As they approached the chapel, Ellena fixed her eyes on the mournful cypresses which waved over it, and sighed. “Those,” she said, “are funereal mementos — not such as should grace the altar of marriage! Vivaldi, I could be superstitious. — Think you not they are portentous of future misfortune? But forgive me; my spirits are weak.”
Vivaldi endeavoured to soothe her mind, and tenderly reproached her for the sadness she indulged. Thus they entered the chapel. Silence, and a kind of gloomy sepulchral light, prevailed within. The venerable Benedictine, with a brother, who was to serve as guardian to the bride, were already there, but they were kneeling, and engaged in prayer.
Vivaldi led the trembling Ellena to the altar, where they waited till the Benedictines should have finished, and these were moments of great emotion. She often looked round the dusky chapel, in fearful expectation of discovering some lurking observer; and, though she knew it to be very improbable, that any person in this neighbourhood could be interested in interrupting the ceremony, her mind involuntarily admitted the possibility of it. Once, indeed, as her eyes glanced over a casement, Ellena fancied she distinguished a human face laid close to the glass, as if to watch what was passing within; but when she looked again, the apparition was gone. Not withstanding this, she listened with anxiety to the uncertain sounds without, and sometimes started as the surges of the lake dashed over the rock below, almost believing she heard the steps and whispering voices of men in the avenues of the chapel. She tried, however, to subdue apprehension, by considering, that if this were true, an harmless curiosity might have attracted some inhabitants of the convent hither, and her spirits became more composed, till she observed a door open a little way, and a dark countenance looking from behind it. In the next instant it retreated, and the door was closed.
Vivaldi, who perceived Ellena’s complexion change, as she laid her hand on his arm, followed her eyes to the door, but, no person appearing, he enquired the cause of her alarm.
“We are observed,” said Ellena, “some person appeared at that door!”
“And if we are observed, my love,” replied Vivaldi, “who is there in this neighbourhood whose observation we can have reason to fear? Good father, dispatch,” he added, turning to the priest, “you forget that we are waiting.”
The officiating priest made a signal that he had nearly concluded his orison; but the other brother rose immediately, and spoke with Vivaldi, who desired that the doors of the chapel might be fastened to prevent intrusion.
“We dare not bar the gates of this holy temple,” replied the Benedictine, “it is a sanctuary, and never may be closed.”
“But you will allow me to repress idle curiosity,” said Vivaldi, “and to enquire who watches beyond that door? The tranquillity of this lady demands thus much.”
The brother assented, and Vivaldi stepped to the door; but perceiving no person in the obscure passage beyond it, he returned with lighter steps to the altar, from which the officiating priest now rose.
“My children,” said he, “I have made you wait, — but an old man’s prayers are not less important than a young man’s vows, though this is not a moment when you will admit that truth.”
“I will allow whatever you please, good father,” replied Vivaldi, “if you will administer those vows, without further delay; — time presses.”
The venerable priest took his station at the altar, and opened the book. Vivaldi placed himself on his right hand, and with looks of anxious love, endeavoured to encourage Ellena, who, with a dejected countenance, which her veil but ill concealed, and eyes fixed on the ground, leaned on her attendant sister. The figure and homely features of this sister; the tall stature and harsh visage of the brother, clothed in the gray habit of his order; the silvered head and placid physiognomy of the officiating priest, enlightened by a gleam from the lamp above, opposed to the youthful grace and spirit of Vivaldi, and the milder beauty and sweetness of Ellena, formed altogether a group worthy of the pencil.
The priest had begun the ceremony, when a noise from without again alarmed Ellena, who observed the door once more cautiously opened, and a man bend forward his gigantic figure from behind it. He carried a torch, and its glare, as the door gradually unclosed, discovered other persons in the passage beyond, looking forward over his shoulder into the chapel. The fierceness of their air, and the strange peculiarity of their dress, instantly convinced Ellena that they were not inhabitants of the Benedictine convent, but some terrible messengers of evil, Her half-stifled shriek alarmed Vivaldi, who caught her before she fell to the ground; but, as he had not faced the door, he did not understand the occasion of her terror, till the sudden rush of footsteps made him turn, when he observed several men armed, and very singularly habited, advancing towards the altar.
“Who is he that intrudes upon this sanctuary?” he demanded sternly, while he half rose from the ground where Ellena had sunk.
