« السابقةمتابعة »
and the moon threw her faint light. To her inhabitants, in such a state of across their path, they wandered in the mind, Providence seemed to have intergarden, which sloped beautifully down posed in directing Charles's march to the banks of the river. There day across the Alps. Scarcely, therefore, break often found them, and that hour had he quitted Lucca on his way to this -the loveliest hour of all --when the city, when its inhabitants gathered sun rises from behind the Appenines, around him, pouring forth the most tulike a new-born spirit starting from the multuous expressions of their joy, and mountain tops, and his freshened beams hailing him as the saviour of their counrest on the glittering rocks of Carrara try. The wavering and deceitful policy and the white marble buildings of Pisa, of this monarch, whose good deeds selor soat on the green waves of the far dom went farther than the promise, rolling Tuscan sea—that hour was the was not wanting on the present occaleast beloved by them, for it told of sion. He met the ardent solicitations parting
of the Pisans, and gave them the assuMatters were in this situation when rance of his protection. This favourathe report of the invasion of Charles ble reply raised them from the lowest the Eight of France, who had already despondency into the wildest exultation. entered the Italian frontier, spread con- Regarding it as their emancipation from sternation far and wide throughout the slavery, they broke forth into the utmost whole land. Some beheld in this wild excesses ; every badge which distinand ambitious scheme, the foreboding guished the Florentines throughout the clouds of that ruin and desolation which, city was demolished : and it might well a month or two afterwards, it spread be said, that the matin bell of liberty over the fairest cities in Italy. Others, to the one state pealed a death note on who with reason or from imagination the ear of the other. looked upon their wretchedness as al Jacopo was within the sphere of this ready beyond the possibility of being persecution , but on account of his age, increased, turned to the Gallic invader and the influence he possessed with as to a saving angel, and flocked to do
many of the nobles, he was allowed two him homage.
days to deliberate whether he should The gradual and ambitious encroach- / leave the city unmolested, or brave the ments made upon the territories of Pisa fury of the populace, by remaining by the Florentines, bad, previously to within its walls. Lanfranchi had ali Charles's invasion, kindled into a flame along continued his suit to Maddalena, those sparks of emnity which had so with as little success as he had at first long lain smothered in the bosoms of commenced it; though his addresses the two states. Pisa had now taken the had assumed a more determined tone, alarm, but as yet ventured upon no act and he demanded her union with him, of open hostility. She lay like a tigress more as if he were condescending on in her den, determined to avoid any his part than she granting a favour on offensive measures on her part, but re hers. solved to offer the firmest resistance to On the night after Charles had made any assault upon her liberty. She his entrance into Pisa, Lanfranchi came knew that her ill-disciplined and worse to the house of Jacopo. He was dressorganized army, formed but a feeble ed out as a reveller, and indeed from barrier against the regular condottiere his eye and gait, it was evident he had of Florence. This consciousness of her lately risen from a company of Bacchaown weakness, more, perhaps, than any nals. The old man, attended by his other consideration, served to continue, daughter, sat in an apartment the farso long, her sullen and unwilling for- thest from the street, (for not a Florenbearance.
tine dared to be seen,) whose dark
hangings and sombre tapestry gave a was the word you used. Why you mimelancholy hue to the faces of its in serable dotard - villain, forsooth-a mates, and contrasted strangely with gentleman can't make love to your the gay colours of Lanfranchi's dress. daughter, and tell her how beautiful she As the old man rose to receive him, his is, but you must call bim-villain! guest seemed to cast upon them both Hark you, old man, you have been the eye of a serpent, which already has drinking freely, and I pardon you; beits prey within its power ;-pityless, sides, there's not a Florentine now in remorseless, determined,-his look was the city that does not hate us Pisans. I like that of one, whose word carried life tell you plainly, your daughter shall be or death. Jacopo seemed almost to mine to-morrow !" tremble under his scrowl, and the heart “ Never ! never !” exclaimed Madof Maddalena almost leapt from its seat dalena. as her eye met his.
