in love with the same woman. She was a dan-
gerous-looking, yellow-haired woman, with steel-
gray eyes that is, if her eyes were not really green,
as to which there was doubt. But there was no
doubt at all that she was powerfully handsome.
The abbate said that there was a famous portrait of
her in one of these churches as a Saint Mary
Magdalen with her hair down. She was a splendid
creature, and lots of men were running after her
besides the twin Manins. The two brothers did
not quarrel with each other about the woman, but
they did quarrel with some of her other lovers, and
particularly with a nobleman of the highest rank
and power, who was supposed to belong not only
to the Council of Ten but to the Three. Between
this man and the Manins there was war to the
knife and the knife to the hilt. One day Marco
Manin expressed a wish for one of these goblets of
Venetian glass so fine that poison shatters it, and
so Giovanni went out to Murano and ordered two
of them, of the very finest quality, and just alike
in every particular of color and shape and size.
You see the twins always had everything in pairs.
But the people at Murano somehow misunderstood
VENETIAN GLASS. 179
the order, and although they made both glasses they
sent home only one. Marco Manin was at table
when it arrived, and he took it in his hand at once,
and after admiring its exquisite workmanship
you see, all these old Venetians had the art-feeling
strongly developed he told a servant to fill it to
the brim with Cyprus wine. But as he raised the
flowing cup to his lips it shivered in his grasp and
the wine was spilt on the marble floor. He drew
his sword and slew the servant who had sought to
betray him, and rushing into the street he found
himself face to face with the enemy whom he knew
to have instigated the attempt. They crossed
swords at once, but before Marco Manin could
have a fair fight for his life he was stabbed in the
back by a glass stiletto, the hilt of which was
broken off short in the wound."
" Where was his brother all this time ?" was the
first question with which John Manning broke the
thread of his friend's story.
" He had been to see the yellow-haired beauty,
and he came back Justin time to meet his brother's
lifeless body as it was carried into their desolate
home. Holding his dead brother's hand as he had
often held it living, he promised his brother to
avenge his death without delay and at any cost.
Then he prepared at once for flight. He knew
that Venice would be too hot to hold him when the
deed was done ; and besides, he felt that without
his brother life in Venice would be intolerable. So
he made ready for flight. Twenty-four hours to a
i8o VENETIAN GLASS.
minute after Marco Manin's death the body of the
hireling assassin was sinking to the bottom of the
Grand Canal, while the man who had paid for the
murder lay dead on the same spot with the point
of a glass stiletto in his heart ! And when they
wanted to send him the other goblet, there was no
one to send it to : Giovanni Manin had disap-
" Where had he gone?" queried John Manning.
" That's what I asked the abbate, and he said he
didn't know for sure, but that in those days Venice
had a sizable trade with the Low Countries, and
there was a tradition that Giovanni Manin had
gone to the Netherlands."
" To Holland ?" asked John Manning with un-
" Yes, to Amsterdam or to Rotterdam or to
some one of those -dam towns, as we used to call
them in our geography class."
" It was to Amsterdam," said Manning, speak-
ing as one who had certain information.
"How do you know that?" asked Larry.
" Even the abbate said it was only a tradition that
he had gone to Holland at all."
" He went to Amsterdam," said Manning; "that
Before Larry could ask how it was that his friend
knew anything about the place of exile of a man
whom he had never heard of ten minutes earlier,
the gondola had paused before the door of the
palace in which dwelt the dealer in antiquities who
VENETIAN GLASS. 181
had in his possession the famous goblet of Venetian
glass. As they ascended to the sequence of ram-
bling rooms cluttered with old furniture, rusty ar-
mor, and odds and ends of statuary, in the which the
modern Jew of Venice sat at the receipt of custom,
both Larry Laughton and John Manning had to
give their undivided attention to the framing in
Italian of their wishes. Shylock himself was a
venerable and benevolent person, with a look of
wonderful shrewdness and an incomprehensibility
of speech, for he spoke the Venetian dialect with a
harsh Jewish accent, either of which would have
daunted a linguistic veteran. Plainly enough, con-
versation was impossible, for he could barely un-
derstand their American-Italian, and they could
not at all understand his Jewish-Venetian. But it
would not do to let these Inglesi go away without
" Cio !" said Shylock, smiling graciously at his
futile attempts to open communication with the
enemy. Then he called Jessica from the deep win-
dow where she had been at work on the quaint old
account-books of the shop, as great curiosities as
anything in it, since they were kept in Venetian,
but by means of the Hebrew alphabet. She spoke
Italian, and to her the young men made known
their wants. She said a few words to her father,
and he brought forth the goblet.
