Excerpt: ...tapestries upon the wall. The quaint figures of heroes and saints, that had seen many a Saracinesca born and many a one die in the ancient vaulted room, seemed to take the expressions of old friends watching over the suffering woman. A faint odour like that of ether pervaded the still air, an odour Giovanni never forgot during his life ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...tapestries upon the wall. The quaint figures of heroes and saints, that had seen many a Saracinesca born and many a one die in the ancient vaulted room, seemed to take the expressions of old friends watching over the suffering woman. A faint odour like that of ether pervaded the still air, an odour Giovanni never forgot during his life. Everything was so intensely quiet that he almost thought he could hear the ticking of his watch in his pocket. Corona stirred at last, and slowly opening her eyes, turned them gradually till they met her husband's gaze. At the first movement she made he had risen to his feet and now stood close beside her. "Did you kiss my hand-or did I dream it?" she asked faintly. "Yes, darling." He could not at once find words to say what he wanted. "Why did you?" Giovanni fell on his knees by the bedside and took her hand in both his own. "Corona, Corona-forgive me!" The cry came from his heart, and was uttered with an accent of despair that there was no mistaking. She knew, faint and scarcely conscious though she was, that he was not attempting to deceive her this time. But he could say no more. Many a strong man would in that moment have sobbed aloud and shed tears, but Giovanni was not as other men. Under great emotion all expression was hard for him, and the spontaneity of tears would have contradicted his nature. Corona wondered what had happened, and lay quite still, looking at his bent head and feeling the trembling touch of his hands on hers. For several seconds the stillness was almost as profound as it had been before. Then Giovanni spoke out slowly and earnestly. "My beloved wife," he said, looking up into her face, "I know all the truth now. I know what I have done. I know what you have suffered. Forgive me if you can. I will give my whole life to deserve your pardon." For an instant all Corona's beauty returned to her face as she heard his words. Her eyes shone softly, the colour mounted to her pale cheeks, and...Read Less
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.