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at work, and I was listlessly looking over some military plans, that I might not be tempted, from want of occupation, to break silence. The hours passed on, and we looked at each other, wondering at my mother's unbroken repose. My father entered, just as the slanting evening beams were pouring full into the room. I marvelled that the clang of arms did not awaken my mother; I rose and went to her. Alas! she was dead! Her spirit had passed quietly away in slumber: she was spared that sad parting, when the dying can leave nothing behind but a last blessing. She was spared the grief of her wretched family, now more than ever impoverished by the loss of an affectionate heart; for domestic affections constituted our sole wealth.
“We laid her, a gentle female, to her quiet rest among the graves of many a rough and stern soldier. And then, as we sat alone together in our narrowed circle, we looked in each other's dimmed eyes with somewhat like dismay. We four had been all the world to each other; and because we had shut out all the world beside, we had seemed to think that we had also shut out death; or, we felt as if, because we were so few, he would be merciful and spare us to each other. I know not why, but certainly we had never contemplated (since Rosara’s recovery) the breaking up of our group by death.
“Now it was that we began to feel bitterly our isolated situation. We had no female relative to supply, in any degree, a mother's place to Rosara-no female friend to whom she could turn for that support which women alone can lend to women. We felt it would be impossible to retain her with us now in our military life: she must leave us; we were doubly bereaved.
“We had no friend, no relative, to receive Rosara into their house; no resource remained but to place her as a boarder in the Convent of Santa Maria, in our native town of Sienna. We obtained leave of absence, and went to our native city, where none remembered us, none welcomed us, none claimed the most distant kindred with us.
“We deposited our treasure in the hands of the superior of Santa Maria, with many an entreaty to be a mother to the motherless; to be tender with the fair young nursling, reared in seclusion, though in the midst of camps.
“That was a melancholy parting, when we bade the first farewell in all our lives to our sweet Rosara. One long, silent, tearful embrace, and we tore ourselves away. Rosara was then about twelve years old-six years have elapsed-I never saw her since."
Undone, and forfeited to cares for ever!
All's Well that ends Well.
“My father and I resumed together our military duties, but I saw that he was a heart-broken man. My mother's death was a blow from which he could not recover; she had been everything to him-friend, counsellor, companion; and that solitary man had given her his whole heart; and in his utter estrangement from the world, the void she had left behind was never likely to be filled up, or even to be forgotten for a moment.
“Our circumstances, too, were worse than before ; for the payment of Rosara's board pressed heavily upon us, and to meet it we were obliged to give up even many necessaries of life. Oh ! how many sacrifices have I cheerfully made for Rosara's sake, and well has she repaid them!
"I used to try to amuse my father with hopes, that amid the chances of war our fortunes would mend; that we should, some time or other, be able to leave the army, settle in Sienna, and restore to ourselves the society of Rosara. I had such day-dreams, but my father only shook his head and sighed. Our sole happiness was now in Rosara's letters, which were all that we could wish-frequent, circumstantial, and affectionate. Our duties from time to time prevented our going to visit her.
“In a skirmish which the Milanese Guelphs had with some of our troops, after the Emperor Frederic had crossed the Lambro, my father was killed. I was not present in that engagement, but I heard that he died as became a brave soldier devoted to his sovereign. Happy he! for he was thus spared the pang of his darling child's disgrace. He died while she was yet innocent and comparatively happy. All the inheritance that he left to me was the then future dishonour of our name. They buried him where he fell. I lamented that he could not have been laid beside my mother; for, in our ignorance of the spiritual world, who can aver that the spirit is unconscious and indifferent to that body which has been so long its inseparable companion, from which it is but temporarily divided, and to which it is again to be united, and for ever? Who can deny that there may be some consolation to the conscious spirit in that funereal association to which some innate instinct of man so forcibly points in the prevalent desire of families to be interred together? And I have heard a good old priest say that the Scriptures seem to countenance this desire; for it is one of the promises to the righteous that they should sleep with their fathers.
"I wrote to Rosara the loss of our remaining parent, and I learned from her letters that she was even more deeply affected than I apprehended. She was now all but alone on earth, and knew not the moment that a similar chance of war would render her wholly desolate. Here was an end to all her visions of her father's honourable retirement from the service, and of a future happy, though frugal, home with him. Her spirits sank; her situation was most precarious, depending on my life and my continued ability to pay for her maintenance. No wonder that she longed, in her feverish unrest, to have her destiny fixed; and she wrote to me, at last, urging for my consent to ber taking the veil in the convent where she resided. I was at first much startled. I was loth to consign so much beauty, grace, and harmony to a living grave; and I hesitated to renounce my hopes of being, at some future time, restored to her society for the remainder of my days. But, on mature reflection, I thought she had chosen wisely. My military career was only beginning, and many years must elapse ere I could relinquish it. I had no home to offer her, no wife to be a sister to her. I would not expose my poverty to scorn by offering it to an heiress, nor dared I augment my difficulties by marrying an unportioned bride. And if I died, what would become of Rosara ? That thought decided me; I consented to her wishes ; she commenced her noviciate ; and, in due time, I was apprised of her having taken the black veil and her final vows.
“I had been the better satisfied with Rosara's destiny that the convent was one of relaxed rule, in which she could enjoy many indulgences; and I profited by its freedom from many restraints to request any of my brother officers, whom business or duty called to Sienna, to visit my sister in the Parlatojo (as proxy for mé, still kept afar by inexorable circumstances), to speak to her of her brother, and to tell me again everything concerning her, however minute the detail. From all who had thus visited her I heard praises of her beauty, her sweetness, and the angelic harmony of her voice in the choir.
