Arthur  sat in the library of the theological seminary at Pisa, looking
through a pile of manuscript sermons. It was a hot evening in June,  and the
windows  stood wide open,  with the shutters half  closed for coolness.  The
Father Director, Canon Montanelli, paused a moment in his writing to  glance
lovingly at the black head bent over the papers.
     "Can't  you find  it, carino? Never mind;  I  must rewrite the passage.
Possibly it has got torn up, and I have kept you all this time for nothing."
     Montanelli's  voice  was  rather  low,  but full  and resonant, with  a
silvery purity of tone that gave to his speech a peculiar charm.  It was the
voice  of a born orator,  rich  in  possible modulations. When he  spoke  to
Arthur its note was always that of a caress.
     "No, Padre, I must  find it;  I'm sure you  put it here. You will never
make it the same by rewriting."
     Montanelli  went on with his work. A sleepy cockchafer hummed  drowsily
outside  the window, and the long, melancholy  call of a  fruitseller echoed
down the street: "Fragola! fragola!"
     "'On the  Healing of  the  Leper'; here it is." Arthur came across  the
room with the velvet tread that always exasperated the good folk at home. He
was a slender little creature, more  like an  Italian in a sixteenth-century
portrait  than a middle-class English lad of the  thirties.  From  the  long
eyebrows and  sensitive mouth to  the small hands and feet, everything about
him was too much chiseled,  overdelicate. Sitting still, he might  have been
taken for a very pretty girl masquerading in male attire; but when he moved,
his lithe agility suggested a tame panther without the claws.
     "Is  that  really it?  What should  I  do without you, Arthur? I should
always be  losing my things. No,  I am not going to write any more now. Come
out into the garden, and I will help you with your work. What is the bit you
couldn't understand?"
     They went out into the  still,  shadowy  cloister garden. The  seminary
occupied the buildings of an old  Dominican monastery, and two hundred years
ago  the  square courtyard  had been stiff and  trim,  and the  rosemary and
lavender had grown in close-cut bushes between the straight box edgings. Now
the white-robed monks who  had tended them were laid away and forgotten; but
the scented herbs flowered still  in the gracious mid-summer evening, though
no man gathered their blossoms for simples any more.  Tufts of wild  parsley
and  columbine filled the cracks between the flagged footways, and  the well
in the middle of the courtyard was  given up to ferns and matted stone-crop.
The  roses had run  wild, and their  straggling  suckers trailed  across the
paths;  in the box borders flared great red  poppies; tall foxgloves drooped
above the  tangled grasses; and the old vine, untrained and barren of fruit,
swayed from the branches  of the neglected medlar-tree, shaking a leafy head
with slow and sad persistence.
     In one  corner stood a huge summer-flowering magnolia, a tower of  dark
foliage,  splashed here and  there with milk-white blossoms. A rough  wooden
bench had been  placed against  the trunk; and on  this Montanelli sat down.
Arthur  was  studying  philosophy  at  the  university;  and,  coming  to  a
difficulty with a book, had applied to "the Padre" for an explanation of the
point. Montanelli  was a universal encyclopaedia to him, though he had never
been a pupil of the seminary.
     "I  had better go  now," he said when the passage had been cleared  up;
"unless you want me for anything."
     "I don't want to work any more, but I should like you to  stay a bit if
you have time."
     "Oh, yes!" He leaned back against the  tree-trunk and looked up through
the dusky branches at the  first faint stars glimmering  in a quiet sky. The
dreamy,  mystical  eyes, deep  blue under black lashes,  were an inheritance
from his Cornish  mother, and Montanelli turned his head away, that he might
not see them.
     "You are looking tired, carino," he said.
     "I can't help it." There was a  weary  sound in Arthur's voice, and the
Padre noticed it at once.
     "You should not have gone  up to  college so soon; you were  tired  out
with sick-nursing  and being up at night.  I ought to have insisted on  your
taking a thorough rest before you left Leghorn."
     "Oh, Padre,  what's the  use of that? I couldn't stop in that miserable
house after mother died. Julia would have driven me mad!"
     Julia was his eldest step-brother's wife, and a thorn in his side.
     "I should not have wished you to stay with your  relatives," Montanelli
answered gently. "I am sure  it would have been the worst possible thing for
you.  But I wish you  could have accepted  the  invitation of  your  English
doctor  friend; if you had spent a  month in his house you  would  have been
more fit to study."
     "No, Padre, I shouldn't indeed! The Warrens are very good and kind, but
they don't understand; and then they are sorry for me,--I can see it in  all
their faces,--and they would try to console me, and talk about mother. Gemma
wouldn't, of  course; she  always knew what not to  say,  even when we  were
babies; but the others would. And it isn't only that----"
     "What is it then, my son?"
     Arthur pulled  off  some blossoms from a  drooping  foxglove  stem  and
crushed them nervously in his hand.
     "I can't  bear  the town," he began after a moment's  pause. "There are
the  shops where she used to  buy me toys when I was a little thing, and the
walk along  the  shore where I  used  to take  her until  she  got too  ill.
Wherever  I go it's the  same thing;  every market-girl comes  up to me with
bunches of flowers--as if I wanted them now!  And there's the church-yard--I
had to get away; it made me sick to see the place----"
     He broke off and sat tearing the  foxglove bells to pieces. The silence
was so  long  and deep  that he looked up, wondering why the  Padre did  not
speak.  It  was  growing  dark  under the  branches  of  the  magnolia,  and
everything seemed dim and indistinct; but there was light enough to show the
ghastly  paleness of  Montanelli's  face.  He was bending his head down, his
right hand tightly  clenched upon the edge of  the bench. Arthur looked away
with  a  sense  of  awe-struck wonder.  It  was  as  though  he  had stepped
unwittingly on to holy ground.
     "My God!" he  thought; "how small  and selfish I am beside  him! If  my
trouble were his own he couldn't feel it more."
     Presently  Montanelli raised his head and looked round. "I won't  press
you to  go back  there;  at  all events, just  now,"  he  said in  his  most
caressing tone; "but you must promise me to take  a thorough rest  when your
vacation begins this summer. I think you had better get a holiday right away
from the neighborhood of Leghorn. I can't have you breaking down in health."
     "Where shall you go when the seminary closes, Padre?"
     "I shall have to take the pupils into the hills, as usual, and see them
settled there. But by the middle of August the subdirector will be back from
his holiday.  I shall try to get up into the Alps for  a little change. Will
you come with  me? I could take you for some long mountain rambles,  and you
would like to  study the Alpine mosses and lichens. But  perhaps it would be
rather dull for you alone with me?"
     "Padre!"   Arthur   clasped   his  hands  in  what   Julia  called  his
"demonstrative foreign way." "I would give anything on earth to go away with
you. Only--I am not sure----" He stopped.
     "You don't think Mr. Burton would allow it?"
     "He  wouldn't like it, of course,  but he could hardly  interfere. I am
eighteen now and can do what I choose. After all, he's only my step-brother;
I don't see that I owe him obedience. He was always unkind to mother."
     "But  if  he seriously objects, I  think you  had better not  defy  his
wishes; you may find your position at home made much harder if----"
     "Not a bit harder!" Arthur broke in passionately. "They always did hate
me and always will--it doesn't matter  what I  do.  Besides,  how can  James
seriously object to my going away with you--with my father confessor?"
     "He  is  a Protestant, remember. However, you had  better write to him,
and we will wait to hear what he thinks. But you must  not  be impatient, my
son; it  matters just as much what you do,  whether  people hate you or love
you."
     The  rebuke was  so gently given that Arthur  hardly coloured under it.
"Yes, I know," he answered, sighing; "but it is so difficult----"
     "I was sorry you could not  come to me  on Tuesday evening," Montanelli
said, abruptly  introducing a  new  subject. "The Bishop of Arezzo was here,
and I should have liked you to meet him."
     "I had promised one of the students to go to a meeting at his lodgings,
and they would have been expecting me."
     "What sort of meeting?"
     Arthur  seemed  embarrassed  by  the  question.  "It--it  was  n-not  a
r-regular meeting,"  he said with  a  nervous little stammer. "A student had
come from Genoa, and he made a speech to us-- a-a sort of--lecture."
     "What did he lecture about?"
     Arthur hesitated. "You won't ask me his name,  Padre, will you? Because
I promised----"
     "I  will ask you no questions  at all, and if you have promised secrecy
of course you must not tell me;  but I think you can almost trust me by this
time."
     "Padre,  of  course  I  can.  He  spoke about--us and  our duty to  the
people--and to--our own selves; and about--what we might do to help----"
     "To help whom?"
     "The contadini--and----"
     "And?"
     "Italy."
     There was a long silence.
     "Tell me, Arthur," said Montanelli, turning  to  him and  speaking very
gravely, "how long have you been thinking about this?"
     "Since--last winter."
     "Before your mother's death? And did she know of it?"
     "N-no. I--I didn't care about it then."
     "And now you--care about it?"
     Arthur pulled another handful of bells off the foxglove.
     "It was  this way, Padre," he began, with his eyes on the ground. "When
I was  preparing for the entrance examination  last autumn, I got to  know a
good many of the students; you remember? Well, some of them began to talk to
me about--all these  things, and lent me books. But I didn't care much about
it;  I  always wanted  to get home quick  to mother. You see, she was  quite
alone among  them all in that dungeon  of a  house; and Julia's  tongue  was
enough  to kill her. Then, in the winter, when she  got so ill, I forgot all
about the students and their books; and then, you know, I left off coming to
Pisa altogether. I should have talked to mother if I had thought of  it; but
it  went right  out  of  my  head. Then I  found out  that she was  going to
die----You know, I was almost  constantly with her towards the end; often  I
would sit up the night, and Gemma Warren would come in the day to let me get
to sleep. Well, it was in those long nights; I got thinking  about the books
and about what the students had  said--and  wondering--  whether  they  were
right and--what-- Our Lord would have said about it all."
     "Did you ask Him?" Montanelli's voice was not quite steady.
     "Often, Padre. Sometimes I have  prayed to Him to tell  me  what I must
do, or to let me die with mother. But I couldn't find any answer."
     "And  you never  said a  word to me.  Arthur,  I  hoped you could  have
trusted me."
     "Padre,  you know I trust you! But there are some things you can't talk
about to anyone.  I--it seemed to me that no one could help me--not even you
or mother; I  must have my own answer straight from God. You see,  it is for
all my life and all my soul."
     Montanelli turned away and stared into the dusky gloom of the  magnolia
branches. The twilight was so dim that his figure had a shadowy look, like a
dark ghost among the darker boughs.
     "And then?" he asked slowly.
     "And then--she died. You know, I had been up the last three nights with
her----"
     He broke off and paused a moment, but Montanelli did not move.
     "All those two days  before they buried her," Arthur went on in a lower
voice, "I couldn't think about anything. Then, after the funeral, I was ill;
you remember, I couldn't come to confession."
     "Yes; I remember."
     "Well, in the night I got up  and went  into mother's room. It was  all
empty;  there was only  the  great  crucifix  in the alcove.  And  I thought
perhaps God would help me. I knelt  down and waited--all  night. And in  the
morning when I came  to my senses--Padre, it isn't any use; I can't explain.
I can't tell you what I saw--I hardly  know  myself. But I know that God has
answered me, and that I dare not disobey Him."
     For a moment they sat  quite silent  in the  darkness.  Then Montanelli
turned and laid his hand on Arthur's shoulder.
     "My son,"  he said, "God forbid that I should  say He has not spoken to
your soul. But remember your  condition when this thing happened, and do not
take the fancies of grief or illness for His solemn call. And if, indeed, it
has been His will to answer you out of the shadow of death, be sure that you
put no false construction on His  word. What  is this thing you  have it  in
your heart to do?"
     Arthur stood up and answered slowly, as though repeating a catechism:
     "To give up my life to  Italy,  to help  in freeing  her from  all this
slavery and wretchedness, and in driving out  the Austrians, that she may be
a free republic, with no king but Christ."
     "Arthur,  think a  moment what  you  are saying!  You  are not  even an
Italian."
     "That makes  no difference; I am myself. I have seen this thing,  and I
belong to it."
     There was silence again.
     "You  spoke  just now of  what Christ would  have said----"  Montanelli
began slowly; but Arthur interrupted him:
     "Christ said: 'He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.'"
     Montanelli leaned his arm against  a  branch,  and shaded his eyes with
one hand.
     "Sit down a moment, my son," he said at last.
     Arthur sat  down, and the  Padre took both his  hands  in  a strong and
steady clasp.
     "I cannot argue with you to-night,"  he said; "this has come upon me so
suddenly--I had not thought--I must have time to think it over. Later on  we
will talk  more  definitely. But,  for just now, I want you  to remember one
thing.  If you get into trouble  over this, if  you--die, you will break  my
heart."
     "Padre----"
     "No; let me  finish what I have to say.  I told you once that I have no
one  in  the world  but you.  I think you  do not fully understand what that
means. It  is difficult when one is so young;  at your age I should not have
understood. Arthur, you are as my--as my--own son to me. Do you see? You are
the light  of my eyes and the desire of my heart. I  would die  to  keep you
from making a false step and ruining your life. But  there is nothing  I can
do. I  don't ask you to make any promises to me; I only ask you to  remember
this, and to be careful. Think well before you take an irrevocable step, for
my sake, if not for the sake of your mother in heaven."
     "I will think--and--Padre, pray for  me, and for  Italy." He knelt down
in  silence, and in  silence Montanelli  laid his  hand on  the bent head. A
moment later Arthur rose, kissed the  hand, and  went softly away across the
dewy grass. Montanelli sat alone  under the magnolia  tree, looking straight
before him into the blackness.
     "It is the vengeance  of  God that has fallen upon me," he thought, "as
it fell upon  David. I, that  have defiled His sanctuary, and taken the Body
of the Lord into polluted hands,--He has been  very patient with me, and now
it is come. 'For thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing before all
Israel, and  before the sun; THE CHILD  THAT IS BORN UNTO  THEE SHALL SURELY
DIE.'"

     MR. JAMES BURTON did not at all like the idea of his young step-brother
"careering  about Switzerland" with Montanelli. But positively  to  forbid a
harmless botanizing tour with an elderly professor of theology would seem to
Arthur,  who  knew nothing of  the  reason  for  the  prohibition,  absurdly
tyrannical.  He  would  immediately  attribute  it  to religious  or  racial
prejudice; and the Burtons prided themselves on their enlightened tolerance.
The whole  family had been staunch Protestants and  Conservatives ever since
Burton  & Sons, ship-owners, of London and  Leghorn, had first set up in
business, more than a century back. But they  held  that  English  gentlemen
must deal fairly, even with Papists; and when the head of the house, finding
it  dull  to  remain a widower, had married the pretty Catholic governess of
his younger children, the  two  elder sons, James  and Thomas,  much as they
resented  the  presence  of a step-mother hardly older  than themselves, had
submitted with  sulky  resignation  to  the  will of  Providence.  Since the
father's  death the  eldest brother's  marriage  had further  complicated an
already difficult position; but both brothers had honestly tried to  protect
Gladys, as long as she lived, from Julia's merciless tongue, and to do their
duty,  as they understood it, by Arthur. They did  not even pretend  to like
the lad, and their generosity towards him showed itself chiefly in providing
him with lavish supplies of pocket money and allowing him to go his own way.
     In answer to his letter, accordingly, Arthur received a cheque to cover
his  expenses and a cold permission to do  as he pleased about his holidays.
He expended half his spare cash  on botanical  books and pressing-cases, and
started off with the Padre for his first Alpine ramble.
     Montanelli  was in  lighter spirits than Arthur had seen  him in  for a
long while. After the  first  shock of the conversation in the garden he had
gradually  recovered his  mental balance,  and now looked upon the case more
calmly.  Arthur was very young and  inexperienced; his decision could hardly
be, as yet, irrevocable.  Surely  there  was still time to  win him  back by
gentle  persuasion and  reasoning from  the dangerous path upon which he had
barely entered.
     They had  intended to stay a few days at Geneva; but at the first sight
of the glaring white streets and dusty, tourist-crammed promenades, a little
frown  appeared  on  Arthur's  face.  Montanelli  watched   him  with  quiet
amusement.
     "You don't like it, carino?"
     "I hardly know. It's  so  different from what I expected. Yes, the lake
is beautiful,  and I like the  shape of those hills." They were  standing on
Rousseau's Island, and he pointed to the long,  severe outlines of the Savoy
side. "But the town looks so stiff and tidy,  somehow--so Protestant; it has
a self-satisfied air. No, I don't like it; it reminds me of Julia."
     Montanelli laughed. "Poor boy, what a misfortune! Well, we are here for
our own amusement, so there is no reason why we should stop. Suppose we take
a sail on the lake to-day, and go up into the mountains to-morrow morning?"
     "But, Padre, you wanted to stay here?"
     "My dear boy, I have seen all these places a dozen times. My holiday is
to see your pleasure. Where would you like to go?"
     "If it  is really the same  to you, I should like  to follow  the river
back to its source."
     "The Rhone?"
     "No, the Arve; it runs so fast."
     "Then we will go to Chamonix."
     They spent the afternoon drifting about in a  little sailing  boat. The
beautiful lake produced far less impression upon  Arthur  than  the gray and
muddy Arve.  He had grown up beside the Mediterranean, and was accustomed to
blue ripples; but he had a positive  passion for  swiftly  moving water, and
the hurried rushing of the glacier stream delighted him beyond  measure. "It
is so much in earnest," he said.
     Early on the following morning they started for Chamonix. Arthur was in
very high spirits while driving through the fertile valley country; but when
they entered upon the winding road near Cluses, and  the great, jagged hills
closed in around them, he became serious  and silent.  From St.  Martin they
walked slowly  up  the valley, stopping to sleep at wayside chalets or  tiny
mountain villages, and  wandering on again as their  fancy  directed. Arthur
was  peculiarly  sensitive  to the  influence  of  scenery,  and  the  first
waterfall that they passed threw him into an ecstacy which was delightful to
see;  but as  they drew  nearer to the  snow-peaks  he  passed  out  of this
rapturous  mood into  one of dreamy exaltation that Montanelli  had not seen
before.  There seemed to be a kind  of mystical relationship between him and
the mountains.  He  would  lie  for  hours  motionless in the dark,  secret,
echoing pine-forests, looking out between the straight, tall trunks into the
sunlit  outer world of flashing peaks  and barren cliffs. Montanelli watched
him with a kind of sad envy.
     "I wish you could show me what you see, carino," he  said one day as he
looked up from his book,  and saw Arthur stretched beside him on the moss in
the same attitude as an hour before, gazing out with wide, dilated eyes into
the  glittering  expanse of  blue and white. They had turned aside from  the
high-road to sleep at a quiet village near the falls of the Diosaz, and, the
sun  being already  low in a cloudless sky, had mounted a point of pine-clad
rock to wait for the Alpine glow over the dome and needles of the Mont Blanc
chain. Arthur raised his head with eyes full of wonder and mystery.
     "What I see, Padre? I see a great, white being in  a blue void that has
no beginning and no end. I see it waiting, age after age, for the coming  of
the Spirit of God. I see it through a glass darkly."
     Montanelli sighed.
     "I used to see those things once."
     "Do you never see them now?"
     "Never. I shall not see them any more. They are  there, I  know; but  I
have not the eyes to see them. I see quite other things."
     "What do you see?"
     "I, carino? I  see  a blue sky and a snow-mountain --that is all when I
look up into the heights. But down there it is different."
     He pointed to the valley  below them. Arthur  knelt down and bent  over
the sheer edge  of  the  precipice. The  great  pine  trees,  dusky  in  the
gathering  shades of evening, stood  like sentinels  along the narrow  banks
confining the river. Presently the sun, red as a glowing coal, dipped behind
a jagged mountain peak, and  all the life and  light  deserted the  face  of
nature.   Straightway  there   came  upon  the  valley  something  dark  and
threatening --sullen, terrible, full of  spectral weapons. The perpendicular
cliffs of the barren western  mountains  seemed like the  teeth of a monster
lurking to snatch a  victim  and drag him down  into  the  maw of  the  deep
valley,  black  with  its  moaning  forests.  The pine  trees  were rows  of
knife-blades whispering: "Fall upon  us!"  and in the gathering darkness the
torrent roared  and howled, beating against  its rocky prison walls with the
frenzy of an everlasting despair.
     "Padre!" Arthur rose, shuddering, and drew back from the precipice. "It
is like hell."
     "No,  my  son," Montanelli  answered softly,  "it is only like  a human
soul."
     "The souls of them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death?"
     "The souls of them that pass you day by day in the street."
     Arthur shivered, looking  down  into the shadows. A  dim white mist was
hovering among the pine trees, clinging faintly about the desperate agony of
the torrent, like a miserable ghost that had no consolation to give.
     "Look!" Arthur said suddenly. "The people that walked  in darkness have
seen a great light."
     Eastwards  the snow-peaks  burned in the  afterglow. When the red light
had faded from the summits Montanelli turned and roused Arthur with  a touch
on the shoulder.
     "Come in, carino; all the light  is gone. We shall lose our  way in the
dark if we stay any longer."
     "It is like  a corpse," Arthur said as he turned away from the spectral
face of the great snow-peak glimmering through the twilight.
     They  descended  cautiously among the black  trees to  the chalet where
they were to sleep.
     As Montanelli entered the room  where Arthur was waiting for him at the
supper  table,  he  saw that the lad seemed  to  have shaken off the ghostly
fancies of the dark, and to have changed into quite another creature.
     "Oh, Padre, do come and look at this  absurd dog!  It can dance  on its
hind legs."
     He  was as much  absorbed in  the dog and its accomplishments as he had
been   in  the   after-glow.  The   woman  of  the  chalet,  red-faced   and
white-aproned,  with sturdy arms  akimbo, stood by smiling, while he put the
animal through its tricks.  "One can see there's not  much on his mind if he
can carry  on that way,"  she said in patois  to her daughter. "And  what  a
handsome lad!"
     Arthur coloured like a schoolgirl, and  the  woman, seeing  that he had
understood, went  away  laughing at his confusion. At  supper  he  talked of
nothing  but  plans  for   excursions,  mountain  ascents,  and   botanizing
expeditions. Evidently his dreamy fancies had not interfered with either his
spirits or his appetite.
     When Montanelli awoke the  next morning Arthur  had disappeared. He had
started before daybreak  for the higher pastures "to  help Gaspard  drive up
the goats."
     Breakfast had not long been on the table, however, when he came tearing
into the room, hatless, with a tiny peasant  girl of three years old perched
on his shoulder, and a great bunch of wild flowers in his hand.
     Montanelli looked up, smiling. This was a curious contrast to the grave
and silent Arthur of Pisa or Leghorn.
     "Where  have you  been, you  madcap? Scampering all over the  mountains
without any breakfast?"
     "Oh,  Padre, it was so jolly! The mountains look perfectly glorious  at
sunrise; and the dew is so thick! Just look!"
     He lifted for inspection a wet and muddy boot.
     We  took  some  bread and  cheese with us, and got some goat's milk  up
there  on  the pasture; oh, it was nasty! But  I'm hungry again,  now; and I
want something  for this little person, too. Annette,  won't  you have  some
honey?"
     He had sat down with the child  on his knee, and was helping her to put
the flowers in order.
     "No, no!" Montanelli  interposed. "I can't have you catching cold.  Run
and change your wet things. Come to me, Annette. Where did you pick her up?"
     "At  the  top  of  the  village.  She  belongs  to   the   man  we  saw
yesterday--the man that cobbles the commune's boots. Hasn't she lovely eyes?
She's got a tortoise in her pocket, and she calls it 'Caroline.'"
     When  Arthur had  changed his wet socks  and came down  to breakfast he
found the child seated on the Padre's knee, chattering volubly to  him about
her tortoise,  which she  was holding  upside down  in a  chubby hand,  that
"monsieur" might admire the wriggling legs.
     "Look,  monsieur!" she  was  saying  gravely in  her  half-intelligible
patois: "Look at Caroline's boots!"
     Montanelli sat playing with the  child, stroking her hair, admiring her
darling  tortoise,  and telling her  wonderful  stories.  The  woman of  the
chalet,  coming in to clear  the table, stared in amazement at the sight  of
Annette turning out the pockets of the grave gentleman in clerical dress.
     "God teaches the little ones to know a good man," she said. "Annette is
always afraid  of strangers; and see, she is not  shy with  his reverence at
all. The wonderful thing! Kneel  down, Annette, and ask  the good monsieur's
blessing before he goes; it will bring thee luck."
     "I didn't  know you  could play with children that  way, Padre," Arthur
said an hour later,  as they walked  through the sunlit  pasture-land. "That
child never took her eyes off you all the time. Do you know, I think----"
     "Yes?"
     "I was only going to say--it seems to me  almost a pity that the Church
should forbid priests to marry. I cannot  quite understand why. You see, the
training of children is such a serious thing, and it means so much  to  them
to be surrounded from the very beginning with good influences, that I should
have  thought the holier a  man's vocation and the purer his life,  the more
fit  he is to be a father. I am  sure, Padre,  if you  had not  been under a
vow,--if you had married,--your children would have been the very----"
     "Hush!"
     The word  was  uttered  in a hasty  whisper that seemed to  deepen  the
ensuing silence.
     "Padre," Arthur began again, distressed by the other's sombre look, "do
you  think  there is anything wrong  in  what I said?  Of  course  I  may be
mistaken; but I must think as it comes natural to me to think."
     "Perhaps," Montanelli  answered  gently, "you  do not quite realize the
meaning of what  you  just  said. You will see differently in a  few  years.
Meanwhile we had better talk about something else."
     It was the  first break in  the perfect  ease and harmony that  reigned
between them on this ideal holiday.
     From  Chamonix they  went on by the Tete-Noire to Martigny,  where they
stopped to rest, as the weather was stiflingly hot. After dinner they sat on
the terrace of the hotel, which was  sheltered from  the sun and commanded a
good view of the  mountains. Arthur brought out his specimen box and plunged
into an earnest botanical discussion in Italian.
     Two English artists  were sitting  on the terrace;  one sketching,  the
other lazily  chatting.  It  did not  seem to have occurred to  him that the
strangers might understand English.
     "Leave off daubing  at  the landscape, Willie," he said; "and draw that
glorious  Italian boy  going  into ecstasies over those bits  of ferns. Just
look at the line  of his eyebrows! You  only need to put a crucifix for  the
magnifying-glass  and a  Roman  toga for the  jacket and knickerbockers, and
there's your Early Christian complete, expression and all."
     "Early Christian be hanged! I sat beside  that youth at  dinner; he was
just as ecstatic over the roast fowl as over those grubby little weeds. He's
pretty enough;  that olive  colouring  is beautiful; but  he's  not half  so
picturesque as his father."
     "His--who?"
     "His father, sitting there straight in front of you. Do you mean to say
you've passed him over? It's a perfectly magnificent face."
     "Why, you  dunder-headed,  go-to-meeting Methodist!  Don't  you know  a
Catholic priest when you see one?"
     "A priest?  By Jove,  so he is! Yes, I forgot; vow of chastity, and all
that sort of thing. Well then, we'll be charitable and suppose the boy's his
nephew."
     "What idiotic people!" Arthur whispered, looking up with dancing  eyes.
"Still, it is kind  of them to think me like you; I wish  I were really your
nephew----Padre, what is the matter? How white you are!"
     Montanelli was  standing up, pressing one hand to his forehead. "I am a
little giddy," he said in a curiously faint, dull tone. "Perhaps  I  was too
much in the sun this morning.  I will go and lie down, carino;  it's nothing
but the heat."
     . . . . .
     After a fortnight  beside  the  Lake of Lucerne  Arthur and  Montanelli
returned  to Italy  by the  St.  Gothard Pass. They had been fortunate as to
weather and had made  several very pleasant excursions;  but the first charm
was gone out  of their enjoyment. Montanelli  was continually  haunted by an
uneasy thought  of  the "more definite  talk" for which this  holiday was to
have  been the opportunity. In the Arve valley he had purposely put  off all
reference  to  the subject of which they had spoken under the magnolia tree;
it would be cruel, he thought, to spoil the first delights of Alpine scenery
for a nature so artistic as Arthur's by associating them with a conversation
which must  necessarily be painful. Ever since  the day  at Martigny he  had
said  to himself each  morning; "I will speak  to-day," and each evening: "I
will speak to-morrow;" and  now the  holiday was over, and he still repeated
again  and  again:  "To-morrow,  to-morrow."  A  chill, indefinable sense of
something  not quite  the same as it had  been, of an invisible veil falling
between himself  and Arthur, kept him  silent, until, on the last evening of
their holiday, he realized suddenly that he must speak now if he would speak
at all.  They  were stopping for the night at  Lugano, and were to start for
Pisa next  morning. He would at least  find out how far his darling had been
drawn into the fatal quicksand of Italian politics.
     "The rain has stopped, carino," he said after sunset; "and  this is the
only  chance we shall have  to see the lake. Come out; I want to have a talk
with you."
     They walked along the water's edge to a quiet  spot and  sat down on  a
low stone  wall.  Close beside them  grew  a rose-bush, covered with scarlet
hips; one or two belated clusters of creamy blossom still hung from an upper
branch, swaying mournfully and heavy with raindrops. On the green surface of
the lake a  little boat, with  white wings faintly fluttering, rocked in the
dewy breeze.  It  looked as light and  frail as a tuft of  silvery dandelion
seed  flung upon the  water. High up on  Monte Salvatore  the window of some
shepherd's hut opened  a golden eye. The roses hung  their heads and dreamed
under the still  September clouds, and the water plashed and murmured softly
among the pebbles of the shore.
     "This will be my only chance of a quiet talk with you for a long time,"
Montanelli began. "You will go back to your college work and friends; and I,
too, shall be very busy this winter. I want to understand quite clearly what
our position as regards each other is  to be; and so, if you----" He stopped
for a moment and then continued more slowly: "If you feel that you can still
trust me  as you used to do, I want you to tell me more definitely than that
night in the seminary garden, how far you have gone."
     Arthur looked out across the water, listened quietly, and said nothing.
     "I want to know, if you will tell me," Montanelli went on; "whether you
have bound yourself by a vow, or--in any way."
     "There is nothing to tell, dear Padre; I have not bound myself,  but  I
am bound."
     "I don't understand------"
     "What is the use of vows? They are not what binds  people. If you  feel
in a certain way about a thing, that binds you to it; if you don't feel that
way, nothing else can bind you."
     "Do  you  mean,   then,  that  this  thing--this--   feeling  is  quite
irrevocable? Arthur, have you thought what you are saying?"
     Arthur turned round and looked straight into Montanelli's eyes.
     "Padre, you asked me if I could trust you. Can you  not trust  me, too?
Indeed, if there were anything to tell, I would tell it to you; but there is
no use in talking about these things. I have not forgotten what  you said to
me  that night; I shall never forget it. But I must go my way and follow the
light that I see."
     Montanelli picked  a rose from the bush,  pulled off the petals one  by
one, and tossed them into the water.
     "You are right, carino. Yes, we will say no more about these things; it
seems there is indeed no help in many words----Well, well, let us go in."THE
autumn  and winter passed  uneventfully.  Arthur  was reading  hard  and had
little spare  time.  He  contrived  to get  a glimpse of  Montanelli once or
oftener in every week, if only for a few minutes. From time to time he would
come in to ask for help with some difficult book; but on these occasions the
subject of  study was  strictly adhered to. Montanelli, feeling, rather than
observing, the slight, impalpable barrier that had come between them, shrank
from everything which might  seem like  an  attempt to retain the  old close
relationship. Arthur's visits now caused him more distress than pleasure, so
trying was the constant effort to appear at ease and to behave as if nothing
were  altered. Arthur,  for his part, noticed,  hardly understanding it, the
subtle change in the Padre's manner; and, vaguely feeling  that it  had some
connection with the vexed question of the  "new  ideas," avoided all mention
of the subject  with which  his thoughts were  constantly filled. Yet he had
never  loved Montanelli  so  deeply  as  now.  The  dim, persistent sense of
dissatisfaction, of  spiritual  emptiness,  which he  had  tried  so hard to
stifle under a load of theology and ritual, had vanished into nothing at the
touch  of Young  Italy. All  the unhealthy fancies born  of  loneliness  and
sick-room watching had passed away, and the doubts  against which he used to
pray had  gone without the  need of  exorcism. With the  awakening  of a new
enthusiasm, a clearer, fresher  religious ideal  (for  it was more  in  this
light than  in that of  a political development that the  students' movement
had appeared to him), had come a sense of rest and completeness, of peace on
earth and  good will towards men;  and in this  mood  of  solemn and  tender
exaltation all the world seemed to him full of light. He found a new element
of something  lovable  in  the  persons  whom  he  had  most  disliked;  and
Montanelli, who for five years had been  his ideal hero, was now in his eyes
surrounded with an additional halo, as a potential prophet of the new faith.
He listened with passionate eagerness to the Padre's sermons, trying to find
in  them some  trace of inner kinship with the republican ideal;  and  pored
over the  Gospels, rejoicing in the democratic tendencies of Christianity at
its origin.
     One day in January he called at the seminary to return a book which  he
had borrowed.  Hearing  that  the Father Director was  out,  he  went  up to
Montanelli's private study, placed the volume on its shelf, and was about to
leave the room when the title  of a book lying on the table caught his eyes.
It  was  Dante's  "De  Monarchia."  He began  to read it  and soon became so
absorbed that when the door opened and shut he did  not hear. He was aroused
from his preoccupation by Montanelli's voice behind him.
     "I did not expect you to-day," said the Padre, glancing at the title of
the  book. "I was just going to send and  ask if  you could come  to me this
evening."
     "Is it anything important? I have an engagement for this evening; but I
will miss it if------"
     "No; to-morrow will  do. I want to see  you because I am going  away on
Tuesday. I have been sent for to Rome."
     "To Rome? For long?"
     "The  letter says, 'till after Easter.' It is from the Vatican. I would
have let you know at once, but have been very busy settling  up things about
the seminary and making arrangements for the new Director."
     "But, Padre, surely you are not giving up the seminary?"
     "It will  have to  be so; but I shall probably come back to  Pisa,  for
some time at least."
     "But why are you giving it up?"
     "Well,  it is  not  yet  officially  announced;  but  I  am  offered  a
bishopric."
     "Padre! Where?"
     "That is  the point about  which I  have to go to Rome. It is  not  yet
decided whether I am to  take a  see in the Apennines, or to remain  here as
Suffragan."
     "And is the new Director chosen yet?"
     "Father Cardi has been nominated and arrives here to-morrow."
     "Is not that rather sudden?"
     "Yes;  but----The   decisions  of  the   Vatican  are   sometimes   not
communicated till the last moment."
     "Do you know the new Director?"
     "Not personally; but he is very highly  spoken of.  Monsignor  Belloni,
who writes, says that he is a man of great erudition."
     "The seminary will miss you terribly."
     "I don't  know about  the seminary,  but  I am sure you  will miss  me,
carino; perhaps almost as much as I shall miss you."
     "I shall indeed; but I am very glad, for all that."
     "Are  you? I  don't  know  that I  am." He sat down at the table with a
weary  look on his face;  not  the  look of  a  man who  is  expecting  high
promotion.
     "Are you busy this afternoon, Arthur?" he said after a moment. "If not,
I wish you would stay with me for a  while, as you can't come to-night. I am
a little out of sorts, I think; and I want to see as much of you as possible
before leaving."
     "Yes, I can stay a bit. I am due at six."
     "One of your meetings?"
     Arthur nodded; and Montanelli changed the subject hastily.
     "I  want to  speak  to  you about yourself," he said.  "You  will  need
another confessor in my absence."
     "When you come back I may go on confessing to you, may I not?"
     "My dear  boy, how can  you ask? Of course I  am  speaking only  of the
three or four months that I shall be away. Will you go to one of the Fathers
of Santa Caterina?"
     "Very well."
     They talked of other matters for a little while; then Arthur rose.
     "I must go, Padre; the students will be waiting for me."
     The haggard look came back to Montanelli's face.
     "Already? You had almost charmed away my black mood. Well, good-bye."
     "Good-bye. I will be sure to come to-morrow."
     "Try to come early,  so that I  may  have time to see you alone. Father
Cardi will be here. Arthur, my  dear boy, be careful while I  am gone; don't
be led into  doing anything rash, at  least before  I come back.  You cannot
think how anxious I feel about leaving you."
     "There is no  need, Padre; everything is quite quiet. It will be a long
time yet."
     "Good-bye," Montanelli said abruptly, and sat down to his writing.
     The  first person upon whom Arthur's eyes fell, as  he entered the room
where the  students' little gatherings were held,  was his old playmate, Dr.
Warren's daughter. She was sitting in a corner by the window, listening with
an absorbed and  earnest face to what one of the "initiators," a  tall young
Lombard in a  threadbare coat, was saying to her. During the last few months
she  had changed  and  developed greatly,  and now  looked a grown-up  young
woman, though the dense black plaits still hung down her back in school-girl
fashion. She was dressed all in black, and had thrown a black scarf over her
head,  as the  room was  cold and  draughty. At  her  breast was a spray  of
cypress,  the  emblem  of   Young  Italy.  The  initiator  was  passionately
describing  to  her  the  misery  of the  Calabrian  peasantry; and  she sat
listening silently, her chin resting on one hand and her eyes on the ground.
To Arthur  she seemed  a melancholy vision of Liberty mourning  for the lost
Republic. (Julia would  have seen  in her only an  overgrown hoyden, with  a
sallow complexion, an  irregular nose, and an old  stuff frock that was  too
short for her.)
     "You here, Jim!" he said, coming up to  her when the initiator had been
called to the other end of the room. "Jim" was a childish corruption  of her
curious  baptismal  name:  Jennifer.  Her  Italian  schoolmates  called  her
"Gemma."
     She raised her head with a start.
     "Arthur! Oh, I didn't know you--belonged here!"
     "And I had no idea about you. Jim, since when have you----?"
     "You don't understand!"  she interposed quickly. "I am not a member. It
is only that I have done one or  two little things. You see, I met Bini--you
know Carlo Bini?"
     "Yes, of course." Bini was the organizer of the Leghorn branch; and all
Young Italy knew him.
     "Well, he  began  talking  to me about these things; and I asked him to
let  me go  to  a  students' meeting.  The other  day  he  wrote  to  me  to
Florence------Didn't  you  know I  had been to  Florence  for  the Christmas
holidays?"
     "I don't often hear from home now."
     "Ah, yes! Anyhow,  I went  to stay with the Wrights." (The Wrights were
old schoolfellows of hers who  had moved to  Florence.) "Then Bini wrote and
told me to pass through  Pisa to-day  on my  way home,  so that I could come
here. Ah! they're going to begin."
     The lecture was upon the ideal  Republic and the  duty of  the young to
fit  themselves for  it. The  lecturer's  comprehension of his  subject  was
somewhat vague; but Arthur listened with devout admiration. His mind at this
period was curiously uncritical; when he accepted a moral ideal he swallowed
it whole without stopping to think whether it was quite digestible. When the
lecture and the  long discussion which  followed it  were  finished and  the
students began to disperse, he went  up to Gemma, who was still  sitting  in
the corner of the room.
     "Let me walk with you, Jim. Where are you staying?"
     "With Marietta."
     "Your father's old housekeeper?"
     "Yes; she lives a good way from here."
     They walked for some time in silence. Then Arthur said suddenly:
     "You are seventeen, now, aren't you?"
     "I was seventeen in October."
     "I always knew you would not grow up like other girls and begin wanting
to go to balls and  all that sort  of thing.  Jim,  dear,  I have  so  often
wondered whether you would ever come to be one of us."
     "So have I."
     "You  said you had done things  for Bini; I  didn't know  you even knew
him."
     "It wasn't for Bini; it was for the other one"
     "Which other one?"
     "The one that was talking to me to-night-- Bolla."
     "Do you know him  well?" Arthur put in with a little touch of jealousy.
Bolla  was a sore subject with him; there  had  been  a rivalry between them
about some work  which the committee of Young Italy had finally intrusted to
Bolla, declaring Arthur too young and inexperienced.
     "I know him pretty well; and I like  him very much. He has been staying
in Leghorn."
     "I know; he went there in November------"
     "Because  of  the steamers. Arthur, don't you think your house would be
safer than ours  for that work? Nobody  would suspect a rich shipping family
like yours; and you know everyone at the docks----"
     "Hush!  not so loud, dear! So it  was  in  your  house the  books  from
Marseilles were hidden?"
     "Only for one day. Oh! perhaps I oughtn't to have told you."
     "Why not?  You  know  I belong to the  society. Gemma,  dear, there  is
nothing in all the world that would make me so happy as for you to join us--
you and the Padre."
     "Your Padre! Surely he----"
     "No;   he  thinks  differently.  But  I  have  sometimes  fancied--that
is--hoped--I don't know----"
     "But, Arthur! he's a priest."
     "What  of that? There are priests in the society --two of them write in
the paper. And why  not?  It is the mission  of the  priesthood  to lead the
world to higher ideals and aims, and  what else  does the society try to do?
It is, after all, more a religious and moral question than a  political one.
If people are fit to  be free and responsible citizens, no one can keep them
enslaved."
     Gemma knit her brows. "It seems to me, Arthur," she said, "that there's
a muddle somewhere in  your logic.  A priest teaches  religious  doctrine. I
don't see what that has to do with getting rid of the Austrians."
     "A  priest is  a  teacher  of  Christianity,  and  the greatest of  all
revolutionists was Christ."
     "Do you know,  I was talking about priests to father the other day, and
he said----"
     "Gemma, your father is a Protestant."
     After a little pause she looked round at him frankly.
     "Look here, we  had  better leave  this subject  alone.  You are always
intolerant when you talk about Protestants."
     "I didn't mean to be intolerant. But I think Protestants are  generally
intolerant when they talk about priests."
     "I dare say. Anyhow, we have so often quarreled over this subject  that
it is not worth while to begin again. What did you think of the lecture?"
     "I liked it very much--especially the last part. I was glad he spoke so
strongly about the need of living the Republic, not dreaming of it. It is as
Christ said: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.'"
     "It was just that part that  I didn't like. He  talked so much  of  the
wonderful things we ought  to think and  feel and  be, but he never told  us
practically what we ought to do."
     "When the  time of  crisis comes there will be plenty for us to do; but
we must be patient; these great changes are not made in a day."
     "The longer a thing is to take doing, the more reason to begin at once.
You talk about being fit for freedom--did you ever know anyone so fit for it
as  your  mother? Wasn't she the most perfectly angelic woman you ever  saw?
And  what use  was  all her  goodness?  She  was  a slave till  the  day she
died--bullied and worried and insulted by your brother  James and his  wife.
It  would have been much  better  for her if she  had not been so sweet  and
patient; they would  never have  treated her so. That's just  the  way  with
Italy; it's not patience that's wanted--it's  for  somebody to  get  up  and
defend themselves------"
     "Jim, dear, if anger and passion could have saved Italy she  would have
been free long ago; it is not hatred that she needs, it is love."
     As he said the word a sudden flush went up to his forehead and died out
again.  Gemma  did  not  see it;  she  was looking straight  before her with
knitted brows and set mouth.
     "You  think I  am  wrong,  Arthur,"  she said after a pause;  "but I am
right,  and you will grow to see it  some day.  This is the house. Will  you
come in?"
     "No; it's late. Good-night, dear!"
     He was standing on the doorstep, clasping her hand in both of his.
     "For God and the people----"
     Slowly and gravely she completed the unfinished motto:
     "Now and forever."
     Then she pulled away her hand and ran into the house. When the door had
closed behind her  he stooped and picked up  the spray of  cypress which had
fallen from her breast.
     ARTHUR went back to his lodgings feeling as though he had wings. He was
absolutely,  cloudlessly  happy.  At  the meeting  there  had been hints  of
preparations for  armed insurrection; and now Gemma  was a  comrade, and  he
loved her. They  could work  together,  possibly even die together, for  the
Republic that was to be. The blossoming time of their hope was come, and the
Padre would see it and believe.
     The  next  morning, however, he awoke in a soberer mood and  remembered
that Gemma was  going to Leghorn  and  the Padre to Rome. January, February,
March--three  long  months  to  Easter!  And  if  Gemma  should  fall  under
"Protestant"  influences at home (in Arthur's vocabulary "Protestant"  stood
for "Philistine")------ No, Gemma  would never learn to flirt and simper and
captivate tourists  and bald-headed shipowners, like the other English girls
in  Leghorn; she  was  made  of  different  stuff.  But  she might  be  very
miserable; she was so young, so friendless, so utterly alone among all those
wooden people. If only mother had lived----
     In  the  evening he  went  to the seminary, where  he  found Montanelli
entertaining the  new Director and looking  both tired and bored. Instead of
lighting up, as usual, at the sight of Arthur, the Padre's face grew darker.
     "This is the student I spoke to you about," he said, introducing Arthur
stiffly. "I shall be much obliged if  you  will allow him to continue  using
the library."
     Father  Cardi,  a  benevolent-looking  elderly priest,  at  once  began
talking to Arthur  about the Sapienza, with  an ease  and familiarity  which
showed  him to  be well acquainted with college  life. The conversation soon
drifted into a discussion  of university regulations, a burning question  of
that day. To Arthur's great delight, the new Director spoke strongly against
the custom adopted by the university authorities of constantly  worrying the
students by senseless and vexatious restrictions.
     "I  have had a  good deal of experience  in guiding young  people,"  he
said; "and I make  it  a  rule never to prohibit  anything  without  a  good
reason.  There  are  very few young men who will give much trouble if proper
consideration and respect for  their personality are shown  to them. But, of
course, the most docile horse will  kick  if you are always  jerking at  the
rein."
     Arthur opened his  eyes wide; he had not expected to hear the students'
cause  pleaded  by  the  new  Director.  Montanelli  took  no  part  in  the
discussion; its subject, apparently, did not interest him. The expression of
his face was  so  unutterably hopeless and weary that Father Cardi broke off
suddenly.
     "I  am  afraid  I  have overtired  you,  Canon.  You  must  forgive  my
talkativeness; I am hot upon this subject and forget that  others  may  grow
weary of it."
     "On the contrary, I was  much  interested." Montanelli was not given to
stereotyped politeness, and his tone jarred uncomfortably upon Arthur.
     When Father Cardi went to his own room Montanelli turned to Arthur with
the intent and brooding look that his face had worn all the evening.
     "Arthur, my dear boy," he began slowly; "I have something to tell you."
     "He must  have had bad  news,"  flashed  through  Arthur's mind, as  he
looked anxiously at the haggard face. There was a long pause.
     "How do you like the new Director?" Montanelli asked suddenly.
     The question was so unexpected that, for a moment, Arthur was at a loss
how to reply to it.
     "I--I like him very much,  I think--at least--  no, I am not quite sure
that I do. But it is difficult to say, after seeing a person once."
     Montanelli sat beating his hand gently on the arm of his chair; a habit
with him when anxious or perplexed.
     "About this  journey to Rome," he  began again; "if you  think there is
any--well--if you wish it, Arthur, I will write and say I cannot go."
     "Padre! But the Vatican------"
     "The Vatican will find someone else. I can send apologies."
     "But why? I can't understand."
     Montanelli drew one hand across his forehead.
     "I am anxious  about you. Things keep  coming  into my  head--and after
all, there is no need for me to go------"
     "But the bishopric----"
     "Oh, Arthur!  what  shall  it  profit  me  if  I  gain a bishopric  and
lose----"
     He  broke  off.  Arthur  had never seen  him like this before, and  was
greatly troubled.
     "I can't  understand," he said.  "Padre,  if you could  explain  to  me
more--more definitely, what it is you think------"
     "I think nothing; I am haunted with  a horrible fear. Tell me, is there
any special danger?"
     "He has heard something," Arthur thought, remembering the whispers of a
projected  revolt. But the  secret  was not  his  to  tell;  and  he  merely
answered: "What special danger should there be?"
     "Don't question me--answer me!" Montanelli's voice was almost  harsh in
its eagerness.  "Are you in danger? I don't want to know your secrets;  only
tell me that!"
     "We are all  in  God's hands, Padre;  anything may always happen. But I
know  of no reason why  I should not  be  here alive and safe when  you come
back."
     "When I come back----Listen, carino; I will leave it in your hands. You
need give me no  reason; only  say  to me, 'Stay,' and  I will  give up this
journey.  There will be no injury to anyone, and I  shall feel you are safer
if I have you beside me."
     This  kind  of  morbid  fancifulness  was  so foreign  to  Montanelli's
character that Arthur looked at him with grave anxiety.
     "Padre,  I am sure you are not well. Of course you must go to Rome, and
try  to  have  a  thorough  rest and  get  rid  of  your  sleeplessness  and
headaches."
     "Very well," Montanelli  interrupted, as if tired of  the  subject;  "I
will start by the early coach to-morrow morning."
     Arthur looked at him, wondering.
     "You had something to tell me?" he said.
     "No,  no;  nothing  more--nothing of  any  consequence."  There  was  a
startled, almost terrified look in his face.
     A few  days  after  Montanelli's departure Arthur went  to fetch a book
from the seminary library, and met Father Cardi on the stairs.
     "Ah,  Mr. Burton!"  exclaimed the  Director; "the very person I wanted.
Please come in and help me out of a difficulty."
     He opened the study door, and Arthur followed  him into the room with a
foolish, secret sense of  resentment. It seemed hard to see this dear study,
the Padre's own private sanctum, invaded by a stranger.
     "I am a terrible book-worm," said the  Director; "and my first act when
I got here was to examine the library. It seems very interesting,  but I  do
not understand the system by which it is catalogued."
     "The catalogue is  imperfect; many of the best books have been added to
the collection lately."
     "Can you spare half an hour to explain the arrangement to me?"
     They  went  into  the  library,  and  Arthur  carefully  explained  the
catalogue. When he rose to take his hat, the Director interfered, laughing.
     "No, no! I can't have you rushing off in that way. It is  Saturday, and
quite  time for  you to leave off work till  Monday morning.  Stop  and have
supper with me, now I  have kept you so late. I am quite alone, and shall be
glad of company."
     His manner was so bright and pleasant that Arthur felt at ease with him
at once. After some desultory  conversation, the Director  inquired how long
he had known Montanelli.
     "For about seven years. He came back from China when I was twelve years
old."
     "Ah, yes! It  was there that he gained his  reputation as  a missionary
preacher. Have you been his pupil ever since?"
     "He  began teaching me  a  year later, about  the  time  when  I  first
confessed to him.  Since I  have been at  the Sapienza he has  still gone on
helping me  with anything  I wanted to study that  was  not in  the  regular
course. He has been very kind to me--you can hardly imagine how kind."
     "I can well believe it; he is a man whom  no one can  fail to admire--a
most noble and beautiful  nature. I have  met priests who were  out in China
with him; and they had no words high enough to praise his energy and courage
under all hardships, and his unfailing  devotion. You are  fortunate to have
had in your youth the help and guidance of such a man. I understood from him
that you have lost both parents."
     "Yes; my father died when I was a child, and my mother a year ago."
     "Have you brothers and sisters?"
     "No; I have step-brothers; but they were business men when I was in the
nursery."
     "You  must  have  had  a  lonely  childhood;  perhaps you  value  Canon
Montanelli's kindness  the  more for that.  By  the way, have you  chosen  a
confessor for the time of his absence?"
     "I  thought  of going to one of the  fathers of Santa Caterina, if they
have not too many penitents."
     "Will you confess to me?"
     Arthur opened his eyes in wonder.
     "Reverend Father, of course I--should be glad; only----"
     "Only the Director  of a theological seminary  does not usually receive
lay penitents? That is quite true. But I know Canon Montanelli takes a great
interest in you, and I fancy he is a little anxious on your behalf--just  as
I should be if I were leaving a favourite pupil--and  would like to know you
were under the spiritual guidance  of his colleague. And, to  be quite frank
with you,  my son, I like  you,  and should  be glad to give you any help  I
can."
     "If you put  it that way, of course I  shall be very grateful  for your
guidance."
     "Then you will come to me next  month? That's  right. And run in to see
me, my lad, when you have time any evening."
     . . . . .
     Shortly before  Easter Montanelli's appointment  to  the  little see of
Brisighella, in the Etruscan  Apennines,  was officially announced. He wrote
to  Arthur  from  Rome in a  cheerful  and  tranquil  spirit;  evidently his
depression was passing over.  "You must come to  see  me every vacation," he
wrote; "and I shall often be coming to Pisa; so I hope to see a good deal of
you, if  not so  much  as  I should wish." Dr. Warren had  invited Arthur to
spend  the  Easter holidays with him and  his children,  instead of  in  the
dreary, rat-ridden old place  where Julia  now reigned supreme.  Enclosed in
the  letter was  a  short  note,  scrawled  in Gemma's  childish,  irregular
handwriting,  begging  him to  come if possible,  "as I  want to talk to you
about  something." Still more encouraging  was  the  whispered communication
passing around from student to student in the university; everyone was to be
prepared for great things after Easter.
     All this  had put  Arthur  into a  state  of rapturous anticipation, in
which the wildest improbabilities hinted at among the students seemed to him
natural and likely to be realized within the next two months.
     He  arranged to go home  on  Thursday in Passion week, and to spend the
first days of the vacation there, that  the pleasure of visiting the Warrens
and the delight of seeing Gemma might not unfit him for the solemn religious
meditation demanded by the  Church  from all her children at this season. He
wrote  to Gemma, promising to  come  on Easter Monday;  and  went up to  his
bedroom on Wednesday night with a soul at peace.
     He knelt down before the crucifix. Father Cardi had promised to receive
him in  the  morning;  and  for this, his last  confession before the Easter
communion, he must prepare himself by long and earnest prayer. Kneeling with
clasped hands  and bent head, he looked back over the month, and reckoned up
the  miniature sins of  impatience, carelessness, hastiness of temper, which
had left  their faint, small  spots  upon the whiteness of his soul.  Beyond
these  he  could find nothing; in  this month he  had  been too happy to sin
much. He crossed himself, and, rising, began to undress.
     As  he unfastened  his  shirt  a  scrap  of  paper slipped from  it and
fluttered to  the floor.  It was  Gemma's letter, which he had worn all  day
upon his neck.  He picked it up,  unfolded it, and kissed the dear scribble;
then  began folding the paper up again,  with a dim consciousness of  having
done  something very ridiculous,  when he noticed on the back of the sheet a
postscript which  he had not  read  before.  "Be  sure  and  come as soon as
possible," it ran, "for I want you to meet Bolla. He  has been staying here,
and we have read together every day."
     The hot colour went up to Arthur's forehead as he read.
     Always Bolla! What was he doing in Leghorn again? And  why should Gemma
want to read with him? Had he bewitched her with his smuggling? It  had been
quite easy to  see at the meeting in January that he  was in love with  her;
that was  why he had  been  so earnest over his propaganda. And  now he  was
close to her--reading with her every day.
     Arthur suddenly  threw the letter aside and knelt down again before the
crucifix.  And this  was the soul that was preparing for absolution, for the
Easter sacrament--the soul at peace with God and itself and all the world! A
soul capable of sordid jealousies and suspicions; of selfish animosities and
ungenerous hatred--and against  a comrade!  He covered his  face  with  both
hands in bitter  humiliation. Only five minutes ago he had  been dreaming of
martyrdom; and now he had been guilty of a mean and petty thought like this!
     When he entered the seminary chapel on Thursday morning he found Father
Cardi alone.  After repeating  the  Confiteor,  he plunged at  once into the
subject of his last night's backsliding.
     "My father, I accuse  myself of the sins of jealousy and anger,  and of
unworthy thoughts against one who has done me no wrong."
     Farther Cardi  knew quite well  with  what kind of  penitent he  had to
deal. He only said softly:
     "You have not told me all, my son."
     "Father, the man against whom I have thought an  unchristian thought is
one whom I am especially bound to love and honour."
     "One to whom you are bound by ties of blood?"
     "By a still closer tie."
     "By what tie, my son?"
     "By that of comradeship."
     "Comradeship in what?"
     "In a great and holy work."
     A little pause.
     "And your anger against this--comrade, your jealousy of him, was called
forth by his success in that work being greater than yours?"
     "I--yes, partly.  I  envied him his  experience--  his  usefulness. And
then--I thought--I feared-- that he would take from me the heart of the girl
I--love."
     "And this girl that you love, is she a daughter of the Holy Church?"
     "No; she is a Protestant."
     "A heretic?"
     Arthur  clasped  his hands  in  great  distress.  "Yes,  a heretic," he
repeated. "We were brought  up together; our mothers were friends--and I  --
envied him, because I saw that he loves her, too, and because--because----"
     "My son," said Father Cardi, speaking  after a moment's silence, slowly
and gravely, "you have still not told me all; there is  more  than this upon
your soul."
     "Father, I----" He faltered and broke off again.
     The priest waited silently.
     "I  envied him  because  the  society--the Young Italy--that  I  belong
to------"
     "Yes?"  Intrusted him with a work that I had hoped --would be  given to
me, that I had thought myself --specially adapted for."
     "What work?"
     "The  taking in of books--political books--from the steamers that bring
them--and finding a hiding place for them--in the town------"
     "And this work was given by the party to your rival?"
     "To Bolla--and I envied him."
     "And he gave you no cause for this  feeling? You  do  not accuse him of
having neglected the mission intrusted to him?"
     "No, father; he has worked bravely and devotedly;  he is a true patriot
and has deserved nothing but love and respect from me."
     Father Cardi pondered.
     "My son, if there is within you a new light, a dream of some great work
to be  accomplished  for your  fellow-men, a hope  that  shall  lighten  the
burdens of the  weary and oppressed, take  heed how  you  deal with the most
precious  blessing of  God.  All good things are of  His giving; and of  His
giving is  the new birth. If you have found the  way of  sacrifice, the  way
that  leads to  peace;  if you  have joined with loving  comrades  to  bring
deliverance to them that weep and mourn in secret; then see  to it that your
soul be free from envy and passion  and  your  heart as an altar  where  the
sacred fire  burns eternally. Remember  that this is a high and holy  thing,
and  that  the  heart  which  would receive it  must  be purified from every
selfish thought. This vocation is as the vocation of a priest; it is not for
the love of a woman, nor for the moment of a fleeting passion; it is FOR GOD
AND THE PEOPLE; it is NOW AND FOREVER."
     "Ah!" Arthur started and  clasped his hands;  he  had  almost burst out
sobbing  at the motto.  "Father,  you  give  us the sanction of  the Church!
Christ is on our side----"
     "My son," the priest answered solemnly, "Christ drove the moneychangers
out of the Temple, for His House shall be called a House of Prayer, and they
had made it a den of thieves."
     After a long silence, Arthur whispered tremulously:
     "And Italy shall be His Temple when they are driven out----"
     He stopped; and the soft answer came back:
     "'The earth and the fulness thereof are mine, saith the Lord.'"

