Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

The father looked at him severely. I comply with the only request of your “ Marco," he then continued, more ear- father?” Falieri offered his hand to his nestly, "your good nature sees light son, who clasped it, raising his eyes towhere there is shade. You are not wards heaven, as if imploring strength versed in the school of bitter experience, and courage. like your father. You may trust to the But,” said he, after a pause, in which mature judgment of my gray hairs, and both were absorbed in their own thoughts may believe that I do not willingly con- and feelings, “what shall I tell Lucio demn people; but”-here his voice be- when he asks after the picture ?" came so solemn that a cold tremor ran “Return it to him, Marco, for it has through Marco's body -- “your destiny been found,” replied the Doge, with viomight hurry you towards an abyss of un- lent emotion, as he glanced at the porutterable misery connected with those trait. “Now go, my son, and do not Cornaros, in the which you would be forget what you have promised me." ruined. The threads of your fate are more Marco left the room, pressed his lips closely interwoven with theirs than you upon the picture of his beloved, and imagine. Inquire not how, nor why. But sighed deeply: say, will you send your aged father to " To renounce thee and life itself is one his grave with a broken heart ? I am a and the same thing. And yet a cruel decayed tree, stripped by Fate of every destiny seems to separate us, while my blossom, except one shall I lose it heart feels drawn towards thee by a also ? Say, Marco, shall I ?"

sweet magic power ?” The son threw himself into his fath The aged father, on the contrary, ferer's outstretched arms, and trembling, ex- vently besought Heaven graciously to claimed, “Not mine, thy will be done! watch over Marco and himself.

After a painful pause the father pro During the accustomed siesta, while ceeded: “You say Lucio's sister has re- the whole of Venice, usually so full of turned, Marco ?”

life, was transformed into a state of death“She returned yesterday, father." like stillness; while many eyes, but

"You were with Lucio on board his shortly before sparkling with joy or dimfather's galley. How did old Cornaro med with tears, were closed ; and while behave towards you?”

even in the ducal palace the powerful Marco reflected. “I cannot tell you, poppy wand of Morpheus had overcome father. I think kindly, though." the guards as well as the servants of the

“And Cornaro's daughter, Catharine, Doge, nay, even the Doge himself, Mar. if I mistake not?"

co Falieri sat beneath the Oriental flowMarco grew red. He was accustomed ers and sweet-scented shrubs trained into to have no secrets from his father, and a thick bower upon the green jalousied yet he now found it difficult to relate the balcony of the palace of St. Mark's, and scene upon the galley.

gazed forth into the silent deserted piazThe Doge read his soul. Have

you za,

and

upon the tiny bluish waves of the a secret froin your father, Marco ?” asked restless sea. He looked like a statue; he.

yet this was only in outward appearance; The young man felt ashamed that he inwardly, a fierce storm was raging, and could have been a moment doubtful. his heart seemed as if about to burst from "No," said he;

you

sball know all.” his breast. Shortly after he had left his He then related what had occurred, father, he had hastened out of doors, without reserve, to his attentive listener, wandered over the piazza, through the not excepting even the most trifling cir- crowds on the grand square of St. Mark, cumstance. When he had finished, the flung himself into the first gondola that Doge knitted his brow.

“ That is not he encountered, and ordered the gondogood,” said he, with inward emotion. lier to row to the Cornaro palace. The “Marco, I beseech you, by all that you light bark skimmed rapidly over the hold sacred, by the salvation of your im- calmly-flowing stream. The gondola dashmortal soul, shun the Cornaros-shuned round several corners; there lay the Catharine's society. Fly her, as you marble palace of the wealthy Cornaro, would fly the hereditary enemy of your and the glance which Marco cast on its peace.

Will

you do this? Will you l balcony caused his heart to beat more

violently, for—there stood Catharine in object now," answered Marco, whose a snow-white flowing garment, with a embarrassment increased as he beheld half-blown rose in her charming bosom; Catharine's blushes deepen; she evidentLucio was leaning on the railing at her ly knew of what they were talking. side.

Marco flung back his velvet mantle, As Marco drew nearer, Lucio pointed and drew forth Catharine's portrait, towards him, Catharine's eyes followed which hung by a rose-colored ribbon the direction of his hand, and he saw a round his neck, just over his heart, and sweet smile play round her lovely mouth, he handed it to him. while a slight blush passed over her Lucio's spirits rose with Marco's and cheek. Lucio now shook his finger in a his sister's confusion. threatening manner at his approaching “Only look, Cattinetta !" he laughing. friend, and gayly called down to him, ly exclaimed, " where he had your pic“Come quickly, you thief; you have ture! I swear by Lysippus's horse upon much to answer for !"

