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The Power of Love by Mrs. Manley


The Fair Hypocrite. Novel I.
The Physician's Stratagem. Novel II.
The Wife's Resentment. Novel III.
The Husband's Resentment. IN Two Examples. Novel IV. Example. I.
The Husband's Resentment. IN Two Examples. Novel V. Example. II.
The Happy Fugitives. Novel VI.
The Perjur'd Beauty. Novel VII.


TO THE Right Honourable THE Lady LANSDOWNE.

Madam,
In the first known Ages of the World, when Persons were seen of Eminent Worth, Excellent Beauty, Greatness of Soul, or any other Conspicuous Vertue; the Rest of Mankind testify'd their Approbation, by Erecting Altars to them, as to some visible Divinity.

When publick Adoration no longer obtain'd, Dedications, Madam, were constituted to celebrate unexceptionable Merit; and as the Motive was great and undeniable, the Practice long remained Sincere and Pure; until the odious Mixture of Interest polluted the Design, which advanced Idols in the Place of true Merit, to which they wade through a Slough of Nonsense, gross Absurdities, fulsome groveling Flattery, false Turns of Wit, vain Self-Praises, and more vain Self-Disqualifications.

These fashionable Dedicators, Madam, may not be improperly compared to Habit-makers for Masquerades; the Business of each, being to furnish Dresses suited to Fantastick Tastes. A grave Senator, seems metamorphosed into a Harlequin; a Blockhead, or Common Cheat into a Judge; a Rake becomes a Cardinal; the errantest Coward in Nature, struts in Scarlet with a Truncheon in his Hand. The Masques indeed in Dedications, differ from such as are us'd at Balls, in this Particular; That those are much Handsomer, and these sometimes Uglier than the true Face, but still the Person in both is equally well concealed.

But, above all, the Tribe of Dedicators delight most to deal in Domine's; Things contrived wholly to disguise the Persons, and to fit all Sexes and Sizes. A few Sounding Words, such as, Magnanimous, Munificent, Consummate, Elegant, Charming, Illustrious; adjusted into proper Periods, with necessary Monosylables to tag them together, make up a compleat Domine-Dedication.

To avoid this high Road of Absurdities, and restore to the Muse her original Design, and primitive Lustre; I presumed to shew her Your Ladyship's great Name, like the true Deity, to abolish false Worship; upon which, with Transport, She assured me, that either You are a proper Subject for Applause, in the strongest Terms, or there is not any One now living. That as You have all the Wit and Beauty which ever adorned your Sex, your Ladyship has a peculiar Character, that can fit none but your Self. Your Fortitude, Heroick Vertue, and Conjugal Love, which chearfully carried You to support a voluntary Eighteen Months Imprisonment with your Lord; excluded from the Pleasure of seeing your Children; and though in the Bloom of Youth and Beauty, endow'd with a Soul and Fortune capable of tasting all the Delights of Conversation, and the Entertainments and Glories of the World; chose, at a Time; and in a Condition the worst fitted for Restraint, to leave the Elegant Manner of Living in Your own Family, in which you were Educated; to share all the Inconveniencies of a Prison, that You might discharge the Duty of a tender, loving, and most extraordinary Wife, so to sweeten the painful Hours of your Lord's Confinement.

When we reflect, Madam, upon this amiable Particular of Your Life, how can we prevent our Souls from being work'd up to the highest pitch of Veneration! Hence we contemplate your Ladyship's real Merit; then proceed to the Beauty of your Face and Person, the Ornaments and Modesty of your Mind, the solid Charms of Vertue in your Conduct. And here we could for ever rest, without that needless, though glorious Addition of your Noble Descent. The Ancient Family of the Villiers, the Hereditary Beauty of the Race! Those extraordinary Qualifications which compelled two successive Monarchs to Honour the first Duke of Buckingham, with the utmost extent of Favour. The Bravery, Sense, good Breeding, and Handsome Person of your great Father, the late Earl of Jersey, yet warm and dear to our Remembrance! Thus accomplished in your Self, and thus allied to Heroes; where can we find a Lady so every way qualified for Universal Admiration?

Not to follow such a glorious Tract of Brightness, we must be either Blind or Stupid. In your Ladyship, there are such Incidents of Merit, that the bare Recital appears to as much Advantage, as the nicest Panegyrick; they are so fitted for Applause, so naturally depending upon one another, that the finest Web, wove by the most Masterly Antique Hand, never produced so compleat a Texture. Whilst Fortune, once just in the Distribution of her Favours, in regard of such uncommon Vertue, look'd kindly down upon Mankind, and Selected the Immortal Granville to be Possessor of the Fairest Villiers. The World, Madam, applauded Your solid Judgment, that could so well distinguish between my Lord Lansdowne's Intrinsick Value, and the false Brillant of Others.

Here, Madam, I find it impossible for one, who has the least Delight in Poetry, not to pay some small Tribute to so great a Genius: His Lordship's Satyr, Wit, and Humour in Comedy; His true Sublime; numerous and flowing Verse; His admirable Taste, and just Imitation of the Ancients; His exalted Notions of Honour, join'd to the Graces of his Mind and Person; descended from a truly Noble and Loyal Family, make Him not only the worthiest, but finest Gentleman of the Age.

Having taken the Liberty of expressing some small Part of that Respect and Value I have for your Ladyship; I presume, (like those humble and poor Mortals, who could only bring common Sweets and Flowers for an Offering) to present your Ladyship, out of my mean Store, with the following Produce of some indolent Hours. I am not ignorant how much a good Apology is wanting for my Presumption; and yet am at a Loss how to supply the Defect.

These Novels, Madam, have Truth for their Foundation; several of the Facts are to be found in Ancient History: To which, adding divers new Incidents, I have attempted, in Modern English, to draw them out of Obscurity, with the same Design as Mr. Dryden had in his Tales from Boccace and Chaucer. Though with a far, far unequal Performance! As much as Poetry is more Eloquent than Prose; or an extraordinary Genius, preferable to None.

I am, with all Submission,
Madam,
Your Ladyship's
most Devoted,
most Obedient
Humble Servant,
Dela. Manley.

The Fair Hypocrite. Novel I.

Of all those Passions which may be said to tyrannize over the Heart of Man, Love is not only the most violent, but the most persuasive: It conducts us through Storms, Tempests, Seas, Mountains and Precipices, with as little Terror to the Mind, and as much Ease, as through beautiful Gardens and delightful Meadows: A Lover esteems nothing difficult in pursuit of his Desires: It is then that Fame, Honour, Chastity and Glory, have no longer their due Estimation even in the most vertuous Breast. When Love truly seizes the Heart, it is like a malignant Fever which thence disperses it self through all the sensible Parts; the Poyson preys upon the Vitals, and is only extinguished by Death; or, by as fatal a Cure, the accomplishment of its own Desires.

France was at War with the German Emperor, who had gain'd some Advantage over King Charles, who reigned at that Time; insomuch, that to ingage the Duke of Savoy more firmly in his Interest (who besides was General of his Forces) he was constrained to give him in Marriage his beautiful Daughter Reginia, the Heroin of our following true History. The Duke was old, even beyond the Age of Seventy: The lovely Princess in the early Bloom of Fifteen, as yet, without any other Sense of Passion, but obedience to her Father: But Nature, always true to her self, seemed to raise in her something repugnant to so unequal a Hymen. In those Days, Arts were not improved to that degree as we see them now: A Person upon whose Head, Age had let fall her snowy Favours, did not dream of disguising them with the youthful Hair of another Person: There were no Perukes in Use; nor was the Razor come in fashion: A long white Beard, and hoary Locks, were but too conspicuous to the Sight. And tho' we are told in History, that it was formerly a Custom to dye and disguise the Hair among the Romans, in their Days of Luxury; yet had our good Duke no Notion of any such Transition: He appear'd more like a venerable Hermit than a Lover in the Eyes of his young Princess; for whom she felt a Sort of Reverence, but little or no Affection.

To make up the Defect of Youth, he was a Man of Vertue and good Nature, Master of a Mind truly Heroick, and had been renowned in War for the most accomplished General of the Age. He saw the Princess with the Eyes of Admiration, and certainly she was the most perfect Beauty of the West. She had inherited from her Mother, who was a Daughter of England, that yellow or gold colour Hair, blue Eyes, and fair Complection, natural to the English Women, so rarely met with among the Natives, and therefore so much admired in France: Her Lips glow'd with Vermilion: There was something inexpressible and bewitching at the Corners of her Mouth, that look'd like the pleasing Smiles of Lovers, even when she was most serious; but her Laugh disclosed Ten thousand Cupids, with Teeth as orient and even as Nature ever produced: The Air of her Face was sweet, beyond even sweetness it self: She was never to be seen without complacency, which she excited in the Hearts of the Beholders, from whence they sent her forth, willingly, their Admiration and good Wishes: Her fair Eyes, large and brillant, were full of Understanding, which acquainted us with the Capacity of her Mind: Her Air, her Shape, her Stature, (even at the Age of Fifteen) her Hands, Arms, Neck and Bosom, would take up an Age to describe, if we were to do Justice to each Particular: In a Word, there was no defect either in her Face or Person: And, to make up the Miracle, her Temper, Wit, Generosity and good Nature, were as praise-worthy as her Form; yet, with all these Graces, she was sacrificed to the old Duke, who became his own Ambassador: He was struck by her sight, and not as other Sovereigns usually are, who see only the Picture of the Ladies they marry; for, at the End of the Campaign, he was carried by the King to Court; whence, from the first moment, his aged Heart became all combustible Matter, and he left not his pursuit till Reginia, with all her Charms, was delivered to his Arms. It is true, notwithstanding the Modesty of her Nature, she endeavour'd to intreat the King her Father, not to dispose of her into Savoy: But alas! She was given to understand, that the Duke might so far resent the Refusal, as to join his Arms with the Emperor, which would inevitably ruin the King's Affairs: Wherefore, in spight of all the Princess's secret Tears, she was publickly espoused to the Duke of Savoy.

Sigisbert, Count of Briançon, was prime Minister to the Duke; he was both a Soldier and a Statesman, and every way equal to the Task; he had been very fortunate in the Field and Cabinet; by his Conduct Savoy was arrived to make a much more considerable Figure than it had done of a long Time before, which might then justly be said to hold the Ballance between France and the Empire; tho', with all its own Weight, the Scales could but barely incline to the former: Whereas, had the Duke removed himself to the Emperor's Side, the King's had been kick'd up and lost in Air; which, as I remark'd before, occasioned that unequal Marriage. Sigisbert saw the Princess with the same Eyes as his Lord: Whether an amorous Star was then predominant, for they both beheld her at the same Time, and were both inslaved; tho' there was to be found a great difference in their Age, Sigisbert counting no more than Six and thirty, which Term of Years were almost doubled by the Duke: But, however, One was a Sovereign, the Other but a Subject; and which was worse, married to an ancient Lady for the Largeness of her Dowry, from whom he could expect no Children; yet was her Constitution so good, and her Life so regular, that his Hopes were very distant of being releas'd from that incommodious Wedlock, 'till he should himself be of an Age not to receive much Benefit from the Freedom her Death might present him with. He had often repin'd at the ill Posture he found his Affairs in, upon the Death of his Father, which had occasioned his Marriage, whose Excesses had greatly wasted their Demeans; nor could Sigisbert have disintangled himself without the large Possessions of the Countess; whence, out of an Appearance of Gratitude, he affected to appear a civil Husband; but expecting no Heirs from her Body, he educated, with utmost Care, his Brother's Son, a most beautiful Youth named Lotharius, about two Years older than the Dutchess of Savoy, whom he bestow'd upon her Highness as her Page of Honour, for Ends that we shall hereafter relate.

Sigisbert had a goodly Person, with the Mien of a Man of Quality and Fashion; but his Soul ill corresponded to his Body: He was ambitious, dark, and cruel: Neither his Wit nor Understanding had been surpass'd by any: His Passions were violent, but he had the Art to conceal as much of them as he pleased: His excellent Sense was obscur'd by Craft and Wickedness: He had no more Religion than Politicians usually have, but assumed the Appearance of it to indear himself to the Duke, who was a perfect good Man, and would not have honour'd the Count with his Esteem and Confidence, if he had been able to have look'd into his Soul, where all the Vices had took up their Habitation; more especially implacable Revenge, and raging Lust, for we must not presume to call it Love; so beautiful a Tree, could never produce such baleful Fruit. His Cupid was not born, as the Poets feign, from Venus and Jupiter, a Celestial Deity, the Original of all that's great, virtuous, admirable and delightful in the Universe: His was an Anti-Cupid, the Son of Nox and Erebus, a vulgar God, whose Attendants are Sorrow, Lust, Rapin, Enmity, Revenge, Luxury, and Repentance! He carries a Dart of Lead instead of Gold, and produces Hatred in the Place of fair Affections.

Count Briançon feeling the raging Fire in his own Breast, added Fuel to that of his Lord's. His first Endeavours were to promote that Marriage, whence he only might expect any Happiness to himself. I have often thought, that the Passions of Love, or Anger, are more or less violent according to the Temper of the Person who is seized by them. We esteem such a One very wrathful, or very amorous; call his Rage dreadful, and his Love extream, an implacable Enemy, or a raging Lover; without considering, that this proceeds purely from the Nature of the Man; and that One with half the same Fire may be as true and valuable a Lover, though without those turbulent Effects, which are usually the Attendants of a passionate and unruly Temper; such was Sigisbert's, if he had not learnt in Courts to cover his with a profound Dissimulation, though working to his dark ends as sure, and fatally, as the most noisy and tempestous Lover.

The Marriage was solemnized, I dare not say consummated, comparing the Frost of seventy Years with the immature Spring of fifteen, which was in those Days an Age of Childhood, not of Knowledge as in ours. The Duke had time to insinuate himself by all the gentleness and obliging Behaviour, with the tenderness, affection and amity of a Parent, who lay their Correction aside, and suffer only native fondness to prevail; insomuch, as the Dutchess, not any otherways prepossessed, found it extreamly to her Mind, that the good Duke permitted her to be Mistress of all her Desires: To please her girlish fond fancy, he exhibited this Show, that Baby, Collations, pretty Sports, fine Cloaths, rich Jewels, Coaches, and Equipage; so that finding all her Desires accomplish'd, she every Night hug'd the doating Duke in her Arms, with this fond, this passionate Expression, I love you better than my Papa, oh! who would be contradicted by a rigid Parent, when they can be humoured by a doating Husband?

Thus cheaply pleased, the Duke led her away to be the Ornament of Savoy; diligent Sigisbert went before, at his Master's expence, to prepare every thing glorious for the Dutchess's reception. But humane foresight, which is exceeding short, and limited, oftentimes in thinking to prevent an Evil, procures it: Innocent Reginia, though at first she shrunk up from the Frost, or rather Snowy Love of her Lord, yet being greatly humoured by him, past any Precedent of what she had found in her own Education, grew so fond that if she were separated from him a Moment, she complained, and feared the return of her harsh Preceptors, who had not always insinuated themselves with that Ease which the tenderness of the Princess's Nature required.

The King was extreamly pleased at the Change in his Daughter's Temper, whose former Aversion to the Duke, was now, as we have said, turned into fondness; but knowing her excellent Taste, and early perception of Things, by providing against what Evils might hereafter betide, he instructed her unwary Innocence that there was such a Thing as Evil; whilst she dreamt not of any Desires beyond the Happiness of having her Lord continue his seeming Goodness. I will not swear her Ignorance could have been of any long duration; but as it was, the King came to take his leave of his dear Daughter in private, the Evening before he should be publickly obliged to do it in the Morning. Madam Royal presented her Hand to be led into her Closet, where being seated in two Armed Chairs, opposite and touching one another, the tender Monarch gave her several Embraces, without the Power of speaking; his Sobs rising, his Tears falling, which he wiped away, and did with all his Endeavours suppress. The affectionate Daughter, with a noble sort of Presentiment, enquired of the Monarch, what could so disorder him? 'If he had disposed of her for his own Interest, and the good of her Estate, as she could not but believe, because he was a tender Parent, and she always a most obedient Child; wherefore did he weep at her separation? She had been taught to obey, by her own duteous Inclinations, and the Example of her Sisters, with the like Behaviour of other Royal Daughters. She knew that Princesses were born to be made Strangers to their own Country, to enjoy but for a small Time, that Region wherein they first received the Light; thence to be banished into a foreign Land, where their Husbands ever looked upon them as only Matter for Posterity, and as Spies of the Nation, from whence they had received their Birth.'

The King hearing her exalted Reason, which was prodigious in a Girl of her Age, wept the more abundantly. The Dutchess seeing that profusion of Tears, cast her self upon his Neck and Face, dry'd his Eyes, threw her self at his Feet, embraced his Knees, and conjured him to tell her the Occasion of his Disorder. Then she ran to the Door of the Cabinet, opened and shut it again to see if any one were in hearing; whence returning, with her utmost Endeavours and that young and ardent Fire with which she was agitated, she once more renewed her Request, that her Lord and Father, would be most graciously pleased to tell her the Cause of his Agitation.

The King, being something recovered from his great Disorder, took the Princess in his Arms, and seating her as at first in the Chair over against him, said to her, 'My best beloved and most beautiful Daughter, nay, so beautiful, that thou may'st vie Advantages with the East and West, nor do I fear to make thee acquainted with thy own Perfections, because thou may'st from thence set a greater Value upon thy self, know that nothing but Heaven deserves to be sole Proprietor of thy Charms; alas, to my Grief, I speak not now of thy Lord the Duke, chill'd, with the Frost of seventy Winters, his frozen Blood not lending Warmth nor Strength enough to his aged Arm, to pluck the fair Fruit of Youth from the goodly Bough, for Lovers expect to have it gathered; but such was my mishap; by inevitable Reasons of State, I was constrained to sacrifice thee, maugre all thy melting Tears, and perswasive Beauty, contrary to my own Presentiments, and thy Intreaties. What I have now to praise and thank thee for, my Child, is thy Duty and Obedience to me; but as thy Years increase, and thou, I fear according to the Laws of Nature, may'st find the Sting of other Affections; let me imprint upon thy Mind, these my last Words that perhaps thou may'st ever hear from thy affectionate Father: Know, my Daughter, that there is no lasting Charm in Women, whatever their Flatterers may say, but Vertue; Beauty is oftentimes a fatal Snare, by which the Owner is praised to her Destruction; whilst on the contrary, Chastity rises like a Glory, to encompass the Head of her whom it adorns: The debauched, and fondly goodnatured, may, perhaps, bestow their Pity upon a beauteous Object, whose ill Conduct gives up her Vertue a Prey to momentary Joys, and ill Desires; but what small, what despicable amends would that make for the Opinion of the World and Honour lost; to say nothing of that tremenduous State hereafter, in which, when a few Years of Life here, either well or ill bestowed, are pass'd, we must continue for ever? You are going, Daughter, to your own Dominions, a Court of License and Delight; and, for what I can see, with too great a Power to be your own Mistress; your Lord making your Will his Pleasure. All Persons will croud about and admire you: Such Beauty may give Voice to the Dumb, and Understanding to the Simple. Take their Praise and Homage with Humility; look up to your great Creator, and give him the Glory which is due for such Perfections: But oh! beware, beware, of ever letting Love for any other Object but your Husband, enter into your Breast! Beware! avoid that Deity as you would a restless, strong, and implacable Enemy: You can be harm'd by no other Passion: Preserve your Chastity, and reverence your Lord the Duke. Remember, if once the bare Appearance of your Honour seem to be forfeited, you will appeal in vain to Father, Mother, Brother, or any other of your Kindred or Friends; who, tho' they may bewail you in their Hearts secretly, yet, for their own Honour they dare not seem to do it, lest they be thought of kindred to your Stain, and a well-wisher to those Follies you have committed. As to my self, I shall be inconsolable in a double Capacity: First, as a tender Father, and as being the Instrument of this unequal Marriage, I shall always reproach my self as the Cause of your Dishonour; by which, it will infallibly happen, that tho' I shall not dare to succour you, nay, must be with the First to condemn and even punish you, my Child, yet your Crime will bring my grey Hairs with Sorrow to the Grave, and my Life be made a Sacrifice to your Irregularities. On the other Side all these Disadvantages, if you behave your self with Vertue, will add double lustre to your Character: To have a fair and young Princess, wedded with so great disparity, lead a Life unblameable, what Glory for you? What Ostentation for me, in being the happy Father of so good and chast a Daughter? Go, my Child, in the Name and Fear of God, take my last farewel: Always remember the Royal House from whence you sprung, never as yet dishonoured by Cowardice on one Side, or Want of Vertue on the Other. Take my Blessing and Farewel!'

'Tis certain that the Dutchess had hitherto no Idea of that dreadful Passion the King pretended to warn her of, and perhaps might have passed over several Years without any reflection that way; but the violent Concern he had shewn, and the Warnings he had given her, made her look towards Love as an inevitable Evil that was bound, as she was a Woman, to overtake her; and therefore she sought, by reading, to be acquainted with its Nature and Effects, that, if possible, she might avoid its fatal Influence. During her Journey into Savoy, tho' she every where met with all possible Honours and Diversions, yet she was thoughtful and uneasy: The King's Words had left so deep an Impression upon her Mind, that her Quiet seem'd to be disturb'd: Nor did the Caresses of her Lord find the same Degree of Favour from her as before, since she was taught by what her Father had said, that they were unworthy of her Charms, disproportionate to her Years, and rather an Abhorrence than a Delight to Nature.

Sigisbert had prepared all Things with such Splendor and Ostentation, that nothing was more glorious than the Dutchess's Entry into Turin. The numerous Spectators flock'd to admire her Person; the Reputation of her Beauty was gone before her; but she so far exceeded Report, that they beheld her with Astonishment and Rapture. Nor could they regard the triumphal Arches, or other Devices prepared by the Count, for gazing upon the Dutchess's Beauty: They cast up their Eyes to Heaven in admiration, rent the Air with one incessant Voice of Applause, clap'd their Hands, congratulating their Sovereign's Happiness and their own, who had brought so divine a Creature to live among them; believing the Toils and Hazards of War more than over-paid, since, for a Reward, he was return'd the happy Possessor of such triumphant Beauty; which, as they imagined, exceeded the Spoils, Riches, Glories, and Persons of what had ever been brought to old Rome by their most fortunate Generals.

Justs and Tournaments were then the greatest Gallantry of the Age: Count Briançon was reckoned the most dext'rous Knight of all Lombardy: He had never been overcome; it was an accomplishment wherein he excel'd; so it is not to be doubted but he took care that Diversion might not be omitted, by which he should have the Opportunity to display his Perfections before the Dutchess. He had caus'd the Tournay to be proclaimed in all Foreign Courts, which was to hold eight Days, and the Dutchess resolved to bestow the Prize. I need not trouble my Readers with the Particulars of an Entertainment, discontinued among us for more than a Century: I will only tell them in the general, that the lovely Reginia appeared under a Canopy of Cloth of Gold; the aged Duke sitting by her Side, feasting on her Charms. The first Day her beautiful Hair was breaded with Pearls and Rubies, under a Veil of Pink Colour; the next, adorned with Roses and Carnations, shaded by a Veil of transparent Silver Gauze. Every time her Dress was diversified, and still the present seemed to excel the last. Sigisbert entered the Lists as the Dutchess of Savoy's Champion; her Picture was fixed to the Pillar, at whose Feet he laid the Trophies of those Knights he had vanquish'd, which consisted in the Portraitures of such fair Persons whom they admired. The Count bore upon his Shield the Device of a Phoenix, with this Motto, thereby alluding to the singular Charms of the Dutchess,

As Excellent, as Rare!

Seven successive Nights he came to receive the Prize from his Mistress's fair Hand, there had not been found a Knight but whom he had vanquish'd: He always advanced with an Air and Grace peculiar to himself, taking Care to intersperse something very gallant when the Dutchess bestowed it; 'As, how could he chuse but be invincible, whilst he fought in such a Cause?" With several Things of the same Nature, by which the Vanity of the Dutchess was agreeably flatter'd, and her Beauty extoll'd. The eighth and last Day, he determined to run no more, but deputed in his Place, as the Dutchess's Champion, his lovely Nephew Lotharius, who for the first time appeared in Arms of Maiden Silver; his Device was a Sun, darting through the Horizon, with an Eagle bearing his young One in his Claws, who, as they soared, turned away his Sight, as yet not able to endure the Lustre, with this Motto, still alluding to the Dutchess,

Overcome with too much Light.

The Duke Knighted young Lotharius, and presented him to the Dutchess for her Champion. She gave him a Scarf from her Waist, and bad him be sure to defend her Favour. The young Knight, animated by this distinction, carried the Prize from all who appeared against him; and the Duke was already congratulating his Favourite Sigisbert upon the good Fortune of his Nephew, who was every way regarded as the Person whom he designed should succeed him in his Estate and Honours, when behold a young Stranger entered the List, and demanded the Combat: There was carried before him the Picture of two very fair Persons drawn at length, though in Miniature. He was enter'd as a Spanish Knight, by the Name of Don Ferrand, Duke of Cordova; and his Lady, by that of the Lady Isabella de Mendoza of Castile, Sister to the Duke of that Name, who was drawn in the same Picture by her. He ran with that good Fortune as to unhorse several Knights, whose Trophies were carried to adorn the Lady Isabella. Lotharius had long contended with his Uncle, who would not suffer him to enter the List against so formidable an Enemy, lest appearing as the Dutchess's Champion, he might be vanquish'd, and her Picture become the Conquest of the Stranger-Knight; but being at length overcome by his passionate Intreaties, he suffered him to defy the Spaniard, and proclaim the Combat. Lotharius wore the Dutchess's Scarf cross his Shoulders, but unhappily was dismounted at the second Course, when the gallant Spaniard took from him that Spoil of the Field, and adorned himself in the Dutchess's Favours; which Count Briançon unable to bear, called for his Horse and Arms, telling the Stranger, he must run one Course with him, before he could pretend to bear away so inestimable a Prize as the Dutchess's Picture, which had deservedly, hitherto, been victorious. It was easy to see, upon Sigisbert's entring the Lists, that he was animated with a superior Spirit to what he had made appear the preceding Days. Some attributed it to his Desire of Revenge for the Foil his Nephew had received; some to the Honour of Savoy, which he saw was going to be born into another Land by a Spaniard; but his secret Motive was Love and Indignation, to behold the Dutchess's Scarf in the Possession of another Person, and her fair Portrait in danger of being carried away as the Trophy of a much inferior Beauty. After several Courses, with equal Fortune, wherein the Gallantry and Address of the Knight's was conspicuous; Sigisbert unhorsed the Stranger, with a very rough fall, by which he became absolute Master of the Field. He was proclaimed the Conqueror by sound of Trumpet. The Justs ended with his receiving a Heart of Diamonds from the Dutchess, who thanked him in a sensible manner, as if she was pleased at his having extricated her Picture out of the Hands of a Stranger. The Scarf was also in his Possession, which she graciously permitted him to wear at the Ball; declaring, for Reward, that if the Duke of Savoy gave her leave she would dance with none but himself that Night. As these Distinctions were glorious to our Lover, he took a secret Pride and Satisfaction to himself that he had never been sensible of before; but yet his native Civility made him not fail to comfort the Duke of Cordova for his overthrow, shewing him for Reason the Charms of the Dutchess, which as they were invincible, made her Champions such. The gallant Spaniard did not forget to form his Court by this Occasion; he said all that could be said upon so ample a Subject, by one that was born and had beeen bred in the most amorous and polite Nation of the Universe. As the Picture he brought was extraordinary, by reason there was also drawn in it that of a young beautiful Cavalier who held the Lady Isabella by the Hand, the Dutchess enquired 'who he was? and why they were united upon an Occasion so extraordinary, which seemed to demand only the Lady's appearance. ' Don Ferrand told her Highness, That it was true, the Thing was unusual, but if he had not contented himself with bearing the Picture of the Duke of Mendoza, he must have been without that of the Lady Isabella's his Sister; being the only one she had ever suffered to be taken of her; nor after the Justs had been proclaimed in Spain, would they have found time to draw another if the Lady had been so inclined; that the Present had been made him by the Duke, at the Request of his Sister, who had heard of the Dutchess's Beauty; and though the time was appointed for her Nuptials with the Duke of Cordova, she was positive to have him go first as her Champion into Savoy, in hopes of his bearing away the Dutchess's Picture, that she might thence satisfy her self, whether Report had not flattered her Highness, since it had hitherto given more to her than any mortal Beauty.'

'Reginia, who was not displeased at this agreeable Relation, told the Cavalier, she was so much obliged to the Lady Ifabella's Curiosity, and the Pains he had taken to satisfy it, that she thought her self bound in Gratitude to make him a Present of what he had not been so fortunate to acquire; and therefore desired him, with her most humble Service, to carry the Lady Isabella her Picture in return of hers, which she would henceforth cause to be hung up in her own Cabinet." Much Discourse happened upon this Subject; all that were present, gave their Judgment of the amiable Pair; though it was carried in the general, that the Brother was not only more lovely than the Sister, but handsome beyond all Things that had been seen of his Sex. Don Ferrand told them, 'It was certain, Nature never produced a more finish'd Form than Don Carlos's, such was Mendozas's Name, that the Ladies were universally dying for him; but that he carried himself equally cold to all, insomuch that he had obtained the Name of the Lovely Insensible, though as he yet counted no more than Nineteen, it was to be hoped he would not always be so indifferent.'

Thus ended the Introduction of the Dutchess into Savoy; the first Solemnities being over, the Congratulations of Ambassadors and Strangers; the Duke found himself much more to his Mind, amidst the Solitude of his own Court, where through the artful Management of Count Briançon, it was full, or empty, as he thought the Duke desired it should be: Who reduced to the miserable State of Doatage, forgetful of that Glory for which his Arms had been renowned, forgetful of the Interest of two Nations, the French and Lombards, who had rested upon his Conduct to repell the rapid Success of the Emperor's Arms, he found himself all dissolved in Delights, by the nightly Touches of the young and glowing Dutchess, who cast her innocent Arms with conjugal Duty over the enamoured Duke; and as at present she wished no Happiness beyond that insipid Embrace, so he was certain that nothing beyond it could arrive to him.

Sigisbert, who knew the Scene could produce nothing advantagious to his Desires whilst the Duke presided, and might draw or undraw the Curtain at his Pleasure; resolved to break the Truce, which upon his Highnesses Marriage had been concluded between the Empire and France; which he did so effectually, that the third Year of their Nuptials, the King demanded his Son-in-Law, as was stipulated by Articles, to appear as his General in the Field; who leaving the Government of Savoy in the Hands of the Dutchess, assisted by Count Briançon, and others the Lords of the Council, departed with all the Regret that can be imagined by the most passionate Lovers.

The Duchess, as she every Day grew in Stature increased in Charms, the Age of Eighteen revealed the Beauties of Venus, and the Wisdom of Minerva: As She had hitherto no powerful prepossession of the Heart, nor any Thing on the Part of the Duke's Fondness to displease, or employ her Mind; she bent her self to learn every Thing that was to be taught by the greatest Masters, Painting, Musick, the Languages, Geography; nor must Poetry be forgot, which as a divine Science born with us, and not to be learnt, entred the Soul of this fair Dutchess, and caused her to produce Verses as eloquent as had been composed by a Genius, not yet informed by Love.

Sigisbert, who was by much the most agreeable Person of the Court, and had Love to befriend him in those Arts requisite to conceal the Vices of his Soul, appeared to the artless Dutchess as the most perfect Pattern of good Nature and Vertue. He saw her at all times, made the Dispatches from the Duke his pretence to come at any Hour into her Apartment, even to her Bed-side, where if ever a young clean Lady have any Charms, that is certainly the Scene wherein they become most conspicuous and dangerous to others.

None but raging Lovers can conceive the Torment Sigisbert suffered from that Flame he was obliged to smother and conceal. He beheld the excessive Beauty of the Dutchess, but he saw at the same time her Innocence, and the greeness of her Years, to which he durst not trust so important a Secret as might prove his ruin; she consulted with him upon Affairs of State; but she gave him not the least Glance nor Air of Coquetry, by which he might imagine either Gallantry or his Address would be pleasing to her. What confounded him most, was the great Esteem she had for Religion, by which Attachment, she was followed and adored by the Prelates and Priests of Lombardy, who every where made her Beauty and Goodness their Theme of Applause, and accordingly haunted her Company, so that he knew not how to find any time free from their Approaches.

He had debased rather than advanced his Nephew and Heir upon the first Prepossession of his Heart, as has been said, to be Madam Royal's Page of Honour; though with a Design that he should become a faithful Spy for his Uncle upon the Dutchess of all her Words and Actions; but there were so few of them that were not regular, and, as I may say, truly Heroick and Vertuous, that he gained small Hope or Satisfaction to himself, by what was hourly related to him of her Conduct and Behaviour.

But as he assured himself that Nature had produced nothing irregular in the different Species, unless in some rare monstrous Birth, so he told his Heart the fair Dutchess must have Desires common with her Sex; and if she had not hitherto made them appear, it was for want of some happy Occasion to call them forth; he reckoned nothing of the Duke towards making the Essay; it must be something else; something ardent, accomplished, young and inviting.

He did not dispute, but all those Qualifications centred in himself, but since all, not fit with all, possibly the Dutchess might be amorous though not of him; and in his discovering his own Sentiments, if hers happened not to answer them, he should put himself into the Power of a young Person, who might establish herself upon his Ruin, and gain Credit from the Doatage of the Duke, by the acceptable Sacrifice of a Lover whom she did not esteem.

Sometimes he had it in his Head to try her Temper, by putting his Nephew (who was the most beautiful Youth of the Court, and by his Employment always near the Dutchess's Person) to counterfeit a Passion for her, which when he should declare, he might from thence gather how she would receive any Offers of that Nature when time should serve from himself; but relapsing as before into an Opinion, that her Sensibility for another could be of no particular Advantage to himself, he was careful not to awaken in her any tender Inclinations but what should be of his own Inspiring.

In this Irresolution, he saw the Campaign ended before he had determined how to proceed: The Enemy on both Sides had been only on the Defensive, and as nothing had been attempted, so there had been nothing executed. The fond Duke made haste to return to the lovely Dutchess, from whom he had so long been separated, and met in her Arms a Repetition of that happy Scene of Tranquility he had hitherto been blest with.

Whilst Things were in this Situation at Turin; the Dutchess coming forth one Day at the Palace-Gate to take Coach, intending to enjoy the Freshness of the Evening Air along the Banks of the Po, she found as usual, a great Number of Mendicants and devout Pilgrims, to whom she ordered Alms to be distributed, as it was her accustomed manner. One of the Female Pilgrims seemed astonished at the Sight of so fair a Person, and heaving up her Hands and Eyes, 'Oh God! cry'd she out, in the Spanish Tongue, What Miracle do I behold? a Person ten thousand times fairer than Report! If Heaven had pleased that this Princess and my Brother had been so fortunate to have been joined in Marriage, all Mankind must have said, that there had then been met the two most excellent, beautiful and accomplished Persons that could have been found in Europe, to have produced a Race more admirable than any Thing but their Parents." The Dutchess who understood Spanish very well, passed forwards to her Coach, seeming not to know what had been said; but viewing all that great Company with an attentive Eye, more especially the Pilgrim who had delivered her Mind in that short Ejaculation, deemed her to be a Lady of great Quality, by the Number of her Attendants, who were all disguised like her self in the Habit of Pilgrims. Wherefore when the Coach was a little past, she called one of her Gentlemen, 'and commanded him to find where that Lady and her Company lodged; and that he should then go to her and make her Compliments, that she should be glad at her Return to see her at Court, since she had Business with her that was indispensible." Mean time the Dutchess fell into a Resvery, as if it were the moment wherein her Tranquility was to end, and her Misfortunes begin; she could not put out of her Mind, the Words pronounced so passionately by the Spanish Lady. All concurred in the same Praises, the World was unanimous the Opinion of her Charms; but yet she found herself not the more happy for her Beauty, being condemned to the withered Arms of the old Duke, where she must never expect to answer the End of her Creation, to be blest with Posterity, to know the Delights of mutual Love, or the Pleasures of being a Mother. She was now arrived to a more advanced Age, which she had improved by Literature, and the Conversation of the most Ingenious; those dangerous Desires, whereof the King her Father had warned her, began to invade her Blood; and she daily wished that she were less unhappy, though without the least abatement of Vertue, or the Fidelity she owed her Lord. Full of these tumultuous Thoughts, she returned to the Castle, where she found the fair Pilgrim and all her Train waiting her Arrival: After the first Forms, the Dutchess took her by the Hand, and led her into her Closet, making a Sign that none should follow them. She had no sooner seated her upon a Repose, but casting her Eyes upon the Picture of Isabella and the Duke of Mendoza that hung over the Couch, she cry'd out with the Pleasure of one that had made a new and important Discovery, 'Oh Lord! oh my dear Dutchess of Cordova, whence is it that I am so happy to have the Honour of embracing you at Turin ; you, who have not been a Day out of my Memory or Sight, since I first became so happy to have your Picture in my Possession, and that of the lovely Duke your Brother. Tell me your Fortune, why I see you in this Condition, and if there be any Thing in the Power of the Duke of Savoy that can be of Service to you? Your Painter must certainly be an admirable Artist, since at so many Years distance, I could perfectly know you by the Resemblance, as I doubt not but I should do the same by this charming Youth. That would surely, Madam, be much more easy to do, answered the Pilgrim, because the Lineaments in him are more uncommon, and that 'till I beheld your Highness, I never saw any Thing so beautiful, which occasioned that sudden Exclamation, though I did not believe you understood the Spanish Tongue. As I travel incognito, I took that Opportunity to see you, Madam, which was a Pleasure I had long been impatient of. Alas, the poor Duke of Cordova, my Lord, to whom I was wedded at his return from Savoy, used to be in perpetual Raptures whilst speaking of your Beauty; pardon me, Madam, if I could not help being a little piqued at his excessive Commendations; I even thought that the Sight of you made him less a Lover, and not the kinder Husband: If ever any Person can be said to feel a Passion for what he never saw, it is the Duke of Mendoza, occasioned by the Sight of your Picture, which is so inestimable a Present, that I am come in Person to return your Highness Thanks for it. The incessant Admiration with which Don Ferrand spoke of you to Don Carlos, my Brother, raised a most violent Passion in his Breast; insomuch, that if my Lord had lived, and his Affairs had not been too much embroiled, they determined to have come in disguise to Turin, as to a Saint, a Miracle to whose Shrine a far off, Mankind are willing to resort to satisfy their Curiosity; and I was contented, nay, ambitious to be of the Party: But alas, three Months saw me a Virgin and a Widow; the Duke fell from his Horse in hunting, which bruised his Skull so much, that he died in a few Hours. I had then no Consolation but in the Duke my Brother, who is as vertuous as he is lovely, as good and gentle as he is brave and beautiful; but oh God! with what Troubles have I seen him surrounded; the old Enemy of our House, the Duke Landulphus of Toledo, taking Advantage of his Minority, made a powerful League against him with several of the great Families of Spain. Madam, we of Castile acknowledge one Monarch, and pay him Homage; but that does not prevent the Grandees from having a Sovereignty over their own Subjects, by which it often happens, that there are Bloody Wars between them, in which the King of Castile is never a Party, any further than interposing with his Advice rather than Authority. The Conde's being so jealous of their Prerogatives, that the least Attempt that way, would cause them to unite against his Majesty. It is more than forty Years since the Families of Mendoza and Toledo have been at mortal variance. My Father dying when my Brother was no more but Eighteen, our Enemy had been strengthening himself with Alliances, raising an Army, and making all Sorts of Provision 'till he became formidable enough to raze the very Name of Mendoza. My Brother, for almost three Years, kept himself upon the Defensive, notwithstanding there happened several Skirmishes between them, wherein Don Carlos obtained immortal Honour; and though in so green an Age, has acquired the Character of the bravest Cavalier in Spain. It is certain, that the two Families of Mendoza and Toledo, are the most noble, most ancient, and the most abundant in Riches, Subjects and Lordships of any in the whole Realm. My Brother having now gained Experience, exercised his Army, procured Aid from our Allies, and strengthened himself so far, as no longer to be only on the Defensive. He resolved to put the whole Event upon a Battle. Since the Death of my Lord, I had remained in my Brother's House a mourning, and as the Court called me a devout Widow, God only knows the Anguish of my Heart at hearing Don Carlos's Resolution; he was all that endeared the World to me, and should he have fallen I could never more have endured the Light; my Mind having been already so far weakened by the hasty Death of Don Ferrand. In this woful Conflict, the Morning came wherein they resolved to Fight, and I never stirred from my Prayers, looking up to that great Conqueror, the Giver of all Victory, for Assistance whom I incessantly implored that he would graciously please to reconcile the two Families, and put an end to so many Mischiefs. Whilst I was thus at my Devotion, News was brought me that they had joined Battle, and that a great many poor Men were slain upon the first Onset; more particularly, that such of our Friends, whom they named to me, were already fallen: In that Terror and Consternation I fell upon my Knees, and made a Vow to God, That if in his Goodness, he would vouchsafe my Brother to return Victorious, I would make a Journey on Foot to pay my Thanksgiving to him in his holy Apostle St. Peters's Church at Rome. My Prayers were heard, Don Carlos became the Conqueror, though at the Expence of the Lives of many of his bravest Soldiers. I went to meet the Victor at his return, and acquainted him with the Vow that I had made, which he thought very rash; and being not much troubled with Superstition, as he called it, though full of Reverence for Religion, he would have dissuaded me from the Performance, and promised to procure me a Dispensation from my Vow, seeing the Journey was so long, and my Strength no way answerable to such an Undertaking: But I, who had vowed with my Heart as well as with my Tongue, knew there was no Evasion with Heaven, and doubted not but the same God who had given him the Victory, would bestow Force sufficient upon me to render Him, in the proper Place, the promised Praise for so great a Blessing.'

'The Duke wearied with my Importunity, at length licensed my Departure, charging me to go well accompanied, and to take small Journeys in respect of my Health. I left Spain, I hope, in a happy Hour, I have travers'd the Pyrenian Mountains, passed by France, and descended the Alps into Piedmont; now fortunately arrived at Turin; in a much better Condition for Strength than when I left my Brother's House: So evident it is, that whatever is undertaken for the Glory of God, shall never want his Divine Assistance to carry us through the Enterprize. But, Madam, in coming into Savoy, I could not perswade my self to leave it without seeing your Highness, that I might with my own Eyes, be judge whether Renown, and the Duke of Cordova's Report, had not exceeded Truth in the Character of your Beauty. But alas! they have but faintly described it; as indeed how can Mortals paint Immortals, such you appear to me, and such you would to your self, were it possible for Nature to transport your Charms but for one quarter of an Hour, that you might view your own Excellencies in another Person. As to Don Carlos, if I had suspected your Knowledge in the Spanish Tongue, I would not have spoken of my Brother's Beauty, whose Praise had been more commendable in another's Mouth than his Sister's; yet to do Justice to Truth, all that know him must report him for the finest Gentleman of Spain."

Whilst Donna Isabella thus entertained the Dutchess of Savoy, she who was so true a Judge of her own Perfections, to which she had the concurrent Approbation of all Persons who had ever seen her, did not doubt but the Spanish Lady spoke with the same Integrity in relation to the Charms of Don Carlos her Brother. Reginia had daily sacrificed her warmest Wishes to his beautiful Picture, without further Expectations, or any Thought of ever seeing the Original; she often admired the exquisite Work of Nature; lamented her own hard Fortune, in disposing of her to a Husband so unequal to her Age; judged how happy she might have been, if she had been wedded to the Duke of Mendoza, his Youth, his Air, his exquisite Features were strongly represented by the Painter, with Passion and Life, and a Force of Expression that reigned through the whole, insomuch, that she never passed into her Closet without beholding his Picture with Complacency. In this frame of Mind was her Heart, when the Dutchess of Cordova's Discourse added new Fuel to the Flame, or rather put Fire to the Fuel, that by Nature lay ready to be kindled by a proper Hand. She grew so fond of talking with Donna Isabella about her Brother, of whose Manner she enquired even to the least Particular, that when Supper was ended, scarce could she part with the devout Pilgrim to her necessary Rest.

After the Travels of the Day, Donna Isabella slept as sweetly as Toil and Innocence could make her. Not so the Dutchess of Savoy, she had ten thousand Agues and Fevers in her Blood, Hammers in her Head, Impatiencies in her Mind, strong Desires in her Soul, and so well was the Spanish Knight's Beauty printed in her Heart, that when she closed her Eyes and strove to sleep, she thought his Form flew before her, like a Fancy, a Shadow, or powerful Idea; then starting away from that God who equally fled from her, she found it in vain to hope for Slumber, whilst she laboured under so strong a prepossession; she named it only Curiosity, she could not imagine it to be Love for a Person she had never seen; it was that she mostly longed after, could she but once behold Don Carlos, but once satisfy her Desires of viewing the most perfect Work of Nature, she should be easy; nor did she form a Wish to be farther acquainted with him than only to delight her Eye, and make that the Judge of his Perfections. Then suddenly after, Fear and Shame intermingled with a certain Womanhood, long observed by her, with the Fidelity she bore to the Duke her Lord, presenting themselves before her, for some moments buried all her former Desires, which seemed to take end and die as soon as they were born. Tossed with a Number of unequal Thoughts, she pass'd the sleepless Night 'till the Morning-Light obliged her to rise, that she might take leave of the Lady Isabella, who was ready to depart, and whom she wished in vain she had never seen for the new Disorder and Fire that was lighted in her Heart: Nevertheless dissembling her Pain, she used all her Endeavours to detain her at Court for some time, but not able to prevail, the Lady resolving not to stay in any Place longer than was required for her necessary Rest 'till she had paid her Vow to St. Peter, obliged her self by Oath, at the Dutchess's earnest Request to repass by Turin at her return from Rome, there to stay some time to receive the Honours of the Court, and to compleat the Friendship they had promised to each other.

Several Days after the Lady Isabella's Departure, the Dutchess striving to quench this new Fire in her Breast, did but further inflame it. The more Hope fail'd in her, the more her Desires encreased; 'till at length, Love got the Victory, which she still disguised to her self under the dangerous Veil of Curiosity. In the end she resolved, whatever was the Consequence, she would reveal her uneasiness to Mademoisel Lovisa, her Nurse's Daughter, some two Years older than her self, who had been bred up with the Dutchess, and loved her beyond all Things in the World: Add to this her approved Fidelity, and solid Understanding, an excellent Wit, and the like Improvement in Letters as Reginia, with whom she had constantly took the same Lessons of the same Masters, which made her be deservedly esteemed, after her Highness, the principal Ornamant of the Court of Turin. This Lady, the Dutchess carried into her Closet, and with her Eyes full of Tears, said, 'Dear Lovisa, I do not doubt, but if you have well observed my Behaviour since I left France, you have known me the Refuge and Stay of the Afflicted, whose Griefs I ever made my own 'till I had redressed them: But now my Destiny is changed, I that used to relieve all others, am now in the greatest want my self; I stand in need of Advice more than any living Creature, having no Person about me worthy to hear of my Misfortunes: My first and last Refuge is in you alone; whom I must consult in an Affair of such mighty Consequence, as concerns no less than my Life and Honour. Then she related the Situation of her Mind, and her uneasy Curiosity, as she termed it; concluding that she did not love the Stranger-Knight dishonestly, or with a view of satisfying an irregular Appetite, or infamous Desire; but only to have a Sight of his Person, from which Minute she imagined that her uneasiness would end."

Mademoisel Lovisa, who adored her Mistress, nay, loved her beyond her self, fell into a profound Thoughtfulness at what she had just heard. She pitied the light Foundation of her hope, and the strange prepossession of the Dutchess. She did not fail thereupon to advise her in all Things that her Discretion and Understanding could instruct her. The King of France himself could not have better pointed out to his Daughter the Mischief she pursued by so unaccountable and hopeless a Passion. But Fate had decreed her Words should make no Impression upon the Dutchess's Mind, whose Misfortune was too manifest to her, by the Offence her Highness seemed to take at Lovisa's good Exhortations, which was the first and only time the Lady had ever observed Reginia to be unreasonable, or warping from her Vertue. But desirous to please her even to the last Point of her Life, 'She asked her Pardon for presuming to add any Thing from her small Understanding to the vast Ocean of the Dutchess's Reason; and concluded with a Promise, that if her Highness would endeavour to be easy and grant her but two Days time to consider of the best Means, she hoped to find a Way, with reserve to her Honour and Reputation, how she might satisfy her Curiosity, by seeing the amiable Duke of Mendoza."

In the mean time the Count of Briançon's Affairs seemed to keep the same Situations, saving his Love more and more increased as his Hopes abated; he imagined it was in vain for him to make a regular discovery of his Passion, he justly feared the Dutchess's Vertue would never yield to his Perswasions, in which if he should not succeed, he might fall a Sacrifice to the Duke's Resentment; yet he purposed to enjoy her, though eternal Ruin were to be the Consequence: Therefore he bent his mischievous Head to some Means by which his wicked Design might be sure to take Effect. A whining Declaration of his Passion was necessary, but he would have it in his Power to back the Discovery by Force, if her Vertue and Squeamishness should reject the Offers of his Heart and Person; but how to accomplish so difficult a Task, whilst the Duke was in Place, he could not so much as foresee; neither could his raging Torments well know how to attend the slow Hand of Time for Redress. He had already waited Years whilst the Dutchess was in her Youth; but as her Years increased, so did her Charms; and the Count's Passion advanced in proportion to both: He was admirable well in her Favour, she esteemed him as a faithful able Counsellor to the Duke, and the most accomplished civil Gentleman of all Savoy. He never thwarted any of her Desires, whosoever she favoured was sure to be served and obliged by the Count; and as he was Treasurer, there fell out many Opportunities for him to make his Court to the Dutchess, expediting whatever Grants she obtained of the Duke for her Creatures. In publick Diversions and Entertainments, he was ever contriving something new and gallant, and which were all directed to the discovery of his Passion; though the innocent Dutchess, feeling no alarm from that Side, attributed his Applications to the Duty he owed the Duke; from whence her good Fortune in Savoy she imagined had its only Foundation.

