CoCalc Public Fileswww / ebooks / pellico-prison.txt
Author: William A. Stein
1This etext was prepared by David Price, email [email protected],
2from the 1886 Cassell & Co. edition.
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8MY TEN YEARS' IMPRISONMENT
9
10by Silvio Pellico
11
12
13
14
15INTRODUCTION.
16
17
18
19Silvio Pellico was born at Saluzzo, in North Italy, in the year of
20the fall of the Bastille, 1789.  His health as a child was feeble,
21his temper gentle, and he had the instincts of a poet.  Before he
22was ten years old he had written a tragedy on a theme taken from
23Macpherson's Ossian.  His chief delight as a boy was in acting plays
24with other children, and he acquired from his father a strong
25interest in the patriotic movements of the time.  He fastened upon
26French literature during a stay of some years at Lyons with a
27relation of his mother's.  Ugo Foscolo's Sepolcri revived his
28patriotism, and in 1810, at the age of twenty-one, he returned to
29Italy.  He taught French in the Soldiers' Orphans' School at Milan.
30At Milan he was admitted to the friendship of Vincenzo Monti, a poet
31then touching his sixtieth year, and of the younger Ugo Foscolo, by
32whose writings he had been powerfully stirred, and to whom he became
33closely bound.  Silvio Pellico wrote in classical form a tragedy,
34Laodicea, and then, following the national or romantic school, for a
35famous actress of that time, another tragedy, Francesca di Rimini,
36which was received with great applause.
37
38After the dissolution of the kingdom of Italy, in April 1814,
39Pellico became tutor to the two children of the Count Porro
40Lambertenghi, at whose table he met writers of mark, from many
41countries; Byron (whose Manfred he translated), Madame de Stael,
42Schlegel, Manzoni, and others.  In 1819 Silvio Pellico began
43publishing Il Conciliatore, a journal purely literary, that was to
44look through literature to the life that it expresses, and so help
45towards the better future of his country.  But the merciless
46excisions of inoffensive passages by the Austrian censorship
47destroyed the journal in a year.
48
49A secret political association had been formed in Italy of men of
50all ranks who called themselves the Carbonari (charcoal burners),
51and who sought the reform of government in Italy.  In 1814 they had
52planned a revolution in Naples, but there was no action until 1820.
53After successful pressure on the King of the two Sicilies, the
54forces of the Carbonari under General Pepe entered Naples on the
55ninth of July, 1820, and King Ferdinand I. swore on the 13th of July
56to observe the constitution which the Carbonari had proclaimed at
57Nola and elsewhere during the preceding month.  On the twenty-fifth
58of August, the Austrian government decreed death to every member of
59a secret society, and carcere duro e durissimo, severest pains of
60imprisonment, to all who had neglected to oppose the progress of
61Carbonarism.  Many seizures were made, and on the 13th of October
62the gentle editor of the Conciliatore, Silvio Pellico, was arrested
63as a friend of the Carbonari, and taken to the prison of Santa
64Margherita in Milan.
65
66In the same month of October, the Emperors of Austria and Russia,
67and the Prince of Prussia met at Troppau to concert measures for
68crushing the Carbonari.
69
70In January, 1821, they met Ferdinand I. at Laybach and then took
71arms against Naples.  Naples capitulated on the 20th of March, and
72on the 24th of March, 1821, its Revolutionary council was closed.  A
73decree of April 10th condemned to death all persons who attended
74meetings of the Carbonari, and the result was a great accession to
75the strength of this secret society, which spread its branches over
76Germany and France.
77
78On the 19th of February, 1821, Silvio Pellico was transferred to
79imprisonment under the leads, on the isle of San Michele, Venice.
80There he wrote two plays, and some poems.  On the 21st of February,
811822, he and his friend Maroncelli were condemned to death; but,
82their sentence being commuted to twenty years for Maroncelli, and
83fifteen years for Pellico, of carcere duro, they entered their
84underground prisons at Spielberg on the 10th of April, 1822.  The
85government refused to transmit Pellico's tragedies to his family,
86lest, though harmless in themselves, the acting of them should bring
87good-will to a state prisoner.  At Spielberg he composed a third
88tragedy, Leoniero da Dordona, though deprived of books, paper, and
89pens, and preserved it in his memory.  In 1828, a rumour of
90Pellico's death in prison caused great excitement throughout Italy.
91On the 17th of September, 1830, he was released, by the amnesty of
92that year, and, avoiding politics thenceforth, devoted himself to
93religion.  The Marchesa Baroli, at Turin, provided for his
94maintenance, by engaging him as her secretary and librarian.  With
95health made weaker by his sufferings, Silvio Pellico lived on to the
96age of sixty-five, much honoured by his countrymen.  Gioberti
97dedicated a book to him as "The first of Italian Patriots."  He died
98at Turin on the 1st of February, 1854.
99
100Silvio Pellico's account of his imprisonment, Le Mie Prigioni, was
101first published in Paris in 1833.  It has been translated into many
102languages, and is the work by which he will retain his place in
103European literature.  His other plays, besides the two first named,
104were Eufemia di Messina; Iginia di Asti; Leoniero da Dordona,
105already named as having been thought out at Spielberg; his Gismonda;
107More.  He wrote also poems, Cantiche, of which the best are Eligi e
108Valfrido and Egilde; and, in his last years, a religious manual on
109the Duties of Men.
110
111H. M.
112
113
114
115AUTHOR'S PREFACE.
116
117
118
119Have I penned these memorials, let me ask myself, from any paltry
120vanity, or desire to talk about that self?  I hope this is not the
121case, and forasmuch as one may be able to judge in one's own cause,
122I think I was actuated by better views.  These, briefly, were to
123afford consolation to some unfortunate being, situated like myself,
124by explaining the evils to which I was exposed, and those sources of
125relief which I found were accessible, even when labouring under the
126heaviest misfortune; to bear witness, moreover, that in the midst of
127my acute and protracted torments, I never found humanity, in the
128human instruments around me, so hopelessly wicked, so unworthy of
129consideration, or so barren of noble minds in lowly station, as it
130is customary to represent it; to engage, if possible, all the
131generous and good-hearted to love and esteem each other, to become
132incapable of hating any one; to feel irreconcilable hatred only
133towards low, base falsehood; cowardice, perfidy, and every kind of
134moral degradation.  It is my object to impress on all that well-
135known but too often forgotten truth, namely, that both religion and
136philosophy require calmness of judgment combined with energy of
137will, and that without such a union, there can be no real justice,
138no dignity of character, and no sound principles of human action.
139
140
141
142MY TEN YEARS' IMPRISONMENT
143
144
145
146CHAPTER I.
147
148
149
150On Friday, the 15th of October, 1820, I was arrested at Milan, and
151conveyed to the prison of Santa Margherita.  The hour was three in
152the afternoon.  I underwent a long examination, which occupied the
153whole of that and several subsequent days; but of this I shall say
154nothing.  Like some unfortunate lover, harshly dealt with by her he
155adored, yet resolved to bear it with dignified silence, I leave la
156Politica, such as SHE IS, and proceed to something else.
157
158At nine in the evening of that same unlucky Friday, the actuary
159consigned me to the jailer, who conducted me to my appointed
160residence.  He there politely requested me to give up my watch, my
161money, and everything in my pockets, which were to be restored to me
162in due time; saying which he respectfully bade me good-night.
163
164"Stop, my dear sir," I observed, "I have not yet dined; let me have
165something to eat."
166
167"Directly; the inn is close by, and you will find the wine good,
168sir."
169
170"Wine I do not drink."
171
172At this announcement Signor Angiolino gave me a look of unfeigned
173surprise; he imagined that I was jesting.  "Masters of prisons," he
174rejoined, "who keep shop, have a natural horror of an abstemious
175captive."
176
177"That may be; I don't drink it."
178
179"I am sorry for you, sir; you will feel solitude twice as heavily."
180
181But perceiving that I was firm, he took his leave; and in half an
182hour I had something to eat.  I took a mouthful, swallowed a glass
183of water, and found myself alone.  My chamber was on the ground
184floor, and overlooked the court-yard.  Dungeons here, dungeons
185there, to the right, to the left, above, below, and opposite,
186everywhere met my eye.  I leaned against the window, listened to the
187passing and repassing of the jailers, and the wild song of a number
188of the unhappy inmates.  A century ago, I reflected, and this was a
189monastery; little then thought the pious, penitent recluses that
190their cells would now re-echo only to the sounds of blasphemy and
191licentious song, instead of holy hymn and lamentation from woman's
192lips; that it would become a dwelling for the wicked of every class-
193-the most part destined to perpetual labour or to the gallows.  And
194in one century to come, what living being will be found in these
195cells?  Oh, mighty Time! unceasing mutability of things!  Can he who
196rightly views your power have reason for regret or despair when
197Fortune withdraws her smile, when he is made captive, or the
198scaffold presents itself to his eye? yesterday I thought myself one
199of the happiest of men; to-day every pleasure, the least flower that
200strewed my path, has disappeared.  Liberty, social converse, the
201face of my fellow-man, nay, hope itself hath fled.  I feel it would
202be folly to flatter myself; I shall not go hence, except to be
203thrown into still more horrible receptacles of sorrow; perhaps,
204bound, into the hands of the executioner.  Well, well, the day after
205my death it will be all one as if I had yielded my spirit in a
206palace, and been conveyed to the tomb, accompanied with all the
207pageantry of empty honours.
208
209It was thus, by reflecting on the sweeping speed of time, that I
210bore up against passing misfortune.  Alas, this did not prevent the
211forms of my father, my mother, two brothers, two sisters, and one
212other family I had learned to love as if it were my own, from all
213whom I was, doubtless, for ever cut off, from crossing my mind, and
214rendering all my philosophical reasoning of no avail.  I was unable
215to resist the thought, and I wept even as a child.
216
217
218
219CHAPTER II.
220
221
222
223Three months previous to this time I had gone to Turin, where, after
224several years of separation, I saw my parents, one of my brothers,
225and two sisters.  We had always been an attached family; no son had
226ever been more deeply indebted to a father and a mother than I; I
227remember I was affected at beholding a greater alteration in their
228looks, the progress of age, than I had expected.  I indulged a
229secret wish to part from them no more, and soothe the pillow of
230departing age by the grateful cares of a beloved son.  How it vexed
231me, too, I remember, during the few brief days I passed with them,
232to be compelled by other duties to spend so much of the day from
233home, and the society of those I had such reason to love and to
234revere; yes, and I remember now what my mother said one day, with an
235expression of sorrow, as I went out--"Ah! our Silvio has not come to
236Turin to see US!"  The morning of my departure for Milan was a truly
237painful one.  My poor father accompanied me about a mile on my way;
238and, on leaving me, I more than once turned to look at him, and,
239weeping, kissed the ring my mother had just given me; nor did I ever
240before quit my family with a feeling of such painful presentiment.
241I am not superstitious; but I was astonished at my own weakness, and
242I more than once exclaimed in a tone of terror, "Good God! whence
243comes this strange anxiety and alarm?" and, with a sort of inward
244vision, my mind seemed to behold the approach of some great
245calamity.  Even yet in prison I retain the impression of that sudden
246dread and parting anguish, and can recall each word and every look
247of my distressed parents.  The tender reproach of my mother, "Ah!
248Silvio has not come to Turin to see US!" seemed to hang like a
249weight upon my soul.  I regretted a thousand instances in which I
250might have shown myself more grateful and agreeable to them; I did
251not even tell them how much I loved; all that I owed to them.  I was
252never to see them more, and yet I turned my eyes with so much like
253indifference from their dear and venerable features!  Why, why was I
254so chary of giving expression to what I felt (would they could have
255read it in my looks), to all my gratitude and love?  In utter
256solitude, thoughts like these pierced me to the soul.
257
258I rose, shut the window, and sat some hours, in the idea that it
259would be in vain to seek repose.  At length I threw myself on my
260pallet, and excessive weariness brought me sleep.
261
262
263
264CHAPTER III.
265
266
267
268To awake the first night in a prison is a horrible thing.  Is it
269possible, I murmured, trying to collect my thoughts, is it possible
270I am here?  Is not all that passed a dream?  Did they really seize
271me yesterday?  Was it I whom they examined from morning till night,
272who am doomed to the same process day after day, and who wept so
273bitterly last night when I thought of my dear parents?  Slumber, the
275incalculably to the capability of reflecting, and, consequently, of
276grief.  There was nothing to distract my attention; my fancy grew
277busy with absent forms, and pictured, to my eye the pain and terror
278of my father and mother, and of all dear to me, on first hearing the
279tidings of my arrest.
280
281At this moment, said I, they are sleeping in peace; or perhaps,
282anxiety for me may keep them watching, yet little anticipating the
283fate to which I am here consigned.  Happy for them, were it the will
284of God, that they should cease to exist ere they hear of this
285horrible misfortune.  Who will give them strength to bear it?  Some
286inward voice seemed to whisper me, He whom the afflicted look up to,
287love and acknowledge in their hearts; who enabled a mother to follow
288her son to the mount of Golgotha, and to stand under His cross.  He,
289the friend of the unhappy, the friend of man.
290
291Strange this should be the first time I truly felt the power of
292religion in my heart; and to filial love did I owe this consolation.
293Though not ill-disposed, I had hitherto been little impressed with
295objections I estimated at their just value, yet there were many
296doubts and sophisms which had shaken my faith.  It was long, indeed,
297since they had ceased to trouble my belief in the existence of the
298Deity; and persuaded of this, it followed necessarily, as part of
299His eternal justice, that there must be another life for man who
300suffers so unjustly here.  Hence, I argued, the sovereign reason in
301man for aspiring to the possession of that second life; and hence,
302too, a worship founded on the love of God, and of his neighbour, and
303an unceasing impulse to dignify his nature by generous sacrifices.
305repeated, "And what else is Christianity but this constant ambition
306to elevate and dignify our nature?" and I was astonished, when I
307reflected how pure, how philosophical, and how invulnerable the
308essence of Christianity manifested itself, that there could come an
309epoch when philosophy dared to assert, "From this time forth I will
310stand instead of a religion like this."  And in what manner--by
311inculcating vice?  Certainly not.  By teaching virtue?  Why that
312will be to teach us to love God and our neighbour; and that is
313precisely what Christianity has already done, on far higher and
314purer motives.  Yet, notwithstanding such had, for years, been my
315opinion, I had failed to draw the conclusion, Then be a Christian!
316No longer let corruption and abuses, the work of man, deter you; no
317longer make stumbling-blocks of little points of doctrine, since the
318principal point, made thus irresistibly clear, is to love God and
320
321In prison I finally determined to admit this conclusion, and I
322admitted it.  The fear, indeed, of appearing to others more
323religious than I had before been, and to yield more to misfortune
324than to conviction, made me sometimes hesitate; but feeling that I
325had done no wrong, I felt no debasement, and cared nothing to
326encounter the possible reproaches I had not deserved, resolving
327henceforward to declare myself openly a Christian.
328
329
330
331CHAPTER IV.
332
333
334
336consideration of it was begun the first night of my captivity.
337Towards morning the excess of my grief had grown calmer, and I was
338even astonished at the change.  On recalling the idea of my parents
339and others whom I loved, I ceased to despair of their strength of
340mind, and the recollection of those virtues which I knew they had
341long possessed gave me real consolation.  Why had I before felt such
342great dismay on thinking of them, and now so much confidence in
344natural effect of my renewed belief in God?  What avails the
345distinction, while the genuine sublime benefits of religion remain
346the same.
347
348At midnight two secondini (the under jailers are so termed) had paid
349me a visit, and found me in a very ill mood; in the morning they
350returned, and were surprised to see me so calm, and even cheerful.
351
352"Last night, sir, you had the face of a basilisk," said Tirola; "now
353you are quite another thing; I rejoice at it, if, indeed, it be a
354sign, forgive me the expression, that you are not a scoundrel.  Your
355scoundrels (for I am an old hand at the trade, and my observations
356are worth something) are always more enraged the second day after
357their arrest than the first.  Do you want some snuff?"
358
359"I do not take it, but will not refuse your offer.  If I have not a
360gorgon-face this morning, it must surely be a proof of my utter
361insensibility, or easy belief of soon regaining my freedom."
362
363"I should doubt that, even though you were not in durance for state
364matters.  At this time of day they are not so easily got over as you
365might think; you are not so raw as to imagine such a thing.  Pardon
366me, but you will know more by and by."
367
368"Tell me, how come you to have so pleasant a look, living only, as
369you do, among the unfortunate?"
370
371"Why, sir, you will attribute it to indifference to others'
372sufferings; of a truth, I know not how it is; yet, I assure you, it
373often gives me pain to see the prisoners weep.  Truly, I sometimes
374pretend to be merry to bring a smile upon their faces."
375
376"A thought has just struck me, my friend, which I never had before;
377it is, that a jailer may be made of very congenial clay."
378
379"Well, the trade has nothing to do with that, sir.  Beyond that huge
380vault you see there, without the court-yard, is another court, and
381other prisons, all prepared for women.  They are, sir, women of a
382certain class; yet are there some angels among them, as to a good
383heart.  And if you were in my place, sir--"
384
385"I?" and I laughed out heartily.
386
387Tirola was quite disconcerted, and said no more.  Perhaps he meant
388to imply that had I been a secondino, it would have been difficult
389not to become attached to some one or other of these unfortunates.
390
391He now inquired what I wished to take for breakfast, left me, and
392soon returned with my coffee.  I looked hard at him, with a sort of
393malicious smile, as much as to say, "Would you carry me a bit of a
394note to an unhappy friend--to my friend Piero?" {1}  He understood
395it, and answered with another:  "No sir; and if you do not take heed
397
398Whether or not we understood each other, it is certain I was ten
399times upon the point of asking him for a sheet of paper, &c.; but
400there was a something in his eye which seemed to warn me not to
401confide in any one about me, and still less to others than himself.
402
403
404
405CHAPTER V.
406
407
408
409Had Tirola, with his expression of good-nature, possessed a less
410roguish look, had there been something a little more dignified in
411his aspect, I should have tried to make him my ambassador; for
412perhaps a brief communication, if in time, might prevent my friend
413committing some fatal error, perhaps save him, poor fellow; besides
414several others, including myself:  and too much was already known.
415Patience! it was fated to be thus.
416
417I was here recalled to be examined anew.  The process continued
418through the day, and was again and again repeated, allowing me only
419a brief interval during dinner.  While this lasted, the time seemed
420to pass rapidly; the excitement of mind produced by the endless
421series of questions put to me, and by going over them at dinner and
423reflecting on what was likely to come, kept me in a state of
424incessant activity.  At the end of the first week I had to endure a
425most vexatious affair.  My poor friend Piero, eager as myself to
426have some communication, sent me a note, not by one of the jailers,
427but by an unfortunate prisoner who assisted them.  He was an old man
428from sixty to seventy, and condemned to I know not how long a period
429of captivity.  With a pin I had by me I pricked my finger, and
430scrawled with my blood a few lines in reply, which I committed to
431the same messenger.  He was unluckily suspected, caught with the
432note upon him, and from the horrible cries that were soon heard, I
433conjectured that he was severely bastinadoed.  At all events I never
434saw him more.
435
436On my next examination I was greatly irritated to see my note
437presented to me (luckily containing nothing but a simple
438salutation), traced in my blood.  I was asked how I had contrived to
439draw the blood; was next deprived of my pin, and a great laugh was
440raised at the idea and detection of the attempt.  Ah, I did not
441laugh, for the image of the poor old messenger rose before my eyes.
442I would gladly have undergone any punishment to spare the old man.
443I could not repress my tears when those piercing cries fell upon my
444ear.  Vainly did I inquire of the jailers respecting his fate.  They
445shook their heads, observing, "He has paid dearly for it, he will
446never do such like things again; he has a little more rest now."
447Nor would they speak more fully.  Most probably they spoke thus on
448account of his having died under, or in consequence of, the
449punishment he had suffered; yet one day I thought I caught a glimpse
450of him at the further end of the court-yard, carrying a bundle of
451wood on his shoulders.  I felt a beating of the heart as if I had
452suddenly recognised a brother.
453
454
455
456CHAPTER VI.
457
458
459
460When I ceased to be persecuted with examinations, and had no longer
461anything to fill up my time, I felt bitterly the increasing weight
462of solitude.  I had permission to retain a bible, and my Dante; the
463governor also placed his library at my disposal, consisting of some
464romances of Scuderi, Piazzi, and worse books still; but my mind was
465too deeply agitated to apply to any kind of reading whatever.  Every
466day, indeed, I committed a canto of Dante to memory, an exercise so
467merely mechanical, that I thought more of my own affairs than the
468lines during their acquisition.  The same sort of abstraction
469attended my perusal of other things, except, occasionally, a few
470passages of scripture.  I had always felt attached to this divine
471production, even when I had not believed myself one of its avowed
472followers.  I now studied it with far greater respect than before;
473yet my mind was often almost involuntarily bent upon other matters;
474and I knew not what I read.  By degrees I surmounted this
475difficulty, and was able to reflect upon its great truths with
476higher relish than I had ever before done.  This, in me, did not
477give rise to the least tendency to moroseness or superstition,
478nothing being more apt than misdirected devotion to weaken and
479distort the mind.  With the love of God and mankind, it inspired me
480also with a veneration for justice, and an abhorrence of wickedness,
481along with a desire of pardoning the wicked.  Christianity, instead
482of militating against anything good, which I had derived from
483Philosophy, strengthened it by the aid of logical deductions, at
484once more powerful and profound.
485
486Reading one day that it was necessary to pray without ceasing, and
487that prayer did not consist in many words uttered after the manner
488of the Pharisees, but in making every word and action accord with
489the will of God, I determined to commence with earnestness, to pray
490in the spirit with unceasing effort:  in other words, to permit no
491one thought which should not be inspired by a wish to conform my
492whole life to the decrees of God.
493
494The forms I adopted were simple and few; not from contempt of them
495(I think them very salutary, and calculated to excite attention),
496but from the circumstance of my being unable to go through them at
497length, without becoming so far abstracted as to make me forget the
498solemn duty in which I am engaged.  This habitual observance of
499prayer, and the reflection that God is omnipresent as well as
500omnipotent in His power to save, began ere long to deprive solitude
501of its horrors, and I often repeated, "Have I not the best society
502man can have?" and from this period I grew more cheerful, I even
503sang and whistled in the new joy of my heart.  And why lament my
504captivity?  Might not a sudden fever have carried me off? and would
505my friends then have grieved less over my fate than now? and cannot
506God sustain them even as He could under a more trying dispensation?
507And often did I offer up my prayers and fervent hopes that my dear
508parents might feel, as I myself felt, resigned to my lot; but tears
509frequently mingled with sweet recollections of home.  With all this,
510my faith in God remained undisturbed, and I was not disappointed.
511
512
513
514CHAPTER VII.
515
516
517
518To live at liberty is doubtless much better than living in a prison;
519but, even here, the reflection that God is present with us, that
520worldly joys are brief and fleeting, and that true happiness is to
521be sought in the conscience, not in external objects, can give a
522real zest to life.  In less than one month I had made up my mind, I
523will not say perfectly, but in a tolerable degree, as to the part I
524should adopt.  I saw that, being incapable of the mean action of
525obtaining impunity by procuring the destruction of others, the only
526prospect that lay before me was the scaffold, or long protracted
527captivity.  It was necessary that I should prepare myself.  I will
528live, I said to myself, so long as I shall be permitted, and when
529they take my life, I will do as the unfortunate have done before me;
530when arrived at the last moment, I can die.  I endeavoured, as much
531as possible, not to complain, and to obtain every possible enjoyment
532of mind within my reach.  The most customary was that of recalling
533the many advantages which had thrown a charm round my previous life;
534the best of fathers, of mothers, excellent brothers and sisters,
535many friends, a good education, and a taste for letters.  Should I
536now refuse to be grateful to God for all these benefits, because He
538recalling past scenes to mind, I was affected even to tears; but I
539soon recovered my courage and cheerfulness of heart.
540
541At the commencement of my captivity I was fortunate enough to meet
542with a friend.  It was neither the governor, nor any of his under-
543jailers, nor any of the lords of the process-chamber.  Who then?--a
544poor deaf and dumb boy, five or six years old, the offspring of
545thieves, who had paid the penalty of the law.  This wretched little
546orphan was supported by the police, with several other boys in the
547same condition of life.  They all dwelt in a room opposite my own,
548and were only permitted to go out at certain hours to breathe a
549little air in the yard.  Little deaf and dumb used to come under my
550window, smiled, and made his obeisance to me.  I threw him a piece
551of bread; he took it, and gave a leap of joy, then ran to his
552companions, divided it, and returned to eat his own share under the
553window.  The others gave me a wistful look from a distance, but
554ventured no nearer, while the deaf and dumb boy expressed a sympathy
555for me; not, I found, affected, out of mere selfishness.  Sometimes
556he was at a loss what to do with the bread I gave him, and made
557signs that he had eaten enough, as also his companions.  When he saw
558one of the under-jailers going into my room, he would give him what
559he had got from me, in order to restore it to me.  Yet he continued
560to haunt my window, and seemed rejoiced whenever I deigned to notice
561him.  One day the jailer permitted him to enter my prison, when he
562instantly ran to embrace my knees, actually uttering a cry of joy.
563I took him up in my arms, and he threw his little hands about my
564neck, and lavished on me the tenderest caresses.  How much affection
565in his smile and manner! how eagerly I longed to have him to
566educate, raise him from his abject condition, and snatch him,
567perhaps, from utter ruin.  I never even learnt his name; he did not
568himself know that he had one.  He seemed always happy, and I never
569saw him weep except once, and that was on being beaten, I know not
570why, by the jailer.  Strange that he should be thus happy in a
571receptacle of so much pain and sorrow; yet he was light-hearted as
572the son of a grandee.  From him I learnt, at least, that the mind
573need not depend on situation, but may be rendered independent of
574external things.  Govern the imagination, and we shall be well,
575wheresoever we happen to be placed.  A day is soon over, and if at
576night we can retire to rest without actual pain and hunger, it
577little matters whether it be within the walls of a prison, or of a
578kind of building which they call a palace.  Good reasoning this; but
579how are we to contrive so to govern the imagination?  I began to
580try, and sometimes I thought I had succeeded to a miracle; but at
581others the enchantress triumphed, and I was unexpectedly astonished
582to find tears starting into my eyes.
583
584
585
586CHAPTER VIII.
587
588
589
590I am so far fortunate, I often said, that they have given me a
591dungeon on the ground floor, near the court, where that dear boy
592comes within a few steps of me, to converse in our own mute
593language.  We made immense progress in it; we expressed a thousand
594various feelings I had no idea we could do, by the natural
595expressions of the eye, the gesture, and the whole countenance.
596Wonderful human intelligence!  How graceful were his motions! how
597beautiful his smile! how quickly he corrected whatever expression I
598saw of his that seemed to displease me!  How well he understands I
599love him, when he plays with any of his companions!  Standing only
600at my window to observe him, it seemed as if I possessed a kind of
601influence over his mind, favourable to his education.  By dint of
602repeating the mutual exercise of signs, we should be enabled to
603perfect the communication of our ideas.  The more instruction he
604gets, the more gentle and kind he becomes, the more he will be
605attached to me.  To him I shall be the genius of reason and of good;
606he will learn to confide his sorrows to me, his pleasures, all he
607feels and wishes; I will console, elevate, and direct him in his
608whole conduct.  It may be that this my lot may be protracted from
609month to month, even till I grow grey in my captivity.  Perhaps this
610little child may continue to grow under my eye, and become one in
611the service of this large family of pain, and grief, and calamity.
