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The eternal city


TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheEternalCity,byHallCaine
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Title:TheEternalCity
Author:HallCaine
ReleaseDate:November7,2006[EBook#19732]
Language:English

***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEETERNALCITY***

ProducedbyRogerFrankandtheOnlineDistributed
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"WHATYOUSAIDSHALLBESACRED."
"WHATYOUSAIDSHALLBESACRED."

The

ETERNALCITY
By


HALLCAINE
Authorof"TheChristian,"etc.

"Helookedforacitywhichhathfoundations
whosebuilderandmakerisGod."

GROSSET&DUNLAP
Publishers::NewYork

COPYRIGHT,1901,1902
BYHALLCAINE
PopularEdition
PublishedOctober,1902


TableofContents
PROLOGUE
PARTONE—THEHOLYROMANEMPIRE
PARTTWO—THEREPUBLICOFMAN
PARTTHREE—ROMA
PARTFOUR—DAVIDROSSI
PARTFIVE—THEPRIMEMINISTER
PARTSIX—THEROMANOFROME
PARTSEVEN—THEPOPE
PARTEIGHT—THEKING
PARTNINE—THEPEOPLE

1
9
40
71
121
168
237
298
375


414


PREFACETOTHISEDITION
Hasanovelistarighttoalterhisnovelafteritspublication,tocondenseit,toadd
toit,tomodifyortoheightenitssituations,andotherwisesotochangeitthatto
alloutwardappearanceitispracticallyanewbook?Ileavethispointinliterary
ethics to the consideration of those whose business it is to discuss such
questions, and content myself with telling the reader the history of the present
story.
AbouttenyearsagoIwenttoRussiawithsomeidea(afterwardsabandoned)of
writingabookthatshoulddealwiththeracialstrugglewhichculminatedinthe
eviction of the Jews from the holy cities of that country, and the scenes of
tyrannical administration which I witnessed there made a painful and lasting
impression on my mind. The sights of the day often followed me through the
night,andafteramorethanusuallyterriblerevelationofofficialcruelty,Ihada
dream of a Jewish woman who was induced to denounce her husband to the
Russianpoliceunderapromisethattheywouldsparehislife,whichtheysaidhe
hadforfeited asthe leaderofarevolutionarymovement.Thehusbandcameto
knowwhohisbetrayerhadbeen,andhecursedhiswifeashisworstenemy.She
pleaded on her knees that fear for his safety had been the only motive for her
conduct,andhecursedheragain.Hiscausewaslost,hishopesweredead,his
peoplewereindespair,becausetheonebeingwhomheavenhadgivenhimfor
his support had delivered him up to his enemies out of the weakness of her
womanlylove.Iawokeinthemorningwithavividmemoryofthisnewversion
oftheoldstoryofSamsonandDelilah,andonmyreturntoEnglandIwrotethe
draftofaplaywiththeincidentofhusbandandwifeasthecentralsituation.
Howfromthisgermcamethenovelwhichwaspublishedlastyearunderthetitle
of "The Eternal City" would be a long story to tell, a story of many personal
experiences, of reading, of travel, of meetings in various countries with
statesmen, priests, diplomats, police authorities, labour leaders, nihilists and
anarchists, and of the consequent growth of my own political and religious
convictions;but itwillnotbe difficulttoseewhereandinwhatwaytimeand
thoughthadlittlebylittleoverlaidthehumanitiesoftheearlysketchwithmany


extra interests. That these interests were of the essence, clothing, and not
crushing the human motive, I trust I may continue to believe, and certainly I
havenoreasontobedissatisfiedwiththereceptionofmybookatthehandsof
that wide circle of general readers who care less for a contribution to a great
socialpropagandathanforasimpletaleoflove.
Butwhenthetimecametoreturntomyfirstdraftofaplay,thetaleoflovewas
theonlythingtoconsider,andbeingnowonthepointofproducingthedramain
England, America, and elsewhere, and requested to prepare an edition of my
storyfortheuseoftheaudiencesatthetheatre,Ihavethoughtmyselfjustifiedin
eliminating the politics and religion from my book, leaving nothing but the
humaninterestswithwhichalonethedramaisallowedtodeal.Thishasnotbeen
aneasythingtodo,andnowthatitisdoneIambynomeanssurethatImaynot
have alienated the friends whom the abstract problems won for me without
conciliatingthereaderswhocalledforthestoryonly.Butnottoturnmybackon
theworkofthreelaboriousyears,ortodiscreditthatpartofitwhichexpressed,
however imperfectly, my sympathy with the struggles of the poor, and my
participation in the social problems with which the world is now astir, I have
obtained the promise of my publisher that the original version of "The Eternal
City"shallbekeptinprintaslongasthepubliccallsforit.
Inthisformofmybook,theaimhasbeentorelysolelyonthehumanitiesandto
gobacktothesimplestoryofthewomanwhodenouncedherhusbandinorder
tosavehislife.Thatwasthethemeofthedraftwhichwastheoriginalbasisof
mynovel,itisthecentralincidentofthedramawhichisabouttobeproducedin
NewYork,andthepresentabbreviatedversionofthestoryisintendedtofollow
thelinesoftheplayinallessentialparticularsdowntotheendofthelastchapter
butone.
H.C.
ISLEOFMAN,Sept.1902.

