She summons me to keep my promise, and accuses me of deceiving her, so you may imagine that my situation is an unhappy one."

"Have you any obligations towards her?"

"None whatever. She has violated me, so to speak, for all the advances came from her. She has only what her sister gives her from day to day, and if she got married she would not get that."

"Have you got her with child?"

"I have taken good care not to do so, and that's what has irritated her; she calls all my little stratagems detestable treason."

"Nevertheless, you have made up your mind to marry her sooner or later?"

"I'd as soon hang myself. If I got married to her I should be four times as poor as I am now, and all my relations at Novara would laugh at me for bringing home a wife of her age. Besides, she is neither rich nor well born, and at Novara they demand the one or the other."

"Then as a man of honour and as a man of sense, you ought to break with her, and the sooner the better."

"I know, but lacking normal strength what am I to do? If I did not go and sup with her to-night, she would infallibly come after me to see what had happened. I can't lock my door in her face, and I can't tell her to go away."

"No, but neither can go on in this miserable way.

"You must make up your mind, and cut the Gordian knot, like Alexander."

"I haven't his sword."

"I will lend it you."

"What do you mean?"

"Listen to me. You must go and live in another town. She will hardly go after you there, I suppose."

"That is a very good plan, but flight is a difficult matter."

"Difficult? Not at all. Do you promise to do what I tell you, and I will arrange everything quite comfortably. Your mistress will not know anything about it till she misses you at supper."

"I will do whatever you tell me, and I shall never forget your kindness; but Brigida will go mad with grief."

"Well my first order to you is not to give her grief a single thought. You have only to leave everything to me. Would you like to start to- morrow?"


"Yes. Have you any debts?"


"Do you want any money?"

"I have sufficient. But the idea of leaving tomorrow has taken my breath away. I must have three days delay."

"Why so?"

"I expect some letters the day after to-morrow, and I must write to my relations to tell them where I am going."

"I will take charge of your letters and send them on to you."

"Where shall I be?"

"I will tell you at the moment of your departure; trust in me. I will send you at once where you will be comfortable. All you have to do is to leave your trunk in the hands of your landlord, with orders not to give it up to anyone but myself."

"Very good. I am to go without my trunk, then."

"Yes. You must dine with me every day till you go, and mind not to tell anyone whatsoever that you intend leaving Bologna."

"I will take care not to do so."

The worthy young fellow looked quite radiant. I embraced him and thanked him for putting so much trust in me.

I felt proud at the good work I was about to perform, and smiled at the thought of Brigida's anger when she found that her lover had escaped. I wrote to my good friend Dandolo that in five or six days a young abbe would present himself before him bearing a letter from myself. I begged Dandolo to get him a comfortable and cheap lodging, as my friend was so unfortunate as to be indifferently provided with money, though an excellent man. I then wrote the letter of which the abbe was to be the bearer.

Next day Bolini told me that Brigida was far from suspecting his flight, as owing to his gaiety at the thought of freedom he had contented her so well during the night she had passed with him that she thought him as much in love as she was.

"She has all my linen," he added, "but I hope to get a good part of it back under one pretext or another, and she is welcome to the rest."

On the day appointed he called on me as we had arranged the night before, carrying a huge carpet bag containing necessaries.

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