Read CHAPTER II of The Bravo, free online book, by James Fenimore Cooper, on ReadCentral.com.

“Hast ever swam in a gondola at Venice?”
SHAKSPEARE.

When Don Camillo Monforte entered the gondola, he did not take his seat in the pavilion. With an arm leaning on the top of the canopy, and his cloak thrown loosely over one shoulder, the young noble stood, in a musing attitude, until his dexterous servitors had extricated the boat from the little fleet which crowded the quay, and had urged it into open water. This duty performed, Gino touched his scarlet cap, and looked at his master as if to inquire the direction in which they were to proceed. He was answered by a silent gesture that indicated the route of the great canal.

“Thou hast an ambition, Gino, to show thy skill in the regatta?” Don Camillo observed, when they had made a little progress. “The motive merits success. Thou wast speaking to a stranger when I summoned thee to the gondola?”

“I was asking the news of our Calabrian hills from one who has come into port with his felucca, though the man took the name of San Gennaro to witness that his former luckless voyage should be the last.”

“How does he call his felucca, and what is the name of the padrone?”

“La Bella Sorrentina, commanded by a certain Stefano Milano, son of an ancient servant of Sant’ Agata. The bark is none of the worst for speed, and it has some reputation for beauty. It ought to be of happy fortune, too, for the good curato recommended it, with many a devout prayer, to the Virgin and to San Francesco.”

The noble appeared to lend more attention to the discourse, which, until now, on his part, had been commenced in the listless manner with which a superior encourages an indulged dependant.

“La Bella Sorrentina! Have I not reason to know the bark?”

“Nothing more true, Signore. Her padrone has relations at Sant’ Agata, as I have told your eccellenza, and his vessel has lain on the beach near the castle many a bleak winter.”

“What brings him to Venice?”

“That is what I would give my newest jacket of your eccellenza’s colors to know, Signore. I have as little wish to inquire into other people’s affairs as any one, and I very well know that discretion is the chief virtue of a gondolier. I ventured, however, a deadly hint concerning his errand, such as ancient neighborhood would warrant, but he was as cautious of his answers as if he were freighted with the confessions of fifty Christians. Now, if your eccellenza should see fit to give me authority to question him in your name, the deuce is in’t if between respect for his lord, and good management, we could not draw something more than a false bill of lading from him.”

“Thou wilt take thy choice of my gondolas for the regatta, Gino,” observed the Duke of Sant’ Agata, entering the pavilion, and throwing himself on the glossy black leathern cushions, without adverting to the suggestion of his servant.

The gondola continued its noiseless course, with the sprite-like movement peculiar to that description of boat. Gino, who, as superior over his fellow, stood perched on the little arched deck in the stern, pushed his oar with accustomed readiness and skill, now causing the light vessel to sheer to the right, and now to the left, as it glided among the multitude of craft, of all sizes and uses, which it met in its passage. Palace after palace had been passed, and more than one of the principal canals, which diverged towards the different spectacles, or the other places of resort frequented by his master, was left behind, without Don Camillo giving any new direction. At length the boat arrived opposite to a building which seemed to excite more than common expectation. Giorgio worked his oar with a single hand, looking over his shoulder at Gino, and Gino permitted his blade fairly to trail on the water. Both seemed to await new orders, manifesting something like that species of instinctive sympathy with him they served, which a long practised horse is apt to show when he draws near a gate that is seldom passed unvisited by his driver.

The edifice which caused this hesitation in the two gondoliers was one of those residences at Venice, which are quite as remarkable for their external riches and ornaments as for their singular situation amid the waters. A massive rustic basement of marble was seated as solidly in the element as if it grew from a living rock, while story was seemingly raised on story, in the wanton observance of the most capricious rules of meretricious architecture, until the pile reached an altitude that is little known, except in the dwellings of princes. Colonnades, medallions, and massive cornices overhung the canal, as if the art of man had taken pride in loading the superstructure in a manner to mock the unstable element which concealed its base. A flight of steps, on which each gentle undulation produced by the passage of the barge washed a wave, conducted to a vast vestibule, that answered many of the purposes of a court. Two or three gondolas were moored near, but the absence of their people showed they were for the use of those who dwelt within. The boats were protected from rough collision with the passing craft by piles driven obliquely into the bottom. Similar spars, with painted and ornamented heads, that sometimes bore the colors and arms of the proprietor, formed a sort of little haven for the gondolas of the household, before the door of every dwelling of mark.

