Page images

against the walls, no shot having been thrown intentionally into the city, although some buildings were injured and some noncombatants killed and wounded. A bullet passed through an upper window of this Consulate.

After all, it was an easy victory for the Italians, and the loss in killed and wounded on both sides was not great. They were in overwhelming force with very heavy artillery, and they knew that the mass of Romans were their friends. The Zouaves, on the other hand, although they never could have imagined how much they were detested, must have at heart feared the people, and could not fight their best. They were a fine-looking body of men, many of them, even the common soldiers, of superior education and refinement. Some of them undoubtedly served the Pope from religious feeling; many for the sake of the romance and adventure of the thing; very few for pay, as it was ridiculously small.

The Italian troops in the service of the Pope were treated in the main with kindness, as soon as they had surrendered. But no one can imagine the storm of curses and abuse that were heaped upon the foreign mercenaries, particularly the Zouaves. I saw some of them, prisoners, brought from the Porta Pia through a dense mass of Italian soldiers, hot with victory; the soldiers struck them with their muskets, reviled and spit upon them in the most brutal way. With this exception the Italian troops have behaved admirably. Two hours later I saw many hundred Zouaves taken to their former headquarters in the Piazza Colonna. The rabble felt that their turn had now come, and if the Italian soldiers had not then prevented them they would have been torn to pieces. Yesterday, before the Papal soldiers were sent away, some of them gathered in the Square of St. Peter's and the Pope

blessed them from the balcony of the church. Many wept.

As soon as the white flag was seen on St. Peter's, I visited the different gates. The Porta Pia was in a horrible state; the barricades torn to pieces, the cannon broken and dismounted, the beautiful gate blackened and ruined, the fresco of the Virgin on its front defaced by many cannon shot, the heads and arms of the sculptured saints on either side wanting. The lodge of the villa adjoining, belonging to Cardinal Bonaparte, was burned, the villa itself much injured, several Zouaves lying dead, where they had fallen, on the ground. The Porta San Giovanni and the barricades which the Pope had blessed but the evening before were in much the same condition. There, however, the walls were baked by earth and no breach had been made; only the gateway was broken, and through this narrow passage the assault was made.

On the entry of the Italian soldiers the people met them with outstretched arms, with the wildest enthusiasm. As if by magic the whole city was literally covered with Italian flags, and busts and portraits of the King were seen everywhere. On this and the following evening, the city was brilliantly illuminated, and the Corso and other streets filled with excited people, shouting for the King and Rome, the Capital of Italy. No very great violence was committed, although much was apprehended. The Papal arms were almost all torn down and dragged through the streets. Certain palaces and monasteries were threatened and windows broken. Many persons were insulted in the streets, and some few were robbed.

The quarters of the Gendarmes were sacked. Undoubtedly during the last few days anyone connected with the Roman Church or State was in serious danger of life and property. But in the main the cases of violence were

exceptional and committed by the lowest rabble. In every case where guards were asked they were given by the general commanding, and now quiet seems to be almost completely established. The mass of the people, though, have been far too happy to indulge in anything but harmless manifestations of the most extravagant delight.

A self-constituted municipal government was immediately formed. They were popularly supposed, and probably supposed themselves, to be ruling Rome. But in fact, for a day and a half before the military government was fully established, there was no real government in the city. Yesterday, however, General Cadorna issued an order stating that Rome was under military rule and calling upon the citizens to cease their manifestations and resume their ordinary employments. He announced that order would be preserved, all property protected, and the former employees of the Government retained in their positions. This gave general satisfaction. To-day it is known that the General has selected eighteen persons, from among those suggested by the popular voice, to act as a provisional government. These include princes and other leading men of Rome, who of course will act more or less under the General's direction.

Yesterday a Republican meeting was held, but it was composed to a great extent of the rabble and exiles, who now swarm in Rome. This Republican movement is not by any means favored by the people at large. It is much discouraged by the best and most influential men of the Liberal Party. As far as I can learn from many inquiries and careful observations, the Romans are now the most loyal subjects that the King of Italy has. What they may become in the future no one can say, when the seeds of liberty sown in this virgin soil within the past few days shall have

VOL. 142 — NO. 1


been carefully cultivated by the many Garibaldian exiles and other designing men, who have so long and anxiously looked forward to Rome as the Capital of a Republic.

