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RETURN we once more to Diana Arlington, who still occupied
the splendid mansion in Dover Street, which had been fitted up for her by the
Earl of Warrington.
The routine of the life of the Enchantress continued the same
as we have described it in Chapter LI.
The Earl of Warrington was unremitting in his attention, and
unchanged in his liberality towards his beautiful mistress; and, on her part,
Diana was the faithful friend and true companion who by her correct conduct
maintained the confidence which she had inspired in the heart of her noble
We must again introduce our readers to the Enchantress at the
hour of breakfast, and in the little parlour where we have before seen her.
But on this occasion, instead of being occupied with the
perusal of the Morning Herald, her entire attention was absorbed in the
contents of a letter, which ran as follows:-
"Montoni, December 3, 1839.
"I SIT down, my dearest Diana, to inform you that the
ceremony of my union with his Serene Highness Angelo III, was solemnized
"You are aware that this ceremony was to have taken
place some months ago; but the intrigues of certain persons holding high and
influential offices in the state, delayed it. Calumny after calumny against me
was whispered in the ears of the Grand Duke; and, although his Highness believed
not a word of those evil reports, I steadily refused to accept the honour he was
anxious to confer upon me, until he had satisfied himself of the falsity of each
successive calumny. At length I implored his Highness to address an autograph
letter to the Earl of Warrington, with whom his Highness was acquainted during
the residence of that good English nobleman in Castelcicala. His Highness
complied with my request, and despatched his letter so privately that none of
those who surround him suspected his proceeding. The Earl of Warrington, as you
know, dearest Diana. hastened to reply. His answer was so satisfactory, so
frank, so generous, so candid, that the Duke declared he would visit with his
severest displeasure any one who dared breathe a word of calumny against me or
my friends in England, in future.
"The next step adopted by his Serene Highness was to
dismiss the Marquis of Gerrano from the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Baron Ruperto, the Under Secretary in that Department, retired with his
superior. The Duke adapted this measure in consequence of the intrigues of those
noblemen to thwart his Highness's intentions of raising to the ducal throne the
woman whom he loved. You may suppose how grieved - how vexed - how distressed I
have been through the conviction that I myself was the cause of these heart
burnings, jealousies, and intrigues; and although I was innocently the source of
such disagreeable proceedings, my sorrow and annoyance were but little mitigated
by this impression. I implored the Grand Duke to allow me to leave the country,
and retire to Switzerland; but his Serene Highness remained firm, and assured me
that, although he had many difficulties to overcome, he was not disheartened.
Then be declared that his entire happiness was centred in me, and he thus
over-ruled my scruples.
"At length the duke remodelled his cabinet (a fact to
which I alluded above) by appointing the Count of Friuli (who is deeply attached
to His Highness, and favourable to our union) to the Foreign Office, in place of
the Marquis of Gerrano. Signor Pisani, another faithful dependant of His
Highness, was appointed Under-Secretary in the place of Baron Ruperto. The
Minister of War also retired, and was succeeded by General Grachia. When these
changes were effected, his Serene Highness communicated to the council of
ministers his intention to unite himself to Ellen Marchioness of Ziani on the
2d of December of the present year.
"This decision was made known on the 19th of last
month. I did not write to communicate the important fact to you, because I was
apprehensive of new delays; and as I had already misled you once (though
unintentionally on my part) I was unwilling to deceive either you or myself a
second time. I know your friendship for me Diana, - I know that you
entertain a sister's love for me, the same that I feel for you, - and I also
know that you anxiously watch the progress of my fortunes, as, under similar
circumstances, I should yours. I therefore resolved to acquaint you with no more
of my hopes, until they should have been realised. That result has now been
attained; and I need preserve a cold silence no longer.
"In the evening of the 19th of November, the Grand
Chancellor of Castelcicala, the President of the Council (the Marquis of
Vincenza), and the Archbishop of Montoni, visited me at the villa to acquaint me
with the royal decision. I endeavoured - and I hope succeeded - to convince
their lordships of the profound sense which I entertained of the high honour
intended to be conferred upon me, and my conviction that no merit which I
possessed could render me worthy of such distinction; at the same time I
declared my readiness to accept that honour, since it was the will and pleasure
of a sovereign Prince to bestow it upon me.
