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THE

FLOWERS OF LITERATURE.

THE SPANISH PEASANT GIRL.

A TALE TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF BERTHOUD.

In the province of Andalusia there is a little valley embosomed on each side by mountains, and known by the appropriate appellation of the “ Vale of Solitude. It is intersected with numerous rills, that descend with the violence of cataracts from the adjacent precipices, and meander in graceful undulations through the valley. To the west of the landscape, amid the magnificent ruins of the Moorish palaces, the eye of the passing stranger discovers a littlecottage, sheltered with luxuriant ivy, and environed with the loftiest rocks. A few years ago, it was the ornament of the scene, but, like its once happy owners, has now gone to decay. The hand of time has placed his withering mark upon its beauty; and day after day it crumbles gradually to earth. But it is still an interesting ruin; and when viewed in connexion with the tale which I am about to relate, arrests in an extraordinary degree the imagination of the traveller. In my younger days I have often listened to it with transport; and while the Andalusian peasants hymned on their mountain-pipes the mournful burthen of days long since gone by, I have wept, even as a child, for the misfortunes of Annette, the pretty peasant girl.

At the close of a long summer evening, while the village groups were dancing on the green, a young Spanish nobleman, by name Don Manuel, was observed

VOL. III.

B

to enter the cottage of the Vale of Solitude, where Annette and her mother at that time resided. He was apparently fatigued - with the exertion of continued travel ;

and as he pleaded the danger of removal from a wound received in a skirmish with the Guerillas, he was permitted to continue in his present abode. From the beautiful tenant of the cottage, who was at that time the pride and envy of the valley, he received every attention that his debilitated frame required. She administered to his comfort, assuaged the anguish of his wounds, and alleviated by her cheering presence the solitude of his situation. Under such affectionate superintendence, his health gradually improved, and in the course of a long summer ramble with Annette and her mother, he announced his intentions of quitting them for ever. The innocent peasant girl was upprepared for such sudden intelligence: she had suffered her young heart to be captivated by the gallantry of the young stranger, without an effort to resist him. She had fondly pictured to her mind the moment when she might love him for ever, and if reason hinted the improbability of a union, her enthusiasm dispelled it with regret. But the time was now come when they should part, and the tears sprung to her eyes as she dwelt on the approaching separation. In a voice half choked by anguish, she pressed the supporting arm of the nobleman to her heart, and requested him sometimes to think of her with kindness. DO Manuel was himself affected. If he had before thought of Annette as a simple peasant girl, this instance of her artlessness inspired bim with tender emotions. In fine, after much affected hesitation, he consented to remain till after the termination of the month, and implored the young villager to grant him one parting interview before he quitted her for ever. Secure in the consciousness of her own purity, the innocent girl acquiesced, and consented to meet him alone at the village festival, which ensued at the close of the week. This precaution was necessary for the purposes of Don Manuel. Educated in a dissipated court, he was a stranger to the refined sensibilities of

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