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brooklet from the stream they had crossed, mur-
mured gratefully on the ear, and a tall and wide-
spreading beech cast its shadow over the gor-
geous canvass.

While his troop waited without, the Knight
was conducted at once to the presence of the
formidable adventurer.



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 129



CHAP. II.

ADRIAN ONCE MORE THE GUEST OF MONTREAL.

MONTREAL was sitting at the head of a table,
surrounded by men, some military, some civil,
whom he called his councillors, and with whom
he apparently debated all his projects. These
men, drawn from various cities, were intimately
acquainted with the internal affairs of the se-
veral states to which they belonged. They
could tell to a fraction the force of a Signor, the
wealth of a merchant, the power o f a mob.
And thus, in his lawless camp, Montreal pre-
sided, not more as a general than a statesman.
Such knowledge was invaluable to the chief of
the Great Company. It enabled him to cal-

G 5



130 R1ENZI,

culate exactly the time to attack a foe, and the
sum to demand for a suppression of hostilities.
He knew what parties to deal with where to
importune where to forbear. And it usually
happened that by some secret intrigue, the ap-
pearance of Montreal's banner before the walls
of a city was the signal for some sedition, or some
broil within. It may be that he thus also pro-
moted an ulterior as well as his present policy.

The divan were in full consultation when an
officer entered, and whispered a few words in
Montreal's ear. His eyes brightened. " Ad-
mit him," he said hastily. " Messires," he
added to his councillors, rubbing his hands,
" I think our net has caught our bird. Let us
see."

At this moment the drapery was lifted and the
Knight admitted

" How !" muttered Montreal, changing colour^
and in evident disappointment. " Am I ever to
be thus balked ?"

Sir Walter de Montreal," said the pri-
soner, " I am once more your guest in these
altered features you perhaps scarcely recognise
Adrian di Castello."



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 131

" Pardon me, noble Signer," said Montreal
rising with great courtesy ; " the mistake of
my varlets disturbed my recollection for a mo-
ment I rejoice once more to press a hand that
has won so many laurels since last we parted.
Your renown has been grateful to my ears.
Ho ! " continued the chieftain clapping his hands,
" see to the refreshment and repose of this
noble cavalier and his attendants. Lord Adrian,
I will join you presently,"

Adrian withdrew. Montreal, forgetful of his
councillors, traversed his tent with hasty strides
then summoning the officer who had ad-
mitted Adrian, he said, " Count Landau still
keeps the pass ?"

"Yes, General!"

"Hie thee fast back then the ambuscade must
tarry till nightfall. We have trapped the wrong
^fox."

The officer departed, and shortly afterwards
Montreal broke up the divan. He sought Adrian,
who was lodged in a tent beside his own.

" My Lord," said Montreal, " it is true,
that my men had orders to stop every one on



132 RIENZI,

the roads towards Florence. I am at war with
that city. Yet I expected a very different pri-
soner from you. Need I add, that you and your
men are free?"

" I accept the courtesy, noble Montreal, as
frankly as it is rendered. May I hope hereaf-
ter to repay it ? Meanwhile permit me, without
any disrespect, to say that had I learned the Grand
Company was in this direction, I should have
altered my course. I had heard that your arms
were bent (somewhat to my mind more nobly)
against Malatesta, the tyrant of Rimini ! "

" They were so. He was my foe. He is my
tributary. We conquered him. He paid us the
price of his liberty. We marched by Asciano
upon Sienna. For sixteen thousand florins we
spared that city, and we now hang like a thun-
derbolt over Florence, which dared to send her
puny aid to the defence of Rimini. Our marches
are forced and rapid, and our camp in this plain
but just pitched."

" I hear that the Grand Company is allied
with Albornoz, and that its general is secretly
the soldier of the church. Is it so ? "



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 133

" Ay Albornoz and I understand one ano-
ther," replied Montreal carelessly, " and not the
less so, that we have a mutual foe whom both
are sworn to crush, in Visconti the Archbi-
shop of Milan."

" Visconti ! the most potent of the Italian
princes. That he has justly incurred the wrath
of the church I know and I can readily under-
stand that Innocent has revoked the purchased
pardon which the intrigues of the Archbishop
purchased from Clement VL But I see not so
clearly why Montreal should willingly provoke
so dark and terrible a foe."

