« EdellinenJatka »
of such sticks as they1 cut down in summer, and throw into the water opposite the doors of their houses; and as they generally eat a great deal, the roots above mentioned constitute a chief part of their food during the winter. In summer they vary their diet, by eating various kinds' of herbage, and such berries as grow near their haunts during that season. When the ice breaks up in the spring, the beaver always leave their houses, and rove about the whole summer,probably in search of a more commodious situation; but in case of not succeeding in their endeavours, they return again to their old habitations a
little before the fall of the leaf, and lay in (heir winter stock of woods. They seldom' begin to repair the houses till the frost commences, and never furnish the outer-coat till the cold is pretty severe, as hath been already mentioned.
When they stiift their habitations, or when the increase of their number renders it heceffaryto make some addition to their houses, or to erect' new ones, they begin felling the wood for these purposes early in the sum> mcr, but seldom begin to- build till the middle or latter end of August, and never complete their houses till the cold weather be set in.
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BIANCA; A TRUE STORY.
ABOUT the end of the 15th century, Thomas Buonaventuri, a young Florentine, of a good family, but poor, took up his residence with a merchant in Venice, his countryman. Opposite to the house where he lodged, was the back-gate cf the dwelling ot a Venetian of quality, Bartolemeo Capello. In this house lived a young lady of extraordinary beauty, of the name of Bianca.— She was indeed closely watched; however, Buonaventuri soon discovered her, as she came frequently to the window. Of a nearer access to her, he did not dare to form any hopes; yet he did all he could to entertain her, and to evince his inclination. He was young and amiable; it was not long before he ceased to be indifferent to her: and, in stiort, alter repeated negociations, the two lo-, vers at length found means to accomplish their wishes. Bianca never failed, every evening at a late hour, when all the fa? mily were in bed, to flip into Buonaven? tura's chamber, in the merchant's house, by means of a little back-door, which slie took care to leave a-jar for that purpose; and without any soul being .-.ware of it, returned 'every morning before fcreak of tiay.
After they had carried on this diversion for a pretty long while, as it commonly happens, she grew bolder by habit'; and, having once staid longer than usual with her- lover, it happened by chance that a baker's boy, who wanted to fetch yeast from an adjoining house, perceived that the little back-door stood open. Not dreaming that this could be owing to any thing but neglect; he shut it to.
Presently after came the young lady; and found the door fast. In great consternation, she hurries back to the house from whence she was come out; knocked gently at the door, was let in by her lover, 10 whom she related the ugly accident. Gratitude, as well as love, impelled him to take a sudden resolution; every thing was to be sacrificed to their safety. He quitted the house on the spot; hired an apartment for himself and Bianca in the house of another Florentine, and kept themselves concealed with all possible care, till a favourable opportunity offered for eloping to Florence.
In Florence he had a small house, on theViaLarga, near S. Marco, directly facing a nunnery. Here they kept themselves in close rciitcmenr, foi a considerable
able time, for fear os any pursuit from Venice.
The then Grand Duke of Tuscany was Francis Maria, the son of Cosmo I. and father os Maria di Medicia. He had to his 'wile Johanna of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand, dowager Queen of Hungary; a very ■worthy princess, but now somewhat advanced in years. Hence it happened, as is no uncommon cafe, that the Grand Duke would sometimes prefer another lady to her. One of his courtiers, who had a spouse as well skilled in officiousness as himself, used commonly to play the confidante in these intrigues ot the prince.
Bianca mipht keep herself concealed as much as she would: there was soon a rumour in Florence of the beautiful Venetian lady that was newly arrived ; and the rtport of her adventure as well as of her beauty, to which her studied reserve not a little contributed; all this made the Grand Duke long ardently to fee her. Every day he purposely passed before her chamber; and, as it was her only favourite pastime to stand at the window, it was not long before his curiosity was satisfied. She was half-veiled; but the Grand Duke had seen enough for being desperately in love with her.
The confident, who soon perceived the unconquerable passion of his master, now began to set his wits at work, in conjunction with the Duke, in order to contrive the means of satisfying it. His like-minded lady was duely admitted of the confutation. The late hard fortune of Bianca, and her gloomy prospects in the future, gave the worthy dame the fairest opportunity for letting Bianca privately know, that matters of conscience could be communicated to her; and accordingly for inviting her to her house. Buonaventuri had a long struggle with himself, whether he ought to consent that Bianca should accept of the invitation or not. Yet, the high rank of the court-lady, and then his own penurious circumstances, helped him at' length to surmount all difficulties. Bianca went, and was received with the most flattering politeness, that bordered on real tenderness* She was desired to Telate her story; it was liiiened to with keartfel: emotion, at least in appearance; the most affectionate offers were made her; she was loaded with civilities; presents were tendered, almost forced upon her.
