« AnteriorContinuar »
The reader will long since have been "look" to Amieri, now. A hunchreminded, by the trouble we have to back, closely masked and leaning on whip in and flog up the lagging and a palmer's arm, made his way slowly straggling members of our story, of a through the crowd, and a red-cross flock of sheep driven unwillingly to knight, a figure gallant enough to have market. Indeed, to stop at the con- made a monarch jealous, whispered fessional, (as you will see many a with courteous and courtly deference shepherd of the Campagna, on his in his ear. way to Rome,) this tale of many tails “Cielo! It is she !" said Biondo, should have been a novel. You have, with mournful earnestness, not heeding in brief, what should have been distri. his companion, and laying his hand buted in chapters, embarrassed with upon his wounded wrist, as if the sight difficulties, relieved by digressions, he looked on gave it a fresher pang. tipped with a moral, and bound in two “She ?" answered Lenzoni, with a volumes, with a portrait of the author. laugh. “ If it is not he-not gobbo We are sacrificed to the spirit of the Giulio-I'll eat that cross-hilted rapier! age. The eighteenth century will be What' she should it be caro Biondo?" known in hieroglyphics by a pair of “I tell thee,” said Amieri, “ Giulio shears. But “to return to our mut- is asleep at the foot of his marred statue ! tons."
I left him but now. He is too ill with The masquerade went merrily on, his late vigils to be here—but his or, if there were more than one heavy clothes, I may tell thee, are borrowed heart among those light heels, it was by one who wears them as you see. not known, as the newspapers say, Look at the foot, Lenzoni !" “to our reporter.” One there cer “A woman, true enough, if the shoe tainly was-heavy as Etna on the were all ! But I'll have a close look! breast of Enceladus. Biondo Amieri Stay for me, dear Amieri! I will return sat in a corner of the gallery, with his ere you have looked twice at them!” swathed hand laid before him, pale as And happy, with all his kind syma new statue, and with a melancholy in pathy, to find a fair apology to be free, his soft dark eyes, which would have Lenzoni leaped over the benches and touched the executioners of St. Agatha. mingled in the crowd below. Beside him sat Lenzoni, who was con Left alone, Biondo devoured with tent to forego the waltz for a while, his eyes every movement of the group and keep company for pity with a friend in which he was so deeply interested, who was too busy with his own thoughts and the wound in his hand seemed to give him word or look, but still burning with a throb of fire, while he keeping sharp watch on the scene tried in vain to detect, in the manner below, and betraying by unconscious of the hunchback, that coyness which ejaculations how great a penance he might show, even through a mask, dishad put on himself for love and charity. like or indifference. There was even,
"Ah, la bella musica, Biondo !” he he thought, (and he delivered his soul exclaimed, drumming on the banquette, over to Apollyon in the usual phrase, while his friend held up his wounded for thinking such ill of such an angel ;) hand to escape the jar, “ listen to that there was even in her manner a levity waltz, that might set fire to the heels and freedom of gesture for which the of St. Peter! Corpo di Bacco! look mask she wore should be no apology. at the dragon !-a dragon making love He was about to curse Malaspina for to a nun, Amieri! Ah! San Pietro! having spared his life at the fountain, what a foot! Wait till I come, sweet when some one jumped lightly over goblin! That a goblin's tail should the seat, and took a place beside him. follow such ancles, Biondo ! Eh! It was a female in a black domino, bellissimo! the knight! Look at the closely masked, and through the pastered-cross knight, Amieri ! and-what? board mouth protruded the bit of ivory, -il gobbo, by St. Antony! and the commonly held in the teeth by maskers, red-cross takes him for a woman ! it to disguise the voice. is Giulio, or there never were two “Good evening to you, fair signor !!! hunchbacks so wondrous like. Ecco l. “Good even to you, lady!”. Biondo !”
“I am come to share your melanBut there was little need to cry choly, signor !"
“I have none to give away unless you “No! an angel." will take all; and just now, my fair “And encourages the devil in the one, it is rather anger than sadness. shape of Malaspina ? You miscall her, If it please you, leave me !!!
Amieri !" “What if I am more pleased to The answer was interrupted by stay?"
