in his hand—well I knew who had given it
to him! I passed him—he glanced up
carelessly, his handsome face clearly visible in the
bright moonlight—but there was nothing about
a common fisherman to attract his attention—his
look only rested upon me for a second and was withdrawn
immediately. An insane desire possessed me to
turn upon him—to spring at his throat—to
wrestle with him and throw him in the dust at my feet—to
spit at him and trample upon him—but I
repressed those fierce and dangerous emotions.
I had a better game to play—I had an exquisite
torture in store for him, compared to which a hand-to-hand
fight was mere vulgar fooling. Vengeance ought
to ripen slowly in the strong heat of intense wrath,
till of itself it falls—hastily snatched
before its time it is like unmellowed fruit, sour
and ungrateful to the palate. So I let my dear
friend—my wife’s consoler—saunter
on his heedless way without interference—I
passed, leaving him to indulge in amorous musings
to his false heart’s content. I entered
Naples, and found a night’s lodging at one of
the usual resorts for men of my supposed craft, and,
strange to say, I slept soundly and dreamlessly.
Recent illness, fatigue, fear, and sorrow, all aided
to throw me like an exhausted child upon the quiet
bosom of slumber, but perhaps the most powerfully
soothing opiate to my brain was the consciousness
I had of a practical plan of retribution—more
terrible perhaps than any human creature had yet devised,
so far as I knew. Unchristian you call me?
I tell you again, Christ never loved a woman!
Had He done so, He would have left us some special
code of justice.
I rose very early the next morning—I was
more than ever strengthened in my resolutions of the
past night—my projects were entirely formed,
and nothing remained now but for me to carry them
out. Unobserved of any one I took my way again
to the vault. I carried with me a small lantern,
a hammer, and some strong nails. Arrived at the
cemetery I looked carefully everywhere about me, lest
some stray mourner or curious stranger might possibly
be in the neighborhood. Not a soul was in sight.
Making use of the secret passage, I soon found myself
on the scene of my recent terrors and sufferings,
all of which seemed now so slight in comparison with,
the mental torture of my present condition. I
went straight to the spot where I had left the coffined
treasure—I possessed myself of all the
rolls of paper money, and disposed them in various
small packages about my person and in the lining of
my clothes till, as I stood, I was worth many thousand
of francs. Then with the help of the tools I
had brought, I mended the huge chest in the split places
where I had forced it open, and nailed it up fast so
that it looked as if it had never been touched.
I lost no time over my task, for I was in haste.
It was my intention to leave Naples for a fortnight