Zanoni, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Chapter 1

Come vittima io vengo all’ ara.

“Metast.,” At. ii. Sc. 7.

(As a victim I go to the altar.)

It was about a month after the date of Zanoni’s departure and Glyndon’s introduction to Mejnour, when two Englishmen were walking, arm-in-arm, through the Toledo.

“I tell you,” said one (who spoke warmly), “that if you have a particle of common-sense left in you, you will accompany me to England. This Mejnour is an imposter more dangerous, because more in earnest, than Zanoni. After all, what do his promises amount to? You allow that nothing can be more equivocal. You say that he has left Naples — that he has selected a retreat more congenial than the crowded thoroughfares of men to the studies in which he is to initiate you; and this retreat is among the haunts of the fiercest bandits of Italy — haunts which justice itself dares not penetrate. Fitting hermitage for a sage! I tremble for you. What if this stranger — of whom nothing is known — be leagued with the robbers; and these lures for your credulity bait but the traps for your property — perhaps your life? You might come off cheaply by a ransom of half your fortune. You smile indignantly! Well, put common-sense out of the question; take your own view of the matter. You are to undergo an ordeal which Mejnour himself does not profess to describe as a very tempting one. It may, or it may not, succeed: if it does not, you are menaced with the darkest evils; and if it does, you cannot be better off than the dull and joyless mystic whom you have taken for a master. Away with this folly; enjoy youth while it is left to you; return with me to England; forget these dreams; enter your proper career; form affections more respectable than those which lured you awhile to an Italian adventuress. Attend to your fortune, make money, and become a happy and distinguished man. This is the advice of sober friendship; yet the promises I hold out to you are fairer than those of Mejnour.”

“Mervale,” said Glyndon, doggedly, “I cannot, if I would, yield to your wishes. A power that is above me urges me on; I cannot resist its influence. I will proceed to the last in the strange career I have commenced. Think of me no more. Follow yourself the advice you give to me, and be happy.”

“This is madness,” said Mervale; “your health is already failing; you are so changed I should scarcely know you. Come; I have already had your name entered in my passport; in another hour I shall be gone, and you, boy that you are, will be left, without a friend, to the deceits of your own fancy and the machinations of this relentless mountebank.”

“Enough,” said Glyndon, coldly; “you cease to be an effective counsellor when you suffer your prejudices to be thus evident. I have already had ample proof,” added the Englishman, and his pale cheek grew more pale, “of the power of this man — if man he be, which I sometimes doubt — and, come life, come death, I will not shrink from the paths that allure me. Farewell, Mervale; if we never meet again — if you hear, amidst our old and cheerful haunts, that Clarence Glyndon sleeps the last sleep by the shores of Naples, or amidst yon distant hills, say to the friends of our youth, ‘He died worthily, as thousands of martyr-students have died before him, in the pursuit of knowledge.’”

He wrung Mervale’s hand as he spoke, darted from his side, and disappeared amidst the crowd.

By the corner of the Toledo he was arrested by Nicot.

“Ah, Glyndon! I have not seen you this month. Where have you hid yourself? Have you been absorbed in your studies?”

“Yes.”

“I am about to leave Naples for Paris. Will you accompany me? Talent of all order is eagerly sought for there, and will be sure to rise.”

“I thank you; I have other schemes for the present.”

“So laconic! — what ails you? Do you grieve for the loss of the Pisani? Take example by me. I have already consoled myself with Bianca Sacchini — a handsome woman, enlightened, no prejudices. A valuable creature I shall find her, no doubt. But as for this Zanoni!”

“What of him?”

“If ever I paint an allegorical subject, I will take his likeness as Satan. Ha, ha! a true painter’s revenge — eh? And the way of the world, too! When we can do nothing else against a man whom we hate, we can at least paint his effigies as the Devil’s. Seriously, though: I abhor that man.”

“Wherefore?’

“Wherefore! Has he not carried off the wife and the dowry I had marked for myself! Yet, after all,” added Nicot, musingly, “had he served instead of injured me, I should have hated him all the same. His very form, and his very face, made me at once envy and detest him. I felt that there is something antipathetic in our natures. I feel, too, that we shall meet again, when Jean Nicot’s hate may be less impotent. We, too, cher confrere — we, too, may meet again! Vive la Republique! I to my new world!”

“And I to mine. Farewell!”

