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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT 



From the Library of 

Henry Goldman, Ph.D. 

1886-1972 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/eternalcityOOcainiala 



^-^^^/kc 



♦. •»•. 



Si^^f^\-~^^' *^ 



THE ETERNAL CITY 



Spr, l^all Caine's 


jl5oi)el0. 

Crime, 


The Shado<w of a 


A Son of Hagar, 




The Deemster, 




The Bondman, 




The Scapegoat, 




The Manxman, 




The Christian, 




The Eternal City, 





The 



Eternal City 



By 

Hall Caine 



He looked for a city which hath foun- 
dations whose builder and maker is God 




New York 

D. Appleton and Company 

1 90 1 



Copyright, 1901, 
By hall CAINI'l 

All rights reserved. 



StacK 
Annex 

HHOH 

CONTENTS 



Prologue 



PAOB 

1 



PART ONE 
The Holy Roman Empire .... 9 

PART TWO 
The Republic op Man .... 58 

PART THREE 
Roma 104 

PART FOUR 
David Rossi 165 

PART FIVE 
The Prime Minister 252 

PART SIX 
The Roman of Rome 335 

PART SEVEN 
The Pope 426 

PART EIGHT 
The King 528 

PART NINE 
The People 582 

Epilogue ^^5 

T 



* 



THE ETERNAL CITY 



PROLOGUE 



He was hardly fit to figure in the great review of life. A 
boy of ten or twelve, in tattered clothes, with an accordion 
in a case swung over one shoulder like a sack, and under the 
other arm a wooden cage containing a grey squirrel. It was 
a December night in London, and the Southern lad had noth- 
ing to shelter his little body from the Northern cold but his 
short velveteen jacket, red waistcoat, and knickerbockers. He 
was going home after a long day in Chelsea, and, conscious 
of something fantastic in his appearance, and of doubtful 
legality in his calling, he was dipping into side streets in 
order to escape the laughter of the London boys and the at- 
tentions of policemen. 

Coming to the Italian quarter in Soho, he stopped at the 
door of a shop to see the time. It was eight o'clock. There 
was an hour to wait before he would be allowed to go indoors. 
The shop was a baker's, and the window was full of cakes 
and confectionery. From an iron grid on the pavement there 
came the warm breath of the oven underground, the red glow 
of the fire, and the scythe-like swish of the long shovels. The 
boy blocked the squirrel under his armpit, dived into his 
pocket, and brought out some copper coins and counted them. 
There was ninepence. Ninepence was the sum he had to take 
home every night, and there was not a halfpenny to spare. 
He knew that perfectly before he began to count, but his 
appetite had tempted him to try again if his arithmetic was 
not at fault. 

The air grew warmer, and it began to snow. At first it 
was a fine sprinkle that made a snow-mist, and adhered 
wherever it fell. The traffic speedily became less, and things 
looked big in the thick air. The boy was wandering aimlessly 

1 



2 THE ETERNAL CITY 

through the streets, waiting for nine o'clock. When he 
thought the hour was near, he realised that he had lost his 
way. He screwed up his eyes to see if he knew the houses 
and shops and signs, but everything seemed strange. 

The snow snowed on, and now it fell in large, corkscrew 
flakes. The boy brushed them from his face, but at the next 
moment they blinded him again. The few persons still in the 
streets loomed up on him out of the darkness, and passed in a 
moment like gigantic shadows. He tried to ask his way, but 
nobody would stand long enough to listen. One man who 
was putting up his shutters shouted some answer that was 
lost in the drumlike rumble of all voices in the falling snow. 

The boy came up to a big porch with four pillars, and 
stepped in to rest and reflect. The long tunnels of smoking 
lights which had receded down the streets were not to be seen 
from there, and so he knew that he was in a square. It would 
be Soho Square, but whether he was on the south or east of 
it he could not tell, and consequently he was at a loss to know 
which way to turn. A great silence had fallen over every- 
thing, and only the sobbing nostrils of the cab-horses seemed 
to be audible in the hollow air. 

He was very cold. The snow had got into his shoes, and 
through the rents in his cross-gartered stockings. His red 
waistcoat wanted buttons, and he could feel that his shirt was 
wet. He tried to shake the snow off by stamping, but it clung 
to his velveteens. His numbed fingers could scarcely hold 
the cage, which was also full of snow. By the light coming 
from a fanlight over the door in the porch he looked at his 
squirrel. The little thing was trembling pitifully in its icy 
bed, and he took it out and breathed on it to warm it, and 
then put it in his bosom. The sound of a child's voice laugh- 
ing and singing came to him from within the house, muffled 
by the walls and the door. Across the white vapour cast out- 
ward from the fanlight he could see nothing but the crystal 
snowflakes falling wearily. 

He grew dizzy, and sat down by one of the pillars. After 
a while a shiver passed along his spine, and then he became 
warm and felt sleepy. A church clock struck nine, and he 
started up with a guilty feeling, but his limbs were stiff and 
he sank back again, blew two or three breaths on to the squirrel 
inside his waistcoat, and fell into a doze. As he dropped off 
into unconsciousness he seemed to see the big, cheerless house, 
almost destitute of furniture, where he lived with thirty or 



PROLOGUE 3 

forty other boys. They trooped in with their organs and ac- 
cordions, counted out their coppers to a man with a clipped 
moustache, who was blowing whiffs of smoke from a long, 
black cigar, with a straw through it, and then sat down on 
forms to eat their plates of macaroni and cheese. The man 
was not in good temper to-night, and he was shouting at 
some who were coming in late and at others who were sharing 
their supper with the squirrels that nestled in their bosoms, 
or the monkeys, in red jacket and fez, that perched upon 
their shoulders. The boy was perfectly unconscious by this 
time, and the child within the house was singing away as if 
her little breast was a cage of song-birds. 

As the church clock struck nine a class of Italian lads 
in an upper room in Old Compton Street was breaking up for 
the night, and the teacher, looking out of the window, said : 

" While we have been telling the story of the great road to 
our country a snowstorm has come, and we shall have enough 
to do to find our road home." 

The lads laughed by way of answer, and cried : " Good- 
night, doctor." 

" Good-night, boys, and God bless you," said the teacher. 

He was an elderly man, with a noble forehead and a long 
beard. His face, a sad one, was lighted up by a feeble smile; 
his voice was soft, and his manner gentle. When the boys 
were gone he swung over his shoulders a black cloak with a 
red lining, and followed them into the street. 

He had not gone far into the snowy haze before he began 
to realise that his playful warning had not been amiss. 

" Well, well," he thought, " only a few steps, and yet so 
difficult to find." 

He found the right turnings at last, and coming to the 
porch of his house in Soho Square, he almost trod on a little 
black and white object lying huddled at the base of one of the 
pillars. 

" A boy," he thought, " sleeping out on a night like this ! 
Come, come," he said severely, " this is wrong," and he shook 
the little fellow to waken him. 

The boy did not answer, but he began to mutter in a 
sleepy monotone, " Don't hit me, sir. It was the snow. I'll 
not come home late again. Ninepence, sir, and Jinny is so 
cold." 

The man paused a moment, then turned to the door and 
rang the bell sharply. 



THE ETERNAL CITY 



II 



Half-an-hour later the little musician was lying on a 
couch in the doctor's surgery, a cheerful room with a fire and a 
soft lamp under a shade. He was still unconscious, but his damp 
clothes had been taken off and he was wrapped in blankets. 
The doctor sat at the boy's head and moistened his lips with 
brandy, while a good woman, with a face of a saint, knelt at 
the end of the couch and rubbed his little feet and legs. 
After a little while there was a perceptible quivering of the 
eyelids and twitching of the mouth. 

" He is coming to, mother," said the doctor. 

" At last," said his wife. 

" My poor little coinitryman ! Another victim of the men 
who live on the white slavery of our Italian boys. The scoun- 
drels! They scour the villages and country places, tempt the 
parents with promises of two pounds, three pounds, four 
pounds to part with their boys, leave some lying indenture of 
apprenticeship to evade the law, bring the little orphaned 
ones to England in droves like cattle, lodge them in some 
house more bare than a barrack, give them an accordion, or 
an organ, a monkey, or a squirrel, or a cage of white mice, 
and then drive them out into the streets to beg or to starve." 

" Poor little man ! " 

" It makes my throat throb to think of their sufferings, 
and none the less because the scoundrels who inflict them 
are sons of my own beloved Italy." 

" Wliat will God do with such men in the next world, I 
wonder ? " 

" He seems to do nothing in this world, mother, and that's 
the best reason why we should ourselves do something. If 
there's law in England to protect the innocent and punish the 
guilty, I will bring some of these scoundrels to justice." 

The boy moaned and opened his eyes, the big helpless eyes 
of childhood, black as a sloe, and with long black lashes. He 
looked at the fire, the lamp, the carpet, the blankets, the 
figures at either end of the couch, and with a smothered cry 
he raised himself as though thinking to escape. 

" Carino ! " said the doctor, smoothing the boy's curly 
hair. " Lie still a little longer." 

The voice was like a caress, and the boy sank back. But 
presently he raised himself again, and gazed around the room 
as if looking for something. The good mother understood 



PROLOGUE 5 

him perfectly, and from a chair on which his clothes were 
lying she picked up his little grey squirrel. It was frozen 
stiff with the cold and now quite dead, but he grasped it 
tightly and kissed it passionately, while big teardrops rolled 
on to his cheeks. 

" Carino ! " said the doctor again, taking the dead squirrel 
away, and after a while the boy lay quiet and was comforted. 

" Italiano— si ? " 

" Si, Signore." 

" From which province ? " 

" Campagna Komana, Signore." 

" Where does he say he comes from, doctor ? " 

" From the country district outside Rome. And now you 
are living at Maccari's in Greek Street — isn't that so ? " 

"Yes, sir." 

" How long have you been in England — one year, two 
years ? " 

" Two years and a half, sir." 

" And what is your name, my son ? " 

" David Leone." 

" A beautiful name, carino ! David Le-o-ne," repeated the 
doctor, smoothing the curly hair. 

" A beautiful boy, too ! What will you do with him, 
doctor?" 

" Keep him here to-night at all events, and to-morrow 
we'll see if some institution will not receive him. David 
Leone ! Where have I heard that name before, I wonder ? 
Your father is a farmer ? " 

But the boy's face had clouded like a mirror that has been 
breathed upon, and he made no answer. 

" Isn't your father a farmer in the Campagna Romana, 
David?" 

" I have no father," said the boy. 

" Carino ! But your mother is alive- — yes ? " 

" I have no mother." 

" Caro mio ! Caro mio ! You shall not go to the institu- 
tion to-morrow, my son," said the doctor, and then the mirror 
cleared in a moment as if the sun had shone on it. 

" Listen, father ! " 

Two little feet were drumming on the floor above. 

" Baby hasn't gone to bed yet. She wouldn't sleep until 
she had seen the boy, and -I had to promise she might come 
down presently." 



6 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Let her come down now," said the doctor. 

The boy was supping a basin of broth when the door burst 
open with a bang, and like a tiny cascade which leaps and 
bubbles in the sunlight, a little maid of three, with violet 
eyes, golden complexion, and glossy black hair, came bound- 
ing into the room. She was trailing behind her a train of 
white nightdress, hobbling on the portion in front, and car- 
rying under her arm a cat, which, being held out by the neck, 
was coiling its body and kicking its legs like a rabbit. 

But having entered with so fearless a front, the little 
Avoman drew up suddenly at sight of the boy, and, entrench- 
ing herself behind the doctor, began to swing by his coat-tails, 
and to take furtive glances at the stranger in silence and 
aloofness. 

" Bless their hearts ! what funny things they are to be 
sure," said the mother. " Somebody seems to have been tell- 
ing her she might have a brother some day, and when nurse 
said to Susanna, ' The doctor has brought a boy home with 
him to-night,' nothing was so sure as that this was the 
brother they had promised her, and yet now . . . Roma, 
you silly child, why don't you come and speak to the poor 
boy who was nearly frozen to death in the snow ? " 

But Roma's privateering fingers were now deep in her 
father's pocket, in search of a specimen of the sugar-stick 
which seemed to live and grow there. She found two sugar- 
sticks this time, and sight of a second suggested a bold adven- 
ture. Sidling up toward the couch, but still holding on to 
the doctor's coat-tails, like a craft that swings to anchor, she 
tossed one of the sugar-sticks on to the floor at the boy's side. 
The boy smiled and picked it up, and this being taken for suf- 
ficient masculine response, the little daughter of Eve proceeded 
to proper overtures. 

"Oo a boy?" 

The boy smiled again and assented. 

" Oo me brodder ? " 

The boy's smile paled perceptibly. 

"Oolubme?" 

The tide in the boy's eyes was rising rapidly. 

" Oo lub me eber and eber ? " 

The tears were gathering fast, when the doctor, smoothing 
the boy's dark curls again, said : 

"You have a little sister of your own far away in the 
Campagna Romana — yes ? " 



PROLOGUE 7 

" N"o, sir." 

" Perhaps it's a brother." 

" I ... I have nobody," said the boy, and his voice 
broke on the last word with a thud. 

" You shall not go to the institution at all, David," said 
the doctor softly. 

" Doctor Roselli ! " exclaimed his wife. But something in 
the doctor's face smote her instantly and she said no more. 

" Time for bed, baby." 

But baby had many excuses. There were the sugar-sticks, 
and the pussy, and the boy-brother, and finally her prayers 
to say. 

" Say them here, then, sweetheart," said her mother, and 
with her cat pinned up again under one arm and the sugar- 
stick held under the other, kneeling face to the fire, but 
screwing her half closed eyes at intervals in the direction of 
the couch, the little maid put her little waif-and-stray hands 
together and said : 

" Our Fader oo art in Heben, alud be my name. Dy 
kingum tum. Dy will be done on card as it is in Heben. 
Gib us dis day our dayey bread, and forgib us our tres- 
passes as we forgib dem lat trelspass ayenst us. And lee us 
not into temstashuns, but deliber us from ebil . . . for eber 
and eber. Amen." 

The house in Soho Square was perfectly silent an hour 
afterward. In the surgery the lamp was turned down, the 
cat was winking and yawning at the fire, and the doctor sat 
in a chair in front of the fading glow and listened to the 
measured breathing of the boy behind him. It dropped at 
length, like a pendulum that is about to stop, into the noise- 
less beat of innocent sleep, and then the good man got up and 
looked down at the little head on the pillow. 

Even with the eyes closed it was a beautiful face; one of 
the type which great painters have loved to paint for their 
saints and angels — sweet, soft, wise, and wistful. And where 
did it come from? From the Campagna Romana, a scene of 
poverty, of squalor, of fever, and of death? 

The doctor thought of his own little daughter, whose life 
had been a long holiday, and then of the boy whose days had 
been an unbroken bondage. 

" Yet who knows but in the rough chance of life our little 
Roma may not some day . . . God forbid ! " 

The boy moved in his sleep and laughed the laugh of a 



8 THE ETERNAL CITY 

dream that is like the sound of a breeze in soft summer 
grass, and it broke the thread of painful reverie. 

" Poor little man ! he has forgotten all his troubles." 

Perhaps he was back in his sunny Italy by this time, 
among the vines and the oranges and the flowers, running 
barefoot with other children on the dazzling whiteness of the 
roads ! . . . Perhaps his mother in heaven was praying her 
heart out to the Blessed Virgin to watch over her fatherless 
darling cast adrift upon the world! 

"Oh, the cry of the children, the cry of the children! 
The little, helpless, innocent victims of the social maelstrom. 
All the world over their cry goes up to heaven, and woe to the 
nation, or the government, or the dynasty that will not heed 
or hear it ! " 

That thought was a key which unlocked the lavender- 
closet of his most solemn and sacred memories. No one in 
the great, free land of his adoption, not even the saint who 
was his wife, had ever yet opened the door of it. A palace 
in Rorne — himself young, ardent, enthusiastic, burning with 
love of country and desire to serve its cause — his father a 
Prince of the Papal Court, proud, imperious, and uncom- 
promising — the Pope trying in vain to make peace between 
them — expulsion — poverty — obscurity — exile — England — a 
new name — a new profession- — life among the people — liberty! 
Then marriage with a good Englishwoman almost as solitary 
as himself, and last of all, like the angel's breath on the pool 
of Bethesda, the birth of their child, their little Roma — 
Roma, the healer of his heart — Roma, after the city of his 
soul ! 

The train of his memories was interrupted by voices in the 
street, and he drew the curtain of the window aside and 
looked out. The snow had ceased to fall, and the moon was 
shining; the leafless trees were casting their delicate black 
shadows on the whitened ground, and the yellow light of a 
lantern on the opposite angle of the square showed where a 
group of lads were singing a Christmas carol. 

"While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on 
the ground, 
The angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around." 

Doctor Roselli closed the curtain, put out the lamp, 
touched with his lips the forehead of the sleeping boy, and. 
went to bed. 



PAKT ONE 
THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 



TWENTY YEARS LATER 
I 

It was the last day of the last month of the last year of 
the century. In a Bull proclaiming a Jubilee the Pope had 
called his faithful children to Rome, and they had come from 
all quarters of the globe. To salute the coming century, and 
to dedicate it, in pomp and solemn ceremony, to the return of 
the world to the Holy Church, one and universal, the people 
gathered in the great Piazza of St. Peter. 

The sergeants of police said that some had passed the 
night there. Through the mist of early morning their spec- 
tral images glimmered in a sea of shadows. As light breathed 
through the haze you could define first a figure and then a face, 
in a waste of indistinguishable shapes. Through the chill 
air coming off the Campagna you could hear the sharp crackle 
of carriage wheels on the Roman pavement as the people 
came up the side streets. The white sheets of vapour began 
to roll away, and silently out of the east rose the great drowsy 
disc of red. Then from some unseen rock above a mighty 
bell began, and it was followed after a moment by a grand 
pealing of all the bells of Rome. 

As day dawned the growing light showed a prodigious 
circle. It was like a mountain tarn whose vast amplitude has 
been swirled out of the rocks by the wash of ages. On either 
side the smooth round walls, and in front a gigantic glacier, 
with two peaks and a round forehead in the sky, and giant 
boulders down below. You thought you could hear the waters 
as they moved in the mountain breeze, and were fed by 
streams that flowed into the mighty basin. 

The light came in its leaden greyness, and the glacier 
2 « 



10 THE ETERNAL CITY 

was the great Basilica of St. Peter, the round walls were the 
embracing arms of the Colonnade of Bernini, the two peaks 
were the two clock towers, the giant boulders were the statues 
of apostles with drawn swords, the obelisks with their in- 
scriptions and the fountains throwing up spray; and the 
noise of the waters was the murmur of an immense mass of 
people already crowded into the square. 

The sun shot its first beam on to the golden cross of the 
Basilica, and it glistened in the sunrise like the topmost 
peaks at Chamounix, and the broad blaze came down the blue 
dome and over the white walls and rested on the round sea 
of human faces. 

The balcony of St. Peter's was shaded by a wide awning, 
and the portico was adorned with red and gold hangings, 
draped around a large representation of the arms of the Pope. 
At the top of the great steps, which were strewn with sand 
and sprinkled with sprigs of box, a space was kept clear by a 
cordon of infantry. 

Two double lines of troops traversed the square below. 
One of them stretched in a half circle from a bronze gate 
under the colonnade on the right to an arch beneath the clock 
tower on the left. This was intended for the procession of 
the Pope as it came out of the Vatican and passed into St. 
Peter's, and it was kept clear like the empty bed of a 
dammed-up stream. The other line of troops crossed the 
square diagonally from the street in front of the Basilica to 
the central entrance, and this was like a river that was some- 
times rippling, sometimes rushing, but always running. 

When the clock struck seven the doors were opened, and 
the human tide began to rise up the steps and to flow into the 
church. First came the pilgrims from distant places, a mixed 
and motley company. Now a band of bronzed creatures, sul- 
len-eyed and heavy-featured, and clad in sheepskins and 
leather. Then a group of bright-eyed Neapolitan women with 
I'ed handkerchiefs on their heads, strings of coral around 
their necks and silver pins in their blue black hair. And 
then a troop of poor men in red flannel cloaks, or of women, 
chiefly old, in black dresses and lace veils. With each batch 
walked a clerical guide, sometimes a rustic Monsignor wearing 
the broad violet waist-band over his black cassock, but gen- 
erally a simple priest, unkempt, unshaven, with shaggy 
beaver battered by the rain, and heavy shoes stained by 
the soil. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE H 

Toward eight o'clock came files of men and boys, carrying 
banners with inscriptions in yellow and gold. One such file 
was a deputation of French working-men, come to pay their 
devotion to the Holy Father and proclaim him the friend of 
democracy and the Workmen's Pope. 

As the clock struck nine the stream rising up the steps to 
the portico was being traversed by gentlemen in dress coats 
and by ladies in long black veils, wearing jewels and bril- 
liants. Dividing them, in companies of eight and ten, came 
the priests of the future, the students of the papal colleges, 
in sashes of red and blue and green, and in one case cassocks 
of scarlet, which splashed the steps like a stream of blood. 
Then came little knots of nuns, in black hoods that hid their 
downcast faces; and last of all, in gorgeous uniforms of every 
kind and blazing with decorations, the diplomatic corps ac- 
credited to the Vatican. 

By this time there was an immense concourse within St. 
Peter's, yet the mass of crowded and mixed humanity was 
still larger outside. The people now covered the piazza round 
and round from side to side, except where the black and red 
carabineers and the black and blue police on foot and on 
horseback kept places clear in case of a crush. 

The vast mountain tarn seemed to have been casting up 
its spray on to its sides, for every window and balcony round 
about was decorated with gay trappings and swarming with 
faces. 

The Jubilee was to be a sacred one, but it could not be 
said that this crowd conveyed a universal sense of solemnity 
and awe. There were the girls who dance the Tarantella at 
the hotels, gleesome little maidens with figures just rounding 
into sensuous womanhood; there were the models in short 
skirts and bright stockings who wait for artists on the Span- 
ish steps, and the girls of the people with their dark Oriental 
mischievous eyes. Then there were monks in black, brown 
and white, each with his big, ungainly umbrella; a priest 
with the face of an old woman, but helpless-looking and un- 
tidy, because he has no woman to take care of him; a smart 
ofiicer of the Italian army in his blue cloak and with his 
matronly wife beside him; a greasy seller of sherbet and yel- 
low beans ; a screamer crying " La Vera Roma ; " a pick- 
pocket with the thick bull-neck of the Trasteverine — the 
Roman " cockney " from across the Tiber — getting up panics 
and slanting off at sight of the police; and the beggars with 



12 THE ETERNAL CITY 

their various deformities, hobbling, and shuffling, and whin- 
ing : " A penny for the love of God ! For the blessed Virgin's 
sake! For Christ's sake, and may God bless you and the 
Madonna and all the Saints ! " 

Last of all in this mixed and motley assembly there was 
the vast army of foreigners, the forestieri, thick as stars on 
a full-starred night, English, American, French, Russian, 
Spanish, all who regard Kome as an artistic play-ground, and 
come for sights— religious sights most of all. In that wide 
cosmopolis you might hear every tongue of Europe, and every 
tone of English, from the coo of the pretty pink-and-white 
English miss in her sailor hat to the bugle note of the bright 
American girl with her red Baedeker and her short skirt. 

All were there, all languages, all peoples, all ages, the East 
and the West, the past and the present, called back to the 
Eternal City that was born of the loins of the world. Nations 
sink and rise, but humanity is immortal, and that spectacle 
of beauty and majesty under the glorious light of heaven — 
St. Peter's, the people, Rome, on one spot at one moment — 
seemed like a flashing glance of the face of God. 



n 

Boys and women were climbing up every possible eleva- 
tion, and a bright-faced girl who had conquered a high place 
on the base of the obelisk was chattering down at a group of 
her friends who were listening to their cicerone. 

" Yes, that is the Vatican," said the guide, pointing to a 
square building at the back of the colonnade, " and the apart- 
ments of the Pope are those on the third floor, just on the 
level of the Loggia of Raphael. The Cardinal Secretary of 
State used to live in the rooms below, opening on the grand 
staircase that leads from the Court of Damascus. There's 
a private way up to the Pope's apartment, and a secret passage 
to the Castle of St. Angelo." 

" Say, has the Pope got that secret passage still ? " 

"No, sir. When the Castle went over to the King the 
connection with the Vatican was cut off. Ah, everything is 
changed since those days! The Pope used to go to St. 
Peter's surrounded by his Cardinals and Bishops, to the roll 
of drums and the roar of cannon. All that is over now. The 
present Pope is trying to revive the old condition seemingly. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 13 

but what can he do? Even the Bull proclaiming the Jubilee 
laments the loss of the temporal power, which would have per- 
mitted him to renew the enchantments of the Holy Qity." 

" Tell him it's just lovely as it is," said the girl on the 
obelisk, " and when the illuminations begin . . ." 

" Say, friend," said her parent again, " I'll get you to give 
me the inwardness of this business. Kome belonged to the 
Pope — yes ? Then the Italians came in and took -it and made 
it the capital of Italy — so ? " 

" Just so, and ever since then the Holy Father has been a 
prisoner in the Vatican, going into it as a cardinal and com- 
ing out of it as a corpse, and to-day will be the first time a 
Pope has set foot in the streets of Rome ! " 

" My ! And shall we see him in his prison clothes ? " 

" Lilian Martha ! Don't you know enough for that ? Per- 
haps you expect to see his chains and a straw of his bed 
in the cell? The Pope is a king and has a court — that's the 
way I am figuring it." 

" True, the Pope is a sovereign still, and he is surrounded 
by his ofiicers of state — Cardinal Secretary, Majordomo, 
Master of Ceremonies, Steward, Chief of Police, Swiss 
Guards, Noble Guard and Palatine Guard, as v>'ell as the 
Papal Guard who live in the garden and patrol the precincts 
night and day. He receives, too, the same as ever — Cardinal 
Secretary every morning at ten — Majordomo first and third 
Fridays — Master of Ceremonies once a week — there's a list 
of them all on the walls of the Papal ante-camera, with the 
days and hours of their audiences." 

" Then where the nation . . . prisoner, you say ? " 

" Prisoner indeed ! If ot even able to look out of his 
windows on to this piazza on the 20th of September without 
the risk of insult and outrage — and Heaven knows what will 
happen when he ventures out to-day ! " 

" Well ! this goes clear ahead of me ! " 

Beyond the outer cordon of troops many carriages were 
drawn up in positions likely to be favourable for a view of 
the procession. In one of these sat a Frenchman in a coat 
covered with medals, a florid, fiery-eyed old soldier with 
bristling white hair. Standing by his carriage door was a 
typical young Roman, fashionable, faultlessly dressed, pallid, 
with strong lower jaw, dark watchful eyes, twirled-up mous- 
tache and cropped black mane. 

" Ah, yes," said the old Frenchman. " Much water has 



14 THE ETERNAL CITY 

run under the bridge since then, sir. Liberty? License you 
mean, sir. The law lets people do as they please these days. 
Only itself to blame if they petition and palaver and run 
away with everything. Changed since I was here? Rome? 
You're right, sir. Wasn't in the hands of the invading army 
then, and its revenues hadn't gone into their corrupt coffers. 
' When Kome falls, falls the world ; ' but it can alter for all 
that, and even this square has seen its transformations. 
Holy Office stands where it did, the yellow building behind 
there, but this palace, for instance — this one with the people 
in the balcony . . ." 

The Frenchman pointed to the travertine walls of a 
prison-like house on the farther side of the piazza. The lower 
windows were barred across like so many iron cages, and at 
the entrance to a courtyard, which gave a glimpse of green 
within, stood a door-porter in red and brown livery and 
cocked hat, holding a staff tipped with silver and tasselled 
with gold. 

" Do you know whose palace that is ? " 

" Baron Bonelli's, President of the Council and Minister 
of the Interior." 

" Precisely ! But do you know whose palace it used 
to be?" 

" Belonged to the English Wolsey, didn't it, in the days 
when he wanted the Papacy ? " 

" Belonged in my time to the father of the Pope, sir — old 
Baron Leone ! " 

" Leone ! That's the family name of the Pope, isn't it ? " 

" Yes, sir, and the old Baron was a banker and a cripple. 
I saw him once at this very door. He was getting out of his 
carriage swathed in furs, and a dozen stalwart servants were 
ducking and dipping at his feet. ' Signor Baron ! ' ' Will 
your Excellency be pleased to walk ? ' One foot in the grave, 
and all his hopes centred in his son. ' My son,' he used to 
say, 'will be the richest nian in Rome, some day; richer than 
all their Roman princes, and it will be his own fault if he 
doesn't make himself Pope. ' " 

" He has, apparently." 

" Xot that way, though. When his father died, he sold 
up everything, and having no relations looking to him, he 
gave away every penny to the poor. That's how the old 
banker's palace fell into the hands of the Prime Minister of 
Italy — an infidel, an Antichrist." 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 15 

" So the Pope is a good man, is he ? " 

" Good man, sir ? He's not a man at all, he's an angel ! 
Only two aims in life — the glory of the Church and the wel- 
fare of the rising generation. Gave away half his inheritance 
founding homes all over the world for poor boys. Boys — 
that's the Pope's tender point, sir! Tell him anything tender 
about a boy and he breaks up like an old swordcut." 

The eyes of the young Roman were straying away, from 
the Frenchman to a rather shabby single-horse hackney car- 
riage which had just come into the square and taken up its 
position in the shadow of the grim old palace. It had one 
occupant only — a man in a soft black hat. He was quite 
without a sign of a decoration, but his arrival had created a 
general commotion, and all faces were turning toward him. 

" Listen ! " said the old soldier, " I'll tell you something, 
and then you'll know Pius the Tenth, and if people say dif- 
ferent you can swear they lie. My name is De Raymond, and 
I was a captain in the Papal Zouaves. Yes, sir, wounded the 
day the Italians came into Rome, and the wound has never 
healed. My good wife was at home at Versailles, when the 
telegram reached her that I was down and Rome was lost; 
she went to bed, and that same day our boy was born. It 
killed her, God rest her soul, but before she died she called 
the priest and the child was baptized." 

The young Roman was scarcely listening. His eyes were 
on the man in the soft black hat and he was hearing the name 
" David Rossi ! " which rippled over the surface of the crowd 
like the first morning breeze over a mere. 

" Well, sir, it was twenty years afterward when I wanted 
my son to be made one of the Pope's N^oble Guard. Only a 
hundred francs a month, but two of them are on duty with 
the Holy Father always. Just three vacancies, sir, and I ap- 
plied a day too late. ' Let me see the Holy Father himself,' I 
said. * ISTo use,' said the Under-Secretary; 'the nominations 
are made and the Holy Father will be vexed.' ' Only let me 
see him,' I said, and he did. He was right, though — the Holy 
Father was very angry. ' Monsignor,' he said, ' why didn't you 
tell him the nominations were made ? ' 'I did, your Holiness, 
but he insisted on seeing you himself,' and then the Pope grew 
pale and rose to dismiss me. ' Wait a minute. Holy Father,' 
I said. ' Do you remember the story of Phinehas's wife in the 
Book of Samuel ? ' ' What of it ? ' ' She called her son Icha- 
bod, because his father was killed in battle, and because the 



16 THE ETERNAL CITY 

same day the ark of God was taken.' * Well ? ' * Do you remem- 
ber what day this is, Holy Father ? It is the anniversary of the 
day the Italians came in at Porta Pia and the Pope lost the 
Holy City. I was wounded that day, and the wound has never 
healed ; and my boy was born that day, too, and his mother, who 
is dead, called him Ichabod, because the ark of God was taken 
and the glory was departed from Israel.' " 

" And what did the Pope say ? " 

" ' Monsignor,' " he said, " ' strike out any name you please, 
and write Ichabod de Raymond.' " 

The fiery old Frenchman's throat was thick and his eyes 
were wet, but the young Roman said in a dry voice : 

" Do you happen to know who that is ? That man in the 
cab under the balcony full of ladies ? Can it be David Rossi ? " 

" David Rossi, the anarchist ? " 

" Some people call him so. Do you know him ? " 

" No — not at all — certainly not — I only know his writings 
in the newspapers." 

" Ah, yes, of course ! His articles in the Sunrise are quoted 
all over Europe, and he must be as well known in Paris as in 
Rome." 

" I know nothing about the man except that he is an enemy 
of his Holiness." 

" He intends to present a petition to the Pope this morning, 
nevertheless." 

" Impossible ! " 

" Haven't you heard of it ? These are his followers with the 
banners and badges." 

He pointed to the line of working-men, who had ranged 
themselves about the cab, with banners inscribed variously, 
" Garibaldi Club," " Mazzini Club," " Republican Federation," 
and " Republic of Man." 

" Your friend Antichrist," tipping a finger over his shoul- 
der in the dii'ection of the palace, " has been taxing bread to 
build more battleships, and Rossi has risen against him. ' Tax 
anything else you please,' he says, ' but don't tax what tlie peo- 
ple live upon. It's wrong in principle, tyrannical in practice, 
and there's no protest but the knife.' " 

" Humph ! They look as if there might be knives enough 
lurking in their hip pockets." 

" So failing in the press, in Parliament, and at the Quirinal, 
he is coming to the Pope to pray of him to let the Church play 
its old part of intermediary between the poor and the oppressed 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 17 

— in short, to protest against the militarism that is going on in 
Europe, and thus stay a worse plague than has eaten into the 
vitals of humanity since St. Michael sheathed his sword over 
old St. Angelo, you know." 

" Preposterous ! " 

"So?" 

" To whom is the Pope to protest ? To the King of Italy 
who robbed him of his Holy City ? Pretty thing to go down on 
your knees to the brigand who has stripped you ! And at whose 
bidding is he to protest? At the bidding of his bitterest 
enemy ? Pshaw ! " 

" You persist that David Rossi is an enemy of the Pope ? " 

" The deadliest enemy the Pope has in the world." 



in 

The subject of the Frenchman's denunciation looked harm- 
less enough as he sat in his hackney carriage under the shadow 
of old Baron Leone's gloomy palace. A first glance showed a 
man of thirty-odd years, tall, slightly built, inclined to stoop, 
with a long, clean-shaven face, large dark eyes and dark hair 
which covered the head in short curls of almost African pro- 
fusion. But a second glance revealed all the characteristics 
that give the hand-to-hand touch with the common people, 
without which no man can hope to lead a great movement. 

There was imagination and a latent sadness in the eyes, 
which seemed usually to be looking at something beyond this 
life; but there was power also in their dark lashes when they 
fell on things that were near. There was tenderness and sen- 
timent in the mobile mouth, but firmness and decision as well ; 
and the whole expression of the dark brown face, which was 
subdued, a little jaded, very kindly and hviman, and with a 
tired smile of much sweetness, was that of a man with great 
and consuming heart, in whom sympathy with humanity must 
be a fiery furnace and hope of its redemption a burning bush. 

From the moment of David Rossi's arrival there was a 
tingling movement in the air, and from time to time people 
approached and spoke to him, when the tired smile struggled 
through the jaded face and then slowly died away. After a 
while, as if to subdue the sense of personal observation, he took 
a pen and oblong notepaper and began to write on his knees. 

Meantime the quick-eyed, facile crowd around him, the 



18 THE ETERNAL CITY 

brilliant, wondrous, patient Latin race — big children such as 
Shakespeare loved — beguiled the tedium of waiting with good- 
humoured chaff. One great creature with a shaggy mane and a 
sanguinary voice came up, bottle in hand, saluted the downcast 
head with a mixture of deference and familiarity, then climbed 
to the box-seat beside the driver, and in deepest bass began the 
rarest mimicry. lie was a true son of the people, and under an 
appearance of ferocity he hid the heart of a child. To look at 
him you could hardly help laughing, and the laughter of the 
crowd at his daring dashes showed that he was the privileged 
pet of everybody. Only at intervals the downcast head was 
raised from its writing, and a quiet voice of warning said : 

" Bruno ! " 

Then the shaggy head on the box-seat slewed round and 
bobbed downward with an apologetic gesture, and ten seconds 
afterwards plunged into wilder excesses. 

" Pshaw ! " mopping with one hand his forehead under his 
tipped-up billicock, and holding the bottle with the other. 
" It's hot ! Dog of a Government, it's hot, I say ! Have a drink, 
brother? What's it saying in the spelling-book — when one 
poor man helps another poor man God laughs. Good for pel- 
lagra now the Government has taxed the salt. Mr. Carabineer, 
will you do me the pleasure ? " offering the bottle to a military 
policeman. " No ? Of course not ! My mistake, sir ; forgot 
old Vampire was looking at you," indicating with a lurch 
of the thumb over his shoulder the palace of the Prime 
Minister behind him. " ' Another anarchist plot ! Attempt 
to murder a policeman ! ' Never mind ! here's to the exports 
of Italy, brother; and may the Government be the first of 
them." 

" Bruno ! " 

" Excuse me, sir ; the tongue breaks no bones, sir ! All 
Governments are bad, and the worst Government is the best. 
Look at those ladies in the balcony now. They're thinking of 
nothing but their pretty hats, bless them. There's a dear little 
jewel with a star in it; put it up at auction and it would fetch 
a king's ransom. My wife hasn't got one much better than 
that, and my old mother is going about in her red cotton hand- 
kerchief. Well, well, the rich ye have always with ye. But 
the parts are to be reversed in the next world — that's what 
Giuseppe's donkey says when they give him the stick." 

" Yet you thought you had got the millennium when you 
got the Statute," said a thick voice from the crowd. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 19 

" So we did, sonny, but we were like the Dutchman's dog. 
* Schneider,' said the Dutchman, ' you are free.' * But where 
can I go ? ' said Schneider. ' You are free,' said the Dutchman. 
' But what can I eat ? ' ' You are free, I tell you.' Next day 
Schneider was found dead in a ditch. ' He can't blame me ; I 
gave him his liberty, didn't I ? ' said the Dutchman." 

" You ought to be ashamed of yourself — talking like that of 
your king and country," said another choking voice. 

" Hello ! It's Signor Paul Pry, the King's chief ostler. He's 
got three hundred horses under him, and they live in clover. 
Where he is well off, there's his country ? Don't go yet, Uncle 
Paul! How's your old brother, who sleeps in the caves, and 
lives on porridge and polenta ? " 

The great clock of St. Peter's struck ten over the peals of 
laughter. 

" N'ot long now ! The Pope is as punctual as the stars. 
Expect him at ten and he is never later than half-past one. 
Look at that old clock winking ! Been winking up there 
for three hundred years. Seen something in that time, eh, 
brothers ? Has always the same face, though, whether it keeps 
time for Boniface or Pius — the old sinner or the old saint — 
and goes on wagging its tail whatever they're doing down 
below." 

" You are only a priest-eater, and you ought to be put down 
— you and all your kidney — and you would, too, if the Pope 
came into his own." 

" Hello ! Who's it now ? Mr. Pulcinello, the Pope's barber ! 
Gets eighty francs a month for coming from the Condotti every 
morning, and shaves the Holy Father free." 

" If it wasn't for the Pope you would all be worse off, and 
grass would grow in the streets of Rome." 

" Good change too. Only weeds there now, sonny." 

" Bruno ! " 

A feeble old man was at that moment crushing his way up 
to the cab. Seeing him approach, David Rossi rose and held 
out his hand. The old man took it, but did not speak. 

" Did you wish to speak to me, father ? " 

" I can't yet," said the old man, and his voice shook and his 
eyes were moist. 

David Rossi stepped out of the cab, and with gentle force, 
against many protests, put the old man in his place. 

" I come from Carrara, sir, and when I go home and tell 
them I've seen David Rossi, and spoken to him, they won't 



20 THE ETERNAL CITY 

believe me. ' He sees the future clear,' they say, * as an al- 
manack made by God.' " 

Just then there was a commotion in the crowd, an im- 
perious voice cried, " Clear out," and the next instant David 
Rossi, who was standing by the step of his cab, was all but run 
down by a magnificent equipage with two high-stepping horses 
and a fat English coachman in livery of scarlet and gold. 

His dark face darkened for a moment with some powerful 
emotion, then resumed its kindly aspect, and he turned back to 
the old man without looking at the occupant of the carriage. 

It was a lady. She was tall, with a bold sweep of fulness in 
figure, which was on a large scale of beauty. Her hair, which 
was abundant and worn full over the forehead, was raven black 
and glossy, and it threw off the sunshine that fell on her face. 
Her complexion had a golden tint, and her eyes, which were 
violet, had a slight recklessness of expression. Her carriage 
drew up at the entrance of the palace, and the porter, with the 
silver-headed staif, came running and bowing to receive her. 
She rose to her feet with a consciousness of many eyes upon 
her, and with an unabashed glance she looked around on the 
crowd. 

There was a sulky silence among the people, almost a sense 
of antagonism, and if anybody had cheei'ed, there might have 
been a counter demonstration. At the same time, there was a 
certain daring in that marked brow and steadfast smile which 
seemed to say that if anybody had hissed she would have stood 
her ground. 

ITot the type that painters paint for their ideal of sinless 
and stainless women, not the Madonna, biit a superb being in 
that first full bloom of womanhood which is the most glorious 
creation of God. 

She lifted from the blue silk cushions of the carriage a half- 
clipped black poodle with a bow of blue ribbon on its forehead, 
tucked it under her arm, stepped down to the street, and passed 
into the courtyard, leaving an odour of ottar of roses behind 
her. 

Only then did the people speak. 

" Donna Eoma ! " 

The name seemed to pass over the crowd in a breathless 
whisper, soundless, supernatural, like the flight of a bat in the 
dark. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 21 

IV 

The Baron had invited certain of his friends to witness the 
Pope's procession from the windows and balconies of his palace 
overlooking the piazza, and they had begun to arrive as early as 
half-past nine. The first to come were the American Ambas- 
sador, General Potter, an elderly soldier, with a fluent tongue, 
but a stiff lower jaw, and Mrs. Potter, a stout lady with familiar 
manners. Immediately behind them came the English Am- 
bassador, Sir Evelyn Wise, with Lady Wise, younger, smarter, 
more reserved, with the indescribable air that belongs to the 
diplomatic service. 

In the green courtyard they were received by the porter in 
the cocked hat, on the dark stone staircase by lackeys in knee- 
breeches and yellow stockings, in the outer hall, intended for 
coats and hats, by more lackeys in powdered wigs, and in the 
first reception-room, gorgeously decorated in the yellow and 
gold of the middle ages, by Felice, in a dress coat, the Baron's 
solemn personal servant, who said, in sepulchral tones : 

" The Baron's excuses. Excellency ! Engaged in the Coun- 
cil-room with some of the Ministers, but expects to be out pres- 
ently. Sit in the Loggia, Excellency ? " 

" So our host is holding a Cabinet Council, General ? " said 
the English Ambassador. 

" A sort of scratch council, seemingly. Something that 
concerns the day's doings, I guess, and is urgent and important. 
You know him, of course. Lady Wise ? " 

The wife of the English Ambassador knew the Baron very 
slightly. Her husband was newly accredited to the Quirinal, 
and everything in Rome was new to them. 

" A great man. General, if half one hears about him is 
true." 

"Great?" said the American. "Yes, and no. Sir Evelyn, 
according as you regard him. In the opinion of some of his 
followers the Baron Bonelli is the greatest man in the country 
— greater than the King himself — and a statesman too big for 
Italy. One of those commanding personages who carry every- 
thing before them, so that when they speak even monarchs are 
bound to obey. Certainly a man of great talents, indomitable 
pride, immense courage, and enormous wealth. Has the advan- 
tage of noble birth, too, and antiquity of race. The idol of the 
army as well, and by the power and prestige that gives him he 
seems to rule Parliament and even the King. Indeed the King 



22 THE ETERNAL CITY 

is said to have professed willingness to see him made Dictator, 
and Parliament seems ready to proclaim him Minister for life. 
That's one view of his picture. Sir Evelyn." 

" And the other view ? " 

General Potter glanced in the direction of a door hung with 
curtains, from which there came at intervals the deadened 
drumming of voices, and then he said: 

" A man of implacable temper and imperious soul, the in- 
carnation of Caesarism and every pagan ideal of government. 
A Minister who is the head rather than the hand of the King, 
and owes his favour with his sovereign to the accident that the 
King is weak and superstitious, and almost afraid to live in the 
Quirinal because it was the house of the priests, while he is 
strong and sceptical, and would sleep soundly in the chair of 
St. Peter itself. Like Napoleon, a man with a deep contempt 
for public opinion, for representative government and the 
rights of man, and, like Voltaire, an infidel of hard and cynical 
spirit and an open enemy of the Church." 

" In short, according to his enemies, a ferocious tyrant ? " 

" You've figured it up. Sir Evelyn," said the American. 
" The people don't know what they want, and are at the mercy 
of the biggest liar that comes along. The only value of Parlia- 
ments is to criticise the acts originated by those who are ahead 
of them ! The King is the symbol of unity and the ark of 
salvation, and what every country requires is a central power, 
a strong monarchy, which has no interest but the interest 
of the whole. The King, the King, always the King, except 
when it's the army, the army, the army ! " 

" A champion of militarism, of course ? " 

" Militarism is his mania, and his ideal is to make Italy, 
whether alone or by alliance, once more master of the world by 
force of arms ; or, if that is impossible, to make Rome in its 
resurrection the diplomatic centre of Europe." 

" And the people ? " 

" They hate him, of course, for the heavy burden of taxation 
with which he is destroying the nation in his attempt to build 
it up." 

" And the clergy, and the Court, and the aristocracy ? " 

" The clergy fear him, the Court detests him, and the 
Roman aristocracy are rancorously hostile to him." 

" Yet he rviles them all, nevertheless ? " 

" Yes, sir, with a rod of iron — people. Court, princes. Parlia- 
ment, King as well — and seems to have only one unsatisfied 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 23 

desire, to break up the last remaining rights of the Vatican 
and rule the old Pope himself." 

The ladies laughed. " And yet he asks us to sit in his 
balcony and look at the old Pope's procession ! " 

" Perhaps because he intends it shall be the last we shall 
ever see." 

" The Princess Bellini and Don Camillo Murelli," said 
Felice's sepulchral voice from the door. 

An elderly aristocratic beauty wearing nodding -white 
plumes, a little, soft, blonde dahlia of a woman, slightly over- 
blown, came in with a pallid young Roman noble dressed in the 
English fashion, in a check tweed suit, having the bottom of 
his trousers turned up and an eyeglass screwed into one eye. 

" You come to church, Don Camillo ? " 

" Heard it was a service which happened only once in a 
hundred years, dear General, and thought it mightn't be con- 
venient to come next time," said the young Roman. 

" And you. Princess ! Come now, confess, is it the perfume 
of the incense which brings you to the Pope's procession, or 
the perfume of the promenaders ? " 

" Nonsense, General ! " said the little woman, tapping the 
American with the tip of her lorgnette. " Who comes to a 
ceremony like this to say her prayers? Nobody whatever, and 
if the Holy Father himself were to say . . ." 

"Oh! oh!" 

" I agree with the Princess," said Don Camillo. " Who 
can take a Miserere solemnly while the hymn of life is singing 
in the soul? Who can think of the mysteries of a Divine 
passion while all the mysteries of human passion are evoked by 
this radiant morning and the smiles of that happy crowd? 
Look!" 

They walked to the balcony which opened off the room, and 
a murmur came up to them like that of the long waves of the 
Atlantic to passengers on a ship, at sea. 

" Is it the Miserere or the mise-en-scene which brings them 
to this spectacle? " 

" Which reminds me," said the little dahlia, " where is 
Donna Roma ? " 

" Yes, indeed, where is Donna Roma ? " said the young 
Roman. 

" When was Donna Roma absent from a reception given 
by Baron Bonelli ? " said the dahlia, with a significant trill of 
laughter. 



24 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Who is Donna Eoma ? " said the Englishman. 

" Santo Die ! the man doesn't know Donna Roma ! " 

The white plumes bobbed up, the powdered face fell back, 
the little twinkling eyes closed, and the company laughed and 
seated themselves in the Loggia. 

" Donna Roma, dear sir," said the young Roman, " is a 
type of the fair lady who has appeared in the history of every 
nation since the days of Helen of Troy — one of those exquisite 
creatures whose lovely eyes and rosy mouth exercise a function 
in the state." 

" Poor state ! " laughed the Princess. 

" In the orchard of the nation she is the flower of flowers. 
Wherever she goes a perfume of adoration follows her, and 
everybody makes way for her as for a sovereign. In the world 
of beauty and elegance through which she moves she is a queen, 
and as such she makes her own manners and her own morality." 

" Poor morality ! " 

" Has a woman of this type, then, identified herself with 
the story of Rome at a moment like the present?" said the 
Englishman. 

The young Roman smiled, bowed his head aside and opened 
his arms, palms inward, as if playing an invisible accordion. 

" Why did the Prime Minister appoint so-and-so ? — Donna 
Roma! Why did he dismiss such-and-such? — Donna Roma! 
What feminine influence imposed upon the nation this or that ? 
— Donna Roma ! Through whom come titles, decorations, hon- 
ours ? — Donna Roma ! Who pacifies intractable politicians 
and makes them the devoted followers of the Ministers? — 
Donna Roma ! Who organises the great charitable committees, 
collects funds and distributes them? — Donna Roma! Always, 
always Donna Roma ! " 

" So the day of the petticoat politician is not over in Italy 
yet?" 

"Over? It will only end with the last trump. But dear 
Donna Roma is hardly that. With her light play of grace and 
a whole artillery of love in her lovely eyes, she only intoxicates 
a great capital and " — with a glance toward the curtained door 
— " takes captive a great Minister." 

" Just that," and the white plumes bobbed up and down. 

" Hence she defies conventions, and no one dares to question 
her actions on her scene of gallantry." 

" Drives a pair of thoroughbreds in the Corso every after- 
noon, and threatens to buy an automobile." 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 25 

" Has debts enough to sink a ship, but floats through life 
as if she had never known what it was to be poor." 

"And has she?" 

The voices from behind the curtained door were louder than 
usual at that moment, and the young Roraan drew his chair 
closer. 

" Donna Roma, dear sir, was the only child of Prince 
Volonna. Nobody mentions him now, so speak of him in 
a whisper. The Volonnas were an old papal family, holding 
ofiice in the Pope's household, but the young prince of the 
house was a Liberal, and his youth was cast in the stormy 
days of the middle of the century. As a son of the revolution 
he was expelled from Rome for conspiracy against the papal 
Governraent, and when the Pope went out and the King came 
in, he was still a republican, conspiring against the reigning 
sovereign, and, as such, a rebel. Meanwhile he had wandered 
over Europe, going from Geneva to Berlin, from Berlin to 
Paris. Finally he took refuge in London, the home of all the 
homeless, and there he was lost and forgotten. Some say he 
practised as a doctor, passing under another name, others say 
that he spent his life as a poor man in your Italian quarter of 
Soho, nursing rebellion among the exiles from his own country. 
Only one thing is certain ; late in life he came back to Italy as 
a conspirator — enticed back, his friends say — was arrested on 
a charge of attempted regicide, and deported to the island of 
Elba without a word of public report or trial." 

" Domicilio Coatto — a devilish and insane device," said the 
American Ambassador. " Supposed to be imposed only upon 
those who have grown up in vice, are intolerant of ties, careless 
of the law, and a permanent danger to society." 

" Was that the case with Prince Volonna ? " 

" Just so," said the Roman. " But ten or twelve years after 
he disappeared from the scene a beautiful girl was brought to 
Rome and presented as his daughter." 

"Donna Roma?" 

" Yes. Her youth and loveliness alone would have been 
enough to arrest attention in a city devoted to beauty, but she 
had the further advantage of being presented by the most 
courted man in the kingdom." 

" Baron Bonelli?" 

" The Prime Minister of United Italy ! It turned out that 
he was a distant kinsman of the refugee, and going to London 
he discovered that the Prince had married an English wife 
3 



26 THE ETERNAL CITY 

during the period of his exile, and left a friendless daughter. 
He found the child at last — Heaven knows how or where; 
rumour says that the squalid story of the early life of your 
Lady Hamilton is an idyl compared with Donna Roma's ad- 
ventures." 

" Madonna mia ! " said the little Princess, and agafn the 
white plumes bobbed up and down. 

" Out of pity for a great name he undertook the guardian- 
ship of the girl, sent her to school in France, and finally 
brought her to Rome, and established her in an apartment on 
the Triuita de' Monti, under the care of an old aunt, poor as 
herself, and once a great coquette, but now a faded rose which 
has long since seen its June." 

"And then?" 

" Then ? " — once more the playing of the invisible accordion 
— " Ah, who shall say what then, dear friend ? We can only 
judge by what appears — Donna Roma's elegant figure, dressed 
in silk by the best milliners Paris can provide, queening it over 
half the women of Rome." 

" And now her aunt is conveniently bedridden," said the 
little. Princess, " and she goes about alone like an English- 
woman; and to account for her extravagance, while everybody 
knows her father's estate was confiscated, she is by way of being 
a sculptor, and has set up a gorgeous studio, full of nymphs 
and cupids and limbs." 

" Where," said the young Roman, " she is visited and flat- 
tered by all the great ones of the earth, and flatters them in 
return with a pretty mouth which is accustomed at once to the 
sweetness of love and the hardness of fate." 

" And without an atom of talent she gets commissions for 
which the first sculptors in Italy would give their ears." 

" And all by virtue of: — what ? " said the Englishman. 

" By virtue of being " — the invisible accordion again — 
" the good friend of the Baron Bonelli ! " 

" Meaning by that ? " 

" ISTothing — and everything ! " said the Princess with 
another trill of laughter. 

" In Rome, dear friend," said Don Camillo, " a woman can 
do anything she likes as long as she can keep people from talk- 
ing about her." 

" Oh, you never do that apparently," said the Englishman. 
" But why doesn't the Baron make her a Baroness and have 
done with the danger ? " 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 27 

" Because the Baron has a Baroness already." 

" A wife living ? " 

" Living and yet dead ! " 

The voices beyond the curtained doorway were audible 
again, and those who knew the Baron recognised the sound of a 
blow on the chest, which was a habit of his when angry or 
excited. 

" A sad story. Sir Evelyn," said the young Roman. " Wife 
married against her will — a girl, a child, with light curls and 
pensive blue eyes — weeps bitterly on her wedding-day, but 
afterwards consoles herself with a young officer, who, like her- 
self, is fond of dancing. One day she appears at a masked ball 
as a Bacchante — white tunic, bare arms, and clinging robes 
that barely conceal her limbs. Dances with her young officer 
until midnight, when her husband comes out with her wraps, 
and without a word they get into the carriage. The drive is 
long and dark — ' Where are we going ? ' she asks, and he an- 
swers : ' I've given my orders ! ' At last she gets out trembling 
and in terror at his ancestral home, a country castle of un- 
known age in the Alban hills. ' This is to be your residence for 
the rest of your life,' he says. In less than a year she is a hope- 
less imbecile and he has come back to Rome and the world." 

"Terrible!" 

" But why do these little thoughtless things run up 
against men like that ? " says the Princess. 

" What you tell me about Donna Roma inclines me to think 
that she is more sinned against than sinning," said the English- 
man. " I dare say the Baron, like most public men in the East, 
has only the Eastern — may I say the scriptural ? — idea of wom- 
an, an accessory to his political position. Roma ! A name like 
music. Born in England, you say? Probably in the poor 
quarter of Soho. Perhaps a British subject still ! In that case 
she is a protegee of mine in one sense, and if I can ever be of 
use to her ..." 

The little white plumes were dancing above the little gleam- 
ing eyes. 

" Another conquest for dear Roma ! Well, well ! all tastes 
are tastes ! " 



The curtain parted over the inner doorway, and three gen- 
tlemen came out. The first was a tall, spare man, about fifty 
years of age, with an intellectual head, features cut clear and 



28 THE ETERNALi CITY 

hard like granite, glittering eyes under overhanging brows, 
black moustaches turned up at the ends, and iron-grey hair 
cropped very short over a high forehead. It was the Baron 
Bonelli. He was faultlessly dressed, had an air of distinction, 
and made an instantaneous impression of force and power. 

One of the two men with him had a face which looked as if 
it had been carved by a sword or an adze, good and honest but 
blunt and rugged ; and the other had a long, narrow head, like 
the head of a hen — a lanky person with a certain mixture of 
arrogance and servility in his expression. 

The company rose from their places in the Loggia, and 
there were greetings and introductions. 

" Sir Evelyn Wise, gentlemen, the new British Ambassador 
— General Morra, our Minister of War, Commendatore Angel- 
elli, our Chief of Police. A thousand apologies, ladies! A 
Minister of the Interior is one of the human atoms that live 
from minute to minute and are always at the mercy of events. 
You must excuse the Commendatore, gentlemen, he has urgent 
duties outside." 

The Prime Minister spoke with the lucidity and emphasis 
of a man accustomed to command, and when Angelelli had 
bowed all round he crossed with him to the door. 

" If there is any suspicion of commotion, arrest the ring- 
leaders at once. Let there be no trifling with disorder by 
whomsoever begun. The first to offend must be the first to be 
arrested, whether he wears cap or cassock." 

" Good, your Excellency," and the Chief of Police went out. 

" Commotion ! Disorder ! Madonna mia ! " cried the little 
Princess. 

" Calm yourselves, ladies. It's nothing ! Only it came to 
the knowledge of the Government that the Pope's procession 
this morning might be made the excuse for a disorderly dem- 
onstration, and of course order must not be disturbed even 
under the pretext of liberty and religion." 

" So that was the public business which deprived us of 
your society ? " said the Princess, with the sweetest twinkle 
of her little eyes. 

" And left my womanless house the duty of receiving you in 
my absence," said the Baron, with a stately bow. Then in ex- 
planation of his preceding words he added: 

" The Pope, dear friends, is a good and venerable man, but 
he shows disrespect and antagonism to all that Italy holds dear, 
and it is the duty of the Government to see that this latest of 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 29 

his challenges is not turned to account by the enemies of the 
King." 

" Can it be possible that your Excellency apprehends anoth- 
er Anarchist rising ? " said the Englishman. 

" In Rome ? No ! A city of sleepy ones — of aristocratic 
calm — of benevolent indifference. All the rest of the world 
boils and bubbles, Rome smiles at everything,: it is the Eternal 
City, with an unfailing faith in its own destinies. Its pro- 
letariat — an inert mass; its nobles — chiefly idlers in the court 
of their goddess, love; its middle class — the only one to be 
reckoned with, and they live on the civil service, and therefore 
support the law. All the same the Pope is a person of no coun- 
try, he has forbidden his faithful ones to be patriots and take 
part in the affairs of Italy; and it is possible for the man of 
the piazza — the man in the street, as you say — to imagine that 
this celebration at the end of the century strikes the note of a 
sort of international Christian Socialism, in which the Holy 
Father stands for the people against all kings and govern- 
ments." 

" Preposterous idea ! " 

" Preposterous, indeed. Princess. A people's Pope is an 
impossible being. A Pope who is tolerant of other faiths or 
authority is illogical and absurd. The policy of priests known 
as the Vatican must ever remain a mystery to the outer world, 
but its propaganda is, and -always must be, anti-democratic. As 
a matter of fact, the present Pope is the most determined up- 
holder of the Vatican idea — the absolute rule of one man." 

" And yet the priests of his own academy say he is a Liberal 
Pope? " said the Englishman. 

" The priests of my academy know better, your Excellency. 
His life has been the last exposure of that silliest absurdity — a 
people's Pontiff." 

The Baron bowed his guests to their seats, stood with his 
back to a wide ingle, and gave his version of the Pope's career. 

" His father was a Roman banker — lived in this house, 
indeed — and the young Leone was brought up in the Jesuit 
schools and became a member of the ISToble Guard: handsojne, 
accomplished, fond of society and social admiration, a man of 
the world. This was a cause of disappointment to his father, 
who had intended him for a great career in the Church. They 
had their differences, and finally a mission was found for him 
and he lived a year abroad. The death of the old banker 
brought him back to Rome, and then, to the astonishment of 



30 THE ETERNAL CITY 

society, he renounced the world and took holy orders. Why he 
gave up his life of gallantry did not appear . . ." 

" Some affair of the heart, dear Baron," said the little 
Princess, with another melting look. 

" No, there was no talk of that kind, Princess, and not a 
whisper of scandal. Some said the young soldier had married 
in England, and lost his wife there, but nobody knew for cer- 
tain. There was less doubt about his religious vocation, and 
when by help of his princely inheritance he turned his mind to 
the difficult task of reforming vice and ministering to the 
lowest aspects of misery in the slums of Rome, society said he 
had turnQd Socialist. His popularity with the people was un- 
bounded, but in the midst of it all he begged to be removed to 
London. There he set up the same enterprises, and tramped 
the streets in search of his waifs and outcasts, night and day, 
year in, year out, as if driven on by a consuming passion of pity 
for the lost and fallen. In the interests of his health he was 
called back to Rome — and returned here a white-haired man of 
forty." 

" Ah ! what did I say, dear Baron ? The apple falls near the 
tree, you know ! " 

" By this time he had given away millions, and the Pope 
wished to make him President of his Academy of Noble 
Ecclesiastics, but he begged to be excused. Then Apostolic 
Delegate to the United States, and he prayed off. Then Nun- 
cio to Spain, and he went on his knees to remain in the Cam- 
pagna Romana, and do the work of a simple priest among a 
simple people. At last, without consulting him, they made 
him Bishop and afterwards Cardinal, and, on the death of the 
Pope, he was Scrutator to the Conclave, and fainted when 
he read out his own name as that of Sovereign Pontiff of the 
Church." 

The little Princess was wiping her eyes. 

" Then — all the world was changed. The priest of the 
future disappeared in a Pope who was the incarnation of the 
past. Authority was now his watchword. What was the 
highest authority on earth? The Holy See! Therefore, the 
greatest thing for the world was the domination of the Pope. 
If anybody should say that the power conferred by Christ on 
his Vicar was only spiritual, let him be accursed! In Christ's 
name the Pope was sovereign — supreme sovereign over the 
bodies and souls of men- — acknowledging no superior, holding 
the right to make and depose kings, and claiming to be su- 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 31 

preme judge over the consciences and crimes of all — the peas- 
ant that tills the soil and the prince that sits on the throne ! " 

" Tre-men-jous ! " said the American. 

The company laughed, the Baron smiled. " It was the only- 
logic, General Potter. The Pope was right on his own lines. 
What happened? The pious chief of the Militia of the Cross 
began to look forward to a day when he should be again sur- 
rounded by an army. His predecessor had been content to 
cavil and carp about the restoration of the temporal power of 
the Pope in these poor little Papal States, but he dared to 
dream of the revival of the Holy Roman Empire. The divine 
rule of humanity from the chair of St. Peter ! A united world 
worshipping at one altar! The tiara and the sword bound to- 
gether again for the conquest of the world ! ^Nations to have 
what Governments they pleased, but the Holy See to be over 
everything ! Rome to be the court of arbitration for economic 
as well as international differences, and the Vicar of Christ to 
be all in all ! " 

" A magnificent dream, your Excellency." 

" Oh, I recognise its magnificence, Sir Evelyn — the magnifi- 
cence of a mirage. The grandeur and amplitude of a concep- 
tion that will be carried into execution when humanity is fed 
on pap and put back into swaddling clothes. And to-day we 
are to hear the first trumpet blast that calls on the Church to 
return to the past and suffocate the twentieth century in the 
mysticism of the tenth." 

" All the same, it stirs my blood like a draught of wine," 
said the Englishman, " and I'm doubly anxious to see the man 
who thought of it." 

" You'll see more than that to-day," said the Baron ; " you'll 
see the first failure of the Church in its claim to the heirship of 
the world. You've heard of the order in the Pope's Bull about 
the simultaneous salutation ? iS^o ? At noon the Pope will go 
up to the balcony of St. Peter's and bless the nations of the 
earth in one solemn benediction. Then all the church bells 
will ring as signal to the four quarters of the globe of the dawn 
of the new era. At that moment everything in Rome, in Italy, 
in Europe, in Christendom — whatever the hour elsewhere — is 
to come to a dead stand for thirty seconds, while all the world 
salutes the coming century." 

" Tremenjous ! " said the American again. 

" Will it happen ? " said the Englishman. 

The Baron laughed. " If it does it will strike a triumph for 



32 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the Church before the century begins, and some of us may as 
well throw up the sponge." 

" But, dear Baron," said the little Princess, " don't you 
think there was an affair of the heart after all ? " and the little 
plumes bobbed sideways. 

The Baron laughed again. " The Pope seems to have half 
of humanity on his side already — he has all the women appa- 
rently." 

All this time there had risen from the piazza into the room 
a humming noise like the swarming of bees, but now a shrill 
voice came up from the crowd with the sudden swish of a 
rocket. 

" Look out ! " 

The young Roman, who had been looking over the balcony, 
turned his head back and said : 

" Donna Roma, Excellency." 

But the Baron had gone from the room. 

" He knew her carriage wheels apparently," said Don 
Camillo, and the lips of the little Princess closed tight as if 
from sudden pain. 

VI 

The return of the Baron was announced by the faint rustle 
of a silk iinder-skirt and a light yet decided step keeping pace 
with his own. He came back with Donna Roma on his arm, 
and over his coolness and calm dignity he looked pleased and 
proud. 

The lady herself was brilliantly animated and happy. A 
certain swing in her graceful carriage gave an instant impres- 
sion of perfect health, and there was physical health also in the 
brightness of her eyes and the gaiety of her expression. Her 
face was lighted up by a smile which seemed to pervade her 
whole person, and make it radiant with overflowing joy. A 
vivacity which was at the same time dignified and spontaneous 
appeared in every movement of her harmonious figure, and as 
she came into the room there was a glow of health and happi- 
ness that filled the air like the glow of sunlight through a veil 
of soft red gauze. 

" What a lovely face," whispered the wife of the English- 
man. 

" She's certainly beautiful, and I must allow she's well 
dressed," said the little Princess. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 33 

She wore a picture hat with ostrich plumes and a tight- 
fitting astrachan coat with ermine lining and long flowing skirt 
that threw out the grace of her full round form, and there was 
a scarf of old lace about her neck which heightened the bril- 
liancy of her violet eyes. 

" I thought you admired her immensely," whispered the 
Englishwoman again, and the little Princess replied: 

" I ? What nonsense ! Do you think I'm a man, my dear ? " 

She saluted the Baron's guests with a smile that fascinated 
evei-ybody. There was a modified air of freedom about her, as 
of one who has a right to make advances, a manner which capti- 
vates all women in a queen and all men in a lovely woman. 

"Ah, it is you. General Potter? And my dear General 
Morra? Camillo mio!" (The Italian had rushed upon her 
and kissed her hand.) " Sir Evelyn Wise, from England, isn't 
it? I'm half an Englishwoman myself, and I'm very proud 
of it." 

Having thus gone through the men, her little battle of 
coquetry ended in kisses for the women. 

" Dearest Roma ! Enraptured to see you ! " said the 
Princess. 

" Charming, isn't she ? " said the American. 

" I don't believe a word of that story," said the Englishman. 

She had smiled frankly into Sir Evelyn's face, and he had 
smiled back without knowing it. There was something con- 
tagious about her smile. The rosy mouth with its pearly teeth 
seemed to smile of itself, and the lovely eyes had their separate 
art of smiling. Her lips parted of themselves, and then you felt 
your own lips parting. 

" Yes, there's some terrible charm about her," whispered 
the American, " something beyond my comprehension." 

" She has lived — that's all I see in it," replied the English- 
man. 

In a moment she had engaged everybody in a lively conver- 
sation. Notwithstanding her natural gaiety and animation, 
those who knew her saw that she was labouring under excite- 
ment, and her joyous face seemed to say that the cause of it was 
a happy one. She was constantly pulling the scarf of lace, and 
sometimes it fell off her neck, and the young Roman picked it 
up. Then she laughed, and to keep herself quiet she opened 
her coat, over a dove-grey gown, and threw herself back in an 
easy-chair, when there was a glimpse of a dainty shoe and a 
blue-figured stocking. 



34 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" You were to have been busy with your fountain to-day 
..." began the Baron. 

" So I expected," she said in a voice that was soft yet full, 
" and I did not think I should care to see any more spectacles 
in Home, where the people are going in procession all the year 
through — but what do you think has brought me ? " 

" The artist's instinct, of course," said Don Camillo. 

" No, just the woman's — to see a man ! " 

" Lucky fellow, whoever he is ! " said the American. " He'll 
see something better than you will, though," and then the 
golden complexion gleamed up at him under a smile like sun- 
shine. 

" But who is he ? " said the young Roman. 

" I'll tell you. Bruno — you remember Bruno ? " 

" Bruno ! " cried the Baron. 

" Oh ! Bruno is all right," she said, and, turning to the 
others, " Bi-uno is my man in the studio — my marble pointer, 
you know. Bruno Rocco, and nobody was ever so rightly 
named. A big, shaggy, good-natured bear, always singing or 
growling or laughing, and as true as steel. A terrible Liberal, 
though; a socialist, an anarchist, a nihilist, and everything 
that's shocking." 

"Well?" 

" Well, ever since I began my fountain . . . I'm making 
a fountain for the Municipality — it is to be erected in the new 
part of the Piazza Colonna. I expect to finish it in a fortnight. 
You would like to see it? Yes? I'll send you cards — a little 
private view, you know." 

"But Bruno?" 

" Ah ! yes, Bruno ! Well, I've been at a loss for a model 
for one of my figures . . . figures all round the dish, you 
know. They represent the Twelve Apostles, with Christ in the 
centre giving out the water of life." 

" But Bruno ! Bruno ! Bruno ! " 

She laughed, and the merry ring of her laughter set them 
all laughing. 

" Well, Bruno has sung the praises of one of his friends 
until I'm crazy . . . crazy, that's English, isn't it? I told you 
I was half an Englishwoman. American ? Thanks, General ! 
I'm ' just crazy ' to get him in." 

" Simple enough — hire him to sit to you," said the Princess. 

" Oh," with a mock solemnity, " he is far too grand a person 
for that ! A member of parliament, a leader of the Left, a 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 35 

prophet, a person with a mission, and I daren't even dream 
of it. But this morning, Bruno tells me, his friend, his idol, 
is to stop the Pope's procession, and jiresent a petition, so I 
thought I would kill two birds with one stone — see my man and 
see the spectacle — and here I am to see them ! " 

" And who is this paragon of yours, my dear ? " 

" The great David Rossi ! " 

"That man!" 

The white plumes were going like a fan. 

" Why not ? They say he is beautiful. Tall, dark, dis- 
tinguished, great ecstatic eyes, solemn expression, and deep 
vibrating voice — one of those voices that go through and 
through you — not a husky ' Left ' voice that cracks on the top 
note, you know." 

" The man is a public nuisance and ought to be put down 
by the police," said the little Princess, beating her foot on the 
floor. 

" He has a tongue like a sword and a pen like a dagger," 
said the young Roman. 

Donna Roma's eyes began to flash with a new expression. 

" Ah, yes, he is a journalist, isn't he, and libels people in 
his paper ? " 

" The creature has ruined more reputations than anybody 
else in Europe," said the little Princess. 

" I remember now. tie made a terrible attack on our young 
old women and our old young men. Declared they were 
meddling with everything — called them a museum of mum- 
mies, and said they were symbolical of the ruin that was coming 
on the country. Shameful, wasn't it ? ISTobody likes to be talked 
about, especially in Rome, where it's the end of everything. 
But what matter? The young man has perhaps learned free- 
dom of speech in some free country. We can afford to forgive 
him, can't we? And then he is so interesting and so hand- 
some ! " 

The words, the tones, the glances, had gone flashing around 
the room like veiled lightning, and the American looked over 
at the Englishman, who dropped his head and thought, " It's 
true, there's something terrible about her — something strange, 
at all events." 

" An attempt to stop the Pope's procession might end in 
tumult," said the American General to the Italian General. 
" Was that the danger the Baron spoke about ? " 

" Yes," said General Mora. " The Government have been 



36 THE ETERNAL CITY 

compelled to tax bread, and of course that has been a signal 
for the enemies of the national spirit to say that we are starv- 
ing the people. This David Rossi is the worst Roman in Rome. 
He opposed us in Parliament and lost. Petitioned the King 
and lost again. Now he intends to petition the Pope — with 
what hope, Heaven knows." 

" With the hope of playing on public opinion of course," 
said the Baron cynically. 

" Public opinion is a great force, your Excellency," said the 
Englishman. 

" A great pestilence," said the Baron warmly. 

"What is David Rossi?" 

" An anarchist, a republican, a nihilist, anything as old 
as the hills, dear friend, only everything in a new way," said 
the young Roman. 

" David Rossi is the politician who proposes to govern the 
world by the precepts of the Lord's Prayer," said the American. 

"The Lord's Prayer!" 

" A dreamer of other days, dear friend," said Don Camillo. 
" Caught the sacred sickness abroad somewhere, and brought 
the phantasm of his sick head, intoxicated with God, into the 
Rome of the resurrection. Lombroso would have shut him up 
in an asylum. We are more liberal, we only send him to the 
Chamber of Deputies, where he formulates his unpractical 
theories and draws up statistics of how much polenta the 
peasants eat." 

The Baron paraded on the hearthrug. " David Rossi," he 
said compassionately, " is a creature of his age. A man of 
generous impulses and wide sympathies, moved to indignation 
at the extremes of poverty and wealth, and carried away by 
the promptings of the eternal religion in the human soul. A 
dreamer, of course, a dreamer like the Holy Eather himself, 
(mly his dream is different, and neither could succeed without 
destroying the other. In the millennium Rossi looks for, not 
only are kings and princes to disappear, but popes and prelates 
as well." 

" And where does this unpractical politician come from ? " 
said the Englishman. 

" We must ask you to tell us that. Sir Evelyn, for though 
he is supposed to be a Roman, he seems to have lived most 
of his life in your country. As silent as an owl and as inscru- 
table as a sphinx. Nobody in Rome knows certainly who his 
father was, nobody knows certainly who his mother was. Some 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 37 

say his father was an Englishmqn, some say a Jew, and some 
say his mother was a gipsy. A self-centred man, who never 
talks about himself, and cannot be got to lift the veil which 
surrounds his birth and early life. Came back to Rome eight 
years ago, and made a vast noise by propounding his platonic 
scheme of politics — was called up for his term of military 
service, refused to sei*ve, got himself imprisoned for six months 
and came out a mighty hero — was returned to Parliament for 
no fewer than three constituencies, sat for Rome, took his place 
on the Extreme Left, and attacked every Minister and every 
measure which favoured the interest of the army — encouraged 
the workmen not to pay their taxes and the farmers not to pay 
their rents — and thus became the leader of a noisy faction, and 
is now surrounded by the degenerate class throughout Italy 
which dreams of reconstructing society by burying it under 
ruins." 

" A sort of religious anarchist apparently? " 

" Say a visionary like the Pope, Sir Evelyn. His sover- 
eign ideal is a vaporous dream which he calls the ' Republic 
of Man.' The fatherhood of God ! The brotherhood of man ! 
Equality of human rights ! Unity of humanity ! Abolition 
of war, of national boundaries, of the custom-house officer, 
of the soldier, of distinctions of race, of ownership of land, 
of capital, of authority, of the Vatican, of ... of every- 
thing ! " 

" Makes one think of the magnificent hallucinations of the 
Early Christian ascetics," said the Englishman. 

" Even hallucinations can make revolutions," said the 
American. 

" Lived in England, you say ? " 

" Apparently, and if his early life could be traced, it would 
probably be found that he was brought up in an atmosphere of 
conspiracy — perhaps under the influence of some vile revolu- 
tionary living in London under the protection of your too lib- 
eral laws. Therefore one of the men who in every age interpret 
by their own suiferings the sufferings of the world, and gather 
about them, without intending it, all the low-bred rascals who 
try to hurry society into dissolution and anarchy." 

Donna Roma sprang up with a movement full of grace and 
energy. " Anyhow," she said, " he is young and good-looking 
and romantic and mysterious, and I'm head over ears in love 
with him already." 

" Well, every man is a world," said the American. 



38 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" And what about woman ? " said Roma. 
He threw up his hands, she smiled full into his face, and 
they laughed together. 

VII 

A FANFARE of trumpets came from the piazza, and with a 
cry of delight Roma ran into the balcony, followed by all the 
Avomen and most of the men. 

" Only the signal that the cortege has started," said Don 
Camillo. " They'll be some minutes still." 

" Santo Dio ! " cried Roma. " What a sight ! It dazzles 
me ; it makes me dizzy ! It's like an immense living thing, a 
moving creature, great, but undefined, a mighty centogambe 
with multitudinous heads ; and the sound that comes up from 
it is like the buzz of a million grasshoppers." 

After a moment she began to pick out her friends from 
the maze in which all faces were at first confused in one magic 
sensation. 

That's the Ninety-third Infantry beyond the obelisk, and 
those, with the cock feathers, are the Bersaglieri. There's Com- 
mendatore Angelelli, the chief of police — what's he doing 
down there, I wonder? That's Fedi, the Pope's doctor. Every- 
body sends for him, and he knows all the secrets — ah, he could 
tell us something ! There's Madame Sella, the Queen's dress- 
maker — she has married her daughter to a Cavaliere, and 
would get her son into the Ministry if she had one. That's 
Palomba, the Mayor, in his big gilt carriage; and that's his 
wife beside him, the pale, sweet lady with the roving eyes. 
Palomba is a millionaire, and has his supper served on gold, 
but his wiie is really out of her mind, poor creature — ah, 
love is a sugared pill ! There's Olga the journalist, and Lena 
the cartoonist — they say Lena's husband is Olga's lover — and 
that's young Charles Minghelli standing by the carriage of 
the old gentleman covered with medals. Charles is Palomba's 
nephew — he got into trouble at the Embassy in London, and 
had to leave the service. Oh, what a lovely sight ! All the 
costumes of Europe ! But how funny the men look in evening 
dress in the morning. Wonder if the policemen gave them 
away when they came down the street, and said * Good-night ' 
to them as usual." 

Her face beamed, her eyes danced, and she was all aglow 
from head to foot. The American Ambassador stood behind 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 39 

her, and, as permitted by his greater age, he tossed back the 
shuttlecock of her playful talk with chaff and laughter. 

" How patient the people are ! See the little groups on 
camp-stools, munching biscuits and reading the journals. ' La 
Vera Roma! ' " (mimicking the cry of the newspaper sellers). 
" Look at that pretty girl — the fair one with the young man in 
the Homburg hat ! She has climbed up the obelisk, and is in- 
viting him to sit on an inch and a half of corbel beside her." 

" Ah, those who love take up little room ! " 

" Don't they ? What a lovely world it is ! I'll tell you what 
this makes me think about — a wedding! Glorious morning, 
beautiful sunshine, flowers, wreaths, bridesmaids ready ; coach- 
men all a posy, only waiting for the bride ! " 

" A wedding is what you women are always dreaming about 
— you begin dreaming about it in your cradles — it's in a wom- 
an's bones, I do believe," said the American. 

" Must be the ones she got from Adam, then," said Roma. 

Meantime the Baron was still parading the hearthrug in- 
side and listening to the warnings of his Minister of War. 

" You are resolved to arrest the man ? " 

" If he gives us any opportunity — yes." 

" You do not forget that he is a Deputy ? " 

" It is because I remember it that my resolution is fixed. In 
Parliament he is a privileged person; let him make half as 
much disorder outside and you shall see where he will be." 

" Anarchists ! " said Roma. " That group below the bal- 
cony ? Strange ! I don't feel the least repugnance ! " 

" Did you think they were a kind of wild beast that ought 
to be shut up in cages ? " 

" Certainly I did, but then I think that of every son of 
Adam. Is David Rossi among them ? Yes ? Which of them ? 
Which ? Which ? Which ? The tall man in the black hat with 
his back to us ? Oh ! why doesn't he turn his face ? Should T 
shout?" 

" Roma ! " from the little Princess. 

" I know ; I'll faint, and you'll catch me, and the Princess 
will cry 'Madonna mia!' and then he'll turn round and look 
up." 

"My child!" 

"He'll see through you, though, and then where will you 
be?" 

" See through me, indeed ! " and she laughed the laugh a 
man loves to hear, half -raillery, half-caress. 



40 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Donna Roma Volonna, daughter of a line of princes, mak- 
ing love to a nameless nobody ! " 

" Shows what a heavenly character she is, then ! See how 
good I am at throwing bouquets at myself ? " 

" Well, what is love, anyway ? A certain boy and a certain 
girl agree to go for a row in the same boat to the same place, 
and if they pull together, what does it matter where they come 
from?" 

" What, indeed ? " she said, and a smile, partly serious, 
played about the parted mouth. 

"Could you think like that?" 

"I could! I could! I could!" 

The Minister of War was looking grave. 

" The man has a great following. Remember, whatever 
their differences, the priests are with him." 

" They are always with everybody who is aiming to over- 
throw the royal dynasty," said the Baron. 

" If the Pope should receive his petition and listen to 
him . . ." 

" Let him ! Let the Pope join hands with any of the vision- 
aries who are trying to bring society back to barbarism, and we 
shall know what to do. Against the combined plague of cleri- 
calism and anarchism some vigorous international measures 
would soon be necessary, and that would be the end of the Holy 
Roman Empire and of the Millennium of the Lord's Prayer 
as well." 

The clock struck eleven. Another fanfare of trumpets came 
from the direction of the Vatican, and then the confused noises 
in the square suddenly ceased and a broad " Ah ! " passed over 
it, as of a vast living creature taking breath. 

" They're coming ! " cried Roma. " Baron, the cortege is 
coming." 

" Presently," the Baron answered from within. 

Roma's dog, which had slept on a chair through the tumult, 
was awakened by the lull and began to bark. She picked it up, 
tucked it under her arm and ran back to the balcony, where 
she stood by the parapet, in full view of the people below, with 
the young Roman on one side, the American on the other, and 
the ladies seated around. 

By this time the procession had begun to appear, issuing 
from a bronze gate under the right arm of the colonnade, and 
passing down the channel which had been kept open by the 
cordon of infantry. At first a mixed anachronistic company, 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 41 

with gentlemen in evening dress, having glittering stars on 
their shirt fronts, and chamberlains in silk stockings and 
ruflfs. 

Roma abandoned herself to the fascinations of the scene, 
and her gaiety infected everybody. 

" Camillo, you must tell me who they all are. There now — 
those men who come first in black and red ? " 

" Laymen," said the young Roman. " They're called the 
Apostolic Cursori. When a Cardinal is nominated they take 
him the news, and get two or three thousand francs for their 
trouble." 

" Good for them ! And those fine fellows in tight black vest- 
ments like Spanish bullfighters ? " 

" The Mazzieri ! They carry the mace to clear the way." 

" Of course, the mace ! That's the big, bright silver stick, 
the same as the porter's ! And this gorgeous person glittering 
like a gamecock ? " 

" That's the Pope's jeweller. He makes the Holy Rose and 
takes care of the Pope's crown." 

" Looks it, bless him ! And what is the person in red and 
purple ? " 

" Master of the Holy Hospice, and that old priest behind 
him is one of the Under-Sacristans." 

" And these little fat folk in white lace pinafores ? " 

" Singers of the Sistine Chapel. That's the Director, old 
Maestro Mustafa — used to be the greatest soprano of the cen- 
tury." 

" Thought he looked like an old woman gone wrong," said 
the American. 

" Did you, now ? " 

" Well, look at his figure." 

" But a woman's figure is . . . but that's a myster''^ out- 
side of man's inferior nature. Go on, Camillo mio." 

" Those men in the long black robes are lawyers of the 
Apostolic palace." 

" And this dear old friar with the mittens and rosary and 
the comfortable linsey-woolsey sort of face ? " 

" That's Father Pifferi of San Lorenzo, confessor to the 
Pope. He knows all the Pope's sins." 

" Oh ! " said Roma. 

At that moment her dog barked furiously, and the old friar 
looked up at her, whereupon she smiled down on him, and then 
a half smile played about his good-natured face. 
4 



42 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" He is a Capuchin, and those Frati in different colours 
coming behind him . . ," 

" I know them ; see if I don't," she cried, as there passed 
under the balcony a double file of friars and monks, nearly all 
alike, fat, ungainly, flabby, puffy specimens of humanity, car- 
rying torches of triple candles, and telling their beads as they 
walked. 

The brown ones— Capuchins and Franciscans! Brown and 
white — Carmelites ! Black — Augustinians and Benedictines ! 
Black with a white cross — Passionists ! And the monks all white 
are Trappists. I know the Trappists best, because I drive out to 
Tre Fontane to buy eucalyptus and flirt with Father John." 

" Shocking ! " said the American. 

" Why not ? What are their vows of celibacy but con- 
spiracies against us poor women ? Kearly every man a woman 
wants is either mated or has sworn off in some way. Oh, how I 
should love to meet one of those anchorites in real life and 
make him fly ! " 

" Well, I dare say the w^hisk of a petticoat would be more 
frightening than all his doctors of divinity." 

An immense Gonfalone was going past, followed by a long 
line of clergymen. 

" These are the Monsignori," said Don Camillo. " Secret 
Chaplains and Secret Chamberlains. That one is the Uditore 
Generale of the Apostolic Room. This one is the Prefect of the 
Ceremonies. They go with the Pope to the Hall of Vestments, 
where he puts on his sacred robes." 

" Do they dress him up ? " 

" Oh, dear no ! That is an honour reserved for much higher 
dignitaries. Here they come — the General of the Jesuits, they 
call him the Black Pope." 

" Good morning, Signer, the successor of Loyola ! " 

" Look ! Bishops and Archbishops in white linen mitres, 
and Cardinals in silver and gold, all aglow with crimson and 
guipure lace. That one is a Cardinal Bishop — he puts on the 
Pope's pluviale." 

"What's the pluviale?" 

" The pluviale . . . I'll show you when the Pope comes. 
The one behind in the red rochet with silver mitre is a Cardinal 
Priest. He gives the Pope a gilded candle with a handle to 
hold it by made of silk embroidered with gold ; and the one in 
the tunic is a Cardinal Deacon — he carries the canrllestick. in 
case the Pope should grow tired." 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 43 

"Listen!" 

From a part of the procession which had passed the balcony 
there came the sound of harmonious voices. 

"The singers of the Sistine Chapel! They're singing a 
hymn." 

"I know it. ' Veni, Creator!' How splendid! How 
glorious ! I feel as if I wanted to cry ! " 

But she was still smiling at the whole world becaiise it was 
so great and so beautiful, when the Baron came up behind, and, 
leaning against the pilaster of the window, spoke over her 
shoulder to the Minister of War, who stood beside her. 

" That's the enemy within our gates ! An actor versed in 
every art of arresting the eye and ear of the populace, and with 
the experience of sixteen centuries in playing the drama of 
sovereignty. jSTow, if to this pageantry is added a little senti- 
ment, who knows what seed it may fertilise in a soil ploughed 
by seventy thousand priests and harrowed by men like David 
Rossi ! " 

All at once the singing stopped, the murmuring and speak- 
ing of the crowd ceased too, and there was a breathless mo- 
ment, such as comes before the first blast of a storm. A 
nervous quiver, like the shudder that passes over the earth at 
sundown, swept across the piazza, and the people stood motion- 
less, every neck stretched, and every eye turned In the direction 
of the bronze gate, as if God were about to reveal Himself from 
the Holy of Holies. Then in that grand silence there came the 
clear call of silver trumpets, and at the next instant the 
Presence itself. 

" The Pope ! Baron, the Pope ! " 

The atmosphere was charged with electricity. A great roar 
of cheering went up from below like the roaring of surf, and 
it was followed by a clapping of hands like the running of 
the sea off a shingly beach after the boom of a tremendous 
breaker. 

An old man, dressed whollv in white, carried shoulder-high 
on a chair glittering with purple and crimson, and having a 
canopy of silver and gold above him. He wore a triple crown, 
which glistened in the sunlight, and but for the delicate white 
hand which he vipraised to bless the people, he might have been 
mistaken for an image. 

His face was beautiful, and had a ray of beatified light on 
it — a face of marvellous sweetness and great spirituality. 

Tt was a thrilling moment, and Roma's excitement was in- 



44 THE ETERNAL CITY 

tense. " There he is ! All in white ! He's on a gilded chair 
under the silken canopy ! The canopy is held up by prelates, 
and the chairmen are in knee-breeches and red velvet. Look at 
the great waving plumes on either side ! " 

" Peacock's feathers ! " said a voice behind her, but she paid 
no heed. 

" Look at the acolytes swinging incense, and the golden 
cross coming before ! What thunders of applause — I can 
hardly hear myself speak. It's like standing on a cliff while the 
sea below is running mountains high. No, it's like no other 
sound on earth ; it's human — fifty thousand unloosed throats 
of men ! That's the clapping of ladies — listen to the weak ap- 
l)lause of their white-gloved fingers. Now they're waving their 
handkerchiefs. Look! Like the wings of ten thousand butter- 
fiics fluttering up from a meadow." 

" Like the creation of a queen bee," said the cynical voice 
behind. 

" I'll wave my own handkerchief ! I must ! I can't 
help it ! " 

There were deafening shouts in Italian, French, and Eng- 
lish. " Long live the Pope-King ! " " Long live the Work- 
men's Pope ! " 

Roma's mental and physical abandonment was by this time 
complete; she was waving her handkerchief and crying " Viva 
il Papa Ee!" 

" Some of the ladies are fainting. Yes, they're losing their 
senses." 

" They'll lose something more valuable soon — their purses, 
if they don't take care," said the voice behind, but still Roma 
heard nothing. 

" They're bearing him slowly along. He's coming this way. 
Look at the Noble Guard in their helmets and jack-boots. And 
there are the Swiss Guard in Joseph's coat of many colours! 
We can see him plainly now. Do you smell the incense? It's 
like the ribbon of Bruges. The pluviale ? That gold vestment ? 
It's studded on his breast with precious stones. How they blaze 
in the sunshine ! He is blessing the people, and they are falling 
on their knees before him." 

" Like the grass before the scythe ! " 

" How tired he looks ! How white his face is ! No, not 
white — ivory ! No, marble — Carrara marble ! He might be 
Lazarus who was dead and has come back from the tomb ! No 
humanity left in liira ! A sfiint I An angel ! " 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 45 

" The spiritual autocrat of the world ! " said the voice be- 
hind. 

" Viva il Pay a Re! He's going by! Viva il Papa Re! He 
has gone. . . . Well!" 

She was rising from her knees and wiping her eyes, trying 
to cover up with laughter the confusion of her rapture. 

" Such are the enchantments of eternal Rome — Rome, the 
lighthouse on the rock of time ! " said the Baron. 

" Well," said the American, " if the Pope is a symbol we'll 
just stick to our flag. Seems to me it isn't too good for a man 
to be attended like a pagan god." 

"What is that?" 

There was a somid of voices in the distance chanting 
dolorously. 

" The cantors intoning the Tu es Petnis" said Don 
Camillo. 

" No, I mean the commotion down there. Somebody is 
pushing through the Guard." 

" It's David Rossi," said the American. 

" Is that David Rossi ? Oh, dear me ! I had forgotten all 
about him." She moved forward to see his face. " Why . . . 
where have I . . . I've seen him before somewhere." 

A strange physical sensation tingled all over her at that 
moment, and she shuddered as if with sudden cold. 

"What's amiss?" 

"Nothing! But I like him. Do you know, I really like 
him." 

" Women are funny things," said the American. 

" They're very nice, though, aren't they ? " And two rows 
of pearly teeth between parted lips gleamed up at him witli 
gay raillery. 

Again she craned forward. " He is on his knees to the 
Pope! Now he'll present the petition. No . . . yes . . . the 
brutes ! They're dragging him away ! The procession is going 
on ! Disgraceful ! " 

" Long live the Workmen's Pope ! " came up from the 
piazza, and under the shrill shouts of the pilgrims Avere heard 
the monotonous voices of the monks as they passed through the 
open doors of the Basilica intoning the praises of God. 

" They are lifting him on to a car," said the American. 
• " David Rossi ? " 

" Yes ; he is going to speak." 

" How delightful ! Shall we hoar him ? Goodj How glad 



46 THE ETERNAL CITY 

I am that I came! He is facing this way! Oh, yes; those 
are his own people with the banners ! Baron, the Holy 
Father has gone on to St. Peter's, and David Rossi is going 
to speak." 

"Hush!" 

A quivering, vibrating voice came up from below, and in a 
moment there was a dead silence. 



VIII 

" Brothers, when Christ Himself was on the earth going up 
to Jerusalem, He rode on the colt of an ass, and the blind and 
the lame and the sick came to Him, and He healed them. 
Humanity is sick and blind and lame to-day, brothers, but the 
Vicar of Christ goes on." 

At the words an audible murmur came from the crowd, such 
as goes before the clapping of hands in a Roman theatre, a 
great upheaval of the heart of the audience to the actor who 
has touched and stirred it. 

" Brothers, in a little Eastern village a long time ago, there 
arose among the poor and lowly a great Teacher, and the 
only prayer He taught liis followers was the prayer ' Our 
Father who art in Heaven.' It was the expression of man's 
utmost need, the expression of man's utmost hope. And not 
only did the Teacher teach that prayer — He lived according 
to the light of it. All men were His brothers, all women 
His sisters : He was poor. He had no home, no purse, and no 
second coat; when He was smitten He did not smite back, 
and when He was unjustly accused He did not defend Him- 
self." 

The long " Ah ! " again, as of sympathy and emotion. 

" Nineteen hundred years have passed since then, brothers, 
and the Teacher who arose among the poor and lowly is now 
a great prophet. All the world knows and honours Him, and 
fivilised nations have built themselves upon the religion He 
founded. A great Church calls itself by His name, and a 
mighty kingdom, known as Christendom, owes allegiance to 
His faith. But what of His teaching? He said: 'Resist 
not evil,' yet all Christian nations maintain standing armies. 
He said : ' Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,' 
yet the wealthiest men are Christian men, and the richest 
organisation Jn the world is the Christian Church. He said: 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 47 

' Our Father who art in Heaven,' yet men who ought to 
be brothers are divided into states, and hate each other as 
enemies. He said : ' Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done 
on earth as it is done in Heaven,' yet he who believes it 
ever will come is called a fanatic and a fool. He said : ' Give 
us day by day our daily bread,' yet Governments tax our bread 
so as to nullify God's gift, and give to the few the soil of the 
earth which belongs to all ! " 

Some murmurs of dissent were drowned in cries of " Go 
on!" "Speak!" "Silence!" 

" Is Christ Himself at fault, brothers ? Has the world 
found out that He is impossible? Are the laws of life too 
much for Him ? The Teacher of the past is lost in the present, 
and we who look back over the centuries are saying with the 
broken-hearted woman at the empty tomb of her Master: 
' They have taken my Lord away, and I know not where they 
have laid Him.' " 

"Hush!" "Silence!" "Listen!" "Let him speak!" 
" Go on ! " 

" Foremost and grandest of the teachings of Christ are two 
Inseparable truths — the fatherhood of God and the brother- 
hood of man. But in Italy, as elsewhere, the people are 
starved that king may contend with king, and when we appeal 
to the Pope to protest in the name of the Prince of Peace, he 
remembers his temporalities and passes on ! " 

At these words the emotion of the crowd broke into Ljud 
shouts of approval, with which some groans were mingled. The 
company on the balcony were moving in their places. 

" No doubt about it," said the American. " This is one 
of the men with the power of reaching the people." 

"Yes, he is able to play the melodramatic part in political 
affairs," said the Baron. 

Roma had turned her face aside from the speaker, and 
her profile was changed- — the gay, sprightly, airy, radiant look 
had given way to a serious, almost a melancholy expression. 
Something in David Possi's voice had opened a coll in her 
memory which had been long sealed up. She closed her eyes 
and saw, as in a magic mirror, faces and scenes which she 
seemed to have known in some other existence. A dark house 
in a gloomy city — the air outside full of mist and snow — an 
old mnn kissing her — herself a child — and somebody else with a 
voice like this. . . . But a faintness came over her, and when 
she heard the voice again it was a long way off, in a rumble of 



4:8 THE ETERNAL CITY 

other sounds, like the noises that come through the vanishing 
fumes of an anaesthetic. 

" We have two sovereigns in Rome, brothers, a great State 
and a great Church, with a perishing people. We have soldiers 
enough to kill us, priests enough to tell us how to die, but no 
one to show us how to live." 

" Corruption ! Corruption ! " 

" Corruption indeed, brothers ; and who is there among us 
to whom the corruptions of our rulers are unknown? Who can- 
not point to the wars made that should not have been made? to 
the banks broken that should not have broken? to the debts 
paid that should not have been contracted? to the magistrates 
who act on their own heads, and the police who invent plots to 
give themselves the credit of revealing them? Who does not 
know of the Camorra that saves great criminals, and the Mafia 
that murders honest men? And who in Rome cannot point to 
the Ministers who allow their mistresses to meddle in public 
affairs and enrich themselves by the ruin of all around ? " 

The little Princess on the balcony was twisting about. 

" What ! Are you deserting us, Roma ? " 

And Roma answered from within the house, in a voice that 
sounded strange and muffled : 

" It was cold on the balcony, I think." 

Then the little Princess laughed a bitter laugh, like the 
laugh of the creature of the woods that laughs at night, and 
David Rossi heard it and misunderstood it, and his nostrils 
quivered like the nostrils of a horse, and when he spoke again 
his voice shook with passion. 

" Who has not seen the splendid equipages of these privi- 
leged ones of fortune — their gorgeous liveries of scarlet and 
gold — emblems of the acid which is eating into the public 
organs? Has Providence raised this country from the dead 
only to be dizzied in a whirlpool of scandal, hypocrisy, and 
fraud — only to fall a prey to an infamous traffic without a name 
between high officials of low desires and women whose reputa- 
tions are long since lost ? It is men and women like these who 
destroy their country for their own selfish ends. Very well; let 
them destroy her, but before they do so, let them hear what one 
of her children says: the government you are building up on 
the whitened bones of the people shall be overthrown — the 
King who countenances you, and the Pope who will not con- 
demn you, shall be overthrown, and then — and not till then — 
will the nation be free." 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 49 

At this there was a terrific clamour. The square resounded 
with confused voices. " Bravo ! " " Dog ! " " Dog's murderer ! " 
" Traitor ! " " Long live David Rossi ! " " Down with the 
Vampire ! " 

The ladies had fled from the balcony back to the room with 
cries of alarm. " There will be a riot." " The man is inciting 
the people to rebellion ! " " This house will be first to be at- 
tacked ! " 

" Calm yourselves, ladies. Xo harm shall come to you," 
said the Baron, and he rang the bell. 

There came from below a babel of shouts and screams. 

" Madonna mia ! What is that? " cried the Princess, wring- 
ing her hands; and the American Ambassador, who had re- 
mained on the balcony, said : 

" The Carabineers have charged the crowd and arrested 
David Rossi." 

" Thank God ! " 

The storm of noises seemed to sweep under the house and 
down a gorge which deadened it. 

" They're going through the Borgo," said Don Camillo, 
" and kicking and cuffing and jostling and hustling all the 
Avay." 

" Don't be alarmed ! There's the Hospital of Santo Spirito 
round the corner, and stations of the Red Cross Society every- 
where," said the Baron, and then Felice answered the bell. 

" See our friends out by the street at the back, Felice. 
Ciood-bye, ladies! Have no fear! The Government does not 
mean to blunt the weapons it uses against the malefactors who 
insult the doctrines of the State." 

" Excellent Minister! " said the Princess. " Such canaglia 
are not fit to have their liberty, and I would lock them all up 
in prison." 

And then Don Camillo offered his arm to the little lady 
with the white plumes, and they Came almost face to face with 
Roma, who was standing by the door hung with curtains, fan- 
ning herself with her handkerchief, and parting from tlie 
English Ambassador. 

" Donna Roma," he was saying, " if T can ever be of use to 
you, either now or in the future, I beg of you to command me." 

Her hand in his was qiiivering like a captive bird, and he 
thought as he turned away, " Yes, there is a strange mixture 
of heaven and earth in her, and God knows which will come 
out top." 



no THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Look at her ! " whispered the Princess. " How agitated 
she is ! A moment ago she was finding it cold in the Loggia ! 
I'm so happy ! " 

At the next instant she ran up to Roma and kissed her. 
" Poor child ! LIow sorry I am ! You have my sympathy, my 
dear ! But didn't I tell you the man was a public nuisance, 
and ought to be put down by the police ? " 

" Shameful, isn't it," said Don Camillo. " Calumny is a 
little wind, but it raises such a terrible tempest." 

" l^obody likes to be talked about," said the Princess, 
" especially in Kome, where it is the end of everything." 

" But what matter ! Perhaps the young man has learned 
freedom of speech in a free country ! " said Don Camillo. 

" And then he is so interesting and so handsome," said the 
Princess. 

Roma made no answer. There was a slight drooping of the 
lovely eyes and a trembling of the lips and nostrils. For a 
moment she stood absolutely impassive, and then with a flash 
of disdain she flung round into the inner room. 

Meantime, the American Ambassador and his wife were 
saying their adieux to the Baron. 

" In my country, your Excellency, we don't look upon popu- 
lar demonstrations as an insult to the powers of the State." 

" What do you do, dear General ? " 

" We regard them as you regard the heiroglyphs on your 
obelisks, as so many writings on the wall, and we set ourselves 
to decipher them." 

The Baron bowed and smiled coldly. Only the Minister of 
War remained. His sword-carved face looked angular and 
angry, and he was taking up his hat to go. 

" Perhaps the mission of the twentieth century is neither 
the papacy's nor the monarchy's," he said. " These anarchist 
outbreaks are like the fumaroles on Vesuvius, through which 
the steam escapes with a whistle. There are constant rum- 
blings in the earth and nothing will grow on the surface. Why? 
Because something is going on underneath." 

The Baron smiled again and bowed very low. 

TX 

Roma had taken refuge in the council-room — a room whose 
three walls seemed built in blocks of bkie-books, while the 
fciurth was open to the square. There had been much busi- 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 51 

ness that morning, and a copy of the constitutional statute 
lay open on a large table, which had a plate-glass top with pho- 
tographs under the surface. 

In this passionless atmosphere, so little accustomed to such 
scenes, Roma sat in her wounded pride and humiliation, with 
her head down, and her beautiful, white hands over her face. 
The whole earth seemed to sink under her, and she was strug- 
gling to keep back her sobs. It was like the Day of Judgment, 
and her doom had fallen on her out of a sky of cloudless blue. 

She heard measured footsteps approaching, and then a hand 
touched her on the shoulder. She looked up and drew back as 
if the touch stung her. A sudden change had come over her 
beautiful face, and the violet eyes almost seemed as if they 
liad bled. Her lips closed sternly, and she got iip and began 
to walk about the room, and then she burst into a torrent of 
anger. 

" Did you hear them ? The cats ! How they loved to claw 
me, and still purr and purr! Before the sun is set the story 
will be all over Rome ! It has run off already on the hoofs of 
that woman's English horses. She'll drive them until they 
drop, taking the news everywhere. How they'll gloat over it 
in their tea-room in the Corso — all the fantastic old Philemona 
and the faded Baucises who have been jealous of me for yeai's! 
To-morrow morning it will be in every newspaper in the king- 
dom. Olga and Lena and every woman of them all who lives 
in a glass house will throw stones. 'The new Pompadour! 
Who is she? ' Oh, I could die of vexation and shame! " 

The Baron leaned against the table and listened, twisting 
the ends of his moustache. 

" The Court will turn its back on me now. They only 
wanted a good excuse to put their humiliations upon me. The 
ostlers and grooms who call themselves Conti and Commeiida- 
tori, and the little antique frights who have grown old and still 
try to fascinate men — they'll carry their ugly necks like 
gazelles and find me too notorious ! It's horrible ! I can't bear 
it. I won't. I tell you, I won't ! " 

But the lips, compressed with scorn, began to quiver visibly, 
and she threw herself into a chair, took out her handkerchief, 
and hid her face on the table. 

At that moment Felice came into the room to say that the 
Commendatore Angelelli had returned and wished to speak 
with his Excellency. 

"I will see him presently," said the Baron, Avith an ini- 



.52 THE ETERNAL CITY 

passive expression, and Felice went out silently, as one who 
had seen nothing. 

The Baron's calm dignity was wounded. " Be so good as to 
have some regard for me in the presence of my servants," he 
said. " I understand your feelings, but you are much too ex- 
cited to see things in their proper light. You have been pub- 
licly insulted and degraded, but you must not talk to me as 
if it were my fault." 

" Then whose is it ? If it is not your fault whose fault 
is it? " she said, and the Baron thought her red eyes flashed up 
at him with an expression of hate. He took the blow full in the 
face but made no reply, and his silence broke her answer. 

" No, no, that was too bad," she said, and she reached over 
to him and he kissed her, and then sat down beside her and 
took her hand and held it. At the next moment her brilliant 
eyes had filled with tears and her head was down and the hot 
drops were falling on to the back of his hand. 

After a while she became calmer, but with the calm of deso- 
lation, the calm after the cyclone, when the world is a waste 
where there had once been a garden in which flowers smiled 
and the grass was green. 

" I suppose it is all over," she said. 

" Don't say that," he answered. " We don't know what a 
day may bring forth. Before long T may have it in my power 
to silence every slander and justify you in the eyes of all." 

At that she raised her head with a smile and seemed to look 
beyond the Baron at something in the vague distance, while 
the glass top of the table, which had been clouded by her 
breath, cleared gradually, and revealed a large house almost 
liidd(m among trees. It was a photograph of the Baron's castle 
in the Alban hills. 

" Only," continued the Baron, " you must get rid of that 
man Bruno." 

" I will discharge him this very dav — T will ! I will ! T 
will ! " 

There was an intense bitterness in the thought that what 
David Rossi had said must have come of what her own servant 
told him — that Bruno had watched her in her own house day by 
day, and that time after time the two men had discussed her 
between them. 

" I could kill him," she said. 

" Bruno Rocco ? " 

" No, David Rossi." 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 53 

But the real torment came of the thought that she had 
been so near to loving him — had almost raised him to a poetic 
height of adoration in her own eyes — when he had disgraced 
and degraded her. 

" Have patience, he shall be punished," said the Baron. 

"How?" 

" He shall be put on his trial." 

"What for?" 

" Sedition. The law allows a man to say what he will about 
a Prime Minister, but he must not foretell the overthrow of 
the King. The fellow has gone too far at last. He shall go to 
Santo Stefano." 

" What good will that do ? " 

" He will be silenced — and crushed." 

She looked at the Baron with a sidelong smile, and some- 
thing in her heart, which she did not understand, made her 
laugh at him. 

" Do you imagine you can crush a man like that by trying 
and condemning him ? " she said. " He has insulted and hu- 
miliated me, but I'm not silly enough to deceive myself. Try 
him, condemn him, and he will be greater in his prison than 
the King on his throne." 

The Baron twisted the ends of his moustache again. 

" Besides," she said, " what benefit will it be to me if you 
put him on trial for inciting the people to rebellion against 
the King? The public will say it was for insulting yourself, 
and everybody will think he was punished for telling the 
truth." 

The Baron continued to twist the ends of his moustache. 

" Benefit ! " She laughed ironically. " It will be a double 
injury. The insult will be repeated in public again and again. 
First, the advocate for the crown will read it aloud, then the 
advocate for the defence will quote it, and then it will be dis- 
cussed and dissected and telegraphed until everybody in court 
knows it by heart and all Europe has heard of it." 

The Baron made no answer, but watched the beautiful face, 
now very pale, behind which conflicting thoughts seemed to 
wriggle like a knot of vipers- Suddenly she leaped up with 
a spring. 

" I know," she cried, " I know ! I know ! I know ! " 

"Well?" 

" Give the man to me, and I will show you how to escai)e 
from this humiliating situation." 



54 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Eoma ? " said the Baron, but he had read her thought 
already. 

" If you punish him for this speech you will injure both of 
us and do no good to the King." 

" It's true." 

" Take him in a serious conspiracy, and you will be doing 
us no harm and the King some service." 

" No doixbt." 

" You say there is a mystery about David Rossi, and you 
want to know who he is, who his father was, and where he spent 
the years he was away from Rome." 

" I would certainly give a good deal to know it." 

" You want to know what vile refugee in London filled him 
with his fancies, what conspiracies he is hatching, what secret 
societies he belongs to, and, above all, what his plans and 
schemes are, and whether he is in league with the Vatican." 

She spoke so rapidly that the words sputtered out of her 
quivering lips. 

" Well ? " 

" Well, I will find it all out for you." 

" My dear Roipa ! " 

" Leave him to me, and within a month you shall know " — 
she laughed, a little ashamed — " the inmost secrets of his soul." 

She was walking to and fro again, to prevent the Baron 
from looking into her face, which was now red over its white, 
like a rose moon in a stormy sky. 

The Baron thought. " She is going to humble the man by 
her charms — to draw him on and then fling him away, and thus 
pay him back for what he has done to-day. So much the better 
for me if I may stand by and do nothing. A strong Minister 
should be unmoved by personal attacks. He should appear to 
regard them with contempt." 

He looked at her, and the brilliancy of her eyes set his heart 
on fire. The terrible attraction of her face at that moment 
stirred in him the only love he had for her. At the same time 
it awakened the first spasm of jealousy. 

"I understand you, Roma," he said, "you are splendid! 
You are irresistible! But remember — the man is one of the in- 
corruptible." 

She laughed. 

" No woman who has yet crossed his path seems to have 
touched him, and it is the pride of all such men that no woman 
ever can 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 55 

" I've seen him," she said. 

" Take care! As you say, he is young and handsome." 

She tossed her head and laughed again. 

The Baron thought : " Certainly he has wounded her in a 
way no woman can forgive." 

" And what about Bruno ? " he said. 

" He shall stay," she answered. " Such men are easy 
enough to manage." 

" You wish me to liberate David Rossi and leave you to deal 
with him ? " 

" I do ! Oh, for the day when I can turn the laugh against 
him as he has turned the laugh against me ! At the top of his 
hopes, at the height of his ambitions, at the moment when he 
says to himself, ' It is done ' — he shall fall." 

The Baron touched the bell. " Very well ! " he said. " One 
can sometimes catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than 
with a hogshead of vinegar. We shall see." 

A moment later the Chief of Police entered the room. " The 
Honourable Rossi is safely lodged in prison," he said. 