It was a marvellous specimen of the most exquisite
Venetian workmanship. A pair of green serpents
with eyes that glowed like fire writhed around the
1 82 VENETIAN GLASS.
golden stem of a blood-red bowl, and as the white
light of the cloudless sky fell on it from the broad
window, it burned in the glory of the sunshine and
seemed to fill itself full of some mysterious and
royal wine. Shylock revolved it slowly in his hand
to show the strange waviness of its texture, and as
it turned, the serpents clung more closely to the
stem and arched their heads and shot a glance of
hate at the strangers who came to gaze on them
with curious fascination.
John Manning looked at the goblet long and
eagerly. " How did it come into your posses-
sion ?" he asked.
And Jessica translated Shylock's declaration
that the goblet had been at Murano for hundreds
of years ; it was anticoantichissimo, as the signor
could see for himself. It was of the best period of
the art. That Shylock would guarantee. How
came it into his possession ? By the greatest good
fortune. It was taken from Murano during the
troubles after the fall of the Republic in the time
of Napoleon. It had gone finally into the hands
of a certain count, who, very luckily, was poor.
Conte cJie non conta, non conta niente. So Shylock had
been enabled to buy it. It had been the desire of
his heart for years to own so fine an object.
" How much do you want for it ?" asked John
Shylock scented from afar the battle of bargain-
ing, dear in Italy to both buyer and seller. He
gave a keen look at both the Inglesi, and took up
VENETIAN GLASS. 183
the glass affectionately, as though he could not
bear to part with it. Jessica interpreted. Shylock
had intended that goblet for his own private col-
lection, but the frank and generous manner of their
excellencies had overcome him, and he would let
them have it for five hundred florins.
" Five hundred florins ! Phew !" whistled Larry,
astonished in spite of his initiation into the mys-
teries of Italian bargaining. " Well, if you were
to ask me the Shakespearian conundrum, Hath not
a Jew eyes ? I shouldn't give it up ; I should say
he has eyes for the main chance."
" Five hundred florins," said John Manning.
"Very well. I'll take it."
Shylock's astonishment at getting four times
what he would have taken was equalled only by his
regret that he had not asked twice as much.
" Can you pack it so that I can, take it to New
York safely ?"
" Sicuro, signer," and Shylock agreed to have the
precious object boxed with all possible care and
despatch, and delivered at the hotel that afternoon.
" Servo suo !" said Jessica, as they stood at the
" Bon di, Patron !" responded Larry in Vene-
tian fashion ; then as the door closed behind them
he said to John Manning, " Seems to me you were
in a hurry ! You could have had that glass for
half the money."
" Perhaps I could," was Manning's quiet reply,
" but I was eager to get it back at once."
184 VENETIAN GLASS.
" Get it back ? Why, it wasn't stolen from >-<?#,
was it ? I never did suppose he came by it
" It was not stolen from me personally. But it
belonged to my family. It was made for Giovanni
Manin, who fled from Venice to Amsterdam three
hundred odd years ago. His grandson and name-
sake left Amsterdam for New Amsterdam half a
century later. And when the English changed
New Amsterdam into New York, Jan Mannin be-
came John Manning and I am his direct descend-
ant, and the first of my blood to return to Venice
to get the goblet Giovanni Manin ordered and left
" Well, I'm damned 1" said Larry, pensively.
" And now," continued John Manning as they
took their seats in the gondola, " tell the man to
go to the church where the picture of Mary Mag-
dalen is. I want a good look at that woman !"
In the evening, as John Manning sat in a little
caffe under the arcades of the Piazza San Marco,
sipping a tiny cup of black coffee, Larry entered
with a rush of righteous indignation.
"What's the matter, Larry?" was John Man-
ning's calm query.
" There's the devil to pay at home. South
Carolina has fired on the flag at Sumter."
Three weeks later Colonel Manning was as-
signed to duty in the Army of the Potomac.
