Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 497 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.
take what looked like an unfair advantage.  Considering Faustina’s strange nature, her amazing readiness to yield to first impulses, and her touching innocence of evil, it would have been an easy matter for the man she loved to draw her into a runaway match.  She would have followed him as readily to the ends of the earth as she had followed him to the Serristori barracks.  Gouache was not a boy, and probably understood her peculiarities as well as any one.  In going away for the present he was undoubtedly acting with the greatest delicacy, for his departure showed at once all the respect he felt for Faustina, and all that devotion to an ideal honour which was the foundation of his being.  Though his epistle was not a model of literary style it contained certain phrases that came from the heart.  Corona understood why Faustina was pleased with it, and why instead of shedding useless tears over his absence, she had shown such willingness to let her friend read Gouache’s own explanation of his departure.  She folded the sheet of paper again and gave it back to the young girl.

“I am glad he wrote that letter,” she said after a moment’s pause.  “I always believed in him, and now—­well, I think, he is almost worthy of you, Faustina.”

Faustina threw her arms around Corona’s neck, and kissed her again and again.

“I am so glad you know how good he is!” she cried.  “I could not be happy unless you liked him, and you do.”

All through the morning the two friends sat together in the great drawing-room talking, as such women can talk to each other, with infinite grace about matters not worth recording, or if they spoke of things of greater importance, repeating the substance of what they had said before, finding at each repetition some new comment to make, some new point upon which to agree, after the manner of people who are very fond of each other.  The hours slipped by, and they were unconscious of the lapse of time.  The great clocks of the neighbouring church towers tolled eleven, twelve, and one o’clock, and yet they had more to say, and did not even notice the loud ringing of the hundred bells.  The day was clear, and the bright sunlight streamed in through the high windows, telling the hour with a more fateful precision than the clocks outside.  All was peace and happiness and sweet intercourse, as the two women sat there undisturbed through the long morning.  They talked, and laughed, and held their hands clasped together, unconscious of the rest of the world.  No sound penetrated from the rest of the house to the quiet, sunlit hall, which to Faustina’s mind had never looked so cheerful before since she could remember it.  And yet within the walls of the huge old palace strange things were passing, things which it was well that neither of them should see.

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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