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

mumbled Muzio, in a singsong, as though in a state of unconsciousness.

Fabio retreated a couple of paces, fixed his eyes on Muzio, meditated for a space ... and returned to his house, to the bed-chamber.

With her head inclined upon her shoulder, and her arms helplessly outstretched, Valeria was sleeping heavily.  He did not speedily succeed in waking her ... but as soon as she saw him she flung herself on his neck, and embraced him convulsively; her whole body was quivering.

“What aileth thee, my dear one, what aileth thee?” said Fabio repeatedly, striving to soothe her.

But she continued to lie as in a swoon on his breast.  “Akh, what dreadful visions I see!” she whispered, pressing her face against him.

Fabio attempted to question her ... but she merely trembled....

The window-panes were reddening with the first gleams of dawn when, at last, she fell asleep in his arms.

VIII

On the following day Muzio disappeared early in the morning, and Valeria informed her husband that she intended to betake herself to the neighbouring monastery, where dwelt her spiritual father—­an aged and stately monk, in whom she cherished unbounded confidence.  To Fabio’s questions she replied that she desired to alleviate by confession her soul, which was oppressed with the impressions of the last few days.  As he gazed at Valeria’s sunken visage, as he listened to her faint voice, Fabio himself approved of her plan:  venerable Father Lorenzo might be able to give her useful advice, disperse her doubts....  Under the protection of four escorts, Valeria set out for the monastery, but Fabio remained at home; and while awaiting the return of his wife, he roamed about the garden, trying to understand what had happened to her, and feeling the unremitting terror and wrath and pain of indefinite suspicions....  More than once he entered the pavilion; but Muzio had not returned, and the Malay stared at Fabio like a statue, with an obsequious inclination of his head, and a far-away grin—­at least, so it seemed to Fabio—­a far-away grin on his bronze countenance.

In the meantime Valeria had narrated everything in confession to her confessor, being less ashamed than frightened.  The confessor listened to her attentively, blessed her, absolved her from her involuntary sins,—­but thought to himself:  “Magic, diabolical witchcraft ... things cannot be left in this condition".... and accompanied Valeria to her villa, ostensibly for the purpose of definitely calming and comforting her.

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