That day Mervale left Naples; the next morning Glyndon also quitted the City of Delight alone, and on horseback. He bent his way into those picturesque but dangerous parts of the country which at that time were infested by banditti, and which few travellers dared to pass, even in broad daylight, without a strong escort. A road more lonely cannot well be conceived than that on which the hoofs of his steed, striking upon the fragments of rock that encumbered the neglected way, woke a dull and melancholy echo. Large tracts of waste land, varied by the rank and profuse foliage of the South, lay before him; occasionally a wild goat peeped down from some rocky crag, or the discordant cry of a bird of prey, startled in its sombre haunt, was heard above the hills. These were the only signs of life; not a human being was met — not a hut was visible. Wrapped in his own ardent and solemn thoughts, the young man continued his way, till the sun had spent its noonday heat, and a breeze that announced the approach of eve sprung up from the unseen ocean which lay far distant to his right. It was then that a turn in the road brought before him one of those long, desolate, gloomy villages which are found in the interior of the Neapolitan dominions: and now he came upon a small chapel on one side the road, with a gaudily painted image of the Virgin in the open shrine. Around this spot, which, in the heart of a Christian land, retained the vestige of the old idolatry (for just such were the chapels that in the pagan age were dedicated to the demon-saints of mythology), gathered six or seven miserable and squalid wretches, whom the curse of the leper had cut off from mankind. They set up a shrill cry as they turned their ghastly visages towards the horseman; and, without stirring from the spot, stretched out their gaunt arms, and implored charity in the name of the Merciful Mother! Glyndon hastily threw them some small coins, and, turning away his face, clapped spurs to his horse, and relaxed not his speed till he entered the village. On either side the narrow and miry street, fierce and haggard forms — some leaning against the ruined walls of blackened huts, some seated at the threshold, some lying at full length in the mud — presented groups that at once invoked pity and aroused alarm: pity for their squalor, alarm for the ferocity imprinted on their savage aspects. They gazed at him, grim and sullen, as he rode slowly up the rugged street; sometimes whispering significantly to each other, but without attempting to stop his way. Even the children hushed their babble, and ragged urchins, devouring him with sparkling eyes, muttered to their mothers; “We shall feast well tomorrow!” It was, indeed, one of those hamlets in which Law sets not its sober step, in which Violence and Murder house secure — hamlets common then in the wilder parts of Italy, in which the peasant was but the gentler name for the robber.

Glyndon’s heart somewhat failed him as he looked around, and the question he desired to ask died upon his lips. At length from one of the dismal cabins emerged a form superior to the rest. Instead of the patched and ragged over-all, which made the only garment of the men he had hitherto seen, the dress of this person was characterised by all the trappings of the national bravery. Upon his raven hair, the glossy curls of which made a notable contrast to the matted and elfin locks of the savages around, was placed a cloth cap, with a gold tassel that hung down to his shoulder; his mustaches were trimmed with care, and a silk kerchief of gay hues was twisted round a well-shaped but sinewy throat; a short jacket of rough cloth was decorated with several rows of gilt filagree buttons; his nether garments fitted tight to his limbs, and were curiously braided; while in a broad parti-coloured sash were placed two silver-hilted pistols, and the sheathed knife, usually worn by Italians of the lower order, mounted in ivory elaborately carved. A small carbine of handsome workmanship was slung across his shoulder and completed his costume. The man himself was of middle size, athletic yet slender, with straight and regular features, sunburnt, but not swarthy; and an expression of countenance which, though reckless and bold, had in it frankness rather than ferocity, and, if defying, was not altogether unprepossessing.

Glyndon, after eyeing this figure for some moments with great attention, checked his rein, and asked the way to the “Castle of the Mountain.”

The man lifted his cap as he heard the question, and, approaching Glyndon, laid his hand upon the neck of the horse, and said, in a low voice, “Then you are the cavalier whom our patron the signor expected. He bade me wait for you here, and lead you to the castle. And indeed, signor, it might have been unfortunate if I had neglected to obey the command.”

The man then, drawing a little aside, called out to the bystanders in a loud voice, “Ho, ho! my friends, pay henceforth and forever all respect to this worshipful cavalier. He is the expected guest of our blessed patron of the Castle of the Mountain. Long life to him! May he, like his host, be safe by day and by night; on the hill and in the waste; against the dagger and the bullet — in limb and in life! Cursed be he who touches a hair of his head, or a baioccho in his pouch. Now and forever we will protect and honour him — for the law or against the law; with the faith and to the death. Amen! Amen!”

