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a day, not knowing been proscribed. Old Sarracinesca whether he had escaped or not. said little. He would have gone But on the following evening she to see the Cardinal and to offer was partially reassured by hearing him his congratulations, since it from Valdarno that the police had would not be decent to offer his offered a large reward for Del thanks; but the Cardinal was not Ferice's apprehension. Valdarno in a position to be congratulated. declared his intention of leaving If he had caught Del Ferice he Rome at once. His life, he said, would have thanked the Prince was not safe for a moment. That instead of waiting for any expresvillain Gouche, who had turned sion of gratitude ; but he did not Zouave, had betrayed them all, catch Del Ferice, for certain very and they might be lodged in the good reasons which will appear in Sant' Uffizio any day. As a mat- the last scene of this comedy. ter of fact, after he discovered how Three days after Ugo's disapegregiously he had been deceived pearance, the old Prince got into by Del Ferice, the Cardinal grew his carriage and drove out to Sarmore suspicious, and his emissaries racinesca. More than a month were more busy than they had had elapsed since the marriage, been before. But Valdarno had and he felt that he must see his never manifested enough wisdom, son, even at the risk of interruptnor enough folly, to make him a ing the honeymoon. On the whole, cause of anxiety to the Prime he felt that his revenge had been Minister. Nevertheless he actu- inadequate. Del Ferice had esally left Rome and spent a long caped the Holy Office, no one time in Paris before he was in- knew how; and Donna Tullia, in duced to believe that he might stead of being profoundly humilisafely return to his home.

ated, as she would have been had Roman society was shaken to Del Ferice been tried as a common its foundations by the news of spy, was become a centre of atthe attempted arrest, and Donna traction and interest, because her Tullia found some slight compen- affianced husband had for some sation in becoming for a time the unknown cause incurred the discentre of interest. She felt, in- pleasure of the great Cardinal, aldeed, great anxiety for the man most on the eve of her marriageshe was engaged to marry; but for a state of things significant as rethe first time in her life she felt gards the tone of Roman society. also that she was living in an ele- Indeed the whole circumstance, ment of real romance, of which which soon bruited about she had long dreamed, but of among all classes with the most which she had never found the lively adornment and exaggerasmallest realisation. Society saw, tion, tended greatly to increase and speculated, and gossiped, after the fear and hatred which high its fashion; but its gossip was and low alike felt for Cardinal more subdued than of yore, for Antonelli—the man who was almen began to ask whn was safe, ways accused and never heard in since the harmless Del Ferice had his own defence.

was

CHAPTER XXXIV.

People wondered that Giovanni they loudly applauded Giovanni's and Corona should have chosen to conduct. retire into the country for their No one, however, understood honeymoon, instead of travelling that the solitude of Sarracinesca to France and England, and end- was really the greatest luxury the ing their wedding trip in Switzer- newly married couple could desire. land. The hills were so very cold They wanted to be left alone, and at that early season, and besides, they got their wish. No one had they would be utterly alone. Peo- known of the preparations Giople could

not understand why vanni had made for his wife's reCorona did not take advantage of ception; and had any idea of the the termination of her widowhood changes in the castle reached the to mix at once with the world, ears of the aforesaid patriarchs, and indemnify herself for the year they would probably have changed of mourning by a year of unusual their minds in regard to Giovanni's gaiety. But there were many, economy. The Sarracinesca were on the other hand, who loudly not ostentatious, but they spent applauded the action, which, it their money royally in their own was maintained, showed a wise quiet way, and the interior of the spirit of economy, and contrasted old stronghold had undergone a very favourably with the extrava- complete transformation, while the gance recently exhibited by young ancient grey stones of the outer couples who in reality had far walls and towers frowned as gloommore cause to be careful of their ily as ever upon the valley. Vast money. Those who held this view halls had been decorated and furbelonged to the old patriarchal nished in a style suited to the class, the still flourishing remnant antiquity of the fortress, small of the last generation, who prided sunny rooms had been fitted up themselves upon good management, with the more refined luxury which good morals, and ascetic living; was beginning to be appreciated the class of people in whose mar- in Italy twenty years ago.

