The history of John of Bourbon, Prince of Carency. Containing a variety of entertaining novels, ... Written in French by the Countess d'Aunois, ... Translated into English — Histoire de Jean de Bourbon, Prince du Carency. English

[Page] THE HISTORY OF JOHN of BOURBON, Prince of CARENCY. CONTAINING A Variety of entertaining NOVELS, VIZ.
  • 1. The Surprize, or the Generous Unknown.
  • 2. The Mutual Miſtake, or The Unhappy Diſcovery.
  • 3. The Secret Rival, or the Deceitful Friend.
  • 4. The Perfidious Lady diſappointed, or the Happy Reconciliation.
  • 5. The Slighted Paſſion, or the Fatal Reſentment.
  • 6. The Unfortunate Lover.
  • 7. The Female Captives.
  • 8. The Diſtreſſed Lovers.
  • 9. The Revengeful Rival.
  • 10. The Happy Meeting, or Conſtant Love Rewarded.

Written in French by the Counteſs D'AUNOIS, Author of the Ladies Travels into Spain. Tranſlated into Engliſh.

THE SECOND EDITION.

LONDON: Printed for J. PEELE at Locke's Head in Pater-noſter-Row. MDCCXXIV.

THE PREFACE.

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THIS Tranſlation was at firſt deſign'd as an Amuſement, without any Intention of making it publick; the Tranſlator not preſuming to ſucceed in the Delicacy and Politeneſs of a Dialect peculiar to Heroiſm; but as the Counteſs D' Aunois is the Author of this Piece, and as moſt of her Works have had the good Fortune to meet with a favourable Reception, he was induc'd to hope it might obtain the like Succeſs: Beſides, he wou'd not have ventur'd to deliver it to the Preſs, had he not conſulted with ſome judicious Perſons, who had read the Original in French, and were pleas'd to honour it with their Sanction.

It muſt be own'd at the ſame time, that this is not a Literal Tranſlation; for tho' in [Page] the French, the Characters are well drawn, and the Adventures agreeably related, it was thought proper to retrench ſome ſurperfluous Repetitions, which are frequently remark'd in Stories, of this Nature, written in that Language.

As to the laſt Incident, which is the Murder of Leonida, ſucceeded by the Marriage of the Prince of Carency to another Lady; that Circumſtance with the Concluſion is entirely alter'd; and it's preſum'd, that thoſe, who ſhall take the Trouble of comparing this with the Original, will approve the Deſign, ſince it ſeems unreaſonable, that Leonida, who was a Perfection of Virtue and Beauty, ſhou'd die a tragick Death; and that the Prince of Carency, who was ſo paſſionatly in Love with her, ſhou'd, after her cruel Fate, conceive tender Sentiments for any other Lady, a Character not becoming a Hero. However, if the Publick ſhou'd cenſure this Opinion, the Tranſlator muſt then ſubmit to their unqueſtion'd Judgment; and he humbly hopes, that in Conſideration this is his firſt Eſſay, they will out of their Candor and good Nature, pardon whatever Fault they find in the Attempt.

1. THE Prince of CARENCY.

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THE Dutcheſs of Lancaſter, Daughter of Don Pedro, King of Caſtile, cou'd not, without the greateſt Concern, ſee Don John's Acceſſion to a Throne where ſhe ſhou'd have been plac'd, were not her Father's Misfortunes the unhappy Cauſe. She very much ſollicited the Duke her Husband to declare War againſt him, which he was inclin'd to, only waited for a favourable Occaſion of making an Alliance.

At this Juncture, Ferdinand King of Portugal (who often had Differences about Matters of Intereſt with the King of Caſtile) gave the Duke of Lancaſter an Opportunity of declaring his Intentions, and ſent to him, deſiring he wou'd join with him in the Conqueſt of their common Enemy: The Duke, without delay, ſet out with a conſiderable Number of [Page 2] Forces, and took with him his Wife and Three Daughters: Theſe Ladies were very beautiful, and the Youngeſt, whoſe Name was Catherine, being the only Daughter of his ſecond Marriage, had Pretenſions to the Crown of Spain by Right of the Dutcheſs her Mother, who was Heireſs to that Dominion.

The King of Caſtile, finding that two ſuch potent Enemies had declared againſt him, apply'd to his Allies, but more particularly to Charles the VIth King of France, to whom he already owed many Obligations. That Prince ſent him Men and Money, and Fortune declaring in his Favour, he defeated the Engliſh and Portugueſe in ſeveral Engagements. The Sickneſs produc'd by the Climate, was even more deſtructive to them than his Arms; but having weighty Reaſons to wiſh for Peace, and knowing that the Duke of Lancaſter had left the King of Portugal with ſome Diſguſt, he ſent the Prior of Guadalupe to him at Bayonne with conſiderable Offers, and a Propoſal of Marriage between his Son Henry Prince of Aſturias, and the Princeſs Catherine, Daughter of the Duke, which he repreſented to be the only Means of placing her on the Throne of Spain; and at the ſame Time promis'd he ſhou'd have ſufficient Reaſon to be ſatisfied with their Alliance.

The Duke receiv'd with Pleaſure this Overture of Peace, being in all reſpects agreeable to his Intereſt; and the King's Ambaſſadors perform'd the Ceremony of Marriage at Bayonne. [Page 3] The Dutcheſs of Lancaſter left Biſcay to conduct her Daughter to Medina del Campo, where the King receiv'd them with all the Magnificence imaginable. She there preſented him in the Name of the Duke her Husband, with a Crown of Gold embelliſh'd with Jewels, and told him with a majeſtick Air, that ſince ſhe had yielded to him the Right ſhe had to the Kingdom of Caſtile, it was but juſt he ſhou'd receive the Crown from the Duke her Lord. The King anſwer'd, that he only accepted of it with a Deſign of putting it on the Princeſs's Head, as ſoon as his Son ſhou'd be of Age; the young Prince being then but Ten Years old.

The Duke of Lancaſter remain'd all this Time at Bayonne, tho' he paſſionately wiſh'd to ſee the King, that he might endeavour to diſingage him from the French Intereſt: But the Spaniſh Monarch was too ſenſible of the Services he had receiv'd, to have any wrong Proceedings with the King of France in ſuch a Conjuncture, therefore declined the Interview which the Duke deſired; and being indiſpos'd at Burgos, took Leave of the Dutcheſs in that Place.

Charles the VIth, being inform'd of the King of Caſtile's Conduct in what related to him, thought himſelf ſo highly oblig'd, that he choſe John of Bourbon Count of La March, his Kinſman, as Ambaſſador to that Prince; who had Orders to tell him, that he ſhou'd ever embrace all Occaſions of expreſſing his Gratitude [Page 4] for the Value he was pleas'd to ſet on their Alliance. The Count of La March was more capable than any of making known the Sentiments of his King, being of the firſt Rank by his Birth and Fortune, and by his great Qualities eſteemed one of the fineſt Gentlemen of France.

After having acquitted himſelf of his Commiſſion to the King of Caſtile, he contracted a Friendſhip with Don John of Velaſco, who had married a French Lady, Daughter of Arnauld of Solier. She had for her Fortune the City of Vilalpendo, which is one of the greateſt in Caſtile. Velaſco by his Birth, yielded to none but Princes of the Blood, and his Merit was equally great. Dona Maria his Wife, preferr'd the French to all other Nations, and inſpired her Husband with the ſame Sentiments. The Count of La March had already ſo great an Eſteem for them, that conſidering their vaſt Fortune was to be inherited by an only Daughter, he reſolv'd to propoſe a Marriage between her and John of Bourbon, Prince of Carency, the youngeſt of his Sons.

Having meditated ſometime on this Affair, he viſited Don John of Velaſco, and among other things told him, He had three Sons, that the King his Maſter had provided for the Two eldeſt, and that the Youngeſt was ſtill at his Diſpoſal. I am ſatisfy'd, ſaid he, I ſhou'd have no reaſon to complain of his Fate, were he deſtin'd to your Daughter: Therefore, if nothing oppoſes our Alliances, I ask her for [Page 5] him. Your Propoſal, my Lord, (reply'd Don John of Velaſco) is ſo obliging, that I have room to believe you ſincerely wiſh it. She is yet but Four Years old, and the Prince your Son but Eight; to what End can we diſpoſe of the Deſtiny of Perſons, ſo little advanc'd in Years? That ought not to be the leaſt Obſtacle (ſaid the Count) we can ſign the Contract of Marriage, and I will ſend the Prince to you, that you may form him for Leonida. I don't queſtion but you will like him, he is a fine Youth, and his Senſe exceeds his Years. You will be under no Difficulty (interrupted Madam Velaſco) to perſuade us into an Opinion of your Son's Merit; it is ſufficient that he is of your Illuſtrious Blood. By what you are, my Lord, we judge what he may be; and I thank Heaven, that you have ſuch favourable Diſpoſitions for Leonida. From her Birth, I deſign'd her for one of my Country, which is ſtill dear to me: and Don John ſets no leſs a Value on it than I. It is true (reply'd Don John) I have a great Veneration for the French, and am very ſenſible of their Deſert. Judge then, added he, with what Pleaſure we accept the Offer you make Leonida, which is as much above our Hopes, as her Merit. This Converſation ended with all the Aſſurances of a perfect Friendſhip, and the Articles of Marriage were drawn. The Count of La March ſent his to the King of France, Don John carry'd his to the King of Caſtile, and each conſented to the Agreement, [Page 6] Don John made his Daughter's Fortune very conſiderable, and the whole Court was pleas'd with the Match.

Some time after, the Count of La March preparing for his Return into France, ask'd Don John of Velaſco and his Lady, whether they were willing he ſhould ſend his Son to them? No, my Lord, (ſaid they) Let him remain in your Hands, as a Token of our Love and Eſteem; the Education you will give him, will make him an accompliſh'd Prince; and we hope you will not part with him till he has taken a perfect Impreſſion of your great Example. The Count promis'd he wou'd take all the Care imaginable to render his Son worthy of being ally'd to them; then took his Leave.

The King of Caſtile acquitted himſelf by the Count, of the many Acknowledgments he owed Charles the VIth. And writing to that Prince, told him, He cou'd not ſufficiently praiſe the Merit and Conduct of his Ambaſſador. The Count had not been long arriv'd at the Court of France, when News came of the King of Caſtile's Death by a Fall from his Horſe, and his Son Don Henry ſent an Account of it by Don John of Velaſco. The Count of La March took that Opportunity to do him all the Honours of a Court, where he held a conſiderable Rank, being nearly related to the King. He preſented the Prince of Carency to him, whom he found to be a finer Youth than he imagin'd; and from that Time, conceiv'd [Page 7] as great an Affection for him, as if he had actually been happy in the Poſſeſſion of Leonida. The Peace and Tranquility which France then enjoy'd, was ſoon after diſturb'd by an Accident that happen'd to the King; who being ſtruck with Terror and Surprize at an Apparation, fell into a Delirium, which continued for ſome time.

At this Juncture there was a very nice Negotiation to be carried on in Spain; and the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy, Uncles to the King, having taken upon them the Adminiſtration of Affairs, look'd on the Count of La March as the moſt capable Perſon to manage it. The ſeeming Pretence of his Embaſſy was, the uſual Compliments to the King and the Infanta his Brother on their Marriage; the one being lately marry'd to the Princeſs of Lancaſter, and the other to the young Counteſs of Alburquerck, who was one of the richeſt Heireſs's in Europe. The Count of La March, at his Arrival in Spain, found Don John of Velaſco in great Favour at Court; the King having made him High-Steward of his Houſhold; and Leonida, tho' not above Nine Years of Age, was made one of the Maids of Honour to the Queen, and bred up in the Palace.

Madam Velaſco was extremely pleas'd to ſee the Count again; and her Satisfaction was ſo much the greater, when he declar'd, he had never ſeen any thing comparable to the Beauty of her Daughter. He was ſo ſurpriz'd when he ſaw her, that he cou'd not at firſt expreſs [Page 8] his Admiration; her Hair was black and her Complexion as fair as poſſible. It may be generally ſaid of the Spaniſh Ladies, that they have much finer Eyes than thoſe of other Countries. Leonida's were ſo full of Life and Spirit, that one cou'd hardly withſtand their Brightneſs; yet they retain'd all that Air of Sweetneſs and Modeſty which becomes her Sex ſo well. In ſhort, the Beauties of her Mind were as perfect as the Charms of her Perſon; and the Count of La March was ſo taken with her, that had not his Glory, and the King's Service call'd him back for France, he willingly, for her ſake, wou'd have ſtay'd longer at that Court. Some time after his Return, he was ſent againſt the Engliſh, over whom he had the good Fortune of getting ſo many Advantages as oblig'd them to wiſh for Peace, which ſoon after was happily concluded, with Propoſals made by King Richard, of a Marriage with Iſabella of France; but the Count of La March had not the Satisfaction to be at the Concluſion of it, being forc'd by his Indiſpoſition to retire to Vandome for ſome Relief; and finding there, that his Illneſs increas'd, he did not doubt but he was very near taking Leave of the World, therefore ſent for the Prince of Carency, and in a feeble Voice, thus ſaid to him: The Condition I am in, my dear Son, wou'd give me great Concern, had I not procured a Father for you in Don John of Velaſco. I am perſuaded you will find no difference betwixt his [Page 9] Houſe and mine, therefore perform the Promiſe I have made for you; marry Leonida, it is your dying Father's Command. Tell your Brothers how dear they have been to me, and that I recommend them to the Care of Heaven. Do not render your ſelves unworthy of your Name. Prefer Honour to Life, and never omit what you owe to God, or your King. I had rather ſee you dead, than ſurvive a Diſgrace owing to ill Conduct. And as for you, my dear Child, it is a great Conſolation to me in dying, to believe your Inclinations will anſwer the Advice I now give you. The young Prince filled with Grief, fell at his Father's Feet, and in ſpite of the Sobs, which prevented his Utterance, he endeavour'd to expreſs himſelf in Terms ſo moving and generous, that the Count of La March, after ſo great a Satisfaction, had little Regret in dying.

The Year following Sigiſmund King of Hungary, ſent Ambaſſadors into France, to deſire Charles the Sixth to aſſiſt him with Troops, being reſolv'd to engage Bajazet. Thoſe Miniſters gave the King an Account, how that the Emperor John Palealogus had call'd that Enemy of the Chriſtians to his Aſſiſtance, againſt the Deſpote of Bulgaria; and that Bajazet making uſe of the Advantages he had obtain'd, wou'd not leave a Country where they had ſo imprudently let him enter. The King concern'd at the Condition of Sigiſmund, permitted moſt of the Youth of France to [Page 10] make an Expedition in his Favour. The young Count of Nevers, who was then but Twenty Four Years old, put himſelf at the Head of the young Noblemen, who were very numerous; among others, James of Bourbon Count of La March, highly diſtinguiſh'd himſelf. The Prince of Carency his Brother, made this Campaign with him; and it is impoſſible to expreſs the Joy he receiv'd at having ſo early an Opportunity of proving his Courage.

The Particulars of this Expedition I refer to the Hiſtorian, and ſhall only ſay, there never was a more unhappy Campaign. Bajazet having defeated the Chriſtian Troops, made a horrible Slaughter amongſt the French, and with much difficulty, conſented to Ranſom Five or Six. The Count of La March and his Brother were dangerouſly wounded, and made Priſoners before Nicopolis. The Prince of Carency was ſo afflicted at the Diſaſter of his Brother, that in his Confinement he neither thought of the Danger of his own Wounds, nor his loſt Liberty. When the Count of La March was recover'd, and able to take Care of his, and his Brother's Fortune, he heard with mortal Diſpleaſure the Reſolution Bajazet had taken, of putting all the Priſoners to the Sword; and many were executed in that cruel manner: When the Count of Nevers preſenting his Head to receive the fatal Blow, an old Turk famous for his Predictions, cry'd out, (addreſſing himſelf to Bajazet) Spare that young Prince, for [Page 11] he will deſtroy more Chriſtians than all your Arms. Theſe Words preſerv'd the Life they were going to deprive him of, and the Event anſwer'd the Propheſy. The Prince of Carency appear'd in his Turn, and the deplorable State he was in at ſo tender an Age, did no ways leſſen that noble Air, which diſtinguiſhes a Man of Birth and Courage from a common Perſon. He was ſo perfectly handſom, that Bajazet himſelf was under ſome Surprize, and irreſolute, whether he ſhou'd put him to Death, or be contented with his Ranſom: But after ſome Suſpenſe, the happy Deſtiny of the Prince triumph'd over the natural Barbarity of the other; and Life was granted to him and his Brother, upon Condition, that a conſiderable Sum ſhould be paid for their Ranſom: They writ to their Brother the Count of Vandome about it; but while they were expecting an Anſwer from France, they heard that the Count of Nevers had paid his, and was preparing to return.

One Night the Prince (not having a mind to retire) as he was walking very diſconſolate on the Leads of the Tower where he was a Priſoner, heard the Whiſtling of an Arrow, which fell at his Feet: He thought at firſt, that ſome Perſon had a Deſign upon his Life; but ſtooping to take it up, perceiv'd a Letter tied to it, which contain'd theſe Words, written in Lingua Franca.

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WHEN you appear'd before the Sultan loaded with Chains and in expectation of immediate Death, did you think you cou'd move any thing but Pity? You inſpired at that Time more than you can imagine, Love hid in your Eyes, from a Captive render'd you a Conqueror. Alas, I ſaw you, my deareſt Prince, and from that fatal Moment my Heart rebell'd againſt my Reaſon, and forced from me numberleſs Sighs. Methinks I ſee you; I imagine I ſpeak to you; and all my Thoughts are of you. I almoſt perſuade my ſelf, that my Sentiments make a deep Impreſſion on you, and that our Souls already united, flatter us with a perfect Felicity. But alas! that wou'd be too great a Happineſs. I dare not hope nor even deſire it, and ſhou'd ſooner reſolve upon Death, than make theſe Sentiments known to you, were not I perſuaded you will never know who I am: And far from taking any Advantage of my Weakneſs, you will leave Nicopolis without ſeeing me. Oh! how unfortunate am I, to find Conſolation in being diſtant from the Object I love! Conſider this Extremity, and if you cannot love me becauſe Unknown, at leaſt do not refuſe me your Pity. I aſſure you, it ſhall not prevail with me, for I will ſoon put it in your Power to leave this Place. I know your Ranſom is not come with that of the Chriſtian Prince, and that he is preparing to go without you: But do not afflict your ſelf, all Things are poſſible to Love. Write to me to Morrow at the ſame Hour you receive this, convey it by the ſame Meſſenger to the Foot of the Tower, and learn betimes [Page 13] to be ſecret. Oh, of all Mortals you are the moſt amiable! Why have I ſeen you? And why muſt I never ſee you more?

The young Prince was not a little ſurpriz'd at what he read. It ſeem'd to him ſo tender, that he felt an extream Deſire to ſee the Perſon who expreſs'd ſo extraordinary a Paſſion for him, and expected with the greateſt Impatience, the Time that he was to return an Anſwer. He went as he uſed to do, to the Top of the Tower, and there made a Signal to the Meſſenger, who was waiting for it; then flung his Letter over, which was written in theſe Terms.

YOU are the firſt that ever made me ſigh, and the Sacrifice I offer you, Madam, of the firſt Motions of my Affection, ought to give me ſome Place in your Favour. I thought till now, it was impoſſible to love what one never ſaw; but the Uneaſineſs I feel, and the ardent Deſire I have to ſee you, convince me you are already too dear for my Peace. You render me the moſt unhappy of all Mankind, if you deny me the Means of making my Retributions, and entertaining you with my Tranſports. Is it poſſible you can refuſe me that Favour, and at the ſame Time expreſs ſo real a Paſſion for me? What, Madam, can you conſent I ſhou'd go from a Place where you are? Oh! rather leave me in my Priſon, ſince I am deſtin'd to wear your Chains.

[Page 14] It was very late before the Prince retired, in hopes the fair Unknown wou'd have ſent him a ſecond Letter the ſame way he receiv'd the Firſt, but was diſappointed. He went again the next Day upon the Tower, where every Thing appear'd ſo ſilent, that he had no room to flatter himſelf with what he ſo much wiſhed. Is it poſſible, (ſaid he to his Brother, who was Priſoner in the ſame Place with him, and to whom he had told this Adventure) Is it poſſible, that the Perſon who writ this Letter, ſought only to divert her ſelf at my Expence? The oftner I read it, the more reaſon I have to believe it ſincere; for I am perſuaded there is a Smypathy in Hearts, and therefore it is impoſſible to be ſo touch'd with what is counterfeited. I am convinc'd of what you ſay, (reply'd the Count of La March) and have my ſelf experienc'd it, which inclines me to think ſome other Reaſon obliges your Unknown not to write. They paſs'd the greateſt part of the Day on the Top of the Tower, entertaining each other after this manner, till at laſt, Night coming on without any hopes of a ſecond Letter, they retired. The Prince return'd to his Chamber more melancholy than ever he had been; but he was no ſooner enter'd, when he ſaw on a little Cedar Table, a Toilet richly embroider'd with the Cypher of his Name woven in Gold: The Work was perfectly fine, it cover'd a Scymiter embelliſh'd with Jewels and a little Casket with golden Plates, which he open'd with great precipitation, and found [Page 15] a Letter in it, with a Sum that far exceeded his Ranſom. Here is what was wrote in the ſame Hand with the firſt.

GO young Prince, go far from a Place where my Paſſion may prove fatal to you. Expect no more Letters from me: This is the laſt you will receive. Oh Heavens! I am going to loſe you, and loſe you for ever. Why have not I power to follow you, and render my Fortune inſeparable from Yours? I ſhall never more know your Sentiments: You will forget me before it is poſſible for me to think of any Thing but you, or ceaſe to love you. My Wiſhes ſhall ever attend you. Pity me, dear Prince, ſince I muſt paſs my ſorrowful Life in bemoaning your Abſence, and my Misfortunes.

The Prince of Carency admired the Proceedings of this generous Lady, and his Gratitude was of ſuch a Nature, that the moſt tranſcendent Paſſion cou'd not have made a deeper Impreſſion; for when he conſider'd he was to loſe even the hopes of ever ſeeing her, his violent Diſpleaſure took place of all the Joy he ought to have felt, at being in a Condition to pay his Ranſom, and return to France. He bid one of his Guards go and tell the Count of La March, that he wanted to ſpeak with him; but firſt took care to hide the magnificent Preſent he had juſt receiv'd.

The Count came immediately to him, and ſaw in his Eyes an extraordinary Air of Grief. [Page 16] At ſoon as they were alone, the Prince flung his Arms about his Brother's Neck. I want your Conſolation, dear Brother, (ſaid he) for I can receive it only from you. See! (continued he, ſhowing him the Casket and Letter) ſee! what I owe to my Unknown, and the Neceſſity ſhe impoſes on me to go away without ſeeing her. Can any Thing be more great or noble? Or can there be any Thing more ſoft or moving, than the Words ſhe imploys to bid me Adieu? Oh! how fatal will her Generoſity be to me, ſince I muſt even loſe the Hopes of knowing who ſhe is. Here he was ſilent, but after having meditated ſome Time: She loves me, ſaid he, and I burn with a more than equal Paſſion for her. Why muſt I then leave Nicopolis: In remaining here, I may diſcover the Perſon to whom I am ſo highly indebted, and, if poſſible, obtain the Happineſs of ſeeing her: For Love certainly is too good a Guide to forſake me in ſo fair a way. The Count of La March, who loved his Brother entirely, was of Opinion that ſo magnificent a Preſent could not come from any one but a Perſon of the firſt Rank, and that if he expos'd himſelf by making an Enquiry after her, and penetrated into a Myſtery that perhaps ought not to be diſclos'd, he might create himſelf Enemies, which would be of a very dangerous Conſequence in a Country where neither his Birth nor Merit could protect him, and where the Name of a Chriſtian was a Crime great enough to deſerve Puniſhment. Full of theſe [Page 17] Thoughts, he conjured his Brother in the moſt engaging Terms, not to perſiſt in a thing which lay under ſo many difficulties; and repreſented to him, that he might not only ruin himſelf, but alſo be the Occaſion of undoing the Perſon whom he ſo dearly loved. Cou'd you ever forgive your ſelf, ſaid he, ſo Imprudent an Action? The Lady loves you, and were it poſſible for her to ſee you without Danger, ſhe wou'd have found means to favour your Requeſt. Therefore, dear Brother, let us go away with the Count of Nevers, and embrace the favourable Diſpoſition Bajazet is in at preſent: His Capriciouſneſs is ever to be fear'd, and ſhou'd he change his Mind, what wou'd become of us?

Altho' the Count of La March's Arguments were very weighty, the Prince was unwilling to ſubmit to them, having a ſtrong Deſire to find out by what means the Casket and Scymiter were convey'd into his Chamber. He might eaſily imagine, that one of his Guards had been bribed; but as it was hard to diſcover the Perſon (fearing he ſhou'd apply to the wrong Man) he thought fit to be ſilent; ſo took his leave of Nicopolis, without knowing to whom he owed the higheſt Obligations.

The Prince of Carency's Thoughts were conſtantly imploy'd on his generous Unknown; and after his Arrival at the Court of France, he found a ſecret Conſolation in making her the Subject of his Diſcourſe, with the Counts of La March and Vandome, who equally admired [Page 18] a Paſſion ſo diſcrect, and a Generoſity without hopes of any Return. Moſt Women that are in Love and make Preſents, ſaid they, have generally ſome View, that tends to their private Satisfaction: They endeavour to gain a Heart by Gratitude, when they cannot conquer it by their Beauty. But this Illuſtrious Foreigner, ſaid the Prince, aim'd at nothing but procuring my Liberty, ſince ſhe even commanded me to quit the only Place where I cou'd have ſeen her. He uſed to talk ſo often of her, that the Count of La March feared he had ſome deſign of returning to Miſia, in order to diſcover who this Charmer was. This made him entreat the Prince to write an obliging Letter to Don John of Velaſco, to put him in Mind of their Contract, and aſſure him, that he only expected his Commands to go for Spain. The Prince having yielded to this Requeſt: Conſider well, ſaid he to his Brother, the Violence I do my ſelf. Shall I not be for ever unhappy in Marrying a Perſon for whom I have no Inclination? You know very well, that my Heart is fill'd with another Object. It is true, reply'd the Count, you love an unknown Perſon, who probably you will never ſee: You do not even know her Name, and perhaps ſhe is no longer at Nicopolis. Remember, Brother, that Leonida muſt crown your Felicity, ſhe is a great Fortune, and very Beautiful. How eaſy it is, interrupted the Prince to adviſe others, and imagine that a Heart ought always to ſumbit to Reaſon: But [Page 19] alas! it too often rebels, and never ſuffers greater Torments than when it is forc'd into an Engagement by the Choice of others. The Count of La March was doing all his Endeavours to inſpire other Sentiments in his Brother, which he hoped time might effect.

The Prince of Carency continued extreamly melancholy till he receiv'd Letters from Don John; wherein he aſſured him, that his Daughter ſhould never be diſpos'd of to any one but himſelf; but that being very young, he deſired the Marriage might be defer'd for ſome Years, and advis'd him to imploy that time in Travelling. This laſt Requeſt gave no ſmall Satisfaction to the Prince; and as the Mareſchal of Boucicault was going then to take Poſſeſſion of Genoa, which had ſurrender'd voluntarily to the King of France, he embrac'd that Opportunity, and went along with him to ſee that great City, which paſſes for one of the fineſt in Europe. As ſo many have given a Deſcription of it, I ſhall only purſue my Story.

The Mareſchal did not make a long ſtay at Genoa, being commanded to go from thence to Conſtantinople with a freſh Army, which became dreadful to Bajazet. The Prince of Carency acquainted the Mareſchal with the Deſign he had to accompany him in that Expedition; but the latter being inform'd by the Counts of La March and Vandome of the Paſſion he had for an unknown Lady at Nicopolis, and knowing that he was contracted to Leonida, ſpoke to him in obliging Terms, and repreſented [Page 20] how much his Honour was concern'd in the Performance of his Promiſe to a Perſon of ſo conſiderable a Rank; declaring at the ſame time, that if he inſiſted on going with him he wou'd be forc'd to inform the Court of it. Theſe Reaſons oblig'd the Prince to remain at Genoa in the Senator Grimaldi's Houſe, which had been offer'd to him in a moſt civil manner.

One Night the Prince being more melancholy than uſual, went alone to the Mole, which affords a fine Proſpect, and continued his Walk along the Shore, till he inſenſibly found himſelf a great way from the City. How unhappy is my Fate, ſaid he ſighing! I love and am belov'd, but know not the Object of my Paſſion: I can hear nothing concerning her Fortune, nor give her any account of mine; neither can I tell where to find the Lady, whoſe Generoſity has only ſerv'd to deſtroy my Peace. He was loſt in theſe melancholy Thoughts, which were ſucceeded by others of a more tormenting Nature. Why, continued he, did my Father ſacrifice me to one whom I can never think agreeable, ſince I adore another! yet ſomething tells me it is a Crime to diſobey him. Oh, too Charming Unknown! cry'd he, were you but inform'd of the State I am in, you wou'd recal me to you; but what do I ſay? That is a Happineſs I dare not hope, ſhe paid my Ranſom and commanded me to go; it is poſſible ſhe now loves me no more or ſtrives to forget me, and in either of the two, I find but Subject to torment me.

[Page 21] Theſe different Reflections were perplexing the Prince, when of a ſudden Night came on, with Rain and terrible Thunder, which oblig'd him to direct his Courſe along the Wall of a Park, where he found a Door that led him through a long Alley of Orange-Trees to a fine Pavilion; here he obſerv'd a low Parlour, the Pannels of which were gilded, and the Roof finely painted. As the Weather was exceſſive hot, the Windows were open, and there being Lights in the Room, they gave him an Opportunity of ſeeing one of the moſt beautiful Perſons in the World leaning on a Couch: She ſeem'd aſleep, holding her Handkerchief in in her Hand, a mourning Veil cover'd half her Neck; and in this Poſture ſhe inſpired both Love and Reſpect.

The Prince ſtood ſome time at the Window, and perceiving that every thing was ſilent, went into the Parlour, and kneeled by her the better to conſider her Charms; ſhe appear'd pale and dejected, and tho' aſleep, fetch'd deep Sighs, which were follow'd by Tears, that found a Paſſage thro' her clos'd Eye-Lids. Who merits this Grief, ſaid he, from ſo lovely a Creature? Is it a Husband or a Lover you deplore? He ſtop'd here, and reflected on Chance, that had conducted him to a Place ſo dangerous to his Liberty. Then he continued; Who can deſerve thoſe Sighs, and Tears? He looked with Admiration on the exact Proportion of her Features, the Whiteneſs of her Hands and Arms, the Beauty of her Neck, and Colour of her Hair: [Page 22] His Eyes, fix'd on ſo Divine an Object, had already betray'd his Heart; and he had not well recover'd the firſt Effects of his Surprize, when the Lady wak'd, who appear'd to be ſeiz'd with Fear, which had like to have thrown her into a Swoon. He attributed this, to the Cuſtom obſerv'd by the Ladies of Italy, never to ſee Men in their own Apartments, and thought ſhe might be marry'd to ſome jealous Husband, who finding a Man in his Houſe ſo late, might have ſome Suſpicion, which wou'd prove of a fatal Conſequence to a Perſon for whom he had already conceiv'd ſo great a Paſſion. I am extreamly concern'd, Madam, (ſaid he) at the Diſorder I have occaſion'd, but will retire with Regret from a Place which gives me ſo much Pleaſure. No, no, (reply'd ſhe) my Dear Lover, (flinging her Arms about his Neck) do not leave me; I love you too well to be frighten'd, tho' my Aſtoniſhment is great. Be Witneſs of the Tears I ſhed for your Loſs. Ah! dear Shade, why did that terrible Engagement part us? The Prince comprehended nothing of this obſcure Speech, yet thought himſelf happy in the Careſſes he receiv'd; and as the Name of a Lover pleas'd him, that of a Shade ſurpriz'd and afflicted him. The Senſibility he had ſhown on this Occaſion might have convinc'd this fair Creature, that he was not one of the other World; but her Mind was ſo poſſeſs'd with his being dead, that ſhe ſpoke to him as to a Ghoſt; which oblig'd him to ſay in a melancholy Accent; I find, Madam, you [Page 23] are deceiv'd in favour of ſome Reſemblance, and I proteſt, were I dead and deplor'd by you, I ſhould think my ſelf much happier than living and indifferent to you. Alas! I am not the Object of your Love. Who then, my Dear, reply'd ſhe with Precipitation? What Sorrow could be equal to mine, when I heard you were loſt in returning from Nicopolis, and that after having eſcaped the Fury of Bajazet, it was your Miſfortune to periſh by your Ship's being blown up in an Engagement? I own to you, as I cou'd not believe you ſafe, after ſo probable a Relation, I gave my ſelf up entirely to Grief. Am I not very unhappy (ſaid I) to have procured him his Liberty by paying his Ranſom, ſince it has forwarded his End: But Oh Heavens! Can any Joy or Surprize be equal to mine? You are living, my deareſt Lover, and your Eyes tell me you live for me; read the Motions of mine, they will convince you I live for you alone.

Theſe Words were ſo moving, that the Prince cou'd not doubt any longer but this Lady, who entertain'd him ſo tenderly, was his Unknown of Nicopolis, and this Opinion occaſion'd a Joy, which he cou'd neither conceal, nor expreſs, but thought he ſhou'd die in Ecſtaſie at his Miſtriſs's Feet; he look'd upon it as a Miracle of Love and Fortune, that he ſhou'd unexpectedly find ſo ſurprizing a Beauty, and he the Object of her Paſſion: He fix'd his Lips on her Hand, and kiſs'd it with ſuch Tranſports, as he had never felt before. Their [Page 24] Diſcourſe had no more Coherence, but their Sighs expreſs'd enough the State of their Souls. The Night was far advanc'd, when they were interrupted by one of the Lady's Women, who came to give her Notice that her Father was juſt arriv'd. We muſt part, my dear Lover, (ſaid ſhe to the Prince,) return to Genoa, and in Two Days come here again, the ſame Way, and at the ſame Hour; I ſhall expect you in this Place. Muſt I leave you, Madam, (cry'd he with a dejected Air) no, I cannot reſolve it; Oh! rather conſent I ſhou'd remain here, no Danger can alarm me where you are preſent. What you ask, ſaid ſhe, is impoſſible Go my Lord, all I can do for you, is to give you my Picture, which I ſat for with a Deſign to ſend to you when you were in Confinement. Here it is, (continued ſhe, taking it from off her Arm, and tying it on his) Let nothing in the World make you neglect ſo precious a Pledge of my Affection. He threw himſelf on his Knees, and wou'd have expreſs'd his Acknowledgments to her; but ſhe left him, fearing they ſhou'd be ſurpriz'd by her Father.

She was hardly gone, when the Prince abandon'd himſelf to all the Reflections that cou'd attend ſo extraordinary an Adventure: Love, cry'd he, what have I done for thee to merit theſe Favours? Is thy Goodneſs laſting, and may not I apprehend, that by ſome fatal Turn thou wilt deſtroy a Proſperity ſo little expected? Day began to appear, when [Page 25] he perceiv'd he was ſtill in the Parlour; and fearing his ſtaying longer there might be of ſome Prejudice to his adored Miſtreſs, he left the Place with Precipitation, and return'd to the Senator Grimaldi's.

As ſoon as he arriv'd he threw himſelf on his Bed, but cou'd not ſleep, his Mind was ſo much imploy'd on the Thoughts of his Charming Unknown; he had his Eyes continually fix'd on her Picture, and fancy'd in her Abſence, he cou'd not have a Companion more dear. He roſe very early, and the Senator hearing he was dreſs'd, came to wait on him, and wonder'd to ſee in his Countenance more Gaiety and Satisfaction than he had ever remark'd before. My Lord, ſaid he, (with an obliging Air) tho' I have been in the greateſt Uneaſineſs about you, not knowing what Accident might have detain'd you a whole Night alone, in a Country where you have ſo few Acquaintance, I no longer doubt, but you have met with ſome agreeable Adventure; for I find you ſo different from what you commonly are, that I cannot help congratulating you on it. The Prince, tho' a little ſurpriz'd at what the Senator ſaid to him, (having naturally ſo much Diſcretion, as not to be capable of diſcloſing a Secret relating to Love) excus'd himſelf as a Man of Gallantry wou'd do on ſuch an Occaſion, and turn'd the Converſation on another Subject, when there came one who interrupting them, told the Senator, that the Count of Fieſque was come to ſee [Page 26] him. He roſe up, and ſaid to the Prince, This Gentleman, my Lord, is of a Birth and Merit ſo diſtinguiſh'd, that nothing can be added to the Sentiments of Eſteem and Conſideration we all have for him: He has loſt a Brother who was not inferior to him, and who reſembled you extreamly. In finiſhing theſe Words, he went to his own Apartment to receive the Count of Fieſque.

In a little Time after the Senator return'd with the Count, and preſented him to the Prince, who received him after ſo polite a manner, that he could have no reaſon to be diſpleas'd at his Viſit; and during their Converſation, he look'd at the Prince with ſuch Marks of Aſtoniſhment, that he perceiv'd the Count had found in him the Reſemblance which the Senator had juſt ſpoke of. You look at me ſo attentively, my Lord, (ſaid the Prince) that I ſhou'd think my ſelf happy, cou'd the Motive that engages you to it acquire me your Friendſhip. That can be of no Service to a Perſon of your Diſtinction; (reply'd the Count with great Civility) it is impoſſible to ſee you, my Lord, and not have a particular Eſteem for you; but I own that ſo perfect a Likeneſs affects me very much, and that if I were not well aſſured of my Brother's Misfortune, I ſhou'd have ſufficient reaſon to doubt it in ſeeing you. They afterwards turn'd their Diſcourſe on other Things, and parted with true Sentiments of Eſteem for each other.

[Page 27] The Prince of Carency paſs'd the reſt of that Day and the next, in making Viſits; and as he deſign'd to ſtay at Genoa ſo long as wou'd be agreeable to his Unknown, he was deſirous of being acquainted with Perſons of the greateſt Conſideration there. The Senator Grimaldi approving his Deſign, propoſed to wait on him to Brancaleon Doria's, who for his eminent Qualities, was highly reſpected in the Republick. It is not long, ſaid he, ſince he return'd from Sardinia, where he went to ſuccour the King of Sicily, whom, on this Occaſion, he generouſly ſerv'd; having acted contrary to his own Intereſt, in regard to ſome particular Pretenſions he had on that Kingdom. The Senator gave the Prince a true Character of this Lord, and added, that Signora Doria his Lady (who was a Perſon of great Merit) was ſtill at Cagliari: If you pleaſe, my Lord, (ſaid he) we will go and make him a Viſit at his Country Houſe; I am ſure you will be charm'd with the Beauty, and Wit of his Daughter, which may induce you to ſtay ſome Time in this Place, for no Body can ſee her with Indifferency. If ſhe be ſo dangerous as you repreſent her, I ſhou'd avoid ſeeing her, ſaid the Prince; but I confeſs to you, continued he ſmiling, that the preſent ſituation of my Heart puts me out of her Power. I left a Miſtreſs at Nicopolis, who entirely poſſeſſes my Thoughts. I believe you, my Lord, (reply'd the Senator, ſmiling in his Turn) but am a little afraid you were not ſo faithful laſt Night, as you ſay, in [Page 28] the Remembrance of that amiable Stranger.

As the Prince's Appointment was at Night, he haſten'd to Signor Doria's, that he might return home time enough to obey the Commands of his Unknown: The Senator upon the Road told him, the young Lady's Name was Olympia, that ſhe was paſſionately in love with the late Count of La Vagne, and that the Houſes of Fieſque and Doria had a mortal Averſion for each other, which hinder'd her Father from conſenting to their Marriage; that altho' they were reduc'd to Deſpair, yet the Obſtacles they met with, ſerv'd only to increaſe their Affection; and that the Count thought by abſenting himſelf from Genoa for ſome Time, Signor Doria's Hatred might diminiſh; but this Departure prov'd fatal to him, for ſoon after News came of his Death. Olympia, far from concealing her Grief, yielded her ſelf up entirely to it, which was fear'd ſhe cou'd not out-live. The Prince knowing by Experience, that of all Paſſions Love had the greateſt Empire, he extreamly deplor'd the Fate of this fair Lady. It is a great Unhappineſs indeed, ſaid he, to be ſeparated for ever from the Perſon we love: In finiſhing theſe Words, they found themſelves near the Houſe they were going to, ſo that he cou'd not help interrupting himſelf, by praiſing it; he had ſufficient Knowledge in Architecture to know a well finiſh'd Building, and in this he found Order, Magnificence, and a fine Situation.

[Page 29] The Senator Grimaldi introduc'd the Prince to Signor Doria, who gave him a Reception equal to his Rank; and during their Converſation ſaid, he had never ſeen two Perſons ſo like each other, as the Prince and the Count of La Vagne. This gave the Senator an Opportunity of deſiring Signor Doria to preſent him to Olympia. I cou'd hardly diſpenſe with my not anſwering your Requeſt, reply'd he, but that I am aſſur'd, the Preſence of the Prince will renew her Sorrow, and only ſerve to inſpire us with Pity: He ask'd them to walk into a Garden joyning to his Apartment, from whence they ſaw a vaſt number of Fountains playing, whoſe Waters ſeem'd to pierce the Clouds, and made by their Fall a pleaſing Noiſe, that inſpired agreeable Thoughts; from thence they went into a Labyrinth at the End of the Garden, and through a little Alley of Jeſſamine, he led them into a Grotto, but was not a little ſurpriz'd to find his Daughter there, who had retir'd to be more at Liberty to indulge thoſe Ideas that were moſt pleaſing to her.

How aſtoniſh'd was the Prince when he ſaw Olympia, and knew her to be the ſame Lady he found aſleep in the Parlour, and for whom he had already conceiv'd ſo great a Paſſion: And how great was her Surprize, when ſhe ſaw her ſuppoſed Lover with her Father, who ſeem'd to have no longer an Averſion for him. She look'd with ſome Diſorder at the Prince, whoſe Confuſion increas'd at the Thoughts of what he had juſt heard of the Count of La Vagne. [Page 30] The Condition of their Souls was equally painted in their Eyes, and the Senator Grimaldi began to penetrate into part of the Myſtery, when Olympia (advancing towards her Father) flung her ſelf at his Feet. Oh, Sir! ſaid ſhe, Oh my Father! Is it poſſible that you have at laſt pity'd our Sufferings, and that you your ſelf reſtore me my Lover? At theſe Words the Prince cou'd no longer be unacquainted with his Misfortune; he turn'd pale, and trembling ſupported himſelf againſt a Pyramid of Pebbles; but his Affliction being ſuperior to his Courage, he had like to have expired on the Place. Signor Doria, who was poſſeſs'd of nothing but Olympia's Error, thought only of undeceiving her. My dear Daughter, ſaid he, the Prince of Carency whom you ſee here, is a Prince of the Houſe of France, who does not know you, nor did you ever ſee him before; you are deceiv'd by the Reſemblance there is between him and the Count of La Vagne; I wiſh that too unfortunate Gentleman were not loſt, I wou'd no longer oppoſe your mutual Deſires. Theſe Words were Daggers to her Heart; ſhe turn'd her Eyes on the Prince, and fix'd them on him a great while without having Power to ſpeak, then changing her Colour fainted away, and remain'd without any Senſe of Life. Signor Doria ran for help, whilſt the deſpairing Prince gathering new Strength from his Paſſion, took her in his Arms, and preſſing her tenderly, ſaid in a low Voice, (interrupted with Sighs) Have not I given you my Heart, Madam? [Page 31] Cou'd the Count of La Vagne love you more than I? Who cannot think myſelf undeſerving of the Declaration you made me, ſince I adore you with too much Ardour ever to change; and I hope my Conſtancy will make ſome Impreſſion on you. While the Prince was ſpeaking thus, without being heard by Olympia, Signor Doria and the Senator brought ſome Water from a Fountain that was near, and having ſprinkled a great deal on her, ſhe recover'd; but finding her ſelf in the Prince's Arms; Ah! leave me, my Lord, ſaid ſhe (looking at him with a languiſhing Air, and endeavouring to diſengage her ſelf) you have deceiv'd me and interrupted my Grief, but Death ſhall ſoon repair an Error which was not voluntary. It is impoſſible to expreſs the State the Prince was in, who found himſelf diſtractedly in love without any hopes of a Return; he heard his Miſtreſs regret her Miſtake, and retract the Profeſſions ſhe had made him; he ſecretly reproach'd himſelf for having been inconſtant to his Unknown of Nicopolis, but cou'd not be enough ſurpriz'd at the fatal Likeneſs between him and the Count of Vagne, and the Similitude of their Fortunes; they being in the Campaign of Miſia both taken Priſoners by Bajazet, ſent to Nicopolis, and ranſom'd by their Miſtriſſes: Every thing had ſo ſtrange an Affinity, that the Prince had Reaſon to think himſelf the moſt unhappy of all Mankind.

[Page 32] Olympia's Women being come, they took her from the Prince, who followed her into her Apartment; ſhe was laid on the Bed, which he approach'd; but as ſoon as ſhe perceiv'd him, ſhe turn'd her Face from him and abandon'd her ſelf to Grief. What have I done, Madam, ſaid he, to deſerve your Diſdain? You have render'd your ſelf Miſtreſs of my Heart, and prevented me declaring my Sentiments to you, by generouſly confeſſing yours in Terms ſo obliging, that I was tranſported; yet you now hate me, you even deny me a Look; and what ought to influence you in my Favour, incurs your Diſpleaſure. Olympia made no Anſwer, but with a feeble Hand puſh'd him from her. Signor Doria cou'd not gueſs at the Meaning of this Diſcourſe, not knowing that the Prince of Carency had ever ſeen his Daughter. The Senator Grimaldi ſuſpected ſomething of the Matter: But thought it very extraordinary, that ſo Infant a Paſſion ſhou'd already have the force of the greateſt Engagement.

The Illneſs of this divine Creature increas'd, and the Prince's Deſpair was equal to it; It is impoſſible to repreſent two Objects more worthy of Compaſſion. Signor Doria, diſtracted at his Daughter's Condition, deſired the Prince to retire, becauſe his Preſence augmented her Pain, and nothing leſs cou'd oblige the other to withdraw; but before he retired, he approach'd her in Oppoſition to what they cou'd ſay, and kneeling by her Bed: See, Madam, the Affliction I am in, (ſaid he, with broken [Page 33] Sighs) own at leaſt, that I deſerve your Pity, if you are cruel enough to deny me your Eſteem: Oh! What have I done within theſe two Days to render me ſo odious? I love you, Madam, to ſuch a Degree, that I am too well aſſured if you diſdain me, I cannot live; but what am I ſaying? If the Life of a Man you no longer ſeem to value, is a Sacrifice worthy of you, I ſhall prefer it as a happy Fate. No, my Lord (ſaid ſhe, endeavouring to anſwer him) I wou'd not have you participate of my Ruin, only wiſh that after the irreparable Loſs I have receiv'd, Death may terminate my Miſfortunes; I cannot help confeſſing the greateſt Concern to ſee your Condition. But as I am the Cauſe of it, continu'd ſhe, it is juſt I alone ſhou'd ſuffer; live, my Lord, live I conjure you, forget my Weakneſs, and let me dye. In ending theſe Words, ſhe deſired her Father, and the Senator to carry the Prince away; they told him, that as it was Olympia's Requeſt, ſhe ought not to be diſobey'd. Overcome by theſe Perſuaſions, he left the Chamber, but ſo diſorder'd, that they were forc'd to ſupport him. Signor Doria led them into a magnificent Apartment, and excus'd his being oblig'd to leave them, his Daughter's Illneſs requiring his Preſence: The Senator ſtay'd with the Prince, who, after being ſilent ſome time, ask'd him if Olympia had been at Nicopolis, and whether it was there ſhe had paid the Count of La Vagne's Ranſom? He anſwer'd, ſhe had not been there, but that the Count, being taken Priſoner by [Page 34] Bajazet, writ immediatly to his Miſtreſs, and his Brother, deſiring the latter to ſend him a Supply; that ſome Affairs of Importance having at that time oblig'd the Count of Fieſque to go to Rome, Olmypia fear'd his Abſence might detain her Lover the longer in his Confinement, and for that Reaſon ſold ſome of her Jewels, which ſhe cou'd diſpoſe of unknown to her Father, and ſent the Value of them into Miſia for his Ranſom; that as he was coming back in a ſmall Veſſel, it was attack'd by a Pyrate, and whilſt they were fighting, the Powder took Fire, and both Ships being blown up, all thoſe who were on board periſh'd. This News was brought to Genoa with ſo many Circumſtances, that there was no Room left to doubt it.

The Prince heard this Relation with a great deal of Concern, and after being a while without ſpeaking, he lifted up his Eyes to Heaven: I can hardly believe, ſaid he, there is a Mortal on Earth ſo wretched as I am. Give me leave to tell you, Sir, that I was but Eight Years of Age when my Father ſign'd a Contract of Marriage for me with Don John of Velaſco's Daughter, and on his Death-Bed, commanded me expreſsly to marry her; ſome Years after I was taken Priſoner at Nicopolis, where I was uncertain of Life, or Death, having Reaſon enough to fear the worſt from Bajazet's unequal Temper, who at laſt conſented to receive my Ranſom, which I expected from France, when a Lady, who is yet unknown [Page 35] to me, made my Safety her care; ſhe wrote to me, and ſent me a Sum, which much exceeded my Ranſom; and I muſt own, her Wit and Generoſity inſpired me with ſo perfect a Paſſion, that I believe, I cou'd not have lov'd her more, had I been acquainted with her. Being thus ſet at Liberty, I came to the Court of France, where I made but a ſmall Stay; my Mind was continually diſtracted with the Idea of my Unknown, which determin'd me to come here with the Mareſchal. Oh! certainly it was the Fatality of my Stars, that conducted me. You have been Witneſs ſince my Arrival of my exceſſive Melancholy; and as it was not in my Power to conceal it, rather than trouble my Friends, I endeavour'd to find out the moſt unfrequented Places to be more at Liberty to indulge it. Here the Prince recited his Adventure with Olympia, but the Thoughts of ſo cruel a Diſappointment oblig'd him to be ſilent ſome time; then recovering a little, he continued his Diſcourſe: Oh! Sir, ſaid he, think how great is my Misfortune; ſhe whom I adore at Genoa is not the ſame I lov'd in Miſia; this charming Lady, who flatter'd me with her Heart, is now dying for another; the Tragedy is before my Eyes; I have by my Preſence been an Addition to her Torment, and it is probable, ſhe is this Minute expiring, whilſt I am reflecting on the Cruelty of my Fate. He roſe up, and was going out with Precipitation; but the Senator imagining he had a Mind to go to Olympia's Apartment, ſtop'd him, repreſenting, [Page 36] that ſuch a Behaviour wou'd highly diſpleaſe her, and that he ought rather, by his Abſence, to procure ſome Eaſe to her diſturbed Mind. The Prince was obſtinate, but while they were diſputing, they heard the Cries of many Women, which gave the laſt Alarm to the Prince. Oh Heavens! the Work is done, ſaid he (flinging himſelf upon a Couch) It is done! She is now no more; I have loſt her for ever! His Tears wou'd not permit him to continue his Complaint. The Senator ſeeing the melancholy Condition he was in, extreamly pitied him, neglecting nothing, that he thought cou'd allay his Grief, which was too violent for any thing to mitigate.

Some of the Servants came and told them, Olympia had juſt breath'd her laſt in her Father's Arms. It is hard to imagine the Agonies the Prince was in when he heard this diſmal News; and as he cou'd not doubt the Certainty of it, it flung him into the deepeſt Deſpair. Oh! in what tender Language did he deplore her Loſs? and with what Compaſſion did he move thoſe, who ſaw him in his deſolate State, which time it ſelf cou'd hardly alter? He was going away without ſeeing Signor Doria, which Proceeding might appear irregular, did not one enter into his Afflictions; for he look'd upon this unhappy Parent as the Cauſe of his Daughter's Death. The Senator Grimaldi repreſented, that Civility oblig'd him to condole with Signor Doria on the Loſs he had juſt receiv'd: Say rather (reply'd the Prince with ſome Paſſion) [Page 37] that I ought to load him with Reproaches Barbarian as he was, to oppoſe Olympia's Marriage with the Count of La Vagne, which occaſion'd the Cruelty of his Fate, and has been the Source of my preſent Misfortune. But, my Lord, (ſaid the Senator) do you reflect, that if ſhe had been happy in the Count, ſhe wou'd not not have met with this unfortunate Adventure. It is probable I might never have ſeen her, ſaid the Prince, (interrupting him) or if I had, I ſhou'd have known who ſhe was, and conſequently not have taken her for my Unknown; and my Gratitude for the one, wou'd have protected me from the Charms of the other; but alas! it is no more in my power: Let us go, ſaid he, let us go, Sir, I have done my laſt: His Tears and Affliction oblig'd him to be ſilent, ſo they return'd to Genoa.

The Prince ſpoke but little on the Way, and what he ſaid, only related to the Unhappineſs of his Deſtiny. Oh! Night! Oh! fatal Night, cry'd he, what Pleaſures did you not promiſe me? This Minute I ſhou'd have been with that divine Creature according to her own Appointment: Alas I ſhall ſee her no more! her beautuous Eyes are ſhut for ever. Theſe Cruel Reflections made him very thoughtful, and the Senator took that Opportunity to ſpeak to him: Cou'd you follow my Advice, my Lord (ſaid he) you wou'd endeavour to conquer two Paſſions which torment you at once; for you love a Lady at Nicopolis, whom it is likely you may never ſee; Olympia you have ſeen, and [Page 38] lov'd her at firſt Sight, ſhe is now no more: I muſt own that all the Circumſtances of your Adventures are fatal; but if you call Reaſon to your Aſſiſtance, it will tell you, that your Love is only due to Leonida; ſhe is deſtin'd for you, and I am inform'd, ſhe is a Perfection of Virtue, and Beauty: Why then, my Lord, ſhou'd an Unknown, or a Perſon that is no more, deprive her of the Right ſhe has to your Heart? Why? reply'd the Prince; alas, is it in my Power to love whom I pleaſe, and forget two Objects that ſo entirely poſſeſs my Soul? Love, without conſulting Duty, takes Poſſeſſion of our Inclinations; he promiſes a thouſand Pleaſures, and will ſometimes grant ſmall Favours: But oh! what Bitterneſs has been mix'd with thoſe he has hitherto beſtow'd on me? The Senator perceiv'd by the Warmth of his Diſcourſe, that his Advice, tho' very reaſonable, was ill tim'd, therefore choſe rather to pity the Prince, than condemn thoſe Sentiments which were too paſſionate and confus'd to be eaſily conquer'd.

Olympia's Death was generally lamented at Genoa, being a Lady endow'd with many Excellencies: The Count of Fieſque was extreamly touch'd at it. Nothing cou'd give more Luſtre to my Brother's Merit (ſaid he to his Friends) than the Sacrifice of this fine Creature, who deſpiſing Fortune that perſecuted them, wou'd not ſurvive his Fate; no leſs than ſo great an Example cou'd perſuade me, that a Paſſion does not expire with the loſs of its Object.

[Page 39] The Prince of Carency (who ſpoke of her with great Concern) ſoon made his Paſſion known to the World: his Affliction was ſo deep that it appear'd in his Countenance, and tho' he was deny'd to all Company, yet he cou'd not refuſe ſeeing Don Fernand Benavidez, who was a Nobleman of Andaluſia lately arriv'd from Spain; and appear'd to be ſo fine a Gentleman, that he eaſily gain'd the Friendſhip and Confidence of all who were acquainted with him. He was at that Time diſtractedly in Love with Leonida, whom he had often ſeen by the Means of his Siſter Caſilda, who was alſo Maid of Honour to the Queen of Spain, and was Miſtreſs of ſo many agreeable Turns of Wit, that Leonida prefer'd her to the reſt of her Companions. The perfect Friendſhip that was between theſe Ladies, gave Benavidez an Opportunity of declaring to his Siſter, the Sentiments he had for Leonida, which engaged her to ſpeak often to the young Lady in his Favour, but without the leaſt appearance of Succeſs. As he knew ſhe was contracted to the Prince of Carency, who was then at Genoa, he was ſeiz'd with ſo immoderate a Fit of Jealouſy, that he reſolv'd to make that Voyage on purpoſe to ſee his Rival; and ſometime before his departure, converſing with Caſilda, he ſaid to her, It is poſſible, Siſter, I may diſcover ſome eſſential Defect in his Perſon or Humour, which being made known to Don John of Velaſco and Leonida, will give them ſuch an Averſion to him, as may induce them to break a [Page 40] Match that is not yet ſo far advanc'd, as to deſtroy all my Hopes: But if in this happy Rival, I can ſpy no Fault, I ſhall then apply to the only Remedy I have left; he muſt die by my Hand, or I by his, and in either of the Two I ſhall think my ſelf much happier than in my preſent Condition. Caſilda, who lov'd her Brother entirely, was ſurpriz'd and griev'd at ſo violent a Reſolution; You need not go to Genoa, ſaid ſhe, with a Deſign to diſcover any Imperfection in that Prince; I have ſeen thoſe who know him, and have no Intereſt in ſpeaking his Praiſe, yet agree they never ſaw a more compleat Gentleman; beſides, his high Birth greatly diſtinguiſhes him, and Don John is a Man of too much Ambition, not to promote a Match ſo glorious to his Family; therefore depend upon it, you will never prevail with him: I adviſe you to make your Paſſion known to Leonida, before you venture on any other Attempt: The Affection ſhe has for me, may induce her to be favourable to you. Love is capricious, and there are no Meaſures to be taken with it. Chance often decides the ſtrongeſt Paſſions, and if you can meet with that Sympathy which produces the Union of Hearts, you need no other Means to make you happy. Ah! my dear Siſter, (reply'd Benavidez) do not flatter me, I have not Reſolution enough to follow your Advice; if my Confeſſion offends her, ſhe will forbid me ever ſeeing her more, which muſt ſoon put a Period to my Life; therefore I will try all other Ways before [Page 41] I ſpeak to her. Caſilda ſeeing her Brother ſo firmly reſolv'd, took no further Trouble to perſuade him to the contrary.

Thus he ſet out on his Journey, and being arriv'd at Genoa, went to viſit the Prince. He could not have recommended himſelf better, than by ſpeaking Olympia's Praiſe, and deploring his Misfortune in her Loſs; but one Day in Converſation, he ſaid to him deſignedly, You are not ſo much to be pity'd, my Lord, as you imagine, ſince Donna Leonida is deſtin'd to be yours. I believe (continu'd he, endeavouring to diſcover the Prince's Sentiments) you may find ſuch Perfections in her, as will make you forget your other Diſappointments. Theſe Words rather afflicted than conſol'd the Prince. You ſee my Grief, reply'd he, and as you are my Friend, I muſt own to you, the Engagement my Father has laid me under, gives me a mortal Diſpleaſure: Were my Deſtiny in my own Power, I wou'd entirely lay aſide all thoughts of Marriage; for at an Age that others are hardly capable of receiving the firſt Impreſſions of Love, I have indur'd all its Torments, without being bleſs'd with any of its Pleaſures.

Whilſt the Prince was ſpeaking, Benavidez had time to divert the confus'd Thoughts which tormented him; he extreamly rejoyc'd to hear the Prince declare the Indifferency he had for Leonida; but that Joy was often interrupted with thoſe Fears which generally attend great Paſſions. Here he reſum'd the Diſcourſe, and [Page 42] expreſs'd himſelf with ſo unaffected an Air, that the Prince did not ſuſpect the leaſt Deſign. I participate with you, my Lord, (ſaid he) in your Trouble, which is too well grounded. The moſt agreeable Marriage, Time may render indifferent. Conſtant Society diſcovers many Failings, and it is very rare to find any Happineſs in an Alliance contracted without Inclination; but theſe are not the only Reaſons that induce me to pity you. Here he ſtop'd, and ſeem'd in a ſort of Diſorder, as a Man who had ſaid more than he wou'd willingly have done: The Prince taking Notice of it, I penetrate your Thoughts, Don Fernand, ſaid he, why ſhou'd you conceal any Thing from one who has no Reſerve to you; pray tell me what you know of Leonida. I know nothing prejudicial to her Honour, reply'd Benavidez; but I muſt own, my Lord, I am ſo particularly acquainted with her, that I fear you will be very unhappy if ever ſhe is yours; her Humour is inconſtant and ſuſpicious, the Haughtineſs of her Mind is inſupportable to all that know her; and, in ſhort, ſhe is become ſo ridiculous at Court, that ſhe wou'd meet with many Affronts, were it not for the Rank her Father holds there.

Oh Heavens! what do you tell me? (cry'd the too credulous Prince) is it poſſible that all thoſe who ſpoke of her, have endeavour'd to deceive me in, ſaying ſhe was the moſt accompliſh'd Creature they had ever ſeen. They only ſaid it to ſoften your Grief, my Lord, [Page 43] (reply'd Benavidez with an indifferent Air) and I think my ſelf very imprudent for having treated her with ſo much freedom. You know me not, my dear Benavidez (ſaid the Prince, taking him in his Arms) do you think me capable of receiving ill ſo generous a Confidence: No, I proteſt, I am extreamly oblig'd to you, and what grieves me moſt is, that I cannot make the right uſe of it; my Fate is decreed and there is no declining it. What, my Lord! do you then intend to marry her? reply'd immediately Benavidez: Alas! what can I do, ſaid the Prince? it was my Father's laſt Command, and I will not deſerve the Reproach of having diſobey'd him. For my part, cry'd Benavidez, I ſhou'd for ever upbraid my ſelf, if I ſuffer'd you to proceed any farther in this Affair; as I profeſs my ſelf one of your moſt zealous Friends, I will ſooner give my Life than ſee you unhappy. You carry your Friendſhip too far, generous Benavidez, (reply'd the Prince) it is not reaſonable that my Indifference for Leonida ſhou'd make her Relations your Enemies; therefore I am reſolv'd to offer my ſelf a Victim to my Father's Will, without thinking any more of what I may have to fear in the Society of a Perſon ſo diſagreeable. Benavidez began to apprehend, that if he continued to oppoſe the Prince in his Deſign, it might give him ſome Cauſe of Suſpicion, ſo took his Leave in the moſt violent Deſpair. How unfortunate am I? (cry'd he) what muſt I reſolve on? I adore Leonida, and can never flatter [Page 44] my ſelf with a Return, whilſt the Prince of Carency, who loves her not, is going to poſſeſs all her Charms. No, I cannot bear the Thoughts of it; I muſt ſacrifice this happy Rival before he ſees his Miſtreſs, or loſe my Life. He pronounced theſe Words with a menacing Air; and like a Man almoſt diſtracted, was tempted more than once, to return and ſtab the Prince; but after having been ſome Time in this Diſorder, his Spirits became more calm. What! ſaid he, can I with Juſtice hate him, ſince he is my Rival againſt his Will? Ought not I rather to open my Breaſt to him, implore his Pity, and conjure him to yield Leonida to me? No, this Expedient will never do, cry'd he again, I cannot repoſe this Confidence in him: What wou'd he think of me, ſhou'd I confeſs a Paſſion for her, after having deſcrib'd her as a Perſon undeſerving of him, and adviſed him againſt her; he muſt then believe me the greateſt of Villains: But let him think what he will of my Sentiments, I had rather ſubmit to every Thing, than be depriv'd of the Object I love: I ſhall tell him the Reaſons which induc'd me to ſpeak of her as I did: The Force of my Paſſion will excuſe me to a Perſon who is ſo well acquainted with the Effects of Love, and has no other Motive to marry than Obedience. But alas! my Happineſs is not in his Power: Leonida's Father is the firſt Grandee of Spain, Conſtable of Caſtile, and the King's Favourite; and ſuppoſe all his Engagements with the Prince were intirely [Page 45] broke off, he wou'd deſign a Match for his Daughter much more conſiderable than I could pretend to be. Theſe melancholy Reflections ſerv'd to perſuade him, that to ſacrifice the Prince, or implore his Aid, wou'd be equally of no Effect, and that he ought to find other Means to procure himſelf the only Thing on which depended his Felicity.

Benavidez ſtay'd ſome Time at Genoa, and the Prince propoſing to go on his Travels, in hopes that changing of Places might divert his Grief, ask'd him whether he was willing to go along with him? He accepted of the Offer, and the Senator Grimaldi, who was perſuaded that the Prince's Affliction was exceeding great, reſolv'd alſo to accompany him to Rome, being generouſly inclin'd to partake of his Troubles, ſince he cou'd no ways remove them: He had a mighty Reſpect and Friendſhip for the Prince, whoſe Merit and diſtinguiſhing Qualities made ſo ſtrong an Impreſſion on thoſe who knew him, that they cou'd not help admiring him. Benavidez had now laid a Deſign, whereby he expected to break the Prince's Meaſures; and in order to ſucceed he wrote to his Siſter, that Chance had conducted him to Genoa, where the Prince of Carency was deploring the Death of Olympia Doria, with whom, at firſt ſight, he had fallen paſſionately in Love. Upon this he gave an agreeable Turn to his Letter, which render'd it very diverting, but ſo ridiculouſly characteriz'd the Prince, that he wou'd have had all the reaſon imaginable to reſent it, had he known any Thing of the Matter.

