Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.
—­, from whom he has large expectations of land and gold, sent for him, and forbade him, on pain of forfeiting all the possessions which his schemes already had parcelled out, to pursue with dishonourable designs one whom the Cardinal had heeded and loved from childhood.  This is the cause of his present pause from his pursuit.  While we speak, the cause expires.  Before the hand of the clock reaches the hour of noon, the Cardinal —­ will be no more.  At this very moment thy friend, Jean Nicot, is with the Prince di —.”

“He! wherefore?”

“To ask what dower shall go with Viola Pisani, the morning that she leaves the palace of the prince.”

“And how do you know all this?”

“Fool!  I tell thee again, because a lover is a watcher by night and day; because love never sleeps when danger menaces the beloved one!”

“And you it was that informed the Cardinal —?”

“Yes; and what has been my task might as easily have been thine.  Speak,—­thine answer!”

“You shall have it on the third day from this.”

“Be it so.  Put off, poor waverer, thy happiness to the last hour.  On the third day from this, I will ask thee thy resolve.”

“And where shall we meet?”

“Before midnight, where you may least expect me.  You cannot shun me, though you may seek to do so!”

“Stay one moment!  You condemn me as doubtful, irresolute, suspicious.  Have I no cause?  Can I yield without a struggle to the strange fascination you exert upon my mind?  What interest can you have in me, a stranger, that you should thus dictate to me the gravest action in the life of man?  Do you suppose that any one in his senses would not pause, and deliberate, and ask himself, ’Why should this stranger care thus for me?’”

“And yet,” said Zanoni, “if I told thee that I could initiate thee into the secrets of that magic which the philosophy of the whole existing world treats as a chimera, or imposture; if I promised to show thee how to command the beings of air and ocean, how to accumulate wealth more easily than a child can gather pebbles on the shore, to place in thy hands the essence of the herbs which prolong life from age to age, the mystery of that attraction by which to awe all danger and disarm all violence and subdue man as the serpent charms the bird,—­if I told thee that all these it was mine to possess and to communicate, thou wouldst listen to me then, and obey me without a doubt!”

“It is true; and I can account for this only by the imperfect associations of my childhood,—­by traditions in our house of—­”

“Your forefather, who, in the revival of science, sought the secrets of Apollonius and Paracelsus.”

“What!” said Glyndon, amazed, “are you so well acquainted with the annals of an obscure lineage?”

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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