Page images
PDF
EPUB

place in old times, but now nearly in ruins. Not one of the family ever suspected, or had the least idea of the loves of Theodore and Eleonora, until a renewed visit of several months after that period I allude to, the present signior Rodolphus then accompanied his sister to the castle of Valleroy, she being invited to pass some time with a distant. female relation of the old count Anselmo, then a resident there.

[ocr errors]

Only now imagine, signora," continued Aldrude, "the distress the poor lady Rodolphus must have felt on her arrival at Valleroy; they informed her that Theodore was gone to the wars; and on Eleonora's soliciting the count to acquaint her of the period of his return, with a fervent prayer the old man exclaimed, Never, I hope, unless he comes worthy of the name of an Anselmo-that is, covered with glory!' "Poor girl!", now apostrophized the "for my mistress says she

relator;

[ocr errors]

heard

heard no more, having fallen senseless at the feet of this ambitious father, who had thus, at one moment, sealed her future destiny. The old count was perfectly astonished at the effect his words had produced on Eleonora; her brother, however, treated the subject very lightly, merely saying it was from childish ignorance that she had been so affected; supposing, from her having been accustomed to read tales of wonder, imaginary wars of blood and slaughter, no one ever escaped from such gigantic terrors-' and that you, most noble sire, have already lost the envied claim, of which you but now have boasted."

[ocr errors]

Aldrude, in continuing her narrative, then informed her auditor, "that the lady Rodolphus, on recovering from the shock her feelings had sustained, requested to be led to her chamber; but at length, from the extreme anguish she suffered for the loss of Theodore, who had entirely neglected her, and from

whom

whom she never could hear the least intelligence, it brought on so alarming an illness, that totally prevented her being removed from Valleroy. Eleonora would not divulge the fatal secret; nor was her indisposition made known to any of her family, excepting her brother, who, at her particular request, was sent for. Now mark, signora," said Aldrude, "the afflicting conclusion of my story. On the present signior Rodolphus's arrival at the castle of count Anselmo, who was then, absent from home, she entreated to have a private conference with him, and then confessed the cause of her grief-the love she bore to Theodore, and her piteous situation.

66

My lady," continued Aldrude, in a hesitating manner, "did not say that

her sister-in-law was married to the old count's son; but that I suppose, of course, as it would be a sad thing if great people, who can have such fine educations, did not set forth good examples

amples to the poor, who are deprived of such benefits."

The countenance of Eleanor now changed to a deathly paleness, at this assertion; not on account of the covert reproach it contained to herself, should it unfortunately be made manifest that she was the offspring of the mutual guilt of her parents, but from the sentiment of wise reflection which followed that supposition-a sentiment worthy, she thought, to be engraved in characters of gold. The pertinent observations of Aldrude throughout the relation had so prepossessed the lovely girl in her favour, that she did not attempt to doubt the truth of what had been asserted. In trembling agitation, Eleanor now, however, requested she would hasten to the conclusion of the narrative, as the night was far advanced; her spirits, likewise, were so extremely low, and her mind so bewildered, that she found it impossible to be much longer attentive to any cir

[ocr errors]

cumstance,

cumstance which involved in it so greatly her own future misery.

With a becoming deference, therefore, to this entreaty, Aldrude proceeded to inform her," That as soon as the lady Eleonora related to her brother the fatal cause of her illness, he insisted she should immediately leave the house of Anselmo; and on the same evening, without assigning any reason for such an unlookedfor determination, and however ill and dangerous it was to remove her, he privately conveyed his sister into the same carriage which had brought him to Valleroy; the postillion having had orders to remain in waiting, from the idea Rodolphus entertained that some heavy misfortune had befallen Eleonora, and which would require so hasty a departure: that they alighted at a cottage in the vicinity of the domains belonging to the old count Anselmo, where, in a few hours afterwards, the unfortunate Eleonora gave birth to an infant, which, on

the

« EelmineJätka »