The story of the False Prince
He appeared much surprised to see me there, told me his grievances, that he could do nothing aright for his master since he had become governor, and my gold supported by his anger soon brought him over to my side. Most of the difficulty was now removed: I had a man in my pay, who would open to me at any hour the doors of my enemy, and from this time my plan of vengeance advanced to maturity with still greater rapidity. The life of the old Florentine seemed to me too pitiful a thing, to be put into the balance with that of my whole family. Murdered before him, he must see the dearest object of his love, and this was his daughter Bianca. It was she that had so shamefully wronged my brother, it was she that had been the author of our misfortunes. My heart, thirsting for revenge, eagerly drank in the intelligence, that Bianca was on the point of being married a second time; it was settled—she must die. But as my soul recoiled at the deed, and I attributed too little nerve to Pietro, we looked around for a man to accomplish our fell design. I could hire no Florentine, for there was none that would have undertaken such a thing against the governor. Thereupon Pietro hit upon a plan, which I afterwards adopted, and he thereupon proposed you, being a foreigner and a physician, as the proper person. The result you know: only, through your excessive foresight and honesty, my undertaking seemed, at one time, to be tottering; hence the scene with the mantle.
“Pietro opened for us the little gate in the governor’s palace; he would have let us out, also, in the same secret manner, if we had not fled, overcome by horror at the frightful spectacle, which, through the crack of the door, presented itself to our eyes. Pursued by terror and remorse, I ran on about two hundred paces, until I sank down upon the steps of a church. There I collected myself again, and my first thought was of you, and your awful fate, if found within the house.
“I crept back to the palace, but neither of Pietro nor yourself could I discover a single trace.