He approached Selva to bid him good-night, his hand extended. At once the entire company, with the exception of Don Paolo and Minucci, gathered round him, urging him to remain. He insisted quietly, checking his over-zealous assailants with a cold smile, a delicately sarcastic phrase, or a graceful gesture. Di Leyni turned to Fare, motioning to him to join the others; but the fiery Don Paolo responded only by an emphatic shrug and a scowl of irritation. In the meantime, a Tuscan voice was heard above the clamour of Marinier's assailants.
"Stia bono!" it said. "As yet nothing has been decided! Wait! I have not yet spoken!"
The speaker was Father Salvati, a Scolopio, and an old man with snowy hair, a florid complexion, and bright eyes.
"Nothing has as yet been decided," he repeated. "I, for one, approve of uniting, but I have one special end in view, while the discourses I have heard seem to me to favour a very different end. Intellectual progress is good, renovation of the formulas according to the spirit of the times is also good, a Catholic reform is excellent. I hold with Rafaello Lambruschini, who was a great man; with the 'Pensieri di un solitario'; but it appears to me that Professor Minucci is advocating a reform of an eminently intellectual nattire, and that——"
Here Dane lifted his small, white, refined hand.
"Allow me, Father," he said. "My dear friend Marinier sees that the discussion is reopened. I beg him to resume his seat."