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that his design on these picaroons, Frenchmen as they are, failed. Yes,
from the bottom of his heart will he be glad."

"My lord!"

"I know you think this strange, Captain Cuffe; but no man sleeps the
sounder for having burnt or blown up a hundred of his fellow-creatures
like so many widows at a suttee. But we are not the less to commend
those who did what was certainly their duty."

"Am I to understand, Lord Nelson, that the Proserpine is _not_ to
destroy the Few-Folly at every hazard, should we again have the luck to
fall in with her?"

"By no means, sir. Our orders are to burn, sink, and destroy. Such is
England's policy in this desperate war; and it must be carried out. You
know what we are contending for as well as I do; and it is a struggle
that is not to be carried on with courtesies; still, one would not wish
to see a glorious and sacred cause tarnished by inhumanity. Men that
fall in fair, manly combat are to be envied rather than pitied, since it
is only paying the great debt of nature a little sooner than might
otherwise have happened; but there is something revolting to humanity in
burning up our fellow-creatures as one would burn rags after the plague.
Nevertheless, this lugger must be had at any price; for English commerce
and English power are not to be cut up and braved in this audacious
manner with impunity. The career of these French tigers must be stopped
at every sacrifice, Captain Cuffe."

"I know that, my lord, and I like a republican as little as you can do,
or His Majesty himself, for that matter; and, I take it, _he_ has as
little relish for the animal as flesh and blood can give."

"I know you do, Cuffe - I'm _sure_ you do; and I esteem you all the more
for it. It is a part of an Englishman's religion, in times like these,
to hate a Frenchman. I went across the Channel after the peace of '83 to
learn their language, but had so little sympathy with them, even in
peaceable times, as never to be able to make out to write a letter in
it, or even to ask intelligibly for the necessaries of life."

"If you can ask for anything, it far surpasses my efforts; I never can
tell head from stern in their dialect."

"It is an infernal jargon, Cuffe, and has got to be so confused by their
academies, and false philosophy and infidelity, that they will shortly
be at a loss to understand it themselves. What sort of names they give
their ships, for instance, now they have beheaded their king and
denounced their God! Who ever heard of christening a craft, as you tell
me this lugger is named, the 'Few-Folly'? I believe I've got the
picaroon's title right?"

"Quite right - Griffin _pronounces_ it so, though he has got to be a
little queerish in his own English, by using so much French and Italian.
The young man's father was a consul; and he has half a dozen foreign
lingoes stowed away in his brain. He pronounces Folly something
broadish - like Fol-_lay_, I believe; but it means all the same thing.
Folly is folly, pronounce it as you will."

Nelson continued to pace his cabin, working the stump of his arm, and
smiling half-bitterly; half in a sort of irony that inclined him to be
in a good-humor with himself.

"Do you remember the ship, Cuffe, we had that sharp brush with off
Toulon, in old Agamemnon?" he said, after making a turn or two in
silence. "I mean the dismasted eighty-four that was in tow of the
frigate, and which we peppered until their Gallic soup had some taste to
it! Now, do you happen to know _her_ real name in good honest English?"

"I do not, my lord. I remember, they said she was called the Ca Ira; and
_I_ always supposed that it was the name of some old Greek or Roman - or,
perhaps, of one of their new-fangled republican saints."

"They! - D - n 'em, they've _got_ no saints to name, my good fellow, since
they cashiered all the old ones! There _is_ something respectable in the
names of a _Spanish_ fleet; and one feels that he is flogging gentlemen,
at least, while he is at work on them. No, sir, Ca Ira means neither
more nor less than 'That'll Do'; and I fancy, Cuffe, they thought of
their own name more than once while the old Greek was hanging on their
quarter, smashing their cabin windows for them! A pretty sound it would
have been had we got her and put her into our own service - His Majesty's
ship 'That'll Do,' 84, Captain Cuffe!"

"I certainly should have petitioned my Lords Commissioners to change her
name."

"You would have done quite right. A man might as well sail in a
man-of-war called the 'Enough.' Then, there was the three-decker that
helped her out of the scrape, the Sans-Culottes, as the French call her;
I suppose you know what _that_ means?"

"Not I, my lord; to own the truth, I'm no scholar, and am entirely
without ambition in that way. 'Sans,' I suppose, is the French for
'saint'; but who 'Culottes' was, I've not the least notion."

