網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

THE ESCAPE OF FRANCESCO DA CARRARA, SOVEREIGN OF PADUA.

PAINTED BY CHARLES LOCK EASTLAKE, R. A., F. R. S.

As the Plate in this No. needs no illustration, and many persons were at a loss for the incidents illustrating the "Escape of Carrara" in the last, we subjoin a brief notice.

This subject, from the History of the Italian States in the Middle Ages, is full of deep interest; and the picture, when exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1834, excited much attention, though the particular story was not, perhaps, generally known; the observers felt sympathy for the fugitives of rank, represented in difficulty and danger, and admiration for the picture as a work of art.

The tale is found in the History of Padua of the 14th century, by Galeazzo and Andrea Gataro, the historians of the house of Carrara. Their manuscripts, in the Este Library, were first printed by Muratori, who says, in a preface, that of all the histories he had collected, this would be the most likely to reward the reader's attention; and Mr. Percival, in his History of Italy, speaking of the last sovereign of Padua (the hero of the present subject) and of his lady, says, "The story of their sufferings and hair-breadth escapes, by Andrea Gataro, is more interesting than any romance, from the simple air of truth which pervades it." An abridgment of this chronicle was published by David Syme, Esq., in Edinburgh, 1830.

Francesco Novella da Carrara, when heir to the sovereignty of Padua, was detained with his wife Taddea d'Este, and a few followers, at Asti, by Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. The Governor of Asti soon informed his noble guest that Visconti had given secret orders for his assassination. The flight of the prisoners was agreed on; but, even in order to reach Florence, (to cross to Padua or Ferrara being out of the question,) they were obliged to penetrate into France, and then get to the coast. The emissaries of Visconti were everywhere on the watch; and the dangers the little party encountered before they reached Florence, Madonna Taddea being then enciente, and ill too, from fatigue, make up one of the most interesting chapters of the story of Gataro. The picture represents the escape of the fugitives, from the pursuit of the Podestà of Ventimiglia, by a narrow pass on the mountain-side which skirts the deep ravine of the Roya above that town. The shrinking fear of the boy who leads the mule, the alarm of the lady's attendant, and her own expression of pain and suffering as she leans on her gallant lord, who is ready in the extremity of danger to guard her from the approaching enemy, seen in the depths of the ravine below-disclose a moment of the deepest anxiety. They were overtaken, but fought their way to the shore, and ultimately escaped.

The period is the latter part of the 14th century. At the commencement of the 15th, in 1406, Francesco Novella, with all his sons, was put to death by the Venetians in cold blood. He kept at bay five officers and twenty executioners for some time, before they subdued him and strangled him in his dungeon. Particulars can be found in Harpers' Family Library, No. XLII.

The picture was painted for James Morrison, Esq., and is now in his possession.

THE

ECLECTIC MUSEUM

OF

FOREIGN LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

NOVEMBER, 18 4 3.

[blocks in formation]

interior of foreign life could have enabled him to delineate; joined with the shrewd judgments of a cosmopolite on the world about him. A little more knowledge of languages, we should have thought, would have done him no harm; his German is somewhat elementary; his sins against French orthography (albeit an accomplishment on which he prides himself) unpardonable; while with Polish and Russian, though he lived sixteen years in these countries, he does not seem to possess any

names of places and people in a manner only equalled by the most slovenly of modern tourists. But as he has managed to live and thrive without them, so he succeeds in giving his reader a tolerable insight into many things, of which some writers of greater pretensions convey no idea. Altogether, had we been consulted, in our consulting capacity, as to whether these records of the life of our medical friend should be given to the public, we should have felt some difficulty in advising on the case: as it is, we are glad that no opportunity was afforded us of giving the austerer counsel.

THIS is a rambling, discursive book;-the work of a clever and acute observer; but nowise remarkable for either thinking or style. It has been put together with as lit-acquaintance. He at least disfigures the tle pains as we ever remember to have seen exemplified in the operation of book-making. But it is, upon the whole, amusing; and it leads us to think favorably of the author himself. Sir George Lefevre (for so the writer is confidently named in some of the periodical publications of the day) has seen much of life—a great deal more than he chooses to communicate; and in what he has here revealed, it is not always easy to distinguish between 'dichtung' and wahrheit;'-to borrow the title of Goethe's Memoirs, which he has himself chosen by way of motto. Nothing, at any rate, can be more careless than his manner of throwing together his loose remarks on men and The travelling physician' first introthings; nothing more commonplace than duces himself to us in his capacity of medtwo-thirds of the matter with which he has ical student; having just picked up knowfilled up the predestined and favorite num- ledge enough to fancy himself the victim ber of three volumes. But the remaining of all the ills which flesh is heir to. It was portion consists of quaint anecdote, and under this conviction that he started on his descriptions of scenes and characters, such travels, after obtaining his degree at Edinas only an intimate acquaintance with the burgh. Each pain and ache,' says he, VOL. III. No. III. 19

• every comfortable sensation which I expe- | health; and we hear no more of his conrienced, seemed to indicate the last stage of sumption. consumption. I was continually feeling my pulse, taking a deep inspiration to discover whether I had any pain in my chest, attentive to every little symptom which might tend to strengthen the opinion which I had formed of my case. I had two objects to attain, and their mutual accomplishment was necessary to my existence. I had to regain my own health, and to procure the means of so doing by endeavoring to restore the health of others.'

