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not cause me to doubt their presence, more demoniacal, if possible, than himparticularly as I did see upon the self -- was driven out of Padua while screen a great number of coins offered he was operating against Mantua. Ecefor the repose of the martyrs' souls. I lino retired to Verona, and maintained threw down some soldi, and thus en- a struggle against the crusade for nearly thralled the sacristan.
two years longer, with a courage which If the signor cared to see prisons, he never failed him. Wounded and taken said, the driver must take him to those prisoner, the soldiers of the victorious of Ecelino, at present the property of a army gathered about him, and heaped private gentleman near by. As I had insult and reproach upon him ; and one just bought a history of Ecelino, at a furious peasant, whose brother's feet great bargain, from a second-hand book- had been cut off by Ecelino's command, stall, and had a lively interest in all the dealt the helpless monster four blows enormities of that nobleman, I sped upon the head with a scythe. By some, the driver instantly to the villa of the Ecelino is said to have died of these Signor Pacchiarotti.
wounds alone; but by others it is reIt depends here altogether upon the lated that his death was a kind of suifreshness or mustiness of the read- cide, inasmuch as he himself put the er's historical reading whether he cares case past surgery by tearing off the to be reminded more particularly who bandages from his hurts, and refusing Ecelino was. He flourished balefully all medicines. in the early half of the thirteenth century as lord of Vicenza, Verona, Padua, and Brescia, and was defeated and hurt to death in an attempt to ENTERING at the enchanted portal possess himself of Milan. He was in of the Villa P , we found ourevery respect a remarkable man for selves in a realm of wonder. It was that time, - fearless, abstemious, con- our misfortune not to see the magician tinent, avaricious, hardy, and unspeak who compelled all the marvels on which ably ambitious and cruel. He sur- we looked, but for that very reason, vived and suppressed innumerable con- perhaps, we have the clearest sense of spiracies, escaping even the thrust of his greatness. Everywhere we bethe assassin whom the fame of his held the evidences of his ingenious but enormous wickedness had caused the lugubrious fancy, which everywhere Old Man of the Mountain to send tended to a monumental and mortuagainst him. As lord of Padua he was ary effect. A sort of vestibule first remore incredibly severe and bloody in ceived us, and beyond this dripped and his rule than as lord of the other cities, glimmered the garden. The walls of for the Paduans had been latest free, the vestibule were covered with inscripand conspired most frequently against tions setting forth the sentiments of the him. He extirpated whole families on philosophy and piety of all ages consuspicion that a single member had cerning life and death ; we began with been concerned in a meditated revolt. Confucius, and we ended with BenjaLittle children and helpless women mino Franklino. But as if these ideas suffered hideous mutilation and shame of mortality were not sufficiently deat his hands. Six prisons in Padua pressing, the funereal Signor Pwere constantly filled by his arrests. had collected into earthern amphoræ The whole country was traversed by the ashes of the most famous men witnesses of his cruelties, — men and of ancient and modern times, and arwomen deprived of an arm or leg, and ranged them so that a sense of their begging from door to door. He had number and variety should at once long been excommunicated; at last the strike his visitor. Each jar was conChurch proclaimed a crusade against spicuously labelled with the name its him, and his lieutenant and nephew — illustrious dust had borne in life; and if
one escaped with comparative cheerfulness from the thought that Seneca had died, there were in the very next pot the cinders of Napoleon to bully him back to a sense of his mortality. We were glad to have the gloomy fascination of these objects broken by the custodian, who approached to ask if we wished to see the prisons of Ecelino, and we willingly followed him into the rain out of our sepulchral shelter. Between the vestibule and the towers of the tyrant lay that garden already mentioned, and our guide led us through ranks of weeping statuary, and rainy bowers, and showery lanes of shrubbery, until we reached the door of his cottage. While he entered to fetch the key to the prisons, we noted that the towers were freshly painted and in perfect repair; and indeed the custodian said frankly enough, on reappearing, that they were merely built over the prisons on the site of the original towers. The storied stream of the Bacchiglione sweeps through the grounds, and now, swollen by the rainfall, it roared, a yellow torrent, under a corner of the prisons. The towers rise from masses of foliage, and form no unpleasing feature of what must be, in spite of Signor P , a delightful Italian garden in sunny weather. The ground is not so flat as elsewhere in Padua, and this inequality gives an additional picturesqueness to the place. But as we were come in search of horrors, we scorned these merely lovely things, and hastened to immure ourselves in the dungeons below. The custodian, lighting a candle, (which ought, we felt, to have been a torch,) went before. We found the cells, though narrow and dark, not uncomfortable, and the guide conceded that they had undergone some repairs since Ecelino's time. But all the horrors for which we had come were there in perfect grisliness, and labelled by the ingenious Signor P with Latin inscriptions. In the first cell was a shrine of the Virgin, set in the wall. Beneath this,
