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"To call in the Austrians." "Per Bacco! it is exactly what they have advised. How did you come to know it? Who is the traitor at the council board ?"
"I wish I could tell you the name of one who was not such. Why, your Highness, these fellows are not your ministers, except in so far as they are paid by you. They are Metternich's people; they receive their appointments from Vienna, and are only accountable to the cabinet held at Schoenbrunn. If wise and moderate counsels prevailed here, if our financial measures prospered, if the people were happy and contented, how long, think you, would Lombardy submit to be ruled by the rod and the bayonet? Do you imagine that you will be suffered to give an example to the peninsula of a good administration?"
"But so it is," broke in the Prince; "I defy any man to assert the opposite. The country is prosperous, the people are contented, the laws justly administered, and, I hesitate not to say, myself as popular as any sovereign of Europe."
And I tell your Highness, just as distinctly, that the country is ground down with taxation, even to export duties on the few things we have to export that the people are poor to the very verge of starvation-that if they do not take to the highways as brigands, it is because their traditions as honest men yet survive amongst them-that the laws only exist as an agent of tyranny, arrest and imprisonment being at the mere caprice of the authorities. Nor is there a means by which an innocent man can demand his trial, and insist on being confronted with his accuser. Your jails are full, crowded to a state of pestilence with supposed political offenders, men that, in a free country, would be at large, toiling industriously for their families, and whose opinions could never be dangerous, if not festering in the foul air of a dùngeon. And as to your own popularity, all I say is, don't walk in the Piazza at Carrara after dusk. No, nor even at noon-day."
"And you dare to speak thus to me, Stubber!" said the Prince, his face covered with a deadly pallor as he spoke, and his white lips trembling, but less in passion than in fear.
"And why not, sir? Of what value could such a man as I am be to your service, if I were not to tell you what you'll never hear from othersthe plain, simple truth? Is it not clear enough that if I only thought of my own benefit, I'd say whatever you'd like best to hear-I'd tell you, like Landetti, that the taxes were well paid, or say, as Cerreccio did, t'other day, that your army would do credit to any state in Europe; when he well knew at the time, that the artillery was in mutiny from arrears of pay, and the cavalry horses dying from short rations !"
"I am well weary of all this," said the duke, with a sigh. "If the half of what I hear of my kingdom, every day, be but true, my lot in life is worse than a galley-slave's. One assures me that I am bankrupt; another calls me a vassal of Austria; a third makes me out a Papal spy; and you aver that if I venture into the streets of my own town-in the midst of my own people, I am almost sure to be assassinated !"
Take no man's word, sir, for what, while you can see for yourself, it is your own duty to ascertain," said Stubber resolutely. "If you really only desire a life of ease and indolence, forgetting what you owe to yourself and those you rule over, send for the Austrians. Ask for a brigade and a general. You'll have them for the asking. They'd come at a word, and try your people at the drum head, and flog and shoot them with as little disturbance to you as need be! You may pension off the judges; for a court martial is a far speedier tribunal, and a corporal's guard is quite an economy in criminal justice. Trade will not perhaps prosper with martial law, nor is a state of siege thought favourable to commerce. No matter. You'll sleep safe so long as you keep within doors, and the band under your window will rouse the spirit of nationality in your heart, as it plays, 'God preserve the Emperor !''
"You forget yourself, sir, and you forget me!" said the Duke sternly, as he drew himself up, and threw a look of insolent pride at the speaker.
"Mayhap I do, your Highness," was the ready answer, "and out of that very forgetfulness let your Highness take a warning. I say, once more, I distrust the people about you, and as
to this conspiracy at Carrara, I'll wager a round sum on it, that it was hatched on t'other side of the Alps, and paid for in good florins of the Holy Roman Empire. At all events, give me time to investigate the matter. Let me have 'till the end of the week to examine into it, and if I find
nothing to confirm my views, I'll say not one word against all the measures of precaution that your council are bent on importing from Austria."
"Take your own way; I promise nothing," said the Duke haughtily, and with a motion of his hand dismissed his adviser.
BY FRANCIS DAVIS.
God bless the towers and temples,
Of our green old queen of isles!
When His choicest love outpours,
That the minstrel more adores.
For our wonder or our weal,
'Neath the craftsman's peaceful steel,
Looking love so like devotion--
In my spirit-depths command,
Oh! ye high and heaven-crowned ones,-
Tempest-shorn and dew-anointed,
Ah they're more than priestly lessons,
From its oftener-coming guests.
I've adored the God of nature
On the sea, and on the sward;
In the inmost spirit, where
It had ne'er been dreamt were there ;-
There is grandeur in your city,
And the sea of human beauty
Heaveth, heaveth evermore.
There is grandeur in yon mountain,
O'er that mountain's heathery breast
Their red life-drops o'er its crest-
Floats and tinges-floats and tinges
Like the locks of the Eternal
On that silvery waste of sky.