After the termination of this engagement, we find him again in London, exerting himself to get on' in the usual course of his profession. He nearly succeeded in a great canvass for a Dispensary; but at last, although he could prove by his books that he had secured two-thirds of the bona fide subscribers, the candidate whom he feared the least created upwards of a hundred old women, whose proxies threw me,' he says, 'into the minority! I was in a rage, and the directors were in a rage, and a council was called, and a law was passed which pre

After three or four more years of hard study, anxious expectations, and no fees, he accepts a situation with Prince Paris, as family physician for five years.

at

"The Prince was a man who lived for the

The unpromising resource of East or West India practice was of course the first thing which offered itself under these pecu-vented such proceedings for the future; but liar circumstances; but fortunately, as it had no retrospective influence, and it did turned out for our physician, his endeavors not help me.' for employment in those quarters did not succeed; and in September 1819, after a period of that trying and anxious uncertainty which is usually allotted to the young pilgrim in his outset in that profession-one of the roughest passages in the life of all, and one with the sufferings of which there day, and only thought of the morrow as able to procure him possibly more entertainment than is the least sympathy to be met with-he the day. He seldom read, and if he did, it was found himself comfortably established as only a pamphlet, or the last new novel published travelling physician to Lord, then leav- by Avocat. With politics he never troubled ing England in the last stage of consump- himself, or he had, perhaps, been too much troution. We might, were it proper, fill up the bled by them. As regards general litrerature, blank with the name of a Scottish nobleman knew the merits of most authors, and could however, he seemed to be quite au fait; he of no ordinary character; one of those san- equally point out their defects. Speak of chemguine temperaments so often found in con- istry, he seemed thoroughly acquainted with junction with predisposition to this malady; the principles of the science. Physics he had a the projector of schemes of singular mag-natural talent for, and was often occupied in innitude, who lived, like many similar projectors, a little before his time, and would have found in our days a much wider field of action, and fellow-visionaries as zealous

as himself.

venting some plan to counteract the loss in vertical motion. He was a very fair mathematician. He was an excellent modern linguist, and could nothing of the classics. His conversation was speak half a dozen languages fluently. He knew replete with anecdote, for his memory was most English physicians had not then attained retentive, and he turned every thing he heard to the melancholy learning with which they his own account: he made it in fact his own. So now estimate the several varieties of air far from appearing to have neglected his educaand temperature in the regions to which tion, he seemed on the contrary to have studied a they recommend the victims of that appal-derived from what he had picked up in convergreat deal; and yet his whole information was ling complaint. They consigned their pa-sation, and little from books. His social powers tients to various by-places of the newly were great, and as he was not pedantic, but galopened Continent; but with results much lat and amiable in the extreme, so he was the same. Spain was talked of for winter- adored by the fair sex. The character drawn ing-then Montpelier-then Toulouse-by Segur of the famous Potemkin would apply and Pau was finally determined on, where the southern breezes blow freshly from the glittering icy wall of the Pyrenees, full in sight. Qui diable vous a conseillé de venir ici?' said the Basques, as they pointed to their mountains. The first breezes of spring heralded the departure of the poor invalid, and procured the doctor his release, and a pleasant solitary tour in the Pyrenees, where a village Esculapius seems to have laughed him out of his fancies about his

in many respects to the Prince.

most trivial. He would rise at five o'clock, put "I may observe, that his occupations were on his robe-de-chambre, and sit at his table in his study till ten or eleven o'clock A. M. During the whole of this time he was employed in sketching something upon paper, chewing the corner of hie pocket-handkerchief, and taking snuff; lifted his head from the table until he was sumwholly absorbed in these occupations, he hardly moned to breakfast. Then his latent faculties became free, and he would converse during the whole of this repast with his maître d'hôtel, or

