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late and alone Some one that had watched his fteps, fell upon him with intention to murder him. Grimaldi felt himself stabbed with a poignard, but he had still so much ftrength as to take to his heels. At the fame time came on a dreadful storm. Faint with his wound, his affright, and the rain, Grimaldi threw himself into the fhop of a goldfmith, which by chance was ftill open. This goldfmith was in full purfuit of wealth, like Grimaldi, only that he had fallen upon a way lefs promofing than that of ufury. He was in fearch of the philofopher's ftone. This evening he was making a grand projection, and had left open his fhop for moderating the heat of his furnace.

Grimaldi's entrance feemed fomewhat rude. Fazio, for that was the goldfmith's name, immediately knew the man, and afked him what he did in the street at fuch an unfeasonable hour, and in fuch terrible weather? Ah! fighed Grimaldi, I am wounded! as he pronounced these words, he fank into a chair, and expired.

Fazio's confufion needs not to be described. He ran up to Grimaldi, tore open his clothes that he might have freer room to breathe, and ufed every means he could think of to recall him to life, but all in vain; he was dead. Fazio examined the body, and perceived that Grimaldi had a flab in the breaft; the wound had clofed of itfelf, fo that the blood could not flow out, and he died by fuffocation.

Fazio, at this accident, found himfelf in the greateft diftrefs. The whole neighbourhood was afleep, or had but up their houfes on account of the bad weather. He was quite alone in the houfe, as his wife

and two children were gone to vifit his dying father.

All at once a bold thought came into his head, which under thefe circumftances feemed cafily practicable. He was certain that no one had seen Grimaldi come into his fhop. In fuch continued rain and thunder there was no temptation for people to be gaping at their windows. Befides, by denouncing Grimaldi's death, Fazio himfelf might be brought into fufpicion. After weighing maturely the whole of the affair, he fhut up his fhop, determined to turn the adventure to his own advantage; and in conformity with his paffion for tranfmutations, to make an experiment whether he could not tranfmute misfortune into fortune, as he had been trying to turn his lead into filver or gold.

Fazio knew of Grimaldi's wealth, or had always fufpected him to be rich. He began by fearching his pockets, and found, together withfome coin, a large bunch of keys. Good! thought he to himfelf, this is a mark of the favour of heaven ; the finger of Providence is manifeft in it! That fuch a terrible storm fhould come on this night; that my fhop fhould be ftanding open, that Grimaldi fhould be wounded, and die in my chair; all this could not happen without a particular difpenfation from above. He has no relation, and perhaps even no friend. One ftranger is as good as another ftranger, and Fazio as good as another heir. I have even one right more. Had it not been for me, he would have died in the street, and have lain in the wet the whole night; who knows whether he did not come into my hop in order to conftitute me his heir. His

vifit fupplies the place of a formal teftament. I will quietly take the executorship upon me; that will be the wifeft and the fafeft way. For, fhould I even go and relate the whole event to the magiftracy, I fhould not be believed. Grimaldi's body is in my houfe, and every man would account me his murderer; it would cost me a great deal of trouble to prove my innocence. Whereas if I bury him privately, there will be nobody to blab, as nobody will have feen it. And truly between the fcaffold and a full coffer it is not very difficult to chufe. Eureka! I have found what I have been fo long hunting after; I have found the philofopher's stone, without the help of my curfed crucibles, and my fmoaky heintzel! *

Armed with a dark lantern, he fet out on his way. The rain fell in torrents from the clouds, the thunder rolled in dreadful peals, but he neither felt nor heard any thing of it. His mind was full of Grimaldi's hoards. He tried his keys, unlocked the doors, opened the fitting room; it was not large, but well fecured. It had incomparably more locks than doors. We may eafily imagine what he first looked about for. Againft the iron cheft he directed the whole battery of his bunch of keys, and he almoft defpaired of carrying the fiege; as it alone had four or five different locks without fide, not to mention those within. At length however he took the fort; in it he found a cafket full of gold rings, bracelets, jewels, and other valuables, and with it four bags, on each of which he read with tranfport the words: Three thoufand ducats in gold. He trufted impli

citly to the epigraph, taking it for granted that all was rightly told.

Quivering with joy, he feized upon the bags, and left the jewels behind, as there was a chance that they might betray him. Being a great friend to order, he carefully replaced every thing in its former ftate, fhut again every lock, and happily came back to his houfe with the precious burden, without being met or feen by any one. His firft care was to put his four bags in a place of fecurity; his fecond, to take measures for the interment of the deceased. He lifted him up easily as a feather; for the bare touch of the bags of gold, by its native energy, had imparted to him a ftrength which aftonifhed himself. He carried Grimaldi into his cellar, dug a deep grave, and tumbled him in, with his keys and clothes. This done, he filled up the grave with fo much caution that it was impoffible to difcover that the earth had been opened.

