The young man was dressed in the most elegant way; the finest taste had dictated the norm of his clothing, which, however, did not emerge from the strictest simplicity. Entering the living room where that enchanting creature was, Daniele frowned and frowned, since Emma had not, as usual, got up from her chair to go and receive him; the young girl seemed entirely absorbed in the study of that Spanish ballad.
– Good morning, master, he said, I was waiting for you impatiently; I don’t know if I have guessed this refrain which is very gentle but difficult.
– Let’s see, Duchessina, nothing can be difficult for you.
– Truly I tell you that I will never reach the simplicity and grace of this song; I’m afraid I won’t sing Saturday at Lady Boston’s night.
– In this case I would attract everyone’s hatred and animosity, Duchessina, because I would be blamed for not having made you sing this ballad.
– I assure you that I would not sing it if I had not promised this to all my friends.
And to the Viscount of Boisrouge, Duchessina, Daniele added darkly, fixing his troubled eyes on the young girl’s face.
– Well, yes, I confess; I promised him too: you know that this is one of my admirers, said the girl laughing, showing those two rows of snowy and very alike teeth.
– Admirer! Duchessina, and who is not your admirer? Rather give it another title.
– And which?
– Your lover’s.
– It is true, replied Emma, and of the most boring.
– Not so much, Duchessina; I would like to remind you that Monday evening at Madame A’s party … you sang the duet of Tancredi with such expression with him , that everyone envied the fate of the Viscount …
– Oh! you know well that I always try to put a little soul in what I sing; I cannot overcome my temper. On the other hand, that duet is so beautiful!
– I hate him, Duchessina.
– You hate him! and why?
– I do not know, I hate it so much that I have sworn not to accompany the song in any meeting.
– And yet, you yourself told me that you liked that duet extremely, and it was you, if you remember well, who made me learn.
– Oh, Duchessina, if I had supposed that …
– What, master?
– I don’t know, it meant that … that … I’ve hated that duet since Monday night.
Daniele lowered his eyes: a slight tint of vermilion had appeared on his face. Emma pretended not to understand the meaning of those words and randomly drew a chord from the keyboard.
– Do you want to have the goodness to listen to this piece again?
– I listen to you, Duchessina.
Emma began to sing the Spanish ballad. There was in the young girl’s voice such an enchantment, such a voluptuousness that it would have upset the reason of the coldest listener: it had certain strings that touched the bottom of the heart, and stirred the passions: it had certain contralto thunders, certain modulations, certain cadences that a theater would have fallen for applause if that woman had been an artist. That voice, that accent, that song made you shudder in all the fibers of your body, made you pale in a storm of emotions.
We cannot tell what happened in Daniel’s heart when hearing that ballad being sung. Not to mention the all-consuming passion that pined him for that girl and put fever in his wrists whenever he simply heard her talking, he felt an indefinable feeling all the breaths he heard Spanish words. He himself did not know how to understand this, but it was a cloud of indistinct memories, a distant dream that reappeared in his mind, another sky, another earth that he saw through confused images: it was perhaps the language that in the cradle he could hear whispering in his ear, and that perhaps he himself stammered when he was a child of two in three years. It is certain that that song and the words of that language made such an impression on Daniel’s soul that he felt his brain touch and go mad. He added that in the heap of very veiled memories that occurred to him at the thought, he saw a very splendid house and many vague objects that he could not distinguish: among other things, he depicted in the midst of his memory a beautiful woman who always kissed him, and who she was saying so many things to him in that language which he now found on the lips of that beautiful creature, who sat beside him. And when Emma had finished singing, Daniele remained still in the immobility of a statue, absorbed in a single idea that gave him trouble and that made him lose his mind. He thought … he thought that maybe he was born and he saw a very splendid house and many vague objects that he could not distinguish: among other things, he depicted in the midst of his memory a beautiful woman who always kissed him, and who said to him so many things in that language that he now found on his lips of that beautiful creature, who sat beside him. And when Emma had finished singing, Daniele remained still in the immobility of a statue, absorbed in a single idea that gave him trouble and that made him lose his mind. He thought … he thought that maybe he was born and he saw a very splendid house and many vague objects that he could not distinguish: among other things, he depicted in the midst of his memory a beautiful woman who always kissed him, and who said to him so many things in that language that he now found on his lips of that beautiful creature, who sat beside him. And when Emma had finished singing, Daniele remained still in the immobility of a statue, absorbed in a single idea that gave him trouble and that made him lose his mind. He thought … he thought that maybe he was born Daniele remained, however, in the immobility of a statue, absorbed in a single idea that gave him trouble and that made him go out of his mind. He thought … he thought that maybe he was born Daniele remained, however, in the immobility of a statue, absorbed in a single idea that gave him trouble and that made him go out of his mind. He thought … he thought that maybe he was bornrich and noble !
– Well, master, have you nothing to observe, nothing to correct in the way of singing this ballad? Emma asked him.
– Nothing, Duchessina. When I listen to you, I am no longer on this earth, you know. Sterile and pedantic art is electrocuted by your genius. When I listen to you, I am no longer your teacher, but your admirer.