612With such a disposition as he has already shown, what would become
613of him?  Alas; he would at most be made only a good under-keeper, or
614fill some similar place.  Yet I shall surely have conferred on him
615some benefit if I can succeed in giving him a desire to do kind
616offices to the good and to himself, and to nourish sentiments of
617habitual benevolence.  This soliloquy was very natural in my
618situation; I was always fond of children, and the office of an
619instructor appeared to me a sublime duty.  For a few years I had
620acted in that capacity with Giacomo and Giulio Porro, two young men
621of noble promise, whom I loved, and shall continue to love as if
622they were my own sons.  Often while in prison were my thoughts
623busied with them; and how it grieved me not to be enabled to
624complete their education.  I sincerely prayed that they might meet
625with a new master, who would be as much attached to them as I had
626been.
627
628At times I could not help exclaiming to myself, What a strange
629burlesque is all this! instead of two noble youths, rich in all that
630nature and fortune can endow them with, here I have a pupil, poor
631little fellow! deaf, dumb, a castaway; the son of a robber, who at
632most can aspire only to the rank of an under-jailer, and which, in a
633little less softened phraseology, would mean to say a sbirro. {2}
634This reflection confused and disquieted me; yet hardly did I hear
635the strillo {3} of my little dummy than I felt my heart grow warm
636again, just as a father when he hears the voice of a son.  I lost
637all anxiety about his mean estate.  It is no fault of his if he be
638lopped of Nature's fairest proportions, and was born the son of a
639robber.  A humane, generous heart, in an age of innocence, is always
640respectable.  I looked on him, therefore, from day to day with
641increased affection, and was more than ever desirous of cultivating
642his good qualities, and his growing intelligence.  Nay, perhaps we
643might both live to get out of prison, when I would establish him in
644the college for the deaf and dumb, and thus open for him a path more
645fortunate and pleasing than to play the part of a shirro.  Whilst
646thus pleasingly engaged in meditating his future welfare, two of the
647under-jailers one day walked into my cell.
648
649"You must change your quarters, sir!"
650
651"What mean you by that?"
652
653"We have orders to remove you into another chamber."
654
655"Why so?"
656
657"Some other great bird has been caged, and this being the better
658apartment--you understand."
659
660"Oh, yes! it is the first resting-place for the newly arrived."
661
662They conveyed me to the opposite side of the court, where I could no
663longer converse with my little deaf and dumb friend, and was far
664removed from the ground floor.  In walking across, I beheld the poor
665boy sitting on the ground, overcome with grief and astonishment, for
666he knew he had lost me.  Ere I quite disappeared, he ran towards me;
667my conductors tried to drive him away, but he reached me, and I
668caught him in my arms, and returned his caresses with expressions of
669tenderness I sought not to conceal.  I tore myself from him, and
670entered my new abode.
671
672
673
674CHAPTER IX.
675
676
677
678It was a dark and gloomy place; instead of glass it had pasteboard
679for the windows; the walls were rendered more repulsive by being
680hung with some wretched attempts at painting, and when free from
681this lugubrious colour, were covered with inscriptions.  These last
682gave the name and country of many an unhappy inmate, with the date
683of the fatal day of their captivity.  Some consisted of lamentations
684on the perfidy of false friends, denouncing their own folly, or
685women, or the judge who condemned them.  Among a few were brief
686sketches of the victims' lives; still fewer embraced moral maxims.
687I found the following words of Pascal:  "Let those who attack
688religion learn first what religion is.  Could it boast of commanding
689a direct view of the Deity, without veil or mystery, it would be to
690attack that religion to say, 'that there is nothing seen in the
691world which displays Him with such clear evidence.'  But since it
692rather asserts that man is involved in darkness, far from God, who
693is hidden from human knowledge, insomuch as to give Himself the name
694in scripture of 'Deus absconditus,' what advantage can the enemies
695of religion derive when, neglecting, as they profess to do, the
696science of truth, they complain that the truth is not made apparent
697to them?"  Lower down was written (the words of the same author),
698"It is not here a question of some trivial interest relating to a
699stranger; it applies to ourselves, and to all we possess.  The
700immortality of the soul is a question of that deep and momentous
701importance to all, as to imply an utter loss of reason to rest
702totally indifferent as to the truth or the fallacy of the
703proposition."  Another inscription was to this effect:  "I bless the
704hour of my imprisonment; it has taught me to know the ingratitude of
705man, my own frailty, and the goodness of God."  Close to these words
706again appeared the proud and desperate imprecations of one who
707signed himself an Atheist, and who launched his impieties against
708the Deity, as if he had forgotten that he had just before said there
709was no God.  Then followed another column, reviling the cowardly
710fools, as they were termed, whom captivity had converted into
711fanatics.  I one day pointed out these strange impieties to one of
712the jailers, and inquired who had written them?  "I am glad I have
713found this," was the reply, "there are so many of them, and I have
714so little time to look for them;" and he took his knife, and began
715to erase it as fast as he could.
716
717"Why do you do that?" I inquired of him.
718
719"Because the poor devil who wrote it was condemned to death for a
720cold-blooded murder; he repented, and made us promise to do him this
721kindness."
722
723"Heaven pardon him!" I exclaimed; "what was it he did?"
724
725"Why, as he found he could not kill his enemy, he revenged himself
726by slaying the man's son, one of the finest boys you ever saw."
727
728I was horror-struck.  Could ferocity of disposition proceed to such
729lengths? and could a monster, capable of such a deed, hold the
730insulting language of a man superior to all human weaknesses? to
731murder the innocent, and a child!
732
733
734
735CHAPTER X.
736
737
738
739In my new prison, black and filthy to an extreme, I sadly missed the
740society of my little dumb friend.  I stood for hours in anxious,
741weary mood, at the window which looked over a gallery, on the other
742side of which could be seen the extremity of the court-yard, and the
743window of my former cell.  Who had succeeded me there?  I could
744discern his figure, as he paced quickly to and fro, apparently in
745violent agitation.  Two or three days subsequently, I perceived that
746he had got writing materials, and remained busied at his little
747table the whole of the day.  At length I recognised him.  He came
748forth accompanied by his jailer; he was going to be examined, when I
749saw he was no other than Melchiorre Gioja. {4}  It went to my heart:
750"You, too, noble, excellent man, have not escaped!"  Yet he was more
751fortunate than I.  After a few months' captivity, he regained his
752liberty.  To behold any really estimable being always does me good;
753it affords me pleasant matter for reflection, and for esteem--both
754of great advantage.  I could have laid down my life to save such a
755man from captivity; yet merely to see him was some consolation to
756me.  After regarding him intently, some time, to ascertain if he
757were tranquil or agitated, I offered up a heart-felt prayer for his
758deliverance; I felt my spirits revived, a greater flow of ideas, and
759greater satisfaction with myself.  Such an incident as this has a
760charm for utter solitude, of which you can form no idea without
761experiencing it.  A poor dumb boy had before supplied me with this
762real enjoyment, and I now derived it from a distant view of a man of
763distinguished merit.
764
765Perhaps some one of the jailers had informed him where I was.  One
766morning, on opening his window, he waved his handkerchief in token
767of salutation, and I replied in the same manner.  I need not
768describe the pleasure I felt; it appeared as if we were no longer
769separated; and we discoursed in the silent intercourse of the
770spirit, which, when every other medium is cut off, in the least
771look, gesture, or signal of any kind, can make itself comprehended
772and felt.
773
774It was with no small pleasure I anticipated a continuation of this
775friendly communication.  Day after day, however, went on, and I was
776never more gratified by the appearance of the same favourite
777signals.  Yet I frequently saw my friend at his window; I waved my
778handkerchief, but in vain; he answered it no more.  I was now
779informed by our jailers, that Gioja had been strictly prohibited
780from exciting my notice, or replying to it in any manner.
781Notwithstanding, he still continued to look at me, and I at him, and
782in this way, we conversed upon a great variety of subjects, which
783helped to keep us alive.
784
785
786
787CHAPTER XI.
788
789
790
791Along the same gallery, upon a level with my prison, I saw other
792prisoners passing and repassing the whole day to the place of
793examination.  They were, for the chief part, of lowly condition, but
794occasionally one or two of better rank.  All, however, attracted my
795attention, brief as was the sight of them, and I truly
796compassionated them.  So sorrowful a spectacle for some time filled
797me with grief, but by degrees I became habituated to it, and at last
798it rather relieved than added to the horror of my solitude.  A
799number of women, also, who had been arrested, passed by.  There was
800a way from the gallery, through a large vault, leading to another
801court, and in that part were placed the female prisoners, and others
802labouring under disease.  A single wall, and very slight, separated
803my dwelling from that of some of the women.  Sometimes I was almost
804deafened with their songs, at others with their bursts of maddened
805mirth.  Late at evening, when the din of day had ceased, I could
806hear them conversing, and, had I wished, I could easily have joined
807with them.  Was it timidity, pride, or prudence which restrained me
808from all communication with the unfortunate and degraded of their
809sex?  Perhaps it partook of all.  Woman, when she is what she ought
810to be, is for me a creature so admirable, so sublime, the mere
811seeing, hearing, and speaking to her, enriches my mind with such
812noble fantasies; but rendered vile and despicable, she disturbs, she
813afflicts, she deprives my heart, as it were, of all its poetry and
814its love.  Spite of this, there were among those feminine voices,
815some so very sweet that, there is no use in denying it, they were
816dear to me.  One in particular surpassed the rest; I heard it more
817seldom, and it uttered nothing unworthy of its fascinating tone.
818She sung little and mostly kept repeating these two pathetic lines:-
819
820
821Chi rende alla meschina
822La sua felicita?
823
824Ah, who will give the lost one
825Her vanished dream of bliss?
826
827
828At other times, she would sing from the litany.  Her companions
829joined with her; but still I could discern the voice of Maddalene
830from all others, which seemed only to unite for the purpose of
831robbing me of it.  Sometimes, too, when her companions were
832recounting to her their various misfortunes, I could hear her
833pitying them; could catch even her very sighs, while she invariably
834strove to console them:  "Courage, courage, my poor dear," she one
835day said, "God is very good, and He will not abandon us."
836
837How could I do otherwise than imagine she was beautiful, more
838unfortunate than guilty, naturally virtuous, and capable of
839reformation?  Who would blame me because I was affected with what
840she said, listened to her with respect, and offered up my prayers
841for her with more than usual earnestness of heart.  Innocence is
842sacred, and repentance ought to be equally respected.  Did the most
843perfect of men, the Divinity on earth, refuse to cast a pitying eye
844on weak, sinful women; to respect their fear and confusion, and rank
845them among the minds he delighted to consort with and to honour?  By
846what law, then, do we act, when we treat with so much contempt women
847fallen into ignominy?
848
849While thus reasoning, I was frequently tempted to raise my voice and
850speak, as a brother in misfortune, to poor Maddalene.  I had often
851even got out the first syllable; and how strange!  I felt my heart
852beat like an enamoured youth of fifteen; I who had reached thirty-
853one; and it seemed as if I should never be able to pronounce the
855enough, thought I.
856
857
858
859CHAPTER XII.
860
861
862
863Thus ended my romance with that poor unhappy one; yet it did not
864fail to produce me many sweet sensations during several weeks.
865Often, when steeped in melancholy, would her sweet calm voice
866breathe consolation to my spirit; when, dwelling on the meanness and
867ingratitude of mankind, I became irritated, and hated the world, the
868voice of Maddalene gently led me back to feelings of compassion and
869indulgence.
870
871How I wish, poor, unknown, kind-hearted repentant one, that no heavy
872punishment may befall thee.  And whatever thou shalt suffer, may it
873well avail thee, re-dignify thy nature, and teach thee to live and
874die to thy Saviour and thy Lord.  Mayest thou meet compassion and
875respect from all around thee, as thou didst from me a stranger to
876thee.  Mayest thou teach all who see thee thy gentle lesson of
877patience, sweetness, the love of virtue, and faith in God, with
878which thou didst inspire him who loved without having beheld thee.
879Perhaps I erred in thinking thee beautiful, but, sure I am, thou
880didst wear the beauty of the soul.  Thy conversation, though spoken
881amidst grossness and corruption of every kind, was ever chaste and
882graceful; whilst others imprecated, thou didst bless; when eager in
883contention, thy sweet voice still pacified, like oil upon the
884troubled waters.  If any noble mind hath read thy worth, and
885snatched thee from an evil career; hath assisted thee with delicacy,
886and wiped the tears from thy eyes, may every reward heaven can give
887be his portion, that of his children, and of his children's
888children!
889
890Next to mine was another prison occupied by several men.  I also
891heard THEIR conversation.  One seemed of superior authority, not so
892much probably from any difference of rank, as owing to greater
893eloquence and boldness.  He played, what may musically be termed,
894the first fiddle.  He stormed himself, yet put to silence those who
895presumed to quarrel by his imperious voice.  He dictated the tone of
896the society, and after some feeble efforts to throw off his
897authority they submitted, and gave the reins into his hands.
898
899There was not a single one of those unhappy men who had a touch of
900that in him to soften the harshness of prison hours, to express one
901kindly sentiment, one emanation of religion, or of love.  The chief
902of these neighbours of mine saluted me, and I replied.  He asked me
903how I contrived to pass such a cursed dull life?  I answered, that
904it was melancholy, to be sure; but no life was a cursed one to me,
905and that to our last hour, it was best to do all to procure oneself
906the pleasure of thinking and of loving.
907
908"Explain, sir, explain what you mean!"
909
910I explained, but was not understood.  After many ingenious attempts,
911I determined to clear it up in the form of example, and had the
912courage to bring forward the extremely singular and moving effect
913produced upon me by the voice of Maddalene; when the magisterial
914head of the prison burst into a violent fit of laughter.  "What is
915all that, what is that?" cried his companions.  He then repeated my
916words with an air of burlesque; peals of laughter followed, and I
917there stood, in their eyes, the picture of a convicted blockhead.
918
919As it is in prison, so it is in the world.  Those who make it their
920wisdom to go into passions, to complain, to defy, to abuse, think
921that to pity, to love, to console yourself with gentle and beautiful
922thoughts and images, in accord with humanity and its great Author,
923is all mere folly.
924
925
926
927CHAPTER XIII.
928
929
930
931I let them laugh and said not a word; they hit at me again two or
932three times, but I was mute.  "He will come no more near the
933window," said one, "he will hear nothing but the sighs of Maddalene;
934we have offended him with laughing."  At length, the chief imposed
935silence upon the whole party, all amusing themselves at my expense.
936"Silence, beasts as you are; devil a bit you know what you are
937talking about.  Our neighbour is none so long eared an animal as you
938imagine.  You do not possess the power of reflection, no not you.  I
939grin and joke; but afterwards I reflect.  Every low-born clown can
940stamp and roar, as we do here.  Grant a little more real
941cheerfulness, a spark more of charity, a bit more faith in the
942blessing of heaven;--what do you imagine that all this would be a
943sign of?"  "Now, that I also reflect," replied one, "I fancy it
944would be a sign of being a little less of a brute."
945
946"Bravo!" cried his leader, in a most stentorian howl! "now I begin
947to have some hope of you."
948
949I was not overproud at being thus rated a LITTLE LESS OF A BRUTE
950than the rest; yet I felt a sort of pleasure that these wretched men
951had come to some agreement as to the importance of cultivating, in
952some degree, more benevolent sentiments.
953
954I again approached the window, the chief called me, and I answered,
955hoping that I might now moralise with him in my own way.  I was
956deceived; vulgar minds dislike serious reasoning; if some noble
957truth start up, they applaud for a moment, but the next withdraw
958their notice, or scruple not to attempt to shine by questioning, or
959aiming to place it in some ludicrous point of view.
960
961I was next asked if I were imprisoned for debt?
962
963"Perhaps you are paying the penalty of a false oath, then?"
964
965"No, it is quite a different thing."
966
967"An affair of love, most likely, I guess?"
968
969"No."
970
971"You have killed a man, mayhap?"
972
973"No."
974
975"It's for carbonarism, then?"
976
977"Exactly so."
978
979"And who are these carbonari?"
980
981"I know so little of them, I cannot tell you."
982
983Here a jailer interrupted us in great anger; and after commenting on
984the gross improprieties committed by my neighbours, he turned
985towards me, not with the gravity of a sbirro, but the air of a
986master:  "For shame, sir, for shame! to think of talking to men of
987this stamp! do you know, sir, that they are all robbers?"
988
989I reddened up, and then more deeply for having shown I blushed, and
990methought that to deign to converse with the unhappy of however
991lowly rank, was rather a mark of goodness than a fault.
992
993
994
995CHAPTER XIV.
996
997
998
999Next morning I went to my window to look for Melchiorre Gioja; but
1000conversed no more with the robbers.  I replied to their salutation,
1002secretary who had presided at my examinations, told me with an air
1003of mystery, I was about to receive a visit.  After a little further
1004preparation, he acquainted me that it was my father; and so saying,
1005bade me follow him.  I did so, in a state of great agitation,
1006assuming at the same time an appearance of perfect calmness in order
1007not to distress my unhappy parent.  Upon first hearing of my arrest,
1008he had been led to suppose it was for some trifling affair, and that
1009I should soon be set at liberty.  Finding his mistake, however, he
1010had now come to solicit the Austrian government on my account.
1011Here, too, he deluded himself, for he never imagined I could have
1012been rash enough to expose myself to the penalty of the laws, and
1013the cheerful tone in which I now spoke persuaded him that there was
1014nothing very serious in the business.
1015
1016The few words that were permitted to pass between us gave me
1017indescribable pain; the more so from the restraint I had placed upon
1018my feelings.  It was yet more difficult at the moment of parting.
1019In the existing state of things, as regarded Italy, I felt convinced
1020that Austria would make some fearful examples, and that I should be
1021condemned either to death or long protracted imprisonment.  It was
1022my object to conceal this from my father and to flatter his hopes at
1023a moment when I was inquiring for a mother, brother, and sisters,
1024whom I never expected to behold more.  Though I knew it to be
1025impossible, I even calmly requested of him that he would come and
1026see me again, while my heart was wrung with the bitter conflict of
1027my feelings.  He took his leave, filled with the same agreeable
1028delusion, and I painfully retraced my steps back into my dungeon.  I
1029thought that solitude would now be a relief to me; that to weep
1030would somewhat ease my burdened heart? yet, strange to say, I could
1031not shed a tear.  The extreme wretchedness of feeling this inability
1032even to shed tears excites, under some of the heaviest calamities,
1033is the severest trial of all, and I have often experienced it.
1034
1035An acute fever, attended by severe pains in my head, followed this
1036interview.  I could not take any nourishment; and I often said, how
1037happy it would be for me, were it indeed to prove mortal.  Foolish
1038and cowardly wish! heaven refused to hear my prayer, and I now feel
1039grateful that it did.  Though a stern teacher, adversity fortifies
1040the mind, and renders man what he seems to have been intended for;
1041at least, a good man, a being capable of struggling with difficulty
1042and danger; presenting an object not unworthy, even in the eyes of
1043the old Romans, of the approbation of the gods.
1044
1045
1046
1047CHAPTER XV.
1048
1049
1050
1051Two days afterwards I again saw my father.  I had rested well the
1052previous night, and was free from fever; before him I preserved the
1053same calm and even cheerful deportment, so that no one could have
1054suspected I had recently suffered, and still continued to suffer so
1055much.  "I am in hopes," observed my father, "that within a very few
1056days we shall see you at Turin.  Your mother has got your old room
1057in readiness, and we are all expecting you to come.  Pressing
1058affairs now call me away, but lose no time, I entreat you, in
1060expressions added to my grief.  Compassion and filial piety, not
1061unmingled with a species of remorse, induced me to feign assent; yet
1062afterwards I reflected how much more worthy it had been, both of my
1063father and myself, to have frankly told him that most probably, we
1064should never see each other again, at least in this world.  Let us
1065take farewell like men, without a murmur and without a tear, and let
1066me receive the benediction of a father before I die.  As regarded
1067myself, I should wish to have adopted language like that; but when I
1068gazed on his aged and venerable features, and his grey hairs,
1069something seemed to whisper me, that it would be too much for the
1070affectionate old man to bear; and the words died in my heart.  Good
1071God! I thought, should he know the extent of the EVIL, he might,
1072perhaps, run distracted, such is his extreme attachment to me:  he
1073might fall at my feet, or even expire before my eyes.  No!  I could
1074not tell him the truth, nor so much as prepare him for it; we shed
1075not a tear, and he took his departure in the same pleasing delusion
1076as before.  On returning into my dungeon I was seized in the same
1077manner, and with still more aggravated suffering, as I had been
1078after the last interview; and, as then, my anguish found no relief
1079from tears.
1080
1081I had nothing now to do but resign myself to all the horrors of long
1082captivity, and to the sentence of death.  But to prepare myself to
1083bear the idea of the immense load of grief that must fall on every
1084dear member of my family, on learning my lot, was beyond my power.
1085It haunted me like a spirit, and to fly from it I threw myself on my
1086knees, and in a passion of devotion uttered aloud the following
1087prayer:- "My God! from thy hand I will accept all--for me all:  but
1088deign most wonderfully to strengthen the hearts of those to whom I
1089was so very dear!  Grant thou that I may cease to be such to them
1090now; and that not the life of the least of them may be shortened by
1091their care for me, even by a single day!"
1092
1093Strange! wonderful power of prayer! for several hours my mind was
1094raised to a contemplation of the Deity, and my confidence in His
1095goodness proportionately increased; I meditated also on the dignity
1096of the human mind when, freed from selfishness, it exerts itself to
1097will only that which is the will of eternal wisdom.  This can be
1098done, and it is man's duty to do it.  Reason, which is the voice of
1099the Deity, teaches us that it is right to submit to every sacrifice
1100for the sake of virtue.  And how could the sacrifice which we owe to
1101virtue be completed, if in the most trying afflictions we struggle
1102against the will of Him who is the source of all virtue?  When death
1103on the scaffold, or any other species of martyrdom becomes
1104inevitable, it is a proof of wretched degradation, or ignorance, not
1105to be able to approach it with blessing upon our lips.  Nor is it
1106only necessary we should submit to death, but to the affliction
1107which we know those most dear to us must suffer on our account.  All
1108it is lawful for us to ask is, that God will temper such affliction,
1109and that he will direct us all, for such a prayer is always sure to
1110be accepted.
1111
1112
1113
1114CHAPTER XVI.
1115
1116
1117
1118For a period of some days I continued in the same state of mind; a
1119sort of calm sorrow, full of peace, affection, and religious
1120thoughts.  I seemed to have overcome every weakness, and as if I
1121were no longer capable of suffering new anxiety.  Fond delusion! it
1122is man's duty to aim at reaching as near to perfection as possible,
1123though he can never attain it here.  What now disturbed me was the
1124sight of an unhappy friend, my good Piero, who passed along the
1125gallery within a few yards of me, while I stood at my window.  They
1126were removing him from his cell into the prison destined for
1127criminals.  He was hurried by so swiftly that I had barely time to
1128recognise him, and to receive and return his salutation.
1129
1130Poor young man! in the flower of his age, with a genius of high
1131promise, of frank, upright, and most affectionate disposition, born
1132with a keen zest of the pleasures of existence, to be at once
1133precipitated into a dungeon, without the remotest hope of escaping
1134the severest penalty of the laws.  So great was my compassion for
1135him, and my regret at being unable to afford him the slightest
1136consolation, that it was long before I could recover my composure of
1137mind.  I knew how tenderly he was attached to every member of his
1138numerous family, how deeply interested in promoting their happiness,
1139and how devotedly his affection was returned.  I was sensible what
1140must be the affliction of each and all under so heavy a calamity.
1141Strange, that though I had just reconciled myself to the idea in my
1142own case, a sort of phrensy seized my mind when I depicted the
1143scene; and it continued so long that I began to despair of mastering
1144it.
1145
1146Dreadful as this was, it was still but an illusion.  Ye afflicted
1147ones, who believe yourselves victims of some irresistible, heart-
1148rending, and increasing grief, suffer a little while with patience,
1149and you will be undeceived.  Neither perfect peace, nor utter
1150wretchedness can be of long continuance here below.  Recollect this
1151truth, that you may not become unduly elevated in prosperity, and
1152despicable under the trials which assuredly await you.  A sense of
1153weariness and apathy succeeded the terrible excitement I had
1154undergone.  But indifference itself is transitory, and I had some
1155fear lest I should continue to suffer without relief under these
1156wretched extremes of feeling.  Terrified at the prospect of such a
1157future, I had recourse once more to the only Being from whom I could
1158hope to receive strength to bear it, and devoutly bent down in
1159prayer.  I beseeched the Father of mercies to befriend my poor
1160deserted Piero, even as myself, and to support his family no less
1161than my own.  By constant repetition of prayers like these, I became
1162perfectly calm and resigned.
1163
1164
1165
1166CHAPTER XVII.
1167
1168
1169
1170It was then I reflected upon my previous violence; I was angry at my
1171own weakness and folly, and sought means of remedying them.  I had
1172recourse to the following expedient.  Every morning, after I had
1173finished my devotions, I set myself diligently to work to recall to
1174mind every possible occurrence of a trying and painful kind, such as
1175a final parting from my dearest friends and the approach of the
1176executioner.  I did this not only in order to inure my nerves to
1177bear sudden or dreadful incidents, too surely my future portion, but
1178that I might not again be taken unawares.  At first this melancholy
1179task was insupportable, but I persevered; and in a short time became
1180reconciled to it.
1181
1182In the spring of 1821 Count Luigi Porro {5} obtained permission to
1183see me.  Our warm friendship, the eagerness to communicate our
1184mutual feelings, and the restraint imposed by the presence of an
1185imperial secretary, with the brief time allowed us, the
1186presentiments I indulged, and our efforts to appear calm, all led me
1187to expect that I should be thrown into a state of fearful
1188excitement, worse than I had yet suffered.  It was not so; after
1189taking his leave I remained calm; such to me proved the signal
1190efficacy of guarding against the assault of sudden and violent
1191emotions.  The task I set myself to acquire, constant calmness of
1192mind, arose less from a desire to relieve my unhappiness than from a
1193persuasion how undignified, unworthy, and injurious, was a temper
1194opposite to this, I mean a continued state of excitement and
1195anxiety.  An excited mind ceases to reason; carried away by a
1196resistless torrent of wild ideas, it forms for itself a sort of mad
1197logic, full of anger and malignity; it is in a state at once as
1198absolutely unphilosophical as it is unchristian.
1199
1200If I were a divine I should often insist upon the necessity of
1201correcting irritability and inquietude of character; none can be
1202truly good without that be effected.  How nobly pacific, both with
1203regard to himself and others, was He whom we are all bound to
1204imitate.  There is no elevation of mind, no justice without
1205moderation in principles and ideas, without a pervading spirit which
1206inclines us rather to smile at, than fall into a passion with, the
1207events of this little life.  Anger is never productive of any good,
1208except in the extremely rare case of being employed to humble the
1209wicked, and to terrify them from pursuing the path of crime, even as
1210the usurers were driven by an angry Saviour, from polluting his holy
1211Temple.  Violence and excitement, perhaps, differing altogether from
1212what I felt, are no less blamable.  Mine was the mania of despair
1213and affliction:  I felt a disposition, while suffering under its
1214horrors, to hate and to curse mankind.  Several individuals, in
1215particular, appeared to my imagination depicted in the most
1216revolting colours.  It is a sort of moral epidemic, I believe,
1217springing from vanity and selfishness; for when a man despises and
1218detests his fellow-creatures, he necessarily assumes that he is much
1219better than the rest of the world.  The doctrine of such men amounts
1220to this:- "Let us admire only one another, if we turn the rest of
1221mankind into a mere mob, we shall appear like demi-gods on earth."
