Bigot hastened thither, and the state of preservation of the remains enabled him, on viewing the body, to decide clearly that it was that of Zambelli, according as he had been described by Cornelius his brother. The magistrate began to read the evidence aloud, when he was interrupted by a piercing cry; and a blind man, whom no one had as yet perceived, presented himself before the assembly.
The failure of all their children to marry does not indicate a particularly happy home-life, but this is mere speculation. We only know that Stradivari's first wife died, after a marriage lasting thirty-four years. A year and a half later Stradivari married a girl fifteen years his junior; Antonia Zambelli was, indeed, born the very year Francesca's first husband had been assassinated.
"Yes, the bond is false; but as you have betrayed fear, I must tell you that there are other things against you. A citizen of Lucca, named Zambelli, is dead, and you are his murderer. Deny it not. I have proofs certain proofs. But calm your fears: Zambelli was a stranger; no one here cares to avenge his death.
By their earnest conversation among themselves, and their eager questioning of those who came out of the hotel, it was clear that something unwonted was going forward there. In short, the large room of the hotel was for this day transformed into a justice-chamber, where Laurence Bigot, assisted by the magistrate of Argenteuil, questioned numerous witnesses about the murder of Zambelli.
He visited all the houses whither Zambelli's commerce was likely to lead him. Many persons had seen, or believed they had seen, Zambelli. An individual bearing that name had claimed the payment due to bonds of a considerable amount: the merchants showed the signature "Zambelli" at the bottom of the receipts. "All these signatures are forged," cried Cornelius.
This was Maestro Stefano de Antoniolo da Zambelli of Bergamo, who agreed with the monks in July, 1533, to execute the required works in the choir for the price of thirty golden crowns each stall.
"Describe the person of the forger, so that I may bring him to justice." But it was in vain; for no one could recollect precisely the appearance of a man who had been seen so short a time. 'It was plain that an audacious robbery had been committed perhaps a murder. Cornelius went from Paris to Rouen, where he visited successively all the hotels in the place. At one of them Zambelli had been seen.
The proceedings which Martel dared to commence against you have been stayed for three months: the suit relative to the murder of Zambelli is brought before parliament, and Martel is transferred to the Conciergerie. Every search shall be made to discover the body of the murdered man; for though I firmly believe that you have discovered the assassin, yet there are no proofs.
He had left it for Paris, accompanied by a valet. This valet had been little noticed: besides, six or eight months had passed since the departure of Zambelli; and how could one domestic excite attention among the numbers who had inhabited this hotel, the most frequented in Rouen? 'It was at this time, continued the lieutenant of police, 'that Cornelius brought his complaint before me.
Six weeks after the above adventure my father was attacked with an abscess in the head which carried him off in a week. Dr. Zambelli first gave him oppilative remedies, and, seeing his mistake, he tried to mend it by administering castoreum, which sent his patient into convulsions and killed him.