Sant' Ilario by F. Marion Crawford
San Giacinto had signally failed in his attempt to prevent the meeting between Gouache and Faustina Montevarchi, and had unintentionally caused trouble of a much more serious nature in another quarter. The Zouave returned to his lodging late at night, and of course found no note upon his dressing-table. He did not miss the pin, for he of course never wore it, and attached no particular value to a thing of such small worth which he had picked up in the street and which consequently had no associations for him. He lacked the sense of order in his belongings, and the pin had lain neglected for weeks among a heap of useless little trifles, dingy cotillon favours that had been there since the previous year, stray copper coins, broken pencils, uniform buttons and such trash, accumulated during many months and totally unheeded. Had he seen the pin anywhere else he would have recognised it, but he did not notice its absence. The old woman, Caterina Ranucci, hugged her money and said nothing about either of the visitors who had entered the room during the afternoon. The consequence was that Gouache rose early on the following morning and went towards the church with a light heart. He did not know certainly that Faustina would come there, and indeed there were many probabilities against her doing so, but in the hopefulness of a man thoroughly in love, Gouache looked forward to seeing her with as much assurance as though the matter had been arranged and settled between them.
The parish church of Sant' Agostino is a very large building. The masses succeed each other in rapid succession from seven o'clock in the morning until midday, and a great crowd of parishioners pass in and out in an almost constant stream. It was therefore Gouache's intention to arrive so early as to be sure that Faustina had not yet come, and he trusted to luck to be there at the right time, for he was obliged to visit the temporary barrack of his corps before going to the church, and was also obliged to attend mass at a later hour with his battalion. On presenting himself at quarters he learned to his surprise that Monte Rotondo had not surrendered yet, though news of the catastrophe was expected every moment. The Zouaves were ordered to remain under arms all day in case of emergency, and it was only through the friendly assistance of one of his officers that Anastase obtained leave to absent himself for a couple of hours. He hailed a cab and drove to the church as fast as he could.
In less than twenty minutes after he had stationed himself at the entrance, Faustina ascended the steps accompanied by a servant. The latter was a middle-aged woman with hard features, clad in black, and wearing a handkerchief thrown loosely over her head after the manner of maids in those days. She evidently expected nothing, for she looked straight before her, peering into the church in order to see beforehand at which chapel there was likely to be a mass immediately. Faustina was a lovely figure in the midst of the crowd of common people who thronged the doorway, and whose coarse dark faces threw her ethereal features into strong relief while she advanced. Gouache felt his heart beat hard, for he had not seen her for five days since they had parted on that memorable Tuesday night at the gate of her father's house. Her eyes met his in a long and loving look, and the colour rose faintly in her delicate pale cheek. In the press she managed to pass close to him, and for a moment he succeeded in clasping her small hand in his, her maid being on the other side. He was about to ask a question when she whispered a few words and passed on.
"Follow me through the crowd, I will manage it," was what she said.
Gouache obeyed, and kept close behind her. The church was very full and there was difficulty in getting seats.
"I will wait here," said the young girl to her servant. "Get us chairs and find out where there is to be a mass. It is of no use for me to go through the crowd if I may have to come back again."
The hard-featured woman nodded and went away. Several minutes must elapse before she returned, and Faustina with Gouache behind her moved across the stream of persons who were going out through the door in the other aisle. In a moment they found themselves in a comparatively quiet corner, separated from the main body of the church by the moving people. Faustina fixed her eyes in the direction whence her woman would probably return, ready to enter the throng instantly, if necessary. Even where they now were, so many others were standing and kneeling that the presence of the Zouave beside Faustina would create no surprise.
"It is very wrong to meet you in church," said the girl, a little shy, at first, with that timidity a woman always feels on meeting a man whom she has last seen on unexpectedly intimate terms.
"I could not go away without seeing you," replied Gouache, his eyes intent on her face. "And I knew you would understand my signs, though no one else would. You have made me very happy, Faustina. It would have been agony to march away without seeing your face again--you do not know what these days have been without you! Do you realise that we used to meet almost every afternoon? Did they tell you why I could not come? I told every one I met, in hopes you might hear. Did you? Do you understand?"
Faustina nodded her graceful head, and glanced quickly at his face. Then she looked down, tapping the pavement gently with her parasol. The colour came and went in her cheeks.
"Do you really love me?" she asked in a low voice.
