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"I doubt, Signora Florinda, that your charge. hath spent more hours among the light works of her late father's library, and less time with her missal, than becomes her birth?"

The eye of Violetta kindled, and she folded an arm around the form of her shrinking companion who drew down her veil at this reproof, though sh forbore to answer.

"Signor Gradenigo," said the young heiress, "I may have done discredit to my instructors, but if the pupil has been idle, the fault should not be visited on the innocent. It is some evidence that the commands of holy church have not been neglected, that I now come to entreat favor in behalf of one, to whom I owe my life. Don Camillo Monforte has long pursued, without success, a claim so just, that were there no other motive to concede it, the char• acter of Venice should teach the senators the danger of delay."

"My ward has spent her leisure with the doctors of Padua! The republic hath its laws, and-none who have right of their side appeal to them in vain. Thy gratitude is not to be censured; it is rather worthy of thy origin and hopes; still, Donna Violetta, we should remember how difficult it is to winnow the truth from the chaff of imposition and legal subtlety, and, most of all, should a judge be certain, before he gives his decree, that, in confirming the claims of one applicant, he does not defeat those of another."

"They tamper with his rights! Being born in a foreign realm, he is required to renounce more in the land of the stranger, than he will gain within the limits of the republic. He wastes life and youth in pursuing a phantom! You are of weight in the senate, my guardian, and were you to lend nim the support of your powerful voice and great instruction, a wronged noble would have justice, and

Venice, though she might lose a trifle from her stores, would better deserve the character of which she is so jealous."

"Thou art a persuasive advocate, and I will think of what thou urgest," said the Signor Gradenigo, changing the frown, which had been gathering about his brow, to a look of indulgence, with a facility that betrayed much practice in adapting the expression of his features to his policy. "I ought only to hearken to the Neapolitan, in my public character of a judge; but his service to thee, and my weakness in thy behalf, extorts that thou would'st have."

Donna Violetta received the promise, with a bright and guileless smile. She kissed the hand he extended, as a pledge of his faith, with a fervor that gave her attentive guardian serious uneasiness.

"Thou art too winning, even to be resisted by one wearied with rebutting plausible pretensions," he added. "The young and the generous, Donna Florinda, believe all to be as their own wishes and simplicity would have them. As for this right of Don Camillo-but no matter-thou wilt have it so, and it shall be examined with that blindness which is said to be the failing of justice."

"I have understood the metaphor to mean blind to favor, but not insensibie to the right."

"I fear that is a sense which might defeat our hopes-but we will look into it. My son has been mindful of his duty and respect of late, Donna Violetta, as I would have him? The boy wants little urging, I know, to lead him to do honor to my ward, and the fairest of Venice. Thou wilt receive him with friendship, for the love thou bearest his father?" Donna Violetta curtsied, but it was with womanly


"The door of my palace is never shut on the Signor Giacomo, on all proper occasions," she said,

coldly. "Signore, the son of my guardian could hardly be other than an honored visitor."

"I would have the boy attentive-and even more, I would have him prove some little of that great esteem, but we live in a jealous city, Donna Flo rinda, and one in which prudence is a virtue of the nighest price. If the youth is less urgent than I could wish, believe me, it is from the apprehension of giving premature alarm to those who interest themselves in the fortunes of our charge."

Both the ladies bowed, and by the manner in which they drew their cloaks about them, they made evident their wish to retire. Donna Violetta craved a blessing, and after the usual compliments, and a short dialogue of courtesy, she and her companion withdrew to their boat.

The Signor Gradenigo paced the room, in which he had received his ward, for several minutes in silence. Not a sound of any sort was audible throughout the whole of the vast abode, the stillness and cautious tread of those within, answering to the quiet town without; but a young man, in whose countenance and air were to be seen most of the usual signs of a well-bred profligacy, sauntering along the suite of chambers, at length caught the eye of the senator, who beckoned him to approach.

"Thou art unhappy, as of wont, Giacomo," he said, in a tone between paternal indulgence and reproach. "The Donna Violetta has, but a minute since, departed, and thou wert absent. Some unworthy intrigue with the daughter of a jeweller, or some more injurious bargain of thy hopes, with the father, hath occupied the time that might have been devoted more honorably, and to far better profit."

"You do me little justice," returned the youth. "Neither Jew, nor Jewess, hath this day greeted my eye."

"The calendar should mark the time, for its sin

gularity! I would know, Giacomo, if thou turnest to a right advantage the occasion of my guardianship, and if thou thinkest, with sufficient gravity, of the importance of what I urge?"

"Doubt it not, father. He who hath so much suffered for the want of that which the Donna Violetta possesses in so great profusion, needeth little prompting on such a subject. By refusing to supply my wants, you have made certain of my consent. There is not a fool in Venice who sighs more loudly beneath his mistress's window, than I utter my pathetic wishes to the lady-when there is opportunity, and I am in the humor."

"Thou knowest the danger of alarming the senate?"

"Fear me not. My progress is by secret and gradual means. Neither my countenance nor my mind is unused to a mask,-thanks to necessity! My spirits have been too buoyant not to have made me acquainted with duplicity!"

"Thou speakest, ungrateful boy, as if I denied thy youth the usual indulgences of thy years and rank. It is thy excesses, and not thy spirits, I would check. But I would not, now, harden thee with reproof. Giacomo, thou hast a rival in the stranger. His act in the Giudecca has won upon the fancy of the girl, and like all of generous and ardent natures, ignorant as she is of his merits, she supplies his character with all necessary qualities by her own ingenuity." "I would she did the same by me!"

"With thee, Sirrah, my ward might be required to forget, rather than invent. Hast thou bethought thee of turning the eyes of the council on the danger which besets their heiress?"

"I have."

"And the means?"

"The plainest and the most certain-the Lion's mouth."

"Ha!-that, indeed, is a bold adventure."

“And, like all bold adventures, it is the more likely to succeed. For once Fortune hath not been a niggard with me.—I have given them the Neapolitan's signet by way of proof.”

"Giacomo! dost thou know the hazard of thy temerity? I hope there is no clue left in the handwriting, or by any other means taken to obtain the ring?"

"Father, though I may have overlooked thy instruction in less weighty matters, not an admonition which touches the policy of Venice hath been for gotten. The Neapolitan stands accused, and if thy Council is faithful, he will be a suspected, if not a banished, man."

"That the Council of Three will perform its trust is beyond dispute. I would I were as certain that thy indiscreet zeal may not lead to some unpleasant exposure!"

The shameless son stared at the father a moment in doubt, and then he passed into the more private parts of the palace, like one too much accustomed to double-dealing, to lend it a second, or a serious thought. The senator remained. His silent walk was now manifestly disturbed by great uneasiness; and he frequently passed a hand across his brow, as if he mused in pain. While thus occupied, a figure stole through the long suite of ante-chambers, and stopped near the door of the room he occupied. The intruder was aged; his face was tawny by exposure, and his hair thinned and whitened by time. His dress was that of a fisherman, being both scanty and of the meanest materials. Still there was a naturally noble and frank intelligence in his bold eye and prominent features, while the bare arms and naked legs exhibited a muscle and proportion, which proved that nature was rather at a stand than in the decline. He had been many moments dangling his

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