The Chartreuse of Parma CHAPTER VIII

Thus, only a month after his arrival at court, Fabrizio was acquainted with all the worries of a courtier, and the intimate friendship which had been the happiness of his life was poisoned. One evening, harassed by these thoughts, he left the duchess’s apartments, where he looked far too much like the reigning lover, and, wandering aimlessly through the town, happened to pass by the theatre, which was lighted up. He went in. This, for a man of his cloth, was a piece of gratuitous imprudence, and one he had fully intended to avoid while at Parma, which, after all, is only a small town of forty thousand inhabitants. It is true, indeed, that from the first days of his residence there he had put aside his official dress, and in the evenings, unless he was going to very large parties, he wore plain black, like any man in mourning.

At the theatre he took a box on the third tier, so as not to be seen. The piece was Goldoni’s “Locandiera.” He was looking at the architecture of the house, and had hardly turned his eyes upon the stage. But the numerous audience was in a state of constant laughter. Fabrizio glanced at the young actress who was playing the part of the Locandiera, and thought her droll; he looked at her more attentively, and she struck him as being altogether pretty, and, above all, exceedingly natural. She was a simple young creature, the first to laugh at the pretty things Goldoni had put into her mouth, which seemed to astonish her as she spoke them. He inquired her name, and was told it was Marietta Valserra.

“Ah,” thought he to himself, “she has taken my name! How odd!” Contrary to his intention, he did not leave the theatre until the play was over. The next day he came back. Three days after that he had found out where Marietta Valserra lived.

On the very evening of the day on which, with a good deal of difficulty, he had procured this address, he noticed that the count looked at him in the most pleasant manner. The poor jealous lover, who had hard work to restrain himself within the bounds of prudence, had set spies upon the young man’s conduct, and was delighted at his freak for the actress. How shall I describe the count’s delight when, the day after that on which he had been able to force himself to be gracious to Fabrizio, he learned that the young man—partly disguised, indeed, in a long blue over-coat—had climbed to the wretched apartment on the fourth floor of an old house behind the theatre, in which Marietta Valserra lived. His delight increased twofold when he knew that Fabrizio had presented himself under a false name, and was honoured by the jealousy of a good-for-nothing fellow of the name of Giletti, who played third-rate servants’ parts in the city, and danced on the tight rope in the neighbouring villages. This noble lover of Marietta’s was heaping volleys of abuse on Fabrizio, and vowed he would kill him.

Opera companies are formed by an impresario, who engages the artists he can afford to pay, or finds disengaged, from all quarters, and the company thus collected by chance remains together for a season or two, at the outside. This is not the case with comedy companies. These, though they move about from town to town, and change their place of residence every two or three months, continue, nevertheless, as one family, the members of which either love or hate each other. These companies frequently comprise couples, living in constant and close relations, which the beaux of the towns in which they occasionally perform find it very difficult to break up. This is exactly what happened to our hero. Little Marietta liked him well enough, but she was horribly afraid of Giletti, who claimed to be her lord and master, and kept a close eye upon her. He openly declared that he would kill the monsignore, for he had dogged Fabrizio’s steps, and had succeeded in finding out his name. This Giletti was certainly the most hideous of beings, and the least attractive imaginable as a lover. He was enormously tall, hideously thin, deeply pitted with small-pox, and had something of a squint into the bargain. Notwithstanding this, he was full of the graces peculiar to his trade, and would make his entry on the wings, where his comrades were assembled, turning wheels on his hands and feet, or performing some other pleasing trick. His great parts were those in which the actor appears with his face whitened with flour, and receives or inflicts innumerable blows with a stick. This worthy rival of Fabrizio’s received a salary of thirty-two francs a month, and thought himself very well off indeed.

To Count Mosca it was as though he had been brought back from the gates of the tomb, when his watchers brought him the proofs of all these details. His good-nature reasserted itself; he was gayer and better company than ever in the duchess’s rooms, and took good care not to tell her anything of the little adventure which had restored him to life. He even took precautions to prevent her hearing anything of what was happening until the latest possible moment; and finally, he gathered courage to listen to his reason, which for a month had been vainly assuring him that whenever a lover’s merits fade, that lover should take a journey.

Important business summoned him to Bologna, and twice a day the cabinet couriers brought him, not so much the necessary papers from his offices, as news of little Marietta’s amours, of the redoubtable Giletti’s fury, and of Fabrizio’s undertakings.