“I had forgotten to tell you, that in consideration of her musical powers, the superior had consented to profess my sister for a smaller sum than usual, so as to come more within the compass of my slender means; and I had entreated and obtained, as a favour to my particular situation and feelings, that she should Tetain in religion that name by which I had always known and loved her. She would have appeared to me but a stranger had she been transformed into a sister Agatha or a sister Catarina.
“I had not been so long in the imperial service without frequently bearing the praises of Captain Florestan Bastiani, the favourite of the Emperor, and at that time judged to be deservedly $o. I heard of him as a perfect character-brave, humane, courteous, gentle, liberal, accomplished, modest. Oh! there was a host of virtues ascribed to him. I never saw him, for our regiments never happened to have met; but I was inspired with admiration of his fame, and with a desire for his acquaintance. Well, in the midst of all my tender love for Rosara, and my admiration of the phænix Bastiani, judge how thunderstricken I stood when the overwhelming intelligence was poured upon me that Rosara had broken her vows, disgraced her name, and fled from her convent with this same most virtuous Florestan Bastiani ! :
“Now, I pray you, Brunetto, do sit still; do not chafe and make those signs of impatience; there is no use in contradicting me at this time; let me quietly finish my story.
“I cannot tell you what I felt; but, in fact, I did not feel at first;-- I was stunned; I could not even think. When I did begin to rouse myself, and try to understand what I had heard, the words seemed to me as vague as if uttered in a strange language. I disbelieved the intelligence, and determined to resent it as an insult, when a letter from the superior of the convent convinced me, and plunged me into a chaos of rage, shame, and anguish unutterable. I intended to have set out instantly for Sienna, and to have endeavoured to trace the fugitives ; but was seized with brain fever, from which I did not recover till after the trial of Bastiani. I then learned that my sister had utterly disappeared as if from off the face of the earth; that Bastiani had been taken and condemned, but saved from a merited death by the mistaken kindness of Frederic; but that he had been dismissed the service, and was gone, none knew whither.
“Enraged at what I considered the Emperor's dereliction of justice in the permitted evasion of Bastiani, and doubly incensed that the latter had escaped my personal vengeance (for I meant to have forced him at the sword's point to divulge the place of my sister's concealment), in the untamed fever of my mind I quitted my regiment without leave, repaired to the presence of Frederic, and burst into an intemperate and disrespectful demand of justice upon Bastiani-justice, whose course, I permitted myself to say, his imperial favour had interrupted. The young Emperor drew up to his full height, but put a dignified restraint on his displeasure.
“ I pity you, sir,' he said, and can forgive much to your deeply-wounded feelings ; but you mistake the object of your resentment. I am perfectly convinced of Captain Bastiani's entire innocence. I will give you every facility to seek your sister and her real and hitherto undiscovered seducer. But I command you, on your allegiance, to cease your unjust accusations against the innocent.
“I looked upon this speech as dictated merely by a desire to screen the imperial favourite ; and, smarting under a sense of in
justice, I forgot my respect and my loyalty, and answered my sovereign in unbecoming terms; and Frederic, justly offended, pronounced on the spot my dismissal from his service. I saw myself ruined ; and, in a fit of desperation, I unbuckled my sword, and, throwing it at the Emperor's feet, I exclaimed
"Your Imperial Majesty has anticipated me but for a moment; I came here to renounce my allegiance to the patron of seducers and convent robbers.'
- Frederic's eye flashed, and his brow contracted, at this insult'; but his dignity prevented his wrath from placing him on a level with his rebellious subject. In cool self-possession he summoned a guard, and sent me from his presence to prison.
" There I had full leisure to perceive the folly and impropriety of my behaviour. I saw that Frederic really believed the innocence of one whom he had loved as a brother; and, judging by my own feelings for Rosara, I could make allowances for his impatience at the crimination of a beloved friend.
“I lamented my misconduct, and addressed a letter of repentance and submission to the Emperor, but no notice was taken of it. I had hoped to be liberated, that I might seek Rosara ; but I remained a chafing, miserable prisoner. I learned from my guards the glorious battle of Bouvines, and the death of Bastiani.
“ Some time afterwards the Emperor sent for me, and, on entering his presence, desired the guard to wait without; he would speak with me alone. He said that he was satisfied with the submission I had addressed to him ; that, if I was sincere in my professions he would now give me an opportunity of serving him, which, if I discharged faithfully, should reinstate me in my former rank, and expunge my offences. He paused, and I declared my anxiety to obey him. He resumed, and said it was his earnest desire to recover Florence under the imperial sway, and, if possible, without civil war; that the majority of the Florentines were Guelphs ; but that a marriage now concerted between the chief of the Guelphs and a Ghibelline lady of one of the principal families would, in great measure, neutralize the power of the Guelphs by subjecting their young and somewhat unstable chief to Ghibelline influence and connections; that he (Frederic) had a secret agent in Florence, with whom he wished me, and another person whom he would present to me, to co-operate ; that, aware of my possessing some vocal powers, the character he wished me and my future comrade to assume was that of Glee-singers, that by our political songs we might influence the minds of the populace at least in his favour, and dispose them to receive him hereafter as their liege lord. The Emperor continued, that, as his secret agent in Florence had reasons for not being discovered, he (Frederic) left to himself the mode of communicating with us; and that my future minstrel companion was a man in peculiar circumstances, to whom
desire toithout cinat a marline lady