Montreal smiled sternly. " Know you not," he
said, " the vast ambition of that Visconti ? By
the holy sepulchre, he is precisely the enemy
my soul leaps to meet. He has a genius worthy
to cope with Montreal's. I have made myself
master of his secret plans they are gigantic !
In a word, the Archbishop designs the conquest
of all Italy. His enormous wealth purchases
the corrupt his dark sagacity ensnares the cre-
dulous his daring valour awes the weak. Every
enemy he humbles every ally he enslaves. This



134 RIENZJ,

is precisely the Prince whose progress Walter
de Montreal must arrest. For this, (he said in
a whisper as to himself,) is precisely the Prince
who, if suffered to extend his power, will frus-
trate the plans and break the force of Walter de
Montreal."

Adrian was silent, and for the first time a
suspicion of the real nature of the Proven9aPs
designs crossed his breast.

" But give me, noble Montreal," resumed
the Colonna " give me, if your knowledge
serves, as no doubt it does, give me the latest
tidings of my native city. I am Roman, and
Rome is ever in my thoughts."

" And well she may," repli ed Montreal quick-
ly. " Thou knowest that Albornoz, as Legate of
the Pontiff, led the army of the church into the
Papal Territories. He took with him Cola di
Rienzi. Arrived at Monte Fiascone, crowds of
Romans of all ranks hastened thither to render
homage to the Tribune. The Legate was forgot-
ten in the popularity of his companion. Whe-
ther or no Albornoz grew jealous for he is proud
as Lucifer of the respect paid to the Tribune,



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 135

or whether he feared the restoration of his
power, I know not. But he detained him in his
camp, and refused to yield him to all the so-
licitations and all the deputations of the Romans.
Artfully, however, he fulfilled one of the real
objects of Rienzi's release. Through his means
he formally regained the allegiance of Rome to
the church, and by the attraction of his presence,
swelled his camp with Roman recruits. March-
ing to Viterbo, Rienzi distinguished himself
greatly in deeds of arms against the tyrant,*
John di Vico. Nay, he fought as one worthy of
belonging to the Grand Company. This increased
the zeal of the Romans ; and the city disgorged
half its inhabitants to attend the person of the
bold Tribune. To the entreaties of these wor-
thy citizens (perhaps the very men who had
before shut up their darling in St. Angelo)
the crafty Legate merely replied, Arm against
John di Vico conquer the tyrants of the Ter-
ritory re-establish the patrimony of St. Peter,
and Rienzi shall then be proclaimed Senator,
and return to Rome.'

* Vit. di. Col. Rienzi.



136 RIENZI,

" These words inspired the Romans with so
great a zeal that they willingly lent their aid
to the Legate. Aquapendente, Bolzena yield-
ed, John di Vico was half reduced and half
terrified into submission and Gabrielli, the ty-
rant of Agobbio, has since succumbed. The
glory is to the Cardinal but the merit with
Rienzi."

And now ?"

"Albornoz continued to entertain the Senator-
Tribune with great splendour and fair words,
but not a word about restoring him to Rome.
Wearied with this suspense, I have learnt by
secret intelligence, that Rienzi has left the
camp, and betaken himself with few attendants
to Florence, where he has friends, who will
provide him with arms and money to enter
Rome."

" Ah then ! now I guess," said Adrian, with
a half smile ; " for whom I was mistaken !"

Montreal blushed slightly. " Fairly conjec-
tured !" said he.

" Meanwhile, at Rome," continued the Pre-
vengal " at Rome, your worthy House, and that



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 137

of the Orsini, being elected to the supreme power,
quarrelled among themselves, and could not keep
it, Francesco Baroncelli, a new demagogue, a
humble imitator of Rienzi, rose upon the ruins
of the peace broken by the nobles, obtained
the title of Tribune, and carried about the very
insignia used by his predecessor. But less wise
than Rienzi, he took the antipapal party. And
the legate was thus enabled to play the papal
demagogue against the usurper. Baroncelli
was a weak man, his sons committed every
excess in mimicry of the high-born tyrants of
Padua and Milan. Virgins violated and matrons
dishonoured, somewhat contrasted the solemn
and majestic decorum of Rienzi's rule ; in fine,
Baroncelli fell massacred by the people. And
now if you ask what rules Rome, I answer, ' It
is the hope of Rienzi.' '

" A strange man, and various fortunes. What
will be the end of both !"

" Swift murder to the first, and eternal fame
to the last," answered Montreal, calmly. " Rienzi
will be restored, that brave phoenix will wing
its way through storm and cloud to its own



138 RIENZI,

funeral pyre ; I foresee, I compassionate, I ad-
mire. And then," added Montreal, "I look
beyond !"

