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miserable here, though I have only been residing amongst them the last two months."
Saying this, the poor girl burst into tears, and again rose to take her leave, as she greatly feared something might be suspected if she prolonged her stay.
Just as I was going to open my door to let her out, I heard footsteps approaching, and then a tap at it, and Lord Henry's voice pronouncing my name. I instantly went to him, when he said he wished me to go to his lady's room and sit with her till his return, as he was going to ascertain whether the servants of his suite were posted for the night. Seeing my companion in tears, he inquired the cause of it, which I explained in a few words.
“ Poor girl," he exclaimed, “ it is, indeed, bad enough. I wish we could do anything for her. If money will help her out of this den, offer it to her, Theresa.”
Determining in my own mind to exert my. self for the distressed Madelina, who had so generously warned us of our danger, I hastened to Lady Henry, first begging the poor girl to
run down and obtain permission to remain with the little sleeping page during my absence.
This request, as it did not excite suspicion, was granted.
I found Lady Henry in bed, and very restless. I told her all I dared (without alarming her fears too much) about poor Madelina. With her usual kind-hearted enthusiasm she exclaimed,
“Why cannot we take the poor girl with us to her aunt? We are going to Florence, you know, after staying two months at Genoa, and she can easily remain with us in the interim.”
I was delighted at my dear lady's kind plan, and which, upon Lord Henry's return to the apartment, she proposed to him.
“My dear Clara,” he said, “I should really be delighted to rescue an apparently innocent young creature from this abode of misery and guilt; and, as I told Theresa just now, if money can effect her release it is at her service; but to take her for weeks into the bosom of our family, with no character, and only her own
fire; but no sooner had I announced the intentions of Lord and Lady Henry towards her, than I really thought the poor girl would have died with joy. She threw herself at my feet, bathed my hands with her tears, and ended by saying, that she would pray night and day to erery saint in the calendar for my happiness and prosperity.
I raised her from the ground, assuring her that I was nothing but a servant, and had no power to have released her from her present situation; and that all her thanks and all her gratitude were due to my lord and lady.
“They would never have known my misery had it not been for you, dear, kind Signora ; but I will pray for them also, all my life long.”
I now urged the agitated girl to leave me, and make the best arrangement she could with her mother, (as the time was very short,) in order to make her preparations and gain her consent.
“I have not much fear of that,” said Madelina; "and as to preparations, my worldly wealth is so small that I could easily carry every thing I possess on my shoulders from here to Rome.”
Saying this, after again and again repeating her thanks, she ran out of the room, full of hope, not, however, unmixed with fear, promising to return to me when she had gained the consent she so sanguinely expected.
Wrapping myself up in my cloak, and piling more wood on the fire, I seated myself close to it, awaiting the return of Madelina. I kept awake more than two hours, but she came not; and I began to fear that she had not succeeded in persuading her mother, or rather her stepfather and the madre, to allow her to depart. At length, worn out by watching and the fatigues and excitement of the day, I fell fast asleep, and only woke as morning dawned, chilly and unrefreshed.
At first I could not imagine where I was, and felt quite frightened at finding myself in a room, which, by the uncertain light of the early morning, looked like a prison. I was