“What sacrilegious footsteps,” cried the priest, “thus rudely violate this holy place?”
Ellena was now insensible; and the men continuing to advance, Vivaldi drew his sword to protect her.
The priest and Vivaldi now spoke together, but the words of neither could be distinguished, when a voice, tremendous from its loudness, like bursting thunder, dissipated the cloud of mystery.
“You Vincentio di Vivaldi, and of Naples,” it said, “and you Ellena di Rosalba, of Villa Altieri, we summon you to surrender, in the name of the most holy Inquisition!”
“The Inquisition!” exclaimed Vivaldi, scarcely believing what he heard. “Here is some mistake!”
The official repeated the summons, without deighing to reply.
Vivaldi, yet more astonished, added, “Do not imagine you can so far impose upon my credulity, as that I can believe myself to have fallen within the cognizance of the Inquisition.”
“You may believe what you please, Signor,” replied the chief officer, “but you and that lady are our prisoners.”
“Begone, impostor!” said Vivaldi, springing from the ground, where he had supported Ellena, “or my sword shall teach you to repent your audacity!”
“Do you insult an officer of the Inquisition!” exclaimed the ruffian. “That holy Community will inform you what you incur by resisting it’s mandate.”
The priest interrupted Vivaldi’s retort, “If you are really officers of that tremendous tribunal,” he said, “produce some proof of your office. Remember this place is sanctified, and tremble for the consequence of imposition. You do wrong to believe, that I will deliver up to you persons who have taken refuge here, without an unequivocal demand from that dread power.”
“Produce your form of summons,” demanded Vivaldi, with haughty impatience.
“It is here,” replied the official, drawing forth a black scroll, which he delivered to the priest, “Read, and be satisfied!”
The Benedictine started the instant he beheld the scroll, but he received and deliberately examined it. The kind of parchment, the impression of the seal, the particular form of words, the private signals, understood only by the initiated — all announced this to be a true instrument of arrestation from the Holy Office. The scroll dropped from his hand, and he fixed his eyes, with surprize and unutterable compassion, upon Vivaldi, who stooped to reach the parchment, when it was snatched by the official.
“Unhappy young man!” said the priest, “it is too true; you are summoned by that awful power, to answer to your crime, and I am spared from the commission of a terrible offence!”
Vivaldi appeared thunderstruck. “For what crime, holy father, am I called upon to answer? This is some bold and artful imposture, since it can delude even you! What crime — what offence?”
“I did not think you had been thus hardened in guilt!” replied the priest, “Forbear! add not the audacity of falsehood, to the headlong passions of youth. You understand too well your crime.”
“Falsehood!” retorted Vivaldi, “But your years, old man, and those sacred vestments, protect you. For these ruffians, who have dared to implicate that innocent victim,” pointing to Ellena, “in the charge, they shall have justice from my vengeance.”
“Forbear! forbear!” said the priest, seizing his arm, “have pity on yourself and on her. Know you not the punishment you incur from resistance?”
“I know nor care not,” replied Vivaldi, “but I will desend Ellena di Rosalba to the last moment. Let them approach if they dare.”
“It is on her, on her who lies senseless at your feet,” said the priest, “that they will wreck their vengeance for these insults; on her — the partner of your guilt.”
“The partner of my guilt!” exclaimed Vivaldi, with mingled astonishment and indignation — “of my guilt!”
“Rash young man! does not the very veil she wears betray it? I marvel how it could pass my observation!”
“You have stolen a nun from her convent,” said the chief officer, “and must answer for the crime. When you have wearied yourself with these heroics, Signor, you must go with us; our patience is wearied already.”
Vivaldi observed, for the first time, that Ellena was shrouded in a nun’s veil; it was the one which Olivia had lent, to conceal her from the notice of the Abbess, on the night of her departure from San Stefano, and which, in the hurry of that departure, she had forgotten to leave with the nun. During this interval, her mind had been too entirely occupied by cares and apprehension to allow her once to notice, that the veil she wore was other than her usual one; but it had been too well observed by some of the Ursaline sisters.
