The Marble Faun Volume 1 (Chapter 22)

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Chapter 22 : Page 1 of 6

"Donatello," said Miriam anxiously, as they came through the Piazza
Barberini, "what can I do for you, my beloved friend? You are shaking as
with the cold fit of the Roman fever." "Yes," said Donatello; "my heart
shivers." As soon as she could collect her thoughts, Miriam led the
young man to the gardens of the Villa Medici, hoping that the quiet
shade and sunshine of that delightful retreat would a little revive his
spirits. The grounds are there laid out in the old fashion of straight
paths, with borders of box, which form hedges of great height and
density, and are shorn and trimmed to the evenness of a wall of
stone, at the top and sides. There are green alleys, with long vistas
overshadowed by ilex-trees; and at each intersection of the paths, the
visitor finds seats of lichen-covered stone to repose upon, and marble
statues that look forlornly at him, regretful of their lost noses. In
the more open portions of the garden, before the sculptured front of
the villa, you see fountains and flower-beds, and in their season
a profusion of roses, from which the genial sun of Italy distils a
fragrance, to be scattered abroad by the no less genial breeze.

But Donatello drew no delight from these things. He walked onward in
silent apathy, and looked at Miriam with strangely half-awakened and
bewildered eyes, when she sought to bring his mind into sympathy with
hers, and so relieve his heart of the burden that lay lumpishly upon it.

She made him sit down on a stone bench, where two embowered alleys
crossed each other; so that they could discern the approach of any
casual intruder a long way down the path.


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