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wrenching his dagger from him.--"Stop, stop to meet her murdered child; but when she saw thy impious hand,” cried Matilda ; " it is my the afflicted procession, the mightiness of her father!" Manfred, waking as from a trance, grief deprived her of her senses, and she fell beat his breast, twisted his hands in his locks, lifeless to the earth in a swoon. Isabella and and endeavoured to recover his dagger from Frederic, who attended her, were overwhelmed Theodore to dispatch himself. Theodore, scarce in almost equal sorrow. Matilda alone seemed less distracted, and only mastering the trans- insensible to her own situation. Every thought ports of his grief to assist Matilda, had now, by was lost in tenderness for her mother. Orderhis cries, drawn some of the monks to his aid. ing the litter to stop, as soon as Hippolita was While part of them endeavoured, in concert with brought to herself, she asked for her father. He the afflicted Theodore, to stop the blood of the approached, unable to speak. Matilda, seizing dying princess, the rest prevented Manfred from his hand and her mother's, locked them in her laying violent hands on himself.
own, and then clasped them to her heart. Mana Matilda, resigning herself patiently to her fate, fred could not support this act of pathetic piety: acknowledged, with looks of grateful love, the He dashed bimself on the ground, and cursed zeal of Theodore. Yet oft, as her faintness would the day he was born. Isabella, apprehensive permit her speech its way, she begged the as- that these struggles of passion were more than sistants to comfort her father. Jerome, by this Matilda could support, took upon herself to ortime, had learned the fatal news, and reached der Manfred to be borne to his apartment, while the church. His looks seemed to reproach Theo- she caused Matilda to be conveyed to the neardore; but turning to Manfred, he said, “Now, est chamber. Hippolita, scarce more alive than tyrant, behold the completion of woe fulfilled on her daughter, was regardless of every thing but thy impious and devoted head! The blood of her ; but when the tender Isabella's care would Alfonso cried to Heaven for vengeance; and have likewise renoved her, while the surgeons Heaven has permitted its altar to be polluted by examined Matilda's wound, she cried, “ Reassassination, that thou mightest shed thy own move me! never ! never! I lived but in her, blood at the foot of that Prince's sepulchre !"- and will expire with her.” Matilda raised her “Cruel man,” cried Matilda, “ to aggravate the eyes at her mother's voice, but closed them again woes of a parent ! may Heaven bless my father, without speaking. Her sinking pulse and the and forgive him as I do.--My lord, my gracious damp coldness of her hand soon dispelled all sire, dost thou forgive thy child ? Indeed I came hopes of recovery. Theodore followed the surnot hither to meet Theodore. I found him pray- geons into the outer chamber, and heard them ing at this tomb, whither my mother sent me to pronounce the fatal sentence with a transport intercede for thee, for her- dearest father, bless equal to frenzy—“Since she cannot live mine,” your child, and say you forgive her !”—“ For- cried he, “ at least she shall be mine in death! give thee ! murderous monster !" cried Manfred, –Father! Jerome! will you not join our hands?”
can assassins forgive? I took thee for Isabel cried he to the friar, who, with the Marquis, had la; but Heaven directed my bloody hand to the accompanied the surgeons. “What means thy heart of my child-oh,Matilda !-I cannot ut- distracted rashness ?” said Jerome; “is this an ter it-canst thou forgive the blindness of my hour for marriage?”—“It is, it is,” cried Theorage?"-" I can! I do! and may Heaven con- dore, “alas, there is no other !”—“ Young man, firm it !” said Matilda—“ but while I have life thou art too unadvised," said Frederic ; dost to ask it-Oh, my mother ! what will she feel! thou think we are to listen to thy fond transports —will you comfort her, my lord ? will you not in this hour of fate? what pretensions hast thou to put her away ? Indeed she loves you-Oh, I am the princess ?"-"Those of a prince," said Thefaint ! bear me to the castle-Can I live to have odore; “ of the sovereign of Otranto. This reveher close my eyes ?
rend man, my father, has informed me who I Theodore and the monks besought her earnest- am.”—“Thou ravest,” said the Marquis;“there ly to suffer herself to be borne into the convent; is no Prince of Otranto but myself, now Manbut her instances were so pressing to be carried fred, by murder, by sacrilegious murder, has forto the castle, that, placing her on a litter, they feited all pretensions.”—“My lord,” said Jerome, conveyed her thither as she requested. Theodore assuming an air of command," he tells you true. supporting her head with his arm, and hanging It was not my purpose the secret should have over her in an agony of despairing love, still en- been divulged so soon; but fate presses onward deavoured to inspire her with hopes of life. Je to its work. What his hot-headed passion has rome, on the other side, comforted her with dis- revealed, my tongue confirms. Know, prince, courses of Heaven, and holding a crucifix before that when Alfonso set sail for the Holy Landher, which she bathed with innocent tears, pre- -“ Is this a season for explanations ?” cried pared her for her passage to immortality. Man- Theodore. “ Father, come and unite me to the fred, plunged in the deepest affliction, followed princess; she shall be mine-in every other thing the litter in despair.
