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Whosoever Shall Offend   By: (1854-1909)

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Author of Saracinesca , The Heart Of Rome , etc, etc.

With Eight Illustrations Drawn in Rome with the Author's Suggestions

by Horace T. Carpenter


"Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea"



"Suddenly he heard an Italian voice very near to him, calling him by name, in a tone of surprise"

"'I call it the sleeping death,' answered the Professor"

"He flushed again, very angry this time, and he moved away to leave her, without another word"

" ... the door was darkened, and the girl stood there with a large copper 'conca' ..."

"He moved a step towards the bed, and then another, forcing himself to go on"

"Ercole left his home after sunset that evening"

"Regina made a steady effort, lifting fully half Aurora's weight with her"

"She sat there like a figure of grief outlined in black against the moonlight on the great wall"


When the widow of Martino Consalvi married young Corbario, people shook their heads and said that she was making a great mistake. Consalvi had been dead a good many years, but as yet no one had thought it was time to say that his widow was no longer young and beautiful, as she had always been. Many rich widows remain young and beautiful as much as a quarter of a century, or even longer, and the Signora Consalvi was very rich indeed. As soon as she was married to Folco Corbario every one knew that she was thirty five years old and he was barely twenty six, and that such a difference of ages on the wrong side was ridiculous if it was not positively immoral. No well regulated young man had a right to marry a rich widow nine years older than himself, and who had a son only eleven years younger than he.

A few philosophers who said that if the widow was satisfied the matter was nobody's business were treated with the contempt they deserved. Those who, on the contrary, observed that young Corbario had married for money and nothing else were heard with favour, until the man who knew everything pointed out that as the greater part of the fortune would be handed over to Marcello when he came of age, six years hence, Corbario had not made a good bargain and might have done better. It was true that Marcello Consalvi had inherited a delicate constitution of body, it had even been hinted that he was consumptive. Corbario would have done better to wait another year or two to see what happened, said a cynic, for young people often died of consumption between fifteen and twenty. The cynic was answered by a practical woman of the world, who said that Corbario had six years of luxury and extravagance before him, and that many men would have sold themselves to the devil for less. After the six years the deluge might come if it must; it was much pleasanter to drown in the end than never to have had the chance of swimming in the big stream at all, and bumping sides with the really big fish, and feeling oneself as good as any of them. Besides, Marcello was pale and thin, and had been heard to cough; he might die before he came of age. The only objection to this theory was that it was based on a fiction; for the whole fortune had been left to the Signora by a childless relation.

These amiable and interesting views were expressed with variations by people who knew the three persons concerned, and with such a keen sense of appropriate time and place as made it quite sure that none of the three should ever know what was said of them. The caution of an old fox is rash temerity compared with the circumspection of a first rate gossip; and when the gossips were tired of discussing Folco Corbario and his wife and her son, they talked about other matters, but they had a vague suspicion that they had been cheated out of something... Continue reading book >>

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