Obrazy na stronie

horrible quarter of an hour, be- Corona herself seemed staangely tween his desire to see Del Ferice agitated. punished and the promise he had “Yes," answered Gouache, with given his wife to save him. He his gentle smile; “the mountain felt so little sure of himself that air is still cold.” he never once looked back, lest he So the three rode silently back should be tempted to send a second to the castle, and at the gate man to stop the fugitive and de- Gouache dismounted and left liver him up to justice. He ground them, politely declining a rather his teeth together, and his heart cold invitation to come in. Giowas full of bitter curses as he rode vanni and Corona went silently up up the hill, hardly daring to reflect the staircase together, and on into upon what he had done. That, in a small apartment which in that the eyes of the law, he had wit- cold season they had set apart as tingly helped a traitor to escape a sitting-room. When they were troubled his conscience little. His alone Corona laid her hands upon instinct bade him destroy Del Ferice Giovanni's shoulders and gazed by giving him up, and he would long into his angry eyes. Then have saved himself a vast deal she threw her arms round his neck of trouble if he had followed his and drew him to her. impulse. But the impulse really “My beloved," she cried, proudarose from a deep-rooted desire for ly, “you are all I thought-and revenge, which, having resisted, he more too." regretted bitterly—very much as Do not say that," answered Shakespeare's murderer complained Giovanni. "I would not have to his companion that the devil lifted a finger to save that hound, was at his elbow bidding him not but for you. murder the duke. Giovanni spared “Ah, but you did it, dear, all his enemy solely to please his wife, the same," she said, and kissed and half-a-dozen words from her him. had produced a result which no On the following evening, withconsideration of mercy or pity out any warning, old Sarracinesca could have brought about.

arrived, and was warmly greeted. Corona and Gouache had halted After dinner Giovanni told him at the top of the road to wait for the story of Del Ferice's escape. him. By an imperceptible nod Thereupon the old gentleman flew Giovanni' informed his wife that into a towering rage, swearing and Del Ferice was safe.

cursing in a most characteristic “I am sorry to have cut short manner, but finally declaring that our ride,” he said, coldly. “My to arrest spies was the work of wife found it chilly in the valley." spies, and that Giovanni had be

Anastase looked curiously at haved like a gentleman, as of Giovanni's pale face, and wonder- course he could not help doing, ed whether anything was wrong. seeing that he was his own son.

And so the curtain falls upon the first act. Giovanni and Corona are happily married. Del Ferice is safe across the frontier among his friends in Naples, and Donna Tullia is waiting still for news of him, in the last days of Lent, in the year 1866. To carry on the tale from this point would be to enter upon a new series of events more interesting, perhaps than those herein detailed, and of like importance in the history of the Sarracinesca family, but forming by their very nature a distinct narrative—a second act to the drama, if it may be so called. I am content if in the foregoing pages I have so far acquainted the reader with those characters which hereafter will play more important parts, as to enable him to comprehend the story of their subsequent lives, and in some measure to judge of their future by their past, regarding them as acquaintances, if not sympathetic, yet worthy of some attention.

Especially I ask for indulgence in matters political. I am not writing the history of political events, but the history of a Roman family during times of great uncertainty and agitation. If any one says that I have set up Del Ferice as a type of the Italian Liberal party, carefully constructing a villain in order to batter him to pieces with the artillery of poetic justice, I answer that I have done nothing of the kind. Del Ferice is indeed a type, but a type of a depraved class which very unjustly represented the Liberal party in Rome before 1870, and which, among those who witnessed its proceedings, drew upon the great political body which demanded the unity of Italy an opprobrium that body was very far from deserving. The honest and upright Liberals were waiting in 1866. What they did, they did from their own country, and they did it boldly. To no man of intelligence need I say that Del Ferice had no more affinity with Massimo D'Azeglio, with the great Cavour, with Cavour's great enemy Giuseppe Mazzini, or with Garibaldi, than the jackal has with the lion. Del Ferice represented the scum which remained after the revolution of 1848 had subsided. He was one of those men who were used and despised by their betters, and in using whom Cavour himself was provoked into writing “Se noi facessimo per noi quel che faciamo per l'Italia, saremmo gran bricconi”_if we did for ourselves what we do for Italy, we should be great blackguards. And that there were honourable and just men outside of Rome will sufficiently appear in the sequel to this veracious tale.


