Vendetta: a story of one forgotten eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 420 pages of information about Vendetta.

meaning literally—­“How beautiful a thing to die, suddenly slain at the door of one’s beloved!”

There was no sense in the thing, I thought half angrily—­it was a stupid sentiment altogether.  Yet I could not help smiling at the ragged, barefooted rascal who sung it:  he seemed to feel such a gratification in repeating it, and he rolled his black eyes with lovelorn intensity, and breathed forth sighs that sounded through his music with quite a touching earnestness.  Of course he was only following the manner of all Neapolitans, namely, acting his song; they all do it, and cannot help themselves.  But this boy had a peculiarly roguish way of pausing and crying forth a plaintive “Ah!” before he added “Che bella cosa,” etc., which gave point and piquancy to his absurd ditty.  He was evidently brimful of mischief—­ his expression betokened it; no doubt he was one of the most thorough little scamps that ever played at “morra,” but there was a charm about his handsome dirty face and unkempt hair, and I watched him amusedly, glad to be distracted for a few minutes from the tired inner workings of my own unhappy thoughts.  In time to come, so I mused, this very boy might learn to set his song about the “beloved” to a sterner key, and might find it meet, not to be slain himself, but to slay her!  Such a thing—­in Naples—­was more than probable.  By and by the dance ceased, and I recognized in one of the breathless, laughing sailors my old acquaintance Andrea Luziani, with whom I had sailed to Palermo.  The sight of him relieved me from a difficulty which had puzzled me for some days, and as soon as the little groups of men and women had partially dispersed, I walked up to him and touched him on the shoulder.  He started, looked round surprised, and did not appear to recognize me.  I remembered that when he had seen me I had not grown a beard, neither had I worn dark spectacles.  I recalled my name to him; his face cleared and he smiled.

“Ah! buon giorno, eccellenza!” he cried.  “A thousand pardons that I did not at first know you!  Often have I thought of you! often have I heard your name—­ah! what a name!  Rich, great, generous!—­ah! what a glad life!  And on the point of marrying—­ah, Dio! love makes all the troubles go—­so!” and taking his cigar from his mouth, he puffed a ring of pale smoke into the air and laughed gayly.  Then suddenly lifting his cap from his clustering black hair, he added, “All joy be with you, eccellenza!”

I smiled and thanked him.  I noticed he looked at me curiously.

“You think I have changed in appearance, my friend?” I said.

The Sicilian looked embarrassed.

“Ebbene! we must all change,” he answered, lightly, evading my glance.  “The days pass on—­each day takes a little bit of youth away with it.  One grows old without knowing it!”

I laughed.

“I see,” I observed.  “You think I have aged somewhat since you saw me?”

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