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"He has returned sooner than he expected from Turin; and he cannot enjoy his fair home, unless I be there to enjoy it with him."

Another moment, and the boat had moored; a quick step bounded up the marble stairs; a hurried greeting was exchanged;- one lingering, regretful glance the young bride gave to the veranda, ere she departed; and then Barbara, more desolate than ever, watched them, as she leaned upon the balustrade, glide together in their light pinnace back towards Locarno. She watched them, and almost fancied she could hear their quick, succeeding exclamations of delight; she fancied them wandering together with renewed pleasure through the shaded walks of their blooming garden,-Fiore recounting all that had passed during their short separation, and asking in return a thousand questions, touching all that had befallen him in his journey from Turin. She imaged all this till her very soul sickened, as she knew and felt that such happiness could never more be for her.

"I will not think of them," she said, at last; "there is no envy in my heart for dear Fiore's happier doom; but it does only enhance the misery of the bereaved, to look on the semblance of what they have lost; and I will gaze no longer on this bright sky and blue lake, that seem to mock my grief;-I will go for consolation where never, yet, I went in vain.”

A packet of letters was upon the table in the saloon, addressed to her husband;-she took the packet into his dressing-room, for it was in the way to her own little oratory; but, as she was passing through the door on her way out again, her foot struck against something hard, and when she stooped

to pick it up, she saw that it was a miniature casethe same which she had given to Montalto, five years since, on their wedding-day.

"He prized it, then!" she said; "oh, how much he prized it, then!--and now it is trodden under foot, while he wears next his heart, as a charm, the likeness of Olimpia !—perhaps, in his hour of evening retirement, he places them side by side, to see which is the fairest :-that, at least, shall never be again."— So she took away with her the despised gift, and when she was in her own room she opened the case, and walked up to the mirror with it in her hand."Aye," she continued, sadly, "there is change; the cheek is pale, and the eye is dim; faded, indeed, beside that bright image of what has been. Almost I could forgive him his fickle heart, were it not that his was the hand which stole light and bloom away. But how childish is this; as though beauty possessed a charm, when novelty has fled.-Is this the consolation I talked of seeking? All things seem leagued against my peace to-day." And then that mournful lady sat down to her little table, and she unfastened the silver clasps of a huge volume that it.

was upon

For some time, the gay vision of Fiore and Guido, so bright in the first flush of their youthful happiness, would fit before her mind's eye; but she, who had attained some mastery over wayward thoughts, resolutely put away the remembrance, and bent her eyes over the pages she turned. Gradually, very gradually, but very completely, did the expression of anguish pass away from her fair face. Her brow grew lighter; her lips were no longer compressed,

they relaxed into a smile; hope and faith were at work within; an air of perfect peace stole sweetly over her countenance; and when she at last arose, it might be seen, that although she had been in the dark valley of tribulation, her God had been there with her to support and to comfort.

Barbara busied herself all that day with more than her usual diligence, in her accustomed employments, for she practised the precepts she loved to read. She visited her little school of orphans in the village; she distributed corn and wine among the destitute; and her errands of mercy over, she returned to decorate her saloon with fresh flowers, to place freshgathered fruits upon the table, that all things might wear a smiling aspect when her husband should return to his home. She delayed the time of evening prayer, still he came not; she assembled her household, for the peaceful duty of closing night, prayed with them and for them herself, and then dismissed them to rest. She felt that her day had not been idly wasted; and, to repel some intruding regret that would arise, while awaiting her husband's late return, she betook herself again to reading. This time she took up the manuscript journal and letters of Fontana, the good Carmelite who had been the first to introduce the reformed opinions into Locarno; she read that he laboured for twenty years ere any fruit of his labour appeared. Her eye fell upon these words, in one of his letters to Zuingle: "There are, as yet, but three of us, but Midian was not vanquished by numbers; it is our duty to sow and plant, the Lord will give the increase in his own good time." Barbara looked up at the venerable

and placid countenance of the portrait before her, and she thought, "At least his labours were blessed to himself; blessed to himself on earth, and doubtless in eternity. Yes, it is our duty to strive to the uttermost, and leave the rest to One who is wiser than we are."


When Montalto at last came in, he held in his hand the letters which had arrived for him that day. His countenance was troubled, and he stood for some time opposite his wife, as though doubting whether he should communicate their contents or not. gladly would she, at that moment, have laid her hand upon his arm with submissive tenderness, and have besought him to reveal only that which grieved him, that she might offer consolation; but no look or word of kindness invited her approach; he merely said at last, in a tone of cold constraint: "Barbara, you may soon look for rougher work than weaving embroidery, and training flowers. The Diets have been held, to discuss the confession of our faith that we sent to Turin. It is settled that the Locarnese shall either return to the faith of their ancestors, or shall be exiled from fair Italy. This sentence has been intimated to the prefect, and the arrival of deputies to carry it into effect is daily expected. Do not look at me so anxiously," he continued; "heed not my determination; it is sufficient for you, signora, that I leave you to act according to your own," and so saying, without one farther word of advice or of consolation, Montalto walked away, leaving his wife to the companionship of her own thoughts: other companionship needed she not, for deep, and bitter, and busy were they. Should she, to whom

so many looked up for guidance, or whom so many would be glad to quote as a precedent,- should she be the first to waver? On the other hand, was it likely that Montalto would give up the high consideration he enjoyed, station, and wealth, and luxury to follow her into exile, alas, she knew not whither! And yet he had a noble spirit; would he like to hear it said that he had abandoned the cause he had adopted in sunshine, at the very first appearance of the storm? And even if this consideration should prevail, there was another,— Olimpia, the fair, the haughty, the fascinating Olimpia, with whom he so loved to spend every hour he could snatch from graver employment. Barbara trembled as she bethought herself how often Olimpia had tried her influence, and had never tried it in vain. She endeavoured to persuade herself that it was her duty to choose, at least, the part he should choose. Was not her own happiness of more import to her than the welfare of the multitude? If she should abandon Montalto, who then would whisper to him of repentance and peace? What, to her, was the fate of the many, and why should not every one act according to the dictates of his own conscience? When she came to this point, her reason smote her; it was so easy to apply it to others- so difficult to apply it to herself. She looked up and, fancifully perhaps, deemed that the countenance of Balthazar Fontana wore a stern look, as though detecting the fallacy of her reasoning. Then came to mind many words she had read that day. "Thou shalt not do evil that good may come," stood in terrible array before her, and she almost determined, ere she sought her pillow,

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