Lenzoni, who ran into the gallery, but " Briefly, I would be alone! I am seeing his friend beset by a mask, he not of the festa. I but look on here."' gave him joy of his good luck, and And Biondo turned his shoulder to the refusing to interrupt the tête-à-tête, mask, and fixed his eyes again on the disappeared with a laugh. hunchback, who having taken the “Brave, kind Lenzoni !" said the knight's arm, was talking and prome- stranger. nading most gaily between him and "Are you his good angel, too ?" the palmer.
asked Amieri, surprised again at the "You have a wounded hand, signor!” knowledge so mysteriously displayed. resumed his importunate neighbour. “No I Little as you know of me,
“A useless one, lady. Would it you would not be willing to share me were well !"
with another! Say, Amieri! love you “ Signor Melancholy, repine not the gobbo on the knight's arm ?" against Providence. I that am no “You have read me riddles less witch, tell thee that thou wilt yet bless clear, my fair incognita ! I would die heaven that this hand is disabled !” at morn but to say farewell to her at
Biondo turned and looked at the midnight !!! bold prophetess, but her disguise was “Do you despair of her love?" impenetrable.
"Do I despair of excelling Raphael “You are a masker, lady, and talk with these unstrung fingers ? I never at random !"
hoped-but in my dreams, lady !" “No! I will tell you the thought 1. Then hope, waking! For as there uppermost in your bosom !"
is truth in heaven, Violanta Cesarini is What is it ?"
loves you, Biondo !" “A longing for a pluck at the red. Laying his left hand sternly on the cross, yonder !"
arm of the stranger, Biondo raised his " True, by St. Mary!" said Biondo, helpless wrist and pointed towards the starting energetically : “ but you read hunchback, who, seated by the redit in my eyes !"
cross knight, played with the diamond “I have told you your first thought, cross of his sword-hilt, while the signor, and I will give you a hint of palmer turned his back, as if to give the second. Is there a likeness between two lovers an opportunity. a nymph on canvas and a gobbo in a With a heart overwhelmed with mask?"
bitterness, he then turned to the “ Giulio !"! exclaimed Amieri, turn- mocking incognita. Violanta sat being suddenly round; but the straight side him ! back of the domino met his eye, and, Holding her mask between her and totally bewildered, he resumed his seat, the crowd below, the maiden blush and slowly perused the stranger from mounted to her temples, and the long head to foot.
sweeping lashes dropped over her eyes “ Talk to me as if my mask were their veiling and silken fringes. And the mirror of your soul, Amieri," said while the red-cross knight still made the soft but undisguised voice. “You eloquent love to Giulio in the saloon need sympathy in this mood, and I of the masquerade, Amieri and Vio. am your good angel. Is your wrist lanta, in their unobserved retreat, expainful to-night!"
changed vows, faint and choked with "I cannot talk to you,'he said, emotion on his part, but all hope, enturning to resume his observation of couragement, and assurance on her's. the scene below. “If you know the “ Will you waltz ?" said a merryface beneath the gobbo's mask, you voiced domino to the red-cross knight know the heaven from which I am a few minutes after, tapping him shut out. But I must gaze on it still." smartly on the corslet with her black “ Is it a woman?"
fan, and pointing, for the first step, a foot that would have tempted St. - the music came faintly out to the Anthony.
night air, and a' fresh west wind, cool “By the mass!"answered Malaspina, and balmy from the verdant campagna,
“ I should pay an ill compliment to breathed softly through the lattices. the sweetest voice that ever enchanted Refusing a chair, Giulio leaned over human ear,” (and he bowed low to the balustrade, and the count stood Giulio) “ did I refuse invitation so by his side and encircled his waist with sweetly toned. Yet my Milan armour his arm. is not light !"
“I cannot bear this deformity, my “I have been refusing his entreaties Violanta !” he said, “you look so un. this hour," said Giulio, as the knight like my child with it ; I need this little whirled away with Violanta, “ for hand to re-assure me.” though I can chatter like a woman, I “ Should you know that was my should dance like myself. He is not hand, father?" said Giulio. unwilling to show his grace to his “ Should I not? I have told you a • lady-mistress !' Hal ha! It is worth thousand times that the nails of a while to sham the petticoat for once, Cesarini were marked— let me see to see what fools men are when they you again-by the arch of this rosy would please a woman ! But, close line! See, my little gobbo ! They mask! Here comes the Count Cesa- are like four pink fairy-shells of India rini !"
