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Duke, were hurt to find Francisco was admitted to : her presence, when their master was excluded. Graccho, too, had been hid.behind a column when Francisco bribed Marcelia's attendant to grant him admittance; he had conveyed the intelligence to the Princess Marianna, and in tlamed her jealousy to the uttermost. Even Pescara':was displeased at Marcelia's unexpected reception of Sforza, and lamented, that a soul, lofty and noble as his, should be at once. the slave and victim of'a : woman's caprice. He spoke his sentiments, and Sforza bore his reproof, from the high value he put upon his friendship, and from a sense of his great obligations to him; but: when Stephano and Tiberio presumed to give hints of their suspicions with regard to Francisco, he spurned them from him with disdain. Isabella and . Marianna came; and, presuming on their affinity,, spoke without fear, openly accusing her of adultery he charged them with meanness, with envy, and. bade them quit his sight, declaring they had raised an eternal testimony to her honour : still he scorned. to take their lives, for they were sacrifices too unworthy; and told them to live, therefore, till their

envy should destroy them. Francisco now advanced, and, with a rueful countenance, solicited a private audience. All immediately were dismissed. Sforza eagerly demanded the news he brought; and whether he came to say, that his sweet Märcelia relented Say on, my comfort,” said he, grasping his hand. Francisco, with well dissembled sorrow, replied,

Comfort ! No, your torment,
For so my fate appoints me.

That I alone,
Of all mankind, that stand most bound to love you,
And study your content, should be appointed,
Not by my will, but forced by cruel fate,
To be your greatest enery! Not to hold you
In this

amazement longer; in a word, Your duchess loves me!

own

And hence arose her late neglect of

you;
I could not buie in duty (though I know
'That the relation kills in you all hope
Of peace hereafter, and in ine 'will show
Both base ani poor to rise up ber accuser)

I'reely discover it. *** Sforza stood like one transfixed : to all calumny he had turned an unbelieving ear; but Francisco's i uth could not be doubted ; and Francisco had pronounced her false. The very thought was madness; like a volcano his pent-up rage broke out. He commanded Tiberio and Stephano to bring her to hiz presence ; and should she refuse, to drag her thither without mercy ; to show her no respect, but treat her as a common slave. The astonished courtiers hastened to do his bidding, without daring to inquire the cause of this so sudden fury. Francisco begged to withdraw awhile, and suggested to the Duke, as a trial of the truth of his report, that he should inform the Duchess of his death, and, by her lamentations for his loss, she would prove the strength of her regard.

Marcelia's resentment was abating, and all her former love obtaining its influence over her mind, on the description of Sforza's suffering and repentance by Tiberio and Stephano ; but these tender feelings were put to flight, and a new species of warfare took possession of her soul, on Francisco's visit, when he informed her, that, at the instigation of his wife, Marianna, Sforza had been inflamed to jealousy : all else appeared in Marcelia's mind trifing, compared to this insult; and the pride of conscious virtue roused her to indignation. Could Sforza descend so far from his noble nature as to stoop to suspicion ? Could he, dared he suspect her, whose purity of love for him exceeded parallel ; whose conduct was so free from taint that malice itself could not, with any plea of probability, advanice

aught to her prejudice ; and was this her reward? Life was no longer to be desired. She had lived to be suspected by Sforza, and it was a pang never to be removed. In the solitude of her chamber she was brooding over her sorrows, when Tiberio and Stephano brought the imperious message of their Lord, and, swelling with indignation, she obeyed the rude summons; each fired with resentment, no explanation could take place. Sforza accused her of entertaining a passion for Francisco, an accusation which she was too proud to refute; and, when he informed her he had plunged his dagger to the heart of Francisco, Marcelia, shocked at the confession of so much passion and injustice on the part of Sforza, and at the idea that Francisco had fallen a victim for her, vehemently lamented his death-the Duke, in his fury, stabbed her.

[graphic]

Marcelia fell to the ground, the blood gushing from her bosom; and feeling her death certain, her resentment ceased, in the mournful anticipation of Sforza's sufferings when he should learn that she was innocent : though now he was so strongly assured of her guilt, that he called in Francisco to confront her, but Francisco was fled. For the first time an idea of treachery darted athwart the mind of Sforza; he rushed to the bleeding Marcelia, and raising her in his arms, called loudly for assistance. Alas! all help was vain—Marcelia's life-blood was streaming : with her dying breath she owned the attempt made upon her virtue by the vile Francisco; that her coldness and resentment had proceeded from the discovery of Sforza's mandate for her death given to Francisco; and that, seduced by the show of penitence, she had promised not to betray him to his master, thus falling a victim to a villain's art and lier own ill judged resentment. She blessed her husband, pronounced his forgiveness, prayed of Heaven to forgive him also, and yielded her pure soul into the hands of her Maker.

Sforza stood motionless, like one entranced, and was dragged insensible from the scene of blood !

Francisco, when he fled from Milan, had hastened to the secret residence of his sister Eugenia. It was his resentment for the wrongs of Sforza to this sister which had instigated his conduct. Sforza had loved her ; in the frenzy of his love had promised marriage, and the ill-fated Eugenia, forgetful of her own dignity, became his mistress. The impetuosity of passion over, reflection came to his aid : he lamented the affliction of Eugenia, but could not raise to his throne, or make the partner of his name and honours, one whose feeble virtue had not been able to resist the allurement of temptation! The beautiful Marcelia obtained his unchanging love by possessing his esteem; and he sought her hand. The poor

forlorn Eugenia fled from the court ; fled from scenes of happiness she could never more partake, and hid in the vale of retirement, wept her fall from virtue. She felt much resentment to Sforza, but towards the more happy Marcelia she harboured no unfriendly thought ; she envied her the bliss of being virtuous, but, though envying, did not hate her. Not so Francisco ; he, stung with resentment, not 80 much for his sister's wrongs as from his own disappointed ambition in not becoming brother to the Duke of Milan, secretly vowed revenge on Sforza and his lovely, innocent wife, and resolved no power should stop the progress of his hate towards his sister's seducer and rival. Sforza, who sincerely lamented his criminal intercourse with Eugenia, as the only atonement he could make, settled upon her a handsome provision, and loaded her brother with favours. He heaped dignities upon him, and was, as he supposed, rewayled by his faithful attachment. Too late he learned the specious semblance of faith was all assumed ; ton late to avert the dreadful effects of his malignity.

When the spirit of vengeance takes possession of a wicked mind, it is never sated. It was thus with Francisco; not content with all the ruin he had drawn on Sforza, not contented to have repaid unlimited services with ingratitude, and friendly confidence with treachery, he resolved to triumph in the devastation he had caused, and gaze, like an exulting fiend, on the ruin he had made. He induced his sister to accompany him, disguised, to the Duke's palace, still further to torture him, till he beheld him sink in death ; for only in the grave would his long hoarded vengeance cease to be exerted.

The unfortunate Sforza presented now a mournful picture of human wretchedness, the wreck of what had once been great and glorious. Slowly he returned to recollection, and, when informed of Marcelia's death, broke out into such extremes of madness, that he attempted the lives of his mother and sister; and the physicians, hoping to stem for a time the torrent of his ungovernable rage, examined the Duchess's wounds, venturing to express a hope they were not mortal. This artful device soothed him; and falling at their feet, he swore to divide his duke

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