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hour."

me. There was a terrific scene. any immediate means of finding She sent for the two Sarracinescas, out. It might have taken weeks and I waited till they came, be- to find her. Why were you so cause I was determined to see rash ? You could have waited till justice done. I am sure I was I returned, and we could have disright,-was I not?”

cussed the matter carefully, and de“What did they say?" asked cided whether it was really wise to Del Ferice, quietly watching her make use of my information." face.

“ You do not doubt that I did "If you will believe it, that right?” asked Donna Tullia, turnmonster of villany, Don Giovanni, ing a little pale. was as cold as stone, and denied "I think you acted precipitately the whole matter from beginning in speaking without consulting me. to end; but his father was very All may yet be well. But in the angry. Of course they demanded first place, as you did not ask my the proofs. I never saw anything opinion, you will see the propriety like the brazen assurance of Don of not mentioning my name, since Giovanni."

you have not done so already. It “ Did you mention me?” in- can do no good, for the papers quired Dei Ferice.

speak for themselves, and whatever “No, I had not seen you : of value they may have is inherent in course I did not want to implicate them. Do you see ?" you.

I said I would show them “Of course, there is no need of the papers to-morrow at the same mentioning you, unless you wish

to have a share in the exposure of " And then you came to see me,” this abominable wickedness." said Del Ferice. " That was very “I am satisfied with my share,” rash. You might have seriously replied Del Ferice, with a quiet compromised yourself. I would smile. have come if you had sent for me.” “ It is not an important one,”

“ But they said you had gone to returned Donna Tullia, nervously. Naples. Your servant," continued " It is the lion's share," he anDonna Tullia, blushing scarlet at swered. “Most adorable of wothe remembrance of her interview men, you have not, I am sure, with Temistocle,—"your servant forgotten the terms of our agreeassured me in person that you had ment--terms so dear to me, that gone to Naples

every word of them is engraven "I see,'

replied Del Ferice, for ever upon the tablet of my quietly. He did not wish to press heart." her to a confession of having tried Madame Mayer started slightly. to get the papers in his absence. She had not realised that her proHis object was to put her at her mise to marry Ugo was now due

--she did not believe that he "My dear lady," he continued, would press it; he had exacted gently, “ you have done an exceed- it to frighten her, and besides, she ingly rash thing ; but I will support had so persuaded herself that he you in every way, by putting the would approve of her conduct, that documents in your possession at she had not felt as though she once. It is unfortunate that you were betraying his secret. should have acted so suddenly, for “ You will not — you cannot we do not know what has become hold me to that; you approve of of this Felice Baldi, nor have we telling the Astrardente, on the

ease.

a

whole,-it is the same as though that you are doing

great I had consulted you

wrong, repudiating a solemn con" Pardon me, my dear lady; you tractdid not consult me," answered Del "If I refuse — well — but you Ferice, soothingly. He sat near would give me the papers?” asked her by the fire, his hat upon his Donna Tullia, who was beginning knee, no longer watching her, but to tremble for the result of the gazing contemplatively at the interview. She had a vague susburning logs. There was a deli- picion that, for the sake of obtaincacy about his pale face since the ing them, she would even be willwound he had received a year be- ing to promise to marry Del Ferice. fore which was rather attractive : It would be very wrong, perhaps ; from having been a little inclined but it would be for the sake of to stoutness, he had grown slender accomplishing good, by preventing and more graceful, partly because Corona from falling into the trap his health had really been affected -Corona, whom she hated! Still, by his illness, and partly because it would be a generous act to save he had determined never again to her. The minds of women like risk being too fat.

Madame Mayer are apt to be a “I tried to consult you,” ob- little tortuous when they find jected Donna Tullia. " It is the themselves hemmed in between same thing."

their own jealousies, hatreds, and “ It is not the same thing to personal interests.

he answered, although you “ If you refused—no; if you rehave not involved me in the affair. fused, I am afraid I could not give I would have most distinctly ad- you the papers," replied Del Ferice, vised you to say nothing about it musing as he gazed at the fire. at present. You have acted rash- “ I love you too much to lose that ly, have put yourself in a most chance of winning you, even for painful situation ; and you have the sake of saving the Duchessa broken your promise to me-a d'Astrardente from her fate. Why very solemn promise, Donna Tul- do you refuse ? why do you barlia, sworn upon the memory of gain ?” he asked, suddenly turning your mother and upon a holy towards her. “: Does all my devorelic. One cannot make light of tion count for nothing—all my such promises as that."

