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determined that this dueling shall days gave orders that Del Ferice's stop, and I warn you that neither letters were to be stopped—by no you nor any one else will escape means an uncommon proceeding in imprisonment if you are involved those times, nor so rare in our own in any more of these personal en- day as is supposed. The postcounters."
office was then in the hands of Sarracinesca suppressed a smile a private individual so far as all at the Cardinal's threat; but he management was concerned, and perceived that he had gained his the Cardinal's word was law. Del point, and was pleased accordingly. Ferice's letters were regularly He had, he felt sure, sown in opened and examined. the statesman's mind a germ of The first thing that was dissuspicion which would before long covered was that they frequently bring forth fruit. In those days contained money, generally in the danger was plentiful, and people shape of small drafts on London could not afford to overlook it, no signed by a Florentine banker, matter in what form it presented and that the envelopes which conitself, least of all such people as the tained money
never contained anyCardinal himself, who, while sus- thing else. They were all posted taining an unequal combat against in Florence. With regard to the superior forces outside the State, letters, they appeared to be very felt that his every step was en- innocent communications from all compassed by perils from within. sorts of people, rarely referring to That he had long despised Del politics, and then only in the most Ferice as an idle chatterer did not generous terms. If Del Ferice had prevent him from understanding expected to have his correspondthat he might have been deceived, ence examined he could not have as Sarracinesca suggested. He arranged matters better for his had caused Ugo to be watched, it own safety. To trace the drafts is true, but only from time to to the person who sent them was time, and by men whose only duty not an easy business; it was imwas to follow him and to see possible to introduce a spy into whether he frequented suspicious the banking-house in Florence; society. The little nest of talkers and among the many drafts daily at Gouache's studio in the Via San bought and sold, it was almost imBasilio was soon discovered, and possible to identify, without the aid proyed to be harmless enough. of the banker's books, the person De Ferice was then allowed to go who chanced to buy any particular on his way unobserved. But the one. The addresses were, it is true, half-dozen words in which Sarra- uniformly written by the same cinesca had described Ugo's scheme hand; but the writing was in no for hindering Giovanni's marriage way peculiar, and was cetrainly had set the Cardinal thinking, and not that of any prominent perthe Cardinal seldom wasted time son whose autograph the Cardinal in thinking in vain. His inter- possessed. view with Sarracinesca ended very The next step was to get possoon, and the Prince and the session of some letter written by statesman entered the
entered the crowded Del Ferice himself, and, if possible, drawing-room and mixed in the to intercept everything he wrote. throng. It was long before they But although the letters containmet again in private.
ing the drafts
drafts were regularly The Cardinal on the following opened, and after having been ex
amined and sealed again, were regu- rigged vessels—bringing cargoes of larly transmitted through the post- oranges and lemons to the Roman office to Ugo's address, the expert market. The mystery was persons set to catch the letters he solved. One day Temistocle was himself wrote were obliged to actually seen giving a letter into own, after three weeks' careful the hands of a huge fellow in a watching, that he never seemed to red woolen cap. The sbirro who write any letters at all, and that he saw him do it, marked the sailor certainly never posted any. They and his vessel, and never lost sight acknowledged their failure to the of him till he hoisted his jib and Cardinal with timid anxiety, ex- floated away down-stream. Then pecting to be reprimanded for the spy took horse and galloped their carelessness. But the Car- down to Fiumicino, where he waited dinal merely told them not to re- for the little vessel, boarded her law their attention, and dismissed from a boat, escorted by a couple them with a bland smile. He of gendarmes, and had
no diffi. knew, now, that he was on the culty in taking the letter from the track of mischief; for a man who terrified seaman, who was glad never writes any letters at all, enough to escape without detention. while he receives many, might During the next fortnight several reasonably be suspected of having letters were stopped in this way, a secret post-office of his own. carried by different sailors, and For some days Del Ferice's move- the whole correspondence went ments were narrowly watched, but straight to the Cardinal. It was with no result whatever. Then not often that he troubled himself the Cardinal sent for the police to play the detective in person, but register of the district where Del when he did so, he was not easily Ferice lived, and in which the baffled. And now he observed that name, nationality, and residence about a week after the intercepof every individual in the “Rione" tion of the first letter the small or quarter were carefully inscribed, drafts which used to come so freas they still are.
