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But the prior, who had half be- and Fra Battista was losing lieved before, was sobbing his faith in himself, the only faith contrition into the pavement, he had.


one of



You are not to suppose that Did you ever hear a man with the spectacle of Verona garbed a broken limb attribute his misin a gown of innocence, singing hap to other than Domeneddio? hymns and weaving chaplets of However drunk he may have lilies, was to go unnoticed by been, however absurdly in a the ruling power. Can Grande hurry -- act of God! If it II. was lord of Verona, a most thunder and lighten of a sumatrocious rascal, and

mer night, if it turn the milkmany; but, like his famous an- a judgment! Luckily Monsigcestor and namesake, he had a nore has broad shoulders by all gibing tongue, which was evid- accounts; per Bacco! He had ence of a scrutiny tolerably cool need. Now then, look at this of the shifts of human nature.

A belated woman with a Human nature, he had observed, baby stumbles upon a company must needs account to itself for of shepherds all in the twittering itself. If it met with what it dark. Hearts jump to mouths, did not understand, it flesh creeps, hairs stand tiptoe prompt to state the problem in - Madonna, of course! whom a phrase which it could not ex- else could they call her, pray? plain. The simplicity of the They don't know the woman: plan was as little to be denied name her they must. Well ! as its convenience was obvious. Who is there they don't know It was thus that Can Grande whose name comes readiest to II. understood the emotions of the tongue? Madonna, of course. Verona ; it was thus, indeed, Good : Ecco Madonna !that he himself, confronted with

This was

very eloquently statements and an explanation reasoned, but the bishop shook which did not satisfy him, ac

his head. “It was not a brace counted to himself like any of goat-herds last night, Excelmother's son of his lieges. He lency, but a roomful of brigexplained their explanation, but ands and their trulls in the only by another inexplicable for- Golden Fish. The worst commula. The energy with which pany in Verona, Excellencyhe expounded his own view to the most brazen, the most casethose about him betrayed, per- hardened. But the story is the haps, a lurking uneasiness in same from their mouths as from the burly tyrant.

the lads’; not a detail is want“Pooh, my good lord,” said ing; not one point gives the he to the bishop, who had come lie to another. Excellency, I full of the day's doings and would bow to your wit in any night's report, don't you know case but this. The affair is inyour own flock better than this? explicable short of a miracle.”


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Can Grande knit his black like the house razed and the brows; he objected to be crossed, church washed out with holy and the more so when he had a water, or Fra Battista's blood sneaking thought that he was —the latter for choice. Now, rightly crossed. “I should like I cannot pull down religious to see my Lady this night with houses, lord of Verona though I my own eyes, bishop,” said he. be, because a herd of frightened

“Hey, Excellency,” cried the rascals have gone capering over other, " there are many devout the city singing, Salve festa souls in the same case.”

dies.' I must really do the Can Grande pished. “De- parties the honour of an intervout jellyfish,” he grunted; and view before I draw the sword. then—“She seems to haunt one Let me be sure which back I quarter, eh?”

am going to score before I be“It is so, Excellency, save gin to carve. You had better that yesterday she must have bring the prior and Fra Lancilpassed through the Porta San lotto-Battista to me, and if

you Zeno unseen of the guard." can collect the young woman

“Have you interrogated the and her brat, so much the guard?" asked

the tyrant, better.” sharply.

“Alas! Excellency, I fear the “It was done, Highness. No- young woman is in pieces,” said thing entered between Compline the bishop. “She has never and Prime but a couple of bul- been heard of since the day of lock-carts and a cavalcade of her expulsion. merchants from Brescia."

The advice, however, was good, “What was in the bullock- the judgment good enough; but carts, bishop ?”

before it could be followed a “Birch-bark, Excellency, for stroke more telling than any the yards."