“Where is it the pleasure of your eccellenza to be rowed?” asked Gino, when he found his sympathetic delay had produced no order.

“To the Palazzo.”

Giorgio threw a glance of surprise back at his comrade, but the obedient gondola shot by the gloomy, though rich abode, as if the little bark had suddenly obeyed an inward impulse. In a moment more it whirled aside, and the hollow sound, caused by the plash of water between high walls, announced its entrance into a narrower canal. With shortened oars the men still urged the boat ahead, now turning short into some new channel, now glancing beneath a low bridge, and now uttering, in the sweet shrill tones of the country and their craft, the well known warning to those who were darting in an opposite direction. A backstroke of Gino’s oar, however, soon brought the side of the arrested boat to a flight of steps.

“Thou wilt follow me,” said Don Camillo, as he placed his foot, with the customary caution, on the moist stone, and laid a hand on the shoulder of Gino; “I have need of thee.”

Neither the vestibule, nor the entrance, nor the other visible accessories of the dwelling were so indicative of luxury and wealth as that of the palace on the great canal. Still they were all such as denoted the residence of a noble of consideration.

“Thou wilt do wisely, Gino, to trust thy fortunes to the new gondola,” said the master, as he mounted the heavy stone stairs to an upper floor, pointing, as he spoke, to a new and beautiful boat, which lay in a corner of the large vestibule, as carriages are seen standing in the courts of houses built on more solid ground. “He who would find favor with Jupiter must put his own shoulder to the wheel, thou knowest, my friend.”

The eye of Gino brightened, and he was voluble in his expression of thanks. They had ascended to the first floor, and were already deep in a suite of gloomy apartments, before the gratitude and professional pride of the gondolier were exhausted.

“Aided by a powerful arm and a fleet gondola, thy chance will be as good as another’s, Gino,” said Don Camillo, closing the door of his cabinet on his servant; “at present thou mayest give some proof of zeal in my service, in another manner. Is the face of a man called Jacopo Frontoni known to thee?”

“Eccellenza!” exclaimed the gondolier, gasping for breath.

“I ask thee if thou knowest the countenance of one named Frontoni?”

“His countenance, Signore!”

“By what else would’st thou distinguish a man?”

“A man, Signor’ Don Camillo!”

“Art thou mocking thy master, Gino? I have asked thee if thou art acquainted with the person of a certain Jacopo Frontoni, a dweller here in Venice?”

“Eccellenza, yes.”

“He I mean has been long remarked by the misfortunes of his family; the father being now in exile on the Dalmatian coast, or elsewhere.”

“Eccellenza, yes.”

“There are many of the name of Frontoni, and it is important that thou should’st not mistake the man. Jacopo, of that family, is a youth of some five-and-twenty, of an active frame and melancholy visage, and of less vivacity of temperament than is wont, at his years.”

“Eccellenza, yes.”

“One who consorts but little with his fellows, and who is rather noted for the silence and industry with which he attends to his concerns, than for any of the usual pleasantries and trifling of men of his cast. A certain Jacopo Frontoni, that hath his abode somewhere near the arsenal?”

“Cospetto! Signor’ Duca, the man is as well known to us gondoliers as the bridge of the Rialto! Your eccellenza has no need to trouble yourself to describe him.”

Don Camillo Monforte was searching among the papers of a secrétaire. He raised his eyes in some little amazement at the sally of his dependant, and then he quietly resumed his occupation.

“If thou knowest the man, it is enough.”

“Eccellenza, yes. And what is your pleasure with this accursed Jacopo?”

The Duke of Sant’ Agata seemed to recollect himself. He replaced the papers which had been deranged, and he closed the secrétaire.

“Gino,” he said, in a tone of confidence and amity, “thou wert born on my estates, though so long trained here to the oar in Venice, and thou hast passed thy life in my service.”

“Eccellenza, yes.”

“It is my desire that thou should’st end thy days where they began. I have had much confidence in thy discretion hitherto, and I have satisfaction in saying it has never failed thee, notwithstanding thou hast necessarily been a witness of some exploits of youth which might have drawn embarrassment on thy master were thy tongue less disposed to silence.”

“Eccellenza, yes.”

Don Camillo smiled; but the gleam of humor gave way to a look of grave and anxious thought.