[Page 46] Benavidez deſired his Siſter, by a private Note, not to neglect ſhowing his Letter to Leonida, which ſhe as exactly perform'd as he cou'd have wiſh'd. One Day as they were both taking the Air, Caſilda told her, ſhe had receiv'd a Letter from her Brother, wherein her Name was often mention'd. He has been ſome Time abſent, ſaid Leonida, does he not talk of returning ſoon. He is at preſent imploy'd in your Service (reply'd Caſilda, maliciouſly) ſince he is conſoling a Prince for whom you ought to be concern'd; and if you will promiſe me to be ſecret, I can tell you ſomething in Confidence, that may be of Uſe to you. I know you are always diverting your ſelf with one Raillery or other, ſaid Leonida, (who really thought it was nothing but a Jeſt) nevertheleſs I promiſe you to be ſecret, if that will do. Take this Letter then and read it, reply'd Caſilda, you will ſee I am in earneſt, and that the Prince of Carency in giving you his Heart, will preſent you with nothing new. Leonida read with ſome kind of Eagerneſs, what Benavidez had written to his Siſter; then looking on her ſmiling, I muſt confeſs, ſaid ſhe, I am no ways alarm'd to hear of the Prince's Paſſion for a fine Woman, and am vain enough to flatter my ſelf, that when he ſees me I ſhall have it in my Power to deface the Impreſſion ſhe might have made on his Heart; I am perſuaded a dead Rival can prove no ways dangerous; and provided I have no other to fear, I dare be aſſur'd I ſhall live in perfect Tranquility. [Page 47] Caſilda was extreamly confus'd to ſee in what manner Leonida had taken a thing, that ſhe imagin'd wou'd have vex'd her, but conceal'd her Diſorder. You are in the right, my deareſt, Companion, (ſaid ſhe, embracing her) to promiſe your ſelf every Thing from your incomparable Charms; they have Power enough to eclipſe the ſtrongeſt Ideas of any Love, but that which you inſpire. Leonida, whoſe Modeſty was parallel to her Beauty, wou'd hear no more of theſe Encomiums, ſo interrupted her, deſiring ſhe wou'd chuſe ſome other Subject for their Converſation. I wou'd willingly oblige you, reply'd Caſilda, did I not think my ſelf bound in Friendſhip to repreſent to you the Advantages you have over the Prince of Carency, and how unfortunate you will be if you marry him: Reflect a little on what my Brother writes: Can any Thing be equal to the Weakneſs of a Man who falls diſtractedly in Love with a Perſon at firſt ſight, knowing at the ſame Time he was deſtin'd to be Yours? It is eaſy to judge of his Character by ſuch a Proceeding; indeed, (purſu'd ſhe, ſighing) it grieves me, that you ſhou'd be promis'd to One who ſo little deſerves you. I am ſenſible of the Marks you give me of your Affection, my deareſt Caſilda, (reply'd Leonida) and am not leſs touch'd at the Misfortune you have made me foreſee; were I Miſtreſs of my Deſtiny, I cou'd make a Choice different from that which is allotted me: I wiſh my Father wou'd conſult my Sentiments on that Subject, [Page 48] and not ſo entirely follow his own; but let what will happen, I am reſolv'd to obey him, and will not even endeavour to make him change his Reſolution: If I am unhappy in a Perſon I do not like, it ſhall only affect my ſelf, being determin'd never to give him any Reaſon to complain of my Conduct. Caſilda made no Objection to ſo reaſonable a Diſpoſition, fearing Leonida ſhou'd perceive ſome underhand Deſign, but thought ſhe had made a good Progreſs for the firſt Attempt, in diſcovering from her own Mouth, that ſhe not only look'd on the Prince with Indifference, but had already conceiv'd an Averſion for him, which flatter'd her, that Time wou'd procure ſome other Opportunity of practiſing ſuch Artifices as ſhe was capable of framing.

The Prince at this Time was at Rome, and being inform'd of the Emperor Vendiſla's Journey to Rheims, where the King of France was preparing to give him a Reception, believ'd, on this Occaſion, the Court wou'd appear in its greateſt Luſtre, and that it might be taken ill if he were not preſent; therefore propos'd that Tour to the Senator and Don Fernand, who readily conſented to accompany him to the Solemnity.

Upon his Arrival at Paris he order'd a fine Equipage to be made, and from thence went to Rheims: The pretext of the Emperor's coming there, was a Treaty of Marriage between the Duke of Orleans's Daughter and the Marquis of Brandenburg, tho' ſome aſcrib'd it to [Page 49] other Motives. The young Princes and Lords who attended the Emperor and the King of France to this Meeting, left them to treat by themſelves, and paſs'd their Time in Pleaſures agreeable to their Age; as Tournaments, running at the Rings, and Balls, which daily ſucceeded each other with ſo much Order and Magnificence, that all the Nobility of France endeavoured to be Spectators of this triumphant Seaſon.

The Prince of Carency amidſt theſe Pleaſures, was extremely melancholy; his Unknown of Nicopolis, the Death of Olympia, and his Averſion for Leonida, were equally a Torment to him, and Benavidez entertain'd him conſtantly in all theſe Diſpoſitions.

Soon after the Emperor and the King of France, having agreed on what they came to treat of, took leave of each other; the latter being then inform'd that a Rebellion had broke out in England, ſent over a Number of Troops under the Command of the Count of La March: The Count of Vandome and the Prince of Carency, who were deſirous of acquiring Glory, embrac'd that Occaſion, and accompany'd their Brother in this Expedition. The Senator Grimaldi took his Leave here of the Prince, and return'd to Genoa, but Don Fernand Benavidez went over with him for England, where they met with ſo little Succeſs, that they were ſoon forc'd back. At their arrival at the Court of France, the Prince of Carency perceiving that the Princes of the Blood, his near Relations, [Page 50] were in Conteſt relating to the Regency, thought he cou'd not well remain there without engaging in their Quarrel, ſo reſolv'd to return to Rome; and having told his Deſign to Benavidez, who was willing to go with him, took leave of the Court, and ſet out on his Journey.

The mean while, Leonida and Caſilda were made Ladies of Honour, which allow'd them more Liberty than before; and as they waited on the Queen whenever ſhe went abroad, many People who had never ſeen Leonida, were ſo charm'd with her, that ſhe ſoon paſs'd in Spain for a ſurprizing Beauty. This Opinion did no ways intitle her to the Friendſhip of her Sex; for tho' the Ladies at Court cou'd not diſown her extraordinary Merit, yet it invited them all to envy her. Caſilda uſed to talk very much to her in favour of her Brother, ſaying Things at the ſame Time entirely to the Prince of Carency's Diſadvantage: It is true, that what ſhe cou'd ſay in behalf of the one, made but a ſlight Impreſſion on Leonida; but then the ill Character ſhe gave of the other, perplex'd her extremely: ſhe began to think her ſelf very unhappy in the Choice her Father had made for her, of a Prince, who had no other Recommendation but his Birth. I cannot imagine (ſaid ſhe one Day to Caſilda) why the World will attribute ſo many fine Qualities to a Man who is far from poſſeſſing the leaſt of them, and how thoſe who have ſeen him, can ſtudy to deceive me in his Favour. That is the Character [Page 51] of the Age, reply'd Caſilda; the Prince is conſider'd as a Man of an eminent Rank and great Fortune; and ſuch Perſons as know he is contracted to you, will certainly ſet him off to the greateſt Advantage: I am even ſurpriz'd at the Sincerity of my Brother, who I fear will have Cauſe to repent hereafter of what he has done: It is poſſible you may one Day tell the Prince what he writ to me about him, and your Diſdain will be his only Reward for the Intention he had to ſerve you. Ah! know me better, cry'd Leonida, and do not think me guilty of Ingratitude; I am too ſenſible of my Obligation to your Brother, ever to expoſe him to the Prince's Reſentment; and I declare to you, my dear Caſilda, that after having conſulted my Inclinations, I am at laſt reſolv'd to make good uſe of his Advice: I will throw my ſelf at my Father's Feet, and repreſent to him my Averſion for the Prince in ſo feeling a manner, that my Prayers and Tears ſhall prevent his concluding our Marriage. Caſilda was extreamly pleas'd at this Declaration, and encourag'd Leonida in that Deſign, not omitting to put her in mind of the Misfortunes which attend an Alliance made out of political Motives; and not to give her Time to change a Reſolution ſo agreeable, ſhe conducted her to Don John's Apartment, and there left her, in order to go and write to Benavidez: Her Letter was in theſe Terms;

[Page 52]

REturn, dear Brother, return, every Thing anſwers your Deſires; Leonida believes the Picture you ſent her of the Prince, is a true Copy of the Original, and that Love has no Share in what you write. Oh Heavens! how happy ſhou'd I be, had I as much Reaſon to be contented with my Deſtiny as you have with yours! But the ungrateful Henriquez has relapſed into his firſt Paſſion, in ſpite of all the Care I took to prevent it; he has ſeen Donna Blanca; conſider then the State I am in. I impatiently wait your Return to tell you my Trouble, and beg your Conſolation, ſince nothing elſe is capable of giving me any.

Benavidez was arriv'd at Rome when he receiv'd this Letter, which gave him inexpreſſible Joy: Caſilda's Affliction had not Power to interrupt the Pleaſure he had conceiv'd at the Thoughts of Leonida's being diſpos'd to favour his Paſſion: He went to viſit the Prince, who no ſooner ſaw him but perceiv'd ſo great an alteration in his Countenance, that he could not help inquiring into the Cauſe; Benavidez, ſaid he, you muſt have receiv'd ſome agreeble News, for your Eyes ſeem to own it. I will not keep any Thing a Secret from you, my Lord, (reply'd he) I come rather to make you my Confident. Speak then with an entire Confidence, ſaid the Prince, you cannot do me a greater Pleaſure. I am in Love, continu'd Benavidez, and have ſome Reaſon to flatter my ſelf with an obliging Return. You muſt know, that my Miſtreſs having unjuſtly ſuſpected my [Page 53] Conſtancy, by the falſe Inſinuations of ſome of my Enemies, wou'd not ſo much as hear me in my Juſtification, but forbad me her Preſence; and the Care ſhe took to avoid me, had like, with my Life, to have ended my Misfortunes. I left the Court very diſconſolate and retired to my Country Seat, where I found, that Solitude only augmented my Grief; therefore to remedy this Ill, I reſolv'd to Travel, ſo took leave of my Siſter the moſt diſtracted of all Mankind. She extremely pity'd my Condition, and promis'd, in my Abſence, to uſe her utmoſt Endeavours to make my Peace, which at laſt ſhe has done with the moſt obliging Circumſtances. My Miſtreſs recals me, and now impatiently deſires my Return; but in ſpite of my Paſſion, I am ſenſibly affected, my Lord, with being oblig'd to leave you; for I have felt ſo real a Satisfaction in your Company, that I cou'd wiſh I had never known you, or that I were never to part from you.

The Prince, at theſe Words, embrac'd him with great Tenderneſs, which ſhew'd, that his Departure touch'd him to the Heart: I was in hopes, ſaid he, you wou'd have gone with me to the Court of Navarre, where my Brother is to marry the King's Daughter, and has deſired me to attend the Ceremony. What Violence muſt I do to my ſecret Pain, in a Place, where nothing but Pleaſure will be thought of? I cannot abandon my ſelf to my Melancholy, neither do I believe I can be ſo good a Counterfeit, as to conceal it from Perſons ſo diſcerning; [Page 54] and if I ſpeak of my torment to my Brother, I fear he will not think it worth his Concern. Judge then, my dear Benavidez, what Conſolation your Company wou'd be to me, ſince you not only deplor'd my Fate, but ſoften'd my Misfortunes, and in all Reſpects have appear'd the beſt of Friends: Oh, how neceſſary wou'd your Aſſiſtance be in this Juncture, and how extremely ſhall I regret your Abſence! But theſe Conſiderations are too weak to oppoſe what your adorable Miſtreſs commands, and your Inclinations invite you to obey. Go then (continu'd he ſighing) go and taſte thoſe Pleaſures which are prepar'd for you. He finiſh'd theſe Words with ſo dejected an Air, that it wou'd have created Pity in any one but a Rival; for when once we adore an Object, we conceive an Averſion for thoſe who are Obſtacles to our Happineſs, and have no longer Power to be juſt, even to the Merit of any other Votary.

The Nuptials of the young Princeſs of Navarre were celebrated with a Pomp and Magnificence equal to the Occaſion; all manner of Diverſions were given at the King's Expence, to make that Solemnity as fine as poſſible; but in the midſt of theſe Pleaſures, the Prince appear'd loſt in a Diſtraction of Mind, which was too great for any thing to alleviate; however he affected a Gaiety which he was ſo little us'd to, that the Counterfeit was eaſily perceiv'd. What makes you ſo very melancholy, Brother? (ſaid the Count of La March to him one Day) [Page 55] I ſee the Violence you do your Inclinations when you are in the beſt of Company: It wou'd be better for you to break off with your Friends, and give your ſelf up entirely to your own Humour. You make me an indifferent Return, interrupted the Prince, for the Care I have taken to conceal my Chagrin; but I proteſt to you, that it is of ſuch a Nature as cannot be conquer'd; therefore, dear Brother, I will take your Advice, and in baniſhing my ſelf from a Place where my Preſence is diſagreeable, avoid Reproaches, which very much affect me. Theſe Words made the Count of La March ſenſible, that to rally him upon his Grief, was a certain Way to augment it; and as he lov'd the Prince dearly, and found many ſhining Qualities in him, he embrac'd him with the greateſt Marks of Affection. What, dear Brother, (ſaid he in an obliging manner) is it poſſible you ſhou'd take a Thing ſo ſeriouſly, which was only deſign'd as a Jeſt? Do you think, that for ſo ſlight a Matter your Company cou'd be diſagreeable to me? No, do your ſelf more Juſtice, and never ſuſpect mine. So unfortunate a Man as I am, reply'd the Prince, has ever room to fear, and if you knew what it is never to have ſeen one Miſtreſs, and to loſe another as ſoon as you had conceiv'd a Paſſion for her, you wou'd not add to my Pain. The Count cou'd not help ſmiling at the Fantaſticalneſs of theſe different Adventures. You do not pity me then, ſaid the Prince, nor comprehend how one can ſuffer ſo much with ſo [Page 56] little reaſon; you think it ridiculous in me to ſigh for a Perſon I do not know, and for one that is now no more; but Oh! theſe Two Things are the principal Cauſe of my Melancholy. The Count of La March pity'd him extremely, and omitted nothing afterwards that cou'd conſole him.

By this Time Benavidez was arriv'd at Madrid, where he found a great Alteration, the King being dead, and the Care of his Son Don John's Education (who was then but Twenty Two Months old) left to Don Diego Lopez of Cuniga, and Don John of Velaſco; which Mark of the King's Eſteem for theſe two Lords, in repoſing ſo great a Truſt in them, gave a mighty Addition to their Fortunes and Power. The Court was very much divided at that Juncture; the Infanta Don Fernand, Brother to the late King, having a conſiderable Party, was offer'd the Crown, but he generouſly declin'd it, and had the young Prince proclaim'd King; which was perform'd to the great Satisfaction of the Queen, who (after her Son was ſettled on the Throne) retired to Villa Real for the Benefit of the Air, and agreeable Situation of the Place.

It was here that Leonora, Wife to Don Diego Lopez, introduc'd her ſelf into the Queen's Favour, and had ſo great an Influence over her, that whatever ſhe ask'd, was immediately granted; ſhe had a great deal of Wit, but of ſo dangerous a Nature, that thoſe who ſincerely eſpous'd the Queen's Intereſt, began to loſe their Credit by her malicious Inſinuations, [Page 57] which made them in a little time conceive as great an Averſion for the Sovereign, as for the Favourite.

Thus was the State of Affairs when Benavidez came to Villa Real, where he ſtaid ſome Time before he cou'd find an Opportunity to ſpeak with his Siſter; becauſe, during the firſt Days of Mourning, it is the Cuſtom in Spain, not to admit any Perſon into the Palace except the Family; but as ſoon as the Queen cou'd be ſeen, he was introduc'd into her Apartment, where he found Leonida and Caſilda. It is impoſſible to expreſs the different Agitations he was in at the Sight of Leonida, who might have diſcover'd his ſecret Thoughts, had ſhe perceiv'd his Diſorder.

After having ſatisfy'd the Queen in ſome Particulars relating to his Travels, he haſten'd to his Siſter's Apartment; but was agreeably ſurpriz'd, when paſſing through a Gallery of Paintings, where Caſilda had deſignedly invited Leonida to walk, he met them, and ſaluted Leonida with much Reſpect. Give me leave, Madam, (ſaid he) to acquit my ſelf of the Commiſſion I receiv'd from the Prince of Carency, who charg'd me to aſſure you, that he will be ſoon here, in order to conclude a Marriage to which you are deſtin'd, tho' unknown to each other. It is an equal Misfortune to us both, (reply'd Leonida with a dejected Air) and the Particulars you writ to Caſilda relating to the Character of that Prince, have ſo tormented me, that I have omited nothing ever ſince, [Page 58] which I thought cou'd perſuade my Father to change his Reſolution; but he ſo ſtrictly regards his Word, that hitherto my Prayers and Tears have had no Power to move him. Benavidez fetch'd a deep Sigh, and after a Moment's Silence; The Prince deſired me, Madam, (ſaid he) to ſend your Picture to him, and I muſt confeſs it wou'd be a Trouble to me to ſee him receive that Favour, had he not a Proſpect of being happy in the Poſſeſſion of the Original. I cannot diſpoſe of my Picture, interrupted Leonida, without my Mother's leave, therefore it depends on you to ask it of her, but in my Opinion, it is entirely unneceſſary: The Prince will ſee me too ſoon for his Peace or mine. I am not amiable enough to efface the Objects which poſſeſs his Heart, but I will try, by my Obedience, to deſerve his Eſteem. Madam! ſaid Benavidez, ſince you conſent to it, I will tell Madam Velaſco, that it is the Prince your Lover's Requeſt. Speak to whom you pleaſe of it, reply'd Leonida, with an Air of Contempt, but do not call ſo fantaſtical a Perſon my Lover; I can never like a Man that falls in love with all he ſees, and even with thoſe he never ſaw.

As ſhe had finiſh'd theſe Words, Madam Velaſco, who was going to the Queen's Apartment, enter'd the Gallery: She knew Benavidez had been a great while with the Prince of Carency, which made her ſuppoſe there was an intimate Friendſhip between them; and as her Concern for a Prince who was contracted to her Daughter [Page 59] cou'd not indifferently affect her, ſhe immediately enquired after his Health, and expreſs'd a great Impatience to ſee him in Spain. Benavidez told her he had left Rome, and was going to the Court of Navarre, to be at the Solemnity of his Brother the Count of La March's Nuptials, with the Princeſs Beatricia, Daughter to the King; that the Prince paſſionately wiſh'd for Leonida's Picture, which he had promis'd to ask for him, and therefore addreſs'd her for that Favour. Madam Velaſco was very much pleas'd at the Zeal Benavidez ſeem'd to have for his Friend, and told him, She wou'd do any Thing that might be agreeable to the Prince; that her Daughter ſhou'd ſit for her Picture, and deſired he wou'd take Care to ſend it to him. Benavidez found that his Hopes as well as Paſſion augmented, and flatter'd himſelf that the Plot he was framing wou'd have its deſired Effect; he left Madam Velaſco and Leonida to go with his Siſter into her Apartment, and after giving each other Proofs of an entire Affection; I have ſomething to ſay to you, Brother, ſaid ſhe, come into my Cloſet: She took him by the Hand, and ſitting down, cou'd not help ſhedding a ſhower of Tears. You weep, my dear Caſilda, (ſaid he, embracing her) have you any Thing to ſay to me concerning Don Henriquez? Ah! Brother, (ſaid ſhe) he is the ungrateful Object that troubles my Peace, and remembers no more the Obligations he owes me: I ſhall find ſome Eaſe in relating to you all that has [Page 60] happen'd; and as a diſappointed Paſſion is leſs diſcreet than a ſucceſsful one, I am going to inform you of what you know but very imperfectly.

Don Henriquez was on Board the Fleet with the Admiral his Father, when one Day as the Queen was hunting, and we all attending her, Donna Blanca's Horſe ſtarted, and not knowing how to manage him, ran away with her: Several Cavaliers rode after her, who were invited to ſerve her, either by Inclination or Intereſt, ſhe being perfectly handſome, and Daughter to Leonora, who was then the Queen's Favourite. As I am naturally politick enough, I endeavour'd to reach her before the reſt, when I ſaw her from the riſing Ground I was on, fall in a Valley; I rid as faſt as poſſible to her Aſſiſtance, where I no ſooner came, but the firſt Thing that ſtruck my Sight, was a Caſe ſet with Diamonds, which drop'd out of her Pocket when ſhe was thrown off her Horſe; I took it up, and had no other Reaſon for not returning it inſtantly, but the Curioſity of ſeeing what was in it. Donna Blanca was in a Swoon when the reſt of the Company came up; they immediately gave her what they thought wou'd reſtore her to her Senſes, being ſtun'd with the Fall; and as ſoon as ſhe came to her ſelf, ſhe perceiv'd ſhe had loſt her Picture-Caſe, which was ſought for, but in vain. I took notice of all her Motions, and her Uneaſineſs increas'd, with the fear of not finding what was ſo dear to her: This gave [Page 61] me the greater Inclination to keep it, with the only View to mortify her, being one of the fineſt young Ladies of the Court, and Daughter to the Favourite.

As ſhe had receiv'd no Hurt, ſhe went up to the Queen, but appear'd ſo melancholy, that her Mother expreſs'd much Concern. I was impatient to be alone, that I might ſee what was contain'd in the Caſe; but how can I tell you Brother, or at leaſt in telling you, ought I not to dye with Shame? I had but juſt caſt my Eyes on the Picture, which was inclos'd, when I found ſuch Motions in my Heart as ſurpriz'd me, being what I never felt before. I was charm'd with the noble Air and Youth of a Gentleman, whoſe Features were ſo admirably well drawn, that I cou'd no ways doubt but it very much reſembled the Perſon whom it was deſign'd for; I gaz'd at it with Delight, and, tho' unknown to me, I thought it was impoſſible to ſee any Thing more lovely. I did not conſider at firſt, how dangerous my Curioſity might prove, ſo imploy'd ſome Hours in admiring this fatal Picture, whoſe Idea it was not in my Power to deface: It threw me into ſuch Reflections as generally ſucceed exceſſive Tranſports. Oh! unhappy Caſilda, cry'd I, what ſubtil Poiſon hath ſeiz'd thy Heart? Art thou ſo tired with thy Liberty, that thou muſt loſe it this Day? I know not who this is that ſeems ſo Charming; I am well inform'd that he is in Love, and is belov'd, ſince Donna Blanca, who is ſo beautiful, [Page 62] is the Guardian of his Picture, which ſhe ſhow'd by her Uneaſineſs to be very dear to her. What hopes then can I have of any Relief, and to whom muſt I apply my ſelf? Shou'd not my Birth and Modeſty be ſufficient to impoſe Silence on me? What! cou'd I pronounce the Word I love, and pronounce it in Favour of a Man, who knows not the Value of ſo great a Sacrifice: No, my Eyes ſhall ſooner be Witneſs of my Rival's Victory, and I will die before I expoſe my ſelf to the Shame, which muſt needs ſucceed ſuch a Confeſſion: But (ſaid I a Minute after) is it poſſible that in ſuch a little Time, Love cou'd have made ſo great a Progreſs? I am forc'd to lay a Command on my ſelf, not to ſpeak of my Weakneſs, and I have form'd a Rival without having a Lover.

I confeſs to you, Brother, this caus'd ſo great a Change in me, that I began not to know my ſelf: I was continually Thoughtful, and Solitude was the only Thing I courted: I fear'd to diſcover my Pain, or ſeek for Means to know the Author of it. If I ſhow this Picture, thought I, Donna Blanca will be inform'd I have it, and then I ſhall be oblig'd to return it; ſhe is belov'd, and in ſo great Favour, that I dare not declare my Sentiments, much leſs contend with ſo dangerous a Rival.

Two Months were over before I cou'd hear any Thing relating to this Affair; I ſometimes enquired what young Lords were abſent; among others, they named Don Garcia, Don Pedro [Page 63] d' Avilas, and Don Frederick Henriquez: How cou'd I know whether the Man that poſſeſs'd my Thoughts, was either of them. I endeavour'd to be acquainted with their Character; but thoſe, who were ſo complaiſant as to deſcribe them to me, inſtead of giving me ſome light in the Matter, left me more in the dark and in greater Deſpair. I made it alſo my Buſineſs to diſcover, whether Donna Blanca had not a known Engagement, which I was perſuaded was the only Thing cou'd ſatisfy me; but they told me, ſhe was too imperious to receive the Addreſſes of any of the Grandees. I knew the contrary, tho' I was not at liberty to declare it; ſo that I languiſh'd between ſmall Hopes and cruel Fears. Donna Blanca was taken ill of the Small-Pox at this Time, and there was a Neceſſity for her leaving the Court. I cannot help confeſſing that I was extreamly pleas'd at my Rival's Misfortune. Heavens! cry'd I, juſt Heaven! make her as ugly as poſſible, that the Paſſion of her Lover may turn to a mortal Averſion. The Thoughts of this gave me ſome Eaſe, tho' I look'd upon my being in love with a Perſon I did not know, as the greateſt Unhappineſs that cou'd poſſibly attend me. How wretched wou'd be my Fate, ſaid I to my ſelf, if this Picture with which I am ſo charm'd, ſhou'd only prove the Painter's Fancy, and that I ſhou'd never ſee its Original. I reflected at laſt on which wou'd give me the moſt Uneaſineſs, to ſee Donna Blanca ador'd by him I lov'd, or [Page 64] never to have hopes of ſeeing the Object of my Paſſion. Theſe, in my Opinion, were two cruel Extremes; for I cou'd not determine my ſelf on either, and therefore concluded I was the moſt unfortunate Perſon in the World.

My Mind was in this Situation, when in the Queen's Apartment, thinking of the Odneſs of my Adventure, I went to the Window, from whence I ſaw two Noblemen, follow'd by many Attendants; the youngeſt of the Two ſo perfectly reſembled the Picture, that I did not at all doubt but he was the Original, already ſo dear to me. In the firſt Motions of my Surprize I fetch'd ſuch a Shriek, and threw open the Saſh with ſo much precipitation, that every Body took Notice of it; and tho' the Queen did not ſeem to mind it, the firſt Lady of the Bed-Chamber did, and reprimanded me ſeverely. I recover'd the Diſorder I was in, as ſoon as poſſible, and told her, I was deceiv'd by taking the young Lord for my Brother, whom I impatiently expected. The Affair paſs'd in this manner, and I did all I cou'd to ſuppreſs the Agitation, which might attend the firſt Sight of a Cavalier, whoſe Shadow had ſo much diſturb'd my Peace.

In ſpite of all the Reflections I had made, I was ſeiz'd with ſuch violent Emotions when the Admiral and his Son enter'd the Queen's Chamber, (for it was they) that I had like to have ſwooned. Don Frederick Henriquez appear'd ſo thoughtful, that I was griev'd to the Soul. I ought not to flatter my ſelf, ſaid I, [Page 65] that Donna Blanca is indifferent to him; In his Looks I read my Misfortune: He ſympathizes with her in the Condition ſhe is in, and thinks none here worth his Notice. Oh Barbarian! (cry'd I to my ſelf) you think of nothing but your Miſtreſs; cannot you turn your Eyes on me, and ſee the deplorable State of wretched Caſilda? But, Brother, I am aſham'd (ſaid ſhe, interrupting her ſelf) I am aſham'd of unveiling my Weakneſs to you, and expoſing to your Cenſure, Thoughts ſo offenſive to the Modeſty of my Sex. I ſhall only tell you, that the Queen came out of her Cloſet, and the Ladies made a Circle about her, when the Admiral gave her an Account of her Naval Force: I reſolv'd at that Inſtant on a Thing that will appear to you no leſs bold than precipitate, which was to write to Don Henriquez; therefore without conſulting Reaſon, or conſidering the Conſequence, I took out my Tablettes, and addreſs'd him in theſe Terms.

AFfairs wherein the Heart is concern'd, ought not to be defer'd; I deplore the Condition of yours. Give me an Opportunity of ſpeaking to you, and you ſhall be indebted to me for your Peace. Let Secrecy be the Proof of your Gratitude. At Night I ſhall expect you on the Terrace-Walk under the Window by Dian's Statue: I there ſhall acquaint you, my Lord, with ſome Circumſtances in which you are particularly concern'd.

When I had finiſh'd my Letter, I was at a leſs how to convey it to Don Henriquez; at [Page 66] laſt, I reſolv'd to truſt the young Count of Oropez with it; his Poſt of being firſt Querry to the Queen, gave him (as you know) an Opportunity of entertaining us often: He had a great deal of Wit, and having on ſeveral Occaſions obſerv'd his Diſcretion, I made a Sign to him, and he came to me. I have aſſured one of the young Ladies (ſaid I to him) that you can keep a Secret, and hope you will anſwer my good Opinion of you. There is nothing in my power, Madam, reply'd he, that I wou'd not do, to convince you, I am not undeſerving your generous Sentiments. It is not my Secret (ſaid I bluſhing) I am going to intruſt you with, but that of my particular Friend, who has a mind to perplex Don Henriquez: She has juſt writ on my Tablettes, I deſire you will find an Opportunity to make him read it, and do not forget to return them to me. I ſhall never neglect, Madam, the leaſt of your Commands (reply'd he ſmiling) tho' I cannot ſay, you have charg'd me with ſo obliging a Commiſſion as you wou'd have me think. One Word more, ſaid I, be aſſured, I am not concern'd in it; but notwithſtanding, ſhall ever acknowledge the Favour you do me in obliging my Friend. Oropez left me immediately, and acquitted himſelf of what I wiſh'd with great Addreſs; while he was with Don Henriquez, I was extremely uneaſy at this imprudent Step, but was not long ſo, for Oropez came back with my Tablettes, where at the End of my Letter, I found this Anſwer.

[Page 67]

I Never cou'd flatter my ſelf that any Perſon was intereſted in the Concerns of my Heart, but now I am happier than I imagin'd. Your Commands ſhall be exactly obey'd. I aſſure you of Secrecy; and as for Gratitude, it is the leaſt Return I can make ſo much Generoſity.

Theſe Words ſo agreeably flatter'd my Imagination, that I long'd for Night with the greateſt Impatience; in the mean Time, I made a thouſand Reflections which gave me hopes, and entertain'd me till the appointed Hour. The Night was very dark, and hearing ſome Body approach the Window, I threw up the Saſh, and ask'd in a low Voice; Don Henriquez, is it you? Yes, Madam, (ſaid he) it is the Man in the World who is moſt indebted to you; but at the ſame Time I cannot help ſaying, that the Advantage you have over me is too unequal, ſince you know me, and I am not only unacquainted with you, but even a ſtranger to what induces you to favour me with this Interview. I will ſatisfy you preſently (ſaid I, in a trembling Voice) and that you may not ſuſpect I ſent for you hither on a frivolous Subject, know that I am Caſilda Benavidez; therefore, my Lord, do not uſe any Diſſimulation, but tell me, upon Honour, whether you are ſtill in Love with Donna Blanca; if you will not be ſincere in this Confeſſion, I have nothing farther to ſay to you. Don Henriquez ſeem'd very much ſurpriz'd at the Queſtion, and having paus'd a while, made me this Anſwer; [Page 68] Donna Blanca is ſo charming, that her Chains are glorious; and ſince you believe I am her Captive, I will not ſcruple to own it. Theſe Words threw me into a very great Confuſion. What! do you love that perfidious Creature, reply'd I, who has made a Sacrifice of you, and even diſpos'd of your Picture to convince your Rival how indifferent you are to her? With that I took a Light, which I had hid for fear of being diſcover'd, and obliging him to come nearer, I ſhew'd him his Picture, and look'd at him ſo tenderly, that he might have read my Thoughts. Don Henriquez, after having view'd it, turn'd his Eyes on me, and I perceiv'd the Surprize was agreeable to him; but as what I had told him was very unexpected, he ask'd me how I came to know that he lov'd Donna Blanca, and by what Misfortune he had forfeited her Eſteem. I can eaſily ſatisfy you both theſe Queſtions, reply'd I; your Abſence having baniſh'd you from your Miſtreſs's Heart, Don Diego Cuniga made his Addreſſes to her, and was favourably receiv'd: His Father, you know, is one of the firſt Grandees, and ſhe being very ambitious, eaſily conceiv'd a Paſſion for him, of which ſhe cou'd not have given a greater Proof, than ſacrificing your Picture to him. His Vanity was ſatisfy'd, but his Love, inſtead of increaſing by the Aſſurance he had of a Return, made him ſlight her, and even diſcontinue ſeeing her, which ſhe reſented ſo much, that it had like to have been the Cauſe of her Death: He endeavour'd [Page 69] to perſuade me, I was the Occaſion of it; for that if he had not ſeen me, Donna Blanca's Impreſſion wou'd never have been effac'd: But as I had no Inclination to believe him, and did not give him ſo obliging an Audience as he us'd to receive, to alter my Diſpoſition towards him, he brought me your Picture, told me every thing that paſs'd when ſhe gave it to him, and beg'd I wou'd accept it as an Evincement that he never more wou'd renew his Addreſſes to her.

Altho' I look'd on him as an unthinking young Gentleman, I took the Picture, and I proteſt to you my only Motive for ſo doing, was to undecive you in relation to your ungrateful Miſtreſs; for tho' I had no Acquaintance with you, I frequently heard ſo much in your Praiſe, that it gave me no ſmall Concern to ſee you thus betray'd by a perfidious Woman, and therefore I reſolv'd to do all in my Power to diſſuade you from ever thinking of her more. I will take your Advice, Madam, (ſaid he, in a great Paſſion) and Don Diego Cuniga ſhall find at his Return from Sevil, that if I am not a dangerous Rival, I am at leaſt a troubleſome Enemy; but, Madam, (continu'd he with a milder Voice,) I hope you will aſſiſt me in my Revenge on Donna Blanca; you have been pleas'd to acquaint me with her Perfidiouſneſs, and I ſwear, I am already diſpos'd to have an Averſion for her: Were you but concern'd in my Intereſt, I ſhou'd certainly be reſtor'd to my ſelf, which happy State I only [Page 70] deſire, that I may be the more able to lay my Heart at your Feet: I dare aſſure you, Madam, that Conſtancy has ever been my Virtue, and I am ſo well acquainted with Love, that you will find in me a Paſſion, if poſſible, equal to your Beauty. It is too late (reply'd I ſmiling) to anſwer a Propoſal which you wou'd not have made me, had you leſs reaſon to be piqu'd; but as I am inclin'd to wiſh, that your Words were ſincere, it will be a Pleaſure to me, when I find your Conduct engages me to determine in your Favour: In the mean Time, be very ſecret in regard to what is paſt; your Compliance in this will be an eaſy way to eſtabliſh you in my Eſteem.

I did not give Don Henriquez Time to make me an Anſwer, but parted from him with ſo much Satisfaction, that I wou'd not have chang'd my Deſtiny for that of a Queen: My Mind was all that Night imploy'd on pleaſing Ideas. Donna Blanca is ſick and abſent, thought I, and will not appear at Court of a long Time; it is poſſible her Sickneſs may deface her Charms, and a Miſtreſs who is ſuſpected to be inconſtant, having loſt that Attractive, will find it a hard matter to juſtify her ſelf: Beſides, I have admirably well ſucceeded in my Stratagem: Don Henriquez is inclin'd to like me, and thinks he has Cauſe enough to break off with her. What have I then to fear? I ſhall have made the Conqueſt of his Heart before ever my Rival can be able to come and diſpute it with me.

[Page 71] I appear'd the Day following at Court in a rich Dreſs, which every one admir'd, having a particular Intereſt in adorning my ſelf to the beſt Advantage; and I diſpos'd every Thing ſo well, that Don Henriquez came and aſſured me, he had no reaſon to complain of his Miſtreſs's Proceedings, and that he was ſo entirely pleas'd at the Diſcovery I had made him, that it lay wholly in my Power to render him the moſt conſtant of Lovers. This Declaration was attended with all the Courtſhip that cou'd be expected from a Man paſſionately in Love. How great was my Felicity in thoſe Days! I was bleſs'd with all, that Love and Gallantry cou'd inſpire. But, Oh Brother! I am ready to die when I call theſe Things to mind, and have nothing now remaining but mortal Grief. Are you entirely diſengag'd (ſaid I ſometimes to him) and cou'd you reſiſt Donna Blanca, ſhou'd ſhe endeavour to regain your Heart? You muſt needs ſuſpect my Sentiments, reply'd he, to queſtion what I wou'd do in ſuch an Occaſion: I take Heaven to witneſs, charming Caſilda, that were ſhe as conſtant as I cou'd have wiſh'd her, and more beautiful than ever ſhe appear'd to me, I ſhou'd no longer confeſs her Power. Tho' his Proteſtations tranſported me, yet I had room to apprehend, that when he ſaw my Rival, a Diſcovery might be made in which I ſhou'd prove very unhappy. I ſecretly reproach'd my ſelf with my Perfidiouſneſs, and fear'd ſome Puniſhment wou'd attend it, which was ſufficient to make me uneaſy; therefore [Page 72] I preſs'd Don Henriquez to ſollicite his Father's Conſent to our Marriage, that they might afterwards join in their Requeſt to the Queen about it; which being once granted, I ſhou'd have no longer reaſon to fear: He repreſented to me the fantaſtical Humour of the Admiral, but promis'd he wou'd apply himſelf with the greateſt Care and Addreſs, in order to prevail with him. Theſe Aſſurances extremely flatter'd me, and I was expecting the Effects of them, when one Day the Queen went to take the Air in the Foreſt of Javalles, attended by her Ladies who were riding by her open Chaiſe; but we were hardly got to the Height of a little Hill, when we diſcover'd in the Plain ſome Men on Horſe-back which we knew to be Moors: They were engag'd with Spaniards, whom they charg'd ſo vigorouſly, that we thought them in the greateſt Danger: We ſaw at the ſame time a Lady at the Foot of the Tree, appearing to us in a Swoon, with ſeveral Women about her, who, by their Actions, expreſs'd much Concern.

The Queen ſtop'd at ſome diſtance, and ſaw this Engagement with great Uneaſineſs; but Don Henriquez, who had follow'd us, came up to her, and deſired leave to go and ſuccour the Spaniards; which her Majeſty having aſſented to, and commanded ſome of her Guards to attend him; he attack'd the Moors with ſo much Bravery, that the Scene was chang'd in an inſtant, and they being no longer able to oppoſe him, were oblig'd to fly for Safety. All this [Page 73] while my fearful Thoughts were imploy'd on the Dangers he was expos'd to; I was praying for his Succeſs, tho' already Conqueror; and as I obſerv'd all his Actions with a watchful Eye, I ſaw him approach the Ladies, who were ſtill frighten'd, tho' their Enemies were fled.

Don Henriquez had ſcarcely turn'd his Eyes towards them, when ſpurring his Horſe, he rid full ſpeed from the Place; but perhaps he conſider'd, that ſo great a Slight to the Lady (who was Donna Blanca) might diſpleaſe the Queen, ſuppoſing ſhe took Notice of it; therefore his Politicks, or rather my inevitable Misfortune, forcing him to return, he went up to her, and alighting, ſaluted her very coldly; but what he ſaid what ſo ſhort and confus'd, that in ſpight of her Attention, ſhe cou'd not comprehend it. I owe you my Liberty (ſaid ſhe) my Lord, for which I ſhall think my ſelf eternally oblig'd to you, tho' I am perſuaded you knew not in whoſe Cauſe you fought. No, Madam, (anſwer'd he) I was a Stranger to whom I render'd this Service: I proteſt, that had I known how far you were concern'd, I ſhou'd have had Occaſion for all my Generoſity to ſupport me, in fighting for the moſt perfidious Perſon in the World. And for my part (reply'd Donna Blanca with an Air of Pride) I retract my Obligation, ſince you confeſs your ſelf unworthy of being my Deliverer. She ſaid no more, becauſe one of her Women was near, (from whom I had this Relation) but call'd for her Chaiſe, and [Page 74] went to meet the Queen. Don Henriquez left her, and came up firſt to give her Majeſty the Particulars of what had paſs'd, and to let her know that it was Donna Blanca he had reliev'd, who had like to have been carry'd off by the Moors. At this Name I was Thunder-ſtruck, and my Imagination contriv'd a thouſand Ways to torment me, repreſenting all I had to fear from ſo fatal a Rencounter. Can any Misfortune be equal to mine, ſaid I? Donna Blanca taken by the Moors, was going by her Captivity to deliver me from all the Alarms her Return cou'd be capable of giving me: She is reſcu'd from this Danger, and owes her Safety to the Arm of Don Henriquez: I have now every thing to apprehend; he is juſt come from her, and I doubt has diſcover'd my Treachery. I know not whether I deceive my ſelf, but his Looks tell me he loves her ſtill. The Thoughts of her being inconſtant might have cured him, but nothing can do it, if he is once convinc'd of her Innocence: I ſhall appear a Monſter to him, and become the Object of his Averſion. Heavens! what ſhall I do, if what I dread ſhould happen? Whether Don Henriquez would not talk to me for fear of being taken Notice of, or that he had no mind to it, I cannot tell, but he did not ſpeak to me all that Day. Donna Blanca, who had not ſeen the Queen ſince her Recovery from the Small-Pox, took that Opportunity to kiſs her Hand. I was inconſolable to find her as handſome as ever, and her Praiſe the Subject of every one's Diſcourſe, [Page 75] whilſt I, as ſilent as Death, was obſerving Don Henriquez, who I thought did a Violence to his Inclination, in not approaching her. They appear'd both in ſome Confuſion, yet their Eyes ſeem'd to expreſs more Love than Anger. None but a Rival cou'd have known the Cauſe of theſe different Motions; but Oh! nothing eſcap'd my penetrating Jealouſy: I read in their Looks (as I imagin'd) my eternal Ruin.

The Queen was return'd to Villa Real, and I in her Apartment before I knew where I was, or even which way I came: I was loſt in Melancholy, and thought it was very cruel in Don Henriquez not to ſhew the leaſt Concern for me. What! (ſaid I) is his Paſſion come to this? He who has render'd Donna Blanca ſo eſſential a Service, and knows I apprehend nothing more than a Relapſe; does he thus neglect giving me Aſſurances of the contrary? I paſs'd all that Night in the greateſt Anxiety; and tho' I found my ſelf indiſpos'd in the Morning, I roſe early, and went to the Queen's Apartment, fearing ſomething might happen there prejudicial to my Intereſt.

Donna Blanca appear'd at Court that Day finely dreſs'd, and ſo beautiful, that all but Leonida yielded to her. Don Henriquez was juſt by me when my Rival enter'd the Chamber. Heavens! Madam, ſaid he, how handſome ſhe is! What Pity it is ſhe is falſe. Why ſhou'd her Falſity affect you, my Lord, (reply'd I) ſince at preſent ſhe ought to be indifferent to you. It is true, Madam, (anſwer'd he [Page 76] ſighing) but I only deplore the Misfortune of thoſe who wear her Chains. You are very charitable, ſaid I, and the Publick is much indebted to you. Here ſuch a Crowd of various Thoughts preſented themſelves to me, that I was at a loſs how to continue my Diſcourſe; and Don Henriquez, without enquiring into the Cauſe of my Silence, had his Eyes fix'd on Donna Blanca. What's this! cry'd I? you appear to me different from what you were Yeſterday; Do you repent of having chang'd your Mind, and are you ſtill Slave enough to love that perfidious Creature? Don't you remember that ſhe ſacrific'd you to a Man of no Merit, which made me bluſh for her, as much as I do now for you? At this he interrupted me, and ſaid, Indeed Caſilda you muſt know me very little to frame ſuch injurious Suſpicions: There is not a Man in the World who reſents an ungenerous Uſage more than I; and let me aſſure you, that after I have loaded her with Reproaches, equal, if poſſible, to the Offence, I will not only ſhow an Indifferency for her, but even deſpiſe her to ſuch a degree, that you ſhall have no reaſon to complain of my future Conduct.

He pronounc'd theſe laſt Words ſo faintly, that I was confounded. What! ſaid I, do you want to come to an Eclariciſſement with Donna Blanca; you cou'd do no more were ſhe a Pattern of Tenderneſs and Conſtancy? I ſuppoſe, added I, you wou'd have no Value for ſuch a Miſtreſs. But give me leave to tell you, [Page 77] my Lord, that if you ſpeak to her, I will never ſee you more. He was ſurpriz'd at theſe Words, and look'd at me a great while, endeavouring to penetrate into the Cauſe of this Reſolution. He call'd to mind what Donna Blanca had ſaid to him, which gave him Suſpicion enough to increaſe his Curioſity; and tho' he promis'd to comply with my Commands, he did it with ſo indifferent an Air, that I could no ways doubt of my Misforfortune.

I went from the Queen's Apartment into my own, and flung my ſelf upon my Bed, half dead and drowned in Tears. Soon after Leonida came into my Chamber, who ſaw my Concern and Diſtraction, which wanted very little of Deſpair, and ſitting by me, did all ſhe cou'd to ſoften my Grief, without knowing the Cauſe of it: But to disburden my Mind of part of its Depreſſion, I gave her an Account of what had paſs'd: As ſhe had never been in Love, and conſequently unacquainted with what one in that State is capable of, ſhe cou'd not help condemning my Treachery to my Rival. Oh! Leonida, ſaid I, you little know the Effects of a violent Paſſion; every Thing is allow'd to Lovers, when they are in purſuit of a Heart: Say rather, reply'd ſhe, that we often allow to our ſelves many Things which are very blameable. If I have committed a Crime, ſaid I, my Puniſhment is near. Alas! I was not miſtaken: Don Henriquez had found an Opportunity to ſpeak to Donna Blanca; his Impreſſion was not [Page 78] quite effac'd, whatever reaſon ſhe might have had to complain of his Behaviour. They accuſed each other, and by that means diſcover'd the Part I had acted. I leave you to think, Brother, whether they were not reconciled at my Expence. I was not long before I knew my Fate; for Henriquez came, and upbraided me with my Perfidiouſneſs. I wou'd have perſuaded him he was ſtill captivated by Donna Blanca, and that by her artful Inſinuations, ſhe had prevail'd, and impos'd on him; but the ill Opinion he had of me, prevented his believing it. As I knew his Temper, I thought I cou'd not do better than confeſs the Motive which had incited me to make him quarrel with his Miſtreſs. Judge the Condition I was in, dear Brother, when I own'd that Love was the Occaſion of my Guilt, and expos'd my Weakneſs, which I was then ſure wou'd meet with a fatal Return. I ſought for Reaſons to excuſe my Crime, by painting my Paſſion in the moſt lively Colours, and my Tears convinc'd him of the Truth of what I ſaid. He heard me without the leaſt Interruption, but at laſt look'd at me with attention, and aſſuming an imperious Air; I think my ſelf ſufficiently reveng'd of your Treachery, ſaid he, ſince you love me, and I have no Thoughts of you but what are deſpiſing; in finiſhing theſe Words, he left me. The Anger, Shame, and Grief which divided my Soul, had like to have immediately ended my unhappy Life; but Leonida came to me at that Time and us'd her Endeavours to [Page 79] conſole me, without the leaſt Succeſs. I was meditating the Ruin of Donna Blanca and Henriquez, and felt in my ſelf ſuch a diſpoſition for a deſperate Undertaking, that nothing but the natural Sweetneſs of my Friend's. Temper cou'd moderate my Rage. My Rival, tho' victorious, wou'd not reſolve to pardon me; ſhe complain'd to her Mother, who was weak enough to enter into her Sentiments as a Confident, and ever ſince they have watch'd all Opportunities for Revenge. I have, by their means, forfeited the Queen's Favour, and meet every Day with ſo many Subjects of Grief, as would deprive me of Life, cou'd any Thing be capable of it, but the Loſs of the ungrateful Henriquez. I heard Yeſterday, that Leonora had prevail'd with the Queen to propoſe a Match to the Admiral between Donna Blanca and his Son, and that he had given his Conſent to it: I ſhall ſoon ſee her triumph: judge then—Here Caſilda cou'd no longer reſtrain her Sighs and Tears, which oblig'd her to be ſilent. Benavidez, who was extremely touch'd with her Affliction, told her, he wou'd fight Don Henriquez, and neglected nothing which he thought cou'd leſſen her Pain; but as that which affects the Heart is very different from any other, ſo it requires more Time for its Cure. We ſhall find notwithſtanding, in the Sequel of Caſilda's Story (deſpairing as ſhe was) that many Years were not expired before ſhe found Conſolation.

[Page 80] Benavidez gave his Siſter an Account of what had paſs'd between him and the Prince of Carency, and told her, he muſt needs have Leonida's Picture, for he had thought of an Expedient to make her have a great Averſion for her Lover; but that he wou'd not declare his Paſſion to her, till he was aſſured ſhe had ſome Confidence in him; for which reaſon he beg'd Caſilda to ſollicite his Intereſt, who promis'd to act for him to the utmoſt of her Power: Accordingly ſhe deſired Madam Velaſco to let her Daughter ſit for her Picture, which, in Oppoſition to the young Lady, was immediately granted, and given to Benavidez; who caus'd another to be drawn, but with ſo aukward an Air, that none could ſee it without having a diſdain for the Original. This was the Picture he ſent by an Expreſs to the Prince, with a Letter at the ſame Time, telling him, that that Piece wou'd ſhow how charming the Perſon was whom Fate had decreed him, ſince it was her perfect Likeneſs; and that he had entertain'd her with his Merit, but ſhe hardly wou'd have Patience to hear any thing on that Subject; which convinc'd him, her Thoughts were imploy'd on ſome other Object.

The Prince, who gave too much Credit to Benavidez, was ſtruck with ſuch Confuſion at the ſight of this Picture and Letter, that he immediately wrote to him, and without any Caution, confeſs'd the Cruelty of ſo unhappy an Alliance, and his Averſion for Leonida. But as ſhe had ſome reaſon to be perſuaded that [Page 81] her Picture wou'd produce a contrary Effect; ſhe often ask'd Benavidez, out of a Motive of Self-love, whether he had heard from him, and what was his Opinion of her; therefore, as ſoon as he had receiv'd the Prince's Anſwer, (which was writ in ſuch Terms as overjoy'd him, being that nothing more diſobliging cou'd be added) he contriv'd, that Caſilda ſhou'd ſhow it Leonida with ſuch an Air of Secrecy, as if he were no ways conſenting to it. The thing was carry'd on as he had deſign'd it. Leonida read the Prince's Letter, at which ſhe was ſo offended, that ſhe immediately went and threw her ſelf at her Mother's Feet, and conjured her with Tears to break off a Marriage, which wou'd render her the moſt unfortunate Creature in the World. I will not pretend, Madam, to diſobey you in any thing, ſaid ſhe, but is it poſſible that you your ſelf wou'd occaſion my Ruin? Tho' I have but little Experience in the Sentiments one ought to have for a Huſband; yet it appears to me, that without mutual Love nothing but continual Torment can be expected; for how can I value the Man you have choſen for me, ſince he has not only conceiv'd an Averſion for me, but thinks me ugly and deſpiſes me? Cannot you change my Fate, Madam? Oh! rather let me never marry, or if you are not pleas'd I ſhou'd live with you, ſend me to a Monaſtry; I will ſooner embrace that State of Life, than be united to a Prince for whom I have no Inclination. Madam Velaſco, mov'd at her Daughter's Complaint, [Page 82] took her ſeveral Times in her Arms, and endeavour'd to conſole her in a moſt tender manner. If it wholly depended on me, my deareſt Child, (ſaid ſhe) I wou'd ſoon eaſe your Mind; but your Father is my Lord, and we are both ſo far bound in Duty to comply with his Pleaſure, that I cannot promiſe you any thing till I know what are his Intentions. As ſhe had ended theſe Words, Don John of Velaſco enter'd the Chamber; the Mother and Daughter flung themſelves at his Feet, and with Prayers and Tears, conjured him to break off with the Prince: They ſhow'd him the Letter he had written to Benavidez, but all wou'd not do; Don John was determin'd to keep his Word with him, even at the Expence of his Daughter's Happineſs. He anſwer'd them, that the Contract was ſigned, and nothing ſhould ever make him revoke a thing he had concluded with the late Count of La March; ſo Leonida withdrew in the greateſt Affliction, and having inform'd Caſilda of her Father's Sentiments, told her, ſhe was reſolv'd to retire into a Monaſtry. That will be no effectual Relief to you, (reply'd Caſilda maliciouſly) for a Man who hath ſo much Power as Don John, will eaſily oblige his Daughter to quit a Place, wherein ſhe had thrown her ſelf without his Conſent: But, my dear Leonida, your Grief is ſo moving, that I have already propos'd Means to give you ſome Comfort. My Brother, who is entirely devoted to your Service, and in whom you may faithfully confide, has a fine [Page 83] Houſe near Carmona; it is an agreeable Retirement, ſurrounded with ſpacious Woods. I will go and live with you there. What, my dear Caſilda, (interrupted Leonida) is your love for me ſo great as to quit the Court? I cou'd make you a greater Sacrifice (reply'd Caſilda ſighing) you know the reaſons I have to hate this fatal Place: The falſe Henriquez will ſoon be marry'd to Donna Blanca; I ſhall have nothing before my Eyes but what will increaſe my Deſpair; and in ſpite of my Pride and Reaſon, I cannot ceaſe loving that cruel Man, tho' he glories in my Weakneſs. Abſence is the only thing that can efface his Idea; let us go, charming Leonida, (continued ſhe) let us fly the Man I love, and him you hate. My Fate is more deplorable than yours, reply'd Leonida, your Abſence will procure you ſome Eaſe, and no Body will purſue you; but as for my part, I ſhall be purſued, and perhaps diſcover'd, and brought back to my Father's Houſe, where I ſhall meet with very ſevere Uſage. Ah! how little do you know the ſad Condition I am reduc'd to, cry'd Caſilda, do you think it a Conſolation to tell me, that no Body will purſue me? That is the chief Cauſe of my Grievance: I cou'd wiſh the perfidious Henriquez wou'd abandon all, and follow me; Heavens! how tranſported ſhou'd I be! If you propoſe to enjoy a perfect Tranquillity, reply'd Leonida, do not harbour any Wiſhes ſo contrary to your Peace. Alas I know not what to wiſh (ſaid Caſilda,) then let us go; Solitude [Page 84] and Abſence may chance to give ſome Eaſe to my Mind. Young Leonida, who had but little Experience, and did not foreſee the fatal Conſequences of ſuch an Undertaking, conſented to the dangerous Propoſals of her Companion: She embrac'd her a thouſand Times, and confeſs'd in a moſt tender manner, her Obligation for the conſiderable Service ſhe was going to render her. They afterwards agreed on a Day and Hour to execute their Project, and imploy'd all their Thoughts in taking ſuch Meaſures as cou'd make it ſucceed.

This was the State of Affairs when they were inform'd, that the Count of La March was arriv'd at Seville with a magnificent Attendance, and a Body of Eight Hundred Men to ſuccour the Infanta Don Fernand, who was then at War with the Moors. The Virtue and eminent Qualities of this illuſtrious Prince were ſoon publiſh'd in Spain, and the Prince of Carency, his Brother, had no ſmall Share in the general Applauſe: He had accompany'd the Count to Seville, from whence he intended to go to Villa Real, in order to marry Leonida: but Fortune was preparing long Torments for him, inſtead of thoſe Pleaſures he wou'd have taſted, in the Poſſeſſion of a Lady ſo charming and virtuous.

The Prince wrote a Letter to Benavidez, to acquaint him with his departure from Seville, which he immediately communicated to Leonida. She now thought it Time to be gone, and without farther Conſideration, truſted her [Page 85] ſelf (with Caſilda) to the Conduct of Benavidez, who over joy'd and full of Hopes, omitted nothing that was neceſſary in this Affair. They left Villa Real, and he accompany'd them ſome part of the Way; but fearing his Abſence from the Court at the Time of their diſappearing, might give ſome Suſpicion of his having a hand in it, he deſired Leonida and his Siſter to accept of one of his Friends, who ſhou'd wait on them to their Journey's End, being a Man whoſe Fidelity was ſo well known to him, that he ran no Riſque in truſting him with his Miſtreſs and Siſter.

Benavidez expreſs'd much Concern in parting from Leonida, who might have eaſily perceiv'd it, had not her Thoughts been imploy'd otherways. He took his leave of them, and they continued their Journey with all the Diligence and Secrecy poſſible. When they were arriv'd at Benavidez's Houſe, where no Body knew them, they chang'd their Names; Leonida call'd her ſelf Felicia, and Caſilda took the Name of Beatricia, ſaying they were Siſters, and of the Houſe of Leon.

The Gentleman who had accompany'd them, return'd to Villa Real, and gave an Account to Benavidez of their ſucceſsful Journey, whilſt the young Ladies were taking the innocent Paſtime of an agreeable Solitude.

Benavidez, notwithſtanding the Impatience he had to ſee Leonida, appear'd at Court with a counterfeit Air of Gaiety. But Heavens! in what Affliction were Don John of Velaſco and [Page 86] his Lady, when they perceiv'd their Daughter was gone: They believ'd at firſt, that ſhe and Caſilda were retired to a Monaſtry, and Benavidez ſeem'd to believe the ſame, ſaying, That that was the only reaſon, which prevented him from ſearching all Spain, in order to find his Siſter. Don John, who had greater Cauſe for Uneaſineſs, imploy'd all Means to diſcover the Place where Leonida might be; but his Enquiry being to no purpoſe, he was almoſt in Deſpair: Benavidez the mean while was propoſing to himſelf no ſlender Share of Happineſs in the Succeſs of an Enterprize he had manag'd ſo artfully; but the Queen being then inform'd that ſome Grandees of Spain, who were diſſatisfy'd with the Government, were carrying on a traiterous Deſign, and had reſolv'd to deliver up ſome conſiderable Towns to the King of Granada, ſhe order'd, that Benavidez (who was Governour of one of thoſe Places, and had been impeach'd, tho Innocent,) ſhould be taken up. This unexpected Blow, threw him into a deſperate Condition; he fear'd, it had been diſcover'd that Leonida was at his Houſe, and that he was arreſted on that Account; but when they told him that it was for High Treaſon, he thought himſelf too happy, and ſeem'd leſs mov'd for the Loſs of his Life, than the loſing of Leonida; however, his being prevented from going to ſee her, increas'd his Grief to ſuch a Degree, that he cou'd not conceal it from his Guards, which made them conclude him guilty.

[Page 87] The Prince of Carency arriv'd at this time at Villa-Real, and did not know what to think of the many Reports he heard. The flight of Leonida and Caſilda, Benavidez's Impriſonment, and the diſtracted Condition of Don John of Velaſco and his Lady, as well as his Concern for a Perſon to whom he was contracted, and the Neceſſity he was under of uſing his utmoſt Endeavours to find her, together with his Indifferency for her; all theſe united, perfectly confounded him. He made an ineffectual Attempt to ſpeak to Benavidez, who was ſo ſtrictly guarded, that he judg'd the Affair he was accus'd of wou'd meet with no Favour, if once convicted, unleſs the Queen's Goodneſs wou'd prevail with her Juſtice. He heard that Leonora was her Favourite, and having a ſtrong Inclination to be ſerviceable to his Friend, he made his Court to this old Lady, who, tho' as proud as great, cou'd not but conceive a particular Eſteem for the Prince. Don John and his Lady were ſo charm'd with him, that their Satisfaction wou'd have been compleated, had not his Preſence renew'd all the Grief which the Loſs of Leonida occaſion'd; ſo that nothing cou'd moderate the Affliction of theſe diſconſolate Parents.

The Prince of Carency was preſented to the Queen, who received him with a Reſpect equal to his Birth and Merit. Donna Leonora uſed to ſpeak ſo often to her of his fine Qualities, that ſhe ſoon perceiv'd her Favourite look'd on him with an obliging Eye, and that he triumph'd [Page 88] in her Eſteem over the other Princes and Grandees of the Court. He conſtrain'd himſelf as much as poſſible to oblige her, being invited by no other Motive than to ſerve Benavidez. Oh! had he known, that he was working for the greateſt of his Enemies, and one who was endeavouring his Ruin, he wou'd have left him to his evil Genius.

One Day as the Queen was walking in the Palace-Gardens, attended by moſt of the Court, Donna Leonora affected to keep at ſome diſtance, which the Prince of Carency perceiving, he went and ſaluted her; ſhe receiv'd him very graciouſly, and ask'd him if he wou'd go with her into a green Arbour that was not far: After he had return'd her Compliment, he led her to the Place, where being ſet down, ſhe ſpoke to him in this manner. Do you take this Opportunity I give you, my Lord, of entertaining me, as a Favour I ſeldom grant to any? Your Youth, Wit and Quality are ſufficient Motives to make you admired; but as I have no Inducements to create a Paſſion, be ſo kind as to tell me, from whence proceeds the deſire you have of converſing with me. Is it the Effect of a Sympathy, that is frequently found between two Hearts, and for which no reaſon can be aſſign'd? The Prince was very much ſurpriz'd at what he heard, but ſtill had a mind to obtain her Favour on the Account of Benavidez, without intending to make any Declaration that might diſtinguiſh a Lover from a Friend. He look'd at her ſome time as [Page 89] one aſtoniſh'd, which entirely confounded Leonora. You ought, Madam, (ſaid he) to be convinc'd, that you have highly oblig'd me in condeſcending to this Interview; which is an Honour I have this long time wiſh'd for; but if you will give me leave to improve this Occaſion, let it be in behalf of the unfortunate Benavidez: I know the Queen has ſo juſt an Opinion of your good Senſe, that ſhe will readily aſſent to any thing you are pleas'd to promote: Grant him your Protection, it is the greateſt Favour I can ask. Your Petition is not very great (reply'd Leonora, in an angry Tone) when you imploy for another the Opportunity you ought to embrace for your ſelf: Is it poſſible, my Lord, that you can think of your Friend's Intereſt, and neglect your own? Oh! I ſee too well, that I am deceiv'd: there can be no Paſſion where there appears ſo much Indifferency. This embaraſs'd the Prince more than ever any Thing had done, yet he try'd to conquer himſelf, and taking her by the Hand; You know very little, Madam, (ſaid he) the Language of my Eyes, when you form ſo ill a Judgment of my Sentiments, as to doubt of my Paſſion: Your Charms are the only Subject of my Contemplation, and the Fear of offending you was the Cauſe of my Silence. This obliging Confidence, my Lord! reply'd ſhe, equally flatters my Vanity and Love; for I cou'd not think my ſelf ſo happy in your Favour: I am infinitely pleaſed at the Confeſſion you have made me, [Page 90] and ſince you wou'd have me ſerve Benavidez, I promiſe you to do it effectually; whether he be innocent or guilty, he ſhall be ſet at Liberty. The Prince made his Retributions to her in ſo grateful a manner, that ſhe was perfectly charm'd with him: but as he was tired with this diſagreeable Converſation, he impatiently roſe up and took his Leave.

When he was alone, he abandon'd himſelf to thoſe Reflections which were moſt painful to him. Heaven, juſt Heaven! cry'd he, what am I reſerv'd for? I find my ſelf intangled in an Amour with the uglieſt of Women, and who is the only one that ever gave me a favourable Audience. Oh! I love my Unknown at Nicopolis, and Olympia's Memory is ſtill dear to me. Leonida, prevented by ſome Fatality, has choſen rather to fly her Father's Houſe, than yield to his Commands. Now muſt I, to ſerve my Friend, counterfeit a Paſſion for this Favourite, who is an Object fitter to inſpire Averſion, than a more obliging Sentiment.

Tho' he reproach'd the Cruelty of his Fate, yet he did not omit paying his Devoirs every Day to Leonora, whoſe Paſſion roſe to that Violence at laſt, that ſhe determin'd to marry him, which was the thing in the World he leaſt thought of. She ſent to him, and deſired he wou'd come to her; which having obey'd; my Lord, ſaid ſhe, if in the Profeſſion you have made me there is more Truth than Complaiſance, and that you are touch'd as much as [Page 91] you wou'd perſuade me, you cannot give me a greater Proof of it, than by uniting your Deſtiny with mine. I will not trouble you with a Detail of my Birth and Fortune, all Spain can inform you of both; but ſhall content my ſelf with aſſuring you that you will find in me ſo good a Friend in becoming your Wife—My Wife! have you ſuch a thought (cry'd the Prince, interrupting her.) Here he was ſilent, but perceiving his Miſtake, he endeavour'd to recover it, and aſſuming a tender Air; ſuch an Alliance, Madam, ſaid he, wou'd infinitely pleaſe me, if I were not engag'd to Leonida, and you know it is not in my Power to retract my Promiſe. No, cruel as you are: I know nothing; (interrupted Leonora, in a furious manner) I ſaw your Surprize and Horror at a Propoſal you are not worthy of; you have not only deceived me, but have alſo deceiv'd your ſelf. Know, Sir, that in this Kingdom, you muſt not dare to offend a Perſon of my Quality unpuniſh'd, eſpecially one who has as much Power as the Queen: Benavidez ſhall be my firſt Victim, and take care (perfidious as you are) that you be not the Second. In finiſhing theſe Words, ſhe gave him a menacing Look, went into her Cloſet, and ſhut the Door with great Violence, leaving the aſtoniſh'd Prince in her Chamber.

He immediately went to Madam Velaſco's, and without any Reſerve, acquainted her with all that had paſs'd. You may be well aſſured, Madam, ſaid he, that were I not even contracted [Page 92] to Leonida, I wou'd ſooner chuſe to dye than marry a Woman, who by her Cruelties, is become odious to all Spain. I know her Birth and Fortune are equally great, but I deſpiſe them both; therefore give me your Advice, Madam, and tell me, what Meaſures I muſt take to deliver my ſelf from this Monſter, without expoſing the Life of Benavidez. That is a harder Task than you imagine, (reply'd Madam Velaſco) the violent Temper of this Woman has already ſacrific'd many, and I tremble for you: The Queen loves her to ſuch a degree, that ſhe will blindly condeſcend to all her Deſires. Alas, my Lord, why are you in Spain? Or why are you not the Husband of Leonida? With this ſhe burſt out into a Flood of Tears. You weep, Madam, ſaid he, and I have reaſon to believe you are concern'd for me. Do you think this Affair will have any other Conſequence, than my being oblig'd to quit Villa Real? I am no Subject of Spain, neither is a Man of my Rank to be inſulted without Revenge; and I am aſſured, that if Leonora ſees me no more, ſhe will ſoon forget me. Then prepare to depart, my dear Son, (reply'd Madam Velaſco, embracing him tenderly) I will take my Daughter with me into France if ſhe is living, and nothing ſhall alter the Reſolution I have taken to make her eternally yours.

Tho' nothing cou'd be more obliging than the Aſſurances Madam Velaſco gave the Prince, yet he did not extremely wiſh for the Performance: [Page 93] He was in hopes, that either Leonida wou'd not be found, or that her Averſion for him wou'd continue; in which Caſe, the Marriage of Courſe muſt needs break off, and he wou'd be no longer under the Obligation of executing his Father's Commands. He immediately took leave of Don John of Velaſco, being reſolv'd to go away the ſame Night, in order to join the Count of La March (his Brother) who was waiting at Seville for the Infanta Don Fernand, to march againſt the Moors.

