« 이전계속 »
“Dead !” repeated his friend, in a dull, hollow accent. “Dead, Donstano ! murdered—and by me? Impossible !” but being soon convinced of the accuracy of the assertion, he suffered himself to be led from the chamber, unconscious whither he bent his steps, and unknowing by whom guided.
In some natures, where passion is allowed undisputed sway, and where the violence of ill subjugated feelings is permitted unrestrained dominion, the sudden removal of a cause of deadly hatred has in a moment worked so total a revulsion of the system, so powerful, and with such suddenness acting on the overexcited nerves, that in many instances death unlooked forinstantaneous death, has resulted.
The agony which Don Triarto then experienced, reached not, by many degrees, to so fearful a crisis; yet the awful removal from this world of the being whom he had so mercilessly slain, quelled in an instant his more violent rage, leaving on his mind a suspicion somewhat akin to doubt, as to whether his boundless fury had not prematurely marked Giberto as its victim.
What steps, if any, were taken by the authorities, remain unknown, but possibly none, as the prognostic of Donstano was not on that occasion destined to be fulfilled, for what he considered sufficient indication of death, eventually proved the means whereby Giberto partially recovered.
The many causes already detailed, coupled with the boundless passion which so impetuous a youth could not otherwise than harbour, on finding himself in the power of his adversaries, was sufficient to send the purple blood rushing through his veins with an irresistible impetuosity, which, had it not found egress by the bursting of some minor vessel, would inevitably have caused his death. As it was, the relief bestowed through leaving him insensible and wholly prostrate, eventually restored him to life, and granted him sufficient strength to encounter the terrible ordeals yet in store.
Bitter pangs of remorse may have harboured in the breast of the enraged husband, when impressed with the conviction that the only being who had dared to cross his path was now no more, yet no sooner were his melancholy broodings dispersed by the credited assertion that his rival still existed, than the unquenchable flame again struggled into life, dispelling in an instant every better feeling then striving for the mastery. Again was the counsel and assistance of Donstano called into request, and readily was the summons responded to--for in bad hearts there is a secret satisfaction in committing iniquities which by others would be regarded with horror and disgust.
Long and tedious passed the period of Giberto's convalescence, and when at last he arose from his bed of sickness, the
mutilated object, with scarce sufficient strength to draw his enfeebled limbs across the chamber, would by few persons have been recognized as the once handsome boy who but a short time since added, with the brilliancy of his wit, and engaging kindness of manner,
to the happiness of all who came within the influence of his spell.
What had he now to live for! Was it probable that the hideous object too faithfully pourtrayed in his mirror, could inspire feelings in a breast which in the days of his glory, had resisted all his blandishments unscathed ? Could he suppose that that being whose sense of rectitude had withstood his every practised art, when luxuriating in the zenith of youth and comeliness, should now resign all, every thing, for so loathsome a creature as himself? Banish the insane thought I never-never so preposterous a notion harbour in his mind; and incredible as it may sound, nevertheless perfectly true—the nearly maddening passion which for so long, and with such withering effect, had literally held his soul captive, to the exclusion of his better sense, now faded away as in a mist, and without any perceptible effort on his part, leaving the wide field of his energies open to an equally absorbing passion—the thirst, the unquenchable panting for revenge.
No sooner did his decreasing indisposition permit, than he hastily despatched a friend to demand at the hand of his enemies, that reparation which, as a gentleman, he insisted on claiming, but which both parties appealed to treated with the most sovereign contempt, adding deeper injury to that already inflicted, by the arrogance and coarseness of their replies.
Stung to the quick, again and again the unhappy youth sought that reparation which his adversaries were equally determined to withhold; but although they declined a contest in the field, nothing that ingenuity could effect, or money purchase, was wanting to disseminate in all directions among his friends, tales, falsehoods, and inuendoes, to the deep prejudice of Giberto's character.
Unconscious of the cause, with the deepest anguish the miserable young man saw his friends—nay, even his nearest and dearest associates—drop off from his society, as though he were an object to be shunned, and one whose presence must necessarily contaminate whoever mixed in his society: not an avenue was left open for redress, deeply and irreparably as he had been injured: where could he look for consolation ? the world seemed closed for ever on his hopes; his happiness was blasted, never to revive; his friends had cast him off; strangers avoided him, and he passed along among them, but not as one of them. Every kindly channel of his heart froze up-every gentle feel
ing was plucked as a noxious weed from his bosom, and, spurning each tie that bound him to society, he rushed to the altar of his Patron Saint, and there impiously, in the very house of God, swore to devote each moment of his future existence to nurturing and effecting his sole earthly gratification-revenge.
In conformity with his resolve, Giberto disposed of his effects, and causing it to be promulgated through Malaga that he was on the point of leaving the hateful town for ever, made instant preparation for departure.
On the day fixed, and at the most public hour, the carriage conveying the voluntary exile drove past the Alameda, and, amid the self congratulations of the inhabitants, at having got rid of so objectionable a resident, he dashed through the assembled groups, and soon left every vestige of the city far behind.
The flight of Giberto for a time furnished observation for the idle, who daily thronged the Pasado, but when at length report reached their ears that he had died in a foreign and a distant land, men forgat to bear in mind that he had ever existed much less did they remember that the poor forsaken wretch had once been their townsman and their friend-his very name ceased to pass their lips, and Triarto and his companion went on their way rejoicing, as though such a person as Giberto never had existed.
