« ZurückWeiter »
showing people through the bogs and enough; but none of us had an idea, till puddles of man's world; the former more we were there, that they form only the powerful to raise men's hearts and fourth étage as it were of a four-storied thoughts to a higher tone.
building. We were taken about the I wish you could hear thoughtful men great square which they enclose, with here speak of what the conception of its barrack buildings, its mounds of such a character has even already done shells, its great guns and big mortars. for the degraded Neapolitans. They are When we had seen the top part, which a people quick of apprehension and ap- covers an immense space, they asked us preciation. Try to realise the disadvan- if we would like to see the covered battages they have had. They were never teries. They opened a large gate in the taught about Christ; and to many of them middle of the enclosed square, and with the idea of right for right's sake, and of a lantern we began to descend a wide all that is true, noble, and devoted, has paved road, almost as steep as a stairdawned upon them first through Gari- case. When we reached the lower level baldi, and already worked a kind of re- we found ourselves among immense tungeneration in their feelings and opinions. nels, very wide and lofty, which follow, Do not think me irreverent-I do not at a varying distance of from ten to give this more than its true weight; I thirty feet from the outside, the shape only mean that such an example and of the great rock on which the upper influence as his, acting upon the inner building stands. Wherever the tunnel character of the units which make up approached near enough to the outside, the vast population of the country, ap- the intervening mass was pierced with a pears to those who are here and observe great round hole, at which stood a cannon it, not a substitute for the Christian faith, (they now have all got their noses turned but a treasure of greater worth than any inwards); and from the heavy mysterishining statesman's qualities. We be- ous gloom of these huge caverns you lieve that it will make the people more caught sight of the most exquisite little worthy to profit by what statesmanship vignette views framed in black rock, may secure to them now; so that each sometimes fringed with maiden-hair will do his work. This part of Gari- fern---little pictures perfectly painted. baldi's work, however, is not so widely The effect was wonderful, from the conunderstood as his generalship. Even centration of light caused by looking the fighting could not have been success- through a tube, perhaps fifteen feet long, ful without him. If Victor Emmanuel with black darkness on our side. At had invaded, he would have probably one time it was the Red Palace with its found much more opposition here. It is arcades; at another a museum or church; Garibaldi who represents the moral then a bright bit of sea with men-offeeling, and embodies the longings which war riding at anchor. The maiden's hair have stirred all hearts; and this gave him was not growing at all; for some had the power all before him.
been newly chiselled out, to enable the EXTRACT 4.- VISIT TO ST. ELMO.
guns to be better pointed down into the
street. There were, perhaps, thirty in all. Saturday, 27th.— We went to St. Then they showed us the big ovens quite Elmo. You know from pictures that at hand to red-heat the balls that they the fortress is built on a rock, three might set fire to any building they sides of which shelve steeply down; struck, and balls standing near, waiting the fourth merges into the hill behind, to be heated. Some of the guns swept still standing somewhat higher than the the drawbridge and causeway by which hill.
one ascends from the outer wall ; and From the ramparts you see the whole there are all the necessaries for a body of Naples like a map spread out. The of troops to live down there, even if the huge walls of the fortress, growing outworks were taken-mills for grindstraight out of the rock, look imposing ing corn, bread-ovens, sleeping huts,
&c. This place is perfectly bomb proof. when inhabited by people who were They talked of destroying St. Elmo; but never let out, who had no mattresses, none of us could understand how they and had to wear their clothes night and could destroy this place, except by blast- day! And, if so much cheating goes on ing away the entire hill.
about the food in the hospitals, which Here and there were trap-doors which are open to every visitor, how may we led down to lower étage just like the imagine these people were fed ! upper one: that makes three floors; and There was one cell still worse than the now come the dungeons.
others. A little winding staircase led up These have no communication with to it. Even with the door wide open you the batteries. To reach them we went could not see the person at your elbow. a long way down the sloping covered Of course I had heard and read all about road which leads to the Castle from the the prisons, as you will read this ; but, drawbridge. I think the door we went standing there, it came upon me as it in by was on a level with the mouths had never done before, as a new sense, of those wicked gun-holes. After enter- what it would be to have that door shut ing it we went still further down steps upon one. Even when it was open, the and sloping passages cut roughly in the darkness seemed to weigh like a year of rock, until we came to a large circular midnight on my chest, and to crush dome-shaped cavern, the light of wbich the breath out. I don't think I should was very dim. At one side of this cave- have courage to try to keep alive there; hall, there was a funnel-shaped opening, should lie down on that plank bed beginning wide and growing narrower, and never move any more. A man was until it reached the face of the rock and kept sixteen years in that hole! In open air, where it was heavily barred. that moment the last spark of pity I I think it looked towards the sea and had felt for the Bourbons died out of islands of the west, but we could not me, and I could have clapped my hands see anything distinctly. All around for joy to think that it was over.