"I think, my darling, that no one ever loved as I love. I would that I might be given time to tell you what my love is, and that you might have patience to hear. What are words, unless one can say all one would? What is it, if I tell you that I love you with all my heart, and soul and thoughts? Do not other men say as much and forget that they have spoken? I would find a way of saying it that should make you believe in spite of yourself--"
"In spite of myself?" interrupted Faustina, with a bright smile while her brown eyes rested lovingly on his for an instant. "You need not that," she added simply, "for I love you, too."
Nothing but the sanctity of the place prevented Anastase from taking her in his arms then and there. There was something so exquisite in her simplicity and earnestness that he found himself speechless before her for a moment. It was something that intoxicated his spirit more than his senses, for it was utterly new to him and appealed to his own loyal and innocent nature as it could not have appealed to a baser man.
"Ah Faustina!" he said at last, "God made you when he made the violets, on a spring morning in Paradise!"
Faustina blushed again, faintly as the sea at dawn.
"Must you go away?" she asked.
"You would not have me desert at such a moment?"
"Would it be deserting--quite? Would it be dishonourable?"
"It would be cowardly. I should never dare to look you in the face again."
"I suppose it would be wrong," she answered with a bitter little sigh.
"I will come back very soon, dearest. The time will be short."
"So long--so long! How can you say it will be short? If you do not come soon you will find me dead--I cannot bear it many days more."
"I will write to you."
"How can you write? Your letters would be seen. Oh no! It is impossible!"
"I will write to your friend--to the Princess Sant' Ilario. She will give you the letters. She is safe, is she not?"
"Oh, how happy I shall be! It will be almost like seeing you--no, not that! But so much better than nothing. But you do not go at once?"
"It may be to-day, to-morrow, at any time. But you shall know of it. Ah Faustina! my own one--"
"Hush! There is my maid. Quick, behind the pillar. I will meet her. Good-bye--good-bye--Oh! not good-bye--some other word--"
"God keep you, my beloved, and make it not 'good-bye'!"
With one furtive touch of the hand, one long last look, they separated, Faustina to mingle in the crowd, Gouache to follow at a long distance until he saw her kneeling at her chair before one of the side altars of the church. Then he stationed himself where he could see her, and watched through the half hour during which the low mass lasted. He did not know when he should see her again, and indeed it was as likely as not that they should not meet on this side of eternity. Many a gallant young fellow marched out in those days and was picked off by a bullet from a red-shirted volunteer. Gouache, indeed, did not believe that his life was to be cut short so suddenly, and built castles in the air with that careless delight in the future which a man feels who is not at all afraid. But such accidents happened often, and though he might be more lucky than another, it was just as possible that an ounce of lead should put an end to his soldiering, his painting and his courtship within another week. The mere thought was so horrible that his bright nature refused to harbour it, and he gazed on Faustina Montevarchi as she knelt at her devotions, wondering, indeed, what strange chances fate had in store for them both, but never once doubting that she should one day be his. He waited until she passed him in the crowd, and gave him one more look before going away. Then, when he had seen her disappear at the turning of the street, he sprang into his cab and was driven back to the barracks where he must remain on duty all day.
As he descended he was surprised to see Sant' Ilario standing upon the pavement, very pale, and apparently in a bad humour, his overcoat buttoned to his throat, and his hands thrust in the pockets. There was no one in the street, but the sentinel at the doorway, and Giovanni walked quickly up to Gouache as the latter fumbled for the change to pay his driver. Anastase smiled and made a short military salute. Sant' Ilario bowed stiffly and did not extend his hand.
"I tried to find you last night," he said coldly. "You were out. Will you favour me with five minutes' conversation?"
"Willingly," answered the other, looking instinctively at his watch, to be sure that he had time to spare.
Sant' Ilario walked a few yards up the street, before speaking, Gouache keeping close to his side. Then both stopped, and Giovanni turned sharply round and faced his enemy.
"It is unnecessary to enter into any explanations, Monsieur Gouache," he said. "This is a matter which can only end in one way. I presume you will see the propriety of inventing a pretext which may explain our meeting before the world."
Gouache stared at Sant' Ilario in the utmost amazement. When they had last met they had parted on the most friendly terms. He did not understand a word of what his companion was saying.
"Excuse me, prince," he said at length. "I have not the least idea what you mean. As far as I am concerned this meeting is quite accidental. I came here on duty."
