She abandoned herself to joy. "You are the angel, the miracle! You are " "No, no, I am not an angel; but oh, I love you, dearly!" "Ah, la Madonna!" "I am Ippolita! I love you!" "You love me? You are mine then come." "Andrea," said Castracane next morning, "I think the others will be back before noon. You must wait here till they come.
Silvestro blushed; Castracane pinched his cheek, which made matters worse. They took the road together through the deep hedges of the valley. Monte Venda rose before them, dark with woods. Castracane's arm was round Silvestro's waist: every twenty yards they stopped. "To think of it!" cried Castracane, on one of these breathless halts.
Silvestro's shoulders told a tale. He had turned on his face, but his shoulders were enough. Lord, Lord, look at that! Scorn in his conqueror gave way to amazement, amazement to disgust, disgust to contempt. Last came pity. Who'd have thought such a leggy lad such a green one? He was crying like a girl. Castracane had no malice in him: he was sorry for those sobbing shoulders.
Then she found that Castracane was watching her out of one wicked eye. He had rolled over on to his belly, his face lay sideways on his hands; one eye was shrewdly on her. She considered him, rather scared, out of the corner of hers. Decidedly he was a sulky boy you might say an enemy.
From Petrarch they have borrowed the form and mystic robe of Death herself . Uguccione della Faggiuola has sat for the portrait of the Captain who must quail before the terrors of the tomb, and Castruccio Castracane is the strong man cut off in the blossom of his age.
But though it was getting dusk there were eyes sharp enough on the top of the mountain to watch for what sharp ears had heard a most unaccustomed sound in those leafy solitudes trotting horses and jingling steel. Castracane from the summit saw it all; and what is more, guessed at once what Andrea in a halter meant.
And in less violent contrast, but with change as great from what it was, the palace of the Colonna suggests no thought of defence nowadays, and the wide gates and courtyard recall rather the splendours of the Constable and of his wife, Maria Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin, than the fiercer days when Castracane was Sciarra's guest on the other side of the church.
It was a scented night, the air heavy with the burden of midsummer. The fireflies spread a jewelled web before their faces, great white moths flapped and droned about them. On they pushed, their hands locked through all hazards of brake or briar: neither would let go for a whole world, but Silvestro was always in front, leading Castracane for this once.
"You thought I had killed a Jew." "Never, per Bacco!" cried Castracane. "That I'll swear to." "You thought I was a boy, even last night, dearest." But that he denied. "Santissimo! Did I treat you like a boy, I ask you?" "You knocked me down once, Pilade." "Every honest man knocks his wife down once," said Pilade gravely. "And then you kissed me." "I can kiss you again," said Pilade; and did.
Castracane gave a responsive squeeze, and went on. "I am not too sure, you must know, that one has not happened already. To see you lead that signore by the nose! You came swimming among the tree-stems like an angel. You might have knocked me down with a feather. And how he kissed your hand! Miracles! Why, if you had been the maiden I dream about, he couldn't have been more respectful.