Nelson smiled, and the turn the conversation had taken appeared to give
him secret satisfaction. If the truth were known, something lay heavily
on his mind; and, with one of his strong impulses, his feelings disposed
him to rush from one extreme to the other, as is often the case with men
who are controlled by such masters; more especially if their general
disposition is to the right.

"You're wrong this time, my dear Cuffe," he said; "for 'sans' means
'without' in French, and 'culottes' means 'breeches.' Think of naming a
three-decker the 'Without Breeches'! I do not see how any respectable
flag-officer can mention such names in his despatches without a feeling
of awkwardness that must come near to capsizing all his philosophy. The
line was formed by the Republic's ship, the 'That'll Do,' leading,
supported by the 'Without Breeches,' as her second astern! - Ha!
Cuffe - D - e, sir, if I'd serve in a marine that had such names to the
ships! It's a thousand times worse than all those saints the Spaniards
tack on to their vessels - like a line of boats towing a ship up to her
moorings!"

Here the conversation was interrupted by the appearance of a midshipman,
who came down to say that a man and a woman from the shore wished to
see the rear-admiral on pressing business.

"Let them come down, sir," answered Nelson; "I've a hard life of it,
Cuffe; there is not a washerwoman or a shopkeeper in Naples who does not
treat me exactly as if I were a podestà, and it were my duty to hear all
the contentions about lost clothes and mislaid goods. His Majesty must
appoint a Lord Chief Justice of the Steerage, to administer the law for
the benefit of the young gentlemen, or he'll soon get no officer to
serve with a flag at his mast-head."

"Surely, my lord, the captains can take this weight off your shoulders!"

"Aye, there are men in the fleet that _can_, and there are men who _do_;
but there are men who do _not_. But here comes the plaintiff, I
suppose - you shall hear the case, and act as a puisne judge in
the matter."

This was said as the cabin-door opened, and the expected guests entered.
They were a man turned of fifty and a girl of nineteen. The former was a
person of plain exterior, abstracted air, and downcast look; but the
latter had all the expression, beauty, nature, and grace of mien that so
singularly marked the deportment and countenance of Ghita Caraccioli[5].
In a word, the two visitors were Carlo Giuntotardi and his gentle niece.
Nelson was struck with the modesty of mien and loveliness of the latter,
and he courteously invited her to be seated, though he and Cuffe both
continued standing. A few efforts at making himself understood, however,
soon satisfied this renowned admiral that he had need of an interpreter,
his guests speaking no English, and his own Italian being too imperfect
to carry on anything like a connected conversation. He hesitated an
instant, and then went to the door of the inner cabin, an apartment in
which voices had occasionally been heard the whole time, one of the
speakers being a female. Here he stood, leaning against the bulkhead,
as if in doubt; and then he uttered his wishes.

[5] It may aid the reader who is ignorant of Italian, to tell him that
this name is pronounced Ca-rach-cho-li. The same is true of
Gwee-cho-li - or Guiccioli - Byron's mistress.

"I must ask a service of you, which I would not think of doing in any
ordinary case," he said, with a gentleness of voice and manner that
showed he addressed one who had habitual influence over him. "I want an
interpreter between myself and the second handsomest woman in the
kingdom of Naples: I know no one so fit for the office as the first."

"With all my heart, dear Nelson," answered a full, rich female voice
from within. "Sir William is busied in his antiquities, and I was really
getting to be ennuiéd for want of an occupation. I suppose you have the
wrongs of some injured lady to redress in your capacity of Lord High
Chancellor of the Fleet."

"I am yet ignorant of the nature of the complaint; but it is not
unlikely it will turn out to be something like that which you suspect.
Even in such a case no better intercessor can be required than one who
is so much superior to the frailties and weaknesses of her sex
in general."

