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Chapter 33 Roman Bandits.

  • The next morning Franz woke first, and instantly rang the bell. The sound ha_ot yet died away when Signor Pastrini himself entered.
  • "Well, excellency," said the landlord triumphantly, and without waiting fo_ranz to question him, "I feared yesterday, when I would not promise yo_nything, that you were too late — there is not a single carriage to be had — that is, for the last three days of the carnival."
  • "Yes," returned Franz, "for the very three days it is most needed."
  • "What is the matter?" said Albert, entering; "no carriage to be had?"
  • "Just so," returned Franz, "you have guessed it."
  • "Well, your Eternal City is a nice sort of place."
  • "That is to say, excellency," replied Pastrini, who was desirous of keeping u_he dignity of the capital of the Christian world in the eyes of his guest,
  • "that there are no carriages to be had from Sunday to Tuesday evening, bu_rom now till Sunday you can have fifty if you please."
  • "Ah, that is something," said Albert; "to-day is Thursday, and who knows wha_ay arrive between this and Sunday?"
  • "Ten or twelve thousand travellers will arrive," replied Franz, "which wil_ake it still more difficult."
  • "My friend," said Morcerf, "let us enjoy the present without gloom_orebodings for the future."
  • "At least we can have a window?"
  • "Where?"
  • "In the Corso."
  • "Ah, a window!" exclaimed Signor Pastrini, — "utterly impossible; there wa_nly one left on the fifth floor of the Doria Palace, and that has been let t_ Russian prince for twenty sequins a day."
  • The two young men looked at each other with an air of stupefaction.
  • "Well," said Franz to Albert, "do you know what is the best thing we can do?
  • It is to pass the Carnival at Venice; there we are sure of obtaining gondola_f we cannot have carriages."
  • "Ah, the devil, no," cried Albert; "I came to Rome to see the Carnival, and _ill, though I see it on stilts."
  • "Bravo! an excellent idea. We will disguise ourselves as monster pulchinello_r shepherds of the Landes, and we shall have complete success."
  • "Do your excellencies still wish for a carriage from now to Sunday morning?"
  • "Parbleu!" said Albert, "do you think we are going to run about on foot in th_treets of Rome, like lawyer's clerks?"
  • "I hasten to comply with your excellencies' wishes; only, I tell yo_eforehand, the carriage will cost you six piastres a day."
  • "And, as I am not a millionaire, like the gentleman in the next apartments,"
  • said Franz, "I warn you, that as I have been four times before at Rome, I kno_he prices of all the carriages; we will give you twelve piastres for to-day, tomorrow, and the day after, and then you will make a good profit."
  • "But, excellency" — said Pastrini, still striving to gain his point.
  • "Now go," returned Franz, "or I shall go myself and bargain with you_ffettatore, who is mine also; he is an old friend of mine, who has plundere_e pretty well already, and, in the hope of making more out of me, he wil_ake a less price than the one I offer you; you will lose the preference, an_hat will be your fault."
  • "Do not give yourselves the trouble, excellency," returned Signor Pastrini, with the smile peculiar to the Italian speculator when he confesses defeat; "_ill do all I can, and I hope you will be satisfied."
  • "And now we understand each other."
  • "When do you wish the carriage to be here?"
  • "In an hour."
  • "In an hour it will be at the door."
  • An hour after the vehicle was at the door; it was a hack conveyance which wa_levated to the rank of a private carriage in honor of the occasion, but, i_pite of its humble exterior, the young men would have thought themselve_appy to have secured it for the last three days of the Carnival.
  • "Excellency," cried the cicerone, seeing Franz approach the window, "shall _ring the carriage nearer to the palace?"
  • Accustomed as Franz was to the Italian phraseology, his first impulse was t_ook round him, but these words were addressed to him. Franz was the
  • "excellency," the vehicle was the "carriage," and the Hotel de Londres was the
  • "palace." The genius for laudation characteristic of the race was in tha_hrase.
  • Franz and Albert descended, the carriage approached the palace; thei_xcellencies stretched their legs along the seats; the cicerone sprang int_he seat behind. "Where do your excellencies wish to go?" asked he.
  • "To Saint Peter's first, and then to the Colosseum," returned Albert. Bu_lbert did not know that it takes a day to see Saint Peter's, and a month t_tudy it. The day was passed at Saint Peter's alone. Suddenly the dayligh_egan to fade away; Franz took out his watch — it was half-past four. The_eturned to the hotel; at the door Franz ordered the coachman to be ready a_ight. He wished to show Albert the Colosseum by moonlight, as he had show_im Saint Peter's by daylight. When we show a friend a city one has alread_isited, we feel the same pride as when we point out a woman whose lover w_ave been. He was to leave the city by the Porta del Popolo, skirt the oute_all, and re-enter by the Porta San Giovanni; thus they would behold th_olosseum without finding their impressions dulled by first looking on th_apitol, the Forum, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Antoninus an_austina, and the Via Sacra. They sat down to dinner. Signor Pastrini ha_romised them a banquet; he gave them a tolerable repast. At the end of th_inner he entered in person. Franz thought that he came to hear his dinne_raised, and began accordingly, but at the first words he was interrupted.
  • "Excellency," said Pastrini, "I am delighted to have your approbation, but i_as not for that I came."
  • "Did you come to tell us you have procured a carriage?" asked Albert, lightin_is cigar.
  • "No; and your excellencies will do well not to think of that any longer; a_ome things can or cannot be done; when you are told anything cannot he done, there is an end of it."
  • "It is much more convenient at Paris, — when anything cannot be done, you pa_ouble, and it is done directly."
  • "That is what all the French say," returned Signor Pastrini, somewhat piqued;
  • "for that reason, I do not understand why they travel."
  • "But," said Albert, emitting a volume of smoke and balancing his chair on it_ind legs, "only madmen, or blockheads like us, ever do travel. Men in thei_enses do not quit their hotel in the Rue du Helder, their walk on th_oulevard de Gand, and the Cafe de Paris." It is of course understood tha_lbert resided in the aforesaid street, appeared every day on the fashionabl_alk, and dined frequently at the only restaurant where you can really dine, that is, if you are on good terms with its frequenters. Signor Pastrin_emained silent a short time; it was evident that he was musing over thi_nswer, which did not seem very clear. "But," said Franz, in his tur_nterrupting his host's meditations, "you had some motive for coming here, ma_ beg to know what it was?"
  • "Ah, yes; you have ordered your carriage at eight o'clock precisely?"
  • "I have."
  • "You intend visiting Il Colosseo."
  • "You mean the Colosseum?"
  • "It is the same thing. You have told your coachman to leave the city by th_orta del Popolo, to drive round the walls, and re-enter by the Porta Sa_iovanni?"
  • "These are my words exactly."
  • "Well, this route is impossible."
  • "Impossible!"
  • "Very dangerous, to say the least."
  • "Dangerous! — and why?"
  • "On account of the famous Luigi Vampa."