Highly satisfied with this first visit,
the Grand Duke Battered hnnself that he might be present at the second.^— Shortly after, the court-lady invited Bianca once more: (he was again accosted with the utmost respect and tenderness; and after repeated expressions of pity, and numberless encomiums on her beauty, she was asked whether she was not drsirous of being presented to the Grand Duke? He, for his part, had intimated his wishes to be able to make her acquaintance, as he had already found an opportunity of seeing and admiring her. —Bianca had either not fortitude or not virtue enough, for resisting this fresh instance of good will. At first indeed she made some attempts to elude it; but she made them with a look—as her artful seductress quickly perceive'd—that only wished to be farther intreated. At this moment, according to their preconcerted plan, the Grand Duke entered the room, as if by chance. Bianca found herself extremely taken with his person, with his animated praises, with his liberal offers. The visits were repeated; they imperceptiblygrew familiar together: a few presents which she did not dare to refuse, as coming from the bounty of her sovereign, helped to further the Grand Duke's designs ; and her husband thought it, on the whole, not adviseable to interrupt a connection, that at any rate was advantageous, and might perhaps be innocent. The Grand Duke would not stop short in so fair a course: promotions of the husband must necessarily assist him in gaining the favour of Bianca ; and to be brief, he at length attained the end of his wishes, so com- pletely to the satisfaction of the several parties; that he and Bianca, and Buonaventuri, were at last as perfectly fitted together as the three sides of an equilateral triangle. The husband very quickly adapted himself admirably to his new situation; he hired for himself and his handsome wife a better'house; and daily made new acquaintances with the courtiers, and people of figure. But this sudden good fortune was too much for the merchant's clerk to be able to bear; he grew, as usual, haughty and arrogant; began to (hew his insolence to the principal nobility, and even to the Grand Duke himself; and thus raised himself so many enemies, that at length he was one night attacked in the street, (it was in Italy,) and murdered.
Who now' were more glad than the Grand Duke and Bianca? They cvrrplttclylaid atde the last remains of
decorum and reserve ; and shewed themselves publicly in splendour and magnificence.
Johanna, the legitimate wife of the Grand Duke, though (he strove, as much as possible, outwardly to conceal her just indignation at the conduct of her spouse, and her jealousy towards her rival, yet they rankled only the more furiously within ; she pined at hear:, tcil sick, and died.
The death of the Duchess opened fresh prospects to the aspiring Bianca.— The heart of (lie Grand Duke was wholly at her command j he must do what (he pleased: and now (he exerted all her art to induce him to wed her in form. In rain did the Grand Diike's brother, Cardinal Ferdinand de Medicis, who, in default of a male descendant, was next successor to the throne, employ all the means in his power to prevent it; (he was was so happy as to accomplish her aim; and Bianca was, in a short time after, Grand Duchess of Tuscany.
She now naturally wished to bless her spouse with a prince who hereafrer should succeed to the throne. She caused prayers to be put up for her in all the churches; had masses read; ordered star-gajers and prophets to be fetched from every quarter: all to no purpose! She 'therefore at ler.uth took up the resolution, in order ehat she night have her desire, to feign herself pregnant, and then to substitute a foreign child. Intending thus, at least, to have the honour of a mother. A bare-foot friar of the monastery of Ogni Santi, was easily peisuaded by bribes to take the execution of the project upon him. The Grand Duchess now began to be indisposed: (he was taken with unaccountable longings: she complained of toothachs, head-achs, qualms, indigestions, &c. . She took to her chamber; and at length to her bed: she acquainted the court with her situarion, and no one was more rejoiced at the news than the Grand Duke himself.
When, according to her reckoning, the time of her delivery must be come, (he suddenly made a great alarm at midnight; rouzed her attendants ; complain«d of the first pangs, and ordered, with
rreat impatience, her confessor, (the are-footed Carmelite,) to be called. The Cardinal, who was not unacquainted with the cunning of his sisterin-law, had a long time past caused her to be so dosrly watched, that he was perfectly informed of the pbt. He no Ed. Mag. June ijocn 3
sooner got intelligence that the confessor was sent for, than he hastened to the ante-chamber of the Grand Du;htsi; where he walked up and down, and kept reading his breviary. .The Grand Ductless, on hearing that he was there, ordered him to be told j that (he beftged him, lor God's fake, to be gone, as she cnuld not endure the thought ot a man being so near her in the present circumstances. The Cardinal answered drily, Let her Highness attend to her own business, and I will mind mine; and continued to read his breviary. Now.came the confessor, according to appointment. As soon as he appeared the Cardinal flew to meet him with open arms: Welcome, welcome, my dear ghostly father! The Grand Duchess has labour-pains, and is greatly in want of your assistance. With. thele words he hugged him fast in his arms, and was thereby immediately struck with the sight of a lovely new-born child which the good father had concealed in his bosom. He look it away from him, and called out so loud, that even the Grand Duchess could bear him in the adjoining chamber, God be thanked! the Grand Duchess is happily delivered of a chopping prince; and directly presented the little one to the byestanders.
The Grand Duchess, incensed even to fury at this malicious trick, resolved' ta be revenged of the Cardinal in the crueleft way, cost what it would. And (he found ineani to make the Grand Duke himself, whose devotion to her remained always entire, to furnish her with an opportunity for effecting her purpose.
One day they all three made a party of pleasure to Poggio a-Caino, and dined together. Ku# the Cardinal wai particularly fond of almond-soup: the Grand Duchess therufore caused an almond soup to be prep.red for him,which was puiloned, and to be set upon the table.
The Cardinal had his spits upon all her actions, who executed so well their commission, that he knew of this plot before the aimond-foup came up.— He seated himself as usu.il at table; but would not take any of the a'.niond-loup, though the Grand Duchess pi css.d it upon him with all the politeness imaginable,. Well, said the Grand Duke, tho' the Cardinal will have none of it, yet I (hall take some. Ami immediately took a portion of it on his plate. (K re the situation, of the Grand Duclwta will be H w.orc