THEETERNALCITY


PROLOGUE
I
Hewashardlyfittofigureinthegreatreviewoflife.Aboyoftenortwelve,in
tatteredclothes,withanaccordioninacaseswungoveroneshoulderlikeasack,
and under the other arm a wooden cage containing a grey squirrel. It was a
DecembernightinLondon,andtheSouthernladhadnothingtoshelterhislittle
body from the Northern cold but his short velveteen jacket, red waistcoat, and
knickerbockers.HewasgoinghomeafteralongdayinChelsea,and,conscious
ofsomethingfantasticinhisappearance,andofdoubtfullegalityinhiscalling,
he was dipping into side streets in order to escape the laughter of the London
boysandtheattentionsofpolicemen.
ComingtotheItalianquarterinSoho,hestoppedatthedoorofashoptoseethe
time.Itwaseighto'clock.Therewasanhourtowaitbeforehewouldbeallowed
to go indoors. The shop was a baker's, and the window was full of cakes and
confectionery.Fromanirongridonthepavementtherecamethewarmbreathof
theovenunderground,theredglowofthefire,andthescythe-likeswishofthe
long shovels. The boy blocked the squirrel under his armpit, dived into his
pocket, and brought out some copper coins and counted them. There was
ninepence.Ninepencewasthesumhehadtotakehomeeverynight,andthere
wasnotahalfpennytospare.Heknewthatperfectlybeforehebegantocount,
buthisappetitehadtemptedhimtotryagainifhisarithmeticwasnotatfault.
The air grew warmer, and it began to snow. At first it was a fine sprinkle that
made a snow-mist, and adhered wherever it fell. The traffic speedily became
less, and things looked big in the thick air. The boy was wandering aimlessly
throughthestreets,waitingfornineo'clock.Whenhethoughtthehourwasnear,
herealisedthathehadlosthisway.Hescreweduphiseyestoseeifheknewthe
housesandshopsandsigns,buteverythingseemedstrange.
Thesnowsnowedon,andnowitfellinlarge,corkscrewflakes.Theboybrushed
them from his face, but at the next moment they blinded him again. The few
personsstillinthestreetsloomeduponhimoutofthedarkness,andpassedina
momentlikegiganticshadows.Hetriedtoaskhisway,butnobodywouldstand


long enoughtolisten.Onemanwhowas puttinguphisshuttersshoutedsome
answerthatwaslostinthedrumlikerumbleofallvoicesinthefallingsnow.
The boy came up to a big porch with four pillars, and stepped in to rest and
reflect.Thelongtunnelsofsmokinglightswhichhadrecededdownthestreets
werenottobeseenfromthere,andsoheknewthathewasinasquare.Itwould
beSohoSquare,butwhetherhewasonthesouthoreastofithecouldnottell,
and consequently he was at a loss to know which way to turn. A great silence
had fallen over everything, and only the sobbing nostrils of the cab-horses
seemedtobeaudibleinthehollowair.
Hewasverycold.Thesnowhadgotintohisshoes,andthroughtherentsinhis
cross-gartered stockings. His red waistcoat wanted buttons, and he could feel
thathisshirtwaswet.Hetriedtoshakethesnowoffbystamping,butitclungto
hisvelveteens.Hisnumbedfingerscouldscarcelyholdthecage,whichwasalso
fullofsnow.Bythelightcomingfromafanlightoverthedoorintheporchhe
lookedathissquirrel.Thelittlethingwastremblingpitifullyinitsicybed,and
hetookitoutandbreathedonittowarmit,andthenputitinhisbosom.The
sound of a child's voice laughing and singing came to him from within the
house,muffledbythewallsandthedoor.Acrossthewhitevapourcastoutward
fromthefanlighthecouldseenothingbutthecrystalsnowflakesfallingwearily.
Hegrewdizzy,andsatdownbyoneofthepillars.Afterawhileashiverpassed
alonghisspine,andthenhebecamewarmandfeltsleepy.Achurchclockstruck
nine,andhestartedupwithaguiltyfeeling,buthislimbswerestiffandhesank
backagain,blewtwoorthreebreathsontothesquirrelinsidehiswaistcoat,and
fell into a doze. As he dropped off into unconsciousness he seemed to see the
big,cheerlesshouse,almostdestituteoffurniture,wherehelivedwiththirtyor
fortyotherboys.Theytroopedinwiththeirorgansandaccordions,countedout
their coppers to a man with a clipped moustache, who was blowing whiffs of
smoke from a long, black cigar, with a straw through it, and then sat down on
forms to eat their plates of macaroni and cheese. The man was not in good
temper to-night, and he was shouting at some who were coming in late and at
others who were sharing their supper with the squirrels that nestled in their
bosoms,orthemonkeys,inredjacketandfez,thatperchedupontheirshoulders.
Theboywasperfectlyunconsciousbythistime,andthechildwithinthehouse
wassingingawayasifherlittlebreastwasacageofsong-birds.
AsthechurchclockstrucknineaclassofItalianladsinanupperroominOld
ComptonStreetwasbreakingupforthenight,andtheteacher,lookingoutofthe


