“A most interesting narrative,” said Mervale, rising. “Come, Glyndon; shall we seek our hotel? It is almost daylight. Adieu, signor!”
“What think you of this story?” said Glyndon, as the young men walked homeward.
“Why, it is very clear that this Zanoni is some imposter,—some clever rogue; and the Neapolitan shares the booty, and puffs him off with all the hackneyed charlatanism of the marvellous. An unknown adventurer gets into society by being made an object of awe and curiosity; he is more than ordinarily handsome, and the women are quite content to receive him without any other recommendation than his own face and Cetoxa’s fables.”
“I cannot agree with you. Cetoxa, though a gambler and a rake, is a nobleman of birth and high repute for courage and honour. Besides, this stranger, with his noble presence and lofty air,—so calm, so unobtrusive,—has nothing in common with the forward garrulity of an imposter.”
“My dear Glyndon, pardon me; but you have not yet acquired any knowledge of the world! The stranger makes the best of a fine person, and his grand air is but a trick of the trade. But to change the subject,—how advances the love affair?”
“Oh, Viola could not see me to-day.”
“You must not marry her. What would they all say at home?”
“Let us enjoy the present,” said Glyndon, with vivacity; “we are young, rich, good-looking; let us not think of to-morrow.”
“Bravo, Glyndon! Here we are at the hotel. Sleep sound, and don’t dream of Signor Zanoni.”
Prende, giovine audace
L’occasione offerta avidamente.
“Ger. Lib.,” c. vi. xxix.
(Take, youth, bold and impatient, the offered occasion eagerly.)
Clarence Glyndon was a young man of fortune, not large, but easy and independent. His parents were dead, and his nearest relation was an only sister, left in England under the care of her aunt, and many years younger than himself. Early in life he had evinced considerable promise in the art of painting, and rather from enthusiasm than any pecuniary necessity for a profession, he determined to devote himself to a career in which the English artist generally commences with rapture and historical composition, to conclude with avaricious calculation and portraits of Alderman Simpkins. Glyndon was supposed by his friends to possess no inconsiderable genius; but it was of a rash and presumptuous order. He was averse from continuous and steady labour, and his ambition rather sought to gather the fruit than to plant the tree. In common with many artists in their youth, he was fond of pleasure and excitement, yielding with little forethought to whatever impressed his fancy or appealed to his passions. He had travelled through the more celebrated cities of Europe, with the avowed purpose and sincere resolution of studying the divine masterpieces of his art. But in each, pleasure had too often allured him from ambition, and living beauty distracted his worship from the senseless canvas. Brave, adventurous, vain, restless, inquisitive, he was ever involved in wild projects and pleasant dangers,—the creature of impulse and the slave of imagination.