  • "Pray, who may this famous Luigi Vampa be?" inquired Albert; "he may be ver_amous at Rome, but I can assure you he is quite unknown at Paris."
  • "What! do you not know him?"
  • "I have not that honor."
  • "You have never heard his name?"
  • "Never."
  • "Well, then, he is a bandit, compared to whom the Decesaris and the Gasparone_ere mere children."
  • "Now then, Albert," cried Franz, "here is a bandit for you at last."
  • "I forewarn you, Signor Pastrini, that I shall not believe one word of wha_ou are going to tell us; having told you this, begin."
  • "Once upon a time" —
  • "Well, go on." Signor Pastrini turned toward Franz, who seemed to him the mor_easonable of the two; we must do him justice, — he had had a great man_renchmen in his house, but had never been able to comprehend them.
  • "Excellency," said he gravely, addressing Franz, "if you look upon me as _iar, it is useless for me to say anything; it was for your interest I" —
  • "Albert does not say you are a liar, Signor Pastrini," said Franz, "but tha_e will not believe what you are going to tell us, — but I will believe al_ou say; so proceed."
  • "But if your excellency doubt my veracity" —
  • "Signor Pastrini," returned Franz, "you are more susceptible than Cassandra, who was a prophetess, and yet no one believed her; while you, at least, ar_ure of the credence of half your audience. Come, sit down, and tell us al_bout this Signor Vampa."
  • "I had told your excellency he is the most famous bandit we have had since th_ays of Mastrilla."
  • "Well, what has this bandit to do with the order I have given the coachman t_eave the city by the Porta del Popolo, and to re-enter by the Porta Sa_iovanni?"
  • "This," replied Signor Pastrini, "that you will go out by one, but I very muc_oubt your returning by the other."
  • "Why?" asked Franz.
  • "Because, after nightfall, you are not safe fifty yards from the gates."
  • "On your honor is that true?" cried Albert.
  • "Count," returned Signor Pastrini, hurt at Albert's repeated doubts of th_ruth of his assertions, "I do not say this to you, but to your companion, wh_nows Rome, and knows, too, that these things are not to be laughed at."
  • "My dear fellow," said Albert, turning to Franz, "here is an admirabl_dventure; we will fill our carriage with pistols, blunderbusses, and double- barrelled guns. Luigi Vampa comes to take us, and we take him — we bring hi_ack to Rome, and present him to his holiness the Pope, who asks how he ca_epay so great a service; then we merely ask for a carriage and a pair o_orses, and we see the Carnival in the carriage, and doubtless the Roma_eople will crown us at the Capitol, and proclaim us, like Curtius and th_eiled Horatius, the preservers of their country." Whilst Albert proposed thi_cheme, Signor Pastrini's face assumed an expression impossible to describe.
  • "And pray," asked Franz, "where are these pistols, blunderbusses, and othe_eadly weapons with which you intend filling the carriage?"
  • "Not out of my armory, for at Terracina I was plundered even of my hunting- knife."
  • "I shared the same fate at Aquapendente."
  • "Do you know, Signor Pastrini," said Albert, lighting a second cigar at th_irst, "that this practice is very convenient for bandits, and that it seem_o be due to an arrangement of their own." Doubtless Signor Pastrini foun_his pleasantry compromising, for he only answered half the question, and the_e spoke to Franz, as the only one likely to listen with attention. "You_xcellency knows that it is not customary to defend yourself when attacked b_andits."
  • "What!" cried Albert, whose courage revolted at the idea of being plundere_amely, "not make any resistance!"
  • "No, for it would be useless. What could you do against a dozen bandits wh_pring out of some pit, ruin, or aqueduct, and level their pieces at you?"
  • "Eh, parbleu! — they should kill me."
  • The inn-keeper turned to Franz with an air that seemed to say, "Your friend i_ecidedly mad."
  • "My dear Albert," returned Franz, "your answer is sublime, and worthy the `Le_im die,' of Corneille, only, when Horace made that answer, the safety of Rom_as concerned; but, as for us, it is only to gratify a whim, and it would b_idiculous to risk our lives for so foolish a motive." Albert poured himsel_ut a glass of lacryma Christi, which he sipped at intervals, muttering som_nintelligible words.
  • "Well, Signor Pastrini," said Franz, "now that my companion is quieted, an_ou have seen how peaceful my intentions are, tell me who is this Luigi Vampa.
  • Is he a shepherd or a nobleman? — young or old? — tall or short? Describe him, in order that, if we meet him by chance, like Bugaboo John or Lara, we ma_ecognize him."
  • "You could not apply to any one better able to inform you on all these points, for I knew him when he was a child, and one day that I fell into his hands, going from Ferentino to Alatri, he, fortunately for me, recollected me, an_et me free, not only without ransom, but made me a present of a very splendi_atch, and related his history to me."
  • "Let us see the watch," said Albert.
  • Signor Pastrini drew from his fob a magnificent Breguet, bearing the name o_ts maker, of Parisian manufacture, and a count's coronet.
  • "Here it is," said he.
  • "Peste," returned Albert, "I compliment you on it; I have its fellow" — h_ook his watch from his waistcoat pocket — "and it cost me 3,000 francs."
  • "Let us hear the history," said Franz, motioning Signor Pastrini to sea_imself.
  • "Your excellencies permit it?" asked the host.
  • "Pardieu!" cried Albert, "you are not a preacher, to remain standing!"
  • The host sat down, after having made each of them a respectful bow, whic_eant that he was ready to tell them all they wished to know concerning Luig_ampa. "You tell me," said Franz, at the moment Signor Pastrini was about t_pen his mouth, "that you knew Luigi Vampa when he was a child — he is still _oung man, then?"
  • "A young man? he is only two and twenty; — he will gain himself a reputation."
  • "What do you think of that, Albert? — at two and twenty to be thus famous?"
  • "Yes, and at his age, Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon, who have all made som_oise in the world, were quite behind him."
  • "So," continued Franz, "the hero of this history is only two and twenty?"
  • "Scarcely so much."
  • "Is he tall or short?"
  • "Of the middle height — about the same stature as his excellency," returne_he host, pointing to Albert.
  • "Thanks for the comparison," said Albert, with a bow.
  • "Go on, Signor Pastrini," continued Franz, smiling at his friend'_usceptibility. "To what class of society does he belong?"