     THAT afternoon Arthur felt the  need of a  long walk.  He intrusted his
luggage to a fellow-student and went to Leghorn on foot.
     The day was damp and cloudy, but not  cold; and the low,  level country
seemed  to  him fairer than he had ever  known  it to look before. He had  a
sense of  delight in the soft elasticity of the wet grass under his feet and
in the shy, wondering eyes of the wild  spring flowers by the roadside. In a
thorn-acacia  bush at the edge of a little strip of wood a bird was building
a nest, and flew up as he passed with a startled cry  and a quick fluttering
of brown wings.
     He  tried to keep his mind fixed upon the devout meditations  proper to
the eve of Good Friday. But thoughts  of Montanelli and Gemma got so much in
the way of this devotional exercise that at last he gave  up the attempt and
allowed  his fancy to  drift away to the wonders and glories  of the  coming
insurrection, and to the part in it that he had allotted to  his  two idols.
The Padre was to be the leader, the apostle, the prophet before whose sacred
wrath  the powers  of  darkness were  to  flee,  and at whose feet the young
defenders of Liberty were to learn afresh the old doctrines,  the old truths
in their new and unimagined significance.
     And Gemma? Oh, Gemma would fight at the barricades. She was made of the
clay from which heroines are moulded; she would be the  perfect comrade, the
maiden undefiled and unafraid, of whom so many poets have dreamed. She would
stand  beside  him,  shoulder   to  shoulder,  rejoicing  under  the  winged
death-storm;  and  they  would  die  together,  perhaps  in  the  moment  of
victory--without doubt there would be a victory. Of  his love  he would tell
her nothing; he  would say no word that might disturb her peace or spoil her
tranquil sense  of  comradeship. She  was to  him a holy  thing, a  spotless
victim to be laid upon the altar as a burnt-offering for the deliverance  of
the people; and who was he that he should  enter into the white sanctuary of
a soul that knew no other love than God and Italy?
     God and Italy----Then came a sudden drop from  the clouds as he entered
the  great,  dreary house  in  the "Street of Palaces,"  and Julia's butler,
immaculate, calm, and politely disapproving as ever, confronted him upon the
stairs.
     "Good-evening, Gibbons; are my brothers in?"
     "Mr. Thomas is in, sir; and Mrs. Burton. They are in the drawing room."
     Arthur went in with a dull sense of oppression. What a  dismal house it
was! The flood of  life seemed  to roll past  and leave it always just above
high-water  mark.  Nothing in  it ever changed-- neither the people, nor the
family portraits,  nor the heavy furniture  and  ugly plate, nor  the vulgar
ostentation  of riches,  nor the lifeless  aspect of  everything.  Even  the
flowers on the brass stands looked like painted metal flowers that had never
known the stirring of young sap within them in the warm spring  days. Julia,
dressed for dinner, and waiting for  visitors in the drawing room which  was
to her  the centre of existence, might have sat  for a fashion-plate just as
she was, with her  wooden smile and flaxen ringlets, and  the lap-dog on her
knee.
     "How  do you do, Arthur?" she said stiffly, giving him the tips of  her
fingers for a  moment,  and  then  transferring them to the  more  congenial
contact of the lap-dog's  silken  coat. "I hope you  are quite well and have
made satisfactory progress at college."
     Arthur murmured  the first commonplace that  he could  think of  at the
moment, and  relapsed into uncomfortable  silence. The  arrival of James, in
his most pompous mood and  accompanied  by a stiff, elderly  shipping-agent,
did not improve  matters; and when Gibbons announced that dinner was served,
Arthur rose with a little sigh of relief.
     "I won't  come  to dinner, Julia.  If you'll excuse me I will  go to my
room."
     "You're overdoing that fasting, my boy," said Thomas; "I am sure you'll
make yourself ill."
     "Oh, no! Good-night."
     In the  corridor Arthur  met the under housemaid and asked her to knock
at his door at six in the morning.
     "The signorino is going to church?"
     "Yes. Good-night, Teresa."
     He went into his room.  It had belonged  to his mother,  and the alcove
opposite the  window  had  been  fitted  up  during her  long illness  as an
oratory. A great  crucifix  on  a black pedestal occupied the middle  of the
altar; and before it hung a little Roman lamp. This  was the  room where she
had  died. Her portrait was on the  wall beside the  bed; and on  the  table
stood a china bowl  which had been hers, filled with  a  great bunch of  her
favourite violets.  It  was  just  a year since  her death; and the  Italian
servants had not forgotten her.
     He took  out of his portmanteau a framed picture, carefully wrapped up.
It was a crayon portrait of Montanelli,  which had come from Rome only a few
days  before. He was  unwrapping this  precious treasure  when  Julia's page
brought in  a  supper-tray  on  which the old Italian  cook,  who had served
Gladys  before  the  harsh,  new  mistress  came,  had  placed  such  little
delicacies  as she considered her dear signorino might permit himself to eat
without infringing the rules of the Church. Arthur refused everything  but a
piece of  bread;  and  the  page,  a nephew of Gibbons,  lately arrived from
England, grinned  significantly  as he carried out the tray. He had  already
joined the Protestant camp in the servants' hall.
     Arthur went into the alcove and knelt down before  the crucifix, trying
to compose his mind to  the proper attitude  for prayer  and meditation. But
this  he  found difficult to  accomplish. He  had,  as  Thomas said,  rather
overdone  the Lenten privations, and  they had gone to his head  like strong
wine. Little quivers of excitement went down his back, and the crucifix swam
in  a misty  cloud before his  eyes.  It  was  only  after  a  long  litany,
mechanically  repeated,  that  he   succeeded  in  recalling  his  wandering
imagination  to  the  mystery  of the  Atonement.  At  last  sheer  physical
weariness conquered the feverish agitation of his nerves, and he lay down to
sleep  in a  calm and  peaceful mood,  free from all  unquiet or  disturbing
thoughts.
     He was fast asleep when a sharp, impatient knock came at his door. "Ah,
Teresa!"  he thought, turning over lazily.  The  knock was  repeated, and he
awoke with a violent start.
     "Signorino! signorino!" cried a man's voice in Italian; "get up for the
love of God!"
     Arthur jumped out of bed.
     "What is the matter? Who is it?"
     "It's I, Gian Battista. Get up, quick, for Our Lady's sake!"
     Arthur  hurriedly  dressed  and  opened  the  door.  As  he  stared  in
perplexity at  the coachman's pale, terrified  face,  the sound of  tramping
feet and  clanking metal came along the  corridor, and  he suddenly realized
the truth.
     "For me?" he asked coolly.
     "For you! Oh, signorino, make  haste! What have you to hide? See, I can
put----"
     "I have nothing to hide. Do my brothers know?"
     The first uniform appeared at the turn of the passage.
     "The signor has  been  called; all  the  house  is  awake. Alas! what a
misfortune--what  a  terrible misfortune! And on  Good  Friday! Holy Saints,
have pity!"
     Gian Battista burst into tears.  Arthur moved a few steps  forward  and
waited for the gendarmes, who came clattering along, followed by a shivering
crowd of  servants in various impromptu costumes. As the soldiers surrounded
Arthur, the master and  mistress of the house  brought up  the rear of  this
strange  procession;  he  in  dressing  gown and  slippers, she  in  a  long
peignoir, with her hair in curlpapers.
     "There is, sure, another flood toward, and these couples  are coming to
the ark! Here comes a pair of very strange beasts!"
     The  quotation  flashed  across  Arthur's  mind  as  he looked  at  the
grotesque  figures.  He  checked  a  laugh  with  a  sense  of  its  jarring
incongruity--this  was a  time for  worthier  thoughts.  "Ave  Maria, Regina
Coeli!" he whispered, and turned his eyes away, that the bobbing of  Julia's
curlpapers might not again tempt him to levity.
     "Kindly  explain to  me," said  Mr.  Burton, approaching the officer of
gendarmerie,  "what is the meaning of this  violent intrusion into a private
house?  I warn  you  that,  unless you  are  prepared to furnish  me  with a
satisfactory explanation, I  shall  feel bound to  complain  to  the English
Ambassador."
     "I presume," replied the officer stiffly, "that you will recognize this
as  a  sufficient  explanation; the English  Ambassador certainly  will." He
pulled out a warrant for the arrest of Arthur Burton, student of philosophy,
and,  handing  it to  James, added  coldly:  "If you  wish  for  any further
explanation, you had better apply in person to the chief of police."
     Julia snatched the paper from her husband, glanced over it, and flew at
Arthur like nothing else in the world but a fashionable lady in a rage.
     "So it's you that have  disgraced  the  family!" she screamed; "setting
all the rabble  in the town gaping and staring as if the thing were a  show?
So  you have  turned jail-bird, now, with all your piety! It's what we might
have expected from that Popish woman's child----"
     "You  must not  speak to a prisoner in a foreign language,  madam," the
officer  interrupted;  but  his remonstrance  was hardly audible  under  the
torrent of Julia's vociferous English.
     "Just  what we  might have expected! Fasting  and  prayer  and  saintly
meditation; and this is what was underneath it  all! I thought that would be
the end of it."
     Dr. Warren had once  compared Julia to a salad into  which the cook had
upset  the vinegar cruet. The  sound of her  thin,  hard voice set  Arthur's
teeth on edge, and the simile suddenly popped up in his memory.
     "There's no use in this kind of talk," he said. "You need not be afraid
of  any  unpleasantness; everyone  will understand  that you  are all  quite
innocent. I suppose, gentlemen, you want to search my things. I have nothing
to  hide." The  gendarmes,  meanwhile, had  finished their  search, and  the
officer in charge requested Arthur to put on his outdoor clothes. He  obeyed
at once and turned to leave the room; then  stopped with  sudden hesitation.
It  seemed  hard  to  take leave of his mother's oratory in the presence  of
these officials.
     "Have  you  any objection  to leaving the room for a moment?" he asked.
"You see that I cannot escape and that there is nothing to conceal."
     "I am sorry, but it is forbidden to leave a prisoner alone."
     "Very well, it doesn't matter."
     He  went  into the alcove, and,  kneeling  down, kissed  the  feet  and
pedestal of  the crucifix, whispering  softly: "Lord,  keep me faithful unto
death."
     When  he  rose,  the  officer  was standing  by  the  table,  examining
Montanelli's portrait. "Is this a relative of yours?" he asked.
     "No; it is my confessor, the new Bishop of Brisighella."
     On  the  staircase  the  Italian  servants  were  waiting, anxious  and
sorrowful.  They  all loved Arthur  for his  own sake and his  mother's, and
crowded round him, kissing his  hands and  dress with passionate grief. Gian
Battista stood by, the tears dripping  down his gray  moustache. None of the
Burtons  came  out  to  take  leave  of him. Their coldness  accentuated the
tenderness and  sympathy of the servants, and Arthur  was  near  to breaking
down as he pressed the hands held out to him.
     "Good-bye,  Gian  Battista.  Kiss  the  little ones  for  me. Good-bye,
Teresa. Pray for me, all of you; and God keep you! Good-bye, good-bye!"
     He  ran  hastily downstairs to  the front door.  A moment later only  a
little group of silent men and sobbing women  stood on the doorstep watching
the carriage as it drove away.PART I: CHAPTER VI.
     ARTHUR was taken to the huge mediaeval fortress at the harbour's mouth.
He found prison life  fairly endurable. His  cell was  unpleasantly damp and
dark; but he had been brought  up in a  palace in the Via Borra, and neither
close air, rats, nor foul smells were novelties to him.  The food, also, was
both bad  and insufficient; but James  soon obtained permission to send  him
all the necessaries of life  from home. He was kept in solitary confinement,
and,  though  the  vigilance of  the  warders was less  strict  than he  had
expected,  he failed  to obtain  any explanation of the cause of his arrest.
Nevertheless,  the  tranquil frame of  mind in  which  he  had  entered  the
fortress  did not change. Not  being allowed books,  he  spent  his time  in
prayer and devout meditation, and waited without impatience  or anxiety  for
the further course of events.
     One day a soldier  unlocked  the door of  his cell and  called  to him:
"This way, please!" After two  or three questions, to which he got no answer
but,  "Talking  is forbidden," Arthur resigned himself to the inevitable and
followed  the  soldier  through a  labyrinth of  courtyards,  corridors, and
stairs, all more or less musty-smelling, into a large, light  room in  which
three persons  in military uniform  sat at a  long  table covered with green
baize and littered with papers, chatting  in a languid, desultory  way. They
put on a  stiff,  business  air  as he  came in, and the  oldest of  them, a
foppish-looking man with gray whiskers and a colonel's uniform, pointed to a
chair   on  the   other  side   of  the  table  and  began  the  preliminary
interrogation.
     Arthur  had  expected to be threatened, abused, and sworn  at, and  had
prepared  himself to answer with dignity and patience; but he was pleasantly
disappointed.  The  colonel  was  stiff,  cold  and  formal,  but  perfectly
courteous. The usual questions as to his name,  age, nationality, and social
position were put and  answered, and the replies written down in  monotonous
succession. He  was beginning to feel bored and impatient, when  the colonel
asked:
     "And now, Mr. Burton, what do you know about Young Italy?"
     "I know that it is a society  which publishes a newspaper in Marseilles
and circulates it in Italy, with the object of inducing people to revolt and
drive the Austrian army out of the country."
     "You have read this paper, I think?"
     "Yes; I am interested in the subject."
     "When  you  read it  you realized that you  were  committing an illegal
action?"
     "Certainly."
     "Where did you get the copies which were found in your room?"
     "That I cannot tell you."
     "Mr. Burton, you must not  say 'I cannot tell' here;  you are  bound to
answer my questions."
     "I will not, then, if you object to 'cannot.'"
     "You will  regret it if you  permit yourself to  use such expressions,"
remarked the colonel. As Arthur made no reply, he went on:
     "I may as well  tell you that evidence has come into our hands  proving
your  connection  with this society to be much more intimate than is implied
by the mere reading of forbidden literature. It will be to your advantage to
confess frankly.  In  any case the truth  will be sure to come out,  and you
will find it useless to screen yourself behind evasion and denials."
     "I have no desire to screen myself. What is it you want to know?"
     "Firstly, how did you, a foreigner, come to be implicated in matters of
this kind?"
     "I  thought about the subject and read everything I could get hold  of,
and formed my own conclusions."
     "Who persuaded you to join this society?"
     "No one; I wished to join it."
     "You  are  shilly-shallying  with me,"  said the colonel, sharply;  his
patience was evidently  beginning to give out. "No one can join a society by
himself. To whom did you communicate your wish to join it?"
     Silence.
     "Will you have the kindness to answer me?"
     "Not when you ask questions of that kind."
     Arthur  spoke  sullenly;  a curious, nervous  irritability  was  taking
possession of him. He knew by this time that many  arrests had  been made in
both Leghorn  and  Pisa;  and,  though still ignorant  of the extent  of the
calamity, he had already heard enough to put him into a fever of anxiety for
the safety  of Gemma and his other  friends. The studied  politeness of  the
officers, the  dull game of fencing and parrying, of insidious questions and
evasive answers, worried and annoyed  him, and  the clumsy tramping backward
and forward of the sentinel outside the door jarred detestably upon his ear.
     "Oh, by  the bye, when  did  you last meet Giovanni  Bolla?" asked  the
colonel, after a little more bandying  of words. "Just before you left Pisa,
was it?"
     "I know no one of that name."
     "What!  Giovanni  Bolla? Surely you know  him --a  tall  young  fellow,
closely shaven. Why, he is one of your fellow-students."
     "There are many students in the university whom I don't know."
     "Oh,  but you must know Bolla, surely!  Look, this is  his handwriting.
You see, he knows you well enough."
     The  colonel  carelessly handed him  a  paper headed:  "Protocol,"  and
signed: "Giovanni Bolla." Glancing down it Arthur came upon his own name. He
looked up in surprise. "Am I to read it?"
     "Yes, you may as well; it concerns you."
     He began to read, while  the officers  sat silently  watching his face.
The document appeared  to consist of depositions  in answer to a long string
of  questions. Evidently Bolla,  too,  must have  been arrested.  The  first
depositions were of the usual stereotyped  character; then followed a  short
account of Bolla's  connection  with  the society, of the  dissemination  of
prohibited literature in  Leghorn, and  of the students' meetings. Next came
"Among  those who  joined us  was  a  young Englishman, Arthur  Burton,  who
belongs to one of the rich shipowning families."
     The blood rushed into Arthur's face. Bolla had betrayed him! Bolla, who
had  taken upon  himself the solemn duties of  an initiator--Bolla,  who had
converted Gemma--who was in love with her! He laid down the paper and stared
at the floor.
     "I  hope that little  document has refreshed your memory?"  hinted  the
colonel politely.
     Arthur shook his head. "I know  no one of that name," he repeated in  a
dull, hard voice. "There must be some mistake."
     "Mistake? Oh,  nonsense!  Come, Mr. Burton, chivalry and  quixotism are
very fine things in their way; but there's no use in overdoing them. It's an
error all you young people  fall into at first. Come, think! What good is it
for you to  compromise yourself and  spoil  your  prospects in life  over  a
simple  formality about a man that  has  betrayed you? You see yourself,  he
wasn't so particular as to what he said about you."
     A faint shade of something  like  mockery  had crept into the colonel's
voice. Arthur looked up with a start; a sudden light flashed upon his mind.
     "It's a lie!" he cried out. "It's a forgery! I can see it in your face,
you cowardly----You've got some prisoner there you want to  compromise, or a
trap  you want to  drag  me  into.  You  are  a  forger,  and a  liar, and a
scoundrel----"
     "Silence!"  shouted  the  colonel,  starting  up  in  a  rage; his  two
colleagues  were  already on  their feet.  "Captain  Tommasi," he  went  on,
turning to one of them, "ring  for the guard, if  you please, and have  this
young gentleman put  in the punishment  cell  for a  few days.  He  wants  a
lesson, I see, to bring him to reason."
     The punishment cell was a dark, damp, filthy hole under ground. Instead
of bringing Arthur "to reason," it thoroughly exasperated him. His luxurious
home had  rendered him daintily  fastidious about personal  cleanliness, and
the first effect  of the slimy, vermin-covered walls, the floor  heaped with
accumulations of filth and garbage,  the fearful stench of fungi  and sewage
and rotting wood, was strong enough to have satisfied  the offended officer.
When he was pushed in and the  door locked behind him he took three cautious
steps  forward  with  outstretched  hands,  shuddering with  disgust  as his
fingers came into  contact with the  slippery wall, and  groped in the dense
blackness for some spot less filthy than the rest in which to sit down.
     The long day passed in unbroken  blackness and silence,  and the  night
brought  no  change.  In  the   utter  void  and  absence  of  all  external
impressions,  he gradually lost the consciousness of time; and  when, on the
following morning, a  key was turned in  the  door  lock, and the frightened
rats scurried past him squeaking, he started up in a sudden panic, his heart
throbbing  furiously and a roaring noise in his  ears, as though he had been
shut away from light and sound for months instead of hours.
     The door opened, letting in a feeble lantern gleam--a flood of blinding
light,  it seemed to him --and the head warder entered, carrying a piece  of
bread and a mug of water. Arthur made a step forward; he was quite convinced
that  the man  had come to let him out.  Before he had  time  to  speak, the
warder put  the bread and  mug  into his hands, turned round  and  went away
without a word, locking the door again.
     Arthur stamped his foot upon the ground. For the first time in his life
he  was savagely angry. But as the hours went  by, the consciousness of time
and place gradually  slipped further  and further away. The blackness seemed
an illimitable  thing, with no beginning  and  no  end,  and life had, as it
were, stopped  for him. On the evening  of the third day,  when the door was
opened  and the  head warder  appeared on the  threshold with a  soldier, he
looked  up, dazed and bewildered,  shading  his eyes from  the  unaccustomed
light,  and  vaguely wondering how many hours or  weeks  he had been in this
grave.
     "This way, please," said the cool business voice of the warder.  Arthur
rose and moved  forward mechanically, with a strange  unsteadiness,  swaying
and stumbling like a drunkard. He resented the warder's  attempt to help him
up the steep,  narrow steps leading to the courtyard;  but as he reached the
highest step  a  sudden  giddiness  came over him, so that  he staggered and
would have fallen backwards had the warder not caught him by the shoulder.
     . . . . .
     "There, he'll be all right now,"  said a cheerful voice; "they most  of
them go off this way coming out into the air."
     Arthur struggled desperately for breath as another handful of water was
dashed into  his  face. The blackness seemed to fall away from him in pieces
with  a rushing noise; then he woke suddenly  into full  consciousness, and,
pushing  aside the warder's arm, walked along the corridor and up the stairs
almost steadily.  They  stopped for a  moment in front of a  door;  then  it
opened,  and before  he realized where  they  were  taking him he was in the
brightly lighted interrogation room, staring in confused wonder at the table
and the papers and the officers sitting in their accustomed places.
     "Ah,  it's Mr. Burton!"  said the colonel. "I hope we shall be  able to
talk  more comfortably now.  Well, and  how do  you like the  dark cell? Not
quite so luxurious as your brother's drawing room, is it? eh?"
     Arthur raised his  eyes to the colonel's smiling face. He was seized by
a frantic desire to spring at the throat of this gray-whiskered fop and tear
it with his teeth. Probably something of this kind  was visible in his face,
for the colonel added immediately, in a quite different tone:
     "Sit down, Mr. Burton, and drink some water; you are excited."
     Arthur  pushed aside  the glass of water  held out to him; and, leaning
his  arms on the table, rested his forehead on one hand and tried to collect
his thoughts. The  colonel sat watching him  keenly, noting with experienced
eyes the unsteady hands and lips, the hair dripping with water, the dim gaze
that told of physical prostration and disordered nerves.
     "Now, Mr. Burton," he  said after a few minutes;  "we will start at the
point  where  we  left off;  and as  there has  been  a  certain  amount  of
unpleasantness  between us, I may as well begin  by saying  that  I,  for my
part,  have no  desire to be  anything  but indulgent  with you. If you will
behave properly  and reasonably,  I assure you  that we shall  not treat you
with any unnecessary harshness."
     "What do you want me to do?"
     Arthur spoke in a hard, sullen voice, quite  different from his natural
tone.
     "I  only  want  you  to  tell  us  frankly, in  a  straightforward  and
honourable manner, what you know of this society and its adherents. First of
all, how long have you known Bolla?"
     "I never met him in my life. I know nothing whatever about him."
     "Really? Well, we will  return to  that subject presently. I  think you
know a young man named Carlo Bini?"
     "I never heard of such a person."
     "That is very extraordinary. What about Francesco Neri?"
     "I never heard the name."
     "But here is a letter in your handwriting, addressed to him. Look!"
     Arthur glanced carelessly at the letter and laid it aside.
     "Do you recognize that letter?"
     "No."
     "You deny that it is in your writing?"
     "I deny nothing. I have no recollection of it."
     "Perhaps you remember this one?"
     A second letter was  handed to him, and he saw that it was one which he
had written in the autumn to a fellow-student.
     "No."
     "Nor the person to whom it is addressed?"
     "Nor the person."
     "Your memory is singularly short."
     "It is a defect from which I have always suffered."
     "Indeed! And I heard the other day from a university professor that you
are considered by no means deficient; rather clever in fact."
     "You  probably   judge  of  cleverness  by  the  police-spy   standard;
university professors use words in a different sense."
     The note of rising irritation was plainly audible in Arthur's voice. He
was physically  exhausted with hunger, foul  air,  and want of sleep;  every
bone  in his body seemed to ache separately; and the colonel's voice  grated
on  his exasperated nerves,  setting his teeth on edge like the squeak  of a
slate pencil.
     "Mr. Burton," said the colonel, leaning back in his  chair and speaking
gravely, "you are  again forgetting  yourself; and I warn you once more that
this  kind of  talk will do you no  good. Surely you  have had enough of the
dark cell not to want any more just for the present. I tell you plainly that
I shall use strong measures with  you  if  you persist  in  repulsing gentle
ones. Mind, I  have proof--positive proof--that some of these young men have
been engaged in smuggling prohibited literature into this port; and that you
have been in communication with them. Now, are you going to tell me, without
compulsion, what you know about this affair?"
     Arthur bent  his head lower. A blind,  senseless,  wild-beast fury  was
beginning  to stir within him  like a live thing. The  possibility of losing
command over himself  was  more  appalling to him than any threats.  For the
first  time he began to realize what  latent  potentialities may  lie hidden
beneath the culture of any gentleman and the piety of any Christian; and the
terror of himself was strong upon him.
     "I am waiting for your answer," said the colonel.
     "I have no answer to give."
     "You positively refuse to answer?"
     "I will tell you nothing at all."
     "Then I must simply  order you back into the punishment  cell, and keep
you there till you change your mind. If there is much more trouble with you,
I shall put you in irons."
     Arthur  looked  up, trembling from head  to foot. "You will do  as  you
please," he said slowly; "and whether the English Ambassador will stand your
playing  tricks  of  that  kind with  a  British  subject who has  not  been
convicted of any crime is for him to decide."
     At  last Arthur  was  conducted  back  to his own cell,  where he flung
himself down upon the bed and slept till the next morning. He was not put in
irons, and  saw no more of the dreaded dark cell; but  the feud  between him
and the colonel grew more inveterate with  every interrogation. It was quite
useless for Arthur  to  pray  in  his  cell for grace  to conquer  his  evil
passions,  or to meditate half the night long upon the patience and meekness
of Christ. No sooner was he brought again  into the long, bare room with its
baize-covered table, and confronted with the colonel's waxed moustache, than
the  unchristian spirit would take possession of  him  once more, suggesting
bitter repartees and contemptuous answers. Before he had been a month in the
prison  the mutual  irritation  had reached such a  height that he  and  the
colonel could not see each other's faces without losing their temper.
     The  continual  strain of this  petty  warfare  was beginning  to  tell
heavily upon his nerves. Knowing how closely he was watched, and remembering
certain  dreadful  rumours  which he had heard of prisoners secretly drugged
with  belladonna  that  notes might be taken of their  ravings, he gradually
became afraid to sleep  or eat; and if a mouse  ran past  him in  the night,
would start up drenched with cold sweat and quivering with terror,  fancying
that someone was hiding in the room to listen if he talked in his sleep. The
gendarmes were evidently trying  to  entrap him into making  some  admission
which might compromise  Bolla; and so great was his fear of slipping, by any
inadvertency, into  a pitfall,  that he  was  really in danger  of  doing so
through sheer nervousness.  Bolla's  name rang in  his  ears  night and day,
interfering even with his devotions, and forcing its  way in among the beads
of the rosary instead of  the  name  of Mary. But the worst thing of all was
that his religion, like the outer world, seemed to be slipping away from him
as the days went by. To this  last foothold he clung with feverish tenacity,
spending  several  hours  of  each  day in prayer  and  meditation;  but his
thoughts wandered more and more often to Bolla, and the prayers were growing
terribly mechanical.
     His greatest  comfort was the  head warder  of the prison. This  was  a
little old man, fat and bald, who at first had tried his  hardest to wear  a
severe  expression.  Gradually the  good  nature which peeped out  of  every
dimple in his  chubby face  conquered his official  scruples, and  he  began
carrying messages for the prisoners from cell to cell.
     One afternoon in  the middle of May this warder came into the cell with
a face so scowling and gloomy that Arthur looked at him in astonishment.
     "Why, Enrico!" he exclaimed; "what on earth is wrong with you to-day?"
     "Nothing,"  said  Enrico  snappishly;  and, going up  to the pallet, he
began pulling off the rug, which was Arthur's property.
     "What do you want with my things? Am I to be moved into another cell?"
     "No; you're to be let out."
     "Let out? What--to-day? For altogether? Enrico!"
     In his excitement  Arthur had caught hold  of the old man's arm. It was
angrily wrenched away.
     "Enrico!  What has come to you? Why don't you answer?  Are we all going
to be let out?"
     A contemptuous grunt was the only reply.
     "Look here!" Arthur again took hold of the warder's  arm, laughing. "It
is no use for you to be cross to me, because I'm not going  to get offended.
I want to know about the others."
     "Which others?" growled Enrico,  suddenly laying down the shirt he  was
folding. "Not Bolla, I suppose?"
     "Bolla  and all the rest, of  course.  Enrico, what is  the matter with
you?"
     "Well, he's  not  likely  to be let  out  in a hurry, poor lad, when  a
comrade has betrayed him. Ugh!" Enrico took up the shirt again in disgust.
     "Betrayed him? A comrade? Oh, how dreadful!" Arthur's eyes dilated with
horror. Enrico turned quickly round.
     "Why, wasn't it you?"
     "I? Are you off your head, man? I?"
     "Well, they  told him so  yesterday at  interrogation, anyhow. I'm very
glad if it wasn't you, for  I always thought you  were rather a decent young
fellow.  This way!" Enrico stepped out into the corridor and Arthur followed
him, a light breaking in upon the confusion of his mind.
     "They told Bolla I'd betrayed  him? Of course they  did! Why, man, they
told  me he had betrayed me. Surely Bolla isn't fool enough to  believe that
sort of stuff?"
     "Then it really isn't  true?" Enrico stopped at  the foot of the stairs
and looked searchingly at Arthur, who merely shrugged his shoulders.
     "Of course it's a lie."
     "Well, I'm glad to hear it, my lad,  and I'll tell him you said so. But
you see what they told him was  that you had denounced him out of--well, out
of jealousy, because of your both being sweet on the same girl."
     "It's a lie!" Arthur repeated the words in a quick, breathless whisper.
A sudden, paralyzing fear had come  over him. "The same girl--jealousy!" How
could they know--how could they know?
     "Wait a minute, my lad." Enrico  stopped in the corridor leading to the
interrogation  room, and spoke softly. "I believe you; but just  tell me one
thing.  I  know  you're  a  Catholic;  did  you  ever  say  anything  in the
confessional------"
     "It's a lie!" This time Arthur's voice had risen to a stifled cry.
     Enrico shrugged  his  shoulders and  moved on again. "You know best, of
course; but you wouldn't be  the only  young  fool that's been taken in that
way. There's a tremendous  ado just now about a priest in Pisa that some  of
your friends have found out. They've printed a leaflet saying he's a spy."
     He  opened  the door of the interrogation room, and, seeing that Arthur
stood motionless, staring blankly  before him, pushed him  gently across the
threshold.
     "Good-afternoon, Mr. Burton," said the colonel, smiling and showing his
teeth  amiably. "I have great pleasure in  congratulating  you. An order for
your release has arrived from Florence. Will you kindly sign this paper?"
     Arthur went up to him.  "I want to know," he said in a dull voice, "who
it was that betrayed me."
     The colonel raised his eyebrows with a smile.
     "Can't you guess? Think a minute."
     Arthur shook his head. The colonel put out both hands with a gesture of
polite surprise.
     "Can't guess? Really?  Why,  you yourself,  Mr. Burton. Who  else could
know your private love affairs?"
     Arthur  turned  away  in  silence. On  the  wall  hung  a large  wooden
crucifix; and his eyes  wandered slowly to its  face; but  with no appeal in
them,  only  a  dim wonder  at  this  supine  and patient God  that  had  no
thunderbolt for a priest who betrayed the confessional.
     "Will you kindly sign  this  receipt for your papers?" said the colonel
blandly;  "and then I need not keep you any longer. I am sure you must be in
a hurry to get home; and my time  is  very much taken up just  now with  the
affairs  of  that  foolish  young  man,  Bolla,  who  tried  your  Christian
forbearance so  hard. I am  afraid  he will  get  a  rather heavy  sentence.
Good-afternoon!"
     Arthur signed  the  receipt, took  his papers,  and  went out  in  dead
silence.  He followed  Enrico  to the massive gate; and,  without  a word of
farewell,  descended to the  water's  edge, where  a ferryman was waiting to
take him  across  the moat. As he  mounted  the stone  steps  leading to the
street,  a girl  in  a  cotton  dress  and  straw  hat  ran  up to him  with
outstretched hands.
     "Arthur! Oh, I'm so glad--I'm so glad!"
     He drew his hands away, shivering.
     "Jim!" he said at last, in a voice that did not seem  to belong to him.
"Jim!"
     "I've been waiting here for half an hour.  They said you would come out
at four. Arthur, why do you look at me  like that?  Something has  happened!
Arthur, what has come to you? Stop!"
     He  had turned away, and was walking slowly  down the street,  as if he
had forgotten  her  presence. Thoroughly frightened  at his manner,  she ran
after him and caught him by the arm.
     "Arthur!"
     He  stopped and  looked up with  bewildered eyes. She slipped  her  arm
through his, and they walked on again for a moment in silence.
     "Listen, dear," she began softly;  "you  mustn't get so upset over this
wretched business.  I  know  it's  dreadfully  hard on  you,  but  everybody
understands."
     "What business?" he asked in the same dull voice.
     "I mean, about Bolla's letter."
     Arthur's face contracted painfully at the name.
     "I  thought  you wouldn't  have  heard  of it,"  Gemma went on; "but  I
suppose they've told you. Bolla must be perfectly mad to  have imagined such
a thing."
     "Such a thing----?"
     "You don't  know  about  it,  then?  He has  written a horrible letter,
saying  that  you have  told about the steamers, and got him  arrested. It's
perfectly absurd, of course; everyone  that  knows you sees that;  it's only
the  people who  don't know  you that have been upset by it. Really,  that's
what I came here  for--to tell you that no one  in our group believes a word
of it."
     "Gemma! But it's--it's true!"
     She  shrank slowly  away from him, and stood quite still, her eyes wide
and dark with horror, her face as white as the kerchief at her neck. A great
icy wave of silence seemed to have swept round them both, shutting them out,
in a world apart, from the life and movement of the street.
     "Yes,"  he whispered  at last; "the  steamers-- I spoke of that; and  I
said his name--oh, my God! my God! What shall I do?"
     He came  to  himself  suddenly,  realizing her presence and  the mortal
terror in her face. Yes, of course, she must think------
     "Gemma,  you don't  understand!"  he burst out, moving nearer;  but she
recoiled with a sharp cry:
     "Don't touch me!"
     Arthur seized her right hand with sudden violence.
     "Listen, for God's sake! It was not my fault; I----"
     "Let go; let my hand go! Let go!"
     The next instant she wrenched her fingers away from his, and struck him
across the cheek with her open hand.
     A kind of mist came over his eyes.  For a little while he was conscious
of nothing but  Gemma's white  and desperate  face, and the right hand which
she had fiercely rubbed on the skirt of her  cotton dress. Then the daylight
crept back again, and he looked round and saw that he was alone.

     IT  had  long been dark when Arthur rang at the front door of the great
house in the Via  Borra. He remembered that he  had been wandering about the
streets; but  where, or  why,  or for how long, he had no idea. Julia's page
opened the door,  yawning, and grinned  significantly at the haggard,  stony
face. It seemed to him a  prodigious joke to have the young master come home
from jail like a "drunk and disorderly" beggar. Arthur went upstairs. On the
first  floor  he met  Gibbons  coming  down with an air of  lofty and solemn
disapproval. He  tried to  pass with  a muttered "Good evening"; but Gibbons
was no easy person to get past against his will.
     "The gentlemen  are out, sir,"  he said, looking critically at Arthur's
rather  neglected  dress and hair.  "They have gone with  the mistress to an
evening party, and will not be back till nearly twelve."
     Arthur looked at his watch; it was nine o'clock. Oh, yes! he would have
time--plenty of time------
     "My mistress desired me to ask whether you would like any  supper, sir;
and to say that  she hopes you will sit  up  for  her, as  she  particularly
wishes to speak to you this evening."
     "I don't want anything, thank you; you can tell her  I have not gone to
bed."
     He went  up  to  his room. Nothing  in it  had  been changed  since his
arrest; Montanelli's portrait was  on the table  where he had placed it, and
the crucifix stood  in  the  alcove  as before.  He  paused a moment  on the
threshold, listening;  but the house was  quite still; evidently no one  was
coming to disturb him. He stepped softly into the room and locked the door.
     And so he  had come to the end. There was  nothing to think or  trouble
about; an importunate and useless  consciousness to get rid of--and  nothing
more. It seemed a stupid, aimless kind of thing, somehow.
     He  had  not formed any resolve to  commit suicide, nor  indeed  had he
thought much about it;  the thing was quite obvious  and inevitable.  He had
even  no definite idea  as  to  what  manner of  death to  choose;  all that
mattered was to be done with  it quickly--to have it over and forget. He had
no  weapon  in  the  room,  not  even a  pocketknife;  but  that  was of  no
consequence--a towel would do, or a sheet torn into strips.
     There was a large nail just over the window. That would do; but it must
be firm to bear his weight. He got up on a chair  to feel the nail;  it  was
not quite firm,  and he stepped down again and took a hammer from  a drawer.
He  knocked in the nail, and was about to pull  a sheet off his bed, when he
suddenly  remembered that he had not said his prayers. Of course,  one  must
pray before dying; every Christian does that. There are even special prayers
for a departing soul.
     He went into the  alcove and  knelt down before the crucifix. "Almighty
and merciful God----"  he began aloud; and with  that  broke off and said no
more. Indeed, the world was  grown  so dull that  there was nothing  left to
pray for--or against. And then, what did Christ know about a trouble of this
kind--Christ,  who had  never suffered  it? He had only  been betrayed, like
Bolla; He had never been tricked into betraying.
     Arthur rose, crossing himself from old habit. Approaching the table, he
saw lying upon it a letter addressed to him, in Montanelli's handwriting. It
was in pencil:
     "My Dear Boy: It  is a great disappointment to me that I cannot see you
on the day of your release; but I have been sent for to visit a dying man. I
shall not get back till late at night.  Come to me early to-morrow  morning.
In great haste,
     "L. M."
     He put down the letter with a sigh; it did seem hard on the Padre.
     How  the  people  had laughed and  gossiped in the streets! Nothing was
altered since the days  when he had  been alive. Not the least little one of
all the daily trifles round him  was changed  because a human soul, a living
human soul, had been  struck down dead. It was all just the same  as before.
The water had plashed in the fountains; the sparrows had twittered under the
eaves; just as they had done yesterday, just as they would do to-morrow. And
as for him, he was dead--quite dead.
     He  sat  down  on  the  edge  of  the  bed, crossed  his arms along the
foot-rail, and rested his forehead upon them. There was  plenty of time; and
his head ached so--the very middle  of the brain seemed  to ache; it was all
so dull and stupid--so utterly meaningless----
     . . . . .
     The front-door bell  rang  sharply, and he started  up  in a breathless
agony of terror, with both  hands at his throat. They had come  back--he had
sat there dreaming, and let the precious time slip away--and now he must see
their  faces and hear their  cruel tongues--their  sneers and  comments-- If
only he had a knife------
     He looked desperately round the room. His mother's work-basket stood in
a little cupboard; surely there would be scissors; he might sever an artery.
No; the sheet and nail were safer, if he had timeHe dragged  the counterpane
from his bed, and with frantic haste began tearing off a strip. The sound of
footsteps came up the  stairs. No; the strip was too  wide; it would not tie
firmly; and  there must  be a noose. He worked  faster as the footsteps drew
nearer;  and the  blood  throbbed in  his  temples and  roared  in his ears.
Quicker-- quicker! Oh, God! five minutes more!
     There was a knock at the door. The strip of torn stuff dropped from his
hands, and he sat  quite still, holding his breath to listen.  The handle of
the door was tried; then Julia's voice called:
     "Arthur!"
     He stood up, panting.
     "Arthur, open the door, please; we are waiting."
     He  gathered up the  torn  counterpane, threw  it  into  a  drawer, and
hastily smoothed down the bed.
     "Arthur!" This time it  was James who  called, and the  door-handle was
shaken impatiently. "Are you asleep?"
     Arthur  looked  round  the  room, saw  that everything was  hidden, and
unlocked the door.
     "I should think you might at least have obeyed  my express request that
you should sit up for us, Arthur," said  Julia, sweeping into the  room in a
towering passion. "You appear to think  it the proper  thing for us to dance
attendance for half an hour at your door----"
     "Four minutes, my dear," James mildly corrected, stepping into the room
at the end of his wife's pink satin  train. "I certainly think, Arthur, that
it would have been more--becoming if----"
     "What do you want?" Arthur  interrupted. He was standing with  his hand
upon  the door,  glancing  furtively from one  to  the other like  a trapped
animal. But James was too obtuse and Julia too angry to notice the look.
     Mr.  Burton placed a chair for his wife and sat down, carefully pulling
up his new trousers at the knees. "Julia and  I,"  he began, "feel it to  be
our duty to speak to you seriously about----"
     "I  can't  listen to-night; I--I'm  not well. My  head aches--you  must
wait."
     Arthur spoke  in  a strange,  indistinct  voice,  with  a confused  and
rambling manner. James looked round in surprise.
     "Is there anything the  matter with you?" he asked anxiously,  suddenly
remembering that  Arthur  had  come from a very hotbed of infection. "I hope
you're not sickening for anything. You look quite feverish."
     "Nonsense!"   Julia   interrupted  sharply.   "It's   only   the  usual
theatricals,  because he's  ashamed  to  face us.  Come  here and  sit down,
Arthur." Arthur slowly crossed the room  and sat down on the bed.  "Yes?" he
said wearily.
     Mr. Burton coughed, cleared his throat, smoothed his already immaculate
beard, and began the carefully prepared speech over again:
     "I feel it to be my  duty--my painful duty--to speak very  seriously to
you  about your  extraordinary behaviour  in  connecting  yourself with--a--
law-breakers  and incendiaries and--a--persons of disreputable character.  I
believe you to have been, perhaps, more foolish than depraved--a----"
     He paused.
     "Yes?" Arthur said again.
     "Now,  I do not wish to  be hard  on  you," James went  on, softening a
little in spite of himself before the weary hopelessness of Arthur's manner.
"I  am quite  willing  to  believe  that  you  have  been  led  away  by bad
companions, and  to  take into  account  your  youth  and  inexperience  and
the--a--  a--imprudent  and--a--impulsive character which you have, I  fear,
inherited from your mother."
     Arthur's eyes wandered  slowly to his mother's portrait and back again,
but he did not speak.
     "But you  will, I feel sure, understand," James  continued, "that it is
quite  impossible  for me to keep any longer in my  house a person  who  has
brought public disgrace upon a name so highly respected as ours."
     "Yes?" Arthur repeated once more.
     "Well?" said Julia sharply, closing  her fan with  a snap and laying it
across her knee.  "Are  you going  to have the goodness to  say anything but
'Yes,' Arthur?"
     "You will do as you think best, of course," he answered slowly, without
moving. "It doesn't matter much either way."
     "Doesn't--matter?"  James repeated,  aghast;  and his wife rose  with a
laugh.
     "Oh, it doesn't matter,  doesn't it? Well, James, I hope you understand
now how much gratitude you may expect in that quarter. I told you what would
come of showing charity to Papist adventuresses and their----"
     "Hush, hush! Never mind that, my dear!"
     "It's  all  nonsense,  James;  we've  had  more  than  enough  of  this
sentimentality!  A  love-child  setting  himself  up  as  a  member  of  the
family--it's quite time  he did know what his mother was! Why  should  we be
saddled with the child of a Popish priest's amourettes? There, then-- look!"
     She pulled  a crumpled sheet of paper out  of her  pocket and tossed it
across  the  table to Arthur. He opened it;  the writing was in his mother's
hand, and was dated four months  before  his birth.  It  was  a  confession,
addressed to her husband, and with two signatures.
     Arthur's eyes travelled slowly down the page, past the unsteady letters
in which her name was written, to the  strong, familiar  signature: "Lorenzo
Montanelli."  For a moment he  stared at  the writing; then, without a word,
refolded  the paper and  laid it down. James rose and  took his  wife by the
arm.
     "There, Julia, that will do. Just go downstairs  now; it's late,  and I
want to talk a little business with Arthur. It won't interest you."
     She glanced up at her husband; then  back at Arthur, who  was  silently
staring at the floor.
     "He seems half stupid," she whispered.
     When she had gathered up her train and left the room,  James  carefully
shut  the door and went back to his  chair beside the  table.  Arthur sat as
before, perfectly motionless and silent.
     "Arthur,"  James  began in a  milder  tone, now Julia was not there  to
hear, "I am very sorry that  this  has come out. You might just as well  not
have known  it. However,  all that's over;  and I am pleased to see that you
can behave with  such self-control.  Julia is a--a  little  excited;  ladies
often--anyhow, I don't want to be too hard on you."
     He stopped to see what effect the kindly words had produced; but Arthur
was quite motionless.
     "Of  course,  my dear boy,"  James went on  after a  moment, "this is a
distressing story altogether, and the best thing we can do is  to  hold  our
tongues about it. My father was generous  enough not to  divorce your mother
when she confessed  her fall to him; he only demanded  that the man who  had
led her astray should leave the country at once;  and, as you  know, he went
to China as a missionary. For  my part, I was very  much against your having
anything to do with him when he came back; but my  father, just at the last,
consented to let him teach you,  on condition that he never attempted to see
your  mother.  I must,  in justice,  acknowledge  that I  believe they  both
observed  that condition  faithfully to  the end.  It is a  very  deplorable
business; but----"
     Arthur looked up. All the life and expression had gone out of his face;
it was like a waxen mask.
     "D-don't  you  think,"  he  said  softly,  with  a  curious  stammering
hesitation on the words, "th-that--all this--is--v-very--funny?"
     "FUNNY?" James pushed his chair away from the table, and sat staring at
him, too much petrified for anger. "Funny! Arthur, are you mad?"
     Arthur suddenly threw  back his head, and burst  into a frantic  fit of
laughing.
     "Arthur!" exclaimed the shipowner, rising with dignity, "I am amazed at
your levity!"
     There was  no answer but  peal  after peal  of  laughter,  so  loud and
boisterous  that even James  began to doubt whether there was not  something
more the matter here than levity.
     "Just  like   a  hysterical  woman,"  he  muttered,  turning,  with   a
contemptuous  shrug of his  shoulders, to tramp  impatiently up and down the
room.  "Really, Arthur, you're  worse than  Julia;  there, stop laughing!  I
can't wait about here all night."
     He  might  as  well  have  asked the  crucifix to  come down  from  its
pedestal.  Arthur was past caring for remonstrances or exhortations; he only
laughed, and laughed, and laughed without end.
     "This is absurd!" said James, stopping at last in  his irritated pacing
to and fro. "You are evidently too much excited to be reasonable to-night. I
can't  talk business  with you  if you're  going  on that  way.  Come  to me
to-morrow  morning after  breakfast.  And  now you  had  better  go to  bed.
Good-night."
     He  went out, slamming the door. "Now for the hysterics downstairs," he
muttered as he tramped noisily away. "I suppose it'll be tears there!"
     . . . . .
     The frenzied  laughter died on Arthur's lips. He snatched up the hammer
from the table and flung himself upon the crucifix.
     With the crash  that followed he came suddenly to his senses,  standing
before the  empty pedestal, the hammer still in his  hand, and the fragments
of the broken image scattered on the floor about his feet.
     He threw down the  hammer. "So easy!"  he said, and  turned away.  "And
what an idiot I am!"
     He sat  down by the  table, panting heavily for breath,  and rested his
forehead on  both hands. Presently he  rose, and, going  to  the wash-stand,
poured a jugful  of  cold water over his  head and face. He  came back quite
composed, and sat down to think.
     And  it  was for such things  as these--for  these  false  and  slavish
people,  these  dumb  and  soulless gods--that  he  had  suffered  all these
tortures of shame and  passion and despair; had made a rope to hang himself,
forsooth, because one priest  was a  liar.  As if they  were not  all liars!
Well, all that was done with; he was wiser now. He need only shake off these
vermin and begin life afresh.
     There were  plenty  of goods vessels in the docks; it would be an  easy
matter to  stow himself away in one  of them,  and  get  across  to  Canada,
Australia, Cape Colony--anywhere. It was no  matter for the country, if only
it was far enough; and, as  for the life out  there, he could see, and if it
did not suit him he could try some other place.
     He  took out his  purse. Only thirty-three paoli; but  his watch  was a
good one. That would  help him along a  bit; and  in  any  case it was of no
consequence--he should pull through somehow. But they  would search for him,
all these people; they would be  sure to make inquiries at the docks. No; he
must put them on a false scent--make  them believe him dead; then  he should
be  quite  free-- quite free. He laughed softly to himself at the thought of
the Burtons searching for his corpse. What a farce the whole thing was!
     Taking a sheet of paper, he wrote the first words that occurred to him:
     "I believed in you as I believed in God. God is  a  thing made of clay,
that I can smash with a hammer; and you have fooled me with a lie."
     He folded up  the paper, directed it to Montanelli, and, taking another
sheet, wrote across it: "Look for  my body in  Darsena." Then he  put on his
hat and went out  of  the room. Passing his mother's portrait,  he looked up
with a laugh and a shrug of his shoulders. She, too, had lied to him.
     He crept softly along the corridor, and, slipping  back the door-bolts,
went out on to the great, dark, echoing marble staircase.  It seemed to yawn
beneath him like a black pit as he descended.
     He crossed the  courtyard, treading  cautiously for fear of waking Gian
Battista, who slept on the ground floor. In the wood-cellar  at the back was
a  little  grated window, opening  on  the canal and not more than four feet
from the ground. He remembered that the rusty grating had broken away on one
side; by pushing a little he could make an aperture wide enough to climb out
by.
     The grating was  strong, and he grazed his  hands  badly and  tore  the
sleeve  of  his coat; but that  was  no matter. He  looked up  and down  the
street;  there was no one in sight,  and the  canal lay black and silent, an
ugly trench between two straight and slimy walls. The untried universe might
prove a  dismal hole, but it  could hardly be more  flat and sordid than the
corner which he was leaving behind him. There was nothing to regret; nothing
to look back upon. It  had been a  pestilent little stagnant  world, full of
squalid lies and clumsy cheats and foul-smelling ditches  that were not even
deep enough to drown a man.
     He walked along the  canal bank, and came  out  upon the tiny square by
the Medici palace. It was here that  Gemma had run up to him with her  vivid
face, her  outstretched hands. Here was the little flight of wet stone steps
leading down to the moat; and there  the  fortress scowling across the strip
of dirty water. He had never noticed before how squat and mean it looked.
     Passing   through  the   narrow  streets   he   reached   the   Darsena
shipping-basin, where he  took off his hat and  flung it into  the water. It
would be found, of course, when they dragged for his body. Then he walked on
along  the water's  edge, considering perplexedly  what to do next.  He must
contrive to hide on some  ship; but it was a difficult thing to do. His only
chance would be to get on to the  huge old Medici breakwater  and walk along
to  the further  end of it.  There  was a  low-class tavern  on  the  point;
probably he should find some sailor there who could be bribed.
     But  the dock gates  were closed. How should he get past them, and past
the customs  officials? His stock of money would not  furnish the high bribe
that  they  would  demand  for  letting him through  at  night and without a
passport. Besides they might recognize him.
     As  he passed  the  bronze  statue of  the "Four Moors," a man's figure
emerged  from  an old  house on  the opposite side of the shipping basin and
approached the  bridge. Arthur slipped at once into  the  deep shadow behind
the group of statuary and crouched down in  the darkness, peeping cautiously
round the corner of the pedestal.
     It was a soft spring night, warm and starlit. The  water lapped against
the stone walls of the  basin and swirled  in gentle eddies round the  steps
with a sound  as of  low  laughter. Somewhere near a chain creaked, swinging
slowly to and fro. A huge iron crane towered up, tall and  melancholy in the
dimness.  Black  on   a  shimmering  expanse   of  starry  sky  and   pearly
cloud-wreaths,  the figures of  the fettered, struggling slaves stood out in
vain and vehement protest against a merciless doom.
     The man approached unsteadily along the water side, shouting an English
street song. He  was evidently  a  sailor returning  from a carouse  at some
tavern. No one else was within  sight.  As he drew near, Arthur stood up and
stepped  into the middle of the  roadway. The sailor broke off  in his  song
with an oath, and stopped short.
     "I want  to  speak to you," Arthur said in Italian. "Do you  understand
me?"
     The man shook his head. "It's  no use  talking  that patter to  me," he
said; then, plunging into bad French, asked sullenly: "What do you want? Why
can't you let me pass?"
     "Just come out of the light here a minute; I want to speak to you."
     "Ah! wouldn't you like it? Out of the light! Got a knife anywhere about
you?"
     "No, no, man!  Can't  you see  I only want  your help? I'll pay you for
it?" "Eh? What? And dressed like a swell, too------" The sailor had relapsed
into English. He now moved into the shadow and leaned against the railing of
the pedestal.
     "Well," he said, returning to his atrocious French; "and what is it you
want?"
     "I want to get away from here----"
     "Aha! Stowaway! Want  me to  hide you? Been up to something, I suppose.
Stuck a knife into somebody, eh? Just like these foreigners! And where might
you be wanting to go? Not to the police station, I fancy?"
     He laughed in his tipsy way, and winked one eye.
     "What vessel do you belong to?"
     "Carlotta--Leghorn  to Buenos Ayres; shipping oil one way and hides the
other.  She's  over there"--pointing in the direction of the  breakwater  --
"beastly old hulk!"
     "Buenos Ayres--yes! Can you hide me anywhere on board?"
     "How much can you give?"
     "Not very much; I have only a few paoli."
     "No. Can't  do  it under  fifty--and cheap  at  that, too--a swell like
you."
     "What  do you mean  by a swell? If you like my  clothes you  may change
with me, but I can't give you more money than I have got."
     "You have a watch there. Hand it over."
     Arthur took out  a lady's gold watch, delicately  chased and enamelled,
with the  initials "G.  B." on the back. It had been  his mother's--but what
did that matter now?
     "Ah!"  remarked the sailor  with  a quick glance  at  it.  "Stolen,  of
course! Let me look!"
     Arthur drew  his hand away. "No," he  said. "I  will give you the watch
when we are on board; not before."
     "You're not such  a  fool as you look,  after all! I'll  bet it's  your
first scrape, though, eh?"
     "That is my business. Ah! there comes the watchman."
     They  crouched down behind the  group  of statuary and  waited till the
watchman had  passed. Then the sailor  rose, and, telling Arthur  to  follow
him, walked on, laughing foolishly to himself. Arthur followed in silence.
     The  sailor led him back to the  little irregular square by  the Medici
palace; and,  stopping  in a dark corner, mumbled in what was intended for a
cautious whisper:
     "Wait here; those soldier fellows will see you if you come further."
     "What are you going to do?"
     "Get  you some clothes. I'm not going  to take you  on  board with that
bloody coatsleeve."
     Arthur  glanced  down  at the sleeve which had been  torn by the window
grating. A little blood from the grazed hand  had fallen upon it.  Evidently
the man thought  him a murderer. Well,  it was of no consequence what people
thought.
     After some time the sailor  came back, triumphant, with  a bundle under
his arm.
     "Change," he whispered; "and make haste about it. I must  get back, and
that old Jew has kept me bargaining and haggling for half an hour."
     Arthur obeyed, shrinking with instinctive disgust at the first touch of
second-hand clothes. Fortunately these, though rough and coarse, were fairly
clean. When he stepped into the light in his new attire,  the  sailor looked
at him with tipsy solemnity and gravely nodded his approval.
     "You'll do,"  he  said.  "This  way,  and don't make a noise."  Arthur,
carrying his discarded  clothes, followed him through a labyrinth of winding
canals  and dark narrow alleys; the mediaeval slum quarter which  the people
of Leghorn call "New Venice." Here and  there a gloomy old palace,  solitary
among  the squalid  houses  and filthy  courts,  stood  between  two noisome
ditches,  with  a forlorn air of trying to preserve its ancient dignity  and
yet of knowing the effort to be a hopeless one. Some of the alleys, he knew,
were  notorious  dens of thieves, cut-throats,  and smugglers;  others  were
merely wretched and poverty-stricken.
     Beside one of the little bridges the sailor stopped, and, looking round
to see  that they were not  observed, descended a flight of stone steps to a
narrow landing stage. Under the bridge was a  dirty, crazy old boat. Sharply
ordering Arthur to jump in and lie  down, he seated himself in  the boat and
began  rowing towards  the harbour's mouth. Arthur lay still on the wet  and
leaky planks, hidden  by the clothes which the man had thrown  over him, and
peeping out from under them at the familiar streets and houses.
     Presently they passed under a bridge and entered that part of the canal
which  forms a  moat  for the fortress.  The massive  walls rose out of  the
water, broad at the base and narrowing upward  to the frowning  turrets. How
strong, how threatening they had seemed to him a few hours ago! And now----
     He laughed softly as he lay in the bottom of the boat.
     "Hold  your noise," the sailor whispered, "and keep your head  covered!
We're close to the custom house."
     Arthur drew the clothes over his head. A  few yards further on the boat
stopped before a row of masts chained together, which lay across the surface
of the canal, blocking the narrow waterway between the  custom house and the
fortress wall. A sleepy official came out yawning and bent over  the water's
edge with a lantern in his hand.
     "Passports, please."
     The sailor  handed up his official papers.  Arthur, half stifled  under
the clothes, held his breath, listening.
     "A nice time of night to come back  to your ship!" grumbled the customs
official. "Been out on the spree, I suppose. What's in your boat?"
     "Old clothes. Got them cheap." He held up the waistcoat for inspection.
The official, lowering his lantern, bent over, straining his eyes to see.
     "It's all right, I suppose. You can pass."
     He lifted the  barrier and  the boat moved slowly out  into  the  dark,
heaving water. At a little distance Arthur sat up and threw off the clothes.
     "Here  she  is,"  the sailor whispered,  after rowing for  some time in
silence. "Keep close behind me and hold your tongue."
     He clambered  up the side of a huge  black monster, swearing  under his
breath at the clumsiness  of the landsman,  though  Arthur's natural agility
rendered  him less awkward than most  people would  have  been in his place.
Once safely on board, they crept cautiously  between  dark masses of rigging
and  machinery,  and  came at last  to  a hatchway,  which the sailor softly
raised.
     "Down here!" he whispered. "I'll be back in a minute."
     The hold was  not  only damp and  dark,  but intolerably foul. At first
Arthur  instinctively drew back, half  choked by the stench of raw hides and
rancid  oil. Then he  remembered  the "punishment cell," and  descended  the
ladder, shrugging his shoulders. Life is pretty much the same everywhere, it
seemed; ugly, putrid, infested  with vermin,  full of  shameful  secrets and
dark corners. Still, life is life, and he must make the best of it.
     In a few minutes the sailor came back with something in his hands which
Arthur could not distinctly see for the darkness.
     "Now, give me the watch and money. Make haste!"
     Taking  advantage of the darkness, Arthur succeeded  in  keeping back a
few coins.
     "You must get me something to eat," he said; "I am half starved."
     "I've  brought it. Here you are." The sailor handed him a pitcher, some
hard biscuit,  and  a piece of salt pork.  "Now mind, you must hide  in this
empty barrel,  here, when  the  customs officers  come to  examine to-morrow
morning. Keep as still as a mouse till we're right out at sea. I'll  let you
know  when to come out. And won't  you  just catch it when the  captain sees
you--that's all! Got the drink safe? Good-night!"
     The hatchway closed, and Arthur, setting the precious "drink" in a safe
place, climbed  on to an oil barrel  to  eat his  pork and biscuit. Then  he
curled himself up  on the  dirty floor;  and, for the first time  since  his
babyhood, settled himself to sleep without a prayer. The rats scurried round
him in the darkness;  but neither their persistent noise  nor the swaying of
the ship, nor  the nauseating stench of oil, nor the prospect of to-morrow's
sea-sickness, could keep him awake.  He cared no more for them all  than for
the broken and dishonoured idols that  only yesterday had been  the  gods of
his adoration.


