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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 14, 1907, Image 15

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The San Francises Sunday Call.
I'nrqual Odds
FOR days the sun had risen and set
in cloudless splendor. hanging
through the long sunraej day In
a sapphire sky, flooding the beauti
ful country -with gold, making: tha
air heavy with perfume and sense of
summer. -
Mastino della Scala. standing 1 at the
door of his tent/hardly saw the glory
end the brightness, the splendor of
the preat chestnuts, ail deep gTeen and
snowy white, the proud beauty of the
heaped up flowers, the vivid richness
cf the foliage; for his heart was too
rore for the finest sun that ever shone
to <-ase It.
Ke had waited long, and waited
In the tent beilnd him. Toraaso and
a page polished his armor. For once
iiastino was without it — yesterday ha
had donned it and waited expectant for
the answer to the challenge he could
not believe Visconti could refuse. It
was his fault to think the best of men.
a fault that had cost him dear when
he had trusted Count Conrad, a fault
that had cost him the insult now of
Visconti's answer to his message.
•T have tried everything, and In
everything I have been outwitted or
betrayed- I am helpless, powerless.
"Will it last unto the eidT*
The thought burned across Maslino's
heart like fire.
"Would it last unto the end?"
The dazzling si:n blSnded him, the
travlng of the green made him giddy;
he lifted the flr.p oJ the tent and en
After the glare the dark and gloom
•were welcome. f
The tent vras iarge and bare, only the,
t-x-o boys In tlieir quiet dresses and the
bright armor strewn over the worn
grass, only these and Ligozzi seated
near the entrance watching Mastiao
v.-ith anxious eyes.
Delia Scala could not speak to him.
Ke avoided his eyes, he had talked to
him so often oa this one theme. He
could not meet his friend's eyes, so
often •humiliated with failure, with
nothing but fresh disaster to speak of.
In silence he paced up and down the
tent, Ligozzi's eyes following him wist
fully. He also did not care to speak*.
Mastino had left the entrance half
op<m. and a great shaft of sunlight fell
across the ground like a branch of yel
low flowers.
And as Delia Scala passed it fell upon
h!ra. showing clearly bis erect figure In
its leathern doublet.' his fine worn faco
and the unhappiness in his eyes, his
hands locked, behind bis back.
The next instant he had passed into.
the shadow again, and Ligozzi leaned
from where he sat and shook the cov
ering into place. Twice Mastino had
s>ass^d,_ twice he had seen the look on
his face and he did not care to see- it
The tent was hot.
Tomaso and the page "laid the armor
down !n silence, overawed by the silent
figure pacing to and fro.
Outside it was quiet, too, only now
and then the gallop past of horses or
the tramp of men as they moved from
one part of the field to another.
At last Mastino spoke, stopping- be
fore Ligozzi suddenly.
"J have not told thee yet.?, he said,
"but a messenger has x arrived from
D'Este. There have been some slight
successes \u25a0with his army and he thinks
that I should Join him."
"And leave Milan?" \u25a0
"And leave ' Milan. He thinks it is
hopeless, now Rome leagues with Vis
conti — he thinks It better to hold what
rre. have nor risk it all by careless dar
ing—but I—lI — I shall stay here. LigozzL"
Ligozzi wa* silent; he* knew D'Este's
words were true; he knew Mastino
knew it also. There was nothing to be
"I shall advance on Milan," continued
Delia Scala. "If the D'Estes' troops
•.are not to join me. I 'will advance
alone with my Veronese.**.;
He sat down on the wooden bench.
. fingering- rrlth nervous hands his gold
belt and the dagger that bung there.
"Why dost thou not ep«a.k?" he said,
after a moment's pause, suddenly turn-.
ing to Ligozzi. "Dost thou, too, think
it hopeless?"
There was a wfstfal eagerness. ln his
voice that struck to Ligozzl's heart;- he
could not utter his thought.
"With waiting, my lord," he replied.
" With n«w allies "
But Delia Scala cut him short.
"I see. Ligozzi, I ccc. I am a man
wanting to be persuaded against him
*el»; -yet do I still hope — against my
self " -
•To rescue — — **
••To rescue my wife, wouldst thou
say?" flashed Mastirso. "No. I do not.
hope that: that I will do— ln my soul I
know it; but I still hope to conquer in
fair fight. That did the attempt at
irui'e avail us? We were betrayed;
open force were better."
Ligozzi's anger rose at the thought
of that fcetrsyaL
**I would I had the slaying of the
traitor* T he cried.
Mastino smiled sadly.
'"What were nv*> to her? She loved,
perchance. I v,-ou!d have done the same
-^-for Isotta."
"Thou wert over too gentle, my lord,"
returned LisozzL "Could woman lox - e
ViscontlT' _
"She loved some one of her own cre
ating, I trow,** Esid Delia Scala. "Poor
lady! the awakening will fie her pun
Ligozzf nada no reply, llastino's
point of view was jiot his: in his eyes
OrazJosa v,-as a hussy he would have
lifce<j to have, the. hanging of.
: "In two Uays or a. little more, when
I fcave had my answer frora the Estes."
said Mastino, rising, "I march on Mil
an.** . 6S&I
"But In those two Cays?" questioned
"Visconti seems to have leased all
Fallies," said Drfla Scala; "and yet I
litiow not what this quiet means.".
"It means his policy tvas ever'cad-.
ticn." returned LigozzL "Of a sudden
be may——" \u2666
"He may do anything," cried Mastino;
"ac hath Milan and Rome and the em
pire to back him- Still do I hold many
towns. Verona is stronjrir fortified; I
Jlo between him and Mantua. He can
not fall on those."
PHe has f^adua, Bcssano, Mestre and
ioggla." said LisozzL \ \u0084
lastino struck , his hand against the
t impatiently.
I know !" he cried- **I know the odds
sxe not •equal! When I seekto comfort
-vmyself. why wilt tbou remind me."!*!-;
irozzl? What can I do?. Nothing but
what I cay: march on Alilajj-,And mark
rae. Ligozzi; .whatever beialL 1 if, all de-;
scrt me to a man. If D'Estes fail rae, I
will not leave the walls .of Milan
alive, without my wife."
