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Title: Out with Garibaldi - A story of the liberation of Italy
Author: Henty, G. A. (George Alfred)
Language: English
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                          OUT WITH GARIBALDI

                    MR. HENTY'S HISTORICAL TALES.


  THE CAT OF BUBASTES: A Story of Ancient Egypt....5_s._
  THE YOUNG CARTHAGINIAN: A Story of the Times of Hannibal. ...6_s._
  FOR THE TEMPLE: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem....6_s._
  BERIC THE BRITON: A Story of the Roman Invasion....6_s._
  THE DRAGON AND THE RAVEN: or, The Days of King Alfred....5_s._
  WULF THE SAXON: A Story of the Norman Conquest....6_s._
  A KNIGHT OF THE WHITE CROSS: The Siege of Rhodes....6_s._
  IN FREEDOM'S CAUSE: A Story of Wallace and Bruce....6_s._
  THE LION OF ST. MARK: A Story of Venice in the 14th Century....6_s._
  ST. GEORGE FOR ENGLAND: A Tale of Cressy and Poitiers....5_s._
  A MARCH ON LONDON: A Story of Wat Tyler....5_s._
  BOTH SIDES THE BORDER: A Tale of Hotspur and Glendower....6_s._
  AT AGINCOURT: A Tale of the White Hoods of Paris....6_s._
  BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST: or, With Cortez in Mexico....6_s._
  ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE: A Tale of the Huguenot Wars....6_s._
  BY PIKE AND DYKE: A Tale of the Rise of the Dutch Republic....6_s._
  BY ENGLAND'S AID: or, The Freeing of the Netherlands....6_s._
  UNDER DRAKE'S FLAG: A Tale of the Spanish Main....6_s._
  THE LION OF THE NORTH: A Tale of Gustavus Adolphus....6_s._
  WON BY THE SWORD: A Tale of the Thirty Years' War....6_s._
  WHEN LONDON BURNED: A Story of the Great Fire....6_s._
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  IN THE REIGN OF TERROR: The French Revolution....5_s._
  NO SURRENDER! A Tale of the Rising in La Vendée....5_s._
  A ROVING COMMISSION: A Story of the Hayti Insurrection....6_s._
  THE TIGER OF MYSORE: The War with Tippoo Saib....6_s._
  AT ABOUKIR AND ACRE: Napoleon's Invasion of Egypt....5_s._
  WITH MOORE AT CORUNNA: A Tale of the Peninsular War....6_s._
  UNDER WELLINGTON'S COMMAND: The Peninsular War....6_s._
  WITH COCHRANE THE DAUNTLESS: A Tale of his Exploits....6_s._
  THROUGH THE FRAY: A Story of the Luddite Riots....6_s._
  THROUGH RUSSIAN SNOWS: The Retreat from Moscow....5_s._
  ONE OF THE 28TH: A Story of Waterloo....5_s._
  IN GREEK WATERS: A Story of the Grecian War (1821)....6_s._
  ON THE IRRAWADDY: A Story of the First Burmese War....5_s._
  THROUGH THE SIKH WAR: A Tale of the Punjaub....6_s._
  MAORI AND SETTLER: A Story of the New Zealand War....5_s._
  WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA: A Story of the American Civil War....6_s._
  BY SHEER PLUCK: A Tale of the Ashanti War....5_s._
  FOR NAME AND FAME: or, Through Afghan Passes....5_s._
  THE DASH FOR KHARTOUM: A Tale of the Nile Expedition....6_s._
  CONDEMNED AS A NIHILIST: A Story of Escape from Siberia....5_s._

LONDON: BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED; GLASGOW AND DUBLIN.

[Illustration: "FRANK ENGAGED IN A TOUGH FIGHT WITH THE OFFICER WHO HELD
THE FLAG"]



                          OUT WITH GARIBALDI

                              A STORY OF
                        THE LIBERATION OF ITALY

                                  BY

                              G. A. HENTY

Author of "The Lion of St. Mark" "No Surrender!" "St. George for England"
                   "Under Wellington's Command" &c.

             _WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS BY W. RAINEY, R.I._

                                LONDON
              BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C
                          GLASGOW AND DUBLIN
                                 1901



PREFACE


The invasion of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies by Garibaldi with a
force of but a thousand irregular troops is one of the most romantic
episodes ever recorded in military history. In many respects it rivals
the conquest of Mexico by Cortez. The latter won, not by the greater
bravery of his troops, but by their immense superiority in weapons and
defensive armour. Upon the contrary, Garibaldi's force were ill-armed
and practically without artillery, and were opposed by an army of a
hundred and twenty thousand men carrying the best weapons of the time,
and possessing numerous and powerful artillery. In both cases the
invaders were supported by a portion of the population who had been
reduced to a state of servitude, and who joined them against their
oppressors. There is another point of resemblance between these
remarkable expeditions, inasmuch as the leaders of both were treated
with the grossest ingratitude by the monarchs for whom they had gained
such large acquisitions of territory. For the leading incidents in the
campaign I have relied chiefly upon Garibaldi's Autobiography and the
personal narrative of the campaign by Captain Forbes, R.N.

G. A. HENTY.



CONTENTS


CHAP.                                                      Page

I. AWAITING THE ATTACK                                       11

II. A DESPERATE DEFENCE                                      31

III. TROUBLES                                                50

IV. A SUDDEN SUMMONS                                         65

V. ON THE WAY                                                85

VI. THE VILLA SPINOLA                                       104

VII. THE EXPEDITION SAILS                                   125

VIII. PALERMO                                               143

IX. HARD FIGHTING                                           158

X. WITH BIXIO                                               178

XI. A HAZARDOUS EXPEDITION                                  197

XII. AN AMBUSCADE                                           216

XIII. ACROSS THE STRAITS                                    233

XIV. A DISCOVERY                                            252

XV. THE ADVANCE FROM REGGIO                                 272

XVI. NAPLES                                                 292

XVII. THE BATTLE OF THE VOLTURNO                            311

XVIII. CAPUA                                                330



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                           Page

"FRANK ENGAGED IN A TOUGH FIGHT WITH THE OFFICER
WHO HELD THE FLAG"                               _Frontis._ 145

"WALKING UP AND DOWN THE ROOM LIKE A CAGED LION"             35

"HIS ASSAILANT FELL BACK AND DISAPPEARED"                    91

"THE HINGES OF THE DOOR WERE BROKEN OFF"                    161

"IN HER EXCITEMENT SHE FELL ON HER KNEES"                   205

"'SILENCE, SIGNORS!' HE SAID IN A LOUD VOICE"               244

"IT WAS NOT UNTIL NULLO ORDERED FOUR MEN TO LOAD
... THAT HE WOULD ANSWER"                                   307

"HE WENT UP TO PERCIVAL AND PUT HIS HAND ON HIS SHOULDER"   337

MAP SHOWING POSITION OF THE OPPOSING FORCES ROUND CAPUA     313

PLAN OF THE BATTLE OF THE VOLTURNO                          319



OUT WITH GARIBALDI.



CHAPTER I.

AWAITING THE ATTACK.


On April 29th, 1849, two men were seated in a room whose open windows
commanded a view down the Tiber. A sound of confused uproar rose from
the city.

"I am afraid, Leonard," the elder of the two men said, "that the crisis
is at hand. The news that the French are landing to-day at Civita
Vecchia is ominous indeed. It is true that Oudïnot has sent a message
saying that the flag he has hoisted is that of peace and order. The
people will not believe that he comes as an enemy; but, for my part, I
have no doubt of it."

"Nor have I," the other replied. "It was bad enough that we had Austria
against us, Sardinia powerless, and all the princelings of Italy
hostile; but that France, having proclaimed herself a republic, should
now interfere to crush us and to put the Pope back upon his throne is
nothing short of monstrous. I feared that it would be so, but Mazzini
had so much faith in his influence with members of the French Assembly
that he has buoyed up the hopes of the populace, and even now the people
generally believe that the French come as friends."

"It is doubtless the influence of their new president, Napoleon, that
has turned the scale against us," the other said gloomily. "I do not
suppose that he cares about the Pope one way or the other, but it is his
interest to pose as his champion. By so doing he will gain the good
opinion of Austria, of Naples, and the ducal rulers of the Italian
states. Even Prussia, protestant as she is, would view with satisfaction
the suppression of a rising like ours, for her throne well-nigh tottered
in last year's explosion. Russia, too, which perhaps more than any other
power has reason to fear a popular rising, would feel grateful to
Napoleon for undertaking to crush free thought in Rome. It is evident
that the French President's move is a politic one. Do you think that we
shall fight, Leonard?"

"I fancy so. I have no belief in Mazzini's courage, president though he
may be. Garibaldi is the popular hero, and I know him well enough to be
sure that if he has but a handful of men to back him he will fight till
the end. We had the odds as heavily against us when we were
comrades-in-arms at Rio, with but the Susie and a merchantman with three
or four guns against the whole Brazilian navy, or when, with the Italian
volunteers, two hundred strong, we several times withstood the assault
of five times our number. You will see we shall fight; but there can be
no question what the end must be. We may repulse Oudïnot's attack; but
France could send any amount of reinforcements to him, while we have no
friends to go to. It is well that your wife, Muriel, and the boy were
sent off a month since to Leghorn, where, if we escape from what must
happen here, we can join them and take ship for England."

"I am sorry that you should be involved in this affair, Leonard."

"I am not sorry," the other said. "In the first place, after being here
more than ten years, I have come to hate the tyranny and oppression, I
don't say of the Pope himself, but of his underlings, as much as you do.
In the second place, I would fight by the side of Garibaldi in almost
any quarrel. I do not agree with him in his love for republics, but he
has infected me with his hatred of tyrants and his burning patriotism.
He is a glorious man; and after having been his comrade, I may almost
say his brother, in adventures, hardships, and battles for two years, it
would be strange indeed if I hesitated to join him in his crusade to rid
Italy of her tyrants. I am a soldier, and I own to a fondness for
fighting when convinced that the cause is a just one. I know your
opinions on the subject; but I suppose you do not propose to fight
yourself?"

"I do indeed, Leonard. I do not say that I should be a match for a
strong and active man in a bout with swords, though of course I learned
the use of the rapier when a student, but at fifty I can at least use a
musket as well as a younger man, and if Rome fights I fight with her.
Ah, here comes Garibaldi!"

The door opened, and a man entered, whose appearance, even had he not
been dressed in a red shirt, blue trousers of rough cloth, and a soft,
broad-brimmed wide-awake, would have been remarked wherever he went. Of
middle height, he was exceptionally wide across the shoulders and deep
in the chest; he wore his hair and beard long--both were of a golden
yellow, giving a remarkably leonine look to his face; his eyes were
blue, and the general expression of his face, when not angered, was
pleasant and good-tempered, although marked also by resolution and
firmness. At that time his name was comparatively little known in
Europe, although the extraordinary bravery and enterprise that he had
shown at Rio and Monte Video had marked him as a leader of guerilla
warfare, possessing many characteristics that recalled the exploits of
Lord Cochrane. It was only when, after his services had been declined by
Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia, he was, with a few hundred followers,
making his way to aid in the defence of Venice against the Austrians,
that, on hearing that Rome had risen, he hurried to aid the movement,
and on his arrival there was greeted with enthusiasm by the populace,
who had been informed by Mazzini of his exploits.

"You have heard the news?" he said as he entered.

"Yes; we were just talking it over," Leonard Percival said, "and
conclude, as I suppose you do, that the French come as enemies."

"There can be no doubt about it, my friend," Garibaldi said. "If they
had said that they came as enemies I might have doubted them; but after
the evasive answer their general gave to the deputation Mazzini sent
them this morning, I have no question whatever that they will attack us
to-morrow."

"And you will fight?"

"Of course. We shall beat them, I think; in the end Rome must fall, but
our resistance will not have been in vain. The stand we shall make
against tyranny will touch every heart throughout Italy. It will show
that, ground down as the people have been for centuries, the old fire of
the Romans is not extinct. This will be but the beginning. When it is
seen that the despots cannot maintain their authority save by the aid of
foreign powers, there will be revolt after revolt until Italy is free.
There were some grand lines you once told me as we sat round a camp
fire, Percival, that exactly express my thoughts."

"I know what you mean," the Englishman said. "They were Byron's:

    For freedom's battle once begun,
    Bequeath'd by bleeding sire to son,
    Though baffled oft, is ever won."

"They are splendid and true," Garibaldi said enthusiastically. "So shall
it be with us. This is our first battle--we cannot hope to win it; but
our guns will tell Italy and Europe that we have awoke at last, that,
after being slaves so long that we had come to be looked upon as a
people content to be ruled by despots, we are still men, and that,
having once begun the fight for freedom, we will maintain it until
freedom is won."

"And now, what are your plans for to-morrow?"

"As soon as the French are seen approaching the city the church bells
will ring and the alarm be beaten in the streets. The word has been
passed round that all are to assemble instantly. The troops that have
been organised will first pour out; the rest will follow with such arms
as they have. We shall simply rush upon the French. In such a fight
there is no need for manoeuvring; and it is well that it is so, for
there the French would be our superiors. We shall simply attack and
drive them back. We may take it for granted that, being boastful
creatures and believing that they have but to show themselves and we
shall lay down our arms and implore their mercy, they will be wholly
taken by surprise and disconcerted by our onslaught. Can you recommend
anything better, my friend?"

"No. With such a force as yours, newly raised and wholly unused to
discipline, it is probable that at the first engagement, and with the
advantage of surprise, they will, as you say, drive back the French; but
you will have to adopt different tactics afterwards: to stand on the
defensive and prevent their entering the city as long as possible, and
to defend every street and lane, as the Spaniards did at Saragossa. They
may take the city at last, but at so terrible a cost of blood that we
may be sure that when you rise again the French people will not allow
another expedition to be undertaken for a cause in which they have no
concern, and which would entail such heavy sacrifices."

"Will you have a separate command, Percival? You have but to choose one,
and it is yours."

"I will fight by your side," the Englishman said briefly. "I know that I
shall get my full share of the work then."

"And you, professor?"

"I shall go out with the rest. The students have elected me their
captain, and I shall, of course, lead them. It is a simple matter. I see
the enemy in front, and I go at them. Even I, a man of peace all my
life, understand that. I shall have with me at least a dozen of my
colleagues, and if I am shot they can direct our boys as well as I can."

"Good!" Garibaldi said. "If I thought that you could keep the students
in hand, and then dash into the thick of it if you see our men wavering
anywhere, I should say do so; but I know that it would be impossible.
They will long to be in the front rank and to set an example to others,
and I shall feel confident that, wherever they may be, there will be no
faltering. Your chief difficulty will be in restraining their ardour.
Well, my friends, I have many things to arrange, so must be going. You
will find me in my quarters at nine o'clock this evening, Percival. The
officers and the heads of the various quarters of the town are to meet
me there at that hour, to arrange where the assembling-places are to be
when the alarm is given, and the streets through which they must move
when we see at which point the French are going to attack us."

"I will come down with him," the professor said. "I will send word to my
colleagues where to meet me an hour later, so that I can inform them of
the arrangements."

And with a nod Garibaldi, who had been unanimously elected general of
the Roman forces, strolled away.

Leonard Percival had been a captain in the British army, but having
become tired of garrison life during the long peace, had sold out in
1837, and sailed for South America, where there were always
opportunities for a man of action to distinguish himself. He took part
in the struggle of Rio Grande for separation from Brazil. Here he first
made the acquaintance of Garibaldi, and shared with him in the many
perilous adventures and desperate fights of that war. Becoming disgusted
with the factions and intrigues that were rampant at Rio, he left the
service of the little republic and returned to England.

He was the second son of a wealthy English gentleman, who had viewed
with much disapproval his leaving the army and undertaking the life of a
soldier of fortune when there was no occasion for his doing so, as he
had an allowance amply sufficient for him to live upon. His father was
not much surprised when, after staying for a month at home, Leonard told
him that, having a taste for art, he had made up his mind to adopt it as
a profession, and should go out to Rome to study. This seemed to him
better than wandering about the world fighting in quarrels in which he
had no concern, and he had no valid reply to his son when the latter
said,--

"You see, father, you cannot expect me to spend my life in absolute
laziness. I must be doing something. The life of a club lounger is the
last I should choose. I have no liking for a country life--if I had I
would go out to Australia or Canada and settle; but I know that in a few
months I should be home again, for I could not stand a life of solitude.
If you can suggest anything better I shall be ready, as far as possible,
to be guided by your wishes."

"You may as well have your own way, Leonard. I suppose it will come to
that in the end, and therefore you may as well do it first as last; and
at any rate, a few months in Rome will be a change for you, and I shall
not be expecting by every post a communication saying that you have been
killed."

So Captain Percival went to Rome, without any idea of staying there more
than a year. His plans, however, were changed when he met and fell in
love with Muriel, the only child of Professor Forli, a man of almost
European reputation for his learning and attainments. His wooing had
been an uneventful one. His income was amply sufficient, in the
professor's eyes, to keep his daughter in comfort, and, moreover, the
master under whom Leonard was studying gave an excellent account of his
ability and industry, and in 1842 the marriage took place. Previous to
this Leonard had obtained his father's consent to his intended marriage,
although not his approval.

"I consider that it is one more piece of folly," he wrote. "There was no
reason in the world why you should not have settled at home and made a
good marriage. I had specially hoped that this would have been the case,
as Tom still remains a bachelor. However, there are some redeeming
points in the matter. I have, through a friend, who is a member of the
Athenæum, learned that Professor Forli's name is well known, and that he
is considered one of the most learned men in Italy. In the next place,
the young lady's mother is, as you have told me, an Englishwoman of good
family, and her daughter is therefore only half an Italian. From your
description of her, allowing for the usual exaggeration in such cases,
she takes after her mother, and might pass anywhere as of unmixed
English blood, so I may hope that I shall not have black-haired, swarthy
little grandchildren running about. I shall add a couple of hundred a
year to your allowance, as I always intended to do when you married."

A year later Captain Percival brought his wife home to England, and
stayed there for some time; and here a son was born, who was christened
Frank, after his grandfather. Whatever objections the latter might at
first have felt to his son's marriage, they were altogether removed by
this visit; neither in appearance nor in speech did his wife betray her
foreign origin, for her mother had always conversed with her in English,
and she spoke it without the slightest accent. She was now twenty, was
strikingly handsome, and very graceful in her movements. He would gladly
have kept her and his son with him; but when they had consented to her
marriage, her parents had bargained that she should, at any rate, spend
a large portion of her time with them, as they had no other children.
Moreover, her husband was now devoted to art, and although he had only
been working for two years, his pictures were already beginning to
attract attention.

Mr. Percival was, therefore, obliged to content himself with the promise
that they would come over every year for at least four months. The
arrangement, however, was not carried out, for, a few months after their
return to Italy, Mr. Percival died suddenly. His death made no
difference pecuniarily to his son, as he had settled upon him a sum
sufficient to produce an income equal to that which he had before been
allowed. His elder brother came out a year later, and stayed for a few
weeks with him.

"You must send this little chap over to England to be educated,
Leonard," he had said, "if you will persist in sticking in this rotten
old city. I don't suppose I shall ever marry; and if not, of course some
day he will come in for the property."

"But why on earth shouldn't you marry, Tom? You know what a trouble it
was to our father that you did not do so--it was a real grievance to
him."

"Well, I should really have been glad to oblige him; but somehow or
other I never saw any girl whom I earnestly desired to make my wife, or,
as I suppose you would call it, fell in love with. I very much prefer
knocking about in my yacht, or travelling, to settling down. Of course I
always spent a month or two, twice a year, at my father's, and was in
town three months in the season--that is to say, when I did not get sick
of it. Then I either went up the Mediterranean or to the West Indies, or
knocked about round England for three or four months, and finished the
year with a run up the Nile, or out to India or China. Now I feel even
less inclined to marry than I did before, for if I did, it would simply
mean eight months in the year down in the country, and four in London.
Of course, if I ever do fall in love--and at forty it is hardly
likely--I shall marry; I don't bind myself in any way to remain single.
Anyhow, I am glad that you are married, and that, when I go, there will
be another Frank Percival, who we must hope will be of a more settled
disposition than either of us, to reign in the old place."

So things had gone on quietly until, in 1848, the revolution in Paris
was followed by an upheaval all over Europe. The ascent of Pius IX. to
the papal chair was hailed by the liberal party in Italy as the
commencement of a new era. He was accredited, and not unjustly, with
liberal views, and it was believed that he would introduce reforms into
the Papal States, and act as a centre round which patriots could rally.
Unfortunately, the party of reform in Italy was divided into two
classes; of one of these the Marquis d'Azeglio was the leading spirit;
he was a moderate reformer, and looked to a union of Italy under a
constitutional monarch. Carlo Alberto, the King of Sardinia, seemed to
him the only man who could assume that position, and for years d'Azeglio
had worked quietly to this end.

A more violent spirit was however working with as much zeal and energy
in another direction. Mazzini was an extreme republican of the narrowest
kind; he was in communication with men of the same type in France, and
had formed secret societies all over Italy. He and those with him were
anxious to obtain the countenance and prestige which a Pope of advanced
liberal opinions would give to their party, and Pius IX. was received
with enthusiastic acclamations by the republican party of Rome. But,
liberally inclined as he was, he shrank from committing himself wholly
to the reformers. He was a weak man; and although his vanity was
gratified by his reception, and although he had sincerely desired to
introduce broad reforms, he hesitated when called upon to carry those
reforms into action. The King of Sardinia had been pushed forward by the
Mazzinians, until he compromised himself, and made advances to the Pope,
when in 1847 Austria violated the Papal territories at Ferrara. But the
Pope hesitated. His army was already near the frontier; but he declared
that he had no intention of making war, and desired only to protect his
territory.

The news of the movement had reached Monte Video; and Garibaldi,
believing that the Pope would stand forth as the champion for the
freedom of Italy, wrote, offering his services and those of his
followers, the greater part of whom were Italians who had been exiled
for their political opinions. No answer was received from him; and
Garibaldi took the matter into his own hands, and with eighty-five
Italians sailed for Europe. On arriving at Alicante he learned that a
revolution had broken out in Paris, that Carlo Alberto had given his
people a constitution, that Lombardy and Venice had risen, that the
Milanese had driven the Austrians out of the city, that there were
insurrections in Vienna and Berlin, that Tuscany and Rome were sending
thousands of volunteers to fight in the national cause, and that even
Ferdinand of Naples had promised his people a constitution. Garibaldi
was unavoidably detained for some time at Nice, his native town, and
before he was able to move a change had set in.

The Lombards and Venetians had both quarrelled among themselves.
Mazzini's party were struggling against those who would have made Carlo
Alberto King of Italy. The Piedmontese, after brilliant successes at
first, were obliged to retreat. The Roman volunteers had been forced to
capitulate. Garibaldi went to see the king, and offer to act with his
volunteers in his service; but his application was slighted, and this
threw him into the hands of the revolutionary party. It was a grievous
mistake on the part of the king; but the latter could not forget that
Garibaldi had been a rebel against him, nor could Garibaldi forget that
it was the king who had sentenced him to death and had sent him into
exile. He therefore hurried to Milan, where he was received with
enthusiasm. The king moved to the aid of Milan, against which the
Austrians were advancing; but in that city the party of Mazzini was
predominant, and they refused to open the gates to him; and early in
August the king came to terms with the Austrians, and Milan surrendered.

For a time Garibaldi's following alone maintained the war. Carrying on a
guerilla warfare, he, with fifteen hundred men, was surrounded by five
thousand Austrians, but he effected a marvellous retreat, and retired
into Switzerland. Here he was taken ill, and was forced to rest for some
months. He then went to Genoa. The extraordinary skill and bravery which
he had shown during the campaign induced the King of Sardinia to offer
him the rank of general in his army, that being the grade that he had
held in Monte Video. But Garibaldi refused, and with two hundred and
fifty volunteers started for Venice, which was besieged by the
Austrians. On hearing, however, of the rising in Rome and the flight of
the Pope--who had now abandoned his liberal professions, and had thrown
himself into the hands of Austria--Garibaldi changed his course, and his
ranks being swollen as he marched along, he arrived at Rome at the head
of fifteen hundred men. Here he met his comrade in the struggle at Rio
and Monte Video.

During his six years' residence in Rome Captain Percival had imbibed
that hatred of the Austrians and detestation of the despotisms under
which the Italian States groaned, that was felt by all with whom he came
in contact, his father-in-law, Professor Forli, being one of the leaders
of the liberal party in Rome. His wife, too, was an enthusiast in the
cause; and although he felt no sympathy whatever with Mazzini and the
revolutionary party, he was, even before the arrival of Garibaldi,
resolved to take up arms should Rome be attacked. The presence of
Garibaldi still further confirmed this resolution; but as soon as he
heard that a French expedition had set sail, he had insisted that his
wife and child should leave the city, for he by no means shared the
general belief that the French were coming as allies. Her mother
accompanied her to Leghorn, for the professor was as anxious as Percival
that his wife and daughter should be in a place of safety.

They were most reluctant to go, and only yielded when Signor Forli and
Captain Percival declared that their presence in Rome would hamper their
movements and render it impossible for them to make their escape if the
city should be taken, which both foresaw would be the case. They
promised that when they found all was lost they would leave the city and
join them at Leghorn. Madame Forli was to take her maiden name again;
and as two English ladies staying at an hotel at Leghorn they would be
safe from annoyance even if a French or Austrian army marched through
the town. The professor spoke English well, and once out of the city he
and Leonard would be able to pass as two English tourists travelling
from Naples to Florence.

Had the Pope sought refuge in Capua or Malta, events might have taken a
very different turn; but he threw himself into the hands of the King of
Naples, and went the length of pronouncing him to be a model monarch, a
pattern to the rest of Europe, and this at a time when the disclosures
that had been made respecting the horrible dungeons into which all
Neapolitans suspected of entertaining liberal views were thrown, were
filling Europe with horror.

This change of front extinguished the hopes of those who had imagined
that the Pope would become the centre of liberal thought in Italy,
rendered the people of the papal dominions desperate, and vastly
increased the party of Mazzini and the extreme republicans. On February
9th a constituent assembly was held in Rome, and the republic was
proclaimed. Garibaldi was appointed to defend the frontier. Volunteers
poured in from all parts of Italy, and as the King of Sardinia had again
taken up arms, a force was moving forward to support him, when the news
came of his defeat at Novara, followed by his abdication and the
succession of Victor Emmanuel to the throne. Austria, Naples, and Spain
were now eager to crush the revolution in Rome; but the resolution of
the Romans was unshaken, and they still hoped to be able to maintain
themselves with, as they expected, the aid of France.

The terrible blow that had been inflicted on finding that the French
were coming as enemies, instead of as friends, did not shake their
determination, although it was now with a courage of despair rather than
of hope that they prepared for the conflict. Rome must fall; but at
least it would prove itself worthy of its best traditions, and set an
example that would not be lost upon the peoples of Italy. Anything, they
felt, would be better than the reign of a pope in close alliance with
the tyrant of Naples; and the evening after the French landing saw Rome
tranquil and grimly determined. Doubtless many of those who were
resolved to fight till the last were buoyed up with the hope that in any
case they would be able to make their escape when the action was over.
Rome covered a great extent of ground, and the French army was not of
sufficient strength to form a cordon round it.

Captain Percival had, a fortnight before, sent his finished and
unfinished canvases and all his most valuable belongings down to Civita
Vecchia, and had shipped them for England. He knew the reckless
destruction carried out by an army after a successful assault, and that
possibly, if it came to street to street fighting, a considerable
portion of the city might be burnt. The professor had similarly sent
away his very valuable collection of coins, books, and manuscripts. At
nine o'clock they went down to the mansion that Garibaldi occupied. A
long discussion took place, and routes were decided upon for the various
contingents to follow when the alarm was given. News had been brought in
from time to time during the day as to the movements of the French, and
the point at which they would probably assault was therefore now known.
It would be either at the Porta Cavalleggieri or at the Porta San
Pancrazio.

Captain Percival and the professor returned to the former's house, where
the professor had taken up his residence since his wife had gone to
Leghorn, and sat talking until a late hour. They were roused early the
next morning by the ringing of the great bells of the cathedral, which
were joined almost immediately by those of all the other churches in the
city. Captain Percival had lain down fully dressed, and springing to his
feet, he buckled on a sword, placed a brace of pistols in his belt, and
then ran down to the Porta San Pancrazio, where, as he knew, Garibaldi
would take up his post. The general, indeed, had not slept at all, but,
fearful that the French might attempt an assault under cover of
darkness, kept watch round the western wall, along which he had posted
the men he could most depend upon. Even before the Englishman joined
Garibaldi the roar of the guns on the wall told that the French were
already advancing.

"It is like old times, comrade," Garibaldi said, with a strong grip of
his hand, "only it is on a larger scale than we were accustomed to in
South America. Oudïnot is beginning with a blunder, for he is making for
the Porta Cavalleggieri, which is flanked by the walls of the Vatican.
He is over-confident, and I do not imagine that he expects anything like
a serious resistance. I think we shall certainly beat him back there,
and that then he will attack us here. Will you go to the other gate? All
my old comrades know you, and, indeed, all the volunteers, as you have
assisted to drill them."

Oudïnot, indeed, had believed that the force of regular troops he had
with him would easily brush aside the resistance of a half-armed mob.

Captain Percival hurried away. The volunteers were already gathered on
the walls, and in every street the townspeople were hurrying out, armed
with weapons of all kinds. On the roofs and at the windows of the houses
women were clustered thickly, waving their handkerchiefs and scarves,
and shouting words of encouragement and applause to the men. To the roar
of cannon was now added the rattle of musketry. When he reached the gate
he found a heavy column of volunteers drawn up there, while behind them
was a dense crowd of excited citizens. From the wall he saw the French
advancing; the leading regiment was but a few hundred yards away. They
were moving steadily forward, apparently heedless of the cannon that
thundered on their flank and face. The musketry they could afford to
despise, for they were beyond the distance at which any accurate
shooting was possible; and, indeed, the firing was of the wildest
description, as comparatively few of the men had ever handled a gun
until a few weeks previously. Captain Percival went up to the officer
who was in command, and with whom he was well acquainted. Although the
massive walls still stood, the gates had long since disappeared, their
places being occupied simply by barriers, where the duty on provisions
and goods coming into the city was collected.

"The men are clamouring to be let out," he said. "What do you think,
Captain Percival?"

"I should let them go soon. They are full of dash and enthusiasm at
present, and would fight far better on the offensive than they would if
they are kept stationary. I should keep them in hand till the French are
within seventy or eighty yards of the gate. By that time they will be
answering the fire from the walls, and even those in the front lines,
whose muskets are still loaded, will only have time for one shot before
our men are upon them. I should place three or four hundred of your
steadiest men on the wall here, so that if the sortie is repulsed, they
can cover the retreat by their fire."

"I think that is good advice," the other said. "Will you come down with
me, and tell them that they shall go, but that they must not move till I
give the order, and that no man is to fire until he is within ten yards
of the enemy's line."

It was difficult to make their voices heard above the crack of musketry
and the shouts of the excited crowd; however, their words were passed
from man to man, and so back among the people behind. Now that they knew
that they were to have their way, and that the critical movement was at
hand, the shouting abated, and a stern look of determination settled on
their faces. Leonard Percival joined a group of officers who were at the
head of the volunteers, and the officer in command resumed his place on
the wall, as it was all-important that, if the sortie were repulsed, he
should lead his men down and oppose the entrance of the enemy until the
retiring force had rallied.

It was not long before a roll of musketry broke out, showing that the
assailants were now returning the fire of the Garibaldians on the wall.
It grew louder and louder; and then, when the head of the French column
was some eighty yards away, the officer on the wall gave the order, and
the volunteers followed by the citizens poured out with a mighty shout.
The French halted for a moment in surprise, not having dreamt that the
defenders of the town would venture upon sallying out to attack them.
Then there was a scattered fire of musketry; but most of the barrels
were already empty, and few of the balls took effect. Without replying,
the volunteers rushed forward, opening out as they ran to something like
order. When within ten yards of the French bayonets every man delivered
his fire, and then hurled himself upon the broken ranks. The struggle
was a short one. The weight and impetuosity of the attack, supported as
it was by a surging crowd of excited citizens, was irresistible, and the
regiment broke and fled hastily to the shelter of the troops following
it, leaving the ground strewn with dead and wounded. Then the bugles at
the gate rang out the order to the exulting crowd to retire. The
officers threw themselves in front of the men, and with great difficulty
checked the pursuit, and caused them to withdraw to their original
position behind the wall.



CHAPTER II.

A DESPERATE DEFENCE.


After a short halt the French, having re-formed, changed their course
and marched along parallel to the fortifications. Captain Percival had,
on returning from the sortie, joined the officer on the wall, and
watched alternately the movements of the French and the scene in the
city. This was one of wild excitement--the men cheering and shouting,
shaking each other by the hand, placing their hats on their bayonets,
and waving them in answer to the wild applause of the women on the
housetops. Some, however, were not content at being called back, instead
of being allowed to complete what they considered their partial victory;
forgetting that they would have been met in a very different manner by
the troops in support, who would have been prepared for the attack and
would have reserved their fire until the last moment. As soon as it
became evident that the French intended to make their next move against
the gate of San Pancrazio, the greater portion of the volunteers marched
in that direction, Captain Percival accompanying them.

"You have done well so far," Garibaldi said, as he joined them. "Now it
will be our turn, and we shall have tougher work than you had, for they
will be prepared. I suppose your loss was not heavy?"

"Very trifling indeed; there were but three dead brought in, and there
were some ten or twelve wounded."

"It was just the sort of action to raise the spirits of the men, and
they are all in the humour for fighting. I shall therefore lead them out
here. But we cannot hope to succeed with a rush as you did--they will be
prepared for us this time; the best men would be killed before we
reached them, and the mass behind, but few of whom have guns, would be
simply massacred."

The volunteers, who had undergone a rough sort of drill, were assembled
before the French had concluded their preparations for an assault.
Garibaldi appointed Captain Percival to take charge of the gate, having
with him two hundred of the volunteers, behind whom were the armed
citizens. These clamoured to go out as before; but Garibaldi raised his
hand for silence, and then told them that he would not lead them to a
useless massacre against an army of well-armed soldiers.

"Your duty," he said, "is to remain here. If we have to fall back, you
will open to let us pass. We shall be ready to do our share when
necessary; but the defence of the gate will be for a while entrusted to
you. If the enemy force an entrance, fall upon them as you would upon
wild beasts; their discipline and their arms would be of no great
advantage in a hand-to-hand fight. Each man must fight as he would were
he protecting his family from a band of wolves--hatchet and pike must
meet musket and bayonet, those who have knives must dive among the
throng and use them fearlessly. It is a great charge that we entrust to
you: we go out to fight; you will guard the city and all you hold dear."

A loud cheer showed that he had struck the right chord, and the mob drew
back as he led out some five thousand volunteers. These advanced to
within musket-shot of the enemy, and then scattering, took shelter
behind houses and cottages, walls and ruins. The French cannon opened
fire as the movement was going on. These were answered by the guns on
the walls, and as the French advanced a murderous fire was opened by
their hidden foes. The battle raged for several hours. Sometimes the
French advanced close up to the position held by the Garibaldians, but
as soon as they did so, they were exposed also to the fire from the men
on the walls; and in spite of Captain Percival's efforts, groups of men
made their way down the road and joined the firing line, lying down
until the moment should come when they could spring like wild cats upon
the French.

Once or twice, when the assailants pressed back the Garibaldians in
spite of their efforts, they found themselves presently opposed by a
crowd that seemed to leap from the ground, and who, with wild shouts,
rushed upon them so furiously that they recoiled almost panic-struck
before so unaccustomed an enemy. Men were pulled down, and as Garibaldi
had given strict orders that no French soldier should be killed except
when fighting, these were carried back triumphantly into the city. At
last General Oudïnot, seeing that his troops were making no progress,
and that, even if they could force their way into the city, they would
suffer terribly in street-fighting with such assailants, gave the order
for his men to retire. This they did sullenly, while a roar of
triumphant shouting rose from the volunteers, the men on the walls, and
the crowd that covered every house and vantage-ground, from which a view
of what was passing outside could be obtained.

The Italian loss was only about a hundred men killed and wounded,
whereas the French lost three hundred killed and wounded and five
hundred prisoners. So unprepared was the French general for such a
resistance, that he had to undergo the humiliation of sending in to
Garibaldi to ask him to supply him with surgeons to dress the wounds of
the French soldiers. During the fighting the French artillery had done
far more injury to works of art in Rome than they had inflicted upon the
defenders, as the artillery played principally upon the dome of St.
Peter's and the Vatican, both of which buildings were much damaged.

The joy caused in Rome by this victory was prodigious. Fires blazed that
night on all the hills, every house was illuminated, the people thronged
the streets, shouting and cheering. They had, indeed, much to be proud
of: five thousand almost undrilled volunteers had defeated seven
thousand of the best troops of France.

[Illustration: "WALKING UP AND DOWN THE ROOM LIKE A CAGED LION"]

The French retired at once to Palo, on the road to Civita Vecchia.
Garibaldi gave his troops a few hours' rest, and then moved out to
attack the French, and took up a most advantageous position. His troops
were flushed with victory, while the French were cowed and dispirited;
and he was on the point of attacking, when General Oudïnot sent a
messenger to treat for an armistice, and as a proof of his sincerity
offered to give up Ugo Bassi, a priest who had remained by the side of a
wounded man when the Garibaldians had for a moment retired. Garibaldi
would peremptorily have refused the request, for he was confident that
he should defeat and capture the whole of the French. Mazzini, however,
with his two associates in the triumvirate, still clung to the hope that
the French would aid them, and determined to accept the armistice,
fearing that were the whole French army destroyed, the national feeling
would be so embittered that there would no longer be any hope
whatever of an alliance. Garibaldi protested, declaring that the
armistice would but enable the French reinforcements to arrive. Mazzini,
however, persisted in the decision, and actually released the five
hundred prisoners in exchange for the priest.

The folly of this violent democrat sealed the fate of Rome. Had
Garibaldi been permitted to carry out his plans, the French army would
have been destroyed or made prisoners to a man, and the enthusiasm that
such a glorious victory would have excited throughout all Italy would
have aroused the whole population to burst their bonds. Furious at this
act of folly, Garibaldi and his troops re-entered Rome. He was greeted
with enthusiasm by the people, but disliking such ovations, he slipped
away with Captain Percival to the latter's house. Professor Forli had
taken no part in the fighting outside the walls, but stationing himself
with the troops that manned them, had kept up a vigorous fire whenever
the enemy were within gunshot. After the repulse of the second attack he
had returned home.

"The stupidity of these people is incredible," Garibaldi, who had
scarcely spoken a word since he had turned back towards Rome, burst out,
waving aside the chair that the professor offered him, and walking up
and down the room like a caged lion. "We held the French in the palms of
our hands, and they have allowed them to escape. A fortnight, and we
shall have three times their number to face, and you know what the
result will be. I regard the cause as lost, thrown away by Mazzini--a
man who has never taken part in a battle, who kept himself shut up in
the capital when the fighting was going on, a man of the tongue and not
of action. It is too disgusting. I am a republican; but if a republic
is to be in the hands of men like these, they will drive me to become a
monarchist again. Carlo Alberto was weak, but he was at least a man; he
staked his throne for the cause, and when it was lost, retired. Mazzini
stakes nothing, for he has a safe-conduct; if he loses, he will set to
to intrigue again, careless who may fall or what may come to Italy, if
his own wild ideas cannot prevail; he desires a republic, but it is a
republic that he himself shall manipulate. Well, if it must be, it must.
I am no statesman, but simply a fighting man. I shall fight till the
last; and the failure must rest upon the head of him who has brought it
about."

"It is a bad business," Captain Percival said quietly. "I thoroughly
agree with you, Garibaldi, in all you say; but as you know of old, I am
not much given to words. I began this thing, and shall go through with
it. I think, as you do, the cause is lost; but every blow we strike will
find an echo in Italy, and a harvest will grow from the seeds some day.
As to Mazzini and his two companions, I am not surprised. When you stir
up muddy water, the scum will at first rise to the top. So it was in the
first throes of the French Revolution, so it is here; the mob orators,
the schemers, come to power, and there they remain until overthrown by
men of heart and action. After Robespierre and Marat came Napoleon, a
great man whom I acknowledge I admire heartily, enemy though he was of
England; after Mazzini Italy may find her great men. I know you do not
like Cavour; I admire him immensely. He is obliged to be prudent and
cautious now; but when the time comes he will be regarded as the
champion of free Italy; and from what I have heard of him, the young
King Victor Emmanuel will be a sovereign worthy of him."

"I hope it may prove so," Garibaldi said shortly; "at present the
prospect does not seem to me a fair one. And you, professor?"

"I shall carry out my plans, and when Rome falls, as fall it doubtless
will, I shall, if I escape, join my wife at Leghorn, and go and
establish myself in England. I have friends and correspondents there,
and I have my son-in-law, who has promised me a home. Here I could not
stay--I am a marked man; and the day that the Pope enters in triumph I
should be consigned to a dungeon under St. Angelo."

"There should be no difficulty in escaping," Garibaldi said. "With
fifteen miles of wall it would need fifty thousand men to surround them;
and the French will want all their strength at the point where they
attack us."

It was evident that some time must elapse before there would be any
change in the situation at Rome. Mazzini was sending despatches to Ledru
Rollin and the French Assembly, imploring them to abstain from
interference that would lead to the destruction of the Roman Republic;
and until these could be acted upon, or, on the other hand, fresh troops
arrived from France, matters would be at a standstill. In the meantime,
danger threatened from another quarter; for the King of Naples was
preparing to move with ten thousand men to reinstate the Pope. This
force, with twenty pieces of cannon, had advanced as far as Albano.
Three days after the battle, Garibaldi told Captain Percival that he was
about to start that evening with four thousand men to meet the
Neapolitan army, and asked him to accompany him.

"The troops will not be warned till an hour before we set out. It is
important that no whisper shall reach the enemy as to our intentions or
strength."

"I shall be glad to go with you," the Englishman said. "After the way
your men fought against the French, I have no doubt that they will make
short work of the Neapolitans, however great the odds against them.
Bomba is hated by his own subjects; and it is hardly likely that they
will fight with any zeal in his cause. They are very different foes from
the French."

Accordingly, at eight o'clock on the evening of May 4th, Captain
Percival mounted and joined Garibaldi and his staff, and they rode to
Tivoli, halting among the ruins of Adrian's Villa.

The next morning scouts were sent off towards Albano, and returned in
the evening with the news that the Neapolitans were still there, and
showed no signs of any intention to advance, the news of the defeat of
the French having, no doubt, greatly quenched King Ferdinand's ardour.

On the 8th the Garibaldians moved to Palestrina, and the general
despatched a body of men to drive back the scattered parties of
Neapolitans who were raiding the country. This was done with little
loss, the Neapolitans in all cases retiring hastily when approached.
Garibaldi had information that evening that orders had been given for
the main body of the enemy to advance and attack him on the following
day. The information proved correct; and before noon the Neapolitan
force was seen approaching, seven thousand strong. Garibaldi had no
cannon with him, having set out in the lightest marching order. He
distributed a portion of his force as skirmishers, keeping the rest in
hand for the decisive moment. The Neapolitan artillery opened fire, and
the main body advanced in good order; but as soon as a heavy fire was
opened by the skirmishers, much confusion was observed in their ranks.
Two other parties were at once sent out; and these, taking every
advantage of cover, soon joined in the fray, opening a galling fire upon
each flank.

Several times the Neapolitans attempted to advance, urged on by their
officers; but the skirmishing line in their front was strengthened from
the reserves whenever they did so, until the whole of the Garibaldians,
with the exception of a thousand of the steadiest troops, were engaged,
and an incessant fire was maintained against the heavy ranks of the
enemy, whose artillery produced but little effect against their almost
unseen foes. For three hours the conflict continued; then, as the
Garibaldian reserve advanced, the confusion among the enemy reached a
point at which it could no longer be controlled, and Ferdinand's army
fled like a flock of sheep. Garibaldi and his staff had exposed
themselves recklessly during the fight, riding about among their troops,
encouraging them, and warning them not to be carried away by their
impetuosity into making an attack, until the enemy were thoroughly
shaken and the orders issued for a general charge.

A heavy fire was maintained upon the staff by the Neapolitans; and it
seemed to them that Garibaldi had a charmed life, for although several
of the staff fell, he continued to ride up and down as if altogether
oblivious of the rain of bullets. He did not, however, escape unscathed,
being wounded both in the hand and foot. The fugitives did not halt
until they had crossed the frontier into Neapolitan territory. The
Garibaldians remained for two or three days at Palestrina; and seeing
that the Neapolitans showed no signs of an intention to advance again,
returned by a rapid march to Rome.

Mazzini's efforts had been to some extent successful. The French
Assembly declared that for France to aid in suppressing a people
determined to obtain their freedom was altogether in contradiction with
the condition on which the republic had been instituted, and sent M. de
Lesseps as an envoy to Rome. Napoleon, however, was of opinion that the
reverse to the French arms must be wiped out, and on his own authority
despatched large reinforcements to Oudïnot.

To the indignation of Garibaldi's friends and of the greater part of the
population of Rome, it was found, on the return of the force to the
capital, that, in spite of the brilliant successes that had been gained,
Mazzini and the demagogues had superseded him in his command, and had
appointed Colonel Roselli over his head. This step was the result of
their jealousy of the popularity that Garibaldi had gained. His friends
advised him not to submit to so extraordinary a slight; but the general
simply replied that a question of this kind had never troubled him, and
that he was ready to serve, even as a common soldier, under any one who
would give him a chance of fighting the enemy of his country. On the
14th the Neapolitan army again advanced and occupied Palestrina; and the
Roman army, now ten thousand strong, marched out on the 16th. Garibaldi,
with two thousand men, moved in advance. Although Roselli was nominally
in command of the army, he was conscious of Garibaldi's greater
abilities, and deferred, on all points, to the opinion of the man who
was regarded by all as being still their Commander-in-chief.