1222It is a curious fact that living in a state of hostility and rage
1223actually affords pleasure; it seems as if people thought there was a
1224species of heroism in it.  If, unfortunately, the object of our
1225wrath happens to die, we lose no time in finding some one to fill
1226the vacant place.  Whom shall I attack next, whom shall I hate?  Ah!
1227is that the villain I was looking out for?  What a prize!  Now my
1228friends, at him, give him no quarter.  Such is the world, and,
1229without uttering a libel, I may add that it is not what it ought to
1230be.
1231
1232
1233
1234CHAPTER XVIII.
1235
1236
1237
1238It showed no great malignity, however, to complain of the horrible
1239place in which they had incarcerated me, but fortunately another
1240room became vacant, and I was agreeably surprised on being informed
1241that I was to have it.  Yet strangely enough, I reflected with
1243of feeling rejoiced, I mourned over it with almost childish feeling.
1244I had always attached myself to some object, even from motives
1245comparatively slight.  On leaving my horrible abode, I cast back a
1246glance at the heavy wall against which I had so often supported
1247myself, while listening as closely as possible to the gentle voice
1248of the repentant girl.  I felt a desire to hear, if only for the
1249last time, those two pathetic lines, -
1250
1251
1252Chi rende alla meschina
1253La sua felicita?
1254
1255
1256Vain hope! here was another separation in the short period of my
1257unfortunate life.  But I will not go into any further details, lest
1258the world should laugh at me, though it would be hypocrisy in me to
1259affect to conceal that, for several days after, I felt melancholy at
1260this imaginary parting.
1261
1262While going out of my dungeon I also made a farewell signal to two
1263of the robbers, who had been my neighbours, and who were then
1264standing at their window.  Their chief also got notice of my
1265departure, ran to the window, and repeatedly saluted me.  He began
1266likewise to sing the little air, Chi rende alla meschina; and was
1267this, thought I, merely to ridicule me?  No doubt that forty out of
1268fifty would say decidedly, "It was!"  In spite, however, of being
1269outvoted, I incline to the opinion that the GOOD ROBBER meant it
1270kindly; and, as such I received it, and gave him a look of thanks.
1271He saw it, and thrust his arm through the bars, and waved his cap,
1272nodding kindly to me as I turned to go down the stairs.
1273
1274Upon reaching the yard below, I was further consoled by a sight of
1275the little deaf and dumb boy.  He saw me, and instantly ran towards
1276me with a look of unfeigned delight.  The wife of the jailer,
1277however, Heaven knows why, caught hold of the little fellow, and
1278rudely thrusting him back, drove him into the house.  I was really
1279vexed; and yet the resolute little efforts he made even then to
1280reach me, gave me indescribable pleasure at the moment, so pleasing
1281it is to find that one is really loved.  This was a day full of
1282great adventures for ME; a few steps further I passed the window of
1283my old prison, now the abode of Gioja:  "How are you, Melchiorre?" I
1284exclaimed as I went by.  He raised his head, and getting as near me
1285as it was POSSIBLE, cried out, "How do you do, Silvio?"  They would
1286not let me stop a single moment; I passed through the great gate,
1287ascended a flight of stairs, which brought us to a large, well-swept
1288room, exactly over that occupied by Gioja.  My bed was brought after
1289me, and I was then left to myself by my conductors.  My first object
1290was to examine the walls; I met with several inscriptions, some
1291written with charcoal, others in pencil, and a few incised with some
1292sharp point.  I remember there were some very pleasing verses in
1293French, and I am sorry I forgot to commit them to mind.  They were
1294signed "The duke of Normandy."  I tried to sing them, adapting to
1295them, as well as I could, the favourite air of my poor Maddalene.
1296What was my surprise to hear a voice, close to me, reply in the same
1297words, sung to another air.  When he had finished, I cried out,
1298"Bravo!" and he saluted me with great respect, inquiring if I were a
1299Frenchman.
1300
1301"No; an Italian, and my name is Silvio Pellico."
1302
1303"The author of Francesca da Rimini?" {6}
1304
1305"The same."
1306
1307Here he made me a fine compliment, following it with the condolences
1308usual on such occasions, upon hearing I had been committed to
1309prison.  He then inquired of what part of Italy I was a native.
1310"Piedmont," was the reply; "I am from Saluzzo."  Here I was treated
1311to another compliment, on the character and genius of the
1312Piedmontese, in particular, the celebrated men of Saluzzo, at the
1313head of whom he ranked Bodoni. {7}  All this was said in an easy
1314refined tone, which showed the man of the world, and one who had
1316
1317"Now, may I be permitted," said I, "to inquire who you are, sir?"
1318
1319"I heard you singing one of my little songs," was the reply.
1320
1321"What! the two beautiful stanzas upon the wall are yours!"
1322
1323"They are, sir."
1324
1325"You are, therefore,--"
1326
1327"The unfortunate duke of Normandy."
1328
1329
1330
1331CHAPTER XIX.
1332
1333
1334
1335The jailer at that moment passed under our windows, and ordered us
1336to be silent.
1337
1338What can he mean by the unfortunate duke of Normandy? thought I,
1339musing to myself.  Ah! is not that the title said to be assumed by
1340the son of Louis XVI.? but that unhappy child is indisputably no
1341more.  Then my neighbour must be one of those unlucky adventurers
1342who have undertaken to bring him to life again.  Not a few had
1343already taken upon themselves to personate this Louis XVII., and
1344were proved to be impostors; how is my new acquaintance entitled to
1345greater credit for his pains?
1346
1347Although I tried to give him the advantage of a doubt, I felt an
1348insurmountable incredulity upon the subject, which was not
1349subsequently removed.  At the same time, I determined not to mortify
1350the unhappy man, whatever sort of absurdity he might please to
1351hazard before my face.
1352
1353A few minutes afterwards he began again to sing, and we soon renewed
1355name?" he replied, "I am no other than Louis XVII."  And he then
1356launched into very severe invectives against his uncle, Louis
1357XVIII., the usurper of his just and natural rights.
1358
1359"But why," said I, "did you not prefer your claims at the period of
1360the restoration?"
1361
1362"I was unable, from extreme illness, to quit the city of Bologna.
1363The moment I was better I hastened to Paris; I presented myself to
1364the allied monarchs, but the work was done.  The good Prince of
1365Conde knew, and received me with open arms, but his friendship
1366availed me not.  One evening, passing through a lonely street, I was
1367suddenly attacked by assassins, and escaped with difficulty.  After
1368wandering through Normandy, I returned into Italy, and stopped some
1369time at Modena.  Thence I wrote to the allied powers, in particular
1370to the Emperor Alexander, who replied to my letter with expressions
1371of the greatest kindness.  I did not then despair of obtaining
1372justice, or, at all events, if my rights were to be sacrificed, of
1373being allowed a decent provision, becoming a prince.  But I was
1374arrested, and handed over to the Austrian government.  During eight
1375months I have been here buried alive, and God knows when I shall
1376regain my freedom."
1377
1378I begged him to give me a brief sketch of his life.  He told me very
1379minutely what I already knew relating to Louis XVII. and the cruel
1380Simon, and of the infamous calumnies that wretch was induced to
1381utter respecting the unfortunate queen, &c.  Finally he said, that
1382while in prison, some persons came with an idiot boy of the name of
1383Mathurin, who was substituted for him, while he himself was carried
1384off.  A coach and four was in readiness; one of the horses was
1385merely a wooden-machine, in the interior of which he was concealed.
1386Fortunately, they reached the confines, and the General (he gave me
1387the name, which has escaped me) who effected his release, educated
1388him for some time with the attention of a father, and subsequently
1389sent, or accompanied him, to America.  There the young king, without
1390a sceptre, had room to indulge his wandering disposition; he was
1391half famished in the forests; became at length a soldier, and
1392resided some time, in good credit, at the court of the Brazils.
1393There, too, he was pursued and persecuted, till compelled to make
1394his escape.  He returned to Europe towards the close of Napoleon's
1395career, was kept a close prisoner at Naples by Murat; and, at last,
1396when he was liberated, and in full preparation to reclaim the throne
1397of France, he was seized with that unlucky illness at Bologna,
1398during which Louis XVIII. was permitted to assume his nephew's
1399crown.
1400
1401
1402
1403CHAPTER XX.
1404
1405
1406
1407All this he related with an air of remarkable frankness and truth.
1408Although not justified in believing him, I nevertheless was
1409astonished at his knowledge of the most minute facts connected with
1410the revolution.  He spoke with much natural fluency, and his
1411conversation abounded with a variety of curious anecdotes.  There
1412was something also of the soldier in his expression, without showing
1413any want of that sort of elegance resulting from an intercourse with
1414the best society.
1415
1416"Will it be permitted me," I inquired, "to converse with you on
1417equal terms, without making use of any titles?"
1418
1419"That is what I myself wish you to do," was the reply.  "I have at
1420least reaped one advantage from adversity; I have learnt to smile at
1421all these vanities.  I assure you that I value myself more upon
1422being a man, than having been born a prince."
1423
1424We were in the habit of conversing together both night and morning,
1425for a considerable time; and, in spite of what I considered the
1426comic part of his character, he appeared to be of a good
1427disposition, frank, affable, and interested in the virtue and
1428happiness of mankind.  More than once I was on the point of saying,
1429"Pardon me; I wish I could believe you were Louis XVII., but I
1430frankly confess I cannot prevail on myself to believe it; be equally
1431sincere, I entreat you, and renounce this singular fiction of
1432yours."  I had even prepared to introduce the subject with an
1433edifying discourse upon the vanity of all imposture, even of such
1434untruths as may appear in themselves harmless.
1435
1436I put off my purpose from day to day; I partly expected that we
1437should grow still more friendly and confidential, but I had never
1438the heart really to try the experiment upon his feelings.  When I
1439reflect upon this want of resolution, I sometimes attempt to
1440reconcile myself to it on the ground of proper urbanity,
1441unwillingness to give offence, and other reasons of the kind.  Still
1442these excuses are far from satisfying me; I cannot disguise that I
1443ought not to have permitted my dislike to preaching him a sermon to
1444stand in the way of speaking my real sentiments.  To affect to give
1445credit to imposture of any kind is miserable weakness, such as I
1446think I should not, even in similar circumstances, exhibit again.
1447At the same time, it must be confessed that, preface it as you will,
1448it is a harsh thing to say to any one, "I don't believe you!"  He
1449will naturally resent it; it would deprive us of his friendship or
1450regard:  nay it would, perhaps, make him hate us.  Yet it is better
1451to run every risk than to sanction an untruth.  Possibly, the man
1452capable of it, upon finding that his imposture is known, will
1453himself admire our sincerity, and afterwards be induced to reflect
1454in a manner that may produce the best results.
1455
1456The under-jailers were unanimously of opinion that he was really
1457Louis XVII., and having already seen so many strange changes of
1458fortune, they were not without hopes that he would some day ascend
1459the throne of France, and remember the good treatment and attentions
1460he had met with.  With the exception of assisting in his escape,
1461they made it their object to comply with all his wishes.  It was by
1462such means I had the honour of forming an acquaintance with this
1463grand personage.  He was of the middle height, between forty and
1464forty-five years of age, rather inclined to corpulency, and had
1465features strikingly like those of the Bourbons.  It is very probable
1466that this accidental resemblance may have led him to assume the
1467character he did, and play so melancholy a part in it.
1468
1469
1470
1471CHAPTER XXI.
1472
1473
1474
1475There is one other instance of unworthy deference to private
1476opinion, of which I must accuse myself.  My neighbour was not an
1477Atheist, he rather liked to converse on religious topics, as if he
1478justly appreciated the importance of the subject, and was no
1479stranger to its discussion.  Still, he indulged a number of
1480unreasonable prejudices against Christianity, which he regarded less
1481in its real nature than its abuses.  The superficial philosophy
1483an idea that religious worship might be offered up with greater
1484purity than as it had been dictated by the religion of the
1485Evangelists.  Without any intimate acquaintance with the writings of
1486Condillac and Tracy, he venerated them as the most profound
1487thinkers, and really thought that the last had carried the branch of
1488metaphysics to the highest degree of perfection.
1489
1490I may fairly say that MY philosophical studies had been better
1491directed; I was aware of the weakness of the experimental doctrine,
1492and I knew the gross and shameless errors in point of criticism,
1493which influenced the age of Voltaire in libelling Christianity.  I
1495criticism.  I felt a conviction that, by no logical reasoning, could
1496the being of a God be granted, and the Bible rejected, and I
1497conceived it a vulgar degradation to fall in with the stream of
1498antichristian opinions, and to want elevation of intellect to
1499apprehend how the doctrine of Catholicism in its true character, is
1500religiously simple and ennobling.  Yet I had the meanness to bow to
1501human opinion out of deference and respect.  The wit and sarcasms of
1502my neighbour seemed to confound me, while I could not disguise from
1503myself that they were idle and empty as the air.  I dissimulated, I
1504hesitated to announce my own belief, reflecting how far it were
1506that it would be useless, and that I was perfectly justified in
1507remaining silent.  What vile pusillanimity! why thus respect the
1508presumptuous power of popular errors and opinions, resting upon no
1509foundation.  True it is that an ill-timed zeal is always indiscreet,
1510and calculated to irritate rather than convert; but to avow with
1511frankness and modesty what we regard as an important truth, to do it
1512even when we have reason to conclude it will not be palatable, and
1513to meet willingly any ridicule or sarcasm which may be launched
1514against it; this I maintain to be an actual duty.  A noble avowal of
1515this kind, moreover, may always be made, without pretending to
1516assume, uncalled for, anything of the missionary character.
1517
1518It is, I repeat, a duty, not to keep back an important truth at any
1519period; for though there may be little hope of it being immediately
1520acknowledged; it may tend to prepare the minds of others, and in due
1521time, doubtless, produce a better and more impartial judgment, and a
1522consequent triumph of truth.
1523
1524
1525
1526CHAPTER XXII.
1527
1528
1529
1530I continued in the same apartment during a month and some days.  On
1531the night of February the 18th, 1821, I was roused from sleep by a
1532loud noise of chains and keys; several men entered with a lantern,
1533and the first idea that struck me was, that they were come to cut my
1534throat.  While gazing at them in strange perplexity, one of the
1535figures advanced towards me with a polite air; it was Count B- , {8}
1536who requested I would dress myself as speedily as possible to set
1537out.
1538
1539I was surprised at this announcement, and even indulged a hope that
1540they were sent to conduct me to the confines of Piedmont.  Was it
1541likely the storm which hung over me would thus early be dispersed?
1542should I again enjoy that liberty so dearly prized, be restored to
1543my beloved parents, and see my brothers and sisters?
1544
1545I was allowed short time to indulge these flattering hopes.  The
1546moment I had thrown on my clothes, I followed my conductors without
1547having an opportunity of bidding farewell to my royal neighbour.
1548Yet I thought I heard him call my name, and regretted it was out of
1549my power to stop and reply.  "Where are we going?" I inquired of the
1550Count, as we got into a coach, attended by an officer of the guard.
1551"I cannot inform you till we shall be a mile on the other side the
1552city of Milan."  I was aware the coach was not going in the
1553direction of the Vercelline gate; and my hopes suddenly vanished.  I
1554was silent; it was a beautiful moonlight night; I beheld the same
1555well-known paths I had traversed for pleasure so many years before.
1556The houses, the churches, and every object renewed a thousand
1557pleasing recollections.  I saw the Corsia of Porta Orientale, I saw
1558the public gardens, where I had so often rambled with Foscolo, {9}
1559Monti, {10} Lodovico di Breme, {11} Pietro Borsieri, {12} Count
1560Porro, and his sons, with many other delightful companions,
1561conversing in all the glow of life and hope.  How I felt my
1562friendship for these noble men revive with double force when I
1563thought of having parted from them for the last time, disappearing
1564as they had done, one by one, so rapidly from my view.  When we had
1565gone a little way beyond the gate, I pulled my hat over my eyes, and
1567
1568After having gone about a mile, I addressed myself to Count B-.  "I
1569presume we are on the road to Verona."  "Yes, further," was the
1570reply; "we are for Venice, where it is my duty to hand you over to a
1571special commission there appointed."
1572
1573We travelled post, stopped nowhere, and on the 20th of February
1574arrived at my destination.  The September of the year preceding,
1575just one month previous to my arrest, I had been at Venice, and had
1576met a large and delightful party at dinner, in the Hotel della Luna.
1577Strangely enough, I was now conducted by the Count and the officer
1578to the very inn where we had spent that evening in social mirth.
1579
1580One of the waiters started on seeing me, perceiving that, though my
1581conductors had assumed the dress of domestics, I was no other than a
1582prisoner in their hands.  I was gratified at this recognition, being
1583persuaded that the man would mention my arrival there to more than
1584one.
1585
1586We dined, and I was then conducted to the palace of the Doge, where
1587the tribunals are now held.  I passed under the well-known porticoes
1588of the Procuratie, and by the Florian Hotel, where I had enjoyed so
1589many pleasant evenings the last autumn; but I did not happen to meet
1590a single acquaintance.  We went across the piazzetta, and there it
1591struck me that the September before, I had met a poor mendicant, who
1592addressed me in these singular words:-
1593
1594"I see, sir, you are a stranger, but I cannot make out why you, sir,
1595and all other strangers, should so much admire this place.  To me it
1596is a place of misfortune, and I never pass it when I can avoid it."
1597
1598"What, did you here meet with some disaster?"
1599
1600"I did, sir; a horrible one, sir; and not only I.  God protect you
1601from it, God protect you!"  And he took himself off in haste.
1602
1603At this moment it was impossible for me to forget the words of the
1604poor beggarman.  He was present there, too, the next year, when I
1605ascended the scaffold, whence I heard read to me the sentence of
1606death, and that it had been commuted for fifteen years hard
1607imprisonment.  Assuredly, if I had been inclined ever so little to
1608superstition, I should have thought much of the mendicant,
1609predicting to me with so much energy, as he did, and insisting that
1610this was a place of misfortune.  As it is, I have merely noted it
1611down for a curious incident.  We ascended the palace; Count B- spoke
1612to the judges, then, handing me over to the jailer, after embracing
1613me with much emotion, he bade me farewell.
1614
1615
1616
1617CHAPTER XXIII.
1618
1619
1620
1621I followed the jailer in silence.  After turning through a number of
1622passages, and several large rooms, we arrived at a small staircase,
1623which brought us under the Piombi, those notorious state prisons,
1624dating from the time of the Venetian republic.
1625
1626There the jailer first registered my name, and then locked me up in
1627the room appointed for me.  The chambers called I Piombi consist of
1628the upper portion of the Doge's palace, and are covered throughout
1630
1631My room had a large window with enormous bars, and commanded a view
1632of the roof (also of lead), and the church, of St. Mark.  Beyond the
1633church I could discern the end of the Piazza in the distance, with
1634an immense number of cupolas and belfries on all sides.  St. Mark's
1635gigantic Campanile was separated from me only by the length of the
1636church, and I could hear persons speaking from the top of it when
1637they talked at all loud.  To the left of the church was to be seen a
1638portion of the grand court of the palace, and one of the chief
1639entrances.  There is a public well in that part of the court, and
1640people were continually in the habit of going thither to draw water.
1641From the lofty site of my prison they appeared to me about the size
1642of little children, and I could not at all hear their conversation,
1643except when they called out very loud.  Indeed, I found myself much
1644more solitary than I had been in the Milanese prisons.
1645
1646During several days the anxiety I suffered from the criminal trial
1647appointed by the special commission, made me rather melancholy, and
1648it was increased, doubtless, by that painful feeling of deeper
1649solitude.
1650
1651I was here, moreover, further removed from my family, of whom I
1652heard no more.  The new faces that appeared wore a gloom at once
1653strange and appalling.  Report had greatly exaggerated the struggle
1654of the Milanese and the rest of Italy to recover their independence;
1655it was doubted if I were not one of the most desperate promoters of
1656that mad enterprise.  I found that my name, as a writer, was not
1657wholly unknown to my jailer, to his wife, and even his daughter,
1658besides two sons, and the under-jailers, all of whom, by their
1659manner, seemed to have an idea that a writer of tragedies was little
1660better than a kind of magician.  They looked grave and distant, yet
1662ceremony of their iron office.
1663
1664In a few days I grew accustomed to their looks, or rather, I think,
1665they found I was not so great a necromancer as to escape through the
1666lead roofs, and, consequently, assumed a more conciliating
1667demeanour.  The wife had most of the character that marks the true
1668jailer; she was dry and hard, all bone, without a particle of heart,
1669about forty, and incapable of feeling, except it were a savage sort
1670of instinct for her offspring.  She used to bring me my coffee,
1671morning and afternoon, and my water at dinner.  She was generally
1672accompanied by her daughter, a girl of about fifteen, not very
1673pretty, but with mild, compassionating looks, and her two sons, from
1674ten to thirteen years of age.  They always went back with their
1675mother, but there was a gentle look and a smile of love for me upon
1676their young faces as she closed the door, my only company when they
1677were gone.  The jailer never came near me, except to conduct me
1678before the special commission, that terrible ordeal for what are
1679termed crimes of state.
1680
1681The under-jailers, occupied with the prisons of the police, situated
1682on a lower floor, where there were numbers of robbers, seldom came
1683near me.  One of these assistants was an old man, more than seventy,
1684but still able to discharge his laborious duties, and to run up and
1685down the steps to the different prisons; another was a young man
1686about twenty-five, more bent upon giving an account of his love
1687affairs than eager to devote himself to his office.
1688
1689
1690
1691CHAPTER XXIV.
1692
1693
1694
1695I had now to confront the terrors of a state trial.  What was my
1697contend against so many strange accusations, so many suspicions of
1698all kinds!  How impossible, almost, not to become implicated by
1699these incessant examinations, by daily new arrests, and the
1700imprudence of other parties, perhaps not known to you, yet belonging
1701to the same movement!  I have decided not to speak on politics; and
1702I must suppress every detail connected with the state trials.  I
1703shall merely observe that, after being subjected for successive
1704hours to the harassing process, I retired in a frame of mind so
1705excited, and so enraged, that I should assuredly have taken my own
1706life, had not the voice of religion, and the recollection of my
1707parents restrained my hand.  I lost the tranquillity of mind I had
1708acquired at Milan; during many days, I despaired of regaining it,
1709and I cannot even allude to this interval without feelings of
1710horror.  It was vain to attempt it, I could not pray; I questioned
1711the justice of God; I cursed mankind, and all the world, revolving
1712in my mind all the possible sophisms and satires I could think of,
1713respecting the hollowness and vanity of virtue.  The disappointed
1714and the exasperated are always ingenious in finding accusations
1715against their fellow-creatures, and even the Creator himself.  Anger
1716is of a more universal and injurious tendency than is generally
1717supposed.  As we cannot rage and storm from morning till night, and
1718as the most ferocious animal has necessarily its intervals of
1719repose, these intervals in man are greatly influenced by the immoral
1720character of the conduct which may have preceded them.  He appears
1721to be at peace, indeed, but it is an irreligious, malignant peace; a
1722savage sardonic smile, destitute of all charity or dignity; a love
1723of confusion, intoxication, and sarcasm.
1724
1725In this state I was accustomed to sing--anything but hymns--with a
1726kind of mad, ferocious joy.  I spoke to all who approached my
1727dungeon, jeering and bitter things; and I tried to look upon the
1728whole creation through the medium of that commonplace wisdom, the
1729wisdom of the cynics.  This degrading period, on which I hate to
1730reflect, lasted happily only for six or seven days, during which my
1731Bible had become covered with dust.  One of the jailer's boys,
1732thinking to please me, as he cast his eye upon it, observed, "Since
1733you left off reading that great, ugly book, you don't seem half so
1734melancholy, sir."  "Do you think so?" said I.  Taking the Bible in
1735my hands, I wiped off the dust, and opening it hastily, my eyes fell
1736upon the following words: --"And he said unto his disciples, it must
1737needs be that offences come; but woe unto him by whom they come; for
1738better had it been for him that a millstone were hanged about his
1739neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of
1740these little ones."
1741
1742I was affected upon reading this passage, and I felt ashamed when I
1743thought that this little boy had perceived, from the dust with which
1744it was covered, that I no longer read my Bible, and had even
1745supposed that I had acquired a better temper by want of attention to
1746my religious duties, and become less wretched by forgetting my God.
1747"You little graceless fellow," I exclaimed, though reproaching him
1748in a gentle tone, and grieved at having afforded him a subject of
1749scandal; "this is not a great, ugly book, and for the few days that
1750I have left off reading it, I find myself much worse.  If your
1751mother would let you stay with me a little while, you would see that
1752I know how to get rid of my ill-humour.  If you knew how hard it was
1753to be in good humour, when left so long alone, and when you hear me
1754singing and talking like a madman, you would not call this a great
1755ugly book."
1756
1757
1758
1759CHAPTER XXV.
1760
1761
1762
1763The boy left me, and I felt a sort of pleasure at having taken the
1764Bible again in my hands, more especially at having owned I had been
1765worse for having neglected it.  It seemed as if I had made atonement
1766to a generous friend whom I had unjustly offended, but had now
1767become reconciled to.  Yes! I had even forgotten my God! I
1768exclaimed, and perverted my better nature.  Could I have been led to
1769believe that the vile mockery of the cynic was applicable to one in
1770my forlorn and desperate situation?
1771
1772I felt an indescribable emotion on asking myself this question; I
1773placed the Bible upon a chair, and, falling on my knees, I burst
1774into tears of remorse:  I who ever found it so difficult to shed
1775even a tear.  These tears were far more delightful to me than any
1776physical enjoyment I had ever felt.  I felt I was restored to God, I
1777loved him, I repented of having outraged religion by degrading
1778myself; and I made a vow never, never more to forget, to separate
1779myself from, my God.
1780
1781How truly a sincere return to faith, and love, and hope, consoles
1782and elevates the mind.  I read and continued to weep for upwards of
1783an hour.  I rose with renewed confidence that God had not abandoned
1784me, but had forgiven my every fault and folly.  It was then that my
1785misfortunes, the horrors of my continued examinations, and the
1786probable death which awaited me, appeared of little account.  I
1787rejoiced in suffering, since I was thus afforded an occasion to
1788perform some duty, and that, by submitting with a resigned mind, I
1789was obeying my Divine Master.  I was enabled, thanks be to Heaven,
1790to read my Bible.  I no longer estimated it by the wretched,
1791critical subterfuges of a Voltaire, heaping ridicule upon mere
1792expressions, in themselves neither false nor ridiculous, except to
1793gross ignorance or malice, which cannot penetrate their meaning.  I
1794became clearly convinced how indisputably it was the code of
1795sanctity, and hence of truth itself; how really unphilosophical it
1796was to take offence at a few little imperfections of style, not less
1797absurd than the vanity of one who despises everything that wears not
1798the gloss of elegant forms; what still greater absurdity to imagine
1799that such a collection of books, so long held in religious
1800veneration, should not possess an authentic origin, boasting, as
1801they do, such a vast superiority over the Koran, and the old
1802theology of the Indies.
1803
1804Many, doubtless, abused its excellence, many wished to turn it into
1805a code of injustice, and a sanction of all their bad passions.  But
1806the triumphant answer to these is, that every thing is liable to
1807abuse; and when did the abuse of the most precious and best of
1808things lead us to the conclusion that they were in their own nature
1809bad?  Our Saviour himself declared it; the whole law and the
1810Prophets, the entire body of these sacred books, all inculcate the
1811same precept to love God and mankind.  And must not such writings
1812embrace the truth--truth adapted to all times and ages? must they
1813not ever constitute the living word of the Holy Spirit?
