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* Am I to take this as an open defiance, then ?' he said.
'You must not suppose, my child, that you can defy me with impunity.' " *You think I care? The Englishman, Brand-tell me where
he is, or by to-morrow, sunset, the whole world knows ofthe Banda.'
* That is a vain threat, my child. But I will tell you, if you like.
'I like, of course.'
'You fancy I care, Uncle? There is not a thing in this whole world I care for, but him. So you know now. I will ruin you, and Venice, and I care not what, if you dare harm him. Tell me, will you, where he is ? '
The table-hand shifted to her hip, and the hip-hand to the table.
'You really wish, then, to know ?'
'I will tell you ; but you may accept my assurance that you will regret it.'
'You are not trifling with me, surely? Tell me at once!'
'He is in the chamber of the Torture of Fear at the Palazzo Rosso.'
Her hands met, wringing.
Without a word she walked to the door of her entrance. Bellini twice struck a bell at his hand. Belvidera found the door fastened. Five of the other six she found fastened; the sixth opened upon a corridor leading to Bellini's chamber, from which there was no egress.
'I am a prisoner, then ?' she cried.
Bellini, perusing a document, did not answer. He presently walked toward his chamber, to prepare for his visit to the Red Palace. It was nearly four. Belvidera had cast herself, sobbing, upon a couch.
Brand stirred from swoon to find himself ragged and bleeding; but the dogs had retired to kennel. Some new sound it was
which had stabbed his sleep with a new Fear. He was worn now with the long woe; but he bent the intense ear of old misers listing to the creakings of the midnight thief at a clanking sound from beneath ; and at the same time caught sight of a black space in the flooring. He sprang horrified. The whole flooring, he now observed, was composed, not of straight planks, but of broad rings, each made up of several pieces. It was these pieces which he now beheld sharply dropping, one by one, at irregular intervals, out of sight; then deliberately rising again on concealed hinges. Gradually their movement became rapid, incalculable: here, then yonder, then here again, in endless permutation, yawned the sudden patch of black. Brand began a mad jig from ring to ring, from piece to piece. He trod upon terror-every nerve strained to detect the first sign of yielding beneath his feet—the veins swollen on his dripping brow. But the coffin! Suddenly he remembered that it probably lay safe on two consecutive rafters. He made a frantic rush for it, and fell, convulsed, upon the lid.
Here, after a time, he began to think. Was death, or only torture, intended him by these horrors? If death, that could have been effected long since. Probably, then, only torture—to be followed later by death. But at whose hands? He recalled Bellini's glance at the Procurazie masque, with the intuition that Bellini himself, in the triumph of his malice, would certainly visit him. And then, his forehead resting on the coffin, he began to think of Brescia's dying words—that Bellini had killed her-her prayer that she might 'trouble’and end' him. Raising himself, he saw that the droppings had ceased, but that one patch, by some hitch, still gaped near the door. The sight gave him a thought, a hope, half superstitious, his last. His back to the coffin, he inserted his free fingers into the notch of the lid, and drew it somewhat. In his extremity he had the distinct hope that the feeble old man, suddenly confronted with the spectacle of his victim, would step backward upon destruction. He retired to the farthest part of the room and waited. It was past four. Belvidera did not long lie sobbing.
She lifted her eyes, saw the room empty, and began to pace. such an idiot-born like that?' she said. Can I do nothing?' Suddenly she was a swift roe in the room. She had noticed on a chair Bellini's discarded red robe, his four-cornered cap.
She leapt to the table, found a scissors, and with it clipped the fringe
from an antimacassar. Her mask and mantilla she cast away. At a mirror, around her hair she ranged with admirable swift art the white fringe under the cap. She draped herself in the robe, touched a bell, and retired to the remotest shades. Some one entered. With half-turned head she said carelessly, in the very voice of Bellini:
• The signorina has retired to my chamber; you may now unfasten the doors, Dandolo.'
In a minute she was flying through the palace toward the watergate; in a minute Bellini, returning ready, had discovered her
ruse, and with a stamp of rage bid five men follow him. As the pinnacles of Venice chimed out the quarter-past four, the three gondolas, Belvidera first in her hired bark, her seven next, Bellini in urgent wrath behind, went skimming and churning in wildest chase over the whitening Canalazzo.
Brand, crouching in the obscurity, heard a footstep without. Was it Bellini ? His teeth went chattering. The massive lock turned ; some one entered, lurched, staggered on the edge of the
1 abyss, and fell. Sputtering oaths, he rescued himself, clinging to the other side. He stood up, staring in stupid wonderment at the hole.
