Miscellaneous Prose
George Meredith

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By George Meredith








WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY was born at Calcutta, July 18, 1811, the only
child of Richmond and Anne Thackeray. He received the main part of his
education at the Charterhouse, as we know to our profit. Thence he
passed to Cambridge, remaining there from February 1829 to sometime in
1830. To judge by quotations and allusions, his favourite of the
classics was Horace, the chosen of the eighteenth century, and generally
the voice of its philosophy in a prosperous country. His voyage from
India gave him sight of Napoleon on the rocky island. In his young
manhood he made his bow reverentially to Goethe of Weimar; which did not
check his hand from setting its mark on the sickliness of Werther.

He was built of an extremely impressionable nature and a commanding good
sense. He was in addition a calm observer, having 'the harvest of a
quiet eye.' Of this combination with the flood of subjects brought up to
judgement in his mind, came the prevalent humour, the enforced
disposition to satire, the singular critical drollery, notable in his
works. His parodies, even those pushed to burlesque, are an expression
of criticism and are more effective than the serious method, while they
rarely overstep the line of justness. The Novels by Eminent Hands do not
pervert the originals they exaggerate. 'Sieyes an abbe, now a ferocious
lifeguardsman,' stretches the face of the rollicking Irish novelist
without disfeaturing him; and the mysterious visitor to the palatial
mansion in Holywell Street indicates possibilities in the Oriental
imagination of the eminent statesman who stooped to conquer fact through
fiction. Thackeray's attitude in his great novels is that of the
composedly urbane lecturer, on a level with a select audience, assured of
interesting, above requirements to excite. The slow movement of the
narrative has a grace of style to charm like the dance of the Minuet de
la Cour: it is the limpidity of Addison flavoured with salt of a racy
vernacular; and such is the veri-similitude and the dialogue that they
might seem to be heard from the mouths of living speakers. When in this
way the characters of Vanity Fair had come to growth, their author was
rightly appreciated as one of the creators in our literature, he took at
once the place he will retain. With this great book and with Esmond and
The Newcomes, he gave a name eminent, singular, and beloved to English

Charges of cynicism are common against all satirists, Thackeray had to
bear with them. The social world he looked at did not show him heroes,
only here and there a plain good soul to whom he was affectionate in the
unhysterical way of an English father patting a son on the head. He
described his world as an accurate observer saw it, he could not be
dishonest. Not a page of his books reveals malevolence or a sneer at
humanity. He was driven to the satirical task by the scenes about him.
There must be the moralist in the satirist if satire is to strike. The
stroke is weakened and art violated when he comes to the front. But he
will always be pressing forward, and Thackeray restrained him as much as
could be done, in the manner of a good-humoured constable. Thackeray may
have appeared cynical to the devout by keeping him from a station in the
pulpit among congregations of the many convicted sinners. That the
moralist would have occupied it and thundered had he presented us with
the Fourth of the Georges we see when we read of his rejecting the
solicitations of so seductive a personage for the satiric rod.

Himself one of the manliest, the kindliest of human creatures, it was the
love of his art that exposed him to misinterpretation. He did stout
service in his day. If the bad manners he scourged are now lessened to
some degree we pay a debt in remembering that we owe much to him, and if
what appears incurable remains with us, a continued reading of his works
will at least help to combat it.


Our 'Eriniad,' or ballad epic of the enfranchisement of the sister island
is closing its first fytte for the singer, and with such result as those
Englishmen who have some knowledge of their fellows foresaw. There are
sufficient reasons why the Tories should always be able to keep together,
but let them have the credit of cohesiveness and subordination to
control. Though working for their own ends, they won the esteem of their
allies, which will count for them in the struggles to follow. Their
leaders appear to have seen what has not been distinctly perceptible to
the opposite party--that the break up of the Liberals means the defection
of the old Whigs in permanence, heralding the establishment of a powerful
force against Radicalism, with a capital cry to the country. They have
tactical astuteness. If they seem rather too proud of their victory, it
is merely because, as becomes them, they do not look ahead. To rejoice
in the gaining of a day, without having clear views of the morrow, is
puerile enough. Any Tory victory, it may be said, is little more than a
pause in the strife, unless when the Radical game is played 'to dish the
Whigs,' and the Tories are now fast bound down by their incorporation of
the latter to abstain from the violent springs and right-about-facings of
the Derby-Disraeli period. They are so heavily weighted by the new
combination that their Jack-in-the-box, Lord Randolph, will have to stand
like an ordinary sentinel on duty, and take the measurement of his
natural size. They must, on the supposition of their entry into office,
even to satisfy their own constituents, produce a scheme. Their majority
in the House will command it.

To this extent, then, Mr. Gladstone has not been defeated. The question
set on fire by him will never be extinguished until the combustible
matter has gone to ashes. But personally he meets a sharp rebuff. The
Tories may well raise hurrahs over that. Radicals have to admit it, and
point to the grounds of it. Between a man's enemies and his friends
there comes out a rough painting of his character, not without a
resemblance to the final summary, albeit wanting in the justly delicate
historical touch to particular features. On the one side he is abused as
'the one-man power'; lauded on the other for his marvellous intuition of
the popular will. One can believe that he scarcely wishes to march
dictatorially, and full surely his Egyptian policy was from step to step
a misreading of the will of the English people. He went forth on this
campaign, with the finger of Egypt not ineffectively levelled against him
a second time. Nevertheless he does read his English; he has, too, the
fatal tendency to the bringing forth of Bills in the manner of Jove big
with Minerva. He perceived the necessity, and the issue of the
necessity; clearly defined what must come, and, with a higher motive than
the vanity with which his enemies charge him, though not with such high
counsel as Wisdom at his ear, fell to work on it alone, produced the
whole Bill alone, and then handed it to his Cabinet to digest, too much
in love with the thing he had laid and incubated to permit of any serious
dismemberment of its frame. Hence the disruption. He worked for the
future, produced a Bill for the future, and is wrecked in the present.
Probably he can work in no other way than from the impulse of his
enthusiasm, solitarily. It is a way of making men overweeningly in love
with their creations. The consequence is likely to be that Ireland will
get her full measure of justice to appease her cravings earlier than she
would have had as much from the United Liberal Cabinet, but at a cost
both to her and to England. Meanwhile we are to have a House of Commons
incapable of conducting public business; the tradesmen to whom the Times
addressed pathetic condolences on the loss of their season will lose more
than one; and we shall be made sensible that we have an enemy in our
midst, until a people, slow to think, have taken counsel of their native
generosity to put trust in the most generous race on earth.


Things are quiet outside an ant-hill until the stick has been thrust into
it. Mr. Gladstone's Bill for helping to the wiser government of Ireland
has brought forth our busy citizens on the top-rubble in traversing
counterswarms, and whatever may be said against a Bill that deals roughly
with many sensitive interests, one asks whether anything less violently
impressive would have roused industrious England to take this question at
last into the mind, as a matter for settlement. The Liberal leader has
driven it home; and wantonly, in the way of a pedestrian demagogue, some
think; certainly to the discomposure of the comfortable and the myopely
busy, who prefer to live on with a disease in the frame rather than at
all be stirred. They can, we see, pronounce a positive electoral
negative; yet even they, after the eighty and odd years of our domestic
perplexity, in the presence of the eighty and odd members pledged for
Home Rule, have been moved to excited inquiries regarding measures--short
of the obnoxious Bill. How much we suffer from sniffing the vain incense
of that word practical, is contempt of prevision! Many of the measures
now being proposed responsively to the fretful cry for them, as a better
alternative to correction by force of arms, are sound and just. Ten
years back, or at a more recent period before Mr. Parnell's triumph in
the number of his followers, they would have formed a basis for the
appeasement of the troubled land. The institution of county boards,
the abolition of the detested Castle, something like the establishment of
a Royal residence in Dublin, would have begun the work well. Materially
and sentimentally, they were the right steps to take. They are now
proposed too late. They are regarded as petty concessions, insufficient
and vexatious. The lower and the higher elements in the population are
fused by the enthusiasm of men who find themselves marching in full body
on a road, under a flag, at the heels of a trusted leader; and they will
no longer be fed with sops. Petty concessions are signs of weakness to
the unsatisfied; they prick an appetite, they do not close breaches. If
our object is, as we hear it said, to appease the Irish, we shall have to
give them the Parliament their leader demands. It might once have been
much less; it may be worried into a raving, perhaps a desperate
wrestling, for still more. Nations pay Sibylline prices for want of
forethought. Mr. Parnell's terms are embodied in Mr. Gladstone's Bill,
to which he and his band have subscribed. The one point for him is the
statutory Parliament, so that Ireland may civilly govern herself; and
standing before the world as representative of his country, he addresses
an applausive audience when he cites the total failure of England to do
that business of government, as at least a logical reason for the claim.
England has confessedly failed; the world says it, the country admits it.
We have failed, and not because the so-called Saxon is incapable of
understanding the Celt, but owing to our system, suitable enough to us,
of rule by Party, which puts perpetually a shifting hand upon the reins,
and invites the clamour it has to allay. The Irish--the English too in
some degree--have been taught that roaring; in its various forms, is the
trick to open the ears of Ministers. We have encouraged by irritating
them to practise it, until it has become a habit, an hereditary
profession with them. Ministers in turn have defensively adopted the
arts of beguilement, varied by an exercise of the police. We grew
accustomed to periods of Irish fever. The exhaustion ensuing we named
tranquillity, and hoped that it would bear fruit. But we did not plant.
The Party in office directed its attention to what was uppermost and
urgent--to that which kicked them. Although we were living, by common
consent; with a disease in the frame, eruptive at intervals, a national
disfigurement always a danger, the Ministerial idea of arresting it for
the purpose of healing was confined, before the passing of Mr.
Gladstone's well-meant Land Bill, to the occasional despatch of
commissions; and, in fine, we behold through History the Irish malady
treated as a form of British constitutional gout. Parliament touched on
the Irish only when the Irish were active as a virus. Our later
alternations of cajolery and repression bear painful resemblance to the
nervous fit of rickety riders compounding with their destinations that
they may keep their seats. The cajolery was foolish, if an end was in
view; the repression inefficient. To repress efficiently we have to
stifle a conscience accusing us of old injustice, and forget that we are
sworn to freedom. The cries that we have been hearing for Cromwell or
for Bismarck prove the existence of an impatient faction in our midst
fitter to wear the collars of those masters whom they invoke than to drop
a vote into the ballot-box. As for the prominent politicians who have
displaced their rivals partly on the strength of an implied approbation
of those cries, we shall see how they illumine the councils of a
governing people. They are wiser than the barking dogs. Cromwell and
Bismarck are great names; but the harrying of Ireland did not settle it,
and to Germanize a Posen and call it peace will find echo only in the
German tongue. Posen is the error of a master-mind too much given to
hammer at obstacles. He has, however, the hammer. Can it be imagined in
English hands? The braver exemplar for grappling with monstrous
political tasks is Cavour, and he would not have hinted at the iron
method or the bayonet for a pacification. Cavour challenged debate; he
had faith in the active intellect, and that is the thing to be prayed for
by statesmen who would register permanent successes. The Irish, it is
true, do not conduct an argument coolly. Mr. Parnell and his eighty-five
have not met the Conservative leader and his following in the Commons
with the gravity of platonic disputants. But they have a logical
position, equivalent to the best of arguments. They are representatives,
they would say, of a country admittedly ill-governed by us; and they have
accepted the Bill of the defeated Minister as final. Its provisions are
their terms of peace. They offer in return for that boon to take the
burden we have groaned under off our hands. If we answer that we think
them insincere, we accuse these thrice accredited representatives of the
Irish people of being hypocrites and crafty conspirators; and numbers in
England, affected by the weapons they have used to get to their present
strength, do think it; forgetful that our obtuseness to their constant
appeals forced them into the extremer shifts of agitation. Yet it will
hardly be denied that these men love Ireland; and they have not shown
themselves by their acts to be insane. To suppose them conspiring for
separation indicates a suspicion that they have neither hearts nor heads.
For Ireland, separation is immediate ruin. It would prove a very short
sail for these conspirators before the ship went down. The vital
necessity of the Union for both, countries, obviously for the weaker of
the two, is known to them; and unless we resume our exasperation of the
wild fellow the Celt can be made by such a process, we have not rational
grounds for treating him, or treating with him, as a Bedlamite. He has
besides his passions shrewd sense; and his passions may be rightly
directed by benevolent attraction. This is language derided by the
victorious enemy; it speaks nevertheless what the world, and even
troubled America, thinks of the Irish Celt. More of it now on our side
of the Channel would be serviceable. The notion that he hates the
English comes of his fevered chafing against the harness of England, and
when subject to his fevers, he is unrestrained in his cries and deeds.
That pertains to the nature of him. Of course, if we have no belief in
the virtues of friendliness and confidence--none in regard to the
Irishman--we show him his footing, and we challenge the issue. For the
sole alternative is distinct antagonism, a form of war. Mr. Gladstone's
Bill has brought us to that definite line. Ireland having given her
adhesion to it, swearing that she does so in good faith, and will not
accept a smaller quantity, peace is only to be had by our placing trust
in the Irish; we trust them or we crush them. Intermediate ways are but
the prosecution of our ugly flounderings in Bogland; and dubious as we
see the choice on either side, a decisive step to right or left will not
show us to the world so bemired, to ourselves so miserably inefficient,
as we appear in this session of a new Parliament. With his eighty-five,
apart from external operations lawful or not, Mr. Parnell can act as a
sort of lumbricus in the House. Let journalists watch and chronicle
events: if Mr. Gladstone has humour, they will yet note a peculiar smile
on his closed mouth from time to time when the alien body within the
House, from which, for the sake of its dignity and ability to conduct its
affairs, he would have relieved it till the day of a warmer intelligence
between Irish and English, paralyzes our machinery business. An ably-
handled coherent body in the midst of the liquid groups will make it felt
that Ireland is a nation, naturally dependent though she must be. We
have to do with forces in politics, and the great majority of the Irish
Nationalists in Ireland has made them a force.