I can scarcely tell you the nature of the varied emotions and
feelings which filled - indeed agitated - my bosom when the memorable morning
dawned. That was yesterday! I awoke at an early - a very early hour - before
six, and walked in the garden with the hope that the fresh air and the charming
tranquillity of the scene would compose me. I could scarcely believe that I was
on the point of entering upon such high destinies; that a diadem was so soon to
encircle my brow; that the thrilling words Highness and Princess would
in a few hours be addressed to me! I could not reconcile with my former obscure
lot the idea that I was shortly to sit upon a sovereign throne
[-283-] - command the allegiance of millions of human beings,- and
share the fortunes of a potentate of Europe! Was it possible that I - I who was
the daughter of a poor farmer, and who had seen so much of the vicissitudes of
life, - I who had thought myself happy with the competence which I enjoyed
through the Earl of Warrington's bounty at Clapton. - I who conceived myself to
be one of the must fortunate of individuals when, by the goodness of that same
excellent peer, I arrived in this State, and took possession of the villa which
he had placed at my disposal, - I who had then no more elevated aspirations than
to dwell in tranquillity and peace - no loftier hope than to deserve that kind
nobleman's benefits by my conduct - was it possible that I was in a few hours to
become the Grand Duchess of Castelcicala? I could not fix my mind to such a
belief; the idea seemed an oriental fiction - a romantic dream. And yet, I
remembered, I had already received an earnest of this splendid promise of
fortune; I had already been elevated from a lowly condition to an exalted rank;
the distinction of a Marchioness was mine; for months had I been accustomed to
the sounding title of Your Ladyship; and for months had I been enrolled
amongst the peeresses of Castelcicala. Yes - I thought: it was true, - true that
a Prince - a powerful Prince - intended to raise me to a seat upon his own ducal
"At seven precisely the three lovely daughters of
General Grachia arrived at the villa to assist me in my toilette - my nuptial
toilette. They informed me that, if it were my pleasure, they were to remain in
attendance upon me after my marriage. I embraced them tenderly, and assured them
that they should always be near mean friends. When the toilette was completed, I
bade adieu to the villa. I wept - wept tears of mingled joy and sorrow as I said
farewell to that abode where I had passed so many happy, happy hours At length I
entered General Grachia's carriage, which was waiting; and, accompanied by my
three amiable friends, repaired to their father's private dwelling (not his
official palace of the War Department) in Montoni.
"Here my letter must terminate. Enclosed is an account
of the entire ceremony, translated into English by my private secretary (who is
well acquainted with my native tongue) from the Montoni Gazette. Fain
would I have erased those passages which are favourable - too favourable to
myself; but I fancied that my friend - my sister Diana would be pleased to read
the narrative in its integrity.
"In conclusion, let me say - and do you believe it as
devoutly as I say it sincerely - that, in spite of my rank and fortunes,- in
spite of the splendours that surround me, to you I am in heart, and always shall
remain, the same attached and grateful being, whom you have known as
It would be impossible to describe the feelings of delight
with which Mrs. Arlington perused the latter portion of this letter. Pass we on,
therefore, to the Bridal Ceremony, as it was described in the translated
narrative which accompanied the communication of the Grand Duchess
"THE MARRIAGE OF THE GRAND DUKE.
"Yesterday morning were celebrated the nuptials of his
Serene Highness Angelo III. and Eliza Marchioness of Ziani.
