Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

when he heard any speculations con- ened up to keep its pyrotechnic vigil cerning the Duchessa's line of de- before St Peter's Day. fence. What that line of defence It was on that eve that Francisco would be, nobody seemed to doubt. met with another great awakening Francisco shut his eyes, and set his in his life. That eve, its crimson teeth against it with the haughtiest sunset dying afar in ineffable circles resistance. He said nothing now in of colour, ever sweeter and fainter reply, but Rospigliosi himself had as they fled through the magical been daunted by those haughty black ring of that rapid twilight; with eyes of the Duchessa gleaming in the green outspreading boughs and passionate reserve and silence, un- trees upon Pincio flinging their outknown to her, out of her son's face. lines so doubly, brightly, ecstatical

The Avvocato was proceeding with ly green, against that crimson and his evidence, collecting slowly every pink and orange, then blackening kind of corroborative proof, and slowly into solemn types of trees as wasting those summer days, Fran- the quick darkness fell. And over cisco thought, with unnecessary and Monte Mario and his brethren a elaborate verifications. For it was serene sweet sky appearing out of summer in Rome, villeggiatura had the clouds, green-blue with its tender not yet begun, and now that the twinkles of dilating stars; and the reality of the sun, and the chimera, darkness gathering and falling over bigger than reality, of the fever, had these irregular heights between, hiddriven away the Forestieri, Rome ing big San Pietro and his lamps, felt herself mistress of her own as Time hides a great event, till its streets, and demeaned herself ac- hour has come ; and nothing clear to cordingly. A few languid figures, be seen here from the top of Pincio driven by necessity, crept along the but the reluctant crimson lingering blazing streets in the day, but when out over the distant sea, the green the evening, came the Corso was break, towards the east, of that inalive with the most brilliant faces effable serenity of sky, and close by and toilettes, the gayest equipages, the weird trees and indistinct figures the brightest groups imaginable. and huge ang!es of houses down in Perhaps a gleam of national arro- the piazza, rising black into the at. gance, which sits well on the de- mosphere, which, even in its darkscendants of an imperial race, per- ness, preserved a tint of the sunset haps only the natural relief of a vast red. Here Francisco was waiting household at finding itself relieved, languidly among the movirg crowd after long endurance, of an incubus to see the world-famous illumination, of visitors, gives at that period of the when it chanced to him to encounter year a certain exhilaration and aban, Monsignore, not in top-boots, as at don to the Roman crowd; perhaps Rocca, but in the full glory of his only the delicious brightness of that purple stockings, with an attendant crowning glory of the Italian year; in livery behind him. They had not but whatever may be the cause, it met again since their interview in is certain that Rome never looks the good prelate's study, and the so gayly and joyously Roman as in young man was about to pass with that early glorious suinmer after the a respectful salutation. Catching strangers are gone. And the Avvo- sight of him, however, Monsignore cato Rospigliosi and all his men were extended his hand with a lively exmortal, and of Roman blood, and so clamation. “Figlio mio," said the were all the official persons who had good mau, “turn and walk with me to do with suits at law; and so even if you are alone. I have a great were Teta and Madame Margherita, deal to say to you; I should have and all the people in San Michele come to seek you to-morrow if I had whose evidence was necessary to not seen you here." Francisco's cause ; so that the busi- Mucho flattered by an address ness was noways advanced, accord which was audible enough to attract ing to the young man's impatient much observation_to himself, and thoughts, when the great sumner fes- to cause, though Francisco did not tival came round, and Rome bright- observe it, wany whispers among VOL. LXXXVIII-XO, DXLI.

2 0

the crowd, the young man turned at her ? Should he have claimed her Monsignore's bidding. The good ere that time, and offered one of the priest took a paternal hold upon the proudest titles of Italy to the lityouth's arm, and led him along with tle English Signorina | Monsignore him, to the admiration of the by- knew nothing of that sad complicastanders, who, if they did not, like the tion and double romance in the engood people of Rocca, make a tute- tangled affairs of the young hero, lar divinity of Monsignore, still knew nor how those two invisible fairies him well and liked him heartily, part- rent the youth's heart between them; ly for his natural goodness, partly and it was with a little surprise that he was in obvious disfavour with that the good priest turned his eye Antonelli, and little beloved by the from the blazing outline of the great Pope.

