Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.
you have forgot the forfeit!’ Our host seemed to me to recoil and turn pale at those words; nevertheless, he returned Zanoni’s smile with a look of defiance.  The next moment all was broil and disorder.  There might be some six or eight persons engaged in a strange and confused kind of melee, but the prince and myself only sought each other.  The noise around us, the confusion of the guests, the cries of the musicians, the clash of our own swords, only served to stimulate our unhappy fury.  We feared to be interrupted by the attendants, and fought like madmen, without skill or method.  I thrust and parried mechanically, blind and frantic, as if a demon had entered into me, till I saw the prince stretched at my feet, bathed in his blood, and Zanoni bending over him, and whispering in his ear.  That sight cooled us all.  The strife ceased; we gathered, in shame, remorse, and horror, round our ill-fated host; but it was too late,—­his eyes rolled fearfully in his head.  I have seen many men die, but never one who wore such horror on his countenance.  At last all was over!  Zanoni rose from the corpse, and, taking, with great composure, the sword from my hand, said calmly, ’Ye are witnesses, gentlemen, that the prince brought his fate upon himself.  The last of that illustrious house has perished in a brawl.’

“I saw no more of Zanoni.  I hastened to our envoy to narrate the event, and abide the issue.  I am grateful to the Neapolitan government, and to the illustrious heir of the unfortunate nobleman, for the lenient and generous, yet just, interpretation put upon a misfortune the memory of which will afflict me to the last hour of my life.

(Signed) “Louis Victor, Duc de R.”

In the above memorial, the reader will find the most exact and minute account yet given of an event which created the most lively sensation at Naples in that day.

Glyndon had taken no part in the affray, neither had he participated largely in the excesses of the revel.  For his exemption from both he was perhaps indebted to the whispered exhortations of Zanoni.  When the last rose from the corpse, and withdrew from that scene of confusion, Glyndon remarked that in passing the crowd he touched Mascari on the shoulder, and said something which the Englishman did not overhear.  Glyndon followed Zanoni into the banquet-room, which, save where the moonlight slept on the marble floor, was wrapped in the sad and gloomy shadows of the advancing night.

“How could you foretell this fearful event?  He fell not by your arm!” said Glyndon, in a tremulous and hollow tone.

“The general who calculates on the victory does not fight in person,” answered Zanoni; “let the past sleep with the dead.  Meet me at midnight by the sea-shore, half a mile to the left of your hotel.  You will know the spot by a rude pillar—­the only one near—­to which a broken chain is attached.  There and then, if thou wouldst learn our lore, thou shalt find the master.  Go; I have business here yet.  Remember, Viola is still in the house of the dead man!”

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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