My Ten Years' Imprisonment
by Silvio Pellico
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The exertion I made to receive the sacrament exhausted my remaining strength; but it was of use, as I fell into a deep sleep, which continued several I hours.

On awaking I felt somewhat refreshed, and observing Schiller and Kral near me, I took them by the hand, and thanked them for their care. Schiller fixed his eyes on me.

"I am accustomed," he said, "to see persons at the last, and I would lay a wager that you will not die."

"Are you not giving me a bad prognostic?" said I.

"No;" he replied, "the miseries of life are great it is true; but he who supports them with dignity and with humility must always gain something by living." He then added, "If you live, I hope you will some day meet with consolation you had not expected. You were petitioning to see your friend Signor Maroncelli."

"So many times, that I no longer hope for it."

"Hope, hope, sir; and repeat your request."

I did so that very day. The superintendent also gave me hopes; and added, that probably I should not only be permitted to see him, but that he would attend on me, and most likely become my undivided companion.

It appeared, that as all the state prisoners had fallen ill, the governor had requested permission from Vienna to have them placed two and two, in order that one might assist the other in case of extreme need.

I had also solicited the favour of writing to my family for the last time.

Towards the end of the second week, my attack reached its crisis, and the danger was over. I had begun to sit up, when one morning my door opened, and the superintendent, Schiller, and the doctor, all apparently rejoicing, came into my apartment. The first ran towards me, exclaiming,

"We have got permission for Maroncelli to bear you company; and you may write to your parents."

Joy deprived me both of breath and speech, and the superintendent, who in his kindness had not been quite prudent, believed that he had killed me. On recovering my senses, and recollecting the good news, I entreated not to have it delayed. The physician consented, and my friend Maroncelli was conducted to my bedside. Oh! what a moment was that.

"Are you alive?" each of us exclaimed.

"Oh, my friend, my brother—what a happy day have we lived to see! God's name be ever blessed for it." But our joy was mingled with as deep compassion. Maroncelli was less surprised upon seeing me, reduced as I was, for he knew that I had been very ill, but though aware how HE must have suffered, I could not have imagined he would be so extremely changed. He was hardly to be recognised; his once noble and handsome features were wholly consumed, as it were, by grief, by continual hunger, and by the bad air of his dark, subterranean dungeon.

Nevertheless, to see, to hear, and to be near each other was a great comfort. How much had we to communicate—to recollect—and to talk over! What delight in our mutual compassion, what sympathy in all our ideas! Then we were equally agreed upon subjects of religion; to hate only ignorance and barbarism, but not man, not individuals, and on the other hand to commiserate the ignorant and the barbarous, and to pray for their improvement.


I was now presented with a sheet of paper and ink, in order that I might write to my parents.

As in point of strictness the permission was only given to a dying man, desirous of bidding a last adieu to his family, I was apprehensive that the letter being now of different tenour, it would no longer be sent upon its destination. I confined myself to the simple duty of beseeching my parents, my brothers, and my sisters, to resign themselves without a murmur to bear the lot appointed me, even as I myself was resigned to the will of God.

This letter was, nevertheless, forwarded, as I subsequently learnt. It was, in fact, the only one which, during so long protracted a captivity, was received by my family; the rest were all detained at Vienna. My companions in misfortune were equally cut off from all communication with their friends and families.

We repeatedly solicited that we might be allowed the use of pen and paper for purposes of study, and that we might purchase books with our own money. Neither of these petitions was granted.

The governor, meanwhile, permitted us to read our own books among each other. We were indebted also to his goodness for an improvement in our diet; but it did not continue. He had consented that we should be supplied from the kitchen of the superintendent instead of that of the contractor; and some fund had been put apart for that purpose. The order, however, was not confirmed; but in the brief interval it was in force my health had greatly improved. It was the same with Maroncelli; but for the unhappy Oroboni it came too late. He had received for his companion the advocate Solera, and afterwards the priest, Dr. Fortini.

We were no sooner distributed through the different prisons than the prohibition to appear or to converse at our windows was renewed, with threats that, if detected, the offenders would be consigned to utter solitude. We often, it is true, broke through this prison- law, and saluted each other from our windows, but no longer engaged in long conversations as we had before done.

In point of disposition, Maroncelli and I were admirably suited to each other. The courage of the one sustained the other; if one became violent the other soothed him; if buried in grief or gloom, he sought to rouse him; and one friendly smile was often enough to mitigate the severity of our sufferings, and reconcile each other to life.

So long as we had books, we found them a delightful relief, not only by reading, but by committing them to memory. We also examined, compared, criticised, and collated, &c. We read and we reflected great part of the day in silence, and reserved the feast of conversation for the hours of dinner, for our walks, and the evenings.

While in his subterranean abode, Maroncelli had composed a variety of poems of high merit. He recited them and produced others. Many of these I committed to memory. It is astonishing with what facility I was enabled, by this exercise, to repeat very extensive compositions, to give them additional polish, and bring them to the highest possible perfection of which they were susceptible, even had I written them down with the utmost care. Maroncelli did the same, and, by degrees, retained by heart many thousand lyric verses, and epics of different kinds. It was thus, too, I composed the tragedy of Leoniero da Dertona, and various other works.


Count Oroboni, after lingering through a wretched winter and the ensuing spring, found himself much worse during the summer. He was seized with a spitting of blood, and a dropsy ensued. Imagine our affliction on learning that he was dying so near us, without a possibility of our rendering him the last sad offices, separated only as we were by a dungeon-wall.

Schiller brought us tidings of him. The unfortunate young Count, he said, was in the greatest agonies, yet he retained his admirable firmness of mind. He received the spiritual consolations of the chaplain, who was fortunately acquainted with the French language. He died on the 13th of June, 1823. A few hours before he expired, he spoke of his aged father, eighty years of age, was much affected, and shed tears. Then resuming his serenity, he said, "But why thus lament the destiny of the most fortunate of all those so dear to me; for HE is on the eve of rejoining me in the realms of eternal peace?" The last words he uttered, were, "I forgive all my enemies; I do it from my heart!" His eyes were closed by his friend, Dr. Fortini, a most religious and amiable man, who had been intimate with him from his childhood. Poor Oroboni! how bitterly we felt his death when the first sad tidings reached us! Ah! we heard the voices and the steps of those who came to remove his body! We watched from our window the hearse, which, slow and solemnly, bore him to that cemetery within our view. It was drawn thither by two of the common convicts, and followed by four of the guards. We kept our eyes fixed upon the sorrowful spectacle, without speaking a word, till it entered the churchyard. It passed through, and stopped at last in a corner, near a new-made grave. The ceremony was brief; almost immediately the hearse, the convicts, and the guards were observed to return. One of the last was Kubitzky. He said to me, "I have marked the exact spot where he is buried, in order that some relation or friend may be enabled some day to remove his poor bones, and lay them in his own country. It was a noble thought, and surprised me in a man so wholly uneducated; but I could not speak. How often had the unhappy Count gazed from his window upon that dreary looking cemetery, as he observed, "I must try to get accustomed to the idea of being carried thither; yet I confess that such an idea makes me shiver. It is strange, but I cannot help thinking that we shall not rest so well in these foreign parts as in our own beloved land." He would then laugh, and exclaim, "What childishness is this! when a garment as worn out, and done with, does it signify where we throw it aside?" At other times, he would say, "I am continually preparing for death, but I should die more willingly upon one condition—just to enter my father's house once more, embrace his knees, hear his voice blessing me, and die!" He then sighed and added, "But if this cup, my God, cannot pass from me, may thy will be done." Upon the morning of his death he also said, as he pressed a crucifix, which Kral brought him, to his lips; "Thou, Lord, who wert Divine, hadst also a horror of death, and didst say, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, LET THIS CUP PASS FREE ME, oh, pardon if I too say it; but I will repeat also with Thee, Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou willest it!"


After the death of Oroboni, I was again taken ill. I expected very soon to rejoin him, and I ardently desired it. Still, I could not have parted with Maroncelli without regret. Often, while seated on his straw-bed, he read or recited poetry to withdraw my mind, as well as his own, from reflecting upon our misfortunes, I gazed on him, and thought with pain, When I am gone, when you see them bearing me hence, when you gaze at the cemetery, you will look more sorrowful than now. I would then offer a secret prayer that another companion might be given him, as capable of appreciating all his worth.

I shall not mention how many different attacks I suffered, and with how much difficulty I recovered from them. The assistance I received from my friend Maroncelli, was like that of an attached brother. When it became too great an effort for me to speak, he was silent; he saw the exact moment when his conversation would soothe or enliven me, he dwelt upon subjects most congenial to my feelings, and he continued or varied them as he judged most agreeable to me. Never did I meet with a nobler spirit; he had few equals, none, whom I knew, superior to him. Strictly just, tolerant, truly religious, with a remarkable confidence in human virtue, he added to these qualities an admirable taste for the beautiful, whether in art or nature, and a fertile imagination teeming with poetry; in short, all those engaging dispositions of mind and heart best calculated to endear him to me.

