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der, slit open like a rotten bag would do him, that he should -God of the love of women, face a sea of dark, and be seen never, never in life! The other but in outline by it. course, then? He pictured him- The bishop's procession, long self, the tall and comely youth, announced by the indefinable standing up alone before the hum a great crowd breeds, grim assembly of elders, flinty swept up the nave with a slipold men who knew nothing of pering of countless feet. The my Lord Amor, how he rides bishop in purple, his canons in afield in a rose-coloured garment, scarlet, his cross-bearer, his throwing a flower and a dart to chaplains and singing-men, the boy or girl as he goes. He saw bearer of his mitre, his ring on a dewy - eyed Battista owning a cushion ; after these the archhimself Love's priest. The deacon and his chaplains, the women called him Sebastian clergy of the city, heads of refor his beauty. A Sebastian ligious orders, representatives of he was, per Dio! stuck all over the civil arm, Can Signorio with with Amor's fiery darts. Like the officers of his household; Sebastian, by his persecutors he finally the silent eager people, would be stripped bare; like edging past each other, whisperthat martyr's enemies, they ing, craning their heads to see would wound his tender flesh; what there was and what there like Sebastian he would endure, was not to be seen.
So came casting his eyes upwards; and Verona in a multitude to the like Sebastian he would infal- great business of Fra Battista libly be wept by the women. and the ragpicker's wife, in
If women will weep for you reality thrilling with but one they will bleed for you; the thought: Madonna of the Peachfount of tears feeds a river as tree was in the city, for any well as betrays a hidden well. waking soul to see! Good then, good then! He saw After the penitential psalms, a future in all this. From the a litany, and the office appointed, , other spike of the dilemma he the bishop stood with his back saw nothing but his impaling; to the altar, and spoke urbi et in this case, if he was impaled, orbi from the text, “God, who balm at least would be laid upon in divers times and in divers his wounds. Fra Battista de- places,” &c. I cannot do more termined to brazen it out before than report the sum of his disVerona.
course, which was that, as it was They lit the tapers in the plain these late marvels had sanctuary betimes ; and then some root in the hidden ways all the brethren in their hoods of men's hearts, so it behoved sat in choir awaiting the bishop. him as a father to lay all such With him and his clergy should ways bare. That for himself, if come the reverend prior. Fra he might speak as a man only,
. Battista was to stand on the he was conscious of no sin unrood-step to make his purgation. purged which the apparitions He would be backed by the might condemn, and certainly light. So much of grace they (alas !) of no graces of his own
er of s
which they could have been de- The bishop having ended, the signed to reward. Let each prior (who was very nervous) speak for himself. If there was began. There were certainly any man in that vast assembly foxes here and there in the vineunshriven, let him confess now yard, wild grapes on the vines what his fault was; so that in- as well as grapes.
No comstant prayer might be made to munity was so holy but that, their glorious visitant for for- through excess of zeal, overgiveness by intercession. If, on inflamed by charity, it might the other hand, there was some nurture upon its bosom a fanged Christian virtue blossoming in snake. Might he not allude to secret, let them (brethren) find the detestable and never-enoughit speedily out, that thanks to-be-condemned sin of simony might be given for mercies which, as they knew only too vouchsafed. It was noticed well, had fattened in the Doafterwards that the death by minican convent at B- . ? butchery of the feudal lord was What should he say of that passed by without a comment. Friar Minor, the famous preachThere might have been a reason
who had been found for this in the circumstance that dead of a surfeit of melons and Can Grande II. had been warned white wine ? Alas! he brought of his sin, had nevertheless set the charge of gluttony—a deadly out to commit it, and had died sin—upon his order! Wonderin the act, as it had been fore- ful then would it be in such told. To discuss all this in the days as these if the most rehearing of Can Signorio, his nowned of all orders and most successor, might have been a venerable, that of Mount Cartask too delicate for the bishop. mel, should
pass unscathed But I believe that the scent of through the tempting fires ! the miraculous, which was all Not only wonderful, but in itabout him, was too much for self a snare. What a temptahim. He could nose out nothing tion to the sin of pride in the beyond the line which that frag- order! What a drawing on of rance seemed to point. All his others (too disposed already) to thoughts, with those of his audi- the sin of envy, to uncharitable tors, were upon Madonna of the speaking-ah, and to unlovely Peach-tree, whom there was no- dealing ! Let sin be owned, thing, absolutely nothing, to therefore, since men were born connect with Fra Battista, his sinners; but let purgation be doings and undoings. No one done, the wicked member detected this, so Can Grande plucked out, &c., &c. may have been inspired. A He passed to the sin of Fra great to-do, which no one had Battista--that promising young the rights of, was followed by apostle_handled it soberly yet mysterious appearances which gingerly, hinted extenuating cirno one pretended to understand. cumstances the pride of life, What more natural than that young blood, the
of one mystery should be allowed women, Satan's favourite sitto explain the other?
