I have told them how well you speak Italian and how you love Italy, and to-night, they say, you shall be one of us. So come." All this while Lisetta had been leading Mae swiftly down the corridor, until as she said these last words, she reached and pushed open the door.
"The government hates the banditti," began Lisetta, wisely, "and indeed it should," and she looked gravely at Giovanni, "for they are very wild men, who live reckless bad lives, and steal, and are quite dreadful.
The Italian, with her glibness of tongue and ready fund of anecdote, was transformed in her imaginative mind into a veritable improvisatore. Talila was not by any means the only heroine of the little tales. Mae had made the acquaintance of many youths and maidens, and to-day Lisetta, after thinking over her list of important personages, chose the Madre Ilkana as the heroine of the occasion.
Now Fra Alberto was a personable man of his body and a lusty and excellent well set up on his legs; wherefore, finding himself in bed with Madam Lisetta, who was young and dainty, he showed himself another guess bedfellow than her husband and many a time that night took flight without wings, whereof she avowed herself exceeding content; and eke he told her many things of the glories of heaven.
Besides, the two names mean one and the same thing." "Nay, nay, you will spoil the child, sir. As if she was not spoilt enough by her father already. Peasant folks call their daughters Betsey or Polly; Elise and Lisetta are the names of gentlefolks' children.
One of these was tall, dark, a fair type of Southern Italian; the other small, agile and graceful, dressed in a fresh contadina costume, with her brown hair braided down her shoulders. She seemed excited, and as the crowd pressed nearer she would draw back half-fearfully. "Lisetta," she whispered, "I am spoiling your good time. Talk to your friends; never mind me.
I asked him why he used me thus and he answered, "For that thou presumedst to-day, to disparage the celestial charms of Madam Lisetta, whom I love over all things, save only God." "Who, then, are you?" asked I; and he replied that he was the angel Gabriel.
Broad day come, the good man with whom Fra Alberto had taken refuge, being on the Rialto, heard how the angel Gabriel had gone that night to lie with Madam Lisetta and being surprised by her kinsmen, had cast himself for fear into the canal, nor was it known what was come of him, and concluded forthright that this was he whom he had at home.
So he only smiled quietly down at her again, as she stood troubled by his side, and said: "Lisetta will seek you near your balcony if she knows where it is. Don't be troubled." "But where is my balcony?" asked Mae. "Come here," said Bero, leading her slightly forward.
Whereby it befell, that, when 'twas broad day, the good man, being on the Rialto, heard tell how the Angel Gabriel had come to pass the night with Monna Lisetta, and, being surprised by her brothers-in-law, had taken fright, and thrown himself into the Canal, and none knew what was become of him.