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her voice instead of that of duty and although no longer young or beautiful, honor, and hence is lost forever. On appears to Leonforte to be a suitable hearing the tale, Cerasi, the cynic, and match, and she in turn is captivated by throughout the Mephisto of this amia- him, and after putting him to the lest ble but weak-minded Faust, sums up by telling him she has lost her fortune, the whole situation with the character- which he does not believe but feigns istic comment, “We wished to make a not to care for, she marries him against statesman of him, and have only suc- the advice of all her old friends, who ceeded in making a Monsieur Alphonse. rightly mistrust Paolo. This mistrust Before creating a man a deputy I shall naturally brings about a breach, and in future be careful to look at the color Norina, removed into a higher social of his eyes; those blue eyes of his were sphere, is isolated from all her old asfatal, I always said so.”
sociations. The friends, however, were
right. If they could but have read "L'Onorevole Paolo Leonforte,” by Paolo's thoughts after his acceptance! Enrico Castelnuovo, an able though Thus ran the rede: "Henceforth the perhaps not a first-class writer, is an- future was his. Yet a short while and other book of the lass which shows he would be rich, and with riches one pretty plainly the way the political and can aspire to everything. It is true he social wind is now blowing in Italy. must swallow the pill of this ugly and Paolo Leonforte is one of those trim- mature wife, but when it was a quesmers, time-servers, and generally des. tion of rising it did not matter that the picable characters to whom well ap- stairway should be beautiful; it sufficed plies the mordant saying of Nietzsche, that it should be solid." In short, that Man begins where the State ends. Paolo 'had married Norina to help his This hero is a self-seeker who has no ambition, while she, poor soul, had policy except that which suits his own married him for love, or, rather, for interests for the moment-a clever, passion. Soon, all too soon, the glamour amiable, unscrupulous rascal. The vanishes, and Norina recognizes that heroine for this book has also a hein
she is not happy. For one thing, her ine, who occupies as important a place husband is still young and handsome, as the hero—is a certain Eleonora Br. while she is neither, despite the pains saldi, Norina, as she is familiarly called, she takes with her toilet. Paolo soon a woman no longer in the first flushes sets up an official friend, the Marchesa of youth, in easy circumstances, a mu- Olimpia Tremonti, a picturesque chatsical and artistic amateur, who lives a
terbox who has an elderly husband. thoroughly respectable but unconven- This Marchesa is a cynical and up-totional life, and surrounds herself with date young lady, who affects a greai artistic and literary men. The idea of liking for Norina, and wants to initiate marriage has long been banished from
her into society. Norina, who au fond her mind, even if ever had much
is a real grande dame, does not care for place there; her friends, their society society—she cares only for her husgathered around her every evening in band, who unhappily does not care for her rooms at Venice, suffice her needs, her. The sketches of frivolous Veneand for female friendship she has the tian society in the early chapters of the affection of her cousin, Emilia Vol- book are drawn with a master's 'hand; piano, sister-in-law to an ex-aspirer to the modern adoration of wealth is Norina's hand. Into this group
of sharply satirized. Olimpia and Paolo bons camarades enters the Count Leon- have a retreat where they meet at forte, “a dilettante, half-bourgeois, stated times; but though he likes the half-aristocrat, half-engineer, half- intrigue, Paolo keeps his head, even speculator, a Stock Exchange being,” with Olimpia, whom he hopes to manipas one of Norina's friends, disgusted at ulate to his aims. At this time 1.com this interloper into their cosy circle, forte is agent in Venice for a Belgian contemptuously describes him. Nor!:, insurance company. He leaves most of
the work, however, to his clerks-one a generosity. He and his wife remove to Radical, Merizzi; one purely Conserva- the villa for the summer months. tive, Valeriani. Of course they quarrel Norina, who is beginning to underincessantly. But the padrone does not stand her husband's deep game, is told care; he has chosen them of opposite that she must make herself agreeable views on purpose; he wishes by their to all the notabilities of the district and means and without appearing himself to all the electors, and open house is to keep himself informed as to what is kept at the villa, which he runs in a thought and done in the two opposite style that none can remember since the camps of political opinions. But an in- departed days of the Corimbo's glory. surance agency does not suffice for Corimbo, to whom, of course, LeonLeonforte's ambition. He sees that forte and his wife are especially atthis is a lucky moment for floating a tentive, has a niece, an eccentric child, company, and he plays upon the vanity who after much resistance becomes the of Olimpia's weak-minded husband, friend of Norina, when she recognizes who finds himself in a tight place ow- that this rich woman is not happy, deing to her extravagance, to induce him spite all appearances to the contrary. to propose the establishment of a joint- Norina, amiable, honest, straightforstock bank in North Italy, of which ward, is just the person to win over Tremonti should be one of the paid di- the electorate, with whom she is soon rectors. The idea catches on, and the most popular, while Leonforte himself bank is floated with much éclat, with coaxes and flatters and cajoles and inmany aristocratic names on the com- directly bribes the whole village, inmittee and a duke as figurehead. The cluding Corimbo, the old deputy whom next step is for Leonforte to become a he is fast crowding out of his seat in deputy. It is put forward that thus be the most amiable manner imaginable. can best help the bank. To attain this "Tant pis pour lui," says Leonforte in end he begins by taking a villa in the his inmost thoughts, “if he be the country, at Sant' Agnese in Colle, after weakest." having cast about in all directions to see where there was a villa belonging He had also desired to put himself in to some deputy whom he could oust, connection with the other two deputies of a deputy who must be weak and yield- the neighboring constituencies, and had ing. To acquire this villa he causes
