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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




SON'S

lARY,



STALLS.




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i




PASCAKEL.




P A S C A R E L.

By quid a. ^5fi^'

AUTHOR OF "CHANDOS," "tRICOTRIN," " UNDER TWO FLAGS," ETC.




IN THREE VOLS.
VOL. I.



LONDON:
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, PICCADILLY.

1873-
[Ri'jht <'f Translation lieserved.]



LONDON :
BRADBURT, AGNF.W, <fc CO., PEINTFES, WHITEFEIABS.






«!;i





TO THE READER.




ITH feminine obstinacy the Donzella sacri-
fices truth to pictorial effect, and jus-
tice to high-coloured contrast, touching
Rome.* The love that Rome begets is different
to that which Florence inspires ; but it is never
less strong and is even more reverent ; less
familiar, and more close on awe ; as tender, but
more solemn. In Rome, Art and Nature strain
together in perpetual conflict for supremacy ; a
struggle of a Titan with a God that holds mortal
onlookers breathless : in Florence, Art and Nature
clasp hands and smile on men, and even the Mer-
cury Agoreus, being in Florence, borrows the flowers

* Vol. 1, p. 240.



X TO THE READER.



of Dionysus to deck his scales of barter. But
who, with any power of vision or soul of artist
in them, can live a day blind to the vast and
sublime beauties of the Capital of the World? —
who can fail to gi'ow at once the humbler and
the greater by dwelling on that sacred soil ? —
who will not draw nearer to God himself as they
see how mighty human genius can be ? — who
will not yield to Rome a homage that is a passion
as well as a religion ? If any such there be, let
them see the sun fall once on the face of the Faun,
let them see the moon shine once on the Palace
of the Csesars : — and surely they will repent.

OUIDA.

EoME, Feb. 12.




CONTENTS.



BOOK I.

THE CITY OF CATULLUS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. KINa CARNIVAL 3

II. THE BIRD AND THE FATES 9

III. BY THE BROKEN DONATELLO 25

IV. WITH THE POPOLANI 50

V. THE peacock's PLUMES 77

VI. MATER DOLOROSA 93

VII. A TWILIGHT TALE 98

VIII. THE LITTLE RED BOX 115



I.

II.



BOOK II.

THE CITY OF LILIES.
THE GIFTS OF GALA
THE VEGLIONE MASQUER .



129
143



xu



CONTENTS.



BOOK II. — Continued.

■CHAP, PAGE

III. THE LAST SLEEP 161

IV. AT AVE MARIA 164

V. THE FEAST OF FACSTIXO 175

VI. FUORI 186

VII. UNDER THE GARISENDa 201

VIIL THE MAIDENHAIR 214

IX. THE BNOW-FLOWER 226

X. LA REINE DU MOYENAGE 235

XL THE MIDNIGHT FAIR 247

XII. WITH THE WILD CROCUS 255

XIII. THE GREAT MAGICIAN 277





BOOK I.



THE CITY OF CATULLUS.



VOL. r.




PASCAEEI



J



CHAPTER I.



KING CAKNIVAi.




T was the fii'st day of Carnival.

Tlie populace was out aU over the city
in a many-coloured and ever-clianging
swarm of human life. The gay masque reeled
madly round the marble ii'on-bomid flanks of the
Duomo, and flung its hail of toys and flowers against
the fro-RTiing masses of the old jialaces and prisons ;
and surged in its foam of mu'th and miscliief all
along the length of the green Adige in tlie light of
the winter noon.

For a month King CaLnival would reign supreme



PASCAREL.



in mockery and merriment over the lives of men ;
his path strewn with violets, his sovereignty shouted
over wine, his djTiasty proclaimed far and wide —
ever}T\diere, by high and low, from the cobbler who
pranked himself in the guise of Stenterello to the
great lady who laughed through her velvet mask of
Venice.

And at the month's end, at nightfall, just as
the moon should rise, with music and many a
jest and somid of horn and drum, and rioting of
Arlecchmo and Pulcinello and all their immemorial
brotherhood, at nightfall the fickle people would
lead the old I"Cing out to his funeral pyre in the
great square, and there would burn him in all pomp
and cruelty until the flames should redden grim
Eoland standing at his vigil at the cathedral doors,
and be seen afar off, where the last outposts of the
great Alps kept watch and ward in the quiet of the
silence and the chillness of the snow.

Burn him, — a monarch yesterday, to-day a scape-
goat, in grimmest ironic symbol of all human histories.

Poor King Carnival !

His rule has lasted longer than any other dynasty;
for though his nations burn him one year, he rises



THE CITY OF CATULLUS.



from his ashes, and they ciy All hail ! to him the
next.