Basilica, and saw indistinctly through “I hear from Ser Antonio what the darkness how much emotion was progress he makes,” said Monsig- in the young man's face. nore; "he tells me of his witnesses "Coraggio !" said Monsignore, "and and pleadings, and I am glad; but, patienza! my son; there is need of my son, there is still something more both; and this-let us go out of the important—what of thee?"

crowd a little - is what I would Francisco's conscience smote him; speak to thee of. How dost thou nothing but youthful passions, wear- live in the mean time, poverino ? iness, and musing, could be told Thinking of what shall be, my Chiof him, and he blushed a little chino, we must not forget what is.” as he met Monsignore's mild eyes “I live as I have always done, turned towards him : they could Monsignore," said the young man. scarcely see each other's faces, and “I do not complain.” the churches lying below them in “I see it, my son; you do not comthe darkness were telling out, with a plain, nor make haste to waste thy liberal margin for differences of opi- estate beforehand, as so many young nion, dropping the warning into the men would do; and it pleases me, air in irregular succession, the hour said Monsignore. “Believe me, there of nine. A few moments more, and is nothing better for you than to San Pietro, invisible yonder, would continue Francisco the painter until leap forth into the darkness, every the greater title comes; but in the line and column of him, dome, cross, mean time thy painting is hard work and gallery, a living miracle of light. for thee, I do not doubt, and thy It was a fortunate diversion for Fran- thoughts run faster than thy brushes cisco. They turned towards the front can follow; so that I mean to proof the terrace, the crowd giving way pose to you, my friend, to keep a before Monsignore; and the young few scudi, till I want them, for me.” man's answer, such as it was, was 'Monsignore, for you !” exclaimed lost in the hush and tremor of the Francisco. bystanders waiting for the event.

For me, truly. I have not a Francisco waited too with a thrill great deal," said the priest, “but it of excitement. His mind, in its is at thy disposal, Francisco, or any over-stimulated condition, was at the friend's.” present moment sensitive to every- “It is holy coin," cried Francisco, thing. His life rushed past him like almost thrusting the kind ecclesiasa flying shadow as he stood there on tic from him in his fervor. “ Parthe threshold of his loftier hopes, don, Monsignore, I should as soon with Monsignore's fatherly hånd take the consecrated wafer for daily upon his arm. What might have bread; it is the money of the orphans happened to him when next time and the poor-it is not for such as San Pietro rose shining beneath me." these stars? That would be on the “And art not thou an orphan, eve of holy Easter, the earliest sweet- poverino?”, said the good Monsignore; ness of spring; and eyes of many an and besides, can always render it English girl would brighten at that back to the poor and the orphans spectacle from this same terrace. when thou wilt, with as much inShould Lucy be there, and he beside crease as pleases thee. Figlio mio,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

suspense is hard at thy age. I am and his witnesses do as they will, concerned for thee now.

henceforward I will work and live." Francisco stood still for a moment With which resolution, Francisco, among the darkling crowd. It seemed all a-glow with youthful pride and to him as though a white apparition shame, tears in his eyes, a flush on of the English Lucy floated between his cheeks, and his whole person him and those noisy Italian groups, moved with the exaltation of excited shaking a tiny hand in his face, ex- feeling, left Monsignore among the claiming, You will take Monsig, crowd in his purple stockings, and nore's money-you! Then think of hurried down the hill. As he gained me no inore!"--with all the indig- the foot of Pincio, he came suddenly nation and defiance possible to that upon a carriage, where the poor old positive little maid. The young Duchessa, on her way to see the Roman broke into tears and warm girandola in the Piazza, leant back exclamations of gratitude and admir- with her old dame de compagnie beation, according to the fashion of his side her, enveloped, soft as the June nation. He kissed Monsignore's pale air was, in a world of shawls. Life hand as he had kissed it when he seems to grow precious in proportion was little Chichino. He behaved to the dying-out of everything more himself, with a total disregard of all valuable. The Duchessa had outreserves and reticences, in a manner lived love and honour, if she ever had which almost attracted the notice of them; but she was more careful than the crowd, well accustomed as that ever before of that poor thread of crowd was to “scenes," Francisco existence which was all that remained on his part did not know what it to her. As they met, the eyes of was to have an objection to “a scene.” the two encountered each other; the He did and said what came into his son's warm with noble youthful senhead exuberantly under the cover timent and resolution, the mother's of that darkness, with San Pietro cold, cruel, and eager, incapable of silently blazing in the distance-all any passions but those of hatred and its lights yellowing over into the final rage. Francisco passed on, after he golden glory. Francisco, transport- had seen her, with a cloud of graver ed, had forgotten all about San Pietro thoughts subduing but strengthenwhen he kissed Monsignore's hand. ing the resolution in his face. But But no !” cried the young man.

