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do tell, Don't you think my new pantaloons fit very well; Yes, says Charley, they do, slyly stifling a laugh,
For I think that they set very snug to itrons to pay in a-vance.
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In the mean time, favored by the darkness and the confusion which agitated the conspirators, I glided, unperceived, among them. The light of the lantern hardly extended two steps beyong him who held it, and we were in such a winding and intricate path that we could only walk one abreast. It was consequently difficult, nay almost impossible, to have perceived me ; but if I had been discovered, and they had offered me any violence, I was provided with arms in good condition, and would have dearly sold my life. But the idea of being serviceable to an unhappy being, and a short and fervent prayer I addressed to heaven, banished fear from my soul: I only thought of justifying that confidence the oppressed had reposed in me. Whilst I was actuated by this reflection, I felt a hand leaning on ..me, which from its smallness and softness, I judged to be a woman's. This hand, apparently heated by a burning fever, grasped mine with a convulsive motion, and pressing is to her heart, which beat with vi.
olent and unequal palpitations. I continued silent, when I heard a voice in soft accents, but evidently agitated, say to me, “Do you not feel how it beats —it is rage—it is love.” "
As. we advanced, the Cavern seemed to enlarge itself. The glimmerings of light which at intervals shot from the lantern, reflected upon the roof and the sides of the rock, whose chrystalline productions sparkled with a thousand colours. We soon breathed a damp air, infected with pestilential vapours. I felt myself unwell and remarked that three of those I accompanied were in a similar situation. The three others, I mean the gaoler, who had opened the entrance of the Cavern, he who carried the lantern, and she who had taken me by the hand, were in no ways affected.
At a little distance we descended some steps, rudely cut out in the rock; at the bottom of the last of them was a small door, which,
*The inconsistency of the lady's con. duct can only be accounted for from the disordered and agitated state of her pas. sions at the moment, wupon being struck by him who went first, was immediately opened. We entered : the darkness did not permit me to distinguish the objects; however, by the faint light that preceded us, I observed in one of the corners affigure dressed in white : it was the only object. I could distinctly perceive ; for the man who held the lantern having taken it to light a torch by,
a gust of wind extinguished it, and
we were left in utter darkness.--I confess, whatever firmness I possessed I could not at that instant resist the impulse of terror. *
The dread scene that surrounded me, the fearful silence preserved by my criminal companions, the horrid darkness, the damp dews of the Cavern—all these circumstances united convinced me I was among a set of murderers, whose dark deeds perhaps I was on the point of witnessing. I however recalled my troubled spirits, and resolved notwithstanding the
numbers against me, to exert the
courage of justice, which is ever an overmatch for guilt.
Troman adjoining cavern, which sremed to be the gaoler's apartment, a lighted torch was brought: its glaring light presented me a spectacle which while I live I shall never forget. My hair stood erect with horror, and my blood curdled in my veins. Within a recess of the rock there lay chained a wretched victim, half naked, whom. by his white covering, but more
particularly by his sighs, I knew to be the prisoner I had before seen. His hollow care-worn eyes, and his chained arms were mournfully turned towards an object, which at first I had not remarked, but which, I afterwards remarked with horror, was the dead body of a female. Fach of the five persons I had accompanied had a different attitude. Terror had discomposed the features of the three first, and upon the fourth was traced a stupid insensibility. But how shall I describe the expression painted on the countenance of the person who had taken me by the hand, and whom, as I had imagined, I soon perceived to be a woman : Her hat, which had fallen from her head, discovered her flowing tresses of extraordinary beauty : her brows were knit, and displayed at once the fury of hatred and the flame of love; her large blue eyes, which darted forth revenge, were moisened by the tears of pity; her respiration was loud and inter
This painful situation could not continue long : a shower of tears put an end to it; then approaching the prisoner as he lay—“Antoni," said she, “you are silent: do you no longer hate me? or, to add to my misery, are you become insensible? Alas! I have too much offended you to pretend to your love ; I have too severely punished you not to merit your hatred ; detest me; tell me you abhor me; it is only by rending my wounds you can assuage them; O heaven! he no longer hears me : it is for her,” poshting to the body, “he preserves all the affections of his soul. Though dead and a prey to the worms, she has all his love ; and I, who have been so often praised for my beauty, am disdained, despised, unheeded ! Why am I not as she is 3–Why is she not as I am 2–I should then possess thy love, she thy hatred.— Antoni! Antoni knowest thou who I am? I am thy mistress, thy persecutor | Take this hand, which wishes to join thine, and which thou hast hitherto rejected. Acknowledge it has revenged itself of thy contempt.” At these words, raising the covering which partly concealed the body, she shewed its bosom, horribly stained with blood, and pierced with a large wound, in which a poniard remained plunged; then with a malignant smile, she said, “Behold what I have done !—She adored you : you preferred her to me ; with these hands I murdered her Why does she not awake,
that I may destroy her again —it is by her blood I would quench the flame that consumes me. How lovely she was when I plunged the dagger in her breast ! What joy was it to see my rival suppliant at my feet, entreating life, and obtaining death. Do you not hate me 2—Man, more ferocious than myself, who hath revealed to thee the secret how to punish me !”
Her tears here began to flow, interrupted with bitter sighs, and she fell senseless into the arms of those who surrounded her. In the mean time the prisoner had not uttered a word. His looks were fixed, his eyes dry, and he appeared neither to observe nor comprehend any thing. By degrees his pitiless enemy recovered her senses : she approached Antoni with more tranquillity, and placed herself on his bed, with her back turned towards the body of her rival; and addressing the object of her love, “Antoni,” said she, “I will not dissemble my crimes, nor the injuries I have done you : I have deprived you of a mistress you. adored, and, by a refinement of cruelty, till now unheard of have condemned you to die with grief near her sad remains. Yet datest me ; you ought so to do. I cannot complain; nay, I should despise you if you hated me less.But every thing on earth has its limits; love becomes extinct, and hatred loses its violence. - For myself, who have so cruelly offended you, I will put a period to my