When within two miles of Velletri Garibaldi met a strong column of
Neapolitans; these, however, after but a slight resistance, took to
flight, and shut themselves up in the town. Garibaldi sent back for
reinforcements, but none arrived until too late in the day for the
attack to be made; and in the morning it was found that the enemy had
evacuated the place, the soldiers being so cowed by their superstitious
fear of Garibaldi that the officers in vain attempted to rally them, and
they fled in a disorderly mob. The panic reached the other portion of
the army, and before morning the whole had again crossed the frontier.
Garibaldi, at the head of his division, followed them up; and receiving
authority to carry the war into the enemy's country, was marching upon
Naples, when he was recalled in all haste to aid in the defence of Rome,
Oudïnot having given notice, in spite of a treaty agreed upon between M.
de Lesseps, on the part of the French Assembly, and Mazzini, that he
would attack Rome on Monday, June 4th.

Oudïnot was, however, guilty of an act of gross treachery, for, relying
upon his intimation, the city was lulled into a sense of security that
no attack would be made until the day named, whereas before daybreak on
the 3rd his troops stole up and took possession of the buildings just
outside the gate of San Pancrazio, and, before the Roman troops could
assemble, captured the Porta Molle, after a desperate resistance by a
few men who had gathered together on the alarm being given. The firing
was the first intimation that Rome received of the treacherous
manoeuvre of Oudïnot. Again the church bells pealed out, and the
populace rushed to defend their walls. Garibaldi felt that the
occupation by the enemy of two great villas, a short distance from the
wall, would enable them to place their batteries in such close proximity
to the San Pancrazio gate that it was necessary at all hazards to
recapture them; and, with his brave Lombard volunteers, he sallied out
and attacked the French desperately.

All day long the fight continued, both parties being strongly reinforced
from time to time; but in fighting of this kind the discipline of the
French soldiers, and the military knowledge of their officers, gave them
a great advantage over the Italians, who fought with desperate bravery,
but without that order and community of effort essential in such a
struggle. In vain did Garibaldi and Colonel Medici, the best of his
officers, expose themselves recklessly in their endeavours to get their
men to attack in military order and to concentrate their efforts at the
given point; in vain did the soldiers show a contempt for death beyond
all praise. When night fell the French still held possession of the
outposts they had gained, and the Italians fell back within the walls.

That night Garibaldi held a council of war, at which Captain Percival
was present. The latter and Colonel Medici were strongly of opinion that
a renewal of the fighting of that day would be disastrous. The loss had
already been very great, and it had been proved that, however valiantly
they fought, the volunteers were unable to wrest the strong positions
held by a superior force of well-disciplined men; for the French army
now numbered forty thousand, while that of the defenders was but twelve
thousand, and of these more than half had joined within the last three
weeks. A series of such failures as those they had encountered would
very quickly break the spirit of the young troops, and would but
precipitate the end. These opinions prevailed, and it was decided that
for the present they should remain on the defensive, maintaining a heavy
cannonade from the walls, and making occasional sorties to harass the
besiegers. In the meantime, the bridge across the Tiber should be
destroyed, and, if possible, mines should be driven to blow up the
batteries that would be erected by the French under cover of the
positions they held.

These tactics were followed out. The French engaged upon the erection of
the batteries were harassed by a continuous cannonade. Sorties were
frequently made, but these were ere long abandoned; the loss suffered on
each occasion being so heavy that the troops no longer fought with the
courage and enthusiasm that had so animated them during the first day's
fighting. The attempt to blow up the bridge across the river by means of
a barge loaded with explosives failed, and none of the defenders
possessed the knowledge that would have enabled them to blow in the
centres of the arches. The mines were equally unsuccessful, as the
French countermined, and by letting in the water formed a streamlet that
ran into the Tiber, filled the Italian works, and compelled the
defenders to desist from their labours. Nevertheless, the progress of
the siege was hindered; and although it was certain that the city, if
unaided, must fall ere long, Mazzini still clung to the hope that the
treaty made by Lesseps and carried by him to Paris would be recognised.
This last hope was crushed by the arrival of a French envoy with the
declaration that the French Government disavowed any participation in
the Convention signed by M. de Lesseps.

Even Garibaldi now admitted that further resistance would only bring
disaster upon the city, and cause an absolutely useless loss of life.
Mazzini and his two colleagues persisted in their resolution to defend
the town to the last, even if the French laid it in ashes, and they even
reproached Garibaldi with cowardice. On the night of the 21st the French
gained possession of the San Pancrazio gate, having driven a passage up
to it unnoticed by the defenders. They at once seized the wall and
captured two bastions, after a desperate defence by Garibaldi. They then
planted cannon upon these and began to bombard the city. Twelve guns
were also planted in a breach that had been effected in the wall, and
terrible havoc was made among the villas and palaces in the western part
of the city.

Roselli proposed that the whole defending force should join in an attack
on the French batteries; but to that Garibaldi would not consent, on the
grounds that these could not be carried without immense loss, and that,
even if captured, they could not be held against the force the French
would bring up to retake them. Gradually the assailants pushed their way
forward, encountering a determined resistance at the capture of the
Villa Savorelli. On the evening of the 27th no fewer than four hundred
of its defenders fell by bayonet wounds, showing how desperately they
had contested every foot of the advance. On the morning of the 30th
three heavy columns of French advanced simultaneously, and carried the
barricades the Romans had erected. Garibaldi, with the most determined
of his men, flung himself upon the enemy; and for a time the desperation
with which they fought arrested the advance. But it was a last effort,
and Garibaldi sent to Mazzini to say that further resistance was
impossible.

He was summoned before the triumvirate, and there stated that, unless
they were resolved to make Rome a second Saragossa, there was no
possible course but to surrender. In the end the triumvirate resigned,
issuing a proclamation that the republic gave up a defence which had
become impossible. The assembly then appointed Garibaldi as dictator,
and he opened negotiations with the French. So enthusiastic were the
citizens that, in spite of the disasters that had befallen them, many
were still in favour of erecting barricades in every street and
defending every house. The majority, however, acquiesced in Garibaldi's
decision that further resistance would be a crime, since it would only
entail immense loss of life and the destruction of the city. For three
days negotiations were carried on, and then Garibaldi, with four
thousand men, left the city and marched for Tuscany, while the French
occupied Rome. But in Tuscany the patriots met with but a poor
reception, for the people, though favourable, dared not receive them.
The French had followed in hot pursuit; the Austrians in Tuscany were on
the look-out for them; and at last, exhausted and starving, they took
refuge in the little republic of San Marino. Here they were kindly
received; but an Austrian army was advancing, and the authorities of the
republic were constrained to petition that the Garibaldians, now reduced
to but fifteen hundred men, should be allowed to capitulate, and that
they themselves should not be punished for having given them refuge.

These terms were granted, but the Archduke insisted upon Garibaldi
himself surrendering. The general, however, effected his escape with his
wife and twelve followers, embarking on board a fishing-boat, and they
reached the mouth of the Po; the rest of the band were permitted by the
Austrians to return to their homes. Garibaldi, alone, with his dying
wife, was able to conceal himself among some bushes near the river; his
companions were all taken by the Austrians and shot. Nine other boats,
laden with his followers, could not get off before the pursuing
Austrians arrived; and a heavy fire being directed upon them, they were
forced to surrender. Garibaldi's faithful wife, who had been his
companion throughout all his trials, died a few days later. The Austrian
pursuit was so hot that he was forced to leave her body; and after many
dangers, he reached Genoa. He was not allowed to remain in Sardinia; and
from thence took ship to Liverpool, and there embarked for New York.

Fortunately for Captain Percival, he and Professor Forli had, when on
June 27th Garibaldi himself recognised that all further resistance was
useless, determined to leave the city. When he stated his decision to
Garibaldi, the latter warmly approved.

"You have done all that could be done, comrade," he said; "it would be
worse than folly for you to remain here, and throw away your life. Would
that all my countrymen had fought as nobly for freedom as you have done,
for a cause that is not yours!"

"I have a right to consider it so, having made Rome my home for years,
and being married to the daughter of a Roman. However, we may again
fight side by side, for assuredly this will not be the last time that an
attempt will be made to drive out the despots; and I feel sure that
Italy will yet be free. I trust that you do not mean to stay here until
it is too late to retire. You must remember that your life is of the
greatest value to the cause, and that it is your duty, above all things,
to preserve it for your country."

"I mean to do so," Garibaldi said. "As soon as all see that further
resistance is useless, I shall leave Rome. If I find that any spark of
life yet remains in the movement, I shall try to fan it into flame; if
not, I shall again cross the Atlantic until my country calls for me."

That evening Captain Percival and the professor left the town. There
was no difficulty in doing so, as the whole French force was
concentrated at the point of attack. The professor had exchanged his
ordinary clothes for some of his companion's, and their appearance was
that of two English tourists, when in the morning they entered Ostia, at
the mouth of the Tiber, by the road leading from Albano. As many
fugitives from Rome had, during the past month, embarked from the little
port, and it was no unusual thing for English tourists to find their way
down there, they had no difficulty in chartering a fishing-craft to take
them to Leghorn, it being agreed that they should be landed a mile or
two from the town, so that they could walk into it without attracting
any attention, as they would assuredly be asked for passports were they
to land at the port.

The voyage was altogether unattended by incident; and on landing they
made a detour and entered the town from the west, sauntering quietly
along, as if they had merely been taking a walk in the country. Ten
minutes later they entered the lodging that Madame Forli had taken,
after staying for a few days at an hotel. Great indeed was the joy which
their arrival excited. The two ladies had been suffering terrible
anxiety since the fighting began at Rome, and especially since it was
known that the French had obtained possession of one of the gates, and
that a fierce struggle was going on. They were sure their husbands would
keep their promise to leave the city when the situation became
desperate; but it was too likely that Captain Percival might have
fallen, for it was certain that he would be in the thick of the fighting
by the side of Garibaldi. It was, then, with rapturous delight that they
were greeted, and it was found that both were unharmed.

It was at once decided to start by a steamer that would leave the next
day. Both the ladies possessed passports: Muriel that which had been
made out for her husband and herself on their return from their visit to
England; while her mother had one which the professor had obtained for
both of them when the troubles first began, and he foresaw that it was
probable he might have to leave the country. Therefore no difficulty was
experienced on this score; and when the party went on board the next day
the documents were stamped without any questions being asked. Not the
least delighted among them to quit Leghorn was Frank, who was now four
years old. He had found it dull indeed in their quiet lodging at
Leghorn, and missed his father greatly, and his grandfather also, for
the professor was almost as fond of the child as its parents.

There were but few passengers besides themselves, for in the disturbed
state of Italy, and, indeed, of all Europe, there were very few English
tourists in 1848; and even those who permanently resided in Italy had
for the most part left. The passengers, therefore, were, with the
exception of the two ladies and Captain Percival, all Italians, who
were, like Signor Forli, leaving because they feared that the liberal
opinions they had ventured to express--when it seemed that with the
accession of a liberal pontiff to the papal chair better times were
dawning for Italy--would bring them into trouble now it was but too
evident that the reign of despotism was more firmly established than
ever.

The steamer touched at Genoa, and here the greater portion of her
passengers left, among them Professor Forli's party. They took train to
Milan, where they stopped for a few days, crossed the Alps by the St.
Gothard's Pass, spent a fortnight in Switzerland, and then journeyed
through Bâle, down the Rhine to Cologne, and thence to England. They
were in no hurry, for time was no object to any of them, as they were
well supplied with money; and after the excitement and trouble of the
last few months, the quiet and absence of all cause for uneasiness was
very pleasant to them. On their arrival at Tom Percival's town residence
in Cadogan Place sad news awaited them. Only a fortnight before, his
yacht had been run down at sea, and he and the greater part of the crew
had perished.



CHAPTER III.

TROUBLES.


The death of Tom Percival naturally made a great difference to his
brother's position. He was now a large land-owner, with a fine place in
the country and a house in town. The next nine years of his life were
unmarked by any particular incident. Signor Forli and his wife were
permanently established in Cadogan Place. The professor had never been
accustomed to a country life, and in London he was able to indulge in
all his former pursuits. He had always laid by a certain amount of his
income, and could have lived in some comfort in London, as until the
troubles began he had received, in addition to his modest salary as a
professor, the rents of a property he possessed near Naples, of which
place he was a native. But neither Captain Percival nor his wife would
hear of his setting up an establishment of his own.

"We shall not be up in town above three months of the year at the
outside," the former said; "and of course Muriel will always want to
have you with us for that time, for I know very well that you will
seldom tear yourself from your work and come down and stay with us in
the country. It will be far better for us that the house shall be always
used, instead of being left for nine months in the year to caretakers.
You can fit up the library with cases for your coins and manuscripts.
You have already made the acquaintance of many of the scientific and
learned men you formerly corresponded with, and will soon get a very
pleasant society of your own. It will be better in all respects. You can
shut up the rooms you don't use, while the servants whom I keep to look
after the house must in any case be told to consider you as their
master; and you can, if you choose, get a couple of Italian servants as
your own special domestics." And so, after much argument, it was
settled, and for some years things went on to the satisfaction of all.

When ten years old Frank was sent to a preparatory school for Harrow,
and three years later to the great school itself. Just at this time the
professor determined to pay a visit to Italy. Since the fall of Rome
everything had gone on quietly there; and although persons suspected of
liberal ideas had been seized and thrown into prison without any public
inquiry, he considered that now that he had been settled in England for
years, and had become a naturalised British subject, he could without
any risk go over to make an effort to obtain a reversal of the
confiscation of his property in the Neapolitan territory. Before
starting he had called upon the official representative of the
Neapolitan government, and had been assured by him that his passport as
a British subject would be respected, and that if he refrained from
taking any part in politics he could travel in King Ferdinand's
territories without any fear of his movements being in any way
interfered with.

Up to this time Captain Percival and his wife had been strongly against
the proposed visit, but after the professor had received this official
assurance they believed with him that he could in perfect safety
undertake the journey. He wrote on his arrival at Naples, stating that
he had, as soon as he landed, called upon one of the ministers, and
reported to him the assurance that the envoy in London had given him,
and had been told that, while expressing no opinion upon the probability
of his obtaining a reversal of the confiscation of his estate, there
could be no objection whatever to his endeavouring to do so, but that he
did not think the government would authorise his establishing himself
permanently in the kingdom, as his well-known political opinions would
naturally render him obnoxious. He had given his assurance that he had
no intention whatever of remaining beyond the time necessary for the
purpose for which he had come; that he had now permanently settled in
England, and had only come over for the purpose that he had specified;
and that on no account would he hold any political discussions with such
personal friends as he had in Italy, or give any expression whatever of
his own views. He wrote that, as he had said before starting, he did not
intend to call upon any of his former acquaintances, as, if he did so,
it might bring them into discredit with the government.

No other letter was received from him. After waiting for three weeks,
Captain Percival wrote to the proprietor of the hotel from which the
previous letter was dated, asking if he was still there, and if not, if
he was aware of his present address. The answer was received in due
time, saying that Professor Forli had gone out one morning, a week after
his arrival, with the intention, he believed, of visiting his former
estate, but that he had not returned. Two days later a person had
arrived bearing a letter from him, saying that he had changed his plans
and should not return to Naples, and requesting that his luggage and
all personal effects should be handed over to the bearer, who would
discharge the amount owing for his bill. He had complied with the
request, and had since received no communication from Professor Forli.
Captain Percival went at once to call upon the minister for foreign
affairs, stated the whole circumstances to him, and the assurance that
the professor had received from the Neapolitan envoy before starting,
and said that he felt sure that, in spite of his assurance and the
protection of his passport as a British subject, his father-in-law had
been seized and thrown into prison.

"If that is the case, a serious wrong has been committed," the minister
said. "But we cannot assume that without some proof. He may have been
seized by some brigands, who by a ruse have obtained possession of his
effects; possibly the person now in possession of the estate, fearing
that he might be ousted from it, has taken these means for suppressing a
claimant who might be dangerous. However, what you have told me is
sufficient for me to commence action, by making a complaint to the
Neapolitan government that a British subject, duly furnished with a
passport, is missing, and requesting that measures shall at once be
taken to ascertain what has become of him."

Correspondence went on for three or four months, the Neapolitan
government protesting that they had made inquiries in every direction,
but had obtained no clue whatever as to Professor Forli's movements from
the time when he left his hotel, and disclaiming any knowledge whatever
of him. It was now January 1858, and Lord Palmerston, who was then prime
minister, took the case up warmly, and Captain Percival had several
interviews with him.

"I quite agree with you, sir," the minister said, "that he is probably
in a Neapolitan dungeon; but at present we have no absolute proof of it;
if we had I should summon Ferdinand to release him under a threat of
war."

"I am quite ready to go out, sir, to make personal inquiries; and if you
could obtain for me an order to visit the various jails and fortresses
in the Neapolitan territories, I may succeed in finding him."

"I will obtain for you such an order," Lord Palmerston said decidedly.
"If they refuse my request, I shall be forced to the conclusion that
they are afraid of your finding him there--not that I think it is likely
you will do so. Indeed I regard it as certain that he would be removed
from any prison before you arrived there, or if still there, that his
dungeon would not be shown to you. At the same time, you would be doing
good work. Already there have been some terrible disclosures as to the
state of the Neapolitan prisons. These, however, have chiefly been made
by men who have been confined there, and have been denounced as
calumnies by the Neapolitan government; but coming from you, armed with
the authority of our foreign office, they could not but make a profound
impression. They might force the authorities to ameliorate the present
state of things, and would certainly enlist the sympathy of the British
public with the cause with which Professor Forli was associated, and for
which I am aware you yourself fought."

A fortnight later Captain Percival was again sent for by the foreign
minister.

"Here," the latter said, "is a royal order from the King of Naples for
you to view any or all the prisons in his dominions without let or
hindrance, in order to assure yourself that Professor Forli is not an
inmate of any of them."

Two days later Captain Percival started. On arriving at Naples, he first
called upon the Neapolitan minister, who expressed himself with some
indignation on the fact that the assurance of the government that they
knew nothing of Professor Forli's disappearance had been doubted; but
stated that they were ready to offer him any facility in his search.
Before commencing this, Captain Percival went out to the professor's
estate, near Capua, and saw the proprietor, who assured him that he had
neither seen nor heard anything of its late owner; and although his
assertions would have weighed but little if unsupported, Captain
Percival's investigations in the town and of several persons upon the
estate all tended to show that the professor had not been seen there.
His appearance was familiar to many, and he could hardly have visited
the place without being recognised. Captain Percival went to see several
of Signor Forli's old friends, upon whom he would almost certainly have
called before going to the estate, and from whom, indeed, he would have
received far more information as to its condition than he would have
obtained by direct application to a man who could not but have regarded
him with hostility; none of them, however, had heard of his return to
Italy.

After stopping two or three days there, he returned to Naples and began
his inspection of the prisons. The Royal order being presented, he was
everywhere received courteously, allowed to inspect them from the lowest
dungeons to the attics under the roofs, and also to hold conversations
with the prisoners. He had no idea that he would actually find the
professor; his great hope was that he should learn from prisoners that
he had been confined there, as this would enable the British government
to demand his instant release. Terrible as had been the descriptions he
had heard of the treatment of the prisoners and the state of the jails,
they fell far short of the reality; and he not only sent detailed
reports to the government, but also to _The Times_, which published them
in full. They were copied into every paper in the kingdom, and created a
general feeling of indignation and disgust.

Failing to obtain the smallest information as to the professor at
Naples, Captain Percival then went down to Salerno, and left there with
the intention of visiting the prisons in Calabria and at Reggio, and
afterwards of crossing into Sicily and trying the gaols there. Four days
after he left Salerno, the servant he had engaged in Naples returned to
the town with the news that the carriage had been attacked by brigands,
and that his master, who always carried a brace of pistols, had offered
a desperate resistance, but had been killed. The horses had been taken
out of the carriage, and they and Captain Percival's luggage had been
carried off to the hills. He himself had been allowed to return. The
Governor of Salerno at once sent the man to Naples; the news was
officially communicated to the British envoy, who telegraphed at once to
London. A message was returned, saying that an official communication
would be addressed to the government, and in the meantime he was to send
down one of the officers of the embassy to inquire into the whole
matter. He was to request the Neapolitan government to furnish an escort
from Salerno, and was also to demand that steps should be taken to
pursue and bring the brigands to justice.

The secretary of the legation had no difficulty in obtaining the order
for an escort; and taking with him the servant who had brought the news,
proceeded to the place where the affair had occurred. The carriage was
found overthrown by the roadside. There were two or three bullet-holes
in it; there was a dark patch evidently caused by blood in the road
close by; and a few yards away was a bloodstained cap, which the servant
recognised as being that of Captain Percival. Following up a track which
led off the main road from here, they came upon some fragments of
letters, among them one on which were the words, "Your loving wife,
Muriel." For two or three days the hills on each side of the track were
searched, but no sign whatever was found of Captain Percival's body. In
the meantime, a strong force of carabinieri searched the mountains, and
three weeks after the return to Naples of the search party from the
legation, came the news that they had surprised and killed a notorious
brigand leader with three of his followers, and had taken prisoner a
fourth. This man was sent to Naples, and there questioned by a judicial
official in the presence of the secretary of the legation.

He acknowledged that he had been one of the party, consisting of their
leader and seven followers, who had attacked the Englishman's carriage.
They had not intended to kill him, but to carry him off for ransom; he,
however, resisted so desperately that he was shot. Although very
seriously wounded, they had carried him up to the mountains, believing
that he would recover, and that they might still make money out of him.
The man himself had been sent down to Salerno to ascertain whether the
authorities were taking any steps to hunt down his capturers. As soon as
he learned that a strong force of carabinieri had been ordered out in
pursuit, he had returned to the hut occupied by his chief. He found that
during his absence the prisoner had died. He had never asked where he
had been buried, for it was a matter that did not concern him. The
contents of the portmanteau had been divided among the party; he was
himself now wearing the boots and one of the shirts of the dead man.
That was all he knew.

The captain of the carabinieri testified that he had found an English
portmanteau and many articles, some of which bore the initials "L. P."
upon them; there was a brace of handsome pistols of English make, which
were used by the chief of the brigands in the fight; and in a cupboard
among other things was the royal order for Captain Percival to visit his
majesty's prisons. A diligent search had been made in the neighbourhood
of the hut, but the grave of the English gentleman had not been
discovered. In due time the brigand was placed on trial, and was
sentenced to imprisonment for life; and so the matter ended, save for
the two widowed women and Frank.

It had been a heavy blow indeed for the lad, who was passionately
attached to his father, and had also loved the professor, who had always
been extremely fond of him. He was at home for Easter when the terrible
news arrived. Neither his mother nor grandmother expressed a doubt that
his father had been murdered; and when the news of the confession of one
of the band and the discovery of Captain Percival's belongings in the
hut of the brigands arrived, they gave up all hope of ever seeing him
again.

Madame Forli, however, while not doubting that Captain Percival had been
killed, believed that the Neapolitan government were at the bottom of
the matter. "I know what the methods of the Neapolitans are," she said;
"and the sensation caused by Leonard's letters to the papers here may
have decided them to put an end by any method to further revelations,
and they may very well have employed these brigands to carry out their
purpose. Every one knows that in many cases these men are in alliance
with the officers of the police; and the latter are well paid to wink at
their doings, and even to furnish them with information of the persons
worth robbing, and to put them on their guard when, as occasionally
happens, a raid is made by the carabinieri in the mountains. A capture
is hardly ever effected; and while there is little chance of a political
prisoner once shut up in their dungeons making his escape, notorious
brigands frequently succeed in doing so. Nobody dares to speak of their
suspicions; but there can be little doubt that the prison officials are
bribed to connive at their escape, knowing well enough that the
government will not trouble over the matter, while on the other hand the
escape of a political prisoner brings disgrace and punishment upon all
the prison officials."

"I cannot think--I will not think so, mother," Muriel exclaimed; "for
were it so, the same treatment might be given to him that has, we have
no doubt, befallen my father. A thousand times better that Leonard
should have been killed, than that he should drag out his existence in
such utter misery as that which he has described as being the lot of
prisoners in the dungeons of Bomba. The brigands may have been set on by
their government. That is possible--I can believe that iniquitous
government to be guilty of anything--but whether Leonard was attacked
merely for plunder, or for ransom, or by the connivance of the
government, I cannot and will not doubt that he is dead; the story of
one of the band can leave no doubt of this, and it is confirmed by his
servant, who saw him fall. Never try to shake my confidence in that,
mother. It was almost more than I could bear to think of my father as
confined in one of those dungeons; if I thought for a moment that
Leonard could be there too, I believe that I should lose my reason."

Frank returned to school after the short holidays. His mother thought
that it would be better so, as the routine of work and play would give
him little time for moping over his loss. He worked harder than he had
ever done at school before; but obtained leave off cricket, and spent
his time out of school in long walks with one or other of his chums.
After the summer holiday he was himself again. He was quieter than he
had been, and held aloof from fun and mischief, but joined in the sports
vigorously, and regained the ground he had lost, and came to be regarded
as likely some day to be one of the representatives of the school.

When it seemed that the search for the body of Captain Percival had
failed, Mrs. Percival wrote to the secretary of the legation in Naples,
saying that she would be glad if her husband's courier would come over
to see her.

"I naturally wish to know," she said, "as much as I can of the last
movements of my husband from the only person who was with him; and I
would willingly bear the expenses of his journey both ways, and pay him
fifty pounds. I did not receive any letter from my husband during the
fortnight preceding his death, and want to learn as much as possible
about him."

The secretary, on receiving the letter, sent the note to the chief of
the police, in whose charge the man had been while the investigations
were proceeding; an answer was returned saying that the man Beppo
Paracini was not now in his charge, but that perhaps he could find him
in the course of a few hours, and would, on doing so, send him to the
legation at once.

Instead of seeing the man himself, however, the officer went to the
director of the secret police. "As this affair has been in your
department rather than in mine, signor, I thought it best to bring you
this note I have just received from the British legation before taking
any steps in the matter."

The official read the note through. "You have done quite right," he
said. "The affair has been a very troublesome one, and now that it has
practically come to an end, it would not do to take any false step in
the matter. You shall hear from me in the course of the day."

He sat thinking deeply for some minutes after the other had left him,
then he touched a bell.

"Luigi," he said, when a man entered, "go and fetch Beppo Paracini; if
he is not in, find where he has gone and follow him."

Half an hour later the courier entered. When before the court he had
been dressed in the fashion affected by his class; now he was in dark,
quiet clothes, and might have been taken for an advocate or notary.

"Beppo," he said, "I thought that we had finished with that troublesome
affair of the Englishman; but there is again occasion for your services
in the same direction. Here is a letter from the secretary of the
British legation saying that he wishes to see you, for that the Signora
Percival has written to him to say that she is anxious to learn more of
the last days of her husband, and is willing to pay your expenses to
England and to give you fifty pounds for your services, if you would be
willing to go to her for a few days. I regard this as a fortunate
circumstance. The woman's husband and her father have been constant
enemies of the kingdom. Percival was a bosom friend of Garibaldi; her
father was also his friend, though not to the same degree. Ever since
they established themselves in England his family, who are unfortunately
rich, have befriended Italian exiles.

"Forli was acquainted with all his compatriots in London, who, like
himself, were men of education and position, and had escaped from
justice. In that house any plot that was on foot, especially if
Garibaldi was a leading spirit in it, would certainly be known. No doubt
the loss of her husband will make this woman more inveterate against us
than ever. I have often wished that I could establish an agent in her
house, to keep me informed of what was going on there, who visited it,
whether any meetings and consultations were held there, from whom they
received letters, and the purport of them, but I have never before seen
my way to it. The woman Forli is herself English, and consequently since
her husband's death no Italian servants have been kept in the house.
This letter gives me the opportunity I have desired. I wish you to go to
the British legation, and to express your willingness to accept the
offer that is made, and if possible to obtain a situation in the house.

"You could represent that you were anxious to obtain a place of any kind
in England, for that, owing to the part that you have taken in the
search for Percival's body--a search which brought about the death of
the brigand Rapini and the breaking up of his band--your life was no
longer safe there from the vengeance of his associates. You can say that
before you became a courier you were in the service of several noble
families--of course you will be provided with excellent
testimonials--and as it was your zeal in her late husband's behalf that
had brought you into this strait, it is quite possible that she may
offer you a post in the household. You can declare that you do not
desire high wages, but simply a shelter. You will, of course, report
yourself on arriving in London to the head of our secret agents there,
and will act generally under his directions. I need not say that you
will be well paid."

"I will gladly accept the mission, signor, for, to say the truth, I am
not without some apprehensions such as you suggest. I have changed my
appearance a good deal; still, I cannot flatter myself that I could not
be detected by any one on the search for me, and I do think that some of
Rapini's band, knowing that I was with the carabinieri, may have vowed
vengeance on me; and, as you know, signor, a man so threatened cannot
calculate on a very long life."

"That is so, Beppo. Then we may consider the matter settled. If you
cannot succeed in obtaining a position in the house of this family, I
shall instruct my agent in London to utilise your services there, at any
rate for the next six months. After that time you may return without
much risk, for when it is found that you have disappeared from all your
former haunts, the search for you is not likely to last long. At any
rate, you might as well mention to those who have known you as a
courier, that you intend to establish yourself either in Paris or
Berlin. For as you speak both French and German as well as English, that
would in any case be the course that a prudent man would adopt, after
being mixed up in an affair that ended badly for the brigands. Well, in
the first place, you had better go at once to the legation and accept
their terms. Come here at eleven o'clock to-morrow, and I will give you
further instructions."

Thus it happened that when Frank came home next time from school, he was
surprised at having the door opened to him by a grave-looking servant in
plain clothes, who said in English, with a very slight foreign accent:
"The Signora Percival is in the drawing-room, sir. I will see to your
baggage and settle with the cabman."

"Whom have you got hold of now, mother?" he said, after the first
greeting--"an Italian? Isn't he a fearfully respectable-looking man?
Looks like a clergyman got up as a valet."

"He was your dear father's courier, Frank. I sent for him to come over
here, as I wished to learn all about your father's last days. The poor
fellow was in fear of his life, owing to the evidence that he had given
against the brigands. William had given me notice that he was going to
leave only the day before; and as Beppo had served in several noble
families, who had given him splendid testimonials, and was afraid to
return to Italy, I was very glad to take him in William's place,
especially as he only asked the same wages I paid before. I congratulate
myself on the change, for he is quite the beau-ideal of a servant--very
quiet in the house, ready to do anything, gets on well with the other
servants, and is able to talk in their own language to any of his
countrymen who come here, either as visitors or as exiles in need of
assistance. He has, indeed, saved me more than once from impostors; he
has listened to their stories, and having been a courier, and knowing
every town in Italy, on questioning them he found out that their whole
story was a lie."

"That is all right, mother; if you like him, that is everything. I own
that I liked William; I am sorry that he has gone. I shall be some time
getting accustomed to this chap, for he certainly is fearfully grave and
respectable."



CHAPTER IV.

A SUDDEN SUMMONS.


One Saturday early in March, 1860, Frank, now sixteen years of age, on
starting for the football ground, was told that the house-master wished
to see him, and he at once went into his study.

"Percival, I have received a note from your mother, asking me to let you
out till Monday morning. She says that she particularly wants to see
you, and will be glad if you will start at once. Of course I will do so;
you had better catch the next train, if you can."

"What in the world can the mater want to see me in such a hurry for?"
Frank said to himself in a rather discontented tone as he left the
master's study. "It is a frightful nuisance missing the match this
afternoon! I don't know what Hawtrey will say when I tell him that I
cannot play. Ah! here he is."

"What is up, Percival?"

"I am awfully sorry to say that I have just received a message from my
mater calling me up to town at once. I have no idea what it is about;
but it must be something particular, for I told her when I wrote to her
last that this was going to be the toughest match of the season; still,
of course I must go."

"I see that, Percival. It is a terrible nuisance; you are certainly the
third best in the house, and now I shall have to put Fincham in, I
suppose, and I am afraid that will mean the loss of the match."

"He is as strong as I am, Hawtrey."

"Yes; he is strong enough and heavy enough, but he is desperately slow.
However, I must make the best of him."

Frank hurried upstairs, and in ten minutes came down again, dressed. He
ran the greater part of the way to the station, and just caught the up
train. The disappointment over the football match was forgotten now.
Thinking it over, he had come to the conclusion that either his mother
or grandmother must have been taken seriously ill. It could hardly be
his mother, for it was she who had written; still, she might have
managed to do that, even if she had met with some sort of accident, if
it was not too serious. If not she, it must be the signora, as he
generally called her, and as he was very fond of her, he felt that her
loss would be a heavy one indeed. His anxiety increased as he neared
London; and as soon as the train stopped at Euston he jumped out, seized
the first hansom, and told the cabman to drive fast to Cadogan Place. He
leaped out, handed his fare to the cabman, ran up the steps, and knocked
at the door.

"Is every one well, Beppo?" he asked breathlessly, as the servant opened
it.

"Yes, sir," the footman replied, in his usual calm and even voice.

"Thank God for that!" he exclaimed. "Where is my mother?"

"In the dining-room, sir, with the signora."

Frank ran upstairs. "Mother, you have given me quite a fright," he said.
"From your message I thought that some one must have been suddenly taken
ill, or you would never have sent for me when you knew that we played
in the final ties for the house championship to-day. I have been
worrying horribly all the way up to town."

"I forgot all about your match, Frank," his mother said. "I have had a
letter that put it out of my head entirely."

"A letter, mother?"

"Yes, Frank; from your hero, Garibaldi."

"What is it about, mother?" Frank exclaimed excitedly, for he had heard
so much of the Italian patriot from his father, and of their doings
together in South America and the siege of Rome, that his admiration for
him was unbounded.

"Sit down, Frank, and I will tell you all about it. The letter was
addressed to your dear father. Garibaldi, being in Caprera, probably has
but little news of what is passing at Naples. He had heard of my
father's disappearance, but was apparently in ignorance of what has
happened since."

She took out the letter and read:

"'MY DEAR COMRADE AND FRIEND,--

     "'When I last wrote to you it was to condole with you on the
     disappearance of that true patriot and my good friend, Professor
     Forli. I hope that long ere this he has been restored to you; but
     if, as I fear, he has fallen into the clutches of the rascally
     government of Naples, I am afraid that you will never hear of him
     again. Several times, when you have written to me, you have told me
     that you were prepared to join me when I again raised the flag of
     Italian independence, though you held aloof when France joined us
     against Austria. You did rightly, for we were betrayed by the
     French as we were at Rome, and my birthplace, Nice, has been handed
     over to them. You also said that you would help us with money;
     and, as you know, money is one of our chief requisites. The time
     has come. I am convinced that the population of the Neapolitan
     territories are now reduced to such a state of despair by the
     tyranny of their government that they will be ready to hail us as
     deliverers.

     "'My plan is this: I am sure a thousand or so of the men who fought
     with me in the Alps will flock to my standard, and with these I
     intend to effect a landing in Sicily. If I capture Palermo and
     Messina I think I can rely upon being joined by no small number of
     men there, and by volunteers from all parts of Italy; five thousand
     men in all will be sufficient, I think--at any rate, that number
     collected, I shall cross to the mainland and march upon Naples. You
     may think that the adventure is a desperate one, but that is by no
     means my opinion; you know how easily we defeated the Neapolitan
     troops in 1848. I believe that we shall do so still more easily
     now, for certainly very many of them must share in the general
     hatred of the tyrant. Come, dear friend, and join us; the
     meeting-place is called the Villa Spinola, which is a few miles
     from Genoa.

     "'I do not anticipate any great interference from Cavour; he will
     run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, as your proverb has it.
     He dare not stop us; for I am convinced that such is the state of
     public opinion in Italy, that it might cost his master his crown
     were he to do so. On the other hand, he would be obliged to assume
     an attitude of hostility, or he would incur the anger of Austria,
     of the Papacy, and possibly of France; therefore I think that he
     will remain neutral, although professing to do all in his power to
     prevent our moving. I am promised some assistance in money, but I
     am sure that this will fall short of the needs. We must buy arms
     not only for ourselves, but to arm those who join us; we must
     charter or buy steamers to carry us to Sicily. Once there, I regard
     the rest as certain. Come to me with empty hands, and you will
     receive the heartiest welcome as my dear friend and comrade; but if
     you can aid us also with money, not only I, but all Italy, will be
     grateful to you. I know that you need no inducement, for your heart
     is wholly with us, and all the more so from this disappearance of
     madame's father, doubtless the work of the tyrants. Need I say that
     our first step in every town and fortress we capture will be to
     release all political prisoners confined there?--and it may be that
     among these we will find Professor Forli. Turr will be with me,
     Baron Stocco of Calabria, Bixio, and Tuckory; and Madame Carroli
     has written to tell me that she places her three sons at my
     disposal in the place of their brave brother, and will, moreover,
     supply me with money to the utmost of her power. Come, then, dear
     friend, aid me with your arm and counsel, and let us again fight
     side by side in the cause of liberty.'"

Frank leapt to his feet. "You will let me go in my father's place,
mother, will you not? Many of those who will follow Garibaldi will be no
older than myself, and probably not half so strong; none can hate the
tyranny of Naples more than I do. It is the cause for which my father
and grandfather fought; and we now have greater wrongs than they had to
avenge."

"That is what I thought you would say, Frank," his mother said sadly.
"'Tis hard indeed to part with a son after having lost father and
husband; but my father was an Italian patriot, my husband fought for
Italy; in giving you up I give up my all; yet I will not say you nay. So
fierce is the indignation in England at the horrors of the tyrants'
prisons that I doubt not many English will, when they hear of
Garibaldi's landing in Sicily, go out to join him; and if they are ready
in the cause only of humanity to risk their lives, surely we cannot
grudge you in the cause not only of humanity, but of the land of our
birth."

"I feel sure that father would have taken me, had he been here," Frank
said earnestly.

"I believe he would, Frank. I know that he shared to the full my
father's hatred of the despots who grind Italy under their heel; and
besides the feeling that animated him, one cannot but cherish the hope
that my father may still be found alive in one of those ghastly prisons.
Of course my mother and I have talked the matter over. We both lament
that your studies should be interrupted; but it can be for a few months
only, and probably you will be able to return to Harrow when the school
meets again after the long holiday--so that, in fact, you will only lose
three months or so."

"That makes no odds one way or another, mother. In any case, I am not
likely to be a shining light in the way of learning."

"No--I suppose not, Frank; and with a fine estate awaiting you, there is
no occasion that you should be, though of course you will go through
Oxford or Cambridge. However, we need not think of that now."

"And will you be sending him any money, mother?"

"Certainly. Your father put by a certain sum every year in order that he
might assist Garibaldi when the latter again raised the flag of freedom
in Italy--a cause which was sacred in his eyes. At the time he left
England, this fund amounted to £10,000; and as he never knew when the
summons from Garibaldi might arrive, he transferred it to my name, so
that he need not come back to England, should a rising occur before his
return. So you will not go empty-handed."

"That will be a splendid gift, mother. I suppose I shall not go back to
school before I start?"

"No, Frank. Since you are to go on this expedition, the sooner you start
the better. I shall write to your headmaster, and tell him that I am
most reluctantly obliged to take you away from school for a few months;
but that it is a matter of the greatest importance, and that I hope he
will retain your name on the books and permit you to return when you
come back to England."

"If he won't, mother, it will not matter very much. Of course I should
like to go back again; but if they won't let me, I shall only have to go
to a coach for a year or two."

"That is of little consequence," his mother agreed; "and perhaps, after
going through such an exciting time, you will not yourself care about
returning to school again. You must not look upon this matter as a mere
adventure, Frank; it is a very, very perilous enterprise, in which your
life will be risked daily. Were we differently situated, I should not
have dreamt of allowing you to go out; but we have identified ourselves
with the cause of freedom in Italy. Your grandfather lost
everything--his home, his country, and maybe his life; and your father,
living as he did in Rome, and married to the daughter of an Italian,
felt as burning a hatred for the oppression he saw everywhere round him
as did the Italians themselves; perhaps more so, for being accustomed to
the freedom Englishmen enjoy, these things appeared to him a good deal
more monstrous than they did to those who had been used to them all
their lives. He risked death a score of times in the defence of Rome;
and he finally lost his life while endeavouring to discover whether my
father was a prisoner in one of the tyrants' dungeons. Thus, although in
all other respects an English boy--or Italian only through your
grandfather--you have been constantly hearing of Italy and its wrongs,
and on that point feel as keenly and strongly as the son of an Italian
patriot would do. I consider that it is a holy war in which you are
about to take part--a war that, if successful, will open the doors of
dungeons in which thousands, among whom may be my father, are lingering
out their lives for no other cause than that they dared to think, and
will free a noble people who have for centuries been under the yoke of
foreigners. Therefore, as, if this country were in danger, I should not
baulk your desire to enter the army, so now I say to you, join
Garibaldi; and even should you be taken from me, I shall at least have
the consolation of feeling that it was in a noble cause you fell, and
that I sent you, knowing that my happiness as well as your life hung
upon the issue. I want you to view the matter then, my boy, not in the
light of an exciting adventure, but in the spirit in which the Crusaders
went out to free the Holy Sepulchre, in which the Huguenots of France
fought and died for their religion."

"I will try to do so, mother," Frank said gravely; "at any rate, if the
cause was good enough for my father and grandfather to risk their lives
for, it is good enough for me. But you know, mother," he went on, in a
changed voice, "you can't put an old head on to young shoulders; and
though I shall try to regard it as you say, I am afraid that I shan't be
able to help enjoying it as a splendid adventure."

His mother smiled faintly. "I suppose that is boy nature. At any rate,
I am sure that you will do your duty, and there is certainly no occasion
for your doing it with a sad face; and bear in mind always, Frank, that
you are going out not so much to fight, as to search every prison and
fortress that may be captured, to question every prisoner whether he has
heard or known any one answering the description of your grandfather,
or--or----" and her lip quivered, and her voice broke.

"Or, mother?"--and he stood surprised as Mrs. Percival burst suddenly
into tears, and the signora, rising from her seat, went hastily to her,
and put her arm round her neck. It was a minute or two before Mrs.
Percival took her hands from her face, and went on,--

"I was going to say, Frank, or of your father."

Frank started, as if he had been suddenly struck. "My father," he
repeated, in a low tone. "Do you think, mother--do you think it
possible? I thought there was no doubt as to how he was killed."

"I have never let myself doubt," Mrs. Percival went on. "Whenever the
thought has come into my mind during the past two years I have
resolutely put it aside. It would have been an agony more than I could
bear to think it possible that he could be alive and lingering in a
dungeon beyond human aid. Never have I spoken on the subject, except to
my mother, when she first suggested the possibility; but now that there
is a chance of the prison doors being opened, I may let myself not
hope--it can hardly be that--but pray that in God's mercy I may yet see
him again." And as she again broke down altogether, Frank, with a sudden
cry, threw himself on his knees beside her, and buried his face in his
arms on her lap, his whole figure shaken by deep sobs.

Mrs. Percival was the first to recover her composure, and gently
stroked his hair, saying: "You must not permit yourself to hope, my boy;
you must shut that out from your mind as I have done, thinking of it
only as a vague, a very vague and distant possibility."

"But how, mother, could it be?" he asked presently, raising his head.
"Did we not hear all about his being killed, how Beppo saw him shot, and
how one of the band testified that he was dead and buried?"

"So it seemed to me, Frank, when my mother first pointed out to me that
all this might be false, and that just as the government of Naples
declared they were absolutely ignorant as to your grandfather's
disappearance when it appeared to us a certainty that it was due to
their own act, so they would not hesitate a moment to get rid of your
father, whose letters as to the state of their prisons were exciting an
intense feeling against them in every free country. She said it would be
easy for them to bribe or threaten his servant into telling any tale
they thought fit; he or some other agent might have informed the
banditti that a rich Englishman would be passing along the road at a
certain time, and that the government would be ready to pay for his
capture and delivery to them. The prisoner taken may have been promised
a large sum to repeat the story of the Englishman having died and been
buried. It was all possible, and though I was determined not to think of
him as a prisoner, my mother, who knew more of these things than I did,
and how matters like this were managed in Italy, thought that it was so.
Still to my mind there were, and still are, reasons against hope, for
surely the Neapolitan government would have preferred that the brigands
should kill him, rather than that they themselves should have the
trouble of keeping him in prison."

"Possibly they would have preferred that," Signora Forli said, speaking
for the first time. "They knew that he was an Englishman, and doubtless
learned that he carried loaded pistols, and may have reckoned
confidently upon his resisting and being killed, and may have been
disappointed because the brigands, hoping for a large ransom, carried
him off wounded."

"But even then," Mrs. Percival said, "they could have sent up their
agents to the brigands and paid them to finish their work."

"Yes, possibly that is what they did do; but though I have never spoken
to you on the subject since you told me not to, I have thought it over
many and many times, and it seems to me that they would scarcely do so,
for they might thus put themselves into the power of these bandits. Any
one of the band might make his way to Naples, go to the British
legation, and under the promise of a large sum of money and protection
denounce the whole plot. It seems to me more likely that they would send
an agent to the chief brigand, and pay him a sum of money to deliver the
captive up to men who would meet him at a certain place. It is probable
that the chief would, on some excuse or other, get rid of all his band
but two or three, hand over the prisoner, and share the money only with
those with him, and when the others returned, tell them that the
prisoner had died and that they had buried him. Then the carabinieri
would use every effort to kill those who were in the secret, and being
in earnest for once, they probably did kill the chief and those with
him.

