A fortnight after I was at Rogliano, and I said to Assunta, -- `Console thyself, sister; Israel is dead, but he is avenged.' She demanded what I meant, and when I had told her all, -- `Giovanni,' said she, `you should have brought this child with you; we would have replaced the parents it has lost, have called it Benedetto, and then, in consequence of this good action, God would have blessed us.' In reply I gave her the half of the linen I had kept in order to reclaim him if we became rich."
Unfortunately, there is a proverb which says that `red is either altogether good or altogether bad.' The proverb was but too correct as regarded Benedetto, and even in his infancy he manifested the worst disposition.
`confess how you obtained this animal.' Benedetto maintained the truth of what he had said, and accompanied it with details that did more honor to his imagination than to his veracity.
When I was at Rogliano everything went on properly, but no sooner was my back turned than Benedetto became master, and everything went ill.
Benedetto rejoined his associates, and I saw him from a distance point me out to them as a fool."
Benedetto could read, write, and cipher perfectly, for when the fit seized him, he learned more in a day than others in a week.
"If only I had taken counsel with my jailer, Benedetto
Carpi, before I lost him, I might have known the exact position of my cell, I might have found my way back to the Treasury and returned to Venice when Napoleon crushed the Republic--