" Commendatorer" said the Baron, pointing to the book 
lying open on the table, " I have been looking again at the 
statute, and now I am satisfied that a Deputy can be arrested 
by the authorisation of Parliament alone." 

" But, Excellency, if he is taken in the act, according to the 
forty-fifth article, the parliamentary immunity ceases." 

" Commendatore, I have given you my opinion, and now 
it is my wish that the Honourable David Rossi should be set 
at liberty." 

" Excellency ! " 

"Be so good as to liberate him instantly, and let your 
officers see him safely through the streets to his home in the 
Piazza N^avona." 

The little head like a hen's went down like a hatchet, and 
Commendatore Angelelli backed out of the room. 



The great clock of St. Peter's struck twelve, and, at the 
same moment, a breeze seemed to blow under the house with a 
sound such as comes from the ground-swell over autumn leaves. 
Roma and the Baron stepped up to the windows and looked out 
on the piazza. Under the sunlit awning of the great balcony of 



56 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the Basilica a small figure was lifting its little hands, and 
spreading its white sleeve-like wings. It was the Pope saluting 
the new century and blessing all the nations of the earth in one 
solemn benediction. His face could not be discerned, but his 
voice rose like a bell on a rock at sea in tones of warning, sup- 
plication, and love — 

•• 2Iay the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose potver and au- 
thority we confide, intercede for us to the hordr 

'■''Amen ! " 

"And may tlie blessing of Almighty God [f], Father [f], Son [f] 
and Holy G/iost descend upon you and remain with you forever.''^ 

" Amen /" 

The human waves beneath were still. Over all the piazza, 
as far as the embracing arms of the colonnade, the people 
knelt, without noise, and only the flashing forest of the soldiers' 
bayonets could be heard when, at the last word of the Bene- 
diction, the rifles clanged on the pavement. 

The silence was profound and awful. All the noises of life 
had ceased, and it was almost as if the world were trembling 
before it plunged into some abyss. 

Then the mid-day cannon of the Castle of St. Angelo 
boomed out over the city, and the people on their knees clutched 
at each other as if the familiar sound had been the voice of God 
on the Day of Judgment. At the next moment the bells were 
ringing — first the great bell of St. Peter's, and then all the 
church bells of the city, clashing and clanging together. 

By this time the white wings under the sunlit awning were 
dropping the Bulls from the great balcony, and people were 
struggling for the slips of paper as they fell. Then the little 
figure moved away with its huge fans on either side of it and 
the ordinary life of the world was resumed. 

Only half a minute, and yet it seemed as if for that period 
all human hearts had ceased to beat. When Roma came to 
herself she was rising from her knees, and the Baron was in the 
act of rising beside her. He rose with a shamefaced look, and 
turning to Roma, who was closing her astrachan coat to go, he 
took hold of it by the revers and began to fasten it over her 
full and graceful form. The joyous smile had come back to 
her face, and as he stood in front of her he reached over to kiss 
her again, but she turned her head aside and his lips only 
touched her cheek. 



THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE 57 

Then she laughed and took his arm, and he saw her to the 
carriage. The joy of life and motion had returned to her 
already, and she walked with a quick, high-lifting of the feet, 
as if the wings of Mercury were under her ankles. Going 
through the outer room, with its gilding of the middle ages, 
she spoke in her ordinary cheery way to the servants. 

" Good day, Felice ! " and Felice's icy smile was like the 
glint of a glacier. 

" What a treasure that man is ! Sees nothing ! Must have 
been brought up in the Vatican and caught the manners of a 
Cardinal ! " 

" You shall have him at Trinita de' Monti if you wish it," 
said the Baron. And thus they passed through the gloomy 
throne- room, with its faded arm-chair turned to the wall, as it 
had been since the days when the crippled old banker enter- 
tained Popes and dreamed of making them. 

The crowd was running out of the piazza in rivers of people 
on foot, irate coachmen were shouting to Carabineers on horse- 
back, and over the many sounds of the ebbing tide of humanity 
were heard the clashings and plungings of the church bells in 
the sunlit air above the city, like thunder set to music. It was 
with difficulty that the porter with the silver mace made a way 
to the carriage that stood waiting before the courtyard. 
. Donna Roma sprang up to her place and sank back into the 
blue silk cushions, and a lackey in powdered wig brought up 
the dog and put it beside her. As the liveries of scarlet and 
gold disappeared around the corner, the Baron saw a white- 
gloved hand waving to him with a quick motion, and a lovely 
face smiling as behind a veil. 



PAET TWO 

THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 



The Piazza Navona is the heart and soul of old Rome. In 
other quarters of the living city you feel tempted to ask: "Is 
this London? " or, " Is this Paris? " or, " Is this New York or 
Berlin? " but in the Piazza Navona you can only tell yourself, 
"This is Rome!" 

It lies like a central spider in a cobweb of little streets, and 
is connected with the main thoroughfares by narrow lanes 
which have iron posts across their entrances — relics of the 
troublous times when it was necessary to chain back the mob. 
One might regd the story of papal Rome in the volume of the 
Piazza Navona alone, for truly the stones cry out. 

One end of the Piazza is magnificent. There stands the 
Braschi Palace, now the office of the ^linistry of the Interior, 
but still barred across its lower story. Against the wall of the 
Braschi leans the broken trunk of the Pasquin statue, whose 
glorious loins are father to half the great art of the world. 
Near to both stands the palace of the Pamphili, with the papal 
arms on its doorpost, and every stone of its structure cemented 
by the blood of the Pope who gave it to a Jezebel in the days of 
his strength, and was repaid on the day of his death by an 
insult to his dishonoured corpse. Next to the Pamphili stands 
the Church of St. Agnes, built of splendid marbles; and down 
the middle of the piazza there runs a line of three fountains, 
which culminate in an obelisk, on which a dove sits with the 
branch of promise in its bill. 

But the deluge is rising again for all that, and out of the 
maze of streets beyond, where fruit-stalls stand on the pave- 
ment, whore the washing is suspended from the windows, and 
where bird-cages hang on the walls, there surges up from the 
other end of the Navona a wave of indistinguishable edifices — 
shops, cafes, arches, apartment-houses — sweeping away one by 
58 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 59 

one the old Roman palaces, with their broken columns, broken 
capitals, broken statuary, and broken water-troughs, as well as 
the creeping moss and trailing vine which have tried for cen- 
turies to cover their gorgeous ruin. 

In one of these modern structures, an apartment-house 
nearly opposite to the obelisk and the church, David Rossi had 
lived during the seven years since he became Member of Parlia- 
ment for Rome. The ground floor is a Trattoria, half eating- 
house and half wine-shop, with rude frescoes on its distempered 
walls, representing the Bay of Naples with Vesuvius in erup- 
tion. A passage running by the side of the Trattoria leads 
to the apartments overhead, and at the foot of the staircase 
there is a porter's lodge, a closet always lighted by a lamp, 
which burns down the dark passage day and night, like a 
bloodshot eye. 

In this lodge lived a veteran Garibaldian, in his red shirt 
and pork-pie hat, with his old wife, wrinkled like a turkey, and 
wearing a red handkerchief over her head, fastened by a silver 
pin. David Rossi's apartments consisted of three rooms on the 
fourth floor, two to the front, the third to the back, and a lead 
flat opening out of them on to the roof. 

In one of the front rooms on the afternoon of the Pope's 
Jubilee, a young woman sat knitting with an open book on her 
lap, while a boy of six knelt by her side, and pretended to 
learn his lesson. She was a comely but timid creature, with 
liquid eyes and a soft voice, and he was a shock-headed little 
giant, like the cub of a young lion. 

" Go on, Joseph," said the woman, pointing with her knit- 
ting-needle to the line on the page. " * And it came to 
pass . . .' " 

But Joseph's little eyes were peering first at the clock on 
the mantel-piece, and then out at the window and down the 
square. 

" Didn't you say they were to be here at two, mamma ? " 

" Yes, dear. Mr. Rossi was to be set free immediately, and 
papa, who ran home with the good news, has gone back to fetch 
him." 

" Oh ! ' And it came to pass afterward that he loved a 
woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah . . .' 
But, mamma . . ." 

" Yes, dear." 

" Why did the police put Uncle David in prison ? " 

" Because he is a good man, dear, and loves the people." 



60 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Oh ! " 

" Go on, Joseph. ' And the lords of the Philistines . . .' " 

" ' And the lords of tlie Philistines came up unto her, and 
said unto her, Entice him and see wherein his great strength 
lieth . . .' But, mamma, didn't you say the police put people 
in prison for doing wrong ? " 

" Go on with your lesson, Joseph. You've made me lose the 
place. Where were we ? ' And she made him sleep . . .' " 

" ' And she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called 
for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of 
his head . . .' But, mamma, he hasn't got his head shaved off 
in the picture." 

The big-headed cub rolled over to the window to look 
again at a theatrical poster on a neighbouring hoarding, rep- 
resenting Samson, blind and helpless, in the house of his 
enemies. 

" Joseph, you are very naughty to-day. Didn't you promise 
1() learn your lesson if I allowed you to read about Samson out 
of TJncle Eossi's Bible?" 

But at that moment there came a knock at the door, where- 
upon the boy uttered a cry of delight, and with a radiant face 
went plunging and shouting out of the room. 

" Uncle David ! It's Uncle David ! " 

The tumultuous voice rolled like baby thunder through the 
apartment until it reached the door, and then it dropped to a 
dead silence. 

" Who is it, Joseph ? " 

" A gentleman," said the boy. 



II 

It was the fashionable young Roman with the watchful 
eyes and twirled-up moustache, who had stood by the old 
Frenchman's carriage in the Piazza of St. Peter. 

" Pardon me, madam," he said. " I wish to speak with Mr. 
Bossi. I bring him an important message from abroad. He is 
coming alf)ng with the people, but to make sure of an interview 
T hurried ahead. ISlay I wait ? " 

"Certainly! Come in, sir! You say he is coming? Yes? 
Then he is free ? " 

The woman's liquid eyes were glistening visibly, and the 
man's watchful ones seemed to notice everything. 



THE REPUBIJO OP MAN T)! 

" Yes, madam, he is free. I saw him arrested, and I also 
saw him set at liberty." 

" Really ? Then you can tell me all about it ? That's good ! 
I have heard so little of all that happened, and my boy and I 
have not been able to think of anything else. Sit down, sir ! " 

" As the police were taking him to the station-house in the 
Borgo," said the stranger, " the people made an attempt to 
rescue him, and it seemed as if they must certainly have suc- 
ceeded if it had not been for his own intervention." 

" He stopped them, didn't he? I'm sure he stopped them ! " 

" He did. The delegate had given his three warnings, and 
the Brigadier was on the point of ordering his men to tii'e, 
when the prisoner threw up his hands before the crowd." 

"I knew it! Well?" 

" ' Brothers,' he said, ' let no blood be shed for my sake. 
Let no mother be made childless, no child fatherless, no wife a 
widow ! We are in God's hands. Go home ! ' " 

" How like him ! And then, sir ? " 

" Then the crowd broke up like a bubble, and the officer 
who was in charge of him uncovered his head. ' Room for the 
Honourable Rossi!' he cried, and the prisoner went into the 
prison." 

The liquid eyes were running over by this time, and the 
soft voice was trembling: "You say you saw him set at lib- 
erty ? " 

"Yes! I was in the public service myself until lately, so 
they allowed me to enter the police-station, and when the order 
for release came I was present and heard all. ' Deputy,' said 
the officer, ' I have the honour to inform you that you are free.' 
' But before I go I must say something,' said the Deputy. ' ^Fy 
only orders are that you are to be set at liberty,' said the officer. 
' Nevertheless, I must see the Minister,' said Mr. Rossi. But 
the crowd had pressed in and surrounded him, and in a moment 
the flood had carried him out into the street, with shouts and 
the waving of hats and a whirlwind of enthusiasm. And now 
he is being dra^vn by force through the city in a mad, glad, wild 
procession." 

" But he deserves it all, and more — far, far more! " 

The stranger looked at the woman's beaming eyes, and said, 
" You are not his wife — no ? " 

" Oh, no ! I'm only the wife of one of his friends," she 
answered. 

" But you live here ? " 



62 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" We live in the rooms on the roof." 

" Perhaps you keep house for the Deputy." 

" Yes — that is to say — ^yes, we keep house for Mr. Rossi." 

" Of course you admire him very much ? " 

" Nobody could help doing that, sir. He is so good, so 
unselfish. In fact, he is perfect — he really hasn't a fault. He 
is . . ." 

She stopped, for something in the man's look arrested her. 

" May I ask what your husband's name is ? " 

" Bruno Rocco, and when I say he is Mr. Rossi's friend, sir, 
you must not think I presume. Perhaps it was the way they 
met first that made them such close comrades. They met in 
prison." 

" In prison ? " 

" I mean the military prison. Mr. Rossi had been called up 
for military service, and had refused to serve, so they sent him 
to the Castle for punishment. At last they ordered the strait- 
waistcoat, and kept him for forty-eight hours in pain and 
suffering like Christ. He never uttered a word or a moan, but 
the soldier who had been sent to torture him — it was Bruno, 
I've heard him tell the story — he went to the Captain and he 
said : ' Captain, I can't do this work any longer.' * Can't you, 
now? * said the Captain, taunting him. ' Then perhaps you can 
do the other man's work instead ? ' ' Give it to me if you like,' 
said Bruno; 'I'm willing, and by God I'll bear it better than 
my own. ' " 
' " And they did ? " 

" They did, sir, and Bruno and Mr. Rossi were side by 
side. Their trouble didn't last long, though. It got known 
outside, and there was a great agitation, and that liberated 
both of them." 

" Somebody inside the Castle must have told the story ? " 

" I did — I was laundress in the barracks then, sir, but I had 
to leave after that, and mother and father, who had lived there 
since I can remember, were turned out too. It didn't matter in 
the end, though. I married Bruno shortly afterward and we 
came to keep house for Mr. Rossi, and then he persuaded the 
landlord to take father as porter in the lodge below." 

At that moment the room, which had been gloomy, was 
suddenly lighted by a shaft of sunshine, and there came from 
some unseen place a musical noise like the rippling of waters 
in a fountain. 

"It's the birds," said the woman, and she threw open a 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 63 

window that was also a door and led to a flat roof on which 
some twenty or thirty canaries were piping and shrilling their 
little swollen throats in a gigantic bird-cage. 

" Mr. Eossi's ? " 

" Yes, and he is fond of animals also — dogs and cats and 
rabbits and squirrels — especially squirrels." 

" Squirrels ? " 

" He has a grey one in a cage on the roof now. But he is 
not like some people who love animals — he loves children, too. 
He loves all children, and as for Joseph . . ." 

" The little boy who cried ' Uncle David ' at the door ? " 

" Yes, sir. One day Bruno said ' Uncle David ' to Mr. 
Eossi, and he has been Uncle David to my little Joseph ever 
since." 

" Your husband and Mr. Eossi are not very much alike, 
though, are they ? " 

" They're as different as can be, sir — different in everything. 
Bruno never wore a collar, not to speak of a dress coat, while 
Mr. Eossi is the gentleman through and through. Then Bruno 
is manly and genial and kindly, and though they call him an 
anarchist, the only explosions he makes are explosions of 
laughter, but he is a terrible fighter for all that, and he 
wouldn't shrink from any insult he could hurl at a foe, whereas 
Mr. Eossi . . ." 

"Yes?" 

" Mr. Eossi is hasty and passionate, but he couldn't hate 
his worst enemy, and when they hurl their insults at him — 
' They hurt nobody but myself,' he says." 

" Meaning by that ? " 

" That he has no wife and child to make him feel them 
tenfold. There's one person he can never forgive, though." 

"Who is that?" 

"Himself; and if he thought he had done anybody an in- 
jury he would walk barefoot to every Basilica in the city." 

Her cheeks were flushed and her timid eyes were brave and 
brilliant, like the eyes of one who looks on the sun at its setting 
and finds it bigger and brighter and more glorious for the 
vapour of the earth through which he sees it. 

" This is the dining-room, no doubt," said the stranger in 
his chilling voice. 

"Unfortunately, yes, sir." 

" Why unfortunately ? " 

" Because there is the hall, and here is the table, and tliere'^ 



64 THE ETERNAL CITY 

not even a curtain between, and the moment the door is opened 
he is exposed to everybody. People know it, too, and they take 
advantage. He would give the chicken off his plate if he 
hadn't anything else. I have to scold him a little sometimes 
— I can't help it. And as for father, he says he has doubled 
his days in purgatory by the lies he tells, turning people 
away." 

" That will be his bedroom, I suppose," said the stranger, 
indicating a door which the boy had passed through. 

" Xo, sir, his sitting-room. That is where he receives his 
colleagues in Parliament, and his fellow-journalists, and his 
electors and printers and so forth. Come in, sir." 

The walls were covered with portraits of Mazzini, Garibaldi, 
Jvossuth, Lincoln, Washington, and Cromwell, and the room, 
which had been furnished originally with chairs covered in 
chintz, was loaded with incongruous furniture. 

" Joseph, you've been naughty again ! My little boy is all 
for being a porter, sir. He has got the butt-end of his father's 
fishing-rod, you see, and torn his handkerchief into shreds to 
make a tassel for his mace." Then with a sweep of the arm, 
" All presents, sir. He gets presents from all parts of the 
world. The piano is from England, but nobody plays, so 
it is never opened ; the books are from Germany, and the 
bronze is from France, but the strangest thing of all, sir, is 
this." 

" A phonograph ? " 

" It was most extraordinary. A week ago a cylinder came 
from the Island of Elba." 

" Elba? From some prisoner perhaps? " 

" A dying man's message, Mr. Rossi called it. ' We must 
save up for an instrument to reproduce it, Sister,' he said. 
But, look you, the very next day the carriers brought the phono- 
graph." 

" And then he reproduced the message ? " 

" I don't know — I never asked. He often turns on a cylin- 
der to amuse the boy, but I never knew him try that one. This 
is the bedroom, sir — you may come in." 

It was a narrow room, very bright and lightsome, with its 
white counterpane, white bed curtains, and white veil over the 
looking-glass to keep it from the flies. 

" How sweet ! " said the stranger. 

" It would be but for these," said the woman, and she 
pointed to the other end of the room, where a desk stood 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAX 65 

between two windows, amid heaps of unopened newspapers, 
which lay like fishes as they fall from the herring net. 

" I presume this is a present also ? " said the stranger. He 
had taken from the desk a dagger with a lapis-lazuli handle, 
and was trying its edge on his finger-nail. 

" Yes, sir, and he has turned it to account as a paper-knife. 
A six-chambered revolver came yesterday, but he had no use 
for that, so he threw it aside, and it lies under the news- 
papers." 

" And who is this ? " said the stranger. He was looking at 
a faded picture in an ebony frame which hung by the side of the 
bed. It was the portrait of an old man with a beautiful fore- 
head and a patriarchal face. 

" Some friend of Mr. Rossi's in England, I think." 

" An English photograph, certainly, but the face seems to 
me Roman for all that. Ah ! this is English enough, though," 
said the stranger. He had taken from its nail a similar picture 
frame, half hidden by the bed curtain. It contained a small 
framed manuscript, such as in old times devout persons drew 
up as a covenant with God, and kept constantly beside them. 

" E[e loves England, sir, and is never tired of talking of its 
glory and greatness. He loves its language, too, and writes all 
liis private papers in English, I believe." 

At that moment a thousand lusty voices burst on the air, as 
a great crowd came pouring out of the narrow lanes into the 
broad piazza. At the same instant the boy shouted from the 
adjoining room, and another voice that made the walls vibrate 
came from the direction of the door. 

" They're coming ! It's my husband ! Bruno ! " said the 
woman, and the ripple of her dress told the stranger she had 
gone. 

He stood where she left him, with the little ebony picture 
frame in his hand ; and while the people in the street sang the 
Craribaldi hymn, and came marching to the tune of it, he read 
the words that were written in English under cover of the 
glass : 

" From what am I called 9 

From the love of riches, from the love of honoiir, from the love of 
home, and from the love of irnman. 

To what am. I called ? 

To poverty, to purity, to obedience, to the ivorship of God, and to the 
service of humanity. 



QQ THE ETERNAL CITY 

Why am I called ? 

Because it has pleased the Almighty to make me friendless, home- 
less, a wanderer, an exile, without father or mother, sister or brother, 
kith or kin. 

Hoping my heart deceives me not, with fear and trembling I sign 
my unworthy name. 

D. L. — London." 

Ill 

Laughing, crying, cheering, chaffing, singing, David Rossi's 
people had brought him home in triumph, and now they were 
crowding upon him to kiss his hand, the big-hearted, baby- 
headed, beloved children of Italy. 

The object of this aurora of worship stood with his back 
to the table in the dining-room, looking down and a little 
ashamed, while Bruno, six feet three in his stockings, hoisted 
the boy on to his shoulder, and shouted as from a tower to 
everybody as they entered by the door: 

" Come in, sonny, come in ! Don't stand there like the 
Pope betM'een the devil and the deep sea. Come in among the 
people," and Bruno's laughter rocked through the room to 
where the crowd stood thick on the staircase. " We've given 
them a dose to-day, haven't we ? Old Angelelli looked as green 
as a grasshopper. See him ? He meant to pour the entire penal 
code on the master, and accuse him of every crime in Christen- 
dom. Robbing a safe, high treason, high fiddle-stick, and 
Heaven knows what! Tenfold sentence to death, loss of all 
rights in this world and the next, and the scaffold swindled 
because he has only one head to sweep off." 

" The Baron has had a lesson, too," said a man with a sheet 
of white paper in his hand. "He dreamed of getting the 
Collar of the Annunziata out of this." 

" The pig dreamed of acorns," said Bruno. 

" But he knows now that government by chief of police 
won't work as well as government by Parliament." 

" If a man brings wolves into the house with* the children 
he must expect to hear them cry," said Bruno. 

" It's a lesson to the Church as well," said the man with the 
paper. " She wouldn't have anything to do with us. ' T alone 
strike the hour of the march,' says the Church." 

" And then she stands still ! " said Bruno. 

" The mountains stand still, but men are made to walk," 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN f,7 

said the man with the paper, " and if the Pope doesn't advance 
with the people, the people must advance without the Pope." 

" The Pope's all right, sonny,'' said Bruno, " but what does 
he know about the people ? Only what his black-gowned beetles 
tell him!" 

" The Pope has no wife and children," said the man with the 
paper. 

" Old Vampire could find him a few," said Bruno, and then 
there was general laughter. 

" Brothers," said David Rossi, " let us be temperate. 
There's nothing to be gained by playing battledore and shuttle- 
cock with the name of an old man who has never done harm to 
any one. The Pope hasn't listened to us to-day, but he is a 
saint all the same, and his life has been a lesson in well-doing." 

" Anybody can sail with a fair wind, sir," said Bruno. 

" What has happened to-day," said Rossi, " has convinced 
me that the people have no helper but God, and no justice but 
His law. But let us be prudent. There's no need for violence, 
whether of the hand or of the tongue. That man is strongest 
who is strong through suffering and resignation. You've found 
that out this morning. If you had rescued me from the police, 
I shoidd have been in prison again by this time, and God knows 
what else might have happened. I'm proud of your patience 
and forbearance; and now go home, boys, and God bless you." 

" Stop a minute ! " said the man with the paper. " Some- 
thing to read before we go. While the Carabineers kept Mr. 
Rossi in the Borgo the Committee of Direction met in a cafe 
and drew up a proclamation." 

" Read it, Luigi," said David Rossi, and the man opened 
his paper and read : 

" Having appealed in vain to Parliament and to the King 
against the tyrannical tax which the Government has imposed 
upon bread in order that the army and navy may be increased, 
and having appealed in vain to the Pope to intercede with the 
Civil authorities, and call back Italy to its duty, it now be- 
hoves us, as a suffering and perishing people, to act on our own 
behalf. Unless annulled by royal decree, the tax will come into 
operation on the first of February. On that day let every 
Roman remain indoors until an hour after Ave Maria. Let 
nobody buy so much as one loaf of bread, and let no bread be 
eaten, except svich as you give to your children. Then at the 
first hour of night, let us meet in the Coliseum, tens of thou- 
sands of fasting people, of one mind and heart, to determine 



68 THE ETERNAL CITY 

what it is our duty to do next, that our bread may be sure and 
our water may not fail." 

"Good!" "Beautiful!" "Splendid!" 

" Only wants the signature of the president," said the 
reader, and Bruno called for pen and ink. 

" Before I sign it," said David Rossi, " let it be understood 
that none come armed. Is that a promise? " 

" Yes," said several voices, and David Rossi signed the 
paper. 

" And now, brothers," said Rossi, taking out of his breast- 
pocket the oblong notebook which he had used in the piazza, 
" while you were writing in the cafe I was wi'iting in the cell, 
and since we have read our proclamation we will also read our 
creed and charter." 

" Good ! " 

" I call it that because our enemies are telling us we don't 
know what we want or what we are doing. We are visionaries, 
dreamers, millennarians, and religious anarchists, and our 
vaporous hallucinations woidd hurry society to dissolution and 
death ! " 

" They don't understand oiir Latin," said Bruno. 

" Time they did, Bruno," said Rossi, " and that's why I 
wrote this paper." 

" Read it," cried many A'oices, and David Rossi opened his 
\)(H>\<. and read : 

" ' The Republic of Man. Our Creed and Charter. Our 
Charter is the Lord's Prayer! ' " 

" Good again ! " cried Bruno. 

" They'll tell us we've got the sacred sickness, brothers, but 
we'll remind them that revolutions made in the name of inter- 
est, of politics, of parties, and of imperialism always fail, while 
revolutions made in the name of religion may drop back, but 
they never die until they have achieved their victory." 

" God doesn't pay wages on Saturday, but He pays! " said 
Bruno, and then the company composed themselves to listen. 

" ' The Lord's Prayer contains six clauses. 

"'Three of these clauses concern chiefly the S]nritual life 
of man, lhe other three concern chiefly the temjioral life 
of man. 

" ' The Lord's Prayer says : Ovr Father who art in Heaven. 

" ' Tf God is the father of all men, all men are brothers, and 
as brothers all men are equal. 

" ' Therefore, all authority arrogated by man over man is 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 69 

wrong. All government of man over man is wrong. Hence 
kings have no right to exist. 

" ' If all men are brothers, all men should live as brothers. 
To live as brothers is to live in peace and concord. 

" ' Therefore, all war between nation and nation is wrong. 
Hence armies have no right to exist. National frontiers have 
no right to exist. The national spirit which is called patriot- 
ism has no right to exist. 

"'The Lord's Prayer says: Give us this day our daily 
bread. 

" ' Our daily bread comes from the land. No man made the 
land. It is God's gift to mankind. It belongs to all men. 
Therefore, individual ownership of land is wrong. Individual 
control of the fruits of the land is wrong. 

"'The Lord's Prayer says: Thy Kingdom come; Thy will 
he done in earth as it is done in Heaven. 

" ' If we may pray Thy Kingdom come, we may expect it to 
come. If God's Kingdom is not to come on earth as it is in 
Heaven, if it is only a dream, then the Lord's Prayer is a de- 
lusion, a cruel mockery, and a betrayal of the hearts and hopes 
of the human family ! ' " 

" Right ! " " Good ! " " Bravo ! " " That will give them 
something to think about ! " And the man who read the 
proclamation said, " The Church has spent centuries over the 
theology of the Lord's Prayer — time she began to think of its 
sociology also." 

" That's our Charter as I see it, gentlemen," said David 
Rossi, " and now for the Creed we deduce from it." 

"Hush! Silence!" 

" ' We believe that the source of all right and all power is 
God. 

" ' We believe that Government exists to secure to all men 
equally the natural rights to whi«h .they are born as sons 
of God. 

" ' We believe that all governments must derive their power 
from the people governed. 

" ' We believe that no artificial differences among men can 
constitute a basis of good government. 

" ' We believe that when a government is destructive of the 
natural rights of man it is man's duty to destroy it.' " 

" Bravo ! " came in many voices, and there was some clap- 
ping of hands, but without any change of tone David Rossi 
went on reading: 



70 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" ' We believe that all forms of violence are contrary to the 
spirit of God's law. ' " 

"Ah!" 

" ' We believe that prayer and protest are the only weapons 
of warfare which humanity may use — prayer addressed to God, 
protest addressed to man. 

" ' We believe that they are the most effectual weapons 
humanity has ever used against the evils of the world. 

" ' We believe that they are the only weapons used or coun- 
tenanced by Christ. 

" ' We believe that where they do not take effect in them- 
selves they take double effect in suffering.' " 

"Ah!" 

" ' We believe . . .' " 

" ^o ! " " Yes ! " " It's a long game, though ! " " Hush ! " 
" Go on, sir! " 

" ' We believe that it is the duty of all men to use the 
Lord's Praj'er, to believe in it, to live according to its light, 
and to protest against everything which is opposed to its 
teaching. 

" ' We believe this is the only way man can help to bring to 
pass the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. 

" ' Therefore in the sure and certain hope of that kingdom 
— by the love we bear to the brothers whom God has given us — 
by the hate we feel for injustice and wrong — by the memory 
of the martyrs — by the sufferings of the people — we dedicate 
ourselves as subjects and servants of the Republic of Man. 

" ' And to its Creed and Charter we hereto subscribe our 
names, in the name of Him who taught us to pray: 

" ' Our Father who art in Heaven — 

" ' Hallowed be Thy name — 

" ' Thy Kingdom come — Thy will be done in earth as it is in 
Heaven — 

" ' Give us this day our daily bread — 

"'And forgive «s our trespasses as ive forgive tfiem that trespass 
against us. 

" ' A7id lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' " 

" Amen ! " said the coiVipany, fifty voices at once. 

" That is our idea as I understand it," said David Rossi, 
" so I've signed my name to it, and those who agree with me 
may do the same. And as grand results may flow from trivial 
causes, the Republic of Man from this day forward will be 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN Yl 

a reality, and not a dream, watching parliaments, discussing 
measures, taking up the defence of prisoners and demanding 
justice for the oppressed, until without a throne or legal title 
it holds a sovereign power throughout the world, stronger than 
any sceptre on earth." 

With that he tore out of his notebook a leaf covered on one 
side with the most delicate characters, and in a moment there 
was a movement toward the table. 

" Great, sir ! Great ! " said the man who had read the 
proclamation. " They'll say we're setting up a new church, 
though." 

" There's room for one between the Vatican and the 
Quirinal," said Bruno. 

" A big church, too," said the man. " The church outside 
the churches." 

" Old Vampire will have something else to think of besides 
his dear little Donna Romas when he gets hold of this," said 
somebody, and again there was general laughter. 

As the men signed the paper they passed out of the apart- 
ment, laughing and talking, and their voices died away in 
drumming sounds down the staircase. When it came to 
Bruno's turn he put the boy to stand on the table. 

" Here goes ! " he said. " Every kick sends the ass on," and 
with his tongue in his cheek he signed his name in letters as 
shapeless as an old shoe. 

There was only one man left. It was the fashionable young 
Roman with the watchful eyes and twirled-up moustache. He 
took up the pen last, and signed " Charles Minghelli." 

David Rossi looked at him and read the name he had writ- 
ten. 

" For you, sir ! " said the yovmg man, taking a letter from 
a pocket inside his waistcoat. 

David Rossi opened the letter and read : " The bearer of 
this is one of ourselves. He has determined upon the accom- 
plishment of a great act, and wishes to see you with respect 
to it." 

" You come from London ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" You wish to speak to me ? " 

" I do." 

" You may speak freely." 

The young man glanced in the direction of Bruno and of 
Bruno's wife, who stood beside him. 



72 TPIE ETERNAL CITY 

" It is a delicate matter, sir," he said. 

" Come this way," said David Kossi, and he took the 
stranger into his bedroom. 

IV 

David Rossi took his seat at the desk between the windows, 
and made a sign to tlie man to take a chair that stood near. 
Tlie man was something of a dandy, and as he sat down he 
pulled up his trousers at the knees, stretched his arms to shoot 
out his cuflFs, and threw vip his neck to adjust his collar. 

" Your name is Charles Minghelli ? " said David Rossi. 

" Yes. I have come to propose a dangerous enterprise." 

" What is it ? " 

" That somebody on behalf of the people should take the 
law into his own hands." 

The man had spoken with perfect calmness, and after a 
moment of silence David Rossi replied as calmly: 

" I will ask you to exi)lain Avhat you mean." 

The man smiled, made a deferential gesture, and answered, 
" You will permit me to speak plainly ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Thanks ! I have heard your Creed and Charter. I have 
even signed my name to it. It is beautiful as a theory — most 
beautiful ! And the Republic of Man is beautiful too. It is 
like one of the associations of the early Church, a state within 
a state, the real government, the real constitution, without 
authority, without crowns, without armies, yet intended to rule 
the world by the voluntary allegiance of mankind. Beautiful ! " 

"Well?" 

" But more beautiful than practical, dear sir, and the ideal 
tliread that runs through your plan will break the moment the 
rough world begins to tug at it." 

" I will ask you to be more precise," said David Rossi. 

" With pleasure. You have proclaimed a meeting in the 
Coliseum to protest against the bread-tax. What if the Gov- 
ernment prohibits it? Your principle of passive resistance 
will not permit you to rebel, and without the right of public 
meeting your association is powerless. Then where are you ? " 

David Rossi had taken up his paper-knife dagger and was 
drawing lines with the ]ioint of it on the letter of introduction 
which nf)w lay open on the desk. The man saw the impression 
he had produced, and went on with more vigour. 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 73 

" One of your people said you would be accused of setting 
up a new church, but while I listened to you, dear sir, I thought 
I could hear one of the Fathers of the old faith teaching over 
again the fatal resignation of Catholicism. He who suffers is 
stronger than he who fights ! Obey the lawful authorities ! Be 
subject to the higher powers ! Render unto Csesar the things 
which are Caesar's ! Tribute to whom tribute is due ! Custom 
to whom custom! Fear to whom fear. That has been the 
doctrine of the Catholic Church for ages. And what has it 
brought the Church to? To what it is in Rome to-day — a 
butterfly whose body has been eaten away by spiders, leaving 
nothing but the beautiful, useless, powerless wings ! " 

David Rossi had put down the dagger, and was listening 
with closed eyes. The man watched the quivering of his eye- 
lids, smiled slightly, and continued: 

" If the governments of the world deny you the right of 
meeting, where are your weapons of warfare? What is the 
battering-ram with which you are going to make your breach in 
the world's Porta Pia? On the one side armies on armies of 
men marshalled and equipped with all the arts and engines of 
war; on the other side a helpless multitude with their hands in 
their pockets, or paying a penny a week subscription to the 
great association that is to overcome by passive suffering the 
power of the combined treasuries of the world ! " 

David Rossi had risen from his seat, and was walking back- 
ward and forward with a step that was long and slow. 

" Well, and what do you say we ought to do ? " he said. 

" Cease to abandon ourselves to the caprices of a tyrant, and 
assert the rights of man," said the stranger. 

" In what way are the people of Rome to assert the rights 
of man ? " said David Rossi. 

" The people of Rome — I didn't say that. We know what 
the Romans are. Patient ? Yes — the only virtue of the ass ! 
Peaceful? N'o doubt — or they would have been suffocated long 
ago in this police-ridden state. They are like their climate — 
the scirocco is in their bones, and they have nerve for nothing. 
Somebody must act for them. Somebody like you, who has 
come back to the old world nerved and refreshed by the 
bracing airs of freedom which blow across the new — one of the 
great souls who are beacons on the path of humanity . . ." 

" Be definite — what are we to do? " said David Rossi. 

A flash came from the man's eyes, and he said in a thick 
voice : 

6 



74 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Remove the one man in Rome whose hand crushes the 
nation." 

"The Prime Minister?" 

" Yes." 

There was silence. 

" You expect me to do that ? " 

" No ! I will do it for you. . . . Why not ? If violence is 
wrong it is right to resist violence." 

David Rossi returned to his seat at the desk, touched the 
letter of introduction, and said : 

" That is the great act referred to in this letter from Lon- 
don ? " 

" Yes. It isn't pretty, is it ? But don't think I'm mad. 
I know what I'm saying. I have thought of this plan and 
brooded over it, until it has attained a gigantic power over me 
and become stronger than myself." 

David Rossi turned full round on the man. 

" Why do you come to me ? " he said. 

" Because you can help me to accomplish this act. You 
are a Member of Parliament, and can give me cards to the 
Chamber. You can show me the way to the Prime Minister's 
room in Monte Citorio, and tell me .the moment when he is to 
be found alone." 

David Rossi's face was pale, but when he spoke his voice 
was calm — with the calmness of a frozen lake that has a river 
running underneath. 

" I do not deny that the Prime Minister deserves death." 

" A thousand deaths, sir, and everybody would hail them 
with delight." 

" I do not deny that his death would be a blessing to the 
people." 

" On the day he dies, sir, the people will live." 

" Or that crimes — great crimes — have been the means of 
bringing about great reforms." 

" You are right, sir — but it would be no crime." 

" Nor should I say that to take the life of a tyrant is to be 
guilty of murder." 

" Oh, they knew what they were doing when they sent me 
to you, sir." 

David Rossi spoke calmly but with great earnestness. 

" The man," he said, " who goes openly into the presence 
of the oppressor and kills him face to face, then stands to be 
arrested or torn in pieces, takes his trial, pleads guilty, says, 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN Y5 

' I did not kill the Baron Bonelli, I killed the Prime Minister ; 
I did not kill the man, I killed the institution; condemn me, 
hang me, shoot me, bury me alive, intomb me in a cell not 
much bigger than a coffin, where I shall see no human face, and 
hear no human voice, I am content; I await the coming revo- 
lution ' — let the world call him what it will, madman, fanatic, 
fool — that man needs some other name than assassin." 

The stranger's face flushed up, his eyes seemed to burn, and 
he leaned over to the desk and took up the dagger. 

" See ! Give me this ! It's exactly what I want. I'll put 
it in a bouquet of flowers, and pretend to offer them. Only a 
way to do it, sir ! Say the word — may I take it ? " 

" But the man who assumes such a mission," said David 
Rossi, " must know himself free from every thought of personal 
vengeance." 

The dagger trembled in the stranger's hand. 

" He must be prepared to realise the futility of what he 
has done — to know that even when he succeeds he only changes 
the persons not the things, the actors not the parts. And when 
he fails he must be prepared to find that wounded tyranny 
has no mercy, and threatened despotism has tightened its 
chains." 

The man stood like one who has been stunned, with his 
mouth partly open, and balancing the dagger on one hand. 

" More than that," said David Rossi, " he must be prepared 
to be told by every true friend of freedom that the man who 
uses force is not worthy of liberty — that the conflict of intel- 
lects alone is human, and to fight otherwise is to be on the level 
of the brute — that we are men, and that the human weapon 
is the brain, not the claws and the teeth, and that all victories 
other than the victories of the brain and heart are barbarous 
and bestial — shed around them what halo you will." 

The man threw the dagger back on the desk and laughed. 

" I knew you talked like that to the people — statesmen do 
sometimes — that's all right — it's pretty, and it keeps the peo- 
ple quiet — but we know . . ." 

David Rossi rose with a sovereign dignity, but he only 
said: 

" Mr. Minghelli, our interview is at an end." 

A change had come over the face of the stranger, and the 
watchful eyes now wore a ferocious expression. But he only 
flipped a speck of dust off his coat, and said : 

" So you dismiss me ? " 



Y6 THE ETERNAL CITY 

David Eossi bowed in silence. The man gave a furious side- 
glance and stepped to the door. 

" Now that you know what I am, perhaps you will scratch 
my name off your Creed and Charter, and tell them in London 
to turn me out of their brotherhood ? " 

" You turn yourself out, sir. You have nothing in common 
with the people, and have no right to be among them." 

The man's profile at the door was frightful. 

" It is such men as you," said David Rossi, " who put 
back the progress of the world and make it possible for the 
upholders of authority to describe our efforts as devilish 
machinations for the destruction of all order, human and di- 
vine. Besides that, you speak as one who has not only a 
perverted political sentiment, but a personal quarrel against 
an enemy." 

The man faced around sharply, came back with a quick step, 
and said: 

" You say I speak as one who has a personal quarrel with 
the Prime Minister. Perhaps I have! I heard your speech 
this morning about his mistress, with her livery of scarlet and 
gold. You meant the woman who is known as Donna Roma 
Volonna. What if I tell you she is not a Volonna at all, but 
a girl the Minister picked up in the streets of London, and has 
palmed off on Rome as the daughter of a noble house, because 
he is a liar and a cheat ? " 

David Rossi gave a start, as if an invisible hand had smit- 
ten him in the face. 

" Her name is Roma, certainly," said the man, with a flash 
in his eyes, " that was the first thing that helped me to seize 
the mysterious thread." 

David Rossi's face grew pale, and he scarcely breathed. 

" Oh, I'm not talking without proof," said the man, seeing 
that his words went home. " I was at the Embassy in London 
ten years ago when the Ambassador was consulted by the 
police authorities about an Italian girl, who had been found 
at night in Leicester Square. Mother dead, father gone back 
to Italy — she had been living with some people her father gave 
her to as a child, but had turned out badly and run away." 

David Rossi had fixed his eyes on the stranger with a kind 
of glassy stare. 

" I went with the Ambassador to Bow Street, and saw the 
girl in the magistrate's ofiice. She pleaded that she had been 
ill-treated, but we didn't believe her story, and gave her back 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 77 

to her guardians. A month later we heard that she had run 
away once more and disappeared entirely." 

David Rossi was breathing audibly, and shrinking like an 
old man into his shoulders. 

" I never saw that girl again until a week ago, and where 
do you think I saw her ? " 

David Rossi swallowed his saliva, and said : 

"Where?" 

" In Rome. I had trouble at the Embassy, and came back 
to appeal to the Prime Minister. Everybody said I must reach 
him through Donna Roma, and one of my relatives took me to 
her rooms. The moment I set eyes on her I knew who she 
was. Donna Roma Volonna is the girl Roma Roselli, who was 
lost in the streets of London." 

David Rossi seemed suddenly to grow taller. 

" You scoundrel ! " he said, in a voice that was hollow and 
choked. 

The man staggered back and stammered : 

"Why . . . what . . ." 

" I knew that girl." 

" You knew ..." 

" Until she was seven years of age she was my constant 
companion — she was the same as my sister — and her father 
was the same as my father — and if you tell me she is the 
mistress . . . You infamous wretch ! You calumniator ! You 
villain ! I could confound you with one word, but I won't. 
Out of my house this moment. And if ever you cross my 
path again I'll denounce you to the police as a cut-throat and 
an assassin." 

Stunned and stupefied, the man opened the door and fled. 



" By the Holy Virgin, little one, I must have a word in that 
argument," said Bruno in the dining-room, with kindling eyes 
and clenched fist. 

But at the next moment the stranger came flying out, and 
Bruno contented himself with making the sign with the finger 
to avert the evil eye as the man's pallid face disappeared 
through the outer door. 

" Just one of his white heats," said Bruno, under his breath, 
with a side-glance at the bedroom. " He'll do something some 
day." 



78 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Heaven and the saints forbid ! " said Bruno's wife, and 
then David Rossi came out with his long, slow step, looking 
pale but calm, and tearing up a letter into small pieces, which 
he threw into the fire. 

Little Joseph, who had been busy with his mace, rushed 
upon Rossi with a shout, and when Rossi rose from stooping 
over the boy, his face was red and the tones of his voice were 
natural. 

" What was amiss, sir ? They could hear you across the 
street," said Bruno. 

" A man whose room was better than his company, that's 
all." 

" What's his name," said Bruno, consulting the sheet which 
the company had signed. '' ' Charles Minghelli ' ? Why, that 
must be the Secretary who was suspected of forgery at the 
Embassy in London, and got dismissed." 

" I thought as much ! " said David Rossi. " No doubt the 
man attributed his dismissal to the Prime Minister, and wanted 
to use me for his private revenge." 

" That was his game, was it ? Why didn't you let me know, 
sir? He would have gone downstairs like a falling star. You 
turned him out, though, and he'll tie that on his finger, at all 
events. He is as fine as a razor, but he looks as if he carried 
a small arsenal on his hip. He's stuff to take with a pair of 
tongs, anyway, and now that I remember, he's the nephew of 
old Palomba, the Mayor, and I've seen him at Donna Roma's. 
' Charles Minghelli ? ' Of course ! That was the name on a 
letter she gave me to post, in one of her perfumed violet en- 
velopes, with her monogram engraved on the front of it." 

There was a thumping knock at that moment, and the 
boy, who had been playing with the buttons of David Rossi's 
coat, shouted : 

" Me ! Me ! " and, seizing his mace, marched with a strut to 
the door and opened it. 

" Who is it ? " said the boy within. 

" Friends," said a voice without. 

A waiter in a white smock, with a large tin box on his head, 
entered the hall, and behind him came the old woman from 
the porter's lodge, with the wrinkled face and the red cotton 
handkerchief. 

" Come in," cried Bruno. " I ordered the best dinner in 
the Trattoria, sir, and tliought we might perhaps dine together 
for once." 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN . Y9 

" Good," said David Rossi. 

" Here it is, a whole basketful of the grace of God, sir ! 
Out with it, Riccardo," and while the wohaen laid the table, 
Bruno took the dishes smoking hot from their temporary oven 
with its charcoal fire. 

" Artichokes — good. Chicken — ^good again. I must be a 
fox — I was dreaming of chicken all last night! Gnocchi! 
(potatoes and flour baked.) Agradolce! (sour and sweet.) 
Fagioletti! (French beans boiled) and — a half flask of Chianti! 
Who said the son of my mother couldn't order a dinner? All 
right, Riccardo, come back at Ave Maria." 

The waiter went off, and the company sat down to their 
meal, Bruno and his wife at either end of the table, and David 
Rossi on the sofa, with the boy on his right, and the cat curled 
up into his side on the left, while the old woman stood in front, 
serving the food and removing the plates. 

" I'm as hungry as a wolf and as thirsty as a sponge," said 
Bruno, sticking his knife into the chicken. 

" Bruno," said his wife with a warning look, and a glance 
at Joseph, who, with eyes dubiously closed, was bringing his 
little hands together. 

" Oh ! All right, Elena ! Go ahead, little one," and while 
Bruno sat with his fists on the table and knife and fork pointing 
heavenwards, Joseph said six words of grace. 

" Good for you, Giuseppe-Mazzini-Garibaldi ! Short text, 
long sermon ! We'll take a long drink on the strength of it. 
Let me fill up your glass, sir. IsTo? Tut! Drink wine and 
leave water to the mill." 

And, while they ate and drank, the little April gales of 
gossip went flying around the room, with fitful gleams of sun- 
shine and some passing showers. 

" Look at him ! " said the old woman, who was deaf, pointing 
to David Rossi, with his two neighbours. " Now, why doesn't 
the Blessed Virgin give him a child of his own ? " 

" She has, mother, and here he is," said David Rossi. 

" You'll let her give him a woman first, won't you ? " said 
Bruno. 

" Ah ! that will never be," said David Rossi. 

" What does he say ? " said the old woman, with her hand 
at her ear like a shell. 

"He says he won't have any of you," bawled Bruno. 

" What an idea ! But I've heard men say that before, and 
they've been married sooner than you could say ' Hail Mary.' " 



80 • THE ETERNAL CITY 

" It isn't an incident altogether unknown in the history of 
this planet, is it, mother ? " said Bruno. 

" The man who doesn't marry must have a poor opinion of 
women," said the old woman. 

" And a poor opinion of the Almighty, too," said Bruno. 
" Male and female created He them — at least, I am led to 
believe so every day of my life." 

" Men will be talking," said Elena. " Go on with your 
dinner, Bruno, and don't raise your voice so." 

" There are only two kinds of women, sir — ordinary women 
and your wife," said Bruno, winking gaily. 

" And there are only two kinds of men — sensible men and 
your husband," said Elena. 

" The horse's kick doesn't hurt the mare, you see," said 
Bruno. " But women, bless their sweet faces, are the springs 
of everything in this world — man-springs especially." 

" A heart to share your sorrows and joys is something, and 
the man is not. wise who wastes the chance of it," said the old 
woman. " Does he think parliaments will make up for it when 
he grows old and wants something to comfort him ? " 

" Hush, mother ! " said Elena, but Bruno made mouths at 
her to let the old woman go on. 

" As for me, I'll want somebody of my own about me to 
close my eyes when the time comes to put the sacred oil on 
them," said the old woman. 

And then David Rossi, with the sweetness of his voice in 
conversation, said, " I know that a woman's love is the strong- 
est and purest and best in the world except the love of God, yet 
if I found myself caring too much for any one I should run 
away." 

" That's right, sir. In the battle of love he wins who flies," 
said Bruno. 

" If a man has dedicated his life to work for humanity," 
said David Rossi, " he must give up many things— father, 
mother, wife, child. He must bid a long farewell to all earthly 
aifections, and be prepared to become, if need be, a homeless 
wanderer, treading a path which he knows beforehand will be 
choked with sorrows." 

The corner of Elena's apron crept up to the corner of her 
eye, but the old woman, who thought the subject had changed, 
laughed and said : 

" That's just what I say to Tommaso. * Tommaso,' I say, 
* if a man is going to be a policeman he must have no father, 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 81 

or mother, or wife, or child — no nor bowels neither,' I say. And 
Tommaso says, ' Francesca,' he says, ' the whole tribe of gentry 
they call statesmen are just policemen in plain clothes, and I 
do believe they've only liberated Mr. Rossi as a trap to catch 
him again when he has done something.' " 

" They won't catch you though, will they, mother ? " shouted 
Bruno. 

" That they won't ! I'm deaf, praise the saints, and can't 
hear them." 

" Beautiful dispensation of Providence in a witness ! Let 
me examine you, mother. Three questions the police ask a 
woman to begin with." 

"Eh?" 

" Three questions," bawled Bruno. " What's your name 
and your father's name, how old are you, and how many chil- 
dren have you got ? Xow, let's see how you know your lesson — 
how old are you, mother ? " 

" Francesca Maria fu Giuseppe," answered the old woman. 

" My mistake, mother — how many children have you 
got?"_ 

" Sixty-seven, your worship." 

" Excellent witness! " said Bruno, and he laughed until he 
cried. 

Another knock came from the staircase. 

" Me ! Me ! " cried the boy, and the mace with its tattered 
handkerchief went to the door again. 

"Who is it?" 

" Friends." 

" Who is it this time, Garibaldi-Mazzini-Washington ? Oh ! 
Old John again ! " 

An old man stood on the threshold. He was one of David 
Rossi's pensioners. liinety years of age, his children all dead, 
he lived with his grandchildren, and was one of the poor human 
rats who stay indoors all day and come out with a lantern at 
night to scour the gutters of the city for the refuse of cigar- 
ends. 

" Come another night, John ! Don't expect the Villa Bor- 
ghese, sonny," said Bruno. 

But David Rossi would not send him away empty, and he 
was going off with the sparkling eyes of a boy, when he said : 

"T heard you in the piazza this morning. Excellency! 
Grand! Only sorry for one thing." 

" And what was that, sonny ? " said Bruno. 



82 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" What his Excellency said about Donna Roma. She gave 
me a half franc only yesterday, sir — stopped the carriage to do 
it, too ! " 

" So that's your only reason . . ." began Bruno. 

" Good reason, too. Good-night, John ! " said David Rossi, 
and Joseph closed the door. 

" Oh, she has her virtues, like every other kind of spider," 
said Bruno. 

" I'm sorry I spoke of her," said David Rossi. 

" You needn't be, though. She deserved all she got. I 
haven't been two years in her studio without knowing what 
she is." 

" It was the man I was thinking of, and if I had remem- 
bered that the woman must suffer . . ." 

" Tut ! She'll have to make her Easter confession a little 
earlier, that's all." 

" If she hadn't laughed when I was speaking . . ." 

" You're on the wrong track now, sir. That wasn't Donna 
Roma. It was the little Princess Bellini. She's always stretch- 
ing her neck and screeching like an old gandery goose. Do 
Donna Roma justice ; she's a better piece than that. Never saw 
her, sir ? Oh, a splendid woman ! Stood in the centre of the 
balcony, sir — women are as fond of sitting up in a balcony as a 
horse of looking over a gate — and if you had seen her there you 
would have said she was as sweet to look upon as one of the 
apples of Eden, but she's just as cunning as the serpent of 
old Nile." 

Dinner was now over, and the boy called for the phono- 
graph. David Rossi went into the sitting-room to fetch it, and 
Elena went in at the same time to light the fire. She was 
kneeling with her back to him, blowing on to the wood, when 
she said in a trembling voice : 

" I'm a little sorry myself, sir, if I may say so. I can't 
believe what they say about the mistress, but even if it's true we 
don't know her story, do we? " 

" Perhaps you're right, sister," said David Rossi. 

When he returned to the dining-room with the phonograph, 
the dishes had been gathered up, the old grandmother had gone, 
and Joseph had ranged two lines of chairs from the table to the 
door, back to back, with a space between them, and various 
walking-sticks across the top to represent the courtyard to the 
palace. And dressed in his father's coat, turned inside oiit to 
display a gorgeous lining of red flannel, he was navigating the 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 83 

narrow strait with his mace like a three-decker flying all its 
flags, while Bruno, in his shirt sleeves, was laughing until he 
shook at the boy's strutting step and whisking tail. 

" Laugh too much and you'll get the heart-ache," cried 
Elena from the inner room. 

" I'm going to be as quiet as oil, mamma," said Bruno, and 
he lit a cigar which was twisted like a corkscrew. 

Then the phonograph was turned on, and Joseph marched 
to the tune of " Swanney River " and the strains of Sousa's 
band, while David Rossi leaned on the mantel-piece and 
thought of a country far away, where a man is a man and the 
air is free. 

" Mr. Rossi," said Bruno, between a puff and a blow. 

"Yes?" 

" Have you tried the cylinder that came first ? " 

" Not yet." 

"How's that, sir?" 

" The man who brought it said the friend who had spoken 
into it was dead," and then with a shiver through his teeth, 
" It would be like a voice from the grave — I doiibt if I dare 
hear it." 

" Like a ghost speaking to a man, certainly — especially if 
the friend was a close one." 

" He was the closest friend I ever had, Bruno— he was 
my father." 

"Father?" 

" Foster father, anyway. For four years he clothed and fed 
and educated me, and I was the same as his own son." 

" Had he no children of his own ? " 

" One little daughter, no bigger than Joseph when I saw her 
last — Roma." 

"Roma?" 

" Yes, her father was a Liberal, and her name was Roma." 

He had taken from the mantel-piece the sheet with the 
signatures, and was drawing his pen from his pocket. " How 
beautiful the child was ! Iler hair was as black as a raven, and 
her eyes were like two sloes." 

Elena had come back to the room and was standing listen- 
ing, with her soiled hands by her side. 

" What became of her? " she said. 

" When her father came to Italy on the errand which ended 
in his imprisonment, he gave her into the keeping of some 
Italian friends in London. I was too young to take charge 



84 THE ETERNAL CITY 

of her then. Besides, I left England shortly afterward and 
went to America." 

" Where is she now ? " said Elena, and David Rossi struck 
out the last name on the list and answered, with his head down : 

" When I returned to England . . , she was dead." 

" Well, there's nothing new under the sun of Rome — Donna 
Roma came from London," said Bruno. 

David Rossi felt the muscles of his face quiver. 

" Her father was an exile in England, too, and when he 
came back on the errand that ended in Elba, he gave her away 
to some people who treated her badly — I've heard old Teapot, 
the Countess, say so when she's been nagging her poor niece." 

David Rossi breathed painfully, and something rose in his 
throat. 

" Strange if it should be the same," said Bruno. 

" But Mr. Rossi's Roma is dead," said Elena. 

" Ah, of course, certainly ! What a fool I am ! " said Bruno. 

David Rossi had a sense of suffocation, of wanting more 
space in the world, and he went out on to the lead flat. 



VI 

The Ave Maria was ringing from many church towers, and 
the golden day was going down with the sun behind the dark 
outline of the dome of St. Peter's, while the blue night was 
rising over the snow-capped Apennines in a premature twilight 
with one twinkling star. A shiver seemed to pass through the 
air with the rising of the evening breeze and the rustling of 
the fallen leaves, as if the old earth were chattering its teeth. 

David Rossi's ears buzzed as with the sound of a mighty 
wind rushing through trees at a distance. Bruno's last words 
f)u top of Charles Minghelli's had struck him like an alarum 
bell heard through the mists of sleep, and his head was stunned 
and his eyes were dizzy. He buttoned his coat about him, and 
walked quickly to and fro on the lead flat by the side of the 
cage, in which the birds were already bunched up and silent. 

The night came on rapidly, and as the darkness fell a scroll 
of pictures seemed to unfold before his memory, and all of 
them in the lurid light of calamity. At one moment he was in 
London, the great city under the wing of the fog. Within the 
walls of a happy home there was a cheerful fire, a venerable old 
naan, a saintly woman, and an innocent child with violet eyes, 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 85 

who sang all day long as if her little breast was a cage of song- 
birds. At the next moment he was back in Rome, within the 
gilded walls of an old palace, with powdered lacqueys carrying 
silver salvers, and the same child grown to be a woman, beauti- 
ful, stately, majestic, dressed magnificently and tended like a 
queen, but surrounded by an atmosphere of shame. Then a 
shudder ran through his blood, and a voice whispered in his 
soul, " Better she were dead ! " And listening to this voice he 
told himself she was dead, she must be dead, for God was good, 
and such a calamity could not be. 

Before he was aware of the passing of time, the church bells 
were tolling the first hour of night — that solemn sound with its 
single stroke first and last, which falls upon the ear with the 
chilling reverberation of the bell swinging on a rock in the 
open sea. The windows of the convent of Trinita de' Monti 
were lit up by this time, and there were dim lights, too, in the 
Passionist Monastery. Brides of Christ and children of the 
cells, he could see them saying the psalm for the dead, in their 
dark church, with one oil lamp burning under the face of the 
monk who read the prayers, while his fellow-monks knelt in 
the shadows, chanting their responses in voices that echoed as 
in a tomb. Happy were they in the simplicity of their life, for 
Fate played no cruel part to turn it into a grim and hideous 
jest. 

" But she is dead," he thought. " God guides our steps to 
good ends through all their various faltcrings. He could not 
have allowed me to do it ! She is dead ! " 

Presently he became aware of flares burning in the Piazza 
of St. Peter, and of the shadows of giant heads cast up on the 
walls of the vast basilica. It was the crowd gathering for the 
last ceremonial of the Pope's Jubilee, and at the sound of a 
double rocket, which went up as with the crackle of musketry, 
little Joseph came running on to the roof, followed by his 
mother and Bruno. 

David Rossi took the boy into his arms and tried to disi)el 
the gloom of his own spirits in the child's joy at the illumina- 
tions. First came twelve strokes of the great bell, then from 
the cross on the ball of St. Peter's there burst a tongue of flame, 
and then the fire ran round the wide curves of the dome, 
leapt along the parapet of the fagade, dropped down the round 
columns, vaulted over the pediment, and played about the capi- 
tals, the cupolas, the clocks, and the statues of the apostles until 
the entire edifice was pricked out in tens of thousands of spark- 



86 THE ETERNAL CITY 

ling lamps, and the piazza below and the city behind stood 
forth in a dazzling white light with deep black shadows. 
Another rocket went up, and in a moment the white lights 
turned to golden, and the piazza looked like a cauldron over 
a fire and the city seemed as if the gates of a vast furnace 
had been opened on it. Then the lamps began to burn fitfully 
and to go out one by one, and in the broken lines of the 
great building a fairyland of magic palaces appeared to 
rise up and die down under the supernatural glory of the 
failing lights, until the ethereal phantoms had faded bit by 
bit, and the Basilica had fallen as it were to ruins and melted 
away. 

" Ever see 'luminations before, Uncle David ? " said Joseph. 

" Once, dear, but that was long ago and far away. I was a 
boy myself in those days, and there was a little girl with me 
then who was no bigger than you are now. But it's growing 
cold, there's frost in the air, besides it's late, and little boys 
must go to bed." 

" Well, God is God, and the Pope is His Prophet," said 
Bruno, when Elena and Joseph had gone indoors. " It was like 
day! You could see the lightning conductor over the Pope's 
apartment ! Pshew ! " blowing puffs of smoke from his twisted 
cigar. " Won't keep the lightning off, though." 

" Bruno ! " 

"Yes, sir?" 

" Donna Roma's father would be Prince Volonna ? " 

" Yes, the last prince of the old papal name. When the 
Volonna estates were confiscated, the title really lapsed, but old 
Vampire got the lands." 

" Did you ever hear that he bore any other name during 
the time he was in exile ? " 

" Sure to, but there was no trial and nothing was known. 
They all changed their names, though." 

" Why . . . what . . ." said David Rossi in an unsteady 
voice. 

" Why ? " said Bruno. " Because they were all condemned 
in Italy, and the foreign countries were told to turn them out. 
But what am I talking about ? You know all that better than 
I do, sir. Didn't your old friend go under a false name ? " 

" Very likely — I don't know," said David Rossi, in a voice 
that testified to jangled nerves. 

" Did he ever tell you, sir ? " 

"I can't say that be ever . . , Certainly the school of 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 87 

revolution has always had villains enough, and perhaps to pre- 
vent treachery . . ." 

" You may say so ! The devil has the run of the world, 
even in England. But I'm surprised your old friend, being like 
a father to you, didn't tell you — at the end anyway . . ." 

" Perhaps he intended to — and then perhaps . , ." 

David Rossi put his hand to his brow as if in pain and per- 
plexity, and began again to walk backward and forward. 

A screamer in the piazza below cried Trib-un-a! '^ and 
Bruno said : 

" That's early ! What's up, I wonder ? I'll go down and 
get a paper." 

Darkness had by this time re-invaded the sky, and the stars 
looked down from their broad dome, clear, sweet, white, and 
serene, putting to shame by their immortal solemnity the poor 
little mimes, the paltry puppet-shows of the human jackstraws 
who had just been worshipping at their self-made shrine. 

" The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament 
showeth His handiwork." 

David Rossi uttered these words aloud, but he tried in vain 
to get some of the calmness of the night into his soul. Before 
his eyes there passed, as before, the shifting and unsubstantial 
scroll of memory. He was back in London again, and under 
the great glass roof of a railway station, amid the choking 
smoke of the engines and the deafening scream of the steam- 
whistles, he was saying " Good-bye " to an old man with a 
patriarchal beard. " Good-bye, my son ! I will write to you in 
good time, and then I shall have something to say which may 
perhaps surprise you. Good-bye, and God bless you." And 
then, silence, a face blotted out, a voice buried in a house of 
bondage, which closed its doors on a living man and opened 
them only to put out a corpse. 

Stay ! In the scroll of memory there was one other picture. 
Rome once more, and an ex-prisoner from Elba finding him out 
in the Chamber of Deputies. "I bring you a dying man's 
message," he said, and put into his hand a little cardboard box. 
" He lived at large, and had a garden in which he grew flowers 
for the children, but he was forbidden to write letters, and the 
post was watched." The box contained a cylinder for the 
phonograph, and bore this inscription: "For the hands of 
D. L. only — to be destroyed if Deputy David Rossi does not 
know where to find him." 

The Tiber below was running over its bed of mud with 



88 THE ETERNAL CITY 

a turbulence that was like the tumult in David Rossi's mind, 
toiling in darkness and tormented by doubts, and the formless 
things sweeping down with the current were like the appari- 
tions of fear which he could not bring himself to challenge. 
But just then the church clock struck eight, and he thought he 
heard a voice saying : 

" Have courage ! Dive to the bottom of this mystery ! 
Heaven is over all ! " 

As David Rossi returned to the house, Elena, who was un- 
dressing the boy, saw a haggard look in his eyes, but Bnmo, 
who was reading his evening journal, saw nothing, and cried 
out: 

" Helloa ! Listen to this, sir. It's Olga. She's got a pen, 
I can tell you. * Madame de Pompadour. Hitherto we have 

had the pleasure of having Madame , whose pressure on 

the state and on Italy's wise counsellors was only incidental, 
but now that the fates have given us a Madame Pompadour 
. . .' Then there's a leading article on your speech in the 
piazza. Praises you up to the skies. Look ! * Thank God we 
have men like the Honourable Rossi, who at the risk of . . .' " 

But with a clouded brow David Rossi turned away from 
him and passed into the sitting-room, and Bruno looked around 
in blank bewilderment. 

" Shall you want the lamp, sir ? " said Elena. 

" Not yet, thank you," he answered through the open door. 

The wood fire was glowing on the hearth, and in the acute 
state of his nerves he shuddered involuntarily as its reflection 
in the window opposite looked back at him like a fiery eye. He 
opened the case of the phonograph, which had been returned to 
its place on the piano, and then from a drawer in the bureau 
he took a small cardboard box. The wood in the fire flickered 
at that moment and started some ghastly shadows on the ceil- 
ing, but he drew a cylinder from the box and slid it on to th(> 
barrel of the phonograph. Then he stepped to the door, shut 
and locked it. 

VII 

" Well ! " said Bruno. " If that isn't enough to make a 
man feel as small as a sardine ! " 

There was only one thing to do, but to conceal the nature of 
it Bruno flourished the newspaper and said : 

" Elena, I must go down to the lodge and read these articles 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 89 

to your father. Poor Donna Roma, she'll have to fly, I'm 
afraid. Bye-bye, Garibaldi-Mazzini ! Early to bed, early to 
rise, and time enough to grow old, you know ! ... As for Mr. 
Rossi, he might be a sinner and a criminal instead of the hero 
of the hour ! It licks me to little bits." And Bruno carried his 
dark mystery down to the cafe to see if it might be dispelled 
by a litre of autumnal light from sunny vineyards. 

Meantime, Joseph, being very tired, was shooting out a 
pettish lip because he had to go to bed without saying good- 
night to Uncle David, and his mother, making terms with this 
pretence, consented to bring his nightdress down to him instead 
of taking his little body up to it, thinking David Rossi might 
be out of the sitting-room by that time, and the boy be pacified. 
But when she returned to the dining-room the sitting-room 
door was still closed, and Joseph was pleading to be allowed to 
lie on the sofa until Uncle David carried him to bed, and after 
various promises that he would not sleep he was permitted to lie 
down in his nightdress with his day-clothes scattered over him. 
All went well for thirty seconds, and then the little curly poll 
on the cushion gave undoubted signs of vanquishment in the 
great battle of all child-like natures with the mighty monster 
sleep. 

" I'm not asleep, mamma," came in a drowsy voice from the 
sofa, but almost at the same moment the measured breath 
slowed down, the watch-lights blinked themselves out, and the 
little soul slid away into the darksome kingdom of unconscious- 
ness. 

A mother's joy is like a child's, and Elena laughed to her- 
self as she sat on the other end of the sofa and took up the little 
man's garments and smelt them one by one, and then turned 
out his pockets and noted their wonderful contents — a cork, a 
pebble, a broken button, and a rusty nail. 

Suddenly, in the silence of the room, she was startled by a 
voice. It came from the sitting-room. Was it Mr. Rossi's 
voice ? No ! The voice was older and feebler than Mr. Rossi's, 
and less clear and distinct. Could it be possible that somebody 
was with him? If so, the visitor must have arrived while she 
was in the bedroom above. But why had she not heard the 
knock? How did it occur that Joseph had not told her? And 
then the lamp was still on the dining-room table, and save 
for the firelight, the sitting-room must be dark. 

A chill began to run through her blood, and she tried to 
hear what was said, but the voice was muffled by its passage 
7 



90 THE ETERNAL CITY 

through the wall, and she could only catch a word or two. 
Presently the strange voice, without stopping, was broken in 
upon by a voice that was clear and familiar, but now faltering 
with the note of pain : " I swear to God I will ! " 

That was Mr. Rossi's voice, and Elena's head began to go 
round. Whom was he speaking to? Who was speaking to 
him ? He went into the room alone, he was sitting in the dark, 
find yet there were two voices. 

At that moment little Joseph cried in his sleep, and after 
she had put him to lie on his side, and comforted him and he 
was quiet, she listened again, but all was still. In the blank 
silence she was beginning to tell herself that she, too, had 
dozed off and been dreaming, when the nightmare came again, 
first in the sound of David Rossi's long slow step on the 
thin carpet over the tiled floor, and then in a certain whizzing 
noise, which was followed after a moment by the same strange 
voice. 

A light dawned on her, and she could have laughed. What 
had terrified her as a sort of supernatural thing was only 
the phonograph ! But after a moment a fresh tremor struck 
upon her in the agony of the exclamations with which David 
Rossi broke in upon the voice that was being reproduced by 
the machine. She could hear his words distinctly, and he was 
in great trouble. Hardly knowing what she did, she crept up 
to the door and listened. Even then, she could only follow the 
strange voice in passages, which were broken and submerged 
by the whirring of the phonograph, like the flight of a sea-bird 
which dips at intervals and leaves nothing but the wash of the 
wave. 

" David," said the voice, " when this shall come to your 
hands ... in my great distress of mind ... do not trifle 
with my request . . . but whatever you decide to do ... be 
gentle with the child . . . remember that . . . Adieu, my son 
. . . the end is near ... if death does not annihilate . . . 
those who remain on earth ... a helper and advocate in 
heaven . . . Adieu ! " And interrupting these broken words, 
were half-smothered cries and sobs from David Rossi, repeat- 
ing again and again : " I will ! I swear to God I will ! " 

Elena could bear the pain no longer, and mustering up her 
courage, she tapped at the door. It was a gentle tap, and no 
answer was returned. She knocked louder, and then an angry 
voice said : 

"Who's there?" 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 91 

" It's I — Elena," she answered timidly. " Is anything the 
matter ? Aren't you well, sir ? " 

" Ah, yes," came back in a calmer voice, and after a shuffling 
sound as of the closing of drawers, David Rossi opened the 
door and came out. 

As he crossed the threshold he cast a backward glance into 
the dark room, as if he feared that some invisible hand would 
touch him on the shoulder. His face was pale and beads of 
perspiration stood on his forehead, but he smiled, and in a 
voice that was a little hoarse, yet fairly under control, he said : 

" I'm afraid I've frightened you, Elena." 

" You're not well, sir. Sit down, and let me run for some 
cognac." 

"N'o! It's nothing! Only . . ." 

'• Take this glass of water, sir." 

" That's good ! I'm better now, and I'm ashamed. Elena, 
you mustn't think any more of this, and whatever I may do 
in the future that seems to you to be strange, you must promise 
me fiever to mention it." 

" I needn't promise you that, sir," said Elena. 

" Bruno is a brave, bright, loyal soul, Elena, but there are 
times ..." 

" I know — and I'll never mention it to anybody. But you've 
taken a chill on the roof at sunset looking at the illuminations 
— that's all it is ! The nights are frosty now, and I was to 
blame that I didn't send out your cloak." 

And Elena thought, " I'll give two big candles to the Ma- 
donna at St. Agostino's, and she'll save him from the fever." 

Then she tried to be cheerful, and turning to the sleeping 
boy, said : 

" Look ! He was naughty again, and wouldn't go to bed 
until you came out to carry him." 

" The dear little man ! " said David Rossa. He stepped up 
to the couch, but his pale face was pre-occupied, and he looked 
at Elena again and said : 

" Where does Donna Roma live ? " 

" Trinita de' Monti — eighteen," said Elena. 

"Is it late?" 

" It must be half-past eight at least, sir." 

" We'll take Joseph to bed then." 

He was putting -his arms about the boy to lift him when 
a slippery-sloppery step was heard on the stairs, followed by a 
hurried knock at the door. 



92 THE ETERNAL CITY 

It was the old Garibaldian porter, breathless, bareheaded, 

and in his slippers. 

" Father ! " cried Elena. 

" It's she. She's coming up." 

At the next moment a lady in evening dress was standing 
in the hall. It was Donna Eoma. She had unclasped her 
ermine cloak, and her bosom was heaving with the exertion of 
the ascent. 

" May I speak to Mr. Rossi ? " she began, and then looking 
beyond Elena and seeing him, where he stood above the sleep- 
ing child, a qualm of faintness seemed to seize her, and she 
closed her eyes for a moment. 

David Rossi's face flushed to the roots of his hair, but he 
stepped forward, bowed deeply, led the way to the sitting-room, 
and, with a certain incoherency in his speech, said : 

" Come in ! Elena will bring the lamp. I shall be back 
presently." 

Then lifting little Joseph in his arms, he carried him up to 
bed, tucked him in his cot, smoothed his pillow, made the sign 
of the cross over his forehead, and came back to the sitting- 
room with the air of a man walking in a dream. 



vni 

As Roma climbed the stairs to David Rossi's rooms, the 
conflicting thoughts which had wriggled within like a knot of 
Egyptian vipers when she said to the Baron, " I could kill 
him," were tormenting her again. But when she reached the 
open door, and saw the man himself standing above the sleeping 
child, she had a sensation like that which came to her at the 
first sound of his voice — a sense of having seen the picture 
before somewhere, in some other existence perhaps — and this 
opening of an unnamed cell in her memory made her dizzy 
and faint. 

Then came David Rossi with hia confused speech and man- 
ners, followed by the timid woman with the lamp (Bruno's 
wife, no doubt) ; and the moment she entered the sitting-room 
she felt that she had regained her composure. 

Being left alone, she looked around, and at a glance she took 
in everything — the thin carpet, the plain chintz, the prints, the 
incongruous furniture. She saw the phonograph on the piano, 
still standing open, with a cylinder exposed, and in the interval 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 93 

of waiting she felt almost tempted to touch the spring. She 
saw herself, too, in the mirror above the mantel-piece, with her 
glossy black hair rolled up like a tower, from which one curly 
lock escaped on to her forehead, and with the ermine cloak on 
her shoulders over the white silk muslin which clung to her 
full and lovely figure. 

Then she heard David Rossi's footstep returning, and 
though she was now completely self-possessed she was con- 
scious of a certain shiver of fear, such as an actress feels in her 
dressing-room at the tuning-up of the orchestra. Her back 
was to the door and she heard the whirl of her skirt as he en- 
tered, and then he was before her, and they were alone. 

He was looking at her out of large, pensive, wonderful eyes, 
and she saw him pass his hand over them and then bow pro- 
foundly and motion her to a seat, and go to the mantel-piece 
and lean on it. She was tingling all over, and a certain glow 
was going up to her face, but when she spoke she was mistress 
of herself, and her voice was soft and natural. 

" I am doing a very unusual thing in coming to see you," 
she said, " but you have forced me to it, and I am quite help- 
less." 

A faint sound came from him, and she was aware that he 
was leaning forward to see her face, so she dropped her eyes, 
partly to let him look at her, and partly to avoid meeting his 
gaze. 

" I heard your speech in the piazza this morning. It would 
be useless to disguise the fact that some of its references were 
meant for me." 

He did not speak, and she played with the glove in her lap, 
and continued in the same soft voice: 

" If I were a man, I suppose I should challenge you. Being 
a woman, I can only come to you and tell you that you are 
wrong." 

"Wrong?" 

" Cruelly, terribly, shamefully wrong." 

" You mean to tell me -. . ." 

He was stammering in a husky voice, but she said quite 
calmly : 

" I mean to tell you that in substance and in fact what you 
implied was false." 

There was a dry glitter of hatred and repulsion in her eyes 
which she tried to subdue, for she knew that he was looking at 
her still. 



.94 THfi ETERNAL CITY 

" If . . . if . . ." — his voice was thick and indistinct — " if 
you tell me that I have done you an injury . . ." 

" You have — a terrible injury." 

She could hear his breathing, but she dared not look up, 
lest he should see something in her face. 

" Perhaps you think it strange," she said, " that I should 
ask you to accept my assurance only. But though you have 
done me a great wrong I believe you will accept it. Even your 
enemies speak of you as a just man. You are known every- 
where as a defender of women. Wherever a woman is wronged 
by cruel and selfish men there your name rings out as her 
friend and champion. Shall it be said that in your own person 
you have made an innocent woman suffer ? " 

" If ... if you give me your solemn word of honour that 
what I said — what I implied — was false, that rumour and 
report have slandered you, that it is all a cruel and baseless 
calumny . . ." 

She raised her head, looked him full in the face, and with- 
out a quiver in her voice: 

" I do give it," she said. 

" Then I believe you," he answered. " With all my heart 
and soul I believe you." 

He had been thinking. " It is she ! The sweetness of 
childhood and of girlish innocence a little faded, a little de- 
praved, a little changed, but it is she ! " 

" This man is a child," she thought. " He will believe any- 
thing I tell him." And then she dropped her eyes again, and 
turning with her thumb an opal ring on her finger, she began 
to use the blandishments which had never failed with other 
men. 

" I do not say that I am altogether without blame," she 
said. " I may have lived a thoughtless life amid scenes of 
])overty and sorrow. If so, perhaps it has been partly the fault 
of the men about me. When is a woman anything but what 
the men around have made her ? " 

She dropped her voice almost to a whisper, and added : 
" You are the first man who has not praised and flattered me," 

" I was not thinking of you," he said. " I was thinking 
of another, and perhaps of the poor working women who, in a 
v.^orld of luxury, have to struggle and starve." 

She looked up, and a half smile crossed her face. It was 
like the smile of the fowler, when the bird on the tree answers 
to the decoy in the grass. 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 95 

" I honour you for that," she said. " And perhaps if I had 
earlier met a man like you my life might have been different. 
I used to hope for such things long ago — that a man of high 
aims and noble purposes would come to meet me at the gate 
of life. Perhaps you have felt like that — that some woman, 
strong and true, would stand beside you for good or for ill, in 
your hour of danger and your hour of joy? " 

Her voice was not quite steady — she hardly knew why. 

" A dream ! We all have our dreams," he said. 

" A dream indeed ! Men came — he was not among them. 
They pampered every wish, indulged every folly, loaded me 
with luxuries, but my dream was dispelled. I respected few 
of them and reverenced none. They were my pastime, my 
playthings. And they have revenged themselves by saying in 
secret . . . what you said in public this morning." 

He was looking at her constantly with his great wistful 
eyes, the eyes of a child, and through all the joy of her success 
she was conscious of a spasm of pain at the expression of his 
sad face and the sound of his tremulous voice. 

" We men are much to blame," he said. " In the battle of 
man with man we deal out blows and think we are fighting 
fair, but we forget that behind our foe there is often a woman 
— a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend — and, God forgive us, we 
have struck her, too." 

The half smile that had gleamed on Roma's face was wiped 
out of it by these words, and an emotion she did not understand 
began to surge in her throat. 

" You speak of poor women who struggle and starve," she 
said. " Would it surprise you to hear that / know what it is 
to do that? Yes, and to be friendless and alone — quite, quite 
alone in a cruel and wicked city." 

She had lost herself for a moment, and the dry glitter in 
her eyes had given way to a moistness and a solemn expression. 
But at the next instant- she had regained her self-control, and 
went on speaking to avoid a painful silence. 

" I have never spoken of this to any other man," she said, 
" I don't know why I should mention it to you — to you of all 
men." 

He found no treachery in her fascinations. He only saw 
his little Roma, the child who lived in her still, her innocent 
sister who lay sleeping within. 

She had risen to her feet, and he stepped up to her, and 
looking straight into her eyes he said: 



06 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Have you ever seen me before ? " 

" Never," she answered. 

" Sit down," he said. " I have something to say to you." 

She sat down, and a peculiar expression, almost a crafty 
one, came into her face. 

" You have told me a little of your life," he said. " Let me 
tell you something of mine." 

She smiled again, and it was with difficulty that she con- 
cealed the glow of triumph in her cheeks. These big children 
called men were almost to be pitied. She had expected a fight, 
but the man .had thrown up the sponge from the outset, and 
now he was going to give himself into her hands. Only for 
that pathetic look in his eyes and that searching tone in his 
voice she could have found it in her heart to laugh. 

She let her cape drop back from her shoulders, revealing her 
round bust and swan-like arms, and crossing one leg over the 
other she displayed the edge of a lace skirt and the point of a 
red slipper. Then she coughed a little behind a perfumed lace 
handkerchief and prepared to listen. 

" You are the daughter of an ancient family," he said, 
" older than the house it lived in, and prouder than a line of 
kings. And whatever sorrows you may have seen, you knew 
what it was to have a mother who nursed you and a father who 
loved you, and a home that was your own. Can you realise 
what it is to have known neither father nor mother, to be home- 
less, nameless, and alone ? " 

She looked up — a deep furrow had crossed his brow which 
she had not seen there before. 

" Happy the child," he said, " though shame stands beside 
his cradle, who has one heart beating for him in a cruel world. 
That was not my case. I never knew my mother." 

The mocking fire had died out of Roma's face, and she 
uncrossed her knees. 

" My mother was the victim of a heartless man and a cruel 
law. She tied to her baby's wrist a paper on which she had 
written its father's name, placed it in the rota at the Foundling 
of Santo Spirito, and flung herself into the Tiber." 

Roma drew the cape over her shoulders. 

" She lies in an imnamed pauper's grave in the Campo 
Verano." 

" Your mother?" 

" Yes. My earliest memory is of being put out to nurse at 
a farmstead in the Campagna. It was the time of revolution; 



THE REPUBLIC OP MAN 97 

the treasury of the Pope was not yet replaced by the treasury 
of the King, the nuns at Santo Spirito had no money with 
which to pay their pensions ; and I was like a child forsaken by 
its own, a fledgling in a foreign nest." 

"Oh!" 

" Those were the days when scoundrels established abroad 
traded in the white slavery of poor Italian boys. They scoured 
the country, gathered them up, put them in railway trucks like 
cattle, and despatched them to foreign countries. My foster 
parents parted with me for money, and I was sent to Lon- 
don." 

Roma's bosom was heaving, and tears were gathering in 
her eyes. 

" My next memory is of living in a large half -empty house 
in Soho — fifty foreign boys crowded together. The big ones 
were sent out into the streets with an organ, the little ones 
with a squirrel or a cage of white mice. We had a cup of tea 
and a piece of bread for breakfast, and were forbidden to return 
home until we had earned our supper. Then — then the winter 
days and nights in the cold northern climate, and the little 
southern boys with their organs and squirrels, shivering and 
starving in the darkness and the snow." 

Roma's eyes were filling frankly, and she was allowing the 
tears to flow. 

" Thank God, I have another memory," he continued. " It 
is of a good man, a saint among men, an Italian refugee, giving 
his life to the poor, especially to the poor of his own people." 

Roma's labouring breath seemed to be arrested at that mo- 
ment. 

" On several occasions he brought their masters to justice 
in the English courts, until, finding they were watched, they 
gradually became less cruel. He opened his house to the poor 
little fellows, and they came for light and Avarmth between 
nine and ten at night, bringing their organs with them. He 
taught them to read, and on Sunday evenings he talked to 
them of the lives of the great men of their country. He is 
dead, but his spirit is alive — alive in the souls he made to 
live." 

Roma's eyes were blinded with the tears that sprang to 
them, and her throat was choking, but she said : 

"What was he?" 

" A doctor." 

" What was his name ? " 



98 THE ETERNAL CITY 

David Eossi passed his hand over the furrow in his fore- 
head, and answered : 

" They called him Joseph Roselli." 

Eoma half rose from her seat, then sank back, and the lace 
handkerchief dropped from her hand. 

" But I heard afterwards — long afterwards — that he was a 
Roman noble, one of the fearless few who had taken up poverty 
and exile and an unknown name for the sake of liberty and 
justice." 

Roma's head had fallen into her bosom, which was heaving 
with an emotion she could not conceal. 

" One day a letter came from Italy, telling him that a 
thousand men were waiting for him to lead them in an in- 
surrection that was to dethrone an unrighteous king. It 
was the trick of a scoundrel who has since been paid the 
price of a hero's blood. I heard of this only lately — only to- 
night." 

There was silence for a moment. David Eossi had put one 
arm over his eyes. 

" Well ? " 

" He was enticed back from England to Italy ; an English 
minister violated his correspondence with a friend, and com- 
municated its contents to the Italian GoA^ernment; he was 
betrayed into the hands of the police, and deported without 
trial." 

Roma was clutching at the bodice of her dress as if to keep 
down a cry. 

. " Was he never heard of again ? " 

" Once — only once — by the friend I speak about." 

Roma felt dizzy, as if she were coming near to some deep 
places; but she could not stop — something compelled her to 
go on. 

" Who was the friend ? " she asked. 

" One of his poor waifs — a boy who owed everything to 
him, and loved and revered him as a father — loves and reveres 
him still, and tries to follow in the path he trod." 

"What — what was his name?" 

" David Leone." 

She looked at him for a moment without being able to 
speak. Then she said: 

" What happened to him ? " 

" The Italian courts condemned him to death, and the 
English police drove him from England." 



The republic op man ^9 

" Then he has never been able to return to his own coun- 
try?" 

" He has never been able to visit his mother's grave except 
by secret and at night, and as one who was perpetrating a 
crime." 

" What became of him ? " 

" He went to America." 

" Did he ever return ? " 

" Yes ! Love of home in him, as in all homeless ones, was 
a consuming passion, and he came back to Italy." 

"Where — where is he tiow?" 

David Rossi stepped up to her, and said : 

" In this room." 

She rose 

" Then you are David Leone ! " 

He raised one hand : 

"David Leone is dead!^' 

There was silence for a moment. She could hear the 
thumping of her heart. Then she said in an almost inaudible 
whisper : 

" I understand. David Leone is dead, but David Rossi is 
alive." 

He did not speak, but his head was held up and his face was 
shining. 

" Are you not afraid to tell me this ? " 

" 1^0." 

Her eyes glistened and her lips quivered. 

" You insulted and humiliated me in public this moi-ning, 
yet you think I will keep your secret ? " 

" I know you will." 

She felt a sensation of swelling in her throbbing heart, and 
with a slow and nervous gesture she held out her hand. 

" May I . . . may I shake hands with you ? " she said. 

There was a moment of hesitation, and then their hands 
seemed to leap at each other and clasp with a clasp of fire. 

At the next instant he had lifted her hand to his lips and 
was kissing it again and again. 

A sensation of triumphant joy flashed through her, and 
instantly died way. She wished to cry out, to confess, to say 
something, she knew not what. But David Leone is dead rang 
in her ears, and at the same moment she remembered what the 
impulse had been which brought her to that house. 

Then her eyes began to swim and her heart to fail, and she 



100 THE ETERNAL CITY 

wanted to fly away without uttering another word. She could 
not speak, he could not speak; they stood together on a preci- 
pice where only by silence could they hold their heads. 

" Let me go home," she said in a breaking voice, and with 
downcast head and trembling limbs she stepped to the door. 



IX 

Down to that moment David Rossi had thought of Roma 
only as the child he knew seventeen years before, as the daugh- 
ter of Dr. Roselli, as his friend and foster-sister. But he 
looked at her again as she passed him going to the door, and 
now for the first time he saw her, not as the boy sees the girl, 
but as the man sees the woman. How beautiful she had grown ! 
And she was Roma ! His Roma, whatever the barrier that had 
come between them ! Something warm tingled through him at 
this thought, and looking at her with new eyes, he was filled 
with a physical exultation which he had never felt before. 

Reaching the door, she stopped, as if reluctant to leave, and 
said in a voice still soft, but coming more from within : 

" I wished to meet you face to face, but now that I have met 
you, you are not the man I thought you were." 

" JSTor you," he said, " the woman I pictured you." 

A light came into her eyes at that, and she looked up and 
said : 

" Then you had never seen me before ? " 

And he answered after a moment : 

" I had never seen Donna Roma Volonna until to-day." 

" Forgive me for coming to you," she said. 

" I thank you for doing so," he replied, " and if I have 
sinned against you, from this hour onward I am your friend 
and champion. Let me try to right the wrong I have done you. 
I am ready to do it if I can, no matter at what self-abasement. 
T am eager to do it, and I shall never forgive myself until it is 
done. What I said was the result of a mistake — let me ask 
your forgiveness." 

" You mean publicly ? " 

" Yes ! At ten o'clock they send for my article for the 
morning's paper. To-morrow morning I will beg your pardon 
in public for the public insult I have offered you." 

" You are very good, very brave," she said ; " but no, I will 
ask you not to do that." 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 101 

" Ah! I understand. I know it is impossible to overtake a 
lie. Once started it goes on and on, like a stone rolling down- 
hill, and even the man who started can never stop it. Tell me 
what better I can do — tell me, tell me." 

Her face was still down, but it had how a new expression 
of joy. 

" There is one thing you can do, but it is difficult." 

" No matter ! Tell me what it is." 

" I thought when I came here . . . but it is no matter." 

" Tell me, I beg of you." 

He was trying to look into her face again, and she was 
eluding his gaze as before, but now for another, a sweeter 
reason. 

" I thought if — if you would come to my house when my 
friends are there, your presence as my guest, in the midst of 
those in whose eyes you have injured me, might be sufficient of 
itself to wipe out everything. But . . ." 

She waited for his answer with a beating heart, but at first 
he did not speak, and pretending to put away the idea, she said : 

" But that is impossible : I cannot ask it. I know what it 
would mean. Such people are pitiless — they have no mercy." 

" Is that allf " he said. 

" Then you are not afraid ? " 

" Afraid ! " 

For one moment they looked at each other, and their eyes 
were shining. She was proud of his power. This was no child 
after all, but a man ; one who, for a woman's sake, could stand 
up against all the world. 

" I have thought of something else," she said. 

"What is it?" 

" You have heard that I am a sculptor. I am making a 
fountain for the Municipality, and if I might carve your face 
into it . . ." 

" It would be coals of fire on my head." 

" You would need to sit to me." 

"When shall it be?" 

" To-morrow morning to begin with, if that is not too soon." 

" It will be years on years till then," he said. 

She bent her head and blushed. He tried again to look at 
her beaming eyes and golden complexion, and for sheer joy of 
being followed up she turned her face away. 

" Forgive me if I have stayed too long," she said, making a 
feint of opening the door. 



102 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" I should have grudged every moment if you had gone 
sooner," he answered. 

" I only wished that you should not think of me with hatred 
and bitterness." 

" If I ever had such a feeling it is gone." 

"Mine has gone too," she said softly, and again' she pre- 
pared to go. 

One hook of her cape had got entangled in the silk muslin 
at her shoulder, and while trying to free it she looked at him, 
and her look seemed to say, " Will you ? " and his look replied, 
" May I ? " and at the physical touch a certain impalpable 
bridge seemed in an instant to cross the space that had divided 
them. 

" Let me see you to the door ? " he said, and her eyes said 
openly, " Will you ? " 

They walked down the staircase side by side, going step by 
step, and almost touching. 

" I forgot to give you my address — eighteen Trinita de' 
Monti," she said. 

" Eighteen Trinita de' Monti," he repeated. 

They had reached the second storey. " I am trying to re- 
member," she said. " After all, I think I have seen you before 
somewhere." 

" In a dream, perhaps," he answered. 

" Yes," she said. " Perhaps in the dream I spoke about." 

They had reached the street, and Roma's carriage, a hired 
coupe, stood waiting a few yards from the door. 

They shook hands, and at the electric touch she raised her 
head and gave him in the darkness the look he had tried to take 
in the light. 

" Until to-morrow then," she said. 

" To-morrow morning," he replied. 

" To-morrow morning," she repeated, and again in the eye- 
asking between them she seemed to say, " Come early, will you 
not ? — there is still so much to say." 

He looked at her with his shining eyes, and something of 
the boy came back to his world-worn face as he closed the 
carriage door. 

" Adieu ! " 

" Adieu ! " 

She drew up the window, and as the carriage moved away 
she smiled and bowed through the glass. 

He stood a moment where she had left him, bare-headed in 



THE REPUBLIC OF MAN 103 

the piazza under the starlit sky, feeling as if the sun had ceased 
to shine, and then he turned to go indoors. Bruno iu the cafe 
was singing a song against the Government, and on a seat 
under an image of the Madonna with an oil lamp burning be- 
fore it, a young man and a girl were reading their book of 
dreams. The old Garibaldian lay snoring on his sofa in the 
lodge, the stairs were silent, the dining-room was empty, and 
Elena was moving about on the floor above. 

David Rossi went out on to the roof again. He had his 
leader to write for the morning's journal, and he must try to 
fix his mind on it. Rome was humming on like a top that sings 
as it sleeps. The electric lights marked out the line of the 
Corso, and lay in broad sheets of moonlight splendour over the 
piazzas at either end, as if the city had been lit up for a ball 
and then suddenly deserted. Soft, languishing shadows lay 
below, and the tremulous notes of a mandoline came from 
some unseen place, with a tenor voice which sang a love song 
in tones that quavered like a throstle's. 

Under the stars, so bright, so calm, he could think of noth- 
ing but Roma's steady eyes and enchanting smile. He re- 
turned to the house, and passing into the sitting-room, a mod- 
ified perfume hovered about him. The air was full of the sense 
of a fascinating presence which was gone and yet remained. 

Something white lay on the floor. It was a little lace hand- 
kerchief, and in the stupefaction of his happiness he put it 
to his lips, and then left stunned by some sudden thought. 

He was saying to himself, " After all, she is the same as my 
sister. She was dead and is alive again, she was lost and is 
found," when a knock came to the door. 

It was the boy from the printing-ofliee for his article for 
to-morrow's paper. 

" Tell the manager this is all I have to-night," he said, and 
taking an envelope he inserted the signed manuscript of his 
Creed and Charter. 



PART THREE 
ROMA 



The Piazza of Trinita de' Monti takes its name from a 
church and convent which stand on the edge of the Pincian 
Hill. You pass through it, under the long wall of the convent 
garden, as you go to the public gardens of the Pincio, where 
the municipal band plays in the afternoons of winter. Behind 
the piazza and the church are the broad acres of the Borghese 
gardens, with their woods of yew and cypress, and* in front of it 
is the city, from the green slopes of Monte Mario, with its stone 
pines against the sky, to the old Roman forts at the limits of 
the outer plains. Palaces, hovels, towers, spires, and domes 
lie framed as in a picture below, within the long ridge of the 
Janiculum. 

People come to the piazza in the afternoon to hear the nuns 
and children of the Sacred Heart sing their office of Benedic- 
tion, and to watch the sun as it sets in a blaze of gold behind the 
great dome of St. Peter's, sending streaks of crimson up the 
narrow streets like the rays of a celestial nimbus. A flight of 
travertine steps, twisted and curved to mask their height, goes 
down from the church to a diagonal piazza, the Piazza di 
Spagna, which is always bright with the roses of flower-sellers, 
who build their stalls around a fountain. 

At the top of these steps there stands a house, four-square 
to all winds, and looking every way over Rome. The sun rises 
and sets on it, the odour of the flowers comes up to it from the 
piazza, and the music of the band comes down to it from the 
Pincio. Donna Roma occupied two floors of this house. One 
floor, the lower one, built on arches and entered from the side 
of the city, was used as a studio, the other one as a private 
apartment. 

104 



ROMA 105 

Donna Eoma's home consisted of ten or twelve rooms on the 
second floor, opening chiefly out of a central drawing-room 
which was furnished in red and yellow damask, papered with 
velvet wall-papers, and lighted by lamps of Venetian glass 
representing lilies in rose-colour and violet. Her bedroom, 
which looked to the Quirinal, was like the nest of a bird in its 
pale-blue satin, with its blue silk counterpane and its em- 
broidered cushion at the foot of the bed ; and her boudoir, which 
looked to the Vatican, was full of vases of malachite and the 
skins of wild animals, and had a bronze clock on the chimney- 
piece set in a statue of Mephistopheles. The only other 
occupant of her house, besides her servants, was a distant 
kinswoman, called her aunt, and known to familiars as the 
Countess Betsy; but in the studio below, which was connected 
with the living rooms by a circular staircase, and hung round 
with masks, busts, and valuable weapons, there was Bruno 
Rocco, her marble-pointer, the friend and housemate of David 
Rossi. 

Her porter at the door looked at her, after the manner 
of his kind, when she drew up in the hired coupe after her 
visit to the Piazza Navona, but she was in no mood for nice 
observation, and when her maid, who had scuttled up ahead 
from her gossiping place in the lodge, said something in the 
hall about her aunt, the Countess, she did not hear. She went 
direct to her bedroom, dismissed her maid immediately, and 
when her dog came pushing his cold nose into her palm she 
sent him away without a pat. 

Nevertheless she did not go to bed at once, but sat long 
without undressing, fingering one by one the toilet articles on 
her dressing-table, and then brushing out her perfumed hair, 
coiling it up on her head and dropping it down again. The 
three lights on the Pope's Loggia, which are put out at ten 
o'clock, were long since gone, the tinkling of the tram-cars 
had ceased, and silence had descended on the city; when con- 
sulting her tiny watch, she found that she had sat two hours 
thinking. 

The woman within had that night suffered a shock. She 
had gone out proudly, gaily, defiantly, and had come home 
humiliated, confused, and a little ashamed. But over all other 
senses there was a certain delicious tenderness, a tingling of 
warm blood, a current of irresistible attraction which she 
fought against in vain. 

She slept badly and had a painful dream of her father in 
8 



106 THE ETERNAL CITY 

heaven watching over his daughter on earth, and knowing all 
her thoughts and all her doings. This was frightening, and 
she felt as if she were a criminal and a sinner. All night long 
she was haunted by big wistful eyes, which seemed to be her 
father's eyes, and yet turned out to be the eyes of David Rossi. 
They made her feel as if there were something contemptible 
about her, and almost as if she were naked. But when she 
awoke in the morning the sun was streaming into the room, 
the street calls were coming up from the piazza, and she was 
able to tear herself away from the cruel impressions. She 
could smile at the memory of her dream of nakedness and think 
of the experiences of the night before as of a drama at the 
theatre which had held her for the time being with a spell. 

When the maid brought in her tea she had recovered control 
of herself, and everything that happened thereafter helped 
her to regain possession of the woman she had been yesterday. 

" A person in the hall has brought this letter from his Ex- 
cellency," said the maid. 

It was a letter from the Baron, sending Felice to be her 
servant according to his promise. " As you say, he is a treas- 
ure and sees nothing," wrote the Baron. " Don't look at the 
newspapers this morning, my child, and if any of them send 
to you say nothing." 

Roma had scarcely finished her coffee and roll when a lady 
journalist was announced. It was Lena, the rival of Olga both 
in literature and love. 

" I'm ' Penelope,' " she said. " ' Penelope ' of the Day, you 
know. Come to see if you have anything to say in answer to 
the Deputy Rossi's speech yesterday. Our editor is anxious 
to give you an opportunity; and if you would like to reply 
through me to Olga's shameful libels . . . Olga ? ' Fieri,' you 
know. Haven't you seen her article? Here it is. Disgraceful 
insinuations ! No lady could allow them to pass unnoticed." 

" Nevertheless," said Roma, " that is what I intend to do. 
Good-morning ! " 

Lena had barely crossed the doorstep when a more im- 
portant person drove up. This was the Senator Palomba, 
Mayor of Rome, a suave, oily man, with little twinkling eyes. 

" Come to offer you my sympathy, my dear ! Scandalous 
libels. Liberty of the press, indeed ! Disgraceful ! It's in 
all the newspapers — I've brought them with me. One journal 
actually points at you personally. See — * A lady sculptor who 
has recently secured a commission from the Municipality 



ROMA lOY 

through the influence of a distinguished person.' Most damag- 
ing, isn't it 'i The elections so near, too ! We must publicly 
deny the statement. Ah, don't be alarmed ! Only a way out of 
a nest of hornets. Nothing like diplomacy, you know. Of 
course the Municipality will buy your fountain just the same, 
but I thought I would come round and explain before pub- 
lishing anything. 

Roma said nothing, and the great man backed himself out 
with the air of one who had conferred a favour, but before 
going he had a favour to ask in return. 

" It's rumoured this morning, my dear, that the Govern- 
ment is about to organise a system of secret police — and quite 
right, too. You remember my nei^hew, Charles Minghelli ? I 
brought him here when he came from Paris. Well, Charles 
would like to be at the head of the new force. The very man ! 
Finds out everything that happens, from the fall of a pin to an 
attempt at revolution, and if Donna Koma will only say a word 
for him . . . Thanks ! . . . What a beautiful bust ! Yours, 
of course ? A masterpiece ! Fit to put beside the masterpieces 
of old Rome. Council to-day, my dear — adieu ! " 

The Mayor was not yet out of the drawing-room when a 
third visitor was in the hall. It was Madame Sella, a fashion- 
able modiste, with social pretensions, who contrived to live on 
terms of quasi-intimacy with her aristocratic customers. 

" Trvist I'm not de trop ! I knew you wouldn't mind my 
calling in the morning. What a scandalous speech of that 
agitator yesterday! Everybody is talking about it. In fact, 
people say you will go away. It isn't true, is it ? No ? So 
glad! So relieved! . . .By the way, my dear, don't trouble 
about those stupid bills of mine, but . . . I'm giving a little 
reception next week, and if the Baron would only condescend 
. . . you'll mention it? A thoiisand thanks! Good-morning! 
How charming you look in that simple gown ! Studio sack, 
of course ! To think that mere alpaca could make any one look 
so lovely ! " 

" Count Mario," announced Felice, and an effeminate old 
dandy came tripping into the room. He was Roma's landlord 
and the Italian ambassador at St. Petersburg. 

" So good of you to see me, Donna Roma. Such an un- 
canonical hour, too, but I do hope the Baron will not be driven 
to resign oflice on account of these malicious slanders. You 
think not? So pleased! Naturally a Minister is sensitive 
about attacks on his private life. Anarchists know that, and 



108 THE ETERNAL CITY 

in a country where public opinion is so fickle, it's the oldest 
political dodge, you know. So much for our liberal institu- 
tions ! Always helping the agitators who are inciting the peo- 
ple to the barricades." 

Then stepping to the window, " What a lovely view ! The 
finest in Rome, and that's the finest in Europe! I'm always 
saying if it wasn't Donna Roma, I should certainly turn out my 
tenant and come to live here myself . . . That reminds me of 
something. I'm . . . well, I'm tired of Petersburg, and I've 
written to the Minister asking to be transferred to Paris, and 
if somebody will only whisper a word for me . . . How sweet 
of you ! Adieu ! " 

Roma was sick of all this insincerity, and feeling bitter 
against the person who had provoked it, when an unseen hand 
opened the door of a room on the Pincio side of the draw- 
ing-room, and the testy voice of her aunt called to her from 
within. 

The old lady, who had just finished her morning toilet and 
was redolent of scented soap, reclined in a white robe on a bed- 
sofa with a gilded mirror on one side of her and a little shrine 
on the other. Her face was a face of a thousand years ago — 
the face of a Roman empress without its power — and her hair, 
now grey, was still frizzled over her fine head in coquettish 
curls. Her bony fingers were loaded with loose rings, and a 
rosary hung at her wrist. A cat was sitting at her feet, with a 
gold cross suspended from its ribbon. 

" Ah, is it you at last ? You come to me sometimes. 
Thanks ! " she said in a withering whimper. " I thought you 
might have looked iri last night, and I lay awake until after 
midnight." 

" I had a headache and went to bed," said Roma. 

" I never have anything else, but nobody thinks of me," 
said the old lady, and Roma went over to the window. 

" I suppose you are as headstrong as ever and still intend to 
invite that man in spite of all my protests ? " 

" He is to sit to me this morning, and may be here at any 
time," said Roma. 

" Just so ! It's no use speaking. I don't know what girls 
are coming to. Goodness knows, the world is not so very ex- 
acting. It only asks that people should govern themselves with 
an appearance of propriety. When I was young a man like 
that wouldn't have been allowed to cross the threshold of any 
decent house in Rome. He would have been locked up in prison 



ROMA 109 

instead of sitting for his bust to the ward of the Prime Min- 
ister." 

" Aunt Betsy," said Eoma, " I want to ask you a question." 

" Be quick, then. My head is coming on as usual. Nata- 
lina ! Where's Natalina ? " 

" Was there any quarrel between my father and his family 
before he left home and became an exile ? " 

" Certainy not ! Who said there was ? Quarrel indeed ! 
His father was broken-hearted, and as for his mother, she 
closed the gate of the palace, and it was never opened again to 
the day of her death. The Pope tried to make peace, but your 
father was like you — he was too headstrong. I^atalina, give me 
my smelling salts. And why haven't you brought the cushion 
for the cat ? " 

" Still, a man has to live his own life, and if my father 
thought it right . . ." 

" Right ? Do you call it right to break up a family, and, 
being an only son, to let a title be lost and estates go to the 
dogs ? " 

" I thought they went to the Baron, auntie." 

" Roma, aren't you ashamed to sneer at me like that ? At 
the Baron, too, in spite of all his goodness ! As for your father, 
I'm out of patience. He wasted bis wealth and his rank, and 
left his own flesh and blood to the mercy of others — and all for 
what?" 

" For country, I suppose." 

" For fiddlesticks ! For conceit and vanity and vainglory. 
Go away. My head is fit to split. ISTatalina, why haven't you 
given me my smelling salts? And why will you always for- 
get to . . ." 

Eoma left the room, but the voice of her aunt scolding the 
maid followed her down to the studio. 

Her dog was below, and the black poodle received her with 
noisy demonstrations, but the humorous voice which usually 
saluted her with a cheery welcome she did not hear. Bruno 
was there, nevertheless, but silent and morose, and bending over 
his work with a sulky face. 

She had no difficulty in understanding the change when she 
looked at her own work. It stood on an easel in a compart- 
ment of the studio shut off by a glass partition, and was a 
head of David Rossi which she had roughed out yesterday. 
Not yet feeling sure which of the twelve apostles around the 
dish of her fountain was the subject that Rossi should sit for, 



110 THE ETERNAL CITY 

she had decided to experiment on a bust. It was only a sketch, 
but it was stamped with the emotions that had tortured her, 
and it showed her that unconsciously her choice had been made 
already. Her choice was Judas. 

Last night she had laughed when looking at it, and she had 
laughed to think how Rome would laugh if the man could be 
persuaded to sit to his own fool's mirror. But this morning 
she saw that it was cruel, impossible, and treacherous. It was 
also false to the character of David Rossi, as she saw him now, 
and she could forgive Bruno's sulkiness if it came of having 
seen it. But since Bruno had spied upon her and talked of her 
to his friend, and since he might talk of her work as she went 
on with it, for the future she would turn the key on her own 
part of the studio and thus stop his chatter. 

A touch or two at the clay obliterated the sinister expres- 
sion, and, being unable to do more until the arrival of her 
sitter, she sat down to write a letter. 

" My dear Baron, — Thanks for Cardinal Felice. He will 
be a great comfort in this household if only he can keep the 
peace with Monsignor Bruno, and live in amity with the Arch- 
bishop of Porter's Lodge. Senator Tom-tit has been here to 
suggest some astonishing arrangement about my fountain, 
and to ask me to mention his nephew, Charles Minghelli, as a 
fit and proper person to be chief of your new department of 
secret police. Madame de Trop and Count Signorina have 
also been, but of their modest messages more anon. 

" As for D. R., my barometer is * set fair,' but it is likely 
to be a stormier time than I expected. Last night I decked 
myself in my best bib and tucker, and, in defiance of all prec- 
edent, went down to his apartment. But the strange thing 
was that whereas I had gone to find out all about him, I hadn't 
been ten minutes in his company before he told all about me 
— about my father, at all events, and his life in London. I be- 
lieve he knew me in that connection and expected to appeal to 
my filial feelings. Did, too, so strong is the force of nature, 
and then and thereafter, and all night long I was like some- 
body who had been shaken in an earthquake and wanted to cry 
out and confess. It was not until I remembered what my 
father had been — or rather hadn't — and that he was no more 
to mo than a name, representing exposure to the cruellest fate 
a girl ever passed through, that I recovered from the shock of 
D. R.'s dynamite. 



ROMA 111 

" He has promised to sit to me for his bust, and is to come 
this morning! Happily Koma is herself again, so please keep 
away from her for the present and leave her to deal alone with 
Pontifex Maximus of the Piazza ISTavona. — Aifectionately, 

" EOMA. 

"P.S. — My gentleman has good features, fine eyes, and a 
wonderful voice, and though I truly believe he trembles at the 
sight of a woman and has never been in love in his life, he has 
an astonishing way of getting at one. But I could laugh to 
think how little execution his fusillade will make in this di- 
rection." 

"Honourable Rossi! " said Felice's sepulchral voice behind 
her, and at that moment David Rossi stepped into the studio. 



II 

In spite of her protestations, she was nervous and confused, 
and she talked at random for a while. Putting David Rossi to 
sit in the arm-chair on the platform for sitters, she rattled on 
about everything — her clay, her tools, her sponge, and the 
water they had forgotten to change for her. He must not mind 
if she stared at him— that wasn't nice but it was necessary — and 
he must promise not to look at her work while it was unfinished 
— children and fools, you know — the proverb was musty. 

And while she talked she told herself that Thomas was the 
apostle he must stand for. These anarchists were all doubters, 
and the chief of doubters was the figure that would represent 
them. 

David Rossi did not speak much at first, and he did not join 
in Roma's nervous laughter. Sometimes he looked at her with 
a steadfast gaze, which would have been disconcerting if it 
had not been so simple and childlike. Then his dark eyes would 
fall with an apologetic expression, and he would sit a long time 
silent, patting the fluffy head of the dog, which had taken a 
sudden fancy for him, and was rubbing its nose into his side. 
At length he looked out of the window to where the city lay 
basking in the sunshine, and birds were swirling in the clear 
blue sky, and began to talk of serious subjects. 

" How beautiful ! " he said. " No wonder the English and 
Americans who come to Italy for health and the pleasure of art 



112 THE ETERNAL CITY 

think it a paradise where every one should be content. And 

yet . . ." 

"Yes?" 

" Under the smile of this God-blessed land there is suffer- 
ing such as can hardly be found in any other country of the 
world." 

"Is that so? Really?" 

" Heaven knows I've no great faith in violence, but I don't 
wonder at outbreaks when I see the poverty of this police- 
ridden state." 

" Yes, I daresay the taxes . . ." 

" Taxes on the labourer's wages, on his bread, on his salt, on 
the very air he breathes! State pawnshops to drain his last 
drop of blood, and state lotteries to strip him of the last rag 
of independence ! No wonder if he sinks into every excess and 
becomes a savage. I never go by a crowded alley, where men 
are drinking and women are fighting and children crying at 
their mother's skirts, without wanting to take off my hat to 
the martyrs of humanity. Sometimes I think I cannot bear it 
any longer, and must go away, as others have done." 