He retired early to his Apartment, and gave Orders, that all things ſhou'd be ready for his Journey; but Leonora (who had Spies over the Prince's Actions) was ſoon acquainted with his ſudden Reſolution; and ſeeing ſhe had no Means left to prevail with him, ran and threw her ſelf at the Queen's Feet, conjuring her with Tears in her Eyes, to take pity of her Weakneſs. The Prince of Carency is parting, Madam, ſaid ſhe; he abandons me, and I ſhall be the wretchedeſt Creature in the World, without your Majeſty is pleas'd to protect me. The hopes of being his Wife, (flatter'd by his Aſſiduity and faithleſs Proteſtations) made ſo deep an Impreſſion on me, that it was not in my Power to decline a Paſſion, which wou'd have united our Deſtinies: But the Traitor has deceiv'd me, and I am going to loſe him for ever, unleſs you give immediate Orders to have him ſeiz'd. What Pretence cou'd I have to act in that manner, (reply'd the Queen, with that Complaiſance which was uſual to her) he is [Page 94] contracted to Leonida, and Don John of Velaſco is in great Power: He has Friends and Relations in this Court, and ſhou'd I undertake to break his Daughter's Contract in favour of you, it wou'd be doing him the greateſt Injuſtice. Beſides, with what Authority cou'd I do it? I have no Power over that young Prince: Don't you know he is related to the King of France, and that a Man of his Quality is not to be dealt with like other People; then conſider, that the Count of La March, his Brother, is actually at Seville, and is Son-in-Law to the King of Navarre; all theſe Things are to be weighed with Deliberation. Ah Madam! reply'd Leonora, I do not intend to expoſe your Majeſty when I intreat you to detain the Prince; you have a good Pretence to do it, without my appearing any ways concern'd. There is an intimate Friendſhip between him and Benavidez, and wou'd it not be ſufficient to make the World underſtand, that the Prince has a Hand in the Rebellion? Your Authority diſpenſes you from giving an Account of your Actions, and who dares inquire into your Conduct? The Prayers and Tears of this old Favourite prevail'd at laſt with the Queen, and ſhe conſented that a Captain of the Guards ſhould go immediately, and put the Prince under Arreſt; which was no ſooner executed, but the Queen had him brought before her, and having order'd every Body to withdraw, ſpoke to him in theſe Terms; What, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, cou'd one have thought you capable [Page 95] of betraying us; and that under the Notion of a Friend, you were privately conſpiring with thoſe, who intended to deliver up ſome Towns of this Kingdom to the Barbarians? Don't pretend, Prince, to ſay any thing in your Defence, for nothing can juſtify you: I am too well inform'd of your Intreagues; ſo prepare your ſelf to undergo the Puniſhment you deſerve: Your eminent Birth will not protect you without my Favour, and if I grant you your Life, it ſhall at leaſt be at the Expence of your Liberty. Donna Leonora loves you, my Lord, and has already interceded for Grace; if you will marry her, I may in regard to her, forget the pernicious Deſigns you had form'd againſt this Kingdom.

The Prince heard, with all the Reſpect imaginable, what the Queen had to ſay; then anſwer'd her with a noble and undaunted Air; My Heart is incapable, ſaid he, of forming ſo mean a Deſign, as that which your Majeſty lays to my Charge, and I have too much Intereſt in juſtifying myſelf to conſent that you ſhould forget my Crime in Conſideration of Leonora. No, Madam, I refuſe the Mercy you offer me, and demand nothing but Juſtice; which I have no Cauſe to fear be it ever ſo ſevere. Go then, Prince, ſaid the Queen, you ſhall be ſtrictly guarded, and ſeverely puniſhed if guilty.

He was conducted from thence, to the ſame Caſtle where Benavidez was Priſoner, and confin'd ſeveral Days, with Orders that no Body [Page 96] ſhould be admitted to him: However, this Affair could not be carry'd on with ſo much Secrecy, but that Don John of Velaſco was informed how ill they uſed the Prince, for whom he had ſo great a Value. He addreſs'd himſelf to the Queen about it in very warm Terms, and even threatned her with the King of France's Reſentment; but ſhe was reſolv'd to venture at all, and ſhow no favour to him, unleſs he marry'd Leonora

This imperious Favourite (who was the only Perſon that had leave to ſee the Prince) came one Night into his Chamber, richly adorn'd with Jewels, but ſo frightful as to her Perſon, that he could hardly prevail with himſelf to look at her. Nothing ſhall be impoſſible to me (ſaid ſhe, my lovely Prince, taking him by the Hand) I have every thing in my Power, and if you will marry me, I promiſe to deliver you out of this horrible Priſon; but if you are too proud, and deſpiſe me, be aſſured, you ſhall paſs the reſt of your Days here, or end your Life in a more tragick Manner. Ha! (continued ſhe, perceiving in his Countenance a great deal of Anger mix'd with diſdain) Do you conceive leſs Horror for the Block, than for my Perſon? I am not young I confeſs; yet ſuch as you ſee me, I can make the Felicity of the greateſt Princes in Spain, who daily offer me their Sighs and Vows, which with mine I ſacrifice to you. See, my my dear Prince! See, what a ſhameful part you make me act; I bluſh in confeſſing my [Page 97] Weakneſs, and your Obligation to me ought to be the greater: I, who make all the Court tremble, am here before you, like a Victim, uncertain of Life or Death, waiting its Doom; ſay then, will you decide my Fate? You are the only Man that can make me happy, and without you, I am for ever wretched. Whilſt Leonora was ſpeaking, the Prince of Carency felt ſo violent an Averſion for her, that he cou'd hardly command his Paſſion; but having overcome it a little, he ſaid, with a very indifferent Air: Are you not yet ſatisfy'd with what you make me ſuffer, and will you for ever perſecute me with a Paſſion, to which I can make no Return? I declare, that in my Thoughts, the Misfortune of being belov'd by you, is one of the greateſt that could happen to me; and ſince my Sincerity offends you, purſue your Rage, and let your Vengeance fall on a Man, who can reproach himſelf with no other Crime, but that of having given you room for ſome Time, to believe he cou'd like you. After theſe Words, he was ſilent, and whatever ſhe cou'd ſay to him, he wou'd not make her any Anſwer.

She ran out of his Chamber like a Fury, threat'ning him with ſpeedy Death, and from thence, went directly to ſee Benavidez, who was very uneaſy (as one may well conceive) having been diſappointed in his Deſign relating to Leonida, and not knowing whether ſhe was ſtill at his Houſe, or whether, ſince his Confinement, her Father had not found her out, [Page 98] and marry'd her to the Prince of Carency; beſides, he cou'd not tell but the Crime he was accus'd of, tho' innocent, might coſt him his Life.

Theſe Reflections were tormenting him, when he ſaw Leonora coming into his Chamber; he cou'd not imagine the Cauſe of ſo unexpected a Favour, and juſt as he was going to make his Retributions to her, ſhe began in theſe Terms. Benavidez (ſaid ſhe, with a Voice that expreſs'd the Motions of her Soul) your Life or Death now depends on the beſt of your Friends; you are impeach'd, and believed guilty: The Prince of Carency, who loves you entirely, is actually a Priſoner with you in this Caſtle, and I am willing to let you know, that I have conceiv'd a particular Eſteem for that Prince; you ſhall have leave to ſee him, and be ſure you uſe your utmoſt Endeavours to perſuade him to marry me, in which Caſe, I anſwer for your Liberty; but otherwiſe, you will have Cauſe to fear both for him, and your ſelf; Farewel Remember now, that your Intereſt and mine muſt be the ſame. After having ſpoke to him in this manner, ſhe gave him no time to make any Anſwer, but went away with great Precipitation.

Benavidez, who before was deſpairing, cou'd not hear this News without being extremely pleas'd: He reſolv'd to uſe his utmoſt Addreſs in perſuading the Prince; and as he knew the Influence he had over him, he flatter'd himſelf [Page 99] with eaſily overcoming all Difficulties. What a Happineſs will it be, cry'd he, if he yields to Leonora's Deſires; I ſhall then be ſure of my charming Leonida, and this Favourite, whom I ſhall oblige, will in Gratitude imploy her Credit to make her mine. I find, it is not, as yet, known where ſhe is; my Houſe has this Treaſure ſtill in its Poſſeſſion, and aſſoon as I obtain my Liberty, I will go and viſit her in her Retirement. After having imploy'd his Thoughts on ſo agreeable a Change of Fortune, he could not help reproaching himſelf with the treacherous Part he had acted towards his Friend and Leonida: No, ſaid he, I ſhall never enjoy a real Felicity, ſince I muſt be oblig'd to deceive two Perſons, who ſo entirely deſerve my Affection, and will be inconſolable, when they come to know one another, to find their Deſtiny chang'd by my Perfidiouſneſs. Theſe Reflections gave him ſome Concern; but as his Love tranſcended his Friendſhip, he reſolv'd to arm himſelf againſt all Remorſe.

Whilſt he expected, with great Impatience, to ſpeak with the Prince of Carency, Don John of Velaſco, was uſing all his Endeavours to get him out of Priſon. He at laſt brib'd one of the Guards, who having brought Ropes and a File, help'd to cut the Bars of his Window; and the Night being very dark, they both eſcap'd on Horſes that were waiting for them.

But this could not be done ſo ſecretly, as not to alarm ſome of the Guards, who heard [Page 100] a Noiſe in the Prince's Apartment, which they enter'd, and perceiving his Flight, went immediately to give Notice of it to Leonora. This News made her furious. She order'd ſeveral Horſemen, who were all devoted to her Intereſt, to purſue him; and was ſo confounded, that without knowing what ſhe ſaid, ſhe commanded them to take different Ways, and told 'em, that in caſe they overtook him, and cou'd not prevail with him to return, they ſhou'd kill him: But after they had left her, and the firſt Effects of her Paſſion were over, ſhe reflected on the cruel Commands ſhe had given, and did not at all doubt but they wou'd be too well executed by thoſe Villains. What! cry'd ſhe, am I going to be the Murderer of a Man, for whom I wou'd willingly lay down my Life; and do I convey the Poinyard to his Breaſt? Oh unjuſt Fate! Why are you not contented with taking from me the Object I love, without making me the Author of his Death? Being thus prepoſſeſs'd with diſmal Thoughts, ſhe was no more Miſtreſs of her ſelf; ſhe ſent immediately to countermand her inhuman Orders; but alas! it was too late, they had kill'd the Prince in ſpite of his brave Reſiſtance, which was ſo great, that he wou'd not have been overcome but by a vaſt Superiority.

Leonora was ſaluted with this News at Villa-Real, which ſhe receiv'd as one who already expected it, and had no other Thought, but that of dying. The Prayers and Tears of the [Page 101] Queen were of no force. She tore her Hair and wounded her Face, and her extreme Grief ſoon forwarded her Death, which made ſome Atonement for the Barbarity ſhe had juſt caus'd to be acted on one of the fineſt Princes in the World.

Don John of Velaſco and his Lady were inconſolable for his Loſs, reproaching themſelves for not giving him a ſufficient Guard; they regretted him as if he had been their own Child, and loaded with Imprecations the Memory of Leonora. Benavidez not being ſo ſtrictly guarded as before, was ſoon inform'd of the Prince's Death; but his Love triumph'd over his Gratitude, which made him perfectly inſenſible of the Misfortune of a Perſon, who had lov'd him ſo entirely.

Whilſt theſe Things were paſſing at Court, Leonida and Caſilda, under the Names of Felicia and Beatricia, were ſtrangely alarm'd in their Solitude; the Gentleman who had left them ſafe there, acquainted them with Benavidez's being made a Priſoner of State, and accus'd of having a Correſpondence with the Moors. Caſilda at this News, was reſolv'd to go back to Villa-Real, in order to intetcede for her Brother, and do him what Service ſhe was capable of; but Leonida, who fear'd to remain there alone, repreſented to her, that as Leonora was not her Friend, and that through her means, ſhe had already loſt the Queen's Favour, her Preſence inſtead of mending her Brother's Affairs, would make them worſe; that [Page 102] beſides, ſhe wou'd have the Mortification of ſeeing Henriquez marry'd to Donna Blanca, which wou'd only renew her Grief: Theſe Arguments wou'd not have prevail'd with Caſilda, had ſhe not apprehended, that in leaving Leonida, who in the mean Time might return to her Father's Houſe, Benavidez wou'd loſe all the Fruits of her artificial Management; which Conſideration prevented her Journey.

Leonida and Caſilda us'd often to walk in a Foreſt near their Houſe; and one Evening, as they were ſitting by the ſide of a Rivulet, a Horſe ran by, in a full Gallop, which frighten'd them very much, ſeeing no Body on his Back; they quitted the Place haſtily, and as they were in their Way towards the Caſtle, their Surprize was much greater, when they perceiv'd two Men lying on the Ground wounded, and cover'd with Blood; ſuch a Sight was very frightful to theſe young Ladies, who believing they were dead, durſt not approach them, but ran home, and call'd ſome of their Servants, with whom they immediately came back, in order to give Aſſiſtance to theſe two Gentlemen, if happily it were not too late.

The Ladies now having ſome Attendance with them, came up to theſe unknown Cavaliers, and found that one of them was already dead, and the other ſtill breathing. Leonidà, who had hitherto ſeen all Mankind with Indifferency, ſeem'd to have ſomething more than Compaſſion for the Misfortune of this Stranger, whom one might judge, by his noble [Page 103] Air and Dreſs, to be of the firſt Quality; and as Caſilda appear'd to be equally concern'd, Leonida did not ſo much wonder at the Effects it produc'd in her.

Oh! what pity wou'd it be (cry'd Leonida, looking at Caſilda) ſhou'd this Stranger die; but what hopes can one have of his Life? It is poſſible, he is now expiring. In ſaying this, ſhe ſprinkl'd Water on his Face, and laid his Head on her Knees, whilſt Caſilda caus'd a ſort of Carriage to be made with the Branches of a Tree; at laſt fetching a Sigh, he open'd his Eyes, and perceiving Leonida, made an Effort to ſpeak to her; but his Spirits being waſted, he fell into a Swoon, which gave them reaſon to believe his Life was in danger.

Leonida and Caſilda (whom I muſt now call Felicia and Beatricia,) when the Carriage was finiſh'd, order'd their Servants to lay the Stranger on it, and thus they convey'd him to their Houſe, in great Silence, being perplex'd with ſuch a multitude of Thoughts, as wou'd not admit of any Interruption. As ſoon as they were there, they ſent to Carmona for a Surgeon, who after having probed his Wounds, told them they were not Mortal: This agreeable News chang'd the Scene of Sorrow, into that of Joy. Felicia went to his Bed-ſide, and by this time he had recover'd his Speech, which he imploy'd in returning Thanks for her Generoſity. I can no longer deplore (ſaid he, in a feeble Voice) the diſmal Adventure that had happen'd to me, ſince it gives me an Opportunity [Page 104] of knowing the moſt deſerving Perſon in the World; but I fear, Madam, my being in your Houſe may incommode you, which extremely leſſens the Satisfaction I ſhou'd have to be where you are: In ſaying theſe Words, he look'd at her with ſo much Admiration and Pleaſure, that had ſhe underſtood the Language of his Eyes, ſhe wou'd have eaſily gueſs'd at the Motions of his Heart. Do not be uneaſy, Sir (reply'd ſhe) you ſhall want for no Aſſiſtance, nor have reaſon to apprehend we ſee you here with Diſpleaſure; you are now in a Condition wherein Silence and Reſt are equally neceſſary, which Reaſon induces me to leave you: with that, ſhe retir'd, and left Beatricia behind her; who, as ſoon as Felicia was gone, approach'd the Bed, and ſaid to him; Tho' may Siſter hath aſſured you how deſirous we are to be ſerviceable to you, yet I muſt repeat the ſame, and conjure you, Sir, to have no other Thought but that of recovering your Health. It will be no eaſy matter, Madam, reply'd the Prince, to recover in a Place, where the Objects I ſee, may prove more Dangerous to me, than the Wounds I have receiv'd. Beatricia (who did not doubt but theſe Words were addreſs'd to her) ſeem'd not to comprehend their meaning; but taking leave of him, went to Felicia's Apartment, and ask'd her what the Stranger had ſaid to her. She, without diſſembling, gave her an Account of their Converſation, which very much pleas'd Beatricia. I muſt confeſs, ſaid ſhe, he expreſs'd himſelf more obligingly [Page 105] to me than he did to you: Theſe Words gave ſome Uneaſineſs to Felicia, without knowing from whence it proceeded.

Beatricia (who was in a different Diſpoſition of Mind) propos'd to her ſelf, that the only means to baniſh Don Henriquez from her Heart, was to yield it to another. Whatever Trouble a new Inclination may give me, thought ſhe, it never can be equal to the Pain I endure. The Man I love, is now in the Arms of Donna Blanca, and all my hopes on that ſide are vaniſh'd; but in placing my Affection on ſome other Object it may be kindly return'd. I had Cauſe enough to apprehend, that Felicia wou'd appear more beautiful than me, in the Eyes of this lovely Stranger, but his Words have convinc'd me of the contrary, and I am reſolv'd to be favourable to him, whatever may be the Event: Love is a pleaſing Torment.

The Prince of Carency continued ill ſome time; and during his Illneſs, receiv'd daily Inſtances of the Generoſity of theſe Ladies, particularly Felicia's obliging Behaviour to him (on all occaſions) made him deſirous to expreſs his Gratitude. He began to think his Preſervation was chiefly owing to her tender Care, and by Degrees fell deſperately in Love, which threw into the following Reflections: How difficult a Task will it be, to make an Impreſſion on that unpractis'd Heart? Her modeſt Looks, and the Bluſhes which cover her Cheeks, every time I caſt my Eyes on her, [Page 106] evince how little ſhe his acquainted with Love; and dare I flatter my ſelf with ſucceeding in ſuch an Attempt? No, I muſt not hope for ſo great a Favour from Fortune. I was belov'd at Nicopolis by a Perſon I never knew; I no ſooner became Captive to the Charms of a Lady at Genoa, but Death ſnatch'd the dear Object from me; and lately as I arriv'd at Villa-Real with a Reſolution to marry Leonida, I was inform'd of her Flight and Averſion to me. Alas! my unkind Stars were not ſatisfy'd to afflict me with all theſe Misfortunes. They have ſent me a greater one; Leonora's Paſſion for me! Her deſperate Rage caus'd me to be treated in this barbarous manner; and her Cruelty wou'd ſtill threaten my Days with the greateſt Dangers, were ſhe inform'd that I had eſcap'd, and was now in this Place; but Oh! how can I reſolve to leave Felicia, who is already more dear to me, than the Life I wou'd endeavour to preſerve? All I can do in this diſtreſſed State, is to change my Name: I am inclin'd to believe, that as I was taken for the Count of La Vagne at Genoa, I may paſs for the ſame here, where I am not known. If it be my good Fortune to render my Sentiments agreeable to this lovely Charmer, I ſhall never wiſh for a greater Bleſſing. I do not doubt but ſhe has an Affection for her Siſter, therefore I muſt addreſs my ſelf to her, and obtain Favour, if poſſible by her means. The Prince us'd often to entertain himſelf after this manner, betwixt Hope and Fear.

[Page 107] Beatricia one Morning roſe earlier than Felicia, and went to ſee the Prince, who was awake, and had reſted very ill all Night. Aſſoon as he ſaw her enter the Chamber, he thank'd her for ſo obliging a Care, and told her, he hop'd ſhe had repos'd much better than he had done. I muſt confeſs, Sir, ſaid ſhe, I have felt ſome Uneaſineſs, which I muſt lay to your Charge, ſince it proceeds from the Curioſity I have to know who you are, and the Uncertainty I am in of being ſatisfy'd on that Subject. You judge very unfavourably of my Gratitude, Madam, reply'd the Prince, if you think me capable of not obeying your Commands. I am of Genoa, and of the Houſe of Fieſque; my Title is the Count of La Vagne; I have been ſome Years in my Travels, and as I was riding thro' the neighbouring Foreſt, in my Way to Seville, I was aſſaulted by Robbers: I did my Endeavour to reſiſt them, but their Number overpower'd me, and left me, Madam, in the Condition you ſaw me. I know your Family, my Lord, reply'd Beatricia, and cou'd have judg'd in ſeeing you, that your Extraction was illuſtrious. The Count of La Vagne (for now I muſt give that Title to the Prince of Carency) interrupted her, to enquire after Felicia, but with a kind of Impatience, which did not very much pleaſe Beatricia, who in a cold manner, made Anſwer, ſhe had not as yet ſeen her. As ſhe was ſpeaking, the Surgeon came in to the dreſs Prince's Wounds, ſo ſhe thought fit to retire. She went directly from thence to Felicia's Apartment, who was [Page 108] juſt riſing. What, ſaid ſhe to Beatricia, dreſs'd already! How comes it, Siſter, you are up ſo early! I can give you no other Reaſon, reply'd ſhe, only I was aſham'd to lie a Bed ſo fine a Morning: But will you believe I have been to viſit the Stranger, and that I know his Name and Country. You may as well ſay, interrupted Felicica, that you know alſo the Secrets of his Heart. No, reply'd Beatricia ſmiling, I am very ſincere, and can aſſure you, our Converſation ended with his acquainting me, that he is of Genoa, and is call'd the Count of La Vagne. As you are to viſit him next, perhaps you may learn ſomething more. I have not ſo much Curioſity as you imagine, reply'd Felicia, and I fancy I ſhall trouble him but very little with my Preſence. Accordingly ſhe did not go into the Prince's Chamber till late in the Evening, being then inform'd, he was very ill; for his Uneaſineſs at not ſeeing her all that Day, and the Pain occaſion'd by his Wounds, had thrown him into a violent Fever. As ſoon as ſhe approach'd his Bed, he look'd at her with much Tenderneſs, and ſaid, I flatter'd my ſelf more than I ought to have done, Madam, in thinking the Condition I am in, had mov'd your Pity, ſince I find at preſent, nothing touch'd you but the ſad Aſpect of a dying Man, pierc'd with Wounds, and lying in a Sea of Blood. You abandon me, charming Felicia, and take no Care to preſerve the Life of an unhappy Wretch, who is indebted to you alone, for the ſmall Share [Page 109] he has left of it. I would not incommode you with a Viſit, my Lord, reply'd Felicia, my Siſter having told me this Morning, that in the State you are in, nothing was more neceſſary than Repoſe. No, no, Madam, (ſaid he, interrupting her) you have not thought on me. Donna Beatricia did not hinder you from coming to ſee me; your Eyes convince me of the Truth, and you only wiſh my Recovery, to baniſh me your Preſence for ever. He ſaid this with an Air ſo moving, that ſhe cou'd not help ſhowing in her Looks more Affection, than Indifferency. You have been here ſo little a while, reply'd ſhe, that I hardly have had time to conſult my Inclinations, yet give me leave to aſſure you, that I find nothing in them to your Prejudice; and ſhou'd very much regret my having known you, if I thought in leaving this Place, you wou'd entirely forget me. She expreſs'd theſe laſt Words bluſhing, and with ſome Fear, which charm'd the Prince, who was going to make his Retributions, when Beatricia enter'd the Chamber, in ſome Diſorder: One of my Women, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, who is juſt return'd from walking in the Foreſt, found this Picture in the ſame Place where we firſt ſaw you. I ſuppoſe it is yours, and the Perſon it repreſents, is too charming, not to merit all your Affection. The Prince told her, it was true, the Picture had been recommended to his Care, and receiv'd it with a deep Sigh. It was that which Olympia Doria had preſented to him. This gave much Uneaſineſs to Felicia, [Page 110] who cou'd not help deſiring to ſee it, but had hardly turn'd her Eyes on it, when her Mind was fill'd with Trouble; which to conceal, ſhe retired to her Cloſet, where being alone: I thought, ſaid ſhe, I had only Caſilda to fear; but alas! my Fate is much more ſevere; for certainly the Perſon he loves is the moſt beautiful Creature in the World, and his Paſſion is return'd, ſince ſhe has given him her Picture. If he ſhou'd ceaſe to love her on my Account, it would be a Perfidiouſneſs that might give me room to fear in my turn a reſembling Deſtiny; and if he is conſtant to her, what can I hope? She yielded her ſelf up to theſe ſad Reflections, and leaving them for others more tormenting: Oh! continued ſhe, cou'd any thing be more fatal than this laſt Adventure? I flew from the Prince of Carency, becauſe my Parents wou'd have me marry contrary to my Inclination. I thought my ſelf ſafe in this Foreſt, where I only apprehended to meet with wild Beaſts; but theſe fierce Animals have done me no harm: It is a Stranger, a dying Man, that has deprived me of my Peace, and made me acquainted with Sentiments, I thought Leonida's Heart incapable of receiving. A ſhower of Tears attended theſe Words, and ſhe reſolv'd never more to ſee this dangerous Cavalier; for which reaſon ſhe feign'd an Indiſpoſition, and confin'd her ſelf to her Bed; but cou'd not help enquiring after the Count, who was now extremely ill. His Fever was very much increas'd by his not ſeeing Felicia, [Page 111] and his anxious Reflections ſo tormented him, that he thought of nothing but Death.

He was in evident danger, when Beatricia enter'd Felicia's Chamber all in Tears. There are no hopes left Siſter, cry'd ſhe; the unhappy Count is dying. If you have a mind to ſee him before he expires, you have no time to loſe. Felicia was not prepar'd for this diſagreeable News, which had like to have thrown her into a Swoon; but being a little recover'd, ſhe repented the obſtinate Reſolution ſhe had made, to ſee him no more. She thought now ſhe was going to loſe him for ever, and that ſuch a Loſs wou'd make her the moſt unfortunate Perſon in the World. Ye Powers above (cry'd ſhe going towards his Apartment) give me the Count of La Vagne, were he never to love me, ſhou'd he even hate me, let him live.

She ran into his Chamber whilſt he was in a fainting Fit; his Eyes were ſhut, and he had neither Voice nor Pulſe. She approach'd him trembling, and raiſing his Head, laid it on her Boſom, bathed his Face with Tears, and at that Inſtant was more to be deplor'd than him ſhe lamented. At laſt he fetch'd a deep Sigh, and opening his Eyes, was tranſported to find his dear Felicia near him, and ſo touch'd at his Illneſs: He look'd languiſhing at her, and making an Effort to ſpeak; Ah! divine Felicia, ſaid he, is it you that gives me Aſſiſtance, and are you come to ſave me from Death? You need no longer fear, for a Life [Page 112] I cannot loſe, ſince its Preſervation is become your Concern. My Lord, reply'd ſhe, (low enough to be heard only by him) believe me, your Life is very dear to me, and I wiſh nothing more than its continuance. If you knew what you have made me ſuffer, you—. Here Beatricia interrupted them by her Preſence, ſo they cou'd not purſue their Diſcourſe: But theſe few Words produc'd ſuch wonderful Effects in the Count, that he daily recover'd.

How much were theſe Lovers to be pitied, not knowing each other? Chance had contriv'd to make them meet, yet it was their unhappy Deſtiny, not to enjoy a Bleſſing for which they wou'd have ſacrific'd every Thing. Such is the Misfortune of ſome Perſons, who purchaſe the moſt innocent Pleaſures at the Expence of a thouſand Torments. Felicia, accompany'd by her Siſter, went often to ſee the Count, who obſerv'd the Care ſhe took, never to be alone with him; but he could not deſire Beatricia to give him an Opportunity of entertaining Felicia; for tho' of all Mankind he had the leaſt Vanity, yet he perceiv'd by her Looks and Expreſſions, that ſhe had ſome favourable Thoughts of him, and conſequently an improper Perſon for a Confidant. But one Evening, hearing ſhe was gone into the Foreſt without her Siſter, he caus'd himſelf to be dreſs'd; and tho' he had hardly Strength enough to walk, yet went to Felicia's Apartment.

[Page 113] She cou'd not help being very much ſurprized, when ſhe ſaw the Count, who fell at her Feet without having power to ſpeak one Word. He took her Hand and kiſs'd it with ſuch Tranſports, as expreſs'd the Motions of his Soul. Felicia's diſorder was not inferior to his. They looked at one another, as if they had met after a long Abſence; at laſt the Count broke Silence: You have inſpired me, Madam, ſaid he, with a Paſſion ſo tranſcendent, that you muſt needs have perceived it in all my Actions, and I muſt confeſs, I thought you took ſome Pity on me, but I have too much Cauſe to believe the contrary, ſince your Looks expreſs the utmoſt Indifference. Oh! judge how uneaſy I am at this cruel Uncertainty. I now come to know my Fate, and conjure you, adorable Felicia, to tell me what I muſt expect. My Love is ſuch, that nothing can ever make it change, and were I Sovereign of the Univerſe, I would lay it at your Feet: Here he was ſilent, and Felicia reply'd with as much Grace, as Modeſty; My Concern was ſo great whilſt you were ſpeaking, my Lord, that I did not conſider you were on your Knees. I beg you will riſe if you are deſirous I ſhould ſay any thing to you. He obey'd her Commands, but fear'd to caſt his Eyes on her, being like a Man, who expected to hear the Sentence of his Death. We are both in a diſorder, ſaid ſhe, which we might have avoided, had you not ſpoke to me of your Paſſion. I muſt confeſs, my Lord, to my Shame, that [Page 114] the ſame Inclination which engag'd you to entertain me, has prevailed with me to hear you. What more can I ſay of my Weakneſs (continued ſhe bluſhing?) I diſcovered part of your Sentiments, and endeavoured in vain to conceal mine. I had never lov'd any thing before, any my Stars have decreed you ſhould become agreeable to me? yet do not think to take any Advantage from ſo ſincere a Confeſſion, ſince I declare my Mind this time, with a Reſolution never to ſpeak to you more; but without having a deſire to penetrate into the Cauſe, I cannot help telling you the Fear I am in, of being made a Sacrifice to another, whom, perhaps, you might love better than me. Oh Madam! cry'd the Count, (in a Rapture) judge better of a Man whom you have juſt loaded with your Favours, and do not ſuſpect Ingratitude from a Heart, that bears your Image; be aſſured, a Perſon who ſighs for you, can never think of any other Object. What have not I to fear, reply'd ſhe, from the Lady, whoſe Picture you ſo much eſteem. That ſhall never give you the leaſt trouble, ſaid the amorous Count, (preſenting it to her) here it is; keep it as an Evincement of my Fidelity. Felicia was touched at ſo great a Proof of his Paſſion, and expreſs'd much Satisfaction in receiving it, then deſired him to retire, apprehending, that his being up ſo long, might do him a Prejudice, and whatever Violence he did his Inclinations, he could not refuſe obeying her.

[Page 115] As ſoon as he was gone, ſhe reflected on all that had paſs'd. What! Leonida, ſaid ſhe, are you not content with hearing a Declaration, which you ought to have declin'd, but alſo have owned to a Stranger that you could love him? You, who are engag'd to the Prince of Carency, can you be ſo eaſily captivated, and weak enough to confeſs your Affection for another? You have already ſhown your Jealouſy, which is a certain Proof of a violent Paſſion; what Judgment will the Count form from ſuch a Behaviour? You are going to loſe his Heart, and become a diſgrace to your Sex. Oh unfortunate Creature! what muſt you do to attone for a Fault, which ſeems of ſo high a Nature? Theſe Thoughts gave her the deepeſt Concern, and her Face was bathed with Tears when Beatricia returned; but ſhe took ſo much Care to hide them, that they were not perceiv'd.

The Count being retired to his Chamber, paſs'd his time the moſt agreeably in the World, when he call'd to mind Felicia's Generoſity, but could hardly flatter himſelf with the Succeſs he wiſh'd for. Oh Love! ſaid he, will you at laſt change my Pain into Pleaſure, and repair the Ills you have done me? Amiable Felicia has heard me, and proteſted I was not indifferent to her. Heavens! let us be for ever united, that our good or ill Fortune may equally affect us. Day began to appear before he could cloſe his Eyes; he roſe, and went to ſee Felicia, who was alone in her Cloſet, reflecting [Page 116] on that, which had rack'd her Imagination all Night: She received the Count with much Civility, but appear'd ſo melancholly, that he knew not what to think of ſo great an Alteration. What is my Crime, Madam, ſaid he? Have I done any think to incur your diſpleaſure? You ſeem unwilling to turn your Eyes on me. Are you concerned for having given me Room to think myſelf the happieſt of Men, and do you already regret the obliging Terms, you imploy'd Yeſterday to baniſh my Alarms? Alaſs! continued he, are you reſolv'd to caſt me at once into Deſpair by ſo cruel a Change? No, my Lord, reply'd ſhe (looking at him with an Air, that might convince him of the contrary) I have us'd ineffectual Means to conquer thoſe Sentiments I diſcover'd to you. I wiſh I could ſee you with Indifference; but I find it is not in my Power; do not then be uneaſy; I alone ought to be ſo. The Count tranſported with Love and Gratitude took Felicia's Hand, and kiſs'd it with all the Marks of Paſſion and Reſpect, that could be expreſs'd on ſuch an Occaſion. Beatricia, being informed they were together, entered ſuddenly the Chamber they were in, and ſurprized them, juſt as the Count was kiſſing Felicia's Hand. How ſtrangely was ſhe amaz'd at ſeeing this. She chang'd Colour ſeveral times, and her Eyes were animated with an uncommon Fire, which they immediately perceiv'd, tho' ſhe endeavoured to conceal her diſorder.

[Page 117] Their Converſation turn'd on a general Subject, and from that Hour, ſhe us'd all poſſible Means to prevent their entertaining one another in private: Theſe Proceedings extremely perplex'd the Count. Divine Felicia, ſaid he to her one Day) pity my Sufferings, and conſider how ſevere a Law I am forc'd to impoſe on myſelf, when I ſilence a Paſſion, which I have had the good Fortune to render agreeable to You. What Authority has your Siſter to lay ſo cruel a Reſtraint on you? I ſee her Uneaſineſs, my Lord, reply'd Felicia, and to ſhow the Confidence I have in you, I will own to you, ſhe is not my Siſter, nor even related to me; I would have let you ſooner into the Secret, had I found a favourable Opportunity. Oh Madam! How obilging is this Declaration, reply'd the Count, and what Reproaches do I owe myſelf, for not having acquainted you with the Circumſtances of my Life? The Hours I paſs'd in your Company were ſo tranſient, that I choſe to imploy them in confeſſing the Power of your Charms. We both of us have err'd, my Lord, reply'd Felicia, in neglecting to inform each other of ſome particulars, which are eſſential to our future Felicity; yet if I may judge of your Heart by my own, it had no ſhare in this Omiſſion, and I promiſe to give you a faithful Relation of all that has paſs'd from my Infancy: You will then find it is not without Cauſe, that I ſigh ſometimes, and complain of the Rigour of my Fate; but you muſt prepare your ſelf to overcome [Page 118] a great many Difficulties, if you perſevere in your Love for the unhappy Felicia. Oh Madam! reply'd he, no Difficulties can ever alarm me; I have Love and Courage to aſſiſt me, and if you eſpouſe my Intereſt, all Things will be eaſy to me: But, ſaid ſhe, ſuppoſe I were contracted to another, what would you do? At theſe Words, the Count changed Colour. What do you tell me, Madam, cry'd he, contracted! Oh Heavens! To what Misfortunes am I doom'd? Do not afflict your ſelf, my Lord, reply'd ſhe, I am yet Miſtreſs of my Deſtiny; can you think I would receive your Addreſſes, if I had an Inclination for any other? No, ſuch a Proceeding would render my Heart unworthy of you. Theſe Aſſurances gave ſome Eaſe to the Count's Mind, who was juſt going to expreſs his Satisfaction to his charming Miſtreſs, when Beatricia came and troubled them with her Preſence.

Her Jealouſy was now increaſed to ſuch a degree, that ſhe was even diſtracted, when ſhe ſaw them ſpeaking to one another, and aſſoon as ſhe was alone, ſhe abandon'd herſelf to the moſt violent Deſpair. I am not belov'd, ſaid ſhe, and I flatter'd myſelf, that I had inſpired the Count with ſuch Sentiments as would have been agreeable to me, but he is entirely devoted to Felicia. He adores her, and ſhe triumphs over my Weakneſs. What do I ſay, continued ſhe? (after having reflected ſome time) perhaps if he were acquainted with the Motions of my Soul, he would act [Page 119] another Part. Ah! why did I not declare my Thoughts to him, and why ſhould I accuſe him of being the Cauſe of my Torment, ſince he does not know the Indiſpoſition I am in? I muſt either inform him of what I feel, or reſolve to ſee him conſtant in his Paſſion for my Rival.

After having paſs'd the greateſt part of the Night in Reflections of this Nature, ſhe roſe early and ſent to the Count, deſiring he would meet her in the Garden. This unexpected Meſſage gave him ſome Uneaſineſs, notwithſtanding he obey'd her Orders, and as ſoon as ſhe ſaw him, her Mind almoſt chang'd in relation to the Subject, that induced her to ſend for him. He ask'd her obligingly what were her Commands, to which ſhe anſwered in theſe Terms; your health, My Lord, is ſo perfectly recovered, that I fear we ſhall loſe you ſoon; and as I have ſome reaſon to be convinced our Company is not indifferent to you, I take this occaſion to aſſure you, how pleas'd we ſhould be to ſee you remain here; yet I cannot help ſaying, I have endeavoured in vain to diſcover, whether my Siſter or I have the Precedency in you Affections; perhaps this Queſtion may ſhow my Indiſcretion, but I believe you a Man of too much Honour, to leave me in an Uncertainty; therefore let your Inclinations determine in favour of either of us; I will do you all the Service in my Power, and if you make me your Confidant, it ſhall no ways leſſen my Friendſhip for [Page 120] you. The Count (who was above any diſſimulation expreſs'd much Pleaſure at the Opportunity ſhe gave him, to declare his Sentiments. Nothing can be more generous than your Proceeding, Madam, ſaid he, and I ſhould be unworthy of your Goodneſs, if I did not repay it with Sincerity. I am in Love, it is true, and you would have been the Object of it, had I not feared my Paſſion might offend you: Young Felicia has captivated my Heart, and I conjure you to favour me in my attempt on hers; I ſhall in return, ſhow my Eſteem and Gratitude to you for ſo conſiderable a Service. Beatricia, at theſe Words, was Thunderſtruck, and would have fallen down at his Feet, were it not for a Tree that ſtood by, which ſupported her; ſhe made a vain Effort to conceal her Grief; her Colour chang'd, and the Tears which ran from her Eyes, diſcovered part of her Sufferings to the Count who ſaid many obliging Things to her by way of Conſolation, and proteſted, he would for ever do his beſt Endeavours to ſerve her; but all he could ſay was not capable of giving her Satisfaction; Love requires Love, and it is, an offence of the higheſt degree to offer any other thing in Return.

About this time Don Fernand Benavidez (who was innocent of the Crime, laid to his Charge, having no more Leonora for his Enemy) began, after the Death of this Favourite, to be heard in his Juſtification; he wrote the particulars to Caſilda, and withal, that he was [Page 121] in hopes of being ſoon ſet at Liberty after which he would immediately go to ſee Leonida. This ſhe kept ſecret till ſhe had penetrated into the Sentiments of the Count; but when ſhe found all her hopes were deſtroy'd, ſhe thought of nothing but tormenting theſe happy Lovers in their Amour. What! ſaid ſhe; ſhall I ſuffer this ungrateful Man to be bleſs'd with the ſight of my Rival, and omit acquainting my Brother with an adventure, wherein he is ſo much concern'd? He doats on Leonida whilſt ſhe loves the Count of La Vagne, and is equally belov'd. My Brother and I, without doubt, muſt be the Victims of their Paſſion, and he will load me with eternal Reproaches, for having admitted ſo dangerous a Stranger into his Houſe; I muſt ſacrifice him to my Revenge, for what can I expect from his Cruelty? My Sighs and Tears, had no Power to move his Pity, and ſince nothing can prevail with him, I will puniſh his Barbarity. I have but this Remedy left, and cannot flatter my deſpairing Soul with any other relief.

Having tormented her ſelf with theſe confuſed Thoughts, ſhe wrote a Letter to her Brother, wherein ſhe gave him the Particulars relating to what ſhe knew of the Count of La Vagne; telling him at the ſame Time, that he had conceiv'd a Paſſion for Leonida, who return'd it with Sentiments ſo obliging, that ſhe believ'd it wou'd be impoſſible to diſengage them, unleſs he took very ſecret Meaſures. Benavidez was ſtrangely affected with [Page 122] this News, which he receiv'd the Day the Queen had order'd his Liberty. What! (ſaid he to the Gentleman, who had accompany'd the young Ladies to his Caſtle) have I depriv'd the Prince of Carency of the Poſſeſſion of this excellent Creature, to yield her to the Count of La Vagne: I thought I had conceal'd her in a Place ſo retir'd, that ſhe wou'd have eſcap'd the moſt penetrating Spy; yet the Cruelty of my Fortune has ſo contriv'd it, that ſhe ſhou'd find in that ſolitary Foreſt, one of the handſomeſt Men in the World expiring, and prevent his Fate by making his Preſervation her Care, which I fear has rob'd me of Leonida's Heart: My Confinement coſt the Prince his Life, whoſe Generoſity engag'd him to make his Addreſſes to Leonora with the only View of procuring my Liberty. By what Fatality, continued he, does the Count of La Vagne live? Is not he the ſame whoſe Death Olympia Daria ſo much deplor'd, that her Grief terminated her Days? Has he ſo little Gratitude, after loving a Miſtreſs who died for him, to make a ſecond Choice? Her Impreſſion ought to have been everlaſting, but I will puniſh his Inconſtancy to her, and his new Paſſion for Leonida, who has made me already commit too many Crimes to leave my Felicity imperfect: I muſt give ſome Eaſe to my bleeding Heart, by depriving this too happy Rival of his Life. Theſe violent Reflections were follow'd by many others, for he thought that if he kept Leonida longer at his Houſe, as Chance [Page 123] had made her acquainted with the Count of La Vagne, a like Accident might expoſe her to the ſight of ſome Perſons, who knew her, and wou'd inform Don John of her Retreat.

Love and Jealouſy wou'd not permit him to ſtay any Time at Villa Real; he had no ſooner ſeen the Queen, and return'd her Thanks for his Liberty, but went privately to Porto Real, in order to diſpoſe every Thing for the carrying off of Leonida to Morocco, where he was ſure to be in high Eſteem, having ſeveral Relations of great Diſtinction in Barbary.

He there made an Agreement with a Captain of a Ship, then went to his Country Seat; but ſtop'd firſt in the Foreſt, and ſent for his Steward, to whom he gave a Letter to Caſilda, with Orders to deliver it into her own Hands: he was not long expecting an Anſwer, for he ſaw her coming with the Man he had ſent. Benavidez went up to her, and after having embrac'd her tenderly, ſought for the moſt conceal'd Place to entertain her: And here they took Reſolutions ſo contrary to the Felicity of the Count and Leonida, that it had like to have depriv'd them of their Lives. Oh! how far were they from foreſeeing their Misfortune? ſince at this Time they were making Proteſtations of eternal Love, and little thought that Benavidez and his Siſter were propoſing Means to diſappoint them.

[Page 124] Caſilda told her Brother ſhe had ſufficient Reaſon to be convinc'd, that the Count's Addreſſes to Leonida were favourably receiv'd. I will croſs their Paſſion (interrupted Benavidez, with a furious Air) I am reſolv'd to ſeize on Leonida, and carry her to Morocco; you ſhall go with us, but before we part, I muſt ſacrifice the preſumptuous Count of La Vagne to my Reſentment. What, Brother! cry'd ſhe, (almoſt diſtracted) will you not be content to poſſeſs your Miſtreſs, without my going with you to a Place for which I have ſo great an Averſion. I do not intend to do any Violence to your Inclinations, ſaid he, in making you this Propoſal; but I ſuppoſe the ſame Motive which invited you to abandon the Count and enter into this Retirement, may engage you to go elſewhere; nevertheleſs, Siſter, you are under no Conſtraint: The only thing I deſire you will do for my Satisfaction, is to contrive a Way for me to be hidden this Night in the Count's Chamber, that I may have the Pleaſure of ſtriking a Heart that dares adore Leonida. Suſpend your Deſign, Barbarian, (interrupted Caſilda in her firſt Tranſports) I am as little able to hear you as ſecond your Cruelty; the Count's Life ſhall not be in your Power till your have taken away mine. What do you ſay, Siſter, (cry'd Benavidez, extremely ſurpriz'd?) I can hardly believe what I hear. Is it poſſible, that you love this Stranger, and have already forgot Hinriquez? Are you deſtin'd ever to make Choice of ungrateful [Page 125] Men; remember how your firſt Lover treated you, and what you are to expect from this? Do you imagine, that after having a Paſſion for Leonida, and being belov'd by her, he can change his Mind in favour of you? This is very diſobliging, reply'd Caſilda, but I hope every thing, and flatter my ſelf with his Love, if he ſees her no more. Seize on her, fly with her and leave me here with him. Will it be conſiſtent with your Honour to ſtay alone with the Count, ſaid he? What will the Count think of it, if once it is known at Villa Real? They will think nothing to my Prejudice, reply'd ſhe; the Count muſt be mine, or I retire into a Monaſtry, ſo that I ſhall have but little Reaſon to be concern'd at the World's Opinion, whether good or ill Fortune attends me. Do you conſider, Siſter, ſaid Benavidez, that your Affection for my Rival, may put him hereafter in a Condition to diſpute Leonida with me? I wou'd have ſhown his Corps to her defac'd with Wounds, and her hopes being deſtroy'd by his Death, ſhe wou'd eaſily conſent to make me happy. What an Error it is, reply'd Caſilda, to ſuppoſe that ſo horrid a Scene cou'd introduce you into her Favour; ſhe wou'd ever reproach you of the greateſt Cruelty; yet if you believe his Death will ſerve your Deſigns, ſay you have kill'd him, tho' its uncommon to boaſt of ſuch a Fact, were it even true.

Benavidez perceiving his Siſter lov'd the Count too paſſionately to conſent to ſo cruel [Page 126] an Action, in Compliance to her, as well as out of fear of her making any Diſcovery, wou'd no longer inſiſt upon it. To ſhow my Affection for you, dear Caſilda, ſaid he, I ſubmit to your Pleaſure, only oblige me in being ſecret. He had brought with him three Men devoted to his Intereſt, who he was ſure cou'd carry off Leonida, without being diſcover'd; therefore having taken effectual Meaſures with Caſilda, the Deſign was ſoon executed to his Satisfaction.

That Evening his Siſter invited Leonida to take a Turn in the Park, and by degrees led her into an Alley, which convey'd them towards the Foreſt; till at laſt, Night coming on, and Leonida hearing a Noiſe, was going to retire when ſhe was ſeiz'd by Benavidez and his Men: In ſpite of the Fright ſhe was in, ſhe endeavour'd to diſengage her ſelf from them, and having ſufficient room to believe it was a Plot againſt her, ſhe cry'd out, repeating ſeveral Times the Count of La Vagne's Name, and call'd him to her Succour; but alas, he did not ſuſpect his Felicia was in danger, who was carry'd off, and gone a great way before he heard of her, or his own Miſfortune. Caſilda took care the Count ſhou'd know nothing that Night of what had paſs'd, to prevent his purſuing her Brother; but ſent to him the next Morning, and deſir'd he wou'd come into her Apartment, having an Affair of Conſequence to communicate to him. As ſoon as he enter'd her Chamber, ſhe affected to be [Page 127] melancholy; There is no Friendſhip, ſaid ſhe, but Love can diſſolve: You were Witneſs, my Lord, of that between Felicia and Me: She is not my Siſter, I muſt confeſs, yet I never cou'd have imagin'd ſhe wou'd abandon me in ſuch a manner. Read this Letter which ſhe left on her Toilet; it was juſt now deliver'd to me; you will find it equally regards us. The Count in taking it, expreſs'd as much Uneaſineſs, as if he had known it to be a Meſſenger of ill News; it was written in theſe Terms.

THE Affection you have for your Brother, and your Fears of expoſing him to any Danger, were the Motives that hinder'd me from acquainting you ſooner, with his and my Deſign. You certainly wou'd have oppos'd it, had you known I am going away with him this Night. I cou'd wiſh, Siſter, your Love for me wou'd invite you to come to us at Jaën; you may aſſure your ſelf, I ſhou'd be over-joy'd to ſee you, and hear, that your Sentiments for the Count of La Vagne, have met with a kind Return. I leave him with you, ſo hope you will have no Cauſe hereafter to complain of his Indifference. As I have a particular Eſteem for him, I deſire you will inform him of what you know concerning my Affairs, that he may be convinc'd, it is no more in my Power to diſpoſe of my Heart; and remember, my dear Caſilda, that if I made my Reſolution a Secret, you ought to forgive me, ſince Faults of Love deſerve rather Pity, than Anger.

[Page 128] This fatal Letter threw the Count into ſuch an Agony, that he was like a Man who felt the Tortures of an approaching Death; he turn'd pale, and all his Senſes abandon'd him. Caſilda (who was prepar'd for this diſmal Scene) took care that ſpeedy Aſſiſtance ſhou'd be given him, and by the Help and Force of Remedies, he ſoon came to himſelf; he open'd his Eyes, and ſeeing ſeveral Perſons about him, made Signs to them to withdraw; which they obey'd, and left Caſilda with him in the Chamber: He look'd at her ſome time, without being able to utter one Word; at laſt, having recover'd his Speech, he ſaid in a feeble Accent; It was unkind in you, Madam, to acquaint me with the greateſt Misfortune that cou'd ever happen to me. No, my Lord, interrupted Caſilda, I do not deſerve a Reproach; it is but reaſonable you ſhou'd be inform'd of Felicia's Sentiments; after what ſhe has done for Benavidez. Who is this you name, the Prince ſuddenly reply'd: I name Don Fernand Benavidez my Brother, ſaid ſhe, and the Lady who went here by the Name of Felicia of Leon, is Leonida of Velaſco; her Father had contracted her to the Prince of Carency, who is highly diſtinguiſh'd by his eminent Birth and perſonal Merit; but having conceiv'd a tender Affection for my Brother, ſhe preferr'd this Retirement to the Court, and wou'd not wait the unwelcome Arrival of a Perſon to whom her Father had deſtin'd her. We came away together from Villa Real, and ever ſince, ſhe [Page 129] has continued a mutual Correſpondence with my Brother; her going away with him laſt Night, is an Evincement of this Truth. The Prince, at theſe Words, broke out into ſo paſſionate a Grief, that it wou'd have mov'd the moſt inhuman Heart with Pity. O cruel Fortune! cry'd he, will you never ceaſe to perſecute me? Was it then Leonida I ſaw, and to whoſe potent Charms I yielded, only to make me more wretched, through her Inconſtancy? The ungrateful Fair betrays and flies me; and that dear Friend too, that ſame Benavidez for whom I ſacrific'd my ſelf, he is the Man who has impos'd on my Credulity; he is in Love with the Woman to whom I am promis'd, and the Traitor deſcrib'd her to me as a Monſter, to make me conceive an Averſion for her. Is this all the Reward I muſt expect, after having ador'd Leonida, and ſo entirely lov'd Benavidez? Caſilda was in the greateſt Aſtoniſhment imaginable, to hear the Prince expreſs himſelf in theſe Terms. She eaſily underſtood by his Diſcourſe, that he was the ſame Prince of the Houſe of Bourbon, whom the Count of La March his Father had contracted to Leonida; but her Surprize was the greater, becauſe ſhe thought the Prince, not finding Leonida at Villa Real, was return'd to France; and as ſhe knew nothing of his Adventure with Leonora, ſhe cou'd not well conceive, by what Accident he had been attack'd in the Foreſt, and why he had chang'd his Name: Theſe different Circumſtances wholly employ'd her Thoughts. [Page 130] The Prince, on the other ſide, cou'd not moderate his Grief; he was like a Perſon depriv'd of his Senſes; what with Sighs, Tears and Menaces, no Man ever appear'd in a more deplorable Condition.

What need you, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, expreſs ſo much Concern for Leonida? She never lov'd you: you ſee ſhe has prefer'd Benavidez, and forgets even the Rules of Modeſty, to follow her Lover: Why then will you ſuffer ſo much for an ungrateful Woman, who merits not your Conſideration? Oh, Madam! cry'd the Prince, I know not what I do; my Deſpair is ſo great, that I am no longer Maſter of my Reaſon; my Misfortunes are not to be comprehended; I find my ſelf betray'd by a Perſon, who was contracted to me from her Infancy, and by a Friend to whom I had confided the Secrets of my Soul. Leonida, who ſeem'd to approve my Paſſion, has deceiv'd me, and added Contempt to her Ingratitude; ſhe knew I ador'd her, yet the perfidious Fair receiv'd my Vows, only to ſacrifice them to another. Juſt Heaven! revenge me of this perjur'd Beauty: But what do I ſay, continued he, a Moment after? I have not Reſolution enough to wiſh her the Puniſhment ſhe deſerves: She is dear to me in ſpite of all, and I will do my utmoſt Endeavours to regain her. Oh! I love her, and love her to Diſtraction. The Force of my Reſentment muſt fall on the Traitor Benavidez; his Blood ſhall attone for the Affront I have receiv'd. You might do what you ſay, my [Page 131] Lord, interrupted Caſilda, if Leonida lov'd him leſs; but you have ſufficient Cauſe to believe by the Letter ſhe left, and his Flight, that ſhe is now marry'd to him; They are gone together to Jaën; Don Alonzo, who is Governor of that Town, and my Brother's Uncle, approves his Paſſion for her, and will protect him; Believe me then, the Deſign you form is impracticable. Do you think Benavidez wou'd have made ſuch a Step, without taking all neceſſary Meaſures for it? Don John of Velaſco is one of the greateſt Men in Spain, and my Brother knowing his Power, has carry'd her to a Place where he defies his Enemies. His Precautions (interrupted the Prince) will be ineffectual againſt me; I neither fear Danger nor Death, and if I revenge my Wrongs, I ſhall die with Content.

Live, my Lord, (reply'd Caſilda bluſhing) Oh! live for me, ſince my Paſſion for you is tranſcendent. Think with what Pleaſure I receiv'd you into this Houſe; and tho' your Retributions were no Ways equal to the Greatneſs of the Favour, yet nothing cou'd prevent the Fatality of my Deſtiny, which not only forces me to love you, but even deprives me of my Peace and Liberty. Ah, my Lord! can Sentiments ſo tender make no Impreſſion? My Fortune is great, and my Family one of the firſt in Caſtile; then let our Hearts be ſo united as we may be for ever happy. I will leave my Friends and Relations to follow you to the utmoſt Bounds of the World. While [Page 132] Caſilda was thus declaring her Mind to the Prince, and flattering her ſelf with Succeſs, he walked diſtractedly up and down the Chamber with his Arms croſs'd, taking ſo little notice of her Diſcourſe, that he neither look'd at her, nor made any Anſwer; but like a Man in a violent Paſſion, was leaving the Apartment, without knowing what he did, or where to direct his Courſe.

Caſilda (who cou'd not bear the Thoughts of loſing the Prince) had no longer Reaſon in her Words or Actions, but ran and ſtop'd him, with her Face drown'd in Tears. Will you go, Barbarian, ſaid ſhe? What! will you fly me, and abandon a Woman that adores you, to follow perfidious Leonida? Leave her with my Brother; deſpiſe her, and to compleat your Revenge, even forget her, ſince by her Behaviour ſhe has render'd her ſelf unworthy of your Love. My Quality is equal to hers, and what I have ſuperior to her, is my Conſtancy: But what do I ſee? Oh Heavens! cry'd ſhe (looking at him) with what Ingratitude am I rewarded? You leave me to expoſe your ſelf to the greateſt Dangers: you—She was going to continue her Diſcourſe, when the Prince interrupted her. What wou'd you have me do, Madam, ſaid he? Can I love any thing but Leonida? and were I capable of a Change, cou'd it be in Favour of the Siſter of Benavidez? Ah! do you deprive me even of Hope, which is not deny'd the moſt Unfortunate? (reply'd ſhe, ſhedding a Shower of [Page 133] Tears, where Fury had no leſs a Share than Love;) but inhuman as you are, don't think to live in Peace with your Cruelty; I will find means to torment you, and make you repent the little Regard you have to my Sufferings.

The Prince did not ſtay to make any Anſwer to Caſilda, whom he left in her Chamber, without either Strength to follow him, or Power to ſpeak a Word; but was meditating on ſeveral violent Deſigns, being divided between Love, Jealouſy, and Deſpair.

After this Scene, it is not to be imagin'd the Prince wou'd remain in Benavidez's Houſe. He reſolv'd immediately to go to Carmona, where he thought he might hear ſomething concerning Leonida; and as that Town was in his way to Jaën (which was the Place mention'd in her Letter to Caſilda) he was in hopes, by a ſtrict Enquiry, to diſcover the Road Benavidez had taken. With this Deſign he ſet out, but cou'd not help complaining of the Adverſity of his Fortune. Can I ever flatter my ſelf, ſaid he, with the Poſſeſſion of a Heart, that has ſo inhumanly betray'd me? What Motive cou'd induce Leonida to act in ſo deceitful a manner? Was it only to ſacrifice me to Benavidez? No, I cannot harbour ſuch injurious Thoughts of one, who appear'd ſo modeſt and virtuous. Then calling to mind, that ſhe had told him ſhe was engag'd; Why, cruel Creature, (ſaid he, as if he were ſpeaking to her) why did not you entirely confide in me? [Page 134] You are engag'd it's true, ſince I am the Man to whom you are contracted. We ſhou'd have known each other, and perhaps you might have lov'd me; but inſtead of acting ſincerely, you have carry'd your Perfidiouſneſs to an Extremity. You liſten'd to my tranſcendent Paſſion, and flatter'd me with a Return only to make my Deſpair proportionable.

Had his Diſtraction been of a more moderate Nature, it is probable he wou'd have apprehended farther Conſequences from the Fury and Reſentment of Leonora, (for as yet he was not inform'd of her Death;) beſides, he had no mind to go to Seville, for fear of ſeeing the Count of La March, his Brother, to whom he wou'd be oblig'd to relate his Adventure with Leonida, and the Error ſhe had been guilty of, which he cou'd not reſolve, being of a generous Temper, and incapable of ſaying any thing to the Prejudice of a Lady he lov'd ſo entirely.

Theſe Obſtacles at another Time wou'd have embaraſs'd the Prince, but in this Conjuncture, they did not in the leaſt affect him, for his Thoughts were wholly imploy'd on the Meaſures he ſhou'd take to recover his dear Leonida. He arriv'd at Carmona, and tho' in a Spaniſh Dreſs, was preſently known to be a Foreigner by the Fairneſs of his Complexion, and Colour of his Hair; he carry'd in his Countenance ſuch Marks of Melancholy, that no Body cou'd ſee him without Concern. The Governour of that Place was ſoon acquainted [Page 135] with his Arrival; and as he had receiv'd Orders from Court, not to let any Stranger paſs that Way, without Examination, hearing he was a Perſon of Quality and a Foreigner, out of a Compliment he paid a Viſit to the Prince, who receiv'd him with ſo much Politeneſs and Grandeur, that after a ſhort Converſation and many Offers of Service, the Governour invited him to accept of an Apartment in the Caſtle.

The Prince return'd his Civility in a moſt obliging manner, and deſired to be excus'd, becauſe his Affairs wou'd not permit him to ſtay above one Night at Carmona; but the other, unwilling to be deny'd, repeated his Importunities, and with much Difficulty, perſuaded him to comply with his Requeſt.

A noble Entertainment was prepar'd in the Caſtle for the Prince, who cou'd not ſuppreſs his violent Chagrin; which the Governour perceiv'd, but wou'd not enquire into the Cauſe, He underſtood by his Diſcourſe, that his Deſign was to go to Jaën, and as he had a Son, who commanded a Company in the Citadel of that Place, and whoſe Name was Don Gabriel d'Agular, he told the Prince very obligingly, that if he approv'd of it, he wou'd write to him, in order to acquaint him with his Arrival there; and added, that if it were in his Son's power to ſerve him, he was ſatisfy'd he wou'd neglect no Opportunity of expreſſing his Readineſs.

This free and gallant Behaviour of the Governour, engag'd the Prince to accept his Offer [Page 136] with the ſame Freedom. He knew no Body at Jaën; and as he wanted the Aſſiſtance of ſome Perſon in whom he cou'd confide, to enter privately the Citadel, where he thought Benavidez and Leonida were retired, he the more willingly embrac'd ſo favourable an Occaſion. The next Day having made his Acknowledgments to the Governour for his extraordinary Favours, he took Leave of him, and left Carmona, but not without acquainting Don John of Velaſco with what had paſs'd, that he might act on his ſide for the Recovery of Leonida. Never was Surprize greater, than that which his Letters caus'd at Court; for Don John and his Lady were perſuaded the Prince had been kill'd by Leonora's Aſſaſſins. One may imagine how great was their Joy, when they heard Heaven had preſerv'd him, yet it cou'd no ways alleviate their inexpreſſible Grief for the Loſs of their Daughter. They immediately thought of means to get her away from Jaën, where they believ'd ſhe was; but whilſt the Prince is on his Journey thither, let us ſee what becomes of unfortunate Leonida.

As ſoon as Don Fernand Benavidez had brought her out of the Park, he ſat her on Horſeback before him, and held her with ſuch Force, that all the Efforts ſhe made to diſengage herſelf, were in vain. She cry'd out, and implor'd Heaven and Earth for Succour. She call'd the Count of La Vagne to her Aſſiſtance, but her Cries and Tears had no Power. He [Page 137] led her through uncommon Ways, over Mountains and Rocks, where the Ecchoes anſwering her Complaints, rather augmented her Sorrow, than leſſen'd it.

Whoever you be, ſaid ſhe to Benavidez, you are the moſt unjuſt of Mortals, to uſe this Violence with me. I never gave any One Cauſe to treat me after ſo cruel a manner. Why will you take Pleaſure in diſturbing the Peace of my Life? By what Authority do you act thus? If my Father has ſent you, I am diſpos'd to obey his Orders, without being under the Neceſſity of travelling all Night with a Troop of Men, as if I were a Criminal. Oh! let us ſtop (continued ſhe, ſeeing he made no Anſwer) I conjure you, carry me back to the Place where you found me; you need not apprehend my Eſcape, ſince I am alone there with a young Lady, whoſe Brother is now Priſoner at Villa Real, and were he at Home, he has too great a Reſpect for my Family, to oppoſe my Father's Commands. Here her Tears interrupted her Complaint, and forc'd her to be ſome time ſilent. She began to be perſuaded, theſe Men were come to take her away by the Order of Don John, who ſhe thought had been inform'd of the Place of her Retreat, and of the Count of La Vagne's being there. She tenderly regretted the Abſence of her Lover. If he knew (ſaid ſhe to herſelf) where they are carrying me, I ſhou'd have leſs reaſon to be uneaſy; for certainly he wou'd ſoon find means to ſee me. His Birth and [Page 138] Merit are ſufficient Recommendations to intitle him to my Father's Favour, who being once convinc'd of the Averſion the Prince of Carency and I have to each other, wou'd undoubtedly conſent to break off the Match, and yield me to the Count. Thus ſhe travell'd all Night, entertaining herſelf with Reflections of this Quality.

As ſoon as Aurora diſplay'd her gilded Beams, Leonida endeavour'd to know the Perſon who was carrying her off; But Heavens! cou'd any ſurprize be equal to her's when ſhe ſaw it was Benavidez? At firſt ſhe had not power to ſpeak, her Tears prevented her Utterance, whilſt a Thouſand different Ideas preſented themſelves to her Mind. She at laſt cry'd aloud, (no longer doubting of her Misfortune) are you become my Enemy Don Fernand? you who offer'd me your Houſe to conceal me, and in whom I had that Confidence. Do you thus break through the Laws of Hoſpitality, and force me away in this manner?—Don't accuſe me unheard, Divine Leonida, (ſaid he, interrupting her) my Paſſion for you wou'd never have ſhin'd, had you been deſtin'd to the Prince of Carency by your own Inclination, as you are by the Will of your Parents. I ſaw with delight the Birth of your Averſion for him, which flatter'd me, that after procuring you a Retreat from the Perſecutions of your Father, whoſe Authority and Reſentment are not to be oppos'd, your Juſtice wou'd oblige you to turn your Eyes on me, and incline you to [Page 139] think, I was not ſo ardently devoted to your Service, without loving you to Diſtraction; but whilſt I was an unfortunate Priſoner, depriv'd of all that cou'd give me Pleaſure, you were entertaining the Count of La Vagne, whoſe Life you had ſav'd: I was inform'd of his Paſſion for you, and of the favourable Reception you gave him. What! were all my Pains and Cares deſign'd for this Stranger; and did I expoſe myſelf for no other reaſon, but to procure him an Opportunity of declaring his Love to you? Was there ever a Deſtiny more unaccountable? I conjure you, Madam, to ceaſe tormenting your ſelf; you have no juſt Cauſe to grieve. It is not your Father's Houſe you regret, neither is it the Prince of Carency, ſince your Diſdain for him is ſo great, that you choſe rather to quit the Court, than ſee him; but you ſigh for the Count of La Vagne, his Abſence occaſions all theſe Tears; what Madam! ought you not to prefer me to him? Do me Juſtice; ſuſpend your Reſentment, and you will approve my Conduct. Ah! cry'd Leonida, your Offence is too great; you have behav'd yourſelf like a Traytor, and you muſt expect nothing but my Hatred, and that of my Family. If it be true you love me, as you ſay you do, uſe other means to gain my Favour: Reſtore me my Liberty, and let me have the diſpoſing of my Deſtiny; you may afterward diſpute your Title to me with the Count, and deſerve by your Services that Precedency, which you apprehend [Page 140] I give him. You have one Advantage he has not, which is my being already under ſome Obligations to you, and ſo far I acknowledge my Gratitude; therefore I wou'd not have you forfeit the Eſteem due to ſo peculiar a Merit; but don't think you ſhall ever prevail with me, by Force, or by a diſreſpectful Behaviour; your preſent Conduct is a ſufficient Motive to render you odious to me; yet upon Condition, you will obey me, I am willing to forget your Offence, and pardon the Raſhneſs of a Paſſion, which perhaps you were not Maſter of.

