Imatges de pÓgina

the floor, and tore at the boards with his hands, which were free from the wrists down. All else was as solidly laced up as an Indian papoose. Nothing but pride kept him from shrieking aloud, when, on the night of New Year's Eve, he heard the fiendish Hippe recite the programme of his murder.

While he was thus wailing and gnashing his teeth in darkness and torture, he heard a faint noise above his head. Then something seemed to leap from the ceiling and alight softly on the floor. He shuddered with terror. Was it some new torture of the Wondersmith's invention ? The next moment, he felt some small animal crawling over his body, and a soft, silky paw was pushed timidly across his face. His heart leaped with joy.

"It is Furbelow!" he cried. "Zonéla has sent him. He came through the stove-pipe hole."

It was Furbelow, indeed, restored to life by Zonéla's care, and who had come down a narrow tube, that no human being could have threaded, to console the poor captive. The monkey nestled closely into the hunchback's bosom, and, as he did so, Solon felt something cold and hard hanging from his neck. He touched it. It was sharp. By the dim light that struggled through the aperture high up in the wall, he discovered a knife, suspended by a bit of cord. Ah! how the blood came rushing through the veins that crossed over and through his heart, when life and liberty came to him in this bit of rusty steel! With his manacled hands he loosened the heavensent weapon; a few cuts were rapidly made in the cunning network of cord that enveloped his limbs, and in a few seconds he was free! - cramped and faint with hunger, but free!-free to move, to use the limbs that God had given him for his preservation,-free to fight, to die fighting, perhaps,- but still to die free. He ran to the door. bolt was a weak one, for the Wondersmith had calculated more surely on his prison of cords than on any jail of stone, -and more; and with a few efforts the


door opened. He went cautiously out into the darkness, with Furbelow perched on his shoulder, pressing his cold muzzle against his cheek. He had made but a few steps when a trembling hand was put into his, and in another moment Zonéla's palpitating heart was pressed against his own. One long kiss, an embrace, a few whispered words, and the hunchback and the girl stole softly towards the door of the chamber in which the four gypsies slept. All seemed still; nothing but the hard breathing of the sleepers, and the monotonous rocking of Madame Filomel's chair broke the silence. Solon stooped down and put his eye to the keyhole, through which a red bar of light streamed into the entry. As he did so, his foot crushed some brittle substance that lay just outside the door; at the same moment a howl of agony was heard to issue from the room within. Solon started; nor did he know that at that instant he had crushed into dust Monsieur Kerplonne's supernumerary eye, and the owner, though wrapt in a drunken sleep, felt the pang quiver through his brain.

While Solon peeped through the keyhole, all in the room was motionless. He had not gazed, however, for many seconds, when the chair of the fortune-teller gave a sudden lurch, and the black bottle, already hanging half out of her wide pocket, slipped entirely from its restingplace, and, falling heavily to the ground, shivered into fragments.

Then took place an astonishing spectacle. The myriads of armed dolls, that lay in piles about the room, became suddenly imbued with motion. They stood up straight, their tiny limbs moved, their black eyes flashed with wicked purposes, their thread-like swords gleamed as they Iwaved them to and fro. The villanous souls imprisoned in the bottle began to work within them. Like the Liliputians, when they found the giant Gulliver asleep, they scaled in swarms the burly sides of the four sleeping gypsies. At every step they took, they drove their thin swords and quivering daggers into the flesh of the drunken authors of their

being. To stab and kill was their mission, and they stabbed and killed with incredible fury. They clustered on the Wondersmith's sallow cheeks and sinewy throat, piercing every portion with their diminutive poisoned blades. Filomel's

fat carcass was alive with them. They blackened the spare body of Monsieur Kerplonne. They covered Oaksmith's huge form like a cluster of insects.

Overcome completely with the fumes of wine, these tiny wounds did not for a few moments awaken the sleeping victims. But the swift and deadly poison Macousha, with which the weapons had been so fiendishly anointed, began to work. Herr Hippe, stung into sudden life, leaped to his feet, with a dwarf army clinging to his clothes and his hands, always stabbing, stabbing, stabbing. For an instant, a look of stupid bewilderment clouded his face; then the horrible truth burst upon him. He gave a shriek like that which a horse utters when he finds himself fettered and surrounded by fire, -a shriek that curdled the air for miles and miles.