No doubt Mr. Matthew Arnold is correct in his apprehensions of the
dangers we may fear from a Dublin House of Commons. The declarations
and novel or ultra theories might almost be written down beforehand.
I should, for my part, anticipate a greater danger in the familiar
attitude of the English metropolitan Press and public toward an
experiment they dislike and incline to dread:--the cynical comments,
the quotations between inverted commas, the commiserating shrug, cold
irony, raw banter, growl of menace, sharp snap, rounds of laughter.
Frenchmen of the Young Republic, not presently appreciated as offensive,
have had some of these careless trifles translated for them, and have
been stung. We favoured Germany with them now and then, before Germany
became the first power in Europe. Before America had displayed herself
as greatest among the giants that do not go to pieces, she had, as
Americans forgivingly remember, without mentioning, a series of flicks of
the whip. It is well to learn manners without having them imposed on us.
There are various ways for tripping the experiment. Nevertheless, when
the experiment is tried, considering that our welfare is involved in its
not failing, as we have failed, we should prepare to start it cordially,
cordially assist it. Thoughtful political minds regard the measure as a
backward step; yet conceiving but a prospect that a measure accepted by
Home Rulers will possibly enable the Irish and English to step together,
it seems better worth the venture than to pursue a course of prospectless
discord! Whatever we do or abstain from doing has now its evident
dangers, and this being imminent may appear the larger of them; but if
a weighing of the conditions dictates it, and conscience approves, the
wiser proceeding is to make trial of the untried. Our outlook was
preternaturally black, with enormous increase of dangers when the
originator of our species venturesomely arose from the posture of the
'quatre pattes'. We consider that we have not lost by his temerity. In
states of dubitation under impelling elements, the instinct pointing to
courageous action is, besides the manlier, conjecturably the right one.


When that noble body of scholarly and cheerful pedestrians, the Sunday
Tramps, were on the march, with Leslie Stephen to lead them, there was
conversation which would have made the presence of a shorthand writer a
benefaction to the country. A pause to it came at the examination of the
leader's watch and Ordnance map under the western sun, and void was given
for the strike across country to catch the tail of a train offering
dinner in London, at the cost of a run through hedges, over ditches and
fellows, past proclamation against trespassers, under suspicion of being
taken for more serious depredators in flight. The chief of the Tramps
had a wonderful calculating eye in the observation of distances and the
nature of the land, as he proved by his discovery of untried passes in
the higher Alps, and he had no mercy for pursy followers. I have often
said of this life-long student and philosophical head that he had in him
the making of a great military captain. He would not have been opposed
to the profession of arms if he had been captured early for the service,
notwithstanding his abomination of bloodshed. He had a high, calm
courage, was unperturbed in a dubious position, and would confidently
take the way out of it which he conceived to be the better. We have not
to deplore that he was diverted from the ways of a soldier, though
England, as the country has been learning of late, cannot boast of many
in uniform who have capacity for leadership. His work in literature will
be reviewed by his lieutenant of Tramps, one of the ablest of writers!--
[Frederic W. Maitland.]--The memory of it remains with us, as being the
profoundest and the most sober criticism we have had in our time. The
only sting in it was an inoffensive humorous irony that now and then
stole out for a roll over, like a furry cub, or the occasional ripple on
a lake in grey weather. We have nothing left that is like it.

One might easily fall into the pit of panegyric by an enumeration of his
qualities, personal and literary. It would not be out of harmony with
the temper and characteristics of a mind so equable. He, the equable,
whether in condemnation or eulogy. Our loss of such a man is great, for
work was in his brain, and the hand was active till close upon the time
when his breathing ceased. The loss to his friends can be replaced only
by an imagination that conjures him up beside them. That will be no task
to those who have known him well enough to see his view of things as they
are, and revive his expression of it. With them he will live despite the
word farewell.



FERRARA, June 22, 1866.

Before this letter reaches London the guns will have awakened both the
echo of the old river Po and the classical Mincio. The whole of the
troops, about 110,000 men, with which Cialdini intends to force the
passage of the first-named river are already massed along the right bank
of the Po, anxiously waiting that the last hour of to-morrow should
strike, and that the order for action should be given. The telegraph
will have already informed your readers that, according to the intimation
sent by General Lamarmora on Tuesday evening to the Austrian
headquarters, the three days fixed by the general's message before
beginning hostilities will expire at twelve p.m. of the 23rd of June.

Cialdini's headquarters have been established in this city since
Wednesday morning, and the famous general, in whom the fourth corps he
commands, and the whole of the nation, has so much confidence, has
concentrated the whole of his forces within a comparatively narrow
compass, and is ready for action. I believe therefore that by to-morrow
the right bank of the Po will be connected with the mainland of the
Polesine by several pontoon bridges, which will enable Cialdini's corps
d'armee to cross the river, and, as everybody here hopes, to cross it in
spite of any defence the Austrians may make.

On my way to this ancient city last evening I met General Cadogan and two
superior Prussian officers, who by this time must have joined Victor
Emmanuel's headquarters at Cremona; if not, they have been by this time
transferred elsewhere, more on the front, towards the line of the Mincio,
on which, according to appearance, the first, second, and third Italian
corps d'armee seem destined to operate. The English general and the two
Prussian officers above mentioned are to follow the king's staff, the
first as English commissioner, the superior in rank of the two others in
the same capacity.

I have been told here that, before leaving Bologna, Cialdini held a
general council of the commanders of the seven divisions of which his
powerful corps d'armee is formed, and that he told them that, in spite of
the forces the enemy has massed on the left bank of the Po, between the
point which faces Stellata and Rovigo, the river must be crossed by his
troops, whatever might be the sacrifice this important operation
requires. Cialdini is a man who knows how to keep his word, and, for
this reason, I have no doubt he will do what he has already made up his
mind to accomplish. I am therefore confident that before two or three
days have elapsed, these 110,000 Italian troops, or a great part of them,
will have trod, for the Italians, the sacred land of Venetia.

Once the river Po crossed by Cialdini's corps d'armee, he will boldly
enter the Polesine and make himself master of the road which leads by
Rovigo towards Este and Padua. A glance at the map will show your
readers how, at about twenty or thirty miles from the first-mentioned
town, a chain of hills, called the Colli Euganei, stretches itself from
the last spur of the Julian Alps, in the vicinity of Vicenza, gently
sloping down towards the sea. As this line affords good positions for
contesting the advance of an army crossing the Po at Lago Scuro, or at
any other point not far from it, it is to be supposed that the Austrians
will make a stand there, and I should not be surprised at all that
Cialdini's first battle, if accepted by the enemy, should take place
within that comparatively narrow ground which is within Montagnana, Este,
Terradura, Abano, and Padua. It is impossible to suppose that Cialdini's
corps d'armee, being so large, is destined to cross the Po only at one
point of the river below its course: it is extremely likely that part of
it should cross it at some point above, between Revere and Stellata,
where the river is in two or three instances only 450 metres wide. Were
the Italian general to be successful--protected as he will be by the
tremendous fire of the powerful artillery he disposes of--in these
twofold operations, the Austrians defending the line of the Colli Euganei
could be easily outflanked by the Italian troops, who would have crossed
the river below Lago Scuro. Of course these are mere suppositions, for
nobody, as you may imagine, except the king, Cialdini himself, Lamarmora,
Pettiti, and Menabrea, is acquainted with the plan of the forthcoming
campaign. There was a rumour at Cialdini's headquarters to-day that the
Austrians had gathered in great numbers in the Polesine, and especially
at Rovigo, a small town which they have strongly fortified of late, with
an apparent design to oppose the crossing of the Po, were Cialdini to
attempt it at or near Lago Scuro. There are about Rovigo large tracts of
marshes and fields cut by ditches and brooks, which, though owing to the
dryness of the season [they] cannot be, as it was generally believed two
weeks ago, easily inundated, yet might well aid the operations the
Austrians may undertake in order to check the advance of the Italian
fourth corps d'armee. The resistance to the undertaking of Cialdini may
be, on the part of the Austrians, very stout, but I am almost certain
that it will be overcome by the ardour of Italian troops, and by the
skill of their illustrious leader.

