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Giovanna said, “ When does your sister spoken at last, and told your wife what I come to see you ?”
know.” “ In a few weeks,” returned Francesca. “And what is that ?” said Carlo, with
" You have not seen ber for some an indifference which still more exasperattime?'
ed Francesca. * Not since I was at Bologna, a year “Why, that you are a fool with your ago.
belief in her. She and my husband knew Ah, yes, you were at Bologna a year each other well, too well ; she was—" ago,” said Giovanna in a slow voice. “Stop !" cried Giovanda, who bad
"A year ; it's a long time," and she mastered herself completely on seeing her sigbed.
husband. “It is a lie, Carlo-do not " You went to nurse your mother, listen to her ; come away," and she took didn't you ??'
his hand ; but he hesitated, and FranSomething in her words or her manner cesca criedirritated Francesca beyond endurance. “Oh, she will tell you lies in plenty if The strain on her nerves bad been great, you go with her! But ask her to explain and very little was needed to throw her off why Andrea came here so often.” the balance. She went nearer to Gio- • If that is all,” said Carlo, with evivanna, and looking fixedly at her, said, dent relief, “it is easily explained. You “ Yes, I went, to my sorrow, and to my know what friends he and I were." And husband's. Had I known what the result he went on with a half sinile, would be, I should have let my mother jealous ? There is no reason.' die alone sooner than leave Andrea—and “ There is reason,” said Francesca. you.'
“ I tell you that I know Andrea was your Giovanna started. “What do you wife's lover.” mean ?” she said in a low voice.
Carlo fell back as if stunned, but recov“You know well enough what I mean. ering himself, seized Francesca by the You know that you ensnared my husband ; wrist. “ Woman !” he cried fiercely, that you—"
“how dare you say such a thing? how Stop, stop! you must not say it; dare you think it ?" what do you know? It is false."
it!" retorted Francesca ; “ Is it ?" sneered Francesca ; " then “have I not burned into my own heart why did you write to ask him to come the words of her letters ?” back to you, and say you loved him till “ Letters! What letters ?" death ?"
“ The letters your wife wrote to my Giovanna stood pressing her hands hard husband. — Will you never come back together. “How do you know I said to me? Have soine pity on me, I love that ?" she asked.
you so. Think of our happiness last “ Have I not seen the letters ?” asked year.' Francesca, with a mocking laugh.
“ Silence !" he shouted ; “ if you dare “You have seen the letters ! I told to make such charges you must prove Andrea to destroy them, and he prom- them. You are lying ; show me these letised."
ters.” Giovanna's involuntary avowal roused Francesca paused for a moment in her Francesca thoroughly, and she was now passion. “You want them? You shall quite reckless. Ab, but what if he did have them. I will send them at oncenot obey you—wbat if I have seen the to.night, when I get back.” letters ? Oh, I cannot bear it! I must tell " Don't think I believe you. I will beall to Carlo, you treacherous woman ; lieve nothing but my own eyes ; and if false wife, false friend ; I hate you, I hate you are deceiving me, if you cannot make
good your words, I will have my revenge Suddenly she felt a heavy band on her on you. shoulder, and a man's voice close to her He rushed out of the shop and down said, “What is this? What do you mean the street without another look at Gioby speaking like this to Giovanna ?” It vanda, who had stood with set face, was Carlo.
motionless, during the latter part of the Francesca turned on him and said : scene. But as Francesca turned to go, she “What do I mean ?—why, that I have said, “ You may be content, yon will have
your revenge. I was trying ta repent, to into the chapter-house, and, utterly weary, atone ; now it is not possible.