1814
1815Whilst I made these reflections, I renewed my intention of
1816identifying with religion all my thoughts concerning human affairs,
1817all my opinions upon the progress of civilisation, my philanthropy,
1818love of my country, in short, all the passions of my mind.
1819
1820The few days in which I remained subjected to the cynic doctrine,
1821did me a deal of harm.  I long felt its effects, and had great
1822difficulty to remove them.  Whenever man yields in the least to the
1823temptation of undignifying his intellect, to view the works of God
1824through the infernal medium of scorn, to abandon the beneficent
1825exercise of prayer, the injury which he inflicts upon his natural
1826reason prepares him to fall again with but little struggle.  For a
1827period of several weeks I was almost daily assaulted with strong,
1828bitter tendencies to doubt and disbelief; and it called for the
1829whole power of my mind to free myself from their grasp.
1830
1831
1832
1833CHAPTER XXVI.
1834
1835
1836
1838habituated to reverence the Deity in all my thoughts and feelings, I
1839for some time enjoyed the most unbroken serenity and peace.  The
1840examinations to which I was every two or three days subjected by the
1841special commission, however tormenting, produced no lasting anxiety,
1842as before.  I succeeded in this arduous position, in discharging all
1843which integrity and friendship required of me, and left the rest to
1844the will of God.  I now, too, resumed my utmost efforts to guard
1845against the effects of any sudden surprise, every emotion and
1846passion, and every imaginable misfortune; a kind of preparation for
1847future trials of the greatest utility.
1848
1849My solitude, meantime, grew more oppressive.  Two sons of the
1850jailer, whom I had been in the habit of seeing at brief intervals,
1851were sent to school, and I saw them no more.  The mother and the
1852sister, who had been accustomed, along with them, to speak to me,
1853never came near me, except to bring my coffee.  About the mother I
1854cared very little; but the daughter, though rather plain, had
1855something so pleasing and gentle, both in her words and looks, that
1856I greatly felt the loss of them.  Whenever she brought the coffee,
1857and said, "It was I who made it," I always thought it excellent:
1858but when she observed, "This is my mother's making," it lost all its
1859relish.
1860
1861Being almost deprived of human society, I one day made acquaintance
1862with some ants upon my window; I fed them; they went away, and ere
1863long the placed was thronged with these little insects, as if come
1864by invitation.  A spider, too, had weaved a noble edifice upon my
1865walls, and I often gave him a feast of gnats or flies, which were
1866extremely annoying to me, and which he liked much better than I did.
1867I got quite accustomed to the sight of him; he would run over my
1868bed, and come and take the precious morsels out of my hand.  Would
1869to heaven these had been the only insects which visited my abode.
1870It was still summer, and the gnats had begun to multiply to a
1871prodigious and alarming extent.  The previous winter had been
1872remarkably mild, and after the prevalence of the March winds
1873followed extreme heat.  It is impossible to convey an idea of the
1874insufferable oppression of the air in the place I occupied.  Opposed
1875directly to a noontide sun, under a leaden roof, and with a window
1876looking on the roof of St. Mark, casting a tremendous reflection of
1877the heat, I was nearly suffocated.  I had never conceived an idea of
1878a punishment so intolerable:  add to which the clouds of gnats,
1879which, spite of my utmost efforts, covered every article of
1880furniture in the room, till even the walls and ceiling seemed alive
1881with them; and I had some apprehension of being devoured alive.
1882Their bites, moreover, were extremely painful, and when thus
1883punctured from morning till night, only to undergo the same
1884operation from day to day, and engaged the whole time in killing and
1885slaying, some idea may be formed of the state both of my body and my
1886mind.
1887
1888I felt the full force of such a scourge, yet was unable to obtain a
1889change of dungeon, till at length I was tempted to rid myself of my
1890life, and had strong fears of running distracted.  But, thanks be to
1891God, these thoughts were not of long duration, and religion
1892continued to sustain me.  It taught me that man was born to suffer,
1893and to suffer with courage:  it taught me to experience a sort of
1894pleasure in my troubles, to resist and to vanquish in the battle
1895appointed me by Heaven.  The more unhappy, I said to myself, my life
1896may become, the less will I yield to my fate, even though I should
1897be condemned in the morning of my life to the scaffold.  Perhaps,
1898without these preliminary and chastening trials, I might have met
1899death in an unworthy manner.  Do I know, moreover, that I possess
1900those virtues and qualities which deserve prosperity; where and what
1901are they?  Then, seriously examining into my past conduct, I found
1902too little good on which to pride myself; the chief part was a
1903tissue of vanity, idolatry, and the mere exterior of virtue.
1904Unworthy, therefore, as I am, let me suffer!  If it be intended that
1905men and gnats should destroy me, unjustly or otherwise, acknowledge
1906in them the instruments of a divine justice, and be silent.
1907
1908
1909
1910CHAPTER XXVII.
1911
1912
1913
1914Does man stand in need of compulsion before he can be brought to
1915humble himself with sincerity? to look upon himself as a sinner?  Is
1916it not too true that we in general dissipate our youth in vanity,
1917and, instead of employing all our faculties in the acquisition of
1918what is good, make them the instruments of our degradation?  There
1919are, doubtless, exceptions, but I confess they cannot apply to a
1920wretched individual like myself.  There is no merit in thus being
1921dissatisfied with myself; when we see a lamp which emits more smoke
1922than flame, it requires no great sincerity to say that it does not
1923burn as it ought to do.
1924
1925Yes, without any degradation, without any scruples of hypocrisy, and
1926viewing myself with perfect tranquillity of mind, I perceived that I
1927had merited the chastisement of my God.  An internal monitor told me
1928that such chastisements were, for one fault or other, amply merited;
1929they assisted in winning me back to Him who is perfect, and whom
1930every human being, as far as their limited powers will admit, are
1931bound to imitate.  By what right, while constrained to condemn
1932myself for innumerable offences and forgetfulness towards God, could
1933I complain, because some men appeared to me despicable, and others
1934wicked?  What if I were deprived of all worldly advantages, and was
1935doomed to linger in prison, or to die a violent death?  I sought to
1936impress upon my mind reflections like these, at once just and
1937applicable; and this done, I found it was necessary to be
1938consistent, and that it could be effected in no other manner than by
1939sanctifying the upright judgments of the Almighty, by loving them,
1940and eradicating every wish at all opposed to them.  The better to
1941persevere in my intention, I determined, in future, carefully to
1942revolve in my mind all my opinions, by committing them to writing.
1943The difficulty was that the Commission, while permitting me to have
1944the use of ink and paper, counted out the leaves, with an express
1945prohibition that I should not destroy a single one, and reserving
1946the power of examining in what manner I had employed them.  To
1947supply the want of paper, I had recourse to the simple stratagem of
1948smoothing with a piece of glass a rude table which I had, and upon
1949this I daily wrote my long meditations respecting the duties of
1950mankind, and especially of those which applied to myself.  It is no
1951exaggeration to say that the hours so employed were sometimes
1952delightful to me, notwithstanding the difficulty of breathing I
1953experienced from the excessive heat, to say nothing of the bitterly
1954painful wounds, small though they were, of those poisonous gnats.
1955To defend myself from the countless numbers of these tormentors, I
1956was compelled, in the midst of suffocation, to wrap my head and my
1957legs in thick cloth, and not only write with gloves on, but to
1958bandage my wrist to prevent the intruders creeping up my sleeves.
1959
1960Meditations like mine assumed somewhat of a biographical character.
1961I made out an account of all the good and the evil which had grown
1962up with me from my earliest youth, discussing them within myself,
1963attempting to resolve every doubt, and arranging, to the best of my
1964power, the various kinds of knowledge I had acquired, and my ideas
1965upon every subject.  When the whole surface of the table was covered
1966with my lucubrations, I perused and re-perused them, meditated on
1968unwillingly) to scratch out all I had done with the glass, in order
1969to have a clean superficies upon which to recommence my operations.
1970
1971From that time I continued the narrative of my experience of good
1972and evil, always relieved by digressions of every kind, by some
1973analysis of this or that point, whether in metaphysics, morals,
1974politics, or religion; and when the whole was complete, I again
1976anxious to avoid every chance of interruption, or of impediment, to
1977my repeating with the greatest possible freedom the facts I had
1978recorded, and my opinions upon them, I took care to transpose and
1979abbreviate the words in such a manner as to run no risk from the
1980most inquisitorial visit.  No search, however, was made, and no one
1981was aware that I was spending my miserable prison-hours to so good a
1982purpose.  Whenever I heard the jailer or other person open the door
1983I covered my little table with a cloth, and placed upon it the ink-
1984stand, with the LAWFUL quantity of state paper by its side.
1985
1986
1987
1988CHAPTER XXVIII.
1989
1990
1991
1992Still I did not wholly neglect the paper put into my hands, and
1993sometimes even devoted an entire day or night to writing.  But here
1994I only treated of literary matters.  I composed at that time the
1995Ester d'Engaddi, the Iginia d'Asti, and the Cantichi, entitled,
1996Tanereda Rosilde, Eligi and Valafrido, Adello, besides several
1997sketches of tragedies, and other productions, in the list of which
1998was a poem upon the Lombard League, and another upon Christopher
1999Columbus.
2000
2001As it was not always so easy an affair to get a reinforcement of
2002paper, I was in the habit of committing my rough draughts to my
2003table, or the wrapping-paper in which I received fruit and other
2004articles.  At times I would give away my dinner to the under-jailer,
2005telling him that I had no appetite, and then requesting from him the
2006favour of a sheet of paper.  This was, however, only in certain
2007exigencies, when my little table was full of writing, and I had not
2008yet determined on clearing it away.  I was often very hungry, and
2009though the jailer had money of mine in his possession, I did not ask
2010him to bring me anything to eat, partly lest he should suspect I had
2011given away my dinner, and partly that the under-jailer might not
2012find out that I had said the thing which was not when I assured him
2013of my loss of appetite.  In the evening I regaled myself with some
2014strong coffee, and I entreated that it might be made by the little
2015sioa, Zanze. {13}  This was the jailer's daughter, who, if she could
2016escape the lynx-eye of her sour mamma, was good enough to make it
2017exceedingly good; so good, indeed, that, what with the emptiness of
2018my stomach, it produced a kind of convulsion, which kept me awake
2019the whole of the night.
2020
2021In this state of gentle inebriation, I felt my intellectual
2022faculties strangely invigorated; wrote poetry, philosophized, and
2023prayed till morning with feelings of real pleasure.  I then became
2024completely exhausted, threw myself upon my bed, and, spite of the
2025gnats that were continually sucking my blood, I slept an hour or two
2026in profound rest.
2027
2028I can hardly describe the peculiar and pleasing exaltation of mind
2029which continued for nights together, and I left no means untried to
2030secure the same means of continuing it.  With this view I still
2031refused to touch a mouthful of dinner, even when I was in no want of
2032paper, merely in order to obtain my magic beverage for the evening.
2033
2034How fortunate I thought myself when I succeeded; not unfrequently
2035the coffee was not made by the gentle Angiola; and it was always
2036vile stuff from her mother's hands.  In this last case, I was sadly
2037put out of humour, for instead of the electrical effect on my
2038nerves, it made me wretched, weak, and hungry; I threw myself down
2039to sleep, but was unable to close an eye.  Upon these occasions I
2040complained bitterly to Angiola, the jailer's daughter, and one day,
2041as if she had been in fault, I scolded her so sharply that the poor
2042girl began to weep, sobbing out, "Indeed, sir, I never deceived
2043anybody, and yet everybody calls me a deceitful little mix."
2044
2045"Everybody!  Oh then, I see I am not the only one driven to
2047
2048"I do not mean to say that, sir.  Ah, if you only knew; if I dared
2049to tell you all that my poor, wretched heart--"
2050
2051"Well, don't cry so!  What is all this ado?  I beg your pardon, you
2052see, if I scolded you.  Indeed, I believe you would not, you could
2053not, make me such vile stuff as this."
2054
2055"Dear me!  I am not crying about that, sir."
2056
2057"You are not!" and I felt my self-love not a little mortified,
2058though I forced a smile.  "Are you crying, then, because I scolded
2059you, and yet not about the coffee?"
2060
2061"Yes, indeed, sir?"
2062
2063"Ah! then who called you a little deceitful one before?"
2064
2065"HE did, sir."
2066
2067"HE did; and who is HE?"
2068
2069"My lover, sir;" and she hid her face in her little hands.
2070
2071Afterwards she ingenuously intrusted to my keeping, and I could not
2072well betray her, a little serio-comic sort of pastoral romance,
2073which really interested me.
2074
2075
2076
2077CHAPTER XXIX.
2078
2079
2080
2081From that day forth, I know not why, I became the adviser and
2082confidant of this young girl, who returned and conversed with me for
2083hours.  She at first said, "You are so good, sir, that I feel just
2084the same when I am here as if I were your own daughter."
2085
2086"That is a very poor compliment," replied I, dropping her hand; "I
2087am hardly yet thirty-two, and you look upon me as if I were an old
2088father."
2089
2090"No, no, not so; I mean as a brother, to be sure;" and she insisted
2091upon taking hold of my hand with an air of the most innocent
2092confidence and affection.
2093
2094I am glad, thought I to myself, that you are no beauty; else, alas,
2095this innocent sort of fooling might chance to disconcert me; at
2096other times I thought it is lucky, too, she is so young, there could
2097never be any danger of becoming attached to girls of her years.  At
2098other times, however, I felt a little uneasy, thinking I was
2099mistaken in having pronounced her rather plain, whereas her whole
2100shape and features were by no means wanting in proportion or
2101expression.  If she were not quite so pale, I said, and her face
2102free from those marks, she might really pass for a beauty.  It is
2103impossible, in fact, not to find some charm in the presence and in
2104the looks and voice of a young girl full of vivacity and affection.
2105I had taken not the least pains to acquire her good-will; yet was I
2106as dear to either as a father or a brother, whichever title I
2108and Eufemio, and my poems, she said, had made her weep so often;
2109then, besides, I was a solitary prisoner, WITHOUT HAVING, as she
2110observed, either robbed or murdered anybody.
2111
2112In short, when I had become attached to poor Maddalene, without once
2113seeing her, how was it likely that I could remain indifferent to the
2114sisterly assiduity and attentions, to the thousand pleasing little
2115compliments, and to the most delicious cups of coffee of this young
2116Venice girl, my gentle little jailer? {14}  I should be trying to
2117impose on myself, were I to attribute to my own prudence the fact of
2118my not having fallen in love with Angiola.  I did not do so, simply
2119from the circumstance of her having already a lover of her own
2120choosing, to whom she was desperately, unalterably attached.  Heaven
2121help me! if it had not been thus I should have found myself in a
2122very CRITICAL position, indeed, for an author, with so little to
2123keep alive his attention.  The sentiment I felt for her was not,
2124then, what is called love.  I wished to see her happy, and that she
2125might be united to the lover of her choice; I was not jealous, nor
2126had I the remotest idea she could ever select me as the object of
2127her regard.  Still, when I heard my prison-door open, my heart began
2128to beat in the hope it was my Angiola; and if she appeared not, I
2129experienced a peculiar kind of vexation; when she really came my
2130heart throbbed yet more violently, from a feeling of pure joy.  Her
2131parents, who had begun to entertain a good opinion of me, and were
2132aware of her passionate regard for another, offered no opposition to
2133the visits she thus made me, permitting her almost invariably to
2134bring me my coffee in a morning, and not unfrequently in the
2135evening.
2136
2137There was altogether a simplicity and an affectionateness in her
2138every word, look, and gesture, which were really captivating.  She
2139would say, "I am excessively attached to another, and yet I take
2140such delight in being near you!  When I am not in HIS company, I
2141like being nowhere so well as here."  (Here was another compliment.)
2142
2143"And don't you know why?" inquired I.
2144
2145"I do not."
2146
2147"I will tell you, then.  It is because I permit you to talk about
2149
2150"That is a good guess; yet still I think it is a good deal because I
2151esteem you so very much!"
2152
2153Poor girl! along with this pretty frankness she had that blessed sin
2154of taking me always by the hand, and pressing it with all her heart,
2155not perceiving that she at once pleased and disconcerted me by her
2156affectionate manner.  Thanks be to Heaven, that I can always recall
2157this excellent little girl to mind without the least tinge of
2158remorse.
2159
2160
2161
2162CHAPTER XXX.
2163
2164
2165
2166The following portion of my narrative would assuredly have been more
2167interesting had the gentle Angiola fallen in love with me, or if I
2168had at least run half mad to enliven my solitude.  There was,
2169however, another sentiment, that of simple benevolence, no less dear
2170to me, which united our hearts in one.  And if, at any moment, I
2171felt there was the least risk of its changing its nature in my vain,
2172weak heart, it produced only sincere regret.
2173
2174Once, certainly, having my doubts that this would happen, and
2175finding her, to my sorrow, a hundred times more beautiful than I had
2176at first imagined; feeling too so very melancholy when she was
2177absent, so joyous when near, I took upon myself to play the
2178UNAMIABLE, in the idea that this would remove all danger by making
2179her leave off the same affectionate and familiar manner.  This
2180innocent stratagem was tried in vain; the poor girl was so patient,
2181so full of compassion for me.  She would look at me in silence, with
2182her elbow resting upon the window, and say, after a long pause, "I
2183see, sir, you are tired of my company, yet _I_ would stay here the
2184whole day if I could, merely to keep the hours from hanging so heavy
2185upon you.  This ill-humour of yours is the natural effect of your
2186long solitude; if you were able to chat awhile, you would be quite
2187well again.  If you don't like to talk, I will talk for you."
2188
2190
2191"No, no; not always about him; I can talk of many things."
2192
2193She then began to give me some extracts from the household annals,
2194dwelling upon the sharp temper of her mother, her good-natured
2195father, and the monkey-tricks of her little brothers; and she told
2196all this with a simple grace and innocent frankness not a little
2197alluring.  Yet I was pretty near the truth; for, without being aware
2198of it, she uniformly concluded with the one favourite theme:  her
2199ill-starred love.  Still I went on acting the part of the UNAMIABLE,
2200in the hope that she would take a spite against me.  But whether
2201from inadvertency or design, she would not take the hint, and I was
2202at last fairly compelled to give up by sitting down contented to let
2203her have her way, smiling, sympathising with, and thanking her for
2204the sweet patience with which she had so long borne with me.
2205
2206I no longer indulged the ungracious idea of spiting her against me,
2207and, by degrees, all my other fears were allayed.  Assuredly I had
2208not been smitten; I long examined into the nature of my scruples,
2209wrote down my reflections upon the subject, and derived no little
2211
2212Man often terrifies himself with mere bugbears of the mind.  If we
2213would learn not to fear them, we have only to examine them a little
2214more nearly and attentively.  What harm, then, if I looked forward
2215to her visits to me with a tender anxiety, if I appreciated their
2216sweetness, if it did me good to be compassioned by her, and to
2217interchange all our thoughts and feelings, unsullied, I will say, as
2218those of childhood.  Even her most affectionate looks, and smiles,
2219and pressures of the hand, while they agitated me, produced a
2220feeling of salutary respect mingled with compassion.  One evening, I
2221remember, when suffering under a sad misfortune, the poor girl threw
2222her arms round my neck, and wept as if her heart would break.  She
2223had not the least idea of impropriety; no daughter could embrace a
2224father with more perfect innocence and unsuspecting affection.  I
2225could not, however, reflect upon that embrace without feeling
2226somewhat agitated.  It often recurred to my imagination, and I could
2227then think of no other subject.  On another occasion, when she thus
2228threw herself upon my confidence, I was really obliged to
2229disentangle myself from her dear arms, ere I once pressed her to my
2230bosom, or gave her a single kiss, while I stammered out, "I pray
2231you, now, sweet Angiola, do not embrace me ever again; it is not
2232quite proper."  She fixed her eyes upon me for a moment, then cast
2233them down, while a blush suffused her ingenuous countenance; and I
2234am sure it was the first time that she read in my mind even the
2235possibility of any weakness of mine in reference to her.  Still she
2236did not cease to continue her visits upon the same friendly footing,
2237with a little mere reserve and respect, such as I wished it to be;
2238and I was grateful to her for it.
2239
2240
2241
2242CHAPTER XXXI.
2243
2244
2245
2246I am unable to form an estimate of the evils which afflict others;
2247but, as respects myself, I am bound to confess that, after close
2248examination, I found that no sufferings had been appointed me,
2249except to some wise end, and for my own advantage.  It was thus even
2250with the excessive heat which oppressed, and the gnats which
2251tormented me.  Often have I reflected that but for this continual
2252suffering I might not have successfully resisted the temptation of
2253falling in love, situated as I was, and with one whose extremely
2254affectionate and ardent feelings would have made it difficult always
2255to preserve it within respectful limits.  If I had sometimes reason
2256to tremble, how should I have been enabled to regulate my vain
2257imagination in an atmosphere somewhat inspiring, and open to the
2258breathings of joy.
2259
2260Considering the imprudence of Angiola's parents, who reposed such
2261confidence in me, the imprudence of the poor girl herself, who had
2262not an idea of giving rise to any culpable affection on my part, and
2263considering, too, the little steadfastness of my virtue, there can
2264be little doubt but the suffocating heat of my great oven, and the
2265cruel warfare of the gnats, were effectual safeguards to us both.
2266
2267Such a reflection reconciled me somewhat to these scourges; and I
2268then asked myself, Would you consent to become free, and to take
2269possession of some handsome apartment, filled with flowers and fresh
2270air, on condition of never more seeing this affectionate being?  I
2271will own the truth; I had not courage to reply to this simple
2272question.
2273
2274When you really feel interested about any one, it is indescribable
2275what mere trifles are capable of conferring pleasure.  A single
2276word, a smile, a tear, a Venetian turn of expression, her eagerness
2277in protecting me from my enemies, the gnats, all inspired me with a
2278childish delight that lasted the whole day.  What most gratified me
2279was to see that her own sufferings seemed to be relieved by
2280conversing with me, that my compassion consoled her, that my advice
2281influenced her, and that her heart was susceptible of the warmest
2282devotion when treating of virtue and its great Author.
2283
2284When we had sometimes discussed the subject of religion, she would
2285observe, "I find that I can now pray with more willingness and more
2286faith than I did."  At other times, suddenly breaking off some
2287frivolous topic, she took the Bible, opened it, pressed her lips to
2288it, and then begged of me to translate some passages, and give my
2289comments.  She added, "I could wish that every time you happen to
2290recur to this passage you should call to mind that I have kissed and
2291kissed it again."
2292
2293It was not always, indeed, that her kisses fell so appropriately,
2294more especially if she happened to open at the spiritual songs.
2295Then, in order to spare her blushes, I took advantage of her want of
2296acquaintance with the Latin, and gave a turn to the expressions
2297which, without detracting from the sacredness of the Bible, might
2298serve to respect her innocence.  On such occasions I never once
2299permitted myself to smile; at the same time I was not a little
2300perplexed, when, not rightly comprehending my new version, she
2301entreated of me to translate the whole, word for word, and would by
2302no means let me shy the question by turning her attention to
2303something else.
2304
2305
2306
2307CHAPTER XXXII.
2308
2309
2310
2311Nothing is durable here below!  Poor Angiola fell sick; and on one
2312of the first days when she felt indisposed, she came to see me,
2313complaining bitterly of pains in her head.  She wept, too, and would
2314not explain the cause of her grief.  She only murmured something
2315that looked like reproaches of her lover.  "He is a villain!" she
2316said; "but God forgive him, as I do!"
2317
2318I left no means untried to obtain her confidence, but it was the
2319first time I was quite unable to ascertain why she distressed
2321said, one evening on parting from me; "I will, indeed."  But the
2322next morning came, and my coffee was brought by her mother; the
2323next, and the next, by the under-jailers; and Angiola continued
2324grievously ill.  The under-jailers, also, brought me very unpleasant
2325tidings relating to the love-affair; tidings, in short, which made
2326me deeply sympathize with her sufferings.  A case of seduction!
2327But, perhaps, it was the tale of calumny.  Alas!  I but too well
2328believed it, and I was affected at it more than I can express;
2329though I still like to flatter myself that it was false.  After
2330upwards of a month's illness, the poor girl was taken into the
2331country, and I saw her no more.
2332
2333It is astonishing how deeply I felt this deprivation, and how much
2334more horrible my solitude now appeared.  Still more bitter was the
2335reflection that she, who had so tenderly fed, and watched, and
2336visited me in my sad prison, supplying every want and wish within
2337her power, was herself a prey to sorrow and misfortune.  Alas! I
2338could make her no return; yet, surely she will feel aware how truly
2339I sympathize with her; that there is no effort I would not make to
2340afford her comfort and relief, and that I shall never cease to offer
2341up my prayers for her, and to bless her for her goodness to a
2342wretched prisoner.
2343
2344Though her visits had been too brief, they were enough to break upon
2345the horrid monotony of my solitude.  By suggesting and comparing our
2346ideas, I obtained new views and feelings, exercised some of the best
2347and sweetest affections, gave a zest to life, and even threw a sort
2348of lustre round my misfortunes.
2349
2350Suddenly the vision fled, and my dungeon became to me really like a
2351living tomb.  A strange sadness for many days quite oppressed me.  I
2352could not even write:  it was a dark, quiet, nameless feeling, in no
2353way partaking of the violence and irritation which I had before
2355more philosophical, more of a Christian?  Or was it really that the
2356extremely enervating heat of my dungeon had so prostrated my powers
2357that I could no longer feel the pangs of excessive grief.  Ah, no!
2358for I can well recollect that I then felt it to my inmost soul; and,
2359perhaps, more intensely from the want both of will and power to give
2360vent to it by agitation, maledictions, and cries.  The fact is, I
2361believe, that I had been severely schooled by my past sufferings,
2362and was resigned to the will of God.  I had so often maintained that
2363it was a mark of cowardice to complain, that, at length, I succeeded
2364in restraining my passion, when on the point of breaking out, and
2365felt vexed that I had permitted it to obtain any ascendancy over me.
2366
2367My mental faculties were strengthened by the habit of writing down
2368my thoughts; I got rid of all my vanity, and reduced the chief part
2369of my reasonings to the following conclusions:  There is a God:
2370THEREFORE unerring justice; THEREFORE all that happens is ordained
2371to the best end; consequently, the sufferings of man on earth are
2372inflicted for the good of man.
2373
2374Thus, my acquaintance with Angiola had proved beneficial, by
2375soothing and conciliating my feelings.  Her good opinion of me had
2376urged me to the fulfilment of many duties, especially of that of
2377proving one's self superior to the shocks of fortune, and of
2378suffering in patience.  By exerting myself to persevere for about a
2379month, I was enabled to feel perfectly resigned.
2380
2381Angiola had beheld me two or three times in a downright passion;
2382once, as I have stated, on account of her having brought me bad
2383coffee, and a second time as follows:-
2384
2385Every two or three weeks the jailer had brought me a letter from
2386some of my family.  It was previously submitted to the Commission,
2387and most roughly handled, as was too evident by the number of
2388ERASURES in the blackest ink which appeared throughout.  One day,
2389however, instead of merely striking out a few passages, they drew
2390the black line over the entire letter, with the exception of the
2391words, "My DEAREST SILVIO," at the beginning, and the parting
2392salutation at the close, "ALL UNITE IN KINDEST LOVE TO YOU."
