"You do right to reproach me," I replied, shaking him by the hand, "and I beg your pardon." He went away, and I began to read Since I heard from Tremerello, so we shall call our confidant, that you, sir, were a prisoner, and the cause of your arrest, I have longed to tell you how deeply I lament your misfortune, and that no one can feel greater attachment to you than myself.
In descending the immense track of staircases, Tremerello for a moment took my hand; he pressed it as much as to say, "Unhappy man! you are lost." We came out at a gate which opened upon the lake, and there stood a gondola with two under jailers belonging to San Michele.
I longed to take my coffee; Tremerello left me, and I sat down to write. Did I do right? was the motive really approved by God? Was it not rather the triumph of my natural courage, of my preference of that which pleased me, instead of obeying the call for painful sacrifices.
I welcomed Tremerello, and, embracing him, exclaimed, "May God reward you for this goodness!"
Perhaps his pretended prison does not exist; or if so, he may be a traitor, eager to worm out secrets in order to make his own terms; perhaps he is a man of honour, and Tremerello himself the traitor who aims at our destruction in order to gain an additional salary. Oh, horrible thought, yet too natural to the unhappy prisoner, everywhere in fear of enmity and fraud!
On the 24th of November, one of our companions, Dr. Foresti, was taken from the Piombi, and transported no one knew whither. The jailer, his wife, and the assistants, were alike alarmed, and not one of them ventured to throw the least light upon this mysterious affair. "And why should you persist," said Tremerello, "in wishing to know, when nothing good is to be heard?
But what was I to do respecting the letter of the unknown? Should I adopt the severe, repulsive counsel of fear which we call prudence? Shall I return the letter to Tremerello, and tell him, I do not wish to run any risk. Yet suppose there should be no treason; and the unknown be a truly worthy character, deserving that I should venture something, if only to relieve the horrors of his solitude?
I walked about till I heard the words of the song: Segnai mi gera un gato, E ti me carezzevi. It was Tremerello bringing me my coffee. I acquainted him with my scruples and spared nothing to excite his fears. I found him staunch in his desire to SERVE, as he said, TWO SUCH COMPLETE GENTLEMEN. This was strangely at variance with the sheep's face he wore, and the name we had just given him.
Tremerello had insinuated a vile suspicion respecting Angiola; that, in short, she was a spy upon my secret opinions! She! that noble- hearted creature, who knew nothing of politics, and wished to know nothing of them! It was impossible for me to suspect her; but have I, said I, the same certainty respecting Tremerello?
Indeed, I began to regret that I had not been burnt alive, instead of being handed over, as a victim, into the hands of men. The next morning, I learnt the real cause of the fire from Tremerello, and laughed at his account of the fear he had endured, as if my own had not been as great perhaps, in fact, much greater of the two.