Of course there is a large party in favor of the old order of things; among these are the greater part of the nobles, and of course all the priests and their dependents, and a few others. Still many of the most wealthy and influential of the nobles are liberals, such as the Princes Doria and Piombino. But the middle and lower classes who are not in the Church, or not dependent on it for their livelihood, are, I believe, almost without exception in favor of the new order of things. Those who say to the contrary- and there are some who do seem to me to be either willfully blind, or they intentionally misrepresent the facts that they cannot help but see. The Carnival has of late years been supported by the rabble and strangers; even at that time of rejoicing Rome was a dead city.

During the late demonstrations the Corso has been filled with well-dressed, happy people, with a new light on their faces such as has not been seen in Rome for years. Certainly, for the present, this is a popular movement. Many of those who hitherto had opposed it had been taught by the priests to look upon the coming Italians as Vandals. However, finding in these Italians a well-disciplined and orderly soldiery, superior in every way to their former defenders, they have changed their minds somewhat and are more hopeful of the future. No Italian seems to doubt but that Rome was to be the Capital of Italy.

The general feeling now appears to be, even among the Pope's friends, that he made one of the greatest mistakes that man ever made, in not submitting to the inevitable and listening to the King of Italy. It would seem to have

been a sufficient protest against violence if he had simply closed the gates and not allowed blood to be shed in vain. By resisting, as he did, he lost all; his prestige for the present is entirely gone; he is now little more than any bishop in his diocese. In fact, he is less, for now he could hardly go through the streets without insult, perhaps not without personal danger. No one could imagine a greater fall than his, no greater contrast between the arrogant, infallible Pope of yesterday and the weak, deserted old man of to-day. He is still at the Vatican, and there is every prospect, I hear, of his remaining there.

In all cases I have allowed American citizens to put up the American flag, which hitherto has not been allowed in Rome, even at the Consulate. I am happy to say that it has been of great service, and has been universally respected.

I have been at my post during the whole affair, and have made every effort to obtain reliable information from all sources. I feel that I have had great responsibilities and some difficulties to contend with, as I have been almost alone. There was not one of my countrymen, in whose judgment I had

confidence, to consult with. But fortunately thus far everything has gone well with this Consulate, and with every American, and all American property (which was considerable) in Rome.

I have mentioned in my dispatch some things which under ordinary circumstances would not have been worth mentioning. However, as Rome at this unpleasant season is deserted by all who can get away- I know of no correspondent of an American newspaper having been here during the siege siege I have thought that an account even of some seemingly trifling things might be of value.

[ocr errors]

I enclose a map of the city. I also send some newspapers published both before and after the surrender, which I thought might be of some interest. I would call attention to the two articles marked with a cross.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant, (Signed) D. M. ARMSTRONG U. S. CONSUL, ROME

September 24th

The city is now quiet and order seems to be completely restored. Photographs of the Porta Pia en





'IN half an hour we shall have to go down,' said the president, turning from the window, from which he had been studying the crowd, and addressing the others in the room. 'You understand what you are to do. You will go to the platform, divide, and stand at each side, while Joseph and I come forward. There will be singing. Igor will recite the proclamation of government, Stephen will announce our immediate plans, and then Joseph will speak.'

His eyes ran from one man to another, and each one nodded his head, except Joseph, who remained at the window, looking out over the square. The president glanced at him with a slight frown, and went on in the husky voice that never rose above a whisper. 'It is best that the meeting should be a short one.'

His audience was respectfully silent for a moment or two till Zteck had disappeared into a little alcove half hidden by heavy gold-embroidered curtains.

'I wish my old woman could be here to see me,' sighed one of the men, looking up from the sausage at which he was hacking with a gold-inlaid dagger. He passed it on to Matthew, who sliced off a large portion, remarking contentedly:

'Who would have thought that they would have sausage in a palace?'

