"Signor Vice-governatore, do not trouble yourself to dwell on my poor services," answered Raoul, scarce caring to conceal the smile that struggled about his handsome mouth; "think rather of those of these gallant signori, who greatly regret that an opportunity for gaining distinction has been lost.
Cuffe appearing in full uniform, with epaulettes and sword, his approach attracted notice; and Vito Viti hurried off to apprise his friend of the honor he was about to receive. The vice-governatore was not taken by surprise, therefore, but had some little time to prepare his excuses for being the dupe of a fraud as impudent as that which Raoul Yvard had so successfully practised on him.
"Il Signor Vice-governatore!" almost gasped Benedetta, dusting a chair, and then the table, and disposing the former near the latter by a sort of mechanical process, as if only one errand could ever bring a guest within her doors; "your eccellenza is most welcome; and it is an honor I could oftener ask.
Tommaso Tonti was a man of influence, within his sphere, as well, as the vice-governatore; and having parted from Vito Viti, as has been related, he sought the little clientelle of padroni and piloti, who were in the habit of listening to his opinions as if they were oracles.
"Indeed they are; and I often told the person who taught me the language " "How! did you not learn your own tongue as we all get our native forms of speech, by ear, when a child?" demanded the vice-governatore, his suspicions suddenly revived. "Without question, Signore, but I speak of books, and of learning to read.
"They tell me that we have the honor to receive into our little haven a vessel of Inghilterra, Signor Capitano," observed the vice-governatore, earnestly regarding the other through his spectacles as he spoke, and that, too, in a manner not altogether free from distrust. "Signer Vice-governatore, such is the flag under which I have the honor to serve," returned the mariner.
Much of this was gibberish to Andrea Barrofaldi, but Griffin being exclusively naval, he fancied every one ought to take the same interest as he did himself in all these matters. But, while the Vice-governatore did not understand more than half of the other's meaning, that half sufficed to render him exceedingly uneasy.
Signor Viti promised to meet me here, after he has had a conversation with the vice-governatore; and we may now expect him every minute." "Il Signor Podest
"Neighbor Vito Viti," put in the vice-governatore, "it may be well to remember that this matter is not to be recorded as you would put on file the confessions of a thief; it may be better to let the honest boatman tell his story in his own way." "Aye, now the vecchy has set to work, I hope we shall get the worth of our ducat," observed Cuffe, in English.
Andrea Barrofaldi now set about a cautious and deliberate examination of the papers shown him. They proved to be of a nature to remove every doubt; and it was not possible to distrust the party that presented them. This was a great deal toward convicting the Signore Smees of imposition, though both the vice-governatore and the podest