Valeria pricked up her ears.—“What sort of a dream?” inquired Fabio.
“I seemed,” replied Muzio, without taking his eyes from Valeria, “to see myself enter a spacious apartment with a vaulted ceiling, decorated in Oriental style. Carved pillars supported the vault; the walls were covered with tiles, and although there were no windows nor candles, yet the whole room was filled with a rosy light, just as though it had all been built of transparent stone. In the corners Chinese incense-burners were smoking; on the floor lay cushions of brocade, along a narrow rug. I entered through a door hung with a curtain, and from another door directly opposite a woman whom I had once loved made her appearance. And she seemed to me so beautiful that I became all aflame with my love of days gone by....”
Muzio broke off significantly. Valeria sat motionless, only paling slowly ... and her breathing grew more profound.
“Then,” pursued Muzio, “I woke up and played that song.”
“But who was the woman?” said Fabio.
“Who was she? The wife of an East Indian. I met her in the city of Delhi.... She is no longer among the living. She is dead.”
“And her husband?” asked Fabio, without himself knowing why he did so.
“Her husband is dead also, they say. I soon lost sight of them.”
“Strange!” remarked Fabio.—“My wife also had a remarkable dream last night—which she did not relate to me,” added Fabio.
But at this point Valeria rose and left the room. Immediately after breakfast Muzio also went away, asserting that he was obliged to go to Ferrara on business, and that he should not return before evening.
Several weeks before Muzio’s return Fabio had begun a portrait of his wife, depicting her with the attributes of Saint Cecilia.—He had made noteworthy progress in his art; the famous Luini, the pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, had come to him in Ferrara, and aiding him with his own advice, had also imparted to him the precepts of his great master. The portrait was almost finished; it only remained for him to complete the face by a few strokes of the brush, and then Fabio might feel justly proud of his work.
When Muzio departed to Ferrara, Fabio betook himself to his studio, where Valeria was generally awaiting him; but he did not find her there; he called to her—she did not respond. A secret uneasiness took possession of Fabio; he set out in quest of her. She was not in the house; Fabio ran into the garden—and there, in one of the most remote alleys, he descried Valeria. With head bowed upon her breast, and hands clasped on her knees, she was sitting on a bench, and behind her, standing out against the dark green of a cypress, a marble satyr, with face distorted in a malicious smile, was applying his pointed lips to his reed-pipes. Valeria was visibly delighted at her husband’s appearance, and in reply to