How many subtle Inventions did the Count's Brain put him upon, in hopes that he might once enjoy the Dutchess, which he imagined would take him from the Lover's Rack? Oh Cupid! how vast are thy Demands, and yet, in kind, how easily art thou satisfied? One minute Joy, if in thy Empire the smallest bliss can be called minute, one Embrace, though not of a moment's duration, overpays and ends an Age of Sorrow and Expectation; one small Particle of Beauty, touched by the happy Lover's Hand, whether by Force, Fraud, Consent or Indolence, he becomes thereafter satisfied, as if Witchcraft or Abomination were in the Contact. His Desires asswaged, a most prodigious Calm succeeding his former Inquietudes.

Sigisbert formed several Inventions in his Mind that might succeed. Nero's Project, to sacrifice his Mother upon the Water, appeared worthy Imitation, the Duke and Dutchess going often upon the River Po to take their Diversion; but his Master being always in the same Barge with Reginia, called upon him to defer that cruel Project 'till the Duke should depart to the Campaign, if before that time he could not find one more favourable to his base Desires: Whatever he could invent seemed all to end in the Death of the Dutchess as well as her Dishonour. The Villain proposed but once to embrace, and then to murther her; since he dispaired to bring her into a Course of Evil, by which she might tamely be reduced to correspond regularly with his brutal Passion, That was however to be satisfied, himself secured, and the Dutchess's innocent Life to pay the Price of his Pleasures and Safety.

Another time he thought to bestow an immense Treasure and Immunity upon the Bandity that infested the Woods in the Forest of Arles, near to which the Dutchess often went to a pretty Retreat to take the Air; his Project was to deliver her small Court into the Hands of those Robbers, from whence he might use his Pleasure upon the Dutchess's Person. But this also was to be deferred till her Lord's departure, whose Presence, happily for her, was the sole Protection and Safeguard of the innocent Beauty.

Sometimes he dreamed of accusing her to the Duke for imaginary Adultery; and he doubted not, as hereafter, to lay his Scene so well that he might obtain his villainous Ends, and yet be undiscovered; but some more tender Thoughts prevailed, and he ended all his cruel Machinations with a Resolution first to prove the Temper of her Heart, and thence to take his Measures how to proceed.

Mean time Lovisa, busie and faithful, thought upon a Project which her Mistress too well appoved; the Dutchess of Cordova's Pilgrimage put an Imagination into her Head, that Reginia might make the same Pretence in the Design she had of barely seeing the Duke of Mendoza's Person. There was no other way to save the Dutchess's Honour, and gratify her Curiosity; should she send to acquaint Don Carlos with her fond Desires, she must by that Means put her self into the Power of a young Cavalier, who might retaliate upon her Charms, by the Offer of his, to pay her Highness for the Toil of so long a Journey.

When the Time was expired which Lovisa had taken to consider of Ways and Means, she went to the Closet of Madam the Dutchess, and desired a private Audience, which was granted with much more readiness than she could ask it. 'My dear Lovisa, cried the transported Lady, her Eyes sparkling with Fire, her Limbs trembling with Impatiency, what Comfort hast thou brought me? Be assured thou do'st imploy thy Cares for a Mistress that can never be ungrateful, and one who will hereafter consider thee not only as my foster Sister, but as a tender Bosom-Friend, from whom it would be Death for me to be separated. Your Highness, answered Lovisa, does too much Honour to your Creature, who aims at no greater Reward than the Glory of pleasing you. But what think you, Madam, of rambling? or, as the young Cavaliers term it, seeing the World? Methinks the Dutchess of Cordova's is a very commodious Vow. She has found a fair Pretence to rid her self for a Time from the Restraint in which the Spanish Ladies are kept by their Kindred and Duena's: There's no such hardship as People may think in walking a few Miles a Day, which Custom presently renders easy, especially where one has a good Will, and is every Hour entertained with Objects that are new and surprizing: What signifies wasting all one's Life in one Place? We have had enough of Savoy, let us see what Diversions are to be found in Spain, a Kingdom renowned for Gallantry. If we do but find a good Pretence; that is, Madam, such a one as cannot but be allowed of by the Duke himself, to that end methinks your Highness might also make a Vow to go in Pilgrimage to St. Jago di Compostella in Galicia, with the Dutchess of Cordova when she returns from Rome, by which Means it will necessarily fall out that you repose your self at the Duke her Brother's Castle, in return of those Honours you shall shew her in Savoy, where she has promised to make what stay you desire. Can your Highness counterfeit Sickness even to Death? which will give you a fit Occasion to make Vows for your Health. If you approve of this, I will tell your Highness, that I can so far influence Dr. Galen, the wisest of all your Physitians, as to make him of our Party, without whose Advice we should find it difficult to pass undiscovered upon the rest of the Doctors; nor will I let him any further into the Secret Cause of our Journey, but that it is undertaken in discharge of a private Vow your Highness has made to St. James, in hopes that your sterile Marriage with the Duke may thereafter become fruitful. The Dutchess was transported with this Design, and embracing Lovisa, told her she did not doubt of playing her own Part, if she could but as well ingage Dr. Galen to act his. Let me alone for that, answered Lovisa, for your Highness's Sake, I will bring my self to what I never designed: The Doctor has made long and passionate Suit to me ever since my first coming into Savoy, and though he be much the most learned of all the Faculty, a Man of Honour, good Humour and Pleasantry, free from the singularity of some of his Brethren, yet as I am your Highness's foster Sister, and chief Favourite, I looked higher than being a Doctor's Lady; but since there is no other way of conducting this Affair, I am willing to sacrifice my Ambition to your Highness's Pleasure, and am therefore going immediately to send for him upon the Pretence of Vapours. I will give him a small Ray of Hope to begin with, such as yet he has never received from me. I do not doubt of his Compliance, provided he may be of the Party, which will be absolutely necessary; for who would advise your Highness to take such a tedious Journey, just coming out of a sick Bed, without a Physitian in your Train, to have the Care of your Health? Thou say'st well, my dear Child, interrupted the Dutchess; and that thou may'st lose nothing for thy Tenderness to me, I will procure of the Duke my Husband, that Dr. Galen may be made Noble at my Return, insomuch as he is a Person of great Learning and Reputation, and which he will well deserve for his Art and Care in recovering me from so great a Fit of Sickness, as what I am just going to fall into. But haste thee to act thy Part well with the Doctor, whilst I begin with the Duke, whom I hear coming to visit me." At this she held her Head, cry'd out of her Stomach, that she was taken violently ill all of a sudden, and could not rise up to receive the Duke; who was just then entring the Closet, and appeared visibly fright'ned at the Complaints the Dutchess made. He caused her in a little time to be put to Bed, and would have sent for the Physicians, but the Dutchess deferred that part of the Comedy till Mademoisel Lovisa had concerted with Dr. Galen, who was to prescribe what manner of Conduct she was to follow. Nor was she long before she had brought her Negotiation to good Effect; for the Love-sick Physician, in hopes of his own Cure, agreed to whatever his Mistress requested, and believed himself highly honoured by the Trust and Confidence her Highness put in him. As he was a Man of Vertue, so he was very glad that his Mistress asked no criminal Proof of his Obedience; for he looked upon the present Device to be only an innocent Piece of Deceit, founded upon the Superstition of the Age, in which there was nothing contrary to the Fidelity and Allegiance due to the Duke.

Lovisa brought him to the Dutchess's Bed-side, who, what through the Anxiety of her Mind, her restless Passions, and uncertainty of succeeding in her new Project, with the want of Rest, was as Feverish as if she had been really ill, her Pulse high and irregular, her Tongue overcharged, her Eyes quick and wildly rouling, her Breath short, that the Doctor, if he had not been let into the Design, would have imagined her to be really ill. These Symptoms were so favourable to his Purpose, that he did not fear calling in the rest of the Physicians to a Consultation, especially having presented her Highness a small Bottle of Drops, which when smelt to would cause an immediate Suffocation, and with a little Address, might be improved into an appearance of sounding Fits. The Dutchess play'd the Hypocrite to Perfection, and as we may say, topt her Part: She fell from one Fit into another, by the help of her Bottle. The wily Physician kept his Brethren from touching her Hands as much as he could. The Chamber was darkened for their Purpose, under pretence that the Light offended her Highness's Eyes, and made her Head worse. The Doctors had a vast deference for Dr. Galen's great Reputation, his Skill and Judgment; wherefore they were glad to take the Symptoms from him, who read very learned Lectures to them thereupon, with a Prognostication of eminent Danger, if those Fits could not be speedily removed. When they had all agreed upon their Prescriptions, Galen took upon himself to administer the Physick she was not to take, after it had been prepared by the Apothecary; and for the first five or six Nights, sat up with her Highness, his dear Mademoisel Lovisa taking care that he should not go without Fee or Reward for his Diligence and Address. You may imagine she could not but set up to bear him Company, whilst her Mistress was in such apparent Danger of her Life; all Day the cunning Baggage was seen sobbing and sighing, her Eyes red with weeping, by which the rest of the Court took their Calculation of the Peril her Highness was in.

The poor Duke, who was the fondest Husband imaginable, and was bending under the weight of Age, could not support the assaults of Love and Sorrow without feeling a sensible Disorder in himself, especially when the ninth Day was come, and the Physitians declared, if the Dutchess had not a favourable Crisis they could not expect her Life; and thereupon advised the Duke to provide for the care of her Soul, since they found her much more likely to die than live. His Highness sent immediately for the Suffragan of the Bishop of Turin, who was a Person of great Piety and the Duke's own Confessor, to whom the Dutchess confessed her Self, the Sin of Hypocrisy excepted, with a Voice so feeble as if she were already half Dead or Dying. Her Discourse was short, as if Nature failed her, and that by little and little she grew towards her End; desiring him to have her poor Soul in remembrance in his Orisons and Prayers, and, with the Duke's leave, bestowed most profuse Charities upon the Poor, which she wholly left to the Wisdom of the Suffragan to order how it should be disposed on. When he was gone, the Duke with her Ladies and Physitians enter'd the Chamber, and enquiring tenderly of the Dutchess, how she found her self after her spiritual Exercise; she was seemingly seized with such Ravings and Restlessness, that the Doctors despaired of her Life. After she had tossed and tumbled in her Bed like a senseless Creature, she feigned falling into an Agony, and her Speech seemed to faulter. Lovisa, drowned in Tears on one side, kept off those who were more officious than was desired; Doctor Galen on the other held her Hands, and administred Spirits to her Nose that might bring her out of the present Danger; all who were there beheld her with Grief and Wonder, thinking her Soul would immediately depart. Some of the Ladies cry'd to her to call upon God; others remembered her to think of her Saviour Christ Jesus; another bid her invoke Santa Teresa; but Lovisa, more cunning then the rest, took her Arm, and shook it as if she would recal her out of her Agony; "Madam, Madam, dear Madam, said she with a loud Voice, broken with Sobs and Sighs, call upon St. James who has so often assisted you in your Sickness and Adversity." With that the Dutchess seemed to awake out of a Death-like Lethargy; rowling her Eyes to and from, with a prodigious Trembling of all her Limbs, cry'd with an interrupted low Voice, "O glorious Apostle St. James, in whom from my tender Youth I have ever had my stedfast Trust and Hope, be now my Intercessor in these cruel Agonies of Death, and pray for me to my dear Redeemer: Here I make a Vow that if I may once again recover my Health, I will my self in Person go on Foot to honour thy sacred Body in the proper Place where it is deposited."

Having ended her feign'd Prayer, she turned on one side, after receiving a little Cordial, which Doctor Galen would force her to take, and thence pretended to fall into a Slumber, which she so well counterfeited, that the Ladies left the Chamber for fear of disturbing her Repose; only the fond Duke remain'd, hovering over her Pillow, and had no Power to depart 'till he saw the Event. One might behold in his Face the Character of infinite Love, Sorrow, Doubts and Fears, among which a little Hope began to mingle, finding that the Dutchess continued to sleep, without Starts or Interuption: When she had thus kept him in suspense for two or three Hours, and that this Scene of Pageantry drew near a Conclusion, she affected to awake, and from the most feeble Creature in the World, as she appeared not long before, stretched her Arms and Legs in the Bed, as if she felt Strength and Vigour returning on the sudden, and that she were newly delivered from that extream Torment by which she had been possess'd. Beholding the Duke her Husband with a languishing Eye, who had all the Time of her pretended Slumber been devoutly praying for the Preservation of her Life, leaning his Head near hers upon the Bed, She cast her stretched-out Arm negligently about his Neck, "Now may I safely embrace you my dear Lord, she said, for that I feel my self restored again to Life, and quite another Creature, Glory and Thanks be given to God, and that great Saint to whom I made my Vow; I am now so easy, that if my Fit do not return I shall have some Hopes of living, to requite that excellent Goodness and Care you have had of me in my Sickness, which I pray St. James to reward you for, with his pious Prayers and Intercession"

The poor Duke quite ravished with Joy, the Tears running down his hollow Cheeks upon his white Beard, in that Extasie he was in knew not what Answer to make, but beheld her with such Admiration as if he were transported out of himself; he called in her Attendants and Physitians, who were surprized to see such an alteration as Doctor Galen said he found in her Pulse and Temper. The Ladies that were most divout, who had lately seen the Agony she was in, did not fail to attribute her Recovery to a Miracle; and Lovisa, no less seemingly Superstitious, next to God, would have all the Glory given to St. James. The Duke carried forth the Company with him, at the Dutchess's Request, and left only her dear Confidant with her; his Highness went to give Orders that Te Deum should be sung in the Cathedral Church. The News of the Dutchess's amendment being publish'd abroad, the Citizens, who even adored her Vertue, Beauty and Charity, made publick Processions, and offered up Praise and Thanksgivings for her Recovery.

Mean time Lovisa brought the Dutchess something to eat, for she had abstained from all Meat, but what just served to sustain Life during those nine Days that she had counterfeited, that her Spirits might seem low, and the Feint be better carried on, "Arise my charming Princess, cry'd Mademoisel, you have nothing to do but to eat and be suddenly well, that the Miracle may be thought the greater, and St. James receive more Honour by your speedy Recovery. The Shew is now at an End, we have no more Occasion of playing the Counterfeit, which, not to detract from your Highness's Merit, I do conclude was the greatest Masterpiece that ever was acted. How the good Duke sob'd and trembled, pray'd, and wept? And those sanctified Pieces of Devotion, your old court Ladies, how they laid about them to commend your Soul to God? no doubt we shall find the good Effect of their pious Ejaculations, to help us through that laborious Perigrination to which your Highness is now dedicated."

Thus the Fair Hypocrite and her Confidant play'd boldly, between themselves, with spiritual Things, the Dutchess by little and little began to taste her Meat, and to feign all that was necessary for her Recovery; she seemed every way easy, except the Torment she felt in her Mind for Don Carlos's sight, which she now rated at the Price she had pay'd for it, enough indeed to endear the imaginary Treasure to her much more than before; for who does not know that Difficulty always enhances the Value of Possession?

My Reader, doubtless, will desire to be informed how Count Briançon behaved himself, during this feign'd Illness of the Dutchess, having left him, as we did, revolving in his Mind whatsoever was amorous and cruel. Some Hopes that the King of France and the Duke of Savoy had to draw the King of Castile into a tripple Alliance, against the Emperor, by the Marriage of the Infanto with the Dauphin's Daughter; caused that Monarch to encline to Overtures of Peace. Sigisbert was justly allarmed by that dreadful Prospect, for then his Lord would have no more Occasion to head the King of France's Army abroad, nor could himself hope to find an Opportunity to govern at Home; which he absolutely did, under the Name of the Dutchess. Besides he should lose the Occasion he expected to find from the Duke's next Absence, to possess that lovely Lady: For as he had resolved nothing should stop him in the Pursuit; he often reflected upon that Tragedy to be as good as acted, feeding his vain Imagination with the airy Joy of having one Day that beautiful Lady in his Arms; wherefore, to prevent an Alliance, which he foresaw would be so fatal to him, under a better pretence, he procured himself to be named by the Duke of Savoy, as One of the Plenipotentiaries that were to meet at Cologn, to debate of the Peace which seemed to be then in agitation.

A Person of Count Briançon's Capacity, esteemed it no difficult Matter, behind the Curtain, to embroil Affairs to the height of his Wish, more especially finding the Emperor was not sincere in his Pretensions, and that he had only condescended to Treat, in hopes of amusing the King of Castile, that he might not enter into the Alliance, nor agree to the Marriage between the Infanto and the Dauphin's Daughter.

At the distance Sigisbert found himself from the Court of Savoy, almost the same Courier brought him the News of the Dutchess's extream Malady, and that of her being past the Danger of it; but as there was an Interval of some few Hours between, he put an entire Stop to the Negotiations. If the Dutchess dy'd, the Count had then nothing to do but to pursue the the true Interests of Savoy, and restore Peace to the West; which, whilst she liv'd, was a hateful Thought to him, when he considered it as the only Thing that would hinder him, by the Duk's constant Residence in Savoy, from the Possession of the lovely Dutchess. He asked his Heart, in that terrible Conflict, what Strength it had to support her loss? And whether it could enable him to live when she were dead? If so, was it not of the same force to carry him through the Difficulties of his Passion, and give him Courage enough to live without her, that he might not desire what was so contrary to her Vertue, and so favourable to his Desires? But by the false Reasoning which his Anti- Cupid presented to him, he found, that 'till he was in possession of her Charms, if she were still alive, he must still be a wretched Thrall, without Free-Will, Ease, Pleasure, or even a Cessarion of Pain and Anguish. Then a Return of Glory, and some Sense of Religion in which he had been eminently educated, that in his most cruel and wicked Resolutions would often stare him in the Face, made him wish with Eagerness for the Dutchess's Death, that he might be released from the Temptation of committing those Crimes he had resolved to perpetrate, rather than languish in pining Torment, or want the Possession of a Good, which he could only hope to arrive at by being compleatly Wicked. But this Thought did not long possess him, Self-love shewing him how hateful it was to part with what was nearest to his Heart; so that he heard with uninterrupted Pleasure the News of her Recovery, and his Desires began to be doubly inflamed by the late Despair he was in, of ever being able to satisfy them.

Mean time the Dutchess de Cordova returned from her Journey to Rome. There was nothing omitted by the Dutchess of Savoy, and consequently the Duke, to do her Honour, and entertain her in the Royalest manner: Now Reginia had the last Game to play, which was to get the Duke's leave that she might set forth on the Accomplishment of her Vow, with the Lady Isabella, a Debt that early or late must be paid, and never in better time than in such fair Company. Don Carlos's devout and friendly Sister, incouraged the good Spirit of Piety in the Dutchess; separately, and both together, they never ceased till they had obtained Leave to proceed on their promised Enterprize. The Duke never imagined so foul a Treason could rest in the Heart of so great and fair a Princess. He gave Order for all Things requisite for her Departure; she took a certain Number of Gentlemen and Ladies, such who had been Witnesses of her Vow and miraculous Recovery, amongst which you may conclude her best beloved Lovisa and Dr. Galen were not forgot; and being dress'd in Pilgrim's Weeds, by long Travel and weary Journeys, after they had passed the Snowy Alps, they came into the Country of Rousilion, and entered Spain. Then the Dutchess finding her self approach the Place, where for a long time her Heart had been fled before, felt new Strength, and her Youth and Vigour as it were redoubled, to aid and bring her to her desired End.

When they were within two Days Journey of the Duke de Mendoza's Castle, the Lady Isabella begged Leave of the Dutchess to send one of her Gentlemen before to advertise him of their coming. Upon the first Sight of her Picture, he had desired to see that amiable Princess, joined to the Report of her Charms by the Duke de Cordova. He could not imagine, but the true Cause of her Journey, being a Person of such Youth and extraordinary Understanding, must have some other Motive than a Vow to St. Jago; but dissembling his Thoughts, he pretended the next Morning to go a Hunting, and ordered some forty of his Gentlemen to attend him. He rode upon a milk white Spanish Gennet, and was not long before he discovered that fair Company of Pilgrims in a Field before him; 'That is my Brother, cry'd Donna Isabella, upon the white Horse, the rest are Gentlemen his Attendants." The Dutchess saw the Grace with which he advanced to meet them, his lofty Air, fine Shape, and perfect Beauty of his Face rais'd such Emotions of Joy and Satisfaction, that she reckoned all her Pains were more than paid, by which she had gained the Sight of the most perfect Creature that Nature had ever made. She confessed to her self, that what she had heard from his Sister in his Praise was but a Dream in comparison of the real Proof which discovered it self upon the first View; it seemed to her Judgment, that all the Beauties in the World were but Painting, in respect of those real Perfections which she now saw before her Eyes; nor was she deceived, for, though her Passion might have blinded her Understanding, and bewitched her Senses, all the Histories in Latin, Spanish, and Italian, that make mention of the Duke de Mendoza, give him the first Place in Beauty and Shape of all the Lords and Princes of his time.

The Duke, as he approached near that fair Company, according to the Custom of the Spanish Cavaliers, made his Horse bound in the Air three or four Times with excelent Grace and admirable Dexterity; then alighting, he came to the Dutchess of Savoy, and kissing her Hand, said to her, 'I believe, Madam, if the wand'ring Knights of Old, who by their Conquests have immortalized their Fame, had had the Glory of meeting such fair Pilgrims as you, they would willingly have abandoned the Launce and Shield, to take the Staff and Scrip." The Dutchess, who exceeded all the Ladies of the Age for Address, Wit, and pleasing Conversation, now wrought by Shame, Fear, and Joy, knew not how, upon the great hurry of her Spirits, to make him a suitable Answer; but at length recovering in some degree her Senses, said to him, 'My Lord, as those Knights you speak of, would, in your Words, have had good Fortune in meeting such Pilgrims as we are, so I hope the Saint to whom I am vowed, and in whose Honour I have taken so troublesome a Journey, will favourably receive my Attempt, else all our Labour will be lost, and our Journey very ill designed." As there was a double Entendrez in the Dutchess's Words, which she intended only for the Duke, she looked on him with an Eye so languishing and favourable, that he could not but apply to himself the Gallantry, or rather Kindness of her Expression. He was astonished to find such exceeding Beauty in the Princess, which neither her weary Journey, tedious length of the Way, nor parching Heat of the Sun had impaired; her Complection was of that perfect white and dazzling Kind, as rather to be bleached than tann'd by the fiercest Rays, of Force sufficient to call forth the Hearts of the most cold and frozen Hermits: Scarce could the Duke take his Eyes from her, to go and welcome his Sister, after so long and painful a Journey, though he was fond of her to the last degree, and loved her with all the warmth of Brotherly Affection: After he had embraced Donna Isabella, and in very few Words told her his Joy for her safe arrival, he returned to the Dutchess, whose fair Hand he took to conduct her to the Castle, where there was nothing wanting to shew his Admiration, and express the Pleasure he took in the Honour of her Presence.

When she found her self alone in her Bed-Chamber with Lovisa, 'Ah! well my dearrest Girl, cry'd the Love-sick Dutchess, what thinkest thou of the Duke? What canst thou say? Was there ever any Thing so excellent? Oh Vertue, Glory, such potent Charms are able to subdue the World! Ah Lovisa, if Don Carlos were as amourous as he is handsome, what Lady could preserve her Innocence? but he is insensible! even I want the good Fortune to touch him, though Donna Isabella fed my Vanity with the fond Thoughts that he was doating on my Picture: We shall see what To-morrow will produce. I have done enough on my Part by coming to seek him here, he already knows that I had no other Business, and therefore it now belongs to him to proceed in his: It is the Part of a gallant Cavalier to ask, rather than deny, to seek, rather than be sought."

The Duke de Mendoza's Modesty was equal to his Beauty; the poor Dutchess of Savoy having by all outward Gestures declared to Don Carlos the inward Torment of her Heart, without receiving any Satisfaction from that Discovery, unless by the mute Language of the Eyes; after she had three Days remained in that hopless State, was piqued by Glory and Disdain. She scorned to complain, but resolved to abandon that ingrateful and insensible Duke, unworthy her Passion and Favours, and to depart the next Morning early without his Knowledge. As soon as Day-light began to appear, she who had found no Rest, summon'd all her Resolution, aided by Pride and Resentment, she went to Donna Isabella's Chamber to take her leave, and thank her for the Honours she had received, and the Pleasure of her Company into Spain. Thus briskly and abruptly she departed with her Train, to the great Wonder of the Dutchess de Cordova, who had distrusted nothing of this sudden Resolution. The Duke de Mendoza did not hear of her going 'till some Hours after: He was greatly troubled to think what might be the Cause that she had not taken her leave of him; but after he had thoroughly reflected upon it, he found that all the Fault lay in himself; That this great Princess had apparently abandon'd her Country only to visit him, and that he had not acted the Part of a Cavalier, nor given the Lady that Satisfaction she might have expected, nor so much as made her the Offer of his Heart and Service. Justly grieved and incensed, she had not vouchsafed to bid him Farewel, which yet he acknowledged was a Treatment due to his Neglect and seeming Insensibility, he was piqued at the noble Pride he found in the Dutchess, which, maugre her Passion, could carry her away from the Object of it; he could not help applauding her just Disdain, nor from accusing himself for his ill-tim'd Modesty and Coldness.

The Duke determined, with only two Pages, to follow after the Dutchess of Savoy, and bring her back; being on Horseback, he soon overtook the desolate Pilgrim in the high Way to Compostella, he alighted, and gave his Horse to one of his Followers; then approaching the Princess, he presented her his Hand, and in that manner walk'd two Miles with her without Intermission, 'begging, among many other Things, to know what Displeasure she had taken at his House, that could occasion such a secret and sudden Departure? That if she would return for some short time, and afterwards permit him that Glory, he would accompany her to the Place to which she was vowed, and then in his own Person conduct her back to Turin.'

Her Officers having found a Place proper for the Dutchess's Repose, under the Shade of some large Trees that grew not far from the Road, the Duke placed himself by her, Lovisa taking care that their Train should not be within hearing. After several Sighs, he said to her, 'Madam, What Brute, what insensible Monster must you mistake me for, to behold the fairest Person in the World, without having a Heart wounded even to Death? Fortune had been kind to me when my Sister vowed her self to Rome, if she had made me lose the Battel, and prevented her Pilgrimage, for her Promise had then been of no effect, and I should have only lost some of my People, and have suffered in my Interest: But alas! I feel, since your coming, a War so terrible, such furious Assaults are made upon my Heart, by the force of Love, that I am vanquished, irrecoverably lost, and know not whom to complain to but your Highness, nor how I shall be redressed! I only waited a Time to speak, my Passion made me diffident: To bring me to the last Moment of Despair, you have this Day departed from me, not deigning to see me, nor appease my Sorrow by one Farewel. I lose you by my own Timidity, I lose what I can never recover nor live without, which has so inflamed my Love and Grief, that I die a thousand times a Day: Unless you resolve to treat me more favourably, you will shortly hear of me in that cruel State, where perhaps your good Nature would not wish to see your greatest Enemy: Death must overtake me; my Despair will suddenly precipitate me; for who can lose your Favour and survive the Loss?" The Duke shewed how vastly he was oppress'd with Grief, and how well the Passion he felt seem'd agreeable to the Words he spoke; he sigh'd a thousand times whilst he continued his mournful Tale, his Colour often changed, his fine Eyes stood full of Tears, which sometimes in large Drops roul'd down his lovely Face; he seemed strongly attacked by Sorrow, as if his Soul were that minute condemned to leave his beauteous Body; which the Princess perceiving, cry'd, 'Seignior Don Carlos, what can I do now, when I am already departed from your Palace? I was drove away by your seeming Insensibility; Ah! what return for the Toils of my weary Pilgrimage? I cannot be the Occasion of your Death, you are too discreet; if that should happen, my Life could not endure an Hour after, concluding my self to be the Cause of yours. Be not displeased that I can talk with you no longer in this Place, to preserve both our Lives, I would not have any of my Train perceive the least sparkle of that Fire which burns in my Heart. Alas! if you had felt but one Hour of my Pain, instead of complaining of my Cruelty, you would have pitied what I have endured. What have I not done to gain your Sight? What have I gain'd by what I have done, but to see my self slighted, and to feel my Love ten thousand times more augmented, as much as the Reality exceeds the Shadow? I must confess, reflecting upon your Coldness, I fear'd you despised my Weakness, and thought meanly of my Vertue, because I left Savoy, the Country where I reign a Sovereign Princess, to put on the Habit of a Pilgrim, and the Slavery of a Lover, through a thousand Hardships, all new to me, to gain the Sight of the Person that was dear to me. What was Criminal towards the Duke of Savoy, was Meritorious to Mendoza, such is the cruel Force of Love; and Honour binds no less, which now constrains me to depart; but at my Return from St. Jago, I will visit you again. If your Passion be sincere, and answerable to mine, I shall then think my self most happy in whatever Proofs you can give me of yours, provided we may both preserve our Innocency."

Mean time the Count Briançon, when he had been informed of the Dutchess's Recovery, her foolish Vow, and the Duke's more foolish Conduct in suffering her to perform it, though it was scarce in his Power to prevent her; for had he endeavoured it, not only all the bigotted Women, but the whole Order of Priesthood would have exclaimed against his Royal Highness for Indevotion. When Sigisbert had reflected upon the Adventures the Princess might run into, her extraordinary Youth and Beauty, he left the Treaty at Cologne depending, and with some false Reasons which passed upon the easy Duke, he returned to Turin, where he had not been long, before he discovered his Sentiments upon the Dutchess's Ramble, for so he termed it in Derision; he shewed his Master how unworthy it was of his Dignity, to suffer so great a Princess as his Consort, the Daughter of a Puissant King, to wander about the World in a sordid Pilgrim's Weed, subject to what Insults might happen, and with none but a wretched Crew of Mendicants to protect her. He caused the Council to be assembled thereupon, who so well knew how to recommend themselves to the Count, by speaking his Sense, that they unanimously condemned what they had formerly approved; and there it was debated and agreed on, That the Duke and Count should immediately embark at Final, to go seek the Dutchess in Galicia, to bring her back by Sea to her own Realms. The amorous Count was not tedious in providing all that was necessary for their Voyage, which was prosperous and short. The Wind proved so favourable, that the Duke arrived there two Days before the Dutchess; hearing by some Pilgrims that it could not be long before she came, travelling by easy Journeys with her Train, he sent the Count, with some other Gentlemen, to meet her. She was surprized to see them in Galicia, but having told her of the Duke's Arrival, she found her Heart immediately reproach her for what she had done, though she tasted no great Joy at his Kindness, and would willingly have dispensed with the Pains he had taken to follow her thither; but preferring Glory to Love, she made the more haste to see his Highness, to pay her Duty and Thanks to him for the extraordinary Care of her Person, which he shewed by the Dangers he had run in coming by Sea to meet her.

The Zeal and Devotion of so great a Princess as the Dutchess of Savoy, Daughter to the Monarch of France, allied by Blood to the greatest Houses in Europe, was an agreeable Piece of Flattery to the Priests at Compostella. When the Day was appointed for her Highness to pay her Vow, the Church was upon no Occasion so magnificently adorned; the Musick more solemn, or the Concourse of People greater. The whole Body of the Choir received her at the first Gate, and went before her in Procession, adorned in their richest Habits, 'till they brought her to the High Altar, where Te Deum was sung for Joy of her Deliverance, and then she was conducted to pay her private Devotions to the Body of the Saint. The Duke kneeled by her, and was so ardent in his Thanksgiving, that the Tears ran from his aged Eyes, he wept with Sincerity of Joy and Zeal at her Highness's Recovery: Now was the happy Moment that the Dutchess's Heart seemed touch'd from Heaven, seeing the Affection of her Lord, and reflecting upon her own Behaviour. She reproached, and prostrated, her self in Penitence for her Hypocrisy; then it was, that she felt the Love of God, and the Disdain of her guilty Passion fill her Heart with Divine Ardour and Contempt of her Misdoings. As she was naturally superstitious, she thought that it was apparently the Hand of Heaven that had conducted her Lord into Galicia, to prevent her, in her Return, from visiting Don Carlos. She told her self, that God would not suffer so good a Prince to be abused by her Disloyalty, feeling her self pressed by this Divine Thought even to the very Soul; ashamed and confounded at her Ingratitude to so fond a Husband; and weighing the Stab she had given her Vertue. Her remorse of Conscience put her into such mortal Pangs, that she could not easily overcome; 'till after some certain time spent in Devotion and true Contrition for her Fault, God enabled her to rise Victorious over her Passions; so that with perfect Compunction for her Sin, she resolved to forget the Duke de Mendoza, and all his Beauty; praising the same Almighty Power, that had not suffered her, save by Words, to exceed the Bounds of Honour and Conjugal Fidelity; resolving from that Moment to sink the Remembrance of her Lover in Oblivion, never to have any further Commerce with him, nor to suffer Lovisa so much as to name him to her. When she had thus fixed her Resolution, and once more returned God the Glory, and implored his Assistance that she might be able to persevere: She looked upon her Lord with other Eyes than she had done since her fatal prepossession, her Heart filled with Tenderness and Pity towards him, she gave him her Hand willingly to be conducted back by Sea to Turin. The same Divine Power restored her to her own Realm, cleansed from her Stain, new-born by Repentance to her former Sense of Glory and Vertue.

But as her Sin had been great, in making holy Things subservient to her Hypocrisy; God in his Pleasure and just Dispensation, though he in Mercy accepted her Contrition, was willing to put her Fault to an Expiation, by as great a Tryal, and as sore an Affliction, as had ever befallen any Princess.

The Duke de Mendoza, who had conceived a most violent Passion for the Dutchess, and who had lost her, by having more Vertue and Modesty than is usually found among Persons of his Sex, his Rank and Beauty; incessantly regretted at her being Married, and that there was no way to make them happy but by offending: Yet uneasy to the last Degree 'till he should see her again. When the time was elapsed of her Return, and he saw she did not come, he sent a Gentleman into Galicia to know the Occasion of her Stay; who brought certain News that the Duke was there in Person to fetch his Consort; and that he had carried her away with him by Sea. He knew not, 'till that Tryal of his Patience, how much he loved the Dutchess, resolving as soon as he had quieted his old Enemy of Toledo (who began after his late Losses to stir again and assemble his routed Force in order to some new Enterprize) together with Donna Isabella, his Sister, to make the beauteous Dutchess a Visit at Turin.

The Count of Briançon was very uneasy that he could not find a Way to inform himself of what had been the Dutchess's Conduct in her Pilgrimage to St. Jago: Lotharius, his lovely Nephew, was fallen sick, and not yet recovered when the Dutchess set out upon her Expedition, by which means Sigisbert was deficient of a proper Spy upon her Actions; but always believing in his Heart, that Devotion was not the true Motive to that Journey, he gathered some distant Hopes to himself, that her Temper might not be unfavourable, nor her Vertue so impregnable as he had hitherto imagin'd; and therefore waited with Impatience for the Duke's absence to make the Experiment.

As the Count's abrupt Departure had broke off the Treaty at Cologn, which the Emperor had never designed should come to a good Conclusion; he took the Pretence, and early in the Year entered France by the Way of Flanders with a powerful Army: The Duke of Savoy was obliged to put himself at the Head of the King's Forces to stop his Progress. Count Briançon, as before, had the Management of all Affairs at Home, and the Care of the Dutchess's Person, whom he now pursued in good earnest; omitting no Opportunity by his Diligence and his Looks, to inform her of a Passion, which, wicked and hardy as he was, he had not yet the Courage to discover with his Tongue. One Evening, as he was helping her to walk upon the Banks of the Po, seeing her Attendants at a good distance, he stop'd abruptly, and said to her, 'Madam, I beseech your Highness to tell me, whether it be best to speak or die?" He delivered those Words with such Emotion, that the Dutchess could not imagine his Intent, but answered him with a gracious Smile, 'I would counsel my Friends to speak rather than die, since there are few Words spoke but what may be amended; but Life lost cannot be recovered" The Count emboldened by this gracious Reply (which had no other Meaning than as she thought he had some Suit to urge, which related to his Interest, and that he would engage her to do him some extraordinary Service towards her Lord) began with a long and pathetick Harangue 'of the Torments he had suffered by his Passion for her, that he had burnt since the Moment he first beheld her fatal Beauty; that his Flame was now grown so violent, that he could no longer suppress it, but he must either be bless'd with her Approbation, or fall under the cruel Effects of her Disdain." The Dutchess amazed at his prodigious Assurance, and more at the earnest Manner in which he delivered himself, by which she had no Reason to doubt of his prepossession, finding it too true for her quiet, resolved to cut him short, and at once to suppress his sawcy Hopes. She who had sacrificed her tenderest Inclinations to her Duty, was in no danger of offending where her Heart was absolutely indifferent; therefore with a sweet Disdain, which was more tempered by Sorrow than Scorn, 'She advised him henceforth to be silent upon a Subject so disagreeable, and which was even her abhorrence; That an inferiour Person as he was, should not presume to make Addresses to a Lady of her Rank, without having first met some Incouragement from her Words or Actions; which, as neither himself nor any other had ever done, it was the highest degree of Presumption to offer sawcy Love to his sovereign Mistress; which deserved an exemplary Punishment, rather than the Reward he petitioned for. As to the length of his Sufferings, that was but an addition to his Crime; and which if he ever again repeated, she should imagine her self stain'd with the odious Pollution, and would avoid him as the Plague or an infamous Death.'

The Count was not so void of Penetration, but he conceived the Dutchess to be in earnest as well as himself; wherefore calling her Attendants nearer, as they advanced, he gloomed from beneath his Eyes, bit his Lips, and with a Reverence full of Despite, told her Highness, she should be obey'd, and that he was going to endeavour at the Honour and Happiness, of fulfilling her Commands; and then departed to ruminate upon her Words, which he found full of Cruelty and Vertue. But this he laugh'd at, and believed it to be without Foundation in the Breast of a Woman, if Love did but once interpose: He was was for some Moments confused and ashamed at what he had done, but more incens'd at the Manner of her refusal. After turmoiling himself for some Hours, he saw the Stone was cast, and that it was in vain now to retire. He resolv'd to push her to the Extremity of yielding, and if he could not succeed, either by Force or Intreaty that he would sacrifice her Life to his Repose and Safety.

In Pursuance of this Resolution he lost no Opportunity of renewing his odious Suit, he made a thousand Pretences of State to entertain the Dutchess alone; he implor'd, wept, kneel'd, spoke in the most mournful and passionate Stile, conjuring her to have pity on his Torments, to weigh the greatness of his Passion; that his Life could no longer subsist but by her Favour, which was the only Cure that could be found to all his Evils. This Assault so vigorously push'd, by a Man whose Address was inimitable, and his Person not unhandsome; might have reduced the Vertue of a Lady less resolved than was the Dutchess: But that which perhaps would have created Love in another, raised a strong Aversion in her. She was extreamly mortify'd at the Duke's absence, and incessantly prest with the Count's importunity, who bringing Letters from her Lord one Morning to her Bed-side which he said required an immediate Answer and Consultation, he bad her Women retire, and had the boldness not only to kiss the Dutchess by force, but was proceeding to greater Liberties, with Resolution and Eagerness: His Eyes inflamed with Fire, his Blood flushing to his Face, his Hands trembling with Desire, that he became dreadful to the Dutchess, who seeing there was no longer any Measures to be observed with him, started to the other side from his Arms, and with that godlike Energy, which always accompanies Vertue, when Occasion calls upon her to exert her self, she sat upright in her Bed. 'Traitor, said she to him, have I no Place to refuge from thy Persecutions; assure thy self I will this Day put my self in a Monastry, 'till I can advertize my Lord of thy dishonest Pursuit. Is this the Reward of all his Favours? Ingrateful and forgetful of those Benefits which has made thee the first Person of the Realm after himself; where nothing is withheld from thee, but me, his Consort; whom thou wouldst now defile with thy impure Embrace; his chaste Bed shall never receive another Lord; go, whilst I study how to have thee punish'd as thou dost deserve, for a Warning to all traitorous and disloyal Servants.'

The Count, who had an admirable Presence of Mind, foresaw upon the instant that his Ruin was inevitable, unless he could first procure the Dutchess's. And as a prodigious Gust of Wind blowing from the East, in a moment of Time is often turned quite about to the West, so sudden was the Exchange of his Passion, from the most violent and hopeless Love, to an implacable Hatred and Desire of Revenge. He was even going to draw his Poniard, with his own Hand, to take away her Life by ten thousand Wounds, and could have laught to have seen her welt'ring in her Blood; But reflecting that by her Death he should procure his own, he had recourse to native Guile and Disimulation: Forseeing that unless he could appease her, he should not have an opportunity to work her Ruin, he fell on his Knees, and with his Handkerchief to his Eyes, sobb'd and blubber'd out, " Mercy —Mercy and Forgiveness, I will never offend no more, I will perish by my torment and extream Passion, rather than incense my Goddess any further against me—Oh! I am all that she has said, a Traitor—Disloyal, Ingrateful, but I am also a Lunatick—Love has bereft me of my Reason—had that remain'd, I could not have acted like a Monster—Love shew'd me the chiefest Good, and taught me to pursue it boldly. Love obliterated from my Memory all other regards, the Temptation was too powerful, and my Vertue too weak, to resist it. Oh fair Eyes—Oh fatal Beauty—Born, like a glaring Comet, to bring Ruin to the Beholders—Oh charming Princess! brought into Savoy for the Destruction of the greatest and truest Lover —But since it is so predestinated and that I must fall, either by the Effects of my raging Fire, or your Desire of Revenge; let it be by that which seems most acceptable to you: Accuse me to the Duke, which will be the most speedy and so the happiest Death; I consent to it, nay I implore it, and shall be proud of dying your Martyr." This seeming Penitence and Confession of his Crime, disarmed the Dutchess's Anger. It may be a proper Question, whether any Woman was ever truly enraged at seeing the Effects of her Beauty, when she had not suffer'd much by it? Her Highness's Wrongs were only imaginary; a Kiss or two, with the aspect of greater Force, might be easily forgiven to a true Penitent, who was perhaps by his Death to expiate his Offence. Add to this the Softness and good Nature which are usually lodg'd in Ladies Breasts; the Dutchess was so far influenced by them, that she easily came to a Composition with the Criminal. He promised never to offend any more, and to endeavour to Cure himself of his hopeless Passion; and her Highness promised not to discover his Attempt to the Duke, but to pardon and forget his Fault if he never fell into a Relapse.

This Accord being made, Heaven knows how sincerely on one Side, and how falsely on the other; Briançon retired, dark and gloomy; only thus far happy, that his raging Passion was exchanged to one more mild, it was less Pain to him to Hate than Love; he would not possess her now if he might, but he would destroy her as soon he could; neither did he confide in the Promise she had made not to give him up to the Duke; he knew full well the Nature of Women, that to advance either their Charms or Vertue, or both, under Confidence, they always reveal to the Husband or Favourite-Lover, the Attempts and Declarations of others their Servants, bringing their Letters, Presents, or any other Demonstration of the wretched Mortal's Folly, in proof of their own Vertue, Beauty and Sincerity.

Briançon took care to prevent the Dutchess from giving her Lord an Account of his Temerity by Writing; not that she ever intended it, resting upon his Promise of better Behaviour for her Satisfaction, which might have molified that obdurate cruel Heart, he took such effectual Care that all the Dutchess's Letters fell into his Hands, and were perused by him before they were dispatched to the Duke; but as the Goodness of her Nature, did not produce an Equivalent in his, he cast about to satisfy his Revenge, which he found could be done by his own Head, and which did not require, like Love, that two Persons should club towards it to satisfy their mutual Desires.

We have often mentioned Briançon's Nephew and Heir, a Youth of extraordinary Hopes. In the common Road, he seem'd to have a Disposition entirely vertuous, without those bright Sallies of his Uncle, equally adapted to the Power of committing Good or Evil: Without the Appearance of any notorious Vice, he had the Levity and Credulity of Youth, and a very good Opinion of his own Desert. Cupid had touched him with so much Tenderness for the Dutchess, that tho' he was now of the Age of Twenty, and shortly to pass out of the Degree of Page of Honour, yet had her Charms secured him from the feeble Darts of any other of the Court Ladies; and thus prepossess'd, he made a diligent and admirable Servant; at all those Hours wherein his waiting was requir'd, there was nothing found so assiduous as Lotharius; the Dutchess distinguish'd his Attach, which she deem'd a well Performance of his Duty, and had therefore procured for him of the Duke, the Command of that Troop of Guards which was call'd Hers; a Post of such Consideration, that the first Person of Quality in Savoy would have believed themselves honoured by it.

This poor Youth seem'd a proper Person by which Briançon might work his Revenge. Some few Days after his repulse from the Dutchess, feigning himself sick, that he might not appear at Court, he spoke thus to his Nephew, who was come in duteous sort to attend him during his Indisposition. "Thou know'st, dear Lotharius, that all thy Hopes lie in me alone, I look on thee as my own Child, since it has pleas'd God to give me no other. I have Yesterday made my Will: Not knowing how this Sickness may determine of me, I have appointed thee my sole Heir. In Confidence of thy growing Merit, and in Hopes that thou dost hold thy self so far obliged by me, as to obey me in all Things that I shall command, especially when it concerns thine own Advancement. My greatest Crime, if it can properly be call'd a Crime, has been all my Life to have aspiring Thoughts, and an elevated Desire of Honour. I own my Ambition, by which I have raised my self to the greatest Power in Savoy, next, nay before, the Duke, whose Will has always been mine. But, alas, if I die now, what will this avail me, since I leave no Children? And thou who art my Heir, art far from being establish'd upon a Foundation sufficient to support my Memory and Name, in that Station to which I have advanced it. Thou knowest the Duke is old, absent, and every minute in the Face of Death through the Hazzards of War; if he should fall, my Ambition is to Marry thee to the Dutchess. His Doatage has enrich'd her with the best Revenues in Savoy; besides being Son-in-Law to a mighty King, and the Chance there is that thou may'st succeed our Prince in his Dukedom, since he has no Heirs, with the forementioned Interest of France, thou wilt be able to carry the Government from all other Competitors. The greatest Difficulty consists in procuring her Highness's Favour, which I judge easiest to be gained during the Life of her Lord; for being once a Widow, if she be not pre-ingaged before, so many Pretenders will start up, that I shall despair of thy succeeding in this Enterprize. Thou, Lotharius, art a handsome Youth, not any of the Court surpasses thee; thy Mistress, as I have observed, has often cast upon thee Eyes of Affection. I understand the Hearts of Women. If I live thou wilt need no other Assistance; something I have already heard from Seigniora Lovisa, who is the only Confidant of her Lady's Inclinations. Take what Money thou pleasest, my Treasurer shall receive Orders to refuse thee nothing, put thy self into the richest and most splendid Habit, appear every Day in what is new and surprizing, make thy Court diligently to the Dutchess, and a little time, will, I hope, shew us the good Effects of my Advice and thy Application. "

Lotharius, whose Heart was already wounded with the Dutchess's Charms, raised his Hopes to the Possession, by his Uncle's Address, of the Beauty he adored. You need not ask whether he obeyed his Orders, he even out-went his Wishes in Assiduity, and Admiration of the Dutchess; his Eyes, his Hands, his Feet, were all eager to her Service, which she very well observed, and without any disadvantagious Reflections, or once dreaming of the Count's Malice, since Lotharius was shortly to leave the Court, and was so distinguished by his Birth and Beauty; she shewed him a greater degree of Favour than before, which though highly innocent on her Side, failed not to elevate the Youth to the Degree his Uncle desired; who, after a Month passed in this new Play, himself rarely seeing the Dutchess but in Council, and upon extraordinary Business; where he held his Eyes down to Earth, with a feigned Humility, not daring to look up to hers: Like a Convicted Criminal, who from his Judge has just received the fatal Sentence of his Death. But no longer able to bear the impatient Sallies of Revenge, he resolved to play double or quit, and therefore called his Nephew to him one Day. After an Introduction full of Caresses, 'My dear Lotharius, said the cruel Count, thou art the happiest Gentleman in Europe, if thou knewest how to profit of thy good Fortune; the Dutchess loves thee to a raging height, and has promised to marry thee whenever she proves a Widow; but thy Youth makes her fear to confide in thee, least Vanity, so incident to thy green Years, should make thee give up her Honour to thy Companions, and she become, which Heaven forbid, their Sport and Derision. If it should ever happen through thy Means, as dear as thou art to me, I would with my own Hands revenge her Quarrel by thy immediate Death. It is requisite thou thy Self assure her of thy Sincerity. But because Courts are full of jealous Spies, and envy one another the Prince's Favour, and that Walls themselves have Ears, it will be hard for thee to obtain, by Day, an opportunity to discourse as long with the Dutchess as she desires; therefore she has promised me, that if thou can'st this Night get unseen into her Bed-Chamber, and hide thy self far under the Bed, that thou be'st not discovered by any of her Maids, for that would be mutual Ruin to both; an Hour after Midnight, when the Bed-Chamber Lady is retired to her own Bed, in the little Room adjoining, who happens to be the Countess of Briançon, of whom thou need'st not stand so much in fear; thou may'st come softly out, and satisfy her of thy Fidelity and Discretion: And, dear Nephew, pursued the Artful Count with a Smile, if you find her better disposed than you expect, push your good Fortune, for I am well assured, she not only likes thee, but is dying with the restlessness of her Passion. Women love to have That forced upon them which they most desire: They are only with-held by Shame, or else they would be as Libertine in their Desires as Men are; they take Pleasure in being deceived by us, that they may have the pretence of Force or Artifice to excuse their Frailty, which to my great Satisfaction I have often experienced. Credit my Counsel, and follow my Advice, which has no other End but to make thee the greatest and happiest Lord of all Lombardy. Then taking an Emerald Seal from his Finger, like Alexander to Hephestion, he clap'd it upon his Lips and departed."