quently to Del Ferice's address Running his eyes down the list, from Florence suddenly ceased, the Cardinal came upon the name proving beyond a doubt that each of - Temistocle Fattorusso, of letter was paid for according to its Naples, servant to Ugo dei Conti value so soon as it was received. del Ferice :" an idea struck him. With regard to the contents of
“His servant is a Neapolitan," these epistles little need be said. he reflected. “ He probably sends So sure was Del Ferice of his means his letters by way of Naples." of transmission that he did not Accordingly Temistocle
use a cipher, though he, of watched instead of his master. It course, never signed any of his was found that he frequented the writings. The matter was invarisociety of other Neapolitans, and ably a detailed chronicle of Roman especially that he was in the habit sayings and doings—a record as of going from time to time to the minute as Del Ferice could make Ripa Grande, the port of the Tiber, it, of everything that took place; where he seemed to have numer- and even the Cardinal himself was ous acquaintances among the Nea- astonished at the accuracy of the politan boatmen who constantly information thus conveyed. His came up the coast in their “mar- own appearances in public—the tingane"-heavy, sea-going, lateen- names of those with whom he
talked—even fragments of his veyed in a private carriage to conversation — were given with the Sant' Uffizio by men in plain annoying exactness. The states- clothes. It was six o'clock in the man learned with infinite disgust evening when he wrote the order, that he had for some time past and delivered it to his private serbeen subjected to a system of vant to be taken to its destination. espionage at least as complete as The man lost no time, and within any of his own invention; and, twenty minutes the chief of police what was still more annoying to was in possession of his orders, his vanity, the spy was the man of which he hastened to execute with ail others whom he had most de- all possible speed. Before seven spised, calling him harmless and o'clock two respectable - looking weak, because he cunningly af- citizens were seated in the chief's fected weakness. Where or how own carriage, driving rapidly in Del Ferice procured so much infor- the direction of Del Ferice's house. mation the Cardinal cared little In less than half an hour, the man enough, for he determined there who had caused so much trouble and then that he should procure would be safely lodged in the prino more. That there were other sons of the Holy Office, to be traitors in the camp was more judged for his sins as a political than likely, and that they had spy. In a fortnight he was to aided Del Ferice with their coun- have been married to Donna Tullia sels; but though by prolonging the Mayer,—and her trousseau had situation it might be possible to just arrived from Paris. track them down, such delay would It can hardly be said that the. be valuable to enemies abroad. Cardinal's conduct was unjustifiMoreover, if Del Ferice began to able, though many will say that Del find out, as he soon must, that his Ferice's secret doings were easily private correspondence was being defensible on the ground of his overhauled at the Vatican, he was patriotism. Cardinal Antonelli not a man to hesitate about at- had precisely defined the situation tempting his escape; and he would in his talk with Anastase Gouache certainly not be an easy man to by saying that the temporal power catch, if he could once succeed in was driven to bay. To all appearputting a few miles of Campagna ances Europe was at peace, but as between himself and Rome. There a matter of fact the peace was but was no knowing what disguise he an armed neutrality. An amount of might not find in which tu slip interest was concentrated upon the past the frontier; and indeed, as situation of the Papal States which he afterwards proved, he was well has rarely been excited by events prepared for such an emergency. of much greater apparent import
The Cardinal did not hesitate. ance than the occupation of a small He had just received the fourth principality by foreign troops. All letter, and if he waited any longer Europe was arming. In a few Del Ferice would take alarm, and months Austria was to sustain one slip through his fingers. He wrote of the most sudden and overwhelmwith his own hand a note to the ing defeats recorded in military chief of police, ordering the imme- history. In a few years the greatdiate arrest of Ugo dei Conti del est military power in the world Ferice, with instructions that he was to be overtaken by an even should be taken in his own house, more appalling disaster. And without any publicity, and con- these events, then close at hand,
were to deal the death - blow to ble to say what evil might have papal independence. The Papacy ensued to the city and its inhabwas driven to bay, and those to itents-evils vastly more to be whom the last defence was confided feared than the entrance of an were certainly justified in employ- orderly Italian army through the ing every means in their power for Porta Pia. For the recollections strengthening their position. That of Count Rossi's murder, and of Rome herself was riddled with the short and lawless Republic of rotten conspiracies, and turned 1848, were fresh in the minds of into a hunting-ground for political the people; and before they had spies, while the support she re- faded there were dangerous rumours ceived from Louis Napoleon grew of a rising even less truly repubdaily more precarious, proves only lican in theory, and far more fatal how hard was the task of that in the practical social anarchy man, who, against such odds, which must have resulted from its maintained so gallant a fight. It success. Guiseppe Mazzini had is no wonder that he hunted down survived his arch-enemy the great spies, and signed orders forcing Cavour, and his influence was insuspicious characters to leave the calculable. city at a day's notice; for the city But my business is not to write was practically in a state of siege, the history of those uncertain and any relaxation of the iron dis- days, though no one who considers cipline by which the great Cardinal the social life of Rome, either governed would at any moment in then or now, can afford to overthose twenty years have proved look the influence of political disastrous. He was hated and events upon the everyday doings feared ; more than once he was in of men and women. We must imminent danger of his life, but follow the private carriage containhe did his duty in his post. Had ing the two respectable citizens on his authority fallen, it is impossi- its way to Del Ferice's house.
