« ForrigeFortsæt »
precipice, inaccessible from without to existence. Meanwhile, certain domes both man and beast, far remote withal tic events occurred, which (we will from any inhabited part of the con- charitably suppose) had not been at vent, and where not a sound was ever all in the contemplation of the Magniheard, except of wind and thunder, fico when he projected this memorable and now and then of a distant bell mystification. The supposed widow, tolling for Ave-Mary, and mass, or after mourning for six months with calling the brethren together to their the most exemplary patience, was, at meals. This place was judged by the the end of that period, persuaded to two conductors exactly suited to their bestow her hand, together with the purpose. So they went back to the possessions she had derived from her Court-yard where they had left their late husband, upon a friend of her unfortunate victim still locked up in brother, by name Michel Angelo, who the litter, from which they drew him was also a goldsmith, with whom she forth, half dead with hunger and now resided at Florence, in Master thirst, no less than with terror, and Manente's house, in all joy and festiconveyed him, with scarce a sign of vity, and was reported to be already knowledge or understanding, to the in a fair way of increasing the family habitation assigned him. They then establishment once more accoutred themselves in
Things were in this state, when Lotheir former habiliments, with the renzo, on his return to Florence, meetdrawn sword and tòrch and grinning ing accidentally a monk of Cainaldomasks, which were now so familiar to li, wh had journeyed thither after their captive, that he felt as much joy certain purposes relating to his conat the sight of them as of some long- vent, was suddenly reminded by the lost friend and acquaintance, more sight of him of Master Manente, especially as they brought with them whom he had so long forgotten, and the welcome addition of a good supper commissioned him accordingly to carry to stay the cravings of his stomach, back with him a letter which he wrote upon which he fell to like a cormo- to the Guardian, containing instrucrant.
tions how he was to proceed to act. We shall here take the liberty of with his prisoner. Meanwhile, that shortening some of the details of this unfortunate gentleman had generally memorable history. The two grooms, prevailed upon his keepers to relax the having delivered themselves of their extreme severity of the rules first charge, left him, (with directions to adopted with respect to him. He was two lay brothers of the monastery to allowed the light of a lamp, which serve him in the same manner as they added to the gratification afforded him themselves had been accustomed to by the meals which were provided for do,) and returned to gratify Lorenzo him, the pleasure of seeing the good with a report of their proceedings. It cheer which he tasted; and, though so happened that, shortly afterwards, neither Guardian normonks would the Magnifico had occasion to leave venture so far to transgress their Florence on affairs of state, which oc- orders as to hold any converse with cupied all his thoughts and attention him, they permitted him to testify his during an absence of several months, gratitude for the indulgence granted and caused him utterly to forget the him, by singing several of the airs poor doctor; and the Guardian and which he used to be celebrated for the monks of Camaldoli having, in all his skill in chanting among his old this time, received no counter-instruc- boon companions; besides which, he tions, went on, from day to day, treat- would sometimes, exercise his talent ing their prisoner precisely according of an improvisatore, and, at others, to what was first enjoined them; having a fine clear voice and good prowhile he, having learned to consider nunciation, would recite some of the his captivity as quite hopeless, had stanzas of Lorenzo's lately published gradually become in a manner recon- poems, entitled Selve d'Amore, all ciled to his fate, placing all his hap- which his hearers listened to with piness in eating and drinking, (the marvellous delight and satisfaction. materials for which were abundantly By this time he had nearly abansupplied to him,) and consuming in doned the hope of ever again beholdsleep almost all the hours which were ing the light of the sun ; when the not devoted to those noble purposes of monk whom Lorenzo had met in in the streets of Florence returned,' whither. By degrees, however, dayand delivered to the Father Guardian light broke upon his solitude, and so the letter that was intrusted to him; far encouraged him, that he set for«. on perusal of which, that Holy Fa- ward on his route by a little straggling ther took upon him forth with to carry path which he discovered among the into execution the instructions contain: trees, though wholly ignorant where it ed in it. Accordingly, before day- might chance to lead him. He had break the next morning after, the two not proceeded more than a quarter of lay brothers, habited as before, enters a mile before he reached a wider and ed the doctor's chamber, and having more trodden road, on the summit of made him get out of bed, caused him, an eminence, where he soon after met by signs, to clothe himself in a sailor's a muleteer, of whom he inquired dress, which they brought with them where he was, and was answered, at for the purpose, after which they La Vernia, to which his informant hand-cuffed and muffled him, and in added, “ But, what the devil! are that guise led him outside the gates you blind ? Don't you see San Franof the monastery. Master Manente cesco before you?” Upon which, looknow surely thought that the end of