  • "He was a shepherd-boy attached to the farm of the Count of San-Felice, situated between Palestrina and the lake of Gabri; he was born at Pampinara, and entered the count's service when he was five years old; his father wa_lso a shepherd, who owned a small flock, and lived by the wool and the milk, which he sold at Rome. When quite a child, the little Vampa displayed a mos_xtraordinary precocity. One day, when he was seven years old, he came to th_urate of Palestrina, and asked to be taught to read; it was somewha_ifficult, for he could not quit his flock; but the good curate went every da_o say mass at a little hamlet too poor to pay a priest and which, having n_ther name, was called Borgo; he told Luigi that he might meet him on hi_eturn, and that then he would give him a lesson, warning him that it would b_hort, and that he must profit as much as possible by it. The child accepte_oyfully. Every day Luigi led his flock to graze on the road that leads fro_alestrina to Borgo; every day, at nine o'clock in the morning, the priest an_he boy sat down on a bank by the wayside, and the little shepherd took hi_esson out of the priest's breviary. At the end of three months he had learne_o read. This was not enough — he must now learn to write. The priest had _riting teacher at Rome make three alphabets — one large, one middling, an_ne small; and pointed out to him that by the help of a sharp instrument h_ould trace the letters on a slate, and thus learn to write. The same evening, when the flock was safe at the farm, the little Luigi hastened to the smith a_alestrina, took a large nail, heated and sharpened it, and formed a sort o_tylus. The next morning he gathered an armful of pieces of slate and began.
  • At the end of three months he had learned to write. The curate, astonished a_is quickness and intelligence, made him a present of pens, paper, and _enknife. This demanded new effort, but nothing compared to the first; at th_nd of a week he wrote as well with this pen as with the stylus. The curat_elated the incident to the Count of San-Felice, who sent for the littl_hepherd, made him read and write before him, ordered his attendant to let hi_at with the domestics, and to give him two piastres a month. With this, Luig_urchased books and pencils. He applied his imitative powers to everything, and, like Giotto, when young, he drew on his slate sheep, houses, and trees.
  • Then, with his knife, he began to carve all sorts of objects in wood; it wa_hus that Pinelli, the famous sculptor, had commenced.
  • "A girl of six or seven — that is, a little younger than Vampa — tended shee_n a farm near Palestrina; she was an orphan, born at Valmontone and was name_eresa. The two children met, sat down near each other, let their flock_ingle together, played, laughed, and conversed together; in the evening the_eparated the Count of San-Felice's flock from those of Baron Cervetri, an_he children returned to their respective farms, promising to meet the nex_orning. The next day they kept their word, and thus they grew up together.
  • Vampa was twelve, and Teresa eleven. And yet their natural dispositio_evealed itself. Beside his taste for the fine arts, which Luigi had carrie_s far as he could in his solitude, he was given to alternating fits o_adness and enthusiasm, was often angry and capricious, and always sarcastic.
  • None of the lads of Pampinara, Palestrina, or Valmontone had been able to gai_ny influence over him or even to become his companion. His disposition (always inclined to exact concessions rather than to make them) kept him aloo_rom all friendships. Teresa alone ruled by a look, a word, a gesture, thi_mpetuous character, which yielded beneath the hand of a woman, and whic_eneath the hand of a man might have broken, but could never have been bended.
  • Teresa was lively and gay, but coquettish to excess. The two piastres tha_uigi received every month from the Count of San-Felice's steward, and th_rice of all the little carvings in wood he sold at Rome, were expended i_ar-rings, necklaces, and gold hairpins. So that, thanks to her friend'_enerosity, Teresa was the most beautiful and the best-attired peasant nea_ome. The two children grew up together, passing all their time with eac_ther, and giving themselves up to the wild ideas of their differen_haracters. Thus, in all their dreams, their wishes, and their conversations, Vampa saw himself the captain of a vessel, general of an army, or governor o_ province. Teresa saw herself rich, superbly attired, and attended by a trai_f liveried domestics. Then, when they had thus passed the day in buildin_astles in the air, they separated their flocks, and descended from th_levation of their dreams to the reality of their humble position.
  • "One day the young shepherd told the count's steward that he had seen a wol_ome out of the Sabine mountains, and prowl around his flock. The steward gav_im a gun; this was what Vampa longed for. This gun had an excellent barrel, made at Breschia, and carrying a ball with the precision of an English rifle; but one day the count broke the stock, and had then cast the gun aside. This, however, was nothing to a sculptor like Vampa; he examined the broken stock, calculated what change it would require to adapt the gun to his shoulder, an_ade a fresh stock, so beautifully carved that it would have fetched fiftee_r twenty piastres, had he chosen to sell it. But nothing could be farthe_rom his thoughts. For a long time a gun had been the young man's greates_mbition. In every country where independence has taken the place of liberty, the first desire of a manly heart is to possess a weapon, which at onc_enders him capable of defence or attack, and, by rendering its owne_errible, often makes him feared. From this moment Vampa devoted all hi_eisure time to perfecting himself in the use of his precious weapon; h_urchased powder and ball, and everything served him for a mark — the trunk o_ome old and moss-grown olive-tree, that grew on the Sabine mountains; th_ox, as he quitted his earth on some marauding excursion; the eagle tha_oared above their heads: and thus he soon became so expert, that Teres_vercame the terror she at first felt at the report, and amused herself b_atching him direct the ball wherever he pleased, with as much accuracy as i_e placed it by hand.
  • "One evening a wolf emerged from a pine-wood hear which they were usuall_tationed, but the wolf had scarcely advanced ten yards ere he was dead. Prou_f this exploit, Vampa took the dead animal on his shoulders, and carried hi_o the farm. These exploits had gained Luigi considerable reputation. The ma_f superior abilities always finds admirers, go where he will. He was spoke_f as the most adroit, the strongest, and the most courageous contadino fo_en leagues around; and although Teresa was universally allowed to be the mos_eautiful girl of the Sabines, no one had ever spoken to her of love, becaus_t was known that she was beloved by Vampa. And yet the two young people ha_ever declared their affection; they had grown together like two trees whos_oots are mingled, whose branches intertwined, and whose intermingled perfum_ises to the heavens. Only their wish to see each other had become _ecessity, and they would have preferred death to a day's separation. Teres_as sixteen, and Vampa seventeen. About this time, a band of brigands that ha_stablished itself in the Lepini mountains began to be much spoken of. Th_rigands have never been really extirpated from the neighborhood of Rome.
  • Sometimes a chief is wanted, but when a chief presents himself he rarely ha_o wait long for a band of followers.
  • "The celebrated Cucumetto, pursued in the Abruzzo, driven out of the kingdo_f Naples, where he had carried on a regular war, had crossed the Garigliano, like Manfred, and had taken refuge on the banks of the Amasine between Sonnin_nd Juperno. He strove to collect a band of followers, and followed th_ootsteps of Decesaris and Gasperone, whom he hoped to surpass. Many young me_f Palestrina, Frascati, and Pampinara had disappeared. Their disappearance a_irst caused much disquietude; but it was soon known that they had joine_ucumetto. After some time Cucumetto became the object of universal attention; the most extraordinary traits of ferocious daring and brutality were relate_f him. One day he carried off a young girl, the daughter of a surveyor o_rosinone. The bandit's laws are positive; a young girl belongs first to hi_ho carries her off, then the rest draw lots for her, and she is abandoned t_heir brutality until death relieves her sufferings. When their parents ar_ufficiently rich to pay a ransom, a messenger is sent to negotiate; th_risoner is hostage for the security of the messenger; should the ransom b_efused, the prisoner is irrevocably lost. The young girl's lover was i_ucumetto's troop; his name was Carlini. When she recognized her lover, th_oor girl extended her arms to him, and believed herself safe; but Carlin_elt his heart sink, for he but too well knew the fate that awaited her.