love, my years of patient waiting ? “You made me give it in order Oh, you cannot be so cruel as to to frighten me. The Church does snatch the cup from my very lips ! not bind us to oaths sworn under It is not for the sake of these miscompulsion," she argued.

erable documents : what is it to “Excuse me; there was no com- me whether Don Giovanni appears pulsion whatever. You wanted as the criminal in a case of bigamy, to know my secret, and for the whether he is ruined now, as by sake of knowing it you bound his evil deeds he will be hereafter, yourself. That is not compulsion. or whether he goes on unharmed I cannot compel you. I could not and unthwarted upon his career of think of presuming to compel you wickedness ? He is nothing to me, to marry me now. But I can say nor his pale-faced bride either. It to you that I am devotedly at- is for you that I care, for you that tached to you, that to marry you I will do anything, bad or good, is the aim and object of my life, to win you that I would risk my and if you refuse I will tell you life and my soul. Can you not

see it?

Have I not been faithful well, if she did not like the idea, for very long ? Take pity on me she could throw him over. It -forget this whole business, for- would only cost her a violent scene, get that you have promised any- and a few moments of discomfort. thing, forget all except that I am Meanwhile she would get the here at your feet, a miserable papers. man, unless you speak the word, “ But you would give me the and turn all my wretchedness into papers, would you not, and leave joy!”

me to decide whether- Really, He slipped from his seat and Del Ferice," she said, interrupting knelt upon one knee before her, herself with a nervous laugh, “ this clasping one of her hands pas- is very absurd." sionately between both his own. “I implore you not to speak of The scene

was well planned and the papers--it is not absurd. It well executed ; his voice had a may seem so to you, but it is life ring of emotion that sounded plea- or death to me: death if you resantly in Donna Tullia's ears, and fuse me_life if you will speak the his hands trembled with excite- word and be mine!” ment. She did not repulse him, Donna Tullia made up her mind. being a vain woman and willing to He would evidently not give her believe in the reality of a passion what she wanted, except in return so well simulated. Perhaps, too, for a promise of marriage. She it was not wholly put on, for she had grown used to him, almost was a handsome, dashing woman, fond of him, in the last year. in the prime of youth, and Del "Well, I do not know whether Ferice was a man who had always I am right,” she said, but I am been susceptible to charms of that really very fond of you; and if you kind. Donna Tullia hesitated,

will do all I say wondering what more he could Everything, my dear lady; say. But he, on his part, knew everything in the world I will do, the danger of trusting too much if you will make me so supremely to eloquence when not backed by happy,” cried Del Ferice, ardently. a greater strength than his, and "Then-yes; I will marry you. he pressed her for an answer. Only get up and sit upon your

“Be generous—trust me," he chair like a reasonable being. No; cried. “ Believe that your happi- you really must be reasonable, or ness is everything to me; believe you must go away." Ugo was that I will take no unfair advan- madly kissing her hands. tage of a hasty promise. Tell me really a good actor, if it was all that, of your own free will, you acting. She could not but be will be my wife, and command me moved by his pale delicate face anything, that I may prove my and passionate words. With a devotion. It is so true, so honest, quick movement be sprang to his -Tullia, I adore you, I live only feet and stood before her, claspfor you!

Speak the word, and ing his hands together and gazing make me the happiest of men ! into her face.

He really looked handsome as “Oh, I am the happiest man he knelt before her, and she felt alive to-day!” he exclaimed, and the light, nervous pressure of his the sense of triumph he felt lent hand at every word he spoke. energy to his voice. After all, what did it matter ? “ Do sit down,” said Donna TulShe might accept him, and then- lia, gaily, “and let us talk it all

He was

over. In the first place, what am can deny their authenticity, for Ito do first ? "

they bear the Government stamp Del Ferice found it convenient and the notary's seal, as you see, to let his excitement subside, and here and here.

If they ask you, as a preliminary he walked twice as they certainly will, how you the length of the room.

came by them, you can afford to " It is so hard to be calm !” he answer, that, since you have them, exclaimed; but nevertheless he it is not necessary to know whence presently sat down in his former they came; that they may go and seat, and seemed to collect his verify the originals; and that in faculties with wonderful ease. warning them of the fact, you

" What is to be done first?" bave fulfilled a duty to society, asked Donna Tullia again.

and have done a service to the “ In the first place," answered Astrardente, if not to Giovanni Del Ferice, “here are those pre- Sarracinesca. You have them in cious papers. As they are notary's your power, and you can afford to copies ihemselves, and not the take the high hand in the matter. originals, it is of no importance They must believe the evidence whether Don Giovanni tears them of their senses; and they must up or not. It is easy to get others either allow that Giovanni's first if he does. I have noted down all wife is alive, or they must account the names and dates. I wish we for her death, and prove it. There had some information about Felice is no denial possible in the face of Baldi. It is very unfortunate we these proofs. have not, but it would perhaps Donna Tullia drew a long breath, take a month to find her.”

for the case seemed perfectly clear; " I must act at once,” said Don- and the anticipation of her iriumph na Tullia, firmly; for she remem- already atoned for the sacrifice she bered old Sarracinesca's threats, had made. and was in a hurry.