" Head a little higher, please. Thanks ! Does that mend 
matters — to go away ? " 

" Yes, because the angel of exile goes with them. And 
while their companions who devised plans for turning the 
world upside down are sloughing their fine theories one by 
one, or turning their coats for the sake of their pockets, they are 
sowing the seed in foreign lands — exciting the sympathy of the 
nations by exposing the sores of their country." 

" A little more this way, please — thank you ! That doesn't 
do much for them, does it ? " 

" For them ? No ! ' God comfort the poor exiles — their 
path is a bridge of sighs! ' my old friend used to say. Poor, 
friendless, forgotten, huddled together in some dingy quarter 
of a foreign city, one a music-master, another a teacher of lan- 
guages, a third a svipernumerary at a theatre, a fourth an 
organ-man or even a beggar in the streets, yet weapons in the 
hand of God and shaking the thrones of the world ! " 

" You have seen something of that, haven't you? " 

" Yes." 

" In London ? " 

" Yes. There's an old quarter on the fringe of the fashion- 
able district. It is called Soho. Densely populated, infested 
with vice, the very sewer of the city, yet an asylum of liberty 



ROMA 113 

for all that. The refugees of Europe fly to it. Its criminals, 
too, perhaps ; for misery, like poverty, has many bedfellows." 

"You lived there?" 

" Yes. There is a great public library not far away — the 
British Museum. It is the daily haunt of the exiles. They 
are sure of a seat and warmth in winter — comforts often de- 
nied at home. I can see them still under the big blue dome. 
A shabby coat here, a shiny hat there, a quaint figure over yon- 
der. Dreaming dreams they are never to see realised, living 
on, hoping, buoying themselves up with visions. One day a 
place is empty. Where's old Giuseppe? Nobody knows. At 
last somebody hears that on Sunday afternoon an unknown 
man fell dead in Battersea Park. He was taken away by the 
police, and then the crowd in Sunday clothes, smoking and 
promenading, went on." 

Roma was wiping her fingers with the sponge, and looking 
sideways out of the window. " Your old friend. Doctor Roselli 
... he lived a life like that ? " 

" Yes." 

" He lived in Soho ? " 

" In Soho Square when I knew him first. The house faced 
to the north and had a porch and trees in front of it." 

Roma was still wiping her fingers as with an unconscious 
movement. 

" The surgery was on the left of the hall, I remember. It 
was a cosy room and always had a fire in winter. The stairs 
went up towards the south, and on the first landing there were 
two doors. One was to the bedroom of the doctor's little 
daughter, the other was to a small conservatory fitted as a cage 
for birds. There were twenty or thirty of them, all canaries, 
and as soon as the sun rose on the glass roof they began to 
sing. The child must have heard them when she awoke in the 
morning." 

The sponge had dropped to the floor, but Roma did not 
observe it. She took up a tooth-tool and began to work on the 
clay again. 

" A little more that way, please — thanks ! Do you think 
your friend had a right to renounce his rank and to break up 
his family in Italy ? Think of his father — he would be broken- 
hearted." 

" He was — I've heard my old friend say so. He cursed 
him at last and forbade him to call himself his son." 

"There!" 



114: THE ETERNAL CITY 

" But he would never hear a word against the old man. 
* He's my father — that's enough,' he would say." 

The tooth-tool, like the sponge, dropped out of Roma's 
fingers. 

" How stupid ! But his mother . . ." 

" That was sadder still. In the early years of his exile she 
would pray him to come home. ' You are the best of mothers,' 
he would answer, ' but I cannot do so.' She used to correspond 
with him secretly, sending him money and clothes. He shared 
the money with his fellow-exiles and pawned the clothes to buy 
them bread." 

" He never saw her again ? " 

" jSTever, but he worshipped her very name. It was Roma, 
I remember, and she was a tower of strength to him. 
' Mothers ! ' he used to say, ' if you only knew your power ! God 
be merciful to the wayward one who has no mother ! ' " 

Roma's throat was throbbing. " He ... he was mar- 
ried?" 

" Yes. His wife was an Englishwoman, almost as friend- 
less as himself." 

" Eyes the other way, at the window — thank you ! . . . Did 
she know who he was ? " 

" Nobody knew. He was only a poor Italian doctor to all of 
us in Soho." 

" They . . . they were . . . happy ? " 

" As happy as love and friendship could make them. And 
even when poverty came . . ." 

" He became pooi- — very poor ? " 

" Very ! It got known that Doctor Roselli was a revolu- 
tionary, and then his English patients began to be afraid. The 
house in Soho Square had to be given up at last, and we went 
into a side street. Only two rooms now, one to the front, the 
other to the back, and four of us to live in them, but the misery 
of that woman's outward circumstances never dimmed the radi- 
ance of her sunny soul. She was an angel, God bless her ! " 

Roma's bosom was heaving and her voice was growing 
thick. "She . . . died?" 

David Rossi bent his head and spoke in short, jerky sen- 
tences. " Her death came at the bitterest moment of want. 
It was Christmas time. Very cold and raw. We hadn't too 
much at home to keep us warm. She caught a cold and it 
settled on her chest. Pneumonia ! Only three or four days al- 
together. She lay in the back-room; it was quieter. The doc- 



ROMA 115 

tor nursed her constantly. How she fought for life ! She was 
thinking of her little daughter. Just six years of age at that 
time, and playing with her doll on the floor." 

His voice had enough to do to control itself, 

" When it was all over we went into the front room and 
made our beds on a blanket spread out on the bare boards. 
Only three of us now — the child with her father, weeping for 
the mother lying cold the other side of the wall." 

His eyes were still looking out at the window. In Roma's 
eyes the tears were gathering. 

" We were nearly penniless, but our good angel was buried 
somehow. Oh, the poor are the richest people in the world ! I 
love them ! I love them ! " 

He put his hand to his head. Roma could not look at him 
any longer. 

" It was in the cemetery of Kensal Green. There was a 
London fog and the grave-diggers worked by torches, which 
smoked in the thick air. But the doctor stood all the time with 
his head uncovered. The child was there too, and driving home 
she looked out of the window and sometimes laughed at the 
sights in the streets. Only six — and she had never been in a 
coach before ! " 

At that moment was heard the boom of the gun that is fired 
from the Castle of St. Angelo at midday, and she put down her 
tools. 

" If you don't mind, I'll not try to do any more to-day," she 
said, in a husky voice. " Somehow it isn't coming right this 
morning. It's like that sometimes. But if you can come at 
this time to-morrow . . ." 

" With pleasure," said David Rossi, and a moment later he 
was gone. 

She looked at her work and obliterated the expression 
again. 

" Not Thomas," she thought. " John — the beloved dis- 
ciple! That would fit him exactly. His mind was like a pal- 
ace that is less beautiful in itself than for some monument of 
the past that is preserved within it." 

Her father ! She could see his reverent head ! The picture 
was not the one she had been taught to think about, but how 
clear, how real ! 

As she went upstairs to dress for lunch, Felice gave her an 
envelope bearing the seal of the Prime Minister, and told her 
the dog was missing. 



116 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" He must have followed Mr. Rossi," said Roma, and with- 
out ado she read the letter. 

" Dear Roma, — A thousand thanks for suggesting Charles 
Minghelli. I sent for him, saw him, and appointed him im- 
mediately. Thanks, too, for the clew about your father. 
Highly significant ! I mentioned it to Minghelli, and the dark 
fire in his eyes shone out instantly. It was light in a dark place, 
illuminating something he knew before. A propos, your Pon- 
tifex Maximus of Piazza Navona has published a Bull, which 
he calls his ' Creed and Charter.' Pull of mummery as old as 
the Vatican, and as near to extinction. If any poor Prime 
Ministers are to be saved it will be so as by fire. I crossed myself 
twenty times while reading it. Adieu, my dear! You are on 
the right track ! I will observe your request and not come near 
you. I will not even ask you here, although the echoes of my 
old house will be constantly crying ' Roma ! ' — Affectionately, 

" BONELLI." 



Ill 

K'ext morning Roma found herself dressing with extraordi- 
nary care. Her lovely figure showed full and round in the long 
alpaca sack which she wore in the studio, and a light silk coif 
threw out the dark curling locks of her graceful head. But her 
heart was a maze of many voices. She could not tell which of 
them to listen to — the unfamiliar voices that came with a fluid 
tenderness from deep places, or the bitterer ones that were 
always rising in her throat. 

After cofl"ee she went into the Countess's room as usual. 
The old lady had made her toilet and her cat was purring on a 
cushion by her side. 

" Ah, is it you again ? You're so busy downstairs that I 
wonder I even see anything of you now." 

" Aunt Betsy, is it true that my father was decoyed back to 
Italy by the police ? " 

" How do I know that ? But if he was, it was no more than 
he might have expected. He had been breeding sedition at the 
safe distance of a thousand miles, and it was time he was 
brought to justice. Besides . . ." 

"Well?" 

" There were the estates, and naturally the law could not 



/ ROMA 117 

assign them to anybody else, while there was no judgment 
against your father." 

" So my father was enticed back to Italy in the interests of 
the next of kin ? " 

" Koma ! How dare you talk like that ? About your best 
friend, too ! " 

" I didn't say anything against the Baron, did I ? " 

" You would be an ungrateful girl if you did. As for your 
father, I'm tired of talking. Only for his exile you would have 
had possession of your family estates at this moment, and been 
a princess in your own right." 

" Only for his exile I shouldn't have been here at all, 
auntie, and somebody else would have been the princess, it 
seems to me." 

The old lady dropped the perfumed handkerchief that was 
at her nose and said : 

" What do you talk about downstairs all day long, miss ? 
Pretty thing if you allow a man like that to fill you with his 
fictions. He is a nice person to take your opinions from, and 
you are a nice girl to stand up for a man who sold you into 
slavery, as I might say ! Have you forgotten the baker's shop 
in London — or was it a pastry-cook's, or what? — where they 
made you a drudge and a scullery-maid, after your father had 
given you away ? " 

" Don't speak so loud. Aunt Betsy." 

" Then don't worry me by defending such conduct. Ah, 
how my head aches ! Natalina, where are my smelling salts ? 
Katalina ! " 

" I'm not defending my father, but still . . ." 

" Should think not indeed ! If it hadn't been for the Baron, 
who went in search of you, and found you after you had run 
away and been forced to go back to your slave-master, and then 
sent you to school in Paris, and now permits you to enjoy half 
the revenues of your father's estates, and forbids us to say a 
word about his- generosity, where would you be? Madonna 
mia? In the streets of London, perhaps, to which your father 
had consigned you ! " 

And the old lady shuddered as if she had peered down the 
mouth of a crater. 

" How did the Baron prevail upon my slave-master, as you 
say, to part with me? He was no fool, and if he knew who I 
was, and who my father had been . . ," 

" Oh, don't ask me. Natalina ! . . . The Baron's no fool 



118 THE ETERNAL CITY 

either, and he did it somehow. He cut away that English 
connection completely, and now the mire and slime of your 
father's life troubles you no more. Ah, you come sometimes, 
Natalina ! Why do you put everything . . . What has become 
of . . . Will you never learn to . . ." 

The Princess Bellini was waiting for Roma when she re- 
turned to the drawing-room. The little lady was as friendly as 
if nothing unusual had occurred. 

" Just going for my walk in the Corso, my dear. You'll 
come? No? Ah, work, work, work! Well, I've got my work, 
too. Every day something — a concert, a conference, a charity 
meeting, or a public function — and then the omniscient and 
omnipresent dressmaker, you know. I want to call at Treves' 
for the new novel. Delightfully scandalous, I hear! Talking 
of that, how clever of you, my dear ! " 

The little lady tapped Eoma's arm with her pince-nez and 
lavighed. 

" Everybody has heard that he is sitting to you, and every- 
body understands. That reminds me — I've a box at the new 
opera to-morrow night : — ' Samson ' at the Costanzi, you know. 
Only Gi-gi and myself, but if you would like me to take you 
and to ask your own particular Samson . . ." 

Roma, with her eyes down, muttered something about the 
Countess. 

" Oh, I'll see to that," said the Princess. " The dear old 
lady forgets her own young days, when she ran away with the 
little lieutenant who robbed her of her jewels, and left her 
without husband or lover, or a penny to bless herself with." 

"Honourable Rossi," said Felice at the door, and David 
Rossi entered the room, with the black poodle bounding before 
him. 

" I must apologise for not sending back the dog," he said. 
" It followed me home yesterday, but I thought as I was com- 
ing to-day . . ." 

" Black has quite deserted me since Mr. Rossi appeared," 
said Roma, and then she introduced the deputy to the Princess. 

The little lady was effusive. " I was just saying, Honour- 
able Rossi, that if you would honour my box at the opera to- 
night . . ." 

David Rossi glanced at Roma. 

" Oh, yes, Donna Roma is coming, and if you will . . ." 

" With pleasure, Princess." 

" That's charming ! After the opera we'll have supper at 



ROMA 119 

the Grand Hotel. Good-day ! " said the Princess, and then in a 
low voice at the door, " I leave you to your delightful duties, 
my dear. You are not looking so well, though. Must be the 
scirocco. My poor dear husband used to suffer from it shock- 
ingly. Adieu ! " 

Eoma was less confused but just as nervous when she settled 
to her work afresh, and as often as David Rossi looked at her 
with his dark, wistful eyes under their long black lashes, she 
heard that voice of fluid tenderness speaking to her again. 
Nevertheless the other woman in her heart fought hard, re- 
fusing to be caught like a sentimental simpleton in the current 
of personal attraction. 

" I've been thinking all night long of the story you told me 
yesterday," she said. " No, that way, please — eyes as before — 
thank you! About your old friend, I mean. He was a good 
man — I don't doubt that — but he made everybody suffer. Not 
only his father and mother, but his wife also. Has anybody a 
right to sacrifice his flesh and blood to a work for the world ? " 

" Christ did it," said David Rossi. " There never was a 
martyr to country or religion but had to sacrifice the individual 
to the universal. When a man has taken up a mission for 
humanity his kindred must reconcile themselves to that." 

" Yes, but a child, one who cannot be consulted, yet has to 
suffer all the same. Your friend's daughter, for example. She 
was to lose everything — her father himself at last. How could 
he love her ? I suppose you would say he did love her." 

"Love her? He lived for her. She was everything on 
earth to him, except the one thing to which he had dedicated 
his life." 

A half smile parted her lovely lips. 

" When her mother was gone he was like a miser who had 
been robbed of all his jewels but one. and the love of father, 
mother, and wife seemed to gather itself up in the child." 

The lovely lips had a doubtful curve. 

" How bright she was, too ! I can see her still in the dingy 
London house with her violet eyes and coal-black hair and 
happy ways— a gleam of the sun f I'om our sunny Italy." 

She looked at him. His face was calm and solemn. Did he 
really know her after all ? She felt her cheeks flush and tingle. 

" And yet he left her behind to come to Italy on a hopeless 
errand," she said. 

" He did." 

" How could he know what would happen? " 



120 'i'HK Kl'EKJSIAL CITY 

" He couldn't, and that troubled him most of all. He lived 
in constant fear of being taken away from his daughter before 
her little mind was stamped with the sense of how much he 
loved her. Delicious selfishness! Yet it was not altogether 
selfish. The world was uncharitable and cruel, and in the 
rough chance of life it might even happen that she would be led 
to believe that because her father gave her away, and left her, 
he did not love her. That would be terrible to her, too ! " 

Roma looked up again. His face was still calm and solemn. 

" He gave her away, you say ? " 

" Yes. When the treacherous letter came from Italy he 
could not resist it. It was like a cry from the buried-alive 
calling upon him to break down the door of their tomb. But 
what could he do with the child? To take her with him was 
impossible. A neighbour came — a fellow countryman — he kept 
a baker's shop in the Italian quarter. ' I'm only a poor man,* 
he said, ' but I've got a little daughter of the same age as yours, 
and two sticks will burn better than one. Give the child to me 
and do as your heart bids you ! ' It was like a light from 
heaven. He saw his way at last." 

Roma listened with head aside. The years of her childhood 
M^ere swarming back on her. 

" One day he took the child and washed her pretty face and 
combed her glossy hair, telling her she was going to see another 
little girl and would play Avith her always. And the child was 
in high glee and laughed and chattered and knew no difference. 
It was evening when we set out for the stranger's house, and in 
the twilight of the little streets happy-hearted mothers were 
calling to their children to come in to go to bed. The Doctor 
sent me into a shop to buy a cake for the little one, and she ate 
it as she ran and skipped by her father's side." 

Roma was holding her breath. Every word seemed to waken 
a memory and to reveal a track that had been long years lost. 

" The baker's shop was poor but clean, and his oAvn little girl 
was playing on the hearthrug with her cups and saucers. And 
before we were aware of it two little tongues were cackling and 
gobbling together, and the little back parlour was rippling over 
with a merry twitter. The Doctor stood and looked down at 
the children, and his eyes shone with a glassy light. ' You are 
very good, sir,' he said, * but she is good, too, and she'll be 
a great comfort and joy to you always.' And the man said, 
* She'll be as right as a trivet, Doctor, and you'll be right too — 
you'll be made triumvir like Mazzini, when the republic is pro- 



ROMA 121 

claimed, and then you'll send for the child, and for me, too, I 
daresay.' But I could see that the Doctor was not listening. 
* Let us slip away now,' I said, and we stole out somehow." • 

Roma's eyes were moistening, and the little tool was trem- 
bling in her hand. 

" I led him through the dark streets home, but when we got 
there the rooms were so lonely and silent. He found a broken 
doll on the floor, I remember, and the pain of that little me- 
mento of the child was almost too much for him. He wanted 
to keep it, and lock it away, yet he wanted to give it back too. 
It was the old struggle over again — the child and his country, 
the doll and the child." 

The tears that had gathered in Roma's eyes were flowing 
frankly. She permitted them to flow. 

" Nothing would serve at last but he must take it back to 
the little one, so we returned to the baker's shop. The child 
had gone to bed by that time. Would he go upstairs and take 
a last look at her asleep ? No, thank you, he didn't think he 
would, but I could see that his throat was throbbing. So he 
stood at the street door, and lowering his voice, as if the sleep- 
ing child might hear, he said, ' Give her this when she awakes 
in the morning — it will comfort her, poor thing ! ' And like a 
guilty one he hurried away." 

There was silence for some moments, and then from with- 
out, muffled by the walls it passed through, there came the 
sound of voices. The nuns and children of Trinita de' Monti 
were singing their Benediction — Ora pro nobis! 

"1 don't think I'll do any more to-day," said Roma. " The 
light is failing me, and my eyes . . ." 

" The day after to-morrow, then," said Rossi, rising. 

" But do you really wish to go to the opera to-morrow 
night?" 

He looked steadfastly into her face and answered " Yes." 

She understood him perfectly. He had sinned against her 
and he meant to atone. She could not trust herself to look at 
him, so she took the damp cloth and turned to cover up the 
clay. When she turned back he was gone. 

She went up to her bedroom and lay face downward on the 
bed. The sweet, pure voices of the children followed her. Ora 
pro nohis! Ora pro nobis! 

When she rose the struggle was over. A dead body of hate 
which she had carried in her heart for years had fallen away. 
She had buried it. It was gone. The church bells were strik- 
9 



122 THE ETERNAL CITY 

iug the first hour of night, but it seemed to her like the first 
hour of day. 

• After dinner she replied to the Baron's letter of the day 
before. 

" Dear Baron, — I have misgivings about being on the right 
track, and feel sorry you have set Minghelli to vpork so soon. 
Do Prime Ministers appoint people at the mere mention of 
their names by wards, second cousins, and lady friends gener- 
ally? Wouldn't it have been wise to make inquiries? What 
was the fault for which Minghelli was dismissed in London? 
A Secretary of Legation is a biggish person to be dismissed so 
suddenly. And now that I come to think of it, I thought his 
face forbidding, dark, close, saturnine, with the nose of an 
eagle and the eyes of a fox. 

" As for D. R., I must have been mistaken about his know- 
ing me. He doesn't seem to know me at all, and I believe his 
shot at me by way of my father was a fluke. At all events, I'm 
satisfied that it is going in the wrong direction to set Minghelli 
on his trail. Leave him to me alone. — Yours, 

" Roma. 

" P.S. — Princess Potiphar and Don Saint Joseph are to 
take me to the new opera to-morrow night. D. R. is also to be 
there, so he will be seen with me in public ! 

" I have begun work on King David for a bust. He is not 
so wonderfully good-looking when you look at him closely." 



IV 

The little Princess called for Roma the following night, and 
they drove to the opera in her magnificent English carriage. 
Already the theatre was full and the orchestra was tuning up. 
With the movement of people arriving and recognising each 
other there was an electrical atmosphere which affected every- 
body. Don Camillo came, oiled and perfumed, and when he 
had removed the cloaks of the ladies and they took their places 
in the front of the box, there was a slight tingling all over the 
house. This pleased the little Princess immensely, and she 
began to sweep the place with her opera-glass. 

" Crowded already ! " she said. " And every face looking 
up at my box ! That's what it is to have for your companion 
Ihe most beautiful and the most envied girl in Rome. What 



ROMA 123 

a sensation ! Nothing to what it will be, though, when your 
illustrious friend arrives." 

At that moment David Eossi appeared at the back, and the 
Princess welcomed him effusively. 

" So glad ! So honoured ! Gi-gi, let me introduce you — ■ 
Honourable Rossi, Don Camillo Luigi Murelli." 

Eoma looked at him — he had an air of distinction in a 
dress coat such as comes to one man in a thousand. He 
looked at Roma — she wore a white gown with violets on one 
shoulder and two rows of pearls about her beautiful white 
throat. The Princess looked at both of them, and her little 
eyes twinkled. 

" Never been here before, Mr. Rossi ? Then you must allow 
me to explain everything. Take this chair between Roma and 
myself. No, you must not sit back. You can't mind observa- 
tion — so used to it, you know." 

Without further ado David Rossi took his place in front of 
the box, and then a faint commotion passed over the house. 
There were looks of surprise and whispered comments, and 
even some trills of laughter. 

He bore it without flinching, as if he had come for it and 
expected it, and was taking it as a penance for a fault. 

Roma dropped her head and felt ashamed, but the little 
Princess went on talking. " These long boxes on each side 
of the stage are called Barcaccie. The one on the left is kept 
for officers, you see, and the one on the right for gentlemen of 
society without ladies. These boxes on the first tier are occu- 
pied by Roman society generally, those on the second tier 
mainly by the diplomatic corps, and the stalls are filled by all 
sorts and conditions of people— political people, literary peo- 
ple, even tradespeople if they're rich enough or can pretend 
to be." 

" And the upper circles ? " asked Rossi. 

" Oh," in a tired voice, " professional people, I think — 
Collegio Romano and University of Rome, you know." 

"And the gallery?" 

" Students, I suppose." Then eagerly, after bowing to 
somebody below, " Gi-gi, there's Lu-lu. Don't forget to ask 
him to supper. . . . All the beautiful young men of Rome are 
here to-night, Mr. Rossi, and presently they'll pay a round of 
calls on the ladies in the boxes." 

Again the Princess bowed to somebody below, and said in a 
lively voice, " Roma, there's Count Coriolanus . . . We call 



124 THE ETERNAL CITY 

him the first sword of Italy, Mr. Rossi. He has fought thirty- 
three duels, and as that is exactly the number of the years of 
our Lord . . ." 

The voice of the Princess was suddenly drowned by the 
sharp tap of the conductor, followed by the opening blast of the 
overture. Then the lights went down and the curtain rose, but 
still the audience kept up a constant movement in the lower 
regions of the house, and there was an almost unbroken chat- 
ter. Only at certain moments was there a short hush, and then 
the low hum of gossip began again. 

The curtain fell on the first act without anybody knowing 
what the opera had been about, except that Samson loved a 
woman named Delilah, and the lords of the Philistines were 
tempting her to betray him. Students in the gallery, recognis- 
able by their thin beards, shouted across at each other for the 
joy of shouting, and spoke by gestures to their professors below. 
People all over the house talked gaily on social subjects, and 
there was much opening and shutting of the doors of boxes. 
The beautiful young man called Lu-lu came to pay his re- 
spects to the Princess, and there was a good deal of gossip and 
laughter. 

Meantime David Rossi sat silent, and at length Roma spoke 
to him. 

" I'm afraid you think our audiences very ill-mannered," 
she said. 

" The humblest audience in Trastevere, Whitechapel, or the 
Bowery would behave better," he answered. 

And then Don Camillo bit his lips and said : 

" Excellent idea to make Samson the hero of an opera ! 
Exactly in the spirit of the times, you know ! Everything has 
to be on a large scale nowadays — nations, empires, wars, every- 
thing ! The Pope himself knew that when he dreamed of the 
Holy Roman Empire, and if you are only starting a penny ton- 
tine that must be big too. It must be international, you know ; 
it must take the name of humanity, and its creed and charter 
must be a sort of world-political testament. Oh, it would be 
quite unfashionable not to be afflicted with megalomania in 
these days, and I only hope," with a look at the little Princess, 
" that the craze for big things will mercifully stop before it 
affects us with big women." 

But the effect of the speech was a little spoilt by an incident 
which created more sensation than the opera. This was the 
arrival of the Prime Minister, whose appearance provoked some 



ROMA 125 

applause, which was succeeded by further glances at the Prin- 
cess's box, and even some audible tittering. 

The second act was more dramatic than the first, showing 
Samson in his character as a warrior, and when the curtain 
came down again. General Morra, the Minister of War, visited 
the Princess's box. 

" So you're taking lessons in the art of war from the profes- 
sor who slew an army with the jaw-bone of an ass? " said Don 
Camillo. 

" Wish we could enlist a few thousands of him — jaw-bones 
as well," said the General. " The gentleman might be worth 
having at the War Office, if it was only as a jettatura" 

" But I thought you had evil eyes enough at Monte Citorio, 
judging by the storm of newspapers always beating down on 
you. Aren't they telling you that your militarism will destroy 
itself by its own strength, as our friend Samson is going to 
do presently ? " 

" Militarism is not the only thing that is to come to an end, 
it seems," said the General. 

" Oh, no ! In the millennium that is coming there are to be 
no operas, no arts, no balls, no — anything. These millenna- 
rians are merciless — they leave us nothing nowadays but some 
acres in Arcadia and a cow." 

" Don't let us think of it," laughed the Princess. " The 
Roman soul shudders at the prospect. I'm going to buy a 
big candle for the Madonna at St. Agostino's and ask her 
to protect us." 

" Sleep well ! These days will pass," said the General, ris- 
ing. And then in a low voice to the Princess, with a glance 
at Roma, " Your beautiful young friend doesn't look so well 
to-night." 

The Princess shrugged her shoulders. " Of the pains of 
love one suffers but does not die." she whispered. 

" You surely cannot mean . . ." 

The Princess put the tip of her fan to his lips and laughed. 

David Rossi spoke little, and as often as Roma looked at 
him the natural buoyancy of her natui-e sank under a sense of 
shame. He was going through this penance for her sake. He 
could crush these butterflies in the palm of his hand, yet he 
was submitting in silence to their innuendoes. 

Roma was conscious of a strange conflict of feelings. The 
triumph she had promised herself by David Rossi's presence 
with her in public — the triumph over the envious ones who 



126 THE ETERNAL CITY 

would have rejoiced in her downfall — brought her no pleas- 
ure. 

The third act dealt with the allurements of Delilah, and was 
received with a good deal of laughter. 

" Ah, these sweet, round, soft things — they can do anything 
they like with the giants," said Don Camillo. " Talk of woman 
being unrecognised by the laws — she makes them ! And in the 
lists of Ministers of every civilised state women's names ought 
to be everywhere, Minister of the Interior — Donna Delilah. 
Minister of Finance . . ." 

" Gi-gi ! " protested the Princess, but she was choking with 
laughter. 

The Baron, who had dined with the King, came round at the 
end of the act, wearing a sash diagonally across his breast, with 
crosses, stars, and other decorations. He bowed to David Rossi 
with ceremonious politeness, greeted Don Camillo familiarly, 
kissed the hand of the Princess, and offered his arm to Roma to 
take her into the corridor to cool — she was flushed and over- 
heated. 

" I see you are getting on, my child ! Excellent idea to , 
bring him here ! Everybody is saying you cannot be the per- 
son he intended, so his trumpet has brayed to no purpose." 

" You received my letters? " she said in a faltering voice. 

" Yes, but don't be uneasy. I'm neither the prophet nor 
the son of a prophet if we are not on the right track. What 
a fortunate thought about the man Minghelli ! An inspira- 
tion ! You asked what his fault was in London — forgery, my 
dear ! " 

" That's serious enough, isn't it ? " 

" In a Secretary of Legation, yes, but in a police agent . . ." 

He laughed significantly, and she felt her skin creep. 

" Has he found out anything 'i " she asked. 

" Not yet, but he is clearly on the trace of great things. It 
is nearly certain that your King David is a person wanted by 
the law." 

Her hand twitched at his arm, but they were turning at the 
end of the corridor and she pretended to trip over her train. 

" Some clues missing still, however, and to find them we 
are sending Minghelli to London." 

" London? Anything connected with my father? " 

" Possibly ! We shall see. But there's the orchestra and 
here's your box ! You're wonderful, my dear ! Already you've 
undone the mischief he did you, and one half of your task is 



ROMA 127 

accomplished. Diplomatists ! Pshaw ! We'll all have to go to 
school to a girl ! Adieu ! " 

All through the next act Roma seemed to feel a sting on her 
arm where the Baron had touched it, and she was conscious of 
colouring up when the Princess said : 

" Everybody is looking this way, my dear ! See what it is 
to be the most talked of girl in Rome ! " 

And then she felt David Rossi's hand on the back of her 
chair, and heard his soft voice saying : 

" The light is in your eyes, Donna Roma. Let me change 
places with you for a while." 

After that everything passed in a kind of confusion. She 
heard somebody say : 

" He's putting a good deal of heart into it, poor thing ! " 

And somebody answered, " Yes, of broken-heart appar- 
ently." 

Then there was a crash and the opera was over, and she was 
going out in a crowd on David Rossi's arm, and feeling as if 
she would fall if she dropped it. 

The magnificent English carriage drew up under the portico 
and all four of them got into it. 

" Grand Hotel ! " cried Don Camillo. Then dropping back 
to his place he laughed and chanted : 

" And the dead he slew at his death were more than he slew 
in his life . . . and he judged Israel twenty years." 

Y 

A MARSHY air from the Campagna shrouded the city as with 
a fog, and pierced through the closed windows of the carriage, 
but there was warmth and glow in the Grand Hotel. Passing 
through an outer room under a glass roof where men (and some 
women) sat smoking cigarettes and sipping coffee, the company 
came to an inner restaurant, decorated in -white and gold, and 
blazing with electric lights and many mirrors. About little 
round tables small groups were already gathered, and fresh 
parties were constantly arriving. 

One woman after another came in clothed in diamonds 
under the fur cloak which hung over her bare arms and 
shoulders, until the room was a dazzling blaze of jewels. As 
each party entered their names were whispered by those who 
were already seated, and the newcomers carried themselves with 
the air of persons conscious of observation. 



128 THE ETERNAL CITY 

People caught each other's eyes through lorgnettes and 
eyeglasses, and there were constant salutations. The men 
chattered, the women laughed, and there was an affectation of 
baby-talk at nearly every table. Then supper was served, 
glasses were held up as signals, and bright eyes began to play 
about the room, until the atmosphere was tingling with electric 
currents and heated by human passion. 

Roma sat facing the Princess. She was still confused and 
pre-occupied, but when rallied upon her silence she brightened 
up for a moment and tried to look buoyant and happy. David 
Rossi, who was on her left, was still quiet and collected, but 
bore the same air as before of a man going through a penance. 

This was observed by Don Camilio, who sat on the right 
of the Princess, and led to various little scenes. 

" Very good company here, Mr. Rossi. Always sure of 
seeing some beautiful young women," said Don Camilio. 

" And beautiful young men, apparently," said David Rossi. 

The beautiful young man called Lu-lu was there, and reach- 
ing over to Don Camilio, and speaking in a whisper between 
the puff of a cigarette and a sip of coffee, he said : 

" Why doesn't the Minister buy the man up ? Easy enough 
to buy the press these days." 

" He's doing better than that," said Don Camilio. " He's 
drawing him from opposition by the allurements of . . ." 

"Office?" 

" No, the lady," whispered Don Camilio, but Roma heard 
him. 

She was ashamed. The innuendoes which belittled David 
Rossi were belittling herself as well, and she wanted to get up 
and fly. 

Rossi himself seemed to be unconscious of anything hurt- 
ful. Although silent, he was calm and cheerful, and his man- 
ner was natural and polite. The wife of one of the royal aides- 
de-camp sat next to him, and talked constantly of the King. 
The King liked a ride every morning, and one member of the 
Court had to be ready to go out with him at ten o'clock. That 
was her husband's work, and he was on duty two weeks in every 
two months. 

Roma found herself listening to ^every word that was said 
to David Rossi, but she also heard a conversation that was 
going on at the other end of the table. 

"Wants to be another Cola di Rienzi, doesn't he?" said 
Lu-lu. 



ROMA 129 

" Another Christ," said Don Camillo. " He'll be asking for 
a crown of thorns by and by, and calling on the world to 
immolate him for the sake of humanity. Look ! He's talking 
to the little Baroness, but he is fifteen thousand miles above 
the clouds at this moment." 

"Where does he come from, I wonder?" said Lu-lu, and 
then the two hands of Don Camillo played the invisible ac- 
cordion. 

" Madame de Trop says his father was Master of the House 
to Prince Petrolium — vice-prince, you know, and brought up 
in the little palace," said the Princess. 

" Don't believe a word of it," said Don Camillo, " and I'll 
wager he never supped at a decent hotel before." 

" I'll ask him ! Listen now ! Some fun," said the Princess. 
" Honourable Rossi ! " 

" Yes, Princess," said David Rossi. 

The eyes of the little Princess swept the table with a 
sparkling light. 

" Beautiful room, isn't it ? " 

" Beautiful." 

" Never been here before, I suppose ? " 

David Rossi looked steadfastly into her eyes and answered, 
" Oh, yes, Princess. When I first returned to Italy eight years 
ago I was a waiter in this house for a month." 

The sparkling face of the little Princess broke up like a 
snowball in the sun, and the two other men dropped their heads. 

Roma hardly knew what her own feelings were. Humilia- 
tion, shame, confusion, but above all, pride — pride in David 
Rossi's courage and strength. 

The white mist from the Campagna pierced to the bone as 
they came out by the glass-covered hall, and an old woman with 
an earthenware scaldino, crouching by the marble pillars in the 
street, held out a chill, damp hand and cried : 

" A penny for God's sake ! May I die unconfessed if I've 
eaten anything since yesterday. . . . God bless you, my 
daughter ! and the Holy Virgin and all the Saints ! " 

The streets were silent, and the noise of the carriage wheels 
echoed between the high walls. It was late, and the electric 
lights of the Via ISTazionale were hopping out one by one, 
leaving a tunnel of darkness, broken by gas-lamps which 
burned yellow in the marshy gloom, like a topaz in a brooch 
of jet. 

At the door of her house Roma parted from the Princess, 



130 THE ETERNAL CITY 

and said to Rossi, as the carriage drove away, " Come early 
to-morrow. I've not yet been able to work properly somehow." 

She was restless and feverish, and she would have gone to 
bed immediately, but crossing the drawing-room she heard the 
fretful voice of her aunt saying, " Is that you, Roma ? " and she 
had no choice but to go into the Countess's bedroom. 

A red lamp burned before the shrine, and the old lady was 
in an embroidered nightdress, but she was wide awake, and her 
eyes flashed and her lips trembled. 

" Ah, it's you at last ! Sit down ! I want to speak to you. 
Natalina ! " cried the Countess. " Oh, dear me, the girl has 
gone to bed. Give me the cognac. There it is — on the dress- 
ing-table." 

She sipped the brandy, fidgeted with her cambric hand- 
kerchief, and said : 

" Roma, I'm surprised at you ! You hadn't used to be so 
stupid! How? Don't you see what that woman is doing? 
What woman ? ' The Princess, of course. Inviting you to share 
her box at the opera so that you may be seen in public with 
that man. She hates him like poison, but she would swallow 
anything to throw you and this Rossi together. Do you expect 
the Baron to approve of that? His enemy, and you on such 
terms with the man? Here, take back this cognac. I feel as 
if I would choke. — Natalina . . ." 

" You're quite mistaken, Aunt Betsy," said Roma. " The 
Baron was at the opera and came into the box himself, and he 
approved of everything." 

" Tut ! Don't tell me ! Because he has some respect for 
himself and keeps his own counsel you are simple enough to 
think he will not be offended. But I know him. I've known 
him all my life. Even when he was a boy nobody could ever 
make him cry. He was too proud to admit that any one could 
hurt him. It's just the same now, and whatever you do to 
humble him he will never allow himself to see it. But I see it, 
and I say it is ungrateful and indecent." 

The old lady's voice was dying down to a choking whisper, 
but she went on without a pause. 

" If you've no thought for yourself, you might have some 
for me. You are young, and anything may come to you, but 
I'm old and I'm tied down to this mattress, and what is to hap- 
pen if the Baron takes offence ? The income he allows us from 
your father's estates is under his own control still. He can cut 
it off at any moment, and if he does, what is to become of me ? " 



ROMA 131 

Roma's bosom was swelling under her heavy breathing, her 
heart was beating violently and her head was dizzy. All the 
bitterness of the evening was boiling in her throat, and it burst 
out at length in a flood. 

" So that is all your moral protestations come to, is it ? " she 
said. " Because the Baron is necessary to you and you cannot 
exist without him, you expect me to buy and sell myself accord- 
ing to your necessities." 

" Roma ! What are you saying ? Aren't you ashamed . . ." 

" Aren't you ashamed ? You've been trying to throw me 
into the arms of the Baron, and you haven't cared what would 
happen so long as I kept up ajjpearances." 

" You ungrateful girl ! " 

" You've done your best to break down every feeling of right 
and wrong, and to make me think position and power and 
wealth and rank are everything, no matter what price you pay 
for them, and if anybody threatens them we are to fight for 
them as dogs fight for a bone." 

" Oh, dear ! I see what it is. You want to be the death of 
me ! You will, too, before you've done. — Natalina ! Where 
is . . ." 

" More than that, you've poisoned my mind against my 
father, and because I couldn't remember him, you've brought 
me up to think of him as selfish and vain and indifl^erent to his 
own daughter. But my father wasn't that kind of man at all." 

" Who told you that, miss ? " 

" Never mind who told me. My father was a saint and 
a martyr, and a great man, and he loved me with all his heart 
and soul." 

" Oh, my head ! My poor head ! . . . A martyr indeed ! A 
socialist, a republican, a rebel, an anarchist, you mean!" 

" Xever mind what his politics were. He was my father — 
that is enough — and you had no right to make me think ill of 
him, whatever the world might do." 

Roma was superb at that moment, with her head thrown 
back, her eyes flaming, and her magnificent figure swelling and 
heaving under her clinging gown. 

" You'll kill me, I tell you. The cognac . . . ISTatalina 
. . . ." cried the Countess, bvit Roma was gone. 

Before going to bed Roma wrote to the Baron^ — 

" Certain you are wrong. Why waste time sending Charles 
Minghelli to London? Why? Why? Why? The forger will 



132 THE ETERNAL CITY 

find out nothing, and if he does, it will only be by exercise of 
his Israelitish art of making bricks without straw. Stop him 
at once if you wish to save public money and spare yourself 
personal disappointment. Stop him! Stop him! Stop him! 

" P.S. — To show you how far astray your man has gone, 
D. E. mentioned to-night that he was once a waiter at the 
Grand Hotel ! " 

VI 

Next morning David Rossi arrived early. 

" iSTow we must get to work in earnest," said Roma. " I 
think I see my way at last." 

It was not John the beloved disciple, John who lay in the 
bosom of his Lord. It was Peter, the devoted, stalwart, brave 
individual, human, erring but glorious Peter. " Thou art 
Peter, and on this rock I build my church." 

" Same position as before. Eyes the other way. Thank 
you! . . . Afraid you didn't enjoy yourself last night — no?" 

" At the theatre ? I was interested. But the human spec- 
tacle was perhaps more to me than the artistic one." 

" You were thinking of the audience ? " 

" Yes. If Italy is not content to be a simple museum of 
curiosities, a school of singers and dancers, the cavaliere 
servente of Europe, hanging on to the skirts of the other na- 
tions, she must awake from some of her illusions. Neither 
great armies nor great art will end the confusion and disorder 
of a country in which the governing classes make merry while 
the poor groan for bread. She must first reform her moral 
essence — she will, too, as sure as man is on earth and God is 
in heaven. But I am no artist, you see. . . . How did you be- 
come a sculptor ? " 

" Oh, I studied a little in the studios of Paris, where I went 
to school, you see." 

" But you were born in London ? " 

" Yes." 

" Why did you come to Rome ? " 

" Rome was the home of my people, you know. And then 
there was my name — Roma ! " 

" T knew a Roma long ago." 

" Really ? Another Roma ? " 

There was a tremor in her voice. 



ROMA 133 

" It was the little daughter of the friend I've spoken about." 

" How interest . . . No, at the window, please — that will 
do." 

Koma was choking with a sense of duplicity, but save for a 
turn of the head David Rossi gave no sign. 

" She was only seven when I saw her last." 

" That was long ago, you say ? " 

" Seventeen years ago." 

" Then she will be the same age as . . ." 

" The first time I saw her she was only three, and she was 
in her nightdress ready for bed." 

Roma laughed a little, but she knew that every note in her 
voice was confused and false. 

" She said her prayers with a little lisp at that time. ' Our 
Fader oo art in heben, alud be dy name. ' " 

He laughed a little now, as he mimicked the baby voice. 
They laughed together, then they looked at each other, and then 
with serious eyes they turned away. 

" You'll think it strange, but I date my first conscious and 
definite aspiration to the memory of that hour." 

"Really?" 

" Ten years afterward, when I was in America, looking for 
the message which was to redeem the world, the words of that 
prayer came back to me in Roma's little lisp. ' Dy kingum 
turn. Dy will be done on card as it is in heben.' " 

" So she . . ." 

" She is responsible for everything, and whatever I do and 
whatever the world does with me, she is the author of my work, 
the loadstar of my life." 

He mimicked the baby voice and laughed again, but she 
could not join him now. This was the man she had set out 
to betray ! She felt as if she had walked blindfold to the edge 
of a precipice, and then some one had torn the bandage from 
her eyes and shown the abyss beneath her feet. 

For some time after that she worked on without speaking, 
feeling feverish and restless. But just as the silence was be- 
coming painful, and she could bear it no longer, Felice came 
to announce lunch. 

" You'll stay ? I want so much to work on while I'm in the 
mood," she said. 

" With pleasure," he replied. 

She ate hardly at all, for she was troubled by many mis- 
givings, and through the wall of the drawing-room the voice of 



134 THE ETERNAL CITY 

her aunt was hacking the air constantly as she called and 
scolded the maid. 

Did he know her? lie did; he must; every word, every 
tone seemed to tell her that. Then why did he not speak out 
plainly ? Because having revealed himself to her, he was wait- 
ing for her to reveal herself to him. And why had she not 
done so ? Because she was enmeshed in the nets of the society 
she lived in ; because she was ashamed of the errand that had 
brought them together; and most of all because she had not 
dared to lay bare that secrcjt of his life which, like an escaped 
convict, dragged behind it the broken chain of the prison-house. 

David Leone is dead! To uncover, even to their own eyes 
only, the fact that lay hidden behind those words was like per- 
sonating the priest and listening at the grating of the con- 
fessional ! 

No matter ! She must do it ! She must reveal herself as 
her heart and instinct might direct. She must claim the 
parentage of the noblest soul that ever died for liberty, and 
David Rossi must trust his secret to the bond of blood which 
would make it impossible for her to betray the foster-son of 
her own father. 

Having come to this conclusion, the light seemed to break 
in her heavy sky, but the clouds were charged with electricity. 
As they returned to the studio she was excited and a little 
hysterical, for she thought the time was near. At that moment 
a regiment of soldiers passed along under the ilex trees to the 
Pincio, with their band of music playing as they marched. 

" Ah, the dear old days ! " said David Rossi. " Everything 
reminds me of them ! I remember that when she was six . . ." 

" Roma ? " 

" Yes — a regiment of troops returned from a glorious cam- 
paign, and the Doctor took us to see the illuminations and 
rejoicings. We came to a great piazza, almost as large as the 
piazza of St. Peter's, with fountains and a tall column in the 
middle of it." 

" I knoAv— Trafalgar Square ! " 

" Dense crowds covered the square, but Ave found a place on 
the steps of a church." 

" I remember — St. Martin's Church. You see, I know 
London." 

" The soldiers came in by the big railway station close 
by ..." 

" Charing Cross, isn't it? " 



ROMA 135 

" And they marched to the tune of the ' British Grenadiers,' 
and the thunder of iifty thousand throats. And as their general 
rode past, a beacon of electric lights in the centre of the square 
blazed out like an aureole about the statue of a great English- 
man who had died long ago for the cause which had then con- 
quered." 

" Gordon ! " she cried — she was losing herself every mo- 
ment. 

" ' Look, darling ! ' said the Doctor to little Roma. And 
Roma said, ' Papa, is it God ? ' I was a tall boy then, and stood 
beside him. ' She'll never forget that, David,' he said." 

" And she didn't . . . she couldn't ... I mean . . . Have 
you ever told me what became of her ? " 

She would reveal herself in a moment — only a moment — 
after all, it was delicious to play with this sweet duplicity. 

" Have you ? " she said in a tremulous voice. 

His head was down. " Dead ! " he answered, and the tool 
dropped out of her hand on to the floor. 

" I was five years in America after the police expelled me 
from London, and when I returned to England I went back to 
the little shop in Soho." 

She was staring at him and holding her breath. He was 
looking out of the window. 

" The same people were there, and their own daughter was a 
grown-up girl, but Roma was gone." 

She could hear the breath in her nostrils. 

" They told me she had been missing for a week, and 
then . . . her body had been found in the river." 

She felt like one struck dumb. 

" The man took me to the grave. It was the grave of her 
mother in Kensal Green, and under her mother's name I read 
her own inscription — ' Sacred also to the memory of Roma 
Roselli, found drowned in the Thames, aged twelve years.' " 

The warm blood which had tingled through her veins was 
suddenly frozen with horror. 

" Not to-day," she thought, and at that moment a faint 
sound of the band on the Pincio came floating in by the open 
window. 

" I must go," said David Rossi, rising. 

Then she recovered herself and began to talk on other sub- 
jects. When would he come again? He could not say. The 
parliamentary session opened soon. He would be very busy. 
But he would let her know, and perhaps . . . 



136 THE ETERNAL CITY 

She was holding out her hand and looking at him with a 
nervous smile. Their hands clasped. She was conscious of an 
answering pressure. The bells of St. Peter's rang the Ave 
Maria, but they made less clamour in the crimsoning air 
than the clamour in their hearts at that moment. 

When David llossi was gone Roma went upstairs, and 
Natalina met her carrying two letters. One of them was 
going to the post — it was from the Countess to the Baron. The 
other was from the Baron to herself. 

Down the long terrace under the convent wall carriages 
were returning from the Pincio through a mass of people on 
foot — ladies, gentlemen, children, and wet-nurses in bright 
garments, with great silver pins in their coal-black hair. Roma 
in the boudoir read her letter: — 

" My dearest Roma, — A thousand thanks for the valuable 
clue about the Grand Hotel. Already we have followed up 
your lead, and we find that the only David Rossi who was ever 
a waiter there gave as reference the name of an Italian baker 
in Soho. Minghelli has gone to London, and I am sending him 
this further information. Already he is fishing in strange 
waters, and I am sure you are dying to know if he has caught 
anything. So am I, but we must possess our souls in patience. 
Your enemy is lying low these days, so your wand must be over 
him already. It is the way with these impetuous gentry, these 
makers of revolution — always ready to take a sleeping draught 
at the hands of a lovely woman. King David ? Yes, David and 
Solomon, father and son, rolled into one ? Who was his father, 
I wonder? We shall soon know. 

" But, my dearest Roma, what is happening to your hand- 
writing? It is so shaky nowadays that I can scarcely decipher 
some of it. With love. B." 

VII 

" Dear Guardian, — But I'm not — I'm not ! I'm not in the 
least anxious to hear of what Mr. Minghelli is doing in Lon- 
don, because I know he is doing nothing, and whatever he says, 
either through his own mouth or the mouth of his Italian 
baker in Soho, I shall never believe a word he utters. As to Mr. 
Rossi, I am now perfectly sure that he does not identify me at 
all. He believes my father's daughter is dead, and he has just 
been telling me a shocking story of how the body of a young 



ROMA 137 

girl was picked out of the Thames (about the time you took me 
away from London) and buried in the name of Roma Roselli. 
He actually saw the grave and the tombstone ! Some scoundrel 
has been at work somewhere. Who is it, I wonder ? — Yours, 

" R. V." 

Having written this letter in the heat and haste of the first 
moment after David Rossi's departure, she gave it to Bruno 
to post immediately. 

" Just so ! " said Bruno to himself, as he glanced at the 
superscription. 

i!^ext morning she dressed carefully, as if expecting David 
Rossi as usual, but when he did not come she told herself she 
was glad of it. Things had happened too hurriedly ; she wanted 
time to breathe and to think. 

All day long she worked on the bust. It was a new de- 
light to model by memory, to remember an expression and 
then try to reproduce it. The greatest difficulty lay in the 
limitation of her beautiful art. There were so many memories, 
so many expressions, and the clay would take but one of 
them. 

The next day after that she dressed herself as carefully 
as before, but still David Rossi did not come. Xo matter ! It 
would give her time to think of all he had said, to go over 
his words and stories. There were the stories of her father, of 
her mother, of his own boyhood, and (most intimate of all) the 
stories of herself. How dangerously near to the brink of revela- 
tion they had come sometimes ! How suddenly he had turned 
to her as he said this, and when he said that how he looked at 
her and smiled! 

Did he know her ? Certainly he knew her ! He must have 
known from the first that she was her father's daughter, or 
he would never have put himself in her power. His belief in 
her was such a sweet thing. It was delicious. 

Yet no ! After all, he did not know her. He thought Roma 
Roselli was dead. Why, then, did he trust her with his life's 
secret ? She knew why — she thought she knew ! It was be- 
cause — from the moment they met — at the first look into her 
eyes . . . 

But she dare not think of that. It was a sweeter thing still. 
It was still more delicious. 

]^ext day also David Rossi did not come, and she began 
to torture herself with misgivings. Was he indifferent? Had 
10 



138 THE ETERNAL CITY 

all her day-dreams been delusions? Little as she wished to 
speak to Bruno, she was compelled to do so. 

Bruno hardly lifted his eyes from his chisel and soft iron 
hammer. " Parliament is to meet soon," he said, " and when 
a man is leader of a party he has enough to do, you know." 

" Ask him to come to-morrow. Say I wish for one more sit- 
ting — only one." 

" I'll tell him," said Bruno, with a bob of his head over the 
block of marble. 

But David Rossi did not come the next day either, and 
Bruno had no better explanation. 

" Busy with his new ' Republic ' now, and no time to waste, 
I can tell you." 

Bruno's brusqueness did not hurt her, for she had begun 
to justify David Rossi's absence to her own mind. Why should 
he come? He had his work to do, and it was a great work 
for humanity, while she was only a trifler, an idler, a dilet- 
tante. 

" His thoughts are far away from me," she told herself. 

The creeping misery of this idea deepened to distress when 
three days more had passed and still David Rossi did not ap- 
pear. It was now clear that he was avoiding her. The atmos- 
phere in which she lived was hateful to him, and he could not 
bear it. 

" He will never come again," she thought, and then every- 
thing around and within her grew dark and chill. 

She was sleeping badly, and to tire herself at night she went 
out to walk in the moonlight along the path under the convent 
wall. She walked as far as the Pincio gates, where the path 
broadens to a circular space under a table of clipped ilexes, 
beneath which there is a fountain and a path going down to the 
Piazza di Spagna. The night was soft and very quiet, and 
standing under the deep shadows of the trees, with only the 
cruel stars shining through, and no sound in the air save the 
sobbing of the fountain, she heard a man's footstep on the 
gravel coming up from below. 

It was David Rossi. He passed within a few yards, yet he 
did not see her. She wanted to call to him, but she could not 
do so. For a moment he stood by the deep wall that overlooks 
the city, and then turned down the path which she had come 
by. A trembling thought that was afraid to take shape held 
her back and kept her silent, but the stars beat kindly in an 
instant and the blood in her veins ran warm. She watched 



ROMA 139 

him from where she stood, and then with a light foot she fol- 
lowed him at a distance. 

It was true ! Pie stopped at the parapet before the church, 
and looked up at her windows. There was a light in one of 
them, and his eyes seemed to be steadfastly fixed on it. Then 
he turned to go down the steps. He went down slowly, some- 
times stopping and looking up, then going on again. Once 
more she tried to call to him. " Mr. Rossi." But her voice 
seemed to die in her throat. After a moment he was gone, the 
houses had hidden him, and the church clock was striking 
twelve. 

When she returned to her bedroom and looked at herself in 
the glass, her face was flushed and her eyes were sparkling. 
She did not want to sleep at all that night, for the beating of 
her heart was like music, and the moon and the stars were 
singing a song. 

" If I could only be quite, quite sure ! " she thought, and 
next morning she tackled Bruno. 

Bruno was no match for her now, but he put down his 
shaggj^ head like a bull that is facing a stone fence. 

" Tell you the honest truth, Donna Eoma," he said, 
" Mr. Rossi is one of those who think that when a man has 
taken up a work for the world it is best if he has no ties of 
family." 

"Really? Is that so?" she answered. "But I don't un- 
derstand. He can't help having father and mother, can he ? " 

" He can help having a wife, though," said Bruno, " and 
Mr. Rossi thinks a public man should be like a priest, giving 
up home and love and so forth, that others may have them 
more abtmdantly." 

" So for that reason . . ." 

" For that reason he doesn't throw himself in the way of 
temptation." 

" And you think that's why . . ." 

" I think that's why he keeps out of the way of women." 

" Perhaps he doesn't care for them — some men don't, you 
know." 

" Care for them ! Mr. Rossi is one of the men who think 
pearls and diamonds of women, and if he had to be cast on a 
desert island with anybody, he would rather have one woman 
than a hundred thousand men." 

The dear old stupid! He had fallen into her trap already, 
and was telling her everything she wanted to know. But the 



140 THE ETERNAL CITY 

spirit of falsehood was gleaming in her eyes, and she said 
demurely : 

" Ah, yes, but perhaps there's no ' one woman ' in the world 
for him yet, Bruno." 

" Perhaps there is, perhaps there isn't," said Bruno, and 
his hammer fell on the chisel and the white sparks began 
to fly. _ 

" You would soon see if there were, wouldn't you, Bruno ? " 

" Pcrhai)s I would, perhaps I wouldn't," said Bruno, and 
then he wagged his wise head and growled, " In the battle of 
love he wins Avho flies." 

" Does he say that, Bruno? " 

" He does. One day our old woman was trying to lead him 
on a bit. ' A heart to share your joys and sorrows is something 
in this world,' says she." 

" And what did Mr. Rossi say ? " 

" ' A woman's love is the sweetest thing in the world,' ho 
said; 'but if I found myself caring too much for anybody I 
should run away.' " 

"Uid Mr. liossi really say that, Bruno?" 

" He did — upon my life he did ! " 

" So you think that now . . ." 

" I think that now if I were a woman I should give up 
thinking of him, and leave him to himself." 

" It's good of you to speak so frankly, Bruno." 

" Well, it wasn't a nice thing to do, bvit I made up my 
mind to do it and it's done." 

He had the air of a man who had achieved a moral victory, 
and Roma, whose eyes were dancing with delight, wanted to 
fall on his stupid, sulky face and kiss and kiss it. 

Late that night she sat in her boudoir writing a letter. The 
lamp was on her left, and it cast the shadow of her head on to 
the curtain of a window on her right. Sometimes she glanced 
at the shadow and laughed to think how unmistakable it must 
be to any one seeing it from the outside. Then her cheeks 
burned at the sense of her own foolishness and she returned to 
her letter. 

But the letter was foolish too. When it was finished it had 
neither signature nor superscription, and was unfit for the 
hand of any human postman. " Come to me ! Why don't you 
come? I have so much to say to you. I have a confession to 
make. It will be such a surprise! You think somebody is 
dead, but she isn't; she is alive, and very close to you. How 



ROMA 141 

am I to tell you ? Should 1 play or sing something ? ' British 
Grenadiers,' for example? Will you understand me by that, or 
am I to speak quite plainly ? I must see you, and if you will 
not come to me I must go to you. Perhaps you don't want 
to come here any more. Let it be somewhere else then — some- 
where outside the walls, somewhere in the country, where we 
can be alone for a while, you and I together. Isn't this a per- 
fectly shocking letter? But won't you write me another one 
just as shocking ? Do ! " 

She waited until the church clock struck twelve, and then 
went to bed. There she dropped her letter into the Dead Letter 
Office of Love — she put it under her pillow. And hearing the 
rustle of the paper as she was falling asleep, she thought, " I'll 
wake in the middle of the night and hear it, and then . . ." 

It was very, very sweet, but it was very, very childish. Her 
cheeks burned as before and she covered up her head. 

During the afternoon of the day following the Princess 
Bellini came in with Don Camillo. " Here's Gi-gi ! " she cried. 
" He comes to say there's to be a meet of the foxhounds on 
the Campagna to-morrow. If you'd like to come I'll take you, 
and if you think Mr. Eossi will come too . . ." 

" If he rides and has time to spare," said Roma. 

" Precisely," said Don Camillo. " The worst of being a 
prophet is that it gives one so much trouble to agree with one's 
self, you know. Rumour says that our illustrious Deputy has 
been a little out of odour with his own people lately, and is now 
calling a meeting to tell the world what his ' Creed and Char- 
ter ' doesn't mean. Still, a flight into the country might do no 
harm even to the stormy petrel of politics, and if any one could 
prevail with him . . ." 

" Leave that to Roma, and see to everything else yourself," 
said the Princess. " On the way to that tiresome tea-room in 
the Corso, my dear. ' Charity and Work,' you know. Com- 
mittee for the protection of poor girls, or something. But we 
must see the old aunt first, I suppose. Come in, Gi-gi ! " 

Three minutes afterward Roma was dressed for the street, 
and her dog was leaping and barking beside her. 

" Carriage, Eccellenza ? '' 

" ISTot to-day, thank you ! Down, Black, down ! Keep the 
dog from following me, Felice." 

As she passed the lodge the porter handed her an envelope 
bearing the seal of the Minister, but she did not stop to open 
it. With a light step she tripped along the street, hailed a 



142 THE ETERNAL CITY 

coupe, cried " Piazza !N"avona," and then composed herself to 
read her letter. 

When the Princess and Don Camillo came out of the 
Countess's room Eoma was gone, and the dog was scratching 
at the inside of the outer door. 

" Now where can she have gone to so suddenly, I wonder ? 
And there's her jjoor dog trying to follow her ! " 

" Is that the dog that goes to the Deputy's apartment ? " 

" Certainly it is ! His name is Black. I'll hold him while 
you open the door, Felice. There ! Good dog ! Good Black ! 
Oh, the brute ! lie has broken away from me." 

"Black! Black! Black!" 

" No use, Felice. He'll be half way through the street by 
this time." 

And going down the stairs the little Princess whispered to 
her companion : " Now, if Black comes home with his mistress 
this evening it will be easy to see v/here she has been." 

Meantime Roma, in her coupe, was reading her letter — 

" Dearest, — Been away from Rome for a few days, and 
hence the delay in answering your charming message. Don't 
trouble a moment about the dead-and-buried nightmare. If 
the story is true, so much the better. R. R. is dead, thank God, 
and her unhappy wraith will haunt your path no more. But 
if Dr. Rosclli knew nothing about David Rossi, how comes 
it that David Rossi knows so much about Dr. Roselli ? It 
looks like another clue. Thanks again. A thousand thanks ! 

" Still no news from London, but though I pretend neither 
to knowledge nor foreknowledge, I am still satisfied that we are 
on the right track. 

" Dinner-party to-night, dearest, and I shall be obliged to 
you if I may borrow Felice. Your Princess Potiphar, your 
Don Saint Joseph, your Count Signorina, your Senator Tom- 
tit, and — will you believe it ? — your Madame de Trop ! I can 
deny you nothing, you see, but I am cruelly out of luck that 
my dark house must lack the light of all drawing-rooms, the 
sunshine of all Rome! 

" How clever of you to throw dust in the eyes of your aunt 
herself ! And these red-hot prophets in petticoats, how startled 
they will soon be ! Adieu ! Boxelli." 

As the coupe turned into the Piazza Navona, Roma was 
tearing the letter into shreds and casting them out of the 
window. 



ROMA 143 

VIII 

While Roma climbed the last flight of stairs to David 
Kossi's apartment, with the slippery-sloppery footsteps of the 
old Garibaldi an going before, Bruno's thunderous voice was 
rocking through the rooms above. 

" Love who loves you, and who loves not leave ! That's my 
philosophy, sir. What do you say, Joseph-Mazzini-Garibaldi i 
Look at him, Mr. Rossi ! Republican, democrat, socialist, and 
rebel! Upsets the government of this house once a day regu- 
larly — dethrones the King and defies the Queen ! Catch the 
piggy-wiggy. Uncle David ! Here goes for it — one, two, three, 
and away ! " 

Then shrieks and squeals of childish laughter, mingled with 
another man's gentler tones, and a woman's frightened re- 
monstrance. And then sudden silence and the voice of the 
Garibaldian in a panting whisper, saying, " She's here again, 
sir!" 

" Donna Roma ? " 

" Yes." 

" Come in," cried David Rossi, and from the threshold to 
the open hall she saw him, in the middle of the floor, with a 
little boy pitching and heaving like a young sea-lion in his 
arms. 

He slipped the boy to his feet and said, " Run to the lady 
and kiss her hand, Joseph." But the boy stood off shyly, and, 
stepping into the room, Roma knelt to the child and put her 
arms about him. 

" What a big little man to be sure ! His name is Joseph, is 
it? And what's his age? Six! Think of that! Have I 
seen him before, Mrs. Rocco? Yes? Perhaps he w^as here 
the day I called before? Was he? So? How stupid of me 
to forget ! Ah, of course, now I remember, he was in his night- 
dress and asleep, and Mr. Rossi was cai'rying him to bed." 

The mother's heart was captured in a moment. " Do j'ou 
love children. Donna Roma? " 

" Indeed I do ! " 

" ISTobody can be a good w^oman if she doesn't love chil- 
dren," said Elena. 

" And yet how strange ! " said Roma. " I must have had 
no eyes for children for years, and now all at once the world 
seems to be fvill of them." 

During this passage between the women Bruno had grunted 



144 THE ETERNAL CITY 

his way out of the room, and was now sidling down the stair- 
ease, being suddenly smitten by his conscience with the mem- 
ory of a message he had omitted to deliver. 

" Come, Joseph," said Elena. But Joseph, who had re- 
covered from his bashfulness, was in no hurry to be off, and 
Roma said : 

" Xo, no ! I've only called for a moment. It is to say," 
turning to David Rossi, " that there's a meet of the foxhounds 
on the Campagna to-morrow, and tell you from Don Camillo 
that if you ride and would care to go . . ." 

" You are going? " 

" With the Princess, yes ! But there will be no necessity 
to follow the hounds all day long, and perhaps coming 
home . . ." 

" I will be there." 

" IIow charming ! That's all I came to say, and so . . ." 

She made a pretence of turning to go, but he said : 

" Wait ! Now that you are here I have something to show 
to you." 

"Tome?" 

" Come in," he cried, and, blowing a kiss to the boy, Roma 
followed Rossi into the sitting-room. 

" One moment," he said, and lie left her to go into the bed- 
room. 

When he came back he had a small parcel in his hands 
wrapped in a lace handkerchief. The handkerchief fell out 
of his hands as he unwound it, and she saw at a glance it 
was cftie of her own. Their eyes met in a flash of under- 
standing, and for a moment he looked nervous and con- 
fused. 

" I'm afraid that is yours," he faltered. " You must have 
dropped it when you were here before. I suppose I ought to 
return it . . ." 

" No ! Oh, no ! You're mistaken," she said, but her nerves 
tingled and her blood danced. 

He put the handkerchief into his breast-pocket and held 
out a little picture which had been wrapped in it. 

" We have talked so much of my old friend Roselli that I 
thought you might like to see his portrait." 

" His portrait? Have you really got his portrait? " 

" Here it is," and he put into her hands the English photo- 
graph which used to hang by his bed. 

She took it eagerly and looked at it steadfastly, while her 



ROMA 145 

lips trembled and her eyes grew moist. There was silence for 
a moment, and then she said, in a voice that struggled to 
control itself, "So this was the father of little Roma? " 

« Yes." 

" Is it very like him ? " 

" Very." 

" What a beautiful face ! What a reverend head ! Did 
he look like that on the day . . . the day he was at Kensai 
Green?" 

" Exactly." 

" And on the night he took the doll back to Soho ? " 

" Yes." 

The excitement she laboured under could no longer be 
controlled, and she lifted the picture to her lips and kissed 
it. Then catching her breath, and looking up at him with 
swimming eyes, she laughed through her tears and said : 

" That is because he was your friend, and because . . , 
because he loved my little namesake." 

David Rossi did not reply, and the silence was too audible, 
. so she said, with another nervous laugh: 

" Not that I think she deserved such a father. He must 
have been the best father a girl ever had, but she . . ." 

" She was a child," said David Rossi. 

" Still, if she had been worthy of a father like that . . ." 

" She was only seven, remember." 

" Even so, but if she had not been a little seliish . . . 
wasn't she a little selfish ? " 

" You mustn't abuse my friend Roma." 

Her eyes beamed, her cheeks burned, her nerves tingled. 
It would be a sweet delight to egg him on, but she dare not go 
any further. 

" I beg your pardon," she said in a soft voice. " Of course 
you know best. And pei'haps years afterwards when she came 
to think of what her father had been to her . . . that is to say 
if she lived . . ." 

Their eyes met again, and now hers fell in confusion. 

" I want to give you that portrait," he said. 

"Me?" 

" You would like to have it ? " 

" More than anything in the world. But you value it your- 
self?" 

" Beyond anything I possess." 

" Then how can I take it from you ? " 



146 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" There is only one person in the world I would give it to. 
She has it, and I am contented." 

It was impossible to bear the strain any longer without 
crying out, and to give physical expression to her feelings 
she lifted the portrait to her lips again and kissed and 
kissed it. 

He smiled at her, she smiled back; the silence was hard to 
break, but just as they were on the edge of the precipice the 
big shock-head of the little boy looked in on them through the 
chink of the door and cried : 

" Yovi needn't ask me to come in, 'cause I won't ! " 

By the blessed instinct of the motherhood latent in her, 
Roma understood the boy in a moment. " If I were a gentle- 
man I would, though," she said. 

" Would you ? " said Joseph, and in he came, with a face 
shining all over. 

" Hurrah ! A piano ! " said Eoma, leaping up and seat- 
ing herself at the instrument. " What shall I play for you, 
Joseph ? " 

Joseph was indifferent so long as it was a song, and with 
head aside, Roma touched the keys and pretended to think. 
After a moment of sweet duplicity she struck up the air she had 
come expressly to play. 

It was the " British Grenadiers." She sang a verse of it. 
She sang in English and with the broken pronunciation of a 
child — 

" Some talk of Allisander, and some of Ilcrgoles; 
Of Hector and Eyesander, and such gate names as these . . ." 

The boy had caught the lilt in a moment and was marching 
to the tune. David Rossi was standing with his foot on the 
fender and his face to the fire. Roma was looking from one to 
the other and watching both. 

" But of all the world's gate he-e-roes ..." 

Suddenly she became aware that David Rossi was looking 
at her through the glass on the mantel-piece, and to keep her- 
self from crying she began to laugh, and the song came to an 
end. 

At the same moment the door burst open with a bang, and 
the dog came bounding into the room. Behind it came Elena, 
who said — 



ROMA 147 

" It was scratching at the staircase door, and I thought it 
must have followed you." 

" Followed Mr. Rossi, you mean. He has stolen my dog's 
heart away from me," said Roma. 

" That is what I say about my boy's," said Elena. 

" But Joseph is going for a soldier, I see." 

" It's a porter he wants to be." 

" Then so he shall — he shall be my porter some day," said 
Roma, whereupon Joseph was frantic with delight, and Elena 
was saying to herself, " What wicked lies they tell of her — I 
wonder they are not ashamed ! " 

The fire was going down and the twilight was deepening. 

" Shall I bring you the lamp, sir ? " said Elena. 

" Not for me," said Roma. " I ara going immediately." 
But even when mother and child had gone she did not go. Un- 
consciously they drew nearer and nearer to each other in the 
gathering darkness, and as the daylight died their voices 
softened and there were quiet questions and low replies. The 
desire to speak out was struggling in the woman's heart with 
the delight of silence. But she would reveal herself at last. 

" I have been thinking a great deal about the story they 
told you in London — of Roma's death and burial, I mean. Had 
you no reason to think it might be false ? " 

" None whatever." 

" It never occurred to you that it might be to anybody's 
advantage to say that she was dead while she was still alive ? " 

" How could it ? Who was to perpetrate a crime for the 
sake of the daughter of a poor doctor in Soho — a poor prisoner 
in Elba ? " 

" Then it was not until afterwards that you heard that the 
poor Doctor was a great prince ? " 

" Not until the night you were here before." 

" And you had never heard anything of his daughter in the 
interval ? " 

" Once I had ! It was on the same day, though. A man 
came here from London on an infamous errand . . ." 

" What was his name ? " 

" Charles Minghelli." 

"What did he say?" 

" He said Roma Roselli was not dead at all, but worse than 
dead — that she had fallen into the hands of an evil man, and 
turned out badly." 

" Did you . . . did you believe that story ? " 



148 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Not one word of it ! I called the man a liar, and flung 
him out of the house." 

" Then you . . . you think ... if she is still living . . ." 

" My Koma is a good woman." 

Her face burned up to the roots of her hair. She choked 
with joy, she choked with pain. His belief in her purity stifled 
her. She could not speak now — she could not reveal herself. 
There was a moment of silence, and then in a tremulous voice 
she said : 

" Will you not call me Koma, and try to think I am your 
little friend ? " 

When she came to herself after that she was back in her 
own apartment, in her aunt's bedroom, and kissing the old 
lady's angular face. And the Countess was breaking up the 
stupefaction of her enchantment with sighs and tears and 
words of counsel. 

" I only want you to preserve yourself for your proper 
destiny, Koma. You are the fiancee of the Baron, as one 
might say, and the poor maniac can't last long. As for what 
you said so cruelly about breaking down feelings and so forth, 
God is merciful, and there are things which can be atoned for 
by prayer and fasting. But I implore you not to put yourself 
in the power of society. It never forgives anybody who forgets 
the good old respectabilities — and quite right, too ! " 

Before dressing for dinner Koma replied to the Minister: — 

" Dkar Baron Bonklli, — Didn't I tell you that Minghelli 
would find out nothing? I am now more than ever sure that 
the whole idea is an error. Take my advice and drop it. Drop 
it ! Drop it ! I shall, at all events ! — Yours, 

" Koma Volonna. 

" Success to the dinner ! Am sending Felice. He will give 
you this letter.— K. V." 

IX 

It was the sv/eetest morning of the Koman winter. The sun 
shone with a gentle radiance, and the motionless air was 
fragrant with the odour of herbs and flowers. Outside the gate 
which leads to the old Appian Way grooms were waiting with 
horses, blanketed and hooded, and huntsmen in red coats, white 
breeches, pink waistcoats, and black boots, were walking their 



ROMA 149 

mounts to the place appointed for the meet. In a line of car- 
riages were many ladies, some in riding-habits, and on foot 
there was a string of beggars, most of them deformed, with 
here and there, at little villages, a group of rosy children 
watching the procession as it passed. 

The American and English Ambassadors were riding side 
by side behind a magnificent carriage with coachman and tiger 
in livery of scarlet and gold. 

" Who would think, to look on a scene like this, that the 
city is seething with dissatisfaction? " said the Englishman. 

" Rome ? " said the American. " Its aristocratic indiffer- 
ence will not allow it to believe that here, as everywhere else in 
the world, great and fatal changes are going on all the time. 
These lands, for example — to whom do they belong? Nomi- 
nally to the old Roman nobility, but really to the merchants 
of the Campagna — a company of middlemen who grew rich 
by leasing them from the princes and subletting them to the 
poor." 

" And the nobles themselves — how are they faring ? " 

" Badly ! Already they are of no political significance, and 
the State knows them not." 

" They don't appear to go into the army or navy — what do 
they go into ? " 

" Love ! Their chief occupation is to marry their old Italian 
titles to our young English and American fortunes. We help 
them to it, too ! Mrs. Iliram P. Power is always around with 
her daughter and her dollars. She's here this morning — you'll 
find her all over the place," and the American made a broad 
sweep of his hand toward the carriages front and back. 

" She leaves the worthy president of the Drill Hole Com- 
pany slaving away in Wall Street, while she plays stewardess 
of the commissariat at the Grand Hotel to a troop of Italian 
tom-tits who chatter about their hearts, but have no sincerity, 
no reverence, no enthusiasm, and only one idea of the resur- 
rection of Rome — a reckless social life, reproducing the vices of 
antiquity with the facilities of modern civilisation." 

"And meantime the Italian people?" 

" Meantime the great Italian people, like the great English 
people, the great German people, and the people of every coun- 
try where the privileged classes still exist, are rising like a 
mighty wave to sweep all this sea-wrack high and dry on to the 
rocks." 

" And this wave of the people," said the Englishman, in- 



150 THE ETERNAL CITY 

dining his head towards the carriage in front, " is represented 
by men like friend Rossi 'i " 

" Would be, if he could keep himself straight," said the 
American. " He has the big idea to begin with. Liberty 
against Authority! Humanity against Empire! That's the 
way I'm figuring it, sir, and I call it the most revolutionary 
idea that has been put into operation since those early Chris- 
tians used to meet in these catacombs. They had the big idea, 
too. Csesar or Christ, which is it to be? But now Caesar and 
Christ seem to be Siamese twins, and to share the throne to- 
gether." 

" And where is the Tarpeian rock of friend Rossi's poli- 
tics?" 

The American slapped his glossy boot with his whip, low- 
ered his voice, and said, " There ! " 

"Donna Roma?" 

" A fortnight ago you heard his speech on the liveries of 
scarlet and gold, and look ! He's under them himself already." 

" You think there is no other inference ? " 

The American shook his head. " Always the way with 
these leaders of revolution. It's Samson's strength with Sam.- 
son's weakness in every mother's son of them." 

" I cannot reconcile myself to your interpretation. General, 
and I'll stick to my faith in Donno Roma in spite of all," said 
the Englishman. 

" Good-morning, General Potter ! " said a cheerful voice 
from the carriage in front. 

It was Roma herself. She sat by the side of the little 
Princess, with David Rossi on the seat before them. Her eyes 
were bright, there was a glow in her cheeks, and she looked 
lovelier than ever in her close-fitting riding-habit. 

The men rode up to the carriage, and there were saluta- 
tions and introductions. Roma was in high spirits, and she 
tossed back the shuttlecock of the American's playful talk with 
jest and laughter. 

" I had no conception you were such a boy until I saw you 
in a red coat. General." 

" Ah, you lovely young coward ! You can dare to say that 
to my grey head, can't you ? " 

With such light fence they passed down the old dead road 
with its little shrines, its broken blocks of stone, and its scat- 
tered wrecks of the graves of men and women. 

At the meeting-place there was a vast crowd of on-lookers. 



ROMA 151 

chiefly foreigners, in cabs and carriages and four-in-hand 
coaches from the principal hotels. The Master of the Hunt 
was ready, with his impatient hounds at his feet, and around 
him was a brilliant scene. Officers in blue, huntsmen in red, 
ladies in black, jockeys in jackets, a sea of feathers and flowers 
and sunshades, with the neighing of the horses and yapping of 
the dogs, the vast undulating country, the smell of earth and 
herbs, and the morning sunlight over all. 

Don Camillo was waiting with horses for his party, and 
they mounted immediately. The horse for Roma was a quiet 
bay mare with limpid eyes. General Potter helped her to 
the saddle, and she went cantering through the long lush 
grass. 

" What has your charming young charge been doing with 
herself, Princess," said the American. " She was always beau- 
tiful, but to-day she's lovely." 

" She's like Undine after she had found her soul," said the 
Englishman. 

The little Princess laughed. " Love and a cough cannot 
be hidden, gentlemen," she whispered, with a look toward David 
Rossi. 

" You don't mean . . ." 

" Hush ! " 

Meantime Rossi, in ordinary walking dress, was approach- 
ing the horse he was intended to ride. It was a high strong- 
limbed sorrel with wild eyes and panting nostrils. The Eng- 
lish groom who held it was regarding the rider with a doubtful 
expression, and a group of booted and spurred huntsmen were 
closing around. 

To everybody's surprise, the Deputy gathered up the reins 
and leaped lightly to the saddle, and at the next moment he 
was riding at Roma's side. Then the horn was sounded, the 
pack broke into music, the horses beat their hoofs on the turf 
and the hunt began. 

There was a wall to jump first, and everybody cleared it 
easily until it came to David Rossi's turn, when the sorrel re- 
fused to jump. He patted the horse's neck and tried it again, 
but it snorted, shied, and went off with its head between its 
legs. A third time he brought the sorrel up to the wall, and 
a third time it swerved aside. 

The hunters had waited to watch the result, and as the 
horse came up for a foiirth trial, with its wild eyes flashing, its 
nostrils quivering, and its forelock tossed over one ear, it wa9 



152 THE ETERNAL CITY 

seen that the bridle had broken and Rossi was riding with one 
rein. 

" He'll be lucky if he isn't hurt," said some one. 

" Why doesn't he give it the whip over its quarters ? " said 
another. 

But David Rossi only patted his horse until it came to the 
spot where it had shied before. Then he reached over its neck 
on the side of the broken rein, and with open hand struck it 
sharply across the nose. The horse reared, snorted, and 
jumped, and at the next moment it was standing quietly on 
the other side of the wall. 

Roma, on her bay mare, was ashen pale, and the American 
Ambassador turned to her and said: 

" Xever knew bvit one man to do a thing like that. Donna 
Roma." 

Roma swallowed something in her throat and said, " Who 
was it. General Potter ? " 

" The present Pope when he was a Noble Guard." 

" He can ride, by Jove ! " said Don Camillo. 

" That sort of stuff has to be in a man's blood. Born in 
him — must be ! " said the Englishman. 

And then David Rossi came vip with a new bridle to his 
sorrel, and Sir Evelyn added, " You handle a horse like a man 
who began early, Mr. Rossi." 

" Yes," said David Rossi, " I was a stable-boy two years 
in IvTew York, your Excellency." 

At that moment the huntsman who was leading with two 
English terriers gave the signal that the fox was started, where- 
upon the hounds yelped, the whips whistled, and the horses 
broke into a canter. 

Two hours afterw'ards the poor little creature that had been 
the origin of the holiday was tracked to earth and killed. Its 
head and tail were cut off, and the rest of its body was thrown 
to the dogs. After that flasks were taken out, healths were 
drunk, cheers were given, and then the hunt broke up, and the 
hunters began to return at an easy trot. 

Roma and David Rossi were riding side by side, and the 
Princess was a pace or two behind them. 

" Roma ! " cried the Princess, " what a stretch for a 
gallop ! " 

" Isn't it ? " said Roma, and in a moment she was off. 

" I believe her mare has mastered her," said the Princess, 
and at the next instant David Rossi was gone too. 



ROMA 153 

" Peace be with them ! They're a lovely pair ! " said the 
Princess, laughing. " But we might as well go home. They 
are like Undine, and will return no more.'" 



Meantime, with the light breeze in her ears, and the beat of 
her horse's hoofs echoing among the aqueducts and tombs, 
Roma galloped over the broad Campagna. After a moment she 
heard some one coming after her, and for joy of being pursued 
she whipped up and galloped faster. Without looking back 
she knew who was behind, and as her horse flew over the hillocks 
her heart leaped and sang. When the strong-limbed sorrel 
came up with the quiet bay mare, they were nearly two miles 
from their starting-place, and far out of the track of their fel- 
low-hunters. Both were aglow from head to foot, and as they 
drew rein they looked at each other and laughed. 

" Might as well go on now, and come out by the English 
cemetery," said Roma. 

" Good ! " said David Rossi. 

" But it's half-past two," said Roma, looking at her little 
watch, " and I'm as hungry as a hunter." 

" Xaturally," said David Rossi, and they laughed again. 
There was an osteria somewhere in that neighbourhood. He 
had known it when he was a boy. They would dine on yellow 
beans and maccaroni. 

"What a lovely world it is!" she said, pretending to look 
round at the landscape. 

" It is a lovely world," he answered, and then they laughed 
once more. 

Monte Genario's snow-capped peak was shining in hues of 
opal and rose, and the Sabine hills looked bright and near, with 
Tivoli and Palestrina trembling in a purple haze. But riding 
side by side they were in a world that was all their own. and 
the golden cloud that wrapped them round shut out everything 
else on earth. 

Presently they saw a house smoking under a scraggy clump 
of eucalyptus. It was the osteria, half farmstead and half inn. 
A timid lad took their horses, an evil-looking old man bowed 
them into the porch, and an elderly woman, with a frightened 
expression and a face wrinkled like the bark of a cedar, brought 
them a bill of fare. 

They lansrhed at everything — at the unfamiliar menu, be- 
ll 



154 THE ETERNAL CITY 

cause it was soiled enough to have served for a year; at the 
food, because it was so simple; and at the prices, because they 
were so cheap. 

Roma looked over David Rossi's shoulder as he read out the 
bill of fare, and they ordered the dinner together. 

" Maccaroni — threepence ! Right ! Trout — fourpence ! 
Shall we have fourpennyworth of trout? Good! Lamb — six- 
pence! We'll take two lambs — I mean two sixpennyworth's," 
and then more laughter. 

While the dinner was cooking they went out to walk among 
the eucalyptus, and came upon a beautiful dell surrounded by 
trees and carpeted with wild flowers. 

" Carnival ! " cried Roma. " Now if there was anybody 
here to throw a flower at one ! " 

He picked up a handful of violets and tossed them over her 
head. 

" When I was a boy this was where men fought duels," 
said David Rossi. 

" The brutes ! What a lovely spot ! Must be the place 
where Pharaoh's daughter found Moses in the bulrushes ! " 

" Or where Adam found Eve in the garden of Eden 1 " 

They looked at each other and smiled. 

" What a surprise that must have been to him," said Roma. 
" Whatever did he think she was, I wonder ? " 

" An angel who had come down in the moonlight and for- 
gotten to go up in the morning ! " 

" ISTonsense ! He wovild know in a moment she was a 
woman." 

" Think of it! She was the only woman in the world for 
him?" 

" And fancy ! He was the only man ! " 

The dinner was one long delight. Even its drawbacks were 
no disadvantage. The table had been laid on a vine terrace, 
which being thinned of its leaves by the cold of winter, revealed 
an untidy farmyard with neglected pig-styes, but Roma would 
not have things changed. 

" Beautiful ! " she said. " We see the pig-styes slantwards 
from here," and then they laughed again, and the wizened old 
woman who waited, laughed with them, and called Roma 
" Little Sister." 

Roma had begun to speak in English. " 'No use hurting 
the old lady," she whispered across the table, and David Rossi 
pretended to be deceived. 



ROMA 155 

"A beauty, isn't she?" 

" Yes, the old man is afraid she'll be kidnapped for a Ma- 
donna," and then they laughed once more, and the old woman, 
being a true daughter of the soil, laughed for joy of their 
merry laughter. 

The food was bad, and it was badly cooked and badly served, 
but nothing mattered. 

" Only one fork for all these dishes ? " asked David Rossi. 

" That's the best of it," said Eoma. " You only get one 
dirty one." 

Suddenly she dropped knife and fork, and held up both 
hands. " I forgot ! " 

"What?" 

" I was to be Little Roma all day to-day." 

" Why, so you are, and so you have been." 

" That cannot be, or you would call her by her name, you 
know." 

" I'll do so the moment she calls me by mine." 

" That's not fair," said Roma, and her face flushed up, for 
the wine of life had risen to her eyes. 

In a vineyard below a girl working among the orange-trees 
was singing stornelU. It was a song of a mother to her son. 
He had gone away from the old roof-tree, but he would come 
back some day. His new home was bright and big, but the 
old hearthstone would draw him home. Beautiful ladies 
loved him, but the white-haired mother would kiss him 
again. 

They listened for a short dreaming space, and their laughter 
ceased and their eyes grew moist. Then they called for the 
bill, and the old man with the evil face came up with a forged 
smile from a bank that had clearly no assets of that kind to 
draw upon. 

" You've been a long time in this house, landlord," said 
David Rossi. 

" Very long time, Excellency," said the man. 

" You came from the Ciociaria." 

" Why, yes, I did," said the man, with a look of surprise. 
" I was poor then, and later on I lived in the caves and grottoes 
of Monte Parioli." 

" But you knew how to cure the phylloxera in the vines, and 
when your master died you married his daughter and came into 
his vineyard." 

" Angelica ! Here's a gentleman who knows all about us," 



156 THE ETERNAL CITY 

said the old man, and then, grinning from ear to ear, he 
added — 

" Perhaps your Excellency was the young gentleman who 
used to visit with his father at the Count's palace on the hill 
twenty to thirty years ago ? " 

David Rossi looked him steadfastly in the face and said, 
" Do you remember the poor boy who lived with you at that 
time?" 

The forged smile was gone in a moment. " We had no boy 
then, Excellency." 

" He came to you from Santo Spirito and you got a hundred 
francs with him at first, and then you built this pergola." 

" If your Excellency is from the Foundling, you may tell 
them again, as I told the priest who came before, that we never 
took a boy from there, and we had no money from the people 
who sent him to London." 

" You don't remember him, then ? " 

" Certainly not." 

"Nor you?" 

The old woman hesitated, and the old man made mouths 
at her. 

" No, Excellency." 

David Rossi took a long breath. " Here is the amount of 
your bill, and something over. Good-bye ! " 

The timid lad brought round the horses and the riders 
prepared to mount. Roma was looking at the boy with pity- 
ing eyes. 

" How long have you been here ? " she asked. 

" Ten years, Excellency," he replied. 

He was just twelve years of age and both his parents were 
dead. 

" Poor little fellow ! " said Roma, and before David Rossi 
could prevent her she was emptying her purse into the boy's 
hand. 

They set off at a trot, and for some time they did not ex- 
change a word. The sun was sinking and the golden day was 
dying down. Over the broad swell of the Campagna, treeless, 
houseless, a dull haze was creeping like a shroud, and the long 
knotted grass was swept by the chill breath of evening. Noth- 
ing broke the wide silence of the desolate space except the low- 
ing of cattle, the bleat of sheep that were moving in masses 
like the woolly waves of a sea, the bark of big white dogs, the 
shouts of cowherds carrying long staves, and of shepherds rid- 



ROMA 157 

ing on shaggy ponies. Here and there were wretched straw 
huts, with groups of fever-stricken people crouching over the 
embers of miserable fires, and here and there were dirty pot- 
houses, which alternated with wooden crosses of the Christ and 
glass-covered shrines of the Madonna. 

The rhythm of the saddles ceased and the horses walked. 

" Was that the place where you were brought up ? " said 
Roma. 

" Yes." 

" And those were the people who sold you into slavery, so 
to speak ? " 

" Yes." 

" And you could have confounded them with one word, 
and did not ! " 

" What was the use ? Besides, they were not the first 
offenders." 

" No, your father was more to blame. Don't you feel 
sometimes as if you could hate him for what he has made 
you suffer ? " 

David Rossi shook his head. " I was saved from that bit- 
terness by the saint who saved me from so much besides. 
* Don't try to find out who your father is, David,' he said, ' and 
if by chance you ever do find out, don't return evil for evil, and 
don't avenge yourself on the world. By and by the world will 
know you for what you are yourself, not for what your father 
is. Perhaps your father is a bad man, perhaps ho isn't. 
Leave him to God ! ' " 

" It's a terrible thing to think evil of one's own father, isn't 
it ? " said Roma, but David Rossi did not reply. 

" And then — who knows ? — perhaps some day you may dis- 
cover that your father deserved your love and pity after all." 

" Perhaps ! " 

They had drawn up at another hcjuse under a thick clump 
of eucalyptus trees. It was the Trappist Monastery of Tre 
Fontane. Silence was everywhere in this home of silence. 
Leaving the horses at the lodge, they walked through the outer 
courts. They looked in at the windows of the library, where a 
white- faced youth was bending in silence over a book. They 
stood a moment at the door of the chapel, where the service of 
Benediction was being sung in silence, with no sound but the 
tinkling of a bell. Only the birds were singing aloiid — the 
nightingales in the tall grey trees. 

There was a clock tower, and they went up on to the roof. 



158 THE ETERNAL CITY 

From that height the whole world around seemed to be in- 
vaded by silence. It was like a sea after a storm, and the rem- 
nants of the cities that lay dead under the Campagna were 
the driftwood from the wrecks of a mighty fleet that was swal- 
lowed up and gone. The long line of aqueducts that stretch 
across the undulating waste looked like ships with torn sails 
heading back to port after a lost battle, and Kome in the dis- 
tance, rising out of puri)le haze, was a half-submerged island 
on which the great dome of St. Peter's rested like an ark. 

The silence of the world from that clock-tower was the 
silence of all sacred things, the silence of the mass; and the 
undying paganism in the hearts of the two that stood there had 
its eloquent silence also. 

Roma was leaning on the pai'apct with David Rossi behind 
her, when suddenly she began to weep. She wept violently 
and sobbed. 

" What is it? " he asked, but she did not answer. 

After a while she grew calm and dried her eyes, called her- 
self foolish and began to laugh. But tlie heart-beats were too 
audible without saying something, and at length she tried 
to speak. 

"It was the poor boy at the inn," she said; "the sight of 
his sweet face brought back a scene I had quite forgotten," and 
then, in a faltering voice, turning her head away, she told him 
everything. 

" It was in London, and my father had found a little Roman 
boy in the streets on a winter's night, carrying a squirrel and 
playing an accordion. He wore a tattered suit of velveteens, 
and that was all that sheltered his little body from the cold. 
His fingers were frozen stiff, and he fainted when they brought 
him into the house. After a while he opened his eyes, and 
gazed around at the fire and the faces about him, and seemed 
to be looking for something. It was his squirrel, and it was 
frozen dead. But he grasped it tight and big tears rolled on to 
his cheeks, and he raised himself as if to escape. He was 
too weak for that, and my father comforted him and he lay 
still. That was when I saw him first ; and looking at the poor 
boy at the inn I thought ... I thought perhaps he was an- 
other . . . perhaps my little friend of long ago . . ." 

Her white throat was throbbing, and her faltering voice 
was failing like a pendulum that is about to stop. 

" Roma ! " he cried over his shoulder, 

" David ! " 



ROMA 159 

Their eyes met, their hands clasped, their pent-up secret was 
out, and in the dim-lit catacombs of love two souls stood face 
to face. 

" How long have you known it ? " she whispered. 

" Since the night you came to the Piazza Xavona. And 



you 



2" 



" Since the moment I heard your voice." And then she 
shuddered and laughed. 

When they left the house of silence a blessed hush had 
fallen on them, a great wonder which they had never known 
before, the wonder of the everlasting miracle of human hearts. 

The sun was setting behind Kome in a glorious blaze of 
crimson, with the domes of churches glistening in the hori- 
zontal rays, and the dark globe of St. Peter's hovering over all. 
The mortal melancholy which had been lying over the world 
seemed to be lifted away, and the earth smiled with flowers and 
the heavens shone with gold. 

Only the rhythmic cadence of the saddles broke the silence 
as they swung to the movement of the horses. Sometimes they 
looked at each other, and then they smiled, but they did 
not speak. 

The sun went down, and there was a far-off ringing of bells. 
It was Ave Maria. They drew up the horses for a moment and 
dropped their heads. Then they started again. 

The night chills were coming, and they rode hard. Roma 
bent over the mane of her horse and looked proud and happy. 

Grooms were waiting for them at the gate of St. Paul, and, 
giving up their horses, they got into a carriage. When they 
reached Trinita de' Monti the lamplighter was lighting the 
lamps on the steps of the piazza, and Roma said in a low voice, 
with a blush and a smile : 

" Don't come in to-night — not to-night, you know." 

She wanted to be alone. 

XI 

Felice met Roma at the door of her own apartment, and 
in more than usually sepulchral tones announced that the 
Countess had wished to see her as soon as she came home. 
Without waiting to change her riding-habit, Roma turned 
into her aunt's room. 

The old lady was propped up with pillows, and Natalina was 
fussing about her. Her eyes glittered, her thin lips were com- 



160 'I'^J*^ ETERNAL CITY 

pressed, and regardless of the presence of the maid, she 
straightway fell upon Koma with bitter reproaches. 

" Did you wish to see me, aunt ? " said Roma, and the old 
lady answered in a mocking falsetto : 

" Did I wish to see you, miss ? Certainly I wished to see 
you, although I'm a broken-hearted woman and sorry for the 
day I saw you first." 

" What have I done now ? " said Roma, and the radiant look 
in her face provoked the old lady to still louder denunciations. 

" What have you done? Mercy me! . . . Give me my salts, 
Natalina!" 

" Xatalina," said Roma quietly, " lay out my studio things, 
and if Bruno has gone, tell Felice to light the lamps and see to 
the stove downstairs." 

The old lady fanned herself with her embroidered handker- 
chief and began again. 

" I thought you meant to mend your ways when you came 
in yesterday, miss — you were so meek and modest. But what 
was the fact? You had come to me straight from that man's 
apartments. You had! You know you had! Don't try to 
deny it." 

" I don't deny it," said Roma. 

"Holy Virgin! She doesn't deny it! Perhaps you ad- 
mit it?" 

"I do admit it." 

"Madonna mitt! She admits it! Perhaps you made an 
appointment? " 

" Xo, I went without an appointment." 

" Merciful heavens ! She is on such terms with the man 
that she can go to his apartments without even an appoint- 
ment! Perhaps you were alone with him, miss?" 

" Yes, we were quite alone," said Roma. 

The old lady, who was apparently about to faint right away, 
looked up at her little shrine, and said : 

"(loodness! A girl! iVot even a married woman! And 
without a maid, too ! " 

Trying not to lose control of hers(ilf, Roma stepix-d to the 
door, but her aunt followed her up. 

" A man like that, too ! Not even a gentleman ! The hypo- 
crite! The impostor! With his airs of purity and pretence!" 

" Aunt Betsy," said Roma, " I was sorry I si)oke to you as I 
did the other night, not because anything I said was wrong, but 
because you are weak and bedridden and suffering. Don't pro- 



ROMA 161 

voke me to speak again as I spoke before. I did go to Mr. 
Kossi's rooms yesterday, and if there is any fault in tliat, I 
alone am to blame." 

" Are you indeed ? " said the old lady, with a shrill piping 
cry. " Holy Saints ! she admits so much ! Do you know what 
people will call you when they hear of it? A hussy. A 
shameless hussy ! '' 

Koma was flaming up, but she controlled herself and put 
her hand on the door-handle. 

" They will hear of it, depend on that," cried the Countess. 
" Last night at dinner the women were talking of nothing else. 
Felice heard all their chattering. That woman let the dog out 
to follow you, knowing it would go straight to the man's rooms. 
' Whom did it come home with, Felice ? ' ' Donna Koma, your 
Excellency.' ' Then it's clear where Donna Roma had been.' 
Ugh! I could choke to think of it. My head is fit to split! 
Is there any cognac . . . ? " 

Roma's bosom was visibly stirred by her breathing, but she 
answered quietly: 

" No matter ! Why should I care what is thought of my 
conduct by people who have no morality of their own to 
judge me by ? " 

" Really now ? " said the Countess, twisting the wrinkles of 
her old face into skeins of mock courtesy. " Upon my word, I 
didn't think you were so simple. Understand, miss, it isn't the 
opinion of the Princess Bellini I am thinking about, but that of 
the Baron Bonelli. He has his dignity to consider, and when 
the time comes and he is free to take a wife, he is not likely to 
marry a girl who has been talked of with another man. Don't 
you see what that woman is doing? She has been doing it all 
along, and like a simpleton you've been helping her. You've 
been flinging away your chances with this Rossi and making 
yourself impossible to the Minister." 

Roma tossed her head and answered : 

" I don't care if I have. Aunt Betsy. I'm not of the same 
mind as I used to be, and I think no longer that the holiest 
things are to be bought and sold like so much merchandise." 

The old lady, who had been bending forward in her vehe- 
mence, fell back on the pillow. 

" You'll kill me ! " she cried. " Where did you learn such 
folly? Goodness knows I've done my best by you. I have 
tried to teach you your duty to the Baron and to Society. But 
all this comes of admitting these anarchists into the house. 



162 THE ETERNAL CITY 

You can't help it, though! It's in your blood! Tour father 

before you . . ." 

Crimson and trembling from head to foot, Roma turned 
suddenly and left the room. Natalina and Felice were listen- 
ing on the other side of the door. 

But not even this jarring incident could break the spell of 
Roma's enchantment, and when dinner was over, and she had 
gone to the studio and closed the door, the whole world seemed 
to be shut out, and nothing was of the slightest consequence. 
If she remembered her aunt's anger, she thought, " My father 
bore more than that for me." If she recalled the schemes 
of the Princess, she told herself they were petty and vain. 
She had undergone transition to another state of being, and 
was wrapped in a golden cloud which included only one person 
beside herself. 

Taking the damp cloth from the bust, she looked at her 
work again. In the light of the aurora she now lived in, the 
head she had wrought with so much labour was poor and in- 
adequate. It did not represent the original. It was weak 
and wrong. 

She set to work again, and little by little the face in the clay 
began to change. Not Peter any longer, Peter the disciple, but 
Another. It was audacious, it was shocking, but no matter! 
She was not afraid. 

Time passed, but she did not heed it. She was working at 
lightning speed, and with a power she had never felt before. 
Sometimes she stood off from the bust to look at it, then came 
back and went on again. The hot blood was in her cheeks. 
She was glowing, breathing hard, laughing little trills of 
laughter, but working on, on, on. 

And while she worked, the influence of her new life was fill- 
ing her mind with pictures. She was going over every incident 
of the day, every Avord, every tone, every little trivial thing. It 
was all so mysterious, so miraculous. The violets he had 
plucked in the dell were her favourite flowers. Were they his 
also? How strange! A look of pain had crossed his face when - 
she dismissed him at the door. Had he wished to come in? 
How sweet that was! It was like galloping on the Campagna 
with some one galloping behind you. But she had only wanted 
to be alone, so that she might be the more alone with him. 
Strange paradox ! Escaping, hiding, flying from some one, that 
you may have him nearer, nearer, nearer! How suddenly 
everything had happened ! Was it her dream of long ago • 



ROMA 163 

coining true at last — her dream of the man — the right one — 
who was to meet her at the gate of life and take her up, up, up ? 

Night came on, and the old Rome, the Rome of the Popes, 
repossessed itself of the Eternal City. The silent streets, the 
dark patches, the luminous piazzas, the three lights on the 
loggia of the Vatican, the grey ghost of the great dome, the 
kind stars, the sweet moon, and the church bells striking one by 
one during the noiseless night. 

At length she became aware of a streak of light on the floor. 
It was coming through the shutters of the window. She threw 
them open, and the breeze of morning came up from the orange 
trees in the garden below. The day was dawning over the 
sleepy city. Convent bells were ringing for matins, but all else 
was still, and the silence was sweet and deep. 

She turned back to her work and looked at it again. It 
thrilled her now. She walked to and fro in the studio and 
felt as if she were walking on the stars. She was happy, happy, 
happy ! 

Then the city began to sound on every side. Cabs rattled, 
electric trams tinkled, vendors called their wares in the streets, 
and the new Rome, the Rome of the Kings, awoke. 

Somebody was singing as he came upstairs. It was Bruno, 
coming to his work. He looked astonished, for the lamps were 
still burning, although the sunlight was streaming into the 
room. 

" Been working all night. Donna Roma ? "' 

" Fear I have, Bruno, but I'm going to bed now." 

She had an impulse to call him up to her work and say, 
" Look ! I did that, for I am a great artist." But, no I Xot 
yet ! Xot yet ! 

She had covered up the clay, and turned the key of her own 
compartment, when the bell rang on the floor above. It was the 
porter with the post, and Xatalina, in curl papers, met her on 
the landing with the letters. 

One of them was from the Mayor, thanking her for what she 
had done for Charles Minghelli ; another was from her land- 
lord, thanking her for his translation to Paris; a third was 
from the fashionable modiste, thanking her for an invitation 
from the Minister. A feeling of shame came over her as she 
glanced at these letters. They brought the implication of an 
immoral influence, the atmosphere of an evil life. 

There was a fourth letter. It was from the Minister him- 
self. She had seen it from the first, but a creepy sense of im- 



164: THE ETERNAL CITY 

pending trouble had made her keep it to the last. Ought she 
to open it? She ought, she must! 

" My Darling Child, — You cannot drop it now. It would 
be weak and foolish. Besides, it is impossible. Everybody 
knows what you set out to do. Think of awakening some 
morning to find all Kome laughing at you! Donna Koma 
caught in her own nets ! Mademoiselle Manon Lescaut in her 
own toils! Cruel and unjust, but inevitable, and these red-hot 
prophets in petticoats, how they would scream ! 

" JNTews at last, too, and success within hail. Minghelli, the 
Grand Hotel, the reference in London, and the dead-and-buried 
nightmare have led up to and compassed everything ! Prepare 
for a great surprise — David Rossi is not David Rossi, but a 
condemned man who has no right to live in Italy! Prepare, 
for a still greater surprise — he has no right to live at all! 

" So you are avenged ! The man humiliated and degraded 
you. He insulted me also, and did his best to make me resign 
my portfolio and put my private life on its defence. You set 
out to undo the effects of his libel and to punish him for his 
outrage. You've done it ! You have avenged yourself for both 
of us ! It's all your work ! You are magnificent ! And now 
let us draw the net closer ... let us hold him fast ... let us 
go on as we have begun . . ." 

Her sight grew dim. The letter seemed to be full of 
blotches. It dropped out of her helpless fingers. She sat a long 
time looking out on the sunlit city, and all the world grew dark 
and chill. Then she rose, and her face was pale and rigid. 

" ISTo, I will not go on!" she thought. "I will not betray 
him! I will save him! He insulted me, he humiliated me, he 
was my enemy, but ... I love him ! I love him ! " 



PAET FOUK 

DA VII) EO^jSI 



David Rossi was in his bedroom writing his leader for next 
morning's paper. A lamp with a dark shade burned on the 
desk, and the rest of the room was in shadow. It was late, and 
the house was quiet. 

The Government had convoked Parliament for the day 
after to-morrow. Copies of the King's speech had been sent in 
confidence to the leaders of parties and to the press. As editor 
of the Sunrise, David Rossi was writing the ambiguous forecast 
which etiquette prescribes in such cases. 

" The public will not be surprised if the King's speech 
recommends . . ." 

The door opened softly, and Bruno, in shirt-sleeves and 
slippered feet, came on tiptoe into the room. He brought a 
letter in a large violet envelope with a monogram on the front 
of it, and put it down on the desk by Rossi's side. It was 
from Roma. 

" Dear David Rossi, — Without rhyme or reason I have 
been expecting to see you here to-day, having something to say 
which it is important that you should hear. May I expect 
you in the morning? Knowing how busy you are, I dare not 
bid you come, yet the matter is of great consequence and admits 
of no delay. It is not a subject on which it is safe or proper to 
write, and how to speak of it I am at a loss to decide. Have 
you ever known what it is to feel that it would be the act of a 
friend to say something, yet just because you are a friend you 
cannot bring yourself to say it? That is my case now, compli- 
cated perhaps by other and more personal considerations. But 
you shall help me. Therefore come without delay. There! I 

165 



166 THE ETERNAL CITY 

have bidden you come in spite of myself. Judge from that how 
eager is my expectation. — In haste, Roma V. 

"P.S. — What a day we had on the Campagna! I have 
sometimes closed my eyes and taken a breath back into yester- 
day as into a dream that is fading away, and found it difficult 
to believe that it has all come true. Only think ! You and I 
have come into each other's lives again, like two streams which, 
running underground, have burst into the sunlight. Isn't it 
beautiful? How lonely I must have been in spite of all my 
noisy surroundings ! And how I must have wanted a big 
brother! Want me for a sister, please, and I shall be so 
happy. 

" P.S. ISTo. 2. — I open my envelope again, to wonder if you 
can ever forgive me the humiliations you have suffered for my 
sake. To think that I threw you into the way of them ! And 
merely to wipe out an offence that is not worth considering! 
I am ashamed of myself. I am also ashamed of the people 
about me. You will remember that I told you they were pitiless 
and cruel. They are worse — they are heartless and without 
mercy. But how bravely you bore their insults and innu- 
endoes ! I almost cry to think of it, and if I were a good 
Catholic I should confess and do penance. See? I do confess, 
and if you want me to do penance you will come yourself and 
impose it. 

" P.S. No. 3. — Just had proof how miieh of a revolutionary 
my poor father must have been. The moment I put his picture 
into the boudoir there was anarchy on every side. All my 
other pictures, as well as the creatures of my menagerie — the 
stuffed tiger and the stuffed wolf and the lion's skin on the 
couch — rebelled against his saintly presence. The clock with 
the figure of Mephistopheles — it was a birthday present from 
the Baron — was loudly and especially truculent. So to keep 
the peace I've turned them all out and banished them to my 
aunt's bedroom. There they have been received with tears of 
pity and many maledictions on the ingratitude of their former 
keeper. When you come again you will find me living in an 
atmosphere that will make you imagine that one of the cells of 
our convent has wandered from over the way. So you see what 
you've done for me with your stories of my father and mother 
and their sweet and noble poverty. 

" Come soon. Don't say you cannot, and don't talk about 
Parliament and such trifles. You must come ! I command it ! 



DAVID ROSSI 167 

If you don't come I shall persuade myself there is a hated 
womian in the wind, and she is keeping you away. 

" Soberly, I have a great scheme to prevent mischief coming 
to you, and to bring out all things well. It is my secret and I 
must not whisper a word about it yet. But when I think of it, 
and all that is to come of it, I say to rayself , ' Roma, my child, 
you are really a wonderful woman after all, and no doubt the 
history of the world would have been quite, quite different if by 
great misfortune you had never been born. 

" But everj-thing depends upon your coming. So, like a 
good boy, come at once. E. Y." 

It was the first letter that David Rossi had received from 
Roma, and as he read it the air seemed to him to be filled with a 
sweet girlish voice. He could see the play of her large, bright, 
violet eyes. The delicate fragrance of the scented paper rose to 
his nostrils, and without being conscious of what he was doing 
he raised the letter to his lips. 

Then he became aware that Bruno was still in the room. 
The good fellow was in the shadow behind him, pushing things 
about under some pretext and trying to make a noise. When 
he came into the light, David Rossi could see by the expression 
of his face, under its unfailing good-hmnour, that he had some- 
thing to say to him. 

"Want anything else to-night, sir?" 

" Xot to-night, Bruno. Give this to Francesca for the boy 
when he comes from the office, and go to bed. Elena has gone ? " 

" Just gone, sir." 

" And Joseph, of course ? " 

" Fast asleep these three hours." 

" Dear little man ! Don't let me keep you up, Bruno." 

" Sure you don't want anything, sir ? " said Bruno with 
confusion. 

David Rossi rose and walked about the room with his 
slow step. 

" Tou have something to say to me, haven't you ? " 

" Well, yes, sir — yes, I have." 

"What is it?" 

Bruno scratched his shock head and looked about as if for 
help. His eyes fell on the letter lying open in the light on the 
desk. 

" It's about that, sir. I knew where it came from by the 
colour and the monogram." 



168 THE ETERNAL CITY 

"Well?" 

Bruno began to look frightened, and then in a louder voice, 
that bubbled out of his mouth like water from the neck of a 
bottle, he said: 

" Tell you the truth, sir, people are talking about you." 

" What are they saying, Bruno ? " 

" Saying ? . . . I nearly knocked a man down for it less 
than an hour ago. He was drunk, but truth comes out with 
the wine, and what's the use if it's true ? " 

"If what's true, old friend?" 

" That something has come between you and the people." 

" They're saying that, are they ? " 

" They are. And doesn't it look like it, sir ? You'll allow 
it looks like it, anyway. When you started the Kepublic, sir, 
the people had hopes of you. But a month is gone and you 
haven't done a thing." 

David Rossi, with head down, continued to pace to and fro. 

" ' Patience,' I'm saying. ' Go slow and sure,' says I. 
That's all right, sir, but the Government is going fast enough. 
Forty thousand men called out to keep the people quiet, and 
when the bread-tax begins on the first of the month the blessed 
saints know what will happen. A man might as well die of a 
bullet as of the want of bread, and six feet of earth are the same 
for all." 

David Ilossi did not reply, and from fear alone Bruno went 
on repeating himself. 

" When you started the Republic, sir, the people had hopes 
of you. But a month is gone, and you haven't done a thing. 
Not a thing . . . and a month is gone and . . ." 

" What do the people say is the reason I do nothing ? " 

" The reason ? Ever heard the saying, ' Sun in the eyes, 
the battle lost ? ' That's the reason, sir. Sun in the eyes — ^you 
know what that means. To-morrow night we ought to hold our 
first meeting of the Committee of Direction. You called it 
yourself, sir, yet they're laying odds you won't be there. Where 
will you be ? In the house of a bad woman ? " 

" Bruno ! " cried Rossi in a stern voice, " what right have 
you to talk to me like this ? " 

Bruno was frightened at what he had said, but he tried to 
carry it off with a look of passion. 