2393
2394This act threw me into such an uncontrollable fit of passion, that,
2395in presence of the gentle Angiola, I broke out into violent shouts
2396of rage, and cursed I know not whom.  The poor girl pitied me from
2397her heart; but, at the same time, reminded me of the strange
2398inconsistency of my principles.  I saw she had reason on her side,
2399and I ceased from uttering my maledictions.
2400
2401
2402
2403CHAPTER XXXIII.
2404
2405
2406
2407One of the under-jailers one day entered my prison with a mysterious
2408look, and said, "Sometime, I believe, that Siora Zanze (Angiola) . .
2409. was used to bring you your coffee . . . She stopped a good while
2410to converse with you, and I was afraid the cunning one would worm
2412
2413"Not one," I replied, in great anger; "or if I had any, I should not
2414be such a fool as to tell them in that way.  Go on."
2415
2416"Beg pardon, sir; far from me to call you by such a name . . . But I
2417never trusted to that Siora Zanze.  And now, sir, as you have no
2418longer any one to keep you company . . . I trust I--"
2419
2420"What, what! explain yourself at once!"
2421
2422"Swear first that you will not betray me."
2423
2424"Well, well; I could do that with a safe conscience.  I never
2425betrayed any one."
2426
2427"Do you say really you will swear?"
2428
2429"Yes; I swear not to betray you.  But what a wretch to doubt it; for
2430any one capable of betraying you will not scruple to violate an
2431oath."
2432
2433He took a letter from his coat-lining, and gave it me with a
2434trembling hand, beseeching I would destroy it the moment I had read
2435it.
2436
2437"Stop," I cried, opening it; "I will read and destroy it while you
2438are here."
2439
2440"But, sir, you must answer it, and I cannot stop now.  Do it at your
2441leisure.  Only take heed, when you hear any one coming, you will
2442know if it be I by my singing, pretty loudly, the tune, Sognai mi
2443gera un gato.  You need, then, fear nothing, and may keep the letter
2444quietly in your pocket.  But should you not hear this song, set it
2445down for a mark that it cannot be me, or that some one is with me.
2446Then, in a moment, out with it, don't trust to any concealment, in
2447case of a search; out with it, tear it into a thousand bits, and
2448throw it through the window."
2449
2450"Depend upon me; I see you are prudent, I will be so too."
2451
2452"Yet you called me a stupid wretch."
2453
2454"You do right to reproach me," I replied, shaking him by the hand,
2455"and I beg your pardon."  He went away, and I began to read
2456
2457"I am (and here followed the name) one of your admirers:  I have all
2458your Francesca da Rimini by heart.  They arrested me for--(and here
2459he gave the reason with the date)--and I would give, I know not how
2460many pounds of my blood to have the pleasure of being with you, or
2461at least in a dungeon near yours, in order that we might converse
2462together.  Since I heard from Tremerello, so we shall call our
2463confidant, that you, sir, were a prisoner, and the cause of your
2464arrest, I have longed to tell you how deeply I lament your
2465misfortune, and that no one can feel greater attachment to you than
2466myself.  Have you any objection to accept the offer I make, namely,
2467that we should try to lighten the burden of our solitude by writing
2468to each other.  I pledge you my honour, that not a being shall ever
2469hear of our correspondence from me, and am persuaded that I may
2470count upon the same secresy on your part, if you adopt my plan.
2471Meantime, that you may form some idea, I will give you an abstract
2472from my life."--(It followed.)
2473
2474
2475
2476CHAPTER XXXIV.
2477
2478
2479
2480The reader, however deficient in the imaginative organ, may easily
2481conceive the electric effect of such a letter upon the nerves of a
2482poor prisoner, not of the most savage disposition, but possessing an
2483affectionate and gregarious turn of mind.  I felt already an
2484affection for the unknown; I pitied his misfortunes, and was
2485grateful for the kind expressions he made use of.  "Yes," exclaimed
2486I, "your generous purpose shall be effected.  I wish my letters may
2487afford you consolation equal to that which I shall derive from
2488yours."
2489
2490I re-perused his letter with almost boyish delight, and blessed the
2491writer; there was not an expression which did not exhibit evidence
2492of a clear and noble mind.
2493
2494The sun was setting, it was my hour of prayer; I felt the presence
2495of God; how sincere was my gratitude for his providing me with new
2496means of exercising the faculties of my mind.  How it revived my
2497recollection of all the invaluable blessings he had bestowed upon
2498me!
2499
2500I stood before the window, with my arms between the bars, and my
2501hands folded; the church of St. Mark lay below me, an immense flock
2502of pigeons, free as the air, were flying about, were cooing and
2503billing, or busied in constructing their nests upon the leaden roof;
2504the heavens in their magnificence were before me; I surveyed all
2505that part of Venice visible from my prison; a distant murmur of
2506human voices broke sweetly on my ear.  From this vast unhappy
2507prison-house did I hold communion with Him, whose eyes alone beheld
2508me; to Him I recommended my father, my mother, and, individually,
2509all those most dear to me, and it appeared as if I heard Him reply,
2510"Confide in my goodness," and I exclaimed, "Thy goodness assures
2511me."
2512
2513I concluded my prayer with much emotion, greatly comforted, and
2514little caring for the bites of the gnats, which had been joyfully
2515feasting upon me.  The same evening, my mind, after such exaltation,
2516beginning to grow calmer, I found the torment from the gnats
2517becoming insufferable, and while engaged in wrapping up my hands and
2518face, a vulgar and malignant idea all at once entered my mind, which
2519horrified me, and which I vainly attempted to banish.
2520
2521Tremerello had insinuated a vile suspicion respecting Angiola; that,
2522in short, she was a spy upon my secret opinions!  She! that noble-
2523hearted creature, who knew nothing of politics, and wished to know
2524nothing of them!
2525
2526It was impossible for me to suspect her; but have I, said I, the
2527same certainty respecting Tremerello?  Suppose that rogue should be
2528the bribed instrument of secret informers; suppose the letter had
2529been fabricated by WHO KNOWS WHOM, to induce me to make important
2530disclosures to my new friend.  Perhaps his pretended prison does not
2531exist; or if so, he may be a traitor, eager to worm out secrets in
2532order to make his own terms; perhaps he is a man of honour, and
2533Tremerello himself the traitor who aims at our destruction in order
2535
2536Oh, horrible thought, yet too natural to the unhappy prisoner,
2537everywhere in fear of enmity and fraud!
2538
2539Such suspicions tormented and degraded me.  I did not entertain them
2540as regarded Angiola a single moment.  Yet, from what Tremerello had
2541said, a kind of doubt clung to me as to the conduct of those who had
2542permitted her to come into my apartment.  Had they, either from
2543their own zeal, or by superior authority, given her the office of
2544spy? in that case, how ill had she discharged such an office!
2545
2546But what was I to do respecting the letter of the unknown?  Should I
2547adopt the severe, repulsive counsel of fear which we call prudence?
2548Shall I return the letter to Tremerello, and tell him, I do not wish
2549to run any risk.  Yet suppose there should be no treason; and the
2550unknown be a truly worthy character, deserving that I should venture
2551something, if only to relieve the horrors of his solitude?  Coward
2552as I am, standing on the brink of death, the fatal decree ready to
2553strike me at any moment, yet to refuse to perform a simple act of
2554love!  Reply to him I must and will.  Grant that it be discovered,
2555no one can fairly be accused of writing the letter, though poor
2556Tremerello would assuredly meet with the severest chastisement.  Is
2557not this consideration of itself sufficient to decide me against
2558undertaking any clandestine correspondence?  Is it not my absolute
2559duty to decline it?
2560
2561
2562
2563CHAPTER XXXV.
2564
2565
2566
2567I was agitated the whole evening; I never closed my eyes that night,
2568and amidst so many conflicting doubts, I knew not on what to
2569resolve.
2570
2571I sprung from my bed before dawn, I mounted upon the window-place,
2572and offered up my prayers.  In trying circumstances it is necessary
2573to appeal with confidence to God, to heed his inspirations, and to
2575
2576This I did, and after long prayer, I went down, shook off the gnats,
2577took the bitten gloves in my hands, and came to the determination to
2578explain my apprehensions to Tremerello and warn him of the great
2579danger to which he himself was exposed by bearing letters; to
2580renounce the plan if he wavered, and to accept it if its terrors did
2581not deter him.  I walked about till I heard the words of the song:-
2582Segnai mi gera un gato, E ti me carezzevi.  It was Tremerello
2583bringing me my coffee.  I acquainted him with my scruples and spared
2584nothing to excite his fears.  I found him staunch in his desire to
2585SERVE, as he said, TWO SUCH COMPLETE GENTLEMEN.  This was strangely
2586at variance with the sheep's face he wore, and the name we had just
2587given him. {15}  Well, I was as firm on my part.
2588
2589"I shall leave you my wine," said I, "see to find me the paper; I
2590want to carry on this correspondence; and, rely on it, if any one
2591comes without the warning song, I shall make an end of every
2592suspicious article."
2593
2594"Here is a sheet of paper ready for you; I will give you more
2596
2597I longed to take my coffee; Tremerello left me, and I sat down to
2598write.  Did I do right? was the motive really approved by God?  Was
2599it not rather the triumph of my natural courage, of my preference of
2601sacrifices.  Mingled with this was a proud complacency, in return
2602for the esteem expressed towards me by the unknown, and a fear of
2603appearing cowardly, if I were to adhere to silence and decline a
2604correspondence, every way so fraught with peril.  How was I to
2605resolve these doubts?  I explained them frankly to my fellow-
2606prisoner in replying to him, stating it nevertheless, as my opinion,
2607that if anything were undertaken from good motives, and without the
2608least repugnance of conscience, there could be no fear of blame.  I
2609advised him at the same time to reflect seriously upon the subject,
2610and to express clearly with what degree of tranquillity, or of
2611anxiety, he was prepared to engage, in it.  Moreover, if, upon
2612reconsideration, he considered the plan as too dangerous, we ought
2613to have firmness enough to renounce the satisfaction we promised
2614ourselves in such a correspondence, and rest satisfied with the
2616derived, and the unalterable goodwill we felt towards each other,
2617which resulted from it.  I filled four pages with my explanations,
2618and expressions of the warmest friendship; I briefly alluded to the
2619subject of my imprisonment; I spoke of my family with enthusiastic
2620love, as well as of some of my friends, and attempted to draw a full
2621picture of my mind and character.
2622
2623In the evening I sent the letter.  I had not slept during the
2624preceding night; I was completely exhausted, and I soon fell into a
2625profound sleep, from which I awoke on the ensuing morning, refreshed
2626and comparatively happy.  I was in hourly expectation of receiving
2627my new friend's answer, and I felt at once anxious and pleased at
2628the idea.
2629
2630
2631
2632CHAPTER XXXVI.
2633
2634
2635
2636The answer was brought with my coffee.  I welcomed Tremerello, and,
2637embracing him, exclaimed, "May God reward you for this goodness!"
2638My suspicions had fled, because they were hateful to me; and
2639because, making a point of never speaking imprudently upon politics,
2640they appeared equally useless; and because, with all my admiration
2641for the genius of Tacitus, I had never much faith in the justice of
2642TACITISING as he does, and of looking upon every object on the dark
2643side.  Giuliano (as the writer signed himself), began his letter
2644with the usual compliments, and informed me that he felt not the
2645least anxiety in entering upon the correspondence.  He rallied me
2646upon my hesitation; occasionally assumed a tone of irony; and then
2647more seriously declared that it had given him no little pain to
2648observe in me "a certain scrupulous wavering, and a subtilty of
2649conscience, which, however Christian-like, was little in accordance
2650with true philosophy."  "I shall continue to esteem you," he added,
2651"though we should not agree upon that point; for I am bound, in all
2652sincerity, to inform you, that I have no religion, that I abhor all
2653creeds, and that I assume from a feeling of modesty the name of
2654Julian, from the circumstance of that good emperor having been so
2655decided an enemy of the Christians, though, in fact, I go much
2656further than he ever did.  The sceptred Julian believed in God, and
2657had his own little superstitions.  I have none; I believe not in a
2658God, but refer all virtue to the love of truth, and the hatred of
2659such as do not please me."  There was no reasoning in what he said.
2660He inveighed bitterly against Christianity, made an idol of worldly
2661honour and virtue; and in a half serious and jocular vein took on
2662himself to pronounce the Emperor Julian's eulogium for his apostasy,
2663and his philanthropic efforts to eradicate all traces of the gospel
2664from the face of the earth.
2665
2666Apprehending that he had thus given too severe a shock to my
2667opinions, he then asked my pardon, attempting to excuse himself upon
2668the ground of PERFECT SINCERITY.  Reiterating his extreme wish to
2669enter into more friendly relations with me, he then bade me
2670farewell.
2671
2672In a postscript he added:- "I have no sort of scruples, except a
2673fear of not having made myself sufficiently understood.  I ought not
2674to conceal that to me the Christian language which you employ,
2675appears a mere mask to conceal your real opinions.  I wish it may be
2676so; and in this case, throw off your cloak, as I have set you an
2677example."
2678
2679I cannot describe the effect this letter had upon me.  I had opened
2680it full of hope and ardour.  Suddenly an icy hand seemed to chill
2681the life-blood of my heart.  That sarcasm on my conscientiousness
2682hurt me extremely.  I repented having formed any acquaintance with
2683such a man, I who so much detest the doctrine of the cynics, who
2684consider it so wholly unphilosophical, and the most injurious in its
2685tendency:  I who despise all kind of arrogance as it deserves.
2686
2687Having read the last word it contained, I took the letter in both my
2688hands, and tearing it directly down the middle, I held up a half in
2689each like an executioner, employed in exposing it to public scorn.
2690
2691
2692
2693CHAPTER XXXVII.
2694
2695
2696
2697I kept my eye fixed on the fragments, meditating for a moment upon
2698the inconstancy and fallacy of human things I had just before
2699eagerly desired to obtain, that which I now tore with disdain.  I
2700had hoped to have found a companion in misfortune, and how I should
2701have valued his friendship!  Now I gave him all kinds of hard names,
2702insolent, arrogant, atheist, and self-condemned.
2703
2704I repeated the same operation, dividing the wretched members of the
2705guilty letter again and again, till happening to cast my eye on a
2706piece remaining in my hand, expressing some better sentiment, I
2707changed my intention, and collecting together the disjecta membra,
2708ingeniously pieced them with the view of reading it once more.  I
2709sat down, placed them on my great Bible, and examined the whole.  I
2711said I, "he will think he has terrified me at the mere appearance of
2712such a philosophical hero, a very Hercules in his own estimation.
2713Let us show him, with all due courtesy, that we fear not to confront
2714him and his vicious doctrines, any more than to brave the risk of a
2715correspondence, more dangerous to others than to ourselves.  I will
2716teach him that true courage does not consist in ridiculing
2717CONSCIENCE, and that real dignity does not consist in arrogance and
2718pride.  He shall be taught the reasonableness of Christianity, and
2719the nothingness of disbelief.  Moreover, if this mock Julian start
2720opinions so directly opposite to my own, if he spare not the most
2721biting sarcasm, if he attack me thus uncourteously; is it not all a
2722proof that he can be no spy?  Yet, might not this be a mere
2723stratagem, to draw me into a discussion by wounding my self-love?
2724Yet no!  I am unjust--I smart under his bitter irreligious jests,
2725and conclude at once that he must be the most infamous of men.  Base
2726suspicion, which I have so often decried in others! he may be what
2727he appears--a presumptuous infidel, but not a spy.  Have I even a
2728right to call by the name of INSOLENCE, what he considers SINCERITY.
2729Is this, I continued, thy humility, oh, hypocrite?  If any one
2730presume to maintain his own opinions, and to question your faith, he
2731is forthwith to be met with contempt and abuse.  Is not this worse
2732in a Christian, than the bold sincerity of the unbeliever?  Yes, and
2733perhaps he only requires one ray of Divine grace, to employ his
2734noble energetic love of truth in the cause of true religion, with
2735far greater success than yourself.  Were it not, then, more becoming
2736in me to pray for, than to irritate him?  Who knows, but while
2737employed in destroying his letter with every mark of ignominy, he
2738might be reading mine with expressions of kindness and affection;
2739never dreaming I should fly into such a mighty passion at his plain
2740and bold sincerity.  Is he not the better of the two, to love and
2741esteem me while declaring he is no Christian; than I who exclaim, I
2742am a Christian, and I detest you.  It is difficult to obtain a
2743knowledge of a man during a long intercourse, yet I would condemn
2744him on the evidence of a single letter.  He may, perhaps, be unhappy
2745in his atheism, and wish to hear all my arguments to enable him the
2746better to arrive at the truth.  Perhaps, too, I may be called to
2747effect so beneficent a work, the humble instrument of a gracious
2748God.  Oh, that it may indeed be so, I will not shrink from the
2750
2751
2752
2753CHAPTER XXXVIII.
2754
2755
2756
2757I sat down to write to Julian, and was cautious not to let one
2758irritating word proceed from my pen.  I took in good part his
2759reflection upon my fastidiousness of conscience; I even joked about
2760it, telling him he perhaps gave me too much credit for it, and ought
2761to suspend his good opinion till he knew me better.  I praised his
2762sincerity, assuring him that he would find me equal to him in this
2763respect, and that as a proof of it, I had determined to defend
2765give free scope to your opinions, you will be prepared to give me
2767
2768I then boldly entered upon my task, arguing my way by degrees, and
2769analysing with impartiality the essence of Christianity; the worship
2770of God free from superstitions, the brotherhood of mankind,
2771aspiration after virtue, humility without baseness, dignity without
2772pride, as exemplified in our Divine Saviour! what more
2773philosophical, and more truly grand?
2774
2775It was next my object to demonstrate, "that this divine wisdom had
2776more or less displayed itself to all those who by the light of
2777reason had sought after the truth, though not generally diffused
2778till the arrival of its great Author upon the earth.  He had proved
2779his heavenly mission by effecting the most wonderful and glorious
2780results, by human means the most mean and humble.  What the greatest
2781philosophers had in vain attempted, the overthrow of idolatry, and
2782the universal preaching of love and brotherhood, was achieved by a
2783few untutored missionaries.  From that era was first dated the
2784emancipation of slaves, no less from bondage of limbs than of mind,
2785until by degrees a civilisation without slavery became apparent, a
2786state of society believed to be utterly impracticable by the ancient
2787philosophers.  A review of history from the appearance of Christ to
2788the present age, would finally demonstrate that the religion he
2790in civilised society.  For this reason, the assertion that the
2791gospel was no longer in accordance with the continued progress of
2792civilisation, could not for a moment be maintained."
2793
2794I wrote in as small characters as I could, and at great length, but
2795I could not embrace all which I had ready prepared upon the subject.
2796I re-examined the whole carefully.  There was not one revengeful,
2797injurious, or even repulsive word.  Benevolence, toleration, and
2798forbearance, were the only weapons I employed against ridicule and
2799sarcasm of every kind; they were also employed after mature
2800deliberation, and dictated from the heart.
2801
2802I despatched the letter, and in no little anxiety waited the arrival
2803of the next morning, in hopes of a speedy reply.
2804
2805Tremerello came, and observed; "The gentleman, sir, was not able to
2806write, but entreats of you to continue the joke."
2807
2808"The joke!" I exclaimed.  "No, he could not have said that! you must
2809have mistaken him."
2810
2811Tremerello shrugged up his shoulders:  "I suppose I must, if you say
2812so."
2813
2814"But did it really seem as if he had said a joke?"
2815
2816"As plainly as I now hear the sound of St. Mark's clock;" (the
2817Campanone was just then heard.)  I drank my coffee and was silent.
2818
2819"But tell me; did he read the whole of the letter?"
2820
2821"I think he did; for he laughed like a madman, and then squeezing
2822your letter into a ball, he began to throw it about, till reminding
2823him that he must not forget to destroy it, he did so immediately."
2824
2825"That is very well."
2826
2827I then put my coffee cup into Tremerello's hands, observing that it
2829
2831
2832"Quite vile!"
2833
2834"Well!  I made it myself; and I can assure you that I made it
2835strong; there were no dregs."
2836
2837"True; it may be, my mouth is out of taste."
2838
2839
2840
2841CHAPTER XXXIX.
2842
2843
2844
2845I walked about the whole morning in a rage.  "What an abandoned
2846wretch is this Julian! what, call my letter a joke! play at ball
2847with it, reply not a single line!  But all your infidels are alike!
2848They dare not stand the test of argument; they know their weakness,
2849and try to turn it off with a jest.  Full of vanity and boasting,
2850they venture not to examine even themselves.  They philosophers,
2851indeed! worthy disciples of Democritus; who DID nothing but laugh,
2852and WAS nothing but a buffoon.  I am rightly served, however, for
2853beginning a correspondence like this; and still more for writing a
2854second time."
2855
2856At dinner, Tremerello took up my wine, poured it into a flask, and
2857put it into his pocket, observing:  "I see that you are in want of
2858paper;" and he gave me some.  He retired, and the moment I cast my
2859eye on the paper, I felt tempted to sit down and write to Julian a
2860sharp lecture on his intolerable turpitude and presumption, and so
2861take leave of him.  But again, I repented of my own violence, and
2862uncharitableness, and finally resolved to write another letter in a
2863better spirit as I had done before.
2864
2865I did so, and despatched it without delay.  The next morning I
2866received a few lines, simply expressive of the writer's thanks; but
2867without a single jest, or the least invitation to continue the
2868correspondence.  Such a billet displeased me; nevertheless I
2869determined to persevere.  Six long letters were the result, for each
2870of which I received a few laconic lines of thanks, with some
2871declamation against his enemies, followed by a joke on the abuse he
2872had heaped upon them, asserting that it was extremely natural the
2873strong should oppress the weak, and regretting that he was not in
2874the list of the former.  He then related some of his love affairs,
2875and observed that they exercised no little sway over his disturbed
2876imagination.
2877
2878In reply to my last on the subject of Christianity, he said he had
2879prepared a long letter; for which I looked out in vain, though he
2880wrote to me every day on other topics--chiefly a tissue of obscenity
2881and folly.
2882
2883I reminded him of his promise that he would answer all my arguments,
2884and recommended him to weigh well the reasonings with which I had
2885supplied him before he attempted to write.  He replied to this
2886somewhat in a rage, assuming the airs of a philosopher, a man of
2887firmness, a man who stood in no want of brains to distinguish "a
2888hawk from a hand-saw." {16}  He then resumed his jocular vein, and
2889began to enlarge upon his experiences in life, and especially some
2891
2892
2893
2894CHAPTER XL.
2895
2896
2897
2898I bore all this patiently, to give him no handle for accusing me of
2899bigotry or intolerance, and in the hope that after the fever of
2900erotic buffoonery and folly had subsided, he might have some lucid
2901intervals, and listen to common sense.  Meantime I gave him
2902expressly to understand that I disapproved of his want of respect
2903towards women, his free and profane expressions, and pitied those
2904unhappy ones, who, he informed me, had been his victims.
2905
2906He pretended to care little about my disapprobation, and repeated:
2907"spite of your fine strictures upon immorality, I know well you are
2908amused with the account of my adventures.  All men are as fond of
2909pleasure as I am, but they have not the frankness to talk of it
2910without cloaking it from the eyes of the world; I will go on till
2911you are quite enchanted, and confess yourself compelled in VERY
2912CONSCIENCE to applaud me."  So he went on from week to week, I
2913bearing with him, partly out of curiosity and partly in the
2914expectation he would fall upon some better topic; and I can fairly
2915say that this species of tolerance, did me no little harm.  I began
2916to lose my respect for pure and noble truths, my thoughts became
2917confused, and my mind disturbed.  To converse with men of degraded
2918minds is in itself degrading, at least if you possess not virtue
2919very superior to mine.  "This is a proper punishment," said I, "for
2920my presumption; this it is to assume the office of a missionary
2921without its sacredness of character."
2922
2923One day I determined to write to him as follows:- " I have hitherto
2924attempted to turn your attention to other subjects, and you
2925persevere in sending me accounts of yourself which no way please me.
2926For the sake of variety, let us correspond a little respecting
2927worthier matters; if not, give the hand of fellowship, and let us
2928have done."
2929
2931"Oh, blessed solitude;" often I exclaimed, "how far holier and
2932better art thou than harsh and undignified association with the
2933living.  Away with the empty and impious vanities, the base actions,
2934the low despicable conversations of such a world.  I have studied it
2935enough; let me turn to my communion with God; to the calm, dear
2936recollections of my family and my true friends.  I will read my
2937Bible oftener than I have done, I will again write down my thoughts,
2938will try to raise and improve them, and taste the pleasure of a
2939sorrow at least innocent; a thousand fold to be preferred to vulgar
2940and wicked imaginations."
2941
2942Whenever Tremerello now entered my room he was in the habit of
2943saying, "I have got no answer yet."
2944
2945"It is all right," was my reply.
2946
2947About the third day from this, he said, with a serious look, "Signor
2948N. N. is rather indisposed."
2949
2950"What is the matter with him?"
2951
2952"He does not say, but he has taken to his bed, neither eats nor
2953drinks, and is sadly out of humour."
2954
2955I was touched; he was suffering and had no one to console him.
2956
2957"I will write him a few lines," exclaimed I.
2958
2959"I will take them this evening, then," said Tremerello, and he went
2960out.
2961
2962I was a little perplexed on sitting down to my table:  "Am I right
2963in resuming this correspondence? was I not, just now, praising
2964solitude as a treasure newly found? what inconsistency is this!  Ah!
2965but he neither eats nor drinks, and I fear must be very ill.  Is it,
2966then, a moment to abandon him?  My last letter was severe, and may
2967perhaps have caused him pain.  Perhaps, in spite of our different
2968ways of thinking, he wished not to end our correspondence.  Yes, he
2969has thought my letter more caustic than I meant it to be, and taken
2970it in the light of an absolute and contemptuous dismission.
2971
2972
2973
2974CHAPTER XLI.
2975
2976
2977
2978I sat down and wrote as follows:-
2979
2980"I hear that you are not well, and am extremely sorry for it.  I
2981wish I were with you, and enabled to assist you as a friend.  I hope
2982your illness is the sole cause why you have not written to me during
2983the last three days.  Did you take offence at my little strictures
2984the other day?  Believe me they were dictated by no ill will or
2985spleen, but with the single object of drawing your attention to more
2986serious subjects.  Should it be irksome for you to write, send me an
2987exact account, by word, how you find yourself.  You shall hear from
2988me every day, and I will try to say something to amuse you, and to
2989show you that I really wish you well."
2990
2992these terms:
2993
2994"I renounce your friendship:  if you are at a loss how to estimate
2995mine, I return the compliment in its full force.  I am not a man to
2996put up with injurious treatment; I am not one, who, once rejected,
2997will be ordered to return."
2998
2999"Because you heard I was unwell, you approach me with a hypocritical
3000air, in the idea that illness will break down my spirit, and make me
3001listen to your sermons . . . "
3002
3003In this way he rambled on, reproaching and despising me in the most
3004revolting terms he could find, and turning every thing I had said
3005into ridicule and burlesque.  He assured me that he knew how to live
3006and die with consistency; that is to say, with the utmost hatred and
3007contempt for all philosophical creeds differing from his own.  I was
3008dismayed!
3009
3010"A pretty conversion I have made of it!" I exclaimed; "yet God is my
3011witness that my motives were pure.  I have done nothing to merit an
3012attack like this.  But patience!  I am once more undeceived.  I am
3013not called upon to do more."