sank down on a seat just in front of the Francesca hardly listened ; she left the great Crucifixion. She sat there quietly, shop and walked back to her house in a letting her eyes rest upon it, and, more whirlwind of tempestuous passion, feeling from babit than anything else, she mura mixture of fear and elation at the result mured a prayer. Then as she looked her of her daring. And she knew what she interest became awakened, and she gazed was going to do. She had a knack of at the kneeling saints and at the figure of imitating handwriting, and she remem- the Crucified with a new feeling, a deeper bered every word of the true letters. She insight. There, before her, she saw the knew that they had been written on ordi- ideal of love and the ideal of worship, and nary paper, and had nothing peculiar about they spoke their message to her passion. them. What could be easier than to imi- ate heart. tate them—and where was the harm ? I have said that Francesca had been a There could be none in just rewriting let- deeply religious woman, but since her ters which had really existed, and which, husband's death, and the shock to her inbut for her wish to preserve ber husband's most nature which his confession had prosecret and to shield Carlo, would never duced, her religion had been little inore have been destroyed. Without delay, than form, and a thick cloud of indiffertherefore, she went home, and after care- ence seemed to have come
over her. fully copying several times an old letter of Now, suddenly the cloud rolled away, and Giovanna’s which she possessed, she pro- in a moment, then, there, she realized duced, after repeated efforts, copies of the what she had done. For her this pare letters which perfectly satisfied her. It and reverent devotion was impossible ; was late when she had finished, and the her sin bad laid hold on her, she could post that night had gone. Besides, she not look up with those assembled saints to did not wish to be hasty ; she wanted to the cross. She saw clearly now the baselook at her work in the morning light, to ness of the motives which had led to her be sure it would bear inspection. When lie to Carlo, to her forgery of the letters. she did so, and compared them with Gio- She knew that in Giovanna's last words to vanna's own letter, she was sure that no her there had been a ring of truth, and eye could have detected any difference in that it was she who had made her repentthe character. She omitted no precau- ance next to impossible. She knew that tion, taking them to the post-office, and Carlo's trust would be destroyed, even as registering the packet to Carlo's address hers had been-only that on him the effect for greater safety. She supposed they would be far worse. Oh, what have I would arrive late in the afternoon, and done, what have I done !" she moaned. she had decided to go to Carlo's house A wild thought struck her—could the letthen, in case Giovanna should have inter- ters be recovered ? But no, she knew too cepted them. There was a long time to well that it was impossible. " Holy wait after posting them, and she went Mother, holy saints, show me what I can home and tried to work ; but she was too do to atone,” she prayed as she sat with restless to remain there, so she walked wide eyes gazing at ibe kneeling figures about the streets, pacing to and fro, wait round the cross. A few moments later ing, waiting for the hours to pass. For she knew what to do. She rose and went the reaction had come after her long strug- straight to the little church where I met gle. She had done her worst, she had her, hoping to find Father Girolamo, and been revenged ; but already the misgivings to ask help and counsel from bim. which follow on any unrestrained outburst And it was this story that she told me of passion had begun to assail her. At as we sat in my little room on the Lung' length, after some time, she found herself Arno, while the sun was setting in a cloud in the Piazza di San Marco, and, tired of of glory. When she bad finished, she the pavements and of the crowd of jostling looked up at me and said, “ And now can people, she entered the old convent. She the Signora help me?” went through the cloisters and the cells, I went to the window and looked out ; looking vacantly at the frescoes, feeling the spring air, fresh and strong, was them far remote from her present mood blowing in, and brought to me the sense of passion. At length she found her way of reawakening life and unstained happi
And then my glance rested on the looked up and I saw the battle was won. small slender figure dressed in black, with “I will do it, but you will come with brown curls pushed off from her brow, and me,” she said. the wistful glistening eyes fixed on me. I So we went together to the little shop, knew what I had to say to her ; but would and once more Francesca entered it and she have strength to bear it? There was
asked the workman where his master was. no help for it-I must try. I took her The man pointed to the inner room, but hand, and bent down to kiss her. Then muttered something about his being out I said, “ Francesca, will you do anything, of temper. I knocked, and hearing an anything in the world to set right the inarticulate exclamation of some sort, enwrong you have done ?”
tered, Francesca following close behind Anything, Signora. I would give all me. The scene which met my eyes made the little money I have. I would take any me rejoice that we had come at once. trouble. But what can I do?''
Carlo was standing by the table, his hand I said, “ It is not a question of money clenched, his features distorted with rage ; or trouble. Can you go to Carlo and con- while Giovanna knelt crouching on the fess that
have ged the letters ?" ground a little way off, as if he had hurled She started back. “That, Signora ! her there in an access of fury. On the oh no, not that. Think how he would table the two letters were lying open. On bate me, despise me ; and he would not seeing me, Carlo made an effort to combelieve me either. Giovanna will have pose himself, and began, “ The Signora ;” confessed ; it will be too late.”
but as his eyes fell on Francesca, he sprang “ It may not be,” I answered ; “ Gio- forward and cried, “Why vanna is sure to deny it. She may even come ? is it to triumph over me with your suggest that the letters are forged.” She cursed letters? Would to God you had sat in silent despair for a few seconds. left me in my ignorance, or that I had
Signora, anything else !—that I cannot never set eyes on you and your husband ! do.