; "I will not desert thee." said Ligozzi
elmply. •"I will never "desert thee. my
lord.** -: : '\u25a0%-'-: ' '•"- .-.\u25a0": ':\u25a0'\u25a0
•j. never doubted .thee."/, returned
Mastino Impulsively. "Ah. forgive me if
X am harsh, for Jn lrut£ myi heart Is
very heavy; when I think : of her— in
VlscbntTs power— it Is terrible: terrl
.He eheddered aad. put his hand on
Ligozzi'c shoulder, speaking .eagerly. ; i
"Such things can not happen, Ligozzi,
cart they? It can not be' I shall never
see her again! God can cot mean that
—though he take all from me. though
he humiliata me before ; my enemy, he
can not m»an <tha.t! " No! Visconti is
not leagued with heaven; it can not be!
it can not be!" - . \u25a0 :< -
"Xo." said Ligrozzi; "even
would not dare to harm the duchess.
Te will see her again, my lord."
Delia Seals, turned away to the other
end -of -the te^nt; it was plain to him
Ligozzi's heart was not in the comfort
that he gave, that he thought with the
pthers that they would do well to fall
back from Milan, join the Estes and
hold the towns they had. " ~
**But they do not understand," said
Mastino in his heart. "I will never go
back alive— without my, wife."
The Vlp*r
THE duke of Milan has seat a
\u25a0ecret embassy to Mastino della
Scala, lying crushed •'* outside
Milan — a secret embassy he had
lonjr been meditating. The .master
stroke of his policy should be the duke
or Verona's ruin and his complete tri
umph. ' ,;
And the moment of his sending was
•well chosen: The two days of -which
Mastino spoke had passed. The answer
from D'Estes at Novara had
been unfavorable. His plans, he
salfi, were to march • back to
Modeha and Ferrara. protecting
that part of Lombardy, held now by
Julia. Gonzaga's men alone, against Vis
conti; ho would 'wait for his army to
come up: he would wait for Mastino,
but not long; his duty lay Inside Mq
dena and Ferrara, not outside the hope
less walls or Milan. ,\u2666;•-; ',
And Mastino had set his teeth and
taken his answer in stlenee.
That night there was a wi'.d attack
oa the walls of Milan, so sudden, so
fierce, that It almost seemed as If the
ramparts must fall before the furious
For five hours the Veronese and the
defenders had struggled on the walls.
Twice Mastino had wrenched the towers
of the western g-ate from the enemy's
hand: twice he had been driven back,
leaving his dead piled high. A third des
perate attempt had also been lost, and
Della Scala fell back . toward : Brescia
with frightfully diminished numbers,
and mad with the agony of final defeat.
His cause seemed hopeless. And in the
'.moment of his hopelessness Viaconti's
embassy arrived.
"Give Delia. Scala *one day to con
sider," Visconti said to Giannotto. who
accompanied De Lana on this mission.
"And If he misllkes the terms, cay thou
. art to carry them to Ippolito d'Este."
It was evening and very still. . Vis- \u25a0
contl stepped onto the balcony and
looked through the clustered pillars of
its arcade into the garden.
The setting sun blended all flowers
, alike with soft gold; a little breeze
shook the leaves and stirred the jas
mine that clung to the carved sand
stone, fluttering its -white stars deli
cately; the sky was very clear, as pure
as a shell and tinted like a wild rose.
Visconti was busy with his thoughts.
His eyes rested on Isotta's dark prison
•with an utter satisfaction in gazing on
this evidence of his power over Delia
Scala. And then he looked to Graziosa's •
dwelling, and a shade crossed ihis. face.
Even to himself he would hot'yet'ad
mit it — but withher it was not perfect
success. ,*r. .
"•nee Valentine's cruel stab Graziosa
had faded, grown silent arid -dull,. and
her beauty had gone with her happi
ness. She looked no wife - for a Vis
contL Torn from its setting, her fresh
face lost its charm: the simplicity: that
bad pleased him in her father's house
annoyed:. the duke In his own palace;
the meekness and: devotion that had
flattered his vanity. now angered It— in*
his eyes she had no more presence than
a serving maid; she tras making his
choice a mock before all Milan with
her white face and timid voice.
. . Visconti frowned .to himself as • he
thought of her. She had said no word,
she bad uttered.no reproach: she had
remained passive and dull; but she was
grown a' mere shadow, a reflection of
•her former self. .
"Maybe : her folly will wear away,"
mused^Vlsconti moodily. "But If not —
if she* prefers her father . before me— •
she may follow him." \u25a0
Today he had not as yet seen her.
This .was the first thought be had
spared her; now he -had a free, moment
and he would visit her — see for him
self if her humor should promise" of
changing— the humor of:
"My Lady Graziosa Vistarnlni, who
hath;j»ot spirit for her destiny, who
hath not -the .greatness to be proud to
be a duchess of Milan." ' ' .'
Vieconti sneered at her scruples and
j Tvas inclined to be angry with his own
folly in choosing his wife ' for: a soft
heart and true affection and with moro
even than anger he thought of Valen
tine. He took his way alone through
the sumptuous gardens. .
Graziosa was not in' her gorgeous
residence. "She had gone to the liUje
summer house In the grarden." he was
told, ."to see the sun set and ! pray, to.
Santa Teresa, whose, name day it was."
Visconti turned ; on his heel with an
impatient shrug of the shoulders. He
was not attuned to passive virtue or. to
saintly prayers, nor was -his palace
their beat background.
He saw Tisio and his . pages in \u25a0 the
distance— behind them the white mar
ble-summer .houce, standing ona gen
tle eminence half hidden in laurel"; and
as be advanced through the clustering
.flowers he;, saw Tisio enter the low
-door," the" scarlet .'liveries of the pages
jicshlns tlirough the deep green.-
The perfect evening was like music
in its cairn loveliness. Visconti felt its
obarm; he v?as ever alive, to, obvious
beauty, and none of his artist's percep
tion could have walked this ' glorious -
summer jrarden, at. such" an hour: un-;
moved. His heart: softened 7 toward
Groz'.oea; she had saved ."Milan— for his
. sake; in his greatj triumph he could af
j ford to remember it and ithi affection,
"that prompted It. and set to,. her credit,
much else, she seemed to. lack.
