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VIOLANTA CESARINI.

Animi di porco !exclaimed the

other, “ what stirs the curtain ? The " When every feather sticks in its own wind is changing, Malaspina. Let us wing,

in ! So, he offers but a thousand! I Lord Timon will be left a naked gull." shall feel my rheumatism to-morrow

with this change. But a thousand ! It was an eve fit for an angel's birth. ha, ha! Let us in! Let us in !" night, (and we know angels are born “ Let us out say I !" murmured two in this loving world,) and while the lips that were never made of cherries, moon, as if shining only for artists' though a bird might have pecked at eyes, drew the outlines of palace and them; and stealing from behind the chapel, stern turret and serenaded curtain whose agitation had persuaded belvidere, with her silver pencil on the her father that the wind was rising, street, two grave seniors, guardians in Violanta Cesarini, countess in her own their own veins of the blood of two right, and beautiful by heaven's rare lofty names known long to Roman grace, stepped forth into the moonlight. story, leaned together over a balcony She drew a long breath as she looked of fretted stone, jutting out upon the down into the Corso. The carriages Corso, and affianced a fair and noble were creeping up and down at a foot.. maid of seventeen summers to a gentle- pace, and the luxurious dames, thrown man whose character you shall learn, if back on their soft cushions, nodded we come safe to the sequel.

to the passers-by, as they recognised 6. The cardinal has offered me a friends and acquaintances where the thousand scudi for my Giorgione,” moonlight broke through ; crowds of said the old Count Malaspina, at last, slow promenaders loitered indolently changing his attitude and the subject on, now turning to look at the berryat the same time.

brown back of a Contadina, with her Vol. I. (21.)

Y

stride like a tragedy-queen, and her the fair form had gone with its snowy eyes like wells of jet, and now leaning robes from the balcony, and across the against a palace wall, while a wander- high window from which the mesing harp-girl sung better for a baioch

senger had come, dropped the thick than noble ladies for the praise of a and impenetrable folds of the grey cardinal; at one corner stood an artist curtain of an artist. with his tablet, catching some chance effect, perhaps in the drapery of a It was a large upper room, such as marble saint, perhaps in the softer is found in the vast houses of the dedrapery of a sinner ; the cafés, far up cayed nobility of Rome, and of its and down, looked like festas out of two windows one was roughly boarded doors, with their groups of gaily dressed up to exclude the light, while a coarse idlers, eating sherbets and buying grey cloth did nearly the same service flowers; a grey friar passed now with at the other, shutting out all but an his low-toned benedicite; and again a artist's modicum of day. The walls black cowl, with a face that reddened of rough plaster were covered with the very moonbeam that peeped under; grotesque drawings, done apparently hunchbacks contended testily for the with bits of coal, varied here and there wall, and tall fellows (by their long with scraps of unframed canvas heaped hair and fine symmetry, professed carelessly up, and covered with a models for sculptors and painters) study of some head, by a famous masyielded to them with a gibe. And ter. A large table on one side of the this is Rome when the moon shines room was burdened with a confused well, and on this care-cheating scene heap of brushes, paint-bags, and dislooked down the Countess Violanta, coloured cloths, surmounted with a with her heart as full of perplexity as clean palette ; and not far off stood her silk boddice-lace would bear with. an easel, covered with thumb-marks out breaking.