Curse you ! keep away from me, or I " But it is the only thing that will be shall do you a mischief." of any good," I urged. "Father Giro- Francesca shrank back in terror, and I lamo would say so, I know, if you could said, “ Francesca wishes to tell you somesee him. Think-you are wrecking two thing, to confess something. lives.”
" What can she tell me that I want to “ And what will become of me, Sig- hear? She will only bring more of her nora ? Do you think that Carlo will not proofs. She is hardly likely to tell me be revenged ? He wiil tell the story, he that the letters are forgeries, as that will bring shame on me. No, I cannot do wretched woman there says they are. it_I cannot.'
Lies, more lies ! By the saints, I have It was terrible, and yet I felt quite had enough ! God! I would have sworn clear that only by confession could she by her truth and by Andrea's.” regain peace.
But the struggle was long There was a pause ; Carlo had sunk -she could not face the certain shame, down on a chair, his head on his arms. I the anger of Carlo, the contempt of her looked at Francesca. She came swiftly friends.
forward and took up the letters. Then in “ It seems as if all the punishment will a low hesitating voice, as if she were say. fall on me, and yet I have not sinned as ing a haif-learned lesson, she began : much as the others,” she said. And then " Carlo, Giovanna is right. These letters she went on, “ Is it not right that the -I-forged them.” truth should be known ? After all, it is Carlo sprang to his feet. “You forged the truth."
them !" “Not if it will only do harm," I answered ; " and what good can it do? Oh,
“ And why ?” it is hard for you, I know, but there is no “I was angry and jealous. I don't other way ; it is right that
you should con- know,-oh, there was no reason. I imifess, Francesca. Do you not know it ? tated Giovanna's hand ; I had a lettercan you not bear the suffering ?”
here it is." And she threw it down on There was a moment's silence, then she the table.
Carlo seized it, glanced down the pages, you stay here I think I shall kill you. and compared it with the other letters. Go !" With a sneer he said : “I compliment Giovanna had fallen back, her hands you ; it is very clever.” He turned to pressed to her face, shrinking from his Giovanna, who had risen and was standing passion. There was no more to say, no with her
more to hear.
So we went, Francesca you forgive me ?” he said softly. “How and I, out of the room and the little shop. could I have suspected you ?” She caine It was all at an end-her self-sacrifice was forward and put her hand in his, but said accomplished. no word. He turned on Francesca : “So And here my story ends, or rather, as you were jealous, were you? You had in reality is often the case, it has no end, lost your own husband, and our happiness but simpy disappears into the sands of made you angry. It was lucky Andrea every-day life. For of the history of these died before he found you out.
three people very little remains to be told. tried to poison my life,” he went on, with Carlo fulfilled his threat, and spread the rising passion; very well, I will poison story of Francesca's wrong-doing as wideyours ; I teil you I will make your life a ly as he could. It was taken up and exagmisery to you. I will make you repent gerated with every kind of insinuation, till this-I will have my revenge.
she was avoided and scorned by many of She hesitated a second. I stood there, her former friends. The one consolation my resolution almost failing me. I almost she had was that her sacrifice had not hoped that Giovanna might, in an impulse been in vain ; for Giovanna atoned as far of repentance and generosity, confess all. as was possible for her sin, and nothing She stood by the table silent, her eyes ever again marred her husband's happicast down, but with her hands nervously ness. Sometimes, in after years, when I pressed together, her teeth tightly set. have thought of Francesca's gray melan
Francesca made one effort ; she drew a choly life, I have been tempted to regret little nearer to her and said, “Giovanna, the counsel I gave her- to wonder whether, you will remember what you said to me after all, it was necessary for her to take yesterday.”