Having finished his work, he haftened to his room untied his bags, and began, not fo much to count as to feed his fight with the gold. He found that all was exactly right, not a fingle piece was wanting; but he was dazzled and giddy at the fight of fo much money. Firft he counted it, then he weighed it; his extafy increafing every moment, He depofited the whole heap in a private clofet, burnt the bags, and did not quit them with his eyes till the laft atom was confumed, when he threw the afhes into the air, afraid left even thefe might betray him. At last he retired to reft; for labour and joy had confpired to fatigue him.

• The name of a chemical furnace.


Some days after, as nothing was feen or heard of Grimaldi, the magiftracy ordered his house and his chamber to be opened. All were furprised at not meeting with the mafter; but much more at not finding any money in the house.

Three months elapfed without any tidings of Grimaldi, either as dead or alive. As foon as Fazio per ceived that there was no longer any talk about his fudden difappearance, he on his part began to let fall a word or two concerning his chemical difcoveries. Shortly after he even fpread a report under hand about fomething of a bar of gold. People laughed at him to his face, as they had already had fo many examples of his having been deceived in his operations But Fazio for this time food firm to his affertions, prudently obferved a certain gradation in his difcourfes and exhibitions of joy, and at last went fo far as to talk or a journey to France for converting his bar into current coin.

The better to conceal his real defign, he pretended to be in want of cah for his travelling charges, and borrowed a hundred florins on a farm, which he had not yet fent ap the chimney. Fifty of them he kept to his own ufes, and fifty he gave to his wife, at the fame time alluring her of his fpeedy return. This in formation threw her into a tremor. She feared it was the ruin of his fortune that forced Fazio to fly his country: the never expected to fee him again, and thought of nothing but the being shortly reduced to the extremity of diftrefs, and left forlorn, with her two fatherlefs children, deftitute of bread. She begged and conjured him not to travel. She spoke with fo much eloquence and pathos, that Fazio was affected

to that degree, as no longer to be able to conceal his fecret, notwithftanding his refolution to keep it for life. He took her gently by the hand, led her into his cabinet, difclofed to her the tranfaction with Grimaldi, and fhewed her his golden treafure. Doft thou now entertain any doubt of the truth of my ingot of gold? added he with a fmile.

We may judge of the fatisfaction this gave to Valentina, for this was the name of Fazio's wife. She fell upon his neck, and thanked, and flattered him as much, as before she had teized him with reproaches, and objections. A multitude of plans were ftruck out of future happinefs and glory; and preparations for the journey were made with all fpeed. But when the very day fixt for his departure was come, Valentina, on whom Fazio, as we may eafily imagine, had inculcated the profoundest filence, Valentina, I fay, did not fail to make common caufe with the reft of the family, and remonstrated against the journey as before. She pretended as if he had still her doubts, was lavifh of her prayers and entreaties, and was almoft diffolved in tears, without feeling the leaft uncafinefs. Fazio pailed for a fool. The whole town made game of him, and he laughed at the whole town in return.

While he was on the way to Marfeilles, his wife, whom he had left behind at Pifa, continued to play the part fhe had begun. She was inceflantly complaining of her poverty, while in private he had plenty of all things. For her husband had left with her a fum of money which was more than fufficient for defraying her neceffary expences. Every one lamented her fate, and


yet he had no caufes for pity but what he was forced to affect.

Fazio placed out his pieces of gold, for which he got good bills of exchange on an eminent banker at Pifa, and wrote to his wife that he had difpofed of his ingots of gold, and was already fet out on his return. Valentina fhewed the letter to her relations and acquaintance, and to all that were willing to fee it: and every one that faw it was filled with furprife. The majority ftill doubted of the reality of Fazio s good fortune, when he arrived in perfon at Pifa.

He appeared with a triumphant air diftributed his embraces on the right hand and the left, and related the fuccefs with which his chemical labours had been crowned to all the world; not forgetting to add, that his bars, on being aflayed, turned out to be the pureft and the finest gold. He corroborated the verbal teftimonies of his good fortune, by fpeaking and fubftantial proofs, and fetched from his banker's nine thoufand gold dollars in fpecie. To this kind of demonftration no objection could be made. The flory was told from houfe to houfe, and all men extolled his knowledge in the occult feience of the tranfmutation of metals. The very man, who but a few months before was pronounced a confirmed fool by the whole city at large, was now elevated by that very city to the rank of a great philofopher; and Fazio enjoyed at one and the fame time, the double advantage, of being honoured as both learned and rich.

