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portant difcovery to Victoria. How ever, the unexpected arrival of conte de Montfort changed at once his inentions. He knew full well the impetuofity and infolence of that young man's temper, with the ardency of his adoration of Victoria; and from all united he apprehended fome unǝleasant occurrences, ungenial to the lelicacy of Victoria's feelings, degrading to her dignity, were the fufered to appear to him as the wife of the obfcure Hippolyto, and with no >ther protection than fuch a friendlefs unknown alien could afford her.
The moment, therefore, that the wily Elvira clofed the door upon him and the good Rinaldo, he haftened (finding the apartment he had retired o was a dreffing-room, and fuited for his purpofe) to reaffume his own complexion; and when, as conte di Urbino, he anfwered the envenomed ummons of the ducheffa to the hufband of Victoria di Modena,' to appear, no pen can (at least ours cannot) pourtray the difmay and confternation of the diabolical Elvira. The infatuation of jealoufy and pafon was chafed at once by the terror of conviction; for well the knew the fatal blow fhe had thus given to Polydore's views upon Victoria, by uniting her to him the believed his own fon, was the inevitable fiat for her deftruction. Immediately, therefore, fhe fled with her affociates in guilt, Maratti and Bianca, to Engand, taking with her, for fubfiftence, the jewels, and a few other valuables (he had with her in Provence. But in England the found not the tranquil sylum the fought for: appalled by confcious guilt, her crimes transformed every dividal the met with, every thing the encountered, into bjects to fhrink from; even her own vile creatures were foon arrayed by her trembling fears in the terrible garb of perfidy. She roved from place to place, vainly friving to fly rum juftice, which fill followed her
in the miferies inflicted by her agonifing apprehenfion; and in the course of a very few years, the accumulated horrors of her mind, aided by a continually broken reft, brought on a complication of almost every direful malady to which the human frame is incident. By piece-meal fhe at length expired in tortures fo extreme, that, but for the magnitude of her crimes, the eye of pity muft have wept for her; fince, added to her bodily anguifh, the catholic prieft, to whom in her last moments the made her genuine confeffion, recoiling from the black catalogue, and under the influence of horror and indignation, which the dreadful recital but too juftly infpired, even in the most direful terms refufed her abfolution, and fent her tortured and difmayed fpirit fhrieking to another world, there to meet from an unerring judge its final doom.
To account for fome things contained in Orlando's addrefs to Victoria, in the coach which conveyed them from Montfort's château to St. Marguerite's, we must lead our read. er back for a few moments to the Py renean cafile.
A few evenings preceding that on which Orlando was fuffered to convcy Victoria from don Manuel's caftle, as he was roving through the aifles of the church for exercise, and in his own proper perfon til fondly hoping to meet our heroine, he fuddenly faw a small ray of light gleam through the iron railing of the nave. Orlando had no fears, mental or perfonal, but thofe of the latter which prudence naturally inspired. The fafety of his Victoria depended upon his efcaping the detection of all don Manuel's people; and though he had been well affured that church was unknown to them, he thought it poffible that means as unforeseen as thofe which conducted Victoria there might lead fome dangerous perfon
thither he therefore thought it advifeable to conceal himfelf, left it fhould be fo; while his euriofity ftrongly prompted him to delay a little, and cautiously to obferve the light, which, after feeming ftationary for a length of time, fuddenly difappeared.
Orlando now determined to retire; when as fuddenly the light again was feen much stronger than before. Orlando paufed; the rays of light increafed, though flowly; and at length broken fighs and deep-drawn groans ftruck upon his ear, at once aroufing pity, and strongly arrefting Child of my abused benefactor! his attention. In a moment more he of my dreadfully injured friend! beheld a knight, completely cafed in ceafe this humanity to a wretch deblack armour, emerging from behind ferving only thy contumely and ab a thrine, and bearing in his hand a horrence. Spurn me! revile me! Jamp. With tottering and uneven but do not, do not, kindly treat fteps he flowly advanced towards the place of Orlando's concealment.~~ Compofe yourself, I entreat you, His vifor was off, and Orlando be- fir, and let me know how I can bett held a countenance fo cadaverous, be ferviceable in a moment when you that it almoft taught him fuperftitious fo greatly want affiftance,' faid Or fear; while, as the knight approach- lando benignly, and grafping him ed along the pavement, echo returned with encreafed fervour-finding by no found of footsteps to Orlando's the firanger's movements, he meant ear, and he faw the knight's armour to fhrink from his approaching arms ftained in many places with new to the ground. fhed blood.