"Oaksmith! Kerplonne ! Filomel ! Awake! awake! We are lost! The souls have got loose! We are dead! poisoned ! Oh, accursed ones! Oh, demons, ye are slaying me! Ah! fiends of Hell!"

Aroused by these frightful howls, the three gypsies sprang also to their feet, to find themselves stung to death by the manikins. They raved, they shrieked, they swore. They staggered round the chamber. Blinded in the eyes by the ever-stabbing weapons, with the poison already burning in their veins like redhot lead, their forms swelling and discoloring visibly every moment,-their howls and attitudes and furious gestures made the scene look like a chamber in Hell.

Maddened beyond endurance, the Wondersmith, half-blind and choking with the venom that had congested all the bloodvessels of his body, seized dozens of the manikins and dashed them into the fire, trampling them down with his feet.

"Ye shall die too, if I die," he cried, with a roar like that of a tiger. "Ye shall burn, if I burn. I gave ye life,-I give ye death. Down!-down!-burn!

flame! Fiends that ye are, to slay us! Help me, brothers! Before we die, let us have our revenge!"

On this, the other gypsies, themselves maddened by approaching death, began hurling manikins, by handfuls, into the fire. The little creatures, being wooden of body, quickly caught the flames, and an awful struggle for life took place in miniature in the grate. Some of them escaped from between the bars and ran about the room, blazing, writhing in agony, and igniting the curtains and other draperies that hung around. Others fought and stabbed one another in the very core of the fire, like combating salamanders. Meantime, the motions of the gypsies grew more languid and slow, and their curses were uttered in choked guttural tones. The faces of all four were spotted with red and green and violet, like so many egg-plants. Their bodies were swollen to a frightful size, and at last they dropped on the floor, like overripe fruit shaken from the boughs by the winds of autumn.

The chamber was now a sheet of fire. The flames roared round and round, as if seeking for escape, licking every projecting cornice and sill with greedy tongues, as the serpent licks his prey before he swallows it. A hot, putrid breath came through the keyhole and smote Solon and Zonéla like a wind of death. They clasped each other's hands with a moan of terror, and fled from the house.

The next morning, when the young Year was just unclosing its eyes, and the happy children all over the great city were peeping from their beds into the myriads of stockings hanging near by, the blue skies of heaven shone through a black network of stone and charred rafters. These were all that remained of the habitation of Herr Hippe, the Wondersmith.





THE gay confusion of Carnival is over, with its mad tossing of flowers and bonbons, its showering of confetti, its brilliantly draped balconies running over with happy faces, its barbaric races, its rows of joyous contadine, its quaint masquerading, and all the glad folly of its Saturnalia. For Saturnalia it is, in most respects just like the festa of the Ancient Romans, with its Saturni septem dies, its uproar of "Io Saturnalia!” in the streets, and all its mad frolic. In one point it materially differs, however; for on the ancient festa no criminal could be punished; but in modern times it is this gay occasion that the government selects to execute (giustiziare) any poor wretch who may have been condemned to death, so as to strike a wholesome terror into the crowd. Truly, the ways of the Church are as wonderful as they are infallible! But all is over now. The last moccoletti are extinguished, that flashed and danced like myriad fire-flies from window and balcony and over the heads of the roaring tide of people that ebbed and flowed in stormy streams of wild laughter through the streets. The Corso has become sober and staid, and taken in its draperies. The fun is finished. The masked balls, with their belle maschere, are over. The theatres are all closed. Lent has come, bringing its season of sadness; and the gay world of strangers is flocking down to Naples.