A riage-contracts it was stipulated great conservatory had been built that the wife was to have meat out upon the southern battlement. twice a day, excepting on fast- The aqueduct had been completed days; a drive-the trottata, as it successfully, and fountains now used to be called—daily; and two played in the courts. The oldnew gowns every year. Even in fashioned fireplaces had been again our times, when most of that gen- put into use, and huge logs burned eration are dead, these clauses are upon huge fire-dogs in the halls, often introduced; in the first half shedding a ruddy glow upon the of the century they were universal. trophies of old armour, the polA little earlier it used to be stipu- ished floors, and the heavy curlated that the meat” was not to tains. Quantities of magnificent be capra, goat's flesh, which was tapestry, some of which had been considered to be food fit only for produced wher. Corona first visited servants. But the patriarchal the castle, were now hung upon generation were a fine old class the stairs and in the corridors. in spite of their economy, and The great baldacchino, the canopy which Roman princes are privi- from Sarracinesca to Astrardente leged to display in their ante- without making the vast detour chambers, was draped above the which the old road followed as it quartered arms of Sarracinesca skirted the mountain. There was and Astrardente, and the same an inexpressible pleasure in watcharmorial bearings appeared in rich ing the growth of the work they stained glass in the window of the had so long contemplated, in specgrand staircase. The solidity and ulating on the advantages they rare strength of the ancient strong would obtain by so uniting their hold seemed to grow even more respective villages, and in feeling imposing under the decorations that, being at least one, they were and improvements of a later age, working together for the good of and for the first time Giovanni their people. For the men who did felt that justice had been done the work were without exception to the splendour of his ancestral their own peasants, who were unhome.

employed during the winter time, Here he and his dark bride and who, but for the timely ocdwelt in perfect unity and happi- cupation provided for them, would ness, in the midst of their own have spent the cold months in lands, surrounded by their own that state of half-starved torpor people, and wholly devoted to each peculiar to the indigent agriculother. But though much of the tural labourer when he has nothday was passed in that unceasing ing to do—at that bitter season conversation and exchange of ideas when father and mother and shivwhich seem to belong exclusive- ering little ones watch wistfully ly to happily wedded man and the ever-dwindling sack of maize, wife, the hours were not wholly as day by day two or three handidle. Daily the two mounted their fuls are ground between the stones horses and rode along the level of the hand-mill and kneaded into stretch towards Aquaviva till they a thick unwholesome dough, the came to the turning from which only food of the poorer peasants Corona had first caught sight of in the winter. But now every Sarracinesca. Here a broad road man who could handle pickaxe was already broken out; the con- and bore, and sledge-hammer and struction was so far advanced that spade, was out upon the road from two miles at least were already ser- dawn to dark, and every Saturday viceable, the gentle grade winding night each man took home a silver backwards and forwards, crossing scudo in his pocket; and where and recrossing the old bridle-path people are sober, and do not drink as it descended to the valley be- their wages, a silver scudo goes a low; and now from the furthest long way further than nothing. point completed Corona could dis- Yet many a lean and swarthy fel. tinguish in the dim distance the low there would have felt that he great square palace of Astrardente was cheated if besides his money crowning the hills above the town. he had not carried home daily the Thither the two rode daily, push- remembrance of that tall dark ing on the work, consulting with lady's face and kindly eyes and the engineer they employed, and encouraging voice, and they used often looking forward to the day to watch for the coming of the when for the first time their car- "gran principessa," as anxiously riage should roll smoothly down as they expected the coming of I spend

6

the steward with the money-bags vanni, noticing the stripes on the on a Saturday evening. Often, young man's sleeve; I see that too, the wives and daughters of you have risen in grade." the rough workers would bring " Yes; I hold an important the men their dinners at noonday, command of six men. rather than let them carry away much time in studying the strattheir food with them in the morn- egy of Condé and Napoleon. By ing, just for the sake of catching a the by, I am here on a very imsight of Corona and of her broad- portant mission.” shouldered manly husbard. And • Indeed!” the men worked with a right good I suppose you give yourselves will, for the story had gone abroad the luxury of never reading the that for years to come there would papers in this delightful retreat. be no lack of work for willing The day before yesterday the Carhands.