Though he knew not how to account for the circumstance of the veil, Vivaldi began to perceive others which gave colour to the charge brought against him, and to ascertain the wide circumference of the share that was spread around him. He fancied, too, that he perceived the hand of Schedoni employed upon it, and that his dark spirit was now avenging itself for the exposure he had suffered in the church of the Spirito Santo, and for all the consequent mortifications. As Vivaldi was ignorant of the ambitious hopes which the Marchesa had encouraged in father Schedoni, he did not see the improbability, that the Confessor would have dared to hazard her favour by this arrest of her son; much less could he suspect, that Schedoni, having done so, had secrets in his possession, which enabled him safely to defy her resentment, and bind her in silence to his decree.
With the conviction, that Schedoni’s was the master-hand that directed the present manoeuvre, Vivaldi stood aghast, and gazing in silent unutterable anguish on Ellena, who, as she began to revive, stretched forth her helpless hands, and called upon him to save her, “Do not leave me,” said she in accents the most supplicating, “I am safe while you are with me.”
At the sound of her voice, he started from his trance, and turning fiercely upon the ruffians, who stood in sullen watchfulness around, bade them depart, or prepare for his fury. At the same instant they all drew their swords, and the shrieks of Ellena, and the supplications of the officiating priest, were lost amidst the tumult of the combatants.
Vivaldi, most unwilling to shed blood, stood merely on the defensive, till the violence of his antagonists compelled him to exert all his skill and strength. He then disabled one of the ruffians; but his skill was insufficient to repel the other two, and he was nearly overcome, when steps were heard approaching, and Paulo rushed into the chapel. Perceiving his master beset, he drew his sword, and came furiously to his aid. He fought with unconquerable audacity and fierceness, till nearly at the moment when his adversary fell, other ruffians entered the chapel, and Vivaldi with his faithful servant was wounded, and, at length, disarmed.
Ellena, who had been withheld from throwing herself between the combatants, now, on observing that Vivaldi was wounded, renewed her efforts for liberty, accompanied by such agony of supplication and complaint, as almost moved to pity the hearts of the surrounding ruffians.
Disabled by his wounds, and also held by his enemies, Vivaldi was compelled to witness her distress and danger, without a hope of rescuing her. In frantic accents he called upon the old priest to protect her.
“I dare not oppose the orders of the Inquisition,” replied the Benedictine, “even if I had sufficient strength to defy it’s officials. Know you not, unhappy young man, that it is death to resist them?”
“Death!” exclaimed Ellena, “death!”
“Ay lady, too surely so!”
“Signor, it would have been well for you,” said one of the officers, “if you had taken my advice; you will pay dearly for what you have done,” pointing to the ruffian, who lay severely wounded on the ground.
“My master will not have that to pay for, friend,” said Paulo, “for if you must know, that is a piece of my work; and, if my arms were now at liberty, I would try if I could not match it among one of you, though I am so slashed.”
“Peace, good Paulo! the deed was mine,” said Vivaldi; then addressing the official, “For myself I care not, I have done my duty — but for her! — Can you look upon her, innocent and helpless as she is, and not relent! Can you, will you, barbarians! drag her, also, to destruction, upon a charge too so daringly false?”
“Our relenting would be of no service to her,” replied the official, “we must do our duty. Whether the charge is true or false, she must answer to it before her judges.”
“What charge?” demanded Ellena.
“The charge of having broken your nun’s vows,” replied the priest.
Ellena raised her eyes to heaven; “Is it even so!” she exclaimed.
“You hear she acknowledges the crime,” said one of the ruffians.
“She acknowledges no crime,” replied Vivaldi; “she only perceives the extent of the malice that persecutes her. O! Ellena, must I then abandon you to their power! leave you for ever!”
The agony of this thought re-animated him with momentary strength; he burst from the grasp of the officials, and once more clasped Ellena to his bosom, who, unable to speak, wept, with the anguish of a breaking heart, as her head sunk upon his shoulder. The ruffians around them so far respected their grief, that, for a moment, they did not interrupt it.
Vivaldi’s exertion was transient; faint from sorrow, and from loss of blood, he became unable to support himself, and was compelled again to relinquish Ellena.
“Is there no help?” said she, with agony; “will you suffer him to expire on the ground?”
The priest directed, that he should be conveyed to the Benedictine convent, where his wounds might be examined, and medical aid administered. The disabled ruffians were already carried thither; but Vivaldi refused to go, unless Ellena might accompany him. It was contrary to the rules of the place, that a woman should enter it, and before the priest could reply, his Benedictine brother eagerly said, that they dared not transgress the law of the convent.
