Before describing the events which close this part of my story, it is as well to say that Faustina has made her last appearance for the present. From the point of view which would have been taken by most of her acquaintances, her marriage with Gouache was a highly improbable event. If any one desires an apology for being left in uncertainty as to her fate, I can only answer that I am writing the history of the Saracinesca and not of any one else. There are certain stages in that history which are natural halting-places for the historian himself, and for his readers if he have any; and it is impossible to make the lives of a number of people coincide so far as to wind them up together, and yet be sure that they will run down at the same moment like the clocks of his Majesty Charles the Fifth. If it were, the world would be a very different place.
The scene in the study, while the notary read through the voluminous documents, is worth describing. At one end of the large green table sat San Giacinto alone, his form, even as he sat, towering above the rest. The mourning he wore harmonised with his own dark and massive head. His expression was calm and thoughtful, betraying neither satisfaction nor triumph. From time to time his deep-set eyes turned towards Saracinesca with a look of inquiry, as though to assure himself that the prince agreed to the various points and was aware that he must now speak for the last time, if he spoke at all. At the other end of the board the two Saracinesca were seated side by side. The strong resemblance that existed between them was made very apparent by their position, but although, allowing for the difference of their ages, their features corresponded almost line for line, their expressions were totally different. The old man’s gray hair and pointed beard seemed to bristle with suppressed excitement. His heavy brows were bent together, as though he were making a great effort to control his temper, and now and then there was an angry gleam in his eyes. He sat square and erect in his seat, as though he were facing an enemy, but he kept his hands below the table, for he did not choose that San Giacinto should see the nervous working of his fingers. Giovanni, on the other hand, looked upon the proceedings with an indifference that was perfectly apparent. He occasionally looked at his watch, suppressed a yawn, and examined his nails with great interest. It was clear that he was not in the least moved by what was going on. It was no light matter for the old nobleman to listen to the documents that deprived him one by one of his titles, his estates, and his other wealth, in favour of a man who was still young, and whom, in spite of the relationship, he could not help regarding as an inferior. He had always considered himself as the representative of an older generation, who, by right of position, was entitled to transmit