DURING this quiet time of peace we are fast forgetting the exciting and astonishing events of theNapoleonic wars; and the very names of Europe's conquerors are becoming antiquated to the earsof our children. Those were more romantic days than these; for the revulsions occasioned byrevolution or invasion were full of romance; and travellers in those countries in which these sceneshad place hear strange and wonderful stories, whose truth so much resembles fiction, that, whileinterested in the narration, we never give implicit ...
DURING this quiet time of peace we are fast forgetting the exciting and astonishing events of theNapoleonic wars; and the very names of Europe's conquerors are becoming antiquated to the earsof our children. Those were more romantic days than these; for the revulsions occasioned byrevolution or invasion were full of romance; and travellers in those countries in which these sceneshad place hear strange and wonderful stories, whose truth so much resembles fiction, that, whileinterested in the narration, we never give implicit credence to the narrator. Of this kind is a tale Iheard at Naples. The fortunes of war perhaps did not influence its actors, yet it appears improbablethat any circumstances so out of the usual routine could have had place under the garish daylightthat peace sheds upon the world.When Murat, then called Gioacchino, king of Naples, raised his Italian regiments, several youngnobles, who had before been scarcely more than vine-dressers on the soil, were inspired with a loveof arms, and presented themselves as candidates for military honours. Among these was the youngCount Eboli. The father of this youthful noble had followed Ferdinand to Sicily; but his estates layprincipally near Salerno, and he was naturally desirous of preserving them; while the hopes that theFrench government held out of glory and prosperity to his country made him often regret that hehad followed his legitimate but imbecile king to exile. When he died, therefore, he recommended hisson to return to Naples, to present himself to his old and tried friend, the Marchese Spina, who helda high office in Murat's government, and through his means to reconcile himself to the new king. Allthis was easily achieved. The young and gallant Count was permitted to possess his patrimony; and, as a further pledge of good fortune, he was betrothed to the only child of the Marchese Spina. Thenuptials were deferred till the end of the ensuing campaign.Meanwhile the army was put in motion, and Count Eboli only obtained such short leave ofabsence as permitted him to visit for a few hours the villa of his future father-in-law, there to takeleave of him and his affianced bride. The villa was situated on one of the Apennines to the north ofSalerno, and looked down, over the plain of Calabria, in which P???stum is situated, on to the blueMediterranean. A precipice on one side, a brawling mountain torrent, and a thick grove of ilex, added beauty to the sublimity of its site. Count Eboli ascended the mountain-path in all the joy ofyouth and hope. His stay was brief. An exhortation and a blessing from the Marchese, a tenderfarewell, graced by gentle tears, from the fair Adalinda, were the recollections he was to bear withhim, to inspire him with courage and hope in danger and absence. The sun had just sunk behind thedistant isle of Istria, when, kissing his lady's hand, he said a last "Addio," and with slower steps, andmore melancholy mien, rode down the mountain on his road to Naples.
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