Sant' Ilario was somewhat taken aback by the Zouave's polite astonishment. He seemed even more angry than surprised, however; and his black eyebrows bent together fiercely.
"Let us waste no words," he said imperiously. "If I had found you last night, the affair might have been over by this time."
"What affair?" asked Gouache, more and more mystified.
"You are amazingly slow of comprehension, Monsieur Gouache," observed Giovanni. "To be plain, I desire to have an opportunity of killing you. Do you understand me now?"
"Perfectly," returned the soldier, raising his brows, and then breaking into a laugh of genuine amusement. "You are quite welcome to as many opportunities as you like, though I confess it would interest me to know the reason of your good intentions towards me."
If Gouache had behaved as Giovanni had expected he would, the latter would have repeated his request that a pretext should be found which should explain the duel to the world. But there was such extraordinary assurance in the Zouave's manner that Sant' Ilario suddenly became exasperated with him and lost his temper, a misfortune which very rarely happened to him.
"Monsieur Gouache," he said angrily, "I took the liberty of visiting your lodgings yesterday afternoon, and I found this letter, fastened with this pin upon your table. I presume you will not think any further explanation necessary."
Gouache stared at the objects which Sant' Ilario held out to him and drew back stiffly. It was his turn to be outraged at the insult.
"Sir," he said, "I understand that you acted in the most impertinent manner in entering my room and taking what did not belong to you. I understand nothing else. I found that pin on the Ponte Sant' Angelo a month ago, and it was, I believe, upon my table yesterday. As for the letter I know nothing about it. Yes, if you insist, I will read it."
There was a pause during which Gouache ran his eyes over the few lines written on the notepaper, while Giovanni watched him very pale and wrathful.
"The pin is my wife's, and the note is written on her paper and addressed to you, though in a feigned hand. Do you deny that both came from her, were brought by her in person, for yourself?"
"I deny it utterly and categorically," answered Gouache. "Though I will assuredly demand satisfaction of you for entering my rooms without my permission, I give you my word of honour that I could receive no such letter from the princess, your wife. The thing is monstrously iniquitous, and you have been grossly deceived into injuring the good name of a woman as innocent as an angel. Since the pin is the property of the princess, pray return it to her with my compliments, and say that I found it on the bridge of Sant' Angelo. I can remember the very date. It was a quarter of an hour before I was run over by Prince Montevarchi's carriage. It was therefore on the 23d of September. As for the rest, do me the favour to tell me where my friends can find yours in an hour."
"At my house. But allow me to add that I do not believe a word of what you say."
"Is it a Roman custom to insult a man who has agreed to fight with you?" inquired Gouache. "We are more polite in France. We salute our adversaries before beginning the combat."
Therewith the Zouave saluted Giovanni courteously and turned on his heel, leaving the latter in an even worse humour than he had found him. Gouache was too much surprised at the interview to reason connectedly about the causes which had led to it, and accepted the duel with Sant' Ilario blindly, because he could not avoid it, and because whatever offence he himself had unwittingly given he had in turn been insulted by Giovanni in a way which left him no alternative but that of a resort to arms. His adversary had admitted, had indeed boasted, of having entered Gouache's rooms, and of having taken thence the letter and the pin. This alone constituted an injury for which reparation was necessary, but not content with this, Sant' Ilario had given him the lie direct. Matters were so confused that it was hard to tell which was the injured party; but since the prince had undoubtedly furnished a pretext more than sufficient, the soldier had seized the opportunity of proposing to send his friends to demand satisfaction. It was clear, however, that the duel could not take place at once, since Gouache was under arms, and it was imperatively necessary that he should have permission to risk his life in a private quarrel at such a time. It was also certain that his superiors would not allow anything of the kind at present, and Gouache for his part was glad of the fact. He preferred to be killed before the enemy rather than in a duel for which there was no adequate explanation, except that a man who had been outrageously deceived by a person or persons unknown had chosen to attack him for a thing he had never done. He had not the slightest intention of avoiding the encounter, but he preferred to see some active service in a cause to which he was devoted before being run through the body by one who was his enemy only by mistake. Giovanni's reputation as a swordsman made it probable that the issue would be unfavourable to Gouache, and the latter, with the simple fearlessness that belonged to his character, meant if possible to have a chance of distinguishing himself before being killed.