“ Hush! peace! my pretty prattler. “ Cheer up, good father," said Lan- By to-morrow's night she shall be mine, franchi in a merry tone-Nay, look not old man, or death may chance to you, so dull, man, ne'er a dog in all Pisa and worse perhaps to her.” dares to bite when I say hold; and the “ Holy virgin !" said Maddalena, boldest hand in the city shall not touch kneeling before a sinall image of the a single hair of that white head of thine, Madona, “shield his gray
hairs-save, if I say no.”
oh save my father ; let not him die for The old man remained silent. the misfortune of his daughter."
“ Rouse thee, mán, or I shall think “A pretty enough orison, and prettithee coward if thou quakest so. As fa- ly told,” said Lanfranchi, scomfully: ther of my bride, I pledge my word you « but even that will scarcely save you." shall be safe were you ten Florentines, Maddalena still knelt; her hands were aye, by the holy virgin, were you ten clasped over her face, down which bei thousand Florentines.'
tears fell heavy and fast. At this last sentence, the tears burst Lanfrancbi looked upon her more forth from Maddalena's eyes.
with the eye of wild licentious appetite “ What! weeping and groans on a than of love; more of keen-searching bridal eve ? throw them away, my pret- mockery than of pity. ty ladybird, we shall have no clouds " Pray on," he said, “aye, pray over our honeymoon :” continued Lan- | loud, and well too; it may be the last franchi in the same tone-and advanc prayer your father can partake in." ing to where Maddalena was sitting, he " Have you no pity ?” exclaimed attempted to put his arm round her Maddalena, seizing at the same time, witu neck, but she repelled him" Desist, both hands, the corner of his doublet ; sir; for though you were hateful to me Spare him-stain not your hands in your prosperity, you are doubly so in with his blood. I am your victim, slay our distress.''
but me, heaven will pardon you the Lanfranchi burst into a scornful laugh murder.” -“How pretty the fair thing looks in “ That may be all in good time, a passion; by my faith she might enact thou prattler,” Lanfranchi replied, in tragedy."
a deep calm tone of voice; and tearing Jacopo's blood was fired within him, his doublet from her hands, he left the at this last insult.
house. “ Villain !" cried the old man, When he was gone, the father and “dost thou think to trample upon us in the daughter remained silent. The old our misery ; and triumph over us in our man's thoughts of himself and his own misfortunes : Sheshall never be yours." safety were drowned in one resistless
“ Villain-ha-villain; I think that and pervading feeling of horror for the
wretch who had just left them. He conscious of its beauties, on the splenthought but of the villain that interview did night scene which lay stretched behad disclosed ; to whom, but a day be fore her. The moon shone over the fore, he would have given his daughter vine rows, the palaces, and hanging in preference to any other. Maddale tower of Pisa, resting on the calm, na's emotions were not so easily con- clear wave which almost slumbered on centred in one point. The man whom the shore close by; for the sea had not she had always before regarded with then, as it has now, like a capricious indifference; as one whom, as she could mistress, abandoned this delightful not love, she could easily cast off; now city; while the nightingale, seated on appeared to her in all the colours of a top branch of an olive tree, seemed to demon, crying aloud for her father's « tune its sad heart to music.” But blood and her destruction. But wretch these had no pleasure for Maddalena's ed and pitiable as was her present con
mind. Her mind rolled unobserving dition, she attempted to comfort her fa over the beauties of the one, and her ther, who had sunk upon his knees in ear was not attuned to the melody of a state of terrible bewilderment. The the other. She had remained in this si. old man rose as she addressed him ; tuation but a short time, when the figure he had no heart to speak. His dim eye, of a man appeared below the window on which a tear swam, like a cloud of | at which she sat. It was Borgiano. vapour hanging over a dying light, the He beckoned her to speak; but ere she last of a deserted hall, told more than could undo the casement, he had fled, his tongue could utter. “Good night, and immediately a crowd of Pisans ran Maddalena, good night, and heaven be shouting up the same path he had taken. your protector;” said Jacopo as he em When the confusion was past, and all braced his daughter. “God have mer was again silent, Maddalena, wrapping cy,” answered Maddalena, as he left herself in one of those long folding the apartment.