“As thou knowest the person of him I have named, our affair is simple. Take this packet,” he continued, placing a sealed letter of more than usual size into the hand of the gondolier, and drawing from his finger a signet ring, “with this token of thy authority. Within that arch of the Doge’s palace which leads to the canal of San Marco, beneath the Bridge of Sighs, thou wilt find Jacopo. Give him the packet; and, should he demand it, withhold not the ring. Wait his bidding, and return with the answer.”

Gino received this commission with profound respect, but with an awe he could not conceal. Habitual deference to his master appeared to struggle with deep distaste for the office he was required to perform; and there was even some manifestation of a more principled reluctance, in his hesitating yet humble manner. If Don Camillo noted the air and countenance of his menial at all, he effectually concealed it.

“At the arched passage of the palace, beneath the Bridge of Sighs,” he coolly added; “and let thy arrival there be timed, as near as may be, to the first hour of the night.”

“I would, Signore, that you had been pleased to command Giorgio and me to row you to Padua!”

“The way is long. Why this sudden wish to weary thyself?”

“Because there is no Doge’s palace, nor any Bridge of Sighs, nor any dog of Jacopo Frontoni among the meadows.”

“Thou hast little relish for this duty; but thou must know that what the master commands it is the duty of a faithful follower to perform. Thou wert born my vassal, Gino Monaldi; and though trained from boyhood in this occupation of a gondolier, thou art properly a being of my fiefs in Napoli.”

“St. Gennaro make me grateful for the honor, Signore! But there is not a water-seller in the streets of Venice, nor a mariner on her canals, who does not wish this Jacopo anywhere but in the bosom of Abraham. He is the terror of every young lover, and of all the urgent creditors on the islands.”

“Thou seest, silly babbler, there is one of the former, at least, who does not hold him in dread. Thou wilt seek him beneath the Bridge of Sighs, and, showing the signet, deliver the package according to my instructions.”

“It is certain loss of character to be seen speaking with the miscreant! So lately as yesterday, I heard Annina, the pretty daughter of the old wine-seller on the Lido, declare, that to be seen once in company with Jacopo Frontoni was as bad as to be caught twice bringing old rope from the arsenal, as befell Roderigo, her mother’s cousin.”

“Thy distinctions savor of the morals of the Lido. Remember to exhibit the ring, lest he distrust thy errand.”

“Could not your eccellenza set me about clipping the wings of the lion, or painting a better picture than Tiziano di Vecelli? I have a mortal dislike even to pass the mere compliments of the day with one of your cut-throats. Were any of our gondoliers to see me in discourse with the man, it might exceed your eccellenza’s influence to get me a place in the regatta.”

“If he detain thee, Gino, thou wilt wait his pleasure; and if he dismiss thee at once, return hither with all expedition, that I may know the result.”

“I very well know, Signor Don Camillo, that the honor of a noble is more tender of reproach than that of his followers, and that the stain upon the silken robe of a senator is seen farther than the spot upon a velvet jacket. If any one unworthy of your eccellenza’s notice has dared to offend, here are Giorgio and I, ready, at any time, to show how deeply we can feel an indignity which touches our master’s credit; but a hireling of two, or ten, or even of a hundred sequins!”

“I thank thee for the hint, Gino. Go thou and sleep in thy gondola, and bid Giorgio come into my cabinet.”

“Signore!”

“Art thou resolute to do none of my biddings?”

“Is it your eccellenza’s pleasure that I go to the Bridge of Sighs by the footways of the streets, or by the canals?”

“There may be need of a gondola thou wilt go with the oar.”

“A tumbler shall not have time to turn round before the answer of Jacopo shall be here.”

With this sudden change of purpose the gondolier quitted the room, for the reluctance of Gino disappeared the moment he found the confidential duty assigned him by his master was likely to be performed by another. Descending rapidly by a secret stair instead of entering the vestibule where half a dozen menials of different employments were in waiting, he passed by one of the narrow corridors of the palace into an inner court, and thence by a low and unimportant gate into an obscure alley which communicated with the nearest street.

Though the age is one of so great activity and intelligence, and the Atlantic is no longer a barrier even to the ordinary amusements of life, a great majority of Americans have never had an opportunity of personally examining the remarkable features of a region, of which the town that Gino now threaded with so much diligence is not the least worthy of observation. Those who have been so fortunate as to have visited Italy, therefore, will excuse us if we make a brief, but what we believe useful digression, for the benefit of those who have not had that advantage.