     ONE evening  in  July,  1846,  a  few  acquaintances  met  at Professor
Fabrizi's house in Florence to discuss plans for future political work.
     Several of them belonged  to  the  Mazzinian party and  would have been
satisfied with  nothing  less than a democratic Republic and a United Italy.
Others  were Constitutional Monarchists and Liberals  of  various shades. On
one point, however, they  were all agreed; that of dissatisfaction with  the
Tuscan censorship; and  the popular professor had called the  meeting in the
hope  that,  on  this  one  subject  at least,  the  representatives of  the
dissentient  parties  would  be able  to get  through an  hour's  discussion
without quarrelling.
     Only  a  fortnight had elapsed since the  famous amnesty which Pius IX.
had granted, on  his accession, to political offenders in  the Papal States;
but  the wave of liberal enthusiasm  caused by it was already spreading over
Italy. In Tuscany even the government appeared  to have been affected by the
astounding event. It  had occurred  to  Fabrizi  and  a  few  other  leading
Florentines  that this was a propitious  moment  for a bold effort to reform
the press-laws.
     "Of  course," the dramatist Lega had said, when the  subject was  first
broached to  him; "it would  be impossible to start a newspaper till we  can
get the press-law changed; we should not bring out the first  number. But we
may  be able to run some pamphlets  through the censorship already; and  the
sooner we begin the sooner we shall get the law changed."
     He was now explaining in Fabrizi's library his theory of the line which
should be taken by liberal writers at the moment.
     "There is  no doubt,"  interposed  one  of  the  company, a gray-haired
barrister with a rather drawling manner of speech, "that in some way we must
take advantage of  the  moment. We shall not see such a favourable one again
for  bringing forward serious reforms. But I doubt  the pamphlets  doing any
good. They will only irritate and frighten the government instead of winning
it  over to  our  side,  which  is what we  really want to  do. If  once the
authorities  begin  to  think of  us  as dangerous agitators our  chance  of
getting their help is gone."
     "Then what would you have us do?"
     "Petition."
     "To the Grand Duke?"
     "Yes; for an augmentation of the liberty of the press."
     A  keen-looking, dark man  sitting by the window  turned his head round
with a laugh.
     "You'll get a lot out of petitioning!" he said. "I should have  thought
the  result of the Renzi case  was enough to  cure anybody  of going to work
that way."
     "My  dear sir, I am as much grieved as  you are that we did not succeed
in preventing the  extradition of Renzi. But really--I do  not wish to  hurt
the sensibilities of anyone, but I  cannot help thinking that our failure in
that  case was largely due to  the  impatience and vehemence of some persons
among our number. I should certainly hesitate----"
     "As  every Piedmontese always does,"  the dark man interrupted sharply.
"I don't know where  the vehemence and impatience lay, unless you found them
in the strings  of meek  petitions we  sent  in. That may be  vehemence  for
Tuscany or Piedmont,  but we should not  call  it particularly  vehement  in
Naples."
     "Fortunately,"  remarked  the  Piedmontese,  "Neapolitan  vehemence  is
peculiar to Naples."
     "There,  there,  gentlemen,  that  will  do!"  the  professor  put  in.
"Neapolitan  customs  are  very  good things  in  their way and  Piedmontese
customs in theirs; but just now we are  in Tuscany, and the Tuscan custom is
to stick  to  the matter in  hand. Grassini  votes  for petitions and  Galli
against them. What do you think, Dr. Riccardo?"
     "I see no harm  in petitions, and if  Grassini gets one up I'll sign it
with  all  the  pleasure  in  life.  But I don't think mere  petitioning and
nothing else  will accomplish  much.  Why  can't we have  both petitions and
pamphlets?"
     "Simply because the  pamphlets will put the government into a  state of
mind in which it won't grant the petitions," said Grassini.
     "It won't do that anyhow." The Neapolitan  rose and came  across to the
table.  "Gentlemen,  you're on the wrong  tack. Conciliating the  government
will do no good. What we must do is to rouse the people."
     "That's easier said than done; how are you going to start?"
     "Fancy asking Galli that!  Of course he'd start by  knocking the censor
on the head."
     "No, indeed, I shouldn't," said  Galli stoutly. "You always think if  a
man comes from down south he must believe in no argument but cold steel."
     "Well, what do you propose, then? Sh! Attention, gentlemen! Galli has a
proposal to make."
     The whole  company,  which had broken up into little  knots of twos and
threes,  carrying on  separate  discussions,  collected  round the table  to
listen. Galli raised his hands in expostulation.
     "No, gentlemen,  it  is  not a  proposal; it is merely a suggestion. It
appears to me that  there is a great  practical danger in all this rejoicing
over the new Pope. People seem to think  that,  because he  has struck out a
new line and granted this amnesty, we have only to throw ourselves-- all  of
us, the whole of Italy--into his arms and he will carry  us to the  promised
land. Now, I am second to no one in admiration of the Pope's behaviour;  the
amnesty was a splendid action."
     "I am  sure His  Holiness ought to feel  flattered----"  Grassini began
contemptuously.
     "There, Grassini, do  let the  man speak!" Riccardo interrupted in  his
turn. "It's a most extraordinary  thing  that  you  two never can keep  from
sparring like a cat and dog. Get on, Galli!"
     "What I wanted to say  is  this," continued  the  Neapolitan. "The Holy
Father, undoubtedly, is acting with the best intentions; but how far he will
succeed in  carrying his  reforms is another question.  Just now it's smooth
enough and, of course, the reactionists all over Italy will lie quiet  for a
month or two till the excitement about the amnesty blows over;  but they are
not likely to let the power be taken out of their hands without a fight, and
my own belief is that before the  winter is half  over we shall have Jesuits
and  Gregorians and  Sanfedists and all the rest of the crew about our ears,
plotting and intriguing, and poisoning off everybody they can't bribe."
     "That's likely enough."
     "Very well, then; shall we wait here, meekly sending in petitions, till
Lambruschini and his pack have persuaded  the  Grand Duke to  put  us bodily
under Jesuit rule, with perhaps a few Austrian hussars to patrol the streets
and keep us in order; or shall we forestall them and take advantage of their
momentary discomfiture to strike the first blow?"
     "Tell us first what blow you propose?"
     "I would suggest  that we start an  organized propaganda and  agitation
against the Jesuits."
     "A pamphleteering declaration of war, in fact?"
     "Yes;  exposing  their  intrigues,  ferreting  out their  secrets,  and
calling upon the people to make common cause against them."
     "But there are no Jesuits here to expose."
     "Aren't there? Wait three months and see how many we shall  have. It'll
be too late to keep them out then."
     "But  really  to rouse  the town against  the  Jesuits  one must  speak
plainly; and if you do that how will you evade the censorship?"
     "I wouldn't evade it; I would defy it."
     "You would print the  pamphlets anonymously? That's all very well,  but
the fact is, we have all seen enough of the clandestine press to know----"
     "I  did not mean  that. I would  print the  pamphlets openly, with  our
names and addresses, and let them prosecute us if they dare."
     "The project is a perfectly mad one," Grassini exclaimed. "It is simply
putting one's head into the lion's mouth out of sheer wantonness."
     "Oh, you  needn't be afraid!"  Galli cut in  sharply; "we shouldn't ask
you to go to prison for our pamphlets."
     "Hold your tongue, Galli!" said Riccardo. "It's not a question of being
afraid; we're all as ready as you are to go to prison if there's any good to
be  got by  it,  but it is childish to  run  into danger for nothing. For my
part, I have an amendment to the proposal to suggest."
     "Well, what is it?"
     "I  think we might  contrive,  with care,  to fight the Jesuits without
coming into collision with the censorship."
     "I don't see how you are going to manage it."
     "I think  that  it is possible to clothe what  one  has  to say  in  so
roundabout a form that----"
     "That the censorship won't understand it? And then you'll  expect every
poor artisan  and labourer to find out  the  meaning  by the  light  of  the
ignorance  and  stupidity  that  are  in  him!  That   doesn't  sound   very
practicable."
     "Martini,  what do  you  think?" asked  the  professor,  turning  to  a
broad-shouldered man with a great brown beard, who was sitting beside him.
     "I think that I  will reserve my opinion till I have  more  facts to go
upon. It's a question of trying experiments and seeing what comes of them."
     "And you, Sacconi?"
     "I  should  like to hear what Signora Bolla has to say. Her suggestions
are always valuable."
     Everyone turned to the only woman in the room, who  had been sitting on
the  sofa,  resting her chin on  one  hand  and listening in silence  to the
discussion. She had  deep, serious black eyes, but  as  she raised  them now
there was an unmistakable gleam of amusement in them.
     "I am afraid," she said; "that I disagree with everybody."
     "You  always do, and the worst of  it  is that  you are  always right,"
Riccardo put in.
     "I think it  is quite true that we must fight  the Jesuits somehow; and
if we can't do it with one weapon we must with another. But mere defiance is
a feeble weapon and evasion  a cumbersome one. As for petitioning, that is a
child's toy."
     "I hope, signora," Grassini  interposed, with a solemn face;  "that you
are not suggesting such methods as--assassination?"
     Martini tugged at his big moustache and Galli sniggered outright.  Even
the grave young woman could not repress a smile.
     "Believe  me," she  said, "that if I were ferocious  enough to think of
such things  I should not be  childish  enough to  talk about them.  But the
deadliest  weapon I know is ridicule.  If you can once  succeed in rendering
the Jesuits ludicrous, in making  people laugh at them and their claims, you
have conquered them without bloodshed."
     "I believe you  are right, as far  as that goes,"  Fabrizi said; "but I
don't see how you are going to carry the thing through."
     "Why  should we not be able to  carry  it  through?" asked Martini.  "A
satirical  thing  has  a  better  chance  of  getting  over  the  censorship
difficulty  than a  serious  one;  and,  if  it must be cloaked, the average
reader is more likely  to find out the double meaning of an apparently silly
joke than of a scientific or economic treatise."
     "Then  is your  suggestion, signora,  that  we  should issue  satirical
pamphlets, or  attempt  to  run a  comic paper? That  last, I am  sure,  the
censorship would never allow."
     "I don't  mean  exactly either. I believe a series  of  small satirical
leaflets, in verse or prose, to be sold cheap or distributed  free about the
streets, would be very useful.  If we  could find a  clever artist who would
enter into the spirit of the thing, we might have them illustrated."
     "It's a  capital idea, if only one could carry it out; but if the thing
is  to be done at all it must  be  well done. We  should want a  first-class
satirist; and where are we to get him?"
     "You see," added Lega,  "most  of us are serious writers; and, with all
respect  to the company, I am afraid that a general  attempt to be  humorous
would present the spectacle of an elephant trying to dance the tarantella."
     "I never suggested that we  should all  rush into work for which we are
unfitted. My  idea was that we should try to find a really gifted satirist--
there must be one to be got somewhere in Italy, surely--and offer to provide
the necessary funds. Of course we should have  to know something of  the man
and make sure that he would work on lines with which we could agree."
     "But where are you going to find him? I can count up  the satirists  of
any real  talent on the fingers of one hand; and none of them are available.
Giusti wouldn't accept; he is  fully occupied as it is. There are one or two
good men in Lombardy, but they write only in the Milanese dialect----"
     "And moreover,"  said Grassini, "the Tuscan people can be influenced in
better ways than this. I am sure that it would be felt as, to say the least,
a want of political savoir faire if we were to treat this solemn question of
civil and  religious  liberty  as a subject for trifling. Florence is not  a
mere  wilderness of factories  and money-getting like London, nor a haunt of
idle luxury like Paris. It is a city with a great history------"
     "So was Athens," she interrupted, smiling; "but it was 'rather sluggish
from its size and needed a gadfly to rouse it'----"
     Riccardo struck his hand upon the  table. "Why, we never thought of the
Gadfly! The very man!"
     "Who is that?"
     "The  Gadfly--Felice Rivarez. Don't you remember him? One of Muratori's
band that came down from the Apennines three years ago?"
     "Oh,  you  knew  that set, didn't  you? I remember your travelling with
them when they went on to Paris."
     "Yes; I  went as far  as Leghorn to see Rivarez off for Marseilles.  He
wouldn't  stop in Tuscany; he said there  was nothing left to do  but laugh,
once the insurrection had failed, and so he had better go to Paris. No doubt
he agreed with Signor Grassini that Tuscany is the wrong place to laugh  in.
But I am nearly sure he would come back if we asked him, now that there is a
chance of doing something in Italy."
     "What name did you say?"
     "Rivarez. He's a Brazilian, I think. At any  rate,  I know he has lived
out there. He is one of the wittiest men I ever came across. Heaven knows we
had nothing to be merry over, that  week in Leghorn; it  was enough to break
one's heart to  look at  poor  Lambertini;  but there  was no keeping  one's
countenance when  Rivarez was  in the room; it  was  one  perpetual fire  of
absurdities.  He had  a  nasty  sabre-cut across the  face,  too; I remember
sewing it up.  He's an odd creature; but  I believe he and his nonsense kept
some of those poor lads from breaking down altogether."
     "Is that the man who writes political skits in the  French papers under
the name of 'Le Taon'?"
     "Yes; short paragraphs mostly, and  comic feuilletons. The smugglers up
in the Apennines called him 'the Gadfly' because of his  tongue; and he took
the nickname to sign his work with."
     "I know  something about  this gentleman," said  Grassini,  breaking in
upon the conversation in his slow and stately manner; "and I cannot say that
what I have heard  is much to his credit. He undoubtedly possesses a certain
showy,  superficial cleverness,  though  I  think his  abilities  have  been
exaggerated;  and  possibly  he is not lacking in  physical courage; but his
reputation in Paris and Vienna  is,  I believe,  very  far from spotless. He
appears to be a gentleman of--a--a--many adventures and unknown antecedents.
It is  said that  he  was picked up out of  charity  by Duprez's  expedition
somewhere  in   the  wilds  of  tropical  South  America,   in  a  state  of
inconceivable   savagery   and  degradation.   I   believe  he   has   never
satisfactorily  explained  how he came to be in such a condition. As for the
rising in the Apennines, I fear it is no
secret that  persons of  all  characters  took part in that unfortunate
affair. The men who were executed  in Bologna are known to have been nothing
but common malefactors;  and the  character of  many who escaped will hardly
bear description. Without doubt, SOME of the participators were  men of high
character----"
     "Some  of them were the intimate friends of  several  persons  in  this
room!" Riccardo interrupted, with an angry ring in his voice. "It's all very
well   to  be  particular  and  exclusive,   Grassini;   but  these  'common
malefactors' died for their belief, which is more than you or I have done as
yet."
     "And  another time when  people tell you  the  stale gossip of  Paris,"
added  Galli, "you can  tell them from me  that  they are mistaken about the
Duprez expedition.  I know Duprez's adjutant, Martel,  personally,  and have
heard the whole story from him. It's  true that they found  Rivarez stranded
out there. He had been taken prisoner in the war, fighting for the Argentine
Republic,  and had escaped.  He was  wandering about the country in  various
disguises, trying to get back to Buenos Ayres. But the story of their taking
him  on out of charity is  a pure fabrication. Their  interpreter had fallen
ill and been obliged to turn back; and not one of  the Frenchmen could speak
the native languages;  so they offered him the post, and  he spent the whole
three years with them, exploring the tributaries of the  Amazon. Martel told
me he believed they never would have got through the expedition at all if it
had not been for Rivarez."
     "Whatever he may be," said Fabrizi; "there must be something remarkable
about a man who could  lay his 'come  hither'  on  two old  campaigners like
Martel and Duprez as he seems to have done. What do you think, signora?"
     "I know nothing about the  matter; I was in England when  the fugitives
passed through Tuscany. But I should think that  if the companions  who were
with  a  man on a  three  years' expedition  in  savage  countries,  and the
comrades who were with him through an insurrection, think well of him,  that
is recommendation enough to counterbalance a good deal of boulevard gossip."
     "There  is no question about the opinion his comrades had of him," said
Riccardo. "From Muratori and Zambeccari  down to  the  roughest mountaineers
they were all  devoted to him. Moreover,  he is a personal friend of Orsini.
It's quite true,  on  the other hand, that there are  endless  cock-and-bull
stories of a not very pleasant kind going about concerning him in Paris; but
if  a  man doesn't want  to  make enemies he  shouldn't become  a  political
satirist."
     "I'm  not quite sure," interposed Lega; "but it seems to me  that I saw
him once when the refugees were here. Was he not hunchbacked, or crooked, or
something of that kind?"
     The professor had opened a drawer in his  writing-table and was turning
over a heap  of  papers. "I think  I have his  police  description somewhere
here," he said.  "You remember  when they escaped  and  hid in  the mountain
passes  their  personal  appearance  was  posted  up  everywhere,  and  that
Cardinal--what's the scoundrel's name?-- Spinola, offered a reward for their
heads."
     "There was a splendid story about Rivarez and that police paper, by the
way.  He put  on a soldier's  old  uniform and tramped across  country  as a
carabineer wounded  in the discharge  of his  duty  and  trying  to find his
company. He actually got Spinola's search-party to give him a lift, and rode
the whole day in one of their waggons, telling them harrowing stories of how
he had been taken captive by the rebels and dragged off into their haunts in
the mountains,  and of the fearful tortures that he  had suffered  at  their
hands. They showed him  the description paper,  and  he  told  them all  the
rubbish he could  think  of about 'the fiend they call the Gadfly.'  Then at
night, when  they were asleep,  he poured a  bucketful of water  into  their
powder   and  decamped,   with   his   pockets  full   of   provisions   and
ammunition------"
     "Ah, here's the paper," Fabrizi broke in: "'Felice Rivarez, called: The
Gadfly.  Age,  about  30; birthplace and parentage, unknown, probably  South
American; profession, journalist. Short; black hair; black beard; dark skin;
eyes, blue; forehead, broad  and square; nose, mouth, chin------' Yes,  here
it  is:  'Special  marks: right foot  lame;  left arm  twisted;  two ringers
missing on left hand; recent sabre-cut across face; stammers.'  Then there's
a note put: 'Very expert shot; care should be taken in arresting.'"
     "It's an extraordinary thing that  he  can have  managed to deceive the
search-party with such a formidable list of identification marks."
     "It was nothing but sheer audacity that carried him through, of course.
If it had once occurred  to them to suspect him he would have been lost. But
the air of confiding innocence  that  he can put  on when  he  chooses would
bring  a man  through  anything. Well, gentlemen,  what  do you think of the
proposal? Rivarez seems  to be pretty well  known to several of the company.
Shall we suggest to him that we should be glad of his help here or not?"
     "I think," said  Fabrizi, "that he  might  be sounded upon the subject,
just to find out whether he would be inclined to think of the plan."
     "Oh, he'll be inclined, you may be sure, once  it's a case  of fighting
the  Jesuits; he is  the most savage anti-clerical I ever met; in fact, he's
rather rabid on the point."
     "Then will you write, Riccardo?"
     "Certainly. Let me see, where  is he now? In Switzerland, I think. He's
the  most restless  being; always  flitting about. But  as  for the pamphlet
question----"
     They plunged  into a  long and animated discussion.  When at  last  the
company began to disperse Martini went up to the quiet young woman.
     "I will see you home, Gemma."
     "Thanks; I want to have a business talk with you."
     "Anything wrong with the addresses?" he asked softly.
     "Nothing serious; but I think it is time to make a few alterations. Two
letters  have  been  stopped  in the post  this week.  They  were both quite
unimportant, and it may have  been accidental; but we  cannot afford to have
any risks. If once the police have  begun  to suspect any  of our addresses,
they must be changed immediately."
     "I will come  in about that to-morrow. I am not going to talk  business
with you to-night; you look tired."
     "I am not tired."
     "Then you are depressed again."
     "Oh, no; not particularly."

     "Is the mistress in, Katie?"
     "Yes,  sir; she is dressing. If you'll just  step into  the parlour she
will be down in a few minutes."
     Katie ushered the visitor  in with the cheerful friendliness  of a true
Devonshire girl. Martini was a  special favourite of hers. He spoke English,
like  a foreigner, of course, but still quite respectably; and he never  sat
discussing  politics  at the top of his voice till  one in the morning, when
the mistress was tired, as  some visitors had a way  of doing.  Moreover, he
had come to Devonshire to  help the  mistress in her trouble, when her  baby
was dead  and her husband dying there; and ever  since  that  time  the big,
awkward, silent man had been to Katie as much "one of the family" as was the
lazy black  cat  which  now ensconced itself  upon  his knee. Pasht, for his
part,  regarded  Martini as  a  useful piece  of  household  furniture. This
visitor never trod upon his tail,  or puffed tobacco smoke into his eyes, or
in any way  obtruded upon his consciousness an aggressive biped personality.
He behaved as a mere man should: provided a comfortable knee to lie upon and
purr, and at table never forgot that to look on while human beings  eat fish
is not  interesting for a cat. The friendship between them was of  old date.
Once, when  Pasht was a kitten and his  mistress too ill to think about him,
he had  come  from England under  Martini's care,  tucked away  in a basket.
Since  then, long experience had convinced him that  this clumsy human  bear
was no fair-weather friend.
     "How  snug you look, you two!" said  Gemma, coming into the room.  "One
would think you had settled yourselves for the evening."
     Martini carefully lifted the cat off his knee. "I came early," he said,
"in the  hope that  you  will  give me some tea before  we start. There will
probably  be  a frightful crush, and Grassini won't  give  us  any  sensible
supper--they never do in those fashionable houses."
     "Come now!" she said, laughing; "that's as  bad as Galli! Poor Grassini
has quite  enough  sins of his own  to answer for without having  his wife's
imperfect housekeeping visited upon his head. As  for  the  tea,  it will be
ready in a minute. Katie has been making some Devonshire cakes specially for
you."
     "Katie is a good soul, isn't she, Pasht? By the way, so are you to have
put on that pretty dress. I was afraid you would forget."
     "I  promised you I would wear it,  though  it is  rather warm for a hot
evening like this."
     "It will be much cooler up at Fiesole; and  nothing else ever suits you
so well as white cashmere. I have brought you some flowers to wear with it."
     "Oh, those lovely cluster roses; I am  so  fond of them! But  they  had
much better go into water. I hate to wear flowers."
     "Now that's one of your superstitious fancies."
     "No, it  isn't; only I think they must  get so bored, spending all  the
evening pinned to such a dull companion."
     "I am  afraid we shall all be bored to-night. The conversazione will be
dull beyond endurance."
     "Why?"
     "Partly  because   everything  Grassini  touches  becomes  as  dull  as
himself."
     "Now don't be spiteful. It is not fair when we are going  to be a man's
guests."
     "You are always right, Madonna. Well then, it will be dull because half
the interesting people are not coming."
     "How is that?"
     "I don't know. Out of town, or ill, or something. Anyway, there will be
two or three ambassadors and some learned Germans, and the usual nondescript
crowd of tourists  and Russian princes and  literary club people, and  a few
French  officers;  nobody else that  I know of--except, of  course, the  new
satirist, who is to be the attraction of the evening."
     "The new satirist? What, Rivarez? But I thought Grassini disapproved of
him so strongly."
     "Yes; but  once the man is  here  and  is  sure to be talked about,  of
course  Grassini  wants his  house to  be the first place where the new lion
will be  on show. You may be sure  Rivarez  has  heard nothing of Grassini's
disapproval. He may have guessed it, though; he's sharp enough."
     "I did not even know he had come."
     "He only  arrived  yesterday. Here comes the tea. No, don't get up; let
me fetch the kettle."
     He was never so happy as  in this little study. Gemma's friendship, her
grave unconsciousness of the  charm  she exercised over  him,  her frank and
simple comradeship were the brightest things for him in a life that was none
too  bright; and  whenever he began to feel more than  usually depressed  he
would come in  here  after  business  hours  and sit with her,  generally in
silence, watching her as she bent over her needlework or poured out tea. She
never questioned him about his troubles or expressed any  sympathy in words;
but  he  always went  away  stronger and  calmer, feeling, as  he  put it to
himself, that he could "trudge through another fortnight quite respectably."
She possessed, without knowing  it, the rare gift  of consolation; and when,
two years  ago, his  dearest friends had been betrayed in Calabria and  shot
down like wolves,  her steady  faith had been  perhaps the  thing  which had
saved him from despair.
     On  Sunday  mornings he  sometimes  came  in  to "talk  business," that
expression  standing for  anything connected with the  practical work of the
Mazzinian party, of which they both were active and devoted members. She was
quite a different creature then; keen, cool, and logical, perfectly accurate
and perfectly neutral. Those who saw her only at her political work regarded
her as a trained and  disciplined  conspirator, trustworthy,  courageous, in
every way a  valuable  member of the party, but somehow lacking in life  and
individuality. "She's a born  conspirator, worth any dozen of us; and she is
nothing more," Galli had said of her. The "Madonna Gemma" whom Martini  knew
was very difficult to get at.
     "Well, and what is your 'new satirist' like?"  she asked, glancing back
over  her shoulder as  she opened the  sideboard. "There, Cesare, there  are
barley-sugar  and  candied  angelica  for  you. I wonder,  by the  way,  why
revolutionary men are always so fond of sweets."
     "Other  men are,  too,  only  they think  it  beneath their dignity  to
confess it.  The new satirist?  Oh, the kind of man that ordinary women will
rave over  and  you  will dislike.  A sort  of  professional dealer in sharp
speeches,  that goes about the  world with  a  lackadaisical  manner  and  a
handsome ballet-girl dangling on to his coat-tails."
     "Do you mean that there is  really a  ballet-girl, or  simply that  you
feel cross and want to imitate the sharp speeches?"
     "The Lord defend me! No; the ballet-girl  is real  enough  and handsome
enough, too, for those who like shrewish beauty. Personally, I  don't. She's
a  Hungarian gipsy, or  something of that kind, so Riccardo says; from  some
provincial  theatre in  Galicia. He  seems to be rather a cool  hand; he has
been introducing the girl to people just as if she were his maiden aunt."
     "Well, that's only fair if he has taken her away from her home."
     "You may look at things  that way,  dear Madonna, but society  won't. I
think most people  will  very much resent being introduced  to  a woman whom
they know to be his mistress."
     "How can they know it unless he tells them so?"
     "It's plain enough; you'll see if you meet her. But I should think even
he would not have the audacity to bring her to the Grassinis'."
     "They wouldn't  receive her.  Signora Grassini is  not the woman  to do
unconventional  things  of that  kind.  But I  wanted to hear  about  Signor
Rivarez as a satirist, not as a man. Fabrizi told me he had  been written to
and had consented to come and take up the campaign against the  Jesuits; and
that is  the  last  I have  heard. There has  been  such a rush of work this
week."
     "I don't know that I can tell you much more. There doesn't seem to have
been any difficulty over the money  question, as we feared  there would  be.
He's well off, it appears, and willing to work for nothing."
     "Has  he  a private fortune, then?" "Apparently he has; though it seems
rather odd--you  heard  that  night at Fabrizi's about  the state the Duprez
expedition found  him in.  But he has  got shares  in mines somewhere out in
Brazil; and then he has been immensely successful as  a feuilleton writer in
Paris and Vienna and London.  He seems to have half a dozen languages at his
finger-tips;  and there's  nothing to prevent  his keeping up  his newspaper
connections from here. Slanging the Jesuits won't take all his time."
     "That's true,  of course. It's time  to start, Cesare. Yes, I will wear
the roses. Wait just a minute."
     She ran  upstairs, and  came back with  the  roses  in the bosom of her
dress, and a long scarf of black  Spanish lace thrown over her head. Martini
surveyed her with artistic approval.
     "You look like a queen,  Madonna  mia; like the great and wise Queen of
Sheba."
     "What an  unkind  speech!" she  retorted, laughing; "when  you know how
hard I've been trying to mould  myself into the image of the typical society
lady! Who wants a conspirator to  look  like  the Queen of Sheba? That's not
the way to keep clear of spies."
     "You'll never be able to personate the stupid  society woman if you try
for ever. But it doesn't matter, after all; you're too fair to look upon for
spies to guess your opinions, even though  you can't simper  and hide behind
your fan like Signora Grassini."
     "Now  Cesare,  let  that  poor  woman  alone!  There,  take  some  more
barley-sugar to  sweeten  your temper. Are  you  ready? Then  we  had better
start."
     Martini had been quite right in saying  that the conversazione would be
both crowded and dull. The literary men talked polite  small-talk and looked
hopelessly  bored,  while  the "nondescript crowd  of tourists  and  Russian
princes"  fluttered up and down the rooms, asking each other  who  were  the
various  celebrities and  trying  to  carry  on  intellectual  conversation.
Grassini was receiving his guests with a manner as carefully polished as his
boots; but his cold face lighted up at the sight of Gemma. He did not really
like her  and indeed  was secretly a little afraid of  her; but  he realized
that without  her his drawing room would  lack  a  great attraction. He  had
risen high in his profession,  and  now that he was rich and  well known his
chief ambition was to make of his house a centre of liberal and intellectual
society.  He  was painfully  conscious  that  the insignificant, overdressed
little  woman whom in his youth he had made  the mistake of marrying was not
fit, with her vapid talk and faded prettiness, to be the mistress of a great
literary salon. When he could prevail upon Gemma to come he always felt that
the evening would be a success.  Her  quiet graciousness of  manner set  the
guests at their ease,  and her very  presence seemed to  lay  the spectre of
vulgarity which always, in his imagination, haunted the house.
     Signora  Grassini greeted  Gemma affectionately, exclaiming in  a  loud
whisper: "How charming you look to-night!" and examining the white  cashmere
with  viciously critical  eyes. She hated her visitor  rancourously, for the
very things  for  which  Martini  loved  her;  for  her  quiet  strength  of
character;  for her grave, sincere directness; for the steady balance of her
mind; for the very expression of her face. And when Signora Grassini hated a
woman, she showed  it by effusive tenderness. Gemma took the compliments and
endearments for what they  were worth, and troubled  her  head no more about
them.  What  is called  "going  into society" was  in her  eyes  one  of the
wearisome and rather  unpleasant tasks which a conspirator who wishes not to
attract the notice  of  spies must conscientiously fulfil.  She  classed  it
together  with the laborious work of  writing  in cipher; and,  knowing  how
valuable a practical safeguard against suspicion is  the reputation of being
a well-dressed woman, studied the fashion-plates as carefully as she did the
keys of her ciphers.
     The bored and melancholy  literary  lions brightened up a little at the
sound  of Gemma's name;  she was very  popular  among them;  and the radical
journalists, especially, gravitated at once to her end of the long room. But
she was far too practised a conspirator to let them monopolize her. Radicals
could be had any day; and now, when they came crowding round her, she gently
sent  them about their business,  reminding them with a smile that they need
not  waste their time on converting her when there were so  many tourists in
need  of instruction. For her part, she devoted herself to  an English M. P.
whose sympathies the republican party was anxious  to gain; and, knowing him
to be  a specialist on finance, she first won  his  attention  by asking his
opinion  on  a technical  point concerning the  Austrian  currency, and then
deftly turned  the  conversation to the  condition of the  Lombardo-Venetian
revenue.  The  Englishman,  who  had  expected to  be bored with small-talk,
looked  askance  at  her,  evidently fearing that  he  had  fallen into  the
clutches of a blue-stocking; but finding  that she was both pleasant to look
at and interesting to talk  to,  surrendered completely and  plunged into as
grave a discussion of Italian finance  as if she  had  been Metternich. When
Grassini  brought up  a Frenchman "who wishes to ask Signora Bolla something
about  the history of Young Italy," the M. P. rose  with a  bewildered sense
that  perhaps  there was  more ground for  Italian discontent  than  he  had
supposed.
     Later  in the evening Gemma  slipped out  on to  the terrace under  the
drawing-room  windows  to  sit  alone  for  a  few  moments among the  great
camellias and oleanders. The close air and continually shifting crowd in the
rooms  were  beginning  to  give her  a headache. At  the further end of the
terrace  stood  a row of  palms and tree-ferns, planted in large  tubs which
were hidden by a bank of lilies and other flowering plants. The whole formed
a  complete screen,  behind which  was a little nook commanding a  beautiful
view  out across the valley. The branches of  a pomegranate  tree, clustered
with late blossoms, hung beside the narrow opening between the plants.
     In  this  nook  Gemma took refuge,  hoping  that no one would guess her
whereabouts until she  had secured herself  against the threatening headache
by a little rest and silence. The  night was warm and beautifully still; but
coming out  from the  hot, close  rooms she felt it cool, and drew her  lace
scarf about her head.
     Presently  the  sounds of voices and footsteps  approaching  along  the
terrace roused her from the dreamy state into which she had fallen. She drew
back into  the  shadow, hoping to escape notice and get a few more  precious
minutes of  silence  before  again  having  to  rack  her  tired  brain  for
conversation. To her  great  annoyance  the  footsteps paused  near  to  the
screen; then  Signora Grassini's  thin, piping little voice broke off for  a
moment in its stream of chatter.
     The other voice,  a  man's,  was  remarkably soft and musical; but  its
sweetness of  tone was  marred  by a  peculiar,  purring drawl, perhaps mere
affectation, more probably the  result  of a habitual effort to conquer some
impediment of speech, but in any case very unpleasant.
     "English,  did  you  say?"  it asked.  "But  surely the  name is  quite
Italian. What was it-- Bolla?"
     "Yes; she is  the  widow of  poor Giovanni  Bolla, who  died in England
about four  years ago,-- don't you remember?  Ah,  I forgot--you lead such a
wandering  life;  we can't expect  you to know of all our  unhappy country's
martyrs--they are so many!"
     Signora Grassini  sighed. She always talked in this style to strangers;
the role of a patriotic mourner for the sorrows of Italy formed an effective
combination with her boarding-school manner and pretty infantine pout.
     "Died in England!" repeated the other voice. "Was he a refugee, then? I
seem to recognize the name,  somehow; was  he not connected with Young Italy
in its early days?"
     "Yes; he was  one  of the unfortunate young  men who were  arrested  in
'33--you  remember that sad affair? He was released in a  few  months; then,
two or three years later, when there was a warrant out against him again, he
escaped to England. The next we heard was that he was  married there. It was
a most romantic affair altogether, but poor Bolla always was romantic."
     "And then he died in England, you say?"
     "Yes, of consumption; he could not stand that terrible English climate.
And she lost  her only child just before his death; it caught scarlet fever.
Very sad, is it not? And we are all so fond of dear Gemma! She is  a  little
stiff, poor  thing; the  English always  are,  you know;  but  I  think  her
troubles have made her melancholy, and----"
     Gemma stood up and pushed back the boughs of the pomegranate tree. This
retailing  of  her  private sorrows for  purposes of  small-talk was  almost
unbearable  to  her, and  there  was visible  annoyance in  her  face as she
stepped into the light.
     "Ah!  here  she is!" exclaimed  the  hostess,  with admirable coolness.
"Gemma, dear, I was  wondering  where you could  have disappeared to. Signor
Felice Rivarez wishes to make your acquaintance."
     "So  it's  the  Gadfly,"  thought  Gemma,  looking  at  him  with  some
curiosity. He bowed to her decorously enough,  but his eyes glanced over her
face  and  figure with  a  look  which  seemed  to  her insolently keen  and
inquisitorial.
     "You  have  found  a  d-d-delightful little  nook  here," he  remarked,
looking at the thick screen; "and w-w-what a charming view!"
     "Yes; it's a pretty corner. I came out here to get some air."
     "It seems almost ungrateful to the good God to  stay indoors on  such a
lovely night,"  said the  hostess, raising  her eyes to  the stars. (She had
good eyelashes  and liked to show them.) "Look, signore! Would not our sweet
Italy be heaven on earth if only  she were free? To think that she should be
a bond-slave, with such flowers and such skies!"
     "And such patriotic  women!" the  Gadfly murmured  in his soft, languid
drawl.
     Gemma  glanced round at  him in some trepidation; his impudence was too
glaring,   surely,  to  deceive  anyone.  But  she  had  underrated  Signora
Grassini's  appetite  for compliments; the poor woman  cast  down her lashes
with a sigh.
     "Ah,  signore, it is so little that a woman can do!  Perhaps some day I
may prove my  right to the name of an Italian--who  knows? And now I must go
back  to my social duties;  the French ambassador has begged me to introduce
his ward to all the notabilities;  you  must come  in presently and see her.
She  is  a most charming girl. Gemma, dear, I brought  Signor Rivarez out to
show  him  our beautiful view; I must leave him under  your care. I know you
will look  after  him  and  introduce him  to everyone.  Ah! there  is  that
delightful  Russian prince!  Have  you  met  him?  They say he  is  a  great
favourite of the Emperor Nicholas. He  is military commander of  some Polish
town  with  a  name  that nobody  can  pronounce.  Quelle  nuit  magnifique!
N'est-ce-pas, mon prince?"
     She  fluttered  away, chattering volubly  to  a bull-necked  man with a
heavy jaw  and a coat  glittering with orders; and her  plaintive dirges for
"notre  malheureuse patrie," interpolated  with "charmant" and "mon prince,"
died away along the terrace.
     Gemma stood  quite still beside the pomegranate tree. She was sorry for
the poor, silly little woman, and annoyed at the Gadfly's languid insolence.
He  was  watching  the retreating figures with  an  expression of face  that
angered her; it seemed ungenerous to mock at such pitiable creatures.
     "There  go Italian and--Russian patriotism,"  he said, turning  to  her
with a  smile; "arm in arm and  mightily  pleased with each other's company.
Which do you prefer?"
     She frowned slightly and made no answer.
     "Of c-course,"  he went on; "it's all  a question of p-personal  taste;
but I think, of the two, I like  the Russian variety best--it's so thorough.
If Russia had to depend on flowers and skies for her supremacy instead of on
powder and shot, how long do you think 'mon prince' would k-keep that Polish
fortress?"
     "I think," she answered coldly, "that we can hold our personal opinions
without ridiculing a woman whose guests we are."
     "Ah, yes! I f-forgot the obligations of hospitality here in Italy; they
are a wonderfully hospitable people, these Italians. I'm sure the  Austrians
find them so. Won't you sit down?"
     He  limped across  the  terrace  to  fetch  a chair for her, and placed
himself opposite  to  her, leaning against the balustrade. The light  from a
window was  shining full on his  face; and she  was able to  study it at her
leisure.
     She was disappointed.  She had expected to see a striking and powerful,
if not pleasant face;  but the most salient points of  his appearance were a
tendency to  foppishness  in  dress and  rather more  than  a tendency to  a
certain veiled insolence  of expression and  manner. For the rest, he was as
swarthy as a mulatto,  and, notwithstanding his lameness, as agile as a cat.
His whole personality was oddly  suggestive of a black jaguar. The  forehead
and left cheek were terribly disfigured by the long  crooked scar of the old
sabre-cut; and  she had already noticed that,  when  he began to  stammer in
speaking, that side of his face was  affected with a nervous twitch. But for
these defects he  would have been,  in a certain restless  and uncomfortable
way, rather handsome; but it was not an attractive face.
     Presently he began again in his soft, murmuring purr ("Just the voice a
jaguar would talk in, if it could speak  and  were in a  good humour," Gemma
said to herself with rising irritation).
     "I hear," he said, "that you are interested in the  radical press,  and
write for the papers."
     "I write a little; I have not time to do much."
     "Ah,  of course! I understood from Signora Grassini  that you undertake
other important work as well."
     Gemma  raised her eyebrows slightly. Signora Grassini,  like the  silly
little  woman she  was, had  evidently been chattering imprudently  to  this
slippery  creature, whom  Gemma,  for  her  part, was beginning  actually to
dislike.
     "My time is a  good  deal  taken  up," she  said  rather stiffly;  "but
Signora Grassini overrates the importance of my occupations. They are mostly
of a very trivial character."
     "Well, the world would be in a bad way if  we ALL of us spent  our time
in  chanting dirges for Italy. I should think the  neighbourhood of our host
of this evening and his wife would make anybody  frivolous, in self-defence.
Oh, yes, I know what you're going to say;  you are perfectly right, but they
are both so  deliciously  funny  with  their patriotism.--Are  you going  in
already? It is so nice out here!"
     "I think I will go in now. Is that my scarf? Thank you."
     He  had picked it up, and now stood looking at  her with  wide  eyes as
blue and innocent as forget-me-nots in a brook.
     "I  know you are offended  with  me," he said penitently, "for  fooling
that painted-up wax doll; but what can a fellow do?"
     "Since you ask  me,  I do  think  it  an ungenerous and--well--cowardly
thing to hold one's intellectual inferiors up to ridicule in that way; it is
like laughing at a cripple, or------"
     He caught his  breath suddenly, painfully; and shrank back, glancing at
his lame  foot and  mutilated  hand.  In another instant  he  recovered  his
self-possession and burst out laughing.
     "That's hardly a fair comparison, signora; we cripples don't flaunt our
deformities in people's  faces as she  does her stupidity. At least  give us
credit  for  recognizing that  crooked backs are no pleasanter than  crooked
ways. There is a step here; will you take my arm?"
     She  re-entered  the  house  in  embarrassed  silence;  his  unexpected
sensitiveness had completely disconcerted her.
     Directly he opened the  door of the  great reception room  she realized
that something unusual  had happened  in  her absence. Most of the gentlemen
looked  both  angry  and  uncomfortable; the  ladies, with  hot  cheeks  and
carefully feigned  unconsciousness, were  all  collected at  one end  of the
room;   the  host   was  fingering  his  eye-glasses  with  suppressed   but
unmistakable fury, and a little group of  tourists stood in a corner casting
amused glances at the further end of the room. Evidently something was going
on there  which appeared to them in the light of a joke, and  to most of the
guests in that of an  insult. Signora  Grassini alone did not appear to have
noticed  anything; she was fluttering her fan coquettishly and chattering to
the secretary of the Dutch embassy, who  listened with  a  broad grin on his
face.
     Gemma paused  an instant  in the doorway, turning to see if the Gadfly,
too,  had noticed the  disturbed appearance of  the  company. There  was  no
mistaking the malicious triumph in  his eyes as he glanced from the  face of
the blissfully unconscious hostess to a sofa at  the  end  of the room.  She
understood  at once;  he  had  brought  his mistress  here  under some false
colour, which had deceived no one but Signora Grassini.
     The gipsy-girl  was leaning  back on the sofa, surrounded by a group of
simpering dandies and blandly  ironical cavalry officers. She was gorgeously
dressed in amber  and  scarlet,  with an  Oriental brilliancy  of  tint  and
profusion of ornament as startling in a Florentine literary salon as  if she
had been some tropical bird among sparrows and starlings. She herself seemed
to  feel  out of place, and  looked  at the offended ladies  with a fiercely
contemptuous scowl. Catching sight of the Gadfly as he crossed the room with
Gemma, she sprang up and came towards him, with a voluble flood of painfully
incorrect French.
     "M. Rivarez, I have  been  looking  for you everywhere!  Count Saltykov
wants to know whether you can go to his villa to-morrow night. There will be
dancing."
     "I am sorry I can't go;  but then  I couldn't dance if I  did.  Signora
Bolla, allow me to introduce to you Mme. Zita Reni."
     The gipsy glanced  round at Gemma with  a  half  defiant air  and bowed
stiffly.  She was certainly handsome  enough, as  Martini  had said, with  a
vivid, animal, unintelligent beauty; and the perfect harmony and freedom  of
her  movements were delightful  to see; but her forehead was low and narrow,
and the  line of  her delicate nostrils was unsympathetic, almost cruel. The
sense  of  oppression  which Gemma  had  felt  in  the  Gadfly's society was
intensified by the gypsy's presence; and when, a moment later, the host came
up  to  beg Signora Bolla to help him entertain  some tourists  in the other
room, she consented with an odd feeling of relief.
     . . . . .
     "Well, Madonna, and what do you  think of the Gadfly?" Martini asked as
they drove back to Florence late at night. "Did you ever see  anything quite
so shameless as the way he fooled that poor little Grassini woman?"
     "About the ballet-girl, you mean?"
     "Yes, he persuaded her the girl was going to be the lion of the season.
Signora Grassini would do anything for a celebrity."
     "I  thought it an  unfair  and unkind thing to do; it put the Grassinis
into a false  position;  and  it  was nothing  less than cruel  to the  girl
herself. I am sure she felt ill at ease."
     "You had a talk with him, didn't you? What did you think of him?"
     "Oh, Cesare, I didn't  think anything except how  glad I was to see the
last of him. I never  met anyone so fearfully tiring. He gave  me a headache
in ten minutes. He is like an incarnate demon of unrest."
     "I thought you wouldn't like him; and, to tell the truth, no more do I.
The man's as slippery as an eel; I don't trust him."

     THE Gadfly took lodgings outside the Roman gate, near to which Zita was
boarding. He was evidently  somewhat of a  sybarite; and, though  nothing in
the  rooms  showed  any  serious  extravagance,  there  was  a  tendency  to
luxuriousness in  trifles and  to a  certain  fastidious daintiness  in  the
arrangement  of  everything which  surprised  Galli  and Riccardo. They  had
expected to  find  a man  who had lived among the wildernesses of the Amazon
more simple in  his tastes,  and wondered at his spotless  ties and  rows of
boots,  and  at  the masses of  flowers which always stood  upon his writing
table. On the  whole they  got on very well  with him. He was hospitable and
friendly to everyone,  especially  to  the local  members of  the  Mazzinian
party.  To  this rule Gemma, apparently,  formed an exception; he seemed  to
have taken a dislike to her from  the time  of their  first meeting, and  in
every way  avoided  her company. On  two or  three occasions he was actually
rude  to her, thus bringing upon himself Martini's most cordial detestation.
There had been no love lost  between  the  two men from the beginning; their
temperaments  appeared to be too incompatible for them  to feel anything but
repugnance for each  other. On Martini's part this  was fast developing into
hostility.
     "I don't care about his not liking me," he  said one day  to Gemma with
an aggrieved air.  "I don't like him, for  that  matter;  so there's no harm
done. But  I can't  stand  the way  he behaves to you. If it weren't for the
scandal it would make in the party first to  beg a man  to come  and then to
quarrel with him, I should call him to account for it."
     "Let him  alone, Cesare;  it  isn't of any consequence,  and after all,
it's as much my fault as his."
     "What is your fault?"
     "That  he dislikes  me so. I said  a brutal thing to him when we  first
met, that night at the Grassinis'."
     "YOU said a brutal thing? That's hard to believe, Madonna."
     "It  was  unintentional,  of  course,  and  I  was very sorry.  I  said
something about people  laughing at cripples,  and he took it personally. It
had never occurred to me to think of him as  a cripple; he  is  not so badly
deformed."
     "Of course not. He has one shoulder higher than the other, and his left
arm is pretty badly  disabled, but  he's neither hunchbacked nor clubfooted.
As for his lameness, it isn't worth talking about."
     "Anyway, he  shivered all  over  and changed colour.  Of  course it was
horribly tactless of me, but it's odd he should be so sensitive. I wonder if
he has ever suffered from any cruel jokes of that kind."
     "Much more likely to  have perpetrated them, I should  think. There's a
sort of internal brutality about that man, under all his fine  manners, that
is perfectly sickening to me."
     "Now, Cesare, that's downright unfair. I  don't like  him any more than
you do, but what  is the use of  making him out worse than he is? His manner
is  a  little  affected  and  irritating--I  expect  he has  been  too  much
lionized--and the everlasting smart speeches  are dreadfully  tiring; but  I
don't believe he means any harm."
     "I  don't know what he  means, but there's something not clean  about a
man  who  sneers at everything.  It fairly  disgusted me  the  other day  at
Fabrizi's debate  to hear the way he cried down the reforms in Rome, just as
if he wanted to find a foul motive for everything."
     Gemma sighed.  "I am afraid I agreed better  with  him than with you on
that  point,"  she  said.  "All you good people  are  so full  of  the  most
delightful hopes and expectations; you are always ready to think that if one
well-meaning  middle-aged gentleman happens to get elected  Pope, everything
else  will  come right of itself. He has only  got to throw open the  prison
doors and give  his  blessing to everybody all round, and we may  expect the
millennium within three months. You never seem able to see that he can't set
things right even if he would. It's the principle of the thing that's wrong,
not the behaviour of this man or that."
     "What principle? The temporal power of the Pope?"
     "Why that in particular? That's merely a part of the general wrong. The
bad principle is that any man should hold over another the power to bind and
loose. It's a false relationship to stand in towards one's fellows."
     Martini held up his hands. "That  will do, Madonna," he said, laughing.
"I  am  not  going  to  discuss  with  you,  once  you  begin  talking  rank
Antinomianism  in  that  fashion. I'm  sure  your ancestors must  have  been
English  Levellers in  the seventeenth century. Besides,  what I came  round
about is this MS."
     He pulled it out of his pocket.
     "Another new pamphlet?"
     "A stupid  thing  this  wretched  man Rivarez  sent  in  to yesterday's
committee. I knew we should come to loggerheads with him before long."
     "What is the matter with it? Honestly, Cesare, I think you are a little
prejudiced. Rivarez may be unpleasant, but he's not stupid."
     "Oh, I don't  deny that this is  clever enough in its way;  but you had
better read the thing yourself."
     The pamphlet was a  skit on the wild  enthusiasm over the new Pope with
which Italy was still ringing. Like all  the Gadfly's writing, it was bitter
and  vindictive;  but,  notwithstanding  her irritation at  the style, Gemma
could not help recognizing in her heart the justice of the criticism.
     "I quite agree with you  that  it  is  detestably malicious," she said,
laying  down the manuscript. "But the worst thing about it is that it's  all
true."
     "Gemma!"
     "Yes,  but it  is. The man's  a cold-blooded eel, if you like; but he's
got  the  truth  on his  side.  There  is  no  use in our trying to persuade
ourselves that this doesn't hit the mark--it does!"
     "Then do you suggest that we should print it?"
     "Ah! that's  quite another  matter. I certainly don't think we ought to
print it  as it stands; it would hurt and alienate everybody and do no good.
But  if he would rewrite it and  cut  out the  personal attacks, I think  it
might  be made into a really valuable piece of work. As  political criticism
it  is very fine. I had no idea he could write so well. He says things which
need saying and which none of  us have had the courage to say. This passage,
where  he compares Italy to a tipsy man weeping with  tenderness on the neck
of the thief who is picking his pocket, is splendidly written."
     "Gemma! The very worst bit in the whole  thing! I hate that ill-natured
yelping at everything and everybody!"
     "So do I; but that's not the point.  Rivarez  has  a very  disagreeable
style, and as a  human  being he is not attractive; but when he says that we
have made ourselves drunk  with processions and embracing and shouting about
love and reconciliation, and that the Jesuits and  Sanfedists are the people
who will profit by it all, he's right a thousand times.  I wish I could have
been at the committee yesterday. What decision did you finally arrive at?"
     "What I have come  here about: to ask you to go and talk  it over  with
him and persuade him to soften the thing."
     "Me?  But  I hardly know the man; and besides that,  he detests me. Why
should I go, of all people?"
     "Simply because there's no one else  to do it to-day. Besides,  you are
more reasonable than the rest of us, and  won't get into  useless  arguments
and quarrel with him, as we should."
     "I shan't do  that,  certainly. Well, I will go if you  like,  though I
have not much hope of success."
     "I am sure you will be able to manage him if you try. Yes, and tell him
that the committee all admired the thing from a literary point of view. That
will put him into a good humour, and it's perfectly true, too."
     . . . . .
     The Gadfly was sitting  beside a table covered with  flowers and ferns,
staring absently at the floor, with an open  letter  on his knee.  A  shaggy
collie dog, lying on a rug at his feet, raised its head and growled as Gemma
knocked at the open door, and the Gadfly rose hastily and  bowed in a stiff,
ceremonious way. His face had suddenly grown hard and expressionless.
     "You are too kind," he said in  his  most  chilling manner. "If you had
let me know that you wanted to speak to me I would have called on you."
     Seeing  that he  evidently wished  her  at the end of the earth,  Gemma
hastened to state her business. He bowed again and placed a chair for her.
     "The  committee wished me to  call upon you," she began, "because there
has been a certain difference of opinion about your pamphlet."
     "So I  expected." He smiled and sat  down opposite  to  her, drawing  a
large vase of chrysanthemums between his face and the light.
     "Most of the members agreed that,  however  much  they  may admire  the
pamphlet as a literary composition, they do  not think  that  in its present
form it  is quite suitable for publication. They fear  that the vehemence of
its tone may give offence, and alienate  persons whose help  and support are
valuable to the party."
     He  pulled a chrysanthemum from the vase and began  slowly plucking off
one white petal after another. As her eyes happened to catch the movement of
the  slim  right hand dropping  the  petals, one by  one,  an  uncomfortable
sensation  came over  Gemma, as  though she had somewhere seen that  gesture
before.
     "As a literary composition," he remarked in  his soft,  cold voice, "it
is utterly worthless, and could be admired only by persons  who know nothing
about  literature.  As  for  its giving offence,  that  is the very thing  I
intended it to do."
     "That I quite understand. The question is  whether you may not  succeed
in giving offence to the wrong people."
     He shrugged his shoulders and put a  torn-off  petal between his teeth.
"I think you are mistaken," he said. "The  question is: For what purpose did
your  committee invite me to come here? I understood, to expose and ridicule
the Jesuits. I fulfil my obligation to the best of my ability."
     "And  I can assure  you that  no one has  any doubt  as to  either  the
ability or the good-will. What the committee fears is that the liberal party
may take  offence,  and also that the town workmen may withdraw their  moral
support. You may  have meant the pamphlet for an attack upon the Sanfedists:
but many  readers will construe it as an attack upon the Church and  the new
Pope; and  this,  as a matter of political tactics,  the committee  does not
consider desirable."
     "I begin to understand. So  long as  I  keep to the  particular  set of
clerical gentlemen with whom the party is just now on bad terms, I may speak
sooth  if the fancy takes me;  but directly I touch upon the committee's own
pet priests--'truth's a  dog  must to kennel; he  must  be whipped out, when
the--Holy  Father may stand by the fire and-----' Yes,  the fool was  right;
I'd  rather be any kind of a thing than a  fool. Of course I must bow to the
committee's  decision, but I  continue to think that it has pared its wit o'
both sides and left--M-mon-signor M-m-montan-n-nelli in the middle."
     "Montanelli?" Gemma repeated. "I don't understand  you. Do you mean the
Bishop of Brisighella?"
     "Yes; the new Pope has just created him a Cardinal, you know.  I have a
letter about  him here. Would you care to hear it? The writer is a friend of
mine on the other side of the frontier."
     "The Papal frontier?"
     "Yes. This is what he writes----" He took up  the letter which had been
in his hand when she  entered, and read aloud, suddenly beginning to stammer
violently:
     "'Y-o-you will s-s-s-soon have the p-pleasure of m-m-meeting one of our
w-w-worst enemies,  C-cardinal  Lorenzo  M-montan-n-nelli, the B-b-bishop of
Brisig-g-hella. He int-t----'"
     He  broke  off,  paused  a  moment, and  began again,  very slowly  and
drawling insufferably, but no longer stammering:
     "'He intends to visit  Tuscany during the coming month on  a mission of
reconciliation. He will preach first  in  Florence, where he will  stay  for
about three weeks; then  will go  on  to  Siena and Pisa, and return to  the
Romagna  by  Pistoja.  He  ostensibly  belongs to  the liberal  party in the
Church, and is a  personal friend  of the Pope and  Cardinal  Feretti. Under
Gregory he was out  of favour, and was kept out of sight in a little hole in
the Apennines.  Now he has come suddenly to the front. Really, of course, he
is as  much pulled by Jesuit  wires as any Sanfedist  in  the country.  This
mission was suggested by some of the  Jesuit  fathers. He is one of the most
brilliant  preachers  in  the Church,  and  as  mischievous  in  his  way as
Lambruschini himself. His  business is to keep  the  popular enthusiasm over
the Pope from subsiding, and to occupy the public  attention until the Grand
Duke has signed a project which the agents of the  Jesuits  are preparing to
lay before him. What  this project is I have been unable to discover.' Then,
further on, it says:  'Whether Montanelli understands for what purpose he is
being  sent to Tuscany, or whether the Jesuits  are playing on him, I cannot
make out. He is  either an uncommonly clever knave, or  the biggest ass that
was ever foaled. The odd thing is that, so far as I can discover, he neither
takes  bribes nor keeps mistresses--the first time I ever came across such a
thing.'"
     He laid down  the letter and  sat looking at her with  half-shut  eyes,
waiting, apparently, for her to speak.
     "Are  you satisfied that your informant  is  correct in his facts?" she
asked after a moment.
     "As to the  irreproachable character  of Monsignor  M-mon-t-tan-nelli's
private life? No; but neither is he. As  you  will  observe, he  puts in the
s-s-saving clause: 'So far as I c-can discover----
     "I was not speaking of that,"  she interposed coldly, "but  of the part
about this mission."
     "I can fully  trust the writer. He is an old friend of mine--one  of my
comrades  of '43, and  he  is  in  a  position  which gives  him exceptional
opportunities for finding out things of that kind."
     "Some  official at the Vatican," thought Gemma quickly.  "So that's the
kind of connections you have? I guessed there was something of that sort."
     "This  letter is, of  course, a private one," the Gadfly  went on; "and
you understand that the information is to be kept strictly to the members of
your committee."
     "That hardly  needs saying. Then about  the pamphlet:  may  I  tell the
committee that you consent to make a few alterations and soften it a little,
or that----"
     "Don't you  think the alterations may succeed in spoiling the beauty of
the 'literary composition,' signora, as well as in reducing the vehemence of
the tone?"
     "You are asking my personal  opinion. What  I have come here to express
is that of the committee as a whole."
     "Does that imply that y-y-you disagree with  the committee as a whole?"
He  had  put  the  letter  into his  pocket and was now leaning forward  and
looking at  her  with an eager, concentrated  expression which quite changed
the  character  of his face.  "You think----" "If  you care to  know  what I
personally think --I disagree with the majority on both points.  I do not at
all  admire the pamphlet  from a literary  point of view, and  I do think it
true as a presentation of facts and wise as a matter of tactics."
     "That is------"
     "I  quite  agree  with  you  that  Italy   is  being   led  away  by  a
will-o'-the-wisp and  that all this  enthusiasm  and rejoicing will probably
land her in  a terrible bog; and I should be most heartily glad to have that
openly and  boldly said, even at the cost of offending or alienating some of
our  present supporters.  But  as a member of  a body the  large majority of
which holds the opposite view, I cannot insist upon my personal opinion; and
I  certainly think that if  things of that kind are  to be said at all, they
should  be said temperately and quietly; not in the  tone  adopted  in  this
pamphlet."
     "Will you wait a minute while I look through the manuscript?"
     He took it up and  glanced down the pages. A dissatisfied frown settled
on his face.
     "Yes,  of course, you are perfectly  right. The  thing's written like a
cafe chantant  skit, not  a political  satire. But what's  a man to do? If I
write decently the public won't understand it; they will say it's dull if it
isn't spiteful enough."
     "Don't you think spitefulness manages to be dull  when we get  too much
of it?"
     He threw a keen, rapid glance at her, and burst out laughing.
     "Apparently the signora belongs to the  dreadful category of people who
are always right! Then if I yield to  the temptation to be spiteful,  I  may
come  in  time to be as dull as  Signora Grassini? Heavens, what a fate! No,
you needn't  frown. I know  you don't  like me,  and  I am going  to keep to
business. What it comes to, then,  is  practically  this:  if I cut out  the
personalities  and leave  the  essential  part of the thing as  it  is,  the
committee will very much regret  that they  can't take the responsibility of
printing  it. If I cut out the political truth and  make all the  hard names
apply to no one but the party's enemies, the committee will praise the thing
up to the skies, and you and  I will know it's not worth printing.  Rather a
nice point of  metaphysics:  Which is the  more  desirable condition,  to be
printed  and  not  be worth it, or to  be worth it and not be printed? Well,
signora?"
     "I do not think you are tied to any such alternative. I believe that if
you were to cut out the personalities the  committee would  consent to print
the pamphlet, though the majority would, of course, not agree with it; and I
am convinced that it would be  very  useful. But you would have to lay aside
the spitefulness. If you are going to say a thing the  substance of which is
a big pill for your readers to swallow, there is no use in  frightening them
at the beginning by the form."
     He  sighed  and shrugged  his shoulders resignedly. "I submit, signora;
but on one condition. If you rob me of my laugh now, I must have it out next
time. When His Eminence, the irreproachable Cardinal, turns  up in Florence,
neither  you nor your committee  must object to  my being as  spiteful  as I
like. It's my due!"
     He spoke  in  his lightest,  coldest manner, pulling the chrysanthemums
out  of their  vase and  holding  them  up  to  watch the  light through the
translucent petals. "What an unsteady hand he has," she  thought, seeing how
the flowers shook and quivered. "Surely he doesn't drink!"
     "You  had better discuss  the  matter  with  the  other members  of the
committee," she said,  rising.  "I cannot  form any opinion as to what  they
will think about it."
     "And  you?" He  had  risen  too,  and  was leaning  against the  table,
pressing the flowers to his face
     She  hesitated.  The question  distressed  her,  bringing  up  old  and
miserable associations. "I --hardly know," she said at last. "Many years ago
I used to know something  about Monsignor Montanelli. He was only a canon at
that  time, and Director of the theological seminary in the province where I
lived as  a girl. I  heard a great deal about him from--someone who knew him
very intimately; and I never  heard anything  of him that  was  not good.  I
believe  that, in those  days at least, he was really a most remarkable man.
But that was long ago, and he may have changed. Irresponsible power corrupts
so many people."
     The  Gadfly raised his head from the flowers, and looked at her with  a
steady face.
     "At any  rate,"  he said, "if Monsignor  Montanelli  is not  himself  a
scoundrel,  he is a tool in scoundrelly hands.  It is all one to me which he
is--and to my friends across the frontier.  A stone in the path may have the
best intentions, but it must be kicked out of the path, for all  that. Allow
me, signora!" He rang the bell, and, limping to the door,  opened it for her
to pass out.
     "It was very  kind of you to call, signora. May  I send for  a vettura?
No? Good-afternoon, then! Bianca, open the hall-door, please."
     Gemma went out into the street, pondering anxiously. "My friends across
the frontier"-- who were they? And how was the stone to be kicked out of the
path? If with satire only, why had he said it with such dangerous eyes?

     MONSIGNOR MONTANELLI arrived in Florence in the  first week of October.
His visit caused a  little flutter of excitement throughout the town. He was
a famous preacher  and a representative  of the reformed Papacy;  and people
looked eagerly to him for an exposition of the "new doctrine," the gospel of
love  and  reconciliation which  was  to  cure  the  sorrows of  Italy.  The
nomination  of Cardinal  Gizzi to the Roman State Secretaryship  in place of
the universally detested Lambruschini  had raised the  public  enthusiasm to
its highest  pitch; and Montanelli  was just  the  man who could most easily
sustain it. The  irreproachable strictness  of  his  life  was  a phenomenon
sufficiently rare among the high  dignitaries of the Roman Church to attract
the attention of people accustomed to regard  blackmailing, peculation,  and
disreputable intrigues  as  almost invariable  adjuncts  to the career of  a
prelate. Moreover, his  talent as a preacher was really  great; and with his
beautiful voice and  magnetic  personality,  he would in any time  and place
have made his mark.
     Grassini,  as  usual, strained  every  nerve  to get  the newly arrived
celebrity to  his house; but Montanelli  was no  easy game  to catch. To all
invitations he replied with the same  courteous but positive refusal, saying
that his health was bad and his time fully occupied, and that he had neither
strength nor leisure for going into society.
     "What  omnivorous  creatures   those  Grassinis  are!"   Martini   said
contemptuously to Gemma as they crossed the Signoria square one bright, cold
Sunday morning. "Did  you notice the way Grassini bowed when  the Cardinal's
carriage drove up? It's all one to them who a man is, so long as he's talked
about. I never saw such lion-hunters in my life. Only last August it was the
Gadfly; now it's  Montanelli. I hope  His Eminence  feels  flattered  at the
attention; a precious lot of adventurers have shared it with him."
     They had been hearing Montanelli preach in the Cathedral; and the great
building had  been so  thronged with eager listeners that Martini, fearing a
return of  Gemma's troublesome headaches,  had persuaded  her to  come  away
before the Mass was over. The sunny morning, the first after a week of rain,
offered him an excuse for  suggesting a walk among the garden slopes by  San
Niccolo.
     "No," she answered; "I should like a walk if you  have time; but not to
the  hills. Let us keep along the Lung'Arno; Montanelli will pass on his way
back from church and I am like Grassini-- I want to see the notability."
     "But you have just seen him."
     "Not  close. There was such a crush in the Cathedral, and his back  was
turned  to  us when the carriage passed. If we  keep near  to  the bridge we
shall be sure to see him well--he is staying on the Lung'Arno, you know."
     "But  what has given  you such  a sudden fancy  to see  Montanelli? You
never used to care about famous preachers."
     "It is not  famous preachers;  it is the man himself; I want to see how
much he has changed since I saw him last."
     "When was that?"
     "Two days after Arthur's death."
     Martini  glanced  at  her  anxiously. They  had  come  out  on  to  the
Lung'Arno, and she was staring absently across the water, with a look on her
face that he hated to see.
     "Gemma, dear,"  he said  after a  moment;  "are you  going  to let that
miserable  business haunt you all your life? We have all made mistakes  when
we were seventeen."
     "We have not all killed our dearest friend when we were seventeen," she
answered  wearily; and,  leaning  her  arm  on the  stone balustrade  of the
bridge, looked down  into the river. Martini  held his tongue; he was almost
afraid to speak to her when this mood was on her.
     "I  never look  down at  water  without remembering,"  she said, slowly
raising her eyes  to his; then with a nervous little shiver: "Let us walk on
a bit, Cesare; it is chilly for standing."
     They crossed the bridge in silence  and walked on along the river-side.
After a few minutes she spoke again.
     "What a beautiful voice that man has! There is something about  it that
I  have never heard in any other human voice.  I believe it is the secret of
half his influence."
     "It is a wonderful voice," Martini assented,  catching at a  subject of
conversation which might lead her away from the dreadful memory called up by
the river,  "and he is,  apart from his voice, about the  finest  preacher I
have ever  heard. But I believe the secret of his influence lies deeper than
that. It is the  way his life  stands out  from that of almost all the other
prelates. I don't  know whether you could lay your  hand  on  one other high
dignitary  in  all  the  Italian  Church--except   the  Pope  himself--whose
reputation  is so  utterly spotless. I  remember, when  I was in the Romagna
last  year, passing through his diocese and seeing those fierce mountaineers
waiting in the rain to  get a glimpse of  him or  touch  his  dress.  He  is
venerated  there  almost  as a saint; and  that means a good  deal among the
Romagnols, who generally hate everything that wears a cassock. I remarked to
one of  the old  peasants,--as  typical  a  smuggler  as ever  I  saw in  my
life,--that the  people  seemed  very much devoted to  their  bishop, and he
said: 'We don't love bishops, they are liars; we love  Monsignor Montanelli.
Nobody has ever known him to tell a lie or do an unjust thing.'"
     "I wonder," Gemma said, half to herself, "if  he knows the people think
that about him."
     "Why shouldn't he know it? Do you think it is not true?"
     "I know it is not true."
     "How do you know it?"
     "Because he told me so."
     "HE told you? Montanelli? Gemma, what do you mean?"
     She pushed the hair back from her forehead and turned towards him. They
were  standing  still  again, he  leaning on  the  balustrade and she slowly
drawing lines on the pavement with the point of her umbrella.
     "Cesare,  you and I have been friends for all these  years,  and I have
never told you what really happened about Arthur."
     "There is  no need to tell me, dear," he broke in hastily; "I know  all
about it already."
     "Giovanni told you?"
     "Yes,  when he  was dying. He  told  me  about it  one night when I was
sitting  up with  him. He said----  Gemma,  dear, I had better tell you  the
truth,  now  we have  begun talking about it--he said that  you  were always
brooding over that wretched story,  and he begged me to  be as good a friend
to  you as I could and try to keep you from thinking of it. And I have tried
to, dear, though I may not have succeeded--I have, indeed."
     "I know you have," she  answered softly, raising her eyes for a moment;
"I should have been badly off without your friendship. But--Giovanni did not
tell you about Monsignor Montanelli, then?"
     "No, I didn't know that he had anything to do with it. What he told  me
was about--all that affair with the spy, and about----"
     "About  my striking Arthur and his drowning himself.  Well, I will tell
you about Montanelli."
     They turned back towards the bridge over which the Cardinal's  carriage
would have to pass. Gemma looked out steadily across the water as she spoke.
     "In  those  days  Montanelli was  a  canon;  he  was  Director  of  the
Theological Seminary at Pisa, and used  to give Arthur lessons in philosophy
and read  with him after  he went up to the Sapienza.  They  were  perfectly
devoted to each other;  more like two  lovers than teacher and pupil. Arthur
almost worshipped  the  ground that Montanelli walked on, and I remember his
once  telling me that  if he  lost  his  'Padre'--he  always  used  to  call
Montanelli so --he should  go and drown  himself. Well, then  you  know what
happened about the spy.  The  next day, my  father and the Burtons--Arthur's
step-brothers,  most detestable people--spent the  whole  day  dragging  the
Darsena basin for the body; and I sat in my room alone and thought of what I
had done----"
     She paused a moment, and went on again:
     "Late in  the evening  my father came into  my  room and said:  'Gemma,
child, come downstairs; there's  a man I want you to see.' And when  we went
down there was one of  the  students  belonging to the group  sitting in the
consulting room,  all white  and shaking;  and  he told us  about Giovanni's
second letter coming from  the prison to say that they had  heard  from  the
jailer about Cardi, and that Arthur had been tricked in  the confessional. I
remember the  student saying to me: 'It is at least some consolation that we
know he was  innocent' My father  held my hands and  tried to comfort me; he
did not know  then about the blow. Then I went back to my room and sat there
all night alone. In the morning my father went out again with the Burtons to
see the harbour dragged. They had some hope of finding the body there."
     "It was never found, was it?"
     "No; it must have got washed  out to sea; but they thought there was  a
chance.  I was alone in my room and the  servant  came  up  to  say  that  a
'reverendissimo padre' had called and she had told him my father  was at the
docks and he had gone  away. I knew it must  be Montanelli; so  I ran out at
the  back  door  and caught him up at the garden  gate. When I said:  'Canon
Montanelli, I want to speak to you,' he just stopped and waited silently for
me to speak. Oh, Cesare, if you had seen his face--it haunted me  for months
afterwards! I said: 'I am Dr. Warren's daughter, and I have come to tell you
that  it is I who have killed Arthur.' I  told him everything,  and he stood
and listened, like a figure cut in stone, till I had finished; then he said:
'Set your  heart at rest, my child; it is  I that am a  murderer, not you. I
deceived him and he found it out.' And with  that he turned and went out  at
the gate without another word."
     "And then?"
     "I don't know what happened to him after that; I heard the same evening
that he had fallen down  in the street in a kind of fit and had been carried
into  a house  near  the  docks;  but  that  is all  I  know. My father  did
everything  he  could  for  me; when I told him  about  it he  threw up  his
practice  and took me away to England at once, so that  I should never  hear
anything that could remind me. He was afraid I should end in the water, too;
and indeed  I believe I was near it at one time. But then, you know, when we
found out that my father had cancer  I was  obliged to come to myself--there
was no one  else to nurse him.  And after he died I was left with the little
ones on my hands until  my elder brother was able to give them  a home. Then
there  was Giovanni.  Do you  know, when he came to  England  we were almost
afraid to meet each other with  that frightful memory  between us. He was so
bitterly  remorseful  for his share  in it all--that unhappy letter he wrote
from prison. But I believe, really, it was our  common trouble that drew  us
together."
     Martini smiled and shook his head.
     "It may have  been so on your side," he said; "but Giovanni had made up
his mind from the first time he ever saw you.  I remember his coming back to
Milan  after that  first  visit to Leghorn and raving about you to me till I
was perfectly sick of hearing of the English Gemma. I  thought I should hate
you. Ah! there it comes!"
     The  carriage crossed the bridge  and drove up to a large  house on the
Lung'Arno. Montanelli was leaning  back on  the cushions  as if too tired to
care any  longer for  the  enthusiastic crowd which had collected  round the
door to  catch a glimpse of him. The inspired look that his face had worn in
the Cathedral had faded quite away and the sunlight showed the lines of care
and fatigue.  When  he  had alighted and passed,  with the heavy, spiritless
tread of weary and heart-sick old age, into the house, Gemma turned away and
walked slowly  to the  bridge.  Her face seemed for a  moment to reflect the
withered, hopeless look of his. Martini walked beside her in silence.
     "I have so often wondered," she began again after a little pause; "what
he meant about the deception. It has sometimes occurred to me----"
     "Yes?"
     "Well,  it  is very strange; there  was the most extraordinary personal
resemblance between them."
     "Between whom?"
     "Arthur and Montanelli. It was not only I who noticed it. And there was
something  mysterious  in  the relationship  between  the  members  of  that
household. Mrs.  Burton,  Arthur's mother,  was one  of the sweetest women I
ever knew. Her  face had the same spiritual look  as Arthur's, and I believe
they were alike in character, too.  But she  always  seemed half frightened,
like  a detected criminal;  and her  step-son's wife used to treat her as no
decent  person treats a dog. And  then  Arthur himself was such  a startling
contrast to  all those  vulgar Burtons. Of course, when  one  is a child one
takes everything for granted; but looking back on it afterwards I have often
wondered whether Arthur was really a Burton."
     "Possibly he found out something about his mother--that may easily have
been  the  cause  of his  death, not  the  Cardi  affair  at  all,"  Martini
interposed, offering  the only consolation he could think of at  the moment.
Gemma shook her head.
     "If you  could have seen his face after I struck him, Cesare, you would
not think that. It may be all true about Montanelli--very likely it is-- but
what I have done I have done."
     They walked on a little way without speaking,
     "My dear," Martini said at  last;  "if  there were  any way on earth to
undo  a thing  that is once done, it  would be worth while to brood over our
old mistakes; but as it  is, let the dead bury their dead. It is  a terrible
story, but at least the poor lad is out of it now, and luckier  than some of
those  that are  left--the ones that are  in  exile and in prison. You and I
have them to  think of, we have no right to eat out our hearts for the dead.
Remember  what your own Shelley  says: 'The  past is Death's, the future  is
thine own.' Take it, while it is still yours, and fix your mind, not on what
you may have done long ago to hurt, but on what you can do now to help."
     In his earnestness he had taken  her hand.  He dropped it  suddenly and
drew back at the sound of a soft, cold, drawling voice behind him.
     "Monsignor   Montan-n-nelli,"   murmured   this   languid   voice,  "is
undoubtedly  all  you say, my dear doctor. In fact, he appears to be so much
too good for this world that he ought to be politely escorted into the next.
I  am sure he would cause  as great a sensation there as  he  has done here;
there are p-p-probably many  old-established ghosts who have never seen such
a thing as an honest cardinal. And there is nothing that ghosts love as they
do novelties----"
     "How do  you  know  that?" asked  Dr. Riccardo's  voice  in a  tone  of
ill-suppressed irritation.
     "From Holy Writ, my dear  sir. If the Gospel is to be trusted, even the
most respectable  of all  Ghosts  had a f-f-fancy for  capricious alliances.
Now,  honesty and  c-c-cardinals--that  seems  to  me  a somewhat capricious
alliance, and rather an uncomfortable one, like  shrimps and liquorice.  Ah,
Signor Martini, and Signora Bolla! Lovely weather after the rain, is it not?
Have you been to hear the n-new Savonarola, too?"
     Martini turned round sharply. The Gadfly, with a cigar in his mouth and
a  hot-house  flower in his buttonhole, was  holding out  to him a  slender,
carefully-gloved hand.  With the sunlight reflected  in his immaculate boots
and  glancing  back  from the water  on to his  smiling face, he  looked  to
Martini  less lame and  more conceited than usual. They were shaking  hands,
affably  on  the  one  side and  rather sulkily on the other, when  Riccardo
hastily exclaimed:
     "I am afraid Signora Bolla is not well!"
     She  was so pale that her face looked almost livid  under the shadow of
her bonnet,  and  the  ribbon at her  throat fluttered perceptibly  from the
violent beating of the heart.
     "I will go home," she said faintly.
     A cab was called and Martini got in with her to see her safely home. As
the Gadfly bent down to arrange her cloak, which was hanging over the wheel,
he raised  his eyes suddenly to  her face, and  Martini saw  that she shrank
away with a look of something like terror.
     "Gemma, what is  the matter with you?" he asked, in English, when  they
had started. "What did that scoundrel say to you?"
     "Nothing, Cesare; it was no fault of his. I-- I--had a fright----"
     "A fright?"
     "Yes; I fancied----"  She put  one hand over  her  eyes, and  he waited
silently  till  she should recover  her self-command.  Her face was  already
regaining its natural colour.
     "You are quite right," she said at last, turning to him and speaking in
her usual voice; "it is worse than useless  to look back at a horrible past.
It  plays  tricks with one's nerves  and  makes one  imagine  all  sorts  of
impossible things. We will NEVER talk about that subject again, Cesare, or I
shall see fantastic likenesses  to Arthur in every face I meet. It is a kind
of  hallucination,  like a nightmare in broad daylight. Just  now, when that
odious little fop came up, I fancied it was Arthur."

