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** I thought he had already been far beyond pursuit,' he muttered, unconsciously apologizing for his apparent haste.
“He is over bold, and I fear he will row back to the canals, in which case you might meet nearer to the city—or there may be more gondolas of the state out-in short, father, thou wilt be more certain to escape hearing the confession of a Bravo, by listening to that of a fisherman, who has long wanted an occasion to acknowledge his sins.
“ Men who ardently wish the same result, require few words to understand each other. The Carmelite took, intuitively, the meaning of his companion, and throwing back his cowl, a movement that exposed the countenance of Father Anselmo, he prepared to listen to the confession of the old man.
6. Thou art a Christian, and one of thy years hath not to learn the state of mind that becometh a penitent, said the monk, when each was ready.
6. I am a sinner, father; give me counsel and absolution, that I may have hope.
Thy will be done-thy prayer is heard--approach and kneel.'
“ Antonio, who had fastened his line to his seat, and disposed of his net with habitual care, now crossed himself devoutly, and took his station before the Carmelite. His acknowledgments of error then began. Much mental misery clothed the language and ideas of the fisherman with a dignity that his auditor had not been accustomed to find in men of his class. A spirit so long chastened by suffering had become elevated and noble. He related his hopes for the boy, the manner in which they had been blasted by the unjust and selfish policy of the state, his different efforts to procure the release of his grandson, and his bold expedients at the regatta, and the fancied nuptials with the Adriatic. When he had thus prepared the Carmelite to understand the origin of his sinful passions, which it was now his duty to expose, he spoke of those
passions themselves, and of their influence on a mind that was ordinarily at peace with mankind. The tale was told simply and without reserve, but in a manner to inspire respect, and to awaken powerful sympathy in him who heard it.
And these feelings thou didst indulge against the honored and powerful of Venice!' demanded the monk, affecting a severity he could not feel. 6. Before
God do I confess the sin! In bitterness of heart I cursed them; for to me they seemed men without feeling for the poor, and heartless as the marble of their own palaces.'
- Thou knowest that to be forgiven thou must forgive. Dost thou, at peace with all of earth, forget this wrong, and canst thou, in charity with thy fellows, pray to Him who died for the race, in behalf of those who have injured thee ??
“ Antonio bowed his head on his naked breast, and he seemed to commune with his soul.
“ Father,' he said, in a rebuked tone, “I hope I do.'
« • Thou must not trifle with thyself to thine own perdition. There is an eye in yon vault above us which pervades space, and which looks into the inmost secrets of the heart. Canst thou pardon the error of the patricians, in a contrite spirit for thine own sins?
“ Holy Maria, pray for them, as I now ask mercy in their behalf! Father, they are forgiven.'
“ The Carmelite arose and stood over the kneeling Antonio, with the whole of his benevolent countenance illuminated by the moon. Stretching his arms towards the stars, he pronounced the absolution in a voice that was touched with pious fervor. The upward expectant eye, with the withered lineaments of the fisherman, and the holy calm of the monk, formed a picture of resignation and hope that angels would have loved to witness.
*Amen! amen!' exclaimed Antonio, as he arose, crossing himself. St. Anthony and the Virgin aid me to keep these resolutions !
“• I will not forget thee, my son, in the offices of holy church. Receive my benediction, that I may depart.'
“ Antonio again bowed his knee, while the Carmelite firmly pronounced the words of peace. When this last office was performed, and a decent interval of mutual but silent prayer had passed, a signal was given to summon the gondola of the state. It came rowing down with great force, and was instantly at their side. Two men passed into the boat of Antonio, and with officious zeal assisted the monk to resume his place in that of the republic.
« • Is the penitent shrived ?? half whispered one, seemingly the superior of the two.
666 Here is an error. He thou seek'st has escaped. This aged man is a fisherman named Antonio, and one who cannot have gravely offended St. Mark. The Bravo hath passed towards the island of San Giorgio, and must be sought elsewhere.'
“ The officer released the person of the monk, who passed quickly beneath the canopy, and he turned to cast a hasty glance at the features of the fisherman. The rubbing of a rope was audible, and the anchor of Antonio was lifted by a sudden jerk. A heavy plashing of the water followed, and the two boats shot away together, obedient to a violent effort of the crew. The gondola of the state exhibited its usual number of gondoliers bending to their toil, with its dark and hearse-like canopy, but that of the fisherman was empty.
“ The sweep of the oars and the plunge of the body of Antonio had been blended in a common wash of the surge. When the fisherman came to the surface, after his fall, he was alone in the centre of the vast but tranquil sheet of water. There might have been a glimmering of hope, as he rose from the darkness of the
sea to the bright beauty of that moon-lit night. But the sleeping domes were too far for human strength, and the gondolas were sweeping madly towards the town. He turned, and swimming feebly, for hunger and previous exertion had undermined his strength, he bent his eye on the dark spot which he had constantly recognised as the boat of the Bravo.
" Jacopo had not ceased to watch the interview with the utmost intentness of his faculties. Favored by position, he could see without being distinetly visible. He saw the Carmelite pronouncing the absolution, and he witnessed the approach of the larger boat. He heard a plunge heavier than that of falling oars, and he saw the gondola of Antonio towing away empty. The crew of the republie had searcely swept the Laganes with their oar-blades, before his own stirred the water.
Jacopo !-Jacopo !' came fearfully and faintly to his ears. “ The voice was known, and the occasion thoroughly understood. The
cry of distress was succeeded by the rash of the water, as it piled before the beak of the Bravo's gondola. The sound of the parted element was like the sighing of a breeze. Ripples and bubbles were left behind, as the driven scad floats past the stars, and all those muscles which had once before that day been so finely developed in the race of the gondoliers, were now expanded, seemingly in twofold volumes. Energy and skill were in every stroke, and the dark spot came down the streak of light, like the swallow touching the water with its wing.
* Hither, Jacopo—thou steerest wide !!
“ The beak of the gondola turned, and the glaring eye of the Bravo caught a glimpse of the fisherman's head.
“Quickly, good Jacopo, I fail!
“ The murmuring of the water again drowned the stified words. The efforts of the oar were phrensied, and at each stroke the light gondola appeared to rise from its element.
Jacopo—hither-dear Jacopo !
The mother of God aid thee, fisherman !--I come.' “ . Jacopo—the boy !--the boy!
“ The water gurgled ; an arm was visible in the air, and it disappeared. The gondola drove upon the spot where the limb had just been visible, and a backward stroke, that caused the ashen blade to bend like a reed, laid the trembling boat motionless. The furious action threw the Lagune into ebullition, but, when the foam subsided, it lay calm as the blue and peaceful vault it reflected.
“. Antonio ! burst from the lips of the Bravo.
“A frightful silence succeeded the call. There was neither answer nor human form. Jacopo compressed the handle of his oar with fingers of iron, and his own breathing caused him to start. On every side he bent a phrensied eye, and on every side he beheld the profound repose of that treacherous element which is so terrible in its wrath. Like the human heart, it seemed to sympathize with the tranquil beauty of the midnight view; but, like the human heart, it kept its own fearful secrets.”
This passage is so fine that we must overlook its length : it is necessary to enable us to judge how perfectly Mr. Cooper succeeds in detached parts. The style of this passage is also unexceptionable, and the slight obscurity in the narrative throws a gloom over the scene which serves as the chiar'oscuro of the picture. It is evident from this novel, unsuccessful as it was,
that the writer had faculties for writing romances of a more general character than the world at large gave him credit for, and that it only required perseverance to be as successful in this walk of fiction as in the other. If preference for American subjects