Now it chanced that Del Ferice foglietta of his favourite white was not at home at the hour when wine. He was installed upon the the carriage containing the detec- wooden bench against the wall, be. tives drew up at his door. Indeed hind the narrow table on which he was rarely to be found at that was spread a dirty napkin with time, for when he was not engaged the remains of his unctuous meal. elsewhere, he dined with Donna The light from the solitary oil-lamp Tullia and her old Countess, accom- that hung from the black ceiling panying them afterwards to any was not brilliant, and he could see of the quiet Lenten receptions to well enough through the panes of which they desired to go. Temisto- the glass door, that the carriage cle was also out, for it was his hour which had just stopped on the for supper, a meal which he gener- opposite side of the street was not · ally ate in a small osteria opposite a cab. Suspecting that some one his master's lodging. There he sat had called at that unusual hour in now, finishing his dish of beans and search of his master, he rose from oil, and debating whether he should his seat and went out. indulge himself in another mezza He stood looking at the carriage. It did not please him. It had that Indeed, in a certain way he was peculiar look which used to mark faithful to Del Ferice, and adthe equipages of the Vatican, and mired him as a soldier admires his which to this day distinguishes general. The resolution he now them from all others in the eyes formed did honour to his loyalty of a born Roman. The vehicle to Ugo and to his thievish inwas of rather antiquated shape, stincts. He determined to save the horses were black, the coach- his master if he could, and to rob man wore a plain black coat, with him at his leisure afterwards. If a somewhat old-fashioned hat; Del Ferice failed to escape, he withal, the turnout was respect would probably reward Temistocle able enough, and well kept. But for having done his best to help it did not please Temistocle. him; if, on the other hand, he got Drawing his hat over his eyes, away, Temistocle had the key of he passed behind it, and having his lodgings, and would help himascertained that the occupants, if self. But there was one difficulty there had been any, had already in the way. Del Ferice was in entered the house, he himself went evening dress at the house of in. The narrow staircase was Donna Tullia. In such a costume dimly lighted by small oil-lamps. he would have no chance of passing Temistocle ascended the steps on the gates, which in those days tiptoe, for he could already hear were closed and guarded all night. the men ringing the bell, and talk- Del Ferice was a cautious man, ing together in a low voice. The and like many another in those Neapolitan crept nearer. Again days, kept in his rooms a couple and again the bell was rung, and of disguises which might serve if the men began to grow impatient. he was hard pressed. His ready
“ He has escaped," said. one money he always carried with him, angrily.
because he frequently went into Perhaps; or he has gone out the club before coming home, and to dinner-much more likely.” played a game of écarté, in which
“We had better go away and he was usually lucky. The quescome later,” suggested the first. tion was how to enter the lodgings,
"He is sure to come home. We to get possession of the necessary had better wait. The orders are clothes, and to go out again, withto take him in his lodgings." out exciting the suspicions of the
“We might go into the osteria detectives. opposite and drink a foglietta." Temistocle's mind was soon made “No," said
the other, who up. He crept softly down the seemed to be the one in authority; stairs, so as not to appear to have “we must wait here, if we wait been too near, and then, making till midnight. Those are the as much noise as he could, ascendorders.”
ed boldly, drawing the key of the The second detective grumbled lodging from his pocket as he reachsomething not clearly audible, and ed the landing where the two men silence ensued. But Temistocle stood under the little oil-lamp. had heard quite enough. He Buona sera, signori,” he said, was a quick-witted fellow, as has politely, thrusting the key into been seen—much more anxious the lock without hesitation. • Did for his own interests than for his you wish to see the Conte del master's, though he had hitherto Ferice?" found it easy to consult both. “Yes," answered the elder man,