From a business point of view, the Venetian Bravi were children in his hands; but when they came quite near to him, one on each side, and spoke slowly and clearly in their determined way, the tremendous Markos felt his bravery shrink within him till it seemed to rattle like a dry pea shaken in a steel cuirass, and the amount of money he actually advanced on the ring was considerable; he even consented to let Gambardella seal the six jars of Samos wine, which formed part of the loan, with the heavy brass seal ring the Bravo wore, on which was engraved the Bear of the Ursuline Order of Nuns, with a few words in Gothic characters.

The Bravi, who were men of taste, according to their times, admired the architecture extremely, and often walked there for half an hour before it was time to hear the Benediction music in the church, which was always good and sometimes magnificent.

Then the sacristan brought out the register and laid it on the broad polished table on which the vestments were folded, placing pens and ink and the sand-box beside it; and the priest first wrote a few words, to say that he had married the couple by a special dispensation from the Archbishop of Ferrara; and Stradella and Ortensia signed their names, and after them the Bravi, who indeed merely wrote 'Trombin' and 'Gambardella, but managed to make their signatures almost illegible with magnificent flourishes.

God, who has protected him on the field of battle God, who has created him 'to give the world assurance of a man' God, who is the shield of the pure, the brave, the virtuous, will not suffer the Prince of Savoy to fall under the dagger of your hired bravi!" "Nous verrons. And now, signora, let us speak of other things.

'Gentlemen, said Markos to the Bravi, 'allow me to introduce a highly respectable personage who has business with you, and would like to join you at supper. Trombin and Gambardella rose with a courtesy which showed where they had been bred, in spite of their present profession.

M. Francesco being a friend of M. Antonio, besought that gentleman to lend him Bibboni and Bebo for a season; and the two bravi went together with their new master to Celsano, a village in the neighbourhood. 'There both parties had estates, and all of them kept armed men in their houses, so that not a day passed without feats of arms, and always there was some one killed or wounded.

He watched for a moment when he could speak to her unheard, and then he said: "Madame, your bravi have missed me three times." "What do you mean, monsieur?" she said, flushing. "I know that you have had several unfortunate accidents lately, which I have greatly regretted; but how could I have had anything to do with them?"

The Bravi, who were practical men, judged that a former highway robber should be a good judge of such vehicles, and had commissioned Tommaso, who had stopped and plundered hundreds of them on the Bologna road, to find one that would suit their purpose. It was to be perfectly sound, not large, comfortably cushioned and provided with solid shutters to draw up outside the windows.

Now the Bravi did not know Alberto Altieri by sight, and they had treated him as if he were of no more account than several hundred other young noblemen, sure that he would have his scratch dressed and go quietly to bed like a sensible fellow who has had the worst of it.

"Good, all is going well now, let the rest come forwards; bravi, boys! Courage! I am extremely well satisfied." And, in order to show us his contentment, and to exhilarate us, as he went out in haste, he made a motion of stumbling and of catching at the wall, to prevent a fall; he whom we had never seen laugh!