Still, I could not help grieving over the fate of Oroboni while, at the same time, I indulged the soothing reflection that he was freed from all his sufferings, that they were rewarded with a better world, and that in the midst of the enjoyments he had won, he must have that of beholding me with a friend no less attached to me than he had been himself. I felt a secret assurance that he was no longer in a place of expiation, though I ceased not to pray for him. I often saw him in my dreams, and he seemed to pray for me; I tried to think that they were not mere dreams; that they were manifestations of his blessed spirit, permitted by God for my consolation. I should not be believed were I to describe the excessive vividness of such dreams, if such they were, and the delicious serenity which they left in my mind for many days after. These, and the religious sentiments entertained by Maroncelli, with his tried friendship, greatly alleviated my afflictions. The sole idea which tormented me was the possibility of this excellent friend also being snatched from me; his health having been much broken, so as to threaten his dissolution ere my own sufferings drew to a close. Every time he was taken ill, I trembled; and when he felt better, it was a day of rejoicing for me. Strange, that there should be a fearful sort of pleasure, anxious yet intense, in these alternations of hope and dread, regarding the existence of the only object left you on earth. Our lot was one of the most painful; yet to esteem, to love each other as we did, was to us a little paradise, the one green spot in the desert of our lives; it was all we had left, and we bowed our heads in thankfulness to the Giver of all good, while awaiting the hour of his summons.


It was now my favourite wish that the chaplain who had attended me in my first illness, might be allowed to visit us as our confessor. But instead of complying with our request, the governor sent us an Augustine friar, called Father Battista, who was to confess us until an order came from Vienna, either to confirm the choice, or to nominate another in his place.

I was afraid we might suffer by the change, but was deceived. Father Battista was an excellent man, highly educated, of polished manners, and capable of reasoning admirably, even profoundly, upon the duties of man. We entreated him to visit us frequently; he came once a month, and oftener when in his power to do so; he always brought us some book or other with the governor's permission, and informed us from the abbot that the entire library of the convent was at our service. This was a great event for us; and we availed ourselves of the offer during several months.

After confession, he was accustomed to converse with us and gave evidence of an upright and elevated mind, capable of estimating the intrinsic dignity and sanctity of the human mind. We had the advantage of his enlightened views, of his affection, and his friendship for us during the space of a year. At first I confess that I distrusted him, and imagined that we should soon discover him putting out his feelers to induce us to make imprudent disclosures. In a prisoner of state this sort of diffidence is but too natural; but how great the satisfaction we experience when it disappears, and when we acknowledge in the interpreter of God no other zeal than that inspired by the cause of God and of humanity.

He had a most efficacious method of administering consolation. For instance, I accused myself of flying into a rage at the rigours imposed upon me by the prison discipline. He discoursed upon the virtue of suffering with resignation, and pardoning our enemies; and depicted in lively colours the miseries of life—in ranks and conditions opposite to my own. He had seen much of life, both in cities and the country, known men of all grades, and deeply reflected upon human oppression and injustice. He painted the operation of the passions, and the habits of various social classes. He described them to me throughout as the strong and the weak, the oppressors and the oppressed: and the necessity we were under, either of hating our fellow-man or loving him by a generous effort of compassion.

The examples he gave to show me the prevailing character of misfortune in the mass of human beings, and the good which was to be hence derived, had nothing singular in them; in fact they were obvious to view; but he recounted them in language so just and forcible, that I could not but admit the deductions he wished to draw from them.

The oftener he repeated his friendly reproaches, and has noble exhortations, the more was I incited to the love of virtue; I no longer felt capable of resentment—I could have laid down my life, with the permission of God, for the least of my fellow-creatures, and I yet blest His holy name for having created me—MAN!

Wretch that he is who remains ignorant of the sublime duty of confession! Still more wretched who, to shun the common herd, as he believes, feels himself called upon to regard it with scorn! Is it not a truth that even when we know what is required of us to be good, that self-knowledge is a dead letter to us? reading and reflection are insufficient to impel us to it; it is only the living speech of a man gifted with power which can here be of avail. The soul is shaken to its centre, the impressions it receives are more profound and lasting. In the brother who speaks to you, there is a life, and a living and breathing spirit—one which you can always consult, and which you will vainly seek for, either in books or in your own thoughts.


In the beginning of 1824 the superintendent who had his office at one end of our gallery, removed elsewhere, and the chambers, along with others, were converted into additional prisons. By this, alas, we were given to understand that other prisoners of state were expected from Italy.

They arrived in fact very shortly—a third special commission was at hand—and they were all in the circle of my friends or my acquaintance. What was my grief when I was told their names! Borsieri was one of my oldest friends. To Confalonieri I had been attached a less time indeed, but not the less ardently. Had it been in my power, by taking upon myself the carcere durissimo, or any other imaginable torment, how willingly would I have purchased their liberation. Not only would I have laid down my life for them,—for what is it to give one's life? I would have continued to suffer for them.

It was then I wished to obtain the consolations of Father Battista; but they would not permit him to come near me.

New orders to maintain the severest discipline were received from Vienna. The terrace on which we walked was hedged in by stockades, and in such a way that no one, even with the use of a telescope, could perceive our movements. We could no longer catch the beautiful prospect of the surrounding hills, and part of the city of Brunn which lay below. Yet this was not enough. To reach the terrace, we were obliged, as before stated, to traverse the courtyard, and a number of persons could perceive us. That we might be concealed from every human eye, we were prohibited from crossing it, and we were confined in our walk to a small passage close to our gallery, with a north aspect similar to that of our dungeons.

To us such a change was a real misfortune, and it grieved us. There were innumerable little advantages and refreshments to our worn and wasted spirits in the walk of which we were deprived. The sight of the superintendent's children; their smiles and caresses; the scene where I had taken leave of their mother; the occasional chit-chat with the old smith, who had his forge there; the joyous songs of one of the captains accompanied by his guitar; and last not least, the innocent badinage of a young Hungarian fruiteress—the corporal's wife, who flirted with my companions—were among what we had lost. She had, in fact, taken a great fancy for Maroncelli.

Previous to his becoming my companion, he had made a little of her acquaintance; but was so sincere, so dignified, and so simple in his intentions as to be quite insensible of the impression he had produced. I informed him of it, and he would not believe I was serious, though he declared that he would take care to preserve a greater distance. Unluckily the more he was reserved, the more did the lady's fancy for him seemed to increase.

It so happened that her window was scarcely above a yard higher than the level of the terrace; and in an instant she was at our side with the apparent intention of putting out some linen to dry, or to perform some other household offices; but in fact to gaze at my friend, and, if possible, enter into conversation with him.

Our poor guards, half wearied to death for want of sleep, had, meantime, eagerly caught at an opportunity of throwing themselves on the grass, just in this corner, where they were no longer under the eye of their superiors. They fell asleep; and meanwhile Maroncelli was not a little perplexed what to do, such was the resolute affection borne him by the fair Hungarian. I was no less puzzled; for an affair of the kind, which, elsewhere, might have supplied matter for some merriment, was here very serious, and might lead to some very unpleasant result. The unhappy cause of all this had one of those countenances which tell you at once their character—the habit of being virtuous, and the necessity of being esteemed. She was not beautiful, but had a remarkable expression of elegance in her whole manner and deportment; her features, though not regular, fascinated when she smiled, and with every change of sentiment.

Were it my purpose to dwell upon love affairs, I should have no little to relate respecting this virtuous but unfortunate woman—now deceased. Enough that I have alluded to one of the few adventures which marked my prison-hours.


The increasing rigour of our prison discipline rendered our lives one unvaried scene. The whole of 1824, of 1825, of 1826, of 1827, presented the same dull, dark aspect; and how we lived through years like these is wonderful. We were forbidden the use of books. The prison was one immense tomb, though without the peace and unconsciousness of death. The director of police came every month to institute the most strict and minute search, assisted by a lieutenant and guards. They made us strip to the skin, examined the seams of our garments, and ripped up the straw bundles called our beds in pursuit of—nothing. It was a secret affair, intended to take us by surprise, and had something about it which always irritated me exceedingly, and left me in a violent fever.

The preceding years had appeared to me very unhappy, yet I now remembered them with regret. The hours were fled when I could read my Bible, and Homer, from whom I had imbibed such a passionate admiration of his glorious language. Oh, how it irked me to be unable to prosecute my study of him! And there were Dante, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Byron, Walter Scott, Schiller, Goethe, &c.— how many friends, how many innocent and true delights were withheld from me. Among these I included a number of works, also, upon Christian knowledge; those of Bourdaloue, Pascal, "The Imitation of Christ," "The Filotea," &c., books usually read with narrow, illiberal views by those who exult in every little defect of taste, and at every common-place thought which impels the reader to throw them for ever aside; but which, when perused in a true spirit free from scandalous or malignant construction, discover a mine of deep philosophy, and vigorous nutriment both for the intellect and the heart. A few of certain religious books, indeed, were sent us, as a present, by the Emperor, but with an absolute prohibition to receive works of any other kind adapted for literary occupation.

This imperial gift of ascetic productions arrived in 1825 by a Dalmatian Confessor, Father Stefano Paulowich, afterwards Bishop of Cattaro, who was purposely sent from Vienna. We were indebted to him for performing mass, which had been before refused us, on the plea that they could not convey us into the church and keep us separated into two and two as the imperial law prescribed. To avoid such infraction we now went to mass in three groups; one being placed upon the tribune of the organ, another under the tribune, so as not to be visible, and the third in a small oratory, from which was a view into the church through a grating. On this occasion Maroncelli and I had for companions six convicts, who had received sentence before we came, but no two were allowed to speak to any other two in the group. Two of them, I found, had been my neighbours in the Piombi at Venice.

