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that they contained. He went to the piano-forte, soundedachord, but his fingers remained motionless upon the keys. The clock struck six, and his impatience increased to the highest pitch; it struck seven, and he could no longer endure the cruel suspense. • If the countess comes home,' said he to his valet, tell her that I am gone to the coffee-house to breakfast.' This was the fifth untruth; for instead of going to the coffee-house, he went straight to captain B's. Laura had passed the night in the same manner as the count; and indeed still worse, for she was sincerely attached to the captain. She had, however, enjoyed one comfort, which is always at the command of women_namely, tears. This the count perceived from her eyes, which were red with weeping—he perceived it and trembled. Has any accident happened to my wife?' cried he hastily to Laura.
Laura. I hope not.-Count. Is she gone from hence, then?-Laura. She left me at half-past three.-Count. Did nothing ail her?--Laura. O no! nothing at all.--Count. And whither was she going?—Laura. Home, I suppose.—Count. Home! but she has not been there. I have just come from home.—Laura. (in violent agitation) Well, then I don't know where she can be gone to.-Count. Did she go alone?—Laura. (repressing her tears.) My husband accompanied her-Count. Indeed! And they have been gone three hours and a half? It is very extraordinary!-Laura trembled all over. She would fain have given free vent to her tears, but then she would have betrayed her inmost thoughts. The fear of exciting in the count a suspicion, to which he was perhaps yet a stranger, and thereby furnishing occasion for a duel, which might endanger the life of her husband, restrained her. She dissembled as well as she could, while the flame within raged the more furiously. The count was in the same predicament, and yet he determined to remain at Laura's till her husband returned. They agreed to breakfast together. The chocolate was brought in; they raised the cups to their lips, but without drinking; and the toast, which they tried to eat, they were unable to swallow. Never were two persons so constrained and oppressed by each other's society.
To the great alleviation of both, a doctor, to whom I shall give the name of Tattle, came to inquire after the lady's health. He was a polite little man, who was to be seen every where, who knew every thing, and laughed at every thing; in short, a living chronicle of all the scandal of the town, which caused him to be universally considered as an agreeable companion. No sooner did he remark that Laura was absent, and the count reserved, than he exerted all his art to cheer up their spirits, but without success. He felt Laura's pulse. “Rather feverish, madam,' said he. • Very likely,' was the reply—'What ails you?'
Nothing.'_ Oho! nothing but a pretty whim, an amiable caprice. But do you know,' continued he, with a roguish look,' that it is in my power to change your whim into earnest?' - How so?'—Why—the captain- Well, what of the captain? What has he done?'- That he best knows himself. For my part, I know no more than that I saw him half an hour ago in the park, not far from the keeper's lodge, and in company with a very handsome and elegant female.'-Very likely, rejoined Laura, with a tone designed to denote indifference, but which the glow of her cheeks proved to proceed from a very different sentiment.— Indeed!' said the count, with an accent intended to express interrogation, but which betrayed the keenest vexation.
Dr. Tattle began to imagine that he had made a discovery, and determined to ascertain the accuracy of his suspicions. 'I hope, madam,' said he, that you will know how to take a joke; for though I was not near enough to recognize the lady with whom your husband was walking, still I could perceive that she was perfectly well dressed, and her whole manner showed that she was not of the common order. This was more than sufficient to aggravate the torments of the count and Laura to the utmost. Anxiety and rage were manifest in every movement. The lips were silent, but quivered convulsively. The doctor perceived that his company was superfluous, and would have retired. At this moment the captain entered. The presence of the doctor, lightly as it weighed, was nevertheless some restraint upon the count. In a tone that was meant for jocose, but that completely failed of its effect, he accosted the captain with, What have you done with my wife?' The captain perceived from the count's look, that all was not right; the eyes of his wife betrayed the traces of tears; he conjectured the suspicions of both, and therefore thought it better to say nothing concerning the walk in the park. I left Emily,' replied he, at her cousin's, who is not well, and wished for her company to breakfast. What has since become of her I don't
This was the sixth falsehood, and the honest captain could not pronounce it without stammering. The count was silent, though his bosom was convulsed with passion. He coldly took his leave and retired, accompanied by Dr. Tattle. When the captain and Laura were left to themselves, they soon came to a mutual explanation, in which the honest frankness of the former easily overcame all the suspicions of his wife. But he now learned, to his terror, that his walk in the park had been betrayed by Dr. Tattle; he saw what consequences might result from the little deviation rom truth which he had inconsiderately allowed himself. He entreated his wife to hasten to Emily's cousin, to concert with her the means of warning Emily of her danger, and, in particular, to advise her to conceal nothing from her husband. Laura drove immediately to the cousin's. The count had already been there, and had learned, partly from the mistress, and partly from her servants, that Emily had not staid there above half an hour. With this confirmation of his torturing suspicions he had hastily departed. Laura instantly sat down, and wrote the following note:· Dear Emily,
*I am very uneasy on your account. Your husband knows that you were in the park with mine. He is jealous, and I must confess that I was myself not without suspicions. But now, since I have spoken to my husband, I am convinced of your innocence and his. I know how accident has played with you, and am even informed by your cousin how heartily you desired to get rid of his company. I entreat you to be perfectly candid to the count, as my husband has been to me.
It is the only way to prevent ill consequences.
"LAURA.' P.S. To avoid the appearance of any collusion, the bearer of this is directed to say, that he has brought it from your milliner.