I will dutifully obey you.-My life! my adored Ere they reached the castle, Hippolita, in- Matilda !" continued Theodore, rushing back formed of the dreadful catastrophe, had Áown into the inner chamber, “will you not be mine?
will you not bless your-" Isabella made the desponding Manfred, "behold the vanity of signs to him to be silent, apprehending the human greatness! Conrad -is gone! Matilda is princess was near her end. “ What, is she no more! in Theodore we view the true Prince dead ?" cried Theodore ; " is it possible?” The of Otranto. By what miracle he is so, I know violence of his exclamations brought Matilda to not-suffice it to us, our doom is pronounced ! herself. Lifting up her eyes, she looked around Shall we not-can we but-dedicate the few de for her mother—"Life of my soul! I am here,” plorable hours we have to live, in deprecating cried Hippolita ; “think not I will quit thee!”- the farther wrath of Heaven? Heaven ejects us, “Oh, you are too good,” said Matilda,“but weep -whither can we fly, but to yon holy cells not for me, my mother! I am going where sor- that yet offer us a retreat?"_" Thou guiltless row never dwells—Isabella, thou hast loved me; but unhappy woman! unhappy by my crimes !" wot thou not supply my fondness to this dear, replied Manfred,“ my heart at last is open to dear woman? indeed I am faint!”—“Oh, thy devout admonitions. Oh, could !-but it my child ! my child !” said Hippolita, in a flood cannot be-ye are lost in wonder- let me at last of tears, " can I not with hold thee a moment?” do justice on myself! To heap shame on my own -“ It will not be," said Matilda—"commend head is all the satisfaction I have left to offer to me to Heaven-where is my father? forgive him, offended Heaven. My story has drawn down dearest mother-forgive him my death; it was these judgments. Let my confession atone an error-Oh! I had forgotten—dearest mother, but ah! what can atone for usurpation and a I vowed never to see Theodore more--perhaps murdered child! a child murdered in a consethat has drawn down this calamity—but it was crated place !-List, sirs, and may this bloody not intentional-can you pardon me?”—“Oh, record be a warning to future tyrants ! wound not my agonizing soul!" said Hippolita; “Alfonso, ye all know, died in the Holy Land “thou never couldst offend me - Alas, she faints! -ye would interrupt me; ye would say he came help! help!”—“I would say something more,” not fairly to his end—it is most true-why else said Matilda struggling,—“but it wonnot be- this bitter cup which Manfred must drink to the Isabella-Theodore- -for my sake-Oh!,” dregs ? Ricardo, my grandfather, was his chamshe expired. Isabella and her women tore Hip- berlain—I would draw a veil over my ancestor's polita from the corse; but Theodore threatened crimes - but it is in vain! Alfonso died by poidestruction to all who attempted to remove him son ! A fictitious will declared Ricardo his heir. from it. He printed a thousand kisses on her His crimes pursued him-yet he lost no Conrad, clay-cold hands, and uttered every expression no Matilda! I pay the price of usurpation for that despairing love could dictate.
all! A storm overtook him. Haunted by his Isabella, in the meantime, was accompanying guilt, he vowed to St Nicholas to found a church the afflicted Hippolita to her apartment; but, in and two convents, if he lived to reach Otranto. the middle of the court they were met by Man- The sacrifice was accepted; the saint appeared fred, who, distracted with his own thoughts, and to him in a dream, and promised that Ricardo's anxious once more to behold his daughter, was posterity should reign in Otranto, until the rightadvancing to the chamber where she lay. As the ful owner should be grown too large to inhabit moon was now at its height, he read in the coun- the castle, and as long as issue-male from Ricartenances of this unhappy company the event he do's loins should remain to enjoy it-Alas, dreaded. “What! is she dead }" cried he in wild alas! nor male nor female, except myself, reconfusion.-A clap of thunder at that instant mains of all his wretched race !- I have done shook the castle to its foundations; the earth -the woes of these three days speak the rest. rocked, and the clank of more than mortal ar- How this young man can be Alfonso's heir, I mour was heard behind. Frederic and Jerome know not-yet I do not doubt it. His are these thought the last day was at hand. The latter, dominions: 'I resign them-yet I knew not Alforcing Theodore along with them, rushed into fonso had an heir-I question not the will of the court. The moment Theodore appeared, the Heaven-poverty and prayer must fill up the walls of the castle behind Manfred were thrown woeful space, until Manfred shall be summoned down with a mighty force, and the form of Al- to Ricardo." fonso, dilated to an immense magnitude, ap- “ What remains is my part to declare," said peared in the centre of the ruins.
« Behold in
Jerome. “When Alfonso set sail for the Holy Theodore the true heir of Alfonso !” said the Land, he was driven by a storm to the coast of vision. And having pronounced those words, ac- Sicily. The other vessel, which bore Ricardo companied by a clap of thunder, it ascended so- and his train, as your Lordship must have heard, lemnly towards heaven, where the clouds, part- was separated from him.”_" It is most true," ing asunder, the form of St Nicholas was seen, said Manfred; " and the title you give me is and receiving Alfonso's shade, they were soon more than an outcast can claim—Well! be it wrapt from mortal eyes in a blaze of glory. so-proceed.”—Jerome blushed, and continued.
The beholders fell prostrate on their faces, ac- “For three months Lord Alfonso was windknowledging the divine will. The first that broke bound in Sicily. There he became enamoured silence was Hippolita. My lord,” said she to of a fair virgin named Victoria. He was toe
pious to tempt her to forbidden pleasures; they daughter of which Victoria was delivered, was
" I shall not dwell on what is needless. The
END OF THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO.