Imágenes de páginas

desires of these young people. They Italian with which Lucy's pretty were neither of them in any special lips were wont to overflow. My lord hurry to be done with the portrait- had the little picture submitted to and perhaps the young lady liked the him, and said "pshaw!" with desitting almost as much as the artist did. lightful English ease and candourIt was such capital exercise, too, for for, of course, the foreign fellow could her Italian :--for you sec that good, not tell what pshaw meant; and faithful old maid of hers, who was altogether, both painter and sitter the most comfortable of chaperones, were damped and out of heart, and knew no language in the world but the picture in a fair way to be irreher own; and it was of great impor- trievably spoiled. tance for Lucy, if only for grandpapa's When, lo ! suddenly and without comfort, to increase her familiarity warning, my lord was called out of with “the language of the country.” the room to see some lofty personSo, up to this time they had gone on age, whom even he did not choose very comfortably; but alas for Lucy's to send away. The old man gloomEnglish honesty, and the sad explo- ed round him with the ugliest sion brought upon her by that un- displeasure. He called for Miss lucky curtsy on the stair!

Lucy's maid, and left her in charge In the first place, to Francisco's with plaiu spoken instructions. " Let Spartan - Roman habits, the atmo- the fellow leave as soon as possible ; sphere of the room was stifling. A and remember this is the last sitting fire to him was no household institu- you give him, Lucy,” said my lord, tion, and scarcely at any time neces- looking Francisco full in the face as sary to comfort. To-day, though it he spoke;, “and you, Reynolds, see was November, the door-window of that there's no more talking than is Teta’s room, which was directly necessary - do you hear ?” with above this, stood open, and nothing which words he went reluctantly in the shape of fire was in Teta's away. The fellow, of course, did not dominions, except the handful of know English ; but if he did, what glowing charcoal in the little kitchen, did it matter i certainly nothing to where the unhappy Maria stood my lord. cooking the minestra, and getting He left the room, and left behind scolded ; for, speak of the difference him a crisis, much precipitated by

, of climate as you may, there is no his precautions — a situation and man who complains of cold, and feels emergency, for which a young Roit, like an Englishman, as there is, of man of Francisco's breeding was much course, no one so little disposed to better prepared than for more workendure, and so determined to make a-day problems. Francisco did not away with, the ill that troubles him. dash down his brushes and fly to And, as if the fire had not been evil Lucy's feet, but he stopped short enough, there burned those suspi- picturesquely, in the most eloquent cious eyes, out of the withered old attitude of delight, sudden relief, countenance of my lord-eyes which and unexpected hope. “I have a pretended to read, but were vigilant thousand things to say, there is not to perceive every movement, nay, a moment to lose,” said the young every look, of both the young vic- man's eyes ; but with a natural stratinis before him. Lucy had been tegic genius, he did not betray, by crying that morning, poor child. She so much as a tone, anything which was quite downcast, and sat with her the frightened Reynolds could feel eyes fixed on the ground - did not her conscience burdened with. He look up at all, indeed, till Francisco, only changed his position slightly, taking courage, begged in desperation "for the advantage of the light," and

“ , to remind her that her present atti- nanaged to turn his back to that tude was quite unlike that of the guardian of the public peace, portrait, aud that it was perfectly “I am unfortunate, doubly unfornecessary to alter her expression. tunate," said Francisco, plaintively. Thus the sitting went dolefully on, a “My lord forbids your gracious kindfew faltering unfrequent words tak- ness to the poor painter. I see my ing the place of the lively English- fate. Ah, gentillissima Signoriva


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and I longed so much to tell you the content-I am content no longer. extraordinary romance which I heard My heart would have broken in siyesterday-only yesterday ! so that I lence when my lord's grand equipage scarcely knew what I was doing, till carried you from Ropie, for you were I met you in the stair.”

a star in the firmament, and I only a “ A romance ! oh tell it to me still, firefly among the bushes. Now it is Signore Francisco-grand papa could different. I am noble as my lord. have no objections,” said Lucy eager- I may be rich as my lord, and I must ly, yet with trembling.

speak if I should die!” “Ah, Signorina ! but my lord Ab, my lord ! what a foolish, would have objections if he knew crafty, old Englishman you were, to that I myself,” said Francisco, with think that in such a dilemma, the melancholy emphasis—“that I my- young Roman would be at any loss ! self, who am not even to have leave Very different from the dilemma of to finish this picture-

last night which Francisco fell asleep “Oh, do you know English? I am upon. Here he was master of the so sorry," said Lucy, in great dismay. ground. His very tone, full of passion

