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to get answered : it is, whether the proprietor will pay us our salaries when they become due ?"
The mountebank replied, 6 Not one sou, if he can help it.”
I left him, and told my companions the prognostication, which they thought it extremely probable would be verified : this trifling circumstance was, of course, repeated by some of my good friends, to his Excellency, who was weak enough to take it as an offence, and told Bertini, that were it not to stop the performance of the theatre, he would annihilate me forthwith; but that, at all events, a day of retribution should come ere long.
My friend Bertini came and told me this, and advised me to be upon my guard whenever I went out. I went to wait upon Signor Conte Momelo Lana, the gentleman to whom Signora Benetti had given me a letter of recommendation, and told him what had passed, and the danger I thought I had to dread. He said he believed, from the wellknown implacable temper of my enemy, that I had every thing to fear; “but,” said he, “ Manuel must know that you are under my protection; and I assure you, that if he assassinates you, I will revenge you." I thanked the Count for his kind intentions, but told him I would rather not trouble him, and that I thought the best thing I could do, was to beat a retreat.
The Count said, I must be cautious how I did that, for if he got a scent of my intention, he would order his Sicari to despatch me. 66 There is but one thing you can do,” said he, “ to get out of his reach: and I will give you every aid to accomplish it :the grand ballet of the siege of Troy, which is now performing, lasts an hour and a half at least, and is played after the first act of the opera ; immediately before the ballet commences, go to your room, change the coat and waistcoat in which you perform, and put on your own; then lock your door, put your pelisse over you, watch your opportunity while they are in the bustle of preparing the ballet, slip out at the door at the back of the stage, and at the bottom of the street you will find my travelling carriage ready; my servant Stephano shall accompany you till he places you safe in Verona ; once there, you are out of the reach of Manuel and his assassins; there he has no power to harm you.
I will give you a letter of recommendation to my intimate friend and relation, the Count Bevi Acqua, who has interest sufficient to render you every service; he is a worthy man, and a great patron of the arts." He then offered to accommodate me with the loan of money, which I refused, as I had my father's remittance untouched, which was most ample for all my present wants.
It was agreed that I should put his excellent
project into execution the next night; he wrote me the letter for the Marquis Bevi Acqua, and the next evening I followed his directions implicitly, got to the end of the street, found the faithful Stephano, and, as fast as the horses could carry us on an excellent road, at full speed, escaped from Brescia and its threatened perils. I was full of terror till we got a few miles distant; we found horses ready at the first stage, and did not stop till we arrived at Desenzano, on the Lago di Garda, where we were beyond all dread of pursuit. I managed to send a small bundle of clothes the evening before I quitted Brescia to Stephano, which he put into his master's carriage; my trunks I left behind me, and requested my kind friend, Count Momolo Lana, to send them immediately after me to Verona, gave him the amount of what I had to pay for my lodgings, and begged him to write me an account of the sensation my escape made, and to give every publicity to the reasons why I quitted the place: I also left with him a letter to deliver to my kind and friendly Signora Ortabella, expressing the great regret I felt in quitting her, and hoping that we should soon meet on safer ground than Brescia, where a man ran the risk, if only commonly attentive to a woman, of having half a dozen bullets put into his body.
I arrived safe at Verona, which I thought rather fortunate, as the greatest part of the road from
Desenzano was infested by numerous banditti. I scarcely travelled a quarter of a mile without seeing a little wooden cross stuck by the road side, as a mark that some one had been murdered on the spot. I put up at the sign of the Due Tori, and the day after my arrival hired a pair of horses, to take the Count Lana's carriage and his faithful Stephano back to Brescia. On the third day
On the third day of my residence in Verona, I received a letter from the Count, together with my trunks :-he mentioned in his letter, that on the night of my departure, when the ballet was over, and the second act of the opera just about to begin, the greatest confusion prevailed amongst the performers; they searched every where for me, sent to my lodgings, where of course they could obtain no information, but they had not the slightest suspicion of my flight: an apology was necessarily made from the stage to the public, stating that I was not to be found; and, perforce, the opera was acted, omitting the scenes in which I was concerned.
Immediately afterwards, my friend the Count, caused the letter I had written, (explaining the reasons for my departure, and stating all that Count Manuel had told Bertini, of his intention to anni. hilate me), to be printed and widely circulated. In his letter to me, he mentioned, that he had a double motive for thus effectually giving publicity to my
case; in the first place, he was anxious to exculpate me with the public, for breaking my engagement ; and in the second, his object was, to deter my enemy from following up his revengeful threats, for that if any serious mischance should befal me, the world would, after such an exposition, naturally conclude him to be the author of it, and that he would consequently become responsible. He added, that the public considered me perfectly justified in
Count Manuel, when the affair became known, publicly denied ever having had any intention to injure me; but those who knew him, weighing his general character in the scale opposite to that in which they placed the circumstances of the case, fully and clearly detailed as they had been, believed neither his assertions nor asseverations upon this point. I was, however, thank God, out of his reach before his virtue was put to the proof; the circumstance was talked of all over Italy, but, in justice to myself, I ought to say, that I never heard of any blame attaching to me for my conduct.
In due season, after my arrival at Verona, I waited upon the Marquis of Bevi Acqua to deliver my
letter of introduction. I found him at home in his magnificent house ; he received me with marked kindness, and did me the honour to introduce me to his lady and three of her lovely daugh