"It is just like your folly to take me in earnest." The anger had died out of Marzio's voice and he spoke almost persuasively. "I do not know," answered the young man. "I think you were in earnest for a moment. I would not advise you to talk in that way before any one else. People might interpret your meaning seriously."

The one commissioned to put Olympio out of the way came across him at Terni, and conscientiously did his work with a poniard, but Marzio's man unfortunately arrived at Naples too late, and found his bird already in the hands of the police. He was put to the torture, and confessed everything.

The young man promised to turn out a freethinker after Marzio's own heart, and showed a talent for his profession which left nothing to be desired. Some one must be ready to take Marzio's place in the direction of the establishment, and no one could be better fitted to undertake the task than Gianbattista.

The one commissioned to put Olympio out of the way came across him at Terni, and conscientiously did his work with a poniard, but Marzio's man unfortunately arrived at Naples too late, and found his bird already in the hands of the police. He was put to the torture, and confessed everything.

Marzio's tears broke out again, mingled with incoherent words of joy. In his sudden happiness he clasped the two persons nearest to him, and hugged them and kissed them. These two chanced to be Lucia and Gianbattista. Paolo smiled, but the effort of speaking had tired him. "Well," said Marzio at last, with a kinder smile than had been on his face for many a day "very well, children.

This sufficed at first to rouse Marzio's suspicions, and ultimately led to his opposing with all his might what he had so long and so vigorously defended; he resolved to be done with what he considered a sort of slavery, and at one stroke to free himself from his brother's influence, and to assure Lucia's future.

They had made some remarks upon Marzio's probable disposition of mind when he should come home, and the conversation was exhausted so far as the two older members were concerned. Gianbattista and Lucia conversed in a low tone, in short, enigmatic phrases. "Do you know?" said the apprentice. "What?" inquired Lucia. "I have spoken of it to-day." Both glanced at the Signora Pandolfi.

Paolo, in his estimation, was the author of all the evil, the sole ultimate cause of domestic discord, the arch enemy of the future, the representative, in Marzio's sweeping condemnation, not only of the church and of religion, but of that whole fabric of existing society which the chiseller longed to tear down. Marzio's socialism, for so he called it, had one good feature.

This consideration, however, was not, logically speaking, in Marzio's favour; for since Paolo was less suspicious than other men, it must necessarily have needed a severe shock to shake his faith in his brother's innocence. He had seem the weapon in the air, and had seen also the murderous look in the artist's eyes.

It was a question of theology, which it would have taken long to analyse, and Don Paolo had other matters to think of in the present, so he dismissed it from his mind. He wanted to be gone, and he only stayed a few minutes to see whether Marzio's mind would change again. He knew his brother well, and he was sure that no violence was to be feared from him, except in his speech.