The lady who now made her appearance from the inner cabin, though
strikingly handsome, had not that in her appearance which would justify
the implied eulogium of the British admiral's last speech. There was an
appearance of art and worldliness in the expression of her countenance
that was only so much the more striking when placed in obvious contrast
to the ingenuous nature and calm purity that shone in every lineament of
the face of Ghita. One might very well have passed for an image of the
goddess Circe; while the other would have made no bad model for a
vestal, could the latter have borne the moral impression of the sublime
and heart-searching truths that are inculcated by the real oracles of
God. Then the lady was a woman in the meridian of her charms, aided by
all the cunning of the toilet and a taste that was piquant and peculiar,
if not pure; while the other stood in her simple, dark Neapolitan bodice
and a head that had no other ornament than its own silken tresses; a
style of dress, however, that set off her faultless form and winning
countenance more than could have been done by any of the devices of the
mantua-maker or the milliner. The lady betrayed a little surprise, and
perhaps a shade of uneasiness, as her glance first fell on Ghita; but,
much too good an actress to be disconcerted easily, she smiled and
immediately recovered her ease.

"Is _this_ the being, Nelson, who comes with _such_ a petition?" she
demanded, with a touch of natural womanly sensibility in her voice; "and
that poor old man, I dare say, is the heart-stricken father."

"As to the errand, you will remember, I know nothing as yet, and pledge
myself to nothing."

"Captain Cuffe, I hope I have the pleasure to see you well. Sir William
joins the admiral in hoping you will make one of our little family party
to-day at dinner, and - "

"And what says the mistress - not of the house, but of the _ship_?" put
in Nelson, whose eyes had scarce turned an instant from the face of the
siren since she entered the fore-cabin.

"That she - always disclaiming the title, honorable though it be - that
she unites with all the rest in inviting Captain Cuffe to honor us with
his company. Nelson tells me you were one of his old Agamemnons, as he
calls you all, aged and young, men and boys, little and big; and I love
even the sound of the name. What a glorious title for a ship -
Agamemnon! - A Greek, led on by a true English heart!"

"Aye, it _is_ somewhat better than 'That'll Do,' and the other affair,
ha! Cuffe!" returned the admiral, smiling and glancing at his
subordinate; "but all this time we are ignorant of the errand of this
honest-looking Italian and his exceedingly innocent-looking companion."

"Well, then, in this matter, gentlemen, I am only to be regarded as a
mere mouthpiece," put in the lady - "an echo, to repeat what reaches mine
ear, though it be an Irish echo, which repeats in a different tongue
from that in which the sounds first reach it. Put your questions, my
lord; they shall be faithfully rendered, with all the answers that may
be given. I only hope Captain Cuffe will come out of this affair as
innocent as he now looks."

The two gentlemen smiled; but the trifling could not disturb its
subject, as he was profoundly ignorant of the existence of the two
strangers five minutes before; while the boldness of the allusion rather
suited the freedom of a ship and the habits of the part of the world in
which they happened to be.

"We will first inquire the name of this worthy man, if you will
condescend to ask it," observed Nelson to his fair friend.

"Carlo Giuntotardi, noble lady - once a poor scholar, in Napoli, here,
and now a keeper of the prince's watch-towers on the heights of
Argentaro," was the quiet but respectful answer of the man, who, like
his niece, had declined taking a seat, a circumstance that left the
whole party standing. "Carlo Giuntotardi, illustrious lady."

"A very good name, Signore, and one of which you have no need to be
ashamed. And thine?" turning to the girl.

"Ghita Caraccioli, Eccellenza; the sister's daughter of this honest
tower-keeper of the prince."

Had a bomb exploded over the Foudroyant, Nelson certainly would not have
been as much startled; while the lady's beautiful face assumed a look of
dark resentment, not unmingled with fear. Even Cuffe understood enough
of the sounds to catch the name, and he advanced a step with lively
curiosity and an anxious concern expressed on his ruddy face. But these
emotions soon subsided, the lady first regaining her self-possession,
though Nelson paced the cabin five or six times, working the stump of
his arm before he even looked up again.

"I was about to ask if there _never_ is to be an end to these
annoyances," observed the lady in English; "but there must be some
mistake in this. The house of Caraccioli is one of the most illustrious
of Italy, and can scarcely have any of this class, who feel an interest
in him of whom we are thinking. I will, therefore, inquire further into
this matter. Signorina," - changing the language to Italian and speaking
with severity, like one who questioned what she heard - "Caraccioli is a
noble name, and is not often borne by the daughter of any prince's
tower-keepers!"