In this hall were little huts of mason work, other countries a single abuse may arise, detached one from the other, that there like that on which Charles Reade, has might be less chance of communication. founded his novel Never too late to They had heavy doors faced with iron, mend; but this was the system upheld if I remember rightly, and in each door by the Government, and known in all a little window with a heavy shutter its details to Bomba at least, and made and bolts ; and it was only through this use of not against criminals, but against window that the cell could borrow a noble-minded men-against many even little light from the large cave which stupidly innocent, who had not an idea was already so dim, and from which not of being patriots, but in whose dusty a speck of green or of sky could be seen. book-shelves might have been found I imagine, from the shape of the bars in some book with a forbidden name or the little window, that the door was word in its pages, which had probably never opened even to give food. The never been opened by its present owner. windows had an opening into which There is a good reason for never finding you could have slid a soup plate, which a library in the house of a Neapolitan. will give you an idea of their size ; and But these are not the worst prisons. the people there confidently assert that They are dry : there are others by the the shutters were closed by day. In- sea which drip night and day; and a side each hut was a bed made of two gentleman who was with us had been boards, fixed in the corner, a little informed by one of the released prisonsloping, to save a pillow ; in one the ers of a torture invented by his jailorbed was of stone, with a pillow cut in to dash on him, through an opening at stone. They have been cleaned out and the top, cold water at any time, night or white-washed, but the stench is still day. He could not avoid it in any part
without expecting it. It became a haunt- have taken thousands of feet to wear ing terror to him, and he had to remain the steps like this ; and certainly those shivering in his wet clothes until they feet had not carried people there for dried upon him. It was a way of ex- their own pleasure. There is another torting money from the friends of a
gate at the bottom, and more cells prisoner, to torture him unless bribed
opening upon the stairs. It is true that not to do so. There were names and all around the sides of this cave, about dates inscribed on the rock-one of a the height of a man's head and chest, Spanish nobleman 200 years ago. Some the walls are marked with round holes, told of very long imprisonments : it which Captain said he could not seemed as if the very rocks were im- imagine having been made by anything pregnated with sighs and tears, and but a bullet. Supposing that this was used groans, and as if they weighed and not for political prisoners, but in cases crushed one's heart with misery.
of military revolt, yet what a system to But there is more to tell, very horrible put men into a wild beast's hole and and mysterious. In the middle of this shoot them down, instead of having an large cave there was a great round hole, open execution after fair trial ! The best with a low parapet wall enclosing it; colour one can put upon it is horrible. and, looking down into it, we saw another I took the children: it will not be my hall cut in the rock, like that in which fault if they do not grow up haters of we stood-larger because of not being tyranny and dark dealing. I did not filled with the cells, and very deep- allow them, however, to go into the cells, lighted by a slanting shaft to the open- lest they should be poisoned ; but sent ing of the upper one.
They told us them up into the blessed light of day. that this was the place in which they When we came up again upon the huge used to put a number of prisoners, ramparts, and saw the celestial looking whom they wanted to get rid of, together, sunset over the peaks of Ischia, and the and shoot them from above. There was rosy clouds mirrored in the bay, it made an iron gate in the side of the upper my heart ache the more for those who had hall which led down by a staircase cut spent years without being able to tell in the rock to the under one-a wide the winter from the summer, scarcely staircase, the ends of the steps sharp, the day from the night. I hope many but in the middle worn into one con- of them have it made up to them now tinuous slope. Even if the story of the in glories which the eye of man hath shooting is an exaggeration, it must not seen, nor his ear heard.