I penetrate into your Thoughts too well, Madam, (reply'd Benavidez) to let my ſelf be deceiv'd by a Diſcourſe, you wou'd not have made me, had you been at Liberty to declare your Sentiments. The Count has an indiſputable Advantage over me; he has had the good Fortune to acquire your Favour, but as for my part, you ever look'd on me with all the Indifferency imaginable: Your Words bear more Policy, than good Nature, and your Heart ſpeak's for my Rival; beſides, do you think me credulous enough to believe, your Anger can be ſo eaſily appeas'd. No, I ought not to run the hazard of loſing a Treaſure, I have already in my Poſſeſſion. Therefore Madam, for my Paſſion's ſake, pardon my not complying with your Requeſt; reſolve to be mine, ſince by that means you can render me the happieſt of Mankind. I will go with you to any part of the World. You ſhall be Miſtreſs [Page 141] of your Deſtiny and mine; then I will obey you for ever.

Ah! Barbarian, (cry'd Leonida, in a mournful Accent) I wou'd ſooner ſacrifice a Thouſand Lives, if I had 'em, than conſent to be yours. It is not without reaſon, you ſuſpected my Words. I had no other Deſign in ſpeaking to you, as I did, but that of retrieving my Liberty, and flying you as the crueleſt of my Enemies. I ſee nothing can deceive a Man who is too great a Maſter of Diſſimulation, not to dive into the Thoughts of others. You may eaſily judge, that as my Averſion for you is infinite, ſo is my Reſentment of the Injury you dome; but you ſhall not glory long in your Treachery: I had rather caſt my ſelf into the Arms of Death, tho' never ſo dreadful, than live with you,; yes, I can find the Way to die, and in dying, meet with too great a Felicity in my deſpairing Condition.

Having ſpoke theſe Words with much Anger and Emotion, ſhe wou'd not ſay any more, nor even look at him, tho' he us'd his utmoſt Endeavours to appeaſe her. This was the deplorable State ſhe was in, when Benavidez embark'd with her at Porto-Real, in order to ſail for Morocco, which Paſſage was then very dangerous, becauſe the Spaniards having lately defeated the King of Tunis's Fleet, the Barbarians were ſo enrag'd, that they ſwore they wou'd be reveng'd, and give no Quarter to any Spaniſh Veſſel.

Leonida was hardly embark'd, when a handſome young Lady came o her in a reſpectful [Page 142] manner; her Features were very regular, and her Countenance ſo ſweet and agreeable, that Leonida, tho' her Grief was inexpreſſible, fix'd her Eyes on her with a ſecret Pleaſure. Her Name was Inea; ſhe was Daughter to the Captain of the Ship, and ſhew'd an extraordinary Deſire to be ſerviceable to our Diſtreſſed Fair, in her Affliction. I am extreamly oblig'd to you (ſaid Leonida to her) for the Concern you expreſs, but I beg you will give yourſelf no farther Trouble; The Condition I am in, neither lets me ſeek, nor wiſh for Relief: Oh! leave me to my Deſpair, ſince nothing but Death can eaſe me. I have no Deſign to diſpleaſe you, Madam, reply'd Inea, but I think my ſelf under an Obligation to ſerve you, in all that lies in my power. I can eaſily perceive your Trouble is exceeding, and that your Thoughts are entirely imploy'd on ſome great Diſaſter; but I am perſuaded, we ought never to diſpair, ſince the crueleſt Fate may receive a favourable Change. Charming Inea, interrupted Leonida, (having heard her Name) I am almoſt without hopes. We are bound for Africa, and the Traytor who has forc'd me away, is carrying me into a Kingdom where he has great Power. Alas, who is it that will come to my help? Neither my Relations, nor Friends know any thing of my Misfortune; no body is acquainted with it, but a Woman, who is even as perfidious as himſelf. Theſe Words made her call to mind Caſilda; and ſo fatal a Remembrance, occaſion'd her to ſhed a [Page 143] rent of Tears. O Traytreſs! ſaid ſhe, (as if ſhe were preſent) what have I done to you, to deſerve this from your Hands? 'Tis you that help'd your Brother to carry me off, and by your wicked Contrivance, I am now come to this Diſgrace: You have ill rewarded the Affection I had for you. I hardly ſuffer'd the Count of La Vagne to make Profeſſions of Love to me, becauſe I knew you had a Paſſion for him, and cou'd I have diſpos'd of his and my Deſtiny, I wou'd not have given you the leaſt Uneaſineſs. You had no ſuch generous Sentiments for me; it was by your means, your Brother knew the Affection I had for this Stranger, and at a time, that you pretended you were not deceiving me; by your falſe Careſſes, you drew from me all my Secrets, which you have ungratefully abus'd, and only ſought my Ruin by ſuch a Diſcovery. She pronounc'd theſe Words with a Paſſion juſtly inſpir'd, and thought by unloading her Mind, ſhe might give ſome Eaſe to her over-burthen'd Heart.

Benavidez flattering himſelf with a ſucceſsful Voyage, whenever he ſpoke to Leonida, entertain'd her with his Paſſion, and ſaid, he hop'd that as ſhe ſaw a Neceſſity of ſubmitting to her Fate, ſhe wou'd conſent to make him happy. This Diſcourſe ſhe heard with Contempt, and had ſo little Regard for his Sighs, Tears and Menaces, that ſhe never turn'd her Eyes on him, but was thinking how ſhe cou'd eſcape the Hands of her Raviſher, which ſhe [Page 144] wou'd have couragiouſly done by chuſing Death, had not the Sentiments of Religion oppos'd ſo cruel a Reſolution. As Benavidez knew his Preſence was odious to her, he ſeldom appear'd; but was in hopes, time wou'd make an Alteration in his Favour, and propos'd, as ſoon as they were arriv'd at Morocco, to find means to make her obey him, if he was not fortunate enough to render himſelf agreeable to her.

The Wind being fair, they ſoon reach'd the Streights of Gibraltar, and enter'd the Mediterrean, where having ſail'd ſome time, the Seamen ſhouted for Joy in ſeeing the Coaſt of Africa, and did not doubt, but they ſhou'd make the Land in a few Hours. Leonida at this News lamented her unhappy State; ſhe went upon Deck, and caſting her melancholy Eyes over the vaſt Ocean; I am looking into the Skies (ſaid ſhe to Inea) to ſee whether I can diſcover any dark Cloud, or Sign of an approaching Storm; I wiſh you were not with me in this Ship, then ſhou'd I be the more willing to periſh here: But alas! how calm is the Sea, and how ſerene the Air? We ſhall ſoon reach Africa, and I have nothing left my wearied Soul, but cruel Deſpair. Her Head was leaning on one of her Hands, and her Neck bathed with Tears that ran from her beauteous Eyes. In this Poſture Inea was endeavouring to give her ſome Conſolation, when ſuddenly ſhe cry'd, O Heavens here are too great Ships coming up to us under full ſail; how unfortunate ſhou'd we [Page 145] be, if they were Enemies? Theſe Ships belong'd to the Queen of Fez, and had diſcover'd by the Flag of Benavidez's Ship, that they were Spaniards, which was a ſufficient Motive to attack them; War being declar'd at that time between the two Nations; they came up to them, and tho' there was a great Inequality of Force, yet the Captain wou'd not ſurrender without fighting; Benavidez ſeconded him in his Defence with all the Courage imaginable. It diſtracted him to think, he was going to loſe a Perſon he lov'd more than Life, and loſe her in ſuch a manner; ſince it wou'd either be by his Death, or her Captivity.

Theſe diſmal Thoughts made him believe, he ſhou'd have power enough to defend his Miſtreſs; you ſhall ſee this Day, Madam, ſaid he, whether I deſerve to be preferr'd to the Count of La Vagne: I will ſacrifice the laſt drop of my Blood to deliver you from the Danger, you are threaten'd with; but if I dye, Adorable Leonida, remember I dye for you; and that, had not my Paſſion been the Cauſe, I wou'd not have committed thoſe Crimes, for which I have incurr'd your Averſion.

I don't think (ſaid ſhe, with an Air as full of Pride, as Coldneſs) that I am any ways oblig'd to thank you for what you are going to act in my Defence. I cannot fall into Hands more barbarous, nor more odious to me, than your's. Benavidez had no time to make her an Anſwer; he can above Deck, and did ſuch Actions as one wou'd have though incredible, had he [Page 146] burn'd with a milder Paſſion; but this brave Spaniard was not long able to ſuſtain the overpowering Force of the Moors: Thoſe that cou'd have ſeconded his Courage, were already wounded; and as he was alſo pierc'd with Wounds, he was forc'd at laſt to yield, and let his feeble Body take Place among the Enemies, he had juſt ſacrific'd to his Rage.

The young Prince Abelhamar, who had juſt fought him, admiring his Courage, did not ſee his approaching End, without ſome Concern; he commanded that nothing ſhou'd be neglected to relieve him, and was going to ſpeak to him, when he was inform'd, that ſeveral Ladies were found in the Cabbin. Leonida appear'd among them like a Queen in the midſt of her Subjects; he was ſurpriz'd at her ſuperior Beauty, and tho' Fear was ſtill painted in her Face, and her Eyes had leſs Power than uſual, yet her Charms had ſo great an Influence, that the Prince from a Conqueror became almoſt a Captive. Benavidez knew her tho' dying, and made an Effort to riſe, and ſpeak to her. You are reveng'd, Madam, ſaid he, of an unfortunate Man, who never could have been capable of diſpleaſing you, had not his Paſſion for you been proportionable to his Offence. Don't envy me the Conſolation of believing, my Memory will not be odious to you, and that the Loſs of my Life may attone for my Crime.

Leonida, mov'd at ſo melancholy a Sight, and her own Condition together, cou'd not reſtrain [Page 147] her Tears. I pardon you, Don Fernand, ſaid ſhe, the Injury you have done me, and was never cruel enough to wiſh your Death; ſhe ſaid no more, ſeeing his Eyes were cloſing, and that Paleneſs had overſpread his Face. This new Scene of Misfortunes afflicted her extremely, and gave her Room to fear, the Danger which now threaten'd her was far greater than that ſhe had eſcap'd. She ſaw herſelf a Slave to the crueleſt Enemies of the Spaniards, and was well inform'd, Don John her Father had once been a Terrour to thoſe Barbarians, which made her believe, were ſhe known, her Captivity wou'd be the more rigorous.

Whilſt ſhe was fill'd with theſe Reflections, young Abelhamar look'd on her, rather as a Divinity than a human Creature; and tho' the Admiral commanded in Chief, yet as Prince of the Blood he had all the Deference paid him, that was due to his Quality. He approach'd Leonida, whom he addreſs'd in a moſt obliging manner, ſaying, ſhe ſhou'd have no Reaſon to deplore her Fate, and promis'd to uſe all his Intereſt with the Queen of Fez, to reſtore her to her loſt Liberty. He ſpoke Spaniſh very well, and Leonida return'd him Thanks for the Compaſſion he ſhew'd to her Misfortune.

Since the Condition I am in, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, inſpires you with Pity, I beg you will let me know my Fate. You ſhall be obey'd, Madam, reply'd Abelhamar, as ſoon as you go on [Page 148] Board the Admiral; for the miſerable Objects, that preſent themſelves to you here, only increaſe your Melancholy; he then gave her his Hand, and conducted her on Board the other Ship.

All the Women who were taken with Leonida, follow'd her, in hopes that by her means they might be delivered from the Captivity, which threaten'd them. As ſoon as ſhe was in the Cabbin, Abelhamar ſpoke to her in theſe Terms; You ſeem uneaſy, Madam, to know your Deſtiny; were it in my Power, I wou'd ſoon reſign to you the Diſpoſal of it, and eſteem myſelf happy in ſerving you. I am ſorry my ill Fortune obliges me to comply with the Admiral, who, I muſt inform you, has given Orders for us to return to Sallee the Capital of the Kingdom of Fez, where you will be preſented to the Sultaneſs Celima: This Princeſs is my firſt Couſin; her Father had her brought up in a Caſtle by the Seaſide, and one Day as ſhe was walking on the Shore, attended only by her Women, ſome Corſairs, who were at a Diſtance, perceiving her, landed ſuddenly, and finding ſhe was very handſom, took her and carry'd her to Bajazet, who rewarded 'em conſiderably for their Preſent.

This Emperor of the Turks, in ſpight of his natural Haughtineſs, became diſtractedly in Love with this Princeſs, whoſe Charms were ſo tranſcendent, that ſhe receiv'd the greateſt Marks of Diſtinction from the proudeſt Prince in the [Page 149] World. Celima made her Father acquainted with her Fate, who, taking Advantage of the Influence ſhe had over the Emperor, prevail'd with him to lend him Men and Money, in order to dethrone my Father, who then poſſeſs'd the Crown by his Birth-Right, and the Laws of the Land; accordingly he not only ſucceeded in the Enterprize, but even depriv'd him of his Life; and as my Youth cou'd give him no Apprehenſion, he was contented with keeping me confin'd in his Palace.

Bajazet carried his Arms into Miſſia, and took Celima with him, who was Witneſs of the Advantages he gain'd over the French and Hungarians; but this Prince's Fortune met with a ſtrange Turn; his Army was defeated by Tamerlane the Great, and Himſelf taken Priſoner in the Battle. Celima, notwithſtanding his Overthrow, found Means to make her Eſcape, and return'd to Sallee, where her Father receiv'd her with Joy proportionable to her Merit; ſome Time after, he and his Son dying, the Crown fell to this Princeſs, who took effectual Meaſures to ſecure it. It was thought at firſt, ſhe had a Deſign to marry me, which wou'd have partly made Amends for the Wrongs I had ſuffer'd from her Family, but ſhe has ſolemnly declar'd againſt Marriage, tho' Young and Handſome; and the melancholy Life ſhe leads, makes People ſuſpect, ſhe is affected with ſome deep Concern, which cannot be attributed to the Captivity of Bajazet, ſince ſhe has often proteſted, ſhe wou'd [Page 150] rather be the Laſt of his Slaves, than the Firſt of his Favourites; ſhe ſeldom ſees any Company, but has a great many beautiful Slaves, which are brought to her from all Parts of the World; and as ſhe is extremely unwilling to reſtore them to their Liberty when ſhe likes them, I very much fear you will acquire ſo great a Share in her Favour, that ſhe will not part with you; I wou'd prevent this Misfortune were ſhe leſs abſolute, but ſhe is ſo Jealous of my Actions, that ſhou'd I releaſe you, it wou'd be ſufficient to make her think me Criminal.

Alas, my Lord! interrupted Leonida, I am now too well ſatisfy'd, I ſhall paſs the reſt of my Days in an unhappy Captivity; yet I own, the Danger I have eſcap'd from the Power of him that forc'd me away, appear'd to me much more terrible. Abelhamar deſir'd ſhe wou'd acquaint him with her Adventure, which ſhe related with all the Grace imaginable, but conceal'd Benavidez's Name and her own, telling him, her's was Felicia of Leon, and ſo diſguis'd her whole Story after the ſame Manner.

Leonida having entertain'd him ſome Hours, he order'd a Repaſt to be ſerv'd, then retir'd, leaving her with Inea, who was lamenting the Misfortune ſhe had receiv'd by the Death of the Captain of their Ship, who had been kill'd in the Fight. Oh Father! ſaid ſhe, Why have I loſt You, or Why did I not die with You? What are become of all my Hopes? They are vaniſh'd, and the Remainder of my Life will [Page 151] be a continu'd Scene of Miſery. I am now a Slave, and dare not flatter my ſelf with any Relief from my Relations, who will never ranſom me: You were every Thing to me, and your paternal Love was my only Joy. Tho' Leonida's Troubles were great enough, and ſhe not in a Condition to comfort any One, her Natural Generoſity and Tenderneſs wou'd not permit her to forget Inea on ſo ſad an Occaſion. She approach'd her, and embracing her ſaid, my Dear Inea, do not indulge your ſelf in theſe Complaints; you ſee I am as unhappy as you are, yet bear my Misfortunes with more Reſolution. Ah Madam! reply'd Inea, you have leſs Reaſon to complain than I, or more Courage to ſupport you. As to what regards me, every Thing has contributed to load me with Torments! my Father, pierc'd with Wounds, is repreſented to my afflicted Mind, and by his Loſs, all my agreeable Hopes are for ever deſtroy'd. What have I not done, ye mighty Powers, cried ſhe, to attempt this Voyage? I had at laſt compaſs'd it, and was flattering my ſelf with Succeſs; but you ſee, Madam, how little we muſt depend on Fortune, which binds me with Chains, at a Time that I expected to enjoy a perfect Felicity. In ending theſe Words, (which were often interrupted with Sighs) ſhe turn'd her Eyes on Leonida, and ſeeing her Face was bath'd in Tears, did not doubt but her Diſcourſe had affected her, which gave ſome Eaſe to Inea. Alas! how generous you are, Madam, [Page 152] ſaid ſhe, to ſhare my Troubles; I am ſo ſenſible of your Goodneſs, that I wiſh nothing more, than an Opportunity of giving you an Evincement of my Gratitude; you have this Day gain'd a Heart, Madam, which ſhall for ever be at your Devotion. The Compaſſion I have for you, Inea, ſaid Leonida, you well deſerve; and I proteſt to you, I ſhall much leſs deplore my Misfortune, if by its Means I acquire your Friendſhip. We are Both of us Captives, and as yet unacquainted with our future Deſtiny; but whatever happens, I hope we ſhall be together, that we may tell our Pain to each other, which is the only Thing can give Relief to the Unfortunate.

Theſe melancholy Reflections led her into Thoſe of a deeper Nature, to which ſhe entirely abandon'd her ſelf, and continu'd weeping bitterly moſt Part of the Night; then complaining, ſhe cried; Why don't you come, my Dear Count of La Vagne, and deliver me from the Hands of our common Enemies? Oh! how agreeable ſhou'd I think ſuch a Change of Fortune; after ſo conſiderable a Service, my Father cou'd not deny giving me to you, and the Prince of Carency wou'd be overjoy'd at having eſcap'd a Marriage, to which he had ſo great an Averſion: But alas! (continued ſhe) How far am I from this happy State? My Infelicity is real, and I cannot acquaint you with it. I know not in what Manner the Queen of Fez may treat me; it's probable you will never hear of me, and Death only will [Page 153] terminate my Miſery. She would have paſs'd the reſt of the Night in theſe ſad Repinings, if Inea (who was much troubled for her) had not diverted her Thoughts. Pardon me, Madam, ſaid ſhe, for interrupting you, and let me intreat you to take a little Repoſe: They ſay, we are to land to Morrow at Sallee; Wou'd you appear before the Queen under ſo deep a Concern? Our Dependance is on your Perfections, and we believe, her Majeſty will be ſo pleaſed with you, that by her Favour, you may ſoon contribute to our Liberty: But, Madam, were it only for your own ſake, preſerve thoſe Charms, which I fancy have already touch'd Prince Abelhamar; fine Ladies may expect every Thing from their Beauty.

Oh! Inea, What do you tell me? (replied Leonida, fetching a deep Sigh,) How different are your Sentiments from mine? The unhappy Experience I have made of a violent Paſſion, gives me too juſt a Cauſe to fear the like Diſaſter; tho' if you conſider well the Figure we ſhall make in the Court, where we are going, as being Chriſtians, we muſt rather expect to be ſlighted by thoſe Barbarians, and expos'd to their Cruelty; but there is nothing I wou'd not prefer to the Misfortune of being belov'd by Abelhamar. You imagin'd, my Dear Inea, that ſuch a Conqueſt wou'd flatter my Vanity; yet for my own Satisfaction, I will ſooner believe you miſinterpreted his Meaning, and thought, what he acted out of Generoſity, proceeded from ſome other Motive; however, [Page 154] ſince you deſire it, I will endeavour to take a little Reſt; in finiſhing theſe Words, ſhe embrac'd Inea, and laid her ſelf on the Bed.

Love had already made a great Progreſs in the Heart of Abelhamar, who was ſo taken with the Beauty of Leonida, (whom we muſt again call Felicia) that the Thoughts of loſing her, when once preſented to the Queen, gave him much Uneaſineſs. Is it poſſible (ſaid he to Mula, who was his Favourite,) that I can deliver up this Divine Creature to the Power of my mortal Enemy? Why has Fate order'd, I ſhou'd be the Author of her Captivity? How ſhall I, after ſuch a Conduct, evince her of my Sentiments? Will ſhe not have Room to load me with Reproaches, which muſt be ſucceeded by her Averſion? He was now ruminating on a Thouſand different Projects: Firſt, he had no Mind ſhe ſhou'd land at Sallee; then he thought how he might carry her off at his Arrival there; and after all, wou'd thus examine himſelf; From whence proceed theſe Motions? Sure I am not in Love? have I had Time to conceive a Paſſion for this Fair Stranger? No, no, ſaid he, it is only the Effect of Surprize and Admiration, which will have no farther Conſequence, and I ſhall forget her in ceaſing to ſee her; yet if ſhe ſhou'd become dear to me, continued he, I can ask her of the Queen, who, I believe, will not refuſe me One Slave out of ſo great a Number: Celima, in making me a Preſent of this Young Lady, whom I might have kept without her Conſent, [Page 155] will think ſhe highly obliges me, and I dare aſſure my ſelf, ſhe will be ready to give me ſuch a Proof of her Goodneſs, at a Time that I have Pretenſions to greater Favours.

This Opinion compos'd a little the Agitation his Mind was in, but its Calm was not long: Ah, Mula, ſaid he, it is not Celima alone can oppoſe my Good Fortune; Felicia is the Perſon who muſt decide my Deſtiny. Can I flatter my ſelf, that ſhe is not already engag'd? If ſhe has an Inclination for any One in Spain, I muſt not expect ſhe will be favourable to me; I ſhall appear in her Eyes as a Tyrant, that forces her from the Arms of the Man ſhe loves. Mula us'd all Arguments to perſwade him into a better Conceit of his Perſonal Merit; but as in Affairs of Love, the leaſt Uncertainty is a cruel Torment, he paſs'd that Night betwixt Hope and Fear, without taking any Reſolution.

At the firſt Appearance of Morning, he grew impatient to ſee Felicia, and hearing ſhe was up, went to her Apartment: She receiv'd him with much Civility, but ſeem'd extremely dejected, which griev'd Abelhamar, who us'd many tender Words to expreſs his Concern. After a ſhort Converſation, ſhe beg'd Leave to go upon Deck; he readily conſented to her Requeſt, being deſirous to embrace any Opportunity of obliging her, and immediately order'd it to be ſpread with a Rich Carpet, and Cuſhions of Cloth of Gold, then conducted her to the Place that was prepar'd, and ſat [Page 156] down by her under a Magnificent Canopy. They were ſome Time without ſpeaking to one another; for Felicia having turn'd her Looks towards the Coaſt of Spain, cou'd not forbear melting into a Flood of Tears, which threw Abelhamar into ſo deep a Melancholy, that he had no Power to interrupt her. At laſt ſhe recover'd a little from that Exceſs of Grief, and broke Silence: The Reſpect that is due to you, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, ought to make me conceal my Affliction in your Preſence, but your generous Compaſſion hinders me from laying ſo great a Violence on my Spirits; I muſt let my Sorrow take its Courſe, ſince it is the only Relief I can expect in my deplorable Condition. Here, forc'd away from my Friends, my Country, and a conſiderable Fortune, I am ſuddenly become Slave to a Queen, who perhaps will not grant me my Liberty at any Rate. Alas! my Lord, Is there no Means left to deliver me from this Misfortune? The Prince, no longer Maſter of his Paſſion, flung himſelf on his Knees, and taking her Hand, Divine Stranger, ſaid he, judge better of your tranſcendent Charms: You are not yet arriv'd at Sallee, and 'tis in your Choice not to go there at all: I adore you, amiable Felicia, for it is impoſſible you ſhou'd not inſpire ſomething more than Love: If ſuch Sentiments merit your Favour, here I lay my Fortune at your Feet; do not diſdain the Vows of a Prince, who in Right ought now to be King of Fez. Oh, that I had a Crown in my [Page 157] Poſſeſſion, I wou'd place it on your Head, if you thought me worthy of wearing it with you; yet I have ſome Friends left, and a Sanctuary to go to; Come, Madam, then let us away, ſo that I poſſeſs you, all my Ambition will be ſatisfy'd. Ah, my Lord, (ſaid Felicia, interrupting him,) do not follow the Dictates of an Infant Paſſion, which may cauſe you to bluſh hereafter; conſider you are ſpeaking to a Chriſtian Captive, who has Gratitude and Generoſity enough, not to accept Offers, which might occaſion your Ruin: I am indebted to you, it's true, yet think what I owe to my ſelf. It wou'd be impoſſible for me to conſent to go with you, without being the Author of your Diſgrace, and my eternal Shame. The Difference of our Laws and Religion, the Inequality of our Fortunes, and our little Knowledge of each Other, all Theſe oppoſe ſuch a Deſign; and ſhou'd I leave my ſelf to your Care, you your ſelf wou'd tax me with the greateſt Imprudence. Continue, Madam, (replied Abelhamar with Impatience,) and rather ſay, you love ſome Perſon in Spain. Say, cruel Creature, you have an Averſion to me, which is the only Motive of your Conſideration. Ah Felicia! How eaſily might we overcome all theſe Difficulties, were you inſpired, like me, with a tender Paſſion? And how little wou'd you reflect on the Conſequences of an Engagement, which flatters us with ſo perfect a Felicity? But alas! I ſee too well, you prefer the Queen of Fez's Chains to that Liberty [Page 158] I now offer you. Here leaning his Head upon his Hands, he ſilently expreſs'd his Pain with Sighs that prevented his Utterance: Felicia continued ſpeaking to him with much Sweetneſs and Prudence; but ſoon forgeting he was near her, ſhe relaps'd into her former Affliction, at the Thoughts of her unhappy Deſtiny. They were Both in this Situation, when the Admiral (who at a Diſtance had obſerv'd them ſome Time,) approach'd the Prince, and ask'd him whether he was diſpos'd to Eat; Who having recover'd from the little Diſorder he was in, made Anſwer, it ſhou'd be as Felicia pleas'd. This beauteous Lady, bluſhing, ſaid to him, You do not reflect, my Lord, that I am a Captive here, who alas, has no Command. Ah, Madam! reply'd he, (ſpeaking to her in a low Voice) you know too well the unlimited Power you have, whereever I am, and no Body feels the Effect of it more than I: If your Empire is ſo great in Misfortunes, what wou'd it be at another Time? In ending theſe Words, they were interrupted by the joyful Shouts of the Sea-men, who had juſt diſcover'd the Coaſts of the Kingdom of Fez, which News ſtruck Felicia with Conſternation; for whilſt ſhe was at Sea, ſhe had ſome Hopes, that either a Tempeſt wou'd ariſe, and caſt them upon the Coaſt of Spain, or that the Spaniſh Fleet, which was then Abroad, wou'd retake 'em; but ſhe was too well aſſured, that being once landed at Sallee, ſhe cou'd not any more expect to be reliev'd.

[Page 159] Abelhamar, on his Side, thought Death leſs terrible, than parting with this Young Lady, whom he wou'd ſoon be oblig'd to yield up to the Sultaneſs; and as he had not much Time to remain with her, he employ'd thoſe Hours in repreſenting his Paſſion to her in the ſofteſt Language, Love and Reſpect cou'd inſpire; but ſhe receiv'd his Addreſſes with ſo much Coldneſs, that he began to deſpair of meeting with an obliging Return.

They were now arriv'd at Sallee; and as Abelhamar cou'd not reſolve to go himſelf, and preſent Felicia to the Queen of Fez, he told the Admiral he was indiſpos'd, therefore deſired he wou'd excuſe him to her Majeſty for not waiting on her. He approach'd Felicia at the ſame Time, and ſaid, it's you, Madam, that hinders me from making my Court to Day; for I cannot attend you to a Place where you go with ſo much Reluctancy; but be aſſured, that in Spite of your Indifferency, I ſhall not omit any Thing to deliver you from your Confinement. You are too generous, my Lord, reply'd ſhe, in endeavouring to contribute to my Satisfaction, which will be purchas'd very dear, if it ſhou'd hereafter give you the leaſt Chagrin.

Abelhamar retired exceeding melancholy, and ſoon after, Felicia, Inea, and the Reſt of the Slaves, were ſet on Shore by the Admiral's Command, in order to be ſent to the Queen. Alas! my dear Inea, ſaid Felicia, (looking at her with a dejected Air,) we ſee our ſelves [Page 160] going into Captivity; and, till now, the civil Treatment of Abelhamar, prevented us from feeling the full Weight of our Misfortunes: This Prince now leaves us, and the fine Palace we ſee, is to be our Priſon. At theſe Words, ſhe cou'd not reſtrain the Courſe of her Tears, and Inea kept her Company in this diſmal Scene, till they alighted at the firſt Court of the Caſtle, from whence they were immediately carry'd to the Queen.

They found her ſeated on a Carpet of Gold, beautify'd with Diverſity of Colours, and round her were ſeveral embroider'd Cuſhions enrich'd with Pearl; ſhe was dreſs'd in a Turkiſh Habit of Silver Brocade, Flower'd with Crimſon, and Button'd with Diamonds and Emeralds; her Girdle, which was ſet with Precious Stones, girded a little Poigniard to her Side; Part of her Hair was tuck'd under a Muzlin Veil, ſtrip'd with Gold, and the reſt hung in Treſſes down her Neck; her Eyes, which were Large and Black, tho' languiſhing, ſhin'd with irreſiſtible Luſtre; but in her Mein was painted ſo much Pride and Haughtineſs, that it rob'd her of Part of her Charms, and render'd her awful to All that approach'd her.

Leonida (attended by the Women who were taken with her,) came and flung her ſelf at the Queen's Feet, who thought her a ſurprizing Beauty; ſhe choſe her and Inea to be of her Chamber, and gave the reſt to the Admiral to diſpoſe of as he pleas'd. The Queen knew Leonida was a Spaniard by her Dreſs, [Page 161] therefore ſpeaking to her in that Language, ask'd her Name, and to what Part of the World ſhe was going when they took her; to which ſhe anſwer'd, her Name was Felicia, that a Gentleman had run away with her, who told her, he intended to carry her to Morocco; but that he had been kill'd in the Engagement, and ſhe thought her ſelf too happy in her Misfortunes, to fall into the Hands of ſo great a Queen. She finiſh'd theſe Words with ſo weak an Accent, that Celima eaſily perceiv'd ſhe was under a great Affliction. She extremely pity'd the Youth of this Lady, whoſe noble Air perſwaded her, ſhe was of Eminent Birth. Be under no Concern, Felicia, ſaid ſhe, to her; I ſhall extend my Goodneſs to you; there are greater Troubles than thoſe you are to undergo in this Palace: You muſt not judge of Felicity by Appearances, and I know not, after enquiring into your Condition, and that of ſome Sovereigns I have heard of, but your's is more Happy; for, I believe, added ſhe, your Heart has prefer'd its Liberty, being uncommon for One at your Age to receive an Impreſſion of Love. Leonida made no Reply, but looking on the Ground, chang'd Colour, and fetch'd a deep Sigh. Celima, who only ſpoke to her in this Manner to diſcover the Motions of her Heart, obſerving her Diſorder, perceiv'd ſhe was touch'd with a ſecret Paſſion, but did not take any farther Notice of it.

A little after, the Governeſs of the Slaves order'd Felicia and Inea, to follow her to that [Page 162] Part of the Palace aſſign'd for their Uſe, where ſhe made 'em change their Cloaths; and as they were to wait on the Queen, ſhe gave them very rich Stuffs for their Dreſs: They generally went Bare-headed, with their Hair falling negligently on their Shoulders, and as a Mark of Servitude, wore Golden Bracelets, and Chains on their Arms; when they attended the Queen to any Place, they had large White Veils of an extraordinary fine Stuff, which cover'd their Head, and Part of their Face.

Felicia appear'd as beautiful in this new Apparel, as in that ſhe had juſt put off, and her Actions were accompanied with ſo much Grace, that nothing ſeem'd ſtrange to her. They carried her into a Room, where they were teaching the Slaves to ſing, and play upon Inſtruments, which ſurpriz'd her extremely, not expecting to ſee ſo great a Number of Handſom Creatures, as if Celima had the Privilege of chooſing them out of all the Courts in the Univerſe. Theſe Captives ſhow'd no leſs Admiration in ſeeing Felicia; they all came up to ſalute her, and amongſt them, ſhe obſerv'd a young Lady, whoſe Air was ſo Majeſtick and Charming, that ſhe took a particular Delight in looking at her; but what increas'd her Attention, was, the Fancy ſhe had to have ſeen her ſomewhere before, and that ſhe was not unknown to her: They expreſs'd an extraordinary Civility to each other, and as there is generally a greater Sympathy between unfortunate [Page 163] Perſons than others, theſe Two Fair Captives mutually contracted a particular Friendſhip.

From thence, Felicia, in her new Dreſs, was carry'd to the Queen, but made no Stay in her Apartment. Soon after, Abelhamar (forgetting he had deſired the Admiral to make his Excuſes to Celima, for not paying his Court to her that Night,) ran impatiently to the Palace, and ſeem'd extremely uneaſy, when he perceiv'd Felicia was not with her. He did not preſume to mention any Thing concerning her, but the Queen ſaluted him in theſe Terms: You have brought me a lovely Spaniard, whom you ſhall ſee preſently in her Slave's Dreſs; I am perſwaded, you will not think her leſs beautiful than before; and I muſt tell you, I have learnt ſince your Departure, that ſhe who was taken in the Iſland of Sardinia, is the Daughter of Brancaleon Doria, her Name is Olympia, and—here ſhe is, (continu'd the Queen, ſeeing her enter the Apartment) ſhe will inform you of ſomething particularly ſurprizing. Celima commanded her to entertain the Prince with her Story, which ſhe obey'd, and Felicia coming in at the ſame Time, approach'd Olympia, who began the enſuing Relation.

A young Count extremely Handſom, and of a Merit ſo ſhining, that he was univerſally admir'd, fell in Love with me; I made him no diſobliging Return, thinking my Father wou'd be very well ſatisfy'd to give me to a Perſon [Page 164] of his Quality, and one who had highly diſtinguiſh'd himſelf in the World. His Conſent, my Lord, was the only Thing wanting to make us Happy; but alas! we little foreſaw the Difficulties that oppos'd our Deſires.

My Father diſpleas'd with this Nobleman's Family, look'd on him, and all his Relations, as Enemies; however, for a long Time, his politick Reaſons oblig'd him to conceal his true Sentiments, which he diſcover'd, when my Marriage was propos'd to him; it was then we knew with mortal Diſpleaſure, that Time only cou'd relieve us; we both labour'd under all the Vexation, that ſuch a Diſappointment was capable of giving us; and as our Affection daily increas'd, we cou'd not deny our ſelves the Satisfaction of private Interviews; my Father was acquainted with our Proceedings, which being oppoſite to his Inclinations, made him ſo angry, that he told me in the greateſt Paſſion, he wou'd revenge my Diſobedience to him on the Object I lov'd. Theſe Menaces caus'd me to tremble for this young Lord, whom I conjured to abſent for ſome Time, and ſoon after, a glorious Occaſion invited him to go Abroad. Bagazet had conquer'd a great Part of the Levant, and the King of Hungary endeavouring to beat him our of it, apply'd himſelf for Succour to moſt of the Princes of Europe, who readily ſent him all poſſible Aſſiſtance. Tho' I conſider'd this to be a long and tedious Journey, and even apprehended all the Dangers the Count might [Page 165] be expos'd to, yet through the Neceſſity of his Abſence, I ſeconded the Deſire he had of going to Miſſia.

We exchang'd Vows of eternal Conſtancy to each other, and the Grief we felt at parting I thought wou'd have coſt us our Lives. The Event of the Campaign was very unhappy, the Chriſtian Troops were defeated, and the Count taken Priſoner, which News I heard with a Concern, not to be deſcrib'd; I ſent him Money to pay his Ranſom, and was expecting his Return with the laſt Impatience, when I receiv'd an Account of his Death. It is hard, my Lord, to imagine, how cruelly ſuch a Loſs affected me. I cou'd no longer reſtrain my Sorrow. I perſecuted my Father with Reproaches, and wou'd not permit either my Relations or Friends to ſee me; I thought Life it ſelf inſupportable, and beg'd of Heaven to ſhorten its Date, that I might be eas'd of the Torment I then endur'd.

This was my melancholy Condition, when ſlumb'ring one Night, my Mind fill'd with my Misfortunes, I ſuddenly awak'd, and ſaw a Perſon near me, whom at firſt I took for the Shade of my Deceas'd Lover: Such an Apparition wou'd have terribly frightened me, had my Paſſion been leſs violent. I found afterwards by his Diſcourſe, that far from being with a Phantom, I had Cauſe to believe he was the ſame lovely Man, ſo dear to me. At this Sight, I abandon'd my ſelf to all the Joy, that cou'd attend ſuch a Surprize, and ſhew'd [Page 166] to this Cavalier all poſſible Marks of Affection; he was cruel enough not to undeceive me, and I was not ſenſible of my Error till the Day following, when by Chance, my Father brought him into a Grotto, where I had retir'd to indulge my ſelf with the pleaſing Thoughts of the Count's being reſtor'd to Life.

I was then inform'd, this Gentleman, whom I had taken for him, had never ſeen me before, which ſenſibly touch'd me; I was ſo aſham'd of this Miſtake, that my Affliction had like to have put a Period to my Days. My Father was extremely mov'd at my Condition, and as I knew his Sentiments, I did not doubt but he wou'd oblige me in any Thing I deſir'd; therefore embracing the Occaſion, I conjured him in moſt preſſing Terms, to give out that I was Dead, and permit me to go to my Mother, who was then in Sardignia, which he readily aſſented to. I had not far from Cagliary an Aunt, who was Abbeſs of a famous Monaſtry, that lay in a Wilderneſs near the Sea-Side, where I intended to end my deplorable Life, conceal'd from the Sight of any Object, that might renew my Sufferings.

My Father, notwithſtanding the Chagrin this Separation gave him, diſpos'd every Thing for my Departure, and the News of my Death was ſpread Abroad, without any One's thinking it ſuppos'd. I immediately left Genoa, and my Voyage had nothing Remarkable in it; for I ſoon arriv'd in Sardignia, where my Mother receiv'd me, and without Deliberation [Page 167] conſented to what I ſo much wiſh'd. She carry'd me to her Siſter, who was the Depoſitory of my Secrets, and having chang'd my Name, I led a Life ſo retir'd, that without being of the Number of the Dead, I cou'd not be reckon'd amongſt the Living; but I us'd often to be alarm'd with Letters from my Father, preſſing me to quit my Solitude in order to return Home, which made me apprehend, he wou'd uſe his Authority to compel me to it; therefore I went and flung my ſelf at my Aunt's Feet, and conjured her to give me the Nun's Veil; that having once made Vows, my Relations might loſe the Hopes of my returning again into the World.

She at firſt oppos'd my Requeſt, believing ſhe ought not to make ſuch a Step, without the Advice of my Friends; but at laſt my Prayers and Tears prevail'd on her. She deſir'd the Biſhop of Cagliary to perform the Ceremony; and as it is the Cuſtom in that Place, for the Perſon who takes the Habit of a Novice, to go with a Number of young Ladies, to hear the Prelate in a little Chappel by the Sea-Side, I went out dreſs'd in a long Gown, Brocaded with Silver, my Hair hanging looſe on my Shoulders, and my Head crown'd with Flowers; my Companions were alſo dreſs'd in White, and in this Manner we form'd a Proceſſion along the Shore.

It's now, ſaid I, my Dear Count, that I am going to ſacrifice to you the reſt of an unhappy Life, which was deſtin'd to be your's. [Page 168] Were you ſenſible in the Region where you are, of what I do for you in this World, you wou'd rejoyce to have inſpir'd me with ſuch Sentiments. I was loſt in theſe Thoughts, when I heard a great Noiſe; the Cries of my Companions oblig'd me to look behind me, where I ſaw ſeveral Men following us with their Swords drawn. I endeavour'd to make my Eſcape, but two of them being come up to me, carry'd me off, with ſome of the young Ladies; and having forc'd us into a Boat, row'd immediately up to their Ship, where we were under Sail before any one cou'd come to our Aſſiſtance.

One may eaſily imagine, that ſuch a Surprize terrified us extremely; but it was nothing to the inexpreſſible Grief which ſeiz'd us, when we found our ſelves in the Hands of a Corſair of Algier, neither our Prayers nor Tears had Power to ſoften him; all his Thoughts were fix'd on making the moſt of our Captivity. He ſoon loſt Sight of Sardignia, and after having taken other Prizes, ſteer'd his Courſe towards Sallee, being ſure to ſell ſome of us to the Queen, who was pleas'd to chuſe me (as you know, my Lord,) out of a Motive of Pity; for I was ſo very melancholy, that none cou'd ſee me without Compaſſion.

It never came into my Head to acquaint my Father with my Captivity, nor did I wiſh the Recovery of my Liberty, which I was going to offer as a Sacrifice, when the Corſair took me. It was equal to me, to be ſhut up in the Palace of Sallee, or in a Monaſtry; ſince I had [Page 169] no other Deſire, than that of leaving the World, and paſſing the Remainder of an unfortunate Life without any Engagement.

In this State, were my Affairs, and I daily receiving new Favours from the Queen, when a Merchant of Genoa, who deals in Jewels, came to this Court. Her Majeſty being deſirous to ſee what valuable Things he had to diſpoſe of, ſent for him, and I was near her, when he enter'd the Apartment. He no ſooner caſt his Eyes on me, but ſeem'd aſtoniſh'd; for he did not doubt of my being Dead, as it was reported; yet in ſeeing me, he had Cauſe enough to believe, I was Brancaleon Doria's Daughter; ſince he had ſpoken to me too often at my Father's Houſe, not to know me again; and as he immediately perceiv'd I knew him, it ſo confirm'd his Opinion, that he deſir'd Leave to ſpeak with me, which he obtain'd of the Queen. Is it poſſible, Madam, you ſhou'd thus neglect Writing to your Friends, who ſo infinitely love you, and are lamenting your Death at Genoa, whilſt you are Living, and a Slave at Sallee? Who bemoans me? (ſaid I, with a melancholy Accent:) Do you believe, that after the fatal Deſtiny of a Perſon, who was dearer to me than Life, I cou'd find any Reliſh for the World? No, as my Paſſion was great, ſo was my Sorrow; and no other Motive induc'd me to ſpread Abroad my pretended Death, only to retire into ſome Solitude, and there forever regret the Loſs of a Man I ſo dearly lov'd. In finiſhing theſe Words, I burſt out in Tears, [Page 170] and the Jeweller fixing his Eyes on me with Admiration; you deſerve a better Fate, Madam, ſaid he, and I eſteem my ſelf happy, to have met with this Opportunity of aſſuring you, the Gentleman you actually deplore, did not periſh as it was related; he arriv'd at Genoa a little after the Report of your Death, at which he was ſo touch'd, that his Trouble is not to be deſcrib'd; he admitted me to ſee him often, but his Grief wou'd ſeldom allow him to ſpeak, and whenever he broke Silence, it was with your Name; he afterwards fell dangerouſly ill, and as ſoon as he recover'd, went to Travel; but he is now return'd to Genoa, and I can give you Teſtimonies, Madam, of his eternal Love.

We were in a Place pretty diſtant from the Queen, who cou'd not hear our Converſation; but I was ſo tranſported at this News, that (without knowing what I did, or conſidering why,) I ran and flung my ſelf at her Feet; at firſt I was not able to ſpeak, my Eyes guſh'd out with Tears, and I look'd at her in ſo moving a manner, that ſhe ask'd me ſeveral times what was my Requeſt? The Merchant being a Man of Senſe, came up, and explain'd the Meaning of my Diſorder; and as I had time to recover my ſelf during their Diſcourſe; Ah Madam! ſaid I to the Queen, I entreat your Majeſty to give me my Liberty; I am now willing to live, and wiſh my ſelf at Genoa, ſince my Misfortunes are at an end. No Creature was more wretched than I, and now, none is more happy. I proteſt to you, Madam, I daily ſaw [Page 171] the Light with Pain, having as I thought, loſt the only Perſon that cou'd make my Felicity, and deſir'd Death to terminate my Miſeries, as it had done his. I cannot call to mind all I ſaid to the Queen, who was pleas'd to hear me with a great deal of Condeſcenſion; and being inform'd who I was, as a particular Proof of her Eſteem for my Family, ſhe reſtor'd me to my Liberty, for which I return'd her Majeſty repeated Thanks. I ask'd the Jeweller a great many Queſtions, and deſir'd he wou'd procure me Conveniencies for my Paſſage in the next Ship that ſhou'd ſale for Genoa; but after having made more ſerious Reflections, I thought it prudent, not to put my ſelf into my Father's Power, till I had firſt conſulted the Count, and taken Meaſures with him to ſucceed in our mutual Deſires, without running any Riſque of meeting with new Obſtacles.

After theſe Conſiderations, I wrote to him by the ſame Merchant, who is return'd to Genoa, in order to bring him here: This is, my Lord, what has paſs'd during your Abſence, which the Queen commanded me to relate to you.

Abelhamar thank'd her Majeſty, and afterwards Olympia, for whom he had always ſhown a particular Value. You have no reaſon now to complain, Madam, ſaid he to her; Hymen is going to reward you for all the Pains Love has made you ſuffer: You'll ſoon ſee the Object of your Affection, and unite your Deſtinies. Ah! how happy is ſuch a State? In ending theſe Words, he ſigh'd and look'd languiſhingly [Page 172] at Felicia, who turn'd her Eyes on the Ground, fearing they ſhou'd meet his; he alſo endeavour'd to ſpeak to her, but ſhe carefully avoided his Approach. This Proceeding ſo deeply affected the Prince, that he retir'd almoſt in Deſpair. The Queen, who was troubled with a ſecret Uneaſineſs, went into her Cloſet to indulge her uſual Melancholy, and the Slaves repaired to their Apartment.

Felicia finding Inea in her Chamber, embrac'd her with as much Pleaſure, as if ſhe had not ſeen her of a long time. We have, ſaid ſhe, illuſtrious Companions in our Servitude; that fine Creature they call Olympia, is Daughter to the famous Doria; I have juſt now heard her Story, which ſhe related to Prince Abelhamar. Oh Heavens! my dear Inea, how worthy of Envy is her Fate? ſhe will ſoon ſee her Lover, whoſe Death was ſo ſurely believ'd, that after his Loſs ſhe determin'd to ſacrifice the Remainder of her Life to Solitude; if you ever have felt a tender Paſſion, you may imagine how agreeable ſuch a Meeting will prove to them: Her Eyes already ſhine with an unknown Luſtre, and expreſs the Motions of a ſatisfy'd Mind. Alas! continu'd ſhe, how different is her Caſe and mine? I conceive, Madam, interrupted Inea, your Uneaſineſs does not proceed entirely from your Captivity; were I permitted to ſay more, I ſhou'd judge, your Heart was concern'd in the Sighs and Tears which ſometimes you cannot reſtrain: Relieve your ſelf in complaining, Madam, and if you [Page 173] think me worthy of being your Confident, I dare aſſure you, I ſhall never forfeit that Honour by divulging your Secret. I am perſuaded of your Sincerity, my Dear, reply'd Felicia, and think my ſelf happy to have met with a Perſon, in whom I can confide; but if I relate my melancholy Story to you, I hope you'll oblige me with a Recital of yours, and believe, what I deſire, does leſs proceed from my Curioſity, than the particular Intereſt I have in all that concerns you. I flatter my ſelf with what you are pleas'd to ſay, lovely Felicia, reply'd Inea, and to ſhew how obedient I am to any thing you command, I will now give you a Relation of my Misfortunes.

1.1. The Story of Inea.

I Am born of a noble Family of Andaluſia, where my Father had a good Eſtate, and marry'd a Lady, who brought him no Fortune; he was ever thought a gallant Man, and being bred up to the Sea from his Infancy, the King gave him a Ship of War; he has left two Daughters, my eldeſt Siſter's Name is Mathilda, who is very handſom. We us'd to ſee but little Company, according to the Cuſtom of Spain; but my Father having receiv'd into his Houſe a young Gentleman of a diſtinguiſh'd Family in Toledo, whoſe Name is Don Ramire of Caſtro, a ſecret Sympathy diſpos'd his Heart and mine, to receive Impreſſions for each other. I was pleas'd at his gentle Air, his Wit, and [Page 174] ſoft inſinuating manner, which engaged me unawares; and we were not long acquainted, before he declar'd, I had inſpir'd him with the tendereſt Paſſion.

He thought himſelf happy in wearing my Chains. His Fortune and Merit gave him ſuch Advantages, that he had no room to apprehend any of my Friends wou'd oppoſe his Felicity, and I was of the ſame Opinion; for tho' I reſiſted the Infant Inclination I had for him, it proceeded only from the fear I had of its not being ſincerely return'd. How unfortunate ſhou'd I be, ſaid I to my ſelf, were my Affection plac'd on a Man, who might receive it with Indifference? I ought, before it's too late, reſolve to fly, and deny my Eyes the Pleaſure they take in ſeeing him. The juſt Diffidence I had of my own Merit, oblig'd me to be very reſerv'd to Don Ramire, and behave my ſelf in a manner quite oppoſite to my Sentiments, which inclin'd him to believe, I had conceiv'd an Averſion for him; this Thought did not only afflict him, but made him ſo timerous, that he had not Power to ſpeak to me. I examin'd all his Actions with great Care, and when we were together, he appear'd extremely penſive; I attributed this to the weak Impreſſion I had made on him, which created in me much Uneaſineſs, and I did the greateſt Violence to my ſelf in not ſhowing my Concern; but tho' our Minds were prepoſſeſs'd, yet our Eyes, meeting ſometimes, cou'd not help confeſſing the inward [Page 175] Motion of our Hearts. Ah! too indifferent Don Ramire, thought I, if you are really touch'd, in what manner wou'd your Looks expreſs it, ſince without being ſo, they ſpeak the ſoft Language of Love? He told me afterwards, he had conceiv'd the ſame Idea of me, and diſcover'd in my Eyes ſomething which wou'd have flatter'd him, had I not given him too many Inſtances of my Inſenſibility.

My Siſter paſs'd ſome time in ſtudying our Looks, and was endeavouring to know whether we had a Paſſion for each other, having her ſelf a ſecret reaſon to be inform'd of the Truth; all the Care ſhe took, ſerv'd only to perſwade her, there was no Love between us, and that ſhe might undertake what ſhe pleas'd without Apprehenſion. Don Ramire appear'd as agreeable in her Eyes, as he did in mine; but the Difference of his Proceedings with her was very remarkable: It came into his Head, firſt to acquire her Friendſhip, that afterwards he might make her his Confident, and ſo by degrees, engage her in his Intereſt. Thus one may ſee, how blind is Love, in ſome of his Projects; for there was very little Probability, that Mathilda wou'd act in ſuch a Character. She was my Mother's Favourite, as my eldeſt Sisſter had a Right to be married before me; therefore (Don Ramire being the only Perſon who then ſeem'd deſirous to make an Alliance with our Family) it was thought but juſt, ſhe ſhou'd have the Precedency.

[Page 176] I was not long, before I diſcover'd her Intentions, and my Uneaſineſs met with ſo vaſt an Addition, that it had like to have thrown me into Deſpair. What (ſaid I, complaining of my Fate) am I already jealous? I who can hardly tell what it is to love, and muſt I feel a thouſand different Pains, which ought to be unknown to one of my Age? Methinks, I cou'd approve his Paſſion, were he diſpos'd to like me; yet I have avoided him with the ſame Caution, I wou'd have done the Man I hate; was ever Conduct like mine? My Siſter is taking Advantage of my Timidity; ſhe is belov'd, and in ſpite of that, I ſtill harbour ſuch Sentiments as ought to make me bluſh, ſince they will render me the unhappieſt Creature in the World.

Don Ramire, whoſe Perplexity of Mind was not inferior to mine, cou'd no longer be ſilent; and as Mathilda gave him all Opportunities of entertaining her, one Evening as they were walking together in one Ally of the Garden, and I in another, (unknown to them, and at too great a Diſtance to hear what they were ſaying) I perceiv'd he was talking to her with a great deal of Emotion; at laſt I ſaw him fling himſelf at her Feet, and taking her Hand, kiſs'd it ſo ardently, that I no ways doubted but he had juſt declar'd his Paſſion to her; which meeting with an obliging Reception, occaſion'd thoſe Tranſports in him. Oh Heavens! what a Sight was this to a Perſon in my Condition? I wou'd no longer obſerve [Page 177] them, but went into an Arbour at the end of the Ally, not having Strength enough to ſupport me, nor Power to reſiſt the Courſe of my Grief.

There I threw my ſelf on the Ground, leaning my Head on a Bench, and covering my Face with my Veil, I ſhed a Shower of Tears. Oh! how cruel is my Deſtiny, ſaid I? Don Ramire and Mathilda love each other; ſhe has heard his Declaration, and given him a favourable Audience, for which, he made his Retributions to her on his Knees, and I can never flatter my ſelf with the Hopes of being dear to him. Here my Sighs and Tears made me perfectly aſham'd, and I was as mad at my own Senſibility, as at his Indifferency; but had I known what was paſſing between him and my Siſter, I ſhou'd have had as much reaſon to be pleas'd, as I thought I had for the contrary.

In fine, Madam, after a Converſation that turn'd on different Subjects, Don Ramire, urged by the Violence of his Pain, deliver'd his Thoughts to her in the following Manner: Charming Mathilda! I muſt intruſt you with a Secret, on which depends the Peace of my Life; be pleas'd to hear me, and let me find in you thoſe generous Diſpoſitions, that may contribute to my future Happineſs. As ſhe believed he was going to diſcloſe a Secret to her, wherein ſhe was chiefly concern'd, ſhe thought fit to keep him under ſuch a Reſtriction, as not to allow him too much Liberty. [Page 178] You ought, Sir, anſwer'd ſhe, to diſcover your Pain to a Perſon of more Wit than me; I have not Experience enough to give you any Advice, and there are certain Things I do not deſire to know. Be aſſur'd, Madam, interrupted he, I have too great a Reſpect for you, to ſay any thing that could give you the leaſt diſpleaſure; moreover, you have nothing to fear, ſince you are not intereſted in this Affair. I am only going to tell you, I have a Paſſion for Inea, whom I adore; I hope my Succeſs from your good Offices, and conjure you to grant me your Favour in this Requeſt. In finiſhing theſe Words, he flung himſelf at her Feet, and his Thoughts were ſo entirely taken up with what he was ſaying, that he took no notice of the different Emotions, which appear'd in her Looks. All, that Rage, Shame, and exceſſive Love cou'd make one feel, join'd at once, to torment her. You love my Siſter, (ſaid ſhe, after being ſome time ſilent,) and you chuſe me for your Confident, without conſidering, that as I am the eldeſt, my Fortune muſt be ſettled, before hers: I am ſo offended at the Injury you do me, that were I more revengeful than I am, I wou'd inſtantly puniſh your Indifferency. Go, Sir, continu'd ſhe, ſpeak to her your ſelf; I ſhou'd render you but a very ill Office; with that ſhe left him, and no Man was ever ſeen in a greater Confuſion. He walk'd ſome time in the Ally, reflecting on what had paſs'd, and was now convinc'd, Mathilda, having diſcover'd her [Page 179] Weakneſs to him, wou'd leave no Art unpractis'd to diſappoint his Paſſion for me.

Don Ramire, perplex'd with theſe Thoughts, came into the Arbour, where I told you, Madam, I had retir'd, and was not a little ſurpriz'd to find me there. As for my Part, I knew not what Reſolution to take, whether to go, or ſtay, when he put himſelf on his Knees by me, and intreating me to hear him, Adorable Inea, ſaid he, the Condition I am reduc'd to, does not permit me to be any longer ſilent. I cannot doubt of your Averſion, ſince you not only debar me of your Converſation, but even turn your Eyes from me. I have us'd all poſſible Means to decline a Paſſion, which I fear will diſpleaſe you: But as the Torment I endure is little inferior to Death, whatever Uſage I am to receive from you hereafter, only think, I daily die for you.

I cou'd not imagine, Don Ramire, (reply'd I) you were ſo capable of Deceit, but your Conduct convinces me of the Truth. You try in vain to perſwade me. This Diſſimulation is worſe than the Offence, and I know what I am to depend on. Go, Sir, I am reſolv'd never to ſee you, nor ſpeak to you more. Ending theſe Words, I ran from him, in ſpight of his Endeavours to prevent me, and left him with an Air, ſo full of Pride and Anger, that he told me ſince, he had like to have expired on the Place. His Deſpair was ſo great, that (being retired to his Chamber) he was taken ill with a violent Feaver, which oblig'd him to keep his Bed.

[Page 180] The mean while I went into my Cloſer, where being alone, I abandon'd my ſelf to a thouſand cruel Reflections. Were I only to contend with Mathilda, thought I, there wou'd ſtill be hopes of obtaining ſome Advantage over her; but the Caſe now is ſuch, that ſhou'd Don Ramire yield his Heart to me, methinks I wou'd reject the Offer. He is a Traytor, who tells me, he has Sentiments for me, which he has not. He ſays the ſame to my Siſter, and loves neither of us; at leaſt I have cauſe to complain, ſince he chuſes me for the Subject of his Raillery. Oh! what Fatality deludes me, to love this perfidious Man? I fear he knows the Affection I have for him, which is a Misfortune, I cannot bear. Theſe Thoughts forc'd a Flood of Tears from my Eyes, whilſt I endeavour'd to baniſh him from my Heart; and I was thus depreſs'd with Sorrow, when my Mother ſent for me: I went down to her Apartment, and appear'd ſo dejected, that my Siſter (who examin'd every Motion of me) did not doubt, but I was come from Don Ramire's Chamber, and that his Illneſs was the Occaſion of my Melancholy; tho' at the ſame time, I knew nothing of the Matter, nor wou'd I enquire after him, thinking he did not deſerve ſo great a Favour, therefore I return'd to my own Chamber again, without hearing his Name once mention'd.

Mathilda perſiſting in her Love for Don Ramire, told my Mother the Converſation they had together in the Garden, and deſir'd, ſhe [Page 181] wou'd be favourable to her, in laying her Commands on me, to uſe him with ſo much Indifference, as might deſtroy his Hopes of ever attaining to my Affection. This, my Mother promis'd her, and all ſhe cou'd wiſh on that Subject. The next Day, I heard the Condition he was in, who little thought, I had the leaſt Concern for his Illneſs, tho' I muſt confeſs, it gave me much Uneaſineſs, and Compaſſion ſoon took place of my Anger; yet I wou'd not go to ſee him, whatever Pain I ſuffer'd, in denying my ſelf that Satisfaction.

Ah! how great is my Misfortune, cry'd I, not to have Pride enough to ſuppreſs a Paſſion, which ſo immoderately diſturbs my Mind, and yet have ſo much Reſentment, as to deny my ſelf the only Pleaſure this World can give me? How is it poſſible, I can be ſo cruel to a Perſon, whoſe Idea is never abſent from me, and whoſe Life I wou'd purchaſe with my own?

By this time, his Feaver was ſo violent, that the Phyſicians were of Opinion, nothing but his Youth cou'd ſave him. I was in my Mother's Apartment, when they came to acquaint her with the Danger he was in, ſaying, they believ'd him very near leaving the World. At this News, I was ſo ſeiz'd with Grief, that all I cou'd do, was to reach my Chamber, where I fell in a Swoon, and continu'd ſo almoſt an Hour.

I had with me a young Servant, called Tereza, who lov'd me entirely; and as ſhe was no Stranger to my Affection for Don Ramire, ſhe [Page 182] help'd me to conceal the Deſpair I was in. No, cry'd I, (when I was a little recover'd,) I cannot let him die, ſpite of his Ingratitude: I find the Preſervation of my Life depends on his. Heavens, (continu'd I, bath'd in Tears) ſhorten my Days, and give Health to Don Ramire; for alas, without him, what can I expect, but unconceivable Pain? I proteſt to you, Madam, I ſaid a thouſand diſtracted Things, the Recital of which, wou'd tire you; for ſure, no Sorrow was ever equal to mine. I was thus tormenting my ſelf, when my Mother came into my Chamber, and her Preſence ſo ſurpriz'd me, that I had like to have related to her the Subject of my Grief. She had juſt been with Don Ramire, who conjured her in a moſt preſſing Manner, to let me favour him with a Viſit; adding, that after ſo great a Satisfaction, he ſhou'd contentedly die: She told him, any thing he deſired ſhou'd be granted, then came to prepare me for this Interview, telling me how I ſhou'd behave my ſelf. Don Ramire, ſaid ſhe, is ſo near Death, that what I am going to enjoyn you, I believe, is unneceſſary; yet that I may have no Cauſe to reproach my ſelf, I command you, Inea, to ſhow him all the Indifferency poſſible, in caſe he ſpeaks to you of his Paſſion. I ſhall obey your Orders with Pleaſure, Madam, reply'd I, tho' I am perſuaded, if he intended an Alliance in this Family, he never had a Thought of me. You make an unſeaſonable Declaration (interrupted [Page 183] my Mother, in a ſevere Tone) for I know he loves you to Diſtraction, and it was very imprudent in him, to chuſe your Siſter for a Confident; as being your eldeſt, ſhe ought firſt to be provided for; beſides, it's my Will, pray tell Don Ramire ſo, and that I had rather ſee you dead, than his Wife.

My Mother ſpoke to me with ſo much Heat, that I cou'd not diſpute the Truth of what ſhe ſaid. I preſently comprehended her Meaning, and inſtead of a Traytor, as I thought him before, I now found he was a Man of Honour, and the conſtanteſt of Lovers. This no ways ſoften'd my Pain; for tho' I was overjoy'd to know his Paſſion was ſincere, yet on the other hand, I ſaw my ſelf at the point of loſing a Perſon, I then eſteem'd worthy the Sentiments I had for him; and my Alarms continually perſuaded me, nothing cou'd mitigate ſo real a Misfortune. The Impatience I had to ſee him, wou'd not permit me to ſay much to my Mother. I left her, and took Tereza with me to Don Ramire's Apartment, which I had hardly enter'd, and approach'd his Bed, when he turn'd himſelf towards me, and reaching out his Hand, ſaid in a weak Voice; Come, Madam, come and receive the laſt Breath of a Man, who never ſigh'd for any one but you; tho' your Injuſtice accus'd my Heart with Deceit. The State you ſee me in, ought to convince you, there never was a Paſſion more perfect. It's for you I die, adorable Inea, (continued he, preſſing my Hand,) it's you alone, [Page 184] who is the Cauſe; and ſince it was my Fate, not to deſerve your Eſteem, I think my ſelf happy not to ſurvive your Averſion. In finiſhing theſe Words, he look'd at me with Eyes drown'd in Tears, and fell into a deep Silence, which I did not preſently interrupt, being either in Diſorder, or pleas'd to hear him mention a Paſſion, I began to believe, and was willing to approve. At laſt I ſpoke to him; Ceaſe to reproach me, Don Ramire, ſaid I; ceaſe to complain, and think only of recovering; I am unfortunate enough already, and did not want this laſt Stroke to compleat my Ruin. Muſt I lay aſide the Modeſty of my Sex, and in ſpite of Shame, confeſs I love you? Oh! conſider what a Sacrifice I make you, when I own thoſe Sentiments, I have ſo long endeavour'd to conceal. I thought you had an Inclination for my Siſter, which gave me much Uneaſineſs; all your Civilities to her, I us'd to attribute to Love; and what very much increas'd my Torment, was the Action you did ſome Days ago, when you flung your ſelf on your Knees before her in the Garden. I concluded, you were entertaining her with your Paſſion, which made me retire to the Arbour, where you found me, in order to indulge my Grief; that was the Cauſe of my upbraiding you; but now, Sir, you may be ſatisfy'd; for I have puniſh'd my ſelf ſeverely, and you are ſufficiently reveng'd. In finiſhing theſe Words, I burſt out in Tears, and this Gentleman, who before cou'd ſearcely [Page 185] ſpeak, cry'd aloud, with Tranſports of exceſſive Joy, Ah charming Inea! why was my Happineſs ſo long unknown to me? I was juſt going with my Deſpair to end my Life; but ſince you have deliver'd me from the Arms of Death, I am reſolv'd to live, and live to ſerve you alone. Here I interrupted him, to acquaint him with my Mother's Intentions, which he proteſted, he never wou'd comply with. I repreſented to him the Neceſſity there was to affect an Inclination for Mathilda, in order to carry on our Amour the more ſucceſsfully. He told me his Honour wou'd not ſuffer him to act ſuch a Part, and that he thought it more prudent, to ſpeak directly to my Father concerning our Marriage; but as I knew my Mother's jealous Humour, I was ſatisfy'd ſuch a Conduct wou'd highly offend her, and that no Scheme wou'd ſucceed ſo well, as a feign'd Paſſion for my Siſter; which Opinion I at laſt perſuaded him to approve.

I cannot deny you any thing, Madam, ſaid he, ſince my Life is your's. Diſpoſe of my Deſtiny as you pleaſe, I am devoted to your Commands. In ſhort, Don Ramire promis'd me to make his Addreſſes to my Siſter in ſuch a Manner, as might incline her to believe he deſign'd to marry her. As ſoon as I left his Chamber, I went to my Mother, and told her, what he ſaid on that Point, which pleas'd her extremely; and as for my Siſter, nothing could equal the Joy ſhe expreſs'd, at ſo agreeable a Change.

[Page 186] We us'd every Day to viſit Don Ramire, during his Illneſs, and whenever I was alone with Mathilda; I conſtrain'd my ſelf to exaggerate the Affection he had for her, which I really repeated ſo often, that ſometimes I was afraid I ſpoke the Truth. Thus we manag'd Affairs till he recover'd; and my Family looked upon him as Mathilda's Votary. About this Time, the Governour of Porto Real, (whoſe Daughter had been newly marry'd) gave an Entertainment, with a Ball at Night, to all the Nobility of that Place. We were invited to this Aſſembly, which was much greater than any we had ever appear'd at before. Don Ramire, who was to be of the Party, expreſs'd ſome Uneaſineſs at my going thither, fearing my Charms, as he told me, wou'd create him many Rivals. Indeed, tho' I had no extraordinary Conceit of my ſelf, I cou'd not condemn his Jealouſy, but rather approv'd it, and thought I had Reaſon to return him the ſame Compliment. We ſaid a great deal on that Subject, till at laſt, I took it into my Head not to go there at all, and was meditating on ſome Stratagem to favour my Deſign, when my Mother ſent to let me know, ſhe was ready, and only waited for me. I immediately went to her, but firſt made Don Ramire promiſe me, whatever happen'd he wou'd not leave the Ball, till he ſaw my Mother and Siſter Home again.