     THE Gadfly certainly knew how to make personal enemies. He  had arrived
in Florence  in  August, and  by the end of  October  three-fourths  of  the
committee which had invited him shared Martini's opinion. His savage attacks
upon  Montanelli had  annoyed even his  admirers; and Galli himself,  who at
first had been inclined to uphold everything the witty satirist said or did,
began to  acknowledge with an aggrieved air that Montanelli had better  have
been  left in peace.  "Decent cardinals are  none so plenty. One might treat
them politely when they do turn up."
     The only  person  who, apparently, remained  quite  indifferent to  the
storm of  caricatures  and pasquinades was Montanelli himself. It seemed, as
Martini  said, hardly worth while to expend one's energy in ridiculing a man
who took it so good-humouredly. It was said in the town that Montanelli, one
day when  the Archbishop of Florence  was dining with  him, had found in the
room one  of the Gadfly's bitter personal lampoons against himself, had read
it through and  handed  the paper to the  Archbishop,  remarking:  "That  is
rather cleverly put, is it not?"
     One  day  there appeared in the town a leaflet, headed: "The Mystery of
the Annunciation." Even had the author omitted his now familiar signature, a
sketch of a gadfly with spread wings, the bitter, trenchant style would have
left in the  minds of most readers no doubt as to his identity. The skit was
in the form of a dialogue between Tuscany as the Virgin Mary, and Montanelli
as  the angel who, bearing the lilies of purity and crowned with  the  olive
branch of peace, was announcing  the advent of the Jesuits. The whole  thing
was full of offensive personal allusions and hints of the most risky nature,
and all Florence felt the satire to be  both ungenerous and unfair.  And yet
all Florence laughed. There was  something so irresistible  in the  Gadfly's
grave absurdities  that  those  who  most  disapproved  of  and disliked him
laughed  as immoderately at  all his  squibs as  did his  warmest partisans.
Repulsive in tone  as  the leaflet was, it left  its  trace upon the popular
feeling of the town. Montanelli's personal reputation stood too high for any
lampoon, however witty, seriously to  injure it, but for  a moment the  tide
almost turned against him. The Gadfly  had known where to sting; and, though
eager crowds still collected before the Cardinal's house to see him enter or
leave  his carriage, ominous  cries of  "Jesuit!" and "Sanfedist spy!" often
mingled with the cheers and benedictions.
     But  Montanelli   had  no  lack  of  supporters.  Two  days  after  the
publication of  the skit,  the Churchman, a leading clerical  paper, brought
out  a  brilliant  article,  called:  "An  Answer  to  'The  Mystery of  the
Annunciation,'" and signed:  "A  Son of  the  Church." It was an impassioned
defence of  Montanelli  against  the  Gadfly's  slanderous imputations.  The
anonymous writer,  after expounding,  with great eloquence  and fervour, the
doctrine  of  peace  on earth and  good will towards men,  of  which the new
Pontiff was the evangelist, concluded by challenging  the Gadfly to  prove a
single one of his assertions, and solemnly  appealing  to the public not  to
believe a contemptible slanderer. Both the cogency of the  article as  a bit
of  special  pleading   and  its  merit  as  a  literary  composition   were
sufficiently  far above the average  to attract much attention in the  town,
especially as not even the editor of the newspaper  could guess the author's
identity. The article was  soon reprinted separately in  pamphlet form;  and
the "anonymous defender" was discussed in every coffee-shop in Florence.
     The Gadfly  responded with a  violent attack on the new Pontificate and
all its supporters, especially on Montanelli, who, he cautiously hinted, had
probably  consented  to  the panegyric on  himself.  To this  the  anonymous
defender again replied in the Churchman with an indignant denial. During the
rest of  Montanelli's  stay  the controversy raging  between the two writers
occupied more of the  public  attention  than did even the  famous  preacher
himself.
     Some  members  of the liberal party ventured to  remonstrate  with  the
Gadfly about the unnecessary malice of his tone towards Montanelli; but they
did not  get much  satisfaction  out of  him.  He  only  smiled  affably and
answered with a languid little stammer: "R-really, gentlemen, you are rather
unfair.  I expressly stipulated, when I  gave in  to  Signora Bolla,  that I
should be allowed a l-l-little chuckle all to myself now. It is so nominated
in the bond!"
     At the  end of October Montanelli returned to  his see in the  Romagna,
and, before leaving Florence, preached a farewell  sermon  in which he spoke
of the controversy,  gently deprecating the vehemence of  both  writers  and
begging his  unknown defender to set an  example of tolerance  by closing  a
useless  and  unseemly  war  of  words. On the  following day the  Churchman
contained a  notice  that,  at  Monsignor  Montanelli's  publicly  expressed
desire, "A Son of the Church" would withdraw from the controversy.
     The last word remained with the Gadfly. He issued a little  leaflet, in
which he  declared himself  disarmed and converted by Montanelli's Christian
meekness and ready to  weep  tears of  reconciliation  upon the neck  of the
first Sanfedist  he met. "I am even willing," he concluded; "to  embrace  my
anonymous challenger himself; and if my readers knew, as his Eminence  and I
know, what that  implies and why he remains anonymous, they would believe in
the sincerity of my conversion."
     In  the latter part of  November he announced to the literary committee
that  he was  going  for a  fortnight's  holiday to  the seaside.  He  went,
apparently, to Leghorn; but Dr. Riccardo, going there soon after and wishing
to speak to him, searched the town for him in vain. On the 5th of December a
political demonstration  of  the  most extreme  character  burst  out in the
States of the Church, along  the  whole  chain of the Apennines;  and people
began to guess  the reason of the Gadfly's sudden fancy to take his holidays
in the depth of  winter. He  came  back to Florence when the riots  had been
quelled, and, meeting Riccardo in the street, remarked affably:
     "I  hear you were  inquiring for me in Leghorn; I was staying  in Pisa.
What a pretty old town it is! There's something quite Arcadian about it."
     In Christmas  week he attended an  afternoon  meeting  of  the literary
committee  which was held  in Dr.  Riccardo's  lodgings  near the Porta alla
Croce. The meeting was a full one, and when he came in, a  little late, with
an apologetic bow and smile, there seemed to be no seat empty. Riccardo rose
to fetch a  chair  from the  next room,  but the Gadfly  stopped him. "Don't
trouble  about it,"  he  said; "I  shall  be  quite  comfortable  here"; and
crossing  the room  to a window beside which Gemma  had placed her chair, he
sat down on the sill, leaning his head indolently back against the shutter.
     As he looked down at Gemma, smiling with half-shut eyes, in the subtle,
sphinx-like way that gave him the  look of a Leonardo da Vinci portrait, the
instinctive distrust with which he  inspired her  deepened  into a  sense of
unreasoning fear.
     The  proposal under discussion  was  that a  pamphlet be issued setting
forth the committee's  views on the dearth with which Tuscany was threatened
and the measures which should be taken to meet it. The matter was a somewhat
difficult  one  to decide, because, as usual, the committee's views upon the
subject  were much  divided.  The more advanced  section,  to  which  Gemma,
Martini, and Riccardo belonged, was in favour of an energetic appeal to both
government and public to  take adequate measures at  once for  the relief of
the peasantry. The moderate division--including, of course, Grassini--feared
that an over-emphatic tone might irritate rather than convince the ministry.
     "It is all very well, gentlemen, to want the people helped at once," he
said, looking round upon the red-hot radicals with his calm and pitying air.
"We most of us want a good many things that we are not likely to get; but if
we start with the tone you propose  to  adopt, the government is very likely
not to begin any relief measures at all till there is  actual famine.  If we
could  only induce the  ministry  to make an  inquiry into the  state of the
crops it would be a step in advance."
     Galli, in his corner by the stove, jumped up to answer his enemy.
     "A step in advance--yes,  my dear sir;  but if there's going  to  be  a
famine, it won't wait  for us to advance at that pace. The people  might all
starve before we got to any actual relief."
     "It would be interesting to know----" Sacconi began; but several voices
interrupted him.
     "Speak up; we can't hear!"
     "I should think not, with  such  an  infernal  row in the street," said
Galli, irritably. "Is that window shut, Riccardo? One can't hear  one's self
speak!"
     Gemma looked round. "Yes," she said, "the window is quite shut. I think
there is a variety show, or some such thing, passing."
     The sounds  of  shouting  and laughter, of the  tinkling  of bells  and
trampling of feet, resounded  from the  street below, mixed with the braying
of a villainous brass band and the unmerciful banging of a drum.
     "It can't be helped these few days,"  said  Riccardo;  "we must  expect
noise at Christmas time. What were you saying, Sacconi?"
     "I said  it  would be  interesting to hear  what  is  thought about the
matter in Pisa and Leghorn. Perhaps Signor Rivarez can tell us something; he
has just come from there."
     The  Gadfly  did not  answer.  He  was staring out  of  the  window and
appeared not to have heard what had been said.
     "Signor Rivarez!" said Gemma.  She was  the only person sitting near to
him, and as he remained silent she bent forward and touched him on  the arm.
He slowly turned his face to  her, and she started as she  saw its fixed and
awful  immobility. For a moment it was like the  face of a  corpse; then the
lips moved in a strange, lifeless way.
     "Yes," he whispered; "a variety show."
     Her first instinct was to shield him from the curiosity  of the others.
Without understanding  what was the matter with him, she realized that  some
frightful fancy or hallucination had  seized upon  him, and  that,  for  the
moment, he was at its mercy, body and  soul. She rose  quickly and, standing
between him and the company, threw the window open as if to look out. No one
but herself had seen his face.
     In the  street  a  travelling circus was  passing, with mountebanks  on
donkeys  and  harlequins in parti-coloured  dresses.  The  crowd  of holiday
masqueraders, laughing  and shoving,  was  exchanging jests and  showers  of
paper ribbon with the clowns and flinging  little bags of sugar-plums to the
columbine,  who  sat in her  car, tricked out in tinsel and  feathers,  with
artificial curls  on her  forehead and an  artificial smile on  her  painted
lips. Behind  the  car came  a  motley  string of  figures--  street  Arabs,
beggars, clowns turning somersaults, and costermongers hawking their  wares.
They were jostling, pelting, and  applauding a  figure which at  first Gemma
could  not see  for the  pushing  and swaying of the crowd. The next moment,
however,  she saw  plainly  what  it was--a  hunchback,  dwarfish  and ugly,
grotesquely  attired  in  a fool's  dress, with  paper  cap  and  bells.  He
evidently belonged  to the strolling company, and was amusing the crowd with
hideous grimaces and contortions.
     "What  is going on out there?" asked Riccardo,  approaching the window.
"You seem very much interested."
     He was a  little surprised at their keeping the whole committee waiting
to look at a strolling company of mountebanks. Gemma turned round.
     "It  is nothing interesting," she  said; "only a variety show; but they
made such a noise that I thought it must be something else."
     She was standing with one hand upon the window-sill, and suddenly  felt
the  Gadfly's cold fingers press the hand  with  a  passionate clasp. "Thank
you!" he whispered softly; and then, closing the window, sat down again upon
the sill.
     "I'm afraid," he said in his airy manner, "that I have interrupted you,
gentlemen.  I  was l-looking at the variety  show;  it is s-such a  p-pretty
sight."
     "Sacconi was asking you a question," said Martini gruffly. The Gadfly's
behaviour seemed to him  an absurd piece of  affectation, and he was annoyed
that Gemma should  have been tactless  enough to follow his  example. It was
not like her.
     The Gadfly  disclaimed all knowledge  of the state of  feeling in Pisa,
explaining that  he  had been there "only on a  holiday." He then plunged at
once  into an animated  discussion, first of agricultural prospects, then of
the  pamphlet question; and continued pouring out a flood of stammering talk
till the others were quite tired. He seemed to find some feverish delight in
the sound of his own voice.
     When  the meeting ended  and the members  of the committee  rose to go,
Riccardo came up to Martini.
     "Will you stop to dinner with me? Fabrizi and Sacconi have  promised to
stay."
     "Thanks; but I was going to see Signora Bolla home."
     "Are you really afraid I  can't get home by myself?" she  asked, rising
and  putting on her wrap. "Of course he will stay  with  you,  Dr. Riccardo;
it's good for him to get a change. He doesn't go out half enough."
     "If you  will allow me, I will see you home," the Gadfly interposed; "I
am going in that direction."
     "If you really are going that way----"
     "I  suppose  you won't have time  to drop in here  in the course of the
evening, will you, Rivarez?" asked Riccardo, as he opened the door for them.
     The Gadfly looked back over his shoulder, laughing. "I, my dear fellow?
I'm going to see the variety show!"
     "What  a strange  creature  that  is;  and  what an  odd  affection for
mountebanks!" said Riccardo, coming back to his visitors.
     "Case of a fellow-feeling,  I should think," said Martini; "the man's a
mountebank himself, if ever I saw one."
     "I  wish I could think  he was  only that,"  Fabrizi interposed, with a
grave face. "If he is a mountebank I am afraid he's a very dangerous one."
     "Dangerous in what way?"
     "Well, I  don't like those mysterious little  pleasure trips that he is
so fond of taking. This is the third time, you  know; and I don't believe he
has been in Pisa at all."
     "I suppose it is almost an open  secret that it's into the mountains he
goes," said Sacconi. "He  has  hardly  taken the trouble  to deny that he is
still in relations with the smugglers he got to  know in the Savigno affair,
and  it's quite natural he  should take advantage of their friendship to get
his leaflets across the Papal frontier."
     "For my part," said  Riccardo; "what I wanted to  talk to you about  is
this very  question. It occurred to me that we  could hardly do better  than
ask Rivarez  to undertake the management of our own smuggling. That press at
Pistoja  is  very  inefficiently managed,  to my  thinking; and the way  the
leaflets  are taken across,  always rolled in  those  everlasting cigars, is
more than primitive."
     "It has answered pretty well up till now," said Martini contumaciously.
He was getting wearied  of  hearing Galli and Riccardo always put the Gadfly
forward as a model to copy, and inclined  to think that  the world  had gone
well enough before this  "lackadaisical buccaneer" turned up to set everyone
to rights.
     "It has answered so far  well that we have been  satisfied with it  for
want of anything better; but you know there have been plenty of  arrests and
confiscations. Now I believe that if Rivarez undertook  the business for us,
there would be less of that."
     "Why do you think so?"
     "In  the  first  place, the smugglers look upon  us  as strangers to do
business with, or  as sheep  to  fleece,  whereas Rivarez  is their personal
friend, very likely their leader, whom they look up to and trust. You may be
sure  every smuggler in  the  Apennines will  do for a  man  who was in  the
Savigno revolt what he will not do for us. In the next place, there's hardly
a  man among us that knows  the mountains  as Rivarez does. Remember, he has
been  a fugitive among  them, and  knows the smugglers' paths by  heart.  No
smuggler  would  dare to  cheat him, even if he  wished to,  and no smuggler
could cheat him if he dared to try."
     "Then is your proposal  that we should ask him to  take over  the whole
management    of    our    literature   on   the   other    side   of    the
frontier--distribution, addresses, hiding-places, everything--or simply that
we should ask him to put the things across for us?"
     "Well, as for addresses  and  hiding-places, he  probably knows already
all the  ones that we have  and a good many more  that we have not. I  don't
suppose  we  should  be able  to  teach  him  much  in  that  line.  As  for
distribution, it's as the others prefer,  of course. The important question,
to  my  mind, is  the actual  smuggling  itself. Once the books  are safe in
Bologna, it's a comparatively simple matter to circulate them."
     "For my part,"  said  Martini, "I  am against the  plan. In  the  first
place,  all this about  his skilfulness  is  mere conjecture;  we  have  not
actually seen him engaged in frontier work and  do not know whether he keeps
his head in critical moments."
     "Oh, you needn't have any doubt of that!" Riccardo put in. "The history
of the Savigno affair proves that he keeps his head."
     "And then," Martini went on; "I do not feel at all  inclined, from what
little  I know of Rivarez, to intrust him with all  the party's  secrets. He
seems to me feather-brained and  theatrical. To give the whole management of
a party's contraband  work  into a man's hands is a serious matter. Fabrizi,
what do you think?"
     "If  I  had  only  such  objections  as yours,  Martini,"  replied  the
professor, "I  should certainly  waive them  in the  case of  a  man  really
possessing, as  Rivarez  undoubtedly does, all  the  qualifications Riccardo
speaks of. For my part, I  have not  the slightest  doubt  as to either  his
courage,  his  honesty, or  his presence  of  mind; and that he  knows  both
mountains and  mountaineers  we have  had ample proof.  But there is another
objection. I do not feel sure that it is only for the smuggling of pamphlets
he goes into the mountains. I have begun to doubt whether he has not another
purpose.  This is, of course,  entirely  between ourselves.  It  is  a  mere
suspicion. It seems to  me just possible that  he is  in connexion with some
one of the 'sects,' and perhaps with the most dangerous of them."
     "Which one do you mean--the 'Red Girdles'?"
     "No; the 'Occoltellatori.'"
     "The 'Knifers'! But that is a little body of outlaws--peasants, most of
them, with neither education nor political experience."
     "So  were the insurgents of Savigno; but they had a few educated men as
leaders, and  this  little society may  have  the same.  And remember,  it's
pretty well known that  most of the members  of those  more violent sects in
the Romagna  are  survivors of the  Savigno affair, who found themselves too
weak to fight the Churchmen in open insurrection, and so have fallen back on
assassination. Their hands are not strong enough for guns, and they  take to
knives instead."
     "But what makes you suppose Rivarez to be connected with them?"
     "I don't suppose, I merely suspect. In any  case, I think we had better
find out for certain before we intrust our smuggling to him. If he attempted
to do both kinds of work at once he would injure our party most terribly; he
would simply destroy its reputation and accomplish nothing. However, we will
talk of  that another time.  I wanted  to  speak to you about the news  from
Rome. It is said that a commission  is to be appointed to  draw up a project
for a municipal constitution."PART II: CHAPTER VI.
     GEMMA and the Gadfly walked silently along the  Lung'Arno. His feverish
talkativeness seemed to have quite spent itself; he had hardly spoken a word
since they left Riccardo's door, and Gemma was heartily glad of his silence.
She always felt  embarrassed in his company,  and to-day more so than usual,
for  his strange behaviour at the  committee  meeting  had greatly perplexed
her.
     By the Uffizi palace he suddenly stopped and turned to her.
     "Are you tired?"
     "No; why?"
     "Nor especially busy this evening?"
     "No."
     "I want to ask a favour of you; I want you to come for a walk with me."
     "Where to?"
     "Nowhere in particular; anywhere you like."
     "But what for?"
     He hesitated.
     "I--can't tell you--at  least, it's very  difficult; but please come if
you can."
     He raised his eyes suddenly  from the ground, and  she saw how  strange
their expression was.
     "There is something the matter with you," she said gently. He pulled  a
leaf from the flower in his button-hole, and began tearing it to pieces. Who
was it  that he was so oddly like?  Someone  who had that  same trick of the
fingers and hurried, nervous gesture.
     "I am in trouble," he said, looking down at his hands and speaking in a
hardly audible voice.  "I --don't want to  be  alone  this evening. Will you
come?"
     "Yes, certainly, unless you would rather go to my lodgings."
     "No; come  and  dine  with me  at  a restaurant.  There's  one  on  the
Signoria. Please don't refuse, now; you've promised!"
     They  went  into a  restaurant, where  he ordered  dinner,  but  hardly
touched his own share, and remained obstinately silent,  crumbling the bread
over the cloth,  and  fidgeting with  the fringe of his table napkin.  Gemma
felt  thoroughly uncomfortable,  and began to wish she had refused  to come;
the silence was growing awkward; yet she could not begin to  make small-talk
with  a person who seemed to have forgotten her presence. At last he  looked
up and said abruptly:
     "Would you like to see the variety show?"
     She stared at him in astonishment. What had he got into his head  about
variety shows?
     "Have you ever seen one?" he asked before she had time to speak.
     "No; I don't think so. I didn't suppose they were interesting."
     "They are very interesting. I don't think anyone can study the  life of
the people without seeing them. Let us go back to the Porta alla Croce."
     When they arrived the mountebanks had set up their tent beside the town
gate, and  an abominable scraping of fiddles and banging of drums  announced
that the performance had begun.
     The  entertainment was of the roughest kind.  A few clowns, harlequins,
and  acrobats,  a circus-rider jumping through hoops, the painted columbine,
and the hunchback performing various  dull  and foolish antics,  represented
the entire force of the company. The jokes were not, on the whole, coarse or
offensive;  but they were very tame  and  stale, and there was a  depressing
flatness about the whole thing. The audience  laughed and clapped from their
innate Tuscan courtesy; but the only part which they  seemed really to enjoy
was the  performance  of the  hunchback, in which Gemma  could  find nothing
either witty  or skilful. It  was merely a  series  of grotesque and hideous
contortions,  which  the spectators mimicked, holding  up children  on their
shoulders that the little ones might see the "ugly man."
     "Signor  Rivarez,  do  you really think this  attractive?" said  Gemma,
turning to the Gadfly, who was standing beside her, his arm round one of the
wooden posts of the tent. "It seems to me----"
     She broke off and remained looking at him silently. Except when she had
stood with Montanelli  at  the garden gate in Leghorn, she had never  seen a
human  face express such fathomless, hopeless misery. She thought of Dante's
hell as she watched him.
     Presently the  hunchback, receiving  a  kick  from one  of  the clowns,
turned  a  somersault  and  tumbled in a grotesque  heap outside the ring. A
dialogue  between two clowns began, and  the Gadfly seemed to wake  out of a
dream.
     "Shall we go?" he asked; "or would you like to see more?"
     "I would rather go."
     They left  the tent, and walked across the dark green to the river. For
a few moments neither spoke.
     "What did you think of the show?" the Gadfly asked presently.
     "I thought  it rather a  dreary business; and part of  it  seemed to me
positively unpleasant."
     "Which part?"
     "Well, all those grimaces and  contortions. They are simply ugly; there
is nothing clever about them."
     "Do you mean the hunchback's performance?"
     Remembering  his  peculiar  sensitiveness on  the subject  of  his  own
physical defects,  she had  avoided mentioning this  particular bit  of  the
entertainment; but now  that he  had  touched upon the  subject himself, she
answered: "Yes; I did not like that part at all."
     "That was the part the people enjoyed most."
     "I dare say; and that is just the worst thing about it."
     "Because it was inartistic?"
     "N-no; it was all inartistic. I meant--because it was cruel."
     He smiled.
     "Cruel? Do you mean to the hunchback?"
     "I mean---- Of course the man himself  was quite indifferent; no doubt,
it is to him just a way  of getting a living, like the circus-rider's way or
the columbine's. But the thing makes one feel unhappy. It is humiliating; it
is the degradation of a human being."
     "He probably is  not  any more degraded than he was to start with. Most
of us are degraded in one way or another."
     "Yes; but this--I dare say you will think it an absurd prejudice; but a
human body, to me, is  a  sacred  thing;  I don't  like  to see  it  treated
irreverently and made hideous."
     "And a human soul?"
     He  had stopped  short, and  was  standing  with  one hand on the stone
balustrade of the embankment, looking straight at her.
     "A soul?" she repeated, stopping in her turn to look at him in wonder.
     He flung out both hands with a sudden, passionate gesture.
     "Has it  never occurred to  you that that miserable clown  may  have  a
soul--a living, struggling, human soul,  tied down into that crooked hulk of
a body  and forced  to  slave  for it?  You  that are  so tender-hearted  to
everything--you  that  pity the body in its fool's dress and bells--have you
never  thought of  the wretched soul that has not even  motley to  cover its
horrible nakedness? Think of it shivering with  cold, stilled with shame and
misery,  before all  those  people--feeling their  jeers  that  cut  like  a
whip--their laughter, that burns like red-hot iron  on the bare flesh! Think
of it looking round--so  helpless before  them all--for  the mountains  that
will not fall  on  it--for  the  rocks that  have not  the  heart  to  cover
it--envying the rats that can creep into  some hole in  the  earth and hide;
and  remember that  a  soul is  dumb--it has  no voice  to cry out--it  must
endure, and endure, and endure. Oh! I'm talking nonsense! Why on earth don't
you laugh? You have no sense of humour!"
     Slowly and in dead silence  she turned  and walked  on along the  river
side. During  the whole evening  it had not once occurred  to her to connect
his trouble, whatever it might be, with the variety show;  and now that some
dim  picture  of his  inner life had  been  revealed  to  her by this sudden
outburst, she could not find, in her overwhelming pity for  him, one word to
say. He walked on beside her, with his head turned away, and looked into the
water.
     "I want you, please, to  understand," he began suddenly, turning to her
with a defiant air, "that everything I have just been saying to  you is pure
imagination. I'm rather given to romancing,  but I don't like people to take
it seriously."
     She made no answer, and they walked on in silence.  As they  passed  by
the gateway of the  Uffizi, he crossed the road and stooped down over a dark
bundle that was lying against the railings.
     "What is the matter,  little one?" he asked, more gently than  she  had
ever heard him speak. "Why don't you go home?"
     The bundle moved, and answered something in a low, moaning voice. Gemma
came  across to look, and  saw a child of about six  years  old, ragged  and
dirty, crouching  on the pavement like a  frightened animal. The  Gadfly was
bending down with his hand on the unkempt head.
     "What is  it?" he  said,  stooping lower to  catch  the  unintelligible
answer. "You  ought to go home to bed; little boys have no  business out  of
doors at night; you'll be quite frozen! Give me your hand and jump up like a
man! Where do you live?"
     He took the child's arm to raise him. The result was a sharp scream and
a quick shrinking away.
     "Why, what is  it?" the Gadfly  asked,  kneeling down on the  pavement.
"Ah! Signora, look here!"
     The child's shoulder and jacket were covered with blood.
     "Tell me what has happened?" the Gadfly went on caressingly. "It wasn't
a fall, was it? No? Someone's been beating you? I thought so! Who was it?"
     "My uncle."
     "Ah, yes! And when was it?"
     "This morning. He was drunk, and I--I----"
     "And you got in his way--was that it? You shouldn't get in people's way
when they are drunk, little man; they don't  like it. What shall we  do with
this poor mite,  signora? Come here to the  light, sonny, and let me look at
that shoulder. Put your arm round my neck; I won't hurt you. There we are!"
     He lifted the boy in his arms, and, carrying him across the street, set
him down on  the wide stone balustrade.  Then, taking out a pocket-knife, he
deftly ripped  up the torn sleeve, supporting  the  child's head against his
breast, while Gemma held the injured arm. The shoulder was badly bruised and
grazed, and there was a deep gash on the arm.
     "That's  an  ugly  cut  to give a  mite  like  you,"  said  the Gadfly,
fastening his  handkerchief  round  the  wound  to prevent  the  jacket from
rubbing against it. "What did he do it with?"
     "The  shovel. I went to ask him to give me a soldo to  get some polenta
at the corner shop, and he hit me with the shovel."
     The Gadfly  shuddered. "Ah!"  he said softly, "that hurts; doesn't  it,
little one?"
     "He hit me with the shovel--and I ran away-- I ran away--because he hit
me."
     "And you've been wandering about ever since, without any dinner?"
     Instead  of answering,  the  child began  to  sob violently. The Gadfly
lifted him off the balustrade.
     "There, there! We'll soon set all that straight. I wonder if we can get
a cab anywhere. I'm  afraid they'll all be waiting by the theatre; there's a
grand  performance  going  on to-night.  I am sorry to  drag you  about  so,
signora; but----"
     "I would rather come with you.  You may want help. Do you think you can
carry him so far? Isn't he very heavy?"
     "Oh, I can manage, thank you."
     At the  theatre door they found only a few cabs waiting, and these were
all engaged. The  performance was  over, and most of the  audience had gone.
Zita's name was printed in large letters on the wall-placards; she  had been
dancing in the  ballet. Asking Gemma  to  wait for him  a moment, the Gadfly
went round to the performers' entrance, and spoke to an attendant.
     "Has Mme. Reni gone yet?"
     "No, sir,"  the  man answered, staring blankly at  the  spectacle  of a
well-dressed  gentleman carrying a ragged street child  in  his  arms, "Mme.
Reni is just  coming out,  I think; her carriage  is  waiting for her.  Yes;
there she comes."
     Zita descended the  stairs, leaning  on  the  arm of  a  young  cavalry
officer. She looked superbly handsome, with an opera cloak of flame-coloured
velvet thrown over her evening  dress,  and  a great  fan of ostrich  plumes
hanging from her waist. In the entry she  stopped  short, and,  drawing  her
hand away from the officer's arm, approached the Gadfly in amazement.
     "Felice!" she exclaimed under her breath, "what HAVE you got there?"
     "I have  picked up this child in  the  street. It is hurt and starving;
and I want to get it home as quickly as  possible. There is not a cab to  be
got anywhere, so I want to have your carriage."
     "Felice! you  are not  going  to take a  horrid beggar-child  into your
rooms! Send for a policeman, and let him  carry it to the Refuge or whatever
is the proper place for it. You can't have all the paupers in the town----"
     "It is hurt," the Gadfly repeated; "it can go to  the Refuge to-morrow,
if necessary, but I must see to the child first and give it some food."
     Zita made a little  grimace  of disgust.  "You've got  its  head  right
against your shirt! How CAN you? It is dirty!"
     The Gadfly looked up with a sudden flash of anger.
     "It is hungry," he said fiercely. "You don't  know  what that means, do
you?"
     "Signer Rivarez," interposed Gemma,  coming  forward, "my lodgings  are
quite  close. Let us take the child in  there. Then, if  you  cannot  find a
vettura, I will manage to put it up for the night."
     He turned round quickly. "You don't mind?"
     "Of course not. Good-night, Mme. Reni!"
     The gipsy, with a stiff  bow and an angry shrug of her  shoulders, took
her officer's  arm  again, and, gathering up  the train of  her dress, swept
past them to the contested carriage.
     "I will send it  back  to fetch you  and the  child,  if  you  like, M.
Rivarez," she said, pausing on the doorstep.
     "Very well; I will give the address."  He came out on to the  pavement,
gave the address to the driver, and walked back to Gemma with his burden.
     Katie  was waiting up  for  her  mistress;  and,  on hearing  what  had
happened, ran  for warm  water and other necessaries. Placing the child on a
chair, the Gadfly knelt down beside him, and, deftly slipping off the ragged
clothing,  bathed and bandaged the wound with tender, skilful hands. He  had
just finished washing the boy, and was wrapping him  in a warm blanket, when
Gemma came in with a tray in her hands.
     "Is your  patient ready for  his  supper?"  she  asked, smiling at  the
strange little figure. "I have been cooking it for him."
     The Gadfly stood up and rolled the dirty rags  together. "I'm afraid we
have made a  terrible mess in your room," he  said. "As for  these, they had
better go straight  into the  fire, and  I  will  buy  him some  new clothes
to-morrow. Have you  any brandy  in the house,  signora? I think he ought to
have a little. I will just wash my hands, if you will allow me."
     When the child had finished his supper, he immediately went to sleep in
the Gadfly's arms, with his rough head against the white shirt-front. Gemma,
who had been helping Katie  to set the disordered  room tidy again, sat down
at the table.
     "Signor  Rivarez, you  must take something before you  go home--you had
hardly any dinner, and it's very late."
     "I should like a cup of tea in the English fashion, if you have it. I'm
sorry to keep you up so late."
     "Oh! that doesn't  matter. Put the child down on the sofa; he will tire
you. Wait a minute; I will just lay a sheet  over the cushions. What are you
going to do with him?"
     "To-morrow? Find out  whether he has any other  relations  except  that
drunken brute; and if not,  I suppose I must follow Mme. Reni's  advice, and
take  him to the Refuge. Perhaps the kindest thing to  do would be  to put a
stone round  his neck and pitch  him into the  river there;  but that  would
expose  me to unpleasant consequences. Fast asleep!  What an odd little lump
of ill-luck you are, you mite--not half as capable of  defending yourself as
a stray cat!"
     When Katie brought in the tea-tray, the boy opened his eyes  and sat up
with  a bewildered air.  Recognizing the Gadfly, whom he already regarded as
his natural protector, he wriggled off the sofa, and, much encumbered by the
folds of  his  blanket, came  up  to  nestle  against  him.  He  was by  now
sufficiently revived to be inquisitive; and, pointing to the  mutilated left
hand, in which the Gadfly was holding a piece of cake, asked:
     "What's that?"
     "That? Cake; do you want some? I think  you've had enough for now. Wait
till to-morrow, little man."
     "No--that!"  He  stretched out his  hand  and touched the stumps of the
amputated  fingers and the great scar on the wrist. The Gadfly put  down his
cake.
     "Oh,  that! It's  the  same  sort  of  thing  as what you have on  your
shoulder--a hit I got from someone stronger than I was."
     "Didn't it hurt awfully?"
     "Oh, I don't know--not  more than other things. There, now, go to sleep
again; you have no business asking questions at this time of night."
     When  the  carriage arrived  the boy  was again asleep; and the Gadfly,
without awaking him, lifted him gently and carried him out on to the stairs.
     "You  have been a sort  of ministering angel to me to-day," he said  to
Gemma, pausing  at  the door. "But  I suppose that need not prevent  us from
quarrelling to our heart's content in future."
     "I have no desire to quarrel with anyone."
     "Ah! but I have. Life  would  be unendurable  without  quarrels. A good
quarrel is the salt of the earth; it's better than a variety show!"
     And with that he went downstairs, laughing softly to  himself, with the
sleeping child in his arms.

     ONE day in the first week of January Martini, who  had sent  round  the
forms of invitation to the monthly group-meeting of  the literary committee,
received  from  the  Gadfly  a laconic,  pencil-scrawled "Very sorry:  can't
come." He was a little annoyed, as a notice of "important business" had been
put into  the  invitation; this  cavalier  treatment  seemed to  him  almost
insolent.  Moreover, three  separate letters  containing  bad  news  arrived
during the  day, and  the wind was  in the east, so that Martini felt out of
sorts and out of temper; and when, at the group meeting, Dr. Riccardo asked,
"Isn't Rivarez here?" he answered rather  sulkily: "No; he seems to have got
something more interesting on hand, and can't come, or doesn't want to."
     "Really, Martini,"  said  Galli  irritably,  "you are  about  the  most
prejudiced person in Florence. Once you object to a  man, everything he does
is wrong. How could Rivarez come when he's ill?"
     "Who told you he was ill?"
     "Didn't you know? He's been laid up for the last four days."
     "What's the matter with him?"
     "I don't know. He had to  put off an appointment with me on Thursday on
account of illness; and  last night, when  I went round, I heard that he was
too ill to see anyone. I thought Riccardo would be looking after him."
     "I knew  nothing about it.  I'll go round  to-night and see if he wants
anything."
     The  next  morning  Riccardo, looking very pale  and  tired, came  into
Gemma's little study.  She was sitting at  the table, reading out monotonous
strings of  figures to Martini, who, with a magnifying glass in one hand and
a finely pointed pencil in the other, was making tiny marks  in the pages of
a  book. She made  with one  hand  a gesture  requesting silence.  Riccardo,
knowing that a person who is writing in cipher must  not be interrupted, sat
down on the sofa behind her and yawned like a man who can hardly keep awake.
     "2,  4;  3, 7;  6,  1;  3,  5;  4> 1;"  Gemma's voice  went  on with
machine-like evenness.  "8,  4; 7,  2; 5,  1;  that  finishes  the sentence,
Cesare."
     She stuck a  pin  into the  paper  to mark the exact place,  and turned
round.
     "Good-morning, doctor; how fagged you look! Are you well?"
     "Oh,  I'm well  enough--only  tired  out. I've had an awful night  with
Rivarez."
     "With Rivarez?"
     "Yes;  I've been  up with him  all night, and  now I  must go off to my
hospital patients. I just came round to know whether you can think of anyone
that  could look after him a bit for the next few days. He's in a devil of a
state. I'll do my best, of  course;  but I really haven't  the time;  and he
won't hear of my sending in a nurse."
     "What is the matter with him?"
     "Well, rather a complication of things. First of all----"
     "First of all, have you had any breakfast?"
     "Yes,  thank you. About Rivarez--no doubt,  it's complicated with a lot
of nerve  trouble;  but the main cause of disturbance is an old  injury that
seems  to  have  been  disgracefully   neglected.  Altogether,  he's   in  a
frightfully knocked-about state; I suppose it was that war in  South America
--  and  he  certainly didn't get proper care when  the  mischief was  done.
Probably things were  managed in  a very rough-and-ready fashion out  there;
he's lucky  to  be  alive at all. However,  there's  a chronic  tendency  to
inflammation, and any trifle may bring on an attack----"
     "Is that dangerous?"
     "N-no;  the  chief danger in  a  case  of  that  kind is of the patient
getting desperate and taking a dose of arsenic."
     "It is very painful, of course?"
     "It's simply horrible;  I don't  know how he manages to bear it.  I was
obliged to stupefy him with opium in  the night--a thing I hate to do with a
nervous patient; but I had to stop it somehow."
     "He is nervous, I should think."
     "Very,  but  splendidly   plucky.  As  long  as  he  was  not  actually
light-headed with the pain last night, his coolness was quite wonderful. But
I  had an awful job with him towards the end.  How long  do you suppose this
thing has been going on? Just five nights; and not a soul within call except
that stupid landlady, who wouldn't wake if the house tumbled down, and would
be no use if she did."
     "But what about the ballet-girl?"
     "Yes; isn't that  a curious thing? He won't let her come  near  him. He
has   a   morbid  horror   of  her.   Altogether,  he's  one  of  the   most
incomprehensible creatures I ever met--a perfect mass of contradictions."
     He  took out his watch  and looked  at it with a  preoccupied face.  "I
shall be late at the hospital; but it can't be helped. The junior  will have
to begin  without me  for once.  I wish  I  had known of all this before--it
ought not to have been let go on that way night after night."
     "But  why  on  earth  didn't  he  send  to  say  he  was  ill?" Martini
interrupted. "He might have guessed  we shouldn't have  left him stranded in
that fashion."
     "I wish,  doctor," said Gemma, "that you had sent for  one  of us  last
night, instead of wearing yourself out like this." My dear lady, I wanted to
send  round  to Galli; but Rivarez  got so  frantic at the suggestion that I
didn't dare attempt it. When  I asked  him  whether there was anyone else he
would like fetched, he looked at me for  a minute,  as if he were scared out
of his wits, and then put up both hands to his  eyes  and  said: 'Don't tell
them; they  will laugh!'  He  seemed quite possessed  with some  fancy about
people  laughing  at something. I couldn't  make  out  what; he kept talking
Spanish; but patients do say the oddest things sometimes."
     "Who is with him now?" asked Gemma.
     "No one except the landlady and her maid."
     "I'll go to him at once," said Martini.
     "Thank you. I'll look round  again in the evening. You'll find a  paper
of written directions in the table-drawer by the large window, and the opium
is on  the  shelf in the  next room. If the pain comes  on  again, give  him
another dose--not more than one; but don't leave the bottle where he can get
at it, whatever you do; he might be tempted to take too much."
     When Martini  entered  the  darkened room, the  Gadfly turned  his head
round  quickly,  and,  holding out  to him a burning  hand, began, in  a bad
imitation of his usual flippant manner:
     "Ah, Martini! You have  come to rout me out about those proofs. It's no
use swearing at me for missing the committee last night; the fact is, I have
not been quite well, and----"
     "Never  mind the committee. I have just seen Riccardo, and have come to
know if I can be of any use."
     The Gadfly set his face like a flint.
     "Oh, really! that is very kind of you; but it wasn't worth the trouble.
I'm only a little out of sorts."
     "So  I  understood  from  Riccardo. He was  up  with you all  night,  I
believe."
     The Gadfly bit his lip savagely.
     "I am quite comfortable, thank you, and don't want anything."
     "Very well; then I will sit in the other room; perhaps you would rather
be alone. I will leave the door ajar, in case you call me."
     "Please don't trouble about it; I really shan't want anything. I should
be wasting your time for nothing."
     "Nonsense, man!" Martini broke in roughly. "What's the use of trying to
fool me that way? Do you think I have no eyes? Lie still and go to sleep, if
you can."
     He went into the adjoining room, and,  leaving the  door open, sat down
with  a book.  Presently  he heard the Gadfly move restlessly  two or  three
times. He put down his book and listened.  There was a short  silence,  then
another restless movement;  then the quick, heavy,  panting  breath of a man
clenching his teeth to suppress a groan. He went back into the room.
     "Can I do anything for you, Rivarez?"
     There was  no answer, and  he crossed the room  to  the  bed-side.  The
Gadfly, with a ghastly, livid face, looked at him for a moment, and silently
shook his head.
     "Shall I give you some more opium? Riccardo said you were to have it if
the pain got very bad."
     "No, thank you; I can bear it a bit longer. It may be worse later on."
     Martini  shrugged his shoulders  and  sat  down beside the  bed. For an
interminable hour he watched in silence; then he rose and fetched the opium.
     "Rivarez, I  won't let this go  on any  longer; if  you can stand it, I
can't. You must have the stuff."
     The Gadfly took it without speaking. Then he turned away and closed his
eyes. Martini sat down again, and listened as the breathing became gradually
deep and even.
     The Gadfly was too much exhausted to wake easily when once asleep. Hour
after  hour he  lay  absolutely motionless.  Martini  approached him several
times  during the  day  and  evening,  and looked at  the still figure; but,
except  the breathing, there was  no sign of  life. The face was so  wan and
colourless that at last a  sudden fear seized upon him; what if he had given
too much  opium? The  injured left  arm lay on the coverlet, and he shook it
gently to rouse the sleeper. As he did so, the unfastened sleeve  fell back,
showing  a series of deep and fearful  scars covering  the arm from wrist to
elbow.
     "That arm must have been in a pleasant condition  when those marks were
fresh," said Riccardo's voice behind him.
     "Ah, there you are at  last!  Look  here,  Riccardo; ought  this man to
sleep forever? I gave him a dose about ten hours ago, and he hasn't moved  a
muscle since."
     Riccardo stooped down and listened for a moment.
     "No;  he  is  breathing  quite  properly;   it's  nothing   but   sheer
exhaustion--what you might expect  after  such a night. There may be another
paroxysm before morning. Someone will sit up, I hope?"
     "Galli will; he has sent to say he will be here by ten."
     "It's nearly  that now. Ah, he's  waking! Just see the maidservant gets
that broth  hot. Gently --gently, Rivarez! There,  there, you needn't fight,
man; I'm not a bishop!"
     The Gadfly started up with a shrinking, scared  look. "Is it my  turn?"
he said hurriedly in Spanish. "Keep the people amused a minute; I---- Ah!  I
didn't see you, Riccardo." He looked round the room and drew one hand across
his forehead as if bewildered. "Martini! Why, I thought you had gone away. I
must have been asleep."
     "You have been sleeping like the beauty in the fairy story for the last
ten hours; and now you are to have some broth and go to sleep again."
     "Ten hours! Martini, surely you haven't been here all that time?"
     "Yes; I was beginning to wonder whether I hadn't given  you an overdose
of opium."
     The Gadfly shot a sly glance at him.
     "No such luck! Wouldn't  you  have nice quiet  committee-meetings? What
the devil do you want, Riccardo? Do  for  mercy's sake  leave me  in  peace,
can't you? I hate being mauled about by doctors."
     "Well then, drink this and I'll leave  you in peace. I shall come round
in a day or two, though,  and  give you a thorough overhauling. I  think you
have pulled  through the worst of this business now; you don't look quite so
much like a death's head at a feast."
     "Oh, I shall  be all right  soon, thanks. Who's that--Galli?  I seem to
have a collection of all the graces here to-night."
     "I have come to stop the night with you."
     "Nonsense!  I don't want anyone. Go home, all  the  lot of you. Even if
the thing  should  come on again, you can't  help me;  I  won't keep  taking
opium. It's all very well once in a way."
     "I'm  afraid you're right," Riccardo  said.  "But that's not  always an
easy resolution to stick to."
     The Gadfly looked up, smiling. "No  fear! If I'd been going in for that
sort of thing, I should have done it long ago."
     "Anyway, you are  not going to be left alone," Riccardo answered drily.
"Come  into  the  other  room a minute,  Galli;  I want  to  speak  to  you.
Good-night, Rivarez; I'll look in to-morrow."
     Martini was  following them out  of  the room when  he  heard  his name
softly called. The Gadfly was holding out a hand to him.
     "Thank you!"
     "Oh, stuff! Go to sleep."
     When  Riccardo had gone,  Martini  remained a few minutes in the  outer
room, talking with Galli. As he opened the front door of the house he  heard
a carriage stop at the garden gate and saw a woman's figure get out and come
up  the  path.  It  was  Zita,  returning,  evidently,   from  some  evening
entertainment. He lifted his hat and stood aside to  let her pass, then went
out  into  the dark  lane leading from the  house to the  Poggio  Imperiale.
Presently the gate clicked and rapid footsteps came down the lane.
     "Wait a minute!" she said.
     When he turned back to meet her she stopped short, and then came slowly
towards him, dragging one hand after her along the hedge. There was a single
street-lamp at the corner, and he saw  by its light that she was hanging her
head down as though embarrassed or ashamed.
     "How is he?" she asked without looking up.
     "Much better than he  was this morning. He  has been asleep most of the
day and seems less exhausted. I think the attack is passing over."
     She still kept her eyes on the ground.
     "Has it been very bad this time?"
     "About as bad as it can well be, I should think."
     "I thought so. When he  won't let me come  into the  room,  that always
means it's bad."
     "Does he often have attacks like this?"
     "That depends---- It's  so irregular. Last summer,  in Switzerland,  he
was quite well; but the winter before, when we were in Vienna, it was awful.
He wouldn't let  me  come near him  for days together.  He hates  to have me
about when he's ill."
     She glanced up for a moment, and, dropping her eyes again, went on:
     "He always used to send me off to  a ball, or concert, or something, on
one pretext  or  another, when he  felt it  coming  on.  Then he  would lock
himself into his  room. I  used to slip  back and  sit outside  the door--he
would have been furious  if he'd  known.  He'd  let the  dog  come in if  it
whined, but not me. He cares more for it, I think."
     There was a curious, sullen defiance in her manner.
     "Well, I hope it  won't be so bad any  more," said Martini kindly. "Dr.
Riccardo is  taking the case  seriously in  hand. Perhaps he will be able to
make a permanent improvement. And,  in any case, the treatment gives  relief
at the moment. But you had better send to us at once, another time. He would
have suffered very much less if we had known of it earlier. Good-night!"
     He held  out  his  hand, but  she  drew back  with a  quick  gesture of
refusal.
     "I don't see why you want to shake hands with his mistress."
     "As you like, of course," he began in embarrassment.
     She stamped her foot on the ground. "I hate you!" she cried, turning on
him with  eyes like glowing  coals. "I hate you  all! You come here  talking
politics to him; and  he  lets  you  sit up the  night with him and give him
things to stop the pain, and I  daren't  so much  as peep at him through the
door! What is he to you? What right have you to come and steal him away from
me? I hate you! I hate you! I HATE you!"
     She burst  into  a  violent fit of sobbing, and, darting  back into the
garden, slammed the gate in his face.
     "Good Heavens!" said  Martini to  himself, as he walked down the  lane.
"That  girl  is  actually  in  love  with  him!  Of  all  the  extraordinary
things----"PART II: CHAPTER VIII.
     THE  Gadfly's recovery  was rapid. One  afternoon in the following week
Riccardo found him lying on the  sofa in a  Turkish  dressing-gown, chatting
with Martini  and Galli. He even talked about going downstairs; but Riccardo
merely  laughed at the  suggestion  and asked whether he would  like a tramp
across the valley to Fiesole to start with.
     "You  might  go  and call  on  the  Grassinis  for a change," he  added
wickedly. "I'm sure madame would be  delighted to see you,  especially  now,
when you look so pale and interesting."
     The Gadfly clasped his hands with a tragic gesture.
     "Bless  my soul! I never thought  of  that!  She'd take me for  one  of
Italy's martyrs, and talk  patriotism to me. I should  have to act up to the
part,  and tell  her I've been cut to pieces  in  an underground dungeon and
stuck together  again rather badly; and she'd want to know exactly what  the
process felt like. You don't think she'd believe it, Riccardo? I'll bet  you
my Indian dagger  against  the  bottled  tape-worm  in your den that  she'll
swallow the  biggest lie I can  invent.  That's a generous offer,  and you'd
better jump at it."
     "Thanks, I'm not so fond of murderous tools as you are."
     "Well,  a tape-worm is as  murderous as a dagger, any day, and not half
so pretty."
     "But as it happens, my dear fellow, I don't  want  the dagger and I  do
want the tape-worm. Martini, I  must run  off.  Are  you  in  charge of this
obstreperous patient?"
     "Only  till  three o'clock. Galli and I have  to go to San Miniato, and
Signora Bolla is coming till I can get back."
     "Signora  Bolla!"  the  Gadfly  repeated  in a tone  of  dismay.  "Why,
Martini,  this  will never do! I can't have a  lady bothered  over me and my
ailments. Besides, where is she to sit? She won't like to come in here."
     "Since  when have  you gone in so  fiercely for the proprieties?" asked
Riccardo,  laughing. "My good man, Signora Bolla is head nurse in general to
all  of  us. She has looked after sick  people ever  since she was in  short
frocks, and does it better than  any sister of mercy I  know.  Won't like to
come into your room! Why, you  might  be talking of  the Grassini  woman!  I
needn't leave any  directions if  she's  coming, Martini.  Heart alive, it's
half-past two; I must be off!"
     "Now,  Rivarez,  take  your  physic  before  she  comes,"  said  Galli,
approaching the sofa with a medicine glass.
     "Damn the  physic!" The  Gadfly had  reached  the  irritable  stage  of
convalescence,  and  was inclined to  give  his  devoted nurses a bad  time.
"W-what do you want  to  d-d-dose me with all sorts  of horrors  for now the
pain is gone?"
     "Just because I don't want it to come back. You wouldn't like it if you
collapsed when Signora Bolla is here and she had to give you opium."
     "My g-good sir,  if that pain is going to  come back it will come; it's
not  a t-toothache to be frightened away with your trashy mixtures. They are
about as much use  as a t-toy squirt for a house on fire. However, I suppose
you must have your way."
     He took  the glass  with  his left hand, and the sight of the  terrible
scars recalled Galli to the former subject of conversation.
     "By the way," he asked; "how did you  get so much knocked about? In the
war, was it?"
     "Now, didn't I just tell you it was a case of secret dungeons and----"
     "Yes, that version is for Signora Grassini's benefit. Really, I suppose
it was in the war with Brazil?"
     "Yes, I got a bit hurt there; and then hunting  in the savage districts
and one thing and another."
     "Ah, yes;  on the scientific expedition.  You can fasten  your shirt; I
have quite done. You seem to have had an exciting time of it out there."
     "Well, of course  you can't live in savage countries without  getting a
few adventures once in a way,"  said the Gadfly lightly; "and you can hardly
expect them all to be pleasant."
     "Still, I don't understand how you managed to get so much knocked about
unless in a  bad adventure with  wild beasts--those scars on  your left arm,
for instance."
     "Ah, that was in a puma-hunt. You see, I had fired----"
     There was a knock at the door.
     "Is the room  tidy, Martini? Yes? Then please  open the  door.  This is
really most kind, signora; you must excuse my not getting up."
     "Of course  you  mustn't  get up; I have not come as a caller.  I  am a
little early, Cesare. I thought perhaps you were in a hurry to go."
     "I  can  stop for a quarter  of  an hour. Let me  put your cloak in the
other room. Shall I take the basket, too?"
     "Take  care; those are new-laid eggs. Katie brought  them in from Monte
Oliveto this  morning.  There  are  some  Christmas  roses  for you,  Signor
Rivarez; I know you are fond of flowers."
     She sat  down beside  the table and began clipping  the  stalks of  the
flowers and arranging them in a vase.
     "Well, Rivarez,"  said Galli; "tell us the rest of the puma-hunt story;
you had just begun."
     "Ah, yes! Galli was asking me about life in South America, signora; and
I was telling him how I came to get  my left arm spoiled. It was in Peru. We
had  been wading a river on a puma-hunt, and when I fired  at the beast  the
powder wouldn't go off; it had got  splashed with water. Naturally  the puma
didn't wait for me to rectify that; and this is the result."
     "That must have been a pleasant experience."
     "Oh, not so bad! One must take the  rough  with the  smooth, of course;
but it's a splendid life on the whole. Serpent-catching, for instance----"
     He  rattled on, telling anecdote after anecdote;  now of  the Argentine
war,  now of the Brazilian expedition, now of  hunting feats  and adventures
with savages or wild beasts. Galli,  with  the delight of  a child hearing a
fairy  story, kept interrupting every moment to ask questions. He was of the
impressionable  Neapolitan  temperament  and  loved  everything sensational.
Gemma took  some  knitting  from her basket and listened silently, with busy
fingers and downcast eyes. Martini frowned and fidgeted. The manner in which
the anecdotes  were  told  seemed to  him boastful and  self-conscious; and,
notwithstanding his unwilling admiration for a man who could endure physical
pain  with  the  amazing  fortitude which  he had  seen the week  before, he
genuinely disliked the Gadfly and all his works and ways.
     "It must have  been a glorious life!" sighed Galli with naive  envy. "I
wonder you ever made up your mind to leave Brazil. Other countries must seem
so flat after it!"
     "I  think I was happiest  in Peru and Ecuador,"  said the Gadfly. "That
really is  a  magnificent tract  of country.  Of  course  it  is  very  hot,
especially the coast district of Ecuador, and one has to rough it a bit; but
the scenery is superb beyond imagination."
     "I  believe," said Galli, "the  perfect freedom  of life in a barbarous
country  would  attract me  more  than  any  scenery.  A man  must feel  his
personal, human dignity as he can never feel it in our crowded towns."
     "Yes," the Gadfly answered; "that is----"
     Gemma  raised her eyes from  her knitting and looked at him. He flushed
suddenly scarlet and broke off. There was a little pause.
     "Surely it is not come on again?" asked Galli anxiously.
     "Oh, nothing to  speak of, thanks to your s-s-soothing application that
I b-b-blasphemed against. Are you going already, Martini?"
     "Yes. Come along, Galli; we shall be late."
     Gemma followed the two men out of the room, and presently returned with
an egg beaten up in milk.
     "Take this, please," she  said with mild authority; and sat down  again
to her knitting. The Gadfly obeyed meekly.
     For half  an hour,  neither spoke. Then the Gadfly  said in a very  low
voice:
     "Signora Bolla!"
     She looked up. He was tearing the fringe of the couch-rug, and kept his
eyes lowered.
     "You didn't believe I was speaking the truth just now," he began.
     "I had not the  smallest  doubt that you were  telling falsehoods," she
answered quietly.
     "You were quite right. I was telling falsehoods all the time."
     "Do you mean about the war?"
     "About  everything. I  was not  in  that  war at all; and  as  for  the
expedition, I had a few adventures, of course, and most of those stories are
true, but it was not that  way  I got smashed.  You  have detected me in one
lie, so I may as well confess the lot, I suppose."
     "Does it  not seem to you  rather a waste  of energy  to invent so many
falsehoods?"  she asked.  "I should  have  thought it  was hardly  worth the
trouble."
     "What would  you  have? You  know your  own  English proverb:  'Ask  no
questions and you'll be told no lies.' It's no pleasure to me to fool people
that way, but I  must answer them somehow when they ask what made a  cripple
of me; and I may as well invent something pretty while I'm about it. You saw
how pleased Galli was."
     "Do you prefer pleasing Galli to speaking the truth?"
     "The truth!"  He looked  up  with  the torn  fringe in his  hand.  "You
wouldn't have me tell those people the truth? I'd cut my  tongue out first!"
Then with an awkward, shy abruptness:
     "I have never told it to anybody yet; but I'll tell you if  you care to
hear."
     She  silently  laid  down  her knitting.  To  her  there was  something
grievously pathetic  in  this  hard,  secret, unlovable  creature,  suddenly
flinging his personal confidence  at the feet of a woman whom he barely knew
and whom he apparently disliked.
     A long silence followed, and she looked up. He was leaning his left arm
on the  little table  beside him,  and shading  his eyes  with the mutilated
hand, and she  noticed the nervous tension of the fingers and the  throbbing
of the scar on the wrist. She came up to him and called him  softly by name.
He started violently and raised his head.
     "I f-forgot," he stammered apologetically. "I was g-going to t-tell you
about----"
     "About the--accident or whatever it was  that caused your lameness. But
if it worries you----"
     "The accident? Oh, the  smashing! Yes; only it wasn't an  accident,  it
was a poker." She stared at him in blank amazement. He pushed back  his hair
with a hand that shook perceptibly, and looked up at her, smiling.
     "Won't you sit  down?  Bring your chair  close, please. I'm so  sorry I
can't get it for you.  R-really,  now I come to  think of it, the case would
have  been  a p-perfect  t-treasure-trove for Riccardo  if he had  had me to
treat;  he  has  the  true surgeon's  love for broken  bones, and I  believe
everything in me that was breakable was  broken on  that occasion--except my
neck."
     "And  your  courage," she put in softly. "But  perhaps  you count  that
among your unbreakable possessions."
     He shook his  head. "No," he said; "my courage has been mended up after
a  fashion, with the  rest  of  me; but  it was fairly broken  then,  like a
smashed tea-cup; that's the  horrible  part  of it. Ah---- Yes; well, I  was
telling you about the poker.
     "It was--let me see--nearly thirteen  years  ago, in Lima.  I told  you
Peru was  a  delightful country to live  in; but  it's not quite so nice for
people  that  happen to be at low water,  as  I was. I had  been down in the
Argentine, and then in Chili, tramping the country and starving, mostly; and
had come up from Valparaiso as odd-man on a  cattle-boat. I couldn't get any
work in Lima itself, so I went  down to  the  docks,--they're at Callao, you
know,--to try  there. Well of course  in  all those shipping-ports there are
low quarters where the sea-faring  people congregate; and after some  time I
got taken on as servant in one of the gambling hells there. I had to do  the
cooking and  billiard-marking,  and fetch  drink for the sailors  and  their
women, and all that sort of thing. Not very pleasant work;  still I was glad
to get it; there was at least food and the sight of human faces and sound of
human tongues--of a  kind.  You  may  think that was no advantage; but I had
just  been  down with yellow fever, alone  in the  outhouse  of  a  wretched
half-caste shanty, and the thing had given me the horrors. Well, one night I
was told to put out a tipsy  Lascar who was making himself obnoxious; he had
come ashore and lost all his money and was in a  bad temper. Of course I had
to obey if I didn't want to lose my place and starve; but  the man was twice
as  strong as I--I was not  twenty-one and as weak as a cat after the fever.
Besides, he had the poker."
     He paused a moment, glancing furtively at her; then went on:
     "Apparently he intended to  put an end to me altogether; but somehow he
managed to scamp his work--Lascars always do if they have a chance; and left
just enough of me not smashed to go on living with."
     "Yes,  but the  other people, could they not interfere?  Were  they all
afraid of one Lascar?"
     He looked up and burst out laughing.
     "THE OTHER PEOPLE? The gamblers and  the people of the  house? Why, you
don't understand! They were negroes and Chinese and Heaven knows what; and I
was  their servant--THEIR PROPERTY. They stood round and enjoyed the fun, of
course. That sort of thing counts for a good joke out there. So it is if you
don't happen to be the subject practised on."
     She shuddered.
     "Then what was the end of it?"
     "That I can't tell you much about; a man doesn't  remember the next few
days after a thing of that kind, as a rule.  But there was a ship's  surgeon
near, and it  seems that when they found I was not dead, somebody called him
in. He patched me up after a fashion--Riccardo seems to  think it was rather
badly done, but that may be professional jealousy. Anyhow, when I came to my
senses, an  old  native woman had taken me  in for  Christian  charity--that
sounds queer, doesn't  it? She used to  sit huddled up  in the corner of the
hut, smoking a black pipe and spitting on the floor and crooning to herself.
However,  she  meant well,  and she told  me I might die in peace and nobody
should  disturb me. But the spirit of  contradiction was strong in me and  I
elected to live. It was rather a difficult job scrambling back  to life, and
sometimes I am inclined to think it was a great  deal of cry for very little
wool. Anyway that old woman's patience was wonderful; she kept  me--how long
was it?--nearly  four months lying  in her  hut, raving like a mad  thing at
intervals, and as vicious as a bear with a sore ear between-whiles. The pain
was pretty bad, you see, and my temper  had been spoiled  in childhood  with
overmuch coddling."
     "And then?"
     "Oh,  then--I got  up somehow and crawled away.  No, don't think it was
any  delicacy about taking a poor  woman's  charity--I was  past caring  for
that; it was only that I couldn't bear the place any longer. You talked just
now about my courage; if you had seen me then! The worst of the pain used to
come on every evening, about dusk; and in the afternoon I used to lie alone,
and watch the sun get lower and lower---- Oh, you can't understand! It makes
me sick to look at a sunset now!"
     A long pause.
     "Well, then I went up country, to  see if I could get work anywhere--it
would  have driven  me  mad to stay  in Lima. I  got as  far  as Cuzco,  and
there------ Really I don't know why  I'm inflicting all this ancient history
on you; it hasn't even the merit of being funny."
     She  raised  her  head  and looked at him with  deep and  serious eyes.
"PLEASE don't talk that way," she said.
     He bit his lip and tore off another piece of the rug-fringe.
     "Shall I go on?" he asked after a moment.
     "If--if you will. I am afraid it is horrible to you to remember."
     "Do you think I forget when  I  hold my tongue?  It's  worse then.  But
don't  imagine it's the  thing  itself  that haunts me so. It is the fact of
having lost the power over myself."
     "I--don't think I quite understand."
     "I mean, it is the fact of having come to the end of my courage, to the
point where I found myself a coward."
     "Surely there is a limit to what anyone can bear."
     "Yes; and the man who has  once reached that limit  never knows when he
may reach it again."
     "Would you mind telling me," she asked, hesitating, "how you came to be
stranded out there alone at twenty?"
     "Very simply: I had a good opening in life, at home in the old country,
and ran away from it."
     "Why?"
     He laughed again in his quick, harsh way.
     "Why? Because I was a priggish young cub, I suppose. I had been brought
up in an over-luxurious home,  and  coddled and faddled after till I thought
the world was  made of pink cotton-wool  and sugared almonds.  Then one fine
day I  found out that someone I had  trusted  had deceived me. Why,  how you
start! What is it?"
     "Nothing. Go on, please."
     "I found out that I had been tricked into believing a lie; a common bit
of experience, of course; but, as I tell you, I was young  and priggish, and
thought  that liars  go to  hell. So I ran away  from home  and plunged into
South America to  sink or swim as I could, without a cent in my pocket or  a
word of Spanish  in my tongue,  or  anything but  white hands and  expensive
habits  to  get my bread  with.  And the natural result was that I got a dip
into the real hell to cure me of imagining sham ones. A pretty thorough dip,
too--it  was just  five years before  the Duprez  expedition  came along and
pulled me out."
     "Five years! Oh, that is terrible! And had you no friends?"
     "Friends! I"--he turned  on  her  with sudden fierceness--"I have NEVER
had a friend!"
     The next instant  he seemed a little ashamed of his vehemence, and went
on quickly:
     "You  mustn't take all this too seriously; I dare say I  made the worst
of things,  and really  it  wasn't so  bad the  first year and a half; I was
young and strong and I managed to scramble along fairly well till the Lascar
put his mark on me. But after  that I couldn't get work. It's wonderful what
an effectual tool a poker is if you handle it properly; and  nobody cares to
employ a cripple."
     "What sort of work did you do?"
     "What I could get. For some time I lived by odd-jobbing  for the blacks
on the sugar  plantations,  fetching and carrying and so on. It's one of the
curious things in life,  by  the way, that  slaves always contrive to have a
slave of their own, and there's nothing a negro likes so much as a white fag
to bully. But it was no use;  the overseers  always turned me off. I was too
lame to  be  quick; and I couldn't manage the  heavy  loads. And then I  was
always getting  these  attacks of inflammation, or  whatever the  confounded
thing is.
     "After some time I went down  to the silver-mines and tried to get work
there; but  it was all no good. The  managers laughed at the very notion  of
taking me on, and as for the men, they made a dead set at me."
     "Why was that?"
     "Oh, human nature, I suppose; they saw I had only one hand that I could
hit back with. They're a mangy,  half-caste lot; negroes and Zambos  mostly.
And then  those horrible coolies! So at  last I  got enough of that, and set
off to  tramp the country at random;  just wandering about, on the chance of
something turning up."
     "To tramp? With that lame foot!"
     He looked up with a sudden, piteous catching of the breath.
     "I--I was hungry," he said.
     She turned  her head a little  away and  rested her  chin on  one hand.
After  a moment's silence he began again, his voice sinking lower and  lower
as he spoke:
     "Well, I tramped, and tramped, till I was nearly mad with tramping, and
nothing  came  of it.  I got  down into Ecuador, and there it was worse than
ever.  Sometimes I'd  get  a bit  of  tinkering to do,--I'm  a  pretty  fair
tinker,--or an  errand  to  run,  or  a  pigstye to  clean out; sometimes  I
did--oh, I hardly know what. And then at last, one day------"
     The  slender,  brown hand clenched  itself suddenly  on  the table, and
Gemma, raising her head, glanced  at him anxiously. His side-face was turned
towards her, and  she could see a vein on  the temple beating like a hammer,
with  quick, irregular strokes. She bent  forward and  laid a gentle hand on
his arm. "Never mind the rest; it's almost too horrible to talk about."
     He stared doubtfully at the hand, shook his head, and went on steadily:
     "Then one day  I met a travelling variety show. You  remember that  one
the other  night;  well, that sort of thing, only coarser and more indecent.
The  Zambos  are not  like these  gentle  Florentines; they  don't care  for
anything that  is  not  foul or  brutal.  There  was  bull-fighting, too, of
course. They  had camped out by the roadside for the night; and I went up to
their tent to beg.  Well, the weather  was hot  and I  was half starved, and
so--I fainted at the door of the tent. I had a trick of fainting suddenly at
that time,  like a boarding-school girl with tight stays. So they took me in
and  gave me brandy, and food, and so on;  and then--the next  morning--they
offered me----"
     Another pause.
     "They wanted a hunchback, or monstrosity of some  kind; for the boys to
pelt  with  orange-peel  and  banana-skins--something   to  set  the  blacks
laughing------  You saw  the  clown that night-- well,  I was  that--for two
years. I suppose you have a  humanitarian feeling about negroes and Chinese.
Wait till you've been at their mercy!
     "Well, I learned to do the tricks. I was not quite deformed enough; but
they  set that right with an artificial  hump and made the most of this foot
and arm----  And the Zambos  are not  critical;  they're easily satisfied if
only they can get hold of some live thing to torture--the fool's dress makes
a good deal of difference, too.
     "The  only difficulty was  that I was so often ill and unable  to play.
Sometimes, if the  manager was out of  temper,  he would insist on my coming
into the ring when I had  these attacks on;  and  I believe the people liked
those evenings best. Once, I remember,  I fainted right off with the pain in
the middle of  the  performance----  When  I came to  my  senses again,  the
audience had got round me--hooting and yelling and pelting me with------"
     "Don't! I can't hear any more! Stop, for God's sake!"
     She was standing  up with both hands  over her ears. He broke off, and,
looking up, saw the glitter of tears in her eyes.
     "Damn it all, what an idiot I am!" he said under his breath.
     She  crossed  the room and stood  for a little while looking out of the
window. When she turned round, the Gadfly was again leaning on the table and
covering his  eyes with one hand. He had evidently  forgotten her  presence,
and she  sat down beside him without speaking. After a long silence she said
slowly:
     "I want to ask you a question."
     "Yes?" without moving.
     "Why did you not cut your throat?"
     He looked up in grave surprise. "I did not expect YOU to ask that,"  he
said. "And what about my work? Who would have done it for me?"
     "Your work----  Ah,  I see! You talked  just now about  being a coward;
well, if  you have come through that and  kept to your purpose, you are  the
very bravest man that I have ever met."
     He covered  his eyes again, and  held her  hand in  a close  passionate
clasp. A silence that seemed to have no end fell around them.
     Suddenly  a  clear and fresh soprano voice  rang  out  from  the garden
below, singing a verse of a doggerel French song:
     "Eh, Pierrot! Danse, Pierrot! Danse un peu, mon pauvre Jeannot! Vive la
danse  et l'allegresse! Jouissons de notre bell' jeunesse! Si moi  je pleure
ou moi je soupire, Si moi je  fais la triste figure-- Monsieur, ce n'est que
pour rire! Ha! Ha, ha, ha! Monsieur, ce n'est que pour rire!"
     At  the first words the Gadfly tore  his  hand from Gemma's and  shrank
away with a  stifled groan. She clasped both hands round his arm and pressed
it firmly, as she might have pressed  that of a person undergoing a surgical
operation.  When  the song  broke  off and a chorus of laughter and applause
came from the garden, he looked up with the eyes of a tortured animal.
     "Yes, it is Zita," he said slowly; "with her officer friends. She tried
to  come in here  the other night, before Riccardo  came. I should have gone
mad if she had touched me!"
     "But she does not know," Gemma protested softly. "She cannot guess that
she is hurting you."
     "She  is like a Creole," he  answered, shuddering. "Do you remember her
face  that  night  when  we  brought in  the  beggar-child? That is how  the
half-castes look when they laugh."
     Another burst of laughter came from  the garden. Gemma rose  and opened
the window. Zita, with a gold-embroidered scarf wound coquettishly round her
head, was standing  in the garden path, holding up a  bunch of  violets, for
the  possession  of  which  three  young  cavalry officers  appeared  to  be
competing.
     "Mme. Reni!" said Gemma.
     Zita's face darkened like a thunder-cloud. "Madame?" she said,  turning
and raising her eyes with a defiant look.
     "Would  your friends mind speaking a little more softly? Signor Rivarez
is very unwell."
     The gipsy flung down  her  violets. "Allez-vous en!" she said,  turning
sharply on the astonished officers. "Vous m'embetez, messieurs!"
     She went slowly out into the road. Gemma closed the window.
     "They have gone away," she said, turning to him.
     "Thank you. I--I am sorry to have troubled you."
     "It was no trouble." He at once detected the hesitation in her voice.
     "'But?'" he  said. "That sentence was  not finished, signora; there was
an unspoken 'but' in the back of your mind."
     "If  you look into the backs of people's minds, you mustn't be offended
at  what you  read there.  It  is  not my  affair, of  course, but  I cannot
understand----"
     "My aversion to Mme. Reni? It is only when----"
     "No, your caring to live with her when you feel that aversion. It seems
to me an insult to her as a woman and as----"
     "A  woman!" He  burst  out  laughing  harshly. "Is THAT what you call a
woman? 'Madame, ce n'est que pour rire!'"
     "That  is  not fair!" she said.  "You have no  right to speak of her in
that way to anyone-- especially to another woman!"
     He  turned away, and lay with wide-open eyes, looking out of the window
at the sinking sun. She lowered the blind  and closed the  shutters, that he
might not see  it set; then sat down at the table  by the  other window  and
took up her knitting again.
     "Would you like the lamp?" she asked after a moment.
     He shook his head.
     When  it grew too dark to see, Gemma rolled up her knitting and laid it
in the  basket. For some time  she sat  with folded hands, silently watching
the Gadfly's motionless figure. The  dim evening light, falling on his face,
seemed  to soften away its hard, mocking, self-assertive look, and to deepen
the tragic lines about the  mouth. By some fanciful association of ideas her
memory  went vividly back to the stone cross which  her father had set up in
memory of Arthur, and to its inscription:
     "All thy waves and billows have gone over me."
     An hour passed  in unbroken  silence.  At last she rose and went softly
out of the room. Coming back with a lamp,  she paused for a moment, thinking
that the Gadfly was asleep. As the light fell on his face he turned round.
     "I have made you a cup of coffee," she said, setting clown the lamp.
     "Put it down a minute. Will you come here, please."
     He took both her hands in his.
     "I have  been thinking," he said. "You are quite right;  it  is an ugly
tangle I have got my life into. But remember, a man does not  meet every day
a  woman  whom  he  can--love;  and I--I  have been  in  deep waters.  I  am
afraid----"
     "Afraid----"
     "Of  the dark. Sometimes I DARE not  be  alone at  night.  I  must have
something living--something solid beside me. It is the outer darkness, where
shall be---- No,  no!  It's not  that; that's a sixpenny toy hell;--it's the
INNER  darkness.  There's  no  weeping  or  gnashing  of  teeth  there; only
silence--silence----"
     His eyes dilated. She was quite still,  hardly  breathing till he spoke
again.
     "This   is   all  mystification   to   you,   isn't   it?   You   can't
understand--luckily for you. What I mean is that I have a pretty fair chance
of going mad if I try to live  quite alone---- Don't think too hardly of me,
if you  can  help it;  I am not  altogether  the  vicious brute you  perhaps
imagine me to be."
     "I cannot try to judge for you," she  answered. "I have not suffered as
you  have. But--I have been in  rather deep water too, in another way; and I
think--I am sure--that if you let the fear  of anything drive  you  to do  a
really  cruel or unjust or  ungenerous thing, you will regret it afterwards.
For the rest--if you have failed in this one thing, I know that I,  in  your
place, should have failed altogether,--should have cursed God and died."
     He still kept her hands in his.
     "Tell  me,"  he said very  softly; "have you ever in your  life  done a
really cruel thing?"
     She did not answer, but her head sank down, and two great tears fell on
his hand.
     "Tell me!" he whispered passionately, clasping her hands tighter. "Tell
me! I have told you all my misery."
     "Yes,--once,--long ago. And I did  it to the person I loved best in the
world."
     The hands that clasped hers were  trembling violently; but they did not
loosen their hold.
     "He  was  a  comrade," she  went on; "and  I believed a slander against
him,--a common glaring lie that the police had invented. I struck him in the
face for a  traitor;  and he  went away and drowned himself. Then, two  days
later, I found out that he had been quite innocent. Perhaps that is  a worse
memory than any of yours. I would cut off my right hand to undo what it  has
done."
     Something  swift  and  dangerous--something  that   she  had  not  seen
before,--flashed into his eyes. He bent his head down with a furtive, sudden
gesture and kissed the hand.
     She drew back with a startled face. "Don't!" she  cried out  piteously.
"Please don't ever do that again! You hurt me!"
     "Do you think you didn't hurt the man you killed?"
     "The man  I--killed----  Ah, there is Cesare at the gate  at last! I--I
must go!"
     . . . . .
     When Martini came into the room  he found the  Gadfly lying  alone with
the untouched coffee  beside him,  swearing softly to  himself in a languid,
spiritless way, as though he got no satisfaction out of it