He picked a. white rose from the bush
that crossed ] his - path and (stuck *In •
his; belt; he. remembered .that she had
often." worn . them— there was '\u25a0 a .bush \u25a0in
Agnolo's -bower, and they- reminded :
him of her.. He looked up' at<the white
summer bouse, a square -tower, distinct
against ; the : sky: \ the ,top window -was -
open "wide, then suddenly blew to— and
Visconti stared at it so curiousiy^and
so suddenly that :a pang shot through
his heart. Then he advanced' with; a
\u25a0 quicker step \u0084 toward, the marble sum- •
\mer house. "..'.:
. Grazioeai stood "in Its ' upper > chamber. :
i a;clrcular:room broken, by' three ; large
\u25a0wlndows-^rthe walls a marvel-of "serpenf
, tine arid jasper/ the , casements "a : Slory*.
of - stained glass,; through which there ;
• poured^the" last rays^of ;the* setting'suri, :
flooding everything with a thousand dlf-~
" f erent colors. '~'3WßS&KdfflßßßßS&Bßsßx
. A carved « marble' bench , ran around \u25a0
\u25a0 the wall,*. ; a.nd above -it f shallow- niches,
, In. one of which; stood a gilt latnp. On
the floor aay a forgotten | lute, tied iWith*
: a knot of cherry. colored' ribbons.'^ . .
. '\u25a0 ) Graziosa f unlatched iorie / of ' the win
dows; it'opened center" wise. 1 and the girl
I stood., one hand on either, leaf, the sun
making her. golden : bfiffht' from; head ; to :
foot.' Before her lay. Milan; the beauti
. ful, with its trees and. gardens,- clear;
in the setting sun, that "sunk, a fiery
ball,, behind the distant, .purple; hills.' :
. Graziosa breathed .. heavily, v The . tbwerj
; looked ; toward the; westernV gate; \ tha
sun. caught the -roof: of a-llttlef house
beside - it, the - roof ;. of a, house f andV»i
. flock .of white "doves .that 'flevr^ around*
i it, as if looking.ifor,^ something^ they J
. could not- flnd.-.'Near rose- the', square
"tower of .a little, qhurch, Santa ' Maria
Graziosa stepped back into the room,
letting the window fall to^with a clang. ;
-Some one must: come ,soon. r ;Wlth a
piteous little gesture she pulled at the;
jeweled fastening of ; * her : stiff satin
robe. For some moments her. trembling
- fingers could not undo the great pearl*
clasp. At last it opened and the^yellow:
robe fell apart. : -
A rope of pearls abound her waist:,
/with a hasty : movement she undid,
them and ; let the " gorgeous dress . that'
"fell stiff and gemmed onto thb marble
floor. Beneath was the blue/robe, she
had worn when' she . first came to the
palace. \u25a0• .- --'.\u25a0'_ ;
With hasty fingers she pulled the
ornaments •' from ' her hair, throwingr
them to the ground. -Her long- curls
fell about her shoulders; a\ little , sob
• shook her throat; she looked wistfully,
aroundand sank Into the chair. i^For a
little while, she sat, silent.t with; cloßed
eyes, panting. y
the sun Jsanß.-.leaving the
room,dull, all the. light and color gone..
Graziosa opened her eyes with a little
cry.'-' *:;-;.-".'•\u25a0 \u25a0; .-".» ; - ; - .*'\u25a0- ; : S^f .'\u25a0;.;."- -.--v. : -'
.''l am so lonely'" she v.-hispered to
herself— "so lonely. 'l want some, one
—to kiss me-^-sood bye." . \u25a0 - _ -.'
-. ' She *ros© ; and 7 fumbled /among 1 ,, the \u25a0
folds of her fallen grown; she ' found
something- small'; ebe J grasped tight - in :
her cold^fingers. "•' : /
. "lam not' brave- — ah, I fear I am not
.brave!". ,; '; .';'-;.\u25a0* ;.: "'•,'-•"\u25a0.\u25a0\u25a0>
She rested her head , against the arm
of- her chair as if collecting herself;:
then, with 'a smile,. lifted it' with a show
of courage.;, ''~>'C*h". ,t,';--o ;* 'i: •'>" ;? ->' !^i
• The wind blew the unlatched window!
open sliowing - the ; city '\u25a0} roofs ; and - the )
\u25a0wall, distant and gray; thenf.it ;fell to
again, leaving the, chamber dull, almost
dark, whenla little later, a footstep: fell
on the stair and the door* was ipushetl
open. :--;. ["j : \' ...^~y/.Z£p: }£>/?£- >';r; r ": •' - : , : ',
. Tisio : stepped in, peering; around
vacant -eyes. l D'Orleans^ :had
lost his;': lute^v Tisio A) remembered
Vit left here. 'A heap;of shirninerlrig yel-,
low ! satin ; caught ' his 'eye-^yellowj satin (
and a great rope, of pearls.'; He^ .marked,
v it ' with ; vacantv'surprise, (theni':seeiiig
the; lute- he sought Ifor,-; made?' for,/ it";
' eargerly. -He .was^proudVto-aorthese'
: things. •-.; It' pleased ; him ito" be ; so useful.
He would , not? risk "'the > page f should
\u25a0 find 1 L :f The . late v lay 1 near ~f ; the ; bench
Tagainst i: thet wall.^and,; picking'^ itr;up,
Tlslo , noticed*: that • soine'dne; sat ; there," ;
some ; one ' vcryj still \ and r silent, ; against :
.the . cold - "white V:.marble."-,.-Hei^dropped.