while the wretched prisoner knelt in prayer, a trap-door opened and precipitated him down upon the points of knives, from which his body fell into the Bacchiglione below. In the next cell, held by some rusty iron rings to the wall, was a skeleton, hanging by the wrists. “This,” said the guide, “was another punishment of which Ecelino was very fond.” A dreadful doubt siezed my mind. “Was this skeleton found here?” I demanded. Without faltering an instant, without so much as winking an eye, the custodian replied, “Appunto.” It was a great relief, and restored me to confidence in the establishment. I am at a loss to explain how my faith should have been confirmed afterwards by coming upon a guillotine—an awful instrument in the likeness of a straw-cutter, with a decapitated wooden figure under its blade — which the custodian confessed to be a modern improvement placed there by Signor P−. Yet my credulity was so strengthened by his candor, that I accepted without hesitation the torture of the water-drop when we came to it. The water-jar was as well preserved as if placed there but yesterday, and the skeleton beneath it —found as we saw it—was entire and perfect. In the adjoining cell sat a skeleton —found as we saw it—with its neck in the clutch of the garrote, which was one of Ecelino's more merciful punishments; while in still another cell the ferocity of the tyrant appeared in the penalty inflicted upon the wretch whose skeleton had been hanging for agesas we saw it—head downwards from the ceiling. Beyond these, in a yet darker and drearier dungeon, stood a heavy oblong wooden box, with two apertures near the top, peering through which we found that we were looking into the eyeless sockets of a skull. Within this box Ecelino had immured the victim we beheld there, and left him to perish in view of the platters of food and goblets of drink placed just beyond the reach of his hands. The food we saw was of course not the original food. At last we came to the crowning horror of Villa P , the supreme excess of Ecelino's cruelty. The guide entered the cell before us, and, as we gained the threshold, threw the light of his taper vividly upon a block that stood in the middle of the floor. Fixed to the block by an immense spike driven through from the back was the little slender hand of a woman, which lay there just as it had been struck from the living arm, and which, after the lapse of so many centuries, was still as perfectly preserved as if it had been embalmed. The sight had a most cruel fascination; and while one of the horrorseekers stood helplessly conjuring to his vision that scene of unknown dread, the shrinking, shrieking woman dragged to the block, the wild, shrill, horrible screech following the blow that drove in the spike, the merciful swoon after the mutilation, — his companion, with a sudden pallor, demanded to be taken instantly away. In their swift withdrawal, they only glanced at a few detached instruments of torture, —all original Ecelinos, but intended for the infliction of minor and comparatively unimportant torments, – and then they passed from that place of fear.
IN the evening we sat talking at the Caffè Pedrocchi with an abbate, an acquaintance of ours, who was a Professor in the University of Padua. Pedrocchi's is the great caffè of Padua, a granite edifice of Egyptian architecture, which is the mausoleum of the proprietor's fortune. The pecuniary skeleton at the feast, however, does not much trouble the guests. They begin early in the evening to gather into the elegant saloons of the caffè, -somewhat too large for so small a city as Padua, —and they sit there late in the night over their cheerful cups and their ices with their newspaper and their talk.
Not so many ladies are to be seen as at the caffè in Venice, for it is only in the greater cities that they go much to these public places. There are few students at Pedrocchi's, for they frequent the cheaper caffè ; but you may nearly always find there some Professor of the University, and on the evening of which I speak, there were two present besides our abbate. Our friend's great passion was the English language, which he understood too well to venture to speak a great deal. He had been translating from that tongue into Italian certain American poems, and our talk was of these at first. Then we began to talk of disinguished American writers, of whom intelligent Italians always know at least four, in this succession, — Cooper, Mrs. Stowe, Longfellow, and Irving. Mrs. Stowe's Capanna di Zio Tom is, of course, universally read; and my friend had also read II Fiore di Maggio, - “The Mayflower.” Of Longfellow, the “Evangeline” is familiar to Italians, through a translation of the poem ; but our abbate knew all the poet's works, and one of the other Professors present that evening had made such faithful study of them as to have produced some translations rendering the original with remarkable fidelity and spirit. I have before me here his brochure, printed last year at Padua, and containing versions of “Enceladus,” “Excelsior,” “A Psalm of Life,” “The Old Clock on the Stairs,” “Sand of the Desert in an Hour-Glass,” “Twilight,” “Daybreak,” “The Quadroon Girl,” and “Torquemada,”—pieces which give the Italians a fair notion of our poet's lyrical range, and which bear witness to Professor Messadaglia's sympathetic and familiar knowledge of his works. A young and gifted lady of Parma, now unhappily no more, published only a few months since a translation of “The Golden Legend”; and Professor Messadaglia, in his Preface, mentions a version of another of our poet's longer works on which the translator of the “Evangeline” is now engaged. At last, turning from literature, we spoke with the gentle abbate of our day's adventures, and