     A FEW days  later, the Gadfly, still rather  pale and limping more than
usual, entered the reading room of the public library and asked for Cardinal
Montanelli's sermons. Riccardo,  who was reading at a table near him, looked
up. He liked  the Gadfly very  much, but could not digest this one  trait in
him--this curious personal maliciousness.
     "Are you preparing another volley  against that unlucky  Cardinal?"  he
asked half irritably.
     "My  dear  fellow, why  do you a-a-always attribute evil m-m-motives to
people? It's m-most  unchristian.  I am  preparing an  essay on contemporary
theology for the n-n-new paper."
     "What new paper?"  Riccardo frowned. It was perhaps an open secret that
a new press-law  was  expected  and  that  the  Opposition  was preparing to
astonish  the town with a radical  newspaper; but still it  was, formally, a
secret.
     "The Swindlers' Gazette, of course, or the Church Calendar."
     "Sh-sh! Rivarez, we are disturbing the other readers."
     "Well  then,  stick  to your  surgery,  if  that's  your  subject,  and
l-l-leave me to th-theology--  that's mine. I  d-d-don't interfere with your
treatment of broken bones, though I know  a p-p-precious lot more about them
than you do."
     He sat down to his volume of  sermons with  an intent  and  preoccupied
face. One of the librarians came up to him.
     "Signor Rivarez! I think you were  in the Duprez  expedition, exploring
the  tributaries  of  the  Amazon? Perhaps  you  will kindly  help us  in  a
difficulty. A lady has been inquiring for the records of the expedition, and
they are at the binder's."
     "What does she want to know?"
     "Only  in what  year the expedition started  and when it passed through
Ecuador."
     "It started from Paris in  the autumn of 1837, and passed through Quito
in April, 1838. We were three years in Brazil; then went down to Rio and got
back to Paris in the summer  of 1841. Does  the  lady want the  dates of the
separate discoveries?"
     "No, thank you; only these.  I have written them down. Beppo, take this
paper to Signora Bolla, please. Many thanks, Signor  Rivarez.  I am sorry to
have troubled you."
     The  Gadfly leaned back in  his chair with a perplexed frown.  What did
she want the dates for? When they passed through Ecuador----
     Gemma went  home with the slip of paper in her  hand.  April, 1838--and
Arthur had died in May, 1833. Five years--
     She began pacing up and down her room. She had slept badly the last few
nights, and there were dark shadows under her eyes.
     Five  years;--and an "overluxurious home"-- and "someone he had trusted
had deceived him" --had deceived him--and he had found it out----
     She  stopped  and put  up both hands to her head. Oh, this was  utterly
mad--it was not possible--it was absurd----
     And yet, how they had dragged that harbour!
     Five  years--and he  was "not twenty-one" when the Lascar----  Then  he
must have been nineteen when he ran away from home. Had he not said: "A year
and a half----"  Where  did  he  get those blue eyes from, and  that nervous
restlessness of the fingers? And why was  he so  bitter  against Montanelli?
Five years--five years------
     If she could but know that  he was drowned--if she  could but have seen
the  body; some day, surely, the  old wound would  have left off aching, the
old  memory would have lost its terrors. Perhaps in another twenty years she
would have learned to look back without shrinking.
     All her youth had been poisoned by the  thought  of what she had  done.
Resolutely, day after day and year after  year, she  had fought  against the
demon of remorse. Always she had remembered that her work lay in the future;
always had shut her eyes  and ears to the haunting  spectre of the past. And
day after  day, year after year, the image  of the drowned body drifting out
to sea had never left her, and the bitter cry that she could not silence had
risen in her heart: "I have killed Arthur! Arthur is dead!" Sometimes it had
seemed to her that her burden was too heavy to be borne.
     Now she would have given  half her life to have that burden back again.
If she  had killed him--  that was a familiar grief; she  had endured it too
long to sink under it now. But if she had driven him, not into the water but
into------ She sat down, covering her eyes with both hands. And her life had
been darkened for his sake, because he was dead! If she had brought upon him
nothing worse than death----
     Steadily, pitilessly she went back,  step by step, through the hell  of
his  past  life. It was  as vivid to her as though she had  seen and felt it
all; the helpless shivering of the naked soul, the mockery that was bitterer
than death, the horror of loneliness, the  slow, grinding, relentless agony.
It was as vivid as if she had sat beside him in the filthy Indian hut; as if
she  had suffered  with him  in  the  silver-mines, the coffee  fields,  the
horrible variety show--
     The variety show---- No, she must shut out that image, at least; it was
enough to drive one mad to sit and think of it.
     She opened  a little drawer  in her writing-desk. It  contained the few
personal relics which  she  could not bring herself  to destroy. She was not
given to the  hoarding up  of  sentimental trifles; and the preservation  of
these keepsakes was a concession to that weaker side of her nature which she
kept under with so steady a hand. She very seldom allowed herself to look at
them.
     Now she  took them out, one after another:  Giovanni's first letter  to
her, and the  flowers that had lain in  his dead hand; a lock of her  baby's
hair and a withered leaf from her father's grave. At  the back of the drawer
was  a miniature  portrait of  Arthur  at ten  years old--the only  existing
likeness of him.
     She sat down with it in her hands and looked at the beautiful  childish
head,  till the face of the real Arthur rose up afresh before her. How clear
it was in every detail! The  sensitive lines of the mouth, the wide, earnest
eyes,  the  seraphic  purity  of expression--they were  graven in  upon  her
memory, as though he had died yesterday. Slowly the blinding tears welled up
and hid the portrait.
     Oh, how could she have thought such a thing! It was like sacrilege even
to dream of  this  bright,  far-off spirit,  bound to the sordid miseries of
life. Surely the  gods had loved him a  little,  and had  let him die young!
Better a thousand times that he should pass into utter nothingness than that
he should live  and be the Gadfly--the  Gadfly, with his  faultless neckties
and his doubtful witticisms, his bitter tongue and his ballet girl!  No, no!
It was all  a horrible,  senseless fancy; and she  had vexed her  heart with
vain imaginings. Arthur was dead.
     "May I come in?" asked a soft voice at the door.
     She  started so that the portrait fell from her  hand,  and the Gadfly,
limping across the room, picked it up and handed it to her.
     "How you startled me!" she said.
     "I am s-so sorry. Perhaps I am disturbing you?"
     "No. I was only turning over some old things."
     She hesitated for a moment; then handed him back the miniature.
     "What do you think of that head?"
     While he  looked at it she watched his face as though her life depended
upon its expression; but it was merely negative and critical.
     "You have  set me  a difficult task," he said. "The portrait  is faded,
and a  child's face is always  hard to read.  But I should  think that child
would grow into an unlucky man, and the wisest thing he could do would be to
abstain from growing into a man at all."
     "Why?"
     "Look at the line of  the under-lip. Th-th-that  is the  sort of nature
that feels  pain as pain and wrong  as wrong;  and the world has no r-r-room
for such people; it needs people who feel nothing but their work."
     "Is it at all like anyone you know?"
     He looked at the portrait more closely.
     "Yes. What a curious thing! Of course it is; very like."
     "Like whom?"
     "C-c-cardinal   Montan-nelli.  I  wonder  whether  his   irreproachable
Eminence has any nephews, by the way? Who is it, if I may ask?"
     "It is a portrait, taken in childhood, of the friend  I  told you about
the other day----"
     "Whom you killed?"
     She winced in spite  of herself. How lightly, how  cruelly he used that
dreadful word!
     "Yes, whom I killed--if he is really dead."
     "If?"
     She kept her eyes on his face.
     "I have sometimes doubted," she said. "The body was never found. He may
have run away from home, like you, and gone to South America."
     "Let us hope not. That would be a bad memory to carry about with you. I
have d-d-done some hard fighting in my t-time, and have sent m-more than one
man to Hades, perhaps; but  if I had it on my conscience that I had sent any
l-living thing to South America, I should sleep badly----"
     "Then  do you  believe," she  interrupted, coming  nearer  to him  with
clasped hands, "that if he  were not drowned,--if he had  been  through your
experience instead,--he would never come back  and let the past  go? Do  you
believe  he would  NEVER forget?  Remember, it has  cost me  something, too.
Look!"
     She pushed back the heavy waves of hair from her forehead.  Through the
black locks ran a broad white streak.
     There was a long silence.
     "I  think,"  the  Gadfly said slowly, "that the  dead are  better dead.
Forgetting  some things is a difficult matter. And if I were in the place of
your dead friend, I would s-s-stay dead. The REVENANT is an ugly spectre."
     She put the portrait back into its drawer and locked the desk.
     "That  is hard doctrine,"  she  said.  "And  now  we  will  talk  about
something else."
     "I  came to  have a little business talk with  you, if I may--a private
one, about a plan that I have in my head."
     She drew  a chair to the table and sat down. "What do  you think of the
projected press-law?" he began, without a trace of his usual stammer.
     "What  I think of it? I think it will not be  of much value, but half a
loaf is better than no bread."
     "Undoubtedly. Then do you intend to work on one of the new papers these
good folk here are preparing to start?"
     "I thought of doing so.  There is always a great deal of practical work
to  be  done  in starting  any  paper--printing and circulation arrangements
and----"
     "How long are you going to waste your mental gifts in that fashion?"
     "Why 'waste'?"
     "Because it is  waste.  You know quite well  that you have a far better
head  than most of  the  men  you are working with,  and you let them make a
regular drudge  and Johannes factotum of you. Intellectually you are as  far
ahead  of Grassini  and  Galli  as  if  they  were  schoolboys;  yet you sit
correcting their proofs like a printer's devil."
     "In the first  place,  I  don't spend all my time in correcting proofs;
and moreover it seems to me that you  exaggerate my  mental capacities. They
are by no means so brilliant as you think."
     "I  don't think them brilliant at all," he answered quietly;  "but I do
think them  sound  and solid,  which is  of  much more  importance. At those
dreary committee meetings it is always you  who put your finger on the  weak
spot in everybody's logic."
     "You are not fair  to  the  others. Martini, for  instance, has  a very
logical  head, and there is  no doubt about the  capacities  of Fabrizi  and
Lega. Then Grassini has a  sounder knowledge of  Italian economic statistics
than any official in the country, perhaps."
     "Well, that's not saying much; but let us lay them and their capacities
aside. The fact remains that you, with  such gifts as you possess, might  do
more important work and fill a more responsible post than at present."
     "I am  quite  satisfied with my position. The work I am doing is not of
very much value, perhaps, but we all do what we can."
     "Signora Bolla, you and I have gone too far to play at compliments  and
modest denials now. Tell me honestly, do you recognize that you are using up
your brain on work which persons inferior to you could do as well?"
     "Since you press me for an answer--yes, to some extent."
     "Then why do you let that go on?"
     No answer.
     "Why do you let it go on?"
     "Because--I can't help it."
     "Why?"
     She looked up reproachfully. "That is  unkind --it's not  fair to press
me so."
     "But all the same you are going to tell me why."
     "If  you  must have it, then--because  my life  has  been smashed  into
pieces, and I  have not the energy to start anything  REAL, now. I am  about
fit to be a  revolutionary cab-horse,  and  do the  party's  drudge-work. At
least I do it conscientiously, and it must be done by somebody."
     "Certainly  it  must  be done by  somebody; but not  always by the same
person."
     "It's about all I'm fit for."
     He looked at her with half-shut eyes, inscrutably. Presently she raised
her head.
     "We  are returning  to  the old  subject; and this was to be a business
talk. It  is quite useless, I assure you, to  tell me I might have done  all
sorts of things. I shall never do them now. But I may be able to help you in
thinking out your plan. What is it?"
     "You begin by telling me that it is useless for me to suggest anything,
and then ask  what I want to suggest. My plan requires  your help in action,
not only in thinking out."
     "Let me hear it and then we will discuss."
     "Tell  me  first whether you have heard anything  about schemes  for  a
rising in Venetia."
     "I have heard  of  nothing but schemes for  risings and Sanfedist plots
ever since the amnesty, and I fear I am as sceptical about the one as  about
the other."
     "So  am I,  in  most  cases;  but  I  am  speaking  of  really  serious
preparations for  a rising  of the whole  province  against the Austrians. A
good many  young  fellows  in  the  Papal  States--particularly in the  Four
Legations--are   secretly  preparing   to  get  across  there  and  join  as
volunteers. And I hear from my friends in the Romagna----"
     "Tell me," she interrupted, "are  you quite sure that these friends  of
yours can be trusted?"
     "Quite sure. I know them personally, and have worked with them."
     "That  is, they are members of  the 'sect' to which you belong? Forgive
my  scepticism, but I  am always a little  doubtful  as  to the accuracy  of
information  received  from  secret societies.  It  seems  to  me  that  the
habit----"
     "Who told you I belonged to a 'sect'?" he interrupted sharply.
     "No one; I guessed it."
     "Ah!" He leaned back in his chair and looked  at her, frowning. "Do you
always guess people's private affairs?" he said after a moment.
     "Very often. I am rather observant, and have a  habit of putting things
together. I  tell you that so that you may be careful when you don't want me
to know a thing."
     "I don't mind your knowing anything  so  long as  it goes no further. I
suppose this has not----"
     She lifted  her  head with a gesture of half-offended surprise. "Surely
that is an unnecessary question!" she said.
     "Of course I know you  would not  speak of anything to outsiders; but I
thought that perhaps, to the members of your party----"
     "The  party's business is with facts, not with my personal  conjectures
and fancies. Of course I have never mentioned the subject to anyone."
     "Thank you. Do you happen to have guessed which sect I belong to?"
     "I  hope--you  must not take  offence  at my frankness;  it was you who
started this talk, you know---- I do hope it is not the 'Knifers.'"
     "Why do you hope that?"
     "Because you are fit for better things."
     "We are  all fit  for better  things than we ever do. There is your own
answer back again. However,  it  is not the 'Knifers' that I  belong to, but
the  'Red  Girdles.' They  are  a  steadier  lot, and take  their work  more
seriously."
     "Do you mean the work of knifing?"
     "That, among other  things. Knives are  very useful in  their way;  but
only when you have a  good, organized propaganda behind them. That is what I
dislike  in the  other sect. They think  a knife can settle  all the world's
difficulties; and that's a mistake. It can settle a good many, but not all."
     "Do you honestly believe that it settles any?"
     He looked at her in surprise.
     "Of course," she went on, "it eliminates, for the moment, the practical
difficulty caused by the presence of a clever spy or objectionable official;
but whether  it  does not  create  worse  difficulties  in place of  the one
removed  is another  question. It seems  to me like the parable of the swept
and garnished house and the seven devils. Every assassination only makes the
police  more  vicious  and  the  people  more  accustomed  to  violence  and
brutality, and the last state of the community may be worse than the first."
     "What do  you  think will  happen when  the  revolution  comes? Do  you
suppose the  people won't have  to get  accustomed to violence then?  War is
war."
     "Yes, but  open  revolution is another matter. It is one moment in  the
people's  life, and it is the price we have to pay for all  our progress. No
doubt  fearful things will happen; they  must in  every revolution. But they
will be isolated  facts--exceptional features  of an exceptional moment. The
horrible thing about this promiscuous knifing is  that  it  becomes a habit.
The people get  to look upon it  as an every-day occurrence, and their sense
of the sacredness  of human life gets blunted. I have  not been much  in the
Romagna, but what  little  I  have  seen  of  the people has  given  me  the
impression that they have  got,  or are getting, into a mechanical  habit of
violence."
     "Surely even that is  better  than a mechanical habit of  obedience and
submission."
     "I don't think  so. All mechanical habits are bad and slavish, and this
one is  ferocious  as well.  Of  course,  if you  look upon  the work of the
revolutionist as the mere wresting of  certain definite concessions from the
government,  then the secret sect and  the  knife must  seem to you the best
weapons, for there is nothing  else which  all  governments so dread. But if
you think, as I  do, that to  force the government's hand is not  an  end in
itself, but only a means to an end,  and that what we really  need to reform
is the relation between man and man, then you  must  go differently to work.
Accustoming ignorant people to the sight  of  blood  is not the way to raise
the value they put on human life."
     "And the value they put on religion?"
     "I don't understand."
     He smiled.
     "I think we differ as to where the root of the mischief lies. You place
it in a lack of appreciation of the value of human life."
     "Rather of the sacredness of human personality."
     "Put it  as you like. To me the great cause of our muddles and mistakes
seems to lie in the mental disease called religion."
     "Do you mean any religion in particular?"
     "Oh,  no!  That  is a mere question of  external symptoms. The  disease
itself  is what is  called a  religious attitude of  mind. It  is the morbid
desire to set up a fetich and adore it, to fall down and worship  something.
It makes little  difference whether the something  be Jesus  or  Buddha or a
tum-tum tree. You  don't agree with me, of  course.  You may be  atheist  or
agnostic or anything you like, but I could feel the religious temperament in
you  at five yards. However, it is of no use for us to discuss that. But you
are  quite mistaken in thinking that I, for  one, look upon the  knifing  as
merely  a means of removing  objectionable officials--it  is, above  all,  a
means, and I think the best means, of undermining the prestige of the Church
and  of accustoming  people to look upon clerical agents  as upon  any other
vermin."
     "And when you have  accomplished that;  when you  have roused  the wild
beast that sleeps in the people and set it on the Church; then----"
     "Then I shall have done the work that makes it worth my while to live."
     "Is THAT the work you spoke of the other day?"
     "Yes, just that."
     She shivered and turned away.
     "You are disappointed in me?" he said, looking up with a smile.
     "No;  not  exactly that. I  am--I think--a little afraid  of  you." She
turned round after a moment and said in her ordinary business voice:
     "This is an unprofitable discussion. Our standpoints are too different.
For my part, I believe in propaganda, propaganda, and propaganda;  and  when
you can get it, open insurrection."
     "Then let  us come back to the question of my plan; it has something to
do with propaganda and more with insurrection."
     "Yes?"
     "As I tell you,  a good  many volunteers  are going from the Romagna to
join the Venetians. We do  not know yet how soon the insurrection will break
out. It  may  not be  till the autumn  or winter;  but the volunteers in the
Apennines must be armed and ready, so that they may be able to start for the
plains directly they are sent for. I have undertaken to smuggle the firearms
and ammunition on to Papal territory for them----"
     "Wait a  minute. How do you come  to  be  working  with  that  set? The
revolutionists  in Lombardy and Venetia  are all in favour of the new  Pope.
They are  going  in  for liberal reforms, hand in hand with the  progressive
movement in the Church. How can a 'no-compromise' anti-clerical like you get
on with them?"
     He  shrugged  his  shoulders.  "What is it to me if they like  to amuse
themselves with a  rag-doll, so long as they  do their work?  Of course they
will  take  the  Pope for a figurehead. What have I to do with that, if only
the  insurrection gets under way somehow? Any  stick will do  to  beat a dog
with, I suppose, and any cry to set the people on the Austrians."
     "What is it you want me to do?"
     "Chiefly to help me get the firearms across."
     "But how could I do that?"
     "You are just  the person who could  do  it best. I think of buying the
arms in England, and there is  a good deal of difficulty about bringing them
over. It's impossible  to get  them through any of the Pontifical sea-ports;
they must come by Tuscany, and go across the Apennines."
     "That makes two frontiers to cross instead of one."
     "Yes; but the other way is  hopeless; you can't smuggle a big transport
in at a harbour  where there is no trade, and you know the whole shipping of
Civita Vecchia amounts to  about  three row-boats and a fishing smack. If we
once get the things across Tuscany, I can manage the Papal frontier;  my men
know every path  in the mountains, and we have plenty of hiding-places.  The
transport must come by sea to Leghorn, and that is my great difficulty; I am
not in with the smugglers there, and I believe you are."
     "Give me five minutes to think."
     She leaned forward, resting one elbow on  her knee, and  supporting the
chin on the raised hand. After a few moments' silence she looked up.
     "It is possible that I might be of  some use in that part of the work,"
she said; "but before we go any  further, I want to ask you a question.  Can
you give  me your word that this business is not connected with any stabbing
or secret violence of any kind?"
     "Certainly. It goes without saying that I should not  have asked you to
join in a thing of which I know you disapprove."
     "When do you want a definite answer from me?"
     "There is not  much time to lose; but I  can  give  you a  few days  to
decide in."
     "Are you free next Saturday evening?"
     "Let me see--to-day is Thursday; yes."
     "Then  come  here. I  will think the matter over and  give you  a final
answer."
     . . . . .
     On  the  following  Sunday  Gemma  sent  in  to  the  committee of  the
Florentine branch of the  Mazzinian  party  a statement that  she wished  to
undertake a special work of a political nature, which would for a few months
prevent her from performing the functions for which she had up till now been
responsible to the party.
     Some surprise was felt at this announcement,  but the committee  raised
no objection; she had been known in the party for several years  as a person
whose judgment  might be  trusted;  and  the members  agreed that if Signora
Bolla took an unexpected step, she probably had good reasons for it.
     To Martini she  said frankly that she had undertaken to help the Gadfly
with some  "frontier work." She had stipulated for the right to tell her old
friend this  much,  in order that  there  might  be no  misunderstanding  or
painful  sense of doubt  and mystery between them. It seemed to her that she
owed him this proof of confidence. He made no comment when she told him; but
she saw, without knowing why, that the news had wounded him deeply.
     They were  sitting on the terrace of her lodging, looking  out over the
red  roofs to Fiesole. After a long silence, Martini rose and began tramping
up and down with his hands in his pockets, whistling to himself--a sure sign
with him of mental agitation. She sat looking at him for a little while.
     "Cesare, you are worried about  this affair,"  she said at  last. "I am
very sorry you feel so despondent over it; but I could decide only as seemed
right to me."
     "It  is  not the affair," he answered, sullenly; "I know nothing  about
it, and  it probably is all right,  once you  have consented to go into  it.
It's the MAN I distrust."
     "I think you misunderstand him; I did till I got to know him better. He
is far from perfect, but there is much more good in him than you think."
     "Very  likely." For a  moment he tramped  to  and fro  in silence, then
suddenly stopped beside her.
     "Gemma, give it up! Give it up  before  it is  too late! Don't let that
man drag you into things you will repent afterwards."
     "Cesare," she said gently, "you are  not  thinking what you are saying.
No one is dragging  me  into anything. I  have made this decision  of my own
will, after thinking the matter well over alone. You have a personal dislike
to Rivarez, I know; but we are talking of politics now, not of persons."
     "Madonna! Give it up! That  man is dangerous; he is secret, and  cruel,
and unscrupulous-- and he is in love with you!"
     She drew back.
     "Cesare, how can you get such fancies into your head?"
     "He  is  in love  with  you,"  Martini  repeated.  "Keep  clear of him,
Madonna!"
     "Dear  Cesare,  I can't keep clear of him;  and I can't explain  to you
why. We are tied together-- not by any wish or doing of our own."
     "If  you are tied,  there  is nothing  more to  say," Martini  answered
wearily.
     He went away, saying  that  he  was busy, and tramped for hours  up and
down the muddy streets. The world looked very black to him that evening. One
poor ewe-lamb--and this slippery creature had stepped in and stolen it away.

     TOWARDS the middle of  February  the Gadfly  went to Leghorn. Gemma had
introduced him to a  young  Englishman  there, a shipping-agent  of  liberal
views,  whom  she and  her  husband  had known in England. He had on several
occasions  performed little services for the Florentine  radicals:  had lent
money to meet an unforeseen emergency, had  allowed his business  address to
be  used  for  the  party's   letters,  etc.;  but  always  through  Gemma's
mediumship, and as a private friend  of hers. She  was, therefore, according
to party etiquette, free to make use of the connexion in  any way that might
seem good to her. Whether any  use could  be got out of it was quite another
question. To ask a friendly sympathizer to lend his address for letters from
Sicily or to keep a few documents in a corner of his counting-house safe was
one  thing;  to  ask  him to  smuggle over a  transport  of firearms  for an
insurrection was another; and she had very little hope of his consenting.
     "You  can but try," she had  said  to the Gadfly;  "but I  don't  think
anything  will come of it. If you were to go to him with that recommendation
and  ask  for five hundred  scudi,  I  dare say he'd  give  them  to you  at
once--he's exceedingly generous, --and perhaps at  a pinch he would lend you
his passport or  hide a fugitive in his cellar;  but if  you  mention such a
thing as rifles he will stare at you and think we're both demented."
     "Perhaps  he may  give me a  few hints, though, or  introduce  me to  a
friendly sailor  or two," the Gadfly had answered. "Anyway, it's worth while
to try."
     One day at the end  of the month he came into her  study less carefully
dressed than usual, and she saw  at once from his face that he had good news
to tell.
     "Ah,  at last! I was beginning to think something must have happened to
you!"
     "I thought it safer not to write, and I couldn't get back sooner."
     "You have just arrived?"
     "Yes; I am straight  from the diligence; I looked  in to  tell you that
the affair is all settled."
     "Do you mean that Bailey has really consented to help?"
     "More  than  to help; he  has  undertaken  the  whole  thing,--packing,
transports,--everything. The rifles will  be  hidden in bales of merchandise
and will come straight through from England. His partner, Williams, who is a
great  friend  of  his,  has  consented  to  see   the  transport  off  from
Southampton, and Bailey will slip  it through the custom  house at  Leghorn.
That  is why I have been such a  long time; Williams  was  just starting for
Southampton, and I went with him as far as Genoa."
     "To talk over details on the way?"
     "Yes, as long as I wasn't too sea-sick to talk about anything."
     "Are you a bad sailor?" she asked quickly,  remembering  how Arthur had
suffered from sea-sickness one day when her father had taken them both for a
pleasure-trip.
     "About as  bad as is possible, in spite of  having been at sea so much.
But we had  a talk  while  they were loading at Genoa.  You know Williams, I
think?  He's a  thoroughly good fellow,  trustworthy  and  sensible;  so  is
Bailey, for that matter; and they both know how to hold their tongues."
     "It seems to me, though, that Bailey is running a serious risk in doing
a thing like this."
     "So I told him, and  he only looked sulky and said: 'What  business  is
that of yours?' Just the sort of thing one would expect him to say. If I met
Bailey  in  Timbuctoo, I  should  go  up  to  him  and  say:  'Good-morning,
Englishman.'"
     "But  I can't conceive how you managed to get  their consent; Williams,
too; the last man I should have thought of."
     "Yes, he objected  strongly  at first;  not  on  the  ground of danger,
though, but because  the thing is 'so unbusiness-like.' But I managed to win
him over after a bit. And now we will go into details."
     . . . . .
     When  the  Gadfly  reached  his  lodgings the  sun  had  set,  and  the
blossoming pyrus japonica that hung over the garden  wall looked dark in the
fading light.  He gathered a few sprays and carried them  into the house. As
he opened the study door, Zita started up from a chair in the corner and ran
towards him.
     "Oh, Felice; I thought you were never coming!"
     His first impulse was to ask  her sharply what business  she had in his
study; but,  remembering that he had not seen  her for three weeks,  he held
out his hand and said, rather frigidly:
     "Good-evening, Zita; how are you?"
     She put  up her face to be kissed, but  he  moved past as though he had
not seen the  gesture,  and took up a  vase  to put the pyrus  in. The  next
instant the door was flung wide open, and the collie, rushing into the room,
performed an ecstatic dance  round him, barking and whining with delight. He
put down the flowers and stooped to pat the dog.
     "Well, Shaitan, how are  you, old man? Yes, it's really I. Shake hands,
like a good dog!"
     The hard, sullen look came into Zita's face.
     "Shall we go to dinner?" she asked coldly. "I ordered it for  you at my
place, as you wrote that you were coming this evening."
     He turned round quickly.
     "I am v-v-very sorry; you sh-should not have waited for me! I will just
get a  bit tidy and come round at once. P-perhaps you would not mind putting
these into water."
     When he came into  Zita's dining room she was standing before a mirror,
fastening one of the  sprays into her dress. She had apparently  made up her
mind  to  be  good-humoured, and came  up  to him  with a  little cluster of
crimson buds tied together.
     "Here is a buttonhole for you; let me put it in your coat."
     All through dinner-time he did  his best to be amiable,  and kept up  a
flow of small-talk, to  which she responded with radiant smiles. Her evident
joy  at  his return somewhat embarrassed  him; he had grown so accustomed to
the  idea that she  led her  own life apart from his, among such friends and
companions as were congenial to her, that it  had never occurred to  him  to
imagine her as missing  him. And  yet she must have felt dull to be so  much
excited now.
     "Let us have coffee up  on the terrace," she said;  "it  is  quite warm
this evening."
     "Very well. Shall I take your guitar? Perhaps you will sing."
     She flushed with delight; he was critical about music and did not often
ask her to sing.
     On the terrace was  a broad wooden bench running  round the walls.  The
Gadfly  chose  a corner with a good  view of the  hills,  and  Zita, seating
herself on the low wall  with  her  feet on the bench, leaned back against a
pillar of the roof. She did not care much for scenery; she preferred to look
at the Gadfly.
     "Give me a cigarette,"  she said. "I don't believe I have  smoked  once
since you went away."
     "Happy thought! It's just s-s-smoke I want to complete my bliss."
     She leaned forward and looked at him earnestly.
     "Are you really happy?"
     The Gadfly's mobile brows went up.
     "Yes; why not? I  have had a  good dinner; I am looking at  one of  the
m-most beautiful views in Europe; and now I'm going to have  coffee and hear
a Hungarian folk-song. There is nothing the matter with either my conscience
or my digestion; what more can man desire?"
     "I know another thing you desire."
     "What?"
     "That!" She tossed a little cardboard box into his hand.
     "B-burnt almonds! Why d-didn't you tell me before I  began to s-smoke?"
he cried reproachfully.
     "Why, you baby! you  can  eat them when you have  done  smoking.  There
comes the coffee."
     The Gadfly sipped his  coffee and ate his burnt almonds with  the grave
and concentrated enjoyment of a cat drinking cream.
     "How nice it is to  come back to d-decent  coffee,  after the s-s-stuff
one gets at Leghorn!" he said in his purring drawl.
     "A very good reason for stopping at home now you are here."
     "Not much stopping for me; I'm off again to-morrow."
     The smile died on her face.
     "To-morrow! What for? Where are you going to?"
     "Oh! two or three p-p-places, on business."
     It  had  been  decided between him and Gemma that he  must go in person
into  the Apennines to make arrangements with the smugglers  of the frontier
region about  the  transporting of the firearms. To cross the Papal frontier
was  for  him a matter of serious danger;  but it had to be done if the work
was to succeed.
     "Always business!" Zita sighed under her breath; and then asked aloud:
     "Shall you be gone long?"
     "No; only a fortnight or three weeks, p-p-probably."
     "I suppose it's some of THAT business?" she asked abruptly.
     "'That' business?"
     "The business  you're always trying to  get  your neck broken over--the
everlasting politics."
     "It has something to do with p-p-politics."
     Zita threw away her cigarette.
     "You  are fooling me,"  she said. "You  are  going into  some danger or
other."
     "I'm  going  s-s-straight  into the  inf-fernal regions,"  he  answered
languidly. "D-do you happen to have any friends there you  want to send that
ivy to? You n-needn't pull it all down, though."
     She had fiercely torn off a handful of the climber from the pillar, and
now flung it down with vehement anger.
     "You are going into danger," she repeated;  "and  you won't even say so
honestly! Do you think I am fit for nothing but to be fooled and joked with?
You will get  yourself hanged  one of these days, and never so much  as  say
good-bye. It's always politics and politics--I'm sick of politics!"
     "S-so am I," said the Gadfly, yawning lazily; "and therefore we'll talk
about something else-- unless you will sing."
     "Well, give me the guitar, then. What shall I sing?"
     "The ballad of the lost horse; it suits your voice so well."
     She began to sing  the old Hungarian ballad of the man  who loses first
his horse, then his home, and then his sweetheart, and consoles himself with
the reflection that "more was lost at Mohacz field." The song was one of the
Gadfly's especial favourites; its  fierce and tragic melody  and  the bitter
stoicism of the refrain appealed to him as no softer music ever did.
     Zita was in excellent voice;  the notes  came from her lips  strong and
clear, full of the vehement desire of life.  She would  have sung Italian or
Slavonic  music  badly, and German  still  worse;  but she sang  the  Magyar
folk-songs splendidly.
     The  Gadfly listened with wide-open eyes and parted lips; he had  never
heard  her sing  like this before. As  she  came to the last line, her voice
began suddenly to shake.
     "Ah, no matter! More was lost----"
     She broke down with a sob and hid her face among the ivy leaves.
     "Zita!"  The Gadfly  rose and took the guitar from  her hand.  "What is
it?"
     She only sobbed convulsively, hiding her face in both hands. He touched
her on the arm.
     "Tell me what is the matter," he said caressingly.
     "Let me alone!" she sobbed, shrinking away. "Let me alone!"
     He went quietly back to his seat  and  waited till the sobs  died away.
Suddenly he  felt  her arms  about  his neck; she  was kneeling on the floor
beside him.
     "Felice--don't go! Don't go away!"
     "We will  talk  about  that afterwards," he  said,  gently  extricating
himself from the clinging arms.  "Tell  me first what has  upset you so. Has
anything been frightening you?"
     She silently shook her head.
     "Have I done anything to hurt you?"
     "No." She put a hand up against his throat.
     "What, then?"
     "You will get killed," she whispered at last. "I heard one of those men
that come here say the other day that you will get into  trouble--and when I
ask you about it you laugh at me!"
     "My dear child," the Gadfly said, after a little pause of astonishment,
"you have got  some exaggerated notion  into your head. Very likely  I shall
get  killed  some  day--that  is  the  natural   consequence  of   being   a
revolutionist.  But there is no reason to  suppose  I  am  g-g-going  to get
killed just now. I am running no more risk than other people."
     "Other people--what  are  other  people  to  me?  If  you loved  me you
wouldn't go off  this  way and  leave  me to lie awake  at night,  wondering
whether you're arrested, or dream you are  dead whenever I  go to sleep. You
don't care as much for me as for that dog there!"
     The Gadfly rose and walked slowly  to the  other end of the terrace. He
was quite unprepared for such a scene  as this  and at  a loss how to answer
her. Yes, Gemma  was right; he had got his life  into a tangle that he would
have hard work to undo.
     "Sit down and let us talk about it quietly," he said, coming back after
a moment. "I think we  have misunderstood each other; of course I should not
have laughed if I  had thought you were serious. Try to tell me plainly what
is troubling you; and then, if there is any misunderstanding, we may be able
to clear it up."
     "There's nothing to clear up. I can see you don't care a brass farthing
for me."
     "My dear  child, we  had better be quite frank with each other.  I have
always  tried to be honest about our relationship, and I think I  have never
deceived you as to----"
     "Oh, no! you have been honest enough; you have never  even pretended to
think  of  me  as  anything  else  but  a  prostitute,--a  trumpery  bit  of
second-hand finery that plenty of other men have had before you--"
     "Hush, Zita! I have never thought that way about any living thing."
     "You have never loved me," she insisted sullenly.
     "No, I have never loved  you. Listen to me, and try to  think as little
harm of me as you can."
     "Who said I thought any harm of you? I----"
     "Wait a minute. This is what I want to say:  I have no  belief whatever
in  conventional  moral codes, and no respect for them. To me the  relations
between   men  and  women  are  simply  questions  of   personal  likes  and
dislikes------"
     "And of money," she interrupted with  a  harsh  little laugh. He winced
and hesitated a moment.
     "That, of course, is the ugly part of the matter. But  believe me, if I
had  thought  that  you disliked  me, or felt  any repulsion to the thing, I
would  never  have  suggested it,  or  taken advantage of  your position  to
persuade you to  it. I have never done that to  any woman in my  life, and I
have  never  told a woman a lie about my feeling for  her. You  may trust me
that I am speaking the truth----"
     He paused a moment, but she did not answer.
     "I thought," he went on; "that if a man is alone in the world and feels
the need of--of a woman's presence about him, and if he can find a woman who
is attractive to him  and  to whom he is not repulsive,  he has  a  right to
accept, in a  grateful and friendly spirit, such pleasure  as  that woman is
willing to give him, without entering into any closer bond. I saw no harm in
the  thing, provided only there  is no  unfairness  or insult or  deceit  on
either  side. As for your having been in that relation with other men before
I met you,  I did not think about  that. I merely thought that the connexion
would be a pleasant and  harmless  one for  both of us, and  that either was
free  to break it as soon  as  it became irksome. If I was mistaken --if you
have grown to look upon it differently-- then----"
     He paused again.
     "Then?" she whispered, without looking up.
     "Then I have done you a  wrong, and I am very sorry. But I did not mean
to do it."
     "You 'did not mean' and you  'thought'---- Felice, are you made of cast
iron? Have you never been in  love with  a woman in your life that you can't
see I love you?"
     A sudden  thrill went through him; it was so long since anyone had said
to him: "I love you." Instantly she started up and flung her arms round him.
     "Felice, come  away with me! Come  away from this dreadful  country and
all these people and their politics! What have we got to  do with them? Come
away, and we  will be happy together. Let us go to South  America, where you
used to live."
     The physical horror of association startled him back into self-control;
he unclasped her hands from his neck and held them in a steady grasp.
     "Zita! Try to understand what  I am saying to you.  I do not love  you;
and if I did I would not come away with you. I have my work in Italy, and my
comrades----"
     "And  someone else  that you  love  better  than  me!"  she  cried  out
fiercely. "Oh, I could kill you! It is not your comrades you care about;
     it's---- I know who it is!"
     "Hush!" he said quietly. "You are excited and imagining things that are
not true."
     "You suppose I  am thinking  of Signora Bolla? I'm not so easily duped!
You  only talk politics  with  her; you care no more for her than you do for
me. It's that Cardinal!"
     The Gadfly started as if he had been shot.
     "Cardinal?" he repeated mechanically.
     "Cardinal Montanelli, that came  here  preaching in the  autumn. Do you
think I didn't see your face when  his carriage passed? You were as white as
my pocket-handkerchief!  Why,  you're  shaking like  a  leaf now  because  I
mentioned his name!"
     He stood up.
     "You don't know  what you are talking  about," he said very  slowly and
softly. "I--hate the Cardinal. He is the worst enemy I have."
     "Enemy  or no,  you love him  better than  you  love anyone else in the
world. Look me in the face and say that is not true, if you can!"
     He  turned  away,  and  looked  out  into the  garden. She watched  him
furtively, half-scared at what  she had done; there was something terrifying
in his  silence.  At last she stole up to  him, like a frightened child, and
timidly pulled his sleeve. He turned round.
     "It                   is                    true,"                   he
said.http://www.booksbtc.com/cgi/fhw.exe?BTCWeb&Title=Gadfly,+The&Section=PART+II&Chapter=PART+II:+CHAPTER+XI.