  • However, as he was a favorite with Cucumetto, as he had for three year_aithfully served him, and as he had saved his life by shooting a dragoon wh_as about to cut him down, he hoped the chief would have pity on him. He too_ucumetto one side, while the young girl, seated at the foot of a huge pin_hat stood in the centre of the forest, made a veil of her picturesque head- dress to hide her face from the lascivious gaze of the bandits. There he tol_he chief all — his affection for the prisoner, their promises of mutua_idelity, and how every night, since he had been near, they had met in som_eighboring ruins.
  • "It so happened that night that Cucumetto had sent Carlini to a village, s_hat he had been unable to go to the place of meeting. Cucumetto had bee_here, however, by accident, as he said, and had carried the maiden off.
  • Carlini besought his chief to make an exception in Rita's favor, as her fathe_as rich, and could pay a large ransom. Cucumetto seemed to yield to hi_riend's entreaties, and bade him find a shepherd to send to Rita's father a_rosinone. Carlini flew joyfully to Rita, telling her she was saved, an_idding her write to her father, to inform him what had occurred, and that he_ansom was fixed at three hundred piastres. Twelve hours' delay was all tha_as granted — that is, until nine the next morning. The instant the letter wa_ritten, Carlini seized it, and hastened to the plain to find a messenger. H_ound a young shepherd watching his flock. The natural messengers of th_andits are the shepherds who live between the city and the mountains, betwee_ivilized and savage life. The boy undertook the commission, promising to b_n Frosinone in less than an hour. Carlini returned, anxious to see hi_istress, and announce the joyful intelligence. He found the troop in th_lade, supping off the provisions exacted as contributions from the peasants; but his eye vainly sought Rita and Cucumetto among them. He inquired wher_hey were, and was answered by a burst of laughter. A cold perspiration burs_rom every pore, and his hair stood on end. He repeated his question. One o_he bandits rose, and offered him a glass filled with Orvietto, saying, `T_he health of the brave Cucumetto and the fair Rita.' At this moment Carlin_eard a woman's cry; he divined the truth, seized the glass, broke it acros_he face of him who presented it, and rushed towards the spot whence the cr_ame. After a hundred yards he turned the corner of the thicket; he found Rit_enseless in the arms of Cucumetto. At the sight of Carlini, Cucumetto rose, _istol in each hand. The two brigands looked at each other for a moment — th_ne with a smile of lasciviousness on his lips, the other with the pallor o_eath on his brow. A terrible battle between the two men seemed imminent; bu_y degrees Carlini's features relaxed, his hand, which had grasped one of th_istols in his belt, fell to his side. Rita lay between them. The moon lighte_he group.
  • "`Well,' said Cucumetto, `have you executed your commission?'
  • "`Yes, captain,' returned Carlini. `At nine o'clock to-morrow Rita's fathe_ill be here with the money.' — `It is well; in the meantime, we will have _erry night; this young girl is charming, and does credit to your taste. Now, as I am not egotistical, we will return to our comrades and draw lots fo_er.' — `You have determined, then, to abandon her to the common law?" sai_arlini.
  • "`Why should an exception be made in her favor?'
  • "`I thought that my entreaties' —
  • "`What right have you, any more than the rest, to ask for an exception?' — `I_s true.' — `But never mind,' continued Cucumetto, laughing, `sooner or late_our turn will come.' Carlini's teeth clinched convulsively.
  • "`Now, then,' said Cucumetto, advancing towards the other bandits, `are yo_oming?' — `I follow you.'
  • "Cucumetto departed, without losing sight of Carlini, for, doubtless, h_eared lest he should strike him unawares; but nothing betrayed a hostil_esign on Carlini's part. He was standing, his arms folded, near Rita, who wa_till insensible. Cucumetto fancied for a moment the young man was about t_ake her in his arms and fly; but this mattered little to him now Rita ha_een his; and as for the money, three hundred piastres distributed among th_and was so small a sum that he cared little about it. He continued to follo_he path to the glade; but, to his great surprise, Carlini arrived almost a_oon as himself. `Let us draw lots! let us draw lots!' cried all the brigands, when they saw the chief.
  • "Their demand was fair, and the chief inclined his head in sign o_cquiescence. The eyes of all shone fiercely as they made their demand, an_he red light of the fire made them look like demons. The names of all, including Carlini, were placed in a hat, and the youngest of the band dre_orth a ticket; the ticket bore the name of Diovolaccio. He was the man wh_ad proposed to Carlini the health of their chief, and to whom Carlini replie_y breaking the glass across his face. A large wound, extending from th_emple to the mouth, was bleeding profusely. Diovalaccio, seeing himself thu_avored by fortune, burst into a loud laugh. `Captain,' said he, `just no_arlini would not drink your health when I proposed it to him; propose mine t_im, and let us see if he will be more condescending to you than to me.' Ever_ne expected an explosion on Carlini's part; but to their great surprise, h_ook a glass in one hand and a flask in the other, and filling it, — `You_ealth, Diavolaccio,' said he calmly, and he drank it off, without his han_rembling in the least. Then sitting down by the fire, `My supper,' said he; `my expedition has given me an appetite.' — `Well done, Carlini!' cried th_rigands; `that is acting like a good fellow;' and they all formed a circl_ound the fire, while Diavolaccio disappeared. Carlini ate and drank as i_othing had happened. The bandits looked on with astonishment at this singula_onduct until they heard footsteps. They turned round, and saw Diavolacci_earing the young girl in his arms. Her head hung back, and her long hai_wept the ground. As they entered the circle, the bandits could perceive, b_he firelight, the unearthly pallor of the young girl and of Diavolaccio. Thi_pparition was so strange and so solemn, that every one rose, with th_xception of Carlini, who remained seated, and ate and drank calmly.
  • Diavolaccio advanced amidst the most profound silence, and laid Rita at th_aptain's feet. Then every one could understand the cause of the unearthl_allor in the young girl and the bandit. A knife was plunged up to the hilt i_ita's left breast. Every one looked at Carlini; the sheath at his belt wa_mpty. `Ah, ah,' said the chief, `I now understand why Carlini stayed behind.'
  • All savage natures appreciate a desperate deed. No other of the bandits would, perhaps, have done the same; but they all understood what Carlini had done.
  • `Now, then,' cried Carlini, rising in his turn, and approaching the corpse, his hand on the butt of one of his pistols, `does any one dispute th_ossession of this woman with me?' — `No,' returned the chief, `she is thine.'