Not that three armies thou didst overthrow,
BY HENRY KINGSLEY, AUTHOR OF
AN ACCOUNT OF THE FAMILY OF RAVEN
Now, although the Ravenshoes, like all respectable houses, have an hereditary lawsuit (a feud with the Humbys, of Hele), a ghost (which the present Raven
shoe claims to have repeatedly seen in I had intended to have gone into quite early youth), and a buried treasure, yet a family history of the Ravenshoes, from I have never heard that they had a the time of Canute to that of her present banshee. Had such been the case, that Majesty, whom I here humbly congratu- unfortunate spirit would have had no late of having wiser advisers than the sinecure of it, but rather must have monarch last mentioned, as she has kept howling night and day for nine never yet been so unfortunate as to wet hundred years or so, in order to have her Royal feet through the bad advice got through her work at all. For of either party-I had meant, I say, the Ravenshoes were almost always to have been quite diffuse on the annals in trouble, and yet had a facility of getof one of our oldest commoner fami
ting out again, which, to one not aware lies; but, on going into the subject, of the cause, was sufficiently inexplicable. I found I must either chronicle little
Like the Stuarts, they have always taken affairs which ought to have been for- the losing side, and yet, unlike the gotten long ago, or do my work in a very Stuarts, have always kept their heads on patchy and inefficient way. When I say their shoulders, and their house over that the Ravenshoes have been engaged their heads. Lady Ascot says that, if in every plot, rebellion, and civil war, Ambrose Ravenshoe had been attainted from about a century or so before the in 1745, he'd have been hung as sure Conquest to 1745, and that the history as fate : there was evidence enough of the house is marked by cruelty and against him to hang a dozen men. I rapacity in old times, and in those more myself, too, have heard Squire Densil modern by political tergiversation of the declare, with great pride, that the Ravenblackest dye, the reader will under- shoe of King John's time was the only stand why I hesitate to say too much in Baron who did not sign Magna Charta ; reference to a name which I especially and, if there were a Ravenshoe at Runnyhonour. In order, however, that I may mede, I have not the slightest doubt. give some idea of what the hereditary that such was the case. Through the character of the familiar is, I must just Rose wars, again, they were always on lead the reader's eye lightly over some of the wrong side, whichever that might the principal events of their history. have been, because your Ravenshoe,
The great Irish families have, as is mind you, was not bound to either side well known, a banshee, or familiar spirit, in those times, but changed as he fancied who, previous to misfortune or death, fortune was going. As flits moaning round the ancestral castle. was the sort of man who generally joined
a party just when their success was in- of facts, would have consigned him to a dubitable—that is to say, just when the rather speedy execution. However, the reaction against them was about to set in King seems to have looked on this -he generally found himself among the gentleman with a suspicious eye, and to party which was going down hill, who have been pretty well aware what sort despised him for not joining them before, of man he was, for I find him writing to and opposed to the rising party, who his wife, on the occasion of his going to hated him because he had declared against Court—" The King's Grace looked but them. Which little game is common “sourly upon me, and said it should go enough in this present century among • hard, but that the pitcher which went so deep dogs, and men of the world, who soft to the well should be broke at last. seem, as a general rule, to make as little “Thereto I making answer, 'that that by it as ever did the Ravenshoes. "should depend on the pitcher, whether
Well, whatever your trimmers make “it were iron or clomb,' he turned on his by their motion now-a-days, the Raven- "heel, and presently departed from me." shoes were not successful either at liberal He must have been possessed of his conservatism, or conservative liberalism. full share of family audacity to sharpen At the end of the reign of Henry VII. his wits on the terrible Harry, with they were as poor as Job, or poorer. such an unpardonable amount of treason But, before you have time to think of it, hanging over him. I have dwelt thus behold, in 1530, there comes you to long on him, as he seems to have poscourt a Sir Alured Ravenshoe, who in- sessed a fair share of the virtues and continently begins cutting in at the top vices of his family—a family always of the tune, swaggering, swearing, dress- generous and brave, yet always led astray ing, fighting, dicing, and all that sort of by bad advisers. This Alured built thing, and, what is more, paying his Ravenshoe house, as it stands to this way in a manner which suggests success- day, and in which much of the scene ful burglary as the only solution. Sir of this story is laid. Alured, however, as I find, had done no They seem to have got through the worse than marry an old maid (Miss Gunpowder Plot pretty well, though I Hincksey, one of the Staffordshire Hinck
can show you the closet where one of seys) with a splendid fortune; which the minor conspirators, one Watson, lay fortune set the family on its legs again perdu for a week or more after that for some generations. This Sir Alured gallant attempt, more I suspect from the seems to have been an audacious rogue. effect of a guilty conscience than any He made great interest with the King, thing else, for I never heard of any diswho was so far pleased with his activity tinct charge being brought against him. in athletic sports that he gave him a post The Forty-five, however, did not pass in Ireland. There our Ravenshoe was so quite so easily, and Ambrose Ravenshoe fascinated by the charming manners of went as near to lose his head as any the Earl of Kildare that he even accom- one of the family since the Conquest. panied that nobleman on a visit to Des- When the news came from the north 'mond ; and, after a twelvemonth's unau- about the alarming advance of the thorized residence in the interior of Highlanders, it immediately struck Ireland, on his return to England, he Ambrose that this was the best opporwas put into the Tower for six months tunity for making a fool of himself that to “consider himself.”
could possibly occur.
He accordingly, This Alured seems to have been a without hesitation or consultation with deuce of a fellow, a very good type of the any mortal soul, rang the bell for family. When British Harry had that his butler, sent for his stud-groom, difference we wot of with the Bishop of mounted every man about the place Rome, I find Alured to have been en- (twenty or so), armed them, grooms, gaged in some five or six Romish plots, gardeners, and all, with crossbows and such as, had the King been in possession partizans from the armoury, and rode