J. H. (Joseph Henry) Shorthouse.

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JOHN INGLESANT



John Inglesant



a iRximance



^AryairriTot, vvv reKva Qeod ia/xev, /cat
offTTW iipavepudt] t'l iao/j-eda.



VOL. 11.



Hontion

MACMILLAN AND CO.
1881



Printed by 'K & R. Clark, Edinburgh.



/SSI



JOHN INGLESANT.



CHAPTER I.

INGLESANT travelled to Marseilles, and by packet boat
to Genoa. The beauty of the approach by sea to this
city, and the lovely gardens and the country around gave him
the greatest delight. The magnificent streets of palaces,
mostly of marble, and the thronged public places, the galleries
of paintings, and the museums, filled his mind with astonish-
ment; and the entrance into Italy, wonderful as he had ex-
pected it to be, surpassed his anticipation. He stayed some
time in Genoa, to one or more of the Jesuit fathers in which
city he had letters. Under the guidance of these cultivated
men he commenced an education in art, such as in these days
can be scarcely understood. From his coming into Italy a
new life had dawned upon him in the music of that country.
Fascinated as he had always been with the Church music at
London and Oxford, for several years he had been cut off from
all such enjoyment, and, at its best, it was but the prelude to
what he heard now. For whole hours he would remain on
his knees at mass, lost and wandering in that strange world of
infinite variety, the mass music — so various in its phases, yet
with a monotone of pathos through it all. The musical parties
WTre also a great pleasure. He played the violin a little
in England, and rapidly improved by the excellent tuition he

VOL. II. B



2 JOHN INGLESANT ; [chap, i,

met with here. He became, however, a proficient in what the
Italians called the viola d'amore, a treble viol, strung with
wire, which attracted him by its soft and sweet tone. Amid a
concord of sweet sounds, within hearing of the splash of foun-
tains, and surrounded by the rich colours of an Italian interior,
the young Enghshman found himself in a new world of delight.
As the very soul of music, at one moment merry and the next
mad with passion and delightful pain, uttered itself in the long-
continued tremor of the violins, it took possession in all its
power of Inglesant's spirit. The whole of life is recited upon
the plaintive strings, and by their mysterious effect upon the
brain fibres, men are brought into sympathy with life in all its
forms, from the gay promise of its morning sunrise to the
silence of its gloomy night.

From Genoa he went to Sienna, where he stayed some
time — the dialect here being held to be very pure, and fit for
foreigners to accustom themselves to. He spoke Italian be-
fore with sufficient ease, and associating with several of the re-
ligious in this city he soon acquired the language perfectly.
There can be nothing more delightful than the first few days
of life in Italy in the company of polished and congenial men.
Inglesant enjoyed life at Sienna very much; the beautiful
clean town, all marble and polished brick, the shining walls
and pavement softened and shaded by gardens and creeping
vines, the piazza and fountains, the cool retired walks with
distant prospects, the Duomo, within and without of poHshed
marble inexpressibly beautiful, with its exceeding sweet music
and well- tuned organs, the libraries full of objects of the
greatest interest, the statues and antiquities everywhere inter-
spersed.

The summer and winter passed over, and he was still in
Sienna, and seemed loth to leave. He associated mostly with
the ecclesiastics to whom he had brought letters of introduc-
tion, for he was more anxious at first to become acquainted



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE. 3

with the country and its treasures of art and literature than to
make many acquaintances. He kept himself so close and
studious that he met with no adventures such as most travellers,
especially those who abandon themselves to the dissolute
courses of the countr}^, meet with, — courses which were said
at that time to be able to make a devil out of a saint. He
saw nothing of the religious system but what was excellent and
delightful, seeing everything through the medium of his friends.
He read all the Italian Hterature that was considered necessary
for a gentleman to be acquainted with ; and though the learn-
ing of the Fathers was not what it had been a century ago, he
still found several to whom he could talk of his favourite
Lucretius and of the divine lessons of Plato.

