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The old Prince was left alone, as his son was gone that he experihe had often been left before, when enced the most ardent desire to Giovanni was gone to the ends of be with him. He had often seen the earth in pursuit of his amuse- Giovanni leave the house at twentyments. On such occasions old Sar- four hours' notice on his way, to racinesca frequently packed up his some distant capital, and had not traps and followed his son's ex- cared to accompany him simply ample; but he rarely went further because he knew he might do so than Paris, where he had many if he pleased; but now he felt that friends, and where he generally some one else had taken his place, succeeded in finding consolation and that, for a time at least, he for his solitude.
was forcibly excluded from GioNow, however, he felt more than vanni's society. It is very likely usually lonely. Giovanni had not that but for the business which degone far, it is true, for it was tained him in Rome he would have scarcely more than eight hours to astonished the happy pair by ridthe castle with good horses; but ing into the gateway of the old for the first time in his life, old castle on the day after the wedSarracinesca felt that if he had ding; that business, however, was suddenly determined to follow his urgent, secret, and, moreover, very son, he would not be welcome. congenial to the old man's present The boy was married at last and temper. must be left in peace for a few He had discussed the matter fully days with his bride. With the with Giovanni, and they had agreed contrariety natural to him, old upon the course to be pursued. Sarracinesca no sooner felt that There was, nevertheless, much to be done before the end they both over-liberal. Even if old Sarraci. so earnestly desired could be at- nesca had possessed a vastly greater tained. It seemed a simple plan diplomatic instinct than he did, to go to Cardinal Antonelli and to coupled with an unscrupulous mendemand the arrest of Del Ferice dacity which he certainly had not, for his misdeeds ; but as yet those he would have found it hard to permisdeeds were undefined, and it suade the Cardinal against his will; was necessary to define them. The but Sarracinesca was, of all men, a Cardinal rarely resorted to such man violent in action and averse to measures except when the case reflection before or after the fact. was urgent, and Sarracinesca knew That he would be revenged upon perfectly well that against Del Del Ferice and Donna Tullia for the Ferice it would be hard to prove part they had lately played was a anything more serious than the matter which it never entered his crime of joining in the silly talk head to doubt; but when he enof Valdarno and his set. Giovanni deavoured to find means which had told his father plainly that should persuade the Cardinal to he was sure Del Ferice derived assist him, he seemed fenced in his living from some illicit source, on all sides by impossibilities. One but he was wholly unable to show thing only helped him—namely, what that source was. Most peo- the conviction that if the statesple believed the story that Del man could be induced to examine Ferice had inherited money from Del Ferice's conduct seriously, the an obscure relative; most people latter would prove to be not only thought he was clever and astute, an enemy to the State, but a bitter but were so far deceived by his enemy to the Cardinal himself. frank and unaffected manner as The more Sarracinesca thought to feel sure that he always said of the matter, the more convinced everything that came into his he was that he should go boldly to head; most people are so much the Cardinal and state his belief delighted when an unusually clever that Del Ferice was a dangerous man deigns to talk to them, that traitor, who ought to be summarily they cannot, for vanity's sake, sus- dealt with. If the Cardinal argued, pect him of deceiving them. Sarra- the Prince would asseverate, after cinesca did not doubt that the mere his manner, and some sort of result statement of his own belief in re- was sure to follow. As he thus degard to Del Ferice would have con- termined upon his course, his doubts siderable weight with the Cardinal, seemed to vanish, as they generally for he was used to power of a cer- do in the mind of a strong man, tain kind, and was accustomed to when action becomes imminent, see his judgment treated with def- and the confidence the old man erence ; but he knew the Cardinal had exhibited to his son very soon to be a cautious man, hating des- became genuine. It was almost potic measures, because by his use intolerable to have to wait so long, of them he had made himself so however, before doing anything. bitterly hated_loath always to do Giovanni and he had decided to by force what might be accom- allow Del Ferice's marriage to take plished by skill, and in the end place before producing the explofar more likely to attempt the con- sion, in order the more certainly version of Del Ferice to the reac- to strike both the offenders; now tionary view, than to order his it seemed best to strike at once. expulsion because his views were Supposing, he argued with himself,
that Donna Tullia and her husband turned the Cardinal, who recogchose to leave Rome the day after nised Sarracinesca's voice without their wedding for Paris, half the looking up. “ Have you ever seen triumph would be lost; for half this marvellous piece of work? the triumph was to consist in Del have been admiring it for a quarter Ferice's being imprisoned for a of an hour.” He loved all objects spy in Rome—whereas if he once of the kind, and understood them crossed the frontier, he could at with rare knowledge. most be forbidden to return, which “ It is indeed exceedingly beauwould be but a small satisfaction to tiful," answered Sarracinesca, who Sarracinesca, or to Giovanni. longed to take advantage of the
A week passed by, and the gaiety opportunity of speaking to Cardiof Carnival was again at its height; nal Antonelli upon the subject and again a week elapsed, and nearest to his heart. Lent was come. Sarracinesca went “Yes—yes," returned the Cardieverywhere and saw everybody as nal rather vaguely, and made as usual, and then after Ash-Wednes- though he would go on.