laid over rolled leaves of roses. What " How fares my child ?" said the was the poet's name who said that of old noble, leaning over the masked the old Contessa Julia Cesarini-la Giulio, and touching with his lips the bella Julia ?!! glossy curl which concealed his temple. “Should you have known my voice, “ Are you amused, idalo mio ?" father?" asked Giulio, evading the
A sudden tremor shot through the question. frame of poor Giulio, at the first " Yes, my darling ; why ask me ?” endearment ever addressed to his ear “But, father !-if I had been stolen by the voice of a parent. The tears by brigands from the cradle-or you coursed down under his mask, and for had not seen me for many, many years all answer to the question, he could -and I had meet you to-night as a only lay his small soft hand in his gobbo, and had spoken to you-only father's, and return his pressure with in sport-and had called “father, dear irresistible strength and emotion. father ! should you have known my
“You are not well, my child !” he voice ? would you have owned me for said, surprised at not receiving an a Cesarini ?” answer, “ this ugly hump oppresses “ Instantly, my fair child!" you! Come to the air / So-lean “ But suppose my back had been on me, caro tesoro! We will remove broken-suppose I were a gobboma the hump presently. A Cesarini with deformed hunchback indeed, indeed a hump indeed! Straighten yourself, but had still nails with a rosy arch, and my life, my child, and you will breathe the same voice with which I speak to more freely!”
you now—and pressed your hand thus Thus entered, at one wound, daggers -and loved you-would you disown and balm into the heart of the deformed me, father?" youth ; and while Bettina, trembling Giulio had raised himself while he in every limb, grew giddy with fear as spoke, and taken his hand from his they made their way through the father's with a feeling that life or crowd, Giulio, relieved by his tears, death would be in his answer to that nerved himself with a strong effort, question. and prepared to play out his difficult Cesarini was disturbed, and did not part with calmness.
reply for a moment. They threaded slowly the crowded “My child !” he said at last, "there maze of waltzers, and, emerging from is that in your voice that would conthe close saloons, stood at last in the vince me you are mine, against all the gallery overhanging the river. The evidence in the universe. I cannot moon was rising, and touched with á imagine the dreadful image you have pale light the dark face of the Tiber; conjured up, for the Cesarini are beautiful and straight by long inherit- tered together the palace of their comance. But if a monster spoke to me mon inheritance. thus, I should love him! Come to my bosom, my blessed child! and It would be superfluous to dwell on dispel these wild dreams! Come, the incidents of the sequel, which were Violanta !!!
detailed in the Diario di Roma, and Giulio attempted to raise his arms are known to all the world. The to his father's neck, but the strength hunchback Count Cesarini has sucthat had sustained him so well, began ceeded his deceased father in his title to ebb from him. He uttered some and estates, and is beloved of all Rome. indistinct words, lifted his hand to his The next heir to the title is a son mask as if to remove it for breath, and (now two years of age) of the Countess sunk slowly to the floor.
Amieri, who is to take the name of " It is your son, my lord !" cried Cesarini on coming to his majority. Bettina. « Lift him, Count Cesarini ! They live together in the old palazzo, Lift your child to the air before he and all strangers go to see their gallery dies !
of pictures, of which none are bad, She tore off his mask and disclosed except some well intended but not very to the thunder-stricken count the face felicitously executed compositions by of a stranger! As he stood pale and one Lenzoni. . aghast, too much confounded for utter Count Lamba Malaspina is at preance or action, the black domino sent in exile, having been convicted of tripped into the gallery, followed by the crime of drawing sword on a disthe red-cross knight, panting under abled gentleman, on his way from a his armour.
masquerade at La Pergola. His seclu" Giulio ! my own Giulio !" cried sion is rendered more tolerable by the Violanta, throwing herself upon her loss of his teeth, which were rudely knees beside her pale and insensible thrust down his throat by this same brother, and covering his forehead Lenzoni (fated to have a finger in and lips with kisses. “Is he hurt? every pie) in defence of the attacked Is he dead? Water! for the love of party on that occasion. You will heaven! Will no one bring water?" hear Lenzoni's address (should you And tearing away her own mask, she wish to purchase a picture of his lifted him from the ground, and totally painting) at the Caffé del Gioco, opregardless of the astonished group posite the trattoria of La Bella Donna, who looked on in petrified silence, in the Corso. fanned and caressed him into life and consciousness.
“ Come away, Violanta !" said her father at last, in a hoarse voice.
THE ELOPEMENT ; “ Never, my father he is our own blood! How feel you now, Giulio ?”
OR, A MARRIAGE IN HIGH LIFE. “ Better, sweet! Where is Bi. ondo ?"
