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“Let us go and look at the Serbelloni Gardens,” said I, as soon as the silent meal was over; “or take a boat over to the Sommariva Villa.”

“I should like it so much,” said Sophonisba.

“We will do nothing of the kind till I have found my property,” said Mrs. Greene. “Mr. Robinson, what arrangement did you make yesterday with the police at Como?”

“The police at Como?” I said. “I did not go to the police.”

“Not go to the police? And do you mean to say that I am to be robbed of my jewels and no efforts made for redress? Is there no such thing as a constable in this wretched country? Mr. Greene, I do insist upon it that you at once go to the nearest British consul.”

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“I suppose I had better write home for money,” said he.

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“And do you mean to say that you haven’t written yet?” said I, probably with some acrimony in my voice.

“You needn’t scold papa,” said Sophonisba.

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“I don’t know what I am to do,” said Mr. Greene, and he began walking up and down the room; but still he did not call for pen and ink, and I began again to feel that he was a swindler. Was it possible that a man of business, who had made his fortune in London, should allow his wife to keep all her jewels in a box, and carry about his own money in the same?

“I don’t see why you need be so very unhappy, papa,” said Sophonisba. “Mr. Robinson, I’m sure, will let you have whatever money you may want at present.” This was pleasant!

“And will Mr. Robinson return me my jewels which were lost, I must say, in a great measure, through his carelessness,” said Mrs. Greene. This was pleasanter!

“Upon my word, Mrs. Greene, I must deny that,” said I, jumping up. “What on earth could I have done more than I did do? I have been to Milan and nearly fagged myself to death.”

“Why didn’t you bring a policeman back with you?”

“You would tell everybody on board the boat what there was in it,” said I.

“I told nobody but you,” she answered.

“I suppose you mean to imply that I’ve taken the box,” I rejoined. So that on this, the third or fourth day of our acquaintance, we did not go on together quite pleasantly.

But what annoyed me, perhaps, the most, was the confidence with which it seemed to be Mr. Greene’s intention to lean upon my resources. He certainly had not written home yet, and had taken my ten napoleons, as one friend may take a few shillings from another when he finds that he has left his own silver on his dressing-table. What could he have wanted of ten napoleons? He had alleged the necessity of paying the porters, but the few francs he had had in his pocket would have been enough for that. And now Sophonisba was ever and again prompt in her assurances that he need not annoy himself about money, because I was at his right hand. I went upstairs into my own room, and counting all my treasures, found that thirty-six pounds and some odd silver was the extent of my wealth. With that I had to go, at any rate, as far as Innspruck, and from thence back to London. It was quite impossible that I should make myself responsible for the Greenes’ bill at Bellaggio.

We dined early, and after dinner, according to a promise made in the morning, Sophonisba ascended with me into the Serbelloni Gardens, and walked round the terraces on that beautiful hill which commands the view of the three lakes. When we started I confess that I would sooner have gone alone, for I was sick of the Greenes in my very soul. We had had a terrible day. The landlord had been sent for so often, that he refused to show himself again. The landlady—though Italians of that class are always courteous—had been so driven that she snapped her fingers in Mrs. Greene’s face. The three girls would not show themselves. The waiters kept out of the way as much as possible; and the Boots, in confidence, abused them to me behind their back. “Monsieur,” said the Boots, “do you think there ever was such a box?”

“Perhaps not,” said I; and yet I knew that I had seen it.