till my vengeance was fulfilled. Oh, what bitter
shafts of agony Ferrari carried in his heart at that
moment, I thought. How
he had looked when
I said she never cared for him! Poor wretch!
I pitied him even while I rejoiced at his torture.
He suffered now as I had suffered—he was
duped as I had been duped—and each quiver
of his convulsed face and tormented frame had been
fraught with satisfaction to me! Each moment of
his life was now a pang to him. Well! it would
soon be over—thus far at least I was merciful.
I drew out pens and paper and commenced to write a
few last instructions, in case the result of the fight
should be fatal to me. I made them very concise
and brief—I knew, while writing, that they
would not be needed. Still—for the
sake of form I wrote—and sealing the document,
I directed it to the Duke di Marina. I looked
at my watch—it was past one o’clock
and Vincenzo had not yet returned. I went to
the window, and drawing back the curtains, surveyed
the exquisitely peaceful scene that lay before me.
The moon was still high and bright—and her
reflection made the waters of the bay appear like
a warrior’s coat of mail woven from a thousand
glittering links of polished steel. Here and there,
from the masts of anchored brigs and fishing-boats
gleamed a few red and green lights burning dimly like
fallen and expiring stars. There was a heavy
unnatural silence everywhere—it oppressed
me, and I threw the window wide open for air.
Then came the sound of bells chiming softly.
People passed to and fro with quiet footsteps—some
paused to exchange friendly greetings. I remembered
the day with a sort of pang at my heart. The
night was over, though as yet there was no sign of
dawn—and—it was Christmas morning!
The opening of the room door aroused me from my meditations.
I turned—to find Vincenzo standing near
me, hat in hand—he had just entered.
“Ebbene!” I said, with a cheerful air—“what
“Eccellenza, you have been obeyed. The
young Signor Ferrari is now at his studio.”
“You left him there?”
“Yes, eccellenza”—and Vincenzo
proceeded to give me a graphic account of his adventures.
On leaving the banqueting-room, Ferrari had taken
a carriage and driven straight to the Villa Romani—
Vincenzo, unperceived, had swung himself on to the
back of the vehicle and had gone also.
“Arriving there,” continued my valet,
“he dismissed the fiacre—and rang
the gate-bell furiously six or seven times. No
one answered. I hid myself among the trees and
watched. There were no lights in the villa windows—all
was darkness. He rang it again—he even
shook the gate as though he would break it open.
At last the poor Giacomo came, half undressed and
holding a lantern in his hand—he seemed
terrified, and trembled so much that the lantern jogged
up and down like a corpse-candle on a tomb.