Several times over one of the count’s agents bespoke performances of “Arlecchino schelettro e pasta,” one of Giletti’s triumphs (he emerges from the pie just as his rival Brighella is going to eat it, and thrashes him soundly). This made a pretext for sending him a hundred francs. Giletti, who was over head and ears in debt, took good care to say nothing about this windfall, but his pride reached an astonishing pitch.

What had been a whim in Fabrizio’s case, now became a matter of piqued vanity. (Young as he was, his anxieties had already driven him to indulge in whims.) His vanity led him to the theatre; the little girl acted very well and amused him. When the play was over he was in love for quite an hour. The count, receiving news that Fabrizio was in real danger, returned to Parma. Giletti, who had served as a dragoon in the fine “Napoleon” regiment, was seriously talking of murdering Fabrizio, and was making arrangements for his subsequent flight into the Romagna. If my reader be very young, he will be scandalized by my admiration for this fine trait of virtue. Yet it involved no small effort of heroism on the count’s part to leave Bologna. For too often, indeed, in the mornings, his complexion looked sorely jaded, and Fabrizio’s was so fresh and pleasant to look at! Who could have reproached him with Fabrizio’s death if it had occurred in his absence, and on account of so foolish a business? But to his rare nature, the thought of a generous action, which he might have done, and which he had not performed, would have been an eternal remorse; and, further, he could not endure the idea of seeing the duchess sad, and by his fault.

When he arrived, he found her taciturn and gloomy. This is what had happened. Her little maid Cecchina, tormented by remorse and gauging the importance of her own fault by the large sum she had been paid for committing it, had fallen sick. One night the duchess, who had a real regard for her, went up to her room. The young girl could not resist this mark of kindness. She burst into tears, begged her mistress to take back the money still remaining to her out of what she had received, and at last gathered courage to tell her the story of the count’s questions and her own replies. The duchess ran across to the lamp and put it out. Then she told Cecchina that she would forgive her, but only on condition that she never said a word about the strange scene to anybody on earth. “The poor count,” she added carelessly, “is afraid of looking ridiculous—all men are alike.”

The duchess hurried down to her own apartments. She had hardly shut herself into her own room before she burst into tears. The idea of love passages with Fabrizio, at whose birth she had been present, was horrible to her, and yet what other meaning could her conduct bear?

Such had been the first cause of the black depression in which the count found her plunged. When he arrived, she had fits of impatience with him, and almost with Fabrizio; she would have liked never to have seen either of them again. She was vexed by Fabrizio’s behaviour with little Marietta, which seemed to her ridiculous. For the count—who, like a true lover, could keep nothing from his mistress—had told her the whole story. She could not grow accustomed to this disaster; there was a flaw in her idol. At last, in a moment of confidence, she asked the count’s advice. It was an exquisite instant for him, and a worthy reward for the upright impulse which had brought him back to Parma.

“What can be more simple?” said the count, with a smile. “These young fellows fall in love with every woman they see, and the next morning they have forgotten all about her. Ought he not to go to Belgirate to see the Marchesa del Dongo? Very well, then. Let him start. While he is away I shall request the comedy company to remove itself and its talents elsewhere, and will pay its travelling expenses. But we shall soon see him in love again with the first pretty woman chance may throw across his path. That is the natural order of things, and I would not have it otherwise. If it is necessary, let the marchesa write to him.”

This suggestion, emitted with an air of the most complete indifference, was a ray of light to the duchess; she was afraid of Giletti.

That evening the count mentioned, as though by chance, that one of his couriers was about to pass through Milan on his way to Vienna.

Three days later Fabrizio received a letter from his mother.

He departed, very much annoyed because Giletti’s jealousy had hitherto prevented him from taking advantage of the friendly feelings of which Marietta had assured him through her mamaccia, an old woman who performed the functions of her mother.

Fabrizio met his mother and one of his sisters at Belgirate, a large Piedmontese village on the right bank of the Lago Maggiore. The left bank is in Milanese territory, and consequently belongs to Austria.

