Though Gonzales seemed to impute this disorder to fatigue and want of rest, he in his heart ascribed it to the true cause; and, after having sounded my sentiments to his own satisfaction, blessed me with a declaration, importing, that I was the person upon whom he had pitched for a son-in-law. I will not trouble you with a repetition of what passed on this interesting occasion, but proceed to observe, that his intention in my favour was far from being air max 90 hyperfuse disagreeable to his lady; and that, in a little time, I had the good fortune to espouse the charming Antonia, who submitted to the will of her father without reluctance. Soon after this happy event, I was, by the influence of Don Gonzales, joined to my own interest, promoted to the command of a regiment, and served with honour during the remaining part of the war. After the treaty of Utrecht, I was employed in reducing the Catalans to their allegiance; and, in an action with those obstinate rebels had the misfortune to lose my father-in-law, who by that time was preferred to the rank of a major-general. The virtuous Estifania did not long survive this melancholy accident; and the loss of these indulgent parents made such a deep impression upon the tender heart of my Antonia, that I took the first opportunity of removing her from a place in which every object served to cherish her grief, to a pleasant villa near the city of Seville, which I purchased on account of its agreeable situation. That I might the more perfectly enjoy the possession of my amiable partner, who could no longer brook the thoughts of another separation, peace was no sooner re-established than I obtained leave to resign my commission, and I wholly devoted myself to the joys of a domestic life. Heaven seemed to smile upon our union, by blessing us with a son, whom, however, it was pleased to recall in his infancy, to our unspeakable grief and mortification; but our mutual chagrin was afterwards alleviated by the birth of a daughter, who seemed born with every accomplishment to excite the love and admiration of mankind. Why did nature debase such a masterpiece with the mixture of an alloy, which hath involved herself and her whole family in perdition? But the ways of Providence are unsearchable. She hath paid the debt of her degeneracy; peace be with her soul! The honour of my family is vindicated; though by a sacrifice air max 2013+ which hath robbed me of everything else that is valuable in life, and ruined my peace past all redemption. Yes, my friend, all the tortures that human tyranny can inflict would be ease, tranquillity, and delight, to the unspeakable pangs and horrors I have felt. But, to return from this digression.— Serafina, which was the name of that little darling, as she grew up, not only disclosed all the natural graces of external beauty, but likewise manifested the most engaging sweetness of disposition, and a capacity for acquiring with ease all the accomplishments of her sex. It is impossible to convey any adequate idea of a parent’s raptures in the contemplation of such a fair blossom. She was the only pledge of our love, she was presumptive heiress to a large fortune, and likely to be the sole representative of two noble Castilian families. She was the delight of all who saw her, and a theme of praise for every tongue. You are not to suppose that the education of such a child was neglected. Indeed, it wholly engrossed the attention of me and my Antonia, and her proficiency rewarded our care. Before she had attained the age of fifteen, she was mistress of every elegant qualification, natural and acquired. Her person was, by that time, the confessed pattern of beauty. Her voice was enchantingly sweet, and she touched the lute with the most ravishing dexterity. Heaven and earth! how did my breast dilate with joy at the thoughts of having given birth to such perfection! how did my heart gush with paternal fondness, whenever I beheld this ornament of my name! and what scenes of endearing transport have I enjoyed with my Antonia, in mutual congratulation upon our parental happiness! Serafina, accomplished as she was, could not fail to make conquests among the Spanish cavaliers, who are famous for sensibility in love. Indeed, she never appeared without a numerous train of admirers; and though we had bred her up in that freedom of conversation and intercourse which holds a middle space between the French licence and Spanish restraint, she was now so much exposed to the addresses of promiscuous gallantry, that we found it necessary to retrench the liberty of our house, and behave to our male visitants with great reserve and circumspection, that our honour and peace might run no risk from the youth and inexperience of our daughter. This caution produced overtures from a great nike air max 90 many young gentlemen of rank and distinction, who courted my alliance, by demanding Serafina in marriage; and from the number I had actually selected one person, who was in all respects worthy the possession of such an inestimable prize. His name was Don Manuel de Mendoza. His birth was noble, and his character dignified with repeated acts of generosity and virtue. Yet, before I would signify to him my approbation of his suit, I resolved to inform myself whether or not the heart of Serafina was totally unengaged, and indifferent to any other object, that I might not lay a tyrannical restraint upon her inclinations. The result of my inquiry was a full conviction of her having hitherto been deaf to the voice of love; and this piece of information, together with my own sentiments in his favour, I communicated to Don Manuel, who heard these tidings with transports of gratitude and joy. He was immediately favoured with opportunities of acquiring the affection of my daughter, and his endeavours were at first received with such respectful civility, as might have been easily warmed into a mutual passion, had not the evil genius of our family interposed. O my friend! how shall I describe the depravity of that unhappy virgin’s sentiments! how recount the particulars of my own dishonour! I that am descended from a long line of illustrious Castilians, who never received an injury they did not revenge, but washed away every blemish in their fame with the blood of those who attempted to stain it! In that circumstance I have imitated the example of my glorious progenitors, and that consideration alone hath supported me against all the assaults of despair. As I grudged no pains and expense in perfecting the education of Serafina, my doors were open to every person who made an extraordinary figure in the profession of those amusing sciences in which she delighted. The house of Don Diego de Zelos was a little academy for painting, poetry, and music; and Heaven decreed that it should fall a sacrifice to its regard for these fatal and delusive arts. Among other preceptors, it was her fate to be under the instruction of a cursed German, who, though his profession was drawing, understood the elements and theory of music, possessed a large fund of learning and taste, and was a person remarkable for his agreeable conversation. This traitor, who like you had lost one eye, I not only admitted into my house for the improvement of my daughter, but even distinguished with particular marks of confidence and favour, little thinking he had either inclination or capacity to debauch the sentiments of my child. I was rejoiced beyond measure to see with what alacrity she received his lessons, with what avidity she listened to his discourse, which was always equally moral, instructing, and entertaining. Antonia seemed to vie with me nike air max 1 in expressions of regard for this accomplished stranger, whom she could not help supposing to be a person of rank and family, reduced to his present situation by some unfortunate vicissitude of fate. I was disposed to concur with this opinion, and actually conjured him to make me his confidant, with such protestations as left him no room to doubt my honour and beneficence; but he still persisted in declaring himself the son of an obscure mechanic in Bohemia; an origin to which surely no man would pretend who had the least claim to nobility of birth. While I was thus undeceived in my conjecture touching his birth and quality, I was confirmed in an opinion of his integrity and moderation, and looked upon him as a man of honour, in despite of the lowness of his pedigree. Nevertheless, he was at bottom a most perfidious wretch, and all this modesty and self-denial were the effects of the most villanous dissimulation, a cloak under which he, unsuspected, robbed me of my honour and my peace  
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