The violent excitement which suffocated her stopped her words, for she had no voice; her convulsive movements showed plainly that she lay, as it were, between life and death. Bartolomeo roughly pushed her from him.
“Go,” he said. “The wife of Luigi Porta cannot be a Piombo. I have no daughter. I have not the strength to curse you, but I cast you off; you have no father. My Ginevra Piombo is buried here,” he said, in a deep voice, pressing violently on his heart. “Go, leave my house, unhappy girl,” he added, after a moment’s silence. “Go, and never come into my sight again.”
So saying, he took Ginevra by the arm to the gate of the house and silently put her out.
“Luigi!” cried Ginevra, entering the humble lodging of her lover,—“my Luigi, we have no other fortune than our love.”
“Then am I richer than the kings of the earth!” he cried.
“My father and my mother have cast me off,” she said, in deepest sadness.
“I will love you in place of them.”
“Then let us be happy,—we will be happy!” she cried, with a gayety in which there was something dreadful.
The day after Ginevra was driven from her father’s house she went to ask Madame Servin for asylum and protection until the period fixed by law for her marriage to Luigi.
Here began for her that apprenticeship to trouble which the world strews about the path of those who do not follow its conventions. Madame Servin received her very coldly, being much annoyed by the harm which Ginevra’s affair had inflicted on her husband, and told her, in politely cautious words, that she must not count on her help in future. Too proud to persist, but amazed at a selfishness hitherto unknown to her, the girl took a room in the lodging-house that was nearest to that of Luigi. The son of the Portas passed all his days at the feet of his future wife; and his youthful love, the purity of his words, dispersed the clouds from the mind of the banished daughter; the future was so beautiful as he painted it that she ended by smiling joyfully, though without forgetting her father’s severity.
One morning the servant of the lodging house brought to Ginevra’s room a number of trunks and packages containing stuffs, linen, clothes, and a great quantity of other articles necessary for a young wife in setting up a home of her own. In this welcome provision she recognized her mother’s foresight, and, on examining the gifts, she found a purse, in which the baroness had put the money belonging to her daughter, adding to it the amount of her own savings. The purse was accompanied by a letter, in which the mother implored the daughter to forego the fatal marriage if it were still possible to do so. It had cost her, she said, untold difficulty to send these few things to her daughter; she entreated her not to think her hard if, henceforth, she were forced to abandon her to want; she feared she could never again assist her; but she blessed her and prayed for her happiness in this fatal marriage, if, indeed, she persisted in making it, assuring her that she should never cease to think of her darling child. Here the falling tears had effaced some words of the letter.