This lake, which is parallel to the Lake of Como, and, like it, runs from north to south, lies about thirty miles farther westward. The mountain air, the calm and majestic aspect of the splendid lake, which recalled that near which he had spent his childhood, all contributed to change Fabrizio’s annoyance, which had verged upon anger, into a gentle melancholy. The memory of the duchess rose up before him, clothed with infinite tenderness. It seemed to him, now he was far from her, that he was beginning to love her with that love which he had never yet felt for any woman. Nothing could have been more painful to him than the thought of being parted from her forever, and if, while he was in this frame of mind, the duchess had condescended to the smallest coquetry—such, for example, as giving him a rival—she would have conquered his heart.

But far from taking so decisive a step, she could not help reproaching herself bitterly because her thoughts hovered so constantly about the young traveller’s path. She upbraided herself for what she still called a fancy, as if it had been an abomination. Her kindness and attention to the count increased twofold, and he, bewitched by all these charms, could not listen to the healthy reason which prescribed a second trip to Bologna.

The Marchesa del Dongo, greatly hurried by the arrangements for the wedding of her eldest daughter with a Milanese duke, could only spend three days with her beloved son. Never had she found him so full of tender affection. Amid the melancholy which was taking stronger and yet stronger hold of Fabrizio’s soul, a strange and even absurd idea had presented itself to him, and was forthwith carried into effect. Dare we say he was bent on consulting Father Blanès? The good old man was perfectly incapable of understanding the sorrows of a heart torn by various boyish passions of almost equal strength; and besides, it would have taken a week to give him even a faint idea of the various interests at Parma which Fabrizio was forced to consider. Yet when Fabrizio thought of consulting him, all the fresh feelings of his sixteenth year came back to him. Shall I be believed when I affirm that it was not simply to the wise man and the absolutely faithful friend that Fabrizio longed to speak? The object of this excursion and the feelings which agitated our hero all through the fifty hours of its duration are so absurd, that for the sake of my story I should doubtless do better to suppress them. I fear Fabrizio’s credulity may deprive him of the reader’s sympathy. But thus he was. Why should I flatter him more than another? I have not flattered Count Mosca nor the prince.

Fabrizio, then, if the truth must be told, accompanied his mother to the port of Laveno, on the left bank of the Lago Maggiore, the Austrian side, where she landed about eight o’clock at night. (The lake itself is considered neutral, and no passports are asked of any one who does not land.) But darkness had hardly fallen before he, too, had himself put ashore on that same Austrian bank, in a little wood which juts out into the water. He had hired a sediola—a sort of country gig which travels very fast—in which he was able to follow about five hundred paces behind his mother’s carriage. He was disguised as a servant belonging to the Casa del Dongo, and none of the numerous police or customs officers thought of asking him for his passport. A quarter of a league from Como, where the Marchesa del Dongo and her daughter were to spend the night, he took a path to the left, which, after running round the village of Vico, joined a narrow newly made road along the very edge of the lake. It was midnight, and Fabrizio had reason to hope he would not meet any gendarmes. The black outline of the foliage on the clumps of trees through which the road constantly passed stood out against a starry sky, just veiled by a light mist. A profound stillness hung over the waters and the sky. Fabrizio’s soul could not resist this sublime beauty; he stopped and seated himself on a rock which jutted out into the lake and formed a little promontory. Nothing broke the universal silence, save the little waves that died out at regular intervals upon the beach. Fabrizio had the heart of an Italian. I beg the fact may be forgiven him. This drawback, which will make him less attractive, consisted, above all, in the following fact: he was only vain by fits and starts, and the very sight of sublime beauty filled his heart with emotion, and blunted the keen and cruel edge of his sorrows. Sitting on his lonely rock, no longer forced to keep watch against police agents, sheltered by the darkness of the night and the vast silence, soft tears rose in his eyes, and he enjoyed, at very little cost, the happiest moments he had known for many a day.

He resolved he would never tell a lie to the duchess; and it was because he loved her to adoration at that moment that he swore an oath never to tell her that he loved her; never would he drop into her ear that word love, because the passion to which the name is given had never visited his heart. In the frenzy of generosity and virtue which made him feel so happy at that moment, he resolved, on the earliest opportunity, to tell her the whole truth—that his heart had never known what love might be. Once this bold decision had been adopted, he felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off him. “Perhaps she will say something to me about Marietta. Very good; then I will never see little Marietta again,” he answered his own thought, joyously.

