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The Memoirs of Count Carlo Gozzi; Volume the First
written by "Manceau, A."
... with six lowered and gleaming muskets; the cowls of their cloaks concealed their faces, and they advanced at a slow pace toward us. At this apparition our musician took to his heels, and did not stop running till he reached his lodging. Massimo and I stood our ground like Orlando and Rodomonte. I went on playing; my friend, to keep the singing up, howled out some rustic ditties in a bold voice, which was however, I am bound to say, even less agreeable than the Canon's. His discords were enough to cast eternal shame upon Italian music; and if the young lady heard them, they must have frightened her out of her wits instead of giving her the pleasure of a serenade. Observing our determination to stand firm, the six cowled men advanced to within twenty paces. We heard the click of their six gunlocks, as they cocked them, ready to give fire. At this point our intrepidity deserved no other name than madness; it called for the lancet, hellebore, strait-jackets, a good drubbing. Without budging an inch, we raised our pistols at the muffled band. They looked at us, we looked at them, for good two minutes. Then they made their minds up to defile past, leaving us at a little distance, but always keeping their eyes fixed with a haughty defiance on our faces. We, on our part, made our minds up to let them pass, returning no less haughty glances. Perhaps they wished to give us time for repentance, or for wholesome reflections, which should make us quit our post. Anyhow, they moved onward till they reached the end of the street, when once again they turned and faced us. Little did those cowled and mantled fellows know the length and breadth of our stupidity! We recommenced our duet with a more hideous din than ever. They retraced their steps, and advanced steadily toward us. But when they found the pair of little fighting-cocks still standing with raised pistols on the watch, they judged it wiser to pursue their course and disappear. The removal ...

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