The city of Venice stands on a cluster of low sandy islands. It is probable that the country which lies nearest to the gulf, if not the whole of the immense plain of Lombardy itself, is of alluvial formation. Whatever may have been the origin of that wide and fertile kingdom, the causes which have given to the Lagunes their existence, and to Venice its unique and picturesque foundation, are too apparent to be mistaken. Several torrents which flow from the valleys of the Alps pour their tribute into the Adriatic at this point. Their waters come charged with the debris of the mountains, pulverized nearly to their original elements. Released from the violence of the stream, these particles have necessarily been deposited in the gulf, at the spot where they have first become subjected to the power of the sea. Under the influence of counteracting currents, eddies, and waves, the sands have been thrown into submarine piles, until some of the banks have arisen above the surface, forming islands, whose elevation has been gradually augmented by the decay of vegetation. A glance at the map will show that, while the Gulf of Venice is not literally, it is practically, considered with reference to the effect produced by the south-east wind called the Sirocco, at the head of the Adriatic. This accidental circumstance is probably the reason why the Lagunes have a more determined character at the mouths of the minor streams that empty themselves here than at the mouths of most of the other rivers, which equally flow from the Alps or the Apennines into the same shallow sea.

The natural consequence of a current of a river meeting the waters of any broad basin, and where there is no base of rock, is the formation, at or near the spot where the opposing actions are neutralized, of a bank, which is technically called a bar. The coast of the Union furnishes constant evidence of the truth of this theory, every river having its bar, with channels that are often shifted, or cleared, by the freshets, the gales, or the tides. The constant and powerful operation of the south-eastern winds on one side, with the periodical increase of the Alpine streams on the other, have converted this bar at the entrance of the Venetian Lagunes, into a succession of long, low, sandy islands, which extend in a direct line nearly across the mouth of the gulf. The waters of the rivers have necessarily cut a few channels for their passage, or, what is now a lagune, would long since have become a lake. Another thousand years may so far change the character of this extraordinary estuary as to convert the channels of the bay into rivers, and the muddy banks into marshes and meadows, resembling those that are now seen for so many leagues inland.

The low margin of sand that, in truth, gives all its maritime security to the port of Venice and the Lagunes, is called the Lido di Palestrino. It has been artificially connected and secured, in many places, and the wall of the Lido (literally the beach), though incomplete, like most of the great and vaunted works of the other hemisphere, and more particularly of Italy, ranks with the mole of Ancona, and the sea-wall of Cherbourg. The hundred little islands which now contain the ruins of what, during the middle ages, was the mart of the Mediterranean, are grouped together within cannon-shot of the natural barrier. Art has united with nature to turn the whole to good account; and, apart from the influence of moral causes, the rivalry of a neighboring town, which has been fostered by political care, and the gradual filling up of the waters, by the constant deposit of the streams, it would be difficult to imagine a more commodious, or a safer haven when entered, than that which Venice affords, even to this hour.

As all the deeper channels of the Lagunes have been preserved, the city is intersected in every direction by passages, which from their appearance are called canals, but which, in truth, are no more than so many small natural branches of the sea. On the margin of these passages, the walls of the dwellings arise literally from out of the water, since economy of room has caused their owners to extend their possessions to the very verge of the channel, in the manner that quays and wharfs are pushed into the streams in our own country. In many instances the islands themselves were no more than banks, which were periodically bare, and on all, the use of piles has been necessary to support the superincumbent loads of palaces, churches, and public monuments, under which, in the course of ages, the humble spits of sand have been made to groan.

The great frequency of the canals, and perhaps some attention to economy of labor, has given to by far the greater part of the buildings the facility of an approach by water. But, while nearly every dwelling has one of its fronts on a canal, there are always communications by the rear with the interior passages of the town. It is a fault in most descriptions, that while the stranger hears so much of the canals of Venice, but little is said of her streets: still, narrow, paved, commodious, and noiseless passages of this description, intersect all the islands, which communicate with each other by means of a countless number of bridges. Though the hoof of a horse or the rumbling of a wheel is never heard in these strait avenues, they are of great resort for all the purposes of ordinary intercourse.