3014
3015In a few days I became less angry, and conceived that all this
3016bitterness might have resulted from some excitement which might pass
3017away.  Probably he repents, yet scorns to confess he was in the
3018wrong.  In such a state of mind, it might be generous of me to write
3019to him once more.  It cost my self-love something, but I did it.  To
3020humble one's self for a good purpose is not degrading, with whatever
3021degree of unjust contempt it may be returned.
3022
3024implacable patient declared that he admired what he called my
3025evangelical moderation.  "Now, therefore," he continued, "let us
3026resume our correspondence, but let us speak out.  We do not like
3027each other, but we will write, each for his own amusement, setting
3028everything down which may come into our heads.  You will tell me
3029your seraphic visions and revelations, and I will treat you with my
3030profane adventures; you again will run into ecstasies upon the
3031dignity of man, yea, and of woman; I into an ingenuous narrative of
3032my various profanations; I hoping to make a convert of you, and you
3033of me.
3034
3035"Give me an answer should you approve these conditions."
3036
3037I replied, "Yours is not a compact, but a jest.  I was full of good-
3038will towards you.  My conscience does not constrain me to do more
3039than to wish you every happiness both as regards this and another
3040life."
3041
3042Thus ended my secret connexion with that strange man.  But who
3043knows; he was perhaps more exasperated by ill fortune, delirium, or
3044despair, than really bad at heart.
3045
3046
3047
3048CHAPTER XLII.
3049
3050
3051
3052I once more learnt to value solitude, and my days tracked each other
3053without any distinction or mark of change.
3054
3055The summer was over; it was towards the close of September, and the
3056heat grew less oppressive; October came.  I congratulated myself now
3057on occupying a chamber well adapted for winter.  One morning,
3058however, the jailer made his appearance, with an order to change my
3059prison.
3060
3061"And where am I to go?"
3062
3063"Only a few steps, into a fresher chamber."
3064
3065"But why not think of it when I was dying of suffocation; when the
3066air was filled with gnats, and my bed with bugs?"
3067
3068"The order did not come before."
3069
3070"Patience! let us be gone!"
3071
3072Notwithstanding I had suffered so greatly in this prison, it gave me
3073pain to leave it; not simply because it would have been best for the
3074winter season, but for many other reasons.  There I had the ants to
3075attract my attention, which I had fed and looked upon, I may almost
3076say, with paternal care.  Within the last few days, however, my
3077friend the spider, and my great ally in my war with the gnats, had,
3078for some reason or other, chosen to emigrate; at least he did not
3079come as usual.  "Yet perhaps," said I, "he may remember me, and come
3080back, but he will find my prison empty, or occupied by some other
3081guest--no friend perhaps to spiders--and thus meet with an awkward
3082reception.  His fine woven house, and his gnat-feasts will all be
3083put an end to."
3084
3085Again, my gloomy abode had been embellished by the presence of
3086Angiola, so good, so gentle and compassionate.  There she used to
3087sit, and try every means she could devise to amuse me, even dropping
3088crumbs of bread for my little visitors, the ants; and there I heard
3089her sobs, and saw the tears fall thick and fast, as she spoke of her
3090cruel lover.
3091
3092The place I was removed to was under the leaden prisons, (I Piombi)
3093open to the north and west, with two windows, one on each side; an
3094abode exposed to perpetual cold and even icy chill during the
3095severest months.  The window to the west was the largest, that to
3096the north was high and narrow, and situated above my bed.
3097
3098I first looked out at this last, and found that it commanded a view
3099of the Palace of the Patriarch.  Other prisons were near mine, in a
3100narrow wing to the right, and in a projection of the building right
3101opposite.  Here were two prisons, one above the other.  The lower
3102had an enormous window, through which I could see a man, very richly
3103drest, pacing to and fro.  It was the Signor Caporale di Cesena.  He
3104perceived me, made a signal, and we pronounced each other's names.
3105
3106I next looked out at my other window.  I put the little table upon
3107my bed, and a chair upon my table; I climbed up and found myself on
3108a level with part of the palace roof; and beyond this was to be seen
3109a fine view of the city and the lake.
3110
3111I paused to admire it; and though I heard some one open the door, I
3112did not move.  It was the jailer; and perceiving that I had
3113clambered up, he got it into his head I was making an attempt to
3114escape, forgetting, in his alarm, that I was not a mouse to creep
3115through all those narrow bars.  In a moment he sprung upon the bed,
3116spite of a violent sciatica which had nearly bent him double, and
3117catching me by the legs, he began to call out, "thieves and murder!"
3118
3119"But don't you see," I exclaimed, "you thoughtless man, that I
3120cannot conjure myself through these horrible bars?  Surely you know
3121I got up here out of mere curiosity."
3122
3123"Oh, yes, I see, I apprehend, sir; but quick, sir, jump down, sir;
3124these are all temptations of the devil to make you think of it! come
3125down, sir, pray."
3126
3127I lost no time in my descent, and laughed.
3128
3129
3130
3131CHAPTER XLIII.
3132
3133
3134
3135At the windows of the side prisons I recognised six other prisoners,
3136all there on account of politics.  Just then, as I was composing my
3137mind to perfect solitude, I found myself comparatively in a little
3138world of human beings around me.  The change was, at first, irksome
3139to me, such complete seclusion having rendered me almost unsociable,
3140add to which, the disagreeable termination of my correspondence with
3141Julian.  Still, the little conversation I was enabled to carry on,
3142partly by signs, with my new fellow-prisoners, was of advantage by
3143diverting my attention.  I breathed not a word respecting my
3144correspondence with Julian; it was a point of honour between us, and
3145in bringing it forward here, I was fully aware that in the immense
3146number of unhappy men with which these prisons were thronged, it
3147would be impossible to ascertain who was the assumed Julian.
3148
3149To the interest derived from seeing my fellow-captives was added
3150another of a yet more delightful kind.  I could perceive from my
3151large window, beyond the projection of prisons, situated right
3152before me, a surface of roofs; decorated with cupolas, campanili,
3153towers, and chimneys, which gradually faded in a distant view of sea
3154and sky.  In the house nearest to me, a wing of the Patriarchal
3155palace, lived an excellent family, who had a claim to my gratitude,
3156for expressing, by their salutations, the interest which they took
3157in my fate.  A sign, a word of kindness to the unhappy, is really
3158charity of no trivial kind.  From one of the windows I saw a little
3159boy, nine or ten years old, stretching out his hands towards me, and
3160I heard him call out, "Mamma, mamma, they have placed somebody up
3161there in the Piombi.  Oh, you poor prisoner, who are you?"
3162
3163"I am Silvio Pellico," was the reply.
3164
3165Another older boy now ran to the same window, and cried out, "Are
3166you Silvio Pellico?"
3167
3168"Yes; and tell me your names, dear boys."
3169
3170"My name is Antonio S-, and my brother's is Joseph."
3171
3172He then turned round, and, speaking to some one within, "What else
3173ought I to ask him?"  A lady, whom I conjecture to have been their
3174mother, then half concealed, suggested some pretty words to them,
3175which they repeated, and for which I thanked them with all my heart.
3176These sort of communications were a small matter, yet it required to
3177be cautious how we indulged in them, lest we should attract the
3178notice of the jailer.  Morning, noon, and night, they were a source
3179of the greatest consolation; the little boys were constantly in the
3180habit of bidding me good night, before the windows were closed, and
3181the lights brought in, "Good night, Silvio," and often it was
3182repeated by the good lady, in a more subdued voice, "Good night,
3183Silvio, have courage!"
3184
3185When engaged at their meals they would say, "How we wish we could
3186give you any of this good coffee and milk.  Pray remember, the first
3187day they let you out, to come and see us.  Mamma and we will give
3188you plenty of good things, {17} and as many kisses as you like."
3189
3190
3191
3192CHAPTER XLIV.
3193
3194
3195
3196The month of October brought round one of the most disagreeable
3197anniversaries in my life.  I was arrested on the 13th of that month
3198in the preceding year.  Other recollections of the same period, also
3199pained me.  That day two years, a highly valued and excellent man
3200whom I truly honoured, was drowned in the Ticino.  Three years
3201before, a young person, Odoardo Briche, {18} whom I loved as if he
3202had been my own son, had accidentally killed himself with a musket.
3203Earlier in my youth another severe affliction had befallen me in the
3204same month.
3205
3206Though not superstitious, the remembrance of so many unhappy
3207occurrences at the same period of the year, inspired a feeling of
3208extreme sorrow.  While conversing at the window with the children,
3209and with my fellow prisoners, I assumed an air of mirth, but hardly
3210had I re-entered my cave than an irresistible feeling of melancholy
3211weighed down every faculty of my mind.  In vain I attempted to
3212engage in some literary composition; I was involuntarily impelled to
3213write upon other topics.  I thought of my family, and wrote letters
3214after letters, in which I poured forth all my burdened spirit, all I
3215had felt and enjoyed of home, in far happier days, surrounded by
3216brothers, sisters, and friends who had always loved me.  The desire
3217of seeing them, and long compulsory separation, led me to speak on a
3218variety of little things, and reveal a thousand thoughts of
3219gratitude and tenderness, which would not otherwise have occurred to
3220my mind.
3221
3222In the same way I took a review of my former life, diverting my
3223attention by recalling past incidents, and dwelling upon those
3224happier periods now for ever fled.  Often, when the picture I had
3225thus drawn, and sat contemplating for hours, suddenly vanished from
3226my sight, and left me conscious only of the fearful present, and
3227more threatening future, the pen fell from my hand; I recoiled with
3228horror; the contrast was more than I could bear.  These were
3230intense susceptibility as then.  It was agony.  This I attributed to
3231extreme excitement of the passions, occasioned by expressing them in
3232the form of letters, addressed to persons to whom I was so tenderly
3233attached.
3234
3235I turned to other subjects, I determined to change the form of
3236expressing my ideas, but could not.  In whatever way I began, it
3237always ended in a letter teeming with affection and with grief.
3238
3239"What," I exclaimed, "am I no more master of my own will?  Is this
3240strange necessity of doing that which I object to, a distortion of
3241my brain?  At first I could have accounted for it; but after being
3242inured to this solitude, reconciled, and supported by religious
3243reflections; how have I become the slave of these blind impulses,
3244these wanderings of heart and mind? let me apply to other matters!"
3245I then endeavoured to pray; or to weary my attention by hard study
3246of the German.  Alas!  I commenced and found myself actually engaged
3247in writing a letter!
3248
3249
3250
3251CHAPTER XLV.
3252
3253
3254
3255Such a state of mind was a real disease, or I know not if it may be
3256called a kind of somnambulism.  Without doubt it was the effect of
3257extreme lassitude, occasioned by continual thought and watchfulness.
3258
3259It gained upon me.  I grew feverish and sleepless.  I left off
3260coffee, but the disease was not removed.  It appeared to me as if I
3261were two persons, one of them eagerly bent upon writing letters, the
3262other upon doing something else.  "At least," said I, "you shall
3263write them in German if you do; and we shall learn a little of the
3264language.  Methought HE then set to work, and wrote volumes of bad
3265German, and he certainly brought me rapidly forward in the study of
3266it.  Towards morning, my mind being wholly exhausted, I fell into a
3267heavy stupor, during which all those most dear to me haunted my
3268dreams.  I thought that my father and mother were weeping over me; I
3269heard their lamentations, and suddenly I started out of my sleep
3270sobbing and affrighted.  Sometimes, during short, disturbed
3271slumbers, I heard my mother's voice, as if consoling others, with
3272whom she came into my prison, and she addressed me in the most
3273affectionate language upon the duty of resignation, and then, when I
3274was rejoiced to see her courage, and that of others, suddenly she
3275appeared to burst into tears, and all wept.  I can convey no idea of
3276the species of agony which I at these times felt.
3277
3278To escape from this misery, I no longer went to bed.  I sat down to
3279read by the light of my lamp, but I could comprehend nothing, and
3280soon I found that I was even unable to think.  I next tried to copy
3281something, but still copied something different from what I was
3282writing, always recurring to the subject of my afflictions.  If I
3283retired to rest, it was worse; I could lie in no position; I became
3284convulsed, and was constrained to rise.  In case I slept, the same
3285visions reappeared, and made me suffer much more than I did by
3286keeping awake.  My prayers, too, were feeble and ineffectual; and,
3287at length, I could simply invoke the name of the Deity; of the Being
3288who had assumed a human form, and was acquainted with grief.  I was
3289afraid to sleep; my prayers seemed to bring me no relief; my
3290imagination became excited, and, even when awake, I heard strange
3291noises close to me, sometimes sighs and groans, at others mingled
3292with sounds of stifled laughter.  I was never superstitious, but
3293these apparently real and unaccountable sights and sounds led me to
3294doubt, and I then firmly believed that I was the victim of some
3295unknown and malignant beings.  Frequently I took my light, and made
3296a search for those mockers and persecutors of my waking and sleeping
3297hours.  At last they began to pull me by my clothes, threw my books
3298upon the ground, blew out my lamp, and even, as it seemed, conveyed
3299me into another dungeon.  I would then start to my feet, look and
3300examine all round me, and ask myself if I were really mad.  The
3301actual world, and that of my imagination, were no longer
3302distinguishable, I knew not whether what I saw and felt was a
3303delusion or truth.  In this horrible state I could only repeat one
3304prayer, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
3305
3306
3307
3308CHAPTER XLVI.
3309
3310
3311
3312One morning early, I threw myself upon my pallet, having first
3313placed my handkerchief, as usual, under my pillow.  Shortly after,
3314falling asleep, I suddenly woke, and found myself in a state of
3315suffocation; my persecutors were strangling me, and, on putting my
3316hand to my throat, I actually found my own handkerchief, all
3317knotted, tied round my neck.  I could have sworn I had never made
3318those knots; yet I must have done this in my delirium; but as it was
3319then impossible to believe it, I lived in continual expectation of
3320being strangled.  The recollection is still horrible.  They left me
3321at dawn of day; and, resuming my courage, I no longer felt the least
3322apprehension, and even imagined it would be impossible they should
3323again return.  Yet no sooner did the night set in, than I was again
3324haunted by them in all their horrors; being made sensible of their
3325gradual approach by cold shiverings, the loss of all power, with a
3326species of fascination which riveted both the eye and the mind.  In
3327fact, the more weak and wretched I felt, at night, the greater were
3328my efforts during the day to appear cheerful in conversing with my
3329companions, with the two boys at the palace, and with my jailers.
3330No one to hear my jokes, would have imagined it possible that I was
3331suffering under the disease I did.  I thought to encourage myself by
3332this forced merriment, but the spectral visions which I laughed at
3333by day became fearful realities in the hours of darkness.
3334
3335Had I dared, I should have petitioned the commission to change my
3336apartment, but the fear of ridicule, in case I should be asked my
3337reasons, restrained me.  No reasonings, no studies, or pursuits, and
3338even no prayers, were longer of avail, and the idea of being wholly
3339abandoned by heaven, took possession of my mind.
3340
3341All those wicked sophisms against a just Providence, which, while in
3342possession of reason, had appeared to me so vain and impious, now
3343recurred with redoubled power, in the form of irresistible
3344arguments.  I struggled mightily against this last and greatest evil
3345I had yet borne, and in the lapse of a few days the temptation fled.
3346Still I refused to acknowledge the truth and beauty of religion; I
3347quoted the assertions of the most violent atheists, and those which
3348Julian had so recently dwelt upon:  "Religion serves only to
3349enfeeble the mind," was one of these, and I actually presumed that
3350by renouncing my God I should acquire greater fortitude.  Insane
3351idea!  I denied God, yet knew not how to deny those invisible
3352malevolent beings, that appeared to encompass me, and feast upon my
3353sufferings.
3354
3355What shall I call this martyrdom? is it enough to say that it was a
3356disease? or was it a divine chastisement for my pride, to teach me
3357that without a special illumination I might become as great an
3358unbeliever as Julian, and still more absurd.  However this may be,
3359it pleased God to deliver me from such evil, when I least expected
3360it.  One morning, after taking my coffee, I was seized with violent
3361sickness, attended with colic.  I imagined that I had been poisoned.
3362After excessive vomiting, I burst into a strong perspiration and
3363retired to bed.  About mid-day I fell asleep, and continued in a
3364quiet slumber till evening.  I awoke in great surprise at this
3365unexpected repose, and, thinking I should not sleep again, I got up.
3366On rising I said, "I shall now have more fortitude to resist my
3367accustomed terrors."  But they returned no more.  I was in
3368ecstasies; I threw myself upon my knees in the fulness of my heart,
3369and again prayed to my God in spirit and in truth, beseeching pardon
3370for having denied, during many days, His holy name.  It was almost
3371too much for my newly reviving strength, and while even yet upon my
3372knees, supporting my head against a chair, I fell into a profound
3373sleep in that very position.
3374
3375Some hours afterwards, as I conjectured, I seemed in part to awake,
3376but no sooner had I stretched my weary limbs upon my rude couch than
3377I slept till the dawn of day.  The same disposition to somnolency
3378continued through the day, and the next night, I rested as soundly
3379as before.  What was the sort of crisis that had thus taken place?
3380I know not; but I was perfectly restored.
3381
3382
3383
3384CHAPTER XLVII.
3385
3386
3387
3388The sickness of the stomach which I had so long laboured under now
3389ceased, the pains of the head also left me, and I felt an
3390extraordinary appetite.  My digestion was good, and I gained
3391strength.  Wonderful providence! that deprived me of my health to
3392humble my mind, and again restored it when the moment was at hand
3393that I should require it all, that I might not sink under the weight
3394of my sentence.
3395
3396On the 24th of November, one of our companions, Dr. Foresti, was
3397taken from the Piombi, and transported no one knew whither.  The
3398jailer, his wife, and the assistants, were alike alarmed, and not
3399one of them ventured to throw the least light upon this mysterious
3400affair.
3401
3402"And why should you persist," said Tremerello, "in wishing to know,
3403when nothing good is to be heard?  I have told you too much--too
3405
3406"Then what is the use of trying to hide it?  I know it too well.  He
3407is condemned to death."
3408
3409"Who? . . . he . . . Doctor Foresti?"
3410
3411Tremerello hesitated, but the love of gossip was not the least of
3412his virtues.
3413
3414"Don't say, then," he resumed, "that I am a babbler; I never wished
3415to say a word about these matters; so, remember, it is you who
3416compel me."
3417
3418"Yes, yes, I do compel you; but courage! tell me every thing you
3419know respecting the poor Doctor?"
3420
3421"Ah, Sir! they have made him cross the Bridge of Sighs! he lies in
3422the dungeons of the condemned; sentence of death has been announced
3423to him and two others."
3424
3425"And will it be executed?  When?  Oh, unhappy man! and what are the
3426others' names?"
3427
3428"I know no more.  The sentences have not been published.  It is
3429reported in Venice that they will be commuted.  I trust in God they
3430may, at least, as regards the good Doctor.  Do you know, I am as
3431fond of that noble fellow, pardon the expression, as if he were my
3432own brother."
3433
3434He seemed moved, and walked away.  Imagine the agitation I suffered
3435throughout the whole of that day, and indeed long after, as there
3436were no means of ascertaining anything further respecting the fate
3437of these unfortunate men.
3438
3439A month elapsed, and at length the sentences connected with the
3440first trial were published.  Nine were condemned to death,
3441GRACIOUSLY exchanged for hard imprisonment, some for twenty, and
3442others for fifteen years in the fortress of Spielberg, near the city
3443of Brunn, in Moravia; while those for ten years and under were to be
3444sent to the fortress of Lubiana.
3445
3446Were we authorised to conclude, from this commutation of sentence in
3447regard to those first condemned, that the parties subject to the
3448second trial would likewise be spared?  Was the indulgence to be
3449confined only to the former, on account of their having been
3450arrested previous to the publication of the edicts against secret
3451societies; the full vengeance of the law being reserved for
3452subsequent offenders?
3453
3454Well, I exclaimed, we shall not long be kept in suspense; I am at
3455least grateful to Heaven for being allowed time to prepare myself in
3456a becoming manner for the final scene.
3457
3458
3459
3460CHAPTER XLVIII.
3461
3462
3463
3464It was now my only consideration how to die like a Christian, and
3465with proper fortitude.  I felt, indeed, a strong temptation to avoid
3466the scaffold by committing suicide, but overcame it.  What merit is
3467there in refusing to die by the hand of the executioner, and yet to
3468fall by one's own?  To save one's honour?  But is it not childish to
3469suppose that there can be more honour in cheating the executioner,
3470than in not doing this, when it is clear that we must die.  Even had
3471I not been a Christian, upon serious reflection, suicide would have
3472appeared to me both ridiculous and useless, if not criminal in a
3473high degree.
3474
3475"If the term of life be expired," continued I, "am I not fortunate
3476in being permitted to collect my thoughts and purify my conscience
3477with penitence and prayer becoming a man in affliction.  In popular
3478estimation, the being led to the scaffold is the worst part of
3479death; in the opinion of the wise, is not this far preferable to the
3480thousand deaths which daily occur by disease, attended by general
3481prostration of intellect, without power to raise the thoughts from
3482the lowest state of physical exhaustion."
3483
3484I felt the justice of this reasoning, and lost all feeling of
3485anxiety or terror at the idea of a public execution.  I reflected
3486deeply on the sacraments calculated to support me under such an
3487appalling trial, and I felt disposed to receive them in a right
3488spirit.  Should I have been enabled, had I really been conducted to
3489the scaffold, to preserve the same elevation of mind, the same
3490forgiveness of my enemies, the same readiness to lay down my life at
3491the will of God, as I then felt?  Alas, how inconsistent is man!
3492when most firm and pious, how liable is he to fall suddenly into
3493weakness and crime!  Is it likely I should have died worthily?  God
3494only knows; I dare not think well enough of myself to assert it.
3495
3496The probable approach of death so riveted my imagination, that not
3497only did it seem possible but as if marked by an infallible
3498presentiment.  I no longer indulged a hope of avoiding it, and at
3499every sound of footsteps and keys, or the opening of my door, I was
3500in the habit of exclaiming:  "Courage!  Perhaps I am going to
3501receive sentence.  Let me hear it with calm dignity, and bless the
3502name of the Lord."
3503
3504I considered in what terms I should last address my family, each of
3505my brothers, and each of my sisters, and by revolving in my mind
3506these sacred and affecting duties, I was often drowned in tears,
3507without losing my fortitude and resignation.
3508
3509I was naturally unable to enjoy sound repose; but my sleeplessness
3510was not of the same alarming character as before; no visions,
3511spectres, or concealed enemies were ready to deprive me of life.  I
3512spent the night in calm and reviving prayer.  Towards morning I was
3513enabled to sleep for about two hours, and rose late to breakfast.
3514
3515One night I had retired to rest earlier than usual; I had hardly
3516slept a quarter of an hour, when I awoke, and beheld an immense
3517light upon the wall opposite to me.  At first I imagined that I had
3518been seized with my former illness; but this was no illusion.  The
3519light shone through the north window, under which I then lay.
3520
3521I started up, seized my table, placed it on my bed, and a chair
3522again upon the table, by means of all which I mounted up, and beheld
3523one of the most terrific spectacles of fire that can be imagined.
3524It was not more than a musket shot distant from our prison; it
3525proceeded from the establishment of the public ovens, and the
3526edifice was entirely consumed.
3527
3528The night was exceedingly dark, and vast globes of flame spouted
3529forth on both sides, borne away by a violent wind.  All around, it
3530seemed as if the sky rained sparks of fire.  The adjacent lake
3531reflected the magnificent sight; numbers of gondolas went and came,
3532but my sympathy was most excited at the danger and terrors of those
3533who resided nearest to the burning edifice.  I heard the far off
3534voices of men and women calling to each other.  Among others, I
3535caught the name of Angiola, and of this doubtless there are some
3536thousands in Venice:  yet I could not help fearing it might be the
3537one of whom the recollection was so sweet to me.  Could it be her?--
3538was she surrounded by the flames? how I longed to fly to her rescue.
3539
3540Full of excitement, wonder, and terror, I stood at the window till
3541the day dawned, I then got down oppressed by a feeling of deep
3542sorrow, and imagined much greater misfortune than had really
3543occurred.  I was informed by Tremerello that only the ovens and the
3545and sacks of flour.
3546
3547
3548
3549CHAPTER XLIX.
3550
3551
3552
3553The effect of this accident upon my imagination had not yet ceased,
3554when one night, as I was sitting at my little table reading, and
3555half perished with cold, I heard a number of voices not far from me.
3556They were those of the jailer, his wife, and sons, with the
3557assistants, all crying:
3558
3559"Fire! fire.  Oh, blessed Virgin! we are lost, we are lost!"
3560
3561I felt no longer cold, I started to my feet in a violent
3562perspiration, and looked out to discover the quarter from which the
3563fire proceeded.  I could perceive nothing, I was informed, however,
3564that it arose in the palace itself, from some public chambers
3565contiguous to the prisons.  One of the assistants called out, "But,
3566sir governor, what shall we do with these caged birds here, if the
3567fire keeps a head?"  The head jailer replied, "Why, I should not
3568like to have them roasted alive.  Yet I cannot let them out of their
3569bars without special orders from the commission.  You may run as
3570fast as you can, and get an order if you can."
3571
3572"To be sure I will, but, you know, it will be too late for the
3573prisoners."
3574
3575All this was said in the rude Venetian dialect, but I understood it
3576too well.  And now, where was all my heroic spirit and resignation,
3577which I had counted upon to meet sudden death?  Why did the idea of
3578being burnt alive throw me into such a fever?  I felt ashamed of
3579this unworthy fear, and though just on the point of crying out to
3580the jailer to let me out, I restrained myself, reflecting that there
3581might be as little pleasure in being strangled as in being burnt.
3582Still I felt really afraid.
3583
3584"Here," said I, "is a specimen of my courage, should I escape the
3585flames, and be doomed to mount the scaffold.  I will restrain my
3586fear, and hide it from others as well as I can, though I know I
3587shall tremble.  Yet surely it is courage to behave as if we were not
3588afraid, whatever we may feel.  Is it not generosity to give away
3589that which it costs us much to part with?  It is, also, an act of
3590obedience, though we obey with great repugnance."
3591
3592The tumult in the jailer's house was so loud and continued that I
3593concluded the fire was on the increase.  The messenger sent to ask
3594permission for our temporary release had not returned.  At last I
3595thought I heard his voice; no; I listened, he is not come.  Probably
3596the permission will not be granted; there will be no means of
3597escape; if the jailer should not humanely take the responsibility
3598upon himself, we shall be suffocated in our dungeons!  Well, but
3599this, I exclaimed, is not philosophy, and it is not religion.  Were
3600it not better to prepare myself to witness the flames bursting into
3601my chamber, and about to swallow me up.
3602
3603Meantime the clamour seemed to diminish; by degrees it died away;
3606
3607The silence continued, no flames appeared, and I retired to bed,
3608reproaching myself for the want of fortitude I had evinced.  Indeed,
3609I began to regret that I had not been burnt alive, instead of being
3610handed over, as a victim, into the hands of men.
3611
3612The next morning, I learnt the real cause of the fire from
3613Tremerello, and laughed at his account of the fear he had endured,
3614as if my own had not been as great--perhaps, in fact, much greater
3615of the two.
3616
3617
3618
3619CHAPTER L.
3620
3621
3622
3623On the 11th of January, 1822, about nine in the morning, Tremerello
3624came into my room in no little agitation, and said,
3625
3626"Do you know, Sir, that in the island of San Michele, a little way
3627from Venice, there is a prison containing more than a hundred
3628Carbonari."
3629
3630"You have told me so a hundred times.  Well! what would you have me
3631hear, speak out; are some of them condemned?"