window,said:
"While we have been telling the story of the great road to our country a
snowstormhascome,andweshallhaveenoughtodotofindourroadhome."
Theladslaughedbywayofanswer,andcried:"Good-night,doctor."
"Good-night,boys,andGodblessyou,"saidtheteacher.
Hewasanelderlyman,withanobleforeheadandalongbeard.Hisface,asad
one,waslightedupbyafeeblesmile;hisvoicewassoft,andhismannergentle.
Whentheboysweregoneheswungoverhisshouldersablackcloakwithared
lining,andfollowedthemintothestreet.
He had not gone far into the snowy haze before he began to realise that his
playfulwarninghadnotbeenamiss.
"Well,well,"hethought,"onlyafewsteps,andyetsodifficulttofind."
Hefoundtherightturningsatlast,andcomingtotheporchofhishouseinSoho
Square, he almost trod on a little black and white object lying huddled at the
baseofoneofthepillars.
"A boy," he thought, "sleeping out on a night like this! Come, come," he said
severely,"thisiswrong,"andheshookthelittlefellowtowakenhim.
Theboydidnotanswer,buthebegantomutterinasleepymonotone,"Don'thit
me,sir.Itwassnow.I'llnotcomehomelateagain.Ninepence,sir,andJinnyis
socold."
Themanpausedamoment,thenturnedtothedoorrangthebellsharply.

II
Half-an-hour later the little musician was lying on a couch in the doctor's
surgery,acheerfulroomwithafireandasoftlampunderashade.Hewasstill
unconscious, but his damp clothes had been taken off and he was wrapped in
blankets. The doctor sat at the boy's head and moistened his lips with brandy,
whileagoodwoman,withthefaceofasaint,kneltattheendofthecouchand
rubbed his little feet and legs. After a little while there was a perceptible
quiveringoftheeyelidsandtwitchingofthemouth.


"Heiscomingto,mother,"saidthedoctor.
"Atlast,"saidhiswife.
Theboymoanedandopenedhiseyes,thebighelplesseyesofchildhood,black
asasloe,andwithlongblacklashes.Helookedatthefire,thelamp,thecarpet,
theblankets,thefiguresateitherendofthecouch,andwithasmotheredcryhe
raisedhimselfasthoughthinkingtoescape.
"Carino!" said the doctor, smoothing the boy's curly hair. "Lie still a little
longer."
The voice was like a caress, and the boy sank back. But presently he raised
himselfagain,andgazedaroundtheroomasiflookingforsomething.Thegood
mother understood him perfectly, and from a chair on which his clothes were
lyingshepickeduphislittlegreysquirrel.Itwasfrozenstiffwiththecoldand
now quite dead, but he grasped it tightly and kissed it passionately, while big
teardropsrolledontohischeeks.
"Carino!"saidthedoctoragain,takingthedeadsquirrelaway,andafterawhile
theboylayquietandwascomforted.
"Italiano—si?"
"Si,Signore."
"Fromwhichprovince?"
"CampagnaRomana,Signore."
"Wheredoeshesayhecomesfrom,doctor?"
"FromthecountrydistrictoutsideRome.AndnowyouarelivingatMaccari'sin
GreekStreet—isn'tthatso?"
"Yes,sir."
"HowlonghaveyoubeeninEngland—oneyear,twoyears?"
"Twoyearsandahalf,sir."
"Andwhatisyourname,myson?"
"DavidLeone."


"A beautiful name, carino! David Le-o-ne," repeated the doctor, smoothing the
curlyhair.
"Abeautifulboy,too!Whatwillyoudowithhim,doctor?"
"Keephimhereto-nightatallevents,andto-morrowwe'llseeifsomeinstitution
will not receive him. David Leone! Where have I heard that name before, I
wonder?Yourfatherisafarmer?"
Buttheboy'sfacehadcloudedlikeamirrorthathasbeenbreathedupon,andhe
madenoanswer.
"Isn'tyourfatherafarmerintheCampagnaRomana,David?"
"Ihavenofather,"saidtheboy.
"Carino!Butyourmotherisalive—yes?"
"Ihavenomother."
"Caro mio! Caro mio! You shall not go to the institution to-morrow, my son,"
saidthedoctor,andthenthemirrorclearedinamomentasifthesunhadshone
onit.
"Listen,father!"
Twolittlefeetweredrummingonthefloorabove.
"Babyhasn'tgonetobedyet.Shewouldn'tsleepuntilshehadseentheboy,and
Ihadtopromiseshemightcomedownpresently."
"Lethercomedownnow,"saidthedoctor.
Theboywassuppingabasinofbrothwhenthedoorburstopenwithabang,and
likeatinycascadewhichleapsandbubblesinthesunlight,alittlemaidofthree,
withvioleteyes,goldencomplexion,andglossyblackhair,cameboundinginto
theroom.Shewastrailingbehindheratrainofwhitenightdress,hobblingonthe
portioninfront,andcarryingunderherarmacat,which,beingheldoutbythe
neck,wascoilingitsbodyandkickingitslegslikearabbit.
Buthavingenteredwithsofearlessafront,thelittlewomandrewupsuddenlyat
sightoftheboy,and,entrenchingherselfbehindthedoctor,begantoswingby
hiscoat-tails,andtotakefurtiveglancesatthestrangerinsilenceandaloofness.


