Saracinesca eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about Saracinesca.
to Donna Tullia Mayer.  He lost no time in telling his friends the good news, and before the evening was over a hundred people had congratulated him.  Donna Tullia, too, appeared in more than usually gay attire, and smilingly received the expressions of good wishes which were showered upon her.  She was not inclined to question the sincerity of those who spoke, for in her present mood the stimulus of a little popular noise was soothing to her nerves, which had been badly strained by the excitement of the day.  When she closed her eyes she had evil visions of Temistocle retreating at full speed down the stairs with his unearned bribe, or of Del Ferice’s calm, pale face, as he had sat in her house that afternoon grasping the precious documents in his hand until she promised to pay the price he asked, which was herself.  But she smiled at each new congratulation readily enough, and said in her heart that she would yet become a great power in society, and make her house the centre of all attractions.  And meanwhile she pondered on the title she should buy for her husband:  she came of high blood herself, and she knew how such dignities as a “principe” or a “duca” were regarded when bought.  There was nothing for it but to find some snug little marquisate—­“marchese” sounded very well, though one could not be called “eccellenza” by one’s servants; still, as the daughter of a prince, she might manage even that.  “Marchese”—­yes, that would do.  What a pity there were only four “canopy” marquises—­“marchesi del baldacchino”—­in Rome with the rank of princes!  That was exactly the combination of dignities Donna Tullia required for her husband.  But once a “marchese,” if she was very charitable, and did something in the way of a public work, the Holy Father might condescend to make Del Ferice a “duca” in the ordinary course as a step in the nobility.  Donna Tullia dreamed many things that night, and she afterwards accomplished most of them, to the surprise of everybody, and, if the truth were told, to her own considerable astonishment.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

“Giovanni, you are the victim of some outrageous plot,” said old Saracinesca, entering his son’s room on the following morning.  “I have thought it all out in the night, and I am convinced of it.”

Giovanni was extended upon a sofa, with a book in his hand and a cigar between his lips.  He looked up quietly from his reading.

“I am not the victim yet, nor ever will be,” he answered; “but it is evident that there is something at the bottom of this besides Madame Mayer’s imagination.  I will find out.”

“What pleases me especially,” remarked the old Prince, “is the wonderful originality of the idea.  It would have been commonplace to make out that you had poisoned half-a-dozen wives, and buried their bodies in the vaults of Saracinesca; it would have been banal to say that you were not yourself, but some one else; or to assert that you were a revolutionary agent in disguise, and that the real Giovanni had been murdered by you, who had taken his place without my discovering it,—­very commonplace all that.  But to say that you actually have a living wife, and to try to prove it by documents, is an idea worthy of a great mind.  It takes one’s breath away.”

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Saracinesca from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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