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water dripping over the side out of matter? one cannot always choose !" the broken lips of four quaint old and beckoning me to follow, he led lions.

the way towards the principal door Two or three steps led up to this of the church. fountain, and on and about these a The peasants stood aside as we group of peasants was assembled ; passed, looking after me with smilsome sat, some leant over the edge; ing, good - humoured faces. One all were talking and gesticulating, among them especially attracted my and a look of gaiety animated the attention—a tall youth, standing on whole scene. It was, I remembered, the steps of the fountain, and leana festa.

ing over the side. He was dressed In one corner of the piazza sat in a fashion rather superior to that an old woman selling medallions, of his companions, and looked someimages, rosaries, &c.; and now and what above them in intelligence, if then her shrill voice echoed through not in rank. Though all those who the crowd, "Buy, buy, Signori ; stood round him were chattering

, for the love of heaven!”

and laughing gaily, he neither Suddenly a side-door of the moved nor spoke, but stood motionchurch, probably that of the sacristy, less as a statue, with his eyes fixed opened, and a loud, deep voice on the water. called out, “ Olà, Carola, come

“ Would you

tell

me, Signore,” I here !" A tidy-looking woman left asked, “is that tall young fellow her doorway and hurried across to one of the village fishermen, like the church-she appeared to say the others ?" something which I could not hear; “ Who? where ? Ah ! it is Nen. then the former voice exclaimed, cini you speak of. Yes, he is a

Certainly, certainly.” The door fisherman ; poor lad, he is sadly was thrown open, and the village afflicted-dumb from his birth! priest came forth and advanced Yonder is his mother, Carola-extowards me.

cellent woman ! she is my houseThe Curato of San Jacopo was a keeper, and I have been able to

a tall angular man, with a mild and give him something of an education; kindly expression of face. In any but he is a fisherman, without other than an Italian the large limbs doubt. We are all fishermen here." and gaunt frame would have been “ Dumb from his birth "-poor awkward ; but there was a certain fellow! I looked back at him as

. grace in his movements, and even we entered the church, the priest in the way in which the scanty and courteously holding back the heavy rather rusty cassock hung closely leathern curtain to let me pass. I around him. The courtesy with was struck by the expression of the which he removed the three-cor- lad's face—it could not be called vered hat from his tonsured head, bad; but there was a dark look of and bowed low, would have rivalled bitterness on it which sadly marred the courtly welcome of the highest- its beauty. I need hardly say that born gentleman.

I had never before heard of the “Welcome, welcome, Signore !” picture I was supposed to have come he said, extending a long sinewy to see; but I did not betray my hand, with supple fingers; "with- ignorance, for it would have deeply out doubt you have heard of our mortified the excellent priest. picture, and would like to see it? The church was very small, but Alas! it is becoming dark, and the elaborately decorated. The sidemorning light is best. But what altar of its patron saint, San Jacopo, was, above all, honoured—the altar, The after-glow faded away; the apse, and wall being quite covered short southern twilight was over, with votive offerings,-little pic- and the little church grew darker tures of wrecks and storms, of and darker. miraculous draughts of fish, of After an absence of about threebroken boats, &c., with silver hearts quarters of an hour, the priest of every size and weight, and, in returned through the sacristy, folfront, a whole row of lamps burn- lowed by Gian-Battista Nencini, the ing, each in its little red glass. dumb lad.

Over the altar hung the famous Gian-Battista-or Giannetto, as picture, covered by a faded green he was usually called-seated him

a curtain. After lighting two of the

self in a

corner of the church, tall candles before it, the good priest sullenly twisting his broad-brimmed drew aside the curtain, and allowed hat between his knees; while, as me to behold the treasure of San if unconscious that a moment had Jacopo.

elapsed since he left me, the good It was a curious, very old speci- priest continued his discourse just men of Byzantine art—the Madonna where he had left off. and Child, almost black with age, “Behold, Signore, what grace ! and made more so by the huge flat what benevolence ! how natural the crowns of beaten silver on the brows attitude ! The picture has not alof the sacred figures. Something ways been here. Heaven knows there was about it dignified and that San Jacopo might have been a grand, as there often is even in the great and flourishing town by this inferior specimens of that school. time had it always been with us.