VENETIAN GLASS. 185
IN THE NEW WORLD.
IN the month of February, 1864, a chance news-
paper paragraph informed whom it might concern
that Major Laurence Laughton, having three
weeks' leave of absence from his regiment, was at
the Astor House. In consequence of this adver-
tisement of his whereabouts, Major Laughton re-
ceived many cheerful circulars and letters, in most
of which his attention was claimed for the artificial
limb made by the advertiser. He also received a
letter from Colonel John Manning urgently bid-
ding him to come out for a day at least to his
little place on the Hudson, where he was lying sick,
and, as he feared, sick unto death. On the receipt
of this Larry cut short a promising flirtation with
a war-widow who sat next him at table and took
the first train up the river. It was a bleak day, and
there was at least a foot of snow on the ground, ,
as hard and as dry as though it had clean forgot
that it was made of water. As Larry left the little
station, to which the train had slowly struggled at
last, an hour behind time, the wind sprang up
again and began to moan around his feet and to
sting his face with icy shot ; and as he trudged
across the desolate path which led to Manning's
1 86 VENETIAN GLASS.
lonely house he discovered that Rude Boreas could
be as keen a sharpshooter as any in the rifle-pits
around Richmond. A hard walk up-hill for a
quarter of an hour brought him to the brow of the
cliff on which stood the forlorn and wind-swept
house where John Manning lay. An unkempt and
hideous old crone as black as night opened the
door for him. He left in the hall his hat and over-
coat and a little square box he had brought in his
hand ; and then he followed the ebony hag up-stairs
to Colonel Manning's room. Here at the door she
left him, after giving a sharp knock. A weak voice
said, " Come in !"
Laurence Laughton entered the room with a quick
step, but the light-hearted words with which he
had meant to encourage his friend died on his lips
as soon as he saw how grievously that friend had
changed. John Manning had faded to a shadow
of his former self ; the light of his eye was
quenched, and the spirit within him seemed broken;
the fine, sensitive, noble face lay white against the
pillow, looking weary and wan and hopeless. The
effort to greet his friend exhausted him and
brought on a hard cough, and he pressed his hand
to his breast as though some hidden malady were
gnawing and burning within.
" Well, John," said Larry, as he took a seat by
the bedside, " why didn't you let me know before
now that you were laid up ? I could have got
away a month ago."
" Time enough yet," said John Manning slowly ;
VENETIAN GLASS. 187
" time enough yet. I shall not die for another
week, I fear."
" Why, man, you must not talk like that. You
are as good as a dozen dead men yet," said Larry,
trying to look as cheerful as might be.
" I am as good as dead myself," said the sick
man seriously, as befitted a man under the shadow
of death ; " and I have no wish to live. The
sonner I am out of this pain and powerlessness the
better I shall like it."
" I say, John, old man, this is no way for you
to talk. Brace up, and you will soon be another
" I shall soon be in another world, I hope," and
the helpless misery of the tone in which these few
words were said smote Laurence Laughton to the
" What's the matter with you ?" he asked with
as lively an air as he could attain, for the ominous
and inexplicable sadness of the situation was fast
taking hold on him.
" I have a bullet through the lungs and a pain
in the heart."
" But men do not die of a bullet in the lungs and
a pain in the heart," was Larry's encouraging
" Why should you more than others ?"
" Because there is something else something:
mysterious, some unknown malady which bears
me down and burns me up. There is no use try-
1 88 VENETIAN GLASS.
ing to deceive me, Larry. My papers are made
out, and I shall get my discharge from the Army
of the Living in a very few days now. But I must
not waste the little breath I have left in talking
about myself. I sent for you to ask a favor."
Larry held out his hand, and John Manning took
it and seemed to gain strength from the firm clasp.
"I knew I could rely on you," he said, "for
much or for little. And this is not much, for I
have not much to leave. This worn old house,
which belonged to my grandmother, and in which
I spent the happiest hours of my boyhood, this and
a few shares of stock here and there, are all I have
to leave. I do not know what the house is worth
and I shall be glad when I am gone from it. If
I had not come here, I think I might perhaps have
got well. There seems to be something deadly
about the place." The sick man's voice sank to a
wavering whisper, as though borne down by a sud-
den weight of impending danger against which he
might struggle in vain ; he gave a fearful glance
about the room as though seeking a mystic foe,
hidden and unknown. " The very first day we
were here the cat lapped its milk by the fire and
then stretched itself out and died without a sign.