" Right ! The right of a friend, sir, who can't stand by and 
see you betrayed. Yes, betrayed, that's the word for it. Be- 
trayed ! Betrayed ! It's a plot to ruin the people through the 



DAVID ROSSI 169 

weakness of their leader. A woman drawn across a man's trail. 
The trick is as old as the ages. Never heard what we say in 
Rome ? — ' The man is fire, the woman is tow ; then comes the 
devil and puts them together.' " 

David Rossi was standing face to face with Bruno, who was 
growing hot and tiying to laugh bitterly. 

" Oh, I know what I'm saying, sir. The Prime Minister is 
at the bottom of everything. David Rossi never goes to Donna 
Roma's house but the Baron Bonelli knows all about it. They 
write to each other every day, and I've posted her letters my- 
self. Her house is his house. Carriage, horses, servants, 
liveries — how else could she support it? By her art, her 
sculpture ? " 

Bruno was still frightened to the bottom of his soul, but he 
continued to talk and to laugh bitterly. 

" She's deceiving you, sir. Isn't it as plain as daylight ? 
You hit her hard, and old Vampire too, in your speech on the 
morning of the Pope's Jubilee, and she's paying you out for 
both of them." 

" That's enough, Bruno." 

" All Rome knows it, and everybody will be laughing at you 
soon." 

" You've said enough, I tell you. Go to bed." 
" Oh, I know ! The heart has its reasons, but it listens to 
none." 

" Go to bed, I tell you ! " cried David Rossi, and then Bruno 
was silent, for he knew that Rossi was angry in earnest at 
last. 

" Isn't it sufficient that by your tittle-tattle you caused me 
to wrong the lady ? " 
"/did?" 
" You did." 
" I did not." 

" You did, and if it hadn't been for the tales you told me 
before I knew her, or had even seen her, I should never have 
spoken of her as I did." 

" She deserved all you said of her." 

" She didn't deserve one word of it, and it was your lies that 
made me slander her." 

Bruno's eyes flinched as if a blow had fallen on them. Then 
he tried to laugh. 

" Hit me again ! The skin of the ass is used to blows. Only 
don't go too far with me, David Rossi." 
13 



170 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Then don't you go too far with your falsehoods and siis- 
picion." 

" Suspicion ! Holy Virgin ! Is it suspicion that she has 
had you at her studio to make a Roman holiday for her friends 
and cronies ? By the saints ! Suspicion ! " 

And Bruno, losing himself, laughed until the room rang. 

" Go on, if it becomes you." 

" If what becomes me ? " 

" To cat her bread and talk against her." 

" That's a lie, David Kossi, and you know it. It's my own 
bread I'm eating. ]\Iy labour belongs to me, and I sell it to 
my employer. But my conscience belongs to God and she 
cannot buy it." 

David Rossi's white and angry face broke up like a snow- 
flake in the sim. 

" I was wrong when I said that, Bruno, and I ask your 
pardon." 

The fierce light in Bruno's eyes was gone in a moment. 

" Do you say that, sir ? And after I've insulted 
you?" 

David Rossi held out his hand, and Bruno clasped it. 

" I had no right to be angry with you, Bruno, but you are 
wrong about Donna Roma. Believe me, dear friend, cruelly, 
awfully, terribly wrong." 

" You think she is a good woman." 

" I know she is, and if I said otherwise, I take it back and 
am ashamed." 

" Beautiful ! If I could only believe in her as you do, sir. 
But I've known her for two years." 

" And I've known her for twenty." 

Bruno's face expressed astonishment. 

" Shall I tell you who she is ? She is the daughter of my 
old friend in England." 

" The one who died in Elba? " 

" Yes." 

" The good man who found you and fed you, and educated 
you when you were a boy in London ? " 

" That was the father of Donna Roma." 

Then he was Prince Volonna, after all ? " 

" Yes, and they lied to me when they told me she was dead 
and buried." 

Bruno was silent for a moment, and then in a choking 
voice he said : 



DAVID ROSSI 171 

" Why didn't you strike me dead when I said she was de- 
ceiving you ? Forgive me, sir ! " 

" I do forgive you, Bruno, but not for myself — for her." 

Bruno turned away with a dazed expression. 

As he opened the door the light fell on the phonograph 
which rested on the piano in the outer room, and he pointed to 
it and said: 

" Was it this that told you, sir ? " 

Rossi bent his head. 

" Was that the message on the cylinder ? " 

Again Rossi bent his head. 

"It was my old friend's dying message, telling me where 
his daughter was, and what dangers surrounded her, and call- 
ing on me to save and protect her." 

Bruno returned a pace or two. 

" Perhaps that was what took you . . . there ? " 

" Yes." 

"And to carry out your mission, you let the fools and 
feather-brains insult you and laugh at you ? " 

" Yes." 

The dog's eyes in Brimo's bushy face began to shine and 
run over. 

" Forget what I said about going to Donna Roma's, sir," 

Rossi sat down and took up his pen. 

" No, I cannot forget it," he said. " I ivill not forget it. I 
will go there no more." 

" Then you have carried out your old friend's wish, sir ? " 

" God knows ! Fve done ray best. Anyhow, it's all over." 

" You intend to break off the connection ? " 

Rossi did not reply. 

" Why should you if she is your old friend's daughter ? " 

" Bruno, have you forgotten what I told you the night she 
came here first, that if ever I found myself caring too much for 
any one I should fly away from her ? " 

" But why ... if she's a good woman ? " 

" Do vou remember the visit of Charles Minghelli ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" He wanted to make his public work a channel for his per- 
sonal feeling, and I flung him out of the house." 

"Well?" 

" If I go one step farther I shall be in the same case myself." 

Bruno was silent for a moment, and then he said in a thick 
voice : 



172 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" I understand ! God help you, David Rossi. It's a lonely 
road you mean to travel." 

Rossi drew a long breath and made ready to write, 

" I shall be present at the meeting to-morrow, Bruno. 
Good-night." 

" Good-night," said Bruno, and the good fellow went out 
with wet eyes. 

IT 

The night was far gone, and the city lay still, while Rossi 
replied to Roma. 

" My Dear R.,— You have nothing to reproach yourself with 
in regard to 2ny poor doings, or tryings-to-do. They were 
necessary, and if the penalties had been worse a hundredfold I 
should not chew the cud of my bargain now. Besides your 
wish, I had another motive, a secret motive, and perhaps if I 
were a Catholic, I should confess, too, although not with a view 
to penance. Apparently, it has come out well, and now that it 
seems to be all over, both your scheme and mine, now that the 
wrong I did you is to some extent undone, and my own object 
is in some measure achieved, I find myself face to face with a 
position in which it is my duty to you as well as to myself to 
bring our intercourse to an end. 

" As you say, my work is waiting for me. I am in hourly 
expectation of pressing public business, and my time is no 
longer my own. But I should not be honest, or do justice to 
my own feelings, if I allowed you to believe that this is the 
only reason for our separation. There is another ground for it, 
and I regret that I cannot explain myself as frankly as I could 
wish to do. My correspondence through the post has never at 
any time been safe from official supei-vision, messages by hand 
are difficult or impossible at present because of the doubt or 
distrust of our servants, and therefore, for your sake, I dare not 
be explicit. 

" The truth is that we cannot be friends any longer, for the 
reason that I love some one in whom you are, unhappily, too 
much interested, and because there are obstacles between that 
person and myself which are decisive and insurmountable. 
This alone puts it on me as a point of honour that you and I 
should never see each other again. Each of my visits adds to 
my embarrassment, to the feeling that I am doing wrong in 



DAVID ROSSI 1Y3 

paying them, and to the certainty that I must give them up 
altogether. 

" Thank you again and again for the more than pleasant 
hours we have spent together. It is not your fault that I must 
bury the memory of them in oblivion. This does not mean that 
it is any part of the painful but unavoidable result of circum- 
stances I cannot explain, that we should not write to each other 
as occasion may arise. Continue to think of me as your 
brother — your brother far away — to be called upon for counsel 
in your hour of need and necessity. And whenever you call, 
be sure I shall be there. 

" Meantime, it has not been without reflection that I have 
at length compelled myself to say this, or to resist the tempta- 
tion to go to you at your call, even now when the first objects 
of my visits have been served. 

" What you say of an important matter suggests that some- 
thing has come to your knowledge which concerns myself and 
the authorities; but when a man has spent all his life on the 
edge of a precipice, the most urgent perils are of little moment, 
and I beg of you not to be alarmed for my sake. Whatever it 
is, it is only a part of the atmosphere of danger I have always 
lived in — the glacier I have always walked upon — and ' if it is 
not now, it is to come; if it is not to come, it will be now — the 
readiness is all.' Good-bye! Heaven be over you! — Yours, 
dear E , D." 

Ill 

During some hours of next day the sitting-room of David' 
Rossi's apartment was in wild disorder. The old Garibaldian 
and his deaf wife were pushing the furniture into passages, and 
Elena and little Joseph were bringing chairs from the bedroom 
and kitchen. When they had finished, there was a table at one 
end, and a line of mixed chairs under the portraits that hung 
on the walls. The sitting-room was now ready for the meeting 
of the Committee of Direction. 

They came at eight o'clock, thirty men of many nationali- 
ties. Strange figures, and as various as strange. Some well- 
dressed, some ill-dressed, some that looked like journalists, pro- 
fessors, advocates, and members of Parliament, and others that 
looked like tailors and locksmiths. 

Bruno received them in his shirt-sleeves, smoking a Tus- 
can cigar, conscious of a certain austerity of atmosphere 



174 THE ETERNAL CITY 

among them, but laughing and joking and trying to take things 
lightly. 

" Good-evening, sir ! Cold to-night, isn't it ? The Honour- 
able will be here presently. Just received the King's speech, 
and polishing it off for the paper ! Working like wildfire, I can 
tell you. That's all right, you know. Who doesn't burn him- 
self can't expect to light others. . . . Helloa ! Come in, sonny ! 
Where did the cloak come from? Fire at a monastery some- 
where ! Take care ! The habit doesn't make the monk, you 
know. Now, the Honourable never feels the cold. He is in 
there without a fire, like a monk in a cell. Well, the general 
must do something or the soldier wants to know why." 

It was a vain effort. The company came in silently, almost 
moodily, looking at each other and at the portraits with a vague 
and listless stare. For some minutes they stood in the middle 
of the floor and there was some suppressed whispering. When 
some one sneezed there was silence in a moment. Clearly the 
air was full of trouble. 

Bruno's loud laugh had ceased to rock through the room, he 
had put out his cigar, pulled on his cloak, and was beginning to 
perspire on his forehead, when the door of the bedroom opened 
and David Rossi came out. 

The Deputy looked calm and self-confident, and walking 
into the midst of the men with a deliberate stride, shook hands 
with all of them. They responded coldly, in some cases 
haughtily, and looked sour and dissatisfied. One or two of them 
bit their lips at him with undisguised severity, and others tried 
to avoid his gaze. He took his seat at the head of the table 
and called on them to take their places. 

The first business was the reading of the report of the pro- 
ceedings since the previous meeting. The secretary was Luigi 
Conti, the man who had read the proclamation on the day of 
the Pope's Jubilee. He was a short, stiff-set man, with a chol- 
eric face, a thick neck, and a shrill voice. His minutes were 
few and brief. The " Creed and Charter " as drawn up by the 
President had been adopted by the Committee of Direction, 
and copies had been sent out broadcast. The response from all 
over Europe had been great, and the subscriptions had gone up 
tenfold. 

" That's all there is to report," said Luigi, closing his book 
with a noisy clasp. " And now," he said in a tone of antago- 
nism, " the Committee is wai+in<r for information and direc- 
tion. The President is the official head of our democracy, and 



DAVID ROSSI 175 

we look to him for guidance. Ou the day we started our asso- 
ciation we were told that the Republic of Man was to be a 
reality, not a dream, watching parliaments, discussing meas- 
ures, taking up the defence of innocent prisoners, demanding 
justice for the oppressed, and legislation for the weak and 
downtrodden. That was a month ago, and meanwhile we 
have done nothing. Perhaps the President will tell us 
why." 

The secretaiy wagged his head over his thick neck, and 
sat down amid murmurs of approval. David Rossi rose in 
silence. 

" Gentlemen," he said, " before we go any further it seems 
necessary to clear the ground. The report says that our Creed 
and Charter has had a response all over Europe, and the sub- 
scriptions to our international association have gone up ten- 
fold. Let us be sure that no part of this result has been due to 
a misconception of our motives. I should not feel myself to be 
an honest man if I used any one's name or any one's money 
while there is the least possibility of error. So I have written 
something that there may be no uncertaintj-, and I shall print 
it that there may be no mistake." 

With that, he took out his oblong note-book, and, amidst a 
watchful silence, began to read. 

" What our Creed and Charter does not imply. 

" It does not imply that the whole structure of existing 
society is wrong and wicked. 

" It does not imply that by violence of any kind we must 
abolish kings, armies, national barriers, individual ownership 
in land and individual control of wealth. 

" It does not imply that we should reduce the world to a 
condition in which it would be without towns, books, news- 
papers, universities, armies, and governments. 

" It does not imply that we may remedy moral evils by 
carrying civilisation back to barbarism. 

" It does not imply that the whole life of the world has been 
wrong and false for six thousand yeai-s. 

" It does not imply that during all this time there has been 
no God governing the world to good ends." 

The watchful silence was broken by some murmurs of dis- 
sent, and Rossi raised his head from his note-book. 

" It was necessary to say so much for the benefit of our 
friends," he said, " seeing that some of them seem to have 
supposed that we intended to create a new heaven and a new 



176 THE ETERNAL CITY 

earth. And now let us say something for the benefit of our 
enemies." 

With that he turned to the note-book again, and the silence 
became icy. 

" What our Charter does imply. 

" It does imply that there is a God who rules the world in 
justice. 

" That natural law is unceasingly bringing order out of 
chaos, harmony out of discord, unity out of division, and 
peace out of strife. 

" That everything that has befallen the world has been made 
to contribute to its ultimate good. 

" That in due course, under the operation of natural law, 
many of the remaining evils will be wiped out. 

" That national barriei*s will be broken down. 

" That Avar will become impracticable. 

" That individual ownership of the soil of the earth will 
become impossible. 

" That individual control of capital will become unprofit- 
able. 

" That arrogated authority will end. 

" That kings will cease to exist. 

" That men will live like brothers without distinction of 
race or nationality. 

" That all men will have daily bread. 

" And that this will come to pass in the near or the dis- 
tant future in obedience to natural law, because it is God's 
will, God's justice; because God is good, because God is 
love." 

Again the silence was broken by murmurs of dissent, and 
once more Rossi raised his head. 

" It was necessary to say so much for the benefit of our 
enemies, gentlemen," he said, " that they may see that it is not 
revolution but evolution we look to as a means by which all 
things are to work out well. And if they say that then our 
association is only a dream, an idea, we will show them that it 
has its practical side as well." 

So saying, he turned to his note-book and read a third time. 

" How can we help on the principles of our Creed and 
Charter? 

" By praying the Lord's Prayer. 

" By protesting when its principles are violated. 

" By protesting against all war. 



DAVID ROSSI 177 

" By protesting in whatsoever way is possible against being 
compelled to take up arms as a soldier. 

"By protesting against oaths of allegiance to kings and 
princes. 

"By protesting against all laws which give individual 
ownership in the land which belongs to all. 

"And by suffering for such protests when called upon to 
do so." 

The murmurs of dissent were now louder than before, but 
Rossi continued to ignore them. 

" That is the meaning of our Creed and Charter, gentle- 
men," he said, in a calm but firm voice, " and it was necessary 
to say so, in order that friends and enemies alike may know that 
it is a democracy we aim at, not a demonarchy — an arcadia, if 
you will, but not an anarchy. And if they ask us when our 
Republic of Man is to come to practical results, we say when 
the world is ready for it, until first here and then there, as this 
or that country is ripe for it, it will govern the powers that 
govern the world." 

At this there were shouts of " Oh " and some derisive 
laughter, but Rossi went on with imperturbable serenity. 

" In that grand result, gentlemen," he said, " Rome has a 
place assigned to her. She is the Eternal City. Her immor- 
tality is a mystery. Other cities decay and die down when their 
work is done. Rome alone remains through all ages and civili- 
sations. Once she was the capital of a Pagan Republic. The 
Republic fell, and she became the capital of an Empire. The 
Empire fell, and she became the capital of Christendom. Xow 
she is the capital of Italy, a passing phase. Her destiny is to 
be the capital of the world's great congress — the court of the 
Republic of Man." 

David Rossi had hardly sat down, when half a dozen of the 
Committee rose to their feet. 

" Luigi has the word," said Rossi, and with a white and 
twitching face the secretary began to speak. 

" We know now why we have done nothing during the last 
month," he said. " It is because, according to the view of our 
President, there is nothing to do. Since our last meeting he 
has whittled away our object until it has no practical force and 
value. Then we were told that when a government is destruc- 
tive of the natural rights of men it is man's duty to destroy 
it. Now we are t(fld that natural law does everything. If that is 
so, what are we here for? What is the use of our association? 



1Y8 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Why do we grumble at the bread-tax? And what is the good 
of holding the meeting in the Coliseum? But, if it isn't so, 
why is our President cutting our legs from under us, and whit- 
tling our objects away?" 

" Why ? " said another speaker. " Isn't it clear enough 
why ? Because he is trying to run with the hare and hunt with 
the hounds. Because he is trying to make the interests of the 
people agree with the interests of their devourers. Time was 
when nobody saw so clearly the corruptions of government and 
the iniquities of our social state. But society has got hold of 
him, new friends have intervened, he has sold his inheritance 
for a mess of pottage, and great houses and great people, and 
theatres and fox-hunts, and liveries of scarlet and gold have 
bought him body and soul." 

" Let us be calm," said a third speaker — his own voice 
quivered and broke. Ilis name was Malatesta, a member of 
Parliament, and a follower of David Rossi on the Left. " What 
have we lost by this month in which we have done nothing? 
The King's speech to-morrow will suggest a bill for the control 
of the press, the right of association, and the right of public 
meeting. After the great response to our Creed and Charter 
we might have expected as much, and in a month we might 
have been prepared for it. We are not prepared, and what is 
the consequence? The country is in the hands of the Govern- 
ment, and, thanks to the procrastination of our President, the 
Prime Minister may do as he pleases." 

" Procrastination ! " said a shrill voice. It was Luigi again. 
His choleric face was white with passion. " Why shouldn't we 
speak plainly ? I tell you what it is — the opportune moment is 
being lost because our leader is afraid to act. And why is he 
afraid to act? Because he is an honest man, and will not use 
any one's name or any one's money while there is any doubt 
about his object ? Bah ! Shall I tell you why ? Because he is 
in the hands of a woman ! And who is this woman? The very 
woman ho hold up to scorn a month ago as the acid that was 
corrupting the public powers — the mistress of the Prime Min- 
ister ! Ah ! the truth is out at last, is it ? Very well ; take it, 
put it in your pipe and smoke it ! " 

The contagion of passion had infected everybody, and by 
this time the room was in a tumult. Men were shuffling to 
their feet. Bruno, who had been standing by the door, was 
getting round to the side of the table. Lui^ was lashing up 
his anger with continued protests. 



DAVID ROSSI 179 

" Oh, he can't frighten me ! I've told him the truth, and 
he knows it." 

David Rossi rose at last. He was the only man in the 
room who had control of himself. 

" Brothers," he said in measured accents, " when a man has 
undertaken a work for humanity, he must be prepared to sink 
his private quarrels, and I sink this insult to myself." 

" Thought as much," said Luigi, looking around and laugh- 
ing a shrill laugh of contempt. 

" But," said Rossi in the same measured accents, " I cannot 
allow this insult to a good and pure woman." 

Again Luigi laughed, and some of the others joined him. 

" I say," said Rossi in a firm voice, " I cannot allow this 
insult to a good and pure woman to go unchallenged, and 
the man who made it must be told that he is a common slan- 
derer." 

"Liar!" cried Luigi, and then something unexpected hap- 
pened. 

Bruno, after an inarticulate exclamation, w^as seen to move 
from the side of the table, and before any one knew what had 
happened, Luigi was in his arms, his legs were kicking in the 
air, and at the next moment his little fat body had fallen on the 
floor with a thud. 

Then there was a general commotion, and in the midst of it 
David Rossi's voice, thick with anger, ordered Bruno out of the 
room. 

Bruno rolled out with his shaggj- head down and his hands 
in his trouser pockets like a schoolboy who has been whipped, 
while Rossi, white as a sheet, his breast heaving and his breath 
coming quick, pushed through to where Luigi lay and picked 
him up. 

" I'm ashamed," he said. " I wouldn't have had it for 
worlds. He shall be punished." 

" Leave him alone, sir," said Luigi, pocketing a knife which 
he had drawn in his rage. " It was my own fault. I ask your 
pardon." 

He was a different man in a moment, and some of the others 
came up to Rossi in silence and offered him their hands. 

"Let us adjourn and meet again when we are more our- 
selves," said Rossi. " We should be fine leaders of a new age 
of brotherhood and peace if we began by a vulgar brawl. Go 
home, and God bless you ! " 

The men trooped out without a word more and Rossi turned 



180 THE ETERNAL CITY 

into his bedroom. After a few moments a timid tap came to 
the door. 

"Who's there?" he cried. 

It was Elena with a letter. 

" What's to do with Bruno ? " she said. " He has gone to 
bed, and I can't get a word out of him." 

" He did wrong and I was compelled to reprove him." 

" Poor Bruno ! He would lay down his life for you, sir, 
but he is like a dog — he'll bark at a king, and when you speak 
back he is broken-hearted." 

" Tell him I'm sorry and it's all over," said Rossi. 

He took up the dagger paper-knife to open the letter. 

Elena had scarcely left the room when her mother entered 
with a tray on which there was a dish of smoking spighetti. 

" You've eaten no dinner to-day, my son, and I've brought 
you this for your supper. Come, now, put your books and 
letters out of your head and get something on your stomach. 
Do you think that books can feed you? People say they can, 
but it's all nonsense. Take a book on an empty inside and 
after you've held it up for tv»'o hours tell me if you have eaten 
enough. Books are not things for a Christian. Put them 
tiway, my son. . . . Xot hungry, you say ? Tell you what it 
is, you want a wife to manage you. If I was only a bit younger, 
I would marry you myself, and bring you to your senses. Come, 
now, son, for charity's sake, some of these good spighetti. . . . 
Thats' right! Buona sera!" 



IV 

The letter was from Roma. 

" My dear D., — Your letter has thrown me into the wild- 
est state of excitement and confusion. I have done no work 
all day long, and when Black has leapt upon me and cried, 
' Come out for a walk, you dear, dear dunce,' I have hardly 
known whether he barked or talked. 

" I am sorry our charming intercourse is to be interrupted, 
but you can't mean that it is to be broken off altogether. You 
can't, you cant, or my eyes would be red with crying, instead of 
dancing with delight. 

" Yet why they should dance I don't really know, seeing 
you are so indefinite, and T have no right to understand any- 



DAVID ROSSI 181 

thing. If you cannot write by post, or even send messages by 
hand, if my man F. is your enemy, and your housemate B. is 
mine, isn't that precisely the best reason why you should come 
and talk matters over^ Come at once. I bid you come! In a 
matter of such inconceivable importance, surely a sister has a 
right to command. 

" In that character, I suppose, I ought to be glad of the 
news you give me. Well, I am glad ! But being a daughter of 
Eve, I have a right to be curious. I want to ask questions. 
You say I know the lady, and am, unhappily, too deeply 
interested in her — who is she? Does she know of your love 
for her ? Is she beautiful ? Is she charming ? Give me one 
initial of her name — only one — and I will be good. I am so 
much in the dark, and I cannot commit myself until I know 
more. 

" You speak of obstacles, and say they are decisive and 
insurmountable. That's terrible, but perhaps you are only 
thinking of what the poets call the ' cruel madness ' of love, as 
if its madness and cruelty were sufficient reason for flying away 
from it. Or perhaps the obstacles are those of circumstances; 
but in that case, if the woman is the right one, she will be 
willing to wait for such difficulties to be got over, or even to 
find her happiness in sharing them. Or perhaps — fearful 
thought — there are two women in question, and while love draws 
one way, duty draws another. In that event, I beg of you to * 
weigh well what you are doing. Duty is a terrible tyrant, and 
has wrecked more lives than love itself. 

" See how I plead for my unknown sister ! Which is sweet 
of me, considering that you don't tell me who she is, but leave 
me to find out if she is likely to suit me. But why not let me 
help you? Come at once and talk things over. 

" Yet how vain I am ! Even while I proffer assistance with 
so loud a voice, I am smitten cold with the fear of an impedi- 
ment which you know a thousand times better than I do how to 
measure and to meet. Perhaps the woman you speak of is 
unworthy of your friendship and love. I can understand that 
to be an insurmountable obstacle. You stand so high, and have 
to think about your work, your aims, your people. And per- 
haps it is only a dream and a delusion, a mirage of the heart, 
that love lifts a woman up to the level of the man who loves 
her. 

" Then there may be some fault — some grave fault. I can 
understand that too. We do not love because we should, but 



182 THE ETERNAL CITY 

because we must, and there is nothing so cruel as the inequality 
of man and woman in the way the world regards their con- 
duct. But I am like a bat in the dark, flying at gleams of light 
from closely-curtained M'indows. Will you not confide in me? 
Do! Do! Do! 

" Besides, I have the other matter to talk about. You re- 
member telling me how you kicked out the man M ? He 

turned spy as the consequence, and has been sent to England. 
You ought to know that he has been making inquiries about 
you, and appears to have found out various particulars. Any 
day may bring urgent news of him, and if you will not come to 
me I may have to go to you in spite of every protest. 

" To-morrow is the day for your opening of Parliament and 
I have a ticket for the Court tribune, so you may expect to see 
me floating somewhere above you in an atmosphere of lace and 
perfume. Good-night ! — Your poor bewildered sister, 

" Roma." 

V 

Next morning David Eossi put on evening-dress, in obedi- 
ence to the etiquette of the opening day of Parliament. Before 
going to the ceremony he answered Roma's letter of the night 
before. 

" Dear R., — If anything could add to the bitterness of my 
regret at ending an intercourse which has brought me the hap- 
piest moments of my life, it would be the tone of your sweet 
and charming letter. You ask me if the woman I love is 
beautiful. She is more than beautiful, she is lovely. Her soul 
shines in her face, and it is pure and true and noble. 

" You ask me if she knows that I love her. I have never 
dared to disclose the secret of my heart to her, and if I could 
have believed that she had ever so much as guessed at it, I 
should have found some consolation in a feeling which is too 
deep for the humiliations of pride. You ask me if she is 
worthy of my friendship and love. She is worthy of the love 
and friendship of a better man than I am or can ever hope to be. 

" Yet even if she were not so, even if there were, as you say, 
a fault in her, who am I that I should judge her harshly ? I am 
not one of those who think that a woman is fallen because cir- 
cumstances and evil men have conspired against her. I reject 
the monstrous theory that while a man may redeem the past, a 



DAVID ROSSI 183 

woman never can. I abhor the judgment of the world by which 
a woman may be punished because she is trying to be pure, and 
dragged down because she is rising from the dirt. And if she 
had sinned as I have sinned, and suifered as I have suffered, I 
would pray for strength enough to say, ' Because I love her 
we are one, and we stand or fall together.' 

" But she is sweet, and pure, and true, and brave, and noble- 
hearted, and there is no fault in her, or she would not be the 
daughter of her father, who was the noblest man I ever knew or 
ever expect to know. Xo, the root of the separation is in my- 
self, in myself only, in my circvmistances and the personal situa- 
tion I find myself in. 

" And yet it is difficult for me to state the obstacle which 
divides us, or to say more about it than that it is permanent 
and insurmountable. I should deceive myself if I tried to be- 
lieve that time would remove or lessen it, and I have contended 
in vain with feelings which have tempted me to hold on at any 
price to the only joy and happiness of my life. 

" To go to her and open my heai-t is impossible, for personal 
intercourse is precisely the peril I am trying to avoid. How 
weak I am in her company! Even when her dress touches me 
at passing, I am thrilled with an emotion I cannot master; 
and when she lifts her large bright eyes to mine, I am the slave 
of a passion which conquers all my will. 

" No, it is not lightly and without cause that I have taken 
a step which sacrifices love to duty. I love her, with all my 
heart and soul and strength I love her, and that is why she and 
I, for her sake more than mine, should never meet again. 

" I note what you say about the man M , but you must 

forgive me if I cannot be much concerned about it. There is 
nobody in London who knows me in the character I now bear, 
and can link it to the one you are thinking of. Good-bye, 
again ! God be with you and keep you always ! D." 

Having written this letter, David Eossi sealed it carefully 
and posted it with his own hand on his way to the opening of 
Parliament. 

Yl 

The day was fine, and the city was bright with many flags in 
honour of the King. His visit was to the Hall of the Deputies, 
as the larger and more convenient of the two legislative cham- 



184 THE ETERNAL CITY 

bers. . All the streets leading- to it from the royal palace were 
lined with people. The square in front of the Parliament 
House was kept clear by a cordon of Carabineers, but the open 
windows of the hotels and houses round about were filled with 
faces. 

A military band was drawn up by the portico, ready to re- 
ceive the signal as the King approached, and royal guards in 
glistening helmets stood waiting at the door. A way was kept 
for carriages to draw up and discharge their occupants, and 
reporters with note-books in hand were jotting down the names 
of distinguished persons as they arrived. Deputies on foot 
were sometimes recognised by the public in the outer square 
and streets, and greeted with slight cheering. 

Coming from the direction opposite to the palace, David 
Rossi had encountered no crowds until he reached the piazza. 
Then he entered* the house unobserved by the little private door 
for dej)uties in the side street. The chamber was already 
thronged, and as full of movement as a hive of bees. Ladies in 
light dresses, soldiers in uniform, diplomatists wearing decora- 
tions, senators and deputies in white cravats and gloves, were 
moving to their places and saluting each other with bows and 
smiles. 

. It was a semicircular chamber with formal rows of stalls 
round its curved side, upholstered in red velvet. On its straight 
side there was a broad platform, on which stood a large 
gilded arm-chair under a baldacchino, also of red velvet, with 
the cross of the reigning House embroidered on it in gold. A 
gallery for reporters and for the undistinguished public ran 
round the upper part of the walls, and the roof was a dome 
of glass. 

David Rossi slipped into the place he usually occupied 
among the deputies. It was the corner seat by the door on the 
left of the royal canopy, immediately facing the section which 
had been apportioned to the Court tribune. He did not lift 
his eyes as he entered, but he was conscious of a tall, well- 
rounded yet girlish figure in a grey dress that glistened in a 
ray of sunshine, with dark hair under a large black hat, and 
flashing eyes that seemed to pierce into his own like a shaft 
of light. 

Beautiful ladies with big oriental eyes were about her, and 
young deputies were using their opera-glasses upon them with 
undisguised curiosity. There was much gossip, some laughter, 
and a good deal of gesticulation. The atmosphere was one of 



DAVID ROSSI 185 

light spirits, approaching gaiety, the atmosphere of the theatre 
or the balh-oom. 

The clock over the reporters' gallery showed seven minutes 
after the hour appointed, when the walls of the chamber shook 
with the vibration of a cannon-shot. It was a gun fired at the 
Castle of St. Angelo to announce the King's arrival. At the 
same moment there came the muffled strains of the royal hymn 
played by the band in the piazza. The little gales of gossip 
died down in an instant, and in dead silence the assembly rose 
to its feet. 

A minute afterwards the King entered amid a fanfare of 
trumpets, the shouts of many voices, and the clapping of hands. 
He was a young man, in the uniform of a general, with a face 
that was drawn into deep lines under the eyes by ill-health and 
anxiety. Two soldiers, carrying their brass helmets with wav- 
ing plumes, walked by his side, and a line of his Ministers fol- 
lowed. His queen, a tall and beautiful girl, came behind, sur- 
rounded by many ladies. 

The King took his seat under the baldacchino, with his 
Ministers on his left. The Queen sat on his right hand, with 
her ladies beside her. They bowed to the plaudits of the assem- 
bly, and the drawn face of the young King wore a painful 
smile. 

The Baron Bonelli, in court dress and decorations, stood at 
the King's elbow, calm, dignified, self-possessed — the one strong 
face and figure in the group tinder the canopy. After the 
cheering and the shouting had subsided he requested the assem- 
bly, at the command of His Majesty, to resume their seats. 
Then he handed a paper to the King. 

It was the King's' speech to his Parliament, and he read it 
nervously in a voice that had not learned to control itself. But 
the speech was sufficiently emphatic, and its words were gran- 
diose and even florid. 

It consisted of four clauses. In the first clause the King 
thanked God that his country was on terms of amity with all 
foreign countries, and invoked God's help in the preservation 
of peace. The second clause was about the increase of the 
army. 

" The army," said the King, " is very dear to me, as it has 
always been dear to my family. My illustrious grandfather, 
who granted freedom to the kingdom, was a soldier; my 
honoured father was a soldier, and it is my pride that I am 
myself a soldier also. The army was the foundation of our 
13 



186 THE ETERNAL CITY 

liberty and it is now the security of our rights. On the strength 
and stability of the army rest the power of our nation abroad 
and the authority of our institutions at home. It is my firm 
resolve to maintain the army in the future as my illustrious 
ancestors have maintained it in the past, and therefore my 
Government will propose a bill which is intended to increase 
still further its numbers and its efficiency." 

This was received with a great outburst of applause and the 
waving of many handkerchiefs. It was observed that some of 
the ladies shed tears. 

The third clause was about the growth and spread of an- 
archism. 

" My house," said the King, " gave liberty to the nation, 
and now it is my duty and my hope to give security and 
strength. It is known to Parliament that certain subversive 
elements, not in Italy alone, but throughout Europe, throughout 
the world, have been using the most devilish machinations for 
the destruction of all order, human and divine. Cold calculat- 
ing criminals have pei"petrated crimes against the most inno- 
cent and the most highly placed, which have sent a thrill of 
horror into all humane hearts. My Government asks for an 
absolute power over such criminals, and if we are to bring 
security to the State, we must reinvigorate the authority to 
which society trusts the high mandate of protecting and gov- 
erning." 

A still greater outburst of cheering interrupted the young 
King, who raised his head amid the shouts, the clapping of 
hands, and the fluttering of handkerchiefs, and smiled his 
painful smile. 

" More than that," continued the King, " I have to deplore 
the spread of associations, sodalities, and clubs, which, by an 
erroneous conception of liberty, are disseminating the germs of 
revolt against the State. Under the most noble propositions 
about the moral and economical redemption of the people, is 
hidden a propaganda for the conquest of the public powers. 

" Leaders, whose sole motive is blind envy of a social state 
superior to their own, are diffusing hate between the classes 
by inculcating doctrines that cut at the root of public order 
and threaten the existence of the dynasty. Associations, which 
have not even asked the permission of the authorities, are hid- 
ing under the cloak of religion and texts of Scripture their 
true character, which is political and subversive. 

" My aim is to gain the affection of my people, and to 



DAVID ROSSI 187 

interest them in the cause of order and public security, and 
therefore my Government will present an urgent bill, which is 
intended to stop the flowering of these parasitic organisations, 
by revising these laws of the press and of public meeting, in 
whose defects agitators find opportunity for their attacks on 
the doctrines of the State." 

A prolonged outbui"st of applause followed this passage, 
mingled with a tvmiult of tongues, which went on after the 
King had begun to read again, rendering his last clause — an 
invocation of God's blessing on the deliberations of Parliament 
— almost inaudible. 

The end of the speech was a signal for further cheering, 
and when the King left the hall, bowing as nervously as before, 
and smiling his painful smile, the shouts of " Long live the 
King," the clapping of hands, and the waving of handkerchiefs 
followed him to the street. The entire ceremony had occupied 
twelve minutes. 

Then the clamour of voices drowned the sound of the royal 
hymn outside. Deputies were climbing about to join their 
friends among the ladies, whose light laughter was to be heard 
on every side. 

David Rossi rose to go. Without lifting his head, he had 
been conscious that during the latter part of the King's speech 
many eyes were fiLxed upon him. Playing with his watch 
chain, he had struggled to look calm and impassive. But his 
heart was sick, and he wished to get away quickly. 

A partition, shielding the door of the corridor, stood near 
to his seat, and he was trying to get round it. He heard his 
name in the air around him, mingled with significant trills and 
unmistakable accents. All at once he was conscious of a per- 
fume he knew, and of a girlish figure facing him. 

" Good-day, Honourable," said a voice that thrilled him like 
the strings of a harp drawn tight. 

He lifted his head and answered. It was Roma. Her face 
was lighted up with a fire he had never seen before. Only 
one glance he dared to take, but he could see that at the next 
instant those flashing eyes would burst into tears. 

The tide was passing out by the front doors where the car- 
riages and the reporters waited, but Rossi stepped round to 
the back. No one was going that way, except two or three old 
men of his own party who were grumbling their way down the 
stairs, and one or two young Deputies who were talking of 
staking money in the lottery on the number of the clauses of 



188 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the King's speech, the number of minutes he had been late in 
arriving, and the number of the day of the month — 4, 7, and 25. 

David Rossi was on the way to the office of his newspaper, 
and dipping into the Corso from a lane that crossed it, he came 
upon the King's carriage returning to the Quirinal. It was 
entirely surrounded by soldiers, the military commander of 
Rome on the right, the commander of the Carabineers on the 
left, and the Cuirassiers, riding two deep, before and behind, 
so that the King and Queen were scarcely visible to the cheer- 
ing crowd. Last in the royal procession came an ordinary cab 
containing two detectives in plain clothes. 

To David Rossi it was a painful sight. Miserable and 
doomed, whatever its flourishes, was the institution that had to 
be maintained by such a retinue. A throne broad-based on the 
love of the people might be strong and right, but a throne that 
had to be protected from their hate, or even from the dagger 
of the assassin, was weak and wrong. Not to be king of all the 
kingdoms of the earth should a true man live an abject life 
such as that procession gave hint of. The young King, who 
had just spoken as if he were a god, was being taken home as if 
he were a prisoner. 

The office of the Sunrise was in a narrow lane out of the 
Corso. It was a dingy building of three floors, with the ma- 
chine-rooms on the ground-level, the composing-rooms at the 
top, and the editorial rooms between. David Rossi's office was 
a large apartment, with three desks', that were intended for the 
editor and his day and night assistants. 

His day assistant received him with many bows and compli- 
ments. He was a small man with an insincere face. 

Rossi drank a cup of coffee and settled to his work. It was 
an article on the day's doings, more fearless and outspoken than 
he had ever published before. Such a day as they had just 
gone through, with the flying of flags and the playing of royal 
hymns, was not really a day of joy and rejoicing, but of degra- 
dation and shame. If the people had known what they were 
doing, they would have hung their flags with crape and played 
funeral marches. 

The young King, whose speech had been made for him by a 
Minister who despised the people, and touched up by some man 
of letters who was only thinking of his flowers of rhetoric— the 
King, who was supposed to hold his sceptre by the will of the 
nation — had done his utmost to annul every authority of Par- 
liament and to suppress the rights which were the last asylum 



DAVID ROSSI 189 

of the liberties of the country. The new regulations which had 
been proposed represented the death of government by the 
people, and the birth of government by the police constable, as 
standing for the Minister and the throne. 

" Xo wonder the King is a soldier," he wrote. " All kings 
are soldiers. The uniform of the soldier is the badge of the 
positions they fill and the rights they arrogate. Who says King 
says soldier, army, national barriers, the frontier, the sentinel, 
the custom-house officer, everything that divides man from 
man. To divide man from man is necessary to the King in 
order that he may reign and rule. 

" And no wonder kings surround themselves with armies. 
Armies are the engines of arrogated power intended to separate 
nation from nation and to keep down the rights of the dispos- 
sessed. They are the great devourers of the world, the Jugger- 
nauts of empires, and can only end by trampling to death the 
powers that made them." 

It was the old idea of government that the King was the 
law, the authority, the State. To revert to that theory, whether 
in the name of king or public security, was to turn back the 
clock that marks the progress of the world. Christianity came 
to wipe out such ideas of government — to show that the law 
was the State, that the State was the expression of the con- 
science of the people, and the conscience of the people the ex- 
pression of the divine. No man could claim to represent that 
conscience. In no man was it right to do so ; in no man was 
it even sane and logical, except, perhaps, the Pope of Rome 
himself. 

" Such a scene as we have witnessed to-day," he concluded, 
" like all such scenes throughout the world, whether in Ger- 
many, Russia, and England, or in China, Persia, and the dark- 
est regions of Africa, is but proof of the melancholy fact that 
while man, as the individual, has been nineteen hundred years 
converted to Christianity, man, as the nation, remains to this 
day, for the most part utterly Pagan." 

The assistant editor, who had glanced over the pages of 
manuscript as Rossi threw them aside, looked up at last and 
said: 

" Are you sure, sir, that you wish to print this article? " 
" Quite sure." 

The man made a shrug of his shoulders, and took the copy 
upstairs. 

The short day had closed in when Rossi was returning home. 



190 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Screamers in the streets were crying early editions of the even- 
ing papers, and the cafes in the Corso were full of officers and 
civilians, sipping vermouth and reading glowing accounts of 
the King's enthusiastic reception. Pitiful ! Most pitiful ! And 
the man who dared to tell the truth must be prepared for any 
consequences. 

David Rossi told himself that he was prepared. Henceforth 
he would devote himself to the people, without a thought of 
what might happen. Nothing should come between him and 
his work for humanity — nothing whatever — not even . . . but, 
no, he could not think of it ! 

He was turning into the Piazza Navona, when a tall young 
man, of soldierly bearing, stepped up beside him, and spoke in 
a low tone. 

"The Honourable Mr. Eossi, I think?" 

" Yes." 

" My name is De Raymond. I belong to the Pope's Guard. 
I think His Holiness may have something to say to you." 

"Does he know that I am not a good Catholic?" 

" He knows you are not a Protestant. But it is something 
social, something political, something that affects the position 
you are placed in at present. And, of course. His Holiness 
would not ask you to meet himself." 

"Whom, then?" 

" A representative I would have the honour to take you to." 

"When?" 

" To-morrow morning at eleven, if that will do." 

" Very well." 

" I will be waiting on this spot. Meantime our intei'view 
is quite confidential? " 

" Quite." 

VII 

Two letters were awaiting David Rossi in his room. 

One was a circular from the President of the Chamber of 
Deputies summoning Parliament for the day after to-morrow 
to elect officials and reply to the speech of the King. 

The other was from Roma, and the address was in a large, 
hurried hand. David Rossi broke the seal with nervous fingers. 

" My Dear Friend, — I know ! I know ! I know now what the 
obstacle is. B. gave me the hint of it on one of the days of last 
week, when I was so anxious to see you and you did not come. 



DAVID ROSSI 191 

It is your unflinching devotion to your mission and to your 
public duties. You are one of those who think that when a 
man has dedicated his life to work for the world, he should 
give up everything else — father, mother, wife, child — and live 
like a priest, who puts away home, and love, and kindred, that 
others may have them more abundantly. I can understand 
that, and see a sort of nobility in it too, especially in days when 
the career of a statesman is only a path to vainglory of every 
kind. It is great, it is glorious, it thrills me to think of it. 

" But I am losing faith in my unknown sister that is to be, 
in spite of all mj^ pleading. You say she is beautiful — that's 
well enough, but it comes by nature. You say she is sweet, and 
true, and charming — and I am willing to take it all on trust. 
But when you say she is noble-hearted, I respectfully refuse 
to believe it. If she were that, you would be sure that she 
would know that friendship is the surest part of love, and to 
be the friend of a great man is to be a help to him, and not 
an impediment. 

" My gracious ! What does she think you are? A cavaliere 
servente to dance attendance on her ladyship day and night ? I 
shall certainly despise her if that is her hope and expectation. 
Xo, no ! Give me the woman who wants her husband to be a 
man, with a man's work to do, a man's burdens to bear, and a 
man's triumphs to win, whatsoever they are and wheresoever 
they take him, down to the depths of disappointment or up to 
the glory of the cross. 

" Yet perhaps I am too hard on my unknown sister that is 
to be or ought to be, and it is only your own distrust that 
wrongs her. If she is the daughter of one brave man and really 
loves another, she knows her place and her duty. It is to be 
ready to follow her husband wherever he must go, to share his 
fate whatever it may be, and to live his life, because it is now 
her own. 

" And since I am in the way of pleading for her again, let 
me tell you how simple you arc to suppose that because you 
have never disclosed your secret she may never have guessed it. 
Goodness me ! To think that men who can make women love 
them to madness itself can be so ignorant as not to know that 
a woman can always tell if a man loves her, and even fix the 
very day and hour and minute when he looked into her eyes and 
loved her first. 

" And if my unknown sister that ought to be knows that 
you love her, be sure that she loves you in return. Have you 



192 THE ETERNAL CITY 

thought of that. A thousand to one she loved you before you 
dreamt of loving her, and waited and watched for the return 
of the dove of promise she had cast out on to the waters of 
your heart. Then trust her. Take the counsel of a woman and 
go to her. Remember, that if you are suffering by this separa- 
tion, perhaps she is suffering too, and if she is worthy of the 
love and friendship of a better man than you are, or ever hope 
to be (which, without disparaging her ladyship, I respectfully 
refuse to believe), let her at least have the refusal of one or 
both of them. 

" Good-night ! I go to the Chamber of Deputies again the 
day after to-morrow, being so immersed in public matters (and 
public men) that I can think of nothing else at present. Hap- 
pily my bust is out of hand, and the caster (not B. this time) 
is hard at work on it. 

" You won't hear anything about the M doings, yet I 

assure you they are a most serious matter. Unless I am 
much mistaken there is an effort on foot to connect you with 
my father, which is surely sufficiently alarming. M is re- 
turning to Rome, and I hear rumours of an intention to bring 
pressure on some one here in the hope of leading to identifica- 
tion. Think of it, I beg, I pray ! — Your friend, R." 



VIII 

At eleven o'clock next morning the young Noble Guard was 
waiting for David Rossi by the corner of the Piazza Navona. 
They got into a carriage and drove along the bank of the Tiber. 
The carriage drew up in the Ripetta, a busy thoroughfare, be- 
fore a grey palace which Rossi recognised. It was the Jesuit 
College. 

A black gate, resembling the portcullis to a castle, crossed 
the mouth of the portico, shutting off everything within. The 
bell was answered immediately, and without a word being 
spoken the two men were taken up a flight of stone stairs. A 
pale and emaciated young priest stood waiting at the top. He 
showed them into a room in silence, and then left them. The 
room overlooked the street, but it was closely curtained and 
dark, and had the dead atmosphere of a chamber whose windows 
are rarely opened. A sound of men's voices singing had fol- 
lowed them from the courtyard. 

There were two principal pictures on the wall. One of 



DAVID ROSSI 193 

tliem showed a figure dressed wholly in white, the other a figure 
dressed wholly in black. 

" We call them the white and the black popes," whispered 
the young Guard. 

Under the black pope hung a text-card with the words, 
" Let those who live in obedience be led and guided by their 
Superior, like the corpse which may be turned and handled in 
any way." On a table by the wall there was a Madonna in a 
glass case. It was a beautiful face and figure — the ideal of 
pure, sinless womanhood, which even in monasteries and cells 
is a sustaining force to man. David Rossi looked at it with a 
great tenderness, tears rose to his eyes, and the voices of the 
men came floating to him from below. 

The singing ceased, there was a step outside, the door 
opened, and a large man in a black soutane broidered with scar- 
let and wearing a scarlet skull-cap entered the room. 

The young Guard kissed the episcopal ring, presented 
Kossi, smiled, and went away. 

" Pray sit, Mr. Rossi," said the Cardinal, and he placed a 
chair for him facing the window. 

Although his voice was naturally a harsh one, the tones 
were soft; and despite an ungainly figure, his manner was 
suave and gracious. He sat with his back to the light, and 
opened the conversation with a playful hope that Mr. Rossi was 
not afraid of the Jesuits. The world made them the scapegoats 
of hiimanity, but they were happy enough if they bore away 
its sins. 

" I understand His Holiness has something to say to me," 
said Rossi. 

Without replying, the Cardinal paid some graceful compli- 
ments to Rossi himself. In days when politicians were for the 
most part light and even corrupt persons, when the whole 
power of the State was in the hands of anti-Christians, when 
the baneful effects of secret societies, especially the Freema- 
sons, were so keenly felt, it was something to find a statesman 
with so strong a sentiment of religion. The legislative assem- 
blies of Europe had need of such men. 

" Perhaps these evils are permitted by our Divine Master 
for the purgation of the world ; but you have proved, dear sir, 
that it is not necessary that men should be irreligious in order 
to be Liberal, or offend against the principles of morality that 
they may love their country." 

" Does the Holy Father know," said David Rossi, " that I am 



194 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the man who tried to stop his procession, and was flung out of 
the way by his soldiers ? " 

" That," said the Cardinal, with a scarcely perceptible hesi- 
tancy, " that was a case in which a warm heart overcame the 
dictates of a cool head. The Holy Father is the Workmen's 
Pope, and there is nothing nearer to his paternal breast than 
the material welfare of the lowly ones. But to have joined 
hands with their advocate at such a moment would have been 
to insult the reigning powers and make terms with the spirit of 
rebellion." 

David Rossi was about to speak, but with a smile and a 
conciliatory gesture the Cardinal raised his hand and a large 
sapphire set in brilliants flashed in the light. 

" We have come nearer into line since then, dear sir. The 
new projects of law which are directed against you are directed 
against us as well ; a fresh subject of bitterness has been added 
to our griefs, and Ave are both suffering from the hostility of 
the Government." 

Then the Cardinal spoke of the many societies connected 
with the Church that would be affected by the proposed law, 
the sodalities, banks, clubs, circles, and schools. 

" On the first pretext of the police, it will be easy to dissolve 
all these associations, which have been conducted during many 
years for the good of the Church and the people. It will no 
longer be possible to hold a meeting or to carry a banner or 
emblem which the police chooses to regard as seditious. Indeed, 
the dissolution of the clerical clubs would be a religious cam- 
paign, and we are by no means sure that it is not intended to 
carry war into the camp of the Vatican under the cover of 
public security and the suppression of anarchism. Be that 
as it may, it is clear that the same method of defence which 
will be good for your associations will be good for ours 
also." 

" And that is — what, your Eminence? " 

The Cardinal cleared his throat. 

" You are aware that the Holy Father has forbidden his 
faithful children to participate in the affairs of a Government 
which exists by the abrogation of his rights and the spoliation 
of his treasure." 

Rossi bowed assent. 

" But the Church does not deny itself the right to take part 
in the secular affairs of Italy where to do so is hopeful of good 
results to the Catholic Church, and it would not be opposed to 



DAVID ROSSI 195 

any honourable plans of freedom which are agreeable to moral- 
ity and religion." 

" You think of a Catholic party in the Assembly ? " 

"Xo, Mr. Rossi. A Catholic party in the Assembly of 
Italy would have to begin by abandoning the temporal claims 
of the Poi)e. It is not necessary. One of the parties already 
there might serve as well — your own, for example." 

" You mean," said Rossi, " that the Holy Father would 
liberate his people from his injunction, and tell them to vote 
for me ? " 

" Why not ? Politically our objects at this moment are the 
same. You could not protect your own associations without 
protecting ours. But you are weak while we are strong. The 
clerical clubs are all over Italy. They keep records of the 
people everywhere. We are in touch with them in Rome, and 
can call them up at a given signal. With our strength behind 
you it will be possible for you to tell Parliament that Ministers 
do not represent the country, and challenge them to prove it. 
You will overthrow the Government." 

"And then?" 

" You will have saved Italy from a cruel religious war, pro- 
tected the rights of public meeting, and preserved your own 
associations and those of the Church." 

"And then?" 

" Then," said the Cardinal, playing with the gold chain that 
hung from his neck, " you will remember the power that helped 
you to office, and think of the dolorous circumstances in which 
it is placed, with its papal palace occupied by the King, its 
convents and monasteries converted into barracks and police 
offices, its treasury confiscated, and its Holy Head deprived of 
the independence which is necessary for the free exercise of his 
apostolic mission." 

" In short," said Rossi, " we should, in return for your as- 
sistance, heal the discord between Italy and the Holy See by 
helping to restore the temporal power of the Pope ? " 

Without replying, the Cardinal bent his head. 

" Would anything else be expected of us ? " 

" Mr. Rossi," said the Cardinal, " I have had the honour to 
read some of your writings, and I rejoice in your faith in the 
destinies of Rome. That the Eternal City will once more rule 
the world, that a special mission is assigned to her by God, is 
our own conviction also. It is especially the faith of the Holy 
Father; and if by pen and tongue you can help toward the 



196 THE ETERNAL CITY 

founding of a great federative league of all the States of the 
world, each governed by its own laws and rulers, but all subject 
to Eome as their metropolis, you will inscribe your name among 
the greatest benefactors of the people and the Church." 

David Kossi did not reply immediately, and the Cardinal 
added : 

" But perhaps that is a miracle which we have no right to 
look for in our day — although," he said with a subtle gleam in 
his slow eyes, " an article like yours in this morning's paper on 
the evils of militarism and the arrogated rights of kings cannot 
but help on that sublime conception of the Holy Father of a 
spiritual kingdom on earth under the sovereignty of the Vicar 
of Jesus Christ himself." 

There was a long pause, and then David Rossi said in a low 
voice : 

" I am sorry, your Eminence, but what you propose is quite 
impossible. My people are weak and their rights are in peril, 
but I should not feel myself an honest man if I agreed to ac- 
cept your help." 

" And why not? " said the Cardinal. 

" Because I see no difference between the principles I op- 
pose and those you ask me to support except a difference of 
form, and no difference between the spectacle of the King's pro- 
cession yesterday and the Pope's procession of a month ago ex- 
cept a difference of clothes." - 

The Cardinal made a slight contemptuous sound in his 
throat, and a gold-buckled shoe and red stocking protruded 
from the edge of his black cassock. 

" We should be changing the King for the Pope — that's all," 
said Rossi. 

" Would you not be changing a fallible and corrupt head of 
government for an infallible an incorruptible one ? " asked the 
Cardinal. 

" Is the Pope infallible in the world of fact ? " said 
Rossi. 

" Pontiffs," said the Cardinal, " have no infallibility except 
in faith and morals, but the spiritual and the temporal are so 
closely interwoven that certain theologians think it might per- 
haps be difficult to say where infallibility would end in a Pope 
who directed the affairs of a state." 

" That," said Rossi, " is exactly what was said of the em- 
perors and kings of the pagan world. They claimed to be not 
only of the spirit, but the very blood of the gods. Put the Pope 



DAVID ROSSI 197 

of to-day at the head of a state because he is a Pope, and his 
rule must claim to be the divine rule. If it does not, it is arro- 
gated, meaningless, and illogical. To be the rule of the divine, 
it must be the rule of one who is not only infallible but impec- 
cable and untemptable. There is only one infallible, impec- 
cable and untemptable being. That is God, and to put a man in 
God's place is idolatry. It was the idolatry of the pagan world 
which Christianity came to wipe away. And yet the Church 
asks the world to go back to that idolatry. It never will, it 
never can. The world has outgrown it." 

The Cardinal shifted in his chair and said in a tone of the 
utmost suavity: 

" Then, bad as in your opinion is the rule of the world un- 
der the kings, with their militarism and corruption, you think 
the temporal rule of the Popes would be no better ? " 

" Much worse, your Eminence," said Rossi. " Christianity 
has not been two thousand years in the world without uprooting 
the monstrous fiction that the will of the king is the will 
of the divine, and we dethrone an unrighteous king without 
fear; but set up a ruler who claims to be infallible, whether 
in the world of fact or dogma, or both, and you establish a 
bulwark of superstition which would make it as awful to 
rise up against an unrighteous Pope as to rise up against 
God." 

" You make no allowance, then, for the probability that the 
Pope would be righteous, not unrighteous — that he would be 
the father of all men, with no interest to serve but the well- 
being of the whole human family ? " 

" None whatever," said Rossi, " because the same argument 
is used for every monarch, and it comes to nothing. The Pope 
is a man, and a man has his own interest to serve before 
any other." 

" You make no allowances, too, for the life of grace which 
in the Holy Father might be expected to subdue the selfish 
impulses of poor human creatures," said the Cardinal. 

" I do, your Eminence ; but, on the other hand, I make 
allowances for the environment which, in all who hold absolute 
power, tends to make an unselfish man selfish, a modest man 
proud, a good man bad. The only atmosphere that surrounds 
a Pope, like the only atmosphere that surounds a king, is an 
atmosphere of servility and flattery. It develops the evil, not 
the noble muscles of his soul. No man is better for being Pope, 
and the saintly man is worse." 



198 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The Cardinal's chair was creaking under the movement of 
his body, and a gold cross which had been fixed in his sash 
swung loose from his neck. 

" And if," he said, " the divine rule of the world is not to 
be looked for from Popes and kings, pray where is it to come 
from ? " 

" From Humanity," said David Rossi, 

The Cardinal held up both hands with a mock gesture which 
even his courtesy could not repress. 

" Why not ? " said David Ilossi. " The sentiment in Hu- 
manity is the noblest and holiest thing we have in the world. 
It is our only proof of God, of immortality, and of right 
and wrong." 

" Poor Humanity ! What of its frightful errors ? Its out- 
breaks as of hell itself? " said the Cardinal. 

" Nothing," said David Ilossi, " except that they began in 
heaven. The very worst of them came of good impulses and 
ended in good results. Humanity is the only thing divine in 
this world. You can't appeal to it, as you can to King or Pope, 
on the ignoble side of the heart or senses. It only answers 
to the true and the everlasting." 

" Poor miserable Humanity ! " said the Cardinal. " Differ- 
ing no more in the tenth century and the twentieth than the 
shifting pictures of the kaleidoscope — what has happened to the 
world that you have become a god ? 

" But I must not trouble you to prolong this interview," he 
said, rising from his chair. " The Holy Father thought so well 
of you that he will be sorry to hear that you are to be num- 
bered among those who, by the doctrines of a false democracy, 
retard the pacification of souls by the gospel." 

" The gospel," said Rossi, also rising, " has had many in- 
carnations, your Eminence. The first of them was when it 
entered into the body of a Jew and took a Jewish colour. It 
didn't rest there, thanks to St. Paul, but was next incarnated 
in the body of a Roman Emperor. Unhappily, so far as the 
Catholic Church goes, it has rested there, thanks to the Popes 
and their Senate, the Sacred College. But the gospel has 
had another and a far greater incarnation — its incarnation 
into Humanity. That is what is going on in the world now. 
Humanity is the Pope of the twentieth century." 

The Cardinal, who had been moving towards the door, was 
arrested, and stood. 

" The Pope I dream of, the sublime Pontiff of the future," 



DAVID ROSSI 199 

said Rossi, " will be no longer content to live in the mummy of 
a Roman emperor. He will live in the body of Humanity. 
He will see that the old dynastic world is dead, and a world of 
the peoples is coming on, and that the Christendom of Rome 
must widen out to be the Christendom of the world. He will 
not look to the sovereigns and classes, which are shadows van- 
ishing away, but to thfe people who are realities, and last for 
ever ; he will know that the strength of the Church in all ages 
and all countries is the poor, and when they kneel at his feet to 
ask him to protect their bread, he will not set all his tempo- 
ralities against the hunger of one starving child." 

The Cardinal was moved, even against his convictions, and 
being an honest raan he did not attempt to conceal it. 

" I'm sorry," he said, " and the Holy Father will be sorry, 
that one with so strong a sentiment of religion must hence- 
forth be numbered among the enemies — the most serious 
enemies — of the Church." 

" My reverence to His Holiness," said Rossi in a low voice. 
" Tell him if you will that a humble and unknown son looks 
up to him with the deepest love and veneration. Tell him that 
a fatherless man feels towards him, though so high above, as to 
a father, whose hand he would go far to touch. But God gave 
me a will that is free, and I cannot give it up even to the 
saintliest man in all the world." 

" Good-bye, my son," said the Cardinal. " I shall think of 
you very often. Your faith in Humanity is beautiful, but you 
are awakening a monster, and God knows what it may do to 
you yet. Take care ! Take care ! " 

The Cardinal saw his visitor to the black gate below, and 
then went through the chill corridors with drooping head. The 
traffic in the street was thick and noisy, and the sun outside 
was warm and bright. 

IX 

On reaching home, David Rossi found his day assistant 
waiting for him with a troubled face. 

There was bad news from the office. The morning's edition 
of the Sunrise had been confiscated by the police owing to the 
article on the King's speech and procession. A proof of the 
issue had been sent the night before to the office of the Procura- 
tore del Re; but that morning at eleven all unsold copies had 
been seized at the newsagents. The proprietors of the paper 



200 THE ETERNAL CITY 

were angry with their editor, and demanded to see him im- 
mediately. 

" Tell them I'll be at the oflB.ce at four o'clock, as usual," 
said Rossi, and he sat down to write a letter. 

It was to Roma. The moment he took up the pen to write 
to her, the air of the room seemed to fill with a sweet feminine 
presence that banished everything else. It was like talking to 
her. She was beside him. He could hear her soft replies. 

" If it were possible to heighten the pain of my feelings 
when I decided to sacrifice my best wishes to my sense of duty, 
a letter like your last would be more than I could bear. The 
obstacle you deal with is not the one which chiefly weighs with 
me, but it is a very real impediment, not altogether disposed of 
by the sweet and tender womanliness with which you put it 
aside. In that regard what troubles me most is the hideous 
inequality between what the man gives and what he gets, and 
the splendid devotion with which the woman merges her life in 
the life of the man she marries only quickens the sense of his 
selfishness in allowing himself to accept so great a prize. 

" In my own case, the selfishness, if I yielded to it, would 
be greater far than anybody else could be guilty of, and of all 
men who have sacrificed women's lives to their own career, I 
should feel myself to be the most guilty and inexcusable. My 
dear and beloved girl is nobly born, and lives in wealth and 
luxury, while I am poor — poor by choice, and therefore poor for 
ever, -oithout father or mother, brought up as a foundling, and 
without a name that I dare call my own. 

" I do not complain of this, and down to the present mo- 
ment, if I have remembered it with pain, I have also thought of 
it with joy. It was the badge of my calling, the sign manual 
of God's will, to set me apart, being a man cut oflF from any 
earthly tie, for a work for the world. For ten years I have 
taken up the part to which ISTature herself assigned me. And 
what is the result? I am a pauper, an outcast, one who must 
be ready to go through any dangers any day for the work he 
has set before himself — friendless, kinless, loveless, joyless, 
and alone. 

" What then ? Shall such a man ask such a woman as she 
is to come into the circle of his life, to exchange her riches for 
his poverty, her comfort for his suffering ? No ! 

" Besides, what woman could do it if I did ? Women can 
be unselfish, they can be faithful, they can be true ; but — don't 
ask me to say things I do not want to say — women love wealth 



DAVID ROSSI 201 

and luxury and ease, and shrink from pain and poverty and 
the forced marches of a hunted life. And why shouldn't they ? 
Heaven spare them all such sufferings as men alone should bear. 

" Yet all this is still outside the greater obstacle which 
stands between me and the dear girl from whom I must sepa- 
rate myself now, whatever it may cost me, as an inexorable 
duty. I entreat you to spare me the pain of explaining further. 
Believe that for her sake my resolution, in spite of all your 
sweet and charming pleading, is strong and unalterable. 

" Only one thing more. If it is as you say it may be, that 
she loves me, though I had no right to believe so, that will 
only add to my unhappiness in thinking of the wrench that she 
must suffer. But she is strong, she is brave, she is the daugh- 
ter of her father, and I have faith in the natural power of 
her mind, in her youth and the chances of life for one so beauti- 
ful and so gifted, to remove the passing impression that may 
have been made. 

" Good-bye, yet again ! And God bless you ! D. 

" P.S. — I am not afraid of M , and come when he may, 

I shall certainly stand my ground. There is only one person in 
Rome who could be used against me in the direction you in- 
dicate, and I could trust her with my heart's blood." 



Before two o'clock next day the Chamber of Deputies was 
already full. The royal chair and baldacchino had been re- 
moved and their place was occupied by the usual bench of the 
President. Below the bench of the President was the table of 
the Ministers, with its ten chairs, still empty. Between the 
table of the Ministers and the first row of circular stalls there 
was an open space, containing nothing but the desk of the 
official shorthand writers. 

The seats of the Deputies were mostly occupied, though a 
few of the members stood in groups on the floor. In the central 
gallery were two lines of journalists, some of them sketching, 
others writing descriptive notes. The galleries at the sides 
were filled with Senators, diplomatists, ladies, and the gen- 
eral public. 

When the Prime Minister took his place, cool, collected, 
smiling, faultlessly dressed and wearing a flower in his button- 
hole, he was greeted with some applause from the members, and 
14 



202 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the dry rustle of fans in the ladies' tribune was distinctly 
heard. The leader of the Opposition had a less marked recep- 
tion, and when David Kossi glided round the partition to his 
place on the extreme left, there was a momentary hush, fol- 
lowed by a buzz of voices. 

Then the President of the Chamber entered, with his secre- 
taries about him, and took his seat in a central chair under 
a bust of the young King. Ushers, wearing a linen band 
of red, white, and green on their arms, followed with portfo- 
lios, and with little trays containing water-bottles and glasses. 
Conversation ceased, and the President rang a hand-bell 
that stood by his side, and announced that the sitting was 
begun. 

The first important business of the day was the reply to the 
speech of the King, and the President called on the member 
who had been appointed to undertake this duty. A young 
Deputy, a man of letters, then made his way to a bar behind 
the chairs of the Ministers and read from a printed paper a 
florid address to the sovereign. 

The address recited the clauses and terms of the King's 
speech, with expressions of approval. His Majesty's Parlia- 
ment rejoiced to learn that his Government proposed to in- 
crease still further the strength and efficiency of the army. 
They also rejoiced that safety of life and property was to be se- 
cured to the nation by measures intended to punish the crimi- 
nals who threatened law and order. Most of all, they rejoiced 
that the parasitic organisations which disseminated the seeds 
of rebellious and anarchist doctrines were to be cut off by a 
vigorous remodelling of the privileges of the press and public 
meeting. 

Having read his printed document, the Deputy proceeded to 
move the adoption of the reply. 

With the proposal of the King and the Government to in- 
crease the army he would not deal. It required no recom- 
mendation. The people were patriots. They loved their coun- 
try, and would spend the last drop of their blood to defend it. 
The only persons who were not with the King in his desire to 
uphold the army were the secret foes of the nation and the 
dynasty — persons who were in league with their enemies. 

" That," said the speaker, " brings us to the next clause of 
our reply to His Majesty's gracious speech. We know that 
there exists among the associations aimed at a compact be- 
tween strangely varying forces — between the forces of social- 



DAVID ROSSI 203 

ims, republicanism, unbelief, and anarchy, and the forces of 
the Church and the Vatican. 

" These natural enemies are joining hands to pull down the 
nation and the monarchy. The Church, to which we gave a 
guarantee of liberty in the exercise of its religious rights, is 
abusing our leniency to teach doctrines of hatred against the 
State. Its journals and its priests are writing and preaching 
insolent abuse of the institutions of the country. The Prince 
of the Church, this loud-voiced advocate of peace for the rest 
of the world, never opens his lips without lamentations about 
the loss of his temporal power, which can have no object and 
no meaning if they are not intended to incite our people to 
a fratricidal war, or provoke the Governments of Europe to 
take up arms against us on his behalf." 

This was received with almost universal applause, during 
which the speaker mixed himself a glass of sherbet from a bowl 
brought by an usher, stirred and drank it, and then continued : 

" More than that, gentlemen, the Church helps every propa- 
ganda inspired by hatred against the State; and it is within the 
knowledge of the Government that certain persons who have 
taken the oath of allegiance to the reigning sovereign as mem- 
bers of this House are in close communication with the agents 
and ministers of the Vatican." 

At this statement there was a great commotion. Members 
on the Left protested with loud shouts of " It is not true," and 
in a moment the tongues and arms of the whole assembly 
were in motion. The President rang his bell, and the 
speaker concluded. 

" Let us draw the teeth of both parties to this secret con- 
spiracy, that they may never again use the forces of poverty 
and discontent to disturb public order." 

When the speaker sat down, his friends thronged around 
him to shake hands with him and congratulate him. 

Then the eyes of the house and of the audience in the gal- 
lery turned to David Rossi. He had sat with folded arms and 
head do-«Ti while his followers screamed their protests. But 
passing a paper to the President, he now rose and said : 

" I ask permission to propose an amendment to the reply to 
the King's speech." 

"You have the word," said the President. 

David Rossi read his amendment. At the feet of His 
Majesty it humbly expressed an opinion that the present was 
not a time at which fresh burdens should be laid upon the 



204 THE ETERNAL CITY 

country for the support of the army, with any expectation 
that they could be borne. Misfortune and suffering had 
reached their climax. The cup of the people was full. 

At this language some of the members laughed. There were 
cries of " Order " and " Shame," and then the laughter was 
resumed. The President rang his bell, and at length silence 
was secured. David Rossi began to speak in a voice that was 
firm and resolute. 

" If," he said, " the statement that members of this House 
are in alliance with the Pope and the Vatican is meant for me 
and mine, I give it a flat denial. And, in order to have done 
with this calumny once and for ever, permit me to say that 
between the Papacy and the people, as represented by us, there 
is not, and never can be, anything in common. In temporal 
affairs, the theory of the Papacy rejects the theory of the 
democracy. The theory of the democracy rejects the theory 
of the Papacy. The one claims a divine right to rule in the 
person of the Pope because he is Pope. The other denies 
all divine right except that of the people to rule them- 
selves. 

" Temporal government by the Pope, whether in Rome or 
throughout the world, could only be established on a basis of 
the Pope's absolutism in principle if not in practice, on a basis 
of the Pope's infallibility in fact as well as in dogma; while 
the theory of democracy is to banish the ignis fatuus of ab- 
solutism and infallibility whether in Pope or King. No, there 
is no alliance between the cause of the people and the tem- 
poral claims of the Papacy. There is war, bitter war. The 
one belongs to the future, the other to the past, and the Papacy 
as a temporal power is doomed by every law of progress. The 
leaders of the people do not ally themselves with a hope 
that is dead." 

This was received with some applause mingled with 
laughter and certain shouts flung out in a shrill hysterical 
voice. The President rang his bell again, and David Rossi 
continued : 

" The proposal to increase the. army," he said, " in a time 
of tranquillity abroad but of discord at home, is the gravest 
impeachment that could be made of the Government of a 
country. Under a right order of things Parliament would be 
the conscience of the people, Government would be the servant 
of that conscience, and rebellion would be impossible. But this 
Government is the master of the country and is keeping the 



DAVID ROSSI 205 

people down by violence and oppression. Parliament is dead. 
For God's sake let us bury it ! " 

Loud shouts followed this outburst, and some of the dep- 
uties rose from their seats, and crowding about the speaker 
in the open space in front, yelled and screamed at him like a 
pack of hounds. He stood calm, playing with his watch-chain, 
while the President rang his bell and called for silence. The 
interiniptions died down at last, and the speaker went on: 

" If you ask me what is the reason of the discontent which 
produces the crimes of anarchism, I say, first, the domination 
of a Government which is absolute, and the want of liberty of 
speech and meeting. In other countries the discontented are 
permitted to manifest their woes, and are not pvmished unless 
they commit deeds of violence ; but in Italy alone, except Rus- 
sia, a man may be placed outside the law, torn from his home, 
from the bedside of his nearest and dearest, and sent to domi- 
cilio coatio to live or die in a silence as deep as that of the 
grave. Oh, I know what I am saying. I have been in the 
midst of it. I have seen a father torn from his daughter, and 
the motherless child left to the mercy of his enemies." 

This allusion quieted the House, and for a moment there 
was a dead silence. Then through the tense air there came a 
strange sound, and the President demanded silence from the 
galleries, whereupon the reporters rose and made a negative 
movement of the hand with two fingers upraised, pointing at 
the same time to the ladies' tribune. 

One of the ladies had cried out. David Rossi heard the 
voice, and, when he began again, his own voice was softer and 
more tremulous. 

" Xext, I say that the cause of anarchism in Italy, as every- 
where else, is poverty. Wait until the 1st of February, and 
you shall see such an army enter Rome as never before invaded 
it. I assert that within three miles of this place, at the gates 
of this capital of Christendom, human beings are living lives 
more abject than that of savage man. 

" Housed in huts of straw, sleeping on mattresses of leaves, 
clothed in rags or nearly nude, fed on maize and chestnuts and 
acorns, worked eighteen hours a day, and sweated by the tyr- 
anny of the overseers, to whom landlords lease their lands while 
they idle their days in the salons of Rome and Paris, men and 
women and children are being treated worse than slaves, and 
beaten more than dogs." 

At that there was a terrific uproar, shouts of " It's a lie ! " 



206 THE ETERNAL CITY 

and " Traitor ! " followed by a loud outbreak of jeers and 
laughter. Then, for the first time, David Rossi lost control of 
himself, and, turning upon the Parliament with flaming eyes 
and quivering voice, he cried : 

" You take these statements lightly — you that don't know 
what it is to be hungry, you that have food enough to eat, and 
only want sleep to digest it. But I know these things by bitter 
knowledge — by experience. Don't talk to me, you who had 
fathers and mothers to care for you, and comfortable homes 
to live in. I had none of these. I was nursed in a poorhouse 
and brought up in a hut on the Campagna. Because of the 
miserable laws of your predecessors my mother drowned her- 
self in the Tiber, and I knew what it was to starve. And I am 
only one of many. At the very door of Rome, under a Chris- 
tian Government, the poor are living lives of moral anaemia 
and physical atrophy more terrible by far than those which 
made the pagan poet say two thousand years ago — Paucis vivit 
humanum genus — the human race exists for the benefit of 
the few." 

The silence was breathless while the speaker made this 
personal reference, and when he sat down, after a denuncia- 
tion of the militarism which was consuming the heart of the 
civilised world, the House was too dazed to make any man- 
ifestation. 

In the dead hush that followed, the President put the 
necessary questions, but the amendment fell through without 
a vote being taken, and the printed reply was passed. 

Then the Minister of War rose to give notice of his bill for 
increased military expenditure, and proposed to hand it over 
to the general committee of the budget. 

The Baron Bonclli rose next as Minister of the Interior, 
and gave notice of his bill for the greater security of the pub- 
lic, and the remodelling of the laws of the press and of as- 
sociation. 

He spoke incisively and bitterly, and he was obviously ex- 
cited, but he affected his usual composure. 

" After the language we have heard to-day," he said, " and 
the knowledge we possess of mass meetings projected, it will not 
surprise the House that I treat this measure as urgent, and 
propose that we consider it on the principle of the three read- 
ings, taking the first of them in four days." 

At that there were some cries from the Left, but the Min- 
ister continued: 



DAVID ROSSI 207 

" It will also not surprise the House that, to prevent thf3 
obstruction of members who seeni ready to sing their Miserere 
without end, I will ask the House to take the readings with- 
out debate." 

Then in a moment the whole House was in an uproar and 
members were shaking their fists in each other's faces. In 
vain"the President rang his bell for silence. At length he put 
on his hat and left the Chamber, and the sitting was at an end. 

Out in the lobby a group of Rossi's followers were wait- 
ing for him. 

" What is to be done ? " they asked. 

" Meet me at the office of the Sunrise to-morrow afternoon 
at four," he replied, and then turned to go home. 

Going out by a side street, he caught a glimpse of a car- 
riage, with coachman in scarlet livery, passing through the 
piazza, but he only dropped his head and went on. 



XI 

The last post that night brought Rossi a letter from Roma. 

" My Dear, Dear Friend, — It's all up ! I'm done with her ! 
My unknown and invisible sister that is to be, or rather isn't to 
be and oughtn't to be, is not worth thinking about any longer. 
You tell me that she is good and brave, and noble-hearted, and 
yet you would have me believe that she loves wealth, and ease, 
and luxury, and that she could not give them up even for the 
sweetest thing that ever comes into a woman's life. Out on 
her! What does he think a wife is? A pet to be pampered, 
a doll to be dressed up and danced on your knee? If that's 
the sort of woman she is, I know what I should call her. A 
name is on the tip of my tongue, and the point of my finger, 
and the end of my pen, and I'm itching to have it out, but I 
suppose I must not write it. Only don't talk to me any more 
about the bravery of a woman like that. 

" The wife I call brave is a man's friend, and if she knows 
what that means, to be the friend of her husband to all the 
limitless lengths of friendship, she thinks nothing about sacri- 
fices between him and her, and differences of class do not exist 
for either of them. Her pride died the instant love looked out 
of her eyes at him, and if people taunt her with his poverty, or 
his birth, she answers and says : ' It's true he is jDoor, but his 



208 THE ETERNAL CITY 

glory is that he was a workhouse boy who hadn't father or 
mother to care for him, and now he is a great man, and I'm 
proud of him, and not all the wealth of the world shall take me 
away.' 

" Oh, how I wish that heaven would inspire me to speak to 
this woman ! I suppose I must have been thinking of her all 
last night after your letter came, for some time in the morning 
I woke with a dream that was so dear and delicious. I was at 
the Court ball at the Quirinal, and I was dressed more beauti- 
fully than I had ever been dressed before, and looked lovelier 
than I had ever looked in my life. And the great people in 
their decorations were good to me, and I danced and danced in 
the brilliant light, but all the time my heart was in the dark- 
ness outside with some one who could not be there, and when I 
escaped I ran to him, and he rushed on me like fire and folded 
me in his arms and kissed me, and I said : * Take me, clasp 
me close, be a man and hold me, and nothing and nobody shall 
come between us.' 

" But, oh dear, oh dear ! I suppose your fine friend who 
loves herself so much better than she loves love would think 
me a forward thing and perhaps even suspect I was a wicked 
woman; but the woman of my dreams wouldn't have cared 
much about that, and if you had told her that you were a poor 
man from choice as well as necessity, she would have stripped 
off her diamonds in a twinkling. 

" One thing I will say, though, for the sister that isn't to be, 
and that is, that you are deceiving yourself if you suppose that 
she is going to reconcile herself to your separation while she is 
kept in the dark as to the cause of it. It is all very well for 
you to pay compliments to her beauty and youth and the natu- 
ral strength of her mind to remove passing impressions, but 
perhaps the impressions are the reverse of passing ones, and if 
you go out of her life what is to become of her? Have you 
thought of that? Of course you haven't. Let me tell you, 
then, what is likely to happen. The veil ! Think of it ! Death, 
and yet not death, that's the cruelty of it. It has none of the 
peace of death, or its inevitableness or its compensations. She 
loves him, but she must think of him as one who is dead, and 
perhaps weep a little for him, too, because some dark shadow 
rose between them, and all was lost and vain. And he loves 
her, and feels her tears in his heart, wherever he may be, and 
they follow him and burn him like drops of liquid fire. 

" No, no, no I My poor sister, you shall not be so hard on 



DAVID ROSSI 209 

her. In my darkness I could almost fancy that I personate 
her, and I am she and she is I. Conceited, isn't it? But I 
told you it wasn't for nothing I was a daughter of Eve. Any- 
how I have fought hard for her and beaten you out and out, 
and now I don't say : ' Will you go to her? ' You will — I know 
you will. 

" To-morrow I go to the Chamber of Deputies again ! I'm 
dying to see the end of that imbroglio, only I hate to ask a 
third time for tickets from the same quarter, and shall be so 
happy and proud if you will send me one in your name, and let 
me go in for the first time under your wing and countenance. 
I dare say it will be a ticket for the people's tribune, but I 
shall like it all the better for that, being in the act of wean- 
ing myself from places and people that have poisoned my life 
too long. 

" My bust is out of the caster's hand, and ought to be under 
mine, but I've done no work again to-day. Tried, but the glow 
of soul was not there, and I was injuring the face at every 
touch. 

"No further news of'M , and my heart's blood is cold 

at the silence. But if you are fearless, why should I be afraid? 
Your friend's friend, R." 

XII 

The large room of the editor at the office of the Sunrise was 
filled at four o'clock next day by the fifty odd deputies who 
sat on the Extreme Left. Excitement was written on every 
countenance. The air was tense and hot. " It is the beginning 
of the end," said everybody. 

David Rossi presided. His face was white and his manner 
was nervous, but the piercing glances he cast about him showed 
plainly that he was more troubled about his friends than his 
enemies. 

" The position in which we find ourselves to-day," he said, 
" is not peculiar to Italy ; it exists in England, in Germany, in 
Russia, and wherever the old principle of monarchy is strug- 
gling with the new principle of representative government. 

" The greatest contribution which the nineteenth century 
made to the world's progress was what it did to alter the 
political status of man. It broke down the theory of authority 
and it set up the theory of liberty. It destroyed the pagan 
principle of absolutism and established the Christian principle 



210 THE ETERNAL CITY 

of individual rights. But absolutism has been fighting freedom 
ever since. It has fought it in revolutions and been beaten. It 
has fought it in courts of law and been beaten. It is now 
fighting it in Parliament as its last outwork, and it must be 
beaten again." 

Then he explained what the Government proposed to do. 
It asked Parliament to vote on a bill without debate. That 
was an attempt to close the mouth of Parliament. To close 
the mouth of Parliament was to close the minds of the people, 
and to close the minds of the people was to put the country 
at the mercy of a corrupt and unscrupulous Minister. Voters 
would be bought and sold, and representative government 
would be a farce. 

" When a man entered Parliament," said Kossi, " he would 
cease to be a name and become a number. He would belong to 
a congregation of councillors who need never be consulted, 
a college of political cardinals with a head above them who 
could wipe out all their work." 

There was some strained laughter at this thrust, and the 
speaker went on to tell a story. It was of a Pope, who, as head 
of one of his congregations, found his will opposed to the will 
of his Cardinals. They had voted against him with their black 
counters, whereupon he took off his white skull-cap, and laying 
it over the black balls, he said, " Your Eminences, they are all 
white, apparently — my resolution is passed." 

" Do we want the Parliament of the people to be as power- 
less as the Congregation of a Pope? " said Rossi. " If not, we 
must fight to uphold its reality." 

With that, he expounded his scheme of opposition. The 
closure could only be put on Parliament by help of its own 
elected head — its President. If, at the sitting three days hence, 
the President put the bill to the vote without allowing discus- 
sion, the instant he had done so the members of their party 
should rise in their places like one man, and, with outstretched 
arms, cry, " Away ! Away ! " In the face of that protest, the 
President would suspend the sitting, and when he presented 
himself on the day of the second reading, he would encounter 
the same protest. 

What would be the result? The President would be com- 
pelled to resign, and public business would be impossible until 
a successor had been elected, who would undertake to respect 
the privileges of Parliament. 

" This," said Rossi, " is the only thing we can do as a mi- 



DAVID ROSSI 211 

nority. As long as there is a rag of parliamentary liberty, we 
will stand on it. And if they arrest us and imprison us, let 
them do so. We shall have public opinion at our back, and 
public opinion is the strongest force in the world — stronger 
than governments or armies — and sooner or later it must pre- 
vail." 

The effect of this advice was not favourable. Amid mur- 
murs and groans one of the men rose and made a violent speech. 
It was Malatesta. 

" What's the good of punishing the President ? " he said. 
" The Prime Minister is the prime mover in this, as in every- 
thing. He is the real cap of lead that presses on Italian life. 
He is the Pope who would put his white hat over our black 
counters, and we should begin and end with him." 

This was received with exclamations of approval, and, grow- 
ing red and hot, the Deputy continued : 

" Let us give up talking about Parliament. It is only a 
houseful of parasitic clients and time-servers- — the fig-leaf 
which absolutism is using to cover its nakedness. Let us go 
to the people outside." 

Loud shouts greeted this outburst, and the speaker raised 
his voice and cried again : 

" Think what the man is doing ! He is stopping your work- 
men from strikes, your co-operative societies from co-operating, 
your trades unions from carrying a banner, your poor peasantry 
from meeting next week in the Coliseum to protest against the 
tax on bread. He is flooding the city with soldiers. He is 
tearing starving men from the plough to shoot down their 
brothers and sisters because they are starving! He is paving 
the way for famine, and for the pestilence which famine brings 
in its train ! Hasn't he done enough ? Are we to be trampled 
under foot? Haven't we the ordinary courage of Romans? 
Our leaders are like the seven sleepers. What do they pre- 
scribe? Some sleeping-dravight. to ease the pains of the people? 
Some lengthening of the chain of the prisoner? Useless, and 
worse than useless! Is there no one to utter the living word? 
The time calls for the leader who will gather the blood of his 
heart into the palm of his hand and scatter it abroad to warm 
suffering souls." 

A universal shout followed those words, and while the 
Deputy was still on his feet another man had begim to speak. 
It was Luigi Conti. 

" You're right, brother," he said. " The people are tired of 



212 THE ETERNAL CITY 

speechifying. It is time to act, and happily we are able to do 
so. Our new association, the Republic of Man, will give us the 
sinews of war. Fifty thousand francs in hand, and funds com- 
ing every day from the committees in England and Germany 
and Russia. We can get supplies of muskets from Belgium, 
and, thanks to conscription, our young men can handle 
arms." 

David Rossi rose again, and with difficulty obtained a 
hearing. 

"Brothers," he said, in his vibrating voice, "every man 
whose understanding is not darkened by passion, must see that 
what you arc proposing is to commit robbery and murder. 
Robbery, because you propose to use for purposes of violence 
funds that were given you to promote peace; and murder 
because you propose to put helpless men, women, and children 
into the way of being mown down by tens of thousands. It 
fihall not be done! I resist, and I forbid it." 

There was silence for a moment, and then Malatesta said : 

" You threaten to oppose us ? " 

" I ivill oppose you." 

A general groan followed this declaration, and there was 
nmch cross-speaking. Then, with a face of deadly whiteness, 
Malatesta rose again. 

" Very well," he said ; " since our leader says our first duty 
is to deal with this question in Parliament, I am ready — I am 
willing. Only," he added, and his black eyes flashed, " if the 
Prime Minister, at the sitting three days hence, does what he 
says he will do, and we are silenced, and have no remedy then 
. ." . then, by God, Fll fire." 

"And I!" "And I!" "And I!" "And I!" "And I!" 

And the voices rang through the room like a volley of 
musketry. 

In the midst of this clamour David Rossi rose again. 

" You threaten," he said, " to shoot the Prime Minister in 
Parliament. If you do that, what will you be doing? You 
will be following the example of the Government you de- 
nounce — you will be using violence against violence, and 
proclaiming yourselves the enemies of law and order. And 
what will be the result? Public opinion throughout Europe 
will be against you, and you will fling the people back into 
the vortex of despair. Euture generations will curse you, and 
you will turn back the clock that marks the progress of the 
world." 



DAVID ROSSI 213 

" No matter ! " cried Malatesta, laughing wildly. " We'll 
take the consequences. We shall not be called cowards, at all 
events." 

Certain of the other men joined his laughter, and he lost 
himself in personal innuendoes. Some people preached the doc- 
trine that freedom was not to be purchased by a drop of blood. 
Moral courage? Give them a little physical courage for a 
change. 

" Brothel's," said David Rossi, rising again, " if you knew 
how little personal reason I have for protecting the Baron 
Bonelli, how my heart tempts me to stand by while his life 
is taken, you would know that it is only at the call of conscience 
I tell you the moment the crime is committed I leave your 
side for ever." 

" Of course you do," cried Malatesta. " You go out to save 
your own skin. Why? Because you've lost your courage. 
Luigi," he cried, " you are a good Catholic — what do people 
do when they've lost something ? " 

" Say a Hail Mary to St. Anthony," said Luigi, and then 
there was general laughter. 

But Malatesta was too hot for trifling. 

" I tell you what it is, gentlemen," he cried. " The party 
is going to pieces, because our leader is a poltroon and a cow- 
ard!" 

There was dead silence. David Rossi stood motionless at 
the head of the table. 

"Don't you understand me, sir?" said Malatesta. 

" Perfectly," said David Rossi. 

" Well, I have no wish to delay the moment when you ask 
for satisfaction. Shall it be to-morrow?" 

"Xo, to-day," said David Rossi. 

"And where?" 

" Here." 

"And when?" 

" Now." 

David Rossi's face was livid. It was with difliculty that he 
uttered a word. 

Somebody began to protest. It was brutal ! Inconceivable ! 
The objector was silenced. At moments of intense excitement 
the most extraordinary things become possible. 

" Lock the doors," cried one voice, and another voice called 
for weapons. 

" Swords or revolvers — which ? " said Malatesta. 



214 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Revolvers," cried Rossi, in measured accents. " They will 
be more swift and sure." 

Malatesta grew pale. " All right," he said, smiling largely, 
but it was clear that fear had taken hold of him. 

Revolvers were forthcoming in a moment, seconds were 
appointed, and the method of duelling determined. It was to 
be the simplest method. The combatants were to be at liberty 
to fire at any moment after taking their places ; but if one fired 
first and missed, the other was to have the right to advance as 
close as he pleased to his opponent. 

The hush was breathless. Rossi, deadly pale, but calm and 
silent, took his revolver without looking at it. Malatesta, 
flushed and noisy, cocked his revolver carefully. Then the 
company fell aside, and the two men stood back to back and 
walked from the middle to the ends of the room. 

The moment Malatesta reached the wall, he turned quickly 
and fired. When the smoke cleared, Rossi was seen to be 
standing unhurt, with his revolver by his side. 

Then the tension was awful. Rossi did not move, and 
Malatesta was visibly trembling from head to foot. 

" Well, be quick ! Take your revenge," he blurted out. 

But still Rossi remained standing. 

" Have mercy, will you ? " cried Malatesta in a voice broken 
by agony. 

Then a strange thing happened. 

Rossi took some steps forward, then stopped, and raising his 
arm, he fired into the ceiling. 

There was a confused murmur among the men huddled by 
the walls. 

" This was necessary," said Rossi. " I could not cry * peace ' 
any longer while my people thought I was afraid." 

Malatesta flung himself at Rossi's feet in the first torrent 
of overwhelming emotion. " Eorgive me," he cried, " forgive 
me, forgive me ! " 

" Get up," said Rossi. " I forgive you. But remember, 
from this hour onward, your life belongs to me." 

XIII 

David Rossi went home with a heavy heart. The great force 
which he had called into existence was passing beyond his 
control. A fierce democracy surging around him demanded 
that he should follow where he had expected to lead. 



DAVID ROSSI 215 

" My God ! my God ! What can I do with this people ? " 
he asked himself. 

But the worst torture he suffered was the secret torture of 
his own heart. 

" Why did I try to save that man's life ? '' he thought. 

The Baron Bonelli had been the enemy of Dr. Roselli, and 
had sent him to exile and death. 

" I hate the man," he thought. 

The moment he became conscious of this idea he was ter- 
rified, and began to struggle against it. It was a temptation 
of the devil, and he would put it behind his back. 

But everything helped and encouraged it. On reaching 
home, he found the old Garibaldian porter standing by the 
door. 

" One moment. Honourable," he whispered with a mysteri- 
ous air, and then drawing the Deputy into his lodge at the end 
of the passage, and hiding behind the muslin curtains, he 
pointed to a young man who was going leisurely down the 
street. 

" Look there, sir ! There he is ! " 

"Who is it?" 

" A detective, of course. He has been dogging your steps 
for days. Old Vampire is after you. Take care ! Better an 
ounce of liberty than a pound of gold, you know." 

Conviction had taken hold of Rossi, but he reproved the 
old soldier. A detective — yes! Set on, perhaps, by the chiefs 
of police. Such men spent their lives in seeking for crime. 
They couldn't help it. It was the natural deformity of the 
police mind that few men were innocent for them, and none 
were above suspicion. But the statesmen . . . no, it was im- 
possible, he wouldn't believe it. 

That night old John came for his weekly pension, and after 
he had received it he lingered a moment like a man who wished 
to say something. At length, in a husky voice, he whispered — 

" Darkness with darkness keeps dark. Excellency, can you 
keep a secret ? " 

His grandson was in the new secret service, and had been 
told to keep watch on somebod3^ He watched him every day, 
and every night he reported to the Minister of the Interior 
himself. 

" Better be a wood-bird than a cage-bird, Excellency," the 
old man whispered, " and may the blessed Saints preserve you ! " 

Bossi understood at length the reference in the House of 



216 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Deputies to his intercourse with the Vatican — he had. been 
followed to the Jesuit College. The Baron Bonelli was his 
own enemy, as well as the enemy of Dr. Eoselli, and he was 
using the lowest methods of the law to compromise and catch 
him, 

"Why did I try to save the man's life?" he asked himself 
again. 

Bruno came home with a mysterious story. The Prime 
Minister had that day visited Trinita de' Monti in the absence 
of Donna Roma, and Bruno had overheard his conversation 
with Felice. 

" ' Felice/ says old Vampire, ' you've never had reason to 
regret that I deprived myself of your invaluable services and 
gave the benefit of them to your mistress ? ' ' K^ever, Excel- 
lency,' said the ' Cardinal.' ' You are quite content to receive 
two salaries instead of one ? ' ' Quite, Excellency.' ' Then tell 
me what has happened here since I heard from you last ? ' " 

Rossi reproved Bruno for eavesdropping, but his blood was 
boiling. The Baron Bonelli was Roma's enemy as well as her 
father's; he was using her as a weapon against himself, and 
Heaven alone knew what degradation she was suffering at the 
man's hand. 

" Why did I try to save his contemptible life ? " he thought 
again and again. 

Next morning a colleague in Parliament called upon him. 
He was a big, bluff, hearty creature — a doctor. 

" This won't do at all," he said. " You're as white as a 
ghost and as nervous as a cat, and old Francesca says you 
haven't eaten anything worth talking of for a week. Remem- 
ber what the Romans say — ' City in hunger, citadel taken.' 
ISTot hungry? Of course you're not — that's just the mischief. 
Look here, old fellow ! you'll have to go out of town. You 
will ! By the Holy Saints, you will ! Good men are scarce, and 
you know what we say in Piedmont — 'At the end of the game 
the king goes into the sack as well as the footman.' But your 
game is not over yet, and what do you say to a week at Porto 
d'Anzio? . . . When? Now — to-day — first train down." 

David Rossi saw through the artifice instantly. His col- 
leagues were trying to get him out of the way. They intended 
to carry out their threat, in spite of all his protests. In open 
Parliament, at the moment when the Minister was trampling 
on the constitutional rights of the people, they meant to shoot 
him down. And why shouldn't they? The man was putting 



DAVID ROSSI 217 

himself beyond tlie reach of human law. Very well ! send him 
to the bar of divine justice ! It would be justifiable homicide ! 

And David Rossi? David Eossi had only to stand aside 
and let things take their course. When the blow was struck, 
he would be far away, and no one would be able to assert that 
he had aided or abetted it. Xay, it could even be proved that 
he had protested against the proposal, and stood to be shot at in 
order to uphold his protest. " But this is the devil fighting a 
way out for my conscience," he thought, and he said aloud : 

" Xo, I will not leave Rome at present. I have my duty as 
a Deputy, and I must be in Parliament the day after to- 
morrow." 

The day-editor came from the office of the Sunrise with a 
letter from his proprietors. They were surprised at his curt 
refusal to meet them on the confiscation of the issue of two 
days ago, and, after earnest consideration of the situation, 
they had concluded that his duties as Deputy and his responsi- 
bilities as editor were liable to conflict, and therefore they 
suggested that he should resign his seat in Parliament. 

" Another temptation of the devil," he thought, and he sat 
down instantly to resign his position as editor. " I shall be 
ready to relinquish my chair as soon as my successor has been 
appointed," he wrote; and the assistant carried off his letter 
with many smirks and smiles. 

His mind was confused with conflicting impulses, and he 
could not settle to work. So he sent upstairs for little Joseph, 
and spent a great part of the day playing with the boy on the 
floor. Joseph was portiere as usual, clad in the gorgeous finery 
of his father's biggest hat and his jacket turned inside out. 
And when David Rossi came on hands and knees and inquired 
in the manner of a dog for Donna Roma's poodle, the great 
person who presided over the portone drove him away with his 
mace, and he went off barking. 

" Holy Virgin ! Who would believe he had a newspaper 
and a Parliament on his head I " said old Francesca, and she 
laughed until she cried. 

Xight fell, and he was no further advanced than at the 
beginning of the day. He helped Elena to put little Joseph 
to bed, and then returned to his room to walk and to think. 
What was he to do? Stand aside and let the Minister meet 
with the death he desei'ved ? Or go to the authorities and warn 
them that a crime was about to be committed ? To these ques- 
tions he could find no answer. 
15 



218 THE ETERNAL CITY 

On the one side were the rights and liberties of the people, 
the memory of Dr. lioselli's wrongs, the thought of himself, 
and, above all, of Roma. On the other side was conscience — 
strong, grim, and inexorable ! 

The great fact of all was his own hatred of the Minister 
and his interest in the man's death. Baron Bonelli was the 
worst enemy he had in the world. Kightly considered, he was 
tlie true obstacle between Koma and himself, the dark cloud of 
danger which made their union impossible. 

" If he were dead, we might live," he thought. But that 
was precisely why the man must not die. If he consented to 
the Minister's death, if he stood by and permitted it, he knew 
that every hour of his future life would be racked by the mem- 
ory of how he had allowed his private interest to beguile his 
conscience. 

But must he betray his colleagues instead? They were his 
friends, his confederates; he had created the cause they were 
trying to uphold, and must he send them to prison because they 
had passed beyond his control ? 

He slept little that night, and awoke next morning with no 
clearer view of the situation. Weak, helpless, broken-spirited, 
and very humble, he turned to thoughts of God. He would 
seek help from above. 

Since his days with Dr. Roselli in London, he had not 
been in the habit of going to church, but he would go to church 
to-day. Surely the church, the old mother church, which had 
seen so many sorrows, Avould have some answer for a perplexed 
and tortured mind. 

He walked along the bank of the Tiber, crossed the bridge 
and came to the great square in front of St. Peter's. It was 
very quiet and almost empty. The fountains were playing in 
the earlj- morning sunlight, the clock in the cupola was chim- 
ing, and a Swiss Guard, in his parti-coloured uniform, was 
walking to and fro with a rifle on his shoulder before the 
bronze gate to the Vatican. 

A cul-de-sac, cut off from the stream of life and the world, 
leading to nothing but itself, and echoing only to the boot of 
the armed sentinel, such was the way to the great monument 
of the church and the home of its anointed head. 

" My God ! My God ! What am I to do with this people ? " 
thought Rossi, and in a spirit of reverent submission he en- 
tered the Basilica. 

The great church presented its usual morning aspect — the 



DAVID EOSSI 219 

marble floor, the glistening walls, the gilded roof, the scarlet 
hangings, and the window of the dove over the altar in the apse, 
glowing in the sunshine with the light of an amber eye. 

In the Chapel of the Chorus, before a few worshippers on 
their knees, the canons were chanting their office in weary and 
monotonous voices. When it was over they gathered up their 
books and went off briskly, like workmen relieved at the dinner 
hour, chatting cheerfully as they passed into the sacristy. 

The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was closed, but out- 
side its iron gates a large group of countrymen were kneeling 
with their tired faces towards the altar. One of their number 
was reading a prayer and the others were repeating the re- 
sponses. They were pilgrims, who had come for the indulgences 
of the Holy Year. 

Before the black statue of St. Peter another group of pil- 
grims, miserably clad, were passing one by one, each of them 
in turn putting his lips and forehead to the worn and pol- 
ished foot. Their poor cheeks were thin and pinched, their 
eyes were dull and lifeless, but their devotion was deep and 
true. 

A third group of pilgrims better dressed than the others, 
the men chiefly in sheepskins, the women in black lace shawls, 
were kneeling about the tomb of the apostle. They were peas- 
ants from a distant province, and they were being led by a 
priest, who was himself a peasant, from church to church and 
from relic to relic, that they too might win some exemption 
from the pains of the purgatory waiting for all. 

The arch-priest of the Basilica passed across the nave to the 
sacristy. As Secretary of State to the Pope, he wore the scar- 
let robes of a Cardinal, and had a Monsignor walking behind 
him. The poor pilgrims in their miserable clothes, with their 
tired and expressionless faces, crowded about him and kissed 
his ring. He allov/ed them to do so, but he looked at few of 
them and spoke to none. 

" My God ! My God ! What am I to do with this people ? " 

The Church was giving no answer to the cry ringing in 
Eossi's heart. Devotion, sincerity, fervour — all these were 
there! But the message of the Church to the human soul 
— what was it? Fear I 

Fear of God! Fear of Christ! Fear of the hereafter! 
Fear of the unknown ! 

Such was the beginning and end of the message of the 
Catholic Church to the human soul, as Rossi saw it at that 



220 THE ETERNAL CITY 

moment, and fear had no answer to a heart that was craving 
for courage and strength. 

David Rossi returned home and called for the boy again. 
They fed the squirrels on the roof, and going into the great 
cage, the canaries lit on them one after another, until they 
looked as if they were playing in an apple orchard and had 
shaken the blossoms over their heads. 

But when the day closed in, and Rossi had seen little 
Joseph to bed, and written his article for next morning's paper, 
the same irresolution returned. 

He went out to walk in the darkness of the streets. Had 
this old city, which had witnessed so many struggles, no an- 
swer for him anywhere? 

Going up to the Roman Forum, he walked along the broken 
parapets until he came under the sere old mass of the Colise- 
um. The amphitheatre was empty and silent. Not a sound 
of bird or beast or man among the vast and awful ruins. 
Only the faint rattle of wheels in the streets behind, the 
thin tinkle of the electric trams, and the other noises of far-off 
life. Dark, desolate, long dead, like an inverted skull with 
toothless jaws and eyeless sockets, like the moon seen 
through a telescope, charred and lifeless, like a crater whose 
fire is spent — such was the great monument of the old Pagan 
mother ! 

Fear was not the religion of man in her day ! Men were not 
afraid to die then ! This old amphitheatre had once heard the 
trumpets of the grand entry of the Emperors, and rang with 
the shouts of the Imperial people, and witnessed the intoxica- 
tion of ferocious love when Roman ladies turned down their 
inexorable thumbs on the fallen and lost. 

But what was the message of the Pagan world to the human 
soul? Death! Only death! 

Wait ! Had this old monument of the dead centuries no 
memories but those of bloody gladiatorial spectacles? 

David Rossi began to think of the martyrs who had died on 
that spot, and straightway the empty Coliseum began to be 
filled with an audience of ghosts. What a power in martyr- 
dom ! Roman Emperors, Roman ladies. Imperial people — ^what 
were they now? Only dust and ashes. But the martyrs were 
alive ! 

The golden house of ISTero was gone, but that cross of wood 
on which the Saviour stretched his arms and died was govern- 
ing the world still ! To die, not for your friends only, but for 



DAVID ROSSI 221 

your enemies also, that was the great secret ! And life — life 
by martyrdom — that was the message of Christ ! 

As Rossi thought of this a voice, at first very faint, seemed 
to speak within him, and he saw, in an instant, as by a flash of 
light, what he ought to do in the Chamber of Deputies the fol- 
lowing day. He could see himself doing it, and the hair of his 
head stood up. 

XIV 

Before going to bed that night Rossi replied to Roma : 

My Dearest, — Bruno will take this letter, and I will charge 
him on his soul to deliver it safely into your hands. When you 
have read it, you will destroy it immediately, both for your sake 
and my own. 

" From this moment onward I throw away all disguises. 
The duplicities of love are sweet and touching, but I cannot 
play hide-and-seek with you any longer. 

" You are right — it is you that I love, and little as I under- 
stand and deserve it, I see now that you love me with all your 
soul and strength. I cannot keep my pen from writing it, and 
yet it is madness to do so, for the obstacles to our union are 
just as insurmountable as before. 

" It is not only my unflinching devotion to public work that 
separates us, though that is a serious impediment; it is not 
only the inequality of our birth and social conditions, though 
that is an honest difiiculty. The barrier between us is not 
merely a barrier made by man, it is a barrier made by God — it 
is death. 

" Think what that would be in the ordinafy case of death by 
disease. A man is doomed to die by cancer or consumption, and 
even while he is engaged in a desperate struggle with the 
mightiest and most relentless conqueror, love comes to him with 
its dreams of life and happiness. What then? Every hour of 
joy is poisoned for him henceforth by visions of the end that is 
so near, in every embrace he feels the arms of death about him, 
and in every kiss the chill breath of the tomb. 

" Terrible tragedy ! Yet not without relief. N'ature is 
kind. Her miracles are never ending. Hope lives to the last. 
The balm of God's healing hand may come down from heaven 
and make all things well. Not so the death I speak of. It is 
pitiless and inevitable, without hope or dreams. 



222 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Remember what I told you in this room on the night you 
came here first. Had you forgotten it ? Your father, charged 
with an attempt at regicide, as part of a plan of insurrection, 
was deported without trial, and I, who shared his vietvs, and 
had expressed them in letters that were violated, being outside 
the jurisdiction of the courts, was tried in contumacy and con- 
demned to death. 

" I am back in Italy for all that, under another name, my 
mother's name, which is my name, too, thanks to the merciless 
marriage laws of my country, with other aims and other 
opinions, but I have never deceived myself for a moment. 
The same doom hangs over me still, and though the court 
which condemned me was a military court, and its sentence 
would be modified by a Court of Assize, I see no difference be- 
tween death in a moment on the gallows, and in five, ten, twenty 
years in a cell. 

" What am I to do ? I love you, you love me. Shall I, like 
the poor consumptive, to whom gleams of happiness have come 
too late, conceal everything and go on deluding myself with 
hopes, indulging myself with dreams? It would be unpardon- 
able, it would be cruel, it would be wrong and wicked. 

" jN^o, it is impossible. You cannot but be aware that my 
life or liberty are in serious jeopardy, and that my place in 
Parliament and in public life is in constant and hourly peril. 
Every letter that you have written to me shows plainly that you 
know it. And when you say your heart's blood runs cold at the 
thought of what may happen when Minghelli returns from 
England, you betray the weakness, the natural weakness, the 
tender and womanly weakness, Avhich justifies me in saying 
that as long as we love each other, you and I should never meet 
again. • 

" Don't think that I am a coward and tremble at the death 
that hangs over me. I neither fear the future nor regret the 
past. In every true cause some one is called to martyrdom. To 
die for the right, for humanity, to lay down all you hold most 
dear for the sake of the poor and the weak and the down-trod- 
den and God's holy justice — it is a magnificent duty*, a privi- 
lege ! And I am ready. If my death is enough, let me give the 
last drop of my blood, and be dragged through the last degrees 
of infamy. Only don't let me drag another after me, and en- 
danger a life that is a thousand times dearer to me than 
my own. 

" What am I ? I am a man under God's hand from his 



DAVID ROSSI 223 

cradle upwards, and I do not complain, for he whom God's hiuid 
rests on has God at his rig^t hand. He wished me to give my- 
self. He called me with a baptism as of fire to my work, and to 
help me to do it He took away from me family and kindred and 
friends and home. Shall love come at the last and hold me 
back? 

" It would do that and more — far more. I want you, 
dearest, I want you with my soul, but my doom is certain, it 
waits for me somewhere, it may be here, it may be there, it may 
come to me to-morrow, or next day, or next year, but it is com- 
ing, I feel it, I am sure of it, and I will not fly away. But if I 
go on imtil my beloved is my bride, and my name is stamped all 
over her, and she has taken up my fate, and Ave are one, and the 
world knows no diiference, what then? Then death with its 
sure step will come in to separate us, and after death for me, 
danger, shame, poverty for you, all the penalties a woman pays 
for her devotion to a man who is down and done. 

" I couldn't bear it. The very thought of it would unman 
me. It would turn heaven into hell. It would disturb the 
repose of the grave itself. 

" Isn't it hard enough to do what is before me without tor- 
menting myself with thoughts like these? It is true I have 
had my dreams like other men — dreams of the woman whom 
Heaven might give a man for his support — the anchor to which 
his soul might hold in storm and tempest, and in the very hour 
of death itself. But what w^oman is equal to a lot like that? 
Martyrdom is for man. God keep all women safe from it ! 

" Have I said sufficient ? If this letter gives you half the 
pain on reading it that I have felt in writing it, you will be 
satisfied at last that the obstacles to our union are permanent 
and insuperable. The time is come when I am forced to tell 
you the secrets which I have never before revealed to any hu- 
man soul. You know them now\ They are in your keeping, 
and it is enough. 

" I do not send you the cards for the Chamber, because for 
reasons of my own I could wish you not to come — not to- 
morrow at all events. 

" Heaven be over you ! And when you are reconciled to our 
separation, and both of us are strong, remember that if you 
want me I will come, and that as long as I live, as long as I am 
at liberty, I shall be always ready, always waiting, always near. 
God bless you, my dear one ! Adieu ! David Leone." 



224 THE ETERNAL CITY 



XV 



Long before ten o'clock next morning the little streets 
around the House of Parliament were blocked with excited 
crowds. The piazza in front was kept open by a cordon of 
soldiers, and lines of Carabineers were posted down the prin- 
cipal thoroughfares to clear a passage for the deputies. 

Inside the Chamber the excitement was yet more intense. 
As early as half-past nine members had begun to gather in the 
corridors. The little company of lifty men who constituted the 
Extreme Left were walking, most of them bareheaded, in the 
courtyard out of the principal lobby. David Rossi was not 
yet among them, and they were looking alternately at their 
watches and at the door leading from the entrance hall. At 
two minutes to ten their leader was still absent, and they be- 
gan to glance into each other's faces with looks of relief 
and hope. 

" He'll not come now," said one. " Thank God ! " said an- 
other, and they turned to go to their places. 

Meantime the larger party that followed the Government 
had been gathering in agitated groups and talking in bated 
breath. The talk was, that the Prime Minister, who had eyes 
everywhere, had found out something. As a result, he had gone 
to the Quirinal early this morning and held counsel with the 
King. Then, coming down to the House, he had sent for the 
President and communicated some command of His Majesty. 
After that he had sent for the Minister of War, and immedi- 
ately afterwards two companies of infantry had been called 
up. They were in the House now. 

When the clock struck ten the Ministerial party trooped 
into the Chamber, and in a moment the corridors were empty. 