As I told you above, the declaration of war was handed over to an
Austrian major for transmission to Count Stancowick, the Austrian
governor of Mantua, on the evening of the 19th, by Colonel Bariola,
sous-chef of the general staff, who was accompanied by the Duke Luigi
of Sant' Arpino, the husband of the amiable widow of Lord Burghersh.
The duke is the eldest son of Prince San Teodoro, one of the wealthiest
noblemen of Naples. In spite of his high position and of his family
ties, the Duke of Sant' Arpino, who is well known in London fashionable
society, entered as a volunteer in the Italian army, and was appointed
orderly officer to General Lamarmora. The choice of such a gentleman for
the mission I am speaking of was apparently made with intention, in order
to show the Austrians, that the Neapolitan nobility is as much interested
in the national movement as the middle and lower classes of the Kingdom,
once so fearfully misruled by the Bourbons. The Duke of Sant' Arpino is
not the only Neapolitan nobleman who has enlisted in the Italian army
since the war with Austria broke out. In order to show you the
importance which must be given to this pronunciamiento of the Neapolitan
noblemen, allow me to give you here a short list of the names of those of
them who have enlisted as private soldiers in the cavalry regiments of
the regular army: The Duke of Policastro; the Count of Savignano Guevara,
the eldest son of the Duke of Bovino; the Duke d'Ozia d'Angri, who had
emigrated in 1860, and returned to Naples six months ago; Marquis
Rivadebro Serra; Marquis Pisicelli, whose family had left Naples in 1860
out of devotion to Francis II.; two Carraciolos, of the historical family
from which sprung the unfortunate Neapolitan admiral of this name, whose
head Lord Nelson would have done better not to have sacrificed to the
cruelty of Queen Caroline; Prince Carini, the representative of an
illustrious family of Sicily, a nephew of the Marquis del Vasto; and
Pescara, a descendant of that great general of Charles V., to whom the
proud Francis I. of France was obliged to surrender and give up his sword
at the battle of Pavia. Besides these Neapolitan noblemen who have
enlisted of late as privates, the Italian army now encamped on the banks
of the Po and of the Mincio may boast of two Colonnas, a prince of Somma,
two Barons Renzi, an Acquaviva, of the Duke of Atri, two Capece, two
Princes Buttera, etc. To return to the mission of Colonel Bariola and
the Duke of Sant' Arpino, I will add some details which were told me this
morning by a gentleman who left Cremona yesterday evening, and who had
them from a reliable source. The messenger of General Lamarmora had been
directed to proceed from Cremona to the small village of Le Grazie,
which, on the line of the Mincio, marks the Austrian and Italian

On the right bank of the Lake of Mantua, in the year 1340, stood a small
chapel containing a miraculous painting of the Madonna, called by the
people of the locality 'Santa Maria delle Grazie.' The boatmen and
fishermen of the Mincio, who had been, as they said, often saved from
certain death by the Madonna--as famous in those days as the modern Lady
of Rimini, celebrated for the startling feat of winking her eyes--
determined to erect for her a more worthy abode.

Hence arose the Santuario delle Grazie. Here, as at Loretto and other
holy localities of Italy, a fair is held, in which, amongst a great
number of worldly things, rosaries, holy images, and other miraculous
objects are sold, and astounding boons are said to be secured at the most
trifling expense. The Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie enjoying a
far-spread reputation, the dumb, deaf, blind, and halt-in short, people
afflicted with all sorts of infirmities--flock thither during the fair,
and are not wanting even on the other days of the year. The church of Le
Grazie is one of the most curious of Italy. Not that there is anything
remarkable in its architecture, for it is an Italian Gothic structure of
the simplest style. But the ornamental part of the interior is most
peculiar. The walls of the building are covered with a double row of wax
statues, of life size, representing a host of warriors, cardinals,
bishops, kings, and popes, who--as the story runs--pretended to have
received some wonderful grace during their earthly existence. Amongst
the grand array of illustrious personages, there are not a few humbler
individuals whose history is faithfully told (if you choose to credit it)
by the painted inscriptions below. There is even a convict, who, at the
moment of being hanged, implored succour of the all-powerful Madonna,
whereupon the beam of the gibbet instantly broke, and the worthy
individual was restored to society--a very doubtful benefit after all.
On Colonel Bariola and the Duke of Sant' Arpino arriving at this place,
which is only five miles distant from Mantua, their carriage was
naturally stopped by the commissaire of the Austrian police, whose duty
was to watch the frontier. Having told him that they had a despatch to
deliver either to the military governor of Mantua or to some officer sent
by him to receive it, the commissaire at once despatched a mounted
gendarme to Mantua. Two hours had scarcely elapsed when a carriage drove
into the village of Le Grazie, from which an Austrian major of infantry
alighted and hastened to a wooden hut where the two Italian officers were
waiting. Colonel Bariola, who was trained in the Austrian military
school of Viller Nashstad, and regularly left the Austrian service in
1848, acquainted the newly-arrived major with his mission, which was that
of delivering the sealed despatch to the general in command of Mantua and
receiving for it a regular receipt. The despatch was addressed to the
Archduke Albert, commander-in-chief of the Austrian army of the South,
care of the governor of Mantua. After the major had delivered the
receipt, the three messengers entered into a courteous conversation,
during which Colonel Bariola seized an opportunity of presenting the
duke, purposely laying stress on the fact of his belonging to one of the
most illustrious families of Naples. It happened that the Austrian major
had also been trained in the same school where Colonel Bariola was
brought up--a circumstance of which he was reminded by the Austrian
officer himself. Three hours had scarcely elapsed from the arrival of
the two Italian messengers of war at Le Grazie, on the Austrian frontier,
when they were already on their way back to the headquarters of Cremona,
where during the night the rumour was current that a telegram had been
received by Lamarmora from Verona, in which Archduke Albert accepted the
challenge. Victor Emmanuel, whom I saw at Bologna yesterday, arrived at
Cremona in the morning at two o'clock, but by this time his Majesty's
headquarters must have removed more towards the front, in the direction
of the Oglio. I should not be at all surprised were the Italian
headquarters to be established by to-morrow either at Piubega or
Gazzoldo, if not actually at Goito, a village, as you know, which marks
the Italian-Austrian frontier on the Mincio. The whole of the first,
second, and third Italian corps d'armee are by this time concentrated
within that comparatively narrow space which lies between the position of
Castiglione, Delle Stiviere, Lorrato, and Desenzano, on the Lake of
Garda, and Solferino on one side; Piubega, Gazzoldo, Sacca, Goito, and
Castellucchio on the other. Are these three corps d'armee to attack when
they hear the roar of Cialdini's artillery on the right bank of the Po?
Are they destined to force the passage of the Mincio either at Goito or
at Borghetto? or are they destined to invest Verona, storm Peschiera,
and lay siege to Mantua? This is more than I can tell you, for, I repeat
it, the intentions of the Italian leaders are enveloped in a veil which
nobody--the Austrians included--has as yet been able to penetrate. One
thing, however, is certain, and it is this, that as the clock of Victor
Emmanuel marks the last minute of the seventy-second hour fixed by the
declaration delivered at Le Grazie on Wednesday by Colonel Bariola to the
Austrian major, the fair land where Virgil was born and Tasso was
imprisoned will be enveloped by a thick cloud of the smoke of hundreds
and hundreds of cannon. Let us hope that God will be in favour of right
and justice, which, in this imminent and fierce struggle, is undoubtedly
on the Italian side.

CREMONA, June 30, 1866.

The telegraph will have already informed you of the concentration of the
Italian army, whose headquarters have since Tuesday been removed from
Redondesco to Piadena, the king having chosen the adjacent villa of
Cigognolo for his residence. The concentrating movements of the royal
army began on the morning of the 27th, i.e., three days after the bloody
fait d'armes of the 24th, which, narrated and commented on in different
manners according to the interests and passions of the narrators, still
remains for many people a mystery. At the end of this letter you will
see that I quote a short phrase with which an Austrian major, now
prisoner of war, portrayed the results of the fierce struggle fought
beyond the Mincio. This officer is one of the few survivors of a
regiment of Austrian volunteers, uhlans, two squadrons of which he
himself commanded. The declaration made by this officer was thoroughly
explicit, and conveys the exact idea of the valour displayed by the
Italians in that terrible fight. Those who incline to overrate the
advantages obtained by the Austrians on Sunday last must not forget that
if Lamarmora had thought proper to persist in holding the positions of
Valeggio, Volta, and Goito, the Austrians could not have prevented him.
It seems the Austrian general-in-chief shared this opinion, for, after
his army had carried with terrible sacrifices the positions of Monte
Vento and Custozza, it did not appear, nor indeed did the Austrians then
give any signs, that they intended to adopt a more active system of
warfare. It is the business of a commander to see that after a victory
the fruit of it should not be lost, and for this reason the enemy is
pursued and molested, and time is not left him for reorganization.
Nothing of this happened after the 24th--nothing has been done by the
Austrians to secure such results. The frontier which separates the two
dominions is now the same as it was on the eve of the declaration of war.
At Goito, at Monzambano, and in the other villages of the extreme
frontier, the Italian authorities are still discharging their duties.
Nothing is changed in those places, were we to except that now and then
an Austrian cavalry party suddenly makes its appearance, with the only
object of watching the movements of the Italian army. One of these
parties, formed by four squadrons of the Wurtemberg hussar regiment,
having advanced at six o'clock this morning on the right bank of the
Mincio, met the fourth squadron of the Italian lancers of Foggia and were
beaten back, and compelled to retire in disorder towards Goito and
Rivolta. In this unequal encounter the Italian lancers distinguished
themselves very much, made some Austrian hussars prisoners, and killed a
few more, amongst whom was an officer. The same state of thing, prevails
at Rivottella, a small village on the shores of the Lake of Garda, about
four miles distant from the most advanced fortifications of Peschiera.
There, as elsewhere, some Austrian parties advanced with the object of
watching the movements of the Garibaldians, who occupy the hilly ground,
which from Castiglione, Eseuta, and Cartel Venzago stretches to Lonato,
Salo, and Desenzano, and to the mountain passes of Caffaro. In the last-
named place the Garibaldians came to blows with the Austrians on the
morning of the 28th, and the former got the best of the fray. Had the
fait d'armes of the 24th, or the battle of Custozza, as Archduke Albrecht
calls it, been a great victory for the Austrians, why should the imperial
army remain in such inaction? The only conclusion we must come to is
simply this, that the Austrian losses have been such as to induce the
commander-in-chief of the army to act prudently on the defensive. We are
now informed that the charges of cavalry which the Austrian lancers and
the Hungarian hussars had to sustain near Villafranca on the 24th with
the Italian horsemen of the Aorta and Alessandria regiments have been so
fatal to the former that a whole division of the Kaiser cavalry must be
reorganised before it can be brought into the field main.

The regiment of Haller hussars and two of volunteer uhlans were almost
destroyed in that terrible charge. To give you an idea of this cavalry
encounter, it is sufficient to say that Colonel Vandoni, at the head of
the Aorta regiment he commands, charged fourteen times during the short
period of four hours. The volunteer uhlans of the Kaiser regiment had
already given up the idea of breaking through the square formed by the
battalion, in the centre of which stood Prince Humbert of Savoy, when
they were suddenly charged and literally cut to pieces by the Alessandria
light cavalry, in spite of the long lances they carried. This weapon and
the loose uniform they wear makes them resemble the Cossacks of the Don.
There is one circumstance, which, if I am not mistaken, has not as yet
been published by the newspapers, and it is this. There was a fight on
the 25th on a place at the north of Roverbella, between the Italian
regiment of Novara cavalry and a regiment of Hungarian hussars, whose
name is not known. This regiment was so thoroughly routed by the
Italians that it was pursued as far as Villafranca, and had two squadrons
put hors de combat, whilst the Novara regiment only lost twenty-four
mounted men. I think it right to mention this, for it proves that, the
day after the bloody affair of the 24th, the Italian army had still a
regiment of cavalry operating at Villafranca, a village which lay at a
distance of fifteen kilometres from the Italian frontier. A report, which
is much accredited here, explains how the Italian army did not derive the
advantages it might have derived from the action of the 24th. It appears
that the orders issued from the Italian headquarters during the previous
night, and especially the verbal instructions given by Lamarmora and
Pettiti to the staff officers of the different army corps, were either
forgotten or misunderstood by those officers. Those sent to Durando,
the commander of the first corps, seem to have been as follows: That he
should have marched in the direction of Castelnuovo, without, however,
taking part in the action. Durando, it is generally stated, had strictly
adhered to the orders sent from the headquarters, but it seems that
General Cerale understood them too literally. Having been ordered to
march on Castelnuovo, and finding the village strongly held by the
Austrians, who received his division with a tremendous fire, he at once
engaged in the action instead of falling back on the reserve of the first
corps and waiting new instructions. If such was really the case, it is
evident that Cerale thought that the order to march which he had received
implied that he was to attack and get possession of Castelnuovo, had this
village, as it really was, already been occupied by the enemy. In
mentioning this fact I feel bound to observe that I write it under the
most complete reserve, for I should be sorry indeed to charge General
Cerale with having misunderstood such an important order.