The silly Youth, who reverenced the Count as a Father, and saw him honoured through all the Realm as a Prince, never reflected any further on his Advice, but to put it in practice; in which he found no great Difficulty, amusing himself with the Hopes of being one Day a Sovereign Prince, and at present the happiest of Mortals in the Possession of the Princess he adored. He conveyed himself under the fatal Bed unseen, and much sooner than there was occasion, where he had time to weary himself in expectation of the Dutchess's Approach, who being that Night engaged at Play later than ordinary, came not to Bed 'till past Midnight. Madam, the Countess of Briançon, was in waiting, and not long retired, before she heard the Voice of her Lord at the Dutchess's Chamber-Door, commanding it to be opened for the Duke was arrived. Reginia was just drop'd asleep, the poor Lotharius not come from under the Bed, as judging all was not yet quiet, when the enraged Count, introduced by his Lady, enter'd the Chamber with his Sword drawn, followed by three of the greatest Officers of the Court. 'Traitor, said he, I shall certainly find thee here:" With that, going to the very Bed, he even presumed to search if there were none but the Dutchess under the Bed-Cloaths; then stooping beneath, and feigning to be surprized, he pulled out his Nephew by the Hair, and at the same minute stabb'd him through the Heart, which not thinking sufficient, he redoubled the Blow; and to take away his Speech from him, lest he might have discovered the Treason, he cut him cross the Throat so suddenly, that the poor Innocent, after a little staggering, fell dead at his Feet upon the Ground. Then turning towards the Officers, 'My Lords, said he, this is not the first time that I have been assured of the dishonest Passion between the Dutchess and my Nephew, but could never surprize them before: He has had too honourable a Death, considering the greatness of his Crime; for by the Rigour of our Laws, he should have been dismember'd by four Horses. As for Madam the Dutchess, I do not pretend to judge of her, the Laws of Lombardy and Savoy, as you well know, provide, that a Woman taken in Adultery shall be burnt alive, if in a Year and a Day's time she do not find a Champion to defend her Innocence. When her Highness procures any such, here stand I forth as her Accuser, to prove by Combat what I have asserted, not fearing to venture my own Life to make good my Allegations and Love to my Lord the Duke; for having sacrificed my darling Nephew, the Heir of my Honours and Estate to his Service, I shall not spare my self. Neither can I chuse but bewail, and shall always lament the cruel Destiny of the Youth, who perhaps committed this Sin more in compliance to another's Lust than his own. We will immediately dispatch a Courier to the Duke, to know his Pleasure. Mean time I suppose you will judge it proper, that the Dutchess should be kept under sure Guard in this Chamber, with as few to approach her as possible, 'till we receive his Highness's Commands."

Notwithstanding the Dutchess was a Woman of greater Wit and Spirit than any Princess of the Age, this Blow astonish'd her. She immediately reflecting upon her past Fault, cast her Eyes up to Heaven, and in a short Ejaculation, said softly to herself, 'Oh God! now I behold thy Justice, in suffering this dread Affliction to fall upon me, for a Punishment of my former Hypocrisy." Then, with a pitiful Eye, beholding the Remains of poor Lotharius, 'I know too well, said she, with a great Sigh, from what cruel Shaft this Arrow flew. Oh! innocent Soul, that once informed this Body, which is now but common Clay, thou art perhaps already in a Place where thou seest clearly the Iniquity of thy Murtherer! Oh, that thou could'st but as well reveal his Crime and clear thy Mistress! Pray, my Lords, cause this Body to be buried, that it may be restored to Earth, its first Creation. His Innocence does not deserve it should be fastened to a Gibbit, or become Food for the Fowls of the Air." The Lords promised to obey her, not without vile Suspicion of her Guilt, because she sought not to excuse her self but the Page, without speaking the least Word in her own Justification.

No sooner was this Adventure publish'd throughout the City, but they deplored the Dutchess's Misfortune, as if an Enemy had taken and sack'd the Town; for there was not any, of what Degree soever, but loved and reverenced the Princess. They bewail'd her as if the Evil had fallen upon their own Children. Briançon, triumphant in his Revenge, and implacable in his Wrath, drew up the Particulars of the Charge against the Dutchess, which he caused to be signed by his own Lady, the Officers that were present, the Lords of the Council, and all the Guards that were upon Duty. Then dispatching it by a swift Courier to the Duke, he caused a mourning Habit to be sent to the Dutchess, seizing her Jewels, Wardrobe and Moveables, and leaving none to attend her Person but Lovisa, whom in next degree, he hated, because she was a Foreigner and beloved of her Mistress. He likewise gave notice of this to the King her Father's Envoy at the Court of Savoy, and to all the publick Ministers. In expectation of the credulous Duke's Approbation of what he had done, he laughed to himself, and bid his Soul now be easy, for he should have his fill of Revenge upon that proud French-Woman, whom he had reduced to so wretched a State, that he did not fear there would appear any Man from her own Kindred or Nation, to venture their Life as a Champion for so infamous a Princess.

This detestable Charge found too easy a Belief, both from the King of France and the Duke of Savoy. Mostly perswaded by Lotharius's Death, who they could not suppose to be murthered by his Uncle's own Hand, of whom he was declared the next Heir, without he had been fully convinced of his Crime. Thus the Count's Fidelity was every where extolled, for that he had not spared his own Blood to revenge his Sovereign, and punish the Traytor. The poor Princess was condemned by her Lord and Husband, her Father, and Brother, to suffer as the Law enjoined, directing, That the Custom should be inviolably observed as much as for the meanest Woman, to the End, that for the Time to come, great Persons, who should be, as it were Lamps, to give Light to others, might not suffer their Vertue to be eclips'd, by such execrable Vices.

The Duke of Savoy found the Esteem and Tenderness he had for his Consort, turn'd into Contempt and Loathing; enumerating to himself all those Benefits he had heaped upon her (by which she enjoyed her own Will and Pleasure in every Thing, and was rather adored by himself and all his People like a Goddess than a mortal Woman) resolved, for the Anguish of his Mind, not to return to Savoy 'till the Dutchess had had her Tryal, and that she was either acquitted or punish'd. To that end he wrote to the Lords of the Council, and Magistrates of Turin, to see that the Custom should be punctually observed, and that upon pain of Death they should not favour the Adultery of his Wife. To Count Briançon he sent Health and Thanks for his Loyalty, with new Powers to constitute him Regent of the State 'till further Pleasure. These Letters received, the Judges caused Records to be searched, where, according to ancient Custom and former Precedents, a Pillar of Marble was erected near Turin, between the Bridge of the River Po, and the City; whereupon was engraved the Count Briançon's Accusation against the Dutchess of Savoy, exhorting her Champion to enter the List within Twelve Months and a Day against the said Count, or else the Princess was to die by Fire.

Reginia hearing of this cruel Sentence, and that the King her Father, unable to bear the Sense of her Dishonour, was dead with Grief, thought the Measure of her Woes was now full; for whilst he was alive she did not despair but he might animate some valiant Knight to undertake her Defence, seeing upon the first she had taken Care to send the King, and the Duke her Lord, a full Account of her own Innocency, and Briançon's Villany. But the Count was too well vers'd in Affairs, to suffer those Letters to pass. The Dutchess was a close Prisoner, and could procure no Person of sufficient Fidelity to her; so that her Defence easily fell into the Hands of her most implacable Enemy, and never reach'd those of the King and Duke. Lovisa revolving these Things in her Mind, and being well assured by her Mistress, of her Innocence in relation to any Affair with Lotharius, advised the Dutchess (having first craved her Pardon for speaking of a Person whom she had commanded her never to name to her again, since she had long since given her his very Picture, that she might have no Aids to bring the lovely Duke to her Remembrance) to send to Don Carlos for his Assistance, who had the Reputation of the most valiant Knight in all Spain; that so her Honour being recovered, her Life might be preserved, and she might have her Revenge upon her wicked and implacable Enemy; assuring the Dutchess, if she would write an earnest Letter, Seignor Galen should carry it, and faithfully deliver it into the Duke's own Hands. After using a Number of Arguments, none prevailing so far upon the Princess, as the desire of Glory, and the Hopes that her Dishonour might be repaired, she writ thus to the noble Spaniard.

To the Duke de Mendoza of Castile.

My Lord,
'I Would not send these Letters to you, that so well understand true Honour, if I were my self defiled; I labour under the most villainous Accusation that ever oppressed a mean, much more a great Lady; and have only to remember you, that if a Woman can have a Title to her Lover's Service I have to yours: since I left the Glories and Ease of a Kingdom to subject my self to Perils and Fatigues, that I might but once behold your Face, contrary to all Regards of Duty, exchanging the Title of Princess, for that of a poor sordid wand'ring Pilgrim, led only by an infinite and fervent Passion, not engaged by any preceding Service or Benefits from you. Love inspired and conducted me, and it is to him that I appeal for my deliverance; for if Kindness can only be paid by Kindness, your Life is entirely mine, since mine has so long been yours. Hasten then to deliver me from a shameful Death; I do not urge your Obligation of Knighthood, I conjure you by a greater Tie, the Debt of Gratitude and Love, of infinite Passion, and incessant Remembrance. Subdued by an invincible Power, I demand from your, as invincible, Arm, the Reparation of my Honour, that the Infamy with which this Accusation has stain'd my Royal House and Name, may, by your Valour, be done away, and the Accuser punish'd as he deserves. It is not Death I tremble at, but a Death so infamous and so unworthy my Birth; let me be now convinced that you deserved my Friendship, and that you was sincere in the Offers of yours. Look with Pity on the Distress of her who honours you above the World, and more than any other Person can honour you. Have Compassion on a tender Princess, abandoned of all human Succour; and who only waits the fatal Hour of being thrown into the Fire, like an innocent Lamb to the Sacrifice. Farewel, my Lord, I beseech God to grant you a happy Life, and to me an honourable Death.

    'The Bearer, my Lord, will acquaint you with all Particulars, whom I desire you would credit as my self. Adieu."

Seignior Galen was so throughly perswaded of the Dutchess's Innocence, and of the Villany of Briançon, through Lovisa's Representations, and so eager to see her delivered and that Traytor punished, that he gave himself no Rest, Night nor Day, 'till he came near the Duke of Mendoza's Castle; where, to his great Grief, he was assured, that the Duke was closely besieged by his old Enemy, having not long before fought and lost a Battel with very unequal Force. Seignior Galen, who was not only Learned, but Wise and Politick, furnish'd himself with a Suit of Armour, and rode into Landulphus's Camp, like a Stranger-Knight, arrived to their Assistance, and he was accordingly caressed by the General: But upon the first Sally that was made from the Town, Seignior Galen put himself in the Front of the Party that engaged the Besieged. He advanced on purpose, that he might be taken Prisoner, and then desired to be carried to the Duke de Mendoza. He was no sooner brought before him, but Don Carlos knew Dr. Galen, as having seen him nearer the Dutchess of Savoy in her Journey into Spain, and more in her Favour than her other Gentlemen. The Duke felt his Heart agitated with a violent Passion; so that he could hardly ask the Doctor what Affair had brought him to be a Witness of his unhappy Circumstances, and by what means he had entered a Town that was so straitly besieged? Upon his Answer, the Duke found Seignior Galen was a wise Man, and well affected to the Service of his Mistress, since he had so far ventured his Life to obey her Commands. The Duke opened the Letter that the Dutchess had sent him with an ominious trembling, which when he had read, his Eyes filled with Tears, all astonish'd, he took the Doctor with him into his Cabinet. Since the Dutchess had given him Credit to relate the whole Affair, he prayed him instantly to satisfy his sorrowful impatient Soul. Seignior Galen began with a Compliment to him from her Highness, for not having been able to perform her Promise of waiting upon him and Donna Isabella in her return from Compostella, since the Duke of Savoy had come himself to carry her back by Sea, whom being constrained to obey, she could not do her self the Honour she had designed of seeing him again at Mendoza. Then he recited to him Count Briançon's Passion, how unworthily he had sollicited the Dutchess, her Anger at his Presumption, and Sigisbert's Resentment; that in Revenge he had placed his Nephew, as was supposed, in the Dutchess's Bed-Chamber; how he had slain him with his own Hands. Finally, the close Imprisonment and Disgrace of her Highness, with the Judgment given against her for her Life, which was to end by Fire. When the Doctor had done speaking, the Duke remained quite astonish'd: He lean'd his Elbows upon a Table, holding his Handkerchief to his Eyes, sobb'd so loud that his weeping could not be dissembled: 'Oh! gracious Heaven, cry'd out the anxious Lover, can there be nothing perfect here below! —No, we must only look for that above!—" By these Words Galen supposed that Don Carlos thought that the Dutchess was not innocent: And indeed it was true, for his own honest Soul held it for an incredible Thing, that Count Briançon, the wisest Man and the greatest Statesman of the Age, should murder his own Nephew and adopted Son, only to be revenged of the Slights of a silly Woman, of whose amorous Temper himself had had some Experience. But dissembling his Thoughts to the Doctor, after he had recomposed himself, he said to him, 'Seignior Galen, You have heard of my Misfortunes, I have not only lost a Battel, taken by surprize, and overpower'd with numbers; but am every Day in danger of having this my last Stake, fall into the Enemy's Hands, for that it is impossible we should long defend our selves against a victorious Army without Relief. I cannot abandon my Friends who have so generously taken Arms to assist me, and whose only Security, as they imagine, is in my Presence and Conduct; wherefore I am unable to free the Dutchess as I would desire to do; since I am every Day in danger of Death my self, as are all who are in this Castle with me: That which I am only able to do for you, is presently to set you at liberty, and to deliver you from that Peril we our selves are ready to fall into." Then, without delay, he caused a hot alarm to be given to the Enemy, to set Seignior Galen out of the Town, who breaking thro' that Quarter of the Enemy, Don Carlos ordered a Party of his Friends to conduct him to a Place of Security; whence with a heavy Heart he continued his Journey back to Savoy. The Doctor seeing no Possibility for the Duke to quit the besieged Castle without imminent Danger to his Friends, held his Excuse reasonable, and used extream Diligence in his Return, that some other Measures might be taken for the Dutchess's Deliverance.

When he was come to Turin, and had communicated the bad Success of his Journey to Mademoisel Lovisa, she hasten'd to the Dutchess, to whom she said with Tears, 'I pray God give your Highness Courage to support your Misfortunes, and to receive with Constancy the heavy News which Seignior Galen has brought. Then she recounted the Calamity of the Duke de Mendoza, the extream Necessity to which himself and his Friends were reduced; and in Conclusion, that no Succour was to be expected from his Hands." Which, when the Dutchess understood, she cry'd out, 'Oh poor unhappy Woman! amongst all the most desolate and sorrowful! well may I now say, that the Day-light of my Life is drawing to an end, and will shortly be extinguished in Death, since that Help which I only expected is denied me. Ah, ungrateful Duke! now too sure, and too late I know, that the first Root of all my Misfortunes sprung from the unaccountable Curiosity, and the extream Love which I had for thee. My Afflictions proceed not from any Accident of Fortune, but from Divine Dispensation, which now decrees, that my Hypocrisy and counterfeit Devotion should receive condign Punishment! Oh Tears of Penitence! you have not washed away my Stain! my Sin is not to be expiated but by the severest, most shameful Execution. Oh Death! how sweet were thy Cup (which will deliver me from all other Evils) if there were not mingled with it the bitter Dregs of my Dishonour? Oh my Father!—"

Lovisa seeing her overcome with Tears, and her Understanding confounded by Sorrow, said unto her. 'Dear Madam, pardon the Liberty I take, when I tell your Highness, that it ill becomes a great and wise Princess, such as you have ever been esteemed, thus ineffectually to torment your self, since you know whatever Chastisements we receive from Heaven, are but Tryals of our Fidelity; or, as your self, in your Lamentations confess, rather a just Punishment for our Offences: But whether they be one, or the other, you ought, by Wisdom and Religion, to fortify your self against the cruel Strokes of Fortune, and to remit the whole to the Mercy of God, who, out of his abundant Grace, and in his good Time, if he sees fit, will deliver you out of your Misery, as he has done many others, who when they have thought themselves quite forsaken, and utterly deprived of all Help, he has caused certain Drops of his Pity to be poured down upon them. Ah! my dear Sister, answered the Dutchess, how easy it is for those that are whole to comfort the Sick, them that be at ease to reprove the Wretch in Pain; but if thou did'st but feel my Grief, thou would'st rather help me to lament. Oh! how cruel a Thing it is, to lose my Honour with my Life, to die so innocent and yet so infamously! Could my Glory be retrived, I should depart as chearfully as now I live mournfully; wherefore pray leave me a little alone, that I may lament my Misery before I go hence to that Place whence I shall never, never more return." Poor Lovisa, who would willingly have sacrificed herself to redeem the Princess, not being able any longer to bear the strong Attempts of Love and Pity that beat against her Heart, was forced to withdraw her self into an other Chamber; where she gave a loose to Sorrow, and with her Tears and Lamentations deplored the ensuing Calamity of the Dutchess, in such passionate and affectionate Terms, as if it had been herself that was destin'd to suffer that infamous and cruel Death.

Whilst these Ladies were bewailing the Dutchess's Misfortune, Don Carlos felt no Quiet in his Mind; his Rest was departed from him, his Sleep forsook him, and he could no longer support the Anxiety he was under. The Dutchess's miserable Condition was still before his Eyes, and her lovely Image in his Heart; he incessantly thought upon her Danger, and strove to forget her Crime, tho' he fear'd she was but too guilty of what she had been accused. After he had well considered every Circumstance, and soften'd his Mind with Pity, he began to condemn himself for failing her at her greatest Need, and when she had so passionately implor'd his Assistance, reflecting thus,"Am I not only unworthy to be Beloved, but to bear Arms, or to have the Honour of Knighthood, since that Order was bestowed upon me to succour the Afflicted, more especially distress'd Ladies, whose Force only consists in Tears and Intreaties, such as the beauteous Dutchess of Savoy sent to me? But recreant as I am, I have neglected my Duty, and refus'd my Assistance to the chiefest Person of the World, who perhaps may be innocent. —Oh God! if she should be innocent? What a Wretch am I to sacrifice a Lady to whom I am so vastly oblig'd? I dye a thousand times every Day, when I think how much she favour'd me; What? Can I forbear to requite her Kindness? To hazzard all my Affairs in Spain, and not rather chuse to die in Honour, poor and despoiled of my Inheritance, rather than live Mighty, Wretched, a Coward and Ingrateful? Let Fortune then take care of my other Affairs, and either preserve or give away my Dukedom at her Pleasure; since the Princess forsook all the World to visit me in her Prosperity, can I do less than attempt to relieve her in her Adversity?"

Press'd and inwardly sollicited by this new Desire, he at length came to a Resolution with himself, that happen what durst, he would immediately go to the Dutchess's Assistance. When once he found himself so determined, he bewail'd the Time that was elapsed, and fear'd he should not arrive soon enough to be her Champion, since the Conclusion of the Year drew on apace. Having caused publick Prayers to be said throughout the whole City, for the Success of an Enterprize he was about to undertake, he assembled all his Officers, and told them that he was determin'd to go in Person and sollicite their Relief; constituting his Kinsman Governour in his Absence, and taking all possible Order for the Defence of the City. The next Morning before Day, he made a vigorous Salley upon the Enemy, and being mounted upon an excellent Spanish Jennet, he escaped unknown and alone. Finding himself beyond all Danger of Pursuit, he took Post and arrived with all possible Expedition at Lyons, where he provided himself of the best Armour that could be bought, and two extraordinary good Horses, one of them a Neapolitan; and having taken an unknown Page, he set forward for Turin; where, being arrived, he lodged himself in the Suburbs, enquiring of his Host in the Italian Tongue, which he spoke perfectly well, if there dwelt any Spaniards in the Town? Who told him that he knew One that was Superior of a Convent, a good old religious Father, that had not been out of Turin these thirty Years, a Man of vertuous Life, and well esteemed by all the Court, and beloved of the Citizens: That his Lodging was apart from his Brethren, for the Benefit of Contemplation, and the Conveniency of his Age. The Duke having learnt the Place where he dwelt, went to him early in the Morning, and demanded to be confess'd; after which they enter'd into a Discourse of Spain. The Duke revealed himself to the Father, and the Father found that he was born the Duke's natural Subject, that he had known his Grandfather and Grandmother, and also remembred the Duke and Dutchess his Father and Mother; leaving the Kingdom just after their Nuptials, and for his Soul's Health was now settled at Turin, where he daily practised to despise the Vanities of the World. The Duke having proceeded thus far with good Success, revealed to him the Intent of his Journey. "Kind Father, says he, I have heard of the Misfortune of your Dutchess: If I thought her to be innocent of the Crime of which she is accused, I would to the last Drop of my Blood defend her Honour, for the Friendship Donna Isabella my Sister professes for her; but if she be guilty, it were casting away my Life and Soul in the Attempt." The good Father, touched with the Duke's Words, answered," My Lord, I believe no Person living besides her Highness, and Count Briançon her Accuser, can be judge of her Innocence. But one Thing I can assure you, we all esteem her the best and most excellent Princess that ever reigned in Savoy, especially for that about a Year past, she went on foot to St. Jago di Compostella with such Devotion and Humility, that not the most rigid of our Brethren but felt Pity, to see a young and delicate Princess, so far mortified for her Soul's Health." The Duke shook his Head, and sighed to himself at this part of the Father's Relation; which was however not observed by him, so that he continued his Discourse. 'To Combate with Count Briançon who is almost double your Age, my Lord Duke, I fear you are too young; for besides his continual Exercise in Arms, he is esteemed the strongest, readiest and most approved Knight of all Lombardy. The Victory notwithstanding is in the Hand of God; and he can give it to whom he pleaseth; which was manifest in such a Child as David, against Goliah. Reverend Sir, I have thought of a way, answered the Duke, how I may provide against the Scruples of my Conscience, concerning the Doubt I have whither the Combate I shall undertake against Count Briançon be just or not, for in such a Case I would not defend even my own Life; which is, that under the Seal of Confession, I may understand from the Dutchess her self, whether she be innocent or not? Which I take to be a Matter of such Importance, that if you can make Interest enough to introduce me, and approve of my Design, which I don't see how you can well do otherwise, since a great Lady your Sovereign's Life is at Stake, and likewise his to whom you are born a Subject, I will cause my Head and Beard to be shaved, and taking the Habit of your Order, under the Protection of your great Reputation and Sanctity, I think we may be admitted to her Highness, to exhort her to Patience, and prepare her for Death, which seems to be very near, for that you say in Six Days the Time allotted her will expire.'

The good Father could not refrain from weeping to see a young and valiant Nobleman, accomplish'd with all the Beauties of the Body, devote his fine Hair and Life, to the Cause of Religion and distress'd Innocence. He assured his Lord, that by the Interest he had in the Castle, there was no need to fear their Admittance to the Dutchess: Upon which the Duke sacrificed his long flowing Curls, with as much Chearfulness as ever he had enter'd into the most pleasing Action of his Life. Whoever had seen that renowned Knight in his Fryar's Habit, would hardly have taken him for a valiant Champion, and so great a Man. But besides the Manner of the Religious, which he knew very well how to assume, he was grown so lean upon the Loss of the Battle and the Overthrow of his People, join'd to his Sorrow for the Dutchess, and the Thoughts of what Danger his own Life was in, by his approaching Combate with the Count, that he appear'd rather some holy St. Jerome, mortify'd in the Desert, than the former beautiful Duke de Mendoza.

One Incident the good Father found much conducing to their Design; the Dutchess's Confessor dy'd presently after her Misfortune, and they had not taken Order to appoint her another, tho' she had often requested it so that they found it no difficult Matter to be introduced to her Highness. That Father having the greatest Reputation of Sanctify in all Lombardy, telling the Captain of her Guard, that because the miserable Dutchess's Time approached, they were come to administer such spiritual Comfort to her as God had inspired them with; hoping that he would endue them with the Grace to prepare her to dye patiently, to the intent that through the Body's Loss, her precious Soul might be preserved.

The Dutchess was reduced to such a State of Weakness, that she had kept her Bed for some Days before; but hearing the good Father-Superior was come to visit her, with a Brother of the same Order, she was disposed to make her Confession, which she had not done since her Accusation. The old Fryar presented his young Brother to her Highness as a French-man, which pleas'd the Dutchess very much; she therefore resolved to give him the Preference, because of his Nation. Don Carlos could speak that Language much better than her Highness, who had so long discontinued it for the Italian. The Superior being withdrawn to the farther end of the Chamber, the Duke approached the Bed, which was so disposed, that there was not Light enough to discern the Features of those who were near it, and said,"Madam, the Peace of God be with you. Holy Father, answered the Dutchess, why do you speak of Peace? I have a continual War within me, and only wait the last End of my Misery, a most cruel and shameful Death, without desert." The Duke, who had had a liberal Education, and loved Letters, especially the Study of Divinity, which his Genius greatly led him to, said, 'I believe, Madam, you know that Misery and Tribulation which come upon us, fall not without the Dispensation of God, before whom one little Sparrow is not forgotten, as the Prophet Amos manifests to us, when he saith, There is none Evil in the City that I have not sent thither; which is also apparent in Job, whom the Devil could not afflict before he first obtained leave of God. And it is necessary for you to know, that Afflictions are the Tokens of the Fore-chosen and Elect, the truest Signs of our Salvation; so that if we consider the Order of Scripture since the Beginning, you will find that those whom he hath loved best, he hath most chastised, and ordained to drink of his Cup and Passion. Like as when Abel was persecuted by his Brother Cain; Joseph by his Brethren; David by Absolom his Son; the Children of Israel, the elect People of God, by Pharoah; which Thing being profoundly considered by St. Paul, he saith, that if we had not another hope in Christ Jesus than in the present Life, we were of all Men most miserable. And yet he further tells us, that it is little or nothing what we endure, in respect of what Christ suffered for our Sakes. Let us consider that from his Pain, came our Joy; from his Misery, our Help; from his precious Death, was derived our Life; and shall we be afraid or ashamed to have our Heads touch'd with a few Thorns of Trouble! Strengthen then your Mind, Madam, in the Name of God, and make your self ready to endure Death for his Sake, that was content to do it for you. Is his strong Hand any thing weakened? Is it not in him to overthrow the Fury of your Enemies, and so to humble your Adversary, that he may never be raised? How many poor afflicted Persons have been seen abandoned, even of Hope, whom with his Eye of Mercy he hath beheld, and in Pity restored them to greater Happiness then they ever had before?'

When the Duke had made an End of his Consolation, the poor Penitent, who had not in a long time heard any thing so edifying; felt such Satisfaction in her self that it seemed as if her Soul already tasted Celestial Delights, and would fly up even to Heaven; thinking Death a short moment of Time, only to be considered as an Interval that with-held her from the Perfection of Joys; thinking her self light'ned of a Burthen, or as one taken from the Rack, or who had escaped some furious Tempest. She began to make a general Confession of all her past Life, since her early Infancy, Point by Point, to that very Day, without omitting the least Thing that might wound her Conscience; for in that Case she expatiated most. And when she came to that Part where she was to accuse Count Briançon, she begg'd of God not to pardon her Sins, if in Deed or Word, she had been guilty of any Thing contrary to the Law of Marriage, or the Duty she owed the Duke, saving one light Action she had committed; and an unwarrantable Affection which she had born to a Knight of Spain, whom under pretence of a feigned Devotion, she had visited, but had been restrained from doing any Thing Criminal, by the Modesty of his Behaviour, more than her own Vertue; which caused her to conclude, that God being angry with her for her Hypocrisy and bad Designs, had been moved to raise up Count Briançon's Accusation against her, which she would endeavour patiently to bear, since it was his Heavenly Will: And this she begg'd him to let her dear Country men know, since he was a Native of France, that they might endeavour to do her Fame and Memory justice when she was dead. Her Confession ended, she plucked off a rich Diamond she had upon her Finger, saying, 'Good Father, though I have been formerly a great and rich Princess, as you know, they have now taken away all my Wealth and Jewels, this Ring excepted, which the King my Father gave me when I was married to the Duke of Savoy, which because I have nothing else to give, I now bestow upon you, begging you to remember me in your Prayers, and to keep it, for it is of greater Value than you imagine, and may one Day serve to supply the Necessities of your Convent".

The Confession over, and the Ring received, the two Friars leaving the Dutchess to the Mercy of God, returned to the Convent. Soon as they were arrived there, the Duke said, now Father, I assuredly know the Princess is guiltless, I am resolved to defend the poor injured Innocent as long as my Life shall last. I feel my self press'd and touch'd by her Wrongs, so that I am impatient of the Tryal, and shall never rest 'till I have entered the Combat against that Traiterous Count; wherefore I pray, if Fortune should be contrary to me, after my Death, let the World know who I am, and that wrong'd Princess at the Stake more especially, for potent Reasons, that she may learn how much I was her Servant, and that at the Price of my Life I undertook her Defence: But since perhaps I may survive, which cannot be but by the Count's Death, 'till then preserve the Secret I have now under the Seal of Confession trusted you with.

The good Father promised to perform what the Duke desired. Having passed all that Night in Prayer and Supplication, the Duke armed himself in the Morning, and attended only by one Page, rode to a Gate of the City, where calling to a Centinal, 'Good Friend, said the Duke, I pray thee go to the Count Briançon, and let him know that he must prepare to make good his false Accusation against the Dutchess of Savoy: And farther tell him, that there is a Knight here will make him deny that Accusation, and in Presence of all the World will cut out his perjured Tongue, which durst commit so soul a Treason against such an innocent Princess."

Swift as light Darts from the rising Morning over the darkned Earth, this Report flew through the whole City of Turin. No Victory, no Deliverance from an Enemy just ready to lay their Houses in Ashes, could have been so acceptable to the poor Inhabitants. The Churches were instantly fill'd with Crowds of Men and Women to pray for the Knight's Success, and the Redemption of the Dutchess. Whilst Messengers were dispatched to inform Count Briançon of his Arrival, the Duke rode to the Pillar where the Accusation was engraved, and pitched his Tent, attending the coming of Sigisbert .

That cruel Enemy to Virtue, since his prosperous Success against the Dutchess, finding his raging Love asswaged, and his Revenge like to be satiated by her Dishonour and Death; waited for the first two or three Months, with some Anxiety, lest amongst all her Royal Kindred, there should be found a Champion to ingage in her Defence. But the Princess having left France so young, they were unacquainted with her Merit but by Report, which now leaning so greatly to the Side of Infamy, there was not any that cared to espouse her Quarrel. The King her Father seemed, by the Grief which occasioned his Death, to give her up. The Dauphin, his Successor, had his Hands full with the Emperor, and thought no farther of his Sister, than sometimes to exclaim against the Dishonour she had brought upon their Royal House. From Savoy it was not expected a Champion should arise, to vindicate Her whom their Sovereign thought fit to condemn; so that the Dutchess seem'd to be forsaken by all Things but her evil Destiny. Briançon every Day, more and more strength'ned himself in the Prospect of her Death, and bid his Heart take its Ease, since it was now improbable that he should ever be questioned for her Dishonour.

But when the unexpected News arrived, and he had received that hateful Message from the Stranger-Knight, he began to feel something like Remorse, that inwardly stung him to the quick; which not able to shake off by the utmost force of Resolution, he could have almost wish'd he had not committed so cruel and villainous an Action, now he was going to be called to an Account for it. But unwilling to give way to the Pangs of Conscience, or the Vertue of Repentance, he rous'd up all that was Manly in his Soul, and thence refuged in the Greatness of his Courage, his Skill in Arms, in which he had never been overcome, and the Glory of his past Actions. That he might not seem to be abated of his former Ardour, he sent to the Knight to know his Name, and at the same time to cite the Dutchess, and all who had been formerly of her Train, to prepare themselves to appear in the List. The Duke returned in answer, 'That he should not know his Name, but he would make him feel his Arm before the Day declined, if he would but once come forth." The Count hesitated upon fighting with a Person who would not declare his Name; and ordered that the Judges should be thereupon consulted. After good Advice, they declared that they found in the Records no mention of the Name, and therefore they thought the Knight was not bound to declare his; but that the Statute did expresly favour the Defendent, giving him the Choice of Armour; and it was also required, that the Person accused should be brought forth upon the Field of Battle in presence of the two Champions.

The Count, after this Information, tho' he did not much trust to the Goodness of his Quarrel, yet making a Vertue of Necessity, and being not unused to such Conflicts, armed himself in his best Armour and went into the Field; where he found his Enemy in token of Mourning, attired in black Armour. The Dutchess was infinitely surpriz'd to hear she was sent for, and that there was a Knight in the Field, all armed with Black, who promised by his Air to be a noble Man, and by his goodly Mien and lofty Aspect, seemed to assure her of Success, being ready to maintain against Count Briançon, his Accusation to be false and traiterous. The Dutchess, infinitely distressed in Mind, could not imagine who the Knight should be. She was carried out of the Castle in a Litter covered with black Velvet, accompanied with more than two Hundred Ladies all in deep Mourning, to the Place where the Judges, the People, and the two Knights attended her coming. After they had help'd her up to a little Stand, erected for that Purpose; the Deputies of the Field came to her and said these Words, 'Madam, your Highness is accused of Adultery by Count Briançon, here present; the Laws of Savoy requiring, that within twelve Months and a Day, you should appoint a Knight, by force of Arms to try your Innocence, Do you accept of Him that you see before you? Do you rely upon him, either for your Punishment or your Acquittance? The Dutchess answered, That she committed all to the Justice and Mercy of God, who knew the inward Thoughts of her Heart, and the Valour of that Knight, though she thought she had never seen him before." When she had said these Words, she fell down upon her Knees, with Eyes raining Tears, and pray'd in a loud Voice, 'O Lord God! Thou who art the very Truth it self, and seest the Anguish I have in my Heart, to find my self so falsly accused; shew forth the greatness of thy Goodness upon me, a wretched Princess! and as thou didst deliver Susannah from her Trouble, and Judith from Holoferness, deliver me from the Hand of a Tyrant, who, like a hungry Lion thirsting for my Blood, would devour both my Honour and my Life." Having made an end of her Prayer, she said no more, but rose from her Knees, and during the Time of the Combat, remained afterwards as if she were Motionless, or in a Trance.

The Duke de Mendoza casting his Eyes upon that distressed Innocence, beholding her ravishing Beauty, and the fatal Pile ready to be kindled in which she was to be consumed, gathered thence new Courage and Rage against her Accuser. He was provoked to see Briançon vault and praunce his Horse about the Field, as if he were certain of his Conquest, or entered the Lists only to break a Launce in Honour of his Mistress: Wherefore he rode up to him furiously, and cry'd, 'Traytor Count, because I am certain that the Accusation thou hast forg'd against the Dutchess, is the Malice of the greatest Villain in the World; I defy thee to a mortal Combat, and will maintain with this my good Sword, before the World, that thou hast falsly accused her; that thou liest in thy Throat in all thou hast invented against her; and deserved'st like a Paracide to be tied in a Sack, and thrown into the Sea for the Murther of thy innocent Nephew, whose Blood cries for Vengeance to be taken of thee by my Hand this Day before God and Man."

These Words delivered with a strong and firm Voice, were applauded by the Spectators, with three Volleys of Shouts, which ascended to the Heavens, that greatly inflamed the Duke, and dash'd the Count. But because he would not shew the Trouble of his Mind, he answered with an audacious Tone, 'Infamous Villain, thou who dost conceal thy Name lest thy Vices should be known, a fit Champion for so foul an Offender, who hath defiled the Bed of my Sovereign Lord the Duke her Husband, in whose Name I defie thee, and will maintain that thou ly'st in all thou hast said, and being one of her Ruffians, deservedst to be burnt in the Fire with her, or drawn by four Horses through the cross Ways of this City for a Warning to all Adulterers"

Whether the Count were little beloved of the People, or the Dutchess very much pitied, a Murmur rose amongst them like the roaring of the Sea before a Storm, without the least Sign of Applause of what he had spoke, by which the Spectators seem'd to divine what would be the Success of the Combat between the different Champions.

Immediately after, the Heralds at Arms made the accustomed Proclamation, the Knights put their Launces in their Rests, and ran against each other with such Violence, that joyning themselves, their Shields, their Bodies and Heads together, they broke their Staves even to the hard Gauntlets so roughly, that they both fell to the Ground, tho' without losing the Reins of their Bridles; but their great Heart, and the Desire they had of Conquering, made them soon get up again and remount their Horses; throwing away the Truncheons of their Staves, they drew their glittering Swords, and then began a close and cruel Fight. The Spectators were amazed to think how they were able to endure so much; they were both fleshed upon one another, and so eagerly pursued their Blows without a breathing space between, that the most experienced in Arms own'd they had never seen a Combate between two Persons so furious, yet so artfully managed, nor followed with that Vigour and Impetuosity. But the Stranger-Knight, encouraged by the Justice of his Cause, and the Preservation of the Dutchess's precious Life, seem'd to redouble his Force; when it was judged that the Strength of mortal Man could not sustain so violent a Course, then was the Time wherein he exerted himself most. So that his Enemy, unable to endure such mighty Strokes, being wounded in several Places, did now little more than defend himself, and ward the Blows which, without Intermission, fell on all Parts of his Body. But the Duke thirsting to make an End of the Combate at once, united all his Strength, and rising to the Stroke, dealt so full a Blow upon the Crest of the Count's Helmet, as wounded him very deep in the Head," I have fought before, cry'd the conquering Spaniard, but was never angry with a Foe 'till this." The Count stunned with that last Effort, and his Heart beginning to abate its Heat, he seem'd to Faint, and at length reeling in his Saddle, he fell from his Horse; at which the Field rang with Shouts and Acclamations. The Duke swiftly dismounting, laid hold upon the Count's Shield, and so rudely plucked it towards him, that he was overturned on the other Side, and with the Pomel of his Sword, made Briançon's Helmet fly off from his Head; then setting his Foot upon his Throat, he shortned his Sword, as if with the point of it he was going immediately to kill him. 'The Hour is now come, Count said he, that thou must give an Account to God of thy Untruth, and the Treason thou hast committed against the Dutchess. Ah! Sir Knight, cry'd the Recreant Count, have pity upon my Soul, and since there may be a Life hereafter, I beseech thee not to kill me before I have taken care of my Conscience. Villain, reply'd the Duke, if I had any Hope of thy Amendment, I would delay thy Death; but being a Traitor as thou art, thou wilt never cease to persecute Innocence; yet if thou do'st immediately acknowledge thy Crime, and ask publick Pardon of the Dutchess, I will joyfully leave thee to the Duke's Mercy: Whereas if I observed the Rigour of the Law, I should cause thee to be thrown into the same Fire that was prepared for thy innocent Mistress.' The Count's Courage and Contempt of Religion quite forsook him, seeing inevitable Death was so near him; he was afraid his Soul should launch into Eternity without a Guide to direct his Penitence; and finding no other way to gain a Respit for his Life, with much Difficulty he got upon his Knees, and made a full Confession of his Crime; his long and violent Love to the Dutchess, her Refusal, and the Hatred which ensued; together with his Fears lest she should discover his Attempt to the Duke; the Murder of his Nephew, as is before related, and his insatiate Thirst of Revenge: Which when he had finished, in the hearing of the Multitude, turning his Face to the Dutchess, he said," Madam, I must acknowledge that the Loss of so vile a Life as mine, is too little to expiate the matchless Villany I have committed against your Highness; but as you are all Goodness, I conjure you to prefer Pity and Mercy before Justice, only for some few Days, that I may provide for my Conscience, and make true Reflections upon the Wickedness of my past Life." Then the Rays of Joy and divine Glory darting into the Heart of the Dutchess, brake from her Eyes, and spread with new Charms over her whole Face, looking up to Heaven, and joining her Hands, she cry'd," God! I thank thee, receive my Praise for thy great Mercy, in that thou hast vouchsafed to bring me with Glory from Death to Life, and caused this Traitor to acknowledge before the World, the Injury he hath done mine Honour." Then she turned her Face from him, lest she should be obliged to make him any other Answer. But the Joy of the People grew so unruly that they knew not how to set Bounds to their Extravagancy, praising God, shouting, embracing and congratulating each Other; which they were hardly diverted from, by the sounding of the Trumpets, and a new Proclamation made by the Heralds, at the Sight of another Knight, who entered the Lists in compleat Armour. His Design being asked, why and against whom he appeared in the Field? He made Answer, that he was come in Defence of the Dutchess's Honour, against the traitorous Count of Briançon . But seeing he was already brought to condign Punishment, he would beg leave to congratulate her Highness upon her Deliverance; then pulling off his Helmet, he approached the Stand where she sate, and was presently known for Seignior Galen her Physician; who kneeling to kiss her Hand, told the Dutchess, that being affected to the Soul, at the Thoughts that she had none to appear in her Defence, he was resolved to venture his own Life in a Cause so just; and had therefore left Savoy for these two last Months without telling any Person, not even Mademoisel Lovisa of his Design, to go to Milan, where he spent his Time in the Practice of Arms, and had obtained from that Duke the Honour of Knighthood, with a Resolution of returning to the Court of Turin to be her Highness's unworthy Champion.

Seignior Galen's Duty and Affection could not but receive agreeable Marks of the Dutchess's Favour and Approbation, as he did from all the Court, to the great Reproach of some Knights, who had been formerly honour'd by her Highness's Distinction; though they protested, as much Knights as they were, and with how much Truth I leave the World to imagine; that though there were but three Days to come of the Time appointed for the Tryal, that they every one of them designed, if no Stranger-Knight should appear, to venture their own Lives in their Sovereign Mistress's Defence.

The Dutchess was re-conducted into the City in as much Triumph, and with louder Acclamations than at her first Entry; and as they coveted to do something that might express their Zeal and Joy at her deliverance, meeting the Deputies of the Field conveying Count Briançon to Prison, the common People, as if all inspired by one Spirit, and commissioned by God, to be his Ministers of Vengeance, rush'd upon the Traytor, and tearing him from his Guard, dragg'd him sometimes by the Heels, and sometimes by the Hair of the Head, through every Street of the whole City, wounding his Body. tearing his Flesh, reproaching him with his Villany, especially the Women, 'till they pull'd his Limbs from his wretched Body. Having torn him Piece-Meal, and cast his Carcass into the River, the Noise and Tumult ceased; they returned with Transports of Delight and Satisfaction, each one to congratulate, and feast with their Friends and Neighbours; a Joy so universal was never before known to reign in Turin, nor perhaps in any other City.

The valiant Duke, to whom they owed the Blessing of the Dutchess's Deliverance, taking Advantage of the Tumult, slip'd out of the Lists unheeded. After he had got some slight Wounds dress'd in the next Village, which he had received in the Fight, he took Post for Spain, whilst the Dutchess caused him to be searched for in every Place; but it was not possible to know any more News of him, than if he had never been seen. 'Ah! cry'd the Dutchess, my dear Lovisa, who can express the Grief I suffer by the Stranger's Absence? Why should he conceal himself from me? Why may I not know and worship my Benefactor? He has given me more than Life, by far a more inestimable Jewel! He has restored my Glory, and enabled me once again to revisit the World with Honour! He is doubtless, Madam, answered Lovisa, some French Knight, perhaps one of your own Kinsmen, who, without the King your Brother's Permission, has ventured his Life for your Deliverance, and dares not let you know the Obligation you have to him; but assuredly he will not be able always to conceal himself. Let him be what he will, reply'd the Dutchess, I must ever do true Homage to his Merit: I am more bound to him, than any Subject to his Sovereign, and hope, tho' at the Price of my Life, to find one Day some opportunity to display my Gratitude and Thanks."

After searching for her Deliverer in vain, and returning publick Thanks to God; the Dutchess caused the Council to be assembled, where the whole Proceedings were drawn up, and sign'd by those Lords that were present, relating to Count Briançon, and his Confession of the Treason, for which he had already suffered by the Rage of the People. This Account the Dutchess caused to be sent to the Duke, with a passionate Expostulation from herself, for condemning her unheard, when her Conduct had ever been so justifiable, that neither Envy nor Jealousie could object against it. The Duke received these Dispatches some few Days before he resolved to fight the Imperial Army; and whereas it was not doubted, considering the excessive Fondness he had always shewn to the Dutchess, that he would have been transported with Joy at finding her Innocent, it proved quite otherways with him, for his Mind weak'ned with Age, and the Grief he had conceived at his Dishonour, had not Force sufficient to receive new Impressions; the Old having for near a Year's Time took intire Possession of his Thoughts. He was more ashamed at the barbarous Usage the Dutchess had received, than pleased at her Deliverance; and he almost wished never again to see her Face, since he did not know how to regard her without Confusion. Her Reproaches were just, and he was so sensible of them, that his Heart was overwhelm'd by them, and did not know how to extricate himself. These Reflections reduced him to a deep Melancholy, which so far clouded his Faculties, that it disabled him in great Part from performing the Office of a General. It is certain, his Understanding seem'd much impair'd, and his Courage degenerated, which was the Occasion of a great Loss to the French King; for that Part of the Army, where the Duke commanded, was entirely broke, and himself slain: The Remainder of the scattered Forces, by the Favour of the Night, with Difficulty rallied, and retired to a Place of Defence, where their Enemies could not renew the Fight without too manifest a Disadvantage.

This Misfortune forced the young King to hearken to Terms of Peace; but as the Particulars are not at all to my Purpose, I will only speak of what concerned the Dutchess: Her Brother took Care that the Body of the Duke should be embalm'd and sent to Savoy. Desiring to draw the Princess from that Scene of Grief, and a Place that must necessarily be odious to her, since she had suffered so much Affliction in it, envited her back to France. After the first Forms of Mourning for the Death of her Lord were past, she comply'd with the King's Request, who took Care she should be received in every Place with that Solemnity as was due to her Birth and extraordinary Merit. Seignior Galen, at her Request, was made Noble by the young Prince that succeeded the Duke of Savoy, and married to the Lady Lovisa. He attended the Princess into France in Quality of Lord-Chamberlain, and always retained the Esteem and Favour of that grateful Lady.

Let us now leave the Dutchess to be caressed, or rather adored in France, to see what became of the Duke de Mendoza, who returning into Spain, heard the Siege was raised by the Death of Landulphus his Enemy, who had been slain in a desperate Attack which he made upon one of the Gates of the City. As only his particular Interest had ingaged other Powers in the Alliance, and leaving none but Daughters to inherit, who could not be supposed to pursue the Enmity between the two Houses, a Treaty of Peace was set on Foot, and in great forwardness when the Duke arrived to ratify the same. Thus immediately finding his Piety and Honour rewarded, and himself very much at ease delivered from all his Enemies, he received with that transport, a great and faithful Lover can imagine, the News of the Duke of Savoy's Death, and the Dutchess's Journey to France, where he was resolved to attend her as soon as ever his Hair was grown, and his Affairs would permit.

Peace being concluded between France and the Empire, by the Mediation of the King of Castile, a Marriage was concluded between the Infanto and the King of France's Daughter; who was about the same Age as the Princess his Sister, when she was first wedded to the Duke of Savoy. The Duke de Mendoza repaired to Court, and being a Prince of vast Interest, Magnificence, Riches and Reputation, found no great Difficulty to be named Ambassador, with Commission to espouse the French Princess in the Infanto's Name, and to obtain the Conduct of her into Spain. There was never any Subject had formed so splendid an Equipage; two Hundred young Gentlemen, Cadets of the Nobility of Spain, put themselves in his Trains at their own proper Expence; being proud that a Person so glorious as the Duke was at their Head, and of that Renown, who, though still in his Youth, had subdued such formidable Enemies, and was descended from the most ancient and illustrious Family of Castile; they sought an Acquisition by his to their own Reputation, in hopes of an Opportunity to make themselves considered, with regard each one to their future Interest.

It was presently known at the Court of France, who was the important Person nominated to that Embassy. The Duke's Entry exceeded what had ever been seen in Paris, for he considered himself as going to his own Espousals, as well as the Infanto's. His first Audience of the King passed with all the Marks of good Will, as could be expected, where the mutual Interests of Princess happen to be united. The King told the Duke he would carry him that Evening to his Audience of Mademoisel his Daughter, and of Madam Royal, the Dutchess of Savoy his Sister; and ceas'd not to bestow upon him such extraordinary Honours, as the Duke could not chuse but be very well satisfied with.