Ghita trembled, and she looked abashed. But she was sustained by too
high a principle and was too innocent herself to stand long rebuked in
the presence of guilt; and, as the flush which resembled that which so
often passes over her native skies at even left her countenance, she
raised her eyes to the dark-looking face of the lady and gave
her answer.

"I know what your Eccellenza means," she said, "and feel its justice.
Still it is cruel to the child not to bear the name of her parent. My
father was called Caraccioli, and he left me his name as my sole
inheritance. What may have been _his_ right to it, let my uncle say."

"Speak, then, Signor Giuntotardi. First give us the history of this
_name_; then tell us what has brought you here."

"Noble lady, my sister, as pious and innocent a woman as ever lived in
Italy, and now blessed in heaven, married Don Francesco Caraccioli, the
son of Don Francesco of that illustrious family, who now stands
condemned to death for having led the fleet against the king; and Ghita
here is the only fruit of the union. It is true that the church did not
authorize the connection which brought my niece's father into being; but
the noble admiral never hesitated to acknowledge his son, and he gave
him his name, until love bound him in wedlock with a poor scholar's
sister. Then, indeed, his father turned his face from him, and death
soon removed both husband and wife from the reach of all earthly
displeasure. This is our simple story, noble and illustrious signora,
and the reason why my poor niece, here, bears the name as great as that
of Caraccioli."

"You mean us to understand, Signor Giuntotardi, that your niece is the
grand-daughter of Don Francesco Caraccioli, through a natural son of
that unfortunate admiral?"

"Such is the fact, Signora. As _my_ sister was honestly married, I could
do no less than bring up her daughter to bear a name that her father was
permitted to bear before her."

"Such things are common and require no apology. One question more before
I explain to the English admiral what you have said. Does Prince
Caraccioli know of the existence of this grand-daughter?"

"Eccellenza, I fear not. Her parents died so soon - I loved the child so
well - and there was so little hope that one illustrious as he would wish
to acknowledge a connection through the holy church with persons humble
as we, that I have never done more to make my niece known than to let
her bear the same name as her father."

The lady seemed relieved by this; and she now briefly explained to
Nelson the substance of what the other had said.

"It may be," she added, "they are here on that errand, concerning which
we have already heard so much, and so uselessly; but I rather think not,
from this account; for what interest _can_ they feel in one who is
absolutely a stranger to them? It may be some idle conceit, however,
connected with this same affair. What is your wish, Ghita? This is Don
Horatio Nelsoni, the illustrious English admiral, of whom you have
heard so much."

"Eccellenza, I am sure of it," answered Ghita, earnestly; "my good
uncle, here, has told you who we are; and you may well guess our
business. We came from St. Agata, on the other side of the bay, only
this morning, and heard from a relation in the town that Don Francesco
had been seized that very hour. Since, we are told that he has been
condemned to die, for treason against the king; and that by officers who
met in this very ship. Some even say, Signora, that he is to meet his
fate ere the sun set."

"If this should be so, what reason is it that thou shouldst give
thyself concern?"

"Eccellenza, he was my father's father; and, though I never saw him, I
know that the same blood runs in our veins. When this is so, there
should be the same feelings in our hearts."

"This is well, Ghita, in appearance at least; but thou canst hardly feel
much for one thou never saw'st and who has even refused to own thee for
a child. Thou art young, too, and of a sex that should ever be cautious;
it is unwise for men, even, to meddle with politics in these
troubled times."

"Signora, it is not politics that brings me here, but nature, and duty,
and pious love for my father's father."

"What wouldst thou say, then?" answered the lady impatiently; "remember
thou occupiest one whose time is precious and of high importance to
entire nations."

"Eccellenza, I believe it, and will try to be brief. I wish to beg my
grandfather's life of this illustrious stranger. They tell me the king
will refuse him nothing, and he has only to ask it of Don Ferdinando to
obtain it."

Many would have thought the matured charms of the lady superior to the
innocent-looking beauty of the girl; but no one could have come to such
an opinion who saw them both at that moment. While Ghita's face was
radiant with a holy hope and the pious earnestness which urged her on, a
dark expression lowered about the countenance of the English beauty that
deprived it of one of its greatest attractions by depriving it of the
softness and gentleness of her sex. Had there not been observers of what
passed, it is probable the girl would have been abruptly repulsed; but
management formed no small part of the character of this woman, and she
controlled her feelings in order to effect her purposes.