"Probably the man who gave his evidence was not one of the party at all,
but some prisoner charged with a minor offence, who was promised his
liberty as the price of telling the story that he was taught. If
Leonard had been killed and buried, as they stated, his grave must
surely have been found--the earth must still have been fresh; and,
indeed, nothing is more unlikely than that the brigands should have
taken any extraordinary trouble to hide the body, as they could not have
anticipated that any vigorous search would be made for it. For these
reasons I have all along believed that Leonard did not come to his end
as was supposed. He may have been killed afterwards by those into whose
hands he was delivered; but even this does not seem likely, for one of
them might betray the secret for a large reward. He may have died in a
dungeon, as so many thousands have done; but I believe firmly that he
did not, as reported, die in the brigands' hut. I have never since
spoken on the subject to your mother, Frank, for I agreed with what she
said, that it would be better to think of him as dead than in a dungeon,
from which, as was shown in the case of your grandfather, there was no
chance of releasing him. Now, however, if Garibaldi is successful, as
every prison will be searched, and every political prisoner freed, there
is a prospect that, if he is still alive, he may be restored to us."

Frank, with the natural hope of youth, at once adopted the signora's
view; but his mother, although she admitted that it might possibly be
true, still insisted that she would not permit herself to hope.

"It may be that God in His mercy will send him back to me; but, though I
shall pray night and day that He will do so, it will be almost without
hope that my prayer will be granted,--were I to hope, it would be like
losing him again if he were not found. Now let us talk of other matters.
The sooner you start the better, Frank; you will not have many
preparations to make. The Garibaldian outfit is a simple one--a red
shirt, trousers of any colour, but generally blue, a pair of gaiters and
one of thick, serviceable boots, a wide-awake, or, in fact, any sort of
cap with perhaps a red feather, a well-made blanket wound up and
strapped over one shoulder like a scarf, a red sash for the waist, a
cloak or great-coat strapped up and worn like a knapsack, and a spare
shirt and a pair of trousers are all the outfit that you require. You
had better take a good rifle with you, and of course a pair of pistols.
All the clothes you can buy out there, and also a sword, for no doubt
Garibaldi will put you on his staff."

"In that case I shall not want the rifle, mother."

"No; and if you do you can buy one there. In a town like Genoa there are
sure to be shops where English rifles can be bought, and you might have
difficulty in passing one through the customs--luggage is rigorously
examined on the frontier and at the ports. A brace of pistols, however,
would be natural enough, as any English traveller might take them for
protection against brigands if he intended to go at all out of beaten
tracks. As to the money, I shall go to the bank on Monday, and request
them to give me bills on some firm in Genoa or Turin. Garibaldi will
find no difficulty in getting them cashed. I should say that your best
course will be to go through Paris and as far as the railway is made,
then on by diligence over Mont Cenis to Turin, and after that by railway
to Genoa. In that way you will get there in three or four days, whereas
it would take you a fortnight by sea."

"Then it seems to me, mother, that there is nothing at all for me to get
before I start, except a brace of pistols; but of course I must have my
clothes up from Harrow."

"I will write for them at once, Frank. It would be better that you
should not go down--you would find it difficult to answer questions put
to you as to why you are leaving; and of course this enterprise of
Garibaldi must be kept a profound secret. One cannot be too prudent in a
case like this, for if a whisper got abroad the Italian government would
be compelled to stop him."

"You will not see Beppo here when you come back," Mrs. Percival said to
Frank on Monday evening. "I gave him notice this afternoon."

"What for, mother? Anyhow, I am not sorry, for I have never liked him."

"I know that you have not, Frank, and I begin to think that you were
right. My maid said to me this morning that, though she did not like to
speak against a fellow-servant, she thought it right to tell me that
when I am out of the house and before I get up of a morning he is often
in the drawing-room and dining-room, in neither of which he has any
business; and that when she went up yesterday evening--you know that she
is a very quiet walker--she came upon him standing outside the
drawing-room door when we were chatting together, and she thought,
though of this she was not quite sure, that he had his ear at the
keyhole. He knocked and came in the instant he saw her, as if he had
only that moment arrived there; but she had caught sight of him before
he saw her, and was certain that he was listening.

"Of course, she might have been mistaken; but thinking it over, it seems
to me that she was probably right, for once or twice since he has been
here, it has struck me that the papers in my cabinet were not in
precisely the same order as I had left them. You know that I am very
methodical about such matters; still, I might each time, when I took
them out, have omitted to return them in exactly the same order as
before, though I do not think it likely that I could have done so.
However, I thought nothing of it at the time; but now that I hear that
he has been spying about the rooms and listening at the door, I cannot
but connect the two things together, and it may be that the man has been
acting as an agent for the Neapolitan government. You know, when we were
talking the matter over on Saturday, my mother suggested that it was
possible that the courier had been in league with the brigands. Possibly
he may also be an agent of the government; and there was so great a stir
made at that time that I cannot regard it as impossible, knowing how she
and I are heart and soul with the Italian patriots, that he was sent
over to watch us."

"I think it not only possible but probable," Signora Forli put in. "I
know that in Italy the police have spies in every household where they
suspect the owner of holding liberal opinions; and knowing that our
house was frequented by so many exiles, they may have very well placed
this man here. I regret now that at the time this man came over at your
mother's request, we listened to his plausible tale and took him into
our service, but I had not at that time any strong suspicions that the
attack on your father was a preconcerted one, and I should hardly have
mentioned the idea to your mother had it occurred to me. However, it is
of no use thinking over that now; the great point is to consider how it
will affect your plan."

"In what way, signora?" Frank asked in surprise; and Mrs. Percival
added, "I don't see what you mean, mother."

"I mean this, dear: if this man is a spy, you may be quite sure that he
has had false keys made, by which he can open your cabinet, your
drawers, and your writing-desk. It is quite probable that he knows
Garibaldi's handwriting, for, knowing that the general was a great
friend of your father, he would almost certainly be furnished with a
specimen of it; and, if that was the case, we may take it for granted
that wherever you put any letter from Garibaldi, he would get at it and
read it. That in itself can do comparatively little harm, for rumours of
the general's proposed expedition are already current. But he will know
that, immediately on receipt of that letter, you sent for Frank.
Doubtless there are other Neapolitan spies over here, and every movement
you have made since will, in that case, have been watched, and you will
have been seen to go to the bank to-day. It is not likely that they
would know how much we have drawn out, for your conversation was with
the manager in his private room; but knowing your devotion to
Garibaldi's cause, they might well suppose that the amount would be a
considerable one. We have made no secret of the fact that Frank will
start the day after to-morrow to travel in Italy for a time; and he will
guess that Frank is the bearer of this money to Garibaldi--possibly, as
it seems that he listened at the doors, he may even have heard you tell
Frank how much you were going to send. Yesterday evening we were talking
over how the bills had best be concealed, and he may have heard that
also; if he did, you may be pretty sure that they will never reach
Garibaldi, unless our plans for their concealment are changed."

"You frighten me, mother."

"I don't know that there is anything to be frightened about," the
signora said. "I do not for a moment suppose that he contemplates any
actual attack upon Frank; though he will, I am convinced, try to get the
money--partly, no doubt, for its own sake, partly because its loss would
be a serious blow to Garibaldi. After the disappearance of his
grandfather, and the commotion there was over the death or disappearance
of his father, an attack upon Frank would appear to be a sequel of these
affairs, and would cause such general indignation that the ministry
would take the matter up in earnest, and the result would be far more
disastrous for the government of Naples than could be caused by any
amount of money reaching Garibaldi, whom they must regard as an
adventurer who could give them some trouble, but who could not hope for
success. Therefore, I do not think that there is any danger whatever of
personal injury to Frank; but I do think there is grave fear that the
money will be stolen on the way. If our suspicions are well founded as
to Beppo, no doubt two or three of these agents will travel with him. If
he stops to sleep at an hotel, his room would be entered and his coat
carried off; he may be chloroformed when in a train and searched from
head to foot; his baggage may be stolen on the way, but that would only
be the case if they do not find the bills on his person or where we
agreed last night to hide them."

"I dare not let him go," Mrs. Percival said, in a trembling voice.

"Why, mother," Frank said almost indignantly, "you don't suppose, now
that I am warned, I shall be fool enough to let these fellows get the
best of me? I will carry a loaded pistol in each pocket; I will not
sleep in an hotel from the time I start till I have handed the bills to
Garibaldi, and will take care always to get into a carriage with several
other passengers. If I hadn't had fair warning, I dare say I should have
been robbed; but I have no fear whatever on the subject now that we have
a suspicion of what may occur. But if you think it would be safer, I do
not see why you could not send the bills by post to an hotel at Genoa."

Signora Forli shook her head. "That would not do," she said. "You do not
know what these Neapolitan spies are capable of. If they find that you
have not the money with you, they would follow you to your hotel at
Genoa, bribe the concierge there to hand over any letter that came
addressed to you, or steal it from the rack where it would be placed,
while his attention was turned elsewhere. However, I have an old friend
at Genoa, the Countess of Mongolfiere; we exchange letters two or three
times a year. She is, of course, a patriot. I will, if your mother
agrees with me, enclose the bills in an envelope addressed to you, put
that in another with a letter saying that you will call at her house
when you arrive at Genoa, and request her to hand the letter to you. I
will say that it vitally concerns the cause, and beg her to place it
under lock and key in some safe receptacle until you arrive."

"That is an excellent idea, mother," Mrs. Percival said, "and would seem
to meet the difficulty."

Frank rose from his seat quietly, stepped noiselessly to the door, and
suddenly threw it open. To his surprise his mother's maid was sitting in
a chair against it, knitting.

"It is all right, Hannah," he said, as she started to her feet. "I did
not know you were there. I thought that fellow might be listening
again," and he closed the door.

"I asked her to sit there this evening, Frank," Mrs. Percival said. "I
knew that we should be talking this matter over, and thought it better
to take the precaution to ensure our not being overheard."

"Quite right, mother; I am glad you did so. Then you think that that
plan will answer?"

"Yes, I think so; but you must be sure and take care of yourself, just
as if you had the money about you."

"That I will, mother; you can rely upon that."

"And above all," Signora Forli said, "you must beware, when you go to
the Countess for the money, that you take every possible precaution.
Call in the daytime, go in a carriage and drive straight from her place
to the Villa Spinola; better still, go first to Garibaldi, tell him
where the money is, and ask him to send three of his officers to your
hotel on the following morning. Then take a carriage, drive to the
Countess's, and take it to the general with four of you in the carriage.
They would not dare to attack you in broad daylight."

"That is an excellent plan," Mrs. Percival said, in a tone of great
relief. "Certainly, if they do manage to search him on the way, and find
that he has not got the bills upon him, they will watch him closely at
Genoa, where, no doubt, they will get the assistance of some of
Francisco's agents. There are sure to be plenty of them in Genoa at
present; but however many of them there may be, they would not venture
to attack in daylight four men driving along what is no doubt a
frequented road, more especially as they would know that three of them
were Garibaldi's men, which is as much as to say desperate fellows, and
who would, no doubt, like yourself, be armed with pistols."

"We had better take one more precaution," Signora Forli said. "It is
believed that you are going to start on Thursday morning. Your packing
can be done in five minutes; and I think that it would be a good plan
for you to have everything ready to-night, and send Mary out for a
hansom to-morrow morning, so that you could, when it comes up to the
door, go straight down, get into it, and drive to the station. I don't
say that they might not be prepared for any sudden change of our plans;
but at least it would give you a chance of getting a start of them that
they can never recover--at any rate, not until you get to Paris."

"How could they catch me there?" Frank said.

"Francisco's agents here might telegraph to his agents in Paris, and
they might be on the look-out for you when you arrived, and take the
matter up. You were going _viâ_ Calais. Let me look at the Bradshaw."

"Yes," she said, after examining its pages; "the train for the tidal
boat leaves at the same time as the Dover train. If, when you get into
the cab, you say out loud, 'Victoria,' so that Beppo may hear it, you
can then, when once on your way, tell the cabman to take you to Charing
Cross. In that way, if there is any one on the look-out when the Calais
train comes in, they will be thrown altogether off the scent."

"It seems ridiculous, all these precautions," Frank said, with a laugh.

"My dear, no precautions are ridiculous when you have Francisco's agents
to deal with. Now, I will write my letter to the Countess at once, so
that she may get it before your arrival there. You will, of course, go
out and post it yourself."



CHAPTER V

ON THE WAY.


After posting the letter, Frank made several small purchases, and was
more than an hour away. On his return he saw a cab standing at the door.
As he approached, Beppo came out with a portmanteau, handed it up to the
driver, jumped in, and was driven off.

"So Beppo has gone, mother," he said, as he joined her in the
drawing-room.

"Yes. He came in directly you had left. He said that his feelings had
been outraged by a servant being placed at the door. He could not say
why she was there, but thought it seemed as if he was doubted. He could
not but entertain a suspicion that she was placed there to prevent any
one listening at the keyhole; after such an insult as that he could not
remain any longer in the house. I said that he was at liberty to leave
instantly, as his wages had been paid only three days ago. He made no
reply, but bowed and left. Mary came up and told me ten minutes later
that he had brought his portmanteau down, left it in the hall, and gone
out, she supposed, to fetch a cab. I heard the vehicle drive up just
now, and the front door closed half a minute ago."

Signora Forli came into the room as she was speaking. "Mary tells me
that Beppo has gone. It is a comfort that he is out of the house. When
you once begin to suspect a man, the sooner he is away the better. At
the same time, Frank, there can be no doubt that his going will not
increase your chances of reaching Genoa without being searched. I should
say that he had made up his mind to leave before you did, and he was
glad that the fact of Mary being at the door gave him a pretext for his
sudden departure. In the first place, he could conduct the affair better
than any one else could do, as he knows your face and figure so well.
Then, too, he would naturally wish to get the credit of the matter
himself, after being so long engaged in it. Of course, you may as well
carry out the plan we arranged, to start in the morning; but you may
feel absolutely certain that, whatever you may do, you will not throw
him off your track. He must know now that he is suspected of being a
Neapolitan agent, and that you will very likely change your route and
your time of starting.

"I regard it as certain that the house will be watched night and day,
beginning from to-morrow morning, an hour or so before the trains leave.
There will be a vehicle with a fast horse close at hand, possibly two,
so that one will follow your cab, and the other drive at once to some
place where Beppo is waiting. As likely as not he will go viâ Calais. If
you go that way, so much the better; if not, he will only have to post
himself at the station at Paris. It is likely enough that during the
last day or two he has had one or two men hanging about here to watch
you going in and out, and so to get to know you well, and will have one
at each of the railway stations. He may also have written to the agents
in Paris to have a look-out kept for you there."

"But how could they know me?"

"He would describe you closely enough for that; possibly he may have
sent them over a photograph."

Frank got up and went to a side table, on which a framed photograph that
had been taken when he was at home at Christmas, usually stood. "You are
right," he said; "it has gone." Then he opened an album. "The one here
has gone, too, mother. Are there any more of them about?"

"There is one in my bedroom; you know where it hangs. It was there this
morning."

"That has gone, too, mother," he said, when he returned to the room.

"So you see, Muriel, I was right. The one from the album may have been
taken yesterday, and a dozen copies made of it; so that, even if you
give them the slip here, Frank, you will be recognised as soon as you
reach Paris."

"Well, mother, it is of no use bothering any more about it. I have only
to travel in carriages with other people, and they cannot molest me; at
worst they can but search me, and they will find nothing. They cannot
even feel sure that I have anything on me; for now that Beppo knows he
is suspected of listening at doors, he will consider it possible that we
may have changed our plans about where we shall hide the money. It is
not as if they wanted to put me out of the way, you know; you and the
signora agreed that that is certainly the last thing they would do,
because there would be a tremendous row about it, and they would gain no
advantage by it; so I should not worry any further, mother. I do not
think there is the slightest occasion for uneasiness. I will just go by
Calais, as I had intended, and by the train I had fixed on; that in
itself will shake Beppo's belief that I have the money with me, for he
would think that if I had it I should naturally try some other way."

"At any rate," Mrs. Percival said, "you shall not go by the line that we
had intended. You would be obliged to travel by diligence from Dole to
Geneva, thence to Chambery, and again by the same method over the Alps
to Susa. You shall go straight from Paris to Marseilles; boats go from
there every two or three days to Genoa."

"Very well, mother; I don't care which it is. Certainly there are far
fewer changes by that line; and to make your mind easy, I will promise
you that at Marseilles, if I have to stop there a night, I will keep my
bedroom door locked, and shove something heavy against it; in that way I
can't be caught asleep."

"Well, I shall certainly feel more comfortable, my dear boy, than I
should if you were going over the Alps. Of course, the diligence stops
sometimes and the people get out, and there would be many opportunities
for your being suddenly seized and gagged and carried off."

"They would have to be very sudden about it," Frank laughed. "I do
think, mother, that you have been building mountains out of molehills.
Beppo may not be a spy, after all; he may have heard you talking of this
ten thousand pounds, and the temptation of trying to get it may be too
much for him. He will know now that I shall be on my guard, and that,
even if I have the money on my person, his chance of getting it is small
indeed. I believe that you and the signora have talked the matter over
till you have frightened yourselves, and built up a wonderful story,
based only on the fact that Mary thought that she caught Beppo listening
at the door."

"How about the photographs?" Mrs. Percival asked.

"Possibly he has a hidden affection for me," Frank laughed, "and has
taken these as mementos of his stay here. Well, don't say anything more
about it, mother; I am not in the least nervous, and with a brace of
loaded pistols in my pocket and the fair warning that I have had, I do
not think I need be afraid of two or three of these miserable Neapolitan
spies."

Accordingly, Frank started by the morning mail, as they had arranged.
The carriage was full to Dover; and at Calais he waited on the platform
until he saw an English gentleman with two ladies enter a compartment,
and in this he took a vacant corner seat. On his arrival at Paris he
drove across at once to the terminus of the railway to Marseilles,
breakfasted there, and sat in the waiting-room reading till the door on
to the platform opened, and an official shouted, "Passengers for Melun,
Sens, Dijon, Macon, Lyons, and Marseilles." There was a general movement
among those in the waiting-room. Frank found that there was no fear of
his being in a compartment by himself, for only one carriage door was
opened at a time, and not until the compartment was full was the next
unlocked. He waited until he saw his opportunity, and was the first to
enter and secure a corner seat. In a short time it filled up.

He had slept most of the way between Calais and Paris, feeling
absolutely certain that he would not be interfered with in a carriage
with three English fellow-passengers. It was twelve o'clock now, and he
would not arrive at Marseilles until seven the next morning, and he
wondered where all his fellow-passengers, who were packed as closely as
possible, were going, for although he did not wish to be alone, it was
not a pleasant prospect to be for eighteen hours wedged in so tightly
that he could scarcely move. Then he wondered whether any of the men who
might be following were also in the train. He had quite come to the
conclusion that his mother and grandmother had frightened themselves
most unnecessarily; but he admitted that this was natural enough, after
the losses they had had. At Dijon several passengers got out, but others
took their places; and so the journey continued throughout the day. The
carriage was generally full, though once or twice there were for a time
but five besides himself. He read most of the way, for although he spoke
Italian as fluently as English, he could not converse in French. When
tired of reading he had several times dozed off to sleep, though he had
determined that he would keep awake all night.

At ten o'clock in the evening the train arrived at Lyons. Here there was
a stop of twenty minutes, and he got out and ate a hearty meal, and
drank two or three cups of strong coffee. He was not surprised to find,
on returning to his carriage, that all the passengers with two
exceptions had left it. These had got in at Macon, and were evidently
men of good circumstances and intimate with each other; he had no
suspicions whatever of them, for it was certain that men who had any
intention of attacking him would appear as strangers to each other. At
Vienne both left the carriage. Frank was not sorry to see them do so.

"If there are really fellows watching me," he said to himself, "the
sooner they show themselves and get it over the better; it is a nuisance
to keep on expecting something to take place when as likely as not
nothing will happen at all." He examined his pistols. They were loaded
but not capped, and he now put caps on the nipples, and replaced them in
his pocket.

Just before they had left Vienne a man had come to the window as if
intending to enter, but after glancing in for a moment had gone to
another carriage.

[Illustration: "HIS ASSAILANT FELL BACK AND DISAPPEARED"]

"That is rather queer," Frank thought. "As I am alone here, there was
plenty of room for him. Perhaps he had made a mistake in the carriage.
At any rate, they won't catch me napping."

The strong coffee that he had taken at Lyons had sharpened his
faculties, and he never felt more awake than he did after leaving
Vienne. He sat with his eyes apparently closed, as if asleep, with a
warm rug wrapped round his legs. An hour later he saw a face appear at
the opposite window. At first it was but for an instant; a few seconds
later it appeared again and watched him steadily; then the man moved
along to the door and another joined him. Frank without moving cocked
the pistol in his right-hand pocket, and took a firm hold of the butt
with his finger on the trigger. The door opened noiselessly, and the
second man thrust in an arm holding a pistol; so it remained for half a
minute. Frank was convinced that there was no intention of shooting if
it could be avoided, and remained perfectly still; then the arm was
withdrawn, and another man, holding a knife in one hand and a roll of
something in the other, entered. In a moment Frank's right arm flew up
and his pistol cracked out: his assailant fell back and disappeared
through the open door. Frank sprang to his feet as he fired, and stood
with his pistol levelled towards the window, where the head of the
second man had disappeared as his comrade fell backwards.

"He knows I have the best of him now," Frank muttered to himself; "I
don't think that he will have another try."

Advancing cautiously, he pulled the door to, lowered the window, and
putting a hand out without exposing his head, turned the handle, and
then drew up the window again. His foot struck against something as he
backed to his seat in the corner. As he still kept his eyes fixed on the
window, he paid no attention to this for a minute or two; then he became
conscious of a faint odour.

"I expect that is chloroform or ether or something of that sort," he
said, as he lowered the window next to him; and then, still keeping an
eye on the door opposite, moved a step forward and picked up a large
handkerchief, steeped in a liquid of some sort or other. He was about to
open the window and throw it out, when an idea struck him.

"I had better keep it," he said: "there may be a beastly row over the
business, and this handkerchief may be useful in confirming my story."

He therefore put it up on the rack, lowered the window a few inches, and
did the same to the one opposite to it. Then wrapping the handkerchief
up in two or three newspapers he had bought by the way, to prevent the
liquid from evaporating, he sat down in his corner again. He felt
confident that the attack would not be renewed, now he was found to be
on the watch and armed. It was probable that the two men were alone, and
the one remaining would hardly venture single-handed to take any steps
whatever against one who was certain to continue to be vigilant. He had
no doubt that he had killed the man he fired at, and that, even if the
wound had not been instantly fatal, he would have been killed by his
fall from the train.

"It seems horrid," he muttered, "to have shot a man; but it was just as
much his life or mine as it would have been in battle. I hope no one
heard the shot fired. I expect that most of the passengers were asleep;
and if any one did hear it, he might suppose that a door had come open,
or had been opened by a guard, and had been slammed to. Of course, the
man's body will be found on the line in the morning, and I expect there
will be some fuss over it; but I hope we shall all be out of the train
and scattered through the town before any inquiries are set on foot. If
they traced it to me, I might be kept at Marseilles for weeks. Of
course, I should be all right; but the delay would be a frightful
nuisance. There is one thing,--the guard looked at my ticket just before
the train started from the last station, and would know that I was alone
in the carriage."

In a few minutes the speed of the train began to slacken. He knew that
the next station was Valence. He closed his eyes and listened as the
train stopped. As soon as it did so, he heard a voice from the next
carriage shouting for the guard. Then he heard an animated conversation,
of which he was able to gather the import.

"The sound of a gun," the guard said. "Nonsense; you must have been
dreaming!"

"I am sure I was not," a voice said indignantly. "It seemed to me as if
it was in the next carriage."

The guard came to Frank's window. "Ah, bah!" he said. "There is only one
passenger there, an Englishman. He was alone when we left Vienne, and he
is sound asleep now."

"Perhaps he is dead."

It was possible, and therefore the guard opened the door. "Are you
asleep, monsieur?"

Frank opened his eyes. "My ticket?" he asked drowsily. "Why, I showed it
you at Vienne."

"Pardon, monsieur," the guard said. "I am sorry that I disturbed you. It
was a mistake," and he closed the door, and said angrily to the man who
had called him: "It is as I said. You have been asleep; and I have woke
the English gentleman up for nothing."

A minute later the train moved on again.

"So far so good," Frank said. "I should think that I am all right now.
We shall be in at seven, and it will not be daylight till half-past six;
and as I fancy that we must have been about midway between Vienne and
Vallence when that fellow fell out, it is not likely that his body will
be found for some time. They are sure to have chosen some point a good
way from any station to get out of their own carriage and come to mine.
Even when they find him, they are not likely to make out that he has
been shot for some time afterwards. I hit him in the body, somewhere
near the heart, I fancy; I did not feel sure of hitting him if I fired
at his head, for the carriage was shaking about a good deal. It will
probably be thought at first that he has either fallen or jumped out of
his carriage. I suppose, when he is found, he will be carried to the
nearest station, and put in somewhere till a doctor and some
functionaries come, and an inquiry is held; and as he probably has been
badly cut about the head and face, his death will be put down to that
cause at first. Indeed, the fact that he was shot may not be found out
till they prepare him for burial. I suppose they will take off his
clothes then, as they will want to keep them for his identification, if
any inquiries should ever be made about him. At any rate, I may hope to
have got fairly away from Marseilles before the matter is taken up by
the police, and even then the evidence of the guard that I was alone
will prevent any suspicion falling especially on me."

He had no inclination for sleep, and although he felt certain that he
would not again be disturbed, he maintained a vigilant watch upon both
windows until, a few minutes after the appointed time, the train arrived
at Marseilles. Having only the small portmanteau he carried with him, he
was not detained more than two or three minutes there, took a _fiacre_
and drove to the Hôtel de Marseilles, which his Bradshaw told him was
close to the steamboat offices. After going upstairs and having a wash,
he went down again, carefully locking the door after him and putting the
key in his pocket. He then had some coffee and rolls, and while taking
these, obtained from the waiter a time-table of the departures of the
various steamers from the port, and found, to his great satisfaction,
that one of the Rubattino vessels would leave for Genoa at twelve
o'clock.

As soon as the steamboat offices were open he engaged a berth, walked
about Marseilles for an hour, returned at ten to the hotel, took a
hearty lunch, and then drove down to the port. On questioning the
steward he found that there were not many passengers going, and with a
tip of five francs secured a cabin to himself; having done this, he went
on deck again and watched the passengers arriving. They were principally
Italians; but among them he could not recognise the face of the agent
who had levelled a pistol at him. Both men had, indeed, worn black
handkerchiefs tied across their faces below their eyes and covering
their chins, and the broad-brimmed hats they wore kept their foreheads
and eyes in shadow; and although he watched his fellow-passengers with
the faint hope of discovering by some evil expression on his face his
last night's assailant, he had no real belief that he should, even under
the most favourable circumstances, recognise him again.

Two or three of the men wore beards, and seemed to belong to the sailor
class--probably men who had landed from a French ship, after perhaps a
distant voyage, and were now returning home. He saw no more of these, as
they at once went forward. There were only eight other passengers in the
saloon; seven of these were Italians, of whom three were evidently
friends. Two of the others had, Frank gathered from their talk, just
returned from Brazil; the sixth was an old man, and the seventh a
traveller for a firm of silk or velvet manufacturers in Genoa. The three
friends talked gaily on all sorts of subjects; but nothing that Frank
gathered, either from their conversation on deck or at dinner, gave any
clue as to their occupation. They had evidently met at Marseilles for
the first time after being separated for a considerable period--one had
been in England, one at Paris, and one at Bordeaux; their ages were from
twenty-three to twenty-six. Their names were, as he learned from their
talk, Maffio, Sarto, and Rubini. Before the steamer had left the port
half an hour, one of them, seeing that Frank was alone, said to him as
he passed, in broken English,--

"It is warmer and pleasanter here, monsieur, than it is in London."

"It is indeed," Frank replied, in Italian; "it was miserable weather
there, when I left the day before yesterday."

"_Per Bacco!_" the young man said, with a laugh, "I took you to be
English. Allow me to congratulate you on your admirable imitation
of----"

"I am English, signor--that is, I was born of English parents; but I
first saw light in Rome, and my grandfather was an Italian."

This broke the ice, and they chatted together pleasantly.

"We are going to Genoa. And you?"

"I also am going to Genoa, and perhaps"--for he had by this time quite
come to a conclusion on the subject--"on the same errand as yourselves."

The others looked at him in some little surprise, and then glanced at
one another. That this young Englishman should be going upon such an
expedition as that upon which they were bound, seemed to be out of the
question.

"You mean on pleasure, signor?" one of them said, after a pause.

"If excitement is pleasure, which no doubt it is--yes. I am going to
visit an old friend of my father's; he is living a little way out of the
town at the Villa Spinola."

The others gave a simultaneous exclamation of surprise.

"That is enough, signor," the one called Rubini said, holding out his
hand; "we are comrades. Though how a young English gentleman should come
to be of our party, I cannot say."

The others shook hands as warmly with Frank; and he then replied,--

"No doubt you are surprised. My father fought side by side with the man
I am now going to see, in the siege of Rome, so also did my grandfather;
and both have since paid by their lives for their love of Italy. My name
is Percival."

"The son of the Captain Percival who was murdered while searching in
Naples for Signor Forli?" one of them exclaimed.

"The same. So, gentlemen, you can perhaps understand why I am going to
the Villa Spinola, and why, young as I am, I am as eager to take part in
this business as you yourselves can be."

"Yes, indeed; your father's name is honoured among us as one of our
general's friends and companions in South America, and as one of his
comrades at Rome; still more, perhaps, for his fearless exposure of the
horrors of the tyrants' dungeons. However, it were best that we should
say no more on the subject at present. It is certain that the general's
presence at Genoa is causing uneasiness both at Rome and Naples. Rumours
that he intends to carry out some daring enterprise have appeared in
newspapers, and no doubt Neapolitan spies are already watching his
movements, and it may be there are some on board this ship. Our great
fear is that Victor Emmanuel's government may interfere to stop it; but
we doubt whether he will venture to do so--public opinion will be too
strong for him."

"No one can overhear us just at present," Frank said. "Certainly the
Neapolitan spies are active. My mother's house is frequented by many
leading exiles; and we have reason to believe that it has been watched
by a spy for some time past. I know that I have been followed, under the
idea, perhaps, that I am carrying important papers or documents from the
general's friends there. An attempt was made last night to enter the
carriage, in which I was alone, by two men, one of whom was armed with a
pistol, and the other had a handkerchief soaked with chloroform.
Fortunately, I was on my guard, and shot the fellow who was entering
with the handkerchief; he fell backwards out of the carriage; I heard
nothing more of the other one, and for aught I know he may be on board
now."

"You did well indeed!" Sarto said warmly. "I was in the next carriage to
you. I did not hear the sound of your pistol-shot--I was fast asleep;
but we were all woke up by a fellow-passenger who declared he heard a
gunshot. When we reached Valence he called the guard, who said that he
must have been dreaming, for there was only a young Englishman in the
next carriage, and he knew that when it left the last station he was
alone. When the train went on we all abused the fellow soundly for
waking us with his ridiculous fancies; but it seems that he was right
after all. You say there was another. What became of him?"

"I saw nothing more of him. He may be on board, for aught I know, for
they had black handkerchiefs tied over their faces up to the eyes, and
as their hats were pulled well down, I should not know him if I saw
him."

"Well, you have struck the first blow in the war, and I regard it as a
good omen; but you must be careful to-night, for if the fellow is on
board he is likely to make another attempt; and this time, I should say,
he would begin by stabbing you. Are you in a cabin by yourself?"

"Yes."

"Then one of us will sit up by turns. You must have had a bad night
indeed, while we slept without waking, except when I was aroused by that
fellow making such a row."

"Oh, I could not think of that!"

"It must be done," Rubini said earnestly. "However, I will lay the
mattress of the spare bed of your cabin against the door, and lie down
on it--that will do just as well. It will be impossible then to open the
door; and if any one tries to do so, I shall be on my feet in a moment.
I shall sleep just as well like that as in my berth. I have slept in
much more uncomfortable places, and am sure to do so again before this
business is over."

"Thank you very much. I will not refuse so kind an offer, for I doubt
greatly whether I could keep awake to-night."

"Now let us say no more about it, for we may be quite sure that the man
is still on your track, and there may be other Neapolitan agents on
board. We cannot be too careful. It may be that old man who was sitting
facing us at the table, it may be that little fellow who looks like the
agent of a commercial house, and it may be one of the two men who say
they come from South America; there is no telling. But at any rate, let
us drop the subject altogether. We have said nothing at present that
even a spy could lay hold of, beyond the fact that you are going to the
Villa Spinola, which means to Garibaldi."

They did not go up on deck again after dinner, but sat chatting in the
saloon until nine o'clock, when Frank said that he could keep his eyes
open no longer. After allowing him time to get into his berth, Rubini
came in, took off his coat and waistcoat, pulled the mattress and
bedding from the other bunk, and lay down on it with his head close to
the door.

"Will you take one of my pistols, Rubini?" for by this time they called
each other simply by their surnames.

"No, thank you; if the scoundrel tries to open the door and finds that
he cannot do so, you may be sure that he will move off at once. He has
been taught that you are handy with your weapons."

Frank was sleeping soundly when he was woke by Rubini's sharp challenge,
"Who goes there?" It was pitch dark, and he was about to leap from his
bunk, when Rubini said,--

"It is no use getting up. By the time I got this bed away and opened the
door, the fellow would be at the other end of the boat. We may as well
lie quiet. He is not likely to try again; and, indeed, I should not
care about going outside the door, for it is pitch dark, and he might
at the present moment be crouching outside in readiness to stab you as
you came out. However, he is more likely to be gone now, for directly he
heard us talking he would know that his game was up." He struck a match.
"It is just two o'clock," he said; "we may as well have four hours' more
sleep."

In a few minutes Frank was sound asleep again, and when he awoke it was
daylight. Looking at the watch, he found that it was seven o'clock.
"Seven o'clock, Rubini!" he said.

The Italian sat up and stretched his arms and yawned. "I have had a
capital night. However, it is time to get up; we must turn out at once.
We can't be far from Genoa now; we are due there at eight o'clock, so we
shall just have comfortable time for a wash and a cup of coffee before
going ashore."

Frank dressed hastily, and then ran up on deck, where he stood admiring
the splendid coast, and the town of Genoa climbing up the hill, with its
churches, campaniles, and its suburbs embedded in foliage. They were
just entering the port when Maffio came up to him.

"Coffee is ready," he said. "You had better come down and take it while
it is hot. We shall have the custom-house officers off before we land,
so there is no hurry."

After making a meal on coffee with an abundance of milk, rolls and
butter, Frank went up again. He then, at the advice of Rubini, drew the
charges of his pistols and placed them in his portmanteau.

"We must go ashore in a boat," Sarto said. "I have just heard the
captain say that the wharves are so full that he may not be able to take
the vessel alongside for a couple of hours."

"Are you going anywhere in particular when you land?" Frank asked.

"We all belong to Genoa, and have friends here. Why do you ask?"

"Could you spare me an hour of your time to-day? I should not ask you,
but it is rather important."

"Certainly; we are all at your service," Rubini said in some surprise.
"At what hour shall we meet you, and where?"

"I am going to the Hotel Europa. Any time will suit me, so that it is a
couple of hours before dusk. I will tell you what it is when you meet
me; it is better not to speak of it here."

The young men consulted together. "We will go to our friends," Rubini
said, "take our things there and spend an hour, and will call upon you,
if convenient, at eleven o'clock."

"Thank you; and you will see, when I have explained my reason for
troubling you, that I have not done so wantonly."

They landed at the step of the customs. "Have you anything to declare?"
the official asked Frank, after his passport had been examined and
stamped.

"I have nothing but this small portmanteau, which contains only clothes
and a brace of pistols. I suppose one can land with them on payment of
duty."

"Certainly, monsieur; but why should an Englishman want them?"

"I intend to make a walking tour through Italy"--speaking as before in
English; "and there are parts of the country where, after dark, I should
feel more comfortable for having them in my pockets."

"You are strange people, you Englishmen," the officer said; "but, after
all, you are not far wrong, though it seems to me that it would be wiser
to give up what you carry about you than to make a show of resistance
which would end in getting your throat cut." He glanced at the pistols,
named the amount of duty chargeable; and when this was paid, Frank
nodded to his companions, who were being much more rigorously examined,
took one of the vehicles standing outside the custom-house, and drove to
the Hotel Europa.



CHAPTER VI.

THE VILLA SPINOLA


After taking a room and seeing his portmanteau carried up there, Frank
went out for an hour and looked at the shops in the principal street;
then he returned to the hotel, and stood at the entrance until his three
friends arrived. He had again loaded his pistols and placed them in his
pocket, and had engaged an open vehicle that was now standing at the
door.

"Let us start at once," he said; "gentlemen, if you will take your
places with me, I will explain the matter to you as we drive along."

They took their seats.

"Drive to the Strada de Livourno," he said to the coachman; "I will tell
you the house when we get there. Now, my friends," he went on, as the
carriage started, "I will explain what may seem singular to you. My
mother has sent out a letter which contained, I may say, a considerable
sum to be used by the general for the purposes of this expedition. It
had been intended that I should bring it; but when we discovered that
there was a spy in the house, and that our cabinets had been ransacked
and our conversation overheard, it was thought almost certain that an
attempt would be made to rob me of the letter on the way. Finally, after
much discussion, it was agreed to send the letter by post to the care of
the Countess of Mongolfiere, who is an old friend of Signora Forli, my
grandmother; she was convinced that I should be watched from the moment
I landed, and advised me not to go to see the countess until I could
take three of Garibaldi's followers with me, and that after accompanying
me to her house, they should drive with me to the Villa Spinola. Now you
will understand why I have asked you to give up a portion of your first
day to come to aid me."

"I think your friends were very right in giving you the advice,
Percival. After the two attempts that have been made--I will not say to
kill you--but to search you and your luggage, it is certain that
Francisco's agents must have obtained information that you were carrying
money, and perhaps documents of importance, and that they would not take
their eyes off you until either they had gained their object or
discovered that you had handed the parcel over to the general. I have no
doubt that they are following you now in some vehicle or other."

On arrival at the villa of the Countess of Mongolfiere, Frank sent in
his card, and on this being taken in, was at once invited to enter. The
countess was a lady of about the same age as Signora Forli.

"I am glad to see you, Signor Percival," she said. "I have received the
letter from Madame Forli with its enclosure."

"I have brought you another note from her, madame la contessa," he said,
presenting it, "as a proof of my identity; for the matter is of
importance, as you may well suppose, from the manner in which this
letter was sent to you, instead of by the post direct to me."

"So I supposed, signor. Signora Forli said that it concerned the good of
the cause; and the manner in which she begged me to lock it up at once
on my receiving it, was sufficient to show that it either contained
money for the cause or secrets that the agents of the foes of freedom
would be glad to discover. The mere fact that she gave no particulars
convinced me that she considered it best that I should be in the dark,
so that, should the letter fall into other hands, I could say truly that
I had not expected its arrival, and knew nothing whatever of the matter
to which it related."

"It contains drafts for a considerable sum of money, signora, for the
use of Garibaldi. The general, being ignorant of my father's death, had
written to him, asking him to join him, and recalling his promise to
assist with money. My father, unfortunately, could no longer give
personal service, but as he had for years put by a certain portion of
his income for this purpose, my mother had it in her power to send this
money. It was intended that I should bring it; but we found that all our
doings were watched, and that, therefore, there was considerable danger
of my being followed and robbed upon the way; and Signora Forli then
suggested that she should send it direct to you, as possibly a letter
addressed to me here might fall into the hands of the Neapolitan
agents."

"It was a very good plan," the countess said. "And have you been
molested on the way?"

"Attempts have been made on two occasions--once in the train on my way
to Marseilles, and once on board the steamer coming here."

"You must be careful even now, signor. If you are watched as closely as
it would seem, you may be robbed before you can hand this letter over to
the general. There is nothing at which these men will hesitate in order
to carry out their instructions. You might be arrested in the streets
by two or three men disguised as policemen, and carried away and
confined in some lonely place; you might be accused of a theft and given
in charge on some trumped-up accusation, in order that your luggage and
every article belonging to you might be thoroughly searched, before you
could prove your entire innocence. I can quite understand that, when you
first started, the object was simply to search for any papers you might
be carrying, and if this could be done without violence it would be so
effected, although, if murder was necessary, they would not have
hesitated at it; and even now, guessing as they will that you have come
here, directly you have landed, to obtain some important document, they
would, if they could find an opportunity, do anything to obtain it,
before you can deliver it to Garibaldi."

"I quite feel that, signora, and have three young Garibaldian officers
waiting in a carriage below for me, and they will drive with me to the
Villa Spinola."

"That will make you perfectly safe," and she then rose from her seat,
opened a secret drawer in an antique cabinet, and handed him the letter.
"Now, Signor Percival," she said, "this has been a visit of business,
but I hope that when you have this charge off your mind you will, as the
grandson of my old friend Signora Forli, come often to see me while you
are here. I am always at home in the evening, and it will be a great
pleasure to me to hear more of her than she tells me in her letters."

Thanking the countess for her invitation, and saying that he should
certainly avail himself of it, he went down and again took his place in
the carriage.

"Have you found all as you wished?" Sarto asked.

"Yes; I have the letter in my pocket."

"That is good news. Knowing what these secret agents are able to
accomplish, I did not feel at all sure that they might not in some way
have learned how the money was to be sent, and have managed to intercept
the letter."

Having given instructions to the driver where to go, they chatted as
they drove along of the proposed expedition.

"None of us know yet," Rubini said, "whether it is against the Papal
States or Naples. We all received the telegram we had for some time been
hoping for, with the simple word 'Come.' However, it matters not a bit
to us whether we first free the Pope's dominions or Francisco's."

"Will you go in with me to see Garibaldi?"

"No; we have already received orders that, until we are called upon, it
is best that we should remain quietly with our families. Were a large
number of persons to pay visits to him, the authorities would know that
the time was close at hand when he intended to start on an expedition of
some kind. The mere fact that we have come here to stay for a time with
our friends is natural enough; but we may be sure that everything that
passes at the villa is closely watched. It is known, I have no doubt,
that an expedition is intended, and Cavour may wait to prevent it from
starting, until the last moment; therefore I should say that it is
important that no one should know on what date Garibaldi intends to sail
until the hour actually arrives. How we are to get ships to carry us,
how many are going, and how we are to obtain arms, are matters that
don't concern us. We are quite content to wait until word comes to us,
'Be at such a place, at such an hour.'"

"I would give something to know which among the men we are passing are
those who have been on your track," Sarto remarked. "It would be such a
satisfaction to laugh in their faces and to shout, 'Have you had a
pleasant journey?' or, 'We congratulate you,' or something of that
sort."

"They feel sore enough without that," Maffio said. "They are
unscrupulous villains; but to do them justice, they are shrewd ones, and
work their hardest for their employers, and it is not very often that
they fail; and you have a right to congratulate yourself that for once
they have been foiled. It is certainly a feather in your cap, Percival,
that you and your friends have succeeded in outwitting them."

They had now left the city and were driving along the coast road towards
the Villa Spinola. There were only a few people on the road.

"You see, it is well that we came in force," Sarto remarked; "for had
you been alone, the carriage might very well have been stopped, and
yourself seized and carried off, without there being any one to notice
the affair. I have no doubt that even now there is a party somewhere
behind a wall or a hedge, in waiting for you; they would probably be
sent here as soon as you landed, and would not be recalled, as, until
you left the house of the countess, all hope that you would drive along
this road alone would not be at an end."

"We shall call and see you this evening, and we all hope that you will
use our homes as your own while you are staying here," Rubini said. "We
can introduce you to numbers of our friends, all of our way of thinking,
and will do our best to make your stay at Genoa as pleasant as possible.
It may be some time before all is ready for a start, and until that is
the case you will have nothing to do, and certainly Garibaldi will not
want visitors."

"I shall be pleased indeed to avail myself of your kindness," Frank
said. "It will be a great pleasure to me to see something of Italian
society, and I should find time hang very heavy on my hands at the
hotel, where there are, I know, very few visitors staying at present."

"That is the villa," Rubini said, pointing to a large house surrounded
by a high wall.

"Will you take my vehicle back?"

"No; we shall walk. I should advise you to keep the carriage, however
long you may stay here. These fellows will be very sore at finding they
have failed, after all the trouble they have taken in the matter. I
don't say that they will be watching for you; but if they should come
across you in a lonely spot, I think it is very probable that they would
not hesitate to get even with you with the stab of a knife between your
shoulders."

Alighting, Frank rang at the bell. His friends stood chatting with him
until a man, after looking through a grill in the gate, came out; and
then, feeling that their mission was safely accomplished, they started
for their walk back in high spirits.

"I do not know whether the general is in at present, signor," the man
said, as Frank was about to enter. "May I ask your business?"

"If you will take this card to him, I am sure that he will see me."

In three minutes the gates were opened. Frank entered on foot, and would
have left the carriage outside; but the porter said,--

"It had better come in, signor; carriages standing at a gate attract
attention."

Garibaldi was seated in a room with two men, who were, as Frank
afterwards learned, Bixio and Crispi. Garibaldi had risen from his seat
and was looking inquiringly at the door as the lad entered.

"Welcome, Signor Percival! You have come, doubtless, on the part of my
dear friend your father. Has he not come with you? I trust that he is
but delayed."

"I come on the part of my mother, general," Frank replied. "I lost my
father more than a year ago."

"And I had not heard of it!" the general exclaimed. "Alas! alas! for my
friend and comrade; this is indeed a heavy blow to me. I looked forward
so much to seeing him. Oh, how many friends have I lost in the past two
years! And so your mother has sent you to me?"

"She bade me give you this letter, general."

The letter was not a long one. Mrs. Percival briefly told how her
husband had set out to endeavour to find where Professor Forli was
imprisoned, how he had been attacked and killed by brigands, and how
she, knowing what her husband's wishes would have been, had sent her
son. "He is young," she said, "but not so young as many of those who
have fought under you. He is as eager and enthusiastic in the cause of
Italian liberty as was his father, having, as you may well suppose,
learned the tale from my husband and myself, and my father and mother.
As you will see, he speaks Italian as well as English, and I pray you,
for the sake of my husband, to take him on your staff; or, if that
cannot be, he will shoulder a musket and march with you. He does not
come empty-handed. My husband has for years laid by a certain amount to
be used in the good cause when the time came. He will tell you where it
is to be obtained, and how. I wish you success with all my heart, and
if the prayers of two widowed women will avail aught, you will have
them daily. It is my only son I give you, and a widow cannot give more.
The money is from my husband; the boy is from me."