  • Carlini raised her in his arms, and carried her out of the circle o_irelight. Cucumetto placed his sentinels for the night, and the bandit_rapped themselves in their cloaks, and lay down before the fire. At midnigh_he sentinel gave the alarm, and in an instant all were on the alert. It wa_ita's father, who brought his daughter's ransom in person. `Here,' said he, to Cucumetto, `here are three hundred piastres; give me back my child. But th_hief, without taking the money, made a sign to him to follow. The old ma_beyed. They both advanced beneath the trees, through whose branches streame_he moonlight. Cucumetto stopped at last, and pointed to two persons groupe_t the foot of a tree.
  • "`There,' said he, `demand thy child of Carlini; he will tell thee what ha_ecome of her;' and he returned to his companions. The old man remaine_otionless; he felt that some great and unforeseen misfortune hung over hi_ead. At length he advanced toward the group, the meaning of which he coul_ot comprehend. As he approached, Carlini raised his head, and the forms o_wo persons became visible to the old man's eyes. A woman lay on the ground, her head resting on the knees of a man, who was seated by her; as he raise_is head, the woman's face became visible. The old man recognized his child, and Carlini recognized the old man. `I expected thee,' said the bandit t_ita's father. — `Wretch!' returned the old man, `what hast thou done?' and h_azed with terror on Rita, pale and bloody, a knife buried in her bosom. A ra_f moonlight poured through the trees, and lighted up the face of the dead. — `Cucumetto had violated thy daughter,' said the bandit; `I loved her, therefore I slew her; for she would have served as the sport of the whol_and.' The old man spoke not, and grew pale as death. `Now,' continue_arlini, `if I have done wrongly, avenge her;' and withdrawing the knife fro_he wound in Rita's bosom, he held it out to the old man with one hand, whil_ith the other he tore open his vest. — `Thou hast done well!' returned th_ld man in a hoarse voice; `embrace me, my son.' Carlini threw himself, sobbing like a child, into the arms of his mistress's father. These were th_irst tears the man of blood had ever wept. `Now,' said the old man, `aid m_o bury my child.' Carlini fetched two pickaxes; and the father and the love_egan to dig at the foot of a huge oak, beneath which the young girl was t_epose. When the grave was formed, the father kissed her first, and then th_over; afterwards, one taking the head, the other the feet, they placed her i_he grave. Then they knelt on each side of the grave, and said the prayers o_he dead. Then, when they had finished, they cast the earth over the corpse, until the grave was filled. Then, extending his hand, the old man said; `_hank you, my son; and now leave me alone.' — `Yet' — replied Carlini. — `Leave me, I command you.' Carlini obeyed, rejoined his comrades, folde_imself in his cloak, and soon appeared to sleep as soundly as the rest. I_ad been resolved the night before to change their encampment. An hour befor_aybreak, Cucumetto aroused his men, and gave the word to march. But Carlin_ould not quit the forest, without knowing what had become of Rita's father.
  • He went toward the place where he had left him. He found the old man suspende_rom one of the branches of the oak which shaded his daughter's grave. He the_ook an oath of bitter vengeance over the dead body of the one and the tomb o_he other. But he was unable to complete this oath, for two days afterwards, in an encounter with the Roman carbineers, Carlini was killed. There was som_urprise, however, that, as he was with his face to the enemy, he should hav_eceived a ball between his shoulders. That astonishment ceased when one o_he brigands remarked to his comrades that Cucumetto was stationed ten pace_n Carlini's rear when he fell. On the morning of the departure from th_orest of Frosinone he had followed Carlini in the darkness, and heard thi_ath of vengeance, and, like a wise man, anticipated it. They told ten othe_tories of this bandit chief, each more singular than the other. Thus, fro_ondi to Perusia, every one trembles at the name of Cucumetto.
  • "These narratives were frequently the theme of conversation between Luigi an_eresa. The young girl trembled very much at hearing the stories; but Vamp_eassured her with a smile, tapping the butt of his good fowling-piece, whic_hrew its ball so well; and if that did not restore her courage, he pointed t_ crow, perched on some dead branch, took aim, touched the trigger, and th_ird fell dead at the foot of the tree. Time passed on, and the two youn_eople had agreed to be married when Vampa should be twenty and Teres_ineteen years of age. They were both orphans, and had only their employers'
  • leave to ask, which had been already sought and obtained. One day when the_ere talking over their plans for the future, they heard two or three report_f firearms, and then suddenly a man came out of the wood, near which the tw_oung persons used to graze their flocks, and hurried towards them. When h_ame within hearing, he exclaimed. `I am pursued; can you conceal me?' The_new full well that this fugitive must be a bandit; but there is an innat_ympathy between the Roman brigand and the Roman peasant and the latter i_lways ready to aid the former. Vampa, without saying a word, hastened to th_tone that closed up the entrance to their grotto, drew it away, made a sig_o the fugitive to take refuge there, in a retreat unknown to every one, closed the stone upon him, and then went and resumed his seat by Teresa.
  • Instantly afterwards four carbineers, on horseback, appeared on the edge o_he wood; three of them appeared to be looking for the fugitive, while th_ourth dragged a brigand prisoner by the neck. The three carbineers looke_bout carefully on every side, saw the young peasants, and galloping up, bega_o question them. They had seen no one. `That is very annoying,' said th_rigadier; for the man we are looking for is the chief.' — `Cucumetto?' crie_uigi and Teresa at the same moment.
  • "`Yes,' replied the brigadier; `and as his head is valued at a thousand Roma_rowns, there would have been five hundred for you, if you had helped us t_atch him.' The two young persons exchanged looks. The brigadier had _oment's hope. Five hundred Roman crowns are three thousand lire, and thre_housand lire are a fortune for two poor orphans who are going to be married.
  • "`Yes, it is very annoying,' said Vampa; `but we have not seen him.'
  • "Then the carbineers scoured the country in different directions, but in vain; then, after a time, they disappeared. Vampa then removed the stone, an_ucumetto came out. Through the crevices in the granite he had seen the tw_oung peasants talking with the carbineers, and guessed the subject of thei_arley. He had read in the countenances of Luigi and Teresa their steadfas_esolution not to surrender him, and he drew from his pocket a purse full o_old, which he offered to them. But Vampa raised his head proudly; as t_eresa, her eyes sparkled when she thought of all the fine gowns and ga_ewellery she could buy with this purse of gold.
  • "Cucumetto was a cunning fiend, and had assumed the form of a brigand instea_f a serpent, and this look from Teresa showed to him that she was a worth_aughter of Eve, and he returned to the forest, pausing several times on hi_ay, under the pretext of saluting his protectors. Several days elapsed, an_hey neither saw nor heard of Cucumetto. The time of the Carnival was at hand.
  • The Count of San-Felice announced a grand masked ball, to which all that wer_istinguished in Rome were invited. Teresa had a great desire to see thi_all. Luigi asked permission of his protector, the steward, that she and h_ight be present amongst the servants of the house. This was granted. The bal_as given by the Count for the particular pleasure of his daughter Carmela, whom he adored. Carmela was precisely the age and figure of Teresa, and Teres_as as handsome as Carmela. On the evening of the ball Teresa was attired i_er best, her most brilliant ornaments in her hair, and gayest glass beads, — she was in the costume of the women of Frascati. Luigi wore the ver_icturesque garb of the Roman peasant at holiday time. They both mingled, a_hey had leave to do, with the servants and peasants.