Can Grande's sword could have “H’m!” was all Can Grande made was wrought by Madonna had to say to this.

of the Peach-tree. He changed the conversation. On the night of that same “I have had the warden of the day Can Grande was sitting in Minorites and the provincial of the palace with two chosen the Dominicans here this morn- companions, as dare - devil as ing," he said, “about that ac- himself, waiting the hour of an cursed business of the ragpick- assignation. It was about ten er's wife. It is another example o'clock : at half-past the hour of what I told you just now, they were to go out cloaked inthat these people attribute what to the streets, bent upon the they cannot understand to per- lifting of a decent burgess's wife sons they can only dream about from her bed. Hence they were They put down the whole of not in the castle, which is near your miracles to a special re- San Zeno, but in the Della ward for their zeal in hounding Scala Palace, in the very heart down the Carmelite and his of the city.

The two accommistress. They want the order plices were Ubaldino Baldinexpelled; I think they would anza, a grey villain, and young



before I go.

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Francesco della Rocca Rossa. All “Madonna," began the ty-
three were armed with swords rant; but she uncloaked her
and daggers; the cloaks lay hand and put a finger to her
with the masks on the table. sad lips.
A servant came to the door, "I may not stay,” she said,
knocked, and waited. Can in a voice so weary as to draw
Grande, who (to be just) feared tears to Baldinanza's wicked
no eye upon his goings, shouted old eyes—“I may not stay; but
him into the room.

I must warn you, Can Grande, “Well, son of a pig," was

Walk not in the his greeting, “and what is it streets this night, walk not by now?"

the Piazza, pass not the arched The fellow, whose teeth chat- way; peril lies there. No sword tered in his head, announced a shall help you, nor the royal veiled lady, very tall, who would seat you have,—enter it not. not be denied. Baldinanza, Now I have warned you; let grizzled and scarred as he was, me go.” took a quick breath and glanced She put back her lifted hand at Rocca Rossa. The younger under her cloak. Can Grande man was at no pains to conceal saw the round head of the Babe his emotions. His face ran the asleep. For five minutes after gamut from white to red, from her disappearance no one spoke. red back again to white. It Francesco was the first. He ended ashen. Neither looked groaned, "God have mercy at his master.

upon me a sinner,” between his “Let her in,” said Can hands. Then Baldinanza began Grande; and each noticed how to swear by all devils in Christlaboriously he spoke.

endom and Jewry, not blaspheThe servant turned to obey: mously, but in sheer desperate there in the doorway stood the search for a

little courage. Lady.

Can Grande shook his head like Tall enough she was, her a water-clogged hound, as if to head seemingly about a foot get the ring of that hollow from the cross-beam of the door. voice out of his ears. The first She was cloaked from crown to to rise was the eldest of the foot; nothing but the oval of three.

very her face, colourless white with bright, and you could see the lips very wan, and a droop to long scar plainly shining on his them inexpressibly sad, showed cheek. “I am a sinner too,” out of the dark column she said he, “but this night I will made. The servant shrank in- sleep clean.” He made to go. to the passage and stayed there


desert me, praying; of the three men at rade?” Can Grande asked. the table only one, Can Grande The old dog turned upon his himself, had the spirit left to be master. courteous. He got up; the “Mother of Pity!” he said in other two remained seated,

seated, a whisper, “you are never going Francesco with his face in his after this?

"I am going, good sir. What

His eyes


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of you?” Baldinanza blinked Piazza ; it was a cold white hard. “I am your servant, Can night. They crossed at the Grande,” he said finally; "where farther corner, went up a few you go I follow. That is how steps, and then were lost in the I read the Book of the Law." glooms of the arched way.

· Well, Checco," the tyrant They never came out alive. went on, turning to the young- Six hired daggers hacked the ster still at the table, “what of life out of them and their

hearts from the bodies. To Francesco threw


this day the unwholesome place “Never, Excellency, never!” he is called for a testimony the groaned in his anguish. “I “Volto Barbaro," the horrid dare not, I dare not!” He entry. So died in his sin Can concealed neither his tears, nor Grande II., a man who feared his despair, nor his bodily fear. nothing and won nothing but Can Grande shrugged.

fear, and Can Signorio his son “ Are you ready, Ubaldo?” reigned in his stead. You he asked. Baldinanza bowed might trust the cloth - white his head. The two men cloaked lackey and the stricken conand masked themselves, and science of Francesco della Rocca went out of the palace. The Rossa to spread the news they

shone broad over the had.