prudently informed himself if there were Merizzi to write to the then existing
not one weaker than Corimbo, for, after deputy of the district, Cesare Corimbo, ousted Corimbo or any other deputy. But
all, it mattered little to him whether he the proprietor of the villa, to sound him the result of his inquiries had shown him as to whether he would let it for the that he must not change his battle-field. season. Leonforte knows that Corimbo Corimbo's two companions were worth is in financial difficulties, and hopes by very much less than he; they were two thus obliging him to get him in his selfish idlers who had never devoted an toils. This Cesare Corimbo is a patriot
hour of their time nor a drop of their blood of the old school, whom Leonforte re
to their country; but it did not matter-gards as only fit to be shouldered out they had great possessions, a good foundaby the new men-by the type, in short, of the support of some minister or other,
tion of connections, and were always sure to which Leonforte secretly belongs, because, in his turn, some minister or who regard politics, as an old ambassa- other was always sure of their support. dor once said, as an “affaire de chant. Therefore, all things considered, age, de marchandage, et souvent de Count Paolo was not wrong in directing brigandage.” The villa is too expen
his batteries against the Onorevole Cor. sive for the finances of the Corimbo rimbo. Corimbo was wrong in being the
weaker of the two, . family, crippled as it is by the sacrifices voluntarily offered towards the
That year, ever since the reopening oi
Parliament in November, it could be seen making of Italy. Leonforte's offer is that the ministerial majority had lessened made with much delicacy and great noticeably. The difference made itself
felt less in the public voting than in the step is to buy the villa, which Corimbo private, which meant that many deputies is forced most reluctantly to sell, and who could not yet make up their minds to thus he, so to speak, buys the seat. A secede openly from the Cabinet were con.
real struggle for it there has never spiring privately to injure it. An evil been, still Corimbo, though maimed, is custom of our Chamber, a sign of small determined to fight, and puts up for minds and weak characters.
election,-a forlorn hope, as all who Hence there occurred a ministerial have eyes to see recognize. crisis,
“Certainly,” he says, “the old After which the members were sent to should make way for the young. I undertheir homes for the carnival vacation. stand, but on one condition-namely, that But only the least ambitious and the least the young should have given proofs that concerned went away. All those who they think of something beyond their own hoped to obtain a portfolio or a secretary- interests, that they have character. Charship, all who were eager to get into the acter, Mairani, is what we of the old good graces of the rulers of the morrow, school place above everything; character whoever they might be, remained in Rome is the abnegation without which, I assure to hatch heir plots the halls and corri- you, we should still have the Austrians in dors of Montecitorio. As had been fore- the land. Or perhaps you think your seen, the king intrusted the task of form- Leonforte has character? Look here; I ing the new Administration to the Onore- am a fool, but perhaps not so great a one vole Fuscelli, who, not without some
as you suppose.” trouble, composed a Cabinet of mosaics which looked like a chemist's draught. So to desist, to resign on the plea of age,
His sister, his true friends, beg bim many grams of Neapolitans, so many of Sicilians, of Umbrians, of the Romagna,
or of ill-health. of Tuscans, of Lombard-Venetians, of
He recognized that this was the wisest Piedmontese. And, besides being of the course, and perhaps Corimbo would have absolute Right, there were some of all adopted it. But that excessive suscepticolors,—the classical and romantic Left, bility to which Norina Leonforte had the Radical evolutionary group, right and alluded in ner letter, that sentiment of left Centre, partisans of economy and
propre which often becomes partisans of expenses, friends and adver- diseased in those who fall from prosperity saries of the Triple Alliance. With this to low estate, spoilt for him all serenity of harlequin's dress Fuscelli presented him- judgment. And who knows but that at self before the reassembled Chamber and bottom notwithstanding his declaration found it diffident and hostile, delighted at that he was fighting for the honor of the the idea of overthrowing a second minis- arms, he was deluding himself as to the try so soon after the first. The Carnival issue! Who knows that he did not hope had been crowned with a crisis; there for a revolt of the public conscience could be nothing better than a second against the invading humor of that crisis for dispelling somewhat of the feudatory banker! Lenten melancholy. But the Onorevole Fuscelli, with fine craftiness, had taken
On the election day the old patriot his precautions. The same day that he walks into the country with his niece, took office he had a decree of dissolution returning just in time to meet the parin his pocket, and hardly had the tisans of Leonforte, who are celebratChamber given a contrary vote than he ing his victory, one thousand two hunsimply bade it good day, and announced a dred and seventy-three votes against general election.