At length, as with downcaft looks this ghaftly figure moved along, he ftruck against a pillar. The hock feemed to overpower him; he laid his lamp upon the flab of a monument, and refted against a pillar for fupport. Compaffion delayed not to hear the voice of prudence: Orlando in an inftant clafped the ftranger in his arms, tenderly demanding wherein he could be of fervice to him.The lamp gleamed full upon our hero's face, The aftonifhed knight looked up, and uttering a cry partaking of furprife and horror, became at once fenfelefs in the fupporting arms of Orlando.
been mortally wounded in a rencounter with fome of don Manuel's people, and had by miracle been led to feek refuge in that fecret place, and now was dying without affiftancefor Orlando had nothing for his relief, and feared to leave him to go in quest of any but while in this dilemma, nature, by a fuccessful effort, restored the ftranger's faculties; and at length opening his tearful eyes, he fixed them mournfurly upon Orlando, while, in the hollow tone of fickness, and the deep voice of forrow and defpair, he fpoke
The confternation of this compaffionate young man was now extreme. He doubted not but the ftranger had
Orlando,' replied Elfridii wildly; for this black knight, who had terri fied Victoria in the library and on the ftairs, was no other than Elfridii, who, though long confidered by Pedro as convalefcent, was often by debility of frame, after fevere penances and terrible retrofpect, led back to the dreadful confines of infanity, if not quite to the calamity of actual derangement, when strange fantaftic fancies would poffefs him of affuming in every refpect both the appearance and character of thofe contrite finners he had heard or read of, whofe repentance and inflictions he was indefatigably inflicting; amongst whom was a black knight, whofe crimes had been as enormous, and whofe contrition had been as profound, as Elfridii's own; and as his penances had
had been the moft fevere this wretched don- and affiftance from him whom man had ever heard of, this black knight of the crefcent, then, was the being he ofteneft fancied himself to be, and in the affumed dress and ap. pearance of whom he had alarmed many of the captives as effectually
the Almighty has pitied and reclaimed?' faid Orlando, with energy.Be comforted, good fire; cheer up, and teach me where to lead you. Let me fupport you! Let the fon of him you called your friend, guided as he did our heroine, whom he pur- by the hand of peace, lead you to your couch, there fmooth your pillow, and, under the aufpicies of both my bleffed parents' approving influence, gain for you, by my best fervices and 'withes, a fweet and calm repofe.'
pofely chafed from the library to avail himfelf of the trap-door, or retreat to the vaults beneath; while the terror he occafioned her on the ftairs was merely accidental, when, upon hearing her approach, he put on his vifor, which refembled the face of a keleton, The reafon why no echo of his footsteps could be heard was, that he never omitted to wear in the castle shoes foled with fuch a foft substance, that in his invifible rounds he was alfo unheard, and, when feen, no found could lead purfuers to trace him to his cell.- Orlando, child of the murdered Viola !' faid Elfridi, 'you whom I have bereft of birthFight, of every hope and comfort under heaven, fupport me not; fofter not the wily ferpent that has infnuated his baleful poifon through the vitals of thy whole race. Shrink from my noxious touch, and dash me to that earth which I have pollu ted with my crimes moft horrible.'
If you have injured me,' replied Orlando, it is unknown to me; and in a moment like this, believe, me, I only wish to learn how I may most effectually affift you.'