" But wherefore feel you so certain that if
restored, Rienzi must fall?"

" Is it not clear to every eye, save his,
that ambition blinds ? How can mortal genius,
however great, rule that most depraved peo-
ple by popular means ? The Barons you
know the indomitable ferocity of your Roman
order wedded to abuse, and loathing every
semblance to law; the Barons, humbled for
a moment, will watch their occasion, and
rise. The people will again desert. Or else,
grown wise in one respect by experience, the
new Senator will see that popular favour has
a loud voice, but a recreant arm. He will,
like the Barons, surround himself by foreign
swords. A detachment from the Grand Com-
pany will be his courtiers; they will be his
masters ! to pay them the people must be
taxed. Then the idol is execrated. No Italian
hand can govern these hardy demons of the
north ; they will mutiny and fall away. A new



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 139

demagogue will lead on the people, and Rienzi
will be the victim. Mark my prophecy !"

" And then, the ' beyond ' to which you
look !"

" Utter prostration of Rome for new and
long ages ; God makes not two Rienzis : or"
said Montreal, proudly, " the infusion of a new
life into the worn-out and diseased frame, the
foundation of a new dynasty. Verily, when I
look around me, I believe that the Ruler of
nations designs the restoration of the South by
the irruptions of the North ; and that out of
the old Franc and Germanic race will be built
up the thrones of the Future world !"

As Montreal thus spoke, leaning on his great
war-sword, with his fair and heroic features, so dif-
ferent, in their frank, bold, fearless expression, from
the dark and wily intellect that characterizes the
lineaments of the South eloquent at once with
enthusiasm and thought he might have seemed
no unfitting representative of the genius of that
northern chivalry of which he spake. And
Adrian half fancied that he saw before him one
of the old gothic scourges of the Western World.



140 RIENZI,

Their conversation was here interrupted by
the sound of a trumpet, and presently an officer
entering, announced the arrival of ambassadors
from Florence.

" Again you must pardon me, noble Adrian,"
said Montreal, " and let me claim you as my
guest at least for to-night. Here you may rest
secure, and on parting, my men shall attend you
to the frontiers of whatsoever territory you de-
sign to visit."

Adrian, not sorry to see more of a man so
celebrated, accepted the invitation.

Left alone, he leant his head upon his hand,
and soon became lost in his reflections.



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 141



CHAP. III.

FAITHFUL AND ILL-FATED LOVE THE ASPIRA-
TIONS SURVIVE THE AFFECTIONS.

SINCE that fearful hour in which Adrian Co-
lonna had gazed upon the lifeless form of his
adored Irene, the young Roman had undergone
the usual vicissitudes of a wandering and ad-
venturous life in those exciting times. His
country seemed no longer dear to him. His
very rank precluded him from the post he once
aspired to take in restoring the liberties of
Rome ; and he felt that if ever such a revolution
could be consummated, it was reserved for one
in whose birth and habits the people could feel
sympathy and kindred, and who could lift his
hand in their behalf without becoming the apos-



142 RIENZI,

tate of his order, and the judge of his own
House. He had travelled through various
courts, and served with renown in various fields.
Beloved and honoured wheresoever he fixed a
temporary home no change of scene had re-
moved his melancholy no new ties had chased
away the memory of the Lost. In that aera of
passionate and poetical romance which Petrarch
represented rather than created, love had al-
ready begun to assume a more tender and sacred
character than it had hitherto known it had
gradually imbibed the divine spirit which it de-
rives from Christianity, and which associates its
sorrows on earth with the visions and hopes of
heaven. To him who relies upon immortality,
fidelity to the dead is easy, because death
cannot extinguish hope ; and the soul of the
mourner is already half in the world to come.
It is an age which desponds of x future life
representing death as an eternal separa-
tion in which men may grieve indeed for the
dead, but hasten to reconcile themselves to
the living. For true is the old aphorism, that
love exists not without hope. And all that ro-



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 143

mantic worship which the Hermit of Vaucluse
felt, or feigned, for Laura, found its temple in
the desolate heart of Adrian Colonna. He was
emphatically the Lover of his time ! Often as, in
his pilgrimage from land to land, he passed the
walls of some quiet and lonely convent, he
seriously meditated the solemn vows, and inter-
nally resolved that the cloister at least should
receive his maturer age. The absence of years
had, however, in some degree restored the
dimmed and shattered affection for his father-
land, and he desired once more to behold the
city in which he had first beheld Irene.
" Perhaps," he thought, " time may have
wrought some unlooked-for change ; and I may
yet assist to restore my country."