St. Mark's, that if to-day for the first Marco trembled as he left his gondola. time your picture has not rested upon A delicious power drew him onwards, the heart of a youth, it must then have and yet it seemed to him as if a cold hand been in Corfu !" held him back. While still under the The embarrassment of both increased influence of this in ward dissension, he every moment, and at every word that entered the splendid saloon, ornamented Lucio uttered. Catharine gave him a with pictures by Titian and Tintoretto in half-reproachful, half-beseeching glance, handsome gilt frames, and passed through and was about to withdraw. Lucio seized the large glass-door into the balcony, her hand. “Be not angry with me, sis. where Lucio received him with a cordial ter,” entreated he, “ that I so foolishly shake of the hand, and led him to his sis- jest ; but see, you both deserve a slight ter, who, in the most charming embar. rebuke — you, because you seemed inrassment, bade him welcome. In a few clined to select the handsomer young words the young man excused himself man as your brother; and he, because for coming so late to inquire after her he is pleased already to look upon the health. Lucio did not allow him to portrait of my lovely sister as his propfinish what he was saying, but laughingly erty. Rather”—he seized the hands of exclaimed:

both, and said good-naturedly—"attrib“It is true, you have given my dear ute it to the joy which I feel at my Cattinetta no very favorable impression sister's return !" of the refined, chivalrous manners of the A gondolier beneath now sang: nobles of Venice, but she will forgive you that if you will promise to reward her

“ When the tempest wildly raves, this evening by the sound of your lovely

And loudly roar the hollow waves, lute and silver voice !"

I only think of thee! Marco bowed to Catharine, as, although

Unbeeding then the raging storm,

For midst its gloom I see that form with an unsteady voice, he assured her

Whose love remains to me!" that he would consider such a permission as a great honor and pleasure; and the "The sweet sentiment breathed in the young girl replied that she ventured only words of this melody, charming in the to beg, where her brother imperiously rich language of Italy, penetrated Marcommanded.

co's heart, and struck a corresponding “But I have still got a serious word chord. Lucio hastened into the saloon, to say to you, Falieri!” continued Lucio, and returning with a superb lute of half jestingly, “for yesterday you stole ebony, handed it to Marco, crying: something from me. You thought, prob Sing, oh sing us the splendid Barably, since I had the original, I could carola!” more easily dispense with Calopulo's Catharine also begged in her soft copy ? Verily, I should have fancied that voice, so that the young man, whose I had let it fall into the sea, but Giovanni feelings were powerfully excited, could Anafesto informed me that you hid the not refuse. Meanwhile the sun had risen picture near your heart."

high above the island city, and poured “ To bring it back to you is partly my | its burning beams upon the balcony, the

heat of which was redoubled by the re-, the first moment that she beheld him, flection from the bright marble. Cath- when she had mistaken him for her arine proposed to return to the saloon. brother, she felt her heart powerfully atThere, at the side of the lovely maiden, tracted towards the young man, and this Marco, in a trembling voice, sang the feeling continued to increase. She silentsong which so thoroughly expresses the ly rejoiced that she was to see him again pure sentiment of strong and fervent in the evening. love, and his agitation added an expres Marco returned home in a dreamy sion to the melody that was sure not to mood; but when he wandered through fail in its effects, more particularly as the saloons of the palace where hung Catharine's heart was by no means in the portraits of his ancestors in their different towards the handsome and fas- singular costumes, he trembled, and a cinating youth. The last melancholy cold shudder ran through his veins as he chord still trembled upon the silver walked past the picture of his mother, strings, when Lucio sprang up and fold- taken in her early youth, and that of his ed the singer in his arms, as he ex- grave father. The father's picture looked claimed:

frowning down upon the son. He had “You never sang more beautifully !” broken his word !

Catharine, too, spoke feelingly of his Marco's chamber became too confined charming singing He then placed the for him; it was a torture-room to his lute in the young girl's beautiful arms, feelings. He flew to the balcony, in begging that she would also favor them the vain hope by change of place to with a song. She took the lute, preluded still the conflicting emotions which a few chords, and then commencing a racked his mind. He dared not ap. soft strain, began to sing a modern pear before his father, for he deeply Grecian air, the melody of which was as felt, with shame and repentance, that he sad as its subject. Marco's eyes rested had broken his word, and acted contrary upon the lovely creature. His whole to the wishes and commands of his besoul was in his gaze, and her image be- loved father. He sought in reflection an came at that moment indelibly imprinted exit from this labyrinth, but found none. on his heart.