     "BUT c-c-can't I  meet him  somewhere  in the  hills?  Brisighella is a
risky place for me."
     "Every inch of ground in the Romagna is risky for you; but just at this
moment Brisighella is safer for you than any other place."
     "Why?"
     "I'll tell you in a minute. Don't let that man with the blue jacket see
your face; he's dangerous. Yes; it was a terrible storm; I don't remember to
have seen the vines so bad for a long time."
     The  Gadfly spread  his arms on the table, and laid his face upon them,
like a man overcome with fatigue or wine; and the dangerous new-comer in the
blue jacket, glancing  swiftly round, saw only  two farmers discussing their
crops over a flask of  wine and  a sleepy mountaineer with  his head  on the
table. It was the usual sort of thing to see in little places  like Marradi;
and the owner of  the  blue  jacket apparently made up his mind that nothing
could be gained by listening; for he drank his  wine at a gulp and sauntered
into  the  outer room. There he stood leaning on  the counter and  gossiping
lazily with the landlord, glancing every now and then out of the  corner  of
one  eye through the open  door, beyond which sat the three figures  at  the
table. The two farmers went on sipping their wine and discussing the weather
in the local  dialect,  and the Gadfly snored like a man whose conscience is
sound.
     At last the  spy seemed to  make up his mind that  there was nothing in
the  wine-shop worth further waste of his  time. He paid his reckoning, and,
lounging  out  of  the house,  sauntered away  down  the narrow street.  The
Gadfly, yawning and stretching,  lifted himself up and sleepily  rubbed  the
sleeve of his linen blouse across his eyes.
     "Pretty sharp practice that," he said, pulling a clasp-knife out of his
pocket  and cutting off a  chunk from the rye-loaf on the table.  "Have they
been worrying you much lately, Michele?"
     "They've been worse  than  mosquitos in  August.  There's no getting  a
minute's peace; wherever one goes, there's always  a spy hanging about. Even
right up in the hills,  where  they used to be  so shy about venturing, they
have taken to coming  in  bands of three or four--haven't they, Gino? That's
why we arranged for you to meet Domenichino in the town."
     "Yes; but why Brisighella? A frontier town is always full of spies."
     "Brisighella just now is a capital place. It's  swarming with  pilgrims
from all parts of the country."
     "But it's not on the way to anywhere."
     "It's not far out  of  the way to Rome, and many of the Easter Pilgrims
are going round to hear Mass there."
     "I d-d-didn't know there was anything special in Brisighella."
     "There's the  Cardinal. Don't you  remember his going  to  Florence  to
preach last December? It's that same Cardinal Montanelli. They say he made a
great sensation."
     "I dare say; I don't go to hear sermons."
     "Well, he has the reputation of being a saint, you see."
     "How does he manage that?"
     "I don't know. I suppose it's because he gives away all his income, and
lives like a parish priest with four or five hundred scudi a year."
     "Ah!"  interposed  the man  called Gino;  "but it's more than that.  He
doesn't only give away money;  he spends his whole life in looking after the
poor, and seeing the sick are properly treated,  and hearing complaints  and
grievances from morning till night. I'm  no fonder of priests than  you are,
Michele, but Monsignor Montanelli is not like other Cardinals."
     "Oh, I dare say he's more  fool than knave!" said Michele. "Anyhow, the
people are mad  after  him, and the last new freak is for the pilgrims to go
round  that  way to ask  his  blessing. Domenichino  thought  of going  as a
pedlar, with a basket of cheap crosses and rosaries. The  people like to buy
those things and ask the Cardinal to  touch them; then  they put  them round
their babies' necks to keep off the evil eye."
     "Wait a minute. How  am I to  go--as a  pilgrim? This make-up  suits me
p-pretty  well,  I think;  but  it w-won't  do  for me  to  show  myself  in
Brisighella in the same character  that I had here; it would be ev-v-vidence
against you if I get taken."
     "You  won't  get  taken;  we have  a splendid disguise for you,  with a
passport and all complete."
     "What is it?"
     "An old Spanish pilgrim--a repentant brigand  from the Sierras. He fell
ill  in Ancona last  year,  and  one of  our  friends  took him  on board  a
trading-vessel out of charity, and  set him down  in  Venice,  where  he had
friends, and he left his  papers with  us  to show his gratitude.  They will
just do for you."
     "A repentant b-b-brigand? But w-what about the police?"
     "Oh, that's all right!  He finished  his term of the galleys some years
ago, and has been going  about to Jerusalem  and all  sorts of places saving
his  soul ever since.  He killed his son by  mistake for somebody else,  and
gave himself up to the police in a fit of remorse."
     "Was he quite old?"
     "Yes;  but  a  white  beard  and  wig  will  set  that  right, and  the
description suits you to perfection in  every  other  respect. He was an old
soldier,  with a  lame foot and a sabre-cut across the face  like yours; and
then his being a Spaniard, too-- you see, if you meet  any Spanish pilgrims,
you can talk to them all right."
     "Where am I to meet Domenichino?"
     "You join the pilgrims  at the  cross-road that we will show you on the
map,  saying you  had lost  your way in the hills. Then,  when you reach the
town, you  go with the  rest of them into  the marketplace,  in front of the
Cardinal's palace."
     "Oh,  he manages  to  live in a p-palace, then,  in s-spite of being  a
saint?"
     "He lives in one  wing of it, and has turned  the rest into a hospital.
Well, you all wait there for him to come out and  give his benediction,  and
Domenichino  will come up  with  his basket  and say:  "Are  you one of  the
pilgrims, father?" and you  answer:  'I am a miserable sinner.' Then he puts
down  his basket and wipes his face  with his  sleeve, and you offer him six
soldi for a rosary."
     "Then, of course, he arranges where we can talk?"
     "Yes;  he will  have  plenty  of time  to give you  the  address of the
meeting-place while the people  are gaping at Montanelli. That was our plan;
but if you don't like it, we can let Domenichino know  and arrange something
else."
     "No; it will do; only see that the beard and wig look natural."
     . . . . .
     "Are you one of the pilgrims, father?"
     The Gadfly,  sitting  on  the  steps of the episcopal palace, looked up
from under  his  ragged  white  locks, and gave  the password  in  a  husky,
trembling  voice,  with  a  strong foreign accent.  Domenichino  slipped the
leather strap from his shoulder, and set down his basket of pious gewgaws on
the  step.  The crowd of  peasants and  pilgrims sitting  on the  steps  and
lounging  about the  market-place was taking  no  notice of  them,  but  for
precaution's  sake  they  kept  up  a  desultory  conversation,  Domenichino
speaking  in the local dialect and the Gadfly  in broken Italian, intermixed
with Spanish words.
     "His Eminence! His Eminence is  coming out!"  shouted the people by the
door. "Stand aside! His Eminence is coming!"
     They both stood up.
     "Here, father," said  Domenichino, putting  into  the  Gadfly's  hand a
little image wrapped in paper; "take this, too, and pray for me when you get
to Rome."
     The Gadfly thrust it into  his breast, and turned to look at the figure
in  the  violet Lenten robe and scarlet cap that  was standing  on the upper
step and blessing the people with outstretched arms.
     Montanelli came slowly down the steps, the people crowding about him to
kiss his hands. Many knelt down and put the hem of his cassock to their lips
as he passed.
     "Peace be with you, my children!"
     At the sound of  the clear, silvery voice, the Gadfly bent his head, so
that the  white  hair  fell across  his  face;  and Domenichino, seeing  the
quivering  of  the  pilgrim's  staff  in  his  hand,  said  to  himself with
admiration: "What an actor!"
     A  woman standing near to  them  stooped down and lifted her child from
the  step. "Come, Cecco," she said. "His Eminence will bless you as the dear
Lord blessed the children."
     The Gadfly moved a step forward and stopped. Oh, it was hard! All these
outsiders--these pilgrims and mountaineers--could go  up  and  speak to him,
and  he  would lay his  hand on their children's hair. Perhaps he would  say
"Carino" to that peasant boy, as he used to say----
     The Gadfly sank  down again on the step, turning away that he might not
see. If only he could shrink  into some corner and stop his ears to shut out
the sound! Indeed, it was more than  any  man should have to bear--to  be so
close, so  close that  he could have put out his  arm  and touched the  dear
hand.
     "Will you not  come under shelter, my friend?" the  soft voice said. "I
am afraid you are chilled."
     The  Gadfly's  heart stood still.  For a  moment he  was  conscious  of
nothing  but the sickening pressure of the blood that seemed as if it  would
tear his breast asunder; then  it rushed back, tingling and  burning through
all his body, and he looked up. The grave, deep eyes above him grew suddenly
tender with divine compassion at the sight of his face.
     "Stand  bark a little, friends," Montanelli said, turning to the crowd;
"I want to speak to him."
     The people fell slowly back,  whispering to each other, and the Gadfly,
sitting motionless,  with teeth clenched  and eyes on the ground,  felt  the
gentle touch of Montanelli's hand upon his shoulder.
     "You have had some great trouble. Can I do anything to help you?"
     The Gadfly shook his head in silence.
     "Are you a pilgrim?"
     "I am a miserable sinner."
     The accidental similarity of Montanelli's question to the password came
like  a  chance  straw,  that  the  Gadfly, in  his  desperation, caught at,
answering automatically. He had begun to tremble under  the soft pressure of
the hand that seemed to burn upon his shoulder.
     The Cardinal bent down closer to him.
     "Perhaps you would care  to speak to  me alone? If I can be any help to
you----" For the  first time the  Gadfly looked  straight and steadily  into
Montanelli's eyes; he was already recovering his self-command.
     "It would be no use," he said; "the thing is hopeless."
     A police official stepped forward out of the crowd.
     "Forgive my intruding, Your  Eminence. I think the old man is not quite
sound in his mind. He is perfectly harmless, and his papers are in order, so
we don't  interfere with him.  He  has been  in penal servitude  for a great
crime, and is now doing penance."
     "A great crime," the Gadfly repeated, shaking his head slowly.
     "Thank you, captain;  stand aside a little, please. My friend,  nothing
is  hopeless if a  man has sincerely repented. Will you not come  to me this
evening?"
     "Would  Your  Eminence receive a man who  is guilty of the death of his
own son?"
     The question had  almost the tone of a challenge, and Montanelli shrank
and shivered under it as under a cold wind.
     "God forbid that I should condemn you, whatever you have done!" he said
solemnly. "In His sight we are all guilty alike, and our righteousness is as
filthy rags. If you will come to me I will receive you as I pray that He may
one day receive me."
     The Gadfly stretched out his hands with a sudden gesture of passion.
     "Listen!" he  said; "and listen all  of you, Christians! If a  man  has
killed his only son--his son who loved and trusted him, who was flesh of his
flesh and bone of his bone;  if  he has led his son into  a death-trap  with
lies  and deceit--is there  hope for that man in  earth  or heaven?  I  have
confessed my sin before God and man, and I have suffered the punishment that
men have laid on  me, and they have let me go; but when will God say, 'It is
enough'?  What benediction will take  away  His  curse  from  my  soul? What
absolution will undo this thing that I have done?"
     In the dead silence that followed the people looked at  Montanelli, and
saw the heaving of the cross upon his breast.
     He raised his eyes at last, and gave  the  benediction with a hand that
was not quite steady.
     "God is merciful," he said. "Lay  your burden before His throne; for it
is written: 'A broken and contrite heart shalt thou not despise.'"
     He turned away and walked through the market-place, stopping everywhere
to speak to the people, and to take their children in his arms.
     In  the  evening  the Gadfly, following the directions written  on  the
wrapping of  the image, made his way  to the appointed meeting-place. It was
the house of a local doctor, who was an active member of the "sect." Most of
the  conspirators were already assembled, and their delight at  the Gadfly's
arrival gave him a new proof, if  he had needed  one, of his popularity as a
leader.
     "We're glad enough to see you again," said the doctor; "but we shall be
gladder still to see you go. It's  a  fearfully risky  business, and  I, for
one, was against  the plan. Are  you  quite sure none of  those  police rats
noticed you in the market-place this morning?"
     "Oh,  they  n-noticed  me  enough,  but  they  d-didn't  recognize  me.
Domenichino  m-managed the thing capitally. But where  is he?  I  don't  see
him."
     "He has not come yet. So you got on all smoothly? Did the Cardinal give
you his blessing?"
     "His blessing?  Oh, that's nothing," said Domenichino, coming in at the
door. "Rivarez,  you're as full of surprises  as a Christmas cake.  How many
more talents are you going to astonish us with?"
     "What is it now?" asked the Gadfly languidly. He was leaning  back on a
sofa,  smoking  a  cigar.  He still wore his pilgrim's dress,  but the white
beard and wig lay beside him.
     "I had  no idea  you were such  an  actor. I never saw a thing done  so
magnificently in my life. You nearly moved His Eminence to tears."
     "How was that? Let us hear, Rivarez."
     The Gadfly shrugged  his shoulders. He  was in a  taciturn and  laconic
mood, and the others, seeing that nothing was to be got out of him, appealed
to  Domenichino to explain.  When the  scene in  the  market-place had  been
related, one young workman, who had not joined in the laughter of the  rest,
remarked abruptly:
     "It  was very clever,  of course;  but I don't see  what  good all this
play-acting business has done to anybody."
     "Just this much," the Gadfly put in; "that I can go where I like and do
what I like anywhere in this district, and not a single man, woman, or child
will ever  think of suspecting me.  The story will be all over the place  by
to-morrow, and when I meet a spy he will only think: 'It's  mad Diego,  that
confessed  his sins in  the  market-place.'  That is  an  advantage  gained,
surely."
     "Yes, I see.  Still,  I  wish  the  thing  could have been done without
fooling  the  Cardinal. He's too good to have that sort of  trick played  on
him."
     "I thought myself he seemed fairly decent," the Gadfly lazily assented.
     "Nonsense, Sandro!  We don't  want Cardinals  here!"  said Domenichino.
"And if Monsignor Montanelli had taken  that  post in  Rome when he  had the
chance of  getting it, Rivarez couldn't have fooled him." "He wouldn't  take
it because he didn't want to leave his work here."
     "More  likely   because  he  didn't  want  to  get  poisoned   off   by
Lambruschini's agents. They've got  something against him,  you  may  depend
upon it. When a Cardinal, especially  such a  popular one, 'prefers to stay'
in a God-forsaken little hole  like this, we all know what that means--don't
we, Rivarez?"
     The  Gadfly  was making  smoke-rings.  "Perhaps  it is a  c-c-case of a
'b-b-broken  and  contrite heart,'"  he remarked,  leaning his head back  to
watch them float away. "And now, men, let us get to business."
     They began to discuss in detail the various plans which had been formed
for the smuggling and concealment of weapons. The Gadfly  listened with keen
attention,  interrupting  every  now  and  then   to  correct  sharply  some
inaccurate  statement or  imprudent  proposal.  When everyone  had  finished
speaking, he made  a few practical  suggestions, most of  which were adopted
without discussion. The meeting then broke up. It had been resolved that, at
least until he  was safely back in Tuscany, very late meetings, which  might
attract  the  notice of the police, should be avoided. By a little after ten
o'clock all had dispersed except  the  doctor, the  Gadfly, and Domenichino,
who remained as a sub-committee for the discussion of  special points. After
a long and hot dispute, Domenichino looked up at the clock.
     "Half-past eleven; we mustn't stop any longer or the night-watchman may
see us."
     "When does he pass?" asked the Gadfly.
     "About  twelve  o'clock;  and  I  want  to  be home  before  he  comes.
Good-night, Giordani. Rivarez, shall we walk together?"
     "No; I think we are safer apart. Then I shall see you again?"
     "Yes;  at Castel  Bolognese. I don't  know yet what disguise I shall be
in, but you have the passWord. You leave here to-morrow, I think?"
     The  Gadfly was  carefully putting  on  his  beard  and  wig before the
looking-glass.
     "To-morrow  morning, with the pilgrims. On the next day I fall  ill and
stop behind in a shepherd's hut, and then take a short cut across the hills.
I shall be down there before you will. Good-night!"
     Twelve o'clock was striking from the Cathedral bell-tower as the Gadfly
looked in at the door  of the great empty barn which had been thrown open as
a lodging for the pilgrims. The  floor was covered with clumsy figures, most
of which were snoring lustily, and the air was  insufferably close and foul.
He drew  back  with a little shudder  of repugnance; it would  be useless to
attempt to sleep in there; he would take a  walk, and then find some shed or
haystack which would, at least, be clean and quiet.
     It  was  a glorious night, with a great full moon gleaming in  a purple
sky.  He began  to wander  through the  streets in  an aimless way, brooding
miserably over  the  scene  of  the morning, and wishing  that  he had never
consented to Domenichino's plan of holding the meeting in Brisighella. If at
the beginning he had declared the project too  dangerous,  some  other place
would have been  chosen; and both he and Montanelli would  have been  spared
this ghastly, ridiculous farce.
     How changed the Padre was! And yet his voice was not changed at all; it
was just the same as in the old days, when he used to say: "Carino."
     The  lantern  of the night-watchman appeared  at the  other  end of the
street, and  the Gadfly turned down a narrow, crooked alley. After walking a
few  yards he found  himself in the Cathedral Square, close to the left wing
of the episcopal  palace. The square was  flooded with moonlight, and  there
was no one in sight; but  he noticed that a side door  of the Cathedral  was
ajar. The sacristan must have forgotten  to shut it. Surely nothing could be
going on there so late at night. He might as well go in and sleep on one  of
the  benches  instead  of in the stifling barn; he  could  slip  out  in the
morning before the  sacristan came;  and  even if  anyone  did find him, the
natural supposition would be that mad Diego  had been saying his  prayers in
some corner, and had got shut in.
     He listened  a moment at the  door, and then entered with the noiseless
step that  he  had  retained  notwithstanding  his  lameness.  The moonlight
streamed through the windows, and lay in broad bands on the marble floor. In
the chancel, especially, everything was as clearly visible  as  by daylight.
At the foot of the altar steps Cardinal Montanelli knelt alone, bare-headed,
with clasped hands.
     The  Gadfly drew  back into the  shadow.  Should  he  slip away  before
Montanelli saw him? That, no doubt, would be the wisest thing to do--perhaps
the  most merciful. And  yet,  what harm could  it do for him  to go  just a
little nearer--to look at the Padre's face once more, now that the crowd was
gone,  and  there was no need to keep up the hideous comedy  of the morning?
Perhaps it  would  be  his last chance--and the  Padre need not see  him; he
would steal up  softly and look-- just this once.  Then he would go  back to
his work.
     Keeping in the shadow of the pillars, he crept softly up to the chancel
rails, and  paused at the  side  entrance, close to the altar. The shadow of
the episcopal throne was broad enough to cover him,  and he crouched down in
the darkness, holding his breath.
     "My poor boy! Oh, God; my poor boy!"
     The  broken  whisper was full of such endless despair that  the  Gadfly
shuddered  in spite of himself. Then came deep, heavy, tearless sobs; and he
saw Montanelli wring his hands together like a man in bodily pain.
     He had not thought it would be so bad as this. How often had he said to
himself with bitter assurance:  "I need not trouble about it; that wound was
healed long  ago."  Now, after all these years, it was laid bare before him,
and he saw it bleeding  still.  And how easy it would  be to heal it now  at
last! He need only  lift his  hand--only step forward and say: "Padre, it is
I." There was Gemma,  too, with that white streak across her hair. Oh, if he
could but forgive! If he could but cut out from his memory the past that was
burned  into  it  so  deep--the Lascar, and the  sugar-plantation,  and  the
variety show! Surely there was no other misery  like this--to be willing  to
forgive, to long to forgive; and to know that it was hopeless--that he could
not, dared not forgive.
     Montanelli rose at last, made the sign of  the cross,  and  turned away
from the altar. The Gadfly shrank  further  back  into the shadow, trembling
with fear lest he should be seen, lest the very beating of  his heart should
betray him; then he drew a long breath of relief. Montanelli had passed him,
so close that the violet robe had brushed against his cheek,--had passed and
had not seen him.
     Had  not seen him----  Oh, what  had he done? This  had  been  his last
chance--this one precious moment--and he had let it slip away. He started up
and stepped into the light.
     "Padre!"
     The sound of his own voice, ringing up and dying away along the  arches
of the roof, filled him with fantastic terror. He shrank back again into the
shadow.  Montanelli stood  beside  the  pillar,  motionless,  listening with
wide-open eyes, full of the horror of death. How long the silence lasted the
Gadfly could  not tell;  it might have been  an instant, or an eternity.  He
came to his senses with a sudden shock. Montanelli was beginning to  sway as
though he would fall, and his lips moved, at first silently.
     "Arthur!" the low whisper came at last; "yes, the water is deep----"
     The Gadfly came forward.
     "Forgive me, Your Eminence! I thought it was one of the priests."
     "Ah,  it  is  the  pilgrim?"  Montanelli  had  at  once  recovered  his
self-control,  though the Gadfly could see, from the restless glitter of the
sapphire on  his  hand, that he was  still  trembling. "Are you in  need  of
anything, my friend? It is late, and the Cathedral is closed at night."
     "I  beg pardon, Your  Eminence, if I  have  done wrong. I saw  the door
open,  and  came in  to  pray, and when  I  saw a priest, as  I thought,  in
meditation, I waited to ask a blessing on this."
     He held up the little  tin  cross that he had bought from  Domenichino.
Montanelli took it from his hand, and, re-entering the chancel, laid it  for
a moment on the altar.
     "Take it, my son," he said, "and be at rest, for the Lord is tender and
pitiful.  Go to Rome, and ask the blessing of His minister, the Holy Father.
Peace be with you!"
     The Gadfly bent his head  to receive the benediction, and turned slowly
away.
     "Stop!" said Montanelli.
     He was standing with one hand on the chancel rail.
     "When you receive the Holy Eucharist in Rome,"  he said,  "pray for one
in deep affliction-- for one on whose soul the hand of the Lord is heavy."
     There  were  almost  tears  in his voice, and  the  Gadfly's resolution
wavered.  Another instant and  he  would  have  betrayed himself.  Then  the
thought of the variety-show  came  up  again, and he remembered, like Jonah,
that he did well to be angry.
     "Who am I, that He should hear my prayers? A leper and an outcast! If I
could bring to His throne,  as  Your  Eminence can,  the  offering of a holy
life--of a soul without spot or secret shame------"
     Montanelli turned abruptly away.
     "I have only one offering to give," he said; "a broken heart."
     . . . . .
     A few  days later the Gadfly returned to Florence in the diligence from
Pistoja. He  went straight to Gemma's lodgings,  but she was  out. Leaving a
message  that he would return  in the morning he went home, sincerely hoping
that he  should  not  again find  his  study  invaded by Zita.  Her  jealous
reproaches  would  act  on  his nerves, if  he  were to  hear  much  of them
to-night, like the rasping of a dentist's file.
     "Good-evening, Bianca,"  he said when the maid-servant opened the door.
"Has Mme. Reni been here to-day?"
     She stared at him blankly
     "Mme. Reni? Has she come back, then, sir?"
     "What do you mean?" he asked with a frown, stopping short on the mat.
     "She went away  quite suddenly, just after  you  did, and left  all her
things behind her. She never so much as said she was going."
     "Just after I did? What, a f-fortnight ago?"
     "Yes,   sir,  the   same  day;   and   her   things   are  lying  about
higgledy-piggledy. All the neighbours are talking about it."
     He  turned  away from the door-step  without speaking, and went hastily
down the lane to the house where Zita had been lodging. In her rooms nothing
had been touched; all the presents that he had given her were in their usual
places; there was no letter or scrap of writing anywhere.
     "If you please,  sir,"  said  Bianca,  putting her head in at the door,
"there's an old woman----"
     He turned round fiercely.
     "What do you want here--following me about?"
     "An old woman wishes to see you."
     "What does she want? Tell her I c-can't see her; I'm busy."
     "She has been coming nearly  every evening since you  went  away,  sir,
always asking when you would come back."
     "Ask her w-what her  business is. No; never  mind; I  suppose I must go
myself."
     The  old woman  was waiting  at  his  hall  door. She was  very  poorly
dressed,  with   a  face  as   brown  and  wrinkled  as  a  medlar,   and  a
bright-coloured scarf  twisted round her  head. As he came  in she  rose and
looked at him with keen black eyes.
     "You are the lame gentleman," she said, inspecting him critically  from
head to foot. "I have brought you a message from Zita Reni."
     He opened the study door, and held it for her to pass in; then followed
her and shut the door, that Bianca might not hear.
     "Sit down, please. N-now, tell me who you are."
     "It's no business of yours who  I am. I have come to tell you that Zita
Reni has gone away with my son."
     "With--your--son?"
     "Yes,  sir; if you don't know how to keep your mistress when you've got
her, you can't complain  if  other  men  take her.  My son has blood in  his
veins, not milk and water; he comes of the Romany folk."
     "Ah, you are a gipsy! Zita has gone back to her own people, then?"
     She looked at him  in amazed contempt. Apparently, these Christians had
not even manhood enough to be angry when they were insulted.
     "What sort of stuff are you made of, that she should stay with you? Our
women may  lend themselves to  you a bit for a girl's  fancy, or if you  pay
them well; but the Romany blood comes back to the Romany folk."
     The Gadfly's face remained as cold and steady as before.
     "Has she gone away with a gipsy camp, or merely to live with your son?"
     The woman burst out laughing.
     "Do  you  think  of following  her and trying to win her back? It's too
late, sir; you should have thought of that before!"
     "No; I only want to know the truth, if you will tell it to me."
     She shrugged her shoulders; it was hardly worth while to abuse a person
who took it so meekly.
     "The truth, then, is that she met my son  in the  road the day you left
her, and spoke to  him in the Romany tongue; and when he saw  she was one of
our folk, in spite of her fine clothes, he fell in love with her bonny face,
as OUR men fall  in love, and  took  her  to our  camp. She told  us all her
trouble, and sat crying and sobbing,  poor lassie, till our hearts were sore
for her. We  comforted her as best we could; and  at  last she took off  her
fine clothes and put on the things our lasses wear, and gave  herself to  my
son, to be his woman and  to have him  for her  man. He won't say to her: 'I
don't love you,' and: 'I've other things to do.' When  a woman is young, she
wants a man; and what sort of  man  are  you,  that you  can't even  kiss  a
handsome girl when she puts her arms round your neck?"
     "You  said,"  he  interrupted,  "that you had brought me a message from
her."
     "Yes; I  stopped behind when the camp went on, so  as  to give it.  She
told me to say that she has had enough of your folk and their hair-splitting
and their sluggish  blood; and that  she wants to get back to her own people
and be free. 'Tell him,' she said, 'that I am a woman, and that I loved him;
and that is why  I would not be his harlot any longer.' The lassie was right
to come  away. There's no harm in a  girl getting a bit  of money out of her
good looks if she can--that's what good looks are for; but a Romany lass has
nothing to do with LOVING a man of your race."
     The Gadfly stood up.
     "Is  that all the message?" he said. "Then  tell  her,  please, that  I
think she has done right, and that I  hope she will be happy.  That is all I
have to say. Good-night!"
     He stood  perfectly still until the garden gate closed behind her; then
he sat down and covered his face with both hands.
     Another blow on the cheek! Was no rag of pride to be left him--no shred
of self-respect? Surely he had suffered everything that  man can endure; his
very heart had been dragged in  the mud and trampled under the feet  of  the
passers-by; there was no spot in  his soul where someone's contempt  was not
branded  in,  where someone's  mockery had not left its  iron trace. And now
this gipsy girl, whom  he  had picked up by the  wayside-- even she  had the
whip in her hand.
     Shaitan whined at the door, and the Gadfly rose to let him in.  The dog
rushed  up to his master with  his  usual frantic manifestations of delight,
but soon, understanding that something was wrong, lay down on the rug beside
him, and thrust a cold nose into the listless hand.
     An hour later  Gemma came  up  to  the front door. No  one appeared  in
answer to  her  knock;  Bianca, finding that  the  Gadfly  did not  want any
dinner, had  slipped out to visit a neighbour's  cook. She had left the door
open, and  a light burning  in the hall. Gemma, after waiting for some time,
decided to  enter  and try if she could  find the Gadfly, as  she wished  to
speak to  him about an important  message which had  come  from Bailey.  She
knocked at the study door, and the Gadfly's voice answered from within: "You
can go away, Bianca. I don't want anything."
     She softly opened the door. The  room was  quite dark,  but the passage
lamp threw a long  stream of light across it as she entered, and she saw the
Gadfly sitting alone, his head sunk on his breast, and the dog asleep at his
feet.
     "It is I," she said.
     He started up. "Gemma,---- Gemma! Oh, I have wanted you so!"
     Before she could speak he was  kneeling  on  the floor at her  feet and
hiding his face in the folds of her dress. His whole body was shaken with  a
convulsive tremor that was worse to see than tears.
     She stood still. There was nothing  she could do to  help him--nothing.
This was the bitterest thing of all. She must stand by and look on passively
--  she who would have died to  spare him pain. Could she but dare  to stoop
and clasp her arms about him, to hold him close against her heart and shield
him, were it with her own  body, from all further harm or wrong; surely then
he would  be Arthur to her  again;  surely then the day would  break and the
shadows flee away.
     Ah, no, no! How could he  ever forget? Was it not she  who had cast him
into hell--she, with her own right hand?
     She had let  the  moment slip by. He rose  hastily and sat down by  the
table, covering his  eyes with one hand and biting his  lip as if  he  would
bite it through.
     Presently he looked up and said quietly:
     "I am afraid I startled you."
     She  held  out  both her hands to  him. "Dear,"  she said, "are we  not
friends enough by now for you to trust me a little bit? What is it?"
     "Only a  private  trouble  of my own.  I  don't see  why you  should be
worried over it."
     "Listen  a  moment," she  went on,  taking his hand in  both of hers to
steady its convulsive trembling. "I have  not tried  to lay hands on a thing
that is not mine to touch.  But now that you have given me, of your own free
will, so much of your confidence, will you not give me a little more--as you
would  do if I were  your sister. Keep the mask on your  face,  if it is any
consolation to you, but don't wear a mask on your soul, for your own sake."
     He bent his  head lower. "You must be patient with me," he  said. "I am
an unsatisfactory sort  of  brother  to  have,  I'm afraid;  but if you only
knew----  I  have been nearly mad this  last  week.  It has been like  South
America again. And somehow the devil gets into me and----" He broke off.
     "May I not have my share in your trouble?" she whispered at last.
     His head sank down on her arm. "The hand of the Lord is heavy."




     THE next five  weeks  were spent by Gemma and the Gadfly in a whirl  of
excitement and overwork  which  left them little time or energy for thinking
about their personal affairs. When  the  arms had been safely  smuggled into
Papal territory  there remained  a still  more difficult and dangerous task:
that of  conveying  them unobserved  from the secret  stores in the mountain
caverns and ravines to  the various local centres and thence to the separate
villages.  The whole district was  swarming with  spies; and Domenichino, to
whom the Gadfly had intrusted the ammunition, sent into Florence a messenger
with an urgent appeal for either help or extra time. The Gadfly had insisted
that the work should be finished by  the middle  of  June; and what with the
difficulty  of conveying heavy  transports over bad  roads,  and the endless
hindrances  and  delays  caused  by  the  necessity  of continually  evading
observation, Domenichino  was  growing  desperate. "I am between Scylla  and
Charybdis," he wrote. "I dare not work quickly, for fear of detection, and I
must not work slowly if we are to be ready in time. Either send me efficient
help at once, or let the Venetians know that  we shall not be ready till the
first week in July."
     The Gadfly  carried the  letter to Gemma  and,  while  she read it, sat
frowning at the floor and stroking the cat's fur the wrong way.
     "This is bad," she said. "We can  hardly keep the Venetians waiting for
three weeks."
     "Of  course   we  can't;  the  thing  is  absurd.  Domenichino  m-might
unders-s-stand  that. We must follow the  lead of the  Venetians,  not  they
ours."
     "I  don't see  that Domenichino is  to blame; he has evidently done his
best, and he can't do impossibilities."
     "It's not  in Domenichino that the fault lies; it's in the fact of  his
being one person instead of  two. We ought  to have at least one responsible
man  to guard the store  and another to see the transports off. He is  quite
right; he must have efficient help."
     "But what help are we going to give him? We  have no one in Florence to
send."
     "Then I m-must go myself."
     She leaned back in her chair and looked at him with a little frown.
     "No, that won't do; it's too risky."
     "It will  have to  do if we can't f-f-find  any other way  out  of  the
difficulty."
     "Then we  must find  another way, that's all. It's  out of the question
for you to go again just now."
     An obstinate line appeared at the corners of his under lip.
     "I d-don't see that it's out of the question."
     "You will see if you think about  the thing calmly for a minute. It  is
only  five weeks since you got back; the police are on  the scent about that
pilgrim business, and scouring the country to  find a  clue. Yes, I know you
are clever at disguises; but remember what a lot of people saw you, both  as
Diego and  as the countryman;  and you  can't  disguise your lameness or the
scar on your face."
     "There are p-plenty of lame people in the world."
     "Yes, but there are not  plenty of  people  in the Romagna with  a lame
foot and a sabre-cut across the cheek and a left arm injured like yours, and
the combination of blue eyes with such dark colouring."
     "The eyes don't matter; I can alter them with belladonna."
     "You can't alter the other things. No, it won't do. For you to go there
just now, with all your identification-marks, would be to walk into  a  trap
with your eyes open. You would certainly be taken."
     "But s-s-someone must help Domenichino."
     "It will be no help to him to have you caught at a critical moment like
this. Your arrest would mean the failure of the whole thing."
     But the  Gadfly was difficult to  convince, and the  discussion went on
and  on without coming nearer to any  settlement.  Gemma  was  beginning  to
realize  how nearly inexhaustible was  the  fund of quiet obstinacy  in  his
character;  and, had the matter  not been one about which she felt strongly,
she would probably  have yielded for the sake of peace. This, however, was a
case  in  which  she  could  not  conscientiously give  way;  the  practical
advantage  to  be  gained  from  the proposed  journey  seemed  to  her  not
sufficiently  important to  be  worth  the  risk,  and  she could  not  help
suspecting that his desire to go was prompted less by a conviction of  grave
political necessity than by a  morbid  craving for the excitement of danger.
He had got into the habit of risking his neck, and his tendency  to run into
unnecessary peril seemed to  her  a  form of intemperance  which  should  be
quietly but steadily resisted. Finding all her arguments unavailing  against
his dogged resolve to go his own way, she fired her last shot.
     "Let us  be honest about it, anyway,"  she  said;  "and call things  by
their  true  names. It  is not  Domenichino's  difficulty that makes  you so
determined to go. It is your own personal passion for----"
     "It's  not true!" he interrupted vehemently. "He  is nothing  to me;  I
don't care if I never see him again." He broke off, seeing in her  face that
he  had betrayed himself. Their eyes met  for an instant, and  dropped;  and
neither of them uttered the name that was in both their minds.
     "It--it is not Domenichino  I want to save," he stammered at last, with
his face  half  buried in  the  cat's  fur; "it is that  I--I understand the
danger of the work failing if he has no help."
     She passed over the feeble little subterfuge,  and went  on as if there
had been no interruption:
     "It is your passion for running  into danger which makes you want to go
there. You  have  the  same craving for danger when you are worried that you
had for opium when you were ill."
     "It was not I that asked for the opium," he said defiantly; "it was the
others who insisted on giving it to me."
     "I dare say. You plume yourself  a little on your stoicism, and to  ask
for physical  relief would have hurt your pride;  but it is rather flattered
than otherwise when you risk  your  life to relieve the irritation  of  your
nerves. And yet, after all, the distinction is a merely conventional one."
     He drew the cat's head back and looked down into the round, green eyes.
"Is it  true, Pasht?" he  said. "Are all these unkind things true  that your
mistress is  s-saying  about me?  Is it a case of  mea  culpa; mea  m-maxima
culpa? You wise beast, you never  ask for opium, do you? Your ancestors were
gods  in Egypt, and  no man t-trod on  their  tails. I wonder,  though, what
would become of your calm superiority to earthly ills if I were to take this
paw of yours and hold it in the c-candle. Would  you ask  me for opium then?
Would you? Or perhaps--for death? No, pussy, we have no right to die for our
personal  convenience. We may spit and s-swear a bit, if it consoles us; but
we mustn't pull the paw away."
     "Hush!"  She took the cat off his knee and put it down on  a footstool.
"You and I will have time for thinking about those  things later on. What we
have  to think of now is how to  get Domenichino out of his difficulty. What
is it, Katie; a visitor? I am busy."
     "Miss Wright has sent you this, ma'am, by hand."
     The packet, which was carefully  sealed, contained  a letter, addressed
to Miss  Wright,  but  unopened and  with  a Papal stamp. Gemma's old school
friends still lived in Florence, and her more important  letters  were often
received, for safety, at their address.
     "It is  Michele's mark,"  she  said, glancing quickly  over the letter,
which  seemed to  be about  the summer-terms  at  a  boarding  house in  the
Apennines, and pointing to two  little blots on a corner of the page. "It is
in chemical ink; the reagent is  in  the  third drawer of the writing-table.
Yes; that is it."
     He laid the letter open on the desk and passed a little  brush over its
pages. When  the  real message stood out on the  paper in  a  brilliant blue
line, he leaned back in his chair and burst out laughing.
     "What is it?" she asked hurriedly. He handed her the paper.
     "DOMENICHINO HAS BEEN ARRESTED. COME AT ONCE."
     She sat down with the paper in her hand  and stared hopelessly  at  the
Gadfly.
     "W-well?"  he  said  at last, with  his soft, ironical drawl;  "are you
satisfied now that I must go?"
     "Yes, I suppose you must," she answered, sighing. "And I too."
     He looked up with a little start. "You too? But----"
     "Of course. It will be very awkward, I know, to be left without  anyone
here  in  Florence;  but  everything  must go to  the wall  now  except  the
providing of an extra pair of hands."
     "There are plenty of hands to be got there."
     "They don't belong to people whom you can trust thoroughly, though. You
said yourself just now that there must be two responsible persons in charge;
and if Domenichino couldn't manage alone it is evidently  impossible for you
to do so.  A person as desperately  compromised  as  you  are  is  very much
handicapped, remember, in work of that kind, and more dependent on help than
anyone else would be. Instead of you and Domenichino, it must be you and I."
     He considered for a moment, frowning.
     "Yes, you are quite right," he said; "and  the sooner we go the better.
But we must not start together. If I go off to-night, you can take, say, the
afternoon coach to-morrow."
     "Where to?"
     "That  we  must discuss.  I think I had  b-b-better  go straight  in to
Faenza. If I start late to-night and ride to  Borgo San Lorenzo I can get my
disguise arranged there and go straight on."
     "I don't see what else we can  do,"  she said,  with an  anxious little
frown; "but it is very risky, your going off in such a hurry and trusting to
the smugglers finding you a  disguise at Borgo. You ought to have  at  least
three clear days to double on your trace before you cross the frontier."
     "You needn't be afraid," he answered, smiling; "I may get taken further
on, but not at the frontier. Once in the hills I am as safe as here; there's
not a smuggler in the Apennines  that would betray  me. What I am  not quite
sure about is how you are to get across."
     "Oh, that is very simple! I shall take Louisa Wright's passport  and go
for a holiday. No one knows me in the Romagna, but every spy knows you."
     "F-fortunately, so does every smuggler."
     She took out her watch.
     "Half-past two. We have the afternoon and evening, then,  if you are to
start to-night."
     "Then the best thing  will be for me  to go  home and settle everything
now, and arrange about a good horse. I shall ride in to San Lorenzo; it will
be safer."
     "But it won't be safe at all to hire a horse. The owner will-----"
     "I shan't hire one. I know  a man that will  lend me a horse, and  that
can be trusted. He has done things for me  before. One of the shepherds will
bring it back  in a fortnight. I shall  be here again by  five or half-past,
then; and while I am gone, I w-want you to go and find Martini and exp-plain
everything to him."
     "Martini!" She turned round and looked at him in astonishment.
     "Yes; we must take him into confidence--unless you  can think of anyone
else."
     "I don't quite understand what you mean."
     "We must have someone here whom we  can  trust, in case of  any special
difficulty; and of  all the set here Martini is the man in  whom I have most
confidence. Riccardo would  do anything he  could  for us, of  course; but I
think Martini  has a steadier head. Still, you know him better than I do; it
is as you think."
     "I have  not  the slightest doubt  as to Martini's  trustworthiness and
efficiency in every respect; and I think he  would probably consent  to give
us any help he could. But----"
     He understood at once.
     "Gemma, what would you  feel if you found out that  a comrade in bitter
need had not asked you for help you might have given, for fear of hurting or
distressing you? Would you say there was any true kindness in that?"
     "Very well," she said, after a little  pause; "I will send  Katie round
at once  and ask him to come; and while she is gone I will  go to Louisa for
her passport; she promised to lend it whenever I want one. What about money?
Shall I draw some out of the bank?"
     "No; don't waste  time on that;  I  can draw enough from  my account to
last us for a bit. We will  fall back on  yours later  on if my balance runs
short.  Till half-past  five, then; I  shall  be sure to  find  you here, of
course?"
     "Oh, yes! I shall be back long before then."
     Half  an hour after the appointed time he returned, and found Gemma and
Martini  sitting  on  the  terrace  together.  He  saw  at  once  that their
conversation  had been  a  distressing  one; the traces  of  agitation  were
visible in both of them, and Martini was unusually silent and glum.
     "Have you arranged everything?" she asked, looking up.
     "Yes; and I have brought you some money for the journey. The horse will
be ready for me at the Ponte Rosso barrier at one in the night."
     "Is not that  rather late? You ought to get into San Lorenzo before the
people are up in the morning."
     "So I shall; it's a very fast horse; and I don't  want  to  leave  here
when  there's  a chance of  anyone  noticing me. I shan't go  home any more;
there's a spy watching at the door, and he thinks me in."
     "How did you get out without his seeing you?"
     "Out  of  the  kitchen  window  into  the  back  garden  and  over  the
neighbour's orchard wall; that's what makes me so  late; I had to dodge him.
I left the owner of the horse to  sit in the study  all the evening with the
lamp lighted. When the spy sees the light in the window and a  shadow on the
blind he will be quite satisfied that I am writing at home this evening."
     "Then you will stay here till it is time to go to the barrier?"
     "Yes; I don't want to be seen in the street  any  more to-night. Have a
cigar, Martini? I know Signora Bolla doesn't mind smoke."
     "I shan't be here to mind; I must go downstairs and help Katie with the
dinner."
     When she had  gone Martini got up and began to pace to and fro with his
hands behind  his back. The Gadfly sat smoking and looking  silently out  at
the drizzling rain.
     "Rivarez!" Martini began,  stopping in front of  him,  but  keeping his
eyes on the ground; "what sort of thing are you going to drag her into?"
     The Gadfly took the cigar from  his mouth and blew away a long trail of
smoke.
     "She has chosen for herself," he said, "without compulsion  on anyone's
part."
     "Yes, yes--I know. But tell me----"
     He stopped.
     "I will tell you anything I can."
     "Well, then--I  don't know much about the  details of these  affairs in
the hills,--are you going to take her into any very serious danger?"
     "Do you want the truth?"
     "Yes."
     "Then--yes."
     Martini  turned away  and went  on  pacing up  and down.  Presently  he
stopped again.
     "I want to  ask you another question. If you don't choose to answer it,
you needn't, of course; but if you do answer, then answer  honestly. Are you
in love with her?"
     The Gadfly  deliberately knocked the  ash from  his  cigar and  went on
smoking in silence.
     "That means--that you don't choose to answer?"
     "No; only that I think I have a right to know why you ask me that."
     "Why? Good God, man, can't you see why?"
     "Ah!" He laid down  his cigar and looked steadily at Martini. "Yes," he
said at last,  slowly and softly. "I  am in  love with  her. But you needn't
think I am going to  make love to her, or  worry about it. I am  only  going
to----"
     His  voice died  away in a strange, faint whisper. Martini  came a step
nearer.
     "Only going--to----"
     "To die."
     He  was staring straight before  him  with a cold, fixed look, as if he
were  dead already. When he spoke again his voice was curiously lifeless and
even.
     "You needn't worry her about it beforehand,"  he said; "but there's not
the ghost of a chance for me. It's dangerous for everyone; that she knows as
well as I do;  but the smugglers will  do their best to prevent  her getting
taken. They are good  fellows,  though they are a bit  rough. As for me, the
rope is round my neck, and when I cross the frontier I pull the noose."
     "Rivarez, what do you mean? Of course it's dangerous,  and particularly
so for  you;  I understand that; but you  have  often  crossed the  frontier
before and always been successful."
     "Yes, and this time I shall fail."
     "But why? How can you know?"
     The Gadfly smiled drearily.
     "Do you remember the German legend of the man that died when he met his
own  Double? No? It appeared to him at night in a lonely place, wringing its
hands in despair. Well, I met mine  the  last time I was in  the hills;  and
when I cross the frontier again I shan't come back."
     Martini came up to him and put a hand on the back of his chair.
     "Listen,  Rivarez;  I don't understand a word  of all this metaphysical
stuff, but I do understand one thing: If you feel about it that way, you are
not  in  a fit state to  go. The  surest  way to get taken is to  go with  a
conviction that you will be taken. You must be ill, or out of sorts somehow,
to get maggots of that kind into your head. Suppose I go instead of  you?  I
can do any practical work there is to be done, and you can send a message to
your men, explaining------"
     "And let you get killed instead? That would be very clever."
     "Oh, I'm not likely to  get killed! They  don't know me as they do you.
And, besides, even if I did------"
     He stopped,  and  the Gadfly looked  up with  a  slow,  inquiring gaze.
Martini's hand dropped by his side.
     "She very likely wouldn't miss me as much as she would you," he said in
his most matter-of-fact voice. "And then, besides,  Rivarez, this  is public
business, and we have to look at it from the  point of view of  utility--the
greatest good of the  greatest number. Your 'final value'---isn't  that what
the economists call it?--is higher  than mine; I have  brains  enough to see
that, though I haven't any  cause  to be particularly fond of you. You are a
bigger man than I am; I'm  not sure that you are a better  one, but  there's
more of you, and your death would be a greater loss than mine."
     From the way he spoke he might have been discussing the value of shares
on the Exchange. The Gadfly looked up, shivering as if with cold.
     "Would you have me wait till my grave opens of itself to swallow me up?
     "If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride----
     Look here, Martini, you and I are talking nonsense."
     "You are, certainly," said Martini gruffly.
     "Yes, and so are you. For Heaven's sake, don't let's go in for romantic
self-sacrifice, like Don Carlos  and  Marquis Posa.  This is the  nineteenth
century; and if it's my business to die, I have got to do it."
     "And if it's my business to live,  I have  got  to  do that, I suppose.
You're the lucky one, Rivarez."
     "Yes," the Gadfly assented laconically; "I was always lucky."
     They  smoked  in silence for  a few  minutes, and then began to talk of
business details. When Gemma came up to call them to dinner, neither of them
betrayed  in  face or manner that  their conversation had been  in  any  way
unusual.  After  dinner  they  sat  discussing plans  and  making  necessary
arrangements till eleven o'clock, when Martini rose and took his hat.
     "I will go home and fetch that riding-cloak  of mine, Rivarez.  I think
you will  be  less recognizable in  it  than in your  light suit. I  want to
reconnoitre a bit, too, and  make sure  there are  no spies  about before we
start."
     "Are you coming with me to the barrier?"
     "Yes; it's safer to have four eyes than two in case of anyone following
you.  I'll be back by  twelve. Be sure  you don't start without  me.  I  had
better take the key, Gemma, so as not to wake anyone by ringing."
     She  raised her eyes to  his  face as he  took the keys. She understood
that he had invented a pretext in order to leave her alone with the Gadfly.
     "You and I will talk to-morrow," she  said.  "We shall have time in the
morning, when my packing is finished."  "Oh, yes! Plenty of time. There  are
two or three little things I want to ask you about, Rivarez; but we can talk
them over on our way  to  the  barrier.  You had  better send Katie  to bed,
Gemma; and be as quiet as you can, both of you. Good-bye till twelve, then."
     He went away with a little nod and smile, banging the door after him to
let the neighbours hear that Signora Bolla's visitor was gone.
     Gemma went out into  the kitchen to say good-night to  Katie,  and came
back with black coffee on a tray.
     "Would you like to lie down a bit?" she said. "You won't have any sleep
the rest of the night."
     "Oh, dear no! I shall sleep at San Lorenzo while the men are getting my
disguise ready."
     "Then  have  some coffee.  Wait  a  minute;  I  will  get  you out  the
biscuits."
     As  she  knelt down at  the  side-board he  suddenly  stooped  over her
shoulder.
     "Whatever have you got there? Chocolate creams and English toffee! Why,
this is l-luxury for a king!"
     She looked up, smiling faintly at his enthusiastic tone.
     "Are you fond of sweets? I always keep them for Cesare; he is a perfect
baby over any kind of lollipops."
     "R-r-really? Well, you must get him s-some more  to-morrow and  give me
these to take with me. No, let me p-p-put the  toffee in my pocket; it  will
console me for all the lost joys of life.  I d-do hope they'll give me a bit
of toffee to suck the day I'm hanged."
     "Oh, do let me find a cardboard box for it, at least, before you put it
in your pocket! You will be so sticky! Shall I put the chocolates in, too?"
     "No, I want to eat them now, with you."
     "But I don't like chocolate, and I want you to come and sit down like a
reasonable  human  being. We very likely  shan't have another chance to talk
quietly before one or other of us is killed, and------"
     "She d-d-doesn't like chocolate!" he murmured under his breath. "Then I
must be greedy all by  myself. This is a case of the hangman's supper, isn't
it? You are going to humour all my whims to-night. First of all, I  want you
to sit on this  easy-chair, and, as  you said I might lie down, I  shall lie
here and be comfortable."
     He threw himself down on  the rug at her feet, leaning his elbow on the
chair and looking up into her face.
     "How pale you are!" he said. "That's  because you take life sadly,  and
don't like chocolate----"
     "Do be serious for just five minutes! After all, it is a matter of life
and death."
     "Not even for two minutes, dear; neither life nor death is worth it."
     He had taken hold of both her hands and was stroking them with the tips
of his fingers.
     "Don't look so grave, Minerva! You'll make me cry in a minute, and then
you'll be sorry. I do wish you'd smile again; you have such a d-delightfully
unexpected  smile. There  now, don't scold me, dear! Let us eat our biscuits
together,  like  two  good  children, without  quarrelling  over them  --for
to-morrow we die."
     He  took  a  sweet  biscuit from the  plate and  carefully  halved  it,
breaking the sugar ornament down the middle with scrupulous exactness.
     "This is a kind of sacrament, like what the goody-goody people have  in
church.  'Take, eat;  this is my body.'  And we must d-drink the wine out of
the   s-s-same  glass,  you   know--yes,  that   is   right.   'Do  this  in
remembrance----'"
     She put down the glass.
     "Don't!" she said, with almost a sob.  He looked up, and took her hands
again.
     "Hush, then! Let us be quiet for a little bit. When one of us dies, the
other will  remember this.  We will  forget this loud, insistent  world that
howls about  our ears; we  will go away together, hand in hand;  we will  go
away into the secret  halls of death, and lie among the poppy-flowers. Hush!
We will be quite still."
     He laid  his  head  down against her  knee and covered his face. In the
silence she bent over him, her  hand on the black head.  So the time slipped
on and on; and they neither moved nor spoke.
     "Dear, it is almost twelve," she said at last. He raised his head.
     "We  have  only a  few  minutes  more; Martini will be  back presently.
Perhaps we shall never see each other again. Have you nothing to say to me?"
     He slowly rose and walked away to the other side of the room. There was
a moment's silence.
     "I have  one thing  to say," he began in  a  hardly audible voice; "one
thing--to tell you----"
     He stopped and sat down by the window, hiding his face in both hands.
     "You have been a long time deciding to be merciful," she said softly.
     "I have not seen  much mercy in  my life; and I thought--at  first--you
wouldn't care----"
     "You don't think that now."
     She  waited  a moment for him to speak and  then  crossed  the room and
stood beside him.
     "Tell  me the truth at last," she whispered. "Think, if  you are killed
and I  not--I should have to go through all my life and never know--never be
quite sure----"
     He took her hands and clasped them tightly.
     "If I am  killed----  You  see, when I went  to  South America----  Ah,
Martini!" He broke away with a  violent start and threw open the door of the
room. Martini was rubbing his boots on the mat.
     "Punctual  to  the  m-m-minute,  as  usual!  You're   an   an-n-nimated
chronometer, Martini. Is that the r-r-riding-cloak?"
     "Yes; and  two or three other things. I  have  kept  them  as dry  as I
could, but it's pouring with  rain. You will have a most uncomfortable ride,
I'm afraid."
     "Oh, that's no matter. Is the street clear?"
     "Yes; all  the  spies  seem to have  gone to bed.  I  don't much wonder
either, on such a villainous night. Is that coffee, Gemma? He ought to  have
something hot before he goes out into the wet, or he will catch cold."
     "It is black coffee, and very strong. I will boil some milk."
     She went into the  kitchen, passionately clenching her teeth and  hands
to keep from breaking down. When she  returned with the milk the Gadfly  had
put on the riding-cloak and was fastening the leather gaiters which  Martini
had  brought.  He  drank  a  cup  of  coffee,  standing,  and  took  up  the
broad-brimmed riding hat.
     "I think it's time to start, Martini; we must make a round before we go
to the barrier,  in case of anything.  Good-bye, for the present, signora; I
shall meet you  at Forli on  Friday, then, unless anything special turns up.
Wait a minute; th-this is the address."
     He tore a leaf out of his pocket-book and wrote a few words in pencil.
     "I have it already," she said in a dull, quiet voice.
     "H-have you? Well, there  it is, anyway. Come, Martini. Sh-sh-sh! Don't
let the door creak!"
     They  crept softly downstairs. When the street door clicked behind them
she went back  into the room and mechanically  unfolded the paper he had put
into her hand. Underneath the address was written:
     "I will tell you everything there."


     IT was market-day in Brisighella, and the country folk had come in from
the villages  and hamlets of the district with their pigs and poultry, their
dairy produce and droves of half-wild  mountain cattle. The market-place was
thronged with a perpetually shifting crowd, laughing, joking, bargaining for
dried  figs,  cheap  cakes, and  sunflower  seeds.  The  brown,  bare-footed
children  sprawled, face  downward, on  the  pavement in the hot sun,  while
their mothers sat under the trees with their baskets of butter and eggs.
     Monsignor Montanelli, coming out to wish the people "Good-morning," was
at once surrounded by  a clamourous  throng of  children, holding up for his
acceptance  great bunches of  irises and scarlet  poppies  and  sweet  white
narcissus  from the  mountain slopes.  His  passion  for  wild  flowers  was
affectionately tolerated  by  the people, as one of the little follies which
sit  gracefully  on very wise  men.  If anyone less  universally beloved had
filled his  house with weeds and grasses they would have laughed at him; but
the "blessed Cardinal" could afford a few harmless eccentricities.
     "Well, Mariuccia," he  said, stopping to pat one of the children on the
head;  "you have grown  since I saw you  last.  And how is the grandmother's
rheumatism?"
     "She's been better lately, Your Eminence; but mother's bad now."
     "I'm sorry to hear that; tell the mother to come down here some day and
see  whether Dr. Giordani can do anything for her. I will find  somewhere to
put her up; perhaps  the change  will do her  good.  You are looking better,
Luigi; how are your eyes?"
     He passed on, chatting with the mountaineers. He always remembered  the
names  and ages  of the children, their troubles and those of their parents;
and would stop to inquire, with sympathetic  interest, for the health of the
cow that fell sick at Christmas, or of the rag-doll that was crushed under a
cart-wheel last market-day.
     When he returned to the  palace  the marketing began.  A  lame man in a
blue shirt, with a shock of black hair hanging into his eyes and a deep scar
across the  left cheek, lounged up to  one of  the booths  and, in  very bad
Italian, asked for a drink of lemonade.
     "You're  not  from these  parts,"  said the  woman  who poured it  out,
glancing up at him.
     "No. I come from Corsica."
     "Looking for work?"
     "Yes; it will be hay-cutting time soon, and a gentleman that has a farm
near Ravenna came across to Bastia the other day and  told me there's plenty
of work to be got there."
     "I hope you'll find it so, I'm sure, but times are bad hereabouts."
     "They're worse in Corsica,  mother. I don't know what  we poor folk are
coming to."
     "Have you come over alone?"
     "No, my mate is with me; there he is, in the red shirt. Hola, Paolo!"
     Michele hearing himself called, came lounging up with  his hands in his
pockets. He made a fairly good Corsican, in spite  of  the  red wig which he
had  put on to  render himself  unrecognizable. As for the Gadfly, he looked
his part to perfection.
     They  sauntered through  the market-place together,  Michele  whistling
between  his  teeth,  and the  Gadfly trudging along with  a bundle over his
shoulder,  shuffling his  feet  on the  ground to render  his  lameness less
observable. They were waiting for  an emissary, to whom important directions
had to be given.
     "There's  Marcone, on  horseback,  at that  corner," Michele  whispered
suddenly.  The  Gadfly,  still carrying his  bundle,  shuffled  towards  the
horseman.
     "Do you happen to be wanting a hay-maker, sir?" he  said, touching  his
ragged cap and running one finger along the bridle. It was the signal agreed
upon,  and  the rider,  who from  his  appearance  might have been a country
squire's bailiff, dismounted and threw the reins on the horse's neck.
     "What sort of work can you do, my man?"
     The Gadfly fumbled with his cap.
     "I  can cut  grass, sir,  and  trim hedges"--he began;  and without any
break in his voice, went straight on: "At one in the morning at the mouth of
the round cave. You must have two good horses and a cart. I shall be waiting
inside the cave---- And then I can dig, sir, and----"
     "That  will do, I only want  a grass-cutter.  Have  you  ever  been out
before?"
     "Once,  sir.  Mind,  you  must come well-armed;  we may  meet  a flying
squadron.  Don't go by the wood-path; you're safer on the other side. If you
meet a spy, don't stop to argue with him;  fire at once---- I should be very
glad of work, sir."
     "Yes, I dare say, but I want an experienced grass-cutter. No, I haven't
got any coppers to-day."
     A  very  ragged beggar  had  slouched  up  to  them,  with  a  doleful,
monotonous whine.
     "Have pity on a poor blind man, in the name of the Blessed Virgin------
Get out  of this  place  at once; there's a flying squadron coming along----
Most  Holy Queen  of  Heaven,  Maiden  undefiled--  It's you they're  after,
Rivarez; they'll be here in two  minutes---- And so may  the  saints  reward
you----  You'll  have  to make a dash  for it; there are  spies  at all  the
corners. It's no use trying to slip away without being seen."
     Marcone slipped the reins into the Gadfly's hand.
     "Make haste! Ride out to the bridge and let the horse go;  you can hide
in the ravine. We're all armed; we can keep them back for ten minutes."
     "No. I won't  have you fellows taken. Stand together,  all of you,  and
fire after me in order. Move up towards our horses; there they are, tethered
by the  palace steps; and have  your knives  ready. We retreat fighting, and
when I throw my cap down, cut the halters and jump every man  on the nearest
horse. We may all reach the wood that way."
     They  had  spoken  in so  quiet  an  undertone  that even  the  nearest
bystanders had not  supposed their  conversation to  refer to  anything more
dangerous than grass-cutting. Marcone,  leading  his own mare by the bridle,
walked towards  the tethered horses, the Gadfly slouching along  beside him,
and the  beggar following them with an  outstretched  hand  and a persistent
whine. Michele came up whistling; the beggar  had warned him in passing, and
he quietly handed on the news to three countrymen who were eating raw onions
under a  tree. They immediately  rose and followed him;  and before anyone's
notice had been attracted to them, the whole seven were standing together by
the steps of the palace, each  man  with one hand on  the hidden pistol, and
the tethered horses within easy reach.
     "Don't  betray  yourselves till  I move," the  Gadfly  said softly  and
clearly. "They may not recognize us. When I fire, then begin in order. Don't
fire at  the men; lame their horses--then they can't follow us. Three of you
fire, while  the other  three  reload. If anyone  comes  between you and our
horses, kill him. I take the roan.  When I throw down my cap,  each man  for
himself; don't stop for anything."
     "Here they  come," said Michele;  and  the Gadfly turned round, with an
air of naive and  stupid wonder, as the  people suddenly broke off  in their
bargaining.
     Fifteen  armed  men  rode slowly into the marketplace. They  had  great
difficulty to get  past the throng of people at all, and,  but for the spies
at the corners of the square, all the  seven conspirators could have slipped
quietly away while the  attention  of the crowd was fixed upon the soldiers.
Michele moved a little closer to the Gadfly.
     "Couldn't we get away now?"
     "No; we're surrounded with spies, and one of them has recognized me. He
has just sent a man to tell the captain where  I am.  Our only  chance is to
lame their horses."
     "Which is the spy?"
     "The  first man I fire at. Are you all  ready? They have made a lane to
us; they are going to come with a rush."
     "Out  of  the way  there!" shouted  the captain. "In  the  name  of His
Holiness!"
     The crowd had drawn back, startled and wondering; and the soldiers made
a  quick  dash towards  the little group  standing  by the palace steps. The
Gadfly drew a pistol from his blouse and fired, not at the advancing troops,
but  at  the spy, who was  approaching the  horses, and who fell back with a
broken collar-bone. Immediately after the report, six  more shots were fired
in  quick succession,  as  the  conspirators  moved  steadily  closer to the
tethered horses.
     One  of the cavalry  horses stumbled  and plunged; another fell  to the
ground with a fearful cry. Then, through the shrieking of the panic-stricken
people, came  the loud,  imperious voice of  the officer in command, who had
risen in the stirrups and was holding a sword above his head.
     "This way, men!"
     He swayed  in the saddle and sank back; the Gadfly had fired again with
his deadly aim. A little  stream of blood was  trickling down  the captain's
uniform; but he steadied himself with a  violent effort,  and, clutching  at
his horse's mane, cried out fiercely:
     "Kill that lame devil if you can't take him alive! It's Rivarez!"
     "Another pistol, quick!" the Gadfly called to his men; "and go!"
     He flung down his cap. It was only just in time, for the swords of  the
now infuriated soldiers were flashing close in front of him.
     "Put down your weapons, all of you!"
     Cardinal  Montanelli had stepped suddenly  between the combatants;  and
one of the soldiers cried out in a voice sharp with terror:
     "Your Eminence! My God, you'll be murdered!"
     Montanelli only moved a step nearer, and faced the Gadfly's pistol.
     Five  of the conspirators were already on horseback and dashing  up the
hilly  street. Marcone sprang on to the back of his mare. In the  moment  of
riding away, he glanced back to see whether his leader was  in need of help.
The roan was close at hand, and in another instant all would have been safe;
but as the  figure  in  the  scarlet cassock  stepped  forward,  the  Gadfly
suddenly wavered and the hand with the pistol sank down. The instant decided
everything. Immediately he was surrounded and flung violently to the ground,
and  the weapon  was dashed  out of his hand by  a blow  from the  flat of a
soldier's sword. Marcone struck his mare's flank with the stirrup; the hoofs
of the cavalry horses were thundering  up the hill behind him;  and it would
have been worse than useless to stay and be taken too. Turning in the saddle
as he  galloped  away, to  fire  a  last shot  in the teeth  of  the nearest
pursuer, he saw the  Gadfly, with blood on his face, trampled under the feet
of horses and  soldiers  and spies;  and heard  the  savage  curses  of  the
captors, the yells of triumph and rage.
     Montanelli did not notice what had happened; he had moved away from the
steps, and was trying to calm the terrified people. Presently, as he stooped
over the wounded spy, a startled movement of the crowd made him look up. The
soldiers were crossing the square, dragging their prisoner after them by the
rope  with  which his  hands were  tied.  His  face was  livid with pain and
exhaustion, and  he panted fearfully  for breath; but he looked round at the
Cardinal, smiling with white lips, and whispered:
     "I c-cong-gratulate your Eminence."
     . . . . .
     Five days later Martini  reached Forli. He had received from  Gemma  by
post a bundle of  printed circulars, the signal agreed  upon in  case of his
being needed  in any special emergency; and, remembering the conversation on
the terrace,  he guessed the truth at once. All through the  journey he kept
repeating to himself that there was no reason for supposing anything to have
happened to the Gadfly, and  that  it was absurd to attach any importance to
the childish superstitions of so nervous and fanciful a person; but the more
he reasoned with himself  against  the  idea,  the more firmly  did  it take
possession of his mind.
     "I  have guessed what it is:  Rivarez is taken, of course?" he said, as
he came into Gemma's room.
     "He was  arrested last  Thursday, at Brisighella.  He  defended himself
desperately and wounded the captain of the squadron and a spy."
     "Armed resistance; that's bad!"
     "It makes no  difference; he  was too deeply compromised already for  a
pistol-shot more or less to affect his position much."
     "What do you think they are going to do with him?"
     She grew a shade paler even than before.
     "I think," she said; "that we must not wait to find out what they  mean
to do."
     "You think we shall be able to effect a rescue?"
     "We MUST."
     He  turned away and began to whistle,  with his  hands behind his back.
Gemma let  him think  undisturbed. She  was  sitting still, leaning her head
against the back of the  chair, and  looking out into vague  distance with a
fixed and  tragic absorption. When her  face wore that  expression, it had a
look of Durer's "Melancolia."
     "Have you seen him?" Martini asked, stopping for a moment in his tramp.
     "No; he was to have met me here the next morning."
     "Yes, I remember. Where is he?"
     "In the fortress; very strictly guarded, and, they say, in chains."
     He made a gesture of indifference.
     "Oh, that's  no  matter;  a  good file will  get  rid  of any number of
chains. If only he isn't wounded----"
     "He seems  to have been  slightly hurt, but  exactly how much we  don't
know. I think you had better hear the account of it from Michele himself; he
was present at the arrest."
     "How does he come not to have been taken too? Did he run away and leave
Rivarez in the lurch?"
     "It's not his fault; he fought as long as anybody did, and followed the
directions given him to the letter.  For that matter, so did they  all.  The
only  person who seems to  have forgotten, or  somehow made a mistake at the
last  minute,  is Rivarez himself. There's  something inexplicable about  it
altogether. Wait a moment; I will call Michele."
     She  went out  of the room, and presently came back with Michele  and a
broad-shouldered mountaineer.
     "This is  Marco," she said. "You have  heard of  him; he is one of  the
smugglers. He  has just got here, and perhaps will be  able to tell us more.
Michele, this is  Cesare Martini,  that I spoke to you  about. Will you tell
him what happened, as far as you saw it?"
     Michele gave a short account of the skirmish with the squadron.
     "I  can't  understand how  it  happened," he concluded. "Not one of  us
would have left him if we had thought  he would be taken; but his directions
were quite precise, and it never occurred to us, when he threw down his cap,
that he would wait to let them surround him. He was close beside the roan--I
saw  him cut  the tether--and I handed him  a loaded pistol myself  before I
mounted. The  only thing I can suppose is that he missed his footing,--being
lame,--in trying to mount. But even then, he could have fired."
     "No, it wasn't that," Marcone interposed. "He didn't  attempt to mount.
I  was the last one to go, because my mare shied at the firing; and I looked
round to see whether he  was  safe. He would have got off clear if it hadn't
been for the  Cardinal." "Ah!" Gemma  exclaimed softly; and Martini repeated
in amazement: "The Cardinal?"
     "Yes; he threw himself in front of the pistol-- confound him! I suppose
Rivarez must have been startled, for he dropped his pistol-hand  and put the
other one  up  like  this"--laying the  back of his left  wrist  across  his
eyes--"and of course they all rushed on him."
     "I can't make that out,"  said Michele. "It's not like  Rivarez to lose
his head at a crisis."
     "Probably he lowered  his pistol  for fear  of killing an unarmed man,"
Martini put in. Michele shrugged his shoulders.
     "Unarmed men shouldn't poke their noses into the middle of a fight. War
is war.  If  Rivarez had put a bullet into His Eminence, instead  of letting
himself be caught like a tame rabbit, there'd be one honest man the more and
one priest the less."
     He turned  away, biting  his  moustache.  His  anger was  very near  to
breaking down in tears.
     "Anyway," said Martini, "the  thing's done, and there's no use  wasting
time in discussing how it happened. The question now is how we're to arrange
an escape for him. I suppose you're all willing to risk it?"
     Michele did not even condescend to answer the superfluous question, and
the smuggler only remarked with a little  laugh: "I'd shoot my own  brother,
if he weren't willing."
     "Very well, then---- First thing; have you got a plan of the fortress?"
     Gemma unlocked a drawer and took out several sheets of paper.
     "I have  made  out  all  the  plans. Here is  the ground floor  of  the
fortress; here are the upper and lower stories  of the towers,  and here the
plan  of the  ramparts. These are  the roads leading to the valley, and here
are  the paths  and  hiding-places  in  the mountains,  and  the underground
passages."
     "Do you know which of the towers he is in?"
     "The east one, in the round room with the grated window. I  have marked
it on the plan."
     "How did you get your information?"
     "From a  man  nicknamed  'The Cricket,' a soldier of the guard.  He  is
cousin to one of our men--Gino."
     "You have been quick about it."
     "There's no time  to lose. Gino went into Brisighella at once; and some
of the  plans we already had. That list of hiding-places was made by Rivarez
himself; you can see by the handwriting."
     "What sort of men are the soldiers of the guard?"
     "That we have not  been able to find out yet; the Cricket has only just
come to the place, and knows nothing about the other men."
     "We  must  find out  from  Gino  what  the Cricket  himself is like. Is
anything known of the government's intentions? Is Rivarez likely to be tried
in Brisighella or taken in to Ravenna?"
     "That we don't know.  Ravenna, of  course,  is  the  chief  town of the
Legation  and  by law cases of importance  can be  tried  only there, in the
Tribunal of  First Instance.  But law  doesn't  count for  much in the  Four
Legations; it depends on the personal fancy of anybody who happens to be  in
power."
     "They won't take him in to Ravenna," Michele interposed.
     "What makes you think so?"
     "I   am  sure  of  it.  Colonel  Ferrari,  the  military   Governor  at
Brisighella, is uncle to the officer that Rivarez wounded; he's a vindictive
sort of brute and won't give up a chance to spite an enemy."
     "You think he will try to keep Rivarez here?"
     "I think he will try to get him hanged."
     Martini glanced  quickly at Gemma. She  was very pale, but her face had
not changed at the words. Evidently the idea was no new one to her.
     "He  can hardly do that without some formality," she said quietly; "but
he  might  possibly get up  a  court-martial  on some pretext  or other, and
justify himself afterwards by  saying that the  peace of the  town  required
it."
     "But what about the Cardinal? Would he consent to things of that kind?"
     "He has no jurisdiction in military affairs."
     "No, but  he has great influence. Surely the Governor would not venture
on such a step without his consent?"
     "He'll never  get  that," Marcone interrupted.  "Montanelli  was always
against  the  military commissions, and everything  of the kind. So  long as
they keep him in Brisighella nothing serious  can happen; the Cardinal  will
always  take the part  of any  prisoner. What I am afraid of is their taking
him to Ravenna. Once there, he's lost."
     "We  shouldn't let him get there,"  said  Michele.  "We  could manage a
rescue  on the road; but to  get  him out of the fortress  here  is  another
matter."
     "I think," said Gemma; "that it would be quite useless to wait for  the
chance  of his being  transferred  to Ravenna. We must  make  the attempt at
Brisighella, and we  have no time  to lose. Cesare, you and I  had better go
over  the  plan of the  fortress together, and see whether  we can think out
anything. I have an idea in my head, but I can't get over one point."
     "Come, Marcone," said Michele, rising; "we will leave them to think out
their  scheme. I have to go across to Fognano this afternoon, and I want you
to come with me. Vincenzo hasn't  sent those cartridges,  and  they ought to
have been here yesterday."
     When the two  men had gone, Martini went up  to Gemma and silently held
out his hand. She let her fingers lie in his for a moment.
     "You were always a  good friend, Cesare," she said at last; "and a very
present help  in  trouble. And  now let  us discuss plans."PART III: CHAPTER
III.
     "AND I once more most earnestly assure Your Eminence that your  refusal
is endangering the peace of the town."
     The  Governor tried to  preserve  the respectful  tone due  to  a  high
dignitary of the Church; but there was audible irritation in  his voice. His
liver was out of order, his wife was running up heavy bills, and his  temper
had been sorely tried  during  the  last three weeks. A sullen,  disaffected
populace,  whose  dangerous  mood  grew  daily  more  apparent;  a  district
honeycombed with plots  and bristling  with hidden  weapons;  an inefficient
garrison, of whose loyalty he was more than doubtful, and a Cardinal whom he
had pathetically described to his adjutant as the "incarnation of immaculate
pig-headedness," had already reduced him to the verge of desperation. Now he
was  saddled  with  the  Gadfly, an  animated quintessence  of the spirit of
mischief.
     Having begun by disabling  both the Governor's favourite nephew and his
most valuable spy, the "crooked Spanish devil" had followed up  his exploits
in  the market-place  by suborning the guards, browbeating the interrogating
officers, and "turning the prison into a bear-garden." He had now been three
weeks in the fortress, and the authorities of Brisighella were heartily sick
of   their  bargain.  They   had  subjected   him   to  interrogation   upon
interrogation;  and after employing,  to  obtain admissions from  him, every
device of  threat,  persuasion,  and stratagem  which their  ingenuity could
suggest, remained  just as wise as on the day of his capture. They had begun
to  realize that it  would perhaps have been better to send him into Ravenna
at  once. It was, however,  too late to  rectify the mistake.  The Governor,
when sending in to the  Legate his report of  the arrest,  had begged, as  a
special  favour, permission  to superintend personally the  investigation of
this case; and, his request having been graciously acceded to, he  could not
now withdraw without a humiliating confession that he was overmatched.
     The idea of settling the difficulty by a courtmartial had, as Gemma and
Michele had  foreseen,  presented  itself  to  him as the only  satisfactory
solution; and Cardinal Montanelli's stubborn refusal to countenance this was
the last drop which made the cup of his vexations overflow.
     "I  think,"  he said,  "that  if  Your  Eminence  knew  what I  and  my
assistants  have put up with from this  man you would feel differently about
the matter. I  fully understand  and respect  the conscientious objection to
irregularities in judicial proceedings; but this is  an exceptional case and
calls for exceptional measures."
     "There is  no case,"  Montanelli answered, "which  calls for injustice;
and to condemn  a civilian by  the judgment of a secret military tribunal is
both unjust and illegal."
     "The case amounts  to this, Your Eminence: The  prisoner is  manifestly
guilty of several capital crimes. He joined the infamous attempt of Savigno,
and the military commission  nominated by  Monsignor Spinola would certainly
have had  him  shot or  sent  to  the galleys then, had  he not succeeded in
escaping to  Tuscany. Since  that time  he has never ceased plotting.  He is
known  to be  an  influential  member  of one  of the most pestilent  secret
societies in the country. He is gravely suspected of having consented to, if
not inspired, the  assassination  of  no less than three confidential police
agents.  He has been caught-- one might almost say--in the act of  smuggling
firearms into the Legation. He has offered armed resistance to authority and
seriously wounded two officials in the discharge  of their  duty,  and he is
now a standing menace to the peace and order of the town. Surely,  in such a
case, a court-martial is justifiable."
     "Whatever the  man has done," Montanelli replied, "he has  the right to
be judged according to law."
     "The ordinary course of law involves delay, Your Eminence, and in  this
case every moment is precious.  Besides everything else,  I  am  in constant
terror of his escaping."
     "If  there is any danger of that, it rests with  you to guard him  more
closely."
     "I do my best, Your Eminence, but I am dependent upon the prison staff,
and the man  seems to have bewitched them all. I have changed the guard four
times within three weeks; I  have  punished the soldiers till I am tired  of
it,  and  nothing is  of  any use. I can't  prevent  their carrying  letters
backwards and forwards.  The  fools are in love with  him  as if he  were  a
woman."
     "That is very curious. There must be something remarkable about him."
     "There's a remarkable amount of  devilry--I beg pardon,  Your Eminence,
but really  this man is enough to try the patience of  a saint. It's  hardly
credible,  but I  have to  conduct  all the interrogations  myself,  for the
regular officer cannot stand it any longer."
     "How is that?"
     "It's difficult to explain. Your Eminence, but you would understand  if
you had once heard  the  way he goes on.  One  might think the interrogating
officer were the criminal and he the judge."
     "But  what is there so terrible that he can do? He can refuse to answer
your questions, of course; but he has no weapon except silence."
     "And a tongue like a razor. We are all mortal, Your Eminence, and  most
of  us have  made mistakes in  our time that we don't want  published on the
house-tops. That's only human nature,  and it's hard  on  a man to  have his
little slips of twenty years ago raked up and thrown in his teeth----"
     "Has  Rivarez brought  up  some  personal  secret  of the interrogating
officer?"
     "Well, really--the  poor fellow  got into  debt when  he was a  cavalry
officer, and borrowed a little sum from the regimental funds----"
     "Stole public money that had been intrusted to him, in fact?"
     "Of  course it  was very  wrong, Your Eminence; but his friends paid it
back at once, and the affair was hushed up,--he comes of a good family,--and
ever since then he has been irreproachable. How Rivarez found out about it I
can't conceive; but the first thing he did at interrogation was  to bring up
this old scandal--before the subaltern, too! And with as innocent  a face as
if he were saying his prayers! Of course  the story's all  over the Legation
by now. If Your Eminence would only be present at one of the interrogations,
I am sure you would realize---- He needn't know anything about it. You might
overhear him from------"
     Montanelli turned round and looked at  the Governor with  an expression
which his face did not often wear.
     "I  am  a  minister  of  religion," he  said; "not  a  police-spy;  and
eavesdropping forms no part of my professional duties."
     "I--I didn't mean to give offence------"
     "I think  we shall not get  any  good  out  of discussing this question
further. If you will send the prisoner here, I will have a talk with him."
     "I venture very respectfully to advise Your Eminence not to attempt it.
The  man is perfectly incorrigible. It  would be  both safer  and  wiser  to
overstep the letter of the law  for  this once, and get rid of him before he
does any more mischief. It is with great diffidence  that I venture to press
the point after what Your Eminence  has said; but after all I am responsible
to Monsignor the Legate for the order of the town------"
     "And I,"  Montanelli  interrupted,  "am  responsible  to  God  and  His
Holiness that there shall  be no underhand dealing  in my diocese. Since you
press me  in  the matter,  colonel, I take  my  stand upon my  privilege  as
Cardinal.  I  will  not  allow  a  secret  court-martial  in  this  town  in
peace-time. I  will receive the prisoner  here, and alone,  at ten to-morrow
morning."
     "As  Your   Eminence   pleases,"  the   Governor  replied   with  sulky
respectfulness; and went away, grumbling to himself: "They're  about a pair,
as far as obstinacy goes."
     He told no one of the  approaching interview till it  was actually time
to knock  off the  prisoner's chains and start  for the palace. It was quite
enough, as he remarked to his wounded nephew, to have this Most  Eminent son
of  Balaam's ass laying  down  the  law,  without running  any risk  of  the
soldiers plotting with Rivarez and his friends  to effect an escape  on  the
way.
     When  the  Gadfly,  strongly guarded, entered the room where Montanelli
was writing  at a table covered with papers, a sudden recollection came over
him, of a hot midsummer  afternoon  when he  had sat turning over manuscript
sermons  in  a study much like  this. The shutters had been  closed, as they
were here,  to keep out the  heat,  and  a fruitseller's  voice outside  had
called: "Fragola! Fragola!"
     He  shook the  hair  angrily back from his eyes and set his  mouth in a
smile.
     Montanelli looked up from his papers.
     "You can wait in the hall," he said to the guards.
     "May it please Your Eminence,"  began the sergeant, in a lowered  voice
and  with evident  nervousness, "the  colonel thinks  that  this prisoner is
dangerous and that it would be better------"
     A sudden flash came into Montanelli's eyes.
     "You  can wait in  the  hall,"  he  repeated quietly; and the sergeant,
saluting  and  stammering excuses with a frightened face, left the room with
his men.
     "Sit down, please,"  said the Cardinal,  when  the door was  shut.  The
Gadfly obeyed in silence.
     "Signor Rivarez," Montanelli began after a pause, "I wish  to ask you a
few  questions,  and shall  be very much obliged  to you if you will  answer
them."
     The Gadfly  smiled. "My ch-ch-chief occupation at  p-p-present is to be
asked questions."
     "And--not to answer them? So  I have heard; but these questions are put
by officials who are investigating your case  and whose  duty is to use your
answers as evidence."
     "And th-those of Your Eminence?" There was a covert insult in the  tone
more than in the words, and the Cardinal understood it at once; but his face
did not lose its grave sweetness of expression.
     "Mine," he said, "whether you  answer them or not,  will remain between
you and me. If they should trench upon your political secrets, of course you
will not answer. Otherwise, though we are complete strangers to  each other,
I hope that you will do so, as a personal favour to me."
     "I am ent-t-tirely at the service of Your Eminence." He said it with  a
little bow, and a face that would have taken the heart to ask favours out of
the daughters of the horse-leech.
     "First,  then, you  are said to have been  smuggling firearms into this
district. What are they wanted for?"
     "T-t-to k-k-kill rats with."
     "That is a terrible answer.  Are all your fellow-men rats in your  eyes
if they cannot think as you do?"
     "S-s-some of them."
     Montanelli leaned back in his chair and looked at him  in silence for a
little while.
     "What is that on your hand?" he asked suddenly.
     The Gadfly glanced at  his left hand. "Old m-m-marks from  the teeth of
some of the rats."
     "Excuse me; I was speaking of the other hand. That is a fresh hurt."
     The slender,  flexible  right hand was badly cut and grazed. The Gadfly
held  it up. The wrist was swollen,  and across it ran a deep and long black
bruise.
     "It is a  m-m-mere trifle, as you  see," he  said. "When I was arrested
the  other day,--thanks to Your Eminence,"--he  made another  little  bow,--
"one of the soldiers stamped on it."
     Montanelli took the wrist and examined it closely. "How does it come to
be in such a state now, after three weeks?" he asked. "It is all inflamed."
     "Possibly the p-p-pressure of the iron has not done it much good."
     The Cardinal looked up with a frown.
     "Have they been putting irons on a fresh wound?"
     "N-n-naturally, Your Eminence; that is what  fresh  wounds are for. Old
wounds are not much use.  They will only ache; you c-c-can't make them  burn
properly."
     Montanelli  looked at him again  in the same close,  scrutinizing  way;
then rose and opened a drawer full of surgical appliances.
     "Give me the hand," he said.
     The Gadfly, with a face as hard as beaten iron, held out the hand,  and
Montanelli,  after bathing the injured place, gently  bandaged it. Evidently
he was accustomed to such work.
     "I will speak about  the irons,"  he said. "And now I  want  to ask you
another question: What do you propose to do?"
     "Th-th-that is very simply answered, Your Eminence. To escape if I can,
and if I can't, to die."
     "Why 'to die'?"
     "Because if the Governor doesn't succeed in getting me shot, I shall be
sent to the galleys, and for me that c-c-comes to the same thing. I have not
got the health to live through it."
     Montanelli rested  his  arm  on  the table  and pondered silently.  The
Gadfly did not disturb him. He was leaning  back with half-shut eyes, lazily
enjoying the delicious physical sensation of relief from the chains.
     "Supposing,"  Montanelli  began  again,  "that you were  to  succeed in
escaping; what should you do with your life?"
     "I have already told Your Eminence; I should k-k-kill rats."
     "You would kill rats. That is to say, that  if I were to let you escape
from  here now,--supposing  I had the power to  do so,--you would  use  your
freedom to foster violence and bloodshed instead of preventing them?"
     The Gadfly raised his eyes to  the crucifix on the wall.  "'Not  peace,
but  a sword';--at l-least I  should be in good  company. For  my  own part,
though, I prefer pistols."
     "Signor Rivarez," said the  Cardinal  with unruffled composure, "I have
not insulted you as yet,  or  spoken slightingly of your beliefs or friends.
May I not expect  the  same courtesy from you, or do you  wish me to suppose
that an atheist cannot be a gentleman?"
     "Ah, I q-quite forgot.  Your Eminence places courtesy  high  among  the
Christian virtues. I remember your sermon in Florence, on the occasion of my
c-controversy with your anonymous defender."
     "That is  one  of the subjects about which I  wished  to speak to  you.
Would  you mind explaining to me  the  reason of the peculiar bitterness you
seem to feel against  me? If  you have  simply picked me out as a convenient
target, that  is  another  matter. Your methods of political controversy are
your own affair, and we are not  discussing politics now.  But I fancied  at
the time that  there was some  personal animosity towards  me;  and if so, I
should be  glad to know whether  I have ever  done  you wrong or in  any way
given you cause for such a feeling."
     Ever done him wrong! The Gadfly put up the bandaged hand to his throat.
"I  must  refer  Your Eminence to Shakspere," he said  with a  little laugh.
"It's as with  the  man who  can't  endure  a harmless,  necessary  cat.  My
antipathy is a priest. The sight of the cassock makes my t-t-teeth ache."
     "Oh, if  it is only that----" Montanelli dismissed the subject  with an
indifferent gesture.
     "Still,"  he  added, "abuse  is  one  thing and  perversion  of fact is
another.  When you stated,  in answer to my sermon, that I knew the identity
of the  anonymous writer, you made a mistake,--I do not accuse you of wilful
falsehood,--and stated what  was untrue. I am  to this day quite ignorant of
his name."
     The Gadfly put his head on one side, like an intelligent robin,  looked
at him for a moment gravely, then suddenly threw himself back and burst into
a peal of laughter.
     "S-s-sancta simplicitas! Oh, you, sweet, innocent, Arcadian people--and
you never guessed! You n-never saw the cloven hoof?"
     Montanelli stood  up.  "Am I to  understand,  Signor  Rivarez, that you
wrote both sides of the controversy yourself?"
     "It was a shame, I know," the Gadfly  answered, looking  up  with wide,
innocent blue eyes. "And you  s-s-swallowed everything whole; just as if  it
had been an oyster. It was very wrong; but oh, it w-w-was so funny!"
     Montanelli  bit his lip and sat down  again.  He had realized  from the
first  that the Gadfly was trying  to make  him lose  his  temper,  and  had
resolved to keep it whatever  happened; but he was beginning to find excuses
for the Governor's exasperation. A man who had been spending two hours a day
for  the last three  weeks in interrogating the  Gadfly might be pardoned an
occasional swear-word.
     "We will drop that subject," he said quietly. "What I wanted to see you
for particularly is this: My position here as Cardinal  gives me some voice,
if  I choose to claim my privilege,  in the question of what  is  to be done
with you. The only use to which I should ever put such a privilege would  be
to  interfere  in  case of  any  violence  to you which was not necessary to
prevent you from doing violence to others. I sent for you, therefore, partly
in order to ask whether you have anything  to complain of,--I will see about
the  irons; but perhaps there is something else,--and  partly because I felt
it right, before giving  my opinion, to see for myself  what sort of man you
are."
     "I have nothing  to complain of, Your Eminence. 'A la guerre comme a la
guerre.' I am  not  a schoolboy, to expect any  government  to pat me on the
head for s-s-smuggling firearms onto its  territory. It's only natural  that
they should hit as hard as they can.  As for what sort of man I am, you have
had a romantic confession of my sins once. Is not that enough;  or w-w-would
you like me to begin again?"
     "I  don't understand you,"  Montanelli said coldly, taking up a  pencil
and twisting it between his fingers.
     "Surely Your Eminence has  not forgotten  old Diego,  the pilgrim?"  He
suddenly  changed his voice and began to  speak as Diego:  "I am a miserable
sinner------"
     The pencil snapped in Montanelli's hand. "That is too much!" he said.
     The Gadfly leaned  his head back with a  soft  little  laugh,  and  sat
watching while the Cardinal paced silently up and down the room.
     "Signor  Rivarez,"  said  Montanelli, stopping at last in front of him,
"you have done a thing  to me  that  a  man  who was  born of a woman should
hesitate to do to his  worst enemy. You have stolen in upon my private grief
and  have made  for  yourself  a  mock and a jest  out  of  the sorrow  of a
fellow-man. I once more beg you to tell  me: Have I ever done you wrong? And
if not, why have you played this heartless trick on me?"
     The Gadfly, leaning back against the chair-cushions, looked up with his
subtle, chilling, inscrutable smile
     "It am-m-mused me, Your Eminence; you took it all so much to heart, and
it rem-m-minded me-- a little bit--of a variety show----"
     Montanelli, white to the very lips, turned away and rang the bell.
     "You can take back the prisoner," he said when the guards came in.
     After  they had  gone he  sat  down at  the table, still trembling with
unaccustomed indignation, and took  up a pile of reports which had been sent
in to him by the parish priests of his diocese.
     Presently he pushed them away, and, leaning on the table, hid  his face
in  both  hands. The Gadfly  seemed  to  have  left  some terrible shadow of
himself,  some ghostly  trail of  his  personality, to haunt the  room;  and
Montanelli sat trembling and cowering, not  daring to look up lest he should
see  the phantom presence that  he  knew  was not there. The spectre  hardly
amounted to a hallucination.  It was a mere fancy of overwrought nerves; but
he was  seized with  an unutterable dread  of its  shadowy  presence--of the
wounded hand, the smiling, cruel mouth, the mysterious eyes, like  deep  sea
water----
     He shook off the fancy and settled  to  his  work. All day long  he had
scarcely a free moment, and the  thing  did not trouble him; but  going into
his  bedroom late at night, he  stopped on the threshold with a sudden shock
of  fear.  What if  he should  see  it  in  a  dream?  He recovered  himself
immediately and knelt down before the crucifix to pray.
     But he lay awake the whole night through.