The Dutchess being too well informed of the Quality and Name of the Ambassador, and that the King was the same Evening to bring him to her Apartment, felt her self enraged to that degree, as One may well imagine a Person should be, who hates and detests the very Memory of one to whom yet they are obliged to shew Civility instead of Resentment. 'Ah! dear Lovisa, help me, cry'd the Dutchess, with thy Advice in the utmost Exigency of my Life; do'st thou believe I am able to support this dangerous Tryal? What? To suffer my Hand to be kiss'd by a Coward, a Traytor, who rather deserves to have a Dagger plung'd in his Breast than to be caressed by me, whom he abandon'd without Remorse, in the greatest Extremity of my Life and Honour! When, contrary to all the Rules of Duty and Womanhood, I had debased my self, my Sex and Dignity, to run after a wicked Fantom into Spain! Ah! ungrateful to the Laws of Love and Knighthood! Ah Coward, and Recreant to thy Beloved! Rather my Days shall cease their Course, my Youth be willingly exchanged for Age and Wrinkles, than my Affection shall ever revive for thee! or rather my Hatred shall never die! neither shalt thou receive any other Favour from me, than what thou mightest expect from thy most mortal and cruel Enemy. Really, Madam, answered Lovisa, I thought the Sharpness of your Imprisonment, with those other Afflictions which you have endured, had put these Matters quite out of your Head, and had mortify'd all Desire of Revenge in you; but you no sooner hear of the Duke de Mendoza's Name, but you begin to start, bound, and affright your self, as if the Ghost of a most hated Object was come before you, the Count Briançon, or something worse in his most hideous and terrible Form. Be not so far mastered by your Passions, as to fall into a Womanish Weakness, unworthy your Rank or Understanding; receive the Duke with indifferency, which will punish him worse, if he retain a remembrance of his past Behaviour, than the most cruel Resentment: If he have no Remorse, your Reproaches will not create any; should you refuse him Audience, he will think himself considerable enough still to disquiet you. Let him rather imagine, that by a peculiar Greatness of Soul, you have pitied and forgot the Littleness of his." The Dutchess approved of this Advice, and did all that possibly she could to compose her Spirits, and receive the Duke with that calmness and neglect as should at once bespeak the easy Situation of her Mind, and the small Value, or rather despicable Opinion she had of him, as if he were a Subject of little Importance, and no longer worth her Consideration. But when the hated Object came in sight, her Resolution vanish'd; the glowing of her Cheeks, the rise and fall of her Blood, and the Fire which darted from her Eyes, sufficiently bespoke the Disorder of her Soul; which the Duke observing, would not have exchanged the Pleasure he took in the Conflict he had raised for any other Satisfaction. But as he acquitted himself of his Compliment with an Address and Grace peculiar to himself; he resolved not to lose so favourable an Opportunity, lest the Dutchess's Resentment should not easily permit him to have another. The King of France, who was naturally gay, and who loved the Dutchess's Company beyond all others, when Forms were over, would not suffer the Company to disperse; but calling for Dice, envited the Duke and Dutchess to play with him. There was something so amiable in Don Carlos, that the King felt himself irresistably attached to him, and saving the Business of his Embassy, which was likewise most agreeable to that Monarch, there was something in his Soul that prompted him to desire a Friendship and Intimacy with that lovely Spaniard. As the King had seated his Sister and the Ambassador on each Side of him, they faced each other, but their Regards were very different; the Dutchess's Eyes were inflamed with Anger, the Duke's with Love. He pursued her so artfully, the Language of the Eyes being what the Spaniards perfectly understand, that he sometimes met hers; but then like a Flash of fatal Light'ning, sudden and consuming as if she hop'd to wound him to death, she snatch'd them away from an Object so detestable; 'till at length the Duke brought that rich Diamond-Ring to play before her Sight; it was too remarkable for her not to know it again, which made her Blood flush to her Face, and gave another Lustre to her Eyes, which sparkl'd now with Curiosity, Suspense, Desire, Recollection and Imagination, yet could fix upon nothing certain. The most probable Opinion was, that the Friar's Necessities had caused him to sell that Jewel, whence, perhaps, by absolutely chance, it was fallen into the Duke's Hands. She rested in this Conceit, 'till the King gave over play, and would take the Ambassador to Supper with him. When the Dutchess hastened to unbosom her self to Lovisa, who after various Reasonings, concluded, that Seignior Galen, who was very well known to him upon the Occasion of his two Spanish Journeys, should go next Morning to the Duke's Rising, and, if possible, take Occasion to inform himself how he came to be possess'd of that Diamond. The Duke received him with all the Distinction he could desire, took occasion to lament his hard Fortune, that he was so embarass'd by the ill Posture of Affairs when he was sent to him by the Dutchess, he could not return with him to do her the Service she desired. They talked some time of the Stranger-Knight, that had so gallantly rescued her, and yet had the Modesty to keep himself conceal'd; Seignior Galen having assured the Duke, they could not so much as guess at the Person who had done so meritorious an Action. Don Carlos took occasion to say a great many civil Things upon the Zeal and Affection Galen had shewn his Mistress, in putting on Armour for her Sake; the Report of that Affair having spread every where, the Duke could not pretend to be ignorant of it. At length, Galen, as if by Chance, brought in the fine Diamond the Duke wore, which he said must be of great Value, and begg'd to know where his Excellency had purchased it, since he did not remember to have seen it upon his Finger in Spain. The Ambassador answered him laughing, 'My Lord-Chamberlain, you must excuse me in that Particular, this is too great a Secret for you to know; but if Madam the Dutchess desires it I will inform her Highness, and no Body else, as I most humbly beg her to be assured." Away flew trusty Galen with this short Answer to the Lady, who was dying with impatience 'till his return; and hearing what he had to say, grew more uneasy than before. At length, not able to master her painful Curiosity, it was fated she should still have some small Allay of the Sex in her, she sent him back to the Duke, to request the Favour of seeing him alone at Six that Evening, and that Seignior Galen should attend in the Gallery of her Apartment to introduce him to her Presence.

We need not ask if the happy Duke was punctual to the Assignation; he went as a Person to an assured Victory, with all the Joy imaginable. The Dutchess received him in her Cabinet with a constrained Civility, that notwithstanding the Force she put upon her self, carried more Coldness than consisted with that Respect which was due to the Duke's Quality. Having kiss'd her Hand, at her Request he took his Seat near her, when she began, 'My Lord Duke de Mendoza, it is neither my Purpose, nor Desire, to speak to you of any Affairs that ever passed between us, I have made it my Business to forget them, and so I hope have you; I will endeavour to live with your Excellency, whilst my Brother's Court is honoured with your Presence, as the Ambassador of so great a King as that of Castile, without mingling any part of my own Interest in that Behaviour: This Conduct I prescribe my self, and am very sorry that I am forced to have an Obligation to you, which I shall own, if you will be pleased to tell me where you had that Diamond, which I have cause to believe, was once in my Possession. This Ring, Madam, answered Don Carlos, fixing his Eyes upon her in a sweet manner, is a Riddle; it it was given me by the greatest, the fairest, and most accomplished Princess of the Universe, and I have sworn never to part with it. You would turn to Gallantry what I request of you as a serious Favour, said the Dutchess. I am certain I never gave you that Ring; though by the Air in which you deliver your self, you would seem to design me as the Person you compliment with those Perfections. And yet, interrupted the amorous Duke, falling at her Feet, and taking her Person in his Arms, it was none but your self could give it me; do you remember the poor Father that confessed you at Turin? Or can you have any regard to the Knight in black Armour, that rescued your Life from Briançon's Malice? They are but the same Person, and both meet in Mendoza, your ever faithful and passionate Lover!" This Discovery found an easy access to the Dutchess's Heart, her Joy and Surprize were above the Defence of Nature; she was too weak to bear the impetuous Sally, but letting her self fall into the Duke's Arms, she join'd her Mouth to his with such Ardour, as if she would attract his Soul to meet with hers that now seemed to hover on her Lips. Some Moments after, recovering from that pleasing Trance, 'O poor Heart! tormented for so long a Time, cry'd she out, toss'd with Tempests, beaten with the Assaults of Fortune, receive thy Reward, take now the only Cure of all thy Miseries; say for once, that thou art bless'd beyond Imagination, since thou hast him in thy Arms, who by the Price of his Blood has raised thee from Death to Life, and restored to thee thy Honour, the two most inestimable Benefits that mortal Creatures can receive! Is there nothing in my Power by which I may pay some part of what I owe you? There is! there is, my dear Princess, cry'd the Duke, smothering her with his Embraces, there are ten Thousand Joys in that lovely Person, which if you will bestow upon me, will more than recompence what I have done for you. My Goddess, you are now at your own disposal; neither do I believe the King your Brother will have any Thing to object against me; if you are for me, what can prevent my Happiness? Nothing shall, answer'd the passionate Dutchess, I am only, and ever yours, fated to adore you; such, and so great is the Passion which I have carried for you in my Virgin-Heart, which never knew a Warmth for any other Person."

By this time the Reader may very well see to the End of the Scene. It is therefore time to drop the Curtain, by telling him, in a few Words, the King's Joy, when he found his Sister's Champion in the Duke de Mendoza; his assent to their Marriage, the Magnificence of their Nuptials, and Joy of all Parties. But no Words can describe the Happiness of the two Lovers, when the close-drawn Curtains left them to whisper to each others Souls their mutual Desires: Venus bless'd the Bed, and from this beauteous Pair, descended a Race of Heroes, worthy of their Illustrious Extraction.

The Physician's Stratagem. Novel II.

In the Reign of Lewis the XIII. of France, the Count de St. Severin, being a known Enemy of the Cardinal Richlieu, was, upon the Queen Mother's Disgrace, dismiss'd the Court, which caused him to retire to his Chateau de Brion, within a League of Nismes in Languedoc: As he was a Man of Courage and Quality, with the Advantage of fourscore thousand Livers a Year Rent, the Cardinal was very glad of the Removal of a Person of such Consequence: He took along with him his Family, designing to return no more to Paris 'till the Death of the Cardinal. Madam the Countess was a Lady of good Undarstanding, and an agreeable Companion; she had acquired in her Youth, the Reputation of a great Beauty, which descended to Mademoisel Mariana her Daughter, who, to her Charms, had the addition of being sole Heir to the House of St. Severin; for that it was not expected Monsieur the Count, who was already very old and infirm, would have any more Children. This young Lady had been educated, as we may say, in the Queen's Cabinet; there was no Advantage which she might not pretend too, she danced and sung finely, she had a regular Face, wherein her Features appear'd without any Defect, she carried a Sort of Languishment in her Air, that bespoke the Seriousness of her Temper; little affected with the Hurry and Pleasures of a Court-Life, to which she would often have preferr'd Retirement and Reading, if she had had had the Election.

As Monsieur the Count desired nothing more than her Establishment, he was highly satisfied to see that the Person whom he presented to her as his Choice, seem'd not disagreeable to her's; this was Lewis Marquis de Fonteray, who, besides an obstinate Dislike of the Cardinal which indear'd him to the Count, was the bosom Friend of the Abbot de la Riviere, Monsieur the Duke of Orlean's Favourite, and governed him absolutely as the Abbot did Monsieur. Lewis had more Love for Mariana than it was then the Fashion to profess; Persons began to think and speak less respectively of that Passion, than in the Days of their Forefathers, and were further adicted to the Love of Variety, so that there were few found Constant in that Court; tho' the King, who was not at all amorous, set them very regular Examples. Debauchery began to obtain very much among the young Men of Quality, and there were almost none who had not Ingagements contrary to what they owed their Duty; besides the Pleasures of Drinking, which in that warlike Reign was the Diversion of the Camp, and continued in the Court at the Season when they were returned from the Field. The Marquis sacrificed these Amusements to Mariana's Eyes, and had made so considerable a Progress in her Heart, that Monsieur the Count intended not to delay his Happiness; when the Change happen'd at Court, so that the Queen-Mother was forced out of France. Gaston of Orleans, withdrew into Lorrain and carried along with him the Abbot, whom he could not live without. The Marquis de Fonteray parted with his Mistress in all the Agony that can be imagin'd from a passionate Lover, who is just upon the Point of enjoying a prodigious Beauty with great Possessions: Their Adieu was unspeakably tender, and he promised in a little Time to come and find her at Brion, whether the Count was going to retire.

Imagine this Family settled in their Retreat, and tasting more Satisfaction than could be found in the Hurry and Cabals of the Court. Mademoisel Mariana had a young Demoisel to attend her, the Daughter of a Burgeoise of Paris, whom she was so fond of, as to make her Bedfellow and Companion: The Girl was handsom and amorous, which last Quality she concealed in a Family like that of Madam the Countess, who was infinitely regular. Great Ladies can never enough study the Nature of such Persons, whom they place about their Daughters. It is certain those Domesticks have it too often in their Power, to influence those on whom they attend; being with them at all Hours, when they are not on their Guard, they find an easy Passage to their Souls, and insinuate themselves by flattery; they soon discover the Forte and Foible of their Mistress's, and never fail to make their Court to the side where it can be most acceptable. But as Mariana was entirely vertuous, Katherine de Lune, whom they called Caton, was to wear the same appearance, and to dissemble her vitious Inclinations, or she must not have remained a moment in that Family. Mademoisel was serious, but she was also haughty and full of the greatest Ideas of Honour: That being a Reign wherein the Ladies concerned themselves in Politicks, she had an Ambition to rival Madam de Chevreuse in the Queen's Favour, which the sooner inclined her to accept of a Husband; but, at present, her Retreat dash'd those aspiring Thoughts; yet, however, she applied her Mind to render her self worthy, in hopes of profiting hereafter by her present Embellishments. To which End she studied Philosophy, Geography, History, and whatever could improve her Mind; employing whole Days in reading, and learning what the best Masters could teach her. In a short time her Taste became a Standard for all the young Writers, and as Montpelier was in their Neighbourhood, at that Season of the Year when it was most frequented, all the Beaux-Esprit made their Court regularly to Mademoisel Mariana; never any Woman of her Age had such a Vogue for Wit and Understanding. Thus honoured and esteemed, I may say admired, this young Lady wore away the Hours, in which she was absent from the Marquis de Fonteray, who never ceased to write her the tenderest Letters that could proceed from a Heart truly touch'd. Her Answers were so well turned, and Spirituelle, that they might justly be thought to proceed from an exalted and refined Genius, and deserved to be made a Rule for the Epistolary way of Writing.

The Count de St. Severin had in his Youth, even to old Age, preserved an intimate Friendship with Monsieur Fauxgarde, Counsellor of Parliament at Nismes; he was lately dead, and had left several Children with no large Estate. The Second, Henry du Fauxgarde, was brought up to the Study of Physick, he had already taken his Degrees, and commenced Doctor before his Father died: Returning from Paris to Nismes, to take Possession of that small Inheritance the Counsellor had left him, he thought it his Duty to wait upon Monsieur le Count, and endeavour to preserve some degree of that Favour which he had always shewn the Counsellor's Family; accordingly he rid over to Castle Brion, where he was extreamly well received by all the House. Fauxgarde had Wit and Pleasantry, was a very good Scholar, inclined to Libertinism; he had rather, if Fortune had so pleased, been a Rake than a Doctor, his Face and Person were remarkably handsome. He coveted a large Estate without the Toil of getting it, and foreseeing, according to Custom, he must plod on a great while in the Physician's dull Road, before he could come to be easy, much more eminent, he beat his Brains for other Methods than the ordinary, hating the Drudgery of his Profession, he was resolved to lose no Opportunity to advance himself. He was of the Faction opposite to the Cardinal, this recommended him to the very Soul of the Count. As he had an excellent Talent at railing, and kept very good Correspondence at Paris, Monsieur loved no Bodies Company so much as young Fauxgarde's, who always used to ride over to Castle Brion with what Intelligence he could get. The Doctor had such an Assurance, and pleasant Positiveness in relating his Facts with such an Air of Sincerity, as if he knew what he said to be true, that he always gain'd Belief. As such agreeable Companions are rarely met with in the Country, Monsieur and Madam St. Severin treated him with Kindness, and oftentimes put themselves upon a Foot with the Doctor, that they might more easily taste his Wit, and the Pleasure of his Conversation. Mademoisel Mariana, with all her Seriousness, could not help being diverted; and though she called him the greatest Fourb in Nature, yet she still came to hear his Stories, and was contented to laugh and call him Menteur.

Being thus intimate in that noble Family, they often courted him to lie there, which he did sometimes a Month together, never failing once a Day to ride over to Nismes, to hear what he could pick up to divert them; sometimes the Cardinal was sick, sometimes dead or dying, always out of Favour, with certain Circumstances that were undeniable. The Queen and Monsieur were come, or coming; all would be well again, and her Majesty's Party restor'd with greater Lustre than before. Thus the Doctor was every Day caressed and embraced by Monsieur le Count, whose Heart joining the Deceit, believed what he desired; by which Means he wore away the Hours of his Retreat much more pleasantly, aided by the false Hopes the Doctor constantly gave him.

But whilst Fauxgarde seemed to be infinitely at his Ease, and always in good Humour, he felt a Fire at his Heart, lighted by the fair Eyes of Mademoisel Mariana, which, nor Day, nor Night, allowed him any Repose. That familiarity with which she treated him had a Thousand Charms unrevealed to others, for she was generally thought a stately Beauty; but considering the Doctor as a Man of no Consequence, she laid aside her Reservedness, and was all easy and unbent towards him, for whom she had a great deal of good Will; however, without those lofty Sentiments of Esteem and Veneration which are exacted from us whether we will or no, by certain Persons, whose Soul and Conversation have another Turn than had the Doctors. In those Intimacies he discovered a Million of Charms, her Sweetness, her Air, her Manner, by which her Beauties were embellish'd, left him no longer a free Agent, and he must either possess her or despair. It is hard to conceive how a Person of his gay Temper could love so seriously; but whether he were truly attracted by her Charms, or that the large Inheritance to which she had an undoubted Title, had added the Flame of Ambition to the Fire of Love; certain it is, that no Desires were ever more ardent. He knew to his Misfortune, the Engagement she was under to the Marquis de Fonteray; he foresaw his Absence was not likely to be of any long continuance, since they talk'd of a Marriage with Madam Margaret of Lorrain with the Duke of Orleans, which in all Probability might be a Means of making his Peace with the King, and consequently pave the Way for his Return to Court, when to be sure the Marquis would not stay behind. Therefore the Doctor thought what was to be done, must be effected before his Return; he knew it was, and would be so esteemed, an unpardonable Presumption in him to discover the least part of his Inclinations to Mademoisel, who would not fail to correct his saucy Flame, and banish him for ever; therefore all must be compassed by Stratagem, by his own Invention and Address. Since his first Intimacy at Castle Brion, he took Care to oblige the chief Domesticks by his great Courtesy and Civility, and oftentimes by his Generosity, but more especial Caton, who being naturally Lovesome, put her self in his way at every opportunity, so that he could not help saying soft Things to her, as she was young and pretty. But as he had formed greater Designs, in which he knew she could undoubtedly be of service to him, he took care to improve the good Spirit in her, and therefore never squandered away the happy Minutes she so officiously gave him, without kissing, and saying such fine Things to her, as she had never heard from any one before. Those large Gardens and covered Walks were commodious Scenes for Love and Intriegue. Whilst Mariana would be amusing her self with old Philosophers and Historians, Caton was treading the Grassy Paths, and pressing the Flow'ry Banks with the young Physician; who making her easily believe, he had, by his Art, an Antidote against Pregnancy, by his undeniable Practice, put her into the very Condition she would have avoided, and which gave her entirely into the Power of the Person who had occasioned her Misfortune.

As in all great Families Servants are Spies upon one another, as well as upon their Masters; Caton's Affair with the Doctor was soon discovered, though none imagined it was carried to such a Length; they rallied and cajoled her upon the Passion she had raised in the Doctor, they were even come to congratulate her good Fortune, that was going to make her a Doctor's Lady, and consequently a Companion for Madam la Countess, and Mademoisel Mariana, who heard of it at last, and began to teach her, who was already arrived to the Perfection of Knowledge, how to distinguish between a real and a pretended Passion, since one led into the Path of Virtue, the other into the broad way of Vice and Destruction. The Countess also got the Wind of this Report, and for the Sake of the honest Merchand her Father, said every thing to her that was necessary to preserve her Virtue, if she had not already made a Sacrifice of it. They could not believe that the Doctor, whose Ambition was easily to be discovered, would think of marrying a Girl, whose Fortune was clogged with so many Brothers and Sisters, and upon whose Education the greatest part of that Dowry she could expect was already expended, since their utmost hopes were only to qualify her to attend such a Lady as Mariana.

Caton, with the natural Sawciness of Servants, if they they have the least Prospect of bettering their Condition, gave herself such Airs of Sufficiency, which might be misinterpreted Vertue, that they began to recant their Admonitions, and congratulate her good Fortune, that had ingaged a Person of the Doctor's Eminence, to advance her Circumstances by Marriage.

After this Step, she grew good for nothing, her Amour perpetually running in her Head, waxing Proud in proportion to the Hopes she had conceived, being naturally lazy, and vain of the Conquest her Beauty had made of a Person of Sufficiency to keep her in Idleness, though he should refuse to marry her: Moved by these Principles, she despised all Admonitions. Mademoisel, who was sweet-natured, but withal neat and regular, having often occasion to complain of her Neglect, received nothing in return but Taunts and Tosses of her Head, with unmannerly Airs and snappish Answers; by which Mariana found Caton was far gone in Impudence. Which Reproach Caton very impatiently bore, and wished for nothing more than an opportunity to revenge herself by any sort of Ways, Means or Malice, upon a Person who regarded only the Girl's Welfare, in the Admonitions she had daily occasion to make her.

Things proceeding according to the Doctor's Mind; and being daily sollicited by Caton, to administer wherewith to procure an Abortion, or take her from a Place whence she must shortly expect to be dismiss'd with Infamy should her growing Bigness chance to be discovered, which would expose her to the Taunts of that proud Minx her Mistress, who valued herself upon being vertuous, because she was so ugly no Body would make her otherways. The Doctor seeing her in this excellent Cue, flattered her to the height of her own Wish, and told her, if she would be advised by him, they would be both revenged upon that proud Piece of Beauty to the Confusion of all her pretended Vertue, and great hopes of being a Marchioness; they might soon put her into a Condition below Contempt, and worse than Caton's, who had a Father for her Child, that would make it Heir to his Estate: But as to Mariana, she might in vain look for any one to protect her unlucky Offspring, for she should never know the Hand that struck her. Caton prick'd up her Ears at this Prospect, and after a good decent time of Enquiry, was told by Fauxgarde, he had her ill Treatment so much at Heart, that cost what it would he must be revenged of her Lady; which he could no way better effect, than by getting her with Child also, without her knowing any Thing of the Matter; which might be done, by giving her something that he would prepare to cast her into a deep sleep, and Caton being her Bed-fellow, the Doctor would take her Place, and try to put her in a Condition to mortify her Pride, and for ever prevent her from reproaching others.

Caton had not Delicacy enough to separate the Sweet from the Bitter. She desired only to be revenged in Kind, and did not scruple bestowing her Lover, for one Night upon another, if she might but have her desired End. In short, she gave in to all the Doctor required, and was impatient 'till the Operation began. They took their Measures so well, that by means of a Soporiferous Powder, which Caton administred to Mariana in Chocolate, she fell into a deep Sleep, of which Caton advertis'd the Doctor, who was too near at hand; he threw himself into that perfidious Creature's Place, so to satiate his own wicked Passion, and ruin an innocent and vertuous Lady.

His guilty Design being to make Mariana pregnant, he wasted the Night in his Endeavours to render her so; though surely with an imperfect Taste of Happiness to himself, because the Charmer was insensible of his Embrace; but as he had farther Views, he rose from her Bed in a full Belief, that Nature would not be deficient, and he should see the good Effects of his villainous Stratagem.

Mademoisel Mariana slept far into the next Day, and was so imperfect in her Senses when she did awake, as alarm'd Monsieur and Madam St. Severin. The Favourite Doctor was consulted, who seemed to think it a Propensity to an Apoplexy; but having taken what he prescribed her, and been let Blood, which is Sovereign against Abortion, the Malignity of the Drug being evaporated, she returned to herself, and Fauxgarde found he was caressed by the whole Family for his Art and Success, at the same time when he should rather have been hang'd for his Villany.

Caton bore herself insufferably insolent upon the Knowledge of this Secret; she would laugh and tighæ in her own Mind, to think of the Consequence of this Affair, which the Doctor wisely resolved she should never behold. Pretending to yield to her Desires of removing her to Paris, where he was going to Practice, and her Father's Death giving her a Pretence of returning thither, to see what he had been able to do for her, she took her Leave of a Family who were very glad to be quit of her, fearing what Disorder she might fall into, since she was grown to such a height of Laziness and Pride, as that she would not do any Business, nor yet endure to be reprimanded for her Neglect and Idleness.

The Doctor had taken proper Measures with Caton, by which she might without Suspicion be carried to Marseilles, where he would meet her, from whence they were to go incognito to Paris, proposing, from the Pleasure of the Season, to Coast it along the Shore by Sea, to the nearest Port of the Isle of France . Caton understood no Geography but what had been taught her, to her Cost, in the Country of Love, whence Fauxgarde might unsuspectedly betray her to his wish. They both Embark'd in a Ship outward-bound to the West-Indies, though unknown to her. The Doctor pretending he had forgot something of Consequence on Shoar, which he would fetch and immediately return, went on board a Boat that followed him for that Purpose. The Ship's Crew knowing his Intent, having taken a good piece of Money of him to carry Caton to the Plantations and sell her for a Slave, crowded all their Sail, the Wind favouring their Design, whilst the Doctor wish'd her the bonne Voyage, made what haste he could to Shoar, and from thence took Post for Paris.

Five Months passed on before the Doctor returned to see the Success of his Endeavours at Castle-Brion; he had still maintained an acceptable Correspondence with Monsieur the Count. The King having been displeased at the first Report of his Brother's Marriage with Madam Margaret, marched an Army into Lorrain, under the Command of the Marquis de St. Chaumont, which that Princess observing, to save her Country, escaped in Man's Cloaths to Brussels to the Duke her Husband; whence afterwards they were reconciled to the King; and Monsieur and Madam returned with Fonferay, and the Abbot to Paris; whence they waited upon the King to kiss his Hand at St. Germains, who with much Difficulty was brought to approve their Marriage.

You need not ask if the Marquis of Fonteray made all possible haste to see his dear Mariana, whom he had so long been separated from. After some short Refreshment at Paris, he took Post for Nismes, and arrived at Castle-Brion, after a tedious Absence, with that Satisfaction which only true Lovers can know. He had formed to himself all the way, how he should see Mademoisel's Person improved, as well as her Mind, of which he had every Day a taste in her Letters. She was yet but eighteen, and besides, one of those regular Beauties, whose Charms consists in the Excellency of fine Features, as well as an Air, which oftentimes goes off whilst the Face is yet young, leaving the Spectators gazing and at a loss when they miss what they so small a time before admired, and now can find no more. After the Marquis had paid his Complement to Monsieur the Count and Madam the Countess, he asked impatiently for his dear Mademoisel; earnestly desiring that his Marriage might be no longer deferr'd, which the Iniquity of the Times had been the Occasion of. He was told, with a Sigh, by Madam St. Severin, that her Daughter had for some time been very much indisposed, and now kept her Chamber.

When the Marquis was brought to Mariana he scarce knew her to be the same, but by the faint Remains of that flourishing Beauty which had so powerfully enslaved his Soul; he was equally surprized and grieved to see her in this Condition, her Eyes dull and hollow, her Lips livid, her Face lean and pale: All her Words spoke an inward and settled Discontent of Mind. The Marquis passionately inquired the Cause of so wonderful an Alteration? The Count and his Lady, who were both Persons of Honour, and would not for the greatest Advantage impose upon a Man of his Condition, assured him that they were as much at a loss as he could be; that they had consulted all the Eminent Physicians concerning her Distemper, and which way they could hope to Cure it; They all agreed that she was with Child, and her Disease no other than the natural Infirmity of Women in such Cases, some in their Breeding being much more sick than others. "Tho' we heard this Judgment of the Doctor's, cry'd the Countess with Horror and Amazement, we knew not how to credit it, Mariana having always had a Behaviour most unexccptionable; here she is, let her relate to you the Tears and Persuasions Monsieur the Count and my self made use of, to have her confess to us, if in any unguarded Hour some debauched Villain had violated her Chastity, and brought this Stain and Infamy upon our Family, which all our Tears can never wash away; but alas! with more Anguish and Astonishment than ours, she received so surprizing a Discovery, we thought she would have sunk under the Burthen, she dropt from one Fit to another, and amidst all her Lamentations, Tears and Swoonings, falling upon her Knees, she called the sacred Powers of Heaven, to witness her Innocence and unspotted Chastity. Her passionate Imprecations have induced us to believe that the Doctors may be mistaken in their Judgment; and we hope that the Swelling, which they consider as an Argument of her Pregnancy, may be occasioned by some other preternatural Tumor, which I flatter my self is the real Cause of her Distemper. But, Monsieur Marquis, in Consideration of that Interest you have in our Daughter, we thought it indispensible that you should be acquainted with all that we know or can inform you touching this Affair."

Mean time the lovely innocent Mariana with down-cast Eyes, heard this Relation which she could not contradict; she did not attempt upon this Occasion to speak one Word to the Marquis; sometimes drying her Tears, and looking upon him but by Stealth; whilst he remained lost in Sorrow and Amazement. "Oh Heaven!—cry'd he when he could speak, the Tears bursting from his Eyes! —Oh Mariana! Lost and Ruined Fonteray!" —Then going out of the Chamber, he beg'd he might be shewn his Appartment, and dispenced from eating any Thing, for he was very weary with his Journey. He past the Night tumbling without one wink of Sleep; before it was Day he call'd his People to get ready his Horses, not able to stay any longer in a Place where he suffer'd such Variety of Tortures; he left the Castle, and an Excuse for Monsieur and Madam St. Severin, and departed unable to wait the Explication of that fatal Enigma.

It is not to be doubted but that the Count and his Lady resented this rude Behaviour of the Marquis. Mariana alone said he was not to be blamed, the whole Affair being so unacountable, it caused him to do as unaccountable Things. But all agreed in this Point, that his abrupt Departure was giving up the Cause, and that there was no further Expectation to be had from him.

Some time after Fauxgarde returned to Nismes, and so to Castle-Brion, to see the Effects of his fatal Stratagem; he was received by the Count with open Arms, and by Madam the Countess with as much Joy as the Situation of her Soul could admit. At Dinner the Doctor asked why the Lady Mariana was not there, if she was well? Or if she was yet Married? Madam St. Severin answered with a Sigh, that she was very Ill and had been so for some Months past, in which time she had not stirr'd out of her Chamber. Fauxgarde, who seem'd very much concerned at the young Lady's Indisposition, desired he might be admitted to see her, and that he should think himself infinitely happy, if the best of his Art and Skill could contribute to her Recovery. He was conducted into her Chamber, and found her extream pensive and melancholy. The Doctor, soon as he had paid his Respects and exprest his Sorrow for her present Indisposition, desired to feel her Pulse. After several other critical Observations and Questions, more for Form then any Thing else, he took Madam the Countess aside, and told her that her Daughter's Illness would not now be of any long continuance, for that the she was certainly with Child, and very far gone. "Ah, replied the Countess, This indeed I have heard and fear'd! I am ashamed any Friend should see her in this Condition, which must end in Infamy to herself, and Dishonour to all her Family! Madam, answered the Doctor, all I can direct is, that you will seek Friends rather than a Physician, that they may prevail with her to confess who is the Father, that by a speedy Marriage, she may prevent that Infamy which will else be unavoidable." The Lady desired, that He would endeavour to bring her to a Confession, and she would retire to give him Opportunity. After the Doctor had spoke to Mariana what he thought convenient, in pursuit of that Question, which he himself was only able to answer, he took his Leave and told my 'Lady, that were he not assured by infallible Symptons that Mademoisel was with Child, her solemn Protestations to the contrary, would almost make him believe what she said in her own Vindication." Upon which the Count asked him if it were possible for a Woman to Conceive in her Sleep? The Doctor answered it was possible; and that we might observe it by several Persons who walk in their Sleep, and do those several Acts of which they have no Remembrance when they wake. This one Argument persuaded them to think their Daughter was with Child, and at the same time innocent of the Guilt, and ignorant of the Person, for she oftentimes rose out of her Bed, walk'd about her Chamber, and sometimes down into the Garden, without remembring any Thing of it the next Morning.

After a long Debate with the Doctor, and serious Consultation what was to be done; Madam the Countess telling him of the Marquis of Fonteray's abrupt Departure, from whom they had heard nothing since, which confirmed their first Opinion that he held himself free from all his Ingagements: Adding the various Reports of the Country, and the Ridicule they made of her Daughter's Misfortune, which had subjected her to what ever Scandal and Malice could invent; concluded that did they know the real Author of Mademoisel's Disgrace, he might probably prove some rascally Groom or Footman, and the Dishonour of such a Match would be a worse Infamy than what she now endured. Fauxgarde, to give the Coup de Grace to all his Exploits, told them both, that it was true his own Birth was no way comparable to Mademoisel's; but then this Misfortune had cast her as far below the Regard of any Gentleman, as his Degree in Quality was inferior to hers; but as he had a passionate remembrance of those Favours his Father and Himself had received from Monsieur the Count, and if, as Circumstances stood, they thought him not unworthy their Alliance, he would Marry her himself, without seeking to know who was the Father, since he was inwardly assured her Soul was immaculate and pure, tho' her Body was stained; That the preserving of Mariana's Fame (for they might so order it that their Marriage might be thought to bear dare before her Conception) and the Honour of so illustrious a Family was more dear to him than any any other Consideration.

This was the first Gleam of Joy that had accosted Monsieur and Madam St. Severin, since Mariana's Indisposition. They both embraced the Doctor, assuring him they did not desire a more worthy Son-in-Law; and only asked a short time to dispose their Daughter to the Marriage. Mademoisel, who found a true Comfort in Innocence, and had from the Study of Philosophy and Religion, learnt Patience, and to submit herself to the Dispensation of Providence, accepted this only Means that could be found to restore her to the World, and redeem her Virtue: She gave her Hand to the Doctor, sufficiently mortify'd at the Necessity of so unequal an Alliance. The time of their Marriage was concealed, and Monsieur and Madam St. Severin acted the Part of Parents incensed against an only Daughter, for stealing a Wedding so unworthy of her Birth and Fortune: But by the Interposition of Friends they were brought to forgive what could not be annulled; and tho' Mademoisel was but the Bride of a Day, the Report of her being married above five Months before, was generally received by the Country.

Madam the Countess, being an haughty Woman, could ill bear the Grief of seeing her only Daughter so despicably married; she sunk under the Misfortune, and soon after died of Regret. The Count lived to hear of the Death of Cardinal Richlieu, and then found Interest enough, his Son-in-Law still continuing to please him, to have the Honour and Title of St. Severin settled in Reversion to the Doctor and his Children by the Lady Mariana: And having disposed of his Estate to the same Use, he not long after departed this World, and left the Physician possessed of all he desired, and of what he had so dearly purchased, at the Expence of his Principles and Honour.

Some Years pass'd on, and our new Monsieur the Count, revelled in Beauty, Wealth, and Titles: He sacrificed liberally to his Genius, unbent from Care and Fear. Castle-Brion was now the Rendezvous of all the Libertine Spirits of Languedoc. He kept open House, and a splendid Table, with the best and greatest variety of Wines, he was himself an Epicure, and loved those of the Bonne Goust. One Day when some of his choicest Favourites were with him, his Soul exhilirated with the Delicates he had eat, and the noble Wines he had drank; he observed Madam the Countess shined more than usual; she was indeed dress'd to all possible Advantage, having ordered her Equipage to the Door after Dinner, on a Visit she was going to make to the Duke d'Epernon's Lady, Governour of Gascoign and Languedoc, who held his Court at Nismes. Her Hair was embelish'd upon that occasion with a great quantity of Diamonds, as was also her Habit, so that most of her Jewels were opportunely bestowed that Day to adorn her Person. Monsieur the Count, as I have called him before, said a great many civil Things to her upon her Charms. His idle Companions Ecchoed the Applause, prompted by different Motives, Flattery and Acquiescence to their Benefactor, besides their real Admiration of so great and regular a Beauty. The Count dissolved in ease, and who had never any great Talent of Secrecy, together with the Vanity he felt to have his Stratagem applauded, began the Recital how he had obtained a vast Fortune and so great a Beauty. His Happiness could not be perfect, unless his Artifice and Management were known: Contemptible Vanity! abominable Itch of Talking, which rather than not tell, will tell to the Ruin of themselves and their Family. The Table repeated their Approbation of his Project, more out of Compliment than real Applause; but the fair Mariana, recovered from her first Surprize, which almost sunk her to the Earth, bit her Lips, and by her change of Colour discovered the inward Anxiety of her Thoughts. Discreet as she was, she could not forbear some passionate Expressions, that she should lie under the great Scandal of a Whore, lose the Person whom she loved and honoured, and to whom she was contracted, to be betrayed into a Marriage with so mean and perfidious a Wretch. The Count grew high in his Resentments at her scandalous Reflections against so great a Person as was his Lordship: The Company interposed: When Word was brought that the Coach was at the Gate, Madam the Countess pretending to recompose her self, pray'd her Lord not to be uneasy if she did not return early, because she might possibly be engaged at Play with Madam the Dutchess; and accordingly ordered some Gold to be brought her for that Diversion. Her Husband, gloomy and enraged at her late Reflections, told her he did not care if she staid for ever, and bid the Steward bring her all the Cash in the House. She retired to her own Apartment, where she put up what other Jewels and Money she had, and at the Coach-Door received a very handsome Supply from the Superintendant. The Count sate himself down again to renew his Debauchery, talking over the worthy Management of that whole Affair; at length repeated to his Company what he had told in Madam the Countess's Hearing, touching Caton's Slavery in the Indies ; adding, that after his Marriage, no longer fearing the ill Effects of that Girl's tattling, he had in Conscience sent to redeem her and her Child from the Plantations, to which she was sold; and that as he took care of the Boy, for such it proved, so he had given a Fortune to his Mother, by which she was married to a Banker, called D'ampour, who lived in Rue St. Honore.

Poor afflicted Mariana, warm'd with the Sense of Glory, and the Remains of Love for Fonteray, swell'd with Indignation at the Thoughts that such a Rascal, grown rich with her Inheritance, and rising upon her Dishonour, should have it to say, that she was his Cully, the Consort of so contemptible a Wretch, drove away to Nismes, where the Governour being told of her Arrival, hastened himself to meet her. She lost not a Moment's time, but throwing herself at his Feet, gave him a full relation of her Misfortune; at the same time petitioning his Highness, that he would order a Post-Carriage to carry her to the Queen, who was declared Regent upon the Death of Lewis the XIII. She conjured him not to lose any time, lest the Authority of an unworthy Husband should fetch her back, and inclose her beyond the possibility of Redress. The Governour, who had the Heart of a gallant Man, was touched with Humanity at the Relation of her Wrongs, and with Complaisance at the Sight of her Person, he took such effectual Care, by ordering Relays of Horses through all the Roads for his Majesty's Service, that the fair Fugitive arrived at Court, and threw her self at the Queen's Feet, almost before her debauched Husband awaken'd, dos'd with the Fumes of Wine, in which he indulged himself 'till Morning, and arose not 'till far in the Day, beginning then to recollect and wonder why his Wife did not come home, her Coach and Equipage being still kept in suspence at Nismes.

The Queen easily remember'd the growing Beauties of Mariana, she was touched with her Sorrows, and took her into her Protection. Mariana commenced a Process against the Count, to be tryed by the Parliament of Paris. Fauxgarde was obliged to attend this Affair, and was not a little surprized to hear that his Accomplice Caton de Lune was taken into Custody, to be produced in Evidence against him.

This new and until now unheard of Process, made a great Noise at Court: The Marquis de Fonteray was soon informed of all the Particulars; he still adored Mariana, and now curs'd his Weakness that had made him too easily credit those Appearances that were against her. He knew full well the slow Procedure of the Parliament, and thought the time too long that suffered such a Villain to breath the Vital Air, after committing the greatest Crime. The Law knew no Name for his Transgression, and as by the blindness of the late Count St. Severin, he was enrolled amongst the Nobility, the Marquis judg'd him not unworthy of his Sword. He sent a Gentleman, who recounted to him the Injury he had done to Fonteray, in having not only deprived him in so base and ignominia Way, from continuing his Pretensions to Mariana, but had also by the same Methods espoused her himself; they met and fought, the Victory easily fell on the Marquis's Side, as he had the better Title, and had long practised the Use of the Sword. The Count left his Life at his Feet, as some Reparation for the Injuries Mariana and Fonteray had suffered by his Means. The Marquis presented himself before her, discoloured with the Blood of her cruel Husband, and from the Merit of revenging her Cause, would have pleaded a Title to her Love. See Madam, cry'd the Marquis, a Criminal, who durst not appear in your Sight without a powerful expiation. Mariana, ever dear, and sometimes the Torment of my Heart, may now with Honour turn her lovely Eyes, upon the Person who has avenged her Wrongs and slain the Deceiver. Full low lies that base-born Wretch, who owned a baser Heart. Breathless, and weltering in his Gore I left the Villain to throw my self at your Feet, to claim the Recompence I deserve, and which will not be difficult for you to pay, if your precious Heart simpathizes with mine; if there be any Remembrance of that Passion which formerly united us, any remains of a Flame we ten thousand times swore should be eternal. Ah! My Lord, interrupted the Countess, was it you or me that extinguished it? Who gave me up to the Horrors of my Destiny? Who abandon'd me to Despair, to the Tortures of forsaken Love, to the Hell of doating where I was despised, Loath'd, Forgotten, tho' I knew my self to be innocent? But as all Appearances were against me, I forgave your Resentments, with this Addition to my Sorrows, that I could neither hate nor abandon you. After Fortune had declared herself to be my Enemy, and I was reduced to that fatal Extremity of giving my Hand to preserve my Honour, give it to an Object every way unequal, I found it was grown part of my Duty, noble Fonteray, to indeavour to forget you. Alas! they were only Endeavours, for I could never effect it; my Reason overuled my Vertue, and shew'd me the hateful Difference between my Lover and my Husband: Your Merit crowded my Remembrance. Oh ever dear, tho' cruel Fonteray! what Pangs? what Torments have I endured for thee? They are past, my charming Mariana, reply'd the Count, let us forget our former Misery, or remember them only to indear the present Joy; you are mine and only mine by a long Ingagement, and tho' Destiny thurst between us for a while, nothing shall part us now. And yet the cruel Laws of Honour interrupted Mariana, forbids us to meet on any Terms; we must be for ever separated; I own the mistaken Obligation I have to you for revenging our mutual Injuries, my Heart acknowledges your Merit; the Flame, which your cruel Behaviour repelled, stands ready to burst forth again with its former Violence! Durst I indulge my Inclinations, lovely Fonteray, and give a lose to the Torrent of that Passion which was never yet suppress'd, should be overwhelm'd with Desire, I should be lost in Love, and deaf to the Sense of Deceny and Honour! I should wed the Murtherer of him, who, alas! was the Father of my Children. Fatal Resentment, how unhappy are we made by an ill-tim'd Revenge? Ah Fonteray! had you but waited the slow Hand of Justice, attended with but a little Patience, the wholesom Laws of France had punish'd Fauxgarde with Death for his Infamous and successful Attempt against my Chastity, the Villain had perish'd with Ignominy, and I had found nothing to withhold me from indulging my Inclinations, and rewarding our mutual Constancy.

What a wretched Turn is this, Madam, cry'd the Marquis, am I made miserable only by my self? Was ever any Distress equal to mine? blinded by the Desire of Vengeance I have destroy'd my Happiness; aided by a capricious Vertue, you Revenge too well my former Misbehaviour, you condemn me to a hopeless State; you reduce me to Despair, and I have nothing else to do, but to mingle my own Blood with that of a Villain, whom I have unhappily sacrificed meerly to destroy my self. At these Words the Marquis, transported with Sorrow, fell upon that fatal Sword which since the Combate he held in his Hand unsheath'd. The Action was so sudden, that Mariana could no otherways prevent it than by a great Shriek, throwing herself upon Fonteray, she luckily broke the intended Stroke, which instead of piercing his Heart glanced side-ways against his Ribs. The Marquis fell to the Ground, and Mariana in a Swoon upon his Body. Her Attendants hearing the Outcry she made came to her Assistance; they carried her to her Bed, and sent for Surgeons to search the Marquis's Wound: Nothing but Mariana's absolute Commands would have induced him to suffer them to approach him. Fonteray recovered, after some time, but with the Loss of his Mistress, whom no Persuasions could prevail upon; she refused her Hand tho' she could not expell him from her Heart. As he was the Murtherer of the Man who was a Parent to her Children, her Honour would not permit her to make him her Husband; but she promised him never to marry another. Finding she could get no Respite from his Solicitations, and that he had even ingag'd the Queen Regent to speak in his Favour, she disposed of all her Affairs, and provided with the best Advantage for the Education of her Children; then put her self into the Nunnery of the Augustin's. After her Probation she took the Veil, dedicating the rest of her time to Heaven. Fonteray was so sensibly afflicted by the Thought that he could not reclaim her, and at his being every way the cause of his own Misfortune, that in Imitation of Mariana's Conduct, he renounced the World, and entered himself among the Carthusian's, the most rigid Order of the Religious; where, after a Life full of Devotion, they went in search of Happiness above, which by a severe Decree, was denied them here below.

The Wife's Resentment. Novel III.

When the Duke of Calabria, Son to Frederick King of Arragon, was Vice-oy of the Kingdom of Valentia, he kept his Court in the City of Valentia; which was then the chief and only Rampart of that Part of Spain, esteemed as the Seat of Justice, Faith and Humanity. Among its other Ornaments, the Beauty of their Women was deservedly thought the greatest; to which was joyned the Reputation of Understanding, and such a keenness of Wit, that it grew into a Proverb, When a Fellow was dull and thought a Blockhead, that he must go to Valentia. In the time of this Vice-Roy, lived Seignor Roderigo, Knight of Valentia, descended of the ancient, illustrious and rich Family of the Ventimiglia. This noble Lord was devoted to his Pleasures, and besides a handsom Person, had an Address and Behaviour that was pleasing to every Body. He did not love his Studies; and there being no War at that time to employ an active Mind, for want of better Business, according to the Custom of Spain, he walked up and down the City, wasting his Youth in Trifles, Musick, Masquerades, courting of Ladies, a Form of Devotion which was very common, and sit for such Pilgrims, designing only to conquer, not to be conquered; for as yet all Women were equally indifferent to him, he had no more Esteem or Tenderness for one than another; his Business was meer Gallantry, he knew not what it was to love; provided he could but triumph, he valued not the Conquest. The whole City rang of his Inconstancy, and yet he was so handsome, so rich, and of such eminent Quality, that he still found a favourable Reception amongst the Ladies; each one imagining that her Charms were sufficient to make a Convert of him. His Youth, good Meen, gay Temper and Generosity, introduced him every where. Some aspired to gain him for a Husband, the already married for a Gallant, and they succeeded the best. Thus he never thought of the Injury he did others, but led a Life of Pleasure, unthinking and without Principles. His Conversation did not lie in the Road of such Persons who either could or cared to teach him. One must love People a good deal whom one takes Pains to convince or instruct. Thus Roderigo daily made the Tour of the City of Valentia, to the Ruin of many an easy Damsel; but that was none of his Concern, for amongst all the Vertues, he was yet wholly unacquainted with that of Remorse.

Seignior Roderigo was ranging the City one Holy-day, That being the time the Ladies shew themselves at their Doors or Windows, when he beheld a Face that was entirely new to him; neither had he, 'till then, seen any thing so handsom in Valentia. This young Maid suddenly cast her Eyes upon the Count; his Garb was very rich and distinguishing. She met his Looks in such a manner, that he thought a Pistol had been discharged at his Heart; he felt as hot and fatal a Fire, and which he had never been sensible of before. This fair Creature had the greatest Lustre, the finest Water, as we may call it, in her Eyes, that was ever seen; her Air was modest; her height, inclining rather to tall; her taper Waist and exact Simmetry well deserved Consideration: She was in a Habit rather neat than fine, but there was a Je ne sçay quoy that might very well arrest the Curiosity of those that passed along: Tho', her Eyes excepted, there was none of her other Features so glorious, unless her Complexion, which was varnished by Nature with a Gloss shining like polish'd Marble, and whiter than Imagination, an uncommon Charm in Spain, and would, even in England, be looked upon as a very extraordinary Beauty.

Roderigo, disarmed by the Flashes of her Eyes, staid some time to gaze on her that had wounded him to so dangerous a degree. The Maid, perceiving how intent the Count was in beholding her, with a modest Blush, retired into the House. He pass'd and repass'd before the Door several times in hopes of seeing her again, perceiving that she purposely avoided him; and by that means lost the Diversion of gazing on the Holy-day Folks, he absconded behind a Corner of the Street. After some time That ravishing Beauty, having no longer seen the Person that had by his Admiration caused her to withdraw, returned to the Door to entertain her self innocently with looking on the Passengers, which on Sundays and Holy-days is almost the only Liberty allowed to the Spanish Women, and those too of an inferior degree. Roderigo having watch'd her every Motion, returned to the Attack. Finding her again at the Door, by which he again encountred the full Lustre of her lovely Eyes, he made a Stop before her, and bow'd thrice with that Submission and Languishment, as was able, in a less intelligent Country than Spain, where Persons from their Infancy speak with their Eyes and Fingers, to convince her, that That Cavalier was surpriz'd by her Beauty. The young Creature, named Violenta, who had more Wit than all the Women of Valentia besides, considering her Years, beheld with Delight the extraordinary Mien and Application of that Stranger; from a fatal Presentiment she felt something within that made her wish to engage him. She answer'd his Salute in so graceful and peculiar a manner, that he was more and more confirm'd her Slave. What was now become of that Indifferency, with which he had triumphed over the Foible of the greatest Ladies in Valentia? He, whose Business had hitherto been to give Love, rather than take it, was in a moment reduc'd to be one of the Order of Lovers; to wish, sigh, and desire, in return of those Sighs and Desires he had caus'd in others.

Violenta having done enough to engage Roderigo, and shew her native Civility, once more withdrew. The Night coming on, there was no Prospect of her returning again that Evening, which caus'd the Count also to depart; but not without taking full Notice of the House, the Street, and the Ways that led to it. When he came home, he sent for one of his Agents in Amour, who knew all the Persons in Valentia, to enquire of him, by Description, of the Name and Quality of such a young Maiden, living in such a Street, situated at the Corner of such a Square, near such a Church, opposite to such a Palace; by which particular Account the Engine quickly found how it went with the Count; and that he must have made more than ordinary Observation, to be able to give him such a true Chart of the Coast. This Person shook his Head, and told the Don, 'He knew the Maiden very well, but fear'd she was not for his Lordship's Turn, for that no Virgin in Valentia had so fair and honest a Report; that her Wit was more commended than her Beauty, for she could both read and write, in which she took extreme Delight'. An Accomplishment which, in those Days, few Ladies aim'd at, since they believed all inferior Knowledge, as well as the Sciences, was reserv'd for the other Sex. This Procurator added, 'That her Name was Violenta, a poor Orphan, kept by her Mother, who had been some Years a Widow, her Husband no better than a Goldsmith; that he had also left two Sons, who follow'd his Trade in great Obscurity; that Violenta had the Reputation of being extream modest; and tho' she was sought by many, yet was she defam'd for none.'

Count Roderigo was so far gone in Love, and his first Love too, that if his Intelligencer had brought him the most disadvantagious Character in the World, it could not have cur'd him. This favourable Report did certainly inflame his Passion the more; he resolv'd to send her a Declaration of Love, which he did in Form, but the Maid return'd him no Answer. However, as the Letter had been receiv'd and read by her, he did not absolutely despair. The next Day he sent her another, more passionate than the former, letting her know the Name and Quality of her Lover, together with the Present of a Pair of Bracelets, valu'd at Five hundred gold Ducats. She return'd the Bracelets, and with it this Letter:

To Count Roderigo di Ventigmelia, Knight of Valentia.