the Duchessa leant out of her car“I am an orphan for your love, riage to look after him, holding the padre mio! but I am a man, and shawls close over her withered breast. can work if I were twenty times She scolded all the way to the Piazza the son of a duke. No. I will go -scolded through the fizz of the girback to my pictures that I have andola -- drove Cenci almost crazy neglected. I will return to my work, when she went home. Perhaps in Monsignore; and you who are a saint that moment she had recognised the out of heaven will help me with your hapless baby—the forgotten life that prayers."

rose up so bold and strong among "My prayers are for the service those dews of youth to confront her, of all my children," said Monsignore; and had seen all her plans defeated "but thou shouldst remember, Chi- and all her precautions useless. She chino mio, that the blessed Angelico was a very poor old woman, that painted on his knees, and made pic- splendid beautiful Duchessa who tures that it is like a prayer to look had sent the child away; and wheat. And wherefore not thou ?” ther it was unnatural cruelty or a

“The blessed Angelico did not certain savage virtue in vice which copy the Beatrice, my_father," said prompted it, her sin had been fatally Francisco, meekly. "However, this

However, this à failure. Here was this boy, her is certain : I will neither take Mon- son, with her own eyes; and what signore's money, nor starve, nor live could she do against his young vigour, on a loaf and a slice of cocomero as I the power and passion which she have been doing. Let the Avvocato could see in his face ?

THE ADMINISTRATION OF INDIA.

a

When the Bengal sepoys proclaim- the lost citadel, mastered the mutiny ed the extinction of the Company's and scattered the traitors, before the rule, they little imagined the hands home reinforcements arrived to prosthat were to execute the mad bulletin. trate the country more completely The Home authorities had weakened than ever under the iron heel of the European garrison beyond any military conquest. But if India, precedent of former rashness; while, with her hundred years' experience, at the same time, native prejudices was not prepared for deeds of indiviwere successively outraged, neglect- dual prowess, which have recalled ed, and petted, with a caprice that the days of Amadis and Sir Lance100,000 bayonets would have been lot, and filled the battalions of modern too few to protect. The Pandies Europe with wonder and praise, what might well trust their own arm to sane imagination could have anticiwield the weapon put into their hands pated the spectacle exhibited in the in the affair of the greased cartridges. Palace of Westminster, when an imIt was not much that then seemed to perial Sovereign cancelled, at the be wanting to complete the overthrow dictation of traitors, red with the of the edifice constructed by the blood of their murdered officers, a courage and sagacity of Clive, Hast- commission of Government, just beings, and Wellesley. It was but to fore publicly renewed !—when a Conmassacre a few score of Europeans stitutional monarch was seen to scattered up and down the country, change, in the crisis of an armed inwithout strategy, caution, or mis- surrection, the administration agreed giving-to seize on the treasuries and upon, after deliberate investigation, strongholds, mostly in native cus- by the almost unanimous voice of the tody—to proclaim a new raj -and Legislature and the Nation !-when

Koompni Sahib” would pass away, a great Power, outraged with every like many a predecessor in history, possible laceration of public and pribefore the far-distant resources of vate honour, stood forward to endorse Great Britain could be collected to the treason by sacrificing its own rethe rescue.

presentative ! — when a wise and In these calculations, however, the generous nation rewarded the heroes rebels fell into a twofold mistake. who fell, or nobly conquered, in They did not reckon on the fight to be the unexampled struggle, by abolishmade by the victims whom they had ing the Service in which they were destined to summary extermination trained, and placing in doubt the --and it never entered their wildest prospects which had encouraged them dreams that, when the revolt should to embrace a life of exile with the be known in England, the Imperial chances of a premature death ! Legislature would be the first to bow We shall be answered that no such to the vaticination of the Brahmans, consequences were meant to be inand, instead of straining every nerve

volved in the transfer of the governto replace theoutraged representative ment to the direct administration of of England's majesty, itself prepare the Crown. And if the events of this the bowstring that was to execute world were ruled by intentions, the the award of the traitors.