“Amen!” responded, in wild chorus, a hundred voices; and the scattered and straggling groups pressed up the street, nearer and nearer to the horseman.

“And that he may be known,” continued the Englishman’s strange protector, “to the eye and to the ear, I place around him the white sash, and I give him the sacred watchword, ‘Peace to the Brave.’ Signor, when you wear this sash, the proudest in these parts will bare the head and bend the knee. Signor, when you utter this watchword, the bravest hearts will be bound to your bidding. Desire you safety, or ask you revenge — to gain a beauty, or to lose a foe — speak but the word, and we are yours: we are yours! Is it not so, comrades?”

And again the hoarse voices shouted, “Amen, Amen!”

“Now, signor,” whispered the bravo, “if you have a few coins to spare, scatter them amongst the crowd, and let us be gone.”

Glyndon, not displeased at the concluding sentence, emptied his purse in the streets; and while, with mingled oaths, blessings, shrieks, and yells, men, women, and children scrambled for the money, the bravo, taking the rein of the horse, led it a few paces through the village at a brisk trot, and then, turning up a narrow lane to the left, in a few minutes neither houses nor men were visible, and the mountains closed their path on either side. It was then that, releasing the bridle and slackening his pace, the guide turned his dark eyes on Glyndon with an arch expression, and said —

“Your Excellency was not, perhaps, prepared for the hearty welcome we have given you.”

“Why, in truth, I OUGHT to have been prepared for it, since the signor, to whose house I am bound, did not disguise from me the character of the neighbourhood. And your name, my friend, if I may so call you?”

“Oh, no ceremonies with me, Excellency. In the village I am generally called Maestro Paolo. I had a surname once, though a very equivocal one; and I have forgotten THAT since I retired from the world.”

“And was it from disgust, from poverty, or from some — some ebullition of passion which entailed punishment, that you betook yourself to the mountains?”

“Why, signor,” said the bravo, with a gay laugh, “hermits of my class seldom love the confessional. However, I have no secrets while my step is in these defiles, my whistle in my pouch, and my carbine at my back.” With that the robber, as if he loved permission to talk at his will, hemmed thrice, and began with much humour; though, as his tale proceeded, the memories it roused seemed to carry him farther than he at first intended, and reckless and light-hearted ease gave way to that fierce and varied play of countenance and passion of gesture which characterise the emotions of his countrymen.

“I was born at Terracina — a fair spot, is it not? My father was a learned monk of high birth; my mother — Heaven rest her! — an innkeeper’s pretty daughter. Of course there could be no marriage in the case; and when I was born, the monk gravely declared my appearance to be miraculous. I was dedicated from my cradle to the altar; and my head was universally declared to be the orthodox shape for a cowl. As I grew up, the monk took great pains with my education; and I learned Latin and psalmody as soon as less miraculous infants learn crowing. Nor did the holy man’s care stint itself to my interior accomplishments. Although vowed to poverty, he always contrived that my mother should have her pockets full; and between her pockets and mine there was soon established a clandestine communication; accordingly, at fourteen, I wore my cap on one side, stuck pistols in my belt, and assumed the swagger of a cavalier and a gallant. At that age my poor mother died; and about the same period my father, having written a History of the Pontifical Bulls, in forty volumes, and being, as I said, of high birth, obtained a cardinal’s hat. From that time he thought fit to disown your humble servant. He bound me over to an honest notary at Naples, and gave me two hundred crowns by way of provision. Well, signor, I saw enough of the law to convince me that I should never be rogue enough to shine in the profession. So, instead of spoiling parchment, I made love to the notary’s daughter. My master discovered our innocent amusement, and turned me out of doors; that was disagreeable. But my Ninetta loved me, and took care that I should not lie out in the streets with the Lazzaroni. Little jade! I think I see her now with her bare feet, and her finger to her lips, opening the door in the summer nights, and bidding me creep softly into the kitchen, where, praised be the saints! a flask and a manchet always awaited the hungry amoroso. At last, however, Ninetta grew cold. It is the way of the sex, signor. Her father found her an excellent marriage in the person of a withered old picture-dealer. She took the spouse, and very properly clapped the door in the face of the lover. I was not disheartened, Excellency; no, not I. Women are plentiful while we are young. So, without a ducat in my pocket or a crust for my teeth, I set out to seek my fortune on board of a Spanish merchantman. That was duller work than I expected; but luckily we were attacked by a pirate — half the crew were butchered, the rest captured. I was one of the last: always in luck, you see, signor — monks’ sons have a knack that way! The captain of the pirates took a fancy to me. ‘Serve with us?’ said he. ‘Too happy,’ said I. Behold me, then, a pirate! O jolly life! how I blessed the old notary for turning me out of doors! What feasting, what fighting, what wooing, what quarrelling! Sometimes we ran ashore and enjoyed ourselves like princes; sometimes we lay in a calm for days together on the loveliest sea that man ever traversed. And then, if the breeze rose and a sail came in sight, who so merry as we? I passed three years in that charming profession, and then, signor, I grew ambitious. I caballed against the captain; I wanted his post. One still night we struck the blow. The ship was like a log in the sea, no land to be seen from the mast-head, the waves like glass, and the moon at its full. Up we rose, thirty of us and more. Up we rose with a shout; we poured into the captain’s cabin, I at the head. The brave old boy had caught the alarm, and there he stood at the doorway, a pistol in each hand; and his one eye (he had only one) worse to meet than the pistols were.