The Baron Bonelli was then in the Presidential room at the 
top of the great staircase. He was perfectly calm and self- 
possessed, and wore the usual flower in his buttonhole. The 
Questore (the Sergeant of the House) had come to say the 
President was about to take his seat, when one of the ushers, 
with the tri-coloured badge, brought in a card on which a 
message was written. 

" Bring the lady up at once," said the Baron. 

The lady was Roma, and the Baron met her at the door. 

" This is like old times," he said. " But why are you here 
to-day, my child ? " 

" Why not to-day ? " she asked. 



DAVID ROSSI 225 

" Because ... to tell you the truth, there may be trouble. 
Your friend, Pontifex Maximus of the Piazza Xavona, is 
credited with a desire to create a disturbance. In any case the 
sitting may be disagreeable, and I advise you to go home." 

" But you excite my interest beyond expression, and I would 
not go home for worlds," said Roma. 

" As you please," said the Baron, leading the way to the 
entrance to the gallery, and chatting on other subjects. How 
lovely she looked this morning! Was he never to see her any 
more alone ? Surely he had waited long enough. There was an 
important matter which they had never yet cleared up. When 
should he call ? 

" I have a reception to-morrow afternoon to show my foun- 
tain and studies and so forth," said Roma. 

" I will be there," said the Baron, and he kissed her hand 
and left her. 

The door of the gallery had closed, and the Minister was 
turning to go into the Chamber, when he came face to face with 
David Rossi, who was hurrying to his seat. By a sudden im- 
pulse he stopped and spoke to him. 

" Mr. Rossi," he said, in his quiet, incisive accents, " if you 
will take the advice of an adversary, you will be careful about 
what you do to-day. Permit me to tell you that you stand on 
the edge of a precipice; and if you have no regard for your own 
life and liberty, you ought at least to respect the dignity of 
this Chamber in the eyes of Europe." 

The two men were alone in the lobby, and the Minister 
waited a moment for a reply, but David Rossi only bowed and 
passed on. 

Through her white kid glove the kiss of the Baron's lips 
was still stinging on Roma's hand, and she was blushing with 
shame at a certain sense of her own insincerity when the usher 
in attendance showed her into the Court tribune. The little 
Princess was there already, with Don Camillo and a foreign 
acquaintance. All the galleries were crowded, and nearly every 
seat below was occupied. The sun was shining through the 
cupola and the heat was already very great. 

Full as the House was, there was a strange silence. Xo 
laughter, no joking, no talking, no saluting of the ladies in the 
tribunes. Only a restless turning to the clock under the re- 
porters' gallery, and the swish of the large leaves of a square 
pamphlet which lay on every desk, headed " Chamber of Depu- 
ties. Project of Law presented by the Minister of the Interior 



226 THE ETERNAL CITY 

(Bonelli), together with the Minister of War (Morra), for the 
better security of the public." 

Don Camillo was pointing out the deputies to his foreign 
friend. 

" Those are the Ministers on the bench under the Presi- 
dent's chair — ' the bench of the accused ' the Eadicals call it. 
Solemn-looking? Yes, solemn as owls. When a man becomes 
a Minister his laughing days are over, fhe Prime Minister? 
JSTot in yet. Ah, there he is ! That's Bonelli coming in now. 
Firm face, you say? Looks as if it had been moulded in iron 
and then twisted awry. Means mischief this morning, it seems 
to me." 

" Will you lend me your opera-glass, Gi-gi ? " said Roma. 

])avid Rossi had also entered the House, and Roma scanned 
his face closely. It was ashen pale. 

" I will make him look up," thought Roma, and she gazed 
steadfastly down at him. Presently his eyes rose to the Court 
tribiuie for a moment. She knew that he saw her, for his lips 
twitched, and the fingers that played with his watch-chain 
trembled. The opera-glass almost fell out of her hands. She 
was in a fever of excitement. 

At five minutes after ten the President entered the Cham- 
ber, followed by his secretaries. He took his seat in silence, and 
in silence he rang his bell. 

" The sitting has begun," he said. 

The minutes of the day were read in a loud, clear voice, but 
nobody heard them, because nobody listened. Then the Prime 
Minister rpse to move the first reading of his bill for the better 
security of the public, and the silence was as the silence of a 
glacier. Beating every word with his fist on the table, he said 
the conditions were urgent, and therefore it was the will of the 
King and the desire of the Government that the vote should be 
taken without debate. 

Immediately two or three members rose on the Left and 
cried, "I ask permission to speak." But the President, pre- 
tending not to hear or see them, rang his bell and put the 
question. 

" I ask to speak," cried a dozen shrill voices from the Left, 
but at the same moment a hundred voices on the Right roared 
"Vote!" 

" Those who are in favour say * Aye,' " said the President. 

" Aye " shouted two hundred and fifty voices at once. 

" I ask to speak ! " cried another hysterical voice on the Left. 



DAVID ROSSI 227 

" Those who are against say * !No ' " said the President. 

" I ask to speak ! I ask to speak ! " 

" I think the ' Ayes ' have it, the ' Ayes ' have it," said the 
President, and then there was a terrific clamour. The Left 
stood up in a body and shouted their protests at the Presi- 
dent. 

" It's illegal ! " *' It's null and void ! " " It's against the 
statute ! " 

The Prime Minister rose again, and straightway he became 
the target for a volley of insults. 

" Traitor! " " Scoundrel! " " Accidenti! " " A fit take you." 

In the midst of this uproar, from her place in the tribune, 
Koma distinctly saw, amid the swaying of arms and the shaking 
of fists, the glint of revolvers. Under cover of the commotion 
two men on the Left had drawn their weapons and were prepar- 
ing to fire at the Baron. He would be killed. Would nobody 
stop them ? Did no one see them except herseK ? 

Koma found herself on her feet, trying to cry out but unable 
to do so, when suddenly something else happened. David Rossi 
stepped out of his place and stood directly between the Baron 
and the men with the revolvers. 

Roma screamed and felt herself falling forward. The 
uproar seemed to fade away, her eyes became dazed, darkness 
and silence came in one stride over the palpitating light and 
deafening noise, she heard her own name spoken above her, and 
then all was gone. 

When David Rossi at the height of the tumult stepped into 
the open space on the floor between the bench of the Ministers 
and the first row of desks, and covered the Baron with his larger 
figure, his own people knew perfectly what he was doing. Of all 
the courses they had counted on this was the last — that he 
should prevent the execution of their threat to kill the Prime 
Minister by making it necessary that ifi order to do so they 
must first kill him. 

In their bewilderment at this act their voices failed them in 
an instant, and there was a moment of breathless silence. But 
the larger party on the Right misunderstood both Rossi's 
action and its effect on his followers, and seeing a man standing 
with his back immediately before a Minister who was on his 
feet, waiting to speak, they leapt to the conclusion that a low- 
bred insult was intended, and with one accord they arose and 
shouted at the offender. 

The Left recovered from their surprise at seeing this error. 



228 THE ETERNAL CITY 

and replied to their adversaries with howls of indignant de- 
rision. The scene that followed was only one stage removed 
from bedlam. 

" Gutter snipe ! " " Jail bird ! " " Scum of the poorhouse ! " 
cried the Right. 

" Fools ! " " Asses ! " cried the Left. 

Meantime David Rossi continued to stand before the Baron, 
with his face towards his own people, and one by one they 
turned away from him and trooped out of the House. 

" Long live the Republic ! " they shouted as they went. 

" Long live the King ! " replied their adversaries. 

When the seats on the Left were entirely empty, the clamour 
on the Right subsided, and the bell of the President began to be 
heard. Then, as Rossi was about to follow his people, the 
Baron touched him on the shoulder and said, with a flushed 
face, in a bitter whisper : 

" Honourable, when you wish to insult me again, be good 
enough to choose some other method than standing between 
me and my Parliament." 

XVI 

Out in the corridor one of the ushers was hurrying along 
with a glass of water and a bottle of brandy. 

" What's amiss ? " asked some one. 

" A lady is ill," the usher answered. " She has been carried 
up to the Presidential drawing-room." 

"Who is it?" 

" Donna Roma." 

The man who had just now stood to be shot at turned white 
as a sheet and trembled violently. He ran upstairs in front of 
the usher, three steps at a time. 

Before a door of a room at the head of the great staircase 
a group of servants were huddled together. Rossi would have 
pushed through, but they stopped him. 

" Sorry, Honourable," said the doorkeeper. " I have orders 
to admit nobody." 

At that instant the Prime Minister came up with a quick 
step, whereupon the doorkeeper fell aside, and the Baron passed 
into the room. 

Rossi felt an impulse to push the ushers away, but his frame, 
strung like a bow a moment ago, was now relaxed and power- 
less. He would have given all the world to do the least thing 



DAVID ROSSI 229 

for Roma at that moment, the very least little thing, but he was 
kept out and could do nothing. 

With a scared look he was glancing through the open door 
and hearing voices from an inner chamber when his colleague, 
the Doctor, came out of the room. 

" What is it, in Heaven's name ? " he asked in a husky whis- 
per. " Is she ill ? Is she better ? " 

■■' Oh, yes." 

"Thank God! Oh, thank God!" he said, choking with 
emotion and laying hold of his colleague's arm. 

The Doctor looked at him and smiled. 

" Wh^, it was nothing," he said. " A fainting fit, that's all. 
The heat and the noise and . , ." 

" Are you sure it's nothing worse ? Hadn't you better go 
back and stay with her a little longer ? " 

" Tut ! I didn't think, old fellow, that you could be fright- 
ened at . . ." 

" Tes, yes, but a woman, you know — one can't bear that a 
woman . . ." 

The big, bluff doctor grew red about the eyes and his voice 
thickened with unwonted feeling. 

" By God, Rossi, you're a man. I saw what you did five 
minutes ago, and now . . . Stay here; she'll be out presently. 
God bless you, old chap ! " 

Then David Rossi heard the rustle of a woman's dress, 
and the voice of somebody speaking, soothingly, lovingly, 
almost familiarly. But he turned away from the door and 
a perfume that he knew followed him as he passed up the 
stairs. 

From the library on the third floor he looked down to the 
piazza. Roma's carriage was waiting by the portico, and pres- 
ently Roma herself got into it, half supported by the Baron, 
who was bareheaded and smiling. She was very pale, but she 
smiled back at him as she sank into her seat. 

David Rossi would have given his soul for that smile. He 
went home with a tortured mind. 

" What have I done ? " he thought. " I hate that man, I 
want him dead, yet I have saved his life ! What is the re- 
sult? I have thrown Roma back into his hands. That is all 
it comes to, and I have lied against my oicn heart! " 

Half an hour after he reached the Piazza Xavona. a letter 
came by a flying messenger on a bicycle. It was written in 
pencil and in large straggling characters. 



230 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Dear Mr. Rossi, — Your letter has arrived and been read, 
and, yes, it has been destroyed, too, according to your wish, 
although the flames that burnt it burnt my hand also, and 
scorched ray heart as well. 

" JSTo doubt you have done wisely. You know better than I 
do what is best for both of us, and I yield, I submit. Only — 
and therefore- — I must see you immediately. There is a mat- 
ter of some consequence on which I wish to speak. It has 
nothing to do with the subject of your letter — nothing directly, 
at all events — nor yet is it in any way related to the Minghelli 
mischief-making. So you may receive me without fear. And 
yoTi will find me with a heart at ease. * 

" Didn't I tell you that if you wouldn't come to me I must 
go to you ? Expect me this evening about Ave Maria, and ar- 
range it that T may sec you alone. Roma V. 

" P.S. — J saw and I understood what you did in the Cham- 
ber to-day, but I suppose that f(n' your people's sake I must 
neither speak nor think of it." 



XVIT 

As Ave Maria approached, David Rossi became still more 
agitated. The sky had darkened, but there was no wind; the 
air was empty, and he listened with strained attention for every 
sound from the staircase and the street. At length he heard 
a cab stop at the door, and a moment afterwards a light hurry- 
ing footstep in the outer room seemed to beat upon his heart. 

The door opened and Roma came in quickly, with a scarcely 
audible salutation. He saw her with her golden complexion 
and her large violet eyes, wearing a black hat and an astrachan 
coat, but his head was going round and his pulses were beat- 
ing violently, and he could not control his eyes. 

" I have come for a minute only," she said. " You received 
my letter ? " 

Rossi bent his head. 

" David, I want the fulfilment of your promise." 

"What promise?" 

" The promise to come to me when I stand in need of you. 
I need you now. My fountain is practically finished, and to- 
morrow afternoon I am to have a reception to exhibit it. Every- 
body will be there, and I want you to be present also." 

" Is that necessary ? " he asked. 



DAVID EOSSI 231 

" For my purposes, yes. Don't ask me why. Don't question 
me at all. Only trust me and come." 

She was speaking in a firm and rapid voice, and looking up 
he saw that her brows were contracted, her lips were set, her 
cheeks were slightly flushed, and her eyes were shining. He 
had never seen her like that before. " What is the secret of it ? " 
he asked himself, but he only answered, after a brief pause : 

" Very well, I will be there." 

" That's all. I might have written, but I was afraid you 
might object, and I wished to make quite certain. Adieu ! " 

He had only bowed to her as she entered, /ind now she was 
going away without offering her hand. 

" Roma," he said, in a voice that sounded choked. 

She stopped but did not speak, and he felt himself growing 
hot all over. 

" I'm relieved — so nnich relieved — to hear that you agree 
with what I said in my letter." 

" The last — in which you wish me to forget you ? " 

" It is better so — far better. I am one of those who think 
that if either party to a marriage " — he was talking in a con- 
strained way — " entertains beforehand any rational doubt 
about it, he is wiser to withdraw, even at the church door, 
rather than set out on a life-long voyage under doubtful aus- 
pices." 

" Ah, well ! " she said, taking a long breath and turning 
a little away. 

" But don't think I shall not suffer in parting from you, 
Roma. Thy will he done. There are moments in life when it 
isn't easy to say that. At least I can pray that you may be 
happy — and perhaps in eternity . . ." 

" Didn't we promise not to speak of this ? " she said impa- 
tiently. Then their eyes met for a moment, and he knew that 
he was false to himself and that his talk of renunciation was a 
mockery. 

" Roma," he said again, " if you want me in the future you 
must write." 

Her face clouded over. 

" For your own sake, you know ..." 

" Oh, that ! That's nothing at all — nothing now." 

" But people are insulting me about you and . . ." 

"Well— and you?" 

The colour rushed to his cheeks and he smote the back of a 
chair with his clenched fist. 



232 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" I tell them . . ." 

" I understand," she said, and her eyes began to shine again. 
But she only turned away, saying : " I'm sorry you are angry 
that I came." 

" Angry ! " he cried, and at the sound of his voice as he said 
the word their love for each other went thrilling through and 
through them. 

The rain had begun to fall, and it was beating with smart 
strokes on the window panes. 

" You can't go now," he said, " and since you are never to 
come here again there is something you ought to hear," 

She took a seat immediately, unfastened her coat, and 
slipped it back on to her shoulders. 

The thick-falling drops were drenching the piazza, and its 
pavement was bubbling like a lake. 

" The rain will last for some time," said Rossi, looking out, 
" and the matter I speak of is one of some urgency, therefore 
it is better that you should hear it now." 

Taking the pins out of her hat, Roma lifted it off and laid it 
in her lap, and began to pull off her gloves. The noble young 
head with its glossy hair and lovely face shone out with a new 
beauty. 

Rossi hardly dared to look at her. He was afraid that if 
he allowed himself to do so he would fling himself at her 
feet. " How calm she is," he thought. " What is the mean- 
ing of it ? " 

He went to the bureau by the wall and took out a small 
round packet. 

" Do you remember your father's voice? " he asked. 

" That is all I do remember about my father. Why ? " 

" It is here in this cylinder." 

She rose quickly and then slowly sat down again. 

" Tell me," she said. 

" When your father was deported to the island of Elba, he 
was a prisoner at large, without personal restraint but under 
police supervision. The legal term of domicilio coatto is from 
one year to five, but excuses were found and his banishment 
was made perpetual. He saw prisoners come and go, and in the 
sealed chamber of his tomb he heard echoes of the world out- 
side." 

" Did he ever hear of me? " 

" Yes, and of myself as well. A prisoner brought him news 
of one David Rossi, and under that name and the opinions 



DAVID ROSSI 233 

attached to it he recognised David Leone, the boy he had 
brought up and educated. He wished to send me a message." 

" Was it about ..." 

" Yes. The letters of prisoners are read and copied, and 
to smuggle out by hand a written document is difficult or 
impossible. But at length a way was. discovered. Some one 
sent a phonograph and a box of cylinders to one of the pris- 
oners, and the little colony of exiled ones used to meet at your 
father's house to hear the music. Among the cylinders were 
certain blank ones. Your father spoke on to one of them, and 
when the time came for the owner of the phonograph to leave 
Elba, he brought the cylinder back with him. This is the 
cylinder your father spoke on to." 

With an involuntary shudder she took out of his hands a 
circular cardboard-box, marked in print on the outside : " Se- 
lections from Faust," and in pencil on the inside of the lid: 
" For the hands of D. L. only — to be destroyed if Deputy David 
Rossi does not know where to find him." 

The heavy rain had darkened the room, but by the red 
light of a dying fire he could see that her face had turned 
white. 

" And this contains my fathers voice," she said. 

" His last message." 

" He is dead — two years dead — and yet . . ." 

" Can you bear to hear it ? " 

" Go on," she said, hardly audibly. 

He took back the cylinder, put it on the phonograph, wound 
up the instrument, and touched the lever. Through the strokes 
of the rain, lashing the window like a hundred whips, the whiz- 
zing noise of the machine began. 

He was standing by her side, and he felt her hand on 
his arm. 

Then through the sound of the rain and of the phonograph 
there came a clear, full voice: 

" David Leone — your old friend Doctor Eoselli sends you 
his dying message . . ." 

The hand on Rossi's arm clutched it convulsively, and, in 
a choking whisper, Roma said : 

" Wait ! Give me one moment." 

She was looking around the darkening room as if almost 
expecting a ghostly presence. 

She bowed her Ijead. Her breath came quick and fast. 

" I am better now. Go on," she said. 
16 



234 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The whirring noise began again, and after a moment the 
clear voice came as before : 

" My son, the promise I made when we parted in London I 
fulfilled faithfully, but the letter I write to you never came to 
your hands. It was meant to tell you who I was, and why I 
changed my name. That is too long a story now, and I must 
be brief. I am Prospero Volonna. My father was the last 
prince of that name. Except the authorities and their spies, 
nobody in Italy knows me as Roselli and nobody in England as 
Volonna — nobody but one, my poor dear child, my daughter 
Roma." 

The hand tightened on Rossi's arm, and his head began to 
swim. 

" Little by little, in this grave of a living man, I have heard 
what has happened since I was banished from the world. The 
treacherous letter which called me back to Italy and decoyed 
me into the hands of the police was the work of the man who 
now holds my estates as the payment for his treachery." 

" The Baron ? " 

Rossi had stopped the phonograph. 

" Can you bear it? " he said. 

The pale young face flushed with resolution. 

" Go on," she said. 

When the voice from the phonograph began again it was 
more tremulous and husky than before. 

" After he had betrayed the father, what impulse of fear or 
humanity prompted him to take charge of the child, God alone, 
who reads all hearts, can say. lie went to England to look for 
her, found her in the streets to which she had been abandoned 
by the faithlessness of the guardians to whom I left her, and 
shut their mouths by buying them to the perjury of burying 
the unknown body of an unfortunate being in the name of my 
beloved child." 

The hand on Rossi's arm trembled feebly, and slipped down 
to his own hand. It was cold as ice. The voice from the 
phonograph was growing faint. 

" She is now in Rome, living in the name that was mine in 
Italy, amid an atmosphere of danger and perhaps of shame. 
My son, save her from it. The man who betrayed the father 
may betray the daughter also. Take her from him. Rescue 
her. It is my dying prayer." 

The hand in Rossi's hand was holdings it tightly, and his 
blood was throbbing at his heart. 



DAVID ROSSI 235 

" David," the voice from the phonograph was failing rapidly, 
" when this shall come to your hands the darkness of the grave 
will be over me. ... In my great distress of mind I torture 
myself with many terrors. . . . Do not trifle with my request. 
But whatever you decide to do ... be gentle with the child. . . . 
I dream of her every night, and send my heart's heart to her on 
the swelling tides of love. . . . Adieu, my son. The end is near. 
God be with you in all you do that I did ill or left undone. 
And if death's great sundering does not annihilate the memory 
of those who remain on earth, be sure you have a helper and an 
advocate in heaven." 

The voice ceased, the whirring of the instrument came to 
an end, and an invisible spirit seemed to fade into the air. The 
pattering of the rain had stopped, and there was the crackle 
of cab wheels on the pavement below. Roma had dropped 
Eossi's hand, and was leaning forward on her knees with both 
hands over her face. After a moment, she wiped her eyes with 
her handkerchief and began to put on her hat. 

" How long is it since you received this message ? " she 
said. 

" On the night you came here first." 

" And when I asked you to come to my house on that . . . 
that useless errand, you were thinking of ... of my father's 
request as well ? " 

" Yes." 

" You have known all this about the Baron for a month, 
yet you have said nothing. Why have you said nothing ? " 

" You wouldn't have believed me at first, whatever I had 
said against him." 

"But afterwards?" 

" Afterwards I had another reason." 

" Did it concern me ? " 

" Yes." 

"And now?" 

" ISTow that I have to part from you I am compelled to tell 
you what he is." 

" But if you had known that all this time he has been 
trying to use somebody against you . . ." 

" That would have made no difference." 

She lifted her head and a look of fire, almost of fierceness, 
came into her face, but she only said, with a little hysterical 
cry, as if her throat were swelling: 

" Come to me to-morrow, David ! Be sure you come ! If 



236 THE ETERNAL CITY 

you don't come I shall never, never forgive you ! But you will 
come ! You will ! You will ! " 

And then, as if afraid of breaking out into sobs, she turned 
quickly and hurried away. 

" She can never fall into that man's hands now," he thought. 
And then he lit his lamp and sat down to his work, but the 
light was gone, and the night had fallen on him. 



XVIII 

Next morning David Rossi had not yet risen when some one 
knocked at his door. It was Bruno. The great fellow looked 
nervous and troubled, and he spoke in a husky whisper. 

"You're not going to Donna Roma's to-day, sir?" 

" Why not, Bruno ? " 

" Have you seen her bust of yourself ? " 

" Hardly at all." 

" Just so. My case, too. She has taken care of that — 
locking it up every night, and getting another caster to cast 
it. But I saw it the first morning after she began, and I 
know what it is." 

"What is it, Bruno?" 

" You'll be angry again, sir." 

"What is it?" 

"Judas — that's what it is, sir; the study for Judas in the 
fountain for the Municipality." 

" Is that all ? " 

" All ? . . . But it's a caricature, a spiteful caricature ! 
And you sat four days and never even looked at it ! I tell you 
it's disgusting, sir. Simply disgusting. It's been done on pur- 
pose, too. When I think of it I forget all you said, and I hate 
the woman as much as ever. And now she is to have a recep- 
tion, and you are going to it, just to help her to have her laugh. 
Don't go, sir ! Take the advice of a fool, and don't go ! " 

"Bruno," said Rossi, lying with his head on his arm, "un- 
derstand me once for all. Donna Roma may have used my head 
as a study for Judas — I cannot deny that since you say it is so 
— but if she had used it as a study for Satan, I would believe 
in her the same as ever." 

"You would?" 

" Yes, by God ! So now, like a good fellow, go away and 
leave her alone." 



DAVID ROSSI 237 

The streets were more than usually full of people when 
Eossi set out for the reception. Thick groups were standing 
about the hoardings, reading a yellow placard, which was still 
wet with the paste of the bill-sticker. It was a proclamation, 
signed by the Minister of the Interior, and it ran : 

"Romans, — It having come to the knowledge of the Government 
that a set of misguided men, the enemies of the throne and of society, 
known to he in league with the republican, atheist, and anarchist 
associations of foreign countries, are inciting the people to resist the 
Just laws made by their duly elected Parliament, and sanctioned hy 
their King, thus trying to lead them into outbreaks that would be un- 
worthy of a cultivated and generous race, and woxdd disgrace us in 
the view of other nations — the Oovernment hereby give notice that 
they will not allow the laws to be insulted with impunity, and there- 
fore they warn the public against tlie holding of all such mass meet- 
ings in public buildings, squares, and streets, as may lead to the 
possibility of serious disturbances." 



XIX 

The little Piazza of Trinita de' Monti was full of carriages, 
and Roma's rooms were thronged. David Rossi entered with 
the calmness of a man who is accustomed to personal observa- 
tion, but Roma met him with an almost extravagant saluta- 
tion. 

" Ah, you have come at last," she said in a voice that was 
intended to be heard by all. And then, in a low tone, she 
added, " Stay near me, and don't go until I say you may." 

Her face had the expression that had puzzled him the day 
before, but with the flushed cheeks, the firm mouth and the 
shining eyes, there was now a strange look of excitement, al- 
most of hysteria. 

The company was divided into four main groups. The 
first of them consisted of Roma's aunt, powdered and perfumed, 
propped up with cushions on an invalid chair, and receiving 
the guests by the door, with the Baron Bonelli, silent and 
dignified, but smiling his icy smile, by her side. A second 
group consisted of Don Camillo and some ladies of fashion, who 
stood by the window and made little half-smothered trills of 
laughter. The third group included Lena and Olga, the jour- 
nalists, with Madame Sella, the modiste ; and the fourth group 



238 THE ETERNAL CITY 

was made up of the English and American Ambassadors, Count 
Mario, and some other diplomatists. 

The conversation was at first interrupted by the little pauses 
that follow fresh arrivals ; and after it had settled down to the 
dull buzz of a beehive, when the old brood and their queen 
are being turned out, it consisted merely of hints, giving 
the impression of something in the air that was scandalous 
and amusing, but could not be talked about. 

"Have you heard that . . ." "Is it true that . . ." 
" 'No ? " " Can it be possible ? " " How delicious ! " and then 
inaudible questions and low replies, with tittering, tapping of 
fans, and insinuating glances. 

But Roma seemed to hear everything that was said about 
her, and constantly broke in upon a whispered conversation 
with disconcerting openness. 

"That man here!" said one of the journalists at Rossi's 
entrance. " In the same room w'ith the Prime Minister! " said 
another. " After that disgraceful scene in the House, too ! " 

" I hear that he was abominably rude to the Baron yester- 
day," said Madame Sella. 

" Rude ? He has blundered shockingly, and offended every- 
body. They tell me the Vatican is now up in arms against 
him, and is going to denounce him and all his ways." 

" No wonder ! He has made himself thoroughly disagree- 
able, and I'm only surprised that the Prime Minister . . ." 

" Oh, leave the Prime Minister alone. He has something 
up his sleeve. . . . Haven't you heard why we are invited here 
to-day? No? Xot heard that . . ." 

" Really ? So that explains. ... I see, I see ! " and then 
more tittering and tapping of fans. 

" Certainly, he is an extraordinary man, and one of the 
first statesmen in Europe." 

" It's so unselfish of you to say that," said Roma, flashing 
round suddenly, " for the Minister has never been a friend of 
journalists, and I've heard him say that there wasn't one of 
them who wouldn't sell his mother's honour if he thought he 
could make a sensation." 

" Love ? " said the voice of Don Camillo in the silence that 
followed Roma's remark. ""What has marriage to do with 
love except to spoil it ? " And then, amidst laughter and the 
playful looks of the ladies by whom he was surrounded, he gave 
a gay picture of his own poverty, and the necessity of mar- 
rying to retrieve his fortunes. 



DAVID ROSSI 239 

" What would you have ? Look at my position ! A great 
name, as ancient as history, and no income. A gorgeous pal- 
ace, as old as the pyramids, and no cook ! " 

" Don't be so conceited about pour poverty, Gi-gi," said 
Koma. " Some of the Roman ladies are as poor as the men. 
As for me, Madame Sella could sell up every stick in my house 
to-morrow, and if the Municipality should throw up my foun- 
tain . . ." 

" Senator Palomba," said Felice's sepulchral voice from 
the door. 

The suave, oily little Mayor came in, twinkling his eyes 
and saying : 

" Did I hear my name as I entered ? " 

" I was saying," said Roma, " that if the Municipality 
should throw up my fountain . . ." 

The little man made an amusing gesture, and the con- 
strained silence was broken by some awkward laughter. 

" Roma," said the testy voice of the Countess, " I think I've 
done my duty by you, and now the Baron will take me back. 
Natalina! Where's Xatalina?" 

But half-a-dozen hands took hold of the invalid chair, and 
the Baron followed it into the bedroom. 

" Wonderful man ! " " Wonderful ! " whispered various 
voices, as the 3»Iinister's smile disappeared through the door. 

The conversation had begun to languish when the Princess 
Bellini arrived, and then suddenly it became lively and gen- 
eral. 

"I'm late, but do you know, my dear," she said, kissing 
Roma on both cheeks, " I've been nearly torn to pieces in com- 
ing. My carriage had to plough its way through crowds of 
people." 

" Crowds ? " 

" Yes, indeed, and the streets are nearly impassable. An- 
other demonstration, I suppose! The poor must always be 
demonstrating." 

" Ah ! yes," said Don Camillo. " Haven't you heard the 
news. Roma ? " 

" I've been working all night and all day, and I have heard 
nothing," said Roma. 

" Well, to prevent a recurrence of the disgraceful scene of 
yesterday, the King has promulgated the Public Security Act 
by royal decree, and the wonderful crisis is at an end." 

"And now?" 



240 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" ISTow the Prime Minister is master of the situation, and 
]ias begun by proclaiming the mass meeting which was to have 
been held in the Coliseum." 

" Good thing too," said Count Mario. " We've heard 
enough of liberal institutions lately." 

" And of the scandalous speeches of professional agitators," 
said Madame Sella. 

" And of the liberty of the press," said Senator Palomba. 
And then the effeminate old dandy, the fashionable dressmaker, 
and the oily little Mayor exchanged significant nods. 

" Wait ! Only wait ! " said Roma, in a low voice, to Rossi, 
who was standing in silence by her side. 

" Unhappy Italy ! " said the American Ambassador. " With 
the largest array of titled nobility and the largest army of 
beggars. The one class sipping iced drinks in the piazzas dur- 
ing the playing of music, and the other class marching through 
the streets and conspiring against society." 

" You judge us from a foreign standpoint, dear friend," said 
Don Camillo, " and forget our love of a pageant. The Princess 
says -our poor are always demonstrating. We are all always 
demonstrating. Our favourite demonstration is a funeral, with 
drums beating and banners waving. If we cannot have a 
funeral we have a wedding, with flowers and favours and floods 
of tears. And when we cannot have either, we put up with a 
revolution, and let our radical orators tell us of the wickedness 
of taxing the people's bread." 

" Always their bread," said the Princess, with a laugh. 

" In America, dear General, you are so tragically sincere, 
but in Italy we are a race of actors. The King, the Parliament, 
the Pope himself . . ." 

"Shocking!" said the little Princess. "But if you had 
said as much of our professional agitators . . ." 

" Oh, they are the most accomplished and successful actors, 
Princess. But we are all actors in Italy, from the greatest 
to the least, and the ' curtain ' is to him who can score off 
everybody else." 

" So," began the American, " to be Prime Minister in 
Rome . . ." ^ 

"Is to be the chief actor in Europe, and his leading part 
is that in which he puts an end to his adversary amidst a burst 
of inextinguishable laughter." 

" What is he driving at ? " said the English to the American 
Ambassador. 



DAVID ROSSI 241 

" Don't you know ? Haven't you heard what is coming ? " 
And then some further whispering. 

" Wait, only wait ! " said Roma. 

" Gi-gi," said the Princess, " how stupid you are ! You're 
all wrong about Roma. Look at her now. To think that 
men can be so blind! And the Baron is no better than 
the rest of you. He's too proud to believe what I tell him, 
but he'll learn the truth some day. He is here, of course? 
In the Countess's room, isn't he? . . . How do you like my 
dress ? " 

" It's perfect." 

" Really ? The black and the blue make a charming effect, 
don't they ? They are the Baron's favourite colours. How agi- 
tated our hostess is! She seems to have all the world here. 
When are we to see the wonderful work? What's she waiting 
for? Ah, there's the Baron coming out at last! " 

" They're all here, aren't they ? " said Roma, looking round 
with flushed cheeks and flaming eyes at the jangling, slandering 
crew, who had insulted and degraded David Rossi. 

" Take care," he answered, but she only threw up her head 
and laughed. 

Then the company went down the circular iron staircase to 
the studio. Roma walked fii-st with her rapid step, talking 
nervously and laughing frequently. 

The fountain stood in the middle of the floor, and the 
guests gathered about it. 

" Superb ! " they exclaimed one after another. " Superb ! 
Superb ! " 

The little Mayor was especially enthusiastic. He stood near 
the Baron, and holding up both hands he cried : 

"Marvellous! Miraculous! Fit to take its place beside 
the masterpieces of old Rome ! " 

" But surely this is ' Hamlet ' without the prince,'' said the 
Baron. " You set out to make a fountain representing Christ 
and his twelve apostles, and the only figure you leave unfinished 
is Christ Himself." 

He pointed to the central figure above the dish, which was 
merely shaped out and indicated. 

" !N^ot oidy one, your Excellency," said Don Camillo. 
" Here is another unfinished figure — intended for Judas. a]i- 
parently." 

" I left them to the last on purpose," said Roma. " They 
were so important, and so difficult. But I have studies for 



242 THE ETERNAL CITY 

both of them in the boudoir, and you shall give me your advice 
and opinion." 

" The saint and the satyr, the God and the devil, the be- 
trayed and the betrayer — what subjects for the chisel of the 
artist ! " said Don Camillo. 

" Just so," said the Mayor. " She must do the one with 
all the emotions of love, and the other with all the faculties of 
hate." 

" jSTot that art," said Don Camillo, " has anything to do 
with life — that is to say, real life . . ." 

" Why not? " said Roma, sharply. " The artist has to live 
in the world, and he isn't blind. Therefore, why shouldn't he 
describe what he sees around him?" 

" But is that art ? If so, the artist is at liberty to give his 
views on religion and politics, and by the medium of his art 
he may even express his private feelings — return insults and 
wreak revenge." 

" Certainly he may," said Roma, " the greatest artists have 
often done so." Saying this, she led the way upstairs 
and the others followed, with a chorus of hypocritical ap- 
proval. 

" It's only human, to say the least." " Of course it is ! " 
" If she's a woman and can't speak out, or fight duels, it's a 
lady-like way, at all events." And then further tittering, 
tapping of fans, and significant nods at Rossi when his back 
was turned. 

Two busts stood on pedestals in the boudoir. One of them 
was covered with a damp cloth, the other with a muslin veil. 
Going up to the latter first Roma said, with a slightly quaver- 
ing voice : 

" It was so difiicult to do justice to the Christ that I am 
almost sori-y I made the attempt. But it came easier when I 
began to think of some one who was being reviled and humili- 
ated and degraded because he was poor and wasn't ashamed of 
it, and who was always standing up for the weak and the down- 
trodden, and never returning anybody's insult however shame- 
ful and false and wicked, because he wasn't thinking of himself 
at all. So I got the best model I could in real life and this 
is the result." 

With that she pulled off the muslin veil and revealed the 
sculptured head of David Rossi, in a snow-white plaster cast. 
The features expressed pure nobility, and every touch was a 
touch of sympathy and love. 



DAVID ROSSI 243 

A moment of chilling silence was followed by an under- 
breath of gossip. " Who is it ? " " Christ, of course." " Oh, 
certainly, but it reminds me of some one." " Who can it be ? " 
" The Pope ? " " Why, no ; don't you see who it is ? " " Is it 
really ? " " How shameful ! " " How blasphemous ! " 

Eoma stood looking on with a face lighted up by two 
flaming eyes. " I'm afraid you don't think I've done justice to 
my model," she said. " That's quite true. But perhaps my 
Judas will please you better," and she stepped up to the bust 
that was covered by the wet cloth. 

" I found this a difficult subject also, and it was not until 
yesterday evening that I felt able to begin on it." 

Then, with a hand that trembled visibly, she took from the 
wall the portrait of her father, and offering it to the Minister, 
she said: 

" Some one told me a story of duplicity and treachery — it 
was about this poor old gentleman. Baron — and then I knew 
what sort of person it was who betrayed his friend and master 
for thirty pieces of silver, and listened to the hypocrisy, and 
flattery, and lying of the miserable group of parasites who 
crowded round him because he was a traitor, and because he 
kept the purse." 

With that she threw off the damp cloth, and revealed the 
clay model of a head. The face was unmistakable, but it ex- 
pressed every baseness — cunning, arrogance, cruelty, and sen- 
suality. 

The silence was freezing, and the company began to turn 
away, and to mutter among themselves, in order to cover their 
confusion. " It's the Baron ! " " Xo ? " " Yes." " Disgrace- 
ful ! " " Disgusting ! " " Shocking ! " "A scarecrow ! " 

Roma watched them for a moment, and then said : " You 
don't like my Judas? Xeither do I. You're right — it is dis- 
gusting." 

And taking up in both hands a piece of thin wire, she cut 
the clay across, and the upper part of it fell face downward with 
a thud on to the floor. 

The Princess, who stood by the side of the Baron, offered 
him her sympathy, and he answered with his icy smile : 

" But these artists are all slightly insane, you know. That 
is an evil which must be patiently endured, without noticing 
too much the ludicrous side of it." 

Then, stepping up to Roma, and handing back the portrait, 
the Baron said, with a slight frown : 



244 THT2 ETERNAL CITY 

" I must thank you for a very amusing afternoon, and bid 
you good-day." 

The others looked after him, and interpreted his departure 
according to their own feelings, " He is done with her," they 
whispered. " He'll pay her out for this." And without more 
ado they began to follow him-. 

Roma, flushed and excited, bowed to them as they went out 
one by one, with a politeness that was demonstrative to the 
point of caricature. She was saying farewell to them for ever, 
and her face was lighted up with a look of triumphant joy. 
They tried to bear themselves bravely as they passed her, but 
her blazing eyes and sweeping curtseys made them feel as if 
they were being turned out of the house. 

When they were all gone, she shut the door with a bang, and 
then turning to David Rossi, who alone remained, she burst 
into a flood of hysterical tears, and threw herself on to her 
knees at his feet. 

XX 

" David ! " she cried. 

" Don't do that. Get up," he answered. 

His thoughts were in a whirl. He had been standing aside, 
trembling for Roma as he had never trembled for himself in 
the hottest moments of his public life. And now he was alone 
with her, and his blood was beating in his breast in stabs. 

" Haven't I done enough ? " she cried. " You taunted me 
with my wealth, but I am as poor as you are now. Every penny 
I had in the world came from the Baron. He allowed me to 
use part of the revenues of my father's estates, but the income 
was under his control, and now he will stop it altogether. I 
am in debt. I have always been in debt. That was my bene- 
factor's way of reminding me of my dependence on his bounty. 
And now all I have will be sold to satisfy my creditors and I 
shall be turned out homeless." 

" Roma . . ." he began, but her tears and passion bore 
down everything. 

House, furniture, presents, carriages, horses, everything 
will go soon, and I shall have nothing whatever ! No matter ! 
You said a woman loved ease and wealth and luxury. Is that 
all a woman loves? Is there nothing else in the world for 
any of us ? Aren't you satisfied with me at last ? " 

" Roma," he answered, breathing hard, " don't talk like that. 
I cannot bear it." 



DAVID ROSSI 245 

But she did not listen. " You taunted me with being a 
woman," she said through a fresh burst of tears. " A woman 
was incapable of friendship and sacrifices. She was intended 
to be a man's plaything. Do you think I want to be my hus- 
band's mistress ? I want to be his wife, to share his fate, what- 
ever it may be, for good or bad, for better or worse." 

" For God's sake, Roma ! " he cried. But she broke in on 
him again. 

" You taunted me with the dangers you had to go through, 
as if a woman must needs be an impediment to her husband, 
and try to keep him back. Do you think I want my husband 
to do nothing. If he were content with that he would not 
be the man I had loved, and I should despise him and leave 
him." 

"Roma! . . ." 

" Then you taunted me with the death that hangs over you. 
When you were gone I should be left to the mercy of the 
world. But that can never happen. Xever! Do you think a 
woman can outlive the man she loves as I love you? . . . 
There ! I've said it. You've shamed me into it." 

He could not speak now. His words were choking in his 
throat, and she went on in a torrent of tears: 

" The death that threatens you comes from no fault of 
yours, but only from your fidelity to my father. Therefore I 
have a right to share it, and I will not live when you are dead." 

" If I give way now," he thought, " all is over." 

And clenching his hands behind his back to keep himself 
from throwing his arms around her, he began in a low voice : 

" Roma, you have broken your promise to me." 

" I don't care," she interrupted. " I would break ten thou- 
sand promises. I deceived you. I confess it. I pretended to 
be reconciled to your will, and I was not reconciled. I wanted 
you to see me strip myself of all I had, that you might have 
no answer and excuse. Well, you have seen me do it, and now 
. . . what are you going to do nowV^ 

" Roma," he began again, trembling all over, " there have 
been two men in me all this time, and one of them has been 
trying to protect you from the world and from yourself, while 
the other . . . the other has been wanting you to despise all 
his objections, and trample them under your feet. ... If I 
could only believe that you know all you are doing, all the risk 
you are running, and the fate you are willing to share . . . but 
no, it is impossible." 



246 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" David," she cried, " you love me ! If you didn't love me, I 
should know it now — at this moment. But I am braver than 
you are. . . ." 

" Let me go. I cannot answer for myself." 

" I am braver than you are, for I have not only stripped 
myself of all my possessions, and of all my friends — I have even 
compromised mj'self again and again, and been daring and 
audacious, and rude to everybody for your sake. ... I, a 
woman . . . while you, a man . . . you are afraid . . . yes, 
afraid . . . you are a coward — that's it, a coward ! . . . No, no, 
no ! What am I saying ? . . . David Leone ! " 

And with a cry of passion and remorse she flung both arms 
about his neck. 

He had stood, during this fierce struggle of love and pain, 
holding himself in until his throbbing nerves could bear the 
strain no longer. 

" Come to me, then — come to me," he cried, and at the mo- 
ment when she threw herself upon him he stretched out his 
arms to receive her. 

" You do love me ? " she said. 

" Indeed, yes ! And you ? " 

" Yes, yes, yes ! " 

He clasped her in his arms with redoubled ardour, and 
pressed her to his breast and kissed her. The love so long pent 
up was bursting out like a liberated cataract that sweeps the 
snow and the ice before it. 

All at once the girl who had been so brave in the great 
battle of her love became weak and womanish in the moment 
of her victory. Under the warmth of his tenderness she 
dropped her head on to his breast to conceal her face in her 
shame. 

" You will never think the worse of me ? " she faltered. 

" The worse of you ! For loving me ? " 

" For telling you so and forcing myself into your life ? " 

" My darling, no ! " 

She lifted her head, and he kissed away the tears that were 
shining in her eyes. 

" But tell me," he said, " are you sure — quite sure ? Do you 
know what is before you ? " 

" I only know I love you." 

He folded her afresh in his strong embrace, and kissed her 
head as it lay on his breast. 

" Think again," he said. " A man's enemies can be merciless. 



DAVID ROSSI 247 

They may watch you and put pressure upon you, and even hu- 
miliate you for my sake." 

" Iso matter ! I am not afraid," she answered, and again 
he tightened his amis about her in a passionate embrace, and 
covered her hair and her neck and her hands and her finger- 
tips with kisses. 

They did not speak for a long time after that. There was 
no need for words. He was conquered, yet he was conqueror, 
and she was happy and at peace. The long fight was over, and 
everything was well. 

He put her to sit in a chair, and sat himself on the arm of 
it, with his face to her face, and her arms still round his neck. 
It was like a dream. She could scarcely believe it. He whom 
she had looked up to with adoration was caressing her. She 
was like a child in her joy, blushing and half afraid. 

He ran his hand through her hair and kissed her forehead. 
She threw back her head that she might put her lips to his fore- 
head in return, and he kissed her full, round throat. 

Then they exchanged rings as the sign of their eternal 
union. When she put her diamond ring, set in gold, on to his 
finger, he looked grave and even sad ; but when he put his plain 
silver one on to hers, she lifted up her glorified hand to the 
light, and kissed and kissed it. 

They began to talk in low tones, as if some one had been lis- 
tening. It was the whispering of their hearts, for the angel 
of happy love has no voice louder than a whisper. She asked 
him to say again that he loved her, but as soon as he began 
to say it she stopped his mouth with a kiss. 

They talked of their love. She was sure she had loved him 
before he loved her, and when he said that he had loved her 
always, she protested in that case he did not love her at all. 

They talked of the pain of love. Did love always begin with 
pain? Love must be a twin thing, two spirits born in different 
breasts, and crying and crying until they come together. That 
union was the real beginning of the love-life, and all that went 
before it was but the agony of birth. 

The church bells began to ring the Ave Maria, and they 
closed their eyes to listen. They wanted to remember this hour 
as the hour of the new birth of their love, so they clasped hands 
and dreamt themselves back into silence. But through the 
silence of their tongues the bells came laden with other voices. 
One bell was like the voice of a happy child playing in the 
morning sunshine; another bell was like the sweet voice of a 



248 THE ETERNAL CITY 

boy in a choir, going up, up, up to the gate of heaven ; a third 
bell was like a girl's voice calling across a meadow, fresh with 
the perfume of verdure and wild flowers ; a fourth was like the 
voice of a sailor on the shore of a sunlit sea ; and then the far- 
off boom of the big bell of St. Peter's was like the voice of the 
sea itself, telling of the lovers who were lost in its depths. But 
all the bells of Rome were ringing for them, and the Ave 
Maria was their ov/n. 

They rose at length to close the windows, and side by side, 
his arm about her waist, her head leaning lightly on his shoul- 
der, they stood for a moment looking out. The mother of 
cities lay below in its lightsome whiteness, and over the ridge of 
its encircling hills the glow of the departing sun was rising 
in vaporous tints of amber and crimson into the transparent 
blue, with the dome of St. Peter's, like a balloon, ready to rise 
into a celestial sky. 

" A storm is coming," he said, looking at the colours in the 
sunset. 

" It has come and gone," she whispered, and then his arm 
folded closer about her waist. 

It took him half-an-hour to say adieu. After the last kiss 
and the last handshake, their anns would stretch out to the 
utmost limit, and then close again for another and another and 
yet another embrace. 

XXI 

When at length Rossi was gone, Roma ran into her bedroom 
to look at her face in the glass. The golden complexion was 
heightened by a bright spot on either cheek, and a tear-drop 
was glistening in the corner of each of her eyes. 

She went back to the boudoir. David Rossi was no longer 
there, but the room seemed to be full of his presence. She sat 
in the chair again, and again she stood by the window. At 
length she opened her desk and wrote a letter: 

" Dearest, — You are only half-an-hour gone, and here I am 
sending this letter after you, like a handkerchief you had for- 
gotten. I have one or two things to say, quite matter-of-fact 
and simple things, but I cannot think of them sensibly for joy 
of the certainty that you love me. Of course, I knew it all the 
time, but I couldn't be at ease until I had heard it from your 
own lips ; and now I feel almost afraid of my great happiness. 



DAVID ROSSI 249 

How wonderful it seems! Aud, like all events that are long- 
expected, how suddenly it has happened m the end ! To think 
that a month ago — only a little month — you and I were both in 
Rome, within a mile of each other, breathing the same air, 
enclosed by the same cloud, kissed by the same sunshine, and 
yet we didn't know it ! 

" Oh, my dear, sweet sisters, jou who are living joyless and 
uncaressed, don't lose heart ! Just another moment, just the 
turn of a comer somewhere, and his eyes will meet yours, and 
you will be happy, happy, happy ! 

" Soberly, though, I want you to understand that I meant 
all I said so savagely about going on with your work, and not 
letting your anxiety about my welfare interfere with you. I 
am really one of the women who think that a wife should fur- 
ther a man's aims in life if she can ; and if she can't do that, she 
should stand aside and not impede him. So go on, dear heart, 
without fear for me. I will take care of myself, whatever 
occurs. Don't let one hour or one act of your life be troubled 
by the thought of what would happen to me if you should fall. 
Dearest, I am your beloved, but I am your soldier also, ready 
and waiting to follow where my captain calls: 

" 'Teach me, only teach, Love! 
As I ought 
I will speak thy speech. Love, 
Think thy thought.' 

" And if I was not half afraid that you would think it 
bolder than is modest in your bride to be, I would go on with 
the nest lines of my sweet quotation. 

" Another thing. You went away without saying you for- 
give me for the wicked duplicity I practised upon you. It was 
very wrong, I suppose, and yet for my life I cannot get up any 
real contrition on the subject. There's always some duplicity 
in a woman. It is the badge of ever^- daughter of Eve, and it 
must come out somewhere. In my case it came out in loving 
you to all the lengths and ends of love, and drawing you on 
to loving me. I ought to be ashamed, but I'm not, I'm glad. 

" I did love first, and, of course, I knew you from the be- 
ginning, and when you wrote about being in love with some one 
else, I knew quite well you meant me. But it was so delicious 
to pretend not to know, to come near and then to sheer off 
again, to touch and then to fly, to tempt you and then to run 
17 



250 THE ETERNAL CITY 

away, until a strong tide rushed at me and overwiielmed me, 
and I was swooning in your arms at last. 

" Dearest, don't think I made light of the obstacles you 
urged against our union. I knew all the time that the risks of 
marriage were serious, though perhaps I am not in a position 
even yet to realise how serious they may be. Only I knew also 
that the dangers were greater still if we kept apart, and that 
gave me courage to be bold and to defy conventions. 

" Which brings me to my last point, and please prepare to be 
serious, and bend your brow to that terrible furrow which 
comes when you are fearfully in earnest. What you said of 
your enemies being merciless, and perhaps watching me and 
putting pressure upon me to injure you, is only too imminent a 
danger. The truth is that I have all along known more than 
I had courage to tell, but I was hoping you would understand, 
and now I tremble to think how I have suffered myself to be 
silent. 

" The Minghelli matter is an alarming affair, for I have 
reason to believe that the man has lit on the name you bore 
in England, and that when he returns to Rome he will try to 
fix it upon you by means of me. This is fearful to contem- 
plate, and my heart quakes to think of it. But happily there 
is a way to checkmate such a devilish design, and it is within 
your own power to save me from life-long remorse. 

" I don't think the laws of any civilised country compel a 
man's unfe to compromise him, and thinking of this gives me 
courage to be unmaidenly and say : Don't let it be long, dearest ! 
I could die to bring it to pass in a moment. With all my great, 
great happiness, I shall have the heartache until it is done, and 
only when it is over shall I begin to live ! 

" There ! You didn't know what a forward hussy I could 
be if I tried, and really I have been surprised at myself since 
I began to be in love with you. For weeks and weeks I have 
been thin and haggard and ugly, and only to-day I begin to be 
a little beautiful. I couldn't be anything but beautiful to-day, 
and I've been running to the glass to look at myself, as the only 
way to understand why you love me at all. And I'm glad — ^so 
glad for your sake. 

" Good-bye, dearest ! You cannot come to-morrow or the 
next day, and what a lot I shall have to live before I see you 
again! Shall I look older? 'No, for thinking of you makes me 
feel younger and younger every minute. How old are you? 
Thirty-four? I'm twenty-four and a half, and that is just 



DAVID ROSSI 251 

right, but if you think I ought to be nearer your age I'll wear 
a bonnet and fasten it with a bow. Roma. 

" P.S. — Don't delay the momentous matter. Don't ! Don't ! 
Don't!" 

She dined alone that night that she might be undisturbed in 
her thoughts of Kossi. Ordinary existence had almost disap- 
peared from her consciousness, and every time Felice spoke as 
he sei"ved the dishes his voice seemed to come from far away. 

She went to bed early, but it was late before she slept. 

For a long time she lay awake to think over all that had hap- 
pened, and when the night was far gone, and she tried to fall 
asleep in order to dream of it also, she could not do so for sheer 
delight of the prospect. But at last, amid the gathering clouds 
of sleep, she said " Good-night " with the ghost of a kiss, and 
slept until morning. 

When she awoke it was late and the sun was shining into 
the room. She lay on her back and stretched out both arms 
for sheer sweetness of the sensation of health and love. 
Everything was well, and she was very hai^py. Thinking of 
yesterday, she was even sorry for the Baron, and told herself she 
had been too bold and daring. 

But that thought was gone in a moment. Body and soul 
were suffused with joy, and she leapt out of bed with a spring. 

A moment afterwards Natalina came with a letter. It was 
from the Baron himself, and it was dated the day before : 

" Minghelli has returned from London, and therefore I must 
see you to-morrow at eleven o'clock. Be so good as to be at 
home, and give orders that for half-an-hour at least we shall 
be quite undisturbed " 

Then the sun went out, the air grew dull, and darkness fell 
over all the world. 



PART FIYE 
THE PRIME MINISTER 



It was Sunday. The storm threatened by the sunset of the 
day before had not yet come, but the sun was struggling 
through a veil of clouds, and a black ridge was rising over the 
horizon. 

At eleven o'clock to the moment the Baron arrived. As 
usual, he was faultlessly dressed, and he looked cool and tran- 
quil. 

" I am to show you into this room, Excellency," said Felice, 
leading the way to the boudoir. 

"Thanks! . . . Anything to tell me, Felice?" 

" Nothing, Excellency," said Felice. Then, pointing to the 
plaster bust on its pedestal in the corner, he added in a lower 
tone, " He remained last night after the others had gone, 
and . . ." 

But at that moment there was the rustle of a woman's dress 
outside, and, interrupting Felice, the Baron said in a high- 
pitched voice : 

" Certainly; and please tell the Countess I shall not forget 
to look in upon her before I go." 

Roma came into the room with a gloomy and firm-set face. 
The smile that seemed always to play about her mouth and 
eyes had given place to a slight frown and an air of defiance. 
But the Baron saw in a moment that behind the lips so sternly 
set, and the straight look of the eyes, there was a frightened 
expression, which she was trying to conceal. lie greeted her 
with his accustomed calm and naturalness, kissed her hand, 
offered her the flower from his buttonhole, put her to sit in 
the arm-chair with its back to the window, took his own seat on 
the couch in front of it, and leisurely drew off his spotless 
gloves. 

253 



THE PRIME MINISTER 253 

Not a word about the scene of yesterday, not a look of pain 
or reproof. Only a few casual pleasantries, and then a quiet 
gliding into the business of his- visit. 

" What an age since we were here alone before ! And what 
changes you've made ! Your pretty nest is like a cell ! Well, 
I've obeyed your mandate, you see. I've stayed away for a 
month. It was hard to do — bitterly hard — and many a time 
I've told myself it was imprudent. But you were a woman. 
You were inexorable. I was forced to submit. And now, what 
have you got to tell me ? " 

" Xothing," she answered, looking straight before her. 

" Nothing whatever ? " 

" Toothing whatever." 

She did not move or turn her face, and he sat for a mo- 
ment watching her. Then he rose, and began to move about 
the room. 

" Let us understand each other, my child," he said, gent- 
ly. " Will you forgive me if I recall facts that are fa- 
miliar?" 

She did not answer, but looked fixedly into the fire, while 
he leaned on the stove and stood face to face with her. 

" A month ago, a certain Deputy, an obstructionist politi- 
cian, who has for years made the task of government difiicult, 
uttered a seditious speech, and brought himself within the 
power of the law. In that speech he also attacked me, and — 
shall I say? — grossly slandered you. Parliament was not in 
session, and I was able to order his arrest. In due course, he 
would have been punished, perhaps by imprisonment, perhaps 
by banishment, but you thought it prudent to inteiwene. You 
urged reasons of policy which were wise and far-seeing. I 
yielded, and to the bewilderment of my officials, I ordered the 
Deputy's release. But he was not therefore to escape. You 
undertook his punishment. In a subtle and more effectual way, 
you were to wipe out the injury he had done, and requite him 
for his offence. The man was a mystery — you were to fijid out 
all about him. He was suspected of intrigue — you were to dis- 
cover his conspiracies. Within a month, you were to deliver 
him into my hands, and I was to know the inmost secrets of his 
soul." 

It was with difficulty that Eoma maintained her calmness 
while the Baron was speaking, but she only shook a stray lock 
of hair from her forehead, and sat silent. 

" Well, the month is over. I have given you every oppor- 



254 THE ETERNAL CITY 

tunity to deal with our friend as you thought best. Have you 
found out anything about him?" 

She put on a bold front, and answered : " No." 

"So your effort has failed?" 

" Absolutely." 

" Then you are likely to give up your plan of punishing 
the man for defaming and degrading you ? " 

" I have given it up already." 

" Strange ! Very strange ! Very unfortunate also, for we 
are at this moment at a crisis when it is doubly important to 
the Government to possess the information you set out to find. 
Still, your idea was a good one, and I can never be sufficiently 
grateful to you for suggesting it. And although your efforts 
have failed, you need not be uneasy. You have given us the 
clues by which our efforts are succeeding, and you shall yet 
punish the man who insulted you so publicly and so grossly." 

" How is it possible for me to punish him ? " 

" By identifying David Rossi as one who was condemned in 
contumacy for high treason sixteen years ago." 

" That is ridiculous," she said. " Sixteen months ago I 
had never heard the name of David Rossi." 

The Baron stooped a little and said : 

" Had you ever heard the name of David Leone ? " 

She dropped back in her chair, and again looked straight 
before her. 

" Come, come, my child," said the Baron caressingly, and 
moving across the room to look out of the window, he tapped 
her lightly on the shoulder. 

" I told you that Minghelli had returned from London." 

" That forger! " she said hoarsely. 

" No doubt ! One who spends his life ferreting out crime 
is apt to have the soul of a criminal. But civilisation needs 
its scavengers, and it was a happy thought of yours to think of 
this one. Indeed, everything we've done has been done on 
your initiative, and when our friend is finally brought to jus- 
tice the fact will really be due to you, and you alone." 

The defiant look was disappearing from her eyes, and she 
rose with an expression of pain. 

" Why do you torture me like this ? " she said. " After what 
has happened, isn't it quite plain that I am his friend, and 
not his enemy ? " 

" Perhaps," said the Baron. His face assumed a deathlike 
rigidity. " Sit down and listen to me." 



THE PRIME MINISTER 255 

She sat down, and he j*eturned to his place by the stove. 

" I say you gave us the clues we have worked upon. Thosd 
clues were three. First, that David Kossi knew the life-story 
of Doctor Roselli in London. Second, that he knew the story 
of Doctor Roselli's daughter, Roma Roselli. Third, that he 
was for a time a waiter at the Grand Hotel in Rome. Two 
minor clues came independently, that David Rossi was once a 
stable-boy in New York, that his mother drowned herself in 
the Tiber, and he was brought up in a Foundling. By these 
five clues the authorities have discovered eight facts. PeiTnit 
me to recite them." 

Leaning his elbow on the stove and opening his hand, the 
Baron ticked off the facts one by one on his fingers. 

" Fact one. Some thirty odd years ago a woman carrying 
a child presented herself at the office in Rome for the registry 
of births. She gave the name of Leonora Leone, and wished 
her child, a boy, to be registered as David Leone. But the 
officer in attendance discovered that the woman's name was 
Leonora Rossi, and that she had been married according to the 
religious rites of the Church but not according to the civil 
regulations of the State. The child was therefore registered as 
David Rossi, son of Leonora Rossi and of a father unknown." 

" Shameful ! " cried Roma. " Shameful ! Shameful ! " 

" Fact two," said the Baron, without the change of a tone. 
" One night a little later the body of a woman found drowned 
in the Tiber was recognised as the body of Leonora Rossi, and 
buried in the pauper part of the Campo Verano under that 
name. The same night a child was placed by an unknown hand 
in the rota of Santo Spirito, with a paper attached to its wrist, 
giving particulars of its baptism and its name. Its name was 
David Leone." 

The Baron ticked off the third of his fingers and continued : 

" Fact three. Fourteen years afterwards a boy named 
David Leone, fourteen years of age, was living in the house of 
an Italian exile in London. The exile was a Roman prince 
under the incognito of Doctor Roselli ; his family consisted of 
his wife and one child, a daughter named Roma, four years of 
age. David Leone had been adopted by Doctor Roselli, who 
had picked him up in the street." 

Roma covered her face with her hands. 

" Fact four. Four years later a conspiracy to assassinate 
the King of Italy was discovered at Milan. The chief con- 
spirator turned out to be, unfortunately, the English exile. 



256 THE ETERNAL CITY 

known as Doctor Roselli. By the good offices of a kinsman, 
jealous of the honour of his true family name, he was not 
brought to public trial, but deported by one of the means 
adopted by all Governments when secrecy or safety are in ques- 
tion. But his confederates and correspondents were shown 
less favour, and one of them, still in England, being tried in 
contumacy by a military court which sat during a state of 
siege, was condemned for high treason to the military punish- 
ment of death. The name of that confederate and correspond- 
ent was David Leone." 

Roma's slippered foot was beating the floor fast, but the 
Baron went on in his cool and tranquil tone. 

" Fact five. Our extradition treaty excluded the delivery of 
political offenders, btit after representations from Italy, David 
Leone left England. He went to America. There he was first 
employed in the stables of the Tramway Company in New 
York, and lived in the Italian quarter of the city, but after- 
wards he rose out of his poverty and low position, and became a 
journalist. In that character he attracted attention by a new 
political and religious propaganda. Jesus Christ was law-giver 
for the nation as well as for the individual, and the redemp- 
tion of the world was to be brought to pass by a constitution 
based on the precepts of the Lord's Prayei*. The creed was suf- 
ficiently sentimental to be seized upon by fanatics in that coun- 
try of countless faiths, but it cut at the roots of order, of 
property, even of patriotism, and being interpreted into action 
seemed likely to lead to riot." 

The Baron twisted the ends of his moustache, and said, with 
a smile : " David Leone disappeared from ISTew York. From 
that time forward no trace of him has yet been found. He was 
as much gone as if he had ceased to exist. David Leone was 
dead." 

Roma's hands had come down from her face, and she was 
picking at the buttons of her blouse with twitching fingers. 

" Fact six," said the Baron, ticking off the thumb of his 
other hand. " Twenty-five or six years after the registration of 
the child David Rossi in Rome, a man, apparently twenty-five 
or six years of age, giving the name of David Rossi, arrived in 
England from America. He called at a baker's shop in Soho 
to ask for Roma Roselli, the daughter of Doctor Roselli, left 
behind In London when the exile returned to Italy. They told 
him that Roma Roselli was dead and buried." 

Roma's face, which had been pale until now, began to glow 



THE PRIME MINISTER 257 

like a fire on a gloomy night, and her foot beat faster and 
faster. 

" Fact seven. David Rossi appeared in Rome, first as a 
waiter at the Grand Hotel, but soon afterwards as a journalist 
and public lecturer, propounding precisely the same propa- 
ganda as that of David Leone in New York, and exciting the 
same interest." 

"Well? What of it?" said Roma. "David Leone was 
David Leone, and David Rossi is David Rossi — there is no more 
in it than that." 

The Baron clasped his hands so tight that his knuckles 
cracked, and said, in a slightly exalted tone : 

" Eighth and last fact. About that time a man called at the 
office of the Campo Santo to know where he was to find the 
grave of Leonora Leone, the woman who had drowned herself 
in the Tiber twenty-six years before. The pauper trench had 
been dug up over and over again in the interval, but the officials 
gave him their record of the place where she had once been 
buried. He had the spot measured off for him, and he went 
down on his knees before it. Hours passed, and he was still 
kneeling there. At length night fell, and the officers had to 
warn him away." 

Roma's foot had ceased to beat on the floor, and she was 
rising in her chair. 

" That man," said the Baron, " the only human being who 
ever thought it worth while to look up the grave of the poor 
suicide, Leonora Rossi, the mother of David Leone, was David 
Rossi. Who was David Leone ? — David Rossi ! Who was 
David Rossi? — David Leone! The circle had closed around 
him — the evidence was complete." 

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" 

Roma had leapt up and was walking about the room. Her 
lips were compressed with scorn, her eyes were flashing, and she 
burst into a torrent of words, which spluttered out of her 
quivering lips. 

" Oh, to think of it ! To think of it ! You are right ! The 
man who spends his life looking for crime must have the soul 
of a criminal ! He has no conscience, no humanity, no mercy, 
no pity. And when he has tracked and dogged a man to his 
mother's grave — his mother's grave — he can dine, he can laugh, 
he can go to the theatre! Oh, I cannot endure you! I hate 
you ! There, I've told you ! T^ow, do with me as you please ! " 

The deathlike rigidity in the Baron's face decomposed into 



258 THE ETERNAL CITY 

an expression of intense pain, but he only passed his hand over 
his brow, and said, after a moment of silence : 

" My child, you are not only offending me, you are offending 
the theory and principle of Justice. Justice has nothing to do 
with pity. In the vocabulary of Justice, there is but one word 
—duty. Duty called upon me to fix this man's name upon him, 
that his obstructions, his slanders, and his evil influence may 
be at an end. And now Justice calls upon you to do the 
same." 

The Baron leaned against the stove, and spoke in a calm 
voice, while Koma, in her agitation, continued to walk about 
the room. 

" Being a Deputy, and Parliament being in session, David 
Rossi can only be arrested by the authorisation of the Chamber. 
In order to obtain that authorisation, it is necessary that the 
Attorney-General should draw up a statement of the case. The 
statement must be presented by the Attorney-General to the 
Government, by the Government to the President, by the Presi- 
dent to a Committee, and by the Committee to Parliament. 
Towards this statement the police have already obtained im- 
portant testimony, and a complete chain of circumstantial evi- 
dence has been prepared. But they lack one link of positive 
proof, and until that link is obtained, the Attorney-General is 
unable to proceed. It is the keystone of the arch, the central 
fact, without which all other facts fall to pieces — the testimony 
of somebody who can swear, if need be, that she knew both 
David Leone and David Rossi, and can identify the one with 
the other." 

"Well?" 

The Baron, who had stopped, continued in a calm voice: 
" My dear Roma, need I go on ? Dead as a Minister is to all 
sensibility, I had hoped to spare you. T|;iere is only one person 
known to me who can supply that link. That person is your- 
self." 

Roma's eyes were red with anger and terror, but she tried to 
laugh over her fear. 

" How simple you are, after all ! " she said. " It was Roma 
Rosclli who knew David Leone, wasn't it? Well, Roma Roselli 
is dead and buried. Oh, I know all the story. You did that 
yourself, and now it cuts the ground from under you." 

" My dear Roma," said the Baron, with a hard and angry 
face, " if I did anything in that matter it was done for your 
welfare, but whatever it was, it need not disturb me now. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 259 

Roma Eoselli is not dead, and it would be easy to bring people 
from England to say so." 

"You daren't! You know you daren't! It would expose 
them to persecution for perpetrating a crime." 

" In England, not in Italy." 

Roma's red eyes fell, and the Baron began to speak in a 
caressing voice. 

" My child, don't fence with me. It is so painful to silence 
you. ... It is perhaps natural that you should sympathise 
Avith the weaker side. That is the sweet and tender if illogi- 
cal way of all women. But you must not imagine that when 
David Rossi has been arrested ho will be walked off to his death. 
As a matter of fact, he must go through a new trial, he must be 
defended, his sentence must in any case be reduced to imprison- 
ment, and it may even be wiped out altogether. That's all." 

" All ? And you ask me to help you to do that ? " 

" Certainly." 

" I won't ! " 

" Then you could if you would ? " 

"I can't! 

" Your first word was the better one, my child." 

" Very well, I won't ! I won't ! Aren't you ashamed to 
ask me to do such a thing? According to your own story, 
David Leone was my father's friend, yet you wish me to give 
him up to the law that he may be imprisoned, perhaps for life, 
and at least turned out of Parliament. Do you suppose I am 
capable of treachery like that ? Do you judge of everybody by 
yourself? . . . Ah, I know that story, too! For shame! For 
shame ! " 

The Baron was silent for a moment, and then said in an 
impressive voice : 

" I will not discuss that subject with you now, my child— 
you are excited, and don't quite know what yovi are saying. I 
will only point out to you that even if David Leone was your 
father's friend, David Rossi was your own enemy." 

" What of that ? It's my own affair, isn't it ? If I choose to 
forgive him, what matter is it to anybody else? I do forgive 
him ! Now, whose business is it except my own ? " 

" My dear Roma, I might tell you that it's mine also, and 
that the insult that went through you was aimed at me. But 
I will not speak of myself. . . . That you should change your 
plans so entirely, and setting out a month ago to . . . to . . . 
shall I say betray . . . this man Rossi, you are now striving to 



2G0 THE ETERNAL CITY 

save him, is a fact which admits of only one explanation, and 
that is that . . . that you . . ." 

" That I love him — yes, that's the truth," said Roma boldly, 
but flushing up to the eyes and trembling with fear. 

There was a deathlike pause in the duel. Both dropped 
their heads, and the silent face in the bust seemed to be looking 
down on them. Then the Baron's icy cheeks quivered visibly, 
and he said in a low, hoarse voice: 

" I'm sorry ! Very sorry ! For in that case I may be com- 
pelled to justify your conclusion that a Minister has no human- 
ity and no pity. It may even be necessary to play the part of 
the husband in the cruel stor'y of the lover's heart. If David 
Rossi cannot be arrested by the authorisation of Parliament he 
must be arrested when Parliament is not in session, and then 
liis identity will have to be established in a public tribunal. In 
that event you will be forced to appear, and having refused to 
make a private statement in the secrecy of a magistrate's office, 
you will be compelled to testify in the Court of Assize." 

"Ah, but you can't make me do that ! " cried Roma excit- 
edly, as if seized by a sudden thought. 

"Why not?" 

" Never mind why not. That's my secret. You can't do it, 
I tell you," she cried excitedly. 

He looked at her as if trying to penetrate her meaning, and 
then said : 

" We shall see." 

At that moment the fretful voice of the Countess was 
heard calling to the Baron from the adjoining room. 



II 

Roma went to her bedroom when the Baron left her, and 
remained there until late in the afternoon. In spite of the bold 
front she had put on, she was quaking with terror, and tortured 
by remorse. ISTever before had she realised David Rossi's peril 
with such awful vividness, and seen her own position in rela- 
tion to him with such hideous nakedness. 

Was it her duty to confess to David Rossi that at the begin- 
ning of their friendship she had set out to betray him ? Only so 
could she be secure, only so could she be honest, only so could 
she be true to the love he gave her and the trust he reposed 
in her. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 261 

Yet why should she confess ? The abominable impulse was 
gone. Something sweet and tender had taken its place. To con- 
fess to him now would be cruel. It would wound his beautiful 
faith in her. 

And yet the seeds she had sown were beginning to fructify. 
They might spring up anj-where at any moment, and choke the 
life that was dearer to her than her own. Thank God, it was 
still impossible to injure him except by her will and assistance. 
But her will might be broken and her assistance might be 
forced, unless the law could be invoked to protect her against 
itself. It could and it should be invoked ! When she was mar- 
ried to David Kossi no law in Italy would compel her to witness 
against him. 

But if Kossi hesitated from any cause, if he delayed their 
marriage, if he replied unfavourable to the letter in which she 
had put aside all modesty and asked him to marry her soon — 
what then ? How was she to explain his danger ? How was she 
to tell him that he must marry her before Parliament rose, or 
she might be the means of expelling him from the Chamber, 
and perhaps casting him into prison for life? How was she 
to say : " I was Delilah, I set out to betray you, and unless you 
marry me the wicked work is done ! " 

The afternoon was far spent, she had eaten nothing since 
morning, and was lying face down on the bed, when a knock 
came to the door. 

" The person in the studio to see you," said Felice. 

It was Bruno in Sunday attire, with little Joseph in top- 
boots, and more than ever like the cub of a young lion. 

" A letter from him, miss," said Bruno. 

It was from Rossi. She took it without a word of greeting, 
and went back to her bedroom. But when she returned a 
moment afterwards, her face was transformed. The clouds had 
gone from it, and the old radisnce had returned. All the 
brightness and gaiety of her usual expression were there as she 
came swinging into the drawing-room, and filling the air with 
the glow of health and happiness. 

" That's all right," she said. " Tell :Mr. Rossi I shall expect 
to see him soon ... or no, don't say that . . . say that as he 
is over head and ears in work this week he is not to think it 
necessary. . . . Oh, say anything you like," she said, and the 
pearly teeth and lovely eyes broke into an aurora of smiles. 

Bruno, whose bushy face and shaggy head had never once 
been raised since he came into the room, said : 



262 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" He's busy enough, anyway — what with this big meeting 
coming off on Wednesday, and the stairs to his rooms as full 
of people as the Santa Scala." 

" So you've brought little Joseph to see me at last ? " said 
Roma. 

" He has bothered my life out to bring him, ever since you 
said he was to be your porter some day." 

" And why not ? Gentlemen ought to call on the ladies, 
oughtn't they, Joseph ? " 

And Joseph, whose curly poll had been hiding behind the 
leg of his father's trousers, showed half of a face that was 
shining all over. 

" Listen ! " said Roma, with a merry twinkle. A band of 
music was going through the piazza on its way home from the 
Pincian gardens. " Let us go and look at them," said Roma, 
and, taking hold of Joseph's hand, she skipped off with him to 
her boudoir, and put him to stand on the writing-desk in front 
of the window. 

" It's the ' Royal March,' isn't it, Joseph ? You know the 
* Royal March ' ? Of course you do ! And look at the people, 
and the priests, and the monks, and the students, and the car- 
riages, and the dogs, and the perambulators, and the motor- 
cars, and the babies and the nurses, and the little boys and girls. 
Beautiful ! Isn't it beautiful ? But, see ! See here — do you 
know who this is? This gentleman in the bust? " 

" Uncle David," said the boy. 

" What a clever boy you are, Joseph ! " 

" Doesn't want much cleverness to know that, though," said 
Brvnio, from the door. "It's wonderful! It's magnificent! 
And it will shut up all their damned . . . excuse me, miss, 
excuse me." 

" And Joseph still intends to be a porter ? " 

" Dead set on it, and says he wouldn't change his profes- 
sion to be a king." 

" Quite right, too ! And now let us look at something a little 
birdie brought me the other day. Come along, Joseph. Here 
it is ! Down on your knees, gentleman, and help me drag it 
out. One^two — and away ! " 

From the knee-hole of the desk came a large cardboard box, 
and Joseph's eyes glistened like big black beads. 

" i^ow, what do you think is in this box, Joseph ? Can't 
guess? Give it up? Sure? Well, listen! Are you listening? 
Which do you think you would like best — a porter's cocked 



THE PHIME MINISTER 263 

hat, or a porter's long coat, or a porter's mace with a gilt head 
and a tassel ? " 

Joseph's face, which had gleamed at every item, clouded and 
cleared, cleared and clouded at the cruel difficulty of choice, 
and finally looked over at Bruno for help. 

" Choose now — which ? " 

But Joseph only sidled over to his father and whispered 
something which Roma could not hear. 

" What docs he say ? " 

" He says it is his birthday on Wednesday," said Bruno. 

" Bless him ! He shall have them all, then," said Koma, and 
Joseph's legs, as well as his eyes, began to dance. 

The cords were cut, the box was opened, the wonderful hat 
and coat and mace were taken out, and Joseph was duly in- 
vested. In the midst of this ceremony Roma's black poodle came 
bounding into the room, and when Joseph strutted out of the 
boudoir into the drawing-room the dog went leaping and bark- 
ing beside him. 

" Dear little soul ! " said Roma, looking after the child ; but 
Bruno, who was sitting with his head down, only answered with 
a groan. 

Roma looked at him, and saw for the first time that his 
simple face was troubled. It bore an expression of almost 
comical sadness, and his dog's ej'es were wet and gloomy. 

" What is the matter, Bruno ? " she asked. 

He brushed his coat-sleeve across his eyes, set his teeth, 
and said with a savage fierceness : 

" What's the matter ? Treason's the matter, telling tales and 
taking away a good woman's character — that's what is the mat- 
ter ! A man who has been eating your bread for years has been 
lying about you, and he is a rascal and a sneak and a damned 
scoundrel, and I would like to kick him out of the house." 

" And who has been doing all this, Bruno ? " 

" Myself. It was I who told Mr. Rossi the lies that made 
him speak against you on the day of the Pope's Jubilee, and 
when 5^ou asked him to come here I warned him against you, 
and said you were only going to pay him back and ruin him." 

" So you said that, did you? " 

" Yes, I did." 

" And what did Mr. Rossi say to yoii ? " 

" Say to me? I wonder he didn't kill me. ' She's a good 
woman,' says he, ' and if I have ever said otherwise, I take it 
all back, and am ashamed.' " 



204 THE ETERNAL CITY 

"He said that, did he?" 

" He did. But the devil was in me, and I wasn't convinced. 
Only yesterday I told him not to come to your reception, be- 
cause I had seen your bust the morning you began, and it was a 
caricature, and meant for Judas." 

" And what did Mr. Kossi say to that? " 

" ' Bruno,' he said, ' if Donna Koma had used my head for 
Satan I should believe in her the same as ever.' And now you 
are heaping coals of fire on me, and I can't bear it, and I won't." 

Roma, who had turned to the window, heaved a sigh and 
said : " It has all come out right in the end, Bruno. If you 
hadn't spoken against me to Mr. Rossi, he wouldn't have spoken 
against me in the piazza, and then he and I should never have 
met and known each other and been friends. All's well that 
ends well, you know." 

" Perhaps so, but the miracle doesn't make the saint, and 
you oughtn't to keep me any longer." 

" Do you mean that I ought to dismiss you ? " 

" Yes." 

" Bruno," said Roma, " I am in trouble just now, and I may 
be in worse trouble by and by. I am to be poor, and my enemies 
are going to be cruel and merciless. I don't know how long I 
may be able to keep you as a servant, but I may want you as a 
friend, and if you leave me now . . ." 

" Oh, put it like that, miss, and I'll never leave you, and as 
for enemies . . ." 

Bruno was doubling up the sleeve of his right arm, when 
Joseph and the poodle came back to the room. Roma received 
them with a merry cry, and there was much noise and laughter. 
At length the gorgeous garments were taken off, the cardboard 
box was corded, and Bruno and the boy prepared to go. 

" You'll come again, won't you, Joseph ? " said Roma, and 
the boy's face beamed. 

" I suppose this little man means a good deal to you, 
Bruno ? " 

" Everything," said Bruno. " God bless the little imps, 
what would a man be without children? Five francs a week 
richer in pocket and a million a minute poorer in pleasure. 
Taking his ease instead of easing their little aches, sleeping at 
nights instead of stumping about the bedroom in his slippers, 
but with a heart as hard as a gizzard and a soul as dry as dust. 
Isn't that so, Joseph-Mazzini-Garibaldi ? " 

" And his mother? " 



THE PRIME MINISTER 265 

" Oh, she ! She's crazy ! I do believe she'd die, or disappear, 
or drown herself if anything happened to that boy." 

"And Mr. Rossi?" 

" He's been a second father to the boy ever since the young 
monkey was born." 

" Well, Joseph must come here sometimes, and let me try to 
be a second mother to him, too. . . . What is he saying now ? " 

Joseph had dragged down his father's head to whisper some- 
thing in his ear. 

" He says he's frightened of your big porter downstairs." 

" Frightened of him ! He is only a man, my precious ! Tell 
him you are a little Roman boy, and he'll have to let you up. 
Will you remember ? You will ? That's right ! By-bye ! " 

Before going to sleep that night, Roma switched on the 
light that hung above her head and read her letter again. She 
had been hoarding it up for that secret hour, and now she was 
alone with it, and all the world was still. 

•' Saturday Night. 
" My Dear One, — Tour sweet letter brought me the intoxi- 
cation of delight, and the momentous matter you speak of is 
under weigh. It is my turn to be ashamed of all the great to-do 
I made about the obstacles to our union when I see how 
courageous you can be. Oh, how brave women are — all women 
— eveiy woman who ever raarries a man ! To take her heart 
into her hands, and face the unknown in the fate of another 
being, to trust her life into his keeping, knowing that if he 
falls she falls too, and will never be the same again ! What 
man could do it ? Xot one who was ever born into the world. 
Yet some woman does it every day, promising some man that 
she will — let me finish your quotation — 

" 'Meet, if thou require it, 
Both demands, 
Laying flesh and spirit 
In thy hands.' 

" Dearest, I have got the better of our bargain, and if I held 
off it was partly because I knew it must be so. But what chil- 
dren we are, men and women who love each other, standing 
aloof with a shy fear of each other, when we should join hands 
and play. I wanted you eveiy moment, and it was terrible to 
have the dearest thing in the world within one's reach and feel 
compelled to put it away. But that is all over now. I am going 
18 



266 THE ETERNAL CITY 

to live at last, to face the world with a new front, and to leave 
the future in the hands of God. 

" Don't think I am too much troubled about the Minghelli 
matter, and yet it is pitiful to think how merciless the world 
can be even in the matter of a man's name. A name is only a 
word, but it is everything to the man who bears it — ^honour 
or dishonour, poverty or Avealth, a blessing or a curse. If it is 
a good name, everybody tries to take it away from him, but if 
it's a bad name and he has attempted to drop it, everybody tries 
to fix it on him afresh. 

" The name I was compelled to leave behind me when I re- 
turned to Italy, was a bad name in nothing except that it was 
the name of my father, and if the spies and ferrets of authority 
ever fix it upon me, God only knows what mischief they may do. 
But one thing / know — that if they do fix my father's name 
upon me, and bring me to the penalties which the law has im- 
posed on it, it will not be by help of my darling, my beloved, my 
brave, brave girl with the heart of gold. 

" Dearest, I wrote to the Capitol immediately on receiving 
your letter, and to-morrow morning I will go down myself to 
see that everything is in train. I don't yet know how many 
days are necessary to the preparations, but earlier than Thurs- 
day it would not be wise to fix the event, seeing that Wednes- 
day is the day of the great mass meeting in the Coliseum, and, 
although the police have proclaimed it, I have told the people 
they are to come. There is some risk at the outset, which it 
would be reckless to run, and in any case, the time is short. 

" Good-night ! I can't take my pen off the paper. Writing 
to you is like talking to you, and every now and then I stop 
and shut my eyes, and hear your voice replying. Only it is 
myself who make the answers, and they are not half so sweet as 
they would be in reality. Ah, dear heart, if you only knew 
how my life was full of silence until you came into it, and now 
it is full of music ! Good-night, again ! D. E. 

" Sunday Morning. 

" Just returned from the Capitol. The legal notice for the 
celebration of a marriage is longer than I expected. It seems 
that the ordinary term is twelve days at least, covering two suc- 
cessive Sundays (on which the act of publication is posted on 
the board outside the office) and three d^ys over. For grave 
and extreme reasons, one of these Sundays, or even both, may be 
dispensed with, but I saw no ground on which we could swear 



THE PRIME MINISTER 267 

before a magistrate that our ease was as urgent as death, so I 
submitted to the usual regularity, furnished the necessary par- 
ticulars, and the first of our banns has been published to-day. 
Only twelve days more, my dear one, and you will be mine, 
mine, mine, and all the world will know ! " 

It took Roma a good three-quarters of an hour to read this 
letter, for nearly eveiy other word seemed to be written out of a 
lover's lexicon, which bore secret meanings of delicious import 
and imperiously demanded their physical response from the 
reader's lips. At length she put it between the pillow and her 
cheek, to help the sweet delusion that she was cheek to cheek 
with some one and had his strong, protecting arms about her. 
Then she lay a long time, with eyes open and shining in the 
darkness, trying in vain*to piece together the features of his 
face. But in the first dream of her first sleep she saw him 
plainly, and she ran, she raced, she rushed to his embrace. 

Next day brought a message from the Baron. 

" Dear RoiL\, — Come to the Palazzo Braschi to-morrow 
(Tuesday) morning at eleven o'clock. Don't refuse, and don't 
hesitate. If you do not come, you will regret it as long as you 
live, and reproach yourself for ever afterwards. — Yours, 

" BOXELLI." 

ni 

The Palazzo Braschi is a triangular palace, whereof one 
front faces to the Piazza Navona and the two other fronts to 
side streets. A magnificent staircase, with sixteen columns 
of Oriental granite, six colossal statues, and a narrow rivulet 
of frayed and dirty druggetting meandering up its marble 
steps, leads to a cheerless hall on the topmost storey, where mes- 
sengers and porters sit and lounge in untidy uniforms. This 
is the entrance to the cabinet of the Minister of the Interior, 
usually the President of the Council and Prime Minister 
of Italy. 

Eoma arrived at eleven o'clock, and was taken to the Min- 
ister's room immediately, by way of an outer chamber, in which 
colleagues and secretaries were waiting their turn for an in- 
terview. The Baron was seated at a table covered with books 
and papers. There was a fur rug across his knees, and at his 
right hand lay a small ivory-handled revolver. He rose as 
Roma entered, and received her with his glacial politeness. 



268 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" How prompt ! And how sweet you look to-day, my child ! 
On a cheerless day like this you bring the sun itself into a poor 
Minister's gloomy cabinet. That simple black and white hat is 
charming. Sit down." 

Roma was not deceived by the false accent of his wel- 
come. 

" You wished to see me ? " she said. 

He rested his elbow on the table, leaned his head on his 
hand, looked at her with his never-varying smile, and said: 

" I hear you are to be congratulated, my dear." 

She changed colour slightly. 

"Are you surprised that I know?" he asked. 

" Why should I be surprised ? " she answered. " You know 
everything. Besides, this is published at the Capitol, and 
therefore common knowledge." 

His smiling face remained perfectly impassive. 

" iSTow I understand what you meant on Sunday. It is a 
fact that a wife cannot be called as a witness against her hus- 
band. I am beaten. I confess it, and I congratulate you on 
your acuteness." 

She knew he was watching her face as if looking into the 
inmost recesses of her soul. 

" But isn't it a little courageous of you to think of mar- 
riage ? " 

" Why courageous ? " she asked, but her eyes fell and the 
colour mounted to her cheek. 

" Why courageous ? " he repeated. 

He allowed a short time to elapse, and then he said in a low 
tone, " Considering the past, and all that has happened . . ." 

Her eyelids trembled and she rose to her feet. 

" If this is all you wished to say to me . . ." 

" ]S[o, no ! Sit down, my child. I sent for you in order to 
show you that the marriage you contemplate may be difficult, 
perhaps impossible." 

" I am of age — there can be no impediment." 

" There may be the greatest of all impediments, my dear." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I mean . . . but wait ! You are not in a hurry ? A num- 
ber of gentlemen are waiting to see me, and if you will permit 
me to ring for my secretary . . . Don't move. Colleagues 
merely! They will not object to 2/0 wr presence. My ward, you 
know — almost a member of my own household. Ah, here is the 
secretary. Who now ? " 



THE PRIME MINISTER 269 

" The Minister of War, the Prefect, Commendatore An- 
gelelli and one of his delegates," replied the secretary. 

" Bring the Prefect first," said the Baron, and a severe 
looking man of military bearing entered the room. 

" Come in, Senator. You know Donna Roma. Our busi- 
ness is urgent — she will allow us to go on. I am anxious to 
hear how things stand and what you are doing." 

The Prefect began on his report. Immediately the new 
law was promulgated by royal decree he had sent out a circular 
to all the ^ilayors in his province, stating the powers it gave the 
police to dissolve associations and to forbid public meetings. 

" But what can we expect to do in the provincial towns, 
your Excellency, while in the capital we are doing nothing? 
The chief of all subversive societies is in Rome, and the di- 
recting mind is at large among ourselves. Listen to this, sir." 

The Prefect took a newspaper from his pocket and began 
to read : 

"Romans, The new decree law is an attempt to deprive us of lib- 
erties which our fathers made revolutions to establish. It is, there- 
fore, our duty to resist it, and to this end we must hold our meeting 
on the first of February according to our original intention. Only 
thus can we show the Government and the King what it is to oppose 
the public opinion of the tvorld. . . . Jfeet in the Piazza del Pop)olo 
at sundown and tvalJc to the Coliseum by way of the Corso. Be 
peaceful and orderly, and God put it into the hearts of your rulers to 
avert bloodshed." 

" That is from the Sunrise? " 

" Yes, sir, the last of many manifestoes. And what is the 
result? The people are flocking into Rome from every part 
of the province." 

" And how many political pilgrims are here already ? " 

" Fifty thousand, sixty, perhaps a hundred thousand. It 
cannot be allowed to go on, your Excellency." 

" It is a levee-en-masse certainly. "What do you advise? " 

" First, that the Svnrise be sequestered." 

" We'll speak of that presently. Xext ? " 

" Next, that the correspondents of foreign newspapers who 
send false inventions and exaggerations abroad be delicately 
conducted over the frontier." 

"And next?" 

" That the enemies of the Government and the State, whose 



270 THE ETERNAL CITY 

erroneous conceptions of liberty have led to this burst of 
anarchist feeling, be left to the operation of the police laws." 

The Baron glanced at Roma. Her face was flushed, and her 
eyes were flashing. 

" That," he said, " may be difficult, considering the num- 
ber of the discontented. What is the strength of your police ? " 

" Seven hundred in uniform, four hundred in plain clothes, 
and five hundred and fifty municipal guards. Besides these, 
sir, there are three thousand Carabineers and eight thousand 
troops." 

" Say twelve thousand five hundred armed men in all?" 

" Precisely, and what is that against fifty, a hundred, per- 
haps a hundred and fifty thousand people ? " 

" You want the army at call ? " 

" Exactly, but above everything else we want the permis- 
sion of the Government to deal with the greater delinquents, 
whether deputies or not, according to the powers given us 
by the Statute." 

The Baron rose and held out his hand. " Thanks, Senator ! 
The Government will consider your suggestions immediately. 
Be good enough to send in my colleague, the Minister of War." 

When the Prefect left the room Roma rose to go. 

" You cannot suppose this is very agreeable to me ? " she 
said, in an agitated voice. 

" Wait ! I shall not be long. . . . Ah, General Morra ! 
Roma, you know the General, I think. Sit down, both of 
you . . . Well, General, you hear of this levee-en-masse? " 

" I do." 

" The Prefect is satisfied that the people are moved by a 
revolutionary organisation, and he is anxious to know what 
force we can put at his service to control it." 

The General detailed his resources. There were sixteen 
thousand men always under arms in Rome, and the War Office 
had called up the old timers of two successive years — perhaps 
fifty thousand in all. 

" As a Minister of State and your colleague," said the Gen- 
eral, " I am at one with you in your desire to safeguard the 
cause of order and to protect public institutions, but as a man 
and a Roman I cannot but hope that you will not call upon 
me to act without the conditions required by law." 

" Indeed, no," said the Baron, " and in order to make sure 
that our instructions are carried out with wisdom and hu- 
manity, let these be the orders you issue to your staff: First, 



THE PlilME MINISTER 271 

that in case of disturbance to-morrow night, whether at the 
Coliseum or elsewhere, the officers must wait for the proper 
signal from the delegate of police." 

"Good!" 

" IText, that on receiving the order to fire, the soldiers must 
be careful that their first volley goes over the heads of the 
people." 

" ExceUent ! " 

" If that does not disperse the crowds, if they throw stones 
on the soldiers or otherwise resist, the second volley — I see no 
help for it— the second volley, I say, must be fired at the per- 
sons who are leading on the ignorant and deluded mob." 

" Ah ! " 

The General hesitated, and Roma, whose breathing came 
quick and short, gave him a look of tenderness and gratitude. 

" You agree, General Morra ? " 

" I'm afraid I see no alternative. But if the blood of their 
leader only infuriates the people, is the third volley . . ." 

" That," said the Baron, " is a contingency too terrible to 
contemplate. My prediction would be that when their leader 
falls, the poor misguided people will fly. But in all human 
enterprises the last w^ord has to be left to destiny. Let us leave 
it to destiny in the present instance. Adieu, dear General ! 
Be good enough to tell my secretary to send in the Chief of 
Police." 

The Minister of War left the room, and once more Roma 
rose to go. 

" You cannot possibly imagine that a conversation like 
this ..." she began, but the Baron only interrupted her 
again. 

" Don't go yet. I shall be finished presently. Angelelli can- 
not keep me more than a moment. Ah, here is the Commenda- 
tore." 

The Chief of Police came bowing and bobbing at every 
step, with the extravagant politeness which differentiates the 
vulgar man from the well-bred. 

" About this meeting at the Coliseum, Commendatore — 
has any authorisation been asked for it ? " 

" None whatever, your Excellency." 

" Then we may properly regard it as seditious ? " 

" Quite properly, your Excellency." 

" Listen ! You will put yourself into communication with 
the Minister of War immediately. He will place fifty thou- 



27^ THE ETEENAL CITY 

sand men at the disposition of your Prefect. Choose your dele- 
gates carefully. Instruct them well. At the first overt act of 
resistance, let them give the word to fire. After that, leave 
everything to the military." 

" Quite so, your Excellency." 

" Be careful to keej) yourself in touch with me until mid- 
night to-morrow. It may be necessary to declare a state of 
siege, and in that event the royal decree will have to be ob- 
tained without delay. Prepare your own staff for a general 
order. Ask for the use of the cannon of St. Angelo as a sig- 
nal, and let it be understood that if the gun is fired to-morrow 
night every gate of the city is to be closed, every outward 
train is to be stopped, and every telegraph office is to be put 
under control. You understand me?" 

" Perfectly, Excellency." 

" After the signal has been given let no one leave the city, 
and let no telegraphic message of any kind be despatched. In 
short, let Rome from that hour onward be entirely under the 
control of the Government." 

" Entirely, your Excellency." 

" The military have already received their orders. After 
the call of the delegate of police, the first volley is to be fired 
over the heads of the people and the second at the ringleaders 
and chief rioters. But if any of these should escape . . ." 

The Baron paused, and then repeated in a low tone with the 
utmost deliberation : 

" I say, if any of these should escape, Commendatore , . ." 

" They shall not escape, your Excellency." 

There was a moment of profound silence, in which Roma 
felt herself to be suffocating, and could scarcely restrain the 
cry that was rising in her throat. 

" Let me go," she said, when the Chief of Police had backed 
and bowed himself out ; but again the Baron pretended to mis- 
understand her. 

" Only one more visitor ! I shall be finished in a few 
minutes," and then Charles Minghelli was shown into the 
room. 

The man's watchful eyes blinked perceptibly as he came 
face to face with Roma ; but he recovered himself in a mo- 
ment, and began to brush with his fingers the breast of his 
frock-coat. 

" Sit down, Minghelli. You may speak freely before Donna 
Roma. You owe your position to her generous influence, you 



THE PRIME MINISTER 273 

may remember, and she is abreast of all our business. You've 
seen the Attorney-General again ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" And what is his decision ? " 

" The same as before. He declines to ask Parliament for 
the arrest of a Deputy until he is in a position to complete an 
instruction that will satisfy his conscience and the law." 

" Very well ! In that case we must find some other means 
of overtaking the delinquents who, though guilty, are pro- 
tected by their privilege. . . . You know all about this meet- 
ing at the Coliseum ? " 

Minghelli bent his head. 

" The delegates of police have received the strictest orders 
not to give the word to the military until an overt act of- re- 
sistance has been committed. That is necessary as well for the 
safety of our poor, deluded people as for our own credit in the 
eyes of the world. But an act of rebellion in such a case is a 
little thing, Mr. Minghelli." 

Again Minghelli bent his head. 

" A blow, a shot, a shower of stones, and the peace is broken 
and the delegate is justified." 

A third time Minghelli bent his head. 

" Unfortunately, in the sorrowful circumstances in which 
the city is placed an overt act of resistance is quite sure to be 
committed." 

Minghelli flecked a speck of dust from his spotless cuff 
and said : 

" Quite sure, your Excellency." 

There was another moment of profound silence in which 
Roma ielt her heart beat violently. 

" Adieu, Mr. Minghelli. Tell my secretary as you pass out 
that I wish to dictate a letter." 

The letter was to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

" Dear colleague," dictated the Baron. " I entirely ap- 
prove of the proposal you have made to the Governments of 
Europe and America to establish a basis on which anarchists 
should be suppressed by means of an international net through 
which they can with difficulty escape. My suggestion would 
be the universal application of the Belgian clause in all exist- 
ing extradition treaties, whereby persons guilty of regicide 
may be dealt with as common murderers. In any case please 
say that the Government of Italy intends to do its duty to the 
civilised world, and will look to the Governments of other 



274 THE ETERNAL CITY 

countries to allow it to follow up and arrest the criminals who 
are attempting to reconstruct society by burying it under 
ruins." 

Notwithstanding all her efforts to appear calm, Roma felt 
as if she must go out into the streets and scream. Now she 
knew why she had been sent for. It was in order that the 
Baron might talk to her in parables — in order that he might 
show her by means of an object lesson as palpable as pitiless, 
what was the impediment which made her marriage with David 
Rossi impossible. 

The marriage could not be celebrated until after eleven 
days, but the meeting at the Coliseum must take place to- 
morrow, and as surely as it did so it must result in riot and 
Darid Rossi must be shot ! 

The secretary gathered up his note-book and left the room, 
and then the Baron turned to Roma with beaming eyes, and 
lips expanding to a smile. 

" Finished at last ! A thousand apologies, my dear! Twelve 
o'clock already ! Let vis go out and lunch somewhere." 

" Let me go home," said Roma. 

She was trembling violently, and as she rose to her feet 
she swayed a little. 

" ]\[y dear child ! You're not well. Take this glass of 
water." 

" It's nothing. Let me go home." 

The Baron walked with her to the head of the stair- 
case. 

" I understand you perfectly," she said, in a choking voice, 
" but there is something you have not counted upon and you are 
quite mistaken." 

And making a great call on her resolution she threw up 
her head and walked firmly down the stairs. 

Immediately on reaching home she wrote to David Rossi : 

" I must see you to-night. Where can it be ? To-night ! 
Mind, to-night! To-morrow will be too late — Roma." 

Bruno delivered the note by hand and brought back an 
answer : 

" Dearest, — Come to the office at nine o'clock. Sorry I 
cannot go to you. It is impossible. D. R. 

" P.S. — You have converted Bruno and he would die for 



THE PRIME MINISTER 



:io 



you. As for the ' little Roman boy,' he is in the seventh heaven 
over your presents, and says he must go up to Trinita de' Monti 
to begin work at once." 



IV 

The atmosphere of a newspaper office when the journal is 
going to press is like the atmosphere of a steamship at sea at 
the beginning of the night. If all goes well the movement is as 
regular and drowsy as that of the engines whose monotonous 
beat is heard from below, but if anything unusual occurs out- 
side, the air within is quickened by many currents, and there 
is a haunting sense of disaster which is only allayed by the 
light of morning or the sight of port. 

The office of the Sunrise at nine o'clock that night tingled 
with excitement. An outer sheet had already gone to press, 
and the machines in the basement were working rapidly. In 
the business office on the first floor people were constantly 
coming and going, and the footsteps on the stairs of the com- 
posing-room sounded through the walls like the irregular beat 
of a hammer. 

The door of the editor's room was frequently swinging open, 
as reporters with reports, messengers with telegrams, and boys 
with proofs came in and laid them on the desk at which the 
sub-editor sat at work. 

David Rossi stood by his desk at the farther end of the 
room. This was the last night of his editorship of the Sunrise, 
and by various silent artifices, the staff were showing their 
sympathy with the man who had made it, and was forced to 
leave it. 

One by one they came for cotinsel. or to take his, last com- 
mands. He smiled at them with his tired and kindly smile, but 
seemed scarcely conscious of their attentions. His hair was 
slightly disordered, his loose necktie had fallen out of its knot, 
and he looked preoccupied and distraught. 

The excitement within the office of the Sunrise corre- 
sponded to the commotion otitside. The city was in a ferment, 
and from time to time unknown persons, the spontaneous re- 
porters of tumultuous days, were brought in from the outer 
office to give the editor the latest news of the night. Another 
trainful of people had arrived from Milan ! Still another from 
Bologna and Carrara ! The storm was growing ! Soon would 



270 THE ETERNAL CITY 

be heard the crash of war! Their faces were eager, and their 
tone was one of triumph. They pitched their voices high, so 
as to be heard above the reverberations of the machines, whose 
deep ihud in the rooms below made the walls vibrate like the 
sides of a ship at sea. 

David Kossi did not catch the contagion of their joy. At 
every fresh announcement his face clouded. The unofficial 
head of the surging and straining democracy, which was filling 
itself hourly with hopes and dreams, was unhappy and per- 
plexed. He was trying to write his last message to his people, 
and he could not get it clear because his own mind was 
confused. 

"Romans," he wrote first, "your rulers are preparing to resist 
your rigid of meeting, and you have nothing to oppose to the muskets 
and bayonets of their soldiers hut the hare breasts of a brave but peace- 
ful people. No matter ! Fifty, a hundred, five hundred of you, hilled 
at the first volley, and the day is won ! The reactionary government 
of Italy — all the reactionary governments of Europe — will be borne 
down by the righteous indignation of the ivorld." 

It would not do ! He had no right to lead the people to 
certain slaughter, and he tore up his manifesto and be- 
gan again. 

"Romans," he wrote the second time, "when reforms cannot be 
effected ivithout the spilling of blood, the time for them has not yet 
come, and it is the duty of a brave and peaceful people to wait for the 
silent operation of natural laiv and the mighty help of moral forces. 
Tlierefore at the eleventh hour 1 call upon you in the names of your 
wives and children to desist from protest, to submit to tyranny, to 
abandon demonstration which can only be made at the risk of your 
lives, and to leave it to Almighty God to find some other way by which 
the world may hear the voice of the cry of your suffering." 

It was impossible ! The people would think he was afraid, 
and the opportune moment would be lost. 

One man in the office of the Sunrise was entirely outside 
the circle of its electric currents. This was the former day- 
editor who had been appointed by the proprietors to take Rossi's 
place, and was now walking about with a silk hat on his head, 
taking note of everything and exercising a premature and 
gratuitous supervision. To-morrow everything would be 



THE PRIME MINISTER 277 

changed ; the subversive policy of the Sunrise would give place 
to a loyal constitutionalism, and the tatterdemalions of the 
streets would be no more seen within its walls. 

David Eossi was tearing up the second of his manifestoes 
when this person came to say that a lady in the outer office was 
asking to see him. 

" Show her into the private waiting-room," said Rossi. 

" But may I suggest," said the man, " that considering who 
the lady is, it would perhaps be better to see her elsewhere ? " 

" Show her into the private room, sir," said Rossi, and the 
man shrugged his shoulders and disappeared. 

As David Rossi opened the door of a small room at his right 
hand, something rustled lightly in the corridor outside, and a 
moment afterwards Roma glided into his anus. She was pale 
and nervous, and after a moment she began to cry. 

" Dear one," said Rossi, pressing her head against his 
breast, " what has happened ? Tell me i " 

He kissed her hands and her hair, and after a while she 
lifted her face and their lips touched. 

" Something has frightened you. You look anxious." 

" Xo wonder," she said, and then she told him of her sum- 
mons to the Palazzo Braschi, and of the business she saw done 
there. 

There was to be a riot at the me: ting at the Coliseum, be- 
cause if need be the Government itself would provoke violence. 
The object was to kill him, not the people, and if he stayed in 
Rome until to-morrow night there would be no possibility of 
escape. 

" My darling," she said, " you must fly. You are the victim 
marked out by all these preparations — you, you, nobody but 
you — and, therefore, I have come to warn you." 

She was all in a tremor, and her lips twitched with excite- 
ment, but his face cleared while she spoke, and when she was 
done he smiled and kissed her. 

" It is the best news I've heard for days," he said. '' If I am 
the only one who runs a risk . . ." 

"Risk! My dearest, don't you understand? Your life is 
in danger, and you must fly before it is quite impossible." 

" It is already impossible," he answered. 

" At this time to-morrow it will be, for every gate will be 
closed, and every train out of the city stopped. You must go 
to-night. To-morrow will be too late." 

He drew off one of her white gloves and kissed her finger-tips. 



278 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" My dear one," he said, " if there were nothing else to think 
of, do you suppose I could go away and leave you behind me? 
That is just what somebody expected me to do when he per- 
mitted you to witness his preparations. But he was mistaken. 
It is impossible. I cannot and I will not leave you." 

Her pale face was suddenly overspread by a burning blush, 
and she threw both arms about his neck. 

" Very well," she said, " I will go with you." 

" Darling ! " he cried, and he clasped her to his breast again. 
" But no ! That is impossible also. Our marriage cannot take 
place for ten days." 

" No matter ! I'll go without it." 

" Without marriage ? " 

"Why not?" 

" But think what a name you would leave behind you." 

" I don't care. And if somebody counted upon my being 
afraid of what people would say, he was mistaken in that, 
too." 

" My dear one, you don't know what you are saying. You 
are too good, too pure . . ." 

" Hush ! Our marriage is nothing to anybody but our- 
selves, and if we choose to go without it . . ." 

" My dear, pure girl ! " 

" I can't hear you," she said. Loosening her hands from his 
neck, she had covered her ears. 

He held her closer to him and said : 

" Dearest, I know what you are thinking of, but it must 
not be." 

" I can't hear a word you're saying," she said, beating her 
hands over her ears. " I am a woman, and yet I'm ready to 
go — now, this very minute— and if you don't take me it is be- 
cause you are a man, and you love other things better than 
you love me." 

" My darling, don't tempt me. If you only knew what it 
costs me . . . but I would rather die . . ." 

" I don't want you to die. That's just it ! I want you to 
live, and I am willing to risk everything — everything . . ." 

Her warm and lovely form was quivering in his arms, and 
his heart was labouring wildly. 

" iSTo, no, no ! " he cried. " I love you too much. Think ! 
Only think! Your father charged me to rescue you from a 
danger that threatened you, and shall I . . . Heaven forbid! 
I can't, and I won't ! " 



THE PRIME MINISTER 279 

Then a shiver ran over her, and she buried her face in his 
breast. 

" Dearest," he whispered over her head. " You are so good, 
so pure, so noble that you don't know how evil tongues can wag 
at a woman because she is brave and true. But I must remem- 
ber my mother — and if your poor father is to rest in his 
grave . . ." 

His voice broke and he stopped. She was breathing heavily, 
and holding on to him as if in fear that she would fall. 

" See how much I love you," he whispered again, " when I 
would rather lose you than see you lower yourself in your own 
esteem. . . . And then think of my people! My poor people 
who trust me and look up to me so much more than I deserve. 
I called them and they have come. They are here now, tens of 
thousands of them. And they will be here to-morrow wherever 
I may be. Shall I desert them in their hour of need thinking 
of my own safety, my own happiness ? No ! You cannot wish 
it ! You do not wish it ! I know you too well ! Roma ! My 
Roma ! " 

She lifted her head from his breast. " You are right," she 
said. " You must stay." 

" That's better." 

" I am ashamed. It was only the other day that I talked 
of a wife being her husband's friend to all the limitless lengths 
of friendship, and now ..." 

" My sweet girl ! " 

" Can you ever forgive me for being frightened at the first 
sight of danger and telling you to fly ? " 

" I will always love you for it." 

" And you will never think the worse of me for offering to 
go with you ? " 

" I will love you for that, too." 

" I must be brave," she said, drawing herself up proudly 
though her lips were trembling, her voice was breaking and her 
eyes were wet. " That's what a woman must be if she is the 
wife of a man who has a man's work to do in the world, and a 
high and noble mission." 

" My brave girl ! " 

" T\Tiether you are right or wrong in what you are doing it 
is not for me to decide, but if your heart tells you to do it you 
must do it, and I must be your soldier, ready and waiting for 
my captain's call." 

" My heroine ! " 



280 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" It is not for nothing that I am my father's daughter. 
He risked everything and so will I, and if they come to m 
to-morrow night and say that . . . that you . . . that you 
are . . ." 

" Hush, dearest ! " 

The proud face had fallen on his breast again. But after 
a moment it was raised afresh, and then it was shining all 
over. 

" That's right ! How doubly beautiful your face is when it 
smiles, Koma ! Roma, do you know what I'm going to do when 
this is all over? I'm going to spend my life in making you 
smile all the time." 

She gave him a sudden kiss, and then broke out of his 
arms. 

" I must be going. I've stayed too long. I may not see 
you before the meeting, but I won't say ' good-bye.' " 

" My brave, brave girl ! " 

" Oh, it isn't that. I've thought of something, and now 
I know what I'm going to do." 

"What is it?" 

" Don't ask me." 

" What is it ? " he demanded, laying hold of her, 

" It's all right. Don't look so frightened. I'm not going to 
kill myself. Let me go." 

She opened the door. 

" Come to me to-morrow night — I shall expect you," she 
whispered, and waving her glove to him over her head she 
disappeared from the room. 

He stood a moment where she had left him, trying to think 
what she intended to do, and then he returned to his desk in 
the outer office. His successor was there, looking sour and 
stubborn. 

" Mr. Rossi," he said, " this afternoon I was told at the 
Press Club that the authorities were watching for a plausible 
excuse for suppressing the paper. And considering the rela- 
tions of this lady to the Minister of the Interior, and the dan- 
ger of spies . . ." 

"Listen to this carefully, sir," interrupted Rossi. "When 
you come into possession of the chair I occupy you shall do 
as you think well, but to-night it is mine, and I shall conduct 
the paper as I please." 

" Still, you will allow me to say . . ." 

"Not one word." 



THE PRI3IE MINISTER 281 

" Permit me to protest . . ." 
•">' " Leave the room, immediately." 

When the man was gone, David Rossi wrote a third and last 
version of his manifesto : 

"Romans — Have no fear ! Do not allow yourselves to he terrified 
hy the military preparations of your Government. Believe a man 
who has never deceived you — the soldiers will not fire ^ipon the people ! 
Violate no law. Assail no enemy. Respect property. Above all, 
respect life. Do not alloio yourselves to he pushed into the doctrine of 
physical force. If any man tries to provoke violence, think him an 
agent of your enemies and pay no heed. Be hrave, he strong, he pa- 
tient, and to-morrow night you ivill send up such a cry as vnll ring 
throughout the world. Romans, rememher your fathers and be great. " 

Rossi was handing his manuscript to the sub-editor, that 
it might be sent upstairs, when all at once the air seemed to 
become empty and the world to stand still. The machine in 
the basement had ceased to work. There was a momentaiy. 
pause, such as comes on the steamship at sea when the engines 
are suddenly stopped, and then a sound of frightened voices and 
the noise of hurrying feet. Somebody ran along the corridor 
outside and rapped sharply at the door. 