Half an hour later, a couple of officers of Zouaves called upon Sant' Ilario, and found his representatives waiting for them. Giovanni had had the good fortune to find Count Spicca at home. That melancholy gentleman had been his second in an affair with Ugo del Ferice nearly three years earlier and had subsequently killed one of the latter's seconds in consequence of his dishonourable behaviour in the field. He had been absent in consequence until a few weeks before the present time, when matters had been arranged, and he had found himself free to return unmolested. It had been remarked at the club that something would happen before he had been in Rome many days. He was a very tall and cadaverous man, exceedingly prone to take offence, and exceedingly skilful in exacting the precise amount of blood which he considered a fair return for an injury. He had never been known to kill a man by accident, but had rarely failed to take his adversary's life when he had determined to do so. Spicca had brought another friend, whom it is unnecessary to describe. The interview was short and conclusive.
The two officers had instructions to demand a serious duel, and Spicca and his companion had been told to make the conditions even more dangerous if they could do so. On the other hand, the officers explained that as Rome was in a state of siege, and Garibaldi almost at the gates, the encounter could not take place until the crisis was past. They undertook to appear for Gouache in case he chanced to be shot in an engagement. Spicca, who did not know the real cause of the duel, and was indeed somewhat surprised to learn that Giovanni had quarrelled with a Zouave, made no attempt to force an immediate meeting, but begged leave to retire and consult with his principal, an informality which was of course agreed to by the other side. In five minutes he returned, stating that he accepted the provisions proposed, and that he should expect twenty-four hours' notice when Gouache should be ready. The four gentlemen drew up the necessary "protocol," and parted on friendly terms after a few minutes' conversation, in which various proposals were made in regard to the ground.
Spicca alone remained behind, and he immediately went to Giovanni, carrying a copy of the protocol, on which the ink was still wet.
"Here it is," he said sadly, as he entered the room, holding up the paper in his hand. "These revolutions are very annoying! There is no end to the inconvenience they cause."
"I suppose it could not be helped," answered Giovanni, gloomily.
"No. I believe I have not the reputation of wasting time in these matters. You must try and amuse yourself as best you can until the day comes. It is a pity you have not some other affair in the meanwhile, just to make the time pass pleasantly. It would keep your hand in, too. But then you have the pleasures of anticipation."
Giovanni laughed hoarsely, Spicca took a foil from the wall and played with it, looking along the thin blade, then setting the point on the carpet and bending the weapon to see whether it would spring back properly. Giovanni's eyes followed his movements, watching the slender steel, and then glancing at Spicca's long arms, his nervous fingers and peculiar grip.
"How do you manage to kill your man whenever you choose?" asked Sant' Ilario, half idly, half in curiosity.
"It is perfectly simple, at least with foils," replied the other, making passes in the air. "Now, if you will take a foil, I will promise to run you through any part of your body within three minutes. You may make a chalked mark on the precise spot. If I miss by a hair's-breadth I will let you lunge at me without guarding."
"Thank you," said Giovanni; "I do not care to be run through this morning, but I confess I would like to know how you do it. Could not you touch the spot without thrusting home?"
"Certainly, if you do not mind a scratch on the shoulder or the arm. I will try and not draw blood. Come on--so--in guard--wait a minute! Where will you be hit? That is rather important."
Giovanni, who was in a desperate humour and cared little what he did, rather relished the idea of a bout which savoured of reality. There was a billiard-table in the adjoining room, and he fetched a piece of chalk at once.
"Here," said he, making a small white spot upon his coat on the outside of his right shoulder.
"Very well," observed Spicca. "Now, do not rush in or I may hurt you."
"Am I to thrust, too?" asked Giovanni.
"If you like. You cannot touch me if you do."
"We shall see," answered Sant' Ilario, nettled at Spicca's poor opinion of his skill. "In guard!"
They fell into position and began play. Giovanni immediately tried his special method of disarming his adversary, which he had scarcely ever known to fail. He forgot, however, that Spicca had seen him practise this piece of strategy with success upon Del Ferice. The melancholy duellist had spent weeks in studying the trick, and had completely mastered it. To Giovanni's surprise the Count's hand turned as easily as a ball in a socket, avoiding the pressure, while his point scarcely deviated from the straight line. Giovanni, angry at his failure, made a quick feint and a thrust, lunging to his full reach. Spicca parried as easily and carelessly as though the prince had been a mere beginner, and allowed the latter to recover himself before he replied. A full two seconds after Sant' Ilario had resumed his guard, Spicca's foil ran over his with a speed that defied parrying, and he felt a short sharp prick in his right shoulder. Spicca sprang back and lowered his weapon.