But with this lingering patriotism no am-
bition was mingled. In that heated stage of
action, in which the desire of power seemed
to stir through every breast, and Italy had
become the El Dorado of wealth or the Utopia
of empire, to thousands of valiant arms
and plotting minds, there was at least one
breast that felt the true philosophy of the



144 RIENZI,

Hermit. Adrian's nature, though gallant and
masculine, was singularly embued with that
elegance of temperament, which recoils from
rude contact, and to which a lettered and culti-
vated indolence is the supremest luxury. His
education, his experience, and his intellect, had
placed him far in advance of his age, and he
looked with a high contempt at the coarse vil-
lanies and base tricks by which Italian ambition
sought its road to power. The rise and fall of
Rienzi, who, whatever his failings, was at least
the purest and most honourable of the self-
raised princes of the age, had conspired to make
him despond of the success of noble, as he re-
coiled from that of selfish, aspirations. And
the dreamy melancholy which resulted from his
ill-starred love yet more tended to wean him
from the stale and hacknied pursuits of the
world. His character was full of beauty and of
poetry not the less so in that it found not a vent
for its emotions in the actual occupation of the
poet ! Pent within, those emotions diffused them-
selves over all his thoughts and coloured his whole
soul. Sometimes in the blessed abstraction of



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 145

his visions, he pictured to himself the lot he
might have chosen had Irene lived, and fate
united them far from the turbulent and vulgar
roar of Rome but amidst some yet unpolluted
solitude of the bright Italian soil. Before his
eye there rose the lovely landscape the palace
by the borders of the waveless lake the vine-
yards in the valley the dark forests waving
from the hill and that home, the resort and re-
fuge of all the minstrelsy and love of Italy,
brightened by the " Lampeggior dell 'angelico
riso," that makes a paradise in the face we love.
Often, seduced by such dreams to complete
oblivion of his loss, the young wanderer started
from the ideal bliss, to behold around him the
solitary waste of way or the moonlit tents of
war or, worse than all, the crowds and revels
of a foreign court.

Whether or not such fancies now for a mo-
ment allured his meditations, conjured up per-
haps by the name of Irene's brother, which
never sounded in his ears but to awaken ten
thousand associations, the Colonna remained
thoughtful and absorbed, until he was disturbed

VOL. III. H



146 RIENZI,

by his own squire, who, accompanied by Mon-
treal's servitors, ushered in his solitary but am-
ple repast. Flasks of the richest Florentine
wines viands prepared with all the art which,
alas, Italy has now lost ! goblets and salvers of
gold and silver prodigally wrought with bar-
baric gems attested the princely luxury which
reigned in the camp of the Grand Company.
But Adrian saw in all but the spoliation of his
degraded country, and felt the splendour almost
as an insult. His lonely meal soon concluded,
he became impatient of the monotony of his
tent ; and, tempted by the cool air of the de-
scending eve, sauntered carelessly forth. He
bent his steps by the side of the brooklet that
curved snake-like and sparkling by Montreal's
tent; and finding a spot somewhat solitary and
apart from the warlike tenements around, flung
himself by the margin of the stream.

The last rays of the sun quivered on the wave
that danced musically over its stony bed ; and
amidst a little copse on the opposite bank broke
the brief and momentary song of such of the
bolder habitants of that purple air as the din of



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 147

the camp had not scared from their green re-
treat. The clouds lay motionless to the west,
in that sky so darkly and intensely blue, never
seen but over the landscapes that a Claude or a
Rosa loved to paint ; and dim and delicious rose-
hues gathered over the grey peaks of the distant
Apennines. From afar floated the hum of the
camp, broken by the neigh of returning steeds
the blast of an occasional bugle and at regular
intervals by the armed tramp of the neighbour-
ing sentry. And opposite to the left of the
copse upon a rising ground, matted with reeds,
moss, and waving shrubs were the ruins of
some old Etruscan wall or building, whose name
had perished, whose very uses were unknown.

The scene was so calm and lovely, as Adrian
gazed upon it, that it was scarcely possible to
imagine it at that very hour the haunt of fierce
and banded robbers, among most of whom the
very soul of man was embruted, and to whom
murder or rapine made the habitual occupa-
tion of life.

Still buried in his reveries, and carelessly

H2



148 RIENZI,

dropping stones into the noisy rivulet, Adrian
was aroused by the sound of steps.