I see that one of your leading contemporaries believes that it would be
impossible for the king or Lamarmora to say what result they expected
from their ill-conceived and worse-executed attempt. The result they
expected is, I think, clear enough; they wanted to break through the
quadrilateral and make their junction with Cialdini, who was ready to
cross the Po during the night of the 24th. That the attempt was ill-
conceived and worse-executed, neither your contemporary nor the public at
large has, for the present, the right to conclude, for no one knows as
yet but imperfectly the details of the terrible fight. What is certain,
however, is that General Durando, perceiving that the Cerale division was
lost, did all that he could to help it. Failing in this he turned to his
two aides-de-camp and coolly said to them:

'Now, gentlemen, it is time for you to retire, for I have a duty to
perform which is a strictly personal one--the duty of dying.' On saying
these words he galloped to the front and placed himself at about twenty
paces from a battalion of Austrian sharp-shooters which were ascending
the hill. In less than five minutes his horse was killed under him, and
he was wounded in the right hand. I scarcely need add that his aides-de-
camp did not flinch from sharing Durando's fate. They bravely followed
their general, and one, the Marquis Corbetta, was wounded in the leg; the
other, Count Esengrini, had his horse shot under him. I called on
Durando, who is now at Milan, the day before yesterday. Though a
stranger to him, he received me at once, and, speaking of the action of
the 24th, he only said: 'I have the satisfaction of having done my duty.
I wait tranquilly the judgement of history.'

Assuming, for argument's sake, that General Cerale misunderstood the
orders he had received, and that, by precipitating his movement, he
dragged into the same mistake the whole of Durando's corps--assuming,
I say, this to be the right version, you can easily explain the fact that
neither of the two contending parties are as yet in a position clearly to
describe the action of the 24th. Why did neither the one nor the other
display and bring into action the whole forces they could have had at
their disposal? Why so many partial engagements at a great distance one
from the other? In a word, why that want of unity, which, in my opinion,
constituted the paramount characteristic of that bloody struggle? I may
be greatly mistaken, but I am of opinion that neither the Italian
general-in-chief nor the Austrian Archduke entertained on the night of
the 23rd the idea of delivering a battle on the 24th. There, and only
there, lies the whole mystery of the affair. The total want of unity of
action on the part of the Italians assured to the Austrians, not the
victory, but the chance of rendering impossible Lamarmora's attempt to
break through the quadrilateral. This no one can deny; but, on the other
hand, if the Italian army failed in attaining its object, the failure-
owing to the bravery displayed both by the soldiers and by the generals-
was far from being a disastrous or irreparable one. The Italians fought
from three o'clock in the morning until nine in the evening like lions,
showing to their enemies and to Europe that they know how to defend their
country, and that they are worthy of the noble enterprise they have

But let me now register one of the striking episodes of that memorable
day. It was five o'clock p.m. when General Bixio, whose division held
an elevated position not far from Villafranca, was attacked by three
strong Austrian brigades, which had debouched at the same time from three
different roads, supported with numerous artillery. An officer of the
Austrian staff, waving a white handkerchief, was seen galloping towards
the front of Bixio's position, and, once in the presence of this general,
bade him surrender. Those who are not personally acquainted with Bixio
cannot form an idea of the impression this bold demand must have made on
him. I have been told that, on hearing the word 'surrender,' his face
turned suddenly pale, then flushed like purple, and darting at the
Austrian messenger, said, 'Major, if you dare to pronounce once more the
word surrender in my presence, I tell you--and Bixio always keeps his
word--that I will have you shot at once.' The Austrian officer had
scarcely reached the general who had sent him, than Bixio, rapidly moving
his division, fell with such impetuosity on the Austrian column, which
were ascending the hill, that they were thrown pellmell in the valley,
causing the greatest confusion amongst their reserve. Bixio himself led
his men, and with his aides-de-camp, Cavaliere Filippo Fermi, Count
Martini, and Colonel Malenchini, all Tuscans, actually charged the enemy.
I have been told that, on hearing this episode, Garibaldi said, 'I am not
at all surprised, for Bixio is the best general I have made.' Once the
enemy was repulsed, Bixio was ordered to manoeuvre so as to cover the
backward movement of the army, which was orderly and slowly retiring on
the Mincio. Assisted by the co-operation of the heavy cavalry, commanded
by General Count de Sonnaz, Bixio covered the retreat, and during the
night occupied Goito, a position which he held till the evening of the

In consequence of the concentrating movement of the Italian army which I
have mentioned at the beginning of this letter, the fourth army corps
(Cialdini's) still holds the line of the Po. If I am rightly informed,
the decree for the formation of the fourth army corps was signed by the
king yesterday. This corps is that of Garibaldi, and is about 40,000
strong. An officer who has just returned from Milan told me this morning
that he had had an opportunity of speaking with the Austrian prisoners
sent from Milan to the fortress of Finestrelle in Piedmont. Amongst them
was an officer of a uhlan regiment, who had all the appearance of
belonging to some aristocratic family of Austrian Poland. Having been
asked if he thought Austria had really gained the battle on the 24th, he
answered: 'I do not know if the illusions of the Austrian army go so far
as to induce it to believe it has obtained a victory--I do not believe
it. He who loves Austria cannot, however, wish she should obtain such
victories, for they are the victories of Pyrrhus!

There is at Verona some element in the Austrian councils of war which we
don't understand, but which gives to their operations in this present
phase of the campaign just as uncertain and as vacillating a character as
it possessed during the campaign of 1859. On Friday they are still
beyond the Mincio, and on Saturday their small fleet on the Lake of Garda
steams up to Desenzano, and opens fire against this defenceless city and
her railway station, whilst two battalions of Tyrolese sharp-shooters
occupy the building. On Sunday they retire, but early yesterday they
cross the Mincio, at Goito and Monzambano, and begin to throw two bridges
over the same river, between the last-named place and the mills of Volta.
At the same time they erect batteries at Goito, Torrione, and Valeggio,
pushing their reconnoitring parties of hussars as far as Medole,
Castiglione delle Stiviere, and Montechiara, this last-named place being
only at a distance of twenty miles from Brescia. Before this news
reached me here this morning I was rather inclined to believe that they
were playing at hide-and-seek, in the hope that the leaders of the
Italian army should be tempted by the game and repeat, for the second
time, the too hasty attack on the quadrilateral. This news, which I have
from a reliable source, has, however, changed my former opinion, and I
begin to believe that the Austrian Archduke has really made up his mind
to come out from the strongholds of the quadrilateral, and intends
actually to begin war on the very battlefields where his imperial cousin
was beaten on the 24th June 1859. It may be that the partial disasters
sustained by Benedek in Germany have determined the Austrian Government
to order a more active system of war against Italy, or, as is generally
believed here, that the organisation of the commissariat was not perfect
enough with the army Archduke Albert commands to afford a more active and
offensive action. Be that as it may, the fact is that the news received
here from several parts of Upper Lombardy seems to indicate, on the part
of the Austrians, the intention of attacking their adversaries.

Yesterday whilst the peaceable village of Gazzoldo--five Italian miles
from Goito--was still buried in the silence of night it was occupied by
400 hussars, to the great consternation of the people who were roused
from their sleep by the galloping of their unexpected visitors. The
sindaco, or mayor of the village, who is the chemist of the place, was,
I hear, forcibly taken from his house and compelled to escort the
Austrians on the road leading to Piubega and Redondesco. This worthy
magistrate, who was not apparently endowed with sufficient courage to
make at least half a hero, was so much frightened that he was taken ill,
and still is in a very precarious condition. These inroads are not
always accomplished with impunity, for last night, not far from
Guidizzuolo, two squadrons of Italian light cavalry--Cavalleggieri di
Lucca, if I am rightly informed--at a sudden turn of the road leading
from the last-named village to Cerlongo, found themselves almost face to
face with four squadrons of uhlans. The Italians, without numbering
their foes, set spurs to their horses and fell like thunder on the
Austrians, who, after a fight which lasted more than half an hour, were
put to flight, leaving on the ground fifteen men hors de combat, besides
twelve prisoners.

Whilst skirmishing of this kind is going on in the flat ground of
Lombardy which lies between the Mincio and the Chiese, a more decisive
action has been adopted by the Austrian corps which is quartered in the
Italian Tyrol and Valtellina. A few days ago it was generally believed
that the mission of this corps was only to oppose Garibaldi should he try
to force those Alpine passes. But now we suddenly hear that the
Austrians are already masters of Caffaro, Bagolino, Riccomassino, and
Turano, which points they are fortifying. This fact explains the last
movements made by Garibaldi towards that direction. But whilst the
Austrians are massing their troops on the Tyrolese Alps the revolution is
spreading fast in the more southern mountains of the Friuli and Cadorre,
thus threatening the flank and rear of their army in Venetia. This
revolutionary movement may not have as yet assumed great proportions,
but as it is the effect of a plan proposed beforehand it might become
really imposing, more so as the ranks of those Italian patriots are daily
swollen by numerous deserters and refractory men of the Venetian
regiments of the Austrian army.

Although the main body of the Austrians seems to be still concentrated
between Peschiera and Verona, I should not wonder if they crossed the
Mincio either to-day or to-morrow, with the object of occupying the
heights of Volta, Cavriana, and Solferino, which, both by their position
and by the nature of the ground, are in themselves so many fortresses.
Supposing that the Italian army should decide for action--and there is
every reason to believe that such will be the case--it is not unlikely
that, as we had already a second battle at Custozza, we may have a second
one at Solferino.

That at the Italian headquarters something has been decided upon which
may hasten the forward movement of the army, I infer from the fact that
the foreign military commissioners at the Italian headquarters, who,
after the 24th June had gone to pass the leisure of their camp life at
Cremona, have suddenly made their appearance at Torre Malamberti, a villa
belonging to the Marquis Araldi, where Lamarmora's staff is quartered.
A still more important event is the presence of Baron Ricasoli, whom I
met yesterday evening on coming here. The President of the Council was
coming from Florence, and, after stopping a few hours at the villa of
Cicognolo, where Victor Emmanuel and the royal household are staying,
he drove to Torre Malamberti to confer with General Lamarmora and Count
Pettiti. The presence of the baron at headquarters is too important an
incident to be overlooked by people whose business is that of watching
the course of events in this country. And it should be borne in mind
that on his way to headquarters Baron Ricasoli stopped a few hours at
Bologna, where he had a long interview with Cialdini. Nor is this all;
for the most important fact I have to report to-day is, that whilst I am
writing (five o'clock a.m.) three corps of the Italian army are crossing
the Oglio at different points--all three acting together and ready for
any occurrence. This reconnaissance en force may, as you see, be turned
into a regular battle should the Austrians have crossed the Mincio with
the main body of their army during the course of last night. You see
that the air around me smells enough of powder to justify the expectation
of events which are likely to exercise a great influence over the cause
of right and justice--the cause of Italy.

MARCARIA, July 3, Evening.