on herself all the punishment. But such Giovanna looked up ; for a moment the thoughts have been very fleeting ; for my eyes of the two women met. Then Gio- knowledge of her character as it was bevanna made a slight movement forward ; fore and after her fault has convinced me but if she would have spoken, it was that I was right, and has shown me the stopped by Carlo. He turned in a fury, purifying and ennobling power wbich lies and sweeping Francesca back with his in an act of courageous repentance. arm, he shouted : “Go! you are not fit Blackwood's Magazine. to speak to my wife ; leave the house. If
DIFFERENT peoples require to be judged We need to widen, in her case, the basis by different standards, just as certain heav. of observation. Instead of judging by enly bodies require special methods of ob- years we must judge by periods, and from servation. The movement of a planet can various standpoints. And it has been be discerned easily enough, but it is only by suggested that, examined in this way, the means of fine threads drawn across the ob- audience lately accorded by the Emperor ject-glass that it is possible to detect that Kwangsu to the foreign representatives at the so-called fixed stars move at all. Ja- Peking presents some features of general pan goes ahead at a hand-galop ; her prog- as well as political interest. ress is visible to the unassisted European But we must indulge in a retrospect if ere ; whereas China moves so slowly that we would judge of the significance of that it is only by using a sort of political paral- ceremony. To note, merely, that certain lax that we can be sure she does progress. conditions were observed would be simply to emphasize the fact that the Empire is dle of the present century China had, instill exceedingly pretentious ; whereas a deed, no foreign relations in our own accomparison with the traditional ceremonies ceptation of the term. Envoys from Conenforced at the Chinese Court before its stantinople, or at any rate from Antioch, vanity had been sbaken or its attitude of had visited her in the days of the Byzanpolitical superiority assailed, may enable tine Empire ; Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese us to appreciate the significance of the and English had traded on her coasts, and change. The experiences of Lord Macart- emissaries from some of these nations bad ney and Lord Amherst, at the close of the appeared at Peking. Mention is made in last and the beginning of the present cen- the Court records of “tribute-bearing” tury, may explain why men familiar with missions from the Dutch as early as 1664 ; the Far East discover so much interest in a King of the West named A-feng-su the interview just granted to Sir John (presumably Alfonso of Portugal) sent Walsham and his colleagues.
envoys in 1669 ; another “ King of the All Asiatic sovereigns are pretentious. West” sent an envoy (perhaps Cardinal It is not long since British envoys were Mezzaburba, who presented a letter from required to take off their boots in the the Pope in reference to the disputes bepresence of the King of Burmah, as tween Jesuit and Dominican missionaries) Moses was desired to put his shoes from in 1720.* But all these seem to have off his feet on holy ground, and as an complied with the Chinese ceremonial. Indian servant still leaves his slippers on A Russian envoy, wbo visited Peking durthe threshold when approaching his mas- ing the reign of Kanghi, is said, indeed, to ter. Until quite recently the Mikado have refused the kotowt unless a pact were could only be approached in an attitude made for its return, upon occasion, to his of humility as abject as that required at own sovereign. But there had been no the Court of Peking. But there was, deliberate and sustained attempt to assert perhaps, more justification for the assump- equality or to keep up diplomatic intertion of the Hwangte. The superiority of course on that footing. It is, indeed, no China over the nations with whom she exaggeration to affirm that, until within was acquainted was so manifest that it the last quarter century, or even less, the was not unnatural she should conceive her- very idea of a foreign ruler approaching self equally superior to the rest of the the Emperor otherwise than as an inferior world, and her ruler consequently supe- would bave seemed ridiculous. Nothing, rior to all other princes. All who sent however, can explain so well as the tradimissions accordingly were tributaries; the tional “Regulations for the reception of presents they brought were tribute ; and tributary envoys,” the full extent of the the Emperor replied by issuing patents of arrogance they imply; and the very investiture to their kings. The rest of quaintness of the picture may, perhaps, the world was, indeed, in the opinion of excuse its reproduction from the pages of the vast majority of Chinamen, of little the China Review, to which it was consignificance. At any rate they considered tributed some years ago by Mr. Jamieson, their Emperor's dominion as virtually ex- H. M. present Consul at Shanghai. tending over the whole, and so scarcely distinguished the relations or duties of the days when the Emperor holds Court, as
"If there should happen to occur one of other nations toward him from their own.
birthday, New Year's Day, or one of the festiThese ideas existed in full force at the vals, the envoys will have audience along with time of Lord Macartney's mission to the officers of the Court, as follows - The Kienlung. He travelled, it is well known, Guest Master and the director in charge of the across China with the words “Envoy the palace, where they will wait outside in
envoys will conduct them to the south gate of bearing tribute from the country of Eng- one of the waiting-rooms. They enter by the land" inscribed on the flags floating above his boat ; and his embassy is claimed as conferred, if not of honorific investiture. “ tributary'' in the Chinese records, which Vide " China and her Tributaries." China give a list of the "tribute" he presented, Review, September, 1883. and expressly state that the Emperor gave
* lbid. letters and gifts in return.* Till the mid
+ It is scarcely necessary to explain that the kotow consists in going down on the hands
and knees and knocking the forehead on the * The idea conveyed being at least of honor floor.