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of good service in the republic's straits. We count all friends, who are ready with their gold at need Still the young hopes of Venice must not be left to waste their substance in unwary bargains with the gainful race, and should'st thou hear of any of mark, who are thought to be too deeply in their clutches, thou wilt do wisely to let the same be known, with little delay, to the guardians of the public weal. We must deal tenderly with those who prop the state, but we must also deal discreetly with those who will shortly compose it. Hast thou aught to say in the matter?"
"I have heard men speak of Signor Giacomo as paying dearest for their favors."
"Gesu Maria! my son and heir! Dost thou not deceive me, man, to gratify thine own displeasure against the Hebrews?"
"I have no other malice against the race, Signore, than the wholesome disrelish of a Christian. Thus much I hope may be permitted to a believer, but beyond that, in reason, I carry hatred to no man. It is well known that your heir is disposing freely of his hopes, and at prices that lower expectations might command.”
"This is a weighty concern! The boy must be speedily admonished of the consequences, and care must be had for his future discretion. The Hebrew shall be punished, and as a solemn warning to the whole tribe, the debt confiscated to the benefit of the borrower. With such an example before their eyes, the knaves will be less ready with their sequins. Holy St. Theodore! 't were self-destruction to suffer one of such promise to be lost for the want of prudent forethought. I will charge myself with the matter, as an especial duty, and the senate shall have no cause to say that its interests have been neglected. Hast thou had applications of late, in thy character of avenger of private wrongs?"
"None of note-there is one that seeks me earnestly, though I am not yet wholly the master of his wishes."
Thy office is of much delicacy and trust, and as thou art well assured, the reward is weighty and sure." The eyes of the Bravo kindled with an expression which caused his companion to pause. But observing that the repose, for which the features of Jacopo were so remarkable, again presided over his pallid face, he continued, as if there had been no interruption; "I repeat, the bounty and clemency of the state will not be forgotten. If its justice is stern and infallible, its forgiveness is cordial, and its favors ample. Of these facts I have taken much pains to assure thee, Jacopo.-Blessed St. Mark! that one of the scions of thy great stock should waste his substance for the benefit of a race of unbelievers! But thou hast not named him who seeks thee, with this earnestness?"
"As I have yet to learn his errand, before I go further, Signore, it may be well to know more of his wishes."
"This reserve is uncalled for. Thou art not to distrust the prudence of the republic's ministers, and I should be sorry were the Inquisitors to get an unfavorable opinion of thy zeal. The individual must be denounced."
"I denounce him not. The most that I can say is, that he hath a desire to deal privately with one, with whom it is almost criminal to deal at all."
"The prevention of crime is better than its punishment, and such is the true object of all government. Thou wilt not withhold the name of thy correspondent?"
"It is a noble Neapolitan, who hath long sojourned in Venice, on matters touching a great succes sion, and some right, even, to the senate's dignity."
"Ha! Don Camillo Monforte! Am I right, sir
Signore, the same!"
The pause which followed was only broken by the clock of the great square striking eleven, or the fourth hour of the night, as it is termed, by the usag of Italy. The senator started, consulted a time piece in his own apartment, and again addressed hi companion.
"This is well," he said; "thy faith and punctuality shall be remembered. Look to the fisherman, Antonio; the murmurs of the old man must not be permitted to awaken discontent, for a cause SO trifling, as this transfer of his descendant from a gondola to a galley; and most of all, keep thy ears attentive to any rumors on the Rialto. The glory and credit of a patrician name must not be weakened by the errors of boyhood. As to this strangerquickly, thy mask and cloak-depart as if thou wert merely a friend bent on some of the idle pleasantries of the hour."
The Bravo resumed his disguise with the readiness of one long practised in its use, but with a composure that was not so easily disconcerted as that of the more sensitive senator. The latter did not speak again, though he hurried Jacopo from hist presence, by an impatient movement of the hand.
When the door was closed and the Signor Gradenigo was again alone, he once more consulted the time-piece, passed his hand slowly and thoughtfully across his brow, and resumed his walk. For nearly an hour this exercise, or nervous sympathy of the body with a mind that was possibly overworked, continued without any interruption from without. Then came a gentle tap at the door, and at the usual bidding, one entered, closely masked, like him who had departed, as was so much the usage of that city, in the age of which we write. A
glance at the figure of his guest seemed to apprize the senator of his character, for the reception, while it was distinguished by the quaint courtesy of the age, was that of one expected.
"I am honored in the visit of Don Camillo Monforte," said the host, while the individual named laid aside his cloak and silken visor; "though the lateness of the hour had given me reason to apprehend that some casualty had interfered between me and the pleasure."
"A thousand excuses, noble senator, but the coolness of the canals, and the gaiety of the square, together with some apprehension of intruding prematurely on time so precious, has, I fear, kept me out of season. But I trust to the known goodness of the Signor Gradenigo for my apology.'
"The punctuality of the great lords of Lower Italy is not their greatest merit," the Signor Gradenigo drily answered. "The young esteem life so endless, that they take little heed of the minutes that escape them; while we, whom age begins to menace, think chiefly of repairing the omissions of youth. In this manner, Signor Duca, does man sin and re· pent daily, until the opportunities of doing either are imperceptibly lost. But we will not be more prodiga of the moments than there is need-are we to hope for better views in the Spaniard ?"
"I have neglected little that can move the mind of a reasonable man, and I have, in particular, laid before him the advantage of conciliating the senate's esteem."
"Therein have you done wisely, Signore, both as respects his interests and your own. The senate is a liberal paymaster to him who serves it well, and a fearful enemy to those who do harm to the I hope the matter of the succession draws near a conclusion?"
"I wish it were possible to say it did. I urge the
tribunal in all proper assiduity, omitting no duty of personal respect, nor of private solicitation. Padua has not a doctor more learned than he who presents my right to their wisdom, and yet the affair lingers like life in the hectic. If I have not shown myself a worthy son of St. Mark, in this affair with the Spaniard, it is more from the want of a habit of managing political interests, than from any want of zeal."
"The scales of justice must be nicely balanced to hang so long, without determining to one side or the other! You will have need of further assiduity, Don Camillo, and of great discretion in disposing the minds of the patricians in your favor. It will be well to make your attachment to the state be observed, by further service near the ambassador You are known to have his esteem, and counsel coming from such a quarter will enter deeply into his mind. It should also quicken the exertions of so benevolent and generous a young spirit, to know that in serving his country, he also aids the cause of humanity."
Don Camillo did not appear to be strongly impressed with the justice of the latter remark. He bowed, however, in courtesy to his companion's opinion.
"It is pleasant, Signore, to be thus persuaded," he answered; "my kinsman of Castile is a man to hear reason, let it come from what quarter it may Though he meets my arguments with some allusions to the declining power of the republic, I do not see less of deep respect for the influence of a state, that hath long made itself remarkable by its energy and will."
"Venice is no longer what the city of the Isles hath been, Signor Duca; still is she not powerless. The wings of our lion are a little clipped, but his leap is still far, and his teeth dangerous. If the