We all went together to the Governour's; Don Ramire gave his Hand to my Mother, [Page 187] who was follow'd by my Siſter; and as for my part, juſt as I ſtep'd out of the Coach, I deſignedly fell down, and pretended I had ſprain'd my Foot, ſo that I cou'd not appear at the Ball. My Mother (diſpleas'd at this Accident, which ſhe did not know to be a Counterfeit,) ſent me Home, and Don Ramire ſtay'd with them, very much ſurpriz'd at what I had done, being ſenſible, it was a Sacrifice I made him; he had not Reſolution enough to ſtay by Mathilda, during all the Entertainment, but took an Opportunity, whilſt ſhe was dancing, to go and place himſelf in a Corner of the Room, and there wrote to this Effect on his Tablets.

WHAT Torment does your Abſence give me, adorable Inea? Here you leave me, expos'd to the Smiles of a Woman I hate. How do you think it poſſible for me to be complaiſant to your Siſter, when you are not by? As ſoon as you were gone, my Thoughts like your Shadow, follow'd you. Alas, this Moment, abſent from you, Who is more unhappy than I? And how fortunate ſhou'd I think my ſelf, were I paying Homage to your beauteous Eyes?

Mathilda (who was naturally uneaſy) not ſeeing Don Ramire by her, look'd every where for him, and at laſt perceiv'd him Writing on his Tablets: She went and took him out to dance the Sarao, which you know, Madam, was invented by the Moors; every Cavalier leads his [Page 188] Lady with one Hand, and carries a Torch in the other. My Siſter, as ſhe was dancing, found it eaſy enough to take his Tablets away, unknown to him. The Dance being ended, ſhe went aſide, in order to examine them. You may eaſily judge, at reading what was wrote in 'em, how enrag'd ſhe was, to find her ſelf thus betray'd, and the Preference given to me; having ſo good an Opinion of her own Merit, as to believe, it wou'd have inſured her from this Misfortune.

Nothing cou'd be equal to the violent Paſſion ſhe was in; yet during the Ball, ſhe endeavour'd to conceal it; and what help'd her moſt to diſſemble, was, that (to do her Juſtice) as ſhe is very amiable, Don Sanche of Guſman, Son to the Governour, who was a fine Gentleman, but extremely vain, addreſs'd himſelf particularly to her, and ſhe thought, ſhe cou'd not have a better Opportunity to cure her Paſſion, and be reveng'd of Don Ramire, than giving a favourable Reception to this Cavalier; therefore, ſhe immediately gave him to underſtand, my Mother wou'd be willing he ſhou'd viſit us: Altho' we are not fond of Company, ſaid ſhe, yet, Sir, your diſtinguiſh'd Birth and Merit intitle you to a Privilege, others cannot pretend to. This Invitation highly pleas'd him, inaſmuch as he had already declar'd his Paſſion for my Siſter, and cou'd not well expect a Return, unleſs he were admitted to pay his Devoirs to her.

[Page 189] Mathilda prepar'd my Mother to receive him, but did not mention the Adventure of the Tablets; ſhe only told her, that as ſhe was not very ſure of Don Ramire's Heart, a Rival might give him ſome Jealouſy, and induce him to conclude a Marriage, he daily ſeem'd to decline. While ſhe was ſtudying Means to ſatisfy her Revenge, Don Ramire acquainted me with the Loſs of his Tablets, which he fear'd were fallen into the Hands of my Siſter: Tho' I take little Notice of her Behaviour towards me, ſaid he, I obſerve within theſe few Days, ſhe treats me with an affected Civility. I cannot well penetrate into the Cauſe, nor ſhou'd be any ways uneaſy about it, only I apprehend, ſhe is inform'd of what we had agreed ſhou'd be kept ſecret: If you will give me Leave, continu'd he, to declare my Paſſion to your Father, we ſhall ſoon know what to depend on.

I muſt confeſs, Madam, the only Motive I had to make a Myſtery of it, was the Pleaſure of being ſecretly belov'd by a Man, whom I eſteem'd ſo worthy my Affection; therefore I deſired he would ſtay ſome Time longer, before he diſcovered his Sentiments.

Conſider, Don Ramire, ſaid I, that our Condition is not ſo unhappy, as you imagine. We live together in the ſame Houſe, and in Spite of the jealous Eyes, which continually obſerve us, we ſee one another every Day, and our Love is mutual.

[Page 190] Such as theſe were our daily Converſations, when we perceiv'd by Don Sanche's aſſiduous Courtſhip to my Siſter, that his Paſſion for her had receiv'd a new Addition. We thought ſhe treated him with ſo much Diſtinction, as perſwaded us he wou'd ſoon be happy in her Favour, which extremely overjoy'd us, for we waited nothing elſe to perfect our Felicity. How bleſs'd will be my Days, ſaid Don Ramire to me, when without Oppoſition, I ſhall poſſeſs thoſe Excellencies, I now adore? Ah! dear Inea, does your Heart ſympathize with mine, and may I hope to find in you thoſe Endearments, which none but tender Lovers can truly reliſh? If once I am ſo fortunate, as to obtain that Wiſh, continued he, no Thought of any other Happineſs (for ſure there can be none) ſhall ever dwell in this Boſom. My Vows ſhall be dedicated to you alone, and the Height of my Ambition will only be to merit your Love.

Alas, Madam! you may imagine, theſe obliging Aſſurances from a Man, I ſo entirely loved, made the Days paſs like Hours; but will you believe, that while we were expecting the Concluſion of my Siſter's Marriage with Don Sanche, her Jealouſy increas'd to ſuch a Degree, that it wou'd not give her a Moment's Peace. She was more taken up with the Thoughts of Revenge, than with the Care of pleaſing a Perſon, who was propoſing to her ſo advantageous an Alliance. I heard that one Day, Don Sanche having deſired [Page 191] Leave to ſpeak to his Father about it, ſhe ſuddenly chang'd Colour, and her Eyes expreſs'd a more than ordinary Grief: I can no longer be ſilent, ſaid ſhe to him, in a Cauſe, wherein you are intereſted; ſince you confeſs a Paſſion for me, and ſeem willing to unite your Deſtiny with mine; let me tell you, Sir, you muſt firſt deſtroy the Hopes of a Rival, to whom I am already engag'd. Don Ramire has obtained the Conſent of my Family, and impatiently expects an Anſwer from his, to terminate every Thing. Before I ſaw you, I was not averſed to him; but alas, I cannot now think of my Fate, without Horror. I do not doubt, but your Love and Courage united will releaſe me from this Engagement, ſince nothing, except my Inclination for you, cou'd induce me to decline it. Here her malicious Tears interrupted her Diſcourſe, and by this Stratagem, Don Sanche was eaſily perſwaded to undertake any deſperate Thing againſt Don Ramire. He aſſured her, he wou'd ſoon make him renounce his Pretenſions to her, if he had Aſſurance enough to oppoſe him in a Place, where his Authority was great, and in an Affair, where his Heart was ſo particularly concern'd; adding to theſe Words, all that: Love cou'd inſpire.

This made Mathilda believe, Don Ramire wou'd rather yield her up, than engage in her Quarrel, or that if he anſwer'd the Challenge, out of a Point of Honour, he wou'd have a potent Enemy to contend with. She muſt [Page 192] have been very revengeful, to enter into a Sentiment ſo oppoſite to thoſe of her Sex; for ſhe imprudently expos'd at once two Perſons, who were very dear to her. Don Sanche impatient to come to a Deciſion with Don Ramire, writ to him that Night, in Terms which ſhow'd an inſupportable Pride. He thus addreſs'd him.

THE Paſſion I have for Mathilda, will not admit of a Rival. I am inform'd you are mine, tho' it little concerns me: You know who I am, and that you will be diſappointed in contending with me; therefore I adviſe you to be ſecret in this Affair, and generouſly yield a Pretenſion, you cannot diſpute without Raſhneſs.

Don Ramire, was highly provok'd at readind this haughty Billet; and tho' he knew it was a Plot of my Siſter's, yet he wou'd not let me into his Reſolutions, fearing I might oppoſe 'em; but immediately return'd Don Sanche an Anſwer, in theſe Terms.

THE Indifference I have for Mathilda, cou'd not have engag'd me to diſpute her Heart with any one, but your ſelf. It's ſufficient you admire her, for me to oppoſe your Pretenſions; and in Return to your Liberty with me, I adviſe you never to ſee her more, unleſs you intend, with your Life, to ſatisfy my Reſentment.

[Page 193] As Don Ramire believ'd, ſo violent a Beginning wou'd have a ſuitable Conſequence, he went the next Day to a Place, where he thought he might meet him, (as he effectually did.) Don Sanche no ſooner perceiv'd him, but came up, and ſaid in a low Voice, without the leaſt Affectation; Well, Sir, are you diſpos'd to meaſure your Sword with mine? I am diſpos'd to puniſh your Inſolence, reply'd Don Ramire, and ſhall expect you on the Strand by the Sea-Side, where no Body may prevent us. They ſeparated on this, and Don Ramire went to the appointed Place.

He was hardly there, when he ſaw Don Sanche coming up to him with menacing Looks. They both immediately drew, and made ſeveral Paſſes at each other: Don Ramire parry'd thoſe of his Enemy, and ſoon put him in ſome Diſorder, till at laſt, he gave him a mortal Wound, which hardly left him Life enough to confeſs the Author of his Fate. As for Don Ramire, he returned Home, with ſo much Serenity in his Countenance, that it was to be admir'd: He did not even think of taking the leaſt Care of his Safety, and ſeem'd as if ſome ſecret Charm detain'd him. Alas! I am perſwaded, that fatal Charm was my ſelf. He ſpoke to me with a Freedom, I cou'd not attribute to any thing, but the Greatneſs of his Soul; and I had no Room to ſuſpect the Misfortune, which had juſt happened to him, when of a ſudden, the Governour and his [Page 194] Guards, ſurrounded my Father's Houſe, and ſnatch'd him from my Arms, in Spite of all I cou'd do to oppoſe 'em.

Thoſe Moments I cannot call to mind, without the greateſt Concern. The Governour, who was perfectly diſtracted, as well as inconſolable for the Loſs of his only Son, came himſelf, on purpoſe to ſacrifice Don Ramire to his Reſentment. I do not at all doubt, but as he was ſeconded by a ſtrong Guard, he wou'd have kill'd my Lover before my Face, had not I prevented him by ſtanding between 'em, and to ſave him, expos'd my ſelf to all the Danger; for tho' I am naturally ſo timerous, that even the Sight of a drawn Sword ſtrikes me with Terror, yet I aſſure you, Madam, on that Occaſion, I behav'd my ſelf with ſo much Reſolution, that I am convinc'd, to be Brave, it is ſufficient to be in Love.

Don Ramire, who ſaw with the utmoſt Deſpair, the Danger which threatened me, was like a Lyon, defending himſelf againſt a Company of eager Huntſmen; he wounded ſome, and avoided the Fury of others; but alas, his Courage, and the little Aſſiſtance I cou'd afford him, did not hinder them from ſeizing, and carrying him immediately to Priſon.

I thought at that Time, my Soul wou'd have departed from its Habitation, my Blood turn'd ſo cold in my Veins. I would have follow'd Don Ramire, and ſhar'd his Misfortunes, had not my Mother and Siſter prevented me. Mathilda, more like a Fury, than a reaſonable [Page 195] Creature, loaded me with Imprecations and Reproaches. The Death of Don Ramire, ſaid ſhe, ſhall revenge me, as well as the Perſon whoſe Fate I deplore. The Traitor ſhall be a Sacrifice to the Governour's juſt Reſentment, and my Heart can receive no real Pleaſure, till the Day comes, that he is to loſe his Life. The Violence of my Grief wou'd not permit me to make any Anſwer; my Eyes ſaid enough, and I have well experienc'd, that exceſſive Affliction makes every Thing, but its Cauſe, indifferent to us.

Who can repreſent, the Torture I lay in, all that Night? As ſoon as it was Day, I ſent to ſome of Don Ramire's Friends, deſiring they wou'd acquaint me with what they knew concerning his Fate. I was then inform'd, he had been examined, and the partial Judgment of the Court had already condemn'd him, the Governour being reſolv'd, not to ſhow him the leaſt Favour; but as there was a Form to be obſerved in the Tryal, they had permitted an Acquaintance of his, whoſe Name was Don Tiello, to plead in Defence of his Life.

Far from ſinking under this Misfortune, I receiv'd new Strength from its Extremity: It is no Time now to ſhed Tears, cry'd I; the Safety of my Lover, is what I muſt think on. Tereſa, continued I, you were ever faithful to me, and are the only Perſon, in whom I can confide; go, run, and buy me a Suit of Mens Cloaths, for I am reſolv'd to ſee Don Ramire: I can pretend I am Son to Don Tiello, who [Page 196] ſends me to inform him of what is paſſing in his Affair, and by that Means I ſhall be admitted to enter the Priſon, where we may take Meaſures together for his Eſcape. Ah, Madam, take Care what you do, reply'd ſhe; if you are known, what will become of you? I am not in a Condition, ſaid I, that will permit me to apprehend any thing. We muſt endeavour to ſnatch Don Ramire from the Governour's Revenge, and when he is ſafe, I ſhall have Time enough to think on what relates to me. In ending theſe Words, I obliged her to get me the Cloaths, which I immediately put on, and fancy'd in that Dreſs I might very well paſs for a young Cavalier.

Night being come, I ordered Tereſa to take the Key of my Chamber, and give out I was ill in Bed; then went out in this Diſguiſe, protected by none but my Guardian Angels. If by Misfortune, ſaid I, Don Tiello, (who has generouſly offer'd to defend Don Ramire,) ſhou'd be with him, or perhaps come in, whilſt I am there, what muſt I do, and how ſhall I extricate my ſelf from ſuch a Difficulty? Love, ſaid I! oh Love, for whom I ſuffer unconceivable Torments, be favourable to me this time! you ſee my deep Concern for the Danger, which threatens my Lover; I have little Hopes, and every Thing to fear, unleſs his Safety becomes your Care.

When I was arriv'd at this fatal Priſon, I hardly had Strength to ſupport me; my Spirits were feeble, and I found my ſelf in much [Page 197] Diſorder. The firſt Perſon I ſpoke to, was the Jaylor's Daughter; I told her, I was Don Tiello's Son, Friend to Don Ramire, and was come to inform him of the State of his Affairs. At theſe Words, ſhe preſs'd my Hand, like a Perſon in ſome Concern, and ſaid, Ah, Sir, the unhappy Gentleman is loſt, if you do not take ſpeedy Meaſures to ſave him. I know more of that Matter than you, continued ſhe, and perhaps intereſt my ſelf as much. The Place we were in, was ſo dark, that I cou'd not ſee her Face, tho' I had a great Curioſity to know the Perſon who expreſs'd her ſelf ſo feelingly; but I ſaid in a trembling Voice, pray tell me, what you have heard concerning him. All the Judges, reply'd ſhe, are devoted to the Governour, and Don Ramire will be condemn'd without Appeal; I have endeavoured in vain to find an Opportunity of ſpeaking to to him, but never cou'd ſee him, ſince he was brought here, cover'd with Blood and Duſt; and in that diſmal Condition, he appear'd to me the handſomeſt Man, I had ever ſeen. Alas, how fatal was that Sight to me? I was ſo touch'd with his Misfortune, that all my Thoughts ever ſince have been employ'd on his Safety, and I am happy enough to have found an Expedient, which cannot fail.

Here ſhe was ſilent, but after a little Pauſe, aſſum'd her Diſcourſe; and ſince you are his Friend, continued ſhe, I ought not to conceal from you, the Diſpoſition I have for him; I [Page 198] muſt confeſs I love him, and my Affection is rais'd to ſuch a Degree, that I am reſolv'd to deliver him from hence, if in giving him his Life, he will dedicate the Remainder of it to me, and render my Fate inſeparable from his. Tell him, how near the Danger is, ſince he will not have common Mercy ſhown him, and that if he can purchaſe his Life on theſe Terms, I am ready to ſerve him: I know he is a Man of Quality, and the vaſt Diſproportion there is between us; but the Condition, I hope, will make me acceptable to him: I ſhall for his ſake, expoſe my Family to the Governour's Reſentment, who will believe my Father contriv'd his Eſcape, and perhaps, puniſh him accordingly. How often have I ſaid to my ſelf, Laurea! unfortunate Laurea! ceaſe attempting a Happineſs that meets with ſuch Difficulties. What! has my Paſſion for a Stranger, Power enough to make me forſake my Parents? Alas, Sir, I have diſputed with my ſelf, till I am no longer Miſtreſs of my Reaſon; I cou'd ſacrifice every thing for him; he is dearer to me than Life, and the Danger he is in, affects me beyond Imagination. Aſſure him from me, that my Heart never receiv'd an Impreſſion before. I am young, and tho' not beautiful, may paſs for agreeable. Oh! how happy ſhou'd I think my ſelf, if he did but like me? And cou'd his Paſſion proceed more from Inclination than Gratitude, I ſhou'd die tranſported: Yet, ſaid ſhe to me, as you are particularly acquainted with him, pray tell me, whether he is not already [Page 199] engaged; for in fine, as I do every thing for him, I alſo expect, he will make me an equal Return; therefore, go to him, I ſhall wait your Anſwer here, in order to undertake ſomething in his Favour.

Tho' my Heart was ſo contracted with Grief, that I cou'd hardly anſwer her, after ſhe had ceas'd ſpeaking, I ſaid to her, Madam, your Deſign in preſerving a Gentleman, ſo deſerving of Life, is truly generous. I am perſwaded, he will not be ungrateful, and ſhall let you know his Sentiments, when I return. She left me immediately to tell her Father, I was Don Tiello's Son, who deſired to ſee Don Ramire. He made no Difficulty, but conducted me to the Place, where this unhappy Gentleman was ſhut up: Alas, Madam, where ſhall I find Words to expreſs the Anguiſh and Trouble I felt at that Inſtant? What am I going to do, and what Advice ſhall I give him? ſaid I. Muſt I deliver him up to my Rival? No, I cannot bear the Thought of it. He ſhall never know the Paſſion ſhe has for him; then reproaching my ſelf, for coming to ſuch a Reſolution; What, continued I! wou'd I thus ſee him periſh, and deliver him up to the Fury of his Enemies? Oh! ſure, I cannot be guilty of ſo much Cruelty, for rather than let him die, he ſhall be hers: I will with my own Hand give him to her, and ſince I am deſtin'd to be a Sacrifice, my Peace and Liberty ſhall be the Ranſom of his Preſervation.

[Page 200] Thus, Madam, I came to the Chamber where Don Ramire was confin'd, and being let in, the Doors were ſhut again. He was ſo extremely thoughtful, that he hardly turn'd his Eyes towards me, till I ſpoke to him; What makes you ſo diſpirited, Sir? ſaid I: Where is that Courage, which ever ſupported you? The Tone of my Voice, made me known to him, and opening his Arms; Oh, my Angel! cry'd he, the only dear Object of my Vows; Is it you I ſee here, in this frightful Priſon? Are you come to ſhare my Pains? At theſe Words, he took hold of my Hand, and kiſs'd it with Tranſports of the greateſt Paſſion. I ſat down by him, and was ſome Time, before I cou'd recover my Speech, ſo many diſmal Thoughts conſpir'd to increaſe my Deſpair; at laſt, I made an Effort, and ſaid, if you knew, my dear Don Ramire, what is contriving againſt you, my Preſence wou'd not give you all this Joy. They are working your Ruin, and you cannot poſſibly avoid the Misfortune, you are threatened with, but by Marrying Laurea, the Jaylor's Daughter, who is in Love with you, and will do her utmoſt to ſave you. The Dreſs I am in deceiv'd her, and ſhe has confeſs'd her Paſſion for you; ſhe charg'd me to inform you of it, and requires your Anſwer, aſſuring me at the ſame Time, you will have nothing to fear, if once you conſent to her Wiſhes; I conjure you then, by all our Affection, to embrace this important Occaſion: Marry her, ſince there is no other Remedy [Page 201] left: I had rather deplore the Loſs of your Heart, than that of your Life. O fatal Reſolution! added I, muſt I even loſe the Hopes of ever being yours? But alas, what do I ſay? It is no time now to reflect. I cannot ballance your Intereſt with mine. You muſt live, Sir, tho' you live for another: Whilſt unhappy Inea, (retired to ſome remote ſolitary Place) will be dead to you, and to the reſt of the world.

Don Ramire heard me with Surprize, and made me this Reply; Do you think, Madam, I ſhall not always prefer Death to an inglorious Life, and that I am capable of making you the Sacrifice? No, unfortunate as I am, Love and Reſolution are my Companions, and nothing ſhall ever make me change. Here, I cou'd not reſtrain my Tears, which he perceived, and ſaid, ceaſe weeping, my dear Inea; Why will you add to my Calamities? Oh! rather conceal your Trouble, ſince it is in vain to adviſe me to ſuch an Alliance. Muſt I ſpeak to you no more of it? (reply'd I, ſighing) Are you then reſolv'd on your Death, and mine, and will your Love and Courage, be of no other Help to you, than to let you fall a Victim to an incens'd Parent, whoſe only Son, you have deſtroyed? At leaſt, ſtrive to ſave your ſelf; promiſe every thing to Laurea, and perform what you pleaſe. You know me very little, Madam, interrupted he, if you believe, I can be ſo perfidious: This young Creature will depend on my Aſſurances, and I cannot reſolve to deceive her. Heavens! What [Page 202] ſhall we do then? cry'd I: Your tender Scruples, are very ill timed; Do you conſider, how near you are the Danger, which threatens you, and that your Fate is almoſt inevitable? I beg of you, I conjure you to comply with Laurea, tho' you are dearer to me than Life. Alas! if I ſaw the leaſt Ray of Hope, do you think, I wou'd deſire you to act ſo contrary to my Peace? Oh my Dear! my eternal Love! continu'd I; don't ſacrifice your ſelf to our mutual Affection, but yield to my laſt and earneſt Requeſt.

A Deluge of Tears follow'd theſe Words, and my Spirits were ſo faint, that I cou'd hardly continue my Diſcourſe. Ah! how fatal will your Pity be to me, cry'd he? Your Trouble pierces my Heart. Don't be ſo dejected, charming Inea, Heaven will take care of us. Yes, ſaid I, Heaven wou'd take care of us indeed, if you did but ſecond its Inſpirations. Has not Providence ſent you Laurea? Oh! name her not, reply'd he; I conjure you, by all the Powers of Love, never to mention her more. You are reſolv'd to periſh then, ſaid I. I wou'd live for you, anſwer'd he, but if it be not poſſible, I will at leaſt die conſtant, and be ſatisfy'd with giving you the laſt Proof of my Fidelity. Here in a deep Silence, he embrac'd my Knees, and moiſten'd my Hands with his Tears, which gave a new Courſe to mine. My Breaſt, was fill'd with Grief, and in this ſad Moment a Thought came into my Head, which I fancy'd might be executed without much Difficulty.

[Page 203] Don't be againſt all the Ways there are left to preſerve your Life, ſaid I, but ſwear by your Paſſion for me, that you will ſtrictly follow the Advice, I am going to give you. It's unneceſſary, you ſhou'd engage me by Oath, to obey you, reply'd he; you know I am devoted to your Commands, and tho' I cou'd not conſent to deceive Laurea, you muſt not judge from thence, of what I am capable of doing for you. Well, ſaid I, you ſhall have nothing to ſay to her; I will be with you about this time to Morrow, and we muſt exchange Cloaths; you ſhall go out in mine, and immediately repair to Don Tiello, who will have Notice of it: There are Veſſels going out a Cruiſing, and as you have Relations at the Court of Morocco, you may find an Opportunity of going to a Place, where you will be out of the Power of your Enemies. What, Madam! cry'd he, and leave you here a Priſoner, in my room, expos'd to the Fury of your Relations, and the Governour's Reſentment. Muſt you be ſacrifie'd for my Liberty? No, I had rather die before your Face. I am not baſe enough to reſolve on any ſuch thing, I ſee very well (ſaid I to him, in an angry Tone) that I muſt uſe all my Authority to make you obey me. Since you compel me to it, Sir, I command you to prepare your ſelf to go off, in the manner I told you; I proteſt if you continue to be obſtinate, I never will ſee you more, I retract the Promiſe I made you of being yours, and diſpenſe you [Page 204] of all your Vows to me; ſo that now being free, we may diſpoſe as we pleaſe of our Deſtinies.

Never was Man in a greater Confuſion, than poor Don Ramire, when he heard me utter theſe Words, he flung himſelf at my Feet, and look'd like one diſtracted: Are you then reſolv'd, Madam, to hate me, and make another Man happy? ſaid he; what Crime have I committed to deſerve ſo many Misfortunes? I only refuſe to fly this Priſon, becauſe I wou'd not leave you here; ſure this Proof of my Paſſion cannot be ſo cruel an Offence? Why will you add one Torment to another? I muſt be abſolutely obey'd, reply'd I, ſince in leaving me here, I run no Riſque; Laurea will get me out, and it's with her, I ſhall take Meaſures for that Purpoſe; therefore if you love me, do not oppoſe my ſetting you free. Alas, Madam! diſpoſe of me as you pleaſe (ſaid he in a dejected Manner) I am wholly yours, and never wou'd have diſputed your Power, were it not for the fear I was in, of expoſing you to inevitable Dangers. I am now ſatisfy'd, anſwer'd I; for be aſſur'd Don Ramire, if I lov'd you leſs, I ſhou'd not have been ſo diſpleas'd with your Refuſal: At theſe Words he paſſionately kiſs'd my Hand, and with tender Regret we ſeparated.

The Jaylor being told by a Soldier of the Guard, that I wanted to have the Door open'd, came and conducted me out, but I was uneaſy, not ſeeing Laurea, who (having veil'd her ſelf) [Page 205] was ſtanding in a dark Paſſage near the outward Gate, where on a ſudden I heard her ſay, Hold, Sir, pray let me know what News from the Perſon you have juſt ſeen; he acknowledges your Generoſity with the higheſt Gratitude, Madam, ſaid I, and will make you Miſtreſs of his Fate, being reſolv'd to live only for you. I fear you flatter me, reply'd ſhe, for I am eaſily deceiv'd, but if you do, Heaven will puniſh you both. No, ſaid I, do not ſuſpect his Honour, nor mine, you ſhall never have reaſon to repent your generous Sentiments, but when will you ſet him free? As ſoon as poſſible, anſwer'd ſhe; my Father, and the Soldiers who guard him eat together; I intend to put Opium in their Wine, and when they are aſleep, ſteal the Keys, ſo let him out. But what will become of us afterwards, continu'd Laurea? You ſhall embark together, ſaid I, and rejoyce at your good Fortune, far from Porto-Real; thus I left her, and ſhe ſeem'd highly pleas'd at the Aſſurances I gave her.

I was going towards home, when I thought it very neceſſary, Don Tiello ſhou'd be inform'd of what had paſs'd; therefore I went to him, and told him I had us'd his Name to be admitted into the Priſon, which I hop'd he wou'd approve; that I had been trying Means for my Friend's Eſcape, and as I did not doubt of ſucceeding, we had agreed he ſhou'd come to him as ſoon as he was free, being perſuaded he wou'd be ſo generous, as to take care of his Safety, till he had found a Ship to carry [Page 206] him to Morocco. The Circumſtance is very lucky, ſaid he, for my Brother lies now in the Road, and only waits a fair Wind to ſail for that Coaſt; be aſſur'd I ſhall neglect no Opportunity of ſerving him. After this Anſwer, I deſir'd him not to go the next Day to the Priſon, becauſe I was to be there, and ſhou'd paſs for his Son; ſo left him without being known, and my Mind was more compos'd, than it had been ever ſince Don Ramire's fatal Confinement.

By this time I was come home, where I found Tereſa waiting for me. I related to her all that had paſs'd; but when I recollected, I had advis'd Don Ramire to lay his Liberty at Laurea's Feet, I thought, I cou'd never have been capable of acting ſo contrary to my Sentiments. What cou'd I do Tereſa, ſaid I, for were he as weak as I have been, and had Fear made him inconſtant, by this time, I ſhou'd ſee him no longer mine; and on the other ſide, had I not us'd this Stratagem, in a few Days he wou'd be no more in the World.

I found ſome Eaſe in entertaining her after this manner moſt part of the Night, and repreſenting to her his extraordinary Paſſion and Conſtancy, his Deſign of going to Morocco, and mine of meeting him there. I ought not to diſtruſt, ſaid I, the Promiſe he has given me, ſince he declar'd he rather wou'd chuſe Death, than be contracted to his Deliverer; and if I can get my Jewels (which are in my Mother's keeping) nothing ſhall prevent my making this [Page 207] Voyage. Tereſa told me, it was eaſy enough to get into her Cloſet, and if I wou'd carry her with me, ſhe wou'd take upon her to get 'em, tho' ſhe ſhou'd hazard her Life for it. Her Affection to my Service ſo ſenſibly touch'd me, that I embrac'd her, and promis'd never to forſake her. You muſt go out with me to Morrow Night, continu'd I, diſguis'd in Men's Cloaths, for fear my Relations (perceiving my Flight, and the Loſs of the Jewels) ſhou'd ſeize you; as Don Tiello is a Man of Honour, and in our Priſoner's Intereſt, I will meet him before I go to the Priſon, and tell him my Reſolution of ſtaying in Don Ramire's Place; I ſhall deſire him at the ſame to protect you, and procure us a Ship to follow him. But, Madam, reply'd ſhe, what will you do with Laurea, whom you intend to deceive, under the Notion of your being Don Ramire? She will follow your Fortune, and if ſhe diſcovers who you are, may give you a great deal of Trouble. This requiring ſome Reflection, every thing I had to fear, preſented it ſelf to my Imagination all that Night, and tormented me a thouſand different Ways.

The next Morning I pretended I was extremely indiſpos'd, to prevent my Mother's ſuſpecting I had any Deſign; and as ſoon as it was Dusk of Evening, Tereſa diſguis'd, enter'd my Mother's Cloſet, and took the Jewels, as we had propos'd it; then I went directly to the Priſon, where Laurea was expecting me, without any Light; I told her, I was reſolv'd [Page 208] to expoſe my Life for her, and Don Ramire's Service, aſſuring her, I wou'd carry them to a Ship which wou'd ſoon put 'em out of the Power of their Enemies. My Fate is in your Hands, reply'd ſhe, and provided I am with him I love, carry me where you pleaſe: I am now endeavouring his Liberty, and do not doubt, but I ſhall ſucceed in what I undertake. I return'd her Thanks in the Name of Don Ramire, then hiding my ſelf with my Cloke, went to the Jaylor, whom I complimented in few Words, and deſired the Favour of ſeeing Don Ramire, as from my Father; you ſhall ſee him this Night, and no more, (ſaid he to me, in a rough manner) for Orders are given, that none but Don Tiello ſhou'd be admitted, and if the Governour knew I ſuffer you to ſpeak to him, he wou'd make me repent it. This unexpected Reception ſtun'd me: Alas! thought I, if we do not improve this Opportunity, we are all undone.

Don Ramire, as ſoon as I enter'd his Chamber, receiv'd me in his Arms, and ſaluted me with ſo much Tenderneſs, in his Words and Actions, that it ſhow'd at once, his Love and Gratitude. Come, my Dear, ſaid I, let us make good uſe of this precious Moment; put on my Cloaths immediately, and give me yours; cover your Face after the ſame manner, I did mine; and if you meet Laurea as you go out, tell her, Don Ramire depends entirely on her Friendſhip: Tereſa (in whom I conſide) is dreſs'd in Mens Cloaths, and waits [Page 209] at the end of a Street, to go along with you to Don Tiello's, who is ready to receive you; as for my part, I ſhall ſtay here, till Laurea comes to relieve me. Alas, my charming Inea, reply'd he, how ſhall I reſolve to forſake you? No, my only Dear, I cannot ſubmit to a Command, ſo deſperate. If I muſt periſh, or loſe you, I readily prefer the firſt. Ah cruel Man! ſaid I, ſhall we then diſpute for ever, and will you act both your own Deſtruction and mine? How can you be ſo obſtinate? I beg you, dear Don Ramire, I conjure you, by all the Love you ever profeſs'd to me, and the Proofs I have given you of a Return, not to deny me this Favour; I fear every thing on your Account, but have little to fear on my own; obey me this Inſtant, and make no Reply.

Thus, Madam, I at laſt perſuaded him, tho' not without much Difficulty, and having diveſted my ſelf of my Clothes, I made him put 'em on. The Diſguiſe ſeem'd favourable to him, and I was flattering my ſelf with a ſucceſsful Event, when the Hour of parting drew near. Our Sighs and Tears, were the Interpreters of our exceſſive Grief. Is it poſſible, I have Reſolution enough, ſaid Don Ramire, to act a Part, ſo contrary to the Sentiments of my Soul? Oh! think, that in obeying you this Day, I give you the greateſt Teſtimony of an inviolable Paſſion. I regard it as a Proof of your Conſtancy, reply'd I, which will have its Reward; our Fortune may receive a happy Change, then we ſhall triumph over our ill [Page 210] Stars; I even feel a ſecret Satisfaction in my preſent Misfortune, ſince it gives me an Opportunity of ſhowing, how much I love you. In what a different State is my bleeding Heart, cry'd he? Can I ever be more unhappy, than to leave you in this frightful Place, and live ſome Days without you? But, continued he, be aſſur'd, my Body only will be ſeparated from you; my Thoughts ſhall ever attend you; receive my Vows, divine Inea, and let this Ring be the Pledge of my Love; Heaven ordain, we may be ſo united, as never to be parted more. I accept your Hand, reply'd I; here, receive mine, and may the ſuperior Powers be witneſs of our Promiſes. Adieu, my Dear, (continued I, embracing him, and bathing his Face with my Tears.) Farewel my Angel, ſaid he, preſſing me in his Arms, it grieves my very Soul to leave you.

Don Ramire, in this manner, was conducted out; and as ſoon as I had loſt ſight of him, all my Fears for him, and my own Conduct, came hurrying to my Mind. I know not, Madam, how it was poſſible, I cou'd bear with the Anxiety of my Thoughts; all that was diſmal, and full of Terror, enter'd my Imagination, whilſt I was uncertain of his Fate; but by the time I thought he might be out of Danger, my afflicted Mind receiv'd ſome Relief.

As I had paſs'd but a very indifferent Night, I lay all the next Day on the Bed, which made the Jaylor believe I was ſick; therefore whenever he came into my Chamber, he wou'd not [Page 211] interrupt me, but leaving what was neceſſary by me, retired. I continued in this Situation, till the Evening, when I was agreeably ſurpriz'd with a Viſit from Don Tiello, who brought me a Letter, and inform'd me of Don Ramire's being happily embark'd; he highly commended the Reſolution I had ſhown, in ſtaying in his Place, with the hazard of my Life, to preſerve his; but after he had been ſome time with me, he diſcover'd, I was not what I appear'd to be; the Tone of my Voice, my Complexion, and particularly the Emotion I was in, when I ſpoke of Don Ramire, with the Joy I expreſs'd at receiving his Letter, and my Tears, every thing confirm'd his Suſpicions; yet for fear of offending me, he wou'd not mention any thing of the Matter; proteſting only, he wou'd do all, that depended on him to ſerve me, and that I cou'd not confide in a Perſon, who wou'd make a more generous return. After ſome Diſcourſes of this Nature, he took Leave of me, wiſhing I might meet a Recompence, proportionable to ſo great and perfect a Friendſhip. I paſs'd the reſt of my Night in reading over, and over, Don Ramire's Letter, which was the only Conſolation I had, the five Days I was Priſoner; it was writ in theſe Terms,

I Have left you, my dear Inea, in ſo frightful a Place, and with ſuch melancholy Circumſtances, that you may eaſily imagine, the Condition I am in, is not leſs deplorable than yours. I muſt confeſs, [Page 212] I was juſt on the Point of returning to you, but the Apprehenſion I was under, of diſpleaſing you, prevented my giving ſuch a Proof of my Love. Oh! ought I not to be aſham'd you ſhou'd have ſurpaſs'd me in Generoſity, and that I cou'd be weak enough to ſuffer it? Yet do not interpret this to the Prejudice of One, who only conſented to fly, that he might preſerve himſelf yours; and ſince our good Fortune equally depends on my Life, I ſhall take care of it, as an Offering, no longer mine, but conſecrated to you. Come then ſpeedily, my Angel, and let us by our Union, taſte immortal Pleaſures. My leaving this Place, is defer'd no longer than the finiſhing this Letter. I am going, and ſhall expect you with Impatience, proportionable to the Happineſs of our next meeting: Adieu, my Soul, Adieu my only Dear; we ſhall have no Reaſon, I hope, to complain hereafter of Fortune, ſince our Paſſion ſurpaſſes every thing, that has ever been known in the World.

I muſt tell you, Madam, I had taken Tereſa with me to the Priſon, by which means I made her acquainted with Laurea, who ſuppos'd her to be a young Gentleman, and our intimate Friend. As they us'd often to meet in a Place, they had appointed for that Purpoſe, Laurea cou'd not help ſaying one Day to her, that ſhe was very uneaſy, concerning what ſhe ſhou'd act in favour of Don Ramire, and that ſhe had a mind to leave him in Confinement; for what can I hope from him? continu'd ſhe; I may depend on a great deal of Chagrin on account [Page 213] of my Father, who will be proſecuted for his Eſcape: I ſhall be the occaſion of the Ruin of my Family, and how do I know, but I may be loſt with them. It's true, I am promis'd every thing from Don Ramire, yet my Birth is ſo inferior to his, that nothing leſs than an extraordinary Paſſion, cou'd induce him to condeſcend to our Alliance; beſides, he has never ſeen me; and when we are once embark'd together, inſtead of loving me, perhaps he may hate me. Oh! I think my ſelf already abandon'd by him, and ſet aſhore on ſome deſert Iſland, where Death will be the Recompence of all my Pains. Tereſa trembled at what ſhe heard this young Creature ſay, knowing I cou'd only make my Eſcape by her means, ſo omitted nothing to bring her back to her firſt Intentions. Generous Laurea, ſaid ſhe, I am perſuaded, if you knew the Perſon you propoſe to ſerve, as well as I do, you wou'd never change your Reſolution; he has all the Sentiments of a Man of Honour, and I am ſure, his Paſſion for you will be eternal: The Chimeras you frame to your ſelf, have not the leaſt Foundation; I therefore conjure you, to be conſtant in ſo important a Cauſe, which will undoubtedly contribute to your good Fortune, as well as his. Laurea, aſham'd of having ſhown ſo much Inequality of Temper, made ſome Excuſes, then reſolv'd again on her firſt Deſign; I am willing to believe you, ſaid ſhe, and to convince you of the Truth, be here exactly at Two after Midnight; [Page 214] I will bring Don Ramire to you; every thing is ready for his Eſcape, and you may take Meaſures for our Departure. Tereſa, extreamly overjoy'd at theſe Words, left her immediately, and went to Don Tiello to tell him, Don Ramire's Friend, whom he had ſeen in Priſon, wou'd be that Night ſet free, and deſired, he wou'd prepare a Sloop for their going off; but, continu'd ſhe, how ſhall we diſengage our ſelves from Laurea, who will do us all the Prejudice in her Power, if once ſhe perceives we have betray'd her. When ſhe comes aboard, ſaid he, and finds it is not Don Ramire's Concern, ſhe will be too happy to return home, without diſcovering any thing, for fear they ſhou'd charge her with having an Hand in his Eſcape; and if ſome unforeſeen Accident does not happen, I am perſuaded, we ſhall manage this Affair to our Satisfaction.

As I cou'd not tell, what Hour Laurea had appointed to ſet me at Liberty, I began to be very much tired with my Confinement; but in the dead of Night, I was reliev'd of my Uneaſineſs, when I heard my Door open ſoftly, and ſaw the Jaylor's Daughter; being wrap'd in my Cloak, I advanc'd towards her, with my Face almoſt hid, for fear ſhe ſhou'd diſcover I was not Don Ramire: I embrac'd her with the greateſt Marks of a violent Paſſion, but ſaid little to her on the Score of my Gratitude; ſhe was in ſuch Diſorder her ſelf, that I believe it wou'd have been hard for her, to perceive the Deceit, had ſhe even ſeen my [Page 215] Face. In one Hand ſhe had a dark Lanthorn, and in the other a Bunch of Keys, ſo without ſaying any thing to me, ſhe made me a Sign to follow her, which I did, and we paſs'd all the Soldiers who were faſt aſleep, as ſhe had contriv'd it, by putting Opium in their Wine. Thus we left the Place without the leaſt Obſtacle; but as ſoon as we were in the Street, ſhe took hold of my Arm, as if ſhe were afraid I ſhou'd fly her, cling'd to me ſo cloſe, that I was hardly able to walk.

Don Tiello, and Tereſa, were waiting for me in the Place they had appointed, from whence, we went together to the Sea-ſide, where we found the Boat belonging to the Ship, which was to carry me to Morocco. The Night was very dark, and Laurea made me a thouſand Careſſes, I cou'd but very ill return, being in pain to know, what wou'd become of this young Creature, after ſhe had diſcover'd the Plot. We were not long a making up to the Veſſel, and as ſoon as we came on board, Don Tiello carry'd us into the Captain's Cabbin; but, Madam, how ſhall I tell you the Surprize I was in, when I found this Captain to be my Father, who was no leſs aſtoniſh'd to ſee Tereſa and me, after all the Enquiry that had been made about us throughout the whole City. Don Tiello, knowing he profeſs'd a great Friendſhip for Don Ramire, had truſted him with the Secret, and declar'd, I was that unhappy Gentleman's Miſtreſs, who had reſolv'd to follow his Fortune into Morocco, [Page 216] in Man's Diſguiſe; he ſtarted back three or four Steps, and not being Maſter of the firſt Effects of his Paſſion, was going to draw his Sword, when I flung my ſelf at his Feet: Oh Sir! ſaid I, forgive me; remember you are my Father, and vouchſafe to hear, before you puniſh me. I embrac'd his Knees, and wet his Hand with my Tears. Tho' he entirely lov'd me, yet in this Occaſion, he ſhow'd his Reſentment, by making me many Reproaches, and at laſt, bid me ſay what I cou'd, to juſtify my ſelf.

I knew my only Remedy was, to confeſs the Truth, which I did in ſo feeling a Manner, that it mov'd his Compaſſion. He was very well acquainted with Don Ramire's Merit, and had been thoroughly concern'd for his Impriſonment; but being inform'd of his Eſcape, he expreſs'd an entire Satisfaction. My Father left us to go into another Cabbin with Don Tiello, who was very much his Friend. I ſee, ſaid he, you are ſurpriz'd, as well as me, at what has happened; you were certainly a Stranger to Inea's Flight, and did not think, it was her you had put into my Hands. I proteſt to you, reply'd Don Tiello, I am under a Conſternation, which I cannot expreſs. I can't ſay I have committed a Fault; for perhaps, it may turn to Advantage, that the Affair has paſs'd after this Manner; but if you will make me perfectly eaſy, I beg you will grant me your Daughter's Pardon, whatever Reaſons you have to be diſpleas'd with [Page 217] her. You ſee, ſhe is contracted to Don Ramire, who is a Man of Birth and Fortune, and in my Opinion, you cannot diſpoſe of her better, than uniting her Deſtiny to his. I agree with you, reply'd my Father; but his Proceedings to obtain Inea, without my Conſent, highly offend me. I receiv'd him into my Houſe as a particular Friend, and wou'd have willingly given my eldeſt Daughter to him; was it nor a very ill Return, he made to ſo much Civility, when he engag'd this young Creature to diſguiſe her ſelf, and follow him like a Madwoman? If you remember what Inea has related to us, reply'd Don Tiello, ſhe is alone culpable; yet of all Crimes, thoſe which Love makes us commit, are moſt excuſeable, and eſpecially in a young Perſon, who has ſo little Experience. Forgive her then, I conjure you, added he, and you will confer an Obligation on me, which I ſhall ever acknowledge. My Father, who was already diſpos'd to favour me, embracing Don Tiello, ſaid to him, I am conſiderably indebted to you, for entering ſo generouſly into the Intereſt of my Family, and will forget Inea's Crime, ſince you deſire it; if Don Ramire has a real Paſſion for her, I ſhall rejoice at the Match; and as a Proof of my Satisfaction, I will carry her to Morrocco, in order to compleat their Happineſs.

This Converſation ended in my Favour, as you ſee, Madam, which I little expected; for I was in the Cabbin ſo extremely afflicted, [Page 218] that I may ſay, no Sorrow cou'd be equal to mine. What will become of me, (ſaid I to Tereſa) I am for ever unfortunate? I looſe my Liberty, in the very Moment, I thought my ſelf Miſtreſs of my Deſtiny, and I am now in the Power of a Father, who will have no Mercy of me. Alas! poor Don Ramire, I muſt never ſee him more; he will certainly think I am Dead, or Inconſtant, and either of the Two will drive him into Deſpair; I ſhall be deliver'd up to my Mother and Siſter's Severities, which is a Misfortune, I can never endure.

Whilſt I was ſpeaking, Laurea look'd at me with the Eyes of a Fury: Don't you deſerve the Fate you have met with, ſaid ſhe? Nay, even more than what ſeems to threaten you. You have deceived me, perfidious as you are, and improv'd my Weakneſs in Favour of your Lover. I have juſt delivered up my Family to the Governour's Reſentment, but don't think to eſcape me; you ſhall be my Victim, as I am your's. In pronouncing theſe Words, ſhe flung her ſelf upon me, and I do not doubt, but wou'd have ſtifled me, had not Tereſa come to my Aſſiſtance, as well as my Father and Don Tiello, who hearing a Noiſe, ran, and freed me from this mad Creature's Rage; I ſtood in want of their Help, for I did not reſiſt her, prefering Death to an unhappy Life.

Don Tiello ſaw very well, to what a Condition my Grief had reduc'd me, and neglected nothing to eaſe my troubled Mind; he beg'd [Page 219] I wou'd no longer afflict my ſelf. I have prevail'd with your Father, Madam, ſaid he, and he has promis'd me to carry you to Morocco. I had not patience to hear any more, but upon theſe Aſſurances, went and flung my ſelf at my Father's Feet, and embracing his Knees, expreſs'd my Gratitude; he told me with a great deal of Goodneſs, that, as it was Don Tiello's Requeſt, he forgave me, and conſented I ſhou'd marry Don Ramire. At theſe Words Laurea cry'd aloud, and made ſuch Complaints, as wou'd move any one with Pity; I knew by my ſelf what ſhe ſuffered. Alas! (ſaid I, to Tereſa) were my Caſe like hers, how wretched ſhou'd I be? She loves Don Ramire, and was flatter'd with the Hopes of paſſing the reſt of her Days with him, but now thoſe agreeable Thoughts are all deſtroy'd. She loves him leſs than you imagine, reply'd Tereſa, and if I had not done my utmoſt to make her purſue her firſt Intentions, I very much doubt the Performance of what ſhe promis'd you. Here, Tereſa related to us what had paſs'd between them, as I have already inform'd you, Madam; and Don Tiello told Laurea, the beſt Thing ſhe cou'd do, was to return to Porto-Real before Day, that her Father might not know of her having a Hand in the Matter; ſo he took his Leave of us, and carrying her with him into the Boat, they both went aſhore.

I had but juſt Time to change my Cloaths, when you came on Board, and your Trouble, [Page 220] Madam, interrupted the Pleaſure I began to taſte, at the Thoughts of ſeeing Don Ramire, who as yet has not heard of my Misfortune; he will leave Morocco, perhaps, in Hopes of finding me at Porto-Real; his Paſſion may make him forget the Danger, which threatens him at that Place, and I know not whether I ſhall ever ſee him more: I have alſo loſt Tereſa, who was ſo true to me; this poor Creature was ſnatch'd from me, by one of the Officers in the Admiral's Ship; my Prayers cou'd not prevent her being carried off by this Barbarian; and I aſſure you, Madam, had it not been for you, I ſhou'd have ſunk under the Load of innumerable Calamities.

Here Inea endeavour'd to hide her Tears, but cou'd not reſtrain their Courſe. Felicia embrac'd her, and us'd many tender Expreſſions to ſoften her Sorrow. Alas, my Dear, ſaid ſhe, I my ſelf am very unfortunate, and did you know the cruel Torments I endure, you wou'd own, you are not alone to be pitied; but I conſider, it's Time for you to retire; I have kept you up too long. I am ſenſible, Madam, reply'd Inea, I have tired your Patience with the Recital of my Adventures, but that's a Fault which attends all unhappy Lovers, ſince the only Conſolation they have left 'em, is that of lamenting their Fate. You do me Injuſtice, replied Felicia, if you have ſo diſobliging a Thought; I am extremely pleaſed with your Compliance; and to convince you thereof, I will to Morrow, in Return, confide [Page 221] the Secrets of my Life to you. In finiſhing theſe Words, ſhe embrac'd her again, and Inea went to her Bed.

Phoebus had no ſooner grac'd the watery Plain, but young Inea (impatient to hear Felicia's Adventures) roſe, and ſaluted her with a pleaſant Morning: I wiſh, my Dear, (ſaid Felicia to her,) I had not clos'd my Eyes all Night, for I have had a frightful Dream concerning a Perſon, I very much eſteem; he appeared to me in the greateſt Dangers, engag'd with the Moors, and vanquiſh'd. Oh, how my Soul is alarm'd! Your Mind is ſo poſſeſs'd with diſmal Ideas, reply'd Inea, that you muſt not be ſurpriz'd, if they affect you in your Sleep; yet, Madam, Dreams are not to be taken Notice of. Alas, ſaid Felicia, they wou'd make no Impreſſion on me at any other Time; but what have I not to fear at preſent, being far from my Country, and from a Friend, whoſe Abſence is the chief Cauſe of my Uneaſineſs? Tho' I own to you, Abelhamar's Paſſion for me, is no ſmall Addition to my Woes, ſince I muſt be continually on my Guard againſt the Purſuits of a Prince, who has ſo much Power in this Court. Unhappy Creature that I am! Were not my Misfortunes great enough? Why muſt the few Charms I have left, ſerve only to render them the more inſupportable? Don't add to your Affliction, Madam, ſaid Inea, the Prince has too much Reſpect for you, to uſe his Authority in Oppoſition to your Inclinations, and you may [Page 222] eaſily imagine, as ſoon as your Relations are inform'd of your Deſtiny, they will employ all their Intereſt to relieve you. I ſhou'd be in the Wrong to doubt their Affection for me, reply'd Felicia weeping, tho' in their Opinion, my Behaviour merits no Favour. Oh! that I rather owed my Liberty to the Man, whoſe Preſence now wou'd make me happy. I find you are in Love, Madam, (ſaid Inea, interrupting her.) I confeſs it, reply'd Felicia bluſhing; and ſince you have given me ſo great a Proof of your Confidence, I promiſe you mine, and will inform you of my Weakneſs.

Felicia began immediately to relate her Story, from the time her Father had contracted her to the Prince of Carency, but her Diſcourſe was often interrupted with Tears, which the Thoughts of her Misfortunes extorted from her; I am not only concern'd, ſaid ſhe, at my being ſeparated from the Count of La Vagne, but inconſolable, when I think, how Caſilda betray'd me, after having choſe her for my Friend, and lov'd her ſincerely. I condemn her, reply'd Inea, and wonder how any one cou'd be ſo perfidious, eſpecially to a Perſon, who no ways deſerv'd ſuch inhuman Uſage.

They were talking in this manner, when the Governeſs of the Slaves came, and bid 'em dreſs themſelves, in order to wait on the Queen to the Moſquez, where they were oblig'd to attend, tho' Chriſtians. Felicia, during the Ceremony of thoſe Infidels, took ſuch care to hide ſelf in her Veil, that altho' Abelhamar [Page 223] ſought her with a great deal of Attention, he cou'd not diſtinguiſh her from the reſt of her Companions; he did not doubt but this Affectation was deſign'd, which ſo ſenſibly griev'd him, that he retir'd to his Apartment, and wrote the enſuing Letter.

WHAT Crime have I committed, lovely Felicia, to deſerve your Averſion? You fly me, and even deny me the Satisfaction of ſeeing your beauteous Face. Can you be offended at a Paſſion, your Charms have created? What Violence have I not done my ſelf, to ſuppreſs my Tranſports, rather than incur your Diſpleaſure? Oh! treat me with leſs Severity; my Love is worthy a more obliging Return, ſince I am ſeeking Means to procure your Liberty, which I hope to effect, in ſpite of the Queen's Oppoſition.

Celima being return'd from the Moſquez, order'd that ſome of the Slaves ſhou'd come and work by her; Felicia was of the Number, and as Abelhamar was watching an Opportunity to give her this Letter, he approach'd her, and ſlip'd it into her Lap, which he thought ſhe had perceiv'd, and wou'd have taken care to hide it; but it happen'd otherwiſe, for the Queen (who was inform'd of the Prince's Sentiments for Felicia) ſeeing him put a Paper into her Work, found Means to take it, ſo was convinc'd of the Truth, and extremely pleas'd this young Spaniard made no Return to Abelhamar's Paſſion. The Queen [Page 224] had a ſecret Averſion to him, tho' his only Crime was that of being lawful Heir to the Crown ſhe was in Poſſeſſion of, which was a ſufficient Motive, to make him diſagreeable to her.

That Evening, Celima took a Walk in the Palace Gardens, and as ſhe had a Mind to ſpeak with Felicia, ſhe call'd her, as it were, to lean on her Arm, and advanc'd towards a Terrace-Walk, from whence one cou'd diſcover the Sea-Side, with a moſt delightful Proſpect; there ſhe ſate down, and looking at Felicia with a graceful Air; Tho' you have not been with me long, ſaid ſhe, I have a particular Kindneſs for you, and am willing to tell you, that if you have a Mind to merit my Affection, you muſt entirely baniſh Abelhamar from your Heart. I am inform'd of his Sentiments, and know part of your's; but it's to be fear'd, that a young Creature as you are, (having no other Engagement, and being flatter'd with the Hopes he gives you) might ſacrifice your Virtues to your Ambition; yet I cannot believe, you wou'd conſent to be his Miſtreſs; for that is all you muſt expect from a Man, who certainly never will Marry you. I do not know, Madam, anſwer'd Felicia, (with a great deal of Modeſty) who cou'd ſpeak to you of the Prince's Sentiments; but if your Majeſty is inform'd of mine, you are convinc'd I have receiv'd his Offers in ſuch a Manner, as ought to deſtroy all the Hopes, my Misfortunes might have given him; the Condition I am in, Madam, continu'd ſhe, has not [Page 225] made any diſhonourable Impreſſion on my Heart, and I bleſs Heaven, to find your Majeſty ſo oppos'd to a Thing, which I cou'd not think on, without the greateſt Horror; for in my Opinion, it is more glorious to die, than live a Life deſtitute of Virtue.

What! ſaid the Queen, wou'd you ſooner chuſe Death, than be Miſtreſs to Abelhamar? Who wou'd not, as well as I, Madam, (replied Felicia,) and what other Thought cou'd enter into one's Head? This Reſolution is my only Comfort, ſince I know it to be an effectual Way to deliver me from an infamous Paſſion. But if you have a Lover in Spain, ſaid the Queen, do you conſider, that in dying at Sallee, you never will ſee him more? Suppoſe there were any One, for whom I had an Inclination, replied Felicia, I ſhou'd be the more ready to die, as being the ſtrongeſt Evincement I cou'd give him of my Conſtancy; for if it were my Misfortune, not to live for him, I never wou'd for any other. Ha, Felicia! ſaid the Queen, ſmiling, What do you tell me; is it poſſible that Cupid hath already ſummon'd a Heart ſo young? But alas, there is no Age free from his Empire; in one Moment the fatal Dart is lanc'd. Ending theſe Words, ſhe ſigh'd, and remain'd ſome Time in a deep Silence.

All the Ladies who attended the Queen, were ſtanding at ſuch a Diſtance from the Place where ſhe was ſate, that ſhe cou'd ſpeak to Felicia without being heard; here, ſaid ſhe, (taking [Page 226] the Prince's Letter from her Boſom,) ſee what Abelhamar has wrote to you. I believe you are virtuous, therefore cannot ſuſpect your Conduct: When you ſee him, take no Notice of my knowing his Sentiments; but adviſe him, not to perſevere in his Deſign; for inſtead of procuring your Liberty, as he promiſes, perhaps he may loſe his own for the reſt of his Days. This ſhe pronounc'd with a melancholy Accent, then roſe, and return'd to the Palace.

Felicia, overjoy'd at what the Queen had ſaid to her, join'd Inea, whom ſhe deſired to ſtay with her in the Garden, and they both went, and ſate down in the ſame Place, which Celima had juſt quitted. Notwithſtanding all the Misfortunes that afflict me, (ſaid Felicia to her Companion) I have Cauſe to bleſs Heaven, for the Diſpoſition the Queen is in; ſhe forbids me receiving the Prince's Addreſſes; think, my Dear, how willing I am to obey her, and whether ſhe had Need to uſe her Authority on this Occaſion. I congratulate you, anſwer'd Inea, ſince it adds to your Comfort, but I cannot conceive out of what Motive ſhe oppoſes a Thing, which ought to be indifferent to her, unleſs ſhe has her ſelf taken an Affection for him. I am apt to believe, ſaid Felicia, her Thoughts are employ'd on ſome Object, and that her Heart is not entirely free from Love; for when ſhe ask'd me, whether I had any Engagement, I perceiv'd ſhe grew of a ſudden ſo penſive, that it was ſome Time [Page 227] before ſhe cou'd recover her ſelf; yet I cannot think ſhe likes the young Prince, for as ſhe is Miſtreſs of her Deſtiny, I ſuppoſe ſhe might make him her Husband if it were her Pleaſure; I rather believe, ſhe intends to keep him under an abſolute Submiſſion to her Will. Can ſhe be ſo little acquainted with the Motions of a Heart, interrupted Inea, to imagine Abelhamar's Sentiments will receive Laws from a Sovereign, whom he has ſome Reaſon to hate? As for my part, I know it wou'd be impoſſible for me, either to Love, or not Love, by Command; I might ſo far prevail with my ſelf, as to be ſilent, or to counterfeit an Indifference, and yet I cannot tell, whether I ſhou'd act that Part ſo well, as to pleaſe thoſe who wou'd lay ſuch a Duty on me. I ſhall not diſpute with you on that Subject, replied Felicia; but between us, I eſteem it a great Happineſs, that my Inclination is ſo ready to comply with the Queen's Commands.

As ſhe had finiſhed her Diſcourſe, ſhe perceiv'd a Man near her, whom by the Light of the Moon, ſhe knew to be Abelhamar, which not a little ſurpriz'd her; ſhe roſe in order to run from him, but he took hold of her, and ſaid, Do not fly me thus, cruel Felicia; I am unfortunate enough, to have heard your Converſation with Celima, and cou'd wiſh my ſelf dead, rather than give you the Diſpleaſure of ſeeing me once more at your Feet. Here he was ſilent, but after ſome Time, [Page 228] continu'd in this Manner; What! did I think One, whom I look'd on a Divinity, wou'd approve of the unjuſt Queen's Barbarity, and reduce me to the laſt Deſpair, by an inhumane Uſage? Take Care, ungrateful Felicia, how you behave your ſelf towards me. I am not here among Strangers, and Celima (who wou'd fain diſpoſe of my Heart, as ſhe does of my Crown) may find, Fortune is not always conſtant, and that Uſurpers have ever Cauſe to fear. My Lord, replied Felicia, I perceive you heard what the Queen ſaid, relating to you; I muſt not concern my ſelf in Affairs of State, and ſince you know my Sentiments, I ſhall make no Diffiulty in confeſſing them. It is true, I was ſenſibly pleas'd to receive a Command ſo poſitive, and conformable to my Inclination, for I cannot love an Enemy to my Country and Religion. Why have I treated you like an Enemy? anſwer'd the Prince: What Advantage did I take of my Victory? Was it a Crime to love, and ſerve you? I am ſenſible of all you acted for me, interrupted Felicia, and my Gratitude is equal to your Favours; accept of it then, my Lord, as the only Return I can make, and it's even more than the Queen will conſent to.

The Prince falling into a violent Paſſion, lean'd himſelf againſt a Balliſter of Marble Pillars, which boarded the Terrace-Walk, and looking at Felicia, with Deſpair in his Countenance; I ſwear, ſaid he, by our great Mahomet, and by my Love, that if I don't enjoy [Page 229] you, I will put the Kingdom of Fez into Deſolation, pull down from the Throne the unworthy Princeſs who ſits on it, and burn this magnificent Palace to Aſhes. You ſhall ſee, Felicia, what ſuch a Lover as I can do, when he finds himſelf deſpis'd. Your Eyes ſhall cauſe more Confuſion amongſt us, than any Revolution ever did. Oh Heavens, my Lord! cry'd Felicia; can any thing be more dreadful, than ſuch Deſigns? What! for an unfortunate Slave, as I am, wou'd you diſturb the Peace of this Nation? Are not my Woes great enough already; muſt you attempt to force me away from the Queen, after I have declar'd to you, that I will reſolve on Death, ſooner than conſent to your Deſires? My Lord, ſince I muſt confeſs it, I am in Love with One in Spain, and I will as willingly give my Life, as marry any other; Abſence it ſelf ſhall never leſſen my Affection for him: I know the Way to be conſtant, and preſerve my Heart for One, who—No, I can hear you no longer, (ſaid the Prince, interrupting her) you endeavour to diſtract me, with the crueleſt Things, you can imagine; but in Time, I will be reveng'd on you, the Queen, and that dangerous Rival. Finiſhing theſe Words, he left Felicia.

Her Affliction was ſo great, that ſhe had hardly reach'd the Palace, when ſhe was ſeized with a violent Feaver, which continu'd all that Night. The Governeſs of the Slaves went next Morning, to acquaint the Queen of [Page 230] it, who ſent Olympia Doria to ſtay by her. As ſoon as Felicia ſaw her enter the Chamber, ſhe ſaid to her, with a languiſhing Air; The Condition I am in, Madam, will only give you Uneaſineſs, and the Company of ſo unfortunate a Creature as I, can be no ways agreeable to you. I cannot tell, whether it be a Pleaſure to you, to ſee me, anſwer'd Olympia; but I know very well, nothing can give me a greater Satisfaction, than being with you; and tho' I am in Expectation of the only Happineſs, that can bleſs my Days, yet in quitting this Palace, I cannot help regretting the Abſence of my charming Felicia. How obliging you are, my deareſt Companion, (replied ſhe) but alas! I ſhall have the greateſt Cauſe to regret, when I ſee you no more. What Conſolation wou'd it be me, were I going with you to Genoa; I have ſome Reaſons to wiſh it. I will not preſume to ask 'em, ſaid Olympia, fearing you ſhou'd think my Curioſity too great; but if you will tell me, why you are ſo deſirous of going that Voyage, I ſhall take it as a mighty Favour. I will grant your Requeſt, replied Felicia, as ſoon as my Health permits me, and ſhall deſire you alſo, to acquaint me with ſome Particulars, relating to a Perſon of that Country. Which Olympia promis'd her; and after having ſtaid ſome Time with her, ſhe went, and gave the Queen an Account of the Condition ſhe was in.

The mean while, Felicia and Inea entertain'd each other with their Grief, whenever they [Page 231] found an Opportunity of being alone. Shou'd I inform the Queen of Abelhamar's Menaces, (ſaid Felicia, to her Friend) ſhe wou'd take ſuch Meaſures as might ſecure the Peace and Tranquility of her Kingdom, and by ſending me for Spain, deliver me from his Violence; but (continu'd ſhe, after a Moment's Pauſe,) what Reproaches ſhou'd not I deſerve, ſuppoſing this young Prince was only urged by his Paſſion, to ſpeak as he did, without having any Thoughts of executing ſo raſh a Deſign, and that upon my Information, he ſhou'd be arreſted; then his Diſgrace, and perhaps the Loſs of his Life, wou'd be owing to me? What an ungrateful Return ſhou'd I make, to the obliging Sentiments he conceiv'd for me, from the Beginning of my Misfortune? Inea approv'd very much her prudent Conſiderations, and repreſented to her, how willingly the Queen wou'd embrace that Pretence, to make a Sacrifice of Abelhamar, whoſe Paſſion ſhe only oppos'd, with a Deſign to provoke him to uſe her with Diſreſpect, which wou'd conſequently bring him to inevitable Puniſhment; and were it otherways, it wou'd not ſtand with Reaſon, that the Queen ſhou'd concern her ſelf with any thing ſo much below her, as a Slave. Felicia was of Inea's Opinion, and thought there was ſo much Probability in what ſhe ſaid, that ſhe choſe rather to be ſilent in the Matter, than make a Diſcovery, which might be the Cauſe of greater Diſorders; ſo implor'd the Aſſiſtance of Heaven [Page 232] for her Deliverance. As for Inea, ſhe had already writ the Particulars of her Voyage, to her Dear Don Ramire, and was impatiently waiting his Anſwer.

Abelhamar, whoſe Paſſion was grown deſperate, retired from the Queen's Palace to his own, and there confin'd himſelf with his faithful Mula: Ceaſe flattering me, ſaid he, and don't make me hope any thing, from my Submiſſion to the Queen, and Felicia. I now am too well inform'd, of what I muſt expect from their Cruelty. As I was walking in the Palace Garden, diſtracted and melancholy, I perceiv'd at a Diſtance, Celima follow'd by her Women; and to avoid paying my Court to her, I retired to a Grotto, under the Terrace-Walk, which I had juſt enter'd, when the Queen leaning on Felicia's Arm, came, and ſeated her ſelf in a Place, where I cou'd diſtinctly hear all they ſaid; no Mula, it is not poſſible, to expreſs the intolerable Averſion ſhe has to me, and with what Diſdain ſhe ſpeaks of me; ſhe has given reiterated Commands to that lovely Captive, to fly and hate me, who (ungrateful as ſhe is) not only receiv'd 'em with Pleaſure, but even promis'd Celima more than ſhe requir'd of her; and it was not long before I felt the Effect of it, for as ſoon as the Queen was gone back to the Palace, and I cou'd find an Opportunity to ſpeak to this young Slave, ſhe confirm'd with a moſt rigorous Air what I had already heard, and moreover told me, ſhe was in Love with [Page 233] One in Spain, and that nothing in the World ſhou'd ever make her change: In a Word, I find there is no Time to be loſt; I muſt immediately adhere to the King of Tituan's Propoſals; that Prince extremely reſents Celima's Refuſal; a ſlighted Paſſion demands Revenge, and he looks on me as One, who is capable of aſſiſting him. Before I had ſeen Felicia, I wou'd not favour his Deſigns, thinking the Queen might chuſe me to Reign with her: Now I ſee my Error; ſhe not only hates me, but even oppoſes my Happineſs, where-ever I ſeek it.