mantles, so common a part of the ladies When the maiden was left alone, and dress in the fifteenth and sixteenth cenher mind was distracted between the turies, glided with light and anxious the thoughts which tempested within steps along the gallery leading from her her breast; then, indeed, she felt the apartment into the street. Even in that anguish of a horror-haunted spirit.-- hour of darkness, (for it was already far When she thought of her approaching past midnight,) the ways were crowded doom, and her own miserable situation, with groups of Pisans, and resounded she fancied the cup of her grief was full. with the burst of their boisterous revelry. But when she recurred to Borgiano, and With trembling step and fearful heart, thought of their love and their misfor she hurried past the assemblages of riotunes, her spirit died within her. Then tous nobility and drunken rabble, which she reverted to the horrors threatened in every corner stopped her passage; to her by Lanfranchi, and an icy cold- and, luckily no one attempted to interness crept around her heart, like one rupt her, till she arrived in safety at the who stands on the outermost verge of a top of the avenue, from which she had tottering precipice, chained to the spot a view of Lanfranchi's palace. She without the power of escaping. And raised the hood and veil which hid her was there really no way of saving them- face, retiring at the same time beneath selves ? she thought, and at last resolv a portico at one corner of the street. ed to go to the house of a Pisan lady, While she stood here, looking down at a short distance, and consult with upon the palace below, which shone her on the likeliest means of escape.
with a thousand coloured lights, and She seated herself at the latticed from which she heard the sounds of window; her eyes rested, but all un Wassail, and the full loud notes of mu
sic, an individual in a loose riding curse the old dotard and his gold; cloak, with a mask over his face, ap- give me but—" proached her. Maddalena drew for “ What ?" said a gruff voice. ward her veil, but the stranger had al “ The sweet little jewel that decks ready recognised her.
" You are a
his casket.” Florentine, and daughter of the rich “A mere lapidary; shut his mouth!" Jacopo;" he said, in a low voice. said, or rather bellowed the same rough
“May I ask," replied Maddalena, voice, and a hoarse laugh ran through “ who the stranger is that takes an in
the whole party: terest in my fate?”-as she spoke, she “ Aye, laugh on," said the other, again walked on.
“ but this bright jewel shall be mine; “ Stay!" said the other, seizing her this lady rose-bud; this daughter of the by the arm;
Florentine." heedless to your own destruction : Fly! “ Bah ;" said he of the gruff voice, another hour in this city! the death " the girl shall be mine ; I've sworn it hounds are abroad ; and woe to every on my sword : and whoso makes me Florentine that shall then be found in break my oath, must break its blade Pisa. These are not the words of a man who has any interest in you or in The sound of their voices gradually any one more than common humanity.” dying away as they passed on, their The maid knew not what to say, or conversation was no longer audible. what course to follow. She had no The stranger, in the meantime, hurried reason to distrust the stranger; yet al on with Maddalena, sometimes supthat moment she was little inclined to porting her in his arms, at other times place confidence in any one. While assisting her as she walked almost unshe remained in this uncertainty, several consciously along the path he conducted individuals, clad in bright armour, is- her. At length they reached an old sued from the palace, and entered the massy ruin, the solitary remnant of a avenue, at the top of which Maddalena former age, where were already assemand the stranger stood.
bled a crowd of Florentines. Amongst “ Haste with me, maiden," he said them there were several females, many anxiously, " or all is lost.”
with their clothes loosely thrown about She remained mute and motionless; them, same bearing in their arms half she had not the power to move.
