stood up, and remained standing at the risk of being drowned.
"Tito ! Tito I" cried she, waving her handkerchief.
Tito desired the boatmen to slacken, and the two boats
pulled side by side.
The Italian and Tito talked with such
extreme rapidity, and in a dialect unfamiliar to a man who
hardly knew even the Italian of books, that Rodolphe could
neither hear nor guess the drift of this conversation. But
Tito's handsome face, Francesca's familiarity, and Gina's
expression of delight, all aggrieved him. And indeed no
lover can help being ill pleased at finding himself neglected
for another, whoever he may be. Tito tossed a little leather
bag to Gina, full of gold no doubt, and a packet of letters to
Francesca, who began to read them, with a farewell wave of
the hand to Tito.
"Get quickly back to Gersau," she said to the boatmen, "I
316 ALBERT SAVARUS
will not let my poor Emilio pine ten minutes longer than he
"What has happened?" asked Rodolphe, as he saw Fran
cesca finish reading the last letter.
"La liberta!" she exclaimed, with an artist's enthusiasm.
"E denaro!" added Gina, like an echo, for she had found
"Yes," said Francesca, "no more poverty ! For more than
eleven months have I been working, and I was beginning to
be tired of it. I am certainly not a literary woman."
"Who is this Tito ?" asked Eodolphe.
"The Secretary of State to the financial department of the
humble shop of the Colonnas, in other words, the son of
our ragionato. Poor boy ! he could not come by the Saint -
Gothard, nor by the Mont-Cenis, nor by the Simplon; he
came by sea, by Marseilles, and had to cross France.
Well, in three weeks we shall be at Geneva, and living at our
ease. Come, Eodolphe," she added, seeing sadness overspread
the Parisian's face, "is not the Lake of Geneva quite as good
as the Lake of Lucerne ?"
"But allow me to bestow a regret on the Bergmanns' de-
lightful house," said Rodolphe, pointing to the little promon-
"Come and dine with us to add to your associations, povero
mio" said she. "This is a great day ; we are out of danger.
My mother writes that within a year there will be an amnesty.
Oh ! la cara patria!"
These three words made Gina weep. "Another winter
here," said she, "and I should have been dead !"
"Poor little Sicilian kid !" said Francesca, stroking Gina's
head with an expression and an affection which made Ro-
dolphe long to be so caressed, even if it were without love.
The boat grounded ; Rodolphe sprang on to the sand, offered
his hand to the Italian lady, escorted her to the door of the
Bergmanns' house, and went to dress and return as soon as
When he joined the librarian and his wife, who were sitting
ALBERT SAVARUS 317
on the balcony, Eodolphe could scarcely repress an exclama-
tion of surprise at seeing the prodigious change which the
good news had produced in the old'man. He now saw a man
of about sixty, extremely well preserved, a lean Italian, as
straight as an I, with hair still black, though thin and show-
ing a white skull, with bright eyes, a full set of white teeth,
a face like Caesar, and on his diplomatic lips a sardonic smile,
the almost false smile under which a man of good breeding
hides his real feelings.
"Here is my husband under his natural form," said Fran-
"He is quite a new acquaintance/' replied Kodolphe, be-
"Quite," said the librarian; "I have played many a part,
and know well how to make up. Ah ! I played one in Paris
under the Empire, with Bourrienne, Madame Murat, Madame
d'Abrantis e tutte quanti. Everything we take the trouble
to learn in our youth, even the most futile, is of use. If my
wife had not received a man's education an unheard-of thing
in Italy I should have been obliged to chop wood to get my
living here. Povera Francesca ! who would have told me that
she would some day maintain me !"
As he listened to this worthy bookseller, so easy, so affable,
so hale, Eodolphe scented some mystification, and preserved
the watchful silence of a man who has been duped.
"Che avete, signor?" Francesca asked with simplicity,
"Does our happiness sadden you ?"
"Your husband is a young man/' he whispered in her ear.
She broke into such a frank, infectious laugh that Eodolphe
was still more puzzled.
"He is but sixty-five, at your service," said she ; "but I can
assure you that even that is something to be thankful for !"
"I do not like to hear you jest about an affection so sacred
as this, of which you yourself prescribed the conditions."
