F. Marion Crawford

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Title: Marietta A Maid of Venice
Author: F. Marion Crawford

Release Date: June 21, 2005 [eBook #16100]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy, Chuck Greif, and the
Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team

The Novels of F. Marion Crawford In Twenty-five
Volumes--Authorized Edition
A Maid of Venice
With Frontispiece
P. F. Collier & Son New York

[Illustration: "I AM NOT ASLEEP."--_Marietta: A Maid of Venice_.]

Very little was known about George, the Dalmatian, and the servants in
the house of Angelo Beroviero, as well as the workmen of the latter's
glass furnace, called him Zorzi, distrusted him, suggested that he was
probably a heretic, and did not hide their suspicion that he was in love
with the master's only daughter, Marietta. All these matters were
against him, and people wondered why old Angelo kept the waif in his
service, since he would have engaged any one out of a hundred young
fellows of Murano, all belonging to the almost noble caste of the
glass-workers, all good Christians, all trustworthy, and all ready to
promise that the lovely Marietta should never make the slightest
impression upon their respectfully petrified hearts. But Angelo had not
been accustomed to consider what his neighbours might think of him or
his doings, and most of his neighbours and friends abstained with
singular unanimity from thrusting their opinions upon him. For this,
there were three reasons: he was very rich, he was the greatest living
artist in working glass, and he was of a choleric temper. He confessed
the latter fault with great humility to the curate of San Piero each year
in Lent, but he would never admit it to any one else. Indeed, if any of
his family ever suggested that he was somewhat hasty, he flew into
such an ungovernable rage in proving the contrary that it was scarcely
wise to stay in the house while the fit lasted. Marietta alone was safe.
As for her brothers, though the elder was nearly forty years old, it was
not long since his father had given him a box on the ears which made
him see simultaneously all the colours of all the glasses ever made in
Murano before or since. It is true that Giovanni had timidly asked to be
told one of the secrets for making fine red glass which old Angelo had
learned long ago from old Paolo Godi of Pergola, the famous chemist;
and these secrets were all carefully written out in the elaborate
character of the late fifteenth century, and Angelo kept the manuscript
in an iron box, under his own bed, and wore the key on a small silver
chain at his neck.
He was a big old man, with fiery brown eyes, large features, and a very
pale skin. His thick hair and short beard had once been red, and streaks

of the strong colour still ran through the faded locks. His hands were
large, but very skilful, and the long straight fingers were discoloured by
contact with the substances he used in his experiments.
He was jealous by nature, rather than suspicious. He had been jealous
of his wife while she had lived, though a more devoted woman never
fell to the lot of a lucky husband. Often, for weeks together, he had
locked the door upon her and taken the key with him every morning
when he left the house, though his furnaces were almost exactly
opposite, on the other side of the narrow canal, so that by coming to the
door he could have spoken with her at her window. But instead of
doing this he used to look through a little grated opening which he had
caused to be made in the wall of the glass-house; and when his wife
was seated at her window, at her embroidery, he could watch her
unseen, for she was beautiful and he loved her. One day he saw a
stranger standing by the water's edge, gazing at her, and he went out
and threw the man into the canal. When she died, he said little, but he
would not allow his own children to speak of her before him. After that,
he became almost as jealous of his daughter, and though he did not lock
her up like her mother, he used to take her with him
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