“The facts are very few,” said the latter after a moment’s hesitation. “It appears that you had arranged to meet a lady on Sunday morning. A certain person whom I will not name discovered your intention, and conceived the idea of preventing the meeting by sending you a note purporting to come from the lady. As he could get none of her note-paper he possessed himself of some of my wife’s. He pinned the note on your table with the pin you had chanced to find. I was foolish enough to enter your room and I recognised the pin and the paper. You understand the rest.”
Gouache laughed merrily.
“I understand that you did me a great service. I met the lady after all, but if I had received the note I would not have gone, and she would have waited for me. Do you mind telling me the name of the individual who tried to play me the trick?”
“If you will excuse my discretion, I would rather not. He knows that his plan failed. I should not feel justified in telling you his name, from other motives.”
“As you please,” said Gouache. “I daresay I shall find him out.”
So the interview ended and Giovanni went home to rest at last, almost as much worn out as Gouache himself. He was surprised at the ease with which everything had been arranged, but he was satisfied with the result and felt that a weight had been taken from his mind. He slept long and soundly and awoke the next morning to hear that Corona was much better.
The events of Saturday and Sunday had to all appearances smoothed many difficulties from the lives of those with whom my history is concerned. Corona and Giovanni were once more united, though the circumstances that had produced so terrible a breach between them had left a shadow on their happiness. Gouache had fought his battle and had returned with a slight wound so that as soon as he could go out he would be able to renew his visits at the Palazzo Montevarchi and see Faustina without resorting to any more ingenious stratagems. San Giacinto had failed to produce the trouble he had planned, but his own prospects were brilliant enough. His marriage with Flavia was to take place on the last of the month and the preliminaries were being arranged as quickly as possible. Flavia herself was delighted with the new dignity she assumed in the family, and if she was not positively in love with San Giacinto, was enough attracted by him to look forward with pleasure upon the prospect of becoming his wife. Old Montevarchi alone seemed preoccupied and silent, but his melancholy mood was relieved by occasional moments of anticipated triumph, while he made frequent visits to the library and seemed to find solace in the conversation of the librarian, Arnoldo Meschini.
In the future of each of these persons there was an element of uncertainty which most of them disregarded. As Corona recovered, Giovanni began to think that she would really forget as well as forgive all he had made her suffer. Gouache on his part entertained the most sanguine hopes of marrying Faustina. Montevarchi looked forward with assurance to the success of his plot against the Saracinesca. San Giacinto and Flavia were engaged, indeed, but were not yet married. And yet the issue of none of these events was absolutely sure.