She attributed Anna’s apparent passion of revenge to a secret passion of unrequited love. What else was implied by her willingness to part with land and money for the key to his machinations?
Violetta would have understood a revenge directed against Angelo Guidascarpi, as the slayer of Anna’s brother. But of him Anna had only inquired once, and carelessly, whether he was in Milan. Anna’s mystical semi-patriotism—prompted by her hatred of Vittoria, hatred of Carlo as Angelo’s cousin and protector, hatred of the Italy which held the three, who never took the name Tedesco on their tongues without loathing—was perfectly hidden from this shrewd head.
Some extra patrols were in the streets. As she stepped into the carriage, a man rushed up, speaking hoarsely and inarticulately, and jumped in beside her. She had discerned Barto Rizzo in time to give directions to her footman, before she was addressed by a body of gendarmes in pursuit, whom she mystified by entreating them to enter her house and search it through, if they supposed that any evil-doer had taken advantage of the open door. They informed her that a man had escaped from the civil prison. “Poor creature!” said the countess, with womanly pity; “but you must see that he is not in my house. How could three of you let one escape? “She drove off laughing at their vehement assertion that he would not have escaped from them. Barto Rizzo made her conduct him to Countess Ammiani’s gates.
Violetta was frightened by his eyes when she tried to persuade him in her best coaxing manner to avoid Count Ammiani. In fact she apprehended that he would be very much in her way. She had no time for chagrin at her loss of power over him, though she was sensible of vexation. Barto folded his arms and sat with his head in his chest, silent, till they reached the’ gates, when he said in French, “Madame, I am a nameless person in your train. Gabble!” he added, when the countess advised him not to enter; nor would he allow her to precede him by more than one step. Violetta sent up her name. The man had shaken her nerves. “At least, remember that your appearance should be decent,” she said, catching sight of blood on his hands, and torn garments. “I expect, madame,” he replied, “I shall not have time to wash before I am laid out. My time is short. I want tobacco. The washing can be done by-and-by, but not the smoking.”
They were ushered up to the reception-room, where Countess Ammiani, Vittoria, and Carlo sat, awaiting the visitor whose unexpected name, cast in their midst at so troubled a season, had clothed her with some of the midnight’s terrors.
THE LAST MEETING IN MILAN