Vendetta: a story of one forgotten eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 542 pages of information about Vendetta.

“Ah, Heaven!” he cried; “that monsieur the distinguished should have been in such a storm all unprotected!  Why did not monsieur send for his carriage?” I cut short his exclamations by dropping five francs into his ever-ready hand, assuring him that I had thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of a walk in bad weather, whereat he smiled and congratulated me as much as he had just commiserated me.  On reaching my own rooms, my valet Vincenzo stared at my dripping and disheveled condition, but was discreetly mute.  He quickly assisted me to change my wet clothes for a warm dressing-gown, and then brought a glass of mulled port wine, but performed these duties with such an air of unbroken gravity that I was inwardly amused while I admired the fellow’s reticence.  When I was about to retire for the night, I tossed him a napoleon.  He eyed it musingly and inquiringly; then he asked: 

“Your excellency desires to purchase something?”

“Your silence, my friend, that is all!” I replied, with a laugh.  “Understand me, Vincenzo, you will serve yourself and me best by obeying implicitly, and asking no questions.  Fortunate is the servant who, accustomed to see his master drunk every night, swears to all outsiders that he has never served so sober and discreet a gentleman!  That is your character, Vincenzo—­keep to it, and we shall not quarrel.”  He smiled gravely, and pocketed my piece of gold without a word—­like a true Tuscan as he was.  The sentimental servant, whose fine feelings will not allow him to accept an extra “tip,” is, you may be sure, a humbug.  I never believed in such a one.  Labor can always command its price, and what so laborious in this age as to be honest?  What so difficult as to keep silence on other people’s affairs?  Such herculean tasks deserve payment!  A valet who is generously bribed, in addition to his wages, can be relied on; if underpaid, all heaven and earth will not persuade him to hold his tongue.  Left alone at last in my sleeping chamber, I remained for some time before actually going to bed.  I took off the black spectacles which served me so well, and looked at myself in the mirror with some curiosity.  I never permitted Vincenzo to enter my bedroom at night, or before I was dressed in the morning, lest he should surprise me without these appendages which were my chief disguise, for in such a case I fancy even his studied composure would have given way.  For, disburdened of my smoke-colored glasses, I appeared what I was, young and vigorous in spite of my white beard and hair.  My face, which had been worn and haggard at first, had filled up and was healthily colored; while my eyes, the spokesmen of my thoughts, were bright with the clearness and fire of constitutional strength and physical well-being.  I wondered, as I stared moodily at my own reflection, how it was that I did not look ill.  The mental suffering I continually underwent, mingled though it was with a certain gloomy satisfaction, should surely have left

Project Gutenberg
Vendetta: a story of one forgotten from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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