" A fair spot to listen to the lute and the
ballads of Provence," said the voice of Montreal,
as the Knight of St. John threw himself on the
turf beside the young Colonna.

" You retain, then, your ancient love of your
national melodies," said Adrian.

" Ay, I have not yet survived all my youth,"
answered Montreal, with a slight sigh. " But
somehow or other, the strains that once pleased
my fancy now go too directly to my heart. So
though I still welcome jongleur and minstrel, I
bid them sing their newest conceits. I don't
wish ever again to hear the poetry I heard when
/ was young /"

" Pardon me," said Adrian, with great in-
terest, " but fain would I have dared but a
secret apprehension prevented me hitherto
fain would I have dared to question you of that
lovely lady, with whom, seven years ago, we
gazed at moonlight upon the odorous orange-
groves and rosy waters of Terracina."



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 149

Montreal turned away his face ; he laid his
hand on Adrian's arm, and murmured in a deep
and hoarse tone " I am alone now !"

Adrian pressed his hand in silence. He felt
no light shock at thus learning the death of one
so gentle, so lovely, and so ill-fated.

" The vows of my knighthood," continued
Montreal, " which precluded Adeline the rights
of wedlock the shame of her house the angry
grief of her mother the wild vicissitudes of my
life, so exposed to peril the loss of her son all
preyed silently on her frame. She did not die
(die is too harsh a word !) but she drooped
away, and glided into heaven. Even as on a
summer's morn some soft dream fleets across
us, growing less and less distinct, until it fades,
as it were, into light, and we awaken so faded
Adeline's parting spirit, till the daylight of God
broke upon it."

Montreal paused a moment, and then re-
sumed " These thoughts make the boldest, of
us weak sometimes, and we Provencals are
foolish in these matters ! God's wot, she was
very dear to me !"



150 RIENZI,

The Knight bent down and crossed himself
devoutly, his lips muttered a prayer : Strange
as it may seem to our more enlightened age,
so martial a garb did morality then wear, that
this man, at whose word towns had blazed and
torrents of blood had flowed, neither adjudged
himself, nor was adjudged by the majority of
his cotemporaries, a criminal. His order, half
monastic, half warlike, was emblematic of him-
self. He trampled upon man, yet humbled
himself to God, nor had all his acquaintance
with the refining scepticism of Italy shaken the
sturdy and simple faith of the bold Provencal.
So far from recognising any want of harmony
between his calling and his creed, he held (like
a true Northman) that man no true chevalier
who was not as devout to the Cross as relent-
less with the sword.

" And you have no child save the one you
lost?" asked Adrian, when he observed the
wonted composure of Montreal once more re-
taining.

" None !" said Montreal, as his brow again
darkened. " No love-begotten heir of mine will



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 151

succeed to the fortunes I trust yet to build.
Never on earth shall I see upon the face of her
child the likeness of Adeline ! yet, at Avignon,
I saw a boy I would have claimed for me-
thought she must have looked her soul into
his eyes, they were so like her's. Well, well ;
the Provence tree hath other branches; and
some unborn nephew must be what? the
stars have not yet decided ! But ambition
is now the only thing in the world left me to
love."

' So differently operates the same misfortune
upon different characters,' thought the Colonna.
' To me crowns became valueless when I could
no longer dream of placing them on Irene's
brow !'

The similarity of their fates, however, at-
tracted Adrian strongly towards his host, and
the two Knights conversed together with more
friendship and unreserve than they had hitherto
done. At length Montreal said, " By the way,
I have not inquired your destination."

" I am bound to Rome," said Adrian ; " and
the intelligence I have learnt from you incites



152 RIENZI,

me thitherward yet more eagerly. If Rienzi
return I may mediate successfully, perchance,
between the Tribune- Senator and the nobles J
and if I find my cousin, young Stefanello, now
the head of our house, more tractable than his
sires, I shall not despair of conciliating the less
powerful barons. Rome wants repose; and
who ever governs, if he govern but with justice,
ought to be . supported both by prince and
plebeian !"

Montreal listened with great attention, and
then muttered to himself, " No, it cannot be !"
He mused a little while, shading his brow with
his hand, before he said aloud, " To Rome you
are bound. Well, we shall meet soon amidst its
ruins. Know, by the way, that my object here
is already won: these Florentine merchants
have acceded to my terms ; they have purchased
a two years 1 peace ; to-morrow the camp breaks
up, and the Grand Company march to Lom-


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