Murray's guide will save me the trouble of telling you what this little
and dirty hole of Marcaria is like. The river Oglio runs due south, not
far from the village, and cuts the road which from Bozzolo leads to
Mantua. It is about seven miles from Castellucchio, a town which, since
the peace of Villafranca, marked the Italian frontier in Lower Lombardy.
Towards this last-named place marched this morning the eleventh division
of the Italians under the command of General Angioletti, only a month ago
Minister of the Marine in Lamarmora's Cabinet. Angioletti's division of
the second corps was, in the case of an attack, to be supported by the
fourth and eighth, which had crossed the Oglio at Gazzuolo four hours
before the eleventh had started from the place from which I am now
writing. Two other divisions also moved in an oblique line from the
upper course of the above-mentioned river, crossed it on a pontoon
bridge, and were directed to maintain their communications with
Angioletti's on the left, whilst the eighth and fourth would have formed
its right. These five divisions were the avant garde of the main body of
the Italian army. I am not in a position to tell you the exact line the
army thus advancing from the Oglio has followed, but I have been told
that, in order to avoid the possibility of repeating the errors which
occurred in the action of the 24th, the three corps d'armee have been
directed to march in such a manner as to enable them to present a compact
mass should they meet the enemy. Contrary to all expectations,
Angioletti's division was allowed to enter and occupy Castellucchio
without firing a shot. As its vanguard reached the hamlet of Ospedaletto
it was informed that the Austrians had left Castellucchio during the
night, leaving a few hussars, who, in their turn, retired on Mantua as
soon as they saw the cavalry Angioletti had sent to reconnoitre both the
country and the borough of Castellucchio.

News has just arrived here that General Angioletti has been able to push
his outposts as far as Rivolta on his left, and still farther forward on
his front towards Curtalone. Although the distance from Rivolta to Goito
is only five miles, Angioletti, I have been told, could not ascertain
whether the Austrians had crossed the Mincio in force.

What part both Cialdini and Garibaldi will play in the great struggle
nobody can tell. It is certain, however, that these two popular leaders
will not be idle, and that a battle, if fought, will assume the
proportions of an almost unheard of slaughter.


Whilst the Austrian emperor throws himself at the feet of the ruler of
France--I was almost going to write the arbiter of Europe--Italy and its
brave army seem to reject disdainfully the idea of getting Venetia as a
gift of a neutral power. There cannot be any doubt as to the feeling in
existence since the announcement of the Austrian proposal by the Moniteur
being one of astonishment, and even indignation so far as Italy herself
is concerned. One hears nothing but expressions of this kind in whatever
Italian town he may be, and the Italian army is naturally anxious that
she should not be said to relinquish her task when Austrians speak of
having beaten her, without proving that she can beat them too. There are
high considerations of honour which no soldier or general would ever
think of putting aside for humanitarian or political reasons, and with
these considerations. the Italian army is fully in accord since the 24th
June. The way, too, in which the Kaiser chose to give up the long-
contested point, by ignoring Italy and recognising France as a party to
the Venetian question, created great indignation amongst the Italians,
whose papers declare, one and all, that a fresh insult has been offered
to the country. This is the state of public opinion here, and unless the
greatest advantages are obtained by a premature armistice and a hurried
treaty of peace, it is likely to continue the same, not to the entire
security of public order in Italy. As a matter of course, all eyes are
turned towards Villa Pallavicini, two miles from here, where the king is
to decide upon either accepting or rejecting the French emperor's advice,
both of which decisions are fraught with considerable difficulties and no
little danger. The king will have sought the advice of his ministers,
besides which that of Prussia will have been asked and probably given.
The matter may be decided one way or the other in a very short time, or
may linger on for days to give time for public anxiety and fears to be
allayed and to calm down. In the meantime, it looks as if the king and
his generals had made up their mind not to accept the gift. An attack on
the Borgoforte tete-de-pont on the right side of the Po, began on 5th at
half-past three in the morning, under the immediate direction of General
Cialdini. The attacking corps was the Duke of Mignano's. All the day
yesterday the gun was heard at Torre Malamberti, as it was also this
morning between ten and eleven o'clock. Borgoforte is a fortress on the
left side of the Po, throwing a bridge across this river, the right end
of which is headed by a strong tete-de-pont, the object of the present
attack. This work may be said to belong to the quadrilateral, as it is
only an advanced part of the fortress of Mantua, which, resting upon its
rear, is connected to Borgoforte by a military road supported on the
Mantua side by the Pietolo fortress. The distance between Mantua and
Borgoforte is only eleven kilometres. The fete-de-poet is thrown upon
the Po; its structure is of recent date, and it consists of a central
part and of two wings, called Rocchetta and Bocca di Ganda respectively.
The lock here existing is enclosed in the Rocchetta work.

Since I wrote you my last letter Garibaldi has been obliged to desist
from the idea of getting possession of Bagolino, Sant' Antonio, and Monte
Suello, after a fight which lasted four hours, seeing that he had to deal
with an entire Austrian brigade, supported by uhlans, sharp-shooters
(almost a battalion) and twelve pieces of artillery. These positions
were subsequently abandoned by the enemy, and occupied by Garibaldi's
volunteers. In this affair the general received a slight wound in his
left leg, the nature of which, however, is so very trifling, that a few
days will be enough to enable him to resume active duties. It seems that
the arms of the Austrians proved to be much superior to those of the
Garibaldians, whose guns did very bad service. The loss of the latter
amounted to about 100 killed and 200 wounded, figures in which the
officers appear in great proportion, owing to their having been always at
the head of their men, fighting, charging, and encouraging their comrades
throughout. Captain Adjutant-Major Battino, formerly of the regular
army, died, struck by three bullets, while rushing on the Austrians with
the first regiment. On abandoning the Caffaro line, which they had
reoccupied after the Lodrone encounter--in consequence of which the
Garibaldians had to fall back because of the concentration following the
battle of Custozza--the Austrians have retired to the Lardara fortress,
between the Stabolfes and Tenara mountains, covering the route to Tione
and Trento, in the Italian Tyrol. The third regiment of volunteers
suffered most, as two of their companies had to bear the brunt of the
terrible Austrian fire kept up from formidable positions. Another fight
was taking place almost at the same time in the Val Camonico, i.e., north
of the Caffaro, and of Rocca d'Anfo, Garibaldi's point d'appui. This
encounter was sustained in the same proportions, the Italians losing one
of their bravest and best officers in the person of Major Castellini,
a Milanese, commander of the second battalion of Lombardian bersaglieri.
Although these and Major Caldesi's battalion had to fall back from Vezza,
a strong position was taken near Edalo, while in the rear a regiment kept
Breno safe.

Although still at headquarters only two days ago, Baron Ricasoli has been
suddenly summoned by telegram from Florence, and, as I hear, has just
arrived. This is undoubtedly brought about by the new complications,
especially as, at a council of ministers presided over by the baron, a
vote, the nature of which is as yet unknown, was taken on the present
state of affairs. As you know very well in England, Italy has great
confidence in Ricasoli, whose conduct, always far from obsequious to the
French emperor, has pleased the nation. He is thought to be at this
moment the right man in the right place, and with the great acquaintance
he possesses of Italy and the Italians, and with the co-operation of such
an honest man as General Lamarmora, Italy may be pronounced safe, both
against friends and enemies.

From what I saw this morning, coming back from the front, I presume that
something, and that something new perhaps, will be attempted to-morrow.
So far, the proposed armistice has had no effect upon the dispositions at
general headquarters, and did not stay the cannon's voice. In the middle
of rumours, of hopes and fears, Italy's wish to push on with the war has
as yet been adhered to by her trusted leaders.

PIADENA, July 8, 1866.

As I begin writing you, no doubt can be entertained that some movement is
not only in contemplation at headquarters, but is actually provided to
take place to-day, and that it will probably prove to be against the
Austrian positions at Borgoforte, on the left bank of the Po. Up to this
time the tete-de-pout on the right side of the river had only been
attacked by General the Duke of Mignano's guns. It would now, on the
contrary, be a matter of cutting the communications between Borgoforte
and Mantua, by occupying the lower part of the country around the latter
fortress, advancing upon the Valli Veronesi, and getting round the
quadrilateral into Venetia. While, then, waiting for further news to
tell us whether this plan has been carried into execution, and whether it
will be pursued, mindless of the existence of Mantua and Borgoforte on
its flanks, one great fact is already ascertained, that the armistice
proposed by the Emperor Napoleon has not been accepted, and that the war
is to be continued. The Austrians may shut themselves up in their
strongholds, or may even be so obliging as to leave the king the
uncontested possession of them by retreating in the same line as their
opponents advance; the pursuit, if not the struggle, the war, if not the
battle, will be carried on by the Italians. At Torre Malamberti, where
the general headquarters are, no end of general officers were to be seen
yesterday hurrying in all directions. I met the king, Generals Brignone,
Gavone, Valfre, and Menabrea within a few minutes of one another, and
Prince Amadeus, who has entirely recovered from his wound, had been
telegraphed for, and will arrive in Cremona to-day. No precise
information is to be obtained respecting the intentions of the Austrians,
but it is to be hoped for the Italian army, and for the credit of its
generals, that more will be known about them now than was known on the
eve of the famous 24th of June, and on its very morning. The heroism of
the Italians on that memorable day surpasses any possible idea that can
be formed, as it did also surpass all expectations of the country. Let
me relate you a few out of many heroic facts which only come to light
when an occasion is had of speaking with those who have been eyewitnesses
of them, as they are no object of magnified regimental--orders or, as
yet, of well-deserved honours. Italian soldiers seem to think that the
army only did its duty, and that, wherever Italians may fight, they will
always show equal valour and firmness. Captain Biraghi, of Milan,
belonging to the general staff, having in the midst of the battle
received an order from General Lamarmora for General Durando, was
proceeding with all possible speed towards the first army corps, which
was slowly retreating before the superior forces of the enemy and before
the greatly superior number of his guns, when, while under a perfect
shower of grape and canister, he was all of a sudden confronted by, an
Austrian officer of cavalry who had been lying in wait for the Italian
orderly. The Austrian fires his revolver at Biraghi; and wounds him in
the arm. Nothing daunted, Biraghi assails him and makes him turn tail;
then, following in pursuit, unsaddles him, but has his own horse shot
down under him. Biraghi disentangles himself, kills his antagonist, and
jumps upon the latter's horse. This, however, is thrown down also in a
moment by a cannon ball, so that the gallant captain has to go back on
foot, bleeding, and almost unable to walk. Talking of heroism, of
inimitable endurance, and strength of soul, what do you think of a man
who has his arm entirely carried away by a grenade, and yet keeps on his
horse, firm as a rock, and still directs his battery until hemorrhage--
and hemorrhage alone--strikes him down at last, dead! Such was the case
with a Neapolitan--Major Abate, of the artillery--and his name is worth
the glory of a whole army, of a whole war; and may only find a fit
companion in that of an officer of the eighteenth battalion of
bersaglieri, who, dashing at an Austrian flag-bearer, wrenches the
standard out of his hands with his left one, has it clean cut away by an
Austrian officer standing near, and immediately grapples it with his
right, until his own soldiers carry him away with his trophy! Does not
this sound like Greek history repeated--does it not look as if the brave
men of old had been born again, and the old facts renewed to tell of
Italian heroism? Another bersagliere--a Tuscan, by name Orlandi Matteo,
belonging to that heroic fifth battalion which fought against entire
brigades, regiments, and battalions, losing 11 out of its 16 officers,
and about 300 out of its 600 men--Orlandi, was wounded already, when,
perceiving an Austrian flag, he makes a great effort, dashes at the
officer, kills him, takes the flag, and, almost dying, gives it over to
his lieutenant. He is now in a ward of the San Domenico Hospital in
Brescia, and all who have learnt of his bravery will earnestly hope that
he may survive to be pointed out as one of the many who covered
themselves with fame on that day. If it is sad to read of death
encountered in the field by so many a patriotic and brave soldiers, it is
sadder still to learn that not a few of them were barbarously killed by
the enemy, and killed, too, when they were harmless, for they lay wounded
on the ground. The Sicilian colonel, Stalella, a son-in-law of Senator
Castagnetto, and a courageous man amongst the most courageous of men;
was struck in the leg by a bullet, and thrown down from his horse while
exciting his men to repulse the Austrians, which in great masses were
pressing on his thinned column. Although retreating, the regiment sent
some of his men to take him away, but as soon as he had been put on a
stretcher [he] had to be put down, as ten or twelve uhlans were galloping
down, obliging the men to hide themselves in a bush. When the uhlans got
near the colonel, and when they had seen him lying down in agony, they
all planted their lances in his body.

