted to press indeed !-But it must not be! I came but it to his lips. Enraged at the sight, the to look on you once more ere I yielded prince snatched it from his grasp :-alas! up this miserable being :-your pardon I fell powerless from his own !-Agatha dare not ask.”
Gheranzi had ceased to live! " Oh yes ! yes !-I do forgive you
Forget me Not. freely, and from my soul : yet oh! if you would not see me expire at your feet, be gone !-already, perhaps, your steps are