Girolamo never seemed to remember that this son-in-law was a great man among the people; to him he was only Piero Salin, barcariol; the single token of the old man's favor was that in his thought he no longer added the despicable word toso; and it was a proof that he was mellowing with the years, for Girolamo never forgot this unwelcome and dishonorable past, and Piero was always ill at ease in his presence.
When the money is little it is the gastaldo who pays much. And the toso all his faults blamed on the traghetti! Ah, signore, for the gondolier it is a life Santa Maria!" He threw up his hands with a feint of being at a loss to convey its hardships. "Come non c'è altro!" said the Veronese, laughing; "there is none like it."
It was she who had, in some unaccountable way, persuaded him out of his unlawful trade of barcariol toso, and had forced his reluctant acceptance of the overtures that were made to him from the Guild of Santa Maria Zobenigo, where he had risen to be one of the bancali or governors, his qualities of force and daring making him useful in this age when lawlessness was on the increase.
Piero winced, for, to an ancient "toso," or even to a "bancalo" of to-day, such enormities had not the exciting novelty that might have been expected, and Marina had a curious habit of seeming entirely to forget his past when she wished to exact his best of him. "And Gabriele "
His own way had always been the right way for him rules of all orders to the contrary whether he had been a wandering gondolier, a despised barcariol toso, lording it so outrageously over the established traghetti that they were glad to forgive him his bandit crimes and swear him into membership, if only to stop his influence against them; or whether it had been the stealing away of a promised bride, as on that memorable day at San Pietro in Castello, when he had married Toinetta it was never safe to bear "vendetta" with one so strong and handsome and unprincipled as Piero.
After all, we must not blame him too much his superiors are far from guiltless, and he knows it. When Minister Toso took charge of the Provincial portfolio of Finance, he exclaimed, "C-o! Todos van robando menos yo!" The laws of the country may be described as model and Christian, but the carrying out of them is a very different matter.
With an easy conscience, also, he had helped himself to the requisite funds for their journey, amply estimated, from the treasury of the Nicolotti, which was in his keeping; and his reasoning savored of Venetian subtlety, with a hint of his toso training.
In a great tower, which was the first to be founded, and was called the Toso, were placed many inscriptions and medals, with the most solemn pomp and ceremony; and this work is now celebrated over all the world, and is held to be impregnable.