“I do not know English, but I and eloquence to Lucy, dill not excite know what means a voice-a tone; anything beyond an uneasy conthat I,” resumed the young man, sciousness that there was rather too am the hero of the romance I tell much talk going on, in the mind of

Your grandpapa believes the troubled Reynolds. me a poor painter, Signorina, and pantomime, as he went on with his so I am, painting your beautiful por- work-painting, just as usual, Reytrait for money ; but would he be- nolds thought -to Lucy s eyes maklieve, or would you believe, that there ing agitated touches unawares, and wants but a little more money to get most likely spoiling the picture-was justice, and put the poor painter at eloquent. Lucy coloured to her very

. the head of one of the noblest houses hair, tried hard to draw herself up in Rome?

and look dignified, and said in a very "Signore! do you mean that you are unsteady, faltering tone, “Siguore --that there is that such a thing is Francisco, you must not speak so possible ?" said the English Lucy, col- to me! grandpapa would be much ouring violently, and looking, doubt- displeased ;” but in heart Lucy was ful and afraid, full in Francisco's face. very anxious and eager to hear his Alas, this romantic story, instead of story. For, to be sure, Italy was an interesting, dismayed the English exceptional country.

exceptional country. Things till girl! Were not all foreign swindlers happen there wbich happened noprinces in disguise ?

She gave a

where else--and what if it should little gasp of disgust and disappoint- turn out true? ment-for surely he was not a foreign “ If you should care to hear the swindler, this young Francisco; and story, Signorina," said Francisco, yet, to hear such a story, what a laugh languidly, with a great stroke of art, of mockery would come from the old my faithful Teta will tell it you. lips of grandpapa !

Tetà has been in the secret all along. “It is true,” said Francisco, who She saw me leave the palace of my had not the slightest clue to Lucy's mother an unconscious child-she feelings, and who rather imagined, if has kept her eye upon me ever since. he thought on the subject at all, that It was but yesterday I knew. Forthe Forestieri were much addicted to give me, Signorina gentillissima! I social romances, and loved to hear of am exhausted by my emotions. I such—“it is true, though it does rose up a nameless painter-I lay not look possible. When I came down an Agostini-Visconti Agostini here last, I should have called it the once almost royal --and the only heir. most foolish fable! I was an orphan Do you find it wonderful that I lost without any parents. I cared very my self-possession when I met you little about it. I was a son of San in the stair ?” Michele. Now, bella Signorina, every- “There was no need for self-posthing is changed. Is it to my ail- session, Signore,” said Lucy, with vantage, do you suppose? I was sweet youthful severity; “I should not have concealed that I knew you mitted to your presence; and as for had grandpapa been ever so angry. me, I shall see you again, when I You have no apology to make to may throw myself at your feet withme.”

out reproof from my lord.” Here the situation somewhat al- Lucy was considerably agitatedtered, and Francisco ceased to know she did not know what to answer. his ground. He had gone astray in She looked on with a little trembling that last touch, but scarcely saw how, while the young painter covered up nor could divine that, in Lucy's in- his little picture. Then suddenly sular morals, it was no harm in the perceiving that he meant to take it world to know the poor young paint with him, in spite of what she had er, but grievous harm to pretend not said, interfered with a faltering to know him. Francisco staggered voicebefore the clear eye and the clearer “You will leave the picture, will tone. He thought she must of ne- not you ?” said Lucy; “I am sure, cessity mean a hundred times more except just that it is too nice, nothan she appeared to mean. This body could find any fault with it. single expression of hers confounded You are surely not going to take it him much more than the wrath of away." my lord. That he understood well "Ah, Signorina! do you suppose enough, but this was dark and unde- my memory is so faint ? do you imacipherable. Did she mean to check gine I cannot complete the picture!" his presumption? What did she said Francisco, with great significance; mean?

then, bold in usage and custom. kiss“I have offended you, Signorina,” ed her hand, and throwing all the said Francisco, in his most pathetic eloquence of which they were capable tone.

