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the most perfect incognito was requisite ; and the Emperor insisted on my pledging my word that I would live with him as a faithful comrade, and never seek to know his name or history till he should see fit to reveal them. His Imperial Majesty added, that in my assumed character I might possibly find some clue to my sister's retreat, and if so, he desired me to communicate it through his Florentine agent, whom he mentioned only as the noble Ghibelline.' 'And now,' said he, here is your comrade.' He threw open the door of an inner room, and brought forward you, Brunetto; and you may remember he smiled significantly as he made us join hands and promise friendship and suppression of curiosity. He then separated us, and told me to hasten to Florence, where you would shortly join me.
.“ I set out alone on my journey, and all along my road I made minute inquiries after Rosara ; not by name, for I thought if it were known whom I sought, or who sought her, some interested person might throw obstacles in my way, but I inquired, as I do in Florence, in vague terms, after any female who might answer Rosara's description; and if once I received a favourable answer, I should know how to make closer researches.
“ As I journeyed, I resolved to visit the Apennines, for some rumour had reached me that Rosara was supposed to have fled thither. I inquired among the few inhabitants of that mountain region in vain. But one day an old goatherd told me that there was then in his cottage, apparently dying, a poor strange lad whom he had found in a chasm where a mountain torrent Rowed, quite insensible, and with a mark round his throat as of attempted strangulation ; that, with his son's assistance, he conveyed the lad to his cottage, and in great degree recovered him; that the boy said he had fallen into the hands of banditti, and had' escaped with life as by a miracle.
“ I went to see him ; it was this boy, Antonio. His youth, his appearance, and evident distress, interested me. I remained at the cottage to attend him; and, as he became convalescent, I know
how, but he twined round my heart, though he refused to inform me of any part of his history. He implored me not to abandon him, for he was friendless and wretched. Would I but let him serve me, and afford him protection in return, he said he would not trouble me long. I was melted; I adopted him as a brother; and, when sufficiently recovered, í brought him onward
“We met you, Brunetto, at the appointed place, and both you and Antonio declared that intercourse with the citizens would be disagreeable to your feelings and perhaps prejudicial to your interests. I acquiesced in all your measures, and came to live in this hermitage.
“And I continued my inquiries after my unhappy sister. Woe
is me! need I continue them any longer ?” and he looked with a perplexed air at Antonio. “I sing songs that, were she within hearing, she must understand and discover that the singer is poor Valdo; and she might, perhaps, have been touched and induced to leave her guilty retreat, and trust herself to her brother-the only being left on earth to care for her.
“You may wonder why I sought her in Florence beyond all Italian cities. Do not smile in scorn while I tell you. One night, when I was sitting up with Antonio in the Apennines, watching his feverish slumbers, and mourning that I had been unable to trace Rosara, exhausted by watching and sorrow I fell asleep, and dreamed that I was in a church on my knees before the altar, and praying earnestly to be permitted to find my sister. Methought then in my anguish I exclaimed—'Where, oh! where shali i find her?' and that, at the moment, my mother appeared to me in the garments of the grave, and answered in a solemn, thrilling voice-In Florence. I started at the words and woke; and, by a strange coincidence, Antonio, who appeared to be dreaming, muttered in sleep-In Florence in Florence.' This dream and coincidence have made a deep impression on me--one which no reasoning can induce me to shake off; and I have felt a conviction that I should certainly find Rosara in Florence. So strong has been the impression, that when we were called to-night to that palace, I was convinced it was to meet my sister; though how she could be there, I knew not. Alas! was it but an empty dream ? and is Rosara in an unblest grave ?
“Oh! had it but been my fate to find her, how gladly would I have hastened to my kind, forgiving sovereign, and
implored from him some retreat, where, under a feigned name, far from the risk of discovery, the lost sheep, the penitent Rosara, and I might have ended our days together in tranquillity and resignation, even in thankfulness, for all the peace that we could save from the wreck she had made. I have done. It only remains for me to remark upon
the strangeness of the circumstance, that since our arrival here we have never yet seen the Emperor's secret agent, the noble Ghibelline,' but have only communicated with him through a subordinate in his employ. He seems wondrously shy of intrusting us with a knowledge of his name and person. And now, comrades, let us throw ourselves upon our paliets, if not to sleep, at least to rest our limbs.”
Brunetto thanked Valdo for his confidence, and assured him that he sympathised with him in a degree which Valdo himself could not guess, but which, in due time, should, as he hoped, be explained ; and he bade him kindly a good night. Antonio, who had not uttered a word, rose hastily, and, turning from observation, threw himself on his pallet hidden in the recess, and indulged, while he concealed, an agony of tears.
June, 1845.-VOL. XLIII. NO. CLXX.
He crossed the rapid tide.