We were conducted by the guards to the post assigned us, and then brought back after mass in the same manner, each couple into their former dungeon. A Capuchin friar came to celebrate mass; the good man ended every rite with a "let us pray" for "liberation from chains," and "to set the prisoner free," in a voice which trembled with emotion.

On leaving the altar he cast a pitying look on each of the three groups, and bowed his head sorrowfully in secret prayer.


In 1825 Schiller was pronounced past his service from infirmity and old age; though put in guard over some other prisoners, not thought to require equal vigilance and care. It was a trying thing to part from him, and he felt it as well as we. Kral, a man not inferior to him in good disposition, was at first his successor. But he too was removed, and we had a jailer of a very harsh and distant manner, wholly devoid of emotion, though not intrinsically bad.

I felt grieved; Schiller, Kral, and Kubitzky, but in particular the two former, had attended us in our extreme sufferings with the affection of a father or a brother. Though incapable of violating their trust, they knew how to do their duty without harshness of any kind. If there were something hard in the forms, they took the sting out of them as much as possible by various ingenious traits and turns of a benevolent mind. I was sometimes angry at them, but they took all I said in good part. They wished us to feel that they had become attached to us; and they rejoiced when we expressed as much, and approved of anything they did.

From the time Schiller left us, he was frequently ill; and we inquired after him with a sort of filial anxiety. When he sufficiently recovered, he was in the habit of coming to walk under our windows; we hailed him, and he would look up with a melancholy smile, at the same time addressing the sentinels in a voice we could overhear: "Da sind meine Sohne! there are my sons."

Poor old man! how sorry I was to see him almost staggering along, with the weight of increasing infirmities, so near us, and without being enabled to offer him even my arm.

Sometimes he would sit down upon the grass, and read. They were the same books he had often lent me. To please me, he would repeat the titles to the sentinels, or recite some extract from them, and then look up at me, and nod. After several attacks of apoplexy, he was conveyed to the military hospital, where in a brief period he died. He left some hundreds of florins, the fruit of long savings. These he had already lent, indeed, to such of his old military comrades as most required them; and when he found his end approaching, he called them all to his bedside, and said: "I have no relations left; I wish each of you to keep what I have lent you, for my sake. I only ask that you will pray for me."

One of these friends had a daughter of about eighteen, and who was Schiller's god-daughter. A few hours before his death, the good old man sent for her. He could not speak distinctly, but he took a silver ring from his finger, and placed it upon hers. He then kissed her, and shed tears over her. The poor girl sobbed as if her heart would break, for she was tenderly attached to him. He took a handkerchief, and, as if trying to soothe her, he dried her eyes. Lastly, he took hold of her hands, and placed them upon his eyes; and those eyes were closed for ever.


All human consolations were one by one fast deserting us, and our sufferings still increased. I resigned myself to the will of God, but my spirit groaned. It seemed as if my mind, instead of becoming inured to evil, grew more keenly susceptible of pain. One day there was secretly brought to me a page of the Augsburgh Gazette, in which I found the strangest assertions respecting myself on occasion of mention being made of one of my sisters retiring into a nunnery. It stated as follows:- "The Signora Maria Angiola Pellico, daughter, &c., took the veil (on such a day) in the monastery of the Visitazione at Turin, &c. This lady is sister to the author of Francesca da Rimini, Silvio Pellico, who was recently liberated from the fortress of Spielberg, being pardoned by his Majesty, the emperor—a trait of clemency worthy of so magnanimous a sovereign, and a subject of gratulation to the whole of Italy, inasmuch as," &c., &c.

And here followed some eulogiums which I omit. I could not conceive for what reason the hoax relating to the gracious pardon had been invented. It seemed hardly probable it could be a mere freak of the editor's; and was it then intended as some stroke of oblique German policy? Who knows! However this may be, the names of Maria Angiola were precisely those of my younger sister, and doubtless they must have been copied from the Turin Gazette into other papers. Had that excellent girl, then, really become a nun? Had she taken this step in consequence of the loss of her parents? Poor Maria! she would not permit me alone to suffer the deprivations of a prison; she too would seclude herself from the world. May God grant her patience and self-denial, far beyond what I have evinced; for often I know will that angel, in her solitary cell, turn her thoughts and her prayers towards me. Alas, it may be, she will impose on herself some rigid penance, in the hope that God may alleviate the sufferings of her brother! These reflections agitated me greatly, and my heart bled. Most likely my own misfortunes had helped to shorten the days both of my father and my mother; for, were they living, it would be hardly possible that my Marietta would have deserted our parental roof. At length the idea oppressed me with the weight of absolute certainty, and I fell into a wretched and agonised state of mind. Maroncelli was no less affected than myself. The next day he composed a beautiful elegy upon "the sister of the prisoner." When he had completed it, he read it to me. How grateful was I for such a proof of his affection for me! Among the infinite number of poems which had been written upon similar subjects, not one, probably, had been composed in prison, for the brother of the nun, and by his companion in captivity and chains. What a field for pathetic and religious ideas was here, and Maroncelli filled his lyre with wild and pathetic tones, which drew delicious tears from my eyes.

It was thus friendship sweetened all my woes. Seldom from that day did I forget to turn my thoughts long and fondly to some sacred asylum of virgin hearts, and that one beloved form did not rise before my fancy, dressed in all that human piety and love can picture in a brother's heart. Often did I beseech Heaven to throw a charm round her religious solitude, and not permit that her imagination should paint in too horrible colours the sufferings of the sick and weary captive.


The reader must not suppose from the circumstance of my seeing the Gazette, that I was in the habit of hearing news, or could obtain any. No! though all the agents employed around me were kind, the system was such as to inspire the utmost terror. If there occurred the least clandestine proceeding, it was only when the danger was not felt—when not the least risk appeared. The extreme rareness of any such occurrences may be gathered from what has been stated respecting the ordinary and extraordinary searches which took place, morning, noon, and night, through every corner of our dungeons.

I had never a single opportunity of receiving any notice, however slight, regarding my family, even by secret means, beyond the allusions in the Gazette to my sister and myself. The fears I entertained lest my dear parents no longer survived were greatly augmented, soon after, by the manner in which the police director came to inform me that my relatives were well.

"His Majesty the Emperor," he said, "commands me to communicate to you good tidings of your relations at Turin."

I could not express my pleasure and my surprise at this unexpected circumstance; but I soon put a variety of questions to him as to their health: "Left you my parents, brothers, and sisters, at Turin? are they alive? if you have any letter from them pray let me have it."

"I can show you nothing. You must be satisfied. It is a mark of the Emperor's clemency to let you know even so much. The same favour is not shown to every one."

"I grant it is a proof of the Emperor's kindness; but you will allow it to be impossible for me to derive the least consolation from information like this. Which of my relations are well? have I lost no one?"

"I am sorry, sir, that I cannot state more than I have been directed." And he retired.

It must assuredly have been intended to console me by this indefinite allusion to my family. I felt persuaded that the Emperor had yielded to the earnest petition of some of my relatives to permit me to hear tidings of them, and that I was permitted to receive no letter in order to remain in the dark as to which of my dear family were now no more. I was the more confirmed in this supposition from the fact of receiving a similar communication a few months subsequently; but there was no letter, no further news.

It was soon perceived that so far from having been productive of satisfaction to me, such meagre tidings had thrown me into still deeper affliction, and I heard no more of my beloved family. The continual suspense, the distracting idea that my parents were dead, that my brothers also might be no more, that my sister Giuseppina was gone, and that Marietta was the sole survivor, and that in the agony of her sorrow she had thrown herself into a convent, there to close her unhappy days, still haunted my imagination, and completely alienated me from life.

Not unfrequently I had fresh attacks of the terrible disorders under which I had before suffered, with those of a still more painful kind, such as violent spasms of the stomach, exactly like cholera morbus, from the effects of which I hourly expected to die. Yes! and I fervently hoped and prayed that all might soon be over.

At the same time, nevertheless, whenever I cast a pitying glance at my no less weak and unfortunate companion—such is the strange contradiction of our nature—I felt my heart inly bleed at the idea of leaving him, a solitary prisoner, in such an abode; and again I wished to live.


Thrice, during my incarceration at Spielberg, there arrived persons of high rank to inspect the dungeons, and ascertain that there was no abuse of discipline. The first visitor was the Baron Von Munch, who, struck with compassion on seeing us so sadly deprived of light and air, declared that he would petition in our favour, to have a lantern placed over the outside of the pane in our dungeon doors, through which the sentinels could at any moment perceive us. His visit took place in 1825, and a year afterwards his humane suggestion was put in force. By this sepulchral light we could just catch a view of the walls, and prevent our knocking our heads in trying to walk. The second visit was that of the Baron Von Vogel. He found me in a lamentable state of health; and learning that the physician had declared that coffee would be very good for me, and that I could not obtain it, as being too great a luxury, he interested himself for me, and my old, delightful beverage, was ordered to be brought me. The third visit was from a lord of the court, with whose name I am not acquainted, between fifty and sixty years of age, and who, by his manners as well as his words, testified the sincerest compassion for us; at the same time lamenting that he could do nothing for us. Still, the expression of his sympathy—for he was really affected—was something, and we were grateful for it.

How strange, how irresistible, is the desire of the solitary prisoner to behold some one of his own species! It amounts almost to a sort of instinct, as if in order to avoid insanity, and its usual consequence, the tendency to self-destruction. The Christian religion, so abounding in views of humanity, forgets not to enumerate amongst its works of mercy the visiting of the prisoner. The mere aspect of man, his look of commiseration, and his willingness, as it were, to share with you, and bear a part of your heavy burden, even when you know he cannot relieve you, has something that sweetens your bitter cup.