Gino issued into one of these thoroughfares when he quitted the private passage which communicated with the palace of his master. He threaded the throng by which it was crowded, with a dexterity that resembled the windings of an eel among the weeds of the Lagunes. To the numerous greetings of his fellows, he replied only by nods; nor did he once arrest his footsteps, until they had led him through the door of a low and dark dwelling that stood in a quarter of the place which was inhabited by people of an inferior condition. Groping his way among casks, cordage, and rubbish of all descriptions, the gondolier succeeded in finding an inner and retired door that opened into a small room, whose only light came from a species of well that descended between the walls of the adjacent houses and that in which he was.

“Blessed St. Anne! Is it thou, Gino Monaldi!” exclaimed a smart Venetian grisette, whose tone and manner betrayed as much of coquetry as of surprise. “On foot, and by the secret door! Is this an hour to come on any of thy errands?”

“Truly, Annina, it is not the season for affairs with thy father, and it is something early for a visit to thee. But there is less time for words than for action, just now. For the sake of San Teodoro, and that of a constant and silly young man, who, if not thy slave, is at least thy dog, bring forth the jacket I wore when we went together to see the merry-making at Fusina.”

“I know nothing of thy errand, Gino, nor of thy reason for wishing to change thy master’s livery for the dress of a common boatman. Thou art far more comely with those silken flowers than in this faded velveteen; and if I have ever said aught in commendation of its appearance, it was because we were bent on merry-making, and being one of the party, it would have been churlish to have withheld a word of praise to a companion, who, as thou knowest, does not dislike a civil speech in his own praise.”

“Zitto, zitto! here is no merry-making and companions, but a matter of gravity, and one that must be performed offhand. The jacket, if thou lovest me!”

Annina, who had not neglected essentials while she moralized on motives, threw the garment on a stool that stood within reach of the gondolier’s hand, as he made this strong appeal in a way to show that she was not to be surprised out of a confession of this sort, even in the most unguarded moment.

“If I love thee, truly! Thou hast the jacket, Gino, and thou mayest search in its pockets for an answer to thy letter, which I do not thank thee for having got the duca’s secretary to indite. A maiden should be discreet in affairs of this sort; for one never knows but he may make a confidant of a rival.”

“Every work of it is as true as if the devil himself had done the office for me, girl,” muttered Gino, uncasing himself from his flowery vestment, and as rapidly assuming the plainer garment he had sought “The cap, Annina, and the mask!”

“One who wears so false a face, in common, has little need of a bit of silk to conceal his countenance,” she answered, throwing him, notwithstanding, both the articles he required.

“This is well. Father Battista himself, who boasts he can tell a sinner from a penitent merely by the savor of his presence, would never suspect a servitor of Don Camillo Monforte in this dress. Cospetto! but I have half a mind to visit that knave of a Jew, who has got thy golden chain in pledge, and give him a hint of what may be the consequences, should he insist on demanding double the rate of interest we agreed on.”

“’Twould be Christian justice! but what would become of thy matter of gravity the while, Gino, and of thy haste to enter on its performance?”

“Thou sayest truly, girl. Duty above all other things; though to frighten a grasping Hebrew may be as much of a duty as other matters. Are all thy father’s gondolas in the water?”

“How else could he be gone to the Lido, and my brother Luigi to Fusini, and the two serving-men on the usual business to the islands, or how else should I be alone?”

“Diavolo! is there no boat in the canal?”

“Thou art in unwonted haste, Gino, now thou hast a mask and jacket of velvet. I know not that I should suffer one to enter my father’s house when I am in it alone, and take such disguises to go abroad, at this hour. Thou wilt tell me thy errand, that I may judge of the propriety of what I do.”

“Better ask the Three Hundred to open the leaves of their book of doom! Give me the key of the outer door, girl, that I may go my way.”

“Not till I know whether this business is likely to draw down upon my father the displeasure of the Senate. Thou knowest, Gino, that I am ”

“Diamine! There goes the clock of San Marco, and I tarry past my hour. If I am too late, the fault will rest with thee.”

“’Twill not be the first of thy oversights which it has been my business to excuse. Here thou art, and here shalt thou remain, until I know the errand which calls for a mask and jacket, and all about this matter of gravity.”

“This is talking like a jealous wife instead of a reasonable girl, Annina. I have told thee that I am on business of the last importance, and that delay may bring heavy calamities.”

“On whom? What is thy business? Why art thou, whom in general it is necessary to warn from this house by words many times repeated, now in such a haste to leave it?”