"From an early hour the capital wore an appearance of
unusual gaiety and bustle. The houses looking on the Piazzetta of Contarini,
leading to the ancient Cathedral of Saint Theodosia, were decorated in a most
splendid manner with banners, garlands, festoons of flowers, and various
ornaments and devices appropriate to the occasion. The balconies were fitted up
as verdant bowers and arbours, and the lovely characteristics of the country
were thus introduced into the very heart of the city. The Town- Hall was hung
with numerous banners; and the royal standard waved proudly over the Black Tower
of the Citadel. The shops in those streets through which the procession was to
pass were fitted up with seats which were let to those who were willing to pay
the high prices demanded for them. In other parts of the city the shops and
marts of trade were all closed, as was the Exchange. A holiday was observed at
the Bank of Castelcicala; and the business of the General Post Office closed at
eleven o'clock in the forenoon. Nor was the port less gay than the city. All the
vessels in the harbour and docks, as well as those in the roadstead, were decked
with innumerable flags. The royal standard floated from the main of the ships of
war of the Castelcicalan navy. The sight was altogether most imposing and
At seven o'clock the bells of Saint Theodosia and all the
other churches in Montoni rang out merry peals and the troops of the garrison
got under arms. At a quarter before eight the Mayor and Corporation of the city,
arrayed in their robes of green velvet edged with gold, proceeded to the palace
and presented an address of congratulation on the auspicious day, to his Serene
Highness, who was pleased to return a most gracious answer. It being generally
understood that the Marchioness of Ziani would in the first instance alight at
the dwelling of General Grachia, the Minister of War, a crowd of highly
respectable and well-dressed persons had collected in that neighbourhood. At
nine o'clock the General's private carriage, which had been sent to convey the
future Grand Duchess from her own abode to the General's mansion, drove rapidly
up the street. attended by' two outriders. We shall never forget the enthusiasm
manifested by the assembled multitude upon that occasion. All political feelings
appeared to be forgotten ;and a loud, hearty, and prolonged burst of welcome met
the ear. The object of this ebullition of generous feeling bowed gracefully to
the crowds on either side; and the cheering continued for some moments after the
carriage had entered the court-yard of the General's mansion.
"At half-past ten o'clock the President of the Council,
the Grand Chancellor, and the Intendant of the Ducal Civil List arrived in their
carriages at General Grachia's abode, preceded by one of the royal equipages,
which was sent to convey the bride and her ladies-in-waiting to the palace. In a
few minutes the President of the Council handed the bride, who was attended by
the lady and three lovely daughters of General Grachia, into the decal carriage.
The procession then repaired to the palace, the crowds that lined the streets
and occupied the windows and balconies by which it passed, expressing their
feelings by cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs. To these demonstrations the
bride responded by graceful bows, bestowed in a manner so modest and yet
evidently sincere, that the conduct of this exalted lady upon the occasion won
"The procession entered the palace-square; and the Grand
Duke, attended by the great officers of state and a brilliant staff, received
his Intended bride at the foot of the great marble staircase of the western
pavilion. The illustrious company then entered the palace. Immediately
afterwards the five regiments of household troops, commanded by that noble
veteran the Marshal Count of Galeazzo, marched into the square, and formed into
three lines along the western side of the palace. At half-past eleven the royal
party appeared at the foot of the marble staircase, and entered the numerous
carriages in waiting. The bride occupied the carriage which had conveyed her to
the palace, and was accompanied by the ladies in attendance upon her. His Serene
Highness, attended by the President of the Council and the Grand Chancellor,
entered the state carriage. The procession then moved onwards to the Cathedral
of Saint Theodosia.
"This was the signal for the roar of artillery from all
points. The citadel, and the ships of war in the roadstead thundered forth the
announcement that His Serene Highness had just left the palace. The bells rang
blithely from every steeple; the troops presented arms; the military bands
played the national hymn; and the procession was welcomed with joyous shouts,
the waving of handkerchiefs, and the smiles of beauty. The windows and balconies
of the houses overlooking the streets through which it passed, were crowded with
elegantly dressed ladies, brilliant with their own beauty, gay with waving
plumes, and sparkling with diamonds. The only indication of political feeling
which we observed upon the occasion, was on the part of the troops; and they
"The bride was naturally the centre of all interest
and attraction, Every one was anxious to catch a glimpse of her charming
countenance. And certainly this lovely lady never could have appeared more
lovely than on the present occasion. She was attired in a dress of the moat
costly point-lace over white satin. Her veil was of the first-mentioned
material, and of the richest description. She was somewhat pale; but a charming
serenity was depicted upon her countenance. She bowed frequently, and in the
most unpretending and affable manner, as the procession moved along.
"At length the cavalcade reached the cathedral, where
the Archbishop of Montoni, assisted by the Bishops of Trevisano and Collato, was
in attendance to perform the solemn ceremony. The sacred edifice was thronged by
the elite and fashion of the capital, who had been admitted by tickets.