Perfect solitude is doubtless of advantage to some minds, but far more so if not carried to an extreme, and relieved by some little intercourse with society. Such at least is my constitution. If I do not behold my fellow-men, my affections become restricted to too confined a circle, and I begin to dislike all others; while, if I continue in communication with an ordinary number, I learn to regard the whole of mankind with affection.

Innumerable times, I am sorry to confess, I have been so exclusively occupied with a few, and so averse to the many, as to be almost terrified at the feelings I experienced. I would then approach the window, desirous of catching some new features, and thought myself happy when the sentinel passed not too closely to the wall, if I got a single glance of him, or if he lifted up his head upon hearing me cough—more especially if he had a good-natured countenance; when he showed the least feeling of pity, I felt a singular emotion of pleasure, as if that unknown soldier had been one of my intimate friends.

If, the next time, he passed by in a manner that prevented my seeing him, or took no notice of me, I felt as much mortified as some poor lover, when he finds that the beloved object wholly neglects him.


In the adjoining prison, once occupied by Oroboni, D. Marco Fortini and Antonio Villa were now confined. The latter, once as strong as Hercules, was nearly famished the first year, and when a better allowance was granted he had wholly lost the power of digestion. He lingered a long time, and when reduced almost to the last extremity, he was removed into a somewhat more airy prison. The pestilential atmosphere of these narrow receptacles, so much resembling real tombs, was doubtless very injurious to others as well as to him. But the remedy sought for was too late or insufficient to remove the cause of his sufferings. He had scarcely been a month in this spacious prison, when, in consequence of bursting several blood- vessels, and his previously broken health, he died.

He was attended by his fellow-prisoner, D. Fortini, and by the Abate Paulowich, who hastened from Vienna upon hearing that he was dying. Although I had not been on the same intimate terms with him as with Count Oroboni, his death a good deal affected me. He had parents and a wife, all most tenderly attached to him. HE, indeed, was more to be envied than regretted; but, alas, for the unhappy survivors to whom he was everything! He had, moreover, been my neighbour when under the Piombi. Tremerello had brought me several of his poetical pieces, and had conveyed to him some lines from me in return. There was sometimes a depth of sentiment and pathos in his poems which interested me. I seemed to become still more attached to him after he was gone; learning, as I did from the guards, how dreadfully he had suffered. It was with difficulty, though truly religious, that he could resign himself to die. He experienced to the utmost the horror of that final step, while he blessed the name of the Lord, and called upon His name with tears streaming from his eyes. "Alas," he said, "I cannot conform my will unto thine, yet how willingly would I do it; do thou work this happy change in me!" He did not possess the same courage as Oroboni, but followed his example in forgiving all his enemies.

At the close of the year (1826) we one evening heard a suppressed noise in the gallery, as if persons were stealing along. Our hearing had become amazingly acute in distinguishing different kinds of noises. A door was opened; and we knew it to be that of the advocate Solera. Another! it was that of Fortini! There followed a whispering, but we could tell the voice of the police director, suppressed as it was. What could it be? a search at so late an hour! and for what reason?

In a brief space, we heard steps again in the gallery; and ah! more plainly we recognised the voice of our excellent Fortini: "Unfortunate as I am! excuse it? go out! I have forgotten a volume of my breviary!" And we then heard him run back to fetch the book mentioned, and rejoin the police. The door of the staircase opened, and we heard them go down. In the midst of our alarm we learnt that our two good friends had just received a pardon; and although we regretted we could not follow them, we rejoiced in their unexpected good fortune.


The liberation of our two companions brought no alteration in the discipline observed towards us. Why, we asked ourselves, were they set at liberty, condemned as they had been, like us, the one to twenty, the other to fifteen years' imprisonment, while no sort of favour was shown to the rest?

Were the suspicions against those who were still consigned to captivity more strong, or did the disposition to pardon the whole, at brief intervals of time, and two together, really exist? We continued in suspense for some time. Upwards of three months elapsed, and we heard of no fresh instances of pardon. Towards the end of 1827, we considered that December might be fixed on as the anniversary of some new liberations; but the month expired, and nothing of the kind occurred.

Still we indulged the expectation until the summer of 1828, when I had gone through seven years and a half of my punishment— equivalent, according to the Emperor's declaration, to the fifteen, if the infliction of it were to be dated from the term of my arrest. If, on the other hand, it were to be calculated, not from the period of my trial, as was most probable, but from that of the publication of my sentence, the seven years and a half would only be completed in 1829.

Yet all these periods passed over, and there was no appearance of a remittance of punishment. Meantime, even before the liberation of Solera and Fortini, Maroncelli was ill with a bad tumour upon his knee. At first the pain was not great, and he only limped as he walked. It then grew very irksome to him to bear his irons, and he rarely went out to walk. One autumnal morning he was desirous of breathing the fresh air; there was a fall of snow, and unfortunately in walking his leg failed him, and he came to the ground. This accident was followed by acute pain in his knee. He was carried to his bed; for he was no longer able to remain in an upright position. When the physician came, he ordered his irons to be taken off; but the swelling increased to an enormous size, and became more painful every day. Such at length were the sufferings of my unhappy friend, that he could obtain no rest either in bed or out of it. When compelled to move about, to rise or to lie down, it was necessary to take hold of the bad leg and carry it as he went with the utmost care; and the most trifling motion brought on the most severe pangs. Leaches, baths, caustics, and fomentations of different kinds, were all found ineffectual, and seemed only to aggravate his torments. After the use of caustics, suppuration followed; the tumour broke out into wounds, but even these failed to bring relief to the suffering patient.

Maroncelli was thus far more unfortunate than myself, although my sympathy for him caused me real pain and suffering, I was glad, however, to be near him, to attend to all his wants, and to perform all the duties of a brother and a friend. It soon became evident that his leg would never heal: he considered his death as near at hand, and yet he lost nothing of his admirable calmness or his courage. The sight of his sufferings at last was almost more than I could bear.


Still, in this deplorable condition, he continued to compose verses, he sang, and he conversed; and all this he did to encourage me, by disguising from me a part of what he suffered. He lost his powers of digestion, he could not sleep, was reduced to a skeleton, and very frequently swooned away. Yet the moment he was restored he rallied his spirits, and, smiling, bade me be not afraid. It is indescribable what he suffered during many months. At length a consultation was to be held; the head physician was called in, approved of all his colleague had done, and, without expressing a decisive opinion, took his leave. A few minutes after, the superintendent entered, and addressing Maroncelli,

"The head physician did not venture to express his real opinion in your presence; he feared you would not have fortitude to bear so terrible an announcement. I have assured him, however, that you are possessed of courage."

"I hope," replied Maroncelli, "that I have given some proof of it in bearing this dreadful torture without howling out. Is there anything he would propose?"

"Yes, sir, the amputation of the limb: only perceiving how much your constitution is broken down, he hesitates to advise you. Weak as you are, could you support the operation? will you run the risk— "

"Of dying? and shall I not equally die if I go on, without ending this diabolical torture?"

"We will send off an account, then, direct to Vienna, soliciting permission, and the moment it comes you shall have your leg cut off."

"What! does it require a PERMIT for this?"

"Assuredly, sir," was the reply.

In about a week a courier arrived from Vienna with the expected news.

My sick friend was carried from his dungeon into a larger room, for permission to have his leg cut off had just arrived. He begged me to follow him: "I may die under the knife, and I should wish, in that case, to expire in your arms." I promised, and was permitted to accompany him. The sacrament was first administered to the unhappy prisoner, and we then quietly awaited the arrival of the surgeons. Maroncelli filled up the interval by singing a hymn. At length they came; one was an able surgeon, to superintend the operation, from Vienna; but it was the privilege of our ordinary prison apothecary, and he would not yield to the man of science, who must be contented to look on. The patient was placed on the side of a couch; with his leg down, while I supported him in my arms. It was to be cut above the knee; first, an incision was made, the depth of an inch—then through the muscles—and the blood flowed in torrents: the arteries were next taken up with ligatures, one by one. Next came the saw. This lasted some time, but Maroncelli never uttered a cry. When he saw them carrying his leg away, he cast on it one melancholy look, then turning towards the surgeon, he said, "You have freed me from an enemy, and I have no money to give you." He saw a rose, in a glass, placed in a window: "May I beg of you to bring me hither that flower?" I brought it to him; and he then offered it to the surgeon with an indescribable air of good- nature: "See, I have nothing else to give you in token of my gratitude." He took it as it was meant, and even wiped away a tear.


The surgeons had supposed that the hospital of Spielberg would provide all that was requisite except the instruments, which they brought with them. But after the amputation, it was found that a number of things were wanting; such as linen, ice, bandages, &c. My poor friend was thus compelled to wait two hours before these articles were brought from the city. At length he was laid upon his bed, and the ice applied to the trunk of the bleeding thigh. Next day it was dressed; but the patient was allowed to take no nourishment beyond a little broth, with an egg. When the risk of fever was over, he was permitted the use of restoratives; and an order from the Emperor directed that he should be supplied from the table of the superintendent till he was better.