'It is good sausage,' added Jacob. 'For three years I have not tasted

meat, until three days ago. Igor, you should take some.' He thrust it into the face of the herder, who on account of his enormous size and great voice had been chosen to make the proclamation of the new government.

Igor shook his head violently and groaned. 'I should as soon be hanged as high as that tower as make a speech. I shan't be able to whisper any louder than Zteck, I shall be so frightened.'

The men glanced apprehensively at the alcove where the president was conversing in low tones with Stephen, the schoolmaster, and one of them remarked hastily, 'Imagine you are shouting to your cows in the mountains. Shut your eyes and think of that.'

'I shall smell them. They don't smell like cows. Ah,' he cried longingly, 'the smell of cattle in the winter when you're cold!'

Several of the men got up and went to the window of the palace and looked out on the crowd seething below, and, seeing Joseph apparently in deep thought, talked and laughed together in subdued voices.

Joseph was hardly conscious that they were in the room. He was not thinking of his speech, nor of anything in particular. His thoughts flew hither and thither like the pigeons fluttering from lentil to lentil. Looking down at the vast multitude, he was reminded of wheat fields before a storm, and instinctively glanced up at the sky, where the clouds were flying in ragged battalions past the sun. The pale,

fleeting sunlight gleamed and faded on massed ranks of peasant faces. Even from here they looked pinched and blue. His wandering attention was caught for a moment by something that moved among the stone figures on the façade of the cathedral on the other side of the square. It was a man, and Joseph wondered what he could be doing so high above the ground. Perhaps he had climbed up there so that he could see them. He gazed at the great building with its massive towers, its forests of buttresses and pinnacles, and it seemed to him monstrous that men should have labored to pile up so great a mass of stone. 'It is unnatural,' he thought. 'Men ought to work on the earth and build close to it.'

'You should eat, Joseph,' a voice interrupted, and the small monkey face of Matthew peered into his. 'You are like one of the saints, and fast in the midst of plenty. Now I have been a saint and fasted for four years, and so has Jacob here, and Igor, and perhaps even Zteck. But when the king throws open his palace,' they all laughed loudly at this witticism, - 'we must at least eat the feast he has prepared.'

'How the old spider lived,' growled Jacob, and spat on the rich silk rug, 'while we poor peasants searched for grasshoppers and worms in the fields to fill us.'

Benda leaned over and whispered, 'If those outside in the square could see this palace and the great storerooms in the cellar, they would perhaps not be so ready to return home to their bare fields as our president thinks they will be.'

'Yes,' remarked Matthew shrewdly, 'now we are all here it's a problem what to do with us. It's like the old woman who raised her nine sons to be kings when there was only one kingdom.'

Zteck appeared noiselessly behind

them, and Matthew in confusion swallowed a piece of bread a great deal too big for him, so that his eyes stood out from his head and tears started in them. But the president paid no attention and spoke in Joseph's ear.

'I know you agree with me that nothing should be said to excite. The thing now is to send the most of them home as quickly as possible. We are promising them all seed and at least one animal for every village. What we must tell them is that our victory here is won, and that they must return to their homes to make it secure all over the country. Tell them that those who are remaining will watch over things for them.'

'Make the victory secure,' repeated Joseph, gazing at his leader out of bright, feverish eyes. The ex-shopkeeper looked at him attentively; his pale eyes had a hint of menace; but he did not say anything, and turned away to the ebony-and-ivory table on which lay the remains of a meal. He spoke sharply to Benda and Jacob, who were trying to pull apart the fittings of a silver toilet case.

At that moment the door opened and a round head peered in. 'You must come immediately,' said an unceremonious voice. "They are all ready to fire the cannon.'

The men instantly became nervous and Igor trembled violently. Only Matthew appeared unconcerned and stuffed an end of sausage into his pocket, saying, 'Who knows? It may not be here when we return. Courage, Igor. Remember the cows and bellow your loudest.'

They stood uncomfortably at attention under the president's critical gaze. Joseph had not moved. He was wondering where the man among the images on the cathedral had disappeared. Stephen nudged him at last, and he turned.

« PreviousContinue »