Love and duty were opposed to each It was at length time for him to with other. Love conquered. Yet even this draw. He took leave, after promising victory was painful, because the voice of to return in the evening. This meeting conscience continually tortured him with had been decisive for both. A flash like reproaches. Should he shun Catharine ? lightning had struck their susceptible Alas, his heart drew him towards her! hearts, and the flame blazed brightly. It was the voice of nature, should he not Marco had not hitherto found among the hearken to it ? His love was pure and daughters of Venice any to equal Cath- noble, why should he struggle against arine in charms and grace; what he had it ? Was it not perhaps the old hatred hitherto considered love had been but to Antonio Cornaro, who had carried the boisterous, passing storm of a sensual off the beloved Jessica from his father, passion, after which, in generous disposi- which induced his parent to warn him tions, the calm of repentance and shame against the Cornaro ? Did he not peralways follows. Now for the first time haps wish to fill his son's mind with fears he felt that divine feeling, that "Men- by the mysterious terror of his words, schen Göttern gleich macht,” or fills the and thus, through the mind, steel his lover's cup with woe unutterable. With heart against love towards a member of him love had become suffering, and suf- that hated family ? fering, love ; for his heart was divided, The above was pretty nearly the and the dark words of his father often course of ideas which filled Marco's fearfully disturbed his inward joy. Yet brain clearly in favor of the affair of the the mysterious and and unfortunate veil heart. The heart was the advocate of which hung over his connection with love before the judgment-seat of cold Catharine had a charm for him that drew reason, therefore the sentence could no him unconsciously more and more to- ' longer be doubtful. Often he longed to wards her. He too had made a deep go back, but that was now impossible. impression upon Catharine's heart. From He could not break his word without NEW SERIES-VOL, I., No. 2.

15

letting himself down in Catharine's eyes. about, lighted by the dazzling glare of The result of his meditation was that he innumerable torches. The crowd of huwould keep his love secret from his man beings made a buzzing sound like father, also conceal his evening visit to swarins of thousands of bees, when sudCornaro. Marco's guardian angel cried, denly the bells of St. Mark and St. " Woe, woe !"

Geminiano raised their time-honored III.

tones, and the booming of the cannons

from the harbor announced the Fiera THE golden tints of the setting sun dell' Ascensione, the espousal of the Doge still tinged the horizon far over the sea.

with the sea. The two temples which Purple clouds tipped with gold, melting crowned the square of St. Mark, St. into soft lovely reds of every hue, chased Mark and St. Geminiano, were radiant each other, slowly driven by a mild west with a thousand wax-lights. The mass wind across the deep blue vault of heav- of human beings separated, and while the en. The towers, spires, and palaces of Turk, with a face in which scorn and Venice lay enveloped in the shades of contempt were painted, turned to his the approaching evening, and the narrow booths and tents, the Christian bent his streets were already shrouded in twi- steps towards one of the two temples. light, more resembling night than day. Greater and greater became the rush Here and there were seen lights shining of the crowd in the direction of the in the dwellings, and flitting along the churches. Hitherto, Marco Falieri had large windows of the palaces, like ignis thoughtlessly gazed at the gay confusion, fatui. Marco still remained on the bal- which to-day appeared to him more cony, leaning his head upon his hand. wonderful than ever, although he had The lower the veil of evening sank, the so often witnessed it before. In his exmore his disquietude increased. At cited frame of mind, absorbed by his length, driven forth by the tumult of his own feelings, he had not noticed the feelings, he set out for the square of St. tumult which even in the square of St. Mark. Here was a scene of noise and Mark was occasioned by the coming fes. bustle scarcely to be described. Streams tival of the following day. Without inof people from all the streets which led tending it, he was carried along by the into the wide square were wending their stream of people into the Church of steps thither. Here carpenters were St. Mark, where, on the eve of so imporerecting the booths of the shop-people; tant a political and ecclesiastical festival, yonder the tent-makers from Pavia were the vesper service was more solemnly eagerly engaged in pitching roomy tents performed than usual. As he surveyed in rows. Others planted in the ground the spacious splendidly-illuminated dome, garlands and May-trees, and hung the as the harmonious music filled the capa latter with festoons. Sailors bore costly cious vault, like the murmuring of gentle embroidered flags towards the harbor, waves, the discord that reigned in his and others were carrying baskets full of heart gave place to a feeling of devotion, splendid flowers to ornament the galleys which elevated his soul beyond the limits and gondolas of the rich. Here an ac- of space and time. It seemed to him as tive Armenian in his long dark dress, if the spirit of his mother hovered round his head surmounted with the curious him, and wasted peace to his mind. His cap of his country, hastened through the head sank upon his clasped hands, and crowd; yonder solemnly walked a Turk thus he knelt praying until divine serin front of his slaves, who carried heavy vice was ended. chests full of magnificent Oriental ar Darkness hovered over the square of ticles, which were destined on the festi- St. Mark when he left the church. The val of the morrow to catch the eyes of crowd of laborers had given place to those inclined to buy, and empty their throngs of promenaders. Only here and well-filled purses. Polish Jews, enticed there one caught the sound of a bamfrom their rude homes into the far South mer. He made his way through the by the love of lucre; cunning Greeks, crowd, sauntered along the street by attracted by the gain which was here to the Procuratori, and gained the canal! be found ; tall Albanians and Dalmatians Numberless gondolas, illuminated by in their strange costumes, all bustled | torches, were gliding backwards and