The cure was completed in about forty days, after which we were conducted into our dungeon. This had been enlarged for us; that is, an opening was made in the wall so as to unite our old den to that once occupied by Oroboni, and subsequently by Villa. I placed my bed exactly in the same spot where Oroboni had died, and derived a mournful pleasure from thus approaching my friend, as it were, as nearly as possible. It appeared as if his spirit still hovered round me, and consoled me with manifestations of more than earthly love.

The horrible sight of Maroncelli's sufferings, both before and subsequently to the amputation of his leg, had done much to strengthen my mind. During the whole period, my health had enabled me to attend upon him, and I was grateful to God; but from the moment my friend assumed his crutches, and could supply his own wants, I began daily to decline. I suffered extremely from glandular swellings, and those were followed by pains of the chest, more oppressive than I had before experienced, attended with dizziness and spasmodic dysentery. "It is my turn now," thought I; "shall I show less patience than my companion?"

Every condition of life has its duties; and those of the sick consist of patience, courage, and continual efforts to appear not unamiable to the persons who surround them. Maroncelli, on his crutches, no longer possessed the same activity, and was fearful of not doing everything for me of which I stood in need. It was in fact the case, but I did all to prevent his being made sensible of it. Even when he had recovered his strength he laboured under many inconveniences. He complained, like most others after a similar operation, of acute pains in the nerves, and imagined that the part removed was still with him. Sometimes it was the toe, sometimes the leg, and at others the knee of the amputated limb which caused him to cry out. The bone, moreover, had been badly sawed, and pushed through the newly-formed flesh, producing frequent wounds. It required more than a year to bring the stump to a good state, when at length it hardened and broke out no more.


New evils, however, soon assailed my unhappy friend. One of the arteries, beginning at the joints of the hand, began to pain him, extending to other parts of his body; and then turned into a scorbutic sore. His whole person became covered with livid spots, presenting a frightful spectacle. I tried to reconcile myself to it, by considering that since it appeared we were to die here, it was better that one of us should be seized with the scurvy; it is a contagious disease, and must carry us off either together, or at a short interval from each other. We both prepared ourselves for death, and were perfectly tranquil. Nine years' imprisonment, and the grievous sufferings we had undergone, had at length familiarised us to the idea of the dissolution of two bodies so totally broken and in need of peace. It was time the scene should close, and we confided in the goodness of God, that we should be reunited in a place where the passions of men should cease, and where, we prayed, in spirit and in truth, that those who DID NOT LOVE US might meet us in peace, in a kingdom where only one Master, the supreme King of kings, reigned for evermore.

This malignant distemper had destroyed numbers of prisoners during the preceding years. The governor, upon learning that Maroncelli had been attacked by it, agreed with the physician, that the sole hope of remedy was in the fresh air. They were afraid of its spreading; and Maroncelli was ordered to be as little as possible within his dungeon. Being his companion, and also unwell, I was permitted the same privilege. We were permitted to be in the open air the whole time the other prisoners were absent from the walk, during two hours early in the morning, during the dinner, if we preferred it, and three hours in the evening, even after sunset.

There was one other unhappy patient, about seventy years of age, and in extremely bad health, who was permitted to bear us company. His name was Constantino Munari; he was of an amiable disposition, greatly attached to literature and philosophy, and agreeable in conversation.

Calculating my imprisonment, not from my arrest, but from the period of receiving my sentence, I had been seven years and a half (in the year 1829), according to the imperial decree, in different dungeons; and about nine from the day of my arrest. But this term, like the other, passed over, and there was no sign of remitting my punishment.

Up to the half of the whole term, my friend Maroncelli, Munari, and I had indulged the idea of a possibility of seeing once more our native land and our relations; and we frequently conversed with the warmest hopes and feelings upon the subject. August, September, and the whole of that year elapsed, and then we began to despair; nothing remained to relieve our destiny but our unaltered attachment for each other, and the support of religion, to enable us to close our latter prison hours with becoming dignity and resignation. It was then we felt the full value of friendship and religion, which threw a charm even over the darkness of our lot. Human hopes and promises had failed us; but God never forsakes the mourners and the captives who truly love and fear Him.


After the death of Villa, the Abate Wrba was appointed our confessor, on occasion of the Abate Paulowich receiving a bishopric. He was a Moravian, professor of the gospel at Brunn, and an able pupil of the Sublime Institute of Vienna. This was founded by the celebrated Frinl, then chaplain to the court. The members of the congregation are all priests, who, though already masters of theology, prosecute their studies under the Institution with the severest discipline. The views of the founder were admirable, being directed to the continual and general dissemination of true and profound science, among the Catholic clergy of Germany. His plans were for the most part successful, and are yet in extensive operation.

Being resident at Brunn, Wrba could devote more of his time to our society than Paulowich. He was a second father Battista, with the exception that he was not permitted to lend us any books. We held long discussions, from which I reaped great advantage, and real consolation. He was taken ill in 1829, and being subsequently called to other duties, he was unable to visit us more. We were much hurt, but we obtained as his successor the Abate Ziak, another learned and worthy divine. Indeed, among the whole German ecclesiastics we met with, not one showed the least disposition to pry into our political sentiments; not one but was worthy of the holy task he had undertaken, and imbued at once with the most edifying faith and enlarged wisdom.

They were all highly respectable, and inspired us with respect for the general Catholic clergy.

The Abate Ziak, both by precept and example, taught me to support my sufferings with calmness and resignation. He was afflicted with continual defluxions in his teeth, his throat, and his ears, and was, nevertheless, always calm and cheerful.

Maroncelli derived great benefit from exercise and open air; the eruptions, by degrees, disappeared; and both Munari and myself experienced equal advantage.


It was the first of August, 1830. Ten years had elapsed since I was deprived of my liberty: for eight years and a half I had been subjected to hard imprisonment. It was Sunday, and, as on other holidays, we went to our accustomed station, whence we had a view from the wall of the valley and the cemetery below, where Oroboni and Villa now reposed. We conversed upon the subject, and the probability of our soon sharing their untroubled sleep. We had seated ourselves upon our accustomed bench, and watched the unhappy prisoners as they came forth and passed to hear mass, which was performed before our own. They were women, and were conducted into the same little chapel to which we resorted at the second mass.

It is customary with the Germans to sing hymns aloud during the celebration of mass. As the Austrian empire is composed partly of Germans and partly of Sclavonians, and the greater part of the prisoners at Spielberg consist of one or other of these people, the hymns are alternately sung in the German and the Sclavonian languages. Every festival, two sermons are preached, and the same division observed. It was truly delightful to us to hear the singing of the hymns, and the music of the organ which accompanied it. The voices of some of these women touched us to the heart. Unhappy ones! some of them were very young; whom love, or jealousy, or bad example, had betrayed into crime. I often think I can still hear their fervidly devotional hymn of the sanctus—Heilig! heilig! heilig!—Holy of holies; and the tears would start into my eyes. At ten o'clock the women used to withdraw, and we entered to hear mass. There I saw those of my companions in misfortune, who listened to the service from the tribune of the organ, and from whom we were separated only by a single grate, whose pale features and emaciated bodies, scarcely capable of dragging their irons, bore witness to their woes.

After mass we were conveyed back to our dungeons. About a quarter of an hour afterwards we partook of dinner. We were preparing our table, which consisted in putting a thin board upon a wooden target, and taking up our wooden spoons, when Signor Wagrath, the superintendent, entered our prison. "I am sorry to disturb you at dinner; but have the goodness to follow me; the Director of Police is waiting for us." As he was accustomed to come near us only for purposes of examination and search, we accompanied the superintendent to the audience room in no very good humour. There we found the Director of Police and the superintendent, the first of whom moved to us with rather more politeness than usual. He took out a letter, and stated in a hesitating, slow tone of voice, as if afraid of surprising us too greatly: "Gentlemen, . . . I have . . . the pleasure . . . the honour, I mean . . . of . . . of acquainting you that his Majesty the Emperor has granted you a further favour." Still he hesitated to inform us what this favour was; and we conjectured it must be some slight alleviation, some exemption from irksome labour,—to have a book, or, perhaps, less disagreeable diet. "Don't you understand?" he inquired. "No, sir!" was our reply; "have the goodness, if permitted, to explain yourself more fully."

"Then hear it! it is liberty for your two selves, and a third, who will shortly bear you company."

One would imagine that such an announcement would have thrown us into ecstasies of joy. We were so soon to see our parents, of whom we had not heard for so long a period; but the doubt that they were no longer in existence, was sufficient not only to moderate—it did not permit us to hail, the joys of liberty as we should have done.

"Are you dumb?" asked the director; "I thought to see you exulting at the news."

"May I beg you," replied I, "to make known to the Emperor our sentiments of gratitude; but if we are not favoured with some account of our families, it is impossible not to indulge in the greatest fear and anxiety. It is this consciousness which destroys the zest of all our joy."

He then gave Maroncelli a letter from his brother, which greatly consoled him. But he told me there was no account of my family, which made me the more fear that some calamity had befallen them.

"Now, retire to your apartments, and I will send you a third companion, who has received pardon."

We went, and awaited his arrival anxiously; wishing that all had alike been admitted to the same act of grace, instead of that single one. Was it poor old Munari? was it such, or such a one? Thus we went on guessing at every one we knew; when suddenly the door opened, and Signor Andrea Torrelli, of Brescia, made his appearance. We embraced him; and we could eat no more dinner that day. We conversed till towards evening, chiefly regretting the lot of the unhappy friends whom we were leaving behind us.