If I may be permitted to give you my Advice, my Lord, (reply'd Mula,) I am of Opinion, you ſhou'd ſpeak to Celima, before you enter into the King of Tituan's Intereſt, and try whether you cannot bring her into a more favourable Diſpoſition for you; 'tis probable, ſhe may make ſome ſerious Reflection, and for her own ſake, not provoke you to act any Thing deſperate. I am willing to make that one Step more, ſaid the Prince, tho' ever ſo nice; but as I believe the Queen has a Deſign to take me up, let us be prepar'd for the Worſt: If I am put in Arreſt, do you go to Tunis; tell Iſmael, the Number of Friends I have in this Court, and manage Affairs ſo, as by his Aſſiſtance, and theirs, I may obtain my Liberty, poſſeſs my Love, and be reveng'd.

It was late before Abelhamar had ended his Converſation, which prevented him from going the next Morning to the Queen's Apartment; [Page 234] and the firſt Thing he heard, was Felicia's Illneſs. This News caus'd him to be extremely uneaſy; he ſoon forgot all other Projects, and fix'd his chiefeſt Thoughts, on ſeeking Means to ſee the Perſon he lov'd; which met with ſome Oppoſition, Celima having given Orders he ſhou'd not be admitted into her Chamber; and as for the Governeſs of the Slaves, he cou'd not flatter himſelf with the Hopes of gaining her, being an old Woman, entirely devoted to the Queen's Will; ſo that he was almoſt deſpairing of Succeſs in his Enterprize; but what is not Love capable of? It conquers all Difficulties.

The Prince, being young and handſome, reſolv'd to diſguiſe himſelf in Woman's Cloaths, in order to be preſented to the Queen by a Captain of a Ship, with whom he was particularly acquainted. He was a perfect Maſter of the Spaniſh Tongue, and did not doubt, but he might eaſily paſs for One of that Nation. He told his Deſign to Mula, who uſed his Endeavours to divert him from an Attempt, which might prove fatal to him; but his Arguments were of little Weight, where Love had ſo great an Influence. He order'd immediately his Phyſician to be call'd, and bid him give out every where he was dangerouſly ill of a Feaver, and that it was convenient he ſhould ſee no Company. This News being talk'd of at Court, the Sea-Captain brought him to the Palace, among ſeveral other Slaves, which he had lately taken. The Queen took [Page 235] a particular Notice of Abelhamar, and ask'd him ſome Queſtions, which might have puzled him, had not his Wit been prevailing, and his Replies ſo ingenious, that they did not give her the leaſt Suſpicion of a Diſguiſe. The Governeſs of the Slaves having ask'd his Name, he told her, he was call'd Eugenia, and that he was a Native of the Kingdom of Caſtile: The Queen order'd, ſhe ſhou'd be conducted to Felicia, who perhaps might know her, and be much pleas'd to ſee One of her Country.

Abelhamar was ſent in this manner to Felicia, who was in Bed, very much indiſpos'd. He no ſooner enter'd her Chamber, but ſeeing her in this Condition, he turn'd pale, and ſeem'd ſo dejected, that it wou'd have pitied any One, that was preſent at this Interview. As Felicia and Inea believ'd, this new Slave's Affliction proceeded from her late Misfortune, they were no ways ſurpriz'd at the Diſorder ſhe was in, but endeavour'd by their kind Expreſſions, to ſoften the Rigour of her unhappy State.

The amorous Prince thus continu'd with his dear Felicia, and the oftener he ſaw her, the greater were the Effects of her Charms; which at laſt ſo potently influenced him, that he cou'd not reſolve to quit the Palace, eſteeming himſelf too happy in the Company of his adorable Miſtreſs. He had ſo many Perfections, that it wou'd have been eaſy for him to make the Conqueſt of the Queen's handſomeſt [Page 236] Slaves, had he made the leaſt Purſuit towards it; but his Heart was entirely fill'd with Felicia's Idea, and all his Thoughts were employed on the only Care of pleaſing her.

She alſo very much contributed by her innocent Careſſes, to detain him. Their Humours agreed ſo well, that ſhe deſired as a Favour, they wou'd let Eugenia ſtay with her during her Illneſs. There is a ſecret Charm in your Converſation (ſaid ſhe, ſometimes to her) which gives me a much greater Pleaſure, than any I can find in that of my other Companions. It is the Effect of my Love for you, beauteous Felicia, that inſpires you with this Sympathy, replied the paſſionate Prince, and how bleſs'd ſhou'd I be, were I as dear to you, as you are to me! but, continu'd he, if you will give me Leave to tell you my Thoughts, I believe you are indifferent whether belov'd or not. Alas! how great wou'd be my Felicity, (anſwer'd Felicia, with a melancholy Tone) were I ſuch as you repreſent me: You little know my Sentiments; they give me more Uneaſineſs, than my unfortunate Captivity. What, Madam, ſaid the pretended Eugenia, is it poſſible, that after having wholly reſign'd my ſelf to you, you wou'd make any thing a Secret to me? If your Heart is touch'd with a tender Paſſion, will it not be a Comfort to you to make me your Confident? What ſhall I ſay to you, replied Felicia? I can only tell you my Weakneſs, and confeſs an Engagement, which is ſo dear to me, that [Page 237] it fills my Soul at once with a Thouſand different Motions. Theſe Words cruelly affected the Prince, who cou'd not utter one Syllable, but turning pale, he fix'd his Eyes on her, and continu'd ſome Time in this Poſture, as aſtoniſh'd at what ſhe ſaid, tho' ſhe had already declar'd her Sentiments to him in the Garden: At laſt he endeavour'd to ſpeak, and with a languiſhing Accent, ſaid, I ſhou'd not be ſurpriz'd, ſo perfect a Creature as you were ador'd, yet, Felicia, I flatter'd my ſelf, that far from having loſt your Liberty, you were free from any Paſſion. This Opinion pleas'd me extremely, for although we are of one Sex, I muſt tell you, I take delight in gaining the Affections of a young unpractis'd Heart, who is unacquainted with Sentiments ſo deſtructive to our Peace. This made me conceive a particular Friendſhip for you; but I underſtand, your Diſdain for ſome, is equal to your Weakneſs for others. Oh! what Shame and Diſorder do you cauſe in me? (replied Felicia, covering her Face with her Handkerchief,) I expected in telling you my Secret, you wou'd have pitied, and conſol'd me; alas! do you upbraid me, Eugenia? Your Severity will compel me hereafter to fear, and fly you. The unhappy Prince, at theſe Words, flung himſelf on his Knees, and taking her Hand, kiſs'd and bath'd it with Tears; his Speech was ſuppreſs'd with Sighs, which wou'd have been ſufficient to diſcover him, were it not that Felicia had a ſtrong Opinion of his being of [Page 238] her own Sex, and did not in the leaſt take Notice of his paſſionate Expreſſions.

Inea enter'd the Chamber, whilſt they were in this ſilent and melancholy Condition: What is the Cauſe of this Sorrow, ſaid ſhe? Is this the Way, Eugenia, you entertain our dear ſick Lady? You have, without doubt, ſaid ſomething to her, which renews the Remembrance of her paſt Misfortunes. I have ſaid nothing to Felicia, interrupted the Prince immediately, but what was agreeable to her, therefore do not accuſe me; I wou'd undergo any Pain my ſelf, rather than aggravate hers. Alas, Inea! ſaid Felicia, here cruel Eugenia has been reproaching me with Sentiments, I have for a Perſon, whom ſhe her ſelf wou'd love, were ſhe as well acquainted with him as I am. No (replied Eugenia) I am convinced of the contrary; I even have an invincible Averſion to this unknown, who perfidiouſly robs me of your Heart, which is a Crime not to be forgiven. This is no Subject to create a Diſpute between you and I, ſaid Felicia; the Affection we have for a Lover, or a Friend, is of ſo different a Nature, that the one does no Prejudice to the other. Give me Leave to tell you, cry'd the young Prince, that when a Heart is touch'd with a powerful Paſſion, it's incapable of receiving any other Impreſſion. Then you don't believe I love you, Eugenia, interrupted Felicia? I know not what to believe, replied the Prince; but what I am aſſur'd of, is, no Creature can be in [Page 239] greater Deſpair. As he ended theſe Words, Olympia enter'd the Chamber.

It is given out in the Palace, ſaid ſhe, that Prince Abelhamar, having counterfeited a Sickneſs, is gone away ſecretly, in order to aſſiſt Iſmael, King of Tunis, who intends to declare War againſt the Queen; which News has ſo much alarm'd her, that ſhe has given Orders to ſearch his Apartment, in ſpite of what his Phyſician ſays to oppoſe his being ſeen; and if it be poſſible to penetrate into the Queen's Sentiments by her Uneaſineſs, ſhe is in a great Apprehenſion concerning the Conſequence of this ſudden Departure. The Queen's Thoughts and mine are as different as our Intereſt, replied Felicia; ſhe is concern'd at the Prince's being gone, and I am overjoy'd at it. Abelhamar, who had not interrupted Olympia's Diſcourſe, cou'd not help looking earneſtly at Felicia; that Prince is very unfortunate, ſaid he, that his Abſence ſhou'd give you ſo much Pleaſure: I perceive the Love and Reſpect he has for you, meet with a very unkind Return. What is become of that Complaiſance you ſhow'd us at firſt, my dear Eugenia, replied Felicia; you equally blame me for having an Inclination, and for not having one. I think it wou'd not be reaſonable for me to have any other Sentiments for Abelhamar; and I am even aſſur'd, that if I liked him, you your ſelf wou'd condemn me. Try, Madam, continu'd Eugenia, ſtrive to love the Prince, were it only to be reveng'd, and to puniſh me [Page 240] for my Capriciouſneſs; I promiſe you before it be long, I will render his Paſſion very diſagreeable to you. I ſhall not give you that Trouble, replied Felicia, my Conſtancy might then be brought in Queſtion; it is dangerous to make ſuch Tryals. Theſe Words ſenſibly affected Abelhamar, whoſe paſſionate Looks expreſs'd ſuch Emotions, that is was ſurprizing Felicia, Inea and Olympia ſuſpected nothing extraordinary under the Diſguiſe.

But what Advantage did the young Prince receive from this Stratagem? He ſaw Felicia, and daily diſcover'd ſome tranſcendent Charms, which inflam'd him the more, and increas'd his Deſpair, when he reflected on the Sentiments ſhe had for him; for his Paſſion was not only violent, but ſo nice, that he wou'd not have been ſatisfy'd with the Poſſeſſion of her Perſon, without that of her Heart; and as he knew he had no Share in her Affection, it threw him ſometimes into ſuch a deep Melancholy, as cou'd not be conceal'd. Beſides, the Queen being inform'd of Abelhamar's Counterfeit Sickneſs, his going off, and part of his Deſigns, gave Orders, that thoſe Officers, who ſerv'd him, and cou'd give her further Light into the Affair, might be taken up, and examin'd: She was alſo raiſing Troops, repairing the Fortifications of the Town, and taking all Meaſures neceſſary to ſecure her ſelf againſt the Inſults of an Enemy, whom ſhe thought already with the King of Tunis, tho' every Day in her Chamber, and ſometimes [Page 241] lying at her Bed's Feet; thus the amourous Prince elected his Felicity, in a Confinement, where he was expos'd to a Danger he did not apprehend, and good Fortune was ſo favourable to him till then, that his Diſguiſe did not give the leaſt Cauſe of Suſpicion.

Felicia's Illneſs, tho' extremely violent, did not continue long; her Youth and good Conſtitution contributed very much to her ſpeedy Recovery, and gave her Strength enough to walk in the Palace Gardens. The Court at that Time was ſo attentive on the Preparations of War, that the Slaves were not ſo ſtrictly watch'd as uſual. One Day Felicia, Olympia, Inea, and our Counterfeit Eugenia taking the Air, had turn'd their Steps towards a pleaſant Terrace-Walk, which afforded a moſt agreeable Proſpect; but the Weather changing, there ſuddenly roſe a High Wind, ſucceeded by terrible Thunder and Hail; which oblig'd them to run for Shelter into a little Summer-Houſe, that had a View on the Ocean.

Felicia and Inea were looking out of a Window, and had been ſome Time obſerving the Sea, which furiouſly came, and broke againſt the Rocks, making a horrid Noiſe, when they perceiv'd a Ship in the greateſt Danger; ſhe had loſt all her Maſts, and thus toſs'd from Wave to Wave, was waiting the fatal Moment. Theſe young Ladies were moved with Compaſſion at ſuch a Sight, and concern'd for thoſe who were on Board: They [Page 242] implor'd the Aſſiſtance of Heaven, and whilſt they were making Vows for their Safety, the Wind decided their Deſtiny, for the Ship was driven aſhore, and there entirely wreck'd. It was a moſt diſmal Scene, to ſee how theſe unfortunate Wretches ſtrove to ſave themſelves, but their Efforts were fruitleſs; they All periſhed excepting One, who was happy enough to reach a little Rock, which lay at a ſmall Diſtance from the Shore.

The Storm being allay'd, ſome Fiſhermen, who had ſeen the Shipwreck, took their Boat, and row'd towards the Rock, where they found the Man I mention'd in a Swoon, and as cold as Death; they took him and brought him aſhoar, where they immediately lighted a Fire, and gave him all the Help they were capable of.

Theſe Things happen'd ſo near the Summer-Houſe, where our young Captives were retired, that they cou'd eaſily ſee the Condition this Stranger was in; but how great was Felicia and Olympia's Diſorder, when they knew him to be the Count of La Vagne: They wou'd have expreſs'd their Satisfaction, were it not for the Fear they were in of his being Dead. It is he, (cried Olympia in her firſt Tranſports) it is certainly himſelf. Felicia on the other Side, (preſſing Inea and Eugenia's Hands) cou'd no more be Miſtreſs of her Moderation; Oh Heavens! ſaid ſhe to them, my deareſt Companions; there is the Man whoſe Abſence has given me ſo much Diſpleaſure; he appears [Page 243] now, juſt as he did when I found him in the Foreſt of Carmona, where he had been attacked by Robbers; the Picture of Death was painted on his Face: I was then in a Condition to aſſiſt him, but now alas, I am forced to ſee him periſh, without being at Liberty to give him any Help.

Whilſt ſhe was thus ſpeaking to Inea, and the diſguis'd Prince, Olympia left 'em, and ran to a Door adjacent to the Sea-Side, which ſhe caus'd to be opened without any Difficulty, and in a ſmall Time reach'd the Place where the Count was lying: As ſoon as Felicia perceived the Concern, and Care ſhe expreſs'd in aſſiſting him, ſhe knew not what to think. I am well perſwaded, ſaid ſhe, they are both Natives of Genoa, and perhaps Relations; but methinks her Affection is very great, ſince ſhe weeps as well as I, and embraces him in ſuch a paſſionate Manner.

The mean while Abelhamar (enrag'd and jealous) was acting the greateſt Violence on himſelf, in not diſcovering to her who he was, that he might reſolve on the immediate Sacrifice of this dangerous Rival. Inea's Thoughts were alſo confus'd, and ſhe was hardly able to ſpeak a Word. The more ſhe conſider'd Olympia's tender Concern for the Count of La Vagne, and the ſecret Conſolation ſhe ſeem'd to derive from his Preſence, the more ſhe ſigh'd, and ſent her Wiſhes to her faithful Don Ramire; in a Word, it is not to be conceiv'd, how tormented they all were by different Cauſes of Uneaſineſs. [Page 244] But how was lovely Felicia's Mind employ'd all this while, and what were her inward Motions, when ſhe ſaw the Count recovered from his Swoon, who appeared in Tranſports of inexpreſſible Joy, at the Sight of Olympia? He kiſs'd her Hand, and fix'd his Eyes on her's, as if Fortune had ſnatch'd him from the Arms of Death, only to lead him into perfect Felicity. Am I then betray'd, (cried Felicia, in a faint Voice) and can I believe what I ſee? Is the Count of La Vagne in Love with Olympia? You ought not in the leaſt to doubt it, (anſwer'd Eugenia, who was very willing to confirm her Suſpicions) and if you flatter'd your ſelf with being belov'd, you are miſtaken in the Heart of that Traytor; any one may ſee by his Actions, that he has a Paſſion for Olympia. Do not have ſo raſh an Opinion of him, interrupted Inea; it's probable he has ſome particular Reaſons for acting as he does; perhaps the Count is inform'd of Prince Abelhamar's Paſſion for Felicia, and as he is come in order to ranſom his Miſtreſs, he thought it convenient to conceal his true Sentiments, the better to ſucceed in his Deſigns. What Pleaſure you take in being deceiv'd, (cried Eugenia, who cou'd not bear to hear her expreſs her ſelf in this Manner;) have you already forgot that Abelhamar is ſuſpected to be with the King of Tunis, and conſequently there are no Meaſures to be obſerv'd with him? But the Count knows nothing of it, interrupted Felicia, and I am inclin'd to [Page 245] believe, Inea has interpreted the Sentiments of his Heart. How great is our Weakneſs when we love, ſaid the Prince; we ſcarcely can credit our own Eyes, we are ſo inclin'd to embrace any Thing which flatters our Wiſhes. Indeed Eugenia, replied Felicia, you always repreſent Things in the falſeſt Colours: What have I done to invite you to take ſuch Delight in tormenting me. The Prince, who perceiv'd ſhe was diſpleaſed, ſaid no more to her, but reſolv'd in himſelf to make the Force of his Revenge fall on this happy Rival.

Olympia ſent to acquaint the Queen, that the Count of La Vagne was caſt on the Shoar, but had eſcaped Death, and beg'd Leave to pay his Reſpects to her Majeſty. Celima (who was exceeding melancholy, and apprehenſive of the Conſequences of Abelhamar's Revolt) declin'd ſeeing this Stranger, not to let him be Witneſs of her Affliction; but ſent back to Olympia, to tell her, ſhe might bring him to the Palace, where ſhe ſhou'd have an Apartment prepared for him in One of the remote Pavilions, having given Orders that he ſhou'd be receiv'd with a Diſtinction equal to his Birth; to this ſhe added, how willing ſhe ſhou'd be to admit him, were ſhe not indiſpenſibly oblig'd to attend ſome Affairs of the higheſt Moment. She gave Orders alſo, that they ſhou'd ſupply him with all Neceſſaries, and ſeveral Slaves immediately brought him Variety of rich Garments, that he might pleaſe his Fancy. Whilſt Olympia went to return [Page 246] the Queen Thanks for her Favours, the Count was conducted through the Gardens to the Palace.

Felicia, Inea and Eugenia, were walking in an Alley, which had a View on the Sea-Side, when the Count of La Vagne came up pretty near to them; Felicia perceiving him, her Heart fluttered, and ſhe grew ſo faint in an Inſtant, that had not Inea ſupported her on one Side, and the diſguis'd Prince on the other, ſhe would not have been able to ſtand; but the Count (who had no Cauſe to remark her Motions, tho' in Favour of himſelf) paſs'd by the Ladies, and only ſaluted them with much Reſpect, without taking any particular Notice of Felicia.

As ſoon as he was gone far enough from her not to be heard; Oh Heaven! cry'd ſhe, is it poſſible he can be ſo much Maſter of his Temper, as not to ſhow ſome Tenderneſs in his Eyes? He looks as if he had never ſeen me: What means this Indifference, Inea? Are theſe his Tranſports? Oh! What muſt I think of his Paſſion? Madam! reply'd Inea, is not his coming hither to fetch you away, a ſufficient Motive to convince you of his Fidelity? Inea only deceives you, interrupted the Prince, for I have ſeen many Perſons in Love, and can aſſure you, that altho' they were in a continual Reſtraint, and obliged to be on their Guard in the Preſence of jealous Obſervers, yet their Paſſion diſcover'd it ſelf in their Eyes and Actions. Why (continu'd he, addreſſing [Page 247] himſelf to Inea) do you really think the Count of La Vagne was overjoy'd to ſee Felicia? He did not ſo much as change Colour, nor even fix his Eyes on hers: No, no, his Paſſion is not ſo violent as you imagine; and if you continue ſpeaking in his Favour, you only do it with an Intent to ſooth our Friend's Pain. Don't torment me in this Manner, cruel Creature, cry'd Felicia; am I not unfortunate enough already? Why will you perſiſt in ſaying ſuch vexatious Things to me? Have you reſolv'd on my Death? I take Heaven to Witneſs, reply'd the Prince ſighing, that I have no ſuch Intention; you wou'd certainly judge more favourably of my Sentiments, were they well known to you.

Felicia fearing it wou'd be taken Notice of at the Palace, that ſhe had been ſo long Abroad, returned ſpeedily to her Chamber, which ſhe no ſooner enter'd, but wrote to the Count in the following Terms.

I Have now ſome Reaſon to flatter my ſelf, that Heaven will ſoon put a Period to my Misfortunes, ſince Love and Generoſity have invited you here to your Felicia's Deliverance. How ſhall I expreſs my Joy, my Affection, and my Gratitude, and when ſhall I be at Liberty to entertain you with my tender Sentiments? Alaſs! what Violence did not I do my ſelf in ſeeing you ſo near me, without ſpeaking to you; but how was it poſſible, you cou'd paſs by me with ſuch an Air of Indifference? I muſt confeſs it very much affected [Page 248] me, and if I may tell you my Thoughts, I almoſt ſuſpected your Fidelity. I began to fear, you had devoted all your Tranſports to Olympia; this extremely augmented my Uneaſineſs, being an Effect of my Delicacy, which you muſt pardon. Let me know how I am to behave my ſelf hereafter in this Court, and don't neglect any Thing to procure us a ſpeedy Departure. I hope Fortune will influence the Intereſt of our Hearts, and crown our Sufferings with eternal Felicity.

This Letter cou'd not be convey'd to the Count without ſome Difficulty. Felicia bid Inea read it, and conjured her to find Means to have it immediately deliver'd into his Hands. I cannot think on any Way, reply'd Inea, but to carry it my ſelf. Your ſelf! cry'd Felicia, how will you venture to do it? Leave that to me, Madam, anſwer'd Inea, I will run any Riſque to ſerve you. This is very generous, my dear Companion, ſaid Felicia; then thanked her for ſo obliging an Offer, and deſir'd her, ſince ſhe was willing to render her ſo conſiderable a Service, not to defer it.

Olympia was now in the Queen's Apartment, and the Count in his, but being extremely impatient to ſee his lovely Miſtreſs, he ſtep'd into the Garden in Expectation of meeting her; It was a fine Moon-light Night, and as he was walking with his Thoughts wholly employ'd on the Happineſs he promis'd himſelf, in the Poſſeſſion of a Lady, for whom he had ſo tranſcendent a Paſſion; young Inea (wraped [Page 249] in her white Vail) accoſted him, and ſaid, read this Letter, my Lord; it comes from a Perſon who ought to be dear to you. The Count open'd it, and was ſurpriz'd not to know the Writing; after having read it over, and over, without conceiving the Meaning, it came into his Head, that it was a Jeſt Olympia had imagin'd to divert her ſelf, ſo ſaid to Inea, I deſire you will tell the beauteous Lady, from whom I receive this Favour, that I intend my ſelf to be Bearer of the Anſwer.

As Inea was going back, ſhe perceiv'd a Woman at a Diſtance cover'd with her Vail, who was coming towards her, and fearing ſhe ſhou'd be known by her, ſhe paſs'd on the other Side of the Palliſadoes, and went into the long Walk, where ſhe found Felicia, who taking her under the Arm, ſaid to her in a low Voice; you will think me very impatient to know what the Count has ſaid to you, but that is not the only Reaſon which brought me hither. I was looking out of my Chamber-Window, waiting your Return, when I ſaw a Woman croſs the Garden with great Diligence, and go, as it were, towards the Count's Pavilion: I muſt confeſs, my dear Inea, it gave me much Uneaſineſs, and I made all poſſible Haſte to follow her. As far as I cou'd diſtinguiſh, ſhe appear'd to me to be Olympia, and I believe it is her. Oh! Inea, how my Heart akes! and in what Torment is my Mind, for fear of loſing the Object of my Love? Judge more favourably of the Count, ſaid Inea, interrupting [Page 250] her; he read your Letter with an extreme Attention, and addreſſing me in very obliging Terms, aſſur'd me, he wou'd anſwer it perſonally. It's very well, continu'd Felicia, but let us go on without making a Noiſe; we may perhaps, diſcover where that Perſon is going, whom I mention'd to you. In finiſhing theſe Words, they walk'd on, hiding themſelves behind the Palliſadoes; and hearing ſome Body talk in an Arbour, which was at the End of the Alley, they drew near.

The Count of La Vagne and Olympia, were converſing together in this Place; it is impoſſible, Madam, ſaid he to his Miſtreſs, for me to expreſs the Deſpair I was in, when I heard of your Death, and the Circumſtances which preceded it; they ſo intirely affected me, that even Life began to be odious to me, and never was Mortal in a more deſolate Condition. But how tranſported was I, at the unexpected Change of Fortune, when the Jeweller (who had ſeen you in the Queen's Apartment) inform'd me, that the ſame beauteous Olympia, whoſe Loſs I was deploring, was actually living, and at Sallee; judge—I well conceive, my dear Count, ſaid ſhe, interrupting him, what might employ your Thoughts in Two ſuch different Occaſions; as our Affection is mutual, we ſympathize in all the Pleaſure and Torment, which derives from our good or bad Fortune; you may imagine after what I ſuffer'd for your ſuppoſed Death, how exceſſive was my Joy, when I heard of your [Page 251] Safety. I have told you already, ſaid the Count, that your illuſtrious Father has given his Conſent to our happy Union, receiving my Propoſals with ſuch extraordinary Marks of Friendſhip, that I muſt confeſs, I ſhou'd have ſuſpected ſo uncommon a Favour, were it not that my long Sufferings give me a Title to ſo great a Reward. Yes, continu'd he, moſt divine Olympia, you are now to be mine, and I for ever yours. As they were ſpeaking in this manner, a doleful Voice interrupted them, which (repeating theſe Words, I am dying,) gave 'em to underſtand, that ſome Perſon very near the Arbour, was taken ill. This induc'd them to diſcontinue their Converſation, tho' ever ſo delightful, in order to aſſiſt the Lady, who was complaining ſo diſmally.

They look'd on every Side, without perceiving any one, but hearing ſome Noiſe behind the Palliſadoes, they approach'd and ſaw Inea, holding in her Arms, Felicia, in a Swoon. Ah, my Lord! don't come near, cry'd Inea, weeping; your Preſence wou'd become fatal to Felicia, and you, Madam! (continu'd ſhe, ſpeaking to Olympia.) I beg, as a Favour, ſhe may not ſee you. What Averſion can ſhe have to us? (reply'd they both at the ſame Time,) We do not know her, and it wou'd be ſtrange ſhe ſhou'd hate us without Cauſe. This is not a proper Time to explain Matters, anſwer'd Inea; all the Aſſiſtance I deſire of you, is, to run to the Palace, and ſend us ſome Help.

[Page 252] Olympia (without making any Reply, tho' extremely aſtoniſh'd at what ſhe heard) went to give Notice to Eugenia, and ſome other of the Slaves, of the Condition Felicia was in, and the mean while the Count ſtaid by her. No, ſaid he to Inea, I cannot go from you, till you have unriddled this Secret to me; was it not you that juſt now gave me a Letter, which I do not underſtand the meaning of? One wou'd think by your Air and Words, that I had diſoblig'd this Fair Lady; but alas! how cou'd I have done any thing, either to deſerve her Anger, or your Reproaches? It's impoſſible, reply'd Inea, to diſſemble better, and conceal with more Confidence, the horrideſt Perfidiouſneſs, that Man cou'd ever act againſt a Lady of Birth and Merit. Don't expect, my Lord, that I will explain Things to you, which you know better than I. The Count of La Vagne cou'd not have help'd laughing at ſo odd and obſcure an Anſwer, had not the Condition Felicia was in inſpired him with great Compaſſion, and finding Inea ſeem'd diſpleas'd at his remaining there, he reſolv'd to retire.

By this Time, ſeveral Slaves were come to Felicia's Help, and among others, Eugenia, or the diſguis'd Prince, who ſeeing her in a Swoon, expreſs'd his Affliction in Terms ſo paſſionate, that his Counterfeit was ſoon diſcover'd. Unfortunate Eugenia, (cry'd he, in a doleful Accent) thou art going to be depriv'd of the only Object of thy Love. Felicia! my [Page 253] dear Felicia! to what a ſad State are you reduc'd? Divineſt Creature, if I loſe you, my Death ſhall ſucceed your's, ſince I cannot live without you. Whilſt he was talking in this manner, Inea and her Companions were throwing Water on Felicia's Face, but as their Aſſiſtance cou'd not recover her, they carry'd her to her Chamber. The Prince, as you may imagine, ſurpaſs'd the reſt in attending his ſick Miſtreſs; as ſoon as ſhe was lain in Bed, he ſate by her, and forgetting himſelf, his exceſſive Grief forc'd from him ſuch Expreſſions, as were not becoming his Female Diſguiſe.

The Governeſs of the Slaves, who watchfully obſerv'd every thing, took Notice of his Words, and examining earneſtly Eugenia's Features, diſcover'd Prince Abelhamar's Reſemblance. She ran immediately and related what had paſs'd to the Queen, who was not a little ſurpriz'd at this unexpected Adventure. It was late at Night, therefore ſhe wou'd not call a Council, fearing it might alarm the People, who were already under great Apprehenſions from the King of Tunis's landing, ſo defer'd, till next Day, taking any Reſolution againſt the Prince.

He little knew the Danger which threaten'd him; all his Thoughts were then employ'd on the State Felicia was in, nor cou'd he reflect on any thing more tormenting. She ſcarcely recover'd her Speech, but lamented being reſtor'd to a Life, which at that Time, all Things render'd burthenſome to her. Inea, apprehending [Page 254] that the Violence of her Affliction, wou'd force her into ſuch Complaints as ought to be conceal'd, told her Companions, who were preſent, that it was convenient Felicia ſhou'd be left to take a little Reſt, and that Eugenia and ſhe wou'd ſtay by her; the others hearing this, immediately retired.

Felicia, after they were gone, gave an entire Courſe to her exceſſive Grief; ſee, Inea! cry'd ſhe, ſee, what Calamities I labour under! I am remote from my Country, out of Favour with my Family, become a Slave, and betray'd by a Man, who appear'd to me deſerving of every thing; he is now in Love with another; 'tis Olympia he is come to deliver: This Lover, whom ſhe impatiently expected, and receiv'd with ſo much Joy, is the ſame, on whom I beſtow'd my tender Care, when in a moſt dangerous Condition, and my Solitude afforded him a Refuge from the Fury of his Enemies. He conceiv'd a Paſſion for me, engag'd me by a Thouſand Promiſes to make a Return, and vow'd his Love ſhou'd be eternal. But Heavens! how perfidious has he prov'd? I remember now, as an Evincement, he ſacrific'd Olympia's Picture to me, which perſwaded me, I had ſeen her Reſemblance before. Oh! what a ſad Object am I, of Fortune's Capriciouſneſs? Here ſhe was ſilent a long Time. Alas! what have I done, ſaid ſhe again, to deſerve at ſo tender an Age, ſuch a Series of Misfortunes: Yeſterday I was deploring the Abſence of the Man I [Page 255] lov'd; this Day I lament the Loſs of his Heart. Her Sighs and Tears interrupted her ſeveral Times whilſt ſhe was ſpeaking, and at laſt, ſhe cou'd ſay no more. The Prince flattering himſelf with ſome ſmall Hopes, took this Time to ſpeak to her; if you were in a a Condition, to taſte the Pleaſure of Revenge, ſaid he, you wou'd be ſoon ſatisfy'd; my Arm ſhou'd ſecond your Reſentment, for 'tis no longer in my Power, charming Felicia, to conceal, what my exceſſive Paſſion for you has made me undertake. See at your Feet, wretched Abelhamar, your Slave! Here I remain in this Palace for your ſake, altho' I know, that were the Queen inform'd of it, my Life wou'd attone for my Crime. Compare this Proof of my Love, with that of my unworthy Rival's, whom you prefer, and then you will own your ſelf the moſt unjuſt Perſon in the World.

Oh Heavens! (cry'd Felicia) can I believe my Eyes? What new Fatality doth attend me? You here, my Lord! and an Enemy to the Queen? Have you been my Confident, and careſs'd me by ſo many Days, without my perceiving the Deceit? Alas! where ſhall I go for Refuge? What muſt the Queen think of me? Will ſhe not have ſufficient Reaſon to ſuſpect my Virtue? Can any one imagine, that without my Conſent, you wou'd have made ſo raſh an Attempt? Ah! nothing but Death can relieve me from my Misfortune. Abelhamar's Diſorder was ſo great, that he did not ſay much in his Juſtification; and as for Inea, who [Page 256] was preſent at this Scene, ſhe cou'd not deny them her Compaſſion. She endeavour'd to excuſe him, and ſaid to Felicia, the true Reſpect the Prince has for you, Madam, ought in ſome Meaſure to appeaſe you, ſince no Body knows of his being diſguis'd: Your Honour, which is dearer to him than his Life, and the inevitable Danger that threatens him, if the Queen ſhou'd be inform'd of what has paſs'd, will engage him to keep ſecret an Affair of this Importance. You are very little acquainted with Mankind, interrupted Felicia, who glory in relating their Adventures, and never love ſo ſincerely, as to make any Thing a Secret. Well, my Lord, (continu'd ſhe, addreſſing herſelf to the Prince) you have made your laſt Efforts to augment my Miſeries; I ſhou'd have dy'd eſteem'd by Thoſe who know me, but at preſent ſhall deſerve their Contempt. You may go now to the Count of La Vagne, and tell him, that ſince he has ſacrific'd me to Olympia, I have quitted him for you, and contriv'd this criminal Diſguiſe to favour your Admittance. Know me better, Madam, reply'd Abelhamar; were not my Paſſion for you tranſcendent, I ſhou'd never deviate from the Rules of Honour, and what I owe you. No, my Felicia, you ſhall never find me guilty of acting any thing, that may incur your Diſpleaſure; yet I cannot help ſaying, you ought no longer to deplore the Loſs of a Man, ſo unworthy your Eſteem, who without Diſpute has deceived you; for 'tis impoſſible, if he [Page 257] once lov'd you, he cou'd ever love another. Divine Felicia! be convinc'd of the Power of your Charms, and think, that I, who feel their Effects, can never change. The preſent Situation of Affairs gives me Hopes of a happy Turn in my Fortune. I may aſcend the Throne on which my Anceſtors were ſeated; but, oh Felicia! what Pleaſure can it afford me to poſſeſs a Crown without you? I intreat you now to grant a Requeſt, you cannot reaſonably refuſe me, which is, to forget your perfidious Lover, and receive the Vows of the moſt paſſionate, and moſt conſtant of Mankind: If you compare my Sentiments with his, you will do Juſtice to my ſincere Paſſion; you ſhall be deliver'd from your Captivity, and ſhall give Laws to the Queen, whoſe Chains you now wear. Ah! my Lord, (cry'd Felicia in a dejected Tone,) I deſire nothing but Death, therefore give me Leave to complain, and do not interrupt my Grief with Propoſals, which I cannot accept. I have not Power to forget the Traytor, who thus neglects me: I love him ſtill, ſpite of all the Reaſons I have to hate him, and ſhou'd I be doom'd to ſink under my grievous Woes, or even live to deſpiſe the Author of my preſent Pain, do not think that a Crown cou'd invite me, ever to believe perfidious Man again.

Abelhamar heard her with an unconceivable Anguiſh, and had not Strength to make a Reply, but look'd at her with the greateſt Concern; and his Sighs interpreted the tormenting [Page 258] Motions of his Soul. Felicia was not in a Condition to obſerve the Deſpair, this young Prince was reduc'd to, but renew'd her Complaints, and nothing cou'd reſtrain the Courſe of her Tears. What are you doing, Madam, ſaid Inea to her? Is it poſſible, that a Perſon ſo charming ſhou'd regret the Loſs of a Man, who even diſowns you, and abandons you, to go away with Olympia? Is it thus he ungratefully repays the obliging Sentiments you have for him? Call Revenge to your Aid, Madam; forget a Man who forſakes you, and let your Diſdain be the Reward of his Falſity. It is eaſy, my Dear, reply'd Felicia, to give Advice on ſuch an Occaſion, I wou'd do the ſame to you, were you in my Caſe, and I in your's: But do you think, it is in our Power to act as we pleaſe, when Love has once render'd himſelf Maſter of our Inclinations? Ah! cruel Rival, what Torment do you give me? And you perfidious Count, ſhall not I ſee you puniſh'd for your Ingratitude? Imploy my Arm, Madam, interrupted the Prince, and with your Conſent, I will revenge you of your perjur'd Lover. I wou'd ſooner reſolve to die, ſaid Felicia, than yield to ſo inhuman a Propoſal; the only Favour I deſire of you, my Lord, (which I conjure you not to deny me) is, that you will leave me; you are no longer Eugenia, you are a Prince whom I dare not admit at this Time of Night into my Chamber; my Peace and Honour depend on your Compliance: Think of the Danger you expoſe [Page 259] your ſelf to, for a Perſon who can make you no Return. That is the only Misfortune I fear, interrupted Abelhamar; every Thing elſe might be eaſily ſurmounted. Retire, my Lord, reply'd Felicia, I am extremely uneaſy at your being here. The Prince, perceiving it was in vain to reſiſt, withdrew, but not without aſſuring her, that altho' he were to ſuffer innumerable Torments, thro' her Indifferency, yet his Paſſion ſhou'd ever be the ſame.

Olympia Doria, all that Evening, had not found an Opportunity to ſpeak to the Count of La Vagne, which made her paſs the reſt of that Night in ſuch an Agitation of Mind, as troubled the Joy ſhe ought to have receiv'd, at ſo agreeable a Change in her Fortune. What means, ſaid ſhe, Felicia's ſwooning away, and Inea's Anger; cou'd they have ſuch Motions for a Stranger? Yet the Count pretends not to know them, and this Diſſimulation ſeems to me very Criminal; how can I tell, whether in his Travels he did not come acquainted with this young Lady, and who can aſſure me, they do not love each other? Theſe melancholy Thoughts tormented her cruelly, and the Count on his Side was not leſs uneaſy, fearing Olympia wou'd let her ſelf be deceiv'd by Appearances; for tho' he cou'd not penetrate into this Myſtery, he ſaw enough to make him apprehend, it might give his Miſtreſs ſome Suſpicion; and as his Paſſion for her invited him to prefer Death to her Diſpleaſure, he impatiently waited for Morning to undeceive her.

[Page 260] As they had an equal Deſire to entertain one another, they roſe early, and met on the Terrace-Walk. Olympia, the better to know the Count's Sentiments, endeavour'd to conceal her Uneaſineſs, but her Melancholy ſoon diſcover'd her ſecret Thoughts. The Count alſo appear'd ſo dejected, that one might eaſily imagine what paſs'd in his Soul: He broke Silence firſt, and ask'd her, how ſhe had repos'd? To which ſhe anſwer'd with Indifferency, that ſhe had reſted very ill, without knowing the Cauſe: Here Olympia's Sighs interrupted her Diſcourſe. Ah, Madam! (ſaid the Count, proſtrating himſelf at her Feet) do not let me be long uncertain of my Deſtiny; you are not the ſame you were Yeſterday; what have I done, to deſerve from you ſo cold a Reception? I have not Reſolution enough to be ſilent, reply'd Olympia, tho' it was my Deſign; it is unjuſt to harbour Suſpicions of the Perſon one loves, without coming to an Eclairciſement. Tell me, my Lord, Do you ſtill love Felicia? I ſay ſtill, becauſe after what has paſs'd, I have no Reaſon to doubt, but you once had a Paſſion for her. The Count wou'd not let Olympia perſevere in an Error, which was to the Prejudice of his Honour; he ſcon by his Proteſtations perſwaded her of the contrary, then offer'd to go with her to juſtify himſelf before Felicia and Inea. I believe you, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, without ſuch a Proof, ſince I had much rather you ſhou'd not ſee 'em any more. The Queen has conſented to [Page 261] our leaving this Place, therefore let us go, for the Approach of the King of Tunis terrifies me. It wou'd be very unfortunate ſhou'd we find our ſelves beſieg'd here, at a Time that my Father is diſpos'd to favour us. Let us depart, reply'd the tranſported Count, there is nothing I wiſh ſo much; I have a Ship now ready to ſail for Italy, and only waits for a favourable Wind; may Heavens protect our Voyage, and bring me to my long wiſh'd for Happineſs; come, Madam, added he, diſpoſe all Things for your Departure; every Moment will ſeem to me an Age, till Hymen has crown'd my Love with the Union of our Deſtinies.

Theſe endearing Expreſſions highly pleas'd Olympia, who immediately went to the Queen, and obtain'd Leave to embark; Celima at the ſame Time reſtor'd to their Liberty the young Slaves that were taken with Olympia, then preſented her with her Picture, ſet round with Diamonds of great Value, and repeated to her, what ſhe had already ſaid in Behalf of the Count of La Vagne; withal, that at another Time, ſhe ſhou'd have been very glad to ſee him. Olympia, having return'd her Acknowledgments in a moſt reſpectful Manner, went into the Slaves Apartment, where ſhe choſe the Ladies I mention'd, and took her Leave of the reſt, who by their Tears and Careſſes ſhew'd the particular Affection they had for her. As ſhe doubted whether it were proper to ſee Felicia, ſhe deſir'd the Governeſs of the [Page 262] Slaves to acquaint her with her Departure; but at the Name of Olympia, and the News of her going away, ſhe fetch'd a Shriek, and made ſuch Complaints, as wou'd have inſpir'd the hardeſt Heart with Pity: Olympia hearing this, wou'd not aggravate her Pain by her Preſence, and tho' ſhe paſſionately wiſh'd to entertain Felicia, that ſhe might know from her, whether the Count of La Vagne was ſincere in what he had told her, yet ſhe was no ways willing to ſatisfy her ſelf, at the Expence of ſo amiable a Perſon.

The Count was expecting Olympia with Impatience, when ſhe came to tell him the Favours ſhe had receiv'd from the Queen, who order'd ſome of her Officers to accompany them to the Ship. The mean while, Felicia, oppreſs'd with Sorrow, continu'd lamenting with Inea; I have no Hopes left, ſaid ſhe to her; my Fate is decreed; the ungrateful Count of La Vagne is now going off, and I ſhall loſe him for ever; he flies me, and carries with him the Object of his Love; the Barbarian cou'd ſee me dying without being touch'd; nay, he even deny'd me his Pity; and the deplorable Condition, that perfidious Man has reduc'd me to, has not coſt him a Sigh. Ah! leave me, and let me die with Grief, and Shame! Don't indulge your Affliction, Madam, interrupted Inea; think only, that he who leaves you, is unworthy of the Tears you ſhed; reflect on his Ingratitude, and it will be an effectual Way to forget him. You are deceiv'd, [Page 263] if you believe it, ſaid Felicia ſighing; when one is inſpir'd with a Paſſion, the Loſs of its Object wholly employs our Thoughts. I proteſt to you with ſome Confuſion, that all the good Qualities I knew in that inconſtant Lover, appear to me now with greater Luſtre, tho' I can no longer doubt of his Infidelity, or my Misfortune; and to let you ſee more of my Weakneſs, I have a preſſing Deſire to write to him, in Hopes my Reproaches might move him. What, Madam! interrupted Inea, cou'd you receive his Devoirs again, after ſuch an injurious Proceeding? Alas, reply'd Felicia, what are not we capable of acting to recall a Heart, whoſe Poſſeſſion is dear to us? Then don't add to my Pain; I too well comprehend what you think, and bluſh to ſee my Honour concern'd: But conſider, I am an unhappy diſtracted Creature: My Dear, I conjure you, in the Name of your faithful Don Ramire, to find ſome Perſon, that will deliver a Letter to the Count of La Vagne; you cannot confer a greater Obligation on me. Inea, who was very willing to ſerve Felicia, left her immediately, in order to make an Attempt; but ſoon after ſhe return'd, and told her, it was impoſſible to ſend any Body to the Port, that the Queen had either receiv'd News of Iſmael's Approach, or that ſomething extraordinary was paſſing at Court, ſince ſhe had commanded the Guards of her Palace to be doubled, and the Gates to be ſhut, that none might be admitted without her Order.

[Page 264] Then I muſt loſe all Hopes, (cry'd unfortunate Felicia,) for I can neither ſtop him, nor follow him. Juſt Heaven! revenge me on that perjur'd Man! puniſh his Perfidiouſneſs! puniſh the Cauſe of this laſt Misfortune! may the angry Waves ſwallow them up, and let me hear the News of their Loſs, ſoon after that of their Departure! But alas, am I capable of forming Wiſhes ſo contrary to my Inclination? No, I have lov'd the Count too well ever to hate him; then let him live and be happy. All my Fury ought to be turn'd againſt my ſelf, for I deſerve the Miſeries I now linger in. Had I, inſtead of leaving my Father's Houſe, ſubmitted to his Commands, I ſhou'd not at preſent have the cruel Mortification, of reproaching my ſelf with an imprudent Conduct, which I never ſhall be able to juſtify to the World. While Felicia is thus deploring the Cruelty of her Fortune, we muſt return to the Prince of Carency.

Caſilda had maliciouſly perſwaded him, that Benavidez was gone with Leonida to Jaen, where he wou'd be ſure (as ſhe ſaid) of the Governour's Protection. A Man muſt certainly have as much Valour, as Love, to attempt any thing againſt a Perſon, who was protected by the Governour of ſo conſiderable a Place; but the Violence of his Paſſion, and Extremity of his Deſpair together, wou'd not permit him to reflect, even on the greateſt of Dangers.

[Page 265] Where-ever he paſs'd, People obſerv'd ſomething extraordinary in him and tho' his Eyes expreſs'd much Grief, his Noble Mein carry'd Marks of the Higheſt Diſtinction. He made the ſtricteſt Enquiry after Felicia of Leon; whom ſometimes he call'd Leonida of Velaſco, but when he deſcrib'd her to thoſe he apply'd to, he was ſo laviſh in her Praiſe, that they eaſily diſcover'd he was her Lover.

Notwithſtanding all his Care and Diligence, his Purſuit was in vain, for ſhe had not paſs'd that Way, nor cou'd any one give him the leaſt Intelligence concerning her. He began to be very uneaſy, and hurrying from one Thought to another, his Mind was fill'd with his paſt Misfortunes, till he came to Jaen, where he arriv'd exceeding melancholy. He look'd on the Citadel of that Town as a Place, where his Life and Diſaſters were to be terminated. Here, ſaid he! here, I expect to ſee the ungrateful Beauty I adore, and before her Eyes, I will attack the ungenerous Man, who next her ſelf had the firſt Place in my Heart. What a ſtrange Deſtiny is this, cry'd he? My Miſtreſs and my Friend equally betray me, and to ſatisfy my Reſentment, I muſt deſtroy the One, to wound the Other. It is probable, they are this fatal Hour contriving my Ruin, and giving each other freſh Aſſurances of eternal Love; but my Death muſt confirm their Felicity, for whilſt I am living, they have a cruel Enemy, who will endeavour to defeat their Projects, and ever trouble the Happineſs they propoſe.

[Page 266] At his Arrival, he had a mind to go directly to the Citadel, for (as I told you before) he had accepted of a Letter from the Governour of Carmona, to his Son Don Gabriel d' Aguillar, by whoſe Intereſt he was ſure of an eaſy Entrance into the Place; but he thought it was better firſt to ſend to him, and the mean Time inform himſelf of what paſs'd there. As he was going thro' the Town, he met a French Chevalier of the Houſe of Boucicault; his Name was Alphonſo, a Perſon of an obliging Temper, who came to Seville with the Count of La March. What do I ſee? Is it you, my Lord, (cry'd he, coming up to the Prince, with a great deal of Joy and Reſpect;) are you living, whom we ſo much lamented with the Prince your Brother, believing you were aſſaſſinated near Carmona, as it was reported in Spain, and for which we were meditating a proportionable Revenge? I ſhou'd have been happy, my Dear Alphonſo, (ſaid the Prince) had my Enemy's Deſigns been effected, but I am reſerv'd for greater Calamities; yet I deſire my Name may be kept ſecret, for important Reaſons, which engage me to conceal it, and you can be very ſerviceable to me. I am in love, and betray'd, and muſt revenge my ſelf on my Rival and my Miſtreſs. Oh! how I ſhall load Felicia with my juſt Reproaches? She is now in the Citadel with him. What you ſay is true, my Lord, interrupted Alphonſo, I know it from Don Gabriel d' Aguillar, who is one of my particular Friends: [Page 267] Felicia is confin'd againſt her Will, in an Apartment where ſhe ſees no Body, but by the Means of the Spaniſh Captain I have already mentioned; one Night, without being perceiv'd, I ſaw her ſadly deploring her Fate. Oh! my Lord, how Young and Handſom ſhe is; I muſt confeſs, I extremely pity her.

Do you pity her, ſaid the Prince with a deep Sigh? Have you any Compaſſion for her? Ah! you are little acquainted with her Perfidiouſneſs; but tell me, what means that manner of Confinement? Did not you ſee her come here with Don Fernand Benavidez, the Governour's Nephew? No, reply'd Alphonſo, the Perſon you name has not appear'd here ſince my Arrival, for as I am every Day at the Citadel, I ſhou'd probably have ſeen him; yet if he be there, he certainly keeps himſelf conceal'd. Ah, the Traitor! cry'd the Prince, he is only hid for Felicia's ſake, and without doubt has deſir'd a Guard to protect him from my Reſentment. The Villain has ſufficient Reaſon to fear me; it is dangerous to inſult a deſperate Man who does not value his Life. This Thought made the Prince fly into ſo violent a Paſſion, that Alphonſo beg'd of him to retire from the Place where they were ſtanding, for fear they might be obſerv'd.

The Prince ſaid to him, if you will prevent my committing any Extravagancies, you muſt ſecond the Deſire I have of ſeeing Benavidez, and Felicia. I have a Letter for Don Gabriel d'Aguillar, who I am glad to hear is your [Page 268] Friend; you will oblige me extremely in ſending inſtantly to him, that we may take neceſſary Meaſures for that purpoſe. Alphonſo promis'd the Prince every thing that depended on him, even at the Hazard of his Life, then left him to execute his Orders.

Whatever Enquiry Alphonſo and Don Gabriel made, before they came to the Prince, they cou'd learn nothing ſatisfactory; thoſe to whom they apply'd concerning Don Fernand Benavidez, told 'em, they believ'd he was at Villa-Real, but that he was not Nephew to Don Alonzo Fajardo, and that no body had ſeen him at Jaen, where hardly any one knew him. When they brought this Account to the Prince, he cou'd not believe 'em. Since Felicia is in the Citadel, interrupted he, 'tis a certain Conſequence Benavidez is not far; do you only contrive that I enter her Apartment; it is likely he will come there when every body is retired. Don Gabriel told him he ſhou'd be obey'd; then went to receive Orders from the Governour, who named him for Felicia's Guard; at Night he came back to the Prince, to conduct him and Alphonſo to the Citadel.

Now can any Mortal imagine the Trouble this amorous Prince was in, when he thought, he was ſure to ſee the Object he ſtill ador'd; he reſolv'd his Rival ſhou'd periſh, tho' he himſelf were to fall with him; which violent Reflection made him ſigh deeply, eſpecially when he conſider'd that this ſame Felicia [Page 269] was Leonida of Velaſco, to whom he was ſo ſtrictly engag'd, that his Honour wou'd not ſuffer any other to carry her off.

He was in this Confuſion of Thought, where Love and Revenge were equally concern'd, when Don Gabriel conducted him through ſeveral Courts, till at laſt he brought him to the Tower, where Felicia was conceal'd in a low Apartment; the Windows were bar'd with Iron-Grates, and the Weather being exceſſive hot, ſhe had obtain'd leave to walk on the Leads of the Tower for the Air; the Prince took that Opportunity to enter a Cloſet, which was only ſhut with a Glaſs Door, and there hid himſelf behind the Window Curtain, from whence he could ſee all that paſſed. He was not there long, before the Lights were taken away, and he heard two Perſons creep into the Cloſet; they ſpoke very low, and the Night being dark, he could not diſtinguiſh whether they were Men or Women; ſoon after, they went out of the Cloſet, where the Prince thought himſelf alone, but the Lights being brought in again, he ſaw ſeveral Women; who were preparing a Bath. They hung a Canopy of roſecolour'd Sattin, embroider'd with Silver, over a large black Marble Veſſel, which they fill'd with Water and Flowers, mix'd with the fineſt Perfumes.

Every thing being ready, a Lady came in, to whom the reſt of the Women ſhewed much Reſpect, but he could not ſee her Face, her Head being covered with a fine Veil; this was Felicia, who having undreſſed her ſelf to [Page 270] a thin Night-Gown, ordered all her Women to retire, excepting Zaida; then called for her Lute, ſaying, Muſick only can ſooth my dear Afflictions. Ah! Zaida, Zaida, could he for whom I ſuffer, hear theſe Verſes, how pleaſed ſhould I be! Soon after ſhe ſung the enſuing Words, with ſo ſweet a Voice, that none cou'd hear her without being inchanted.

WHY ſhou'd Virtue thus torment me,
Oh! unkind and cruel Law?
Or why ſhou'd fantaſtick Duty
Strike my tender Heart with Awe?
2.
Love, take pity of my Anguiſh,
To my ſoft Diſtreſs be kind:
Never let the fair One languiſh
When to Tenderneſs inclin'd.

She repeated the laſt Stanza ſeveral times, and fetch'd now and then deep Sighs, which ſhew'd her Heart was poſſeſs'd with a mighty Paſſion, as well as exceſſive Grief. The Prince all this while perceiv'd it was not the Voice of his unconſtant Felicia, or at leaſt was ſurpriz'd, that the ſmall diſtance which was between them ſhou'd cauſe ſo great an Alteration in her Tone, as not to know it again. Do not afflict your ſelf, Madam, ſaid Zaida; great Paſſions are ever influenc'd by Fortune; he whom you love, is at preſent inform'd of what you ſuffer; do you think he will attempt [Page 271] nothing to evince you of his Affection? Felicia made no Reply, but order'd her to ſhut her Chamber Door, and went into the Bath. How entirely do I love you, cruel Leonida, ſaid the amorous Prince to himſelf? But Oh, ungrateful Woman! ought not I to be aſhamed of my Weakneſs? For let me look upon you as a Perſon to whom I am contracted, or as a Miſtreſs I love to Diſtraction, you have equally deceiv'd me under the Titles of Carency, and La Vagne. Ah, perfidious Creature! you are now propoſing to ſurmount all Difficulties, in order to marry Benavidez: Cou'd there be a Complaint more paſſionate, than that which you juſt now utter'd? But (continued he) what muſt I believe? Are her Deſigns travers'd? Here, I ſee her a Priſoner in a Place where ſhe thought to find a Sanctuary; ſhe even regrets the Abſence of her Lover, and every thing ſeems to diſappoint their Expectations.

Such were the Prince's Reflections, and in ſpite of his Reſentment, Love ſtill triumph'd in his Heart; but in what ſurprize was he, when Zaida opening the Door of another Cloſet, he drew the Curtain, and ſaw a Man going with Precipitation to the bathing Veſſel, where he put himſelf on his Knees, and ſpoke ſo low, that his Voice cou'd not reach the Prince, who only heard Felicia cry aloud, is it you, my dear Lover; then ſhe ſwooned away.

[Page 272] The Prince of Carency, ſeeing this, cou'd no longer refrain, but without thinking on the Conſequence of the Scene he was going to open, ran out of the Cloſet like a Madman, and had he been capable of taking any baſe Advantage, it was in his power to run him (he took for Benavidez) thro' the Body, before the other cou'd even put himſelf in a Poſture of Defence; for Felicia's Swoon had ſuch an extraordinary Effect upon him, that he did not ſee the Prince, who was juſt at his Back, till hearing ſome body threatening him with a furious Tone, he roſe and drew his Sword; but the Prince ſeeing his Face, immediately drop'd the Point of his, knowing him to be Don Alonzo, eldeſt Son to the Infanta Don Fernand; he had ſeen him at Seville, when he was there with his Brother, the Count of La March; and the fine Qualities of this young Prince had engag'd the Prince of Carency to have a great Eſteem for him; he caſt his Eyes on her, whom he took for Leonida, and knew her to be Dona Felicia d' Ayala, Daughter to the Great Chancellor of Caſtille, who was highly diſtiguiſh'd by his Birth, and renown'd for the Hiſtories of Don Pedro, and Don Henriquez, Kings of Spain, which he had written. This Grandee being dead, Felicia was brought up with the two Princeſſes, Daughters to the Infanta Don Fernand. Don Alonzo, who ſaw her often, conceiv'd ſo great a Paſſion for her, that every one ſuſpected he wou'd marry her privately, and to prevent ſo unequal a Match, whilſt Don Alonzo was one [Page 273] Day a hunting, the Infanta his Father had order'd, that Felicia ſhou'd be ſecretly conveyed to Jean, where ſhe was to be carefully guarded: All the Women who attended her were at the Infanta's Devotion, and by the Death of the Chancellor her Father ſhe was delivered up entirely to the Perſecutions of thoſe, who envy'd her. As for Zaida, ſhe was a Slave, whom Felicia had made a Chriſtian, and one they did not miſtruſt, not reflecting ſhe had been preſented to her by Don Alonſo. This young Prince, at his Return to Seville, was in a deſpairing Condition, when he heard his Miſtreſs was gone; and tho' he learn'd but very confuſedly, the Manner of her being carry'd off, and confin'd in a ſtrong Place, yet invited by his Paſſion, he Day and Night us'd his utmoſt Endeavour to recover her; having at laſt diſcover'd his dear Felicia's Concealment, and found Means to write to Zaida, who anſwer'd his Letter, the Affair was ſo well manag'd, that without Felicia's Knowledge, he got into her Apartment.

The Prince of Carency perceiving his Error, in order to repair it, preſented Don Alonſo with his Sword, the Point towards his own Breaſt; Puniſh an unhappy Man, ſaid he, whom you will oblige, in taking away his Life. By my Words, you may judge of the Concern I am in, for having diſturb'd this charming Interview, which to obtain, it's probable, my Lord, you have expos'd your ſelf to ſome Danger; but be aſſur'd, I ſuffer more [Page 274] than you thro' this Miſtake. I do not reſent it in the leaſt, my Lord, (reply'd Don Alonzo, embracing him) and if you will promiſe to keep this Secret, you ſhall ever find me a grateful Friend. The Prince of Carency gave him his Word, he wou'd never take the leaſt Notice of what had happen'd, and without ſtaying till Felicia was come to her ſelf, he left the Chamber in ſo deep a Deſpair, that he cou'd ſcarcely ſpeak to Gabriel d Aguilar, who was at the Door of the firſt Room, with Alphonſo, and this laſt attended him to Don Gabriel's Apartment, who was oblig'd to remain in his Poſt.

The Prince having an Opportunity of yielding himſelf up to his juſt Sorrow, call'd to mind all his Misfortunes, from his firſt appearing in the World, to that Moment; on whatever Side he turn'd his Eyes, he ſaw ſo little Hopes of an Intermiſſion, that every thing became indifferent to him, and he did not even wiſh himſelf a better Fortune. All his Thoughts were fix'd on being reveng'd of Benavidez, which he fancy'd was the only Satisfaction he cou'd receive; but as it appear'd almoſt impoſſible, it extremely added to his Grief. Oh, Alphonſo! ſaid he, can any Diſappointment be equal to this? I was in Hopes to puniſh a Traitor, and recover my Miſtreſs; but that fatal Name of Felicia has again deceived me. What unaccountable Circumſtances have attended my Life? Fate has ſingled me amongſt all Mankind to be unfortunate. [Page 275] Where muſt I go to find the Treaſure I have loſt? Alas, my Leonida is not here, and I diſcover too late, Caſilda's wicked Plot. How cou'd I believe, that ſhe wou'd have told me where her Brother was gone? If I had made the leaſt Reflection, I might have expected ſhe wou'd deceive me. Ah! Credulous Wretch that I was, I have loſt an Opportunity I ſhall never retrieve again. Juſt Heaven! my Rival is now ſafe with Leonida, and he peaceably enjoys a Bleſſing which belongs to me. Can I after this ſurvive my Shame and Deſpair? In ſhort, the Prince's Condition was ſuch, that nothing cou'd give him Relief; his Complaints were moving, and Love appear'd in all his Actions.

Alphonſo, who knew by Experience the Torments, that attend tranſcendent Paſſions, extremely pity'd this unhappy Prince; Oh Love! cry'd he, will you never ceaſe perſecuting us? You alone cauſe all our Misfortunes, and never grant a Favour that is not preceded by a Thouſand Diſappointments. Ah! Why have we no Fence againſt your Power? The Prince, whilſt he was talking, continued in a deep Silence; and Alphonſo finding he was not diſpos'd to converſe with him, meditated ſome time, then wrote theſe Verſes.

LOVE, thou dear, but cruel Tyrant,
Can nothing move thee to be kind?
Hear my Sighs and ſee my Torment,
For only Thou canſt eaſe my Mind.
[Page 276] 2.
Since all are doom'd to feel thy Darts,
At leaſt ſuſpend our Pains,
With tender Pity bleſs thoſe Hearts
That languiſh in thy Chains.

The Prince read theſe Lines, and ſaid, One cou'd have no room to complain, if, in Love, there were an equal mixture of Pleaſure and Pain; but alas! I have experienc'd that all its Ills are reſerv'd for me, which makes me wiſh a Period to my unhappy Life. Ah, my Lord! interrupted Alphonſo, do not harbour a Thought ſo offenſive to your Courage. 'Tis unworthy a Soul ſo great as your's ſhou'd yield to a Paſſion, which will divert you from the Performance of great Exploits. The Prince bluſh'd at what Alphonſo ſaid, and look'd on this Diſcourſe, as a Reproach made him, for the time he had employ'd in entertaining his amorous Sentiments; You ſhall ſee by my Conduct, reply'd he, that my Soul is ſtill my own: I love, 'tis true, and cannot flatter myſelf with ever being diſengag'd from a Paſſion, which has ſo great an Empire over me; yet when Honour calls me I am ready to attend; and if I muſt give up my Life it ſhall be in ſo glorious a way as will do Honour to my Name.

Here they where both ſilent ſome time, till the Prince, urg'd by diſagreeable Thoughts, broke out into his uſual Complaints: Oh, Alphonſo! ſaid he, which way ſhall I direct my Courſe to find Leonida? I cannot hear where [Page 277] ſhe is; muſt I then turn Knight Errant, and run through the World, without knowing where to go? No, I have a nobler Reſolution; I will return to Seville, and there follow my Brother's Fortune; if we engage the Moors, I muſt conquer, or bravely die.

Alphonſo over-joy'd to hear the Prince ſpeak in theſe Terms, applauded a Deſign ſo worthy of him. Conſider, my Lord, ſaid he, that all you cou'd do at preſent for Leonida, wou'd meet with no Return; for ſince ſhe flies you, 'tis proable, you are the Object of her Averſion; at leaſt, her going off with Benavidez is a Proof, ſhe loves him, and is perfidious to you: What can you then expect from her? Rather ſtrive to deface the Impreſſion ſhe has made, that in time you may even loſe the Remembrance of having ever known her. I ought to take your Advice indeed, interrupted the Prince, but alas! how is it poſſible? Fortune may be inconſtant, but my Heart can never change. Thus irreſolute, not knowing what to determine, he conjur'd Alphonſo not to diſcover who he was, nor acquaint the Count of La March with his being at Jaen, till he had fix'd a Reſolution. The Chevalier promis'd him upon Honour to keep the Secret inviolably, and beg'd he wou'd not be uneaſy on that Subject.

Whilſt theſe things paſs'd in relation to the Prince of Carency, the Count of La March, his Brother, neglected no opportunity of ſignalizing himſelf. He had not been long at Seville, [Page 278] when the Moors beſieg'd Baëca with Seven Thouſand Horſe, and a Hundred Thouſand Foot; ſo formidable an Army ſtruck Terror throughout Andaluſia, but as the Place was well fortify'd, the Moors deſpair'd of its Reduction, when they receiv'd Advice, that the Spaniards from all parts were aſſembled in order to relieve it; therefore they ſuddenly retir'd, loaded with the Plunder of the Neighbouring Villages. They were not more fortunate at Sea, where they had conſiderable Loſſes by the Spaniſh Fleet, which had engag'd their's, and gain'd a compleat Victory. This Advantage gave no ſmall Satisfaction to the Spaniards, who now thought of acting offenſively. The Infanta call'd a General Council of all the Officers of the Army, where it was reſolv'd to beſiege Zahara. The beſieg'd defended the Town bravely, till the want of Neceſſaries made 'em capitulate. Soon after, he took another of their ſtrongeſt Places, which ſo exaſparated Mahomet King of Granada, that he immediately thought on Revenge; and in order to carry on his Deſign, put himſelf at the Head of Six Thouſand Horſe, and Eighty Thouſand Foot, dividing them into ſeveral Bodies, which took different Routs for their March, and all on a ſudden beſieg'd Jaen, whilſt they thought him imploy'd elſewhere.

His Approach ſurpriz'd the Governour, who was not prepar'd for a Siege, and wou'd have been under greater Difficulties, were he not aſſiſted by the Prince of Carency, who had not yet [Page 279] left the Town, and was rejoyc'd to have ſo fine an Occaſion of diſtinguiſhing himſelf. He had been preſented to Alonzo Fajardo under the Title of Count of La Vagne, and having offer'd his Services to him, the other readily accepted of 'em. This young Prince put himſelf at the Head of a Detachment, and by his frequent Sallies, often broke the Enemies Meaſures, and repuls'd 'em where ever he appear'd, carrying Death and Terror along with him. As his Neglect of Life made him expoſe himſelf to the greateſt Dangers, he became dreadful to his Enemies, who knowing him by his Arms, choſe rather to avoid his Blows than reſiſt him. The Governour of Jaen admired his Courage, and thought Heaven had ſent him to defend that City againſt the Infidels.

