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We had horses enough to mount the whole party, so arrangements were speedily made; and within half an hour after we had received Don Antonio's warning we were in the saddle, and, under the guidance of natives well acquainted with the country, were making our way along a narrow path up the side of the mountains which rose between our house and the sea. Uncle Paul and the guides went first.
Scattered here and there amongst the crowd, Antonio's searching eye soon remarked a number of men, to whom, accustomed as he was to analyse the heterogeneous composition of a Venetian mob, he was yet at a loss to assign any distinct class or country.
As tenderly as I could for the trembling of my hands, I washed away the blood from about the cut and bathed Fray Antonio's pale face, while Rayburn gave him a sup of whiskey from his flask. And then, presently, his eyes opened and energy came into his body once more.
Finally the crowds increased so that Don Antonio was obliged to remove the parchment, and soon they had to take refuge in his house. In the evening Don Antonio's wife gave a dance, and it was amusing to see the tall and lank hero move about on the ballroom floor; the men gave him the opportunity to dance every dance, for they themselves enjoyed watching him better than dancing.
At the last moment Alessandro drew one of them aside. "Jose," he said, "whose horse is the faster, yours or Antonio's?" "Mine," promptly replied Jose. "Mine, by a great deal. I will run Antonio any day he likes." Alessandro knew this as well before asking as after. But Alessandro was learning a great many things in these days, among other things a little diplomacy.
"Buenas dias, Doña Fernandez!" said Chiquita, unabashed by the Señora's sudden appearance and onslaught, "may the day bring you many blessings! Look! Padre Antonio's greetings," and she held up the basket for the Señora's benefit.
Salvator once more examined Antonio's pictures, and paused before one representing a Magdalone at the Saviour's feet, which he specially commended. "You have departed," he said, "from the style in which people generally represent this Magdalene. There is a peculiar charm about the beautiful creature.
It was possible that there might have been a brother of Marco Antonio's; but when he heard that my genealogy began with Don Francisco, from Aragon, who had lived in the fourteenth century, and that consequently all the pedigree of the illustrious house of the Casanovas of Saragossa belonged to him, his joy knew no bounds; he did not know what to do to convince me that the same blood was flowing in his veins and in mine.
A few hours more saw Antonio Guerra in Giuseppe Ripa's cell; and whilst the first paid the penalty of his crimes, the latter was rewarded for his sufferings by the hand of Bianca, to whom the Spaniard gave a small marriage-portion before finally quitting the country, which he did immediately after Antonio's trial.
Thou shalt tell the bancali that I sent thee; thou shalt tell them there are affairs of moment for the Nicolotti which shall go hard for the traghetti if I be not there to work them Art listening, Antonio?" he questioned feverishly. Antonio's eyes were fastened upon his. "Padrone, yes!" he answered breathlessly.