XII
THE ADVENTURES OF THE OLD WOMAN CONTINUED

"ASTONISHED and delighted to hear my native language, and no less surprised at what this man said, I made answer that there were much greater misfortunes than that of which he complained. I told him in a few words of the horrors which I had endured, and fainted a second time. He carried me to a neighbouring house, put me to bed, gave me food, waited upon me, consoled me, flattered me; he told me that he had never seen any one so beautiful as I, and that he never so much regretted the loss of what it was impossible to recover.

" 'I was born at Naples,' said he, 'there they geld two or three thousand children every year; some die of the operation, others acquire a voice more beautiful than that of women, and others are raised to offices of state. 13 This operation was performed on me with great success and I was chapel musician to madam, the Princess of Palestrina.'

" 'To my mother!' cried I.

" 'Your mother !' cried he, weeping. 'What!

-48-

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