“What is there in these lines,” said Theodore, impatiently, “that affects these princesses? Why were they to be shocked by a mysterious delicacy, that has so little foundation?”

“Your words are rude, young man,” said the marquis; “and though fortune has favoured you once——”

“My honoured lord,” said Isabella, who resented Theodore’s warmth, which she perceived was dictated by his sentiments for Matilda, “discompose not yourself for the glozing of a peasant’s son: he forgets the reverence he owes you; but he is not accustomed——”

Hippolita, concerned at the heat that had arisen, checked Theodore for his boldness, but with an air acknowledging his zeal; and changing the conversation, demanded of Frederic where he had left her lord?

As the marquis was going to reply, they heard a noise without, and rising to inquire the cause, Manfred, Jerome, and part of the troop, who had met an imperfect rumour of what had happened, entered the chamber. Manfred advanced hastily towards Frederic’s bed to condole with him on his misfortune, and to learn the circumstances of the combat, when, starting in an agony of terror and amazement, he cried:

“Ah! what art thou? Thou dreadful spectre! Is my hour come?”

“My dearest, gracious lord,” cried Hippolita, clasping him in her arms, “what is it you see? Why do you fix your eyeballs thus?”

“What,” cried Manfred, breathless, “dost thou see nothing, Hippolita? Is this ghastly phantom sent to me alone—to me, who did not——”

“For mercy’s sweetest self, my lord,” said Hippolita, “resume your soul, command your reason; there are none here, but us, your friends.”

“What, is not that Alfonso?” cried Manfred; “dost thou not see him? Can it be my brain’s delirium?”

“This! my lord,” said Hippolita: “this is Theodore, the youth who has been so unfortunate.”

“Theodore,” said Manfred mournfully, and striking his forehead—“Theodore, or a phantom, he has unhinged the soul of Manfred. But how comes he here? and how comes he in armour?”

“I believe he went in search of Isabella,” said Hippolita.

“Of Isabella,” said Manfred, relapsing into rage. “Yes, yes, that is not doubtful—but how did he escape from durance, in which I left him? Was it Isabella, or this hypocritical old friar, that procured his enlargement?”

“And would a parent be criminal, my lord,” said Theodore, “if he meditated the deliverance of his child?”

Jerome, amazed to hear himself in a manner accused by his son, and without foundation, knew not what to think. He could not comprehend how Theodore had escaped—how he came to be armed, and to encounter Frederic. Still he would not venture to ask any questions that might tend to inflame Manfred’s wrath against his son. Jerome’s silence convinced Manfred that he had contrived Theodore’s release.

“And is it thus, thou ungrateful old man,” said the prince, addressing himself to the friar, “that thou repayest mine and Hippolita’s bounties? And not content with traversing my heart’s nearest wishes, thou armest thy bastard, and bringest him into my own castle to insult me!”

“My lord,” said Theodore, “you wrong my father: nor he nor I are capable of harbouring a thought against your peace. Is it insolence thus to surrender myself to your highness’s pleasure?” added he, laying his sword respectfully at Manfred’s feet. “Behold my bosom; strike, my lord, if you suspect that a disloyal

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