Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 611 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.
the perfect nobleman; his conduct in the affair between Faustina and Gouache had shown that.  He acted according to his lights, and was not ashamed to do things which his cousin Giovanni would have called mean.  But he was manly, for all that, and if he owed some of his dignity to great stature and to his indomitable will, it was also in a measure the outward sign of a good heart and of an innate sense of justice.  There had as yet been nothing dishonest in his dealings since he had come to Rome.  He had acquired a fortune which enabled him to take the position that was lawfully his.  He liked Flavia, and had bargained for her with her father, afterwards scrupulously fulfilling the terms of the contract.  He had not represented himself to be what he was not, and he had taken no unfair advantage of any one for his own advancement.  In the matter of the suit he was the dupe of old Montevarchi, so far as the deeds were concerned, but he was perfectly aware that he actually represented the elder branch of his family.  It is hard to imagine how any man in his position could have done less than he did, and now that it had come to a final settlement he was really anxious to cause his vanquished relations as little humiliation as possible.  To go to their house was like playing the part of a bailiff.  To allow them to come to his dwelling suggested the journey to Canossa.  The Palazzo Montevarchi was neutral ground, and he proposed that the formalities should be fulfilled there.  Saracinesca consented readily enough and the day was fixed.

The notaries arrived at ten o’clock in the morning, accompanied by clerks who were laden with books, inventories and rolls of manuscript.  The study had been selected for the meeting, both on account of its seclusion from the rest of the house and because it contained an immense table which would serve for the voluminous documents, all of which must be examined and verified.  San Giacinto himself awaited the arrival of the Saracinesca in the great reception-room.  He had sent his wife away, for he was in reality by no means so calm as he appeared to be, and her constant talk disturbed him.  He paced the long room with regular steps, his head erect, his hands behind him, stopping from time to time to listen for the footsteps of those he expected.  It was the great day of his life.  Before night, he was to be Prince Saracinesca.

The moments that precede a great triumph are very painful, especially if a man has looked forward to the event for a long time.  No matter how sure he is of the result, something tells him that it is uncertain.  A question may arise, he cannot guess whence, by which all may be changed.  He repeats to himself a hundred times that failure is impossible, but he is not at rest.  The uncertainty of all things, even of his own life, appears very clearly before his eyes.  His heart beats fast and slow from one minute to another.  At the very instant when he is dreaming of the future, the possibility

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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