When the royal party had entered the Cathedral, the doors were closed; and the
holy ceremony was solemnized. The roar of the artillery was again heard, as the
royal party returned to their carriages. This time the Grand Duchess was handed
by his Serene Highness into the state carriage. The return to the palace was
distinguished by demonstrations of satisfaction on the part of the spectators
more enthusiastic, if possible, than those which marked the progress of the
cavalcade to the cathedral. A glow of animation was visible upon the countenance
of her Serene Highness; and the Grand Duke himself [-284-]
looked remarkably well and cheerful. In a short time the Sovereign
conducted his lovely bride into that palaces which in future is to be her home.
Thus ended a ceremony which, in a political point of view,
may probably be attended with important results to the interests of Castelcicala.
Should male issue proceed from this marriage, the contentions of rival parties
in the state will be at once annihilated. The supporters of the Prince of
Castelcicala, who is now an exile in England, are naturally indignant and
annoyed at the marriage of his Serene highness Angelo III with a lady young
enough to encourage hopes that the union may not remain unfruitful. It is even
evident that many of the former friends of the exiled Prince pronounced in
favour of this marriage, the moment it was contemplated some months previously
to its solemnization. This sentiment of approval will account for the entrance
of General Grachia, who was notorious for his adhesion to the popular cause
espoused by the Prince, into the Ministry. Probably the best friends of their
country, aware that it was neither natural nor legal to attempt to control the
inclinations and affections of his Serene Highness Angelo III., looked upon this
marriage as the best means of securing peace and internal tranquillity to
Castelcicala, inasmuch as it gives a prospect of an heir to the ducal throne -
an heir whose right and title none could dispute. This is the view we ourselves
take of the case, and we therefore hail the event as one of a most auspicious
nature in our annals."
Scarcely had the Enchantress terminated
this narrative of the ceremony which elevated her friend to a ducal throne, - a
narrative which she had perused with the liveliest feelings of satisfaction, and
the most unadulterated pleasure - when the Earl of Warrington was announced.
Diana hastened to communicate to him the tidings which she
had received; and the nobleman himself read Eliza's letter, and the extract from
the Montoni Gazette, with an interest which showed how gratified he felt
in the high and exalted fortunes of the daughter of her whom he had once loved
"Yes, indeed," said the earl, when be had
terminated the perusal of the two documents, "Eliza Sydney now ranks
amongst the queens and reigning princesses of the world: from a humble cottage
she has risen to a throne."
"And this exalted station she owes to your lordship's
goodness," remarked Diana.
" Say to my justice,'' observed the earl;
"for I may flatter myself that I have behaved with justice to the child of
my departed uncle's daughter. And this remarkable exaltation of Eliza Sydney
shows us, Diana, that we should never judge of a person's character by one
fault. Eliza has always been imbued with sentiments of virtue and integrity,
although she was led into one error by that villain Stephens; and she has now
met with a reward of a price high almost beyond precedent. But, ah!"
exclaimed the earl, who was carelessly turning the letter of the Grand Duchess
over and over in his hands as he spoke, "this is very singular - very
remarkable;"- and he inspected the seal and postmarks of the letter with
"What is the matter ?" inquired Diana.
"Some treachery has been perpetrated here,"
answered the earl, still continuing his scrutiny: "this letter had been
opened before it was delivered to you."
"Opened!" cried Diana.
"Yes," said the Earl of Warrington; "here is
every proof that the letter has been violated. See - there is the English
post-mark of yesterday morning; and over it has been stamped another
mark, of this morning's date. Then contemplate the seal. There are two kinds
of wax, the one melted over the other: do you not notice a shade different in
"Certainly," said Diana: "it is apparent. But
who could have done this? Perhaps the Grand Duchess herself; for the ducal arms
are imprinted upon the upper layer of wax."
"The persons who opened this letter, Diana,£ said the
earl, in a serious - almost a solemn tone., "are those who know full well
how to take the imprint of a seal. But have you not other letters from
"Several," replied Diana; and she hastily
unlocked her writing-desk, where she produced all the correspondence she had
received from Eliza Sydney.