  • "The festa was magnificent; not only was the villa brilliantly illuminated, but thousands of colored lanterns were suspended from the trees in the garden; and very soon the palace overflowed to the terraces, and the terraces to th_arden-walks. At each cross-path was an orchestra, and tables spread wit_efreshments; the guests stopped, formed quadrilles, and danced in any part o_he grounds they pleased. Carmela was attired like a woman of Sonnino. Her ca_as embroidered with pearls, the pins in her hair were of gold and diamonds, her girdle was of Turkey silk, with large embroidered flowers, her bodice an_kirt were of cashmere, her apron of Indian muslin, and the buttons of he_orset were of jewels. Two of her companions were dressed, the one as a woma_f Nettuno, and the other as a woman of La Riccia. Four young men of th_ichest and noblest families of Rome accompanied them with that Italia_reedom which has not its parallel in any other country in the world. The_ere attired as peasants of Albano, Velletri, Civita-Castellana, and Sora. W_eed hardly add that these peasant costumes, like those of the young women, were brilliant with gold and jewels.
  • "Carmela wished to form a quadrille, but there was one lady wanting. Carmel_ooked all around her, but not one of the guests had a costume similar to he_wn, or those of her companions. The Count of San-Felice pointed out Teresa, who was hanging on Luigi's arm in a group of peasants. `Will you allow me, father?' said Carmela. — `Certainly,' replied the count, `are we not i_arnival time?' — Carmela turned towards the young man who was talking wit_er, and saying a few words to him, pointed with her finger to Teresa. Th_oung man looked, bowed in obedience, and then went to Teresa, and invited he_o dance in a quadrille directed by the count's daughter. Teresa felt a flus_ass over her face; she looked at Luigi, who could not refuse his assent.
  • Luigi slowly relinquished Teresa's arm, which he had held beneath his own, an_eresa, accompanied by her elegant cavalier, took her appointed place wit_uch agitation in the aristocratic quadrille. Certainly, in the eyes of a_rtist, the exact and strict costume of Teresa had a very different characte_rom that of Carmela and her companions; and Teresa was frivolous an_oquettish, and thus the embroidery and muslins, the cashmere waist-girdles, all dazzled her, and the reflection of sapphires and diamonds almost turne_er giddy brain.
  • "Luigi felt a sensation hitherto unknown arising in his mind. It was like a_cute pain which gnawed at his heart, and then thrilled through his whol_ody. He followed with his eye each movement of Teresa and her cavalier; whe_heir hands touched, he felt as though he should swoon; every pulse beat wit_iolence, and it seemed as though a bell were ringing in his ears. When the_poke, although Teresa listened timidly and with downcast eyes to th_onversation of her cavalier, as Luigi could read in the ardent looks of th_ood-looking young man that his language was that of praise, it seemed as i_he whole world was turning round with him, and all the voices of hell wer_hispering in his ears ideas of murder and assassination. Then fearing tha_is paroxysm might get the better of him, he clutched with one hand the branc_f a tree against which he was leaning, and with the other convulsivel_rasped the dagger with a carved handle which was in his belt, and which, unwittingly, he drew from the scabbard from time to time. Luigi was jealous!
  • He felt that, influenced by her ambitions and coquettish disposition, Teres_ight escape him.
  • "The young peasant girl, at first timid and scared, soon recovered herself. W_ave said that Teresa was handsome, but this is not all; Teresa was endowe_ith all those wild graces which are so much more potent than our affected an_tudied elegancies. She had almost all the honors of the quadrille, and if sh_ere envious of the Count of San-Felice's daughter, we will not undertake t_ay that Carmela was not jealous of her. And with overpowering compliments he_andsome cavalier led her back to the place whence he had taken her, and wher_uigi awaited her. Twice or thrice during the dance the young girl had glance_t Luigi, and each time she saw that he was pale and that his features wer_gitated, once even the blade of his knife, half drawn from its sheath, ha_azzled her eyes with its sinister glare. Thus, it was almost tremblingly tha_he resumed her lover's arm. The quadrille had been most perfect, and it wa_vident there was a great demand for a repetition, Carmela alone objecting t_t, but the Count of San-Felice besought his daughter so earnestly, that sh_cceded. One of the cavaliers then hastened to invite Teresa, without whom i_as impossible for the quadrille to be formed, but the young girl ha_isappeared. The truth was, that Luigi had not felt the strength to suppor_nother such trial, and, half by persuasion and half by force, he had remove_eresa toward another part of the garden. Teresa had yielded in spite o_erself, but when she looked at the agitated countenance of the young man, sh_nderstood by his silence and trembling voice that something strange wa_assing within him. She herself was not exempt from internal emotion, an_ithout having done anything wrong, yet fully comprehended that Luigi wa_ight in reproaching her. Why, she did not know, but yet she did not the les_eel that these reproaches were merited. However, to Teresa's grea_stonishment, Luigi remained mute, and not a word escaped his lips the rest o_he evening. When the chill of the night had driven away the guests from th_ardens, and the gates of the villa were closed on them for the festa in- doors, he took Teresa quite away, and as he left her at her home, he said, —
  • "`Teresa, what were you thinking of as you danced opposite the young Countes_f San-Felice?' — `I thought,' replied the young girl, with all the franknes_f her nature, `that I would give half my life for a costume such as sh_ore.'
  • "`And what said your cavalier to you?' — `He said it only depended on mysel_o have it, and I had only one word to say.'
  • "`He was right,' said Luigi. `Do you desire it as ardently as you say?' — `Yes.' — `Well, then, you shall have it!'
  • "The young girl, much astonished, raised her head to look at him, but his fac_as so gloomy and terrible that her words froze to her lips. As Luigi spok_hus, he left her. Teresa followed him with her eyes into the darkness as lon_s she could, and when he had quite disappeared, she went into the house wit_ sigh.
  • "That night a memorable event occurred, due, no doubt, to the imprudence o_ome servant who had neglected to extinguish the lights. The Villa of San- Felice took fire in the rooms adjoining the very apartment of the lovel_armela. Awakened in the night by the light of the flames, she sprang out o_ed, wrapped herself in a dressing-gown, and attempted to escape by the door, but the corridor by which she hoped to fly was already a prey to the flames.
  • She then returned to her room, calling for help as loudly as she could, whe_uddenly her window, which was twenty feet from the ground, was opened, _oung peasant jumped into the chamber, seized her in his arms, and wit_uperhuman skill and strength conveyed her to the turf of the grass-plot, where she fainted. When she recovered, her father was by her side. All th_ervants surrounded her, offering her assistance. An entire wing of the vill_as burnt down; but what of that, as long as Carmela was safe and uninjured?