"I think that is the spot," he said coolly, and then came forward and examined Giovanni's coat. The point had penetrated the chalked mark in the centre, inflicting a wound not more than a quarter of an inch deep in the muscle of the shoulder.
"Observe," he continued, "that it was a simple tierce, without a feint or any trick whatever."
On realising his absolute inferiority to such a master of the art, Giovanni broke into a hearty laugh at his own discomfiture. So long as he had supposed that some sort of equality existed between them he had been angry at being outdone; but when he saw with what ease Spicca had accomplished his purpose, his admiration for the skill displayed made him forget his annoyance.
"How in the world did you do it?" he said. "I thought I could parry a simple tierce, even though I might not be a match for you!"
"Many people have thought the same, my friend. There are two or three elements in my process, one of which is my long reach. Another is the knack of thrusting very quickly, which is partly natural, and partly the result of practice. My trick consists in the way I hold my foil. Look here. I do not grasp the hilt with all my fingers as you do. The whole art of fencing lies in the use of the thumb and forefinger. I lay my forefinger straight in the direction of the blade. Of course I cannot do it with a basket or a bell hilt, but no one ever objects to common foils. It is dangerous--yes--I might hurt my finger, but then, I am too quick. You ask the advantage? It is very simple. You and I and every one are accustomed from childhood to point with the forefinger at things we see. The accuracy with which we point is much more surprising than you imagine. We instinctively aim the forefinger at the object to a hair's-breadth of exactness. I only make my point follow my forefinger. The important thing, then, is to grasp the hilt very firmly, and yet leave the wrist limber. I shoot in the same way with a revolver, and pull the trigger with my middle finger. I scarcely ever miss. You might amuse yourself by trying these things while you are waiting for Gouache. They will make the time pass pleasantly."
Spicca, whose main pleasure in life was in the use of weapons, could not conceive of any more thoroughly delightful occupation.
"I will try it," said Giovanni, rubbing his shoulder a little, for the scratch irritated him. "It is very interesting. I hope that fellow will not go and have himself killed by the Garibaldians before I get a chance at him."
"You are absolutely determined to kill him, then?" Spicca's voice, which had grown animated during his exposition of his method, now sank again to its habitually melancholy tone.
Giovanni only shrugged his shoulders at the question, as though any answer were needless. He hung the foil he had used in its place on the wall, and began to smoke.
"You will not have another bout?" inquired the Count, putting away his weapon also, and taking his hat to go.
"Thanks--not to-day. We shall meet soon, I hope. I am very grateful for your good offices, Spicca. I would ask you to stay to breakfast, but I do not want my father to know of this affair. He would suspect something if he saw you here."
"Yes," returned the other quietly, "people generally do. I am rather like a public executioner in that respect. My visits often precede a catastrophe. What would you have? I am a lonely man."
"You, who have so many friends!" exclaimed Giovanni.
"Bah! It is time to be off," said Spicca, and shaking his friend's hand hastily he left the room.
Giovanni stood for several minutes after he had gone, wondering with a vague curiosity what this man's history had been, as many had wondered before. There was a fatal savour of death about Spicca which everybody felt who came near him. He was dreaded, as one of the worst-tempered men and one of the most remarkable swordsmen in Europe. He was always consulted in affairs of honour, and his intimate acquaintance with the code, his austere integrity, and his vast experience, made him invaluable in such matters. But he was not known to have any intimate friends among men or women. He neither gambled nor made love to other men's wives, nor did any of those things which too easily lead to encounters of arms; and yet, in his cold and melancholy way he was constantly quarrelling and fighting and killing his man, till it was a wonder that the police would tolerate him in any European capital. It was rumoured that he had a strange history, and that his life had been embittered in his early jouth by some tragic circumstance, but no one could say what that occurrence had been nor where it had taken place. He felt an odd sympathy for Giovanni, and his reference to his loneliness in his parting speech was unique, and set his friend to wondering about him.
