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The Fool Errant Being the Memoirs of Francis-Anthony Strelley, Esq., Citizen of Lucca   By: (1861-1923)

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First Page:

THE FOOL ERRANT

BEING THE MEMOIRS OF

FRANCIS ANTONY STRELLEY, ESQ.

CITIZEN OF LUCCA

EDITED BY MAURICE HEWLETT

AUTHOR OF "THE QUEEN'S QUAIR," "NEW CANTERBURY TALES," "RICHARD YEA AND NAY," "LITTLE NOVELS OF ITALY," ETC., ETC.

Published July, 1905.

To

J. M. BARRIE

AFFECTIONATELY

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

I. MY EXORDIUM: A JUSTIFICATORY PIECE II. AURELIA AND THE DOCTOR III. MY DANGEROUS PROGRESS IV. FATAL AVOWAL V. DISASTER VI. I COMMENCE PILGRIM VII. I AM MISCONCEIVED AT THE HOSPITAL VIII. THE PEDLAR OF CRUCIFIXES IX. I AM HUMILIATED, LIFTED UP, AND LEFT CURIOUS X. I FALL IN AGAIN WITH FRA PALAMONE XI. I EXERCISE COMMON SENSE, IMAGINATION AND CHARITY XII. I SEEK AND FIND XIII. HAVING EMPTIED MY POCKET, I OFFER MY HAND, BUT RESERVE MY HEART XIV. MY HAPPY DAYS; THEIR UNHAPPY END XV. I AM IN BONDAGE XVI. VIRGINIA AND I FALL OUT, BUT ARE RECONCILED XVII. ERCOLE AT THE FAIR XVIII. FRA PALAMONE BREAKS THE LAW, AND I MY CHAIN XIX. I AM AGAIN MISCONCEIVED XX. SURPRISING CHANGE IN MY FORTUNES XXI. MY DIVERSIONS: COUNT GIRALDI XXII. I WORK FOR AURELIA, AND HEAR OF HER XXIII. AURELIA FORGIVES XXIV. VIRGINIA VEXES XXV. I PREPARE FOR BLISS XXVI. I DISAPPOINT MY FRIENDS XXVII. I SLAY A MAN XXVIII. VIRGINIA ON HER METTLE XXIX. I TAKE SANCTUARY XXX. I MARRY AND GO TO LUCCA XXXI. MY ADVENTURES AT THE INN XXXII. WE LIVE HAPPILY IN LUCCA XXXIII. TREACHERY WORKS AGAINST US XXXIV. I FALL IN WITH THE PLAYERS XXXV. TEMPTED IN SIENA, BELVISO SAVES ME XXXVI. MY UNREHEARSED EFFECT AND ITS MIDNIGHT SEQUEL XXXVII. I COMMIT A DOUBLE MURDER XXXVIII. AN UNEXPECTED MESSENGER LIFTS ME UP XXXIX. VIRGINIA DECLINES THE HEIGHTS XL. I GET RID OF MY ENEMY AND PART FROM MY FRIEND XLI. I RETURN TO FLORENCE AND THE WORLD OF FASHION XLII. I STAND AT A CROSS ROAD XLIII. AGITATIONS AT THE VILLA SAN GIORGIO XLIV. I CONFRONT MY ENEMIES XLV. THE MEETING XLVI. THE DISCOVERY XLVII. THE FINAL PROOF XLVIII. THE LAST

INTRODUCTION

The top heavy, four horsed, yellow old coach from Vicenza, which arrived at Padua every night of the year, brought with it in particular on the night of October 13, 1721, a tall, personable young man, an Englishman, in a dark blue cloak, who swang briskly down from the coupe and asked in stilted Italian for "La sapienza del Signer Dottor' Lanfranchi." From out of a cloud of steam for the weather was wet and the speaker violently hot a husky voice replied, "Eccomi eccomi, a servirla." The young man took off his hat and bowed.

"Have I the honour to salute so much learning?" he asked courteously. "Let me present myself to my preceptor as Mr. Francis Strelley of Upcote."

"His servant," said the voice from the cloud, "and servant of his illustrious father. Don Francis, be accommodated; let your mind be at ease. Your baggage? These fellows are here for it. Your valise? I carry it. Your hand? I take it. Follow me."

These words were accompanied by action of the most swift and singular kind. Mr. Strelley saw two porters scramble after his portmanteaux, had his valise reft from his hand, and that hand firmly grasped before he could frame his reply. The vehemence of this large perspiring sage caused the struggle between pride and civility to be short; such faint protests as he had at command passed unheeded in the bustle and could not be seen in the dark.

Vehement, indeed, in all that he did was Dr. Porfirio Lanfranchi, Professor of Civil Law: it was astonishing that a bulk so large and loosely packed could be propelled by the human will at so headlong a speed. Yet, spurred by that impetus alone, he pounded and splashed through the puddled, half lit street of Padua at such a rate that Mr. Strelley, though longer in the leg, fully of his height, and one quarter his weight, found himself trotting beside his conductor like any schoolboy. The position was humiliating, but it did not seem possible to escape it. The doctor took everything for granted; and besides, he so groaned and grunted at his labours, his goaded flesh protested so loudly, the pitfalls were so many, and the pace so severe, that nothing in the world seemed of moment beyond preserving foothold... Continue reading book >>




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