Vendetta: a story of one forgotten eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 542 pages of information about Vendetta.
effect.”  Though in black, he had donned a velvet coat instead of the cloth one he had worn in the morning—­he had a single white japonica in his buttonhole—­his face was pale and his eyes unusually brilliant.  He looked his best—­I admitted it, and could readily understand how an idle, pleasure-seeking feminine animal might be easily attracted by the purely physical beauty of his form and features.  I spoke a part of my thoughts aloud.

“You are not only an artist by profession, Signer Ferrari—­you are one also in appearance.”

He flushed slightly and smiled.

“You are very amiable to say so,” he replied, his pleased vanity displaying itself at once in the expression of his face.  “But I am well aware that you flatter me.  By the way, before I forget it, I must tell you that I fulfilled your commission.”

“To the Countess Romani?”

“Exactly.  I cannot describe to you her astonishment and delight at the splendor and brilliancy of those jewels you sent her.  It was really pretty to watch her innocent satisfaction.”

I laughed.

“Marguerite and the jewel song in ‘Faust,’ I suppose, with new scenery and effects?” I asked, with a slight sneer.  He bit his lip and looked annoyed.  But he answered, quietly: 

“I see you must have your joke, conte; but remember that if you place the countess in the position of Marguerite, you, as the giver of the jewels, naturally play the part of Mephistopheles.”

“And you will be Faust, of course!” I said, gayly.  “Why, we might mount the opera with a few supernumeraries and astonish Naples by our performance!  What say you?  But let us come to business.  I like the picture you have on the easel there—­may I see it more closely?”

He drew it nearer; it was a showy landscape with the light of the sunset upon it.  It was badly done, but I praised it warmly, and purchased it for five hundred francs.  Four other sketches of a similar nature were then produced.  I bought these also.  By the time we got through these matters, Ferrari was in the best of humors.  He offered me some excellent wine and partook of it himself; he talked incessantly, and diverted me extremely, though my inward amusement was not caused by the witty brilliancy of his conversation.  No, I was only excited to a sense of savage humor by the novelty of the position in which we two men stood.  Therefore I listened to him attentively, applauded his anecdotes—­all of which I had heard before—­admired his jokes, and fooled his egotistical soul till he had no shred of self-respect remaining.  He laid his nature bare before me—­and I knew what it was at last—­a mixture of selfishness, avarice, sensuality, and heartlessness, tempered now and then by a flash of good-nature and sympathetic attraction which were the mere outcomes of youth and physical health—­no more.  This was the man I had loved—­this fellow who told coarse stories only worthy of a common pot-house, and who reveled

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