My Lord,
'Your Person is handsom, you present very well, your Letter is witty and extraordinary well writ; but what are all these Accomplishments to a Virgin that values nothing but Vertue? That which Courage is to your Sex, Chastity is to ours; and indeed more, since the greatest Cowardice is retrieveable by one Act of Valour, but Modesty is rarely or never to be regain'd. Neither my Eyes nor my Vanity shall be entertain'd at so vast a Hazard: Yet, that your Lordship may not think me altogether stupid, I do confess, that your Addresses have flatter'd both; my Sight by your Person, my Pride by the Offer you make me of your Heart. But, illustrious Cavalier, 'tis neither by the one nor the other that a Maid must conduct her self, who knows the true Estimation of Vertue, and who would die in the Defence of it. This from the humblest of your Servants,

'Violenta.'

Roderigo saw the gaining the Heart of this fair Person must be a Work of Time; but as he was prodigiously in earnest, and was so far from having any other Affair of the Heart, that this was the first time his was ever touch'd; he pursu'd her with such Assiduity, that she durst no longer appear either at her Windows or Door: From thence he trac'd her to Church, where, to be near her, he committed a Thousand Indecencies. She chang'd every Day the Place and Hour of her Devotions; yet he every where found her out, and still it was all the same Story, he must perish without her Pity, and nothing but her Love could preserve him. When he had urg'd this to her in a Letter, with the Tautology and true Impertinence of a real Lover (for when they are really affected, those Creatures fly certainly beyond all common Sense) she return'd him this Answer:

To Count Roderigo di Ventigmilia, Knight of Valentia.

'My Lord,
You very eloquently tell me you shall die if I continue unkind; but I very plainly tell your Lordship, that I must perish if I prove otherwise: Since I know it will be impossible for me to live after the loss of my Honour. I conjure you to leave me in Repose, lest I be oblig'd to shut my self up in a Cloister to avoid yout Pursuit. I may justly complain of that Moment when first I saw you, for if it has made your Lordship unhappy, I am not less miserable; if it has taught you what it is to Love, it has not left me insensible; but I neither must nor will indulge either my Heart or Eyes! I have a Mind truly intrepid in the Cause of Vertue, which neither the Preservation of your precious Life, nor that of my Mother, Brothers, or of my own, can ever induce me to forsake: I would see the whole World in a Conflagration, and my self in the middle of it, before I could be brought to do any thing contrary to the Rules of Modesty. Wonder not, that a Maid so meanly born and educated, should have such exalted Ideas of Vertue: I have study'd her well, all her Ways are lovely, Peace and Honour attend her Votaries in this Life, a fragrant Report when they are dead, and a Crown of Glory hereafter! How despicable are those Advantages which you offer me in exchange? Consider of it, and farewell.'

This Pursuit lasted six Months. At length, all that the Count could obtain, was a Confession that she lov'd him within the Degrees of Honour, but not a Jot beyond it. Yet as much in love as Roderigo was, during all that Time, he never once thought of marrying her: The Disparity between them was so great he had no Notion of Wedlock. In Spain they have other Maxims than in England; here a Person enobles his Wife, There, 'tis a Reproach for a Man of Quality and to his Descendants, if he chance to mingle with the People. However, Violenta, as her Heart was too haughty to speak first of that Union, so she resov'd he should never have Favours of her without it. One Day, he had so well order'd his Intelligence, that he had Notice of a Visit she had design'd to make to a Maiden of the same Rank. Roderigo, by the Force of Presents, got leave of that Person to conceal himself in her Closet 'till Violenta came; soon after he surpriz'd her with his Sight. Being left together, he said to her, with some Coldness, 'Considering, Madam, the small Regard you have given either to my Letters or Presents, I may compare your Subtilty to that of a Serpent, who is said to close his Ears, for fear of hearing the Voice of the Charmer; which has made me forbear writing or sending to you; and I wish I had the same Power to desist from seeing you, since my mortal Enemy could not more cruelly torment me. If Love were not involuntary, I could never submit to such Usage. What Objection have you to the truest Lover, to the most passionate Adorer that ever was? Were it possible for you to look into my Heart and know what I suffer, you could not persist in your Tyranny! I die for you! but you will not pity me! My Lord, answer'd the discreet Maid, I do more than pity you, I simpathize with you in every thing; I feel all your Pains, I sigh as much, I lament as much, and perhaps I love as much, but with this difference, which makes me more wretched than you can be, that you have your Redress in your own Power, which, alas! is not in mine; you may be cur'd whenever you please, but it is quite otherwise with me! I am ready to be commanded by you, but you will not obey me; you think me too far beneath your Quality, whilst I wish you were not so much above mine. But since there is no descending for you, nor any Exaltation for me, leave me in repose from this moment, and content your self with having the first Place in my Heart, which no other shall ever possess; but for the Favours your Lordship expects, they are not mine to bestow. I have devoted my self to Vertue, all my Thoughts, Words and Actions, are dedicated to that Goddess! I cannot take the smallest Part from her without an immortal Offence; therefore do not be displeas'd if I never see you more! Here she brake from his Arms that would have retain'd her; and coming home, she made a Vow to make no Visit, and to go no where, unless to Church, 'till she were releas'd of Roderigo's Persecutions for fear of meeting him, as she had done that Day.'

The Count very well understood what Violenta aim'd at in her Discourse; but he could not bring himself, notwithstanding the Extremity of his Love, to debase his Blood so far as to mingle by Marriage with one of her low Degree. Observing the small Progress that he had made in fifteen Months Courtship, and that there was no Probability of advancing farther, he resolv'd to do all that was in his Power towards curing himself of so infamous and uneasy a Passion. He began to return to his old Practice of Gallantry; gave Balls, Treats, Musick and Entertainments to the Ladies, who had very much lamented that alteration in his Temper, tho' they knew not the Cause; they did all that was possible to keep up his good Humour and engage him amongst them, but in vain; he carry'd within his Breast that which poison'd all his Delights. A Lover who is not yet in the Rank of the Happy, reserves his Heart wholly, without any Division, for the cruel Person to whom Destiny has made a Present of it. All the Favours upon Earth, from the greatest Beauties could have no Taste for Roderigo. Satisfy'd of this cruel Circumstance, he found it impossible for him to live any longer in a State of Rebellion against his Sovereign Mistress; wherefore he return'd to her with all the Contrition imaginable, full of Penitence, for having dar'd to attempt so impossible a thing, as breaking the Chains she had impos'd upon him. That cruel Tyrant of the Heart, brought him once again to sue, with all the humble Arts of Flattery, for the least contemptible Favour; but that prudent Maid told him, There was none such in Love, the smallest being of equal Value to the greatest: As in a Ladder or Stairs, the lowest Step is as necessary as the highest, tho' the last lands you at the Place where you desire to be, and where you could never have arriv'd but by those Degrees. Which Rule well observ'd, a Virgin ought never to permit her Lover the smallest Favour, not the Freedom of her Hand or Lip, for the Lover's Touch, nay, his very Breath, sullies and takes from Modesty its native Lustre, and destroys the Merit of being wholly innocent.

Poor Roderigo was not like to make any great Progress amidst these exalted Notions; at length he bethought him of another Expedient: He resolv'd to change his Battery, and knowing they were pretty poor, he made Donna Camilla a Visit, Violenta's Mother, in which he confess'd his Passion for her Daughter, and complain'd of the ineffectual eighteen Months Courtship he had paid her. The old Gentlewoman, to whom this was no great News, tho' she affected to be ignorant, answer'd, That Violenta was highly honour'd by those Marks of his Respect, but that she was a Maid unskill'd in Courts, rude of Fashion, and not us'd to the Conversation of Persons of his Quality. In the End, he presented her with a thousand Ducats, towards her Occasions, and told her, he would assign her Daughter a handsom Dowry, if she could find any honest Man for her Husband, where she might be well dispos'd of, provided she would have some small Consideration of his Suffering, and afford him a little Ease from that intollerable Rack he endur'd! Donna Camilla, whose Sense of Honour was not inferior to Violenta's, let him know, with all Regard to his Quality, that she was offended at his Proposal; that her House was no place to purchase Vertue in, whose Price was inestimable! The Count carry'd back his Ducats, which he could not get the good Gentlewoman to touch; and fell to debate farther with himself, what was next to be done. He could not abandon the Maid, That he had in vain essay'd; he could not by Diversion drive her out of his Thoughts, That was a fruitless Project; he could not corrupt her, nor he could not live without her! He found he had but lost time in all his Enterprizes, and prolong'd his own Torment, which daily augmented: Therefore he at last resolv'd to marry her. And tho' she was neither of such Birth or Fortune as his Quality deserv'd, yet her Vertue and Accomplishments, her Beauty and Discretion deserv'd greater Advancement! This Resolution once taken, he found he was much more at his Ease, and even wondred at himself for not coming to the Point before. Now he felt Mercy and Compassion for the Maid intrude into his Breast, where only Self-love had dwelt before. He own'd, that it was pity so fair an Example of Vertue should be cast away; that 'twas hard, a Life so faultless should be attended with Infamy and Ruin! and was therefore pleas'd, looking upon himself as a Person destin'd to reward her Chastity, raise her abject Fortune, and draw forth of Obscurity, a bright Example, which the Virgins of the Age might imitate. Thus compos'd, he fell into a Slumber, where he thought Violenta appear'd to his Sight, with her Hair flowing! her Dress infinitely disorder'd! her Face sully'd with Tears! and her Breast bruis'd with the Blows she had given her self! She struck a Dagger to his Heart, and told him, That was the Reward of Treachery and Inconstancy! The Blow pain'd him so much, by Imagination, that he awakned in a horrible Fright, and giving a great Shriek, he found himself upon the Floor, where he had fall'n in his Agony: But having no Opinion at all of Dreams, he apply'd this to his restless Mind, which always carry'd Violenta's Idea. The next Morning he determin'd to make her a Visit in form, and propose to her the Accomplishment, as he hop'd, of both their Desires. He found her at her Needle, for she was always employ'd, according to an Inscription at the Villa Benediti:

Donna virtuosa, non sà star otiosa.
A vertuous Lady can never be idle.

Violenta flush'd red as Scarlet at seeing Don Roderigo enter, then turn'd pale as Ashes, with such an universal Trembling, that she was unable to support herself without sitting. 'Is this Aversion, fair Creature, or some kinder Passion, said the Count, that you are always thus disordered when I see you? Say rather, answered the Maid, it is my better Angel that warns, and makes me shudder and shrink from you as my evil Genius, as the Persecutor of Vertue, as a Tyrant, that would force from me the only Treasure I possess! As one that must either leave me in repose, or take away my Life. Something whispers my Soul that your Passion will be fatal to me; I would fly you as an Abhorrence to Nature, as a Destroyer of Chastity. As the Man you love, fair Violenta, interrupted the Count with a Smile, your Disorder and Invectives are more glorious for me than the Favours of others; you could not be thus affected for a Person indifferent to you; since in so soft a Creature, Hatred could never have so great an Ascendant, or work you to such a Degree; it must be the kinder Passion from which I expect advantagious Effects. If that were true, my Lord, answered the constant Maid, as I will not pretend to convince you of the contrary, I would starve and die a Martyr to my Desires, rather than gratify the smallest Wish, at the expence of my Vertue! Yes, Count Roderigo, I do love, and have loved you for a long time. I will not presume to say that I retained my Indifferency a Minute after I first beheld you; and from that inauspicious Moment I felt other Sentiments for your Lordship, than I had ever done for any of your Sex. When you had abandoned me, to renew the vitious Pursuits of your former Gallantries, you left a Fury in my Breast to supply your Place, or a worse Tormentor; a Fiend, that amidst all your Sufferings you have been a Stranger to. Jealousy, that cruel Tyrant! allowed me not a moment's Repose; Thus, since I have dared to demonstrate, that my Pains rather exceed yours, and that I am not at all in Debt to you for what you have endured; let us make a drawn Battel of it, Both call off our Forces at once, and no more trouble one another with our mutual Follies; let us try to cure our selves as well as we can. As to my Part, I have determined to do something, but what, I cannot yet resolve; neither ought I to tell your Lordship, lest it should look like threatning, or a Desire of being retained; but certainly, my Lord, this is the last time I will ever allow my self the Liberty to converse with you. I beseech your Lordship not to be displeased, when you are refused the Door; you shall suddenly hear that I have either taken the Veil, or have abandoned my Mother, Brothers, Country, and wander'd far from Valentia to seek my Bread in a foreign Clime, distant from your Lordships cruel Persecution." She ended this Discourse with a Shower of Tears. Roderigo, unable to stand the Torrent, fell at her Feet, and confess'd to her the Design that brought him thither, and the Resolution that he had taken to marry her.

As we have often beheld the Sun break out with sudden Glory, in the midst of Clouds and Rain, so darted from Violenta's Eyes, Rays of Light which restored to every Charm its native Grace; Then the Count discovered how truly lovely she was. She gave a loose to Joy, and spoke such transporting Things, full of Gratitude and Passion, that Roderigo confess'd the greatest Pleasure was in pleasing, and how far the transport of vertuous Love exceeded the sophisticated Pleasures of the Vicious. Violenta telling him, That though he exceeded her in all other Advantages, yet she could not be outdone in Love; that she would be Emulous to please him, and hoped by her Obedience to make him one Day confess he would not exchange her for the noblest Lady. At which he thanked her for her good Intentions, and pluck'd a Diamond-Ring from his Finger of great Value, which he gave her as a Pledge of their Marriage; and then, and not 'till then, had he ever presumed to kiss her; so sacred and inviolable had that chast Maid preserved herself, amidst the Flames of Love that had surrounded her from the Count's Passion without, and from her own Fires within. A Pattern worthy the Imitation of young Virgins, who, though perhaps vertuous in what they call the Main, yet prostitute their Modesty too far in suffering the Touches of the Hand, the Neck, and the Kisses of Men. They may assure themselves, that they lose a great degree of their Value, by such unwarrantable Freedoms; as the Lustre wears off the richest Silks by handling, and the inimitable Blue from the Plumb, which when once lost, can never be restored. A great many Things more might be said against so vile a Custom; besides the Habit and Air of Lightness that it gives a Virgin, by which she is with much greater Facility brought to suffer further Liberties, and very often loses her Character for those she has granted, under the Notion that they are but innocent Freedoms, inwardly satisfied with being, what they call, essentially vertuous.

After the Count and Violenta had interchanged their mutual Vows, Roderigo beg'd her to conceal his Happiness for some time, because of the inequality of their Condition, 'till he had taken Care to inform his Relations and Friends gradually of their Marriage; however, he permitted her to discover it to her Mother, and her Brothers, bidding her invite them to be there in the Evening, and he would bring a Priest out of the Country, who knew them not, with the first Valet of his Chamber whom he could trust, that her Maid who was brought up by Donna Camilla from her Youth might be also admitted, to make up the Number of Witnesses Six, which was sufficient to attest a Marriage, if ever it should come by any unforeseen chance to be disputed. You need not ask whether Violenta were very diligent and careful to put all Things in order; she dress'd up the Nuptial Chamber and Bed, with all the Decency the Time and her Circumstances allowed her. At length, the long look'd-for Hour approached, the Bridegroom came, and brought along with him a Priest, and his Gentleman. They were married in the Presence of Violenta's Mother and her two Brothers, Ianthe the Maid, and the Count's Valet, without either Pomp or Preparation, or any Expence requisite for the Nuptials of a Man of his Extraction and great Possessions.

Roderigo vouchsafed to sit down to Eat with the Mother and Brothers of his new Bride, whom he acknowledged and caressed by those Appellations. They had prepared a very handsome Supper, and were as happy in their own Opinions, as Persons suddenly raised from Poverty to Wealth, or from a mean Degree to an exalted State of Honour. They conducted the new-married Pair to the Bride-Chamber, and then took their Leave, recommending them to the Mercy of Love, and Favour of the Night: Which I shall no otherways describe, Than by a Person long labouring under the extremity of Thirst, who at length arrives to a Place, where he can quench that violent Distress, where he quaffs at liberty in flowing Bowls, and unstinted Draughts of Pleasure.

In the Morning, Violenta, without assuming the Airs of a Countess, begg'd her Lord, since he was now in possession of what he had so long and vehemently desired, that he would prescribe Rules to her Conduct, assuring him, that she should be as diligent to observe his Orders, and as ambitious to please him in whatever he desired, as the poorest Slave, who was most faithful, most dutiful, and affectionate to his Master. Roderigo said, 'Sweet, charming Wife, I beg you to use none of those affected Airs of Humility to me; I am burthened with them, I beseech you let me hear no more of that; you are now my Wife, and so you must conduct your self: I have no less a Value for you, than if you were descended from the noblest Family in Spain. Hereafter you will be convinced of this Truth; but 'till I have taken Order for my Affairs, I require you, by the Obedience of which you boast your self, to conceal our Marriage; and pray be not displeased, if I am often from you in the Day-time, but every Night shall be yours. As soon as I go home I will send you two thousand Ducats, not to buy your Wedding-Cloaths, it is not yet time for that. When we publish our Marriage, I will my self take care to provide you what in all Respects shall be fit for my Bride: But Women need Trifles as well as Essentials, and I would not have my dear Violenta want any Thing within my Power to grant.'

Seignior Roderigo departed thus from his Lady's House, who entertained him with such passionate Love and Sweetness, that for a Years time he never thought himself happy, but when he was in the Arms of his dear Violenta; omitting not one Night from embracing and sleeping with her; which could not be carried so privately, notwithstanding all the Caution he used, but the Neighbours discovered his Resort to Donna Camilla's House, and were prodigiously scandaliz'd at it. They imagined that Violenta was kept by the Count: Some of the well-meaning Part (as to the others they tattled abroad and at home, and were very glad that they had got a Piece of Scandal to entertain the Town with) reproached Donna Camilla and her Sons for tollerating that Abuse: They even reprimanded Violenta, lamenting her Misfortune, whose Reputation had flourished twenty Years in Honour, and been a fair Example to all the Virgins of Valentia, that she should now fall by the Gripes of Poverty, involving her Mother and Brothers in her Sin, a Prey to Shame and Dishonesty; deploring those happy Days in which she was thought not only the fairest, but chastest Maid in all that Part of Spain; but now degenerating from her accustomed Vertue, her Behaviour was esteemed light, abandoned to lascivious Love, one who was contented, by the Price of Sin, to support herself and her Mother in Ease and Plenty. Poor Violenta, whose Conscience acquitted her from these slanderous Reproaches, took less Care of their spreading, because she knew her own Innocence; yet could not help being very uneasy at the Difference she found in the Behaviour of her Friends, the open Scoffs and Fleers of some of the boldest of them; and which was more sensible, the cold Civilities and freezing Looks of the better Manner'd and most Charitable: Yet assuring herself that she had an Antidote in reserve against all their Poyson, and that when her Marriage was publish'd, it would serve as an excellent Moral against the Malice of such who were forward to condemn only upon Appearances and false Opinion: But when those Reproaches were most cutting, Though her Husband were the Lord of her Idolatry, and whom she would much rather die than displease, she could not forbear telling him her Sufferings, and begg'd him very earnestly to take her home to his House, since it was as much to the Injury of His Reputation, that such infamous Reports should be spread of a Woman, whom they would one Day find had the Honour to be his Wife.

Count Roderigo knew very well how to delay Violenta's Request, having found the great Secret of her Passion, that she dreaded nothing so much as his Displeasure; he would cunningly give her Cause to apprehend the Effects of it, since she had rather have offended the whole World together, than in the smallest Matter displease her Lord. Her humble manner of Education had not yet given Place to a Desire of Rank or Greatness; she knew no Ambition but that of retaining Roderigo by her Charms and Goodness; and whereas she had been slow to receive the Fire of Love, so much the fiercer and surer it burnt in her Heart, which had not the least Taste of Delight, but in the enjoyment of Roderigo, an eager Thirst of Vertue being the only Thing that could ever Rival her Lord in her Esteem. The Count's Observation soon rendered him Master of this Secret; and seeing there was nothing new for his Desires; that he had even surfeited with the delicious Banquet; that it was all but a Repetition of the same Delight; he first began to wonder how he could so eagerly pursue a common Pleasure; and then enquired of his Memory, which was but too faithful, whether he had ever done so or no? And when by melancholy Proof he was too well convinced of the State of his Affairs, he grew from Cool to more Cold, from Frost to Ice, from Ice to Aversion, and a Hatred of his own Folly for so unworthily matching himself with the Lees of the People. In this Fluctuation of his Thoughts, he often forbore her Bed; which, when he approached, it was rather like a Sinner than a Husband, to gratify the Call of Nature, and in which a common Strumpet might as easily have assisted, than from the first Motive of generous Love and Husbandly Tenderness and Affection.

Violenta's Duty and Sense of Gratitude, had so far enslaved her Will to his Pleasure, that she durst not even complain of his Neglect; and when, after several Days absence, she presumed to send a Letter to him to his Palace, to enquire of his Health, and the Cause why she did not see him, he acted the Tyrant to the Life; and at their next meeting gave her to understand, that if she any more presumed to enquire into his Recesses, he would never forgive, nor own her for his Wife. This was as a Dagger to pierce the Heart of the miserable Violenta. Her Complaints rather wearied, than softned him; he look'd upon her as a despicable Creature, whose Reputation being lost, not one of any Figure would appear in her Defence, or imagine her to be married to him, especially if they should see him married to another. There are many Vices which are not believed, because of their Magnitude, such Roderigo thought would be his double Marriage, forgetting that he had ever heard of Religion; forgetting the Call of his own Conscience; for certainly there must be a Remorse for betraying so vertuous a Creature. He took up his old Haunts of Gallantry and Luxury, which terminated in a violent Passion for a fair young Creature called Aurelia, the sole Daughter and Heiress of Don Ramires, one of the chiefest Knights, and most honourable Families in all Valentia.

Count Roderigo was considerable for Estate and Quality, without any allay but a Flirt of youthful Pleasure, which was imagined would pass away with his Youth, if not sooner, should he once marry and settle; and who was incomparably the most advantageous Match in that City. Don Ramires quickly came to an Accommodation with his Proposals, offering a very large Dowry with his Daughter in Present, and the rest of his Estate in Reversion, after the Death of himself and his Wife. Count Roderigo settl'd all Things to their Satisfaction, and the Marriage was solemnized to the Pleasure of all Persons concerned, and the good Will of those, who having no immediate Interest in those Nuptials, were delighted with any publick Occasion of Mirth and Joy.

The Marriage done and ended, the Bride and Bridegroom continued at Don Ramires's House, where they lived in all the Pleasures of the Happy; such as new married Persons of high Rank and prosperous Fortunes enjoy, without any Remorse for what Violenta might suffer, when she should hear the News of his Inconstancy. He look'd upon her as an idle Girl, a Creature of low Degree, the Favourite of an Hour, a little Mistress with whom he condescended to squander away some superfluous Hours of Youth, but unworthy his Regard when in cooler Thoughts, or to expect the Continuance of his noble Name and Family from. In short, he forgot that ever she had been of any Consequence to his Happiness! He forgot he had married her; and hearing so many People talk of her as a Mistress he kept, he imagined it was so, and no more; never fearing, from her excessive Love and humble Behaviour, that he needed to apprehend any Thing from her Resentment; more especially from those Mechanicks her Brothers, who indeed had no Part of their Sister's Spirit or Understanding; and who dreamt of no other Notions of Honour but what they expected to find in their Customers. Donna Camilla, her Mother, he looked upon as a Piece of old Houshold-Stuff quite out of Date; poor and independant as she was, he knew it would be very difficult for her, at that time of day, to find any one to espouse her Interests against his in Valentia.

Thus Seignior Roderigo, fearless of the Reproaches of Violenta, publickly espoused Donna Aurelia in the Face of the Sun, in the great Church of Valentia; immediately the Report of such a fine Wedding was carried to all Parts of the City. Violenta's Brothers were first informed of it, they ran to their Mother to let her know the Disaster; yet without that honourable Resentment which is always found in the Well-born. According to the Custom of Spain, they should immediately have made the Villain's Blood attone for the Injury he had done their Sister, and to which they were Witnesses; but their Souls were of a Piece with their Profession, they did not dream of Honour and Revenge, provided they could Sell their Plate; nay, they were so sordid as to comply with the Orders Roderigo had given his Intendant to go to such Persons, meaning Violenta's Brothers, and bespeak from them all the necessary Vessels and Utensils, whether of Silver, Silver-gilt, or Gold Plate, that was necessary for his Degree, to furnish his House and Table upon his Nuptials with a Person of Aurelia's Quality and Fortune.

Donna Camilla indeed resented the Abuse, not only as a Person of a high Heart, but as one who wept drops of Blood for the Dishonour of her Daughter; she sent for her Sons, reproaching them with the Pitifulness of their Spirit, to take Employment from the Man they should much sooner destroy. They protested to her that they knew not when the Plate was bespoke, but that it was for the Publication of their Sister's Marriage; and afterwards could not go back from their Word, the Gentleman only designing to oblige them for their Sister's sake. Camilla seeing them to be such Stocks, and Stones, sent them away, and was contented to mourn alone. This wretched Dame lived in great Anguish, because she durst not make her Complaint to any, and was ignorant of the Name of the Priest who had married her Daughter; neither would she impart her Sorrow to Violenta, imagining she would too soon hear of the fatal Disaster that was befallen her.

And, indeed, This vertuous Lady, only tantalized with the Hopes of Greatness, with the mock Scene or airy Idea of Grandeur, which like a golden Bough hung far out of her reach, was the last in knowing what was now stale News in Valentia. A Person of her penetration, however blinded she was by Love and Roderigo's continual Pretences, thought there must be something extraordinary to make him absent himself so frequently as he did. At first she used to write him the kindest Letters to enquire of his Health; but the Airs he took to himself, as we have before related, soon gave her enough of presuming to enquire after him. He had carry'd all things with a high Hand; her humble Spirit durst not dispute the Pleasure of so great a Man. He might lie away as long as he thought fit, the Joy she had when he came again made her forget the Pain she had suffered by his Absence. She always receiv'd him with Smiles, and never with cold Looks or Reproaches. Having lately used her to stay away several Nights together, she did not wonder at it now; but she was not left long in Ignorance. Her next Neighbours, meerly to insult her, asked what she would do for a Sweet-heart now her Lord was marry'd? how came it that she was not at the Wedding? especially since it was so publick, and the finest that was ever seen in Valentia? Donna Aurelia was a charming Bride!

Violenta having very well examined these Reports, for she at first regarded them as Stories design'd by malicious Persons only to insult her, when she grew confirm'd in the Truth, Her Heart was immediately open to Wrath, Indignation, Madness and Revenge. All the Furies of Hell entred like a Torrent into her Breast, and in a moment expell'd her native Softness; Love hid his Face and would be seen no more; he took wing with all his Train and Dependants, and flew for ever away from that hospitable Heart where he had been so fondled and tenderly entertain'd. The Sense of Honour lost, of her Vertue demolish'd, her Chastity overthrown, her ruin'd Reputation swell'd her to an Extremity of Resentment; she tore her Ornaments, her Dress, her Hair; she stamp'd, and travers'd her Apartment like a raging Bacchanal; like Medea, furious in her Revenge; like the Fiends with fatal Torches in their Hands, to set the World on Fire: She was more than all these, she was her self, That is to say, most miserable and most outragious. She could not weep, that Distress was too soft for her obdurate Grief; she could not in a long time speak even the Relief of Words were deny'd her; she could only beat her Breast, groan, and puff her Breath out, as if Flames had come at every Blast. At length, Nature, unable longer to maintain so cruel a War against it self, suffered this wretched Creature to sink down on the Carpet for an Interval of time, that she might recover Strength enough to renew the Conflict; essaying several times to rise, she sunk again, and with Groans pour'd forth this Torrent of Complaints.

'Alas! alas! what inexpressible Torture does my poor Heart endure without the least Prospect of Relief? No one Creature on the whole Earth can give me Ease! what Ruin do I suffer for no Offence of mine? ah Fortune! Fortune! Thou art so totally my Enemy, that thou hast not left me so much as the Prospect of a Friend to revenge my Injury. Oh Blood! Blood! a Villain's Blood! too small an Expiation for ruin'd Chastity! Oh cruel Husband! Do not my Groans Eccho in thy Ears? Dost thou not hear my Voice crying aloud for Vengeance? Canst thou regard any other Object but thy first, thy lawful Wife? dishonour'd by thy Cruelty, and suffering a thousand furious Martyrdoms for thy Adulterous Crime! Ah Ungrateful! Is this, thou monstrous Wretch, all the Return that thy base Heart can make for excessive Love, unshaken Fidelity and obedient Humility? Since This is all that thou canst bestow upon me, I will pay my self, besure I will, Thy Blood shall be the Atonement, that I may die with Joy, insensible of Pain.'

Donna Camilla and her Sons, with Ianthe, hearing her Voice so outragious, talking loudly to her self like a Tempest or a Whirlwind, went up to her Chamber, where they found her so deform'd with Rage and Fury, that she was almost out of their Knowledge; They fear'd she would run Mad, and said whatever they could to reduce her from those violent Pangs; but their Endeavours increas'd rather than allayed the Storm. Reason was utterly lost upon her, she was insensible to all things but Revenge, which she insatiably thirsted after; Then, as she said, she should be at rest. Finding they could make no Impression upon her obdurate Mind, Donna Camilla and her Sons withdrew, leaving the old Maid Ianthe, whom Violenta lov'd more than any other, to take care she did herself no hurt. This poor Creature had from her Childhood, when she was first made a Slave, been bred up by Donna Camilla. The Slave had brought up Violenta, and so tenderly lov'd her, that she would have done any thing for her Relief. After she had flatter'd and humour'd her Rage a-while, she told her Lady, 'That if she would suspend her Fury for a little time, she would go herself and seek out Count Roderigo, and hear what he had to say, and she doubted not but to order the Matter so well, that she would bring him along with her, where, if he did not give her the Satisfaction she desired, she might do with him as she pleased, and wreck upon him her just Revenge! No! no, Ianthe ! said Violenta, those are light and small Offences that we can be reasoned out of the Sense of; what Roderigo has committed against me, Reason it self supports me in my Desire of Vengeance! And should my Heart give way to any other Thoughts, I would with my own Hands divide it from this wretched Body! nothing but his Life alone can satisfy me! God caused me to be born his Instrument of Wrath to punish the Injury done my Honour; what Reputation remains to me but that of an abominable Whore? Shall he live who has bestow'd so vile a Quality upon me? Shall he breathe in Pleasure whilst I hourly pine away in Infamy? That base Seducer, That Wretch without Principles or Honour, who used laughingly to say, as I then thought in jest, but the Villain was too much in earnest, That Maids of my base Birth had no Pretensions to Honour, what had we to do with such fantastick Notions? Vertue and Chastity were pretty Names indeed for Boors to play with! As if Courage were only approved propriated to Men of Quality, or Modesty to Noble Women. Yes, Roderigo, thou shalt know, that my Sentiments were worthy the most exalted Birth! Thou shalt feel it by the Ardour of thy Wife's Resentment! by that height of Vengeance with which I will appease and vindicate my Honour! and if thou, Ianthe, dost deny to assist me, I will do the Work alone. Thou art a Stranger born, and leadest the Life of a poor wretched Slave, condemn'd all thy Days to Drudgery: I have here two thousand Ducats, and several Jewels which that false Traytor gave me; they are destin'd by Heaven to reward that Person who shall assist me in my Revenge. I will now put That Treasure in thy Hands, I will give all to thee, if thou wilt help me to sacrifice Roderigo to my injur'd Honour. Too well I know there is but little Redress for so mean a Person as I am, to expect by Law, against two the most potent Families in Valentia. When the Question is, which shall be prov'd the Wife, and which the Whore! most certain, Don Ramires's Daughter must have the honourable, and I the infamous Appellation. Justice waits upon the Great, Interest holds the Scale, and Riches turns the Ballance. Besides, I know not even the Priest who marry'd us, perhaps he was not a Priest, and my Ruin was originally design'd; or if he be, Roderigo will take care to keep him far from my Knowledge. Wherefore, my dear Ianthe, if from my Youth thou didst ever love me, or that thou wert ever sensible of the Love I had for thee, shew me the Effects now, when thy Help is most necessary. If thou dost deny me, I will execute my Purpose alone; the first time I ever behold him, with these enrag'd, accurs'd Eyes, I will strike him dead, or murder him with these two trembling Hands, without any other Assistance.'

Ianthe hearing what Violenta said, and well knowing her undaunted Resolution and Heroick Spirit; after she had revolv'd and debated several things in her Mind, resolv'd at length to devote her self wholly to her Mistress's infernal Commands, potently mov'd at her being defam'd and dishonour'd by the pretence of Marriage; and partly prompted by Covetousness and the desire of Liberty, by which she should gain so great a Reward; with which she meant to fly away to her own Land, and seek her Kindred and Parents, if they were yet alive or to be found. When she was throughly resolv'd, she embraced Violenta and said to her, 'Madam, here I plight my Faith and Hand to you. Your poor Ianthe shall follow your Commands in Life and Death! I have as great an Appetite to revenge your Dishonour as your self can desire; but that we may be sure to effect it, you must disguise your Rage, and put on you the Habit of Dissimulation. You shall write the Count a Letter, as you well can do, to invite him hither; as if you only griev'd at the Loss of his Heart, and did not dispute Aurelia's Title to his Bed. Leave the rest to my Management. When we have him here fast, we will send him to Rest in a more assur'd Place, where he shall everlastingly continue, to curse the time whenever he betrayed poor Virgins by the sacred Pretence of Marriage.'

Violenta hearkned to her as the Oracle that was to resolve her Destiny, and feed her bloody and cruel Vengeance. That fair Prospect, which stood before her, of Revenge, caused her, like Ebbing Seas after the Workings of a mighty Storm, to sink appeas'd, tho' within she stood collected and ready to execute what the most cruel Hatred can inspire. She gave her self so much Respite as to write him a Letter; which fully express'd all she suffered, and what more she was like to suffer; and then she rose into distant Threataings, of what a Lover forsaken might attempt; yet soon sunk again into the more humble Necessities of a Lover, who could not live without the Sight of the Person beloved; which as a Reward of all her Sufferings she beseeched him to grant her; in an indirect Manner, seeming to give up her Title to Marriage, if she could hope to preserve what she much more valued, that which once she had to his Heart.

'Take there Ianthe, says the afflicted Violenta, thy Passport to Roderigo; if thou can'st play thy Part as well as I have done mine, we may then assure our selves, that my Vengeance will be compleat. I may rest satisfied my date of Life shall not be long, since Life is more insupportable to me than a Thousand Deaths, and yet I cannot die unrevenged.'

Ianthe having the Letter, rose early the next Morning, and rendered herself with great Diligence at the House of Don Ramires, where she waited obsequiously 'till she could speak with some Person belonging to the Count, which was not long after. Ianthe seeing that Gentleman who was present at Roderigo's first Marriage, he blush'd, and would have avoided her, pretending to go about Affairs for his Master. The old Slave, who was not to learn her Business at that time of day, bore up briskly to him, whispering him in the Ear, ask'd how the Count did! and if she might be admitted to the Honour of speaking with him alone, for her Business required Privacy? Don Roderigo being soon advertised of this by his Servant, came forth, and pointed her towards the Street, where he presently followed her; to whom smilingly, she said, having made him a feigned Courtesy, and presented him the Letter, 'I am a poor Slave, my Lord, and can neither write nor read, yet I dare lay my Life, there is humble Suit made to you in that Paper for the Sight of your sweet Person; and to say the Truth, my poor Mistress has been very much injured by you (not in the Point of Marriage, for I never thought Madam Violenta, a beggarly Tradesman's Daughter, was a fit Wife for the great Count Roderigo) but that you will not vouchsafe to visit her, that she may not be miserable all at once; you take no Care to cure her Dishonour, by providing her a Husband in some other Place, which would prevent the Infamy she will meet with from being a forsaken Mistress. She loves you in a lost manner, she is ready to die, and no longer than last Night, said to me, Dear Ianthe, I cannot possibly live without the Sight of him; though I must not pretend, after his Marriage with the Lady Aurelia, to have him for my Husband; I wish he would still regard me as his Friend, and provide for me that I fall not into Poverty, and would set apart but one Day in the Week, or rather Night, for fear of the Neighbours, that I might be happy in his Love: And sure my Lord, added the old Impertinent, you cannot do a better Thing, if it were but for the Pleasure of telling your self that you have the fairest Wife, and most beautiful Mistress of any Nobleman in all Spain .' Roderigo list'ning with profound Attention to what the Slave said, as gathering from thence the Pacifick Sentiments of her Mistress, took and opened the Letter, which when he had read, he fell to consider what it contained. The warring Passions rose in his Breast, as Heat and Cold meet and jostle together, pent up in the same Cloud; Love and Hatred, Compassion and Disdain, combated in his Heart, and vex'd him with Contrarieties: Then pausing upon an Answer, he thought it necessary to flatter her Despair, 'till he could see her to take his Measures, that she might not by her offensive Fondness give any disturbance to his new Enjoyments. My dear Friend, ' Ianthe, said the dissembling Count, recommend me to the good Grace and Favour of thy charming Mistress; for this time I will write her no Answer, but to Morrow Night at Eight a Clock I will be sure to wait upon her, and give her an Account of this ugly Matter, and of what has happened since I had the Happiness of seeing her last; when I shall have told her the Necessity that urged me to what I have done, she will certainly pity rather than condemn me.'

Ianthe posted away with her good News to Violenta. They quickly set themselves to prepare all Things for Roderigo's Reception; whilst he told his new Bride he was call'd away by certain Affairs to his Villa, where he was obliged to remain a whole Night, but he would return the Morning after. Then ordering his Gentleman of the Chamber, who was the Confidant of all his Amours, he bad him command two Horses to be got ready, upon which they rode forth out of the City 'till it was duskish; then the Count fetch'd a Compass, and entered Valentia by another Gate; he ordered his Servant to put up the Horses in a strange Inn, and stay for him there 'till he returned from Violenta in the Morning. When he came to the House, he found Ianthe, with great Devotion, waiting his Arrival, with a settled Purpose to use him according to his Deserts. She conveyed him to the Chamber of her expecting Mistress; their meeting was such as might be well supposed between two Persons that had once desperately loved, and now as perfectly hated one another, but who yet with cold and dissembled Flattery now sought deceive each other. Violenta represented to him her Despair when she heard of his Marriage, the Sorrow that she endured having neither been able to eat nor sleep since the fatal Tidings of her Dishonour, and the loss of his Heart. Roderigo took her in his Arms, and protested to her he was still the same, but that the late Count his Father had left so vast a Debt upon the Estate, which was all mortgaged to Don Ramires, that if it had not been in Consideration of this Marriage with his Daughter he would have seized upon his whole Inheritance, and then he must have been a Beggar, and unable to assist her whom he valued more than his Life; for though he were wedded to Aurelia, he loved none but Violenta, assuring her, that after a little time he meant to poyson his new Wife, and return to end his Days with her in Love and Happiness. He concluded this Discourse, which was only fram'd to appease her, with Protestations of his Love, and ten Thousand Vows of Constancy, which are easily sworn by those who intend only to deceive. Doubtless, if this miserable Woman had credited his Words and Oaths, and from thence have whispered Peace to her deluded Heart, he would have changed his Mind, and not thought himself ty'd to the Performance of his Vows, since he could so manifestly break that which he had made in the Sight of Heaven, when in the sacred Bands of Wedlock he had plighted his Faith indissolubly to hers.

The Count was very well satisfied that he found Violenta so well appeased; he thought he need not give himself much Trouble about that little Maid, a Creature of no Consequence, whom he might use as he pleased. She was careful not to mention any thing of her own Marriage, nor a Word of Revenge for her Dishonour. Her Complaints were wholly directed to her Fears of losing his Heart, which he could sooth without much Difficulty, since it was her Business to believe. After Supper, the Count not having taken much Rest for several Nights before, grew sleepy, and ordered his Bed to be made ready. We need not enquire whether Violenta and Ianthe obeyed his Commands with Diligence, in which consisted the good or evil Fortune of their Enterprize.

Violenta, to shew her self most affectionate, went first to Bed; as soon as they were laid, Ianthe drew the Curtains, and took away the Count's Sword, his Dagger she laid upon a Stool by her Mistresses's Bedside; for though they had provided a large Knife for that Purpose, the Slave thought the Justice would be more remarkable if he fell by his own Weapon, but to make sure Work, she placed them both together; then taking away the Candles, she feigned to go out of the Chamber, but returned again, and lock'd the Door on the Inside, as if she had been gone away, and rested her self against the Door, waiting for the cruel Minute when her Mistress should want her Assistance. The destin'd Count thinking himself alone in the Chamber with Violenta, began to embrace and kiss her; but she begg'd him to desist, 'till she awoke again, for having never rested since the News of his fatal Marriage, her Heart being now somewhat more at Ease, she found her self so sleepy she was not able to speak; and then she turned her self away from him to her Repose. Roderigo, who had had as little Sleep as possible, and perhaps stood more in need of Rest, very gladly comply'd with her Request, his designed Caresses were more in prospect of pleasing her than himself; soon after he fell into a profound Sleep, which they were very well assured of, by the manner of taking his Breath. Violenta reached the Dagger, and feeling softly for the Place where she could most commodiously strike, raising her self in the Bed, and transported with Wrath, struck the Poinard into his Throat: Ianthe hearing him groan, leap'd briskly upon the Bed, and getting upon him with her Knees and Hands kept him down: He struggled, but Violenta, like another Medea, mad with Rage and Fury, redoubled her Stroke, and thrust the Point of the Dagger with such Force into his Throat, that she pierced it through on the other Side. The wretched Count, thinking to make some Resistance against his cruel Destiny, received another Wound; being held down by Ianthe he could not use Hand nor Foot. Through the excessive Violence of his Pain, he had not Power to cry out or speak a Word. After he had received ten or twelve mortal Wounds, his Soul flew away from his martyr'd Body, in all probability to a dreadful Audit, since he was taken away in the Fulness of his Sins, without a Moment's Space for Repentance.

Violenta having finished this cruel Enterprize, commanded Ianthe to light a Candle. She approached with it near the Count's Face, and saw that he was without Life. 'Ah Traitor! said she, thou oughtest to have been Years a dying, if I had enjoy'd Power sufficient thou certainly should'st; yet some Comfort it is to me to think, though I could not devote thy Body to suffer such Torments as thou did'st deserve, thy immortal Soul is fled without a Moment's warning to deprecate the Divine Vengeance!' Not able to quench her Hate, nor satisfy the furious Rage that burnt in her Breast, with the Point of the Dagger she tore the Eyes out of his Head, speaking to them with a hideous Voice, as if they were still alive, 'Ah trayterous Eyes, the Interpreters of a villainous Mind! come out of your shameful Seat for ever! the Spring of your false Tears is now exhausted and dried up, so that ye shall weep no more! no more deceive chast Virgins with your feign'd and falling Showers.' Her Rage rather increased than abated, she seized upon his Tongue, which, with her bloody Hands she pluck'd from the Root; and beholding it with an unrelenting Eye, said, as she was tearing it out, 'Oh perjured and abominable Tongue! false and cruel as thou wert, how many Lies didst thou tell, before with the Chain-shot of this cursed Member, thou could'st make a Breach to overthrow my Honour? Of which being robb'd by thy Traiterous Means, I must devote my self to Death, to which I have now shewn Thee the Way.' Then, insatiable of Cruelty (like a Wolf fleshed upon his Prey, irritated the more by the Taste of Blood) with the Knife she violently ripp'd up his Stomach; then launching her daring Hands upon his Heart tore it from the Seat, and gash'd it with a thousand Wounds, cry'd, 'Ah vile Heart, more obdurate and harder than Adamant! upon this cruel Anvil was forged the Chains that bound up my unlucky Destiny! What did I mean by wrecking my Vengeance upon the Eyes and Tongue of this insatiable Monster? The Heart! This infamous Heart of thine was the original of all my Misery! It was by this the Traitor was taught to flatter and betray! Oh that I could erst have discovered thy base Imaginations, as now I do thy material Substance, I might then have preserved my self from thy abominable Treason and Infidelity! yet shall not the Hand only have Reason to complain that it made no part of my Revenge, when it had so great a one in my Ruin! Take, cursed Instrument, said she, dismembring his Right-Hand from his Body, Take thy Reward for the Faith thou didst dare to plight to me in the Face of Heaven! Extream Provocations must have extream Punishment, my only Grief is that thou art dead and cannot feel the Torture.' When she had mangled the Body all over, with an infinite number of Gashes, she cry'd out, 'Oh infected Carrion, once the Organ and Instrument of a most vile and traiterous Mind, now thou art repaid as thy Merits did deserve.' Ianthe, with Horror and exceeding Terror; had immovably beheld her Butchery, when she said to her, 'Ianthe, now I am at ease! my poor labouring Heart is light'ned of its Burthen! Come Death when thou wilt, thou shalt find me able to bear thy strongest Assaults! I have daily proved thy Torture, lest I should not bring my full Revenge to the desired Period! Help me then to drag this unworthy Wretch out of my Father's House, where I was first dishonoured, where the Odour of my chast Name was exchanged for Poysonous Infamy! Since my Vertue is traduced abroad, my Revenge shall be as manifest, and this Carcass be exposed as publickly as was my Reputation.'

Violenta and Ianthe dragg'd the Body to a Chamber Window, and threw it out upon the Pavement in the Street, with the several Parts that she had cut off. That done, she said to Ianthe, 'Take this Casket, there is in it all my Jewels, and two thousand Ducats in Gold, which I promised thee; ship thy self at the next Port thou shalt come at, get thee over into Africa to save thy Life as speedily as thou canst, and never return into these Parts again, nor to any other where thou art known.' Which Ianthe purposed to have done though Violenta had not counsell'd her to it. The poor Slave, being just ready to depart, embrac'd and kiss'd her Mistress; she took her leave with a doleful Farewell, and went in Search of better Fortune; and from that Time was never heard on more. All the Pursuit that was made after her prov'd ineffectual, since no Creature in Valentia could ever recover the least Knowledge of the Way she had taken.

Soon as Day appeared, the first that pass'd through the Street discover'd the dead Body; one told another of the strange Spectacle that lay there to be seen, but no Man knew who it was, because the Eyes were pick'd out, and the other Members mutilated and deformed. By that time it came to be Eight a-Clock, there was such a multitude of People assembled, that it was almost impossible to come near the Body. The generality thought Thieves had murder'd and stript the dead Person, because he was found in his Shirt; Others were of a contrary Opinion. Violenta, who was at her Window, hearing them give their several Judgments, came down, and with a firm Voice said to the Multitude, 'Gentlemen, you dispute about a Thing which if I were examined by the lawful Magistrate, I could give undoubted Evidence of. This Murder cannot be discovered by any other than by me, without great Difficulty'. Which Words her Neighbours easily believed, thinking this was a Person slain by some of her Lovers that were jealous of her; for poor Violenta had lost her former good Reputation, since the Report that Count Roderigo kept her.

These Words were carried to the Magistrates, who, with their Officers of Justice, soon came to the Place, where they found Violenta more undaunted than any of the Spectators! They enquir'd of her immediately, 'What Account she could give of that Murder'? Without Fear or Hesitation she readily answered, 'My Lords, He that you see here dead is Count Roderigo di Ventimiglia: And because many Persons are concern'd in his Death; as, his Father in Law Don Ramires, his new Wife Donna Aurelia, and all his own Relations; if your Lordships please, I would, in their Presence, before our most noble Vice-Roy the Duke of Calabria, freely declare what I know of this unhappy Affair.'

The Magistrates, amaz'd to see so great a Man as Roderigo lie there, inhumanly slain and butcher'd, took Violenta into Custody 'till the Vice-Roy's Pleasure was known; who being urged by his own Curiosity, and the Importunity of Don Ramires, Donna Aurelia his Daughter, and the Kindred of the Deceas'd; commanded, after Dinner, she should be brought to her Examination in the great Hall of the Palace; where the Vice-Roy, the Judges, the Evidence and all Persons being met, there was so great a Crowd, that it was not possible to thrust in another Creature. Violenta, as if she were conscious of well doing, and glow'd with the Pride of some worthy Action performed, in the Presence of them all, with a loud and clear Voice, without either Rage or Passion, first recounted the chast Love between Count Roderigo and her self during the space of Eighteen Months, tho' without receiving the Returns he expected: That within a while after, quite vanquish'd with Love, he marry'd her secretly in her own House: That the Nuptials were solemnized by a Priest unknown, in the Presence of her Mother, Brothers, and two Servants, whereof one of them was the Count's Gentleman, and still in his Service: That she had been more than a Year his most obedient Wife, without the least Offence given on her Part. Then she repeated to them his second Marriage with Donna Aurelia, there present. Adding, that as he had depriv'd her of her Reputation of Honour, she had sought Means to deprive him of his Life; which she had effected by the Assistance of her Maid Ianthe, who, being filled with Remorse, had, after the Fact committed, drowned her self in the Sea. 'Think not, most noble Duke, added she, that I have given you this plain Relation to move your Pity and prolong my Life; I could for ever have escaped your Justice, if I had so intended! my Purpose was to have my Honour as publickly cleared as it was aspersed; for a Terror to all young Virgins, how they receive the Addresses of Persons so greatly above them; and to warn them how they consent to a clandestine Marriage, as I have done, by which I am this Day brought to Ruin. I hold my self unworthy to live, after being stained with Blood; tho' that Blood was shed to wash away my Stain. So far am I from desiring Life, that I cannot endure to live. I beg Death of your Justice, lest in saving my Body you condemn my Soul, and force me with my own Hands to commit the most unpardonable Sin, that of Self-Murder!'