into his eyes, took his leave all the "Not at all," said the young lady; more hastily that sounds approached “only perhaps you do not quite un- as of the return of my lord. Franderstand ; and I am very sorry," she cisco escaped that formidable encouncontinued, blushing with a little mor- ter; but Lucy, all agitated, blusbing, tification and shame, “but grandpapa and distressed, had to bear the full does not wish you to come again, brunt of it ;-alas, not without many Signore. Oh, I beg your pardon !-Í a misgiving in her own innocent cannot help it. I think the picture mind the while! Was he one of the will do very nicely. I am sure my foreign swindlers who were always old friend will be quite pleased. But princes in disguise ? or was he true, I thought it better not to leave grand- and a hero of romance ? Lucy's papa's message to Antonio. Please mind inclined far more strongly to do not feel affronted-grandpapa is the last opinion than she could have often so strange."

believed it would; and the Signorina “I am not surprised,” said Fran- Inglese longed as earnestly for the cisco, “I knew it very well; and first moment's leisure, when she were I my lord, I should say the could fly to Sora Teta and demand same. Pardon, Signorina. I would the story from her, as Francisco could not have but one happy painter ad- have desired.


But Francisco could not work even custom to eat his dinner. On the at that portrait when he got home; way he encountered the good-natured and as love and ambition, even at Gigi, Mariuccia's son. Gigi, or Luitheir highest flight, must still dine, gi, which was his proper name, was he sprang up the long staircase only loitering about the place where he to deposit the little picture in safety, had put up his horse, and stood and as quickly descended again, and close by his cart, on which, like a turned his steps towards the Tratto- sail, a piece of canrass, stretched ria, where, except when the funds upon three sticks in the form of a were at miraculous ebb, it was his triangle, was erected, with the inten


tion of defending the driver from the floor, stretching back with pictur

Close by was the dark arched esque savagery into a gloom which doorway of an osteria or wine-shop, would have almost been that of a an osteria con cucina-where many a cave, but for an odd little chance humble wayfarer had his dinner, and window in the distant wall, which where Gigi meditated eating his. The sent a miraculous golden arrow of honest fellow did not know what reve- sunshine through the darkness. In lations bad been made to Francisco; that region, however, there was did not even know anything approach- neither furniture nor inhabitation, ing to the full grandeur of the tale it. but a vast row of wine-barrels, and self; and consequently addressed the litter of various sorts, saddles' and young man with his usual familiar harness, a wandering hen with her homely, half-fatherly kindness. It chickens, and an earthy and uninis impossible to describe how this habited smell. Nearer the door, the salutation for the first moment jarred cucina resolved itself into a great upon Francisco. He coloured, he fireplace, where cooking of various drew back, he felt angry in spite of kinds went on merrily. Gigi, fol. himself. He could not help suspect- lowed by Francisco, seated himself ing that some intention of insult lay at a table close to the door, from under Gigi's frank accost, so far which they could still see the street already had the spell worked upon without. There was but one small him.

high grated window to assist the Something ails you, Chichino ligbt which came from the great mio,” said the good-humoured pea- open doorway; and as the Osteria sant. “Do matters go badly then opened into a narrow street, the light with the arts? Dost thou not thrive was very imperfect. There, however, at thy painting, my son ? Patienza! they sat down, on the rudest of wooden the Forestieri who, they tell me, are benches, at the most unadorned of coming in crowds this year, will tables, and had their soup or minestra make thee amends. Come and dine - Francisco, perhaps, rather comfortwith thy old friend in the Osteria; ing himself with the lack of light, lest they cook the polenta here almost as he should be seen in such a place well as they do it over in Trastevere. eating with a Contadino! But after Come! though thou wearest a better all, in his romantic and extraordinary coat, and art of the belle arti, thou' position, what did it matter how any wert once little Chichino in Rocca, one thought! and hast a heart for thy old friends.” “You do not know, then,” said

And what, then, do you suppose I Francisco, "why Mariuccia came to am now?” escaped from Francisco, Rome.” rather angrily, in the first burst of “That is true, I do not know," his youthful annoyance.

said Gigi. “It is some fancy she “What thou art now? Per Bacco! has, however; it is not for diversion a little out of temper, my youth!” merely; though an old woman like cried Gigi, with an honest laugh; my mother, who has lived virtuously, " but come, let us dine, for I must go has a right to her pleasure. For for my mother, who is with Sora Teta myself, I always tell her so." in the Corso, another of thy old ** And she trusts to you, I am sure, friends, at two hours after 'noon. Gigi,” said the young man, with a She came into Rome upon some novel patronage in his tone. “Did business of her own, the old mother. not you go with the good Mariuccia The mezzogiorno has sounded some the night she carried me to Rocca ? time since, Francisco mio! let us get Is it not so, Luigi mio?” continued our dinner, we can talk over the the youth, growing conciliatory; "and