He saw day occasionally showed himself at from Sarracinesca's commonplace some of those quiet evening recep- praise, that he knew nothing of the tions which his son so much detest- subject. The old Prince saw his ed. But he was restless and dis- opportunity slipping from him, contented. He longed to begin and lost his head. He did not rethe fight, and could not sleep for collect that he could see the Cardithinking of it. Like Giovanni, he nal alone whenever he pleased, by was strong and revengeful; but merely asking for an interview. Giovanni had from his mother a Fate had thrust the Cardinal in his certain slowness of temperament, path, and fate was responsible. which often deterred him from “If your Eminence will allow action just long enough to give me, I would like a word with him time for reflection, whereas you," he said suddenly. the father when once roused, and “ As many as you please," anhe was roused easily, loved to strike swered the statesman, blandly. at once.
It chanced one evening, “Let us sit down in that cornerin a great house, that Sarracinesca no one will disturb us for a while." came upon the Cardinal standing He seemed unusually affable, as alone in an outer room. He was he'sat hiniself down by Sarracion his way into the reception; nesca's side, gathering the folds of but he had stopped, attracted by a his scarlet mantle across his knee, beautiful crystal cup of old work- and folding his delicate hands tomanship, which stood, among other gether in an attitude of restful objects of the kind, upon a marble attention. table in one of the drawing-rooms You know, I daresay, a certhrough which he had to pass. The tain Del Ferice, Eminence?” becup itself, of deeply carved rock- gan the Prince. crystal, was set in chiselled silver, “Very well—the deus ex maand if not the work of Cellini him- china who has appeared to carry self, must have been made by one off Donna Tullia Mayer. Yes, I of his pupils. Sarracinesca stopped know him." by the great man's side.
“ Precisely, and they will match “Good evening, Eminence,” he very well together; the world cansaid.
not help applauding the union of “Good evening, Prince,” re- the flesh and the devil.”
The Cardinal smiled.
as pretended proof that my son “The metaphor is apt,” he said; was already married. If I had " but what about them ?”
not found the man myself, there "I will tell you in two words,” would have been trouble. Now replied Sarracinesca. “ Del Fer- besides this, Del Ferice is known ice is a scoundrel of the first to hold Liberal viewswater
Of the feeblest kind,” inter“A jewel among scoundrels," rupted the statesman, who neverinterrupted the Cardinal; "for theless became very grave. being a scoundrel he is yet harm- " Those he exhibits are of the less—a stage villain.”
feeblest kind, and he takes no “I believe your Eminence is trouble to hide them. But a deceived in him.”
fellow so ingenious as to imagine “ That may easily be,” answered the scheme he practised against us the statesman.” "I am much is not a fool." more often deceived than people “ I understand, my good friend," imagine." He spoke very mildly, said the Cardinal. “You have but his small black eyes turned been injured by this fellow, and you keenly upon Sarracinesca. “What would like me to revenge the injury has he been doing?” he asked, by locking him up. Is that it?” after a short pause.
Precisely,” answered Sarra“ He has been trying to do a cinesca, laughing at his own simgreat deal of harm to my son and plicity. “I might as well have to my son's wife. I suspect him said so from the first." strongly of doing harm to you."