; the ':, lute -. and -caniej nearer.^iThejcham^j
' c-:ber-f.',was.-;c -:ber-f.',was .-; utterly^silent^ln v.the^^'cold;
light, Vand'; the* window/ was iblowing<tb^
and fro \u25a0 with a ;'dlsmal,'>'sulleriysourid ; i
' .but jTisloi kneT7\| no) ghostly | terrors,*? be \u25a0
I was .not: fearful "of ; the v dark./ 1 . - • /
' K-\K -\ He - leaned v over / the - fisureX eagerly.i
and": when'; he-
.'*. was ; pleased." \ He liked , her?lThatj morn;*
.Ing % she j" had . met \ hini * and f seized |hls ;
' hands,": and Ualked.tolhlm^wildly.; tell-;
v;ing.;:hlm^lthj_TObs's^ethlng;4h_eTTOuldiv ;ing.;:hlm^lthj_TObs's^ethlng;4h_eTTOuldi
" not , < understaridi'.;" He* X though t '7. 1 t*f, had
i"to;dOvWtth':Gian.'/:..-/.i "to;dOvWtth' : Gian.'/ : ..-/. '•;-._ ;;'.' i ; ; ;-';; :-\u25a0'// /V'.^.,
\u25a0--'*[ Her head las'. back. against^the'purple
. cushion,. and^Tißloistroked iit \u25a0 tenderly.:
fondling ; the r; beautiful Q bright l^ curlj \u25a0
. that : : fell over. , the * plain .blue sdress.*^^'
* s "Pr c tt y _. .'\u25a0; th i n g l" >?/. h e ; said " : : gently^
thlng:".'':-.".-,-.r.:,V-/'.'-;^ '-V?-/- ; ' .-' : ,.* ; V'''
'• jHeihad n6jremembrance*rio*y,;he';hadi
; strokedUhat'hairibeio're;;lnUhefstreets'
; ; of Milan^ln^ther^unshln^^;" "; !' ; :
- ;? ; She ; never Amoved |undeF I his 2 tbiich^ :
; arid • something. In ,'j the^droopTof her ; atti- >
tude struck, himJ \u0084 \'/" . ' \u0084- '
"She ': is ; sad,"4 he^ thought,', and : with
a; change.of 'tons he liftedjone»"of -her;
\ limpjhandsf^";;^. ''.l-.'^'-'ii- \u25a0- ;%"'--.-^v-/; %"'--.-^v-/ '\u25a0\u25a0
"Poor "thing!" : he*' said ; again."; "Poor,
pretty; Tthingl'-* Art! thou. j sad,; poor,
• pretty-thing?'! ; ; „J- ,_ ;-^ - v
•" She made , no- answer^ and? he iflaid;
. her, hand V back ; on ; her j \ lap v tenderly,*
smoothing . her; drees, '. and whispering -
comfort; in her unhearihg! ears. \u25a0..-;•-.
:*;Suddenly the - door/; swung, under an^
impetuous hand. It * P was -{.the., duke,;
but -.Tisio. was '.not; startled..: \u25a0-.; :\
\u25a0_ ?.'Glan!",; ; rh 4 e saidh "be", kind -to * her;
talk to; her,. poor thing!" !'; , v ** S; ".'\u25a0'".
S.^Vlscohtij-; atepped^.'Jnto :. ; :the3-jroom, ;
looking"; at f Tislolkeenly. «:?-.: - ; //: :
t*"Where: is <she?,.v: he', asked,'.' for^in} the':
gloom '1 he I could % nqf, ationce^see.Hhe >
silent: figure in the corner.- '"Where'is -
she.vrisior';;-: \u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0:.\u25a0'-. \u25a0-,'\u25a0\u25a0 ;K/ -; : :
- ; '*'The . glrl x with : the pretty. -halr-^—";
began ; , his brother; .*. but 3[Vyiscon"tJ
grasped; him* by the'arm . with, a icry.'
"Brinsr " me 'a . light!" he cried, 1.',"1 .', "a >
light- -'\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0: : .:\.-. -; \u25a0 : ; \u25a0 ; -' •:-"\u25a0 ' _.'
%:Wit.h \u25a0 trembling-, hands Tlsio^lit the'
lamp; and fbroughtvit near: : Its*yell'ow.;
ligh-t^feU'; over Viaconti's green-, dress 1
and -Graziosa's" bright . hair.
"If. it-should; be so!" muttered- Viii
conti.. '.'lf , it 'should' be so!"- '\u25a0•'-'.
" The :ligbt\was: faint, but it. showed
him enough, iHe looked \ Into \u25a0 her \u25a0 face,
and hia own changed" darkly. . >' > "
\: "Tisio," he said, "she's • dead! Graii- ;
osa! : Grasipsa!": ' : : . . ' ' y
: , Ho, bent, closer, * eagerly. - ;
;;. "Get help^.Tlsio^help'":: .
'-And Tisio,* -eager.: -alert, -put; the !an»i>
in -the , vrindow,> where flung -long,"
ghostly ; rshadows.y and^ sped . calling,
down -the.; stairs. /. \u25a0 .". \u25a0.'\u25a0; ; V : i.\.- ; : . " ' /'\u25a0:\u25a0\u25a0'
-Visconti "had ; sent for help, yet even
while-he sent be knew. It useless;, she
was dead ! i; I He : stood' looking at lieiv
Poison ! :: —she)y had ! herself/
Something ,:\u25a0 was . tightly. - locked jin ' her
right hand ! Ibe forced the : flhgers apart, :
and 'ilooked j atit— poison. \u25a0:;„,; ;
.'"How dared she do it?"; he 'muttered, \
with 'an . face. 1 "Hotv!
dared " she?rxwho - . gave it ; her? ; Who
dared 'to7 give , 'it? her?" ... - . \u25a0 . *
L- He'-wouldc never ; nave thought Jit lay
in her r - to :do^thls^r rAll^Mllan^must 1 :
know she; hadr preferred to dietrather,
than bejhls.fbrlde^He \ bad 5 failed Hn%
this; : though \ he. had '? sworn .; he ? could^
not; • though ,he J had sworn £ she ; should '
chare" ; bis 5 throne % before tbem I lan-~th : e ,
woman who \u25a0 iloved 7 : him; for,;, himself
alonel;? . 7 He * -i remembered ? Valentine.
