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[Ill.u.s.tration: "Oh, my daughter!" cried Potts, "will you still be relentless?"]
At this tremendous menace Beatrice's resolution was shattered to pieces.
That this would be so she well knew. To escape from Potts was to have herself made infamous publicly under the sanction of the law, and then, by that same law to be handed back to him. At least whether it was so or not, she thought so. There was no help--no friend.
"Go," said Potts; "leave me now and you become covered with infamy. Who would believe your story?"
Beatrice was silent, her slender frame was rent by emotion.
"O G.o.d!" she groaned--but in her deep despair she could not find thoughts even for prayers.
"You may go, policeman," said Potts; "my daughter will come with me."
"Faith and I'm glad! It's the best thing for her;" and the policeman, much relieved, returned to his beat.
"Some of you'll have to pay for them winders," said the cabman.
"All right," answered Potts, quietly.
"There is your home for to-night, at any rate," said Potts, pointing to the house. "I don't think you have any chance left. You had better go in."
His tone was one full of bitter taunt. Scarce conscious, with her brain reeling, and her limbs trembling, Beatrice entered the house.
The next morning after Beatrice's last performance Langhetti determined to fulfill his promise and tell her that secret which she had been so anxious to know. On entering into his parlor he saw a letter lying on the table addressed to him. It bore no postage stamp, or post-office mark.
He opened it and read the following:
"London, September 5,1849.
"SIGNORE,--Cigole, the betrayer and intended a.s.sa.s.sin of your late father, is now in London. You can find out about him by inquiring of Giovanni Cavallo, 16 Red Lion Street. As a traitor to the Carbonari, you will know that it is your duty to punish him, even if your filial piety is not strong enough to avenge a father's wrongs.
Langhetti read this several times. Then he called for his landlord.
"Who left this letter?" he asked.
"A young man."
"Do you know his name?"
"What did he look like?"
"He looked like a counting-house clerk more than any thing."
"When was it left?"
"About six o'clock this morning."
Langhetti read it over and over. The news that it contained filled his mind. It was not yet ten o'clock. He would not take any breakfast, but went out at once, jumped into a cab, and drove off to Red Lion Street.
Giovanni Cavallo's office was in a low, dingy building, with a dark, narrow doorway. It was one of those numerous establishments conducted and supported by foreigners whose particular business it is not easy to conjecture. The building was full of offices, but this was on the ground-floor.
Langhetti entered, and found the interior as dingy as the exterior.
There was a table in the middle of the room. Beyond this was a door which opened into a back-room.
Only one person was here--a small, bright-eyed man, with thick Vand.y.k.e beard and sinewy though small frame. Langhetti took off his hat and bowed.
"I wish to see Signore Cavallo," said he, in Italian.
"I am Signore Cavallo," answered the other, blandly.
Langhetti made a peculiar motion with his left arm. The keen eye of the other noticed it in an instant. He returned a gesture of a similar character. Langhetti and he then exchanged some more secret signs. At last Langhetti made one which caused the other to start, and to bow with deep respect.
"I did not know," said he, in a low voice, "that any of the Interior Council ever came to London.... But come in here," and he led the way into the inner room, the door of which he locked very mysteriously.
A long conference followed, the details of which would only be tedious.
At the close Cavallo said, "There is some life in us yet, and what life we have left shall be spent in trapping that miscreant. Italy shall be avenged on one of her traitors, at any rate."
"You will write as I told you, and let me know?"
Langhetti departed, satisfied with the result of this interview. What surprised him most was the letter. The writer must have been one who had been acquainted with his past life. He was amazed to find any one denouncing Cigole to him, but finally concluded that it must be some old Carbonaro, exiled through the afflictions which had befallen that famous society, and cherishing in his exile the bitter resentment which only exiles can feel.
Cavallo himself had known Cigole for years, but had no idea whatever of his early career. Cigole had no suspicion that Cavallo had any thing to do with the Carbonari. His firm were general agents, who did business of a miscellaneous character, now commission, now banking, and now shipping; and in various ways they had had dealings with this man, and kept up an irregular correspondence with him.
This letter had excited afresh within his ardent and impetuous nature all the remembrances of early wrongs. Gentle though he was, and pure in heart, and elevated in all his aspirations, he yet was in all respects a true child of the South, and his pa.s.sionate nature was roused to a storm by this prospect of just retaliation. All the lofty doctrines with which he might console others were of no avail here in giving him calm. He had never voluntarily pursued Cigole; but now, since this villain had been presented to him, he could not turn aside from what he considered the holy duty of avenging a father's wrongs.
He saw that for the present every thing would have to give way to this.
He determined at once to suspend the representation of the "Prometheus,"
even though it was at the height of its popularity and in the full tide of its success. He determined to send Beatrice under his sister's care, and to devote himself now altogether to the pursuit of Cigole, even if he had to follow him to the world's end. The search after him might not be long after all, for Cavallo felt sanguine of speedy success, and a.s.sured him that the traitor was in his power, and that the Carbonari in London were sufficiently numerous to seize him and send him to whatever punishment might be deemed most fitting.
With such plans and purposes Langhetti went to visit Beatrice, wondering how she would receive the intelligence of his new purpose.
It was two o'clock in the afternoon before he reached her lodgings. On going up he rapped. A servant came, and on seeing him looked frightened.
[Ill.u.s.tration: "WHAT LIFE WE HAVE LEFT SHALL BE SPENT IN TRAPPING THAT MISCREANT."]