3632
3633"Exactly."
3634
3635"Who are they?"
3636
3637"I don't know."
3638
3639"Is my poor friend Maroncelli among them?"
3640
3641"Ah, Sir, too many . . . I know not who."  And he went away in great
3642emotion, casting on me a look of compassion.
3643
3644Shortly after came the jailer, attended by the assistants, and by a
3645man whom I had never before seen.  The latter opened his subject as
3646follows:  "The commission, Sir, has given orders that you come with
3647me!"
3648
3649"Let us go, then," I replied; "may I ask who you are?"
3650
3651"I am jailer of the San Michele prisons, where I am going to take
3652you."
3653
3654The jailer of the Piombi delivered to the new governor the money
3655belonging to me which he had in his hands.  I obtained permission to
3656make some little present to the under jailers; I then put my clothes
3657in order, put my Bible under my arm, and departed.  In descending
3658the immense track of staircases, Tremerello for a moment took my
3659hand; he pressed it as much as to say, "Unhappy man! you are lost."
3660
3661We came out at a gate which opened upon the lake, and there stood a
3662gondola with two under jailers belonging to San Michele.
3663
3664I entered the boat with feelings of the most contradictory nature;
3665regret at leaving the prison of the Piombi, where I had suffered so
3666much, but where I had become attached to some individuals, and they
3667to me; the pleasure of beholding once more the sky, the city, and
3668the clear waters, without the intervention of iron bars.  Add to
3669this the recollection of that joyous gondola, which, in time past,
3670had borne me on the bosom of that placid lake; the gondolas of the
3671lake of Como, those of Lago Maggiore, the little barks of the Po,
3672those of the Rodano, and of the Sonna!  Oh, happy vanished years!
3673who, who then so happy in the world as I?
3674
3675The son of excellent and affectionate parents, in a rank of life,
3676perhaps, the happiest for the cultivation of the affections, being
3677equally removed from riches and from poverty; I had spent my infancy
3678in the participation of the sweetest domestic ties; had been the
3679object of the tenderest domestic cares.  I had subsequently gone to
3680Lyons, to my maternal uncle, an elderly man, extremely wealthy, and
3681deserving of all he possessed; and at his mansion I partook of all
3682the advantages and delights of elegance and refined society, which
3683gave an indescribable charm to those youthful days.  Thence
3684returning into Italy, under the parental roof, I at once devoted
3685myself with ardour to study, and the enjoyment of society;
3686everywhere meeting with distinguished friends and the most
3687encouraging praise.  Monti and Foscolo, although at variance with
3688each other, were kind to me.  I became more attached to the latter,
3689and this irritable man, who, by his asperities, provoked so many to
3690quarrel with him, was with me full of gentleness and cordiality.
3691Other distinguished characters likewise became attached to me, and I
3692returned all their regard.  Neither envy nor calumny had the least
3693influence over me, or I felt it only from persons who had not the
3694power to injure me.  On the fall of the kingdom of Italy, my father
3695removed to Turin, with the rest of his family.  I had preferred to
3696remain at Milan, where I spent my time at once so profitably and so
3697happily as made me unwilling to leave it.  Here I had three friends
3698to whom I was greatly attached--D. Pietro Borsieri, Lodovico di
3699Breme, and the Count Luigi Porro Lambertenghi.  Subsequently I added
3700to them Count Federigo Confalonieri. {19}  Becoming the preceptor of
3701two young sons of Count Porro, I was to them as a father, and their
3702father acted like a brother to me.  His mansion was the resort not
3703only of society the most refined and cultivated of Italy, but of
3704numbers of celebrated strangers.  It was there I became acquainted
3705with De Stael, Schlegel, Davis, Byron, Brougham, Hobhouse, and
3706illustrious travellers from all parts of Europe.  How delightful,
3707how noble an incentive to all that is great and good, is an
3708intercourse with men of first-rate merit!.  I was then happy; I
3709would not have exchanged my lot with a prince; and now, to be
3710hurled, as I had been, from the summit of all my hopes and projects,
3711into an abyss of wretchedness, and to be hurried thus from dungeon
3712to dungeon, to perish doubtless either by a violent death or
3713lingering in chains.
3714
3715
3716
3717CHAPTER LI.
3718
3719
3720
3721Absorbed in reflections like these, I reached San Michele, and was
3722locked up in a room which embraced a view of the court yard, of the
3723lake, and the beautiful island of Murano.  I inquired respecting
3724Maroncelli from the jailer, from his wife, and the four assistants;
3725but their visits were exceedingly brief, very ceremonious, and, in
3726fact, they would tell me nothing.
3727
3728Nevertheless where there are five or six persons, it is rarely you
3729do not find one who possesses a compassionate, as well as a
3730communicative disposition.  I met with such a one, and from him I
3731learnt what follows:-
3732
3733Maroncelli, after having been long kept apart, had been placed with
3734Count Camillo Laderchi. {20}  The last, within a few days, had been
3735declared innocent, and discharged from prison, and the former again
3736remained alone.  Some other of our companions had also been set at
3737liberty; the Professor Romagnosi, {21} and Count Giovanni
3738Arrivabene. {22}  Captain Rezia {23} and the Signor Canova were
3739together.  Professor Ressi {24} was dying at that time, in a prison
3740next to that of the two before mentioned.  "It follows then," said
3741I, "that the sentences of those not set at liberty must have
3742arrived.  How are they to be made known?  Perhaps, poor Ressi will
3743die; and will not be in a state to hear his sentence; is it true?"
3744
3745"I believe it is."
3746
3747Every day I inquired respecting the unhappy man.  "He has lost his
3748voice; he is rather better; he is delirious; he is nearly gone; he
3749spits blood; he is dying;" were the usual replies; till at length
3750came the last of all, "He is dead."
3751
3752I shed a tear to his memory, and consoled myself with thinking that
3753he died ignorant of the sentence which awaited him.
3754
3755The day following, the 21st of February, 1822, the jailer came for
3756me about ten o'clock, and conducted me into the Hall of the
3757Commission.  The members were all seated, but they rose; the
3758President, the Inquisitor, and two assisting Judges.--The first,
3759with a look of deep commiseration, acquainted me that my sentence
3760had arrived; that it was a terrible one; but that the clemency of
3762
3763The Inquisitor, fixing his eye on me, then read it:- "Silvio
3764Pellico, condemned to death; the imperial decree is, that the
3765sentence be commuted for fifteen years hard imprisonment in the
3766fortress of Spielberg."
3767
3768"The will of God be done!" was my reply.
3769
3770It was really my intention to bear this horrible blow like a
3771Christian, and neither to exhibit nor to feel resentment against any
3772one whatever.  The President then commended my state of mind, warmly
3773recommending me to persevere in it, and that possibly by affording
3774an edifying example, I might in a year or two be deemed worthy of
3775receiving further favours from the imperial clemency.
3776
3777Instead, however, of one or two, it was many years before the full
3778sentence was remitted.
3779
3780The other judges also spoke encouragingly to me.  One of them,
3781indeed, had appeared my enemy on my trial, accosting me in a
3782courteous but ironical tone, while his look of insulting triumph
3783seemed to belie his words.  I would not make oath it was so, but my
3784blood was then boiling, and I was trying to smother my passion.
3785While they were praising me for my Christian patience, I had not a
3786jot of it left me.  "To-morrow," continued the Inquisitor, "I am
3787sorry to say, you must appear and receive your sentence in public.
3788It is a formality which cannot be dispensed with."
3789
3790"Be it so!" I replied.
3791
3792"From this time we grant you the company of your friend," he added.
3793Then calling the jailer, he consigned me into his hands, ordering
3794that I should be placed in the same dungeon with Maroncelli.
3795
3796
3797
3798CHAPTER LII.
3799
3800
3801
3802It was a delightful moment, when, after a separation of three
3803months, and having suffered so greatly, I met my friend.  For some
3804moments we forgot even the severity of our sentence, conscious only
3805of each other's presence.
3806
3807But I soon turned from my friend to perform a more serious duty--
3808that of writing to my father.  I was desirous that the first tidings
3809of my sad lot should reach my family from myself; in order that the
3810grief which I knew they would all feel might be at least mitigated
3811by hearing my state of mind, and the sentiments of peace and
3812religion by which I was supported.  The judges had given me a
3813promise to expedite the letter the moment it was written.
3814
3815Maroncelli next spoke to me respecting his trial; I acquainted him
3816with mine, and we mutually described our prison walks and
3817adventures, complimenting each other on our peripatetic philosophy.
3818We approached our window, and saluted three of our friends, whom we
3819beheld standing at theirs.  Two of these were Canova and Rezia, in
3820the same apartment; the first of whom was condemned to six-years'
3821hard imprisonment, and the last to three.  The third was Doctor
3822Cesare Armari, who had been my neighbour some preceding months, in
3823the prisons of the Piombi.  He was not, however, among the
3824condemned, and soon obtained his liberty.
3825
3826The power of communicating with one or other of our fellow-
3827prisoners, at all hours, was a great relief to our feelings.  But
3828when buried in silence and darkness, I was unable to compose myself
3829to rest; I felt my head burn, and my heart bleed, as my thoughts
3830reverted to home.  Would my aged parents be enabled to bear up
3831against so heavy a misfortune? would they find a sufficient resource
3832in their other children?  They were equally attached to all, and I
3833valued myself least of all in that family of love; but will a father
3834and a mother ever find in the children that remain to them a
3835compensation for the one of whom they are deprived.
3836
3837Had I dwelt only upon my relatives and a few other dear friends,
3838much as I regretted them, my thoughts would have been less bitter
3839than they were.  But I thought of the insulting smile of that judge,
3840of the trial, the cause of the respective sentences, political
3841passions and enmities, and the fate of so many of my friends . . .
3842It was then I could no longer think with patience or indulgence of
3843any of my persecutors.  God had subjected me to a severe trial, and
3844it was my duty to have borne it with courage.  Alas!  I was neither
3845able nor willing.  The pride and luxury of hatred pleased me better
3846than the noble spirit of forgiveness; and I passed a night of horror
3847after receiving sentence.
3848
3849In the morning I could not pray.  The universe appeared to me, then,
3850to be the work of some power, the enemy of good.  I had previously,
3851indeed, been guilty of calumniating my Creator; but little did I
3852imagine I should revert to such ingratitude, and in so brief a time.
3853Julian, in his most impious moods, could not express himself more
3854impiously than myself.  To gloat over thoughts of hatred, or fierce
3855revenge, when smarting under the scourge of heaviest calamity,
3856instead of flying to religion as a refuge, renders a man criminal,
3857even though his cause be just.  If we hate, it is a proof of rank
3858pride; and where is the wretched mortal that dare stand up and
3859declare in the face of Heaven, his title to hatred and revenge
3860against his fellows? to assert that none have a right to sit in
3861judgment upon him and his actions;--that none can injure him without
3862a bad intention, or a violation of all justice?  In short, he dares
3863to arraign the decrees of Heaven itself, if it please Providence to
3864make him suffer in a manner which he does not himself approve.
3865
3866Still I was unhappy because I could not pray; for when pride reigns
3867supreme, it acknowledges no other god than the self-idol it has
3868created.  How I could have wished to recommend to the Supreme
3869Protector, the care of my bereaved parents, though at that unhappy
3870moment I felt as if I no more believed in Him.
3871
3872
3873
3874CHAPTER LIII.
3875
3876
3877
3878At nine in the morning Maroncelli and I were conducted into the
3879gondola which conveyed us into the city.  We alighted at the palace
3880of the Doge, and proceeded to the prisons.  We were placed in the
3881apartment which had been occupied by Signor Caporali a few days
3882before, but with whose fate we were not acquainted.  Nine or ten
3883sbirri were placed over us as a guard, and walking about, we awaited
3884the moment of being brought into the square.  There was considerable
3885delay.  The Inquisitor did not make his appearance till noon, and
3886then informed us that it was time to go.  The physician, also,
3887presented himself, and advised us to take a small glass of mint-
3888water, which we accepted on account of the extreme compassion which
3889the good old man expressed for us.  It was Dr. Dosmo.  The head
3890bailiff then advanced and fixed the hand-cuffs upon us.  We followed
3891him, accompanied by the other bailiffs.
3892
3893We next descended the magnificent staircase of the Giganti, and we
3894called to mind the old Doge Faliero, who was beheaded there.  We
3895entered through the great gate which opens upon the small square
3896from the court-yard of the palace, and we then turned to the left,
3897in the direction of the lake.  In the centre of the small square was
3898raised the scaffold which we were to ascend.  From the staircase of
3899the Giganti, extending to the scaffold, were two lines of Austrian
3900soldiers, through which we passed.
3901
3902After ascending the platform, we looked around us, and saw an
3903immense assembly of people, apparently struck with terror.  In other
3904directions were seen bands of armed men, to awe the multitude; and
3905we were told that cannon were loaded in readiness to be discharged
3906at a moment's notice.  I was now exactly in the spot where, in
3907September, 1820, just a month previous to my arrest, a mendicant had
3908observed to me, "This is a place of misfortune."
3909
3910I called to mind the circumstance, and reflected that very possibly
3911in that immense throng of spectators the same person might be
3912present, and perhaps even recognise me.
3913
3914The German Captain now called out to us to turn towards the palace,
3915and look up; we did so, and beheld, upon the lodge, a messenger of
3916the Council, with a letter in his hand; it was the sentence; he
3917began to read it in a loud voice.
3918
3919It was ushered in by solemn silence, which was continued until he
3920came to the words, CONDEMNED TO DEATH.  There was then heard one
3921general murmur of compassion.  This was followed by a similar
3922silence, in order to hear the rest of the document.  A fresh murmur
3923arose on the announcement of the following:- condemned to hard
3924imprisonment, Maroncelli for TWENTY YEARS, and Pellico for FIFTEEN.
3925
3926The Captain made a sign for us to descend.  We cast one glance
3927around us, and came down.  We re-entered the court-yard, mounted the
3928great staircase, and were conducted into the room from which we had
3929been dragged.  The manacles were removed, and we were soon
3930reconducted to San Michele.
3931
3932
3933
3934CHAPTER LIV.
3935
3936
3937
3939for Lubiana and Spielberg, accompanied by a commissary of police.
3940He was now expected back, in order to conduct us to our destination;
3941but the interval of a month elapsed.
3942
3943My time was chiefly spent in talking, and listening to the
3944conversation of others, in order to distract my attention.
3945Maroncelli read me some of his literary productions, and in turn, I
3946read him mine.  One evening I read from the window my play of Ester
3947d'Engaddi, to Canova, Rezia, and Armari; and the following evening,
3948the Iginia d'Asti.  During the night, however, I grew irritable and
3949wretched, and was unable to sleep.  I both desired and feared to
3950learn in what manner the tidings of my calamity had been received by
3951my family.
3952
3953At length I got a letter from my father, and was grieved to find,
3954from the date, that my last to him had not been sent, as I had
3955requested of the Inquisitor, immediately!  Thus my unhappy father,
3956while flattering himself that I should be set at liberty, happening
3957to take up the Milan Gazette, read the horrid sentence which I had
3958just received upon the scaffold.  He himself acquainted me with this
3959fact, and left me to infer what his feelings must have been on
3960meeting thus suddenly with the sad news.  I cannot express the
3961contempt and anger I felt on learning that my letter had been kept
3962back; and how deeply I felt for all my poor unhappy family.  There
3963was doubtless no malice in this delay, but I looked upon it as a
3964refinement of the most atrocious barbarity; an eager, infernal
3965desire to see the iron enter, as it were, the very soul of my
3966beloved and innocent relatives.  I felt, indeed, as if I could have
3967delighted to shed a sea of blood, could I only punish this flagrant
3968and premeditated inhumanity.
3969
3970Now that I judge calmly, I find it very improbable.  The delay,
3971doubtless, was simply owing to inadvertency on the part of
3972subordinate agents.  Enraged as I was, I heard with still more
3973excited feelings that my companions were about to celebrate Easter
3974week ere their departure.  As for me, I considered it wholly
3975impossible, inasmuch as I felt not the least disposition towards
3976forgiveness.  Should I be guilty of such a scandal!
3977
3978
3979
3980CHAPTER LV.
3981
3982
3983
3984At length the German commissioner arrived, and came to acquaint us
3985that within two days we were to set out.  "I have the pleasure," he
3986added, "to give you some consoling tidings.  On my return from
3987Spielberg, I saw his majesty the Emperor at Vienna, who acquainted
3988me that the penal days appointed you will not extend to twenty-four
3989hours, but only to twelve.  By this expression it is intended to
3990signify that the pain will be divided, or half the punishment
3991remitted."  This division was never notified to us in an official
3992form, but there is no reason to suppose that the commissioner would
3993state an untruth; the less so as he made no secret of the
3994information, which was known to the whole commission.  Nevertheless,
3995I could not congratulate myself upon it.  To my feelings, seven
3996years and a half had little more horrible in them (to be spent in
3997chains and solitude) than fifteen; for I conceived it to be
3998impossible to survive so long a period.  My health had recently
3999again become wretched!  I suffered from severe pains of the chest,
4000attended with cough, and thought my lungs were affected.  I ate
4001little, and that little I could not digest.  Our departure took
4002place on the night of the 25th of March.  We were permitted to take
4003leave of our friend, Cesare Armari.  A sbirro chained us in a
4004transverse manner, namely, the right hand and the left foot, so as
4005to render it impossible for us to escape.
4006
4007We went into a gondola, and the guards rowed us towards Fusina.  On
4008our arrival we found two boats in readiness for us.  Rezia and
4009Canova were placed in one, and Maroncelli and myself in the other.
4010The commissary was also with two of the prisoners, and an under-
4011commissary with the others.  Six or seven guards of police completed
4012our convoy; they were armed with swords and muskets; some of them at
4013hand in the boats, others in the box of the Vetturino.
4014
4015To be compelled by misfortune to leave one's country is always
4016sufficiently painful; but to be torn from it in chains, doomed to
4017exile in a horrible climate, to linger days, and hours, and years,
4018in solitary dungeons, is a fate so appalling as to defy language to
4019convey the remotest idea of it.
4020
4021Ere we had traversed the Alps, I felt that my country was becoming
4022doubly dear to me; the sympathy we awakened on every side, from all
4023ranks, formed an irresistible appeal to my affection and gratitude.
4024In every city, in every village, in every group of meanest houses,
4025the news of our condemnation had been known for some weeks, and we
4026were expected.  In several places the commissioners and the guards
4027had difficulty in dispersing the crowd which surrounded us.  It was
4028astonishing to witness the benevolent and humane feeling generally
4029manifested in our behalf.
4030
4031In Udine we met with a singular and touching incident.  On arriving
4032at the inn, the commissary caused the door of the court-yard to be
4033closed, in order to keep back the people.  A room was assigned us,
4034and he ordered the waiters to bring supper, and make such
4035accommodation as we required for repose.  In a few moments three men
4036entered with mattresses upon their shoulders.  What was our surprise
4037to see that only one of them was a servant of the inn; the other two
4038were our acquaintance.  We pretended to assist them in placing the
4039beds, and had time to recognise and give each other the hand of
4040fellowship and sympathy.  It was too much; the tears started to our
4041eyes.  Ah! how trying was it to us all, not to be allowed the sad
4042satisfaction even of shedding them in a last embrace.
4043
4044The commissaries were not aware of the circumstance; but I had
4045reason to think that one of the guards saw into the affair, just as
4046the good Dario grasped me by the hand.  He was a Venetian; he fixed
4047his eyes upon us both; he turned pale; appeared in the act of making
4048an alarm, then turned away his eyes, as if pretending not to see us.
4049If he felt not assured that they were indeed our friends, he must
4050have believed them to be some waiters with whom we were acquainted.
4051
4052
4053
4054CHAPTER LVI.
4055
4056
4057
4058The next morning we left Udine by dawn of day.  The affectionate
4059Dario was already in the street, wrapped in his mantle; he beckoned
4060to us and followed us a long way.  A coach also continued at some
4061little distance from us for several miles.  Some one waved a
4062handkerchief from it, till it turned back; who could it have been?
4063We had our own conjectures on the subject.  May Heaven protect those
4064generous spirits that thus cease not to love, and express their love
4065for the unfortunate.  I had the more reason to prize them from the
4066fact of having met with cowards, who, not content with denying me,
4067thought to benefit themselves by calumniating their once fortunate
4068FRIEND.  These cases, however, were rare, while those of the former,
4069to the honour of the human character, were numerous.
4070
4071I had supposed that the warm sympathy expressed for us in Italy
4072would cease when we entered on a foreign soil.  But I was deceived;
4073the good man is ever the fellow-countryman of the unhappy!  When
4074traversing Illyrian and German ground, it was the same as in our own
4075country.  There was the same general lamentation at our fate; "Arme
4076herren!" poor gentlemen, was on the lips of all.
4077
4078Sometimes, on entering another district, our escort was compelled to
4079stop in order to decide in what part to take up our quarters.  The
4080people would then gather round us, and we heard exclamations, and
4081other expressions of commiseration, which evidently came from the
4082heart.  These proofs of popular feeling were still more gratifying
4083to me, than such as I had met with from my own countrymen.  The
4084consolation which was thus afforded me, helped to soothe the bitter
4085indignation I then felt against those whom I esteemed my enemies.
4086Yet, possibly, I reflected, if we were brought more nearly
4087acquainted, if I could see into their real motives, and I could
4088explain my own feelings, I might be constrained to admit that they
4089are not impelled by the malignant spirit I suppose, while they would
4090find there was as little of bad in me.  Nay, they might perhaps be
4091induced not only to pity, but to admire and love us!
4092
4093It is true, indeed, that men too often hate each other, merely
4094because they are strangers to each other's real views and feelings;
4095and the simple interchange of a few words would make them
4096acknowledge their error, and give the hand of brotherhood to each
4097other.
4098
4099We remained a day at Lubiana; and there Canova and Rezia were
4100separated from us, being forthwith conducted into the castle.  It is
4101easy to guess our feelings upon this painful occasion.
4102
4103On the evening of our arrival at Lubiana and the day following, a
4104gentleman came and joined us, who, if I remember rightly, announced
4105himself as the municipal secretary.  His manners were gentle and
4106humane, and he spoke of religion in a tone at once elevated and
4107impressive.  I conjectured he must be a priest, the priests in
4108Germany being accustomed to dress exactly in the same style as
4109laymen.  His countenance was calculated to excite esteem.  I
4110regretted that I was not enabled further to cultivate his
4111acquaintance, and I blame myself for my inadvertency in not having
4112taken down his name.
4113
4114It irks me, too, that I cannot at this time recall the name of
4115another gentle being, a young girl of Styria, who followed us
4116through the crowd, and when our coach stopped for a few minutes,
4117moved towards us with both hands, and afterwards, turned weeping
4118away, supported by a young man, whose light hair proclaimed him of
4119German extraction.  But most probably he had been in Italy, where he
4120had fallen in love with our fair countrywoman, and felt touched for
4121our country.  Yes! what pleasure it would have given me to record
4122the names of those venerable fathers and mothers of families, who,
4123in different districts, accosted us on our road, inquiring if we had
4124parents and friends; and on hearing that we had, would grow pale,
4125and exclaim, "Alas! may it please God to restore you soon to those
4126wretched, bereaved ones whom you have left behind."
4127
4128
4129
4130CHAPTER LVII.
4131
4132
4133
4134On the 10th of April we arrived at our place of destination.  The
4135city of Brunn is the capital of Moravia, where the governor of the
4136two provinces of Moravia and Silesia is accustomed to reside.
4137Situated in a pleasant valley, it presents a rich and noble aspect.
4138At one time it was a great manufactory of cloth, but its prosperous
4139days were now passed, and its population did not exceed thirty
4140thousand.
4141
4142Contiguous to the walls on the western side rises a mount, and on
4143this is placed the dreaded fortress of Spielberg, once the royal
4144seat of the lords of Moravia, and now the most terrific prison under
4145the Austrian monarchy.  It was a well-guarded citadel, but was
4146bombarded and taken by the French after the celebrated battle of
4147Austerlitz, a village at a little distance from it.  It was not
4148generally repaired, with the exception of a portion of the outworks,
4149which had been wholly demolished.  Within it are imprisoned some
4150three hundred wretches, for the most part robbers and assassins,
4151some condemned to the carcere dare, others to that called durissimo,
4152the severest of all.  This HARD IMPRISONMENT comprehends compulsory,
4153daily labour, to wear chains on the legs, to sleep upon bare boards,
4154and to eat the worst imaginable food.  The durissimo, or hardest,
4155signifies being chained in a more horrible manner, one part of the
4156iron being fixed in the wall, united to a hoop round the body of the
4157prisoner, so as to prevent his moving further than the board which
4158serves for his couch.  We, as state prisoners, were condemned to the
4159carcere duro.  The food, however, is the same, though in the words
4160of the law it is prescribed to be bread and water.
4161
4162While mounting the acclivity we turned our eyes as if to take a last
4163look of the world we were leaving, doubting if ever the portals of
4164that living grave would be again unclosed to us.  I was calm, but
4165rage and indignation consumed my heart.  It was in vain I had
4166recourse to philosophy; it had no arguments to quiet or to support
4167me.
4168
4169I was in poor health on leaving Venice, and the journey had fatigued
4170me exceedingly.  I had a fever, and felt severe pains, both in my
4171head and my limbs.  Illness increased my irritation, and very
4172probably the last had an equally ill effect upon my frame.
4173
4174We were consigned over to the superintendent of Spielberg, and our
4175names were registered in the same list as that of the robbers.  The
4176imperial commissary shook our hands upon taking leave, and was
4177evidently affected.  "Farewell," he said, "and let me recommend to
4178you calmness and submission:  for I assure you the least infraction
4179of discipline will be punished by the governor in the severest
4180manner."
4181
4182The consignment being made out, my friend and myself were conducted
4183into a subterranean gallery, where two dismal-looking dungeons were
4184unlocked, at a distance from each other.  In one of these I was
4185entombed alive, and poor Maroncelli in the other.
4186
4187
4188
4189CHAPTER LVIII.
4190
4191
4192
4193How bitter is it, after having bid adieu to so many beloved objects,
4194and there remains only a single one between yourself and utter
4195solitude, the solitude of chains and a living death, to be separated
4196even from that one!  Maroncelli, on leaving me, ill and dejected,
4197shed tears over me as one whom, it was most probable, he would never
4198more behold.  In him, too, I lamented a noble-minded man, cut off in
4199the splendour of his intellect, and the vigour of his days, snatched
4200from society, all its duties and its pleasures, and even from "the
4201common air, the earth, the sky."  Yet he survived the unheard of
4202afflictions heaped upon him, but in what a state did he leave his
4203living tomb!
4204
4205When I found myself alone in that horrid cavern, heard the closing
4206of the iron doors, the rattling of chains, and by the gloomy light
4207of a high window, saw the wooden bench destined for my couch, with
4208an enormous chain fixed in the wall, I sat down, in sullen rage, on
4209my hard resting-place, and taking up the chain, measured its length,
4210in the belief that it was destined for me.
4211
4212In half an hour I caught the sound of locks and keys; the door
4213opened, and the head-jailer handed me a jug of water.
4214
4215"Here is something to drink," he said in a rough tone, "and you will
4217
4218"Thanks, my good man."
4219
4220"I am not good," was the reply.
4221
4222"The worse for you," I answered, rather sharply.  "And this great
4223chain," I added, "is it for me?"
