Page images

Such were the feelings which supported Sedley often, when languid nature would have recoiled from the task he had set himself.

A celebrated actress was at this time in Genoa, and Chiara had often expressed a wish to go and hear her. Lady Sedley at last agreed to gratify her, and they all went to the theatre.

Sedley was an excellent judge of every matter of taste, and the beauty of the performance on this occasion completely rivetted his attention. A deep tragedy was acted, greatly to the delight of Chiara, (for the most joyous in reality, generally delight in witnessing fictitious woe) and the principal actress was everything that could be required for the part she undertook. Sedley became deeply interested in the piece, till he was aroused by an exclamation of Lady Sedley's ---she had hastily uttered a name which thrilled through her son's heart—the beloved name of Teresa.

Eagerly, Sedley turned to her, and asked her what she meant; her eyes were fixed on the box facing them, and Sedley, following their direction saw a party leaving it, but could distinguish none of their faces. Grasping his mother's hand, he asked her again what her exclamation had signified. Lady Sedley then told him, that during the whole evening, her attention had been fixed on a young person who sat in the back part of the box facing them, and that she had been much struck by the likeness between this person and Teresa, but that the darkness of the house, and the shade in which she sat, prevented her ascertaining her real features. At length the party had moved to leave the box, and this young person, in order to make room for the others to pass, had advanced to the front of the box, and in the momentry glimpse Lady Sedley bad obtained of her countenance, she felt almost convinced that it was Teresa herself.

Sedley's agitation may easily be conceived, as he listened to this account, and his first impulse was to rush from the box, and go in search of this being who had so deeply interested them ; but for some time he was unable to move, and


the revulsion from all but despair to vivid hope was overpowering.

At length he recovered his energies, and without saying a word to his mother or Chiara, he hurried from the box, and along the passages. But in his agitation he grew bewildered, and it was some time before he got out of the house; he listened in breathless anxiety to every name that was called, as if Teresa's would be amongst them. He examined the countenance of every female he met, but no one bearing any resemblance to her was to be found. After some time spent in a fruitless search, he returned to his mother, and escorted her and Chiara home. It was too late for him to take any farther measures towards discovering his lost treasure that night, and he was reluctantly compelled to retire to his room ; but sleep visited him not, all that long, weary night. With intense anxiety he watched the break of day in the heavens, and at length it came, ushering in a glorious morning. That one night of anxious watching had undone all the good which time and reflection had wrought in Sedley's heart and appearance, and he went forth into the crowded streets pale, haggard, and restless.

The whole day was consumed in fruitless enquiries, and he was returning home fatigued and discouraged, when he remembered one hotel much frequented by travellers which he had overlooked in his search. He instantly returned to it, and found from the landlord, that an English family had slept there the night before, and had been at the theatre, but that they had gone on to Milan early in the morning. He described the family as consisting of a gentleman and lady with their children and a governess, · also a young lady who was travelling with them.

Sedley asked him to describe this young lady, and from what he heard, he was convinced that it could be no other than Teresa. When the mind is full of an object, we take hold of the slightest sketch and fill it up to our own satisfaction. The bost bad described the young lady as having dark bair and eyes, with a fair complexion. This was quite sufficient to bring conviction to Sedley's mind, although it might not have appeared so conclusive to a cooler judgment. - To Milan, therefore, Sedley resolved to follow, and he easily prevailed on his mother to leave Genoa, but no persons answering his description had been seen in Milan, and he lost all trace of them. They travelled from place to place with equal ill-fortune, and at length, Sedley's mind again settled down into the calm it had enjoyed before this last event. Chiara was still with the Sedleys, and they had become so much accustomed, and so much attached to her, that they never thought of a separation from her. Her step-mother was but too happy to be rid of her, and her father was entirely governed by his young wife. - Chiara was eminently beautiful, and perfectly aware of her advantages—she was in an uncommon style for an Italian ; her golden ringlets, large dark blue eyes and long fringed eyelashes, her exquisitely cut mouth and delicately fair complexion, were all purely Saxon. 'Her form

« PreviousContinue »