Valentine had ; done this. '.-'.^.K^^^^gS
c>At;his^feet: lay .the satin'; garments;
and the "2 jewels ;^ Graziosa "".; had ; : flung
aside: <oho\would*not .wear/ them.? : Xot :
pride;- all irhake? her:
wear, the crown,*, without _the love." Gian
yisconti^stamped v his ; ; foot.' How "dared
she !^ How- f dared f she!;":' 'S:V..%fr: '\u25a0 £': '"\u25a0*'.> '•\u25a0:
\u25a0 V Her eyes'f would - nevef* ; sparkle*at : his
coming norj sadden at i his goodbye. 'And ;
yisconti^ cqmingf back ito | look :; at f her <
a gain, was 'Jf awed ; •-\u25a0£: aff ectipn^f stirred :
anew, /and-i something like ;; respect "at '
the sight : of her ; still dignity."- . ,-. v v
! .5 He^ looked! 4 around "to ffind^the door,
f ull ' of ianxious : faces,; and -Tlßio behind"
him.v. : .;;f-.;;.«; ;^li.";- --. .\u25a0 -.\u25a0•••;\u25a0.' \u25a0. jSH
% served:%he(cried in;; a'
transport-; n.?Do you.letlthe Lady^Graal- 1
oaaT A go unattended ?.{ x She hath>' : been
beeh^witli^her)shallfdieifor|it!'* , \u25a0;, :' \
-Ft Weaplngi ladles «ndj frightened t ; pages "-,
crept \i ti \and * stood aghas U*£ isilent * at'
wlmt itheyjsaw^more^ silent] at": his f ace>
f^Viscontl i stood body. J
and f looked fat |th"em kwi thTmad ?eyes : ) he^
held % a Jwhlte| rose 3 1 h = his i fin ge rs.f ,Th e i
its 11 light1 ight] fell fon ?liis]f ace : aridf onl hers^-1
herl sweet * face « t hat |t o-W 1 1 ts| own| taleTf
f^or|sqme|momohls}^ r lscontlVw^
lent.J gizinaf %at - them and •£* It^
crowded i there ;appal led \ t hat : the re i earned
a i new}: expression]; to f hls|face?|a^newi
look! Into^bls),wldelyXopened« r eyes^not!
t^Tnfal'W'e^k'lJ |wohl_d lhavel made* her/;
duchess": of 3lllan,*v He ; said last»*»with*
at sudden ;break';in*hislybjce:|andshel
aroppedj^hisjwhite ; rose \u25a0 it' her dead f eet;";
withfal shudder^ and gg turiaed^wiiy^
through I the t crowd [that] fell j away^f rbm \
hlmiidpwn|thelstairß;ln|silenc"e. . , -=". 7
tg| itAwas'twolhourslater,! ln tne hushed.
awe struck, half expectant palace, w he n '
VlseTontif opened \ the |door }6t I his Sinner i
rooni£and f stepped! into.the antecharaber;
where,|one|'pa^ kept watch. " '
;.!^Tb|himJ;thef;dukei beckoned.'! handing;
cl l n g <\u25a0 it-*5-a v slender,-^ Co wer ' like -? glass
with al ong stem. . • ." " . J ,
."Fill up with wine," he said. '
The page obeyed. .;:. V
:;..- "Xow bring^the glass and follow me,"
said ?. Visconti, and left the room,; the
boy^behlnd'him. , - r
'-;^Befqre^his/sister*s door he paused.
SoldiefVJguarded Jit: '\u25a0\u25a0 --within . could be
heard i footsteps and anxious, frightened
voiceit,^ the fi whispers , of £ the ' tragedy. "^
The^key .'\u25a0 was ; turned :/. he . en tered.* open -j>
lng;ithe doorj quietly, ' admitting* him
selt'andtthe'page, thetguard closing it
behind^himl *. ' ; ...^
. .The .room . was^loftV, and, like all
Viscoritfa rooms, v ill-lit. . A . gTeat_eru-,'
cirix hung- atithe.fiir end, and- before It
knelt > Valentine; ?: When jshe : heard i the ,
door, she turned and started to her feet.
''• "Put : the wine . down- and go,": said >
Visconti to the page.- ' ;. ,v, v
\u25a0'. "Ah. no s" ..veiled Valentine. "Let the
page stay, Glan!" .-'\u25a0.\u25a0_\u25a0.. -" '/ . ' > . .J-: '\u25a0:
She stepped forward with I imploring -
eyes -upon -the. boy. ' ; : .'
. T '.'Go," said Visconti again.
'"In I the : name ; of mercy, stay !" cried
Valentine. , in Vauddsn^ desperate fear,*
seeing-heribrother's face. "Stay!"
"' The wretched page hesitated, but not
forjlong. 'y ; Viscoritl- turned once more, "
anri he tapped on' the door to be let out,
matting i no: more ado. .
'}VKtched t i' him . . go^,'^then
stepped to the inner door and locked it
on the women whispering and - quaking .
within. YJ : \u25a0' ''\u25a0 '\u25a0 " "'\u25a0'-'\u25a0 " - > r - \u25a0 \u25a0
Valentine ; tried to speak: the words
died away on/ilier tongue; she fell back '
against^the^tapestry, -grasping <it in
stiff ; flngers, : her eyes on 'his face. > -
-?; .Visconti seated himself the tabte
onlwhich the page. had stood the glass,
and^restingrhisr face ' on -his hands
looked ; ; at^. her. ..The-Vlner >n his
doublet»jieemed : to writhe, alive.
/ "Graiil6sa is-dead.". he said. " . -,
,-* Valentine's eyes gfew-wild n-ith'fear.
'\u25a0i'Su'l \u25a0; did "riot ikill'ber!". she cried. "I ".
did lriot. kin* her,*. Gian!" 'i, " ' .. *"
tfoundSherJ'dead," said Viscontt,
stiHtlooklng:at!her.. . ;.;
.; ? against, the
wrlngrinE^herChands. 4 "She I stew, her
self," shelmoaned." "I did not kill her."'
':?"i;shall!not?klll ; thee 1 ":sald GianV ' *
He J looked* down ?at the 'wine as \ he«
spoke, f: witlj ,* \u25a0*_\u25a0.' \u25a0>.'.' " v '
'.-.Valentine threw hersel* on her. knees.
.' ; "I/; did : not \ touchY her *"~? she j screamed
,wHdljv.Ti-"I did • not' lay < a"^ hand . on her!" :
«.* "I \ shall^ not^ touch \ thee : r I^ shall \" u not
lajv/a hand on x thee,";, smiled .Visconti.
I shall I- not • die? I shall not
dier^;;.;:^ -;;\u25a0/-' - \u25a0':: .': \u25a0 \u25a0'\u25a0-'''- '
She : staggered' to v her , feet. with.a n
effort.tobe calm. -- . \u25a0- - '
H wilt • not die?"*. ; , sa!d »> Viscont!,
softly." his : eyes } onT; her. p.', "Thou ; ,wllt
drlnk-^this.V: 'And he"touched the glass
beslde^him.: ;:, \u25a0'.; -* ';'',.'' '']'\u25a0.\u25a0'.„:.. ./•\u25a0 =
x^ "Thou canst not . be' so cruol.'*. pleaded ;
.Valentine.^;,"! -am .thy/slster,! Gian — "
-"Do lithink^sOj much of family affec- '
tiqh?"Jsald jViscbntL ;C^Still; ' sheT wa3 \u25a0to
,be? myiwif e ! ?isTJiouT< wilt d rink \ this." _
. Valentine" flung; herself -on 'her/ knees
again, and /dragged" herself along? the
floor i t6ward-hlm.;i i^ VI - .•''. .