But the axe is at the root of his tlu'one. The
old glad days of his mumming are numbered, and
the pomp of his pageant is shorn. The world is
old and very weary.

Here "nel aer dolce, die del sol s'allegra," life
is brighter and more buoyant than elsewhere.

Here the people still laugh from clear throats, and
the hours still reel away, marked with flowers ; here
they sit in the sun, and still know the priceless
pleasm-es and true uses of leism-e ; and here the
heart of a child still beats in the war-scarred breast
of the nation.

Yet even here the world is older, greyer, sadder
than of yore ; and even here the day is close at hand
when King Carnival will ride his last ride round the
city walls, and be burned for the last time, in all the
panoply of his historic robes, upon a pyre whence his
ashes shall never rise again.

The world is too wise to be foohsh — so^ they say.
Or is it too foolish to be wise ?

King Carnival might tell us if he would. Perhaps
he would answer : —



PASCAREL.



"In the (lays when men were so great that they
did not fear to stoop, and were so strong that their
dignity lost nothing by their mirth, the}' rode in
my train and followed me — Carnivale, the old King —
and laughed as children laugh — those men of those
days of Dante, of those days of Lionardo, of those
da3's of Shakspeare. Are you wiser than they ? or
weaker ? or only more wear}-, perhaps ? No matter.
I have held high feast \ai\i the giants, and the}'
were not ashamed to he glad. But you, who blush
for your mirth because your miilh is vice, bury me
quicldy. I am a thing of the Past."

And the old King would speak sadly aright ; for
his name is almost emptiness, and his earth-swaying
orb is but now an empty gourd in which the shrivelled
beans of the world's spent ideasures are shaken in
fruitless sport and sound. •

For in the old days, — when he reigned supreme,
over all men's lives, from sovereign's to serf's, for
a few weeks' span of full feast and fail' folly, — in
the old days men lived greatly great lives to great
ends.

Their faith was ever present with them — a
thing of daily use and hourly sweetness. Tlieir



THE CITY OF CATULLUS.



liouseholds were wisely ruled and simply ordered.
Tliey denuded themselves of tlieii' substance to
give their gold to the raising of mighty works —
fives lapidihus — which to this day do live and speak.

Great artists narrowed not themselves to one
meagre phase of art, but filled with all its innumer-
able powers the splendid plenitude of theii' majestic
years.

And that art was in the hearts of the people
who followed it, and adored its power and were
nourished by it, so that it was no empty name, but
an everv'ivif^'uig presence — a divinity at once of
hearth and temple that brooded over the cities with
sheltermg and stamless love.

Therefore in those days men, givmg themselves
leave to be glad for a little space, were glad with
the same sinewy force and manful singleness of pur-
pose as made them in other times laborious, self-
denj'ing, patient, and fruitful of high thoughts and
deeds.

Because they laboured for their fellows, therefore
they could laugh with them, and because they
served God, therefore they dared be glad.

In those grave, dauntless, austere lives the



8 PASCABEL.



Cariiivars jocund revelry was as one golden bead
in a inlgrim's rosary of thorn-berries.

Tliey had aimed highly and highly achieved ;
therefore they could go forth amidst their children
and rejoice.

But we — in whom all art is the mere empty Shib-
boleth of a ruined religion whose priests are all dead ;
we — whose whole year-long course is one Dance
of Death over the putridity of our pleasures ; we —
whose solitary' i)urpose it is to fly faster and faster
from desire to satiet}', from satiety to desii'e, in an
endless eddy of fruitless eflbrt ; Ave — whose greatest
genius can only raise for us some inarticulate protest
of despair against some unknown God ; — we have-
strangled King Carnival and killed him, and buried
him in the ashes of our own miutterable weariness-
and woe.

For the old King is heartsick to hear the manful!
laughter that he heard in his youth ; and we — we
cannot laugh ; all we can give is a sneer — and a
yob.




CHAPTER II.



THE BIRD AXD TPIE FATES.




EVERTHELESS in Verona this first day
of Carnival men made believe to be
"lad.

In the deep wintiy gloom of the old sad city the
gold of the alien tjTanny had been scattered broad-
cast that the people might wear at least the mask of
contentment; and on the whole they wore it, no-
thing loth, grinning gleefully from ear to ear.

The old stone balconies were draped with amber
and rose and silver ; the beautiful trecento windows
were filled with eager faces ; the dusky crypt-like
streets were full of colour and tmnult ; the great
marble tombs, looming white in the darkness of their



10 PA SC ABEL.



sepulchres, were Hecked ^vitll the ^n-etty xiallor of
violets from Rome.