The Duke, the Magistrates, and all the Spectators were amazed at the Courage and Magnanimity of the Maid; and that One of so little Rank should have so great a Sense of her Dishonour. The People were so far moved with Pity that they wept with luke warm Tears, to think so fair and chast a Creature should meet with such great Misfortunes. Detesting the Memory of Count Roderigo; they thought his Death too small an Expiation for a Wretch, who, under the pretence of sacred Marriage, could enjoy her Love, and then traiterously wed himself to another. The Vice-Roy resolving not to give too hasty a Judgment, remitted back Violenta to Prison; and gave Orders for the dead Count to be Interr'd as obscurely as his Crime deserved; taking from Violenta all Weapons by which she might do her self an Injury. They used such Diligence, that the Priest who marry'd them was sought out and found. The Count's Gentleman also deposed what he knew of the Nuptials, and his Lord's design'd Visit to Violenta the Night before the Murder was committed. All Things were so fully proved, that nothing could be more plain, unless they could have had the Confession of the dead Lord himself. Violenta, notwithstanding the Pity of the People, the Intercession of the Ladies, and the Applause her Chastity and Magnanimity deserved, was condemned to be Beheaded; not only for that she had presumed to punish the Count's Offence by her own Hand, without the help of Justice, but for the unexampled Cruelty committed afterwards upon the dead Body.

Thus the fair and vertuous Violenta ended her Life; her Mother and Brothers being acquitted. She dy'd with the same Spirit and Resolution with which she had defended her Chastity; and was Executed in the Presence of the Duke of Calabria, who caused this History to be registred, with other Things worthy Remembrance, that happen'd at Valentia in his Vice-Royalty. Bandwell reports, That Ianthe was put to Death with her Mistress. But Paludanus, a noble Spaniard, alive at that Time, who wrote an excellent History in Latin, positively declares, That she was never apprehended; which Opinion I have followed, as that which seemed to be the most probable.

The Husband's Resentment. IN Two Examples. Novel IV. Example. I.

That we may not leave upon the Minds of our Readers too great an Impression of the Cruelty of Woman-kind, from the vindictive and revengeful Temper of Violenta, I have thought fit, out of ten thousand Histories, where even a Million might be produced, to bring two Examples, that a Husband dishonoured is a no less terrible Animal, than a Wife jealous, injur'd, and betray'd.

At the Time when Madam Margaret of Austria, Daughter to the Emperor Maximilian, went her Progress into Savoy to meet her Husband, there was a noble Lord, of ancient Nobility in Piedmont, called Amadæus, Marquis di Susa, who had great Possessions, and a noble Chateau in Piedmont; yet, having a very good Employment at Court, he was seldom in the Country: The Duke of Savoy, esteemed and honoured Him with his Favour. 'Till the Age of fifty Years he thought himself happy, but Love, who had long owed him a Revenge for slighting and speaking irreverently of his Power, studied by some flagrant Instance, how he might reduce this Rebel, grown old in Disobedience; so that both the aged, and the young, Persons of all Age, Sex and Degree, might be brought sooner or later, by his Example, to acknowledge the Universality of Cupid's Empire.

There dwelt at Turin, in Piedmont, where the Duke of Savoy then kept his Court, a young Demoisel scarce born a Gentlewoman, call'd Desideria, who had Wit and Wantonness, but little Fortune to support her Pleasures. She was gay humored, and had something Janty in her Conversation; by which Means she was seldom at Home with her Parents; first one great Lady, and then another, made Envitation to her, to be with them for two or three Months together: This gave the cunning Baggage opportunity to learn their Manners, and how to accomplish her self; besides, she had the Advantage of Presents, which they often made, knowing her Father's narrow Circumstances, by which she went tolerably Cloathed, and liv'd a Life very much to her Mind, in the midst of Balls, Visits, Musick, Intrigues and Admiration.

Desideria had nothing but an Air of Youth and Gaiety, without one good Feature in her Face; yet she made a shift among the gentile Company she kept, to have fine Things said to her by the Men; which flatter'd her Vanity, and gave her Assurance enough to intrude any where, imagining her Charms much more powerful than they were, and that she might make as many Conquests as she desired.

Signoria Emilia, Sister to the Marquis di Susa, married to the great Master of the Duke's Household, held an Apartment at Court, where his Royal Highness himself was often found, together with all the People of Taste and Quality, of both Sexes in Turin: She had been diverted with Desideria's Wit at a Lady's House where Signiora Emilia used to visit, and therefore envited her to come freely to her Lodgings, which she joyfully did, at first but seldom, afterwards more frequently, 'till she sometimes staid whole Nights, then Weeks together. That was the Heaven wherein Desideria shined. Her Friends, thinking she might make something of it, being let into such good Company, and knowing the Jade was full of Subtilty and Cunning, strain'd all they could to put her into a Habit, lest she should appear despicable at Court. She had a very pretty Voice, and performed tolerably well upon Musick; for her Parents had given her as good an Education as if she had been a Maid of Fortune, often telling her, that That was all her Portion; and indeed, she managed her Talent to the best Advantage. Had she not been a little too vain, and too amorous, she had found herself advanced to as happy a Station as any Lady in all Savoy, and might have maintained her good Fortune to the end of her Life.

Amadæus, who had never given himself to Ladies, taking an early Distaste against his first Wife, to whom he was married very young, a Woman haughty and uneasy in her Temper; found himself so much to his Mind, when by the Marchioness's Death he was restored to his former Freedom, that he resolved to preserve it as long as he liv'd. His Charge led him to reside whole Summers in the Field, when ever the Duke was ingaged in War; as by the unhappy Situation of his Country, between such potent Princes as Spain and France, he never could be long at Peace, where he found no Opportunity, if he had had Inclination, to amuse himself with Women: Whenever he spoke of them, it was not with too much Respect, their Levity, Wantonness, Affectation, Pride, ill Humour, and in short a thousand Imperfections, was his perpetual Objection against the Sex. So that when he did return to Court in the Winter, he was look'd upon with an evil Eye by all the Ladies, who, as they despair'd to make a Convert of him, not One of them cared so much as to attempt it.

However the Marquis di Susa, loved his Sister Signoria Emilia very well, and was often at her Apartment, he had no unsociable Soul, tho' he were not Gallant. As to all Points of Conversation that related only to Forms, he was as Polite as any of the Court, loved Books and learned Men: Throughly understood the Art of War, was a good Engineer, and Mathematician, which in those times was an Accomplishment not much in Vogue with Persons of the Marquis's Quality; and which I only mention that we may understand by it, that he never needed to be at a Loss how to pass his time, like the truly Idle, I mean such as take no Pleasure at all in any Sort of Study.

But how the little God reduced this stubborn Rebel to Obedience, is difficult to imagine. I can no otherways account for it, but that it is was Dan Cupido's arbitrary Will and Pleasure, who said it must be so, so it must be. To render his Power more wonderful he made use of contemptible Arms; he brought not such victorious Eyes as the Lady K. H—'s nor such congregated Charms as Lady L— s but contented himself with the little Beauty of Desideria; which, when he pleases, is sufficient to overthrow the greatest Strength; or, rather the gaiety of her Conversation; or her Voice, for the Marquis loved Musick; or her own Artifice, which taught her a feigned Softness and Tenderness in what related to him, after she had been once by Signoria Emilia introduced to the Honour of his Acquaintance; or rather it was a Habit he got of seeing her there 'en Famille, and unbending with her; her little Tricks, her Songs, and Musick amused him; whenever he came and found her not in the way, he would ask his Sister, where was the Merry Girl? Thus insensibly he warmed himself by a dangerous Fire, without any Apprehension of being burnt. The crafty Gipsy who knew not what it was to converse with the other Sex, sans Consequence, would have taught him, by Persuasion, as she did at length by Experience, that there was no such Thing as Insensibility in an intimate Freedom, between a young Lady not disagreeable, and a Gentleman no further advanced in Age than the Marquis: She had her Fortune to make, and had Wit and good Will enough to set about it. That favourable Disposition which she saw in Amadæus towards her, instructed her not to be idle. She found he had still some Strings remaining, on which she might happily strike; and, having got hold of the first, which consisted in a sort of liking to her way of Tittle Tattle, she never ceased 'till she had catched the Ball, and improved his Liking into Love.

How prodigiously surprized was the Marquis, when, in examining his Heart, he found the Foe was become Master of his Strength, and got into the Garrison, before he knew he had an Enemy whom he need to arm himself against. But here the Business of War was another Thing to what he had been accustom'd; there was a sweet Pleasure in being overcome, which nothing could surpass, but that of Conquering. He knew not how to resist so charming an Invader, but gave himself blindly to be led by his Destiny, which being at that time conducted by the God of Love, he took Pleasure to revenge himself against him for those Slights he had formerly paid to his Altars and Worship.

As the Marquis was a virtuous Man, notwithstanding his being a Soldier, he had all Debauchery in Detestation, else perhaps he might have come to the end of his Desire, with that beggarly Girl, and not have paid so great a Price as Marriage: But Hymen was his first Relief, he had no resource to any other Deity, nor would he have injured a young Maiden, of any Degree, so far as to rob her of her Innocence. 'Tis true he was a long Time withheld by Shame, and the Opinion of the World. Her Youth, her Birth her Poverty, were feeble Arms, which Cupido suffer'd him to make use of, only to shew him how insignificant were all his Attempts towards resisting his Almighty Power, and that when he had combated never so well he must at length be overcome, as it really happened. For the Marquis, who had been so long unmarried, was used to no Opposition; which is always a Grievance to the Great, and not to be born from others; how then should he endure the worse Sort of Contradiction, that between his Reason, and his Desires?

To pass over Forms: Love overcame! he was the Sovereign! Shame, nor Poverty, Youth, nor Age! The World, nor its Opinion prevailed! The Marquis was subdued and married. He read his Lady several Lectures beforehand, which she had the Address to make him believe were as agreeable to her Inclinations as his Lordships.

The Duke lost much of the Esteem he had in the World by playing so foolish a part. Some ridiculed him, some stared, others reproached him; but all condemned, in every Particular, a Match so unequal, and to which there appeared such small Temptations. To bury the Noise, he took Desideria from Turin, not having Courage to bring her to Court, or to his Sister's Signoria Emilia. He conducted her to his Castle of Susa, where he shut up himself to taste of Happiness alone, in the quiet Possession of his wondrous Bride, 'till the Operations began for the succeeding Campaign.

So well the new Marchioness knew to conform her self to the Sentiments of her Lord, that she refused those Bridal Ornaments he would have bestowed upon her; letting him craftily understand, that if he were pleas'd with her Person, unadorn'd as it was, she did not desire to please any Body else: That it became her to Suit herself to his Age, rather than her own; since by a more modest Garb, she would let the World understand that she had no other View, but his Lordship's Satisfaction.

The Foundation of his good Opinion being thus surely laid, the Marquis believed himself the most happy Man upon Earth. He despised the Thoughts of his former Insensibility, and that tasteless Life he had so long led, when he ridiculed the Joys of Love, which he now agreed to be the greatest that mortal Man could expect below: Thus had she gained ground in his Esteem, by her regular Behaviour. The first Year, the Duke licenced him, in Consideration of his young Wife to stay at Home; but the second Summer, the French and Spaniard, having begun a new War against each other, the Marquis was obliged to make the Campaign; having tenderly recommended to his Lady the care of her Conduct in his Absence. To Alicia, an old Woman in the Nature of a Spanish Duenna, whom at first he had placed over her as a Spy upon her Actions, he bid her do the Part of a faithful Governante, to read Lectures of Vertue to her Mistress, and to give him a particular Account of all her Motions.

This Lady, who had neither Birth or Principles, by which Gratitude to her Benefactor might be recommended to her Practice, and who was served and honoured with Homage and Reverence by all who approached her; lifted up her Heart in Pride of her present high Condition, to despise and loath the Hand that had raised her. She was weary of being too happy, and in striving to be more than well, became no less than miserable. She hated the Solitude and Quiet of the Castle, she long'd for the Bustle and Noise of Courts, for Admiration, and Amours! But seeing she was not like to expect that, unless some favourable Stroke might dispatch her Lord, and leave her a rich and wanton Widow, to frisk and bound at large, to take in whole Nature towards her Pleasures, and have her every Sense gratify'd with the agreeable Feast of Variety! knew not which way to make her Solitude less severe. She had often seen, with favourable Eyes, a young Fellow her Neighbour, whose Father had but a small Estate, and lived in Vassalage to the Marquis di Susa. This Person, called Horatio . was a plain-meaning Country Squire, not, as yet, pretending, but amorous enough for her Service, and who liked very well to be the Favourite of a great Lady; tho', had she not bethought her self to make him the first Advances, 'tis certain he had never dared to lift up his Eyes to his Lord, the Marquis's Wife.

Her Inclinations, from warm grew more hot. Being very dexterous in making herself beloved of whom she pleased, Alicia, who was left to guard her, was corrupted by her. That Affability and good Humour with which she conversed with that Domestick, join'd to her Liberality, won her from the Marquis's Interest to Her's; for they were now become two distinct Things: And having cunningly sifted out of this unwary old Woman the Secrets of her Youth, she knew well enough that she had not always been Innocent: And even now bestowed upon a young Person, who often came to the Castle, and pass'd for her Nephew, whatever she could get; so that, notwithstanding the Sallery the Marquis allowed her, she was always necessitous. Desideria gave her Money to bestow to her Fancy, and told her it was a thousand Pities such true Lovers should be divided, or live with such Discretion towards one another; for her part she knew what they must suffer, and would wink at any Opportunities they found of being together. This charmed the Heart and Soul of the doating Beldame, who wished for nothing more than to pay her Ladies good Offices in Kind. The Marchioness was not yet ready for her Assistance; she had not brought Things to bear with her Lover, who was foolishly modest, and had such a troublesome Reverence to her Quality, that she could well have dispens'd with. She look'd upon him as a Youth unpractised, and proposed to her self a great deal of Satisfaction, in raising his first Ardors! She took all Opportunities of letting him see by her Looks at Church, and elsewhere, that she expected other Things from him than Duty. Horatio was no Fool, he very well understood that a great Lady could not Ogle him continually without other Desires; but the Fear and Reverence of the Marquis made him stop short, without any further Explanation than Ogling her again. This dallying, as she call'd it, with a Fire that consumed her, made her break all bounds to give vent to her Desires, which could be no longer satisfied with Looks. Putting her self one Day in the way where she knew he usually walked, attended only by Alicia, who was as good as no Body towards being any Impediment to her Amour, she waited not long, but Horatio appeared. How do you do? said she to him, after the first Complements, Signior Horatio? You, that are of the best Age for Pleasure, why do you live in this frightful Solitude? I must own my self perfectly weary of Groves and purling Streams! I should never have liked the Life of a Shepherdess, tho' I had found never so many Corydon's to have endear'd it to me. What a monstrous Change, from a Court where I have always been bred, to the Rusticity of the Country? Here one lives without any Amusement of the Heart; one must be perfectly Idle when one's Husband is in the Army so long a time as my Lord must be. You Gentlemen of the Village are such dull vertuous Creatures! On my Conscience you can't hardly read, Horatio, no not even spell, tho' it be writ in the plain Language of the Eyes! One must name the Thing directly, and 'tis well if you understand us then? 'Twill not be enough, I suppose, should I, forgetful of that Dignity and Honour which belongs to my Quality, say, Horatio, suppose I loved you, you would certainly reduce me to the Necessity of saying I do Love you! Do you not think it is inverting the Order of Nature, that has ordained your Sex to sue to ours, rather than ours to apply to yours? The Youth was not such a Fool, but that he found by half a Word that was her Disease; and not designing to be cruel, he told her that the Difference in their Quality made it absolutely necessary for great Ladies to speak, when they would exalt their Vassals, lest the Sin of Presumption should be severely punish'd by the Lady's Disdain. That as to his Part he had adored her since her first coming into the Country, but he thought it to no Purpose to discover his audacious Flame; but since she had the Goodness to descend so low as to meet his Passion, he would endeavour with Humility, Perseverance and Fidelity, to make up his Defect of Birth and Estate. To which the Marchioness laughing told him, she did not want Either in a Lover, for she had enough of both, to serve both their Turns, and that whatever she possess'd should be at his Devotion, provided he took care of her Honour, and was so discreet as to avoid giving Jealousie to her Lord. The young Springle, raised to the top of Happiness, at having such a great Lady in Love with him, promised her all she could ask.

Her Desires were so immoderate she would not defer 'till another time the finishing a Work so well begun, but carried him home to Supper with her; and how they entertained themselves after, none but happy Lovers can imagine. Alicia took care, by waiting in the Anti-chamber, to keep the other Servants, naturally Curious, from List'ning. Her Ladyship was so well satisfied with the artless Transports and Carresses of her young Lover, that she presented him with a fine Purse stuffed full of Gold, together with a Diamond Ring, which she prayed him to wear; and withall told him, that from henceforward he need not limit his Expences, but in all Things appear like a Gentleman, since she knew not how to put the Marquis's great Riches to half so good a Use, any other way, as by adorning him.

I will make no Reflections upon the Ingratitude of this Marchioness, because no better could be expected from her. She was an Enemy to Regularity, had no Notion of Honour, very little of Vertue, and had neither Birth nor Education sufficient to set a Value upon the Dignity she was raised to; in short she was amorous and a Coquet; and who could pity the Marquis his Misfortune, being so weak as to marry a Person so disadvantageously qualified?

Signior Horatio, for now we must not presume to call him otherways, obtained leave of his Lady, who was extravagant in her Fondness for him, to suffer him to go for some Days to Turin upon his Father's Affairs; that was his Pretence, but his real Business was to equip himself according to the Mode; whereas before he had but two Suits in the World, one for every Day, of three Years standing, the other made about a Year since, for Holydays and Sundays, he furnish'd himself with Variety to please his Mistress. He thought if she could be so fond of him in his Booby Country-Cloaths, what would she be, she must certainly doat when she saw him in the Dress of the World? He took care also to provide himself with fine Linnen, and a good Quantity of it, for that which he then had was no way fit for the Embraces of so high a Lady, who wore the best of every Thing herself, and he had already been put to a good deal of Confusion to conceal from her the Coarsness of what he had; but now he was become a perfect Adonis, the whole Country was in an Uproar to see our Hal, as they called him, appear quite another Thing. The Signior's Father, gave out that he was going to purchase his Son a Post in the Army, and that solved all the Difficulty; tho' not without some Wonder where he should get the Money; however, by the way of Advance, they were kind and called him Captain, and now he was new Cloath'd began to respect him accordingly.

The Marchioness approv'd very well of this Metamorphose of her Lover, because she thought it done to render himself agreeable to her: She took care he should not repent it, by furnishing him with a new Supply; bidding him be sure to encourage the Report of his going into the Army; for she would provide so well, that Money should not be wanting to purchase him a handsome Post. Whether the Lover were grateful or no, you need not enquire; if the Marchioness had been wholly disagreeable, this Generosity must have indear'd her to him: But she was far from that; she pleased him very well; was gay and amorous. Whether she really lov'd the Fellow, with one of those Passions that give the Vicious too much Pain to resist; or, that she amus'd her self with him only as a Gallant, is not in my Power to determine? but she so well effected her Design upon the Youth, that he was really ingag'd, and lov'd her with a Tenderness preferrable to all Things. She so far abandoned her self to her sensual Desires, that she was never easy but in Signior Horatio's Company; which gave such umbrage to her People, that it was not Alicia's being almost always with her, could hinder them from making Reflections disadvantageous to her Honour.

These happy Lovers were now to enter upon a new Scene, not quite so agreeable: The Campaign was ended: The Marquiss return'd full of the honest Love of a tender Husband for a Wife whom he esteem'd. She had the Art to indear his Welcome, and to appear with as much Joy, or more, than her Lord! Two or three Days past over in their first Transports, and then Amadæus began to observe, with Astonishment, that his Lady had altered her Dress from what she at first assum'd, upon being his Wife, more like a Widow than a Bride; by which self-denial she had gain'd prodigiously on his Esteem. He could not think his absence, a fit Time for her to deck up her self in gayer Ornaments, and which she had refused before. The Italians are naturally jealous; and when they conceive a Suspicion, they do not always wait for Confirmation. They have, at hand, a commodious Pill, to rid them from the Sight of the Person they suspect so base as to dishonour them. But the Marquis was more equitable; he would be certain, before he attempted to punish; tenderly loving his Wife, and, hitherto, believing himself the most perfectly happy of any Man. He, unwillingly, would wake from that delightful Dream; yet, equally hating to be thought too easy, or to imagin himself too secure; he resolv'd to observe all her Words and Actions with utmost Attention. The Intrigue she was fallen into, had dash'd her Modesty, if not quite blotted it out: She had another Air than before the Marquis went, when, she was regular. She had now got a Habit of speaking loose Words; her Eyes were perpetually rolling; full of wanton Fires; all new to her Lord. She would often fall into Resveries and Absences of Mind, not heeding what the Marquis said to her, and answering quite from the Purpose: These Things put together, almost assur'd him his Wife was corrupted. He had been always thought a wise Man in every Thing but his Marriage; and now reflected within himself, that if the Marchioness were unchast, it could not be without the Knowledge and Connivance of the Governante; so that to speak to her, was asking a Person equally guilty, and which would put them both on their Guard, and make him but so much longer in finding out their Deceit. On the other Side, if he should examine the Underservants, possibly they were too remote from her Person, to know any Thing certain of her Intrigues; and he should but expose himself to the Character of a jealous Husband, and his Lady (if she were innocent) to the Censure of ill Tongues, who always play upon the Wife's Fame, when she is suspected by him whose Business it is to vindicate her Honour, rather than asperse it. In this uncertainty he was resolved to wait for due leisure to make his own Observations; and in the mean time, not to bely his Country's Character, he shew'd himself as profound a Master of Dissimulation as the best of them. He feign'd a greater Tenderness for the Marchioness than ever; which she well knew to return with equal Sincerity: Living in this course of Deceit, Emulous which should best over-reach the other, they were both such Masters, that the least Cunning of them could never have been discover'd.

Signior Horatio, in the mean time, grew very impatient at the Marquis's return: He mourn'd, he sigh'd, and sob'd out his Misfortunes when he was alone; but durst not send to enquire, when he might see his Happiness. However, after the Custom of Italy, he pass'd and re-pass'd the Castle-gate, throwing his Eyes up to the Windows, to see, if possible, he could get one view of Desideria ; he could not tell how to live without her Sight and Conversation. She durst not venture for fear of her Lord, nor appear at the Window, lest she might raise a Suspicion. But the Marquis, who needed no other Argus's Eyes but his own, from the first Time he saw him there, observ'd all his Motions; was not so silly, to imagin that young Fellow pass'd and repass'd his Gate, so many hundred Times, for nothing. He beheld, with exquisite Amazement, the Alteration of his Habit; and whereas he left him a poor, plain, Country Lad; he was now, not only fine, but Richly dress'd; which put him upon many Speculations. His Lady had the Command of what Cash she desired, and it was greatly in her Power do him what Injury she pleas'd, in his Fortune, if it were in her Will: But his Dishonour was so much a more sensible Part to him, that he reflected upon that of his Interest with no farther concern, than as it related to his Honour, and which, if he could prove against her, would be a fatal Confirmation of her Dishonesty.

Whilst the Marquis's Mind was in this situation, the young Fellow had the Assurance to project an admission into his House, and even to insinuate himself into his Lordship's Favour, knowing he lov'd Sports, as Hawking, Hunting, Shooting, and all the Diversions of the Field. As his Father held in Vassalage, he made bold to present his Lordship with a very excellent Tercelet of a Faulcon; and, at other times, regal'd him with Hare and Partridges, which are great Rarities in that Country; and so with several little Things, which could not fail of being acceptable upon any other occasion. The Marquis repay'd these Civilities with the Like, and sent him several Things in return: And whereas Signior Horatio had the Confidence to crave his Permission to pay his Duty to his Lordship, in default of his Father, who was so lame of the Gout he could not stir forth; Amadæus, willing to make a nearer Observation, and, if he was guilty, to lay a Snare for him, let the young Gentleman know, he should be glad to see him at Dinner. The thoughtless Fool, transported with the Invitation, through the Devotion he had to the Saint of the Castle, dress'd himself up in his richest Habit, whereas he ought to have gone in the Plainest. Lord Marquis receiv'd him above his Expectations: When Dinner was serv'd in, he call'd for his Lady; (without the Husband's Command, it is not the Custom for Wives, in Italy, to sit down, when there are Strangers). As she enter'd the Room, the Lover, who was not Master of his Passions, blush'd as red as Scarlet, and fell into a mighty trembling: The Marchioness could better dissemble; and yet her Lord thought she look'd very confus'd. When Dinner was done, the young Man was ask'd to take a Turn in the Garden with my Lord and Lady? He was, long since, recover'd of his Disorder, and now grown very flippant, and, as he thought, Entertaining. The Marquis, who was perfectly well bred, and knew the World, could not expect much Satisfaction from such a raw Youth's Conversation; his Business was to make further Observations. He found a dangerous Devil in their Eyes, that shew'd him, plainly, they were of Intelligence together. As the Gentleman was taking his Leave, the Marquis said to him, 'My kind Neighbour and Friend, I am often alone and melancholy, and shall be glad of your Company; I like you well; you are a very hopeful young Man; and for what you say of buying a Post in the Army, I will serve you in it effectually, and, perhaps, save you your Money in your Pocket too: Pray, whilst I am in the Country, come and see me often; you cannot do me a greater Pleasure.' Signior Horatio thought himself in the Clouds at this invitation; and return'd his Lordship his most humble Thanks for the Honour, beging his Lordship to use him as his very humble and obedient Servant.

This Foundation being laid, Horatio came every Day to attend his Lordship, but still he found no opportunity to entertain the Lady, which the Marquis as much desired to give him, as he did to take. At length Amadæus feign'd himself indispos'd; said he had rested very ill that Night, and would see no Company 'till he wak'd. Alicia was immediately dispatch'd to Signior Horatio to let him know, there was now an opportunity to visit her Lady in private. The Marquis's Chamber answer'd to the Castle-gate, and whilst his Servants thought him in Bed, he was got up, wrapt in a loose Chamber Robe, and sate behind the Window-curtain to conceal himself; where, by peeping, he could discover all who went in and out. He observ'd Alicia hobble along the Way towards the Village, and, in a convenient Space of Time, the young Rascal coming to the Gate very spruce, where he was admitted, and then pass'd on to the Hall, enquiring of his Lordship's Health, saying, That he was come to wait on him, and to pay his respects as usual; but was answer'd, That my Lord was fallen into a Slumber, and had given Orders that he should not be disturb'd. Horatio said he would expect my Lord Marquis's waking, in the Garden, where he found the Lady saunt'ring up and down in her Morning-dress. As soon as they were turn'd out of the direct View of the Windows, they could no longer refrain flying into one another's Arms, with a thousand kisses and embraces, to lament their long absence from Love; not accounting it any Thing that they every Day saw one another, since it was before such a cruel Witness as would not permit them to renew their Indearments. The Marquis, who guess'd where the Scene lay, went up softly by the great Stairs, his People waiting at the back Stairs, to the Top of the Castle, where there were Windows that every way commanded the Approach. One look'd over all the Garden, in which there being no cover'd Walks nor Bowers, he knew the Lovers could not escape his sight. Imagin what a Prospect he had: Seeing the Woman that he had been so passionately fond on, and had thought himself supreamly happy with, giving and taking a thousand Embraces and Kisses, as if they could never be weary of each other. Sometimes they would seem very earnest in Discourse; point to the Castle; shrug their Shoulders; then he could see the fair Lady wipe her Eyes with her Handkerchief, as if she wept her hard Fate, and her Lord's Unkindness, who cruelly refus'd her the Liberty of her Pleasures, and with-held her from Cuckolding him when she pleas'd. The Lover, not a Jot behind her in tenderness, kiss'd off her orient Tears, and fell again to embracing her; then slip'd one of his Hands into her Bosom, whilst she, languishingly, rested her Head upon his: Thus they entertain'd themselves for two Hours; often looking about them, as if they fear'd; yet, desired to proceed to greater Liberties; which, not having quite so much Courage or Impudence to attempt, the Lover took his Leave, lest his long Stay should give Suspicion to the Family. Hearing that my Lord had not yet call'd, he returned to the Village but half contented, and yet well presented with an extraordinary fine gold Chain, which was then the Custom for Men of Quality to wear.

But who can express the Rage and Grief that was in the Marquis's Soul! He curst his Fate, he curst himself that had so unaccountable put his Honour into the keeping of a Girl, void of Gratitude or Love, or Vertue! He exclaimed at her Perfiduousness, and returned to his old Theam of inveighing against the whole Sex in general! His only Refuge was Revenge! He debated how in the most horrible Manner to punish the Adulteress! Poison seemed too good a Death, he would have her linger In Torment such as she had fixed in his Breast, a lasting Misery, a Pain more exquisite than what is felt in the Pangs of Death! His Fury directed him to punish his Wife most, as being the greatest Criminal, being assur'd in his Mind the Advances must have come from her Part; such a Country Lubber had never dared of himself, with saucy and presumptuous Addresses, to attempt a Lady of her Quality, whereby such an horrible Dishonour was cast upon a Person of the Marquis's Eminence and Worth. Therefore, tho' her Gallant was likewise to dye, yet he designed to Torture only her. Being returned to his Chamber, he cast himself upon his Bed to meditate how to bring about his Revenge, and to recollect what of Man was left within him, that his Reason might aid him in his pursuit, and help him yet a little further to dissemble his Resentments 'till he had brought Things to bear. This was the Work of some Hours: At last he called; The first who ran to him was that officious Viper, whose Sight was more mortal to him than if she had been a Basilisk. His wounded Heart ak'd at her: His Eyes could have stream'd Blood. But alas! he durst not seek the Ease of Reproaches: He suffered the killing Pain of her Flattery and kind Enquiry of his Health? how he had rested? and what he would eat? adding, she had suffer'd inexpressibly by his long sleep; fearing he was fallen into a lethargick Fit; and yet his Commands were so strict, she durst not disobey, tho' she had endur'd a killing Conflict between her Duty and her Love! Her Lord seem'd to receive all in good Part, and constrain'd himself to shew an equal Tenderness. Some Days were allow'd to his Indisposition, in which he had, constantly, the Mortification to be visited by the Fellow who had dishonoured him; whom, however, he affected to entertain rather with more Civility; and to his Wife, he forced himself to renew the Fondness of the Honey-moon, that her Fall might be more unexpected. This wretched Woman thinking she had, hitherto, sin'd in private, enjoy'd the flattering Hour, as that which gave her the Conquest over her Lord: When Fortune, and the Destinies, were, at the same Minute, weaving the black Thread that was to prove fatal to her, and spreading for her an inextricable Net, out of which she could not hope to escape.

The Marquis, at length, was driven to the Extent of all his Patience. Dissimulation began to be an unsupportable Torment to him: Furious Wrath, and a bloody Thirst of Vengeance, strove to usurp upon his Reason, and break the Bounds which he had prescribed himself. He had yet a Desire that their Crime might be manifest to the World, that so she might fall an unexceptionable Oblation to his great Revenge. He consider'd, that whilst he remain'd in the Castle, they had not an opportunity to renew their wicked Intercourse; and therefore, feign'd a Letter from the Duke of Savoy to himself. On the Morrow, pretending to go a Hunting, he left his People, and gallop'd away to the next Post-Town, where he manag'd the Matter so well with the Post-master, who durst neither disobey his Lordship, nor enquire into his Design, that he had his own Letter delivered him that Night at Supper before his Wife and her Paramour, by a Courier that pretended he came from the Duke of Savoy. The Marquis, in a feign'd Hand, had follow'd the necessary Forms in that Letter, by which his Royal Highness commanded him to return instantly to Court, to consult and take order about going, immediately, his Ambassador to the Court of France. After Amadæus had paus'd some time upon what he had read; he said to the Marchioness, 'You see, Madam, Fortune has not suffer'd me to be born to please my self: I am too happy with you: She envies my Felicity, and every Moment seeks out new Ways to take me from you; but our Duke must be obey'd.' Then calling to the Master of his Household, he told him, That his Men-Servants must all prepare to go with him to make an Appearance in his Embassy; he would leave only one Groom of the Chambers, to attend the Marchioness, 'till he sent for her; as he would do, in two or three Days, if there was a Probability of his residing any Time in France; for it was not possible to be long separated from her. Adding further, That they should all depart in the Morning for Turin, where his Royal Highness then was, and himself would take Post in the Cool of the Evening, with only one Page, and meet them There: Whence, after he had consulted with the Duke, he would send Dispatches to the Marchioness, concerning what Part she was to take in that Affair. The fond Lady immediately put her Finger in her Eye, to bewail his departure; but yet hop'd, that he would order the Matter so, she should not stay behind him. Signior Horatio, who had gain'd a pretty deal of Assurance, by the Encouragement the Marquis daily gave him, was now so bold as to beg that his Excellence, in consequence of all those Honours he had heap'd upon him, would be pleas'd to allot him some Employment about himself. The Marquis seem'd to receive his Request very favourably, and told him, he would think of it: And then, pausing a While, said, If he thought himself qualified for the Place of Secretary to the Embassy, he might depend upon it. The Lover would not own any Incapacity, you may be sure, before his Mistress, but, with a great deal of Temerity, accepted the Proposal, Thank'd his Lordship and took his Leave.

The Marchioness, who had been long since weary in her Heart, of living so recluse a Life, and had heard of the Gallantry of the Court of France, and the great Freedom their Women enjoy more than in Italy, was all on Fire to make a Part in that Journey, where she should likewise have the Consolation of having her Lover with her, 'till Time and good Fortune might present her with another; perhaps the King himself, at the Court of France. Her Head was immediately running upon the Figure she should make, and the Design she had of concerning her self in all Affairs of State, which she reckon'd to have the sole Management of, by the Doatage of her Lord. Thus building Castles in the Air, that could never be inhabitated, she apply'd her Flattery to gain the Marquis to persist in his good Resolution of carrying her with him; and therefore put in Practice all her little Arts, by which she had formerly got such an Ascendant over his Spirit. He favoured the cunning Woman's Deceit, and let her imagine him as weak and blind as she would make him. Carrying her into his Closet, he gave her the Key of all his Jewels and his Treasure; telling her, she must have the One to adorn her self, like the Lady of an Ambassador, and should bring along with her the Money, when he sent for her, which he hop'd would be in a Day or two. This vain Woman was so elated with the Thoughts of her approaching Grandeur, that she never distrusted her Destiny, nor had any Presage of her approaching Ruin; nor of the Tears of a false Crocodile, who rejoices at deceiving them whom he designs immediately to destroy.

In the Morning, the Marquis's whole Train departed, to wait his coming at Tarin; pleas'd with the Thoughts of attending their Lord into France: They lov'd and honour'd him; but neither respected nor esteem'd their Lady, because they doubted she was unfaithful to his Bed. The Groom of the Chambers, that was left behind, was out of Humour at his Fortune: He had been bred, from his Infancy, with the Marquis, if not born in his House; for his Father and Mother were old faithful Domesticks in the Family. As he was dressing his Lord, his other Servants being departed, he gently complain'd of a Distinction so much to his Disadvantage, that had appointed him to stay behind, when all his Fellows should have the Honour to go along with him into France. The Marquis took him into his Closet, and told him, That he had not made that Distinction to his disadvantage, resolving to confide in him more than all his other Domesticks; but, first, he caused him to swear upon the Holy Evangelists, not to reveal the least Tittle of what he should hear, to any Person living. The Servant very chearfully took that Oath; adding, That he would be glad to venture his Life in his Lordship's Service, and should be faithful to the last Breath he should draw. The Duke, very well satisfied with his Protestations, discover'd to him his Suspicion of his Wife's Dishonesty with young Signior Horatio, and his Design of surprising them together, if, as probable, they should take advantage of his absence for their unlawful Pleasures; adding, that his Journey to Turin, was only a Pretence, by which he might send away all his Domesticks, and seem to depart himself, to make the Lovers more secure; but that he would go no further than to the Keeper's Lodge in the Park, who was stout and faithful; and where he determined to stay, 'till he brought him Word, whether Horatio was receiv'd in his absence; which he might easily discover, if he made it his Business; and for which Service he would reward him beyond his Expectations. That faithful Servant, when he had attentively listned to his Lord 'till the Conclusion of his Discourse, fell at his Feet, and wept with such a Passion of Tears, that he could not bring forth a Word. The Marquis not being able to penetrate into the Cause of his Disturbance, ask'd him, several times, before he was able to speak. At length he related to him, That, with great Grief, not only himself, but the other Servants, had beheld their Lady's intimacy with that young Fellow; and had, for some time, distrusted, that their Commerce was not such as became a Person of her Degree, and who had such infinite Obligations to his Lordship. That he had often thought to reveal to him his Suspicions, but was still with-held by the Reflection he made to himself of the great Power the Marchioness had over his Lordship, which might end in his Ruin, if he were not able to bring something more than Suspicion towards her Conviction. That he had long endeavour'd after some better Proof, but Alicia, who was apparently in the Secret, always took such effectual Care to watch the Place where they used to retire, that as yet he had not been able to make any Discovery; but now that he was incouraged by his Lordship, he would succeed or die in the Attempt.

The Marquis was so affected with the Fidelity of that Domestick, that he raised him graciously from his Knees, and embraced him with such Testimonies of his Favour and Approbation, as were highly advantagious to him. They took their Measures together. The Marquis went down to Cajole his false Wife, and Friend, who was come to dine with Him, and take leave of his Lordship. The remainder of the Day was spent in Complements to such Gentlemen, who living thereabouts, and hearing of his Lordship's intended Journey, came to pay their Respects before he went. Signior Horatio broke in upon these Forms, to tell the Marquis he could be ready at an hours warning, whenever his Lordship would be pleased to command him to wait upon him at Turin. Amadæus resolv'd to tie them down to a Night, which he imagined they would not lose when they were to part so soon, and had so long been kept asunder: He told the Varlet, that he would expect him to set forward the next Day, and designed to present him to the Duke, as Secretary of the Embassy, for his Royal Highness's Approbation. Then Embracing him, he took his Leave of him, and the rest of the Company, seeming to expect he might pass the last Hour with his Wife unincumber'd with Visitants. 'Twas then, that all Persons being withdrawn, he gave her such Testimonies of his Passion, that she rested very easy in the Imagination of being deeper in his Affections than ever, having been flatter'd by him into an Opinion, that her Beauty was mightily improved, and that he thought her grown a very fine Woman. But when he came to take his last Leave of her, and to bestow upon her a Judas Kiss, she quickly shew'd him, that he was but a Bungler at Dissimulation, in comparison to a wanton Wife. She wept, sobb'd, swoon'd, did all Things to make him believe her Concern real; insomuch, that if he had not beheld her with his own Eyes in the Garden, he should have cancelled all his Suspicions: Nay, so well she performed, that he even came to doubt his Eyes, and to fancy he had only seen through the false Prospect of his Imagination; and resolved to put the Issue upon her Conduct that Night, either to clear or condemn her for her whole Life.

But his credulous Lordship was no sooner got on Horse-back with his Page only, and left her to the Assistance of her Women to help her out of her Fainting, and restore her Spirits, but she reviv'd of herself, and called to her that faithful Domestick; she bid him go ride that Minute to such a Lady, who lived about ten Mile further, and give her Service to her, and desire she would come next Morning, and stay with her two or three Days to divert her Melancholly, and she would send her Coach for her. The Groom, who presently guess'd why he was to be sent out of the way, ask'd her Pardon for his presumptious Boldness; but having a Friend, whom he had not seen a long time in the Village where that Lady liv'd, he begg'd her Ladyship would let him stay a little to enjoy his Friend's Company, and would vouchsafe to give her Orders to the Swiss, to open the Gate to him if he should stay a little beyond the time appointed for his Return. This being exactly to the Marchioness's Wish, she let him know, for once, she would comply with his Request, but pray'd him not to bring such ill Practices in use amongst her Servants. The Fellow bow'd and retir'd, not a little piqued at her haughty manner of granting, especially of a Favour whereof he stood in no need, and that it was only to make the Situation of her own Affairs more commodious that he was sent away. As soon as he was departed, he rode towards the Village, and Darkness coming on, he alighted near Horatio's House, whence he might have an easy Prospect, unseen, of whoever went in or out. It was not long before he beheld that Instrument of Mischief, Alicia, sally forthwith Horatio. They took their way to the Castle; but in a little by-Lane, Alicia carried him into, he saw her pluck a Gown and Petticoat from her own Back (she had another on to supply the Want) and throw it on Horatio, with some Head-gear which she took from her Pocket, in which she dizen'd him, that he might very well pass for a Female of Mrs. Alicia's Acquaintance: Then passing on to the Castle, the Swiss admitted them without any Reflection. The Groom having lodg'd the Prey, went to find the noble Hunter at the Lodge; and when he told him how the Land lay, and that Horatio was Hous'd; 'Is it possible my Friend, cry'd the Marquis? Are my Suspicions right? And is that once dear Woman become a Beast? Courage, my Friend, when your injured Lord shall be no longer abused, he will shine forth in Gratitude, upon those Persons who help'd him to Revenge his Dishonour.' Then telling the Keeper, what the Groom of the Chamber already knew, the Story from the Beginning to the End, he caused them to Arm themselves with Pistols and go along with him. By this time it was two Hours after Midnight, the Moon rose upon their Enterprize, and coming to the Castle Gate, the Groom knocked softly, for fear of awakening his Lady. The Swiss, who expected his coming, was not in Bed, but laid along upon a Bench in his Cloaths asleep, soon heard his Friend, and arose with as little Noise as he could, to open the Gate, having left the draw-Bridge down before-hand. The Swiss, when he saw the Groom of the Chamber so well accompanied, scrupled to let those unknown Persons enter; 'till the Marquis, having discovered himself, he had nothing more to object. Then causing a Torch to be lighted they immediately ascended the Stairs as softly as they could. The Keeper, as had been before resolved, knocked loudly at the Chamber-Door. Alicia who rested on a little Bed, in a Lobby near her Lady's Chamber, arose, and ask'd who was there? The Keeper told her his Name, she already knew his Voice, and said, that Riding part of the Way with my Lord Marquis, they had met another Courier from the Duke, upon which his Lordship having lighted at the next House to peruse the Contents, had proceeded on his Way, first writing a Note to the Lady Marchioness, as he supposed concerning her setting forwards the next Morning for Turin, and had commanded him to deliver it into her Ladyship's own Hand. Desideria, who knew the Keeper's Voice, and thought him an honest dull Fellow, had not the least Suspicion that there was any Design to deceive her, very willing to see what Hopes there was for her going along with the Marquis and her Lover into France, bid Alicia open the Door and take the Letter, but not to let the Keeper come into the Room, because her Ladyship was in Bed, and would be seen by no Man but her Lord in that Condition. Alicia opened the Door a little, thinking to receive the Letter between the opening, but was surprized when the Keeper saluted her with a great Kick on the Stomach, that threw her backwards, where she lay half an Hour without Power to stir or speak. Then the Marquis in a great Rage entered the Chamber with his Pistols cock'd, followed by his Servants, and came to the Beds-side, where he found this wretched Pair stark-naked, for the Heat of the Season, in Bed together; who, seeing the Marquis, were more confounded and ashamed than Mars and Venus when they were taken in Vulcan's Net. Amadeus was then formidable to his very Friends, and terrible to his Enemies! His Eyes threat'ned Fury and Death! Streams of Fire seemed to dart from thence; his Breath issued from his Nostrils like Smoak! he commanded his Servants immediately to bind the Legs and Arms of that Felon with Ropes, which they had brought with them for that purpose! Then he ordered the Maids, the Swiss, and all that were in the Castle to be called up, that they might be seen in that Condition; commanding a vile Garment from one of the under Maid-Servants to be thrown about the Marchioness, he made the Bed, and all the costly Moveables, to be pulled down, and carried into the Court of the Castle, there to be burnt, leaving not the least Thing remaining that had been polluted by their adulterous Touch. Causing a little Bundle of Straw, not sufficient for the Kennel of two Dogs, to be thrown for these infamous Persons to rest on, as a Warning, even to the meanest Person that beheld them. When they were thus disposed, the Marquis said to his Wife, 'Thou shameless, vile and detestable Woman! A Name too good for thee! As thou hast had the Impudence to bring this Villain not only into my Chamber but Bed, to rob me of my Honour, which I value above my Life, and hast defiled thy self with his adulterous Embraces, by which the sacred Bond of Marriage is dissolved between us. I will, that with that very Hand thou didst plight thy Faith to me, this Ruffian shall be strangled by thee in my Presence, and the Presence of all that are present; not being able to invent a greater Punishment than that thou thy self should murder him whom thou hast preferred before me, above thy Reputation, above mine Honour and thy own Life.'

Having pronounced this fatal Judgment, he caused a great Hook to be drove into the Beam of the Chamber, and a Ladder to be brought, and then he made her tie a Collar of the Order of Malefactors about the Neck of her despairing Lover, who was struck Speechless and Stupid at this Scene of Horror. And because she alone was not able to perform that fatal and detestable Work, he commanded, That since that old Hag had been a wicked Assistant to their infamous Love, she should also be an Instrument to help her Lady to dispatch him; by which Means, those two wretched Women, Companions heretofore in Evil, were likewise join'd in Execution, and were forced, with their own Hands, first to hoist him to the Beam, then to strangle that once innocent Person, who had been so sillily allur'd by the dazling Vanity, and proffer'd Embraces of a great Lady, to his destruction.

This Piece of Justice being dispatch'd in the Sight of many Spectators, the Marquis once more turn'd to his Wife, and spoke thus to her for the last Time, 'Thou Woman, insatiable in thy Wickedness; and ungrateful as thou wert insatiable: Since thou hast had no regard to that most noble Degree to which, from a mean Wench, I advanced thee to be the third Lady, in Dignity, of the whole Realm! and hast preferr'd the lascivious Embraces of a poor Clown, my Vassal, above that conjugal Duty and chast Love which thou did'st owe to me: My Determination is, That, henceforth, thou shalt keep Company with this pendant Varlet, to the last Hour of thy abominable Life! because his putrid Carcase has corrupted thy fair Vertue, and occasioned this shameful End to befal thy wretched Body.'

Then, departing the Chamber, he order'd all the Windows and Doors to be closed up, that there could be no possibility for her to get out, leaving her in utter Darkness, with only a little Hole open to throw her Bread and Water. Her cursed Confidant, Alicia, the Marquis caus'd to be severely scourg'd, and thrust forth of the Castle almost naked. Amadæus, himself, went immediately to the Army, to lose the Memory of his Misfortunes, leaving to his faithful Steward to see his Commands obey'd in regard of the Marchioness. And thus this wretched Woman remain'd in that dark and abhor'd Confinement, with no other Company but the Body of her dead Lover! Her Delicacy could not long indure the Stench of that loathsome Dungeon! She died soon after her Enclosure, without repining, or uttering the least Complaint; having never spoke one single Word since the first Moment that she was taken by the Marquis, in Bed with her Lover! obeying all his Commands, touching the Execution, with Silence, and without Sobs or Tears! being, as was supposed, wounded with Self-conviction, for that shameful Misery which she had brought upon her self!

If there be any Wives who pursue false Pleasure, as did this wretched Lady, it will be well if they take Warning, and forego their Delights, that they may return again into the Path of Vertue, so to preserve their Lives from Death, and their Reputation from what is much worse than Death, an infamous Report!

The Husband's Resentment. IN Two Examples. Novel V. Example. II.

In the City of Grenoble, in the Province of Dauphine, a young agreeable Lady happened to marry a Person very considerable for Estate and Merit, though she had little of either herself. It was believed, if this Gentleman, who was soon after made a President, had pressed her to make Him happy, under the Price of Matrimony, the uncruel fair One would not have been so hard-hearted to deny him, since her Worth consisted only in his Opinion. This Match of Inclination, was generally condemned by all who were acquainted with the Posture of their Affairs; nay, the Town would not believe they were married, tho' she ran away from her Mother, and was got under the President's Care. He was thought too wise to make a Bride of her, whom he might have for a Mistress! But these Censures were soon refuted, by the publick Ostentation the President made in publishing his Nuptials. They lived together happy on one Side, that is to say, the Husband believed himself bless'd, and the Wife was resolved she would be so, if Variety could contribute to her Satisfaction. She made a Choice more commodious than reputable; one would have better forgiven her if she had singled out a Man of Merit, or Quality, or Fortune! But this was a wretched Rogue, preferr'd only for living in the same House with her. The President had charitably bred him up from a young Lad; first as his Foot-boy, and then seeing he was towardly, and took to Writing, he advanced him to be under his Clerk, a Post of Honour in a President's Family, where he profited himself so well, that upon the Clerk's setting up for himself, Pierre Poussin was thought well enough qualified to supply his Place.

This miserable Coxcomb, for such he was, notwithstanding his Application to Business, had the good Fortune to please Madam la Presidente; she loved him ten thousand times better than her Husband; though he was not only a Man very personable, but of great Figure and Reputation in the City; excessively fond of his Wife and Daughters, whether they were his, or his Man's, is not much Matter? She gave this Fellow out of her Husband's Store, wherewith to appear as fine as a Gentleman, and he soon imagined himself to be so; for his Post under the President left him that Appellation, and the Expence he made through the Bounty of the Wife, made his gentility indisputable. He was so far come into a good Opinion of himself, as to despise even his Lady, but when she was necessary to his Pocket; neither had he Ballast enough to bear such a Piece of good Fortune, without being overset by the powerful Gusts of Vanity. He would be covered before Madam la Presidente, in the Presence of her other Servants, and Nod to her at publick Sermons, if she chanced to look that way; and when she undertook to teach him a little more Discretion, he gave her the Bastinado, which she would never have took from her Husband; but those Ardours in a Lover are construed to the most favourable Side, and generally styled an excess of Passion. Whether Peter had the Address to give his robust Airs that Turn, or that the Lady explained every Thing to his Advantage, is not known: But far from putting an End to his good Fortune, this excellent Discipline increased it to what degree of Expence he pleased; insomuch, that he had his private Lodgings, his Horse and Valet; sometimes the fair One did not disdain to come and visit him, to see what the Charge amounted to, and paid all with an excess of Generosity, that Pavure Poussin might not be uneasy, where he expected to be pleased.