If I have injured you!' Elfridii reiterated, if I have injured you !Oh that there was a doubt! Look, fee, behold thefe wounds, this blood, inflicted, thed by my own guilty hands, fruggling if poffible, by mortal means to expiate fome of my direful crimes committed againft Heaven and thee! Then pity me not; but hate me, fpurn me ! fpurn me !'
Mortality prompted you to fin, but Heaven alone could infpire repeutance fuch as your; and dare I, a worm, an atom, withhold my par
Oh God omnipotent!' exclaimed the before feeble Elfridii,.ftarting, by an exertion fcarcely human, from Orlando's grafp, and dropping upon his knees, thy ways how merciful, how infcrutable! This boy, this forgiving angel, thou haft infpired and guided hither to hear my horrible confeffion; to receive from me all the attonement now, alas! in my power to make.' He arofe from his knees with firmnefs. Orlando regarded him with, awful attention.
Follow, moft amiable, moft iujured youth, the implacable destroyer of thy fainted mother, the perfidious, friend of thy ineftimable father, the baneful enemy of thy illuftrious race. Follow, as Heaven directs thee, to my cell, there to receive papers invaluable to thee. They will lead thee to wealth and honours, to a father, whom even you, good and virtuous as you are, will kneel to with exulting pride.'
Gracious Providence! does my father indeed live? Am I fo bleft to claim kindred with the good, and am I not the nephew and dependent of the villanous Vicenza?' exclaimed Orlando, panting for breath, and well conjecturing this man to be the myfterious guardian of Matilda and himfelf, whom from time to time he had gathered fome vague accounts of from Francifco.
Your father's rank is amongst moft honourable of men; his itation
ftation amongst the higheft of the but in vain; the fubtile, though p:Neapolitan nobility. With Vicenza nitent, and often deranged conte, you claim no kindred; he is a bafe aware of the great partiality this ufurper, vile as myfelf. Orlando! verfatile man felt for his lately difcooh look not thus fo like thy angel vered fon, feared to confide in him mother, whom' fuch important fecrets as the rank and injuries of the fuppofed Sebaftian, Orlando, and Matilda. Bat oblurate as Elfridii proved to the wishes of Francifco, the artful menk appeared not fo to his, when he fervently implored him, as he valued the eternal peace of a dying friend, to contrive the means for Sebastian's conveying a packet in fafety from him to the pontiff at Rome.
The found of hafty footsteps now ftruck upon their ears. Orlando, turning to learn by whose approach they were interrupted, beheld Francifco.
'Theodore!' he exclaimed in breathless agitation, you have outfaid your time. One moment more, Gonzalvo will be in your dungeon, and all your hopes deftroyed for
• Oh, how unfortunate!' exclaimed Orlando. In what a moment am I compelled to go, just when about to obtain all that important knowledge my anxious heart has fo long, fo ardently panted for !'
Gaffendi,' faid Elfridii, though you tear him from me now, you muft by all our former friendthip bring him to my cell to-morrow. My eternal welfare depends upon my confiding fome fecrets to his bofom. Theodore,' he continued, and impreffively he spoke the word Theodore, farewell! Repeat no word, no appellation I have uttered, no, not even to Sebaftian; and come to me to
Francifco offered to be himself the bearer of the packet; but, upon Eb fridii's informing him that the ultimate welfare of his foul depended upon Sebaftian's and only Sebaftian's, delivering the papers in queftion into his holiness's own hands, Francifco feemed to acquiefce, and unhefitatingly promised to do every thing within his power to forward his important withes; while he fecretly determined, could Sebaftian's leaving the caftle be fafely accomplished, to accompany him; and by fome inquifitorial manoeuvring, to poffels humfelf of the packet; and, influenced by its contents, to act as should conduce moft to the advantage of don Manuel, without further injury to others. Thus refolved, Francifco haftened to his fou with a plaufihie ftory of inquifitorial business calling him from the castle, of which Sa bastian's knowledge of the Hebrew and living Oriental languages was wanted and demanded by the holy office; and that he was authorised to promife, that no evil confequences thould accrue to don Manuel or his adherents from this thort absence of Sebaftian, who, attended throughout by a guard from the office, would have no means to escape or do mifchief.
