Francesco - Il Virtuoso
These mercenaries, knowing the mind of their master, did not hesitate to translate his words into deeds; and very soon they were able to realise their dastardly purpose. Although the Countess had warned young Riario of the danger which menaced them both, and was, for a time, more circumspect in her intercourse with her lover, the fascination of mutual passion overbore the dictates of prudence.
Like a "bolt from the blue" fell the blow - or blows - which, if not delivered by Count Ulisse in person, were his de jure. Two paid assassins chanced upon the loving couple one day, clasped in each other's arms, in a summer-house in a remote part of the Bentivoglio gardens!
Swift and certain was the aim! Pellegrina and Antonio were discovered, late at night, each stabbed through the back, and strangled with cords - dead - with eyes of horror gazing wildly at the pale moon! No shrift had they, but bitter tears were shed by tender sympathisers, and accusing fingers were pointed at the Count.
What cared he! He merely shrugged his shoulders and sardonically hinted that as he had brought his wife from Florence - from Florence, too, had he learned how to take personal vengeance upon a faithless spouse and her accomplice! The dark deed was done on 21st September 1589, and Count Ulisse lived on with his evil conscience and his new wife till 1618, when he, too, fell in Bologna by an assassin's blade - just retribution for the foul murder of lovely Pellegrina Buonaventuri.