The earl carefully inspected the envelopes of those letters;
and his countenance grew more serious as he proceeded with his scrutiny.
"Yes," he exclaimed, after a long pause; "the
fact is glaring! Every one of these letters was opened somewhere ere they
were delivered to you. The utmost caution has been evidently used in re-sealing
and re-stamping them ; - nevertheless, there are proofs - undoubted proofs -
that the whole of this correspondence has been violated in its transit from the
writer to the receiver."
"But what object - what motive "
"I have long entertained suspicions," said the
Earl of Warrington, interrupting his fair mistress, "that there is one
public institution in England which is made the scene of proceedings so vile -
so detestable - so base as to cast a stain upon the entire nation. Those suspicions
are now confirmed."
"What mean you?" inquired Diana: "to which institution do you
"To the General Post-office," replied the Earl of
"The General Post-office!" cried Mrs. Arlington, her countenance
expressing the most profound astonishment.
"The General Post-office," repeated the earl. "But this is a matter
of so serious a nature that I shall not allow it to rest here. You will lend
me these letters for a few hours? I am more intimately acquainted with the
Home Secretary than with any other of her Majesty's Ministers; and to him will I
The earl consigned the letters to his pocket, and, with an air of deep
determination, took a temporary leave of Mrs. Arlington.
Scarcely had the earl left the house, when Mr. Greenwood's valet,
"I have called, madam," said the Italian, " to
inform you that I last
night counteracted another of my master's plots, and saved a young female from
the persecution of his addresses."
"You have done well, Filippo," exclaimed Mrs. Arlington.
your master suspect you?"
"Not in the remotest degree, madam. I contrived matters so well, that he
believed the young person alluded to had escaped by her own means, and without
any assistance, save that of a pair of sheets which enabled her to descend in
safety from the window of the room in which she was confined."
"I am delighted to hear that your mission to England has been so
successful, in thwarting the machinations of that bad man," observed Mrs. Arlington. "Have you heard any news from
"I have this morning received a Montoni newspaper, announcing the
nuptials of the Grand Duke and the Marchioness of Ziani," replied Filippo.
"And I also have heard those happy tidings," said Mrs. Arlington.
"But have you any farther information to give me relative to the schemes of
your master? I am always pleased to learn that a his evil designs experience
defeat through your agency."
[-285-] "I have nothing more to say at present, madam,"
"except, indeed," he added, suddenly recollecting himself, "that I
overheard, a few days ago, a warm contention between my master and a certain
Sir Rupert Harborough."
"Sir Rupert Harborough!" ejaculated Diana, a blush suddenly
overspreading her cheeks.
madam. From what I could learn, there was a balance of about a thousand pounds due from
Sir Rupert Harborough to Mr. Greenwood, on a bill that purported to be the acceptance of Lord
Tremordyn, but which was in reality a forgery committed by Sir Rupert himself."
"A forgery!" cried Diana.
"A forgery, madam. Sir Rupert bitterly reproached Mr. Greenwood with
having suggested to him that mode of raising money, whereas Mr. Greenwood
appeared to deny with indignation any share in the part of the transaction
imputed to him. The matter ended by Mr. Greenwood declaring that if the bill
were not paid to-morrow, when it falls due (having, it appears, been renewed
several times), Sir Rupert Harborough should be prosecuted for forgery."
"And what said Sir Rupert Harborough to that?" inquired Diana.
"He changed his tone, and began to implore the mercy of Mr. Greenwood: but my
master was inexorable; and Sir Rupert left the house with ruin and terror
depicted upon his countenance."
"This battle you must allow them to fight out between
Diana, after a moment's hesitation. " I know Sir Rupert Harborough - know
him full well; but I do not think that he is so thoroughly black-hearted as
your master. He was once kind to me - once," she added, musing to herself rather
than addressing the Italian valet : then, suddenly recollecting herself, she
said, " However, Filippo - that affair does not regard you."
"Very good, madam," replied the valet; and he then
took his departure.
The moment he was gone, Mrs. Arlington threw herself into her comfortable
arm-chair, and became wrapt up in deep thought.
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