Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Tito Melema arrives in the Florence of the Medicis penniless and unknown, but the sale of some rare jewels in his possession soon brings him into the circle of the wealthy, learned men of the city, among them Bardo, a blind antiquarian. Bardo is a great scholar who continues his annotations of Greek and Roman books through the eyes of his beautiful daughter, Romola. Bardo’s only interests in life are his library and his museum, and he has reared his daughter in innocence of the outside world. Bardo accepts Tito eagerly, for he is always glad to meet a scholar who has traveled widely. He tells Tito of a son whom he had lost.
Tito’s fortune has at last come to him with the sale of all his jewels except a single ring. He recalls that the money properly belongs to Baldassare Calvo, the man who has been almost a father to him and who might now be a slave in the hands of the Turks. If Baldassare is alive, Tito tells himself, he will spend the money for the old man’s ransom, but he is not sure his foster father still lives.
Tito quickly entrenches himself in the learned society of Florence. While sitting at a window with a friend during the yearly festival of San Giovanni, patron saint of Florence, Tito fancies that a monk in the crowd below is looking at him with malice. Also glancing up at Tito from below is the beautiful Tessa, daughter of a milk vendor, whom Tito had met on the day of his arrival in Florence.
Later, as he walks...
(The entire section is 1382 words.)
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