"Zitto!" said she, stamping her foot, and looking whether
her husband were listening. "Never disturb the peace of
mind of that dear man, as simple as a child, and with whom
318 ALBERT SAVARUS
I can do what I please. He is under my protection/' she
added. "If you could know with what generosity he risked
his life and fortune because I was a Liberal ! for he does not
share my political opinions. Is not that love, Monsieur
Frenchman ? But they are like that in his family. Emilio's
younger brother was deserted for a handsome youth by the
woman he loved. He thrust his sword through his own heart
ten minutes after he had said to his servant, 1 could of
course kill my rival, but it would grieve the Diva too deeply/ 5)
This mixture of dignity and banter, of haughtiness and
playfulness, made Francesca at this moment the most fasci-
nating creature in the world. The dinner and the evening
were full of cheerfulness, justified, indeed, by the relief of
the two refugees, but depressing to Eodolphe.
"Can she be fickle?" he asked himself as he returned to
the Stopfers' house. "She sympathized in my sorrow, and I
cannot take part in her joy !"
He blamed himself, justifying this girl-wife.
"She has no taint of hypocrisy, and is carried away by im-
pulse," thought he, "and I want her to be like a Parisian
Next day and the following days, in fact, for twenty days
after, Rodolphe spent all his time at the Bergmanns', watching
Francesca without having determined to watch her. In some
souls admiration is not independent of a certain penetration.
The young Frenchman discerned in Francesca the imprudence
of girlhood, the true nature of a woman as yet unbroken,
sometimes struggling against her love, and at other moments
yielding and carried away by it. The old man certainly be-
haved to her as a father to his daughter, and Francesca treated
him with a deeply felt gratitude which roused her instinctive
nobleness. The situation and the woman were to Rodolphe an
impenetrable enigma, of which the solution attracted him
more and more.
These last days wore full of secret joys, alternating with
melancholy moods, with tiffs and quarrels even more delight-
ALBERT SAVARUS 319
fid than the hours when Kodolphe and Francesca were of one
mind. And he was more and more fascinated by this tender-
ness apart from wit, always and in all things the same, an
affection that was jealous of mere nothings already !
"You care very much for luxury ?" said he one evening to
Francesca, who was expressing her wish to get away from
Gersau, where she missed many things.
"I I" cried she. "I love luxury as I love the arts, as I love
a picture by Eaphael, a fine horse, a beautiful day, or the
Bay of Naples. Emilio," she went on, "have I ever com-
plained here during our days of privation ?"
"You would not have been yourself if you had," replied the
old man gravely.
"After all, is it not in the nature of plain folks to aspire to
grandeur ?" she asked, with a mischievous glance at Eodolphe
and at her husband. "Were my feet made for fatigue?" she
added, putting out two pretty little feet. "My hands" and
she held one out to Eodolphe "were those hands made to
work ? Leave us," she said to her husband ; "I want to speak
The old man went into the drawing-room with sublime good
faith ; he was sure of his wife.
"I will not have you come with us to Geneva," she said to
Eodolphe. "It is a gossiping town. Though I am far above
the nonsense the world talks, I do not choose to be calumniated,
not for my own sake, but for his. I make it my pride to be
the glory of that old man, who is, after all, my only protector.
We are leaving ; stay here a few days. When you come on to
Geneva, call first on my husband, and let- him introduce you
to me. Let us hide our great and unchangeable affection
from the eyes of the world. I love you; you know it; but
this is how I will prove it to you you shall never discern
in my conduct anything whatever that may arouse your jeal-
She drew him into a corner of the balcony, kissed him on
the forehead, and fled, leaving him. in amazement.
Next day Eodolphe heard that the lodgers at the Berg-
320 ALBERT SAVARUS
manns' had left at daybreak. It then seemed to him intoler-
able to remain at Gersau, and he set out for Vevay by the
longest route, starting sooner than was necessary. Attracted
to the waters of the lake where the beautiful Italian awaited
him, he reached Geneva by the end of October. To avoid the
discomforts of the town he took rooms in a house at Eaux-
Vives, outside the walls. As soon as he was settled, his first
care was to ask his landlord, a retired jeweler, whether some
Italian refugees from Milan had not lately come to reside
"Not so far as I know," replied the man. "Prince and
Princess Colonna of Eome have taken Monsieur Jeanrenaud's
place for three years ; it is one of the finest on the lake. It
is situated between the Villa Diodati and that of Monsieur
Lafin-de-Dieu, let to the Vicomtesse de Beauseant. Prince
Colonna has come to see his daughter and his son-in-law
Prince Gandolphini, a Neapolitan, or if you like, a Sicilian,
an old adherent of King Murat's, and a victim of the last
revolution. These are the last arrivals at Geneva, and they
are not Milanese. Serious steps had to be taken, and the
Pope's interest in the Colonna family was invoked, to obtain
permission from the foreign powers and the King of Naples
for the Prince and Princess Gandolphini to live here. Geneva
is anxious to do nothing to displease the Holy Alliance to
which it owes its independence. Our part is not to ruffle
foreign courts ; there are many foreigners here, Russians and
"Even some Gevenese?"