  • Her preserver was everywhere sought for, but he did not appear; he wa_nquired after, but no one had seen him. Carmela was greatly troubled that sh_ad not recognized him. As the count was immensely rich, excepting the dange_armela had run, — and the marvellous manner in which she had escaped, mad_hat appear to him rather a favor of providence than a real misfortune, — th_oss occasioned by the conflagration was to him but a trifle.
  • "The next day, at the usual hour, the two young peasants were on the border_f the forest. Luigi arrived first. He came toward Teresa in high spirits, an_eemed to have completely forgotten the events of the previous evening. Th_oung girl was very pensive, but seeing Luigi so cheerful, she on her par_ssumed a smiling air, which was natural to her when she was not excited or i_ passion. Luigi took her arm beneath his own, and led her to the door of th_rotto. Then he paused. The young girl, perceiving that there was somethin_xtraordinary, looked at him steadfastly. `Teresa,' said Luigi, `yesterda_vening you told me you would give all the world to have a costume similar t_hat of the count's daughter.' — `Yes,' replied Teresa with astonishment; `bu_ was mad to utter such a wish.' — `And I replied, "Very well, you shall hav_t."' — `Yes,' replied the young girl, whose astonishment increased at ever_ord uttered by Luigi, `but of course your reply was only to please me.'
  • "`I have promised no more than I have given you, Teresa,' said Luigi proudly.
  • `Go into the grotto and dress yourself.' At these words he drew away th_tone, and showed Teresa the grotto, lighted up by two wax lights, which burn_n each side of a splendid mirror; on a rustic table, made by Luigi, wer_pread out the pearl necklace and the diamond pins, and on a chair at the sid_as laid the rest of the costume.
  • "Teresa uttered a cry of joy, and, without inquiring whence this attire came, or even thanking Luigi, darted into the grotto, transformed into a dressing- room. Luigi pushed the stone behind her, for on the crest of a small adjacen_ill which cut off the view toward Palestrina, he saw a traveller o_orseback, stopping a moment, as if uncertain of his road, and thus presentin_gainst the blue sky that perfect outline which is peculiar to distant object_n southern climes. When he saw Luigi, he put his horse into a gallop an_dvanced toward him. Luigi was not mistaken. The traveller, who was going fro_alestrina to Tivoli, had mistaken his way; the young man directed him; but a_t a distance of a quarter of a mile the road again divided into three ways, and on reaching these the traveller might again stray from his route, h_egged Luigi to be his guide. Luigi threw his cloak on the ground, placed hi_arbine on his shoulder, and freed from his heavy covering, preceded th_raveller with the rapid step of a mountaineer, which a horse can scarcel_eep up with. In ten minutes Luigi and the traveller reached the cross-roads.
  • On arriving there, with an air as majestic as that of an emperor, he stretche_is hand towards that one of the roads which the traveller was to follow. —
  • "That is your road, excellency, and now you cannot again mistake.' — `And her_s your recompense,' said the traveller, offering the young herdsman som_mall pieces of money.
  • "`Thank you,' said Luigi, drawing back his hand; `I render a service, I do no_ell it.' — `Well,' replied the traveller, who seemed used to this differenc_etween the servility of a man of the cities and the pride of the mountaineer, `if you refuse wages, you will, perhaps, accept a gift.' — `Ah, yes, that i_nother thing.' — `Then,' said the traveller, `take these two Venetian sequin_nd give them to your bride, to make herself a pair of earrings.'
  • "`And then do you take this poniard,' said the young herdsman; `you will no_ind one better carved between Albano and Civita-Castellana.'
  • "`I accept it,' answered the traveller, `but then the obligation will be on m_ide, for this poniard is worth more than two sequins.' — `For a deale_erhaps; but for me, who engraved it myself, it is hardly worth a piastre.'
  • "`What is your name?' inquired the traveller. — `Luigi Vampa,' replied th_hepherd, with the same air as he would have replied, Alexander, King o_acedon. — `And yours?' — `I,' said the traveller, `am called Sinbad th_ailor.'" Franz d'Epinay started with surprise.
  • "Sinbad the Sailor." he said.
  • "Yes," replied the narrator; "that was the name which the traveller gave t_ampa as his own."
  • "Well, and what may you have to say against this name?" inquired Albert; "i_s a very pretty name, and the adventures of the gentleman of that name amuse_e very much in my youth, I must confess." — Franz said no more. The name o_inbad the Sailor, as may well be supposed, awakened in him a world o_ecollections, as had the name of the Count of Monte Cristo on the previou_vening.
  • "Proceed!" said he to the host.
  • "Vampa put the two sequins haughtily into his pocket, and slowly returned b_he way he had gone. As he came within two or three hundred paces of th_rotto, he thought he heard a cry. He listened to know whence this sound coul_roceed. A moment afterwards he thought he heard his own name pronounce_istinctly. The cry proceeded from the grotto. He bounded like a chamois, cocking his carbine as he went, and in a moment reached the summit of a hil_pposite to that on which he had perceived the traveller. Three cries for hel_ame more distinctly to his ear. He cast his eyes around him and saw a ma_arrying off Teresa, as Nessus, the centaur, carried Dejanira. This man, wh_as hastening towards the wood, was already three-quarters of the way on th_oad from the grotto to the forest. Vampa measured the distance; the man wa_t least two hundred paces in advance of him, and there was not a chance o_vertaking him. The young shepherd stopped, as if his feet had been rooted t_he ground; then he put the butt of his carbine to his shoulder, took aim a_he ravisher, followed him for a second in his track, and then fired. Th_avisher stopped suddenly, his knees bent under him, and he fell with Teres_n his arms. The young girl rose instantly, but the man lay on the eart_truggling in the agonies of death. Vampa then rushed towards Teresa; for a_en paces from the dying man her legs had failed her, and she had dropped o_er knees, so that the young man feared that the ball that had brought dow_is enemy, had also wounded his betrothed. Fortunately, she was unscathed, an_t was fright alone that had overcome Teresa. When Luigi had assured himsel_hat she was safe and unharmed, he turned towards the wounded man. He had jus_xpired, with clinched hands, his mouth in a spasm of agony, and his hair o_nd in the sweat of death. His eyes remained open and menacing. Vamp_pproached the corpse, and recognized Cucumetto. From the day on which th_andit had been saved by the two young peasants, he had been enamoured o_eresa, and had sworn she should be his. From that time he had watched them, and profiting by the moment when her lover had left her alone, had carried he_ff, and believed he at length had her in his power, when the ball, directe_y the unerring skill of the young herdsman, had pierced his heart. Vamp_azed on him for a moment without betraying the slightest emotion; while, o_he contrary, Teresa, shuddering in every limb, dared not approach the slai_uffian but by degrees, and threw a hesitating glance at the dead body ove_he shoulder of her lover. Suddenly Vampa turned toward his mistress: — `Ah,'
  • said he — `good, good! You are dressed; it is now my turn to dress myself.'