ing upwards, he beheld indeed the his life was at hand, and that he church of San Francesco, at the top of should never more taste bread; but, the hill, at no greater distance than though lamenting himself beyond two bow-shots from the place where measure, nevertheless, from the dread he was standing. of something worse that might befal It is impossible to describe the dem him, suffered himself to be led without light of Master Manente on finding resistance, wherever they pleased to himself once more at a spot already carry him. For two hours or more, familiar to him, as the scene of many they accordingly dragged him along a party of pleasure. He heartily thank through woods and bye-places, tili ed the muleteer, and set off full speed they arrived near the Vernia, where, for the convent, which he reached in at the foot of a very large pine-tree, good season, and found there a Miin the centre of a deep valley, they lanese gentleman, who, in travelling, stopped, and after binding him fast to had met with the misfortune of dis-, the trunk with vine-twigs, removing locating his ankle, and
was about senda the large hat from over his eyes, and ing for a doctor from Bibbiena to come the cloak from his back, and taking and set it. Manente, being informed off his manacles, they left him to him- of the circumstance, assured him there self, and ran away with the speed of was no need, as he was himself a phylightning; tracing back the way they sician, and would undertake his cure had come, and never resting till they in twenty-four hours ; and as, notreached Camaldoli, where nobody, in withstanding his seaman's attire, there the meanwhile, had noticed their ab- was that in his air and manner which sence.
inspired credit, the traveller was easia Master Manente, thus tied to the ly prevailed upon to accept his offer. tree and abandoned, was filled with. To make this matter short, the cure exceeding great fear; but, having lis- was speedily completed, and the doctened for a long while, and hearing no tor having received two ducats for his sound of any living creature near him, fee, and having also liberally regaled began to draw his hands together, himself at the expense of his patient, and easily slipped his ligatures. Hé, proceeded, in high spirits, on the road now looked up through the branches to Mugello, where (as we have said) of the tree and saw the stars shining, was his country-house, which he reach, by which he found that he was in the ed about sun-set. open air, and at liberty. His joy at Here, finding the gate shut, the this unexpected discovery, was some- first thing he did on his arrival, was what moderated by the new species of to call loudly, by name, on the bailiff, alarm which he experienced from the who had the charge of the place when nature of his situation-alone, in an the family were absent, and was anunknown, and seemingly impervious swered, in a strange voice, that the forest ; nor was he by any means with. person he called had long since left out apprehension of his masked con- that service, and was living at another ductors returning and carrying him farm a great way off
. This answer apaway with them again, the Lord knew peared not a little strange to him, as
he could not well digest the notion of length reached his own home in safew his wife having taken upon her to dis- ty, but was there denied admittance; miss his servants without his know-' begging, therefore, that she would: ledge. He pretended, however, to the forthwith send an order to the new country man who now addressed him, bailiff to receive him, together with a that he was an intimate friend of the change of linen, his cloak, boots, and master of the house, and intimated other necessaries, after which he would that he should be glad of a night's himself come to Florence the next day, lodging. The man, seeing his strange and there, in the arms of his dear Brigarb, was not well satisfied what to do gida, recount to her all the particulars upon the occasion. However, he was of the wonderful events that had beat last prevailed upon by Master Ma- fallen him. nente's fair speaking, and admitted Michel Angelo, the goldsmith, hahim into his little cabin, where he was ving (as has been said) made up his invited to partake of the slender sup- mind to its being an imposture, now per provided for the household. The wrote in the name of the lady, and redoctor being resolved not to make him- turned by the same messenger, a letter self known to these people, asked no full of wrath, commanding the prequestions about the family; but, see- tender to depart in God's name, or he ing pen, ink, and paper, on a table, sat would otherwise send the officers to lay down and wrote a short letter to his hold of him; and this being dispatchwife, which he gave to the labourer's ed, he returned to his shop, leaving son in charge to deliver the first'thing Monna Brigida at home full of susin the morning at his house in Flo- pense and half stupified. rence. He then betook himself to rest Master Manente had passed the day on the bed of straw, which was all the in strolling to the house of a friend of accommodation they had to offer him, his who kept poultry, about three miles and on which he soon fell asleep, not- off, to whom he passed himself for a withstanding the multitude of thoughts traveller just arrived from Albano, and which now began to distract him. where (without making himself known
Next morning, by the first dawn of to him) he purchased a pair of fat caday, Manente's messenger set off for pons, which he carried back with him Florence with the letter, and, reaching for his supper, fully expecting, on the Master Manente's house by dinner- return of his messenger, to be recogtime, delivered it into the hands of his nized as master, and admitted into his good lady, Monna Brigida, who, re- own mansion. He was not greatly decognizing her husband's