After sunset, the Director of Police returned to escort us from our wretched prison house. Our hearts, however, bled within us, as we were passing by the dungeons of so many of our countrymen whom we loved, and yet, alas, not to have them to share our liberty! Heaven knows how long they would be left to linger here! to become the gradual, but certain, prey of death.

We were each of us enveloped in a military great-coat, with a cap; and then, dressed as we were in our jail costume, but freed from our chains, we descended the funereal mount, and were conducted through the city into the police prisons.

It was a beautiful moonlight night. The roads, the houses, the people whom we met—every object appeared so strange, and yet so delightful, after the many years during which I had been debarred from beholding any similar spectacle!


We remained at the police prisons, awaiting the arrival of the imperial commissioner from Vienna, who was to accompany us to the confines of Italy. Meantime, we were engaged in providing ourselves with linen and trunks, our own having all been sold, and defraying our prison expenses.

Five days afterwards, the commissary was announced, and the director consigned us over to him, delivering, at the same time, the money which we had brought with us to Spielberg, and the amount derived from the sale of our trunks and books, both which were restored to us on reaching our destination.

The expense of our journey was defrayed by the Emperor, and in a liberal manner. The commissary was Herr Von Noe, a gentleman employed in the office of the minister of police. The charge could not have been intrusted to a person every way more competent, as well from education as from habit; and he treated us with the greatest respect.

I left Brunn, labouring under extreme difficulty of breathing; and the motion of the carriage increased it to such a degree, that it was expected I should hardly survive during the evening. I was in a high fever the whole of the night; and the commissary was doubtful whether I should be able to continue my journey even as far as Vienna. I begged to go on; and we did so, but my sufferings were excessive. I could neither eat, drink, nor sleep.

I reached Vienna more dead than alive. We were well accommodated at the general directory of police. I was placed in bed, a physician called in, and after being bled, I found myself sensibly relieved. By means of strict diet, and the use of digitalis, I recovered in about eight days. My physician's name was Singer; and he devoted the most friendly attentions to me.

I had become extremely anxious to set out; the more so from an account of the THREE DAYS having arrived from Paris. The Emperor had fixed the day of our liberation exactly on that when the revolution burst forth; and surely he would not now revoke it. Yet the thing was not improbable; a critical period appeared to be at hand, popular commotions were apprehended in Italy, and though we could not imagine we should be remanded to Spielberg, should we be permitted to return to our native country?

I affected to be stronger than I really was, and entreated we might be allowed to resume our journey. It was my wish, meantime, to be presented to his Excellency the Count Pralormo, envoy from Turin to the Austrian Court, to whom I was aware how much I had been indebted. He had left no means untried to procure my liberation; but the rule that we were to hold no communication with any one admitted of no exception. When sufficiently convalescent, a carriage was politely ordered for me, in which I might take an airing in the city; but accompanied by the commissary, and no other company. We went to see the noble church of St. Stephen, the delightful walks in the environs, the neighbouring Villa Lichtenstein, and lastly the imperial residence of Schoenbrunn.

While proceeding through the magnificent walks in the gardens, the Emperor approached, and the commissary hastily made us retire, lest the sight of our emaciated persons should give him pain.


We at length took our departure from Vienna, and I was enabled to reach Bruck. There my asthma returned with redoubled violence. A physician was called—Herr Judmann, a man of pleasing manners. He bled me, ordered me to keep my bed, and to continue the digitalis. At the end of two days I renewed my solicitations to continue our journey.

We proceeded through Austria and Stiria, and entered Carinthia without any accident; but on our arrival at the village of Feldkirchen, a little way from Klagenfurt, we were overtaken by a counter order from Vienna. We were to stop till we received farther directions. I leave the reader to imagine what our feelings must have been on this occasion. I had, moreover, the pain to reflect, that it would be owing to my illness if my two friends should now be prevented from reaching their native land. We remained five days at Feldkirchen, where the commissary did all in his power to keep up our spirits. He took us to the theatre to see a comedy, and permitted us one day to enjoy the chase. Our host and several young men of the country, along with the proprietor of a fine forest, were the hunters, and we were brought into a station favourable for commanding a view of the sports.

At length there arrived a courier from Vienna, with a fresh order for the commissary to resume his journey with us to the place first appointed. We congratulated each other, but my anxiety was still great, as I approached the hour when my hopes or fears respecting my family would be verified. How many of my relatives and friends might have disappeared during my ten years' absence!

The entrance into Italy on that side is not pleasing to the eye; you descend from the noble mountains of Germany into the Italian plains, through a long and sterile district, insomuch that travellers who have formed a magnificent idea of our country, begin to laugh, and imagine they have been purposely deluded with previous accounts of La Bella Italia.

The dismal view of that rude district served to make me more sorrowful. To see my native sky, to meet human features no more belonging to the north, to hear my native tongue from every lip affected me exceedingly; and I felt more inclined to tears than to exultation. I threw myself back in the carriage, pretending to sleep; but covered my face and wept. That night I scarcely closed my eyes; my fever was high, my whole soul seemed absorbed in offering up vows for my sweet Italy, and grateful prayers to Providence for having restored to her her captive son. Then I thought of my speedy separation from a companion with whom I had so long suffered, and who had given me so many proofs of more than fraternal affection, and I tortured my imagination with the idea of a thousand disasters which might have befallen my family. Not even so many years of captivity had deadened the energy and susceptibility of my feelings! but it was a susceptibility only to pain and sorrow.

I felt, too, on my return, a strange desire to visit Udine, and the lodging-house, where our two generous friends had assumed the character of waiters, and secretly stretched out to us the hand of friendship. But we passed that town to our left, and passed on our way.


Pordenone, Conegliano, Ospedaletto, Vicenza, Verona, and Mantua, were all places which interested my feelings. In the first resided one of my friends, an excellent young man, who had survived the campaigns of Russia; Conegliano was the district whither, I was told by the under-jailers, poor Angiola had been conducted; and in Ospedaletto there had married and resided a young lady, who had more of the angel than the woman, and who, though now no more, I had every reason to remember with the highest respect. The whole of these places, in short, revived recollections more or less dear; and Mantua more than any other city. It appeared only yesterday that I had come with Lodovico in 1815, and paid another visit with Count Porro in 1820. The same roads, the same squares, the same palaces, and yet such a change in all social relations! So many of my connections snatched away for ever—so many exiled—one generation, I had beheld when infants, started up into manhood. Yet how painful not to be allowed to call at a single house, or to accost a single person we met.

To complete my misery, Mantua was the point of separation between Maroncelli and myself. We passed the night there, both filled with forebodings and regret. I felt agitated like a man on the eve of receiving his sentence.

The next morning I rose, and washed my face, in order to conceal from my friend how much I had given way to grief during the preceding night. I looked at myself in the glass, and tried to assume a quiet and even cheerful air. I then bent down in prayer, though ill able to command my thoughts; and hearing Maroncelli already upon his crutches, and speaking to the servant, I hastened to embrace him. We had both prepared ourselves, with previous exertions, for this closing interview, and we spoke to each other firmly, as well as affectionately. The officer appointed to conduct us to the borders of Romagna appeared; it was time to set out; we hardly knew how to speak another word; we grasped each other's hands again and again,—we parted; he mounted into his vehicle, and I felt as if I had been annihilated at a blow. I returned into my chamber, threw myself upon my knees, and prayed for my poor mutilated friend, thus separated from me, with sighs and tears.

I had known several celebrated men, but not one more affectionately sociable than Maroncelli; not one better educated in all respects, more free from sudden passion or ill-humour, more deeply sensible that virtue consists in continued exercises of tolerance, of generosity, and good sense. Heaven bless you, my dear companion in so many afflictions, and send you new friends who may equal me in my affection for you, and surpass me in true goodness.


I set out the same evening for Brescia. There I took leave of my other fellow-prisoner, Andrea Torrelli. The unhappy man had just heard that he had lost his mother, and the bitterness of his grief wrung my heart; yet, agonised as were my feelings from so many different causes, I could not help laughing at the following incident.

Upon the table of our lodging-house I found the following theatrical announcement:- Francesca da Rimini; Opera da Musica, &c. "Whose work is this?" I inquired of the waiter.

"Who versified it, and composed the music, I cannot tell, but it is the Francesca da Rimini which everybody knows."

"Everybody! you must be wrong there. I come from Germany, yet what do I know of your Francescas?" The waiter was a young man with rather a satirical cast of face, quite Brescian; and he looked at me with a contemptuous sort of pity. "What should you know, indeed, of our Francescas? why, no, sir, it is only ONE we speak of—Francesca des Rimini, to be sure, sir; I mean the tragedy of Signor Silvio Pellico. They have here turned it into an opera, spoiling it a little, no doubt, but still it is always Pellico."

"Ah, Silvio Pellico! I think I have heard his name. Is it not that same evil-minded conspirator who was condemned to death, and his sentence was changed to hard imprisonment, some eight or ten years ago?"

I should never have hazarded such a jest. He looked round him, fixed his eyes on me, showed a fine set of teeth, with no amiable intention; and I believe he would have knocked me down, had he not heard a noise close by us.

He went away muttering: "Ill-minded conspirator, indeed!" But before I left, he had found me out. He was half out of his wits; he could neither question, nor answer, nor write, nor walk, nor wait. He had his eyes continually upon me, he rubbed his hands, and addressing himself to every one near him; "Sior si, Sior si; Yes, sir! Yes, sir!" he kept stammering out, "coming! coming!"