* Three years had expired since the circumstances just described took place; and still Don Triarto dwelt at Malaga, and daily might he be seen—his wife hanging on his arm-taking his accustomed stroll. Little or no difference was perceptible in his demeanour, since we first introduced him to our readers, but in the pale yet still most beautiful being by his side, it would have bafied the ingenuity of the most discerning to have recognised the frank and joyous countenance of Adelaida de Salvador.
There is a certain distinction among all classes of society which is voluntarily tendered to wealth, and wherever money may be found, will a host of sycophants hover to offer up their homage to its possessor.
Exactly in this position stood Don Triarto; his extensive possessions purchased attention and respect-his marriage contributed to enlarge his acquaintance, and his generally placid and unruffled manner, studiously courteous, bad so gained him the friendship of the best families in the neighbourhood, that he determined to fix on Malaga as his permament abode, and in that resolution entered into all that interested the community, and became in brief time one of the leading characters of the place.
It was the anniversary of some fête, the precise occasion of which our narrator omitted to detail, when the amuent husband threw open his splendid mansion for the amusement of all who classed themselves within the pale of his acquaintance. For days past much had been expected from the extensive scale of the preparation, and the well known opulence of the donor of the feast, and with light hearts aud joyous anticipations of pleasure, hundreds moved toward the festive scene on the night of which I am now writing. Nothing which could add to the dazzling brilliancy of the fête had been omitted—thousands of lights illuminated the vast corridors of the building-music, with all the voluptuous melody of song, was heard at intervals from the various chambers—while the incipient sound of the time-beating castanet bore testimony to the zeal with which the national dance was performed.
Not a person of distinction for miles around but received a summons to the banquet, and, from amid the loveliest of the dark-eyed daughters of Spain, many had been drawn thither to enhance the splendor of the all-but fairy land. Beauty in all her most captivating forms might there have found a living representation, and many were the young hearts, elate with rapture at the prospect of the night's amusement, taught, ere they left the magic influence of the hour, that they were yet capable of harbouring fresh and novel sentiments of love, which, until then, had slumbered in their bosoms unawakened.
All seemed mirth and joy, yet, amid the countless multitude of smiling faces, and in many instances truly happy beings, who wandered in a delighted maze of happiness from one apartment to the other, engrossed with the novelty of whatever met their astonished gaze-few would have exchanged their own sensations of the moment for the possession of all the pageantry and magnificence around, if accompanied with the deeply-rooted sorrow too plainly engrafted on the countenance of the mistress of the whole.
From her lips, the subject on which it is more than probable she ever dwelt with an interest surpassing all others, was never known, even by her dearest friends, to find utterance : nevertheless, can it be doubted that the memory of one who, towards her, had ever evinced the most passionate devotion, was fixed indelibly on the tablets of her memory?
Almost from the days of infancy, each occurrence giving interest to the hour which in any degree was coupled with a retrospection of pleasure unavoidably wound itself with the too familiar portrait of him whose greatest crime consisted in having loved her, not “ too wisely nor too well, ” but with a maddening intensity of passion which, finally breaking through all
February, 1849—vol. LIV.---No. ccxiv.
barriers, hurried its victim into those insane acts which eventually terminated in an ignominious end. Still Adelaida was a woman, and although wedded, if not actually by force, certainly by interested persuasion and deep-laid cunning, and notwithstanding the confidence she experienced from a knowledge of the firmness of her character, and her hitherto unshaken determination to uphold reputation, not only in appearance but in reality, unblemished to the world—yet is it not probable that her thoughts would oftentimes recall the image of him whose worship towards her bordered on idolatry? Justly might I be reproved for the attempt to cast a slur on the better feelings of human nature, were I to conjecture otherwise, and the almost broken heart of poor Adelaida was not one to gaze unmoved on the rapid downfall of him whose irreparable ruin had its origin from no one cause except his all-engrossing attachment towards herself.
Light and joyous was the laugh emerging through each vestibule of the mansion, and all that mortal man could • imagine as conducive to happiness was there collected for enjoyment, to profusion.
At length the banquet was announced ; again a fresh impetus was given to the moving mass that thronged the halls, and all turned towards the apartments which were now, for the first time, thrown open for the night.
Let it suffice that all the ulterior arrangements were in perfect keeping with the rest; wine, love, and music held undisputed sovereignty, and all revelled as though they existed but for that hour.
Some delightful voice, well disciplined to harmony, and attuned with natural sweetness, had just concluded a soft, plaintive air, when the liberal donor of the feast, delighted at the success of his entertainment, and gratified at the visible happiness evinced on all sides, rose to propose a toast connected with the occasion. The announcement was, of course, rapturously responded to-each crystal goblet sparkled to the brim, with the most delicious wines of Spain-every one rose-the eyes of all were upon the host, who, from the head of the principal table, courteously saluting his guests, was on the verge of speaking, when a servant hurriedly crossed to where his master stood, and whispered a few words into his ear. What the exact import of the message might have been, was never known, but moved by the information it conveyed, Don Triarto replaced his untasted wine upon the board, and making a scarcely audible excuse, hurried from the spot, leaving his friends mute with astonishment, standing with uplifted hands ready to do honor to whatever pledge Don Triarto had been about to offer.