When he had spent some time in this way in Italy, and
considered himself fitted to associate with the inhabitants
generally, the Benedictines took Inglesant to visit the family
of Cardinal Chigi, who was afterwards Pope, and who was a
native of Sienna. The cardinal himself was in Rome, but his
brother, Don Mario, received Inglesant politely, and intro-
duced him to his son, Don Flavio, and to two of his nephews.
With one of these, Don Agostino di Chigi, Inglesant became
very intimate, and spent much of his time at his house. In
this family he learnt much of the state of parties in Rome,
and was advised in what way to comport himself when he
should come there. The Cardinal Panzirollo, who with the
Cardinal-Patron (PamphiHo), had lately been in great esteem,
had just died, having weakened his health by his continued
application to business, and the Pope had appointed Cardinal
Chigi his successor as first Secretary of State. The Pope's
sister-in-law. Donna Olympia Maldachini, was supposed to be
banished, but many thought this was only a political retreat,
and that she still directed the affairs of the Papacy. At any
rate she soon returned to Rome and to power. This extra-
ordinary woman, whose loves and intrigues were enacted on



4 JOHN INGLES ANT ; [chap. i.

the stage in Protestant countries, was the sister-in-law of the
Pope, and was said to Hve with him in criminal correspond-
ence, and to have charmed him by some secret incantation —
the incantation of a strong woman over a weak and criminal
man. For a long time she had abused her authority in the
most scandalous manner, and exerted her unbounded ascen-
dency over the Pope to gratify her avarice and ambition, which
were as unbounded as her power. She disposed of all bene-
fices, which she kept vacant till she was fully informed of their
value ; she exacted a third of the entire value of all offices,
receiving twelve years' value for an office for life. She gave
audience upon public affairs, enacted new laws, abrogated
those of former Popes, and sat in council with the Pope with
bundles of memorials in her hands. Severe satires were daily
pasted on the statue of Pasquin at Rome ; yet it seemed so
incredible that Cardinal PanziroUo, backed though he was by
the Cardinal-Nephew, should be able to overthrow the power
of this woman by a representation he was said to have made
to the Pope, that when Innocent at length, with great reluct-
ance banished Olympia, most persons supposed it was only a
temporary piece of policy.

The Chigi were at this time living in Sienna, in great
simplicity, at their house in the Strada Romana, and in one or
two small villas in the neighbourhood; but they were of an
ancient and noble family of this place, and were held in great
esteem, and were all of them men of refinement and carefully
educated. They had made considerable figure in Rome
during the Pontificate of Julius II. ; but aftenvards meeting
with misfortunes, were obliged to return to Sienna, where they
had continued to reside ever since. At this time there was
no idea that the Cardinal of this house would be the next
Pope, and though well acquainted with the politics of Rome,
the family occupied themselves mostly with other and more
innocent amusements — in the arrangement of their gardens



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE. 5

and estates, in the duties of hospitality, and in artistic, Hterary,
and antiquarian pursuits. The University and College of
Sienna had produced many excellent scholars and several
Popes, and the city itself was full of remains of antique art,
and was adorned with many modern works of great beauty —
the productions of that school which takes its name from the
town. Among such scenes as these, and with such com-
panions, Inglesant's time passed so pleasantly that he was in
no hurry to go on to Rome.

The country about the city was celebrated for hunting,
and the wild boar and the stag afforded excellent and exciting,
if sometimes dangerous sport. Amid the beautiful valleys,
rich with vineyards, and overlooked by rocky hills and castled
summits, were scenes fitted both for pleasure and sport ; and
the hunting gave place, often and in a moment, to al fresco
banquets, and conversations and pleasant dalHance with the
ladies, by the cool shade near some fountain, or under some
over-arching rock. Under the influence of these occupations,
so various and so attractive both to the mind and body, and
thanks to so many novel objects and continual change of
scene, Inglesant's health rapidly improved, and his mind
recovered much of the calm and cheerfulness which were
natural to it. He thought little of the Italian, and the terrible
thoughts with w^hich he had connected him were for the time
almost forgotten, though, from time to time, when any acci-
dent recalled the circumstances to his recollection, they
returned upon his spirits with a melancholy effect.

