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been indeed a dead man (for it was almost impossible that so sure a shot, though blinded with fury, should miss twice), but a sudden and violent return of old feelings, a momentary softening of the heart, seized Peppe: his Antonietta shielded the Frenchman with her body,her cheek lay against his,—and there was scarcely enough of his person exposed, to plant a bullet: he could not kill her,-- he could not draw the trigger: that momentary delay saved Vernet,-for, as the demon got the upper hand, and he was pressing the lock with his finger, a chasseur reached him, struck down the butt of his gun, and the bullet lodged in the cottage ceiling. When Vernet and Beauchamp ran out, their men had already secured Peppè Tosco and Pasquale: Vernet, on looking at the former, recognised him as the brigand he had fired at in the forest.
“What, old Grim!” cried he, “I believe you and I are old acquaintances. Oh, ho! your arm is wounded, eh? What, then, I hit you? I thought, by the nimbleness of your flight, that I had missed you as scandalously as you did me just now; but I find you owe me a shot. And pray who cut your head in this way!”
" That I did for him,” said one of the soldiers; “ for the dog would n't surrender.”
“Well, well! we must keep him from giving and receiving such compliments for the future. Home to quar. ters with him.”
The brigands were carried bound into the cottage: the feelings of Antonietta, which had been distracted by a variety of fears and interests, were now entirely concentrated in one point. She ran to Peppè Tosco; she wept over him, and stanched the blood that streamed down his face in torrents, with a handkerchief she tore from her neck. Some time passed ere Vernet could gain her attention ; and when he informed her that she must be removed with her companions, she silently placed herself by the side of her foster-father, and only by a sign expressed her readiness to depart. The old woman, who had looked upon the fearful scene with the most perfect apathy, when she found that she too was arrested, shrieked dreadfully, and called upon the Madonna to protect her innocence. The doors of the cottage were secured, and the procession moved off: on the road, Vernet tried to reassure and console Antonietta; but she answered not a word proceeding by the side of Peppè, with her eyes bent upon the ground.
When they arrived at the masseria, Vernet ordered that Peppè Tosco, Pasquale, and the old woman, should be confined bound as they were, in a strong room in the under part of the building: as they were proceeding thither, Antonietta supplicated to share the imprisonment of her foster-father; and he, on his part, gazed at her with commiseration, fearing, perhaps, the effects of French licentiousness, to which she was thus left exposed. If so, his fears were unfounded, for Vernet treated her with all the respect due to a young and innocent female: he assigned her a room apart from the rest, and made a country girl of the house attend upon her.
The next morning, the officers summoned Peppe Tosco before them, as they were anxious to examine him, before they committed him to the prison of Nicastro. He appeared in their presence, sullen and determined; he refused to answer their interrogations, and only protested that he attempted to defend his house and the honour of his daughter, from their assaults; that the wound in his arm, and an imagined likeness to a brigand in the forest, proved nothing; and that they, in justice, ought to release him immediately. Pasquale and Annarella were then questioned, and with more success: their feebler spirits were dashed; and hoping to obtain pardon as the price of evidence against their superior, they made an ample confession. It principally imported that Peppè Tosco was one of the leaders of Benincasa's horde; that he had been a brigand from his boyhood; that he was stained with several murders and robberies; and that Antonietta was not his daughter, but the child of a gentleman and lady, who had been destroyed as they were travelling through Calabria fourteen or fifteen years before.
The latter part of the confession was what most interested Vernet, and his eager questions elicited further details. Pasquale related circumstantially the attack made on a foreigner's family on the skirts of the forest; the discharge of one gun killed husband and wife, and a wretch had pointed his pistol at the child, when the