Garibaldi's eyes filled with tears as he read the letter.

"Your mother is a noble woman indeed! How could she be otherwise, as the
daughter of Forli and the wife of my brave comrade? Surely you will be
most welcome to me, young man--welcome if you came only as your mother's
gift to Italy."

Frank opened the envelope, which was directed to himself, and took out
five slips of thin paper.

"These are bills, general," he said, handing them to him. "They are
drawn upon a bank at Genoa, and are each for two thousand pounds."

"Francs, you must mean, surely?" Garibaldi said.

"No, general; they are English pounds."

Exclamations of surprise and gratification broke from Garibaldi and his
two companions.

"This is a royal gift!" the former cried. "My brave comrade is not here
to help us; but he has sent us a wonderful proof of his love for the
cause. It is noble!--it is superb! This will indeed be aid to us," he
went on, holding out his two hands to Frank. "We are strong in men, we
are strong in brave hearts, but money is scarce with us, though many
have given all that they possess. I know, lad, how you English object to
be embraced,--were it not for that, I would take you to my heart; but a
hand-clasp will say as much."

The two officers were almost as much excited as Garibaldi himself, for
this gift would remove one of the obstacles that lay in their way. By
means of a subscription contributed in small amounts by patriots all
over Italy for the purchase of arms, twelve thousand good muskets had
been bought and stored at Milan, together with ammunition. When, a few
days before Frank's arrival, Crispi, with some other of Garibaldi's
officers, had gone to fetch them, they found that Cavour had placed a
guard of royal troops over the magazine, with orders that nothing
whatever was to be taken out. Heavy though the blow had been, the
Garibaldian agents were already at work buying arms, but with no hope of
collecting more than sufficient for the comparatively small force that
would sail for Sicily. Even this addition of funds would not avail to
supply that deficiency, as it was very difficult for the general's
agents, closely watched as they now were, to purchase military weapons.

For some time the conversation turned entirely upon the steps to be
taken, now that the war-chest had been so unexpectedly replenished. Then
Garibaldi put aside the papers on which he had been taking notes, and
said,--

"Enough for the time, Signor Percival. I shall, of course, write myself
to your good mother, expressing my heartfelt thanks, and telling her
that if success attends us, she can be happy in the knowledge that it
will be largely due to her. You will, naturally, yourself write home and
tell her what joy her gift occasioned, how much it added to our hopes
and relieved us of our difficulties. Tell her that I have appointed you
as a lieutenant on my staff, and that I shall trust you as I trusted
your noble father."

"I thank you greatly, general; I hope to prove myself worthy of your
confidence."

"And now, sir, will you advise me as to your own movements?"

"I have put up at the Hotel Europa."

"At present it will be best for you to stay there. We are anxious that
there should be no appearance of any gathering here, and my friends will
not assemble until all the preparations are completed. How did you come
over here?"

"I drove, General; the carriage is waiting for me."

"Then it must wait for awhile; or, better still, it can carry my two
friends here to the town, where they have much to do. In future it will
be best for you to walk over; 'tis but a short distance, and I know that
you English are good walkers. Of course, the authorities know that I am
here; there is no concealment about that. As long as they do not see any
signs of preparations for a movement, they will leave me alone. As
probably your prolonged stay at the hotel may excite curiosity, it is
well that you should visit the galleries and palaces, and take
excursions in the neighbourhood. It may be as well, too, that you should
mention casually at the _table-d'hôte_ that you know me, as your father
was a great friend of mine when we were together in South America, which
will account for your paying visits here frequently. We know that we are
being closely looked after by government spies, and must therefore omit
no precaution. Now I wish you to take lunch with me, as I have many
questions to ask you. I had heard, of course, of Signor Forli being
missing, and of the correspondence between your government and that of
Naples on the subject."

Frank went out and told the driver that he should not be returning for
some time, but that two gentlemen would go back in the carriage in a few
minutes. "As I took the carriage from the hotel, the hire will, of
course, be charged in my bill; but here are a couple of francs for
yourself."

In two or three minutes the Italian officers came out, and thanking
Frank for the accommodation, drove away, while the lad himself
re-entered the villa.

"The meal is ready," Garibaldi said, when he entered the room where he
had left him. "It is very pleasant to me to turn my thoughts for once
from the subject of my expedition."

The meal was a very simple one, though the general had ordered one or
two extra dishes in honour of his guest.

"Now," he said, when they had sat down, and the servant had retired,
"tell me first of all about the loss of my dear friend."

Frank related the story of his father going out to search for Signor
Forli, and how he had been captured and killed by brigands. As the
general listened, his kindly face grew stern and hard, but he did not
speak until Frank brought the tale to an end.

"_Cospetto!_" he exclaimed, "he may have been killed by brigands, but I
doubt not the Neapolitan government were at the bottom of it. I would
wager any money that they hired the men of the mountains to disembarrass
them of one who was exposing the horrible secrets of their prisons. And
you say that his body could not be found. Was the search made for it
simply by the carabinieri?"

"It was made by them, sir, but the secretary of our legation accompanied
them, and wrote that, although he had himself searched everywhere in the
neighbourhood of the hut, he could find no traces whatever of a newly
made grave. I may say that Signora Forli still believes that my father
was not killed, but was, like her husband, carried off to some
dungeon."

"It is possible," the general said, "though I would not encourage you to
hope; the ways of these people are so dark that there is no fathoming
them. Since his grave could not be found, I regard it as certain that he
was not buried there, for his captors would not have troubled to carry
his body far, but would have dug a hole close by and thrown the earth
over the body; and in that case, when the band returned, one or the
other of the men who did the work would most likely have carelessly
pointed to the spot, and said, 'There lies the Englishman.' But though I
believe that he did not die there, he might have died elsewhere. His
wounds were evidently very severe, and they may have proved fatal after
he was carried off by those who took him away from the brigands; if they
were not fatal, he may have been murdered afterwards."

"Signora Forli thought, general, that it was more probable that he had
been taken to one of the prisons, and that, just as they hunted down the
brigands in order that none of these should have power to betray them,
so they might have preferred putting him in prison to having him
murdered, because in the latter case the men employed might go to the
British legation and accept a large sum for betraying the secret."

"It may have been so," the general said; "and if we succeed, perhaps you
will find both your father and grandfather. But do not cherish false
hopes. Even if both were once in the Neapolitan dungeons, they may
before this have succumbed to their treatment there. You have mourned
them as dead; do not buoy yourself up with hope, for if you did so, the
chances are all in favour of your suffering a terrible disappointment."

"That is just what my mother impressed upon me, general. She said that
from the first she had never allowed herself to think of my father as
in prison; and it was not until she received your letter, and thought
that at last there was really a chance that the inmost cells of all the
prisons would be opened, she would admit a possibility of my father
still being alive."

"At least, she and you will have the consolation that if you do not find
those dear to you, you will have aided in restoring fathers and husbands
to hundreds of other grieving wives, mothers, and children."

"May I ask how large a force you are likely to take over with you,
general?"

"If the government had remained neutral and not interfered with me, we
could have found men for the twelve thousand muskets they have seized;
as it is, we have been obliged to write letters to all parts of Italy,
stopping the volunteers who were preparing to join us. Some of these
letters will doubtless fall into the hands of the authorities, and we
have therefore so worded them that it may be supposed that the
expedition has been altogether given up. A thousand men is the utmost
that we can hope to embark secretly. These will be all picked men and
gallant fellows who fought under me in the Alps, or men who have, like
myself, been for years living as exiles. These thousand I have chosen,
every one; they will die fighting, and will never turn their back to an
enemy. Would that I had them all safely landed in Sicily, and had
surmounted all the difficulties and dangers that are caused by the
hostility of the government, which will, however, be glad enough to take
advantage of our work."

"My mother thought that you would probably form the Neapolitan States,
if you conquered them, into a republic."

"That was my dream when I was fighting at Rome but I see now that it is
impossible. I am for a republic on principle, but I must take what I can
get. I cannot conceal from myself that my experience of Mazzini and
other enthusiasts is that they are not practical, they commit terrible
blunders, and the matter ends in a dictatorship, as has twice been the
case in France. Mazzini would sacrifice the practical to gain his ideal.
I care nothing for theory--I want to see Italy free; and this can only
be done under Victor Emmanuel. He is popular and energetic. His father
suffered for his devotion to the cause of freedom. The son is a stronger
man; but at present he is forced by Cavour and the other temporisers who
surround him to curb his own impetuosity.

"I don't like Cavour--he gave up my birthplace, Nice, to France; but, at
the same time, I respect his great ability, and am sure that as soon as
he feels the opportunity has come, he will grasp it, and the king will
not hesitate to accept the possessions that I hope to gain for him. With
Victor Emmanuel King of Northern and Southern Italy, the rest is simple.
Then Italy can afford to wait its opportunity for driving the Austrians
from Venezia, and becoming, for the first time since the days of the
Romans, a united kingdom. When I hoist my banner in Sicily, it will be
as a soldier of Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy."

Frank was pleased to hear this. His father, though an advanced liberal
in matters connected with Italy, was a strong conservative at home; and
Frank had naturally imbibed his ideas, which were that the people of a
constitutional monarchy, like that under which he lived, were in every
respect freer and better governed than under any republic, still more so
than they could be under a republic constituted according to the
theories of Mazzini or those of the authors of the first and second
French revolutions.

"By the way, you must have found it a terrible responsibility carrying
so much money with you."

"I did not carry it, general. The bills were, with the letter to you,
sent by post to the care of the Countess of Mongolfiere, who was a
friend of Signora Forli."

"That was hazardous, too," the general said, shaking his head. "To trust
ten thousand pounds to the post was a terrible risk."

"It was the best way that we could think of, general. The courier who
was with my father when he was killed came over to see my mother at her
request, as she wished to hear every detail about my father's last days.
He professed a great fear of returning to Italy, as, having given
evidence against the brigands, he would be a marked man."

"There is no doubt that is so," Garibaldi put in. "His life would not
have been worth a day's purchase. These scoundrels have their agents in
every town, men who keep them informed as to persons travelling, whom it
would be worth while to capture, and of any movements of the carabinieri
in their direction."

"My mother, therefore, took him into her service," Frank went on; "but
two days before I started, she discovered that he had been acting as a
spy, had been opening her desk, examining her letters, and listening at
the door. She and Signora Forli had no doubt whatever that he had made
himself acquainted with the contents of your letter, and believed that I
was going to carry this money to you."

"The villains!" Garibaldi exclaimed, bringing his clenched hand down
upon the table: "it is just what they would do. I know that many of my
friends enjoyed your father's hospitality; and no doubt it would be a
marked house, and the secret police of Francisco would keep an eye over
what was being done there, and would, if possible, get one of their
agents into it. This man, who had no doubt acted as a spy over your
father when he was in Italy, would be naturally chosen for the work; and
his story and pretence of fear served admirably to get him installed
there. If he had learned that you were about to start to bring me ten
thousand pounds, and perhaps papers of importance, it would have been
nothing short of a miracle had you arrived safely with them."

"That was what Signora Forli and my mother thought, sir. They were
afraid to send the letter directed to me at the hotel where I was to
stop, as the man would doubtless telegraph to agents out at Genoa, and
they would get possession of it; so instead of doing so, they enclosed
it in a letter to the countess. I posted it myself, and there was
therefore no chance of the letter being lost, except by pure accident."

"But if the spy did not know that you had sent the letter off by post,
it would render your journey no less hazardous than if you had taken it
with you."

"My mother and the Signora were both convinced that an attempt would be
made to search me and my baggage on the way, but they did not think that
they would try to take my life; for after what had happened to my
grandfather and father, there would be no question that my murder was
the work of Neapolitan agents, and a storm of indignation would thus be
caused."

Garibaldi nodded. "No doubt they were right, and if the scoundrels could
have got possession of what you carried without injury to you they would
have done so. But they would have stuck at nothing in order to carry out
their object; and had you caught them while they were engaged in
searching your clothes or baggage, they would not have hesitated to use
their knives. I cannot now understand how you have come through without
their having meddled with you. It might have been done when you were
asleep in an hotel, or they might have drugged you in a railway
carriage, or in your cabin on board the steamer coming here. The secret
police of Naples is the only well-organised department in the kingdom.
They have agents in London, Paris, and other cities, and from the moment
you left your mother's house you must have been watched. Are you sure
that, although you may not know it, you have not been searched?"

"I am quite sure, sir. We were so certain I should be watched that I
made no attempt to get off secretly, but started by the train I had
intended to travel by. I did not stop a night at an hotel all the way,
and made a point of getting into railway carriages that contained other
passengers. It happened, however, that at Vienne the last of those with
me alighted. It was one o'clock in the morning when we left the station,
and I felt sure that if an attempt was made, it would be before we
stopped, especially as a man looked into the carriage just before we
were starting, and then went away. I had a loaded pistol in each pocket
and a rug over me, and I sat in the corner pretending to be asleep. An
hour later a man came and looked in; another joined him. The door was
partly opened, and an arm with an extended pistol pointed at me, but I
felt perfectly sure that he had no intention of firing unless I woke.

"Half a minute later his comrade entered the carriage. He had an open
knife in one hand, and a cloth in the other; but as he came in I shot
him; he fell back through the carriage door. Whether in doing so he
knocked his comrade down or not, I cannot say; but, at any rate, I saw
no more of him. The man whom I shot had dropped what he held in his hand
on to the floor. It was as I had expected--a handkerchief, soaked with
chloroform. It was seven when I arrived at Marseilles. Fortunately, a
steamer left at twelve. When I went on board I made the acquaintance of
three young men, who were, I guessed, on the same errand as myself;
their names were Rubini, Sarto, and Maffio. We soon became very
friendly, and I found that my conjectures were correct. This being so, I
told them what had happened; and as there was no one besides myself in
my cabin, Rubini most kindly laid a mattress across the door and slept
there. As I had not had a wink of sleep the night before, and only dozed
a little the one before that, I should have had great difficulty in
keeping awake. In the course of the night some one did attempt to open
the door; but he was unable to do so on account of the mattress placed
there, and we heard no more of him. I asked these gentlemen to come to
the Hotel Europa at eleven, for I was really afraid to come along the
road here by myself. They drove with me to the house of the countess,
and then here, so that I was well guarded."

"I know them all well," Garibaldi said. "Rubini is a lieutenant in the
Genoese company of my cacciatori; the others are in his company. You
have done well indeed, my friend; it needed courage to start on such a
journey, knowing that Francisco's police were on your track. You have a
right to feel proud that your vigilance and quickness defeated their
attempt. It is well that you met Rubini and his friends; for as the
spies would know directly you entered the palazzo of the countess that
you had gone there for some special purpose, probably to obtain
documents sent to her, I doubt whether you would have been able to come
safely alone, even if the road had been fairly well thronged."

"I should not have gone to the countess's unless I had an escort,
general. My intention was to come to you in the first place, and ask
that three of your officers might accompany me to get the letter; but,
of course, after having found friends who would act as my escort, there
was no occasion to do so. I suppose there is no fear of my being further
annoyed?"

"I should think not," Garibaldi said; "now they know that your mission
has been carried out, you will cease to be of interest to them. But at
the same time, it would be well to be cautious. If the fellow you shot
was the leader of those charged to prevent the supplies and letter
coming to me, we may consider that there is an end of the affair. His
death will give a step to some one, and they will owe you no ill will.
If, however, the other man was the chief of the party, he would
doubtless owe you a grudge. He is sure to be blamed for having been thus
baffled by a lad; whereas had he succeeded, he would have received the
approval of his superiors. I think, therefore, if I were you, I should
abstain from going out after nightfall, unless with a companion, or if
you do so, keep in the great thoroughfares and avoid quiet streets. That
habit of carrying a loaded pistol in your pocket has proved a valuable
one, and I should advise you to continue it so long as you are here. If
you see Rubini, tell him that I thank him for the aid he and his friends
rendered you. He and the others have all been instructed not to come
here until they receive a communication that the time for action has
arrived. My followers send me their addresses as soon as they reach
Genoa, so that I can summon them when they are needed. It would never do
for numbers of men to present themselves here. The authorities know
perfectly well that I am intending to make an expedition to Sicily; but
as long as they see no signs of activity, and their spies tell them that
only some half-dozen of my friends frequent this villa, they may be
content to abstain from interference with me; indeed, I do not think
that in any case they would venture to prevent my sailing, unless they
receive urgent remonstrances from Austria or France. Were such
remonstrances made, they would now be able to reply that, so far as they
can learn, I am remaining here quietly, and am only visited by a few
private friends."



CHAPTER VII.

THE EXPEDITION SAILS.


Frank spent a pleasant three weeks in Genoa. The three young men did all
in their power to make the time pass agreeably to him: they introduced
him to their families and friends; one or the other of them always
accompanied him to the theatre or opera, or, as much more frequently
happened, to gatherings at their own houses or at those of
acquaintances. Many of these were, like themselves, members of the
Genoese corps; and both as a relative of two men who had sacrificed
their lives in the cause of freedom, and especially for the aid that his
mother had sent to Garibaldi to enable him to carry out his plans, he
was everywhere most warmly received. He himself had not told, even his
three friends, the amount that his mother had contributed; but
Garibaldi's companions had mentioned it to others, and it soon became
known to all interested in the expedition.

Twice a week Frank drove out to Quarto. Matters had been steadily
progressing. A thousand rifles, but of a very inferior kind, had been
obtained from Farini, and a few hundred of a better class had been
bought. These latter were for the use of Garibaldi's own band, while the
others would be distributed among such Sicilians as might join him on
his landing. These would for the most part come armed, as large numbers
of guns and stores of ammunition had been accumulated in the island for
use in the futile insurrection a few months previously.

On May 5th all was ready. Frank paid his hotel bill, left his trunk to
be placed in the store-room until he should send or return for it, and
with a bundle, in which his sword was wrapped up in his blanket, cloak,
and a light waterproof sheet, and with a bag containing his red shirts
and other small belongings, together with his pistols and a good supply
of ammunition, drove to the Villa Spinola. On the previous day he had
sent on there a saddle and bridle, valise and holsters. The horses were
to be bought in Sicily. Outside all seemed as quiet as usual, but once
within the gates there was a great change. A score of gentlemen were
strolling in little groups in the garden, talking excitedly; these were
almost all new arrivals, and consequently unknown to Frank, who passed
on into the house where Garibaldi, the officers of his staff, and other
principal officers were engaged in discussing the final arrangements.
Most of the staff were known to him, as they had been there for some
days. He joined three or four of the younger men, who were sitting
smoking in a room on the ground floor while the council was being held.

"So at last the day has arrived, lieutenant," one of them said. "I think
everything augurs well for us. I am convinced that the government do not
mean to interfere with us, but are adopting the policy of shutting their
eyes. Of course, they will disavow us, but they will not dare to stop
us. They must know what is going on; there are too many people in the
secret for it not to have leaked out. I don't know whether you noticed
it, but I could see, when I was in the city this morning, that there was
a general excitement; people met and talked earnestly; every stranger,
and there are a good many there to-day, is watched eagerly. You see,
there is no ship of war in the port, which there certainly would have
been, had they intended to stop us."

"I shall be very glad when we are well at sea," Frank said, "though I
agree with you that it is not likely we shall be interfered with."

They chatted for upwards of an hour, and the council broke up. A list
was handed round, appointing the boats to which the various officers
were told off; and Frank found that he was to go in the third that left
the shore, together with Orsini, commander of the second company, and
Turr, the first _aide-de-camp_ of the general. The hours passed slowly.
No regular meals were served, but food was placed on a long table, and
each could go in and take refreshments as he pleased. The new-comers,
and indeed all the officers, with the exception of two or three of
Garibaldi's most trusted friends, were still in ignorance as to how they
were to obtain vessels to take them to Messina, and Frank, who was
behind the scenes, listened with some amusement to the wild conjectures
that they hazarded. He knew that the matter had been privately arranged
with the owners of the Rubattino line of steamers that the _Lombardo_
and _Piemonte_, both of which were in the harbour, should be seized by
the Garibaldians. They were warm adherents of the national cause, but
could not, of course, appear openly in the matter. They had already been
paid the sum agreed on for any damage or injury that might happen to the
vessels; while openly they would be able to protest loudly against the
seizure of their ships, and, like the government, profess entire
ignorance of what was going on. Only a few hands would be left on board.
These were to offer a feigned resistance, but were to make no noise.

Among Garibaldi's followers were several engineers, who were to take
command of and assist in the engine-rooms. In order to save time, the
_Lombardo_, which was much the larger of the two vessels, was to take
the _Piemonte_ in tow. There was still, however, some anxiety on the
part of the leaders lest, at the last moment, the government should
intervene, seize the arms, and take possession of the steamers. The
seizure of the great magazine of arms at Milan showed that Cavour was in
earnest in his endeavour to put a stop to an expedition of whose success
he had not the slightest hope; but whether he would risk the ferment
that would be excited, were Garibaldi and his followers to be seized at
the moment of starting, was doubtful.

This was a question that had been discussed time after time by Garibaldi
and his friends. That the minister was well informed as to all the
preparations, the purchase of fresh arms, and the arrival of so many men
at Genoa, was certain; but he could not know the exact hour at which the
expedition was to start, nor even be sure that it might not march down
the coast, and take ship at some other port than Genoa.

Ignorant as were the great bulk of those gathered at the Villa Spinola
of Garibaldi's plans, they knew that the movement was to begin that
night, and there was a general feeling of restlessness and excitement as
evening approached. From time to time messengers brought news from the
city. All was well; there was no unusual stir among the troops. The
police went about their usual duties unconcernedly, and apparently
without noticing the suppressed excitement of the population. At
nightfall the word was passed round that all were to lie down as they
could, as there would be no movement until one o'clock. The order was
obeyed, but there was little sleep. It was known that Bixio and some
other officers had already left the villa; and a whisper had run round
that they were going to seize some ships, and that the embarkation would
take place before morning.

At one o'clock all were in motion again. The servants of the villa
brought round bowls of coffee and milk, and as soon as these were drunk
and some bread hastily eaten, all made ready for a start. Frank had that
evening donned his uniform for the first time, and had been at work,
with two other members of the staff, serving out rifles and ammunition,
from an outhouse which had been converted into a magazine; the men
coming in a steady stream through a back entrance into the garden, and
passing again with their arms through another door. Another party were
at work carrying down boxes of ammunition and barrels of flour and other
provisions to the shore. At one o'clock the whole force were gathered
there. It was an impressive sight, and Frank for the first time fully
realised the singularity and danger of the expedition in which he was to
share.

Here were a thousand men, all of whom had fought again and again under
Garibaldi in the cause of Italian liberty. They were about to start,
against the wishes of the government of their country, to invade a
kingdom possessed of strong fortresses and an army of one hundred and
twenty-eight thousand regular troops. Success seemed altogether
impossible. But Frank had deeply imbibed the conviction of his mother
and Signora Forli that the people at large would flock to the standard.
He had been carried away with the enthusiasm of the general and those
about him, and even the darkness of the night, the mystery of the quiet
armed figures and of the boats hauled up in readiness for the
embarkation, did not damp the suppressed excitement that made every
nerve tingle, and rendered it difficult to remain outwardly impassive.

The men talked together in low tones. Here were many who had not met
since they had parted after the events that had laid another stone to
the edifice of Italian Unity, by the addition of Tuscany, Parma, and
Modena to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The greater part of them were
Lombards and Genoese, but there were many from Turin and other cities of
Piedmont. Some were exiles, who had received a summons similar to that
sent by Garibaldi to Captain Percival. The greetings of all these men,
who had been comrades in many dashing adventures, were warm and earnest,
though expressed in but few low words.

Hour after hour passed, and expectation grew into anxiety. All knew now
that Bixio had gone to seize two steamers, and that they should have
been in the roadstead at two o'clock; but at four there were still no
signs of them, and the fear that he had failed, that the government had
at the last moment intervened, grew stronger. It was not until dawn was
beginning to break that the two steamers were made out approaching, and
anxiety gave place to delight.

Steadily and in good order the men took their places, under the
direction of the officers assigned to each boat, and by the time the
steamers arrived as near as they could venture to the shore, the boats
were alongside with their crews. The embarkation was quickly effected.
It was found that there had been no dangerous hitch in the arrangements,
the delay having been caused by the difficulty Bixio had had in finding
the two steamers, which were anchored in the extensive roadstead of
Genoa among many other ships. The stores were hastily transferred from
the boats to the steamers, and these at once started for the spot where
two boats, laden with ammunition, percussion caps, and rifles, should
have been lying off the coast. Either through misunderstanding of orders
or the interference of the authorities, the two boats were not at the
rendezvous; and after cruising about for some hours in every direction,
Garibaldi decided that no further time could be lost, for at any moment
government vessels might start in pursuit. Accordingly the steamers'
heads were turned to the south, and the expedition fairly began.

Delighted as all on board the _Lombardo_ and _Piemonte_ were to have
escaped without government interference, the loss of the ammunition was
a very serious blow. They had brought with them from the Villa Spinola
scarcely sufficient for a couple of hours' fighting for those on board.
They had neither a reserve for themselves, nor any to hand over with the
guns to those they expected to join them on landing. It was, therefore,
absolutely necessary to touch at some port to obtain ammunition, and
Garibaldi chose Talamone, at the southern extremity of Tuscany, within a
few miles of the boundary of the Papal States. They arrived there early
the next morning, and Garibaldi at once went ashore and desired the
governor of the fort, in the name of the king, to hand over to him
supplies of ammunition and some guns.

Whatever doubts the governor may have had as to Garibaldi's authority,
he and the governor of the much larger neighbouring town of Orbetello
rendered him all the assistance in their power, and gave him a
considerable amount of ammunition and several guns. The vessels filled
up with coal, and the inhabitants welcomed the expedition with
enthusiasm. For this conduct the governor of Talamone afterwards
received a severe reprimand from the government, who were obliged to
clear themselves of any participation whatever in the expedition, and
had, a few hours after Garibaldi left Genoa, despatched a fast screw
frigate, the _Maria_, under the orders of Admiral Persano in pursuit.
His official orders were to capture and bring back the steamers and all
on board; but there can be little doubt that he received secret
instructions in a contrary sense. At any rate, the frigate, after a
prolonged cruise, returned to Genoa without having come within sight of
the expedition.

Before leaving Talamone, Garibaldi accepted an offer of one of his
followers to undertake, with sixty men, to effect a diversion by raising
the population in the north of the Papal States. The expedition seemed a
hopeless one with so small a force; and it would seem that Garibaldi
assented to it in order to rid himself from some whose impetuosity and
violent disposition might have led to trouble later. As was to be
expected, the little party failed entirely in their object, and were
defeated and captured very shortly after crossing the frontier.

All were glad on board the two ships, when they were again under steam,
and heading for their goal. As by this time it was certain that the news
of their departure from Genoa would have been telegraphed to Naples, and
that the ships of war of that country would be on the look-out to
intercept them, it was decided, at a council of war held by Garibaldi,
that instead of landing near Messina, they should make for the little
island of Maregigimo, lying off the north-west corner of Sicily, as by
this route they would be likely to escape the vigilance of the
Neapolitan ships-of-war, which would be watching for them along the
coast from the Straits of Messina to Palermo.

Arriving at Maregigimo late on the evening of the 10th, and learning
from the islanders that the coast of Sicily was everywhere patrolled,
they decided to take the bold step of sailing into the harbour of
Marsala. As a large mercantile port, this offered several advantages.
The true character of the vessels would not be suspected until they
arrived there, and hostile ships cruising near might take them for
ordinary merchantmen. There was also the advantage that, being only some
seventy miles from Cape Bona, in Africa, it afforded a better chance of
escape, should they meet with misfortune after landing, and be obliged
to re-embark. As they neared the coast they made out several sailing
vessels and steamers near it, and in the roadstead of Marsala two
ships-of-war were anchored. To their joy, they were able to make out
through a telescope, while still at a considerable distance, that these
vessels were flying the British ensign, and so headed straight for the
port, which they found full of merchantmen.

They had indeed been attended by good fortune, for three Neapolitan
ships-of-war had left the port that morning and were still in sight.
Being evidently suspicious, however, of the two steamers entering the
port together, they turned and made for Marsala again. Not a moment was
lost by the Garibaldians, and the disembarkation at once began. It
happened that the British vessels-of-war were in the line of fire, and
consequently the whole of the men were landed before the Neapolitans
could bring their guns to bear. Two-thirds of them were still on the
quay, getting the ammunition and stores into the carts, when the enemy
opened fire upon them with shell and grape; fortunately the discharges
were ill directed, and the Garibaldians marched off into the town
without loss. They were welcomed with lively acclamation by the working
classes of the town; but the authorities, while throwing no opposition
in their way, received them under protest, as indeed was natural enough,
for they could hardly suppose that this handful of men could succeed
against the power of Naples, and dreaded the anger of the government
should they bestow any warm hospitality upon these adventurers.

Two days were spent at Marsala in gaining information as to the state of
the country, making arrangements for the march inland, and for the
transport of ammunition and spare rifles, and in obtaining stores of
provisions sufficient for two or three days. It was fortunate indeed
that no Neapolitan troops were stationed in the town, and that they were
therefore able to pursue their work without interruption. During the
voyage the force had been divided into eight companies, and a ninth was
now formed from the Sicilians who joined them. The enthusiasm, that had
been necessarily shown rather in action than in shouts by the people of
Marsala, who, with Neapolitan ships in the bay, feared that any
demonstration might draw upon themselves a terrible retribution, now
showed itself openly. The force was accompanied by great numbers of men
and women,--even monks joined in the procession,--while from every
village parties of fighting men, many of whom had taken part in the late
insurrection, joined the party; and when on the day after leaving
Marsala they reached Salemi, the force had been augmented by twelve
hundred men.

Here Garibaldi, at the request not only of his own men, but of the
authorities of the little town and deputies from villages round, assumed
the title of dictator, in the name of Victor Emmanuel, King of
Italy--thus proclaiming to the world that he had broken altogether with
the republican faction.

Except when on duty, there was a thorough comradeship among the
Garibaldians. Fully half of the thousand men who had left Genoa with him
belonged to the upper and professional classes, and were of the same
rank of life as the officers; consequently, when the march was done or
the men dismissed from parade, all stiffness was thrown aside, and
officers and men mingled in the utmost harmony. All were in the highest
spirits. The first well-nigh insuperable difficulties had been overcome;
the hindrances thrown in their way by the Italian government had failed
to prevent their embarkation; the danger of falling into the hands of
the Neapolitan navy had been avoided, and the reception which they met
with showed that they had not overestimated the deep feeling of
hostility with which the Sicilians regarded their oppressors.

Frank, while on capital terms with all the officers, who were aware how
much the expedition owed to his family, and who saw the almost
affectionate manner in which Garibaldi treated him, kept principally
with his special friends, Maffio, Rubini, and Sarto.

During the voyage, as an occasional change from the one absorbing topic,
they asked him many questions about his school-days, and were intensely
interested in his description of the life, so wholly different from that
at Italian schools and academies.

"We don't have such good times as you have," Rubini said; "you seem to
have done just what you liked, and your masters do not appear to have
interfered with you at all."

"No, except when in school, they had nothing to do with us."

"And you went where you liked and did what you liked, just as if you
were grown-up men? It is astonishing," Maffio said; "why, with us we are
never out of sight of our masters!"

"We might not quite go where we liked: there were certain limits beyond
which we were supposed not to pass; but really, as long as we did not
get into any rows, we could pretty well go anywhere within walking
distance. You see, the big fellows to a certain extent keep order; but
really they only do this in the houses where we live--outside there is
no occasion to look after us. Though we are but boys, we are gentlemen,
and are expected to act as such. I can't see why boys want looking
after, as if they were criminals, who would break into a house or
maltreat an old woman, if they had the chance. It is because we are, as
it were, put on our honour and allowed to act and think for ourselves,
instead of being marched about and herded like a flock of sheep, that
our public school boys, as a rule, do so well afterwards. Our great
general, Wellington--at least I think it was he--said, that the battle
of Waterloo was fought in the playing fields of Eton. Of course, though
he said Eton, he meant of all our public schools. Certainly we are much
less likely to come to grief when we leave school and become our own
masters, than we should be, if we had been treated as children up to
that time."

"That must be so," Rubini said thoughtfully. "I wish we had such schools
in Italy; perhaps we shall have some day. We have many universities, but
no schools at all like yours. Of course, your masters are not priests?"

"Well, they are almost all clergymen, but that makes no difference. They
are generally good fellows, and take a lot of interest in our sports,
which is natural enough, for many of them have been great cricketers or
great oarsmen--that is, they have rowed in their university boat. A
master who has done that sort of thing is more looked up to by the boys,
and is thought more of, than fellows who have never done anything in
particular. The sort of fellows who have always been working and
reading, and have come out high at the universities, are of course very
good teachers, but they don't understand boys half as well as the others
do."

"But why should you respect a master who has been, as you say, good at
sports, more than one who has studied hard?"

"Well, I don't know exactly. Of course it is very creditable to a man to
have taken a high degree; but somehow or other one does have a lot of
respect for a fellow who you know could thrash any blackguard who had a
row with him in a couple of minutes--just the same as one feels a
respect for an officer who has done all sorts of brave actions. I heard,
some time ago, that one of our masters had been appointed to a church in
some beastly neighbourhood in Birmingham or one of those manufacturing
towns, and the people were such a rough lot that he could do nothing
with them at first. But one day, when he was going along the street, he
saw a notorious bully thrashing a woman, and he interfered. The fellow
threatened him; and he quietly turned in, and gave him the most
tremendous thrashing he had ever had, in about three minutes. After that
he got to be greatly liked, and did no end of good in his parish. I
suppose there was just the same feeling among those fellows as there is
with us at school."

"It seems impossible," Rubini said, in a tone almost of awe, "that a
minister should fight with his hands against a ruffian of that kind."

"Well, I don't know," Frank replied: "if you saw a big ruffian thrashing
a woman or insulting a lady, or if even he insulted yourself, what would
you do? I am supposing, of course, that you were not in uniform, and did
not wear a sword."

"I do not know what I should do," Rubini said gravely. "I hope I should
fly at him."

"Yes; but if he were bigger and stronger, and you could not box, what
would be the good of that? He would knock you down, and perhaps kick you
almost to death, and then finish thrashing the woman."

The three friends looked gravely at each other.

"Yes; but you say that this man was a priest, a clergyman?" Maffio
urged.

"Yes; but you must remember that he was also a man, and there is such a
thing as righteous anger. Why should a man look on and see a woman
ill-treated without lifting his hand to save her, simply because he is a
clergyman? No, no, Maffio. You may say what you like, but it is a good
thing for a man to have exercised all his muscles as a boy, and to be
good at sports, and have learned to use his fists. It is good for him,
whether he is going to be a soldier, or a colonist in a wild country, or
a traveller, or a clergyman. I am saying nothing against learning;
learning is a very good thing, but certainly among English boys we
admire strength and skill more than learning, and I am quite sure that
as a nation we have benefited more by the one than the other. If there
was not one among us who had ever opened a Latin or Greek book, we
should still have extended our empire as we have done, colonised
continents, conquered India, and held our own, and more, against every
other nation by land and sea, and become a tremendous manufacturing and
commercial country."

The others laughed. "Well crowed, Percival! No doubt there is a great
deal in what you say, still I suppose that even you will hardly claim
that you are braver than other people."

"Not braver," Frank said; "but bravery is no good without backbone. If
two men equally brave meet, it is the one with most 'last'--that is what
we call stamina--most endurance, most strength, and most skill, who must
in the long-run win."

"But the fault of you English is--I don't mean it offensively--that you
believe too much in yourselves."

"At any rate," Frank replied, "we don't boast about ourselves, as some
people do, and it is because we believe in ourselves that we are
successful. For example, you all here believe that, small as is your
number, you are going to defeat the Neapolitans, and I think that you
will do it, because I also believe in you. It is that feeling among our
soldiers and sailors--their conviction that, as a matter of course, they
will in the long-run win--that has carried them through battles and wars
against the biggest odds. That was the way that your Roman ancestors
carried their arms over Europe. They were no braver than the men they
fought, but they believed thoroughly in themselves, and never admitted
to themselves the possibility of defeat. What a mad expedition ours
would be if we had not the same feeling!"

"I won't argue any more against you, Percival," Rubini laughed; "and if
I ever marry and have sons, I will send them over to be educated at one
of your great schools--that is, if we have not, as I hope we may have by
that time, schools of the same kind here. Can you fence? Do you learn
that at your schools?"

"Not as a part of the school course. A fencing master does come down
from London once a week, and some of the fellows take lessons from him.
I did among others; but once a week is of very little use, and whenever
I was in London during the holidays, I went pretty nearly every day to
Angelo's, which is considered the best school for fencing we have. Of
course my father, being a soldier, liked me to learn the use of the
sword and rapier, though I might never have occasion to use them, for,
as I was his only son, he did not want me to go into the army. It is
just as well now that I did go in for it."

"I don't expect it will be of much use," Rubini said. "If the
Neapolitans do not show themselves to be braver soldiers than we take
them for, there will be no hand-to-hand fighting. If, on the other hand,
they do stand their ground well, I do not expect we shall ever get to
close quarters, for they ought to annihilate us before we could do so.
Well, I long for the first trial."

"So do I. I should think that a good deal would depend upon that. If we
beat them as easily as I have heard my father say they were beaten near
Rome in 1848, it is hardly likely that they will make much stand
afterwards. It is not only the effect it will have on the Neapolitan
troops, but on the people. We cannot expect that the Sicilians will join
us in considerable number until we have won a battle, and we want them
to make a good show. Even the most cowardly troops can hardly help
fighting when they are twenty to one; but if we are able to make a fair
show of force, the enemy may lose heart, even if the greater part of our
men are only poorly armed peasants."

To most of those who started from Genoa, fully prepared to sacrifice
their lives in the cause they regarded as sacred, the success that had
attended their passage, and enabled them to disembark without the loss
of a man, seemed a presage of further good fortune, and they now marched
forward with the buoyant confidence, that in itself goes a long way to
ensure success; the thought that there were fifty thousand Neapolitan
troops in the island, and that General Lanza had at Palermo twenty-eight
thousand, in no way overawed them, and the news that a strong body of
the enemy had advanced through Calatafimi to meet them was regarded with
satisfaction.

Calatafimi stood in the heart of the mountains, where the roads from
Palermo, Marsala and Trapani met; and on such ground the disproportion
of numbers would be of less importance than it would be in the plain,
for the cavalry of the enemy would not be able to act with effect. The
ground, too, as they learned from peasants, was covered with ruins of
buildings erected by Saracens, Spaniards, and Normans, and was therefore
admirably suited for irregular warfare. Garibaldi, with a few of his
staff, went forward to reconnoitre the position. He decided that his own
followers should make a direct attack, while the new levies, working
among the hills, should open fire on the Neapolitan flanks and charge
down upon them as opportunity offered.

At Marsala the staff had all bought horses, choosing hardy animals
accustomed to work among the mountains. It was not the general's
intention to hurl his little force directly on the Neapolitan centre,
situated in the valley, but, while making a feint there, to attack one
flank or the other, the rapidity with which his men manoeuvred giving
them a great advantage. While, therefore, the six little guns he had
obtained at Talamonte were to open fire on the enemy's centre, covered
by a couple of hundred men, the rest were to act as a mobile force under
his own direction; their movements would be screened by the ruins and
broken ground, and he would be able to pass in comparative shelter from
one flank to the other, and so surprise the enemy by falling upon them
where least expected.

As they approached the scene of action, the Garibaldians left the road,
scattering themselves in skirmishing order on either side, and working
their way along through the ruins, which so covered their advance, that
it was only occasionally that a glimpse of a red shirt or the gleam of
the sun on a musket-barrel showed the enemy that their assailants were
approaching. On ground like this horses were of little use, and
Garibaldi ordered all the junior members of his staff to dismount,
fasten their horses in places of shelter, and advance on foot with the
troops, as he should not require their services during the fight.



CHAPTER VIII.

PALERMO.


Frank's heart beat fast with the excitement of the moment. Save himself,
there was not one of Garibaldi's own men but was accustomed to the sound
of artillery, and he could scarcely restrain himself from starting when
on a sudden the Neapolitan batteries opened fire, and their missiles
struck rocks and walls round him, or burst overhead.

"It is not so bad as it looks," Rubini, whom he joined as he ran
forward, said with a laugh.

"It is fortunate that it is not," Frank replied; "it certainly sounds
bad enough, but, as I don't think they can see us at all, it can only be
a random fire."

He soon shook off the feeling of uneasiness which he could not at first
repress, and presently quitted his friend and pushed forward on his own
account, keeping close to the road and abreast of Garibaldi, so that he
could run up and receive any orders that might be given. It was not long
before the enemy opened a musketry fire. The guns had been following
Garibaldi, and he now superintended them as they were run into position,
three on either side of the road. They were not placed at regular
distances, but each was posted where the men would, while loading, be
sheltered behind walls, from which the guns could be run out, wheeled
round and fired, and then withdrawn. Frank was not long in joining the
Garibaldian line, which was lying in shelter at the foot of the
declivity.

In front of them was a level space of ground with a few little
farmhouses dotted here and there. On the opposite side of this the hills
rose much more steeply. Near the summit were the main body of the
Neapolitans, who were altogether about two thousand strong; an advanced
guard of some five or six hundred had descended into the valley, and
were moving across it; they had guns with them, which were now at work,
as were others with the main body.

When Garibaldi joined his troops he at once ordered the Genoese company
to attack the advancing enemy and if possible to capture the guns they
had with them. Followed by a party of the Sicilians, and by Frank and
several other officers who had no special duties to perform, they dashed
forward. At the same moment a number of the peasants, who had made their
way round on either flank unobserved, opened fire upon the Neapolitans,
who at the order of the officer in command began to fall back. The
Garibaldians hurled themselves upon them, and hastened the movement. The
guard had no idea of making a frontal attack upon an enemy so strongly
posted, and had, as Frank had heard him say before he dismounted,
intended to compel them to fall back by flank attacks. He was not
surprised, therefore, to hear the trumpet sounding the recall.

The summons was, however, unheard, or at any rate unheeded, by the
Genoese, who continued to press hotly upon the Neapolitans; the latter
had now been joined by their supporting line, and Garibaldi saw that the
small party, who were now almost surrounded, must be destroyed, unless
he advanced to their assistance. The trumpet accordingly sounded the
charge, and the men sprang to their feet and dashed forward at full
speed. The fighting had been hand to hand, and the Garibaldians had only
gained the advantage so far from the fact that they were accustomed to
fight each for himself, and were individually more powerful men; it was
indeed their habit, in all their fights, to rely on the bayonet, and
they still pressed forward. Frank was now as cool and collected as he
would have been in a football match, and had several times to
congratulate himself on the training he had received in the use of his
sword, having two combats with Neapolitan officers, and each time coming
off victorious.

Presently, in front of him, he saw one of the Neapolitan standards. In
the confusion it had been left almost unguarded; and calling to three or
four of the men around him, he dashed at it. There was a short, sharp
fight: the men standing between him and the flag fell before the
bayonets of the Garibaldians. Frank engaged in a tough encounter with
the officer who held the flag, and finally cutting him down, seized the
staff and carried it back into the Garibaldian ranks.

"Well done, well done, Percival!" He turned and saw Garibaldi himself,
who, at the head of his main body, had that instant arrived.

The Neapolitans, although also reinforced, fell back up the hill. The
face of the ascent was composed of a series of natural terraces, and as
they retreated up these, a storm of fire from the reserve at the top of
the hill and the cannon there, was poured upon the Garibaldians. The
general halted his men for a minute or two at the foot of the lower
terrace, where they were sheltered by the slope from the missiles of the
enemy; they were re-formed, and then re-commenced the ascent. It was
hot work; the ground was very steep, and swept by the enemy's fire. As
each terrace was gained, the men rushed across the level ground and
threw themselves down panting at the foot of the next slope, where they
were to some extent sheltered. Two or three minutes, and they made their
next rush. But little return to the enemy's fire was attempted, for the
wretched muskets with which they had been supplied at Genoa were
practically useless, and only the Genoese, who had brought their own
carbines, and were excellent shots, did much execution.

Several times the Neapolitans attempted to make a stand, but were as
often driven back. On this occasion, however, they fought well and
steadily; the terror of Garibaldi's name had ceased to have its effect
during the twelve years that had elapsed since Ferdinand's army had fled
before him, but the desire to wipe out that disgrace no doubt inspired
them, and Garibaldi afterwards gave them full credit for the obstinacy
with which they had contested his advance. At last the uppermost terrace
was reached; there was one more halt for breath, and then the
Garibaldians went forward with a cheer. The resistance was comparatively
slight: the Neapolitan troops at first engaged had already exhausted
their ammunition, and had become disheartened at their failure to arrest
the impetuous assault of their enemies; and when the Garibaldians
reached the summit of the hill, they found that the enemy were in full
retreat.

Exhausted by their efforts, and having suffered heavy loss, they made a
short halt; the horses of the general and his staff were brought up by
the small party who had been left with the guns, and who had advanced
across the plain at some little distance in the rear of the fighting
line. As soon as they arrived the advance continued until the little
army halted at Calatafimi, some miles from the scene of battle. The
Garibaldians had captured only one cannon, a few rifles, and a score or
two of prisoners, for the most part wounded; but by the defeat of the
enemy they had gained an enormous advantage, for, as the news spread
throughout the country, its dimensions growing as it flew, it created
great enthusiasm, and from every town and village men poured down to
join the army of liberation.