hand-writing, lighted, therefore, at finding a very was ready to faint away on the spot. different reception, nor at the delivery Her grief and consternation increased of a note without seal or subscription on perusal of the letter, and were still the contents of which were still more farther augmented by the answers displeasing to him than the mode of which the boy returned to her inqui- address or delivery. His host of the ries concerning the person, voice, and preceding night gave him moreover to stature of him who had sent it. She understand, (in no very courteous lanimmediately sent for Michel Angelo, guage,) that he must look out elsethe goldsmith, who was no less sur- where for a lodging ; a demand which prised than she had been at reading the poor doctor did not stay to hear the letter ; but, nevertheless, holding repeated, but told him he would deit for certain that Manente was dead part immediately. His mind now beand buried, gave it as his opinion that gan to misgive him, that he had, in the person who wrote it was an impos- good truth,
made an exchange of his tor, who had adopted this contrivance own personal identity, and was no longfor accomplishing some unlawful pur- er Master Manente; insomuch that, pose, either with regard to her person, in a voice at once the most humble or her late husband's property; the and disconsolate, he entreated the councontents of the letter shortly being, tyman to tell him who was his masthat the writer informed his dearly ter; whereto the cour:tryman replied, beloved consort, how, after many and that his master was Master Michel strange perils had passed, after being Angelo, the goldsmith, whose wife shut up for a twelvemonth in fear of was Monna Brigida. He then inquihis life, and having finally escaped by red again whether this Monna Brigià miraculous Providence, he had at da had ever before been married ; to
which the countryman returned for almost beside himself. By this it was answer, Yes; and that her former hus- dinner-time, and, in a state of despebánd, (as he had heard say,) was Mas- ration, he betook himself to his old ter Manente, a physician, who died one quarters, Delle Bertucce, where the day of the plague, and had left an only landlord, Master Arnadore, was anoson, called Sandrino, (or little Alex- ther of his most familiar companions, ander.) “ Alas! alas !” exclaimed the who, after he had sat there some time, physician, “ what is this you tell observed to him that he thought he me !". And then asked many other had seen his face before, but could not questions, to all which the man an- remember where, or on what occasion ; swered that he was not able to inform to which the mortified doctor replied him, being himself from the Casenti- that it was very likely, as he had no, and an entire stranger to the neigh- formerly resided for some time in Flobourhood of Mugello.
which he had left to go to sea, · Master Manente now determined and, being now returned, intended to with himself to leave his present quar- take up his abode here again; whereters without farther delay; and, as he with the said Amadore appeared to be had still two hours of day-light, took perfectly satisfied, and asked no farthe road towards Florence, comforting ther questions. himself with the hope that his wife He now, having dined, resolved at and relations had been deceived by all hazards to make himself known to some false report of his death, but Monna Brigida that same evening; would immediately recognize him on and accordingly, when he juriged his returning among them. He arri- it a convenient time, he sallied forth ved late in the evening at a public- once more to the street de' Fossi, house, about a mile from the city, and having given two loud knocks at where he rested for the night, eating the door, the lady herself came to ask only two poached eggs for his supper; who was there.—To whom the poor and the next morning early, having physician answered, “It is I-open discharged his reckoning, proceeded to the door to me, my dear Brigida. Florence, and walked half-way through “ And who are you?” rejoined the the city without being recognized by a lady. To which Master Manente resingleindividual, although he met seve- plied in a whisper, so as not to be ral of his old friends and acquaintances, heard by all the neighbourhood, so entirely was he metamorphosed by “Come hither, and I will tell you." his seaman's habit. At last, turning the Monna Brigida, to whom both the corner of the street de' Fossi, he saw voice and looks of the unwelcome vihis wife, leading his little boy by the sitor appeared greatly to strengthen hand, enter the house, as they were the misgivings which his letter had returning from mass; and, being well occasioned, declined obeying his sumassured that she also had seen him, mons, and said only, “Whosoever you but without shewing the least sign of are, tell it me directly, and what you knowledge, his heart misgave him; want?”—“Don't you see?” answered and, instead of going directly home, the physician—"Is it not i-your Maas was his first intention, he went to nente- your true and lawful husband Santa Croce, to find one Master Sebas-, -and are you not my wife, whom I tiano, his confessor, thinking that he am come back to claim, after a long would be a good negotiator ; but, upon and cruel absence?”_' Master Mac inquiry, was told that he had gone to nente, my husband—you certainly are Bologna, upon which he was quite in not ?" said the lady, " seeing that he despair, and could not tell what step is dead and buried." “ How, Brigiwas next to be taken.