Two days afterwards, on the 9th of September, I arrived with the commissary at Milan. On approaching the city, on seeing the cupola of the cathedral, in repassing the walk by Loretto, so well known, and so dear, on recognising the corso, the buildings, churches, and public places of every kind, what were my mingled feelings of pleasure and regret! I felt an intense desire to stop, and embrace once more my beloved friends. I reflected with bitter grief on those, whom, instead of meeting here, I had left in the horrible abode of Spielberg,—on those who were wandering in strange lands,— on those who were no more. I thought, too, with gratitude upon the affection shown me by the people; their indignation against all those who had calumniated me, while they had uniformly been the objects of my benevolence and esteem.

We went to take up our quarters at the Bella Venezia. It was here I had so often been present at our social meetings; here I had called upon so many distinguished foreigners; here a respectable, elderly Signora invited me in vain to follow her into Tuscany, foreseeing, she said, the misfortunes that would befall me if I remained at Milan. What affecting recollections! How rapidly past times came thronging over my memory, fraught with joy and grief!

The waiters at the hotel soon discovered who I was. The report spread, and towards evening a number of persons stopped in the square, and looked up at the windows. One, whose name I did not know, appeared to recognise me, and raising both his arms, made a sign of embracing me, as a welcome back to Italy.

And where were the sons of Porro; I may say my own sons? Why did I not see them there?


The commissary conducted me to the police, in order to present me to the director. What were my sensations upon recognising the house! it was my first prison. It was then I thought with pain of Melchiorre Gioja, on the rapid steps with which I had seen him pacing within those narrow walls, or sitting at his little table, recording his noble thoughts, or making signals to me; and his last look of sorrow, when forbidden longer to communicate with me. I pictured to myself his solitary grave, unknown to all who had so ardently loved him, and, while invoking peace to his gentle spirit, I wept.

Here, too, I called to mind the little dumb boy, the pathetic tones of Maddalene, my strange emotions of compassion for her, my neighbours the robbers, the assumed Louis XVII., and the poor prisoner who had carried the fatal letter, and whose cries under the infliction of the bastinado, had reached me.

These and other recollections appeared with all the vividness of some horrible dream; but most of all, I felt those two visits which my father had made me ten years before, when I last saw him. How the good old man had deceived himself in the expectation that I should so soon rejoin him at Turin! Could he then have borne the idea of a son's ten years' captivity, and in such a prison? But when these flattering hopes vanished, did he, and did my mother bear up against so unexpected a calamity? was I ever to see them again in this world? Had one, or which of them, died during the cruel interval that ensued?

Such was the suspense, the distracting doubt which yet clung to me. I was about to knock at the door of my home without knowing if they were in existence, or what other members of my beloved family were left me.

The director of police received me in a friendly manner. He permitted me to stay at the Bella Venezia with the imperial commissary, though I was not permitted to communicate with any one, and for this reason I determined to resume my journey the following morning. I obtained an interview, however, with the Piedmontese consul, to learn if possible some account of my relatives. I should have waited on him, but being attacked with fever, and compelled to keep my bed, I sent to beg the favour of his visiting me. He had the kindness to come immediately, and I felt truly grateful to him.

He gave me a favourable account of my father, and of my eldest brother. Respecting my mother, however, my other brother, and my two sisters, I could learn nothing.

Thus in part comforted, I could have wished to prolong the conversation with the consul, and he would willingly have gratified me had not his duties called him away. After he left me, I was extremely affected, but, as had so often happened, no tears came to give me relief. The habit of long, internal grief, seemed yet to prey upon my heart; to weep would have alleviated the fever which consumed me, and distracted my head with pain.

I called to Stundberger for something to drink. That good man was a sergeant of police at Vienna, though now filling the office of valet-de-chambre to the commissary. But though not old, I perceived that his hand trembled in giving me the drink. This circumstance reminded me of Schiller, my beloved Schiller, when, on the day of my arrival at Spielberg, I ordered him, in an imperious tone, to hand me the jug of water, and he obeyed me.

How strange it was! The recollection of this, added to other feelings of the kind, struck, as it were, the rock of my heart, and tears began to flow.


The morning of the 10th of September, I took leave of the excellent commissary, and set out. We had only been acquainted with each other for about a month, and yet he was as friendly as if he had known me for years. His noble and upright mind was above all artifice, or desire of penetrating the opinions of others, not from any want of intelligence, but a love of that dignified simplicity which animates all honest men.

It sometimes happened during our journey that I was accosted by some one or other when unobserved, in places where we stopped. "Take care of that ANGEL KEEPER of yours; if he did not belong to those neri (blacks), they would not have put him over you."

"There you are deceived," said I; "I have the greatest reason to believe that you are deceived."

"The most cunning," was the reply, "can always contrive to appear the most simple."

"If it were so, we ought never to give credit to the least goodness in any one."

"Yes, there are certain social stations," he replied, "in which men's manners may appear to great advantage by means of education; but as to virtue, they have none of it."

I could only answer, "You exaggerate, sir, you exaggerate."

"I am only consistent," he insisted. We were here interrupted, and I called to mind the cave a censequentariis of Leibnitz.

Too many are inclined to adopt this false and terrible doctrine. I follow the standard A, that is JUSTICE. Another follows standard B; it must therefore be that of INJUSTICE, and, consequently, he must be a villain!

Give ME none of your logical madness; whatever standard you adopt, do not reason so inhumanly. Consider, that by assuming what data you please, and proceeding with the most violent stretch of rigour from one consequence to another, it is easy for any one to come to the conclusion that, "Beyond we four, all the rest of the world deserve to be burnt alive." And if we are at the pains of investigating a little further, we shall find each of the four crying out, "All deserve to be burnt alive together, with the exception of I myself."

This vulgar tenet of exclusiveness is in the highest degree unphilosophical. A moderate degree of suspicion is wise, but when urged to the extreme, it is the opposite.

After the hint thus thrown out to me respecting that angelo custode, I turned to study him with greater attention than I had before done; and each day served to convince me more and more of his friendly and generous nature.

When an order of society, more or less perfect, has been established, whether for better or worse, all the social offices, not pronounced by general consent to be infamous, all that are adapted to promote the public good, and the confidence of a respectable number, and which are filled by men acknowledged to be of upright mind, such offices may undeniably be undertaken by honest men without incurring any charge of unconscientiousness.

I have read of a Quaker who had a great horror of soldiers. He one day saw a soldier throw himself into the Thames, and save the life of a fellow-being who was drowning. "I don't care," he exclaimed, "I will still be a Quaker, but there are some good fellows, even among soldiers."


Stundberger accompanied me to my vehicle, into which I got with the brigadier of gens d'armes, to whose care I was entrusted. It was snowing, and the cold was excessive.

"Wrap yourself well up in your cloak," said Stundberger; "cover your head better, and contrive to reach home as little unwell as you can; remember, that a very little thing will give you cold just now. I wish it had been in my power to go on and attend you as far as Turin." He said this in a tone of voice so truly cordial and affectionate that I could not doubt its sincerity.

"From this time you will have no German near you," he added; "you will no longer hear our language spoken, and little, I dare say, will you care for that; the Italians find it very harsh. Besides, you have suffered so greatly among us, that most probably you will not like to remember us; yet, though you will so soon forget my very name, I shall not cease, sir, to offer up prayers for your safety."

"I shall do the same for you," I replied; as I shook his hand for the last time.

"Guten morgen! guten morgen! gute raise! leben sie wohl!"—farewell; a pleasant journey! good morning he continued to repeat; and the sounds were to me as sweat as if they had been pronounced in my native tongue.

I am passionately attached to my country, but I do not dislike any other nation. Civilisation, wealth, power, glory, are differently apportioned among different people; but in all there are minds obedient to the great vocation of man,—to love, to pity, and to assist each other.

The brigadier who attended me, informed me that he was one of those who arrested Confalonieri. He told me how the unhappy man had tried to make his escape; how he had been baffled, and how he had been torn from the arms of his distracted wife, while they both at the same time submitted to the calamity with dignity and resignation.

The horrible narrative increased my fear; a hand of iron seemed to be weighing upon my heart. The good man, in his desire of showing his sociality, and entertaining me with his remarks, was not aware of the horror he excited in me when I cast my eye on those hands which had seized the person of my unfortunate friend.

He ordered luncheon at Buffalora, but I was unable to taste anything. Many years back, when I was spending my time at Arluno, with the sons of Count Porro, I was accustomed to walk thither (to Buffalora), along the banks of the Ticino. I was rejoiced to see the noble bridge, the materials of which I had beheld scattered along the Lombard shore, now finished, notwithstanding the general opinion that the design would be abandoned. I rejoiced to traverse the river and set my foot once more on Piedmontese ground. With all my attachment to other nations, how much I prefer Italy! yet Heaven knows that however much more delightful to me is the sound of the Italian name, still sweeter must be that of Piedmont, the land of my fathers.


Opposite to Buffalora lies San Martino. Here the Lombard brigadier spoke of the Piedmontese carabineers, saluted me, and repassed the bridge.

"Let us go to Novara!" I said to the Vetturino.

"Have the goodness to stay a moment," said a carabineer. I found I was not yet free; and was much vexed, being apprehensive it would retard my arrival at the long-desired home. After waiting about a quarter of an hour, a gentleman came forward and requested to be allowed to accompany us as far as Novara. He had already missed one opportunity; there was no other conveyance than mine; and he expressed himself exceedingly happy that I permitted him to avail himself of it.

