« PreviousContinue »
the floor, and tore at the boards with his door opened. He went cautiously out hands, which were free from the wrists into the darkness, with Furbelow perchdown. All else was as solidly laced up ed on his shoulder, pressing his cold muzas an Indian papoose. Nothing but pride zle against his cheek. He had made but kept him from shrieking aloud, when, on a few steps when a trembling hand was the night of New Year's Eve, he heard put into his, and in another moment the fiendish Hippe recite the programme Zonela's palpitating heart was pressed of his murder.
against his own. One long kiss, an emWhile he was thus wailing and gnash- brace, a few whispered words, and the ing his teeth in darkness and torture, he hunchback and the girl stole softly toheard a faint noise above his head. Then wards the door of the chamber in which something seemed to leap from the ceil- the four gypsies slept. All seemed still; ing and alight softly on the floor. He nothing but the hard breathing of the shuddered with terror. Was it some new sleepers, and the monotonous rocking of torture of the Wondersmith's invention ? Madame Filomel's chair broke the silence. The next moment, he felt some small ani- Solon stooped down and put his eye to mal crawling over his body, and a soft, the keyhole, through which a red bar of silky paw was pushed timidly across his light streamed into the entry. As he did face. His heart leaped with joy.
so, his foot crushed some brittle substance “ It is Furbelow!” he cried. " Zoné- that lay just outside the door; at the same la has sent him. He came through the moment a howl of agony was heard to stove-pipe hole.”
issue from the room within. Solon startIt was Furbelow, indeed, restored to ed; nor did he know that at that instant life by Zonéla's care, and who had he had crushed into dust Monsieur Kercome down a narrow tube, that no hu- plonne’s supernumerary eye, and the man being could have threaded, to con- owner, though wrapt in a drunken sleep, sole the poor captive. The monkey felt the pang quiver through his brain. nestled closely into the hunchback’s bos- While Solon peeped through the keyom, and, as he did so, Solon felt some- hole, all in the room was motionless. He thing cold and hard hanging from his had not gazed, however, for many secneck. He touched it. It was sharp. By onds, when the chair of the fortune-teller the dim light that struggled through the gave a sudden lurch, and the black botaperture high up in the wall, he discov- tle, already hanging half out of her wide ered a knife, suspended by a bit of cord. pocket, slipped entirely from its restingAh! how the blood came rushing through place, and, falling heavily to the ground, the veins that crossed over and through shivered into fragments. his heart, when life and liberty came to Then took place an astonishing spechim in this bit of rusty steel! With his tacle. The myriads of armed dolls, that manacled bands he loosened the heaven- lay in piles about the room, became sudsent weapon ; a few cuts were rapidly denly imbued with motion. They stood made in the cunning network of cord up straight, their tiny limbs moved, their that enveloped his limbs, and in a few black
flashed with wicked purposes, seconds he was free ! - cramped and their thread-like swords gleamed as they faint with hunger, but free ! — free to waved them to and fro. The villanous move, to use the limbs that God had souls imprisoned in the bottle began to given him for his preservation,- free to work within them. Like the Lilipufight,-- to die fighting, perhaps, but still tians, when they found the giant Gullito die free. He ran to the door. The ver asleep, they scaled in swarms the bolt was a weak one, for the Wonder- burly sides of the four sleeping gypsies. smith bad calculated more surely on his At every step they took, they drove their prison of cords than on any jail of stone, thin swords and quivering daggers into – and more; and with a few efforts the the flesh of the drunken authors of their
being. To stab and kill was their mis- “ Ye shall die too, if I die," he cried, sion, and they stabbed and killed with with a roar like that of a tiger. “Ye incredible fury. They clustered on the shall burn, if I burn. I gave ye life, — I Wondersmith's sallow cheeks and sinewy give ye death. Down !- down !- burn ! throat, piercing every portion with their - flame! Fiends that ye are, to slay us ! diminutive poisoned blades. Filomel's Help me, brothers ! Before we die, let fat carcass was alive with them. They us have our revenge !” blackened the spare body of Monsieur On this, the other gypsies, themselves Kerplonne. They covered Oaksmith's maddened by approaching death, began huge form like a cluster of insects. hurling manikins, by handfuls, into the
Overcome completely with the fumes fire. The little creatures, being wooden of wine, these tiny wounds did not for a of body, quickly caught the flames, and few moments awaken the sleeping vic- an awful struggle for life took place in tims. But the swift and deadly poison miniature in the grate. Some of them Macousha, with which the weapons had escaped from between the bars and ran been so fiendishly anointed, began to about the room, blazing, writhing in agwork. Herr Hippe, stung into sudden ony, and igniting the curtains and othlife, leaped to his feet, with a dwarf army er draperies that hung around. Others clinging to his clothes and his hands, fought and stabbed one another in the always stabbing, stabbing, stabbing. For
very core of the fire, like combating salan instant, a look of stupid bewilderment amanders. Meantime, the motions of clouded his face; then the horrible truth the gypsies grew more languid and slow, burst upon him. He gave a shriek like and their curses were uttered in choked that which a horse utters when he finds guttural tones. The faces of all four were himself fettered and surrounded by fire, spotted with red and green and violet, --a shriek that curdled the air for miles like so many egg-plants. Their bodies and miles.
