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being represented by rubies, so as to form a more lively effigy of the divine sacrifice.
It was made evident by these speeches, that the implacable temper of the Countess had overcome all the counsels of Landino, who entered just at this moment, to perceive that his arguments had been in vain. He reproved her with some asperity, for her unchristian spirit, and her temper being by this time cool enough to be restrained by policy, by dint of much dissembling there was an apparent reconciliation between all the parties. Thus, it was arranged as had been concerted beforehand, Rovinello consenting, with great satisfaction, to pass some months with his wife in the palace of his mother.
The unhappy Englishwoman, however, though now living under the same roof with the Countess, and caressed by her every day, began soon to find this reconcilement more intolerable than the former estrangement. At length, Rovinello seeing her grow more and more dejected, her beautiful eyes being filled with tears whenever he returned to her, after even an hour's absence, began to inquire the cause.
"Alas!" she said, •* I have cause enough to weep; for I am treated here with such a cruel kindness, that but for your dear love, I should wish myself a hundred times a day in my peaceable grave;—for I am assured, every hour, that the souls of my dear honoured parents are at this very time suffering unspeakable torments; a saying which, whether true or false, ought to cost me a great deal of misery or displeasure. To aggravate these feelings, the confessor Landino exhorts me so constantly to secure myself from the like perdition, that satisfied with a heart to love thee withal, I wish, sometimes, that I had no soul at all to care for."
Having spoken thus with some bitterness of manner, she again fell a weeping; whereupon, Rovinello, touched with her tears, declared that her peace should no longer be assailed by such arguments; and in truth, having sojourned some years in England, his own sentiments on such matters partook of the liberality and freedom which belong seemingly to the very atmosphere of that fortunate country. Accordingly, after making various excuses to his mother, he set off with his lady to a countryseat, which was situated on the sea-coast; and here they lived together for some months very happily.
At the end of that time, Rovinello received one day a letter which required his immediate attendance at Rome, and taking a very tender farewell of his lady, he departed. His affairs detained him four or five days at the capital, and then he returned home with all possible speed, indulging in a thousand fanciful pictures by the way, of his wife's joyful endearments at his return; whereas, when he reached the house, he was told that she had been carried off by force, no one knew whither; the servants being taken away likewise in the middle of the night. A Moorish turban, which had been left in one of the rooms, supplied the only clue for discovery of her destiny, for in those days it was a common thing for the Algerine rovers to make a descent on the Italian coasts. The distracted Rovinello, therefore, went instantly on ship-board, and required to be carried over to Africa, intending at all perils to ransom his dear lady, or partake of the same captivity. There happened to be a neutral ship in the port, so that he engaged a vessel without much difficulty; but he had barely been out at sea a few hours, when fresh thoughts flashed on his mind, now at leisure for deliberate reflection, and made him alter his course. It was ascertained, from other vessels they fell in with, that no Barbary ships had been seen latterly near the coast, and besides, the very partial plunder of his own mansion, in the midst of many others, made it seem an improbable act to have been committed by the pirates ; he ordered the helm, therefore, to be put down, and returned immediately to the shore.
And now a dreadful question began to agitate his mind, which, whether with or without reason, was very afflicting to entertain, for it seemed impossible at the first glance, that any womanly heart could be so obdurately cruel and tigerlike, as wilfully to disjoint the married love of himself and his lady by a deed so atrocious; but when he recalled the stern temper of his mother, and above all her horrible malediction, his heart quite misgave him, and delivered him up to the most dreadful of ideas. It was rumoured, indeed, that Landino had lately been seen in the neighbourhood, and there were other suspicious reports afloat amongst the country people; but these things were very vague and contradictory, and all wanted confirmation.
The miserable Rovinello, with these suspicions in his bosom, repaired instantly to Venice, but the Countess was either guiltless or else dissembled so plausibly, that his thoughts became more bewildering than ever, and, at