The Neapolitan governor had indeed made a fatal mistake in not placing a
much larger force in the field for the first engagement. The troops
fought bravely, and though beaten, were by no means disgraced; and had
they been supported by powerful artillery, and by a couple of regiments
of cavalry, which could have charged the Garibaldians in the plain, the
battle would have had a very different result.

At Calatafimi the Garibaldians halted. The Neapolitan wounded had been
left here; their own had, when the fighting ceased, been sent back to
Vita. The inhabitants vied with each other in hospitality to them, and
although saddened by the loss of many of their bravest comrades, all
regarded the victory they had won as an augury of future success.
Already the country had risen; the Neapolitans in their retreat had been
harassed, and numbers of them killed by the peasants; every hour swelled
the force, and next morning they set out in the highest spirits, and
with a conviction that success would attend them. And yet there were
grave difficulties to be met, for ten thousand Neapolitans were massed
in two formidable positions on the road by which it was believed that
the Garibaldians must advance, and twelve thousand remained in garrison
at Palermo. That evening they reached Alcamo, a large town, where they
were received with enthusiasm. The excitement was even more lively when
the next day they entered Partinico, where the inhabitants, who had been
brutally treated by the Neapolitans in their advance, had risen when
they passed through as fugitives, and massacred numbers of them, and
pursued them a considerable distance along the road to Palermo. At this
point the Garibaldians left the road, and ascended to the plateau of
Renne, and thence looked down on the rich plain in which Palermo stands,
and on the city itself. Here two days of tremendous rain prevented
farther movement.

"You are now seeing the rough side of campaigning, Percival," Rubini
said, with a laugh, as the four friends sat together in a little arbour
they had erected, and over the top of which were thrown two of their
blankets.

"It is not very pleasant, certainly," Frank agreed; "but it might be a
good deal worse; it is wet, but it is not cold, and we are not fasting;
we each of us laid in a good stock of provisions when at Partinico, but
I certainly never anticipated that we should have to rely upon telegraph
poles for a supply of fuel: it is lucky that the wires run across here,
for we should certainly have had to eat our meat raw, or go without, if
it hadn't been for them."

None of the men appeared to mind the discomfort; the supply of wood was
too precious to be used except for cooking purposes, and indeed it would
be of no use for the men to attempt to dry their clothes until the
downpour ceased. Two days later, the enemy having sent out a strong
reconnoitring party, Garibaldi determined to cross the mountains and
come down upon the main southern road from Palermo. Officers had been
sent to the various towns on that road to summon all true men to join.
The force started in the evening and performed a tremendous march; the
guns were lashed to poles and carried on the men's shoulders, the boxes
of ammunition were conveyed in the same manner. The rain continued
incessantly, and there was a thick fog which added greatly to the
difficulties. It was not until daylight that the head of the column
began to straggle into Parco, on the southern road.

They at once seized some commanding positions round the place, and began
to throw up entrenchments, but as Parco was commanded by hills, it could
not be defended against a determined attack. Two days later two strong
columns marched out from Palermo. The first advanced by the road that
crossed the valley, and threatened the Garibaldian rear by the passage
through the hills known as the pass of Piana dei Greci. Garibaldi at
once sent off his artillery and baggage by the road, and with a company
of his cacciatori and a body of the new levies, who were known as
picciotti, hurried to the pass, which they reached before the
Neapolitans arrived there. On their opening fire, the Neapolitans,
thinking that they had the whole Garibaldian force in front of them in
an extremely strong position, retired at once. Finding that the freedom
of his movements would be embarrassed by his cannon, which under the
most advantageous circumstances could not contend against those of the
enemy, he sent them away along the southern road, while he withdrew his
force from Parco, and for a short time followed the guns; he then turned
off into the mountains and directed his march to Misilmeri, a few miles
from Palermo, having completely thrown the enemy off his track. The
pursuing column, believing that the whole Garibaldian force was
retreating with its guns, pushed on rapidly, while Garibaldi had
already turned the strong position of Monreale, and was preparing to
attack the town.

His force had here been increased by the volunteers who had arrived from
the southern villages. The Neapolitan general, Lanza, soon obtained
information as to the invader's position, and prepared with absolute
confidence to meet his attack, which must, he believed, be made by the
coast road. On the evening of the 26th Garibaldi moved across the
country by a little-frequented track, and the next morning appeared on
the road entering the town at the Termini gate. The twelve thousand
Neapolitan troops who still remained in the town had no suspicion that
their foe was near. The day before, the commander of the column that had
passed through Parco had sent in the news that he was in hot pursuit of
the Garibaldians, who were flying in all directions, and the governor
had given a banquet in honour of the rout of the brigands. The military
bands had played on the promenade, and the official portion of the
population had been wild with joy.

On the other hand, messages had passed constantly between Garibaldi's
agents and the leaders of the patriotic party in the town, who had
promised that the population would rise as soon as he entered the city.
It was upon this promise that the general based his hopes of success;
for that three thousand badly armed men could hope to overcome twelve
thousand troops, well supported by artillery, and defending the town
street by street, seemed impossible even to so hopeful a spirit. No time
was lost. The Garibaldians rushed forward, drove in at once an outpost
stationed beyond the barriers at the gate, and carried the barricades,
before the troops could muster in sufficient force to offer any serious
resistance.

But beyond this the opposition became obstinate and fierce; the
cacciatori pressed forward by the principal street, the bands of
picciotti distracted the attention of the enemy by advancing by parallel
streets, and, although the cannon of the Castello Mare thundered,
pouring shot and shell broadcast into the quarter through which the
Garibaldians were advancing, and though from the large convent of San
Antonio, held by a battalion of bersaglieri, a terrible fire was
maintained upon the flank of the cacciatori at a distance of a couple of
hundred yards, they nevertheless pressed on, clearing the street of the
troops who opposed their advance, until they reached the square in the
centre of the city.

All this time the guns of the Neapolitan ships-of-war had been pouring a
fierce fire into the town, with the apparent object of deterring the
populace from rising, for it was upon private houses that the damage was
committed, and was, so far as the Garibaldians were concerned,
innoxious. For a short time the object was attained: so terrible was the
fire that swept the principal streets leading down to the water, so
alarming the din of exploding shells and falling walls, that for a short
time the populace dared not venture from their houses; but fury
succeeded to alarm, and it was not long before the inhabitants flocked
out into the streets, and under the direction of Colonel Acerbi, one of
the most distinguished officers of the thousand, began to erect
barricades. These sprang up with marvellous rapidity; carts were wheeled
out from the courtyards and overturned, men laboured with pickaxes and
crowbars tearing up the pavements, women threw out mattresses from the
windows; all worked with enthusiasm.

Garibaldi established himself at the Pretorio Palace, the central point
of the city; and here the members of the revolutionary committee joined
him. His staff were sent off in all directions to order all the bands
scattered throughout the city to assemble there. The people of Palermo
were wholly without firearms, as all weapons of the kind had been
confiscated by the authorities; but armed with hatchets, axes, knives
fastened to the end of sticks and poles to act as pikes, long spits and
other improvised weapons, they prepared to defend the barricades. A few,
indeed, brought out muskets which had been hidden away when all the
houses had been searched for weapons, but the greatest difficulty was
experienced from the want of powder.

Garibaldi now stationed his forces so as to intercept all communications
between the various points where the Neapolitan troops were
concentrated. Lanza himself, who was at once commander-in-chief and
viceroy, was with several regiments at the royal palace.

The Castello Mare was held by a strong force, and there were some
regiments at the palace of finance. These points they had only reached
after hard fighting; but once there they were isolated from each other,
and to join hands they would have to pass along streets blocked by
barricades, and defended by a desperate population, and exposed to the
fire of the Garibaldians from every window and roof.

That night hundreds of men and women were set to work to grind charcoal,
sulphur, and saltpetre, to mix them together to form a rough gunpowder,
and then to make it up into cartridges. Such a compound would have been
useless for ordinary purposes, but would have sufficient strength for
street fighting, where it was but necessary to send a bullet some twenty
or thirty yards with sufficient force to kill.

The fire of the fleet, Castello Mare, and the palace was maintained all
day. The town was on fire in many places. A whole district a thousand
yards in length and a hundred yards wide had been laid in ashes,
convents and churches had been crushed by shells, and a large number of
the inhabitants had been killed by grape and cannister; but after four
hours' fighting there was a lull in the musketry fire: the Neapolitans
were gathered in their three strong places, and were virtually besieged
there. In spite of the continued cannonade, the populace thronged the
streets which were not in the direct line of fire, the bells of the
churches pealed out triumphantly; bright curtains, cloths and flags were
hung out from the balconies, friends embraced each other with tears of
joy; while numbers continued to labour at the barricades, the monks and
clergy joining in the work, all classes being wild with joy at their
deliverance from the long and crushing tyranny to which they had been
subjected.

Frank had entered the city with the chosen band, who had led the attack
on the Termini gate, and advanced with them into the heart of the city.
In the wild excitement of the fight he had lost all sense of danger; he
saw others fall around him, his cheek had been deeply gashed by a
bullet, but he had scarce felt the pain, and was almost surprised when a
man close to him offered to bind up his wound with his sash. One of the
first orders that Garibaldi gave, after establishing himself at the
Pretorio Palace was to send for him.

"Lieutenant Percival," he said, "I commit to you the honour of leading a
party to the prisons, and liberating all the political prisoners you
find there. You have won that distinction by having, in the first place,
captured the flag of the tyrants at Calatafimi, and also by the gallant
manner in which you have fought in the first rank to-day. I marked your
conduct, and it was worthy of your brave father. I can give it no higher
praise."

Taking twenty men with him, Frank went to the prisons. On entering each,
he demanded from the officials a list of all prisoners confined, and the
offences with which they were charged, so that no criminals should be
released with the political prisoners. He hardly needed the list,
however, for the criminals were but few in number, the Neapolitan
authorities not having troubled themselves with such trifles as
robberies and assassinations, but the prisons were crowded with men of
the best blood in the city and the surrounding country, who had been
arrested upon the suspicion of holding liberal opinions, and who were
treated with very much greater severity than were the worst malefactors.
The thunder of the guns had already informed them that a terrible
conflict was going on, but it was not until Frank and his men arrived
that the prisoners knew who were the parties engaged, and their joy and
gratitude was unbounded when they learned that they were free, now and
for ever, from the power of their persecutors.

As they marched to the prison, several of the men had shouted to the
crowd, "We are going to free the captives." The news had spread like
wildfire, and as the prisoners issued from the jail they were met by
their friends and relatives, and the most affecting scenes took place.
Although Frank considered it unlikely in the extreme that persons
arrested on the mainland would be carried across to the island, he
insisted on the warders accompanying him over the whole prison and
unlocking every door, in spite of their protestations that the cells
were empty. Having satisfied himself on this head, he went to the other
prisons, where similar scenes took place.

The fire of the Neapolitan ships was kept up until nightfall, and then
ceased, rather from the exhaustion of the gunners, who had been twelve
hours at work, than from any difficulty in sighting their guns; for in
Palermo it was almost as light as day, the whole city being lit up by
the tremendous conflagration, and in addition every house save those
facing the port was illuminated, candles burning at every window.
Throughout the night work was carried on, fresh barricades were erected,
and others greatly strengthened. It was all-important that the three
bodies of troops, isolated from each other, should not effect a
junction. Boats were sent off to the merchant ships in the harbour in
order to purchase powder, but none could be obtained; however, by
morning so much had been manufactured that with what still remained in
the Garibaldian pouches there was enough for the day's fighting.

At Garibaldi's headquarters there was no sleep that night: the
revolutionary committee received orders from the general where the armed
citizens were to take their posts at the barricades, and how their men
were to be divided into sections. They were to impress upon all that,
though the fighting must be desperate, it could not last long. At the
royal palace there were no provisions of any kind for the troops
stationed there, nor were there any in the palace of finance; so that if
the struggle could be maintained for another day or two at the most, the
troops would be driven to surrender by starvation.

Frank had time, after he returned from the prisons, to have his wound
dressed, and he then received the congratulations of his three friends,
all of whom were more or less severely wounded.

"You have come out of it rather the best of us, Percival," Maffio said:
"I have a bullet through the arm, Rubini has lost two of the fingers of
his left hand, and Sarto will limp for some time, for he has been shot
through the calf of his leg; so we shall have no scars that we can show,
while you will have one that will be as good as a medal of honour."

"I am sure I hope not," Frank said; "I can assure you that, honourable
as it may be, it would be a nuisance indeed, for I should be constantly
asked where I got it, and when I answered, should be bothered into
telling the whole story over and over again. However, I think we can all
congratulate each other on having come out of it comparatively unhurt; I
certainly never expected to do so,--the row was almost bewildering."

"It was almost as bad as one of your football tussles," Sarto laughed.

"You may laugh, but it was very much the same feeling," Frank replied.
"I have felt nearly as much excited in a football scrimmage as I was
to-day; I can tell you that when two sides are evenly matched, and each
fellow is straining every nerve, the thrill of satisfaction when one
finds that one's own side is gaining ground is about as keen as anything
one is ever likely to feel."

The next day the fighting recommenced, the Neapolitan troops making
desperate efforts to concentrate. The fighting in the streets was for a
time furious. At no point did the enemy make any material progress,
although they gained possession of some houses round the palace and
finance offices. The barricades were desperately defended by the armed
citizens and the picciotti, and from time to time, when the Neapolitans
seemed to be gaining ground, the men of Garibaldi's thousand flung
themselves upon them with the bayonet. That morning, under the
superintendence of skilled engineers, powder mills were established, and
the supply of gunpowder was improved both in quantity and quality, men
and women filling the cartridges as fast as the powder was turned out.
Fighting and work continued throughout the night, and all next day.



CHAPTER IX.

HARD FIGHTING.


On the following morning Frank was riding with a message from the
general, when he heard a sudden outburst of firing at some distance
ahead of him. He checked his horse to listen.

"That must be near the Porto Termini," he said, "and yet there are none
of the enemy anywhere near there. It must be either some fresh body of
troops that have arrived from the south of the island, or Bosco's column
returned from their fool's errand in search of us. If so, we are in a
desperate mess. Six thousand Neapolitan troops, under one of their best
generals, would turn the scale against us; they must be stopped, if
possible, till the general can collect our scattered troops."

Frank's second supposition was the correct one. The two columns that
had, as they believed, been in pursuit of Garibaldi, had returned to the
town. So unanimous were the country people in their hatred of the
Neapolitans, that it was only on the previous day that they had learned
that the enemy, who they believed were fugitives, had entered Palermo
with their whole force. Furious at having been so tricked, they made a
tremendous march, and arriving at the Termini gate early in the morning,
made a determined attack on the guard there, who defended themselves
bravely, but were driven back, contesting every step.

Frank hesitated for a moment, and then shouted to a soldier near him:
"Run with all speed to the palace; demand to see the general at once.
Say that you have come from me, and that I sent you to say that the
Porto Termini is attacked, I know not with what force, and that I am
going on to try to arrest their progress until he arrives with help. As
you run, tell every man you meet to hasten to oppose the enemy."

The man started to run, and Frank galloped on, shouting to every armed
man he met to follow him. The roar of battle increased as he rode. When
he reached the long street leading to the gate, he saw that the enemy
had already forced their way in, and that a barricade was being
desperately defended by the little force that had fallen back before
them. His horse would be useless now, and he called to a boy who was
looking round the corner of a house.

"Look here, my lad: take this horse and lead him to the general's
headquarters. Here is a five-franc piece. Don't get on his back, but
lead him. Can I trust you?"

"I will do it, signor; you can depend upon me."

Frank ran forward. The tremendous roll of fire beyond the barricade
showed how strong was the force there, and he felt sure that the
defenders must speedily be overpowered. Numbers of men were running
along the street; he shouted to them: "The barricade cannot hold out;
enter the houses and man every window; we must keep them back to the
last. Garibaldi will be here before long."

He himself kept on until within some two hundred yards of the barricade;
then he stopped at the door of a house at the corner of a lane at right
angles to the street, and ran into it. He waited until a score of men
came up.

"Come in here," he said: "we will defend this house till the last."

The men closed the door behind them, and running into the lower rooms,
fetched out furniture and piled it against it. They were assisted by
five or six women, who, with some children, were the sole occupants of
the house.

"Bring all the mattresses and bedding that you have," Frank said to
them, "to the windows of the first floor. We will place them on the
balconies."

In three or four minutes every balcony was lined with mattresses, and
Frank sheltered his men behind them. Looking out, he saw that the
fighting had just ceased, and that a dense mass of the enemy were
pouring over the barricade; while at the same moment a crackling fire
broke out from the houses near, into which its defenders had run, when
they saw that the barricade could be no longer defended. Along both
sides of the street, preparations similar to those he had ordered had
been hastily made; and the men who were still coming up were all turning
into the houses. Directly the Neapolitans crossed the barricade, they
opened fire down the street, which was speedily deserted; but Frank had
no doubt that, as the Garibaldian supports came up, they would make
their way in at the back and strengthen the defenders. A hundred yards
higher up the street was another barricade; behind this the townspeople
were already gathering. Frank ordered his men to keep back inside the
rooms until the enemy came along.

"Your powder is no good till they are close," he said, "but it is as
good as the best at close quarters."

[Illustration: "THE HINGES OF THE DOOR WERE BROKEN OFF"]

From time to time he looked out. The roar of musketry was continuous;
from every window came puffs of smoke, while the enemy replied by a
storm of musketry fire at the defenders. While the column was still
moving forward, its officers were telling off parties of men to burst
open the doors and bayonet all found in the houses. He could mark the
progress made, as women threw themselves out of the windows, preferring
death that way to being murdered by the infuriated soldiers. It was not
long before the head of the column approached the house; then Frank gave
the word, and from every window a discharge was poured into the crowded
mass. Stepping back from the balconies to load, the men ran out and
fired again as soon as they were ready; while through the upper part of
the open windows a shower of bullets flew into the room, bringing down
portions of the ceiling, smashing looking-glasses, and striking thickly
against the back walls.

Several of the party had fallen in the first two or three minutes, and
Frank, taking one of their muskets and ammunition, was working with the
rest, when a woman whom he had posted below ran up to say that they were
attacking the door, and that it was already yielding. Two or three shots
fired through the keyhole had indeed broken the lock, and it was only
the furniture piled against it that kept it in its place. Already, by
his instructions, the women had brought out on to the landing sofas,
chests of drawers, and other articles, to form a barricade there. Frank
ran down the stone stairs with six of the men, directing the others to
form the barricade on the first floor, and to be prepared to help them
over as they returned. It was two or three minutes before the hinges of
the door were broken off, by shots from the assailants, and as it fell
it was dragged out, and a number of men rushed in and began to pull down
the furniture behind.

Now Frank and his party opened fire, aiming coolly and steadily. But
the soldiers rushed in in such numbers that he soon gave the word, and
his party ran upstairs, and, covered by the fire of their comrades,
climbed up over the barricade on to the landing. Here they defended
themselves desperately. The enemy thronged the staircase, those who were
in front using their bayonets, while the men in the passage below fired
over their heads at the defenders. Momentarily the little band decreased
in number, until but two remained on their feet by the side of Frank.
The women, knowing that no mercy would be shown, picked up the muskets
of the fallen, and fired them into the faces of the men trying to pull
down or scale the barricades. But the end was close at hand, when there
came a tremendous crash, a blinding smoke and dust. The house shook to
its foundations, and for a moment a dead silence took the place of the
din that had before prevailed.

Frank and his two companions had been thrown down by the shock. Half
stunned, and ignorant of what had happened, he struggled to his feet.
His left hand hung helpless by his side. He took his pistol, which he
had reserved for the last extremity, from his belt, and looked over the
barricade. At first he could see nothing, so dense was the smoke and
dust. As it cleared away a little, he gave an exclamation of surprise
and thankfulness: the stairs were gone.

"Thank God!" he said, turning round to the women behind him, who were
standing paralysed by the explosion and shock. "We are safe: the stairs
have gone."

Still he could scarce understand what had happened, until he saw a
yawning hole in the wall near the stairs, and then understood what had
taken place. The ships-of-war were again at work bombarding the town.
One of their shells had passed through the house and exploded under the
stairs, carrying them away, with all upon them. Below was a chaos of
blocks of stone, mingled with the bodies of their late assailants; but
while he looked, a fierce jet of flame burst up.

"What was there under the stairs?" he asked the women.

"The store of firewood, signor, was there."

"The shell which blew up the stairs has set it alight," he said. "We are
safe from the enemy; but we are not safe from the fire. I suppose there
is a way out on to the roof?"

"Yes, signor."

"Then do one of you see that all the children upstairs are taken out
there; let the rest examine all the bodies of the men who have fallen;
if any are alive they must be carried up."

He looked down at the two men who had stood by him till the last: one
had been almost decapitated by a fragment of stone, the other was still
breathing; only three of the others were found to be alive, for almost
all, either at the windows or the barricade, had been shot through the
head or upper part of the body.

Frank assisted the women, as well as he was able, to carry the four men
still alive up to the roof. The houses were divided by party walls some
seven or eight feet high. Frank told the women to fetch a chair, a chest
of drawers, and a large blanket, from below. The chest of drawers was
placed against the wall separating the terrace from that of the next
house down the lane, and the chair by the side of it. With the aid of
this, Frank directed one of the women to mount on to the chest of
drawers, and then took his place beside her.

"You had better get up first," he said, "and then help me a little, for
with this disabled arm I should not be able to manage it without hurting
myself badly." With her aid, however, he had no difficulty in getting
up. There were several women on the next roof, but they had not heard
him, so intent were they in watching the fray; and it was not until he
had shouted several times that they caught the sound of his voice above
the din of fighting.

"I am going to hand some children and four wounded men down to you," he
said, as they ran up.

The children were first passed down; the women placed the wounded men
one by one on a blanket, and standing on two chairs raised it until
Frank and the woman beside him could get hold. Then they lowered it down
on the other side until the women there could reach it. Only three had
to be lifted over, for when it came to the turn of the fourth he was
found to be dead.

"You will all have to move on," Frank said, as he dropped on to the
terrace; "the next house is on fire: whether it will spread or not I
cannot say, but at any rate you had better bring up your valuables, and
move along two or three houses farther. You cannot go out into the
street; you would only be shot down as soon as you issued out. I think
that if you go two houses farther you will be safe; the fire will take
some time to reach there, and the enemy's column may have passed across
the end of the street before you are driven out."

The women heard what he said with composure; the terrors of the past
three days had excited the nerves of the whole population to such a
point of tension, that the news of this fresh danger was received almost
with apathy. They went down quietly to bring up their children and
valuables, and with them one woman brought a pair of steps, which
greatly facilitated the passage of the remaining walls. One of the
wounded men had by this time so far recovered himself that he was able,
with assistance, to cross without being lifted over in a blanket. A
fresh contingent of fugitives here joined them, and another wall was
crossed.

"I think that you are now far enough," Frank said: "will you promise me
that if the flames work this way"--and by this time the house where the
fight had taken place was on fire from top to bottom--"you will carry
these wounded men along as you go from roof to roof? I have my duties to
perform and cannot stay here longer. Of course, if the fire spreads all
the way down the lane, you must finally go down and run out from the
door of the last house; but there will be comparatively small danger in
this, as it will be but two or three steps round the next corner, and
you will there be in shelter."

"We promise we will carry them with us," one of the women said
earnestly: "you do not think that we could leave the men who have fought
so bravely for us to be burnt?"

Frank now proceeded along the roofs. Two of the women accompanied him,
to place the steps to enable him to mount and dismount the walls. There
was no occasion to warn those below as to the fire, for all had by this
time noticed it. He went down through the last house, opened the door,
and ran round the corner, and then made his way along the streets until
he reached the spot where the combat was raging. Garibaldi had, on
receiving his message, hurried with what force he could collect to the
scene of conflict; but, as he went, he received a letter from General
Lanza, saying that he had sent negotiators on board the flag-ship of
the British fleet anchored in the roadstead, Admiral Mundy having
consented to allow the representatives of both parties to meet there.

The tone of the letter showed how the Sicilian viceroy's pride was
humbled. He had, in his proclamation issued four days before, denounced
Garibaldi as a brigand and filibuster; he now addressed him as His
Excellency General Garibaldi. Garibaldi at once went on board the
English admiral's ship, but the fire of the Neapolitan ships and their
guns on shore continued unabated. General Letizia was already on board,
with the conditions of the proposed convention. To the first four
articles Garibaldi agreed: that there should be a suspension of arms for
a period to be arranged; that during that time each party should keep
its position; that convoys of wounded, and the families of officials,
should be allowed to pass through the town and embark on board the
Neapolitan war-ships; and that the troops in the palace should be
allowed to provide themselves with daily provisions. The fifth article
proposed that the municipality should address a humble petition to his
majesty the king, laying before him the real wishes of the town, and
that this petition should be submitted to his majesty.

This article was indignantly rejected by Garibaldi. Letizia then folded
up the paper and said, "Then all communications between us must cease."

Garibaldi then protested to Admiral Mundy against the infamy of the
royal authorities in allowing the ships and forts to continue to fire
upon his troops while a flag of truce was flying. Letizia, who could
hardly have expected that the article would be accepted, now agreed to
its being struck out, and an armistice was arranged to last for
twenty-four hours. Garibaldi returned on shore, and at a great meeting
of the citizens explained the terms to them, and stated the condition
that he had rejected. It was greeted with a roar of approval, and the
citizens at once scattered with orders to increase the strength of the
barricades to the utmost. The work was carried on with enthusiasm; the
balconies were all lined with mattresses, and heaped with stones and
missiles of all kinds to cast down upon the enemy, and the work of
manufacturing powder and cartridges went on with feverish haste. Now
that the firing had ceased, officers from the British and American
vessels off the town came ashore, and many of them made presents of
revolvers and fowling-pieces to the volunteers. The sailors on a
Sardinian frigate almost mutinied, because they were not permitted to go
ashore and aid in the defence.

Before the twenty-four hours had passed, General Letizia called upon
Garibaldi and asked for a further three days' truce, as twenty-four
hours was not a sufficient time to get the wounded on board. This
Garibaldi readily granted, as it would give time for the barricades to
be made almost impregnable, and for him to receive reinforcements, while
it could not benefit the enemy. Volunteers arrived in companies from the
country round, and Orsini landed with the cannon and with a considerable
number of men who had joined him.

Such was the report given by Letizia, on his return to the royal palace,
of the determined attitude of the population and of the formidable
obstacles that would be encountered by the troops directly they were put
in motion, that General Lanza must have felt his position to be
desperate. He accordingly sent Letizia back again to arrange that the
troops at the royal palace, the finance office, and the Termini gate
should be allowed to move down towards the sea and there join hands. To
this Garibaldi willingly assented, as, should hostilities be renewed, he
would be able to concentrate his whole efforts at one point, instead of
being obliged to scatter his troops widely to meet an advance from four
directions.

All idea of further fighting, however, had been abandoned by Lanza, and
before the end of the armistice arrived, it was arranged that all should
be taken on to their ships, and the forts, as well as the town,
evacuated. The general also bound himself to leave behind him all the
political prisoners who had been detained in the Castello Mare.

The enthusiasm in the city was indescribable, as the Neapolitans
embarked on board their ships. The released prisoners were carried in
triumph to Garibaldi's headquarters. Every house was decorated and
illuminated, and the citizens, proud of the share they had taken in
winning their freedom, speedily forgot their toils and their losses. The
men who had marched with Garibaldi from Marsala were glad indeed of the
prospect of a short time of rest. For nearly three weeks they had been
almost incessantly marching or fighting, exposed for some days to a
terrible downfall of rain, without shelter and almost without food.
Since they had entered Palermo, they had only been able to snatch two or
three hours' sleep occasionally. They had lost a large number of men,
and few of them had escaped unwounded; but these, unless absolutely
disabled, had still taken their share in the fighting, and even in the
work of building the barricades.

For Garibaldi's staff there was little relaxation from their labours. In
addition to his military duties, Garibaldi undertook with his usual
vigour the reorganisation of the municipal affairs of the town. The
condition of the charitable establishments was ameliorated; schools for
girls established throughout the island; a national militia organised;
the poorer part of the population were fed and employed in useful work;
the street arabs, with whom Palermo swarmed, were gathered and placed in
the Jesuit College, of which Garibaldi took possession, to be trained as
soldiers. The organisation of the general government of the island was
also attended to, and recruiting officers sent off to every district
evacuated by the enemy.

This Garibaldi was able to do, as over £1,000,000 sterling had been, by
the terms of the convention, left in the royal treasury when it was
evacuated by the enemy. Contracts for arms were made abroad; a foundry
for cannon established in the city, and the powder mills perfected and
kept at work. Increasing reinforcements flocked in from the mainland;
Medici with three steamers and two thousand men arrived the evening
before the Neapolitan troops had finished their embarkation; Cosenz
shortly afterwards landed with an equal number; other contingents
followed from all the Italian provinces. Great Britain was represented
by a number of enthusiastic men, who were formed into a company. Among
these was a Cornish gentleman of the name of Peard, who had long been
resident in Italy, and had imbibed a deep hatred of the tyrannical
government that ground down the people, and persecuted, imprisoned, and
drove into exile all who ventured to criticise their proceedings. He was
a splendid shot, and the coolness he showed, and his success in picking
off the enemy's officers, rendered him a noted figure among Garibaldi's
followers.

The army was now organised in three divisions: one under General Turr
marched for the centre of the island; the right wing, commanded by
Bixio, started for the south-east; and the left, under Medici, was to
move along the north coast; all were finally to concentrate at the
Straits of Messina.

It was now the middle of July. Wonders had been accomplished in the six
weeks that had passed since the occupation of Palermo. Garibaldi, who
had been regarded as almost a madman, was now recognised as a power. He
had a veritable army, well supplied with funds--for in addition to the
million he had found in the treasury, subscriptions had been collected
from lovers of freedom all over Europe, and specially from England--and
although there still remained a formidable force at Messina, it was
regarded as certain that the whole of Sicily would soon become his.

One of the Neapolitan war-ships had been brought by her captain and crew
into Palermo and placed at the disposal of Garibaldi; two others had
been captured. Cavour himself had changed his attitude of coldness, and
was prepared to take advantage of the success of the expedition, that he
had done his best to hinder. He desired, however, that Garibaldi should
resign his dictatorship and hand over the island to the King of
Sardinia. The general, however, refused to do this. He had all along
declared in his proclamations that his object was to form a free Italy
under Victor Emmanuel, and now declared that he would, when he had
captured Naples, hand that kingdom and Sicily together to the king, but
that until he could do so he would remain dictator of Sicily.

There can be no doubt that his determination was a wise one, for, as
afterwards happened at Naples, he would have been altogether put aside
by the royalist commissioners and generals, his plans would have been
thwarted in every way, and hindrances offered to his invasion of the
mainland, just as they had been to his expedition to Sicily.

Cavour sent over Farina to act in the name of the king. Admiral Persano,
who, with a portion of the Italian navy, was now at Palermo, persuaded
Garibaldi to allow Farina to assume the position of governor; but, while
allowing this, Garibaldi gave him to understand that he was to attend
solely to financial and civil affairs. Farina's first move, however, was
to have an enormous number of placards that he had brought with him
stuck all over the city, and sent to all the towns of the island, with
the words, "Vote for immediate annexation under the rule of Victor
Emmanuel." The Sicilians neither knew nor cared anything for Victor
Emmanuel, whose very name was almost unknown to the peasants. It was
Garibaldi who had delivered them, and they were perfectly ready to
accept any form of government that he recommended. Garibaldi at once
told Farina that he would not allow such proceedings. The latter
maintained that he was there under the authority of the king, and should
take any steps he chose; whereupon the general sent at once for a party
of troops, who seized him and carried him on board Persano's ships, with
the advice that he should quit the island at once. This put an effectual
stop to several intrigues to reap the entire fruits of Garibaldi's
efforts.

Frank had passed a weary time. His wound had been a serious one, and at
first the surgeons had thought that it would be necessary to amputate
the limb. Garibaldi, however, who, in spite of his many occupations,
found time to come in twice a day for a few minutes' talk with him,
urged them, before operating, to try every means to save the arm; and
two weeks after Frank received the wound, the care that had been
bestowed upon him and his own excellent constitution enabled them to
state confidently that he need no longer have any anxiety upon that
account, as his recovery was now but a question of time. The general
thanked Frank for the early information sent by him of Bosco's arrival,
and for his defence of the house, and as a reward for these and his
other services promoted him to the rank of captain. A fortnight later,
he was so far convalescent that he could move about with his arm in a
sling. He had already regained most of his bodily strength, and by the
end of the second week in July he was again on horseback.

He was, then, delighted when, on July 17th, he heard that Garibaldi was
going to start at once to assist Medici, who, with Cosenz, had advanced
to within some twenty miles of Messina, and had had some skirmishes with
a force of six thousand five hundred picked troops with a powerful
artillery. The Neapolitans, who were commanded by General Bosco, had now
taken up a very strong position near the town and fortress of Milazzo.

Colonel Corti arrived at Palermo on that day with nine hundred men in an
American ship. He had left Genoa at the same time as Medici, but the
vessel was captured by Neapolitan men-of-war, and towed into Naples,
where she was anchored under the guns of the fort. She lay there for
twenty-two days, when the strong remonstrances of the American minister
forced the government of Naples to allow her to leave. She now arrived
just in time for those on board to take part in the operations.
Garibaldi embarked a portion of them on a British merchantman he had
chartered, and proceeded on board with his staff. The next day he landed
at the port of Patti, some twenty miles from Milazzo, and on the 19th
joined Medici's force.

A strong brigade that had been sent by land had not yet arrived, but
Garibaldi determined to attack at once. The position of the Neapolitan
force was a very strong one. Their right extended across the front of
the fortress of Milazzo, and was protected by its artillery; its
approaches were hidden by cactus hedges, which screened the defenders
from view, and could not be penetrated by an attacking force, except
after cutting them down with swords or axes. The centre was posted
across the road leading along the shore. Its face was defended by a
strong wall, which had been loopholed. In front of this the ground was
covered with a thick growth of canes, through which it was scarcely
possible for men to force their way. The Neapolitan left were stationed
in a line of houses lying at right-angles to the centre, and therefore
capable of maintaining a flanking fire on any force advancing to the
attack.

The Garibaldians suffered from the very great disadvantage of being
ignorant of the nature of the ground and of the enemy's position, the
Neapolitans being completely hidden from view by the cactus hedges and
cane brakes. Garibaldi had intended to attack before daylight, but the
various corps were so widely scattered that it was broad day before the
fight began. As soon as the force had assembled they advanced across the
plain, which was covered with trees and vineyards, and as they
approached the enemy's position they were received with a heavy fire by
the unseen foe. For hours the fight went on. In vain the Garibaldians
attempted to reach their hidden enemies, for each time they gathered and
rushed forward, they were met by so heavy a fire that they were forced
to retire. The left wing, indeed, gave way altogether and fell back
some distance from the battle-field, but the centre and right, where
Garibaldi himself, with Medici and many of his best officers were
fighting, still persevered.

At one o'clock Garibaldi sent off several of his officers to endeavour
to rally and bring up some of the scattered detachments of the left
wing. After a lot of hard work they returned with a considerable force.
Garibaldi, at the head of sixty picked men, made his way along the
shore, until, unobserved, they reached a point on the flank of the
enemy's left wing; then, pouring in a heavy volley, they dashed forward,
captured a gun, and drove the Neapolitans from their line of defence.
Suddenly, however, a squadron of the enemy's cavalry fell upon the
Garibaldians and drove them back in disorder. Garibaldi himself was
forced off the road into a ditch; four troopers attacked him, but he
defended himself with his sword, until Missori, one of his
aides-de-camp, rode up and shot three of the dragoons.

The other troops, who had been following at a distance, now came up; and
together they advanced, driving before them the defenders of the enemy's
entrenchments, until these, losing heart, broke into flight towards the
town. The panic spread, and at all points the Garibaldians burst through
the defences, in spite of the fire of the guns of the fortress, and
pursued the flying enemy into the town. Here a sanguinary contest was
maintained for some hours, but at last the Neapolitan troops were all
driven into the fortress, which, now that the town had been evacuated by
their own men, opened fire upon it. The gunners were, however, much
harassed by the deadly fire maintained by Peard and his companions, all
of whom were armed with rifles of the best pattern, while the guns of
the Garibaldian frigate played upon the sea face of the fortress. The
position was, in fact, untenable. General Bosco knew that no assistance
could reach him, for the greater portion of the Neapolitan troops had
already withdrawn from the island. The little fortress was crowded with
troops, and he had but a small supply of provisions.

Three days later, he hoisted the white flag, and sent one of his
officers into the town to negotiate terms of surrender. These were
speedily concluded. All artillery, ammunition, and the mules used by the
artillery and transport, were left behind, and the troops were to be
allowed to march, with their firearms, down to the wharf; there to be
conveyed on board the ships in the harbour, and landed on the mainland.

Frank had not taken part in the battle of Milazzo, which had cost the
Garibaldians over a thousand in killed and wounded; for he had been
despatched by Garibaldi, when the latter went on board ship at Palermo,
to General Bixio, who was in the centre of the island, to inform him of
the general's advance, and to state that probably he would be in Messina
in a week. He said that some little time must elapse before the
arrangements for the passage across to the mainland could be effected;
and that Bixio was to continue to stamp out the communistic movement,
that had burst out in several of the towns there, and to scatter the
bands of brigands; and was, a fortnight after Frank's arrival, to march
with his force to Messina.

Frank would have much preferred to accompany the general, but the latter
said: "No doubt, Percival, you would have liked to go with me, but some
one must be sent, and my choice has fallen upon you. I have chosen you
because, in the first place, you are your father's son. You have already
distinguished yourself greatly, and have fought as fearlessly and as
steadily as the best of my old followers. Surely it would be impossible
for me to give you higher praise than that. In the next place, you are
not yet fit for the hard work of the campaign. Mantoni tells me that it
will be some weeks before your arm will be strong again; though the bone
has healed better than he had expected, after the serious injury you
received in your gallant defence of that house, when Bosco entered the
town.

"But even had it not been for that, I think that you have done more than
your share. There are many ardent spirits who have arrived from the
mainland, who have not yet had a chance of striking a blow for their
country; and it is but fair that they should have their opportunity.
Moreover, your mother sent you out on a special mission, first to hand
to me her noble gift, and secondly to search the prisons in the towns we
might occupy, for her father, and possibly her husband. She knew that,
going with me, you must share in the perils and honours of the campaign.
You have done so gloriously, but in that way you have done enough.
Grievous indeed would it be to me had I to write to your good mother to
say that the son she had sent me had been killed. Her father has been a
victim for Italian liberty. Her husband has, if our suspicions are well
founded, sacrificed himself by the fearlessness with which he exposed
the iniquities of the tyrants' prison-houses. It would be too cruel that
she should be deprived of her son also.

"I regard it as certain that you will not find those you seek in the
prisons of this island. As you saw when we opened the doors here, there
were no prisoners from the mainland among those confined there. You will
be with me when we cross the straits: it is there that your mission will
really begin, and it is best that you should reserve yourself for that.
The battle I go to fight now will be the last that will be needed, to
secure at least the independence of Sicily. And I doubt much whether,
when we have once crossed, we shall have to fight as hard as we have
done. Here we landed a handful; we shall land on the mainland over
twenty thousand strong; the enemy despised us then--they will fear us
now."

"Thank you, general; I should not have thought of questioning your
orders, whatever they might have been, but I felt for a moment a little
disappointment that I was not to take part in the next battle. I will
start at once to join General Bixio. Will it be necessary for me to stay
with him till he marches to Messina, or can I ride for that city when I
have delivered your orders?"

"In that you can consult your own wishes, but be assured that I shall
not attempt to cross the straits until Bixio joins me; and I should say
that you would find it more interesting with him than doing routine work
at Messina; moreover, you must remember that the population there are
not all united in our favour, as they are here. They are doubtless glad
to be free, but the agents of the revolutionists have been at work among
them, and, as you know, with such success that I have been obliged to
send Bixio with a division to suppress the disorders that have arisen. I
have not freed Sicily to hand it over to Mazzini's agents, but that it
shall form a part of United Italy under Victor Emmanuel. Still there is
enough excitement existing there to render it somewhat hazardous for one
of my officers to ride alone through the country, and I think that it
would be much better for you therefore to remain with Bixio."



CHAPTER X.

WITH BIXIO.


Just as the ship carrying Garibaldi and his followers weighed anchor,
Frank rode out from Palermo. The road was the best in the island, and he
arrived late that evening at Polizzi, a distance of some forty miles
from Palermo. On the following day he halted at Traina; here he found a
detachment of Bixio's brigade, which was commanded by Rubini, who
welcomed him most cordially.

"Who would have thought of seeing you, Percival! Surely the general is
not coming this way?"

"He started yesterday to join Medici, and give battle to Bosco, who has
some seven thousand picked troops at Milazzo. He has sent me here with
an order for Bixio."

"It is enough to make one tear one's hair," Rubini said, "to think that
we are out of it."

"Well, we have done our share, Rubini, and although I was disappointed
at first, I admit that it is only fair that the men who have done no
fighting should have a turn. We have lost about a third of our number,
and most of us have been wounded. Medici's corps have never fired a shot
yet, nor have those of Cosenz; we shall have our share again when we
cross to Calabria. Now, what are you doing here?"

"We are scattered about in small detachments, giving a sharp lesson,
whenever we get the chance, to the revolutionists."

"But who are the revolutionists?"

"They are agents of the revolutionary committee--that is, of Mazzini and
his fanatics--and it seems that several parties of them were landed on
the east coast to get up a row on their own account; and just as Farina
has been trying to induce the country to throw over Garibaldi, and
declare for Victor Emmanuel, of whom the people know nothing, and for
whom they care less, these agents have been trying to get them to
declare for a republic, and they have certainly had more success than
Farina had. There is nothing tangible in the idea of a king, while, when
the poor fools are told that a republic means that the land and property
of the rich are to be handed over to the poor, the programme has its
attractions. At any rate, it has its attractions for the brigands, of
whom, at the best of times, there are always a number in the forests on
the slopes of Etna; and I have no doubt that money was freely
distributed among them to inflame their zeal. Several houses of
well-to-do citizens and country proprietors had been looted, and
something like a reign of terror had begun, before Bixio's brigade
marched to restore order.

"You see there are a great many more of these bands in the forests than
usual. After the rising in the winter was suppressed, very many of those
who took part in it dared not return to their homes, and so fled to the
hills; the better class of these men came in as soon as our capture of
Palermo made it safe for them to do so. A company of them has been
formed, and is now with Bixio, and I believe that others have enlisted
with Medici; still there are a good many of the lower class who joined
in the rising, still among the hills. In a rebellion like this the
insurgents would be divided into two classes--the one true patriots, the
other men who join in the hope of plunder, the discontented riffraff of
the towns. A life in the mountains offers great attractions to these: in
the first place they don't have to work for a living, and in the next
there is always the chance of carrying off some rich proprietor and
getting a large ransom for him. These therefore go to swell the ranks of
the men who have for years set the authorities of the island at
defiance, and have terrorised all the people dwelling on the plains at
the foot of Etna.

"Just at present all these men call themselves republicans, and had it
not been for Bixio's arrival they would have established a perfect reign
of terror. We here have shot a good many, and I believe Bixio has also
given them some sharp lessons; at any rate, our presence here has
effectually stopped the game of the revolutionists in the towns and
villages on the plain, but it will be a long time indeed before
brigandage can be suppressed, and of course there is no intention of
attempting such a business now; that will be a work that must be
undertaken by government, when Italy has achieved her freedom, and feels
in a position to turn her attention to putting down these bands which
have for years past--I may almost say for centuries--been a disgrace to
our land. We are here solely to put a stop to the revolutionary
movement, just as Garibaldi put a stop to the royal movement by sending
Farina out of the island."

"And where is Bixio?"

"He has been sweeping through the small towns and villages round the
foot of the mountains, and will this afternoon, I believe, arrive at
Bronte, which has been the headquarters of this revolutionary business.
I expect he will put his foot heavily on the men who have been foremost
in stirring the people up there. Bixio is just the man for this work. He
knows that one sharp lesson impresses the minds of people like these
Sicilians, and has far more effect than lenient measures or verbal
reproofs. They have to be taught that it is not for them to meddle in
affairs of state. All these matters must be left to their
representatives in parliament and the government of the country. The
petty authorities of these little towns come to regard themselves as
important personages, and indulge themselves in prating on public
affairs, instead of minding their own business, which, in this case, is
to do their best to give protection to the people in their districts
against the incursions of bands of brigands. I suppose you go on
to-morrow?"

"Yes; I shall start at daybreak; it is not many hours' ride."

"I have about a score of mounted men here, Percival. I will send four of
them with you."

"Surely there is no occasion for that," Frank said.

"Well, I don't know: I think there is. There are no large bands, so far
as I know, down in the plain at present; but some of these gangs have
broken up, especially those that came from the mainland, and have not as
yet taken to the mountains. They go about perpetrating crimes at
detached houses or on any traveller they meet. I need not say that at
present their animosity to the red shirts is bitter, and that in revenge
for their comrades who have been shot or hanged, they would certainly
kill any of us on whom they could lay hands; so it would be better for
you to have four men as an escort. They might as well be doing that as
anything else, for just at present there is nothing going on about
here, and it is as dull as it would be in a small garrison town in
Northern Italy. How long do you suppose it will be before we join
Garibaldi at Messina?"

"Not for some little time, I think. If he and Medici defeat Bosco at
Milazzo, as I suppose they will, he will at once go on to Messina; but
his message to Bixio was that it must take some time to make the
preparations for crossing to the mainland, and that until he sends word
to the general to join him, he is to continue his work of stamping out
this movement in restoring order, in reorganising the municipal
authorities, and in placing the administration of the towns and villages
in the hands of well-affected men, so that there can be no chance of
Mazzini's party causing any serious disturbances again, after he has
left."

"I see you still wear your arm in a sling?"