But the Misfortune was, Monsieur le President had one Faithful Domestick, which is worth a thousand others, though sometimes their Fidelity may happen to prove impertinent as it did here. He had made an old Woman his House-keeper, who had been taken into the Family at his Birth, where she then officiated as his Nurse, which begat a Love in her as strong, and almost as natural, as for her own Child; and which was so well sustained by Benefits conferred on her, in a long uninterrupted Series of Years, that doubtless she preferred Monsieur to all the World. This honest plain Creature, lamented sorely to see her Master married to a Girl of a blemish'd Race, on whom Gallantry was entail'd, and where Cuckoldom was Hereditary! who laugh'd at all Irregularities, or rather esteemed them as Accomplishments; having been bred at Court under a Licentious Reign, where Vertue was never mentioned but En Ridicule, their Children, and it was not to be wondered, soon followed such modish Examples. The House-keeper also was no way satisfied that her Master, who could have had so many Thousands, nay, the greatest Heiress in all Dauphiny, married this airy Creature with nothing. Such old Servants, when they happen to be faithful, are inestimable Treasures; but never valued by the young People, their Honesty and their Care are lost upon an unexperienced, thoughtless Generation, who in the Pride of Youth, look with an evil Eye upon all those who have more Discretion than themselves, or presumes to give them good Advice! And yet old Servants will go on in their own way, their Love descends to their Master's Children, and so must their Concern; though they are never so little thank'd, or rather hated for it. This was pretty near Mrs. Ursula's Case; Madam la Presidente looked upon her as her evil Genius, and was perpetually teizing her Husband to part with her. Peter Poussin used to divert himself at the good old Gentlewoman's Cost, which Contempt was more insupportable to her than her Lady's Disdain, who liked to see every Thing modern. She used to tell her Husband, she loved Faces that were young, and would not shock one as Mrs. Ursula's did, with forbidding Wrinkles and antique Head geer, as if she had been fetch'd from out of the Tombs; none of her Mother's Family were such unbred Wretches to take delight in, or even, to endure Frights; she, for her part, approved that excessive Nicety among the Romans, in the Choice of beautiful Servants, by which means Home was endeared to one, and look'd so chearful and delicate. Thus the poor President was daily teized on all Hands. Mrs. Ursula used often to appeal to his Honour, concerning those Indignities put upon her by Mr. Peter; and Mr. Peter of the Pragmaticalness of Mrs. Ursula; so that when she came to complain to her Master, in good earnest, of what Indecencies she had discovered, the President thought her ill Will had misled her, and had occasioned Mistakes: He was a wise Man, and always examined the Cause, by which he was better able to judge of the Effects.

At certain Times, like as are the Terms in England, they used to hear and determine Causes at Grenoble, either in the Palace or Town-Hall; and then Monsieur le President was obliged to be there every Morning early; where he generally staid 'till Dinner before Business was over. This Opportunity Madam la Presidente made use of to have Peter Poussin come and supply his Master's Place. Mrs. Ursula, who had her faithful Eyes every where, quickly discovered this gross Abuse, and gave the President notice of it; which, at first, he doubted might proceed from a Desire of Revenge, because her Lady was known to Hate, and the Clerk to Despise her; and then, as I said before, he thought she might be mistaken. He told her, if what she said, was with a Design to make a Quarrel between his Wife and him, he would never forgive her; but on the contrary, if what she said were true, he thought it was easy for her to let him see that Matter with his own Eyes, by which he should then know how to conduct himself. This Distrust put the poor old Nurse into a dreadful Case, and exposed his Honour to a World of Reproaches, and a deluge of Tears! That she should have suckled him, and brought him up, nay, and loved him better than his own Mother, to meet such Returns! She had rather die a Thousand times over than have her Truth suspected! Of all Men living he ought not to question her Veracity! But since he would not believe her before his own Eyes, who was a Thousand times faithfuller to him than all the Eyes in the World, he should see what he did not believe; and be convinced how unjustly he had distrusted her Fidelity.

Her Clamours made but little Impression on the President, as knowing they were Things of Course: He once more insisted upon seeing the Thing with his own Eyes, else, he told her, if she were his Nurse a Thousand times over, nay, his Mother, he should believe it nothing but a Lie, invented to break and dissolve that Love which was between his Wife and him; and she must expect he would resent it accordingly.

This put Mrs. Ursula into an excellent Cue, towards making her Accusation good; she would have watched Day and Night, without losing a Moment's Time, either to eat or sleep, rather than have lost the Opportunity to catch Madam la Presidente and the Clerk together; neither was it long, before Occasion presented it self. My Lady's Woman was not let into the Secret of their Amours no more than the House-keeper; but had a nice Piece of Embroidered Work in Hand, with great Tasks set her, which she was to perform every Morning before the Lady call'd; by which means she was obliged to stick close to her Needle, and not stir out of her Chamber. The House was kept very quiet after the President went out, that her Ladyship might recover her Nap, after being disturbed so early. Mrs. Ursula was always up, to provide Breakfast for his Honour before he went to the Court; by which means she afterwards lay perdue, and saw Peter, when he imagined the Coast clear, steal softly down and whip into my Lady's Chamber, where he usually staid two or three Hours, Madam la Presidente feigning to be still asleep; and there were such strict Orders given against any one's daring to disturb her, that if her own Mother had come, she must have been contented to wait 'till her Ladyship had been pleased to call.

The next Morning, after the House-keeper had thus disputed with the President, she set herself to watch as heedfully as a Cat for a Mouse; and soon after saw Mr. Peter enter her Lady's Chamber. Down goes Ursula and dispatches the Butler to tell the President, that she desired he would presently return to see, and be fully informed of that Matter of which she had given his Honour but an imperfect Account Yesterday. The President, alarm'd at these Tidings, hastily rose, upon Pretence of sudden Indisposition, and left the Court sitting. When he was come home, Ursula told him, the Clerk was gone into her Lady's Room, and that she had watched the Door ever since she had sent the Butler to his Honour. The President bid her go down and look to the House-gate, that he might not get out there, if he should escape him above; 'Thou knowest, my good Nurse, said the President, that to this Chamber there is no other entrance but this, Peter cannot escape me without my seeing him; if he should be nimble enough to get out of my Fingers, do you take care that he may be stopp'd below; there's no Door but one to this Room, unless a little Closet, of which thou knowest I have the Key, where I keep my most valuable Things.' When Mrs. Ursula was gone down in order to raise the Possee, if there should be occasion; the President softly entered his Wife's Chamber, which was not so much as locked, and undrawing the Curtains, his Sword in one Hand, he beheld, that which of all Things a Husband most dreads and detests to see, his fair Wife, in the Arms of her unworthy Gallant.

Pavure Peter Poussin, tho' he had been Owner of Courage sufficient to beat his Master, as he had oftentimes done his Mistress; yet, being taken at such disadvantage, his Valour would have signify'd little; he made use of other Means to disarm the President ; he threw himself at his Feet upon his Knees in his Shirt, implored his Pardon, and begged him to save his Life; with the naughty Children, he cry'd, pray, pray, he would never do so no more. Madam la President, fell a weeping, and vow'd, amidst her Tears, that this was her first Offence; the Plea of the oldest Sinner, One is never guilty 'till one be caught. The President, with all the Temper imaginable, told his Wife, she had dishonour'd his House, and as she might well imagine, made it hateful to him after this Abuse: Considering the Ruin and Infamy it would bring upon his Daughters, whom he had had by her, if this was known; he bad her cease weeping, and in regard of their Children strive to carry the Matter as if she were innocent, and had not been detected. Peter he put into his Closet, and charged him to make no Noise whatever happened. When he had thus disposed the Scene, he went to the Door, and called aloud for his Nurse; poor Mrs. Ursula thought she came to an absolute Triumph, and flew rather than hobbled at the Sound of her Master's Voice, but then he met her with Rage, and said to her, 'Didst thou not tell me Wretch, and insure it to me, that thou wouldst shew me this Lady, and my Rascally Clerk in Bed together? Upon thy Word I am come hither with a Resolution to kill my innocent Wife, and make Peter an Example to Posterity: What then is to be done to thee? What Punishment is sufficient for so false a Witness, so base an Informer? Not the least Tittle of what thou told'st me is true! Here I found my poor harmless Wife fast asleep, little dreaming that thy wicked Malice was contriving the Means to take away her precious Life. I have hunted every Hole and Corner and can find nothing; see that thou produce him, or never behold my Face again! Look about, if he came in here, where can he be gone?' Poor Mrs. Ursula, more dead than alive, fell to search under the Bed, and over the Bed; her Lady incessantly reproaching her wicked Spirit, as if she had been the most innocent Creature in the World. When she had sought every where, and could find nothing, though she were throughly amazed, yet with the stedfastness which always accompanies Truth; she said to the President, 'Sir, if I am in this Place alive, these two Eyes saw the Clerk go into this Chamber; yet here he is not, and out he could not go, unless it were in that Minute I went to speak with the Butler, which I can't believe; for he would hardly, being bound upon such an Errand, come to fetch Fire; therefore, I think, Peter deals with the Devil, and he has help'd to carry him away in his extremity! For I will take it upon my Death, I saw him come in with nothing but his Gown on. Thou art a base, malicious old Creature, cry'd the President, an Inventer of Lies, and worse than the Devil, that would have made such Mischief between my dear Wife and me, I hate my self almost for ever list'ning to thee; get thee out of my Doors; I'll allow thee to stay no longer than whilst thou makest up thy Baggage, and if thou art found in Grenoble at this time to-morrow, thou shalt be punished as Impostors ought to be. But in respect to the Memory of my honoured Mother, though she made so ill a Choice, if thou wilt to morrow Morning find some means to transport thy self to Normandy, where thy Friends live, and whence thou camest; I will take care to settle an annual Pension upon thee, that shall be sufficient to maintain thee as long as thou livest, without letting the World know what malicious Reports thou didst raise of thy good Lady.' So saying, he thrust her out of the Chamber, she sobbing, and roaring, and crying, and shut the Door upon her. When she was gone, he called Peter out of the Closet, who came quaking and trembling, and once more fell at his Feet. It is not, cry'd the President, that I am insensible of those Injuries I have received from you two ungrateful Persons, who of all People living, have been the most obliged to me; I will not repeat what I have done to either of you, you can reproach your selves; but since the Honour of my Family lies at Stake, and the Reputation of my Daughters, which will be for ever blasted by their Mother's Dishonour, I must have this Matter carefully concealed; for which Purpose, I command you, that was my Wife, to rise and go to all the Shops, buy you richer Cloaths than you have already, lay out as much Money as you please, it is my Pleasure; carry as gay a Countenance as you ought to have a heavy Heart! Take care to send to all your Gossips, to invite them hither to a Treat and Ball to Morrow. And you Mr. Clerk get you a new Suit of Cloaths as fine as you can, you shall be furnish'd with Money, seem as merry as ever you were in your Life; but observe what I say to you, when I whisper you in the Ear to depart, see that you do not stay four Hours in Grenoble, lest the Fifth should be fatal to you. I have taught you a Business by which you may subsist elsewhere, get you to any other Part of France, but never be seen in this whilst I am living. Upon which the President left them, and returned to the Hall, with as much Temper as if no such Thing had happened.'

When he was departed, the Clerk began to assume Courage, and affected to appear valiant before his Lady, 'What does the Testy Prig mean, says he? Madam, can you tell? Faith he took me at a why not ! naked, without Cloaths and Weapons, or he should have found I was not a Person to be threat'ned at that rate: Gad, I think he is beholding to me rather than any thing else, if the Sot knew when he was well; don't I do his Business for him? I believe he'd find it lie a little too hard upon him if it were not for my Assistance? May-be the wise Fellow knows so much, and has a Mind to wink at the Matter and favour himself; Gad with all my Heart, let him be as cunning as he will for Peter; but then he must not think to Bully me as he does, I bar that, That shall not go into the Bargain, faith.'

Poor Mrs. Ursula, as soon as she had made up her Baggage, departed with weeping Tears, full of wise Reflections at the Baseness and Ingratitude of the World, and much grieved at her Master's Infatuation. The President gave her wherewith to conduct her into Normandy; and Madam la Presidente, affecting a prodigious Piece of Generosity, considering the Injustice she had done her, forgave her; and by her Husband's private Orders, made the old Gentlewoman a Present of a Purse of Money; with a Promise that she would never tell her Fault to any Person, nor should the World be satisfied in the Reason why she went away; that of seeing her Friends in Normandy, being a ready Answer to all impertinent and inquisitive People.

Now did the President's House shine with Lights, Feasts, Musick, Assemblies: He was never seen in so good a Humour. Not a Wife in Grenoble but what envied Madam la Presidente, for having so kind a Husband; He carried on this Course of treating the Town, for above a Month; fixing two Days in a Week, as long as his dear Wife and he lived, one for Musick and Dancing, the other for Cards and Dice, which put the rest of the Ladies upon teizing of their Husbands to follow such a good Example; so that Things seemed to be in a fair Way, that no Day should pass at Grenoble without a Ball or an Assembly at one House or another. Mr. Peter was richly habited, and always made a Figure, by his Master's Indulgence, amongst the Dancers. The President observed, at one of these Meetings, that his dear Spouse did not dance, wherefore he called to Monsieur Poussin to take her out to divert her. This was so extraordinary a Favour, that the young Coxcomb thought immediately all was over, and that surely the Bitterness of Death was past . He imagined that the President had either forgot or forgiven his Trespass, which gave him an Air enjouez. In his Dancing he rose higher than any other, nay, higher than himself had ever done before; so satisfied he was, in the Opinion that his better Stars were in Conjunction, to allow him the Possession of his Mistress, by the Connivance of his Master. When Mr. Peter had finished the Dance, the President, perhaps, not liking the well Performance of his Man, sooner than he intended, doom'd him for fatal Excellence: He called Monsieur Poussin to him, as if he wanted to give him some Orders about the House, and whispered in his Ear, that he should be gone that Minute, and take care not to stay four Hours in Grenoble, if he intended to live the Fifth. Poor Master Peter thrown from a Precipice! cast from all his great Hopes! instantly troop'd off; contented to have preserved his Life from the Storm, though with the Shipwreck of his Love and Fortune.

When the President had done all that was necessary to satisfy his Relations, and Madam la Presidente's with the rest of their Friends and Acquaintance, that he was passionately fond of his Wife; he invited her early one May Morning, being at their Country-Seat, to take a Turn in the Garden, in the Cool, to gather a Sallad, which the Lady was very fond of; but such was the Malignity of that Sallad, after she had eat largely of it, she died in twenty four Hours time! The President lamented her Loss to that degree, that he was inconsolable; her sudden Death was attributed to some baleful Herb that might happen to be in the Sallad, or that it was infected otherwise by the Poyson of some Toad or Spider; but no one guessed at the true Cause; and indeed they must be worse, and more censorious than the Devil himself, that could have suspected a Husband, who bewailed the Loss of his Wife with such immoderate Grief. He fainted at hearing her Name; neither eating nor speaking to any Person in several Days after her Death! Besides, he bestowed upon her the most magnificent Funeral that had ever been seen at Grenoble, and gave away great Charities to pray for her Soul. Thus did this wise Husband revenge himself upon his Enemies, and yet preserved the Honour of his Family unsuspected, and free from Blemish.

'Though Monsieur le President was a Man of Vertue, and had a prodigious Command of his Temper, as may be seen by his Conduct amidst the foregoing Provocations; yet was he nevertheless sure and fatal in his Revenge. Which may very well instruct such Ladies, whose Frailties have come to the Knowledge of their Husbands, how they trust Appearances, or venture to eat Sallads of an injured Spouse's Preparation; since the Offence being immortal, and such a Stain to the Honour of their Family as can never be done away by any other Expiation than their Life: A Man, though perhaps not vindictive, nor cruel in his Nature, is reduced, in Compliance to the received Maxims of the World, either to punish the Infamy of his Wife, or by tolerating Hers, to live in greater Contempt and Infamy himself.

The Happy Fugitives. Novel VI.

When we reflect upon those Examples left us by Antiquity, as well in their Real as Fabulous Histories, we may observe, That Love was quite another thing in the Souls of their Heroins than it is now in ours; what Ariadne, Medea, or Helen, as of old, do now leave their Fathers, Husbands, and Country, to pursue the Fortune of their Lovers, who were not always over grateful for the Favour? Fashions are changed! alas the Time! we speak only of Interest, Portion, Joyntures, Settlements, Separate Maintainance, now a-days! with other worldly Considerations; which clearly proves, that Cupid has either blunted his Darts, or makes them of quite another sort of Stuff. Or, perhaps, he rarely concerns himself in modern Wedlock, where Hymen officiates with his Robes, rather dip'd in Gall than Saffron! This Degeneracy causes us to look upon former Precedents, without Complacency, as if we were Unbelievers. The Constancy and Fortitude of Lovers in ancient Times, instead of raising our Admiration, are called Stale, Romantick Stories, and the Legends of the Nursery: So easy it is to despise what we never intend to imitate.

All this I very well understood when I set my self to draw forth of Obscurity, the true History of our Happy Fugitives. There appears to me something so Heroick, so praise-worthy in their Passion and Perseverence, that however diffident I may be of the Success, from the different Taste of the present Age, I have resolved to pursue the Undertaking.

The History of those Princes who, as well by the Title of Kings as Dukes formerly governed the Realm of Saxony, declare, That Otho the Second of that Name, the first Emperor of Germany that reigned since the Empire failed in the Line of Charles the Great; had, by his Wife Matilda, Daughter of Wittekind King of Saxony, a Son, which succeeded him in the Imperial Crown, call'd Otho the Third; who for his Godlike Disposition, Magnificence, Liberality, Justice, Mercy, and indeed a Complication of all the Vertues, was surnamed by all Men, The Love of the World . But this Monarch, however prosperous in his other Affairs, was, like Augustus, unhappy in those of his own House; for as Octavius had a Julia that poison'd his Delight, Otho had an Adelasia whose Conduct, tho' not unchast as the Daughter of the other Cæsar, seem'd a Counterpoise to the prosperous Fortune of the Emperor her Father. This Princess was the Favourite of Nature, who drew her extremely beautiful, with a Spirit full of Fire, a Greatness of Soul and Heart, in which the God of Love took up his chiefest Residence. There was brought up in the Court with her, a near Relation, youngest Son to the Duke of Saxony, for so I find him styled in History, the Title of King being changed since Otho the Second had marry'd Matilda. I will not trouble my self any further with Affairs of State, than what relates to our own Story. The young Prince was called Hugo Alerane. He was distinguishingly handsome, formed to draw to him the Hearts of the Fair Sex, who doat on Beauty in their Lovers, as much as their Lovers do in them; and are sooner surprized and caught by it, because it is more rarely found amongst them. The next Attractive, in those Days of Chivalry, was Valour and Dexterity in Feats of Arms; in which Alerane outwent all his Cotemporaries. He learnt this Exercises with wondrous Ease, and perform'd them with infinite Applause! He was the Hero of the Age, and the Pride of the Court! his Behaviour was Warlike in the Field; but in the Apartment, Civilized and Soft; so gentle and submissive to the Fair, that he subdu'd them all; and it was his own Fault, that he did not make a terrible Ravage amongst the Ladies that composed that Court. But his Heart, which was the most amorous, was also the most faithful. He had only Eyes for Adelasia, in her Possession he center'd all his Desires. But, alas! what Prospect was there for him? the Cadet of no Potent House, to expect to wed the sole Daughter of the Emperor, who, by the Possession of Italy, was then a much greater Monarch than are the German Cæsar's now. Yet Love inspires Courage. Love never enters the Heart unattended; Hope, Intrepidity, Boldness, Fear, Distrust, Jealousy, Diffidence, Assurance, Presumption, all the Vertues, with not a few of the Vices, make up his Train: And these alternately reign, still subordinate to the greatest of all the Passions, Love.

When Prince Alerane was no more than Seventeen, he happened to signalize himself so fortunately, that by his Valour he saved the Emperor's Life from the Fury of a wild Boar, that had broke the Toyles, and came down upon Otho, who had few Attendants about him, and none of Courage enough to attack the furious Beast; 'till the youthful, intrepid Alerane, reflecting that he was going to preserve the Father of Adelasia, cast himself before that Monarch, and with great Dexterity and Address, maintained a dreadful Combat against the Boar. He had the good Fortune to kill the monstrous Beast, and receive the Emperor's Thanks and Applause; who eagerly embracing him, told all those about him, which were come in at the Report of his Danger, that Alerane had preserved him from Death; for which, let the Cause be what it would, and the Consequence the same, he should always remember he owed him a Life, and would accordingly repay it.

From that moment there was nothing talked of at Court but the Valour and Success of Alerane. The Emperor was fond before of his Kinsman, but he now doated upon his Preserver; the Court made it their Business to play in the same Beams of Sunshine that the Monarch encircled him with. It grew the Fashion to imitate Alerane, who tho', indeed, a very beautiful Original, yet Court-Parasites, having Regard to no other Merit than Favour, often expose themselves by aping the Unworthy, as now, for once, they happened to recommend themselves by copying after the Worthy.

Adelasia, who had a Heart like the rest of her Sex, tho' more tender, wherein there was a Void for good Report and the Opinion of others, thought it a most agreeable Piece of Flattery to find her Judgment eccho'd by all the World. When Love is but in the beginning, certainly nothing strengthens it more, than the Approbation our Friends seem to have of the Merit of the Person we love. The fair Princess, who was born under an amorous Constellation, found something so worthy her Heart in the Merit and Person of Alerane, that she held her self excused for that sweet Violence by which she found it impossible to withhold hers from him. Love had, by Alerane's Beauty, prepared the Toils, and so entangled her Breast, that she knew not how to extricate herself; Love never presented her the least Taste of Pleasure, but what was said or done by her Lover. Love made Harmony of all his Words, and Discord of whatever was spoke by others. Alerane, who was under the Tuition of the same Deity, learn'd Penetration from him; he taught him to discover the Distemper of the Princess. Tho' that God is said to be blind, he lends either Eyes or Instinct to the Lover, to know when he is beloved. As Alerane's Looks were never from Adelasia, he saw those Glances which, by Stealth, she continually shot towards him; wherein sometimes there appear'd Joy, Fire, Love, and then an alternative of Sadness which would raise and fall her young Breasts with Sighs, in a Manner which Persons indifferent are never affected with. Adelasia, floating on the tempestuous Sea of Passion, guided by a Master who is too often pleased with the Shipwreck of those whom he conducts; was withheld by Shame and Modesty, which, like a Veil, covers, or ought to cover, the Desires of those Virgins who would preserve their Fame; and are to be either the Ornament or Blemish of their Race.

Tormented with unspeakable Grief, subdued by the immoderate Rage of Love, vanquished by powerful Inclination, yet offended with her own Desires, began to bewail her Misery, and say to her self, as she was alone in her Closet, 'Ah! what God is this that is entred into my Breast, and by his omnipotent Power, hitherto utterly unknown to me, creates a Forgetfulness or Abhorrence of whatever was wont to entertain and delight me? from whence comes this Alteration and new Desires? I now court only Solitude, unless Alerane be by! and rather chuse to live alone upon the Contemplation of his Charms, than to be in the midst of all the Delights and Glory of the Court without him. How can I resist the Force of Love? to whom so many Kings, so many Queens, so many wise Men, in all Ages, have paid their Homage, even to the degree of Slavery? To love is the Work but of a Moment, and to which there goes only the imaginary Perfections of the Person beloved! Oh all powerful Passion! how much art thou and thy Force superior to that of Friendship? which must be rear'd with Difficulty, sustain'd by Services, and subsisted by a long Course of Merit and Benefits. Oh Alerane! Alerane! how hast thou reduc'd the greatest Princess of the World to doat upon a Subject? A poor Prince without Possessions! most certain it is, the Emperor will never approve this Marriage; but what are Parents, Empires and Crowns to Love? What Pleasures, what Poignancy is there in any other Enjoyment, compared to what we find in Love? Love is so far from submitting himself to the Sway of Kindred, that, like an absolute Monarch, he disdains to be controul'd in his exorbitant Desires, even by his own Friends and Admirers, much less will he endure the Dominion of his Adversaries. If I lose the Hopes of possessing Alerane, I lose the Means of Living, and what will my Obedience avail, when I am dead, and can taste no Fruit of my Duty? better live and enjoy the charming Alerane! Let the worst that will, befal me, I can but wander a Vagabond, a Fugitive, with lovely Alerane! Say, that the Emperor cast me out, will not Love take in? Love will sweeten all my Toils, and with the Riches of his abundant Treasure, cause me, his Favourite, to swim in an Ocean of Delight; for how can it be otherwise, when Alerane is Adelasia's? without him all is Poverty and Horror! no Rest, no Ease, no Pleasure, no Life without my Alerane! Fortune, I must try whether thou wilt join thy self with Love to assist me: If thou dost refuse me, Death is the last Remedy, which I will hastily embrace, when I cannot effect my Desires, and possess the charming Alerane!

The Princess, impatient of the Fire which raged in her Breast so much more fiercely, as it was pent up and had not received the least Air by imparting it, not even to the Person that had kindled the Flame; consulting her native Courage, by the Assistance of Love, she rejected the Thoughts of Shame or Fear, and resolved to discourse the Prince, to see if his Heart were inclin'd to make her any Returns of Passion.

Whilst she was forming this Resolution, she saw one Morning, from her Closet-Window, Alerane in a pensive Posture, his Arms folded, his Eyes sometimes cast up to Heaven, walking in an Alley that led into a little Labyrinth which was the most retir'd Part of all the Garden. Adelasia was unwilling to lose that Opportunity which Fortune seemed to send her. The Emperor was not in the Palace, and most of her Ladies employed in dressing themselves for a Ball that was to be danced that Night. She stole down by the Back-stairs, with a Book in her Hand, alone into the Garden, as sometimes she had been used to do, and forbid any one to follow her. Fetching a Compass, she entred the Labyrinth by another Path, and soon knew where to find her beloved Prince by his Complainings. As he imagined himself alone, he spake thus, in a Voice interrupted by Sighs, 'Oh Love! why have the Poets feigned the Amours of Jupiter, Apollo and Mars, but that we may know thy Power to be so great, that the Gods themselves have felt thy Force, and that thou art invincible and inevitable? If sometimes Princes are excused for loving mean Beauties ignobly born, why should I be condemned for loving the Daughter of the greatest House in Europe? Since our Original is one, do we not spring from the same Blood and Family? but what Regard hath Love to Dignities or Distinction? Speak, Alerane, throw away that foolish Shame that stands between thee and thy most prosperous Hopes; all thy Stars deceive thee, or she loves thee, Alerane; remove from thee, my Heart, the Fear of Danger! what greater Glory canst thou pursue, than that which darts from her lovely Eyes? what Conquest can be half so inestimable as the Treasure of her Love?' The Princess, transported at this Discovery, well knowing the Value of Royal Moments, would lose no time but advanced to the Place where he was lying, and threw her self down by him. Alerane was so surprized at her Sight, that in some time he could not recover the use of his Tongue; but kneeling at her Feet, and kissing her fair Hand, 'Ah, my Princess! said the passionate Alerane, who would have thought, that a Blessing so long desired, should, now it is before me, take from me the very Power of gazing on, or even speaking to the Person I adore?'

It would be endless to relate all the Discourse of these Lovers; her Objections against the Inconstancy of Men; Alerane's Vows of perpetual Fidelity; their mutual Assurances of Love, and Promise to improve every Opportunity to their Satisfaction. But in a few Days, Alerane had so well disposed the Heart of the fond Maid, that after they had interchanged Vows of Marriage, they agreed, in Pilgrims Weeds, to leave the Court and Empire to wander into some remote Corner of the Earth, where they should be all Things to one another.

Alerane prepar'd That which was necessary for their Flight with secresy and expedition, taking what Money and Jewels he had, he met his dear Princess in the Labyrinth, and from thence, one fatal Night, set forward upon their intended Pilgrimage.

As our youthful Lovers had not trusted the Secret to any Person, they could not be betray'd. Her Hair was most remarkably fine: She cut off those beauteous Tresses that use to be adorned with the richest Jewels, and took an ordinary Pilgrim's Habit, which lay ready for her in a Wood to which Alerane conducted her. There, in a Hole which he had ready dug, they threw in the Cloaths that they wore, with her fine flaxen Hair, before they put on their Disguise, and hasted on their Way. As Princess's have not the Keeping of their own Jewels, and that Adelasia was forced to steal out in her Undress, suffering her self to be put to Bed, that her People might be dismiss'd; so she set out upon that Warfare, without any Supply for what Necessaries they might want. A Ring or two, of no great Value, was upon her Finger; all the Treasure she had, but her infinite and inexhaustible Stock of Love, with which she was plentifully provided, to resist the rude Assaults of Fortune.

Can it be deny'd, That Love, which is born almost as soon as we, is a principal Part of our Essence, and very Being? That nothing can come in comparison with the Force and Vigour of that Passion! Conducted only by that divine Instinct, the Daughter of so great a Prince, could wander like a Futigive in disguise, poorly cloath'd, to prove the Perils and Fatigues of Life; the Intemperance of the Air; the Danger of Robbers: To feel the Bitterness of Travel, never tasted before; the Rage of Hunger; the intolerable Alteration of Thirst; the scorching Summer's Heat, and the shuddering Cold of Winter's Snow; the benumbing Quality of Frost and Ice: To be wet with driving Rain; and shaken with Blasts and Storms undauntedly. This evidently shews, That Love has a greater Excellence in it than other Passions; That he is all sufficient for the Happiness of his Votaries; or, That they, who are under his Dispensation, are out of the Number of reasonable Creatures.

This Princess pursuing her Flight to Italy with her beloved Alerane, was more healthful and satisfied, than when she was in the Midst of all the Delights of her Father's Court. She had extorted a Vow from him, which he religiously kept, not to attempt her Honour, or press for the least unchast Favour, 'till Hymen should make him the lawful Proprietor of her Charms! It is strange to consider, That two Persons so young, and entirely possess'd by Love, as to abandon all for his sake, to chuse the Extreams of Want and Contempt, could so far moderate their Desires, as to deny themselves the Bliss they mutually languish'd for. But Adelasia was educated with the strictest Sense of Vertue: She preferr'd her Chastity to her Life: And Alerane valued her Commands, and his Obedience, beyond every Thing. He would allow himself no greater Liberty than kissing her Hand, or touching it when he was to assist her in her Travel, lest a Spark should set on Fire the whole Building, and grow beyond his Power to extinguish or asswage.

Let us now leave our fair Pilgrims without any vow'd Devotion, unless to that little blind Deity that closes up the Eyes of his Votaries, who, darkling, follow his Traces, often to their own Destruction; and look back to the Imperial Court, where, the next Day, they miss'd the Princess! Her Women-attendants shriek'd, and wept so outragiously, that the Emperor, tho' he himself was confounded at her Flight, could not but pity what they endur'd. That Monarch, mov'd with Grief, Anger and Shame, caus'd every Place in the Court to be strictly search'd, but all in vain. At length, being told, that Prince Alerane was also missing; he immediately suspected, that it was He which had stolen away his Daughter; which had put him into such a Rage and Frenzy, as surpass'd the Bounds of Reason. 'Ah Traytor! cry'd that good Emperor, Is this the Reward of all my Favours and Affection? This the Return of the Honours I had in store for thee? I was more to thee than thy Father; for in loving thee as well, I had also the Will and Power to advance thee beyond what thy own natural Parent could do. Ah, Fugitive! Do not think to escape that Righteous Vengeance reserv'd in Store for disobedient, rebellious Subjects, and wicked Children. If I am so happy to get you once in my Power, I swear by the mighty God, thou shalt die in Torments; that Posterity may take the Punishment I will inflict on thee, as a Warning how they imitate such monstrous Crimes as thine. And thou, unkind Daughter, shall sorely feel what it is to abuse an indulgent Father, whose Soul was wrapt up in thee; and who can now no longer remember thee but as a Reprobate to Duty, Honour, Fame, and Royalty.'

After Otho's first Fury was a little abated, he sent to the Duke of Saxony to search if his Traiterous Son had carried the Emperor's stolen Daughter into his Territories; but receiving no Satisfaction at all from thence, because the Duke had not heard the least News of Alerane, Otho dispatch'd Couriers to all the Courts in Christendom to Reclaim this fugitive Pair, wherever they should happen to refuge; not once supposing they would leave the Manner of their Birth, in which they had been educated, and where they might easily be discovered, to herd among the Dregs of the People, as, for their Safety, they wisely chose to do. Further, he caused to be proclaimed in all the Towns of his Dominions, a great Reward to whoever should give notice of these young Wanderers, describing their Persons, and the Garments they were supposed to fly away in. But he gain'd no more by this Attempt, than by the other Two; which certainly may be thought the Permission of God, That the Enterprize of these rash Lovers; The Disobedience and Rebellion of a Subject; with the Breach of Duty in a Child, might meet with sufficient Mortification, by the very same Means which they proposed to taste the greatest Felicity: As if it were to demonstrate to us, that oftentimes the highest Punishment for mortal Man, is, to have the Enjoyment of his own Desires.

These two Fugitives continuing in their Pilgrims-weed, avoided all Cities, Towns, and great Villages; getting their Sustenance, such as they could buy, from lone Houses and small Cottages, seated remote from the high Road; having heard of the Reward was offered for finding them, which had been proclaim'd, by Sound of Trumpet, in all the Emperor's Territories.

With chearfulness they proceeded on their Journey, purposing, when they arriv'd at the fruitful Plains of Lombardy, to purchase some little Habitation, with what Wealth Alerane had brought, and there to apply themselves to some Way of Livelyhood, such as they might learn from their poor Neighbours. The Princess resolved to get Silk-worms; she had heard the Inhabitants of that fruitful Country apply'd themselves to that Manufacture; and she was not less Ingenious, but rather more than other Women. Alerane would keep Cattle, or dig; or by any other laborious Method, preserve to themselves that precious Liberty they had so dearly bought; still talking of the Reward of all his Toils, which he was to meet in the Arms of his charming Princess: And she promis'd to delay their mutual Happiness no longer than they could procure a Priest to marry them. But alas! whilst they were pleasing themselves with these golden Dreams, they were met by Robbers, who strip'd Alerane to his Shirt and Drawers; and they were going to serve the Princess in the same Manner, if other Passengers had not fortunately travel'd that Way, who being more numerous, the Thieves betook themselves to Flight, carrying these poor Lovers whole Estate with them in Alerane's Cloaths; for the Princess had also given him her Rings, lest, wandering in such obscure Ways, and resting in homely Cottages, the Clowns might, from those Jewels, imagine, that they were of a higher Rank than they desired to be thought. Those Persons, who reliev'd our Fugitives from the further Cruelty of the Rogues, were Merchants trading to Lyons; Men, full of Humanity; who supply'd Alerane with odd Cloaths to cover his naked Body, and gave them some small Stock of Money, which brought them to Liguria . When That was spent, These two poor King's Children were forced to beg, and ask Bread for God's sake, to sustain their unfortunate Life. They were enter'd into the Desarts between Aost and Savoy, furnish'd with dark and mighty Forests, which struck Horror into the Minds of these two miserable Lovers, who had not been used to such a frightful Solitude.

Alerane was ready to die away with Sorrow; not for the Distress himself was reduced to, through his own Folly; but for the Anguish he saw the lovely Princess endure. He therefore conjur'd her to return to her Dignity and Royal Father, where he knew she must be well receiv'd: He beg'd her, at the next Town, to give him up; and declare him to be, as he intended to own himself, the Person who had stole her away without her Knowledge and Consent. 'I would, with delight, my dear Queen, continu'd the wretched Alerane, give my Life to preserve yours. One of us may be sav'd by the Means I propose: Perhaps both. The Emperor will, possibly, be satisfied with perpetual Imprisonment for my Offence: However, the most valuable Jewel will be certainly preserv'd! Here, we must equally perish with Want and Hunger; or, perhaps, be devour'd by wild Beasts, in these huge Forests, of which we know neither the Nature nor the Extent. It may be some Merit, towards my Royal Uncle, when you shall tell him, I have not presum'd to violate his Daughter's Chastity.' The Princess would not suffer him to proceed; but, with much Discretion, seeing the bitter Anguish of his Soul, she strove to comfort him; and, putting on a smiling Countenance, tho' her Heart was deeply sunk in Sorrow, 'How, my dearest Husband, said she to him, do you think that Fortune either is, or ought to be, favourable only to Persons of high Birth? Why should that exempt us from proving her Inconstancy? especially, if we put our selves in the Road of her Displeasure, and give her an Opportunity to toss us with the rest of her fantastick Balls. Are not great Ships sooner lost in the vast and raging Sea, than in calm Rivers? Behold we not the tallest Trees, whose Tops almost reach the Clouds, which crown and adorn the Hills and Mountain, sooner shaken with stormy Blasts, than low ignoble Shrubs, situate in the humble Vale? Have we forgot those Histories we used to read, with so much delight, in the Emperor's Court? Remember how they describe the Change of Monarchies; the Fall of some Empires, and the Rise of others upon their Ruin! What Prince, what Mortal was always happy? Or did not, sometimes, think themselves miserable? Alas, my Love, we have offended; and let us submit to the Chastisement of Heaven, without repining. If we bear this Rod with Fortitude, and take this Correction as humble Criminals; God may, in his good Time, put an End to our Misfortunes, and say, we have endured enough, for he never forsakes his Creatures; such, especially, who rely on his Providence, and with an intrepid Mind, not wearied by Perseverance, depend upon his infinite Goodness and Mercy. This, my dear Alerane, I speak to thee as a Christian; but, as a Lover, I am most happy, and so esteem my self, having the Presence of him I love, in which I can only taste delight; wherein there is a Fulness of all Things; in the Possession of whom, I have no leisure to think of my other Wants. I feel none, whilst I see thy Face, and hear thy Voice; nor fear I any Thing but a Separation from thee: If we must die, let it be together: If here our Days must end, as soon, almost, as they are begun; then there is a Ceasing from our Misfortunes: Our Fears and Wants shall trouble us no more.'

Alerane, hearing the Princess's wise Discourse, thus answer'd her with Sighs: 'Ah, my Queen! in Beauty and Wit incomparable! I know the Inconstancy of Fortune, and do not repine against her for my self: But good God, said he, embracing her in his Arms, it is for you, Madam, that my Soul suffers Torment. I caus'd you to forsake your Father's Empire, with a Kingdom for your Dowry: A Monarch for your Husband: To taste a new and horrible Destiny, Famine and Thirst, in these Desarts and wild Woods. I have join'd your Fate to that of a devoted Wretch, who can administer nothing for your Consolation but Sighs, Groans, and Tears! O God most High and Powerful! how profound and dark are thy Judgments? how righteous thy Justice? I acknowledge my Offences to be the just Cause of thy Anger, and the Original of our Sufferings. Who could so wickedly betray a Monarch, at whose Hand I receiv'd nothing but Good? Who showred upon me Honours and Riches! who lov'd me next this his only Daughter! O Emperor Otho! thou art too well revenged upon a Ravisher, a Monster! With Cowardice, with Fraud and deep Deceit, I betray'd thy unsuspecting Goodness, and deluded away thy Child, the Hope and Comfort of thy Age.'

As he was persevering in his Complaints, Adelasia, with a Spirit worthy imitation, pull'd him by the Sleeve, and said, 'My Lord, It is time to consider our present Affairs; and, not to waste your self in unavailing Lamentations, we have Travel'd far, and have nothing to eat; let us see what this Forest can supply us with, if you would not have your dear Adelasia die before your Face, by Famine.' At these Words, she rais'd her self from the Ground, and gave her Hand to the afflicted Alerane, who, through her Instigations, bounded more lightly from the Earth, and was resolved to range the Forest in quest of whatever might allay his Adelasia's Hunger. But no sooner had they put themselves in a Posture, Arm in Arm, to prosecute their Design, but they were stop'd by the Figure of a Reverend Hermit; his Beard reaching to his Knees, his Fore-head was bald, the rest of his Hair was Snowy White; which shews us, that Nature soonest depopulates the Honours of the Head, and leaves a withered driness to succeed; whilst to any extremity of old Age, the Beard ceases not to preserve it self in a venerable Station.

This awaken'd our youthful Lovers into a Reverence of that sanctified Figure; the Hermit feebly supported himself with his Crutch, and seem'd almost unable to proceed in the Path he was in; as if extream old Age and Sickness shook the Hour-Glass before him, to shew him that there was not much more of his mortal Sand to run.

Alerane and Adelasia, the one habited in a Pilgrim's Garb, the other in a Medly of what had been bestowed upon him by the generous Merchants, kneel'd at the Reverend Hermit's Feet, as if they expected from his Hand, though an unknown one, the Redress of all their Misfortunes; and as they kneel'd they wept with a Profusion of Tears, especially Alerane, who was deeply touched beyond what Adelasia express'd, but more for the Misfortunes of the Princess than his own. The Reverend Father, who had not many Hours to waste, bless'd those his good Children. He told them he had overheard all their Discourse, and bid them follow him, which they joyfully did, though Pace by Pace, and forbore, by their Inquisitiveness or impertinent Curiosity and Questions, to interrupt the good Father, 'till he was arrived to the Mouth of the Cell, where two fair spreading Ash-Trees, made a clean and commodious Shade; where was a Bench, upon which the Hermit seated Adelasia and himself; bidding the youthful Alerane go far into his Cave, by such Directions, and bring forth what God, Nature, and good Fortune had provided to his Hand, that the young Lady might eat and live! This Provision consisted of Forest-Fruits, Nuts and Apples, with a little Reservatory, in Case of extream Sickness and Distress, of some of the Vaudois Wine, and a few Conserves made in the proper Season; together with some Branches of Almonds, and Bunches of Raisins. Our two poor King's Children, who had been wand'ring like the Children in the Wood, had not in a long time met so delicious a Repast; which when the Hermit had bless'd, they freely regaled themselves with; though he, poor Man, with a visible Decay, could touch little himself, telling them that his End was near approaching, that his last Hour-drove fast upon him; however he bless'd God that had left him Strength enough, in his latest Minute, to do the good Work which he found they stood in need of, for he had overheard all their Discourse in the Forest, and was desirous of joining their Hands in Holy Matrimony e're he died, having been vow'd a Priest before he had turned Hermit. But first he sollicited them to a devout Confession of their Sins, which poor Souls, were no other than a passionate and innocent Love of one another; which, they so well expressed to the good Father, that he admired their holy Abstinence when all Nature was in their Power; Adelasia's exacting Alerane's Oath, for the Preservation of her Chastity, and Alerane's Religious performance of his Oath to Adelasia. The good Hermit gave them the Nuptial Benediction, and also bless'd the Genial Bed; wishing he had Strength enough to travel into Germany, there to recount to the Emperor the Adventures of his Children, in hopes of reconciling him to their Youth; but as that was impossible to his decaying Strength, he led them into his spacious Cave, where were several Chambers designed by Nature, and, as it is supposed, perfected by Art, when in the time of Persecution by the Roman Emperors, Christians were driven by whole Families, to secure themselves in Holes, in Dens, in Cells, and Caverns under Ground, from their Tyranny and beastly Cruelty.

The good Father, after a little Repose upon his Bed of Goat-Skin and dry'd Leaves of Trees; told them, 'He had been a Sinner like them, he meant a Lover, adoring one of the most beauteous of her Sex, but the most frail: That in his prosperous Days he was stiled Prince of Salerno, a Province in Italy, and betrothed to the Daughter of the Prince of Tarentum, whom through many Adventures and Atchievements he had won; but that stealing up a pair of back-Stairs the Night before his intended Nuptials, in search of his Bride, who had unaccountably deserted the Feast and Ball; he found her on her Bed in the height of Enjoyment, clasp'd in the Arms of a beautiful Morosco Slave. Unable to behold my Dishonour, said the Hermit, I approached the Bed, stuck the Varlet with my Poinard in his Back, and through him to the Princess, before they discovered me; after which, I voluntarily renounced the World, and took Orders in a Convent, which yet seemed not strict enough for the Pennance I had enjoined my self for the heinous Sin of Murder. At length, by often frequenting this Desart-Forest, it was my good Fortune to discover this Cave; to which having transported at times, my most valuable Books, and Manuscripts, with those few Necessaries which Life cannot be without, I reposed my self in Penitence, for my past Offences, and to bewail the Object of my unsuccessful Love. Here I have remained five and forty Years; here I cannot remain much longer. Oh Prince! I will conduct you to the Place, where with my own Hands I have dug my Grave; when I have surrendred my mortal Breath, you will have nothing to do, but in this very Habit I wear, to throw me into the Hole already made, and to cover me with a little common Dust. To reward your Pains, distrustful as I was (Heaven forgive me) of the Care of Providence, I made a Provision of Gold against the Danger of an adverse Hour, which as yet I have never, Thanks to the same Providence, stood in need of. Fair Princess! I have reserved it to a happy End, which, though small as it is, may serve to buy your Highness necessary Linnen, and those Indispensables that belong to young Women, though in never so abject a Fortune; and if you persevere in that Heroick Constancy, which erst I heard you express to your noble Lord, and that Content of Mind in being satisfied with Things only necessary; here may you refuge your selves, 'till the cruel Persecution that threatens you be past. And forasmuch, as my little Stock cannot pretend to support you, and is but just sufficient to furnish you with Indispensables, if you will prove the Happiness of an humble Life, and how sweet that Morsel is that is eaten in the Sweat of our Brows, where neither Vanity nor Superfluity intrude, where if we are seized by hasty Death, we have little to be accountable for. Oh Daughter! chaste as the Primitive Virgin Martyrs! O Son! Pure in the midst of the hottest Temptations, for such are the Eyes and Charms of this beauteous Princess! Be assured, Heaven will reward your Vertue, and in his good hour deliver you from your Distress and reward your Perseverance! Here, by my Instructions, may you practice the Art of felling Wood, and curing Charcoal, which, if you purchase an Ass, you may vend on Market-Days at Aost, and Chamberry, and support the Life of your Self, your Wife and Family, without ever mingling with the World, or knowing again the Mortification of falling from a high Condition.'

Adelasia perswaded, by what the Hermit had said, found Rhetorick sufficient to make Alerane relish the wholesome Advice of this holy Hermit; he shewed them a little flourishing Garden behind his Grotto, which he had cultivated with his own withered Hands, wherein were to be found Herbs, Roots, Sallads, and whatever was necessary to a recluse Life, beside various Flowers to delight the Eye and Smell; for the Hermit was an incomparable Florist by Nature and Inclination; of these he gathered, assisted by Alerane who yet knew not his Intention, the most flourishing and fragrant to strow the Nuptial Bed. The good old Man consecrated a Bowl of Wine, to their future Offspring; and retiring to his own humble Couch, left the happy Lovers in something a better Situation than his own, to taste more Delight, than, without themselves, they could have found in the Palace of the Emperor.

Alerane, habited in Trowsers, and a blue Shirt, now called William of the Wood, went to Aost on the Market-day, and with the Hermit's Money, bought Joan his Wife, some Linnen for Smocks and Dressings. She could work very well, though she was a Princess; and made her Husband some white Shirts to lie in, a Nights, and wear on Sundays and Holy-days, when he did not work in his Vocation. He purchased also an Ass to carry his Charcoal, and two She-goats; these he brought home to his Princess, who by Practice, soon found the way to milk them. William also bought Conveniencies beyond what the Hermit was contented with, as Sheets and Bedding, with some Earthen Platters, and Boxen Spoons; for that devout Soul's whole Patrimony, besides his Books, consisted only of a Wooden Dish, and a Pot to boil his Roots. William grew wily, and set Gins for Beasts, and Snares for Birds, so that his little Kitchen was seldom unsupply'd. Joan dress'd their Provision with wondrous cleanness and savouriness; sometimes, by the help of an Italian Grey-hound which one Day followed William from Chamberry, they catch'd Hares, Rabits, and Partridges. None lived more plentiful, and more at ease than these happy Refugees; 'till Death took from them the good old Hermit, who seemed to grudge himself the Happiness he tasted in their vertuous Company, which he said was too much Pleasure for a Life devoted to Penitence. They buried him as he had requested, in the Grave made by his own pious Hands; which Adelasia strew'd with Flowers and Sweets, as he had done her Nuptial Bed, lamenting him as their Benefactor, without whose Kindness they had perished in the Wilderness, and over whose Grave they shed Tears, and made an Oration on his Vertues.

I had forgot to tell you, a limpid Brook ran close by the Cave, whose delicious Streams served as well for Pleasure as for Use. In William's recess from his Trade, he would entertain his beloved Joan, with the Happiness of their Condition; which, as he own'd, was all due to the Magnanimity of her Spirit, when his was ready to sink under their Misfortunes. The Hermit's Library was of excellent Use, being furnish'd with the choicest Pieces to entertain the immortal Mind, which loves not to rest it self always on the Enjoyment of Things below. William grew very expert in his Business, very diligent, and very apt; he never went to Market to vend his Coals, but he always returned with something that he thought might be acceptable to his Wife, Fruit or Fish, or what he imagined she could like: And now she was near her Lying-in, he hired a little Maiden from a Neighbouring Village, to be her Servant, the Daughter of a mean Cottager, to wash her Linnen, and tend the Child. In the poor Hermit's Apartment they had a small Bed set up, which was called the Nursery. The Cave spread far under Ground, was spacious and commodious, and though William throve, and laid up Money, and might have taken a little House upon the Skirts of the Forest, yet would not Adelasia be perswaded to leave this Place of Security, which had first taken her in, whilst she was most wretched, and where she found greater Satisfaction than she had done in all her Father's Court.

Here William the Collier, and Joan his dear Wife, learn'd to forget that they had ever known a higher, since a less happy Condition. Here they enjoyed their Fill of Love, sweeten'd by the Toils of his necessary Occupation, which more endear'd their Delights. Laziness spoils the Blood, and depraves the Taste. The extream Idle have no Goust to any Thing but sauntering, which more effectually wearies the Mind and Body than Exercise and Toil. Adelasia, employed her self, during her Husband's absence, in the necessary Care of his Children; to keep all Things neat and clean, and in providing a homely, comfortable Meal against his coming home, always sweet'ned by chearfulness, and her own lovely Looks, which suffered no alteration, neither from Habit, nor any Circumstance of their Condition. Once indeed an Incident happened, which, for a Moment, thrust between Them and Happiness, or might have done so, if Alerane had been less assured of the Vertue of Adelasia.