Is not this wanton cruelty--cruelty even unheard of cruelty that no
savage possesses? Still these are facts, and no one will ever dare to
deny them from Verona and Vienna, for they are known as much as it was
known and seen that the uhlans and many of the Austrian soldiers were
drunk when they began fighting, and that alighting from the trains they
were provided with their rations and with rum, and that they fought
without their haversacks. This is the truth, and nothing beyond it has
to the honour of the Italians been asserted, whether to the disgrace or
credit of their enemies; so that while denying that they ill-treat
Austrian prisoners, they are ready to state that theirs are well treated
in Verona, without thinking of slandering and calumniating as the Vienna
papers have done.

This morning Prince Amadeus arrived in Cremona, where a most spontaneous
and hearty reception was given him by the population and the National
Guard. He proceeded at once by the shortest way to the headquarters, so
that his wish to be again at the front when something should be done has
been accomplished. This brave young man, and his worthy brother, Prince
Humbert, have won the applause of all Italy, which is justly proud of
counting her king and her princes amongst the foremost in the field.

I have just learned from a most reliable source that the Austrians have
mined the bridge of Borghetto on the Mincio, so that, should it be blown
up, the only two, those of Goito and Borghetto, would be destroyed, and
the Italians obliged to make provisional ones instead. I also hear that
the Venetian towns are without any garrison, and that most probably all
the forces are massed on two lines, one from Peschiera to Custozza and
the other behind the Adige.

You will probably know by this time that the garrison of Vienna had on
the 3rd been directed to Prague. The news we receive from Prussia is on
the whole encouraging, inasmuch as the greatly feared armistice has been
repulsed by King William. Some people here think that France will not be
too hard upon Italy for keeping her word with her ally, and that the
brunt of French anger or disapproval will have to be borne by Prussia.
This is the least she can expect, as you know!

It is probable that by to-morrow I shall be able to write you more about
the Italo-Austrian war of 1866.

GONZAGA, July 9, 1866.

I write you from a villa, only a mile distant from Gonzaga, belonging to
the family of the Counts Arrivabene of Mantua. The owners have never
reentered it since 1848, and it is only the fortune of war which has
brought them to see their beautiful seat of the Aldegatta, never, it is
to be hoped for them, to be abandoned again. It is, as you see, 'Mutatum
ab illo.' Onward have gone, then, the exiled patriots! onward will go
the nation that owns them! The wish of every one who is compelled to
remain behind is that the army, that the volunteers, that the fleet,
should all cooperate, and that they should, one and all, land on Venetian
ground, to seek for a great battle, to give the army back the fame it
deserves, and to the country the honour it possesses. The king is called
upon to maintain the word nobly given to avenge Novara, and with it the
new Austrian insulting proposal. All, it is said, is ready. The army
has been said to be numerous; if to be numerous and brave, means to
deserve victory, let the Italian generals prove what Italian soldiers are
worthy of. If they will fight, the country will support them with the
boldest of resolutions--the country will accept a discussion whenever the
Government, having dispersed all fears, will proclaim that the war is to
be continued till victory is inscribed on Italy's shield.

As I am not far from Borgoforte, I am able to learn more than the mere
cannon's voice can tell me, and so will give you some details of the
action against the tete-de-pont, which began, as I told you in one of my
former letters, on the 4th. In Gorgoforte there were about 1500
Austrians, and, on the night from the 5th to the 6th, they kept up from
their four fortified works a sufficiently well-sustained fire, the object
of which was to prevent the enemy from posting his guns. This fire,
however, did not cause any damage, and the Italians were able to plant
their batteries. Early on the 6th, the firing began all along the line,
the Italian 16-pounders having been the first to open fire. The Italian
right was commanded by Colonel Mattei, the left by Colonel Bangoni, who
did excellent work, while the other wing was not so successful. The
heaviest guns had not yet arrived owing to one of those incidents always
sure to happen when least expected, so that the 40-pounders could not be
brought to bear against the forts until later in the day. The damage
done to the works was not great for the moment, but still the advantage
had been gained of feeling the strength of the enemy's positions and
finding the right way to attack them. The artillerymen worked with great
vigour, and were only obliged to desist by an unexpected order which
arrived about two p.m. from General Cialdini. The attack was, however,
resumed on the following day, and the condition of the Monteggiana and
Rochetta forts may be pronounced precarious. As a sign of the times,
and more especially of the just impatience which prevails in Italy about
the general direction of the army movements, it may not be without
importance to notice that the Italian press has begun to cry out against
the darkness in which everything is enveloped, while the time already
passed since the 24th June tells plainly of inaction. It is remarked
that the bitter gift made by Austria of the Venetian provinces, and the
suspicious offer of mediation by France, ought to have found Italy in
greatly different condition, both as regards her political and military
position. Italy is, on the contrary, in exactly the same state as when
the Archduke Albert telegraphed to Vienna that a great success had been
obtained over the Italian army. These are facts, and, however strong and
worthy of respect may be the reasons, there is no doubt that an
extraordinary delay in the resumption of hostilities has occurred, and
that at the present moment operations projected are perfectly mysterious.
Something is let out from time to time which only serves to make the
subsequent absence of news more and more puzzling. For the present the
first official relation of the unhappy fight of the 24th June is
published, and is accordingly anxiously scanned and closely studied.
It is a matter of general remark that no great military knowledge is
required to perceive that too great a reliance was placed upon supposed
facts, and that the indulgence of speculations and ideas caused the waste
of so much precious blood. The prudence characterising the subsequent
moves of the Austrians may have been caused by the effects of their
opponents' arrangements, but the Italian commanders ought to have avoided
the responsibility of giving the enemy the option to move.

It is clear that to mend things the utterance of generous and patriotic
cries is not sufficient, and that it must be shown that the vigour of the
body is not at all surpassed by the vigour of the mind. It is also clear
that many lives might have been spared if there had been greater proofs
of intelligence on the part of those who directed the movement.

The situation is still very serious. Such an armistice as General von
Gablenz could humiliate himself enough to ask from the Prussians has been
refused, but another which the Emperor of the French has advised them to
accept might ultimately become a fact. For Italy, the purely Venetian
question could then also be settled, while the Italian, the national
question, the question of right and honour which the army prizes so much,
would still remain to be solved.

GONZAGA, July 12, 1866.

Travelling is generally said to be troublesome, but travelling with and
through brigades, divisions, and army corps, I can certify to be more so
than is usually agreeable. It is not that Italian officers or Italian
soldiers are in any way disposed to throw obstacles in your way; but
they, unhappily for you, have with them the inevitable cars with the
inevitable carmen, both of which are enough to make your blood freeze,
though the barometer stands very high. What with their indolence, what
with their number and the dust they made, I really thought they would
drive me mad before I should reach Casalmaggiore on my way from Torre
Malamberti. I started from the former place at three a.m., with
beautiful weather, which, true to tradition, accompanied me all through
my journey. Passing through San Giovanni in Croce, to which the
headquarters of General Pianell had been transferred, I turned to the
right in the direction of the Po, and began to have an idea of the
wearisome sort of journey which I would have to make up to Casalmaggiore.
On both sides of the way some regiments belonging to the rear division
were still camped, and as I passed it was most interesting to see how
busy they were cooking their 'rancio,' polishing their arms, and making
the best of their time. The officers stood leisurely about gazing and
staring at me, supposing, as I thought, that I was travelling with some
part in the destiny of their country. Here and there some soldiers who
had just left the hospitals of Brescia and Milan made their way to their
corps and shook hands with their comrades, from whom only illness or the
fortune of war had made them part. They seemed glad to see their old
tent, their old drum, their old colour-sergeant, and also the flag they
had carried to the battle and had not at any price allowed to be taken.
I may state here, en passant, that as many as six flags were taken from
the enemy in the first part of the day of Custozza, and were subsequently
abandoned in the retreat, while of the Italians only one was lost to a
regiment for a few minutes, when it was quickly retaken. This fact ought
to be sufficient by itself to establish the bravery with which the
soldiers fought on the 24th, and the bravery with which they will fight
if, as they ardently wish; a new occasion is given to them.

As long as I had only met troops, either marching or camping on the road,
all went well, but I soon found myself mixed with an interminable line of
cars and the like, forming the military and the civil train of the moving
army. Then it was that it needed as much patience to keep from jumping
out of one's carriage and from chastising the carrettieri, as they would
persist in not making room for one, and being as dumb to one's entreaties
as a stone. When you had finished with one you had to deal with another,
and you find them all as obstinate and as egotistical as they are from
one end of the world to the other, whether it be on the Casalmaggiore
road or in High Holborn. From time to time things seemed to proceed all
right, and you thought yourself free from further trouble, but you soon
found out your mistake, as an enormous ammunition car went smack into
your path, as one wheel got entangled with another, and as imperturbable
Signor Carrettiere evidently took delight at a fresh opportunity for
stoppage, inaction, indolence, and sleep. I soon came to the conclusion
that Italy would not be free when the Austrians had been driven away, for
that another and a more formidable foe--an enemy to society and comfort,
to men and horses, to mankind in general would have still to be beaten,
expelled, annihilated, in the shape of the carrettiere. If you employ
him, he robs you fifty times over; if you want him to drive quickly, he
is sure to keep the animal from going at all; if, worse than all, you
never think of him, or have just been plundered by him, he will not move
an inch to oblige you. Surely the cholera is not the only pestilence a
country may be visited with; and, should Cialdini ever go to Vienna, he
might revenge Novara and the Spielberg by taking with him the carrettieri
of the whole army.

At last Casalmaggiore hove in sight, and, when good fortune and the
carmen permitted, I reached it. It was time! No iron-plated Jacob could
ever have resisted another two miles' journey in such company. At
Casalmaggiore I branched off. There were, happily, two roads, and not
the slightest reason or smallest argument were needed to make me choose
that which my cauchemar had not chosen. They were passing the river at
Casalmaggiore. I went, of course, for the same purpose, somewhere else.
Any place was good enough--so I thought, at least, then. New adventures,
new miseries awaited me--some carrettiere, or other, guessing that I was
no friend of his, nor of the whole set of them, had thrown the jattatura
on me.

I alighted at the Colombina, after four hours' ride, to give the horses
time to rest a little. The Albergo della Colombina was a great
disappointment, for there was nothing there that could be eaten.
I decided upon waiting most patiently, but most unlike a few cavalry
officers, who, all covered with dust, and evidently as hungry and as
thirsty as they could be, began to swear to their hearts' content. In an
hour some eggs and some salame, a kind of sausage, were brought up, and
quickly disposed of. A young lieutenant of the thirtieth infantry
regiment of the Pisa brigade took his place opposite, and we were soon
engaged in conversation. He had been in the midst and worst part of the
battle of Custozza, and had escaped being taken prisoner by what seemed a
miracle. He told me how, when his regiment advanced on the Monte Croce
position, which he practically described to me as having the form of an
English pudding, they were fired upon by batteries both on their flanks
and front. The lieutenant added, however, rather contemptuously, that
they did not even bow before them, as the custom appears to be--that is,
to lie down, as the Austrians were firing very badly. The cross-fire
got, however, so tremendous that an order had to be given to keep down by
the road to avoid being annihilated. The assault was given, the whole
range of positions was taken, and kept too for hours, until the
infallible rule of three to one, backed by batteries, grape, and
canister, compelled them to retreat, which they did slowly and in order.
It was then that their brigade commander, Major General Rey de Villarey,
who, though a native of Mentone, had preferred remaining with his king
from going over to the French after the cession, turning to his son, who
was also his aide-de-camp, said in his dialect, 'Now, my son, we must die
both of us,' and with a touch of the spurs was soon in front of the line
and on the hill, where three bullets struck him almost at once dead.
The horse of his son falling while following, his life was spared.
My lieutenant at this moment was so overcome with hunger and fatigue that
he fell down, and was thought to be dead. He was not so, however, and
had enough life to hear, after the fight was over, the Austrian Jagers
pass by, and again retire to their original positions, where their
infantry was lying down, not dreaming for one moment of pursuing the
Italians. Four of his soldiers--all Neapolitans he heard coming in
search of him, while the bullets still hissed all round; and, as soon as
he made a sign to them, they approached, and took him on their shoulders
back to where was what remained of the regiment. It is highly creditable
to Italian unity to hear an old Piedmontese officer praise the levies of
the new provinces, and the lieutenant took delight in relating that
another Neapolitan was in the fight standing by him, and firing as fast
as he could, when a shell having burst near him, he disdainfully gave it
a look, and did not even seek to save himself from the jattatura.

