Away with the crippled old thing," and therewith Salvator sent the little spinett spinning round and round with his foot, its strings giving out a loud wail of sorrow. "Ha!" screamed Capuzzi, "there is still law in Rome. I will have you put in prison, into the deepest dungeon;" and, growling like a thunder-cloud, he was making for the door.
The old man was only too fond of a glass of good wine, when he had not to pay for it; and, moreover, as he was expecting to receive ten ducats for a worn-out, rickety spinett, and was seated before a boldly sketched-in picture, whose wonderful beauty he was quite capable of appreciating, he could not but feel exceedingly happy in his mind.
But as this was going on, Salvator had set the spinett to rights, shut down the top of it, taken his palette and set to work to paint, in bold touches, upon the very cover of the spinett, the most wonderful subject imaginable.
His eyes fell on the painted spinett; he opened them wide, as if looking upon a miracle, crammed his peaked hat down on to his periwig, took his crook-headed stick under his arm, made one jump to the spinett, wrenched the cover of it out of the hinges, and ran, like one possessed, out of the door, down the steps, and off and away out of the house, whilst Dame Caterina and her daughters accompanied his exit with bursts of laughter.
Pay you ten ducats for that rotten old box, out of which the worms have long since gnawed all the marrow, all the sound! Not ten, not five, not three, not a single ducat will I pay you for that spinett, which is scarcely worth a quattrino.
I have listened with rapture to the grand scena in the opera 'Le Nozze di Teti e di Peleo, which the villain Francesco Cavalli has cribbed from you and given out as his own. If you would be good enough to sing me that aria during the time that I am setting the spinett to rights, I cannot imagine anything more delightful that could happen to me."
I asked my landlady to get hold of an instrument of that sort for me. Dame Caterina soon found out that a certain old fellow in Strada Ripetta had an old spinett for sale. It was brought here, and I troubled myself neither about the price nor about the owner.
Thirteen ducats for the spinett, and nothing for the repairs?" Then Salvator let him go, and assured him, on his honour, that in an hour's time the spinett should be worth thirty forty ducats, and that he, Capuzzi, should get that sum for it. The old man, drawing breath, murmured: with a deep sigh, "Thirty forty ducats!" Then he added, "But you have greatly enraged me, Signor Salvator."
But Salvator put both his arms about him, set him down in the chair again, and whispered in his ear in dulcet tones, "My dear Signor Pasquale, do you not see that I am only joking? Not ten, thirteen ducats you shall have for your spinett," and went on repeating into his ear, "thirteen bright ducats," so long and so often that Capuzzi said, in a faint, feeble voice, "What say you, dear sir?
"Thirty ducats," reiterated Salvator. The old man blinked his eyes. But then again, "You have wounded me to the heart, Signor Salvator." "Thirty ducats," said Salvator again and again, till at length the old man said, quite appeased, "If I can get thirty or forty ducats for my spinett, all will be forgotten and forgiven, dear Signor."