“‘Yield!’ cried I; ‘your life shall be safe.’

“‘Take that,’ said he, and whiz went the pistol; but the saints took care of their own, and the ball passed by my cheek, and shot the boatswain behind me. I closed with the captain, and the other pistol went off without mischief in the struggle. Such a fellow he was — six feet four without his shoes! Over we went, rolling each on the other. Santa Maria! no time to get hold of one’s knife. Meanwhile all the crew were up, some for the captain, some for me — clashing and firing, and swearing and groaning, and now and then a heavy splash in the sea. Fine supper for the sharks that night! At last old Bilboa got uppermost; out flashed his knife; down it came, but not in my heart. No! I gave my left arm as a shield; and the blade went through to the hilt, with the blood spurting up like the rain from a whale’s nostril! With the weight of the blow the stout fellow came down so that his face touched mine; with my right hand I caught him by the throat, turned him over like a lamb, signor, and faith it was soon all up with him: the boatswain’s brother, a fat Dutchman, ran him through with a pike.

“‘Old fellow,’ said I, as he turned his terrible eye to me, ‘I bear you no malice, but we must try to get on in the world, you know.’ The captain grinned and gave up the ghost. I went upon deck — what a sight! Twenty bold fellows stark and cold, and the moon sparkling on the puddles of blood as calmly as if it were water. Well, signor, the victory was ours, and the ship mine; I ruled merrily enough for six months. We then attacked a French ship twice our size; what sport it was! And we had not had a good fight so long, we were quite like virgins at it! We got the best of it, and won ship and cargo. They wanted to pistol the captain, but that was against my laws: so we gagged him, for he scolded as loud as if we were married to him; left him and the rest of his crew on board our own vessel, which was terribly battered; clapped our black flag on the Frenchman’s, and set off merrily, with a brisk wind in our favour. But luck deserted us on forsaking our own dear old ship. A storm came on, a plank struck; several of us escaped in a boat; we had lots of gold with us, but no water. For two days and two nights we suffered horribly; but at last we ran ashore near a French seaport. Our sorry plight moved compassion, and as we had money, we were not suspected — people only suspect the poor. Here we soon recovered our fatigues, rigged ourselves out gayly, and your humble servant was considered as noble a captain as ever walked deck. But now, alas! my fate would have it that I should fall in love with a silk-mercer’s daughter. Ah, how I loved her! — the pretty Clara! Yes, I loved her so well that I was seized with horror at my past life! I resolved to repent, to marry her, and settle down into an honest man. Accordingly, I summoned my messmates, told them my resolution, resigned my command, and persuaded them to depart. They were good fellows, engaged with a Dutchman, against whom I heard afterwards they made a successful mutiny, but I never saw them more. I had two thousand crowns still left; with this sum I obtained the consent of the silk-mercer, and it was agreed that I should become a partner in the firm. I need not say that no one suspected that I had been so great a man, and I passed for a Neapolitan goldsmith’s son instead of a cardinal’s. I was very happy then, signor, very — I could not have harmed a fly! Had I married Clara, I had been as gentle a mercer as ever handled a measure.”