The Curato was just beginning No, no ! in the fourteenth century his explanations when a sound from it was carried off by a certain Cecwithout arrested his attention ; colo degli Orsini, one of the Roman shouts of laughter, and a curious princes, they say, a great condottiere sort of noise like the inarticulate by sea and land. He carried it as roar of some enraged animal—then a banner for years ; but, by the ina shrill woman's voice, talking tervention of the saints, it was preloudly.

served from spears and swords, and “ Allow me, allow me, Signore ! it won for him the battle of Turrita, a little moment," he exclaimed, in the Valdichiana, when he was in hurriedly quitting the church. Pre. the service of the republic of Siena. sently I heard his voice loudly re- Some eighty years ago it was sold monstrating, and the sounds ceased. in Rome (by whom, it is not For some time he did not return, known), but it was bought for a and I sat down on a bench in front French convent, and sent off by sea of the sacred picture. After about from Cività Vecchia. By the miracten minutes I got tired of waiting, ulous ordinance of heaven the ship and went to the door, intending to went down, and the picture was go out; when, rather to my conster- washed ashore. It was found on nation, I found that it was locked. the beach by the fishermen, and I could not help smiling, for it was brought back once more into the very evident that the priest was so church. Alas! some of the drapery afraid of my escaping without hear- was damaged, but it has been weil ing his story, that he had locked restored by a young artist who me in. There was nothing for it passed through the town; and bebut patience, and I philosophically hold, the principal parts, the two resigned myself to my fate.

faces, are intact. Since it has been water dripping over the side out of matter? one cannot always choose !" the broken lips of four quaint old and beckoning me to follow, he led lions.

the way towards the principal door Two or three steps led up to this of the church. fountain, and on and about these a The peasants stood aside as we group of peasants was assembled ; passed, looking after me with smilsome sat, some leant over the edge; ing, good - humoured faces. One all were talking and gesticulating, among them especially attracted my and a look of gaiety animated the attention-a tall youth, standing on whole scene. It was, I remembered, the steps of the fountain, and lean

, a festa.

ing over the side. He was dressed In one corner of the piazza sat in a fashion rather superior to that an old woman selling medallions, of his companions, and looked someimages, rosaries, &c.; and now and what above them in intelligence, if then her shrill voice echoed through not in rank. Though all those who the crowd, “Buy, buy, Signori ; stood round him were chattering for the love of heaven !"

and laughing gaily, he neither Suddenly a side-door of the moved nor spoke, but stood motionchurch, probably that of the sacristy, less as a statue, with his eyes fixed opened, and a loud, deep voice on the water. called out, “Olà, Carola, come “ Would you tell me, Signore," I here!" A tidy-looking woman left asked, “is that tall young fellow her doorway and hurried across to one of the village fishermen, like the church-she appeared to say the others ?" something which I could not hear; “ Who? where ? Ah! it is Nenthen the former voice exclaimed, cini you speak of. Yes, he is a “Certainly, certainly.” The door fisherman; poor lad, he is sadly was thrown open, and the village afflicted-dumb from his birth! priest came forth and advanced Yonder is his mother, Carola-extowards me.

cellent woman! she is my houseThe Curato of San Jacopo was a keeper, and I have been able to tall angular man, with a mild and give him something of an education; kindly expression of face. In any but he is a fisherman, without other than an Italian the large limbs doubt. We are all fishermen here." and gaunt frame would have been “ Dumb from his birth"-poor awkward ; but there was a certain fellow! I looked back at him as grace in his movements, and even we entered the church, tho priest in the way in which the scanty and courteously holding back the heavy rather rusty cassock hung closely leathern curtain to let me pass. I around him. The courtesy with was struck by the expression of the which he removed the three-cor- lad's face—it could not be called nered hat from his tonsured head, bad; but there was a dark look of and bowed low, would have rivalled bitterness on it which sadly marred the courtly welcome of the highest- its beauty. I need hardly say that born gentleman.

I had never before heard of the “Welcome, welcome, Signore !" picture I was supposed to have come he said, extending a long sinewy to see; but I did not betray my hand, with supple fingers ; "with. ignorance, for it would have deeply out doubt you have heard of our mortified the excellent priest. picture, and would like to see it ? The church was very small, but Alas ! it is becoming dark, and the elaborately decorated. The sidemorning light is best. But what altar of its patron saint, San Jacopo,

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was, above all, honoured—the altar, The after-glow faded away; the apse, and wall being quite covered short southern twilight was over, with votive offerings,-little pic- and the little church grew darker tures of wrecks and storms, of and darker. miraculous draughts of fish, of After an absence of about threebroken boats, &c., with silver hearts quarters of an hour, the priest of every size and weight, and, in returned through the sacristy, folfront, a whole row of lamps burn- lowed by Gian-Battista Nencini, the ing, each in its little red glass. dumb lad.

Over the altar hung the famous Gian-Battista-or Giannetto, as picture, covered by a faded green he was usually called-seated himcurtain. After lighting two of the self in a corner of the church, tall candles before it, the good priest sullenly twisting his broad-brimmed drew aside the curtain, and allowed hat between his knees; while, as me to behold the treasure of San if unconscious that a moment had Jacopo.

elapsed since he left me, the good It was a curious, very old speci- priest continued his discourse just men of Byzantine art—the Madonna where he had left off. and Child, almost black with age, “Behold, Signore, what grace ! and made more so by the huge flat what benevolence ! how natural the crowns of beaten silver on the brows attitude ! The picture has not alof the sacred figures. Something ways been here. Heaven knows there was about it dignified and that San Jacopo might have been a grand, as there often is even in the great and flourishing town by this inferior specimens of that school. time had it always been with us.