The first time that these gloomy thoughts overpowered him
since his arrival at Sienna was on the following occasion. He
had been hunting with a party of friends in the valley of Mon-
talcino one day in early autumn. The weather previously had
been wet, and the rising sun had drawn upward masses of
white vapour, which wreathed the green foliage and the vine
slopes, where the vintage was going on, and concealed from



6 JOHN INGLES ANT ; [chap. i.

sight the hills on every side. A pale golden light pervaded
every place, and gave mystery and beauty to the meanest
cottages and farm-sheds. The party, having missed the stag,
stopped at a small osteria at the foot of a sloping hill, and
Inglesant and another gentleman wandered up into the vine-
yard that sloped upwards behind the house. As they went
up, the vines became gradually visible out of the silvery mist,
and figures of peasant men and women moved about — vague
and half-hidden until they were close to them ; pigeons and
doves flew in and out. Inglesant's friend stopped to speak to
some of the peasant girls ; but Inglesant himself, tempted by
the pleasing mystery that the mountain slope — apparently full
of hidden and beautiful life — presented, wandered on, gradu-
ally climbing higher and higher, till he had left the vintage far
below him, and heard no sound but that of the grasshoppers
among the grass and the olive trees, and the distant laugh of
the villagers, or now and then the music of a hunting horn,
which one of the party below was blowing for his own amuse-
ment. The mist was now so thick that he could see nothing,
and it was by chance that he even kept the ascending path.
The hill was rocky here and there, but for the most part was
covered with short grass, cropped by the goats which Inglesant
startled as he came unexpectedly upon them in the mist.
Suddenly, after some quarter of an hour's chmbing, he came
out of the mist in a moment, and stood under a perfectly clear
sky upon the summit of the hill. The blue vault stretched
above him without a cloud, all alight with the morning sun ;
at his feet the grassy hill-top sparkling in dew, not yet dried
up, and vocal with grasshoppers, not yet silenced by the heat.
Nothing could be seen but wreaths of cloud. The hill-top
rose like an island out of a sea of vapour, seething and rolling
round in misty waves, and lighted with prismatic colours of
every hue. Out of this sea, here and there, other hill-tops, on
which goats were browsing, lay beneath the serene heaven ;



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE. ' 7

and rocky points and summits, far higher than these, reflected
back the sun. He would have seemed to stand above all
human conversation and walks of men, if every now and then
some break in the mist had not taken place, opening glimpses
of landscapes and villages far below ; and also the sound of
bells, and the music of the horn, came up fitfully through the
mist. Why, he did not know, but as he gazed on this, the
most wonderful and beautiful sight he had ever seen, the
recollection of Serenus de Cressy returned upon his mind
with intense vividness ; and the contrast between the life he
was leading in Italy, amid every delight of mind and sense,
and the hfe the Benedictine had offered him in vain, smote
upon his conscience with terrible force. Upon the lonely
mountain top, beneath the serene silence, he threw himself
upon the turf, and, overwhelmed with a sudden passion,
repented that he had been born. Amid the extraordinary
loveliness, the most gloomy thoughts took possession of him,
and the fiend seemed to stand upon the smiling mount and
claim him for himself So palpably did the consciousness of
his choice, worldly as he thought it, cause the presence of evil
to appear, that in that heavenly solitude he looked round for
the murderer of his brother. The moment appeared to him,
for the instant, to be the one appointed for the consummation
of his guilt. The horn below sounding the recall drew his
mind out of this terrible reverie, and he came down the hill
(from which the mist was gradually clearing) as in a dream.
He rejoined his company, who remarked the wild expression
of his face.

His old disease, in fact, never entirely left him; he
walked often as in a dream, and when the fit was upon him
could never discern the real and the unreal. He knew that
terrible feeling when the world and all its objects are slipping
away, when the brain reels, and seems only to be kept fixed
and steady by a violent exertion of the will ; and the mind is



8 JOHN INGLESANT ; [chap. i.

confused and perplexed with thoughts which it cannot grasp,
and is full of fancies of vague duties and acts which it cannot
perform, though it is convinced that they are all important to
be done.