This was the seventh apparently innocent lie, to which Laura was induced by the consideration that the count might intercept her note, and then put Emily's frankness to the test, without mentioning any thing of its contents. Emily had meanwhile reached her home, and learned, with consternation, that her husband returned in the evening, and had waited for her all night. She perceived at the first glance the disagreeable nature of her situation. • And where is he now?' cried she hastily. * At the coffee-house close by,' was the reply. Glad to have gained a few moments respite, she strove to muster all her courage; but before she had half accomplished her purpose the count entered. At the first look he imagined that he could read his wife's guilt in her sudden change of colour. His fury was ready to break forth; but with great exertion he repressed it, and with dissembled serenity inquired how and where she had spent the night. At captain B.'s' said Emily stammering;
he was upon guard—Laura wished me to keep her company the time passed away in reading an interesting book till it was much later than we thought. The captain returned-and would have accompanied me home—but considering it unbecoming, I alighted at my cousin's.' Here she broke off, and was silent. • Then you are just come from your cousin's?' said the count, looking sternly at her.
What was Emily to reply? She had stopped in her narrative; but why did she stop!—The confession of the walk would now come too late the count might imagine that it was extorted by fear-he might wonder why she had suppressed this accident, which perhaps in his eyes might be far from seeming accidental -besides, what risk did she run if she concealed from him this trifle! He had been all the morning at the coffee-house, and of course could not know any thing about it—and if she lost no time in warning her cousin, that they might be both in one story, she might thus avoid a scene of the most disagreeable kind. All these reflections, which flashed across her mind with the rapidity of lightning, induced her to tell the eighth lie, and to answer the count's question-whether she was just come from her cousin's--in the affirmative. But her Yes was brought out with such hesitation, it so lingered half pronounced upon her lips, and her burning cheek so plainly said, No—that the count considered the infidelity of his wife as fully proved. The captain had concealed from him the very same point-and what was more natural than to attribute the circumstance to a concerted arrangement. Having eyed Emily for a moment with a look of supreme contempt, he rushed out of the room. At the door he met a boy bringing Laura's note, and angrily inquired his business. Here is a note for the countess,' said the boy. • From whom?' • From her milliner. Give it to me. She has something else to do just now than to think of caps and ribbons.
With these words he snatched the note out of the boy's hand, doubled it up, and put it unopened into his pocket. He then hurried away like a maniac, and proceeded straight to the captain's, where he found nobody at home. He took a card, upon which he wrote these words: Count Sexpects captain B— at the Golden Lion inn, and begs him not to forget his sword.”—The Golden Lion was but a few paces from the captain's residence. Thither the count repaired, desired to be shown into a back room, and ordered a bottle of wine. In about half an hour he rang for a second bottle. It was brought him. The people of the house remarked something extraordinary about him; and the waiter pretended to be busy in the room, that he might have an opportunity of watching his motions. The count sat biting his nails, and spilt as much wine as he poured into his glass. It was a considerable time before he was aware of the presence of the waiter, and as soon as he was sensible of it, he drove him furiously out of the room.
Meanwhile his last look at Emily, full of rage and despair, had plunged the poor creature into the most cruel distress. Impelled by painful apprehensions, she wrote a confused note to her cousin, and another still more confused to the captain, acquainting both with what had passed, and requesting them to confirm her account, in case her husband should make inquiries of them.-Her cousin, with whom Laura still was, received this note, and learned at the same time the miscarriage of that which had been sent to the countess. Laura trembled, and hastily threw herself into the carriage to return and warn her husband. She came too late. The captain had already received the count's card, as well as the countess's note, and had immediately repaired to the Golden Lion. He asked for the count: and was ushered into the back room. He politely saluted the count, who, without returning his civilities, sprang up and ran to the door, which he locked. He then turned to his antagonist, and with a tone and manner of the most offensive arrogance, addressed him thus: You have assured me, sir, that you have not seen my wife since you left her at her cousin's. I now ask you for the last time: Is that true, or not?' The captain was not accustomed to this kind of interrogatory. He grew warm, and replied, “Sir, when I assert a thing, you have no right to doubt it.' Thus by a ninth untruth he confirmed all the preceding ones. The consequence was, that the count furiously drew his sword, rushed upon him, and in a few minutes extended him, by a mortal wound in the breast, upon the floor. The people of the house, alarmed by the clashing of the swords, burst open the door; but it was too late. The captain was found wallowing in his blood. They seized the count, and sent for a surgeon. The captain felt that he had but a short time to live. He entreated all present to leave him for a moment alone with his adversary. The request of a dying man has irresistible power. All withdrew, and posted themselves on the outside of the door, to prevent the escape of the count. The latter was completely himself again. The sight of the captain's blood had cooled his rage and appeased his animosity. He fixed his eyes with deep emotion and pity upon his wounded antagonist, who, with a faint voice, begged him to kneel down beside him, that he might hear his expiring words. “I am dying,' said he believe the assurance of one who is on the brink of the grave. Your wife is innocent-and so am I-I forgive you—(pressing his hand.)-Hasten from this place—be a protector to my wife, and a father to my unborn infant.-Fly (pointing to the window which stood open)—lose no time-away! away!
He could say no more. The death-rattle nearly stifled his last words. The count retained scarcely so much presence of mind as to be able to follow the advice of his dying friend. He leaped out of the window into the yard, and slipping out by a back door, threw himself into a hackney coach and escaped.