"Bless their hearts! what funny things they are, to be sure," said the mother.
"Somebodyseemstohavebeentellinghershemighthaveabrothersomeday,
andwhennursesaidtoSusanna,'Thedoctorhasbroughtaboyhomewithhim
to-night,'nothingwassosureasthatthiswasthebrothertheyhadpromisedher,
andyetnow...Roma,yousillychild,whydon'tyoucomeandspeaktothepoor
boywhowasnearlyfrozentodeathinthesnow?"
ButRoma'sprivateeringfingerswerenowdeepinherfather'spocket,insearch
ofaspecimenofthesugar-stickwhichseemedtoliveandgrowthere.Shefound
two sugar-sticks this time, and sight of a second suggested a bold adventure.
Sidlinguptowardthecouch,butstillholdingontothedoctor'scoat-tails,likea
craftthatswingstoanchor,shetossedoneofthesugar-sticksontothefloorat
the boy's side. The boy smiled and picked it up, and this being taken for
sufficient masculine response, the little daughter of Eve proceeded to proper
overtures.
"Ooaboy?"
Theboysmiledagainandassented.
"Oomebrodder?"
Theboy'ssmilepaledperceptibly.
"Oolubme?"
Thetideintheboy'seyeswasrisingrapidly.
"Oolubmeeberandeber?"
The tears were gathering fast, when the doctor, smoothing the boy's dark curls
again,said:
"YouhavealittlesisterofyourownfarawayintheCampagnaRomana—yes?"
"No,sir."
"Perhapsit'sabrother?"
"I...Ihavenobody,"saidtheboy,andhisvoicebrokeonthelastwordwitha
thud.
"Youshallnotgototheinstitutionatall,David,"saidthedoctorsoftly.


"DoctorRoselli!"exclaimedhiswife.Butsomethinginthedoctor'sfacesmote
herinstantlyandshesaidnomore.
"Timeforbed,baby."
Butbabyhadmanyexcuses.Therewerethesugar-sticks,andthepussy,andthe
boy-brother,andfinallyherprayerstosay.
"Saythemhere,then,sweetheart,"saidhermother,andwithhercatpinnedup
again under one arm and the sugar-stick held under the other, kneeling face to
the fire, but screwing her half-closed eyes at intervals in the direction of the
couch,thelittlemaidputherlittlewaif-and-strayhandstogetherandsaid:
"OurFaderooartinHeben,aludbedyname.Dykingumtum.Dywillbedone
on eard as it is in Heben. Gib us dis day our dayey bread, and forgib us our
trelspasses as we forgib dem dat trelspass ayenst us. And lee us not into
temstashuns,butdeliberusfromebil...foreberandeber.Amen."
ThehouseinSohoSquarewasperfectlysilentanhourafterward.Inthesurgery
thelampwasturneddown,thecatwaswinkingandyawningatthefire,andthe
doctor sat in a chair in front of the fading glow and listened to the measured
breathing of the boy behind him. It dropped at length, like a pendulum that is
abouttostop,intothenoiselessbeatofinnocentsleep,andthenthegoodman
gotupandlookeddownatthelittleheadonthepillow.
Even with the eyes closed it was a beautiful face; one of the type which great
painters have loved to paint for their saints and angels—sweet, soft, wise, and
wistful.Andwherediditcomefrom?FromtheCampagnaRomana,asceneof
poverty,ofsqualor,offever,andofdeath!
The doctor thought of his own little daughter, whose life had been a long
holiday,andthenoftheboywhosedayshadbeenanunbrokenbondage.
"YetwhoknowsbutintheroughchanceoflifeourlittleRomamaynotsome
day...Godforbid!"
The boy moved in his sleep and laughed the laugh of a dream that is like the
sound of a breeze in soft summer grass, and it broke the thread of painful
reverie.
"Poorlittleman!hehasforgottenallhistroubles."


Perhaps he was back in his sunny Italy by this time, among the vines and the
oranges and the flowers, running barefoot with other children on the dazzling
whitenessoftheroads!...Perhapshismotherinheavenwasprayingherheartout
to the Blessed Virgin to watch over her fatherless darling cast adrift upon the
world!
Thetrainofthoughtwasinterruptedbyvoicesinthestreet,andthedoctordrew
thecurtainofthewindowasideandlookedout.Thesnowhadceasedtofall,and
the moon was shining; the leafless trees were casting their delicate black
shadows on the whitened ground, and the yellow light of a lantern on the
opposite angle of the square showed where a group of lads were singing a
Christmascarol.
"Whileshepherdswatchedtheirflocksbynight,allseatedontheground,
TheangeloftheLordcamedown,andgloryshonearound."
Doctor Roselli closed the curtain, put out the lamp, touched with his lips the
foreheadofthesleepingboy,andwenttobed.


