That he, himself, believed it so, it is not ours to doubt, for all that we may be more prone to agree with the opinion afterwards expressed by Fanfulla and the friar and deeply resented by the Count that in leaping to his feet in over-violent haste his wound re-opened, and the pain of this, combining with the weak condition that resulted from his loss of blood, had caused his sudden faintness.

He put the letter in his pocket and turned to leave the room, with a nod to its only other occupant, an olive-skinned young man with lustrous eyes and a low collar, who sat on the other side of the table, perusing the Fanfulla di Domenica.

At last, when they had covered a half-mile in this fashion, and the going had grown easier, they halted that the Count might mount behind his companion, and as they now rode along at an easier pace Francesco realised that he and Fanfulla were the only two that had come through that ugly place.

They will think only of following you after you have cut through them. Go, go, sirs, or all is lost." They obeyed him now with a rush that seemed almost to partake of panic. In a frenzied haste Fanfulla and another tore the tetherings loose, and a moment later they were all mounted and ready for that fearful ride. The night was dark, yet not too dark.

That very day Gian Maria began his preparations for the expedition against Roccaleone, and word of it was carried by Fanfulla to Francesco for the latter had left his quarters at the palace upon hearing of Gian Maria's coming, and was now lodging at the sign of the "Sun."

"Perhaps if by then you shall have come to it." And with a shrug Fanfulla turned to give his attention to the Count, whom Fra Domenico was already tending.

Upon hearing the news he swore a mighty oath in which he consigned his cousin to the devil, by whom, in that moment, he pronounced him begotten. "Do you think," he asked, when he was calmer, "that this man Gonzaga is her lover?" "It is more than I can say," answered Fanfulla. "There is the fact that she fled with him.

But in the future I shall give them thanks, for I see how much worse it might have been I might have been born a prince, with a duchy to rule over. I might have been as that poor man, my cousin, a creature whose life is all pomp and no real dignity, all merry-making and no real mirth loveless, isolated and vain." "But," cried the amazed Fanfulla, "assuredly there are compensations?"

He turned to his servant, who entered as he spoke. "We set out in a quarter of an hour, Lanciotto," said he. "Saddle for me and for yourself. You are to go with me. Zaccaria may remain with Messer degli Arcipreti. You will care for him, Fanfulla, and he will serve you well." "But what of me?" cried Fanfulla. "Do I not accompany you?" "If you will, yes.

This inaction fretted the Count of Aquila, as did the lack of news from Fanfulla; and he wondered vaguely what might be taking place at Babbiano that Gian Maria should be content to sit idly before them, as though he had months at his disposal in which to starve them into yielding.