ting-places, &c. — drew a tear
or two from his own eyes and to be.
Indeed he had never floods from La Testolina ; and denied it; but not to deny is then called Fra Battista to different from bold affirmation,
forth that he might The prior, whose avowal had purge himself or be purged by also been tacit, looked pained : the cànon law.
avowals are painful things. Thus exhorted, Fra Battista, The bishop, more used to becomingly tonsured, delicately avowals, did his best to look combed, with an aspect most shocked; the archdeacon (promeek and hands at a pretty fessionally enough) thought droop, came demurely out of avowal the most indecent part the friars' door into the full of an indecent business. The light of the chancel. To the Dominicans looked at each bishop he bowed, to the altar other, frankly delighted; the he bent a knee, to his father Friars Minor told each other in religion he bent both; to what they had always said. the hush in the nave he cast What the people thought can a glance of wistful appeal. It only be guessed, for the nave was truly aimed. They could in darkness; but when see nothing of his face, nothing Battista had made an end a but the shape of him, yet the shuddering sigh came from a
sure he made a woman far down the church wistful appeal.
Many were and then stopped, hidden in affected; the anxiety to hear some hasty
movement him was intense, the squeezing there which could not be acfearful. An
fish- counted for. There seemed to seller from the Lago di Garda, be a stampede, a sudden rush who had
in express, to the side, the surging of leaned over La Testolina and some great unsuspected wave, ground a braized heel into her which broke, as it were, in toes. “Achi!” whimpered the the midst of the throng, and little laundress; but “Snakes of washed an open space to right Purgatory !” said the other, and left. Up in the choir, “what's a toe or less after the first surge of this when Madonna is round the wave (which made every heart corner with a blessing for us beat), all ears heard the longin her maunch ?"
drawn following “Ah!”—not In a rapt silence, with no fear only, not expectation made preface at all, Fra Battista real, but rather awe, expectamade direct confession to all tion shown just. It began his gods (whether remote or low and hollow, ran up to a throned within the sanctuary- hiss: then the silence rail) that he had committed such that the cracking of a the sin whereof he was ac- man's ankle-bone by the door cused. A perceptible shiver of sounded like a carter's whip at sensation swept over the church, the bishop's throne.
In that although everybody in it was deathly state the whole body sure, before he had uttered a of people remained breathless, word, what that word ought waiting what was to ensue.