PARTONE—THEHOLYROMANEMPIRE
TWENTYYEARSLATER
I
Itwasthelastdayofthecentury.InaBullproclaimingaJubileethePopehad
calledhisfaithfulchildrentoRome,andtheyhadcomefromallquartersofthe
globe. To salute the coming century, and to dedicate it, in pomp and solemn
ceremony,tothereturnoftheworldtotheHolyChurch,oneanduniversal,the
peoplehadgatheredinthegreatPiazzaofSt.Peter.
Boysandwomenwereclimbingupeverypossibleelevation,andabright-faced
girl who had conquered a high place on the base of the obelisk was chattering
downatagroupofherfriendswhowerelisteningtotheircicerone.
"Yes, that is the Vatican," said the guide, pointing to a square building at the
back of the colonnade, "and the apartments of the Pope are those on the third
floor,justontheleveloftheLoggiaofRaphael.TheCardinalSecretaryofState
usedtoliveintheroomsbelow,openingonthegrandstaircasethatleadsfrom
theCourtofDamasus.There'saprivatewayuptothePope'sapartment,anda
secretpassagetotheCastleofSt.Angelo."
"Say,hasthePopegotthatsecretpassagestill?"
"No,sir.WhentheCastlewentovertotheKingtheconnectionwiththeVatican
wascutoff.Ah,everythingischangedsincethosedays!ThePopeusedtogoto
St.Peter'ssurroundedbyhisCardinalsandBishops,totherollofdrumsandthe
roarofcannon.Allthatisovernow.ThepresentPopeistryingtorevivetheold
conditionseemingly,butwhatcanhedo?EventheBullproclaimingtheJubilee
laments the loss of the temporal power which would have permitted him to
renewtheenchantmentsoftheHolyCity."
"Tell him it's just lovely as it is," said the girl on the obelisk, "and when the
illuminationsbegin...."
"Say,friend,"saidherparentagain,"RomebelongedtothePope—yes?Thenthe
ItalianscameinandtookitandmadeitthecapitalofItaly—so?"


"Justso,andeversincethentheHolyFatherhasbeenaprisonerintheVatican,
goingintoitasacardinalandcomingoutofitasacorpse,andto-daywillbethe
firsttimeaPopehassetfootinthestreetsofRome!"
"My!Andshallweseehiminhisprisonclothes?"
"LilianMartha!Don'tyouknowenoughforthat?Perhapsyouexpecttoseehis
chainsandastrawofhisbedinthecell?ThePopeisakingandhasacourt—
that'sthewayIamfiguringit."
"True,thePopeisasovereignstill,andheissurroundedbyhisofficersofstate
—Cardinal Secretary, Majordomo, Master of Ceremonies, Steward, Chief of
Police, Swiss Guards, Noble Guard and Palatine Guard, as well as the Papal
Guardwholiveinthegardenandpatroltheprecinctsnightandday."
"Thenwherethenation...prisoner,yousay?"
"Prisonerindeed!Notevenabletolookoutofhiswindowsontothispiazzaon
the20thofSeptemberwithouttheriskofinsultandoutrage—andHeavenknows
whatwillhappenwhenheventuresoutto-day!"
"Well!thisgoesclearaheadofme!"
Beyond the outer cordon of troops many carriages were drawn up in positions
likely to be favourable for a view of the procession. In one of these sat a
Frenchman in a coat covered with medals, a florid, fiery-eyed old soldier with
bristlingwhitehair.StandingbyhiscarriagedoorwasatypicalyoungRoman,
fashionable, faultlessly dressed, pallid, with strong lower jaw, dark watchful
eyes,twirled-upmoustacheandcroppedblackmane.
"Ah,yes,"saidtheoldFrenchman."Muchwaterhasrununderthebridgesince
then,sir.ChangedsinceIwashere?Rome?You'reright,sir.'WhenRomefalls,
falls the world;' but it can alter for all that, and even this square has seen its
transformations. Holy Office stands where it did, the yellow building behind
there,butthispalace,forinstance—thisonewiththepeopleinthebalcony...."
The Frenchman pointed to the travertine walls of a prison-like house on the
farthersideofthepiazza.
"Doyouknowwhosepalacethatis?"
"BaronBonelli's,PresidentoftheCouncilandMinisteroftheInterior."


"Precisely!Butdoyouknowwhosepalaceitusedtobe?"
"Belonged to the English Wolsey, didn't it, in the days when he wanted the
Papacy?"
"BelongedinmytimetothefatherofthePope,sir—oldBaronLeone!"
"Leone!That'sthefamilynameofthePope,isn'tit?"
"Yes,sir,andtheoldBaronwasabankerandacripple.Onefootinthegrave,
andallhishopescentredinhisson.'Myson,'heusedtosay,'willbetherichest
maninRomesomeday—richerthanalltheirRomanprinces,anditwillbehis
ownfaultifhedoesn'tmakehimselfPope.'"
"Hehas,apparently."
"Notthatway,though.Whenhisfatherdied,hesoldupeverything,andhaving
norelationslookingtohim,hegaveawayeverypennytothepoor.That'show
the old banker's palace fell into the hands of the Prime Minister of Italy—an
infidel,anAntichrist."
"SothePopeisagoodman,ishe?"
"Goodman,sir?He'snotamanatall,he'sanangel!Onlytwoaimsinlife—the
gloryoftheChurchandthewelfareoftherisinggeneration.Gaveawayhalfhis
inheritance founding homes all over the world for poor boys. Boys—that's the
Pope'stenderpoint,sir!Tellhimanythingtenderaboutaboyandhebreaksup
likeanoldswordcut."
The eyes of the young Roman were straying away from the Frenchman to a
rathershabbysingle-horsehackneycarriagewhichhadjustcomeintothesquare
and taken up its position in the shadow of the grim old palace. It had one
occupant only—a man in a soft black hat. He was quite without a sign of a
decoration,buthisarrivalhadcreatedageneralcommotion,andallfaceswere
turningtowardhim.
"Do you happen to know who that is?" said the gay Roman. "That man in the
cabunderthebalconyfullofladies?CanitbeDavidRossi?"
"DavidRossi,theanarchist?"
"Somepeoplecallhimso.Doyouknowhim?"


