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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about A Reckless Character.

It seems to her that she enters a spacious room with a low, vaulted ceiling....  She has never seen such a room in her life.  All the walls are set with small blue tiles bearing golden patterns; slender carved pillars of alabaster support the marble vault; this vault and the pillars seem semi-transparent....  A pale, rose-coloured light penetrates the room from all directions, illuminating all the objects mysteriously and monotonously; cushions of gold brocade lie on a narrow rug in the very middle of the floor, which is as smooth as a mirror.  In the corners, barely visible, two tall incense-burners, representing monstrous animals, are smoking; there are no windows anywhere; the door, screened by a velvet drapery, looms silently black in a niche of the wall.  And suddenly this curtain softly slips aside, moves away ... and Muzio enters.  He bows, opens his arms, smiles....  His harsh arms encircle Valeria’s waist; his dry lips have set her to burning all over....  She falls prone on the cushions....

* * * * *

Moaning with fright, Valeria awoke after long efforts.—­Still not comprehending where she is and what is the matter with her, she half raises herself up in bed and looks about her....  A shudder runs through her whole body....  Fabio is lying beside her.  He is asleep; but his face, in the light of the round, clear moon, is as pale as that of a corpse ... it is more melancholy than the face of a corpse.  Valeria awoke her husband—­and no sooner had he cast a glance at her than he exclaimed:  “What is the matter with thee?”

“I have seen ...  I have seen a dreadful dream,” she whispered, still trembling....

But at that moment, from the direction of the pavilion, strong sounds were wafted to them—­and both Fabio and Valeria recognised the melody which Muzio had played to them, calling it the Song of Love Triumphant.—­Fabio cast a glance of surprise at Valeria....  She closed her eyes, and turned away—­and both, holding their breath, listened to the song to the end.  When the last sound died away the moon went behind a cloud, it suddenly grew dark in the room....  The husband and wife dropped their heads on their pillows, without exchanging a word, and neither of them noticed when the other fell asleep.

V

On the following morning Muzio came to breakfast; he seemed pleased, and greeted Valeria merrily.  She answered him with confusion,—­ scrutinised him closely, and was startled by that pleased, merry face, those piercing and curious eyes.  Muzio was about to begin his stories again ... but Fabio stopped him at the first word.

“Evidently, thou wert not able to sleep in a new place?  My wife and I heard thee playing the song of last night.”

“Yes?  Did you hear it?”—­said Muzio.—­“I did play it, in fact; but I had been asleep before that, and I had even had a remarkable dream.”

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