"This admiral is not a Neapolitan, but an Englishman," she answered,
"and can have no concern with the justice of your king. He would
scarcely think it decent to interfere with the execution of the laws
of Naples."

"Signora, it is always decent to interfere to save life; nay, it is
more - it is merciful in the eyes of God."

"What canst thou know of this? A conceit that thou hast the blood of the
Caraccioli has made thee forget thy sex and condition, and placed a
romantic notion of duty before thine eyes."

"No, Signora, it is not so. For eighteen years have I been taught that
the unfortunate admiral was my grandfather; but, as it has been his
pleasure to wish not to see me, never have I felt the desire to intrude
on his time. Before this morning never has the thought that I have the
blood of the Caraccioli crossed my mind, unless it was to mourn for the
sin of my grandmother; and even now it has come to cause me to mourn for
the cruel fate that threatens the days of her partner in guilt."

"Thou art bold to speak thus of thy parents, girl, and they, too, of the
noble and great!"

This was said with a flushed brow and still more lowering look; for,
haply, there were incidents in the past life of that lady which made the
simple language of a severe morality alike offensive to her ears and her
recollections.

"It is not I, Eccellenza, but God, that speaketh thus. The crime, too,
is another reason why this great admiral should use his influence to
save a sinner from so hurried an end. Death is terrible to all but to
those who trust, with heart and soul, to the mediation of the Son of
God; but it is doubly so when it comes suddenly and unlooked for. It is
true, Don Francesco is aged; but have you not remarked, signora, that it
is these very aged who become hardened to their state, and live on, as
if never to die? - I mean those aged who suffer youth to pass, as if the
pleasures of life are never to have an end."

"Thou art too young to set up for a reformer of the world, girl; and
forgettest that this is the ship of one of the greatest officers of
Europe, and that he has many demands on his time. Thou canst now go; I
will repeat what thou hast said."

"I have another request to ask, Eccellenza - permission to see Don
Francesco; that I may at least receive his blessing."

"He is not in this ship. Thou wilt find him on board the Minerva
frigate; no doubt he will not be denied. Stop - these few lines will aid
thy request. Addio, signorina."

"And may I carry hope with me, Eccellenza? Think how sweet life is to
those who have passed their days so long in affluence and honor. It
would be like a messenger from heaven for a grand-child to bring but a
ray of hope."

"I authorize none. The matter is in the hands of the Neapolitan
authorities, and we English cannot meddle. Go, now, both of you - the
illustrious admiral has business of importance that presses."

Ghita turned, and slowly and sorrowfully she left the cabin. At the very
door she met the English lieutenant, who was in charge of the unhappy
prisoner, coming with a last request that he might not be suspended like
a thief, but might at least die the death of a soldier. It would exceed
the limits set to our tale were we to dwell on the conversation which
ensued; but every intelligent reader knows that the application failed.



CHAPTER XIV.


"Like other tyrants, Death delights to smite
What smitten most proclaims the pride of power,
And arbitrary nod."

YOUNG.

It is probable that Nelson never knew precisely what passed between
Ghita and the lady mentioned in the last chapter. At all events, like
every other application that was made to the English admiral in
connection with this sad affair, that of Ghita produced no results.
Even the mode of execution was unchanged; an indecent haste accompanying
the whole transaction, as in the equally celebrated trial and death of
the unfortunate Duc d'Enghien. Cuffe remained to dine with the
commander-in-chief, while Carlo Giuntotardi and his niece got into their
boat and took their way through the crowded roadstead toward the
Neapolitan frigate that now formed the prison of the unfortunate
Caraccioli.

A request at the gangway was all that was necessary to procure an
admission on board the ship. As soon as the Signor Giuntotardi reached
the quarter-deck he let his errand be known, and a messenger was sent
below to ascertain if the prisoner would see two visitors, the name of
the uncle being alone given. Francesco Caraccioli, of the Princes
Caraccioli, or, as he was more commonly called in English, Prince
Caraccioli, was now a man approaching seventy; and, being a member of
one of the most illustrious houses of lower Italy, he had long been
trusted in employments of high dignity and command. On his offence - its
apology - the indecent haste of his trial and execution, and the
irregularity of the whole proceedings, it is now unnecessary to dwell;



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