Unconsciously, however, her judgment had been guided towards the selection of Bosio, so that she was now by no means so free an agent as she supposed herself to be.

On that same night, when Veronica had gone to her room, Bosio Macomer remained alone with the countess in the small drawing-room in which the family generally spent the evening. Gregorio was presumably in his study, busy with his perpetual accounts or otherwise occupied.

He is not at all like you." "If you wish me to stay longer, you must not insult me again," said Bosio, not yet seating himself, but resting his hands on the back of a chair as he stood. "You know very well that I am no more a coward, if it comes to fighting men, than others are. One need not be cowardly to dread doing such a thing as you are trying to force me to."

And we are ruined, Bosio. This house is mortgaged, and the mortgage expires on the first of January, in three weeks. We have nothing left nothing but the hope of Veronica's charity or the hope that you will marry her and save us from starvation and disgrace. I got her to sign the will. There was " The countess checked herself and stopped short, turning an emerald ring which she wore. She was pale.

"It is done. It is agreed. She accepts me." Matilde drew breath, and pressed her hand to her left side for one moment she, who was so strong. "You almost killed me!" she said, so low that Bosio hardly caught the words. Slowly she straightened herself, and the colour came back to her face, blending with the tinge of the paint.

"You are ingenious," she observed drily, as she rose to her feet. "I should not have thought of that. It is a pity that you have not been able to apply your ingenuity better in other ways, too. It has been wasted." "I am not sure," answered Macomer, thoughtfully. "If Bosio marries Veronica, our position will be a very good one, considering the misfortunes through which we have passed.

The spirits come to her directly sometimes, when she is awake, and they torment her. Bosio has been coming to her often, and has made her suffer, until she wrote to you. The spirits themselves suffer when they wish to communicate with the living, and cannot." "What are you?" inquired Matilda. "I am Giuditta's familiar. The spirits generally speak, through me, to her, when she is in the trance."

The servants adored him, while they feared his brother and disliked the countess; when he appeared he never failed to kiss the countess's hand, and to exchange a friendly word or two with Gregorio; but as for the latter, Bosio made no secret of the fact that he preferred the society of the ladies of the household to that of the count, with whom he had little in common.

But she did not ask herself questions, for she had never had the smallest inclination to analysis or introspection. It was as clear to her as ever that she did not love Gianluca in the least, but that she should find it hard to be happy without him. She had been nearer to loving poor Bosio than Gianluca, though the truth was that she had never loved any one yet.

Nor did Bosio bestow upon her any questioning glance, nor betray his anxiety in any way except by his pallor, which he could not help, of course.