Giovanni's mind was now as much at rest as was possible, under conditions which obliged him to postpone his vengeance for an indefinite period. He had passed a sleepless night after his efforts to find Gouache and had risen early in the morning to be sure of catching him. He had not seen his father since their interview of the previous evening, and had hoped not to see him again till the moment of leaving for Saracinesca. The old man had understood him, and that was all that was necessary for the present. He suspected that his father would not seek an interview any more than he did himself. But an obstacle had presented itself in the way of his departure which he had not expected, and which irritated him beyond measure. Corona was ill. He did not know whether her ailment were serious or not, but it was evident that he could not force her to leave her bed and accompany him to the country, so long as the doctor declared that she could not be moved. When Spicca was gone, he did not know what to do with himself. He would not go and see his wife, for any meeting must be most unpleasant. He had nerved himself to conduct her to the mountains, and had expected that the long drive would be passed in a disagreeable silence. So long as Corona was well and strong, he could have succeeded well enough in treating her as he believed that she deserved. Now that she was ill, he felt how impossible it would be for him to take good care of her without seeming to relent, even if he did not relent in earnest; and on the other hand his really noble nature would have prevented him from being harsh in his manner to her while she was suffering.
Until he had been convinced that a duel with Gouache was for the present impossible, his anger had supported him, and had made the time pass quickly throughout the sleepless night and through the events of the morning. Now that he was alone, with nothing to do but to meditate upon the situation, his savage humour forsook him and the magnitude of his misfortune oppressed him and nearly drove him mad. He went over the whole train of evidence again and again, and as often as he reviewed what had occurred, his conviction grew deeper and stronger, and he acknowledged that he had been deceived as man was never deceived before. He realised the boundless faith he had given to this woman who had betrayed him; he recollected the many proofs she had given him of her love; he drew upon the store of his past happiness and tortured himself with visions of what could never be again; he called up in fancy Corona's face when he had led her to the altar and the very look in her eyes was again upon him; he remembered that day more than two years ago when, upon the highest tower of Saracinesca, he had asked her to be his wife, and he knew not whether he desired to burn the memory of that first embrace from his heart, or to dwell upon the sweet recollection of that moment and suffer the wound of to-day to rankle more hotly by the horror of the comparison. When he thought of what she had been, it seemed impossible that she could have fallen; when he saw what she had become he could not believe that she had ever been innocent. A baser man than Giovanni would have suffered more in his personal vanity, seeing that his idol had been degraded for a mere soldier of fortune--or for a clever artist--whichever Gouache called himself, and such a husband would have forgiven her more easily had she forsaken him for one of his own standing and rank. But Giovanni was far above and beyond the thought of comparing his enemy with himself. He was wounded in what he had held most sacred, which was his heart, and in what had grown to be the mainspring of his existence, his trust in the woman he loved. Those who readily believe are little troubled if one of their many little faiths be shaken; but men who believe in a few things, with the whole strength of their being, are hurt mortally when that on which they build their loyalty is shattered and overturned.
Giovanni was a just man, and was rarely carried away by appearances; least of all could he have shown any such weakness when the yielding to it involved the destruction of all that he cared for in life. But the evidence was overwhelming, and no man could be blamed for accepting it. There was no link wanting in the chain, and the denials made by Corona and Anastase could not have influenced any man in his senses. What could a woman do but deny all? What was there for Gouache but to swear that the accusation was untrue? Would not any other man or woman have done as much? There was no denying it. The only person who remained unquestioned was Faustina Montevarchi. Either she was the innocent girl she appeared to be or not. If she were, how could Giovanni explain to her that she had been duped, and made an instrument in the hands of Gouache and Corona? She would not know what he meant. Even if she admitted that she loved Gouache, was it not clear that he had deceived her too, for the sake of making an accomplice of one who was constantly with Corona? Her love for the soldier could not explain the things that had passed between Anastase and Giovanni's wife, which Giovanni had seen with his own eyes. It could not account for the whisperings, the furtive meeting and tender words of which he had been a witness in his own house. It could not do away with the letter and the pin. But if Faustina were not innocent of assisting the two, she would deny everything, even as they had done.
As he thought of all these matters and followed the cruelly logical train of reasoning forced upon him by the facts, a great darkness descended upon Giovanni's heart, and he knew that his happiness was gone from him for ever. Henceforth nothing remained but to watch his wife jealously, and suffer his ills with the best heart he could. The very fact that he loved her still, with a passion that defied all things, added a terrible bitterness to what he had to bear, for it made him despise himself as none would have dared to despise him.