[Illustration: '"This is the celebrated Maestro Alessandro Stradella of Naples"']
He bowed very low as soon as the Senator stood still before Ortensia.
'This,' said the master of the house, 'is the celebrated Maestro Alessandro Stradella of Naples, by far the greatest musician and composer in Italy, who has very kindly consented to hear you sing, and to give you a few lessons if he finds you sufficiently advanced.'
Ortensia was surprised, and anything but displeased, but she showed no emotion. The young man before h