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service of your wife in Florence; you can
force her back to your palace, to its meanest
work; but "—

"Have mercy on me!" cried Leon.

"But," continued the serf of Pobereze,
firmly, " you cannot force me to love you."

"Do not mockdo not torture me more;
you are sufficiently revenged. I will not
offend you by importunity. You must
indeed hate me! But remember that we Poles
wished to give freedom to our serfs; and
for that very reason our country was
invaded and dismembered by despotic powers.
We must therefore continue to suffer slavery
as it exists in Russia; but, soul and body, we
are averse to it: and when our country once
more becomes free, be assured no shadow of
slavery will remain in the land. Curse then
our enemies, and pity us that we stand in
such a desperate position between Russian
bayonets and Siberia, and the hatred of our

So saying, and without waiting for a reply,
Leon rushed from the room. The door was
closed. Giovanna listened to the sounds of
his rapid footsteps till they died in the street.
She would have followed, but dared not. She
ran to the window. Roszynski's carriage was
rolling rapidly away, and she exclaimed vainly,
"I love you, Leon; I loved you always!"

Her tortures were unendurable. To relieve
them she hastened to her desk, and wrote
these words:—

"Dearest Leon, forgive me; let the past be
for ever forgotten. Return to your Anielka.
She always has been, ever will be, yours!"

She despatched the missive. Was it too late?
or would it bring him back? In the latter
hope she retired to her chamber, to execute a
little project.

Leon was in despair. He saw he had been
premature in so soon declaring his passion
after the news of his wife's death, and vowed
he would not see Anielka again for several
months. To calm his agitation, he had ridden
some miles into the country. When he
returned to his hotel after some hours, he found
her note. With the wild delight it had darted
into his soul, he flew back to her.

On regaining her saloon a new and terrible
vicissitude seemed to sport with his passion:
she was nowhere to be seen. Had the
Italian cantatrice fled? Again he was in
despair; stupified with disappointment. As
he stood uncertain how to act in the midst of
the floor, he heard, as from a distance, an Ave
Maria poured forth in tones he half-recognised.
The sounds brought back to him a
host of recollections; a weeping serf, the
garden of his own palace. In a state of
new rapture he followed the voice. He traced
it to an inner chamber, and he there beheld
the lovely singer kneeling, in the costume
of a Polish serf. She rose, greeted Leon
with a touching smile, and stepped forward
with serious bashfulness. Leon extended his
arms; she sank into them; and in that fond
embrace all past wrongs and sorrows were
forgotten! Anielka drew from her bosom a
little purse, and took from it a piece of silver.
It was the rouble. Now, Leon did not smile
at it. He comprehended the sacredness of
this little gift; and some tears of repentance
fell upon Anielka's hand.

A few months after, Leon wrote to the
steward of Olgogrod to prepare everything
splendidly for the reception of his second wife.
He concluded his letter with these words:—
"I understand that in the dungeon beneath
my palace there are some unfortunate men,
who were imprisoned during my father's lifetime.
Let them be instantly liberated. This
is my first act of gratitude to God, who has so
infinitely blessed me!"

Anielka longed ardently to behold her native
land. They left Vienna, immediately after the
wedding, although it was in the middle of

It was already quite dark when the carriage,
with its four horses, stopped in front of the
portico of the Palace of Olgogrod. Whilst the
footman was opening the door on one side, a
beggar soliciting alms appeared at the other,
where Anielka was seated. Happy to perform
a good action, as she crossed the threshold of
her new home, she gave him some money; but
the man, instead of thanking her, returned her
bounty with a savage laugh, at the same time
scowling at her in the fiercest manner from
beneath his thick and shaggy brows. The
strangeness of this circumstance sensibly
affected Anielka, and clouded her happiness.
Leon soothed and re-assured her. In the arms
of her beloved husband, she forgot all but the
happiness of being the idol of his affections.

Fatigue and excitement made the night
most welcome. All was dark and silent around
the palace, and some hours of the night had
passed, when suddenly flames burst forth from
several parts of the building at once. The
palace was enveloped in fire; it raged furiously.
The flames mounted higher and higher; the
windows cracked with a fearful sound, and
the smoke penetrated into the most remote

A single figure of a man was seen stealing
over the snow, which lay like a winding-sheet
on the solitary waste ; his cautious steps
were heard on the frozen snow as it crisped
beneath his tread. It was the beggar who
had accosted Anielka. On a rising ground,
he turned to gaze on the terrible scene.
"No more unfortunate wretches will now
be doomed to pass their lives in your
dungeons," he exclaimed. " What was my crime?
Reminding my master of the lowness of his
birth. For this they tore me from my
only childmy darling little Anielka; they
had no pity even for her orphan state; let
them perish all!"

Suddenly a young and beautiful creature
rushes wildly to one of the principal windows:
she makes a violent effort to escape. For a
moment her lovely form, clothed in white,