Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 611 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.

Matters were rapidly approaching a climax.  San Giacinto had seen the lawyers at Frascati, and he had brought his wife back to Rome very soon in order to be on the spot while the case was being prepared.  The men of the law declared that the matter was a very simple one and that no court could withhold its decision a single day after seeing the documents which constituted the claim.  The only point about which any argument could arise related to the identity of San Giacinto himself, and no difficulty was found in establishing substantial proof that he was Giovanni Saracinesca and not an impostor.  His father and grandfather had jealously kept all the records of themselves which were necessary, from the marriage certificate of the original Don Leone, who had signed the deed, to the register of San Giacinto’s own birth.  Copies were obtained, properly drawn up and certified, of the parish books and of the few government documents which were officially preserved in the kingdom of Naples before 1860, and the lawyers declared themselves ready to open the case.  Up to this time the strictest secrecy was preserved, at the request of San Giacinto himself.  He said that in such an important matter he wished nothing to transpire until he was ready to act; more especially as the Saracinesca themselves could not be ignorant of the true state of the case and had no right to receive notice of the action beforehand.  As Corona had foreseen, San Giacinto intended to obtain the decision by means of a perfectly legal trial, and was honestly ready to court enquiry into the rights he was about to assert.  When the moment came and all was ready, he went to the Palazzo Saracinesca and asked for the prince, who received him in the same room in which the two had met when the ex-innkeeper had made his appearance in Rome nearly three months earlier.  As San Giacinto entered he felt that he had not wasted his time during that short interval.

“I have come to talk with you upon a business which must be unpleasant to you,” he began.  “Unfortunately it cannot be avoided.  I beg you to believe that it is my wish to act loyally and fairly.”

“I hope so,” said Saracinesca, bending his bushy gray eyebrows and fixing his keen old eyes upon his visitor.

“You need not doubt it,” replied San Giacinto rather proudly.  “You are doubtless acquainted with the nature of the deed by which our great-grandfathers agreed to transfer the titles and property to the younger of the two.  When we first spoke of the matter I was not aware of the existence of a saving clause.  I cannot suppose you ignorant of it.  That clause provided that if Leone Saracinesca married and had a lawful heir, the deed should be null and void.  He did marry, as you know.  I am his direct descendant, and have children of my own by my first marriage.  I cannot therefore allow the clause in question to remain in abeyance any longer.  With all due respect to you, I am obliged to tell you quite frankly that, in law, I am Prince Saracinesca.”

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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