A great Lord of Lombardy crossing those Forests, upon some pursuit, lighted upon our beauteous Princess, in an extream hot Day; she was under one of those delicious Shades, which the spreading Trees, had, as it were, artificially, yet naturally made, to keep out the scorching Sun; her lovely flaxen Hair, now grown almost to its first length, was ty'd back only with a scarlet Band; her Russet Dress extream neat, and tightly fitted to her delicate Waste; the Petticoat, according to the Fashion of the Boors, not lower than the Calf of the Leg, her Neck uncovered, for near her lay the white Handkerchief that kept her too hot; her green Stockings, and red Garters, with Slippers rather than Shoes, for such the Vaudois wear at home, were of white Leather bound with scarlet, which shewed her little Foot and high Instep to advantage.

Thus array'd, with that heavenly Face, sparkling Eyes, and dazzling Complexion, no wonder the hasty Traveller stopt to gaze. It was only due to her Obscurity, and her being conceal'd from the Sight of all the World, that she was left so much at her Ease, undisturb'd with the impertinent Sollicitation of Lovers. This Count, struck with her Beauty, alighted from his Horse, and holding the Bridle in his Hand, he came up to her, 'What have we here, he cry'd? are these Shades inhabited by Nymphs or Fairies? This must certainly be no mortal Creature, especially of the Boorish Race!' Adelasia arose, with a Stature and Mien that in any Habit was able, like Minerva, to beget Reverence: She asked his Business, and let him know, those Words of his were not Toys to amuse a Mind like hers. The Count, who was as full of himself as most Men of Quality, resolved to revenge, in a sweet Way, the little Respect shew'd to his Person, and which Lords but rarely dispense with: He ty'd his Horse to a Tree, and came, without any Forms, to ruffle and kiss the lovely Rustick; he even distress'd her Vertue by his superior Force, so that she was reduced to suffer many Indecencies from him. He paid himself with a thousand melting Kisses; he was resolved to overcome, and push'd her to that Extremity, that she was constrained to cry out; which she would not have done, if she could have defended herself; knowing, none but her Sweet William to be in hearing, who was at a Cole-work just by. She feared his Life might be, perhaps, endanger'd by that Person of Quality, such he appeared to be. Alerane knew the dear Voice of his Wife; and seeing her in the Embraces of a Gentleman-Russian, with the Bill he had in his Hand, like a right Italian Husband, he fell'd him at a Blow. Adelasia, with an incomparable presence of Mind, at the same time seizing her Adversary's Sword, went to thank her Deliverer. The Prince argued with his Wife, that the best way, now he was fall'n, was to dispatch him, lest, being a Person of Quality, as he appeared to be, who always despise and insult the Boors, he might hereafter return with Force to revenge himself. But Adelasia, who was contented with her Deliverance, and would not mingle Cruelty with any of her Actions, persuaded her Husband to desist. Coming to the Stranger, who stood in need of their Assistance to raise him, she let him know, in such a handsome manner as was unexceptionable, that he had drawn that Affront upon himself, and had therefore none else to complain of; so that he seem'd to acquiesce in what she said, and ask'd her pardon, with something less of Pride than is usually shewn to Persons, as they think, so far beneath them. In getting on Horseback, he told her, he could not so easily forget that Rascal; and were it not for her sake, he would revenge the Injury. But he was contented to depart, and our happy Lovers heard no more of their Enemy.

Many long Years dwelt our Happy Fugitives in this humble Manner, and had several Children; they wish'd no Alteration, and only seemed to fear that mortal Hour which should one Day divide them from each other. The Princess used to say, That as she had never known true Pleasure in this World if she had not left it, so she could not have expected Happiness in the Life hereafter, if she had not retired from this below. Here, she said, there was no Temptation to Evil; they had no Passion unconquered but Love, which is no Crime in the Marry'd State, but rather a Vertue; no darling Sin, or fashionable Desire, to clog their Soul, and molest the Joy of Retirement! No Ambition, nor vain Desire of Grandeur! without Envy to their Neighbours, for they liv'd alone, without the Temptation of Slandering, for the very same Reason. Neither Avarice nor Covetousness, Extravagance nor Licentiousness, knew the Way to their Dwelling; all was calm and regular. The Prince, taught first by Nature, learnt the rude way, next by Art, to cut his Wood, to make ready his Pits, and to know the Season and Time when his Coals were burnt enough; so that William of the Wood's Ware was always preferred at Market before any others. He was in the Strength of his Youth; join to which, his good Will and Desire to feed and cloath his Family, that caused him to dispatch an incredible deal of Business. Custom had made his Body robust; he was naturally vigorous; and became stronger by Toil and Labour, which was ever sweetned to him by the Charms and endearing Goodness of his Wife, in whom there was never found any peevish Humours; no cross, disdainful, or reproachful Answers, no intolerable Headach, or a restless Je ne sçai quoy; no Spleen, nor Vapours; she enjoyed Health, and all she desired in William. Neither was William sated by Possession, nor abated in his Estimation of that Happiness Joan's Charms bestowed upon him; nor was his Temper snappish, surly, or furious; he had no Passion but Love, nor had Business, or want of Conversation, made him ungentle or Boorish. What Time he had to bestow, from the Business of his Trade, he shared with dear Joan his Wife, in Educating their Children, and teaching them to read. He Taught his eldest Son to write; the Lad was now grown tall, and serviceable to his Father; he help'd him in his Cole-work, and used oftentimes to go to Market. One Day, he stay'd to see a Nobleman fly his Hawks; and nothing would serve young Beraldus but he must buy one, and learn to hawk too. When he had sold his little Merchandize at Aost, he purchased a Hawk, and brought it home, shewing his Father how the Nobleman made use of his. The Stripling could not stifle the Ardour he felt in himself, from the Royalty of his Blood; he did not like to live in the Woods, and hated the Occupation of a Collier. The good Man, his Father, gently rebuked his Son when he brought home the Hawk, and said, Such Sports did not belong to Men of their Degree; that his Mother and himself had much ado to live and bring up their seven Sons, without bestowing their Money upon such Trifles.

Some considerable time after, Beraldus being now at the Age of Sixteen, went to Chamberry (in those Days the Metropolis of Savoy, where the Emperors sometimes kept their Court) to sell his Coals, as usual, for now they had two Asses, and always sent them well loaden. Beraldus had made a very good Market; and at his Return, as he was driving his Beasts to go towards home, he stopt at a Cutler's Shop, where he saw a Gentleman cheapning and proving Swords, intending to buy one. Beraldus's Heart fluttered at the glittering Weapon; he thought all would be well, could he have a Sword for himself, but was afraid his Father would be angry with him if he bought one. Being told by the Cutler, that every Man ought to furnish himself with Arms, and go to the Wars; for the Hungarians were entred Italy with great Force, and the Emperor was preparing to follow them with a vast Army, to oblige them to leave his Territories. This, as young Beraldus thought, was a sufficient Excuse for him to make to his Father; and praying the Gentleman, who was mightily taken with the Lad, to chuse him a good Sword and Belt, he drew out from his Leathern Pouch wherewith to pay for both: So buckling on his Belt, away he went driving his Asses home; all the Road looking how fine he was, and taking great Delight in Laying his Hand upon the Pomel, and feeling the End of the Sword clap to his Legs.

Poor Alerane, when he saw his Son so Equip'd, went to find out the Princess, and saying to her apart, with Tears in his Eyes, 'Our Child, Beraldus, hath bought himself a Sword! Oh, unhappy Lad, that thy Parents hard Fortune should prove so injurious to Thee! Neither their Poverty, nor thy wretched Education and vile Place of Birth and Breeding, can extinguish in thee, those immortal Sparkles and rising Brightness, derived to thee from the Vertue of thy Royal Ancestors; this is a Prediction of thy future Courage and Valour, if Fortune do but favour thee with an Opportunity, and call thee forth to some lucky Action.' However, for that time, Alerane feign'd himself very angry with young Beraldus, and threatned him severely if ever he did any thing like it more, charging him, next Market-day, to carry home the Sword and Belt, and fetch his Mony back, or never see his Face again. The Lad disdained to do a thing, as he thought, so unworthy of his Spirit; resenting the opprobious Terms in which his Father had spoke to him, sorely reflecting upon their base Birth and Poverty; he determined to leave him, and go into the Wars, to seek for an Opportunity to raise himself above his Reproaches, and that low Degree in which his hard Fortune had placed him. His Heart being much superior to his Force, he considered with himself how to put his Design in Execution. His Father's personated Anger continued to him for some time, so that he did not send him to Market, but went himself; which Beraldus much repined at. At length he was restored again to his Parent's good Graces, and ordered to load the Asses to go next Day to Chamberry Market. He did not fail to put up his Sword with the Cargo. The Lad asked his Father's Leave that his Brother Thomas might go with him, to learn the Way, lest he should be sick at any time, or any ill Accident should come to him. This, William thought, was but a provident Forecast, and consented to his Son's Request. When they were going from the Cave, the Lad turned back to kiss his Mother, tho' he had taken leave of her before; the Tears standing in his Eyes, he redoubled his Salute, and thought in his Mind, it was the last time he should see her in a long while. The Princess, at the same time, as it were by a sympathetick Spirit, strain'd him in her Arms, and wet his Cheeks with her Tears; but it was upon a different Motive than her Son's; the great Resemblance that the Child bore to the Emperor her Father, gave her a secret Pang of Remorse; occasional Remembrance excited a double Tenderness in her; she bad him depart, in the Name of God, and return again in Safety, and with Expedition; charging him to take care of his Brother, who was two Years younger than himself. All the Journey, Beraldus told Thomas, to have good heed to the Way, and stuck up Boughs for him to be his Guide as he should come back, for, he told him, he must return home alone with the Asses, for he had taken Leave of being a Collier, intending to put himself in the Army, and never to see their poor Cave again, 'till he could do something better for his Parents than fell Wood, and make Charcoal, for his Mind told him he should come to Preferment. Thomas cry'd at what his Brother said; and more, when he would not give him any of the Money to carry home, which he had receiv'd for his Coal. Beraldus charged him to give his Duty to his Parents, and to desire them to Pray for him, for he was going into the Emperor's Army, and took that Money for his Portion, which was all he ever desired of them, for his Mind gave him he should, one Day, return it to them Ten-fold. When Thomas came home, which he did later than ordinary, sighing and sobbing all the Way, poor William of the Wood and Joan his Wife, were in an unspeakable Consternation to hear of their Son's Intention, and at his abrupt Departure; but the Princess, ever resign'd with Courage above her Sex, desired the Prince to confide all Things to Heaven, which, by Means unforeseen to them, was, perhaps, calling forth their wretched Children from Obscurity, who had not offended like themselves, and might not so be punish'd.

Young Beraldus of the Forest, for so he call'd himself, enter'd into the Emperor's Service; where, in a little Time, he gave extraordinary Hopes of his future Valour, being then very young, he was foremost upon all Cases of Danger, and had, once, the Fortune to rescue Roger Earl of Heynault, an old Counsellor of the Emperor's, and brought up with him. The Earl had ingag'd himself too far against the Enemy; seconded only by Beraldus, who laid two Soldiers dead at his Feet, that came to seize the Earl; after which, the Lad took him upon his Shoulders, the old Lord being not very nimble, and carried him back to his Party; exhorting them, another time, to do as he had done, and not forsake their Leader. This was a happy Introduction to our young Hero. The Earl had a Benignity and Gratitude in his Nature, not hard to be met with in the Reign of that gracious Emperor; he enter'd Forest, as they call'd him, of his Household, gave him Horse and Arms, and bid him fight no more on Foot. Henry de Heynault, the Earl's Son, was in the Camp with his Father, and being of the same Age as Beraldus, suffer'd him to learn his Exercises with him, and the Manage of the Sword and Horse, but Forest was a great deal more expert than the Prince; insomuch, that he became the Admiration of all who observ'd the prodigious Progress he had made, and the Dexterity and Gracefulness with which he performed all his Exercises.

The Hungarians, after they had ravaged and spoil'd a good Part of Italy, were beaten by the Emperor in a sett Battel; the Remainder fled home again, where but few arrived; most of them perish'd with Want, or were knock'd on the Head in their Flight. That War being ended, Otho marched into Provence, to put in order his Affairs in the Realm of Arles, which then was subject to the Emperor. Afterwards he return'd into Italy, intending to take up his Residence that Winter at Chamberry, in Savoy; at which Beraldus rejoyc'd, to think he should be near enough his Parents, to visit them often, without any hindrance or omission of his Duty to the Earl; who distinguished him not only as a Man, who, by his Valour, had sav'd his Life, but for his growing Merit, for which he fail'd not to give him all possible Incouragement. Forest long'd, passionately, to display his fine Accoutrements to his Mother; and to shew his Father what excellent Horses he had, and how much Money; for the Earl, besides his other Rewards, had presented him with a Purse of Gold, which he resolved to give his Parents, in return of what small Matter he had taken away from them. But before he could bring Things to bear, so that he might procure Leave of the Earl for a few Days absence, to pay his Duty to his Father, which he thought it no hard Thing for him to obtain, since Beraldus was esteem'd for his Valour, one of the bravest Soldiers in the Emperor's Service, and grown very tall and goodly. A German Soldier, who us'd to value himself upon his prodigious Strength and Dexterity, challeng'd the whole Army, to send forth any Person that durst encounter him Hand to Hand, in view of the Emperor, who took delight to see his Soldiers exercise themselves in Time of Peace: Idleness he thought the Bane of martial Discipline. Otho granted the Combat, which the German proclaimed three Days by Sound of Trumpet; but as he was exceeding strong, big-bon'd, and of great Stature, and had never been overcome in Fight, tho' himself had conquer'd many; there was not any cared to venture themselves against him: Yet, not to make their backwardness look like Cowardice, they agreed, among themselves, to ridicule what they could not subdue; and as his Trumpet sounded the Challenge, the Camp laugh'd at his Vanity and Presumption, as they call'd it, bidding him look for Foes among the Emperor's-Enemies, they would not throw away their Lives, as he offered to do, against his Majesty's Friends.

During the Time the Challenge remained unanswered, Beraldus of the Forest glow'd with Desire to ingage him; at every Blast of the Trumpet, something from within, prompted him inevitably on to this unequal Combat: He did not so much consider the Disparity between them, as the prodigious Glory he should gain, if he overcame that strong Soldier, in the Presence of the Emperor; whence he doubted not but to receive immediately the Honour of Knighthood, a Dignity he immoderately thirsted after; by which he should be raised above his base Birth, to be a Companion for Princes, Kings and Emperors. This Godlike Energy, so worthy the Royal Blood, that swell'd his Heart, and warm'd it to Ambition, with an eager Desire to ravish all the Glories of the Field, would not suffer him to rest till he had ask'd the Earl of Heynault, his Master's permission, to answer the Defiance of that huge German, in the Sight of the Emperor. The Earl thought it a very unequal Match, and therefore represented to this young Soldier, that it would be much wiser, in his Opinion, for him to take the Part of those who declined the Encounter, and ridiculed the Boaster, than to run upon an assur'd Fate; when, in all probability, there were so many great Things in store for him, and which his Valour, upon a more equal Foot, might expect. All this would not satisfy Forest, but with all possible Thanks for the Earl's Goodness, in advising him as he had done, and Submission for daring to dissent from his Lordship's Judgment, he never ceas'd his Request, till the Earl was pleas'd to condescend to it; telling the Youth, That he would take care the Emperor should honour the Combat with his Presence, and wish'd his Arms their deserv'd Success.

Since the Particulars of the Combat may not be altogether so Entertaining to the Ladies, I will pass them over, and only tell them, That the Event was glorious to Beraldus. Man to Man, he overthrew that proud Boaster, who was constrain'd to beg his Life, and depart the Field. Otho ask'd the Earl of Heynault, during the Combat, who that young Soldier was? more than being of his Lordship's Train, the Emperor did not yet know. The Earl told his Imperial Majesty, he was wholly ignorant of his Birth, any farther than that he was born in Lombardy of German Parents, and could speak both Languages, but the German the purest, his Italian being that of the Boors. Then he recited to the Emperor, with what Circumstances, at the beginning of the late War, he had sav'd his Life; and concluded his Discourse with an Observation that he had often made, and wonder'd at, of that young Fellow's being so very like his Imperial Majesty, when Otho was of the same Age, which the Earl could very well remember, having been brought up with the Emperor. When he had ended this Relation, the Field resounded with Shouts and Acclamations for Beraldus's overcoming the German, to whom he generously gave his Life, and bid him take heed how he vaunted himself hereafter, since God had suffered him to be vanquish'd by the Least of all the Emperor's Army. And, doubtless, it was the Decree of Providence, that Beraldus should prevail against such unequal Strength, meerly that his Valour might be a Means to draw from Obscurity, seven Royal-born Innocent Children, deserving a more exalted State, and a Destiny better fitted to their Quality.

Otho having revolved in his Mind, what the wise Earl had newly said to him, reflecting, at the same time, upon his long-lost Daughter, and that his Soldier seem'd the Picture of himself in his Youth, commanded the Conqueror should be unarm'd and set before his Face, to receive the Reward due to his Valour; which being done, Otho beholding the goodly Youth, first enjoin'd him to tell him the Name of his Parents, and the Place where he was born.

Beraldus of the Forest (who had been fashion'd by his gentile Parents, in their Manners and Behaviour, besides the Addition of being two Years in the Earl of Heynault's Family, and in the Conversation of his Son) with a Port truly Royal, and a Mien wherein neither Modesty nor a becoming Assurance were wanting, kneel'd to the Emperor, and said, with a Voice clear and yet submissive, suitable to his Royal Ancestors, and his own Meanness, 'Most sacred and renowned Emperor! I have nothing for which I can justly render Thanks to Fortune, but for the Honour your Imperial Majesty hath done me, to receive me into your Royal Service: For the Destiny of my Parents is so severe, that I am ashamed to declare how abject is their Condition, and how base-born I am: But since I have received your sacred Commands, I will relate what I wish there had never been occasion to call into the Light, the Meanness of my Extraction; tho' I feel a Soul within me, that corresponds little to my Birth, which I reciev'd, most mighty Emperor, from two Germans, that fled, for some Fault unknown to me, near nineteen Years ago, from the City where your sacred Majesty holds your Residence when you are pleas'd to abide in Germany. And forasmuch as I have sometimes over-heard them discoursing together, how dangerous it had been for them to have remain'd in any great Towns or Villages, within your Imperial Majesty's Dominions, they withdrew themselves into the Desarts, between Aost and Chamberry, where, to beguile their hard Fortune, and maintain their numerous Off-spring, they make Charcoal, and sell them to support and relieve their miserable Family; in which contemptible Exercise, I have spent all my Childhood: Tho' often, with great Reluctance; for as my Estate increas'd to Manhood, I could not but think a Condition so vile, was unworthy a couragious Mind. Methought I fear'd no Danger but Obscurity, and an ignominious Life. An Impulse from within, led me forth from my Father's Cottage, and told me, That by aspiring to great Things, I might possibly attain them; wherefore, leaving the Love of my fond Mother, and I may say her Charms, for never since hath any Woman's Beauty, in my Observation, rival'd hers; leaving an indulgent Father, I enter'd my self in Arms led by your Imperial Majesty's great Renown, and must ascribe to your own auspicious Fortune, that I have sav'd the Life of your ever fortunate General and Counsellor, the Earl of Heynault, my thrice Reverenced Lord. Since That, thro' a Course of Success in War, I have this Day had the Glory of your Imperial Majesty's Approbation, for vanquishing a Person only strong in Vanity, and the Opinion of his own Prowess; by which Step might I attain to the Honour of Knighthood, and be permitted to practice Chivalry and Feats of Arms, in Defence of your sacred Majesty, against all your Opposers, I could hope to find some way to illustrate my base-born Birth, and pollish that obscure Education in which my Parents have hitherto brought me up.'

The Emperor, once more surveying his goodly Person, and pleas'd with what he had so handsomely delivered, called the Youth nearer to his Sight; whence, carefully considering him, as if he would spell every Line and Feature in his Face, vouchsafed to embrace him, as his Majesty said, for an Incouragement to Youth and Valour. Then causing him to kneel down, with the Earl of Heynault's Sword, he conferr'd the Honour of Knighthood upon the young Gentleman, by the Name of Sir Beraldus de la Forest. But tho' this was the Extent of whatever our young Boor durst aspire at; yet, he receiv'd the Consummation of his Wishes, with that Serenity and Dignity of Mind, as charm'd the Emperor; who, by carefully observing his Face, thought he might thence collect the Features of Adelasia, Alerane, and his own. From which Reflection he felt his Heart throb, and a Desire return of cherishing his only Child, as if he had never conceiv'd any Displeasure against her, for her departure. To which End he call'd forth the Earl of Heynault, and bad him, with a Party of Horse, follow that young Man, who with such Valour and Dexterity had that Day vanquish'd the Giant of the Age, and fetch before him his Father and Mother, whom he suspected to be Adelasia his Daughter, and Alerane of Saxony his Nephew. But if it should chance that he was mistaken, he would reward their Travel, and, for the sake of Sir Beraldus de la Forest, put them in a Condition never more to have Reflections cast upon the Birth and Parentage of so renowned and hopeful a Knight. 'The desired Time of Vengeance is past: Anger, the shortest-liv'd of all the Passions, hath long since given place to natural Affections! Oh Heynault! cry'd the Emperor, my Daughter's Offence was only Love! Alas, poor Criminal! how severely hath she been punish'd? If indeed she be the Mother of Sir Beraldus de la Forest; if not, perhaps her Life hath yet been more short, and miserable. Gracious God, restore me my Child, and forgive those Sentiments of Rage, which in her early Loss I was purposed to execute against her!'

The Earl, having full Commission from the Emperor, departed with Sir Beraldus de la Forest to find his Parents. He well knew Alerane of Saxony, as he was the Emperor's Nephew, and at that Time the Hopes of the Court. Alerane of Saxony well remember'd the Earl of Heynault, as he was Cotemporary, the Favourite and Counsellor of the Emperor. When they came near the craggy Cave, the Lodging of Alerane, where the Collier-Prince resided, the Earl and all his Party alighted; he found him busy with his second Son Thomas, loading their Asses with Coal to send to Aost; for the Emperor's residence at Chamberry hinder'd him from going thither himself, because of the Remorse he still felt in his Mind, for the Injury and Outrage he had committed, in his most sensible Part, against his honour'd Lord and Emperor, his dearest Uncle and Benefactor! The Prince beholding that goodly Party of Horse riding directly to his Cave, and there alighting, thought to abscond from their Observation, 'till he saw his Son richly dress'd among the foremost of the Company, going to the Earl of Heynault to hold his Stirrops at his dismounting; whom Alerane well remember'd, as having been carried by him a thousand Times in his Arms, at the Emperor's Court. He immediately thought that he was discovered, and as he supposed by the Means of his Son; imagining; that the Emperor had sent for him to punish him for a Fault, so long since committed; since the Anger of Princes rarely die, until they have taken full Vengeance upon the Criminal! As he was reflecting several Things upon his hard Fortune, that after so many Years of Pennance, called him forth to expiate as severely for his Sin as if it had been but newly committed; his Son came up to embrace him, and with an honest and humble Reverence went upon his Knees to kiss his Hands, as the Custom was then, from Children to their Parents, even among the lowest Sort. This, my Lord, said the graceful Youth, addressing to the Earl, is the Person of whom I spoke to the Emperor, and of Him I took my Being.

Alerane could not forbear Embracing his Son, without staying to consider the Company he brought with him, or asking the Occasion of their Coming. His Eyes running over with Tears, his Heart bounding with extream Joy, to see so lovely a Creature, the Fruit of his own Body, that went away from him forlorn, and almost naked, return in two Years time in a Garb and Equipage answerable to their better Fortune! 'Oh, my Son, cry'd the fond Father, if the Business of thy Return be as pleasing as thy Return is joyful: If thy News be good, as thy Appearance seems prosperous: It is still in the Fates to raise thy Father from that low Despair wherein thou find'st him, to a proportionable height of Satisfaction, which may cancel all my Sorrow, and make full amends for my Sufferings.' Sir Beraldus not able to comprehend his Father's Meaning, stood still and silent collected in himself, to consider what Judgment might be made of his Words; whilst Earl Haynault having long considered Alerane, and finding the Scar in his Cheek which he had got by a Glance of the Boor's Tusk when he save the Emperor's Life, came up to him with open Arms to salute him as his Relation. Alerane perceiving his Intent, turned from him, as if he could have avoided, what was already perform'd, the Discovery of himself. 'How, my Lord, said the Earl, do you pretend by your Behaviour, to deny what I sufficiently know? Are you not Alerane, Son to the late Duke of Saxony, and Brother to the present Duke? Can we forget a Prince, so renowned as you were through all Germany, for those Exploits you had already performed, and for the hopeful Expectations that there was yet to come of more? By living in this Wilderness, you seem not only to have lost, but even to have forgot the Spirit that is lodged in noble Minds; yet think not to rob your valiant Son of those Honours which Heaven and his good Fortune have prepared for him! Ah pitiless and cruel Father, that would bury thy Children in Obscurity, or with eternal Reproach suffer them to follow thy sordid and abandoned manner of living, so to sustain their wretched Being! Oh unkind Alerane! That will not once look, nor speak to thy Cousin Heynault, whom Heaven has made the Instrument of Good to thy Son; and who is come hither only to preserve thee, and draw thy wretched Family from Ignominy, Poverty, and Perdition.' Alerane, who felt a Remorse, that loaded him with Shame, towards the Emperor, and a Disdain to see himself shewn to the Party that followed the Earl in such a sordid, degenerate State, as if he were a Spectacle to be gazed at, answered, 'My Lord, and Cousin, I beseech you to believe, that no Adversity can make me forget the Duty I owe your Lordship; perhaps you are ignorant, you, who never offended any one, of the Remorse and Stings of Conscience that follow those who are really Criminal, as I own my self to have been, in respect to the Emperor; but I am willing to submit to any Punishment his Majesty thinks fit to inflict, provided, that I, being dead, my poor kind Companion, and well-beloved Wife, with all her unhappy Offspring may be forgiven, and live at ease! Oh, my Lord, answered the Earl, I am come with better Tidings; I am come to bring Life and Happiness to your Lordship, as well as the Princess! The Emperor has forgiven both, and has sworn by the Dignity of his Imperial Crown to receive you as his Son-in-Law, and my Lady your Wife, as his only and well-beloved Daughter, to whom I wait to pay my Reverence and Duty, as to my Sovereign Mistress.'

Sir Beraldus de la Forest knew not what to make of this Dispute: He thought himself either in a Dream or Inchanted, 'till he heard his Father at the Entrance of the Cave, call Adelasia. The Princess was so startled to hear the Name of Adelasia, that her Heart was immediately seized with Horror and Fear; yet obeying his well-known Voice, she came out of that unworthy Habitation, with all her smiling Offspring following her, one by one, like little Flaxen-hair'd Cupid's, in a just degree of Height and Years above one another. She turned Colour, and was much surprized to see so great a Company surrounding her Husband; 'till her Son came to do his Duty, not as to his Mother only, but as to the Daughter of the Emperor, such he knew her to be by the Name of Adelasia, and the Wife of a Prince of Saxony. She raised him from his Knees, Embraced and kissed him; though surprized with Fear and Shame, and so moved with the sudden Fright, that she could hardly prevent her self from fainting and falling down between the Arms of her Son.

Earl Heynault going towards the Princess, whom she could not but remember, to do his Obeisance, as to the Daughter of so great a Monarch: She advanced to receive him with the same Grace and Air, and with the necessary Forms, as if she had not intermitted them for so long a Space, or been for so many Years the Wife of a poor Collier. 'The Earl signified to her the Commands of the Emperor, assuring her in her Father's own Words, that the desired time of Revenge and Punishment was past; and that his Anger and Rage against Alerane had spent its Gall; That considering the long Pennance they had done, and the Knowledge of the Valour, Merit, and Beauty, of that goodly Fruit sprung from their Marriage, which the Emperor saw before his Eyes, with the Odour and Fragancy of which he was delighted; since he expected he should be the Comfort of his old Age, he forgave them their past Disobedience; bidding him assure Alerane, that after the first Transports of his Anger had been pass'd, he had often reflected upon the Promise he had made him, in Consideration that he owed the Prince a Life, at the time when he had preserved his; since, by his Valour against the Boar, he had then sworn he would never forget the Benefit.'

These Assurances that the Earl, who was a grave Person, gave them in the Name of the Emperor, caused those happy Fugitives, for the good of their Posterity, to abandon that beloved Habitation. They then forsook their Cave, their Coals, their Furnaces, to re-enter upon a Life less Innocent, and not more Happy! The Princess turn'd back, to bid adieu to that bless'd Retreat, which had received her in, and preserved her Life, when it was at the lowest Ebb; she bad adieu to her little Garden, and Flowers, her living Creatures, the Companions of her Solitude; but above all to her homely Nuptial Bed, which, with the Alternatives of Pain and Pleasure, had produced such a lovely Race. She would have bestowed all her Wealth upon her little Maiden, but she begg'd to follow her Mistress's good Fortune, as she had her Bad, which the Princess could not deny her; taking care that the next Cottage should be enriched with their Goats, Asses, and Poultry, that they might not be starved now there was none to feed them. They set forward on their Journey, perhaps, to find less sincere Pleasures than they forsook.

That Night they lodg'd at a Village not far from the Forest, where they staid several Days to make Cloaths for the young Princes, and to furnish and adorn Adelasia in Robes befitting her Degree; who being not yet above the Age of Thirty Five, retain'd a great Share of that marvellous Beauty, which had given her the Superiority of all the Ladies in the World. The Earl of Heynault took care, whilst the Preparations were making, to let the Emperor know the Success of his Embassy, and that it was the very Princess Adelasia that he had found; who, with her seven beautiful Sons, were advancing to kiss his Imperial Majesty's Hands. At which, the Emperor was extreamly rejoiced, and expected with Impatiency to see his Daughter, with her little Cherubins, purposing to receive them in the Affection of his Soul, with all the Honour that was possible; commanding the Ladies of Chambery, his own Guards, and the Gentlemen of his Court to go forth and meet these forlorn Lovers, so long time unknown and lost, yet now so happily found and recovered.

When Adelasia's Train was in good Order, fit for the Daughter of so mighty a Monarch, she set forward, and made her Entry into Chambery, with as much Splendour, as if it were the Emperor himself, returning in Triumph over the Conquest of the whole World. Otho met them at the Palace-gate, and taking them from their Knees into his Arms, would not permit them to speak of any Thing that was past, as they had design'd. He was ravished at the Beauty and good Fashion of his Seven Grand-Children, and never was satisfied with caressing them; suffering his Daughter to speak to him of nothing but Joy! He caused the Nuptials to be kept with as great Pomp as if they had been but newly Married; the Magnificence whereof, was truly worthy his Imperial Dignity, and the Greatness of his Heart. Justs and Tournaments were proclaimed to be held for forty Days, where Sir Beraldus de la Forest constantly bore away the Prize, to the great Delight of Otho, and the Pride of Alerane ! These Sports were followed by a new Creation of Dignities, Beraldus was made Earl of Maurienne, a Part of Savoy, and died Marquis of Italy, and Earl of Maurienne, A. D. 1023. His Son and Successor was Humbert, called White-Hands, the first Earl of Savoy, who was presented with the Countries of Chablais and Wallis. He obtained the Earldom of Savoy, in Fief; marrying the Heiress of the Marquis of Suse, he thereby added that noble Marquisate to his Patrimonial Fortune. Sir Beraldus de la Forest, settled in Savoy, in the Year 999. and was the Founder of that Illustrious Family, which (in the Person of that accomplished Prince Victor Amadæus) to this Day is still possessed of the Sovereignty.

The Second Son of Adelasia was created Marquis of Monteferat, with all the Territories and Lordships adjoining, of whom are descended the Marquisses of Caretto. The Third was created Marquis of Saluces, the Race of whom were of great Fame and Nobility. Of the Fourth Son, sprang out the Original of the House of Cera. The Fifth, was Marquis of Incise, whose Posterity continue to this Day. The Sixth Son governed Pouzon. The Seventh was established Seignior of Bosco, with the Title of Marquis. Alerane was constituted Guardian of his Children's Possessions, with the Title of Hugo, Marquis of Italy, and Lieutenant of all the Emperor's Demeans in Italy ; who was succeeded by his Son Beraldus, Earl of Maurienne, in his Title of Marquis of Italy.

Thus Otho had the Glory of vanquishing himself, by moderating his Anger; and has left an Example to Posterity, to pursue the Offence whilst it be yet in the Beginning, before it hath taken Root; but when it is once done, and cannot be recalled, to use like Clemency and Moderation, by which Kings live in Peace, and their Empires in Security.

We may learn from Alerane and Adelasia's Example, that Adversity ought never to bring us to Despair, nor Posterity to an Insolence of Behaviour, or a Contempt of Things that seem low and abject; since there is nothing under the Heavens that is not subject to Mutability; for he that to Day is greatest, and makes all Men stoop before Him, becomes to Morrow, altogether such a One, as if he had never been.

The Perjur'd Beauty. Novel VII.

If Nature were not still the same, and must always by the same Methods prevail over the Heart of Man; we should very much wonder that the daily Lessons which are read to make us moderate, or command our Passions, had so little Influence on our Behaviour. Alas! how many Instances are every where to be found, of the small Regard we have to Precepts, when the Law of Nature is to be fulfilled, and the Passion of Love gratified?

In the Papacy of Pius Quintus, a young Nobleman of Rome, Educated by the Count Rossano his Father, in the strictest Road of Vertue, and who had the best Masters to Form his Mind, as well as his Manners; so soon as he beheld the fair Nun of St. Bridget, forgot the Lessons that had been taught him, and bent all his whole Learning to find the most accessible Place to the Heart of Victoria.

It happened that Castruchio, a Nobleman of the same Age as himself, had a Sister whom he tenderly loved, called Isabella, lately entered into the Nunery of St. Bridget. This Gentleman could not yet wean himself from the Pleasure of her Company, but went every Day, like a kind Brother to the Grate to visit her. One time he took with him Romeo, the Count Rossano's Son, to shew him, as he said, the greatest Curiosity in Rome; which was a Nun so Exquisitely formed, that all Beauties besides were only Pretenders in Comparison to Hers. Romeo waited with some Impatience, but seeing none appear that were extraordinary, he asked Castruchio, which of those Nuns was the great Wonder he had talked on? Castruchio bad him stay a little, Isabella was gone to fetch her. It was not long before they appeared, but at the Sight of Victoria, Romeo was immediately satisfied. There was no farther need of Enquiry; no more than we have to ask, where is the Sun when he shines in all his Glory? There was something so Soft, so Heavenly, so wondrous Handsome in the fair Nun, that inspired a Love of Holiness and Admiration for her. The Habit she wore did not in the least diminish her Charms, but made one rather incline to a Reverence of them. Her fine Eyes, well turned Nose, Carnation colour'd Lips, and the dazling Lustre of her Complection, were rather heightned by the Veil. Romeo, tho' he had the best Address of any Person of his Age, was at a loss how to approach her; he was struck with Wonder, his Understanding was departed from him, he knew nothing but that the Heavenly Maid was surely something Cælestial; something so very Bright, that had all at once flashed upon him, like intollerable Light, and blinded every Faculty of his Soul. As there is nothing more gallant than the Conversation that is generally held at the Grate of Nunneries, especially when the Superior is absent, they made War immediately; Castruchio, Isabella and the other Sisters, upon the Foible of Romeo; all but Victoria, whose Modesty would fain have shunned the Report of her own Power, and avoided the Knowledge of how great a Conquest her Charms had newly gained.

Romeo was not only the most accomplish'd, but the most beautiful Youth of Rome. So that Castruchio, when he saw him near Victoria, would fain persuade himself, and the Company, that there was something of a Resemblance between those two lovely Persons, and therefore, there could not chuse but arise a Simpathy between them, a Harmony of Affection and Inclination; he would have had the Fair Nun explain herself, whether she did not feel something at the Sight of the lovely Romeo, as Romeo had done in beholding her. Victoria laughed and defended herself from telling what she thought; she only acknowledged that he was indeed the handsomest Youth she had ever seen. Thenceforward they gave her the Name of Romeo's Mistress, and to Romeo that of Victoria's Lover. These innocent Gallantries are every Day to be found in Monasteries, and provided they proceed no farther they may be endured, tho' not approved. The Thoughts cannot be always fixed upon Heaven, a little mortal Conversation may perhaps be necessary. As in Business, where after much Application, the Mind and Body becomes dozed and tired, 'till a little Diversion causes them to return to their former Bent with the greater Force. But they were so much more dangerous to Victoria, because she had not the least Taste of the Pleasures of a Monastick Life, tho' she had been educated ever since she could remember in a Nunnery, and knew nothing of the World, but what she had seen through a Grate. Her Soul was turned quite another way; she was weary of Prayers and Discipline, of Fasting and Contemplation; she had been forced to take the Veil, and threat'ned into the Vows she made, having first protested to the Lady Abbess, and her Confessor, that she felt no Call from within, to that Divine Marriage. They told her it must be so, for as her Parents were unknown, there was a certain Sum of Money trusted to a good Dominican Father, sufficient to make her a Nun, but not enough to settle her in the World in any way like a Gentlewoman; neither had he Authority to dispose of it otherways, than to that sacred Use.

Thus was poor Victoria compelled to Profess, tho' her Heart were full of the World, unmortified Ambition! Tender Inclinations! Great Ideas of the Sweets of Love, and the mutual Happiness of Lovers; which she had not only collected from her own Heart, but from reading a thousand amorous Stories, which she met with in Books that belonged to those holy Sisters: For tho' they are not allowed to study such Fooleries, there is not a Book of Gallantry comes out, but by Means of the Correspondence they hold with the People of the World at the Grate, they get it, and learn to Discourse and give their Judgement with more Wit and Delicacy, than others, who are always in the Road of such Conversation.

This being Victoria's bent, no wonder she was soon enclined to Listen to the Vows of Romeo. He, who had a natural Impetuosity in his Temper, and desired every Thing with Impatiency, grew violent now he was become a Lover. But as Victoria lay under the Obligation of Sacred Vows, and besides was a Person whose Parents were unknown, which was a greater Mortification to Romeo than her being a Nun, he was obliged to conceal his Passion with strickest Care from the Knowledge of his own Family; but it did not hinder him from going every Day to the Grate, where when he could not see Victoria, he would leave the tenderest Vows of Love with Sister Isabella, who was the unhappy Confidant of his Passion. Here he learnt how great a proficient Love can in a little time make his Votaries, since it taught him to write the most amorous Billets that was ever dictated by the most ardent Lover. Victoria could not resist such a Complication of Charms, her young Heart soft'ned to the lovely Romeo, and became tender as his, and liable to what Impression he would make. After a little time she answered those Billets, at first with Fear, then soon after with Pleasure; and her Heart being powerfully Ingaged, she could hear herself, without Horror, every Day sollicited to break those sacred Fetters, and leave that divine Enclosure! At length she desired her Freedom as passionately as did Romeo; who told her the Count his Father was old and very infirm, so that it was not probable he could long continue in the World; that if she would fly the Nunnery, and consent to Marry him, he could procure a Dispensation from his Holiness, and she might remain conceal'd 'till the Death of the Count should leave him at liberty to place her in a Station more agreeable to her Deserts. These Proposals were extremely to her Wish, because she not only hated a Religious Life, as we have said, but passionately loved Romeo. After some Month's Courtship and Deliberation, she consented to leave the Monastry; and Castruchio, out of his inviolable Friendship for Romeo, promised to receive and refuge her at a fair House he had at Tivoli, his Father being lately dead, and himself the sole Master of a large Patrimony.

It is not of any Importance to relate the Particulars of Victoria's Escape; she got clear of the Nunnery, and was carried to Tivoli by her dear Romeo, where they found a Priest prepared by Castruchio, who married them as Persons unknown, that were his Friends. Romeo having before assured Victoria that he had procured the Pope's Dispensation, tho' alas! He durst not so much as go about such a Thing, for Fear the Report should come to his Father's Knowledge. She gave a loose to the Joy she felt in her Breast, at being not only free'd from those Tyrannical Vows that had been imposed upon her, but at the more sweet, tho' perjured, Ingagement she was under, by that she had lately made to her dear Romeo.

But how short was their Duration of Happiness? How small a time of Delight did Love appropriate to himself? Victoria's Flight became a violent Scandal to the Nuns of St. Bridget. The Lady Abbess, who had a most implacable Spirit, interested Heaven and Earth in her Quarrel; all the Religious, even to the very Cardinals, were concerned to retrieve the fair Fugitive, and punish the Perjur'd Beauty. The least they talked of, was immuring her between four Walls, and which indeed, as it is the Extremity of that Punishment which is allotted for those Nuns who break their Inclosures, so it is as great a one as can be inflicted upon any Woman, since by it, they perish gradually, starve by slow degrees, die daily, and yet are an Age in dying!

Signior Castruchio, who was unthinking like most of the young Noblemen of Quality then at Rome, believed it was but a Rakish Frolick to debauch a Nun from her Vows, and carry her away, as he had assisted Romeo to do with the poor Victoria; but he no sooner heard the pursuit that was made after her, and the Resentments of all the Religious, but he began to reflect a little upon the Consequence. Hastening to Tivoli, he persuaded his Friend to look out some other Retreat, for that he durst not promise him he could be long in Safety where they were, the Friendship between them being so well understood by all the City. The next Day was agreed on for Victoria's Removal to another Friend, who liv'd in Rome, which they imagined a Place of greater Privacy than the Country. But alas! early in the Morning the House was broke open by the Officers of Justice, and Victoria seized in Bed in the Arms of Romeo. The Corregidore secured them both; Signior Castruchio having made his Escape, fled away from Italy into France, lest he should have been taken and punish'd as an Accessary, by a Tribunal which never forgives what Crimes are committed against its Authority.

The Lovers were carried to Rome, and imprisoned Separately, 'till the Pope and Holy Conclave of Cardinals, should determine of the Fact; the Lady Abbess and her Nuns prosecuting with implacable Malice those miserable Offenders.

But alas! no sooner did the Count Rossano hear that it was his Son who was the Criminal, but he fell into all the Extravagancy of Rage incident to weak Minds, more especially when he was assured that the Nun Romeo had violated was called Victoria, who in the first Transports of his Passion, he acknowledged to be his own Natural Daughter, by a Lady of great Quality, born three Years after Romeo, and brought up incognito to conceal the Shame of her Parents; whence she was placed as a Girl, whose Birth was unknown, in the Monastry of St. Bridget. This Circumstance, when it was heard, rais'd Pity and Horror in all Persons, who had any Taste of Compassion for the Miseries incident to human Life. At first the Count said, he would himself be the Prosecutor of his wicked Son, and go to the Conclave to sollicite for Justice against so great an Offender. But having vented his Anger by a thousand Reproaches, at length his Fury abated, and afterwards sunk by the Power of natural Affection, which he felt returning for his unhappy Children! But he had already gone too far to retreat, and in his Rage discovered the fatal Secret of Victoria's Birth, and the nearness of their Relation; which being soon known to the Lady Abbess, increased her Detestation of the incestuous Pair; and so successfully did she follow the Process, that poor Romeo was condemned by the Pope and Conclave, notwithstanding all the Intercession that was made by the Count, who repented him of his Folly, to lose his Head six Days after, for violating the Nunnery, in stealing away Victoria and then committing Incest with her; tho' it was urged that his Crime could not be so esteemed, because the Relation between them was unknown to him. But those pious Judges rarely or never pardon any Thing done against their Religion, or forgive what brings a Scandal upon their holy Order and the Church. The beautiful and wretched Victoria was sentenced to be immured between four Walls, and starved to death, for the sacrilegious Breach of her Vows to Heaven, and her Perjury in plighting those of Marriage with another; who, to accumulate her Misfortunes, was proved to be her Brother. How she bore this severe Sentence, may be collected from the following Letters, one to the Count Rossano, the other to Signior Romeo.

To the Count Rossano

'My Lord and Father,
The greatest Misfortune that can befall me in this World, is too small an Expiation for Sacriledge and Incest; the first Sin I was knowingly guilty of, and do not complain of the Punishment; but the other reflects back upon your Lordship only, I the unhappy Child, stand Devoted for her Father's Crime! I pray Heaven to accept the Oblation, that my Blood may wash away your Stain; and that it may be a Warning for others, how they breed up their Offspring in Ignorance of their real Parents, lest more may fall into the same unsuspected Crime, as have the innocent Romeo, and miserable Victoria ! You have put me into the World, my Lord, to make me an Object truly wretched. I have never known the Sweets of being caress'd by a dear Mother! or to be blest with the Cares and Fondness of a Father! I was thrust forth as soon as born, exposed, to cover my Parent's Shame! Yet I inherit from them too great a Sense of my Disgrace, to live any longer in the World, if I were not justly sentenced to dye out of it. Those lofty Sentiments and high Thoughts which should be inherent to noble Blood, have descended to your unhappy Daughter, who could ill bear the Imposition that was put upon her of making involuntary Vows! It is your Blood that disdained to be forced! It is your Blood that sought to extricate it self from a Condition of Life, that seemed to me Insincere and Distastful, by which I fell into that very Sin I would perish to avoid! Yet, will even this infamous Death be less bitter to me, if Heaven be pleas'd to accept the Victim, so that your Fault may be no more remembred! Live my Lord many long Years in Vertue, that you may be able to say your Daughter's Blood purchased you that Inheritance, as I hope it will, and in the World to come a Forgiveness of the Crime of Begetting me.

But as there is much due from you to your wretched Child, let me conjure you to pay my Debt by endeavouring to save your Son; when I, the accursed Thing, am put away, what hinders it but his Soul may live? My Beauty Tempted his Vertue, my Frailty yielded to his Temptations! Save, Oh save my too well beloved Brother, the last of our Noble House! Were I once assured that he could be preserved, I should have nothing to do, but with willingness to resign my self to Death.

'And here, my noble Lord and Father, let me presume to present the first and last Petition of your wretched Daughter in Relation to herself. If my Sentence can be mitigated, if I may die at once, and not by peice-meal, by Hours and Minutes, I shall be contented. Exert your Interest in Compassion to your poor Child, who tho' so lately discovered, and in a manner unknown to you, feels all the Duty and Affection towards my noble Father, as if from the first moment of my Birth you had done the Part of a tender, indulgent Parent, to, my Lord,

'Your most Sorrowful,
most Dutiful Daughter,
Victoria di Rossano.'

To Signior Romeo,
'Oh! where, my dearest Lord and Brother, shall our fatal Kindred begin, or my unhappy Passion end? Can I ever descend to consider you as a Sister should, or forget to adore you as my Husband and my Lover? In what Situation is your Mind? Or may I not judge of it by my own? Are we not so nearly related, that the simpathetick Strings answer to each other? No, my new-found Brother, if I may believe my own Heart, you have yet no Sentiments for your fond Sister, but what may become a Lover. Are not the Laws of Nature Prior to any other? What has she to do with Kindred or Enclosure? Why do we forego our kindest, our most indulgent Parent? Beat not our Hearts as high, were not our Kisses as sweet, our Delights as perfect, whilst we remained in the State of Ignorance, as if you had never been the Son of Count Rossano, or the innocent Victoria his Daughter? Ah! must we die? Ah! must we be separated, the most painful Death, because the Pride of Man, which he calls Reason, hath refined upon, or abolished the Law of Nature? By That we are both sentenced, you as the least guilty to die the more happy, because a suddener Death; I, as a Devoted baleful Creature, to expire, alas, in lingering Torments!

'My greatest Grief is, that you, my dear Romeo, are not exempt from your Part of the Sufferings. I have endeavoured to interceed with our Lord, the Count, for the Preservation of your precious Life. If he succeeds, always remember him as the Father of Romeo, with Duty and Affection, not as the unlucky Parent of Victoria. If his Interest fail, and we must together take that darksom Journey to another Life, some kind Angel pity our Innocence and Frailty, which has offended only against the Laws of Man, without breaking Those of Nature, or That of our great Creator! Adieu, most Tenderly, most Passionately beloved of all thy Kind! Adieu, so says thy Loved, thy loving Wife, and most unhappy Sister,

'Victoria di Rossano.'

The Count, Touched to the Quick at the generous Reproaches his Daughter made him, urged his own Interest and that of his Friends to preserve her; which, when he found was an impossible Attempt, for those People whom she had offended, were by the Laws of their Convent, obliged to be inexorable. His next Endeavour was to get her Sentence changed into one less cruel, which at length he obtained. After much Solicitaion, it was decreed, instead of being Immur'd, she should die by Fire; which she heard with so great a Satisfaction, how terrible soever the Torment might seem, that in the handsomest Letter imaginable, she returned her Father Thanks, as if she were transported with Joy at the Exchange of her Fate. The Count offered an Immense Sum of Money to preserve his Son, which, would not be accepted, since he was to die for a warning to others. Numbers of the greatest Quality came to see them suffer! a Scaffold was erected, whereon Romeo was to lose his Head, near Trajan's Pillar; where a Stake was likewise prepared to burn Victoria, in her Nun's Habit. They had not been suffered to converse together since their Imprisonment, and the fatal Knowledge they had of their Relation to each other; and now, but with much Intercession, were they permitted, as he was going to mount the Scaffold, to speak together. What they said was not known, because they spoke very low. They were both observed to weep, and to be extreamly affected. The Spectators, more especially the Ladies, who secretly indulge the Faults of Love, and compassionate those who suffer for being his Votaries, were drowned in Tears. They admired the Beauty of the unhappy Pair, and found as great a Resemblance between them, as could be possible for a Brother and Sister. Signior Romeo spoke little, accusing his Father for his untimely Fall, yet beseeching Heaven to forgive and comfort him. Victoria, with a Constancy becoming her great Soul, and even superior to her Birth, forgave her Enemies, and persisted in her Innocence; since, as she said she was compelled to make those Vows with her Lips which her Heart disapproved, and by which she never look'd upon her self to be a Nun, nor herself Perjur'd in the Vows she had made to Romeo.


FINIS