Page images
[ocr errors]

the starry firmament of heaven, and in humble gratitude, acknowledged and a dored its divine Creator. The sweet enchantress of the groves had ceased her evening song; and she could distinctly hear, as the waves beat in sullen murmurs against the distant rocks, the midnight hymn to the Virgin, chanted by the gondoliers, who, as they rowed along, were beating exact time with their oars. The simple melody of the air was soothing and pathetic, far superior to all the boasted rules of counterpoint and laborious composition. Eleanor felt it so, whilst with an unconscious sigh she breathed the name of Albert, and reflected on the happy period of their early loves; particularly on the night he had sought her at the cottage of Florisée, when the same strains of harmony had arrested their attention, and delighted the hearts of both. These remembrances, however, she thought must not be indulged; they enervated her mind from


the performance of her duty; to chase them away, she again brought to her recollection (if he still survived) the forlorn condition of the poor captive; and as the moonbeams slept on the eastern tower, and darted their mild rays into the prison-chamber, where, on the preceding evening, she had suffered such accumulated horrors, she almost fancied she could again discern the miserable object of her solicitude. Shortly after, Eleanor observed a light in the tower, and as it was not stationary, the pleasing. thought arose in her breast, that from the protracted absence of Aldrude, they were now endeavouring to release the mysterious stranger.

She watched the course of the light, and presently saw it removed to the lower apartments of the tower, and then disappear. What now tended greatly to corroborate this idea was, that Eleanor, on looking towards the entrance of the castle, observed a man muffled up in a

[blocks in formation]


great-coat, walking in haste along the ramparts; he apparently directed his attention to the windows of her chamber; the figure then waved his hand, and with great swiftness descended from the castle walls, and darted into the adjoining forest.

'May Heaven support your wandering steps, stranger!" now exclaimed Eleanor; and continued, as she withdrew from her. observations" it must have been the captive, for he looked towards me, and by his action plainly demonstrated the benefit he had received, and his acknowledgment for it-Oh! if innocent," she' repeated with fervour, may justice avenge his claim, and strike terror to the guilty breast of his persecutor !"

Eleanor now heard the different cen- · tinels, as they paced the ramparts, give the noted signal of "All's well," till the sound was lost in distance; and as every thing was quiet within the castle, she concluded the stranger had safely escaped from the tyranny of Rodolphus. As the

mind, however, although for a time diverted from its grief, generally returns to its original bias with redoubled force, so was it with the hapless girl, to whom, in pronouncing the name of Rodolphus, she shuddered for the fate of count Anselmo. It was true, the world had ever believed an inviolable friendship subsisted between them; on the part of her benefactor she knew it to be real, having often heard Anselmo express himself in the warmest terms towards Rodolphus, at the same time," lamenting it was not in his power to raise his fortunes equal to his merit."

As these reflections came o'er her mind, with a deep sigh she exclaimed, "Ah! my revered lord, your confidence in the honour of your friend has been, I fear, too unbounded. Pray Heaven my suggestions may prove false, which now so strongly foretell that signior Rodolphus is, and will be, your inveterate foe!" To account for these inferences of B 4


Eleanor, and the unfavourable prejudice. she entertained towards him, it is proper to state, that it did not alone proceed from recent events, but the information she had derived from the confessor Lodovico, who she knew likewise had repeatedly cautioned the count not to place so much implicit faith in the protestations and high-flown sentiments of Rodolphus "Truth," as he would say,

requiring no such ornamented diction;, it was a host in itself, and never stood in need of foreign aid to illustrate its origin."

The reply of Anselmo to these salutary warnings of Lodovico was, "You do not know the very close bonds of amity which exist between us, or else you would greatly incur my displeasure: at thus expressing yourself towards signior Rodolphus, of whose fidelity and honour I have had the most convincing proofs, and for which it will ever be my pride and boast to acknowledge him


« EelmineJätka »