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of the Bellini, an Oriental-Gothic pile, very ancient. It had long stood darksome and empty, save that Ali and some few of Bellini's henchmen used it as a sleeping-place.

In a few minutes the weighted body rolled over and disappeared like a pillar of stiffness into the waters, sending up a belch of phosphorescences; in a few more Antonello was bending over Brescia.

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But is this the poor youth,' he said wonderingly, that his Excellency spoke of? . . . Or was that his Excellency's playful way of talking merely? Yes, he is cautious!' A knowing finger went to his undulating nose. 'His Excellency does not blab every meaning as a bungler would; one must put-together his hintsand obey!'

But he took the precaution to search the vault, and finding nothing, bore the body to the shell. The diamonded finger caught his eye: he stooped to it; hesitated nervously; and covered the coffin. At the prow there was laughter when he told the gondoliers of Ali's white female father; and they set out. A few yards forward, behind an angle, lay Brand's gondola; a few yards behind, the empty gondola of the sbirri.

At this time Brand was again in flight. The sbirri had stood over him at the waterside, but failing to see him, ran further. He clung to the ring until a shivering seized him; ran then once more, trying to steer his guessed way backward to his bark. He at length reached a clear space near the quay, and had hardly recognised it, when, close behind him, the cry, 'There he is!' He forced an agony of urgency into his legs. Rushing upon his deck, he whispered his men to toil for life, and plunged into the cabin amidships. But as the gondola moved out, he could see the sbirri wildly oaring after him.

Antonello, bending over the coffin, with one Venetian blind drawn up, was hardly ten yards ahead. The man had closed the shell; nail and hammer were in his hand; when the temptation of the diamond again overcame him. He feared-the little rateyes winked. He was a person of keen nervosity, all tremors, believing in the omniscience of his Excellency, and the matter of the diamond formed no part of his instructions. If he should be discovered to have presumed, transgressed? Most stealthily he slid the lid footward a little. Then the thought came to him that the body dropped into the water would remove all possible discovery of the theft; he drew it out a little to a half-sitting position, and considered. Just then the bark passed under a

lamplight, and Brand, now close behind, recognised as he peered forth the luxurious gondola of Belvidera, its liveried cabin of purple and gold. Antonello, too, the diamond in his hand, had leered out and seen the two apparently pursuing boats. In a guilty trepidancy he ran stooping forward, bidding the gondolieri fly in his Excellency's name. As for Brand, his heart went hurrying with a thousand doubts. If she was there? in trouble, danger? why did she fly? what did she here and now? If he could secretly board her, would it not mean safety for him? He crept sternward, and urged his men with rich promises to catch the boat in front, a double trembling of eagerness in him at the peril behind, at the promise before. The three slender barks, light as life, went darting like swifts over the troubled water.

Venice, the Silent! the Sahara of Beauty! The Canalazzo was empty; only far yonder in the dark a gondola-lamp might shoot an instant, quenched in the flood, as meteors vanish in the void. Past pallid old palaces they sped, piles of Oriental glory rich with gold and colours, with pinnacle and cupola and arcade; where the lamps threw long streams of dusky crimson on the black water, while to the phosphoric dash of the oars wide behind them wavered their wake to its lazy slap upon the marble of stairway, or column, or façade; and around then, reaching to the ancient stars, an utter lonesomeness and hush of gloom, save where, at a turning, a gondolier sent warning of his coming in strange, lugubrious wail. The foremost boat had gone curving, like a creature of life, into a complexity of narrow channels totally dark, except where a rare corner lamp streamed out upon the waves. Near one of these, Brand, crouching ready at his prow, leapt lightly upon the poop near him, while Antonello, who had been cringing behind the cabin, at once slid at the slight concussion, diamond in hand, in mortal fear, into the water. Brand was hid by the hearse-shape of the cabin from the front gondolieri, but his own men, watching for his leap, stopped, and were overtaken by the sbirri. He, meanwhile, had slipped into the cabin of Belvidera; he could barely discern the half-recumbent form, and murmuring, Why, love, in the name of all that is impetuously stooped forward. He shrank with an 'ah cowering. That body again-and here in Belvidera's boat! The thought that she might be implicated ever so little in the dark deeds of her uncle made him sick; he spat out the suspicion. But how came this thing here? Much time was not given him

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for questionings; the gondola was then darting past a brown Moorish-looking pile, without openings in its frontage, save one row of windows near the roof. The mansion stood at a corner, round which the gondola shot, and stopped at a side portal. Brand, springing up, found himself confronted with three men at the lighted doorway, and with the two gondolieri, come to the cabin to help Antonello with the coffin. They stared amazed at him. One raised the cry:

'Why, he is a foreigner! He has murdered little Antonellosee there, the blood on him-and thrown him into the water!'

'You idiots!' Brand began, but stopped, seeing a signore appear at the doorway whom he recognised. It was Ronaldo, come hither after the murder of Brescia. Ronaldo started at the sudden apparition of Brand; but instantly calm, whispered to the others. They advanced, and with a rush, pulled Brand to the landing-stage. His British fists went flying, but by the time the scuffle reached the doorway he was on his face, his arms, to the elbows, bound behind him by a cord, procured by Ronaldo. They dragged him to a near apartment, and left him behind the lock.