The King of the Moors enrag'd at his ill Succeſs, and attributing the Cauſe to the Prince of Carency, whom they call'd the Knight of the black Arms, order'd ſome of the braveſt of his Army, either to kill, or take him Priſoner; ſo immediately the Generals and moſt of the Noblemen made a League to be reveng'd of this terrible Enemy, or periſh in the Attempt. A Detachment was ſent out the next Day, much ſuperior to that under the Prince's Command. Nevertherleſs he attack'd them, and his Courage ſurpaſs'd all that can be imagin'd. The Moors were beginning to repent their raſh Undertaking, when unluckily the Prince's Horſe was wounded by an Arrow; and before he cou'd diſengage himſelf, they [Page 280] ruſh'd upon him with a Shout, and took him Priſoner. This News ran thro' the Camp, and ſoon found way into the Town, where it had a different Effect; Mahomet thought now he had conquer'd, and the Governour believ'd himſelf overcome. The Barbarians were reſolv'd to make a general Aſſault, and the Chriſtians were preparing to defend themſelves, tho' moſt of the Soldiers were mightily diſhearten'd, ſaying to one another, what can we pretend to? We have loſt the Count of La Vagne; commanded by him, we might have defeated our Enemies, but his Misfortune is the Preſage of ours.

At this time the Infanta omitted nothing for the Succour of Jaen: He aſſembled his Troops with great Diligence, and march'd towards the Town with the Count of La March, where he ſurpriz'd the Moors, who retir'd with more Shame than Glory, ſatisfying themſelves with burning, and pillaging, wherever they paſs'd. The Spaniards purſu'd them as far as Malaga, which they beſieg'd in their turn. The Infanta was inform'd by Don Alonſo Fajardo, of the young Count of La Vagne's being taken Priſoner by Mahomet; as for his Friend Alphonſo, he was kill'd in one of the Engagements, which was the Cauſe that the Count of La March heard nothing of the Prince of Carency's being there. The mighty Character of his Bravery, and the Recital of the great Actions he had perform'd, gave the Infanta a particular Concern for his Misfortune; [Page 281] he ſent an Officer with Propoſals for the Exchange of Priſoners, and offer'd a Ranſom for the Count of La Vagne, being willing to purchaſe his Liberty at any rate; but all he cou'd do to get him out of his Enemies Power was in vain; the Moors made Anſwer, that the Count having brib'd his Guards, had made his Eſcape, and that were he ſtill in their Hands, they wou'd readily ſend him back, to ſhew how deſirous they were to oblige the Infanta.

The King of Granada in the mean time was of Opinion, that he cou'd not too ſtrictly guard a Perſon, who had been very troubleſome to him during the Siege; therefore Policy and Revenge having an equal ſhare in this Deſign, he order'd that the Prince (tho' dangerouſly wounded) ſhou'd be convey'd to the Caſtle of Solobrena, where his Brother, Prince Joſeph, with his two Sons, Mahomet and Oſmin, were kept Priſoners; ſo the Prince of Carency found himſelf a ſecond time in the Power of the Infidels; but his Sentiments were quite different from thoſe he had at Nicopolis, for that which at another time wou'd have given him much Chagrin, had now very little Effect on him, all his Thoughts being only imploy'd on Leonida, and every thing elſe below his Conſideration; yet it was an unhappy State, for a Man to love an Object, whom he Thought guilty of the greateſt Perfidiouſneſs.

Whilſt this was the State of Affairs in Upper Andaluſia and Murcia, Celima Queen of [Page 282] Fez was taking Meaſures to be reveng'd of Abelhamar. Felicia had but juſt oblig'd him to leave her Chamber, when the Queen (impatient to have her Deſigns executed) caus'd him to be ſeiz'd by a Captain of her Guards, who carry'd him immediately to a Tower adjoyning the Palace, and having poſted a Guard at every Gate to hinder People from coming near, the Queen went to him ſoon after.

Abelhamar did not appear the leaſt ſurpriz'd at his Confinement; he ſaid to this Princeſs, My Sentiments, Madam, are not unknown to you, ſince you are inform'd of the Love I have for Felicia; I have not acted any thing contrary to the Allegiance and Reſpect I owe you, and tho' you find me diſguis'd in your Palace, it wou'd not conſiſt with Juſtice, to draw an ill Conſequence from an Action, that is only the Effect of my Paſſion, to which you can impute no other Crime, but that of Indiſcretion. I know too well your Intentions (interrupted the Queen in a fierce Tone) to let myſelf be deceiv'd by your Wit, or Metamorphoſis; No, Prince! you were here conſpiring againſt me; the rebellious Principles you were brought up in, cou'd never receive a grateful Sentiment, or teach you what you owe your Sovereign. Have I not preſerv'd your Life, without regard to the Reaſons of State, which ought to have induced me to ſacrifice you? Yet, ungrateful as you are! have you liv'd hitherto with the hopes of making [Page 283] me a Victim? Cruel Iſmael alſo ſeconds your Deſign, and has promis'd you Forces in order to dethrone me. You prefer a Stranger to a Queen of your own Blood, to whom you owe every thing; but Heaven that protects me, has put me in a Condition to puniſh you, and be reveng'd of my Enemies. Satisfy yourſelf, Madam, (reply'd the Prince, with a haughty Air) and don't ſlight ſo fine an Opportunity of taking away a Life, which is odious to you. Paint my Innocence in the vileſt Colours, or rather, ſay, the legal Right I have to the Crown you wear, is my only Crime; and that, as you have ever born an invincible hatred to the unhappy Remainders of my Family, you have reſolv'd to compleat, what your unjuſt Father had begun. Raſh Man! cry'd Celima, do you think of what you are ſaying? Dare you pronounce theſe Words before the Queen your Miſtreſs? Don't you know your Death waits my Command? Is it thus you endeavour to juſtify your ſelf, and appeaſe me? You don't conſider the Danger you are in. Abelhamar made no Reply to her Threats, nor gave the leaſt Attention to her whilſt ſhe was ſpeaking, but rather acted like one, who deſpiſing Mercy, did not regret the Life he was going to be depriv'd of; which unconcern'd Behaviour ſurpriz'd the Queen, who retired full of Reſentment.

Celima had already given orders, that Felicia and Inea ſhou'd be ſtrictly guarded in their Chambers, and that none of their Companions [Page 284] ſhou'd be admitted to them. This new Misfortune did not add to Felicia's Concern, for every thing was now become ſo indifferent to her, that ſhe did not even enquire into the Cauſe.

The Queen being return'd to the Palace, call'd her Council, and appointed Perſons to examine the Prince, becauſe ſhe wou'd ſhew ſome Form in an Affair, which might draw upon her the Averſion of her Relations, and particularly that of the Maliquez Alabez, who were alſo deſcended from the antient Kings of Fez, and at that time very potent in the Kingdom of Granada. This induc'd her to give the blackeſt Colours to the Crime, with which they were going to charge Abelhamar; and tho' ſhe took the beſt Meaſures to conceal the Deſign ſhe had againſt him, yet his faithful Mula (who was juſt return'd from Tunis, where he had carry'd Credentials to Iſmael from the Prince, us'd his utmoſt Application to ſerve him; he had to good a Correſpondence in the Palace, not to be inform'd of every thing that paſs'd there, in relation to the unfortunate Prince; and as he perceiv'd the occaſion was preſſing, he wou'd loſe no time to give immediate aſſiſtance to his Maſter, who otherways wou'd fall a Sacrifice to Celima. He went to all Abelhamar's Friends and Slaves, and prepar'd them to aſſemble, in order to raiſe the City in his Favour; by which means, he hoped to reſtore him to his Liberty, or put all to Fire and Sword, that wou'd oppoſe it. Theſe [Page 285] were his Reſolutions, till he reflected, that the Queen had a great many Creatures devoted to her Service, as well as a ſtrong Garriſon, and that the People being us'd to her Government, wou'd ſtrive to maintain it; therefore he thought it more prudent to return to Tunis, and apply himſelf to Iſmael, who wou'd imploy his utmoſt Power in this important Affair; ſo he ſet out again from Sallee, and ſoon arriv'd at Iſmael's Court.

His Grief and Affection furniſh'd him with Expreſſions of ſo great a Force, that the King of Tunis was extreamly touch'd at Abelhamar's Misfortunes, and being already exaſperated againſt Celima, he reſolv'd immediately to aſſiſt that Prince. With this Intent, he order'd his Troops to be drawn out of their Garriſons and review'd, then ſent an Ambaſſador to the King of Morocco, to renew his Treaty of Alliance with him, to prevent that Prince in his Abſence from making any Irruptions into his Territories.

After having diſpos'd every thing with as much Wiſdom as Diligence, he open'd the Campaign, and Mula return'd privately to Sallee, to perform what he had firſt reſolv'd for the Safety of his Maſter.

The young Prince being examin'd, refus'd at firſt to make a Reply; but when they told him, unleſs he anſwer'd to the Accuſation, he ſhou'd receive Sentence the ſooner, it oblig'd him to make a Defence, in Expectation of being reliev'd by Iſmael; and whatever mind the Queen had to forward his Tryal, ſhe cou'd [Page 286] not proceed to a Condemnation, without expoſing herſelf to inevitable Dangers. The firſt Officers of the Crown, and Lords of the Court repreſented to her, that ſhe cou'd not take too much Precaution in an Affair of this Importance, and that it wou'd be more to her Glory, to let Clemency take Place of Juſtice; we believe the Prince is culpable, ſaid they, ſince he was found diſguis'd in the Palace, which is a ſufficient Proof; yet without Regard to his Youth, as he is preſumptive Heir to the Crown, and of your Blood, Madam, he ought to have ſome Reſpect ſhewn him; therefore we beg, that your Majeſty, for your own Intereſt, will conſider theſe Reaſons ſeparately, and by ſuſpending your Reſentment, ſhew Mercy to the Prince.

The Queen was diſpleas'd at a Requeſt, which ſhew'd, that Abelhamar had more Friends than ſhe imagin'd; and fearing they ſhou'd take Meaſures to reſcue her Priſoner, ſhe wou'd no longer conſult Reaſon, but reſolv'd to do every thing by her own Authority, without taking any Advice of her Council; ſo having prevented thoſe appointed to judge the Prince, ſhe herſelf pronounc'd the Sentence of his Death; and to deter ſeditious Perſons from caballing againſt her, ſhe order'd, that he ſhou'd be executed on the Plat-Form of the Court wherein he was confin'd, that every Body might ſee him ſuffer.

In this Place they built a Scaffold hung with Mourning, and ſet round with Standards [Page 287] and Scutcheons, which with other diſmal Preparations drew Numbers of Spectators. The Prince was ſoon after inform'd of his Fate; this News at firſt very much ſurpriz'd him; his Eyes expreſs'd an extraordinary Grief, and he was ſome time without ſpeaking; at laſt lifting up his Hands, Oh Heaven! he cry'd, you know my Diſguiſe was not criminal, and that this is only a pretext the unjuſt Queen takes to deſtroy me; but ſince you have decreed my Doom, I am ready to obey without repining; and if Celima grants me one Favour, I ſhall die with Content. Then turning himſelf to the Captain of the Guards, he ſaid, go tell the Queen from me, that I beg leave to bid an eternal Adieu to charming Felicia; the Minutes I ſhall paſs with her will be too ſhort to retard the inhuman Deſigns of Celima.

The Officer went directly to the Queen, who was very unwilling to grant the Prince his Requeſt; but her Miniſters having repreſented to her in reſpectful Terms, how cruel it wou'd be to refuſe ſo ſmall a Satisfaction to a Perſon in his Condition, ſhe at laſt conſented that Felicia ſhou'd be brought to him. She was till then a Stranger to the Prince's Misfortune, being ſtrictly confin'd with Inea; and as her Confinement did not in the leaſt diſturb her, ſhe never enquired, why they added this new Rigour to her Captivity. Her Mind was entirely taken up with the Count of La Vagne, and the Tears ſhe ſhed were only for his Inconſtancy and Abſence; every thing elſe that [Page 288] happen'd, had no Effect on her; and ſhe was in this Diſpoſition, when ſhe was ſent for by the Queen's Orders. She follow'd the Governeſs of the Slaves without asking any Queſtion; Inea ſupported her, and being very weak after her Illneſs, it was with a vaſt deal of Difficulty, that ſhe reach'd the Tower.

The firſt Object that ſtruck her Sight was the Scaffold, and a Number of Guards, which gave her room to believe, that ſhe was going to be a Victim to Celima's Jealouſy. Inea's Thoughts were the ſame, which extremely terrify'd her. Felicia's Sentiments were different from hers; for tho' Death appear'd hard to her, yet ſhe had ſome ſort of Satisfaction, in ſeeing the approaching End of her Misfortunes. Take Courage, my dear Inea, (ſaid ſhe, embracing her with a great deal of Tenderneſs,) the Danger only regards me, and I look upon it with Indifferency; it is a Remedy my Preſervation commanded me not to ſeek, but ſince it is my Fate, I receive it with Pleaſure. I am going to die, and ſhall no longer have a Senſe of my Calamities. No, Lovely Felicia! (cry'd the Prince, who was near enough to hear what ſhe ſaid,) you are not to die; this Puniſhment is prepar'd for unfortune Abelhamar, who now takes his laſt leave of you; I proteſt it leſs concerns me, to loſe my Life in ſo ſhameful a manner, than to want Aſſurances of your Favour. Ah Madam! (added he with an Air full of Love and Grief) can you refuſe me a Look, a Sigh, [Page 289] or a favourable Word? You ſee I periſh, and my Misfortune proceeds from your tranſcendent Charms! The Deſire I had to ſee you reign, made me endeavour to aſcend the Throne, from which my Father fell; you inſpir'd me with an Ambition, I ſhou'd have manag'd better, had I been leſs in Love; You are the innocent Cauſe of the Diſguiſe I am reproached with, which is thought my Crime; yet I have nothing to repent of, ſince my Paſſion invites me to bear the Cruelty of my Fate. But at leaſt, give me leave, divine Felicia, to believe that had my Deſign ſucceeded, my Reſpect and Perſeverance wou'd have made ſome Impreſſion on you. Only approve theſe Thoughts, and I ſhall not think much to purchaſe ſo dear a Profeſſion, with the Loſs of my Life.

Felicia at theſe Words was ſo diſorder'd, that ſhe look'd ſome time at Abelhamar, without having Power to ſpeak. She was touch'd with a ſincere Compaſſion, and deplor'd the Misfortune of this young Prince, who was going to be ſacrific'd ſo ignominiouſly. She cou'd have wiſh'd, the Queen's Reſentment had fallen on her; for the State of her Affairs with the Count of La Vagne was ſuch, as had render'd Life ſo inſupportable to her, that ſhe ſeem'd very willing to reſign it. At laſt, perceiving Abelhamar waited her Anſwer; ſhe ſaid, is this Scene prepar'd for you, my Lord? Alas! why cannot I relieve you? My Tears are the only Proofs, I can give of my true Concern; yet be aſſured, I ſhall never be [Page 290] ſo ungrateful, as to forget your Favours. This Day's Diſaſter will ever be before my Eyes. Ah Felicia! (reply'd the Prince) I thought your Compaſſion wou'd have inſpired me with Courage, but I find it has a contrary Influence. Oh! That I cou'd now live for you. The Hopes you have given me, make me extreamly regret leaving you, ſince I muſt leave you for ever. Here, his Breaſt was oppreſs'd with ſo deep a Sorrow, that he cou'd only expreſs it by his repeated Sighs. The Queen, who was impatient to have the Prince executed, had order'd, that Felicia ſhou'd be call'd away from him, when of a ſudden ſhe was alarm'd, hearing at the Gates of the Palace, the Shouts and Cries of People in Arms, who were comanded by valiant Mula, and had already charg'd the Soldiers of the Guard. They demanded the Prince, and threatned Celima with a general Revolt, unanimouſly calling Abelhamar their King, and ſaying, they had cauſe to fear a Queen, who was cruel enough to waſh her Hands in the Blood of her neareſt Relation; and that if ſhe deny'd their Requeſt, they wou'd deliver her up to the Puniſhment, which ſhe had deſign'd for the Prince.

The Queen wou'd not have given much Attention to the Menaces of theſe ſeditious People, had ſhe not been inform'd, that there were thick Clouds of Duſt ſeen towards the Road of Tunis, and that the Centinels (who had already heard a confus'd Noiſe of warlike Inſtruments) began to diſcover from the Walls [Page 291] of the Town, a Body of Men marching with great Precipitation; ſoon after they came to acquaint her, that there was a Herald at the Gate, who deſired Admittance to her Majeſty, in the Name of Iſmael. This News ſtruck the Queen with Terror, which ſhe expreſs'd by her Emotions, being divided between Revenge and Deſpair. Her Miniſters preſs'd her to give Audience to the King of Tituan's Herald, and after being a little compos'd, ſhe conſented to ſee him; he brought her a Letter, which was in theſe Terms.

I Am come to ſuccour Abelhamar, who is a Prince favour'd by Heaven, and our great Prophet Mahomet, therefore you muſt deliver him up to me. Conſider, inhuman Queen, that you have neither Arms nor Subjects to ſupport you: I am inform'd of every thing, that paſſes in the Palace, which I proteſt, I will reduce to Aſhes, unleſs you immediately reſtore the Prince to his Liberty; but if you ſend him to me, or Hoſtages for his Security, I will favour your Retreat; you may leave the Kingdom, and take with you ſuch Attendance, as you ſhall think neceſſary.

Iſmael Sultan.

Celima's Fortune cou'd hardly receive a greater Change; ſhe now ſaw at the Gates of her Capital an Enemy, who treated her like a Conqueror, that was juſt going to dethrone her. The Soul of this imperious Princeſs grew ſo furious at Iſmael's Menaces, that inſtead of thinking of the Danger ſhe was in, her Mind [Page 292] was only taken up with Revenge. Come, cry'd ſhe, Barbarian! Come and be Witneſs of my Courage and Reſentment; the Man you intend to redeem, ſhall be ſacrific'd before your Eyes. If Heaven and Earth ſhou'd joyn, and the Elements return to their firſt Chaos; What is it to me? I have but a Life to loſe, which has been a Burthen to me theſe many Years; let us go and ſtrike off this rebellious Head, which is ſo dear to Iſmael, and ſend it to him from the Height of the Tower. Follow me (ſaid ſhe, to the Herald, who waited her Anſwer;) come and ſee, how I ſlight the Threats of your Maſter. You ſhall Witneſs the Death of Abelhamar, and receive his laſt Sighs. Ending theſe Words, ſhe went haſtily towards the Place, where her Commands were only expected for his Execution; but, the Mufty, the Admiral, and Governour of the Town, with ſeveral of her faithful Subjects, flung themſelves at her Feet: Alaſs, Madam! ſaid they, conſider the Misfortune which ſeems to point at you perſonally; are you reſolv'd to bury your ſelf in the Ruins of the Palace? That muſt certainly be your Fate, if you irritate a King, who is before your Walls with a potent Army; this is no time, Madam, to revenge your ſelf; for in puting the Prince to Death, it may raiſe a Mutiny, and ſhou'd Iſmael take Advantage of it, you may loſe your Life, or become Captive to the Conqueror. Is it not more glorious, Madam, to fly and ſeek in another Country ſome Forces, who, encourag'd [Page 293] by your Preſence, may re-place you on your Throne?

The Queen's Women in Tears, proſtrated themſelves at her Feet, and ſaid all that Zeal and Fear cou'd inſpire; at laſt her imperious Heart was touch'd, rather at the Danger ſhe expos'd ſo many Perſons to, who depended on her, than at what concern'd her own Perſon. Muſt the Queen of Fez ſubmit, cry'd ſhe, and ſeek her Safety in a ſhameful Flight, which will cauſe her to bluſh the reſt of her Days? Oh Heavens! Was ever Deſtiny ſo wretched as mine? I ſhall become a Fugitive, and baniſh'd my Kingdom, be forc'd to beg Refuge of thoſe whom I once cou'd have protected; I cannot think I deſerve ſo cruel a Fate. Here, ſhe continued her Complaints, and whilſt ſhe yielded to her exceſſive Grief, Abelhamar was inform'd of the agreeable Change in his Fortune.

He was entertaining Felicia, when they came to tell him, that Iſmael's Ships and Forces were approaching. Think with what Tranſports he receiv'd this News! 'Tis now, Madam, ſaid he to her, that I can return the Goodneſs, you juſt now expreſs'd; your Virtues have made a deep impreſſion on me, and ſince I am deliver'd from Death, you ſhall no longer feel the Weight of your Chains. I rejoice, my Lord, reply'd Felicia, to ſee that the Danger is paſt, and conjure you, not to give your ſelf any Uneaſineſs about me: I am born to be unhappy, and the Rigour of my Captivity is nothing, when compar'd to my [Page 294] inward Pain: Farewel, my Lord; you have now Affairs of greater Importance to imploy your Thoughts. Finiſhing theſe Words, ſhe retired, and Abelhamar remain'd in the Tower by Order of the Queen, who ſent Hoſtages to Iſmael, with Aſſurances, that the Prince ſhou'd be ſet at Liberty, as ſoon as ſhe had left the City.

Unfortunate Celima was now preparing a Fleet and Tranſports to carry away her moſt valuable Goods: She gave Inſtructions to thoſe Perſons, whom ſhe cou'd not take along with her, and having diſpos'd every Thing according to her Intention, ſhe made all imaginable Diligence to depart, not depending on Iſmael's Words, and fearing the Conſequences of Abelhamar's Reſentment. Thus the Fugitive Queen went off by Night, with her Women and Slaves, and was conducted to the Veſſel, which attended her. She order'd immediately to ſet Sail with the reſt of the Fleet, and the Wind being fair, they ſoon enter'd the Mediterranean. Nothing cou'd be equal to the Concern Celima was in for the loſs of her Kingdom; ſhe fetch'd deep Sighs, and in ſpight of all her Pride, cou'd not reſtrain her Tears. Fortune! Ungrateful Fortune! ſaid ſhe, your Capriciouſneſs ſpares neither King, nor Subject. Who can flatter himſelf with being above your Reach? You declar'd your ſelf my Enemy from my Infancy, and purſu'd me in the remoteſt Countries. Once taken by a Pyrate, I fell into the Power of Bajazet; ſoon after, you made uſe of Cupid's Arrows to pierce my [Page 295] Heart; Alas! that Wound, I never can hope to cure; at laſt, to ſhew your ſelf more favourable, you plac'd me on a Throne, which you now force me to abandon. What muſt I expect from you next? Why don't you ſtrike me at once with your moſt poiſon'd Darts, that I may not be expos'd to new Torments. Oh, deplorable Fate! ſhall I thus be for ever perſecuted? And you Felicia, (continued ſhe, caſting her melancholy Eyes on Leonida, who was near her) you are the Author of my laſt Misfortune; it is your fatal Beauty, that has been the occaſion of this Revolution; Ah! how can you evince me, that you are innocent? Alas, Madam! reply'd Felicia, I had no Hand in the Prince's criminal Deſigns; for if it be true, that he had a Paſſion for me, it was contrary to my Inclination: I knew nothing of his Diſguiſe; nor did I ever flatter him with any Hopes. On the contrary, my Averſion was the only Return I made to his Addreſſes, and from the firſt Hour he declar'd his Sentiments for me, I reſolv'd never to change. I was inform'd, ſaid Celima, that the Count of La Vagne, who came to fetch away Olympia, had given you much Uneaſineſs; without doubt, he is the Perſon you love, but you are convinc'd, he has no longer a Paſſion for you, and ſince he has no Regard to your Affection, you ought to diſdain him. Theſe Words put Felicia into ſome Confuſion, who bluſhing, caſt down her Eyes, without being able to utter one Word, and her beauteous [Page 296] Cheeks moiſten'd with Tears ſufficiently expreſs'd the State of her anxious Soul. You make me no Anſwer (ſaid Celima, fetching a Sigh) Ah! I am better able to Anſwer for you; I was willing to ſee, whether your Tongue cou'd betray your Heart, or diſown a Diſtemper, you cannot cure. Alas, Felicia! I know too well by fatal Experience, the irreſiſtible Power of Love, which unhappily ſurpriz'd me before I cou'd ſuppreſs its firſt Motions, or even think how dangerous they might prove.

If there are Torments in Love, Madam, ſaid Felicia, they ought not to affect a Sovereign, whom Nature hath grac'd with ſuch tranſcendent Perfections. Nothing but Death, or Abſence can deprive you of the Object that is dear to you. Inconſtancy, which ſurpaſſes either in Cruelty, can never make you feel the tormenting Effects of it. Ah, Felicia! reply'd Celima, there is no Pain like that, which is occaſion'd by Abſence, ſince it keeps us in continual Fears, both of Death and Infidelity. At leaſt, Madam, ſaid Felicia, there is one Comfort in it, which is, that having but an uncertain knowledge of the Truth, we are generally inclin'd to believe what we moſt wiſh. No, continu'd Celima, it is not as you imagine; Uncertainty in Love is a Martyrdom, which adds to all the Pains we can endure. Alas, Madam! reply'd Felicia, I ſhou'd now look on that uncertain State, as a happy one, ſince I might derive from it the pleaſing Hopes, which my preſent Condition entirely deſtroys.

[Page 297] The Sovereign and her Charming Slave were entertaining each other with Diſcourſes of this Quality; and tho' Celima's Familiarity was very great, yet Felicia was ever mindful of the Reſpect due to her. Night was far advanc'd before they took any Reſt; but at laſt their Eyes yielded to what Nature required, and Celima had been aſleep ſome Hours, when ſhe was awak'd by the Noiſe of Seamen and Soldiers; the former were preparing againſt a Storm, which threaten'd 'em, and the latter for an Engagement with Abelhamar, whoſe Ships they had juſt diſcover'd.

You muſt know that as ſoon as the Queen of Fez had ſet out for the Kingdom of Granada, the Gates of Sallee and the Palace were open'd to the King of Tituan, who immediately went to the Tower, where the young Prince was Priſoner; but the latter being already ſet at Liberty, he came to meet the King with the greateſt Marks of Joy and Gratitude for his happy Deliverance. After Abelhamar had imploy'd ſome time, in giving the King as obliging a Reception, as that Juncture wou'd permit, he cou'd not forbear going to the Apartment which belong'd to the Queen's Slaves, thinking to find Felicia there; for thoſe who guarded him in his Confinement, had not inform'd him of her being embark'd with Celima.

But you may imagine how great was his Surprize, not to meet any Women there, and to ſee every thing in Diſorder: This giving [Page 298] him ſome Suſpicion, he proceeded to the Queen's Apartments, which were open and quite empty, ſo that he had no longer room to doubt of the loſs of his Felicia. He ran up and down like a diſtracted Man, and expreſs'd his exceſſive Grief in ſuch Terms, as extremely mov'd all that were with him. Have I then loſt you, Felicia? cry'd he; my charming Felicia! have I loſt you at a time, that I was flatter'd with the hopes of a perfect Felicity? The Compaſſion you ſhew'd for me, when I was expecting immediate Death, was an Evincement of the Diſpoſition you were in to do me Juſtice, and had you not been compell'd to fly me, I am inclin'd to believe, you wou'd no longer refuſe me your Affection. But Oh! my Felicia, they have ſnatch'd you from me, and my raging Paſſion is the only thing I have left in your cruel Abſence. Go Mula, continu'd he, go tell the King, he has done nothing for me; I am ready to give him up that Life, which he has preſerv'd, and I conjure him to take it from me, or reſtore me my Miſtreſs; but what do I ſay? ſhe is not in his Power, then let him give me his Ships to purſue her.

Mula obey'd his Commands, and went to Iſmael, whilſt ſome Perſons, who remain'd with the Prince, were giving him an Account, with how much Precipitation the Queen went off, and that ſhe had ſet Sail for the Kingdom of Granada. Abelhamar (whoſe Impatience was great,) wou'd not wait Mula's Return, but ran to Iſmael, who readily granted him all he deſired; [Page 299] ſo having choſen ſome of the King's beſt Ships, and ſwifteſt Sailers, he purſu'd Celima, whoſe Fleet he knew was neither conſiderable in Strength, or Number; tho' he did not reflect that his Squadron was ſtill Inferior. Having put to Sea, he ſtood on the Quarter-Deck, endeavouring to diſcover ſome of the Queen's Ships, when he ſpy'd a Veſſel, not very diſtant. He gave Orders they ſhou'd make all Sail, which being executed, and the Wind fair, it was not long before he came up with her.

The firſt Object that preſented it ſelf to him, was the Count of La Vagne; for his and Olympia's Sailing had been prevented by ſtormy Weather, which forc'd 'em back; ſo they choſe to ſtay on Shipboard, and remain in the Harbour, where they waited a fair Opportunity of going on their Voyage. As ſoon as Abelhamar perceiv'd it was the Count, (whether he look'd on him as a Rival, who was the Occaſion that his Paſſion for Felicia had not met with an obliging Return, or that he conſider'd him as an Enemy to that lovely Captive, having behav'd himſelf towards her in an ungrateful and perfidious manner,) he cou'd not help conceiving ſo immoderate an Averſion for him, that he inſtantly commanded Mula to take the Barge, and go to the Count of La Vagne. Tell him, ſaid the Prince, that I look on him as a Traytor, who deſerves Death; and if he has a Mind to ſave Thoſe who are with him, and have nothing to interpoſe in our Quarrel, he may come to me, or give me his Word of [Page 300] Honour, and I will go and decide the Affair with him.

Mula went on Board the Count of La Vagne's Ship, and tho' he was not acquainted with Abelhamar, whom he was ſure had no reaſonable Motive to quarrel with him, yet he was ſo offended, to ſee himſelf ſuſpected being a Traytor, that without entering into a Detail, which might have made up the Difference, he leap'd into Mula's Boat. I will go, (ſaid he to him, with an Air full of Pride and Anger;) your Maſter ſhall ſee, that ſuch a Man as I is not to be inſulted unreveng'd. Thus without reflecting on the Danger to which he expos'd himſelf, and even forgetting his dear Miſtreſs, he order'd them to Row him to Abelhamar's Ship.

The Boat had already made ſome Way, when Olympia's Woman awak'd her, and gave her an Account of what was paſſing. Her Surprize was ſo great, that ſhe juſt gave her ſelf Time to take her Night-Gown, then ran upon Deck, from whence, ſhe perceiv'd her Lover at a great Diſtance. Do you abandon me then, my dear Count, cry'd ſhe, and are you going to expoſe a Life, which is mine? What have you to ſay to cruel Abelhamar? Oh! don't leave me ſo; but come back to your dear Olympia, or take me along with you, that I may undergo the ſame Fate. Whilſt ſhe was uttering theſe Words, the Count had reach'd Abelhamar's Ship. Olympia ſeeing this, deſir'd the Captain of that ſhe was in, to let her take his Barge, which being granted, [Page 301] ſhe bad them pull up with all Speed towards the Prince's Ship; but ſhe unfortunately arriv'd there too late: The Count was already engag'd with Abelhamar; and tho' he fought with all the Courage and Dexterity imaginable, he was forc'd at length to yield, having received a mortal Wound.

As he was making his laſt Efforts to defend himſelf, againſt Abelhamar's reiterated Blows, the unhappy Olympia came up, and perceiving at a ſmall Diſtance, that her Lover was cover'd with Blood, and hardly able to ſupport himſelf, ſhe cry'd out in a loud Voice, hold, barbarous Prince! hold! What have I done to you, that ſhou'd provoke you to deprive me of my Life? Don't you know that the Count of La Vagne is to be mine? Give ſome Intermiſſion to your Rage, (cruel as you are,) or if nothing but a Sacrifice will ſatisfy you, I am here ready to receive the Blow; Come and pierce my Heart; but ſpare! oh! ſpare the Man I love!

The Accent of a Voice ſo dear to the Count, reach'd him, juſt as he fell at Abelhamar's Feet. He ſtrove to raiſe his Head, and turning his Eyes towards Olympia's Barge, he ſaw his Divine Miſtreſs deſpairing, who with much ado got on Board the Ship, and was no ſooner there, but fell in a Swoon near the Count, and remain'd Speechleſs a long while. After ſhe was a little recover'd, all ſhe cou'd do, was to lay her dying Lover's Head on her Knees, and bath his Wounds with her Tears: Thus oppreſs'd with mortal Grief, ſhe ſate down without being able to complain.

[Page 302] The Count endeavour'd to ſpeak to her, and taking her by the Hand, ſaid, I die, my dear Olympia, I die entirely yours, and regret departing from Life, only for your ſake. With theſe Words, his Soul took its Flight, and left his Body in the Arms of his deplorable Miſtreſs, who ſaid ſuch moving things, and acted ſo much Deſpair, that even Abelhamar was inconſolable, for being the Author of her Affliction. He ſent her half dead on Board the Ship, ſhe was in before, and order'd the Count of La Vagne's Corps to be alſo tranſported. Olympia, inſtead of going to Genoa, ſail'd for Sardinia, in order to retire to her Aunt's Monaſtry, where (having erected a magnificent Tomb for her Lover) ſhe continu'd the reſt of her Days, lamenting the irreparable Loſs ſhe had made. Thus we are often deceiv'd, when in the greateſt hopes of an approaching Happineſs, which Fortune changes into the crueleſt Torments.

Abelhamar wou'd not have left Olympia in this deſolate Condition, had not his Paſſion invited him elſewhere. He impatiently deſir'd to overtake the Queen, being reſolv'd to force his Felicia from her; and he was not long in his Purſuit, before they came to tell him, that they had diſcover'd Celima's Ships. One may judge how extremely overjoy'd he was at this News. He immediately gave Orders to make all Sail, then imploying his Wiſhes for Succeſs and a fair Wind, prepar'd himſelf for an Engagement with the Queen's Squadron, who were alſo doing the ſame.

[Page 303] This unfortunate Princeſs knowing the Danger which threaten'd her, encourag'd her People, and having ſent to all the Captains to come on Board her Ship, ſhe call'd a Council, then Orders were given, and each Officer thought of nothing but doing his Duty. The Trumpets began to ſound, and the Cannons roar'd, whilſt on each ſide they were endeavouring to gain the Advantage of the Wind, with a Reſolution not to ſhew any Favour. Thus ready for a Fight, Celima ſaid to her Soldiers, Obſerve that dangerous Serpent (pointing at Abelhamar, who was in Armour walking on his Quarter-Deck) ſee that ungrateful Man, whom I brought up with ſo much Care, he is now meditating my Ruin; did I not ſpare his Life, tho' it ever endanger'd mine? yet he is not ſatisfy'd with my quitting my Kingdom, to expoſe myſelf on this dangerous Element. He even purſues me, and ſo greedily thirſts after Blood, that nothing can pleaſe him but my Death. Help me, ye brave and Loyal Subjects, to puniſh this Rebel, and let us by deſtroying him, afford an Example for other Traytors in Ages to come!

The Queen was thus animating her Soldiers, whilſt Felicia and Inea were indulging their Melancholy. See my Dear! ſaid Felicia; ſee, theſe dreadful Preparations; what can be the fatal Conſequence of this Engagement? I fear, we ſhall once more be the Victims of Fortune: Oh, Heaven! cry'd ſhe, rather let me die, than fall into the Hands of Abelhamar, ſince no greater Diſaſter can ever happen to me.

[Page 304] Inea endeavour'd to comfort and give her hopes, ſaying, why do you thus afflict your ſelf, ſince nothing is yet decided? We are all preparing for a vigorous Reſiſtance, and the Weather begins to be ſo Stormy, that one wou'd almoſt believe it impoſſible for the two Fleets to approach. She was ſtill ſpeaking, when on a ſudden, there aroſe ſuch a boiſterous Wind, with Thunder and Lightning, that on each ſide, inſtead of continuing their Preparation for a Fight, they were forc'd to employ all Hands to ſave themſelves from greater Dangers.

Thus the Fleets were diſpers'd without knowing which way to ſteer their Courſe. The raging Wind rent the Sails and ſplit the Maſts, and the artleſs Pilot, with Death in his Looks, was torn from his Helm: The impetuous Waves toſs'd the Ships here, and there, till at laſt, unable to withſtand their reſiſtleſs Fury, ſome were daſh'd againſt the Rocks, others wreck'd on the Shoar, and few eſcap'd this terrible Tempeſt.

Abelhamar (having loſt Sight of the Ship wherein he thought Felicia, and deſpairing of ever ſeeing her more) look'd on the Danger he was in, with ſome kind of Satisfaction. No, (ſaid he to Mula, who made unſuccesful Efforts to conſole his Maſter) no, ſhou'd I eſcape Death, which now threatens me, you muſt not think, that I can ever enjoy any Pleaſure, or Happineſs, without the Poſſeſſion of Felicia: My Paſſion for her increaſes more and more, [Page 305] by the many Difficulties I meet with, and tho' I ſee the fatal Powers, which oppoſe me, yet nothing ſhall make me change the Deſign I have of purſuing her.

By this time the Weather grew more Calm, and Day being far advanc'd, the Prince was conſulting Mula, which way he ſhou'd ſteer his Courſe to find his Miſtreſs. He had already paſs'd the Streights of Gibraltar, in order to go to Carthagena, or Porto Real, not doubting, but the Queen had reach'd one of thoſe Harbours, to ſhelter herſelf from the Storm; he therefore reſolv'd for the Coaſt of Andaluſia, but they who accompany'd him, diſapprov'd his Deſign. Conſider, my Lord, ſaid they, that this is the only Ship left of ſeveral, which Iſmael lent you, and that your purſuing Celima, may prove of a fatal Conſequence: Her Sex, her Beauty and Misfortunes will plead for her, and what will the King of Granada think, to ſee you come into his Dominions in Purſuit of an unhappy Princeſs, who has abandon'd her's, and left you Maſter of them. He may detain you as an Hoſtage, till he has made advantageous Conditions in her favour, with the King of Tituan; and it is not to be expected, that this Monarch will continue your Friend, whilſt you act contrary to his Intereſt; for ſhou'd his generous Diſpoſition happen to change, he might take Poſſeſſion himſelf, of what he has juſt acquir'd for you. Let us return to Sallee, my Lord, continu'd they; if the Kingdom of [Page 306] Fez remains in your Hands, you may ſoon be in a Condition to ask what you pleaſe of the King of Granada, who will deliver up Felicia to you, rather than have any difference with you about a Chriſtian Slave.

Abelhamar was mortally diſpleas'd to ſee, that the preſent Conjuncture oblig'd him to return to Fez; and what added to his Affliction in his way thither, was to meet on every ſide the diſmal Fragments of Ship-wracks, which cover'd the Surface of the Sea, and made him but too ſenſible, that he had loſt the greateſt part of his Fleet.

The Queen, on her ſide, had not been expos'd to leſſer Dangers, for all her Fleet was diſpers'd; and as the Wind drove her into the Port of Carthagena, the ſtern of her Ship ſtruck ſo fiercely againſt another, that they both had like to have ſunk, which Accident ſhatter'd what the Storm had ſpar'd; but ſeveral Boats and Barges came immediately to the Queen's Aſſiſtance, and landed her ſafe with her Women and Equipage.

She had hardly ſtep'd out of her Barge, but was inform'd of the great Alterations which had happen'd in the Kingdom of Granada, by the Death of Mahomet, who (being poiſon'd by the means of a Gown, which was ſent to him as a Preſent) had left the Crown to his Brother Joſeph, whom he had detain'd Priſoner many Years in the Caſtle of Salobrena. Celima ſent an Officer of her Guards to congratulate this Prince, on his happy and unexpected [Page 307] Acceſſion to the Throne, deſiring him at the ſame time, to take Compaſſion on her: She ſent alſo to ſome of her near Relations, who held the ligheſt Rank in that Court.

The Governour of Carthagena, hearing that the Queen of Fez was landed, went to meet her with all the Marks of Honour and Reſpect, that were due to her Quality. She had an Apartment prepar'd for her in the Caſtle, where ſhe remain'd two Days to repoſe her ſelf, after the Danger and Fatigue, ſhe had undergone; and from thence ſet out for Granada, where they were already inform'd of her Landing, and were prepar'd to receive her, being willing to give a Sanctuary to that unfortunate Queen.

Joſeph King of Granada immediately order'd his two Sons, Mahomet and Oſmin, to go and meet Celima, with Aſſurances of his Concern for her Misfortunes, and how deſirous he was to ſerve her in all that lay in his Power. Theſe Princes were perfectly accompliſh'd; and as the Prince of Carency had been confin'd by the late King's Orders, in the Caſtle of Salobrena, whilſt they were Priſoners there, they had conceiv'd ſo entire a Friendſhip for him, that they reſolv'd to ſet him at Liberty, if ever their Condition ſhou'd change; but the King their Father, being deſirous to make Peace with the Spaniards, and knowing that the Infanta, Don Fernand, had offer'd Mahomet a conſiderable Ranſon for the Count of La Vagne, (for he continu'd calling himſelf by that Title) [Page 308] thought, that in detaining him, it might be a more effectual means to obtain what he ſo earneſtly wiſh'd. Nevertheleſs, as he had a particular Eſteem for the Prince, he ask'd him if he wou'd give him his Honour, not to go away without his Conſent; which the other having readily promis'd, the King took him along with him to Granada.

The Day he made his Entry, he ſent the Prince of Carency a magnificent Dreſs, with a rich Turbant and a Scymiter embelliſh'd with Jewels, which ſhew'd it was the King's pleaſure he ſhou'd dreſs himſelf after the Mooriſh manner, in order to accompany him to all the Solemnities of his Coronation.

But the King, who had found in the Prince a great Reſemblance of the brave Aſſimir (who was a Grandee of the Houſe of Abanſerages, much conſider'd in that Kingdom, and had been lately kill'd) us'd often to give the Prince that Name, out of a Mark of Favour, who equally receiv'd it as ſuch; and as he was unwilling to be known, he choſe rather to be called by that Name, than any other.

Tho' time had not been able to diminiſh the Prince's Paſſion, or alleviate his Grief, yet in ſpite of his exceſſive Melancholy, every Body diſtinguiſh'd him, as one of the fineſt Gentlemen, that was ever known. Amongſt all thoſe who ſhew'd him the greateſt marks of Eſteem, the Princes Mahomet and Oſmin particularly expreſs'd themſelves his Friends. Mahomet had eminent Qualities, but was ſo preſumptuous, [Page 309] that he wou'd have ſacrific'd any thing to gratify his Deſires. His younger Brother, Oſmin, was as fine a Prince, and had nobler Inclinations, which made the King have a greater Affection for him, than for the reſt of his Children.

As ſoon as News was brought of Celima's being near Granada, theſe two Princes (by the King their Father's Order, at the Head of the Noblemen of that Court) went out of Town to meet the Queen. The Prince of Carency was one of thoſe, who accompany'd them in this Cavalcade, and each Cavalier had a Motto painted on his Shield: The Prince caus'd an Apollo purſuing Daphne, to be drawn on his, with theſe Words round it, written in Spaniſh, Quiero y buſco quien me aborece y me fuyo; that is, I love and purſue one, who hates and flies me. This Thought expreſs'd in a gallant Manner his diſappointed Paſſion. The Princes underſtood it immediately, for whilſt they were in Confinement together, he told 'em part of his Adventures, and made a Secret only of his and his Miſtreſs's true Name, which he conceal'd for ſeveral political Reaſons, eſpecially on his Brother, and Don John of Velaſco's Account, who had both fought againſt the Moors, and defeated them in ſeveral Engagements.

So many Hiſtorians have inform'd the World, how highly the Moors, in thoſe Days, diſtinguiſh'd themſelves above other Nations, by their Gallantry and Magnificence, that I ſhall decline extending that Subject, and only ſay, [Page 310] that the unfortunate, but beauteous, Queen of Fez elected that Court for her Refuge, where ſhe appear'd with ſuch Attractives, as inſpir'd Love in all, who beheld her.

Mahomet and his Brother (accompany'd by the Prince of Carency in his Mooriſh Dreſs, which admirably became him) met the Queen at a ſmall diſtance from Granada. She ſate alone in a fine open Chariot, and all her Women follow'd her in Chaiſes. Felicia and Inea were together in one, and had drawn the Curtains, to have an Opportunity of entertaining each other more conveniently. Ought we to look on our being near Spain, ſaid Felicia to her Friend, as a favourable Change towards our better Fortune? I think, reply'd Inea, that the Circumſtances can no ways prove to our Diſadvantage. Alas! as for my part, interrupted Felicia, I have ſo little hopes of Happineſs in this Life, that I cou'd now leave the World with Pleaſure. Inea did not omit any thing, which cou'd divert her from theſe melancholy Reflections, tho' ſhe herſelf had cauſe enough to be uneaſy, not having heard from her dear Don Ramire. Whilſt they were talking, the Princes alighted, and ſaluted the Queen with many Aſſurances in the Name of the King their Father; then took Horſe again, and rode by the ſide of her Chariot, entertaining her Majeſty, with what was moſt ſuitable to the Occaſion of her Voyage. But Celima became of a ſudden ſo penſive, that ſhe cou'd hardly make 'em any Anſwer; her Eyes were entirely [Page 311] fix'd on the Prince of Carency, and ſhe had not Power to turn them on any other Object: Her Joy and Surprize were equally extraordinary, and what added to both, was ſeeing him in a Mooriſh Dreſs, which gave her a Curioſity to ask his Name of one of the Guards, that was near her, who (not knowing, that the Prince was a Priſoner of War, but had only ſeen him with the King, in his Journey from Salobrena to Granada,) told the Queen he was call'd Aſſimir.

She immediately conjectur'd, he had ſome important Reaſons, which oblig'd him to aſſume that Name, and Diſguiſe, ſo did not ask any other Queſtions relating to him; yet what gave her ſome Uneaſineſs, was to find that he did not take any particular Notice of her. She was a good while in Expectation he wou'd have ſpoken to her; at laſt ſeeing he continu'd Silent, ſhe addreſs'd her Diſcourſe to him, and for a pretence ask'd him the Signification of the Motto, which ſhe had perceiv'd on his Shield. He told her the Meaning, and added, that he was the unhappieſt Man in the World. The Queen imagin'd, that by the Apollo, he meant himſelf; and Daphne to be her, which fill'd her Mind with ſuch Ideas, as were too pleaſing to be expreſs'd. I have ſometimes had a Prophetick Spirit (ſaid ſhe to him ſmiling) and have foretold things without knowing their true Cauſe: Methinks I have a great Diſpoſition to do you the ſame Favour, Aſſimir! Your Daphne neither flies, [Page 312] nor hates you, and you ſhall ſoon have the Satisfaction of ſeeing her. Ah, Madam! cry'd the Prince tranſported, what do you tell me? Is it poſſible, that the cruel fair One, who is the Object of my Sufferings, will at laſt vouchſafe to make me happy? Yes, (reply'd Celima, with a gracious Air) ſhe is as willing as you, to put a period to your Torments, and I promiſe you, that as ſoon as I am a little at Leiſure, I will tell you more of the matter. Alas, Madam! reply'd he, I do not deſerve, that ſo great a Queen ſhou'd be concern'd in my Fortune, which hitherto has prov'd very fatal, and I dare hardly hope a better one for the future. Celima ſaid no more to him at that time, fearing the particular Diſtinction, ſhe had ſhewn him, might be taken Notice of, which undoubtedly wou'd have diſoblig'd Mahomet, who had already found ſo many Charms in the Queen, that he cou'd not ſufficiently deplore her Misfortunes; and whilſt he was thus offering her his Pity, a more powerful Paſſion made way to his Heart.

The nearer Celima approach'd Granada, the more ſhe admired the Beauty of that famous City, which is ſituated in a Plain, at the Extremity whereof is a ſnowy Hill, from whence ſpring two Rivers, the Daro, and Genil; the one often produces Gold-Duſt, mix'd with the Sand, and the other pure Silver. The Air of that Climate is ſweet, and refin'd, and there ſeldom appears any Winter; the Spring and Autumn united, afford Flowers and Fruit, [Page 313] without being at the trouble of cultivating the Earth. There are whole Foreſts of Orange, Mirtle, and Pomgranate Trees; and as Nature had taken Care to embelliſh the Country, ſo no Art had been ſpar'd to beautify the City, which was incompaſs'd with a ſtrong Wall, and Twelve Hundred Towers. The Palace of Alhambro (which the Kings had choſen for their Court) was ſo magnificent, that nothing but the Caſtle of Abbaycin cou'd be equal to it, which on every ſide ſhin'd with Gold and Azure, ſupported by Marble and Porphyry; beſides, the Moors obſerv'd an admirable Order in Architecture, which highly recommended their Buildings; and as for their Gardens, Walks and Fountains, they were ſo wonderfully well contriv'd, that nothing cou'd be added to their Beauty and Agreeableneſs.

The Queen arriv'd at the Gates of the Town, where the People aſſembled in great Multitudes: But the Prince of Carency, to avoid the Crowd, took another way, which inſenſibly led him to the ſide of the River Daro, whence he continued till he came to a Fountain, whoſe Water was as clear as Cryſtal; the deep Silence, which reign'd in that Place, and the Inclination he had to meditate on what the Queen of Fez had ſaid to him, invited him to alight; he ty'd his Horſe to a Tree, and lay down on the Graſs; then calling to mind what Celima had told him, by what Chance, thought he, did this Princeſs (who never ſaw me before) ſingle me out to acquaint me, that Leonida [Page 314] ſtill loves me, and that I ſhall ſoon ſee her. Has any one inform'd her of my Sentiments? Methinks it does not well become one of her Rank, to rally an unfortunate Man, who cannot even flatter himſelf with Hopes, much leſs with the real Enjoyment of ſo unexpected a Bleſſing.

He was drown'd in Reflections of this Nature, when the Voice of a Man, (who ſpoke the Arabick Tongue) interrupted him, asking whether the Queen of Fez was yet arriv'd at Granada? The Prince knew very well, that the Perſon who was coming up to him was a Stranger, and that he only ſpoke Arabick to him, becauſe of his Dreſs, ſuppoſing him to be ſome Grandee in Alliance with the Moors. He fix'd his Eyes on this Foreigner, but Heavens! how great was their ſurprize, when they knew each other. Benavidez (for it was he) cou'd not help turning pale at the thoughts of his Perfidiouſneſs, and the Prince, ſwelling with Anger, ſaid to him, From whence come you, unworthy Wretch that you are? What Doemon has convey'd you here to receive the Puniſhment of of your Treacheries? Finiſhing theſe Words, he drew his Sword, and us'd it with ſuch Fierceneſs, that the Spaniard, notwithſtanding his Bravery, was daunted and ſeiz'd with Terrour; till at laſt, calling Deſpair to his Succour, and ſeeing the inevitable Danger he was in, he fought rather like a deſperate Man, than one who had a mind to ſave his Life. The Prince, reſolving not to ſpare him, reiterated his Blows [Page 315] with ſuch Vigour, that he ſoon gave Benavidez a mortal Wound, which made him fall at his Feet. Ah! my Lord (ſaid he to the Prince, with a feeble and incoherent Accent) it is but juſt, I ſhou'd die by your Hand, after all the Injuries I have done you. Did I deſerve ſuch Uſage, Traitor, reply'd the Prince? Since you can deceive me no longer, where have you left perfidious Leonida? Now is the time to convince me, that you are yet capable of repenting a baſe Action. I am willing to obey you, (anſwer'd Benavidez, ſtretching out his Hand) upon Condition, that you will forgive me. Speak, and I will even forget all, ſaid the Prince; tell me what is become of my Leonida. I declare to you (reply'd Benavidez, whoſe Face ſhew'd the Symptoms of an approaching Death) that Leonida never ceas'd loving you; ſhe no ways conſented to her Flight, but almoſt conſum'd with Grief, loaded me with the cruelleſt Reproaches, and her utmoſt Averſion was the only return ſhe made my Paſſion; yet in ſpite of her Tears and Reſiſtance, I took her with me on Board a Ship, and was promiſing myſelf a happy Voyage, when we were met by ſome of the Enemy's Ships, who engag'd, and took ours: I was ſo dangerouſly wounded, that—Farewel, my Lord; I can ſay no more, I am dying. His Eyes inſtantly clos'd, and his Soul made its Exit, whilſt he was lying in the Prince's Arms.

Benavidez's Death touch'd the Prince of Carency's generous Soul, who forgetting all his [Page 316] Ingratitude, began to pity him, ſaying, that he wou'd never have been guilty of the Crimes he had committed, cou'd he have defended his Heart from Leonida's Charms; and looking on him as an unhappy Rival, and a reconciled Enemy, his Compaſſion took Place of his Reſentment: He reflected on what Benavidez had juſt told him, relating to his dear Leonida, but he was perfectly inconſolable, not knowing the Enemies, who had taken her. Fatal Death! cry'd he, thou haſt ſnatch'd away the Life of a Man, who was going to inform me of a Circumſtance, which is of the greateſt Importance to me. Where muſt I fly to ſeek the Object of my Love, and how can I tell into whoſe Hands ſhe is fallen? Oh Heavens! am I not more unfortunate than ever? The Thoughts of her being inconſtant, gave ſome Intermiſſion to my Paſſion, for which I was endeavouring to find a Cure; but now the Caſe is chang'd; I am concern'd for a Miſtreſs, to whom I am contracted; ſhe has ever been true to me, and perhaps, has found a Lover and a Maſter, in the Man who has her now in his Poſſeſſion. Oh unparallel'd Fatality! How tormenting will theſe Apprehenſions be to my afflicted Soul? Which way ſhall I go to find her? The Prince was ſo deeply involv'd in theſe anxious Reflections, that he did not immediately perceive a Wound he had receiv'd in his Arm; but finding himſelf grow weak by the great Loſs of Blood, he thought fit to retire.

[Page 317] Juſt as he enter'd the Town, he met Zulema, who was a Moor of the Family of Abenſerages, to whoſe Guard he had been committed by Orders of the late King, whilſt he was Priſoner in the Caſtle of Salobrena. The Prince having a Confidence in this Moor, thought he cou'd not chuſe any one more capable of ordering Benavidez's Burial; therefore he deſired Zulema to oblige him in this Occaſion, who without delay, tho' the Night was far ſpent, took ſome Slaves with him, and went to the Fountain, in order to execute the Prince's Commands.

As he came near the Place, he heard a Perſon lamenting grievouſly, which at firſt ſurpriz'd him, not diſtinguiſhing what he ſaid; but having alighted from his Horſe, he perceiv'd a Man, who was embracing Beavidez's Body, and bemoaning his Misfortune in the Spaniſh Tongue. Ah! my dear Benavidez, ſaid he, how unlucky it is, that I was not here to defend you againſt the Traitors, who have murder'd you. Alas! my Uneaſineſs and Fears had already foretold your Death. Here Zulema interrupted this Stranger, and being compaſſionate, told him, Benavidez had not been kill'd by any treacherous means; and that he, who fought him, was ſo generous an Enemy, that he had even deſir'd him to come and ſee the Corps interr'd. The Spaniard, who was very young, expreſs'd his Concern by his Tears, and ſaid, Oh Sir! Nothing can alleviate my Affliction, ſince I have loſt all, in loſing my dear Maſter. Zulema endeavour'd [Page 318] to comfort him, then order'd his People to take the Corps, and bury it in a little Wood, not far from the Fountain.

This being perform'd, Zulema (who was naturally generous, and then mov'd with Pity at the repeated Complaints of this Servant of Benavidez) ask'd him, if he wou'd go along with him to Granada. You ſhall be ſafe in my Houſe, ſaid he, which is a Favour your Countrymen cannot well expect in this Kingdom. Don Sanche (for that was the Spaniard's Name,) heſitated ſome time before he made an Anſwer, but at laſt, whether Fear or Prudence prevail'd with him, he told Zulema, that ſince he was pleas'd to offer him his Houſe for a Sanctuary, he was very willing to wait on him. Zulema, who was uneaſy about the Prince's Wound, went directly to ſee him, and the mean while ſent the Spaniard to his Houſe, to wait his return.

The Prince was in Bed, and the Surgeon, who had dreſs'd his Wound, found it ſomewhat dangerous, which ſoon occaſion'd a Report in the Town, that he had had a Rencounter, tho' the Particulars were not known; and when Zulema enter'd the Prince's Chamber, he found the King's two Sons ſitting by him, who were much concern'd at this Accident. Mahomet thus continued the Diſcourſe he had already begun; I muſt tell you, it is unkind, to make a Myſtery to us of your Enemy's Name. I owe you, my Lord, reply'd the Prince, too much Gratitude and Affection, ever to do that [Page 319] which might deſerve a Reproach from you; I ſhou'd be very willing to tell you who was my Enemy, if there were Cauſe to apprehend any farther Conſequences, but I am entirely eaſy on that Score; beſides, I am oblig'd to keep a Secret, which I was ſworn to, before I thought you wou'd have ask'd me the Detail of this Affair, ſo beg leave to be ſilent.

Oſmin fearing this Converſation might create ſome Uneaſineſs in the Prince, obligingly wav'd the Diſcourſe, and ſaid to him; You have loſt very much by not attending the Queen of Fez, for (laying aſide the honourable Reception the King my Father gave her, and the extraordinary Luſtre which the Ladies of our Court appear'd in) ſhe commanded all her Slaves to pull off their Veils, and I muſt confeſs, we were both aſtoniſh'd, and charm'd, to ſee ſo many beautiful Creatures. Their Praiſe was the chief Entertainment of the Court, and I am perſuaded, they will cauſe many a Lover to be guilty of Infidelity. That is already your Caſe, Brother, reply'd Mahomet ſmiling, and you cannot deny, but the Eyes of that Felicia (whoſe Name you were ſo deſirous to know) have made ſuch an Impreſſion, as may endanger your Liberty. I own to you, ſaid Oſmin, that I prefer her to all the reſt; her Beauty is not to be parallel'd; and I am ſurpriz'd, Brother, that you eſcap'd falling her Captive. No, anſwer'd Mahomet, my Heart is not ſo eaſily wounded. [Page 320] Alas, my Lord! interrupted the Prince of Carency, perhaps your Time is not come, but you will find your ſelf as ſenſible as any of us, when you meet with the Object, whom Deſtiny has decreed to inſpire you. As for my part, I dread that fatal Moment, as much as a Pilot does a Rock in a Storm. Why don't you beſtow your Inclinations on a Slave like Felicia, reply'd Oſmin? At leaſt, you wou'd be free from any cruel Torments. Who can tell, my Lord, ſaid the Prince, whether that Slave will like the Man, who has a Paſſion for her? Love is capricious, and ever guided by Fancy, therefore a Slave may look with Indifference on the greateſt Monarch in the World. How can you thus oppoſe my Satisfaction with your Reflections, cry'd Oſmin? Wou'd you have me ceaſe loving Felicia out of groundleſs Apprehenſions? Indeed, Brother, reply'd Mahomet, it's ſtrange you ſhou'd ſay, you love a Perſon, whom you hardly know. Nay, you may ſtile it as you pleaſe (ſaid Oſmin,) but what I can affirm is, that the Perfections of this young Captive have already engag'd me: Nothing in Nature can be more beautiful! no, nor even comparable to this lovely Creature; and I impatiently wiſh Aſſimir's Recovery, that he may be able to make his court to the Queen of Fez; he will then be judge of what I advance.

It will not be ſo eaſy to ſee her, as you imagine, my Lord, interrupted Zulema, (who had been ſilent all this while) I have been at Salee, [Page 321] where I ſtay'd a conſiderable Time, and the Negotiations I was imploy'd in, by the late King, gave me frequent Opportunities of having both private and publick Audiences with the Queen; yet, whenever I was admitted, I found her ſurrounded with the oldeſt, and uglieſt Women in the World. She us'd to ſet a ſtrict Watch on all her pretty Slaves, and keep 'em ſo conceal'd, that unleſs her Humour be much alter'd, I am ſure you will find ſome Difficulty in paying your Courtſhip to Felicia. That Sex is very unjuſt, cry'd Oſmin; I ſuppoſe Celima will not let her Slaves be ſeen, for fear they ſhou'd eclipſe her Charms. 'Tis you that are unjuſt, reply'd Mahomet, why ſhou'd you attribute to any other Cauſe, a Cuſtom which has been long eſtabliſh'd, only for the ſafety of Slaves? Every one muſt agree, that Celima is endow'd with too many Excellencies, to apprehend any thing from other Beauties. Ha, Brother! ſaid Oſmin; you were boaſting a while ago of your Inſenſibility, but I find by the paſſionate Air, with which you expreſs yourſelf in the Queen's Defence, that you are not ſo very indifferent, as you wou'd make us believe. Mahomet, who had no mind to ſatisfy his Brother on that Subject, made no Reply, but riſing up, addreſs'd himſelf to Aſſimir, (meaning the Prince of Carency) whom he embrac'd; and after having deſir'd him to take Care of his Health, he and his Brother took their leave of him. Zulema retir'd at the ſame time, without acquainting him, that [Page 322] he had met Benavidez's Servant. The Prince on the other Hand was impatient to entertain him, but there was no poſſibility of doing it, till the next Day.

One may imagine, the Prince paſs'd but a very ill Night. What the Queen and Benavidez had ſaid to him, ſtrangely perplex'd his Mind, which, being added to the Pain he ſuffer'd by his Wound, threw him before Morning into a violent Feaver. Zulema, who had a particular Concern for the Prince, roſe early, and went to enquire after his Health; they told him he had not repos'd all Night, and if he pleas'd, might go into his Chamber. As ſoon as the Prince perceiv'd him; Ah my dear Zulema! ſaid he, I was wiſhing to ſee you: All that paſs'd Yeſterday, has put me into ſuch a diſorder, as I ſhall not be able to overcome, without your Aſſiſtance. The Queen of Fez ſpoke to me, as if ſhe knew me, and I remark'd in her Air and Eyes, ſomething more obliging, than is uſually expreſs'd for a Perſon one has never ſeen; beſides, ſhe aſſures me, that my Miſtreſs neither flies, nor hates me, and that I ſhall have the pleaſure of ſeeing her ſoon. Who cou'd have inform'd her of a thing ſo poſitive? I ſhou'd be inclin'd to think, that Chance was the only Cauſe why ſhe entertain'd me ſo agreeably, were it not for the Rencounter I had Yeſterday near the Fountain. He whom I fought was my Rival, the ſame Benavidez, who carry'd off my Felicia: He told me with his laſt Breath, ſhe had ever lov'd me, [Page 323] and that her Sentiments for me were ſtill the ſame; it is not probable, he wou'd have utter'd an untruth, in ſo diſmal a Condition. But juſt as he was going to tell me where he had left her, he was depriv'd both of his Speech and Life. You cannot imagine, how this grieves my Soul; Felicia loves me, can any Happineſs be greater? Yet Alas! I have loſt her, and know not where to enquire after her: What Misfortune can be equal to mine? Here he was ſome time ſilent.

Zulema told him, that a more favourable Fortune wou'd certainly diſcloſe a Secret, on which depended his Felicity; and that he did not doubt, but he might receive ſome Information from a young Man, he found weeping near Benavidez's Body, whom he had detain'd at his Houſe for that purpoſe. Oh! I conjure you, ſend for him immediately, cry'd the Prince; I remember, his Maſter in approaching me, ask'd whether the Queen of Fez was yet arriv'd at Granada; perhaps ſhe knew him, and that in relating his Adventures to her, he mention'd ſomething concerning mine. I ought not to neglect any means in my preſent Circumſtances; for if that young Man was with Benavidez, when he ran away with my Miſtreſs, and can tell me what is become of her, I ſhall be bleſs'd above Mankind.

I perceive ſo great an Emotion in you, my Lord, reply'd Zulema, that I am ſorry for having acquainted you with a Particular, which may be prejudicial to your Health. No, ſaid [Page 324] the Prince, do not fear any thing; but if you have either Love, or Pity, relieve me in this urgent Occaſion. Shall I tell you then what I was thinking, anſwer'd Zulema? Oſmin ſpoke to you Yeſterday very much in Praiſe of one Felicia, who is a Slave of Celima's; it is probable ſhe may be the Perſon you love. I began to ſuſpect the ſame, interrupted the Prince, but was not willing to harbour ſuch a Thought; for there are many Felicias in Spain, and after the Adventure I had at Jaen with Don Alonſo by a Miſtake, which that Name occaſion'd, I have room to fear the like Diſappointment; I only beg you will ſend for the young Man, you ſpoke of.

Zulema commanded one of his Slaves, in whom he confided, to give a Mooriſh Dreſs to the Spaniard, and bring him immediately along with him: This was the Precaution he us'd to prevent his being taken at Granada for a Sranger. Don Sanche was a little unwilling at firſt, to go out of Zulema's Houſe, not knowing where they intended to carry him; but the Slave having told him, they were going to an intimate Friend of his Maſter's, whoſe Name was Aſſimir, he readily follow'd him, believing Aſſimir was a Moor; and he continued in the ſame Opinion, even when he enter'd the Prince of Carency's Chamber, who was in Bed, and the Windows clos'd. Come nearer Don Sanche, ſaid Zulema to him, and tell us ſincerely, what you know concerning Felicia of Leon.

[Page 325] This unexpected Queſtion ſurpriz'd the Spaniard, who was ſome time without making any Anſwer. What! ſaid the Prince, do you heſitate? Tell me immediately what is become of her. Were you not with your Maſter, when he carry'd her away? Heavens! What new Aſtoniſhment did this Voice create! Don Sanche, or (to explain myſelf in a clearer manner) Caſilda, Siſter to Benavidez, (for it was ſhe, who was thus diſguis'd) was ſuddenly ſtruck with ſuch a violent Trembling, that had not the Chamber been very dark, it wou'd have been impoſſible to conceal her Diſorder: Her Eyes were endeavouring to ſee the Perſon whom her Heart already knew, whilſt the Prince on his ſide, was in the utmoſt Impatience to be inform'd of his Miſtreſs's Fate. What (ſaid ſhe to her ſelf) ſhall my Rival for ever be ador'd, and cou'd her Abſence no ways extinguiſh the Prince's Paſſion? Was ever Misfortune equal to mine? Then reſolving at once, not to mention any thing, which might diſcover Leonida's being with the Queen of Fez; 'tis true, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, I was with Don Fernand Benavidez, when he ran away with the fair Lady you nam'd, and we ſhou'd have had a proſperous Voyage, were it not for the fatal Rencounter of two Turkiſh Ships, who engag'd ours, and took it, my Maſter being the only Man, that reſiſted with undaunted Courage. The Captains of theſe Ships were ſo charm'd with Felicia's Beauty, which had receiv'd no Injury from her Affliction, that they reſolv'd to carry [Page 326] her to Conſtantinople, in order to preſent her to the Grand Seignior; therefore having given her a very Rich Dreſs, they brought her to that Emperour, who was ſo mightily taken with her, that he immediately plac'd her in his Seraglio. As for my Maſter and I, good Fortune wou'd have it that we were ſold to the Baſhaw of Morea, who knew Don Fernand Benavidez, to whom he was indebted for ſome conſiderable Service, he had render'd him in Spain. This Baſhaw was a famous Renegado, which was his only Crime; for he was very generous, and ſo grateful, that he reſtor'd us to our Liberty without requiring any Ranſom. Thus we return'd to Andaluſia, where we were juſt landed, when my Maſter heard that the Queen of Fez was coming to Granada, which determin'd him to come hither, in order to pay his Court to her.

