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ceived at your hands, I can scarcely expect it; and had it not been for my wife and family, I would sooner have fled to some desart island, or entombed myself in some mountainous cave, than to have been the person to undertake such a commission."—" No longer preface I beseech you," interrupted Anselmo; "it increases my anxiety to peruse the mandate, and doubles the weight of misery I already sustain. Whatever trifling service I may have rendered you, is by me forgotten; as to apology, therefore, I require none: do your duty, and the debt is that instant cancelled." The Piedmontese, with trembling hands, and whilst the tear of regret stole down his furrowed cheeks, now therefore produced a written order from the senate, with the duke's signature attached to it. "If it be a public demonstration," said the count, as he received it, you shall hear its contents."

After slightly perusing the mandate,

he

he continued, "Cheer up, my good friend, you are not an unwelcome mes senger; the senate has fixed this day month for a termination of all my trou bles; rejoice, therefore, with me, that it is so near at hand. The august tribunal before which I shall appear, will decide the momentous question of life or death. I am prepared for either: if they act with justice, I shall rise or fall worthy the name of an Anselmo; thus fulfilling the sacred pledge I gave to my expiring father." The count then dismissed the grateful Piedmontese, with renewed assurances of his good will towards himself and family; and that he should not fail to remember the affectionate solicitude expressed for his welfare.

"Thus far all goes on well," exclaimed Anselmo, as the messenger departed; and then ringing the bell for Rubinelli, continued" and now for intelligence from my beloved Almeria, who, by a strange inconsistency, becomes doubly

dear

dear to my heart, for the very sufferings I on her account endure." The entrance of Rubinelli was gladly welcomed by the count. Joy once again sparkled in his eyes, as he inquired of him with eagerness" What news from Tuscany? How fare all at Valleroy?"—“ Have I permission to impart it?" replied Rubinelli, in a low tone of voice, as if fearful of being overheard.'-" Cer tainly," answered Anselmo, somewhat. surprised at the question. "Why do you doubt it?"—" Because, my honoured master," said he, "this once hospitable mansion, in which the helpless and af flicted of human kind were ever sure of being succoured and protected, is strangely altered. I meet no one but what frowns on me; several ill-looking fellows asked me my business? and when I said, my lord, that I was your servant, and that I remembered you from a boy, having been steward in your family for more than forty years, they answered

• Then

Then you are old-and consequently good for nothing." The jackanapes! I could have soon taught them a different language, if I had not been afraid of unpleasant consequences that might have attended to yourself, my lord."-The count smiled at the warmth with which he had spoken, and said, "They are not so bad as you imagine, Rubinelli. It is their employment which gives them that ferocious appearance, and makes them behave with so little courtesy: come then, to the point-the success of your mission; how is my wife, the countess Anselmo? Did you see her? she in health? speak quickly, or I shall die with apprehension." Rubinelli appeared to want breath to answer these interrogatories of his master.

Is

"What is the matter with you?" said the count angrily, supposing his silence arose from harbouring resentment towards the soldiers, who had, as he thought, unmannerly treated him; and continued, "Why

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Why do you not reply to my questions? Have you delivered the letters that I gave you in charge? Where are the answers to them?"" My lord," said Rubinelli, with yet more trepidation-" 1, have no letters; I did not receive any written communication whatever: it has been with great difficulty that I escaped even with life!" This account petrified Anselmo with horror; he could scarcely command his feelings sufficiently to listen to the conclusion. Rubinelli having now gained more courage, went on-" I obeyed your orders, my lord, with the utmost punctuality: I gave your letter directed to the countess into her own hands; and by the desire of her ladyship, I departed instantly to the monastery of Santa Maria, to deliver the other to the confessor Lodovico." Perceiving the count now about to interrupt him in his narrative, he said, "Pray, my lord, be patient, whilst I detail to you the events which have unfortunately taken place at

Valleroy;

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