"Yes, monsieur, our lake is so fine ! Lord Byron lived here
about seven years at the Villa Diodati, which every one goes
to see now, like Coppet and Ferney."
"You cannot tell me whether within a week or so a book-
seller from Milan has come with his wife named Lamporani,
one of the leaders of the last revolution ?"
"I could easily find out by going to the Foreigners' Club,"
said the jeweler.
Rodolphe's first walk was very naturally to the Villa Dio-
ALBERT SAVARTJS 321
dati, the residence of Lord Byron, whose recent death added
to its attractiveness: for is not death the consecration of
The road to Eaux-Vives follows the shore of the lake, and,
like all the roads in Switzerland, is very narrow; in some
spots, in consequence of the configuration of the hilly ground,
there is scarcely space for two carriages to pass each other.
At a few yards from the Jeanrenauds' house, which he was
approaching without knowing it, Eodolphe heard the sound
of a carriage behind him, and, finding himself in a sunk road,
he climbed to the top of a rock to leave the road free. Of
course he looked at the approaching carriage an elegant
English phaeton, with a splendid pair of English horses. He
felt quite dizzy as he beheld in this carriage Francesca, beau-
tifully dressed, by the side of an old lady as hard as a cameo.
A servant blazing with gold lace stood behind. Francesca
recognized Eodolphe, and smiled at seeing him like a statue
on a pedestal. The carriage, which the lover followed with
his eyes as he climbed the hill, turned in at the gate of a
country house, towards which he ran.
"Who lives here ?" he asked of the gardener.
"Prince and Princess Colonna, and Prince and Princess
"Have they not just driven in ?"
In that instant a veil fell from Eodolphe's eyes; he saw
clearly the meaning of the past.
"If only this is her last piece of trickery I" thought the
thunder-struck lover to himself.
He trembled lest he should have been the plaything of a
whim, for he had heard what a capriccio might mean in an
Italian. But what a crime had he committed in the eyes
of a woman in accepting a born princess as a citizen's wife !
in believing that a daughter of one of the most illustrious
houses of the Middle Ages was the wife of a bookseller !
The consciousness of his blunders increased Eodolphe's desire
to know whether he would be ignored and repelled. He
322 ALBERT SAVARUS
asked for Prince Gandolphini, sending in his card, and was
immediately received by the false Lamparini, who came
forward to meet him, welcomed him with the best possible
grace, and took him to walk on a terrace whence there was
a view of Geneva, the Jura, the hills covered with villas, and
below them a wide expanse of the lake.
"My wife is faithful to the lakes, you see," he remarked,
after pointing out the details to his visitor. "We have a
sort of concert this evening/' he added, as they returned to
the splendid Villa Jeanrenaud. "I hope you will do me and
the Princess the pleasure of seeing you. Two months of
poverty endured in intimacy are equal to years of friend-
Though he was consumed by curiosity, Eodolphe dared not
ask to see the Princess; he slowly made his way back to
Eaux-Vives, looking forward to the evening. In a few hours
his passion, great as it had already been, was augmented by
his anxiety and by suspense as to future events. He now
understood the necessity for making himself famous, that
he might some day find himself, socially speaking, on a
level with his idol. In his eyes Francesca was made really
great by the simplicity and ease of her conduct at Gersau.
Princess Colonna's haughtiness, so evidently natural to her,
alarmed Rodolphe, who would find enemies in Francesca's
father and mother at least so he might expect; and the
secrecy which Princess Gandolphini had so strictly enjoined
on him now struck him as a wonderful proof of affection.
By not choosing to compromise the future, had she not con-
fessed that she loved him?
At last nine o'clock struck; Rodolphe could get into a
carriage and say with an emotion that is very intelligible,
"To the Villa Jeanrenaud to Prince Gandolphini's."
At last he saw Francesca, but without being seen by her.