four hundred and one. “ConsummaParliament is dissolved, a general tum est,” says the brave old fellow, election is called for, but it has come hearing of his defeat, but his heart is rather too soon for Leonforte's plans; broken. This election has been an exhe had hoped to act more slowly, but citing one, to which Sant' Agnese was since it has come Corimbo must be sac- not accustomed. rificed: yet another year and he would
In the Communal Hall, where the have voluntarily retired, according to electors were gathered around the chair Leonforte's calculations. His next in which the President Quaglione, red
and hoarse, begged with voice and ges- turbance, what did Corimbo or Leonforte tures that they would not suffocate him, matter to them? They would have sent the collecting of the poll-tickets began at the whole Parliament to the devil if they a quarter to five. The first that was could only have whispered two words in opened and read by the secretary bore the ears of the pretty girls they ogled with the name of Cesare Corimbo, which was their wicked eyes. received with a murmur of disapproval.
Corimbo's death, which follows soon But the second, third, fourth, fifth, and after the elections, is to be ascribed sixth were all for Leonforte, and provoked a round of applause.
"Silence! greatly to his defeat and to all he sufsilence!" said the president. The eighth fered in consequence. His is a wellticket was nothing, because the elector, drawn character, and happily for Italy either absent-minded or facetious, had there have been many such, though voted for both candidates, confusing the they are nearly all gone now. Perhaps names, Cesare Leonforte and Paolo
those men erred for want of perspiCorimbo. Then another ticket for Co- cacity, were blind to the signs of the rimbo, which was followed by another, the
times and what those times required tenth, for Leonforte. And in these pro of them; but they were real patriots, portions they continued, seven or eight votes out of ten were for Leonforte. The
who put principles before party, a contests, if any arose, always resulted to thing too rarely seen since in the Italthe disadvantage of the failing candidate. ian Parliament, made up of too many For Count Paolo they passed as valid Paolo Leonfortes. On his death-bed tickets that were torn and almost illegible; Corimbo reviews his whole political life they refused for Corimbo some that were for his niece's benefit, speaking with evidently for him, and which lacked but a
enthusiasm of the men of his own day. letter or the dot over an i or the loop of an
“Do things for money, those men! Ah Bortolo Dogna, the schoolmaster, weighed down the scale with his cali
no, no bad act for the sake of money graphic authority. In the square
then; but those were other times, those curious crowd waited for news. Italo were epic times; a people cannot conMerizzi was not there to excite them,- tinue in that state, and when a period Italo Merizzi had gone that afternoon to of calm and reflection supervenes, it is San Basilio; but the crowd, as usual, ex- needful to change tactics. The means cited itself. The number of votes verified, by which a nation shakes off the yoke stated by one or other of the electors who which presses it are not the same with issued from the Communal house, was on
which it preserves itself and proall lips. Leonforte 95; Corimbo 26. Later
Meantime Leonforte passes on, Leonforte 147; Corimbo 39. Here gresses.” loud acclamations and derisive laughter. from triumph to triumph; he has even By degrees the ferment increased. The the unexpected happiness that a son numbers alone were announced without is born to him, an event which he the names being given. There was no promptly utilizes to further still more need: 203 and 54; 238 and 68; 281 and 96. his ambitious ends. The christening is It was like a lottery won by every one made the occasion of bringing over the present. “Now Gigia also will get mar
Church to his side; he has already, ried,” said Bortolo Schiavi the bell-ringer, nudging with his elbow an ugly and lame thanks to his clever steering, conciliold woman.
