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• he placed himself in the front, and led the way out. The
cottage, as we have said, was at the extremity of the village : • Griso took the road that led out of it, and the rest followed him . in good order.'
The faithful Griso appears characteristically towards the conclusion of the story, when the wretched Don Rodrigo has just caught the plague, and entreats to be kept out of the Lazzeretto.
« « Griso !” said Don Rodrigo, with difficulty raising himself, ' and sitting up in his bed, “ you have always been my trusty servant.” «« Yes, Signor.” «« I have always dealt well by you.”
« Of your bounty."
-!" «“ I am ill, Griso.” «“ I had perceived it." "“ If I recover, I will heap upon you more favours than I have ever yet done.”
Griso made no answer, and stood waiting to see to what all these preambles would lead.
"“ I will not trust myself to anybody but you,” resumed Don • Rodrigo; “do me a kindness, Griso. ”
"“Command me," said he, replying with this usual formula to that unusual one. ““ Do you know where the surgeon, Chiodo, lives?" 6« I know
well.” "“ He is a worthy man, who, if he is well paid, will conceal the sick. Go and find him; tell him I will give him four, six * scudi a visit; more, if he demands more. Tell him to come * here directly, and do the thing cleverly, so that nobody may observe it.” 6" Well thought of," said Griso; “I
and return.” ... Don Rodrigo lay down, and accompanied him, in • imagination, to Chiodo's house, counting the steps, calculating • the time. Now and then he would turn to look at his left side, * but quickly averted his face with a shudder. After some time, ,
he began to listen eagerly for the surgeon's arrival; and this effort of attention suspended his sense of illness, and kept his * thoughts in some degree of order. All of a sudden, he heard a • distant sound, which seemed, however, to come from the rooms, not the street. He listened still more intently; he heard it • louder, more quickly repeated; and with it a trampling of foot
steps. A horrid suspicion rushed into his mind. He sat up, ' and gave still greater attention; he heard a dead sound in the
• next room, as if a weight were being cautiously set down. He • threw his legs out of bed, as if to get up; peeped at the door, saw it open, and beheld before his eyes, and advancing towards him, two ragged and filthy red dresses, two ill-looking faces – ' in one word, two monatti. He distinguished, too, half of Griso's face, who, hidden behind the almost closed door, remained there on the look-out.
““ Ah, infamous traitor!... Begone, you rascals ! Biondino! • Carlotto! help! I'm murdered!" shouted Don Rodrigo. He • thrust one hand under the bolster in search of a pistol ; grasped
it; drew it out; but, at his first cry, the monatti had rushed up ' to the bed .... He began to shout with loud cries to his other servants: but in vain he called; for the abominable Griso had sent them all off with pretended orders from their master himself, before going to propose to the monatli to come on this expedition, and divide the spoil.
« “ Be quiet, will you," said the villain who held him down upon
the bed, to the unfortunate Don Rodrigo. And turning * his face to the two who were seizing the booty, he cried to • them, “ Do your work like honest fellows."
• “ You! you !" roared Don Rodrigo to Griso, whom he beheld • busying himself in breaking open, taking out money and
clothes, and dividing them. “You ! after .... Ah, fiend of • hell! I may still recover! I
still recover!” Griso spoke not, nor, more than he could help, even turned in the direction whence these words proceeded.'
So much for the race of bravoes. As there are other personages in the novel besides them, we must not devote too much to them. They are a type, however, of the state of things, and we could collect from the bravo the character of the noble. The character of the Italian noble differs from that of the feudal chief of Scott's novels, the baron, and titled marauder of the borders, much in the same way in which his retainer and moss trooper differs from the bravo. Of course a difference of chronology comes in here, as well as the difference of country. The Italian noble is a more wily, scheming, plotting personage than the rough English or Scotch territorial Iord. He has his nets around him, and is engaged in intrigues far and wide; not so much for private ends and projects of self-interest solely, as those of rivalry or hatred. He has a variety of plots on hand, large or small, in proportion to his extent of power, territory, or intellect. These furnish food for his mind and energies, and make life desirable and pleasing to him. The pleasure of circumventing, of hitting blows, of striking in the dark or in the light, of attaining some object by the assassination or injury of somebody, provides a subterranean diplomatic domain for him in his dark castle in NO. XLVIII.-N.S.
the Apennines, amidst black ravines, and the frowns of inaccessible mountain tops. Yet the neighbouring court or city see in their visitor a perfect gentleman, with easy smiles and courtly graces, and insinuating small talk for ladies. And though a cloud passes over his face occasionally, and seems to betray internal commotion and something going on that he does not choose men in general to know, he carries his intrigues, in the main, under a fair guise, till he gets back to his castle again, and can be gloomy, ferocious, and bloody in open day. The noble banditti chief, or captain of bravoes, rather than feudal lord, is fit head to fit body; the bravoes look up to him with instinctive and superstitious admiration, as being what in their eyes is the beau ideal of human greatness, ---a very great bravo. In that capacity he is the lineal descendant of the Macedonian and the Cæsarian line, and the representative of the world's heroes and conquerors.