-.*. pjty V' \ she cried. "Have pity. 5
I^am]sb;helDless'£Spare;m«.tand \\ will :
age,".> returned^ her^brother. ' "What lis I
there; ln'drinklnglthls' wlncr: , ;
SgSheTwas ', at his feet;- clinging cto 'him,
Imploring. . .. :\u25a0'-: -'.V ' \u25a0"..-\u25a0l^SlfV^fSßVm
*ilVLet"Fj me Villve ; till morninffl" she"
pleaded. i f.)*Do*not-klHjiTveshero-*-ihjithis «
darkJehamber..'. Oh! I?cannot ;di«r Jierc, .;
iTcahhotrVJir';-"- •*":\u25a0\u25a0;.'\u25a0-."\u25a0-'. :"; --v' \u25a0.' : . ". \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0"
-v£,Viscontl looked ;at-h*r 'calmly.
! .diedi not > : in fa's fairer.- place,"
she. f' died *f lonely.^and^J alonei*. 1 ' he^said.',;
J^Thou drink j\thi*.**;r.He < J put gout 4
his^hand|'and? drew:* the /glass; nearer. -
.••Come^thouiwilt'drlnkHhis.": :'
;'v«t-"l"iani*so|young."~>sobbed \u25a0" Valentine.
v ?
>'."Grazlosa|waasnd"oJder.V4hejsaid. ,
fe| She'l clungr I to r hts Ihand lyi In f«* agonyy:'
beeeec h in g * hlm,l cal II ng fori t hlnv*i wildly ,
"the i mornlng-^only iuntH I morning ! l-?-. ' \u0084
j» \'*Grazlosa died! after.' the sun ; had set,'!J
said SvViscqntL'l^flJTlnk fc the iiwine, 'f nor.
keepTrael hereTso] lorig.\?jThou! hast [often •
wlshedjtSescape^wherelistthy courage^
gonei|riotltbltake!(his [chance T'SI-fl
Mi'Butfinotltq Idle"" like"> this-^not' like '
.thla^rgivelme'ai priest I? f: " :Jl "\u25a0'- *-•;' V'-K}
-\u25a0"i'.'HadlGrazlosa one?" ?,'•;.",>-" ' <^~\ i V 'j.
~:; SheTcoweredydown fon^the floor," her
; :3i\.; -I? '\u25a0:. \u25a0'/ '"' :-"" s :}. ":\u25a0\u25a0-\u25a0'-'.' \u25a0\u25a0"\u25a0 -- '-- .'
> 4... :\u25a0-,- • \u25a0\u25a0 - ;.-c \u25a0 - \u25a0 n --:a%8O«?Wr|l lp «IP«9
beautiful; hair falling: over her shoul- -
ders. her face hidden;} then suddenly
i uplifted , it r again to \u25a0Visconti, who sat
looking : at her. motionless." ;.' -
. "Glan; ; I r loved t thee Z once. * when we
were little children." *: - . ,
: VI have forgotten it,, and so hadst
tbbuiuntlllthle \noment-— drink!"
Vftleßtlne' sprang np.^ in a parosysni
of uncontrollable terror. - . --\
3 '."I,cannot!\'l cannot: .Kill ; me thy
self I"/--.' % ".- ", "- \u25a0'"": "'. ..\u25a0 \u25a0-' : 'J' "-
iT TWith thlsT* and : Visconti - touched
his dagger. "No; a smoother death for.
one so fair."/- ;' -< \ ,'*. \u25a0 '\\. "<\u25a0 4\- : '- •'\u25a0'\u25a0
\yalentlne;flew to the door and cluns ;
.M-lb'-M'-*-'* '-\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0£'\u25a0'- ' : . •\u25a0- : ' -. , -~-\ ]
.'Tnliipper; PhHippe"* she shrieked.
"Conrad! Costanxa!"
-Visconti rose suddenly, with such
force as to v fling over the chair. t
"Cease !" he cried. | "Wilt ; thpu drink
this? or' who dost thou think will dare
to Interrupt me now? ' y .
: "Valentine's wild ; eyes looked at him
in silence a moment, -then her : glance ';
dropped. \u25a0 : ". ; i
- ; **Glve"it'to me," she< whispered.
...Visconti did not move.
. : "Come and take It," he said.
' &ne came slowly, ' one :• hand : against
the her long' shadow Clckerlns
before her. v -
-\u25a0•"•• .VUeohtl. watched her, -- motionless.
"Make haste," he said. "Make haste." ,
'\u0084'\u25a0 She came to the table,. her eyes down,'
her /breast hearing, past tears or. ea
teratles. \u0084'." .. . , .
1 ll t > *DTlnkr*J«aid Visconti. leaning with
narrowing eyes- across the space be
tween them. ' ""Drink in'lt Delia. Scala'«
health, as thbu didst once' before."
Valentine raised her head and looker
»t him.; andgrew. fascinated with ,ter
*ror.; She crouched away from hlm'and
•lifted the glass. to her lips.
/• Visconti bent nearer rand she drank,
putting It r down t hajf ; empty with •
shudder and staring eyes. -, T - •\u25a0\u25a0:"*>-
Visconti smiled, and brougat the evil
of his. face still nearer.i"-
"Drink the rest," he said. t "Drink it,
SUU In silence she obeyed him.
.When the* empty glass stood before
him, Visconti turned away, taking his
eyes from her with a laugh, and walked
toward the door. »•- : :
,: -Valentine's gaze followed him with a
look of . utter woe ; still "she .said noth
ing, from; her parted lips there came
'no sound.*- ", \u25a0\u25a0 . '
Heiooked back over his shoulder at
her. standing there' with her face
toward him, with all expression gone,
with unseeing eyes. 1 .-- "
.'"I will .leave the^.'Vhe said savagely,
'"to await— the morning."