There was no longer any need of concealing his wealth, and therefore he gave fcope to his defires. He redeemed his farm from the mortgage, bought himfelf a title at

Rome, for connecting respect and riches together, he procured a magnificent house and a couple of eftates, and made over the reft of his money to a merchant at ten per cent.

He now kept two footmen, two maid fervants, and, according to the prevailing mode of the times, two faddle horfes, one for himself, and the other for his wife. In this manner they enjoyed the pleasure of knowing themfelves to be rich; a pleasure that is far more fenfibly felt by fuch as have formerly been in want. Valentina, who was now a woman of too much confideration to look after the affairs of the house herfelf, took home to her, with the approbation of her husband, an old and very ugly relation, with her young and beautiful daughter.

For living to the top of the grand ftyle (probably it was then the fathion at Pita, as it is now with us in capital towns) Fazio refolved to keep a mitrels. He caft his eyes on the daughter of the aged relation, who, as was faid above, was extremel handfome. She was called Adelaide, and was in the age of love and coquetry, either of which alone is fufficient to lead a man into folly. Adelaide lent a very willing ear to the overtures made by Fazio, and foon entered into fo intimate a correfpondence with him, as to occa fion a difagreement with his wife. But ere Valentina had time to penetrate the fecret, or to convince herfelf of her husband's infidelity, Fazio, had already spent a conderable fum of money on his dear Adelaide.

Valentina was jealous of her rights to the last punctilio, and it grieved her much to fee herself under the authority of an ufurper. Difcord


broke in upon their conjugal union. Valentina, according to the ordinary courte of things, became füllen, and Adelaide imperious. One day they quarrelled fo violently, that Valentina turned the old houfekeeper, with her daughter, out of doors. Fazio, on returning home, took this procedure very much amifs, grew fo much the fonder of Adelaide, and hired a fuitable lodging for her. Valentina, who was very violent by nature, could no longer moderate her fury.

Fazio, having in vain tried every method to pacify or to deceive her, retired to his eftate in the country, and had Adelaide brought to him. This no fooner reached the ears of Valentina, who in her jealoufy was more like a fury than a woman, than fhe meditated the most horrid revenge. Without once reflecting on the melancholy confequences, the refolved to impeach her husband, before the magiftrate, as the murderer of Grimaldi. She put her dreadful feheme in execution on the fpot; and Fazio, who was dreaming away delicious moments in the company of his fair one, never thought of the form that was gathering over his head.

The judge in the first place, examined into the circumftances delivered in by the informant, and then difpatched perfons to dig up the ground in Fazio's cellar; where finding the remains of Grimaldi's body, Fazio was feized in the arms of Adelaide, and carried to prifon. At first, he died the charge; but on being confronted with his wife, and the appearing as his accufer, he immediately exclaimed: "Wretch as thou art, had I loved thee lefs, thou wouldft not have been en-, trufted with my fecret; I was weak

from my love towards thee, and thou haft brought me hither." The torture, which at that time was fo dangerous to accufed innocence, extorted from Fazio, a confeffion of all he had done, and even of what he had not. He accufed himself as the murderer of Grimaldi, although he was not; and was fentenced to forfeit his poffeffions, and to fuffer death, at the place of public execution:

Valentina, on being difmiffed, would have returned home to her habitation, but was not a little furprifed at finding it befet with officers of juftice, who had even turned her children out of it. No more was wanting than this fresh misfortune for completely rendering her a prey to defpair. The ftings of confcience already wrung her heart: for, her revenge being fatiated, he had opened her eyes, faw the rashness of her conduct in all its extent, and had a full prefentiment of her future mifery. Pain and remorfe now arofe to their height. In frantic mood the ran about with dishevelled hair, and implored the judge to fet free her husband, whom fhe herfelt had delivered up to the hangman. The fight of her children redoubled the pangs of her foul.

The whole city refounded with this melancholy event. Valentina, who was a horror to herfelf, had not even the peor confolation of exciting compaflion. Relations and acquaintance hated and avoided her like a ravening beaft.

Fazio, in the mean time was awaiting his deplorable doom. He was led to the place of execution along the principal ftreets. He afcended the feaffold with great compofure, avouched his innocence, and curfed the impetuous jealoufy of

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