"Yes; Mantoni told me that it would not be safe to take it out of the
splints for another month, but he had every hope that when I did so I
should be able to use it, though I must not put too much strain on it.
Of course it is a nuisance, but I have every reason to be thankful, for
I was afraid for a time that I was going to lose it altogether."

"It was a grand thing, the defence of that house, Percival."

"It was a grand thing that that shell struck the stairs just when it
did, for another minute would have seen the end of the defence and of
our lives. As it was, that explosion saved four of us, for the wounded
men we carried off are all convalescent,--and also the lives of five
women and eight children, for, exasperated as the Neapolitans were, they
would assuredly have shown no more mercy there than they did in the
other houses they entered. I have been well rewarded, for Garibaldi has
made me captain."

Sarto and Maffio returned at this moment, and the three heartily
congratulated Frank on his promotion. They had been away with a small
detachment to a village three miles distant, in search of a man who had
been one of the most prominent in stirring up the peasantry, but he had
left before they got there. They spent a pleasant evening together, and
in the morning Frank started with the four mounted men and rode to
Bronte. Just as he approached the town he heard several volleys of
musketry, and on inquiry found that thirty men who had been captured on
the march or caught in hiding in the town had been shot. All were
strangers--either revolutionary agents or brigands. On inquiring for the
general, he found that he had just gone to the town hall, where he had
ordered the municipal authorities and the principal citizens to meet
him. Putting up his horse, he went there first. Bixio had just begun to
speak.

"If I had done my duty," he said, "you as well as the men who have been
stirring up riot and revolution would be lying dead outside the town. It
is scandalous that you, men who have been elected by your fellows for
the maintenance of order and good government in this town and district,
should allow yourselves to be terrified into obedience by a handful of
agitators, instead of calling out all the men capable of bearing arms
and suppressing the sedition at once. You have failed miserably in your
duty. The man who came as your deliverer is now, in the hour of battle,
weakened by being compelled to send part of his army to suppress the
disorder at which you have connived. You private citizens are scarcely
less to blame: when you saw that these men were allowing brigandage and
robbery to go on unchecked and making speeches subversive of order
instead of doing their duty, you should have taken the matter into your
own hands, expelled them from the offices they disgraced, and appointed
worthier men as your representatives."

He spoke to an officer standing by him, who went out and returned with
twenty soldiers who had been drawn up outside the hall. Bixio remained
silent during his absence, and now said: "Captain Silvio, you will
arrest the syndic and these municipal councillors, and march them off to
prison. They may think themselves fortunate that I do not order them to
be shot for conniving at sedition, and permitting these brigands to
carry on their work of crime with impunity."

The soldiers surrounded the men pointed out, and marched away with them.

"Now, sirs," Bixio then went on to the private citizens, "you will at
once placard the town with notices that the most worthy and loyal man in
the town, whoever he may be, is nominated by me as syndic, and that
twelve others, all of them loyal and true men, are appointed municipal
councillors. I leave it to you to make the choice, but mind that it be a
good one. Of course I wish men of standing and influence to be
appointed, but the one absolute qualification is that they shall be men
who have shown themselves opposed to the conduct of those who will pass
the next six months in prison; who can be trusted to maintain law and
order with a strong hand, to punish malefactors, and to carry out all
orders they may receive from General Garibaldi, Dictator of the Island
of Sicily. Let me have the names of the men you have chosen in the
course of an hour. I shall have inquiries made as to the character and
reputation of each before confirming their appointment. I have nothing
more to say."

The men retired, looking greatly crestfallen; and Bixio, turning round,
saw for the first time Frank, who had quietly taken up his place behind
him. The young fellow had been a great favourite of his ever since he
saw him on the occasion of his first visit to Garibaldi.

"Ah, Percival, I am glad to see you, and that you should be here is a
proof that your arm is getting stronger. I suppose you are here on
duty?"

"Yes, sir; knowing that rumours of various kinds might reach you, the
general has sent me to tell you that he has started with a portion of
Cosenz's men to reinforce Medici, and to attack Bosco at Milazzo. He
considers that he will have sufficient force for the purpose, but if
not, he will, in a couple of days after he arrives there, be joined by
the rest of Cosenz's command, who are proceeding by land. After beating
Bosco, he will go on to Messina. It will take him a considerable time to
make all the preparations needful for the expedition to the mainland,
and he wishes you to continue your work here, to put down all disorder,
and to organise and establish strong and loyal municipal and district
councils in this part of the island, so that when he advances, he need
have no cause for any anxiety whatever for the state of affairs here. He
will send you ample notice when all is in readiness for the invasion of
Calabria."

"I should like to be at Milazzo," Bixio said, "but as that is now
impossible I should prefer remaining here until Garibaldi is ready to
start, to hanging about Messina for weeks: that sort of thing is very
bad for young troops. Here they get plenty of marching, and a certain
amount of drill every day, and in another month or six weeks even the
latest recruits, who arrived before we left Palermo, will be fit to take
part in a battle by the side of our veterans. Are you to stay with me,
or to go on to Messina?"

"I had no explicit order, sir, but from what the general said, I
gathered that he thought it better for me to stay, at any rate for the
present, with you. The doctor said that I must keep my arm in a sling
for some time to come, and although I did not ride here at any great
speed, I feel some sharp twinges in it, and think I should wait a few
days before I mount again. After that I shall be happy to carry out any
orders, or perform any duty, with which you may think fit to intrust
me."

"Quite right, Percival. You will, of course, be attached to my staff
while you are with me, and I will set you to easy work when I consider
you fit to undertake it. Now that I have put things in train here, I
shall make it my headquarters for a time, but shall be sending parties
to the hills. I know that the villages there are all terrorised by the
brigands, and although it is hopeless to try to stamp these fellows out,
I may strike a few blows at them. The worst of it is, that half the
peasantry are in alliance with them, and the other half know that it is
as much as their lives are worth to give any information as to the
brigands' movements, so that to a large extent I shall have to trust to
luck. When you are able to ride again, I will send you off with one of
these parties, for I am sure that the air of the slopes of Etna will do
an immense deal towards setting you up again, while the heat in the
plains is very trying, especially to those who are not in robust health,
and are unaccustomed to a climate like this."

"It is hot," Frank said. "I started my journeys very early in the
morning, and stopped for five or six hours in the middle of the day; but
I think that, even in that way, the heat has taken a good deal more out
of me than the fatigue of riding."

"I have no doubt that is so; and I should recommend you, for the next
week, to rise at daybreak, lie down, or at any rate keep within doors,
between ten or eleven and five in the afternoon, and then take gentle
exercise again, and enjoy yourself until eleven or twelve o'clock at
night. Even the natives of the island keep indoors as far as possible
during the heat of the day, at this time of year, and if they find it
necessary, it is still more so for you. I suppose you came through
Traina last night?"

"Yes, sir; and was very glad to find Rubini and my other two friends
there."

The next week passed pleasantly. Bixio himself was often away, making
flying visits to the towns and villages where he had left detachments;
but as there were several of the officers of the force at Bronte, who
had crossed in the same ship with him from Genoa, and by whose side he
had fought at Calatafimi and Palermo, Frank had very pleasant society.
Indeed, as the majority of the force were men of good family and
education, there was, when off duty, little distinction of rank, and
with the tie of good comradeship, and of dangers and fatigues borne in
common, there was none of the stiffness and exclusiveness that
necessarily prevail in regular armies. All of the original thousand knew
Frank well, had heard how largely the expedition was indebted for its
success to the aid his mother had sent, and how he had distinguished
himself in the fighting, and they welcomed him everywhere with the
utmost cordiality.

Early in the morning he always went for a walk, and was usually
accompanied by one or two of his acquaintances who happened to be off
duty. After taking a meal, he generally spent the evening sitting in the
open air in front of the principal _café_, eating ices, drinking coffee,
and chatting with the officers who gathered there. At the end of a week
he no longer felt even passing pains in his arm, and reported to Bixio
that he was ready for work again.

"Not hard work," the general said; "but I can give you employment that
will suit you. I am calling in Rubini's detachment from Traina, where
things are settling down, and shall send fifty men under his command to
the village of Latinano. It is some three thousand feet above the sea,
and you will find it much more cool and pleasant there than it is here.
Other villages, on about the same line, will also be occupied. The
brigands have found that it is no longer safe to come down into the
plains, and I am going to push them as far up the slopes as I can:
possibly we may then be able to obtain some information from the
peasants below that line as to the principal haunts of these fellows in
the mountains. At present these villages that I am going to occupy are
all used by the brigands, whom the people regard as good customers; and
though they ill-treat and murder without mercy any they suspect of being
hostile to them, it is of course to their interest to keep well with the
majority, and to pay for what they want. Terror will do a good deal
towards keeping men's mouths shut; but anything like the general
ill-treatment of the population would soon drive somebody to betray
them.

"Of course, hitherto the brigands have had little fear of treachery. The
commanders of the Bourbon troops had no disposition to enter upon
toilsome expeditions, which offered small prospect of success, merely
to avenge the wrongs of the peasants; but now matters have changed. We
are not only willing, but eager, to suppress these bands; and, seeing
that we are in earnest, some of the peasantry may pluck up heart enough
to endeavour to get rid of those who at present hold them at their
mercy.

"However, I own I have no very great hopes that it will be so. There
exists, and has existed for many years, an association called the Mafia,
which extends over the whole island. It comprises men of all classes,
from the highest to the lowest, and exercises a terrible power. No one,
save the leaders, know who are its members, and therefore each distrusts
his neighbour. A murder is committed. Every one may be perfectly well
aware who is its author, and yet no one dare say a word. If by some
chance the carabinieri, knowing the assassin had a standing feud with
the victim, lay hands upon him, the organisation sets to work. The judge
himself may be a member; if not, he speedily receives an intimation that
his own life will be forfeited if the murderer is condemned. But it is
seldom that this is necessary. The jailors are bribed or terrorised, and
when the time comes for him to be brought to trial, it is found that he
has mysteriously escaped; and, in the few cases where a man is brought
into court, no witnesses dare appear against him, and he is certain to
be acquitted. It is a scandalous state of things, and one which, we may
hope, will be changed when Italy is free, and able to attend to its
domestic affairs. But at present the organisation is all-powerful, so
that you see it is not only the vengeance of the brigands, but the power
of the Mafia, which seals men's mouths, and enables criminals to carry
on their proceedings with but little fear of the arm of the law."

"I am much obliged to you for sending me up with Rubini," Frank said;
"and I shall greatly enjoy the mountain air, but I hardly see that I can
be of much service there."

"Not much, perhaps; but it will fit you to do duty when we land in
Calabria. Rubini's corps is, like the rest, composed partly of men who
have seen service before, with a few of the thousand; but with them are
a large proportion of fresh arrivals, as brave, no doubt, as the others,
but without their experience. He will at times make excursions if he can
obtain news of a party of brigands being in the neighbourhood, in which
case he will naturally take the men he can most rely upon; and I shall
request him when he is away to intrust the command of those left in the
village to you, who are one of the thousand. You are a captain, as I
heard with much pleasure in a letter from Garibaldi, and on the
general's staff; and as you showed how stoutly you could defend a house
against an overwhelming force, you could certainly hold a village with
fifteen or twenty men against any number of brigands who might try to
take advantage of the absence of a portion of the force to attack those
that remained there. However, it is not likely that anything of the sort
will take place: the brigands are not fond of fighting unless there is
ample booty to be obtained, though they might endeavour to avenge the
losses they have sustained by a sudden attack, if they thought they
could take you wholly unawares. Rubini will arrive here with his corps
to-morrow afternoon, and will start the next day with half his
detachment; the other half will go to Malfi, a village ten miles from
Latinano."

"You are looking better," Rubini said, as Frank met him, when the
company piled arms in the principal square in the town. "You said you
were all right when I saw you the other day, but you were not looking
so."

"No; I was feeling the ride, and my arm was hurting me a bit. However,
ten days' rest has set me all right again, and I am quite equal to
moderate work. Do you know what you are going to do?"

"No, I have only orders to march in here to-day."

"Well, I can tell you. Several detachments, of fifty men each, are going
up to the villages some three thousand feet up the slopes of Etna. Your
company is to be divided into two. You with half of them are to go to
Latinano, and the other half to Malfi, a place ten miles from it. Your
lieutenant, Pasco, will take the other wing to Malfi. I am going with
you."

"Well, in that case I shall not mind it, though it will not be lively
there unless we have a brush with the brigands. It will at any rate be a
great deal cooler than Traina, which was an oven for six hours every
day. Are you going as second in command?"

"To a certain extent, yes. Bixio said that, as I should be no good for
fighting at present, I was to take command of the village when you were
away brigand-hunting. He said that naturally you would take your best
men for that work, and leave some of those who have had as yet no
experience in fighting to take care of the village."

"Well, they could not be left in better hands than yours," Rubini said
heartily. "I shall be very glad to have you with me."

At daybreak the next morning Rubini's little column got into motion.
Frank was the only mounted officer, and he took his place by the side of
Bixio, who marched at the head of the column. The rise was steady, and
though occasionally they came to steeper places, there was no pause,
with the exception of a couple of halts for a few minutes, and they
reached Latinano at eleven o'clock, having been nearly seven hours on
the way. There was no demonstration of welcome when they arrived, nor
did they expect it. Doubtless such of the villagers as felt glad to see
them march in would be afraid to show it openly, as they would assuredly
suffer, were they to do so, when the troop marched away again. Rubini at
once quartered his men in twos and threes among the houses. He himself,
with Frank as his lieutenant, accepted the invitation of the priest,
whose house was the best in the village, to stay there.

"It is not like the Palazzo at Palermo, Percival," Rubini laughed; "but
you can scarcely expect that on Mount Etna; at any rate, it is a vast
improvement on our camping ground on the plains."

The priest set before them what provisions he had in the house, and
assured them that he would provide better for them in the future.
Rubini, however, knowing how poor were the priests of these mountain
villages, told him that, although they thankfully accepted his
hospitality on that occasion, they would in the future cater for
themselves.

"We have," he said, "two waggons following us; they will be up by the
evening. We have no idea of imposing ourselves, or our men, upon the
inhabitants of this village, who assuredly could hardly fill fifty
additional mouths. We have brought with us flour, wine, and other
necessaries, and no doubt we shall be able to purchase sheep and goats
from your people, who, by the way, did not appear to be very much
pleased at our arrival."

"You must not blame them, signor. In the first place, they are poor; and
once, when a detachment of Bourbon troops came up here, they devoured
everything, and paid for nothing: happily they only stayed for a week,
or the village would have been ruined. After the tales that have been
spread of the lawlessness of Garibaldi's troops, they must have feared
that even worse than what before happened was about to befall them."

"They do nothing but tell lies of us," Rubini said angrily. "Never since
we landed at Marsala have we taken a mouthful of food without paying for
it, unless it has been spontaneously offered to us, as it was when we
were fighting at Palermo."

"I have no doubt that what you say is true, signor; but the poor people
have been taught to believe otherwise, so they are hardly to blame if
they did not evince any lively joy at your arrival. Moreover, they do
not know how long you are going to stay here, and are well aware that
any who show satisfaction at your coming, or who afford you any aid or
hospitality beyond that which they dare not refuse, will be reported to
the brigands, who will take a terrible revenge after you have left the
village."

"I can understand that their position is not a comfortable one," Rubini
said; "but the people of these districts have largely brought it upon
themselves. I do not say that they are in a position to resist large
parties of brigands, but their sympathy seems to be everywhere with
these scoundrels; they afford them every information in their power,
screen them in every way, give false information to the carabinieri, and
hinder the course of justice. People who act thus must not be surprised
if they are regarded as allies of these bands, and they must put up with
the inconvenience of having troops quartered upon them, and may think
themselves fortunate that the consequences are no worse. At present we
are not here to act against the brigands alone, as that work must be
postponed until other matters are settled, and the government has time
to turn its attention to rooting out a state of things that is
disgraceful to the country. We are here now as the agents of General
Garibaldi, Dictator of Sicily, to suppress--not crime--but the
stirring-up of insurrection and revolt against the existing government
of the island."

"I heartily wish that it could be rooted out," the priest said. "I can
assure you that we, whose work lies in these mountain villages, feel the
evil consequences to the full as much as those who work in the towns and
villages lying round the foot of the mountains. It is not that our
people suffer so greatly in pocket--for the most part they are too poor
to be robbed; the few that are better off pay a yearly contribution, and
as long as they do so are left in peace, while the better class down in
the plains are liable at any time to be seized and compelled to pay
perhaps their all to save their lives. The harm is rather to their souls
than to their bodies; as you say, their sympathies are wholly with the
brigands, they come to regard them as heroes, and to think lightly of
the terrible crimes they commit upon others; and not infrequently some
young man more enterprising than the rest, or one who has perhaps
stabbed a rival in love or has been drawn for service in the army, takes
to the hills and joins them, and for so doing he incurs no reprobation
whatever. It is a sad state of things, and I trust that when your
general has settled all other matters in the island he will employ his
whole force in a campaign against the brigands. It is not a work to be
taken up by small parties; the evil has grown to such dimensions that
nothing short of an army would root it out, and indeed it could only
then be accomplished by months of patient work, so extensive are the
forests, so great the facility for concealment."

"It will fall to other hands than Garibaldi's, father. His mission is to
deliver Sicily and the mainland from the Bourbon rule, and then to hand
them over to Victor Emmanuel, who, a free king over a free nation, will
be able to remove all these abuses that have flourished under the
Bourbons. As for us, we are soldiers without pay, fighting for love of
our country. When we have done our work and freed it from its
oppressors, we shall return to our homes, and leave it to the king, his
parliament, and the regular army to put down such abuses as this
brigandage. I suppose, father, it would hardly be fair to ask you if
there are many of these fellows in the neighbourhood?"

The priest smiled. "I do not mind telling you that there was a band of
some fifty of them within five miles of this place yesterday. This
morning it was known that several detachments of troops would march from
Bronte at daybreak, and that their destination was the mountains. I have
no doubt whatever that the news was carried to the band half an hour
later; and by this time they are probably twenty miles away up in the
forests, but in which direction I have no idea, nor do I know what their
plans are. It may be that so long as these villages are held they will
move round to the other side of Etna. It may be that several of the
bands will unite and attack one or other of your parties, not for what
they think they would get, but as a lesson that it would be better to
leave them alone. I should say that, except by pure accident, you are
not likely to catch sight of a brigand--unless, indeed, one comes down
here as a shepherd from the hills, to make some small purchases, and to
gather news."

"I think that is likely to be the result of our journey," Rubini
laughed; "but, nevertheless, our being here will have served its
purpose. So long as we and the other detachments are up here, the
brigands will not care to venture into the plain; nor will the agents of
the revolution who are with them. If they do, they are not likely to get
safely back again. I may tell you that signals have been arranged by
which smoke from the hill-tops near Bronte will give us information that
some of these bands have passed down the mountain, the direction in
which they have gone, and that in which they are retiring; and I fancy
they will hardly regain the mountains without being intercepted by one
or other of our parties. It is true that we shall not remain here very
long; but by the time we go, there will be a very different system
established throughout the island; and they will find in future that
they can no longer get friends and abettors among the local authorities,
but will have to meet an active resistance, that plunder cannot be
obtained without fighting, and that even when obtained it will not be
carried off to the hills without a hot pursuit being maintained."

"I shall be glad indeed if it is so," the priest said. "If the people of
the towns and villages will but combine, and are actively supported by
small bodies of troops in all the towns, it will deal a far heavier blow
to brigandage than can be effected by sending flying expeditions into
the mountains."



CHAPTER XI.

A HAZARDOUS EXPEDITION.


"I fancy, Percival, that the brigands are far more likely to find us
than we are to find them," Rubini said on the following morning, when he
and Frank strolled out into the village. "We can expect no information
from these people; and as to marching about on the off chance of
lighting upon them, it would be simply absurd. On the other hand, the
brigands will know, by this time, where all our detachments are
quartered, and what is their strength. They must be furious at the
losses they have had down in the plains; some forty or fifty of them
have been killed in fights, and over a hundred shot, at Bronte and other
towns. They must be burning for vengeance. I cannot help thinking that
some of these bands are likely to unite, and attack some of our posts.
Even if they came a couple of hundred strong, we might feel pretty safe
of beating them off if they ventured by daylight; but a sudden attack at
night might be extremely serious."

"Very serious indeed," Frank agreed. "Scattered as the men are, through
the village, they would be shot down as they came out of the houses."

"It is an awkward position, certainly," Rubini said, "and one that I
don't see my way out of."

"I should say, Rubini, the best thing we could do would be to quarter
ourselves in the church."

"It would be a very serious step," Rubini said gravely. "We know that
one of the great weapons the Neapolitans have used against us is, that
we are heretics and atheists; and were we to occupy the church, reports
would circulate through the island that we were desecrators."

"They spread that sort of reports, whether there is any foundation for
it or not, Rubini; besides, at Palermo we used several of the churches
as hospitals for the wounded. But there would be no occasion for us to
live and take our meals in the church, or to interfere with the
services. If we keep half a dozen sentries round the village, we need
not fear any surprise during the daytime, but could go on as usual in
the houses where we are quartered, taking our meals there, and so on;
then at night we could retire to the church, and sleep there securely
with a couple of sentries posted at the door."

"I think that is a very good idea; at any rate, we will tell the priest
when we go in to breakfast, and hear what he says. He is a good fellow,
I think--though, of course, his hands are very much tied by the position
he is placed in."

After they had eaten their breakfast, Rubini went with Frank to the
priest's room.

"Padre," he said, "we don't like our position here. It is certain that
the brigands have no reason to love us, and that after the numbers who
have been put out of the way down below, they must be thirsting for
revenge."

"That is certainly to be expected," the priest said gravely.

"Therefore we think it is by no means unlikely that several of these
bands will unite in an attack on one of our posts."

"I hinted as much as that to you last night."

"You did, padre; and the more I think of it, the more probable it seems
to me that this is what they will do. It may be this post, or another;
but I feel that, although we could beat off any attack in the daytime,
it would be most serious were they to fall upon us at night, when we are
scattered throughout the village."

"It would certainly be so, signor. The consequences would, I think, be
most grave."

"Therefore, padre, we intend to retire to the church every evening."

"Between ourselves, Captain Rubini, I am not sorry that you have made
that proposal, or rather, have announced to me your intention of doing
so. You will understand that it was a suggestion that could not come
from me, and that I bow to your decision, having no means of resisting
it; that being understood, I can say, frankly, that I think the plan a
wise one. I hope that you do not intend to occupy it during the day, nor
to eat and drink there, but simply to pass the night in the shelter of
its walls, and that at all other times our services can be held as
usual?"

"Certainly; that is our intention. We wish to put the people to no
inconvenience, and to abstain, as far as possible, from doing aught that
would hurt their feelings, by, as they would consider it, desecrating
the church. Things will simply go on as they do now in the daytime, but
at nightfall we shall march into the church, and place two sentries at
the door; and in the morning we shall leave it, after placing everything
in order, as far as we can, at a quarter to six--so that you can hold
your morning mass at the usual hour."

"I am well pleased with the arrangement. Should my people or others
complain of your thus using the church, I can say that it was no
proposal of mine, and that you did not ask my opinion on the subject;
but simply informed me of your intention, which, of course, I have no
power to combat. I may tell you that I have no sure intelligence
whatever that the brigands meditate such an attempt, either here or at
other villages, where parties of your troops have gone; but knowing the
people as I do, I think it very likely that such an attack may be made.
I myself, a well-wisher of your general and of his great movement, am
convinced that the people can never be raised from their present
condition, so long as we are subject to the government of Naples. I
believe that, with freedom, the island would advance, not only in
prosperity, but in orderly life and all the blessings of civilisation;
and none will hail more heartily than I the establishment of a
constitutional government, such as is enjoyed by that portion of Italy
under the rule of Victor Emmanuel. Still, so long as things exist as
they do in the mountains, it would do more harm than good, were I to
declare my feelings. I speak not of personal danger, but I should lose
all power and influence over my flock; therefore, though heartily
wishing you well, I cannot openly aid you. I shall on Sunday speak from
the pulpit, pointing out that the conduct of your soldiers shows that
the reports that have been circulated regarding them are untrue; that
they come here with no evil intentions towards us, and that I trust when
they retire they will carry with them the good wishes of all; that I
hope above all things, nothing will occur that will cause trouble, still
less evil to our guests, for not only have they given no occasion for
animosity, but if any harm befall them here, we may be sure that their
general at Bronte will send up a strong body of troops, who will
probably burn the village to the ground, and shoot every man they catch.
I should say, signor, that my words would be more likely to have effect
were some of your soldiers, and perhaps one of yourselves, to attend
mass daily; this would show that you were not, as they have been told,
despisers of all religion, and go far to remove the unfavourable
impression with which I cannot deny that you are regarded."

"The suggestion is a good one, sir," Rubini said, "and I will see that
it is carried out. I will come each morning. Captain Percival is an
Englishman, and what you would call a heretic, so he will, I know,
undertake to be on duty about that hour.

"Then we quite understand each other, padre: openly you protest against
our using the church, privately you approve of our doing so?"

"My protest will not be a strong one," the priest said, with a smile;
"indeed, I shall tell my people that, although I have thought it my duty
to protest formally, I cannot but see that it is best that it should be
so, as it will ensure peace and tranquillity in the village, and will do
away with the risks of broils when men sit drinking after dark in
wine-shops."

When the church bell rang for the midday mass, the villagers were
surprised to see Rubini enter the edifice, and that some twenty of his
men straggled in, not as a body ordered to take part in a service, but
as if it was their regular custom as individuals to attend service.
Before the bell ceased ringing, Frank also went in, and sat down by
Rubini; when they left together at the close of a short service Rubini
said, "I did not expect to see you, Percival."

"Why not?" Frank replied: "if there were a Protestant church, of course
I should go to it, but as there is not, I come here. Surely it is better
to say one's prayers in a church of a religion that on all its main
points differs but slightly from our own, than to abstain from going to
church at all. And now, what are we to do with ourselves? I suppose we
can hardly start for a long walk?"

"I should think not," Rubini said grimly--"at least, not without taking
twenty men with us. It is as likely as not that we are watched from the
forest, and if we were to go out alone, we might be pounced upon by
fellows lying in ambush for us, or at best get a bullet through our
head."

"At best?" Frank laughed.

"Certainly at best," Rubini replied gravely. "It would be better to die
with a bullet through one's head than to fall into the hands of these
vindictive scoundrels, who would certainly select some much slower and
more painful way of putting an end to our existence. No, there must be
no walking about beyond the edge of the village."

"Then, in fact, Rubini, our journey up here is to be a mere useless
promenade?"

"I am afraid so. There is only one hope. It may be taken as a fact that
in every band of scoundrels--whether they are robbers or conspirators or
bandits--there are sure to be one or two discontented spirits, men who
think that they ought to have been chosen as chiefs, that their advice
has been slighted, or that their share of the plunder is insufficient;
and should an opportunity occur, men like these are always ready to turn
traitors, if they think that they can do so with safety. I do not
suppose that the bands in these mountains are any exception; indeed, the
chances of dissent are larger than usual, for we may be sure that both
the brigands and these men who have been sent over from the mainland to
foment discontent and create a counter-revolution in favour of a
republic are greatly dissatisfied with the result of their joint
undertaking. The prompt step Garibaldi took in sending Bixio's division
here must have upset all their plans. The guerrillas, no doubt, have
taken a considerable amount of booty; but this could have been done
without the aid of the strangers. The latter counted on doing great
things with the assistance of the brigands. They have failed altogether.
A good many of both sections have been killed; and I should imagine, at
the present time, that there is not much love lost between them.

"It is therefore quite possible that some of these men are perfectly
ready to betray the rest; and I regard it as on the cards that I may get
a message to the effect that one of them will, if promised a pardon and
a handsome reward, conduct us to the rendezvous where the band is
gathered. In that case we should not return empty-handed. In some
respects it is better that we should get at them that way than in any
other; for the knowledge that one of their bands had been destroyed by
treachery on the part of a member would cause a feeling of distrust and
uneasiness in every gang in the mountains. Every man would begin to
suspect every other man of being a traitor; and although the fear of
being either followed or killed, or of being denounced as a traitor and
murdered, perhaps days, perhaps weeks, perhaps even months afterwards,
but certainly some day or other, would keep the bands together, yet they
would lose all heart in the business; quarrels would break out,
desperate fights would take place, and many of their parties would
finally break up; while the others would, for a considerable time at
least, undertake no fresh enterprises."

Four days passed without incident. An hour after sunset the men marched
to the church, the muskets were piled inside, and they were then
permitted to sit on the steps outside smoking and talking until nine
o'clock, when sentries were posted, and the men lay down inside. Late on
the following afternoon, as Rubini with a sergeant was at the end of the
village, a woman, standing half-hidden in some bushes a short distance
away, motioned to him that she wanted to speak to him.

"There might be half a dozen men hidden in that bush," Rubini said. "Let
us turn off and go to that shed, and beckon to her to come to us. If we
stand close to it, no one will see her speaking to us."

The woman hesitated for some time, evidently afraid to leave the shelter
of the bushes. Then, making a sign to Rubini that she would join them
presently, she went back into the wood. In a short time she came out on
the other side and walked a couple of hundred yards away; then she
turned and made a wide circuit, keeping as much as possible in shelter,
and at last joined them. She was a wild-looking creature: her hair was
in disorder; her face bore signs of tears; her clothes were torn in
several places, as if she had run recklessly through a thick wood. She
might have cried as she came; but at present her flushed face, her
fierce eyes, her tightly compressed lips, and her quick breathing, spoke
of passion rather than grief.

"What do you want with me?" Rubini asked.

[Illustration: "IN HER EXCITEMENT SHE FELL ON HER KNEES"]

"I have come to ask for vengeance," the woman panted. "Prato has this
afternoon shot my husband, and for what? Merely because he said that if
the band were not going to do anything, he would return home. That was
all; and Prato drew his pistol and shot him. My Antonio! I cannot
bring him to life again, but I can avenge him. Signor, the band of
Prato, the most merciless and most famous of our chiefs, lies but five
miles away; I will lead you to the place, but you must swear to me that
you will show him no mercy. If you take him prisoner, he will escape: no
judge in the island dare convict him, no jailor would dare keep his door
shut. I must have his life-blood; unless you will swear this I will not
take you to him. As for the others, I care not, but I should like them
all to be killed, for they laughed when Prato shot my Antonio like a
dog; but I bargain not for them. Do as you will with them, but Prato
must die. I ask no reward--I would not touch blood money; I ask only for
vengeance," and in her excitement she fell on her knees, and waving her
arms above her head, poured down a string of maledictions upon the
brigand chief.

"I can promise you that he shall not be taken prisoner," Rubini said.
"The villain has committed a score of murders; but he might escape."

"He will fight to the last," the woman said; "he is a devil, but he is
no coward. But he would find it difficult to escape. His fires are lit
at the foot of a crag, and if you approach him on both sides and in
front, he must fight."

"How many men has he?"

"Thirty-seven, counting himself, signor; but you will take them by
surprise, and can shoot down many before they can fire a shot."

"What do you think, Zippo?" Rubini asked, drawing his comrade two or
three paces aside. "The man is one of the most notorious brigands in the
mountains. There has been a big reward offered for him, dead or alive,
for years past; it would be a grand service if we could destroy him and
his band, and we should earn the gratitude of all the towns and villages
below there."

"Yes, it would be a grand exploit," the sergeant said eagerly, "for us
to accomplish what the Neapolitan troops and carabinieri have so long
failed to do. Per Baccho, 'tis a glorious stroke of luck."

"That is what I think," Rubini said. Then he went to the woman. "We are
ready to aid you to avenge your husband," he said. "You know your way
through the forest in the dark?"

"I know it well. Prato's band has been in this neighbourhood for months
past, and I have been in here scores of times to buy provisions. There
are two or three paths by which you might go, and I know all of them; if
you like you can carry a lantern until you are within half a mile of
them. The forest goes well-nigh up to the cliff."

"I will not start till nine o'clock," Rubini said. "At that time my men
withdraw into the church; but we can move out by the door of the vestry
behind, and no one in the village will dream that any of us have left
the place. Will you be at that door five minutes after the clock
strikes?"

"I will be there," the woman said fiercely, turning and shaking her fist
in the direction from which she had come.

As Frank was strolling up the street he met the two friends, for Zippo
was a cousin of the captain.

"I have some very important news to give you, Percival," Rubini said, as
they met him; "but I won't tell you here, for the people loitering about
might notice that I was talking seriously, and suspect that something
out of the way had occurred. Let us walk down quietly to the other end
of the village, and out of earshot of any of the houses; until we get
there let us chat of other matters. Your arm still goes on well?"

"It could not be better. Five or six days of this mountain air has done
me no end of good. I have not felt a single twinge in my arm, and I
believe I could use it for all ordinary purposes now with perfect
safety."

"That is a pretty little child, isn't she, if her face were but clean? I
should doubt if it has ever been really washed. I should certainly say
that her hair has never been combed. There: the little beggar knows we
are speaking of her. Did you see how she scowled? She has evidently
picked up the popular sentiment concerning us."

When fairly beyond the village Rubini told his story. "It will be
splendid," he said. "Why, the capture of Prato would cause almost as
much sensation in Sicily as the taking of Palermo!"

"Yes, it would be a grand thing," Frank agreed; "but are you quite sure,
Rubini, that her story is a true one, and not a feint to draw you into
an ambush?"

"I am perfectly convinced of the woman's earnestness, Percival, and so
would you have been had you seen her. Do you not agree with me, Zippo?"

"Certainly. I have not the slightest doubt in my mind as to the fact
that she was speaking the truth."

"Well, if you are both perfectly satisfied," Frank said, "there can be
no doubt that it would be a great service to destroy this fellow's band.
How many men do you propose to take with you?"

"I should certainly take as strong a force as possible. These brigands
are desperate fellows when cornered."

"Well, there would be no occasion to leave many men with me," Frank
said; "as you would no doubt get away unnoticed, it would be supposed
that the whole force is as usual in the church. If you leave me five
good men I shall be quite satisfied, and when you have gone we will
barricade the doors, and could hold out stoutly for a long time. There
is very little woodwork about the place, and if we were driven into the
belfry they could not burn us out. However, it might be a wise
precaution if you were to tell three or four of your men to buy a couple
of loaves apiece and a skin of wine; as it will be dusk before they go
as usual to the church steps, they could bring these with them without
being noticed."

"I will do as you suggest, Percival, but I really think that you are
carrying precaution beyond what is necessary."

"It will not be an expensive precaution," Frank replied, with a smile.

"Then you think five men would be sufficient?" Rubini asked.

"So far as I am concerned, I do not see why you should not take them
all. I was ordered to assume the command of any men left here, but that
did not imply that your force was always to be broken up; certainly I am
willing to remain here by myself. I would infinitely rather go with you,
but a night march through a dark forest would be more serious for me
than going into a pitched battle, for if I were to trip and fall, I
should certainly smash my arm again. I do not see why you should leave
any here: five men or even ten would be of no great use, and for a
business like yours every musket may be of advantage. I shall certainly
feel very anxious about you while you are away. I can quite believe
that, as you say, the woman was perfectly in earnest; but when she was
missed from that camp, after the murder of her husband, the suspicion
that she had come here to tell us where they were encamped might very
well occur to them, and you might find them vigilant and prepared for
you."

"That may be so," Rubini agreed. "Well, then, as the villagers here will
not know that we have left until we are back again, I think I will take
forty-five men and leave you with five. You shall pick the men."

"I should like to have Sarto and Maffio, if you can spare them; as to
the other three I leave it to you entirely."

"Yes; you can have those two. They are both thoroughly good men, as well
as good fellows; as for the others, I will pick you out three of the
best of those who last joined us. I should like as many of the old hands
with me as possible, for I know that they will keep their heads,
whatever happens."

It was not until the men were all gathered round the church door, as
usual, that Rubini told them of the expedition on which they were about
to start. The news excited general satisfaction. There had been little
doing since Palermo was taken, and the old hands were all eager for the
fray, while those who had more recently joined burned to show that they
were worthy to be comrades of Garibaldi's first followers.

At nine o'clock all came into the church as usual, and ten minutes later
the detachment, with the exception of Frank's little command, moved
silently out through the vestry door.

"So we are to stay behind with you?" Sarto said, as he and Maffio joined
Frank, who had taken a seat and was thinking over the course that should
be pursued if Rubini's enterprise turned out badly. "Rubini said that
you specially asked for us, which was no doubt a compliment, but one
which, if you don't mind our saying so, we would gladly have dispensed
with. It will be a nuisance indeed watching here all night, while the
others are engaged in a business quite after our own heart."

"I was sure that you would feel rather annoyed," Frank said; "but I
should not have liked to be here without at least two men on whom I know
I can rely to the last."

"But what can there be for us to do?" Sarto asked, in some surprise at
the tone in which Frank spoke.

"I don't know; that is just what I don't know, Sarto. I acknowledge that
I by no means like this expedition. Rubini and Zippo are both certain
that this woman is acting in perfect good faith. I did not see her, and
therefore I can only take their opinion, but she may have been only
acting. You know how passionate these women are; and it seems to me
possible that, thinking what she would have done had her husband been
shot by Prato, she might have worked herself up into such a state that
no one could doubt the reality of her story. Of course, I do not say
that it was so--I only say that it was possible. In the next place, even
if her story is perfectly true, she may have been seen to leave the
camp, or, if she passed out unobserved by any of them, her absence would
be noticed, and she might be followed and her interview with Rubini
observed; and in that case the band may either have moved away when they
got the news, or, what is more likely, be prepared to attack Rubini's
column on its way. I mentioned the possibility to Rubini that the
woman's absence might have been noticed and the band be uneasy in
consequence, and on the look-out; and although it in no way shook his
determination to take advantage of her offer, he would, I am sure, take
every precaution in his power. Still, there is no saying how things
will turn out. It may be that, if the brigands anticipate an attack,
they may by this time have sent to another party to tell them that the
greater part of our detachment will be away, and invite them to come and
finish with the men left here, while they themselves tackle those who
have gone out against them."

"It certainly looks possible in the way you put it," Maffio said,
"though I hope it may not turn out so. However, I see that we shall, at
any rate, have something to think about while they are away. So that is
what that bread and wine you brought in was for? Rubini asked us, and
two others, to bring in a couple of loaves each, and the other to bring
in a skin of wine; of course, we thought that it was for the use of the
expedition."

"I asked him to do so, Maffio. He rather laughed at the idea, but it
seemed to me possible that they might be of use here while he was away;
and at any rate I will guarantee that the food shall not be wasted."

"Six of us, including yourself, could not hold this church long?"

"Not against a great effort. But even if they should take advantage of
the absence of part of our force to attack us, they would not know how
strong a party had been left behind, and would be cautious for a bit;
but I do not suppose that we should be able to resist a determined
onslaught. I thought that we might take to the tower: we could hold that
for hours."

"Yes; we could do that," Sarto said confidently. "Well, I don't at all
suppose that we are going to be disturbed, but it is a satisfaction to
feel that we are not altogether out of the affair."

As usual, a dozen candles had been lighted in different parts of the
church as soon as it was dark. The three Genoese, who had joined the
company after the capture of Palermo, looked sulky and downcast at being
left behind, and Frank called to them.

"I have no doubt that you are disappointed, gentlemen," he said; "but
you should really take it as a compliment. I asked Captain Rubini to
leave me, in addition to my two friends here, the three best men he
could pick out from those who had not formed part of the original force,
and I have no doubt that he has done so. I may tell you that I consider
it possible, I do not say probable, that we may be attacked, and we will
first see what steps should be taken in that case. I have not been up to
the tower: have any of you?"

None of them had mounted there.

"Then let us investigate," he said.

The campanile stood at the north-west corner of the church; it had an
exterior door, and another opening into the church. Taking a couple of
candles, they entered by the latter, and mounted a stone staircase
leading to the lower story of the tower; beyond this a wooden staircase
led to the rough wooden floor under the bells, and another to the flat
terrace above.

"The first thing to do," Frank said, "is to block up the outside door;
at any rate, let us have a look at it." It was roughly made, but very
strong. "The door is well enough, but I doubt whether this lock would
not give under heavy blows."

"We might pile chairs behind it," Sarto suggested.

"I would rather not do that, if we can help it," Frank replied. "They
may burn the door down, and the less combustibles there are the better;
however, if we can find nothing else, we must use them."

Nothing could be found, and Frank then said, "I think that we can manage
with one chair."

The others looked puzzled.

"We will cut up the legs and back into six-inch pieces, sharpen them
into wedges, and drive them in all round the door: I think that would
withstand any battering until the door itself splintered."

They all fell to work at once, and in a quarter of an hour a score of
wedges were driven in.

"Now we will do the same at the bottom of the church door itself, and
put in a few as high as we can reach on each side; that will detain them
some time before it yields."

When this was done, Sarto said, "What next, Percival?"

"The only other thing to be done in the way of defence is to carry all
the chairs upstairs to the first story of the tower, to make a barricade
there," Maffio remarked.

"Yes, we might make a barricade of them half way up the stairs, but my
main object is to get rid of them here. If they found they could not
storm the stairs, they might pile all the chairs in the middle of the
church and set them on fire--they are the only things that will burn;
and although the flames would scarcely mount to the roof, sparks would
fly up, and as there is sure to be a lot of dust and soot on the beams
there, which might catch fire, we should be burnt out."

"Well, at any rate there will be no great trouble in doing that," Sarto
said; "though I should hardly think that they would attempt to burn the
church down. The brigands have no respect for life, but they are not
without their superstitions, and might be afraid to burn a church,
though they would cut half a dozen throats without a scruple."

"Yes; but a portion of the band are no doubt composed of revolutionists
from the mainland--fellows who have no scruples of any sort, and who, as
the men of the same kind did in Paris seventy years ago, would desecrate
a church in every conceivable manner, for, as a rule, they hate religion
as they hate authority."

The chairs were accordingly carried up and stowed on the wooden floor
beneath the bells.

"Now," Frank said, "I should like to see how this ladder is fastened,
and if we can move it."

This, however, they found would be well-nigh impossible. It was over
thirty feet from the stone floor to the next story, while that in which
the bells hung was but some twenty feet. The ladder was very solid and
heavy, and as only two could get at it from above, it could not be
lifted up that way.

"We can manage it," Frank said, after thinking for a minute. "We can
pull the bell ropes up through their holes, and fasten them somewhere
above the middle of the ladder; then, with three of us pulling on each,
we could certainly raise it without much difficulty. We should not have
to pull it very high--six feet would be ample. If they want to smoke us
out, they must bring wood from outside, which will not be easy to do
under our fire. Now we will leave one on watch above. He shall be
relieved every hour. Do you take the first watch, Pedro. If you hear any
stir in the village below, come down and tell us at once; but, above
all, listen for distant firing. It is five miles to the spot where the
bandits are, but on a still night like this it would certainly be heard
here."

He and the other four men then descended to the first floor. Here those
who were to take the next turn of duty said, "If you do not want us
further, captain, we will sit here and light our pipes, if you have no
objection."

"No objection at all. I don't think that I should like to smoke myself
in the church below, but that is a matter of opinion; but certainly no
one could object to its being done in this detached tower."

Then, with Sarto and Maffio, he went down into the church.



CHAPTER XII.

AN AMBUSCADE.


"The others will have the laugh at us when they come back," Sarto said.

"That will in no way trouble me," Frank said. "It has given us a couple
of hours' work, and it has passed the time away. If all has gone well,
we shall hear the firing very soon; we may be sure that they won't be
able to go fast through the wood, especially as they will have to be
careful not to make any noise. Of course, it is all up hill too, and
will be as dark as pitch under the trees; they will have almost to crawl
along the last mile. I should not be surprised if it were another hour
before they are in position to attack. And now that we are prepared to
repel any attack upon us, and to hold out, if necessary, for three days
or even more on the provisions we have got, we ought to consider another
alternative."

"What other alternative can there be?" Maffio asked.

"Let us suppose--and it is as well to suppose the worst--that Rubini
falls into an ambush. It makes no difference whether the woman leads him
into one, or whether she has been trapped and the ambush laid without
her knowledge. Suppose that they are ambushed and that none of them get
back here?"

An exclamation broke from the others.

"I said that we will suppose the worst," Frank went on. "This man
Prato, who is an old hand at such matters, would not improbably, if he
expected that Rubini would come to attack him, have at once sent off to
another band, or to men who sometimes act with him, and instead of their
meeting thirty-eight men, they may meet sixty. In that case we might
calculate that a third of Rubini's force would fall at the first volley;
there they would be in the forest, without a guide, in the dark,
surrounded by twice their number of men well acquainted with the place,
and accustomed to traversing it at night. Now I ask you frankly, do you
think that many of them, or, indeed, any of them, would be likely to get
back here? They might not all be killed; some might hide in the woods,
and make their way down the mountain to-morrow, but the chance of any of
them returning here seems to me to be small indeed, if things turn out
as I have been saying."

"But you don't think, you can't think, Percival----" Sarto said, in a
tone of horror.

"I don't say that I think so, Sarto. I only say that it seems to me to
be possible; and, situated as we are, it is always as well to see what,
if even the most unlikely thing takes place, could be done. Let us
suppose that the detachment has been cut to pieces: what is our look-out
here? We can defend the place, or rather we can defend ourselves, for
three or four days; but what would be the benefit of that? If the news
got down to Bronte, it would be necessary to send two or three companies
up here to rescue us. If, as is very probable, no news got down there,
we should have to surrender; and we know what that would mean,
especially as, assuredly, we should have killed a good many of the
brigands in the course of the fighting. Thus, then, nothing would be
gained by our resistance. I was appointed to command that portion of
troops left here, in case of Rubini going away in pursuit of brigands
with the rest. I do not suppose that it was ever contemplated that only
five men would be left behind, still that does not alter the case. The
idea was, that the village might be attacked during the absence of part
of the force, and that those here should maintain themselves until
Rubini returned. But in the event of such a disaster as we are
supposing, so far from there being any advantage in holding this church,
it would be a serious disadvantage; for we should risk our lives without
any point whatever in our doing so."

