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Hand And Heart

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One evening, itt the year 1520, a woiruii, enveloped in a. long black mautle, wae . wulkmg tovvHids the bridge of the ltialtu m Venice. Her steps were wenk and uneven, and, at intervals, she looked around with a hurried irightened glance 8he paused on the center of the bridge, and looked dcwn with i shudder on the cleur, tjhie wateis of the Adriatiü ; tJien t.losing her eyes, and muimuring taintly, "Au tomo! my Antonio! Adieu !" she preparad to tlirow herself over the parapet. Juit as she was falling, a man rushed forward, seizt'd her with a powerful grasp, and drawing her back, said, " Qirl ! destroy not thy lite which Providence has given thee, If you aro unhappy, enter yon ohurch, kneel on its hallowed pa vemen t, pour out your sorrow, and thank your Alaker that you huve been preserved trom crime - trom rushiog unoalled into Hio presence!" The girl impatiently tried to shake uff the stroug, kind hai'd that held her, and said, " Let me go ! 1 must die !" In another moment she tottered and feil to the grouud, where she lay without sense or uiotion. Her preserver raised her head, and, in order to give her air, drtiW back the veil which couoealed herfeatures. They were very lovyly, and the man gazed on ber with wonder and adiniration as she was gradually restored. By degrees she told hiin who she was and where she lived. Her history might be suinnied up in a few worcfs : an avaricious father, a poor lover, a mutual but unhappy love, Vaiuly did Maria plead with her father a rich innkeeper of Veniee, the cause ot lier lover, Antonio Barbirigo, the handsome gondolier plyingbeneath the Bridge of Sighs. At length, this evening, her tather, Gianettini, torgot hiniself so far as to strike nis daughter with ome violen oe; and she, with a far inore culpable neglect of her dnty, rau wildly i'rom home, and, as we have seen, was arrested just on the verge of conirnitiing suicide. The person who had saved her lod her gently to her koine, and, having given her up to her father, seat.ed himse lf iu an obscure corner of the hosteliy. Gianettini received bis child with rude reproaehes and, bidding her retire to her own apartment. and betake herself to her spinniug, and cast a suspicious glance at the person who had brought her home whose stout, maDly figure and firmcountenance, however, detened the inkeeper from addressing him in a hostile manner. As Maria turned to depart a young gondulir appeared at the door, and furtively approaching her, said, " Deaicst dearest !" Giauettini rushed forward shouting "Out of tuis! out of my house, fellow !' The young man did not stir. " Have you finishf d Y" he said in a gooc humored toue. " Wherefore these harsh words? Have you never loved, Signor Gianettini 't Have you totally forgotten the ffelings of your youth 't Know you not that, sílice I was len years old and Maria tive, we have loved each other fondly 't Will you not, then, allow us to nallow your old age with our tears'" " I don't want to have a parcel of boggars for my children," 8aid Gianettini roughly. ■ Btggarè !" replied the young man. " You suiely forget yourself." " Not I, indeed, ' returued the father. "I refuse my consent. Theiefore.getyou gone " '■ But hear me for one moment," ed the gondelier. ' Tis useless. I again repeat that such as y ou shall never wed my daughter. Your position is too mean." 1 Ctrtuiuly you are rich," replied the young man, " but wlrnt hinders that 1 should becowe so too? A stout arm, a brave heart, an honest soul, will, with the help of Heaven, do much." " A fool's dream !" "Nay," said Antonio, " it is sober sense, Prince Lorenzo de Medici wasa merchant ; Duke Giacomo Sforza, a coward." The man in the corner had harkened attentively to this dialogue. He rose, and touching Barbarigo's shoulder, said : " Well spoken, gondolier ! Courage brings success and struggles oonquests. Maria sha!l bo thy wifp." "Never!" cried Gianettina. "Master Jew," said theunknown, turning riisdainfully towards him, " If this youth could lay down six hundred pistóles, would you object to the tnarriage f" " Be that as it uiay, you must rcraeraber that he is now littlo better than a paupr." "Pshawl" siid the unkuown ; " babblers ure niore tiresome tlnui tbievc-s. Before to-morrow you shall handle that sum." So Baring hu drew from bis pocket a pieoo of parchment and a eriyon, and tnrning towards a table began rapidly to sketch a uian's hand. It was representad open, impatient, witb hollowed pahu, as if expectmg ;i shower of gold pieceá. It had, so to speak n sousUouh, avaricious expression ; and oue ot' the fingers was ei.oiroled with a niassive fine. " 'Tis my hand," cricd Oianettini. "And your history," said the artist. Giving the sketch to Antonio, its author desired him to óarry it to Pietro Beuvols, librarían at the Piilaoe of St. Mark, uud deuianded in nxehange for it six hundred pistóles. " Six hundred fools' huuds !" cried the inn-keepor. " I would not give .1 zeohin tor it." Without speaking the artist turned haughtily away. ïhe gondoüer took the parchmeni; looked with astonishuent at its guise. Hu then turned doubtfully towards Ms,ïia ; but a glanee from her soft dark eyes reassmed him, and he sat uut ou hi uiissiou. With t'olded arias and a nioody brow the artist comiuenced pacing up and down tho large room in the hosto'ry, casting at intervals a scrutinizing glanoe on the young girl, who, now penitent for her inteuded crime, was silently praylng in a corner. As for Giauettini, he seoined unable to shake off the strange ascendency gained over him by his unkuown visitor ; his habitual eftïoutery failcd him ; and, tor the first time in bis lite, hö dared not break silence. An bour passed. Then hasty, joyous steps were heard, and Antonia appeared. hearing in his hand a bag and a letter. The bag contained 600 pistóles, and the letter svas addres.sed to the artist, and prayed him to honor the seuder with a Tisit. "Take theso Cöins and weigh them," j said the uuknown as he thraw the bag toward Giauettini. Antonio Barburigo stood before his benefactor, pale nd treinbling with joy. " One favor," he said ; ' Who are you r" " What dees it matter P' " What do(sit matter! say you V" cried thfi gondolier ; " much - muoh to me' Teil me your name, signor, that I niay love and hov.or it to the last moment of my life." " Men cali me Michael Angelo." " It is my turn, now," he said, " to ask of yon, a favor. It is to permit me to perpetúate on canvas the lovely features of Maria." The girl approached ; she could not speak; but sho clasped thepainter's hand and raised it 30 her lips, A tear feil upon it; and MiJiael Angelo, as he drew it back, turned away to couceal his owu emotions. Tvventy years passed on, and found Antonio, the once húinble gondolier, the happy hnsbatid of Maria, and General of the Venitian Republio. Yut his brilliant position never rendeied him unnundfulof his eirly lüe, and his heartfelt gratitude, as well as that of his wife, accompanied Michael Angelo Baonarjtti to the end of his tliiy-. As to the cfáyorí s!etoh of the rniser's hand, it was taken from Italy by a soldier in Napoleon "s array, and placed in he Louviv, D'unng the invasión of 1814, it was unforiunately lost, and, 80 far ab can be ascei tnim-d has never since been recovered, The story of its production, üowever, gtill lingera amongst tho tiaditions of Venife.


Old News
Michigan Argus