“Two years after the marriage, Sulpizia was lying upon a couch in the room behind us, where you have seen the veiled portrait which hung in my brother’s chamber. All the long windows and doors were open and we sat by her side, talking gently in whispers. I knew that death was at hand, but I rejoiced to think that much as he had suffered, there was one bitter drop that had been spared him.
“Sulpizia’s voice was scarcely audible, and the deadly pallor deepened every moment upon her face. Camillo bent over her without speaking, and bowed his head. I stood apart. In a little while she seemed to be unconscious of our presence. Her eyes were open and her glance was toward the window, but her few words showed her mind to be wandering. Still a few moments, and her lips moved inaudibly, she lifted her hands to Camillo’s face and drew it toward her own with infinite tenderness. His listening soul heard one word only—the glimmering phantom of sound—it was ‘Luigi.’
“His head bowed more profoundly. Sulpizia’s eyes were closed. I crossed her hands upon her breast. I touched my brother—he started a moment—looked at me, at his wife, and sunk slowly, senseless by the couch.”
Think of it! The birds sing—the sun shines—the leaves rustle—the flowers bud and bloom—children shout—young hearts are happy—the world wheels on—and such tragedies are, and always have been!
I sat with the old Marchesa upon her balcony, and listened to this terrible tale. She tells it no more, for she is gone now. The Marchesa tells it no more, but Venice tells it still; and as you glide in your black gondola along the canal, under the balconies, in the full moonlight of summer nights, listen and listen; and vaguely in your heart or in your fancy you will hear the tragic strain.
THE TORTURE CHAMBER.
BY WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER.
Down the broad, imperial Danube,
As its wandering waters guide,
Past the mountains and the meadows,
Winding with the stream, we glide.
RATISBON we leave behind us,
Where the spires and gables throng,
And the huge cathedral rises,
Like a fortress, vast and strong.
Close beside it, stands the
With its massive tower, alone,
Brooding o’er the dismal secret,
Hidden in its heart of stone.
There, beneath the old foundations,
Lay the prisons of the State,
Like the last abodes of vengeance,
In the fabled realms of Fate.
And the tides of life above
Drifted ever, near and wide,
As at Venice, round the prisons,
Sweeps the sea’s incessant tide.
Never, like the far-off dashing,
Or the nearer rush of waves,
Came the tread or murmur downward,
To those dim, unechoing caves.