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man, accordingly, took a hasty but most affectionate farewell of his young wife; and with a heavy heart embarked on board a foreign merchant vessel that was bound for the Gulf of Venice. The counsellor was immediately arrested and thrown into prison, as having been an accessary to his son-in-law's escape; but being afterwards set free, he was still watched so vigilantly by the spies of the accusers, that he could not safely engage in any correspondence with his relation.
In this manner nearly two years passed away; till at length the miserable exile grew so impatient of his condition, that he resolved to return, even at whatever hazard to his life. Passing therefore by way of France into Spain, and taking care to disguise himself so effectually that he could not be recognized by his oldest acquaintance, he arrived in safety at a village in the neighbourhood of Madrid. There he learned, for the first time, that his father-in-law had been disgraced and amerced so heavily, that being of a proud spirit and unable to endure his reverses, he had died of a broken heart: and moreover, that his daughter was presently living in the capital in the greatest affliction. At these melancholy tidings, he repented more than ever that he had quitted Spain, and resolved to repair to his wife without any further delay.
Now it chanced in the village where he was resting, that he had a very dear friend, named Rodrigo, who had been his school-mate, and was as dear to him as a brother; and going to his house at sunset, he discovered himself to the other, and besought him to go before to Madrid, and prepare his dear wife for his arrival. "And now, remember,1' said he, "that my life, and not only mine, but my dear lady's also, depends upon your breath; and if you frame it into any speech, so imprudently as to betray me, I vow by our Holy Lady of Loretto, that I will eat your heart;" and with this and still stranger expressions, he conducted himself so wildly, as to show that his misfortunes, and perhaps some sickness, had impaired the healthiness of his brain. His friend, however, like a prudent man, concealed this observation; but unlocking his library, and saying that there was store of entertainment in his absence, he departed on his mission.
On Rodrigo's arrival at the lady's house, she was seated on a sofa, and, as if to divert her cares, was busied in some embroidery; but every now and then she stayed her needle to wipe off a tear that gathered on her long dark eye-lashes, and sometimes to gaze for minutes together on a small portrait which lay before her on a table. "Alas!" she said to the picture, " we two that should have lived together so happily, to be thus asunder; but absence has made room for sorrow to come between us, and it slays both our heartsand as she complained thus, Rodrigo joyfully entered and began to unfold to her his welcome tidings.
At first, the sorrowful lady paid scarcely any attention to his words, but so soon as she comprehended that it concerned her dear husband's arrival, she could hardly breathe for joy.
"What! shall I behold him here, in this very spot; nay here," said she, pressing her hands vehemently upon her bosom: "I pray thee do not mock me, for my life is so flown into this hope, that they must die together if you deceive me;" and only at the entrance of that doubt she burst into a flood of tears. But being assured that the news was indeed true, and that her husband would presently be with her, she clasped her hands passionately together, and crying out that joy was as hard to bear as grief, besought Heaven that it might not madden her before he came, and then began to weep again as violently as before. Upon this, Rodrigo reproving her, she excused herself, saying "that a dream which had troubled her in the night, had overpowered her weak spirits."
"And in truth," said she, " it was very horrible ; for my dear husband appeared to me like a phantom, and laid his cold hand upon mine, like a fall of snow; and he asked me if I was afraid of him, that I shuddered so, and I answered him ' God forbid! but yet your voice methinks is not your own, nor so gentle,—but very fierce, and there is a strange light instead of love, in your eyes.1 And he said,' This voice truly is not my own, nor the shining of my eyes; but the serpent's within me, who hath devoured my brain; and when he looks out upon thee, he will kill thee, for he does not love thee as I used, neither is there any remorse in his heart.' As he spoke thus, I saw a light shining in his skull, and wild strange eyes looking forth through his eyes; so that I cried out with terror, and awaked. But ever since this dream has haunted me, and even now, as you see, I cannot quite get rid of its depression."