     MONTANELLI'S  anger  did  not  make him neglectful of  his  promise. He
protested so  emphatically against the manner in  which  the Gadfly had been
chained  that the unfortunate Governor,  who  by now  was at  his wit's end,
knocked  off all the fetters in  the recklessness  of despair. "How  am I to
know," he grumbled to the adjutant, "what  His Eminence will object to next?
If he  calls  a simple  pair  of handcuffs  'cruelty,' he'll  be  exclaiming
against  the window-bars presently, or wanting me to feed Rivarez on oysters
and truffles. In my young days malefactors were malefactors and were treated
accordingly, and nobody thought a  traitor any better than a thief. But it's
the  fashion  to  be seditious nowadays; and His  Eminence seems inclined to
encourage all the scoundrels in the country."
     "I  don't see  what  business  he  has  got to  interfere at  all," the
adjutant  remarked. "He  is not  a Legate and has  no authority in civil and
military affairs. By law------"
     "What  is  the use of talking about  law?  You can't  expect anyone  to
respect  laws  after the Holy Father has opened the  prisons  and turned the
whole  crew of Liberal scamps loose  on us! It's a  positive infatuation! Of
course  Monsignor Montanelli will  give  himself  airs; he was  quiet enough
under His Holiness  the  late  Pope,  but he's  cock of the walk now. He has
jumped into favour all at once and can do as he pleases. How am  I to oppose
him?  He may have  secret authorization from the Vatican, for  all  I  know.
Everything's topsy-turvy now; you can't tell from day to day what may happen
next. In the good old times one knew what to be at, but nowadays------"
     The  Governor shook  his  head  ruefully. A  world  in which  Cardinals
troubled themselves over  trifles of prison discipline and  talked about the
"rights" of political offenders was a world that was growing too complex for
him.
     The Gadfly, for  his part, had returned  to the fortress in  a state of
nervous excitement bordering on hysteria. The  meeting  with Montanelli  had
strained his endurance almost to  breaking-point;  and his  final  brutality
about the variety show  had been uttered in sheer desperation, merely to cut
short  an  interview which,  in another five  minutes, would have  ended  in
tears.
     Called up for  interrogation in the afternoon of  the same day,  he did
nothing but go  into  convulsions  of laughter at every question put to him;
and  when  the Governor, worried  out of  all patience, lost his  temper and
began to swear,  he only laughed more  immoderately than  ever. The  unlucky
Governor fumed  and  stormed  and  threatened his refractory  prisoner  with
impossible punishments; but finally came, as James Burton had come long ago,
to the conclusion that  it was mere waste of breath and temper to argue with
a person in so unreasonable a state of mind.
     The  Gadfly was once  more taken back to his cell; and  there  lay down
upon the pallet, in the  mood of  black and hopeless depression which always
succeeded  to his boisterous fits.  He  lay  till  evening  without  moving,
without  even  thinking; he  had  passed, after the  vehement emotion of the
morning, into  a strange, half-apathetic state, in which his own misery  was
hardly  more to  him  than a dull  and mechanical  weight, pressing  on some
wooden  thing that had forgotten to be a  soul. In truth, it was  of  little
consequence how all ended; the one thing that mattered to any sentient being
was to be spared unbearable pain,  and whether  the relief came from altered
conditions or from the deadening of the power to feel, was a  question of no
moment. Perhaps he  would  succeed in escaping; perhaps they would kill him;
in any  case  he should never see the Padre again, and it was all vanity and
vexation of spirit.
     One of  the warders brought  in  supper, and the Gadfly looked  up with
heavy-eyed indifference.
     "What time is it?"
     "Six o'clock. Your supper, sir."
     He looked with disgust at the stale, foul-smelling, half-cold mess, and
turned his head away.  He was feeling  bodily ill as well as  depressed; and
the sight of the food sickened him.
     "You will be ill if you don't eat," said the soldier hurriedly. "Take a
bit of bread, anyway; it'll do you good."
     The man spoke with a  curious earnestness of  tone,  lifting a piece of
sodden bread from the plate and putting it down  again. All  the conspirator
awoke in the Gadfly;  he had guessed at once that there was something hidden
in the bread.
     "You can leave it; I'll eat  a bit by and by," he said  carelessly. The
door was open, and he knew that  the sergeant on the stairs could hear every
word spoken between them.
     When  the door  was locked on  him again, and he had satisfied  himself
that no one was watching at the spy-hole, he took up  the piece of bread and
carefully crumbled it away. In the middle  was the thing he  had expected, a
bundle of small  files. It  was wrapped  in a  bit of paper, on  which a few
words  were written. He smoothed  the paper out carefully and  carried it to
what little light there was. The writing was crowded into so narrow a space,
and on such thin paper, that it was very difficult to read.
     "The  door is unlocked, and there  is no moon.  Get the filing done  as
fast as possible, and come by  the passage  between  two and three.  We  are
quite ready and may not have another chance."
     He crushed the paper  feverishly in his hand. All the preparations were
ready, then, and he had only to file  the window bars; how lucky it was that
the chains were off! He  need not stop about filing them. How many bars were
there? Two, four; and each must be filed in two  places: eight. Oh, he could
manage that in the course of the night  if he made haste----  How had  Gemma
and  Martini  contrived  to  get  everything  ready  so  quickly--disguises,
passports,  hiding-places? They  must  have  worked  like cart-horses to  do
it---- And it  was her plan that had been adopted  after  all.  He laughed a
little to himself at his own foolishness; as if it mattered whether the plan
was hers  or not, once it  was a good one!  And yet he could not help  being
glad  that  it was  she  who had  struck  on the idea  of his  utilizing the
subterranean passage, instead  of letting  himself down by a rope-ladder, as
the  smugglers  had  at first  suggested.  Hers  was  the  more  complex and
difficult plan, but did not involve, as the other did, a risk to the life of
the sentinel on duty  outside the east wall. Therefore, when the two schemes
had been laid before him, he had unhesitatingly chosen Gemma's.
     The arrangement was that the friendly guard who went by the nickname of
"The  Cricket" should seize  the first opportunity of unlocking, without the
knowledge of his fellows, the iron gate leading from the  courtyard into the
subterranean  passage  underneath  the ramparts, and should then replace the
key  on its nail  in the guard-room. The Gadfly, on receiving information of
this, was to file through the bars of his window, tear his shirt into strips
and plait them  into a rope,  by means of which he could let himself down on
to the  broad east wall of the courtyard. Along this wall he was to creep on
hands  and knees while the sentinel was looking  in the opposite  direction,
lying  flat upon the masonry whenever  the  man turned  towards  him. At the
southeast corner was a half-ruined turret. It was upheld, to some extent, by
a thick growth of ivy; but great masses of crumbling stone had fallen inward
and lay in  the  courtyard, heaped against the wall. From this turret he was
to  climb down by the ivy and the heaps  of stone  into the  courtyard; and,
softly opening the unlocked gate,  to  make his way along the passage  to  a
subterranean  tunnel communicating with it.  Centuries  ago  this tunnel had
formed  a  secret  corridor  between   the  fortress  and  a  tower  on  the
neighbouring hill; now it was quite disused  and  blocked  in many places by
the falling  in of  the rocks.  No one but the smugglers  knew of  a certain
carefully-hidden hole  in the mountain-side which they had bored through  to
the tunnel; no one suspected that stores of forbidden merchandise were often
kept, for weeks  together, under the very ramparts of  the  fortress itself,
while  the customs-officers  were vainly searching the houses of the sullen,
wrathful-eyed mountaineers. At this hole the Gadfly  was to creep out on  to
the hillside, and  make his  way in the dark to a lonely spot where  Martini
and a smuggler would be waiting for him. The one  great difficulty was  that
opportunities  to unlock  the  gate after  the evening patrol  did not occur
every night, and the descent from the window could not be made in very clear
weather without too great a risk of being observed by the sentinel. Now that
there was really a fair chance of success, it must not be missed.
     He sat  down  and began to  eat some of the bread. It at least did  not
disgust him like the rest  of the prison  food, and he must eat something to
keep up his strength.
     He  had better lie down a bit,  too, and  try to get a little sleep; it
would not be safe to begin  filing  before ten  o'clock, and he would have a
hard night's work.
     And so,  after all, the Padre had been thinking of letting  him escape!
That was  like the  Padre. But he, for his part, would  never consent to it.
Anything rather than that! If he escaped, it should  be  his own  doing  and
that of his comrades; he would have no favours from priests.
     How hot  it was! Surely  it  must  be going to thunder; the air was  so
close and oppressive. He moved restlessly on the pallet and put the bandaged
right  hand  behind  his head for a pillow;  then drew it away again. How it
burned and  throbbed! And all the old wounds were  beginning to ache, with a
dull, faint persistence. What was the matter  with them? Oh, absurd! It  was
only the thundery weather. He would go to sleep and get a little rest before
beginning his filing.
     Eight bars, and all so thick and strong! How many  more were there left
to file? Surely not many. He must have been filing for hours,-- interminable
hours--yes, of course, that was what made his arm ache---- And how it ached;
right through to the very bone! But  it could hardly be the filing that made
his side ache so; and the throbbing, burning pain in  the lame leg--was that
from filing?
     He started up. No, he had not been  asleep;  he had  been dreaming with
open eyes--dreaming of filing, and it  was all still to  do. There stood the
window-bars, untouched, strong and firm as ever. And there was  ten striking
from the clock-tower in the distance. He must get to work.
     He  looked through the  spy-hole, and, seeing that no one was watching,
took one of the files from his breast.
     . . . . .
     No,  there  was  nothing  the  matter with him--  nothing!  It  was all
imagination. The pain in his side was indigestion, or a  chill, or some such
thing; not much wonder, after  three weeks of this insufferable prison  food
and air. As for the  aching  and throbbing all  over,  it was partly nervous
trouble and partly  want of exercise. Yes, that was it, no  doubt;  want  of
exercise. How absurd not to have thought of that before!
     He would sit down a  little bit, though, and let  it pass before he got
to work. It would be sure to go over in a minute or two.
     To sit still was worse than all. When he sat still he was at its mercy,
and  his face grew gray with  fear. No, he must  get up and set to work, and
shake it off. It should  depend upon his will to feel or not to feel; and he
would not feel, he would force it back.
     He stood up again and spoke to himself, aloud and distinctly:
     "I am not ill; I have no time to be ill. I have those bars to file, and
I am not going to be ill."
     Then he began to file.
     A quarter-past ten--half-past ten--a quarter to eleven---- He filed and
filed,  and  every  grating scrape  of  the iron was as  though someone were
filing on his body and  brain. "I wonder which will be filed through first,"
he said  to himself with  a little laugh; "I  or  the bars?"  And he set his
teeth and went on filing.
     Half-past  eleven. He was still filing, though the hand  was stiff  and
swollen and would hardly grasp the tool. No,  he  dared not stop to rest; if
he once  put the horrible  thing down he  should  never have  the courage to
begin again.
     The sentinel moved  outside  the door, and  the butt end of his carbine
scratched against the lintel.  The Gadfly stopped and looked round, the file
still in his lifted hand. Was he discovered?
     A little round pellet had been shot through  the spy-hole and was lying
on the floor. He  laid down the file and stooped to pick up the round thing.
It was a bit of rolled paper.
     . . . . .
     It was a  long way to go down and  down, with the  black  waves rushing
about him--how they roared----!
     Ah,  yes! He was only stooping down to pick up  the paper. He was a bit
giddy;  many people are when they stoop. There was nothing the  matter  with
him--nothing.
     He picked it up, carried it to the light, and unfolded it steadily.
     "Come  to-night,  whatever  happens;  the Cricket  will  be transferred
to-morrow to another service. This is our only chance."
     He  destroyed the paper as  he  had done the  former one, picked up his
file again, and went back to work, dogged and mute and desperate.
     One  o'clock. He had  been working for three hours now, and  six of the
eight bars were filed. Two more, and then, to climb------
     He began to recall the former occasions when these terrible attacks had
come on. The last had  been the one  at New Year;  and  he  shuddered  as he
remembered those five nights. But that time it  had not come on so suddenly;
he had never known it so sudden.
     He  dropped the file and flung out  both hands blindly, praying, in his
utter desperation, for the first time since he had been an  atheist; praying
to anything--to nothing--to everything.
     "Not to-night!  Oh,  let  me be ill  to-morrow!  I  will bear  anything
to-morrow--only not to-night!"
     He stood still for a moment, with both hands up to his temples; then he
took up the file once more, and once more went back to his work.
     Half-past one. He  had  begun  on  the last  bar.  His shirt-sleeve was
bitten to rags; there was blood on his lips and a red  mist before his eyes,
and the sweat poured from his forehead as he filed, and filed, and filed----
     . . . . .
     After sunrise Montanelli fell asleep. He was utterly worn out  with the
restless misery of the night and slept for a  little while quietly; then  he
began to dream.
     At first he dreamed vaguely, confusedly; broken fragments of images and
fancies  followed each other, fleeting  and incoherent, but  all filled with
the  same  dim  sense  of struggle and pain,  the same shadow of indefinable
dread. Presently he began  to dream  of  sleeplessness;  the old, frightful,
familiar  dream  that  had  been a  terror to him for years.  And even as he
dreamed he recognized that he had been through it all before.
     He  was wandering  about in a great  empty place,  trying  to find some
quiet spot where he could lie down and  sleep. Everywhere there were people,
walking up  and down;  talking, laughing, shouting; praying,  ringing bells,
and clashing metal  instruments  together. Sometimes  he would get away to a
little distance from the noise, and would lie down, now on the grass, now on
a wooden bench, now on some  slab of stone. He would shut his eyes and cover
them with both hands to keep out the light; and would say to himself: "Now I
will get to sleep." Then the crowds would come sweeping up to him, shouting,
yelling, calling him by name, begging him: "Wake up! Wake up, quick; we want
you!"
     Again: he was in a great palace,  full of gorgeous rooms, with beds and
couches and low soft lounges. It was night,  and he said  to himself: "Here,
at last, I shall find a quiet place to sleep." But when he chose a dark room
and lay down, someone came in with a lamp, flashing the merciless light into
his eyes, and said: "Get up; you are wanted."
     He  rose  and wandered  on, staggering and stumbling  like  a  creature
wounded to  death; and heard  the clocks strike one, and knew that  half the
night was  gone already--the precious night  that was so short.  Two, three,
four,  five--by six o'clock the whole town would wake up and there would  be
no more silence.
     He went  into  another  room and would have lain  down on  a  bed,  but
someone  started up from the pillows, crying out: "This bed is mine!" and he
shrank away with despair in his heart.
     Hour after hour struck, and still he  wandered on and  on, from room to
room, from house to house, from corridor to corridor. The horrible gray dawn
was creeping near and nearer;  the clocks  were striking five; the night was
gone and he had found no rest. Oh, misery! Another day --another day!
     He was in a long, subterranean  corridor, a low,  vaulted  passage that
seemed to have no end. It  was  lighted with glaring lamps and  chandeliers;
and through its grated  roof came the  sounds  of dancing  and  laughter and
merry music.  Up  there, in the world of the live people overhead, there was
some  festival, no doubt. Oh,  for  a place to hide and  sleep;  some little
place, were it even a grave! And as he spoke he stumbled over an open grave.
An  open grave, smelling of death and  rottenness---- Ah, what matter, so he
could but sleep!
     "This grave is mine!" It was Gladys; and she raised her head and stared
at  him over the rotting shroud. Then  he knelt down  and stretched  out his
arms to her.
     "Gladys! Gladys!  Have  a little pity on me;  let me  creep  into  this
narrow space and  sleep. I do not ask you for your  love; I  will not  touch
you, will not speak to you;  only let me  lie down beside you and sleep! Oh,
love, it is so long since I have slept! I cannot bear another day. The light
glares in upon my soul; the noise is  beating my  brain to dust. Gladys, let
me come in here and sleep!"
     And  he  would have drawn her  shroud  across  his eyes. But she shrank
away, screaming:
     "It is sacrilege; you are a priest!"
     On and on he wandered, and came out upon the  sea-shore,  on the barren
rocks where  the  fierce light struck down, and the  water  moaned  its low,
perpetual wail of unrest. "Ah!" he said; "the sea will be more merciful; it,
too, is wearied unto death and cannot sleep."
     Then Arthur rose up from the deep, and cried aloud:
     "This sea is mine!"
     . . . . .
     "Your Eminence! Your Eminence!"
     Montanelli awoke with a start. His servant was knocking at the door. He
rose mechanically  and opened  it,  and the  man saw how wild  and scared he
looked.
     "Your Eminence--are you ill?"
     He drew both hands across his forehead.
     "No; I was asleep, and you startled me."
     "I am very sorry; I thought I had heard you moving early this  morning,
and I supposed------"
     "Is it late now?"
     "It  is  nine o'clock, and the Governor has called. He says he has very
important business, and knowing Your Eminence to be an early riser------"
     "Is he downstairs? I will come presently."
     He dressed and went downstairs.
     "I  am afraid this is an unceremonious way to call upon Your Eminence,"
the Governor began.
     "I hope there is nothing the matter?"
     "There is  very  much  the matter.  Rivarez  has all  but  succeeded in
escaping."
     "Well, so long as he has not quite succeeded there is no harm done. How
was it?"
     "He  was  found in the courtyard, right against  the  little iron gate.
When the patrol  came  in  to inspect the  courtyard  at three  o'clock this
morning one of the men stumbled  over something on the ground; and when they
brought  the light  up they found Rivarez lying across the path unconscious.
They  raised an alarm  at once and called me up; and  when I went to examine
his  cell I found all the window-bars filed through and a rope made of  torn
body-linen hanging from one  of  them.  He had let himself down and  climbed
along the wall. The  iron gate, which leads  into the subterranean  tunnels,
was found to be unlocked. That looks as if the guards had been suborned."
     "But how did he come to be lying across the path? Did he fall from  the
rampart and hurt himself?"
     "That is what I thought at first. Your Eminence; but the prison surgeon
can't find any  trace of a fall.  The soldier who was on duty yesterday says
that Rivarez looked very ill last  night when he brought in the  supper, and
did not eat anything. But  that must be nonsense; a  sick man couldn't  file
those bars through and climb along that roof. It's not in reason."
     "Does he give any account of himself?"
     "He is unconscious, Your Eminence."
     "Still?"
     "He just half comes to himself from time to  time and  moans,  and then
goes off again."
     "That is very strange. What does the doctor think?"
     "He doesn't know what to think. There is no trace of heart-disease that
he can find to account for the  thing; but whatever is the matter  with him,
it is something  that must have come  on suddenly, just when  he  had nearly
managed to  escape. For my  part, I believe he was struck down by the direct
intervention of a merciful Providence."
     Montanelli frowned slightly.
     "What are you going to do with him?" he asked.
     "That is a question  I shall settle in a very few days. In the meantime
I have had a good lesson. That is  what comes of taking  off the irons--with
all due respect to Your Eminence."
     "I hope,"  Montanelli interrupted, "that you will at least  not replace
the fetters while he is ill. A man in the condition you  describe can hardly
make any more attempts to escape."
     "I shall take good  care he  doesn't," the Governor muttered to himself
as he went out. "His Eminence can go hang with his  sentimental scruples for
all I care. Rivarez is chained pretty  tight  now, and is  going to stop so,
ill or not."
     . . . . .
     "But  how can it have happened? To faint  away at the last moment, when
everything  was ready; when he  was at the very gate! It's like some hideous
joke."
     "I tell you," Martini answered, "the only thing I can think  of is that
one  of these attacks must  have  come on,  and that he  must have struggled
against  it  as  long  as his  strength  lasted and  have fainted from sheer
exhaustion when he got down into the courtyard."
     Marcone knocked the ashes savagely from his pipe.
     "Well. anyhow, that's the end of it; we  can't do anything for him now,
poor fellow."
     "Poor fellow!"  Martini  echoed, under his breath. He was beginning  to
realise that to him, too, the  world would look empty and dismal without the
Gadfly.
     "What does she  think?" the smuggler asked, glancing  towards the other
end of the room, where Gemma sat alone, her hands lying idly in her lap, her
eyes looking straight before her into blank nothingness.
     "I have not asked her; she has not spoken since I brought her the news.
We had best not disturb her just yet."
     She did not appear to be conscious of  their  presence, but  they  both
spoke with lowered voices, as  though they were looking at a corpse. After a
dreary little pause, Marcone rose and put away his pipe.
     "I will come  back this evening," he said; but Martini stopped him with
a gesture.
     "Don't  go yet;  I  want to speak to  you." He dropped  his voice still
lower and continued in almost a whisper:
     "Do you believe there is really no hope?"
     "I don't see  what hope there can  be now. We  can't attempt it  again.
Even if he were  well enough to manage his part of the thing, we couldn't do
our share.  The sentinels are all  being changed, on  suspicion. The Cricket
won't get another chance, you may be sure."
     "Don't  you think," Martini  asked suddenly;  "that,  when he recovers,
something might be done by calling off the sentinels?"
     "Calling off the sentinels? What do you mean?"
     "Well, it has occurred  to me that if I  were to  get in the Governor's
way when the  procession passes close by the fortress  on Corpus  Domini day
and  fire in  his face, all the sentinels  would come rushing to get hold of
me, and some of you fellows could perhaps help Rivarez out in the confusion.
It really hardly amounts to a plan; it only came into my head."
     "I doubt whether it  could  be managed," Marcone  answered with  a very
grave face.  "Certainly it would want a lot of  thinking out for anything to
come  of it.  But"--he  stopped  and  looked  at  Martini--"if it  should be
possible-- would you do it?"
     Martini was a  reserved  man  at  ordinary times;  but this was not  an
ordinary time. He looked straight into the smuggler's face.
     "Would I do it?" he repeated. "Look at her!"
     There was no  need for further explanations; in saying that he had said
all. Marcone turned and looked across the room.
     She had not moved since  their  conversation began. There was no doubt,
no fear, even  no grief in her face; there was nothing in it  but the shadow
of death. The smuggler's eyes filled with tears as he looked at her.
     "Make haste,  Michele!"  he said, throwing  open the verandah door  and
looking out. "Aren't you nearly done, you two? There are a hundred and fifty
things to do!"
     Michele, followed by Gino, came in from the verandah.
     "I am ready now," he said. "I only want to ask the signora----"
     He was moving towards her when Martini caught him by the arm.
     "Don't disturb her; she's better alone."
     "Let her  be!" Marcone added.  "We shan't do any good by  meddling. God
knows, it's hard enough on all of us; but it's worse for her, poor soul!"


     FOR a week the Gadfly lay  in a fearful state. The attack was a violent
one, and the Governor, rendered brutal by fear and perplexity, had not  only
chained him hand and foot, but had insisted on his being bound to his pallet
with  leather straps,  drawn so tight that  he could not move  without their
cutting into  the flesh.  He  endured  everything  with  his dogged,  bitter
stoicism till  the end  of the sixth day. Then his pride broke  down, and he
piteously entreated the prison doctor  for a dose  of opium. The  doctor was
quite willing to give  it; but the Governor, hearing of the request, sharply
forbade "any such foolery."
     "How do you know  what he wants it for?" he said.  "It's just as likely
as not that he's shamming all the time and  wants to  drug  the sentinel, or
some such devilry. Rivarez is cunning enough for anything."
     "My giving  him  a dose would hardly  help  him to  drug the sentinel,"
replied the doctor, unable  to  suppress a  smile.  "And  as for  shamming--
there's not much fear of that. He is as likely as not to die."
     "Anyway, I won't have it given. If a man wants to be tenderly  treated,
he  should  behave  accordingly.  He has thoroughly  deserved a little sharp
discipline. Perhaps it  will be a  lesson to him not to play tricks with the
window-bars again."
     "The  law does  not  admit of torture, though,"  the doctor ventured to
say; "and this is coming perilously near it."
     "The  law says  nothing  about  opium,  I  think,"  said  the  Governor
snappishly.
     "It is for you to decide, of course,  colonel; but I hope you will  let
the straps be taken off at any rate. They are a  needless aggravation of his
misery. There's no fear of his escaping  now. He  couldn't stand if you  let
him go free."
     "My good sir, a doctor may make a mistake like other people, I suppose.
I have got him safe strapped now, and he's going to stop so."
     "At  least, then, have the straps a  little loosened.  It  is downright
barbarity to keep them drawn so tight."
     "They will stop exactly as they are; and I will  thank you, sir, not to
talk about barbarity to me. If I do a thing, I have a reason for it."
     So  the  seventh night passed  without  any  relief,  and  the  soldier
stationed  on  guard at the  cell door crossed himself, shuddering, over and
over again,  as  he listened  all  night  long to  heart-rending moans.  The
Gadfly's endurance was failing him at last.
     At six  in  the  morning  the  sentinel, just before  going  off  duty,
unlocked  the  door  softly  and  entered  the  cell.  He knew that  he  was
committing  a serious breach  of discipline, but could not bear  to go  away
without offering the consolation of a friendly word.
     He found the Gadfly lying still, with closed eyes  and parted  lips. He
stood silent for a moment; then stooped down and asked:
     "Can I do anything for you, sir? I have only a minute."
     The  Gadfly  opened  his  eyes. "Let  me alone!"  he  moaned.  "Let  me
alone----"
     He was asleep almost before the soldier had slipped back to his post.
     Ten  days afterwards the Governor called again at the palace, but found
that the Cardinal had gone  to visit a sick  man  at Pieve d'Ottavo, and was
not expected home till the  afternoon. That evening, just as he  was sitting
down to dinner, his servant came in to announce:
     "His Eminence would like to speak to you."
     The Governor, with  a hasty glance into the looking glass, to make sure
that his uniform  was in order, put on his most dignified air, and went into
the reception room, where Montanelli was sitting, beating his hand gently on
the arm of  the  chair and looking  out of the  window with an  anxious line
between his brows.
     "I heard that you called to-day," he said, cutting short the Governor's
polite speeches with a slightly imperious manner which  he never  adopted in
speaking to the country folk. "It was probably on the business about which I
have been wishing to speak to you."
     "It was about Rivarez, Your Eminence."
     "So I  supposed.  I  have been thinking the matter over  these last few
days.  But before  we go into that, I should  like to hear whether  you have
anything new to tell me."
     The Governor pulled his moustaches with an embarrassed air.
     "The fact is, I came to know whether Your Eminence had anything to tell
me. If you still have an objection to the course I proposed taking, I should
be  sincerely glad of your advice in the matter; for, honestly, I don't know
what to do."
     "Is there any new difficulty?"
     "Only  that next Thursday  is  the 3d of  June,  --Corpus  Domini,--and
somehow or other the matter must be settled before then."
     "Thursday  is Corpus Domini,  certainly;  but  why must it  be  settled
especially before then?"
     "I am exceedingly sorry, Your Eminence, if I  seem to oppose you, but I
can't undertake to be responsible for the peace  of  the town  if Rivarez is
not got rid  of before then. All the roughest set in the hills collects here
for that day, as Your Eminence knows, and it is more than probable that they
may  attempt  to break  open the fortress gates and take him out. They won't
succeed; I'll take care of that, if I have to sweep them from the gates with
powder  and  shot.  But we are very likely  to have something  of that  kind
before  the  day is over.  Here in  the  Romagna there is bad  blood  in the
people, and when once they get out their knives----"
     "I think  with a little  care we can  prevent  matters going as far  as
knives. I have always found the people of this district easy to get on with,
if they are reasonably treated. Of course, if you  once begin to threaten or
coerce  a  Romagnol  he becomes  unmanageable. But have you  any reason  for
supposing a new rescue scheme is intended?"
     "I heard, both this morning and yesterday, from confidential agents  of
mine,  that a great many rumours are circulating all over  the district  and
that the  people are evidently up  to  some mischief or other. But one can't
find  out the details; if one  could it would be easier to take precautions.
And for my part, after the  fright we  had the other day, I prefer to  be on
the safe side. With such a cunning fox as Rivarez one can't be too careful."
     "The last  I  heard about  Rivarez was that he was too ill  to move  or
speak. Is he recovering, then?"
     "He seems much better now, Your  Eminence. He certainly has  been  very
ill--unless he was shamming all the time."
     "Have you any reason for supposing that likely?"
     "Well, the doctor  seems convinced that  it was all genuine; but it's a
very  mysterious kind  of  illness.  Any way, he  is  recovering,  and  more
intractable than ever."
     "What has he done now?"
     "There's  not much  he can  do,  fortunately,"  the Governor  answered,
smiling as  he  remembered  the  straps.  "But  his  behaviour is  something
indescribable. Yesterday  morning I went into  the  cell to  ask  him a  few
questions; he  is  not well enough yet to come  to me for interrogation--and
indeed, I thought it best not to run any risk of the people seeing him until
he recovers. Such absurd stories always get about at once."
     "So you went there to interrogate him?"
     "Yes, Your Eminence. I hoped he would be more amenable to reason now."
     Montanelli looked  him  over  deliberately,  almost as if he  had  been
inspecting a new and disagreeable animal. Fortunately, however, the Governor
was fingering his sword-belt, and did not see the look. He went on placidly:
     "I have not subjected him to any particular severities, but I have been
obliged to  be  rather strict  with  him--especially as  it  is  a  military
prison--and  I thought  that perhaps  a little  indulgence might have a good
effect. I offered to relax the discipline considerably if he would behave in
a reasonable manner; and how does  Your  Eminence suppose he answered me? He
lay  looking at  me  a minute, like a wolf in a  cage, and  then said  quite
softly: 'Colonel, I can't get up and  strangle you; but  my teeth are pretty
good; you had better take your throat a little further off.' He is as savage
as a wild-cat."
     "I  am not surprised to hear it," Montanelli  answered quietly. "But  I
came to ask you  a question.  Do  you  honestly believe that the presence of
Rivarez in the prison here constitutes a  serious danger to the peace of the
district?"
     "Most certainly I do, Your Eminence."
     "You  think that,  to prevent the risk of bloodshed,  it  is absolutely
necessary that he should somehow be got rid of before Corpus Domini?"
     "I can only repeat that if he is here on Thursday,  I do not expect the
festival to pass over without a fight, and I think it likely to be a serious
one."
     "And you think that if he were not here there would be no such danger?"
     "In that case, there would either be no disturbance at all, or at  most
a little shouting and stone-throwing. If Your Eminence can find some way  of
getting  rid  of  him,  I  will  undertake that  the  peace shall  be  kept.
Otherwise, I expect most serious trouble.  I am convinced  that a new rescue
plot is  on hand, and  Thursday is the  day  when we may expect the attempt.
Now, if  on  that very morning they suddenly  find  that  he is  not  in the
fortress  at  all, their plan fails of itself,  and they have no occasion to
begin fighting.  But if we  have to repulse them, and  the daggers once  get
drawn  among such throngs of people, we are likely to  have the place  burnt
down before nightfall."
     "Then why do you not send him in to Ravenna?"
     "Heaven knows, Your Eminence, I should be thankful to do it! But how am
I to prevent the people rescuing him on the way?  I have not soldiers enough
to resist  an armed attack;  and all  these mountaineers have got knives  or
flint-locks or some such thing."
     "You still persist, then, in wishing for a court-martial, and in asking
my consent to it?"
     "Pardon me, Your Eminence; I ask you only one thing--to help me prevent
riots  and  bloodshed.  I  am  quite  willing  to  admit  that  the military
commissions, such as  that of Colonel Freddi, were  sometimes  unnecessarily
severe, and irritated  instead  of subduing the people; but I think that  in
this  case a court-martial  would be a wise measure  and  in the  long run a
merciful one. It would prevent a riot, which in  itself would  be a terrible
disaster, and which  very  likely  might  cause  a  return  of  the military
commissions His Holiness has abolished."
     The Governor finished his little speech with much solemnity, and waited
for the Cardinal's  answer. It was a long time coming; and when it came  was
startlingly unexpected.
     "Colonel Ferrari, do you believe in God?"
     "Your   Eminence!"   the   colonel   gasped   in   a  voice   full   of
exclamation-stops.
     "Do you  believe in God?"  Montanelli repeated, rising and looking down
at him with steady, searching eyes. The colonel rose too.
     "Your  Eminence, I am a Christian man,  and have never yet been refused
absolution."
     Montanelli lifted the cross from his breast.
     "Then swear on the  cross of  the Redeemer Who died  for you, that  you
have been speaking the truth to me."
     The  colonel stood still and  gazed at it  blankly. He could not  quite
make up his mind which was mad, he or the Cardinal.
     "You have asked me," Montanelli went on, "to give my consent to a man's
death. Kiss the cross, if you dare, and tell me that you believe there is no
other way to prevent greater bloodshed. And remember  that if  you tell me a
lie you are imperilling your immortal soul."
     After a little pause, the Governor  bent down  and put the cross to his
lips.
     "I believe it," he said.
     Montanelli turned slowly away.
     "I  will  give you  a  definite answer to-morrow. But first I must  see
Rivarez and speak to him alone."
     "Your Eminence--if I might suggest--I am  sure you will regret it.  For
that  matter,  he sent  me a message yesterday, by the guard, asking to  see
Your Eminence; but I took no notice of it, because----"
     "Took no notice!"  Montanelli repeated. "A  man  in  such circumstances
sent you a message, and you took no notice of it?"
     "I am sorry if Your Eminence is displeased. I did not wish  to  trouble
you over a mere impertinence like that; I know Rivarez well enough by now to
feel sure that he only wanted to insult you. And,  indeed, if you will allow
me to say so,  it would be most imprudent to go near him alone; he is really
dangerous--so much so, in fact, that I have thought it necessary to use some
physical restraint of a mild kind------"
     "And  you  really think there is much danger to be apprehended from one
sick and  unarmed man, who  is  under physical  restraint  of  a mild kind?"
Montanelli spoke  quite gently, but the colonel felt the  sting of his quiet
contempt, and flushed under it resentfully.
     "Your Eminence  will do as you think  best," he said  in  his  stiffest
manner. "I only  wished to  spare you the pain  of hearing  this man's awful
blasphemies."
     "Which  do you think the more grievous  misfortune for a Christian man;
to  hear a blasphemous  word uttered,  or  to  abandon a  fellow-creature in
extremity?"
     The Governor stood erect and stiff, with his official face, like a face
of wood. He was deeply offended at Montanelli's treatment of him, and showed
it by unusual ceremoniousness.
     "At what time does Your Eminence wish to visit the prisoner?" he asked.
     "I will go to him at once."
     "As Your Eminence pleases.  If you  will kindly  wait a  few moments, I
will send someone to prepare him."
     The Governor had come down from his official pedestal in a great hurry.
He did not want Montanelli to see the straps.
     "Thank you; I  would rather see  him  as he is, without  preparation. I
will  go straight  up to the fortress. Good-evening, colonel; you may expect
my answer to-morrow morning."PART III: CHAPTER VI.
     HEARING the cell-door  unlocked, the Gadfly turned away  his  eyes with
languid indifference. He supposed that it  was only the Governor, coming  to
worry him with another  interrogation. Several  soldiers mounted  the narrow
stair,  their carbines  clanking against the wall; then  a deferential voice
said: "It is rather steep here, Your Eminence."
     He  started convulsively,  and  then shrank  down, catching  his breath
under the stinging pressure of the straps.
     Montanelli came in with the sergeant and three guards.
     "If Your  Eminence  will  kindly wait  a  moment,"  the  sergeant began
nervously, "one of my men will bring a chair.  He has just gone to fetch it.
Your Eminence will excuse us--if we  had been expecting  you, we should have
been prepared."
     "There  is no need for any preparation. Will you kindly leave us alone,
sergeant; and wait at the foot of the stairs with your men?"
     "Yes, Your Eminence. Here is the chair; shall I put it beside him?"
     The Gadfly was lying with closed eyes; but he felt that Montanelli  was
looking at him.
     "I think he is  asleep, Your Eminence," the sergeant was beginning, but
the Gadfly opened his eyes.
     "No," he said.
     As the  soldiers  were  leaving  the cell they were stopped by a sudden
exclamation from Montanelli; and, turning back, saw that he was bending down
to examine the straps.
     "Who has been doing this?" he asked. The sergeant fumbled with his cap.
     "It was by the Governor's express orders, Your Eminence."
     "I had no idea of this, Signer Rivarez," Montanelli said  in a voice of
great distress.
     "I told Your Eminence," the Gadfly answered, with his hard smile, "that
I n-n-never expected to be patted on the head."
     "Sergeant, how long has this been going on?"
     "Since he tried to escape, Your Eminence."
     "That is, nearly a week? Bring a knife and cut these off at once."
     "May it please  Your Eminence, the doctor wanted  to take them off, but
Colonel Ferrari wouldn't allow it."
     "Bring a  knife at once." Montanelli had not raised his  voice, but the
soldiers  could  see  that he  was  white with  anger. The  sergeant  took a
clasp-knife from his pocket, and bent  down to cut the arm-strap. He was not
a skilful-fingered  man; and he jerked  the  strap  tighter  with an awkward
movement, so that  the  Gadfly winced and  bit his  lip in spite of all  his
self-control. Montanelli came forward at once.
     "You don't know how to do it; give me the knife."
     "Ah-h-h!" The Gadfly stretched out his arms with a long, rapturous sigh
as the  strap fell off. The next instant  Montanelli had  cut the other one,
which bound his ankles.
     "Take off the irons, too, sergeant; and then come here. I want to speak
to you."
     He stood by the window, looking on, till the  sergeant  threw  down the
fetters and approached him.
     "Now," he said, "tell me everything that has been happening."
     The sergeant, nothing loath, related  all that  he knew of the Gadfly's
illness, of the "disciplinary measures," and  of  the doctor's  unsuccessful
attempt to interfere.
     "But I think,  Your Eminence," he added, "that  the colonel  wanted the
straps kept on as a means of getting evidence."
     "Evidence?"
     "Yes, Your Eminence; the day before yesterday I heard him offer to have
them taken off if he"--with a glance at the Gadfly--"would answer a question
he had asked."
     Montanelli clenched  his  hand  on the window-sill,  and  the  soldiers
glanced at  one another:  they  had  never  seen  the gentle Cardinal  angry
before.  As  for the  Gadfly,  he had  forgotten  their  existence;  he  had
forgotten  everything except  the  physical  sensation  of  freedom.  He was
cramped in every limb; and now stretched, and turned, and twisted about in a
positive ecstasy of relief.
     "You can go  now,  sergeant," the Cardinal  said. "You  need  not  feel
anxious  about having committed  a breach of discipline; it was your duty to
tell me when I asked you. See that no one disturbs  us. I will come out when
I am ready."
     When  the  door  had closed  behind  the  soldiers,  he  leaned on  the
window-sill and looked for  a while at the  sinking sun,  so as to leave the
Gadfly a little more breathing time.
     "I have heard," he said presently, leaving the window, and sitting down
beside  the pallet, "that  you wish to speak to me  alone. If you  feel well
enough to tell me what you wanted to say, I am at your service."
     He spoke very coldly,  with  a stiff,  imperious  manner that  was  not
natural to him. Until the straps were off, the Gadfly was  to him  simply  a
grievously wronged and tortured human being; but  now he recalled their last
interview, and the deadly insult with which it had closed. The Gadfly looked
up, resting  his head  lazily on one arm. He possessed  the gift of slipping
into graceful  attitudes; and when his face was in  shadow no one would have
guessed through what deep waters he  had been passing. But, as he looked up,
the clear evening light showed  how haggard  and colourless he was,  and how
plainly  the  trace of the last few days was stamped  on  him.  Montanelli's
anger died away.
     "I am  afraid  you have  been  terribly ill," he said.  "I am sincerely
sorry  that I did  not  know  of all  this. I  would have put  a stop  to it
before."
     The Gadfly shrugged his shoulders. "All's fair in war," he said coolly.
"Your  Eminence  objects   to  straps   theoretically,  from  the  Christian
standpoint; but it is hardly fair  to expect the colonel to see that. He, no
doubt,  would  prefer  not to try them on his own skin--which is j-j-just my
case.  But that is a matter of p-p-personal convenience. At this moment I am
undermost--  w-w-what would you have? It is  very  kind  of  Your  Eminence,
though, to call  here; but  perhaps that was  done  from  the  C-c-christian
standpoint, too. Visiting prisoners--ah, yes! I forgot.  'Inasmuch as ye did
it unto one of  the l-least of these'--it's not very complimentary, but  one
of the least is duly grateful."
     "Signor Rivarez," the Cardinal interrupted,  "I  have come here on your
account--not on my own. If  you  had not been 'undermost,' as you call it, I
should never have spoken to  you again after what you said to me  last week;
but you have the double privilege of a prisoner and a sick man,  and I could
not refuse  to come. Have you anything to say to  me, now I am here; or have
you sent for me merely to amuse yourself by insulting an old man?"
     There was  no answer. The Gadfly  had turned. away, and  was lying with
one hand across his eyes.
     "I am--very sorry to trouble you," he said at last, huskily; "but could
I have a little water?"
     There was a jug of water  standing  by  the window, and Montanelli rose
and fetched  it. As  he slipped  his  arm  round the  Gadfly to lift him, he
suddenly felt the damp, cold fingers close over his wrist like a vice.
     "Give  me your hand--quick--just a moment," the Gadfly  whispered. "Oh,
what difference does it make to you? Only one minute!"
     He sank down,  hiding his face  on Montanelli's arm, and quivering from
head to foot.
     "Drink  a little  water,"  Montanelli said after a  moment. The  Gadfly
obeyed silently;  then lay back  on the pallet with closed eyes.  He himself
could  have  given  no  explanation  of  what  had   happened  to  him  when
Montanelli's hand had touched his cheek; he only  knew that in all his  life
there had been nothing more terrible.
     Montanelli drew his chair closer to the pallet and sat down. The Gadfly
was lying quite motionless, like a corpse, and his face was livid and drawn.
After a long silence, he opened his eyes, and fixed their haunting, spectral
gaze on the Cardinal.
     "Thank you," he said. "I--am sorry. I think --you asked me something?"
     "You are not fit to talk. If there is anything you want to say to me, I
will try to come again to-morrow."
     "Please  don't go, Your Eminence--indeed, there is nothing  the  matter
with me. I--I have been a little upset these  few  days; it was  half  of it
malingering, though--the colonel will tell you so if you ask him."
     "I prefer to form my own conclusions," Montanelli answered quietly.
     "S-so does the colonel. And  occasionally, do you know, they are rather
witty.  You w-w-wouldn't think it to look at him; but s-s-sometimes he  gets
hold of an or-r-riginal idea. On Friday night, for instance--I think it  was
Friday, but I got a  l-little  mixed  as  to time towards the end--anyhow, I
asked  for a d-dose of opium--I remember that quite distinctly;  and he came
in here and said I m-might h-h-have it if I would tell him who un-l-l-locked
the  gate. I  remember his saying:  'If it's  real, you'll consent;  if  you
don't, I  shall  look  upon it as a  p-proof  that  you  are  shamming.'  It
n-n-never oc-c-curred to  me  before  how  comic that  is; it's one  of  the
f-f-funniest things----"
     He burst into a sudden fit of harsh, discordant laughter; then, turning
sharply on  the silent Cardinal,  went  on, more  and  more  hurriedly,  and
stammering so that the words were hardly intelligible:
     "You  d-d-don't  see  that  it's   f-f-funny?  Of   c-course  not;  you
r-religious  people   n-n-never  have  any  s-sense  of  humour--you  t-take
everything   t-t-tragically.    F-for   instance,    that   night   in   the
Cath-thedral--how solemn you were! By the way --w-what  a path-thetic figure
I must have c-cut as the pilgrim! I d-don't believe you e-even  see anything
c-c-comic in the b-business you have c-come about this evening."
     Montanelli rose.
     "I came to hear what  you have  to say; but I think  you  are  too much
excited to say it to-night. The doctor  had better give you  a sedative, and
we will talk to-morrow, when you have had a night's sleep."
     "S-sleep? Oh,  I  shall  s-sleep  well enough, Your Eminence,  when you
g-give your  c-consent to  the  colonel's plan--an  ounce  of  l-lead  is  a
s-splendid sedative."
     "I  don't  understand  you,"  Montanelli said,  turning  to him  with a
startled look.
     The Gadfly burst out laughing again.
     "Your  Eminence,  Your  Eminence,  t-t-truth  is  the  c-chief  of  the
Christian virtues!  D-d-do  you th-th-think I d-d-don't  know  how hard  the
Governor has been trying to g-get your  consent to a  court-martial? You had
b-better by  half  g-give  it, Your  Eminence; it's  only  w-what  all  your
b-brother prelates would do in your  place.  'Cosi fan  tutti;' and then you
would  be doing s-such  a lot  of good,  and  so l-little harm! Really, it's
n-not worth all the sleepless nights you have been spending over it!"
     "Please  stop laughing  a minute," Montanelli interrupted, "and tell me
how you heard all this. Who has been talking to you about it?"
     "H-hasn't the colonel e-e-ever told you I  am a  d-d-devil--not a  man?
No? He has t-told me so often enough! Well, I am devil enough to f-find  out
a little bit  what p-people are thinking about. Your  E-eminence is thinking
that I'm a conf-founded nuisance, and you wish s-somebody else had to settle
what's to  be done with me, without disturbing  your s-sensitive conscience.
That's a p-pretty fair guess, isn't it?"
     "Listen to me," the  Cardinal said, sitting down again beside him, with
a very  grave face.  "However  you  found out  all this, it  is  quite true.
Colonel Ferrari fears another rescue attempt on the  part of  your  friends,
and wishes to  forestall it in--the way you  speak of. You see,  I  am quite
frank with you."
     "Your  E-eminence was  always  f-f-famous for truthfulness," the Gadfly
put in bitterly.
     "You know,  of  course," Montanelli went  on, "that legally  I  have no
jurisdiction in temporal matters; I am a bishop, not a legate. But I  have a
good deal of influence in  this district; and the colonel will not, I think,
venture to  take so  extreme a course unless he can get,  at least, my tacit
consent to it. Up till now I have unconditionally opposed the scheme; and he
has been trying very hard to conquer my objection by assuring me that  there
is  great danger of an armed attempt on Thursday when the crowd collects for
the procession --an  attempt which probably would end in bloodshed.  Do  you
follow me?"
     The Gadfly was staring absently out  of the window. He looked round and
answered in a weary voice:
     "Yes, I am listening."
     "Perhaps  you  are really  not well  enough  to stand this conversation
to-night. Shall I come back in the morning? It is a very serious matter, and
I want your whole attention."
     "I would rather get it over now," the Gadfly answered in the same tone.
"I follow everything you say."
     "Now,  if it  be true," Montanelli  went  on,  "that there  is any real
danger of riots  and bloodshed on account  of you, I am taking upon myself a
tremendous responsibility in opposing the colonel; and I believe there is at
least some truth in what he says. On the other hand, I am  inclined to think
that his judgment is warped, to a certain extent, by his personal  animosity
against you, and that  he probably  exaggerates the danger. That seems to me
the more  likely since I have seen this shameful  brutality."  He glanced at
the straps and chains lying on the floor, and went on:
     "If I  consent,  I kill you;  if  I refuse, I run  the  risk of killing
innocent persons.  I  have considered  the matter earnestly, and have sought
with all my heart for a way  out  of  this  dreadful alternative. And now at
last I have made up my mind."
     "To  kill  me  and s-save the  innocent  persons, of  course--the  only
decision a Christian man could possibly come to. 'If thy r-right hand offend
thee,' etc. I  have  n-not the honour to be the right hand of Your Eminence,
and  I  have offended you; the c-c-conclusion is plain. Couldn't you tell me
that without so much preamble?"
     The Gadfly spoke with  languid  indifference and contempt, like  a  man
weary of the whole subject.
     "Well?"  he added after a little pause.  "Was that the  decision,  Your
Eminence?"
     "No."
     The Gadfly  shifted his  position,  putting both hands behind his head,
and looked at  Montanelli with half-shut eyes.  The Cardinal, with his  head
sunk down as in deep thought, was softly  beating one hand on the arm of his
chair. Ah, that old, familiar gesture!
     "I have decided," he said, raising his head at last, "to do, I suppose,
an utterly unprecedented thing. When I heard that you had asked to see me, I
resolved to come here  and tell you everything, as I have done, and to place
the matter in your own hands."
     "In--my hands?"
     "Signor Rivarez, I have not come to you as cardinal, or as  bishop,  or
as judge; I have come to you as one man to another. I do not ask you to tell
me  whether you  know  of  any  such  scheme  as  the colonel apprehends.  I
understand quite  well that, if you do, it is your secret  and you  will not
tell  it. But I  do ask  you to put yourself in my place. I am  old, and, no
doubt, have not much longer  to  live. I would  go  down to my grave without
blood on my hands."
     "Is there none on them as yet, Your Eminence?"
     Montanelli grew a shade paler, but went on quietly: "All my life I have
opposed  repressive measures  and  cruelty wherever I have  met with them. I
have always  disapproved of capital  punishment  in all its  forms;  I  have
protested earnestly  and repeatedly  against the military commissions in the
last reign, and have been out  of favour on account of doing so. Up till now
such influence  and power as I have possessed  have always been employed  on
the side of mercy. I ask you to believe me, at least, that I am speaking the
truth. Now, I am placed in this dilemma. By refusing, I am exposing the town
to the danger of riots and all their consequences; and this to save the life
of a man who blasphemes  against my religion,  who has slandered and wronged
and insulted me personally (though that is comparatively a trifle), and who,
as I firmly believe,  will put that  life  to  a bad use when it is given to
him. But--it is to save a man's life."
     He paused a moment, and went on again:
     "Signor Rivarez, everything that I know of your career seems to  me bad
and mischievous; and I have long believed you to be reckless and violent and
unscrupulous.  To some extent I  hold that opinion of you still.  But during
this last fortnight you have shown me  that you are a brave man and that you
can be  faithful to your friends. You have made the soldiers love and admire
you, too; and not every man  could  have done that. I think  that  perhaps I
have misjudged you, and that there  is in you something better than what you
show outside. To that better self in you I appeal, and solemnly entreat you,
on your conscience, to tell me truthfully--in my place, what would you do?"
     A long silence followed; then the Gadfly looked up.
     "At  least, I would  decide  my  own actions for myself, and  take  the
consequences of them.  I would  not come sneaking to  other people,  in  the
cowardly Christian way, asking them to solve my problems for me!"
     The  onslaught was  so sudden,  and  its  extraordinary  vehemence  and
passion  were  in  such startling contrast to the languid  affectation of  a
moment before, that it was as though he had thrown off a mask.
     "We atheists," he  went on  fiercely, "understand  that if a  man has a
thing to  bear, he must bear it as  best he can; and if he  sinks under it--
why, so much the worse for him. But a Christian comes whining to his God, or
his saints; or, if they won't help him, to his enemies--he can always find a
back to shift his  burdens on to. Isn't there a rule to go by in your Bible,
or your Missal, or any of your canting theology books, that you must come to
me to tell you what to  do? Heavens and  earth, man! Haven't I  enough as it
is,  without your  laying your responsibilities on my shoulders? Go  back to
your Jesus; he exacted the uttermost farthing, and you'd better do the same.
After  all,  you'll  only  be killing  an  atheist--a  man who  boggles over
'shibboleth'; and that's no great crime, surely!"
     He broke off, panting for breath, and then burst out again:
     "And YOU to talk  of cruelty! Why, that p-p-pudding-headed ass couldn't
hurt me as much as you do if he tried for a year; he hasn't  got the brains.
All he can think  of is to pull a strap tight, and  when he can't get it any
tighter he's at the end of his  resources. Any fool can do that! But you----
'Sign  your  own  death  sentence, please; I'm  too tender-hearted to do  it
myself.'  Oh!  it  would  take  a  Christian  to  hit  on  that--a   gentle,
compassionate Christian, that turns pale at the sight  of a strap pulled too
tight! I might have known  when you came in, like  an  angel of  mercy--  so
shocked  at  the  colonel's 'barbarity'--that the  real  thing was  going to
begin! Why do you look at me that way?  Consent, man, of course, and go home
to  your  dinner; the thing's not worth all this fuss. Tell  your colonel he
can have me shot, or hanged, or whatever comes  handiest--roasted alive,  if
it's any amusement to him--and be done with it!"
     The Gadfly was hardly recognizable; he was beside himself with rage and
desperation,   panting  and  quivering,  his  eyes  glittering   with  green
reflections like the eyes of an angry cat.
     Montanelli had risen, and was looking down at  him silently. He did not
understand the drift  of the frenzied  reproaches, but he  understood out of
what extremity  they were uttered; and, understanding that, forgave all past
insults.
     "Hush!" he said.  "I did not want to hurt you so. Indeed, I never meant
to  shift  my burden on  to you,  who have  too  much already.  I have never
consciously done that to any living creature----"
     "It's  a  lie!"  the Gadfly cried  out  with  blazing  eyes.  "And  the
bishopric?"
     "The--bishopric?"
     "Ah! you've  forgotten that? It's so easy to forget! 'If you  wish  it,
Arthur, I  will  say I  cannot go. I  was to decide your life for you--I, at
nineteen! If it weren't so hideous, it would be funny."
     "Stop!" Montanelli put up both hands to  his head with a desperate cry.
He let them  fall again, and walked slowly away to the window. There he  sat
down  on  the  sill,  resting one arm on the bars, and pressing his forehead
against it. The Gadfly lay and watched him, trembling.
     Presently Montanelli rose and came back, with lips as pale as ashes.
     "I am very sorry,"  he said, struggling piteously  to keep up his usual
quiet manner, "but I must go home. I--am not quite well."
     He was shivering as if with ague. All the Gadfly's fury broke down.
     "Padre, can't you see----"
     Montanelli shrank away, and stood still.
     "Only not that!" he whispered at last. "My God, anything but that! If I
am going mad----"
     The Gadfly  raised  himself on one arm,  and took the shaking hands  in
his.
     "Padre, will you never understand that I am not really drowned?"
     The hands grew suddenly cold  and  stiff.  For a  moment everything was
dead with silence, and  then  Montanelli knelt down and hid his face  on the
Gadfly's breast.
     . . . . .
     When he raised his head the sun had set, and the red glow  was dying in
the  west. They had forgotten time and place, and life and  death; they  had
forgotten, even, that they were enemies.
     "Arthur," Montanelli whispered, "are you real? Have you come back to me
from the dead?"
     "From  the dead----" the Gadfly repeated, shivering. He  was lying with
his  head on Montanelli's arm, as a sick  child might  lie  in its  mother's
embrace.
     "You have come back--you have come back at last!"
     The Gadfly sighed heavily. "Yes," he said; "and you have  to  fight me,
or to kill me."
     "Oh, hush, carino! What is all that now? We have been like two children
lost in the dark, mistaking one another for phantoms. Now we have found each
other,  and  have  come  out  into the light. My poor  boy, how  changed you
are--how changed you are! You look as if all the ocean of the world's misery
had passed over your head-- you that used  to be so full of the joy of life!
Arthur, is it really  you? I have dreamed so often that you had come back to
me; and then have waked and seen the outer darkness staring in upon an empty
place. How can I know  I shall  not wake again and find it all a dream? Give
me something tangible--tell me how it all happened."
     "It happened simply  enough. I hid on a goods  vessel, as stowaway, and
got out to South America."
     "And there?"
     "There I--lived,  if you  like to call  it so,  till-- oh,  I have seen
something  else besides theological  seminaries since  you used to  teach me
philosophy! You  say you have dreamed of me--yes, and much! You say you have
dreamed of me--yes, and I of you----"
     He broke off, shuddering.
     "Once,"  he  began  again  abruptly,  "I  was  working  at  a  mine  in
Ecuador----"
     "Not as a miner?"
     "No, as  a miner's fag--odd-jobbing with the coolies.  We had a barrack
to sleep in at the pit's mouth; and one night--I  had  been ill, the same as
lately,   and  carrying  stones   in  the  blazing  sun--I  must   have  got
light-headed, for  I  saw  you come  in at the door-way. You  were holding a
crucifix like that  one  on the wall. You were praying,  and brushed past me
without  turning. I cried  out to  you to help  me--to  give  me poison or a
knife--something  to  put  an  end  to  it  all  before   I  went  mad.  And
you--ah------!"
     He  drew  one hand across  his eyes. Montanelli  was still clasping the
other.
     "I saw in your face that you had heard, but you never looked round; you
went on  with your prayers. When you had finished, and kissed  the crucifix,
you  glanced round and  whispered: 'I am  very sorry for  you, Arthur; but I
daren't show  it; He would  be angry.' And I  looked at Him, and  the wooden
image was laughing.
     "Then,  when I came to my senses, and saw the barrack and  the  coolies
with their leprosy,  I understood. I saw  that you care more to curry favour
with that  devilish God of yours than to save me  from any hell. And I  have
remembered that. I  forgot  just now when you touched me; I--have been  ill,
and I  used to love  you once. But there can be nothing between us  but war,
and war,  and war. What do you  want to hold my hand for? Can't you see that
while you believe in your Jesus we can't be anything but enemies?"
     Montanelli bent his head and kissed the mutilated hand.
     "Arthur,  how  can I  help believing in Him?  If I  have  kept my faith
through all these  frightful  years, how can I  ever doubt Him any more, now
that He has given you back to me? Remember, I thought I had killed you."
     "You have that still to do."
     "Arthur!"  It  was a  cry of actual  terror; but the  Gadfly  went  on,
unheeding:
     "Let us  be honest, whatever  we do,  and not  shilly-shally. You and I
stand  on two sides of a  pit, and it's hopeless trying to join hands across
it. If you have decided that you  can't, or won't, give  up that  thing"--he
glanced again  at the crucifix  on the wall--"you must consent to  what  the
colonel----"
     "Consent! My God--consent--Arthur, but I love you!"
     The Gadfly's face contracted  fearfully. "Which do you love best, me or
that thing?"
     Montanelli slowly rose.  The very soul  in him withered with dread, and
he seemed to shrivel up  bodily, and to grow feeble,  and  old,  and wilted,
like a leaf that the frost has touched. He had awaked out of his  dream, and
the outer darkness was staring in upon an empty place.
     "Arthur, have just a little mercy on me----"
     "How much had you for me when your lies drove me out to be slave to the
blacks   on   the   sugar-plantations?  You  shudder   at  that--ah,   these
tender-hearted  saints! This is the man after God's own  heart--the man that
repents of  his sin  and lives. No one  dies but his son.  You say  you love
me,--your  love  has  cost  me  dear  enough! Do you  think I can  blot  out
everything, and turn back into Arthur at a few soft words--I, that have been
dish-washer in filthy  half-caste  brothels and stable-boy to Creole farmers
that were worse brutes  than their own cattle? I, that have been zany in cap
and bells for a strolling variety show--drudge and Jack-of-all-trades to the
matadors  in  the bull-fighting ring; I, that have been slave to every black
beast who  cared to set his foot on  my neck; I, that have  been starved and
spat upon and trampled under foot; I, that have begged for mouldy scraps and
been refused because the dogs  had  the first  right? Oh, what is the use of
all this! How  can I TELL you what you have brought on me? And now--you love
me! How much do you love me? Enough to give up your God for me? Oh, what has
He  done  for you, this everlasting Jesus,  --what has  He suffered for you,
that you should love Him more than me? Is it for the pierced hands He is  so
dear to you? Look at mine! Look here, and here, and here----"
     He tore open his shirt and showed the ghastly scars.
     "Padre, this God of yours is  an impostor, His  wounds are sham wounds,
His pain is  all a  farce! It is I that have the right to your heart! Padre,
there is no torture you  have not put me to; if  you could only know what my
life has been!  And yet  I would not die! I have  endured it  all,  and have
possessed my soul in patience, because I  would come back and fight this God
of yours. I have  held this purpose as a shield against my heart, and it has
saved me from madness, and from the second death. And now, when I come back,
I find Him still in  my  place--this sham victim that was crucified for  six
hours,  forsooth, and rose again from the dead! Padre, I have been crucified
for five years, and I, too, have risen from the dead. What  are you going to
do with me? What are you going to do with me?"
     He broke down. Montanelli sat like some stone image, or like a dead man
set upright. At first, under  the fiery torrent of the Gadfly's  despair, he
had quivered a  little, with the automatic shrinking of the flesh, as  under
the lash of  a  whip;  but now he was quite still. After  a long silence  he
looked up and spoke, lifelessly, patiently:
     "Arthur,  will you explain to me  more clearly? You confuse and terrify
me so, I can't understand. What is it you demand of me?"
     The Gadfly turned to him a spectral face.
     "I  demand nothing.  Who  shall compel  love? You  are  free  to choose
between us two the one who is most dear to you. If you love Him best, choose
Him."
     "I can't understand," Montanelli repeated wearily. "What is there I can
choose? I cannot undo the past."
     "You have  to choose  between us. If you  love me, take that  cross off
your neck and come away with  me. My friends  are arranging another attempt,
and with your help they could manage it easily. Then, when we  are safe over
the frontier, acknowledge  me publicly. But  if you don't love me enough for
that,--if  this  wooden idol is more to you than I,--then go to  the colonel
and tell him you consent. And  if you go, then go at once, and  spare me the
misery of seeing you. I have enough without that."
     Montanelli   looked  up,  trembling   faintly.   He  was  beginning  to
understand.
     "I  will communicate with  your  friends, of  course.  But--to go  with
you--it is impossible-- I am a priest."
     "And I accept no favours from priests. I will have no more compromises,
Padre;  I have had  enough of them, and of their consequences. You must give
up your priesthood, or you must give up me."
     "How can I give you up? Arthur, how can I give you up?"
     "Then give up Him. You have to choose between us. Would  you offer me a
share of your love--half for me, half for your fiend  of a God?  I  will not
take His leavings. If you are His, you are not mine."
     "Would you have me tear my heart in two? Arthur! Arthur! Do you want to
drive me mad?"
     The Gadfly struck his hand against the wall.
     "You have to choose between us," he repeated once more.
     Montanelli drew  from  his breast  a  little  case containing a bit  of
soiled and crumpled paper.
     "Look!" he said.
     "I believed in you, as I believed in  God. God is a thing made of clay,
that I can smash with a hammer; and you have fooled me with a lie."
     The Gadfly laughed and  handed it back. "How d-d-delightfully young one
is at nineteen! To take a hammer and  smash  things seems so easy. It's that
now--only it's I  that  am under the hammer. As for you, there are plenty of
other people you can fool with lies--and they won't even find you out."
     "As you will," Montanelli said. "Perhaps in your  place I should  be as
merciless as you--God knows. I can't do what you ask, Arthur; but  I will do
what I can. I will arrange your escape, and when you are safe I will have an
accident  in   the   mountains,  or  take   the  wrong  sleeping-draught  by
mistake--whatever you like to choose. Will that content you? It is all I can
do.  It is  a  great  sin;  but  I  think He  will  forgive me.  He is  more
merciful------"
     The Gadfly flung out both hands with a sharp cry.
     "Oh,  that  is  too much! That is too much! What have  I done  that you
should think of me that way?  What right have you---- As if  I  wanted to be
revenged on you! Can't you  see that I only want to save you? Will you never
understand that I love you?"
     He caught hold of  Montanelli's hands  and  covered  them  with burning
kisses and tears.
     "Padre,  come away with us! What have you to do with this dead world of
priests and  idols? They  are  full of the  dust of  bygone  ages; they  are
rotten;  they  are pestilent  and  foul!  Come out  of this  plague-stricken
Church--come away  with us into the light! Padre, it is we that are life and
youth; it is we that are  the everlasting springtime; it is we  that are the
future!  Padre, the dawn is close upon us--will you miss  your  part in  the
sunrise? Wake up,  and let us  forget the horrible nightmares,--wake up, and
we will begin our life again! Padre,  I have  always loved you--always, even
when you killed me--will you kill me again?"
     Montanelli tore his  hands away. "Oh,  God have mercy  on me!" he cried
out. "YOU HAVE YOUR MOTHER'S EYES!"
     A strange silence, long and deep  and  sudden, fell  upon them both. In
the  gray twilight they looked at each other, and  their hearts  stood still
with fear.
     "Have  you anything  more  to say?" Montanelli whispered. "Any--hope to
give me?"
     "No. My  life is of no use to me  except  to fight  priests. I am not a
man; I am a knife. If you let me live, you sanction knives."
     Montanelli turned to the crucifix. "God! Listen to this----"
     His voice died away into the empty stillness without response. Only the
mocking devil awoke again in the Gadfly.
     "'C-c-call him louder; perchance he s-s-sleepeth'----"
     Montanelli started up  as if he had been struck. For a moment  he stood
looking straight before  him;--then he sat down  on the  edge of the pallet,
covered  his  face with both  hands, and  burst into tears. A  long  shudder
passed through the Gadfly, and the damp cold broke  out on his body. He knew
what the tears meant.
     He drew the blanket over his head that he might not hear. It was enough
that he had to die--he who was so vividly, magnificently alive. But he could
not  shut out the sound;  it rang  in his ears, it  beat  in his  brain,  it
throbbed in all his pulses. And still Montanelli sobbed and sobbed, and  the
tears dripped down between his fingers.
     He left off sobbing at last, and  dried his eyes with his handkerchief,
like a child that  has been crying. As he stood up  the handkerchief slipped
from his knee and fell to the floor.
     "There is no use in talking any more," he said. "You understand?"
     "I  understand," the Gadfly  answered, with  dull submission. "It's not
your fault. Your God is hungry, and must be fed."
     Montanelli turned towards him.  The  grave  that was to be dug  was not
more still  than they were. Silent,  they  looked into each other's eyes, as
two lovers, torn apart, might gaze across the barrier they cannot pass.
     It  was the Gadfly whose eyes  sank first. He  shrank  down, hiding his
face;  and Montanelli understood that the gesture meant "Go!" He turned, and
went out of the cell. A moment later the Gadfly started up.
     "Oh, I can't bear it! Padre, come back! Come back!"
     The door  was shut.  He  looked around him  slowly, with a  wide, still
gaze, and understood that all was over. The Galilean had conquered.
     All night long the grass waved softly in the courtyard below--the grass
that was so soon to wither,  uprooted  by the spade;  and all night long the
Gadfly lay alone in the darkness, and sobbed.