She seemed roused by the sound of .
his j voice, and stepped . forward with a
cry on her white lips.. -
But -the door . closed heavily — the
room was in darkness, or. was It her
sight failed her? > Everything swam be
fore her^ in \ a "blackening mist;' she
grasped at the table and fell across it,
The dawn was breaking, filling the
room :with \ a gray- and ghostly ; light: -
the great curtains looked black and
sloomy. .and the corners of the room
Vwere'-nlled with : strange and movins
shadows. Through an open window a
cool breeze blew across Valentine's sick
forehead. opened her eyes. The .
\u25a0empty glass met her gaze,. the fallen
chair; was beside her; she looked at
; them -strangely.'-S She was still alive.
. ."Glan*s poison Is slow," she said, and
to herself."
—T After- a time she rose and stumbled
2 to ; the. window^";; -\u0084 _>~ .. .... '\u0084.'. ._-.•
;rises I shall be dead,
- or : perhaps -I 'shall ; 11 ye * till , noon," she '.
said .to , : h erself . "---' "^jfffjp^SjßP'mlff'B
. She mounted '.the^ estrade and sat be
side the open "window. resting;her head
against 'the woodwork, singing to her
scir.-a^^*gjßßSWßKßg^. -. - \u25a0 - '. - .
. Suddenly the .whole^gray sky flushed =
purple — the sun rose above the horizon.
- Valentine looked 'down ; into the gar
den, the sight seemed to awakaa
"Hush!" She, laid her fingers on her
."mouth.-. "Hush, Conrad — -if Gian hears
us— hast thou velvel ahoes on^-hush* •
He treads warily— abj but it is no use— •
he poisoned me! he poisoned me !'*
, She rocked herself to and fro. \u25a0
"In a tall glass ' vrjth \white lines— lt
was v not Gian—^-It .was .Viper * from ;
the Standard — all green' and 'silver— all
green and silver— -a colling viper."
.She; drooped; her head forward, then
raised it with trembling lips. ?
""Conrad! come j and "save, me!** Then
she fell ; to laugbing. : whispering under ~
her - breath,- \u25a0-'. counting :on her fingers
the hours she might' have" to live. "If '
to noon— 7how; many?"
The ' door opened, and she stopped
hpf muttering,. turning lackluster eyes"
toward It. ","•'< • ' '\u25a0\u25a0
\u25a0 : _ ''Good . morrow." said Vlscontl»j stand- -
in? with his back against it and look
ing at her keenly.-. "Good morrow,
Valentine.',' - \u25a0•
She looked, at him and put the hair
back! from her face.
-,A"I I saw Count Conrad
"'•valklnK. in the garden: I would have
called ! him up to see ma die— how long •
.-.will it ,ber': ' >
Visconti advanced*, .a, bitter
smile.'- "Hasjthe«le33on tamed tbee? If:
-would have been reality. but\.ye are '
pledged. to. France.':' l, would that I dare
r poison Sthee. • Thou tiger-cat, but 'thou*
art tamed!" -, ~ •>.'".': 'j.
'_\u25a0-. Valentine's face did not change.
;"Ht«sh:", v she said. -leaning from^,th«".
: window.' "He Is ; back -on tower
now' }* " j ;sho . pointed to where : .- the \u25a0
sliver .banner, hung idle . against the
brightening sky. "What, .dost thou
"think? shall I;!slt and watch,* lest he
spy on; ui,"; Conrad?"
at her.\ -
~i "Thou -art I tamed: Indeed," he said. "I
am ;not, ill-avenged." I - '. '
,' -Valentine V stepped, down; Into the
. roomY : her; tangled . hair: hanging . about,
her, and 'grasped . him tby :the":arm. "I
was Awaiting— '—"--, she ," whispered. "I
\u25a0 feared ; ,;he r'jwould i come .back ; before I
was dead. . , : Ah!; and he did!/ Count-
Conrad .could; not keep him -off; -the -
V"iper; r gre^n- and- silver: ;the; ; Vlper.'" he
has" poisoned '> me." \u25a0 And she] sank onto
; the"; floor, i with j a .sudden \u25a0 scream, her
hands be fore 7 her,, eyes." . ; - . ,
•rThou "art « neither; poisoned (nor..- dy-' C
ing," said; Visconti, -roughly. "Call thy*.
women, and^-remember." , * , '
: She; looked at him with vacant -eyes.
\u25a0•-1 Visconti !1 turned \ away.'. "She . is ' not
-"likely; to^ forget,': it ; seems.", he ; thought.;
; "Her Jspirit I will; not trouble "my- path
more." fs£xfGßK£[email protected] *
y -. Neither; his i nor any one's. T^isbrll.
Ilant7 -witty and:dafing^Valentine".yis
contl's was 7 to 'dare^to mock,> to* laugh
- : no jmore; 'her high , spjrlt was • broken."
her" proud courage i gone. -From that
vf^night, "Jshe "- was\ - timorous,
like ' a^cblld^ wandering 'and \
vacant— like Ti3lb.",half-crazed. :
The Ordeal of Mastlao Delia Scala
«'"|«1 SECRET . embassy: from Milan!
»./ V" .; Mastino 3 repeated -; the
'/ . V-5 slowly, and 1 looked at « Llgozzf;
' wno '"!? a ' fl ;Vroughf them. "And
to -see: me; alone?'
• "With; terms ; from ; Visconti— rso,! they
; sald.";iahsweretii-Llg62zL : "Terms 'of
peace." ~ \u25a0S%QBOR3&OSBB£S&iSEStKI&I&I
* "From : Visconti !*,%, v .^
Mastinb^looked'out throuch-'the ,open
entrance iato the blinding summer day,
and then back at Llsrosit. "I fear th«y
come ; with no . honorable terms — r f r o:a
Viscoatl victorious.**
, They .would never dare come with
dishonorable ones — -to thee.. ray lord."
returned Li so32s. .
Mastlno laughed bitterly.*
"Dare! Ha Is -Visconti— with near all
Italy at his back— be knows no such
words as shame or honor. And I must
see his messengers." he added, after a
pause. '"I know no such words now as
pride or refusal." r
Llgozai turned, but hesitated at tha
: "Xa&— alone?" he asked. "They are
from ViscontL" _..-' • ""*
"And may be skillful In dagger
thrusts and poison." said Mastino. "Nay,
that is not what I fear. Ligozzi." Buc
he unstrapped his sword and laid It on
the; table in front of him. "All the
same. I will have thee with me. Li
gozzi. I see not why I should humor
them too far— l shall have naught to
say thou mayst not hear.**
. ; Ligozzi left, and Mastino sat alone,
his. head In his hands, his elbows rest
ing on tha table.