were swollen to a frightful size, and at “ Oaksmith! Kerplonne ! Filomel ! last they dropped on the floor, like overAwake! awake! We are lost! The souls ripe fruit shaken from the boughs by the have got loose! We are dead! poisoned! winds of autumn. Oh, accursed ones! Oh, demons, ye are The chamber was now a sheet of fire. slaying me! Ah! fiends of Hell!” The flames roared round and round,
Aroused by these frightful howls, the as if seeking for escape, licking every three gypsies sprang also to their feet, to projecting cornice and sill with greedy find themselves stung to death by the tongues, as the serpent licks his prey bemanikins. They raved, they shrieked, fore he swallows it. A hot, putrid breath they swore. They staggered round the came through the keyhole and smote chamber. Blinded in the eyes by the Solon and Zonela like a wind of death. ever-stabbing weapons,— with the poison They clasped each other's hands with a already burning in their veins like red- moan of terror, and Aed from the house. hot lead,—their forms swelling and discol- The next morning, when the young oring visibly every moment,—their howls Year was just unclosing its eyes, and the and attitudes and furious gestures made happy children all over the great city the scene look like a chamber in Hell. were peeping from their beds into the
Maddened beyond endurance, the Won- myriads of stockings hanging near by, dersmith, half-blind and choking with the the blue skies of heaven shone through venom that had congested all the blood- a black network of stone and charred vessels of his body, seized dozens of the rafters. These were all that remained manikins and dashed them into the fire, of the habitation of Herr Hippe, the trampling them down with his feet. Wondersmith.
ROBA DI ROMA.
elemosina, - ma abbondante,"— and willCHAPTER IV.
ingly pocketing any sum, from a halfLENT.
baiocco upwards. The parish priest is The gay confusion of Carnival is over, now making his visits in every ward of the with its mad tossing of flowers and bon- city, to register the names of the Cathobons, its showering of confetti, its bril. lics in all the houses, so as to insure a liantly draped balconies running over confession from each during this season with happy faces, its barbaric races, its of penance. And woe to any wight who rows of joyous contadine, its quaint mas- fails to do his duty !- he will soon be querading, and all the glad folly of its brought to his marrow-bones. His name Saturnalia. For Saturnalia it is, in most will be placarded in the church, and he respects just like the festa of the An- will be punished according to circumcient Romans, with its Saturni septem stances, – perhaps by a mortification to dies, its uproar of “ Io Saturnalia !” in the pocket, perhaps by the penance of the streets, and all its mad frolic. In one the convent; and perhaps his fate will be point it materially differs, however; for worse, if he be obstinate. So nobody is on the ancient festa no criminal could obstinate, and all go to confession like be punished; but in modern times it is good Christians, and confess what they this gay occasion that the government please, for the sake of peace, if not of abselects to execute ( giustiziare) any poor solution. The Francescani march more wretch who may have been condemned solemnly up and down the alleys of their to death, so as to strike a wholesome ter- cabbage-garden, studiously with books in ror into the crowd. Truly, the ways of their hands, which they pretend to read; the Church are as wonderful as they are now and then taking out their snuff-staininfallible! But all is over now. The last ed bandanna and measuring it from cormoccoletti are extinguished, that flashed ner to corner, in search of a feasible spot and danced like myriad fire-flies from for its appropriate function, and then window and balcony and over the heads rolling it carefully into a little round ball of the roaring tide of people that ebbed and returning it to the place whence it and flowed in stormy streams of wild came. Whatever penance they do is not laughter through the streets. The Cor- to Father Tiber or Santo Acquedotto, so has become sober and staid, and taken excepting by internal ablutions,—the exin its draperies. The fun is finished. The terior things of this world being ignormasked balls, with their belle maschere, ed. There is no meat-eating now, save are over. The theatres are all closed. on certain festivals, when a supply is laid Lent has come, bringing its season of in for the week. But opposites cure opsadness; and the gay world of strangers posites, (contrary to the homæopathic is flocking down to Naples.