And the chance remark, ated the Radicals and the Moderates. spoken without conviction but also without The bishop is asked to perform the irony, reflected to a certain degree the sin- ceremony and to stay at the villa, gular state of mind of a population which which is filled with guests of high debelieved the Golden Age had arrived. The gree. For the occasion the whole intepartisans of Corimbo, if there were any rior is dressed with evergreens, the amongst the people gathered in the square, portraits of Victor Emmanuel, Humtook good care not to throw a discordant bert, and especially Garibaldi, being note into the general joy; the carabineers. cleverly hidden beneath their foliage, who had dismounted from their horses, walked about quietly between the groups,
thus conciliating both parties. This shedding benevolent smiles around them. manoeuvre hides the obnoxious picAfter all, so long as there was no dis- tures from the priest, and the need of
decorating the place en fête renders it deputy, Santuri, who has sworn venquite natural that on this account the geance against all plutocrats and finanpatriotic emblems should be out of cial adventurers, rises to reply to this sight. Leonforte with his own hands speech, and confronts Leonforte, and attended to this triling yet all-impor- the government unat has connived with tant detail. Among other guests are him, with a number of such crushing the Tremonti: the husband, indeed, is facts that the support of the ministry godfather to the boy. Leonforte, in has for shame's sake to be withdrawn, order to kill two birds with one stone, and Leonforte is left stranded high and has arranged that at the time of his dry. He is ruined financially and politchristening a great industrial fête ically. There now remains for him shall also be held in the village, which flight, or trial and probable imprisozis to inaugurate an enterprise that ment. One night, unexpectedly, unpromises to be most advantageous to announced, he turns up at the villa to the place, and of which he is also to say good-bye to wife and child and to originator. These fêtes to outward ap- collect needful papers and destroy pearance are the
old story, compromising ones. There occurs a speeches, ovations, compliments; Leon- scene between him and Norina, in forte, above all, is eloquent, trium- which he tells her some brutal truths, phant, carrying away with him all his and discloses fully his brazen, cynical auditors. Meantime Norina grows less temperament. She begs him to remain, and less happy; even her child, fondly to try to make good the wrongs he has as she loves it, gives her little consola. done, to think of his victims, to retion, for it pains her to see that its in- member his honor. Her just nocence is used by the mountebank proaches are to him irritating beyond father as an instrument of display and bounds:duplicity. However, fortunately he is
“Tor heaven's sake do not let us enmuch away now in Rome, and inter
tangle ourselves in metaphysics. Honor! course with the Corimbos, whose pro.
I know that the strong, the rich, and the bity she admires more and more, aud powerful have always sufficient of it. It the reconciliation with her cousin is the weak and the ruined who are asked friend, besides her power to help the to render an account of this portion of sad and suffering, give her some dis- their patrimony, perhaps because they traction. She has an inkling, though, have no other. The essential thing is to that notwithstanding all Leonforte's
be strong, powerful, and rich.” show and bluster, matters are not go
“Oh, Paolo, what morals!"
"Rich above all,” repeated Leonforte, ing as well with him as would seem,
"also in order to do good. Those who are and her fears are justified. Leonforte, ruined die of hunger and let others die of too, foresees the possibility of ruin; he hunger. I have done good. Many of has dabbled in too many speculations, those who turn against me to-day owe floated too many bubble concerns. To everything to me. And you, how could ensure the future of his wife and son,
you have been so charitable if you were and thus indirectly his own, he invests
not rich? Perhaps you would give kind
words to those who wanted bread? And a large sum'in an annuity for them, a fact that his friends utilize to prove
would your artists have been able to work
for us if we had been poor? I know you how the ugly rumors already spreading will say that part of the money which concerning his financial condition must
was spent belonged to you,—that you had be untrue, but which, wiser eyes see, your dowry. But I was the husband, the more probably means the beginning of master; I could have deprived you of the end. Nevertheless Leonforte hopes
every centime." Norina was silent, not to stave off disaster, perhaps to avert persuaded, certainly, by these assertions, it altogether and tide over the bad
but deeply struck by the truth they con.
tained. And she reflected that henceforth quarter of an hour. A successful
she would be deprived of one of the few speech in the Chamber almost seems to joys of her life, that of succoring the promise this result.
But an honest needy. "Money, my dear," continued