"Count," returned Signor Pastrini, hurt at Albert's repeated doubts of the truth of his assertions, "I do not say this to you, but to your companion, who knows Rome, and knows, too, that these things are not to be laughed at."
"My dear fellow," said Albert, turning to Franz, "here is an admirable adventure; we will fill our carriage with pistols, blunderbusses, and double-barrelled guns.
"Do you know, Signor Pastrini," said Albert, lighting a second cigar at the first, "that this practice is very convenient for bandits, and that it seems to be due to an arrangement of their own." Doubtless Signor Pastrini found this pleasantry compromising, for he only answered half the question, and then he spoke to Franz, as the only one likely to listen with attention.
"What!" cried Albert, whose courage revolted at the idea of being plundered tamely, "not make any resistance!"
"My dear Albert," returned Franz, "your answer is sublime, and worthy the `Let him die,' of Corneille, only, when Horace made that answer, the safety of Rome was concerned; but, as for us, it is only to gratify a whim, and it would be ridiculous to risk our lives for so foolish a motive." Albert poured himself out a glass of lacryma Christi, which he sipped at intervals, muttering some unintelligible words.
"Peste," returned Albert, "I compliment you on it; I have its fellow" -- he took his watch from his waistcoat pocket -- "and it cost me 3,000 francs."
"Pardieu!" cried Albert, "you are not a preacher, to remain standing!"
"What do you think of that, Albert? -- at two and twenty to be thus famous?"
"Of the middle height -- about the same stature as his excellency," returned the host, pointing to Albert.
"Thanks for the comparison," said Albert, with a bow.
"Well, and what may you have to say against this name?" inquired Albert; "it is a very pretty name, and the adventures of the gentleman of that name amused me very much in my youth, I must confess." -- Franz said no more.
"Well, my dear Albert," said Franz, turning towards his friend; "what think you of citizen Luigi Vampa?"