At the next moment the door opened and four men en- 
tered the room. One of them was an inspector, another was 
a delegate, and the others were policemen in plain clothes. 

" The journal is sequestered," said the inspector to David 
Rossi. And turning to one of his men, he said, " Go up to the 
composing-room and superintend the distribution of the type." 

" Allow no one to leave the building," said the delegate to 
the other policemen. 

" Gentlemen," said the inspector, " we are charged to make 
a perquisition, and must ask you for the keys of your desks." 

"What is this?" said the delegate, taking the manifesto 
out of Rossi's fingers and proceeding to read it. 

At that moment the editor-elect came rushing into the room 
with a face like the rising sun. 

" I demand to see a list of the things sequestered," he cried. 

" You shall do so at the police-office," said the inspector. 

" Does that mean that we are all arrested ? " 

" Not all. The Honourable Rossi, being a Deputy, is at 
liberty to leaVe." 

" Thought as much," said the new editor, with a contemptu- 
^19 



282 THE ETERNAL CITY 

ous snort. And turning to Rossi, and showing his teeth in a 
bitter smile, he said: " What did I say would happen? Has it 
followed quickly enough to satisfy you? " 

The inspector and the delegate had opened the editor's desks 
and were i-ummaging among their papers when David Rossi put 
on his hat and went home. 

At the door of the lodge the old Garibaldian was waiting in 
obvious excitement. 

" Old John has been here, sir," he said. " Something to 
tell you. Wouldn't tell me. But Bruno got it out of him 
at last. Must be something serious, for the big booby has been 
drinking ever since. Hear him in the cafe, sir? I'll send 
him up." 

Half an hour afterwards Bruno staggered into Rossi's room. 
He had a tearful look in his drink-deadened eyes, and was 
clearly struggling with a desire to put his arms about Rossi's 
neck and weep over him. 

" D'ye know wha' ? " he mumbled in a maudlin voice. " Ole 
Vampire is a villain ! Ole John — 'member ole John ? — well, ole 
John heard his grandson, the 'dective, say that if you go to 
the Coliseum to-morrow night . . ." 

" I know all about it, Bruno. You may go to bed." 

" Stop a minute, sir," said Bi'uno, with a melancholy smile. 
"You don't unnerstand. They're going t' shoot you. See? 
Ole John — 'member ole John ? Well, ole John . . ." 

" I know, Bruno. But I'm going nevertheless." 

Bruno fought with the vapour in his brain and said : " You 
don' mean t' say you inten' t' let yourself be a target . . ." 

" That's what I do mean, Bruno." 

Bruno burst into a loud laugh. " Well, I'll be . . . wha' the 
devil. . . . But you shan't go ! I'll ... I'll see you damned 
first ! " 

" You're drunk, Bruno. Go and put yourself to bed." 

The drink-deadened eyes flashed, and to grief succeeded 
rage. " Pu' mysel' t' bed ! D'ye know wha' I'd like t' do t' 
you for t' nex' twenty-four hours? I'd jus' like — yes, by Bac- 
chus — I'd jus' like to punch you in t' belly and put you to 
bed." 

And straightening himself up with drunken dignity, Bruno 
stalked out of the room. 

The Baron Bonelli in the Piazza Leone was rising from 
liis late and solitary dinner, when Felice entered the shaded 
dining-room, and handed him a letter from Roma. It ran : 



THE PRIME MINISTER 283 

" This is to let you know that I intend to be present at 
the meeting in the Coliseum to-morrow night. Therefore, if 
any shots are to be fired by the soldiers at the crowd, or their 
leader, you will know beforehand that they must also be fired 
at me." 

As the Baron held the letter under the red shade "of the 
lamp, the usual immobility of his icy face gave way to a rap- 
turous expression. 

" She's magnificent ! The woman is magnificent ! And 
worth fighting for to the bitter end." 

Then, turning to Felice he told the man to ring up the 
Commendatore Angelelli, and tell him to send for Minghelli 
without delay. 



Next day began with heavy clouds lying low over the city, 
a cold wind coming down from the mountains, and the rum- 
bling of distant thunder. Nevertheless the people who had 
come to Rome for the demonstration at the Coliseum seemed 
to be in the streets the A\hole day long. From early morning 
they gathered in the Piazza Xavona, inquired for David Rossi, 
and stood by the fountains and looked up at his windows. 

The old Garibaldian had orders to deny him to everybody, 
but nobody seemed to complain. Hour by hour the people came 
with news of the city, sent up messages and went away. Can- 
non was being planted in the Piazza del Popolo ! Soldiers were 
stationed around the Coliseum ! Lines of infantry were ranged 
in the streets ! No matter ! " He knows his chickens ! " the 
people said, and they were not afraid. 

As the day wore on the crowds increased. 

All the public squares seemed to be full of motley, ill-clad, 
ill-nourished, but formidable multitudes. Towards evening 
the tradesmen began to shut up their shops, and a regiment 
of cavalry paraded the principal streets with a band that played 
the royal march. At that the people in the Piazza Navona, 
shivering under the Tramontana and huddling together to keep 
themselves Avarm, turned their faces to David Rossi's house 
and broke into a hungry cheer. 

Meantime, the dictator to whom thousands were looking up, 
was miserable and alone. He was feeling the agony of having 
seized on an ideal and the danger of reducing it to action, 



284 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The ideal was to bring the moral force of civilised man to bear 
against oppression and wrong; the danger was the danger of 
riot and bloodshed. He had cried " Peace," but the perils of 
protest were so many, and so near. A blow, a push, a quarrel 
at a street corner, and God knows what might happen ! It was 
like the gigantic gambling of war, with the awful vicissitudes 
of triumph and defeat, and the haunting risk of accident. 

But the frenzy and sweat of David Rossi's body and soul 
had still another channel of torment. He had slept badly, and 
on awakening in the dim light his first thought had been of 
Roma. Over the tenderness and the tingling of warm blood 
which came with the sense of her fresh and lovely figure, there 
was the pang of losing her if the end of that day's work was 
tragic, and life which was at length opening its sweetness to 
him, was snatched away. 

Then the story that Roma told him the night before of the 
pressure put ufjon her by the Baron took new and terrible 
aspects, and he was tortured by a secret pain which he had 
never felt before. He saw her in the power of the Minister 
after he had gone — tormented, tempted, tried until her will 
was broken and she gave herself up to the man at last. 

An oath burst from his lips and a red flame passed before 
his eyes when he thought of this, and he leapt out of bed as 
if something in his brain had suddenly snapped. He had not 
a doubt about what he had been doing, and he would go on 
with it whatever happened. But he miast think of the con- 
sequences no more. It was a strain that human nerves could 
not endure. 

Elena came with his coffee. The timid creature kept look- 
ing at him out of her liquid eyes as if struggling with a desire 
to speak, but when she did so it was only on indifferent subjects. 

Bruno had got up with a headache and gone off to work. 
Little Joseph was very trying this morning, and she had 
threatened to whip him. 

Her father had been upstairs to say that countless people 
were asking for the Deputy, and he wished to know if any- 
body was to come up. 

" Tell him I Avant to be quite alone to-day," said Rossi, and 
then the soft voice ceased, and the timid creature went out with 
a guilty look. 

Like a man who is going on a long and periloiis .iourney, 
David Rossi spent the morning in arranging his affairs. He 
looked over his letters and destroyed most of them. The let- 



THE PRIME MINISTER 285 

ters from Roma were hard to burn, but he read each of them 
again, as if trying to stamp their words and characters on his 
brain, and with a deep sigh he committed them to the flames. 

He took from its frame the covenant which hung by his bed 
and burnt it with other private and political papers. Then he 
wrote a short letter to Roma, and put it in his pocket to post 
on his way to the Piazza. Finally he made his will, and called 
Elena and her father to witness it. 

It was twelve o'clock by this time and Francesca, in her 
red cotton handkerchief, brought up his lunch. The good old 
thing looked at him with a comical expression of pity on her 
wrinkled face, and he knew that Bruno had told his story. 

" Come now, my son ! Put away your papers and get some- 
thing on your stomach. People eat even if they're going to the 
gallows, you know." 

After lunch Rossi called upstairs for Joseph, and the shock- 
headed little cub was brought down, with his wet eyes twink- 
ling and his petted lip beginning to smile. 

" Joseph has been naughty, Uncle David," said Elena. " He 
is crying for the clothes Donna Roma gave him, and he says 
he must go out because it is his birthday." 

" Does a man cry when he is seven ? " said Uncle David. 

Thereupon Joseph, keeping his eyes upon his mother, whis- 
pered something in Uncle David's ear, and straightway the 
gorgeous garments were produced. 

" Joseph will promise not to go out to-day, won't you, 
Joseph?" 

And Joseph rubbed his fists into his eyes and was under- 
stood to say " Yes." 

But it was in vain that Rossi tried to break the strain of 
painful thoughts. 

" You're not looking at me, Uncle David. Why don't you 
look? " cried Joseph, but still Uncle David's eyes kept wander- 
ing from their play. 

At four o'clock Bruno came home, looking grim and reso- 
lute. 

" I was pretty drunk last night, sir," he said, " but if there's 
shooting to be done this evening I'm going to be there." 

The time came for the two men to go, and everybody saw 
them to the door. 

" Adieu," said Rossi. " Thfink you for all you've done for 
me, and may God bless you! Take care of my little Roman 
boy. Kiss me, Joseph ! Again ! For the last time ! Adieu ! " 



286 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Ah, God is a good old saint. He'll take care of you, my 
son," said the old woman. 

" Adieu, Uncle David ! Adieu, papa ! " cried Joseph over 
the banisters, and the brave little voice, with its manly fal- 
setto, was the last the men heard as they descended the stairs. 

The Piazza del Popolo was densely crowded and seemed to 
be twice as large as usual. Bruno elbowed a way through for 
himself and Rossi until they came to the obelisk in the centre 
of the great circle. On the steps of the obelisk a com- 
pany of artillery was stationed with a piece of cannon which 
commanded the three principal thoroughfares of the city, the 
Corso, the Ripctta and the Babuino, which branch off from 
that centre like the ribs from the handle of a fan. Without 
taking notice of the soldiers the people ranged themselves in 
order and prepared for their procession. At the ringing of 
Ave Maria the great crowd linked in files and turned their 
faces toward the Corso. 

Bruno walked first, carrying from his stalwart breast a 
standard, on which was inscribed, under the title of the " Re- 
public of Man," the words : " Give us this day our daily bread." 
At intervals of a dozen yards came other standards, inscribed : 
" Resist not evil," " Thy kingdom come," under the names of 
the clubs, guilds, and associations to which they belonged. 
Rossi had meant to walk immediately behind Bruno, but he 
found himself encircled by a group of his follovv'ers. One of 
them was Luigi Conti, another was Malatesta, a third was the 
Doctor Deputy. I^o sovereign was ever surrounded by more 
watchful guards. 

By the spontaneous consent of the public, the traffic in the 
street was suspended, and crowds of the peoi:ilc of the city had 
turned out to look on. The four tiers of the Pincian hill were 
lacked with spectators, and every window and balcony in the 
Corso was filled with faces. All the shops were shut up, and 
many of theni were barricaded -tpithin and without. A regi- 
ment of infantry was ranged along the edge of the pavement, 
and the people passed between two lines of rifles. 

As the procession went on, it was constantly augmented. At 
the Piazza Colonna, a group of deputies who had come out 
to look, caught the contagion of the moment, and stepped 
into the procession. At the Piazza Venezia, a crowd of young 
students from the Royal University took their places and 
marched on. 

The column which had been four abreast when it started 



THE PRIME MINISTER 287 

from the Popolo, was eight abreast before it reached the end 
of the Corso, and the last of the line had not yet left the Piazza. 
There were no bands of music and there was no singing, but at 
intervals some one at the head of the procession would begin 
to clap, and then the clapping of hands would run down the 
street like the rattle of musketry. 

Such a procession had never been known even in Kome, the 
city of spectacles; and the Corso, which had witnessed the pro- 
cessions of Popes, with their red glow of cardinals and bishops, 
as well as the processions of kings, with their glitter of armed 
men, had never yet looked on a scene like this. Men in sheep- 
skins and men in broadcloth, men whose cheeks were pinched by 
pellagra, or yellow with malaria, and men with full and florid 
faces. 

Going up the narrow streets beyond the Venezia, the people 
passed into the Porum — out of the living city of the present 
into the dead city of the past, with its desolation and its 
silence, its chaos of broken columns and cornices, of corbels 
and capitals, of wells and water-courses, lying in the waste in 
which they had been left by the earthquake which had passed 
over them, the earthquake of the ages — and so on through the 
arch of Titus to their meeting-place in the Coliseum. 

All this time, David Rossi's restless eyes had passed ner- 
vously from side to side. Going down the Corso he had been 
dimly conscious of eyes looking at him from windows and bal- 
conies. He was struggling to be calm and firm, but he was in a 
furnace of dread, and beneath his breath he was praying from 
time to time that God would prevent accident and avert blood- 
shed, lie was also praying for strength of spirit, and feeling 
like a guilty coward. His face was deadly pale, the fire within 
seemed to consume the grosser senses, and he walked along like 
a "man in a dream. 

At intervals people spoke to him. " This is wonderful," said 
one, and another said it would be " written in history." He 
hardly heard them. The one man who was not uplifted by that 
thrilling demonstration was the man who had made it. But 
though he was tormented by fears, he was exalted by the fever 
that burnt in him. 

" If Rossi speaks to-day," said somebody, " it is not Rome 
alone that will hear." 



^88 THE ETERNAL CITY 



VI 



Half an hour before Ave Maria Roma had put on an incon- 
spicuous cloak, a plain hat and a dark veil, and walked down to 
the Coliseum. Soldiers were stationed on all the high ground 
about the circus, and large numbers of persons were already- 
assembled inside. The people were poor and ill-clad, and they 
smelt of garlic and uncleanness. " His people, though," 
thought Roma, and so she conquered her repulsion. 

Three tiers encircle the walls of the Coliseum, like the gal- 
leries of a great theatre, and the first of these was occupied by 
a regiment of Carabineers. There was some banter and chaff 
at the expense of the soldiers, but the people Avere serious for all 
that, and the excitement beneath their jesting was deep and 
strong. 

The low cloud which had hung over the city from early 
morning seemed to lie like a roof over the topmost circle of 
the amphitheatre, and as night came on the pit below grew dark 
and chill. Then torches were lit and put in prominent places — 
long pitch sticks covered with rags or brown paper. The 
people were patient and good-humoured, but to beguile the 
tedium of waiting they sang songs. They were songs of labour 
chiefly, but one man started the Te Deum, and the rest joined 
in with one voice. It was like the noise the sea makes on a 
heavy day when it breaks on a bank of sand. 

After a while there was a deep sound from outside. The pro- 
cession was approaching. It came on like a great tidal wave 
and flowed into the vast place in the gathering darkness with 
the light of a hundred fresh torches. 

In less than half an hour the ruined amphitheatre was a 
moving mass of heads from the ground to its topmost storey. 
Long sinuous trails of blue smoke swept across the people's 
faces, and the great brown mass of circular stones was lit up in 
fitful gleams. 

Roma was lifted off her feet by the breaker of human beings 
that surged around. At one moment she was conscious of 
some one behind who was pressing the people back and making 
room for her. At the next moment she was aware that through 
the deep multitudinous murmur of voices that rumbled as in a 
vault somebody near her was trying to speak. 

The speaking ceased and there was a sharp crackle of ap- 
plause which had the effect of producing silence. In this si- 
lence another voice, a clear, loud, vibrating voice, said " Ro- 



THE PRIME MINISTER 289 

mans and Brothers," and then there was a prolonged shout of 
recognition from ten thousand throats. 

In a moment a dozen torches were handed up, and the 
speaker was in a circle of light and could be seen by all. It 
was Rossi. He was standing bareheaded on a stone, with a 
face of unusual paleness. He was wearing the loose cloak of the 
common people of Rome, thrown across his breast and shoulder. 
Bruno stood by his left side holding a standard above their 
heads. At his right hand were two other men who partly con- 
cealed him from the crowd. Roma found herself immediately 
below them, and within two or three paces. 

After a moment the shouting died down, and there was no 
sound in the vast place, but a soft, quick, indrawn hiss that 
was like the palpitating breathing of an immense flock of sheep. 
Then Rossi began again. 

" First and foremost," he said, " let me call on you to pre- 
serve the peace. One false step to-night and all is lost. Our 
enemies would like to fix on us the name of rebels. Rebels 
against whom? There is no rebellion except rebellion 
against the people. The people are the true sovereign, and the 
only rebels are the classes who oppress them. They may wear 
the uniform of soldiers, or the court dress of ministers, but if 
they are not the subjects and servants of the people they are the 
real rebels after all. This is a deep truth, let who will deny it." 

A murmur of assent broke from the crowd. Rossi paused, 
and looked around at the soldiers. 

" Romans," he said, " do not let the armed rebels of the 
State provoke you to violence. It is to their interest to do 
so. Defeat them. You have come here in the face of their 
rifles and bayonets to show that you are not afraid of death. 
But I ask you to be afraid of doing an unrighteous thing. It 
is on my responsibility that you are here, and it would be an 
undying remorse to me if through any fault of yours one drop 
of blood were shed. 

" I call on you as earnestly as if my nearest and dearest were 
among you, liable to be shot down by the rifles of the mili- 
tary, not to give them any excuse for violence. I call on you 
to swear with me that you will not resist evil. Swear ! " 

The people answered instantly, and the oath was taken with 
a universal shout. Roma turned to look at the soldiers. As far 
as she could see in the uncertain light they were standing 
passively in their circle, with their rifles by their sides. 

" Romans," said Rossi again, " a month ago we protested 



290 THE ETERNAL CITY 

against an iniquitous tax on the first necessary of li^e. The an- 
swer is sixty thousand men in arms around us. Therefore we 
are here to-night to appeal to the mightiest force on earth, 
mightier than any army, more powerful than any parliament, 
more absolute than any king — the force of moral sympathy 
and public opinion throughout the world." 

At this there were shouts of " Bravo " and some clapping 
of hands. 

" The upholders of oppression will ask you what need you 
liave of moral sympathy if you have your representative gov- 
ernment, your ballot-boxes and votes. Tell them that repre- 
sentative government may be made the instrument of the privi- 
leged classes, and votes may be of no avail. If the votes of 
men were rightly apportioned, the people would be the sov- 
ereigns in every country on the globe. 

" It is because they are not rightly apportioned that reac- 
tionary governments exist nearly everywhere, that the poor are 
taxed out of all proportion to the rich, that the soil, which is 
the patrimony of the human race, is in the hands of the few 
to the disadvantage of the many, and that capital, which is the 
wages of all, is the monopoly of banks and trusts." 

" Bravo ! Bravo ! Bravo ! " came from every side in ex- 
cited cries. 

" It is because the votes of the people are not rightly appor- 
tioned that reactionary governments in Italy have been able to 
keep us out of the divinest part of our human patrimony — the 
patrimony of our intelligence. Generation after generation we 
have lived in the darkness of ignorance, that the rebels of the 
ruling classes might do their best to reduce us to the condition 
of beasts of burden, I thank my good, kind, merciful God that 
they have not been able to do so altogether. Man is divine, 
man is God-like, and the Almighty has not allowed that even 
his worst oppressors should bring him down to the level of 
the brutes." 

Itossi's vibrating voice had risen almost to the shrillness of 
a cry, and he was answered by a deep " Ah " that was like the 
sough of an ebbing sea, 

" And during this age-long rebellion against the true sov- 
ereignty of the world, what has the Church been doing? The 
Church belongs to the people. Its Founder was a man of the 
people. He was called the Son of Man. He was born poor, 
lived poor, and had compassion upon the multitude. Has the 
Church declared itself on the side of the people ? What is the 



THE PRIME MINISTER 291 

■word of life which the Church speaks to a sick and suffering 
world? The Church tells you to be content with your lot, to 
be patient and resigned, to respect the laws of civil authority, 
to believe that human society is impressed with the stamp and 
character which God meant to give it. 

" The Church tells you that you must never be seditious, 
that you must cultivate religion, that you must find in the 
prospect of another world consolation for the trials of this one. 
If you are rich, you must give alms to the poor. If you are 
poor, you must submit to the rich. Whether yovi are rich or 
poor you must be obedient to the bishops, and bow your knee 
to the authority of the Pope. Such is the word of life which 
the Church gives to a sick world through the mouth of its 
sovereign pontiff. Are you content with these admonitions? 
When you asked for bread have they given you a stone ? " 

A cry as of pain burst from the people, but the speaker did 
not pause. 

" Is it true that the Popes always are, and always have been 
since early centuries, and always must be on the side of the 
thrones and princes? Is it true that the thrones and princes 
pass away while the people last for ever? Is it true, as your 
bishops say, that social democracy is a social evil, and political 
democracy a religious crime ? " 

A strange light came into Rossi's eyes, and he raised his 
voice to something like a shout. 

" What is democracy ? " he cried. " Democracy is the break- 
ing down of the barriers that divide man from man. It is 
the fulfilment of the law of equality, not merely between body 
and body, but between soul and soul. ' Thy kingdom come 
on earth as it is in heaven.' Democracy is an attempt at the 
practical realisation of that prayer. Democracy believes that 
the grand voice of God speaks through the people. Democracy 
recognises the brotherhood of man. Democracy sees only one 
division among men — good men and bad men, just men and un- 
just men, followers of God's law and rebels against it. This 
is democracy, and all the rest is a superstition and a lie." 

The people broke into loud cries of assent, but again the 
speaker did not stop. 

'• Why does not the Church recognise the truly religious 
character of democracy? Why does it not see that democracy 
is Christianity, that Christianity is democracy, and that there 
is no true definition of the one that is not a description of 
the other? 



292 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Remember the words of one of the great men of our 
country : ' When the arms of Christ even yet stretched out on 
the cross shall be loosened to clasp the whole human family in 
one embrace, there will be no more Italians, or Englishmen, 
or Frenchmen, or Americans, or rich, or poor, or kings, or 
beggars, but only men.' " 

The deep " Ah " came again from every side. It was like 
the heaving np of the hearts of the people, and Rossi was com- 
pelled to pause for a while. 

" Romans and brothers," he continued, " by the decree of 
God, revealed in the history of humanity, the world is march- 
ing towards democracy. Democracy is the true evolution of 
God's will in natural law. It is, therefore, irresistible. It is 
moving the world onward to new destinies as surely as the 
earth is moving in the spheres. It is the law of life, let who 
will close his eyes to it or bury his head in the sand." 

There was some cheering, but Rossi raised his head and it 
died away. 

" And what is our duty ? " he said. " Our duty as men, in 
the face of injustice and oppression, is to assert the sovereignty 
of the people. Our duty as men is to overthrow — by moral 
force, not by violence — all governments that are not of the 
people, all parliaments that are hostile and corrupt, all kings 
and thrones, and self-constituted authorities. Our duty as 
men is to remove every obstacle in the path of the people, and 
if among these obstacles the Papacy proves to be one, then, in 
God's name, let us not draw back before a phantom. The soul 
of the Church is one thing, and the body of the Church is an- 
other. The soul of the Church is with the people. It is 
divine, and it will live for ever. If the body of the Church 
is against the people, it will encounter the whirlwind and be 
swept away." 

The cloak had fallen from Rossi's breast, and his arms were 
swinging in wild gestures to right and left. There was si- 
lence for a moment, and then a tremendous cry. It was diffi- 
cult to realise at first whether it was a shout of approval 
or disapproval. The speaker had hit deep down at the 
idol of ages, and the voice that went up from the people 
was like the fierce groan that comes from the bosom of a sul- 
len sea. 

In the commotion of the moment, Bruno stepped in front 
of Rossi, and covered him. Roma felt as if she Avere losing 
consciousness, but the confused cries died away, and, before she 



THE PRIME MINISTER 293 

recovered herself, Rossi had put Bruno aside and was speaking 
again. 

" What is our duty as Romans ? " he said. " Our duty as 
Romans is to bring the prestige of a great name, sacred among 
the nations and a pledge of the world's respect and love, to the 
service of God and man. There is something more in this place 
to-night than a perishing people crying for bread. There is 
the human race calling for justice. Ours is a solemn mission, 
the mission of proving to the world that humanity is one, that 
all men are sons of God and brothers in Him. On the edge of 
this silent Campagna, with the dust of nations beneath our 
feet, we are assisting at the dawn of a new era. We are re-cre- 
ating an Eternal City which should be the Pantheon of Hu- 
manity, the Angel of Light among the peoples, the court and 
congress of the world." 

There was no question of division now — there was only a 
deep murmur of assent. 

" Romans, if your bread is moistened by tears to-day, think 
of the power of suffering and be strong. Think of the history 
of these old walls. Think of the words of Christ : ' Which of 
the prophets have not your fathers stoned?' The prophets of 
humanity have all been martyrs, and God has marked you out 
to be the martyr nation of the world. Suffering is the sacred 
flame that sanctifies the human soul. Pray to God for strength 
to suffer, and He will bless you from the heights of heaven." 

The people were weeping audibly on every hand. 

" Brothers, you are hungry, and I say these things to you 
with a beating heart. Your children are starving, and I swear 
before God that from this day forward I will starve with them. 
If I have eaten two meals a day hitherto, for the future I will 
eat but one. But let the powers that are held over you do 
their worst. If they imprison you for resisting their tyrannies, 
others will take your place. If they kill your leader, God wiU 
raise up another who will be stronger than he. Swear to me 
in this old Coliseum, sacred to the martyrs, that come what 
iiifiy> you will not yield to injustice and wrong." 

There was something in Rossi's face at that last moment 
that seemed to transcend the natural man. lie raised his right 
arm over his head and in a loud voice cried, " Swear ! " 

The people took the oath with uplifted hands and a great 
shout. It was terrific. 

Rossi stepped down, and the excitement was ovei'whelming. 
The vast crowd seemed to toss to and fro under the smoking 



294 THE ETERNAL CITY 

lights like a tumultuous sea. The simple-hearted Roman 
populace could not contain themselves. 

Something they did not understand carried them away, but 
the word of hope had been spoken to them, and they cheered 
and wept like children. Men clasped each other's hands, and a 
poor woman, a contadina, with stays outside her bodice, put her 
arms about Roma's neck and kissed her. 

The crowd began to break up, and the people went ofi sing- 
ing. Rossi and his group of friends had disappeared when 
Roma turned to go. She found herself weeping and singing, 
too, but for another reason. The danger was passed, and all 
was over! 

Going out by one of the arches, she was conscious of some- 
body walking beside her. Presently a voice said: 

"You don't recognise me in the darkness, Donna Roma?" 

It was Charles Minghelli. He had been told to take care 
of her. Could he offer her his escort home ? 

" No, thank you," she replied, and she was surprised at her- 
self that she experienced no repulsion. 

Her heart was light, a great weight had been lifted away, 
and she felt a large and generous charity. At the top of the 
hill she found a cab, and as it dipped down the broad avenue 
that leads out of the circle of the dead centuries into the world 
of living men, she turned and looked back at the Coliseum. It 
was like a dream. The moving lights — the shadows of great 
heads on the grim old walls — the surging crowds — the cheers 
from hoarse throats. But the tinkle of the electric tram 
brought her back to reality, and then she noticed that it had 
begun to snow. 

Bruno ijloughed a way for David Rossi, and they reached 
home at last. 

" Ah, here you are, thank God ! " said the old Garibaldian, 
flourishing his pork-pie hat. 

" You thought there would be shooting, didn't you? " cried 
Bruno. " But we've brought him home as safe as a sardine." 

" Praise the Virgin and all the saints! " said the old woman, 
and then Rossi tried to answer, but his voice was gone, and he 
made only a husky croak. 

Elena was standing at the door of David Rossi's rooms, with 
an agitated face. 

" All right, Elena ! " Bruno bawled up the stairs. 

" Have you seen anything of Joseph ? " she asked. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 295 

"Joseph?" 

" I opened the window to look if you were coming, and in 
a moment he was gone. On a night like this, too, when it isn't 
too safe for anybody to be in the streets." 

" Has he still got the clothes on ? " said Bruno. 

"Yes, and the naughty boy has broken his promise and must 
be whipped." 

The men looked into each other's faces. 

" Donna Roma ? " said Eossi. 

" I'll go and see," said Bruno. 

" I must have a rod, whatever you say. I really must ! " 
said Elena. 

VII 

Roma reached home in a glow of joy. She told herself that 
Rossi would come to her in obedience to her command. He 
must dine with her to-night. Seven was now striking on all 
the clocks outside, and to give him time to arrive she put 
back the dinner until eight. Her aunt would dine in her 
own room, so they would be quite alone. The conventions 
of life had fallen absolutely away, and she considered them 
no more. 

Meantime she must dress and perhaps take a bath. A cer- 
tain sense of soiling which she could not conquer had followed 
her up from that glorious meeting. She felt a little ashamed 
of it, but it was there, and though she told herself " They were 
his people, poor things," she was glad to take oif the clothes 
she had worn at the Coliseum. 

There was an almost voluptuous delight in dressing afresh 
that night. The strain of past days was gone, and she foresaw 
no danger in the near future. 

Before Parliament could finish its sitting she would be mar- 
ried to David Rossi and beyond all risk of injuring him. She 
lived in the joy of her future happiness, and threw her whole 
soul into it. 

With colour heightened by emotion and the bath, she was 
more lovely that night than she had ever been before. En- 
thusiasm and success increased her beauty, and the sense of 
having gone triumphantly through another chapter of her 
soul's life had its effect on her body also. The blood pulsed 
visibly under her skin, her bosom rose and fell and her eyes 
gleamed with looks of love under the upward curve of their 



296 THE ETERNAL CITY 

long black lashes. She could not help knowing that she was 
beautiful, and it made her proud and happy. 

She combed out the curls of her glossy black hair, put her- 
self into a loose tea-gown and red slippers, took one backward 
glance at herself in the glass, and then going into the drawing- 
room, she stood by the window to dream and wait. The snow 
was still falling in thin flakes, but the city was humming on, 
and the piazza down below was full of people. 

After a while the electric bell of the outer door was rung, 
and her heart beat against her breast. " It's he," she thought, 
and in the exquisite tumult of the moment she lifted her arms 
and turned to meet him. 

But when the door was opened it was the Baron Bonelli who 
was shown into the room. lie was in evening dress, with black 
tie and studs, which had a chilling effect, and his manner was 
cold and as calm as usual. 

" Well," he said, sitting down after his first salutations. 

" Well ! " she answered, hardly trying to disguise her dis- 
appointment. 

The poodle, which had been sleeping before the fire, awoke, 
yawned, stretched itself, and recognising the Baron, came up 
to him to be caressed, but he pushed the dog away. 

" I regret," he said, " that we must enter on a painful in- 
terview." 

" As you please," she answered, and sitting on a stool by the 
fire she rested her elbows on her knees, and looked straight be- 
fore her. 

" Your letter of last night, my dear, produced the result 
you desired. I sent for Commendatore Angelelli, invented 
some plausible excuses, and reversed my orders. I also sent 
for Minghelli and told him to take care of you on your reckless 
errand. The matter has thus far ended as you wished and I 
trust you are satisfied." 

She nodded her head without turning round, and bore her- 
self with a certain air of defiance. 

" But it is necessary that we should come to an understand- 
ing," he continued. " You have driven hard, my child. With 
all the tenderness and sympathy possible, I am compelled to 
speak plainly. I wished to spare your feelings. You will not 
permit me to do so." 

The incisiveness of his speech cut the air like ice falling 
from a glacier, and Roma felt herself turning pale with a sense 
of something fearful whirling around her. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 297 

" According to your own plans, David Rossi is to marry 
you within a week, although a month ago he spoke of you in 
public as an unworthy woman. Will you be good enough to 
tell me how this miracle has come to pass ? " 

She laughed, and tried to carry herself bravely. 

" If it is a miracle, how can I explain it ? " she said. 

" Then permit me to do so. He is going to marry you be- 
cause he no longer thinks as he thought a month ago; because 
he believes he was wrong in what he said, and would like to 
wipe it out entirely." 

" He is going to marry me because he loves me," she an- 
swered hotly. " That's why he is going to marry me." And 
with a fiery brightness in her eyes, she turned round and added, 
" Because he loves me with a love that is pure and holy." 

At the next moment a f aintness came over her, and a misty 
vapour flashed before her sight. In her anger she had torn open 
a secret place in her own heart, and something in the past of 
her life seemed to escape as from a tomb. 

" Then you have not told him ? " said the Baron in so low 
a tone that he could scarcely be heard. 

" Told him what ? " she said. 

" The truth— the fact." 

She caught her breath and was silent. 

" My child, you are doing wrong. There is a secret between 
you already. That is a bad basis to begin life upon. And the 
love that is raised on it will be a house built on the sand." 

Her heart was beating violently, but she turned on him 
with a burning glance. 

" What do you mean ? " she said, while the colour increased 
in her cheeks and forehead. " I am a good woman. You know 
I am." 

" To me, yes ! The best woman in the world," he answered. 

She had risen to her feet, and was standing by the chimney 
piece. 

" Understand me, my child," he said affectionately. " When 
I say you are doing wrong, it is only in keeping a secret from 
the man you intend to marry. Between you and me . . . there 
is no secret." 

She looked at him with haggard eyes. 

" For me you are everything that is sweet and good, but for 
another — who knows ? When a man is about to marry a wom- 
an, there is one thing he can never forgive. Need I say what 
that is? N^o use telling him that her heart is pure — her soul 
20 



298 THE ETERNAL CITY 

untainted — that it was the impulse of a moment — and that her 
will was forced or suspended. The fact, ' Yes,' or ' No,' that is 
the question." 

The glow that had suffused her face changed to the pallor 
of marble, and she turned to the Baron and stood over him 
with the majesty of a statue. 

" Is it you that tell me this ? " she said. " You — you ! Can 
a woman never be allowed to forget ? Must the fault of another 
follow her all her life ? Oh, it is cruel ! It is merciless . . . 
But no matter ! " she said in another voice, and, turning away 
from him she added, as if speaking to herself : " He believes 
everything I tell him. Why should I trouble ? " 

The Baron followed her with a look that pierced to the 
depths of her soul. 

" Then jow have told him a falsehood ? " he said. 

She pressed her lips together and made no answer. 

" That was foolish. By-and-bye, somebody may come along 
who will tell him the truth." 

" What can anyone tell him that he has not heard already? 
He has heard everything, and put it all behind his back." 

" Could nobody bring conviction to his mind ? Nobody 
whatever? Not even one who had no interest in slander- 
ing you ? " 

She looked at him in a frightened way. 

" You don't mean that you . . ." 

" Wliy not ? He has come between us. What could be more 
natural than that I should tell him so ? " 

A look of dismay came over her face, and it was followed 
by an expression of terror. 

" But you wouldn't do that," she stammered out. " You 
couldn't do it. It is impossible. You are only trying me." 

His face remained perfectly passive, and she seized him by 
the arm. 

"Think! Only think! You would do no good for your- 
self. You might stop the marriage — yes! But you wouldn't 
carry out your political purpose. You couldn't! And while 
you would do no good for yourself, think of the harm you would 
do for me. He loves me and you would hurt his beautiful faith 
in me, and I should die of grief and shame." 

She stopped to question his face, which had begun to ex- 
press sviffering. 

"And then I love him! Oh, how much I love him! The 
other wasn't love. You know it wasn't." 



THE PRIME MINISTER 299 

She spoke rapidly, without waiting to think of the effect of 
her words. 

" You are cruel, my child," he said, speaking with dignity. 
" You think / am hard and unrelenting, but you are selfish and 
cruel. You are so concerned about your own feelings that 
you don't even suspect that perhaps you are wounding 
mine." 

" Ah, yes, it is too bad," she said, dropping to her knees at 
his feet. " After all you have been very good to me thus far, 
and it was partly my own fault if matters ended as they did. 
Yes, I confess it. I was vain and proud. I wanted all the 
world. And when you gave me everything, being so tied your- 
self, I thought I might forgive you. . . . But I was wrong — 
I was to blame — nothing in the world could excuse you — I saw 
that the moment afterwards. I really hadn't thought at all 
until then^but then my soul awoke — and then . . ." 

She turned her head aside that he might not see her face. 

" And then love came, and I was like a woman who had mar- 
ried a man thirty years older than herself — married without 
love — just for the sake of her pride and vanity. But love, real 
love, drove all that away. It is gone now, I only wish to lead a 
good life, however humble it may be. Let me do so ! . . . 
Don't take him away from me ! Don't . . ." 

She stammered and stopped, Avith the sudden consciousness 
of what she was doing. She was pleading for the life of the 
man she loved to his enemy, the man who said he loved her. 

" What a fool I am ! " she said, leaping to her feet. " Wliat 
fresh story can you tell him that he is likely to believe ? " 

" I can tell him that, according to the law of nature and of 
reason, you belong to me," said the Baron. 

" Very well ! It will be your word against mine, will 
it not?" 

" I can tell him," continued the Baron, " that before God I 
am your husband ; and if he cOmes between us, it will only be 
as your lover and your paramour." 

" Tell him," said Eoma, " and he will fling your insults in 
your face." 

The Baron rose and began to walk about the room, and 
there were some moments in which nothing could be heard but 
the slight creaking of his patent-leather boots. Then he said : 

" In that case I should be compelled to challenge him." 

" Challenge him ! " She repeated the words with scorn. 
" Is it likely ? Do you forget that duelling is a crime, that you 



300 THE ETERNAL CITY 

are a Minister, that you would have to resign, and expose your- 
self to penalties ? " 

The Baron bowed his head. " There are moments in a 
man's life when he does not consider such things — when his 
political aims are swallowed up by his personal feelings. I 
know the world thinks that I am first the statesman. But 
you . . . you ought to know that whatever the strength of my 
political ambition, I am above everything else a man." 

Itoma's face, which had worn a smile of triumph, became 
clouded again. 

" If a man insults me grievously in my affections and my 
honour, I will challenge him," said the Baron. 

" But he will not fight — it would be contrary to his prin- 
ciples," said Roma. 

" In that event he will never be able to lift his head in Italy 
again. But make no mistake on that point, my child. The 
man who is told that the woman he is going to marry is secretly 
the wife of another, must either believe it or he must not be- 
lieve it. If he believes it he casts her off for ever. If he does 
not believe it, he fights for her name and his own honour. If 
he does neither, he is not a man." 

Roma had returned to the stool, and was resting her elbows 
on her knees and gazing into the fire. 

" Have you thought of that ? " said the Baron. " If the 
man fights a duel it will be in defence of what you have told 
him. In the blindness of his belief in your word he will be 
ready to risk his life for it. Are you going to stand by and see 
him fight for a lie ? " 

Roma hid her face in her hands. 

" Say he is wounded — it will be for a lie ! Say he wounds 
his adversary — that will be for a lie too! " 

Roma listened with a sense of fear and guilt. 

" Say that David Rossi kills me — what then? He must fly 
f r<mi Italy, and his career is at an end. If he is alone, he is a 
miserable exile who has earned what he may not enjoy. If you 
are with him you are both miserable, for a lie stands between 
you. Every hour of your life is poisoned by the secret you 
cannot share with him. You are afraid of blurting it out in 
your sleep. At last you go to him and confess everything. 
What then ? The idol he worshipped has turned to clay." 

Roma listened, panting and crushed. 

" Then think of his remorse ! What he thought an act of 
retribution is a crime. The dead man had told the truth, and 



THE PRIME MINISTER 301 

he committed murder on the word of a woman who was a de- 
ceiver — a drab." 

Roma raised her hands to her head as if to avert a blow. 
The Baron came nearer, and stood immediately above her as he 
marshalled one terror after another. 

" Or say that I kill David Rossi — what then ? You have 
allowed him to die for a lie. But that is not all. The dead 
know everything. Being dead, David Rossi knows all, and 
you live in fear of your own death because you think he waits 
for you in the other world to charge you with your untruth." 

" Stop ! Stop ! " she cried, in a choking voice, and lifting 
her face, distorted with suffering, he saw tears in her brilliant 
eyes. To see Roma cry touched the only tenderness of which 
his iron nature was capable. He patted the beautiful head 
at his feet, and said in a low, caressing tone : 

"Why will you make me seem so hard, my child? There 
is really no need to talk of these things. They will not occur. 
How can I have any desire to degrade you since I must degrade 
myself at the same time? I have no wish to tell anyone the 
secret which belongs only to you and me. In that matter you 
were not to blame, either. It was all my doing. I was swelter- 
ing under the shameful law which tied me to a dead body, and 
I tried to attach you to me. And then your beauty — your love- 
liness . . ." 

"Oh, why didn't I die?" said Roma. She was looking 
straight into the fire, and the big drops were rolling down 
her cheeks. 

" Come ! It's not so bad as that. But if the marriage 
cannot take place without the consequences I speak of, you 
must see that it is better that it should not take place at all 
Postpone it. Don't let it trouble you that the banns are pub- 
lished. A marriage can be celebrated at any time within one 
hundred and eighty days. Before that Parliament will have 
risen, the man will be arrested, and the law will take its course. 
As to the rest, leave everything to Time ! All our little heart- 
aches yield to that remedy, my child ! " 

At that moment Felice announced Commendatore An- 
gelelli. Roma walked over to the window and leaned her face 
against the glass. Snow was still falling, and there were some 
rumblings of thunder. Sheets of light shone here and there in 
the darkness, but the world outside was dark and drear. Would 
David Rossi come to-night? She almost hoped he would not. 



302 THE ETERNAL CITY 

VIII 

Behind her the Prime Minister, who had apologised for 
turning her house into a temporary Ministry of the Interior, 
was talking to his Chief of Police. 

" You were there yourself ? " 

" I was, Excellency. I went up into a high part and looked 
down. It was a strange and wild sight." 

" ITow many would there be ? " 

" Impossible to guess. Inside and outside, Romans, coun- 
try people, perhaps a hundred thousand." 

" And Rossi's speech ? " 

" The usual appeal to the passions of the people, Excellency. 
The people were the only authority. The sovereignty of the 
people must be established at all costs. The ruling classes 
were the real rebels, and even the Church was conspiring 
against the poor. In short, the familiar attempt to promote 
hate between the classes. But clever! Very clever! your Ex- 
cellency. An extraordinary exhibition of the art of flying be- 
tween wind and water. We couldn't have found a word that 
was distinctly seditious, even if we hadn't had your Excel- 
lency's order to let the man go on." 

" You have stopped the telegraph wires ? " 

" Yes." 

" And the foreign correspondents? " 

" The troublesome ones are held in their houses, and told 
to keep themselves at the disposition of the police." 

" When the meeting was over, Rossi went home ? " 

" He did, Excellency." 

" And the hundred thousand ? " 

" In their excitement they began to sing and to march 
through the streets. They are still doing so. After going 
down to the Piazza Navona, they are coming up by the Piazza 
del Popolo and along the Babuino with banners and torches." 

"Men only?" 

" Men, women and children." 

" You would say that their attitude is threatening? " 

" Distinctly threatening, your Excellency." 

" Let yovir delegates give the legal warning and say that 
the gathering of great mobs at this hour will be regarded as 
open rebellion. Allow three minutes' grace for the sake of 
the women and children, and then ... let the military do their 
duty." 



THE PRIME MINISTER 303 

" Quite so, your Excellency." 

" After that you may carry out the instructions I gave 
you yesterday." 

" Certainly, your Excellency." 

"Keep in touch with all the leaders. Some of them 
will find that the air of Rome is a little dangerous to their 
health to-night and may wish to fly to Switzerland or to 
England, where it would be difficult or impossible to follow 
them." 

Roma heard behind her the thin cackle as of a hen over her 
nest, which always came when Angelelli laughed. 

" Their meeting itself was illegal, and our licence has 
been abused." 

" Grossly abused, your Excellency." 

" The action of the Government was too conciliatory, and 
has rendered them audacious, but the new law is clear in pro- 
hibiting the carrying of seditious flags and emblems." . 

" We'll deal with them according to Articles 134 and 252 
of the Penal Code, your Excellency." 

" You can go. But come back immediately if anything 
happens. I must remain here for the present, and in case of 
riot, I may have to send you to the King." 

Angelelli's thin voice fell to a whisper of awe at the men- 
tion of Majesty, and after a moment he bowed and backed out 
of the room. 

Roma did not turn round, and the Minister, who had 
touched the bell and called for pen and paper, sj^oke to her 
from behind. 

" I daresay you thought I was hard and inhuman at the 
Palazzo Braschi yesterday, but I was really very merciful. In 
letting you see the preparations to enclose your friend as 
in a net, I merely wished you to warn him to fly from the 
country. He has not done so and now he must take the con- 
sequences." 

Felice brought the writing materials and the Baron sat 
down at the table. There was a long silence in which nothing 
could be heard but the scratching of the Minister's pen, the 
snoring of the poodle, and the deadened sound through the 
wall of the Countess's testy voice scolding Natalina. 

Roma stepped into the boudoir. The room was dark and 
from its unlit windows she could see more plainly into the 
streets. Masses of shadow lay around, but the untrodden steps 
were white with thin snow, and the piazza was alive with black 



304: THE ETERNAL CITY 

figures which moved on the damp ground like worms on an 
upturned sod. 

She was leaning her hot forehead against the glass and 
looking out with haggard eyes, when a deep rumble as of a 
great multitude came from below. The noise quickly increased 
to a loud uproar, with shouts, songs, whistles and shrill sounds 
blown out of door-keys. Before she was aware of his presence 
the Baron was standing behind her, between the window and 
the pedestal with the plaster bust of Rossi. 

" Listen to them," he said. " The proletariat indeed 1 . . . 
And this is the flock of bipeds to whom men in their senses 
would have us throw the treasures of civilisation, and hand 
over the delicate machinery of government." 

He laughed bitterly, and drew back the curtain with an im- 
patient hand. 

"Democracy! Christian Democracy! Vox Populi, vox 
Dei! The sovereignty and infallibility of the people ! Pshaw! 
I would as soon believe in the infallibility of the Pope ! " 

The crowds increased in the piazza until the triangular 
space looked like the rapids of a swollen river, and the noise 
that came up from it was like the noise of falling cliffs and 
uprooted trees. 

" Fools ! Rabble ! Too ignorant to know what you really 
want, and at the mercy of every rascal who sows the wind and 
leaves you to reap the whirlwind.'" 

Roma crept away from the Baron with a sense of physical 
repulsion, and at the next moment, from the other window, 
she heard the blast of a trumpet. A dreadful silence followed 
the trumpet blast, and then a clear voice cried : 

" In the name of the law I command you to disperse." 

It was the voice of a delegate of the police. Roma could 
see the man on the lowest stage of the stops with his tri-coloured 
scarf of office about his breast. A second blast came from the 
trumpet, and agin the delegate cried : 

" In the name of the law I command you to disperse." 

At that moment somebody cried, " Long live the Republic 
of Man ! " and thei'e was great cheering. In the midst of the 
cheering the trumpet sounded a third time, and then a loud 
voice cried, " Fire ! " 

At the next moment a volley was fired from somewhere, a 
cloud of white smoke was coiling in front of the windows at 
which Roma stood, and women and children in the vagueness 
below were uttering acute cries. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 305 

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" 

" Don't be afraid, my child. Nothing has happened yet. 
The police had orders to fire first over the people's heads." 

In her fear and agitation Koma ran back to the outer room, 
and a moment afterwards Angelelli opened the door and stood 
face to face with her. 

" What have you done ? " she demanded. 

" An unfortunate incident, Excellency," said Angelelli, as 
the Baron appeared. " After the warning of the delegate the 
mob laughed and threw stones, and the Carabineers fired. 
They were in the piazza and fired up the steps." 

"Well?" 

" Unluckily there were a few persons on the upper flights 
at the moment, and some of them are wounded, and a child 
is dead." 

Roma muttered a low moan and sank on to the stool. 

"Whose child is it?" 

" We don't yet know, but the father is there, and he is 
raging like a madman, and unless he is arrested he will provoke 
the people to frenzy, and there will be riot and insurrection." 

The Baron took from the table a letter he had written 
and sealed. 

" Take this to the Quirinal instantly. Ask for an immedi- 
ate audience with the King. When you receive his written 
reply call up the Minister of War and say you have the royal 
decree to declare a state of siege." 

Angelelli was going out hurriedly. 

" Wait ! Send to the Piazza Navona and arrest Rossi. Be 
careful ! You will arrest the Deputy under Articles 134 and 
252 on a charge of using the great influence he has acquired 
over the people to urge the masses by speeches and Avritings to 
resist public authority, and to change violently the form of 
government and the constitution of the State." 

"Good!" 

Angelelli disappeared, the acute cries outside died away, 
the scurrying of flying feet was no more heard, and Roma was 
still on the stool before the fire, moaning behind the hands that 
covered her face. The Baron came near to her and touched 
her with a caressing gesture. 

" I'm sorry, my child, very sorry. Rossi is a poet, not a 
statesman, but he is none the less dangerous on that account. 
The hiindred and one groups playing for their own hand in 
Parliament are easily dealt with by any government, but a man 



306 THE ETERNAL CITY 

like this, who wants nothing, and means something, and lives 
in the faith of an idea, is not to be trifled with in any country. 
No wonder he has fascinated you, as he has fascinated the 
people, but time will wipe away an impression like that. The 
best thing that can happen for both of you is that he should 
be arrested to-night. It will save you so many ordeals and so 
much sorrow." 

At that moment a cannon shot boomed through the dark- 
ness outside, and its vibration rattled in the windows and 
walls. 

" The signal from St. Angelo," said the Baron. " The gates 
are closed and the city is under siege." 



IX 

When in the commotion of the household caused by the 
near approach of the crowd which brought Rossi home from 
the Coliseum, little Joseph slipped down the stairs and made 
a dash for the street, he chuckled to himself as he thought how 
cleverly he had eluded his mother, who had been looking out 
of the bedroom window, and those two old watch-dogs, his 
grandfather and grandmother, who were nearly always at 
the door. 

It was not until he was fairly plunged into the great sea 
of the city, and had begun to be a little dazed by more lights 
than he ever saw when he closed his eyes in bed, that he re- 
membered he had disobeyed orders and broken his promise not 
to go out. But even then, he told himself, he was not respon- 
sible. He was Donna Roma's porter now. Therefore, he 
couldn't be Joseph, could he? 

So, with his magic mace in hand, the serious man of seven 
marched on, and reconciled himself to his disobedience by 
thinking nothing more about it. People looked at him and 
smiled as he passed through the Piazza Madama where the 
Senate House stands, and that made him lift his head and walk 
on proudly, but as he went through the Piazza of the Pantheon 
a boy who was coming out of a cook-shop with a tray on his 
head, cried : " Helloa, kiddy ! playing Pulcinello ? " and that 
dashed his worshipful dignity for several minutes. 

It began to snow, and the white flakes on his gold braid 
clouded his soul at first, but when he remembered that porters 
had to work in all weathers, he wagged his sturdy head and 



THE PRIME MINISTER 307 

strode on. He was going to Donna Roma's according to her 
invitation, and he found his way by his recollection of what 
he had seen when he made the same journey on Sunday. Here 
a tramcar coming round a corner, there a line of posts across 
a narrow thoroughfare, and then a fat man with a gruff voice 
shouting something at the door of a trattoria. 

At the corner of a lane there was a shop window full of 
knives and revolvers. He didn't care for knives — they cut 
people's fingers — but he liked guns, and when he grew up to 
be a man he would buy one and kill somebody. 

Coming to the Piazza Monte Citorio, he remembered the 
soldiers at the door of the House of Parliament, and the cellar 
full of long guns with knives (bayonets) stuck on the ends of 
their muzzles. One of the soldiers laughed, called him 
" Uncle," and asked him something about enlisting, but he 
only struck his mace firmly on the flags and marched on. 

At the comer of the Piazza Colonna he had to wait some 
time before he could cross the Corso, for the crowds were com- 
ing both ways and the traffic frightened him. He had made 
various little sorties and had been driven back when a soft 
hand was slipped into his fat palm and he was piloted across 
in safety. Then he looked up at his helper. It was a girl, 
with big white feathers in her hat, and her face painted pink 
and white like the face of the little Jesus in the cradle in 
church at Christmas. She asked him what his name was and 
he told her ; also where he was going, and he told her that too. 
It was dark by this time, and the great little man was begin- 
ning to be glad of company. 

" Aren't you afraid of carrying that heavy stick ? " she 
said. 

It wasn't a stick, and he wasn't a bit tired of carrying it. 

" But aren't you tired yourself? " she said, and he admitted 
that perhaps it was so. 

So she picked him up, and carried him in her arms while 
he carried the mace, and for some minutes both were satisfied. 
But presently some one in the Via Tritone cried out, " Helloa, 
here comes the Blessed Bambino," whereupon his worshipful 
dignity was again wounded and he wriggled to the ground. 

It began to thunder and there were some flashes of light- 
ning, whereupon Joseph shuddered and crept closer to the 
girl's side. 

" Are you afraid of lightning, Joseph ? " she asked. 

He wasn't. He often saw it at home when he went to bed. 



308 THE ETERNAL CITY 

His motlier held his hand and he covered up his head in the 
clothes, and then he liked it. 

The girl took the wee, fat hand again, and the little feet 
toddled on. 

After vain efforts to snatch a kiss, which were defeated by a 
proper withdrawal of the manly head in the cocked hat, the girl 
with the feathers and the doll's face left him in the Via due 
Macelli under a bright electric lamp that hung over the door 
of a cafe-chantant. 

Joseph knew then that he was not far from Donna Roma's, 
and he began to think of what he would do when he got there. 
If the big porter at the door tried to stop him he would say, 
" I'm a little Roman boy," and the man would have to let him 
go up. Then he would take charge of the hall, and when he 
had not to open the door he would play with the dog, and some- 
times with Donna Roma. 

With sound practical sense he thought of his wages. Would 
it be a penny a week or twopence? He thought it would be 
twopence. Men didn't work for nothing nowadays. He had 
heard his father say so. 

Then he remembered his mother, and his lip began to drop. 
But it rose again when he told himself that of course she would 
come every night to put him to bed as iisual. " Good-night, 
mamma! See you in the morning," he would say, and when 
he opened his eyes it would be to-morrow. 

He was feeling sleepy now, and do what he would he could 
hardly keep his eyes from closing. But he was in the Piazza 
di Spagna by this time, and his little feet in their top-boots be- 
gan to patter up the snowy steps. 

There are three principal landings to the Spanish Steps, 
and the great little man of seven had reached the second of 
them when a noise in the streets below made him stop and turn 
his head. 

A great crowd, carrying hundreds of torches, was marching 
into the piazza. They were singing, shouting, and blowing 
whistles and trumpets. It was like Befana in the Piazza 
ISTavona, and when Joseph blinked his eyes he almost thought 
he was at hoiue in bed. 

All at once silence — then soldiers — then a jump all over 
his body like that which came to him when he was falling asleep 
— then a sense of something warm — then a buzzing noise — 
then a boom like that of the gun of St. Angelo at dinner- 
time . . . then a deep, familiar voice calling and calling to 



THE PRIME MINISTER 309 

him, and his eyes opened for a moment and saw his fa- 
ther's face. 

" Good-night, papa ! So sleepy ! See you in the morning ! " 

And then nothing more. 

While Elena waited for Bruno's return with little Joseph, 
she went up and downstairs between David Rossi's apartment 
and her own on all manner of invented errands. Meantime she 
tried to keep down her anxiety by keeping up her anger. Joseph 
was so worrisome. When he came home he would have to 
be whipped and sent to bed without his supper. It was true his 
verdura was ready on the stove, but he must not be allowed to 
touch it. You really must be strict with children. They 
would like you all the better for it when they grew up to be 
men and women. 

But every moment broke down this brave severity, until the 
desire to punish Joseph for his disobedience was all gone. She 
stood at the head of the stairs and listened for his voice and his 
little pattering feet. If she had heard them, her anxious ex- 
pression would have given way to a cross look and she would 
have scolded both father and son all the way up to bed. But 
they did not come, and she turned to the dining-room with a 
downcast face. 

" Where can the boy be ? If I could only have him back ! 
I will never let him out of my sight again. !Rever ! " 

David Rossi, who was walking in the sitting-room to 
calm his nerves after a trying time, tried to comfort her. It 
would be all right. Depend upon it, Joseph had gone up 
to Donna Roma's. She was to remember what Bruno told 
them on Sunday. " The little Roman boy." Joseph had 
thought of nothing else for three days, and this being his birth- 
day . . . 

" You think so ? You really think . . ." 

"I'm sure of it. Bruno will be back presently, carrying 
Joseph on his back. Or perhaps Donna Roma will send the boy 
home in the carriage, and the great little man will come up- 
stairs like the Mayor. Meantime she has kept him to play 
with, and . . ." 

" Yes, that must be it," said Elena, with shining eyes. " The 
Signorina must have kept him to play with ! He must be play- 
ing now with the Signorina ! " 

At that moment through the open door there came the 
sound of a heavy tread on the stairs, mingled with various 



310 THE ETERNAL CITY 

voices. Elena's shining face suddenly clouded, and Rossi, who 
read her thought, went out on to the landing. Bruno was com- 
ing up the staircase with something in his arms, and behind 
him were the Garibaldian and his old wife and a line of 
strangers. 

Rossi ran down two flights of the stairs and met them. He 
saw everything as by a flash of lightning. The boy lay in his 
father's arms. He was white and cold, with his head fallen 
back, and his hair matted with flakes of snow. His gay coat 
was open, and his little stained shirt was torn out at the breast. 
A stranger coming behind was carrying the cocked hat 
and mace. 

Elena, who was at the head of the stairs by this time, was 
screaming. 

" Keep her away, sir," said Bruno. The poor fellow was 
trying to be brave and strong, but his voice was like a voice 
from the other side of an abyss. 

They took the boy into the dining-room, and laid him on a 
sofa. There was no keeping the mother back. She forced her 
way through, and laid hold of the child. 

" Get away, he's mine," she cried fiercely. 

And then she dropped on her knees before the boy, threw 
her arms about him and called on him by his name. 

" Joseph ! Speak to me ! Open your eyes and speak ! . . . 
What have you been doing with my child? He is ill. Why 
don't you send for a doctor ? Don't stand there like fools. Go 
for a doctor, I tell you . . . Joseph ! Only a word ! . . . Have 
you carried him home without his hat on? And it's snowing 
too! He'll get his death of cold . . . what's this? Blood on 
his shirt? And a wound? Look at this red spot. Have they 
shot him ? No, no, it's impossible ! A child ! Joseph ! Joseph ! 
Speak to met . . . Yes, his heart is beating." She was press- 
ing her ear to the boy's breast. " Or is it only the beating in 
my head? Oh, where is the doctor? Why don't you send 
for him ? " 

They could not tell her it was useless, that a doctor 
had seen the child already, and that all was over. All they 
could do was to stand around her with awe in their faces. 
She understood them without words. Her hair fell from 
its knot, and her eyes began to blaze like the eyes of a 
maniac. 

" They've killed my child ! " she cried. " He's dead ! My 
little boy is dead ! Only seven and it was his birthday ! Oh, 



THE PRIME MINISTER 311 

God! My child! What had he done that they should kill 
him?" 

And then Bruno, who was standing by with a wild lustre in 
his eyes, said between his teeth, " Done ? Done nothing but 
live under a government of murderers and assassins." 

The room filled with people. Neighbours who had never 
before set foot in the rooms came in without fear, for death 
was among them. They stood silent for the most part, only 
handing round the table the little cocked ■ hat and the mace, 
with sighs and deep breathing. But some one speaking to Rossi 
told him what had happened. It was at the Spanish Steps. 
The Delegate gave the word, and the Carabineers fired over the 
people's heads. But they hit the child and made him cold. His 
little- heart had bui-st. 

" And I was going to whip him," said Elena. " Not a min- 
ute before I was talking about the rod, and not giving him his 
supper. Oh, God, I can never forgive myself." 

And then the blessed tears came and she wept bitterly. 

David Rossi put his arms about her and her head fell on to 
his breast. All barriers were broken down, and she clung to 
him and cried. He smoothed her hair and comforted her, say- 
ing in a low and tremulous voice, " ' He will gather his lambs 
in his arms and carry them in his bosom.' " 

The strangers dropped their heads and began to go away. 
" Who says man says misery," said the Garibaldian, as he wiped 
his rheumy eyes, and gently pushed the people out. His old 
wife, who had taken charge of the hat and mace, was being 
comforted by some women near the door. " He was so full of 
fun," she said. " ' Grandma,' he used to say . . ." but she 
could go no further. " Well, we all of us come into the 
world crying, and none of us go out smiling," the women an- 
swered. 

Just then there were cries in the piazza. " Hurrah for the 
Revolution ! " and " Down with the destroyers of the people I " 
came in the woolly tones of voices shouting in the snow. Some- 
body on the stairs explained that a young man was going about 
waving a bloody handkerchief, and that the sight of it was ex- 
asperating the people to frenzy. Women were marching 
through the streets, and the entire city was on the point of 
insurrection. 

In the dining-room the stricken ones were still standing by 
the couch. Presently there was a sound of singing outside. A 
great crowd was coming into the piazza singing the Garibaldi 



312 THE ETERNAL CITY 

hymn. Bruno heard it, and the wild lustre in his eyes gave 
place to a look of savage joy. An awful oath burst from his 
lips, and he ran out of the house. At the next moment he was 
heard in the street, singing in a thundering voice: 

" The tombs are uncovered. 
The dead arise, 
The martyrs are rising 
Before ovir eyes. " 

The old Garibaldian threw up his head like a war-horse at 
the call of battle, and his rickety limbs were going towards 
the door. 

" Stay here, father," said Rossi, and the old man obeyed 
hini. 

Elena was quieter by this time. She was sitting by the 
child and stroking his little icy hand. 

David Kossi, who had hardly si^oken, went into his bedroom. 
His lips were tightly pressed together, his eyes were bloodshot 
and his breath was labouring hard in his heaving breast. The 
white heat of the despairing man was terrible. 

" I can bear no more of it," he thought. " I have tried all 
peaceful means in vain. The man must die . . . and I must kill 
him ! " 

He took up his dagger paper-knife, tried its point on his 
palm with two or three reckless thrusts and threw it back on 
the desk. Then he went down on his hands and knees and rum- 
maged among the newspapei"s lying' in heaps under the window. 
At last he found what he looked for. It was the six-chambered 
revolver which had been sent to him as a present. " I'll kill 
the man like a dog," he thought. 

He loaded the revolver, put it in his breast pocket, went 
back to the sitting-room, and made ready to go out. 

" Look ! " said Elena, as he passed through the dining-room. 
She had been turning out the boy's pockets, and was crying over 
his little treasures as they came up one by one — a cork, a peb- 
ble, a rusty nail, and a piece of string. 

It was more than Rossi could bear, and without looking, 
he turned to the door. 

" I'll not be long," he said. Something in his voice made 
Elena lift her eyes, and when she saw him it was almost as if 
another man stood before her. 

"Ml-. Rossi! . . . Brother . . . What are you going to do?" 
she cried, but he was gone before the words were spoken. 



THE PRIME MINISTER 313 



Ten was striking on the different clocks of the city. Felice 
had lit the stove in the boudoir and the wood was burning in 
fitful blue and red flames. There was no other light in the 
room, and Roma lay with her body on the floor, and her face 
buried on the couch. 

The world outside was full of fearful and unusual noises. 
Snow was still falling, and the voices heard through it had a 
peculiar sound of sobbing. The soft rolling of thunder came 
from a long way off, like the boom of a slow wave on a distant 
sand-bank. At intervals there was the crackle of musketry, like 
the noise of rockets sent up in the night, and soiuetimes there 
were pitiful cries, smothered by the unreverberating snow, like 
the cries of a drowning man on a foundering ship at sea. 

Roma, face downward, heard these sounds in the lapses of 
a terrible memory. She was seeing, as in a nightmare, the inci- 
dents of a night that was hardly six weeks past. One by one 
the facts flashed back upon her with a burning sense of shame, 
and she felt herself to be a sinner and a criminal. 

It was the night of the Royal ball at the Quirinal. The 
blaze of lights, the glitter of jewels, the brilliant throng of 
handsome men and lovely women, the clash of music, the whi rl 
of dancing, and finally the smiles and compliments of the 
King. Then going home in the carriage in the early morning, 
swathed in furs over her thin white silk, with the Baron, in 
his decorations worn diagonally over his white breast, and 
through the glass the waning moon, the silent stars, the empty 
streets. 

Then this room, this couch, sinking down on it, very tired, 
with eyes smiling and half closed, and nearly gone already into 
the mists of sleep. And then the Baron at her feet, pressing 
his lips to her wrist where the pulse was beating, kissing her 
arms and shoulders ..." Oh, dear ! You are mad ! I must no,^ 
listen to you. Let me go ! " And then burning words of love 
and passion : " My wife ! My wife that is to be." ..." Oh, 
God, what will become of me ? I hate you ! " . . . And then 
the call of her aunt from the adjoining chamber, "Roma!" 
I'inally, with a long shudder, making no answer to the caress- 
ing voice at her ear, going out of the room, trembling and 
silent, like one who had passed through an earthquake, the 
human earthquake that lays bare the secret of sex. 

The sobbing sounds from outside broke in on Roma's night- 
21 



314 THE ETERNAL CITY 

mare, and when the chain of memory linked on again it was 
morning in her vision, and tlie Countess was comforting her in 
a whimpering voice. 

" After all, God is merciful, and there are things that 
happen to everybody that can be atoned for by prayer and 
penance. Besides, the Baron is a man of honour, and the poor 
maniac can't last much longer." 

The sobbing sounds in the snow, the cries far away, the 
crackle of the rifle-shots, the rumble of the thunder broke in 
again, and the elements outside seemed to whirl round her in 
the tempest of her trouble. For a moment she lifted her head 
and heard voices in the next room. 

The Baron was still there, and from time to time, as he 
wrote his despatches, messengers came to take them away, to 
bring rejilies and to deliver the latest news of the night. The 
populace had risen in all parts of the city, and the soldiers had 
charged them. There had been several misadventures and 
many arrests. The large house of detention by St. Andrea delle 
Fratte was already full, but the people continued to hold out. 
They had disconnected the gas at the gasometer and cut the 
electric wires, and the city was plunged in darkness. 

" Tell the electric light company to turn on the flash-light 
from Monte Mario," said the Baron. 

And when the voices ceased in the drawing-room there came 
the deadened sound of the Countess's frightened treble behind 
the wall. 

"Oh, Holy Virgin, full of grace, save me! It would be a 
sin to let me die to-night ! Ploly Virgin, see ! I have given 
thee two more candles. Art thou not satisfied ? Save me from 
murder. Mother of God." 

Roma saw another phase of her vision. It was filled with a 
new face, which made her at once happy and unhappy,proud and 
ashamed. Hitherto the only condition on which she had been 
able to live with the secret of her life was that she should think 
nothing about it. 'Now she was compelled to think, and she 
was asking herself if it was her duty to confess. 

Before she married David Rossi she must tell him every- 
thing. She saw herself trying to do so. He was looking 
vacantly before him with the deep furrow that came into his 
forehead when he was strongly moved. She had sobbed out her 
story, telling all, excusing nothing, and now she was waiting 
for him to speak. He would take her side, he would tell her 
she had been more sinned against than sinning, that she had 



THE PRIME MINISTER 315 

been young and alone at the mei'cy of an evil man, and that 
her will had not consented. 

At last he spoke, " I thought the daughter of Joseph Eoselli 
would have starved first ! " She began to sob, but he showed 
no mercy. " I thought my little Eoma . . ." he said, and 
then she heard no more, for his voice was thick, and her own 
sobs were stifling her. After that he looked at her with swim- 
ming eyes, and she thought his heart would fight for her. But 
no ! " Why did you come to me and tell that lie ? " he said, 
and then she could go no further. She could not confess to the 
plot to capture and degrade him. Her heart was bursting, but 
when she touched him he seemed to shrink away. " Well, there's 
no help for it ! Good-night ! " he said, and then the world was 
a blank, life was gone, and everything was dust and ashes. 

" No, no ! It is impossible ! " she cried aloud, and, startled 
by the sound of her voice, the Baron came into the room. 

" My dear child ! " he said, and he picked her up from the 
floor. " I shall never be able to forgive myself if you take 
things like this. Every tear you shed will burn my flesh like 
fire. Come now, dry these beautiful eyes and be calm." 

" I have come to a decision," she said. " It may be sudden, 
but it is irrevocable, therefore do not try to alter it. I am 
going away." 

" Yes, yes," he answered, " but don't let us talk of that now. 
You are disturbed. Things have happened so suddenly. By- 
and-bye you will be better and then everything will seem dif- 
ferent." 

" My life here is at an end and I must go away. It has been 
wrong and false, and I am determined to put an end to it. I do 
not blame you more than myself, but I am ashamed of what has 
happened and I cannot bear to think of it any longer." 

" This comes of sleeplessness, my child. Confess, now, that 
you have not been sleeping lately. Sleep, a little sleep, and all 
the world is changed.". 

She did not listen to him, but leaning on the stove and fin- 
gering with one hand the frame of her father's picture which 
hung above it, she said : 

" I see now that hapijiness was not for me. There must 
be some punishment for every sin, however little one has been 
guilty of it, and perhaps this is God's way of asking for an 
expiation. It is very, xcry hard ... it seems more than I de- 
serve . . . and heavier than I can bear . . . but there is no 
help for it." 



316 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The tears she brushed from her eyes seemed to be gathering 
in her throat. 

" The bitterest part of it is that I must make others suffer 
for it also. He must suffer who has loved and trusted me. His 
love for me, my love for him, this has been dragging him down 
since the first day I knew him. Perhaps he is in prison by 
this time." 

Sobs interrupted her for a moment, and in a caressing tone 
the Baron tried to comfort her. It was natural that she 
shovild feel troubled, very natural and very womanly. But time 
was the great remedy for human ills. It would heal every- 
thing. 

" Well, everything seems to be over now," she said. " I will 
not trouble anybody much longer. I will break with the past 
altogether, and leave everything behind me. In any case I 
must have left this place soon. I am in debt to the landlord 
and to Madame Sella and to ... to everybody. Perhaps when 
I am gone you will send somebody to settle up. I will take 
nothing with me but the dress I stand in. The jewelry, the 
hors^es and the carriage, and the furniture will bring some- 
thing. Do as you please with what I have, and if there is any- 
thing short perhaps you Avill make it up in memory of all that 
has haiipencd. You will have nothing more to pay out of 
my father's estate, anyway . . . 

" I shall be sorry to leave my aunt, although she has not 
been good company, and we have never been friends. But she 
will be better off in her last days under your protection, and 
she may come to think more kindly of me by-and-bye. If not, I 
can't help it now. I will go aAvay to-morrow to begin a new 
life, and may God forgive me, and help me to purge my soul of 
the stain of the past." 

Her voice failed her, and she broke down once more. 

" Eoma," said the Baron, " you are not well. When we 
meet again. . . ." 

" We can never meet again where I am going to." 

She raised her beautiful eyes and he understood in a mo- 
ment. 

"Do you mean that?" he asked. 

She bowed her head. 

"You intend to bury yourself in a convent?" 

" If they will have me — yes. It is my only refuge now. 
Where else can I hide myself? When a woman cannot look 
into the face of the one she loves . . . when she has brought 



THE PRIME MINISTER 317 

grief and pain and imprisonment on him who loves her 
best . . ." 

" Roma," said the Baron, " / love you too. Do you forget 
that ? I love you, and I will not think of losing you." 

The impassive man had undergone a change. He was try- 
ing to ijut his arms about her. She was holding him off. 

" I do not wish to reproach you, but I cannot listen to 
you," she said. " You must think of me as one who is 
dead." 

" But I don't mean to think of you as one who is dead. 
I want you — you — you! I want your living heart to answer 
to my heart. I want the breath of your hair, and the light of 
your eyes, and the kiss of your lips. You shall not go into a 
convent. When heaven has given a young woman beauty and 
gifts like yours she has no right to bury them in a cell. I re- 
fuse to think of it. And then I have waited for you so long! 
Is it nothing that before this man came into your life I was 
with you always? Think of your childhood . . . Have you 
anything to reproach me with in the care I took of you then? 
And now that you are a woman what do I want but to put you 
where your beauty and your gifts give you the right to be — 
ahead of every woman in Italy who does not sit upon a throne." 

Again he tried to put his arms about her, and again she 
held him off, but with a feebler hand than before. 

" Roma, you have wounded and humiliated and insulted me, 
but you are the only woman in the world I would give one 
straw to have. I will make you the wife of the Dictator of 
Italy, and when all these troubles are over and you are great 
and have forgotten what has taken place . . ." 

" I can never forget and I don't want to be great. I only 
want to be good. Leave me ! " 

" You are good. You have always been good. What hap- 
pened was my fault alone and you have nothing to reproach 
yourself with. I found you growing up to be a great woman, 
and passing out of my legal control, while I was bound down to 
a poor, helpless, living corpse. Some day you would meet a 
younger, freer man, and you would be lost to me for good. 
Wasn't it human to try to hold you to me until the time came 
when I could claim you altogether? And if meanwhile this 
man has interposed . . ." 

He pointed to the bust on the pedestal. She looked up at 
it, and then dropped her head. 

" Say no more," she said. " I could not marry you, because 



318 THE ETEKNAL CITY 

I do not love you. But my will is broken — I have no more 
strength — leave me alone." 

He allowed a moment to elapse, and when he spoke again 
he had regained his old impassive manner. 

" Put the man out of your mind, my dear, and all will be 
well. Probably he is in the hands of the authorities already, 
God grant it may be so! No fear of his arrest this time! It 
cannot be complicated by the danger of scandal. Nobody else's 
name and character will be concerned in it. And if it serves to 
dispose of a dangerous man and a subversive politician I am 
willing to let everything else sleep." 

lie paused a moment, and then added in his most incisive 
accents. " But if not, the law must take its course, and David 
Leone must complete what David Rossi has begun." 

At that moment Felice's dark form stood against the light 
in the open door. 

" Commendatore Angelelli and Charles Minghelli, Excel- 
lency." 

As the Baron went back to the drawing-room Roma re- 
turned to the window. Scales of snow adhered to the glass, and 
it was difficult to see anything outside. But the masses of 
shadow and sheets of light were gone, and the city lay in utter 
darkness. The sobbing sounds, the crackle of musketry and 
the rumble of thunder were all gone, and the air was empty and 
void. 

At one moment there was a soft patter as of a flock of 
sheep passing under the window in the darkness. It was a com- 
pany of riflemen going at a quick march over the snow with 
torches and lanterns. 

Voices came from the next room and Roma found herself 
listening. 

" Apparently the insurrection is suppressed, your Excel- 
lency." 

" I congratulate you." 

^' The soldiers are patrolling the streets, and all is quiet." 

"Good!" 

" We have some hundreds of rioters in the houses of de- 
tention, and the military courts will begin to sit to-morrow 
morning." 

" Excellent ! " 

" The misadventures have been few and unimportant — the 
child I spoke of being the only one killed." 

" You have discovered whose child it was ? " 



THE PRIME MINISTER 31^ 

"Yes. Unluckily ..." 

Roma felt dizzy. A thought had flashed upon her. 

" It is the child of Donna Roma's man, Bruno Rocco, and 
apparently . . ." 

A choking cry rang through the room. Was it herself who 
made it'^ 

" Go on, Commendatore. Apparently . . ." 

" The child was dressed in some carnival costume, and ap- 
parently he was on his way to this house." 

Roma's dizziness increased, and to save herself from falling 
she caught at a side-table that stood under the bust. 

On this table were some sculptor's tools — a chisel and a 
small mallet, with which she had been working. 

There was an interval in which the voices were deadened 
and confused. Then they became clear and sharp as before. 

" But the most important fact you have not yet given me. 
I trust you are only saving it up for the last. The Deputy 
Rossi is arrested ? " 

" Unfortunately . . . no. Excellency." 

"No?" 

" He left home immediately after the outbreak, and has not 
been seen since. Presently the flash-light will be turned on by 
a separate battery from Monte Mario, and every corner of the 
city shall be searched. But we fear he is gone." 

"Gone?" 

" Perhaps by the train that left just before the signal." 

Roma felt a cry rising to her throat again, but she put 
up her hand to keep it down. 

" No matter ! Commendatore, send telegrams after the 
train to all stations up to the frontier, with orders that nobody 
is to alight until every carriage has been overhauled. Min- 
ghelli, go to the Consulta immediately, and ask the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs to despatch a portrait of Rossi to every for- 
eign Government." 

" But no portrait exists. Excellency. It was a difficulty I 
found in England." 

" Yes, there is a portrait. Come this way." 

Roma felt the room going round as the Baron came into it 
and switched on the light. 

" There is the only portrait of the illustrious Mr. Deputy, 
and our hostess will lend it to be photographed." 

"Never! " said Roma, and taking up the mallet, she struck 
the bust a heavy blow, and it fell in fragments to the floor. 



320 THE -ETERNAL CITY 

Half an hour afterwards Roma was sitting amid the wreck 
of her work when the Baron, wearing his fur-lined overcoat and 
pulling on his gloves, came into the boudoir. 

" I am compelled," he said, " to inflict my presence upon 
you for a moment longer in order to tell you what my attitude 
in the future is to be, and what feelings are to guide me. I 
will continue to think of you as my wife according to the law 
of nature, and of the man who has come between us as your 
lover. I will not give you uj) to him whatever happens; and if 
he tries to take you away, or if you try to go to him, you 
must be prepared to find that I offer every resistance. Two 
passions are now engaged against the man, and I will not shrink 
from any course that seems necessary to subdue either him or 
you, or both." 

" Do what you please," she answered. " Degrade me, drag 
me in the dust, if you like, but you will not make me help you 
to destroy David Rossi, whatever you do." 

" We shall see. I have conquered worse obstacles, and — 
who knows? — perhaps in this instance Nature herself will fight 
for nie to call you back to your true place and your duty." 

An involuntary shudder passed over her, and she looked at 
him with frightened eyes. 

" Meantime, my child, remember that in my eyes you are 
as pure as a Madonna — always have been, always will be. Good- 
night ! " 

A moment afterwards she heard the patrol challenging him 
on the piazza. Then " Pardon, Excellency," and the soft swish 
of carriage wheels in the snow. 



XI 

When Rossi left home he was like a raging madman. His 
knees tottered under him and a misty vapour filled his eyes, but 
his heart was alive wdth rage and hatred. 

lie made straight for the Palazzo Braschi at the other side 
of the piazza, and going up the marble staircase on limbs that 
could scarcely support him, his thoughts went back in a broken 
maze to the scene he had left behind. 

" Our little boy dead ! Dead in his mother's arms ! Oh, 
God, let me meet the man face to face! . . . Our innocent 
darling! The light of our eyes put out in a moment! Our 
sweet little Joseph! . . •. Shall there be no retribution? God 



THE PRIME MINISTER 321 

forbid ! The man who has been the chief cause of this crime 
shall be the first to sutler ijunishment ! No use wasting time on 
the hounds who executed his orders. They are only delegates 
of police, and over them is this Minister of the Interior. He 
alone is responsible, and he is here ! " 

When he reached the green baize door to the hall he 
stopped to wipe away the perspiration which stood on his fore- 
head although his face was flecked with snow. The messengers 
looked scared when he stepped inside, and they answered his 
questions with obvious hesitation. The Minister was not in his 
cabinet. He had not been there that night. It was possible the 
Honourable might find his Excellency at home. 

Kossi turned on his heel instantly, and went hurriedly 
downstairs. He would go to the Palazzo Leone. There was 
no time to lose. Presently the man would hide himself in the 
darkness like a toad under a stone. 

As he left the Ministry of the Interior he heard the singing 
of the Garibaldi hymn in the distance, and turning into the 
Corso Victor Emmanuel, he came upon crowds of people and 
some noisy and tumultuous scenes. 

One group had broken into a gun shop and seized rifles and 
cartridges; another group had taken possession of two electric 
tramcars, and tumbled them on their sides to make a barri- 
cade across the street; and a third group was tearing up the 
street itself to use its stones for missiles. " Our turn now," 
they were shouting, and there were screams of delirious 
laughter. 

As Rossi crossed the bridge of St. Angelo the cannon was 
fired from the Castle, and he knew that it was meant for a sig- 
nal. " No matter ! " he thought. " It will be too late when the 
soldiers arrive." 

jSTotwithstanding the tumult in the city the Piazza of St. 
Peter's was silent and deserted. Not the sound of a footfall, 
not the rattle of a carriage-wheel; only the drip-drip of the 
fountains, whose waters were playing in the lamp-light through 
the falling snow, and the echoing hammer of the clock of the 
Basilica. 

The porter of the Palazzo Leone was asleep in his lodge, 
and Rossi passed upstairs. 

" I'll bring the man to justice now," he thought. " He im- 
agined we were only tame cats and would submit to anything. 
He was wrong. We'll show him we know how to punish tyrants. 
Haven't we always done so, we Romans? He has a sharp 



322 THE ETERNAL CITY 

tongue for the people, but I have a sharper one here for 
him." 

And he felt for the revolver in his breast-pocket to make 
certain it was there. 

The lackey in knee-breeches and yellow stockings who an- 
swered the inside bell was almost speechless at the sight of the 
white face which confronted him at the door. No, the Baron 
was not at home. He had not been there since early in the 
evening. Had he gone to the Pref ettura ? Possibly ! Or the 
Consulta? Perhaps. 

" Which, man, which ? " said Rossi, and to say something 
the lackey stammered " The Consulta," and closed the door. 

Rossi set his face towards the Foreign Office. There was a 
light in the stained-glass windows of the Pope's private chapel 
— the Holy Father was at his prayers. A canvas-covered barrow 
containing a man who had been injured by the soldiers, was 
being carried into the Hospital of Santo Spirito, and a woman 
and a child were walking and crying beside it. 

The streets were covered with broken tiles which had been 
thrown on to the heads of the cavah-y as they galloped through 
the principal thoroughfares. Carabineers with revolvers in 
hand were dragging themselves on their stomachs along the 
roofs, trying to surprise the rioters who were hiding behind 
chimney-stacks. Some one shouted : " Cut the electric wires ! " 
and men were clambering up the tall posts and breaking the 
electric lamps. 

The Consulta — the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs 
— stands in the Piazza of the Quirinal, and when Rossi reached 
it the great scjuare of the King was as silent as the great square 
of the Pope had been. 

Two sentries were in boxes on either side of the royal gate, 
and one Carabineer was in the doorway. The gardens down the 
long corridor lay dark in the shadows, but the fountain with 
sculptured horses, the splashing water, and the front of the 
building were white under the electric lamps as if from a daz- 
zling moon. 

Before turning into the silent courtyard of the Consulta, 
Rossi paused and listened to the noises that came from the 
city. Men were singing and women were screaming. The rat- 
tle of musketry mingled with the cries of children. And over 
all was the steady downfall of the snow, and the dull rumble 
of distant thunder. 

Rossi held his head between his hands to prevent his senses 



THE PRIME MINISTER 323 

from leaving him. His rage was ebbing away, and he was be- 
ginning to tremble. Nevertheless, he forced himself to go on. 
As he rang the bell at the Foreign Office, he was partly con- 
scious of a secret desire that the Prime Minister might not be 
there. 

The porter was not sure. The Baron's carriage had just 
gone. Let him ask on the telephone. . . . No, there had been a 
messenger from the Minister of the Interior, but the Minister 
himself had not been there that night. 

Rossi took a long breath of relief and went away. He had 
returned to the bright side of the piazza when the lights seemed 
to be wiped out as though by an invisible wing, and the entire 
city was plunged in darkness. At the next moment a squadron 
of cavalry galloped up to the Quirinal, and the gates of the 
royal palace and of the Consulta were closed. 

Midnight struck. 

For two hours the soldiers had been charging the crowds by 
the light of lanterns and torches. They had arrested hundreds 
of persons. Chained together, two and two, the insurgents had 
been taken to the places of detention, amid the cries of their 
women and children. " Who knows whether we shall see each 
other again ! " said the prisoners, as they passed into the 
" House of Pain." One old woman went on her knees to the 
soldiers, and begged them to have pity on the people. " They 
are your brothers, my sons," she cried. 

One o'clock struck. 

The streets were still dark, but a search-light from Monte 
Mario was sweeijing over the city like a flash of a supernatural 
eye. With tottering limbs, and his head on his breast, David 
Rossi was walking down the Via due Macelli, towards the col- 
umn of the Immaculate Conception, when a young girl spoke 
to him. 

" Honourable," she said, " is it true that the little boy is 
dead? ... it is? Oh, dear! I met him in the Corso, and 
brought him up as far as the Varietes, and if I had only taken 
him all the way. . . . Oh, I shall never forgive myself ! " 

Out of his comfortless heart he did his best to comfort her. 
She had nothing to reproach herself with. It was God who had 
done this, and little Joseph was in Heaven. 

" I shall always think of that, Honourable," said the girl. 
And then she lifted her poor face, painted like a doll's but 
innocent as an angel's, and asked him if he would kiss hei". 
He kissed her on the forehead, and she went her way. 



324 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Tlic city was quiet, and all was hushed on every side when 
Kossi found himself on a flight of steps at the back of lioma's 
apartment. I'rom these steps a door opened into the studio. 
One panel of the door was glazed, and a light was shining from 
within. Going cautiously forward, Rossi looked into the room. 
Roma was seated on a stool, with her hands clasped in her 
lap, and her hair hanging loose. She was very pale. Her face 
expressed unutterable sadness. 

Rossi listened for a moment, but there was not a sound 
to be heard except that of the different clocks chiming the 
quarter. Then he tapped lightly on the glass. 

" Roma ! " he said in a low tone. " Roma ! " 

She rose up and shrank back. Then coming to the door, 
and shielding her eyes from the light, she put her face close to 
the pane. At the next moment she threw the door open. 

" It is you ? " she said in a tremulous voice, and taking his 
hand she drew him hurriedly into the house. 



XII 

Ai'^i'iiu the Baron was gone, Roma had sat a long time in 
thi: (lark among the ruins of the broken bust. Notwithstanding 
her courageous bearing, she was consumed by fear. The great 
fact remained. What the Baron had said was true. She knew 
it was true. In her inmost heart she must always know it. 
Therefore, if she married David Rossi there would be one 
chamber of her heart which he could never enter. Would that 
be love, trust, wedlock, comiilete surrender? 

When twelve o'clock struck she was feeling hot and fever- 
ish, and in spite of the coldness of the night she rose and 
opened the windoAV. The snow had ceased to fall, the thun- 
der was gone, and the city was quiet. Through the still air 
came the soft swell of an organ and the faint sound of voices. 
The nuns of Trinita de' Monti were singing their midnight 
office. 

Roma closed her eyes and listened. She could see and hear 
everything. The dim church, the iron screen across it, the 
lines of white figures, like ghosts, kneeling in the shadows, the 
altar lit up by two or three small candles, and then the voice 
of one of the nuns who was singing above the rest. How sweet ! 
How solemn ! Peace ! The Church was peace — peace and rest 
after the noise and riot of life. If the sisters would receive 



THE PRIME MINISTER 325 

her, she would still go into the convent. It was her only hope 
now, her only refuge. 

She thought of Rossi. He was gone and he might never 
hear what had befallen her, but perhaps he would come there 
some day, and sit before the screen at Benediction, and hear 
her voice as she heard the voice of the nun, and recognise her 
by that and so learn everything. And then he would suffer. 
There was a strange, sweet, secret, unfathomable joy in the 
thought that Eossi would suffer when he found where she was 
and what she had done. 

Tears were falling on her hands as the singing ended. At 
that moment the revolving searchlight on Monte Mario passed 
over the room. The white flash lit up the broken fragments at 
her feet, and brought a new train of reflections. The bust she 
destroyed had been only the plaster cast; the piece-mould re- 
mained and might be a cause of danger. 

She closed the window, took a candle, and went down to the 
studio to put the mould out of the way. She had done so and 
was sitting to rest and to think when Rossi's knock came at 
the door. In a moment all her dreams were gone. She was 
clasped in his arms and had put up her mouth to be kissed. 

"Is it you?" 

" Roma ! " 

It was not at first that she realised what was happening, that 
they were together again, when all had seemed to be over. But 
after a moment she recovered from her bewilderment, and ex- 
tinguished the candle lest Rossi should be seen from outside. 
Then she clung to him afresh, and he tightened his anns 
about her. 

They were in the dark, save at intervals when the revolving 
light in its circuit of the city swept across the studio, and lit 
up their faces as by a flash of lightning. He seemed to be 
dazed. His weary eyes looked as if their light were almost 
extinct. 

" You are safe ? You are well ? " she asked. 

" Oh, God, what sights ! " he said. " You have heard what 
has happened ? " 

" Yes, yes ! But you are not injured ? " 

" The people were peaceful and meant no evil, but the 
soldiers were ordered to fire, and our little boy is dead." 

" Don't let us speak of it. . . . The police were told to arrest 
you, but you have escaped thus far, and now . . ." 

" Bruno is taken and hundreds of others are in prison." 



326 THE ETERNAL CITY 

"But you are safe? You are well? You are uninjured?" 

" Yes," he answered, between his teeth, and then he cov- 
ered his face with his hands. " God knows I did my best 
to prevent this bloodshed: — I would have laid down my life 
to prevent it." 

" God does know it." 

" Take this." 

lie drew something from his breast-pocket and put it into 
her hands. 

It was the revolver. 

" I cannot trust myself any longer." 

" You haven't used it ? " 

" No." 

"Thank God!" 

" I should have done so if I could have met the man face 
to face." 

"The Baron?" 

" I searched for him everywhere, and couldn't find him. 
God kept him out of my way to save me from sin and shame." 

With a frightened cry she put down the revolver and 
clasped her hands about his neck. He began to recover his 
dazed senses and to smooth the hair on her damp forehead. 

" My poor Roma ! You didn't think we were to part like 
this?" 

Her arms slackened and she dropped her head on to his 
shoulder. 

" Last night you told me to fly, and I wouldn't do so. There 
was no man in Rome I was afraid of then. But to-night there 
is some one I am afraid of. I am afraid of myself." 

" You intend to go ? " she said, lifting her face. 

"Yes! I shall feel like a captain who deserts his sinking 
ship. Would to God I could have gone down with her ! . . . Yet 
no ! " he cried impetuously. " She is not lost yet. Everything 
is in God's hands. Perhaps there is work for me abroad now 
that the paths are closed to me at home. Let us wait and 
see." 

They were both silent for a while. 

" Then it's all over," she said, gulping down a sob. 

" God forbid ! This black night in Rome is only the begin- 
ning of the end. It will be the dawn of the resurrection every- 
whei-e." 

" But it is all over between you and me," she faltered. 

" Indeed, no ! No, no ! I cannot take you with me. That is 



THE PRIME MINISTER 327 

impossible. I couldn't see yovi suffer hunger and tliii'st and the 
privations of exile, but . . ." 

" Our marriage cannot be celebrated now, and that being 
so . . ." 

" The banns are good for half a year, Roma, and before 
that time I shall be back. Have no fear! The immortality 
stirring beneath the ruins of this old city will give us victory 
all over Italy. I will return and we shall be very happy. How 
happy we shall be ! " 

" Yes, yes," she brought out at intervals. 

" Be brave, my girl, be brave ! " 

" Yes, yes." 

The revolving search-light flashed through the room at that 
moment and she dropped her face again. 

" Dearest," she said faintly, " if I should not be here when 
you come back . . ." 

He started and seized her arm. 

" Roma, you cannot intend to submit to the will of that 
man ? " 

She shook her head as it rested on his shoulder. 

" The man is a tyrant. He may put pressure upon you." 

" It is not that." 

" He may even make you suffer for my sake." 

" Nor that either." 

" By-and-bye he may require everybody to take an oath of 
allegiance to the King." 

" I have taken mine already- — to my King." 

" Roma, if you wish me to stay I will do so in spite of 
everything." 

" I wish you to go, dearest." 

" Then what is it you fear ? " 

" Nothing — only . . ." 

" But you are sad. Why is it ? " 

" A foreboding. I feel as if we were parting for ever." 

He passed his hands through her hair. " It may be so. 
Only God can tell." 

" It was too sweet dreaming. I was too happy for a little 
while." 

" If it must be, it must be. But let us be brave, dear ! We, 
who take up a life like this, must learn renunciation . . . Cry- 
ing, Roma ? " 

" No ! Oh, no ! But renunciation ! That's it — renuncia- 
tion." She could feel the beating of her heart against his 



328 THE ETERNAL CITY 

breast. " Love comes to everyone, but to some it comes too 
late, and then it comes in vain." She was striving to keep 
down her sobs. " They have only to conquer it and renounce it, 
and to pray God to unite thorn to their loved ones in another 
life." She was choking, but she struggled on. " Sometimes I 
think it must be my lot to be like that. Other women may 
dream of love and home and children . . ." 

" Don't unman me, Roma." 

" Dearest, promise me that whatever happens you will think 
the best of me." 

" Roma ! " 

" Promise me that whoever says anything to the contrary 
you will always believe I loved you." 

" Why should we talk of what can never happen ? " 

" If we are parting for ever ... if we are saying a long 
farewell to all earthly affections, promise me ..." 

" For God's sake, Roma ! " 

" Promise me ! " she cried in a voice of pitiful entreaty. 

" I promise ! " he said. " And you? " 

" I promise too — I promise that as long as I live, and wher- 
ever I am and whatever becomes of me, I will . . . yes, because 
1 cannot help it ... I will love you to the last." 

Saying this in passionate tones, she drew down his head, 
and he met her kiss with his lips. 

" [t is our marriage, Rossi. Others are married in church, 
and by the hand, and with a wedding. We are married in our 
spirits and our souls." 

A long time passed during which they did not speak. The 
searcli-light flashed in on them again and again with its super- 
natural eye, and as often as it did so Rossi looked at her with 
strange looks of pity and of love. 

Meantime, she cut a lock from her hair, tied it with a piece 
of ribbon, and put it in his pocket with his watch. Then she 
dried her eyes with her handkerchief, and pushed it in 
his breast. 

The night went on, and nothing was to be heard but the 
chiming of clocks outside. At length through the silence there 
came a muffled rumble from the streets. 

" You must go now," she said, and when the next flash 
came round she looked up at him with a steadfast gaze, 
as if trying to gather into her eyes the last memories of his 
face. 

" Adieu ! " 



THE PRIME MINISTER 329 

" Not yet." 

" It is still dark, but the streets are patrolled and every 
gate is closed, and how are you to escape . . ." 

" If the soldiers had wished to take me they could have done 
so a hundred times." 

" But the city is stirring. Be careful for my sake. Adieu ! " 

" Roma," said Rossi, " if I do not take you with me it is 
partly because I want your help in Rome." 

Roma was seized with sudden palpitation. 

" Think of "the poor people I leave behind me in poverty 
and in prison. Think of Elena when she awakes in the morn- 
ing, alone with her terrible grief. Some one should be here to 
represent me for a time at all events — to take the messages 
I must send, the instructions I will have to give. It will be a 
dangerous task, Roma, a task that can only be undertaken by 
some one who loves me, some one who . . ." 

" That is enough. Tell me what I can do," she said, and 
she whispered to herself, '' I can wait." 

They arranged a channel of correspondence, and then Roma 
began her adieux afresh. 

" Roma," said Rossi again, " since I must go away before 
our civil marriage can be celebrated, is it not best that our 
spiritual one should have the authority and blessing of the 
Church?" 

Roma looked at him and trembled. 

" When I am gone God knows what may happen. The 
Baron may be a free man any day, and he may put pressure on 
you to marry him. In that case it will be strength and courage 
to you to know that in God's eyes you are married already. It 
will be happiness and comfort to me, too, when I am far away 
from you, and alone." 

" But it is impossible." 

" JiTot so. A declaration before a parish priest is all that 
is necessary. * Father, this is rny wife.' ' This is my husband.' 
That is enough. It will have no value in the eye of the law, 
but it will be a religious marriage for all that." 

" There is no time. You cannot wait . . ." 

" Hush ! " The clocks were striking three. " At three 
o'clock there is mass at St. Andrea delle Fratte. That is your 
parish church, Roma, The priest and his acolyte are the only 
witnesses we require." 

" If you think . . . that is to say ... if it will make you 
happy, and be a strength to me also. . . ." 
22 



330 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Kun for your cloak and hat, dearest — in ten minutes it 
will be done." 

" But think again." She was breathing audibly. " Who 
knows what may happen before your return? Will you never 
repent ? " 

"^ever!" 

" But . . . but there is something . . . something I ought 
to tell you — something painful. It is about the past." 

" The past is passed. Let us think of the future." 

" Yon do not wish to hear it ? " 

" If it is painful to you — no ! " 

" Will nothing and nobody divide us ? " 

" Nothing and nobody in the world." 

She gulped down another choking sob and threw both arms 
about his neck. 

" Take me then. I am your wife before God and man." 



XIII 

It was still dark overhead and the streets with their thin 
covering of snow were as silent as a catacomb. Through the 
door of the church, when the leather covering was lifted, there 
came the yellow light of the candles burning on the altar. The 
priest in his gold vestments stood with his face to the glisten- 
ing shrine and his acolyte knelt beside him. There was only 
one worshipper, an old woman who was kneeling before a chair 
in the gloom by a side chapel. The tinkle of the acolyte's bell, 
and the faint murmur of the priest's voice, were the only sounds 
that broke the stillness. 

Rossi and Roma stepped up on tiptoe, and as the Father 
finished his mass and turned to go they made their declaration. 
The old man was startled and disturbed, but the priest commits 
no crime who listens to the voice of conscience, and he took 
their names and gave them his blessing. They parted at the 
church door. 

" You will write when you cross the frontier ? " 

" Yes." 

" And you will be faithful to all your promises ? " 

" Yes." 

" Adieu, then, until we meet again ! " 

" If I am long away from you, Roma . . ." 



THE PRIME MINISTER 331 

" You cannot be long away. You will be with me every day 
and always." 

She was assuming a lively tone to keep up his courage, but 
there was a dry glitter in her eyes and a tremor in her voice. 

" When I go to bed at night I shall be thinking of you, when 
I am asleep I shall be dreaming of you, and when I awake in the 
morning I shall be thinking of you again." 

He took her full, round, lovely form in his arms for a last 
embrace. " If the result of this night's work is that I am ar- 
rested, and brought back and imprisoned . . ." 

" I can wait for you," she said. 

" If I am banished for life ..." 

" I can follow you." 

" If the worst comes to the worst, and one way or another 
death itself should be the fate that falls to me . . ." 

" I can follow you there, too." 

" If we meet again we can laugh at all this, Roma." 

" Yes, we can laugh at all this," she faltered. 

" If not . . . Adieu ! " 

"Adieu!" 

She disengaged her clinging arms, with one last caress; 
there was an instant of unconsciousness, and when she recov- 
ered herself, he was gone. 

At the next moment there came through the darkness the 
measured tramp, tramp, tramp of the patrol. With a quivering 
heart, Eoma stood and listened. There was a slight movement 
among the soldiers, a scarcely perceptible pause, and then the 
tramp, tramp, tramp as before. Rossi looked back as he turned 
the corner, and saw Roma, in her light cloak, gliding across 
the silent street like a ghost. 

Three or four hundred yards inside the gate of St. John 
Lateran, in one of the half -finished tenement houses on the out- 
skirts of Rome, there is a cellar used as a resting-place and 
eating-house by the carriers from the country who bring wine 
into the city. This cellar was the only place that seemed to be 
awake when Rossi walked towards the city walls. The door was 
open, and the light of a wood fire burning on an open hearth, 
like the hearth of a smithy, came out to him as he passed along 
the street. He stepped up and looked do^vn. Some eight or 
nine men, in the rude dress of wine-carriers, with loose shirts 
and white waistbands, the ends of their trousers tucked into 
their top-boots, and their red-lined overcoats scattered about 
them, lay dozing or talking on the floor. They had been kept 



332 THE ETERNAL CITY 

in Rome overnight by the closing of the gate, and were waiting 
for it to be opened in the morning. 

Without a moment's hesitation David Rossi stepped down 
and spoke to the men. 

" Gentlemen," he said, " you know me. I am Rossi. The 
police have orders to arrest me. Will you help me to get out 
of Rome?" 

" What's that ? " shouted a drowsy voice from the smoky 
shadows of the cellar. 

" It's the Honourable Rossi," said a lad who had shambled 
up. •* The oysters are after him, and will we help him to 
escape." 

" Will we ? It's not will we, it's can we. Honourable," said 
a thick-set man, who lifted his head from an upturned horse- 
saddle. 

In a moment the men were all on their feet, asking questions 
and discussing chances. The gate was to be opened at six, and 
the first train north was to go out at half-past nine. But 
the difiiculty was that everybody in Rome knew Rossi. Even 
if he got through the gate, he could not get on to the train 
within ten miles of the city without the certainty of recog- 
nition. 

" I have it ! " said the thick-set man with the drowsy voice. 
" There's young Carlo. He got a scratch in the leg last night 
from one of the wet nurses of the Government, and he'll have 
to lie upstairs for a week at least. Why can't he lend his 
clothes to the Honourable? And why can't the Honourable 
drive his cart back to Monte Rotondo, and then go where he 
likes when he gets there ? " 

" That will do," said Rossi, and so it was settled. 

A few minutes before six o'clock, a line of wine-carts drove 
up to the gate of St. John Lateran. 

In the little hooded seats, each like the arc of a moon, sat the 
drivers in their red-lined overcoats, their white waistband, blue 
trousers and top-boots, with their empty barrels built up be- 
hind them, and their little watch-dogs barking by their sides. 

The lad drove first, the thick-set man with the drowsy voice 
came next, and then came David Rossi. 

The sky was still dark and leaden-hued, but a smell of dawn 
was in the air, and the street vendors were beginning to cry. 

Half a dozen officers in uniform stood by the open gate, 
some with steel rods in their hands, others with rifles and 
bayonets. One of the officers held an open note-book and by a 



THE PRIME MINISTER 333 

light from the window of the custom-house lodge he took the 
names of all who left the city. 

This was an unusual precaution and the carriers were not 
prepared for it. 

When Rossi was asked for his name he hesitated. 

" Your name — don't you hear me ? " shouted the officer. 

The stiff-set man with the drowsy voice came to Rossi's 
rescue. " Carlo ! " he called back, " Carlo Conti, the gentleman 
is asking you for your name." And then turning to the of- 
ficer, he touched his ear and said : " Deaf, sir," and lurched 
his finger over his shoulder. 

" Go on," said the officer, and Rossi passed through. 

The day dawned, and as Rossi drove in the line of tinkling 
wine-carts, he looked back on Rome. The city was entirely cov- 
ered with snow. In the morning mist which enveloped the hills 
around, it lay like a dead thing under a shroud. Domes, spires, 
cupolas, campanili, the broad curves of the Coliseum, the trees 
of the Pincio, and the undulating line of the Palatine, all 
were white with a deathly whiteness. The bell of the Passion- 
ist Retreat began to ring, and then in single strokes, like a 
knell rung in a sepulchre, came the reverberating bell of 
St. Peter's. 

It was a bitter hour for Rossi. He gazed back on Rome 
with dim eyes and an aching heart. lie was leaving it in sad- 
ness, in sorrow, almost in shame. The people who had believed 
in him and followed him, the friends who had loved him and 
stood by him — where were they? Dead, in disgrace, or in 
prison. And he was flying away ! He felt guilty and ashamed, 
and had half an impulse to turn back. But something outside 
himself restrained him, and he continued to go on. " Neverthe- 
less, not my will but Thine be done ! " 

The sun rose and the lad who was driving the first of the 
wine-carts began to sing. Rossi looked back at the city a sec- 
ond time, and now the domes and cupolas were glistening with 
gleams of sunlight on the snow. The thought of last night was 
bitterest of all now, when the sweet morning had fully dawned. 
But hope came with the memory of the past. 

Rome, the city of the Emperors, the city of the Popes, the 
city of the Kings, would be the city of the peoples after all! 
Rome, from which the word of division had first gone forth, 
when man divided humanity into two races, the race of the 
rich and the race of the poor, the race of the bond and the race 
of the free, the race of the friend and the race of the foe, was 



334 'I'HE ETERNAL CITY • , - , 

the same Rome from which the word of Unity would yet go out 
to tell the world that it was one. 

It was God's decree, and no one could resist it. It was the 
rising tide on the seashore, and none could keep it back. Popes, 
who ruled in the name of infallibility and must therefore be 
despots — let who will deceive themselves — Kings who reigned 
in the name of liberty and suffered their servants to withdraw 
the rights which they had no title from God to grant, all, all 
would disappear! 

When Rossi looked back on Rome again the sun had melted 
the thin snow and the city lay basking under a cloudless sky. 
By this time the wine-carts had reached the top of a hill on 
the Campagna, the lad who was driving the first of them was 
making the aqueducts ring with his singing, and the other 
drivers were asleep. 

Rossi took his last look back on the city of his soul. She 
held everything that was dear to him. Would he ever see her 
again ? Roma ! Roma ! His two Romas ! 

Tears filled his eyes and blotted out everything. The wine- 
carts dipped over the hill, and the horses tinkled along. 

When the train which left Rome for Florence and Milan at 
9.30 in the morning arrived at the country station of Monte 
Rotondo, eighteen miles out, a man in top-boots, blue trousers, 
a white waistband and a red-lined overcoat got into the peo- 
ple's compartment. The train was crowded with foreigners 
who were flying from the risks of insurrection, and even the 
third-class carriages were filled with well-dressed strangers. 
They were talking bitterly of their experiences the night be- 
fore. Most of them had been compelled to barricade their bed- 
room doors at the hotels, and some had even passed the night 
at the railway station. 

" It all comes of letting men like this Rossi go at large," 
said a young Englishman with the voice of a pea-hen. " For 
my part I would put all these anarchists on an uninhabited 
island and leave them to fight it out among themselves." 

" Say, Rossi isn't an anarchist," said a man with an Ameri- 
can intonation. 

"What is he?" 

" A dreamer of dreams." 

" Bad dreams then," said the voice of the pea-hen, and 
there was general laughter. 



PAET SIX 

THE ROMAN OF ROME 



Roma awoke next morning with a feeling of joy. The dan- 
gers of last night were over and David Rossi had escaped. 
Where would he be by this time ? She looked at her little round 
watch and reckoned the hours that had passed against the speed 
of the train. 

But suddenly the unspeakable elation of victory gave place 
to a poignant memory. She remembered what the Baron had 
said on leaving her : " I will continue to think of you as my 
wife according to the law of Nature, and of the man who has 
come between us as your lover." This brought back a sense of 
infamy and made her feverish and afraid. 

So far as she was herself concerned things were in a more 
dangerous state than before. She had married David Rossi and 
yet the secret of her soul he did not know. It was true he would 
not listen when she tried to tell him. Nevertheless she must 
confess everything. It was the only way. But when? And 
how? 

Natalina came with the tea and the morning newspaper. 
The maid's tongue went faster than her hands as she rattled 
on about the terrors of the night and the news of the morning. 
Meantime Roma glanced eagerly over the columns of the paper 
for its references to Rossi. He was gone. The authorities were 
unable to say what had become of him. 

With boundless relief Roma turned to the other items of 
intelligence. The journal was the organ of the Government 
and it contained an extract from the Official Gazette, and the 
text of a proclamation by the Prefect. The first announced 
that the riot was at an end and Rome was quiet; the second 
notified the public that by royal decree the city was declared 
to be in a state of siege, and that the King had nominated a 
Royal Commissioner with full powers. 

335 



336 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Besides this news there was a general account of the insur- 
rection. The ringleaders had been anarchists, socialists and 
professed atheists, determined on the destruction of both 
throne and altar by any means, however horrible. Their vic- 
tims had been drawn, without seeing where they were going, 
into a vortex of disorder, and the soldiers had defended society 
and the law. Happily the casualties were few. The only fatal 
incident had been the death of a child, seven years of age, the 
son of a workman. The people of Rome had to congratulate 
themselves on the promptness of a government which had rein- 
stated authority with so small a loss of blood. 

Roma remembered what Rossi had said about Elena — 
" think of Elena when she awakes in the morning, alone with 
her terrible grief " — and putting on a plain dark cloth dress she 
set oif for the Piazza Navona. 

It was eleven o'clock and the sun was shining on the melt- 
ing snow. Rome was like a dead city. The breath of revolu- 
tion had passed over it. Broken tiles lay on the pavement of 
the slushy streets, and here and there were the remains of 
abandoned barricades. The shops, which are the eyes of a city, 
were nearly all closed and asleep. Houses which could claim 
foreign protection had hung out their national flags, and sol- 
diers and police with a look of fatigue were marching through 
every thoroughfare. 

At a flower-shop, which was opened to her knock, Roma 
bought a wreath of white chrysanthemums. A group of men 
and women stood at the door in the Piazza Navona and she re- 
ceived their kisses on her hands. The Garibaldian followed her 
up the stairs, and his old wife, who stood at the top, called her 
" Little Sister," and then burst into tears. 

Roma was much affected on entering the house. Elena saw 
her coming and by right of the dignity which the company 
of death gives to the humblest of the aflflicted, she rose up and 
kissed her on the cheek. Then the stricken mother took Roma's 
hand and led her into the dining room. 

The boy lay on the couch, just where Roma had first seen 
him, when David Rossi was lifting him up asleep. He might 
have been asleep now, so peaceful was his expression under the 
mysterious seal of death. The blinds were drawn, and the 
sun came through them with a yellow light. Four candles were 
burning on chairs at the head and two at the feet. The little 
body was still dressed in the gay clothes of the festival, and the 
cocked hat and the gilt-headed mace lay beside it. But the 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 337 

little chubby hands were clasped over a tiny crucifix, and the 
hair of the little shock head was brushed smooth and flat. 

" There he is," said Elena, in a cracked voice, and she went 
down on her knees between the candles. 

Roma, who could not speak, put the wreath of chrysanthe- 
mums on the brave little breast, and knelt by the mother's side. 
At that they all broke down together. The old woman was 
the first to speak. 