The Chigi family knew of Inglesant's past life, and of his
acquaintance with the Archbishop of Fermo, the Pope's
Nuncio, and they advised him to make the acquaintance of
his brother, the Cardinal Rinuccini, before going to Rome.

" If you go to Rome in his train, or have him for a patron
on your arrival, you will start in a much better position than
if you enter the city an entire stranger, — and the present is
not a very favourable time for going to Rome. The Pope is
not expected to live very long. Donna Olympia and the Pam-
phili, or pretended Pamphili (for the Cardinal- Nephew is
not a Pamphili at all), are securing what they can, using every
moment to enrich themselves while they have the power.
The moment the Pope dies they fall, and with them all who
have been connected with them. It is therefore useless to go
to Rome at present, except as a private person to see the
city, and this you can do better in the suite of the Cardinal
than in any other way. You may wonder that we do not
offer to introduce you to our uncle the Cardinal Chigi ; but we
had rather that you should come to Rome at first under the
patronage of another. You will understand more of our
reasons before long; meanwhile, we will write to our uncle
respecting you, and you may be sure that he will promote
your interests as much as is in his power."

The Cardinal Rinuccini was at that time beUeved to be at
his own villa, situated in a village some distance from Florence
to the north, and Don Agostino offered to accompany Ingle-
sant so far on his journey.

This ride, though a short one, was very pleasant, and
endeared the two men to each other more than ever. They
travelled simply, with a very small train, and did not hurry



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE g

themselves on the route. Indeed, they travelled so leisurely
that they were very nearly being too late for their purpose.
On their arrival at the last stage before reaching Florence,
they stopped for the night at a small osteria, and had no
sooner taken up their quarters than a large train arrived at
the inn, and on their inquiry they were informed it was the
Cardinal Rinuccini himself on his way to Rome. They im-
mediately sent their names to his Eminence, saying they had
been coming to pay their respects to him, and offering to
resign their apartment, which was the best in the house. The
Cardinal, who travelled in great state, with his four-post bed
and furniture of all kinds with him, returned a message that
he could not disturb them in their room ; that he remembered
Mr. Inglesant's name in some letters from his brother ; and
that he should be honoured by their company to supper.

The best that the village could afford was placed on the
Cardinal's table, and their host entertained the two young men
with great courtesy.

He was descended from a noble family in Florence, which
boasted among its members Octavio Rinuccini the poet, who
came to Paris in the suite of Marie de Medicis, and is said by
some to have been the inventor of the Opera. Besides the
Pope's Legate another brother of the Cardinal's, Thomas Bat-
tista Rinuccini, was Great Chamberlain to the Grand Duke of
Tuscany. All the brothers had been carefully educated, and
were men of literary tastes ; but while the Archbishop had
devoted himself mostly to politics, the Cardinal had confined
himself almost entirely to literary pursuits. He owed his
Cardinal's hat to the Grand Duke, who was extremely partial
to him, and promoted his interests in every way. He was a
man of profound learning, and an enthusiastic admirer of
antiquity, but was also an acute logician and theologian, and
perfectly well-read in Church history, and in the controversy
of the century, both in theology and philosophy. Before the



lo JOHN INGLESANT ; [chap. i.

end of supper Inglesant found that he was acquainted with
the writings of Hobbes, whom he had met in Italy, and of
whom he inquired with interest, as soon as he found Inglesant
had been acquainted with him.