his cook, if he had no other company. He seldom, however, was driven to such expedients; for as his table had the first reputation, there were seldom wanting guests in the shape of cousins, or nephews, or even of intimate friends. This repast, which generally lasted an hour, was always taken in the robe-de-chambre; and then he retired again to his cabinet, where he remained until it was time to dress himself for the more important duties of the day; such as are performed by a man with plenty of money, and without any official occupation, in the most dissipated city in Europe. It was a promenade with the Duchess of -, or the Countess of ; perhaps it was in paying court to the King, or more probably in doing nothing at all, with which he occupied himself till dinner-time. "If the time previous to this important epoch of the day, for to him la vie c'était le diner, was not all disposed of, he quietly undressed and went to bed, where he slept as soundly as at midnight, until his valet announced to him that it was time to dress. Then his imagination awoke, and he was employed in anticipating the quality of the repast till he found himself seated by the fair Duchess, and in the act of saying the prettiest thing in the world, or relishing a delightful mouthful of some choice dish. This was his element; he shone here as a bright star in the gastronomic firmament; but what greater eulogium can be paid him, than the one pronounced upon him by his own cook, who, in speaking of him, and discussing his different merits, observ. ed, that it was a pleasure to serve him; for, said he, 'Monsieur le Prince est essentiellement cuisinier.'"-Vol. i. 108. p.

more? Now be candid, and speak the truth boldly: you know that I cannot do without you.' "There is nothing like making an appeal to a man's feelings; it is by far the best way of attacking him. The cook felt the full power of the concluding part of the sentence-'I cannot do without you.'

666

"Why, sir, I admit that yours is an excellent situation; but you know, sir, that it is not equal to my expenses. I like society-to treat my friends handsomely. I am addicted to play: enfin j'ai une petite maîtresse; and you must be aware, Prince, that, all these things considered, your wages are not sufficient.'

"Good,' said the Prince: this is precisely the point to which I hoped to bring you. Tell me how much all this costs you over and above what I give you and I will make up the difference; only do not rob me.'

"The cook laid his hand upon his heart for a minute, and looking with an affectionate, and even grateful expression towards his master, replied in a suppressed sigh, 'Non, monseigneur ; je préfere de vous voler. Having said this he burst into tears, and hid his face in a cotton handkerchief. The Prince, seeing his distress, clapped him upon the shoulder, and encouraged him by saying, Bien, mon cher, très bien, comme tu le voudras.'"-Vol. i. p. 112.

We must find room for a couple of other portraits from the same Prince's household gallery-his French and Russian valets, Baptiste and Nicholas-each, like the cook, an arrant thief; but the one a thief of honor, the other of a religious turn. Thus says the Prince himself respecting them:

faithful servant enough in his way, but were I to "Were I to ask the former, who is a good and ask him, I say, to do any thing more than he thought consistent with his dignity, and the gloWere I to command him in the field, he would ry of the French name, he would spit in my face. willingly rush into the cannon's mouth, and this mand, but with the idea of serving his country not in mere obedience to my individual com

The artist in question had been cook to two Empresses, and was a man of merit, but an inveterate thief notwithstanding. "He had attended several courses of chemistry, and was always busy in inquiry. He observed to me once, indeed, with great emphasis, 'that with respect to cooks and physicians it might be said truly, that their education was never finished.' Though the man was a Gascon, there were some good points in his charac-through me, and doing his duty as a soldier.— ter. He was honest enough to confess his dis- thing which I tell him to do, because it is I who Whereas that bear, as you call him, does every honesty. whether I have the right to command him or tell him to do it. He never stops to consider

"The Prince, once shut up with him in his carriage, and proceeding gloomily along the road which leads to Smolensko, (soon after the termination of the campaign which reduced that city to ashes,) wishing no doubt to change his train of ideas, burst like a torrent upon his unsuspecting artist with the emphatic demand'Why do you rob me so? The poor astounded cook, who was at the very moment probably devising some plan of peculation, to make up for the time lost in a long, and for him unprofitable, journey of some weeks' duration, replied in an agitated tone, Sir, sir, I don't rob you, I only -only-only make the usual profits of my Stop,' said the Prince, 'I am not angry with you: I know that you rob me; but I wish to make an arrangement with you. Why do you do it! I give you a handsome salary, you have many perquisites, and what need have you of

[ocr errors]

not.

but then he will burn the other off for my sake. It is true, he will rob me with one hand, Such is human nature; such the difference between unpolished and civilized life.

"The difference of character in these two servants was strikingly illustrated when they were under my care. Baptiste had injured his leg, and the wound spreading, he became alarmed: seeing, also, that I did not look as if I gave him much hope, he inquired with much agitationEst ce que Monsieur le Docteur en ait une mauraise opinion?"

"We shall see, Baptiste: drink no wine.'

"The following day, as I entered his room, he first pointed to the bottle of wine, which was uncorked, and then undid his bandages with fear

« 上一頁繼續 »