of all dyes, and supporting a new canI dare say you did not observe, if vas, on which was outlined the figure you were in Rome that night, and of a nymph, with the head finished strolling, as you would have been, in in a style that would have stirred the the Corso, (this was three years ago warm blood of Raphael himself with last May, and if you were in the habit emulous admiration. A low flock of reading the Diario di Roma, the bed, and a chair without a bottom, story will not be new to you;) you did but with a large cloak hung over its not observe, I am sure, that a thread back, a pair of foils and a rapier, comran across from the balcony I speak of, pleted so much of the furniture of the in the Palazzo Cesarini, to a high win- room as belonged to a gay student of dow in an old palace opposite, inhabit. Correggio's art, who wrote himself ed, as are many palaces in Rome, by Biondo Amieri. a decayed family and several artists. By the light of the same antique On the two sides of this thread, pressed, lamp, hung on a rusty nail against the while she mused, the slight fingers of wall, you might see a very good effect Violanta Cesarini ; and, as if it de- on the face of an unfinished group in scended from the stars, at every pull marble, of which the model, in plaster, which the light May-breeze gave it in stood a little behind, representing a passing, she turned her soft blue eyes youth with a dagger at his heart, arupwards, and her face grew radiant rested in the act of self-murder by a with hope-not such as is fed with female, whose softened resemblance to star-gazing!

him proclaimed her at the first glance Like a white dove shooting with his sister. A mallet, chisels, and slant wings downwards, a folded slip other implements used in sculpture, of paper flew across on this invisible lay on the rough base of the unfinished thread, and, by heaven's unflickering group, and half disclosed, half conlamp, Violanta read some characters cealed by a screen covered with prints traced with a rough crayon, but in by some curious female hand, stood a most sweet Italian. A look upwards, bed with white curtains, and an oratory and a nod, as if she were answering of carved oak at his head, supporting the stars that peeped over her, and a clasped missal. A chair or two, whose seats of worked satin had figured and with his infant sister, passed most one day in more luxurious neighbour- of his youth at Rome. Some three or hood, a table covered with a few books four years before the time when our and several drawings from the antique, tale commences, this youth, who had and a carefully locked escritoire, served, betrayed always a coarse and brutal with other appearances, to distinguish temper, administered his stiletto to a this side of the room as belonging to a gentleman on the Corso, and flying separate occupant, of gentler taste or from Rome, became a brigand in the nurture,

Abruzzi. His violence and atrocity, While the adventurous Violanta is in this congenial life, soon put him preparing herself to take advantage of beyond hope of pardon, and on his the information received by her secret outlawry by the Pope, Violanta became telegraph, I shall have time, dear rea- the heiress of the estates of Cesarini. der, to put you up to a little of the The marchioness had died when family history of the Cesarini, neces- Violanta was between seven and eight sary no less to a proper understanding years of age, leaving her, by a deathbed of the story, than to the heroine's injunction, in the charge of her own character for discretion. On the latter constant attendant, a faithful servant point, I would suggest to you, you from Romagna, supposed to be a distant may as well suspend your opinion. kinswoman to her mistress. With this

It is well known to all the gossips tried dependant, the young countess in Rome, that, for four successive was permitted to go where she pleased, generations, the Marquises of Cesarini at all hours, when not attended by her have obtained dispensations of the masters, and seeing her tractable and Pope for marrying beautiful peasant lovely, the old marquis, whose pride girls from the neighbourhood of their in the beauty of his family was the castle, in Romagna. The considerable passion next to love of money in his sums paid for these dispensations, re. heart, gave himself little trouble, and conciled the Holy See to such an un- thought himself consoled for the loss precedented introduction of vulgar of his son in the growing attractions blood into the veins of nobility, and and filial virtues of his daughter. the remarkable female beauty of the On a bright morning in early spring, race, (heightened by the addition of six years before the date of our tale, nature's aristocracy to its own,) con- the young countess and her attendant tributed to maintain good-will at a were gathering wild flowers near the court, devoted above all others to the Fountain of Egeria, (of all spots of cultivation of the fine arts, of which earth, that on which the wild flowers woman is the eidolon and the soul. are most profuse and sweetest,) when The last marquis, educated like his a deformed youth, who seemed to be fathers, in their wild domain among no stranger to Donna Bettina, ad. the mountains, selected, like them, dressed Violanta in a tone of voice so the fairest wild-flower that sprung at musical, and with a look so kindly and his feet, and after the birth of one son, winning, that the frank child took his applied for the tardy dispensation. hand, and led him off in search of carFrom some unknown cause, (possibly dinals and blue-bells, with the famia diminished bribe, as the marquis was liarity of an established playfellow. less lavish in his disposition than his After this day, the little countess never predecessors,) the Pope sanctioned the came home pleased from a morning marriage, but refused to legitimatize drive and ramble in which she had not the son, unless the next born should seen her friend Signor Giulio; and the be a daughter. The marchioness soon romantic baths of Caracalla, and the after retired (from mortification it was many delicious haunts among the ruins supposed) to her home in themountains, about Rome, had borne witness to the and after two years of close seclusion, growth of a friendship, all fondness returned to Rome, bringing with her and impulse on the part of Violanta, an infant daughter, then three months all tenderness and delicacy on that of age, destined to be the heroine of of the deformed youth. By what our story. No other child appearing, wonderful instinct they happened the young Cesarini was legitimatized, always to meet, the delighted child never found time or thought to Bettina knew little about, simply ininquire.

forming her mistress, that, disgusted Two or three years passed on thus, with his deformity, the unnatural and the old marquis had grown to mother had sent him to nurse in a farlisten with amused familiarity to his off village of Romagna, and that the

aughter's ttle about the deformed interest of a small sum which the youth, and no incident had varied the marquis supposed had been expended pleasant tenor of their lives and ram- on masses for the souls of his ancestors, bles, except that, Giulio once falling was still paid to his foster-parents for ill, Bettina had taken the young his use. countess to his home, where she dis- From the time of this disclosure, covered that, young as he was, he had Violanta's life had been but too happy. made some progress in moulding in Feeling justified in contriving secret clay, and was destined for a sculptor. interviews with her brother; and posThis visit to the apartment of an sessing the efficient connivance of obscure youth, however, the marquis Bettina,who, like herself, seemed almost had seen fit to object to; and though, to worship the pure-minded and gentle at his daughter's request, he sent the Giulio, her heart and her time were young sculptor an order for his first blissfully crowded with interest. So far, statue, he peremptorily forbade all the love that had welled from her heart further intercourse between him and had been all joyous and untroubled. Violanta. In the paroxysm of her It was during the absence of the grief at the first disgrace she had ever marquis and his daughter from Rome, fallen into with her master, Bettina and in an unhealthy season, that disclosed to her young nistress, by Giulio, always delicate in health, and way of justification, a secret she had liable to excessive fits of depression, been bound by the most solemn oaths had fallen ill in his solitary room, and, to conceal, and of which she now was but for the friendly care of a young the sole living depository-that this artist whom he had long known, must deformed youth was born in the castle have died of want and neglect. As he of the Cesarini, in Romagna, of no began to recover, he accepted the offer less obscure parentage than the castle's of Amieri, his friend, to share with lord and lady, and being the first child him a lodging in the elevated air of the after the dispensation of marriage, and Corso, and the more readily, that this a son, he was consequently the rightful room chanced to overlook the palace heir to the marquisate and estates of of Cesarini. Here Violanta found Cesarini; and the elder son, by the him on her return; though displeased terms of that dispensation, was illegi- that he was no longer alone, she still timate.

continued, when Amieri was absent, This was astounding intelligence to to see him sometimes in his room, Violanta, who, nevertheless, child as and their old haunts without the walls she was,

felt its truth in the yearnings were frequented as often as his health of her heart to Giulio ; but it was with and strength would permit. A chance no little pains and difficulty on Bet- meeting of Violanta and Amieri in his tina's part, that she was persuaded to own studio, however, made it necespreserve the secret from her father. sary that he should be admitted to The Romagnese knew her master's their secret, and the consequence of weakness ; and as the birth of the that interview and others which Viochild had occurred during his long lanta found it impossible to avoid, was absence from the castle, and the a passion in the heart of the enthusiasmarchioness, proud of her eldest- tic painter, which consumed, as it well born, had determined from the first might, every faculty of his soul. that he alone should enjoy the name We are thus brought to an evening and honours of his father, it was not of balmy May, when Giulio found very probable that upon the simple himself alone. Biondo had been word of a domestic, he would believe painting all day on the face of his a deformed hunchback to be his son nymph, endeavouring in vain to give and heir.

it any other features than those of the The intermediate history of Giulio, lady of his intense worship, and hav. ing gone out to ramble for fresh air temples to her bosom. There was a and relaxation in the Corso, Giulio tone of conviction in his voice that thought he might venture to throw she knew not how to answer. across his ball of thread and send a He continued, as if he were musing missive to his sister, promising her an

aloud. uninterrupted hour of his society. “ I have tried to stifle this belief

With these preliminaries, our story in my bosom, and have never spoken will now run smoothly on.

of it till now but it is true! Look “ Come in, carissima!said the at that statue ! Parts of it are like low, silver-toned voice of the deformed nature-but it wants uniformity-it sculptor, as a female figure, in the wants grace—it wants what I want, hood and cloak of an old woman, proportion! I never shall give it that, crossed the threshold of his chamber. because I want the sense, the con

“ Dear Giulio !" And she leaned sciousness, the emotion, of complete slightly over the diminutive form of and godlike movement. It is only the her brother, and first kissing his pale well-formed who feel this. Sculptors forehead, while she unfastened the may imitate gods ! for they are made clasp of Bettina's cloak of black silk, in God's image. But oh, Violanta ! threw her arms about him as the dis- I am not!" guise fell off, and multiplied, between “ My poor brother !" her caresses, the endearing terms in “Our blessed Saviour was not more which the language of that soft clime beautiful than the Apollo,” he pasis so prodigal.

sionately continued, “ but could I feel They sat down at the foot of a group like the Apollo ! Can I stand before in marble, and each told the little his- the clay, and straighten myself to his tory of the hours they had spent apart. attitude, and fancy, by the most deThey grew alike as they conversed; lirious effort of imagination, that I for their's was that resemblance of soul, realise in this frame, and could ever to which the features answer only have conceived and moulded his inwhen the soul is breathing through. dignant and lofty beauty ? No-no Unless seen together, and not only no!" together, but gazing on each other in Dear-dear Giulio !” He dropped complete abandonment of heart, the his head again, and she felt his tears friends that knew them best would penetrate to her bosom. have said they were unlike. Yet • Leave this melancholy theme," Amieri's nymph on the canvas was she said, in an imploring tone," and like both, for Amieri drew from the let us talk of other things ! I have picture burnt on his own heart by something to tell you, Giulio !" love, and the soul of Violanta lay “ Raphael was beautiful,” he said, breathing beneath every lineament. raising himself up, unconscious of the

“You have not touched the marble interruption,"and Giorgione and Titian to-day ;' said the countess, taking both nobly formed, and Michael the lamp from its nail, and shedding Angelo had the port of an archangel ! the light aslant on the back of the Yes, the soul inhabits the whole body, statue.

and the sentiment of beauty moves and “ No! I have lifted the hammer quickens through it all. My tenement twenty times to break it in pieces !" is cramped !- Violanta !!!

Ah! dearest Giulio! talk not thus! Well, dear brother !" Think it is my image you would de- “ Tell me your feelings when you

first breathe the air in a bright morn“ If it were, and truly done, I would ing in spring. Do you feel graceful ? sooner strike the blessed crucifix. Is there a sensation of beauty ? Do But, Violanta! there is a link want you lift yourself and feel swan-like and ing in this deformed frame of mine! lofty, and worthy of the divine image The sense of beauty, or the power to in which you breathe ?

Tell me truly, body it forth, wants room in me. I Violanta." feel it, I feel it !"

“ Yes, brother!" Violanta ran to him and pressed " I knew it! I have a faint dream the long curls that fell over his pallid of such a feeling a sensation that is

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