The morning breeze was beginning to temper the overwhelming heat which had prevailed the whole day long. The dawn was already outlining the Alpine peaks which rise over the northern and eastern shores of the Lake of Como with a pale faint light. Their masses, white with snow, even in the month of June, stand out sharply against the clear blue of a sky which, at those great heights, no cloud ever dims. A spur of the Alps running southward toward the favoured land of Italy separates the slopes of Como from those of Garda. Fabrizio’s eye followed all the branchings of the noble range; the dawn, as it drove away the light mists rising from the gorges, revealed the valleys lying between.

He had resumed his way some minutes previously; he climbed the hill which forms the Durini promontory, and at last his eyes beheld the church tower of Grianta, from which he had so often watched the stars with Father Blanès. “How crassly ignorant I was in those days!” he thought. “I couldn’t even understand the absurd Latin of the astrological treatises my master thumbed; and I believe the chief reason of my respect for them was that, as I only comprehended a word here and there, my imagination undertook to supply their meaning after the most romantic fashion.”

Gradually his reverie wandered into another direction. Was there anything real about this science? Why should it be different from others? A certain number of fools and of clever people, for instance, agree between themselves that they understand the Mexican language. By this means they impose on society, which respects them, and on governments, who pay them. They are loaded with favours, just because they are stupid, and because the people in power need not fear their disturbing the populace, and stirring interest and pity by their generous sentiments. “Look at Father Bari, on whom Ernest IV has just bestowed a pension of four thousand francs and the cross of his order, for having reconstituted nineteen lines of a Greek dithyramb!

“But, after all, what right have I to think such things absurd?” he exclaimed of a sudden, stopping short. “Has not that very same cross been given to my own tutor?” Fabrizio felt profoundly uncomfortable. The noble passion for virtue which had lately thrilled his heart was being transformed into the mean satisfaction of enjoying a good share in the proceeds of a robbery. “Well,” said he at last, and his eyes grew dim as the eyes of a man who is discontented with himself, “since my birth gives me a right to profit by these abuses, I should be an arrant fool if I did not take my share; but I must not venture to speak evil of them in public places.” This argument was not devoid of sense, but Fabrizio had fallen a long way below the heights of sublime delight on which he had hovered only an hour before. The thought of his privileges had scorched that always delicate plant which men call happiness.

“If I must not believe in astrology,” he went on, making an effort to divert his thoughts, “if, like three-fourths of the non-mathematical sciences, this one is no more than an association of enthusiastic simpletons with clever humbugs, paid by those they serve, how comes it that I dwell so often, and with so much emotion, upon that fatal episode? I did escape, long since, from the jail at B⸺, but I was wearing the clothes and using the papers of a soldier who had been justly cast into prison.”

Fabrizio’s reasoning would never carry him any farther than this. He revolved the difficulty in a hundred ways, but he never could surmount it. He was too young as yet. During his leisure moments, his soul was steeped in the delight of tasting the sensations arising out of the romantic circumstances with which his imagination was always ready to supply him. He by no means employed his time in patiently considering the real peculiarities of things, and then discovering their causes. Reality still seemed to him dull and dirty. I can conceive its not being pleasant to look at. But then one should not argue about it. Above all things, one should not put forward one’s own various forms of ignorance as objections.

Thus it was that, though Fabrizio was no fool, he was not able to realize that his half belief in omens really was a religion, a profound impression received at his entrance into life. The thought of this belief was a sensation and a happiness, and he obstinately endeavoured to discover how it might be proved a science which really did exist, like that of geometry, for instance. He eagerly ransacked his memory for the occasions on which the omens he had observed had not been followed by the happy or unfortunate event they had appeared to prognosticate. But though he believed himself to be following out a course of argument, and so drawing nearer to the truth, his memory dwelt with delight on those cases in which the omen had, on the whole, been followed by the accident, good or evil, which he had believed it to foretell, and his soul was filled with emotion and respect. And he would have felt an invincible repugnance toward any one who denied the existence of such signs, more especially if he had spoken of them jestingly.

Fabrizio had been walking along without any regard for distance, and he had reached this point in his powerless arguments when, raising his head, he found himself confronted by the wall of his own father’s garden. This wall, which supported a fine terrace, rose more than forty feet above the road, on the right-hand side. A course of dressed stone, running along the top, close to the balustrade, gave it a monumental appearance. “It’s not bad,” said Fabrizio coldly to himself. “The architecture is good; very nearly Roman in style.” He was applying his new antiquarian knowledge. Then he turned away in disgust—his father’s severity and, above all, his brother Ascanio’s denunciation after his return from France, came back to his mind.