The gallant lieutenant had unfortunately to leave at last, and I was
deprived of many an interesting tale and of a brave man's company. I
started, therefore, for Viadana, where I purposed passing the Po, the
left bank of which the road was now following parallel with the stream.
At Viadana, however, I found no bridge, as the military had demolished
what existed only the day before, and so had to look out for in
formation. As I was going about under the porticoes which one meets in
almost all the villages in this neighbourhood, I was struck by the sight
of an ancient and beautiful piece of art--for so it was--a Venetian
mirror of Murano. It hung on the wall inside the village draper's shop,
and was readily shown me by the owner, who did not conceal the pride he
had in possessing it. It was one of those mirrors one rarely meets with
now, which were once so abundant in the old princes' castles and palaces.
It looked so deep and true, and the gilt frame was so light, and of such
a purity and elegance, that it needed all my resolution to keep from
buying it, though a bargain would not have been effected very easily.
The mirror, however, had to be abandoned, as Dosalo, the nearest point
for crossing the Po, was still seven miles distant. By this time the sun
was out in all its force, and the heat was by no means agreeable. Then
there was dust, too, as if the carrettieri had been passing in hundreds,
so that the heat was almost unbearable. At last the Dosalo ferry was
reached, the road leading to it was entered, and the carriage was, I
thought, to be at once embarked, when a drove of oxen were discovered to
have the precedence; and so I had to wait. This under such a sun, on a
shadeless beach, and with the prospect of having to stay there for two
hours at least, was by no means pleasant. It took three-quarters of an
hour to put the oxen in the boat, it took half an hour to get them on the
other shore, and another hour to have the ferry boat back. The panorama
from the beach was splendid, the Po appeared in all the mighty power of
his waters, and as you looked with the glass at oxen and trees on the
other shore, they appeared to be clothed in all the colours of the
rainbow, and as if belonging to another world. Several peasants were
waiting for the boat near me, talking about the war and the Austrians,
and swearing they would, if possible, annihilate some of the latter. I
gave them the glass to look with, and I imagined that they had never seen
one before, for they thought it highly wonderful to make out what the
time was at the Luzzara Tower, three miles in a straight line on the
other side. The revolver, too, was a subject of great admiration, and
they kept turning, feeling, and staring at it, as if they could not make
out which way the cartridges were put in. One of these peasants,
however, was doing the grand with the others, and once on the subject of
history related to all who would hear how he had been to St. Helena,
which was right in the middle of Moscow, where it was so very cold that
his nose had got to be as large as his head. The poor man was evidently
mixing one night's tale with that of the next one, a tale probably heard
from the old Sindaco, who is at the same time the schoolmaster, the
notary, and the highest municipal authority in the place.

I started in the ferry boat with them at last. While crossing they got
to speak of the priests, and were all agreed, to put it in the mildest
way, in thinking extremely little of them, and only differed as to what
punishment they should like them to suffer.

On the side where we landed lay heaps of ammunition casks for the corps
besieging Borgoforte. Others were conveyed upon cars by my friends the
carrettieri, of whom it was decreed I should not be quit for some time to
come. Entering Guastalla I found only a few artillery officers,
evidently in charge of what we had seen carried along the route.
Guastalla is a neat little town very proud of its statue of Duke Ferrante
Gonzaga, and the Croce Rossa is a neat little inn, which may be proud of
a smart young waiter, who actually discovered that, as I wanted to
proceed to Luzzara, a few miles on, I had better stop till next morning,
I did not take his advice, and was soon under the gate of Luzzara, a very
neat little place, once one of the many possessions where the Gonzagas
had a court, a palace, and a castle. The arms over the archway may still
be seen, and would not be worth any notice but for a remarkable work of
terracotta representing a crown of pines and pine leaves in a wonderful
state of preservation. The whole is so artistically arranged and so
natural, that one might believe it to be one of Luca della Robbia's
works. Luzzara has also a great tower, which I had seen in the distance
from Dosalo, and the only albergo in the place gives you an excellent
Italian dinner. The wine might please one of the greatest admirers of
sherry, and if you are not given feather beds, the beds are at least
clean like the rooms themselves. Here, as it was getting too dark, I
decided upon stopping, a decision which gave me occasion to see one of
the finest sunsets I ever saw. As I looked from the albergo I could see
a gradation of colours, from the purple red to the deepest of sea blue,
rising like an immense tent from the dark green of the trees and the
fields, here and there dotted with little white houses, with their red
roofs, while in front the Luzzara Tower rose majestically in the
twilight. As the hour got later the colours deepened, and the lower end
of the immense curtain gradually disappeared, while the stars and the
planets began shining high above. A peasant was singing in a field near
by, and the bells of a church were chiming in the distance. Both seemed
to harmonise wonderfully. It was a scene of great loveliness.

At four a.m. I was up, and soon after on the road to Reggiolo, and then
to Gonzaga. Here the vegetation gets to be more luxuriant, and every
inch of ground contributes to the immense vastness of the whole. Nature
is here in full perfection, and as even the telegraphic wire hangs
leisurely down from tree to tree, instead of being stuck upon poles, you
feel that the romantic aspect of the place is too beautiful to be
encroached upon. All is peace, beauty, and happiness, all reveals to you
that you are in Italy.

In Gonzaga, which only a few days ago belonged to the Austrians, the
Italian tricolour is out of every window. As the former masters retired
the new advanced; and when a detachment of Monferrato lancers entered the
old castle town the joy of the inhabitants seemed to be almost bordering
on delirium. The lancers soon left, however. The flag only remains.

July 11.

Cialdini began passing the Po on the 8th, and crossed at three points,
i.e., Carbonara, Carbonarola, and Follonica. Beginning at three o'clock
in the morning, he had finished crossing upon the two first pontoon
bridges towards midnight on the 9th. The bridge thrown up at Follonica
was still intact up to seven in the morning on the 10th, but the troops
and the military and the civil train that remained followed the Po
without crossing to Stellata, in the supposed direction of Ponte

Yesterday guns were heard here at seven o'clock in the morning, and up to
eleven o'clock, in the direction of Legnano, towards, I think, the Adige.
The firing was lively, and of such a nature as to make one surmise that
battle had been given. Perhaps the Austrians have awaited Cialdini under
Legnano, or they have disputed the crossing of the Adige. Rovigo was
abandoned by the Austrians in the night of the 9th and 10th. They have
blown up the Rovigo and Boara fortresses, have destroyed the tete-de-pont
on the Adige, and burnt all bridges. They may now seek to keep by the
left side of this river up to Legnano, so as to get under the protection
of the quadrilateral, in which case, if Cialdini can cross the river in
time, the shock would be almost inevitable, and would be a reason for
yesterday's firing. They may also go by rail to Padua, when they would
have Cialdini between them and the quadrilateral. In any case, if this
general is quick, or if they are not too quick for him, according to
possible instructions, a collision is difficult to be avoided.

Baron Ricasoli has left Florence for the camp, and all sorts of rumours
are afloat as to the present state of negotiations as they appear
unmistakably to exist. The opinions are, I think, divided in the high
councils of the Crown, and the country is still anxious to know the
result of this state of affairs. A splendid victory by Cialdini might at
this moment solve many a difficulty. As it is, the war is prosecuted
everywhere except by sea, for Garibaldi's forces are slowly advancing in
the Italian Tyrol, while the Austrians wait for them behind the walls of
Landaro and Ampola. The Garibaldians' advanced posts were, by the latest
news, near Darso.

The news from Prussia is still contradictory; while the Italian press is
unanimous in asking with the country that Cialdini should advance, meet
the enemy, fight him, and rout him if possible. Italy's wishes are
entirely with him.

NOALE, NEAR TREVISO, July 17, 1866.

From Lusia I followed General Medici's division to Motta, where I left
it, not without regret, however, as better companions could not easily
be found, so kind were the officers and jovial the men. They are now
encamped around Padua, and will to-morrow march on Treviso, where the
Italian Light Horse have already arrived, if I judge so from their having
left Noale on the 15th. From the right I hear that the advanced posts
have proceeded as far as Mira on the Brenta, twenty kilometres from
Venice itself, and that the first army corps is to concentrate opposite
Chioggia. This corps has marched from Ferrara straight on to Rovigo,
which the forward movement of the fourth, or Cialdini's corps d'armee,
had left empty of soldiers. General Pianell has still charge of it, and
Major-General Cadalini, formerly at the head of the Siena brigade,
replaces him in the command of his former division. General Pianell has
under him the gallant Prince Amadeus, who has entirely recovered from his
chest wound, and of whom the brigade of Lombardian grenadiers is as proud
as ever. They could not wish for a more skilled commander, a better
superior officer, and a more valiant soldier. Thus the troops who fought
on the 24th June are kept in the second line, while the still fresh
divisions under Cialdini march first, as fast as they can. This,
however, is of no avail. The Italian outposts on the Piave have not yet
crossed it, for the reason that they must keep distances with their
regiments, but will do so as soon as these get nearer to the river. If
it was not that this is always done in regular warfare, they could beat
the country beyond the Piave for a good many miles without even seeing
the shadow of an Austrian. To the simple private, who does not know of
diplomatic imbroglios and of political considerations, this sudden
retreat means an almost as sudden retracing of steps, because he
remembers that this manoeuvre preceded both the attacks on Solferino and
on Custozza by the Austrians. To the officer, however, it means nothing
else than a fixed desire not to face the Italian army any more, and so it
is to him a source of disappointment and despondency. He cannot bear to
think that another battle is improbable, and may be excused if he is not
in the best of humour when on this subject. This is the case not only
with the officers but with the volunteers, who have left their homes and
the comfort of their domestic life, not to be paraded at reviews, but to
be sent against the enemy. There are hundreds of these in the regular
army-in the cavalry especially, and the Aosta Lancers and the regiment of
Guides are half composed of them. If you listen to them, there ought not
to be the slightest doubt or hesitation as to crossing the Isongo and
marching upon Vienna. May Heaven see their wishes accomplished, for,
unless crushed by sheer force, Italy is quite decided to carry war into
the enemy's country.

The decisions of the French government are looked for here with great
anxiety, and not a few men are found who predict them to be unfavourable
to Italy. Still, it is hard for every one to believe that the French
emperor will carry things to extremities, and increase the many
difficulties Europe has already to contend with.

To-day there was a rumour at the mess table that the Austrians had
abandoned Legnano, one of the four fortresses of the quadrilateral. I do
not put much faith in it at present, but it is not improbable, as we may
expect many strange things from the Vienna government. It would have
been much better for them, since Archduke Albert spoke in eulogistic
terms of the king, of his sons, and of his soldiers, while relating the
action of the 24th, to have treated with Italy direct, thus securing
peace, and perhaps friendship, from her. But the men who have ruled so
despotically for years over Italian subjects cannot reconcile themselves
to the idea that Italy has at last risen to be a nation, and they even
take slyly an opportunity to throw new insult into her face. You can
easily see that the old spirit is still struggling for empire; that the
old contempt is still trying to make light of Italians; and that the old
Metternich ideas are still fondly clung to. Does not this deserve
another lesson? Does not this need another Sadowa to quiet down for
ever? Yes; and it devolves upon Italy to do it. If so, let only
Cialdini's army alone, and the day may be nigh at hand when the king may
tell the country that the task has been accomplished.