forwards.

Marco slipped into one, ed from the signoria, rushed into the room which still lay fastened to the bank. in a state of great excitement and grief, Many of the gondoliers, in anticipation just as Catharine opened her eyes. He of the morrow's rich gain, had got knelt beside the couch on which she had drunk with Cyprus wine, and their wild been laid, and after returning thanks to shouts grated the more disagreeably on the Almighty for having saved his child,

, the ear, because they overpowered the he cried with increasing enthusiasm : melodious songs of others. " Immediate " Where is the preserver of my child, ly before Marco's gondola glided an- that I may press him to my heart ?” other the same way down the canal, the Lucio, who still stood by extremely brilliant light from which illumined the pale, and in his dripping clothes, roused waters far and near, and was reflected himself in an instant, seized Marco's back from them as if it had set them on hand, and, leading him to his father, said: fire.

“Behold him, father!” Marco was too far away to be able to The old man's eyes rested a second recognize the persons who sat in the upon Marco's features, and immediately gondola. He asked the gondolieri who his brow knitted, his mouth assumed an were rowing him whose it was, and expression of bitterness, and he slowly heard, not without emotion, that it must asked: “You a Falieri — saved my be Cornaro's gondola. He then ordered child ? Accept the thanks of an aged them to row faster, and overtake it, but, father!” He coldly shook his hand. before they had gone any considerable But Lucio's eyes flashed. “Come to distance, a piercing scream, loud oaths, my heart, brother!” cried he, and pressed and cries for help were heard. Marco him in his arms. was instantly seized with an agonizing Catharine, who had observed her fear. He shouted, ordered, scolded, be- father's cutting coldness, and had now sought, all in a breath. Quickly, and yet for the first time become aware who had too slowly for him, the gondola now saved her life, beckoned languidly for flew along, and at length reached the Lucio to bring him to her side. She spot where the confusion was, and from took his hand, and tried to say in words whence the scream had proceeded. He what her eyes so eloquently expressed, beheld people anxiously searching by but her voice refused to perform its the light of the torches, and Lucio office. The young man besought her not Cornaro fling himself into the water, to fatigue herself by attempting to speak. while Giovanni Anafesto stood in a gon Giovanni stood near very pale, but dola, wringing his hands in despair, as from envy rather than from anxiety, for he cried :

he saw the young girl's eyes fixed with “Save, save the lady!"

an unmistakable expression of sincere Horror-struck at this cry, Marco felt love upon Marco, who had risked his own a sort of choking, convulsive sensation life to save hers; he silently cursed his in his throat, but though he had scarcely own ill fate, and casting an angry glance any breath left, he sprang quick as light- at Marco, as he murmured in an under ning into the canal, and with a powerful breath, “You shall atone to me for this !" arm divided the engulfing waters. The he noiselessly withdrew. swimmer speedily fancied that he beheld Catharine soon fell into a gentle slumsomething beneath the water; he dived ber, which promised to restore her downwards, and grasped a silken gar- strength more speedily than anything ment. “Help! help!” cried he; “I else. Every one now left the apartment, have her! This way!"

except Catharine's nurse and her other The gondolieri were quickly on the female attendants. Now that he was spot, and Catharine was drawn out of certain that his beloved was restored to the canal into the gondola, pale and life, and that all danger for her was past, stiff, with her eyes closed, looking the Marco began to feel the effects of his very picture of death.

own immersion, and to observe that his She was immediately carried home, clothes were dripping wet. where remedies judiciously administered Lucio saw him shiver. Come, dear recalled her to life.

friend,” cried he, when they had reached Old Cornaro, who had only just return the ante-chamber to Catharine's apart

« AnteriorContinuar »