"That is certainly true; but in that case, why should we have made these
preparations for defence?"

"Simply because we hope, and have every reason to hope, that Rubini will
return, and we are prepared to hold out until he does so. But, once
assured that the detachment will not come back, the whole matter is
changed."

"But how are we to be assured?"

"Ah! that is a very difficult question to answer. As long as there is
the slightest possibility of any part, however small, of the detachment
returning, we are bound to hold on here. But, when can we feel certain
that this will not be the case, our duty would be to consult our own
safety by retreating if possible to Bronte."

At this moment the sentry on the campanile ran in.

"I heard a sudden outburst of firing, Captain Percival, and it is
continuing."

Followed by all the others, Frank ran up to the top of the tower. There
was no doubt that a tough fight was going on: the reports of the muskets
came in quick succession; sometimes there would be a short pause, and
then half a dozen shots would ring out close together.

For three or four minutes not a word was spoken; then, as the reports
became less frequent, Sarto exclaimed, "It is nearly over: Rubini has
done his work."

Frank was silent, and Sarto added, "Do you not think so, Percival?"

"I hope so," Frank replied, "but I am very much afraid that it is not
so. Had Rubini taken the brigands completely by surprise, there would
have been one crashing volley, then he would have rushed in with the
bayonet, and it would have been all over in two minutes. Some of the
brigands might have escaped, but there can have been no pursuit, for in
the darkness in the forest there would have been no chance whatever of
overtaking men perfectly familiar with it. No, I think that they have
failed in taking them by surprise, and if they did fail to do so, the
brigands would either have moved off, in which case there would have
been no fight at all, or have laid an ambush for our party, which would
account for the heavy firing we have heard. Whether the ambush was
successful, or whether Rubini has beaten his assailants off, is
uncertain."

The others saw the justness of his reasoning, and remained silent. An
occasional shot was still heard.

"What do you think that means?" Maffio asked--for both he and Sarto were
beginning to feel a profound respect for the opinion of their companion.

"It means, of course, that one party or the other is pursuing fugitives,
and I am afraid that it is a bad sign, for, as I have just said, our men
would hardly try and chase these brigands through the wood they know
very well."

They waited another five minutes. Still shots were occasionally heard.

The conviction that Frank's worst anticipations had been but too surely
verified, forced itself upon the others.

"Will you stay here a short time longer?" Frank said to the others; "I
will go down into the church. I should like to think over quietly what
we had best do."

He walked up and down the church. It was a tremendous responsibility for
a lad not yet seventeen to bear. Some of Rubini's party had escaped, and
might be making their way back in hopes of finding shelter and safety.
What would be their feelings if they arrived and found the party gone?
On the other hand, defend themselves as well as they might, six men must
finally succumb before a determined attack by a large party of ruffians
exulting over their victory and thirsting for complete vengeance. But by
the time his companions returned from above he had made up his mind as
to the plan that had best be adopted.

"We will take a middle course," he said. "We will leave the church, and
conceal ourselves within a short distance of the door into the vestry.
One of us must hide close to it, so that if any of our comrades come up
and knock at the door for admission, he can bring them to us. We can
then learn what has happened. If even eight or ten have escaped, we will
return to the church and hold it; if only one or two, we will, when the
brigands arrive and there is no chance of others coming, start for
Bronte."

"That is a capital plan," Sarto exclaimed; and a murmur from the others
showed that they too warmly approved.

"There is no hurry," Frank went on. "We will eat a good meal before we
start, then there will be no occasion to burden ourselves with
provisions. Before leaving, we will light fresh candles: there are four
or five pounds in the vestry. We will leave four alight in each floor of
the tower, and the rest in different parts of the church, so that, when
the brigands do arrive, they will think that we are watchful and well
prepared for them. It is not likely they will know exactly what strength
Rubini had with him, but will think that we have at least ten or twelve
men with us, and will be sure to hesitate a little before they make an
attack. They will take some little time to burst in the great doors; and
even the door of the vestry is strong enough to bear a good deal of
battering before they break that in, so that we shall get a good long
start of them. Of course they may pursue, but we can keep on the road
for the first half-mile, and then turn off and make our way through the
forest. We can't go very far wrong, as it is always a descent; besides,
for aught they will know, we may have been gone a couple of hours before
they get here. I think in that way we shall have done our duty to our
comrades, and at the same time secured our own safety, for we have no
right to throw away our lives when we can still do some work for Italy."

"It could not be better," Maffio said. "In that way we shall have the
consolation of knowing that none of our friends, who have been wounded,
have dragged themselves here after we had left only to find that they
were deserted; while on the other hand it does away with the necessity
of our throwing away our lives altogether uselessly. I revert to my
former idea, Percival. If ever I have sons, I will send them to one of
your great schools in England. It is clear that the life there and your
rough games make men of you."

They first sat down and ate a hearty meal of bread and wine, and then
fresh candles were lighted and placed as Frank had directed. Then they
left the church, locking the vestry door behind them. Sarto lay down
behind a tombstone ten yards from the door, and the others took their
places behind the low wall that ran round the church-yard. After waiting
an hour Frank returned to Sarto.

"I am going," he said, "to conceal myself at the end of the village,
close enough to the road to hear anything that is said by people coming
along. If, as I hope, they may be some of our men, I will join them and
bring them on here, if not I will make my way here at once, and will
give a low whistle. Directly you hear me, retire and join us. It will
give us a few minutes' extra time, for you may be sure that when they
see the church lighted up, those who first arrive will wait for the rest
before running the risk of a shot from the tower. When all are gathered
no doubt there will be a good deal of talk as to how they had best
attack it."

Leaving Sarto, Frank made his way through the gardens until he arrived
at the end of the village, and then sat down behind a low wall, close to
the road. In half an hour he heard footsteps, and judged that six or
eight men were coming from the forest.

"There is no doubt they are on the watch there," one of them said; "the
windows in the tower are lit up,--we shall have some work to do before
we finish with them. They fought bravely--I will say that for them; and
although half their number fell at our first volley, they killed eight
or ten of our men, and wounded as many more, before, when there were
only about half a dozen of them left, they broke through us and ran. It
was lucky that Phillipo's band arrived in time, for notwithstanding the
surprise, I doubt whether we should have beaten them, had we been alone.
It was a good thought of Prato to send young Vico to follow that woman,
and that he saw her talking to the officer."

Frank could hear no more, but rising quietly, he retraced his steps at a
run, and as soon as he joined his companions gave a low whistle, which
in a minute brought Sarto to his side.

"It is as I feared," he said: "they laid an ambush for Rubini, and shot
down half his men at once; the rest kept together and fought till all
but six or seven were killed, and these burst through them and took to
flight; and I am afraid that those shots we heard told that some even of
these were overtaken and killed. Now let us be going; there were only
about eight men in the party who first came along, and we may be sure
that nothing will be attempted until the rest arrive. The men had
noticed our lights in the tower, and evidently expected that we should
sell our lives dearly; at any rate, we can calculate upon at least half
an hour before they break into the church and find that we have left."

They were obliged to go cautiously before they gained the road beyond
the village, and then they broke into a trot.

"Half an hour will mean something like four miles," Frank said; "and as
it is not likely that they can run much faster than we are going, we may
safely calculate that they will not overtake us for over an hour after
they do start, and by that time we shall be well within five miles of
Bronte. Indeed, with the slope in our favour, I am not sure that we may
not calculate upon reaching the town itself; they certainly ought not to
be able to run fifteen miles while we are running eleven."

"If they do we should deserve to be caught," Maffio said; "but I should
think that they would not follow us far, as, for anything they can tell,
we may have left the church a couple of hours ago."

There were few words spoken as they ran steadily along. The thought of
the slaughter of so many of their friends oppressed them all, and the
fact that they had personally escaped was, at present, a small
consolation. Frank had not been long enough with the company to make the
acquaintance of many of the men, but he felt the loss of Rubini
extremely. At Genoa, during the voyage, and on the march to Palermo,
they had been constantly together, and the older man had treated him
with as much cordiality and kindness as if he had been a young brother.
Frank regretted now that he had not even more strongly urged his doubts
as to the expediency of the expedition, though he felt that, even had he
done so, his remonstrances would have been unavailing, so convinced were
Rubini and Zippo of the sincerity and good faith of the woman. As it
seemed, in this respect they had been right, and he had not pressed more
strongly upon them the probability of her being followed when she left
the brigands after the murder of her husband. It was so natural a thing
that this should be so, that he wondered it had not struck him at once.
Had he urged the point, Rubini might have listened to him, and his fatal
expedition might not have taken place.

It seemed to him a heartbreaking affair, and as he ran he wiped away
more than one tear that ran down his cheeks. After keeping on at the
same speed for three or four miles, Frank heard, by the hard breathing
of his companions, that their powers were failing; he himself was
running quite easily, his school training being of good service to him,
and after the long runs at hare and hounds across country, four miles
down hill was a trifle to him. He had, too, the advantage of not having
to carry a musket and ammunition.

"We had better walk for a few hundred yards and get our breath again,"
he said. And the order was thankfully obeyed.

"Are you ready to trot on?" he asked, five minutes later; and on a
general assent being given, they again broke into a run.

The more he thought of it, the more persuaded Frank was that no pursuit
would be set on foot. Doubtless, the first step of the brigands would be
to surround the church, and to place strong parties at both doors; they
would therefore know that the church must have been deserted for at
least half an hour before they obtained an entry, while possibly it
might have been two or three hours before; so on finding the place empty
their impulse would be to go to the wine-shops and celebrate their
victory, rather than to start upon a pursuit which offered small
prospects indeed of success. Every few minutes they halted for a moment
to listen for the sound of pursuing feet, but everything was still and
quiet; and so confident did they become as to their safety, that the
last three or four miles down into Bronte were performed at a walk.

"I must go and report to Bixio," Frank said, as they entered the town.
"You had better find a shelter somewhere."

"There is no occasion for that," Maffio replied. "The sky has been
getting lighter for some little time, and it must be nearly five
o'clock. It was past two when we started."

"I will wait for another half-hour," Frank said, "before I rouse Bixio;
he is always out by six, and bad news will keep."

Shortly before that hour he went to the general's quarters. The house
was already astir.

"The general will be down in a few minutes, captain," an orderly said.
"I called him a quarter of an hour ago."

In two or three minutes Bixio came down.

"Have you any news?" he asked hastily, when he saw Frank, whose downcast
face struck him at once.

"Yes, general; and very bad news."

"Come in here," Bixio said, opening the door of a sitting-room. "Now,
what is it?"

"I grieve to have to report, sir, that I have arrived here with only
Sarto, Maffio, and three other men of the detachment, and that I fear
Captain Rubini and the whole of the rest of the men have been killed."

Bixio started. "All killed!" he repeated, almost incredulously. "I trust
that you are mistaken. What has happened?"

Frank briefly related the circumstances.

"This is sad indeed--terrible," the general said, when he had brought
his story to a conclusion. "Rubini's loss is a grievous one; he was a
good officer, and was greatly liked and trusted by us all; there were
good men, too, among his company. He had fifteen men of the thousand
among them. And you say this woman did not betray them?"

"No; the men I overheard, distinctly said that she was a traitress, and
as soon as she was missed by them she was followed, and her meeting with
the officer observed."

"But what took you out beyond the village, Captain Percival? You have
told me the main facts of this most unfortunate expedition: please give
me the full details of what you did after they had left, and how you
came to escape."

"I felt uneasy from the first," Frank said. "Directly Rubini told me
about the woman, I suggested that she might be merely acting a part, in
order to lead them into an ambuscade; but both Rubini and Zippo, who was
with him when he met her, were absolutely convinced of her good faith.

"I also suggested that, even if they were right, the woman might
possibly have been followed. Her disappearance after the murder of her
husband would be almost certain to excite suspicion that she intended to
avenge herself by bringing our detachment down upon them. I communicated
this suspicion to Sarto and Maffio, and we at once set to work to make
the church defensible."

He then related in detail the measures they had taken, and how he became
convinced, by the sound of the distant conflict, that Rubini and his
party had fallen into the ambuscade and been destroyed.

"For some time I could not make up my mind what course to adopt, sir: we
might have defended the tower for two or three days; but it was by no
means certain--in fact, it was very improbable--that anything of what
was going on would reach your ears. On the other hand, I could not
withdraw my little party, as, even if my worst suspicions were correct,
some of Rubini's men might have escaped and might make their way back to
the church." He then proceeded to explain the plan he had adopted, and
how it had been carried out. "I do not know whether I have acted
rightly," he concluded. "It was a terrible responsibility, but I can
only say that I consulted with Sarto and Maffio, who have had far more
experience than I, and that they both approved of my plan. I hope,
general, you do not think that I was wrong."

"Certainly not--certainly not. Your position was a most difficult one,
and your preparations for defence were excellent; the alternatives that
you had to choose between when you became convinced that Rubini had been
defeated were equally painful. If you stayed and defended the place, I
may almost say you would have thrown away the lives of yourself and the
five men with you. If you went, any wounded men straggling back from the
forest would have found neither friends nor refuge. The middle course
you adopted was admirable. You would at once have saved any poor fellows
who might arrive, while you ensured the safety of your little party. By
illuminating the church you secured for yourself a long start; and by
going out so as to overhear the conversation of the first party of
brigands who entered the village, you were able to assure yourself that
it was useless staying longer in hopes of any survivors of the
expedition coming in.

"I have received a message from Garibaldi, ordering me to move to
Taormina, on the sea-coast. He has defeated Bosco at Milazzo; and the
Neapolitan general and his troops have been permitted to take ship for
Naples. He said that if I had not concluded my work here I could remain
for another week, as it would probably be a considerable time before the
preparations made for invading Calabria were completed. I was intending
to send off some messengers this morning to recall all the outlying
detachments. That I shall do still; but I shall certainly remain here
three or four days longer, in the hope that some of Rubini's party may
have escaped. If I thought there was the smallest chance of laying hands
on this scoundrel Prato and his band, I would march with a couple of
hundred men into the mountains. But we may be sure that he did not stop
more than an hour or two at the village, after he learned that your
party had escaped; and by to-morrow morning they may be fifty miles
away, on the other side of Etna. However, as soon as our affair is
over, I shall urge upon Garibaldi the necessity for sending a strong
force into the mountains to put down brigandage, and especially to
destroy Prato's band."

The disaster that had befallen Rubini's column cast a great gloom over
the brigade: not a man but would gladly have undergone any amount of
fatigue to avenge his comrades; but all felt the impossibility of
searching the great tract of forest which extended over the larger part
of the slopes of Etna. Bixio however, determined to send off a strong
party to find and bury the dead, and two hours later a detachment a
hundred strong left Bronte. Their orders were to attack the brigands if
they found them in the village; if they had left, however, they were not
to pursue. They were to sleep there, and in the morning to compel two or
three of the villagers to guide them to the scene of conflict, where
they were to find and bury the dead. Every precaution was to be
observed, although it was regarded as certain that the brigands would
not have remained so near the village, but would only stop there a few
hours, and then place as great a distance as possible between it and
them.

Frank had offered to accompany the party, but Bixio refused to allow him
to do so.

"You have had a sleepless night, and the anxiety you have suffered is
quite sufficient excitement for a convalescent. You could do no good by
going there, and had best lie down and take a few hours' sleep."

Before the party started Frank asked the captain in command to see if
his horse had been carried off. "It was in a shed adjoining the priest's
house," he said; "and it may still be there. The brigands would not be
likely to make many inquiries; and when they discovered that we had
gone, probably made off directly they had eaten their supper; for had
we, as might have been the case so far as they knew, started for Bronte
soon after Rubini left, it would have been possible for reinforcements
to reach the village within an hour of daybreak. Even if one of the
villagers told them that the horse was there--which is not likely, for
the whole place must have been in a ferment at the news--the brigands
may not have cared to carry it off, as it would be useless to them in a
journey over ground covered with forest and broken up by ravines and
gorges."

The detachment returned two days later, bringing with it, to Frank's
satisfaction, his horse and saddlery. They had been to the scene of the
conflict, and had found and buried all the bodies with the exception of
a few, who must either have escaped or have been killed at a
considerable distance from the spot where they were attacked. The
brigands had, as Frank had expected, left the village before daybreak.
They had on arriving opened fire at the windows of the church; and a
quarter of an hour later, finding that no reply was made, had
endeavoured to force an entry. The great door, however, had defied their
efforts, and when at last they obtained access by breaking in the door
of the vestry, more than an hour had been wasted. The discovery that the
church was untenanted had greatly disappointed and disquieted them, and
after carousing for a short time they hastily left.

Early on the day after the return of Frank and his comrades, one of the
missing party reached the town: he was utterly worn out and broken down,
having apparently wandered for thirty-six hours in the forest in a state
of semi-delirium. He had at last quite accidentally stumbled upon a
small village, and after being fed and cared for, had been brought down
to Bronte in a cart. He was, he said, convinced that he was the only
survivor of the fight. The party had arrived within, as they believed, a
quarter of a mile of the brigands' lurking-place, when a whistle was
heard, and from the trees on both sides of the narrow path a volley was
fired, and half at least of the party dropped. Rubini, he believed, was
among those who fell; at least he did not hear his voice afterwards.
Zippo had rallied the men, who, gathering together, endeavoured to fight
their way through their assailants.

What the effect of their fire was, he could not tell, but his comrades
dropped fast, and when there were but a few left, they threw down their
muskets and rushed headlong into the forest. They scattered in various
directions, but were hotly pursued; several shots were fired at him, but
they all missed. After running for half an hour he flung himself down in
a clump of undergrowth. He had heard, as he ran, other shots, and had no
doubt that his companions were all killed. He lay where he was until
morning, and then tried to find his way down to Bronte, but he had no
distinct recollection of what had happened after he left the bushes,
until he found that wine was being poured down his throat, and that he
was surrounded by a group of pitying women.

The fury of the Garibaldians, on their arrival from the various villages
at which they had been posted, when they heard of the slaughter of their
friends, was extreme; and many of the officers begged the general to
allow them to make one effort to find and punish the brigands, but Bixio
refused.

"We have a far greater business on our hands," he said. "Italy has to
be freed. The first blow has been struck, and must be followed up at
once; brigandage can wait--it is an old sore, a disgrace to a civilised
country; but Italy once freed, this can be taken in hand. We might spend
weeks, or even months, before we could lay hands on Prato's band; the
villagers and woodmen would keep them informed of every movement we
made, while not only should we gain no information, but all would be
interested in putting us upon the wrong track. It is not to be thought
of. Moreover, I have Garibaldi's orders to march to Taormina, and if we
had lost five hundred men instead of fifty, I should obey that order,
much as I should regret being obliged to march away and leave the
massacre unavenged."

The day after the fugitive had arrived, the force left Bronte. The
mountainous nature of the country to the north prevented a direct march
towards Taormina. They therefore took the road round the foot of Etna,
through Bandazza to Gairre, which lay nearly due east of Bronte, and
then followed the line along the coast to Taormina. Here the troops were
halted, while Bixio, with Frank and a small escort, rode on to Messina,
as the general wished to confer with Garibaldi, and to ascertain how the
preparations for the invasion of Calabria were proceeding.



CHAPTER XIII.

ACROSS THE STRAITS.


Garibaldi had, on entering Messina, been received with tremendous
enthusiasm, and at once, while waiting for the reinforcements now
pouring in, set himself to work to improve the condition of affairs in
the town. He had taken up his abode in the royal palace, where he
retained all the servants of the former viceroy, considering that it
would be unjust to dismiss them. He ordered, however, that his own
dinner was to consist only of some soup, a plate of meat, and some
vegetables. The large subscriptions that flowed in from Italy and other
countries were entirely devoted to public service, as had been the money
taken in the treasury at Palermo; the general allowed himself only, as
pay, eight francs a day, and this was always spent before breakfast; for
although at Messina, as at Palermo, he endeavoured to clear the streets
of beggars, he himself was never able to resist an appeal, and no sooner
had he sauntered out in the morning than his eight francs melted away
among the children and infirm persons who flocked round him.

He received Frank on his arrival with real pleasure, and congratulated
him upon having so completely recovered from the effects of his wound.

"There is plenty for you to do," he said; "almost every hour ships bring
me volunteers from all parts. Arrangements have to be made for
bestowing and feeding these. We found a considerable supply of tents
here, but they are now occupied, and all arrivals henceforth will have
to be quartered on the citizens or in the villages near the town. A list
will be given to you, every morning, of persons who are willing to
receive them, and a mark will be made against the names of those of a
better sort, among whom the officers will be quartered. I beg that you
will act in concert with Concini and Peruzzi, and as the troops land
give them their billets, and in the case of officers conduct them to the
houses where they are to be lodged. Of course you yourself will take up
your abode here; there is an abundance of room, and I will order the
servants to set aside a comfortable chamber for you. All who are in the
palace take their early breakfast here, the rest of their meals they
take in the town. I have enemies enough, and I do not wish it to be said
that we are spending the funds so generously subscribed for us in
feasting in the palace. In the evening, you know, you will always be
welcome here."

It was, of course, too late in the day for Frank's work to begin; but
later on he again went to the room where Garibaldi was chatting with
several of his staff.

"Bixio has been telling me of your adventure," Garibaldi said: "it was a
sad business. The death of Rubini is a grievous loss to me. He fought
most gallantly in the Alps, and distinguished himself greatly since we
landed here; he was a true patriot, and I shall miss him sorely. Others
there were who died with him, whom I also greatly regret. The one
redeeming point in the affair is, as Bixio has been telling me, the
admirable way in which you succeeded in saving the little party of whom
you were in command. He has detailed the matter in full to me, and the
oldest head could not have made better preparations for defence, or
better hit upon a plan by which you might at once save any stragglers of
Rubini's detachment who might return, and at the same time ensure the
safety of the five men with you. There will be a steamer going to
Marseilles in the morning, and it will be a pleasure to me to again
write to your mother, saying how well you have done, and how completely
you have recovered from your wound. The last time I wrote, although I
had as warm a praise to give of your conduct, I abstained from telling
her that you were seriously wounded. No doubt you would give her full
particulars in your own letters."

Frank's duties, in the way of billeting the troops as they arrived, were
of short duration. So rapidly did crowds of volunteers arrive from the
north of Italy, that it was found impossible to house them in Messina.
Many were sent off to outlying villages; thousands bivouacked on the
sandy shore. Garibaldi himself went across to Sardinia, and returned
with two thousand five hundred men who had been gathered there for a
descent upon the coast of the Papal States. The Italian government had,
however, vetoed this movement, and had promised that their own troops
should, when the time came, perform this portion of the operations. The
port was crowded with shipping. By the convention that had been agreed
upon between Garibaldi on his entrance to Messina, and the Neapolitan
general who commanded the force that occupied the citadel, it was
arranged that the sea should be open to both parties; and the singular
spectacle was presented of the Neapolitan navy looking quietly on while
ships arrived loaded with troops for Garibaldi, while the Sardinian
ships-of-war viewed with equal indifference the arrival of
reinforcements to the garrison of the citadel.

Garibaldi's force had now increased to over twenty-five thousand men; of
these but five thousand were Sicilians, the rest, with the exception of
a few French and English volunteers, coming from Northern Italy. Here
the enthusiasm caused by the conquest of Sicily was unbounded. The
universities had all closed their doors, the students having left in a
body; and among the volunteers were hundreds of boys of from thirteen to
fifteen years old. Garibaldi had, with the aid of the Municipality of
Palermo, raised a loan of nearly three million pounds, and obtained, not
only rifles for his own force, but a large number for distribution among
the peasants of Calabria.

Five days after his arrival, Garibaldi sent for Frank, and said:

"I am going to bestow on you an honour which will, I am sure, be one
after your own heart. I am going to send Missori with two hundred men
across the straits; Nullo goes with him. They are to choose the men, and
the competition for the honour of being among the first to set foot in
Calabria will be a keen one indeed; I have spoken to Missori, and he
will gladly take you as his staff officer. Of course it is not intended
that he should fight. His mission will be to travel about the country,
inciting the population of the Calabrian villages to prepare to join us
when we land; to confuse the commanders of the Neapolitan troops by his
rapid movements, and to cause alarm at Naples by the news that the
invasion of Calabria has begun."

"I should enjoy that greatly, general, and I feel very much obliged to
you for your kindness in choosing me."

As Major Missori had been on Garibaldi's staff from the time Frank
joined him at Genoa, he was well known to him; and when Frank visited
him, and placed himself under his orders, he received him with great
cordiality.

"The general could not have made a better choice," he said. "It is a
great satisfaction to have an officer with me on whose activity and
energy I can so confidently rely. I have just got through the hardest,
and I may say the most trying part of my work, for I have had to refuse
the applications of scores of old comrades, who, almost with tears in
their eyes, have begged me to enroll them among my party. But I am
limited to two hundred, and when I had once selected that number I was
obliged to say no to all others. I think that every man of my band is
well suited for the work: all are young, active men, capable of long
marches and the endurance of great fatigue; all are men of tried
bravery, and should we have a brush with the Neapolitans can be trusted
to hold their own. We hope to seize the fortress of Alta Fiumara; we
have opened communication with some soldiers of the garrison, and have
hopes that we may take it by surprise. If we can do so, it will greatly
facilitate the passage of the army across the straits.

"Here is a list of the stores we are to take in the boats. Of course the
men will each take eighty rounds of ammunition; we can carry no reserve,
for if we have to take to the mountains it would be impossible to
transport it. Therefore, you see, we practically take with us only a
day's provisions. These will be carried down before sunset to the boats,
and I wish you would see them so divided that each man will carry
approximately the same weight. Thus one can take four pounds of bread,
another four pounds of meat, a third two bottles of wine and so on; once
in the hills we can purchase what we require at the villages. There
will, at any rate, be no difficulty in obtaining meat, nor, I should
say, bread. Beyond that nothing is necessary.

"Three Calabrians, who know the country well, crossed yesterday, and
will act as our guides. We shall probably have to maintain ourselves for
a week or ten days before the main body crosses. A cart will go down at
four o'clock with the stores. I will order six men to accompany it, and
to place themselves under your orders. In the cart you will find two
hundred haversacks, in which the provisions will be placed, after you
have seen to their division, together with forty rounds of spare
ammunition. By the way, you had better sell your horse. Across such a
country as we shall have to traverse, it would be impossible to ride,
and you will probably be able to buy another on the mainland for the sum
that you will get for him here. There are a good many men on the staff
of some of the late arrivals, who are on the look-out for horses."

Frank, indeed, had several times been asked by officers if he could tell
them where they could procure mounts; and, in the course of the day, he
had no difficulty in disposing of his horse and saddlery, for the same
amount as he had given for them at Marsala. He took with him only a
spare shirt and pair of socks rolled up in a large blanket, that, with a
hole cut in the middle, served as a cloak by day and a cover at night.
Hitherto this had been strapped on his saddle; he now rolled it up in
the fashion followed by most of the Garibaldians, so as to carry it
slung over one shoulder. This, with his sword, a brace of pistols, and a
small haversack, was his only encumbrance. At the appointed hour he went
down with the cart and escort to the point, some two miles from the
town, where the boats were lying. It took an hour to make the division
of the stores, and then there was nothing to do until, at half-past
nine o'clock in the evening, Missori with his two hundred men marched
down.

There were fourteen boats, and as these were sufficient to carry the men
in comfort, no time was lost in embarking. It was a long row, for
although the water was perfectly calm there was a strong current through
the straits, and they had to row head to this while crossing; but two
hours after starting they landed at a short distance from the fort. They
soon had evidence that the commandant here was watchful, for they had
gone but a hundred yards when they suddenly came upon a small outlying
picket, who, after challenging, fired, and then ran off towards the
fort, where the beating of a drum showed that the garrison were already
falling in to repel any attack. Their hopes of a surprise were therefore
at an end, and as it was by surprise alone that the little force had the
slightest chance of capturing so strong a fortress, orders were given,
after a hasty consultation between Missori and Nullo, to turn off at
once and make for the mountains, while the boats were directed to start
back for Messina.

Headed by their guides, they mounted the slopes of Aspromonte. When they
had gained a height of some four or five hundred feet, they came upon a
wooden shed; this was hastily pulled down and a great bonfire lighted,
to inform their friends on the other side of the straits that they had
safely landed and were on their way to the hills. They had, as they
ascended, heard a sharp fire break out at the water's edge, and knew
that a portion of the garrison of the fortress had sallied out and
opened fire on the retreating boats.

The march was continued for some hours. The cannon of the fort had also
opened fire--the object doubtless being to inform the large bodies of
troops, gathered at various points along the coast to oppose the
Garibaldians should they cross, that a force of the enemy had landed in
the darkness. However, the little party made their way unobserved past
the enemy's outposts, who remained stationary, as the officers were
ignorant of the strength of the force that had thus evaded the vigilance
of the ships-of-war, and thought it probable that Garibaldi himself with
some thousands of men might be at hand.

This portion of Calabria was admirably suited for guerilla warfare. The
Garibaldians were received with enthusiasm at the first village at which
they arrived. The news of the easy conquest of Sicily had at first
filled all hearts with the hope that their day of liberation was at
hand; but the concentration of troops in South Calabria had damped their
spirits, for, accustomed for centuries to be treated like cattle by the
soldiers of their oppressors, it seemed to them well-nigh impossible
that Garibaldi would venture to set foot on the mainland in the face of
so imposing a gathering. The presence, then, of this band of men in red
shirts seemed to them almost miraculous. The inhabitants vied with each
other in their hospitality, and the able-bodied men of the place
declared their readiness to take up arms the moment that Garibaldi
himself crossed the straits. Many of them, indeed, at once joined the
party, while others started, some among the mountains and some by the
roads leading to other villages, in order to bring in early news of the
approach of any body of Neapolitan troops, and the Garibaldians were
therefore able to lie down for a few hours' sleep.

For the next week they continued their march, visiting village after
village, gathering recruits as they went, crossing mountains, winding up
ravines, and constantly changing their course so as to throw the
Neapolitan troops off their track. Several times from lofty points they
caught sight of considerable bodies of the enemy moving along the roads.
Once a Neapolitan officer rode into a village where they were halting
with a despatch from General Briganti, containing a demand for their
surrender. Missori simply replied that they were ready to give battle
whenever the supporters of tyranny chose to meet them; but, although he
thus answered the summons, he had no idea of encountering an
overwhelming force of Neapolitans. Failing the capture of the fortress
on first landing, his mission was to arouse the population, not to
fight; and he continued his work among the mountains in spite of the
efforts of the enemy to surround him.

Cavalry were useless in so mountainous a country, and the Garibaldians,
free from all weight of equipment, and unencumbered by baggage carts,
were able to move with a rapidity that set at defiance the efforts of
the soldiery hampered by knapsacks and belts, and with their movements
restricted by their tightly-fitting uniforms. Although their course had
been devious, the Garibaldians had been gradually working their way
south, skirting the heights of Montalto. Before starting, Missori had
been informed by Garibaldi that he intended to land near Reggio eight or
nine days after he crossed, and that he was to place his band in that
neighbourhood in order to join him in an attack on that town.

When he reached a point within ten miles of Reggio, Missori said to
Frank, "I must keep moving about, and cannot leave my men; but I will
send twenty of them under your command down to Melito. There are, as we
have learnt from the peasants, none of the Neapolitan troops there; but
at the same time do not on any account enter the town. Were you to do
so, some of the inhabitants might send word to Reggio; and it might be
suspected that you were there for some special purpose. Therefore hide
yourself among the hills a short distance from the town; and after
nightfall send one of your men in. He had better take one of the
peasants' cloaks and hats: it will be ample disguise for him. It will be
his duty to watch on the shore; and then, if he sees two or three
steamers--I cannot say what force Garibaldi will bring over--approach
the shore, tell him to come up to you at once; and you can then lead
your men down to cover, if necessary, the landing of the troops, and to
give them any aid in your power. Tell the general that I have now eight
hundred men with me, and am ready to move to any point he orders."

These instructions Frank carried out, except that he obtained two
peasants' cloaks and hats instead of one. He halted late in the
afternoon two miles behind the town, and when it became quite dark took
down his men within a quarter of a mile of it; then, assuming one of the
disguises, he proceeded with one of the party similarly habited into the
town. He posted his follower by the shore, and then re-entered the
place. A good many peasants in their high conical hats, with wide brims
adorned with ribbons--a costume which is now generally associated with
Italian brigands, and differs but slightly from that of the
Savoyards--were wandering about the town. All sorts of rumours were
current. It was reported that the Neapolitan war-ships were on the
look-out for vessels in which it was said Garibaldi was about to cross
from Messina and the Cape of Faro. Others reported that Garibaldi
himself was with the small corps that had been, for the past week,
pursued among the mountains, and whose ever-increasing numbers had been
greatly exaggerated by rumour.

Frank seated himself in front of a wine-shop where several of these men
were drinking. He could with difficulty understand their patois; but he
gathered that all wished well to the expedition. An hour later he heard
a tumult, and going to see what was the matter, he found that one of the
police officers of the town had accosted the man he had left upon the
sea-shore, and finding that he was ignorant of the patois of the
country, had arrested him. Four or five other agents of the
municipality, which consisted of creatures of the Neapolitan government,
had gathered round the captive; and the inhabitants, although evidently
favourably disposed towards the prisoner, were too much afraid of the
vengeance of their masters to interfere. After hesitating a moment,
Frank ran back to the wine-shop where he had been sitting. His great
fear was that the Neapolitan agents would at once send news to Reggio
that a spy had been taken, and that the garrison there would be put on
their guard. He therefore entered, and throwing aside his cloak,
addressed the eight or ten peasants present.

"My friends," he said, "I am one of the officers of Garibaldi, who will
soon come to free you from your tyrants. As true Italians, I doubt not
that your hearts are with him; and you now have it in your power to do
him a real service."

All rose to their feet. "We are ready, signor. Tell us what we have to
do, and you can rely upon us to do it."

"I want you to post yourselves on the road to Reggio a hundred yards
beyond the town, and to stop any one who may try to leave the place, no
matter whether he be a police officer or the syndic. We have a large
force near; but we do not wish to show ourselves till the proper moment.
It is all-important that no news of our being in the neighbourhood
should reach the commander of the troops at Reggio."

"We will do it, signor; be assured that no one shall pass long."

"Simply turn back the first that comes," Frank said; "if more come, kill
them; but I want these agents of your tyrant to know that the road is
closed. I could place our own men to do this, but I do not wish it known
that there are troops near."

The men hurried away, and Frank went off and followed the little crowd
that accompanied the prisoner and his captors to the house of the
syndic. He watched them go in, and in a short time several of the police
left the house, and ere long returned with some eight or ten persons
whom Frank judged to be the municipal council. He waited for a minute or
two, and then went to the door.

"Stand back," he said, to two men who barred the entrance. "I am one of
Garibaldi's officers. I have hundreds of my peasants round the town,
ready to lay it in ashes if I but give the word."

They slipped back, confounded by the news; and entering, he went into a
room of which the door was standing open. The man who had been left on
watch was standing between four policemen; his cloak had been torn off,
and he stood in the red shirt, blue breeches and gaiters, that had now
become the uniform of the greater portion of Garibaldi's followers. Some
ten or twelve men were seated by a large table, and were talking
eagerly. Frank again threw back his cloak, walked up and struck the
table with his fist.

[Illustration: "'SILENCE! SIGNORS,' HE SAID IN A LOUD VOICE"]

"Silence, signors!" he said in a loud voice. "I am the master of this
town for the present: it is surrounded by armed peasants who are
instructed to cut the throats of any one who attempts to leave it. I am
an officer of Garibaldi, as you may see by my attire. I have but to give
the word, and in ten minutes the whole of you will be strung up from the
balcony of this house; therefore, if you value your lives, retire at
once to your houses, and, agents though you be of the Neapolitan tyrant,
no harm will befall you; but if one of you attempts to leave the town,
or to send any one out with a message, his life will be forfeited. That
will do, sirs: leave at once."

The astounded men filed out from the room. When they had all left, Frank
went out with the late prisoner, locked the door, and put the key in his
pocket.

"Put on your hat and cloak again," he said, "and go down to the road by
the sea; watch if any one goes along, and stay a quarter of an hour to
see if he returns."

Then, without putting on his own disguise, he went to the spot where the
townspeople, among whom the report of what had happened had spread
rapidly, were assembled, and mounting on the steps of a large building
there, addressed them.

"Calabrians," he said, "the moment when your freedom will be attained is
at hand. You have heard that a party of troops of that champion of
freedom, General Garibaldi, has crossed to the mainland. The officer in
command has sent me to tell you that they are everywhere joined by the
brave Calabrians, and will speedily have a force capable of giving
battle to the armies of your tyrants. It may be that before many days
they will come down here from the mountains, and he hopes to find every
man capable of bearing arms ready to join him; it will be a bad day for
those who, in spite of the wishes of the people, and the certainty that
Calabria will shortly be freed from the presence of the troops at
Naples, strive to check the tide.

"For your own sakes watch the men who have acted as the agents of the
government of Naples; station armed men on every road by which they
could send a message to Reggio, for should they do so troops might be
sent here, and then, when the soldiers of freedom come down from the
hills, a battle will be fought in your streets, and many innocent
persons might suffer. I do not ask any to come forward now, to declare
himself for the cause of freedom; I only ask you to hold yourselves in
readiness, so that when we come down from the hills you will welcome us,
as men welcome those who come to strike the fetters from their limbs. It
may be that you will not have long to wait, and that in eight-and-forty
hours Missori with a portion of his army will be here. But this I do ask
you: keep an eye on your syndic and his council, on the police, and all
others who represent the authority of Naples, and see that no one on any
pretence leaves the town for the next forty-eight hours."

The town was a very small one, and a large portion of its population
were fishermen; these latter shouted loud approval of Frank's words, and
declared themselves ready to carry out the instructions he had given
them, but the trading class was silent. They had something to lose, and
had been so long accustomed to the tyranny of the government that they
feared to make any demonstration whatever of liberal opinions until they
saw how matters went. It was upon them that the taxes pressed most
heavily, and they had far more reason than the fishing class to hail a
release from these exactions; but they had more to lose, and they felt
that it was best to hold themselves aloof from any manifestation of
their feelings. The fishermen, however, thronged round Frank, and
announced themselves ready at once to obey his orders.

"Divide yourselves into four parties," he went on; "let each choose a
leader and take it in turn to watch the roads and see that none passes."

At this moment Frank's follower returned. "Two of the police went out
along the road," he said, "but have just come back."

"I am not surprised at what I have just heard," he went on, addressing
the fishermen. "The police have already endeavoured to send word to
Reggio that our friends from the hills are shortly coming here, but they
have been stopped on the way by some brave peasants whom I stationed on
the road for the purpose. How many police are there here?"

"Only eight, signor," one of the men said.

"Come with me, and I will warn them that if any attempt is again made to
send word of what is going on here they will be at once hanged."

Followed by forty or fifty fishermen, he went at once to the police
quarters. The sergeant who was in command came out with his detachment.

"Men," Frank said, "we bear no ill-will to those who serve the
Neapolitan government. It has been the government of this country, and
none are to be blamed for taking service with it; and I doubt not that
when, like Sicily, Calabria is free, those who have done their duty,
without undue oppression and violence, will be confirmed in their
appointments. But woe be to those who oppose the impulse of the country!
There are thousands of peasants in the mountains already in arms. The
Neapolitan soldiers, who were powerless to oppose the people of Sicily,
will be equally powerless to oppose the people of Calabria, aided as
these will be, when the time comes, by the great army from the other
side of the straits. Already, as you know, sir," he said to the officer,
"the roads leading from here are guarded. You have made an effort, as
was perhaps your duty, to send word to Reggio that the heart of the
people here beats with those of their brethren among the hills. Let
there be no further attempts of the sort, or it will be bad, alike for
those who go and for those who stay, and when Colonel Missori arrives
you will be treated as the enemies of freedom and punished accordingly.

"Already I have a detachment close at hand, and the sound of a gun will
bring them here at once; but if all is quiet these will not enter the
place until the main body arrives. I have come on before, to see whether
the people here are to be regarded as friends or as enemies. I already
know that they are friends; and in the name of Colonel Missori, and in
the cause of freedom, I order you to remain quiet here, to take no steps
either for or against us, and I doubt not that, when the time comes, you
will be as ready as the brave fellows here to join the army of freedom.
At present my orders are that you remain indoors. I will have no going
out, no taking notes as to the names of those who join our cause. I do
not order you to give up your arms; I hope that you will use them in the
cause of freedom."

"Your orders shall be obeyed, signor," the sergeant said. "I am
powerless to interfere one way or another here, but I promise that no
further attempt shall be made to communicate with Reggio."

"I accept your word, sergeant. And now you will send a man round to the
houses of all the town council and all functionaries of the Neapolitan
government, and state that, by the orders of the representative of
Colonel Missori, they are none of them to leave their houses for the
next forty-eight hours; and that they are not to attempt to communicate
with each other, or to send any message elsewhere. Any attempt whatever
to disobey this order will be punished by immediate death. Which man do
you send?"

"Thomasso," the sergeant said. "You have heard the order. Will you at
once carry it round?"

"Let four of your men," Frank said to the fishermen, "go with this
policeman. See that he delivers this message, and that he enters into no
communication whatever with those to whom he is sent, but simply repeats
the order and then goes to the next house."

Four men stepped forward, and at once started with the policeman. The
sergeant and the others withdrew into the house.

"Now, my friends," Frank went on to the fishermen, "do as I told you,
and let the first party take up at once the duty of watching the roads,
and remain there for six hours. It is now ten; at four the second party
will relieve them, and so on at intervals of six hours. It will not be
long ere the necessity for this will be at an end. Each party will
detach eight men in pairs to patrol the streets till morning and arrest
any one they find about, and conduct him to the hotel where I shall take
up my quarters. Those not on duty had best retire quietly to their
homes, as soon as it is settled to which section they are to belong. I
shall not go to bed, and any question that may arise must at once be
referred to me."

The fishermen went off to the shore to choose their leaders.

"Rejoin your comrades," Frank said to his follower. "Tell them that
everything is going on well, and that while two of them are to come down
at once to keep watch on the beach, the rest can wrap themselves in
their cloaks and lie down until they receive orders from me."

Frank now went to the one hotel in the town and ordered supper to be
prepared for him. The landlord, who had been among the crowd when he
addressed them, said humbly,--

"I have already ordered supper to be got ready, signor, thinking that
when you had arranged matters you would yourself come here. Pray do not
think that because many of us did not at once come forward and offer to
join you, it was because we were indifferent to your news; but you see
it is not with us as with the fishermen. If things go badly, they can
embark their families and goods in their boats, cross the straits, and
establish themselves in the villages there, and earn their living as
before. But with us who have something to lose it is different. Our
property would be confiscated, we should be driven from home, many of us
would be shot, and others thrown into their dungeons."

"I quite see that, landlord; and I can hardly blame you for hesitating a
little, though you must remember that the men who have been the
champions of freedom have been almost wholly men who have had much to
lose, but have risked all for their principles, and that Garibaldi's
army is very largely composed of such men."

"Ah, signor, but we have never seen any chance of success. When
Garibaldi once lands, we shall not hang back; but at present it is but a
revolt of the peasants. They tell us that France and other powers are
endeavouring to prevent him from invading Calabria; and if he should
not come, what can a few thousand peasants do against a hundred thousand
trained troops?"

"Well, I do not think that Garibaldi will be restrained from crossing,
whatever pressure is put upon him: they tried to prevent him from
sailing from Genoa--now he is Dictator of Sicily; he will land somewhere
on the coast, never fear."

"In that case, signor, I shall shout as loud as any one, and I shall
send my son to carry a musket in his ranks."

Frank smiled.

"Well, landlord, let me have my supper; to-morrow we may talk over the
affair again. Bring me a bottle of good wine, and when supper is served
you can close the house for the night. I shall not require a bed, but
shall remain here till morning. Do not fasten up the front door, as I
shall have men call frequently. I hope there are plenty of provisions in
the town in case three or four thousand men should march in here
to-morrow."

"For a day, signor, we might feed them; but I doubt if it would go
beyond that."



CHAPTER XIV.

A DISCOVERY.


At one o'clock one of the men on the look-out brought to Frank the news
that he could make out two steamers approaching. Frank ran down to the
shore. The man's eyesight had not deceived him: two steamers were
certainly making their way towards Melito, and, from the direction of
their course, they had almost certainly come from some port in Sicily,
and did not belong to the Neapolitan squadron that were constantly
parading the straits. These, indeed, were for the most part lying twenty
miles away, while some were anchored off Reggio. Demonstrations had been
made for some days both at Messina and the Cape of Faro, in order to
attract their attention, and lead to the belief that it was intended to
land near the spot where Missori had disembarked, or at some point north
of the entrance to the straits.

Stores had been ostentatiously placed on board steamers at Messina and
Faro; men had embarked in considerable numbers every evening, and smoke
pouring from the funnels showed that steam was being got up. These
preparations were keenly watched by the Neapolitans, and served their
purpose by concentrating all their attention upon these points.
Garibaldi, on arriving from Sardinia with the troops which had been
collected there, had despatched the _Torino_ and _Franklin_, carrying a
thousand of these men, round the island with instructions to them to
put in at Giardini, the port of Taormina. He himself proceeded to
Messina, and then, after seeing that all was going on well there, rode
down to the port, having previously sent forward seven hundred men.

This detachment was so small that its departure attracted little
attention, and it was supposed that it had only gone down to reinforce
Bixio's brigade; thus Messina was as ignorant of the fact that an
expedition was about to start from Giardini as were the Neapolitan
commanders. On arrival at Giardini, on the evening of August 18th,
Garibaldi found that Bixio had already embarked a thousand men on board
the _Torino_, which was a steamer of seven hundred tons, and that he was
prepared to send another thousand on board. The _Franklin_ was a small
paddle steamer of two hundred tons, and she was reported to be leaking
so badly that no troops had been embarked on her. Garibaldi at once went
on board with his staff, and found that she was making water fast. The
leak could not be discovered, but Garibaldi, as an old sea captain, knew
what should be done to check the inrush of water, at least for a time,
as it was all-important that she should be able to carry her complement
of men across the sixteen miles of water between Giardini and Melito.
Several of his officers could swim, and he ordered these to dive
overboard, and to find, if possible, the position of the leaks.

