Page images

cap had fallen back, and her dishevelled black hair lay in thick masses over her fair shoulders and throat. Her eyes were of an unnatural brilliancy, and on the cheek on which she had rested there was a bright red spot, whilst the other was of an ashy paleness. As she sat and looked thus, there was a fearful beauty in her whole appearance, affording a strange contrast to her usual quiet loveliness. Her mother attempted to rouse her by every fond endearment, but no entreaties would induce her to return to her bed ; indeed she evinced no consciousness of hearing what was addressed to her.

At this juncture her husband entered the room, with a double portion of his usual gloom on his lowering brow. Poor Maria started up when she saw him, and cast a wild, hurried glance at him, in which was expressed a loathing detestation that made Sedley shudder. Arturo caught the look, and goaded by anger, and unfeelingly regardless of her distracted state, exclaimed, “So I find, Maria, that your old lover Carlo has come to life again, a pretty


In the afternoon the worthy priest visited Carlo, and on his return home told Sedley that the unfortunate young man's despair had been terrible to witness, and to see that powerful and manly frame convulsed by sobs was a fearful sight. This excellent minister of peace had been strenuous in his efforts to soothe him, and had so far succeeded that, whereas at first Carlo had sworn with dreadful oaths that no earthly power should force him from Maria's neighbourhood, he had at last consented to accompany an uncle of his who was going to a distant part of the country for a few months. It was sad to take him from his recently found home and parents, but it was absolutely necessary both for his own sake and Maria's; and Carlo was to depart in two or three days.

Sedley conceived that his remaining with this afflicted family might be irksome to them, and he therefore, resolved to turn his steps homewards in a few days, and to join his mother at his estate in -shire, after visiting Milan and Pavia.


On the day preceding that fixed for his departure he was carelessly sauntering along the Milan road, when he was overtaken by one of those sudden and terrific thunder storms which sometimes devastate these delicious plains. He took shelter from the pelting rain under a large tree, and found there a companion in the person of Arturo, Maria's husband. Their attention was arrested by the distant sound of wheels, and in a few moments, a travelling carriage was seen bounding along the road with fearful rapi lity. As it approached nearer to where Sedley stood, it was evident to him that the horses had been scared by the blazing lightning, and were completely beyond the control of the driver. Nearer and nearer they came, and Sedley recognized, with indescribable emotion, the countenances of Sir Edward St. John and Teresa.

Regardless of danger, he instantly rushed forward, and resolutely seizing the bit of the horse next to him stopped them both, throwing them completely on their haunches. Teresa and St. John immediately dismounted from the carriage, and the former being faint from terror, was compelled to seat herself at the foot of the tree, under which Sedley had sought shelter, whilst her husband poured forth profuse acknowledgments to their deliverer.


The storm was evidently abating in its fury, and Sedley advised his friends to continue where they were until the weather should permit them to claim the hospitality of his friend the priest. To trust themselves soon again with the terrified and still restive horses was not to be thought of, and accordingly they awaited patiently the termination of the storm. Teresa soon recovered her fright, and in her own sweet voice and manner thanked Sedley for his courageous interference. Sedley thought he had never seen her look so beautiful as she did at this moment, with her deep mourning habiliments setting off the transparent delicacy of her complexion, and her dark gray eyes shining with gratitude and excitement. But Sedley's contemplation of Teresa's loveliness was interrupted by a peal of thunder, so loud and awful that the very ground beneath

« PreviousContinue »