“Have I not told thee, girl, ’tis an errand of great concern to six noble families, and if I fail to be in season there may be a strife aye, between the Florentine and the Republic!”

“Thou hast said nothing of the sort, nor do I put faith in thy being an ambassador of San Marco. Speak truth for once, Gino Monaldi, or lay aside the mask and jacket, and take up thy flowers of Sant’ Agata.”

“Well, then, as we are friends, and I have faith in thy discretion, Annina, thou shalt know the truth to the extremity, for I find the bell has only tolled the quarters, which leaves me yet a moment for confidence.”

“Thou lookest at the wall, Gino, and art consulting thy wits for some plausible lie!”

“I look at the wall because conscience tells me that too much weakness for thee is about to draw me astray from duty. What thou takest for deceit is only shame and modesty.”

“Of that we shall judge, when the tale is told.”

“Then listen. Thou hast heard of the affair between my master and the niece of the Roman Marchese, who was drowned in the Giudecca by the carelessness of an Ancona-man, who passed over the gondola of Pietro as if his felucca had been a galley of state?”

“Who has been upon the Lido the month past without hearing the tale repeated, with every variation of a gondolier’s anger?”

“Well, the matter is likely to come to a conclusion this night; my master is about to do, as I fear, a very foolish thing.”

“He will be married!”

“Or worse! I am sent in all haste and secresy in search of a priest.”

Annina manifested strong interest in the fiction of the gondolier. Either from a distrustful temperament, long habit, or great familiarity with the character of her companion, however, she did not listen to his explanation without betraying some doubts of its truth.

“This will be a sudden bridal feast!” she said, after a moment of pause. “’Tis well that few are invited, or its savor might be spoiled by the Three Hundred! To what convent art thou sent?”

“My errand is not particular. The first that may be found, provided he be a Franciscan, and a priest likely to have bowels for lovers in haste.”

“Don Camillo Monforte, the heir of an ancient and great line, does not wive with so little caution. Thy false tongue has been trying to deceive me, Gino; but long use should have taught thee the folly of the effort. Unless thou sayest truth, not only shalt thou not go to thy errand, but here art thou prisoner at my pleasure.”

“I may have told thee what I expect will shortly happen, rather than what has happened. But Don Camillo keeps me so much upon the water of late, that I do little besides dream, when not at the oar.”

“It is vain to attempt deceiving me, Gino, for thine eye speaketh truth, let thy tongue and brains wander where they will. Drink of this cup, and disburden thy conscience, like a man.”

“I would that thy father would make the acquaintance of Stefano Milano,” resumed the gondolier, taking a long breath, after a still longer draught. “’Tis a padrone of Calabria, who oftentimes brings into the port excellent liquors of his country, and who would pass a cask of the red lachryma christi through the Broglio itself, and not a noble of them all should see it. The man is here at present, and, if thou wilt, he shall not be long without coming into terms with thee for a few skins.”

“I doubt if he have better liquors than this which hath ripened upon the sands of the Lido. Take another draught, for the second taste is thought to be better than the first.”

“If the wine improve in this manner, thy father should be heavy-hearted at the sight of the lees. ’Twould be no more than charity to bring him and Stefano acquainted.”

“Why not do it immediately? His felucca is in the port, thou sayest, and thou canst lead him hither by the secret door and the lanes.”

“Thou forgettest my errand. Don Camillo is not used to be served the second. Cospetto! ’T were a pity that any other got the liquor which I am certain the Calabrian has in secret.”

“This errand can be no matter of a moment, like that of being sure of wine of the quality thou namest; or, if it be, thou canst first dispatch thy master’s business, and then to the port, in quest of Stefano. That the purchase may not fail, I will take a mask and be thy companion, to see the Calabrian. Thou knowest my father hath much confidence in my judgment in matters like this.”

While Gino stood half stupified and half delighted at this proposition, the ready and wily Annina made some slight change in her outer garments, placed a silken mask before her face, applied a key to the door, and beckoned to the gondolier to follow.

The canal with which the dwelling of the wine-dealer communicated, was narrow, gloomy, and little frequented. A gondola of the plainest description was fastened near, and the girl entered it, without appearing to think any further arrangement necessary. The servant of Don Camillo hesitated a single instant, but having seen that his half-meditated project of escaping by the use of another boat could not be accomplished for want of means, he took his worried place in the stern, and began to ply the oar with mechanical readiness.