The Princess was standing quite near the piano. Her beauti-
ful hair, so thick and long, was bound with a golden fillet. Her
face, in the light of wax candles, had the brilliant pallor
peculiar to Italians, and which looks its best only by artificial
ALBERT SAVARUS 323
light. She was in full evening dress, showing her fascinat-
ing shoulders, the figure of a girl and the arms of an antique
statue. Her sublime beauty was beyond all possible rivalry,
though there were some charming English and Eussian ladies
present, the prettiest women of Geneva, and other Italians,
among them the dazzling and illustrious Princess Varese,
and the famous singer Tinti, who was at that moment sing-
Eodolphe, leaning against the door-post, looked at the
Princess, turning on her the fixed, tenacious, attracting gaze,
charged with the full, insistent will which is concentrated in
the feeling called desire, and thus assumes the nature of a
vehement command. Did the flame of that gaze reach Fran-
cesca? Was Francesca expecting each instant to see Eo-
dolphe ? In a few minutes she stole a glance at the door, as
though magnetized by this current of love, and her eyes, with-
out reserve, looked deep into Eodolphe's. A slight thrill quiv-
ered through that superb face and beautiful body; the shock
to her spirit reacted : Francesca blushed ! Eodolphe felt a
whole life in this exchange of looks, so swift that it can only be
compared to a lightning flash. But to what could his happi-
ness compare ? He was loved. The lofty Princess, in the midst
of her world, in this handsome villa, kept the pledge given by
the disguised exile, the capricious beauty of Bergmanns' lodg-
ings. The intoxication of such a moment enslaves a man for
life 1 A faint smile, refined and subtle, candid and triumph-
ant, curled Princess Gandolphini's lips, and at a moment
when she did not feel herself observed she looked at Eo-
dolphe with an expression which seemed to ask his pardon for
having deceived him as to her rank.
When the song was ended Eodolphe could make his way to
the Prince, who graciously led him to his wife. Eodolphe
went through the ceremonial of a formal introduction to
Princess and Prince Colonna, and to Francesca. When this
was over, the Princess had to take part in the famous quar-
tette, Mi manca la voce, which was sung by her with Tinti,
with the famous tenor Genovese, and with a well-known Ital-
324 ALBERT SAVARUS
ian Prince then in exile, whose voice, if he had not heen a
Prince, would have made him one of the Princes of Art.
"Take that seat," said Francesca to Kodolphe, pointing to
her own chair. "Oime! I think there is some mistake in my
name ; I have for the last minute been Princess Rodolphini."
It was said with an artless grace which revived, in this
avowal hidden beneath a jest, the happy days at Gersau. Ko-
dolphe reveled in the exquisite sensation of listening to the
voice of the woman he adored, while sitting so close to her
that one cheek was almost touched by the stuff of her dress
and the gauze of her scarf. But when, at such a moment,
Mi manca la voce is being sung, and by the finest voices in
Italy, it is easy to understand what it was that brought the
tears to Rodolphe's eyes.
In love, as perhaps in all else, there are certain circum-
stances, trivial in themselves, but the outcome of a thousand
little previous incidents, of which the importance is immense,
as an epitome of the past and as a link with the future. A hun-
dred times already we have felt the preciousness of the one we
love; but a trifle the perfect touch of two souls united during
a walk perhaps by a single word, by some unlooked-for proof of
affection, will carry the feeling to its supremest pitch. In
short, to express this truth by an image which has been pre-
eminently successful from the earliest ages of the world, there
are in a long chain points of attachment needed where the
cohesion is stronger than in the intermediate loops of rings.
This recognition between Eodolphe and Francesca, at this
party, in the face of the world, was one of those intense mo-
ments which join the future to the past, and rivet a real
attachment more deeply in the heart. It was perhaps of these
incidental rivets that Bossuet spoke when he compared to
them the rarity of happy moments in our lives he who had
such a living and secret experience of love.