It waa blazing hot, the very crown of
summer, languid «nd golden, with a
has* of purple sky beating down oa th«
swooning trees; noon, tha- sun at its*
height, tha stillness of great heat in ths>
air. , '
Mastino raised his head and looked
out on it What was Glan Vlacontl
planning sow?
. He bad some faint foreboding — a se
cret embassy from Milan— and follow
l&g so swiftly on that last crushing
blow; following so swiftly as to corns
upon him still helpless from It— would
had It : to aay. and to his ears alone?
He had some faint foreboding as ha sat
there. Bat tt vu not lons. L 1303*1.
.exercising due precaution, returned
with the two Milanese.
Glannotto stepped forward with a
smooth obeisance, but stopped, a little
surprise^ at the one occupant of the
tent — the tall man with the proud dark:
face. -
'! "My lord— t ha prince V he asked.
"I am Delia Ecala." said Maitl.no. and
he turned to D* Lana, who looked an
obvious soldier, and the worthier of tha
two. "Your errand, sir? I would hear
you quickly.**
"We > have greetings from our lord.
the duka of Milan," replied De Lana. his
speech and bearing s uneasy, like ona
trying to gain time. He. had always
disluted his mission, and never morn
so than now. standing face to face, with
Delia Seal*.
. ' Her* was some ona very different
from the man he had expected, and It
tended to contuse him."
Delia Scala'i dignity waa his own.
not that of pomp and splendor, the ter
ror , of crime, or the daisies o£ power,
that made 1 Visconti feared and obeyed.
As plainly attired as any of his soldiers.
Mastino overawed the Milanese with
something new to them — the sense of
They -were not trained to dealings
with it. 3299038
"Greetings from Gian Visconti. duk«
of Milan." took up the secretary.
"Moreover, we bring terms of peace
for your acceptance.' my lordJ* _
Mastino was silent, a space, and
Ligozzi. standing behind his chair,
looked at them with an ill concealed
abomination . that Giannotto's quick
eyes noticed keenly,
v "My lord. Is the one with you t» b«
trusted : even as .yourself?** ha asked,
submissively. "For our mission, prince,
is secret." —
"He is my ; friend." said Jfastino.
shortly/ "And now these terms of
peace?*. .. • - /\u25a0'«- •* ~i
"The duke" is weary of the war.", said
De Lana. "He hath powerful allies, my
_ "And the choice of means .to crush
me." Interposed Mastino, bis bright
eyes fell on the speaker, ."are in hi*
hands, you would say? Perhaps; and
yet, messer,-I ask for no quarter from
Glan .Visconti." De Lana. bowed.
; "Nor could he offer It. my nobla lord;
only terms as between equals."
Mastino smiled bitterly.
\u0084 **That Is generous-. In Gian Viscentt.
seeing we are not— equals."
GiannoUo wished the duke could
have heard. both words and tone. Vls
conti's birth was a sore point with him.
The secretary wondered If there might
be found a safe way of repeating them.
De Lana flushed a little under Maj
: ttno's . steady gaze end quiet, scorn of
the master who had sent him.
• r » "The dake of Milan sends by us thla.'*
he said, and laid the parchment before
Mastino. "These are his terms, my lord."
. But Delia Scala did not drop his eyes
to ' tt. Hi ' ft'JlJllll * IseM
, "What are these terms?** he said.
'."They are set forth there, my lord,'*
began Giannotto.
"So you have forgotten what they
are. or did Visconti not tell you?" and
Delia Scala handed the roll to the sec
retary. "Wfc»n you have read it. tell
me- what" Gian Visconti says."
. ':He leaned back, his eves still oa
Giannotto bit his. lips In vexation.
; "Spare Vlsconti's loving greetings.
"To, the point, in a few words," ,con
tinued Delia Scala. as the secretary
still hesitated.
"Then,, my. lord.~ this: the duka oJ
Mitan ; will leave ' you Verona, where
you may rule under his protection, pro
vided; you now put -Into bis hands \u25a0
every other -town you or your- allies
now.slngly or together, hold." .
. * Mastino flushed and half rose.
-Gian Visconti might have "spared
these insults.** he said sternly, "and
you yourself :. the relating of them.
When - have I , so shown myself such
' that your master, should think 'l could
: betray ; Lombardy ' to \u25a0 keep ~ ona town ?
Get. back. I have, no answer say* I,
have-l^ft you your lives."
De Lana fingered the parchment ncr- *
vouslyi - .
"That Is I not all. my lord.", he began,
and stopped , suddenly. "X , cannot say .
It," he murmured to Giannotto.
;.. Delia 'Scala beat his * feet upon the.
floor impatiently.
you think I am afraid to' hear. T'
he said. \u25a0. ."Still. It may be spared- I see.
Glan -Vlsconti'a spirit Is not peace but.
Insult. -On no terms will I treat with
; "On.no termsT* repeated Giannotto.
"On no terms of insult,**, said Mastino
-coldly. "I favor .Visconti too much , in"
listening; so .long. \u25a0Lfire nn and take
your, lives back for ans'wer."^By**BTfpßS
- "Better ; listen, ~ „ perchance, my .lord.
. before ,- refusing," said Giannotto. "It
. isthe'dukVs Interest to offer you thes*
terms; m*.t"»lnks .-it will be no < less
. yours to at least consider them."
: "/De Lana - stood : silent, his eyes upon
\u25a0 the ground. After "thlv give him plain
* soldiering.
"r -**What; plot hai Viscontl hatched
now V as ked Delia Scala. "What more
has •h e ' to say?" 1.
'-* Giannetto's pale eyes twinkled un
y rOnly . : this: Visconti'- bids m« tall
Delia Scala, duke of Verona, that I! h»
*: refuse -Z his ••", terms : wa " take them s ln-^
" stantly . to ', ray - lord -of Este; also 7 hm"
bids ; me remind ". my ; Lord ' Delia Scala
that he hold j the . duchess of Verona.
my "lord's dear. wife." . ;
\u25a0jUgoxxi^drew a. deep breath and
looked at Delia. Scala; he .had not quit* :
expected ' s this.. - _
%. .-. <To:Be Continued.)

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