answer would be complete. Of course The sepoys may be pardoned their we do not impute any such conscious dual error. Not even their experi- treason to the statesmen, on either ence of British daring could foresee side of the House, who concurred in the more than heroic gallantry with that disastrous measure ; but amid which the Indian officers and civil- the weighty arguments urged against ians turned to bay by twos and threes it, there was one that ought to have upon their merciless assailants, ar- commanded respect, if all besides had rested the revolt before it could been unavailing. The time selected spread into a rebellion, and not only for the experiment-a period of panic held the government, but recovered and confusion-was not only liable

[ocr errors]

to dishonouring interpretations, but pany's government, few cared to inexcluded the possibility of a mature quire into the details of that which deliberation. The more we consider was to succeed. Only one change, the unformed and defective statute indeed, seems to be possible amid which stands in our legislative code the clash of arms, and that is to a Dicas the 21st & 22d Victoria, cap. 106, tatorship: Such was, in fact, the the more it seems to deserve the sar- effect of the statute of 1858. The gocasm aimed by Mr Bright at another vernment of the Crown was enacted; measure-that“not twenty members but the mode in which it was to bé in the House understood what they exercised, the nature and limits of were doing."

the subordinate functions, with all We can have no pleasure in recalling the executive establishments, and the objections which it is now too late to entire administration in India, were consider; but the session has closed handed over, in the loosest possible with another India bill, of hardly less manner, to the newly created Secreimportance, and equally crude and ill tary of State. Some attempt was defined; in fact, placing in doubt the made to fetter him with a Council of whole future of the Indian armies. Indian advisers ; but this was one of The financial condition of the country, those half measures which only serves too, is so hopelessly involved, that it to indicate the perplexity of their auseems to be matter of conjecture in thors. A really efficient Council would England, whether the deficit of the have reproduced the "double governcurrent year be six millions or nine. ment” of the Court of Directors;The Minister who was to restore or- for the direct administration of the der and abundance to the exhausted Crown no Council seems required but exchequer, has been swept away by the responsible Cabinet. Wavering death, and we are told that neither between the two policies, and timidly India nor England contains a com- shrinking from both, Parliament took petent successor. Surely it is high refuge in a sham ;-a Council, to be time to inquire whether there be any advised with, or not, at the discretion recognised system of government for of the Minister himself ;-a body that India, or whether Parliament is con- might act as a blind, but could never tent to have followed the example presume to be a check. The inference

a of the sepoys, destroying everything is that, while effecting a revolution and reconstructing nothing.

at the fountain-head, the Legislature In instituting this inquiry, we can desired as little practical change as have no party object to serve. Both possible in the course of affairs. Our sides of the House of Commons are senators wished to retain as much as implicated in the measures which call possible of the agency they were disfor our animadversions. The Con- placing, and to escape as far as posservatives may plead the excuse of sible the known tendencies of that only following their rivals, who had which they were introducing. With already seized on the panic of the this vague and unstatesmanlike intimoment to pronounce the Company's mation, the exhausted members redoom. They have also the more de- tired to their rural sports, leaving finite merit of devoting their foremost their abortion in the hands of a Conmen to the service of India; while the servative Minister. Whigs, true to traditional instinct, Lord Stanley, in addition to great continue to regard that great empire industry, and a spirit of progressive as the vile corpus of family and party reform, happily preserves the pru. patronage. To read the names of dence which is content to leave well Ellenborough and Stanley in juxta- alone. His travels had enabled him position with those of Vernon Smith to form a truer appreciation of the and Sir Charles Wood, is quite Indian services than falls to the lot enough to account for the disgust and of our newspaper students; while his alarm, with which nine-tenths of the good sense, and the general policy of Indian services regard every project his party, secured him against the bearing the ominous stamp of Whig- conceit of inaugurating the new sysLiberalism.

tem by disturbing and embroiling all In the baste to get rid of the Com- existing institutions.

« AnteriorContinuar »