Out of the dark, stealing (it is no mercy for the coward, appeared) from the middle of and none for him that serves
nave and floating down false gods. Go forth, thou the church upon a bodily sil- groper after vainglory, kennel ence, came a cold voice. Like with the swine!” a wind from the snow-moun- The voice ceased. Fra Battains it came in a thin stream, tista, who had been rocking before which Fra Battista shri- under its chill breath, fell with velled visibly. “O thou craven!" a thud. The bishop adored it said, “thou wicked man! what the altar; the rest — priests, sin can be greater than thine? monks, people alike broke If thou hadst done this thing into “Salve Regina," so loud, thou ownest, it had gone better so wild, the very church seemed with thee than now, when to shake. At that time the thou standest liar and west doors flung open of themboaster in a filthy cause. Wilt selves, and roaring wind thou foul thyself, Battista, and swept round, disastrous to think it honour? I tell thee that candles. A quick flicker of it was more tolerable for that blue flame jagged across the stoned wretch than it shall be nave; the thunder came infor thee; and it were better stant, pealing, crackling, braythat men should go unsouled ing ruin, fading at last to a like the dogs, committing of- distant grumble; and then the fence with their bodies, than rain. No one got home that souled horribly like thee, thou night with a dry skin; but it sinner of the mind, idolater of was Madonna who had quenched thine own image! Dost thou the doubting of Fra Battista, yet make slippery the ways of and washed fragrant the Mount Carmel, Battista ? Dost memory of Vanna to whomthou yet hang the pearls which soever had loved
her are the tears of Mary about thy As her lovers in early days neck? It shall be in such case had been many, it follows that Carmel will be her holy that they all forgot in the hill no more, and those same delight of reminiscence
any pearls turned to leaden bulls harsh judgments she had reto seal thee in Tophet. There ceived.
IX.—THE CROWNING PROOF.
The week went its
with- ences between order and order out further miracle; but Verona were forgotten. The root of had supped full of miracles, and disturbance - Vanna and her had need to digest. The signs baby, Fra Battista and his and wonders she had witnessed, luxurious imaginings, Baldasas one soul, in the church of sare and his addition the Carmelites had been so as- also forgotten. Baldassare was tonishing that you will easily at Mantua, Vanna* had been understand how all little differ- stoned to death (“martyred” was now the word) all was temples, caught up the child, well. Fra Battista had been and went out to meet her lord. quietly ridded the very next Standing before him in her morning: unfrocked he took cool cotton gown, there was the way of the Brenner and no sun in the dusky place but the mountains, and Veronese what her halo of hair made, history knows nothing further no warmth but that of her certainly of him. It is thought welcoming mouth. Half shyly he
may have got so far as she stopped, holding up the Prague, where at any rate a baby for him to see : it was perfervid preacher called Bap- not for her to make advances, tist von Bern was burnt for you must understand ; but it heresy in the year 1389 — a needed no magic to make one spreader of anabaptistical doc- believe that what a man's wife trines he was, Gospels of the should be to a man that was Spirit, Philadelphianism, and young Madonna Vanna to her what not. Everything settled rag-picker. Baldassare blinked down to routine : Can Signorio and tried to look harassed ; the to tyranny and coquetting with next minute he had pinched Gian Galeazzo of Milan (who Vanna's cheek. She put the finally swallowed him up); the baby into his wiry old arms— bishop to accommodating the a very right move of hers. claims of God, the Pope, and “Eh, bambinaccio,” he muthis temporal lord, to those of tered, highly pleased, “it is salvation and his stomach ; and good to see thee! So thou in like manner did every per
out to meet thy son in this narrative after his old dad—thou and thy little kind.
rogue of a mother? Come, Then on
a bright morning the pair of ye, and see what in early September old Bal- my pack has in store. The dassare came limping up the baby crowed and bubbled, Ponte Navi with his pack on Vanna nested her arm closer his back, paused a minute on to his ribs, and the trio went the bridge, as his habit was, into the house. to look down on the busy
A keen shot from one eye laundresses by the water, spat sufficed to assure the old feltwice, and so doing was ob- low that as well as served, threw a cracked "Buon' beauty he had domestic giorno, La Testolina !” over the treasure to wife. The house side, and went on his slow way as fresh as her cheeks, to the Via Stella.
as trim as her shape. “Now It was still very early, but the saints be good to this city not so early that Vanna was of Verona,” said he, “as to not in her shop-door sewing me they have proved not and crooning to the baby on amiss.” This was great praise her lap. She heard his step from Baldassare ; his generosthe moment he rounded the ity gave it point. From his bottom corner of the street, pack came a pair of earrings, blushed prettily from neck to –wagging, tinkling affairs of