rule,) and their magro makes them grasEh, Signore! Finito il nostro carno- Two days of festival, however, there vale. Adesso è il carnovale dei preti :- are in the little church of San Patrizio * Our carnival is over, and that of the and Isidoro, when the streets are covered priests has come.” All the frati are go- with sand, and sprigs of box and red and ing round to every Roman family, high yellow hangings flaunt before the portico, and low, from the prince in his palace and scores of young boy-priests invade to the boy in the caffe, demanding “ una their garden, and, tucking up their long santa elemosina, — un abbondante santa skirts, run and scream among the cab
bages; for boydom is an irrepressible Sabine Mountains. Picnic parties are thing, even under the extinguisher of a spreading their tables under the Pamfili priest's black dress.
Doria pines, and drawing St. Peter's from Daily you will hear the tinkle of a the old wall near by the ilex avenue, bell and the chant of alto child-voices in or making excursions to Frascati, Tuscu. the street, and, looking out, you will see lum, and Albano,—or spending a day in two little boys clad in some refuse of the wandering among the ruins of the EtrusChurch's wardrobe, one of whom carries can city of Veii, lost to the world so a crucifix or a big black cross, while the long ago that even the site of it was unother rings a bell and chants as he loiters known to the Cæsars, – or strolling by along ; now stopping to chaff with other the shore at Ostia, or under the magnifiboy's of a similar age, nay, even at times cent pineta at Castel Fusano, whose lofty laying down his cross to dispute or strug- trees repeat, as in a dream, the sound gle with them, and now renewing the ap- of the blue Mediterranean that washes peal of the bell. This is to call together the coast at half a mile distant. There the children of the parish to learn their is no lack of places that Time has sbatDottrina or Catechism, - from which the tered and strewn with relics, leaving NaSecond Commandment is, however, care- ture to festoon her ruins and heal her fully expurgated, lest to their feeble wounds with tenderest vines and flowers, minds the difference between bowing where one may spend a charming day down to graven images, or likenesses of and dream of the old times. things in the earth, and what they do Spring -- prima vera, the first true daily before the images and pictures of thing, as the Italians call it — has come. the Virgin and Saints may not clearly The nightingales already begin to bubble appear. Indeed, let us cheerfully con- into song under the Ludovisi ilexes and fess, in passing, that, by a strange forget- in the Barberini Gardens. Daisies hare fulness, this same Commandment is not snowed all over the Campagna, — perireëstablished in its place even in the winkles star the grass,
crocuses and catechism for older persons, of course anemones impurple the spaces between through inadvertence. However, it is of the rows of springing grain along the no consequence, as the real number of
still brown slopes. At every turn in Ten Commandments is made up by the the streets baskets-full of mammole, the division of the last into two; so that there sweet-scented Parma violet, are offered really are ten. And in a country where you by little girls and boys; and at the so many pictures are painted and statues corner of the Condotti and Corso is a made, perhaps this Second Command- splendid show of camelias, set into beds ment might be open to misconstruction, of double violets, and sold for a song. if not prohibited by the wise and holy Now and then one meets huge baskets men of the Church. *
filled with these delicious violets, on their Meantime the snow is gradually disap- way to the confectioners and caffès, where pearing from Monte Gennaro and the they will be made into syrup; for the Italians are very fond of this bibite, the sharp odor of these fires everywhere, and prize it not only for its flavor, but and hears them crackle in the fields. for its medicinal qualities. Violets seem