Ellena’s fears for Vivaldi entirely overcame those for herself, and she entreated, that he would suffer himself to be conveyed to the Benedictines; but he could not be prevailed with to leave her. The officials, however, prepared to separate them; Vivaldi in vain urged the useless cruelty of dividing him from Ellena, if, as they had hinted, she also was to be carried to the Inquisition; and as ineffectually demanded, whither they really designed to take her.
“We shall take good care of her, Signor,” said an officer, “that is sufficient for you. It signifies nothing whether you are going the same way, you must not go together.”
“Why, did you ever hear, Signor, of arrested persons being suffered to remain in company?” said another ruffian, “Fine plots they would lay; I warrant they would not contradict each other’s evidence a tittle.”
“You shall not separate me from my master, though,” vociferated Paulo; “I demand to be sent to the Inquisition with him, or to the devil, but all is one for that.”
“Fair and softly,” replied the officer; “you shall be sent to the Inquisition first, and to the devil afterwards; you must be tried before you are condemned.”
“But waste no more time,” he added to his followers, and pointing to Ellena, “away with her.”
As he said this, they listed Ellena in their arms. “Let me loose!” cried Paulo, when he saw they were carrying her from the place, “let me loose, I say!” and the violence of his struggles burst asunder the cords which held him; a vain release, for he was instantly seized again.
Vivaldi, already exhausted by the loss of blood and the anguish of his mind, made, however, a last effort to save her; he tried to raise himself from the ground, but a sudden film came over his sight, and his senses forsook him, while yet the name of Ellena faultered on his lips.
As they bore her from the chapel, she continued to call upon Vivaldi, and alternately to supplicate that she might once more behold him, and take one last adieu. The ruffians were inexorable, and she heard his voice no more, for he no longer heard — no longer was able to reply to her’s.
“O! once again!” she cried in agony, “One word, Vivaldi! Let me hear the sound of your voice yet once again!” But it was silent.
As she quitted the chapel, with eyes still bent towards the spot where he lay, she exclaimed, in the piercing accents of despair, “Farewel, Vivaldi! — O! for ever — ever, farewel!”
The tone, in which she pronounced the last “farewel!” was so touching, that even the cold heart of the priest could not resist it; but he impatiently wiped away the few tears, that rushed into his eyes, before they were observed. Vivaldi heard it — it seemed to arouse him from death! — he heard her mournful voice for the last time, and, turning his eyes, saw her veil floating away through the portal of the chapel. All suffering, all effort, all resistance were vain; the ruffians bound him, bleeding as he was, and conveyed him to the Benedictine convent, together with the wounded Paulo, who unceasingly vociferated on the way thither, “I demand to be sent to the Inquision! I demand to be sent to the Inquision!”
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“In earliest Greece to thee, with partial choice,
The grief full Muse address’d her infant tongue;
The maids and matrons on her awful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.”
Collins’s Ode to Fear.
The wounds of Vivaldi, and of his servant, were pronounced, by the Benedictine who had examined and dressed them, to be not dangerous, but those of one of the ruffians were declared doubtful. Some few of the brothers displayed much compassion and kindness towards the prisoners; but the greater part seemed fearful of expressing any degree of sympathy for persons who had fallen within the cognizance of the Holy Office, and even kept aloof from the chamber, in which they were confined. To this self-restriction, however, they were not long subjected; for Vivaldi and Paulo were compelled to begin their journey as soon as some short rest had sufficiently revived them. They were placed in the same carriage, but the presence of two officers prevented all interchange of conjecture as to the destination of Ellena, and with respect to the immediate occasion of their misfortune. Paulo, indeed, now and then hazarded a surmise, and did not scruple to affirm, that the Abbess of San Stesano was their chief enemy; that the Carmelite friars, who had overtaken them on the road, were her agents; and that, having traced their route, they had given intelligence where Vivaldi and Ellena might be found.
“I guessed we never should escape the Abbess,” said Paulo, “though I would not disturb you, Signor mio, nor the poor lady Ellena, by saying so. But your Abbesses are as cunning as Inquisitors, and are so fond of governing, that they had rather, like them, send a man to the devil, than send him no where.”
