I laughed. She was so naive, so absorbed in her little duties—such a child altogether.
“Nay, Lilla, I am proud to think you make anything for me. I shall enjoy it more now that I know what kind hands have been at work. But you must not spoil Vincenzo—you will turn his head if you make his coffee too often.”
She looked surprised. She did not understand. Evidently to her mind Vincenzo was nothing but a good-natured young fellow, whose palate could be pleased by her culinary skill; she treated him, I dare say, exactly as she would have treated one of her own sex. She seemed to think over my words, as one who considers a conundrum, then she apparently gave it up as hopeless, and shook her head lightly as though dismissing the subject.
“Will the eccellenza visit the Punto d’Angelo?” she said brightly, as she turned to go.
I had never heard of this place, and asked her to what she alluded.
“It is not far from here,” she explained, “it is the view I spoke of before. Just a little further up the hill you will see a flat gray rock, covered with blue gentians. No one knows how they grow—they are always there, blooming in summer and winter. But it said that one of God’s own great angels comes once in every month at midnight to bless the Monte Vergine, and that he stands on that rock. And of course wherever the angels tread there are flowers, and no storm can destroy them—not even an avalanche. That is why the people call it the Punto d’Angelo. It will please you to see it, eccellenza—it is but a walk of a little ten minutes.”
And with a smile, and a courtesy as pretty and as light as a flower might make to the wind, she left me, half running, half dancing down the hill, and singing aloud for sheer happiness and innocence of heart. Her pure lark-like notes floated upward toward me where I stood, wistfully watching her as she disappeared. The warm afternoon sunshine caught lovingly at her chestnut hair, turning it to a golden bronze, and touched up the whiteness of her throat and arms, and brightened the scarlet of her bodice, as she descended the grassy slope, and was at last lost to my view amid the foliage of the surrounding trees.
I sighed heavily as I resumed my walk. I realized all that I had lost. This lovely child with her simple fresh nature, why had I not met such a one and wedded her instead of the vile creature who had been my soul’s undoing? The answer came swiftly. Even if I had seen her when I was free, I doubt if I should have known her value. We men of the world who have social positions to support, we see little or nothing in the peasant type of womanhood; we must marry “ladies,” so-called—educated girls who are as well versed in the world’s ways as ourselves, if not more so. And so we get the Cleopatras, the Du Barrys, the Pompadours, while unspoiled