* This is a fact, — denied, of course, by pilata per Ordine dell' Eminentissimo Cardisome of the Roman Catholics, in argument; nale GONZAGA MEMBRINI, Vescovo di Ancona, for what will they not deny? But it is, per l'Uso della Città e Diocesi, published in nevertheless, a fact. I have now before me 1830, which I mention because it is a compia little Catechism, from which the Second lation of authority, made under the superinCommandment is omitted, and the Tenth di- tendence of the Cardinal Bishop of Ancona, vided into two; and I have examined others and of the Catechismo per i Fanciulli, ad [so in which the same omission is made. I can- delle Città e Diocesi di Cortona, Chiuso, Piennot say that all are in the same category; for za, Pistoia, Prato e Colle, published in 1786, the Catholic Church is everything to every- under the auspices and with the approval body; but I can assert it of all I have seen, of the bishops of all these cities and dioand especially of La Dottrina Xtiana, com
Atque levem stipulam crepitantibus urere to rain over the villas in the spring,
flammis." acres are purple with them, and the air all around is sweet with their fragrance. On festa-days the way-side osterias Every day, scores of carriages are driving (con cucina) are crowded by parties who about the Borghese grounds, which are come out to sit under the frascati of vines open to the public, and hundreds of chil- and drink the wine grown on the very dren are running about, plucking flowers spot, and regale themselves with a friland playing on the lovely slopes and in tata of eggs and chopped sausages, or a the shadows of the noble trees, while their slice of agnello, and enjoy the delicious parents stroll at a distance and wait for air that breathes from the mountains. them in the shady avenues. At the Pam- The old cardinals descend from their fili Doria villa the English play their na- gilded carriages, and, accompanied by tional game of cricket, on the flower- one of their household and followed by enamelled green, which is covered with their ever-present lackeys in harlequin the most wondrous anemones; and there liveries, totter along on foot with swollen is a matinée of friends who come to chat ankles, lifting their broad red hats to the and look on. This game is rather "slow" passers-by who salute them, and pausing at Rome, however, and does not rhyme constantly in their discourse to enforce a with the Campagna. The Italians lift phrase or take a pinch of snuff. Files their hands and wonder what there is of scholars from the Propaganda stream in it to fascinate the English; and the along, now and then, two by two, their English in turn call them a lazy, stupid leading-strings swinging behind them, set, because they do not admire it. But and in their ranks all shades of physthose who have seen pallone will not, iognomy, from African and Egyptian perhaps, so much wonder at the Italians, to Irish and American. Scholars, too, nor condemn them for not playing their from the English College, and Germans, own game, when they remember that the in red, go by in companies. All the French have turned them out of their schools, too, will be out,— little boys, in only amphitheatre adapted for it, and left black hats, following the lead of their them only pazienza.
priest-master, (for all masters are priests,) If one drives out at any of the gates, and orphan girls in white, convoyed by he will see that spring is come. The
Sisters of Charity, and the deaf and dumb hedges are putting forth their leaves, with their masters. Scores of ciocciari, the almond-trees are in full blossom, and also, may be seen in faded scarlets, with in the vineyards the contadini are setting their wardrobes of wretched clothes, and cane-poles and trimming the vines to run sometimes a basket with a baby in it, on upon them. Here and there, along the their heads. The contadini, who have slopes, the rude old plough of the Geor- been to Rome to be hired for the week gics, dragged by great gray oxen, turns to labor on the Campagna, come trampup the rich loam, that “ needs only to being along too, one of them often mounttickled to laugh out in flowers and grain.” ed on a donkey, and followed by a group In the olive-orchards, the farmers are carrying their tools with them; while carefully pruning away the decayed hundreds of the middle classes, husbands branches and loosening the soil about and wives with their children, and paini their old roots. Here and there, the and paine, with all their jewelry on, are smoke of distant bonfires, burning heaps out to take their festa stroll, and to see of useless stubble, shows against the and be seen. dreamy purple hills like the pillar of Once in a while, the sadness of Lent cloud that led the Israelites. One smells is broken by a Church festival, when all