The bravo paused a moment, and it was easy to see that he felt more than his words and tone betokened. “Well, well, we must not look back at the past too earnestly — the sunlight upon it makes one’s eyes water. The day was fixed for our wedding — it approached. On the evening before the appointed day, Clara, her mother, her little sister, and myself, were walking by the port; and as we looked on the sea, I was telling them old gossip-tales of mermaids and sea-serpents, when a red-faced, bottle-nosed Frenchman clapped himself right before me, and, placing his spectacles very deliberately astride his proboscis, echoed out, ‘Sacre, mille tonnerres! this is the damned pirate who boarded the “Niobe”!’”

“‘None of your jests,’ said I, mildly. ‘Ho, ho!’ said he; ‘I can’t be mistaken; help there!’ and he griped me by the collar. I replied, as you may suppose, by laying him in the kennel; but it would not do. The French captain had a French lieutenant at his back, whose memory was as good as his chief’s. A crowd assembled; other sailors came up: the odds were against me. I slept that night in prison; and in a few weeks afterwards I was sent to the galleys. They spared my life, because the old Frenchman politely averred that I had made my crew spare his. You may believe that the oar and the chain were not to my taste. I and two others escaped; they took to the road, and have, no doubt, been long since broken on the wheel. I, soft soul, would not commit another crime to gain my bread, for Clara was still at my heart with her sweet eyes; so, limiting my rogueries to the theft of a beggar’s rags, which I compensated by leaving him my galley attire instead, I begged my way to the town where I left Clara. It was a clear winter’s day when I approached the outskirts of the town. I had no fear of detection, for my beard and hair were as good as a mask. Oh, Mother of Mercy! there came across my way a funeral procession! There, now you know it; I can tell you no more. She had died, perhaps of love, more likely of shame. Can you guess how I spent that night? — I stole a pickaxe from a mason’s shed, and all alone and unseen, under the frosty heavens, I dug the fresh mould from the grave; I lifted the coffin, I wrenched the lid, I saw her again — again! Decay had not touched her. She was always pale in life! I could have sworn she lived! It was a blessed thing to see her once more, and all alone too! But then, at dawn, to give her back to the earth — to close the lid, to throw down the mould, to hear the pebbles rattle on the coffin: that was dreadful! Signor, I never knew before, and I don’t wish to think now, how valuable a thing human life is. At sunrise I was again a wanderer; but now that Clara was gone, my scruples vanished, and again I was at war with my betters. I contrived at last, at O— to get taken on board a vessel bound to Leghorn, working out my passage. From Leghorn I went to Rome, and stationed myself at the door of the cardinal’s palace. Out he came, his gilded coach at the gate.

“‘Ho, father!’ said I; ‘don’t you know me?’

“‘Who are you?’

“‘Your son,’ said I, in a whisper.

“The cardinal drew back, looked at me earnestly, and mused a moment. ‘All men are my sons,’ quoth he then, very mildly; ‘there is gold for thee! To him who begs once, alms are due; to him who begs twice, jails are open. Take the hint and molest me no more. Heaven bless thee!’ With that he got into his coach, and drove off to the Vatican. His purse which he had left behind was well supplied. I was grateful and contented, and took my way to Terracina. I had not long passed the marshes when I saw two horsemen approach at a canter.

“‘You look poor, friend,’ said one of them, halting; ‘yet you are strong.’

“‘Poor men and strong are both serviceable and dangerous, Signor Cavalier.’

“‘Well said; follow us.’

“I obeyed, and became a bandit. I rose by degrees; and as I have always been mild in my calling, and have taken purses without cutting throats, I bear an excellent character, and can eat my macaroni at Naples without any danger to life and limb. For the last two years I have settled in these parts, where I hold sway, and where I have purchased land. I am called a farmer, signor; and I myself now only rob for amusement, and to keep my hand in. I trust I have satisfied your curiosity. We are within a hundred yards of the castle.”

“And how,” asked the Englishman, whose interest had been much excited by his companion’s narrative — “and how came you acquainted with my host? — and by what means has he so well conciliated the goodwill of yourself and friends?”

Maestro Paolo turned his black eyes very gravely towards his questioner. “Why, signor,” said he, “you must surely know more of the foreign cavalier with the hard name than I do. All I can say is, that about a fortnight ago I chanced to be standing by a booth in the Toledo at Naples, when a sober-looking gentleman touched me by the arm, and said, ‘Maestro Paolo, I want to make your acquaintance; do me the favour to come into yonder tavern, and drink a flask of lacrima.’ ‘Willingly,’ said I. So we entered the tavern. When we were seated, my new acquaintance thus accosted me: ‘The Count d’O— has offered to let me hire his old castle near B—. You know the spot?’