The belief that the fiscal policy, rent in the fact that during the last begun in 1846 and carried to com- fifty years 800 millions have been pletion in 1874, of admitting free invested in constructing railways of duty such imports as come into in this country alone. competition with British products, 2. The enormous increase in the and heavily taxing those which do use of machinery, in the producnot, has hitherto enabled us to tion of which we were unrivalled. maintain our commercial supre- 3. The great increase in the macy, has been received, even number and size of steamers, which among the educated classes of this are estimated to have five times country, as an article of unques- the carrying power of sailingtioned faith; for which they have vessels. no better reason to give than that, 4. The discovery of gold in because prosperity followed the California and Australia, which, adoption of that system, that sys- between 1850 and 1880, added tem must have caused it. A care- 528 millions sterling to the wealth ful study, however, of “the sta- of the world, and was the main tistical abstracts of the Board cause of the advance in prices. of Trade from 1840 downwards, With such powerful agencies at shows that, so far from the repeal work to stimulate trade in Europe of the Corn Laws being entitled to and America, it was inevitable rank with the great factors which that we, the great producers of the after 1850 led to such a vast ex- world, should mainly benefit. The pansion, not only in the commerce surprise is, not that our import of the United Kingdom, but in and export trade increased so that of Europe and the United much, but that, situated as we States, it had no influence on it were, it did not, proportionally whatever, nor in causing the ad- with other nations, increase much vance in wages and value of land more. Though Europe, between so absurdly ascribed to it. Before 1850 and 1870, was constantly disproceeding to show what that re- turbed by wars and revolutions, peal really amounted to, let us see and America during 1862 to 1864 what these great factors were. in the throes of her great civil

The rapid development of war, by which we greatly profitedthe railway system, in which we for at the end of each great struggle were, save America, greatly ahead there arose a large demand for of other nations. In 1850 there British products—we find

find that were 6621 miles open in the United while our imports and exports only Kingdom, against, in 1883, 18,668 increased 183 per cent, France, miles; while Continental nations Germany, Russia, Austria, Spain, and the United States, starting and Portugal increased theirs on with but 17,336 miles in 1850, the average 161 per cent, and the had, in 1883, 216,708 miles. The United States 170 per cent. Havmagnitude of the change is appa- ing tried to realise the vast changes

1 Between 1870 and 1884 these nations, excluding Russia and including America, increased 60 per cent on the average ; while we, between 1870 and 1886, increased less than 3 per cent—the value of our imports and exports in 1870 having been 547 millions, against 561 millions in 1886.


535. 3d. 545. 7d. 5 Is. od. 51s, od,

in carrying on trade brought about had no effect on market value, for by the railway taking the place of though it ruled low in 1851 and the stage-coach, and the steamer of 1852, that could not, as we imthe sailing-vessel, in enormously ported 7000 quarters of wheat less quickening and cheapening the in those years than we did in 1849 means of transport, let us see and 1850, have been caused by supwhat the repeal of the Corn Laws plies from abroad. The market really amounted to.

prices of wheat, as given in “the During the eight years which abstracts," and the contract prices preceded the abolition in 1849, the of the 4-lb. loaf, supplied to the total duties levied on corn, meal, Seamen's Hospital at Greenwich, and four only averaged £707,651 averaged as follows :per annum. From 1850 to 1869,

4-lb. loaf. the registration fee of one shilling, 1841-50,

6340. charged on each quarter imported, 1851-60,

7d. 1861-70,

638d. yielded on the average an annual


6d. revenue of £623,000. In 1869, in order, as the chancellor of the Ex- The prices of the loaf here quoted chequer remarked, “to do away being by contract for large quanwith the last rag of protection," tities, private

tities, private consumers would this fee was repealed. Had it doubtless have to pay more.

