“We are great men, all three of us,” said Signor Poggi, “and greatness cleaves to greatness. Return as quickly as you can, Albert, and obey Signor Ganns in everything. May this cloud be quickly lifted from your life. Meantime you both have my prayers.”
Albert translated the speech for Peter’s benefit; then the train moved forward and Virgilio took the next boat home again. He sneezed all the way, for he had accepted a pinch from Peter’s snuffbox ignorant of its effects upon an untrained nose.
REVOLVER AND PICKAXE
While Brendon entertained no sort of regard for Giuseppe Doria, his balanced mind allowed him to view the man with impartial justice. He discounted the fact of the Italian’s victory in love, and, because he knew himself to be an unsuccessful rival, was the more jealous that disappointment should not create any bias. But Doria had failed to make Jenny a happy wife; he understood that well enough, and he could not forget that some future advantage to himself might accrue from this circumstance. The girl’s attitude had changed; he was not blind and could not fail to note it. For the present, however, he smothered his own interests and strove with all his strength to advance a solution of the problems before him. He was specially desirous to furnish important information for Peter Ganns on his return.
He did what his judgment indicated but failed to find sufficient reasons for linking Doria with the mystery, or associating him with Robert Redmayne. For despite Peter’s luminous analysis, Mark still regarded the unknown as Albert Redmayne’s brother; and he could find no reasonable argument for associating Giuseppe with this person, either at present or in the past. Everything rather pointed in a contrary direction. Brendon traversed the incidents connected with Bendigo Redmayne’s disappearance, yet he could recall nothing suspicious about Giuseppe’s conduct at “Crow’s Nest”; and if it seemed unreasonable to suppose he had taken a hand in the second tragedy, it appeared still less likely that he could be associated with the first.
It was true that Doria had wedded Pendean’s widow; but that he should have slain her husband in order to do so appeared a grotesque assumption. Moreover, as a student of character, Mark could not honestly find in Jenny’s husband any characteristics that argued a malevolent attitude to life. He was a pleasure-loving spirit and his outlook and ambitions, while frivolous, were certainly not criminal. He talked of the smugglers a good deal and declared himself in sympathy with them; but it was gasconade; he evinced no particular physical bravery; he was fond of his comforts and seemed little likely to risk his own liberty by association with breakers of law and order.
A startling proof that Mark had not erred in this estimate was afforded by a conversation which he enjoyed with Doria on a day soon after the departure of Albert Redmayne and his friend. Giuseppe and his wife had planned to visit an acquaintance at Colico, to the northward of the lake; and before the steamer started, after noon, the two men took a stroll in the hills a mile above Menaggio. Brendon had asked for some private conversation and the other gladly agreed.