"I agree with you," he said, "that no useful end is to be gained now by mentioning your brother's conduct in public--always provided, however, that his ecclesiastical superiors do their duty. I shall show these papers to the count as soon as he is fit to peruse them, and I have no doubt that he will be ready to take my view of the matter."
This assurance relieved Luca Lomi of a great weight of anxiety. He bowed and withdrew.
The doctor placed the papers in the same cabinet in which he had secured the wax mask. Before he locked the doors again he took out the flat box, opened it, and looked thoughtfully for a few minutes at the mask inside, then sent for Nanina.
"Now, my child," he said, when she appeared, "I am going to try our first experiment with Count Fabio; and I think it of great importance that you should be present while I speak to him."
He took up the box with the mask in it, and beckoning to Nanina to follow him, led the way to Fabio's chamber.
ABOUT six months after the events already related, Signor Andrea d'Arbino and the Cavaliere Finello happened to be staying with a friend, in a seaside villa on the Castellamare shore of the bay of Naples. Most of their time was pleasantly occupied on the sea, in fishing and sailing. A boat was placed entirely at their disposal. Sometimes they loitered whole days along the shore; sometimes made trips to the lovely islands in the bay.
One evening they were sailing near Sorrento, with a light wind. The beauty of the coast tempted them to keep the boat close inshore. A short time before sunset, they rounded the most picturesque headland they had yet passed; and a little bay, with a white-sand beach, opened on their view. They noticed first a villa surrounded by orange and olive trees on the rocky heights inland; then a path in the cliff-side leading down to the sands; then a little family party on the beach, enjoying the fragrant evening air.
The elders of the group were a lady and gentleman, sitting together on the sand. The lady had a guitar in her lap. and was playing a simple dance melody. Close at her side a young child was rolling on the beach in high glee; in front of her a little girl was dancing to the music, with a very extraordinary partner in the shape of a dog, who was capering on his hind legs in the most grotesque manner. The merry laughter of the girl, and the lively notes of the guitar were heard distinctly across the still water.