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 The marquis, meanwhile, whose search after Julia failed of success, was successively the slave of alternate passions, and he poured the spleen of disappointment on his unhappy domestics.  
The marchioness, who may now more properly be called Maria de Vellorno, , by artful insinuations, the passions already irritated, and heightened with cruel triumph his towards Julia and Madame de Menon. She represented, what his feelings too acutely acknowledged,—that by the disobedience of the first, and the machinations of the last, a priest had been enabled to arrest his authority as a father—to insult the sacred honor of his nobility—and to overturn at once his proudest schemes of power and ambition. She declared it her opinion, that the was acquainted with the place of Julia's present retreat, and the marquis with want of spirit in thus submitting to be outwitted by a priest, and forbearing an appeal to the pope, whose authority would compel the Abate to restore Julia.
This reproach stung the very soul of the marquis; he felt all its force, and was at the same time conscious of his inability to it. The effect of his crimes now fell in severe punishment upon his own head. The threatened secret, which was no other than the of the marchioness, arrested his arm of , and compelled him to submit to insult and disappointment. But the reproach of Maria sunk deep in his mind; it his pride into redoubled fury, and he now with the idea of .
He the means which might effect his purpose—he saw but one—this was the death of the marchioness.
The commission of one crime often requires the perpetration of another. When once we enter on the ladyrinth of , we can seldom return, but are led on, through correspondent , to destruction. To obviate the effect of his first crime, it was now necessary the marquis should commit a second, and the imprisonment of the marchioness by her murder. Himself the only living witness of her existence, when she was removed, the allegations of the Padre Abate would by this means be unsupported by any proof, and he might then boldly appeal to the pope for the restoration of his child.
He upon this scheme, and the more he accustomed his mind to it, the less he became. The crime from which he would have shrunk, he now surveyed with a steady eye. The fury of his passions, unaccustomed to resistance, uniting with the force of what ambition termed necessity—urged him to the deed, and he upon the murder of his wife. The means of effecting his purpose were easy and various; but as he was not yet so hardened as to be able to view her dying , and embrue his own hands in her blood, he chose to dispatch her by means of poison, which he resolved to in her food.
But a new affliction was preparing for the marquis, which attacked him where he was most vulnerable; and the veil, which had so long overshadowed his reason, was now to be removed. He was informed by Baptista of the infidelity of Maria de Vellorno. In the first emotion of passion, he the informer from his presence, and to believe the circumstance. A little reflection changed the object of his resentment; he recalled the servant, whose faithfulness he had no reason to distrust, and to him on the subject of his misfortune.
He learned that an had for some time between Maria and the Cavalier de Vincini; and that the assignation was usually held at the pavilion on the sea-shore, in an evening. Baptista farther declared, that if the marquis desired a of his words, he might obtain it by visiting this spot at the hour mentioned.
This information lighted up the wildest passions of his nature; his former sufferings faded away before the stronger influence of the present misfortune, and it seemed as if he had never tasted till now. To suspect the wife upon whom he doated with romantic fondness, on whom he had centered all his firmest hopes of happiness, and for whose sake he had committed the crime which even his present moment, and which would involve him in still deeper —to find her ungrateful to his love, and a traitoress to his honor—produced a misery more than any his imagination had conceived. He was torn by contending passions, and opposite resolutions:—now he resolved to her guilt with her blood—and now he melted in all the softness of love. Vengeance and honor bade him strike to the heart which had betrayed him, and urged him instantly to the deed—when the idea of her beauty—her winning smiles—her fond stole upon his fancy, and his heart; he almost wept to the idea of injuring her, and in spight of appearances, pronounced her faithful. The succeeding moment him again into ; his tortures acquired new from cessation, and again he experienced all the phrenzy of despair. He was now resolved to end his doubts by repairing to the pavilion; but again his heart wavered in how to proceed should his fears be confirmed. In the mean time he determined to watch the behaviour of Maria with severe vigilance.
They met at dinner, and he observed her closely, but discovered not the smallest impropriety in her conduct. Her smiles and her beauty again wound their round his heart, and in the excess of their influence he was almost to repair the injury which his late suspicions had done her, by confessing them at her feet. The appearance of the Cavalier de Vincini, however, renewed his suspicions; his heart wildly, and with restless he watched the return of evening, which would remove his suspence.
Night at length came. He repaired to the pavilion, and himself among the trees that embowered it. Many minutes had not passed, when he heard a sound of low whispering voices steal from among the trees, and footsteps approaching down the . He stood almost with terrible sensations, and presently heard some persons enter the pavilion. The marquis now emerged from his hiding-place; a faint light issued from the building. He stole to the window, and within, Maria and the Cavalier de Vincini. Fired at the sight, he drew his sword, and sprang forward. The sound of his step alarmed the cavalier, who, on perceiving the marquis, rushed by him from the pavilion, and disappeared among the woods. The marquis pursued, but could not overtake him; and he returned to the pavilion with an intention of his sword in the heart of Maria, when he discovered her senseless on the ground. Pity now suspended his vengeance; he paused in gaze upon her, and returned his sword into the scabbard.
She revived, but on observing the marquis, screamed and relapsed. He hastened to the castle for assistance, inventing, to conceal his disgrace, some for her sudden illness, and she was conveyed to her .
The marquis was now not suffered to doubt her infidelity, but the passion which her conduct abused, her faithlessness could not ; he still doated with absurd fondness, and even regretted that uncertainty could no longer flatter him with hope. It seemed as if his desire of her affection increased with his knowledge of the loss of it; and the very circumstance which should have roused his aversion, by a strange of , appeared to heighten his passion, and to make him think it impossible he could exist without her.
When the first energy of his indignation was , he determined, therefore, to reprove and to punish, but hereafter to restore her to favor.
In this resolution he went to her apartment, and her falsehood in terms of just indignation.
Maria de Vellorno, in whom the late discovery had roused resentment, instead of ; and pride without exciting shame—heard the upbraidings of the marquis with impatience, and replied to them with violence.
She boldly asserted her , and instantly invented a story, the of which might have deceived a man who had evidence less certain than his senses to contradict it. She behaved with a the most ; and when she perceived that the marquis was no longer to be misled, and that her violence failed to accomplish its purpose, she had recourse to tears and supplications. But the was too glaring to succeed; and the marquis quitted her apartment in an agony of resentment.
His former fascinations, however, quickly returned, and again held him in suspension between love and vengeance. That the of his passion, however, might not want an object, he ordered Baptista to discover the retreat of the Cavalier de Vincini on whom he meant to revenge his lost honor. Shame forbade him to employ others in the search.
This discovery suspended for a while the operations of the fatal scheme, which had before employed the thoughts of the marquis; but it had only suspended—not destroyed them. The late occurrence had his domestic happiness; but his pride now rose to rescue him from despair, and he centered all his future hopes upon ambition. In a moment of cool reflection, he considered that he had neither happiness or content from the pursuit of dissipated pleasures, to which he had hitherto sacrificed every opposing consideration. He resolved, therefore, to abandon the gay schemes of dissipation which had formerly him, and dedicate himself entirely to ambition, in the pursuits and delights of which he hoped to bury all his cares. He therefore became more earnest than ever for the marriage of Julia with the Duke de Luovo, through whose means he designed to involve himself in the interests of the state, and determined to recover her at whatever consequence. He resolved, without further delay, to appeal to the pope; but to do this with safety it was necessary that the marchioness should die; and he returned therefore to the consideration and execution of his purpose.
He a poisonous drug with the food he designed for her; and when night ar............
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