Vivaldi gave Paulo a significant look, which was meant to repress his imprudent loquacity, and then sunk again into silence and the abstractions of deep grief. The officers, mean while, never spoke, but were observant of all that Paulo said, who perceived their watchfulness, but because he despised them as spies, he thoughtlessly despised them also as enemies, and was so far from concealing opinions, which they might repeat to his prejudice, that he had a pride in exaggerating them, and in daring the worst, which the exasperated tempers of these men, shut up in the same carriage with him, and compelled to hear whatever he chose to say against the institution to which they belonged, could effect. Whenever Vivaldi, recalled from his abstractions by some bold assertion, endeavoured to check his imprudence, Paulo was contented to solace his conscience, instead of protecting himself, by saying, “It is their own fault; they would thrust themselves into my company; let them have enough of it; and, if ever they take me before their reverences, the Inquisitors, they shall have enough for it too. I will play up such a tune in the Inquisition as is not heard there every day. I will jingle all the bells on their fool’s caps, and tell them a little honest truth, if they make me smart for it ever so.”
Vivaldi, aroused once more, and seriously alarmed for the consequences which honest Paulo might be drawing upon himself, now insisted on his silence, and was obeyed.
They travelled during the whole night, stopping only to change horses. At every post house, Vivaldi looked for a carriage that might inclose Ellena, but none appeared, nor any found of wheels told him that she followed.
With the morning light he perceived the dome of St. Peter, appearing faintly over the plains that surrounded Rome, and he understood, for the first time, that he was going to the prisons of the Inquisition in that city. The travellers descended upon the Campania, and then rested for a few hours at a small town on its borders.
When they again set forward, Vivaldi perceived that the guard was changed, the officer who had remained with him in the apartment of the inn only appearing among the new faces which surrounded him. The dress and manners of these men differed considerably from those of the other. Their conduct was more temperate, but their countenances expressed a darker cruelty, mingled with a sly demureness, and a solemn self-importance, that announced them at once as belonging to the Inquisition. They were almost invariably silent; and when they did speak, it was only in a few sententious words. To the abounding questions of Paulo, and the few earnest entreaties of his master, to be informed of the place of Ellena’s destination, they made not the least reply; and listened to all the flourishing speeches of the servant against Inquisitors and the Holy Office with the most profound gravity.
Vivaldi was struck with the circumstance of the guard being changed, and still more with the appearance of the party, who now composed it. When he compared the manners of the late, with those of the present guard, he thought he discovered in the first the mere ferocity of ruffians; but in the latter, the principles of cunning and cruelty, which seemed particularly to characterize Inquisitors; he was inclined to believe, that a stratagem had enthralled him, and that now, for the first time, he was in the custody of the Holy Office.
It was near midnight when the prisoners entered the Porto del Popolo, and found themselves in the midst of the Carnival at Rome. The Corso, through which they were obliged to pass, was crowded with gay carriages and marks, with processions of musicians, monks, and mountebanks, was lighted up with innumerable flambeaux, and resounded with the heterogeneous ratthing of wheels, the music of serenaders, and the jokes and laughter of the revellers, as they sportively threw about their sugar-plumbs. The heat of the weather made it necessary to have the windows of the coach open; and the prisoners, therefore, saw all that passed without. It was a scene, which contrasted cruelly with the feelings and circumstances of Vivaldi; torn as he was from her he most loved, in dreadful uncertainty as to her fate, and himself about to be brought before a tribunal, whose mysterious and terrible proceedings appalled even the bravest spirits. Altogether, this was one of the most striking examples, which the chequer-work of human life could shew, or human feelings endure, Vivaldi sickened as he looked upon the splendid crowd, while the carriage made its way slowly with it; but Paulo, as he gazed, was reminded of the Corso of Naples, such as it appeared at the time of Carnival, and, comparing the present scene with his native one, he found fault with every thing he beheld. The dresses were tasteless, the equipages without splendor, the people without spirit; yet, such was the propensity of his heart to sympathize with whatever was gay, that, for some moments, he forgot that he was a prisoner on his way to the Inqusition; almost forgot that he was a Neapolitan; and, while he exclaimed against the dullness of a Roman carnival, would have sprung through the carriage window to partake of its spirit, if his fetters and his wouries had not with-held him. A deep sigh from Vivaldi recalled his wandering imagination; and, when he noticed again the sorrow in his master’s look, all his lightly joyous spirits fled.