– You flatter me too much, master; I’m afraid you won’t spoil me.
– And I would really spoil you if I made the slightest pedantic remark to what you sang. We have changed our parts, Duchessina; you are the one who teaches and I who are learning. If you only knew how many hidden artistic beauties your song reveals to me! I do not speak to you of the impression it produces in me, of what I feel … Duchessina, I will be forced to give up the pleasure of hearing you.
– What does this mean? the young girl asked, lowering those long lashes of hers.
– It means that being close to you for an hour or two, here, in this living room, with my chair so close to yours, to see you so close, to taste the immense delight of hearing you sing, to stay with you alone and alone. , to hear your words, to look into your eyes … it is too cruel a test for my poor heart … I cannot, no, Duchessina … A thousand others envy my fate, and yet I am much more unhappy than all of them. .. Forgive, the daring frankness of my language, and pity the evils you do.
– I don’t understand you, sir. Isn’t your profession to be a music teacher? Am I not your disciple? Don’t I owe what little I know to your peerless merit? As for the effect that my song produces in you, as you say, I attribute it to the beautiful tempera of your well-formed soul. On the other hand, it is true that singing can have strange effects on the hearts of lovers.
Daniel jumped up on his chair, winced, faded, and then his face became a fiery flame.
– That! Duchessina, he stammered, would you have read my soul?
– Not really, in your soul, the young girl replied, smiling, but I guessed something from this note that I am handing you. Last night you did not come to our conversation, and yesterday evening you would have found something here which would have pleased you very much. Well, here’s the ticket; away, do not blush; making love is so natural at your age!
Emma drew a card folded into the shape of a letter from her breast and handed it to the astonished young man, who threw his eyes at it with ambitious greed and read on the cover: daniele de ‘rimini – from lucia fritzheim . Daniele turned pale: his lips turned white like those of a dead man, and he remained a long time with that letter in his hand without knowing how to resolve to open it. He had landed! He had done so much to hide his loves with Lucia from Emma, lest her low origin have reached her ear!
– Well, master, what are you thinking about now? Don’t rush to read what your beautiful writes to you? Now come on, let’s go, I’ll give you permission.
– Duchessina, the young man answered in a hoarse voice, poorly hiding the agitation and anger in which he was seized, allow me to tell you that I am very much deceived in your suppositions. This woman who writes to me, this woman whom you believe to be my sweetheart, is but an adventurer … a foreigner whom I met by chance; her surname tells you that she does not belong to this country. I don’t know how she dared to write to me after I despised her, after I didn’t want to fall into the snares of her seductions …. But I already know what this woman is asking of me, Duchessina. It is not love that this unfortunate woman asks of me, but rather bread … bread.
Saying this, the infamous foundling pocketed the letter without even opening it, for fear that Emma was not born with the curiosity to look at it.
– In this case I beg your pardon, master that such a woman was in love with you. I assure you that I am sorry for having deceived myself: I do not know why, but that name had aroused a certain sympathy in me, also because I was told last night that a boy of about ten had brought that letter in eleven years. The poor fellow had first been to your home on the Riviera di Chiaia , where they had told him that perhaps they would find you here. My maid added that the poor man began to cry when he learned that you weren’t here; he seemed very afflicted and tired to death, because he had made the journey on foot, and said he had started from no less than a distant, distant road; if I remember correctly, from S. Maria degli Angeli to the crossesclose to the Royal Hotel for the poor! These last words chilled Daniel’s heart. Emma now knew Lucia’s abode! A footprint was marked to uncover it all! Daniele bit his lip: his eyes poured out poison of anger.
– Intrigues, lies, Duchessina: nothing true of what that child asserted, who had perhaps been taught a part to move the people of this house and steal money from them. Rascals of beggars! You must have that child chased out by your servants, if he shows up again or anyone else comes in the name of this intriguing adventurer; their feet would ugly your house; their words would defile the ears of your people. I would not be surprised if Lucia Fritzheim herself dared to come here! Oh, Duchessina, she would deceive the most astute. If you saw what a semblance of innocence! What naive ways of a kind and virtuous heart! But now you are warned, and you will not give into the pan, as your servants will not fall into it. What am I saying! It is necessary, I repeat to you, and it is necessary to have them chased without listen to them! Oh, if your father or mother knew what a woman Lucia Fritzheim is, they would not be able enough to regret that you kept a note from her.
– But I was ignorant of all this, said the girl, vaguely coloring her face red.
– We have taken care of this wretched enough. May her name no longer contaminate your lips, Duchessina, do me the honor of believing that neither my heart nor my thoughts go so low.
Spite, anger, and spite were painted on the semblant of Daniele. Emma thought she saw a feeling of righteous indignation in it.
– Well, master, let’s not talk about that anymore. You can’t believe how it hurts me to hear certain things. Oh what a bad thing is lies, hypocrisy, betrayal!
Daniele rolled his eyes as if he had had a blow from a club on his head. Fortunately, Emma did not look at that moment, since she had again explained the first page of the Spanish ballad on the piano-forte lectern.
“So you, master, would you encourage me to sing this ballad at Lady Boston’s Saturday night?”