"IknownothingaboutthemanexceptthatheisanenemyofhisHoliness."
"HeintendstopresentapetitiontothePopethismorning,nevertheless."
"Impossible!"
"Haven'tyouheardofit?Thesearehisfollowerswiththebannersandbadges."
He pointed to the line of working-men who had ranged themselves about the
cab, with banners inscribed variously, "Garibaldi Club," "Mazzini Club,"
"RepublicanFederation,"and"RepublicofMan."
"YourfriendAntichrist,"tippingafingeroverhisshoulderinthedirectionofthe
palace, "has been taxing bread to build more battleships, and Rossi has risen
against him. But failing in the press, in Parliament and at the Quirinal, he is
coming to the Pope to pray of him to let the Church play its old part of
intermediarybetweenthepoorandtheoppressed."
"Preposterous!"
"So?"
"To whom is the Pope to protest? To the King of Italy who robbed him of his
Holy City? Pretty thing to go down on your knees to the brigand who has
stripped you! And at whose bidding is he to protest? At the bidding of his
bitterestenemy?Pshaw!"
"YoupersistthatDavidRossiisanenemyofthePope?"
"ThedeadliestenemythePopehasintheworld."

II
ThesubjectoftheFrenchman'sdenunciationlookedharmlessenoughashesat
inhishackneycarriageundertheshadowofoldBaronLeone'sgloomypalace.A
first glance showed a man of thirty-odd years, tall, slightly built, inclined to
stoop, with a long, clean-shaven face, large dark eyes, and dark hair which
coveredtheheadinshortcurlsofalmostAfricanprofusion.Butasecondglance
revealed all the characteristics that give the hand-to-hand touch with the
commonpeople,withoutwhichnomancanhopetoleadagreatmovement.


FromthemomentofDavidRossi'sarrivaltherewasatinglingmovementinthe
air,andfromtimetotimepeopleapproachedandspoketohim,whenthetired
smilestruggledthroughthejadedfaceandthenslowlydiedaway.Afterawhile,
as if to subdue the sense of personal observation, he took a pen and oblong
notepaperandbegantowriteonhisknees.
Meantime the quick-eyed facile crowd around him beguiled the tedium of
waitingwithgood-humouredchaff.Onegreatcreaturewithashaggymaneanda
sanguinary voice came up, bottle in hand, saluted the downcast head with a
mixture of deference and familiarity, then climbed to the box-seat beside the
driver, and in deepest bass began the rarest mimicry. He was a true son of the
people,andunderanappearanceofferocityhehidtheheartofachild.Tolook
at him you could hardly help laughing, and the laughter of the crowd at his
daring dashes showed that he was the privileged pet of everybody. Only at
intervals the downcast head was raised from its writing, and a quiet voice of
warningsaid:
"Bruno!"
Thentheshaggyheadonthebox-seatslewedroundandbobbeddownwardwith
anapologeticgesture,andtensecondsafterwardsplungedintowilderexcesses.
"Pshaw!"moppingwithonehandhisforeheadunderhistipped-upbillicock,and
holdingthebottlewiththeother."It'shot!DogofaGovernment,it'shot,Isay!
Nevermind!here'stotheexportsofItaly,brother;andmaytheGovernmentbe
thefirstofthem."
"Bruno!"
"Excuseme,sir;thetonguebreaksnobones,sir!AllGovernmentsarebad,and
theworstGovernmentisthebest."
Afeebleoldmanwasatthatmomentcrushinghiswayuptothecab.Seeinghim
approach,DavidRossiroseandheldouthishand.Theoldmantookit,butdid
notspeak.
"Didyouwishtospeaktome,father?"
"Ican'tyet,"saidtheoldman,andhisvoiceshookandhiseyesweremoist.
DavidRossisteppedoutofthecab,andwithgentleforce,againstmanyprotests,
puttheoldmaninhisplace.


"I come from Carrara, sir, and when I go home and tell them I've seen David
Rossi,andspokentohim,theywon'tbelieveme.'Heseesthefutureclear,'they
say,'asanalmanackmadebyGod.'"
Justthentherewasacommotioninthecrowd,animperiousvoicecried,"Clear
out,"andthenextinstantDavidRossi,whowasstandingbythestepofhiscab,
wasallbutrundownbyamagnificentequipagewithtwohigh-stepping horses
andafatEnglishcoachmaninliveryofscarletandgold.
Hisfacedarkenedforamomentwithsomepowerfulemotion,thenresumedits
kindlyaspect,andheturnedbacktotheoldmanwithoutlookingattheoccupant
ofthecarriage.
Itwasalady.Shewastall,withaboldsweepoffulnessinfigure,whichwason
a large scale of beauty. Her hair, which was abundant and worn full over the
forehead,wasravenblackandglossy,anditthrewoffthesunshinethatfellon
herface.Hercomplexionhadagoldentint,andhereyes,whichwereviolet,had
aslightrecklessnessofexpression.Hercarriagedrewupattheentranceofthe
palace,andtheporter,withthesilver-headedstaff,camerunningandbowingto
receiveher.Sherosetoherfeetwithaconsciousnessofmanyeyesuponher,and
withanunabashedglanceshelookedaroundonthecrowd.
Therewasasulkysilenceamongthepeople,almostasenseofantagonism,and
ifanybodyhadcheeredtheremighthavebeenacounterdemonstration.Atthe
same time, there was a certain daring in that marked brow and steadfast smile
which seemed to say that if anybody had hissed she would have stood her
ground.
Sheliftedfromthebluesilkcushionsofthecarriageasmallhalf-clippedblack
poodle with a bow of blue ribbon on its forehead, tucked it under her arm,
stepped down to the street, and passed into the courtyard, leaving an odour of
ottarofrosesbehindher.
Onlythendidthepeoplespeak.
"DonnaRoma!"
The name seemed to pass over the crowd in a breathless whisper, soundless,
supernatural,liketheflightofabatinthedark.


