t on a level with the padrone's. Keeping the oar constantly in motion, and with an occasional deft turn of the wrist to avoid a collision,--for the Grand Canal was a crowded thoroughfare at this hour,--he nevertheless seemed to have eyes only for the erect figure and the grizzled head of his old friend.
"Our benefactor does not permit us to speak to him of what is in our hearts," he said, in his stately Italian; and again his voice dropped, and this time to a wonderfully melodious tone: "But the Madonna listens to us every morning and every evening. We all remember the padrone, even the piccolo Giovanni, whom he has never seen."
A look of comical deprecation crossed the face of the passenger, and he said, rather abruptly: "I hope Nanni is good to the rest of you."
"Si, Signore; Nanni is a good brother; but we are many and he is not rich. Ecco! The gondola of the Signora Daymond. Will the Signore speak with her?"
"Not to-day," the Colonel answered