  • "Teresa was clothed from head to foot in the garb of the Count of San-Felice'_aughter. Vampa took Cucumetto's body in his arms and conveyed it to th_rotto, while in her turn Teresa remained outside. If a second traveller ha_assed, he would have seen a strange thing, — a shepherdess watching he_lock, clad in a cashmere grown, with ear-rings and necklace of pearls, diamond pins, and buttons of sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. He would, n_oubt, have believed that he had returned to the times of Florian, and woul_ave declared, on reaching Paris, that he had met an Alpine shepherdess seate_t the foot of the Sabine Hill. At the end of a quarter of an hour Vamp_uitted the grotto; his costume was no less elegant than that of Teresa. H_ore a vest of garnet-colored velvet, with buttons of cut gold; a sil_aistcoat covered with embroidery; a Roman scarf tied round his neck; _artridge-box worked with gold, and red and green silk; sky-blue velve_reeches, fastened above the knee with diamond buckles; garters of deerskin, worked with a thousand arabesques, and a hat whereon hung ribbons of al_olors; two watches hung from his girdle, and a splendid poniard was in hi_elt. Teresa uttered a cry of admiration. Vampa in this attire resembled _ainting by Leopold Robert, or Schnetz. He had assumed the entire costume o_ucumetto. The young man saw the effect produced on his betrothed, and a smil_f pride passed over his lips. — `Now,' he said to Teresa, `are you ready t_hare my fortune, whatever it may be?' — `Oh, yes!' exclaimed the young gir_nthusiastically. — `And follow me wherever I go?' — `To the world's end.' — `Then take my arm, and let us on; we have no time to lose.' — The young gir_id so without questioning her lover as to where he was conducting her, for h_ppeared to her at this moment as handsome, proud, and powerful as a god. The_ent towards the forest, and soon entered it. We need scarcely say that al_he paths of the mountain were known to Vampa; he therefore went forwar_ithout a moment's hesitation, although there was no beaten track, but he kne_is path by looking at the trees and bushes, and thus they kept on advancin_or nearly an hour and a half. At the end of this time they had reached th_hickest of the forest. A torrent, whose bed was dry, led into a deep gorge.
  • Vampa took this wild road, which, enclosed between two ridges, and shadowed b_he tufted umbrage of the pines, seemed, but for the difficulties of it_escent, that path to Avernus of which Virgil speaks. Teresa had becom_larmed at the wild and deserted look of the plain around her, and presse_losely against her guide, not uttering a syllable; but as she saw him advanc_ith even step and composed countenance, she endeavored to repress he_motion. Suddenly, about ten paces from them, a man advanced from behind _ree and aimed at Vampa. — `Not another step,' he said, `or you are a dea_an.' — `What, then,' said Vampa, raising his hand with a gesture of disdain, while Teresa, no longer able to restrain her alarm, clung closely to him, `d_olves rend each other?' — `Who are you?' inquired the sentinel. — `I am Luig_ampa, shepherd of the San-Felice farm.' — `What do you want?' — `I woul_peak with your companions who are in the glade at Rocca Bianca.' — `Follo_e, then,' said the sentinel; `or, as you know your way, go first.' — Vamp_miled disdainfully at this precaution on the part of the bandit, went befor_eresa, and continued to advance with the same firm and easy step as before.
  • At the end of ten minutes the bandit made them a sign to stop. The two youn_ersons obeyed. Then the bandit thrice imitated the cry of a crow; a croa_nswered this signal. — `Good!' said the sentry, `you may now go on.' — Luig_nd Teresa again set forward; as they went on Teresa clung tremblingly to he_over at the sight of weapons and the glistening of carbines through th_rees. The retreat of Rocca Bianca was at the top of a small mountain, whic_o doubt in former days had been a volcano — an extinct volcano before th_ays when Remus and Romulus had deserted Alba to come and found the city o_ome. Teresa and Luigi reached the summit, and all at once found themselves i_he presence of twenty bandits. `Here is a young man who seeks and wishes t_peak to you,' said the sentinel. — `What has he to say?' inquired the youn_an who was in command in the chief's absence. — `I wish to say that I a_ired of a shepherd's life,' was Vampa's reply. — `Ah, I understand,' said th_ieutenant; `and you seek admittance into our ranks?' — `Welcome!' crie_everal bandits from Ferrusino, Pampinara, and Anagni, who had recognize_uigi Vampa. — `Yes, but I came to ask something more than to be you_ompanion.' — `And what may that be?' inquired the bandits with astonishment.
  • — `I come to ask to be your captain,' said the young man. The bandits shoute_ith laughter. `And what have you done to aspire to this honor?' demanded th_ieutenant. — `I have killed your chief, Cucumetto, whose dress I now wear; and I set fire to the villa San-Felice to procure a wedding-dress for m_etrothed.' An hour afterwards Luigi Vampa was chosen captain, vice Cucumett_eceased."
  • "Well, my dear Albert," said Franz, turning towards his friend; "what thin_ou of citizen Luigi Vampa?"
  • "I say he is a myth," replied Albert, "and never had an existence."
  • "And what may a myth be?" inquired Pastrini.
  • "The explanation would be too long, my dear landlord," replied Franz.
  • "And you say that Signor Vampa exercises his profession at this moment in th_nvirons of Rome?"
  • "And with a boldness of which no bandit before him ever gave an example."
  • "Then the police have vainly tried to lay hands on him?"
  • "Why, you see, he has a good understanding with the shepherds in the plains, the fishermen of the Tiber, and the smugglers of the coast. They seek for hi_n the mountains, and he is on the waters; they follow him on the waters, an_e is on the open sea; then they pursue him, and he has suddenly taken refug_n the islands, at Giglio, Guanouti, or Monte Cristo; and when they hunt fo_im there, he reappears suddenly at Albano, Tivoli, or La Riccia."
  • "And how does he behave towards travellers?"
  • "Alas! his plan is very simple. It depends on the distance he may be from th_ity, whether he gives eight hours, twelve hours, or a day wherein to pa_heir ransom; and when that time has elapsed he allows another hour's grace.
  • At the sixtieth minute of this hour, if the money is not forthcoming, he blow_ut the prisoner's brains with a pistol-shot, or plants his dagger in hi_eart, and that settles the account."
  • "Well, Albert," inquired Franz of his companion, "are you still disposed to g_o the Colosseum by the outer wall?"
  • "Quite so," said Albert, "if the way be picturesque." The clock struck nine a_he door opened, and a coachman appeared. "Excellencies," said he, "the coac_s ready."
  • "Well, then," said Franz, "let us to the Colosseum."
  • "By the Porta del Popolo or by the streets, your excellencies?"
  • "By the streets, morbleu, by the streets!" cried Franz.
  • "Ah, my dear fellow," said Albert, rising, and lighting his third cigar,
  • "really, I thought you had more courage." So saying, the two young men wen_own the staircase, and got into the carriage.