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.
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