“That unnatural denunciation has been the origin of my present way of life. I may hate it, I may scorn it, but, after all, it has changed my fate. What would have become of me once I had been sent to Novara, where my father’s man of business could hardly endure the sight of me, if my aunt had not fallen in love with a powerful minister? and then, if that same aunt had possessed a hard and unfeeling nature, instead of that tender passionate heart which loves me with a sort of frenzy that astounds me? Where should I be now if the duchess had been like her brother, the Marchese del Dongo?”

Lost in these bitter memories, Fabrizio had been walking aimlessly forward. He reached the edge of the moat, just opposite the splendid façade of the castle. He scarcely cast a glance at the huge time-stained building. The noble language of its architecture fell on deaf ears; the memory of his father and his brother shut every sensation of beauty out of his heart. His only thought was that he must be on his guard in the presence of a dangerous and hypocritical enemy. For an instant, but in evident disgust, he glanced at the little window of the third-floor room he had occupied before 1815. His father’s treatment had wiped all the charm out of his memories of early days. “I have never been back in it,” he thought, “since eight o’clock at night on that seventh of March. I left it to get the passport from Vasi, and the next morning, in my terror of spies, I hurried on my departure. When I came back, after my journey to France, I had not time even to run up and look once at my prints; and all that thanks to my brother’s accusation.”

Fabrizio turned away his head in horror. “Father Blanès is more than eighty-three now,” he mused sadly; “he hardly ever comes to the castle, so my sister tells me. The infirmities of years have laid their hand upon him; that noble steady heart is frozen by old age. God knows how long it may be since he has been in his tower! I’ll hide myself in his cellar, under the vats or the wine-press, until he wakes; I will not disturb the good old man’s slumbers! Probably he will even have forgotten my face—six years makes so much difference at my age. I shall find nothing but the shell of my old friend. And it really is a piece of childishness,” he added, “to have come here to face the odious sight of my father’s house.”

Fabrizio had just entered the little square in front of the church. It was with an astonishment that almost reached delirium that he saw the long, narrow window on the second story of the ancient tower lighted up by Father Blanès’s little lantern. It was the father’s custom to place it there when he went up to the wooden cage which formed his observatory, so that the light might not prevent him from reading his planisphere. This map of the sky was spread out on a huge earthenware vase, which had once stood in the castle orangery. In the orifice at the bottom of the vase was the tiniest of lamps, the smoke of which was carried out of the vase by a slender tin tube, and the shadow cast by this tube on the map marked the north. All these memories of simple little things flooded Fabrizio’s soul with emotion and filled it with happiness.

Almost unthinkingly he raised his two hands and gave the little low, short whistle which had once been the signal for his admission. At once he heard several pulls at the cord running from the observatory, which controlled the latch of the tower door. In a transport of emotion he bounded up the stairs and found the father sitting in his accustomed place in his wooden arm-chair. His eye was fixed on the little telescope. With his left hand the father signed to him not to interrupt his observation. A moment afterward he noted down a figure on a playing card; then, turning in his chair, he held out his arms to our hero, who cast himself into them, bursting into tears. The Abbé Blanès was his real father.

“I was expecting you,” said Blanès when the first outburst of tenderness had subsided. Was the abbé posing as a wise man, or was it that thinking of Fabrizio so often as he did, some astrological sign had warned him, by a mere chance, of his return?

“The hour of my death draws near,” said Father Blanès.

“What!” exclaimed Fabrizio, much affected.

“Yes,” returned the father, and his tone was serious, but not sad. “Five months and a half, or six months and a half, after I have seen you again, my life, which will have attained its full measure of happiness, will fade out, ‘come face al mancar dell’alimento’” (even as the little lamp when the oil fails in it).

“Before the closing moment comes I shall probably be speechless for one month or two. After that I shall be received into our Father’s bosom, provided, indeed, that he is satisfied that I have fulfilled my duty at the post where he set me as sentinel.

“You are worn out with weariness, your agitation makes you inclined for sleep. Since I have expected you I have hidden a loaf and a bottle of brandy in the large case which contains my instruments. Support your life with these, and try to gather enough strength to listen to me for a few moments more. I have it in my power to tell you several things before this night has altogether passed into the day. I see them far more distinctly now, than I may, perhaps, see them to-morrow, for, my child, we are always weak, and we must always reckon with this weakness. To-morrow, it may be, the old man, the earthly man, in me, will be making ready for my death, and to-morrow night, at nine o’clock, you must leave me.”