Next to the pleasure of admiring the woman we love, comes
that of seeing her admired by every one else. Eodolphe was
enjoying both at once. Love is a treasury of memories, and
though Rodolphe's was already full, he added to it pearls of
great price; smiles shed aside for him alone, stolen glances,
ALBERT SAVARUS 325
tones in her singing which Francesca addressed to him alone,
but which made Tinti pale with jealousy, they were so much
applauded. All his strength of desire, the special expression
of his soul, was thrown over the beautiful Eoman, who became
unchangeably the beginning and the end of all his thoughts
and actions. Eodolphe loved as every woman may dream of be-
ing loved, with a force, a constancy, a tenacity, which made
Francesca the very substance of his heart ; he felt her mingling
with his blood as purer blood, with his soul as a more perfect
soul ; she would henceforth underlie the least efforts of his life
as the golden sand of the Mediterranean lies beneath the
waves. In short, Eodolphe's lightest aspiration was now a liv-
At the end of a few days, Francesca understood this bound-
less love; but it was so natural, and so perfectly shared by
her, that it did not surprise her. She was worthy of it.
"What is there that is strange?" said she to Kodolphe, as
they walked on the garden terrace, when he had been betrayed
into one of those outbursts of conceit which come so naturally
to Frenchmen in the expression of their feelings "what is
extraordinary in the fact of your loving a young and beautiful
woman, artist enough to be able to earn her living like Tinti,
and of giving you some of the pleasures of vanity ? What lout
but would then become an Amadis ? This is not in question
between you and me. What is needed is that we both love
faithfully, persistently; at a distance from each other for
years, with no satisfaction but that of knowing that we are
"Alas !" said Eodolphe, "will you not consider my fidelity
as devoid of all merit when you see me absorbed in the efforts
of devouring ambitior ? Do you imagine that I can wish to
see you one day exchange the fine name of Gandolphini for
that of a man who is a nobody ? I want to become one of the
most remarkable men of my country, to be rich, great that
you may be as proud of my name as of your own name of
"I should be grieved to see you without such sentiments in
326 ALBERT SAVARUS
your heart/' she replied, with a bewitching smile. "But do
not wear yourself out too soon in your ambitious labors. Ee-
main young. They say that politics soon make a man old."
One of the rarest gifts in women is a certain gaiety which
does not detract from tenderness. This combination of deep
feeling with the lightness of youth added an enchanting grace
at this moment to Francesca's charms. This is the key to her
character ; she laughs and she is touched ; she becomes enthusi-
astic, and returns to arch raillery with a readiness, a facility,
which makes her the charming and exquisite creature she is,
and for which her reputation is known outside Italy. Under
the graces of a woman she conceals vast learning, thanks to
the excessively monotonous and almost monastic life she led
in the castle of the old Colonnas.
This rich heiress was at first intended for the cloister, being
the fourth child of Prince and Princess Colonna; but the
death of her two brothers, and of her elder sister, suddenly
brought her out of her retirement, and made her one of the
most brilliant matches in the Papal States. Her elder sister
had been betrothed to Prince Gandolphini, one of the richest
landowners in Sicily ; and Francesca was married to him in-
stead, so that nothing might be changed in the position of the
family. The Colonnas and Gandolphinis had always inter-
From the age of nine till she was sixteen, Francesca, under
the direction of a Cardinal of the family, had read all through
the library of the Colonnas, to make weight against her ardent
imagination by studying science, art, and letters. But in
these studies she acquired the taste for independence and lib-
eral ideas, which threw her, with her husband, into the ranks
of the revolution. Rodolphe had not yet learned that, besides
five living languages, Francesca knew Greek, Latin, and He-
brew. The charming creature perfectly understood that, for
a woman, the first condition of being learned is to keep it
Rodolphe spent the whole winter at Geneva. This winter
passed like a day. When spring returned, notwithstanding
ALBERT SAVARTJS 327
the infinite delights of the society of a clever woman, wonder-
fully well informed, young and lovely, the lover went through
cruel sufferings, endured indeed with courage, but which were
sometimes legible in his countenance, and betrayed themselves
in his manners or speech, perhaps because he believed that
Francesca shared them. Now and again it annoyed him to
admire her calmness. Like an Englishwoman, she seemed
to pride herself on expressing nothing in her face ; its serenity
defied love; he longed to see her agitated; he accused her of
having no feeling, for he believed in the tradition which
ascribes to Italian women a feverish excitability.
"I am a Eoman I" Francesca gravely replied one day when
she took quite seriously some banter on this subject from
There was a depth of tone in her reply which gave it the
appearance of scathing irony, and which set Eodolphe's pulses
throbbing. The month of May spread before them the treas-
ures of her fresh verdure ; the sun was sometimes as powerful
as at midsummer. The two lovers happened to be at a part
of the terrace where the rock arises abruptly from the lake,