followed, and took her servant aside to inquire her name. This he gave me, and when I expressed an earnest wish to pay my respects to her father, he told me that a meeting could hardly take place in Paris as the family were just preparing to take their departure from France. “At another time I may be more fortunate,” thought I, and looked round, but the lady was out of sight. In trying to find her I lost the servant, and thus ended my first adventure.’
‘And who was the lady?’ inquired Laura.
‘Who? Can you ask?’ said the Duke. ‘I told you the story in jest, indeed, as if it were quite new, but is it possible you did not observe me that day in the Louvre?’
‘I!’ exclaimed the girl.
‘My daughter!’ said the Countess. ‘It could not be.’
‘Nay, indeed,’ resumed the Duke. ‘The same servant whom, to my great satisfaction, you left behind you in Paris, and whom I hailed one night as if he had been a guardian spirit, told me all that I wished to know, so that, after a short visit to my native country, I came hither.’
‘What strange story is this?’ said the Count. ‘Laura has never yet been to Paris, nor have I for the last sixteen years.’
The Duke looked as perplexed as they did. The conversation flagged, and when we rose from table the Count drew Marino into a window-recess; and, though I was at a considerable distance from them, and seemed inattentive, I heard all they said.
‘My lord Duke,’ said Globoda, ‘what in all the world could lead you to that invention of the scene in the picture gallery? If you wished only to conceal the cause of your visit here, you might say so at