“I trust Madame Beltrami is well!” I said stiffly, not feeling any particularly warm feeling towards that lady.
“Yes! her health is good.”
“And you are happy, Beltrami?”
“Tolerably! But tell me, how is Pallanza and his wife?”
“Oh, they live in Elysium, Marchese. At present they are in Milan, but leave next week for Madrid, where Pallanza is going to sing.”
“He’ll have to go by himself, then!”
“What do you mean?”
“That Madame, my very good wife, is hunting through Milan for his Elysium, with that famous bottle of poison in her pocket.”
“Great heavens! Is she going to try and poison Pallanza again?”
“No! you remember the Latin maxim, ‘Non bis in idem.’ She is going to try the effect of the poison on his wife.”
“And yet you can sit there calmly without making an attempt to save this innocent creature! Beltrami, it is infamous!”
I was walking up and down the room in a state of great excitement, for it seemed horrible and incomprehensible to see the Marchese sitting there so calm and composed, when he knew that a reckless, dangerous woman like his wife was in Milan bent on murder.
“Eh! Hugo, keep cool,” said Beltrami, quietly. “It is just this affair I have come to see you about. Sit down, mon ami, and I’ll tell you all about it.”
“But every moment is of value!”
“No doubt, but as it will take madame some time to find out where Signor Pallanza is staying, I think we can safely talk for five minutes.”
“Go on, then! I am all impatience!”
“So I see! Ebbene! When I went to Rome I told the Contessa that I had taken away Pallanza’s body; but of course I did not say he was alive, and swore that if she did not marry me I 佛山桑拿休闲会所 would tell everything to the authorities. The sequel you know–she married me.”
“A horrible contract,” I muttered savagely, looking at the whole affair from an English point of view.
“I-think we argued that matter before,” said Beltrami, coolly, “and, if I remember rightly, you did not agree with my reasons. However, it is too late now to blame me, seeing I have been married for nearly five weeks. We spent our honeymoon at Como–in fact, mon ami, we are spending it there still, only a perusal of yesterday’s Lombardia sent my excellent wife off to this city in search of Signora Pallanza.”
“I do not understand.”
“No? Then I will enlighten you. Madame, my wife, thought this devil of a tenor dead, and, as he has been keeping quiet all this time, she never for a moment suspected the truth. I saw an announcement of his marriage in the 佛山南海桑拿论坛交流 newspapers, but you may be sure I did not let the Marchesa see it. Everything was going beautifully, and we were a model couple–outwardly–when, as ill-luck would have it, this paragraph appeared in the paper.”
Beltrami handed me a copy of La Lombardia, and pointed to a paragraph, which I read. It stated that Guiseppe Pallanza, the famous tenor, was going to sing at the Grand Opera House, Madrid, and would be accompanied to Spain by his wife, the granddaughter of Maestro Angello, the celebrated teacher of singing.
“You can guess what a rage she was in,” said Beltrami, when I had finished reading this fatal information. “Diavolo! she has a temper; but, as I told you, I am quite a match for Madame, and held my own during this furious quarrel. She demanded an explanation, and I gave her one.”
“What? you told her—-”
“Everything, 佛山桑拿部长qq mon ami. Your story, my story, Pallanza’s story–all about the antidote, the vault, the supper. Eh! Hugo, she now knows as much as you or I. Mon Dieu, you should have seen her when I had finished!”
“Why? what did she do?”
“She smiled, that was all; but it was the smile that alarmed me.”
“For your own safety?”
“Ma foi, no! I told her she need not try the poison on me, as I had the antidote. In reply, she gave one of those wicked laughs that freeze your blood, and said that Signora Pallanza had not an antidote, and it would be the worse for her.”
“Then she intends to poison the poor girl?”
“I fancied so yesterday, and I was sure of it this morning, when I heard from my servants that the Marchesa Beltrami had gone to Milan. I knew what she was after, so followed by the next train, and came straight to you.”
“And what do 佛山桑拿按摩全套图 you want me to do, Beltrami?”
“Come with me at once to the Casa Angello, to warn Signora Pallanza! I suppose she is still staying with the Maestro Angello?”
“Yes, until she goes to Spain with her husband. Let
us go at once, Luigi. But, oh! Beltrami, if we are too late!”
“Do not be alarmed! I have the antidote in my pocket.”
CHAPTER XVII. NEMESIS.
The Maestro had a very comfortable suite of apartments in Milan overlooking the Via Carlo Alberto, near the Piazza del Duomo, which were chosen by him on account of their situation, as he could sit at the window of his bedroom and amuse himself by gazing at the crowded street. This watching of the populace was his great delight, and when not giving a lesson he was generally stationed at his window, or else employed in reading Il Seccolo, which he did in a curious fashion, by holding 佛山桑拿按摩论坛 it close to his best-seeing eye.
Of course, like all the entrances to these Milanese flats, the stairs were singularly damp, dark, and malodorous, and after running the gauntlet of a fat portanaia, who was devouring a large dish of polenta in her glass house, we climbed up the humid steps, and speedily arrived at the second storey, where dwelt the Maestro when in Milan. To make up for the filth under our feet the ceilings over our heads were gorgeously painted with mythological figures; and even at that moment I could not help recalling George Sands’ remark anent the contrast between these two. However, we had no time to admire the clumsy Jupiter throwing fire-brand thunderbolts, for at this moment Petronella, who had seen us through the dingy glass of her own little sanctum, opened the door, and was about to burst into a torrent of greetings, when I stopped her to ask if the Signora Pallanza was at home.
“Yes! yes! the Signora is in, but she is engaged– engaged in talking with a lady–Dio! a great lady!
“Great heavens! we may be too late!” I muttered to Beltrami, who nodded his head silently. “Petronella, speak low. This gentleman and myself came on an important errand to the Signora. What is the lady’s name?”
“Signor, she said she was the Marchesa Beltrami,” replied Petronella, her jolly face growing rather grave at all this mystery.