And they took the most agreeable route, going down the Corso proper and then turning into the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Prada had grown somewhat calmer, but remained full of irony. To divert his mind, no doubt, he talked on in the most voluble manner, reverting to the women of Rome and to that fete which he had at first found splendid, but at which he now began to rail.

The pontiff intrusted her to her husband's brother, Cardinal York, who placed her in a convent and presently removed her to his own residence in Rome. Here begins another romance. She was often visited by Vittorio Alfieri, the great Italian poet and dramatist. Alfieri was a man of wealth.

Something withheld her from commenting on the fact, and when, a few seconds later, Vittorio exclaimed, "Ecco, mio fratello!" Uncle Dan had remarked what quick eyes these fellows have, and that nobody else could have recognized a man in the dark, like that. And May had said nothing, and the fact that she had kept silence gave her a curious pang of unwilling self-consciousness.

In the January of 1869 this company was signally augmented by the arrival of one Vittorio Lodi, a young Roman tenor; over whose voice one of those natural organs found only in that land of the sun Florence speedily went mad. Up to the middle of the ensuing February, the prestige of the Nikitenko steadily increased in brilliance.

From the church to the bride's house was a walk of some three minutes. On the way we were introduced to the father of the bride a very magnificent personage, with points of strong resemblance to Vittorio Emmanuele. He wore an enormous broad-brimmed hat and emerald-green earrings, and looked considerably younger than his eldest son, Francesco.

As I came out of the brightly lit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele into the darkened Piazza del Duomo I stopped under the arcade and stood looking up at the shadowy darkness of that great pinnacled barn, that marble bride-cake, which is, I suppose, the last southward fortress of the Franco-English Gothic. "It was here," said my host, "that we burnt the German stuff." "What German stuff?"

The felze was arranged for three, the little box-seats taken out, and the chair in place of them; Geof took the chair. And Vittorio rowed them swiftly with the tide, up the Canal, past the tiny striped church of San Vio, to which the pious little princess crosses, in the pretty legend, and on, to the stern and massive Palazzo Rezzonico.

Here, for example, is that famous figure of Abundance, in grey stone, which Donatello made for the old market, where the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele now is, in the midst of which she poured forth her fruits from a cornucopia high on a column for all to see. Opposite is a magnificent doorway designed by Donatello for the Pazzi garden.

Towards San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, where the new Corso Vittorio Emanuele has ripped up every olden district, the lofty five-storeyed houses with their dazzling sculptured fronts contrasted violently with the black sunken dwellings of the neighbouring lanes.

"He did not at first, but twice Francesco came to see Loretta with messages from her mother, and went sneaking off when Vittorio came up in his boat, and then that night some one would tell him 'that fellow meets Loretta every day; that he was her old lover. These people on the Giudecca do not like the San Giuseppe people, and there is always jealousy.