When Fabrizio had obeyed him in silence, as was his wont, “It is true, then,” the old man resumed, “that when you tried to see Waterloo, all you found at first was a prison?”

“Yes, father,” replied Fabrizio, much astonished.

“Well, that was a rare good fortune, for your soul, warned by my voice, may make itself ready to endure another prison, far more severe, infinitely more terrible. You will probably only leave it through a crime, but, thanks be to Heaven! the crime will not be committed by your hand. Never fall into crime, however desperately you may be tempted. I think I see that there will be some question of your killing an innocent man, who, without knowing it, has usurped your rights. If you resist this violent temptation, which will seem justified by the laws of honour, your life will be very happy in the eyes of men … and reasonably happy in the eyes of the wise,” he added, after a moment’s reflection. “You will die, my son, like me, sitting on a wooden seat, far from all luxury, and undeceived by it. And, like me, without having any serious reproach upon your soul.

“Now future matters are ended between us; I am not able to add anything of much importance. In vain I have sought to know how long your imprisonment will last—whether it will be six months, a year, ten years. I can not discover anything. I must, I suppose, have committed some sin, and it is the will of Heaven to punish me by the sorrow of this uncertainty. I have only seen that after the prison—yet I do not know whether it is at the very moment of your leaving it—there will be what I call a crime; but, happily, I think I may be sure that it will not be committed by you. If you are weak enough to dabble in that crime, all the rest of my calculations are but one long mistake. Then you will not die with peace in your soul, sitting on a wooden chair and dressed in white!” As he spoke these words the father tried to rise, and then it was that Fabrizio became aware of the ravages time had worked on his frame. He took almost a minute to get up and turn toward Fabrizio. The young man stood by, motionless and silent. The father threw himself into his arms, and strained him close to him several times over with the utmost tenderness. Then, with all the old cheerfulness, he said: “Try to sleep in tolerable comfort among my instruments. Take my fur-lined wrappers; you will find several which the Duchess Sanseverina sent me four years ago. She begged me to foretell your future to her, but I took care to do nothing of the kind, though I kept her wrappers and her fine quadrant. Any announcement of future events is an infringement of the rule, and involves this danger—that it may change the event, in which case the whole science falls to the ground, and becomes nothing more than a childish game. And, besides, I should have had to say some hard things to the ever-lovely duchess. By the way, do not let yourself be startled in your sleep by the frightful noise the bells will make in your ear, when they ring for the seven o’clock mass; later on they will begin to sound the big bell on the lower floor, which makes all my instruments rattle. To-day is the feast of San Giovità, soldier and martyr. You know our little village of Grianta has the same patron saint as the great city of Brescia, which, by the way, led my illustrious master, Jacopo Marini, of Ravenna, into a very comical error. Several times over he assured me I should attain a very fair ecclesiastical position; he thought I was to be priest of the splendid Church of San Giovità at Brescia, and I have been priest of a little village numbering seven hundred and fifty souls. But it has all been for the best. I saw, not ten years since, that if I had been priest of Brescia, my fate would have led me to a prison, on a hill in Moravia, the Spielberg. To-morrow I will bring you all sorts of dainty viands, stolen from the great dinner which I am giving to all the neighbouring priests, who are coming to sing in my high mass. I will bring them into the bottom of the tower, but do not try to see me, do not come down to take possession of the good things until you have heard me go out again; you must not see me by daylight, and as the sun sets at twenty-seven minutes past seven to-morrow, I shall not come to embrace you till toward eight o’clock. And you must depart while the hours are still counted by nine—that is to say, before the clock has struck ten. Take care you are not seen at the tower windows; the gendarmes hold a description of your person, and they are, in a manner, under the orders of your brother, who is a thorough tyrant. The Marchese del Dongo is breaking,” added Blanès sadly, “and if he were to see you, perhaps he would give you something from his hand directly into yours. But such benefits, with the stain of fraud upon them, are not worthy of a man such as you, whose strength one day will be in his conscience. The marchese hates his son Ascanio, and to that son the five or six millions of his property will descend. That is just. When he dies you will have four thousand francs a year, and fifty yards of black cloth for your servants’ mourning.”