Eh, Signore! Finito il nostro carnovale. Adesso è il carnovale dei preti:"Our carnival is over, and that of the priests has come." All the frati are going round to every Roman family, high and low, from the prince in his palace to the boy in the caffe, demanding “una santa elemosina, — un abbondante santa


‚—ma abbondante,"— and willingly pocketing any sum, from a halfbaiocco upwards. The parish priest is now making his visits in every ward of the city, to register the names of the Catholics in all the houses, so as to insure a confession from each during this season of penance. And woe to any wight who fails to do his duty!- he will soon be brought to his marrow-bones. His name will be placarded in the church, and he will be punished according to circumstances, perhaps by a mortification to the pocket, perhaps by the penance of the convent; and perhaps his fate will be worse, if he be obstinate. So nobody is obstinate, and all go to confession like good Christians, and confess what they please, for the sake of peace, if not of absolution. The Francescani march more solemnly up and down the alleys of their cabbage-garden, studiously with books in their hands, which they pretend to read; now and then taking out their snuff-stained bandanna and measuring it from corner to corner, in search of a feasible spot for its appropriate function, and then rolling it carefully into a little round ball and returning it to the place whence it came. Whatever penance they do is not to Father Tiber or Santo Acquedotto, excepting by internal ablutions, the exterior things of this world being ignored. There is no meat-eating now, save on certain festivals, when a supply is laid in for the week. But opposites cure opposites, (contrary to the homœopathic rule,) and their magro makes them grasTwo days of festival, however, there are in the little church of San Patrizio and Isidoro, when the streets are covered with sand, and sprigs of box and red and yellow hangings flaunt before the portico, and scores of young boy-priests invade their garden, and, tucking up their long skirts, run and scream among the cab

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bages; for boydom is an irrepressible thing, even under the extinguisher of a priest's black dress.

Daily you will hear the tinkle of a bell and the chant of alto child-voices in the street, and, looking out, you will see two little boys clad in some refuse of the Church's wardrobe, one of whom carries a crucifix or a big black cross, while the other rings a bell and chants as he loiters along; now stopping to chaff with other boys of a similar age, nay, even at times laying down his cross to dispute or struggle with them, and now renewing the appeal of the bell. This is to call together the children of the parish to learn their Dottring or Catechism,-from which the Second Commandment is, however, carefully expurgated, lest to their feeble minds the difference between bowing down to graven images, or likenesses of things in the earth, and what they do daily before the images and pictures of the Virgin and Saints may not clearly appear. Indeed, let us cheerfully confess, in passing, that, by a strange forgetfulness, this same Commandment is not reëstablished in its place even in the catechism for older persons,- of course through inadvertence. However, it is of no consequence, as the real number of Ten Commandments is made up by the division of the last into two; so that there really are ten. And in a country where so many pictures are painted and statues made, perhaps this Second Commandment might be open to misconstruction, if not prohibited by the wise and holy men of the Church.*

Meantime the snow is gradually disappearing from Monte Gennaro and the

*This is a fact, - denied, of course, by some of the Roman Catholics, in argument; for what will they not deny? But it is, nevertheless, a fact. I have now before me a little Catechism, from which the Second Commandment is omitted, and the Tenth divided into two; and I have examined others in which the same omission is made. I cannot say that all are in the same category; for the Catholic Church is everything to everybody; but I can assert it of all I have seen, and especially of La Dottrina Xtiana, com

Sabine Mountains. Picnic parties are spreading their tables under the Pamfili Doria pines, and drawing St. Peter's from the old wall near by the ilex avenue,— or making excursions to Frascati, Tusculum, and Albano,- or spending a day in wandering among the ruins of the Etruscan city of Veii, lost to the world so long ago that even the site of it was unknown to the Caesars, or strolling by the shore at Ostia, or under the magnificent pineta at Castel Fusano, whose lofty trees repeat, as in a dream, the sound of the blue Mediterranean that wasbes the coast at half a mile distant. There is no lack of places that Time has shattered and strewn with relics, leaving Nature to festoon her ruins and heal her wounds with tenderest vines and flowers, where one may spend a charming day

and dream of the old times.

