‘I play no tricks. Tell me at what hour these soldiers march.’
‘At two in the morning.’
’Don’t be afraid, silly child: you’re safe if you obey me. At what time has our carriage been ordered?’
’Now swear to do this:—rouse my mistress at a quarter past two: bring her down to me.’
‘Yes, yes,’ said Kitchen, eagerly: ’give me your handkerchief, and she will follow me. I do swear; that I do; by big St. Christopher! who’s painted on the walls of our house at home.’
Beppo handed her sweet silver, which played a lively tune for her temporarily—vanished cow and goats. Peering at her features in the starlight, he let her take the handkerchief from his pocket.
‘Oh! what have you got in there?’ she said.
He laid his finger across her mouth, bidding her return to the house.
‘Dear heaven!’ Katchen went in murmuring; ’would I have gone out to that soft-looking young man if I had known he was a devil.’
Angelo Guidascarpi was aware that an officer without responsibility never sleeps faster than when his brothers-in-arms have to be obedient to the reveillee. At two in the morning the bugle rang out: many lighted cigars were flashing among the dark passages of the inn; the whitecoats were disposed in marching order; hot coffee was hastily swallowed; the last stragglers from the stables, the outhouses, the court, and the straw beds under roofs of rock, had gathered to the main body. The march set forward. A pair of officers sent a shout up to the drowsy windows, ’Good luck to you, Weisspriess!’ Angelo descended from the concealment of the opposite trees, where he had stationed himself to watch the departure. The inn was like a sleeper who has turned over. He made Katchen bring him bread and slices of meat and a flask of wine, which things found a place in his pockets: and paying for his mistress and himself, he awaited Vittoria’s foot on the stairs. When Vittoria came she asked no questions, but said to Katchen, ‘You may kiss me’; and Kitchen began crying; she believed that they were lovers daring everything for love.
’You have a clear start of an hour and a half. Leave the high-road then, and turn left through the forest and ask for Bormio. If you reach Tyrol, and come to Silz, tell people that you know Katchen Giesslinger, and they will be kind to you.’
So saying, she let them out into the black-eyed starlight.
ADVENTURES OF VITTORIA AND ANGELO