Verona mider her taskmasters took lioHday.

Under a deep porch, sculptured with vine foliage
and the heads of griffins, two children stood looking
on the pageantry, and not thinldng very much ahout
it ; for one of them — the girl, — was full of trouble,
and the hoy tried his best to solace her.

" Do look at Stenterello ! " the little lad mur-
mured, " How nimble he is — look, look ! the boys
have caught him. No ! — he shps tln'ough like an
eel. All, ah ! do look ! There is Ai'lecchino angling
for a priest's hat with a gilded fishmg-hook. Oh,
carina mia ! to think 3'ou have no heart to laugh to-
day "

The tears brimmed over in his comjianion's
ej'es.

" How can I laugh ? AVe have nothing — abso-
lutely nothing. "We must sell those poor little
jewels of my mother's, or ]Mariuccia will starve. It
must not be, you know ; she is so old, so old ! And
yet to sell the jewels ! See here, 'Ino. I have a
voice, and I am fifteen 3'ears old, and I am good to
look at, you all say. AVliy should I not sing in the



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. 11

choruses ? You know how often we have laughed
at them — the fat ugly v^'onien Avith the crowns that
would always tumhle off. Now I am as thin as a
cane, and am handsome, and could Avear a croAvn as
one should be Avorn. V.'h}' might I not sing in the
chorus?"

The pretty hoy looked perplexed, and his little
hare foot traced nerA'ously an arabesque on the
stone of the dusty stair.

" That Avould neA'er do, dear donzella ! Your
father is too illustrious "

" But one cannot liA'e on being illustrious. One
wants to eat — somehoAA'. And there is nothing to
eat. Nothing. We liaA'e not heard of my father for
more than a year, and Florio eA"en does not send
noAA\ AVliy should I not sing in the chorus '? It is
quite easy, all that sort of music."

He shook his pretty, curly, golden, Venetian head,
in grave concern.

"Oh no, dear donzella; it would never do.
Mariuccia Avould never alloAv it. It is so late at
night, and the Avomen are not fit for you : it Avould
never do."

" Then the jeAvels must go ? And they are all



12 FASCAEEL.



that I have of my mother's — the only, only, little
thmg ! "

The words ended in a sob ; and the whirling,
many-coloured procession of the Carnival was hid-
den from the child's sight h}' a haze of suddea
tears.

At home there were an empty cupboard, a ci^ld
hearth, and an old woman of eighty years, who had
not broken her fast. Such thmgs seem hard to
bear when one is very young ; and it is the first day
of Carnival; and beneath there, in the street,
all the mad and merry masque is flauntmg on its.
way.

The boy listened wistfully, with a tender and
anxious face.

" See here, dear donzella," he murmured, after
a pause. " I have a thought. Sing in the choru&
3"ou must not ; but why not sing in the streets ?
The people are all happy and good-tempered to-day,
I have got my lute here, and we will sing, and then
ask them frankly to help us. Why not ? We have
made music for them often out of pure love and
goodwill. They will certainly give us a little money
now, and no harm done."



TEE CITY OF CATULLUS. 13



"Oil, 'Ino ! Yoii never sang for money yet, nor T.
It is so different "

" We have not sung for it, because we liave not
wanted it. But if we do want it, where is the
harm "

"It is shameful!"

"Shameful! How shameful? When the great
singer Lillo went through here last spring, do you
not remember that the least atom of standmg room
in the theatre was worth gold, and the people took
the horses from his carriage, and drew him through
the streets, shouting and smothering him with
Easter mies ? "

" That is very different."

" Not at all different. Except that they pay Lillo
Iby millions and we only want a few florins."

" But why, then, will you never take money when
you play yourself? You never do."

He crossed himself, and glanced gi'atefully at an
old battered, black-faced Madonna that hung be-
hind an ii-on grating high up above in the doorway.

" Our Lady has been so good to me, and I have
never wanted for anythmg. And the people who
would have paid me have always been so poor — so



14 PASCABEL.



poor. But I would play for money rather than sell
a thing of my mother's. Perhaps your mother up
there says- to Our Lady, — ' Look at my donzella ;
she is proud : take that sin out of her heart.' And
Our Lady sa3^s, — ' We will prove her : she must
love you a little, though she never looked on your
face.' And so Our Ladv sets this thing in your
way. And 3'our mother up there waits, watching
and trembhng, to see if indeed 3'ou do love her, or
only care for your pride. For mothers never forget.
That I am ver}- sure. No, not though they sit on
the right hand of God with His angels."