III
The Baron Bonelli had invited certain of his friends to witness the Pope's
processionfromthewindowsandbalconiesofhispalaceoverlookingthepiazza,
andtheyhadbeguntoarriveasearlyashalf-pastnine.
Inthegreencourtyardtheywerereceivedbytheporterinthecockedhat,onthe
dark stone staircase by lackeys in knee-breeches and yellow stockings, in the
outerhall,intendedforcoatsandhats,bymorelackeysinpowderedwigs,andin
the first reception-room, gorgeously decorated in the yellow and gold of the
middleages,byFelice,inadresscoat,theBaron'ssolemnpersonalservant,who
said,insepulchraltones:
"The Baron's excuses, Excellency! Engaged in the Council-room with some of
theMinisters,butexpectstobeoutpresently.SitintheLoggia,Excellency?"
"So our host is holding a Cabinet Council, General?" said the English
Ambassador.
"Asortofscratchcouncil,seemingly.Somethingthatconcernstheday'sdoings,
Iguess,andisurgentandimportant."
"Agreatman,General,ifhalfonehearsabouthimistrue."
"Great?"saidtheAmerican."Yes,andno,SirEvelyn,accordingasyouregard
him. In the opinion of some of his followers the Baron Bonelli is the greatest
maninthecountry—greaterthantheKinghimself—andastatesmantoobigfor
Italy.Oneofthosecommandingpersonageswhocarryeverythingbeforethem,
sothatwhentheyspeakevenmonarchsareboundtoobey.That'soneviewofhis
picture,SirEvelyn."
"Andtheotherview?"
GeneralPotterglancedinthedirectionofadoorhungwithcurtains,fromwhich
therecameatintervalsthedeadeneddrummingofvoices,andthenhesaid:
"Amanofimplacabletemperandimperioussoul,aninfidelofhardandcynical
spirit,ascepticandatyrant."
"Whichviewdothepeopletake?"
"Canyouask?Thepeoplehatehimfortheheavyburdenoftaxationwithwhich


heisdestroyingthenationinhisattempttobuilditup."
"Andtheclergy,andtheCourt,andthearistocracy?"
"The clergy fear him, the Court detests him, and the Roman aristocracy are
rancorouslyhostile."
"Yetherulesthemall,nevertheless?"
"Yes,sir,witharodofiron—people,Court,princes,Parliament,Kingaswell—
and seems to have only one unsatisfied desire, to break up the last remaining
rightsoftheVaticanandruletheoldPopehimself."
"AndyetheinvitesustositinhisLoggiaandlookatthePope'sprocession."
"Perhapsbecauseheintendsitshallbethelastwemayeverseeofit."
"The Princess Bellini and Don Camillo Murelli," said Felice's sepulchral voice
fromthedoor.
An elderly aristocratic beauty wearing nodding white plumes came in with a
pallidyoungRomannobledressedintheEnglishfashion.
"Youcometochurch,DonCamillo?"
"Heard it was a service which happened only once in a hundred years, dear
General, and thought it mightn't be convenient to come next time," said the
youngRoman.
"Andyou,Princess!Comenow,confess,isittheperfumeoftheincensewhich
bringsyoutothePope'sprocession,ortheperfumeofthepromenaders?"
"Nonsense,General!"saidthelittlewoman,tappingtheAmericanwiththetipof
herlorgnette."Whocomestoaceremonylikethistosayherprayers?Nobody
whatever,andiftheHolyFatherhimselfweretosay...."
"Oh!oh!"
"Whichremindsme,"saidthelittlelady,"whereisDonnaRoma?"
"Yes,indeed,whereisDonnaRoma?"saidtheyoungRoman.
"WhoisDonnaRoma?"saidtheEnglishman.
"SantoDio!themandoesn'tknowDonnaRoma!"