4224
4225"It is, Sir; if you don't happen to be quiet; if you get into a
4226rage, or say impertinent things.  But if you are reasonable, we
4227shall only chain you by the feet.  The blacksmith is getting all
4229
4230He then walked sullenly up and down, shaking that horrid ring of
4231enormous keys, while with angry eye I measured his gigantic, lean,
4232and aged figure.  His features, though not decidedly vulgar, bore
4233the most repulsive expression of brutal severity which I ever
4234beheld!
4235
4236How unjust are mankind when they presume to judge by appearances,
4237and in deference to their vain, arrogant prejudices.  The man whom I
4238upbraided in my heart for shaking as it were in triumph those
4239horrible keys, to make me more keenly sensible of his power, whom I
4240set down as an insignificant tyrant, inured to practices of cruelty,
4241was then revolving thoughts of compassion, and assuredly had spoken
4242in that harsh tone only to conceal his real feelings.  Perhaps he
4243was afraid to trust himself, or that I should prove unworthy gentler
4244treatment; doubtful whether I might not be yet more criminal than
4245unhappy, though willing to afford me relief.
4246
4247Annoyed by his presence, and the sort of lordly air he assumed, I
4248determined to try to humble him, and called out as if speaking to a
4249servant, "Give me something to drink!"  He looked at me, as much as
4250to say, "Arrogant man! this is no place for you to show the airs of
4251a master."  Still he was silent, bent his long back, took up the
4252jug, and gave it to me.  I perceived, as I took it from him, that he
4253trembled, and believing it to proceed from age, I felt a mingled
4254emotion of reverence and compassion.  "How old are you?" I inquired
4255in a kinder tone.
4256
4257"Seventy-four, Sir; I have lived to see great calamities, both as
4258regards others and myself."
4259
4260The tremulous emotion I had observed increased as he said this, and
4261again took the jug from my hand.  I now thought it might be owing to
4262some nobler feeling than the effect of age, and the aversion I had
4263conceived instantaneously left me.
4264
4265"And what is your name?" I inquired.
4266
4267"It pleased fortune, Sir, to make a fool of me, by giving me the
4268name of a great man.  My name is Schiller."  He then told me in a
4269few words, some particulars as to his native place, his family, the
4271
4272He was a Switzer, the son of peasants, had been in the wars against
4273the Turks, under Marshal Laudon, in the reign of Maria Theresa and
4274Joseph II.  He had subsequently served in the Austrian campaigns
4275against France, up to the period of Napoleon's exile.
4276
4277
4278
4279CHAPTER LIX.
4280
4281
4282
4283When we begin to form a better opinion of one against whom we had
4284conceived a strong prejudice, we seem to discover in every feature,
4285in his voice, and manner, fresh marks of a good disposition, to
4286which we were before strangers.  Is this real, or is it not rather
4287founded upon illusion?  Shortly before, we interpreted the very same
4288expressions in another way.  Our judgment of moral qualities has
4289undergone a change, and soon, the conclusions drawn from our
4290knowledge of physiognomy are equally different.  How many portraits
4291of celebrated men inspire us only with respect or admiration because
4292we know their characters; portraits which we should have pronounced
4293worthless and unattractive had they represented the ordinary race of
4294mortals.  And thus it is, if we reason vice versa.  I once laughed,
4295I remember, at a lady, who on beholding a likeness of Catiline
4296mistook it for that of Collatinus, and remarked upon the sublime
4297expression of grief in the features of Collatinus for the loss of
4298his Lucretia.  These sort of illusions are not uncommon.  I would
4299not maintain that the features of good men do not bear the
4300impression of their character, like irreclaimable villains that of
4301their depravity; but that there are many which have at least a
4302doubtful cast.  In short, I won a little upon old Schiller; I looked
4303at him more attentively, and he no longer appeared forbidding.  To
4304say the truth, there was something in his language which, spite of
4305its rough tone, showed the genuine traits of a noble mind.  And
4306spite of our first looks of mutual distrust and defiance, we seemed
4307to feel a certain respect for each other; he spoke boldly what he
4308thought, and so did I.
4309
4310"Captain as I am," he observed, "I have fallen,--to take my rest,
4311into this wretched post of jailer; and God knows it is far more
4312disagreeable for me to maintain it, than it was to risk my life in
4313battle."
4314
4315I was now sorry I had asked him so haughtily to give me drink.  "My
4316dear Schiller," I said, grasping his hand, "it is in vain you deny
4317it, I know you are a good fellow; and as I have fallen into this
4318calamity, I thank heaven which has given me you for a guardian!"
4319
4320He listened to me, shook his head, and then rubbing his forehead,
4321like a man in some perplexity or trouble.
4322
4324must, and will keep.  I am bound to treat all the prisoners, without
4325distinction, with equal severity; no indulgence, no permission to
4326relent, to soften the sternest orders, in particular as regards
4327prisoners of state."
4328
4329"You are a noble fellow; I respect you for making your duty a point
4330of conscience.  You may err, humanly speaking, but your motives are
4331pure in the eyes of God."
4332
4333"Poor gentleman, have patience, and pity me.  I shall be hard as
4334steel in my duty, but my heart bleeds to be unable to relieve the
4335unfortunate.  This is all I really wished to say."  We were both
4336affected.
4337
4338He then entreated that I would preserve my calmness, and not give
4339way to passion, as is too frequent with solitary prisoners, and
4340calls for restraint, and even for severer punishment.
4341
4342He afterwards resumed his gruff, affected tone as if to conceal the
4343compassion he felt for me, observing that it was high time for him
4344to go.
4345
4346He came back, however, and inquired how long a time I had been
4347afflicted with that horrible cough, reflecting sharply upon the
4348physician for not coming to see me that very evening.  "You are ill
4349of a horse fever," he added, "I know it well; you will stand in need
4350of a straw bed, but we cannot give you one till the doctor has
4351ordered it."
4352
4353He retired, locked the door, and I threw myself upon the hard
4354boards, with considerable fever and pain in my chest, but less
4355irritable, less at enmity with mankind, and less alienated from God.
4356
4357
4358
4359CHAPTER LX.
4360
4361
4362
4363In the evening came the superintendent, attended by Schiller,
4364another captain, and two soldiers, to make the usual search.  Three
4365of these inquisitions were ordered each day, at morning, noon, and
4366midnight.  Every corner of the prison was examined, and each article
4367of the most trivial kind.  The inferior officers then left, and the
4368superintendent remained a little time to converse with me.
4369
4370The first time I saw this troop of jailers approach, a strange
4371thought came into my head.  Being unacquainted with their habits of
4372search, and half delirious with fever, it struck me that they were
4373come to take my life, and seizing my great chain I resolved to sell
4374it dearly by knocking the first upon the head that offered to molest
4375me.
4376
4377"What mean you?" exclaimed the superintendent; "we are not going to
4378hurt you.  It is merely a formal visit to ascertain that all is in
4379proper order in the prisons."
4380
4381I hesitated, but when I saw Schiller advance and stretch forth his
4382hand with a kind, paternal look, I dropped the chain and took his
4383proffered hand.  "Lord! how it burns," he said, turning towards the
4384superintendent; "he ought at least to have a straw bed;" and he said
4385this in so truly compassionate a tone as quite to win my heart.  The
4386superintendent then felt my pulse, and spoke some consolatory words:
4387he was a man of gentlemanly manners, but dared not for his life
4388express any opinion upon the subject.
4389
4390"It is all a reign of terror here," said he, "even as regards
4391myself.  Should I not execute my orders to the rigour of the letter,
4392you would no longer see me here."  Schiller made a long face, and I
4393could have wagered he said within himself, "But if I were at the
4394head, like you, I would not carry my apprehensions so very far; for
4395to give an opinion on a matter of such evident necessity, and so
4396innocuous to government, would never be esteemed a mighty fault."
4397
4398When left alone, I felt my heart, so long incapable of any deep
4399sense of religion, stirred within me, and knelt down to pray.  I
4400besought a blessing upon the head of old Schiller, and appealing to
4401God, asked that he would so move the hearts of those around me, as
4402to permit me to become attached to them, and no longer suffer me to
4403hate my fellow-beings, humbly accepting all that was to be inflicted
4404upon me from His hand.
4405
4406About midnight I heard people passing along the gallery.  Keys were
4407sounding, and soon the door opened; it was the captain and his
4408guards on search.
4409
4410"Where is my old Schiller?" inquired I.  He had stopped outside in
4411the gallery.
4412
4413"I am here--I am here!" was the answer.  He came towards the table,
4414and, feeling my pulse, hung over me as a father would over his child
4415with anxious and inquiring look.  "Now I remember," said he, "to-
4416morrow is Thursday."
4417
4418"And what of that?" I inquired.
4419
4420"Why! it is just one of the days when the doctor does not attend, he
4421comes only on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Plague on him."
4422
4423"Give yourself no uneasiness about that!"
4424
4425"No uneasiness, no uneasiness!" he muttered, "but I do; you are ill,
4426I see; nothing is talked of in the whole town but the arrival of
4427yourself and friends; the doctor must have heard of it; and why the
4428devil could he not make the extraordinary exertion of coming once
4429out of his time?"
4430
4431"Who knows!" said I, "he may perhaps be here tomorrow,--Thursday
4432though it will be?"
4433
4434The old man said no more, he gave me a squeeze of the hand, enough
4435to break every bone in my fingers, as a mark of his approbation of
4436my courage and resignation.  I was a little angry with him, however,
4437much as a young lover, if the girl of his heart happen in dancing to
4438press her foot upon his; he laughs and esteems himself highly
4439favoured, instead of crying out with the pain.
4440
4441
4442
4443CHAPTER LXI.
4444
4445
4446
4447I awoke on Thursday morning, after a horrible night, weak, aching in
4448all my bones, from the hard boards, and in a profuse perspiration.
4449The visit hour came, but the superintendent was absent; and he only
4450followed at a more convenient time.  I said to Schiller, "Just see
4451how terribly I perspire; but it is now growing cold upon me; what a
4452treat it would be to change my shirt."
4453
4454"You cannot do it," he said, in a brutal tone.  At the same time he
4455winked, and moved his hand.  The captain and guards withdrew, and
4456Schiller made me another sign as he closed the door.  He soon opened
4457it again, and brought one of his own shirts, long enough to cover me
4458from head to feet, even if doubled.
4459
4460"It is perhaps a little too long, but I have no others here."
4461
4462"I thank you, friend, but as I brought with me a whole trunk full of
4463linen, I do hope I may be permitted the use of it.  Have the
4464kindness to ask the superintendent to let me have one of my shirts."
4465
4466"You will not be permitted, Sir, to use any of your linen here.
4467Each week you will have a shirt given you from the house like the
4468other prisoners."
4469
4470"You see, good man, in what a condition I am.  I shall never go out
4471of here alive.  I shall never be able to reward you."
4472
4473"For shame, Sir! for shame!" said the old man.  "Talk of reward to
4474one who can do you no good! to one who dare hardly give a dry shirt
4475to a sick fellow creature in a sweat!"  He then helped me on with
4476his long shirt, grumbling all the while, and slammed the door to
4477with violence on going out, as if he had been in a great rage.
4478
4479About two hours after, he brought me a piece of black bread.
4480"This," he said, "is your two days' fare!" he then began to walk
4482
4483"What is the matter?" I inquired; "are you vexed at me?  You know I
4484took the shirt."
4485
4486"I am enraged at that doctor; though it be Thursday he might show
4487his ugly face here."
4488
4489"Patience!" said I; but though I said it, I knew not for the life of
4490me how to get the least rest, without a pillow, upon those hard
4491boards.  Every bone in my body suffered.  At eleven I was treated to
4492the prison dinner--two little iron pots, one of soup, the other of
4493herbs, mixed in such a way as to turn your stomach with the smell.
4494I tried to swallow a few spoonfuls, but did not succeed.  Schiller
4495encouraged me:  "Never despair," said he; "try again; you will get
4496used to it in time.  If you don't, you will be like many others
4497before you, unable to eat anything but bread, and die of mere
4498inanition."
4499
4500Friday morning came, and with it came Dr. Bayer at last.  He found
4501me very feverish, ordered me a straw bed, and insisted I should be
4502removed from the caverns into one of the abodes above.  It could not
4503be done; there was no room.  An appeal was made to the Governor of
4504Moravia and Silesia, residing at Brunn, who commanded, on the
4505urgency of the case, that the medical advice should be followed.
4506
4507There was a little light in the room to which I was removed.  I
4508crawled towards the bars of the narrow window, and had the delight
4509of seeing the valley that lay below,--part of the city of Brunn,--a
4510suburb with gardens,--the churchyard,--the little lake of Certosa,--
4511and the woody hills which lay between us and the famous plains of
4512Austerlitz.  I was enchanted, and oh, what double pleasure, thought
4513I, would be mine, were I enabled to share it with my poor friend
4514Maroncelli!
4515
4516
4517
4518CHAPTER LXII.
4519
4520
4521
4522Meanwhile, our prison dresses were making for us, and five days
4523afterwards mine was brought to me.  It consisted of a pair of
4524pantaloons made of rough cloth, of which the right side was grey,
4525the left of a dark colour.  The waistcoat was likewise of two
4526colours equally divided, as well as the jacket, but with the same
4527colours placed on the contrary sides.  The stockings were of the
4528coarsest wool; the shirt of linen tow full of sharp points--a true
4529hair-cloth garment; and round the neck was a piece of the same kind.
4530Our legs were enveloped in leather buskins, untanned, and we wore a
4531coarse white hat.
4532
4533This costume was not complete without the addition of chains to the
4534feet, that is, extending from one leg to the other, the joints being
4535fastened with nails, which were riveted upon an anvil.  The
4536blacksmith employed upon my legs, in this operation, observed to one
4537of the guards, thinking I knew nothing of German, "So ill as he is,
4538one would think they might spare him this sort of fun; ere two
4539months be over, the angel of death will loosen these rivets of
4540mine."
4541
4542"Mochte es seyn! may it be so!" was my reply, as I touched him upon
4543the shoulder.  The poor fellow started, and seemed quite confused;
4544he then said; "I hope I may be a false prophet; and I wish you may
4545be set free by another kind of angel."
4546
4547"Yet, rather than live thus, think you not, it would be welcome even
4548from the angel of death?"  He nodded his head, and went away, with a
4549look of deep compassion for me.
4550
4551I would truly have been willing to die, but I felt no disposition
4552towards suicide.  I felt confident that the disease of my lungs
4553would be enough, ere long, to give me freedom.  Such was not the
4554will of God.  The fatigue of my journey had made me much worse, but
4555rest seemed again to restore my powers.
4556
4557A few minutes after the blacksmith left me, I heard the hammer
4558sounding upon the anvil in one of the caverns below.  Schiller was
4559then in my room.  "Do you hear those blows?" I said; "they are
4560certainly fixing the irons on poor Maroncelli."  The idea for the
4561moment was so overwhelming, that if the old man had not caught me, I
4562should have fallen.  For more than half an hour, I continued in a
4563kind of swoon, and yet I was sensible.  I could not speak, my pulse
4564scarcely beat at all; a cold sweat bathed me from head to foot.
4565Still I could hear all that Schiller said, and had a keen
4566perception, both of what had passed and was passing.
4567
4568By command of the superintendent and the activity of the guards, the
4569whole of the adjacent prisons had been kept in a state of profound
4570silence.  Three or four times I had caught snatches of some Italian
4571song, but they were quickly stifled by the calls of the sentinels on
4572duty.  Several of these were stationed upon the ground-floor, under
4573our windows, and one in the gallery close by, who was continually
4574engaged in listening at the doors and looking through the bars to
4575forbid every kind of noise.
4576
4577Once, towards evening (I feel the same sort of emotion whenever I
4578recur to it), it happened that the sentinels were less on the alert;
4579and I heard in a low but clear voice some one singing in a prison
4580adjoining my own.  What joy, what agitation I felt at the sound.  I
4581rose from my bed of straw, I bent my ear; and when it ceased--I
4582burst into tears.  "Who art thou, unhappy one?" I cried, "who art
4583thou? tell me thy name!  I am Silvio Pellico."
4584
4585"Oh, Silvio!" cried my neighbour, "I know you not by person, but I
4586have long loved you.  Get up to your window, and let us speak to
4587each other, in spite of the jailers."
4588
4589I crawled up as well as I could; he told me his name, and we
4590exchanged few words of kindness.  It was the Count Antonio Oroboni,
4591a native of Fratta, near Rovigo, and only twenty-nine years of age.
4592Alas! we were soon interrupted by the ferocious cries of the
4593sentinels.  He in the gallery knocked as loud as he could with the
4594butt-end of his musket, both at the Count's door and at mine.  We
4595would not, and we could not obey; but the noise, the oaths, and
4596threats of the guards were such as to drown our voices, and after
4597arranging that we would resume our communications, upon a change of
4598guards, we ceased to converse.
4599
4600
4601
4602CHAPTER LXIII.
4603
4604
4605
4606We were in hopes (and so in fact it happened) that by speaking in a
4607lower tone, and perhaps occasionally having guards whose humanity
4608might prompt them to pay no attention to us, we might renew our
4609conversation.  By dint of practice we learnt to hear each other in
4610so low a key that the sounds were almost sure to escape the notice
4611of the sentinels.  If, as it rarely happened, we forgot ourselves,
4612and talked aloud, there came down upon us a torrent of cries, and
4613knocks at our doors, accompanied with threats and curses of every
4614kind, to say nothing of poor Schiller's vexation, and that of the
4615superintendent.
4616
4617By degrees, however, we brought our system to perfection; spoke only
4618at the precise minutes, quarters, and half hours when it was safe,
4619or when such and such guards were upon duty.  At length, with
4620moderate caution, we were enabled every day to converse almost as
4621much as we pleased, without drawing on us the attention or anger of
4622any of the superior officers.
4623
4624It was thus we contracted an intimate friendship.  The Count told me
4625his adventures, and in turn I related mine.  We sympathised in
4626everything we heard, and in all each other's joys or griefs.  It was
4627of infinite advantage to us, as well as pleasure; for often, after
4628passing a sleepless night, one or the other would hasten to the
4629window and salute his friend.  How these mutual welcomes and
4630conversations helped to encourage us, and to soothe the horrors of
4631our continued solitude!  We felt that we were useful to each other;
4632and the sense of this roused a gentle emulation in all our thoughts,
4633and gave a satisfaction which man receives, even in misery, when he
4634knows he can serve a fellow-creature.  Each conversation gave rise
4635to new ones; it was necessary to continue them, and to explain as we
4636went on.  It was an unceasing stimulus to our ideas to our reason,
4637our memory, our imagination, and our hearts.
4638
4639At first, indeed, calling to mind Julian, I was doubtful as to the
4640fidelity of this new friend.  I reflected that hitherto we had not
4641been at variance; but some day I feared something unpleasant might
4642occur, and that I should then be sent back to my solitude.  But this
4643suspicion was soon removed.  Our opinions harmonised upon all
4644essential points.  To a noble mind, full of ardour and generous
4645sentiment, undaunted by misfortune, he added the most clear and
4646perfect faith in Christianity, while in me this had become
4647vacillating and at times apparently extinct.
4648
4649He met my doubts with most just and admirable reflections; and with
4650equal affection, I felt that he had reason on his side:  I admitted
4651it, yet still my doubts returned.  It is thus, I believe, with all
4652who have not the Gospel at heart, and who hate, or indulge
4653resentments of any kind.  The mind catches glimpses, as it were, of
4654the truth, but as it is unpleasing, it is disbelieved the moment
4655after, and the attention directed elsewhere.
4656
4657Oroboni was indefatigable in turning MY attention to the motives
4658which man has to show kindness to his enemies.  I never spoke of any
4659one I abhorred but he began in a most dexterous manner to defend
4660him, and not less by his words than by his example.  Many men had
4661injured him; it grieved him, yet he forgave all, and had the
4662magnanimity to relate some laudable trait or other belonging to
4663each, and seemed to do it with pleasure.
4664
4665The irritation which had obtained such a mastery over me, and
4666rendered me so irreligious after my condemnation, continued several
4667weeks, and then wholly ceased.  The noble virtue of Oroboni
4668delighted me.  Struggling as well as I could to reach him, I at
4669least trod in the same track, and I was then enabled to pray with
4670sincerity; to forgive, to hate no one, and dissipate every remaining
4671doubt and gloom.
4672
4673Ubi charitas et amor, Deus ibi est. {25}
4674
4675
4676
4677CHAPTER LXIV.
4678
4679
4680
4681To say truth, if our punishment was excessively severe, and
4682calculated to irritate the mind, we had still the rare fortune of
4683meeting only with individuals of real worth.  They could not,
4684indeed, alleviate our situation, except by kindness and respect, but
4685so much was freely granted.  If there were something rude and
4686uncouth in old Schiller, it was amply compensated by his noble
4687spirit.  Even the wretched Kunda (the convict who brought us our
4688dinner, and water three times a day) was anxious to show his
4689compassion for us.  He swept our rooms regularly twice in the week.
4690One morning, while thus engaged, as Schiller turned a few steps from
4691the door, poor Kunda offered me a piece of white bread.  I refused
4692it, but squeezed him cordially by the hand.  He was moved, and told
4693me, in bad German, that he was a Pole.  "Good sir," he added, "they
4694give us so little to eat here, that I am sure you must be hungry."
4695I assured him I was not, but he was very hard of belief.
4696
4697The physician, perceiving that we were none of us enabled to swallow
4698the kind of food prepared for us on our first arrival, put us all
4699upon what is considered the hospital diet.  This consisted of three
4700very small plates of soup in the day, the least slice of roast lamb,
4702
4703As my health continued to improve, my appetite grew better, and that
4704"fourth portion," as they termed it, was really too little, and I
4705began to feel the justice of poor Kunda's remarks.  I tried a return
4706to the sound diet, but do what I would to conquer my aversion, it
4707was all labour lost.  I was compelled to live upon the fourth part
4708of ordinary meals:  and for a whole year I knew by experience the
4709tortures of hunger.  It was still more severely felt by many of my
4710fellow-prisoners, who, being far stouter, had been accustomed to a
4711full and generous diet.  I learnt that many of them were glad to
4712accept pieces of bread from Schiller and some of the guards, and
4713even from the poor hungry Kunda.
4714
4715"It is reported in the city," said the barber, a young practitioner
4716of our surgery, one day to me, "it is reported that they do not give
4717you gentlemen here enough to eat."
4718
4719"And it is very true," replied I, with perfect sincerity.
4720
4721The next Sunday (he came always on that day) he brought me an
4722immense white loaf, and Schiller pretended not to see him give it
4723me.  Had I listened to my stomach I should have accepted it, but I
4724would not, lest he should repeat the gift and bring himself into
4725some trouble.  For the same reason I refused Schiller's offers.  He
4726would often bring me boiled meat, entreating me to partake of it,
4727and protesting it cost him nothing; besides, he knew not what to do
4728with it, and must give it away to somebody.  I could have devoured
4729it, but would he not then be tempted to offer me something or other
4730every day, and what would it end in?  Twice only I partook of some
4731cherries and some pears; they were quite irresistible.  I was
4732punished as I expected, for from that time forth the old man never
4733ceased bringing me fruit of some kind or other.
4734
4735
4736
4737CHAPTER LXV.
4738
4739
4740
4741It was arranged, on our arrival, that each of us should be permitted
4742to walk an hour twice in the week.  In the sequel, this relief was
4743one day granted us and another refused; and the hour was always
4744later during festivals.
4745
4746We went, each separately, between two guards, with loaded muskets on
4747their shoulders.  In passing from my prison, at the head of the
4748gallery, I went by the whole of the Italian prisoners, with the
4749exception of Maroncelli--the only one condemned to linger in the
4750caverns below.  "A pleasant walk!" whispered they all, as they saw
4751me pass; but I was not allowed to exchange a single word.
4752
4753I was led down a staircase which opened into a spacious court, where
4754we walked upon a terrace, with a south aspect, and a view of the
4755city of Brunn and the surrounding country.  In this courtyard we saw
4756numbers of the common criminals, coming from, or going to, their
4757labour, or passing along conversing in groups.  Among them were
4758several Italian robbers, who saluted me with great respect.  "He is
4759no rogue, like us; yet you see his punishment is more severe"; and
4760it was true, they had a larger share of freedom than I.
4761
4762Upon hearing expressions like these, I turned and saluted them with
4763a good-natured look.  One of them observed, "It does me good to see
4764you, sir, when you notice me.  Possibly you may see something in my
4765look not so very wicked.  An unhappy passion instigated me to commit
4766a crime, but believe me, sir, I am no villain!"
4767
4768Saying this he burst into tears.  I gave him my hand, but he was
4769unable to return the pressure.  At that moment, my guard, according
4770to their instructions, drove him away, declaring that they must
4771permit no one to approach me.  The observations subsequently
4772addressed to me were pretended to be spoken among each other; and if
4773my two attendants became aware of it, they quickly interposed
4774silence.
4775
4776Prisoners of various ranks, and visitors of the superintendent, the
4777chaplain, the sergeant, or some of the captains, were likewise to be
4778seen there.  "That is an Italian, that is an Italian!" they often
4779whispered each other.  They stopped to look at me, and they would
4780say in German, supposing I should not understand them, "That poor
4781gentleman will not live to be old; he has death in his countenance."
4782
4783In fact, after recovering some degree of strength, I again fell ill
4784for want of nourishment, and fever again attacked me.  I attempted
4785to drag myself, as far as my chain would permit, along the walk, and
4786throwing myself upon the turf, I rested there until the expiration
4787of my hour.  The guards would then sit down near me, and begin to
4788converse with each other.  One of them, a Bohemian, named Kral, had,
4789though very poor, received some sort of an education, which he had
4791Klopstock, Wieland, Goethe, Schiller, and many other distinguished
4792German writers.  He knew a good deal by memory, and repeated many
4793passages with feeling and correctness.  The other guard was a Pole,
4794by name Kubitzky, wholly untaught, but kind and respectful.  Their
4795society was a great relief to me.
4796
4797
4798
4799CHAPTER LXVI.
4800
4801
4802
4803At one end of the terrace was situated the apartments of the
4804superintendent, at the other was the residence of a captain, with
4805his wife and son.  When I saw any one appear from these buildings, I
4806was in the habit of approaching near, and was invariably received
4807with marks of courtesy and compassion.
4808
4809The wife of the captain had been long ill, and appeared to be in a
4810decline.  She was sometimes carried into the open air, and it was
4811astonishing to see the sympathy she expressed for our sufferings.
4812She had the sweetest look I ever saw; and though evidently timid,
4813would at times fix her eye upon me with an inquiring, confiding
4814glance, when appealed to by name.  One day I observed to her with a
4815smile, "Do you know, signora, I find a resemblance between you and
4816one who was very dear to me."  She blushed, and replied with
4817charming simplicity, "Do not then forget me when I shall be no more;
4818pray for my unhappy soul, and for the little ones I leave behind
4819me!"  I never saw her after that day; she was unable to rise from
4820her bed, and in a few months I heard of her death.
4821
4822She left three sons, all beautiful as cherubs, and one still an
4823infant at the breast.  I had often seen the poor mother embrace them
4824when I was by, and say, with tears in her eyes, "Who will be their
4825mother when I am gone?  Ah, whoever she may be, may it please the
4826Father of all to inspire her with love, even for children not her
4827own."
4828
4829Often, when she was no more, did I embrace those fair children, shed
4830a tear over them, and invoke their mother's blessing on them, in the
4831same words.  Thoughts of my own mother, and of the prayers she so
4832often offered up for HER lost son, would then come over me, and I
4833added, with broken words and sighs, "Oh, happier mother than mine,
4834you left, indeed, these innocent ones, so young and fair, but my
4835dear mother devoted long years of care and tenderness to me, and saw