We been retained, we should, on the shall assume, therefore, that from 230 millions of quarters imported 1841-50, when the baker was conbetween 1870 and 1885, have saved tent with less exorbitant profits, 11/2 millions sterling of revenue, or the retail price of the loaf averover £700,000 a year. We say aged 7%d. To-day it is 6d. If saved, for as we shall later on show, we allow two 4-lb. loaves a-week as these millions wholly went to swell the consumption of a working man, the profits of the foreign importer. we get 13s. 3d. he per annum pays Between 1840 and 1849, we im- less now for his bread than he did ported of corn, meal, and flour, in from 1841-50. But what is he payall 41 millions of quarters, from ing for his meat ? If we refer to which we derived a gross revenue the · Farmer's Gazette,' we find the of £6,817,848, about 3s. 4d. per Dublin prices of farm produce in quarter. The repeal seems to have 1850 and 1855 were


1885 Two-year-old cattle,

£4 0


First-class milch cows,

6 0
Fat pigs per cwt.,

I 15

Fat sheep per cwt.,

3 5
Oats per cwt.,
Butter per cwt.,

Eggs per long hundred, It is difficult to get at the prices take it he did not pay more than now paid for meat by a working 4d. per pound in 1850, the differman, but from all we can learn, we ence shows he pays to-day 46s. more believe it is on the average not for his meat, and 135. 3d. less for under 7d. per pound. If we allow his bread, or net 325. 9d., that he him half a pound per day, this comes annually now pays more on these to £5, 8s. in the year ; while if we two items, without taking into

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

I 12

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


2 o


[ocr errors]


account the higher rates he pays in the first report of the Royal for butter and eggs.

Commission on the Depression of The import of manufactured Trade, page 130, has been, in milgoods into this country, as given lions, as follows:1855-59. 1860-64. 1865-69. 1870-74 1875-79.

27. 37.




If this rapid rate of increase value of 404 millions sterling. In continue, a further serious fall in 1886 there were only 2,286,000 wages—which has in the last five acres under wheat, yielding a crop, years, if we include the working at 305. a quarter, worth only 12 men lately thrown out of enploy- millionsa deficit of over 28 milment, been on the average not less lions sterling ! The political than 45 a-week-appears inevi- pharisees of the Cobden school, table. As there are 672 millions who pose as the friend of the of artisans in the United Kingdom, farmer, tell him all this is the the fall which has already occurred result of iniquitous land laws. thus represents an annual loss of Give him the land for nothing, spending power of no less than what better would he be? The £67,600,000. The decline in wages cost of growing an acre in wheat, having in a great measure been exclusive of rent and interest on caused by the influx of agricultural farmers' capital, obtained by Mr. labourers into large manufacturing Poynter from 140 returns and 20 districts in search of employment, counties, was found to average the working man is finding that, £6, 145. an acre; or, allowing 372 so far from the repeal in these qnarters to the acre, 38s. 3d. per days proving a boon, it is to him quarter. Mr Harris, in his eviand the nation the most ruinous dence before the Royal Commission measure ever passed by a British on the Depression of Trade, estiLegislature. On agriculture its mated the burdens on agricultueffect has been vastly more disas- ral land at 12s. an acre; and in trous. In 1856 there were in the America, where no fertilisers are United Kingdom 4,213,651 acres required, and the produce of 5 under wheat-cultivation, yielding, acres of wheat can be brought at 3 quarters to the acre 14, 747,778 from Chicago to Liverpool at less quarters, which, calculated at 545. than the cost of manuring an acre 7d.the average market price be- of wheat in England the burdens tween 1851-60-gave a crop of the amount to only 6d. an acre. Un

1 “What a significant fact that in 1886 our imported wheat and flour amounted to 28,128, 609 cwts., and that in 1885 they were 77,331,707 ; that the value of those imports was £16,780,001 in the former year, and £ 33,736,358 in the latter! How far afield it is necessary to go to support the artificial fabric of society erected in these islands !"_The Times, Nov. 20, 1886.

Why should this country be dependent on a foreign country for its food-supplies? In 1856, we produced in the United Kingdom close on 15 million quarters of wheat, and there is no reason, were the cultivation once more to become fairly remunerative, why we should not do so again. In 1885, we received nearly 5 million quarters from India, Australia, and Canada, one-half of which came from India—a country which, when its railway system is completed, will be able to supply us with any amount. There should therefore be no difficulty in our obtaining, in a few years, from our empire the 24 million of quarters of wheat required for the consumption of the United Kingdom.

« PoprzedniaDalej »