“My maestro, my dear maestro!” — he said, and knew not how to finish what he wished to express.
At that moment they passed the theatre of San Carlo, the doors of which were thronged with equipages, where Roman ladies, in their gala habits, courtiers in their fantastic dresses, and makes of all descriptions, were hastening to the opera. In the midst of this gay bustle, where the carriage was unable to proceed, the officials of the Inquisition looked on in solemn silence, not a muscle of their features relaxing in sympathy, or yielding a single wrinkle of the self-importance that lifted their brows; and, while they regarded with secret contempt those, who could be thus lightly pleased, the people, in return, more wisely, perhaps, regarded with contempt the proud moroseness, that refused to partake of innocent pleasures, because they were trifling, and shrunk from countenances furrowed with the sternness of cruelty. But, when their office was distinguished, part of the crowd pressed back from the carriage in affright, while another part advanced with curiosity; though, as the majority retreated, space was left for the carriage to move on. After quitting the Corso, it proceeded for some miles through dark and deserted streets, where only here and there a lamp, hung on high before the image of a saint, shed it’s glimmering light, and where a melancholy and universal silence prevailed. At intervals, indeed, the moon, as the clouds passed away, shewed, for a moment, some of those mighty monuments of Rome’s eternal name, those sacred ruins, those gigantic skeletons, which once enclosed a soul, whose energies governed a world! Even Vivaldi could not behold with indifference the grandeur of these reliques, as the rays fell upon the hoary walls and columns, or pass among these scenes of ancient story, without feeling a melancholy awe, a sacred enthusiasm, that withdrew him from himself. But the illusion was transient; his own missortunes pressed too heavily upon him to be long unfelt, and his enthusiasm vanished like the moonlight.
A returning gleam lighted up, soon after, the rude and extensive area, which the carriage was crossing. It appeared, from it’s desolation, and the ruins scattered distantly along its skirts, to be a part of the city entirely abandoned by the modern inhabitants to the reliques of its former grandeur. Not even the shadow of a human being crossed the waste, nor any building appeared, which might be supposed to shelter one. The deep tone of a bell, however, rolling on the silence of the night, announced the haunts of man to be not far off; and Vivaldi perceived in the distance, to which he was approaching, an extent of losty walls and towers, that, as far as the gloom would permit his eye to penetrate, bounded the horizon. He judged these to be the prisons of the Inquisition. Paulo pointed them out at the same moment. “Ah, Signor!” said he despondingly, “that is the place! what strength! If, my Lord, the Marchese were but to see where we are going! Ah!” —
He concluded with a deep sigh, and sunk again into the state of apprehension and mute expectation, which he had suffered from the moment that he quitted the Gorso.
The carriage having reached the walls, followed their bendings to a considerable extent. These walls, of immense height, and strengthened by innumerable massy bulwarks, exhibited neither window or grate, but a vast and dreary blank; a small round tower only, perched here and there upon the summit, breaking their inonotony.
The prisoners passed what seemed to be the principal entrance, from the grandeur of its portal, and the gigantic loftiness of the towers that rose over it; and soon after the carriage stopped at an arch-way in the walls, strongly barricadoed. One of the escort alighted, and, having struck upon the bars, a folding door within was immediately opened, and a man bearing a torch appeared behind the barricado, whose countenance, as he looked through it, might have been copied for the
“Grim-visaged comfortless Despair” of the Poet.
No words were exchanged between him and the guard; but on perceiving who were without, he opened the iron gate, and the prisoners, having alighted, passed with the two officials beneath the arch, the guard following with a torch. They descended a flight of broad steps, at the foot of which another iron gate admitted them to a kind of hall; such, however, it at first appeared to Vivaldi, as his eyes glanced through its gloomy extent, imperfectly ascertaining it by the lamp, which hung from the centre of the roof. No person appeared, and a death-like silence prevailed; for neither the officials nor the guard yet spoke; nor did any distant sound contradict the notion, that they were traversing the chambers of the dead. To Vivaldi it occurred, that this was one of the burial vaults of the victims, who suffered in the Inquisition, and his whole frame thrilled with horror. Several avenues, opening from the apartment, seemed to lead to distant quarters of this immense fabric, but still no footstep whispering along the pavement, or voice murmuring through the arched roofs, indicated it to be the residence of the living.