FIESCO, LEONORA, entering with a look of anxiety.
LEONORA. Pardon me, Count. I fear I interrupt your morning rest.
FIESCO (steps back with astonishment). Indeed, madam, you do surprise me, not a little.
LEONORA. That never happens to those who love.
FIESCO. Charming Countess, you expose your beauty to the rude breath of morning.
LEONORA. I know not why I should preserve its small remains for grief to feed on.
FIESCO. Grief, my love? I thought that to be free from cares of state was happiness
LEONORA. It may be so.--Yet do 1 feel that my weak heart is breaking amidst this happiness. I come, sir, to trouble you with a trifling request, if you can spare a moment's time to hear me. These seven months past I have indulged the pleasing dream of being Countess of Lavagna. It now has passed away, and left a painful weight upon my mind. Amid the pleasures of my innocent childhood, I must seek relief to my disordered spirits.--Permit me, therefore, to return to the arms of my beloved mother-----
FIESCO (with astonishment). Countess!
LEONORA. My heart is a poor trembling thing, which you should pity. Even the least remembrance of my visionary joy might wound my sickly fancy. I therefore restore the last memorials of your kindness to their rightful owner.--(She lays some trinkets on the table.) This too, that like a dagger struck my heart--(presenting a letter.) This too--(going to rush out of the door in tears)--and I will retain nothing but the wound.
FIESCO (agitated, hastens after her and detains her). Leonora! For God's sake, stay!
LEONORA (falls into his arms exhausted). To be your wife was more than I deserved.--But she who was your wife, deserved at least respect. How bitter is the tongue of calumny. How the wives and maidens of Genoa now look down upon me! "See," they say, "how droops the haughty one, whose vanity aspired to Fiesco!" Cruel punishment of my pride!--I triumphed over my whole sex when Fiesco led me to the altar-----