Mark Twain - about the detective named Krioni

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Mark Twain - about the detective named Krioni

20 October | 260 views

A TRAMP ABROAD By Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) First published in 1880. CHAPTER XLIX [Hanged with a Golden Rope].


«St. Mark's is not the oldest building in the world, of course, but it seems the oldest, and looks the oldest--especially inside…»

«Nearly four hundred and fifty years ago, a Candian named Stammato, in the suite of a prince of the house of Este, was allowed to view the riches of St. Mark's.

His sinful eye was dazzled and he hid himself behind an altar, with an evil purpose in his heart, but a priest discovered him and turned him out. Afterward he got in again--by false keys, this time. He went there, night after night, and worked hard and patiently, all alone, overcoming difficulty after difficulty with his toil, and at last succeeded in removing a great brick of the marble paneling which walled the lower part of the treasury; this block he fixed so that he could take it out and put it in at will. After that, for weeks, he spent all his midnights in his magnificent mine, inspecting it in security, gloating over its marvels at his leisure, and always slipping back to his obscure lodgings before dawn, with a duke's ransom under his cloak. He did not need to grab, haphazard, and run--there was no hurry.

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Fig.1 Book cover

He could make deliberate and well-considered selections; he could consult his esthetic tastes. One comprehends how undisturbed he was, and how safe from any danger of interruption, when it is stated that he even carried off a unicorn's horn--a mere curiosity--which would not pass through the egress entire, but had to be sawn in two-- a bit of work which cost him hours of tedious labor. He continued to store up his treasures at home until his occupation lost the charm of novelty and became monotonous; then he ceased from it, contented. Well he might be; for his collection, raised to modern values, represented nearly fifty million dollars!

He could have gone home much the richest citizen of his country, and it might have been years before the plunder was missed; but he was human--he could not enjoy his delight alone, he must have somebody to talk about it with. So he exacted a solemn oath from a Candian noble named Crioni, then led him to his lodgings and nearly took his breath away with a sight of his glittering hoard. He detected a look in his friend's face which excited his suspicion, and was about to slip a stiletto into him when Crioni saved himself by explaining that that look was only an expression of supreme and happy astonishment. Stammato made Crioni a present of one of the state's principal jewels--a huge carbuncle, which afterward figured in the Ducal cap of state--and the pair parted. Crioni went at once to the palace, denounced the criminal, and handed over the carbuncle as evidence. Stammato was arrested, tried, and condemned, with the old-time Venetian promptness. He was hanged between the two great columns in the Piazza--with a gilded rope, out of compliment to his love of gold, perhaps. He got no good of his booty at all--it was ALL recovered.»

Source: http://www.mtwain.com/A_Tramp_Abroad/48.html

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Mark Twain - about the detective named Krioni

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