The following morning the Cardinal expressed his sorrow
that the business which took him to Rome was of so important
a nature that it obliged him to proceed without delay. He
approved of the advice that Inglesant had already received,
and recommended him to proceed to Florence with Don
Agostino, as he was so near ; so that he might not have his
journey for nothing, and might see the city under very favour-
able circumstances. Inglesant was the more ready to agree
to this as he wished to see as much of Italy as he could, un-
shackled by the company of the great, which, in the uncertain
state of health both of his body and mind, was inexpressibly
burdensome to him. He had already seen in this last
journey a great deal of the distress and bad government which
prevailed everywhere ; and he wished to make himself ac-
quainted, in some measure, with the causes of this distress
before going to Rome. As he rode through the beautiful
plains he had been astonished at the few inhabitants, and at
the wretchedness of the few. Italy had suffered greatly in her
commerce by the introduction of Indian silks into Europe.
Some of her most flourishing cities had been depopulated,
their nobles ruined; and long streets of neglected palaces,
deserted and left in magnificent decay, presented a melancholy
though romantic spectacle. But bad government, and the
oppression and waste caused by the accumulated wealth and
idleness of the innumerable religious orders, had more to do
in ruining the prosperity of the country than any commercial
changes ; and proofs of this fact met the traveller's eye on
every hand.

It seemed to Inglesant that it was very necessary that he
should satisfy himself upon some of these points before becom-



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE. II

ing involved in any political action in the country; and he
shrank from entering Rome at present, and from attaching
himself to any great man or any party. In a country where
the least false step is fatal, and may plunge a man in irretriev-
able ruin, or consign him to the dungeons of the Holy Office,
it is certainly prudent in a stranger to be wary of his first steps.
Having communicated these resolutions to his friend, the two
young men, on their arrival at Florence, took lodgings privately
in the Piazza del Spirito Santo ; and occupied their time for
some days in viewing the city, and visiting the churches and
museums, as though they had been simply travellers from
curiosity.

Inglesant beUeved the ItaUan to be in Rome, which was a
further reason for delaying his journey there. He believed
that he was going to engage in some terrible conflict, and he
wished to prepare himself by an acquaintance with every form
of life in this strange country. The singular scenes that strike
a stranger in Italy — the religious processions, the character
and habits of the poorei classes, their ideas of moral obliga-
tion, their ecclesiastical and legal government — all appeared
to him of importance to his future fate.

As he was perfectly unacquainted with the person of his
enemy, there was a sort of vague expectation — not to say dread
— always present to his mind ; for, though he fancied that it
would be in Rome that he should find the Italian, yet it was
not at all impossible that at any moment — it might be in
Florence, or in the open country — he might be the object of
a murderous attack. His person was doubtless known to the
murderer of his brother, and he thus walked everywhere in the
full light, while his enemy was hidden in the dark.

These ideas were seldom absent from his mind, and the
image of the murderer was almost constantly before his eyes.
Often, as some marked figure crossed his path, he started and
watched the retreating form, wondering whether the object of



12



JOHN INGLESANT ; [chap. i.



his morbid dread was before him. Often, as the uncovered
corpse was borne along the streets, the thought struck him
that perhaps his fear and his search were aUke needless, and
that before him on the bier, harmless and strewn with flowers,
lay his terrible foe. These thoughts naturally prevented his
engaging unrestrainedly in the pursuits of his age and rank,
and he often let Don Agostino go alone into the gay society
which was open to them in Florence.

In pursuit of his intention Inglesant took every oppor-
tunity, without incurring remark, of associating with the lower
orders, and learning their habits, traditions, and tone of
thought. He chose streets which led through the poorer
parts of the town in passing from one part to another, and in
this way, and in the course of his visits to different churches
and religious houses, he was able to converse with the common
people without attracting attention. In excursions into the
country, whether on parties of pleasure or for sport, he was
also able to throw himself in the same way among the peasan-
try. Under the pretence of shooting quails he passed several
days in more than one country village, and had become ac-
quainted with several of the cures, from whom he gained much
information respecting the habits of the people, and of their
ideas of crime and of lawful revenge.

One of these cures — a man of penetration and intellect —
strongly advised him to see Venice before he went to Rome.

" Venice," he said to him, " is the sink of all wickedness,
and as such it is desirable that you should see the people there,
and mix with them ; besides, as such, it is not at all unlikely
that the man you seek may be found there."

" V{\\dX is the cause of this wickedness ? " asked Inglesant.

" There are several causes," rephed the priest. " One is
that the Holy Office there is under the control of the State, and
is therefore almost powerless. Wickedness and license of all
kinds are therefore unrestrained."



CHAP. I.] A ROMANCE. 13



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