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from an open declaration, on the part of the Arch-Duchess Maria Theresa in favour of Francis Prince of Lorraine. This news, by verifying one argument in the alleged innocence of Louis de Montemar, gave a respectable colour, in her now mind, to the really vain motive which prompted a clandestine reception of the Duke de Ripperda's son. In mentioning her design to his zealous friend, she hinted that such privacy was necessary; since the King had followed the flight of Ripperda, with a sentence of perpetual banishment. While unknown, she said, she could discourse more freely to the young Marquis, on the circumstances of his father's conduct; and, by remaining incognita, should she chuse the affair to end at that conference, her implied interference would escape expectation, or blame.
Santa Cruz bowed to a command that promised so fair, notwithstanding its professed doubts as to the issue; and, as it was to be kept a profound secret, he
pledged himself, and performed his word, not to disclose her real quality to the object of her condescension.
While Louis exchanged his prison garments, for a court dress, the Marquis told him, he must not ground his father's defence to the lady he should see, on any argument of the Queen's precipitancy in politics. Her Majesty's consciousness was sufficient. Louis thanked him for his caution. And, no objection being made to the royal signet which Santa Cruz carried, they passed through the prison; and, without opposition, entered the carriage at its gates.
As they drove silently through the streets, the Marquis regarded the counte. nance of his companion. It was 10 longer pallid and dejected. His eyes were bent downwards in thought, but a bright colour was on his cheek; and the refulgence of an inward, happy animation, illumed every feature. Santa Cruz refrained from remarking on this change, so favourable to his cause; though he did not the less wonder how it could have taken place during the short interval since his first visit. The fact was simple.
From that hour, hope had been his abundant aliment. Yet, not an implicit hope in frail humanity. He had lately learnt, to put no absolute trust in mortal power, nor any dependance on man. He had been made to know, that blinded judgements are often with the one, and misguiding interests in the other; but he knew in whom he trusted! and the expression of hope in his countenance, partook of the sublime source whence it sprung.
When they arrived at Saint Ildefonso, vespers were concluded, and the King retired with his confessor. This circumstance was what Isabella anticipated, and determined her to name that hour for the appointed interview. A few minutes after Santa Cruz had conducted Louis into ner pavilion, she ascended the steps. On
hearing her foot on the pavement, the Marquis hastened to meet her; and, as she stood in the portico, and Louis remained in the room, he had an opportu. nity of taking cognizance of the lady who was to report his suit to her royal mistress.
She seemed about forty; of a low stature, and slight figure ; with a countenance, whose acute lineaments, dark complexion, and quick, penetrating eye, announced alacrity of intellect, with an equal proportion of irritability and vin. dictiveness of mind. She conversed a second with the Marquis, and preceded him into the pavilion. He presented Louis to her, as the Marquis de Monte. mar; and named her to him by the title of Duchess Tarrazona.
Louis bowed respectfully; while she, so far forgot her assumed character, as to take no notice of his obeisance, though her rivetted observation lost not a line of his face or deportment. He raised his
eyes from the share they usually took in his bow; but, encountering the sharp and investigating gaze of her's, he looked down again, and retreated a step back, with a second bow.
Marquis,” said she, to Santa Cruz, you may attend in the portico."
As she spoke, she turned into a se. cluded veranda ; and waved her hand to Louis, to follow her.
He obeyed. For more than an hour, Santa Cruz walked to and fro under thelong doublecolonnade of the pavilion, before the Queen re-appeared on the threshold. Louis remained in the saloon. She stood apart several minutes, talking earnestly with the Marquis; and then withdrew, unattended, across the garden.
Not a word passed between him and his charge, until they were out of the confines of St. Ildefonso, and once more on the road to Madrid. Louis's countenance, all this time was meditative and troubled :- Santa Cruz at last said: