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she returns to the piano, and tries to think of nothing but the music. Two quick faint raps startle her, then another, close to the window, and a shadow appears in the doorway. Bianca utters a cry, and recognises her husband. Surely 'you expected me?' he humbly asks, and she understands that Ermes Torranza has arranged this meeting. As she, throwing herself into her husband's arms, answers 'Yes,' the night wind slowly turns the page of the poet's last song and covers his portrait.
A lady known by the pseudonym of Neera is a prolific and popular writer, much read by Italian women. Her heroines are often of the femmes incomprises type, and there.. fore occasionally rather wearisome, but her books are interesting as records, and evidently faithful records, of middleclass provincial life in Italy. We cannot help feeling a certain sympathy and pity for Marta in 'L' Indomani,' who, expecting to find ideal love-love stronger than death-in her very prosaic husband Alberto, astonishes and bores him. by asking, at inopportune moments, whether he loves her and will love her for ever and for ever. Come, come, don't let us have any more nonsense,' he answers. Sew on my buttons.' One by one Marta's illusions fade, and she sinks into the dull terre à terre existence, which appears to be the lot of so many Italian women. Teresa,' one of Neera's best novels, is a curious psychological study; the gradual waning of the heroine's youth, good looks, and hopes is described with a quiet power which is rather fascinating. Teresa's amiable, melancholy, worn-out mother, who trembles when her husband raises his voice, and her father, Signor Caccia, pretentious, obstinate, and stupid, with a profound contempt for women, and an unlimited belief in himself, are evidently drawn from life. But what a life! How dull, how absolutely devoid of any sort of interest! The inhabitants of that small town, nestling under the dyke of the Po, must have hailed the inundation of the great river, so graphically told in the first chapter, as a break in the monotony of their existence, and a subject of conversation for some time to come.
Another popular authoress writes under the name of La Marchesa Colombi, and is known in England by her novel 'In Risaia' (In the Ricefields). A short tale by her, Un 'Matrimonio in Provincia,' bears a distant resemblance to Miss Austen's incomparable novels. Gaudenzia and her sister Titina become personal acquaintances, so does their silly old aunt, who suffers from rheumatism, and watches the changes in the weather. Then the fidgetty father, a
widower, who is not happy unless the chairs in his bedroom are in a perfectly straight line, and who has a mania for
'He recognised but two remedies for all the maladies and the miseries of life but they were infallible-a lamp to the Madonna and exercise. He used them as preservatives and as hygienic measures, for we were never ill, nor were we particularly unfortunate. But the lamp was carefully lit every Friday, and as to the exercise-the soles of my feet still ache when I think of it. Good heavens! how we did walk on those wide highroads, running as far as the eye can reach, across the pasture-land and the ricefields of those great plains of Novara ! In winter they were white with snow, and in summer with dust. . . During our walks our father continued our literary education by reciting passages out of the Iliad, the Æneid, and Tasso's "Jerusalem." When talking of the heroes who fought single-handed against whole armies, tore up rocks as large as mountains to hurl against their foes, and accomplished all sorts of extraordinary and improbable feats, be became excited and gesticulated violently. We did not share his admiration. Deprived of the charm of literary form and told in the midst of maize-fields, those great poems seemed to us rank nonsense. We mixed them up with the fairy tales our aunt loved to recount on rainy evenings, and we did not see much difference between them.' The father marries an energetic and outspoken woman of a certain age, who soon puts a stop to their literary education, and teaches them how to sew. The love dream of Gaudenzia for a fat young man who makes eyes at her in the street for years is told with much comic gravity. At length she awakes to the fact that she is no longer a young girl, and accepts the first man proposed to her.
'Thus, after all those years of love, of poetry, of sentimental dreaming, my marriage was arranged. I now have three children, and my father, who on the day we were to meet Scalchi lit the lamp to the Madonna with his own hands, says she inspired me to marry him. My stepmother declares that I have regained the placid and foolish expression of my girlhood.
The fact is I am growing fat.'
In Il Tramonto d' un Ideale,' La Marchesa Colombi sketches an old, old tale with delicate humour. A boy and a girl swear eternal constancy, the boy leaves his country home and attains a high position at the bar in Milan. After some twelve years of town life he returns to find that his first love, who braved her father's displeasure and sacrificed her life to remain true to him, has lost her youth, and looks provincial and ridiculous.
Signor A. G. Barrili, whose Lettore della Principessa' has been admirably done into English by Judge Stephen, is
the author of many pleasant novels of contemporary life. The bay of Rapallo, beautiful Porta Fino, and Santa Margherita, form a picturesque background for the halfSpanish heroine of Scudi e Corone,' while in 'La Monta'nara' the Tuscan Apennines and their hospitable and honest inhabitants are well depicted.
The name of Signor Gerolamo Rovetta is well known in Italy as a novelist and a most successful play-writer. He has, among others, dramatised his own book, Lacrime del Prossimo,' the life of a faux bonhomme.' In Mater 'Dolorosa,' a disagreeable subject, the jealousy of a mother for her own daughter is ably treated, so ably that our sympathy is with the Duchessa d'Eleda, to the exclusion of her heartless child Lalla.
Le Vittime della Terra,' by Signor G. Cavagnari, a sad and powerful book, describes with merciless accuracy the miserable life of the Lombard peasants, and the disappearance of the small landed proprietors unable to pay the crushing taxes, forced to sell the bit of land they love, and to sink into the wretched condition of a labourer where once they were masters. The last pages of Signor Cavagnari's book are painfully realistic. As a long line of emigrants are waiting in the station a royal train, the engine decked with flags and flowers, rushes past, saluted with the regulation cries of 'Viva il Re !' Then the emigrant train crawls slowly away, and old Tommaso, shaking his fist out of the window, curses the new Italy who drives her children over the sea. Signor F. Figuselli in 'L' Eroe' depicts the life of an excellent man and a patriot, Cavaliere Chiaffredo Bergia, who rises from the ranks and dies a colonel of brigadiers. Another patriotic writer is the present Prefect of Florence, a Neapolitan, Count Capitelli, who has also written some volumes of poetry. Signor Rocco De Zerbi, in the Piccolo' of Naples, says: In Capitelli's literary work ("Cuore ed Intelletto, Patria ed Arte ") we see the thinker, in his political writings and his speeches we divine the 'vivacity of the poet.'
Veglie di Neri,' a collection of short tales by Renato Fucini, witty, well written, and intensely Tuscan, is yet another proof that the literary talent of the present day in Italy is at its best in sketches and short stories. It is, in short, an impressionist school. But the general feeling we derive from these varied pictures of Italian life is a melancholy one, indicating that national independence and liberty have not brought happiness, prosperity, or contentment to the people.
ART. VI.-The Memoirs of James Marquis of Montrose, 1639-1650. By the Rev. GEORGE WISHART, D.D. Translated, with Introduction, Notes, Appendices, and the Original Letters. (Part II. now first published.) By the Rev. ALEXANDER D. MURDOCH and H. F. MORLAND SIMPSON. London : 1893.
UNDER the hands of Messrs. Murdoch and Simpson the little volume which was suspended to the neck of the great Marquis of Montrose has swelled into a portly and attractive quarto, by means of accretions which no reader will condemn as superfluous. The editors of Wishart's Deeds of 'Montrose-to give to their publication the shorter and more convenient title which they have placed as a heading to their pages have added an English translation, the only fault of which is that it is sometimes too colloquial to suit a refined taste, and have printed, for the first time, the fragment of the second part, which deals with Montrose's last illfated invasion of Scotland. They have also done all that enthusiasm and industry can prompt to elucidate the text by notes and appendices which add considerably to the information even of those who have hitherto known most of the hero's career. Into the earlier and longer part of that career we do not propose to follow them. Except in minute details, they have no correction to offer of the now accepted version of Montrose's victorious progress from Tippermuir to Kilsyth and of his sudden overthrow at Philiphaugh. His military skill and his heroic qualities are too well recognised to require to be enforced anew.
It is otherwise when we reach the last fatal enterprise in which Montrose threw away his life. In his excellent little biography of Montrose, Mr. Mowbray Morris expresses the prevailing opinion in calling it a 'wild venture.' The editors of the Deeds of Montrose' are of a contrary opinion. It is a point well worth discussing, especially as the work before us adds so much to our knowledge of this particular part of Montrose's life, and, it must also be confessed, leaves so much untold. The editors have brought forward information from Sweden, Denmark, and Courland, and this information will be supplemented by additional matter about to be published by Mr. Simpson in the forthcoming Miscellany of the Scottish History Society.' On the other hand, they have only a very restricted knowledge of the relations between Charles II. and Montrose, and they do not appear to have an adequate conception of some phases of the
Scottish history of the time. To say that they are prejudiced against all who opposed their hero, is perhaps only another way of saying that they are biographers. A biographer must make the circumference of his work nearer his centre than the historian; and it is no disparagement to the author or editor of a biography if he is asked to review some of his conclusions in the light of wider researches than his own.
Above all, the relations between Charles II. and Montrose stand in need of elucidation. Fortunately, in addition to materials existing in manuscript in the Carte and Clarendon Collections in the Bodleian Library, we have before us a valuable source of information which has been in print for nearly two centuries and a half, but the very existence of which has, we believe, never been suspected by any historian. In October, 1649, a newspaper bearing the title of A Brief Relation,' was started as the official organ of the Council of State, addicting itself chiefly to foreign intelligence, including under that head news from Scotland and Ireland. In the spring of 1650 it contained a series of letters written by some one who attached himself to Charles's Court during his journey through France and his subsequent conferences with the Scottish Commissioners at Breda. No doubt the communications of a spy are to be received with considerable caution, but, at all events, internal evidence is in favour of the general accuracy of the letters. At important crises their writer is wont to apologise for the jejuneness of his information on the ground that matters are kept so secret that he has been unable to penetrate the veil, and it sometimes happens that they receive unexpected corroboration from the correspondence of persons more or less behind the scenes. Altogether we think that they may be accepted as conveying the impressions of one who was desirous of reporting the truth, though it is probable that he may sometimes have accepted gossip in default of more solid information. In the most important part of his evidence, bearing on the feelings which Charles entertained towards Montrose, he can hardly have been mistaken. Additional light, too, is thrown on the negotiations of Charles II. with the Scottish Commissioners by documents printed by Dr. Wijnne-where few English readers will have thought of looking for them-in an account of the quarrel between William II. of Orange and the States of Holland.*
* De Geschillen over de Afdanking van 't Krijgsvolk in de Vereenigde Nederlanden. Door Dr. J. A. Wijnne. Utrecht, 1885.