eagerly related that of the Ecelino prisons. To have seen them was the most terrific pleasure of our lives. “Eh!” said our friend, “I believe you.” “We mean those under the Villa P—.” “Exactly.” There was a tone of politely suppressed amusement in the abbate's voice; and after a moment’s pause, in which we felt our awful experience slipping and sliding away from us, we ventured to say, “You don't mean that those are not the veritable Ecelino prisons P’’ “Certainly they are nothing of the kind. The Ecelino prisons were destroyed when the Crusaders took Padua, with the exception of the tower which the Venetian Republic converted into an observatory.” “But at least these prisons are on the site of Ecelino's castle P’” “Nothing of the sort. His castle in that case would have been outside of the old city walls.” we have said, so long as his goddess smiled, even though it were as a goddess indeed, -as a creature unattainable. But when she frowned, and the heavens grew dark, Richard's sole dependence was in his own will,—as flimsy a trust for an upward scramble, one would have premised, as a tuft of grass on the face of a perpendicular cliff. Flimsy as it looked, however, it served him. It started and crumbled, but it held, if only by a single fibre. When Richard had cantered fifty yards away from Gertrude's gate in a fit of stupid rage, he suddenly pulled up his horse and gulped down his passion, and swore an oath, that, suffer what torments of feeling he might, he would not at least break the continuity of his gross physical soberness. It was enough to be drunk in mind; he would not be drunk in body. A singular, almost ridiculous feeling of antagonism to Gertrude lent force to this resolution. “No, madam,” he cried within himself, “I shall not fall back. Do your best I shall keep straight.” We often outweather great offences and afflictions through a certain healthy instinct of egotism. Richard went to bed that night as grim and sober as a Trappist monk; and his foremost impulse the next day was to plunge headlong into some
“And those tortures and the prisons are all— ”
“Things got up for show. No doubt, Ecelino used such things, and many worse, of which even the ingenuity of Signor P cannot conceive. But he is an eccentric man, loving the horrors of history, and what he can do to realize them he has done in his prisons.”
“But the custodian, how could he lie So Po"
Our friend shrugged his shoulders. “Eh! easily. And perhaps he even believed what he said.”
The world began to assume an aspect of bewildering ungenuineness, and there seemed to be a treacherous quality of fiction in the ground under our feet. Even the play at the pretty little Teatro Sociale, where we went to pass the rest of the evening, appeared hollow and improbable. We thought the hero something of a bore, with his patience and goodness; and as for the heroine, pursued by the attentions of the rich profligate, we doubted if she were any better than she should be.
physical labor which should not allow .
him a moment’s interval of idleness. He found no labor to his taste ; but he spent the day so actively, in the mechanical annihilation of the successive hours, that Gertrude's image found no chance squarely to face him. He was engaged in the work of self-preservation, — the most serious and absorbing work possible to man. Compared to the results here at stake, his passion for Gertrude seemed but a fiction. It is perhaps difficult to give a more lively impression of the vigor of this passion, of its maturity and its strength, than by simply stating that it discreetly held itself in abeyance until Richard had set at rest his doubts of that which lies nearer than all else to the heart of man,— his doubts of the strength of his will. He answered VOL. XX. — NO. I 17. 3
these doubts by subjecting his resolution to a course of such cruel temptations as were likely either to shiver it to a myriad of pieces, or to season it perfectly to all the possible requirements of life. He took long rides over the country, passing within a stone's throw of as many of the scattered wayside taverns as could be combined in a single circuit. As he drew near them he sometimes slackened his pace, as if he were about to dismount, pulled up his horse, gazed a moment, then, thrusting in his spurs, galloped away again like one pursued. At other times, in the late evening, when the window-panes were aglow with the ruddy light within, he would walk slowly by, looking at the stars, and, after maintaining this stoical pace for a couple of miles, would hurry home to his own lonely and blackwindowed dwelling. Having successfully performed this feat a certain number of times, he found his love coming back to him, bereft in the interval of its attendant jealousy. In obedience to it, he one morning leaped upon his horse and repaired to Gertrude's abode, with no definite notion of the terms in which he should introduce himself. He had made himself comparatively sure of his will; but he was yet to acquire. the mastery of his impulses. As he gave up his horse, according to his wont, to one of the men at the stable, he saw another steed stalled there which he recognized as Captain Severn's. “Steady, my boy,” he murmured to himself, as he would have done to a frightened horse. On his way across the broad court-yard toward the house, he encountered the Captain, who had just taken his leave. Richard gave him a generous salute (he could not trust himself to more), and Severn answered with what was at least a strictly just one. Richard observed, however, that he was very pale, and that he was pulling a rosebud to pieces as he walked ; whereupon our young man quickened his step. Finding the parlor empty, he instinctively crossed over to a small room adjoining it, which Gertrude had converted into