And I had not been here two days before I felt the
fatal influence: the trouble from my wound came
on again, and this awful burning in my breast be-
gan to torture me. As a boy, I thought that
heaven must be like this house ; and now I should
not want to die if I thought hell could be worse !"
VENETIAN GLASS. 189
" Why don't you leave the place, since you hate
it so ?" asked Larry, with what scant cheeriness he
could muster ; he was yielding himself slowly to
the place, though he fought bravely against his
" Am I fit to be moved ?" was the sick man's
query in reply.
" But you will be better soon, and then "
" I shall be worse before I am better, and I shall
never be better in this life or in this place. No,
no, I must die in my hole like a dog. Like a
dog !" and John Manning repeated the words with
a wistful face. " Do you remember the faithful
, beast who always welcomed me here when we came
up before we went to Europe ?"
" Of course I do," said Larry, glad to get the
sick man away from his sickness, and to ease his
mind by talk on a healthy topic ; " he was a splen-
did fellow, too. Cesar, that was his name, wasn't
" Cesar Borgia I called him," was Manning's
sad reply. " I knew you could not have forgotten
him. He is dead. Cesar Borgia is dead. He
was the last living thing that loved me except
you, Larry, I know and he is dead. He died this
morning. He came to my bedside as usual, and
he licked my hand gently and looked up in my
face and laid him down alongside of me on the
carpet here and died. Poor Cesar Borgia he
loved me, and he is dead ! And you, Larry, you
must not stay here. The air is fatal. Every
1 90 VENETIAN GLASS.
breath may be your last. When you have heard
what I want, you must be off at once. If you like,
you may come up again to the funeral before your
leave is up. I saw you had three weeks."
Laurence Laughton moved uneasily in his chair
and swallowed with difficulty. " John," he man-
aged to say after an effort, " if you talk to me like
that, I shall go at once. Tell me what it is you
want me to do for you."
" I want you to take care of my wife and of my
child, if there be one born to me after my death."
"Your wife?" repeated Larry, in staring sur-
" You did not know I was married ? I knew it
at the time, as the boy said," and John Manning
" Where is she ?" was Larry's second query.
11 Here ?"
" In this house. You shall see her before you
go. And after the funeral I want you to get her
away from here with what speed you can. Sell
this house for what it will bring, and put the money
into government bonds. You may find it hard to
persuade her to move, for she seems to have a
strange liking for this place. She breathes freely
in the deadly air that suffocates me. But you must
not let her remain here ; this is no place for her now
that a new life and new duties are before her."
" How was it I did not know of your marriage ?"
VENETIAN GLASS. 191
" I knew nothing about it myself twenty-four
hours before it happened," answered John Man-
ning. " You need not look surprised. It is a
simple story. I had this shot through the breast
at Gettysburg last Fourth of July. I lay on the
hillside a day and a night before relief came.
Then a farmer took me into his house. A military
surgeon dressed my wounds, but I owed my life to
the nursing and care and unceasing attention of a
young lady who was staying with the farmer's
daughter. She had been doing her duty as a nurse
as near to the field as she could go ever since the
first Bull Run. She saved my life, and I gave it to
her what there was of it. She was a beautiful
woman, indeed I never saw a more beautiful and
she has a strange likeness to but that you shall
see for yourself when you see her. She is getting
a little rest now, for she has been up all night at-
tending to me. She will wait on me in spite of all
I say ; of course I know there is no use wasting
effort on me now. She is the most devoted nurse
in the world ; and we shall part as we met she
taking care of me at the last as she did at the first.
Would God our relation had never been other than
patient and nurse ! It would have been better for
both had we never been husband and wife !" And
[ohn Manning turned his face to the wall with a
weary sigh ; then he coughed harshly and raised
his hand to his breast as though to stifle the burn-
i~er within him.
" It seems to me, John, that you ought not to
192 VENETIAN GLASS.
talk like that of the woman you loved," said
Laurence Laughton, with unusual seriousness.
" I never loved her," answered Manning, coldly.
Then he turned and asked hastily, " Do you think
I should want to die, if I loved her?"
