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follows hot upon the scent; the third he overtakes them at Castelnuova, “last stage from Rome.” It is early dawn, and Caponsacchi is discovered
Urging the drowsy stable grooms to haste
Harness the horses, have the journey end. He has thrown aside the priest's dress, and now appears as a smart cavalier. Guido, not liking this aspect of things, calls in the police. In a crowd they burst into Pompilia’s chamber. A fine scene follows :
She woke, saw, sprang upright
Prettily; but she fought them one to six.
Finally, after much disputation, an adjournment is made to Rome. The matter is investigated, and, as so often happens, an inconsequential verdict follows, satisfying nobody. The judges are lenient, seeing that the poor little wife had evidently had a bad time of it. She is not forced back to her husband's arms, but is ordered to retire to a convent, but to one where she is stamped by companionship of “ sinners saved and Magdalens re-made." The young priest’s heroics are listened to with a but halfconcealed smile. The verdict for him is, practically, “ Not guilty—but don't do it again." He is relegated to Civita Vecchia for three years; no very grievous punishment. As for the Count, thus ignominiously vindicated, nobody has much sympathy to spare for him. He goes home to Arezzo to be the butt of society there—“What back, you? And no wife ? Left her with the Penitents ? Ah, being young and pretty, 'twere a shame to have her whipped in public ; leave the job to the priests who understand! Such priests as yours-our madcap Caponsacchithink of him!”
The months that follow are consumed by claims and counter-claims in the law courts. A divorce is sought by both sides, and there are complicated wranglings over Pompilia’s dowry. Guido is disgusted when he hears that she, his wife, has been permitted to leave the Home of Penitence, and has gone to reside with the Comparini in their snug villa by the Pauline gate. His disgust is changed to fury when he learns the cause. Pompilia had become a mother!
Gave birth, sir, to a child, his son and heir,
Then the outraged husband is described as losing all control of himself. He tells the story of his wrongs to his farm servants, and four brave young fellows immediately volunteer to aid him in any scheme of vengeance
All five soon somehow found themselves at Rome,
It is suggested that the name of Caponsacchi was given just in order to afford the wife a last chance to prove her innocence by refusing to open to such a call. But when the door was at once flung wide, then
Vengeance burst like a mountain wave
So the pleading on this side ends.
In Book III, the “ other half” of Rome speaks. The outline of the story being now familiar, I need not dwell on what is here urged; besides, we shall soon hear Pompilia speaking for herself. The impression made by the dying child's sweetness, beauty, and simplicity on all sorts and conditions of men that throng the hospital in hope of getting a glimpse of her, is touchingly described. Here are the opening lines :
Another day that finds her living yet,
The story of the clandestine marriage is told again, with a difference. How that Count Guido having, after long years spent “in the culture of Rome's most productive plant -- a Cardinal,” failed to win for himself wealth or position, resolves to wash his hands of the Eternal City and to go back to his barrack-like castle at Arezzo. But his brother, Abate Paul, suggests that he should take to himself a rich wife first, and Guido, though passionless, is nothing loth. Paul, the shrewd ecclesiastic, discovers in dark-eyed, black-haired little Pompilia just the bride he was in search of. She was the idol of the old people, who are reputed rich; and she herself, a child of thirteen, would be readily moulded to her new surroundings. It was an easy matter to cajole the simpleminded, yet ambitious Violante. Pompilia is passive ; Violante makes all the arrangements, and finds herself (holding the veiled child by the hand)
One dim end of a December day
In San Lorenzo on the altar step,
TRUTH ENTANGLEDTRUTH TRIUMPHANT.
TRUTH ENTANGLED—TRUTH TRIUMPHANT. 67 A priest appears, and Pompilia, aged thirteen years and five months, becomes Guido's wife. Pompilia,
Who all the while had borne, from first to last,
The misery of the young wife's life at Arezzo is indicated: the vile plots that were woven round her; the forged letters to the priest, purporting to come from one who could neither read nor write! In her misery the child flies to the civil governor, flies to the archbishop, flies to her confessor. But nowhere is there any help; she is bidden go back to her husband's arms, and play a proper wifely part. Then comes Caponsacchi, and the flight to Rome.
This defence of the wife is somewhat half-hearted throughout. The speaker is chiefly moved by chivalrous pity for beauty in distress; in Caponsacchi's purity of intention he can do little more than feign a belief. In the last resort the pleading about amounts to this—that whatever his wrong might have been, Guido had no right to take the law into his own hands in such outrageous fashion.
In Book IV we have a tertium quid—à certain third and intermediate way of looking at things—the looking of the cool, cynical, tolerant man of the world. We must not be too hard on any of the actors. From the first, the situation was an impossible one
Given a fair wife, aged thirteen years,
Little, long-nosed, brush-bearded, lantern-jawed,
The whole matter is thus summed up :—“Each party wants too much, claims sympathy for its object of compassion more than just.”
But now that the gossips have been heard, it is full time to let the principals speak. First comes the defendant, Count Guido Franceschini. He knows the men he has to do with, and his speech in Book V) is a masterpiece of fear-quickened cunning and adroitness. He boasts of his ancient lineage and of the achievements of his ancestors. He solemnly explains how devoted he had been to the service of the Church ; his brothers were both priests, he was himself in minor orders. He describes - amusingly enough—his long waiting in Rome; then the matrimonial bargain that his brother had arranged for him—“She's young, pretty, rich; you're noble, classic, choice. Is it to be a match ?” “A match,' said I. ‘Done!' He proposed all, I accepted all, and we performed all.” Then, however, he demanded his pound of flesh
With a wife I look to find all wifeliness;
In a powerfully-conceived passage he pictures himself borne on by a rush of passion, and yet with an almost inspired yearning for righteousness, to the commission of the fearful act for which the life penalty was being de