The bo3''s voice was very sweet and solemn, and
murmured with a strange softness and clearness
through the riotous laughter and uproar that rose
from the Carnival crowds in the street below. He
looked no longer at the antics of Stenterello and
the pranks of Arlecchino, but wp at the breadth of
blue serene sky which stretched above where the
gabled roof parted.

His companion listened, with the colour coming
and going, fleeting and burning, in her downcast
face ; then suddenly she caught his hand and sprang
down the first stair.



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. 15

" Let us go, 'Ino — let us go ! "

And hand in hand they ran down, and -were
mingled with the hundreds who were streaming in
frolicsome humour, through the narrow tortuous
street towards the great Piazza.

A few minutes later they also were standing in
the Cathedral square.

They were a picturesque httle x)air — the giii taller
than the boy by full a head.

He was barelegged and barefooted — a child of
the poi)ulace ; he wore the loose shirt and the red
waistband of the Venetian gondohers; and slung
round him by another bit of scarlet was an old
ebony. mandohne. She was clad in quite another
guise, so that she looked like some silky-leaved
flower growing out of the grey stone pavements ;
she had a hood of dark velvet over her head, from
which great, bright, trustful eyes looked out wonder-
ingly upon the world ; her skirts were of heavy
amber satin, that seemed to have been fashioned
out of some brocaded train ; her hands were full
of flowers that she had picked up from the ground
as the x^eople of the balconies flung them down-
ward.



16 PASCAEEL.



As tliey stood together, hand in hand, the con-
trast of colour and the grace of attitude made a
picture against the dusky pile of the Duomo and in
the crisp whiteness of the sunny frosty air. Many
people passing paused to look at them ; the little
lad whispered to her, and then unslung his man-
doline.

There was a lull in the sports of the day. Some
sporting of a band of mummers headed by a scarlet
Mefistofelo and a gorgeous Dulcamara was over
and done with : the commencement of the tradi-
tional Gala was delayed ; the crowd was unoccupied
and willing to be amused, but not impatient nor out
of temper, because it was a crowd of Italy.

The boy judged his time accurately, and touched
the cords of his lute. The gii'l wavered a moment
with the colour hot in her face ; then with a
sudden gesture threw the hood back off her curls,
and lifted up her voice and sang.

Her song was an old familiar street-song of the
Lombard population.

Far and wide on the clear wintry air, keen with
ihe hard breath of the mountains, the strong pure
notes of a voice in its earliest youth rang out like a



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. l7



bell over the muttering and shouting of the people.
Those nearest to her listened, and hushed down the
noise around them ; the silence spread and spread
softly like the cii-cles in the water where a stone is
thrown ; the boisterous gaiet}' dropped to a quieter
key ; in a little while all the square was still.

The hood fell back wholly upon her shoulders ;
the sun shone upon the little group ; the amber of
her skirts, the violets in her hands, the scarlet wool
of the boy's sash, all glowed in the light; above all
hum and buzz from the other quarters of the city
the song rose on the air clear as only the tones of
childhood can be.

"L'Uccello ! " the people shouted. " Go on, go
on!"

A smile rippled over her face, as at some familiar
word of greeting : she sang on at their bidding song
after song of the sweet unwritten melodies of the
nation. Now and then the boy struck a chord or
two from his mandoline, but seldom ; her voice was
rich enough and strong enough to fill the square
without aid, and it leaped aloft in the wintry air with
the eager, straight, upward flight of a hawk that is.
loosed from its holdings.

VOL. I. n



18 PASCAREL.



When at length it ceased, the throng in the great
square screamed, Laughed, ahnost cried with de-
lighted apphmse ; the people in the balconies
clapped their hands, the loungers at the caffe
dashed their hands on the marble tables till their
glasses rang, the masquers and merry-makers
shrieked a hundred times, — " Yiva I'Uccello ! Yiva
rUccello ! "

The boy marked tlie propitious hour. He took
the red berretta off his curly head, and advanced
amongst the multitude, and with the infinite grace
of his nation, the grace which is so perfect because
so utterly unconscious of itself, stretched out his
hand to them for charity.

" Some little thing, signori, for the love of God.
There is an old woman at home who wants bread."

He was generous, and he sought to bear all the
shame of the alms-seeking for his own portion.
But his companion saw his purpose, and sprang to
liis side. Her cheeks were flushed, the tears Avere
bright on her lashes, the winds blew the heavy gold
of her hair and the snow off her courtly skirts ; her
voice had lost its strength, and trembled a little.