“ minestra as well as here.”

stood by while she went into the After a little pause Francisco fol- palace, and are aware how she brought lowed, not without reluctance, and me out an unconscious child ?” a feeling that he descended greatly "Nay, Signore, halt there," cried from his dignity. The Osteria was Gigi with a touch of suspicion ; " if a wildl, dark, barn-like erection, with you wish to know something which a lofty vaulted roof and earthen she will not tell, you may tear me to

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pieces sooner; and as for carrying you, the good fellow tremulously seized to be sure, you were there in the house and kissed the young painter's hand. when I woke from my first sleep; but “The Duke Agostini !” be repeated. how you got there, whether by Maria “I heard them say thou wert other sending you from Subiaco, or San than thou seemed, Chichiro-I mean Girolamo out of the desert, or the Eccellenza, noble Don! but to be blessed Madonna herself from heaven, Duke Agostini–Viva il Duca ! Viva I cannot tell; there you were, cer- la Madonna Santissima! the heavens tainly ; but it is needless to ask such do not forget us after all. Duke questions of me.”

Agostini ! it will be the greatest “Ah, so I perceive," said Francisco; festa at Rocca, greater than the fair. “but Mariuccia, good soul, has told I will go myself to Frascati, to old me all. Say, was not that a dismal Chico of the fireworks. Thou art ride through the olive woods ?” the lord of Rocca, then, Chichino

“You forget that I did not ride, mio! Excuse me, Eccellenza, I do said Gigi, laughing ;"my mother had not know what I say." the poor old donkey, the poverina ! “Mariuccia never told you, then,” Ah, what a good old creature that said Francisco, with calm dignity; was! Many a time has she carried “but be seated, my good Gigi, and you up the mountain, Chichino mio, help yourself to some polenta ; the when you were scarcely big enough polenta is very good as you said. to cling to the bridle. I have three Marinccia never said to you who the donkeys now, my son ; but I will little Chichino was ?” never have any like that dear old I cannot sit at the table with friend of my youth.”

your Excellency,” said Gigi, with a “Bah! what matter about your rueful face, looking at the polenta. donkeys ?” cried Francisco, almost “Your Excellency will excuse me, with passion, “when I tell you that that I was so familiar before I knew Mariuccia has told me all. Is that who your Excellency was.” the only thing you have to say ?" “Nay, Gigi, thou shalt not cheat

Gigi scratched in perplexity his thyself of thy polenta ; we have sat honest head. “Ah, stupido!” he at one table many a time before," ejaculated, smiting himself on the said the young paladin, magnanibreast with ready pantomime. "I mously ; and how couldst thou was always a thick head, Chichino know, my good fellow, if thy mother mio ; what is it I ought to say ?”. never told thee! but thou wert along

“Do you know who I am ?" asked with me, in that first journey of Francisco, still more impatiently. mine, all the same ?"

Gigi scratched his head again, but “I was waiting with the donkey, this time a smile awoke among the just on the pathway yonder above black tangles of his beard. “I know the lake. That dear old donkey, you came out of the palazzo, my son Chichino mio-Scusa, Eccellenza ! I --at least my mother was there that forgot myself,” cried Gigi in alarm. night ; and she carried something “The good beast cropped the grass, under her shawl, sicuro! and, to tell and I played Mori with the lads of you the truth, it is spoken among the my own age. It was at the end of people that you belong somehow to that great elin-tree avenue which you the Agostini. That is all I know; know, illustrissimo Signore, if you and whether it will do thee any good, have ever been at Genzaro—though, thou poor chill"

indeed, I believe you never have. “Stay thy folly, Gigi, and under. It was about the Ave Maria when we stand me," said Francisco, loftily. came, all the world wondering why " In short, I am the Duke Agostini; my mother should travel through but whether it will do me good, as the woods so late. I thought noyou say

thing of it, because it did not come The Duke Agostini !” stammer- into my head, Signore; but after waited Gigi, stumbling to his feet; then, ing long, when my mother came at after a bewildered pause, during last, she wore a shawl, that is certain, which, the best way he could, he and carried beneath it something that had been putting things together, moved, and said not a word to me

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