– If I encourage you, Duchessina! What do you want me to tell you? You will sing it, if you like, and if you have promised it to that one and to the Viscount de Boisrouge; you will sing it, and you will drive all those gentlemen crazy. But for me, you know it; I wish you never sang in the congregations … I am jealous, Duchessina.
– Jealous! the young girl exclaimed, smiling.
– Yes, jealous; or rather, selfish. I would like to hear you alone; I would like no one else to feel the joy I feel in listening to you. I know well, Emma, that no one can feel what I feel in those moments; but even then, when I glance over the circle of your listeners, and see their inflamed faces, their sparkling eyes, and guess the beating of their hearts, it seems to me that everyone must adore you since … angels like you.
Daniele didn’t say since I adore you , but Emma understood him and smiled. For a long time the young girl had noticed Daniel’s love for her, and she rejoiced. Daniel was for her a victim whom she hitched to the chariot of her continuous triumphs, and which she was pleased to upset.
– Always courteous and gallant is your master language. If I did not know that you are sincere, I would believe you flatterer …
After a few moments of silence, Emma resumed:
– I’ll have a lot of courage Saturday night to start singing. Do you know who will sing from Lady Boston?
– Anyone else can only disfigure your comparison.
– Even if this one or this other was Signora Pasta?
‘Well, Signora Pasta, too, could only be in the second row to your chest, Duchessina.
– Oh! Oh! you agree that this is too much. Ms. Pasta is the first singer who is in Italy today.
– I do not deny her merit, but woe to her, I repeat, if you tread the stage for just one evening!
– Stop the compliments, master, and allow me to ask you what you will sing: remember that last Saturday you promised to make yourselves heard, and it would be rude to miss it.
– I will not fail; I promised to sing … and I will sing for the first time in Lady Boston’s house.
– They admired you as a distinguished player; they will have the ease of admiring you as a distinguished singer. What song will you sing?
– A piece of my composition: you will do great wonders if I tell you that I too composed the words for this piece.
– Really! screamed the young girl, every day I discover new qualities and new qualities in you; I didn’t know you were also a poet.
– Duchessina, when you have a deep passion in your heart, you become a poet without wanting to.
Emma looked down at the keyboard; and, pretending to be light-hearted, he added:
– And is it a romance that you have composed?
– I don’t know what it is; I only know that the words and the music are exhaled from the depths of my soul.
– Have you at least given a title to this piece of yours?
– Yes, Duchessina, the title is, A guilty love .
– Why guilty ? asked the girl.
– Because love is my fault; and he makes me idolize.
Emma stood up and smiling said to Daniele:
– Sit here, master, and let me hear your guilty love .
The young man felt deeply humiliated by this kind of subtle and mocking irony.
– I cannot, Duchessina: at this moment there is too much difference and too much distance between our souls for you to be able to fully enjoy my composition; my soul is sad, very sad, and yours is cheerful, smiling, happy. Not therefore, as you want it, I will sing, I will make you hear my poem and I will wait on your lips for my sentence … that is, if I can venture to sing it from Lady Boston.
Daniele sat down at the piano forte and sang the following romance:
Ah never, you will never know
What is the object of my love,
If you also give me a kingdom,
It will not be that I open my heart to you.
It will remain buried in the chest
The secret of my love.
Mute the lip does not trust
To reveal the hidden flame;
Whether I cry or laugh,
My penar is closed to everyone;
For the heart does not dare to itself
Its guilt to confess.
If she who falls in love with me
Simplicity smiles at me,
My face is discolored,
And the fire in me is made;
But the mystery that kills me
She herself will ignore.
How was my love born,
Which one has hope I don’t know how to say;
A most ardent desire
Sol is gnawing at my sen.
Ah I could in dying
How much I love to tell her at least!
Daniele had sung this romance with such an accent of desperate passion that Emma could not hide her disturbance. The young man had a beautiful baritone voice, to which was added a way of singing so perfect and so much art that his singing fell in love. Think what and how much expression was placed by him this breath in the piece of music, in which he portrayed the sufferings of his own heart.
– Magnificent! sublime! exclaimed the girl; you will be the hero of the Saturday evening; but beware that everyone will use the indiscretion to ask you for the name of the object you love.
– They will ask in vain, Duchessina.
– Well, master, tell me only the initial letter of his name; tell it to me alone, I promise you that I will not reveal it to anyone.
– What are you asking me, Duchessina!
– The initial letter only; think that it is impossible to know a name from a letter.
Well, I’ll tell you a letter of her name and let you guess; but then the responsibility for my uncovered secret will weigh on you.
– Say then.
Daniele took a small pencil from his pocket and with a trembling hand he marked the letter M. on the music paper of his romance.
Ah! I guess, exclaimed the cunning young girl to torture her lover, and as if she had not understood that this M was all her name; I guess what it is; you love Lady Maria Boston : you are right to have entitled your romance a guilty love , because this woman is married.
Daniele, very pale and troubled, was about to answer when the Duchess of Gonzalvo, Emma’s mother, appeared in the drawing room. The lesson ceased, and the conversation turned to indifferent things.