The Curato was just beginning No, no ! in the fourteenth century his explanations when a sound from it was carried off by a certain Cecwithout arrested his attention ; colo degli Orsini, one of the Roman shouts of laughter, and a curious princes, they say, a great condottiere sort of noise like the inarticulate by sea and land. He carried it as roar of some enraged animal—then a banner for years; but, by the ina shrill woman's voice, talking tervention of the saints, it was preloudly.

served from spears and swords, and “Allow me, allow me, Signore ! it won for him the battle of Turrita, a little moment,” he exclaimed, in the Valdichiana, when he was in hurriedly quitting the church. Pre- the service of the republic of Siena. sently I heard his voice loudly re- Some eighty years ago it was sold monstrating, and the sounds ceased. in Rome (by whom, it is not For some time he did not return, known), but it was bought for a and I sat down on a bench in front French convent, and sent off by sea of the sacred picture. After about from Cività Vecchia. By the miracten minutes I got tired of waiting, ulous ordinance of heaven the ship and went to the door, intending to went down, and the picture was go out; when, rather to my conster- washed ashore. It was found on nation, I found that it was locked. the beach by the fishermen, and I could not help smiling, for it was brought back once more into the very evident that the priest was so church. Alas! some of the drapery afraid of my escaping without hear-was damaged, but it has been well ing his story, that he had locked restored by a young artist who me in. There was nothing for it passed through the town; and bebut patience, and I philosophically hold, the principal parts, the two resigned myself to my fate.

faces, are intact. Since it has been

here, many are the good deeds it embittered by his isolation. But
has done. Look at this picture". for that look of bitterness he would
pointing to one of the votive offer- have been very handsome. Slightly
ings—"see the raging sea, the sink- made and tall, his figure was muscu-
ing boat, the man swimming for his lar and active ; and I learnt after-
life! That man was Pietro Nencini, wards that he was one of the most
father of Giannetto yonder. At the skilful and successful fishermen on
moment he was sinking he called on the coast.
the Santa Madonna of San Jacopo, The priest remained silent for a
and just as he called, he felt dry moment or so, and then, with a
land! He lived to die in his bed, short sigh, he turned away, and
and leave his widow to be my began replacing the curtain over the
housekeeper. Ah! it was a won- sacred picture, saying, as he did so,
derful preservation ! Many a time “Vossignoria should visit us on our
has poor Carola entreated the inter- great day, the feast of San Jacopo.
vention of Madonna and San Jacopo Ah! then he would see great
to restore speech to her son; but things ; for the pilgrims come from

- what will you ?—'tis the will of far and wide, and the flowers and
Heaven.”

garlands are many. Behold, that The priest paused to take breath, large silver heart was given by a and I asked him what had been the lady from near Mentone—a great cause of his leaving me so abruptly. and rich lady. Her husband had He bent down, and spoke low, that been at sea, and she awaited his Giannetto should not hear.

return; but for three weeks after his “It was those lads," he said. vessel was due at Marseilles it did “In their idle hours they are always not arrive, and Signora Francesca laughing and mocking Giannetto; vowed a silver heart to every church and when I am not there, they dedicated to San Jacopo (his patron drive him half mad. Heaven help saint) within fifty miles, if he should me! at such times he is a wild return safely. At the end of forty beast, and even I can scarcely calm days the ship came in ; but the him. Cruel ! cruel! Why cannot husband had lost one leg, so she they leave the poor boy alone?" naturally reduced the number of

The priest turned angrily round, miles to twenty, and our church looking at Giannetto.

He con

was happily within the distance.” tinued, with a sigh, “Sometimes I The priest would have run on for have thought that some doctor ever in this strain ; but the gathermight cure him. I have heard that ing clouds warned me that I must such things are not impossible; but not linger if I hoped to regain the I have not the means of paying one, little town where I had slept the and his mother still less."

previous night before total darkPoor Giannetto sat still in the dark corner of the church, leaning I took out what money I had back against the wall. The sullen- with me, and offered it to the priest ness had faded out of his face now, for his poor. He took it in his leaving on it a look of depression hand, jingling it for a moment, and which went to my heart." I felt then, in a half-hesitating way, he the most profound pity for one so said, “ A thousand pardons, Signore; young, writhing under so grievous but if Vossignoria did not object, I a burden, evidently chafing and re- have a little

fund in hand which I belling against it, unable to resign am trying to raise to send Giannetto himself, and growing more and more to a great doctor at Nice; and we

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ness.

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