A scared city of blank case- bodyguard the door, archers ments, a city of citizens fever- lounged in the Piazza. All ishly asking questions whose this parade of force was mere answers they knew beforehand, superfluity; Verona had a city of swift feet and hushed desire to revolt. The Veronese voices, was Verona the were for rending their hearts morrow of Can Grande's mur- and not their rulers that day. der. They carried the two torn In the afternoon the show of bodies covered with one sheet to a trial-at-law was made. The Sant' Anastasialaid them depositions of the lackey, of there, not in state but just Rocca Rossa, of the finders of huddled out of sight, while the the murdered and the hunters bishop and his canons sang a for the murderers, were taken requiem, and “Dirige” and and recorded by the podestà in "Placebo” went whining about the presence of the council. . the timbers of the roof. No- After that the six unknown dasbody mourned the man, yet he tards were publicly condemned had his due. His yellow- to death by the civil power from skinned wife knelt at his feet; the loggia of the palace, and as Can Signorio, the new tyrant, publicly excommunicated by the frozen rigid, armed in mail, bishop from the steps of the knelt at his head. The mer- cathedral It was felt on all cenaries held the nave, the hands that on this occasion the



bishop had wielded the heavier heresy in him to overlook, or arm : at least, in the absence of that other reputation he had the criminals, he had brought won, for being a desperate his chances level. But what lover, upon which he shrewdly gave him most weight was that surmised some of his fame dewhich had made the testimony pended. He may have been of Francesco and the lackey right about that, -I am not overshadow every event of a here to defend him. If he adweek full of events—the inter- mitted his guilt he would be position of Madonna of the unfrocked; he would show like Peach-tree. Not a soul in the a chanticleer stripped of his

a city was left to doubt; it might hackles before his hens. If he be said that not a soul was left denied it, he could never preach to save, if faith can save you to the women again. Admit The churches were packed from it? Be degraded ? Eh, that dawn to dark, not an altar in a would be a nasty shift! Deny chapel went bare of a

it? Oh, preposterous ! The There were not enough of them. whole day he battled with himAltars set up in the self, voice crying against voice, squares, and the street - ends without result. Observe it was blocked by a kneeling, bowing, a mere case of expediency : he weeping, adoring crowd. The had no thought to own a fault bishop spoke the common mind or repudiate a slander, — the when at Vespers that night he fellow had no conscience at all. gave notice that he should go Expediency, indeed, was his forthwith to purge the Car- conscience, his attention to it melite church of the stain upon the ladder whereby he hoped to it, “at the request of my climb to the only heaven he reverend brother the Prior Pro- knew. No imagination had he, vincial of the Order.” He set but very tender senses. Apout then and there in solemn plause—the hushed church, the procession of the whole cathe- following eyes, the sobered dral chapter. Rank formed on mouths, a sob in the breath rank behind him till his ordered stood him for glory. He had following trailed across Verona worked for this, and, by the like a host.

Lord ! he had won it. And now Now although, as it has been he must lose it.

Eh, never, said, and truly said, there was never ! Stated thus, he knew no soul in the city who doubted, the issue of his battle. He there was one soul very much knew he could not give up in doubt. That was Fra Bat- these things — eye-service, liptista's. The offer of purgation service, heart-service-of which had come in frenzy from the he had supped so thirstily. lips of his prior; by its accept- Rather be unfrocked, driven ance Fra Battista saw himself out of the city, reviled, and spit driven to one of two courses. upon, than admit such a shame He must destroy his reputation as that other : to prove himself for obedience to heavenly com- a vapourer before his slaves, to mands which it had been rank be pricked like a bulging blad

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