“‘Extremely well; no one has inhabited it for a century at least; it is half in ruins, signor. A queer place to hire; I hope the rent is not heavy.’

“‘Maestro Paolo,’ said he, ‘I am a philosopher, and don’t care for luxuries. I want a quiet retreat for some scientific experiments. The castle will suit me very well, provided you will accept me as a neighbour, and place me and my friends under your special protection. I am rich; but I shall take nothing to the castle worth robbing. I will pay one rent to the count, and another to you.’

“With that we soon came to terms; and as the strange signor doubled the sum I myself proposed, he is in high favour with all his neighbours. We would guard the whole castle against an army. And now, signor, that I have been thus frank, be frank with me. Who is this singular cavalier?”

“Who? — he himself told you, a philosopher.”

“Hem! searching for the Philosopher’s Stone — eh, a bit of a magician; afraid of the priests?”

“Precisely; you have hit it.”

“I thought so; and you are his pupil?”

“I am.”

“I wish you well through it,” said the robber, seriously, and crossing himself with much devotion; “I am not much better than other people, but one’s soul is one’s soul. I do not mind a little honest robbery, or knocking a man on the head if need be — but to make a bargain with the devil! Ah, take care, young gentleman, take care!”

“You need not fear,” said Glyndon, smiling; “my preceptor is too wise and too good for such a compact. But here we are, I suppose. A noble ruin — a glorious prospect!”

Glyndon paused delightedly, and surveyed the scene before and below with the eye of a painter. Insensibly, while listening to the bandit, he had wound up a considerable ascent, and now he was upon a broad ledge of rock covered with mosses and dwarf shrubs. Between this eminence and another of equal height, upon which the castle was built, there was a deep but narrow fissure, overgrown with the most profuse foliage, so that the eye could not penetrate many yards below the rugged surface of the abyss; but the profoundness might be well conjectured by the hoarse, low, monotonous roar of waters unseen that rolled below, and the subsequent course of which was visible at a distance in a perturbed and rapid stream that intersected the waste and desolate valleys.

To the left, the prospect seemed almost boundless — the extreme clearness of the purple air serving to render distinct the features of a range of country that a conqueror of old might have deemed in itself a kingdom. Lonely and desolate as the road which Glyndon had passed that day had appeared, the landscape now seemed studded with castles, spires, and villages. Afar off, Naples gleamed whitely in the last rays of the sun, and the rose-tints of the horizon melted into the azure of her glorious bay. Yet more remote, and in another part of the prospect, might be caught, dim and shadowy, and backed by the darkest foliage, the ruined pillars of the ancient Posidonia. There, in the midst of his blackened and sterile realms, rose the dismal Mount of Fire; while on the other hand, winding through variegated plains, to which distance lent all its magic, glittered many and many a stream by which Etruscan and Sybarite, Roman and Saracen and Norman had, at intervals of ages, pitched the invading tent. All the visions of the past — the stormy and dazzling histories of Southern Italy — rushed over the artist’s mind as he gazed below. And then, slowly turning to look behind, he saw the grey and mouldering walls of the castle in which he sought the secrets that were to give to hope in the future a mightier empire than memory owns in the past. It was one of those baronial fortresses with which Italy was studded in the earlier middle ages, having but little of the Gothic grace or grandeur which belongs to the ecclesiastical architecture of the same time, but rude, vast, and menacing, even in decay. A wooden bridge was thrown over the chasm, wide enough to admit two horsemen abreast; and the planks trembled and gave back a hollow sound as Glyndon urged his jaded steed across.

A road which had once been broad and paved with rough flags, but which now was half-obliterated by long grass and rank weeds, conducted to the outer court of the castle hard by; the gates were open, and half the building in this part was dismantled; the ruins partially hid by ivy that was the growth of centuries. But on entering the inner court, Glyndon was not sorry to notice that there was less appearance of neglect and decay; some wild roses gave a smile to the grey walls, and in the centre there was a fountain in which the waters still trickled coolly, and with a pleasing murmur, from the jaws of a gigantic Triton. Here he was met by Mejnour with a smile.

“Welcome, my friend and pupil,” said he: “he who seeks for Truth can find in these solitudes an immortal Academe.”

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31