Alexander and Julius Cæsar were only very great bravoes, and represented on a large scale the virtues and aspirations of the class in their classical shape. Achilles was a bravo; he reigned over his myrmidons, i.e. he was a bravo-master. The Italian noble of this day had to fight with more difficulties, and was more confined to his walls and secret chambers, than his predecessors, owing to the alteration of manners, and the gradual progress of law. Law was beginning to peep out of her corner, and was regarded by the genuine heroic class with much of the same feeling with which the Epicureans regarded religion: Horribili super aspectu mortalibus instat. Her puny efforts at first, indeed, created no more than a feeling and an impression; a suspicion in the world at large that assassins, and robbers, and bravoes were not respectable people: still this was a descent. The castellated noble, with his circle of followers, and machinery of poison and stiletto, had an ambiguous position, and seemed to fly, like an ominous night bird, the approach of morn, and lived under a cloud.
On entering within this corner of Manzoni's ground, the youthful reminiscences-- may we say it-of Mrs. Radcliffe and the Mysteries of Udolpho came across us.
The old images of the banditti noble, and his forest chateau, with its dark and mysterious recesses, and doors in the wall, winding stairs, silent corridors, and alternation of desolation and riot; the awful clearance and desertion of daytime, and the illuminated hall and riotous banquet of midnight, recur in hazy, forgotten, dreamy outline. The heroine, torn from her home and friends, and awaiting, in the castellated solitude of an Italian marquis's mountain chateau, the issue of some unknown plot, and seeing movements going on which she cannot account for-wandering through empty rooms, with moth-eaten tapestry, and pictures of the old counts and marquises of the family, as gloomy and as impenetrable as their present possessor, recur as the suitable traditionary associations of the region, and the development of the genius loci. A peculiar shadow and mystery of his own hangs over the motions of the titled Italian, and he is a characteristic portion of the human aristocracy, and has his species side by side with Spanish grandee, English baron, Scotch laird, Highland chieftain, Saxon earl, and, we doubt not, Persian satrap, Argive king, and nobles Mexican and Peruvian, and caziques of Zempoalla and Quiabislon.
We break into the middle of the description of one of this class, who figures prominently in this story.
During his absence he continued the same practices, not even • intermitting his correspondence with those of his friends who • remained united to him (to translate literally from Ripamonti), ror in the secret alliance of atrocious consultations and fatal deeds.” It even appears that he engaged the foreign courts in other new and formidable undertakings, of which the above• cited historian speaks with mysterious brevity. “Some foreign
princes several times availed themselves of his assistance in * important murders, and frequently sent him reinforcements
of soldiers, from a considerable distance, to act under his orders."
* At length (it is not exactly known how long afterwards) * either the sentence of banishment against him being with• drawn, by some powerful intercession, or the audacity of the 'man serving him in place of any other liberation, he resolved • to return home, and, in fact, did return; not, however, to
Milan, but to a castle on his manor, situated on the confines of the Bergamascan territory, at that time, as most of our
readers know, under Venetian government; and here he fixed • his abode. “ This dwelling, we again quote Ripamonti, "" was, as it were, a dispensary of sanguinary mandates: the servants were outlaws and murderers ; the
cooks and scullions were not exempt from homicide; the hands of the children were stained with blood.” Besides this amiable domestic circle, he had, as the same historian affirms, another set of dependents of a similar character dispersed abroad, and • quartered, so to say, at different posts in the two states on the 'borders of which he lived, who were always ready to execute • his orders.
* All the tyrannical noblemen for a considerable distance 'round, had been obliged, on one occasion or another, to choose ' between the friendship or the enmity of this super-eminent ' tyrant. Those, however, who at first attempted to resist him, came off so badly in the contest, that no one was ever induced
to make a second trial. Neither was it possible, by maintaining a neutral course, or standing, as the saying is, in their own shoes, to keep themselves independent of him. If a * message arrived, intimating that such a person must desist ' from such an undertaking, or cease to molest such a debtor, or so forth ; it was necessary to give a decided answer one way or other. When one party came, with the homage of a vassal, to refer any business to his arbitration, the other party
reduced to the hard alternative of either abiding by his * sentence, or publicly declaring hostilities; which was equi* valent to being, as the saying is, in the last stage of consump' tion. Many who were in the wrong, had recourse to him that * they might be right in effect; many being in the right, yet
resorted to him to pre-engage so powerful a patronage, and close the way against their adversaries; thus both bad and good * came to be dependent upon him. It sometimes happened that * the weak, oppressed, harassed, and tyrannized over by some * powerful lord, turned to him for protection ; he would then • take the part of the oppressed, and force the oppressor to • abstain from further injuries, to repair the wrongs he had com‘mitted, and even to stoop to apologies; or, in case of his
proving stubborn and unbending, he would completely crush • ħis power, constrain him to quit the place where he had exercised such unjust influence, or even make him pay a more expeditious and more terrible penalty. In these cases, his name, usually so dreaded and abhorred, became, for a time, "an object of blessing: for (I will not say, this justice, but) this remedy, this recompense of some sort, could not have been expected, under the circumstances
of the times, from any other • either public or private source. More frequently, and indeed
ordinarily, his power and authority ministered to iniquitous • desires, atrocious revenge, or outrageous capriçe. But the very • opposite uses he made of this power produced in the end the
self-same effect, that of impressing all minds with a lofty idea • of how much he could will and execute in spite of equity or • iniquity, those two things which interpose so many impedi•ments to the accomplishment of man's desires, and so often « force him to turn back. The fame of ordinary oppressors was • for the most part restricted to the limited tract of country • where they continually or frequently exercised their oppres*sion : each district had its own tyrant ; and these so resembled • each other, that there was no reason that people should inter• fere with those from whom they sustained neither injury nor molestation. But the fame of this man had long been diffused throughout every corner of the Milanese: his life was every• where the subject of popular stories; and his very name