The idea was put in execution as soon as conceived. The
ruffian's throat was bare: with my right hand I seized him by it, just
between the mastoides; with my left hand I grasped the arm which held
the carbine. The suddenness of my attack took him completely unawares;
and the strangling nature of my grasp paralyzed him. He choked and
faltered. I felt his hand relaxing its hold, and was on the point of
jerking myself away and darting up the staircase before he could
recover himself, when I was suddenly seized by some one from behind.
I had to let go my grasp. The bandit, once more released, fell upon me
with fury, and gave me several blows with the butt end of his carbine,
one of which wounded me severely in the forehead, and covered me with
blood. He took advantage of my being stunned to rifle me of my watch
and whatever valuables I had about my person.
When I recovered from the effects of the blow, I heard the voice of the
chief of the banditti, who exclaimed "Quello e il principe, siamo
contente, audiamo!" (It is the prince, enough, let us be off.) The band
immediately closed round me and dragged me out of the palace, bearing
off the three laborers likewise.
I had no hat on, and the blood was flowing from my wound; I managed to
staunch it, however, with my pocket-handkerchief, which I bound round