This carabineer in disguise was very good-humoured, and kept me company as far as Novara. Having reached that city, and feigning we were going to an hotel, he stopt at the barracks of the carabineers, and I was told there was a bed for me, and that I must wait the arrival of further orders. Concluding that I was to set off the next day, I went to bed, and after chatting some time with my host, I fell fast asleep; and it was long since I had slept so profoundly.

I awoke towards morning, rose as quickly as possible, and found the hours hang heavy on my hands. I took my breakfast, chatted, walked about the apartment and over the lodge, cast my eye over the host's books, and finally,—a visitor was announced. An officer had come to give me tidings respecting my father, and inform me that there was a letter from him, lying for me at Novara. I was exceedingly grateful to him for this act of humane courtesy. After a few hours, which to me appeared ages, I received my father's letter. Oh what joy to behold that hand-writing once more! what joy to learn that the best of mothers was spared to me! that my two brothers were alive, and also my eldest sister. Alas! my young and gentle Marietta, who had immured herself in the convent of the Visitazione, and of whom I had received so strange an account while a prisoner, had been dead upwards of nine months. It was a consolation for me to believe that I owed my liberty to all those who had never ceased to love and to pray for me, and more especially to a beloved sister who had died with every expression of the most edifying devotion. May the Almighty reward her for the many sufferings she underwent, and in particular for all the anxiety she experienced on my account.

Days passed on; yet no permission for me to quit Novara! On the morning of the 16th of September, the desired order at length arrived, and all superintendence over me by the carabineers ceased. It seemed strange! so many years had now elapsed since I had been permitted to walk unaccompanied by guards. I recovered some money; I received the congratulations of some of my father's friends, and set out about three in the afternoon. The companions of my journey were a lady, a merchant, an engraver, and two young painters; one of whom was both deaf and dumb. These last were coming from Rome; and I was much pleased by hearing from them that they were acquainted with the family of my friend Maroncelli, for how pleasant a thing it is to be enabled to speak of those we love, with some one not wholly indifferent to them.

We passed the night at Vercelli. The happy day, the 17th of September, dawned at last. We pursued our journey; and how slow we appeared to travel! it was evening before we arrived at Turin.

Who would attempt to describe the consolation I felt, the nameless feelings of delight, when I found myself in the embraces of my father, my mother, and my two brothers? My dear sister Giuseppina was not then with them; she was fulfilling her duties at Chieri; but on hearing of my felicity, she hastened to stay for a few days with our family, to make it complete. Restored to these five long- sighed-for, and beloved objects of my tenderness,—I was, and I still am, one of the most enviable of mankind.

Now, therefore, for all my past misfortunes and sufferings, as well as for all the good or evil yet reserved for me, may the providence of God be blessed; of God, who renders all men, and all things, however opposite the intentions of the actors, the wonderful instruments which He directs to the greatest and best of purposes.


{1} Piero Maroncelli da Forli, an excellent poet, and most amiable man, who had also been imprisoned from political motives. The author speaks of him at considerable length, as the companion of his sufferings, in various parts of his work.

{2} A bailiff.

{3} A sort of scream peculiar to dumb children.

{4} Melchiorre Gioja, a native of Piacenza, was one of the most profound writers of our times, principally upon subjects of public economy. Being suspected of carrying on a secret correspondence, he was arrested in 1820, and imprisoned for a space of nine months. Among the more celebrated of his works are those entitled, Nuovo prospetto delle Scienze Economiche, Trattato del Merito e delle Ricompense, Dell' Ingiuria e dei Danni, Filosofia della Statistica, Ideologia e Esercizo Logico, Delle Manifatture, Del Divorzio, Elementi di Filosofia, Nuovo Galateo, Qual Governo convenga all' Italia. This able writer died in the month of January, 1829.

{5} The Count Luigi Porro was one of the most distinguished men of Milan, and remarkable for the zeal and liberality with which he promoted the cultivation of literature and the arts. Having early remarked the excellent disposition of the youthful Pellico, the Count invited him to reside in his mansion, and take upon himself the education of his sons, uniformly considering him, at the same time, more in the light of a friend than of a dependent. Count Porro himself subsequently fell under the suspicions of the Austrian Government, and having betaken himself to flight, was twice condemned to death (as contumacious), the first time under the charge of Carbonarism, and the second time for a pretended conspiracy. The sons of Count Porro are more than once alluded to by their friend and tutor, as the author designates himself.

{6} This excellent tragedy, suggested by the celebrated episode in the fifth canto of Dante's Inferno, was received by the whole of Italy with the most marked applause. Such a production at once raised the young author to a high station in the list of Italy's living poets.

{7} The Cavalier Giovanni Bodoni was one of the most distinguished among modern printers. Becoming admirably skilled in his art, and in the oriental languages, acquired in the college of the Propaganda at Rome, he went to the Royal Printing Establishment at Parma, of which he took the direction in 1813, and in which he continued till the period of his death. In the list of the numerous works which he thence gave to the world may be mentioned the Pater Noster Poligletto, the Iliad in Greek, the Epithalamia Exoticis, and the Manuale Tipografico, works which will maintain their reputation to far distant times.

{8} The Count Bolza, of the lake of Como, who has continued for years in the service of the Austrian Government, showing inexorable zeal in the capacity of a Commissary of Police.

{9} The learning of Ugo Foscolo, and the reputation he acquired by his Hymn upon the Tombs, his Last Letters of Jecopo Ortis, his Treatises upon Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, &c, are well-known in this country, where he spent a considerable portion of his life, and died in the year 1827.

{10} The Cavalier Vincenzo Monti stands at the head of the modern poets of Italy. His stanzas on the Death of Uge Basville obtained for him the title of Dante Redivivo. His works, both in verse and prose, are numerous, and generally acknowledged to be noble models in their several styles. His tragedy of Aristodemo, takes the lead among the most admirable specimens of the Italian drama. He died at Milan in the year 1829.

{11} Monsignor Lodovico di Breme, son of the Marquis of the same name, a Piedmontese, an intimate friend of the celebrated Madame de Stael, of Mons. Sismondi, &c, and a man of elevated sentiments, brilliant spirit, high cultivation, and accomplishments.

{12} Don Pietro Borsieri, son of a judge of the Court of Appeal at Milan, of which, previous to his receiving sentence of death, he was one of the state secretaries. He is the author of several little works and literary essays, all written with singular energy and chasteness of language.

{13} La Signora Angiola.

{14} "Venezianina adolescente sbirra?"

{15} Tremerello, or the little trembler.

{16} Per capire che le lucciole non erano lanterne. "To know that glowworms are not lanterns."

{17} Buzzolai, a kind of small loaf.

{18} Odoardo Briche, a young man of truly animated genius, and the most amiable disposition. He was the son of Mons. Briche, member of the Constituent Assembly in France, who for thirty years past, had selected Milan as his adopted country.

{19} Respecting Pietro Borsieri, Lodovico di Breme, and Count Porro, mention has already been made. The Count Federico Confalonieri, of an illustrious family of Milan, a man of immense intellect, and the firmest courage, was also the most zealous promoter of popular institutions in Lombardy. The Austrian Government, becoming aware of the aversion entertained by the Count for the foreign yoke which pressed so heavily upon his country, had him seized and handed over to the special commissions, which sat in the years 1822 and 1823. By these he was condemned to the severest of all punishments—imprisonment for life, in the fortress of Spielberg, where, during six months of each weary year, he is compelled by the excess of his sufferings to lie stretched upon a wretched pallet, more dead than alive.

{20} The Count Camillo Laderchi, a member of one of the most distinguished families of Faenza, and formerly prefect in the ex- kingdom of Italy.

{21} Gian Domenico Romagnosi, a native of Piacenza, was for some years Professor of Criminal Law, in the University of Pavia. He is the author of several philosophical works, but more especially of the Genesi del Diritto Penale, which spread his reputation both throughout and beyond Italy. Though at an advanced age, he was repeatedly imprisoned and examined on the charge of having belonged to a lodge of Freemasons; a charge advanced against him by an ungrateful Tyrolese, who had initiated him into, and favoured him as a fellow-member of, the same society, and who had the audacity actually to sit as judge upon his FRIEND'S trial.

{22} The Count Giovanni Arrivabene, of Mantua, who, being in possession of considerable fortune, made an excellent use of it, both as regarded private acts of benevolence, and the maintenance of a school of mutual instruction. But having more recently fallen under the displeasure of the Government, he abandoned Italy, and during his exile employed himself in writing, with rare impartiality, and admirable judgment, a work which must be considered interesting to all engaged in alleviating the ills of humanity, both here and in other countries. It is entitled, Delle Societa di Publica Beneficenza in Londra.

{23} The Capitano Rezia, one of the best artillery officers in the Italian army, son of Professor Rezia, the celebrated anatomist, whose highly valuable preparations and specimens are to be seen in the Anatomical Museum at Pavia.

{24} The Professor Ressi, who occupied, during several years, the chair of Political Economy in the University at Pavia. He is the author of a respectable work, published under the title of Economica della Specie Umana. Having unfortunately attracted the suspicions of the Austrian police, he was seized and committed to a dungeon, in which he died, about a year from the period of his arrest, and while the special examinations of the alleged conspirators were being held.

{25} Where charity and love are, God is present.

{26} The Devil! the Devil!


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