This naked children, and all of them in tears. last adventure had completely worn out
When Maddalena and her conductor her already exhausted spirits. In the arrived, they were just upon the point mean time the stranger raised her up of setting forth upon their journey. She in his arms, and hastened with her down was mounted on a quiet pony, along a narrow passage, leading from that side of which the stranger rode; leadpart of the city to its suburbs. They ing it by the reins, and at the same had scarcely entered it, when the voices time assisting the maiden to retain ber of those they had already seen, were
seat. With several other ladies, appaheard distinctly as they passed along rently of distinction, she was placed in the avenue.
the troop of armed horsemen; all the “ Now for the old Florentine Jaco time unconscious of where she was, po !” said one.
or of the part she was acting. Thus “ Take him," said another, “flesh, prepared, the party rode on at a sharp blood, bones, and all : give me his cof- pace in the direction of Florence. fers, mygstaunch hearts, and you may They chose, for greater security, a hack, and hew, and divide his anatomy lonely and sequestered road along the amongst you."
banks of the river Arno. The rapid “ Coffers !” interrupted a third, motion with which she was hurried
forward, somewhat brought Maddalena across her path. As she passed him, to herself. “My father! where is my the dying man took firm hold of Mada father?" were the first words she uttered. dalena's foot with his hand. The others
“ Fear not, he is safe,” said the per- attempted to disengage his gripe, but it son who conducted her. There was no was clenched in a death grasp. Madtime for farther conversation on either dalena still possessed her
senses enough side, for as they turned up a road to be able to discover the mangled form which led round a little bend formed by of the expiring wretch who held her to the river, they were met by a party of the spot, and to see the dark clotted armed Pisans. “ Pisans !” ran in whis blood in which he weltered. At the pers round the whole of the one party. sight she staggered where she stood,
Arm, arm my brave hearts !” shout and uttering one of those wild hysteric ed the other. In a moment or two all screams, which any one who has once was in an uproar—the men on either heard a woman utter can never forget, side attacked, and were attacked, while she fell senseless to the ground. A the clash of their arms was mingled Pisan of the party severed the hand and with the screams of the women. arm from the body; for a while it still
The stroke of a halbert, aimed at her clung to her foot, as the others carried conductor, slightly grazed the shoulder her within the cell; where, laying her of Maddalena; and slight as the blow on a stone bench which ran along the was, it was sufficient in her enfeebled wall, they left her in a death-like stupor, state to fell her to the ground. This to live or die. encounter ended as encounters general Charles the Eighth, though fond in the ly did at that time, especially in Italy, extreme of all the
pomp and display of where more blows were given than chivalry, possessed few of the milder blood spilt, and more booty taken than and more refined shades of character, lives lost. In the present instance, as
which, in its early existence, distinguisheach Pisan struck his adversary to the ed that splendid institution. A species ground, he took from him what most of absurd vanity often drowned in him pleased his fancy, and then galloped even the common feelings, which are off
, leaving his companions to provide seldom altogether extinguished in any for themselves. Maddalena became the breast, imparting to some parts of his prize of one of these, not, however, be character a dismal hue of tyranny and fore her conductor, who persisted in oppression, while it stamped others with defending her, was fell to the earth by an appearance of weakness and imbea mortal wound. In falling, the mask cility. In spite of all this, he was not dropped from his face, and revealed to devoid, when freed from this his worst Maddalena the features of a faithful do- and greatest failing, of the seeds of a mestic, who had lived in her father's more elevated mind, which, had it never family several years before. She was felt the contagion of despotic royalty hurried again towards the city with and its power, might have ripened into even more rapidity than she had left it. better fruit than it ever bore in him. When again within its walls, she was
His best virtue was, perhaps, a strong led to one of the prisons, where many commiseration for the miseries of which Florentines had that night been shut up.
his ambition was the cause, and a conAs they passed along the damp gallery, sequent desire of repairing them. a dismal groan arose from the foor of A feeling of this sort came over him the passage which conducted to her when he was informed of the outrages cell. The light of a torch, which was committed on the Florentines; and next carried by one of the attendants, dis-morning, forgetting the pleasures to covered the body of a man apparently which he was naturally so prone, he in the writhings of death, stretched | rode through the streets of Pisa, attend