The Prince, during Caſilda's Relation, was ſeiz'd with an unſpeakable Affliction, when he heard, that Felicia was among the Grand Seignior's Women: The Anxiety of ſuch a cruel Thought over-power'd his Senſes, and his Wound opening, ſo great a quantity of Blood guſh'd out, that it flung him into a Swoon.

Zulema, ſurpriz'd at the Prince's Silence, ſpoke to him, but as he made no Reply, he took his Hand, which was in a cold Sweat; this ſtartled him, and calling for a Light, he ſaw the Picture of Deſpair painted on the Face of this unfortunate Prince, who was without Motion, and his Paleneſs wou'd have perſuaded [Page 327] one, that his Soul had already left his Body. But how ſhall I repreſent here the deplorable Condition of Caſilda, whoſe Paſſion was rais'd to ſuch a Tranſcendency, that having no Regard to her Honour, ſhe fram'd a falſe Story, to deſtroy the Prince's Hopes of ever ſeeing his divine Miſtreſs; at another time ſhe wou'd have ſacrific'd a Thouſand Lives to have ſav'd his, but at this Juncture had he died, one might have accus'd her with being the Cauſe of his Death.

Had not Zulema's Concern been ſo great, he wou'd have eaſily diſcover'd that of the Counterfeit Don Sanche, who without Reſtraint, ſhed a Deluge of Tears, and expreſs'd a more than ordinary Care in aſſiſting the Prince, who at laſt receiving a little Strength from the Cordials they gave him, open'd his weak Eyes, which he fix'd languiſhingly on his Friend and Don Sanche, whoſe Face he thought he knew, yet did not take much Notice of him; then turning to Zulema, Ah, pity me! cry'd he, ſince my Misfortunes can never be greater; they are come to their laſt period. I had loſt my Felicia, and thought her falſe, which in ſome Meaſure ſuppreſs'd my tormenting Paſſion; but now I am informed, ſhe is Living, and that her Affection for me is ſtill the ſame. Had that Tyrant, Death, ſhatch'd her from me, I ſhou'd doubtleſs have been inconſolable for her Loſs, yet methinks I ſhou'd be free from thoſe tumultuous Fears, which now rack my Mind. Oh! What diſmal [Page 328] Objects appear to my diſtracted Imagination! Felicia in the Seraglio, and belov'd by the Grand Seignior! Heavens! What greater Cruelty can ever be inflicted on a Man, ſo paſſionately in Love? I have loſt her, and ſhall never ſee her more; I am even jealous, and I fear her Heart will at laſt yield to the barbarous Laws, which ill Fortune has impos'd on her. Here his diſturb'd Thoughts interrupted his Diſcourſe, whilſt Zulema was uſing all his Endeavours to mitigate ſo violent a Grief. Felicia had too ſincere a Paſſion for you, ſaid he, ever to change in favour of a Prince, who is no ways agreeable, and is too proud, to give himſelf the leaſt Trouble towards obtaining the Favours of a Lady; he thinks all muſt ſubmit to his Authority, and I am perſuaded, that as ſhe will neither reliſh his Addreſſes, nor make any Return, her Reſiſtance and Coldneſs will ſoon render her indifferent to the Emperour. Suppoſe I were free from theſe Apprehenſions, interrupted the Prince, by what means ſhall I hear from her? Is ſhe not in the Grand Seignior's Seraglio, and abſolutely loſt for me? Oh, 'tis too true! I cannot flatter myſelf, no, not even wiſh to ſee her more, which Misfortune compleats my Deſpair.

Caſilda was in no ſmall Confuſion, when ſhe heard him ſpeak in ſuch paſſionate Terms. She was ſeveral times tempted to make herſelf known, that ſhe might addreſs herſelf to him, in the tendereſt Expreſſions, Love cou'd inſpire; but calling to mind what paſs'd between 'em, [Page 329] when ſhe acquainted him with Leonida's Flight, it made her apprehend, that if ſhe ſpoke to him at this Juncture, it wou'd be as ill timed, therefore thought proper to wait another Opportunity; in the mean time, ſhe affected an extraordinary Concern for the Prince, who remark'd it, and was not ſlow in ſhewing his Acknowledgments; for he told her (thinking he was ſpeaking to a Man) that altho' his preſent Fortune (being then a Priſoner) did not permit him to beſtow great Favours on thoſe who were in his Service, yet if he was willing to ſtay with him till he cou'd be better provided for, he wou'd take Care of him. Aſſimir little knew the Effect this Propoſal created in our diſguis'd Lady, who immediately accepted it, with all imaginable Marks of Joy and Reſpect, aſſuring him, that no Body wou'd ſerve him with more Zeal and Fidelity; but before we ſee how ſtrict ſhe was to her Promiſe, let us be inform'd by what Chance ſhe came to Granada.

Abelhamar and the Admiral of Fez having taken the Ship Leonida was in, it was thought Benavidez cou'd not recover of the Wounds, he had receiv'd in his vigorous Reſiſtance, ſo was left for Dead; but after Leonida had been conducted on Board the Admiral, they found in Benavidez ſome Symptoms of Life, which made 'em take care of him, till they were landed at Sallee, where he continued a long time extremely ill. Leonida knew nothing of it, being ſtrictly guarded in the Palace; but as ſoon as he was recover'd, he reſolv'd either [Page 330] pay her Ranſom, or carry her off by Stratagem. With this Deſign he wrote to Caſilda, who having receiv'd his Letter, loſt no time in preparing for that Voyage; and as her Paſſion for the Prince of Carency had met with no Return but Diſdain, ſhe was meditating on ſome deſperate Enterprize, in order to act a Vengeance proportionable to the Injury; ſhe thought this might be a favourable Opportunity, therefore taking her Jewels, with a conſiderable Sum of Money, ſhe diſguis'd herſelf in Man's Apparel to prevent her being known, and embark'd for Sallee, where ſhe arriv'd ſoon after, with the Reſolution of taking away Leonida's Life; and to ſucceed in her wicked Deſign, ſhe had brought with her a Box of the ſubtileſt Poiſon.

Benavidez was not a little overjoy'd at Caſilda's Arrival, and after he had paid his Ranſom to the Admiral, he only thought of recovering Leonida: But the Queen, having an extraordinary Friendſhip for her, hardly ſuffer'd her to be out of her Sight, which made him fear his attempt wou'd be in vain. This was the State of his Affairs, when the King of Tunis invaded the Kingdom of Fez, which oblig'd Celima to abandon Sallee; and at the ſame time that ſhe embark'd, Benavidez and his Siſter in diſguiſe took their paſſage in one of the Ships, which were bound for Granada: During their Voyage, they often ſaw Leonida aboard the Queen's Ship, whoſe Sight only inflam'd Benavidez's Heart with Love, and Caſilda's [Page 331] with Rage; but the dreadful Storm which aroſe, diſperſing the Fleet, their Ship was driven ſome Leagues beyond Carthagena, where they landed, and ſet out immediately on Horſeback for Granada. Caſilda, who was of a weak Conſtitution, and already very much fatigu'd with her Voyage, was left a great way behind, which was the Occaſion of her not arriving, till after her Brother's Rencounter with the Prince of Carency, which was then too late.

I have already told you with what Marks of Honour and Diſtinction the Queen of Fez was receiv'd at her Arrival at the Court of Granada; but I did not mention the magnificent Entertainment the King gave her at the Palace of Alhambro; after which, the Princes and moſt part of the Noblemen conducted her to the Caſtle of the Abbaicyn, which was prepar'd for her, and there took leave of her Majeſty.

As ſoon as ſhe was at Liberty to give ſome time to Reflection, ſhe went to take the Air on a Terrace Walk, adjoyning her Apartment, which had a Proſpect over the River Daro; there a thouſand hurrying Thoughts ſtarted from her Mind: What Courſe ſhall I take, ſaid ſhe to herſelf, and whom ſhall I truſt with my Secret? Muſt I once more (to the Shame of my Sex and Glory) make my Weakneſs known to this lovely Stranger? Heaven has ſent him to me again, and I am inclin'd to believe he is thinking on me. Yes [Page 332] certainly! The Apollo purſuing Daphne, which was painted on his Shield, with his Motto; nay more than that, his languiſhing Looks and Diſtractions; in ſhort, every thing perſuades me, he is in Love; yet if it were with me, ought not he to be inſpir'd with ſome Motions of Sympathy, which wou'd have told him that his Unknown of Nicopolis and the Queen of Fez were the ſame? Why does he not diſcover as many Charms in my Perſon, as he did in my Wit and Generoſity? Alas, he was then too young to feel the Effects of Love; Gratitude was the only thing that mov'd him to make a Return, and I now fear, ſome ſofter Care imploys his Thoughts: But, continu'd ſhe, I cannot perſuade myſelf that Fortune has brought him once more in my way, only to add freſh Afflictions to thoſe I have already undergone: I am rather diſpos'd to look on this, as the beginning of a Happineſs, which will end by the Deſtruction of my Enemies. This Prince is nearly related to the King of France; I will make myſelf a Chriſtian, and in giving him my Hand, preſent him with my Crown: He may head an Army and invade the Kingdom of Fez, which he ſoon will be Maſter of. The People, by my Example, will ſubmit to his Laws; and after being an unhappy Fugitive, deſtitute of all Hopes, I ſhall ſee myſelf Crown'd with unſpeakable Felicity. Celima thus indulg'd her Imagination, till it grew ſo late, that ſhe thought fit to retire to her Apartment, where [Page 333] ſhe paſs'd the Night betwixt ſoft Repoſe, and a Thouſand agreeable Ideas, which made her appear the next Day in all her Charms.

But before the Queen wou'd admit of any Viſit, ſhe ſent for Felicia, to whom ſhe ſpoke in theſe Terms; I am deſirous to know, whether your Sentiments for the Count of La Vagne are ſtill the ſame; therefore, Felicia, confeſs ingenuouſly the Truth. Has not his Perfidiouſneſs been capable to extinguiſh the Affection you had for him, when you were perſuaded of his Conſtancy? Search well into your Heart, for I have ſome Reaſon to enquire about it; and whatever Anſwer you make me, I ſhall not love you the leſs. Theſe Queſtions caus'd ſome Surprize in Felicia, who at firſt, had a mind to diſguiſe her Sentiments; but having conſider'd, that ſhe had not long before confeſs'd her Weakneſs to the Queen, ſhe was of Opinion, it was better to ſpeak her Thoughts without any Diſſimulation. Madam, reply'd ſhe, ſince they are your Majeſty's Commands, I cannot refuſe obeying; I own with the utmoſt Confuſion, that till now, it has not been in my Power to baniſh from my Heart the fatal Idea of the Count of La Vagne. I daily entertain myſelf with the Cauſe I have to hate him as the cruelleſt of my Enemies: Yet alas! it is paſt my Skill, and I dare not even hope, that time it ſelf will ever be able to effect my Cure. You do love him then, interrupted the Queen? If Love conſiſts in often thinking of a Perſon, reply'd Felicia, I [Page 334] am convinc'd I ſtill have an Affection for him. I may now confide in you, reply'd the Queen, therefore hear me, and be ſecret.

I was hardly out of my Infancy, when my unlucky Stars decreed I ſhou'd fall into the Hands Bajazet, whoſe Paſſion for me only increas'd my Averſion to him, and I thought nothing cou'd be more deplorable than my Deſtiny.

Theſe were my Sentiments when he went into Miſſia, and compell'd me to go along with him, where after a Victory over the Chriſtians, he was deſirous to ſee the Priſoners of Diſtinction, who had been taken; and as out of a politick Motive he endeavour'd to inſpire me with Cruelty, and inure me to Tragick Scenes, he order'd, I ſhou'd be placed at a Window which was grated, and look'd over the Court, where the Chriſtians were to ſuffer Death, and ſeveral Noblemen of France had already been executed, when I ſaw a young Prince appear, whoſe Beauty ſurpaſs'd that which we attribute to the God of Love: He ſeem'd to be about Fifteen or Sixteen Years of Age; he was tall, well-ſhap'd, and had fair Hair, which hung in fine Curls on his Shoulders, and in ſpite of his careleſs Air, he had ſomething ſo great and noble in his Mien, that the other Princes were not to be compar'd to him. Oh, Felicia! cou'd you but imagine what I felt in that Moment; a quick Emotion ſeiz'd all my Soul, I was troubled without knowing the Cauſe, and in a Word, had [Page 335] like to have died, for fear Bajazet ſhou'd have taken away a Life, which was already dearer to me than my own. I began to think what I cou'd do, to deliver this lovely Prince from the immediate Danger which threaten'd him; whether to fling myſelf at Bajazet's Feet, and beg his Life, or to offer myſelf a Victim in his Room, for I cou'd have done any thing to ſave him; but whilſt a Thouſand ſuch Thoughts were torturing my Mind, the Emperor reſolv'd on accepting his Ranſom, which News ſo tranſported me, that my Joy was inexpreſſible.

This young Prince was Priſoner in the Tower of Nicopolis, and as my Apartment had a Proſpect of it, I us'd to paſs whole Days at my Cloſet Window in fruitleſs Sighs and Wiſhes; but one Evening, as I was endeavouring, with the help of a Teleſcope, to diſcover the Object I ſo dearly lov'd, I perceiv'd him walking on the Leads of the Tower, and he appear'd to me ſo melancholy, that it threw me into the deepeſt Concern. I immediately reſolv'd on writing to him, notwithſtanding the Danger to which I expos'd myſelf, if Bajazet had known it: But Love is often more lucky than wiſe, and Chance on that Occaſion is a much better Servant than Reaſon. When I had ended my Letter, I confided it to an Eunuch, who had attended me a long time, and ſhew'd a particular Affection for my Service. What did I not ſay to perſuade him to be faithful? which having promis'd me, [Page 336] even at the hazard of his Life, he convey'd my Letter to the Top of the Tower by means of an Arrow; and the Prince having receiv'd it, ſent me an Anſwer, which entirely vanquiſh'd me. I was inform'd that his Ranſom was not come, and the more I conſider'd how dear he daily grew to me, the greater Cauſe I had to fear equally for him and myſelf. I was perfectly acquainted with Bajazet's inhuman Temper, and too ſenſible of my own Weakneſs, to believe that it wou'd be in my Power to fly a Prince, who ſo entirely poſſeſs'd my Thoughts. Theſe Conſiderations oblig'd me to take Meaſures for his immediate Departure; but alas! What Torments did not I endure, thro' the Neceſſity of ſo cruel a Reſolution?

To this Effect, I was forc'd once more to confide in my Eunuch, who brib'd one of the Prince's Guards, by whoſe means a ſtrong Box was convey'd into his Chamber, wherein I ſent him a conſiderable Sum to pay his Ranſom, and a Letter, which was the laſt I wrote to him, being bereft of the hopes of ever ſeeing him more. Imagine, Felicia, how many anxious Hours I have paſs'd, ſince that unlucky Day!

Soon after, Bajazet's Fortune met with an unhappy Change; for Tamerlane having engag'd him, gain'd a compleat Victory, and took him Priſoner. It was with no ſmall difficulty I made my Eſcape, and return'd to my Father's Dominions; where I was no ſooner arriv'd, but ſeveral Kings and Princes made their Addreſſes [Page 337] to me, ſome out of Ambition, and others out of a ſincere Love for my Perſon; but I was ſo entirely prepoſſeſs'd with the Idea of him, who had charm'd me at Nicopolis, that nothing at Sallee was capable of making an Impreſſion on me; ſo in ſpight of myſelf I was in Love, without Hopes of a return. This was the State of my Mind at my Arrival here; but how can I expreſs the Surprize and Agitation I was in, when amongſt the Noblemen, who came to receive me out of the Gates of the Town, I perceiv'd the Man I love. This Chriſtian Prince (under the Name, and Dreſs of a Moor) appear'd to me as charming as ever; no, it's impoſſible for you to comprehend what I felt at ſo unexpected a Rencounter. My Heart was ſeiz'd with ſo many different Motions, that I was not able to ſpeak; and whilſt I was endeavouring to recover myſelf, Aſſimir (for that is the Name he goes by at this Court) approach'd, and gave me an Occaſion to ſee the Motto that was painted on his Shield, which perſuaded me, the Memory of his Unknown of Nicopolis was dear to him. I muſt confeſs, I was equally ſurpriz'd and overjoy'd, for I cou'd not flatter myſelf, with being ſtill in the Thoughts of that young Prince, who had not the ſame Motives to inſpire him. I had ſeen him, and was inform'd of his Name and Birth, but he had neither ſeen me, nor knew who I was; therefore what had touch'd him, was either Gratitude, or the obliging Expreſſions of my [Page 338] Letters, which I muſt ſay are no ſmall Attractives to a generous Soul.

In ſhort, Felicia, I have a mind that you ſhou'd talk with him, and endeavour to diſcover his Sentiments. The Management of this Affair, which I intruſt you with, is of a nice quality; but as you are very diſcreet, I cannot imploy any one, who will give me leſs Suſpicion; tho' I muſt own my Weakneſs to you, I am naturally of a jealous Temper, and a Confidant ſo beautiful as you, with Aſſimir's Merit, might give me ſome Apprehenſion, were it not that you are entirely prepoſſeſs'd in favour of the Count of La Vagne. Felicia threw her ſelf at the Queen's Feet, and kiſſing her Hand with great Reſpect, ſaid to her; I have ſo true a Senſe, Madam, of the Honour you do me, when you are pleas'd to confide in me, that I cannot eaſily expreſs my Acknowledgments for ſo high a Favour; but whatever Ambition I have to ſerve your Majeſty, I am ſtrangely diffident of my Capacity, for I know that in ſo important an Affair, one cannot act too prudently, which makes me fear I ſhall not anſwer the good Opinion you have conceiv'd of me. What, reply'd the Queen, wou'd you yield to another, the advantage of doing me a piece of Service? Is not your Affection for me great enough to prevent you from acting thoſe Faults, you foreſee? Felicia underſtood by what the Queen ſaid to her, that her Majeſty wou'd be highly diſoblig'd, ſhou'd ſhe neglect ſo fair an Opportunity [Page 339] of ſerving her, therefore conſidering the unhappy State of her Captivity, ſhe made no other Reply, but that ſhe was ready to obey her Commands. You muſt then write to Aſſimir, ſaid the Queen, and deſire him to meet you on the Terrace adjoyning my Apartment, where you ſhall entertain him with ſome Particulars relating to me.

Felicia immediately retir'd, in order to write to Aſſimir, and finding Inea in her Chamber, ſhe gave her an Account what had paſs'd between the Queen and her; then wrote her Letter in theſe Terms.

THO' I am unknown to you, my Lord, and you alſo a Stranger to me, I have a mighty deſire to entertain you, which perhaps you may think very extraordinary. If you will be pleas'd to meet me this Evening on the Terrace Walk, next to the Queen of Fez's Apartment, I ſhall there explain my ſelf more at large.

Felicia.

This Letter Felicia ſhew'd to the Queen, who call'd for one of her Pages, and charg'd him to go and deliver it to Aſſimir, who (as I told you before) was extremely afflicted at what Caſilda (under the Diſguiſe of Don Sanche) had ſpitefully intimated concerning Felicia. The mean while Zulema (who had ſtay'd by the Prince) was ſaying all he cou'd to ſoften his Diſtreſs; and as he was talking to him, they came to tell Aſſimir, that one of the [Page 340] Queen of Fez's Pages had a Letter to deliver to him. This caus'd ſome Emotion in the Prince, who looking at his Friend; Can you conceive, ſaid he, what may be the meaning of this Letter? If I may believe my Thoughts, reply'd Zulema, they perſuade me, ſome agreeable News is coming to you, my Lord. Whatever it be, ſaid the Prince, I deſire you will ſpeak to the Page; I am unwilling to ſee him for fear he ſhou'd diſcover the Diſorder I am in.

Zulema readily ſatisfy'd the Prince's Impatience; he took the Letter, and brought it to him, which he no ſooner open'd, but knew the Name and Writing. Heavens! How great was his Surprize! He cou'd not conceal his Tranſports, but giving the Letter back to Zulema, ſaid, am I in a Dream, or muſt I believe what I ſee? Is my Felicia in Granada, whilſt I am bemoaning her Abſence, and bereft of all Hopes of ever ſeeing her more? Zulema, my dear Zulema! how can I outlive ſo unexpected a Felicity? Indeed, my Lord, reply'd his Friend, I am ſenſibly touch'd at your good Fortune, and heartily congratulate you; but am afraid, you will go to the Palace of Abbaicyn, before your Wound is heal'd, which may prove very dangerous to you. Were I to hazard my Life, anſwer'd the Prince, I wou'd not defer the Pleaſure of ſeeing her, and as I am not able to write, I deſire you wou'd do it for me. I am aſſur'd, ſaid Zulema, that ſhe does not know the Condition you are in, [Page 341] otherwiſe ſhe wou'd be very much concern'd at the little Care you take of a Life, which ought to be dear to her; but I am ready to do any thing, my Lord, to oblige you; ſo the Prince dictated theſe Lines.

YOU are not ſo great a Stranger to me, as you imagine, adorable Felicia. I do not doubt, but you will be convinc'd of it, aſſoon as I have the Pleaſure of Saluting you. I have had the Misfortune of receiving a Wound, which very much diſcompoſes me, yet nothing ſhall prevent me attending your Commands.

Whilſt the paſſionate Prince was abandoning himſelf to a Thouſand Tranſports of Joy and Impatience, the Page deliver'd his Letter to the Queen, who having read it, was ſeiz'd with the deepeſt Chagrin. Was any Fatality like this, cry'd ſhe? Aſſimir is acquainted with Felicia, and ſays, he will attend her, tho' he is wounded. What Accident cou'd have happen'd to him, ſince Yeſterday? Sure there muſt needs be an intimate Underſtanding between Felicia, and him, tho' ſhe has conceal'd it from me. I thought her Sentiments for the Count of La Vagne, wou'd have left me no room to apprehend any thing from her: But alas! How deceiv'd have I been? Well, I am reſolv'd, ſhe ſhall neither ſee him, nor ſpeak to him. As Celima was thus reaſoning with herſelf, Felicia enter'd her Chamber. Aſſimir, ſaid the Queen to her, has receiv'd [Page 342] your Letter, and is very much indiſpos'd, therefore cou'd not write to you. Felicia ſeem'd concern'd at his Illneſs, thinking by that means to pay her Court to the Queen; but ſhe cou'd not have taken a more indirect Step towards it, for Celima was ſo prepoſſeſs'd with the Opinion of Felicia's having a Correſpondence with the Prince, that the moſt innocent Actions of this young Slave, in her Eyes appear'd Criminal.

The King of Granada (being now indiſpos'd,) ſent his two Sons to viſit Celima, whom they invited to take the Air in the Foreſt; this Queen accepted the Invitation, and as Aſſimir Illneſs had been confirm'd to her by the Princes, Mahomet and Oſmin, ſhe did not in the leaſt imagine, that he wou'd venture to go abroad; beſides, Celima had obſerv'd, that Oſmin was mightily taken with Felicia, which extremely pleas'd her; for ſhe wou'd not have cared, had all the Monarchs of the Univerſe ador'd that lovely Captive, ſo the Prince of Carency had but look'd on her Indifference.

Thus the Court ſet out from the Palace of Abbaicyn, follow'd by a great Number of muſical Inſtruments. All the Ladies were ſeated in little open Chariots, each of them having a Cavalier to drive them: Mahomet drove the Queen of Fez's Chariot, and Oſmin Felicia's. As they were going by the Palace of Alhambro, the Queen deſired ſhe might ſtop a little to enquire after the King's Health.

[Page 343] Zulema hearing that Celima was coming to the Palace, told the Prince ſhe ſhou'd paſs under his Windows, and that if he was able to riſe, perhaps he might ſee Felicia. Heavens! cry'd the Prince, what wou'd not I do for ſo dear a Satisfaction? With that, he leap'd out of Bed, and having put on ſome Clothes, went and ſat in one of the Balconies of his Apartment, where ſoon after he ſaw Celima, and Felicia attending her. Oſmin perceiving the Prince, deſired this beauteous Lady to take Notice of him; but how ſhall I expreſs the Motions which ſeiz'd her Soul, when ſhe knew him to be her Lover? The Prince of Carency on the other ſide, was ſo tranſported, that he was juſt going to ſpeak to her, had not Zulema perſuaded him to the contrary.

Felicia was in ſuch a diſorder, that at firſt ſhe knew not what to ſay; but being extremely deſirous to be inform'd by what Chance her falſe Lover happen'd to be in Granada, for ſhe took him for the Count of La Vagne, ſhe recover'd herſelf a little, and told Oſmin, that the Perſon he had ſhewn her appear'd to be a Stranger. You judge right, Madam, reply'd he, for he is a Genoueſe, of the noble Houſe of Fieſques: The late King having beſieg'd Jean, took him Priſoner, and ſent him to the Caſtle of Salobrena, where my Father, my Bother, and I were confin'd. There I contracted an intimate Friendſhip with the Count of La Vagne, (that's his Title) and after Mahomet's Death, my Father coming to the Throne, [Page 344] conceiv'd ſo particular an Eſteem for this illuſtrious Count, that he gave him his Liberty, upon Condition, that he wou'd not part from Granada without his Conſent; therefore he ſtill remains with us, and we are daily charm'd with his noble and polite Behaviour.

Theſe Encomiums, which Oſmin gave to the Count, were very acceptable to Felicia, notwithſtanding the Reaſons ſhe had to be diſſatisfy'd with his Conduct. She then ask'd him, when the Count had been taken Priſoner; but nothing cou'd aſtoniſh her more, than what Oſmin told her on that Subject; for either the Scene, which paſs'd at Sallee between Olympia, the Count, and her, was a Viſion, (which ſhe had no room to believe) or what Oſmin was ſaying to her, cou'd not be ſincere. This made her impatient to be with Inea, to entertain her with this ſurprizing Adventure; and ſhe grew of a ſudden ſo penſive, that ſhe cou'd not make any Reply to the obliging Terms, in which Oſmin addreſs'd her. What is it that troubles you, divine Felicia, ſaid he to her? You ſeem very melancholy; do but confide in me, and I will uſe my beſt Endeavours to deſerve ſo great a Favour. Alas, my Lord! (reply'd Felicia, with a dejected Air) what Secret cou'd I impart to you? I am an unfortunate Captive, and perhaps I repine at the Cruelty of that Deſtiny, from whence flows the Sorrow, which you perceive. Vouchſafe, Madam, ſaid Oſmin, to accept of my Service; I may procure you your Liberty, and ſoon [Page 345] remove the Cauſe of your Uneaſineſs; but you muſt at leaſt give me leave to pay Homage to your tranſcendent Charms, ſince they have inſpir'd me with ſuch Sentiments, as do not merit a diſobliging Return. I conjure you, amiable Felicia, to be favourable to me, and let me feed my Paſſion with the Hopes of your Affection. I cannot anſwer your Requeſt, my Lord, interrupted Felicia; I have too great a Regard for you, and as an Evincement of it, I declare, that I am neither deſirous to be belov'd, nor diſpos'd to receive an Impreſſion: It is a Reſolution I have made, which nothing ſhall induce me to change, therefore I intreat you, my Lord, never to think on me more. This Confeſſion extremely ſurpriz'd Oſmin, who wou'd rather have met with more Diſſimulation, and leſs Cruelty: But as Love is always deluding, he did not doubt, but in time he ſhou'd conquer an Indifference, which he thought unreaſonable.

The Court being return'd from the Foreſt, Celima, (whoſe Thoughts were entirely imploy'd on her Rendezvous with the Prince of Carency) retir'd to her Palace, and Felicia went to her Chamber, where ſhe found Inea, whom ſhe embrac'd tenderly, and ſaid, How ſhall I expreſs to you, my Dear, the Agitation of my Mind? The Count of La Vagne is here; I have juſt ſeen him in the Palace of Alhambro; it is no Imagination; for he ſaluted me ſo reſpectfully, that I cou'd not help returning the Civility, and I am even aſham'd of having diſcover'd [Page 346] my Weakneſs to a Man, who has deſerv'd my Averſion: But alas! when Love commands, Reaſon muſt obey. I have ſomething yet more ſurprizing to tell you, continu'd ſhe; I am inform'd, he has been ſome Months in Andaluſia, and by the Relation I have heard, I find he was taken Priſoner, about the time that I had a Dream at Sallee, which repreſented him to me engag'd with the Moors, and vanquiſh'd. Oſmin told me, the Count had been ever ſince in the Caſtle of Salobrena, or at Granada; but I fancy he deſired him to ſpeak to me in that manner, with a Deſign to ſcreen his Offence; for who knows whether he does not repent his unworthy Behaviour towards me; moreover, I am ſurpriz'd not to ſee Olympia here, which makes me believe, the Moors took the Count at Sea, and that he has not been long in theſe Dominions. It is very probable, interrupted Inea; for what paſs'd at Sallee, is not to be contradicted, and perhaps he is now ſorry for having diſobliged you; therefore you muſt reſolve to pardon him. No, my dear Inea, reply'd Felicia; I ſhall never forget his Ingratitude; he is ſtill dear to me, I confeſs; yet I hope in time to baniſh him from my Heart. Oh Heavens! added ſhe weeping, what a Series of Misfortunes attend me? I muſt tell you ſomething more; young Oſmin has declar'd himſelf my Votary, and you may judge how favourably I receiv'd his Addreſſes.

[Page 347] Whilſt Felicia and Inea were diſcourſing together, the Queen of Fez ſent for the Governeſs of the Slaves, who (as I told you before) was an ugly old Woman, and commanded her to wrap herſelf in her Veil, and wait on the Terrace for the Prince of Carency's Arrival; ſhe charg'd her at the ſame time, not to diſcover herſelf, but to appear overjoy'd at ſeeing him, in caſe he took her for Felicia. It was a Moon-Light Night, and the amorous Prince, leaning on Caſilda (whom he took for a young Man) was making as much haſte towards the Place appointed, as his Strength wou'd permit him; and perceiving at a diſtance a tall Perſon walking on the Terrace, he did not doubt, but it was his charming Felicia; therefore approaching her, he ſaid: Ah, Madam! has Fortune brought you to me again, after having ſo long bemoan'd your Abſence, and ſpent Days and Nights endeavouring to find you? I can hardly believe my Eyes: Is it you yourſelf, my divine Miſtreſs? Here tranſported with Love and Joy, he went to throw off this Woman's Veil, who not being quick enough to take hold of it, let it fall on the Ground, and diſcover'd a Face, which was as Ugly, as Felicia's was Beautiful.

His Aſtoniſhment was ſo great, that he cou'd not help crying out aloud, and any one might have perceiv'd, by his Emotion, the ſtrange Diſorder he was in. The Queen being in a Cloſet, that look'd on the Terrace Walk, eaſily ſaw the Prince's Action, and knew [Page 348] his Voice, which made her gueſs what had paſs'd; therefore approaching him with a Majeſtick Air; I am come to your Aſſiſtance, Prince, ſaid ſhe, (taking his Hand and ſmiling,) follow me, I have ſomething to tell you, which is of too great a Conſequence to be conceal'd from you any longer.

The Queen went in firſt, but Caſilda being oblig'd to wait without, was mighty uneaſy concerning what might paſs between Celima and the Prince. This inquiſitive Creature ſtay'd till the Governeſs of the Slaves was retired, then plac'd herſelf near the Cloſet, where ſhe cou'd eaſily hear their Converſation. The Queen looking at the Prince, who was not well recover'd from his Surprize; I have been imploying my Skill for you, my Lord, ſaid ſhe, and by the help of my Books, and the Figures I have caſt, am already acquainted with ſome of your Adventures; moreover, I can aſſure you, that I intereſt myſelf very much in what concerns you, and if you will be ſincere with me, I do not in the leaſt doubt but I ſhall be able, by the Aſſiſtance of my powerful Art, to put you in a way of overcoming your ill Fortune. I am perſuaded, Madam, reply'd the Prince, that a Sovereign, who has ſo great an Influence as your Majeſty, may eaſily change my Deſtiny, without conſulting the Stars; yet I cannot flatter myſelf with deſerving ſo extraordinary a Favour. As an Evincement of the Progreſs I have already made, ſaid Celima, I know, Aſſimir is not your Name, [Page 349] and that by your Birth, you are nearly related to a great King.

The Prince of Carency was amaz'd to hear the Queen expreſs herſelf in theſe Terms, and before he cou'd make her any Anſwer: Nay, continu'd ſhe, you will own my Knowledge is no Fiction, when I tell you, that you was in Miſia, and taken Priſoner by Bajazet; beſides, whilſt you were in the Tower of Nicopolis, did not you receive very paſſionate Letters, and a conſiderable Supply from a Lady, who, to this Hour, is unknown to you? The Prince ſigh'd, and ſeeing Celima waited an Anſwer; It is, as your Majeſty ſays, reply'd he, and ſince you are ſo well inform'd of what has happen'd to me, I beg, Madam, you will tell me who was that charming Unknown. This Requeſt extremely pleas'd the Queen, who concealing her Satisfaction, ſaid to him, Out of what Motive, do you deſire to know this Lady, perhaps you may never ſee her? That is a Misfortune, I fear, Madam, interrupted the Prince; yet I often flatter myſelf, that ſome lucky Chance will convey me were ſhe is. But (added the Queen, in an Accent which diſcover'd part of her Sentiments) is it poſſible, that the Memory of a Perſon can be ſtill dear to you, who had no other Attractive to engage you, but her writing a few obliging Letters, and ſending you a Sum of Money to pay your Ranſom? Ah, Madam! reply'd he, there are Impreſſions, which never can be effac'd, and cou'd you conceive the Torments I have [Page 350] endured for that Unknown, you wou'd ſoon be convinc'd, that one may feel the ſharpeſt Darts of Love, without ſeeing the influencing Object. Is it then really true, ſaid the Queen, that you are impatient to ſee her, and that ſhe often imploys your Thoughts? I declare it is ſincerely ſo, Madam, anſwer'd the Prince, and there is nothing I wiſh more ardently, than an Opportunity of making my Retributions to a Lady, who has conferr'd ſo high an Obligation on me. Well, Prince, ſaid Celima ſmiling, I will conſult with ſome favourable Genius in order to compleat your Deſire. Come to me to Morrow at the ſame Hour, and you ſhall be farther inform'd of this Subject. The Prince return'd his Acknowledgments to her in a moſt grateful Manner, and retir'd to the Palace of Alhambro with the diſguis'd Caſilda, who was waiting on the Terrace.

Zulema (impatient to know what had paſs'd at the Abbaicyn) repair'd ſoon after to the Prince's Apartment, and Caſilda (who perceiv'd, they had ſome matter of Importance to communicate to one another, feigning to withdraw) went and hid herſelf in a Place, where ſhe cou'd hear their Converſation. You think, perhaps, ſaid the Prince to Zulema, that I have ſeen Felicia, and am going to inform you of the Particulars of an agreeable Rendezvous; but inſtead of that, my dear Friend, I muſt tell you, ſome Daemon appear'd to me in the Shape of an ugly old Creature, and that I was in the greateſt Aſtoniſhment, when the [Page 351] Queen of Fez came upon the Terrace, and deſired me to follow her into her Cloſet; where I no ſooner enter'd, but ſhe endeavour'd to perſuade me, that ſhe had acquired an extraordinary Knowledge, by correſponding with good and evil Genius's, and in reality ſhe told me every thing relating to my Adventure at Nicopolis, which very much ſurpriz'd me; for ſhe certainly muſt have been inform'd of it, by the Unknown herſelf, whom, I believe, is now amongſt her Slaves; and I cannot put it out of my Head, but Felicia wrote to me by the Queen's Orders.

Here the Prince was ſome time ſilent, and Zulema ſpoke to him in theſe Terms: I begin to have a Thought, which appears to me very probable, and you may judge of it your ſelf, my Lord, when I have inform'd you, that Celima herſelf was at Nicopolis, at the time that the Chriſtians were defeated by Bajazet: As you were of the number of the Priſoners, it is likely ſhe ſaw you, and receiv'd an Impreſſion; beſides, if you conſider the Preſent, which was ſent you in the Tower, it cou'd not come from a Perſon of an inferiour Rank, and—You give me ſuch a Light into the matter, interrupted the Prince, as opens my Eyes at once. I cannot call to mind what the Queen ſaid to me the Day of her Arrival, and the Converſation we have juſt had together, without being convinc'd, that ſhe is my Unknown of Nicopolis. Alas! into what a Labyrinth am I fallen? Felicia is with her, [Page 352] and if ſhe diſcovers my Paſſion for that lovely Creature, I fear ſhe will make her feel the Effects of her Revenge. Ah, cruel Deſtiny! cry'd he; am I born only to paſs my Days in a continual Series of Woes, and have you decreed, that I ſhall never be happy? Here, the tormenting Thoughts of his paſt Diſappointment, came freſh to his Mind, and interrupting his Diſcourſe, threw him into ſo deep a Melancholy, that even his Friend Zulema endeavour'd unſucceſsfully to divert it; therefore as it was late, he took his leave of the Prince, tho' extremely concern'd at not having it in his Power to give him ſome Relief.

Whilſt the Prince and Zulema were entertaining each other, Caſilda heard their whole Converſation; and finding ſhe had no hopes left of ever touching the Heart of a Prince, for whom ſhe had already acted many Extravagances, ſhe reſolv'd on ſome deſperate Undertaking. Her Revenge againſt her Rival was more predominant, than either the Paſſion ſhe had for the Prince, or her own Honour; ſo that nothing leſs than the Death of the unhappy Leonida cou'd ſatisfy her raging Spirit.

The Queen of Fez (extremely overjoy'd at what the Prince of Carency had ſaid to her) was forming a thouſand agreeable Projects, not doubting but his Paſſion for his Unknown of Nicopolis was very ſincere, and that he wou'd be equally tranſported to find ſhe was the Perſon; yet as her Jealouſy of Felicia gave her much Uneaſineſs, ſhe thought it prudent, [Page 353] firſt to clear her Suſpicions on that Subject; for, ſaid ſhe, if the Prince has ſeen that beautiful Captive, he muſt needs love her; therefore I will contrive, they ſhall meet in a place where I may hear their Diſcourſe, which will give me ſome Inſight into the matter.

Celima immediately ſent for Felicia, and being alone with her: I command you, ſaid ſhe, to be ſincere with me. Conſider, you are my Slave, and that your Deſtiny is in my Power; I can make you happy, if you will confeſs the Truth. Read this! (continu'd ſhe, ſhewing her the Letter, which the Prince of Carency had deſired Zulema to write) do you know the Writing? Felicia read it, and having examin'd it ſome time, told the Queen ſhe ſincerely cou'd not tell whoſe Hand it was, which in ſome Meaſure ſatisfy'd Celima; yet to be thoroughly convinc'd in an Affair, that ſo nearly concern'd her; Tell me, ſaid ſhe, have you ever heard of the Houſe of Bourbon, related to the Kings of France? Felicia, at this Queſtion, did not doubt but the Queen knew her, and without being any ways out of Countenance, reply'd, that the Name of ſo illuſtrious a Family was not unknown to her. And are you acquainted with any one of that Name, ſaid Celima? Did not you ſee the Count of La March, or the Prince of Carency, when you were in Spain? No, Madam, anſwer'd ſhe, I never ſaw thoſe Princes; they are intire Strangers to me. Know then, Felicia, interrupted the Queen of Fez, that the Perſon [Page 354] I ſpoke of, and who appear'd ſo charming to me, is of the Houſe of Bourbon, and is call'd the Prince of Carency: I have a mind you ſhou'd talk with him, and endeavour to penetrate into his Sentiments; he came here laſt Night, when I order'd the Governeſs of the Slaves to entertain him; but ſhe managed the matter ſo very ill, that I muſt wholly depend upon you. Had the Queen's Thoughts been leſs prepoſſeſs'd with her Project, ſhe might have diſcover'd Felicia's Surprize, when ſhe heard, the Prince of Carency was the Perſon whom the Queen lov'd, and that he was actually in Granada: But her mind being otherways employ'd, this young Slave had time to recover from her Diſorder, and ſaid to Celima; Your Pleaſure, Madam, is ſo dear to me, that I fear I ſhall not be able to effect your Majeſty's Commands with Succeſs; for I have but very little Experience, and ſhou'd I miſcarry in an Affair, which requires ſo much Prudence, I cou'd never forgive myſelf. No, reply'd the Queen, do not let that give you the leaſt Uneaſineſs; I know you better than you know yourſelf, and am perſuaded, you cannot do any thing amiſs: But as the Moon ſhines very bright, I do not think it proper you ſhou'd meet the Prince on the Terrace, becauſe I ſaw many People walking there laſt Night, and it wou'd not be convenient I ſhou'd be ſeen with him; therefore I will give Orders, that he may be convey'd to the Grotto in the Wood, where you may entertain him till I come to you.

[Page 355] Felicia having receiv'd her Inſtructions, retir'd to her Chamber very much troubled, which Inea peceiving; Lovely Felicia, ſaid ſhe, do not conceal your Thoughts, but tell me the Cauſe of your Pain. Ah, my dear Inea! (cry'd Felicia) nothing but freſh Afflictions attend me. The Prince of Carency is in Granada, and goes by the Name of Aſſimir; 'tis he, whom the Queen loves, and by her Command, I am to have an Interview with him this Evening. What! interrupted Inea, can that give you any Uneaſineſs? Do you conſider, that Heaven has ſent him here, to put a Period to your Miſeries? He will procure you your Liberty, and carry you back to your native Land, where all your Wiſhes will be crown'd with Felicity, whilſt unfortunate Inea, abſent from her dear Don Ramire, muſt paſs the Remainder of her Life in Tears and Captivity. You bewail your Deſtiny, reply'd Felicia, and you think, that my being united to the Prince of Carency will make mine happier; Alas! you are very much deceiv'd, for we have conceiv'd a ſecret Antipathy for each other, and muſt never expect a perfect Satisfaction in our Alliance: Beſides, do you imagine, that I can ſo eaſily baniſh the Count of La Vagne from my Thoughts? In ſpite of his Infidelity, he is ſtill dear to me, and it's probable he is now ſorry for having offended me; at leaſt, his Eyes tell me ſo, and his Repentance may deſerve Pardon. In ſhort, Inea, I believe he loves me; but let it be as it will, [Page 356] the Prince ſhall not know who I am: As he has ſeen my Picture, he may call to mind its Reſemblance, therefore I will hid my Face ſo well, that he ſhall not ſee it. Inea finding Felicia was fix'd on that Reſolution, wou'd not any ways oppoſe it, tho' ſhe was of a contrary Opinion.

The Prince of Carency was now thinking on means to convey a Letter to Felicia, in order to know, how he might have an Opportunity of entertaining her. He told his Deſign to Zulema, who advis'd him not to write, for fear his Letter ſhou'd fall into the Hands of the Queen of Fez, but promis'd him, he wou'd contrive ſome way to ſpeak to her. By this time, the Hour of the Prince's Appointment was near, yet he made no great haſte to go to the Palace, for he began to reflect, that a Second Interview with Celima wou'd only puzzle him, becauſe he believ'd, ſhe was his Unknown of Nicopolis, and that, were ſhe inform'd of his Paſſion for Felicia, it might prove of a fatal Conſequence.

Zulema put him in mind to repair to his Rendezvous; at laſt taking the ſuppos'd Don Sanche with him, he went with ſome Reluctancy to the Abbaicyn, where he found a Mute waiting on the Terrace, who convey'd him to the Grotto; Felicia came ſoon after, ſo entirely hidden from Head to Foot, in a large white Veil, that it was impoſſible to know her. The Prince did not doubt in ſeeing her, but it was the ſame old Woman he [Page 357] had met the Night before; which made him reſolve not to have any diſcourſe with her. Felicia on the other ſide (who felt ſtrange Emotions, finding her ſelf, at that Inſtant, with the Prince of Carency) was ſome time without ſpeaking; but ſhe had ſcarcely broke Silence, when the Prince, knowing the Voice of his lovely Miſtreſs, went and flung himſelf at her Feet. Leonida, Charming Leonida! ſaid he, what a Bleſſing is this? Have I found you at laſt, and have you ſtill the ſame obliging Sentiments for me, which you had, when I was in the Houſe of the Traitor Benavidez? Leonida, calling to mind what had paſs'd at Sallee, was griev'd at this Diſcourſe: Go, ſaid ſhe! (breaking out into a Paſſion) go, ungrateful Man! have you forgot the Cauſe, you have given me to upbraid you? The Prince thinking ſhe was angry, that he had conceal'd his Name from her; I am guilty, Madam, I confeſs, reply'd he, for not having confided in you; I ought to have told you, that I was the Prince of Carency, and not have appear'd under an other Title; but the cruel Deſigns of Leonora (by whoſe Orders I was purſued, when I parted from Villa-Real, and wounded in the Foreſt, where you found me) was the Occaſion I chang'd my Name, and took that of the Count of La Vagne, whom I very much reſembled. This is my only Crime, divine Leonida; ſure it is not ſo enormous, as to be unpardonable. Whilſt the Prince was talking in this manner, Leonida [Page 358] (whoſe Surprize was great) had a thouſand different Imaginations; and cou'd not tell what Judgment to make: At laſt the Prince, impatient to hear her ſpeak; Ah, Madam, ſaid he, how much do I dread, that you are no more the ſame for me? Here, you ſee me at your Feet in Tranſports of inexpreſſible Joy, whilſt you, my Beauteous Miſtreſs, are indifferent and melancholy. What diſobliging Sentiments have you receiv'd for a Man, who adores you, and whom Deſtiny has decreed to be yours? Do you conſider, that I am going to offer up to you the Remainder of my Life, and that, from the fatal Moment I loſt you, no Torment cou'd be equal to that I endured? Be aſſur'd, Madam, that the Prince of Carency has a Paſſion for you, no ways inferior to that, which you found in the Count of La Vagne. I muſt own to you, my Lord, reply'd Leonida, that I cannot believe what I hear; for when you were at Sallee, you even treated me with Diſdain: What greater Offence cou'd you give me, than to abandon me as you did, and go away with Olympia Doria, whom you paſſionately lov'd? Do you think, my Senſes cou'd deceive me, or that I am not capable of reſenting the Perfidy? I cannot tell to this Hour, whether you are the Prince of Carency, or the Count of La Vagne; but what I am certain of, is, that you are the Perſon, who has highly injured me, and it wou'd be a ſhameful Weakneſs in me to pardon you. Theſe Words ſtrangely confounded the Prince, [Page 359] who believ'd his dear Leonida's Mind was diſcompos'd; and what confirm'd this Opinion, was his being perſuaded, that the Count of La Vagne periſhed at Sea, in his Return from Nicopolis, and that Olympia Doria died in her Father's Houſe at Genoa. Theſe were Circumſtances, he cou'd no ways doubt of; and as for his Voyage to Sallee, he had never been there; ſo that he look'd on all her Reproaches as Viſionary, which threw him into a deſpairing Condition; yet he wou'd not let her perceive the Trouble he was in, nor what occaſion'd it, but continu'd ſpeaking to her in a very obliging manner: You do me a great deal of Wrong, Charming Leonida, ſaid he, to her ſighing, and I ſhou'd not find it a very hard Task to juſtify myſelf, tho' I fancy, I have the moſt Cauſe to complain. What muſt I judge of the Letter you writ to Caſilda, when you and Benavidez contriv'd your going off, which was a thing, I cou'd never have believ'd you guilty of? And what ſhall I conjecture from your being at Conſtantinople, and the Grand Seignior's Paſſion for you? Leonida heard the Prince with Aſtoniſhment, and thought likewiſe, he knew not what he ſaid; ſhe cou'd not imagine how a Man of ſo good Senſe cou'd talk after ſuch an extravagant manner; and as her Affection was more predominant than her Reſentment, ſhe was ſenſibly griev'd at his Misfortune. Who I! my Lord, cry'd ſhe; did I write to Caſilda, or give my Conſent to Benavidez's inſolent Behaviour; and was I ever [Page 360] in Turkey? Theſe Things are ſo new to me, and ſo far from being true, that I cannot bear to hear 'em: How long have you entertained theſe Chimeras? Here ſhe took the Prince's Hand, and cou'd not reſtrain her Tears; which proof of her Tenderneſs, with the other Circumſtances, ſo thoroughly touch'd him, that he was ſoon convinc'd of her Sincerity. Let us do Juſtice to each other, moſt amiable Leonida, (ſaid the Prince, printing an ardent Kiſs on her fair Hand;) be aſſur'd I never was falſe to you. I ſhou'd be willing to ſatisfy you, interrupted Leonida, cou'd I forget the Adventure, which happen'd to me lately at Sallee: She then recited to him her whole Story, with ſo much Wit and Coherence, that he perceiv'd, what he had taken for an Effect of Lunacy, was ſupported by ſolid Appearances; therefore having explain'd matters, they came to a right Underſtanding, which created unſpeakable Tranſports in theſe two Lovers.

One may eaſily imagine the Conſternation of Caſilda, who had heard their whole Diſcourſe, and was diſtracted to ſee ſo perfect a Sympathy between Leonida and the Prince. All her Perifidiouſneſs, as well as her Brother's, was laid open, and ſeeing herſelf fruſtrated of thoſe hopes, which had flatter'd her till then, ſhe had like (in her exceſſive Deſpair) to have enter'd the Grotto, with a full deſign to ſtab Leonida; but as ſhe conſider'd, that the Prince wou'd prevent the Blow, and diſappoint her revengful Attempt, ſhe deferr'd her wicked Action, [Page 361] till ſhe found a fairer Opportunity of executing it.

After Leonida and the Prince of Carency had given each other reciprocal Aſſurances of their Joy and Affection, they conſulted, how they ſhou'd behave themſelves towards the Queen of Fez, till they cou'd find an Opportunity of going off. While they were on this Subject, the Queen came to the Grotto; but I muſt tell you, what prevented her from repairing thither ſooner.

As Celima was coming out of her Apartment, they told her, that Mahomet was in the Palace, and had ſomething of the higheſt Importance to communicate to her: She had given Orders, that no body ſhou'd be admitted that Evening; yet as that Prince's Viſit ſeem'd to import ſome weighty matter, ſhe wou'd not refuſe ſeeing him. Mahomet addreſſing the Queen, told her, that Mula, Favorite to Abelhamar, was juſt arriv'd from Fez, with a Letter to her from his Maſter, and that being a particular Acquaintance of his, he had apply'd to him for a private Audience, which if ſhe was pleas'd to grant, he wou'd immediately ſend for him. Tho' Celima was very impatient to be at her Rendezvous with the Prince of Carency, yet on this Occaſion, ſhe was forc'd to yield to her Politicks, fearing, that if ſhe ſhou'd defer this Affair till the next Day, Mahomet might ſuſpect ſhe was imploy'd in ſome more agreeable Occupation; therefore having aſſented to Mula's Admittance, [Page 362] he came and threw himſelf at the Queen's Feet, and preſented her with a Letter from the Prince his Maſter, which was written in theſe Terms.

THO' I have an indiſputable Right to the Kingdom of Fez, and am now in the Poſſeſſion of it, yet I am willing, Madam, to yield up one half of it to you, upon Condition, that you will give me Felicia. Before I had ſeen her, nothing cou'd be equal to my Ambition; but now her Charms have made ſo deep an Impreſſion in my Heart, that all other Paſſions have ſubmitted to my tranſcendent Love. I can never be happy without her, and if I am indebted to you for the Poſſeſſion of that lovely Creature, half my Kingdom will be too ſmall a Return, for ſo high an Obligation; therefore grant me but your Slave, and I will acknowledge you for my Sovereign.

Abelhamar.

Celima having read this Letter in the Preſence of Mahomet, they both admired Abelhamar's Paſſion for Felicia; and as Mahomet's Vows were already dedicated to the Queen of Fez, he was overjoy'd to find, that this Occaſion afforded her ſure means of recovering at leaſt one part of her Dominions. He joyn'd with Mula in his Propoſals, and offer'd to go himſelf with Felicia to Sallee, in order to bring back with him ſuch Hoſtages from Abelhamar, as ſhou'd warrant the performance of the Treaty. Celima, with a gracious Air, return'd [Page 363] Mahomet Thanks and aſſur'd him, ſhe ſhou'd never forget the generous manner, in which he eſpous'd her Intereſt; but as Abelhamar's Propoſals requir'd ſome Conſideration, ſhe deſired, her Anſwer might be ſuſpended till the next Day; then Mula withdrew, and left the Prince there, who took ſo great a Pleaſure in entertaining the Queen, that he did not retire till it was late, which gave time to the Prince of Carency and his Miſtreſs, to take ſome Meaſures relating to their particular Affairs.

Mahomet having taken leave of the Queen, ſhe immediately went to the Grotto, where being enter'd, Leonida, out of Reſpect retir'd, and left her alone with the Prince of Carency. This lovely Captive was walking in the Wood, with her Thoughts entirely imploy'd on the Happineſs, ſhe propos'd to herſelf, thro' the means of her faithful Lover: but alas, Fate was preparing a New Tragedy; Caſilda (ſtill under a Man's Diſguiſe) diſtracted with Jealouſy, at what ſhe had juſt heard, and ſeeing her Rival walking alone, thought ſhe might eaſily pierce her Heart, before any one cou'd come to her Aſſiſtance; ſo running up to her like a Fury, ſhe drew out her Poinard, and plung'd it into Leonida's Breaſt, who fell with the Blow, crying out for help, and calling the Prince of Carency; at which Name, Caſilda was poſſeſs'd with ſuch inhuman Rage, that ſhe repeated her Blows. The Grotto not being diſtant, the Prince was ſtruck at the mournful Accents of his wounded Miſtreſs, [Page 364] and leaving the Queen ſuddenly, he made haſte toward the Place where he heard Leonida's Voice; he ſaw her lying on the Ground bath'd in Blood, and perceiv'd Don Sanche running away, which convinc'd him that he was the Murderer; he immediately purſu'd him, and with his Sword run him through: After he had thus reveng'd unfortunate Leonida, he came up to her; but oh! what a lamentable Condition did he find her in? She expreſs'd herſelf with painful Sighs, and had ſearce Strength enough to take her Lover's Hand, which made him fear, her beauteous Eyes were going to yield up all their Charms to that univerſal Conqueror, Death.

How ſhall I here paint the diſconſolate State of our unhappy Prince; he was reſolv'd not to ſurvive ſo great a Misfortune, and had already turn'd the Point of his Sword to his Breaſt, when the Queen (who had follow'd him out of the Grotto) interpos'd, and prevented him from acting his own Death: She repeated her Shrieks in ſo preſſing a manner, that the Guards immediately came up to her, and ſoon after, moſt of her Attendants, with a great Number of Flambeaux, which ſhew'd all the Horror of this Tragick Scene. It was not long before they were inform'd of it at the Palace of Alhambro: The two Princes, Mahomet and Oſmin, came to the Abbaicyn, with Mula and another Gentleman, who had accompanyed him in his Voyage from Sallee: In ſhort, the Wood was full of People, who were in [Page 365] a ſtrange Conſternation; Leonida wounded, (lying in the Arms of a deſpairing Prince, who was near loſing his Miſtreſs) mov'd all Hearts with Compaſſion.

On the other hand, Caſilda (that wretched Creature) was tearing open her Wounds, to haſten her deſerv'd Death: Zulema approach'd her, and ſtill thinking ſhe was a Man; Ah Barbarous Villain, that you are, cry'd he to her; what Daemon urg'd you to commit a Crime ſo black? Tell me, what had innocent Felicia done to you, and how came you to murder her in this cruel manner? I am Caſilda, (reply'd ſhe with a furious Air) and ſhe was my Rival; go to your Friend, and he will tell you the reſt. Theſe were the laſt and only Words ſhe pronounc'd with her expiring Breath.

Tho' Leonida's Life was deſpair'd of, yet the Surgeons were ſent for, who us'd all their Skill to ſtop the bleeding of her Wounds, which they dreſs'd, and having aſſiſted her with proper Remedies, her Spirits began to revive: She open'd her weak Eyes, then fix'd them on the Prince, who held her in his Arms, and appear'd in as great want of Relief, as his dying Miſtreſs. At laſt they took her from him, and carry'd her by the Queen's Order to her Chamber, where ſhe was laid in Bed, and Inea, who had a tender Affection for Leonida, ſtaid by her almoſt inconſolable for the unlucky Accident, which had happen'd to her illuſtrious Companion. She was ſo ſenſibly touch'd [Page 366] at it, that even the Preſence of Don Ramire cou'd not mitigate her exceſſive Grief. He was juſt arriv'd from Fez, where he had been, in Expectation of finding his dear Inea, who had ſent him a Letter whilſt he was at Morocco, to acquaint him with her Captivity: But before he cou'd reach Sallee, the Queen was embark'd, which oblig'd him to wait there for a favourable Opportunity of coming over to Granada; and as about this time Mula was ſetting out for that Kingdom, he took his Paſſage in the ſame Ship.

Oſmin, who had a real Paſſion for Leonida, was thoroughly concern'd at her Misfortune; and as for the Queen of Fez, ſhe cou'd not help being mov'd at this diſmal Adventure, tho' ſhe prudently conceal'd her Thoughts. The Prince of Carency's mournful Complaints, too well confirm'd her Suſpicions in relation to his Sentiments for Leonida; and ſhe ſaw him poſſeſs'd with ſo violent a Deſpair, that ſhe had no room left for any hopes, no not even to come to an Agreement with Abelhamar; for in the firſt Place, ſhe was convinc'd, that ſhou'd Leonida die of her Wounds, her Death wou'd render his Propoſals of no Effect; and on the other Hand, ſhe foreſaw, that if ſhe recover'd, the Prince wou'd claim her as one, perhaps, he had lov'd a long time, and whom he intended to marry.

As for Mula, he was ſo amaz'd, that he cou'd ſcarcely believe his own Eyes; for tho' he was preſent when his Maſter fought the [Page 367] brave Count of La Vagne, and kill'd him, and that he ſaw him give up his laſt Breath in Olympia's Arms, yet he cou'd not be perſuaded, but the Prince of Carency was that ſame Count; ſo great was their Reſemblance.

The Prince, all this while, was like a Man whoſe Senſes had abandon'd him, and in that Condition, the Queen of Fez gave Orders, that he ſhou'd be carry'd into one of the Apartments of the Abbaicyn, where being laid on a Bed, his Wound open'd afreſh, and there guſh'd from it a great Quantity of Blood, which alarm'd all his Friends, particularly Oſmin, who look'd on him as his Rival, and notwithſtanding, ſhew'd a ſincere Trouble for his Misfortune, as well as his generous Friend Zulema.

No body cou'd now tell who was in the greateſt Danger, the Prince of Carency or Leonida; they both continu'd extremely ill: His exceſſive Grief for the Condition of his beloved Miſtreſs, retarded his Recovery, till they aſſur'd him, there was Hopes of her Life; which agreeable News caus'd ſo wonderful an Effect in him, that his Wound was ſoon heal'd, and in a few Days he was able to viſit her, who was alſo in no ſmall Concern for the State of her Lover's Health. The Preſence of this lovely Prince had ſo great an Influence on her, that it contributed likewiſe to her ſpeedy Recovery: His daily Attendance and tender Care gave her more Relief than all the Remedies, which [Page 368] the Surgeons apply'd to her Wounds; and it may be ſaid, that as Love was the Author of the Pains and Diſaſters of theſe conſtant Lovers, he was alſo their Phyſician and Comfort. No Satisfaction cou'd be equal to theirs, not is it poſſible to conceive the endearing Expreſſions, they mutually exchang'd, during their Illneſs.

By this time it was known, thro' the means of Inea, that Leonida was Daughter to Don John of Velaſco, and Zulema having mention'd Caſilda's Name, ſhe alſo inform'd the Court of her being of the Family of the Benavidez's, and related to them the whole Story, as ſhe had heard it from Leonida.

As to the Prince of Carency's Name, it was not long kept a Secret; Celima told the King of Granada who he was, which added ſo much to the Eſteem, he had already acquir'd, thro' his perſonal Merit, that he receiv'd all poſſible Marks of Honour from the King, who went often to ſee him after this unhappy Adventure; and endeavouring to conſole the Prince, amongſt other obliging Expreſſions, he told him, he reſtor'd him to his Liberty, for which, he deſired no other Ranſom than his Friendſhip, and that had he known ſooner of his being of the Houſe of Bourbon, he wou'd have ſhewn him all the Diſtinction, that was due to ſo illuſtrious a Family

The Prince, who now ſaw Leonida out of Danger, was very willing to retrieve his Liberty [Page 379] at any rate: He readily accepted of the King of Granada's generous Offer, and return'd him Thanks for that, and the many other Favours he had confer'd on him, ſince the time he was taken Priſoner.

Celima, notwithſtanding Leonida was her Rival, extremely pity'd her, and order'd that all the Attendance imaginable ſhou'd be given her: She alſo viſited the Prince, who laying aſide the Reſpect due to her Rank, receiv'd her with ſo much Indifferency, that ſhe reſolv'd never more to ſpeak to him of his Unknown of Nicopolis.

The mean while the King of Granada (who was deſirous to compleat the Prince of Carency's good Fortune, and had a Deſign, at the ſame time, to oblige the Spaniards) thought on means to procure Leonida her Liberty; he therefore addreſs'd himſelf to the Queen of Fez, offering her whatever Sum, ſhe wou'd pleaſe to demand for the Ranſom of that young Lady: But Celima, whoſe Greatneſs of Spirit was equal to her Paſſion, reſolv'd no Sovereign ſhou'd ſurpaſs her in Generoſity; the Prince of Carency being a Chriſtian, and in Love with her Slave, was enough to make her determine never to think of him more. She told the King of Granada, that far from requiring any Ranſom for Leonida, ſhe deſired, he wou'd accept and diſpoſe of her, as he thought fit; and that not only Leonida, but all the reſt of her Slaves were at his Command if agreeable to him. The King heard with Pleaſure Celima's Anſwer, and in his Turn, gallantly [Page 380] preſented Leonida to the Prince of Carency, who receiv'd her with inexpreſſible Marks of Joy and Gratitude, but cou'd not find Words to make a Retribution ſuitable to the Preſent.

The chief and only Care of theſe happy Lovers conſiſted now in giving each other daily Proofs of their tender Affection. Their long and cruel Diſappointments made their Felicity the greater; and tho' they were not as yet Perfectly recover'd, they were propoſing Means to leave Granada, in order to perform the Promiſe which their Parents had made for them in their infant Years. The Prince wrote to Don John of Velaſco at Villa-Real, acquainting him with the Particulars of his and Leonida's Fortune, and withal, that he hop'd ſoon to be the happieſt of Mankind.

Mula (ſeeing his Maſter's Deſigns were render'd impracticable through this Adventure between the Prince of Carency and Leonida) went back to Sallee, and gave Abelhamar an Account of what had paſs'd; which News ſo cruelly affected him, that the Loſs of his Miſtreſs had like to have made him act his own Death; but as an Evincement of the Greatneſs of his Paſſion, he took a Reſolution proportionable to it; for having renounc'd to the Crown of Fez, he retired to a Caſtle on the Sea-ſide, where he conſecrated the Remainder of his Life to the dear Memory of his Felicia. Celima ſoon receiv'd Advice of this unexpected Change; and as Mahomet was extremely ſollicitous to ſerve her in ſo favourable a [Page 381] Conjuncture, he intreated the King of Granada, his Father, to give him a Fleet and ſome Forces, in order to reinſtate the Queen of Fez; which being granted, he took the Command entirely upon himſelf, and convoy'd her to Sallee, where, far from meeting with any Oppoſition, ſhe found all Things in a perfect Tranquility. By this time her Mind was more at Eaſe; for having conſider'd that ſhe cou'd no longer hope to receive an obliging return to the Paſſion, ſhe had for the Prince of Carency, ſhe thought nothing wou'd ſooner effect it's Cure, than approving Mahomet's Vows; therefore being of too haughty a Temper to bear with the Diſdain of the one, and Gratitude pleading in behalf of the other, ſhe at once reſolv'd to give her Hand, and all her Affection to Mahomet, who by this Alliance ſaw his Love and Ambition ſatisfy'd.

Celima, before ſhe parted from Granada, reſtor'd Inea to her Liberty, and Don Ramire took her with him to Toledo, where theſe two Lovers, by a happy Union, receiv'd the Reward of their Conſtancy.

What I have farther to add relating to the Prince of Carency and Leonida, is, that as ſoon as they were in a Condition to ſet out on their Journey, they took leave of the King of Granada, who made them conſiderable Preſents, and order'd ſeveral Noblemen with a ſtrong Detachment of his Guards to conduct them as far as the Frontiers of Spain; whence they proceeded to Villa Real, where they were receiv'd [Page 382] with a Satisfaction equal to the Occaſion. Their long Sufferings intitled them to ſuch Bleſſings, as hardly any who wore the Chains of Love cou'd expect. Leonida, in whom ſo many Perfections were aſſembled, was too great a Prize for an indifferent Heroe, and the Prince of Carency, whoſe Accompliſhments render'd him one of the fineſt Gentlemen of his time, might juſtly claim a Place in her Affection. In ſhort, where ſo much Virtue and Merit was united, Love muſt be triumphant. Then let us leave the Prince and Leonida to the bounteous Care of Hymen, whoſe ſoft Endearments cou'd only recompence their paſt Misfortunes, and crown their Days with true Felicity.

FINIS.