Do you think that you will not love me so well after having possessed me?"
"No, it's because I think quite otherwise, that I dread to make the moment of parting so bitter."
"I see I must yield to your logic. I should like to see the food on which you feed your brain, otherwise your books. Will you let me come upstairs?"
"Certainly, but you will be caught."
"Come and see."
We went to her room, and I found that all her books were Portuguese, with the exception of Milton, in English, Ariosto, in Italian, and Labruyere's "Characters," in French.
"Your selection gives me a high idea of your mental qualities," said I, "but tell me, why do you give such a preference to Camoens and all these Portuguese authors?"
"For a very good reason, I am Portuguese myself."
"You Portuguese? I thought you were Italian. And so you already know five languages, for you doubtless know Spanish."
"Yes, although Spanish is not absolutely necessary."
"What an education you have had!"
"I am twenty-two now, but I knew all these languages at eighteen."
"Tell me who you are, tell me all about yourself. I am worthy of your confidence."
"I think so too, and to give you a proof of my trust in you I am going to tell you my history, for since you love me you can only wish to do me good."
"What are all these manuscripts?"
"My history, which I have written down myself. Let us sit down:"
Pauline's Story--I Am Happy--Pauline Leaves Me
I am the only daughter of the unfortunate Count X----o, whom Carvailho Oeiras killed in prison on suspicion of being concerned in the attempt on the king's life, in which the Jesuits were supposed to have had a hand. I do not know whether my father was innocent or guilty, but I do know that the tyrannical minister did not dare to have him tried, or to confiscate the estates, which remain in my possession, though I can only enjoy them by returning to my native land.
"My mother had me brought up in a convent where her sister was abbess. I had all kinds of masters, especially an Italian from Leghorn, who in six years taught me all that he thought proper for me to know. He would answer any questions I chose to put him, save on religious matters, but I must confess that his reserve made me all the fonder of him, for in leaving me to reflect on certain subjects by myself he did a great deal to form my judgment.
"I was eighteen when my grandfather removed ms from the convent, although I protested that I would gladly stay there till I got married. I was fondly attached to my aunt, who did all in her power after my mother's death to make me forget the double loss I had sustained. My leaving the convent altered the whole course of my existence, and as it was not a voluntary action I have nothing to repent of.
"My grandfather placed me with his sister-in-law, the Marchioness X----o, who gave me up half her house. I had a governess, a companion, maids, pages, and footmen, all of whom, though in my service, were under the orders of my governess, a well-born lady, who was happily honest and trustworthy.
"A year after I had left the convent my grandfather came and told me in the presence of my governess that Count Fl---- had asked my hand for his son, who was coming from Madrid end would arrive that day.
"'What answer did you give him, dear grandfather?'
"'That the marriage would be acceptable to the whole of the nobility, and also to the king and royal family.'
"'But are you quite sure that the young count will like me and that I shall like the count?'
"'That, my dear daughter, is a matter of course, and there need be no discussion on the subject.'
"'But it is a question in which I am strongly interested, and I should like to consider it very carefully. We shall see how matters arrange themselves.'
"'You can see each other before deciding, but you must decide all the same.'
"'I hope so, but let us not be too certain. We shall see.'
"As soon as my grandfather had gone I told my governess that I had made up my mind never to give my hand save where I had given my heart, and that I should only marry a man whose character and tastes I had carefully studied.