     THE court-martial was held on Tuesday morning. It  was a very short and
simple affair; a mere formality, occupying barely twenty minutes. There was,
indeed, nothing to spend much  time  over; no  defence  was allowed, and the
only  witnesses  were  the  wounded spy and officer and a few soldiers.  The
sentence  was  drawn  up beforehand; Montanelli  had  sent  in  the  desired
informal  consent;  and the  judges  (Colonel Ferrari, the  local  major  of
dragoons,  and two  officers  of  the  Swiss guards) had little  to do.  The
indictment  was  read  aloud,  the  witnesses  gave their  evidence, and the
signatures  were  affixed  to  the  sentence,  which  was then read  to  the
condemned man  with befitting solemnity. He  listened in silence;  and  when
asked, according to the  usual form, whether he  had anything to say, merely
waved the question  aside with an impatient movement of  his hand. Hidden on
his breast was  the handkerchief which Montanelli had  let fall. It had been
kissed and wept  over all night,  as  though  it were a living thing. Now he
looked  wan and spiritless, and  the traces of tears  were  still  about his
eyelids; but the words: "to be shot," did  not seem to affect him much. When
they were uttered, the pupils of his eyes dilated, but that was all.
     "Take  him  back  to  his  cell,"  the  Governor  said.  when  all  the
formalities were over;  and the sergeant, who was evidently near to breaking
down, touched the motionless figure on the shoulder. The Gadfly looked round
him with a little start.
     "Ah, yes!" he said. "I forgot."
     There was something almost like pity in the Governor's face. He was not
a cruel man by nature, and was secretly a little ashamed of  the part he had
been playing during the last  month. Now that  his  main point was gained he
was willing to make every little concession in his power.
     "You needn't put the irons on  again," he said, glancing at the bruised
and swollen wrists. "And he can stay in his own cell. The condemned  cell is
wretchedly  dark and gloomy," he  added, turning to his nephew; "and  really
the thing's a mere formality."
     He coughed and  shifted his feet in evident  embarrassment; then called
back the sergeant, who was leaving the room with his prisoner.
     "Wait, sergeant; I want to speak to him."
     The Gadfly  did not  move, and the Governor's voice  seemed  to fall on
unresponsive ears.
     "If you have  any message you would like  conveyed to  your  friends or
relatives---- You have relatives, I suppose?"
     There was no answer.
     "Well, think it over and  tell me, or the  priest. I will see it is not
neglected. You had better give your messages to the priest; he shall come at
once, and stay the night with you. If there is any other wish----"
     The Gadfly looked up.
     "Tell  the  priest I  would  rather  be alone. I have no friends and no
messages."
     "But you will want to confess."
     "I am an atheist. I want nothing but to be left in peace."
     He said it in a dull, quiet  voice, without defiance or irritation; and
turned slowly away. At the door he stopped again.
     "I forgot, colonel; there is  a favour I  wanted to ask. Don't let them
tie me or bandage my eyes to-morrow, please. I will stand quite still."
     . . . . .
     At  sunrise  on  Wednesday  morning  they  brought  him  out  into  the
courtyard. His  lameness was more than usually apparent,  and he walked with
evident difficulty and pain, leaning  heavily on the sergeant's arm; but all
the weary submission had gone out of his face. The spectral terrors that had
crushed him down in the  empty silence, the visions and dreams  of the world
of shadows, were gone with the night which gave them birth; and once the sun
was  shining and his enemies were  present  to rouse the fighting  spirit in
him, he was not afraid.
     The six carabineers who had  been told off for the execution were drawn
up in line against the ivied wall; the same crannied and crumbling wall down
which  he had climbed on the night of his unlucky attempt. They could hardly
refrain from weeping as  they  stood together, each man with his carbine  in
his hand. It seemed to them a horror beyond imagination  that they should be
called out to kill the Gadfly. He and his  stinging repartees, his perpetual
laughter,  his  bright,  infectious courage, had  come into  their  dull and
dreary lives like a wandering sunbeam; and that  he should die, and at their
hands, was to them as the darkening of the clear lamps of heaven.
     Under the great fig-tree  in the  courtyard,  his grave was waiting for
him.  It had been dug in the  night by unwilling hands; and tears had fallen
on the spade. As he passed he looked down, smiling, at the black pit and the
withering grass beside it; and drew a long breath, to smell the scent of the
freshly turned earth.
     Near the tree the sergeant stopped short,  and  the Gadfly looked round
with his brightest smile.
     "Shall I stand here, sergeant?"
     The man nodded silently; there  was a lump in his throat,  and he could
not  have spoken to save his life. The Governor, his nephew, the  lieutenant
of carabineers who was to command, a doctor and a priest were already in the
courtyard, and came forward with grave faces, half abashed under the radiant
defiance of the Gadfly's laughing eyes.
     "G-good morning, gentlemen! Ah, and his reverence  is up so early, too!
How do you  do, captain?  This is  a pleasanter  occasion for  you than  our
former meeting, isn't it? I see your arm is still in a sling; that's because
I  bungled my  work. These good fellows will do theirs better--  won't  you,
lads?"
     He glanced round at the gloomy faces of the carabineers.
     "There'll be no need of slings this time, any  way.  There, there,  you
needn't  look  so  doleful over  it!  Put your heels together and  show  how
straight you can shoot. Before  long there'll be more work  cut out for  you
than you'll  know how to get  through, and  there's  nothing  like  practice
beforehand." "My  son," the  priest interrupted,  coming forward, while  the
others  drew back to leave  them alone together;  "in a few minutes you must
enter into the presence  of your  Maker. Have you  no other use but this for
these last moments that are left you for  repentance? Think, I entreat  you,
how  dreadful a  thing  it is to die without absolution,  with all your sins
upon your head. When you stand  before your Judge  it will  be  too late  to
repent. Will you approach His awful throne with a jest upon your lips?"
     "A jest, your reverence? It is your side that needs that little homily,
I think. When our turn comes we shall use field-guns instead of half a dozen
second-hand carbines, and then you'll see how much we're in jest."
     "YOU will  use field-guns! Oh, unhappy man! Have you still not realized
on what frightful brink you stand?"
     The Gadfly glanced back over his shoulder at the open grave.
     "And s-s-so  your  reverence  thinks that, when you  have put  me  down
there, you will have done  with  me? Perhaps you will lay a stone on the top
to  pre-v-vent a r-resurrection 'after three days'? No fear, your reverence!
I shan't poach on the monopoly in cheap theatricals; I shall lie as still as
a  m-mouse,  just  where  you  put  me.  And  all  the  same,  WE shall  use
field-guns."
     "Oh, merciful God," the priest cried out; "forgive this wretched man!"
     "Amen!"  murmured the lieutenant of carabineers, in a deep  bass growl,
while the colonel and his nephew crossed themselves devoutly.
     As there was  evidently no hope of  further  insistence  producing  any
effect,  the priest gave  up the fruitless attempt and moved  aside, shaking
his head and murmuring a prayer. The short and simple preparations were made
without more  delay, and the Gadfly placed himself in the required position,
only turning  his head  to  glance  up for  a  moment at the red and  yellow
splendour of the  sunrise. He had  repeated the  request that his eyes might
not be bandaged, and his defiant face had wrung from the colonel a reluctant
consent. They had both forgotten what they were inflicting on the soldiers.
     He stood  and  faced them, smiling, and  the  carbines  shook  in their
hands.
     "I am quite ready," he said.
     The lieutenant stepped forward, trembling  a little with excitement. He
had never given the word of command for an execution before.
     "Ready--present--fire!"
     The Gadfly staggered  a little and recovered his balance. One  unsteady
shot had  grazed his cheek, and a little  blood fell on to the white cravat.
Another ball had struck him above the knee. When the  smoke cleared away the
soldiers looked  and saw him smiling  still  and wiping  the blood  from his
cheek with the mutilated hand
     "A bad shot, men!" he said; and his voice cut in, clear and articulate,
upon the dazed stupor of the wretched soldiers. "Have another try."
     A general groan and shudder passed through the row of carabineers. Each
man had aimed aside, with a secret hope  that the death-shot would come from
his  neighbour's hand, not his;  and there  the  Gadfly  stood and smiled at
them;  they had  only  turned the execution  into a  butchery, and the whole
ghastly business was to  do again. They were seized with sudden terror, and,
lowering their carbines, listened  hopelessly  to  the  furious  curses  and
reproaches of the officers, staring in dull horror  at the man whom they had
killed and who somehow was not dead.
     The Governor shook his fist in their faces, savagely shouting  to  them
to stand in position, to present arms, to make haste and get the thing over.
He had become as thoroughly demoralized as they were, and dared not look  at
the  terrible figure that  stood, and  stood, and  would not fall. When  the
Gadfly spoke to  him he started and shuddered  at  the sound of  the mocking
voice.
     "You  have brought  out the awkward squad this morning, colonel! Let me
see if I can manage them better. Now, men!  Hold your tool higher there, you
to the left. Bless your heart, man, it's a carbine you've got in your  hand,
not a frying-pan! Are you all straight? Now then! Ready--present----"
     "Fire!"  the colonel interrupted, starting  forward. It was intolerable
that this man should give the command for his own death.
     There was another confused, disorganized volley, and the  line broke up
into a knot of shivering figures, staring before them with wild eyes. One of
the soldiers had not  even discharged his carbine; he had flung it away, and
crouched down, moaning under his breath: "I can't--I can't!"
     The  smoke cleared  slowly  away,  floating up into  the glimmer of the
early sunlight; and they saw that the Gadfly had  fallen; and saw, too, that
he was still not dead. For  the first moment soldiers and officials stood as
if they had been turned to stone, and watched the ghastly thing that writhed
and  struggled  on  the ground; then  both doctor and colonel rushed forward
with a cry, for he had dragged himself up on one knee  and  was still facing
the soldiers, and still laughing.
     "Another miss! Try--again, lads--see--if you can't----"
     He suddenly swayed and fell over sideways on the grass.
     "Is  he dead?" the  colonel asked under  his  breath; and  the  doctor,
kneeling down, with a hand on the bloody shirt, answered softly:
     "I think so--God be praised!"
     "God be praised!" the colonel repeated. "At last!"
     His nephew was touching him on the arm.
     "Uncle! It's the Cardinal! He's at the gate and wants to come in."
     "What? He  can't  come in--I won't have it!  What are the guards about?
Your Eminence----"
     The  gate had opened  and  shut, and  Montanelli  was  standing  in the
courtyard, looking before him with still and awful eyes.
     "Your Eminence! I must beg of you--this is not a fit sight for you! The
execution is only just over; the body is not yet----"
     "I  have come to look at him,"  Montanelli  said. Even at the moment it
struck the Governor that his voice and bearing were those of a sleep-walker.
"Oh, my God!" one  of  the soldiers cried out  suddenly;  and  the  Governor
glanced hastily back. Surely------
     The blood-stained heap on the grass had once more begun to struggle and
moan. The doctor flung himself down and lifted the head upon his knee.
     "Make haste!" he cried in desperation. "You savages, make haste! Get it
over, for God's sake! There's no bearing this!"
     Great  jets of blood  poured over his hands, and the convulsions of the
figure that  he held  in his arms shook him, too, from head to  foot. As  he
looked frantically round for help, the priest bent over his shoulder and put
a crucifix to the lips of the dying man.
     "In the name of the Father and of the Son----"
     The  Gadfly  raised  himself  against  the  doctor's  knee,  and,  with
wide-open eyes, looked straight upon the crucifix.
     Slowly, amid hushed and  frozen stillness,  he lifted the  broken right
hand and pushed away the image. There was a red smear across its face.
     "Padre--is your--God--satisfied?"
     His head fell back on the doctor's arm.
     . . . . .
     "Your Eminence!"
     As  the Cardinal  did  not  awake  from  his  stupor,  Colonel  Ferrari
repeated, louder:
     "Your Eminence!"
     Montanelli looked up.
     "He is dead."
     "Quite dead, your Eminence. Will you not come  away? This is a horrible
sight."
     "He  is dead," Montanelli repeated, and looked down  again at the face.
"I touched him; and he is dead."
     "What does he expect a man to be with half a dozen bullets in him?" the
lieutenant whispered contemptuously; and the doctor whispered back. "I think
the sight of the blood has upset him."
     The Governor put his hand firmly on Montanelli's arm.
     "Your Eminence--you  had  better not look  at him any  longer. Will you
allow the chaplain to escort you home?"
     "Yes--I will go."
     He  turned  slowly from  the  blood-stained  spot  and walked away, the
priest and sergeant following. At the gate he paused and looked back, with a
ghostlike, still surprise.
     "He is dead."
     . . . . .
     A few hours later  Marcone went up to a cottage on the hillside to tell
Martini that there was no longer any need for him to throw away his life.
     All the preparations  for a second attempt at rescue were ready, as the
plot was much more simple than the former one. It had been  arranged that on
the  following morning,  as the Corpus  Domini procession passed  along  the
fortress hill, Martini should step  forward out of the crowd, draw  a pistol
from  his breast,  and fire in  the Governor's face. In  the moment of  wild
confusion which would follow twenty  armed men were to make a sudden rush at
the gate, break into the tower, and, taking  the turnkey with them by force,
to  enter  the  prisoner's  cell  and  carry  him bodily  away,  killing  or
overpowering everyone who interfered with them.  From the gate they  were to
retire fighting, and cover the retreat of a second band of armed and mounted
smugglers, who would carry  him off into  a safe hiding-place in the  hills.
The  only person in the little group who knew nothing of the plan was Gemma;
it had been kept from her  at Martini's special desire. "She will break  her
heart over it soon enough," he had said.
     As the smuggler came in  at the garden gate  Martini  opened  the glass
door and stepped out on to the verandah to meet him.
     "Any news, Marcone? Ah!"
     The smuggler had pushed back his broad-brimmed straw hat.
     They sat down together on the verandah. Not a word was spoken on either
side. From the instant when  Martini had caught sight of  the face under the
hat-brim he had understood.
     "When was it?" he asked after a long pause;  and his  own voice, in his
ears, was as dull and wearisome as everything else.
     "This morning, at sunrise.  The sergeant told me.  He was there and saw
it."
     Martini looked down and flicked a stray thread from his coat-sleeve.
     Vanity of vanities; this also is vanity. He was to have died to-morrow.
And now  the land of his heart's  desire had vanished, like the fairyland of
golden  sunset dreams that fades away when  the darkness  comes; and he  was
driven back into  the world  of  every day  and  every night--the  world  of
Grassini  and Galli, of  ciphering  and  pamphleteering, of party  squabbles
between  comrades  and  dreary  intrigues  among Austrian  spies--of the old
revolutionary  mill-round that maketh the heart sick. And  somewhere down at
the bottom  of his consciousness there was a great empty place; a place that
nothing and no one would fill any more, now that the Gadfly was dead.
     Someone was  asking him a  question, and  he raised his head, wondering
what could be left that was worth the trouble of talking about.
     "What did you say?"
     "I was saying that of course you will break the news to her."
     Life, and all the horror of life, came back into Martini's face.
     "How can I tell her?" he cried out. "You might as well ask me to go and
stab her. Oh, how can I tell her--how can I!"
     He had clasped both  hands over his eyes; but, without seeing, he  felt
the  smuggler start beside  him,  and  looked up. Gemma was  standing in the
doorway.
     "Have you heard, Cesare?" she  said.  "It  is all over. They have  shot
him."PART III: CHAPTER VIII.
     "INTROIBO  ad altare Dei." Montanelli stood before the high altar among
his ministers and acolytes and read the Introit aloud in  steady  tones. All
the Cathedral was a blaze of light  and colour; from the holiday dresses  of
the congregation to the pillars with their flaming draperies  and wreaths of
flowers  there was no dull spot in it. Over the  open spaces of  the doorway
fell  great  scarlet  curtains, through whose  folds the  hot  June sunlight
glowed, as through the petals of red poppies in a  corn-field. The religious
orders with their candles and torches,  the companies  of  the parishes with
their  crosses and flags, lighted up the dim side-chapels; and in the aisles
the silken folds  of  the processional banners drooped, their gilded  staves
and  tassels glinting  under the  arches. The  surplices of  the  choristers
gleamed, rainbow-tinted, beneath the  coloured windows; the sunlight lay  on
the chancel floor in chequered stains of orange and purple and green. Behind
the altar hung a shimmering veil of silver tissue; and against  the veil and
the decorations and the  altar-lights the Cardinal's figure stood out in its
trailing white robes like a marble statue that had come to life.
     As  was customary on processional days, he was only  to  preside at the
Mass, not to celebrate, so at the end of the Indulgentiam he turned from the
altar  and  walked slowly to the episcopal  throne,  celebrant and ministers
bowing low as he passed.
     "I'm afraid  His  Eminence is not well," one of the canons whispered to
his neighbour; "he seems so strange."
     Montanelli bent his head  to receive the jewelled mitre. The priest who
was acting as deacon of honour put it on, looked at him for an instant, then
leaned forward and whispered softly:
     "Your Eminence, are you ill?"
     Montanelli turned slightly towards him. There was no recognition in his
eyes.
     "Pardon, Your Eminence!" the priest whispered, as he made a genuflexion
and went back to his place, reproaching  himself for  having interrupted the
Cardinal's devotions.
     The familiar ceremony went on; and  Montanelli sat erect and still, his
glittering mitre and gold-brocaded vestments flashing back the sunlight, and
the heavy  folds  of  his white festival  mantle sweeping down over  the red
carpet. The light  of a hundred candles sparkled  among the sapphires on his
breast, and shone into the deep, still eyes that had no answering gleam; and
when, at the words: "Benedicite, pater eminentissime," he  stooped to  bless
the  incense, and  the  sunbeams played  among  the diamonds, he might  have
recalled some splendid and fearful ice-spirit of the mountains, crowned with
rainbows and  robed  in  drifted snow, scattering, with  extended  hands,  a
shower of blessings or of curses.
     At  the elevation of  the Host  he descended from his  throne and knelt
before  the  altar.  There  was a  strange,  still  evenness about  all  his
movements; and as he rose and went back to his place the major  of dragoons,
who  was  sitting in  gala  uniform  behind the Governor,  whispered  to the
wounded  captain:  "The old Cardinal's breaking,  not a doubt of it. He goes
through his work like a machine."
     "So much the  better!" the captain whispered  back. "He's been  nothing
but a mill-stone round all our necks ever since that confounded amnesty."
     "He did give in, though, about the court-martial."
     "Yes, at  last;  but he  was  a precious  time  making up  his mind to.
Heavens, how  close it is! We shall all  get sun-stroke  in  the procession.
It's a pity we're not Cardinals, to have a canopy held  over  our  heads all
the way---- Sh-sh-sh! There's my uncle looking at us!"
     Colonel Ferrari had turned round to glance  severely at the two younger
officers. After the solemn event of yesterday morning he was in a devout and
serious frame of mind, and  inclined to reproach them with a want of  proper
feeling about what he regarded as "a painful necessity of state."
     The masters of  the ceremonies  began  to assemble  and place  in order
those who were to take part in the procession. Colonel Ferrari rose from his
place and moved up  to the chancel-rail,  beckoning to the other officers to
accompany him.  When  the Mass  was  finished, and the  Host had been placed
behind  the crystal  shield in the processional  sun,  the celebrant and his
ministers retired to  the sacristy to change  their vestments, and  a little
buzz  of  whispered conversation  broke out through  the  church. Montanelli
remained seated on his throne, looking straight before  him,  immovably. All
the sea of human life and motion  seemed to surge around and  below him, and
to die away into stillness about his feet. A censer  was brought to him; and
he raised his hand with the action of an automaton, and put the incense into
the vessel, looking neither to the right nor to the left.
     The clergy had  come  back from the  sacristy, and were waiting in  the
chancel for him to descend; but he remained  utterly motionless.  The deacon
of  honour,  bending  forward  to  take  off  the  mitre,  whispered  again,
hesitatingly:
     "Your Eminence!" The Cardinal looked round.
     "What did you say?"
     "Are you quite sure  the procession will  not  be too much for you? The
sun is very hot."
     "What does the sun matter?"
     Montanelli spoke  in  a  cold,  measured  voice,  and  the priest again
fancied that he must have given offence.
     "Forgive me, Your Eminence. I thought you seemed unwell."
     Montanelli rose without answering. He paused a moment on the upper step
of the throne, and asked in the same measured way:
     "What is that?"
     The long train of  his mantle swept down over the steps and lay  spread
out on the  chancel-floor, and he was pointing to a fiery stain on the white
satin.
     "It's  only  the  sunlight shining  through  a  coloured  window,  Your
Eminence."
     "The sunlight? Is it so red?"
     He descended the steps, and knelt before the altar, swinging the censer
slowly to and fro. As he handed it back, the chequered sunlight fell  on his
bared head and wide, uplifted eyes, and cast a crimson glow across the white
veil that his ministers were folding round him.
     He took from the deacon the  sacred  golden sun; and stood up, as choir
and organ burst into a peal of triumphal melody.
     "Pange, lingua, g]oriosi Corporis mysterium, Sanguinisque pretiosi Quem
in mundi pretium, Fructus ventris generosi Rex effudit gentium."
     The bearers came slowly forward, and raised the silken  canopy over his
head, while the  deacons of honour stepped to their  places at his right and
left and drew back the long folds of the mantle. As the acolytes stooped  to
lift his  robe  from the  chancel-floor,  the  lay  fraternities heading the
procession started to pace  down the  nave  in  stately  double  file,  with
lighted candles held to left and right.
     He stood above them,  by the altar, motionless under the  white canopy,
holding the  Eucharist  aloft  with steady hands, and watched them  as  they
passed. Two by two, with candles and  banners and torches, with  crosses and
images and flags, they swept  slowly down the chancel steps, along the broad
nave  between the  garlanded  pillars,  and out  under  the  lifted  scarlet
curtains  into the blazing  sunlight of the street; and  the sound of  their
chanting died into a rolling murmur, drowned in the pealing of new and newer
voices, as the unending stream  flowed on, and yet new footsteps echoed down
the nave.
     The  companies of  the parishes  passed,  with their white  shrouds and
veiled  faces; then  the brothers of  the  Misericordia, black  from head to
foot, their  eyes faintly gleaming through the holes  in their  masks.  Next
came the monks  in solemn row:  the mendicant friars, with their dusky cowls
and bare, brown  feet; the white-robed, grave Dominicans. Then  followed the
lay  officials  of  the  district;  dragoons and carabineers  and the  local
police-officials; the  Governor  in gala uniform,  with his brother officers
beside him. A deacon followed, holding up a great cross between two acolytes
with gleaming candles; and as the curtains were lifted high to let them pass
out at  the doorway, Montanelli caught a momentary  glimpse, from  where  he
stood under the canopy, of the sunlit blaze of carpeted street and flag-hung
walls and white-robed children scattering roses. Ah, the roses; how red they
were!
     On and  on the  procession paced in order; form  succeeding to form and
colour  to  colour.  Long  white  surplices, grave and seemly, gave place to
gorgeous vestments and  embroidered pluvials. Now  passed a tall and slender
golden cross,  borne  high  above  the  lighted  candles;  now the cathedral
canons, stately  in  their  dead white mantles. A chaplain  paced  down  the
chancel, with  the  crozier between  two flaring torches;  then the acolytes
moved forward in  step,  their censers swinging to the  rhythm of the music;
the bearers raised  the canopy higher, counting their steps: "One, two; one,
two!" and Montanelli started upon the Way of the Cross.
     Down  the chancel steps and all along  the  nave he  passed;  under the
gallery where the organ pealed and thundered; under the lifted curtains that
were so red--so fearfully  red; and out into the  glaring street,  where the
blood-red roses lay and withered, crushed into the red carpet by the passing
of  many feet. A  moment's pause at  the door, while the lay  officials came
forward to replace the canopy-bearers; then the  procession moved  on again,
and he with it,  his hands clasping the Eucharistic sun,  and the voices  of
the choristers swelling and dying around him, with the rhythmical swaying of
censers and the rolling tramp of feet.
     "Verbum caro, panem verum, Verbo carnem efficit; Sitque sanguis Christi
merum----"
     Always blood and always blood! The  carpet stretched before him  like a
red river; the roses lay like blood splashed on the  stones----  Oh, God! Is
all  Thine earth grown red, and all Thy heaven? Ah, what is it to Thee, Thou
mighty God---- Thou, whose very lips are smeared with blood!
     "Tantum  ergo  Sacramentum,  Veneremur  cernui."He  looked  through the
crystal  shield at the Eucharist. What was  that  oozing  from  the  wafer--
dripping down  between the  points of the  golden sun--down on to his  white
robe? What had he seen dripping down--dripping from a lifted hand?
     The grass in the  courtyard was trampled and  red,--all red,--there was
so much blood.  It  was trickling  down the  cheek, and  dripping  from  the
pierced right hand, and gushing in a hot red torrent  from the wounded side.
Even a lock  of  the hair was dabbled in it,--the hair that lay all wet  and
matted  on the forehead--ah, that  was the  death-sweat;  it  came  from the
horrible pain.
     The voices of the choristers rose higher, triumphantly:
     "Genitori,  genitoque, Laus et jubilatio, Salus,  honor, virtus quoque,
Sit et benedictio."
     Oh, that is more than any patience can endure! God,  Who sittest on the
brazen  heavens  enthroned, and smilest with bloody lips, looking  down upon
agony and death, is it not enough? Is it not enough, without this mockery of
praise and blessing? Body of Christ, Thou that wast broken for the salvation
of men; blood of Christ,  Thou that wast shed  for the remission of sins; is
it not enough?
     "Ah, call Him louder; perchance He sleepeth!
     Dost Thou  sleep indeed, dear love; and wilt Thou never wake  again? Is
the grave so  jealous of its victory;  and will the black pit under the tree
not loose Thee even for a little, heart's delight?
     Then  the  Thing behind the crystal shield made answer, and  the  blood
dripped down as It spoke:
     "Hast  thou chosen, and wilt repent of  thy  choice? Is thy  desire not
fulfilled? Look upon these men  that walk  in the light and are clad in silk
and in gold: for their  sake was I  laid in  the black  pit. Look  upon  the
children scattering roses, and hearken to their singing if it  be sweet: for
their sake is my  mouth filled with dust, and  the  roses  are red from  the
well-springs of my heart. See where the people kneel to drink the blood that
drips  from  thy  garment-hem:  for their sake was  it shed, to quench their
ravening thirst. For it is written: 'Greater love  hath no man than this, if
a man lay down his life for his friends.'"
     "Oh, Arthur, Arthur; there is greater love than this! If a man lay down
the life of his best beloved, is not that greater?"
     And It answered again:
     "Who is thy best beloved? In sooth, not I."
     And when he  would  have spoken the words froze on his tongue,  for the
singing  of  the  choristers  passed over  them,  as the north wind over icy
pools, and hushed them into silence:
     "Dedit  fragilibus  corporis  ferculum, Dedit  et  tristibus  sanguinis
poculum, Dicens: Accipite, quod trado vasculum Omnes ex eo bibite."
     Drink of it, Christians; drink of it, all of you!  Is it not yours? For
you the red stream stains the grass; for you the living flesh is seared  and
torn. Eat of  it, cannibals; eat  of it, all of you!  This is your feast and
your orgy; this is the day of your joy! Haste you and come to  the festival;
join the procession and march with us; women and children, young men and old
men--come to  the  sharing of  flesh! Come  to the pouring of blood-wine and
drink of it while it is red; take and eat of the Body----
     Ah, God; the fortress! Sullen and brown, with crumbling battlements and
towers  dark among the barren hills, it scowled on the  procession  sweeping
past in the  dusty  road below. The iron teeth of  the portcullis were drawn
down  over  the  mouth  of  the  gate;  and  as  a  beast  crouched  on  the
mountain-side, the fortress guarded  its prey.  Yet,  be the teeth  clenched
never so fast, they shall  be broken and riven asunder; and the grave in the
courtyard  within  shall yield up  her dead.  For  the  Christian hosts  are
marching, marching in mighty procession to their sacramental feast of blood,
as  marches an army  of  famished  rats to the gleaning;  and their cry  is:
"Give! Give!" and they say not: "It is enough."
     "Wilt thou not be satisfied? For  these men was I sacrificed; thou hast
destroyed me that  they might live;  and behold, they  march everyone on his
ways, and they shall not break their ranks.
     "This is  the army of Christians,  the  followers of  thy  God; a great
people and  a strong. A fire devoureth before them, and behind them  a flame
burneth; the land is as the  garden of Eden before them, and  behind them  a
desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them."
     "Oh, yet  come back, come back to me, beloved; for  I repent  me  of my
choice! Come back, and we will creep away together, to some dark and  silent
grave where  the devouring army shall not find us; and we will lay  us  down
there,  locked in one  another's arms,  and sleep, and sleep, and sleep. And
the  hungry  Christians shall pass  by in the merciless daylight  above  our
heads; and when they howl for blood to drink and for flesh to eat, their cry
shall be faint in  our ears; and they shall pass on their ways and  leave us
to our rest."
     And It answered yet again:
     "Where shall  I hide me? Is it not written: 'They shall run to and  fro
in  the  city; they shall  run upon the wall;  they  shall climb up upon the
houses;  they  shall enter in at the windows  like a thief?' If I build me a
tomb on the mountain-top, shall they not break it open? If I dig  me a grave
in  the river-bed,  shall they not  tear it  up?  Verily, they  are keen  as
blood-hounds to seek out their  prey;  and for them are my  wounds red, that
they may drink. Canst thou not hear them, what they sing?"
     And  they sang,  as they went in  between the  scarlet  curtains of the
Cathedral door; for the procession was over, and all the roses were strewn:
     "Ave, verum  Corpus, natum  De Maria Virgine: Vere passum, immolatum In
cruce  pro homine! Cujus  latus  perforatum Undam fluxit cum sanguinae; Esto
nobis praegustatum Mortis in examinae."
     And when they  had left off singing, he  entered at  the  doorway,  and
passed between the silent rows of monks and priests, where  they knelt, each
man in his place, with the lighted candles uplifted. And he saw their hungry
eyes fixed on the sacred Body that he bore; and he knew why they bowed their
heads as he passed.  For the dark stream  ran  down the folds of  his  white
vestments;  and on the  stones  of the Cathedral floor his footsteps left  a
deep, red stain.
     So he passed  up the nave  to  the chancel rails; and there the bearers
paused, and he went out  from under the canopy and up to the altar steps. To
left and right  the white-robed  acolytes knelt with  their censers and  the
chaplains with their torches;  and their eyes shone greedily in the  flaring
light as they watched the Body of the Victim.
     And as he  stood  before  the  altar, holding aloft  with blood-stained
hands the torn and mangled body of  his murdered  love,  the  voices of  the
guests bidden to the Eucharistic feast rang out in another peal of song:
     "Oh  salutaris  Hostia,  Quae  coeli  pandis  ostium;   Bella  praemunt
hostilia, Da robur, fer, auxilium!"
     Ah, and now they come to take the Body----  Go then, dear heart, to thy
bitter doom,  and  open the  gates of  heaven for these ravening wolves that
will  not be denied. The gates that are opened for me  are the gates of  the
nethermost hell.
     And  as  the deacon of  honour  placed the sacred vessel  on the altar,
Montanelli sank down where he had  stood, and knelt  upon the step; and from
the white altar above him the  blood flowed down  and dripped upon his head.
And the voices of the singers rang on, pealing under the  arches and echoing
along the vaulted roof:
     "Uni  trinoque Domino  Sit sempiterna gloria:  Qui vitam  sine  termino
Nobis donet in patria."
     "Sine  termino--sine termino!" Oh,  happy Jesus, Who could sink beneath
His cross! Oh, happy  Jesus, Who could  say: "It is finished!" This doom  is
never ended; it  is eternal as  the stars in their courses. This is the worm
that  dieth not  and  the fire that  is  not quenched.  "Sine  termino, sine
termino!"
     Wearily,  patiently,  he  went   through  his  part  in  the  remaining
ceremonies, fulfilling mechanically,  from old  habit, the rites that had no
longer any meaning for him. Then, after the benediction, he knelt down again
before the altar and covered  his face; and the voice  of the priest reading
aloud the list of indulgences swelled and sank like a far-off  murmur from a
world to which he belonged no more.
     The voice  broke  off,  and he stood up and stretched out  his hand for
silence. Some  of the congregation were moving  towards the doors; and  they
turned back  with a hurried rustle and murmur, as a whisper went through the
Cathedral:
     "His Eminence is going to speak."
     His  ministers,  startled and wondering, drew closer to  him and one of
them whispered hastily: "Your Eminence, do you intend to speak to the people
now?"
     Montanelli silently waved him aside. The priests  drew back, whispering
together; the  thing was  unusual,  even irregular;  but  it was  within the
Cardinal's prerogative if he chose to do it. No doubt, he had some statement
of exceptional importance  to make; some new reform from Rome to announce or
a special communication from the Holy Father.
     Montanelli looked  down from the  altar-steps upon the sea  of upturned
faces. Full  of  eager  expectancy they looked  up at him as he stood  above
them, spectral and still and white.
     "Sh-sh!  Silence!" the leaders of the procession called softly; and the
murmuring of the  congregation died  into stillness, as a  gust of wind dies
among whispering  tree-tops. All the crowd  gazed up, in breathless silence,
at the  white figure on  the  altar-steps. Slowly and steadily  he  began to
speak:
     "It is  written in the Gospel according to St. John: 'God so  loved the
world, that He gave His only  begotten Son that the world through Him  might
be saved.'
     "This is the festival of the Body and Blood of the Victim who was slain
for your  salvation;  the Lamb  of God, which  taketh  away the  sins of the
world;  the  Son  of  God, Who  died  for your transgressions.  And you  are
assembled  here in solemn festival array, to eat of  the sacrifice  that was
given for you, and to render thanks for this  great  mercy. And  I know that
this morning, when you  came to share in the  banquet, to eat of the Body of
the Victim, your hearts were filled with joy, as  you remembered the Passion
of God the Son, Who died, that you might be saved.
     "But tell me, which among you has thought of that other Passion--of the
Passion of God  the  Father, Who gave  His Son to be crucified? Which of you
has remembered the agony of God the  Father, when He bent from His throne in
the heavens above, and looked down upon Calvary?
     "I have watched you  to-day, my people,  as you walked in your ranks in
solemn procession; and I  have seen that your hearts are glad within you for
the remission  of  your sins, and that you rejoice in your  salvation. Yet I
pray you  that you consider at what  price that salvation was bought. Surely
it is very precious, and the price of it is above rubies; it is the price of
blood."
     A  faint,  long  shudder passed  through  the listening crowd.  In  the
chancel the  priests bent  forward and  whispered to  one another;  but  the
preacher went on speaking, and they held their peace.
     "Therefore it is that I speak with you this day: I AM THAT I AM. For  I
looked upon your  weakness and  your  sorrow,  and  upon the little children
about your feet; and my heart was moved to  compassion for their  sake, that
they must die. Then  I looked  into my dear son's eyes; and I  knew that the
Atonement of Blood was there. And I went my way, and left him to his doom.
     "This is the remission of  sins. He died for you, and the  darkness has
swallowed him up; he is dead, and there is  no resurrection; he is dead, and
I have no son. Oh, my boy, my boy!"
     The Cardinal's voice broke in a long, wailing cry;  and the  voices  of
the terrified people answered it like an echo. All the clergy had risen from
their places, and the deacons of honour  started forward  to lay their hands
on the preacher's arm. But  he  wrenched  it  away, and faced them suddenly,
with the eyes of an angry wild beast.
     "What is this?  Is there not blood enough? Wait your turn, jackals; you
shall all be fed!"
     They shrank away and  huddled shivering  together, their panting breath
thick and  loud, their faces  white  with the whiteness of chalk. Montanelli
turned again to the people, and they swayed and shook before him, as a field
of corn before a hurricane.
     "You have killed him! You have killed him! And I suffered it, because I
would  not  let you  die. And now, when  you come about me  with your  lying
praises and your unclean prayers, I repent me--I repent me that I  have done
this thing! It  were better that you all  should  rot in  your vices, in the
bottomless filth of damnation, and that he should live. What is the worth of
your plague-spotted souls, that such a price should be paid for them? But it
is  too late--too late! I cry aloud, but he  does not hear me; I beat at the
door of the grave, but he will not wake; I stand alone, in desert space, and
look  around me, from the blood-stained earth  where  the  heart of my heart
lies  buried, to the void and awful heaven that is left unto me, desolate. I
have given him up; oh, generation of vipers, I have given him up for you!
     "Take your salvation, since it is yours! I fling it to you as a bone is
flung to a pack of snarling curs! The price of your banquet is paid for you;
come,  then,  and gorge yourselves,  cannibals, bloodsuckers--carrion beasts
that feed on  the dead! See where  the blood  streams down from  the  altar,
foaming and hot from  my  darling's heart--the blood that  was shed for you!
Wallow and lap it and smear yourselves red with it! Snatch and fight for the
flesh and devour it--and trouble me no more! This is the body that was given
for you--look  at it, torn  and  bleeding, throbbing still with the tortured
life, quivering from the bitter death-agony; take it, Christians, and eat!"
     He had  caught up the sun with the Host and  lifted it above  his head;
and now flung it crashing  down upon the floor. At  the ring of the metal on
stone the  clergy rushed  forward  together,  and  twenty  hands  seized the
madman.
     Then,  and  only then,  the silence  of the  people broke  in  a  wild,
hysterical  scream;  and, overturning  chairs  and  benches, beating  at the
doorways, trampling one upon another, tearing down curtains and  garlands in
their haste, the surging, sobbing human flood poured out upon the street.



     "GEMMA, there's a man downstairs who wants  to see  you." Martini spoke
in the subdued tone which they had  both unconsciously adopted during  these
last ten days. That,  and  a  certain slow evenness  of speech and movement,
were the sole expression which either of them gave to their grief.
     Gemma, with bare arms and an apron over her  dress,  was  standing at a
table, putting up little packages of  cartridges for  distribution.  She had
stood over the work since early morning; and now,  in the glaring afternoon,
her face looked haggard with fatigue.
     "A man, Cesare? What does he want?"
     "I don't know, dear. He wouldn't tell me. He said  he must speak to you
alone."
     "Very well." She took  off her apron and pulled down the sleeves of her
dress. "I must go to him, I suppose; but very likely it's only a spy."
     "In any case, I shall be in the next room, within call. As soon  as you
get rid  of him you had better go and lie down a bit. You have been standing
too long to-day."
     "Oh, no! I would rather go on working."
     She went slowly down the stairs, Martini following in silence.  She had
grown to  look ten years older in these few days, and the gray streak across
her hair had widened into a broad  band.  She  mostly kept her  eyes lowered
now; but  when,  by chance,  she  raised them,  he shivered at the horror in
their shadows.
     In the little parlour she found  a clumsy-looking man standing with his
heels  together  in the middle  of  the  floor.  His whole  figure  and  the
half-frightened way he looked up when she came in, suggested to her  that he
must  be one of  the  Swiss  guards. He  wore a  countryman's blouse,  which
evidently did not belong to him, and kept glancing round as though afraid of
detection.
     "Can you speak German?" he asked in the heavy Zurich patois.
     "A little. I hear you want to see me."
     "You are Signora Bolla? I've brought you a letter."
     "A--letter?" She was beginning to tremble, and  rested one hand  on the
table to steady herself.
     "I'm one of the guard over there." He pointed out of  the window to the
fortress on the hill. "It's from--the man that was shot  last week. He wrote
it the night before. I promised him I'd give it into your own hand myself."
     She bent her head down. So he had written after all.
     "That's why  I've been so long bringing  it," the soldier went on.  "He
said I was not to give it to anyone but you, and I couldn't get off before--
they watched me so. I had to borrow these things to come in."
     He was fumbling in the breast of  his blouse.  The weather was hot, and
the  sheet  of  folded  paper  that he pulled out  was  not  only dirty  and
crumpled, but damp. He stood for a moment  shuffling his feet uneasily; then
put up one hand and scratched the back of his head.
     "You  won't  say  anything," he began again timidly, with a distrustful
glance at her. "It's as much as my life's worth to have come here."
     "Of course I shall not say anything. No, wait a minute----"
     As he turned to go, she stopped him, feeling for her purse; but he drew
back, offended.
     "I don't  want your money," he said roughly. "I did it for him--because
he  asked  me  to. I'd have done more than  that  for him. He'd been good to
me--God help me!"
     The little catch in his voice made her look up. He was slowly rubbing a
grimy sleeve across his eyes.
     "We had  to shoot," he went on under his breath; "my mates and I. A man
must obey orders. We bungled  it, and  had to fire again-- and he laughed at
us--he called us the awkward squad--and he'd been good to me----"
     There was silence in the  room. A moment later  he straightened himself
up, made a clumsy military salute, and went away.
     She stood still for a little while with the paper in her hand; then sat
down  by the open window to read. The letter  was closely written in pencil,
and in some  parts  hardly legible. But the first  two words stood out quite
clear upon the page; and they were in English:
     "Dear Jim."
     The writing  grew suddenly blurred  and misty.  And  she  had  lost him
again--had lost him again! At the sight  of  the familiar  childish nickname
all the  hopelessness of her bereavement  came over her afresh, and she  put
out her  hands in blind desperation, as though the weight of the earth-clods
that lay above him were pressing on her heart.
     Presently she took up the paper again and went on reading:
     "I  am  to be  shot at sunrise to-morrow. So  if I am to keep at all my
promise to tell you everything, I must keep it now. But, after all, there is
not much  need of explanations between you and me. We always understood each
other without many words, even when we were little things.
     "And  so, you see,  my dear,  you had no need to break  your heart over
that old  story  of the blow. It was a  hard hit, of course; but I have  had
plenty of others as hard, and yet I have managed  to get over them,--even to
pay  back a few  of them,--and here  I  am still, like  the mackerel in  our
nursery-book  (I forget its name), 'Alive and kicking, oh!'  This is my last
kick,  though; and  then,  to-morrow morning, and--'Finita la Commedia!' You
and I will translate that: 'The variety show is over';  and will give thanks
to the gods  that they  have had, at  least, so much mercy  on us. It is not
much, but  it is  something; and for this and all other  blessings may we be
truly thankful!
     "About that  same  to-morrow morning, I  want both  you  and Martini to
understand  clearly that I am quite happy  and  satisfied, and could  ask no
better thing  of Fate. Tell that to  Martini  as a message from  me; he is a
good  fellow and a  good  comrade, and he will understand. You see,  dear, I
know  that  the  stick-in-the-mud people  are  doing  us  a  good  turn  and
themselves a bad one by  going back to secret trials and executions so soon,
and  I know that if you who are left stand  together steadily  and hit hard,
you will see great things. As for me, I shall go out into the courtyard with
as light a heart as any child starting home for the holidays. I have done my
share of the work, and this death-sentence is the proof that I have done  it
thoroughly. They kill me because they are afraid  of me; and what  more  can
any man's heart desire?
     "It desires just one thing more, though. A man who  is going to die has
a right  to a personal fancy,  and mine  is  that you should  see why I have
always been such a sulky brute to  you, and so slow to forget old scores. Of
course, though, you understand why, and I tell you only for the pleasure  of
writing the words. I loved you,  Gemma, when you were an ugly little girl in
a  gingham  frock, with a scratchy tucker  and your hair in a pig-tail  down
your back; and I love you still. Do you remember that day when I kissed your
hand, and when you so piteously begged me 'never to do that again'? It was a
scoundrelly trick to play, I know; but you must forgive that; and now I kiss
the  paper  where I have written your name. So I have kissed  you twice, and
both times without your consent.
     "That is all. Good-bye, my dear."
     There was no signature, but a verse which they had learned together  as
children was written under the letter:
     "Then am I A happy fly, If I live Or if I die."
     . . . . .
     Half an hour later Martini entered the room,  and, startled out  of the
silence  of half a life-time, threw down  the  placard  he was  carrying and
flung his arms about her.
     "Gemma! What is it, for God's sake? Don't sob like that--you that never
cry! Gemma! Gemma, my darling!"
     "Nothing, Cesare; I will tell you afterwards--I  --can't  talk about it
just now."
     She  hurriedly  slipped the tear-stained  letter into  her pocket; and,
rising, leaned out of the  window to hide  her face. Martini held his tongue
and bit his moustache. After  all these years he had betrayed himself like a
schoolboy--and she had not even noticed it!
     "The Cathedral bell is tolling," she said after a little while, looking
round with recovered self-command. "Someone must be dead."
     "That is what I came  to  show you," Martini  answered in his  everyday
voice. He picked up the placard from the floor and handed it to her. Hastily
printed  in large type was a black-bordered  announcement that: "Our  dearly
beloved Bishop, His Eminence  the  Cardinal, Monsignor Lorenzo  Montanelli,"
had died  suddenly at Ravenna,  "from  the rupture of  an  aneurism  of  the
heart."
     She  glanced  up  quickly from  the paper,  and  Martini  answered  the
unspoken suggestion in her eyes with a shrug of his shoulders.
     "What  would you  have, Madonna?  Aneurism  is as  good  a word as  any
other."




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