dinal attempted to arrest our friend So the days sped, and were not Del Ferice—have you heard that ?” interrupted by any accident for “No-what-has he escaped ?" several weeks. One day Gouache, asked Giovanni and Corona in a the artist Zouave, called at the breath. But their tones were difcastle. He had been quartered at ferent. Giovanni had anticipated Subiaco with a part of his com- the news, and was disgusted at the pany, but had not been sent on at idea that the fellow had got off. once to Sarracinesca as he had Corona was merely surprised. expected. Now, however, he had 6. Yes. Heaven knows howarrived with a small detachment of he has escaped. I am here to cut half-a-dozen men with instructions him off if he tries to get to the to watch the pass. There was Serra di Sant' Antonio." nothing extraordinary in his being Giovanni laughed. sent in that direction, for Sarra- “ He will scarcely try to come cinesca was very near the frontier, this way—under the very walls of and lay on one of the direct routes my house," he said. to the Serra di Sant' Antonio, “He may do anything. He is which was the shortest bill-route a slippery fellow.” Gouache prointo the kingdom of Naples; the ceeded to tell all he knew of the country around was thought to be circumstances. particularly liable to disturbance, “ That is very strange,” said and though no one had seen a Corona, thoughtfully. Then after brigand there for some years, the a pause, she added, “We are going mountain-paths were supposed to to visit our road, Monsieur Gouache. be infested with robbers. As a Will you not come with us? My matter of fact there was a great husband will give you a horse." deal of smuggling carried on Gouache was charmed. He prethrough the pass, and from time to ferred talking to Giovanni and time some political refugee found looking at Corona's face to returnhis way across the frontier at that ing to his six Zouaves, or patrolpoint.

ing the hills in search of Del Gouache was received very well Ferice. In a few minutes the by Giovanni, and rather coldly three were mounted, and riding by Corona, who knew him but slowly along the level stretch toslightly.

wards the works. As they entered "I congratulate you," said Gio- the new road Giovanni and Corona unconsciously fell into conver- exclaimed Giovanni, instinctively sation, as usual, about what they feeling in his pocket for coppers. were doing, and forgot their visitor. Then with a sudden movement he Gouache dropped behind, watch- seized his wife's arm.

She was ing the pair and admiring them close to him, as they rode slowly with true artistic appreciation. along, side by side. He had a Parisian's love of luxury "Good God ! Corona,” he cried, and perfect appointments as well “it is Del Ferice !” Corona looked as an artist's love of beauty, and quickly at the monk. His cowl his eyes rested with unmitigated was raised enough to show his feapleasure on the riders and their tures; but she would, perhaps, not horses, losing no detail of their have recognised his smooth-shaven dress, their simple English accoutre- face had not Giovanni called ner ment, their firm seats and graceful attention to it. carriage. But at a turn of the Del Ferice had recognised them grade the two riders suddenly too, and, horror-struck, he paused, slipped from his field of vision, and trembling and uncertain what to his attention was attracted to the do. He had taken the wrong turn marvellous beauty of the land- from the main road below; unacscape, as looking down the valley customed to the dialect of the hills, towards Astrardente he saw range he had misunderstood the peasant on range of purple hills rising in who had told him especially not a deep perspective, crowned with to take the bridle-path if he wished jagged rocks or sharply defined to avoid Sarracinesca. He stopbrown villages, ruddy in the lower- ped, hesitated, and then, pulling his ing sun. He stopped his horse and cowl over his face, walked steadily sat motionless, drinking in the on. Giovanni glanced up and saw loveliness before him. So it is that Gouache was slowly descendthat accidents in nature make ing the road, still absorbed in conaccidents in the lives of men. templating the landscape.

But Giovanni and Corona rode “Let him take his chance," mutslowly down the gentle incline, tered Sarracinesca. " What should hardly noticing that Gouache had I care ?" stopped behind, and talking of the No, no! Save him, Giovanni, work. As they again turned a he looks so miserable!” cried curve of the grade, Corona, who Corona, with ready sympathy. She was on the inside, looked up and was pale with excitement. caught sight of Gouache's motion- Giovanni looked at her one moless figure at the opposite ex- ment and hesitated, but her pleadtremity of the gradient they had ing eyes were not to be refused. just descended. Giovanni looked "Then gallop back, darling. straight before him and was aware Tell Gouache it is cold in the valof a pale-faced Capuchin friar who ley—anything. Make with downcast eyes was toiling up back with you, I will save him, the road seemingly exhausted ; a since you wish it.” particularly weather-stained and Corona wheeled her horse withdilapidated friar, even for those out a word and cantered up the wild mountains.

hill again. The monk had con“Gouache is studying geogra- tinued his slow walk, and was now phy,” remarked Corona.

almost at Giovanni's saddle-bow. Another of those Capuccini!” The latter drew rein, staring hard

him go

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