" But she loves you," said Laurence.
" She never loved me !" was Manning's im-
" Then why were you married ?"
" That's what I would like to know. It was
fate, I suppose. What is to be, is. I never used
to believe in predestination, but I know that of my
own free will I could never have done what I
" I confess I do not understand you," said
" I do not understand myself. There is so much
in this world that is mysterious I hope the next
will be different. I was under the charm, I fancy,
when I married her. She is a beautiful woman, as
I told you, and I was a man, and I was weak, and I
had hope. Why she married me that early Sep-
tember evening, I do not know. It was not long
before we both found out our mistake. And it
was too late then. We were man and wife. Don't
suppose I blame her I do not. I have no cause
of complaint. She is a good wife to me, as I
have tried to be a good husband to her. We made
a mistake in marrying each other, and we know it
that's all !"
Before Laurence Laughton could answer, the
VENETIAN GLASS. 193
door opened gently and Mrs. Manning entered
the room. Laurence rose to greet his friend's
wife, but the act was none the less a homage to her
resplendent beauty. In spite of the worn look of
her face, she was the most beautiful woman he had
ever seen. She had tawny tigress hair and hungry
tigress eyes. The eyes indeed were fathomless and
indescribable, and their fitful glance had something
uncanny about it. The hair was nearly of the true
Venetian color, and she had the true Venetian
sumptuousness of appearance, simple as was her
attire. She seemed as though she had just risen
from the couch whereon she reclined before Titian
or Tintoretto, and, having clothed herself, had
walked forth in this nineteenth century and these
United States. She was a strange and striking
figure, and Laurence found it impossible to analyze
exactly the curious and weird impression she pro-
duced on him. Her voice, as she greeted him,
gave him a peculiar thrill ; and when he shook
hands with her he seemed to feel himself face to
face with some strange being from another land
and another century. She inspired him with a
supernatural awe he was not wont to feel in the
presence of woman. He had a dim consciousness
that there lingered in his memory the glimmering
image of some woman seen somewhere, he knew
not when, who was like unto the woman before
As she took her seat by the side of the bed, she
gave Laurence Laughton a look that seemed to peer
194 VENETTAN GLASS.
into his soul. Laurence felt himself quiver under
it. It was a look to make a man fearful. Then
John Manning, who had moved uneasily as his wife
entered, said, " Laurence, can you see any resem-
blance in my wife to any one you ever saw be-
Their eyes met again, and again Laurence had a
vague remembrance as though he and she had
stood face to face before in some earlier existence.
Then his wandering recollections took shape, and
he remembered the face and the form and the
haunting mystery of the expression, and he felt
for a moment as though he had been permitted to
peer into the cabalistic darkness of an awful mys-
tery, though he failed wholly to perceive its occult
significance if significance there were of any sort.
" I think I do remember," he said at last. " It
was in Venice at the church of Santa Maria
Madalena the picture there that "
" You remember aright !" interrupted John
Manning. " My wife is the living image of the
Venetian woman for whose beauty Marco Manin
was one day stabbed in the back with a glass
stiletto and Giovanni Manin fled from the place of
his birth and never saw it again. It is idle to
fight against the stars in their courses. We met
here in the New World, she and I, as they met in
the Old World so long ago and the end is the
same. It was to be ... it was to be !"
Laurence Laughton gave a swift glance at his
friend's wife to see what effect these words might
VENETIAN GLASS. 195
have on her, and he was startled to detect on her
face the same enigmatic smile which was the chief
memory he had retained of the Venetian picture.
Truly, the likeness between the painting and the
wife of his friend was marvellous ; and Laurence
tried to shake off a morbid wonder .whether there
might be any obscure and inscrutable survival from
one generation to another across the seas and
across the years.
" If you remember the picture," said John Man-
ning, " perhaps you remember the quaint goblet
of Venetian glass I bought the same day ?"
" Of course ! do," said Larry, glad to get Man-
ning started on a topic of talk a little less personal.
" Perhaps you know what has become of it?"
" I can answer ' of course ' to that, too," replied
Larry, " because I have it here."
" Here in a little square box, in the hall,"
answered Larry. " I had it in my trunk, you
know, when we took passage on the Vanderbilt at
Havre that May morning. I forgot to give it to