The two gondolieri, meanwhile, had entered the cabin, resettled Brescia, hurriedly pushed the lid to its place, and struggled with the burden to Ali's quarters, a room near the palace-top. As they re-entered the gondola, Ronaldo handed them a note.

At half-past two, Mauro Bellini, still pacing, stopped to read this note: Brand was alive, but bound, in his power, at the Red Palace; and Ronaldo awaited instructions. The sere face flushed with rage. These dull slaves!' he muttered. A mistake-a miscarried scheme; it stirred his angriest contempt. Agitated with passion, he scribbled, 'The Torture of Fear till four; then I will myself come to the palace.'

Half-past two! and Belvidera pale, with tight lips, waited inside Brescia's door, palm on supple hip, watching. 'She does not come,' she said. Then-all wit and energy-she slid out, ran, and at a dark water-side stepped into a hired gondola. She reached the archway of Santa Maria, and saw blood. Hers or his? She leaned faint; then, with her forward high-heeled step, re-entered the boat, and made for Brand's hotel. Not there! I must find him,' she said.

She stood later in a squalid apartment, before her a humpbacked man.

'You must find him, Paul. You have wit enough, I should think.'

The bent head nodded. In the man's eyes was worship-the worship of a lover.

'He is dead, or in great danger, you see, Paul. Send out all my friends, and yours; let them search everything, the secret of every one. I am going to the Palazzo Calvo, where I shall be alone, waiting. Send every one to me with news. I will do anything for you-anything, really-I promise, Paul-if you succeed.' In twenty minutes twenty men, with intricate intrigue, were dissecting Venice for Brand.

But the Torture of Fear! it was an ordeal stern enough. Brand, seeing resistance foolish, walked, as bidden, with perfect contempt, before three men from his prison to the topmost floor. He was locked into a very large chamber, circular, lit by a mean lamp. It contained one of the frontage-windows looking out upon the water-way; this was paned with a single pane, flush with the wall. The wall seemed to be of tarnished brass. On the grimy floor he noticed three old boots and a wine-bottle. Near the door -the only sign of furniture-a mattress; and on them, once more, Brescia's coffin. It was the apartment used by Ali, one of the old torture-chambers of the Inquisition.

He became aware of a clicking somewhere-above him it seemed and glancing, he saw that all over the domed ceiling was a multitude of oblong slits, little black openings, cut in all directions; then, that something hanging by strings in each of these holes was moving; slowly; to and fro-like pendulums. A pang, he knew not why, pierced him. In ten minutes he knew why-a faint whizzing filled the air. He discerned that the strings, as they swung, were lengthening: that the things they swung were massive leaden balls. His blood stopped still; it was a dog's death, and so slow. He stood with backward head, gazing up with horrid interest at the nearing masses, deliberate as fate, at their intensifying sweep and rush; legion they seemed, flying every way, yet nicely systematised, so that not one bumped another. It was an age of misery before he dodged the first; the chamber was then a very bedlam of hissing death; and in another minute Brand was ducking, darting, dodging, with bound arms, with the agility of a clown, with a maniac's starting eyeballs, from the complex, omnipresent malice of the racing lead.

Belvidera, in an apartment of the Palazzo Calvo, was receiving messenger after messenger, announcing the failure of their search. Suddenly, as he lay fallen on his face awaiting the crash of death, the hissing ceased—a rumbling sound-and the balls went

rapidly aloft. For some time he lay gasping; but presently started up in surprise. He had noticed that the bottom of the brazen wall was pierced all round with a series of arches, and he now discerned that under each of these, far within the thickness of the wall, stood a mastiff of brass, on a low brazen base. At a crouling sound around him he sprang straight-it was like the winding of a thousand clock-works-and the next minute he was encompassed by a deep growl of angry hounds. From every archway, save the three by Ali's bed, out rushed, at the end of a brazen rod, a snapping dog. The tiny wheels upon which their bases ran had been cunningly adapted to the material of the flooring to exactly imitate a wolfish grumble. Forth they rushed a little way, and back, then further forth, and back, with continuous deepening growl, with snapping, far-outslanting brazen teeth. This once favourite torture of the Inquisitors was not i unknown to Brand; his reading led him to remember the room's central spot, with hope that there might be safety; but he now observed that the dogs did not run symmetrically toward the centre, their race being directed about the chamber in a calculated disorder of wild complexity. They were of many sizes, the teeth of some reaching to his middle; caught, his nether limbs must be rent to fragments. He thought of falling to the ground, and instantly remembered that he must be at once banged to death by the frantic masses. A last hope turned to the bed, but his retreat was now barred; some had already rushed across the central point; and he, with gasping mouth, was spurting and leaping, armless, quite mad, over, among, around them. The world seemed full of the blind and dreadful teeth, of the roll and roar of this brazen rabies. In a dodge from the right, there was a snatch of flesh at his left thigh; and he dropped swooning among the hounds.

At half-past three, Belvidera was hasting from the Calvo to the Residential Palazzo, another gondola following hers, containing seven men with weapons. Her emissaries had failed. From an ante-room she sent a request to see Bellini.

The old man summoned Dandolo, whispered hurriedly, and aloud bade him admit the signorina.

She, in her amber dress, still masked, walked with brisk step to the table, placed one palm upon it, the other at her cleancurved waist, and said:

'Mauro Bellini-the Englishman, Brand!'

The shapeless eyes looked up in mild fatherliness upon her.

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