Spring - prima vera, the first true thing, as the Italians call it—has come. The nightingales already begin to bubble into song under the Ludovisi ilexes and in the Barberini Gardens. Daisies have snowed all over the Campagna, — periwinkles star the grass, crocuses and anemones impurple the spaces between the rows of springing grain along the still brown slopes. At every turn in the streets baskets-full of mammole, the sweet-scented Parma violet, are offered you by little girls and boys; and at the corner of the Condotti and Corso is a splendid show of camelias, set into beds of double violets, and sold for a song. Now and then one meets huge baskets filled with these delicious violets, on their way to the confectioners and caffès, where they will be made into syrup; for the

pilata per Ordine dell' Eminentissimo Cardinale GONZAGA MEMBRINI, Vescovo di Ancona, per l'Uso della Città e Diocesi, published in 1830, which I mention because it is a compilation of authority, made under the superintendence of the Cardinal Bishop of Ancona,and of the Catechismo per i Fanciulli, ad Uso delle Città e Diocesi di Cortona, Chiuso, Pienza, Pistoia, Prato e Colle, published in 1786, under the auspices and with the approval of the bishops of all these cities and dio


Italians are very fond of this bibite, and prize it not only for its flavor, but for its medicinal qualities. Violets seem to rain over the villas in the spring,acres are purple with them, and the air all around is sweet with their fragrance. Every day, scores of carriages are driving about the Borghese grounds, which are open to the public, and hundreds of children are running about, plucking flowers and playing on the lovely slopes and in the shadows of the noble trees, while their parents stroll at a distance and wait for them in the shady avenues. At the Pamfili Doria villa the English play their national game of cricket, on the flowerenamelled green, which is covered with the most wondrous anemones; and there is a matinée of friends who come to chat and look on. This game is rather "slow" at Rome, however, and does not rhyme with the Campagna. The Italians lift their hands and wonder what there is in it to fascinate the English; and the English in turn call them a lazy, stupid set, because they do not admire it. But those who have seen pallone will not, perhaps, so much wonder at the Italians, nor condemn them for not playing their own game, when they remember that the French have turned them out of their only amphitheatre adapted for it, and left them only pazienza.

If one drives out at any of the gates, he will see that spring is come. The hedges are putting forth their leaves, the almond-trees are in full blossom, and in the vineyards the contadini are setting cane-poles and trimming the vines to run upon them. Here and there, along the slopes, the rude old plough of the Georgics, dragged by great gray oxen, turns up the rich loam, that "needs only to be tickled to laugh out in flowers and grain." In the olive-orchards, the farmers are carefully pruning away the decayed branches and loosening the soil about their old roots. Here and there, the smoke of distant bonfires, burning heaps of useless stubble, shows against the dreamy purple hills like the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites. One smells

the sharp odor of these fires everywhere, and hears them crackle in the fields.

Atque levem stipulam crepitantibus urere flammis."

On festa-days the way-side osterias (con cucina) are crowded by parties who come out to sit under the frascati of vines and drink the wine grown on the very spot, and regale themselves with a frittata of eggs and chopped sausages, or a slice of agnello, and enjoy the delicious air that breathes from the mountains. The old cardinals descend from their gilded carriages, and, accompanied by one of their household and followed by their ever-present lackeys in harlequin liveries, totter along on foot with swollen ankles, lifting their broad red hats to the passers-by who salute them, and pausing constantly in their discourse to enforce a phrase or take a pinch of snuff. Files of scholars from the Propaganda stream along, now and then, two by two, their leading-strings swinging behind them, and in their ranks all shades of physiognomy, from African and Egyptian to Irish and American. Scholars, too, from the English College, and Germans, in red, go by in companies. All the schools, too, will be out,-little boys, in black hats, following the lead of their priest-master, (for all masters are priests,) and orphan girls in white, convoyed by Sisters of Charity, and the deaf and dumb with their masters. Scores of ciocciari, also, may be seen in faded scarlets, with their wardrobes of wretched clothes, and sometimes a basket with a baby in it, on their heads. The contadini, who have been to Rome to be hired for the week to labor on the Campagna, come tramping along too, one of them often mounted on a donkey, and followed by a group carrying their tools with them; while hundreds of the middle classes, husbands and wives with their children, and paini and paine, with all their jewelry on, are out to take their festa stroll, and to see and be seen.

Once in a while, the sadness of Lent is broken by a Church festival, when all

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