A talk on the present state of political affairs, and on the peculiar
position of Italy, is the only subject worth notice in a letter from the
camp. Everything else is at a standstill, and the movements of the fine
army Cialdini now disposes of, about 150,000 men, are no longer full of
interest. They may, perhaps, have some as regards an attack on Venice,
because Austrian soldiers are still garrisoning it, and will be obliged
to fight if they are assailed. It is hoped, if such is the case, that
the beautiful queen of the Adriatic will be spared a scene of
devastation, and that no new Haynau will be found to renew the deeds of
Brescia and Vicenza.

The king has not yet arrived, and it seems probable he will not come for
some time, until indeed the day comes for Italian troops to make their
triumphal entry into the city of the Doges.

The heat continues intense, and this explains the slowness in advancing.
As yet no sickness has appeared, and it must be hoped that the troops
will be healthy, as sickness tries the morale much more than half-a-dozen

P.S.--I had finished writing when an officer came rushing into the inn
where I am staying and told me that he had just heard that an Italian
patrol had met an Austrian one on the road out of the village, and routed
it. This may or may not be true, but it was must curious to see how
delighted every one was at the idea that they had found 'them' at last.
They did not care much about the result of the engagement, which, as I
said, was reported to have been favourable. All that they cared about
was that they were close to the enemy. One cannot despair of an army
which is animated with such spirits. You would think, from the joy which
brightens the face of the soldiers you meet now about, that a victory had
been announced for the Italian arms.

DOLO, NEAR VENICE, July 20, 1866.

I returned from Noale to Padua last evening, and late in the night I
received the intimation at my quarters that cannon was heard in the
direction of Venice. It was then black as in Dante's hell, and raining
and blowing with violence--one of those Italian storms which seem to
awake all the earthly and heavenly elements of creation. There was no
choice for it but to take to the saddle, and try to make for the front.
No one who has not tried it can fancy what work it is to find one's way
along a road on which a whole corps d'amee is marching with an enormous
materiel of war in a pitch dark night. This, however, is what your
special correspondent was obliged to do. Fortunately enough, I had
scarcely proceeded as far as Ponte di Brenta when I fell in with an
officer of Cialdini's staff, who was bound to the same destination,
namely, Dolo. As we proceeded along the road under a continuous shower
of rain, our eyes now and then dazzled by the bright serpent-like flashes
of the lightning, we fell in with some battalion or squadron, which
advanced carefully, as it was impossible for them as well as for us to
discriminate between the road and the ditches which flank it, for all the
landmarks, so familiar to our guides in the daytime, were in one dead
level of blackness. So it was that my companion and myself, after
stumbling into ditches and out of them, after knocking our horses' heads
against an ammunition car, or a party of soldiers sheltered under some
big tree, found ourselves, after three hours' ride, in this village of
Dolo. By this time the storm had greatly abated in its violence, and the
thunder was but faintly heard now and then at such a distance as to
enable us distinctly to hear the roar of the guns. Our horses could
scarcely get through the sticky black mud, into which the white
suffocating dust of the previous days had been turned by one night's
rain. We, however, made our way to the parsonage of the village, for we
had already made up our minds to ascend the steeple of the church to get
a view of the surrounding country and a better hearing of the guns if
possible. After a few words exchanged with the sexton--a staunch
Italian, as he told us he was--we went up the ladder of the church spire.
Once on the wooden platform, we could hear more distinctly the boom of
the guns, which sounded like the broadsides of a big vessel. Were they
the guns of Persano's long inactive fleet attacking some of Brondolo's or
Chioggia's advanced forts? Were the guns those of some Austrian man-of-
war which had engaged an Italian ironclad; or were they the
'Affondatore,' which left the Thames only a month ago, pitching into
Trieste? To tell the truth, although we patiently waited two long hours
on Dolo church spire, when both I and my companion descended we were not
in a position to solve either of these problems. We, however, thought
then, and still think, they were the guns of the Italian fleet which had
attacked an Austrian fort.

CIVITA VECCHIA, July 22, 1866.

Since the departure from this port of the old hospital ship 'Gregeois'
about a year ago, no French ship of war had been stationed at Civita
Vecchia; but on Wednesday morning the steam-sloop 'Catinat,' 180 men,
cast anchor in the harbour, and the commandant immediately on
disembarking took the train for Rome and placed himself in communication
with the French ambassador. I am not aware whether the Pontifical
government had applied for this vessel, or whether the sending it was a
spontaneous attention on the part of the French emperor, but, at any
rate, its arrival has proved a source of pleasure to His Holiness, as
there is no knowing what may happen In troublous times like the present,
and it is always good to have a retreat insured.

Yesterday it was notified in this port, as well as at Naples, that
arrivals from Marseilles would be, until further notice, subjected to a
quarantine of fifteen days in consequence of cholera having made its
appearance at the latter place. A sailing vessel which arrived from
Marseilles in the course of the day had to disembark the merchandise it
brought for Civita Vecchia into barges off the lazaretto, where the
yellow flag was hoisted over them. This vessel left Marseilles five days
before the announcement of the quarantine, while the 'Prince Napoleon' of
Valery's Company, passenger and merchandise steamer, which left
Marseilles only one day before its announcement, was admitted this
morning to free pratique. Few travellers will come here by sea now.


Accustomed as we have been of late in Italy to almost hourly bulletins of
the progress of hostilities, it is a trying condition to be suddenly
debarred of all intelligence by finding oneself on board a steamer for
thirty-six hours without touching at any port, as was my case in coming
here from Civita Vecchia on board the 'Prince Napoleon.' But, although
telegrams were wanting, discussions on the course of events were rife on
board among the passengers who had embarked at Naples and Civita Vecchia,
comprising a strong batch of French and Belgian priests returning from a
pilgrimage to Rome, well supplied with rosaries and chaplets blessed by
the Pope and facsimiles of the chains of St. Peter. Not much sympathy
for the Italian cause was shown by these gentlemen or the few French and
German travellers who, with three or four Neapolitans, formed the
quarterdeck society; and our Corsican captain took no pains to hide his
contempt at the dilatory proceedings of the Italian fleet at Ancona. We
know that the Prussian minister, M. d'Usedom, has been recently making
strenuous remonstrances at Ferrara against the slowness with which the
Italian naval and military forces were proceeding, while their allies,
the Prussians, were already near the gates of Vienna; and the
conversation of a Prussian gentleman on board our steamer, who was
connected with that embassy, plainly indicated the disappointment felt
at Berlin at the rather inefficacious nature of the diversion made in
Venetia, and on the coast of Istria by the army and navy of Victor
Emmanuel. He even attributed to his minister an expression not very
flattering either to the future prospects of Italy as resulting from her
alliance with Prussia, or to the fidelity of the latter in carrying out
the terms of it. I do not know whether this gentleman intended his
anecdote to be taken cum grano salis, but I certainly understood him to
say that he had deplored to the minister the want of vigour and the
absence of success accompanying the operations of the Italian allies of
Prussia, when His Excellency replied: 'C'est bien vrai. Ils nous ont
tromps; mais que voulez-vous y faire maintenant? Nous aurons le temps de
les faire egorger apres.'

It is difficult to suppose that there should exist a preconceived
intention on the part of Prussia to repay the sacrifices hitherto made,
although without a very brilliant accompaniment of success, by the
Italian government in support of the alliance, by making her own separate
terms with Austria and leaving Italy subsequently exposed to the
vengeance of the latter, but such would certainly be the inference to be
drawn from the conversation just quoted.

It was only on arriving in the port of Marseilles, however, that the full
enmity of most of my travelling companions towards Italy and the Italians
was manifested. A sailor, the first man who came on board before we
disembarked, was immediately pounced upon for news, and he gave it as
indeed nothing less than the destruction, more or less complete, of the
Italian fleet by that of the Austrians. At this astounding intelligence
the Prussian burst into a yell of indignation. 'Fools! blockheads!
miserables! Beaten at sea by an inferior force! Is that the way they
mean to reconquer Venice by dint of arms? If ever they do regain Venetia
it will be through the blood of our Brandenburghers and Pomeranians, and
not their own.' During this tirade a little old Belgian in black, with
the chain of St. Peter at his buttonhole by way of watchguard, capered
off to communicate the grateful news to a group of his ecclesiastical
fellow-travellers, shrieking out in ecstasy:

'Rosses, Messieurs! Ces blagueurs d'Italiens ont ete rosses par mer,
comme ils avaient ete rosses par terre.' Whereupon the reverend
gentlemen congratulated each other with nods, and winks, and smiles,
and sundry fervent squeezes of the hand. The same demonstrations would
doubtless have been made by the Neapolitan passengers had they belonged
to the Bourbonic faction, but they happened to be honest traders with
cases of coral and lava for the Paris market, and therefore they merely
stood silent and aghast at the fatal news, with their eyes and mouths as
wide open as possible. I had no sooner got to my hotel than I inquired
for the latest Paris journal, when the France was handed me, and I
obtained confirmation in a certain degree of the disaster to the Italian
fleet narrated by the sailor, although not quite in the same formidable

Before quitting the subject of my fellow-passengers on board the 'Prince
Napoleon' I must mention an anecdote related to me, respecting the state
of brigandage, by a Russian or German gentleman, who told me he was
established at Naples. He was complaining of the dangers he had
occasionally encountered in crossing in a diligence from Naples to Foggia
on business; and then, speaking of the audacity of brigands in general,
he told me that last year he saw with his own eyes; in broad daylight,
two brigands walking about the streets of Naples with messages from
captured individuals to their relations, mentioning the sums which had
been demanded for their ransoms. They were unarmed, and in the common
peasants' dresses, and whenever they arrived at one of the houses to
which they were addressed for this purpose, they stopped and opened a
handkerchief which one of them carried in his hand, and took out an ear,
examining whether the ticket on it corresponded with the address of the
house or the name of the resident. There were six ears, all ticketed
with the names of the original owners in the handkerchief, which were
gradually dispensed to their families in Naples to stimulate: prompt
payment of the required ransoms. On my inquiring how it was that the
police took no notice of such barefaced operations, my informant told me
that, previous to the arrival of these brigand emissaries in town, the
chief always wrote to the police authorities warning them against
interfering with them, as the messengers were always followed by spies
in plain clothes belonging to the band who would immediately report any
molestation they might encounter in the discharge of their delicate
mission, and the infallible result of such molestation would be first
the putting to death of all the hostages held for ransom; and next,
the summary execution of several members of gendarmery and police force
captured in various skirmishes by the brigands, and held as prisoners of

Such audacity would seem incredible if we had not heard and read of so
many similar instances of late.


A very doubtful benefit
Americans forgivingly remember, without mentioning
As becomes them, they do not look ahead
Charges of cynicism are common against all satirists
Fourth of the Georges
Here and there a plain good soul to whom he was affectionate
Holy images, and other miraculous objects are sold
It is well to learn manners without having them imposed on us
Men overweeningly in love with their creations
Must be the moralist in the satirist if satire is to strike
Not a page of his books reveals malevolence or a sneer
Petty concessions are signs of weakness to the unsatisfied
Statesman who stooped to conquer fact through fiction
The social world he looked at did not show him heroes
The exhaustion ensuing we named tranquillity
Utterance of generous and patriotic cries is not sufficient
We trust them or we crush them
We grew accustomed to periods of Irish fever

[The End]



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