" Madonna Santa ! It's hard, but let the Blessed Virgin 
do as she likes. I washed him myself. I wouldn't let anybody 
else touch him. His sweet little body was just as white as a fish, 
bless him. And knowing how proud he was of the clothes you 
gave him . . ." 

" Don't, mamma, don't, don't ! " cried Elena. 

And then Elena in her turn began to talk of the boy, his 
little ways, his disposition, his playthings, his prattle, his am- 
bitions, and what he said he would do for mamma when he grew 
up to be a man and went to live at Donna Roma's. 

" And now . . . there he is ! " she said in her cracked voice 
and again her tears began to flow. 

" He's smiling, isn't he ? Isn't he smiling ? Perhaps he 
didn't feel anything. . . . Yes? Do you think perhaps he 
didn't even know ? Oh, how I wish I had his portrait ! I'll want 
his portrait for his grave. If I had only thought of it in time ! 
It was his birthday and he was up with the sun in the morning 
to put on his new suit. And now . . . there he is ! " 

The old Garibaldi an wiped his rheumy eyes and began to 
talk of David Rossi. He was as fond of Joseph as if the boy 
had been his own son. But what had become of the Honour- 
able ? Before daybreak the police had made a domiciliary per- 
quisition in the apartment, carried off his papers and sealed 
up his rooms. 

" Have no fear for him," said Roma, and then she asked 
about Bruno. All they knew was that Bruno had been arrested 
and locked up in the prison called Regina Coeli. 

" Poor Bruno ! He'll be dying to know what is happening 
here," said Elena. 

" I'll see him," said Roma. 

It was well she had come early. In the stupefaction of their 
sorrow the three poor souls were like helpless children and had 
done nothing. Roma sent the Garibaldian to the sanitary office 
for the doctor, who was to verify the death, to the office of 
health to register it, and to the Municipal office to arrange for 



338 THE ETERNAL CITY 

the funeral. It was to be a funeral of the third category, with 
a funeral car of two horses and a coach with liveried coach- 
men. The grave was to be one of the little vaults, the Fomelli, 
set apart for children. The priest was to be instructed to buy 
many candles and order several Frati. The expense would be 
great, but Roma undertook to bear it, and when she left the 
house the old people kissed her hands again and loaded her with 
blessings. 

II 

The Roman prison with the extraordinary name, " The 
Queen of Heaven," is a vast yellow building on the Trastevere 
side of the river. Behind it rises the Janiculum, in front of it 
runs the Tiber, and on both sides of it are narrow lanes cut off 
by high walls. There is a large entrance hall which is sepa- 
rated from the penitentiary by a flight of steps and an iron 
gate. Four Carabineers are stationed at the outer door, the 
lanes are patrolled by infantry and the hill is also guarded. 

On the morning after the insurrection a great many per- 
sons had gathered at the entrance of this prison. Old men, who 
were lame or sick or nearly blind, stood by a dead wall which 
divides the street from the Tiber, and looked on with dazed and 
vacant eyes. Younger men nearer the entrance read the proc- 
lamations posted up on the pilasters. One of these was the 
proclamation of the Prefect announcing the state of siege, 
another was the proclamation of the Royal Commissioner call- 
ing on citizens to consign all the arms in their possession to 
the Chief of Police under pain of imprisonment. 

In the entrance hall there was a crowd of women, each car- 
rying a basket or a bundle in a handkerchief. They were young 
and old, dressed variously as if from different provinces, but 
nearly all poor, untidy and unkempt. Through them, among 
them and above them moved the white and red plumes of the 
soldiers on guard, and at frequent intervals the clamour of 
their mournful tongues was silenced by the loud command of 
a Carabineer. 

" It is a great punishment God has sent us," said the women 
in the entrance hall, and the men outside ground their teeth 
and muttered, " There'll be a shower of crosses after this." 

"Silence!" 

" Only bread and water for breakfast, a plate of soup for 
dinner and nothing after that until morning," said the women. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 339 

And the men muttered under their breath, " He's the hard bone 
of Italy, curse him ! But wait, only wait ! " 

" Silence ! " 

"I've brought a basket full of the grace of God, but the 
maccaroni is getting cold and they don't open the door." 

" Silence ! " 

The iron gate was opened, and an oificer, two soldiers and 
a warder came out to take the food which the women had 
brought for their relatives imprisoned within. Then there 
was a terrific tumult. " Mr. Officer, please ! " " Please, Mr. 
Officer ! " " Be kind to Giuseppe, and the Saints bless you ! " 
" My turn next ! " " No, mine ! " " Don't push ! " " You're 
pushing yourself ! " " You're knocking the basket out of my 
hands ! " " Get away ! " " You cat ! You . . ." 

" Silence ! Silence ! Silence ! " cried the officer, shouting 
the women down, and meantime the men in the street outside 
curled their lips and tried to laugh. 

Into this wild scene, full of the acrid exhalations of human 
breath, and the nauseating odour of unclean bodies, moved, 
nevertheless, by the finger of God himself, the cab which 
brought Roma to see Bruno discharged her at the prison door. 

The officer on the steps saw her over the heads of the women 
with their outstretched arms, and judging from her appear- 
ance that she came on other business he called to a Carabineer 
to attend to her. 

" I wish to see the Director," said Roma. 

" Certainly, Excellency," said the Carabineer, and with 
a salute he led the way by a side door to the offices on the floor 
above. 

The Governor of Regina Coeli was a middle-aged man with 
a kindly face, but under the new order he could do nothing. 

" Everything relating to the political prisoners is in the 
hands of the Royal Commissioner," he said. 

" Where can I see him, Cavaliere ? " 

" He is with the Minister of War to-day, arranging for the 
Military Tribunals, but perhaps to-morrow at his office in the 
Castle of St. Angelo . . ." 

" Thanks ! Meantime can I send a message into the 
prison ? " 

" Yes." 

" And may I pay for a separate cell for a prisoner, with 
food and light if necessary ? " 

" Undoubtedly." 



340 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Roma undertook the expense of these privileges and then 
scribbled a note to Bruno : 

" Dear Friend, — Don't lose heart ! Your dear ones shall be 
cared for and comforted. lie whom you love is safe, and your 
darling is in heaven. Sleep well ! These days will pass. — R. V." 

In Italy a funeral follows hard upon a death. By order of 
the authorities little Joseph was buried the same day. It was 
near the hour of Ave Maria when Roma had returned to the 
Piazza Navona. The municipal undertaker had come and the 
little body lay in a stained deal coffin bearing a small metal 
shield, inscribed, " Joseph Mazzini Bruno, Aged seven years, 
Died February 1st." 

While the bells of Rome were ringing, the funeral ear and 
the carriage drove up to the door. The priest came upstairs 
in his white surplice and black stole. Behind him were his 
assistants carrying the cross and the aspersorium. Two brown 
friars with lighted candles had entered in front of them. 

Everyone knelt. The priest sprinkled the coffin with holy 
water and intoned the Psalm, " Out of the depths have I cried 
unto Thee. Hear thou my voice, Lord ! " 

Elena was on her knees by the coffin, and Roma stood be- 
side her, holding tightly her trembling hands. The old people 
knelt behind the priest, and the doorway and landing were filled 
with a throng of neighbours. 

The buriers lifted up the little bier, the friars with the 
lighted candles took their places behind it, and the priest led 
the way downstairs, intoning the antiphon, " The humbled 
bones shall _exult unto the Lord." 

Elena and Roma remained where they were, while the pro- 
cession passed out of the house. The voices of the priest and of 
his assistants came up to them in a dying rumble. 

A moment later the staircase was silent, and the house was 
empty. Then the desolation of Elena's heart overcame her and 
she burst into sobs. After a while she became calmer and Roma 
took her upstairs to her own apartment. From there they 
could look down on the piazza and see the procession as it 
passed to the church. 

It was a grand funeral, such as had rarely been seen in that 
quarter. First, the funeral car which was brilliantly embel- 
lished with the wreath of white chrysanthemums hanging from 
the cross, then the coach with liveried coachmen, then the friars 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 341 

with lighted candles, and last of all the crowd of neighbours 
with bare heads and faces lit with awe. Elena was comforted 
by its grandeur and even dried her eyes and smiled. 

But when the procession was gone her desolation again over- 
came her, and she sank on her knees before a little painted fig- 
ure of the Madonna which stood on the night table by the bed. 

" Oh, Holy Virgin," she prayed, " why didst thou extin- 
guish the life of my little one? Thou art so lovely, thou art 
so gracious, how couldst thou find it in thy heart to take him 
from me ? Take me also, oh. Blessed Virgin ! My treasure is 
gone ! My joy is gone ! My husband is gone too ! What have 
I to live for now? Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with 
thee. . . . Amen ! " 

Unable to see through the mist that dimmed her eyes, Roma 
turned softly and stole out of the house. That night she 
wrote the first part of a letter to David Rossi : 

" David — my David ! It is early days to call you by a 
dearer name, but the sweet word is on the tip of my pen, and 
I can hardly help myself from scribbling it. You wished me 
to tell you what is happening in Rome, and here I am begin- 
ning to write already, though when and how and where this 
letter is to reach you, I must leave it to Fate and to yourself 
to determine. Fancy ! Only eighteen hours since we parted ! 
It seems inconceivable ! I feel as if I had lived a lifetime. 

" Do you know, I did not go to bed when you left me. I 
had so many things to think about. And, tired as I was, I slept 
little, and was up early. The morning dawned beautifully. It 
was perfectly tragic. So bright and sunny after that night of 
slaughter, ^o rattle of cars, no tinkle of trams, no calls of 
the water carriers and of the pedlars in the streets. It was 
for all the world like that awful quiet of the sea the morning 
after a tempest, with the sun on its placid surface and not a 
hint of the wrecks beneath. 

" I remembered what you said about Elena and went down 
to see her. The poor girl has just parted with her dead child. 
She did it with a brave heart, God pity her, taking comfort in 
the Blessed Virgin, as the mother in heaven who knows all our 
sorrows and asks God to heal them. Ah, what a sweet thing it 
must be to believe that. Do you believe it ? " 

Here she wanted to say something about her secret. She 
tried to but she could not do it. 



342 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" I couldn't see Bruno to-day, but I hope to do so to-mor- 
row, and meantime I have ordered food to be supplied to him. 
If I could only do something to some purpose ! But five hun- 
dred of your friends are in Regina Coeli, and my poor little 
efforts are a drop of water in a mighty ocean. 

" Rome is a deserted city to-day, and but for the soldiers 
v.'ho are everywhere it would look like a dead one. The steps 
of the Piazza di Spagna are empty, not a model is to be seen, 
not a flower is to be bought, and the fountain is bubbling in 
silence. After sunset a certain shiver passes over the world, 
and after an insurrection something of the same kind seems 
to pass over a city. The churches and the hospitals are the only 
places open, and the doctors and their messengers are the only 
people moving about. 

" Just one of the newspapers has been published to-day and 
it is full of proclamations. Everybody is to be indoors by nine 
o'clock, and the cafes are to be closed at eight. Arms are to 
be consigned at the Questura, and meetings of more than four 
persons are strictly forbidden. Rewards of pardon are offered 
to all rioters who will inform on the ringleaders of the insur- 
rection, and of money to all citizens who will denounce the con- 
spirators. The military tribunals are to begin to-morrow and 
domiciliary visitations are already being made. Your own 
apartments have been searched and sealed and the police have 
carried off papers. 

" Such are the doings of this evil day, and yet — selfish 
woman that I am — I cannot for my life think it is all evil. 
Has it not given me you ? And if it has taken you away from 
me as well, I can wait, I can be patient. Where are you now 
I wonder ? And are you thinking of me while I am thinking of 
you ? Oh, how splendid ! Think of it ! Though the train may 
be carrying you away from me every hour and every minute, 
before long we shall be together. In the first dream of the 
first sleep I shall join you, and we shall be cheek to cheek and 
heart to heart. Good-night, my dear one ! " 

Again she tried to say something about her secret. But no I 
" Not to-night," she thought, and after switching off the light 
and kissing her hand in the darkness to the stars that hung 
over the north, she laughed at her own foolishness and went 
to bed. 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 343 



in 

The work of the Military Tribunals began at eight o'clock 
the following morning. The sun had risen, the slush of the 
snow was gone, and the courtyard of the Castle of St. Angelo 
was bright and busy. Officers in the uniform of various regi- 
ments, carrying portfolios and papers, were coming and going 
with quick steps. A line of policemen in hats and cock 
feathers kept a way clear from the gate to the Castle, and 
civilians with tickets of admission were permitted to pass. As 
the Castle clock was striking, the black van of Regina Coeli 
rattled over the stones of the courtyard with the first batch of 
prisoners. There were ten of them, nearly all poorly clad, and 
when they stepped down at the door there was a clank of chains 
in the morning air. 

The military court sat in a large gloomy chamber with 
arched roof and sandstone walls. It was divided into two 
unequal parts, the larger part for judges and counsel, the 
smaller part for the public. A long horse-shoe table, covered 
with green cloth, stood under a portrait of the King which 
was draped with flags and surmounted by a streamer bearing 
the words, " The law is equal for all." In the centre of the 
horse-shoe the President sat in a large red arm-chair, with his 
assistant Judges on either side. At tables in the well of the 
court the prosecutors and defenders were sitting with the official 
instructors, the secretaries and their deputies. Everybody was 
in military uniform, whether of infantry, cavalry, artillery or 
engineers, and nearly all wore orders. Beyond a wooden bar- 
rier the public were huddled together in an oblong space with- 
out seats. 

Meantime, the Royal Commissioner sat in his private office 
upstairs with two of the Ministers of State. One of these was 
the Baron Bonelli and the other was the Minister of War. The 
Baron looked fresh and composed, for the tumults of the past 
days had ruffled neither his teriiper nor his toilet. General 
Morra looked troubled, and his blunt and rugged face seemed 
more than ever like a thing carved out by an adze. The Royal 
Commissioner, who wore the unifonn of a general, was a 
small man with a doubtful expression. His left eye had a 
fixed pupil, which gave the effect of a squint. 

" General," said the Baron, seating himself by a table, " the 
Government has complete confidence in your wisdom and di- 
plomacy, or it would not have recommended the King to place 



344 THE ETERNAL CITY 

you in this position, but it may satisfy my colleague " — he 
made a gentle motion of his hand towards the Minister of War, 
who was walking uneasily to and fro — " and perhaps relieve 
you of a certain burden of responsibility, if I ask you to say at 
the outset what you have done, what you are doing, and what 
the programme is which you propose to follow." 

" With pleasure, Excellency," said the Royal Commissioner, 
" and perhaps the simplest way is to read the Verhale of what 
we have done down to date." 

" Do," said the Baron, and the Royal Commissioner rose, 
opened a portfolio and began to read. 

" In the name of His Majesty — by the grace of God and the 
will of the nation. King . . ." 

" Skip that," said the Baron. 

The Royal Commissioner turned a page and began again. 

" It having been proved by the reading of documents and 
the deposition of witnesses . . ." 

" And that ..." 

The Royal Commissioner turned another page. 

" Considering that the riot on the night of February 1st 
was the work of propaganda made in the ways above indicated, 
Rome was by royal decree declared to be in a state of siege, a 
Royal Commissioner was appointed, the city was divided into 
four zones, each under the command of a general, the streets 
and squares were occupied by military cordons, and the tri- 
bunal of war was authorised to judge civilians arrested as 
rioters according to the conditions of military law." 

" Come to the regulations." 

" The Royal Commissioner has ordered that for the present 
theatres, wine-shops, and cafes shall be closed at 8 p. m., meet- 
ings of more than four persons shall be forbidden, the circula- 
tion of revolutionary writings and seditious proclamations 
shall be treated as treason and . . ." 

The Minister of War stopped in his walk, and the Royal 
Commissioner paused. 

" Go on," said the Baron. 

" And that any action aimed against the sovereign, de- 
signed to change the form of Government or to cause danger 
to the State, shall be considered as high treason and dealt 
with by summary judgment." 

"Good! What about the journals sequestered?" 

The Royal Commissioner read a list of them. It ended 
with the Sunrise. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 345 

" What about the societies suppressed ? " 

The Royal Commissioner read the names. The last of them 
was the " Republic of Man." 

" What about domiciliary perquisitions ? " 

The Royal Commissioner read the addresses of houses and 
apartments in which incriminating documents had been seized 
for the discovery of the plot and the circumstances of com- 
plicity. 

" And now for the rioters arrested." 

" There are nearly five hundred, your Excellency. This is 
a list of them." 

It ended with " Bruno Rocco, sculptor's assistant, 14 Piazza 
Navona, accused of violent resistance to the authorities on the 
night of the first of February, and the wounding of various 
soldiers." 

" Good ! " said the Baron again. " You are more than mer- 
ciful, dear General, to the lesser delinquents who had thrown 
themselves into the hands of the law. But what of the greater 
criminals who led on the ignorant and deluded crowd? Have 
you drawn up a warrant against David Rossi ? " 

" It is here, Excellency." 

" Read it." 

The Minister of War resumed his uneasy walk, and the 
Royal Commissioner began to read. 

" David Rossi, of 14 Piazza Xavona, to whom are imputed 
the crimes mentioned in Articles 134 and 252 of the Penal 
Code, being out of the reach of justice, is accused of having by 
his intelligence and energy, and the great influence he has 
acquired among the people, by writings in public journals, by 
speeches in public places and by the institution of associations, 
conspired to carry on a subversive propaganda, to circulate 
revolutionary ideas, to urge the masses to resist authority and 
to change violently the constitution of the State, and particu- 
larly of contributing to the riot of the first of February, the 
said David Rossi is hereby ordered to present himself for trial 
before the military tribunal sitting in the Castle of St. Angelo 
in Rome within . . . days of the date hereof, under pain of 
being tried and condemned in contumacy' for the crimes herein 
detailed." 

The Minister of War put his clenched hand on the table. 
" You cannot issue a warrant like that," he said. 

" Why not ? " said the Baron. 

" Because Rossi is a Deputy. A Deputy must be taken in 
33 



346 THE ETERNAL CITY - 

the act. The statute says clearly that only the flagrant offence ] 
can annul the immunity of a member of Parliament. Rossi '< 
is gone, and you cannot follow him." 

" My dear colleague," said the Baron, smiling, " you are 
talking nonsense. What is the crime with which the man is ■ 
charged? Conspiracy! What is conspiracy ? Is it like murder, 
a crime committed in a moment ? No ! It is an offence which 
goes on all the time. Therefore conspiracy itself is flagrance, I 
and any man can be arrested who can be proved to conspire." | 

" Tell me by what means you can prove that Rossi is con- 
spiring without the trial to which you have no right to sum- , 
mon him." j 

" By the means we employ to prove the crime of every 
criminal." 

" The secret inquiry? " 

"Why not?" 

" In that case, Excellency, you must be good enough to 
proceed without my assistance. I have no sympathy with the 
aims of David Rossi. As a Minister of State and your col- 
league, I have been with you in your desire to safeguard the 
cause of order and the rights of existing institutions. But as 
a man and a Roman I am against you when you violate the 
statute and cut at the liberties of the nation. Your Excel- 
lency, I have the honour to wish you good-morning." 

The Minister of War saluted the Baron as if he had been 
a private in uniform and walked briskly out of the room. 

The Baron took a flower from his buttonhole and put it 
to his nose. 

" The man is a fool," he said after a moment, " Still, he 
is so far right that we can only issue your warrant, if at all, 
upon the clearest evidence of conspiracy. What evidence have 
you?" 

" Not too much, your Excellency." 

" No incriminating documents ? " 

" None." 

" You have made your domiciliary visitation and found ' 
nothing?" 

" Nothing of consequence ? " 

" Who are your witnesses ? " 

" Tommaso and Francesca Mariotti, of 14 Piazza Navona, 
porter and portress, Elena Rocco and Bruno Rocco, Charles 
Minghelli, agent of police, and Donna Roma Volonna of i 
18 ..." 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 347 

" Drop that name out." 

"Your Excellency?" 

" Drop that last name out for the present. What is Min- 
ghelli doing for you ? " 

" I have sent him into Regina Coeli as a prisoner." 

" As a prisoner ? " 

" To meet other prisoners and gather evidence." 

"And the Director?" 

" He was difficult at first, but I sent for him last night and 
he is all right now. ' I don't want you to do a bad action, 
Cavaliere,' I said. ' You are the Director of a great prison, 
and it is your duty to sei-ve your King and counti-y. We have 
reason to believe that the riot of the first of February was in- 
stigated by a revolutionary organisation and that one at least 
of your prisoners knows all the facts of the plot and the cir- 
cumstances of the complicity. His name is Bruno Kocco. He 
has a good heart and he committed the crime with which he 
is charged under the influence of persons above him. Help us 
to discover who those persons are, and you will be doing a ser- 
vice to the Government.' " 

" And what is the result ? " 

" Minghelli has been put into a cell next to Bruno's ; the 
two men are friends already and have opened up communica- 
tion with each other, by means of raps on the wall in the usual 
language of prisoners." 

The fixed pupil of the left eye of the Royal Commissioner 
squinted badly at that moment and his face broke into a smile. 

" General," said the Baron, rising to go, " I am satisfied you 
are on the right track, and it will give me pleasure to inform 
the King that your management of this difficult enterprise 
promises to justify the confidence I felt when I proposed you 
for your distinguished position." 

During the short half-hour occupied by this interview the 
Military Tribunal had proceeded with despatch. Ten prisoners 
had been condemned to sentences of imprisonment ranging 
from ten days to ten years, and the black van of Regina Coeli 
was rattling over the stones again. 



348 THE ETERNAL CITY 

IV 

Roma awoke that morning with a sense of pain. Almost 
before she was back into her bodily presence from the joyful 
shadowland of dream the Baron's incisive accents were hack- 
ing at her ear : " I have conquered worse obstacles in my time, 
and perhaps in this instance Nature herself will fight for me 
to call you back to your true place and your duty." 

She began to realise the price she had paid for victory. 
Thus far she had beaten the Baron — yes ! But David Rossi ? 
Had she sinned against God and against her husband? 

She must confess. There was no help for it. And there 
must be no hesitation and no delay. 

Natalina came into the bedroom and threw open the shut- 
ters. She was bringing a telegram, and Roma almost snatched 
it out of her hands. ^ It was from Rossi and had been sent off 
from Chiasso. " Crossed frontier safe and well." 

Roma made a cry of joy and leapt out of bed. All day long 
that telegram was like wings under her heels and made her walk 
with an elastic step. 

While taking her coffee she remembered the responsibilities 
she had undertaken the day before — for the boy's funeral and 
Bruno's maintenance — and for the first time in her life she 
began to consider ways and means. Her ready money was 
getting low, and it was necessary to do something. 

Then Felice came with a sheaf of papers. They were trades- 
men's bills and required immediate payment. Some of the men 
were below and refused to go away without the cash. 

There was no help for it. She opened her purse, discharged 
her debts, swept her debtors out of the house, and sat down to 
count what remained. 

Very little remained. But what matter? The five words of 
that telegram were five bright stars which could light up a 
darker sky than had fallen on her yet. 

The only thing that hurt her was the implication, which 
the importunities of the tradesmen conveyed, that she was 
nobody now that the friendship and favour of the Baron were 
gone. She remembered her art, and her pride rose in revolt. 
The world should see that she was somebody after all, somebody 
for herself, and not merely a creature living in the light of 
a great man's smiles. 

In this high mood she went down to the studio — silent 
now in the absence of the humorous voice that usually rang in 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 349 

it, and with Bruno's chisels and mallet lying idle with his sack 
on a block of half-hewn marble. Uncovering her fountain she 
looked at it again. It was good work; she knew it was good, 
she could be certain it was good. It should justify her yet, 
and some day the stupid people who were sheering away from 
her now would come cringing to her feet afresh. 

That suggested thoughts of the Mayor. She would write, 
to him and get some money with which to meet the expenses of 
yesterday as well as the obligations which she might perhaps 
incur to-day or in the future. 

" Dear Senator Palomba," she wrote, " no doubt you have 
often wondered why your much-valued commission has not 
been completed before. The fact is that it suffered a slight ac- 
cident a few days ago, but a week or a fortnight ought to see it 
finished, and if you wish to make arrangements for its recep- 
tion you may count on its delivery in that time. Meantime 
as I am pressed for funds at the momelit I shall be glad if 
you can instruct your treasurer at the Municipality to let 
me have something on account. The price mentioned, you 
remember, was 15,000 francs, and as I have not had anything 
hitherto I trust it may not be unreasonable to ask for half 
now, leaving the remainder until the fountain is in its 
place." 

Having despatched this challenge by Felice, not only to the 
Mayor, but also to herself, her pride, her poverty, and to the 
great world generally, she put on her cloak and hat and drove 
down to the Castle of St. Angelo. 

When she returned an hour afterwards there was a di*y 
glitter in her eyes, which increased to a look of fever when she 
opened the drawing-room door and saw who was waiting there. 
It was the Mayor himself. The little oily man in patent- 
leather boots, holding upright his glossy silk hat, was clearly 
nervous and confused. He complimented her on her appear- 
ance, looked out of the window, extolled the view, and finally, 
with his back to his hostess, began on his business. 

" It is about your letter, you know," he said, awkwardly. 
" There seems to be a little misunderstanding on your part. 
About the fountain, I mean." 

" !N^one whatever, Senator. You ordered it. I have exe- 
cuted it. Surely the matter is quite simple." 

" Impossible, my dear. I may have encouraged you to an 
experimental trial. We all do that. Rome is eager to discover 
genius. But a simple member of a corporate body cannot 



350 THE ETERNAL CITY 

undertake . . . that is to say, on his own responsibility, you 
know . . ." 

Roma's breath began to come quickly. " Do you mean that 
you didn't commission my fountain ? " 

" How could I, my child ? Such matters must go through a 
regular form. The proper committee must sanction and re- 
solve . . ." 

" But everybody has known of this, and it has been gen- 
erally understood from the first." 

" Ah, understood ! Possibly ! Rumour and report perhaps." 

" But I could bring witnesses — high witnesses — the very 
highest if needs be . . ." 

The little man smiled benevolently. 

" Surely there is no witness of any standing in the State 
who would go into a witness box and say that without a con- 
tract, and with only a few encouraging words . . ." 

The dry glitter in Roma's eyes shot into a look of anger. 
" Do you call your letters to me a few encouraging words 
only ? " she said. 

" My letters ? " The glossy hat was getting ruffled. 

" Your letters alluding to this matter, and enumerating the 
favours you wished me to ask of the Pi'ime Minister." 

" My dear," said the Mayor after a moment, " I'm sorry if 
I have led you to build up hopes, and though I have no au- 
thority ... if it will end matters amicably ... I think I 
can promise ... I might perhaps promise a little money for 
your loss of time." 

" Do you suppose I want charity ? " 

"Charity, my dear?" 

" What else would it be ? If I have no right to everything 
I will have nothing. I will take none of your money. You 
can leave mc." 

The little man shuffled his feet and bowed himself out of the 
room with many apologies and praises which Roma did not 
hear. For all her brave words her heart was breaking and she 
was holding her breath to repress a sob. The great bulwark 
she had built up for herself lay wrecked at her feet. She had 
deceived herself into believing that she could be somebody for 
herself. Going down to the studio she covered up the fountain. 
It had lost every quality which she had seen in it before. Art 
was gone from her. She was nobody. It was very, very 
cruel. 

But that glorious telegram rustled in her breast like a cap- 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 351 

five song-bird, and before going to bed she wrote to David 
Rossi again : 

" Your message arrived before I was up this morning, and 
not being entirely back from the world of dreams I fancied it 
was an angel's whisper. This is silly, but I wouldn't change 
it for the greatest wisdom if in order to be the most wise and 
wonderful among women I had to love you less. 

" Attention ! Business first, and other things afterwards. 
Most of the newspapers have been published to-day, and some 
of them are blowing themselves out of breath in abuse of you, 
and howling louder than the wolves at the Capitol before rain. 
The Military Courts began this morning and they have already 
polished oif fifty victims. Rewards for denunciations have now 
deepened to threats of imprisonment for non-denunciation. 
General Morra, Minister of War, has sent in his resignation, 
and there is bracing weather in the neighbourhood of the 
Palazzo Braschi. An editor has been arrested, many journals 
and societies have been suppressed, and twenty thousand of the 
contadini who came to Rome for the meeting in the Coliseum 
have been despatched to their own communes. Finally, the 
Royal Commissioner has written to the Pope calling on him to 
assist in the work of pacifying the people, and it is rumoured 
that the Holy Office is to be petitioned by certain of the Bishops 
to denounce the ' Republic of Man ' as a secret society (like the 
Freemasons) coming within the ban of the Pontifical con- 
stitutions. 

" So much for general news, and now for more personal 
intelligence. I went down to the Castle of St. Angelo this 
morning and was permitted to speak to the Royal Commis- 
sioner. Recognised him instantly as a regular old-timer at the 
heels of the Baron, and tackled him on our ancient terms. The 
wretch — he squints and he smoked a cigarette all through the 
interview — couldn't allow me to see Bruno during the private 
preparation of the case against him, and when I asked* if the 
instruction would take long he said, ' Probably, as it is compli- 
cated by the case of some one else who is not yet in custody.' 
Then I asked if I might employ separate counsel for the de- 
fence, and he shuffled and said it was unnecessary. This de- 
cided me, and I walked straight to the office of the great law- 
yer, Xapoleon Fuselli, promised him five hundred francs by to- 
morrow morning, and told him to go ahead without delay. 

" But heigh-ho, nonny ! Coming home I felt like the 



352 THE ETERNAL CITY 

witches in Macbeth. * By the pricking of my thumbs some- 
thing wicked this way comes.' It was Senator Tom-tit, the 
little fat Mayor of Rome. His ambition is to be a noble, 
and to wear the green ribbon of St. Maurice and Lazarus, as 
none know better than myself. Wanting money on my foun- 
tain, I had written to the old wretch, but the moment we met 
I could see what was coming, so I braved it out, bustled about 
and made a noise. It was a mistake ! There had been no com- 
mission at all! But if a little money would repay me for a 
loss of time . . . 

" It wasn't so much that I cared about the loss of the fees, 
badly as I needed them. It was mainly that I had allowed 
the summer flies who buzzed about me for the Baron's sake to 
flatter me into the notion that I was an artist, when I was 
really nobody for myself at all. 

" This humour lasted all afternoon, and spoiled my diges- 
tion for dinner, which was a pity, for there was some delicious 
wild asparagus. But then I thought of you and your work, 
and the future when you will come back with all Rome at your 
feet, and my vexation disappeared and I was content to be 
nothing and nobody except somebody whom you loved, and who 
loved you, and that was to be everything and everybody in 
the world. 

" I don't care a rush about the matter now, but what do 
you think I've done ? Sold my carriage and horses ! Actually ! 
The little job-master, with his tight trousers, close cropped 
head and chamois-leather waistcoat, has just gone off, after 
cheating me abominably. No matter! What do I want with 
a grand carriage while you are going about as an exile and 
an outcast? I want nothing you have not got, and all I have 
I wish you to have too, including my heart and my soul and 
everything that is in them . . ." 

She stopped. This was the place to reveal the great secret. 
But she could not find a way to begin. " To-morrow will do," 
she thought, and so laid down the pen. 



V 

Early next morning Roma received a visit from the lawyer 
who conducted the business of her landlord. He was a middle- 
aged man in pepper-and-salt tweeds, and his manner was 
brusque and aggressive. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 353 

" Sorry to say, Excellency, that I've had a letter from 
Count Mario at Paris saying that he will require this apart- 
ment for his own use. He regrets to be compelled to disturb 
you, but having frequently apprised you of his intention to 
live here himself he presumes ..." 

" When does he want to come ? " said Roma. 

" At Easter." 

" That will do. My aunt is ill, but if she is fit to be 
moved . . ." 

" Thanks ! And may I perhaps present . . ." 

A paper in the shape of a bill came from the breast-pocket 
of the pepper-and-salt tweeds. Roma took it and, without look- 
ing at it, replied: 

" You will receive your rent in a day or two." 

" Thanks again. I trust I may rely on that. And mean- 
time . . ." 

"Well?" 

'^ As I am personally responsible to the Count for all money 
due to him, may I ask your Excellency to promise me that 
nothing shall be removed from this apartment until my ar- 
rears of rent have been paid ? " 

" I promise that you shall receive what is due from me in 
two days. Is not that enough ? " 

The pepper-and-salt tweeds bowed meekly before Roma's 
flashing eyes. 

^' Good-morning, sir." 

" Good-morning, Excellency." 

The man was hardly out of the house when a woman was 
shown in. It was Madame Sella, the fashionable modiste. 

^' So unlucky, my dear ! I'm driven to my wit's end for 
money. The people I deal with in Paris are perfect demons, 
and are threatening all sorts of pains and penalties if I don't 
send them a great sum straight away. Of course if I could get 
my own money in it wouldn't matter. But the dear ladies of 
society are so slow, and naturally I don't like to go to their 
gentlemen, although really I've waited so long for their debts 
that if ..." 

" Can you wait one day longer for mine ? " 

" Donna Roma ! And we have always been such friends 
too ! " 

" You'll excuse me this morning, won't you ? " said Roma, 
rising. 

" Certainly. I'm busy too. So good of you to see me. 



354 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Trust I've not been de trop. And if it hadn't been for those 
stupid bills of mine . . ." 

Roma sat down and wrote a letter to one of the Strozzini 
(stranglers), who lend money to ladies on the security of 
their jewels. 

" I wish to sell my jewelry," she wrote, " and if you have 
any desire to buy it I shall be glad if you can come to see me 
for this purpose at four o'clock to-morrow." 

" Roma ! " cried a fretful voice. 

She was sitting in the boudoir, and her aunt was calling to 
her from the adjoining room. The old lady, who had just fin- 
ished her toilet, and was redolent of perfume and scented soap, 
was ijropped up on pillows between her mirror and her Ma- 
donna, with her cat purring on the cushion at the foot of 
her bed. 

" Ah, you do come to me sometimes, don't you ? " she said, 
with her embroidered handkerchief at her lips. " What is this 
I hear about the carriages and horses? Sold them! It is in- 
credible. I will not believe it unless you tell me so yourself." 

" It is quite true. Aunt Betsy. I wanted money for various 
purposes and among others to pay my debts," said Roma. 

" Goodness ! It's true ! Give me my salts. There they are 
— on the card table beside you. ... So it's true! It's really 
true! You've done some extraordinary things already, miss, 
but this . . . Mercy me ! Selling her own horses ! And she 
isn't ashamed of it ! ... I suppose you'll sell your clothes 
next, or perhaps your jewels." 

" That's just what I want to do. Aunt Betsy." 

" Holy Virgin ! What are you saying, girl ? Have you lost 
all sense of decency? Sell your jewels! The thing is unheard 
of in society that has any respect for itself. Goodness ! Your 
jewels! Your ancestral jewels ! You must have grown utterly 
heartless as well, as indifferent to propriety or you wouldn't 
dream of selling the treasures that have come down to you 
from your own mother's breast, as one might say." 

" My mother never set eyes on any of them, auntie, and if 
some of them belonged to my grandmother, she must have been 
a good woman because she was the mother of my father, and she 
would rather see me sell them all than continue to live in debt 
and disgrace." 

"Go on! Go on with your English talk! Or perhaps it's 
American, is it? You want to kill me, that's what it is! You 
will, too, and sooner than you expect, and then you'll be sorry 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 355 

and ashamed. . . . Such blasphemy! Go away! Why do you 
come to worry me ? Isn't it enough . . . Natalina ! Nat-a- 
lina!" 

Late that night Roma resumed her letter to David Rossi : 

" Dearest, you are always the last person I speak to before 
I go to bed, and if only my words could sail away over Monte 
Mario in the darkness while I sleep they would reach you on 
the wings of the morning. When my letter comes to your 
hands it will be a sort of diary nearly as old as the hills, which 
don't look half as old as your diarist does these days, because 
they have never been in love and known what it is to be parted 
from you so long. 

" You want to know all that is happening, and here goes 
again. The tyrannies of military rule increase daily, and some 
of its enormities are past belief. Court sat all day yesterday 
and polished off eighty-five poor victims. Ten of them got 
ten years, twenty got five years, and about fifty got periods 
of one month to twelve. It's wicked, it's barbarovis, and I'm 
now entirely of your opinion that the real use of a standing 
army, whatever the pretences of patriotism, is to suppress the 
people who pay for it. 

" Lawyer Napoleon F. was here this afternoon to say that 
he had seen Bruno, and begun work in his defence. Strangely 
enovigh he finds a difficulty in the quarter from which it might 
least be expected. Bruno himself is holding off in some unac- 
countable way which gives ^N^apoleon F. an idea that the poor 
soul is being got at. Apparently — you will hardly credit it — 
he is talking doubtfully about you, and asking incredible ques- 
tions about his wife. Lawyer Napoleon actually inquired if 
there was ' anything in it,' and the thing struck me as so silly 
that I laughed out in his face. It was very wrong of me not to 
be jealous, wasn't it ? Being a woman I suppose I ought to 
have leapt at the idea, according to all the natural laws of 
love. I didn't, and my heart is still tranquil. But poor Bruno 
was more human, and Xapolcon has an idea that something is 
going on inside the prison. He is to go there again to-morrow 
and let me know. 

" Such doings at home too ! I've been two years in debt to 
my landlord, and at the end of every quarter I've always prayed, 
like a modest woman, to be allowed to pass by unnoticed. The 
celebrity has fallen on me at last, though, and I'm to go at 
Easter. Madame De Trop, too, has put the screw on, and 



35G THE ETERNAL CITY 

everybody else is following suit. Yesterday, for example, I had 
the honour of a call from everyone in the world to whom I 
owed twopence. Remembering how hard it used to be to get a 
bill out of these people, I find their sudden business ardour 
humorous. They do not deceive me, nevertheless. I know the 
die is cast, the fact is known. I have fallen from my high 
estate of general debtor to everybody and become merely an 
honest woman. 

" Do I suffer from these slings of fortune ? Not an atom. 
When I was rich or seemed to be so, I was often the most 
miserable woman in the world, and now I'm happy, happy, 
happy ! 

" There is only one thing makes me a little unhappy. Shall 
I tell you what it is ? Yes, I will tell you because your heart is 
so true, and like all brave men you are so tender to all women. 
It is a girl friend of mine — a very close and dear friend, and 
she is in trouble. A little while ago she was married to a good 
man, and they love each other dearer than life and there ought 
to be nothing between them. But there is, and it is a very 
serious thing too, although nobody knows about it but herself 
and me. How shall I tell you? Dearest, you are to think my 
head is on your breast and you cannot see my face while I tell 
you my poor friend's secret. Long ago — it seems long — she 
was the victim of another man. That is really the only word 
for it, because she did not consent. But all the same she feels 
that she has sinned and that nothing on earth can wash away 
the stain. The worst fact is that her husband knows nothing 
about it. This fills her with measureless regret and undying 
remorse. She feels that she ought to have told him, and so 
her heart is full of tears, and she doesn't know what it is her 
duty to do. 

" I thought I would ask you to tell me, dearest. You are 
kind, but you mustn't spare her. I didn't. She wanted to draw 
a veil over her frailty, but I wouldn't let her. I think she would 
like to confess to her husband, to pour out her heart to him, 
and begin again with a clean page, but she is afraid. Of course 
she hasn't really been faithless, and I could swear on my life 
she loves her husband only. And then her sorrow is so great, 
and she is beginning to look worn with lying awake at nights, 
though some people still think she is beautiful. I dare say you 
will say serve her right for deceiving a good man. So do I 
sometimes, but I fell strangely inconsistent about my poor 
friend, and a woman has a right to be inconsistent, hasn't she ? 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 35Y 

Tell me what I am to say to her, and please don't spare her be- 
cause she is a friend of mine." 

She lifted her pen from the paper. " He'll understand," 
she thought. " He'll remember our other letters and read be- 
tween the lines. Well, so much the better, and God be good 
to me ! " 

" Good-night ! Good-night ! Good-night ! I feel like a 
child — as if the years had gone back with me, or rather as if 
they had only just begun. You have awakened my soul and all 
the world is different. Nearly everything that seemed right 
to me before seems wrong to. me now, and vice versa. Life? 
That wasn't life. It was only existence. I fancy I must have 
been some elder sister of mine who went through everything. 
Think of it ! When you were twenty and I was only ten ! I'm 
glad there isn't as much difference now. I'm catching up to 
you — metaphorically, I mean. If I could only do so really ! 
But what nonsense I'm talking ! In spite of my poor friend's 
trouble I can't help talking nonsense to-night." 



VI 

Two days later Natalina, coming into Roma's bedroom, 
threw open the shutters and said : 

" Letter with a foreign postmark. Excellency. ' Sister An- 
gelica, care of the Porter.' It was delivered at the Convent, 
and the porter sent it over here." 

" Give it to me," said Roma, eagerly. " It's quite right. I 
know whom it is for, and if any more letters come from the 
same person bring them to me immediately." 

Almost before the maid had left the room Roma had torn 
the letter open. It was dated from a street in Soho : 

" My dear Wife, — As you see I have reached London, and 
now I am thinking of you always, wondering what sufferings 
are being inflicted upon you for my sake and how you meet 
and bear them. Do not hate me for all I have brought upon 
you. To think of you there, in the midst of our enemies, is a 
spur and an inspiration. Wait ! Only wait ! If my absence 
is cruel to you it is still more hard to me. I will see your 
lovely eyes again before long, and there will be an end of all 



358 THE ETERNAL CITY 

our sadness. Meantime continue to love me, and that will work 
miracles. It will make all the slings and slurs of life seem to be 
a long way off and of no account. Only those who love can 
know this law of the human heart, but how true it is and 
how beautiful ! 

" I got out of Rome as the driver of a wine-cart that was 
going back to one of the villages of the Campagna, and for the 
next hours I felt myself unnaturally wretched. God knows I 
had not been guilty of that night-long dream of hell, but I felt 
myself a criminal. How many mothers and wives had I caused 
to weep? How many children had I robbed of their fathers? 
If I went on what else would happen? If I stopped short 
what expiation could I make? And I was flying away from 
my people, from Rome and from you! Could it be possible 
that I was wrong and the world right? That my idea was a 
dream? That I had been led on by pride and the desire of 
victory rather than by the hand of God ? 

" But while my soul was furrowed by these cruel doubts 
I remembered that other men before me, and one of them my 
Master and friend, had gone through this Gethsemane, so I 
braced myself and went on. 

" There were various incidents, scarcely worth mentioning 
now. Soldiers came on the train at the frontier and examined 
every compartment. One of them recognised me, but he took 
no notice. The armies of Europe belong to the people, and 
when the time comes and the word is spoken the world will see 
what they will do. After passing the frontier, and despatching 
a telegram to you, there was no further excitement. Only the 
monotonous noises of the train, its dull hum and tran-tran as 
it travelled through the night, with the flashing of passing 
trains, the sudden silence of the stoppings, and the breathing 
of sleeping people. 

" We reached London in the early morning when the grey 
old city was beginning to stir after its sleepless rest. I had 
telegraphed the time of my arrival to the committee of our 
association, and early as it was some hundreds of our people 
were at Charing Cross to meet me. They must have been sur- 
prised to see a man step out of the train in the costume of 
driver of a wine-cart on the Campagna, for I had not yet found 
an opportunity to change my clothes. But perhaps that helped 
them to understand the position better, and they formed into 
procession and marched to Trafalgar Square as if they had 
forgotten they were in a foreign country. 



THE ROMAN OF EOME 359 

" To me it was a strange and moving spectacle. The mist 
like a shroud over the great city, some stars of leaden hue 
paling out overhead, the day dawning over the vast square, the 
wide silence with the far-oiJ hum of awakening life, the Eng- 
lish workmen stopping to look at us as they went by to their 
work, and our company of dark-bearded men, emigrants and 
exiles, sending their hearts out in sympathy to their brothers 
in the South. As I spoke from the base of the Gordon statue 
and turned towards St. Martin's Church, I could fancy I saw 
your white-haired father on the steps with his little daugh- 
ter in his arms. 

" You will not be surprised to hear that the telegraph 
service in Rome was long enough under control to enable the 
Government to poison England with official telegrams. Con- 
sequently the only idea here of the First of February is that 
it was an anarchist outbreak led by a gang of desperate crimi- 
nals who desired nothing but the downfall of all order, human 
and divine. Xothing is known of the violence and oppression 
instituted by the Government, and the press is loud in its con- 
demnation of myself as one whose programme consists in the 
abolition of the upper classes. Strange and pitiful anomaly, 
that the press of the world, which is the voice of the people, the 
press which is the parliament of the people, is the first to oppose 
the movements of the people and all but the last to join them. 

" I will write again in a day or two, telling you what we are 
doing. Meantime I enclose an address which I wish you to get 
printed and posted up. Take it to old Albert Pellegrino in the 
Stamperia by the Trevi. Tell him to mention the cost and the 
money shall follow. Call at the Piazza Navona and see what 
is happening to Elena. Poor girl ! Poor Bruno ! And my 
poor dear little darling! 

" Take care of yourself, my dear one. I am always think- 
ing of you. It is a fearful thing to have taken up the burden 
of one who is branded as an outcast and an outlaw. I cannot 
help but reproach myself. There was a time when I saw my 
duty to you in another way, but love came like a hurricane out 
of the skies and swept all sense of duty away. My wife! my 
Roma! You have hazarded everything for me, and some day 
I will give up everything for you. 

'"PROCLAMATION TO THE PEOPLE. 

" ' Rdmans — The sky is dark, the heavens are void, we are travelling 
beneath the storm cloud, but the pillar of fire is going on. You can 



360 THE ETERNAL CITY 

hear me witness that I told you that to destroy violence by violence is 
impossible, and that there is no permanent revohitioti except a moral 
one. But what has been has been, and J will not draw hack. I take 
the responsibility of what has happened, and I am grateful to God 
that the decisive moment has come at last. If my heart sinks at the 
thought of your sufferings, I glory in your martyrdom. Yours is a 
holy war, and the Ood of Justice has entrusted to you a sacred mis- 
sion. To he among those tvho are oppressed and afflicted and despised 
and rejected is to belong to the enquire of Christ. That is the largest 
and the greatest and the rnightiest empire on the earth. 

" ' Brothers, do not yield. Continue to assert the right of associa- 
tion, for that ts the rock of liberty. Don't be afraid of threats. They 
are only the expression of fear. The government is struck to the very 
heart, and knows it. Respect property, respect religion, the symbols 
of religion, the churches and the priests. Don't he hard on the sol- 
diers; they are men like ourselves tvho are dispossessed of their rights 
and are only doing their duty. Drop the dagger and dynamite ; they 
destroy the only weapon ive can ivield, the weapon of public opinio?),. 
Live in the strength of our great idea — UNITY. 

" ' Wives, stand by your husbands. Mothers, support your sons. 
If they suffer there will be a day of reckoning. If they fall God will 
treasure up their blood. There is something beyond the Piazza del 
Popolo, there is something beyond daily bread. There is the eternal 
spirit of justice, and if your children are to know it their mothers 
must hold fast. 

" 'Romans, you ivill not think that because I am not with you I 
have fied from fear. In the mid-hour of our starless night ivhen the 
angel of exile said, 'Follow me,' she kneiv that I would rather have 
laid down my life a thousand times. But there is a higher power 
working out everything, and the day is comiiig when I shall return. 
Preserve yourselves for that day, my brothers, for when I come it 
u'ill not be alone. It will be ivith such a force behind me as will 
make the prisons open their doors and the thrones of tyrants tremble. 

" 'DAVID ROSSI.'" 

VII 

Old Albert Pellegrino, tliiu, unwashed, with a soiled white 
apron hanging from his neck, a paper cap of the shape of a 
biretta on his head, and a pair of spectacles and a shade over 
his eyes, was standing by his printing case in the depths of 
his long narrow workshop when Roma called on him with the 
Proclamation. So much beauty with its little gusts of perfume 



THE ROMAX OF ROME 361 

had rarely penetrated that close atmosphere with its odour of 
printer's ink and its yellow gas-light, and the old man took off 
his paper cap and bowed in some embarrassment. Roma men- 
tioned her business and the printer's confused face became 
very grave. 

" Let me look at it," he said, and holding the paper close 
to his eyes he read it attentively. Then he looked at Roma 
over the top of his spectacles and was silent for a moment. 

" Well ? " 

" The printer who prints this must be prepared for conse- 
quences," said the old man. 

" You think it is risky ? " said Roma. 

" Extremely risky. The Royal Commissioner has forbid- 
den all seditious proclamations under pain of imprisonment." 

" You consider this one seditious ? " 

" Look at it," said the old man, running a black-edged 
finger-nail over the concluding lines of the copy. " It threatens 
the throne of the King." 

" Nevertheless it must be printed," said Roma. 

" In that case, as the printer would run so much risk . . ." 

" I quite understand that. Would twice his usual 
terms? . . ." 

The old man nodded approvingly. 

" But there is the posting. That will be risky, too. It will 
have to be done at night, and by a man who is prepared for 
anything. " 

" Give him four times his usual fee and get him to work 
at once," said Roma, preparing to go. 

" One moment. The Honourable Rossi is the soul of honour 
and I could trust him with my last penny. But nobody knows 
what will become of him and . . ." 

" You want your money now ? How much is it ? " said 
Roma, taking out her purse. 

The printer mentioned a monstrous price. Roma paid it 
and left the shop. A gust of fresh air and a blaze of dazzling 
sunlight met her as she turned her back on the old man's awk- 
ward bowing and opened the door to the street. 

Roma's next errand was to the Piazza Xavona. She walked 
to it by way of the narrow streets which go down from the 
Piazza Colonna. The shops were now open, the eyes of the 
city were awake, and save for soldiers who were stationed at 
every corner, Rome had resumed its normal aspect. But the 
doorposts of many houses were covered with yellow posters an- 
24 



362 THE ETERNAL CITY 

nouncing sales, and the neighbourhood of Monte di Pieta, the 
pawn-shop controlled by the state, was thronged with people 
carrying bundles, and Jew brokers buying forfeited pledges. 
In the poorer thoroughfares people made the sign with the fore- 
finger which means dying of hunger, and the atmosphere was 
dolorous and depressing. 

The house in the Piazza Navona was full of trouble. There 
was no one in the lodge as Roma went by, and going up to 
David Rossi's apartment she found the two old people at the 
foot of the stairs to Elena's room, with looks of stupefaction, 
holding a letter between them and trying to read it. 

" Our poor girl has gone," said the Garibaldian. " At 
eight o'clock this morning she went out by herself. ' She is 
going to mass, and that will be a comfort,' thinks I. And 
now — look ! " 

Roma read the letter. It was from Elena. 

" Dear Papa and Mamma, — My heart is broken and I must 
go away. When this letter reaches you I shall be gone to a 
place where you cannot follow me. Therefore do not try to find 
out what has become of me. All will be well with me, so I hope 
you may not be unhappy. 

" The keys to Mr. Rossi's rooms came back from the Ques- 
tura yesterday. I think you ought to send them to Donna 
Roma. It will save you from responsibility, and you can still 
pass through to attend to the birds. I want the raistress to 
have my little Madonna. I shall not need it in the place I 
am going to. 

" Adieu, dear mamma and papa. Forgive me if I cause 
you pain. Elena." 

" She sent it by a flying messenger. ' A woman gave it me 
in the street,' he said. ' She was crying,' said he." The Gari- 
baldian's rheumy eyes began to run over. 

" She has made away with herself — that's it," said the aid 
woman, with her apron at the corner of her mouth. " These 
troubles have turned her head, and the Tiber has taken her." 

" Don't say that," said Roma. " Besides, who knows ? She 
may have gone into some convent as a lay sister, and didn't 
tell you where because she was afraid you might try to bring 
her back." 

" What does the Signorina say? " said the old woman, with 
her wrinkled hand like a shell at her ear. 



THE EOMAN OP ROME 363 

" A convent," bawled the Garibaldian. " She says the poor 
child . . ." 

"The Saints bless you, Signorina; you are a saint your- 
self," said the old woman. 

" At all events there is nothing to do now but wait," said 
Roma. " Don't say anything more than you can help to any- 
body, and above all don't speak to the police." 

" God bless thee, lady ! What can I give thee for bringing 
comfort to an old woman's heart? Didn't the poor girl wish 
thee to have her Madonna ? Thou shalt ! Thou shalt take it 
with thee this very minute. And may the Blessed Virgin be 
gracious to thine own heart and comfort thee when thou 
wantest a mother." 

At four o'clock that afternoon Koma was sitting by her 
lace-covered dressing-table, on which were spread the dainty 
articles of jev/elry she was about to sell. There was an old 
cameo, with gold setting of Roman workmanship ; a jewelled 
chatelaine; an antique cross of lapis-lazuli, surrounded by 
pearls; a necklace of brilliants in old silver setting; a coronet 
of diamonds with bracelets and brooch to match; and an 
ancient enamelled shrine set in rubies, attached to an old chain 
set in pearls. Besides these, which were ancestral jewels, and 
had been given to her by the Baron as from her grandmother, 
on her twenty-first birthday, there were modern pieces which 
the Baron had presented for himself — a ring of rubies set with 
rose diamonds, a diamond cross, a turquoise and diamond neck- 
lace, and a rope of oriental pearls. 

It was a dazzling galaxy of light, and the woman's heart 
was torn at the thought of parting with such treasures. Her 
eyes gleamed in the glass before her, then filled and overflowed. 
To end the torture she gathered up the jewels into her morocco 
jewel case, shut the lid, and turned the key. 

She was in the act of doing so when Felice brought in a 
letter from the Baron. 

" Dkar Roma, — I hear with astonishment and regret that 
you contemplate the sale of your ancestral jewels. There is 
no law even in Italy to prevent you from doing so, but such a 
proceeding would be visited by the severest censures of society 
unless the necessity were urgent and imperative. That neces- 
sity cannot arise while I am ready and waiting to prevent it. 
You have only to speak and I am here to listen; only to ask 
and you will receive. I beg of you once more to put away all 



364 THE ETERNAL CITY 

false modesty, all dreams and all delusions, that it may be my 
pleasure and privilege to serve you now and always. — ^Yours, 

" BONELLI." 

Felice was still at the door. " Risposta, Eccellenza?" 

" Say there is no answer," said Roma. 

An hour afterwards she was replying to David Rossi. 

" Your letter to Sister Angelica arrived safely, and worked 
more miracles in her cloistered heart than ever happened to the 
' Blessed Bambino.' Before it came I was always thinking 
' Where is he now ? Is he having his breakfast ? Or is it din- 
ner, according to the difference of time and longitude ? ' All I 
knew was that you had travelled north, and though the sun 
doesn't ordinarily set in that direction the sky over Monte 
Mario used to glow for my special pleasure like the gates of the 
New Jerusalem. 

" Your letters are so precious that I will ask you not to 
fill them with useless things. Don't tell me to love you. The 
idea! Didn't I say I should think of you always? I do! I 
think of you when I go to bed at night, and that is like opening 
a jewel case in the moonlight. I think of you when I am asleep, 
and that is like an invisible bridge which unites us in our 
dreams ; and I think of you when I awake in the morning, and 
that is like a cage of song-birds that sing in my breast the 
whole day long. 

" But you are dying to hear what is really happening in 
Rome, so your own especial envoy must send off her budget 
as a set-off against those official telegrams. ' Not a day with- 
out a line,' so my letter will look like words shaken out of a 
literary pepper-box. Let me bring my despatches up to date. 

" Military rule severer than ever, and poverty and misery 
on all sides. Families of reserve soldiers starving, and meetings 
of chief citizens to succour them. Donation from the King 
and from the ' Black ' Charity Circle of St. Peter. Even the 
clergy are sending francs, so none can question their sincerity. 
Bureau of Labour besieged by men out of work, and offices oc- 
cupied by Carabineers. People eating maize in polenta and 
granturco, with the certainty of sickness to follow. Red Cross 
Society organised as in time of war, and many sick and 
wounded hidden in houses. 

" Such is the sad aspect of things here, and, on the other 
side, there are various forms of rejoicing. Shops open as usual 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 366 

and bill-posters putting up notices of performances in theatres 
and music-halls. Ball predicted, and ladies out in their car- 
riages as if the First of February had never been. Oh, these 
Romans ! Children of the hour, living from minute to minute ! 
Oh, David Rossi ! when I think of what you are doing, of what 
you have done, I ask myself what is to be the end of it all. But 
no, I will not think of that. Who am I that I should bring you 
into a moral desert ? 

" And now for more personal matters. The Proclamation 
is in hand, and paid for, and will be posted first thing in the 
morning. From the printer's I went on to the Piazza Navona 
and found a wilderness of woe. Elena has gone away, leaving 
an ambiguous letter behind her, which led the old people to be- 
lieve that for the loss of her son and husband she had destroyed 
herself. I pretended to think differently, and warned them 
to say nothing of their daughter's disappearance, thinking 
that Bruno might hear of it and find food for still further 
suspicions. 

" Lawyer J^apoleon F. has seen the poor soul again, and 
been here this evening to tell me the result. It will seem to 
you incredible. Bruno will do nothing to help in his own 
defence. Talks of ' treachery ' and the ' King's pardon.' Na- 
poleon F. thinks the Camorra is at work with him, and tells of 
how criminals in the prisons of Italy have a league of crime 
with captains, corporals and cadets. My own reading of the 
mystery is different. I think the Camorra in this case is the 
Council, and the only design is to entrap by treachery one of 
the ' greater delinquents not in custody.' I want to find out 
where Charles Mingholli is at present. Nobody seems to know. 

" As for me, what do you suppose is my last performance ? 
I've sold my jewels ! Yesterday I sent for one of the strozzini, 
and the old Shylock came this evening and cheated me unmer- 
cifully. No matter! What do I want with jewelry, or a fine 
house and servants to follow me about as if I were a Cardinal ? 
If you can do without them so can I. But you need not say 
you are anxious about what is happening to me. I'm as happy 
as the day is long. I am happy because I love you, and that 
is everything. 

" Only one thing troubles me — the grief of the poor girl I 
told you of. She follows me about, and is here all the time, 
so that I feel as if I were possessed by her secret. In fact, I'm 
afraid I'll blab it out to somebody. I think you would be sorry 
to see her. She tries to persuade herself that because her soul 



366 THE ETERNAL CITY 

did not consent she was really not to blame. That is the thing 
that women are always saying, isn't it? They draw this dis- 
tinction when it is too late and use it as a quibble to gloss over 
their fault. Oh, I gave it her! I told her she should have 
thought of that in time, and died rather than yield. It was 
all very fine to talk of a minute of weakness — mere weakness of 
bodily will not of virtue, but the world splits no straws of that 
sort. If a woman has fallen she has fallen, and there is no 
question of body or soul. 

" Oh, dear, how she cried ! When I caught sight of her red 
eyes, I felt she ought to get herself forgiven. And after all I'm 
not so sure that she should tell her husband, seeing that it 
would so shock and hurt him. She thinks that after one has 
done wrong the best thing to do next is' to say nothing about 
it. There is something in that, isn't there? 

" One thing I must say for the poor girl — she has been a 
diiferent woman since this happened. It has converted her. 
That's a shocking thing to say, but it's true. I remember that 
when I was a girl in the Convent, and didn't go to mass be- 
cause I hadn't been baptised and it was agreed with the Baron 
that I shouldn't be, I used to read in the Lives of the Saints 
that the darkest moments of ' the drunkenness of sin ' were the 
instants of salvation. Who knows? Perhaps the very fact 
by which the world usually stamps a woman as bad is in this 
case the fact of her conversion. As for my friend, she used to 
be the vainest young thing in Rome, and now she cares nothing 
for the world and its vanities. 

" How inconsistent I am about her ! Her moral elevation 
may be due to the same cause as my own, if I have any. It may 
be love that has awakened her better nature. What a democrat 
Love is! He doesn't care a pin about your fine ladies, and if 
they want to take his eye they've got to come down to the con- 
dition of the milkmaid who has nothing But the light of her 
own to catch him by. It's lovely ! 

" Which reminds me that you'll be meeting no end of beau- 
tiful English women. I remember they're shockingly sweet, 
those fair, soft things with complexions like a rose moon, and 
eyes like the sky in June. They are sure to admire you and 
run after you, and I want them to do so. And yet if I were 
to think that any other woman was near you while I am so far 
away, I should die. Love is such a contradictory little fellow ! 
He wasn't brought up in a college of logic anyway. 

" I'm talking nonsense again and must go to bed. Two days 



THE EOMAN OF ROME 367 

hence my letter will fall into your hands — why can't I do so? 
Love me always. That will lift me up to your own level, and 
prove that when you fell in love with me love wasn't quite 
blind. I'm not so old and ugly as I was yesterday, and at all 
events nobody could love you more. Good-night ! I open my 
window to say my last good-night to the stars over Monte 
Mario, for that's where England is ! How bright they are 
to-night! How beautiful! Eoma." 



VIII 

Next morning the Countess was very ill, and Roma went to 
her immediately. The room was full of the odour of burning 
pastilles and the ribbon of Bruges, and the sick woman was 
writhing in pain, pressing her hand to her side and moaning 
fretfully. 

" I must have a doctor," she said. " It's perfectly heartless 
to keep me without one all this time." 

" Aunt Betsy," said Boma, " you know quite well that but 
for your own express prohibition you would have had a doctor 
all along." 

" For mercy's sake, don't nag, but send for a doctor im- 
mediately. Let it be Dr. Fedi. Everybody has Dr. Fedi 
now." 

Fedi was the Pope's physician and therefore the most 
costly and fashionable doctor in Borne. 

Dr. Fedi came with an assistant who carried a little case of 
instruments. He examined the Countess, her breast, her side, 
and the glands under her arms, shot out a solemn underlip, put 
two fingers inside his collar, twisted his head from side to side, 
and announced that the patient must have a nurse immedi- 
ately. 

" Do you hear that, Boma ? Doctor says I must have a 
nurse. Of course I must have a nurse. I'll have one of the 
English nursing sisters. Everybody has them now. They're 
foreigners, and if they talk they can't do much mischief." 

The Sister was sent for. She was a mild and gentle crea- 
ture, in blue and white, but she talked perpetually of her 
Mother Superior who had been bed-ridden for fifteen years, yet 
smiled sweetly all day long ; that exasperated the Countess and 
fretted her. When the doctor came again the patient was 
worse. 



368 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Your aunt must have dainties to tempt her appetite and 
so keep up her strength." 

" Do you hear, Roma ? " 

" You shall have everything you wish for, auntie." 

" Well, I wish for strav/berries. Everybody eats them who 
is ill at this season." 

The only strawberries in Rome at the time were forced and 
therefore expensive. 

" It can't last long," said the doctor aside. " Your aunt has 
internal cancer. If the tumours had been diagnosed while still 
small nephrectomy might have been possible. Now they are be- 
yond the reach of legitimate surgery." 

The strawberries were bought, but the Countess scarcely 
touched them, and they were finally consumed in the kitchen. 

When the doctor came a third time the patient was much 
emaciated and her skin had become sallow and earthy. Again 
he shot out his underlip and twisted his head with his fingers 
inside his collar. 

" It would not be right of me to conceal from you the grav- 
ity of your condition, Countess," he said. " In such a case we 
always think it best to tell a patient to make her peace with 
God." 

" Oh ! don't say that, Doctor," whimpered the poor with- 
ered creature on the bed. 

" But while there's life there's hope, you know. And mean- 
time I'll send you an opiate to relieve the pain." 

When the doctor was gone, the Countess sent for Roma. 

" That Fedi is a fool," she said. " 1 don't know what people 
see in him. I should like to try the Bambino of Ara Coeli. 
The Cardinal Vicar had it, and why shouldn't I ? They say it 
has worked miracles. It may be dear, but if I die you will 
always reproach yourself. If you are short of money you can 
sign a bill at six months and before that the poor maniac 
woman will be gone and you'll be the wife of the Baron." 

" If you really think the Bambino will . . ." 

" It will ! I know it will." 

" Very well, I will send for it." 

Roma sent a letter to the Superior of the Franciscans at the 
friary of Ara Coeli asking that the little figure of the infant 
Christ, which is said to restore the sick, should be sent to her 
aunt, who was near to death. 

At the same time she wrote to an auctioneer in the Via due 
Macelli, requesting him to call upon her. The man came im- 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 360 

mediately. He had little beady eyes, which ranged round the 
dining-room and seemed to see everything except Roma herself. 

" I wish to sell up my furniture," said Roma. 

" All of it ? " 

" Except what is in my aunt's room and the room of her 
nurse, and such things in the kitchen, the servants' apartments 
and my own bedroom as are absolutely necessary for present 
purposes." 

" Quite right. When ? " 

" Within a week if possible." 

The Bambino came in a carriage with two horses, and the 
people in the street went down on their knees as it passed. 
One of the friars in priest's surplice, carried it in a box with 
the lid open, and two friars in brown habits walked before it 
with lifted candles. But as the painted image in its scarlet 
clothes and jewels entered the Countess's bedroom with its grim 
and ghostly procession, and was borne like a baby mummy to 
the foot of her bed, it terrified her, and she screamed. 

" Take it away," she shrieked. " Do you want to frighten 
me out of my life. Take it away ! " 

The grim and ghostly procession went out. Its visit had 
lasted thirty seconds and cost a hundred francs. 

When the doctor came again the outline of the Countess's 
writhing form had shrunk to the lines of a skeleton under the 
ruffled counterpane. 

" It's not the Bambino you want — it's the priest," he said, 
and then the poor mortal who was still afraid of dying began to 
whimper. 

" And, Sister," said the doctor, " as the Countess suffers so 
much pain you may increase the opiate from a dessertspoonful 
to a tablespoonful, and give it twice as frequently." 

That evening the Sister went home for a few hours' leave, 
and Roma took her place by the sick bed. The patient was 
more selfish and exacting than ever, but Roma had begun to 
feel a softening towards the poor tortured being, and was try- 
ing her best to do her duty. 

It was dusk, and the Countess, who had just taken her 
opiate in the increased doses, was out of pain, and wished to 
make her toilet. Roma brought up the night table and the 
mirror, the rouge-pot, the rabbit's foot, the puff, the pencil, 
and the other appurtenances of her aunt's toilet-box. And 
when the fragile thing, so soon to be swallowed up by the earth 
in its great earthquake, had been propped up by pillows, she 



370 THE ETERNAL CITY 

began to paint her wrinkled face as if she was about to dance 
a minuet with death. First the black rings about the lan- 
guid eyes were whitened, then the earthen cheeks were rouged, 
and finally the livid lips and nostrils were pencilled with the 
rosy hues of health and youth. 

Roma had turned on the electric light, but the glare op- 
pressed the patient, and she switched it off again. The night 
had now closed in, and the only light in the room came from 
the little red oil-lamp which burned before the shrine. 

The drug began to operate and its first effect was to loosen 
the old lady's tongue. She began to talk of priests in a tone 
of contempt and braggadocio. 

" I hate priests," she said, " and I can't bear to have them 
about me. Why so ? Because they are always about the dead. 
Their black cassocks make me think of funerals. The sight of 
a graveyard makes me faint. Besides, priests and confessions 
go together, and why should a woman confess if she can avoid 
it ? When people confess they have to give up the thing they 
confess to, or they can't get absolution. Fedi's a fool. Give 
it up indeed ! I might as well talk of giving up the bed that's 
under me." 

Roma sat on a stool by the bedside, listening intently, yet 
feeling she had no right to listen. The drug was rapidly in- 
toxicating the Countess, who went on to talk as if some one 
else had been in the room. 

" A priest would be sure to ask questions about that girl. 
I v/ould have to tell him why the Baron put me here to look 
after her, and then he would prate about the Sacraments and 
want me to give up everything," 

The Countess laughed a hard, evil laugh, and Roma felt 
an icy shudder pass over her. 

" ' I'm tied,' said the Baron. ' But you must see that she 
waits for me. Everything depends upon you, and if all comes 
out well . . ,'" 

The old woman's tongue was thickening, and her eyes in 
the dull red light were glazed and stupid. 

Roma sat motionless and silent, watching with her own 
dilated eyes the grinning sinner, as she poured out the story of 
the plot for her capture and corruption. At that moment she 
hated her aunt, the unclean, malignant, unpitying thing who 
had poisoned her heart against her father, and tried to break 
down every spiritual impulse of her soul. 

The diabolical horse-laughter came again, and then the devil 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 371 

who had loosened the tongue of the dying woman in the intoxi- 
cation of the drug made her reveal the worse secret of her 
tortured conscience. 

" Why did I let him torment me ? Because he knew some- 
thing. It was about the child. Didn't you know I had a child ? 
It was born when my husband was away. He was coming 
home, and I was in terror." 

The red light was on the emaciated face. Roma was sit- 
ting in the shadow with a roaring in her ears. 

" It died, and I went to confession. ... I thought nobody 
knew. . . . But the Baron knows everything. . . . After that 
I did whatever he told me." 

The thick voice stopped. Only the ticking of a little clock 
was audible. The Countess had dozed off. All her vanity of 
vanities, her intrigues, her life-long frenzies, her sins and suf- 
ferings were wrapped in the innocence of sleep. 

Roma looked down at the poor, wrinkled, rouged face, now 
streaked with sweat, and with black lines from the pencilled 
eyebroAvs, and noislessly rose to go. She was feeling a sense of 
guilt in herself that stirred her to the depths of abasement. 

The Countess awoke. She was again in pain, and her voice 
was now different. 

"Roma! Is that you?" 

"Yes, aunt." 

" Why are you sitting in the darkness ? I have a horror of 
darkness. You know that quite well." 

Roma turned on the lights. 

" Have I been speaking ? What have I been saying ? " 

Roma tried to prevaricate. 

" You are telling me a falsehood. You know you are. 
You gave me that drug to make me tell you my secrets. But 
I know what I told you and it was all a lie. You needn't think 
because you've been listening ... It was a lie, I tell you . . ." 

The Sister came back at that moment, and Roma went to 
her room. She did not write her usual letter to David Rossi 
that night. Instead of doing so, she knelt by Elena's little 
Madonna, which she had set up on a table by her bed. 

Her own secret was troubling her. She had wanted to take 
it to some one, some woman who would listen to her and com- 
fort her. She had no mother, and her tears had begun to fall. 

It was then that she thought of the world-mother, and re- 
membered the prayer she had heard a thousand times but 
never used before: 



372 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and 
at the hour of death—Amen ! " 

When she rose from her knees she felt like a child who had 
been crying and was comforted. 



IX 

For some days after this the house was in a tumult. Men 
in red caps labelled " Casa di Vendita " were tearing up car- 
pets, dragging out pieces of furniture and marking them. The 
catalogue was made and bills were posted outside the street 
door announcing a sale of " Old and New Objects of Art " in 
the " Appartamento Volonna." Then came the " Grand Espo- 
sizione " — it was on Sunday morning — and the following day 
the auction. 

Roma built herself an ambush from prying eyes in one cor- 
ner of the apartment. She turned her boudoir into a bed- 
room and sitting-room combined. From there she heard the 
shuffling of feet as the people assembled in the large dis- 
mantled drawing-room without. She was writing at a table 
when some one knocked at the door. It was the Commenda- 
tore Angelelli, in light clothes and silk hat. At that moment 
the look of servility in his long face prevailed over the look of 
arrogance. 

" Good-morning, Donna Roma. May I perhaps . . ." 

" Come in." 

The lanky person settled himself comfortably and began on 
a confidential communication. 

" The Baron, sincerely sorry to hear of your distress, sends 
me to say that you have only to make a request and this un- 
seemly scene shall come to an end. In fact, I have authority to 
act on his behalf — as an unknown friend, you know — and 
stop these proceedings even at the eleventh hour. Only a word 
from you — one word — and everything shall be settled satisfac- 
torily." 

Roma was silent for a moment, and the Commendatore con- 
cluded that his persuasions had prevailed. Somebody else 
knocked at the door. 

" Come in," said the Commendatore largely. 

This time it was the auctioneer. " Time to begin the sale, 
Signorina. Any commands? " He glanced from Roma to An- 
gelelli with looks of understanding. 



THE ROMAN OP ROME S7Z 

" I think her Excellency has perhaps something to say," said 
Angelelli. 

" Nothing whatever. Go on," said Roma. 

The auctioneer disappeared through the door and Angelelli 
put on his hat. 

" Then you have no answer for his Excellency." 

" None." 

" Bene," said the Commendatore, and he went off whistling 
softly." 

The auction began. At a table on a platform where the 
piano used to stand sat the chief auctioneer with his ivory 
hammer. Beneath him at a similar table sat an assistant. 
As the men in red caps brought up the goods the two auction- 
eers took the bidding together, repeating each other in the 
manner of actor and prompter at an Italian theatre. 

The English Sister came to say that the Countess wished 
to see her niece immediately. The invalid, now frightfully 
emaciated and no longer able to sit up, was lying back on her 
lace-edged pillows. She was plucking with shrivelled and bony 
fingers at her figured counterpane, and as Roma entered she 
tried to burst out on her in a torrent of wrath. But the sound 
that came from her throat was like a voice shouted on a windy 
headland, and hardly louder than the muffled voices of the auc- 
tioneers as they found their way through the walls. 

Roma sat down on the stool by the bedside, stroked the cat 
with the gold cross suspended from its neck, and listened to the 
words within the room and without as they fell on her ear 
alternately. 

" Roma, you are treating me shamefully. While I am lying 
here helpless you are having an auction — actually an auction — 
at the door of my very room." 

"Camera da letto della Signorina! Bed in noce, richly 
ornamented with fruit and flowers." "Shall I say fifty?" 
"Thank you, fifty." "Fifty." "Fifty-five." "Fifty-five." 
" No advance on fifty-five ? " " Gentlemen, Gentlemen ! The 
beautiful bed of a beautiful lady and only fifty-five offered 
for it. . . ." 

" If you wanted money you had only to ask the Baron, and 
if you didn't wish to do that you had only to sign a bill at six 
months as I told you before. But no ! You wanted to humble 
and degrade me. That's all it is. You've done it, too, and I'm 
dying in disgrace." 

" Secretaire in walnut ! Think, ladies, of the secrets this 



374 THE ETERNAL CITY 

writing-desk might whisper if it would! How much shall I 
say?" "Sixty lire." "Sixty." "Sixty-five." "Sixty-five." 
" Writing desk in walnut with the love letters hardly out of it 
and only sixty-five lire offered ! " 

" This is what comes of a girl going her own way. Society 
is not so very exacting, but it revenges itself on people who 
defy the good old respectabilities. And quite right, too ! Pity 
they could not be the only ones to suffer, but they can't. Their 
friends and relations are the real sufferers, and as for me ." 

The Countess's voice broke down into a maudlin whimper. 
Without a word Roma got up to go. As she did so she met 
JvTatalina coming into the room with the usual morning plate 
of forced strawberries. They had cost four francs the pound. 

Some time afterwards, from her writing-table in the bou- 
doir bedroom, Roma heard a shuffling of feet on the circular 
iron stairs. The people were going down to the studio. Pres- 
ently the auctioneer's voice came up as from a vault. 

" And now what am I offered for this large and important 
work of modern art ? " 

There was a ripple of derisive laughter. 

" A fountain worthy, when finished, to rank with the mas- 
terpieces of ancient Rome.'^ 

More derisive laughter. 

" Now is the time for anti-clericals. Gentlemen, don't all 
speak at once. Every day is not a f esta. How much ? Nothing 
at all ? Not even a soldo ? Too bad. Art is its own reward." 

Still more laughter, followed by the shuffling of feet coming 
up the iron stairs, and a familiar voice on the landing — it was 
the Princess Bellini's — " Madonna mia ! what a fright it is to 
be sure ! " 

Then another voice — it was Madame Sella's — " I thought 
so the day of the private view, when she behaved so shock- 
ingly to the dear Baron." 

Then a third voice — it was the voice of Olga, the journal- 
ist — " I said the Baron would pay her out, and he has. Before 
the day is over she'll not have a stick left or a roof to cover 
her." 

Roma dropped her head on to the table. Try as she might 
to keep a brave front, the waves of shame and humiliation were 
surging over her. 

Some one touched her on the shoulder. It was Natalina 
with a telegram ! " Letter received : my apartment is paid for 
to end of June : why not take possession of it ? " 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 375 

From that moment onward nothing else mattered. The 
tumultuous noises in the drawing-room died down, and there 
was no sound but the voices of the auctioneer and his clerk, 
which rumbled like a drum in the empty chamber. 

It was four o'clock. Opening the window, Roma heard the 
music of a band. At that a spirit of defiance took possession 
of her, and she put on her hat and cloak. As she passed 
through the empty drawing-room, the auctioneer, who was 
counting his notes with the dry rustle of a winnowing machine, 
looked up with his beady eyes and said : 

" It has come out fairly well, Madame — better than we 
might have expected." 

On reaching the piazza she hailed a cab. " The Pincio ! " 
she cried, and settled in her seat. When she returned an hour 
afterwards she wrote her usual letter to David Rossi. 

" High doings to-day ! Have had a business on my own 
account, and done a roaring trade ! Disposed of everything in 
the shop except what I wanted for myself. It isn't every trades- 
woman who can say that much, and I'm only a beginner to 
boot! 

" Soberly, I've sold up. Being under notice to leave this 
apartment I didn't want all this useless furniture, so I thought 
I might as well get done with it in good time. Besides, what 
right had I to soft beds and fine linen while you were an exile 
sleeping heaven knows where ? And then my aunt, who is very 
ill and wants all sorts of luxuries, is rather expensive. So for 
the past week my drawing-room has been as full of fluting as a 
frog pond at sunset, and on Sunday morning people were bang- 
ing away at my poor piano as if it had been a hurdy-gurdy at 
an osteria. 

" But oh dear, how stupid the world is ! People thought 
because I was selling what I didn't want I must be done. You 
would have laughed to hear their commentaries. To tell you 
the truth I was so silly that I could have cried, but just at the 
moment when I felt a wee bit badly down came your tele- 
gram like an angel from heaven — and what do you think I 
did? The old Adam, or say the new Eve, took possession of 
me, and the minute the people were gone I hired a cab — a com- 
mon garden cab, Roman variety, with a horse on its last legs 
and a driver in ragged tweeds — and drove off to the Pincio ! 
I wanted to show those fine folk that I wasn't done, and I did ! 
They were all there, my dear friends and former flatterers — ■ 



376 THE ETERNAL CITY 

every one of them who has haunted my house for years, asking 
for this favour or that, and paying me in the coin of sweetest 
smiles. It seemed as if fate had gathered them altogether for 
my personal inspection and wouldn't let a creature escape. 

" Did they see me ? Not a soul of them ! I drove through 
them and between them, and they bowed across and before 
and behind me, and I might have been as invisible as Asmodeus 
for all the consciousness they betrayed of my presence. Was I 
humiliated? Confused? Crushed? Oh dear no! I was proud. 
I knew the day would come, the day was near, when they must 
try to forget all this and to persuade themselves it had never 
been, when for my own sake, even mine, and for yours, most 
of all for yours, they would come back humble, so humble and 
afraid. 

" So I gave them every chance. I was bold and I did not 
spare them. And when the sun began to sink behind St. Peter's 
and the band stopped, and we turned to go, I know which of 
us went home happy and unashamed. Oh, David Rossi! If 
you could have been there ! 

" I must write again on other matters. Meantime, one 
item of news. Lawyer Napoleon, who continues to go to 
Eegina Coeli to see the bewildering Bruno, saw Charles Min- 
ghelli there in prison clothes. If the god who settles the ques- 
tion of sex had only remembered to make your wife the pro- 
curator general, think how different the history of the world 
would have been ! The worst of it is he mightn't have remem- 
bered to make you a woman; and in any case, things being so 
nicely settled as they are, I don't think I want to be a man. I 
waft a kiss to you on the wings of the wind. It's ponente to- 
day, so it ought to be warm. Eoma, 

" P.S. — My poor friend is still in trouble. Although not a 
religious woman, she has taken to saying a ' Hail Mary ' every 
night on going to bed, and if it wasn't for that I'm afraid she 
would commit suicide, so frightful are the visions (of how Na- 
ture herself might come to convict her) that enter her head 
sometimes. I've told her how wrong it would be to do away 
with herself, if only for the sake of her husband, who is away. 
Didn't I tell you he was away at present ? It would hurt you 
dreadfully if I were to die before you return, wouldn't it ? But 
I'm dying already to hear what you think of her. Write! 
Write ! Write ! " 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 37Y 



When the King of Terrors could no longer be beaten back 
the Countess sent for the priest. Before he arrived she insisted 
on making her toilet and receiving him in the dressing-gown 
which she used to wear when people made ante-camera to her 
in the days of her gaiety and strength. 

The priest came in his black cassock and she was clearly 
terrified at sight of him. But he was a simple man who be- 
lieved what he taught without trying too hard to understand 
it, and with a few coaxing words he comforted her. She was 
like one who had to go through an operation and for some 
time she could not consent to be alone with him. When she 
had conquered this fear she was afraid that the doors of the 
room -were not properly closed and that people were listening at 
the key-holes. The priest appeased her on this head also, and 
he went down on one knee that she might whisper into his ear. 

During the time of the Countess's confession Roma sat in 
her own room with a tremor of the heart which she had never 
felt before. Something personal and very intimate was creep- 
ing over her soul. She heard the indistinct murmur of the 
priest's voice at intervals, followed by a sibilant sound as of 
whispers and sobs. 

The confession lasted fifteen minutes and then the priest 
came out of the room. " Now that your relative has made her 
peace with God," he said, " she must receive the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, Extreme Unction and the Apostolic Blessing." 

He went away to prepare for these offices and the English 
Sister came to see Roma. " The Countess is like another 
woman already," she said, but Roma did not go into the sick 
room. 

The priest returned in half an hour. He had now two 
assistants, one carrj-ing the cross and banner, the other a ves- 
sel of holy water and the volume of the Roman ritual. The 
Sister and Felice met them at the door with lighted candles. 

" Peace be to this house ! " said the priest. 

And the assistants said, " And to all dwelling in it." 

Then the priest took off an outer cloak, revealing his white 
surplice and violet stole, and followed the candles into the 
Countess's room. The little card table had been covered with 
a damask napkin and laid out as an altar. All the dainty arti- 
cles of the dying woman's dressing-table, her scent-flasks, 
rouge-pots and puffs, were huddled together with various medi- 
25 



3Y8 THE ETERNAL CITY 

cine bottles on a chest of drawers at the back. It was two 
o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was shining, so the cur- 
tains were drawn and the shutters closed. In the darkened 
room the candles burned like stars. 

The priest took a little box out of his breast and put it on 
the altar. Then taking the sprinkler he sprinkled the counter- 
pane with holy water in the form of a cross. The Countess 
prayed fervently in a low indistinguishable murmur and 
clutched at the bed-clothes. 

Opening the holy pyx, taking out a wafer and elevating it, 
the priest approached the lace-edged pillow and the emaciated 
face, red with rouge, and placed it on the outstretched tongue. 

The Blessed Sacrament being received the priest adminis- 
tered Extreme Unction. Again the counterpane was sprinkled 
with holy water, while the anthem was recited by all present. 
" Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be 
cleansed. Thou shalt wash me and I shall be made whiter 
than snow." 

The table covered by its white cloth was brought nearer to 
the bed and three basins were placed on it. One of these con- 
tained water, another contained white bread without crust, and 
into the third the assistants broke seven pieces of cotton wool. 
A candle was put into the dying woman's nerveless fingers, and 
the sign of the cross was made all over the room, with the 
words, " Let the demons fly for ever from this place." 

Then dipping his right thumb into a small vessel of the 
sacred oil which he carried suspended from his neck, the priest 
made the sign of the cross over the dying woman's pencilled 
eyes and said, " Through this Holy Unction (+) and His most 
loving mercy may the Lord remit thee whatever thou hast done 
amiss through the sight." 

Again dipping his thumb in the oil the priest made the sign 
of the cross over the ears, the nose, the mouth, the hands and 
the feet, repeating the same prayer for the sins of hearing, of 
smell, of taste and speech, of touch and of walking. Then the 
seven pieces of cotton wool were taken out of the basin one by 
one to wipe the oil away, and the Lord's prayer was said in si- 
lence down to the words, " Lead us not into temptation and 
deliver us from evil, Amen." 

All the time the assistants and the Sister were reciting in a 
monotone the seven penitential psalms. Finally the priest 
pronounced the Apostolic Blessing. 

" And now I by a faculty conceded to me by the Holy See 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 379 

accord to thee, Elizabeth, a plenary indulgence, and the remis- 
sion of all thy sins, in the name of the (+) Father, and (+) of 
the Son, and (+) of the Holy Ghost — Amen." 

The ghostly viaticum was now over, and the priest and his 
assistants left the house. But the pale, grinning shadow of 
death continued to stand by the perfumed couch. 

Roma had not been present at these offices, and presently 
the English Sister came to say that the Countess wished to 
see her. 

" It's perfectly miraculous," said the Sister. " She's like 
another woman." 

" Has she had her opiate lately ? " said Roma, and the Sister 
answered that she had. 

Roma found her aunt in a kind of mystical transport. A 
great light of joy, almost of pride, was shining in her face. 

" All my pains are gone," she said. " All my sorrows and 
trials too. I have laid them all on Christ, and now I am going 
to mount up with Him to God." 

Clearly she had no sense of her guilt towards Roma. Quite 
the contrary. She began to take a high tone with her, the tone 
of a saint towards a sinner. 

" You must conquer your worldly passions, Roma. You 
have been a sinner but you must not die a bad death. For in- 
stance, you are selfish. I am sorry to say it, but you know you 
are. You must confess and dedicate your life to fighting the 
sin in your sinful heart, and commend your soul to His mercy 
who has washed me from all stain." 

But the Countess's ethereal transports did not wholly 
eclipse her worldly vanities when she proceeded to preparations 
for her funeral. 

" Let there be a Requiem Mass, Roma. Everybody has it. 
It costs a little certainly, but we can't think of money in a 
case like this. And send for the Raveggi Company to do the 
funeral pomps, and see they don't put me on a tressel. I am 
a noble and have a right to be laid on the church floor. See 
they bury me on high ground. The little Pincio is where the 
best people are buried now, just above the tomb of Duke Mas- 
simo." 

Roma continued to say " Yes," and " Yes," and " Yes," 
though her very heart felt soi-e. 

Two hours afterwards the Countess was in her death agony. 
The tortured body had prevailed over the rapturous soul, and 
she was calling for more and more of the opiate. Everybody 



380 THE ETERNAL CITY 

was odious to her and her angular face was snapping all 
round. 

The priest came to say the prayers for the dying. It was 
near to sunset, but the shut'ters were still closed, and the room 
had a grim solemnity. A band was playing on the Pincio, and 
the strains of an opera mingled with the petitions of the 
" breathing forth." 

Everybody knelt except Roma. She alone was standing. 
But her heart was on its knees and her whole soul was pros- 
trate. 

The priest put a crucifix in the Countess's hand and she ' 
kissed it fervently, pronouncing all the time with gasping 
breath the name, " Gesu, Gesii, Gesu ! " 

The passing bell of the parish church was tolling in slow 
strokes, and the priest was praying fast and loud : 

" May Christ who called thee receive thee, and let angels 
lead thee into the bosom of x\braham." 

At one moment the crucifix dropped from the dying wom- 
an's hands, and her diamond rings, now too large for the 
shrivelled fingers, fell on to the counterpane. A little later her 
wig fell oif and for an instant her head was bald. Her fore- 
head was perspiring ; her breath was rattling in her chest. At 
last she became delirious. 

" It's a lie ! " she cried. " Everything I've said is a lie ! I 
didn't kill it ! " Then she rolled aside and the crucifix fell on 
to the floor. 

The priest, who had been praying faster and faster every 
moment, rose to his feet and said in an altered tone, " We 
commend to thee, O Lord, the soul of thy handmaiden, Eliza- 
beth, that being dead to the world she may live to Thee, and 
those sins which through the frailty of human life she has 
committed Thou by the indulgence of Thy most loving kind- 
ness may wipe out. Through Christ our Lord — Amen." 

The priest's voice died down to an inarticulate murmur 
and then stopped. A moment afterwards the cvirtains were 
drawn back, the shutters parted and the windows thrown open. 
A flood of sunset light streamed into the room. The candles 
burnt yellow and went out. The mystic rites were at an end. 

The English Sister was putting the crucifix back into the 
Icy hands and closing the glazed eyes; the cat was mewing and 
scratching at the bed-clothes, and some one was saying in a 
matter-of-fact way: 

" I presume the deceased has settled her temporal affairs." 



THE ROMAN OF HOME 381 

Roma fled back to her own room. Her storm-tossed soul 
was foundering. 

The band was still playing on the Pincio and the sun was 
going down behind St. Peter's when Koma took up her pen 
to write. 

" She is dead ! The life she clung to so desperately has left 
her at last. How she held on to it ! And now she has gone 
to give an account of the deeds done in this body. Yet who 
am I to talk like this ? Only a poor unhappy fellow sinner. 

" After confession she thought she was forgiven. She im- 
agined she was pure, sinless, soulful. Perhaps she was so, and 
only the pains of death made her seem to fall away. But what, 
a power in confession ! Oh the joy in her poor face when she- 
had lifted the burden of her sins and secrets off her soul ! For- 
giveness ! What a thing it must be to feel one's self for- 
given . . ." 

" I cannot write any more to-day, my dear one, but there 
will be news for you next time, great and serious news." 



XI 

Roma fulfilled her promise to the Countess. The funeral 
pomps, if she could have seen them, would have satisfied her 
vain little mind. On going to the parish church the procession 
covered the entire length of the Via Gregoriana. First the 
barmer with skull, cross-bones and hour-glass, then a con- 
fraternity of lay people, then twenty paid mourners in evening 
dress, then fifty Capuchins at two francs a head with yellow 
candles at three francs each, then the cross, then the secular 
clergy two and two, then the parish priest in surplice and 
black stole with servitors and acolytes, then a stately funeral ear 
with four horses richly harnessed, and finally four coaches with 
coachmen and footmen in gala livery. The bier was loaded 
with flowers and streamers and the cost of the cortege was 
nearly a thousand francs. 

The bell tolled, the procession chanted, the church was^ 
reached. At the church door the priest repeated the words " The 
humbled bones shall exult unto the Lord," and the cofiin, gor- 
geously emblazoned with a shield bearing a coat of arms, was 
placed in the middle of the floor. A square of candles was 
ranged round it, and the wreaths and flowers were brought in 
from the bier. The friare with their lighted candles stoodi 



382 -HE ETERNAL CITY 

about the body and the priest and his clergy went up to the 
altar. The altar was draped in a vast black cloth surmounted 
by a large gold cross. 

When the mourners had taken their places the priest and his 
assistants chanted the Office for the Dead. It was long and 
they took it leisurely; the antiphon, the Vespers with the De 
Profundis, the Matins with its lessons, Lauds with the Miserere 
and the joyful psalms at the end. By the time they had come 
to the tremendous words, " I am the resurrection and the life," 
the church was filled with people. 

The new-comers were former friends of the Countess, liv- 
ing still the life she had lived in the days of her strength. 
During her illness they had stopped at her door on the 
way to the Pincio, and sent up their servants to write their 
names in a book kept in the hall. This morning they had 
dressed themselves in black and come out a little earlier than 
usual. 

The Office for the Dead being finished, the Requiem Mass 
began. A choir of fifty professional voices, perched up like 
birds in a gilt cage, sang the Kyrie Eleison, while the officiat- 
ing priest, in his vestments with acolytes carrying the candles 
and bearing up his train, ascended the altar and incensed it. 
Then the music of lamentation swept through the church 
like a wild storm, rising, falling, sometimes screaming through 
the air, and then dying down like the voice of an angry sea. 
At one moment it seemed to be gone, but it returned in a 
mournful wail, as the soprano trilled out the notes of sorrow 
and they rang in the vault of the lofty roof. 

At length the music ceased and the mass proceeded. Fi- 
nally the priest put on his cope and gave the absolution. Walk- 
ing round the coffin he sprinkled it with holy water, and walk- 
ing round it again he incensed it. The Requiem ended with 
a burst of prayer and praise. " Deliver me, O Lord, from 
eternal death in that tremendous day." Then the singers shuf- 
fled their feet and went off, their work being done. 

The gorgeous service had cost five hundred francs. 

By this time the great people had begun to go. Roma had 
hardly been conscious of their presence. Kneeling in one of 
the benches at right angles to the altar she had bowed her 
head and tried to pray. No prayer would come. One picture 
was flitting constantly before the eyes of her soul. She saw 
herself kneeling a few paces from that spot with David Rossi 
at her side. 



THE HOMAN OF ROME 383 

As she passed out of the church with head down some one 
spoke to her. It was the Baron, carrying his hat, on which 
there was a deep black band. His tall spare figure, high fore- 
head, straight hair and features hard as iron made a painful 
impression. 

" Sorry I cannot go on to the Campo Santo," he said, and 
then he added something about breaks in the chain of life 
which Roma did not hear. 

" I trust it is not true, as I am given to understand, that 
on leaving your apartment you are going to live in the house 
of a certain person whom I need not name. That would, I 
assure you, be a grave error, and I would earnestly counsel you 
not to commit it." 

She made no reply but walked on to the door of the car- 
riage. He helped her to enter it, and then said, " Remember, 
my attitude is the same as ever. Do not deny me the satisfac- 
tion of serving you in your hour of need." 

When Roma came to full possession of herself after the Re- 
quiem Mass the cortege was on its way to the cemetery. There 
was a line of carriages. Most of them were empty — empty as 
the mourning of which they formed a part. The parish priest 
sat with his acolyte, who held a crucifix before his eyes so that 
his thoughts might not wander. He took snuff and said his 
Matins for to-morrow. 

The necropolis of Rome is outside the Porta San Lorenzo, 
by the church of that name. The bier drew up at the House of 
Deposit. When the coaches discharged their occupants Roma 
saw that except the paid servants of the funeral she was the 
only mourner. The Countess's friends, like herself, disliked the 
sight of churchyards. 

The House of Deposit, a low-roofed chamber under a 
chapel, contained tressels for every kind and condition of the 
dead. One place was labelled " Reserved for distinguished 
corpses." The coflSn of the Countess was put to rest there, 
until the buriers should come to bury it in the morning, the 
wreaths and flowers and streamers were laid over it, the priest 
sprinkled it again with holy water, and then the funeral was at 
an end. 

" I will not go back yet," said Roma, and thereupon the 
priest and his assistants stepped into the carriages. The drivers 
lit cigarettes and started off at a brisk trot. 

It had been a gorgeous funeral, and the soul of the Countess 
would have been satisfied. But the grinning King of Terrors 



384 THE ETERNAL CITY 

has stood by all the time, saying, " Vanity of vanities, all is 
vanity ! " 

Eoma bought a wreath of white flowers at a stall outside the 
cemetery gates, and by help of a paper given to her in the of- 
fice she found the grave of little Joseph. It was in a shelf of 
vaults like ovens, each with its marble door, and a photograph 
on the front. They were all photographs of children, sweet 
smiling faces, a choir of little angels, now singing round the 
throne in heaven. The sun was shining on them, and the tall 
cypress trees were singing softly in the light wind overhead. 
Here and there a mother was trimming an oil-lamp that hung 
before her baby's face, and listening to the little voice that was 
not dead but speaking to her soul's soul. 

Roma hung her wreath on Joseph's vault and turned away. 
Going out of the gates she met a great concourse of people. 
At their head was a Capuchin carrying a black wooden cross 
with sponge, spear, hammer and nails attached. Two boys 
in blue and white carried candles by his side. The crowd be- 
hind were of the poorest, chiefly women and girls with shawls 
and handkerchiefs on their heads. It was Friday and they 
were going to the church of San Lorenzo to make the proces- 
sion of the stations of the cross. Scarcely knowing why she 
did so Roma followed them. 

The people filled the Basilica. Their devotion was deep and 
touching. As they followed the friar from station to station 
they sang in monotonous tones the strophes of the Stabat 
Mater. 

" Ah, Mother, fountain of love, make me feel the strength 
of sorrow that I may mourn with thee." 

Their prayer seemed hardly needful. They were the starv- 
ing wives and daughters of men in prison, men in hospital, 
and the reserve soldiers. Poor wrecks on life's shore, thrown 
up by the tide, they had turned to I'eligion for consolation, and 
were sending up their cry to God. 

When they had finished their course and ended their can- 
ticles of grief they gathered about the pulpit and the Capuchin 
got up to preach. He was a bearded man with a face full of 
light, almost of frenzy, and a cross and a rosary hung from 
his girdle. He spoke of their poverty, their lost ones, their 
privations, of the dark hour they were passing through, and of 
answers to prayers in political affairs. During this time the 
silence was breathless, but when he told them that God had 
sent their sufferings upon them for their sins, that they must 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 385 

confess their sins, in order that their holy mother, the Church, 
might save them from their sins, there was a deep hum in the 
air like the reverberation in a great shell. 

A line of confessional boxes stood in each of the church 
aisles, and as the preacher described the sorrows of the man- 
God, his passion, his agony, his blood, the women and girls, 
weeping audibly, got up one by one and went over to confess. 
l\o sooner had one of them arisen than another took her place. 
And each as she rose to her feet looked calm and comforted. 

The emotion of the moment was swelling over Roma like 
a flood. If she could unburden her heart like that 1 If she 
could cast off all the trouble of her days and nights of pain I 
One of the confessional boxes had a penitential rod protruding 
from it, and going past the front of it she had seen the face 
of the priest. It was a soft, kindly, human face. She had seen 
it before somewhere — perhaps in the Pope's procession. 

At that moment a poor girl with a handkerchief on her 
head, who had knelt down crying, was getting up with shining 
eyes. Roma was shaken by violent tremors. An overpowering 
desire had come upon her to confess. For a moment she held 
on to a chair, lest she should fall to the floor. Then by a sud- 
den impulse, in a kind of delirium, scarcely knowing what 
she was doing until it was done, she flung herself in the place 
the gii-l had risen from, and with a palpitating heart said in a 
tremulous voice through the little brass grating: 

" Father, I am a great sinner — hear me, hear me ! " 

The measured breathing inside the confessional was ar- 
rested, and the peaceful face of the priest looked out at the 
hectic cheeks and blazing eyes. 

" Wait, my daughter. Do not agitate yourself. Say 
the Confiteor." 

She tried to speak but her words were hardly audible or 
coherent. 

" I confess ... I confess ... I cannot, Father." 

A pinch of snuff dropped from the old man's fingers. 

" Are you not a Christian ? " 

" I have not been baptised, but I was educated in a con- 
vent and . . ." 

" Then I cannot hear your confession. Baptism is the 
door of the Church and without it . . ." 

" But I am in great trouble. For Our Lady's sake, listen to 
me. Oh, listen to me, Father, only listen to me." 

Although accustomed to the sufferings of the human heart. 



386 THE ETERNAL CITY 

a measureless pity came over the old priest, and he said in a 
kind and tender voice: 

" Go on, my daughter. I cannot give you absolution, for 
you are not a child of the Church, but I am an old man and if 
I can help your poor soul to bear its burden, God forbid that 
I should turn you away." 

In a torrent of hot words Roma poured out her trouble, hid- 
ing nothing, extenuating nothing and naming and blaming no 
one. At length the throbbing breath and quivering voice died 
down, and there was a moment's silence, in which the dull 
rumble in the church seemed to come from far away. Then 
the voice behind the grating said in tender tones : 

" My daughter, you have committed no sin in this case and 
have nothing to repent of. That you should be troubled by 
scruples shows that your soul is pure and that you are living 
in communion with God. Your bodily health is reduced by 
nervousness and anxiety, and it is natural that you, should 
imagine that you have sinned where you have not sinned. 
That is the sweet grace of most women, but how few men! 
What sin there has been is not yours, therefore go home and 
God comfort you." 

" But, dear Father ... it is so good of you, but have you 
forgotten . . ." 

" Your husband ? No ! Whether you should tell him it is 
beyond my power to say. In itself I should be against it, for 
why should you disturb his conscience and endanger the peace 
of a family? Your scruples about Nature coming to convict 
you, being without grounds of reason, are temptations of the 
devil and should be put behind your back. But that your mar- 
riage was a religious one only, that the other person (you did 
right not to name him, my child) may use that circumstance 
to separate you, and that your confession to your husband, if 
it came too late, would come prejudiced and worse than in vain, 
these are the facts that make it difficult to advise you for your 
safety and peace of mind. Let me consult some one wiser than 
myself. Let me, perhaps, take your secret to a high place, a 
kindly ear, a saintly heart, a venerable and holy head. Come 
again, or leave me your name if you will, and if that holy per- 
son has anything to say you shall hear of it. Meantime go 
home in peace and content, my daughter, and may God bring 
you into his true fold at last." 

When Roma got up from the grating of the confessional 
she felt like one who had passed through a great sickness and 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 387 

was now better. Her whole being was going through a mi- 
raculous convalescence. A great weight had been lifted off, she 
was renewed as with a new soul and her very body felt light 
as air. 

The preacher was still preaching in his tremulous tones, and 
the women and girls were still crying as Roma passed out of the 
church, but now she heard all as in a dream. It was not until 
she reached the portico, and a blind beggar rattled his can in 
her face, that the spell was broken, so sudden and mysterious 
was the transition when she came back from heaven to earth. 



XII 

By the first post next morning " Sister Angelica " received 
a letter from David Rossi. 

"Dearest, — Your budget arrived safely and brought me 
great joy and perhaps a little sadness. Aj)art from the pain I 
always suffer when I think of our poor people, there was a little 
twinge as I read between the lines of your letter. Are you not 
dissimulating some of your happiness to keep up my spirits 
and to prevent me from rushing back to you at all hazards? 
You shall be really happy some day, my dear one. I shall hear 
your silvery laugh again as I did on that glorious day in the 
Campagna. Wait, only wait ! We are still young and we 
shall live. 

" Pray for me, my heart, that what my hand is doing may 
not be done amiss. I am working day and night. Meetings, 
committees, correspondence early and late. A great scheme 
is afoot, dearest, and you shall hear all about it presently. I 
am proud that I judged rightly of the moral grandeur of your 
nature, and that it is possible to tell you everything. 

" We have elected a centre of action and mapped out our 
organisation. Everybody agrees with me on the necessity for 
united action. Europe seems to be ready for a complete change, 
but the first great act must be done in Rome. I find encourage- 
ment everywhere. The brotherly union of the peoples is going 
on. A power stronger than brute force is sweeping through 
the world. 

" Meantime the myriads of men who live by Discord are 
trying to drown the voice of !Rature and God. 

" Another of the devices used to divide humanity is the 



888 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Church. According to your letter they are using it again in 
Rome. This is dangerous. The poor priests in every country 
are beset on both sides, on the side of the civil power to 
maintain its authority, however evil it may be, and on the side 
of the Church to protect its temporalities. I enclose an address 
to the priests. You will get old Albert Pellegrino to print it 
and post it as he did the other Proclamation. God grant it 
may do good ! 

" Poor Bruno ! You are no doubt right that pressure is 
being put upon him to betray me. It is not for myself only 
that I am troubled. It would be a lasting grief to me if his 
mind were poisoned. Charles Minghelli being in prison in the 
disguise of a prisoner means that anything may happen. When 
the man came to me after his dismissal in London it was to ask 
help to assassinate the Baron. I refused it and he went over to 
the other side. The secret tribunal in which cases are pre- 
pared for public trial is a hellish machine for cruelty and in- 
justice. It has been abolished in nearly every other civilised 
country, but the courts and gaols of our beautiful Italy con- 
tinue to be the scene of plots in which helpless unfortunates are 
terrorised by expedients which leave not a trace of crime. A 
prisoner is no longer a man, but a human agent to incriminate 
others. His soul is corrupted, and a price is put upon treach- 
ery. See Bruno yourself if you can, and save him from him- 
self and the people whose only occupation in life is to secure 
convictions. 

" And now, as to your friend. Comfort her. The poor girl 
is no more guilty than if a traction engine had run over her 
or a wild beast had broken on her out of his cage. She must 
not torture herself any longer. It is not right, it is not good. 
Our body is not the only part of us that is subject to diseases, 
and you must save her from a disease of the soul. 

" As to whether she should tell her husband, I can have 
but one opinion. I say Yes by all means. In the court of con- 
science the sin, where it exists, is not wholly or mainly in the 
act. That had been pardoned in secret as well as in pub- 
lic. God pardoned it in David. Christ pardoned it in the 
woman of Jerusalem. But the concealment, the lying and 
duplicity, these cannot be pardoned until they have been 
confessed. 

" Another point, which your pure mind, dearest, has never 
thought of. There is the other man. Think of the power he 
holds over your friend. If he still wishes to possess her in spite 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 389 

of herself, he may intimidate her, he may threaten to reveal 
all to her husband. This would make her miserable, and per- 
haps in the long run, her will being broken, it might even 
make her yield. Or the man may really tell her husband in 
order to insult and outrage both of them. If he does so where is 
she? Is her husband to believe her story then? 

" To meet these dangers let her speak out now. Let her 
trust her husband's love and tell him everything. If he is a 
man he will think, ' Only her purity has prompted her to tell 
me,' and he will love her more than ever. Some momentary 
spasm he may feel. Every man wishes to believe that the flower 
he plucks is faultless. But his higher nature will conquer his 
vanity and he will say, ' She loves me, I love her, she is inno- 
cent, and if any blow is to be struck at her it must go 
through me.' 

" My love to you, dearest. Your friend must be a true 
woman, and it was very sweet of you to be so tender with her. 
It was noble of you to be severe with her too, and to make her go 
through purgatorial fires. That is what good women always 
do with the injured of their own sex. It is a kind of pledge 
and badge of their purity; and it is a safeguard and shield, 
whatever the unthinking may say. I love you for your severity 
to the poor soiled dove, my dear one, just as much as I love 
you for your tenderness. It shows me how rightly I judged the 
moral elevation of your soul, your impeccabilty, your spirit of 
fire and heart of gold. Until we meet again, my dar- 
ling D. R." 

The " Proclamation to the Priests " was as follows : 

" Wot in Italy and in Ireland only, but in Russia, in France, in 
America, and fhronghout the world, the priests of the Catholic Church 
come from the people. Why is it, then, that in the struggles of the 
people with the powers held over them the priests of the Church are so 
often employed to suppress the people, to quell their enthusiasm, and 
damp their aspirations ? 

"My brothers, the answer is not far to seek. There is such a 
thing as the Soul of the Church, and there is such a thing as the Body 
of the Church. The Soul of the Church is divine, infallihle, un- 
changeable, and will live for ever. The Body of the Church is human, 
limited, and liable to decay. The Soul of the Church is humble and 
kneels at the foot of the Cross. The Body of the Church is proud and 
sits by the thrones of princes. 



390 THE ETERNAL CITY 

' ' Priests of the Church, your Bishops tell you that the aims of the 
people are blasphemous and contrary to the commandments of the 
Decalogue. It is the old cry over again, the same that has been raised 
against every reform carried out by the martyrs of humanity since 
the days of Christ himself. 

"But if the aims of the people are not according to religion, and 
if their leaders are godless men, it is your duty to come in and save 
them from both evils. Do not let it be said any longer that the Church 
is only an obsolete phase in the development of humanity ivhich hin- 
ders progress. Let the salvation of the human family come through 
priests of the Church, and the irreligious and the godless will dis- 
appear. 

" Yet are the aims of the people irreligious ? Listen to the voices 
that are thrilling through the world. The people are speaking all 
over the earth with penfecostal tongues. Socialism, communism, 
anarchism, perhaps, but these are aspirations not systems, symptoms 
of disease not principles of cure. And there is one cry common to all 
— the cry for human unity. This is the voice that is going up every- 
where, and I ask you to consider if it is not the voice of Jesus. 

"Priests of Jesus, j>^(ice the open gospel before you, and say if 
Christ did not teach that we are one flock with one shepherd and that 
all meyi are sons of God and brothers in Him. 

"Is it only in heaven that the human family is to realise this per- 
fection f Did he mean that on earth there are to be cruel divisions 
and hideous inequalities, and that Nature and God plainly show that 
they desire and create them ? Wliy then did he teach us to pray 
' Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven 9' 

" But even if the kingdom of heaven on earth is an unattainable 
millennium, you ivho are the priests of Jesus will not deny to his chil- 
dren the comfort of his dream. I dream of a Church that will put 
away its temporalities which tempt it to divide men into two classes, 
the rich and the poor, and into many nations, friends arid foes. I 
dream of a Holy Father of the people who will be made spiritual sov- 
ereign on earth not by the Holy Spirit acting on seventy Cardinals in 
the secrecy of sealed doors, but on the whole ivorld in the light of 
heaven. This is the sublime Church and the sublime Pontiff I dream 
of, and, God willing, I shall Uve to see them. 

"DAVID EOSSI." 



THE R03IAN OF ROME 391 



XIII 

" My dear David Eossi, — All day long I've been carrying 
your letter round like a reliquary, taking a peep at it in cabs, 
and even, when I dare, in omnibuses and the streets. I have 
just come back from the printer. That old Albert is a hum- 
bug. He raised mountains of difficulty. Former Proclama- 
tion gave him a great deal of trouble and anxiety; has been 
in terror of arrest and confiscation ever since, and bill-poster 
has been sleeping with similar nightmares. Moral — more 
money. He got it and all is well. 

" What you say about Bruno has put me in a fever, and I 
have written to the Director General for permission to visit 
him. Even Lawyer Xapoleon is now of opinion that Bruno is 
being made a victim of that secret inquisition. Xo Holy In- 
quisition was ever more unscrupulous. Lawyer N. says the 
authorities in Italy have inherited the traditions of a bad 
regime. To do evil to prevent others from doing it is hor- 
rible. But in this case it is doing evil to prevent others from 
doing good. I am satisfied that Bruno is being tempted to be- 
tray you. If I could only take his place! Would their plots 
have any effect upon me? I should die first. 

" And now about my friend. I can hardly hold my pen 
when I write of her. What you say is so good, so noble. I 
might have known what you would say and yet . . . 

