So far his action in the matter had been a mere boyish freak; and now that he saw it was likely to become an affair of grave importance, involving the lives of many persons, he determined to have nothing further to do with it.
Chapter 3: On The Grand Canal.
Giuseppi, next morning, heard the announcement of the determination of Francis, to interfere no further in the matter of the conspiracy at San Nicolo, with immense satisfaction. For the last few nights he had scarcely slept, and whenever he dozed off, dreamed either of being tortured in dungeons, or of being murdered in his gondola; and no money could make up for the constant terrors which assailed him. In his waking moments he was more anxious for his employer than for himself, for it was upon him that the vengeance of the conspirators would fall, rather than upon a young gondolier, who was only obeying the orders of his master.
It was, then, with unbounded relief that he heard Francis had decided to go no more out to San Nicolo.
During the next few days Francis went more frequently than usual to the Piazza of Saint Mark, and had no difficulty in recognizing there the various persons he had seen in the hut, and in ascertaining their names and families. One of the citizens he had failed to recognize was a large contractor in the salt works on the mainland. The other was the largest importer of beasts for the supply of meat to the markets of the city.
Francis was well satisfied with the knowledge he had gained. It might never be of any use to him, but it might, on the other hand, be of importance when least expected.
As a matter of precaution he drew up an exact account of the proceedings of the two nights on the lagoons, giving an account of the meeting, and the names of the persons present, and placed it in a drawer in his room. He told Giuseppi what he had done.
“I do not think there is the least chance of our ever being recognized, Giuseppi. There was not enough light for the man to have made out our features. Still there is nothing like taking precautions, and if—I don’t think it is likely, mind—but if anything should ever happen to me—if I should be missing, for example, and not return by the following morning—you take that paper out of my drawer and drop it into the Lion’s Mouth. Then, if you are questioned, tell the whole story.”
“But they will never believe me, Messer Francisco,” Giuseppi said in alarm.
“They will believe you, because it will be a confirmation of my story; but I don’t think that there is the least chance of our ever hearing anything further about it.”
“Why not denounce them at once without putting your name to it,” Giuseppi said. “Then they could pounce upon them over there, and find out all about it for themselves?”
“I have thought about it, Giuseppi, but there is something treacherous in secret denunciations. These men have done me no harm, and as a foreigner their political schemes do not greatly concern me. I should not like to think I had sent twelve men to the dungeons and perhaps to death.”