Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Flora and her friend Laura, both motherless, went out veiled into the streets of Vienna to witness the city’s welcome to the Spanish princess Maria. Unfortunately, they were recognized by Arnaldo, in love with Laura, and by Licio, chosen by Flora’s father as the future husband of his daughter. Flora became intrigued by the attempts of a handsome stranger to talk to her. When a quarrel between him and Licio seemed imminent, both ladies fled to their homes.
Into Flora’s home rushed the stranger, Carlos Colona, in search of asylum. He said that he had been forced into a duel over a veiled woman and had killed his challenger. Without identifying herself, Flora promised him protection and hid him in a closet as Arnaldo appeared, seeking to kill the man who had murdered Licio. Her father, Don Cesar, also came in, having learned from Dinero, the stranger’s servant, that the murderer was the son of his old friend, the Governor of Brandenburg. He faced a predicament. His ties of friendship required that he help the young fugitive, but as magistrate he must hunt him down and execute him.
In the meantime Arnaldo had carried the news to Laura as an excuse to enter her house without objections from her brother and guardian, Fabio; but Fabio warned the young man never again to try to talk to Laura while she was unchaperoned. Then, seeing in Flora’s grief a chance to further his own courtship, Fabio left to visit her and in doing so interrupted her...
(The entire section is 793 words.)
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