Orlando, informing Francifco how weak and ill conte Elfridii was, took a reluctant leave; and with a heart fwollen with disappointed hope, haftened to change his appearance, and returned to his dungeon in time to efcape difcovery.
Francifco congratulating himself upon having arrived fo opportunely to prevent the disclosure of any circumftance he withed our hero ftill to remain in ignorance of, led the agitated and languid Elfridii to his cell; where, with all the artful rhetoric he was mafter of, he ftrove to poffefs himself of thofe fecrets Elfridii had been about to reveal to his protégé
Francifco knew that, under the idea of its being the command of the inqufition
inquifition, the demanded leave of abfence for Sebaftian must be complied with; but had no conception of its being, as it was, fo gracioufly and unconditionally acceded to;-not, gentle reader, out of fear or refpect, but from a ftronger motive which actuated don Manuel, overpowered his ufual prudence, and taught him almoft to difcover joy at the propolition. The abfence of Francifco was at that period what he most ardently wished for; and, during the time he was informed this butinefs must take up, he doubted not but he thould be able to difcover the afylum of Matika, and to trepan her into his pow
To prevent Orlando from feeking out means for obtaining another in terview with Elfridii, Francifco informed him, that his mysterious guardian, after due confideration, had determined upon confiding in Sebaftian only, whom in a few days fubfequent he meant to fend to Rome with important difpatches to his holinefs; whither Orlando must haften, after having placed Victoria in a fafe afylum, and where he thould, by Sebastian, be restored to his father and honourable fociety. Francifco too, fearing that, under the idea of that relationship which the awful vifions of Orlando and Matilda pointed to, our hero might become importu. nate for taking Matilda under his own protection, now told him, that Elfridii had at length confeffed he knew not that any relationship exifted between his wards, and that he firmly believed Matilda to be an orphan, whose parents were both dead; but poffibly the father of Orlando might folve the mystery.
Our reader is now acquainted with the reafons Orlando had for fuppofeing the embally of Sebaftian to Rome was to place him in a fituation that could claim ailiance with the house of Arifto; and anxious to emerge from all that mystery (fo ungenial to
his nature) which had hitherto enveloped him, he had determined upon feeking Sebaftian at Rome, as foon as fignora Farinelli fhould arrive at St. Marguerite's to comfort and protect his beloved charge. But the dreadful and unequivocal revolutio, fo unpropitious to his hopes of happiness, which with grief and difinay he evidently faw her fentiments undergo during the little journey from the château to St. Margeurite's, which he attributed in fome degree to the dictates of prudence, awakened by these fufpicions his uncandid and myfterious appearance must create, led him to refolve upon not allowing any confideration to delay one inftant his intended journey; and after folemnly giving Victoria into the care of the amiable priorefs of St. Marguerite's, and in full confidence of father Pierre having a vigilant eye over her fafety, he with venerable Anfelmo, began his journey to Roine, attended by all that bitter anguifh which the changed manner of Victoria, fo chilling to all his fond hopes of happiness, had inficted; and proving himself a dolorous companion to the reverend monk, they had reached Pifa on their way to Rome, where intelligence awaited Orlando which overwhelmed him with new afflictions.
In a few evenings after the efcape of our heroine, from the Pyrenean castle, as Lorenzo fat musing in his chamber with a heart torn by tender anxiety for the fate of the beloved fugitives, Elfridii, in the already defcribed drefs of the black knight of the crefcent, and with a common vifor on, fuddenly appeared before the amazed duca. In vifible agitation he laid a packet upon the table where the elbow of his injured friend refted, ani without fpeaking as fuddenly ditappeared.
The moment Lorenzo's furprize permitted him, he took up this myiteriously-delivered packet, to examine it; when who can pourtray the dif