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THE ITALIAN A. RADCLIFFE



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THE ITALIAN    A. RADCLIFFE


There lived in the Dominican convent of the Spirito Santo, at Naples, a man called father Schedoni; an Italian, as his name imported, but whose family was unknown, and from some circumstances, it appeared that he wished to throw an impenetrable veil over its origin. For whatever reason he was never heard to mention a relative, or the place of his nativity, and he had artfully eluded every enquiry that approached the subject, which the curiosity of his associates had occasionally prompted. There were, however circumstances which appeared to indicate him to be a man of birth, and of fallen fortune; his spirit, so it had sometimes looked forth from under the disguise of his manners, seemed lofty: it sewed not, however, the aspiring of a generous mind, but rather the gloomy pride of a disappointed one.

Among his associates no one loved him, many dislike him, and more feared him. His ure was striking, but not so from grace; he was tall, and though extremely thin, his limbs were large and uncouth, and as he stalked along, wrapt in the black garments of his order, there was something terrible in his air, something super-human. His cowl too, as it threw a shade over the livid paleness of his face, it increased his severe character, and gave an effect to his large melancholy eye, which approached to horror. His was not the melancholy of a sensible and wounded heart, but apparently that of a gloomy and ferocious disposition.



There was something in his physiognomy extremely singular,  and that can easily be defined. It bored the traces of many passions, which seemed to have fixed the features they no longer animated. An habitual gloom and severity prevail over the deep lines of his countenance; and his eyes were so piercing that they seemed to penetrate, at a single glance, into the hearts of men, and to read their most secret thoughts, few persons could support their scrutiny, or even endure to meet them twice








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