"You are a wonderful man, Del “Of course. These documents Ferice!” she exclaimed. "I do speak for themselves. They bear not know whether I am wise in the address of the notary who promising to marry you, but I made the copies in Aquila. If have the greatest admiration for the Sarracinesca choose, they can your intellect.” themselves go there and see the Del Ferice glanced at her and originals.

smiled. Then he made as though "Could they not destroy those he would return the papers to his too?” asked Donna Tullia, nerv- pocket. She sprang towards him, ously.

and seized him by the wrist. “No; they can only see one at • Do not be afraid ! she cried, a time, and the person who will “I will keep my promise." show them will watch them. Be- “Solemnly?” he asked, still sides, it is easy to write to the smiling, and holding the envelope curate of the church of San Ber- firmly in his hand. nardino to be on his guard. We “Solemnly,” she answered ; and will do that in any case. The then added, with a quick laugh, matter is perfectly plain. Your “ but you are so abominably clever, best course is to meet the Astra- that I believe you could make me dente to-morrow at the appointed marry you against my will." time, and simply present these " Never ! ” said Del Ferice, earnpapers for inspection. No one estly; “I love you far too much."

joy!”

see it? Have I not been faithful well, if she did not like the idea, for very long ? Take pity on me she could throw

him over.

It -forget this whole business, for- would only cost her a violent scene, get that you have promised any- and a few moments of discomfort. thing, forget all except that I am Meanwhile she would get the here at your feet, a miserable papers. man, unless you speak the word, “ But you would give me the and turn all my wretchedness into papers, would you not, and leave

me to decide whether- Really, He slipped from his seat and Del Ferice,” she said, interrupting knelt upon one knee before her, herself with a nervous laugh, • this clasping one of her hands pas- is very absurd.” sionately between both his own. "I implore you not to speak of The scene was well planned and the papers---it is not absurd. It well executed ; his voice had a may seem so to you, but it is life ring of emotion that sounded plea- or death to me : death you resantly in Donna Tullia's ears, and fuse me_life if you will speak the his hands trembled with excite- word and be mine!” ment. She did not repulse him, Donna Tullia made up her mind. being a vain woman and willing to He would evidently not give her believe in the reality of a passion what she wanted, except in return so well simulated. Perhaps, too, for a promise of marriage. She it was not wholly put on, for she had grown used to him, almost was a handsome, dashing woman, fond of him, in the last year. in the prime of youth, and Del “Well, I do not know whether Ferice was a man who had always I am right,” she said, but I am been susceptible to charms of that really very fond of you; and if you kind. Donna Tullia hesitated, will do all I saywondering what more he could Everything, my dear lady; say. But he, on his part, knew everything in the world I will do, the danger of trusting too much if you will make me so supremely to eloquence when not backed by happy,” cried Del Ferice, ardently. a greater strength than his, and " Then-yes; I will marry you. he pressed her for an answer. Only get up and sit upon your Be generous— trust me,” he chair like a reasonable being.

No; cried.

“ Believe that your happi- you really must be reasonable, ness is everything to me; believe you must go away.” Ugo was that I will take no unfair advan- madly kissing her hands. He was tage of a hasty promise. Tell me really a good actor, if it was all that, of your own free will, you acting. She could not but be will be my wife, and command me moved by his pale delicate face anything, that I may prove my and passionate words.

With a devotion. It is so true, so honest, quick movement he sprang to his -Tullia, I adore you, I live only feet and stood before her, claspfor you! Speak the word, and ing his hands together and gazing make me the happiest of men !” into her face,

He really looked handsome as “Oh, I am the happiest man he knelt before her, and she felt alive to-day!” he exclaimed, and the light, nervous pressure of his the sense of triumph he felt lent hand at every word he spoke. energy to his voice. After all, what did it matter ? “Do sit down,” said Donna TulShe might accept him, and then- lia, gaily, "and let us talk it all

or

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