da ?-dead !” rejoined the physician Thus, having made the circuit of “No-I never died, nor was buried !” the city, through the Piazza, and both And then he added.“ Open the door the old and new market places, and quickly--for love's sake, open. Why, having met, among divers others of his don't you know me again, my own old acquaintance, his most intimate dear love? Am I then so metamorfçiends, Biondo the broker, Feo the mu- phosed? Nay, open, open, and I will sician, Leonardo the saddler, and Mas- immediately convince you that I am ter Zenobio the barber, without any still living." “ What !” said the obof them appearing to have the least durate lady ; and are you then the recollection of him, he became at last impudent fellow that sent me a letter VOL. XIV.
yesterday? Begone! begone instant- retreated in the direction of St Maria ly--and a plague upon you! If my Novella, while the crowd made way husband returns, and finds you here, for him on every side, crossing themthere will be the devil to pay." selves with all their might, and ran
A crowd of people was by this time ning and tumbling over each other in collected round the door. Whereupon their fright, no less than if they had Monna Dorothea, a very decent per, actually beheld one risen from the sonage, who lived opposite, and had dead. witnessed all that had passed, said to For that night he again took up his Brigida—" Have a care, daughter, old quarters at the Bertucce, intending for this may well be Master Manente's the next morning to have recourse to spirit, seeing that, verily, he much re- the spiritual court for assistance. But, sembles him in voice and figure. Speak desirous to make one more trial, he to it, then, and ask it in civil language, proposed to his host to invite Burchiwhether or no it wants aught with ello,* and Biondo the broker, (than thee ?" Upon which Brigida, who whom he had not two more intimate was half inclined to believe the truth friends in the world) to sup with him; of what she now heard, began with which mine host gladly undertook, piteous accents thus to accost him,- and the invitation being as gladly ac
Oh, blessed spirit! hast thou any- cepted, they all three met at the Berthing which presses upon thy con- tucce at the hour appointed. science ? , Dost thou require the office At their first meeting, Burchiello for the dead to be performed for thee? exhibited some signs of recognition, Hast thou any undischarged vow to particularly on hearing the sound of accomplish ? Say what thou wouldst his voice ; and Master Manente, on have, oh gentle 'spirit! and then de- his feet, paid him the most marked part in peace, and in God's name.” attention, saying that he had been inMaster Manente, having this invoca- duced, by his reputation, thus to seek tion, was half inclined to laugh out in the honour of his acquaintance ; for spite of his vexation; but he simply all which, Burchiello thanked him answered, by assuring her, that he was with due formality. They then sat still living, and that she had only to down to table; and while they were open the door to be convinced it was waiting for supper, Master Manente so. She, nevertheless, went on, cross- entertained them with a long fabulous ing herself, and asking if the poor narrative of his life, and the cause ghost required the mass of St Gregory which had brought him hither. Burto be said for it; and then, also, Mon- chiello had by this time whispered na Dorothea, in like manner, chimed Biondo that he never saw so great a in with her, saying, “ Spirit of grace! likeness as of this man to their old if so be that thou art in purgatory, friend Manente; and that, if he had declare it, in order that thy good wife not been sure he was dead, he should may perform jubilee, and withdraw say, that without doubt, it was he thee from the place of thy torments.” himself—to which Biondo fully asThen, making the longest signs of the sented. cross ever seen, and repeating at every Meanwhile mine host, having put all moment her“ Requiescat in pace,” all things in oriler, the sallads made their the people who stood round about be appearance, accompanied by bread and gan by degrees to do the same, and two flasks of sparkling wine ; upon the withdraw themselves to a more awful sight of which they left off their disdistance ; seeing which, and that there course, and set to with excellent apwas no chance of his making any far- petites, mine host and Burchiello tather impression on Monna Brigida, king the inside of the table, and Massupported as she was by her old gossip- ter Manente and Biondo the opposite ing neighbour, the poor disconsolate seats. Thus, while they ate and drank, doctor once more quitted the field, and Burchiello kept his eyes constantly
* Domenico Burchiello was a burlesque poet, so celebrated in his day as to have given name to a peculiar species of composition, called after him the Burchiellesca. (See Gin. guené.) This Burchiello, (the poet,) died, however, in 1448, when Lorenzo was a child. Either (therefore, he is not the same with the Burchiello of this story, or we have detected Lasca in an anachronism.