"Excellent, my dear friend. This Zicci is another Apollonius of Tyana—nothing less will satisfy you. What! is it possible that you are the Clarence Glyndon of whose career such glowing hopes are entertained? You the man whose genius has been extolled by all the graybeards? Not a boy turned out from a village school but would laugh you to scorn. And so because Signer Zicci tells you that you will be a marvellously great man if you revolt all your friends, and blight all your prospects, by marrying a Neapolitan actress, you begin already to think of—By Jupiter! I cannot talk patiently on the subject. Let the girl alone; that would be the proper plan; or else——"
"You talk very sensibly," interrupted Glyndon, "but you distract me. I will go to Isabel's house—I will see her—I will judge for myself."
"That is certainly the best way to forget her," said Merton.
Glyndon seized his hat and sword, and was gone.
sHE was seated outside her door—the young actress. The sea, which in that heavenly bay literally seems to sleep in the arms of the shore, bounded the view in front; while to the right, not far off, rose the dark and tangled crags to which the traveller of to-day is daily brought to gaze on the tomb of Virgil, or compare with the Cavern of Pausilippo the archway of Highgate-hill. There were a few fishermen loitering by the cliffs, on which their nets were hung up to dry; and, at a distance, the sound of some rustic pipe (more common at that day than in this), mingled now and then with the bells of the lazy mules, broke the voluptuous silence—the silence of declining noon on the shores of Naples. Never till you have enjoyed it, never till you have felt its enervating but delicious charm, believe that you can comprehend all the meaning of the dolce far niente;—and when that luxury has been known, when you have breathed the atmosphere of faëry land, then you will no longer wonder why the heart ripens with so sudden and wild a power beneath the rosy skies and amidst the glorious foliage of the south.
The young actress was seated by the door of her house; overhead a rude canvas awning sheltered her from the sun; on her lap lay