"What's all this?' he growled. Brand saw a huge curly head, a black face: the Moor returned to bed from the wine-shop, drunk. He stood, a squat bulk, swaying on his bowlegs, with eyes straining to be open.
Soon he noticed the coffin with its drawn lid on the bed.
“Hullo !’he grumbled,' are you my cursed father, then ? That's all right!!
Then, after sage reflection, with pointed finger : ‘But you are not my cursed father! Do they grow so pale then ?--with long
hair. . .
He came nearer, and looked. His arms went a-kimbo, and he began to shake with merriment.
'0, ho, ho !-he's white! Poor boy's gone white ! Is that the way they do, then..!!
Now, look you,' he said to Brescia, 'I want no fathers here; besides, you are not my cursed father
And now, his under-jaw grinning murderously against his upper lip: * Here! get out of this, you-- he cried ; 'where do you
think I am to sleep, hey?'and with a dive he had the shell clasped
in his arms. Out, I tell you—-' Staggering, he reached the window, and his burden went crashing through the glass.
With it went Brand's last hope.
At the same moment Belvidera rushed in, looking wildly rourd. She sighted Brand, pounced upon him, dragged him forth.
• Quick !-ah, so weak ? He will be here instantly, meaning nothing but death
Out in the corridors there were noises-echoes of shoutings. of hurrying feet about the house.
• They are after us- -you hear?-oh, for Heaven's sake
As fast as he could he ran by her side, ragged and bloody, still armless, through a large number of dark halls, down stairways, breathless, on a devious way determined by her. She seemed to know the place minutely. But in a passage they heard a traming of feet right in their course. She stopped, baffled ; turned back; in her hunted dismay ran down a side-corridor, another, another, and lost her way. The feet seemed to follow. 'Quick! in here, then !' she gasped. They slid through an open door into a room.
She did not know it, but it was the chief room of the mansion, containing a draped bed, on which Doges of Venice had slept. The feet approached, approached. She sprang to the door ; felt for the touch of metal ; bolted it. The feet approached, approached—they stopped without the door. “Oh, I will die with you!' she whispered. They on the outside tried the handle there seemed to be a talk and consultation--and several shoulders went urging at the door. The woodwork strained, ripped, flew inward; the room was flooded with lamp-light borne by several hands. Brand and Belvidera stood at bay in the centre.
But the crowd of men only glanced at them, without further notice. Their faces were
ery grave, ‘Lay him on the bed,' said Ronaldo; “it is the only decent one in the place.'
Three of them shuffled toward the bed, bearing a body. The face and head was a mere crush and unsightliness. It was the old man, Mauro Bellini, brought to this by Brescia and her coffin, which, as he passed in chase beneath the palace window, had crashed through his cabin upon him.
Belvidera's face lay hidden upon the bosom of Brand. Later, as they glided together from the Red Palace, lo, morning was in heaven, and on the waters.
M. P. SHIEL.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the game of "pelota' in Spain and Spanish countries is, in the skill of the players and the enthusiasm it evokes in the spectators, much on a par with professional football in Great Britain. Still, the comparison will suggest itself. There is in Spain a 'pelota’ press, just as in England, during the winter months, we are assailed by numerous flimsy sheets assuming to quicken our interest in Rugby and Association football. * Pelota,' too, is a game in which the amateur with only spare moments on his hands has no chance against the professional. One reads in the Spanish journals now and then some such paragraph as this : 'On Thursday there took place in the “fronton” Euskal Jai of Madrid a notable game between the aristocratic and well-known devotees of “pelota," Messieurs B. and F. and the Marquis of E. and Mr. G. The doors were closed to the general public. The former couple won by twelve points. One may guess that, though the friends of these amateurs enjoyed themselves, and were willing to risk money on them, the 'pelota' public would not have found the same pleasure in the game, and would by no means have been so eager to bet as they are at the regular duels between accredited professionals whom they know, so to speak, from toe to scalp.
Like other pastimes, 'pelota’ has acquired a goodly terminology. For the present it may suffice to say that the fronton' is strictly the couple of walls necessary for the game: the side wall, that may be as many as eighty yards long, and the playing wall
proper, at right angles to it, and somewhat less than half its length, both walls being about twelve yards high. There is hardly a country town in Spain without a miniature “fronton.' In the upland wilds of Old Castille, where the villages are just mud hovels, extremely well baked by the sun, this couple of walls may be discovered in the outskirts, with perhaps a stone tablet let into the mud bricks, telling of the date when this majestic erection was raised. Here the youths of the place enjoy almost their sole form of honest muscular sport. They do not use the cestus like downright pelotaris '; and of course in other respects their arena is deficient. You would think they were playing fives, and nothing else. Yet they are in reality all emulating more or less the renowned players of Madrid, Bilbao,