Was Something In His Appearance That Interested Me Exceedingly.
him a day or two after in a gallery of paintings.
He was evidently a
connoisseur, for he always singled out the most masterly productions,
and the few remarks drawn from him by his companions showed an intimate
acquaintance with the art. His own taste, however, ran on singular
extremes. On Salvator Rosa in his most savage and solitary scenes; on
Raphael, Titian, and Corregio in their softest delineations of female
beauty. On these he would occasionally gaze with transient enthusiasm.
But this seemed only a momentary forgetfulness. Still would recur that
cautious glance behind, and always quickly withdrawn, as though
something terrible had met his view.
I encountered him frequently afterwards. At the theatre, at balls, at
concerts; at the promenades in the gardens of San Georgio; at the
grotesque exhibitions in the square of St. Mark; among the throng of
merchants on the Exchange by the Rialto. He seemed, in fact, to seek
crowds; to hunt after bustle and amusement; yet never to take any
interest in either the business or gayety of the scene. Ever an air of
painful thought, of wretched abstraction; and ever that strange and
recurring movement, of glancing fearfully over the shoulder. I did not
know at first but this might be caused by apprehension of arrest; or
perhaps from dread of assassination. But, if so, why should he go thus
continually abroad; why expose himself at all times and in all places?
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