Across the city, and beyond, we saw, from the terrace, the old mountain of the warm heart, smoking amiably, and the lights of Torre del Greco at its feet, and there, across the bay, I beheld, as I had nightly so long ago, the lamps of Castellamare, of Sorrento; then, after a stretch of water, a twinkling which was Capri. How good it was to know that all these had not taken advantage of my long absence to run away and vanish, as I had half feared they would. Those who have lived here love them well; and it was a happy thought that the beautiful lady knew them now, and shared them. I had never known quite all their loveliness until I felt that she knew it too. This was something that I must never tell her—yet what happiness there was in it!
I stood close to the railing, with a rambling gaze over this enchanted earth and sea and sky, while my friend walked nervously up and down behind me. We had come to Naples in the late afternoon, and had found a note from Mrs. Landry at our hotel, asking us for dinner. Poor Jr. had not spoken more than twice since he had read me this kind invitation, but now I heard a low exclamation from him, which let me know who was approaching; and that foolish trembling got hold of me again as I turned.
Mrs. Landry came first, with outstretched hand, making some talk excusing delay; and, after a few paces, followed the loveliest of all the world. Beside her, in silhouette against the white window lights of the hotel, I saw the very long, thin figure of a man, which, even before I recognized it, carried a certain ominousness to my mind.
Mrs. Landry, in spite of her florid contentedness, had sometimes a fluttering appearance of trivial agitations.
“The Prince came down from Rome this morning,” she said nervously, and I saw my friend throw back his head like a man who declines the eye-bandage when they are going to shoot him. “He is dining with us. I know you will be glad to meet him.”
The beautiful lady took Poor Jr.’s hand, more than he hers, for he seemed dazed, in spite of the straight way he stood, and it was easy to behold how white his face was. She made the presentation of us both at the same time, and as the other man came into the light, my mouth dropped open with wonder at the singular chances which the littleness of our world brings about.
“Prince Caravacioli, Mr. Poor. And this is Signor Ansolini.”
It was my half-brother, that old Antonio!
Never lived any person with more possession of himself than Antonio; he bowed to each of us with the utmost amiability; and for expression—all one saw of it was a little streak of light in his eye-glass.
“It is yourself, Raffaele?” he said to me, in the politest manner, in our own tongue, the others thinking it some commonplace, and I knew by his voice that the meeting was as surprising and as exasperating to him as to me.