"It is not for him, signori!" she cried. "It



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. 19

is for me. For himself, when lie phiys and the
people would give him coins or cakes or confetti, he
will never take payment for his music. He says it
is God's gift, not his. The mone}" that he begs now
is for me. I am illustrious ; oh yes ! but I am very
poor. I have an old nurse at home Avho wants
bread, and sits by a tireless hearth. She is so old,
so old. And we have nothmg to sell but a few
little jewels, and they were my mother's, who is
dead. "Will you give me some little thing, if my
songs pleased you ? "

The answer came from a hundred hands at once
— from above and around, on every side.

Paper monej' fluttered to her feet ; loose silver
rolled like sugar-plums ; here and there a x)iece of
gold flashed like a star through the air ; flowers and
toys and gilded horns of sweetmeats, and ribboned
plaj'things of the pageantry were all showered upon
them from the balconies above and from the throngs
around, until their arms ached with stretching for
the gifts, he his red berretta, and she her amber skirts.

Great ladies, leaning in the draped galleries of old
palaces, cast down money with lavish hands ; white-
coated soldiers, laughing over their wines at the

c 2



20 PA SC A EEL.



marble tables, tossed briglit florins to swell the store;
a cliikl-noble in his gala-costume of white and gold
and powder and jewels, ran down some palace steps
and shyly thrust a roll of notes into the singer's
hand, and hastily lifted his soft smiling mouth to-
kiss her cheek; the poorest of the peoj)le sought
in their leathern pouches for some copper pieces to-
give.

In vain the boy and giid, being honest, protested^
laughing and crying both at once — " Basta, basta T
— enough, enough ! "

In vain ; the golden shower did not cease until,
in the distance, as the first of the patrician pageantry
appeared on the entrance of the square, there rose a
glad shout,—" The Gala ! the Gala ! "

And the populace, Idndly of heart, but fickle of
temper, turned to the new pastime, and the little
noble ran to his people, and the great ladies looked
the other way, and the golden chariots rolled under
the historic walls, and the sea of the bright masque-
surged outward ; and the children were forgotten
where they stood.

Then to them there came one who had listened
and watched all the songs and all the payments



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. 21

where be had leaned iii the shadow of the cathedral
wall.

He uncovered his head as he approached, and the
sun fell full on his face — the dark, poetic, historic
face of Florence.

" All, cara donzella," he murmured softly with
a smile. *' Money I have none to give you, until I
make some more to-night. I too am an artist ; and
so — it goes without words — I too am poor. Never-
theless, let me thank you."

He dropped a ring into her amber skirts,
amongst the violets of Parma and the daffodils of
Tuscany, and turned away and vanished in the
throng.

The girl sought for the ring amongst the flowers
and toys and money and sweetmeats with which her
skirts were full.

It was a very old seal ring — an onyx, cut with the
heads of the Fates.

She looked at it long and curiously, with a dream-
ing look on her face ; then thrust it into the bosom
•of her dress. Then she gathered closely up about
her the heavy brocades of her garments, and turned
to the boy.



22 PASCABEL.



"Let lis rim, 'Ino. The people are not looking
now. AVe shall lose the Gala, but Mariiiccia is
so cold at home."

So the}- turned away from the square, and went
back into the old, irregular, gloomy streets where
even at mid-day there Avas no gleam of bright-
ness.

But now they could not run ; their fleet feet
were powerless to bear them swiftly ; they were
too heavily laden with the spoils of their in-oa-
perous eiforts ; it was of no avail to try and
move fpiickly ; at every step the}' trod upon a knot
of violets, or trampled a bright narcissus under
foot.

They were forced at last to go veiy tranquilly,
with bent heads and with cramped hmbs, along the
cold and dreaij passage ways.

•' Oh 'Ino ! " the girl cried. " When we sang for
love and goodwill, we Avere so light of heart and of
foot. But now "

Slie sank down upon a flight of steps, her slcirts
glided from her hands, her treasures rolled to the
ground and were scattered. She sobbed as if her
heart would break.



THE CITY OF CATULLUS. 23

" That is ungrateful to the people, cara mia,"
said the little lad softly. "Is it that stone with the
Fates that has chilled you ? "

*' Nay she is right," said a voice above them,
" Count art Ly gold, and it fetters the feet it once
winged."

He who had gi^-en the ring spoke the words,
passing swiftly in the shadow so as not to he
delayed nor questioned.

After him ran a gay and giddy throng of masks,
thrashing each other with coloured bladders, and
chasing him with tumultuous shouts as of a band of
mummers to their chief.

The shouts in their hoarse vibration filled the
tunnel of the narrow twilit street as the parti-
coloured group of the masquers reeled down it like
a score of anemone leaves blown heedlessly upon
an autunni wind.

They all cried one word : — Pascarel.

I, — the child who sat on the stone stair, weeping


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