"I have earned three shillings this "Near by! But you shall go home blessed afternoon!" I exclaimed with with me. Signor Malaspinal as you ill-suppressed exultation, as I threw hope for my favour, lend my brother down my pen, which I had been dilian arm. Bettina, call up the chariot. gently using for four hours-(I was Nay, father! he goes home with me, penning “an article" for a certain or s with him. We never part 5 monthly," dear reader)-pushed my more !"
closely-written manuscripts from me, The red-cross knight gave Giulio and complacently took a yellow cigar an arm, and leaning on him and Vio- from my hat, which I have made my lanta, the poor youth made his way chief pocket since my fifth year, the to the carriage. Amieri stood at the time, I believe, when my discriminadoor, and received a look only as she ting parents exchanged my infant cap passed, and helping Giulio tenderly in, for the manly castor. Three shillings she gave the order to drive swiftly have I made this blessed day, heaven home, and in a few minutes they en. be thanked I and now I can conscien. tiously take a little “ ease in mine “ 'Tis distance lends enchantment to inn !" Whereupon I ignited my the view.” But she was not destined cigar with a self-enkindling apparatus, to be so worshipped by all. One a gift from my considerate landlady afternoon she was at her window, with -(pray heaven, she charge it not in a gilt-leaved volume in her hand, when her bill :)—to save her candles, and a gentleman of the most graceful bearascending the three steps to my win- ing-rode past my window. He was dow dormant, I seated myself in my well mounted, and sat his horse like accustomed chair, and forthwith began an Arabian! He was what the board. to speculate upon things external. It ing-school misses would call an elewas that calm, lovely time, which is gant fellow! a well bred man of the wont to usher in the twilight of a world, a remarkably handsome man! summer evening. The roll of wheels Tall, with a fine oval face, a black, beneath me in was ceaseless. penetrating eye, and a moustache upon Bright forms flashed by in gay car. his lip, together with a fine figure, riages ! The happy, the gallant, and and the most perfect address, he was, the beautiful were all forth to take what I should term, a captivating and the air on the fashionable evening dangerous man. His air, and a cer. drive! Why was I not with the ca. tain indescribable something, bespoke valcade? Where was my Rozinante? him a gentleman. As he came oppo. Where was my "establishment ?" site to her window, his eye, as he Echo answered “where ?" I puffed turned it thither, became fascinated away silently and vigorously for a few with her beauty! How much lovelier seconds, as these mental queries as a really lovely creature appears, seen sailed me; and, blessed soother of the through “plate glass !” Involun. troubled, oh, incomparable cigar! my tarily he drew in his spirited horse, philosophy returned.
and raised his hat! The action, the Diagonally opposite to my window manner, the grace, were inimitable. stands one of the proudest structures At this unguarded moment, the hind on —
It is costly with stone wheel of a rumbling omnibus struck and marble, lofty porticoes and colon- his horse in the chest. The animal nades. This edifice first attracted my reared high, and would have fallen attention by its architectural beauty, backward upon his rider, had he not and eventually fixed it by a mystery with remarkable presence of mind, that seemed, to my curious eye, sur- stepped quietly and gracefully from rounding one of its inmates! But I the stirrup to the pavement, as the will throw into the story-yein what I horse, losing his balance, fell violently have to narrate, for it is a nouvellette upon his side. The lady, who had in itself. I can unveil you the mystery, witnessed with surprise the involuntary lady!
homage of the stranger, for such, from A lady of dazzling beauty was an her manner of receiving it, he evi. inmate of that mansion ; and, for dently was to her, started from her aught I knew to the contrary, its only chair and screamed convulsively. The inmate. Every afternoon, arrayed in next moment he had secured and resimple white, with a flower or two in mounted his horse, who was only her hair, she was seated at the draw. slightly stunned with the fall, acknowing-room window, gazing out upon ledged the interest taken in his misthe gay spectacle
exhibits chance by the fair being who had been of a pleasant afternoon, I saw her its innocent cause, (unless beauty were the first moment I took possession of a crime,) by another bow, and rode my dormant nook, and was struck slowly and composedly onward, as if with her surpassing loveliness. Every nothing unusual had occurred. The evening I paid distant homage to her next evening the carriage was at the beauty. Dare a poor scribbler, a mere door of the mansion. The liveried penny-a-liner, aspire to a nearer ap- footman was standing with the steps proach to such a divinity, enshrined down, and the handle of the door in in countless wealth ? No! I wor. his hand. The coachman was seated shipped, like the publican, afar off. upon his box. I was, as usual, at my