6 Much better. You would Whether Sarracinesca was strict- make a poor diplomatist, Prince. ly honest in saying “you ” to the But what in the world shall I gain Cardinal, when he
he meant the by revenging your wrongs upon whole State as represented by the that creature ?' prime minister, is mater not “ Nothing -- unless easily decided. There is a Latin have taken the trouble to examine saying, to the effect that a man his conduct, you find that he is who is feared by many should really dangerous. In that case himself fear many, and the saying your Eminence will be obliged to is true. The Cardinal was per- look to your own safety. If you find sonally a brave man ; but he knew him innocent, you will let him go." his danger, and the memory of the "And in that case, what will murdered Rossi was fresh in his you do?" asked the Cardinal, with mind. Nevertheless, he smiled a smile. blandly as he answered
" I will cut his throat," answered 6. That is rather vague, my Sarracinesca, unmoved. friend. How is he doing me “Murder him?" harm, if I
“No-call him out and kill him “I argue in this way,” returned like a gentleman, which is a great Sarracinesca, thus pressed. "The deal better then he deserves.' man found a most ingenious way “I have no doubt you would,” of attacking my son-he searched said the Cardinal, gravely. 11 the whole country till he found think your proposition reasonable, that a man called Giovanni Sarra- however. If this man is really cinesca had been married some dangerous, I will look to him mytime ago in Aquila. He copied self. But I must really beg you the certificates, and produced them not to do anything rash. I have
may ask ?"
determined that this dueling shall days gave orders that Del Ferice's stop, and I warn you that neither letters were to be stopped—by no you nor any one else will escape means an uncommon proceeding in imprisonment if you are involved those times, nor so rare in our own in any more of these personal en- day as is supposed. The postcounters."
office was then in the hands of Sarracinesca suppressed a smile a private individual so far as all at the Cardinal's threat; but he management was concerned, and perceived that he had gained his the Cardinal's word was law. Del point, and was pleased accordingly. Ferice's letters regularly He had, he felt sure, sown in opened and examined. the statesman's mind a germ of The first thing that was dissuspicion which would before long covered was that they frequently bring forth fruit. In those days contained money, generally in the danger was plentiful, and people shape of small drafts on London could not afford to overlook it, no signed by a Florentine banker, matter in what form it presented and that the envelopes which conitself, least of all such people as the tained money never contained anyCardinal himself, who, while sus- thing else. They were all posted taining an unequal combat against in Florence. With regard to the superior forces outside the State, letters, they appeared to be very felt that his every step was en- innocent communications from all compassed by perils from within. sorts of people, rarely referring to That he had long despised Del politics, and then only in the most Ferice as an idle chatterer did not generous terms. If Del Ferice had prevent him from understanding expected to have his correspondthat he might have been deceived, ence examined he could not have as Sarracinesca suggested. He arranged matters better for his had caused Ugo to be watched, it own safety. To trace the drafts is true, but only from time to to the person who sent them was time, and by men whose only duty not an easy business; it was imwas to follow him and to see possible to introduce a spy into whether he frequented suspicious the banking-house in Florence; society. The little nest of talkers and among the many drafts daily at Gouache's studio in the Via San bought and sold, it was almost imBasilio was soon discovered, and possible to identify, without the aid proyed to be harmless enough. of the banker's books, the person De Ferice was then allowed to go who chanced to buy any particular on his way unobserved. But the one. The addresses were, it is true, half-dozen words in which Sarra- uniformly written by the same cinesca had described Ugo's scheme hand; but the writing was in no for hindering Giovanni's marriage way peculiar, and was cetrainly had set the Cardinal thinking, and not that of any prominent perthe Cardinal seldom wasted time son whose autograph the Cardinal in thinking in vain. His inter- possessed. view with Sarracinesca ended very The next step was to get possoon, and the Prince and the session of some letter written by statesman entered the crowded Del Ferice himself, and, if possible, drawing-room and mixed in the to intercept everything he wrote. throng. It was long before they But although the letters containmet again in private.
drafts were regularly The Cardinal on the following opened, and after having been ex