As Lucille retired that night she felt the force of Vittoria’s noble life, and longed to emulate one so related to her friend Leo. She felt her own heart drawing nearer to Leo’s, and in the silent hours of the night, she sometimes wondered if she should ever bear the honored name of Colonna.
Next day at 12 o’clock promptly, Leo’s cousin came, and the Harrises and Leo took the Rome and Naples line for Marino, located sixteen miles southeast of Rome, where Vittoria Colonna had lived, and where Leo expected to find and take possession of his own palace and property.
The Roman tombs of the Via Appia on the right were soon left behind. A dozen miles out and Frascate a summer resort was conspicuous with its many lovely villas. Later the party left the train and enjoyed a beautiful drive of three miles to Marino, a small town famous for its wine, and located on the Alban Mountains. In the middle ages, the Orsini defended themselves here in a stronghold against their enemies the Colonna, but the latter under Martin V. captured Marino, which with the surrounding country has remained a fief of the Colonna family to the present day.
Ferdinand had already attended to much of the detail at Marino, so that Leo, as owner of the vast Colonna estate, was loyally received by the villagers, the tenants, and the old servants. Leo made his friends, the Harrises, most welcome at his unexpected and palatial home. The Harrises were delighted at what they saw. Leo and Lucille took several drives together over the large estate. Once they drove along the shady roads, commanding extensive views, through the beautiful park of Colonna, and down a well wooded valley to the clear waters of the Alban Lake. Often Leo wished that Alfonso had accompanied him.
For some time before leaving Rome, Lucille had complained of a dull headache and chills at night. In France Mrs. Harris was fearful that the summer trip to Italy was not wise, but Leo and her family thought the yacht voyage to Naples would be charming. On the morning of the third day at Marino, Lucille was unable to leave her bed. Leo hastily called a physician who found her pulse very low. She experienced great thirst and nausea, and the heat of her body was much increased. When the doctor learned that Colonel Harris’s daughter had slept in Rome with the window open, he at once declared to the family that Lucille had Roman fever, that dreaded malaria which is engendered in summer months near the marshes of Italy. Leo summoned to Marino the ablest physicians of Rome, who were in constant attendance, and heroic treatment was adopted.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Harris were half crazed with the fear of losing their beautiful daughter, and Leo himself was nearly frantic. Lucille grew rapidly worse. Her strength and courage failed her, she became unconscious, and as the tall white lily in the midday sun loses its beauty and life, so Lucille passed from earth, her agonizing mother holding the dead daughter’s slender white hands.