The white plumes bobbed up, the powdered face fell back, the little twinkling
eyesclosed,andthecompanylaughedandseatedthemselvesintheLoggia.
"DonnaRoma,dearsir,"saidtheyoungRoman,"isatypeofthefairladywho
hasappearedinthehistoryofeverynationsincethedaysofHelenofTroy."
"Hasawomanofthistype,then,identifiedherselfwiththestoryofRomeata
momentlikethepresent?"saidtheEnglishman.
TheyoungRomansmiled.
"Why did the Prime Minister appoint so-and-so?—Donna Roma! Why did he
dismisssuch-and-such?—DonnaRoma!Whatfeminineinfluenceimposedupon
thenationthisorthat?—DonnaRoma!Throughwhomcometitles,decorations,
honours?—Donna Roma! Who pacifies intractable politicians and makes them
thedevotedfollowersoftheMinisters?—DonnaRoma!Whoorganisesthegreat
charitable committees, collects funds and distributes them?—Donna Roma!
Always,alwaysDonnaRoma!"
"SothedayofthepetticoatpoliticianisnotoverinItalyyet?"
"Over?Itwillonlyendwiththelasttrump.ButdearDonnaRomaishardlythat.
Withherlightplayofgraceandawholeartilleryofloveinherlovelyeyes,she
onlyintoxicatesagreatcapitaland"—withaglancetowardsthecurtaineddoor
—"takescaptiveagreatMinister."
"Justthat,"andthewhiteplumesbobbedupanddown.
"Henceshedefiesconventions,andnoonedarestoquestionheractionsonher
sceneofgallantry."
"Drives a pair of thoroughbreds in the Corso every afternoon, and threatens to
buyanautomobile."
"Has debts enough to sink a ship, but floats through life as if she had never
knownwhatitwastobepoor."
"Andhasshe?"
The voices from behind the curtained door were louder than usual at that
moment,andtheyoungRomandrewhischaircloser.
"DonnaRoma,dearsir,wastheonlychildofPrinceVolonna.Nobodymentions


himnow,sospeakofhiminawhisper.TheVolonnaswereanoldpapalfamily,
holdingofficeinthePope'shousehold,buttheyoungPrinceofthehousewasa
Liberal,andhisyouthwascastinthestormydaysofthemiddleofthecentury.
AsasonoftherevolutionhewasexpelledfromRomeforconspiracyagainstthe
papalGovernment,andwhenthePopewentoutandtheKingcamein,hewas
stillarepublican,conspiringagainstthereigningsovereign,and,assuch,arebel.
Meanwhile he had wandered over Europe, going from Geneva to Berlin, from
BerlintoParis.FinallyhetookrefugeinLondon,thehomeofallthehomeless,
andtherehewaslostandforgotten.Somesayhepractisedasadoctor,passing
under another name; others say that he spent his life as a poor man in your
ItalianquarterofSoho,nursingrebellionamongtheexilesfromhisowncountry.
Only one thing is certain: late in life he came back to Italy as a conspirator—
enticed back, his friends say—was arrested on a charge of attempted regicide,
anddeportedtotheislandofElbawithoutawordofpublicreportortrial."
"Domicilio Coatto—a devilish and insane device," said the American
Ambassador.
"WasthatthefateofPrinceVolonna?"
"Justso,"saidtheRoman."Buttenortwelveyearsafterhedisappearedfromthe
sceneabeautifulgirlwasbroughttoRomeandpresentedashisdaughter."
"DonnaRoma?"
"Yes. It turned out that the Baron was a kinsman of the refugee, and going to
London he discovered that the Prince had married an English wife during the
periodofhisexile,andleftafriendlessdaughter.Outofpityforagreatnamehe
undertook the guardianship of the girl, sent her to school in France, finally
brought her to Rome, and established her in an apartment on the Trinità de'
Monti,underthecareofanoldaunt,poorasherself,andonceagreatcoquette,
butnowafadedrosewhichhaslongsinceseenitsJune."
"Andthen?"
"Then? Ah, who shall say what then, dear friend? We can only judge by what
appears—Donna Roma's elegant figure, dressed in silk by the best milliners
Pariscanprovide,queeningitoverhalfthewomenofRome."
"Andnowherauntisconvenientlybedridden,"saidthelittlePrincess,"andshe
goes about alone like an Englishwoman; and to account for her extravagance,


while everybody knows her father's estate was confiscated, she is by way of
beingasculptor,andhassetupagorgeousstudio,fullofnymphsandcupidsand
limbs."
"Andallbyvirtueof—what?"saidtheEnglishman.
"Byvirtueofbeing—thegoodfriendoftheBaronBonelli!"
"Meaningbythat?"
"Nothing—andeverything!"saidthePrincesswithanothertrilloflaughter.
"InRome,dearfriend,"saidDonCamillo,"awomancandoanythingshelikes
aslongasshecankeeppeoplefromtalkingabouther."
"Oh,youneverdothatapparently,"saidtheEnglishman."Butwhydoesn'tthe
BaronmakeheraBaronessandhavedonewiththedanger?"
"BecausetheBaronhasaBaronessalready."
"Awifeliving?"
"Living and yet dead—an imbecile, a maniac, twenty years a prisoner in his
castleintheAlbanhills."

IV
Thecurtainpartedovertheinnerdoorway,andthreegentlemencameout.The
first was a tall, spare man, about fifty years of age, with an intellectual head,
featurescutclearandhardlikegranite,glitteringeyesunderoverhangingbrows,
black moustaches turned up at the ends, and iron-grey hair cropped very short
overahighforehead.ItwastheBaronBonelli.
Oneofthetwomenwithhimhadafacewhichlookedasifithadbeencarvedby
aswordoranadze,goodandhonestbutbluntandrugged;andtheotherhada
long,narrowhead,liketheheadofahen—alankypersonwithacertainmixture
ofarroganceandservilityinhisexpression.
ThecompanyrosefromtheirplacesintheLoggia,andthereweregreetingsand
introductions.
"SirEvelynWise,gentlemen,thenewBritishAmbassador—GeneralMorra,our


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