" Dearest, how can I go on ? Can't you divine what I wish 
to tell you? Your letter compels me to confess. Come what 
may I can hold off no longer. Didn't you guess who my poor 
friend was? I thought you would remember our former cor- 
respondence when you pretended to love somebody else. You 
haven't thought of it apparently, and that is only another 
proof — a bitter sweet one this time — of your love and trust. 
You put me so high that you never imagined that I could 
be speaking of myself. I was, and my poor friend is my poor 
self. 

" It has made me suffer all along to see what a pedestal of 
purity you placed me on. The letters you wrote before you 
told me you loved me, when you were holding off, made me 
ashamed because I knew I was not worthy. More than once 
when you spoke of me as so good, I couldn't look into your 
eyes. I felt an impulse to cry, ' No, no, no,' and to smirch the 
picture you were painting. Yet how could I do it? What 



392 THE ETERNAL CITY 

woman who loves a man can break the idol in his heart ? She 
can only struggle to lift herself up to it. That was what I tried 
to do, and it is not my fault that it is not done. 

" I have been much to blame. There were moments when 
duty should have made me speak. Oi.e such moment was be- 
fore we married. Do you remember that I tried to tell you 
something ? You were kind and you would not listen. ' The 
past is past,' you said, and I was only too happy to gloss it 
over. You didn't know what I wished to say, or you would 
not have silenced me. / knew, and I have suffered ever since. 
I had to speak, and you see how I have spoken. And now I 
feel as if I had tricked you. I have got you to commit yourself 
to opinions and to a line of conduct. Forgive me ! I will not 
hold you to anything. Take it all back and I shall have no 
right to complain. 

" Besides, there were features in my own case which I did 
not present to you in my friend's. One of them was the fear 
of being found out. Dearest, I must not shield myself behind 
the sweet excuse you find for me. I did think of the other man. 
It wasn't that I was afraid that he would intimidate me and so 
corrupt my love. ISTot all the tyrannies of the world could do 
that now. But if from revenge or a desire to wrest me away 
from you by making you cast me off he told you his story be- 
fore I had told you mine ! That was a day-long and night-long 
teror, and now I confess it lest you should think me better 
than I am. 

" Another thing you did not know. Dearest, I would give 
my life to spare you the explanation, but I must tell you every- 
thing. You know who the man is, and it is true before God 
that he alone was to blame. But my own fault came after- 
wards. Instead of cutting him off I continued to be on good 
terms with him, to take the income he allowed me from my 
father's estate, and even to think of him as my future husband. 
And when your speech in the piazza seemed to endanger my 
prospects I set out to destroy you. 

" It is terrible. How can I tell you and not die of shame ? 
Now you know how much I deceived you and the infamy of my 
object makes me afraid to ask for pardon. To think that I 
was no better than a Delilah when I met you first ! But heaven 
stepped in and saved you. How you worked upon me ! First, 
you re-created my father for me, and I saw him as he really 
was, and not as I had been taught to think of him. Then you 
gave me my soul and I saw myself. Darling, do not hate me. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 393 

Your great heart could not be capable of a cruelty like that if 
you knew what I suffered. 

" Last of all love came, and I wanted to hold on to it. Oh, 
how I wanted to hold on to it ! That was how it came about 
that I went on and on without telling you. It was a sort of 
gambling, a kind of delirium. Everything that happened I 
took as a penance. Come poverty, shame, neglect, what mat- 
ter? It was only wiping out a sinful past, and bringing me 
nearer to you. But when at last he who had injured me threat- 
ened to injure you through me I was in despair. You could 
never imagine what mad notions came to me then. I even 
thought of killing myself, to end and cover up everything. 
But no, I could not break your heart like that. Besides, the 
very act would have told you something, and it was terrible 
to think that when I was dead you might find out all this 
pitiful story. 

" Now you know everything, dearest. I have kept nothing 
back. As you see, I am not only my poor friend but some one 
worse — myself. Can you forgive me ? I dare not ask it. But 
put me out of suspense. Write. Or better still, telegraph. 
One word — only one. It will be enough. 

" I would love to send you my love, but to-night I dare not. 
I have loved you from the first, and I can never do anything 
but love you, whatever happens. I think you would forgive 
me if you could realise that I am in the world only to love you, 
and that the worst of my offences comes of loving you more 
than reason or honour itself. Whatever you do, I am yours, 
and I can only consecrate my life to you. 

" It is daybreak, and the cross of St. Peter's is hanging 
spectral white above the mists of morning. Is it a symbol of 
hope, I wonder? The dawn is coming up from the southeast. 
It would travel quicker to the northwest if it loved you as 
much as I do. I have been writing this letter over and over 
again all night long. Do you remember the letter you made 
me burn, the one containing all your secrets ? Here is a letter 
containing mine — but how much meaner and more perilous ! 
Your poor unhappy girl. Roma." 

XIV 

Roma took possession of Rossi's apartment. When she went 
down to prepare the old people and to show them Rossi's tele- 
gram they were as happy as children. The deaf old woman 
26 



394 THE ETERNAL CITY 

talked perpetually. There was no news of Elena and the theory 
of the convent was visibly breaking down, but they were pray- 
ing every day to Saint Anthony. Yesterday had been the 
" month's mind " of the boy's death, and they had taken a 
bunch of violets to the Campo Santo ; but there was a beautiful 
wreath there already — the Blessed Virgin had remembered 
little Joseph. 

Bruno ? Ah, yes, they had heard from Bruno and been al- 
lowed to see him. But he was so strange, so hard, so cruel. 
When they broke down at the first sight of his prison clothes 
he told them to be quiet and not make a fool of him. All he 
would talk of was Elena. Some one had told him she was gone, 
and when they hinted at the idea of the convent he laughed 
and swore. 

Next day Roma removed into her new quarters. A few 
trunks containing her personal belongings, the picture of her 
father and Elena's Madonna, were all she took with her. A 
broker glanced at the rest of her goods and gave a price for 
the lot. Most of the plaster casts in the studio were broken 
up and carted away. The fountain being of marble had to be 
put in a dark cellar under the lodge of the old Garibaldian. 
Only one part of it was carried upstairs. This was the mould 
for the bust of Rossi and the block of stone for the head 
of Christ. 

Except for her dog Roma went alone to the Piazza Navona, 
Felice having returned to the Baron and jSTatalina being dis- 
missed. The old woman was to clean and cook for her and 
Roma was to shop for herself. It didn't take the neighbours 
long to sum up the situation. She was Rossi's wife. They 
began to call her Signora. 

Coming to live in Rossi's home was a sweet experience. 
The room seemed to be full of his presence. The sitting-room 
with its piano, its phonograph, and its portraits brought back 
the very tones of his voice. The bedroom was at first a sanc- 
tuary, and she could not bring herself to occupy it until she 
had set up the little Madonna. Then it became a bower, and 
to sleep in it brought a tingling sense which she had never 
felt before. 

Living in the midst of Rossi's surroundings she felt as 
if she were discovering something new abovit him every min- 
ute. His squirrels on the roof made her think of him as a boy, 
and his birds, which were nesting, and therefore singing from 
their little swelling throats the whole day long, made her thrill 



THE Ro:\rAN OF Ro:\rE 395 

and think of both of them. His presents from other women 
were a source of ahnost feverish interest. Some came from 
England and America, and were sent by women who had never 
even seen his face. They made her happy, they made her 
proud, they made her jealous. 

During the first days at the Piazza Navona she persuaded 
herself that living in that quarter was the most delightful thing 
that could be imagined. First there was the artistic spectacle 
of the narrow streets with their old courtyards, carved stones 
and tiny lamps before the shrines of the Virgin. Then there 
was the human spectacle of the open windows always occupied 
by women's heads. The cobblers plying their trade on the 
pavement, the vendors calling, the donkeys braying, and the 
children shouting at their play. 

It was all so natural, so kindly. She was beginning to exist 
among her fellow beings for the first time, and when her sense 
of smell was hurt by the acrid exhalations of unclean people 
she told herself it was partly a false refinement which made 
her suffer. 

Above all she was touched by the spectacle of human pov- 
erty and suffering, because that brought her nearest of all to 
David Rossi. There were the lodging houses where old men 
lay in a bed for a penny, and the " locande " where they leant 
their arms over a rope for a halfpenny. There was the Royal 
Monte di Pieta, the state pawnshop, and the Royal Banco del 
Lotto, the state lottery. There were the carts going round to 
collect offerings for the poor, and the excitable Latin people 
throwing clothes from the windows. There was the disease of 
poverty, the pellagra which attacks people who live on maize, 
the Sisters of the Red Cross Society moving among the 
sick, the doctors taking their sleeping draughts to the dy- 
ing, and Death leaving its own sleeping draught with the 
dead. 

From Trinita de' Monti she had looked on this as on a 
scene at a theatre witnessed from a private box, but now she 
was in the midst of it. It was the atmosphere David Rossi lived 
in. He might have come to it from necessity, but he had re- 
mained in it from choice. The young woman with her tender 
sympathies, her delicate senses, and her refinement of mind 
suffered tortures but thought she was content. 

It was Rossi, Rossi, always Rossi ! Every night on going 
to bed in her poor quarters her last thought was a love-prayer 
in the darkness, very simple and foolish and childlike, that he 



396 THE ETERNAL CITY 

would love her always whatever she was, and whatever the 
world might say, or evil men might do. 

This mood lasted for a week and then it began to break. 
At the back of her happiness there lay anxiety about her letter. 
She counted up the hours since she posted it and reckoned the 
time it would take to receive a reply. If Rossi telegraphed she 
might hear from him in three days. She did not hear. 

" He thinks it better to write," she told herself. Of course 
he would write immediately, and in five days she would receive 
his reply. On the fifth day she called on the porter at the con- 
vent. He had nothing for " Sister Angelica." 

" There must be snow on the Alps, and therefore the mails 
are delayed," she thought, and she went down to Piale's where 
they post up telegrams. There was snow in Switzerland. It 
was just as she imagined, and her letter would be delivered 
in the morning. It was not delivered in the morning. 

" How stupid of me ! It would be Sunday when my letter 
reached London." She had not counted on the postal arrange- 
ments of the English Sabbath. One day more, only one, and 
she would hear from Rossi and be happy. 

But one day went by, then another, and another, and still 
no letter came. Her big heart began to fail and the rainbow 
in the sky of her life to pale away. The singing of the birds 
on the roof pained her now. How could they crack their little 
throats like that? It was raining and the sky was dark. 

Then the Garibaldian and his old wife came upstairs with 
scared looks and with papers in their hands. They were sum- 
moned to give evidence at Bruno's trial. It was to take place 
in three days. 

" Well, I'm deaf, praise the Saints, and they can't make 
much of me," said the old woman. 

Roma put on her simple black straw hat with a quill 
through it and set off for the office of the lawyer. Napoleon 
Fuselli. 

" Just writing to you, dear lady," said the great man, drop- 
ping back in his chair. " Sorry to say my labour has been in 
vain. It is useless to go further. Our man has confessed." 

" Confessed ? " Roma clutched at the lapel of her coat. 

" Confessed and denounced his accomplices." 

" His accomplices ? " 

" Rossi in particular, whom he has implicated in a serious 
conspiracy." 

" What conspiracy ? " 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 397 

" That is not yet disclosed. We shall hear all about it the 
day after to-morrow." 

" But why ? With what object ? " 

" Pardon ! Apparently they have promised the clemency 
of the court, and hence in one sense our object is achieved. It 
is hardly necessary to defend the man. The authorities will 
see to that for us." 

" What will be the result? " 

" Probably a trial in contumacy. As soon as Parliament 
rises for Easter, Rossi will be summoned to present himself 
within ten days. But you will be the first to know all about 
it, you know." 

"How so?" 

" The summons will be posted upon the door of the house 
he lived in, and on the door of any other house he was known 
to have frequented." 

" But if he never hears of it, or if he takes no heed ? " 

" He will be tried all the same, and when he is a condemned 
man his sentence will be printed in black and posted up in 
the same places." 

"And then?" 

" Then Rossi's life in Rome will be at an end. He will be 
interdicted from all public offices and expelled from Par- 
liament." 

"And Bruno?" 

" He will be a free man the following morning." 

Roma went home dazed and dejected. A letter was wait- 
ing for her. It was from the Director of the Roman prisons. 
Although the regulations stipulated that only relations should 
visit prisoners, except under special conditions, the Director 
had no objection to Bruno Rocco's former employer seeing 
him at the ordinary bi-monthly hour for visitors to-morrow, 
Sunday afternoon. 

At two o'clock next day Roma set oS for Regina Coeli. 



XV 

The prison of Regina Coeli is constructed on the lines of 
a broken wheel, the axle being the open Rotunda and the 
spokes the lines of cells. It is partly judicial and partly penal. 
All prisoners wear prison clothes and are subject to the general 



398 THE ETERNAL CITY 

regulations. The convicts are chiefly printers and their work- 
shop is the great printing-office of the State. Acts of Parlia- 
ment are printed there, as well as the " Official Gazette " which 
details the movements of the King, with the balls, dinner- 
parties and receptions at the royal palaces. From this source 
chiefly the prisoners obtain their knowledge of what goes on 
in the world without. All the men who print the paper wear 
numbers and some of them wear chains. 

When the iron gate which shut out the world of the living 
had clanged back on Bruno he found himself in a cell alone. 
It was near midnight, and as the hour was striking two ward- 
ers came in, one carrying a smoky lantern whereby he glanced 
around, another carrying a hammer with which he tested the 
bars of the window. These were the Battitori, and when they 
had gone from his own cell the prisoner could hear the rat-tat- 
tat of their hammer as they passed down the cells of his cor- 
ridor. At 3.30 nnd at 5 they came again. It was their 
nightly round. 

Bruno did not sleep. For the first time that night he had 
time to realise what had happened. lie was thinking of little 
Joseph and his heart was bleeding. In the cell next to him on 
the right somebody sobbed the whole night through. It was 
a boy of seventeen. 

At nine next morning a bell rang, a little trap in the door 
of the cell fell o])en, and a convict who dragged a chain at his 
leg pushed in a piece of bread and a can of water. At eleven 
warders came and led him to an office on the world side of an 
inner iron gate, where a military magistrate sat with his as- 
sistants to ])repare papers for the public trial. 

" iS^amc ? " said the magistrate, and the assistant read 
from a ledger. 

" Bruno Rocco, sculptor's assistant, 14, Piazza Navona, 
violent resistance to the authorities and wounding ijarious 
soldiers." 

"Is this the man who lives in the house with the Dep- 
uty Rossi ? " 

" The same." 

" Look here, my good fellow. You seem to be an honest 
man. Tell me, where is your friend the Deputy?" 

" Find out for yourself," said Bruno. 

" Silence ! " cried the warder. 

" What do you mean by answering the magistrate like 
that ? " said the assistant. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 399 

" I mean that I'm not in swaddling clothes, and he mustn't 
try to stuff me with pap," said Bruno. 

" Put him in prison clothes, then, and feed him for two 
days on bread and water," said the magistrate. 

Bruno was taken to the bath, his own clothes were removed, 
and he was told to put on a suit made of coarse grey cloth with 
a broad black stripe. Then he was conducted to the court- 
yard for exercise. 

Tlie recreation ground, like the prison itself, was con- 
structed on the principle of a wheel. An armed warder stood 
on an elevated axle-tree, and the prisoners walked to and fro 
like caged bears in the space between the spokes. The wheel 
was in the open air and some of the sounds of the outer world 
came over the boundary walls. There was a convent school 
near by, and Bruno could hear the merry voices of the children 
:'t play. lie thought of Joseph and the iron entered into his 
soul. 

Late in the afternoon the Director sent for him, and he 
was taken to a little dark office by the inner iron gate at which 
the Governor of the prison receives the complaints of his pris- 
oners. 

" My man," said the Director, " it has just been put into 
my power to make you comfortable, but if you insult the mili- 
tary authorities I shall be compelled to withhold privileges and 
have recourse to severe measures." 

" Let the military authorities look out," said Bruno. " I've 
got friends who will take care of me." 

Back in the cell he thought of Elena. Poor girl! Poor 
mother! What would she be doing now? The funeral must 
take place soon, and she had next to no money. But Mr. Rossi 
would see to that. He would see to everything. God bless 
him ! God bless Elena ! God bless both of them ! 

The Battitori had made their midnight round, tl>e boy 
in the cell on the right was quiet, and Bruno was settling him- 
self to sleep Avhen he heard a low knocking on the wall at 
his left. 

" Who's there? " he shouted. 

There was a moment's silence, and then the knocking came 
again. 

" It's a prisoner trying to speak to me," thought Bruno. 
Somebody was being badly treated and wanted help. All at 
once he remembered what he had heard of the language of 
prisoners, the knocks that represent the letters of the alphabet. 



400 THE ETERNAL CITY 

and starting up he returned the signal. A moment afterwards 
he was talking easily to the occupant of the adjoining cell. 

" Long live anarchy," his neighbour knocked out, and Bruno 
replied, " Long live the revolution." 

" Are you Bruno Rocco ? " 

" Yes. Do I know you ? " 

" No." 

''Who arc you?" 

" I am . . . number 333, penal part." 

"Convict?" 

" Yes. Proof-reader ' Official Gazette.' Knew you by num- 
ber of your cell. Get to know everything. Read all about your 
child. Sorry for you. Not even chance of seeing poor boy 
buried." 

" Somebody outside will look to that." 

" Good. Anything I can do for you ? " 

" Get to know what Deputy Rossi is doing." 

"I will. Good-night!" 

"Good-night!" The correspondence ended with a salute 
of many knocks, and Bruno fell asleep. Next morning he was 
taken before the magistrate again. 

" Bruno Rocco," said the magistrate, " you know you are 
guilty, and if you get ten years' seclusion it will be no less 
than you may expect. But you didn't belong to the directing 
set and if you will be a sensible man and help us in this difficult 
inquiry we may be able by the clemency of the King to do 
something for you. Come now, can you tell us who was the 
chief cause of this riot ? " 

" Of course I can," said Bruno. 

"Good! Who was it?" 

"Mr. Hunger! . . . You don't know him! And yet he is 
your neighbour and lives next door." 

Bruno laughed until the room rang. The magistrate bit 
his lip. 

" My good man, you don't seem to be aware that we are not 
your fellow prisoners, and that under military law we can 
order you to be flogged." 

" And you don't seem to be aware that I'm not one of the 
oysters of Italy, and that all the flogging you can inflict won't 
open my mouth." 

" Let's try it," said the magisti-ate, and contrary to regula- 
tions, Bruno was taken out and flogged. He did not flinch or 
utter a sound. 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 401 

" Courage ! " said the chaplain, as Bruno, giddy and dazed, 
looked up at the sky, and with an air of defiance staggered 
back to his cell. 



XVI 

It was the third night after the riot. The Battitori had 
made the first of their nightly rounds and Bruno was still 
awake. He was waiting for the knocking from the adjoining 
wall. It came at last in low beats. 

" Are you there ? " 

" Yes." 

" Been lashed, haven't you ? " 

" No matter ! They'll pay for it all some day." 

" Heard the news ? " 

"What?" 

" Eossi's gone." 

"Gone?" 

" Fled to England . . . Fact. In to-night's ' Gazette.' It's 
all over the prison." 

" But that's the very man I was looking to . . ." 

" Thought so." 

" And who is to bury my poor little . . ." 

" The public buriers will see to that." 

Measured steps in the corridor interrupted the knocking and 
the conversation came to an end. Bruno did not sleep. Gloomy 
and bitter thoughts were taking possession of him and he 
walked up and down in the darkness. A few minutes after five 
in the morning his neighbour knocked again. 

" Wasn't pretty, Rossi going away." 

" That's all right. Glad he has escaped." 

" How escaped ? Being Deputy he was in no danger of 
being arrested. Must be something else." 

"What else?" 

" You ought to know best . . . Any woman in the wind ? " 

" Hold hard, sonny." 

" All right. Heard there was, though. Sorry for you, 
old fellow. Anything else I can do for you? Have safe 
m,eans of correspondence. Want any news from outside ? " 

" Yes. Where's my wife, and has she enough to go on with, 
and what did she do about the funeral ? " 

" I'll see to it. . . . There's the voice of God going." 



402 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The " voice of God " was the bell which announced nine 
o'clock and the distribution of bread and water. 

The poison had entered into Bruno's soul, and unworthy 
thoughts about Elena began to rise in his heart. At eleven 
o'clock the warder came to say that some one was there to 
inquire into his case. It was the Lawyer Napoleon Fuselli. 
Bruno saw him in an office above the altar in the Rotunda. 
There was an oval glass panel in the door, and throughout the 
interview a warder walked to and fro on the iron landing out- 
side and looked into the room at intervals. 

" I am instructed to defend you," said the lawyer. 

"Who by?" 

" Donna Roma, your former employer." 

But the poison had done its work and Bruno's soul was filled 
with suspicions. Why Donna Roma ? Did she want to get him 
out of prison in order that he might watch his wife? The 
lawyer could make nothing of him. 

" I'll see you again," said the advocate, and Bruno was taken 
back to his cell. There he brooded over the idea that had taken 
possession of him until every tender word that Rossi had 
si)oken to Elena seemed to leap to his memory. He hated 
himself for his evil thoughts, yet he could not banish them. 
" I'm a fool, they're like brother and sister," he told himself, 
but peace would not come. That night the knocking came 
again. 

" Are you asleep ? " 

" No." 

" Had an answer from outside." 

" Drop it, sonny. I've had enough." 

" All right. That's the best way to take it." 

"Take what?" 

" She's gone ! " 

Bruno did not knock his reply. He shouted it. 

" Elena ! " 

" Hush ! Do you want to go into the punishment cells ? " 

" What did you say ? " 

" Your . . . wife . . . is . . . gone." 

" Where to ? " 

" Nobody knows. People say to England." 

" It's a lie . . . The man was the same to me as my own 
brother." 

" Don't think of it. Sleep well. Good-night ! " 

"PerChristo! . . . Gone! . . . To England!" 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 403 

Bruno was ensnared, and next morning he rang the bell on 
his door and demanded to see the Director. 

" How long am I to be kept here before my case comes on ? " 
he asked. 

" Until the magistrates are ready to make the preliminary 
examinations," answered the Director. 

" Is there no limit of time ? Do innocent men never go 
mad while they are waiting for their trials ? " 

" My good fellow," said the Director, " take my advice, do 
what is wanted of you, and your case may be completed soon. 
Go on as you are going and God knows how long it will last." 

" Meantime you are treating a citizen as if he were con- 
demned to the gallows." 

" Silence! " cried the warder. 

" Silence yourself," cried Bruno, and he pushed the warder 
with his elbow. 

" This man is always violent, Cavaliere," said the warder, 
whereupon the Director ordered four days in the ijunishmeut 
cells. 

XVII 

The punishment cells are in a separate building, across the 
courtyard, and on the edge of the i^rison grounds. Beyond the 
high walls are narrow lanes in which armed sentries pace day 
and night. The beautiful green hill of the Janiculum, where 
people walk for pleasure, rises at the back, while immediately 
in front the muddy and turbulent waters of the Tiber surge and 
race. Prisonei-s in punishment cells can hear the band when it 
plays operatic music on the Pincio, and also the deep boom- 
ing of the bell of St. Peter's when it rings for prayers. 

The door of Bruno's cell was marked " Special, four days 
bread and water." During the first night in his new quarters 
the prisoner seemed to be alone, but on the second night he 
heard footsteps in the corridor mingled, with the clank of 
chains. The door of an adjoining cell was opened and closed, 
and Bruno knew he had a neighbour. In the silence of that 
night a low voice in the darkness seemed to be speaking at 
his ear. 

"ITelloa there!" 

"Who is it?" 

"Ilush! Be quiet if you don't want the strait-waistcoat." 

" Where are you ? " 



404 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" In the next cell of course. But there's a hole under the 
bed that we can talk through." 

" Where have I heard your voice before ? " said Bruno. 

"My voice . . . Nowhere. You've heard my knocking 
though. I'm 333. Tried to escape last night. Got nabbed, 
and here I am again. News for you." 

"What is it?" 

"Kossi's been telling them in London that he did every- 
thing he could to prevent bloodshed, and if it hadn't been for 
the intemperance of some drunken followers . . ," 

"Did he say that?" 

" Afraid he did." 

A cry like a groan mixed with blood came from Bruno's 
throat. 

" Isn't pretty, is it ? Especially if it's true that while you 
are locked up here he is enjoying himself in England with an- 
other man's wife." 

" In the name of heaven . . ." 

" But that's a lie, isn't it ? " 

" Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Who knows ? " 

Two days passed. Bruno spent them in uttering blas- 
phemies and dashing himself against the walls of his cell. The 
Lawyer Napoleon Fuselli came again, but Bruno refused to 
answer his questions and talked vaguely of treachery. Old 
Francesca and the Garibaldian were allowed to see him, but 
he only asked them if it was the fact that Elena had gone. 

At length the Director sent for him. It was late at night 
and the interview took place in the private office attached to 
the punishment cells. There was a certain agitation in the 
Director's manner, such as comes to a good man when he is 
doing a bad action. 

" My poor fellow," he said, " I'm grieved for you. No doubt 
you thought you were joining in a good work, while in fact you 
were sacrificing yourself to men who have since deserted you. 
Why should you persist in a useless silence which will only 
condemn you to a long imprisonment when by speaking the 
truth you may save yourself from further suffering? And 
though a pardon may be difficult to obtain, yet I pledge my 
word that if you are condemned . . ." 

" Hold hard, sir. Let's speak plainly," said Bruno. " You 
want me to denounce Mr. Rossi, don't you? I'm pretty bad, 
but I've not come to that yet, and be damned to you." 

" Silence ! " shouted the warder, and he struck Bruno across 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 405 

the mouth. At the next moment the warder was on the ground, 
the Director had whistled, other warders had assembled, and 
Bruno was being handcuffed. 

" The strait-waistcoat for twenty-four hours," said the Di- 
rector, and Bruno was hustled into his cell. 

The strait-waistcoat is a stiff piece of rough canvas reaching 
to the knees and laced down the back with the arms tightened 
about the body. In this instrument of torture Bruno rolled 
on the floor until sleep brought him relief. When he awoke 
he heard the slow booming of the bell of St. Peter's and knew 
it was morning. 

Bad as was his bodily suffering his mental anguish was 
worse. All at once a light shot through his brain. He was 
thinking of a bottle which he always carried about with him. 
It was a bottle of prussic acid, and on changing his clothes he 
had smuggled it into one of his boots. He could feel it there 
now, and no charm worn about the neck of a woman ever 
brought such a sense of safety. Since Joseph was dead and 
Elena gone and Rossi had betrayed him there was nothing left 
but to die. 

That night after the strait-waistcoat had been removed 
Bruno took the bottle out of his boot, uncorked it, and tested 
the measure of its contents. The phial was full, not a drop 
had been wasted. And being able to free himself at pleasure 
from torments which had driven him to despair, he felt calmer, 
and his sufferings became more supportable. 

" After the Battitori," he thought, and with an easier mind 
he waited for midnight. It seemed to come very soon. There 
was the usual tramp of feet in the corridor, the usual click 
of the lock, the usual flash of light from a smoky lantern, the 
usual rat-tat-tat on the iron bars of the window, and the usual 
clang of the double doors of the cell. The deep boom of the 
bell of St. Peter's was rumbling off into that mysterious silence 
which is the frontier of the country called the Past. Midnight 
was gone, life was over. 

Bruno rose from his plank bed, and uncorked the bottle 
again. The flogging, the strait-waistcoat and the bread and 
water which had helped to break down his intellect and his 
soul had reduced his body also. Lights danced before his eyes 
in the darkness, and he could hardly stand erect. At that mo- 
ment he hated all the world, but remembering that he was leav- 
ing for ever he tried to conquer his bitterness. 

" Good-bye, Elena ! And David Rossi, adieu to you too ! 



406 THE ETERNAL CITY 

You've done me many a good turn, but by God I'm even with 
you at last." 

He laughed aloud as he thought like this, a delirious laugh, 
and at the next moment somebody was calling to him. 

" Bruno." It was the neighbour of the next cell. 

"Well?" 

" What are you laughing at ? " 

" Nothing." 

" You're a fool. The guard told me what happened last 
night. Think of a man having a chance of getting out of a 
hole like this, and not going ! You'll be sent to Porto Longone 
after your trial, and the guards can't be humane with you 
there because they have instructions to be severe. Say half a 
word and down you go like the ball on St. Ignazio's at the 
twelve o'clock gun. Awful place. Built on a rock bristling 
with cannon, and with five iron-clads beneath." 

Bruno laughed again, an insane and mocking laugh. 

" Besides, isn't it worth something to get even with a 
man who has deceived you ? If it were my case, the prison isn't 
built that would hold me until I had squared accounts." 

" Good-night, old chap." 

" You've only to say the word, so to speak, and out you go." 

" Shut up, sonny. You don't know. They wanted me to 
denounce him ? " 

" And why not ? He is gone, isn't he ? They only want to 
keep him away." 

" But what am I to denounce him for ? " 

" Anything. Find out what they want you to say, and say 
it. What's the odds. . . . Get out, you fool, and go to Eng- 
land." 

There was a cruel moment of hesitation and distress. Then 
the bottle went back to Bruno's boot, and his tortures came 
again. As the clocks chimed 12.30 he rang the bell on his door 
and asked to see the Director. 

" I have an urgent communication to make to him — I want 
to confess," he said. 

No sooner had he taken this decisive step than he repented 
and wished to draw back. It was too late. The Director had 
been awakened and Bruno was summoned to his room. 

Going down the corridors with a warder on either side, 
Bruno was like a man reduced to imbecility. The sleeping 
prison was very quiet and only the echo of the footsteps of the 
three men broke the silence with a hollow and sepulchral 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 407 

sound. As tliey passed through the iron gate beyond the altar 
and confessional boxes a cold rush of fresh night air came into 
their faces from the world without. 

The Director received Bruno with cordial expressions, and 
asked him what he had to communicate. He did not know. 
He looked as if he had lost his memory. The chief warder, 
who was present, consulted a letter, and silently handed it to 
the Director. After the Director had glanced at the letter he 
said to Bruno, 

" My good fellow, I see what you wish to say, but not being 
a scholar no doubt you have difficulties in saying it. Therefore 
the chief warder will write a statement to my dictation and 
if it expresses your intention you will sign." 

Bruno, who made no answer, continued to stand with a stu- 
pid expression between the warders while the Director dictated 
and the chief warder wrote. 

" I, Bruno Rocco, sculptor's assistant, 14, Piazzo Xavona, 
now under arrest at Regina Coeli, and awaiting trial for par- 
ticipation in the riot of the 1st of February, do hereby sol- 
emnly declare that the said riot was instigated by a true and 
proper revolutionary organisation, with the object of violently 
changing the constitution and the government, and dethron- 
ing and assassinating the King, that the chief centre of rebel- 
lion was the association known as the ' Republic of Man,' and 
the directing mind was the Deputy David Rossi." 

Bruno brushed his sleeve across his eyes. " Hold hard. 
What's going on ? " he said. 

" A good action is going on," said the Director. " As a 
Roman citizen you are exposing a conspiracy, and denouncing 
an enemy of the constitution and the King. Listen ! The next 
clause will be an appeal for the clemency of the Court, and, in 
the event of condemnation, a petition for pardon to the Keeper 
of the Seals. You sign the paper and all is over." 

Bruno signed it. Then he was removed to a cell reserved 
for paying prisoners. Going back through the corridors he 
walked like a blind man, and one of the warders took hold of 
him. 

XVIII 

Fresh eggs and salad were brought to Bruno for breakfast 
next morning, but he could not eat. It was Saturday. On 
Sunday at eleven o'clock the priest came to say mass and to 



408 THE ETERNAL CITY 

hear confessions. The altar, a movable structure, was drawn 
out from the wall and put to stand in the middle of the Ro- 
tunda, so that it could be seen from every corridor of the 
wheel-shaped prison. Then the doors of the cells were opened 
about six inches and fastened with an iron hasp. By this means 
the prisoners inside could see the priest. 

It was a touching spectacle. To the eye of God who shall 
say how piteous? The long lines of doors ajar, each with its 
kneeling form and drooping head. Twelve hundred human 
wrecks from the ocean of life, none seeing another, and all look- 
ing towards the lighted altar. The sun was shining on the 
world without and a stray sunbeam from a skylight overhead 
made rolling clouds of the ascending incense. 

Bruno leaned against the door and tried to follow the mass. 
At first he was unable to do so. He saw the consecration but 
he did not lower his head. He was like a man who had lost 
something and could not tell what. He had lost his soul. 

But after the last gospel came the prayers that are said 
together by priest and people. The voices of Bruno's fellow 
prisoners fell on his ear like the rumble of waves on a long sea- 
shore, and stirred something within him that had been lying 
asleep. The words he had said so often, yet thought so little 
about until now, the sublime words in which the poor unseen 
beings about him invoked the pity of heaven came to him with 
a new meaning. 

" Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweet- 
ness and our hope, unto thee we cry, the exiled children of Eve, 
to thee we sigh, moaning and weeping in this vale of tears . . . 
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary — Amen." 

Bruno dropped to his knees and covered his eyes and wept. 

At twelve o'clock the convict who served out the food 
brought him boiled lamb and egg-gravy, instead of soup, but 
again he could not eat. At 2.30 there was a great shuffling of 
feet in the corridors. It was the bi-monthly visiting hour, and 
prisoners were being taken to see their friends. To Bruno's 
surprise a warder came to say that a friend was asking for him 
also. Reluctantly, and with a growl, Bruno got up to go to 
the visiting-room. 

The visiting-room of Regina Coeli is constructed on the 
principle of a rat-trap. It is an oblong room divided into 
three compartments longitudinally, the partition walls being 
composed of wire and resembling cages. The middle compart- 
ment is occupied by the armed warder in charge who walks 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 409 

up and down; the compartment on the prison side is divided 
into many narrow boxes each occupied by a prisoner, and 
the compartment on the world side is similarly divided into 
sections each occupied by a visitor. 

When Bruno entered this room he was deafened by a roar of 
voices. Thirty prisoners and as many of their friends were try- 
ing to talk at the same time across the compartment in the 
middle, in which the warder was walking. Each batch of 
friends and prisoners had fifteen minutes for their interview 
and everybody was shouting so as to be heard above the rest. 

Being pushed into a box Bruno saw a face in the corre- 
sponding section at the other side of the two wire partitions. 
After a moment he recognised his visitor. It was Donna Roma. 
He did not speak to her, and she did not attempt to speak 
to him. Then he saw that she was adressing the warder, who 
saluted and disappeared. 

A feeling of moral and physical nausea had taken possession 
of Roma when she was shown into this place. After some 
minutes of the hellish tumult she had asked to see the Director. 
The message was taken upstairs, and the Director came down 
to speak to her. 

" Do you expect me to speak to my friend in this place and 
under these conditions ? " she asked. 

" It is the usual place, and these are the usual conditions," 
he answered. 

" If you are unable to allow me to speak to him in some 
other place, under some other conditions, I must go to the 
Minister of the Interior." 

The Director bowed. " That will be unnecessary," he said. 
" There is a room reserved for special circumstances," and, 
calling a warder, he gave the necessary instructions. He was 
a good man in the toils of a vicious system. 

A few minutes afterwards Roma was alone in a small bare 
room with Bruno, except for two warders who stood in the 
door. She was shocked at the change in him. His cheeks 
which used to be full and almost florid were shrunken and pale ; 
a short grizzly beard had grown over his chin; and his eyes 
which had been frank and humorous were fierce and evasive. 
Six weeks in prison had made another man of him, and like a 
dog who has been changed by sickness and neglect he knew it 
and growled. 

" What do you want with me ? " he said angrily, as Roma 
looked at him without speaking. 
27 



410 THE ETERNAL CITY 

She flushed and begged his pardon, and at that his jaw 
trembled and he turned his head away. 

" I trust you received the note I sent in to you, Bruno ? " 
she said. 

"When? What note?" 

" On the day after your arrest, saying your dear ones should 
be cared for and comforted." 

" And were they ? " 

" Yes. Then you didn't receive it? " 

" I was under punishment from the first." 

" I also paid for a separate cell with food and light. Did 
you get that ? " 

" No, I was nearly all the time on bread and water." 

His sulkiness was breaking down and he was showing some 
agitation. She lifted her large dark eyes on him and said in 
a soft voice: 

" Poor Bruno ! No wonder they have made you say things." 

His jaw trembled more than ever. " No use talking of 
that," he said. 

" Mr. Rossi will be the first to feel for you." 

" I don't want to talk of it, I tell you." 

" Ah, Bruno, do not deceive your soul." 

He turned his head and looked at her with a look of pity. 
" She doesn't know," he thought. " Why should I tell her ? 
After all she's in the same case as myself. What hurts me will 
hurt her. She has been good to me. Why should I make her 
suifer?" 

" H they've told you falsehoods, Bruno, in order to play on 
your jealousy and inspire revenge . . ." 

"Where's Rossi?" he said sharply. 

"In England." 

"And Where's Elena?" 

"I don't know." 
He wagged his poor head with a wag of wisdom, and for a 
moment his clouded and stupefied brain was proud of itself. 

" It was wrong of Elena to go away without saying where 
she was going to, and Mr. Rossi is in despair about her." 

"You believe that?" 

" Indeed I do." 

These words staggered him and he felt mean and small com- 
pared to this woman. " If she can believe in them why can't 
I ? " he thought. But after a moment he smiled a pitiful smile 
and said largely, " You don't know. Donna Roma. But I do 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 411 

and they don't hoodwink me. A poor fellow here — a convict, 
he works on the ' Gazette ' and hears all the news — he told me 
everything." 

" What's his name ? " said Roma. 

" Number 333, penal part. He used to occupy the next 
cell." 

" Then you never saw his face ? " 

" No, but I heard his voice, and I could have sworn I 
knew it." 

" Was it the voice of Charles Minghelli ? " 

" Charles Ming—" 

" Time's up," said one of the warders at the door, 

" Bruno," said Roma, rising. " I know that Charles Min- 
ghelli who is now an agent of the police has been in this prison 
in the disguise of a prisoner. I also know that after he was 
dismissed from the embassy in London he asked Mr. Rossi to 
assist him to assassinate the Prime Minister." 

Bruno was pressing his head between his hands and thinking 
of the cowardice and baseness of his conduct. 

" Right about," cried the warder, and with a bewildered 
expression the prisoner turned to go. Roma followed him 
through the open courtyard, and until he reached the iron 
gate he did not lift his head. Then he faced round with eyes 
full of tears, but full of fire as well, and raising one arm he 
cried in a resolute voice: 

" All right, sister ! Leave it to me, damn me ! I'll see it 
through." 

" My brother," she answered, " tell all." 

The private visiting-room had one disadvantage. Every 
word that passed was repeated to the Director. Later the same 
day the Director wrote to the Royal Commissioner : 

" Sorry to say the man Rocco has asked for an interview to 
retract his denunciation. I have refused it and he has been 
violent with the chief warder. But inspired by a sentiment of 
justice I feel it my duty to warn you that I have been misled, 
that my instructions have been badly interpreted, and that 
I cannot hold myself responsible for the document I sent you." 

The Commissioner sent this letter on to thejilinister of the 
Interior, who immediately called up the Chief of Police. 

" Commendatore," said the Baron, " what was the offence 
for which young Charles Minghelli was dismissed from the 
service in London ? " 

" He was suspected of forgery, your Excellency." 



412 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" The warrant for his arrest was drawn out but never exe- 
cuted?" 

" That is so, and we still hold it at the office." 

" Commendatore ! " 

" Your Excellency ? " 

" Let the papers that were taken at the domiciliary visita- 
tion in the apartments of Deputy Rossi, and his man Bruno be 
gone through again — let Minghelli go through them. You 
follow me ? " 

" Perfectly, Excellency." 

" Let your Delegate see if there is not a letter among them 
from Eossi to Bruno's wife — you understand? " 

" I do." 

" If such a letter can be found let it be sent to the Under 
Prefect to add to his report for to-morrow's trial, and let the 
public prosecutor read it to the prisoner." 

" It shall be done, your Excellency." 



XIX 

At eight o'clock the next morning Roma was going into the 
courtyard of the Castle of St. Angelo when she met the car- 
riage of the Prime Minister coming out. The coachman was 
stopped from inside, and the Baron himself alighted. 

" You look tired, my child," he said. 

" I am tired," she answered. 

" Ilardly more than a month, yet so many things have 
happened ! " 

" Oh that ! That's nothing — nothing whatever." 

" Why should you pass through these privations ? Roma, if 
I allowed these misfortunes to befall you it was only to let you 
feel what others could do for you. But I am the same as ever, 
and you have only to stretch out your hand and I am here to 
lighten your lot." 

"All that is over now. It is no use speaking as you spoke 
before. You are talking to another woman." 

" Strange njystery of a woman's love ! That she who set 
out to destroy her slanderer should become his slave! If he 
were only worthy of it ! " 

" He is worthy of it ! " 

" If you should hear that he is not worthy — that he has 
even been untrue to you ? " 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 413 

"I should think it a falsehood, a contemptible falsehood." 

" But if you had proof, substantial proof, the proof of his 
own pen? . . ." 

" Good-morning ! I must go." 

" My child, what have I always told you ? You will give the 
man up at last and carry out your first intentions." 

With a deep bow and a scarcely perceptible smile the Baron 
turned to the open door of his carriage. Roma flushed up 
angrily and went on, but not before the poisoned arrow had 
gone home. 

The military tribunal had begun its session. A ticket which 
Roma presented at the door admitted her to the well of the 
court where the advocates were sitting. The advocate Fuselli 
made a place for her by his side. It was a quiet moment and 
her entrance had attracted attention. The judges in the red 
arm-chairs at the green-covered horse-shoe table looked up from 
their portfolios, and there was some whispering beyond the 
wooden bar where the public were huddled together. One other 
face had followed her, but at first she dared not look at that. 
It was the face of the prisoner in his prison clothes sitting be- 
tween two Carabineers. 

The secretary was reading the indictment. Bruno was not 
only charged with participation in the riot of the first of 
February, but also with being a promoter of associations de- 
signed to change violently the constitution of the state. It was 
a long document and the secretary read it slowly and not very 
distinctly. In the silence and solemnity of the court other 
sounds penetrated the thick sandstone walls of the gloomy 
chamber. At inteiwals one could hear as a monotonous under- 
tone the tramp of a company of soldiers who were drilling in 
the courtyard, and the sharp calls of their commanding officer. 
The atmosphere was altogether military. Except the advocate 
Fuselli every official in court was in uniform. Some had 
epaulettes and some wore decorations. The differences of 
wristbands, red, gold, blue, showed the differences of rank and 
regiment. 

When the indictment came to an end the Public Prosecutor 
rose to expound the accusation and to mention the clauses of 
the Code under which the prisoner's crime had to be considered. 
He was a young captain of cavalry with restless eyes and a 
twirled up moustache. His long cloak hung over his chair, 
his light gloves lay on the table by his side, and his sword 
clanked as he made graceful gestures. He was an elegant 



414 TEE ETERNAL CITY 

speaker much preoccupied about beautiful phrases, and obvi- 
ously anxious to conciliate the jvidges. 

" Illustrious gentlemen of the tribunal," he began, and then 
went on to a compliment to the King, a flourish to the name 
of the Prime Minister, a word of praise to the army, and finally 
a scathing satire on the subversive schemes and associations 
which it was desired to set up in place of existing institutions. 
The most crushing denunciation of the delii-ious idea which 
had led to the unhappy insurrection was the crude explanation 
of its aims. A universal republic founded on the principles 
enunciated in the Lord's prayer! Thrones, armies, navies, 
frontiers, national barriers, all to be abolished! So simple! 
So easy! So childlike! But alas so absurd! So entirely 
oblivious of the great principles of political economy and in- 
ternational law and of impulses and instincts profoundly sculp- 
tured in the heart of man ! 

After various little sallies which made his fellow officers 
laugh and the judges smile, the showy person wiped his big 
moustache with a silk handkerchief, and came to Bruno. This 
ixnhappy man was not one of the greater delinquents who by 
their intelligence had urged on the ignorant crowd. He was 
merely a silly and. perhaps drunken person who if taken away 
from the wine-shop and put into uniform would make a valiant 
soldier. The creature was one of the human dogs of our 
curious species. His political faith was inscribed with one 
word only — Rossi. He would not ask a severe punishment on 
such a deluded being, but he would request the Court to con- 
sider the case as a means of obtaining proof against the dark if 
foolish minds (fit subjects for Lombroso) which are always 
putting the people into opposition with their King, their con- 
stitution, and the great heads of the Government. 

The sword clanked again as the young soldier sat down. 
Then for the first time Roma looked over at Bruno. His big 
rugged face was twisted into an expression of contempt, and 
somehow the human dog of our curious species, sitting in his 
prison clothes between the soldiers, made the elegant officer look 
like a little pet pug. 

" Bruno Rocco, stand up," said the president. " You are 
a Roman, aren't you ? " 

" Yes, I am- — I'm a Roman of Rome," said Bruno. 

The witnesses were called. First a Carabineer to prove 
Bruno's violence. Then another Carabineer, and another, and 
another, with the same object. After each of the Carabineers 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 415 

had given bis evidence the president asked the prisoner if he 
had any questions to ask of the witnesses. 

" None whatever. What they say is true. I admit it," he 
said. 

At last he grew impatient and cried out, " I admit it, I tell 
you. What's the good of going on ? " 

The next witness was the Chief of Police. Gommendatore 
•Angelelli w'as called to prove that the cause of the revolt was 
not the dearness of bread but the formation of subversive asso- 
ciations, of which the " Republic of Man " was undoubtedly the 
strongest and most virulent. The prisoner, however, was not 
one of the directing set, and the police knew him only as a 
sort of watchdog for the Honourable Rossi. 

" The man's a fool. Why don't you go on with the trial ? " 
cried Bruno. 

" Silence," cried the usher of the court, but the prisoner 
only laughed out loud. 

Roma looked at Bruno again. There was something about 
the man which she had never seen before, something more than 
the mere spirit of defiance, something terrible and tremendous. 

" Francesea Maria Mariotti," cried the usher, and the old 
deaf mother of Bruno's wife was brought into court. She 
wore a coloured handkerchief on her head, as usual, and two 
shawls over her shoulders, but looked cold and nervous. Being 
a relative of the prisoner she was not sworn. 

" Your name and yovir father's name ? " said the president. 

" Francesea Maria Mariotti," she answered. 

" I said your father's name." 

" Seventy-five, your Excellency." 

" I asked you for your father's name." 

" None at all, your Excellency." 

A Carabineer explained that the woman was nearly stone 
deaf, whereupon the president, who was irritated by the laugh- 
ter his questions had provoked, ordered the woman to be re- 
moved. 

" Tommaso Mariotti," cried the usher, and the Garibaldian, 
wearing his usual red shirt, came into court. 

"Tommaso Mariotti," said the president, after the prelim- 
inary interrogations, " you are a porter at the Piazza Xavona, 
and will be able to say if meetings of political associations were 
held there, if the prisoner took part in them, and who were the 
organising authorities. Now answer me, were meetings ever 
held in your house ? " 



416 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The old man turned his pork-pie hat in his hand and made 
no answer. 

" Answer me. We cannot sit here all day doing nothing." 

" It's the eternal city, Excellency — ^we can take our time," 
said the old man. 

" Answer the president instantly," said the usher. " Don't 
you know he can punish you if you don't?" 

At that the Garibaldian's eyes became moist and he looked 
at the judges. " Generals," he said, " I am only an old man, 
not much good to anybody, but I was a soldier myself once. I 
Avas one of the ' Thousand,' the ' Brave Thousand ' they called 
us, and I shed my blood for my country. Now I am more than 
threescore years and ten and the rest of my days are numbered. 
Do you want me for the sake of what is left of them, to betray 
my comrades ? " 

" Next witness," said the president, and at the same mo- 
ment a thick half-stifled voice came fi-om the bench of the 
accused. 

" Why the don't you go on with the trial ? " 

" Prisoner," said the president, " if you continue to make 
these interruptions I shall stop the trial and order you to 
be flogged." 

Bruno answered Avitli a peal of laughter. The president — 
he was a bald-headed man with the heavy jaAv of a blood- 
hound — looked at him attentively for a moment, and then 
said, to the men below : 

" Go on." 

The next Avitness Avas the Director of Regina Coeli. He 
deposed that the prisoner had made a statement to him which 
he had taken down in writing. This statement amounted to a 
denunciation of the Deputy David Rossi as the real author 
of the crime of which he with others was being charged. 

After the denunciation had been read the president asked 
the prisoner if he had any questions to put to the Avitness, and 
thereupon Bruno cried in a loud voice : 

" Of course I have. It is exactly what I've been wait- 
ing for." 

He had risen to his feet, kicked over a chair Avhich stood 
in front of him and folded his arms across his breast. 

" Ask him," said Bruno, " if he sent for me late at night 
and promised me my pardon if I would denounce David Rossi." 

" It was not so," said the Director. " All I did was to ad- 
vise him not to observe a useless silence which could only con- 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 41Y 

demn him to further imprisonment if by speaking the truth 
he could save himself and serve the interests of justice." 

" Ask him," said Bruno, " if the denunciation he speaks of 
was not dictated by himself." 

" The prisoner," said the Director, " made the denunciation 
voluntarily and I rose from my bed to receive it at his urgent 
request." 

" Ask him if I said one word to denounce David Eossi." 

" The prisoner had made statements to a fellow prisoner, 
and these were embodied in the document he signed." 

The advocate Fuselli interposed. " Then the Court is to 
understand that the Director who dictated this denunciation 
knew nothing from the prisoner himself ? " 

The Director hesitated, stammered, and finally admitted 
that it was so. " I was inspired by a sentiment of justice," he 
said. " I acted from duty." 

" This man fed me on bread and water," cried Bruno. 
" He put me in the punishment cells and tortured me in the 
strait-waistcoat with pains and sufferings like Jesus Christ's, 
and when he had reduced my body and destroyed my soul he 
dictated a denunciation of my dearest friend and my uncon- 
scious fingers signed it." 

" Don't shout so loud," said the president. 

" I'll shout as loud as I like," said Bruno, and everybody 
turned to look at him. It was useless to protest. Something 
seemed to say that no power on earth could touch a man in a 
mood like that. 

The next witness was the chief warder. He deposed that 
he was present at the denunciation, that it was made volun- 
tarily, and that no pressure whatever was put upon the 
prisoner. 

" Ask him," cried Bruno, " if on Sunday afternoon when 
I went into his cabinet to withdraw the denunciation he re- 
fused to let me." 

" It is not true," said the witness. 

" You liar," cried Bruno, " you know it is true, and 
when I told you that you were making me drag an innocent 
man into the galleys I struck you, and the mark of my fist is 
on your forehead still. There it is, as red as a cardinal, while 
the rest of your face is as white as a Pope." 

The president no longer tried to restrain Bruno. There 
was something in the man's face that was beyond reproof. It 
was the outraged spirit of Justice. 



418 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The chief warder went on to say that at various times he 
had received reports that Koceo was communicating important 
facts to a fellow prisoner. . . , 

" Where is this fellow prisoner ? Is he at the disposition 
of the Court ? " said the president. 

" I'm afraid he has since been set at liberty," said the wit- 
ness, Avhereupon Bruno laughed uproariously and pointing to 
some one in the well, he shouted : 

" There he is — there ! The dandy in cuffs and collar. His 
name is Minghelli." 

" Call him," said the president, and Minghelli was sworn 
and examined. 

" Until recently you were a prisoner in Kegina Coeli, and 
have just been pardoned for public services." 

" That is true, your Excellency." 

" It's a lie," cried Bruno. 

Minghelli leaned on the witness's chair, caressed his small 
moustache and told his story. He had occupied the next cell 
to the prisoner, and talked with him in the usual language of 
prisoners. The prisoner had spoken of a certain great man 
and then of a certain great act, and that the great man had 
gone to England to prepare for it. He understood the great 
man to be the Deputy Rossi and the great act to be the over- 
throw of the constitution and the assassination of the King. 

" You son of a priest," cried Bruno, " you lie ? " 

" Bruno liocco," said the president, " do not agitate your- 
self. You are under the protection of the law. Be calm and 
tell us your own story." 

XX 

" Your Excellency," said Bruno, " this man is a witness by 
profession and he was put into the next cell to torture me and 
make me denounce my friends. I didn't see his face, and I 
didn't know who he was until afterwards, and so he tore me to 
pieces. He said he was a proof-reader on the ' Official Ga- 
zette ' and heard everything. When my heart was bleeding for 
the death of my poor little boy — only seven years of age, he 
was killed in the riot, your Excellency — he poisoned my mind 
about my wife, and said she had run away with Rossi. It was 
a lie, but I was brought down by flogging and bread and water 
and I believed it, because I was mad and my soul was exhausted 
and dead. But when I found out who he was I tried to take 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 419 

back my denunciation, and they wouldn't let me. Your Ex- 
cellency, I tell you the truth. Everybody should tell the truth 
here. I alone am guilty, and if I have accused anybody else I 
ask pardon of God. As for this man he is an assassin and I 
can prove it. He used to be at the Embassy in London and 
when he was sacked he came to Mr. Rossi and proposed to as- 
sassinate the Prime Minister. Mr. Rossi flung him out of the 
house, and that was the beginning of everything." 

" This is not true," said Minghelli, red as the gills of a 
turkey. 

" Isn't it? Give me the cross, and let me swear the man a 
liar," cried Bruno. 

Roma was breathing hard and rising to her feet, but the 
advocate Fuselli restrained her and rose himself. In six sen- 
tences he summarised the treatment of Bruno in prison and 
denounced it as worthy of the cruellest epochs of tyrannical 
domination, in which men otherwise honourable could become 
satyrs in order to save the dynasty and the institutions and to 
make their own careers. 

" Mr. President," he cried, " I call on you in the name of 
humanity to say that Justice in Italy has nothing to do with a 
barbaroTis system which aims at obtaining denunciations 
through jealousy and justice through revenge." 

The president was deeply moved. " I have made a solemn 
promise under the shadow of that venerable image," he ijointed 
to the effigy above him, " to administer justice in this case, and 
to the last I will do my duty." 

The Public Prosecutor rose again and obtained permission 
to interrogate the prisoner. 

" You say the witness Minghelli told you that your wife 
had fled with the Honourable Rossi ? " 

" He did, and it was a lie like all the rest of it." 

" How do you know it was a lie ? " 

Bruno made no answer, and the young officer took up a 
letter from his portfolio. 

" Do you know the Honourable Rossi's handwriting ? " 

" Do I know my own ugly fist ? " 

" Is that the Honourable Rossi's writing ? " said the officer, 
handing the envelope to the usher to be shown to Bruno. 

'^ It is," said Bruno. 

"Sure of it?" 

" Sure." 

" You see it is a letter addressed to your wife ? " 



420 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" I see. But you needn't go on washing the donkey's head. 
Mister — I know what you are getting at." 

" You must not speak like that to him, Rocco," said the 
president. " Remember, he is the honourable repesentative 
of the law." 

" Mustn't I, Excellency ? Then tell his honourableness that 
David Rossi and my wife are like brother and sister, and any- 
body who makes evil of that isn't stuff to take with a pair 
of tongs." 

Saying this, Bruno flung the envelope back on to the table. 

" Don't you want to read it ? " 

" Not I ! It's somebody else's correspondence, and I'm not 
an honourable representative of the law." 

" Then permit me to read it to you," said the Public Pros- 
ecutor, and taking the letter out of the envelope he began 
in a loud voice : 

" ' Dearest Elena . . .'" 

" That's nothing," Bruno interrupted. " They're like 
brother and sister, I tell you." 

The Public Prosecutor went on reading. 

" ' I continue to be overwhelmed with grief for the death 
of our poor little Joseph.' " 

" That's right! That's David. Rossi. He loved the boy the 
same as if he had been his own son. Go on." 

" '. . . Our child — your child — my child, Elena.' " 

" Nothing wrong there. Don't try to make mischief of 
that," cried Bruno. 

" ' But now that the boy is gone, and Bruno is in prison, 
perhaps for years, the obstacles must be removed which have 
hitherto prevented you from joining your life to mine and liv- 
ing for me, as I have always lived for you. Come to me then, 
my dear one, my beloved . . .' " 

Here Bruno, who had been stepping forward at every 
word, snatched the letter out of the Public Prosecutor's 
hand. 

" Stop that ! Don't go reading out of the back of your 
head," he cried. 

No one protested, everybody felt that whatever he did this 
injured man must be left alone. Roma felt a roaring in her 
ears and for some minutes she could scarcely command herself. 
In a vague way she was conscious of the same struggle in her 
own heart as was going on in the heart of Bruno. This, then, 
was what the Baron referred to when he spoke of Rossi being 



THE ROMAN OP ROME 421 

untrue to her, and of the proof of his disloyalty in his own 
handwriting. 

Bruno, who was running his eyes over the letter, read parts 
of it aloud in a low husky voice : 

" * And now that the boy is gone and Bruno is in pris- 
on .. . perhaps for years . . . the obstacles must be re- 
moved . . .' " 

He stopped, looked up, and stared about him. His face 
had undertaken an awful change. Then he returned to the 
letter and in jerky broken sentences he read again : 

" ' Come to me then . . . my dear one . . . my be- 
loved . . .' " 

Until that moment an evil spirit in Roma had been saying 
to her, in spite of herself, " Can it be possible that while you 
have been going through all those privations for his sake he 
has been consoling himself with another woman ? " Impossi- 
ble! The letter was a manifest imposture. She wouldn't be- 
lieve a word of it. 

But Bruno was still in the toils of his temptation. " Look 
here," he said, lifting a pitiful face. " What with the bread 
and water and the lashes I don't know that my head isn't light, 
and I'm fancying I see things . . ." 

The paper of the letter was crackling in his hand, and his 
husky voice was breaking. Save for these sounds and the 
tramp — tramp — tramp of the soldiers drilling outside, there 
was a dead silence in the court. 

" You are not fancying at all, Rocco," said the Public Pros- 
ecutor. " We are all sorry for you, and I am sure the illustrious 
gentlemen of the tribunal pity you. Your comrade, your mas- 
ter, the man you have followed and trusted, is false to you. He 
is a traitor to his friend, his covmtry, and his King. The de- 
nunciation you made in prison is true in substance and in fact. 
I advise you to adhere to it, and to cast yourself on the clem- 
ency of the court." 

" Here — you — shut up your head and let a man think," 
said Bruno. 

Roma tried to rise. She could not. Then she tried to cry 
out something, but her tongue clave to the roof of her mouth. 
Would Bruno break down at the last moment? 

Bruno, whose face was convulsed with agony, began to 
laugh in a delirious way. " So my friend is false to me, is 
he? Very well, I'll be revenged." 

He reeled a little and the letter dropped from his hand. 



422 THE ETERNAL CITY 

floated a moment in the air, and fell to the ground a pace or 
two further on. 

" Yes, by God, I'll be revenged," he cried, and he laughed 
again. 

He stooped, lifted one leg, seemed to pull at his boot, and 
again stood erect. 

" I always knew the hour would come when I should find 
myself in a tight place and I've always kept something about 
me to help me to get out of it. Here it is now." 

In an instant, before anyone could be aware of what he was 
doing, he had uncorked a small bottle which he held in his 
hand and swallowed the contents. 

" Long live David Rossi ! " he cried, and he flung the empty 
bottle over his head. 

Everybody was on his feet in a moment. It was too late. 
In thirty seconds the poison had begun its work, and Bruno 
was reeling in the arms of the Carabineers. Somebody called 
for a doctor. Somebody else called for a priest. 

" That's all right," said Bruno. " God is a good old saint. 
He'll look after a poor devil like me." Then he began to sing : 

" Tlie tombs are uncovered, 
The dead arise, 
The martyrs are rising 
Before our eyes. " 

" Long live David Rossi ! " he cried again, and at the next 
moment he was being carried out of court. 

In the tumult that ensued everybody was standing in the 
well of the judges' horse-shoe table. The deaf old woman, with 
her shawls slipping off her shoulders, was wringing her hands 
and crying. " God will think of this," she said. The Gari- 
baldian was gazing vacantly out of his rheumy eyes and saying 
nothing. Roma, who had recovered control of herself, was 
looking at the letter, which she had picked up from the floor. 

" Mr. President," she cried over the heads of the others, 
" this letter is not in Mr. Rossi's handwriting. It is a forgery. 
I am ready to prove it." 

At that moment one of the Carabineers came back to tell 
the judges that all was over. 

" Gone! " said one after another, more often with a motion 
of the mouth than with the voice. 

The president was deeply agitated. " This court stands 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 423 

adjourned," he said, " but I take the Almighty to witness that 
I intend to ascertain all responsibility in this case and to bring 
it home to the guilty ones, whosoever and whatsoever they 
may be." 

XXI 

" My dear David Rossi, — You will know all about it before 
this letter reaches you. It is one of those scandals of the law 
that are telegraphed to every part of the civilised world. Poor 
Bruno ! Yet no, not poor — great, glorious, heroic Bruno ! He 
ended like an old Roman and killed himself rather than betray 
his friend. When they played upon his jealousy, and tempted 
him by a forged letter, he cried, ' Long live David Rossi,' and 
died. Oh, it was wonderful. The memory of that moment 
will be with me always like the protecting and strengthening 
hand of God. I never knew until to-day what human nature is 
capable of. It is divine. 

" But how mean and little I feel when I think of all I 
went through in the court this morning! I was really going 
through the same tortures as Bruno, the same doubt and the 
same agony. And even when I saw through the whole miser- 
able machination of lying and duplicity I was actually in 
terror for Bruno lest he should betray you in the end. Betray 
you! His voice when he uttered that last cry rings in my 
ears still. It was a voice of triumph — triumph over deception, 
over temptation, over jealousy and over self. 

"Don't think, David Rossi, Ihat Bruno died of a broken 
heart, and don't think he went out of the world believing that 
you were false. I feel sure he came to that court with the full 
intention of doing what he did. All through the trial there was 
something in his bearing which left the impression of a pur- 
pose unrevealed. Evei-ybody felt it, and even the judges ceased 
to protest against his outbursts. The poor prisoner in convict 
clothes, with dishevelled hair and bare neck, made everyone 
else look paltry and small. Behind him was something mightier 
than himself. It was Death. Then remember his last cry, 
and ask yourself what he meant by it. He meant loyalty, love, 
faith, fidelity. He intended to say, ' You've beaten me, but no 
matter; I believe in him and follow him to the last.' 

"Recent and awful as all this is, I must not allow it to 
swamp all other interests. I must tell you what else is going 
on. To-night's Trihuna announces that Charles Minghelli is 



424 THE ETERNAL CITY 

under arrest. It is a real arrest this time, for forgery at the 
Embassy in London, not for participation in this infamous af- 
fair. Such are the means by which unscrupulous authorities 
discredit and dispose of their dangerous instruments after 
they have done with them ! Your Proclamation to the priests 
has made a profound impression. At eight o'clock on the morn- 
ing it appeared I was looking out of the window when a young 
priest api)roached a copy that was posted on the walls of the 
church opposite, and after glancing to right and left to make 
sure that he was not being watched, he stooped and kissed the 
paper. When I looked up again an hour afterwards the Proc- 
lamation was torn down. Clearly there is division in the camp 
even of the Vatican, although it is rumoured that the Holy 
Office is about to issue to certain bishops a rescript condemn- 
ing the ' Republic of Man ' and practically demanding the 
anathema against all Catholics throughout the world who con- 
tinue to belong to it. 

" As you see, I am here in your own quarters, but I keep in 
touch with ' Sister Angelica ' and still have no answer to my 
letter. I invent all manner of excuses to account for your 
silence. You are busy, you are on a journey, you are waiting 
for the right moment to reply to me at length. If I could only 
continue to think so, how happy I should be ! But I cannot 
deceive myself any longer. 

" It is perhaps natural that you should find it hard to for- 
give me, but you might at least write and put me out of sus- 
pense. I think you would do so if you knew how much I suffer. 
Your great soul cannot intend to torture me. To-night the 
burden of things is almost more than I can bear and I am 
nearly heart-broken. It is my dark hour, dearest, and if you 
had to say you could never forgive me, I think I could easier 
reconcile myself to that. I have been so happy since I began 
to love you, I shall always love you even if I have to lose you, 
and I shall never, never be sorry for anything that has occurred. 

" 'Not receiving any new letters from you, I am going back 
on the old ones, and there is a letter of only two months ago 
in which you speak of just such a case as mine. May I quote 
what you say ? 

" ' Yet even if she were not so (i. e., worthy of your love and 
friendship), even if there were, as you say, a fault in her, who 
am I that I should judge her harshly? . . , I reject the mon- 
strous theory that while a man may redeem the past a woman 
never can . , . And if she has sinned, as I have sinned, and 



THE ROMAN OF ROME 425 

suffered as I have suffered, I will pray for strength to say, 
" Because I love her we are one, and we stand or fall together." ' 

" It is so beautiful that I am even happy while my pen 
copies the sweet, sweet words, and I feel as I did when the old 
priest spoke so tenderly on the day I confessed, telling me I 
had committed no sin and had nothing to repent of. Have 
I never told you about that? My confessor was a Capuchin, 
and perhaps I should have waited for his advice before going 
farther. He was to consult his General or his Bishop or some 
one and to send for me again. 

" But all that is over now and everything depends upon 
you. In any case, be sure of one thing, whatever happens. 
Bruno has taught me a great lesson, and there is not anything 
your enemies can do to me that will touch me now. They 
have tried me already with humiliation, with poverty, with 
jealousy, and even with the shadow of shame itself. There is 
nothing left but death. And death itself shall find me faith- 
ful to the last. Good-bye! Your poor unforgiven girl, 

" EOMA." 

The morning after writing this letter Roma received a 
visit from one of the ISToble Guard. It was the Count de 
Raymond. 

" I am sent by the Holy Father," he said, " to say that he 
wishes to see you." 



28 



PAKT SEYEN 
THE POPE 



On the morning appointed for the visit to the Vatican, 
Roma dressed in the black gown and veil prescribed by eti- 
quette for ladies going to an audience with the Pope. Her 
golden complexion had paled visibly from the anxieties she had 
gone through, but the Spanish head-dress suited well with her 
black hair and upright figure, and she looked taller than ever 
and more handsome. 

The young Noble Guard in civilian clothes was waiting for 
her in the sitting-room. When she came out of the bedroom 
he was standing with a solemn face before the bust of David 
Rossi, which she had lately cast afresh and was. beginning to 
point in marble. 

" This is wonderful," he said. " Perfectly wonderful ! A 
most astonishing study." 

Roma smiled and boAved to him. 

" Christ of course, and such reality, such feeling, such love ! 
So human too ! It seems difficult to believe that it is merely a 
work of imagination. It might have been studied from the 
living Christ Himself. But shall I tell you what surprises 
me most of all ? " 

" What ? " said Roma, with a radiant smile that set the 
soldier smiling. 

" What surprises me most is the extraordinary resemblance 
between your Christ and the Pope." 

"Really?" 

" Indeed yes ! Didn't you know it ? No ? " 

Roma shook her head, but smiled the same overflowing 
smile. 

" It is almost incredible. Younger certainly, but the same 
features, the same expression, the same tenderness, the same 
426 



THE POPE 427 

strength ! Even the same vertical lines over the nose which 
make the shako dither on one's head when something goes 
wrong and His Holiness is indignant." 

Roma's smile was dying off her face like the sun off a field 
of com, and she was looking sideways out of the window. 

" Has the Pope any relations ? " she asked. 

" Xone whatever, not a soul. The only son of an only son. 
If the old Baron had had a brother I should have said your 
model must have been a brother's son. But you must have 
been thinking of the Holy Father himself, and asking yourself 
what he was like thirty years ago. Come now, confess it ! " 

Roma laughed. The soldier laughed. " Shall we go ? " 
she said. 

A carriage was waiting for them, and they drove by the 
Tor di Nona, a narrow lane which skirts the banks of the Tiber, 
across the bridge of St. Angelo, and up the Borgo. The morn- 
ing was bright, but the city was sad and heavy. At one comer 
there was a group of poor people buying granturco, which did 
duty for bread, and at another corner a crowd of old men and 
children stood with cans and jugs at the door of a soup-kitchen. 
In the open space before the Castle was posted a picket of in- 
fantry, and the well-dressed pedestrians looked at them with 
gloomy and irritated eyes. Shabby and unshaven priests 
trudged among the poorest without reverence or respect, and 
now and then a cardinal's coach with its lumbering black 
horses, keeping no time in their steps, went swinging and 
swaying along. 

Roma was nervous and pre-occupied. Why had she been 
sent for ? "What could the Pope have to say to her ? 

" Isn't it unusual," she asked, " for the Pope to send for 
anyone — especially a woman, and a non-Catholic ? " 

" Most unusual. But perhaps Father Pifferi . . ." 

" Father Pifferi?" 

" He is the Holy Father's confessor, and preaches to him, 
and his Court, through Lent." 

" Is he a Capuchin ? " 

" Yes. The General at San Lorenzo." 

" Ah, now I understand," said Roma. Light had dawned 
on her and her spirits began to rise. 

" Father Pifferi is an old friend of the Holy Father's and 
has known him all his life. Comes and goes in the papal apart- 
ment without regard to the Majordomo, and speaks to His 
Holiness exactly as he likes. In fact, Cortis — Cortis is the 



428 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Pope's valet — Cortis says there are high words on both sides 
occasionally, and sometimes the Holy Father has to be piit 
to bed." 

" The Pope is very tender and fatherly, isn't he?" 

"Fatherly? He is a saint on earth, that's what he is. 
Impetuous, perliaps, but so sweet and generous and forgiving. 
Makes you shake in your shoes if you've done anything amiss, 
but when all is over and he puts his arm on your shoulder and 
tells you to thinlv no more about it, you're ready to die for him 
even at the stake." 

Roma's spirits were rising every minute, and her nervous- 
ness was fading away. Since things had fallen out, she 
could take advantage of her opportunities. She would tell the 
Pope everything, and he would advise with her and counsel 
her. She would speak about David Rossi, and the Pope would 
tell her what to do. 

The great clock of the Basilica was striking ten with a 
solemn boom as the carriage rattled over the stones of the 
Piazza of St. Peter's- — wet with the play of the fountains and 
bright with the rainbows made by the sun. 

They alighted at the bronze gate under the text at the end 
of the colonnade which runs, " Come let us go up into 
the house of the Lord, let us worship in His holy temple." 
But the papal apartments were less like a temple than a pal- 
ace, and less like the home of a priest than the abode of a 
king. 

First a picket of Swiss Guards in their striped uniform of 
yellow and red ; then a gorgeous staircase, the Scala Pia, 
with more Swiss Guards at the top; then a courtyard, the 
Court of Damasus, suiniy and silent save for the reverbera- 
tion of closing doors and the striking of a silver-belled clock; 
then another staircase, with marble balustrades and a stained- 
glass window; then a gendarme in white breeches, jack-boots, 
and bearskin; then a magnificent hall, the Sala Clementina, 
with more Swiss Guards and a corporal in command; then 
another large hall, the Hall of the Palfrenieri, with half a 
dozen of the men, in red damask liveries of the time of Louis 
XIV., who carry the Pope in his chair of state; then another 
room with Palatine Guards in black tunics, gold epaulets, and 
shakoes that had red plumes; then still another room with 
Bussolanti, laymen in violet cassocks and flowing streamers; 
and finally an apartment hung with tapestries, furnished with 
a large crucifix between two tall lamps, and occupied by a 



THE POPE 429 

Noble Guard with a brass helmet on his head and a drawn 
sword in his hand. 

In this room Roma's companion left her, and one of the 
Bussolanti took her in charge. It was the anniversary of the 
Pope's consecration, and the Holy Father was receiving the 
usual address from his Cardinals and clergy. The next room 
was the throne room, and beyond it were the ante-chamber and 
the Pope's private apartments. 

A chaplain of the Pope's household came to say that by 
request of Father Pifferi the lady was to step into an anteroom; 
and Roma followed him into a small adjoining chamber, car- 
peted with cocoanut matting and furnished with a marble- 
topped table and two wodden chest-seats, bearing the papal 
arms. The little room opened on to a corridor overlooking a 
courtyard, a secret way to the Pope's private rooms, and it had 
a door to the throne room also. 

" The Father will be here presently," said the chaplain, 
" and His Holiness will not be long." 

Roma, who was feeling some natural tremors, tried to re- 
assure herself by asking questions about the Pope. The chap- 
lain's face began to gleam. He was a little man, with round 
red cheeks and pale grey eyes, and the usual tone of his voice 
was a hushed and reverent whisper. 

"Faint? Yes, ladies do faint sometimes — often, I may 
say — and they nearly always cry. But the Holy Father is so 
gentle, so sweet." 

" He must be a saint," said Roma. 

" Indeed yes. His saintly character could not be exag- 
gerated. In fact, it can only have been surpassed by Him 
whose Vicar he is." 

The door to the throne room opened and there was a gleam 
of violet and an indistinct buzz of voices. The chaplain 
disappeared, and at the next moment a man in the dress 
of a waiter came from the corridor carrying a silver soup- 
dish. 

" You're the lady the Holy Father sent for ? " 

Roma smiled and assented. 

" I'm Cortis — Gaetano Cortis — the Pope's valet, you know 
• — and of course I hear everything." 

Roma smiled again and bowed. 

" I bring the Holy Father a j^late of soup every morning 
at ten, but I'm afraid it is going to get cold this morning." 

"Will he be angry?" 



430 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Angry ? He's an angel, and couldn't be angry with any 
one." 

" He must indeed be good, everybody says so." 

" He is perfect. That's about the size of it. None of your 
locking up his bedroom when he goes into the garden and 
putting the key into the pocket of his cassock, same as in the 
old Pope's days. I go in whenever I like, and he lets me take 
whatever I please. At Christmas some rich Americans wanted 
a skull-cap to save a dying man, and I got it for the asking. 
Now an old English lady wants a stocking to cure her rheuma- 
tism, and I'll get that too. I've saved a little hair from the 
last cutting, and if you hear of anybody . . ." 

The valet's story of his perquisites was interrupted by the 
opening of the door of the throne room and the entrance of a 
friar in a brown habit. It was Father Pifferi. Seeing him in 
the daylight, Roma had no difficulty in recognising the saintly 
old man who had been pointed out to her in the Pope's pro- 
cession. His face was mellow but full of light; his white 
beard was long and patriarchal; his voice was soft and his 
manners gentle. 

" Don't rise, my daughter," he said, and closing the door 
behind the valet, he gathered up the skirts of his habit and sat 
down on the chest-seat in front of her. 

" When you came to me with your confidence, my child, and 
I found it difficult to advise with you for your peace of mind, I 
told you I wished to take your case to a wiser head than mine. 
I took it to the Pope himself. He was touched by your story, 
and asked to see you for himself." 

" But, Father . . ." 

" Don't be afraid, my daughter. Pius the Tenth as a Pope 
may be lofty to sternness, venerating his own person because it 
stands in God's place, but as a man he is humble and simple 
and kind. Forget that he is a sovereign and a pontiff, and think 
of him as a tender and loving friend. Tell him everything. 
Hold nothing back. And if you must needs reveal the confi- 
dences of others, remember that he is the Vicar of Him who 
keeps all our secrets." 

" But, Father . . ." 

"Yes?" 

" His very saintliness will make it difficult to speak to 
him." 

" Don't say that. His fatherly heart knows the sorrows 
and sufferings of all his children." 



THE POPE 431 

" But he is so high, so holy, so far above the world and its 
temptations , . ," 

" Don't say that either, my daughter. The Holy Father is 
a man like other men. He is the father of every one, not only 
because he is infallible, but because he has known what it is to 
sin and be forgiven , . . Shall I tell you something of his life? 
The world knows it only by hearsay and report. You shall hear 
the truth, and when you have heard it you will go to him as a 
child goes to its father, and no longer be afraid." 



II 

" Thirty-five years ago," said Father Pifferi, " the Holy 
Father had not even dreamt of being Pope. He was the only 
child of a Roman banker, living in a palace on the opposite 
side of the piazza. The old Baron had visions, indeed, of 
making his son a great churchman by the power of wealth, but 
these were vain and foolish, and the young man did not share 
them. His own aims were simple but worldly. He desired to 
be a soldier, and to compromise with his father's disappointed 
ambitions he asked for a commission in the Pope's Noble 
Guard." 

The old friar put his hands into the vertical pockets in the 
breast of his habit, and looked up at the ceiling as he went 
on speaking. 

" All this is no secret, but what follows is less known. The 
soldier, who had the charm of an engaging personality, led 
the life of an ordinary young Roman of his day, frequenting 
cafes, concerts, theatres, and balls. In this character he met a 
poor woman of the people, and came to love her. She was a 
good girl, with soft and gentle manners, but a heart of gold 
and a soul of fire. He was a good man and he meant to marry 
her. He did marry her. He married her according to the 
rites of the Church, which are all that religion requires and 
God calls for." 

Roma was leaning forward on her seat and breathing be- 
tween tightly closed lips. 

" Unhappily, then as now, a godless legislature had sepa- 
rated a religious from a civil marriage, and the one without 
the other was useless. The old Baron heard of what had hap- 
pened and tried to defeat it. A cardinal had just been created 
in Australia, and an officer of the Noble Guard had to be sent 



432 THE ETERNAL CITY 

with the Ablegate to carry the biglietto and the skull-cap. At 
the request of the Baron his son was appointed to that mission 
and despatched in haste." 

Roma could scarcely control herself. 

" The young husband being gone, the father set himself to 
deal with the wife. He had not yet relinquished his hopes of 
seeing his son a churchman, and marriage was a fatal im- 
pediment. A rich man may have many instruments, and the 
Baron was able to use some that were evil. He played upon 
the conscience of the girl, who was pure and virtuous ; told her 
she was not legally married, and that the laws of her country 
thought ill of her. Finally, he appealed to her love for her 
husband, and showed her that she was standing in his way. He 
was not a bad man, but he loved his son beyond truth and to 
the pei'version of honour, and was ready to sacrifice the woman 
who stood between them. She allowed herself to be sacrificed. 
She wiped herself out that she might not be an obstacle to her 
husband. She drowned herself in the Tiber." 

Roma could not control herself any longer, and made a 
half-stifled exclamation. 

" Then the young husband returned. He had been travel- 
ling constantly, and no letters from his wife had reached him. 
But one letter was waiting for him in Rome, and it told him 
what she had done. It was then all over; there was no help for 
it, and he was overwhelmed with horror. He could not blame 
the poor dead girl, for all she had done had been done in love; 
he could not blame himself, for he had meant no wrong in 
making the religious marriage, and had hastened home to com- 
plete the civil one ; and he could not reproach his father, for if 
the Baron's conduct had led to fearful consequences, it had 
been prompted by affection for himself. But the hand of 
God seemed to be over him, and his soul was shaken to its 
foundations. From that time fonvard he renounced society 
and all worldly pleasures. Eight days he went into retreat 
and prayed fervently. On the ninth day he joined a religious 
house, the Novitiate of the Capuchins at San Lorenzo. The 
young soldier, so gay, so handsome, so fond of social admi- 
ration, became a friar." 

The old Capuchin looked tenderly at Roma, whose wet eyes 
and burning cheeks seemed to tell of sympathy with his story. 

" In those days, my daughter, the nuns of Thecla served 
the Foundling of Santo Spirito." 

Roma began to look frightened and to feel faint. 



THE POPE 433 

" It was usual for a member of our house to live in the 
hospital iu order to baptise the children and to confess the 
sick and the dying. We took it in turns to do so, staying one 
year, two years, three years, and then going back to the mon- 
astery. I was myself at Santo Spirito for this purpose at the 
time I speak about, and it was not until three or four years 
afterR'ards that I became Superior of our house, and returned 
to San Lorenzo. There I found the young Xoble Guard, and, 
wiseb" or unwisely, I told him a new phase of his own story." 

" There was a child ? " said Roma, in a strange voice. 

The Capuchin bent his head. " That much he knew al- 
ready by the letter his wife had left for him. She had intended 
that the child should die when she died, and he supposed that 
it had been so. But pity for the little one must have over- 
taken the poor mother at the last moment. She had put the 
babe in the rota of the hospital, and thus saved the child's 
life before carrying out her purpose upon her own." 

The Capuchin crossed his knees, and one of his bare feet 
in its sandal showed from under the edge of his habit. 

" We had baptised the boy by a name which the mother 
had written on a paper attached to his wrist, and the identity 
of that name with the name of the Noble Guard led to my reve- 
lation. Nature is a mighty thing, and on hearing what I told 
him the young brother became restless and unhappy. The in- 
stincts of the man began to fight with the feelings of the 
religious, and at last he left the friary in order to fulfil 
the duty which he thought he owed to his child." 

"He did not find him?" 

"He was too late. According. to custom, the boy had been 
put out to nurse on the Campagna, by means of the little 
dower that was all his inheritance from the State. His foster 
parents passed him over to other hands, and thus by the abuse 
of a good practice the child was already lost." 

Roma tried to speak but she could not utter a word. 

" What happened then is a long story. The old Baron was 
now dead and the young friar had inherited his princely for- 
tune. Dispensations got over canonical difficulties, and in 
due course he took holy orders. His first work was to establish 
in Rome an asylum for friendless orphans. He went out into 
the streets to look for them, and brought them in with his own 
hands. His fame for charity grew rapidly, but he knew well 
what he was doing. He was looking for the little fatherless 
one who owned his own blood and bore his name." 



434 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Koma was now sitting with drooping head, and her tears 
were falling on her hands. 

" Five years passed, and at length he came upon a trace of 
the boy and heard that he had been sent to England. The 
unhappy father obtained permission and removed to London. 
There he set up the same work as before and spent in the same 
way his great wealth. He passed five years more in a fruitless 
search, looking for his lost one day and night, winter and sum- 
mer, in cold and heat, among the little foreign boys who play 
organs and accordions in the streets. Then he gave up hope 
and returned to Rome. His head was white and his heart was 
hun>ble, but in spite of himself he rose from dignity to dignity 
until at length the old Baron's perverted ambitions were ful- 
filled. For his great and abounding charity, and still greater 
piety, he was promoted to be Bishop; seven years afterwards 
he was created Cardinal, and now he is Pope Pius the Tenth, 
the saint, the saviour of his people, once the storm-tossed, sor- 
rowing, stricken man . . ." 

" Uavid Leone ? " 

The Capuchin bowed. " That was the Holy Father's name. 
Pie committed no sin and has nothing to reproach himself 
with, but nevertheless he has known what it is to fall and to 
rise again, to suffer and be strong. Tell me, my daughter, is 
there anything you would be afraid to confide to him? " 

" Nothing ! ISTothing whatever ! " said Roma, with tears 
choking her voice and streaming down her cheeks. 

The door to the throne room opened again and a line of 
Cardinals came out and passed down the secret corridor, talking 
together as they walked, old .men in violet, most of them very 
feeble and looking very tired. At the next moment the chap- 
lain came in for Roma. 

" The Holy Father will be ready to receive you presently," 
he said in his hushed and reverent whisper, and she rose to 
follow him. 

Ill 

The Pope had just passed through a memorable scene. In 
his grand throne room, decorated in red and gold, seated on 
his throne covered with red velvet, and surmounted by an em- 
broidered canopy, vested in his red senatorial cape, richly 
trimmed, and his camauro cap edged with fur, and wearing 
his patriarchal cross and his episcopal diamond ring, he had 



THE POPE 435 

received his Sacred College, his Patriarchs, Archbishops, 
Bishops, Prelates of Colleges and Congregations, Chamber- 
lains and military dignitaries, on the anniversary of his coro- 
nation as Sovereign Pontiff of the Universal Church and 
Bishop of Rome. 

The gorgeous company had stood around him in a broad 
belt of violet and black, the Cardinals in front, a half -circle of 
withered old men in flowing capes, and the officers of the Noble 
Guard at the back in their superb manhood and glittering 
uniform. 

After a cushion had been placed at the Pope's feet and the 
Sacred College had gone through the office of obedience, by 
kissing his jewelled hand and the gold cross on his shoe, as the 
devotion or strength of each might dictate, the oldest of the 
Cardinals stepped forward and read an address. He was a 
man of ninety, with sleepy eyes and a worn-out voice. 

" Most Blessed Father," he said, " Your Sacred College is 
glad to offer to your Holiness its felicitations on this joyful 
anniversary of an auspicious day. 

" In these times. Blessed Father, when the liberty and inde- 
pendence of the Holy See has been violated, when Rome, this 
holy city, this metropolis of the empire of Jesus Christ, has 
been confiscated by a parricidal government, when men arise 
who do not conceal their desire to destroy with the Pontiff's 
temporal power the dignity and faith of the Church, we thank 
Divine Providence that the Catholic Church is presided over 
by our Most Holy Lord Pope Pius the Tenth. 

" These are evil days, your Holiness, and in the midst of 
rebellions and insurrections, anc^ the sufferings that come from 
them as from a devastating whirlwind, sweeping over all your 
people in every land, we remember that the Vatican is not only 
a prison, but a Sinai from which an infallible word is spoken, 
and we look to you as the common Father of all the faithful to 
recall the world to its duty, and to give from the lips of your 
Beatitude the sovereign word of guidance. Oh, great lamp 
which shines from the heights of this sacred hill ! Oh, light 
which comes from heaven, shine now upon the nations! Oh, 
great voice of God on earth ! Oh, voice that shakes the world, 
speak to a people that is full of affection for their Holy Pontiff. 

" Blessed Father, your Sacred College well know how dear 
to your heart is the desire to behold Rome head of the world 
once more by the strength of peace and love. We trust and 
believe that your inheritance is certain and is near, and that the 



436 THE ETERNAL CITY 

prophetic vision in which you have foreseen it has already radi- 
ated the globe. The Eternal One has said to his Vicar, ' I will 
place thy seat above all the seats of the earth,' and profoundly 
trusting that the precious life of your Blessedness may be 
spared to witness the realisation of this promise, we beg your 
Holiness to accept the homage of your Sacred College, and to 
be pleased to impart to us your Apostolic Benediction." 

The old Cardinal read the address with many pauses, and 
was more than once assisted by one of the Chamberlains to a 
glass of water. When he had finished the Pope raised his 
head and replied. 

" Venerable brethren," he said, in a full and vibrating 
voice, which was clearly the relic of a noble organ, " a kindly 
emotion, an affection peculiarly paternal, fills our heart at once 
more receiving this token of your devotion. 

" It has pleased you, my Lord Cardinal, to make allusion to 
oi;r domestic troubles and bitternesses, which deepen in gravity 
day by day. There are those who will not realise that the Pope, 
who, by divine law, is placed above all human ordinances, can- 
not therefore be the subject of any man, and that the temporal 
sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff is necessary to the free ex- 
ercise of his apostolic mission. But none can fail to see that 
the Holy Father has been imprisoned in the Vatican, that his 
ministers have been dispersed, his altars destroyed, his tem- 
ples profaned, and his pro])erty plundered. 

" Venerable brethren, the Church and civil society have in 
many ages been threatened by revolution and by the father of 
revolutions, which is Satan. But in these unhappy days there 
are dark significations of future things, which the Church must 
needs consider. Communism, socialism, secret societies, and 
anti-clerical clubs are pests which have been frequently rep- 
robated and easily disowned. But there has arisen in our 
time a new religion, which, taking the names of holy things, 
and using the language of Scripture, is trying to poison Chris- 
tendom and upset the social order. Men whose minds are not 
well balanced, making a profession of religious faith, are de- 
signing castles in the air which would seem strange and ri- 
diculous if they did not make us weep, evoking a phantasm of 
universal bi'otherhood to take the place of pontifical and im- 
perial empires, with our holy Rome as the principal centre of 
their fantastic visions. 

" Profaning Christianity, treating the Gospel as a dream- 
book of democracy, twisting beyond belief the sacred text, sepa- 



THE POPE 43Y 

rating one part of Christ's teaching from another, these men 
have created a new God, instituted a new worship, and made 
themselves pontiffs and prophets to their new divinity. Man 
is the god of the new religion; and the sacredness of work, of 
labour, of material interest, is the hymn that is being sung to 
him. The mandate has gone forth that the people are sover- 
eigns, and therefore the State is nothing but a mob which is 
mistress and dictatress of itself. 

" Venerable brethren, is it necessary that the Holy Father 
should teach you how false and dangerous are such impious 
doctrines, which deify man and make him adore himself 
in the entity which is styled Humanity? These homicidal 
theories of demagogues are directed by the genius of evil to 
destroy religion and the Church. The words liberty and de- 
mocracy are only a pretext, an imposture, a bait of the biblical 
sei*pent, and in too many cases they would be profjcrly inter- 
preted Revolution and Regicide. It is Caiphas prophesying 
and Judas preaching the gospel. It is war between the natural 
and the divine. It is the ancient device of Satan to turn the 
thoughts of men to the bread that perishes, forgetting the sac- 
ramental bread, the bread of life. It is an effort to overthrow 
the sacred authority of the Pontiff, to extirpate the Christian 
faith, and to annihilate civil society. 

" My Lord Cardinal, you are pleased to ask for the word 
that will indicate the direction in which Catholic activity 
should be displayed in the midst of so much anarchy. Our 
counsel, then, is to call upon the clergy to deliver the people 
from the seductions of the demagogue, and to forbid them to 
belong to the associations he forms for the furtherance of his 
infamous aims. Many such associations have been referred to 
the Holy See, and one such, which has unhappily gathered 
great influence throughout Europe, has been laid before the 
Supreme Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, with the 
result that it has fallen under the censure of the pontifical con- 
stitution condemning societies which entertain plans against 
the Church or against legitimate powers, and are therefore 
to be reprobated by the faithful, who are forbidden to take any 
part in them, whatever quarter of the earth they dwell in. 

" Meantime, my brethren, since it has been permitted by our 
Divine Master, for the expiation of the people's sin in listen- 
ing to evil counsels, that they should suffer by injustice, by 
parliaments which are anti-religious assemblies, by tribunals 
which are seats of corruption, by police courts and gaols which 



438 THE ETERNAL CITY 

are scenes of secret tyranny, let us call upon God to avert His 
judgment. During this penitential week, and especially on 
Holy Thursday, let us call our suffering children into St. 
Peter's; let us put back the hour of Tenebrse to the ancient 
time of night, encourage the congregation to join in the re- 
sponses, and particularly in the Miserere, and thus direct all 
men's eyes to that cross which, once a sign of infamy, must 
govern mankind still, humbling the proud, weakening the per- 
fidy of the Pharisees, and speaking over the troubled world 
the holy words of pardon and peace. 

" So much for the present, venerable brethren, and for the 
future it will be our pleasure at the next Consistory to fill up 
your splendid order by designating fifteen ineffable men to the 
honour of the Roman purple, in the hope of strengthening the 
work of the Holy Spirit in its influence on the destinies of 
mankind." 

Immediately the Pope had finished, the Cardinals, Arch- 
bishops, Bishops, Prelates of the Colleges and Congregations, 
and the Chamberlains, lay and ecclesiastical, filed in front 
of him and kissed his hand and foot. After that he rose, and 
holding up two fingers of the right hand, pronounced the Apos- 
tolic Benediction, and then, leaning on the arm of one of his 
private participant chamberlains, he left the throne room. 

A moment later the gorgeous company was gone, and the 
Bussolante was at the door with Roma. A chamberlain took 
charge of her there, and passed her to a secret chamberlain at 
the door of an ante-chamber adjoining. This secret chamber- 
lain, a layman in ruffs of the age of Charles V., handed her on 
to a Monsignor in a violet cassock, and the Monsignor accom- 
panied her to the door of the room in which the Pope was sit- 
ting. 

" As you approach," he said in a low tone, " you will make 
three genuflexions, one at the door, another midway across 
the floor, the third at the Holy Father's feet. You feel well ? " 

" Yes," she faltered. 

The door was opened, the Monsignor stepped one pace into 
the room, and then knelt and said — 

" Donna Roma Volonna, your Holiness." 

Roma was on her knees at the threshold; a soft, full, kindly 
voice, which she could have believed she had heard before, 
called on her to approach; she rose and stepped forward, the 
Monsignor stepped back, and the door behind her was closed. 
She was in the Presence. 



THE POPE 439 



IV 



The Pope, now dressed wholly in white, was seated in a 
simple chair by a little table in a homely room surrounded by 
bookcases and some busts of former pontiffs. There were 
little domesticities of intimate life about him, an empty soup- 
dish, a cruet stand, a plate and a spoon. He had a face of great 
sweetness and spirituality, and as Roma approached he bent his 
head and smiled a fatherly smile. She knelt and kissed his 
ring, and continued to kneel by his chair, putting one hand 
on the arm. He placed his own mittened hand over hers and 
patted it tenderly, while he looked into her face. 

The little nervous perturbation with which Roma had en- 
tered the room began to leave her, and in the awful wearer of 
the threefold crown she saw nothing but a simple, loving 
human being. A feminine sense crept over her, a sense of 
nursing, almost of motherhood, and at that first moment she 
felt as if she wanted to do something for the gentle old man. 
Then he began to speak. His voice had that tone which comes 
to the voice of a man who has the sense of sex strong in him, 
when a woman is with him and his accents soften per- 
ceptibly. 

" My daughter," he said, " Father Pifferi has spoken about 
you, and by your permission, as I understand it, he has repeated 
the story you told him. You have suffered, and you have my 
sympathy. And though you are not among the number of my 
children, I sent for you, that, as an old man to a young woman, 
by God's grace I might strengthen you and support you." 

She kissed his ring again and continued to kneel by the 
arm of his chair. 

" Long ago, my child, I knew one who was in something like 
the same position, and perhaps it is the memory of what befell 
that poor soul which impels me to speak to you. She was one 
of the women who might have been the mother of a great 
man. . , . But she is dead, her story is dead, too; let time 
and nature cover them." 

His voice had a slight tremor. She looked up. There was a 
hush, a momentary thrill. Then he smiled again and patted 
her hand once more. 

" You must not let the world weaken you, my child, or cause 
you to doubt the validity of your marriage. Whether it is a 
good marriage, in effect as well as intention (one of you being 
still unbaptised), it is for the Church, not the world, to decide. 



4A0 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The world's judgment on a woman who has been the victim 
of a man is wicked and cruel. No matter what her trials and 
temptations may have been, in the world's view a woman soiled 
is a woman spoiled, a woman wronged is a woman fallen. It 
is the same now as it was in the days of the woman of Jeru- 
salem. The Pharisees, who have not been impervious to the 
indulgence of their own sex, are always ready to say, ' Moses in 
the law commanded that such should be stoned.' But oh, infi- 
nite pity and delicacy of the soul most sacredly virtuous, Jesus 
is ahvaj^s stooping and writing on the ground as though He 
heard them not." 

Again Roma kissed the ring of the Pope, and again he 
patted the hand that lay under his. 

" Nevertheless, there is something I wish you to do, my 
daughter," he said in the same low tones. " I wish you to 
tell your husband. If you don't do so, you will mortgage your 
future, prejudice your veracity, and do a great wrong to the 
beautiful spirit of your love." 

" Holy Father," said Roma, " I have already told him. I 
had done so before I spoke to Father Pifferi, but only under 
the disguise of another woman's story." 

" And what did your husband say ? " 

" He said what your Holiness says. He was very charitable 
and noble ; so I took heart and told him everything." 

" And what did he say then ? " 

A cloud crossed her face. "Holy Father, he has not yet 
said anything." 

"Not anything?" 

"He is away; he has not replied to my letter." 

" Has there been time ? " 

" More than time, your Holiness, but still I hear nothing." 

" And what is your conclusion ? " 

" That my letter has awakened some pity, but now that he 
knows I am the wife I spoke about and he is the husband in- 
tended, he cannot forgive me as he said the husband would 
forgive, and his generous soul is in distress." 

" My daughter, could you wish me to speak to him ? " 

The cloud fled from her face. " It is more than I deserve, 
far more, but if the Holy Father would do that . . .". 

" Then I must know the names — you must tell me every- 
thing." 

"Yes, yes!" 

" Who is your father, my child ? " 



THE POPE 441 

" My father died in banishment. He was a Liberal. I 
fear your Holiness would call him a revolutionary. He was 
Prince Prospero Volonna." 

" As I thought. All noble minds love liberty, but in many 
the understanding is in conflict with the heart. Who was the 
other man ? " 

" He was a distant kinsman of my father's, and I have 
lately discovered that he was the principal instrument in my 
father's deportation. He was my guardian, a Minister and 
a great man in Italy. It is the Baron Bonelli, your Holiness." 

"Just so, just so !" said the Pope, tapping his foot in obvious 
heat. " A man of most unholy life, my daughter. A diabolical 
representative of Antichrist. . . . But go on, my child. Who 
is your husband ? " 

" My husband is a different kind of man altogether." 

"Ah!" 

" He has done everything for me, Holy Father, everything. 
Heaven knows what I should have been iiow without him." 

" God bless him ! God bless both of you ! " 

" I came to know him by the strangest accident. He is a 
Liberal, too, and a Deputy, and thinking of the corruptions of 
the Government, he pointed to me as the mistress of the Min- 
ister. It was not true, but I was degraded, and . . . and I set 
out to destroy him." 

" A terrible vengeance, my child. Only the Minister could 
have thought of it." 

" Then I found that my enemy was one of my father's 
friends, and a true and noble man. Holy Father, I had begun 
in hate, but I could not hate him. The darkness faded away 
from my soul, and something bright and beautiful came in its 
place. I loved him, and he loved me. With all our hearts 
we loved each other." 

"And then?" 

" Then he came back to me. I knew all the -secrets I had set 
out to learn, but I could not give them up, and when I refused 
he threatened me." 

" And what did you do ? " 

" I married my husband and withstood every temptation. 
It wasn't so very hard, for I cared nothing for wealth and 
luxury now. I only wanted to be good. God himself should 
see how good I could be." 

The Pope's eyes were moist. Lie was patting the young 
woman's trembling hand. 
29 



442 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Love has saved you, my daughter. God is love, and love 
is the bridge that unites heaven and earth. Even if you had 
been as the Magdalene out of whom Christ cast seven devils, if 
you had sinned and been the creature of the Minister, God's 
love would have purified you and lifted you up. My blessing 
rest on you, my daughter, and may the man you have married 
be worthy of your love and trust." 

" Indeed, indeed he is," said Roma. She could hardly keep 
herself from crying. The voice of the Pope when he spoke of 
love had been so like another voice that it thrilled her. 

" He was your father's friend, you tell me ? " 

" Yes, your Holiness, and although we met again so re- 
cently, I had known him in England when I was a child." 

"A Liberal, you say?" 

" Yes, your Holiness." 

" The enmity of the Minister was the fruit of political 
warfare ? " 

" Nothing but that at first, though now . . ." 

" I see, I see. And the secrets you speak of are only . . ." 

" Only the doings of twenty years ago, which are dead and 
done with." 

" Then your Imsband is older than you are ? " 

The young woman broke into a sunny smile, which set 
the Pope smiling. 

" Only ten years older, your Holiness. He is thirty- 
four." 

" Where does he come from, and what was his father? " 

" He was born in Rome, but he does not know who his 
father was." 

" What is he like to look upon ? " 

" He is like ... I have never seen any one so like . • . 
will your Holiness forgive me?" 

The colour had mounted to her eyes, her two rows of pearly 
teeth seemed to be smiling, and the sunny old face of the Pope 
was smiling too. 

" Say what you please, my daughter." 

" I have never seen any one so like the Holy Father," she 
said softly. 

Her head was held down and there was a little- nervous 
tremor at her heart. The Pope patted her hand affection- 
ately. 

" Have I asked you his name, my child ? " 

" His name is David Rossi." 



THE POPE 443 

The Pope rose suddenly from his seat, and for the first time 
his face looked dark and troubled. 

" David Rossi ? " he repeated in a husky voice. 

Roma began to tremble. " Yes," she faltered. 

" David Rossi, the revolutionary ? " 

" Indeed no, your Holiness, he is not that." 

" But my child, my child, he is the founder of a revolu- 
tionary society which this very day the Holy Father has con- 
demned." 

He walked across the room and she rose to her feet and 
looked after him. 

" One of the men who are conspiring against the peace of 
the Church — banded together to fight the Church and its head." 

" Don't say that, your Holiness. He is religious — deeply 
religious, and far more an enemy of the Government and the 
King." 

She began to talk wildly, almost aimlessly, trying to defend 
Rossi at all costs. 

" Holy Father," she said, " shall I tell you a secret ? There 
is nobody else in the world to whom I could tell it, but I can 
tell it to you. My husband is now in England organising a 
great scheme among the exiles and refugees of Italy. What it 
is I don't know, but he has told me that it will lead to the con- 
quest of the country and the downfall of the throne. Whether 
it is to be a conspiracy in the ordinary sense, or a constitutional 
plan of campaign, he has not said, but everything tells me that 
it is directed against the polities of Rome and not against its 
religion, and is intended to overthrow the King, and not the 
Pope." 

The Pope, who had been standing with his back to Roma, 
turned round to her with a look of fright. His eyebrows had 
met over the vertical lines on his forehead, and this further 
reminder of another face threw Roma into still greater con- 
fusion. 

" ' When I come back it will be with such a force behind 
me as will make the prisons open their doors and the thrones 
of tyrants tremble.' That's what he said, your Holiness. The 
movement will come soon, too, I am sure it will, and then your 
Holiness will see that instead of being irreligious men, the 
leaders of the people . . ." 

The Pope held up his hand. " Stop! " he cried. " Say no 
more, my child. God knows what I must do with what you 
have said already." 



444 THE ETERNAL CITY 

Then Roma saw what she had done in the wild gust of her 
emotion, and in her terror she tried to take it back. 

" Holy Father, you must not think from what I say that 
David Rossi is for revolution and regicide . . ." 

" Don't speak, my child. You cannot know what an earth- 
quake you have opened at my feet. Let me think! Let me 
learn my duty before God and man." 

There was silence for a moment, and then Roma gulped 
down the great lumps in her throat and said, " I am only an 
ignorant woman. Holy Father, and perhaps I have said too 
much, and do not understand. But what I have told your 
Holiness was told me in love and confidence. And the Holy 
Father is wise and good, and whatever he does will be for the 
best." 

The Pope returned to his chair with a bewildered look, and 
did not seem to hear. Roma sank to her knees by his side and 
said in a low, pleading tone : 

" My husband's faith in me is so beautiful, your Holiness. 
Oh, so beautiful. I am the only one in the world to whom he 
has told all his secrets, and if any of them should ever come 
back to him . . ." 

" Don't be afraid, my daughter. What you said in simple 
confidence shall be as sacred as if it had been spoken under 
the seal of the confessional. But you have told me a terrible 
story, and only the Heavenly Father knows what His servant 
ought to do with it." 

Roma looked up at the troubled old face, lately so serene 
and sunny, and realised for a moment the awful responsibility 
of a human being who wears the tiara. Then her mind went 
back to the story the Capuchin had told her, and in the same 
low, pleading tone, she said : 

" If I could tell your Holiness more about him — who he is 
and where he comes from — a place so lowly and humble, your 
Holiness ... if I could show you how he has suffered and 
what a dreadful shadow still hangs over him, your fatherly 
heart would pity and love him." 

" Tell me no more, my child. It is better I should not 
know. Pity ought to have no place in what duty tells me to 
do. But I can love David Rossi for all that. I do love him. 
I love him as a lost and wayward son, whose hand is raised 
against his Father, though he knows it not." 

Roma was about to speak again, more directly and point- 
edly than before, when a doubt took hold of her. After all. 



THE POPE 445 

Leoue was a common surname, and it was not usual in Italy to 
give a son the Christian name of his father. What she had 
taken for certainty might be no more than a coincidence. 

There was a bell-button on the Pope's chair. He pressed it, 
and the Participante returned to the room without knocking. 
The Pope rose and took Roma's hand. 

" Go in peace and with my blessing, my child. I bless you ! 
May my fatherly blessing keep you pure in heart, may it 
strengthen you in all temptations, comfort you in all trials, 
avert from you every evil omen, and bring you into the fold of 
Christ's children at the last." 

The Participante stepped forward and signed to Roma to 
withdraw. She rose and left the presence chamber, stepping 
backward and too much moved to speak. Not until the door 
had been closed did she realise that she was crossing the throne 
room, and that the Bussolante was walking beside her. 



When the Pope walked in his garden that afternoon as 
usual, the old Capuchin was with him. From the door of the 
Vatican they drove in the Pope's landau with two of the Xoble 
Guard riding beside the carriage, and one of the chamberlains 
walking behind it, through lanes enshrouded in laurel and 
ilex, until they reached the summer-house on the top of 
the hill. There the old men stepped down, the Pope in his 
white cassock, white overcoat and red hat, the Capuchin in 
his brown habit, skull-cap and sandals. The Pope's cat, a crea- 
ture of reddish coat, which followed him into the garden as a 
dog follows his master, leapt out of the carriage after them. 

In front of the round tower of the summei^-house there is a 
high terrace shaded by orange and magnolia trees, and having a 
circle of garden seats. The venerable old men sat on one of 
these seats, and the cat took his place on the gravel path in front 
of them. So high were they that the great dome of St. Peter's 
seemed almost on a level with their faces, while Rome lay 
below like a city seen from a balloon. Beyond spread the broad 
Campagna, green and undulating as a summer sea; farther 
still, shining in shifting hues of opal and blue, rose the Alban 
hills with little white towns dotted over their rocky sides; and 
last of all, going oif like ghosts in a purple haze, appeared the 
snow-clad heights of the solemn Apennines. 



446 THE ETERNAL CITY 

The Pope was more than usually grave and silent. Once or 
twice the Capuchin said, " And how did you find my young 

penitent this morning 'i " 

" Bene, bene! " the Pope replied. 

But at length the Pope, scraping the gravel at his feet with 
the ferule of his walking-stick, began to speak on his own 
initiative. 

"Father!" 

"Your Holiness?" 

" The inscrutable decree of God which made me your Pon- 
tiff, has not altered our relations to each other as men? " 

The Capuchin took snutf and answered, " Your Holiness is 
always so good as to say so." 

" You are my master now just as you were thirty years ago, 
and there is something I wish to ask of you." 

" What is it, your Holiness ? " 

" You have been a confessor many years, Father ? " 

" Forty years, your Holiness." 

" In that time you have had many difficult cases? " 

" Very many." 

" Father, has it ever happened that a penitent has revealed 
to you a conspiracy to commit a crime ? " 

" More than once it has happened." 

" And what have you done ? " 

" Persuaded him to reveal it to the civil authorities, or else 
tell it to me outside the confessional." 

" Has the penitent ever refused to do so? " 

" N'ever." 

" But if ... if the case were such as made it difficult for 
the i:)enitent to reveal the conspiracy to the civil authorities, 
having regard to the penalties the revelation would bring with 
it. . . if by reason of ties of blood and afi^ection such revelation 
were humanly impossible, and it would even be cruel to ask 
for it, what would you do then ? " 

" Nothing, your Holiness." 

" 'Not even if the crime to be committed were a serious one, 
and it touched you very nearly?" 

The Capuchin shook out his coloured print handkerchief 
and said, " That could make no difference, your Holiness." 

" But suppose you heard in confession that your brother is 
to be assassinated, what is your duty? " 

" My duty to the penitent who reveals his soul to me is to 
preserve his secret." 



THE POPE 447 

" And what is your duty to God ? " 

The handkerchief dropped from the Capuchin's hand. 

" Is there not such a thing as the abuse of the confes- 
sional ? " said the Pope. 

" Undoubtedly." 

" Where, for example, the penitent speaks in bad faith and 
attempts to draw the priest into a conspiracy to commit a 
crime ? " 

" In that case, of course, it is no confession." 

" May there not be such a thing as an unconscious abuse of 
the confessional, where the penitent speaks in good faith, but 
nevertheless draws the priest into a knowledge of crime about 
to be committed, and thereby into the position of an accom- 
plice ? " 

" It would seem to be so, your Holiness." 

" Then the penitent who reveals a conspiracy to kill your 
brother commits an abuse of the confessional, and it is your 
duty to God to save your brother's life." 

" That is held by some theologians. It has even been acted 
upon in some instances. I do not like it, but I cannot gain- 
say it." 

" If such is your duty in the case of a conspiracy to kill 
your brother, it must be the same in the case of a conspiracy 
to kill your enemy ? " 

" Quite the same, your Holiness." 

The Pope paused, scraped the gravel with the ferule of his 
stick and said: 

" Father, I am in the position of the confessor who has guilty 
knowledge of a conspiracy against the life of his enemy." 

The Capuchin pushed his handkerchief into his sleeve and 
dropped back into his seat. After a moment the Pope told 
the story of what Roma had said of Rossi's plans abroad. 

" A conspiracy," he said, " plainly a conspiracy." 

" And what do you understand the conspiracy to be ? " 

"Who can say? Perhaps a recurrence to the custom of 
the Middle Ages, when citizens who had been banished by their 
opponents used to apply themselves in exile to attempt the 
reconquest of their country by stirring up the factions at 
home." 

" You think that is Rossi's object ? " 

" I do." 

The Capuchin shifted uneasily the skull-cap on his crown, 
and said : 



448 THE ETERNAL CITY 

" Holy Father, I trust your Holiness will leave the mat- 
ter alone." 

"Why so?" 

" In reading history I do not find that such enterprises have 
usually been successfvil. I see, rather, how commonly they 
have failed. And if it was so in the Middle Ages when the 
arts of war were primitive, how much less likely are the 
conspiracies of secret societies, the partial and superficial ris- 
ings of refugees, to be serious now in the days of standing 
armies." 

" True. But is that a good reason for doing nothing in 
this instance? The most impotent of the risings in the past 
had the effect of giving credit to despotism and weakening the 
position of the people at home. And that is what the con- 
spiracy of this man Rossi will do to-day. It will not conquer 
the country, but it will exasperate the Government, thwart the 
progress of civilisation, shed innocent blood, and worsen the 
economic condition of the poor." 

" But, Holy Father, think. You cannot disclose the secrets 
this poor lady has revealed to you. Her confession was only 
a confidence, but your Holiness knows well that according to 
moral theology there is such a thing as a natural secret which 
it would be a grave fault to reveal. Facts which of their own 
nature are confidential belong to this order. They are assimi- 
lated to the confessional, and as such they should be re- 
spected." 

" Indeed they should." 

" Then it is not possible for your Holiness to reveal what 
you heard this morning without bringing