Pietro of Abano/XVI
It was a long time before Antonio could collect calmness enough to go and seek for the house of the old woman according to the directions he had received. He found her drest out; and she cried to him merrily:
— What! Florentine! are you too come to see me again at last?
— Where is your daughter? askt Antonio, trembling with anxiety.
— If you wish to have her now, replied the old woman, I won't keep her from you. But you must pay honestly for her, you or the Podesta of Padua, if he still lives; for she is his child, whom I stole from him long since, because the Marconis vouchsafed me a round sum of money for doing so.
— If you can prove it, said the youth, you shall have whatever you ask.
— Proofs, as many as you please, cried the beldam: trinkets with arms on them, clothes she had on at the time, a mole on her right shoulder, which of course her mother must know best. But you shall also have letters from the Marconis, writings which I carried off with her from Padua in my hurry, everything — only money must be forthcoming.
Antonio paid her all that he had about him, and then gave her the jewels from his hat and clothes, some pearls, and a gold chain. She swept it all in laughing, while she said:
— Don't be surprised that I am in such haste, and so easily satisfied. The wench has run away from me, because she was determined not to have any lover, and has stuck herself into the nunnery beside Trajan's column: the abbess would not give her up to me; but only send in your name, and the young chit will jump into your arms; for she dreams and thinks of nothing but you; you have so bewitcht her silly heart, that ever since that night, which you will probably remember, she has not spoken a single word of sense, and can't bear to hear the mention of a lover or a husband. I am glad to be quit of her in this way; I am going with my noble cousin, Signor Beresynth, who came of his own accord to invite me, this very night to his villa. Fare thee well young man! good luck attend you with your Crescentia!
Antonio took all the letters, the baby clothes, and every proof of Crescentia's birth. At the door he was met by the terrible being that called itself Beresynth. He hastened on, and was so light of heart, so winged on his way, that he did not notice the storm behind him, which threatened to lay the country waste, and to heave the houses from their foundations.
During the night the overhappy parents examined the letters; and these, as well as the clothes, convinced them that this second Crescentia was their child, the twin sister of her that died, whom at her christening they had named Cecilia. In the morning the father fetcht the lovely pale girl from the convent; and she felt as though in heaven at belonging to such noble parents, and at having again found a youth who adored her, and to whom on that perilous night she could not help giving up her whole heart for ever.
Rome talkt for some time of the two unfortunate persons whom the storm had slain: and Ambrosio lived thenceforward with his wife, his recovered daughter, and his son-in-law, Antonio, in the neighbourhood of Naples. The youth amid the bliss of love ceast to mourn over the sorrows of his younger days; and the parents were comforted by their children and grandchildren for the loss of their beautiful and most dearly loved Crescentia.