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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 67 pages of information about Vittoria Volume 2.
very large; the copyist had a dash of the feelings of a commentator, and did his (or her) best to add an oath to it.  Who the deuce, sir, is this opera girl calling herself Vittoria?  I have a lecture for you.  German women don’t forgive diversions during courtship; and if you let this Countess Lena slip, your chance has gone.  I compliment you on your power of lying; but you must learn to show your right face to me, or the very handsome feature, your nose, and that useful box, your skull, will come to grief.  The whole business is a mystery.  The letter (copy) was directed to you, brought to me, and opened in a fit of abstraction, necessary to commanding uncles who are trying to push the fortunes of young noodles pretending to be related to them.  Go to Countess Lena.  Count Paul is with her, from Bologna.  Speak to her, and observe her and him.  He knows English—­has been attached to the embassy in London; but, pooh! the hand’s Italian.  I confess myself puzzled.  We shall possibly have to act on the intimation of the fifteenth, and profess to be wiser than others.  Something is brewing for business.  See Countess Lena boldly, and then come and breakfast with me.’

Wilfrid read the miserable copy of Vittoria’s letter, utterly unable to resolve anything in his mind, except that he would know among a thousand the leader of those men who had attacked him, and who bore the mark of his sword.

CHAPTER X

THE POPE’S MOUTH

Barto Rizzo had done what he had sworn to do.  He had not found it difficult to outstrip the lieutenant (who had to visit Brescia on his way) and reach the gates of Verona in advance of him, where he obtained entrance among a body of grape-gatherers and others descending from the hills to meet a press of labour in the autumnal plains.  With them he hoped to issue forth unchallenged on the following morning; but Wilfrid’s sword had made lusty play; and, as in the case when the order has been given that a man shall be spared in life and limb, Barto and his fellow-assailants suffered by their effort to hold him simply half a minute powerless.  He received a shrewd cut across the head, and lay for a couple of hours senseless in the wine-shop of one Battista—­one of the many all over Lombardy who had pledged their allegiance to the Great Cat, thinking him scarcely vulnerable.  He read the letter, dizzy with pain, and with the frankness proper to inflated spirits after loss of blood, he owned to himself that it was not worth much as a prize.  It was worth the attempt to get possession of it, for anything is worth what it costs, if it be only as a schooling in resolution, energy, and devotedness:—­ regrets are the sole admission of a fruitless business; they show the bad tree;—­so, according to his principle of action, he deliberated; but he was compelled to admit that Vittoria’s letter was little else than a repetition of her want of discretion when she

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