Byron.--Lines on swimming across the Hellespont. Days passed on, and the persons of our tale were employed in carrying out their views. The Glee-singers continued mindful of their sovereign's interest. Every evening, when the bustle of the day was over, when various groups were loitering in the streets, and when in the stillness of the hour their songs were most likely to attract attention, these Ghibelline minstrels were seen and heard in Florence. Their party songs had made but little impression on the higher rank of Guelphs, whose education, inculcating self-command and repression of the feelings, made them less subject to emotions than the lower class, with their quicker and warmer passions. Amongst the populace, who act more from impulse than reflection or conviction, the Glee-singers made several converts from the Guelphs, and established more firmly those already of their own party. The noble Guelphs were bound to their faction by too many ties to quit it for a song: but the enthusiasm of Italians for music had such power even over them, as to render them so friendly to the melodists (who often sang other lays besides political ones), that they would not suffer them to be molested; not wishing either to lose their music, or to give the Ghibellines an opportunity for a rupture, in espousing the cause of the Glee-singers.
Valdo continued or neglected his inquiries after Rosara, according as the idea of Antonio's insanity gained or lost ground in his mind. Antonio indulged his usual deep melancholy, clinging more closely than ever to Valdo for protection, but still refusing to communicate his story. Brunetto remained equally reserved, and had evidently some sorrow dwelling on his mind, but it was of a chastened, resigned, and tranquil character.
Amidea, since the dreadful assurances she had received of Florestan's guilt, had ceased even to allude to him; had striven with double earnestness to eradicate every tender remembrance of him; and now appeared to be preparing with cheerfulness for her approaching marriage.
The widow Donati was busied in keeping aloof the many young Florentines who would have willingly become suitors to her beautiful daughter, and in watching and managing Mosca Lamberti, who was evidently anxious to ingratiate himself with Imma, but was cleverly played off by her mother.
And whenever Mosca's conversation with the latter seemed tending to a proposal for her daughter, she adroitly started off upon some fresh topic, and talked so long and so rapidly as nearly to bewilder her unwilling hearer, and to prevent what he intended to say for that time. But Lamberti could not discover that any one else was encouraged as a suitor, and he waited, with as little discontent as he could, for a favourable hour to gain the widow's or Imma's serious attention.
Buondelmonte was honourably true to his intention of not seeking Imma, but he could not induce himself to avoid her; and by the contrivances of the widow and Carlo, they frequently met; sometimes on the public promenade, sometimes in the Palazzo Amidei, where La Donati had become an assiduous visitor: sometimes Buondelmonte was even decoyed by Carlo on some specious pretext to the Palazzo Donati, when there was no danger of meeting Mosca. And there Buondelmonte was exposed to the dangers of Imma's society unrestrained and uninterrupted. They sang together and to each other; they stood at the lattice together watching, the moonlight, and speaking in low and gentle tones: each unconsciously sought to become pleasing to the other, and succeeded but too well. And La Donati saw with delight their mutual attachment, without a single thought of her daughter's unhappiness, should Buondelmonte remain firm to his pre-contract. She overlooked the risk to which she exposed her only child, and flattered herself that she was acting a mother's part in so eagerly seeking her daughter's interest at any price.
Nothing tends to harden the heart against delicate feelings more than selfishness and cunning. A selfish or a cunning person sees little but the main object in view; and looking upon the whole world only as tools to work with, or dupes to be worked upon, is apt to think but slightingly of them and their feelings. And thus, whenever a possibility of losing Buondelmonte flashed across the widow's mind, she thought—* Ebbene! in that case, Imma and I must content ourselves with the next best match;” never reflecting that her daughter's peace might be at stake. But her general conviction was (to do her justice), that Buondelmonte would ultimately become the prize of her own arts and Imma's charms.
The nuptial banner on which the fair of Florence had been exercising their skill in embroidery, was now nearly finished. Since the introduction of Buondelmonte to Imma, the widow had frequently brought her daughter to the Palazzo Gondi to tender her services in this work of public interest. And whenever Imma was among the embroidresses, Carlo, who attended Buondelmonte like his shadow, always managed to draw him thither, affecting as they passed near the palace to think some young noble was there with whom he would speak, and Buondelmonte must come in and wait for him a moment. And when the latter entered, and made his way to Imma, Carlo's moments became very long ones.
And Imma occupied her fingers in tracing a G, or adding a few stitches to the figure representing Buondelmonte, or doing something to his crest. And he praised her skill, and thanked her in a low soft whisper. He knew not what feeling was predominant-pleasure in seeing her thus employed on his initial, his crest, or pain in remembering that that very embroidery told of their eternal separation.
One evening, just as the fair embroidresses were about to quit their work, they paused at the sound of the Glee-singers' voices outside. The minstrels sang their “Recruiting Song," then paused awhile to recover breath; and soon recommencing, sang to à wild melody the following irregular
Rest to the hero's shade,
Who where the battle bray'd *
Long be his comrades' bowl
Pledg'd to the warrior's soul,
Rest to the honour'd dead,
Who stretch'd on fever's bed
Subdued, not by foes, but death,
How calm the parting breath
Rest to bis gallant soul,
Who sunk where the waters roll,
Long shall the listening ear
Sounds from the surges hear,
Peace to cach lowly grave
Of beautiful, of young, and brave-
Alas! how soon to fade!
Like the pine in the woodland glade,
Rest to all !--though we weep
Those sunk to dreamless sleep ;
Than the poor heart that yet
Reads with its vain regret
• Heard ye the din of battle bray ?-Gray's Bard.