In the meantime, he sent ashore for a boat-load of a mixture of manure
and chopped straw. When this arrived, lumps were thrust down at the end
of poles, to the points where leaks had been discovered; particles of
the composition were drawn into the leaks by the inrush of water, and in
a short time the leakage almost entirely ceased, and the work of
embarkation recommenced. Three thousand men were carried by the
_Torino_, and twelve hundred on the _Franklin_, where Garibaldi himself
took his place, while Bixio commanded on the _Torino_. Both vessels were
crowded to a dangerous extent; men were packed on deck as closely as
they could stand, and were even clustered on the shrouds. Had there been
any wind, it would have been dangerous in the extreme to put to sea
overloaded as they were, but fortunately there was not a breath of air,
and the water was perfectly calm. At ten o'clock the two vessels started
on their eventful voyage, but owing to the difficulties caused by the
strong currents, they did not arrive off Melito until two in the
morning.

As soon as Frank had assured himself that the approaching vessels were
those he expected, he sent off one of his two men to fetch down the
party that had for twelve hours been lying outside the place, while he
despatched the other to the huts of the leaders of the three parties of
fishermen not engaged in watching the roads, to tell them to call up all
their men as quietly as possible and to get their boats in the water. In
a short time, therefore, after the _Franklin's_ anchor had been dropped,
Frank arrived alongside the _Torino_ with half a dozen fishing boats: he
had rowed to her both as being the larger craft and being nearest to the
shore, and thought that Garibaldi would be on board her. On reaching her
he found Bixio. Several lanterns had been placed near the gangway, and
the general at once recognised him.

"Welcome, Captain Percival!" he said heartily, as he shook hands with
him. "We were glad indeed when we saw the boats putting off, and knew
that a detachment of Missori's men must be there. Have you more boats
coming out?"

"Yes, sir; there will be a dozen more off in a few minutes. I set off
as soon as I had assembled a sufficient number of fishermen to man those
alongside."

"I am sorry to say," Bixio said, "that we have run aground, and I fear
badly. I have just sent a boat to the _Franklin_, where Garibaldi is, to
tell him what has happened. You had better go at once and report to him.
What force have you?"

"Only fifty men, sir. The colonel sent only a small party, as he was
afraid that, were he to come with all his force, he would bring the
enemy down here at once."

"There is no fear of trouble in the town?"

"No, sir; I have arranged all that. You will be entirely unopposed;
there are no Neapolitans nearer than Reggio, and they have no suspicions
of our being here."

Frank at once returned to the boat in which he had come off, and rowed
to the _Franklin_.

"Ah, it is you, Percival!" Garibaldi exclaimed when he saw him. "Then
all is well. We will begin to land at once, and you can tell me as we go
ashore what Missori has been doing. How many boats have you with you?"

"I have brought six, sir; but there will be at least a dozen more in a
few minutes."

Garibaldi descended into the boat, and was followed by as many men as
could be crowded into her.

"Now, first about the state of things here. Is there any chance of our
being disturbed before the men are all ashore?"

"I should think not, sir. With the exception of the fishermen, whom I
have roused to man the boats, no one in the place knows anything of what
is going on. The great bulk of the people are in your favour. The syndic
and all the authorities are prisoners in their houses, and even if they
were conscious of your landing, they could not send the news to Reggio,
as I have armed parties on all the roads. You have therefore certainly
six or eight hours before there is any chance of interruption."

"That is good news. Indeed, everything has gone well with us so far,
except this misfortune of Bixio's steamer running aground. Unless we can
succeed in getting her off, I fear that the Neapolitans will capture
her. However, that is a minor matter. Now, what can you tell me about
the position of the enemy?"

"There are about thirty thousand men under General Viale in and around
Monteleone; there are twelve thousand at Bagnara, and the towns between
it and Reggio, where there are but fifteen hundred men under General
Galotta; eighteen hundred men are in Aspromonte, in pursuit of Missori,
who has now about eight hundred men with him."

"They could hardly be disposed better for our purpose," Garibaldi
remarked. "We shall take Reggio before supports can arrive to the
garrison, and our success there will be worth ten thousand men to us."

Garibaldi remained on shore watching the disembarkation of the men.
Every boatman in Melito was soon employed in the work, and, by four
o'clock the whole of the troops were on the shore. While the
disembarkation had been going on, Garibaldi had sent for the syndic and
other authorities, and had informed them that they must now consider
themselves under his authority, and obey promptly all orders that he
gave them; that he should require bread, meat, and wine, for a day's
consumption for the whole of his force; that he was prepared to pay for
the food, but that they must obtain it from the inhabitants.

Except among the fishermen, the arrival of the force was regarded with
an appearance of apathy. The townspeople had been told by the
authorities that there was no fear whatever of Garibaldi and his
freebooters coming near them, and believing that he must speedily be
crushed, they regarded his arrival with fear rather than pleasure. There
were many there who were well-wishers of the cause, but they feared to
exhibit any sign of their friendship, lest they should suffer terribly
for it when he and his followers had been destroyed by the troops. In
Sicily there had been previous insurrections and risings, and the people
had long hoped that some day they would shake off the yoke of Naples;
but no such hope had been entertained on the mainland, where the reign
of oppression had been so long unbroken that no thought that it could
ever be thrown off had entered the minds of the great majority of the
ignorant people. At daybreak the war-vessels at Reggio could be seen
getting up steam, and the greatest efforts were made to get the _Torino_
afloat again.

Unfortunately the reduction effected in her draught of water by the
removal of her passengers and a certain amount of stores had been
counteracted by the force of the current, which, as fast as she was
lightened, carried her up higher on the shoal. The little _Franklin_,
which was an American vessel chartered for the occasion, hoisted the
stars and stripes as soon as the Garibaldians had landed, and steamed
across to the island. The _Torino's_ Italian flag remained flying until
three Neapolitan steamers came up and opened fire upon the Garibaldians
on shore. Three men were wounded by a shell; when the rest, forming up,
marched out of the town, taking the path (it could scarcely be called a
road) towards Reggio.

Four men had, soon after the landing had been effected, been sent to
Missori with orders that he should join at Reggio. As soon as the
Garibaldians were out of range, the Neapolitan commanders turned their
guns on the _Torino_, and after keeping up a heavy fire upon her for
some hours, they sent parties in boats to board her and set her on fire.

The first part of the march towards Reggio was an extremely toilsome
one. For the first eight miles, from Melito to Cape D'Armi, the slopes
of the mountains extend to the very edge of the water, and the troops
were continually mounting the steep spurs or descending into ravines.
They had with them four mountain guns, and as the path could only be
traversed by the men in single file, the difficulty of taking the guns
along was immense.

The men were in the highest spirits. The fact that, in case of disaster,
the destruction of the _Torino_ had cut off all means of return to
Sicily, in no way troubled them. Similarly they had thrown themselves on
shore at Marsala, and the ships in which they had come had been captured
by the enemy. Their confidence in Garibaldi was absolute, and no thought
of disaster was for a moment entertained. Once past the Cape, they
halted. It was already evening, and although the distance in miles had
been short, the fatigue had been very great, and none had closed an eye
on the previous night. It was therefore impossible to go farther. They
were received with enthusiasm by the people of the villages scattered
here and there on the mountain-side. A Greek colony had very many years
before settled there, and retained many of their own customs, and even
their own language; but although conversation with the North Italian
Garibaldians was difficult, and often impossible, there could be no
mistake as to the heartiness of their welcome.

Everything in the way of provisions was given to the soldiers, and each
cottage took in as many men as it could hold; and from the moment,
indeed, when the Garibaldians set foot in Calabria, they met with a far
deeper and heartier welcome than had been the case in Sicily. In the
latter they had been joined by a comparatively small body of volunteers,
and the people had contented themselves with shouting and cheering, but
had given little else; and even in Messina the appeals of Garibaldi for
aid in the hospitals, and lint and bandages for the wounded, had met
with little response: the Sicilians had, in fact, fallen to the level of
the Neapolitans. In Calabria, on the other hand, the population was
manly, hardy, and hospitable--possessing the virtues of mountaineers in
all countries; and as the news of Garibaldi's landing spread, the whole
population took up arms.

Here communications were received from Missori, who stated that he was
pushing forward with all haste; but that, from the ruggedness of the
mountains along which he was travelling, he could not hope to be at
Reggio until late the following evening. The next day the Garibaldians
advanced along the mountain-side; a detachment sent out from Reggio
retiring along the road as they advanced. The force halted for the night
six miles from the town. A messenger from Missori announced that, in
spite of his efforts, he was still far distant; Garibaldi, therefore,
determined to attack the next morning without waiting for him.
Communications had been opened with the townsfolk, and a message was
sent back that the national guard would support him.

Few towns are more beautifully situated than Reggio. It lies on the
lowest slope of a spur of Aspromonte. Behind it rises the castle, with
its guns commanding the town, whose scattered suburbs and gardens
stretch far away up the mountain-side; while across the straits lies the
Bay of Catania, with numerous towns and villages up the slopes of Etna,
which forms a background, with wreaths of smoke ascending from the
volcano on its summit. Away to the right lies Messina, and the coast
stretching along to Cape Faro. The intervening strait is dotted with
shipping: steamers on their way to the East, or returning to Italy and
France; sailing-ships flying the flags of many nations, fishing-and
rowing-boats.

It was settled that Bixio with his brigade was to enter the town by the
main road, and effect a junction with the national guard in the piazza
lying below the castle; and that, when the junction was made, a
battalion was to descend to the shore and attack a small fort near the
marina.

As soon as the news of Garibaldi's landing had reached the town, the
principal people and the officers of the national guard had called upon
Gallotta, and begged him, if he intended to fight Garibaldi, to go
outside the town to do so, and so save the place from the injury that
would be effected by a desperate struggle in the streets. The request
was a strange one; but the general, who no doubt considered that he
would do better in a fight in the open than in the streets, where
possibly the inhabitants might take part against him, agreed to do this,
and on Garibaldi's approach marched out of the fortress with eight
hundred men in two detachments, one of which took post at the bridge
just outside Reggio, while, strangely enough, the other four hundred men
took up a position on the opposite side of the town.

In order to confuse the Italian troops, who would be marching from all
the towns on the coast towards Reggio, Garibaldi had sent orders to
Cosenz to cross during the night from Cape Faro with twelve hundred men
in boats, and to land near Bagnara. Expecting some hard fighting, the
Garibaldians moved on at midnight. When they approached the town the
scouts went forward, and found to their surprise that the bridge was
unoccupied. Bixio at once crossed it; and, reaching the piazza, joined
the national guard there without a shot having been fired. Similarly,
Garibaldi with the rest of the force entered the suburbs. They came upon
a small outpost, which was at once driven back; and Gallotta, who, not
dreaming of a night attack, had withdrawn most of his troops into the
castle, now beat a hasty retreat with the remainder, and a cannonade was
at once opened by its guns upon the town.

The Neapolitan force on the other side of Reggio retreated at once,
fearing that they would not be able to enter the castle, and retired
along the road, hoping to meet General Braganti, who was advancing with
a column to reinforce the garrison. Bixio's battalion took the little
fort on the marina without difficulty. Barricades were at once thrown up
across all the streets leading to the castle, in order to prevent the
garrison from making a sortie, or any relieving force reaching it. It
was daylight now, and Missori and his column arrived, as arranged, upon
the hill-side above the castle, and at once opened so heavy a musketry
fire upon its defenders, that the artillery were unable to serve the
guns. Feeling that the castle could not hold out long, Garibaldi
despatched a battalion to hold the relieving column in check; but
Braganti had already heard from the fugitives that the town and seaside
fort were in the hands of the Garibaldians, and the castle invested upon
all sides: he therefore fell back to await further reinforcements, being
ignorant of the force under Garibaldi's command.

At twelve o'clock a loud cheer broke from the Garibaldians round the
castle, for the white flag of surrender was hoisted. The general granted
the same terms that were given to Bosco's force at Milazzo--namely, that
the garrison might march down to the shore, and there embark on board
the Neapolitan war-ships for conveyance to Naples, leaving all munitions
of war, money, and all prisoners who might be confined there, behind
them. Thus, with the loss of only seven men killed and wounded, a castle
which had been considered capable of resisting a long siege was
captured, and the first blow struck at the Bourbon dynasty of Naples.
The success in itself was a striking one; its consequences were
far-reaching. The news that Reggio had been captured by the
Garibaldians, almost without fighting, spread like wild-fire. Cosenz's
landing had also been successful; and this, added to the news that all
southern Calabria had risen in arms, created such consternation among
the commanders of the various bodies of troops in the towns facing the
straits, that all prepared to march at once to join the main force at
Monteleone.

As soon as the castle surrendered, Garibaldi despatched boats across the
straits, with orders to the troops at Messina and Cape Faro to cross at
once in any craft they could get hold of. No advance from Reggio was
made that afternoon, as the troops required some rest after their
exertions. As evening came on the scene was a striking one; every town
and village on the other side of the straits from Cape Faro to Giardini
being illuminated. The lights twinkled, and bonfires blazed, far up the
sides of Etna.

As soon as Garibaldi had entered the castle, he said to Frank, who had
been near him all day: "Take ten men and search the castle thoroughly,
and release all political prisoners. There are sure to be many here."

Frank obeyed the order eagerly. At Palermo he had not expected to find
any prisoners from the mainland; and he had read through the list of
those found and released at Messina without emotion--for there, as at
Palermo, all were men, for the most part of good family, belonging to
the city; but now he was on the mainland, and prisoners taken in any
part of the Neapolitan dominions might be found here. First he obtained
the list of those detained from the officer in special charge of them.
No familiar name met his eye as he glanced hastily down it.

"You are sure that this is the entire list?" he asked the officer.

"There are none others," the latter replied; "but if you are searching
for a friend you may find him here, though bearing another name. The
majority of the prisoners are registered under their real names, but in
some cases, where there are particular reasons for secrecy, another name
is given when they are brought here, and I myself am ignorant of what
their real designations may be."

"You had better accompany me round, sir," Frank said, "and see that the
jailors open all the doors and give me every facility."

The officer willingly assented: he felt that his appointment under the
Neapolitan government was at an end, and was anxious to please those who
were likely to be his masters in the future. As a rule some fifteen or
twenty men were confined together; these were first visited, but no
familiar face was found among them.

"Those you have seen," the officer said, "are, I believe, all confined
here under their own names; as you see, a number are kept together. All
are allowed at certain hours of the day to go out into the courtyard and
to converse with each other freely. There are four prisoners who are
kept apart from the rest, and each other; these are the four who bear, I
believe, other names than those given on the list. They go out for four
or five hours at a time on to the walls, but each has his separate place
for exercise, and they can hold no communication with each other, or
with the rest of the prisoners. In all other respects they have the same
food and treatment."

The scene in each of the rooms that he had hitherto entered had been
very painful; the prisoners had heard the sound of firing, but were in
ignorance of what it meant. No news from the outside world ever reached
them; they had heard nothing of the events in Sicily, and the only
explanation that they could imagine for the firing was that there had
been a revolution in the province, and that the castle had been attacked
by a party of insurgents. Their hopes had fallen when the firing ceased;
and during the hour that had passed while the negotiations were being
carried on, had altogether faded away. They had heard no cannon from
without; and that a body of insurgents should have captured the fortress
seemed out of the question. There had been an attack, but the assailants
had evidently fallen back. When, therefore, Frank entered, attended by
their chief and followed by eight men in red shirts, broad-brimmed hats,
and carrying muskets, they were too astonished even to guess at the
truth until Frank said:

"Gentlemen, in the name of General Garibaldi, who has captured this
castle, I have the pleasure to announce to you that from this moment you
are free men."

For the most part the announcement was received in silence. They could
scarce believe the possibility of what he said. The name of Garibaldi
was known to all. It was he who had commanded at the defence of Rome; it
was he who, as those who had been longest there had learned from
comparatively late comers, had done such signal service in the Alps with
his volunteers, when, by the aid of France, Milan and part of Lombardy
was wrested from the Austrians. They looked at one another almost
incredulously; then, as the meaning of Frank's words dawned upon them,
some fell into each others' arms, murmuring incoherent words, others
burst into tears, while some again dropped on their knees to thank God
for their deliverance. Frank had to wait for a few minutes in each room
until they had recovered themselves a little, and then sent out each
batch with two of his soldiers to see for themselves that they were
really free, and to thank Garibaldi for their rescue.

"Now, signor," the officer said, when they had left the last of the
large rooms, "there are only the four special prisoners to visit."

The first of these was a man in the prime of life, although with long
unkempt hair and beard. As Frank repeated the words he had used before,
the man looked at him with an unmeaning smile. Again and again he spoke
to him, but a low childish laugh was the only answer. Frank turned
angrily to the officer.

"The poor fellow's mind has gone," he said. "How long has he been a
prisoner here?"

"About eight years, signor; for some time his mind has been getting
weaker."

"The brutes!" Frank exclaimed passionately. "Here, men, take this poor
fellow out to the courtyard, and remain with him: I will ask the general
presently what had best be done with him. Are the others like this?" he
asked the officer, with a thrill of fear that overpowered the hope that
he had lately been feeling.

"One of them is silent, and seldom speaks, but he is, I believe, quite
sensible; the other two are well. The man we shall next see is perfectly
so; he never speaks to us, but when alone here, or when upon the wall
for exercise, he talks incessantly to himself: sometimes in Italian;
sometimes, as one of the officers who understands that language says, in
English; sometimes in what I have heard our priests say is Latin;
sometimes in other languages."

"Before you open the door, tell me what age he is," Frank asked, in a
low strained voice.

"I should say that he was about sixty, signor; he has been here nearly
three years," the man said.

"Now open the door."

Frank entered almost timidly. A tall man rose from a palette, which was
the sole article of furniture in the room.

"Is it treason, lieutenant," he asked quietly, "to ask what has been
going on?"

Frank with an exclamation of joy stepped forward: "Grandfather," he
said, "thank God I have found you!"

The prisoner started, looked at him searchingly, and exclaimed, "Frank!
yes, it is Frank: is this a miracle, or am I dreaming?"

"Neither, grandfather. Garibaldi has landed; we have taken the castle,
and, thank God, you are free."

The professor sank back on his bed and sat for a minute or two with his
face buried in his hands; then he rose, put his hands upon Frank's
shoulders, and then clasped him in his arms, bursting as he did so into
tears, while Frank's own cheeks were wet. The professor was the first to
recover himself.

"I had fancied, Frank," he said, "that I was a philosopher, but I see I
am not; I thought that all emotion for me was over, but I feel now like
a child. And can I really go out?"

"Yes," Frank said; "but I have two more doors to open, and then I will
go with you."

"I will wait here for you, Frank: I shall be glad to be for a few
minutes alone, to persuade myself that this is not a dream, and to thank
God for His mercy. One moment, though, before you leave me: is my wife
alive and well, and my daughter?"

"Both are well," Frank said; "it is five months since I saw them, but I
had letters from both four days ago." Then he left the cell.

"This is the silent man," the officer said, as he opened the next door.
Frank repeated his usual speech to the dark-bearded man who faced him
when he entered.

"You are young to lie, sir," the man said sternly. "This, I suppose, is
a fresh trick to see whether I still hate the accursed government that
has sent me here."

"It is no lie, signor," Frank said quietly. "I am an officer of General
Garibaldi's. He has conquered all Sicily, and with some four thousand
men crossed the straits three days ago to Melito, and has now captured
this place."

The man burst into a wild fit of laughter, and then, with another cry of
"You lie!" he sprang upon Frank, and had it not been for the officer and
the two Garibaldian soldiers, who still accompanied them, would
assuredly have strangled him; for, strong as he was, Frank was but an
infant in the man's hands. After a desperate struggle, he was pulled
off, and forced down on his bed.

"Leave him," Frank said: "he will be quiet now.--Signor, I can
understand your feelings; you think what I have said is impossible. You
will soon see that it is not. As soon as you calm yourself, one of my
men will accompany you to the courtyard, which is, you will find, full
of Garibaldians; and the general himself will assure you that you are a
free man, and can, if you choose, quit this place immediately."

The man's mood changed. "I am calm," he said, rising to his feet.
"Perhaps this man will take me out to execution, but it will be welcome
to me. I have prayed for death so long that I can only rejoice if it has
come." Then he quietly walked out of the cell, followed by one of the
soldiers, who, being by no means satisfied that the prisoner had ceased
to be dangerous, slipped his bayonet on to his musket before following
him.

The fourth prisoner was very feeble, but he received the news with
tranquillity. "It does not make much difference to me now," he said;
"but it will be some satisfaction to know that I shall be buried outside
the prison."

"You must not look at it in that light, signor," Frank said. "No doubt
you will pick up health and strength when you rejoin your friends, and
find that the tyranny and oppression you struggled against are at an
end."

Leaving the last of his men to give the poor fellow his arm and lead him
out, Frank returned to Professor Forli. The latter rose briskly as he
came in.

"I am myself again," he said. "Your coming here so strangely, and the
news you brought, were so great a surprise, that everything seemed
confused, and I was unable to grasp the fact. I have heard that a good
swimmer, if he falls suddenly into deep water, behaves for a few moments
like one who is ignorant of the art, striking out wildly, swallowing
much water before he fairly grasps the situation and his skill returns
to him. So it was with me: my equanimity has never been shaken since I
was first seized. I perceived at once that what was to come was
inevitable. I reflected that I was vastly better off than most; that my
mind was stored with knowledge accumulated by the great thinkers of all
ages, and that, so fortified, I could afford to be indifferent to
imprisonment or persecution. But you see the suddenness of the knowledge
that I was free, did what captivity, even as hopeless as mine, had
failed to do. Now, Frank, let us go out: you shall take me down to the
sea-shore, and then tell me by what marvel you come to be here. If it
had been your father, I should not have been so surprised; but that you,
whom I had thought of as a boy at Harrow, should throw open my
prison-door, is past my understanding at present. Of course, your father
is here with you?"

"I am sorry to say that he is not," Frank said quietly; "but I will tell
you all about it when we get down to the shore. I must, before we start,
tell the general that all the prisoners have been freed, and that I have
found you, and ask if he will require me just at present."

Going into the courtyard, Frank left his grandfather to look on at a
scene so novel to him, and went into the room where Garibaldi and Bixio
were examining, with the syndic, a map of the district. He stood at the
door till the general looked round.

"Pardon me, sir, for interrupting you, but I wish to report to you that
among the other prisoners I have found Signor Forli, and that he is in
good health."

Garibaldi rose from his seat, and holding out both hands grasped those
of Frank.

"I am glad--I am glad indeed, lad," he said with deep feeling, "that my
old friend is rescued; glad that the sacrifice that your mother made in
parting with you has not been in vain, and that your own bravery and
good conduct have been thus rewarded. I pray God that that other that
you are seeking for, still nearer and more loved, may also be found."

"Excuse me," he said to Bixio and the syndic: "I must shake Signor Forli
by the hand before I go farther into this."

As he hurried out, Frank said,--"I have not told him about my father
yet, sir. He suggested himself that we should go down together to the
sea-shore, where we could talk matters over quietly; and I came in
partly to ask you if you would require my services for the next hour or
two?"

"Certainly not, Percival. Yes, I will be careful; it would be a shock to
him to be told suddenly that your father had lost his life in his search
for him."

Led by Frank, he hurried to the spot where the professor was standing,
quietly regarding the Garibaldians laughing and chatting, and the groups
of the Neapolitan troops, who, now disarmed, were standing talking
together with disheartened and sombre faces.

"Ah, professor," he exclaimed, as he came up to him; "glad indeed am I
that you have been found and rescued. Your friends were right in not
despairing of you. It seems an age since we parted twelve years ago at
Rome. You are little changed. I feared that if found you would be like
so many of the others whose prison doors we have opened--mere wrecks of
themselves."

"Nor have you changed much," Signor Forli said, as he stood holding the
general's hand; "a line or two on the forehead, but that is all. And so
you have taken up again the work that seemed postponed for another
century at Rome?"

"Yes; and this time I hope that all Italy will be freed. Now, old
friend, you must excuse me for the present--I am full of business; this
evening we must have a long talk together; much has happened in the
three years that have passed since you disappeared. You can keep this
youngster with you. He has well earned a day's holiday." So saying,
Garibaldi hurried off.



CHAPTER XV.

THE ADVANCE FROM REGGIO.


Professor Forli was silent until he and Frank had passed out through the
gate of the castle, then he took a long breath.

"The air of freedom," he said, "is no different from that I have
breathed daily on the walls there, for well-nigh three years, and yet it
seems different. It is a comfort that my prison lay in this fair spot,
and not in some place where I could see but little beyond the walls.
Often and often have I thanked God that it was so, and that, even as a
free man and with the world before me, I could see no more lovely scene
than this. There was change, too: there was the passage of the ships; I
used to wonder where each was sailing; and about the passengers, and how
hopefully many of these were going abroad to strange countries in search
of fortunes, and how few were returning with their hopes fully
satisfied. I smiled sometimes to think of the struggle for wealth and
advancement going on in the world round me, while I had no need to think
of the future; but my needs, always, as you know, few and simple, were
ministered to; and though cut off from converse with all around me, I
had the best company in the world in my cell. How thankful I was that my
memory was so good--that I could discourse with the great men of the
world, could talk with Plato and argue with Demosthenes; could discuss
old age with Cicero, or travel with either Homer or Virgil; visit the
Inferno with Dante, or the Heavens with Milton; knew by heart many of
the masterpieces of Shakespeare and Goethe, and could laugh over the fun
of Terence and Plutarch: it was a grand company."

So the professor continued to talk until they reached the shore. Frank
was not called upon to speak. The professor was talking to himself
rather than to him, continuing the habit of which the officer of the
prison had spoken. As yet his brain was working in its old groove. Once
on the strand, he stood silently gazing for two or three minutes, then
he passed his hand across his forehead, and with an evident effort broke
the chain of his thoughts and turned to Frank.

"Strange talk, no doubt you are thinking, Frank, for a man so suddenly
and unexpectedly released from a living grave; but you see, lad, that
the body can be emancipated more quickly than the mind from its bonds,
and I am as one awaking from a deep sleep and still wondering whether it
is I myself, and how I came to be here, and what has happened to me. I
fear that it will be some time before I can quite shake off my dreams.
Now, lad, once more tell me about my wife and your mother. But no, you
have told me that they are well. You have said naught of your father,
save that he is not here. Where is he? and how is he?"

"I can answer neither question, grandfather. He, like you, has been lost
to us; he disappeared a few months after you did, and we were led to
believe that he was killed."

The professor was himself again in an instant. The mood that had
dominated him was shaken off, and he was keen, sharp, and alert again,
as Frank remembered him.

"He is lost?" he repeated: "you heard that he was killed? How was it?
tell me everything. In the early days of my imprisonment, when I thought
of many things outside the walls of my gaol, one thing troubled me more
than others. My wife had her daughter; no harm would come to her, save
the first grief at my loss and the slow process of hope dying out. My
daughter had everything that a woman could wish to make her happy; but
your father, I knew him so well, he would not rest when the days passed
and no news of me came--he would move heaven and earth to find me; and a
man in this country who dares to enquire after a political prisoner
incurs no small danger. Is it so that he was missing? Tell me all, and
spare no detail; we have the rest of the day before us. We will sit down
on this seat. Now begin."

Frank told, at length, how, on the news of the professor's
disappearance, his father had interested the English government in the
matter, and how to all enquiries made the government of Naples had
replied that they knew nothing whatever concerning his disappearance;
and how, at last, he himself started with an order obtained from Naples
for him to search all the prisons of southern Italy.

"It was just like him; it was noble and chivalrous," the professor said;
"but he should have known better. An Englishman unacquainted with Italy
might have believed that with such an order he might safely search for
one who he suspected was lying in a Neapolitan prison, but your father
should have known better. Notice would assuredly be sent before he
arrived; and had he come here, for example, I should a week before have
been carried away up into the mountains, till he had gone. He would
have been shown the register of prisoners, he would not have found my
name among them, he would have been told that no such person as he
described had ever been confined here,--it was hopeless. But go on with
your story."

Frank told how his father had visited several prisons, and how he wrote
letters, exposing their horrors, that had appeared in the English
papers, and had created an immense impression throughout the country.

"It was mad of him," the professor murmured; "noble, but mad."

Then Frank told how the news came of his being carried off by brigands,
of the steps that had been taken, of the evidence of the courier who saw
him fall, and of some of his effects being found in the hut on the
mountain when this was captured and the brigand chief killed, of the
report given by one of the prisoners that his father had died and been
buried shortly after he was taken there, and of the vain search that had
been made for his body.

"And was this tale believed?" Signor Forli exclaimed, leaping to his
feet. "No Italian would for a moment have thought it true--at least,
none who had the misfortune to be born under the Neapolitan rule. Surely
my wife never believed it?"

"In her heart I know now that she did not," Frank said, "but she kept
her doubts to herself for the sake of my mother. She thought that it was
far better that she should believe that father was dead than that she
should believe him buried in one of the foul prisons he had described."

"She was right--she was right," the professor said: "it was certainly
better. And your mother--did she lose hope?"

"She told me that she would not allow herself to believe that he might
still be alive, and I believe that she and the signora never said one
word on the subject to each other until just before I started." He then
related how the courier had been brought over, how he had been installed
in the house in Cadogan Place, and how no suspicion of his being a spy
had been entertained until after the receipt of Garibaldi's letter, and
how they were convinced at last that he had overheard all the
arrangements made for his leaving for Italy.

"And you are alive, Frank, to tell me this! By what miracle did you
escape from the net that was thrown around you?"

This part of the story was also told.

"It was well arranged and bravely carried through, Frank. So you took up
the mission which had cost your father either his life or his liberty?
It was a great undertaking for a lad, and I wonder indeed that your
mother, after the losses she had suffered, permitted you to enter upon
it. Well, contrary to all human anticipations, you have succeeded in one
half of it, and you will, I trust, succeed in the other. What seemed
hardly possible--that you should enter the castle of Reggio as one of
its conquerors, and so have free access to the secrets of its
prison--has been accomplished; and if Garibaldi succeeds in carrying his
arms farther, and other prison doors are opened, we may yet find your
father. What you have told me has explained what has hitherto been a
puzzle to me: why I should have been treated as a special prisoner, and
kept in solitary confinement. Now I understand it. England had taken the
matter up; and as the government of Naples had denied all knowledge of
me, it was necessary that neither any prisoner, who, perhaps, some day
might be liberated, nor any prison official should know me, and be able
to report my existence to the British representative. You may be sure
that, had your father come here, and examined every prisoner and
official, privately, he would have obtained no intelligence of me.
Giuseppe Borani would not have been here, he would have been removed,
and none would dream that he was the prisoner for whom search was made.
And now tell me briefly about this expedition of Garibaldi. Is all
Europe at war, that he has managed to bring an army here?"

"First of all, grandfather, I must tell you what happened last year."

He then related the incidents of the war of 1859, whereby France and
Sardinia united and wrested Milan and Lombardy from the Austrians; the
brilliant achievements of the Garibaldians; the disappointment felt by
Italy at Nice and a part of Savoy being handed over to Napoleon as the
price of the services that he had rendered; how Bologna and Florence,
Palma, Ferrara, Forli, and Ravenna, had all expelled their rulers and
united themselves with Sardinia; and how, Garibaldi having been badly
treated and his volunteers disbanded, he himself had retired
disappointed and hurt to Caprera.

Then he related briefly the secret gathering of the expedition; the
obstacles thrown in its way; its successful landing in Sicily, and the
events that had terminated with the expulsion of the Neapolitan forces
from the island.

"Garibaldi began with but a thousand men," he said in conclusion. "He is
now at the head of twenty thousand, and it will grow every hour; for we
have news of risings throughout southern Calabria. If a thousand
sufficed for the conquest of Sicily, twenty thousand will surely be
sufficient for that of the mainland. The easy capture of this place will
strike terror into the enemy, and raise the enthusiasm of the troops and
the Calabrians to the utmost. Garibaldi has but four thousand men with
him now; but by this time to-morrow ten thousand at least will have
crossed, and I think it is possible that we shall reach Naples without
having to fight another battle. At any rate, one pitched battle should
be enough to free all Southern Italy. The Papal States will come next,
and then, as Garibaldi hopes, Venice; though this will be a far more
serious affair, for the Austrians are very different foes from the
Neapolitans, and have the advantage of tremendously strong
fortifications, which could only be taken by siege operations with heavy
artillery, and certainly could not be accomplished by troops like
Garibaldi's.

"Now about my father. Supposing him to be alive, where do you think he
would most probably be imprisoned?"

"There is no saying. That he is alive, I feel confident--unless, indeed,
he died in prison from the effect of the wound given him when he was
captured. That he did not die when in the hands of the brigands, we may
take to be certain, for his grave must in that case have been
discovered. He must have been handed over to a party of police sent to
fetch him by previous agreement with the brigands, and would have been
confined in some place considered especially secure from search. I
should fancy that he is probably in Naples itself,--there are several
large prisons there. Then there would be the advantage that, if the
British government had insisted upon a commission of their own officers
searching these prisons, he could be removed secretly from one to
another, so that before the one in which he was confined could be
examined, he would have been taken to another, which had been previously
searched.

"His case was a more serious one than mine. Although I was a naturalised
British subject, I had gone of my own free will to Italy, in the vain
belief that I should be unmolested after so long an absence; and
probably there would have been no stir in the matter had not your father
taken it up so hotly, and by the influence he possessed obtained
permission to search the dungeons. But, as I said, his case was a far
more serious one. He went out backed by the influence of the British
government; he was assisted by the British legation; he held the order
of the Neapolitan government for admission to all prisons. Thus, had it
been found that he had, in spite of their own so-called safe-conduct,
been seized and imprisoned, the British fleet would have been in the Bay
of Naples in a very short time--especially as his letters, as you tell
me, created so much feeling throughout the country. Therefore it would
be an almost vital question for the government to maintain the story
they had framed, and to conceal the fact that, all the time they were
asserting that he had been captured and killed by the brigands, he was
in one of their own prisons.

"I may say frankly that they would unhesitatingly have had him killed,
perhaps starved to death in a cell, were it not that they would have put
it in the power of some official or other to betray them: a discovery
that would have meant the fall of the government, possibly the
dethronement of the king. Had he been an Italian, he would assuredly
have been murdered, for it would not have paid any prison official to
betray them; whereas, being an Englishman of distinction, in whose fate
the British government had actively interested itself, any man who knew
the facts could have obtained a reward of a very large amount indeed for
giving information. That is the sole reason, Frank, that leads me to
believe that he may still be alive. He was doubtless imprisoned under
another name, just as I was; but at least it would be known to the men
that attended upon him that he was an Englishman, and these could
scarcely have avoided suspecting that he was the man about whom such a
stir had taken place. The government had already incurred a tremendous
risk by his seizure; but this would have been far greater had foul means
been used to get rid of him in prison.

"In the former case, should by any extraordinary chance his existence
have become known to the British legation, they would have framed some
deliberate lie to account for their ignorance of his being Captain
Percival. They might, for instance, assert that he had been taken
prisoner in the mountains, with a party of brigands; that his assertions
that he was an Englishman had been wholly disbelieved, for he would
naturally have spoken in Italian, and his Italian was so good that any
assertions he made that he was an Englishman would have been wholly
discredited. That is merely a rough guess at the story they might have
invented, for probably it would have been much more plausible; but,
however plausible, it would not have received the slightest credit had
it been found that he had been foully done to death.

"It is difficult, Frank, when one is discussing the probable actions of
men without heart, honour, or principle, and in deadly fear of
discovery, to determine what course they would be likely to take in any
particular circumstances. Now, the first thing that I have to do is to
cross to Messina, and to telegraph and afterwards to write to my wife.
Can I telegraph?"

"Yes, but not direct: the regular line is that which crosses the straits
to this town and then goes up through Italy. That, of course, we have
not been able to use, and could not use it now. All messages have been
sent by the line from Cape Passaro to Malta, and thence through Sardinia
and Corsica to Spezzia. You can send a message by that. There will be no
difficulty in getting a boat across the straits. You see the war-ships
have steamed away. As soon as the castle was taken they found that their
anchorage was within range of its guns. They fired a few shots into the
town when the castle was bombarding it, and then retired. I believe that
all through the men of the navy have been very reluctant to act against
us, except, of course, at Palermo."

"Then I will go at once. It is strange to me to be able to say I will
go."

"Very well, grandfather. Of course you have no money, but I can supply
you with as much as you like. I have plenty of funds. I can't say where
you will find me when you come back, but you will only have to enquire
where Garibaldi himself is: I am sure to be with him."

"I shall stay a couple of days there. After that hard pallet and prison
fare I cannot resist the temptation of a comfortable bed, a
well-furnished room, and a civilised meal, especially as I am not likely
to find any of these things on the way to Naples."

"By the way, I should think you could telegraph from here," Frank said.
"Garibaldi sent off a message to Messina directly the castle was taken."

"Then let us do so by all means."

They went at once to the telegraph office, and from there the professor
sent the following message: "Dearest wife, Frank has found and released
me. Am well and in good health. Shall write fully this evening. Shall
accompany him and aid in his search for Leonard. Love to
Muriel.--FORLI."

Having handed this in, they went down to the shore again, and had no
difficulty in hiring a boat. Frank took twenty sovereigns from his belt.

"You will want all this, grandfather, for indeed you must have an
entirely new fit-out."

"I suppose I must. There has not been much wear-and-tear in clothes, but
three years is a long time for a single suit to last, and I have lately
had some uneasiness as to what I should do when these things no longer
hung together; and I certainly felt a repugnance to asking for a prison
suit. I must decidedly go and get some clothes fit to be seen in before
I present myself at an hotel. No respectable house would take me in as I
am."

"Will you have more, sir? I can let you have fifty if you would like
it."

"No, my boy, I don't want to be encumbered with luggage. A suit besides
that I shall wear, and a change of underclothes, will suffice. These can
be carried in a small hand-bag, and whether we walk, or ride, I can take
it with me."

After seeing Signor Forli off, Frank returned to the castle.

"Where is the professor?" Garibaldi asked, when he reported himself as
ready for duty.

"I have just seen him off to Messina, general. He is sorely in need of
clothes, and he wants to write a long letter home, and he could scarcely
find a quiet room where he could do so in Reggio. He will rejoin us as
we advance."

"That is the wisest thing he could do; for although he looks wonderfully
well, he can hardly be capable of standing much fatigue after taking no
exercise for three years. He will have a great deal to learn as to what
has taken place since he has been here, for I don't suppose the
prisoners heard a whisper of the great changes in Northern Italy."

"I told him in a few words, sir, but I had no time to give him any
details."

At Reggio twenty-six guns, five hundred muskets, and a large quantity of
coal, ammunition, provisions, horses, and mules were captured. On the
following morning, Major Nullo and the Guides with a battalion were
thrown out towards San Giovanni. There was no other forward movement.
The general was occupied in receiving deputations from many towns and
villages, and there were arrangements to be made for the transport of
such stores and ammunition as were likely to be required. The
Garibaldians had crossed in large numbers. Cosenz and Medici, with a
considerable portion of their commands, were already over, and the
former had gone up into the hills. The next morning Garibaldi with two
thousand men and six captured field-pieces moved forward. It was
possible that they would meet with opposition at San Giovanni, and they
had scarcely started when a messenger arrived from Nullo. Believing from
the reports of the countrymen that the Neapolitans were retiring, he had
ridden on with six of the Guides, till to his astonishment, at a bridge
crossing a ravine close to that town, he came upon two squadrons of
Neapolitan Lancers. With great presence of mind, he and his men had
drawn their revolvers and summoned the officers in command to surrender.

"Surrender to whom?" the latter asked.

"To Garibaldi: he is ready to attack at once, if you refuse."

"I will take you to the general," the officer said.

To him Nullo repeated his command.

"I have no objection to confer with Garibaldi himself," the general
said, "and will go with you to him."

"I cannot take you," Nullo said: "my instructions are simply to demand
your surrender; but I will go myself and inform him of your readiness to
meet him. In the meantime, I demand that you withdraw your lancers from
the bridge, which must be considered as the boundary between the two
forces. You can leave two men on your side, and I will leave two on
mine."

To this the general agreed; and posting two of his men at the bridge,
another was sent back to beg Garibaldi to hurry up the troops.
Messengers went backward and forward between General Melendis and
Garibaldi, who was marching forward with all haste. But, as the terms
the latter laid down were that the troops should give up their arms and
then be allowed to march away, no agreement was arrived at, and the
Neapolitans evacuated the town and took up a very strong position on the
hill-side above it. They were two thousand five hundred strong, with
five guns. In the evening Garibaldi with two thousand men arrived near
the place, and sending forward two companies to the bridge, made a
circuit through the hills, and took up a position above and somewhat in
rear of the Neapolitans. A messenger was sent to Cosenz, who was
seventeen miles away, ordering him to start at once, and, if possible,
arrive in the morning. A body of Calabrian peasantry undertook to watch
the enemy, and the Garibaldians, wrapping themselves in their blankets,
lay down for the night.

Before daybreak they were on their feet, and moved down the hill. The
enemy opened fire with shell, but only two or three men fell, and the
fire was not returned. On arrival at a spot where they were sheltered
from the fire, Garibaldi sent in a messenger with a flag of truce,
renewing the offer of terms. The Neapolitans shot the bearer of the flag
as he approached them, but afterwards offered to treat. Garibaldi,
however, greatly angered at this violation of the laws of war, replied
at first that he would now accept nothing but unconditional surrender.
An armistice was however granted, to enable the general to communicate
with General Braganti. This afforded time, too, for Cosenz to arrive
from Salerno, and for Bixio, whose brigade had remained at Reggio, to
bring up some guns; these were posted so as to entirely cut the
Neapolitan line of retreat.

At five o'clock Garibaldi sent an order to the Neapolitans to lay down
their arms within a quarter of an hour, or he would advance. Their
general, seeing that he could not now hope to be reinforced, and that he
was completely surrounded, assented to the demand. His soldiers piled
their arms and soon fraternised with the Garibaldians, many of them
showing unconcealed pleasure that they had not been called upon to
oppose those who had come to free their country. The greater portion of
them threw away their accoutrements, and even their caps, and then
dispersed, a few starting to join the main force under Viarli, the
greater portion scattering to their homes. The fort by the water's edge
below the town had also surrendered.

This was an important capture, as it possessed several heavy guns; and
these, with those of Faro on the opposite shore, commanded the Straits,
consequently the Neapolitan ships could not pass on their way up towards
Naples, but were forced to retire through the other end and to make
their way entirely round the island, thus leaving the passage between
Messina and the mainland entirely open. At daybreak Garibaldi started at
the head of Cosenz's column for Alta-fiumara, which the first party of
Garibaldians that landed had failed to capture. This, after a short
parley, surrendered on the same terms as those granted the day before,
and the men, throwing away their shakoes and knapsacks, started for
their various homes. Three miles farther, the castle of Scylla
surrendered, the national guard of the town having taken up arms and
declared for Garibaldi as soon as they heard that he was coming. Bagnara
had also been evacuated, Viarli having withdrawn with his force and
marched to Monteleone.

A halt was made here. The strictest orders had been given by Garibaldi
against plundering or in any way giving cause for hostility among the
peasantry. Sentries were posted, and one of the soldiers found stealing
grapes was shot--an example which prevented any repetition of the
offence.

That evening Frank, who was down on the shore, watching the men from
Messina being landed from several steamers, saw Signor Forli.

"It is lucky indeed that I was down here," he said, "for every house in
the town is full of troops, and you might have searched all night
without finding me. It is quite useless to look for a bed now, and,
indeed, the houses are so crowded that I had made up my mind to sleep
here, and I should recommend you to do the same. I see you have got a
blanket with you. It will be much cooler and more pleasant than
indoors."

"I will do so gladly, Frank. It will be a fresh luxury for me to see the
stars overhead as I lie, and the sand is quite as soft as any of these
Italians beds are likely to be."

Frank had indeed slept out every night since the Garibaldians first
landed. It saved the trouble of endeavouring to find accommodation, and
enabled him to have a swim every morning to refresh him for his day's
work.

Day after day the Garibaldians marched on without encountering
resistance. It was indeed a procession rather than a military advance.
The country was lovely, the weather superb. At each village they were
saluted by numbers of the country people, who had come down to greet
them. They were all armed, and numbers of them joined the Garibaldians.
They were, for the most part, of fine physique, with handsome faces, and
the women of this coast were famous for their beauty. The Greek element
was still predominant, and in many of the villages no other language was
spoken. In the towns, the national guard were drawn up to receive their
deliverers with all honour, and the inhabitants of all classes vied with
each other in their hospitality. Frank had been unable to buy a horse,
but had succeeded in purchasing a donkey, on which the professor sat
placidly smoking as they went along, with one marching column or
another. Cosenz's division generally led the way, followed by those of
Medici and Ebers, while Bixio followed in the rear, his division having
already had their share of glory in Sicily and at Reggio.

The main Neapolitan army, retiring from Monteleone, passed through each
town only a few hours ahead of the Garibaldians. The people reported
that great insubordination existed among them. General Braganti had been
shot by his own men at Bagnara; the other generals were accused by their
men of treachery, and great numbers of these had deserted; and the
Garibaldians felt that if they could but overtake the retreating foe
victory was certain. Orders had been sent round by Garibaldi to all the
villagers that the men were to meet him at Maida; and leaving the army
at two o'clock in the morning, he, with a few of his staff, rode across
the mountain to that town. The Calabrians, eager to fight, had obeyed
the order, but with some disappointment; for had they been left to
themselves they would have occupied the terrible gorges through which
the retreating Neapolitans would have to pass, and taking their posts
among inaccessible hills, would have almost annihilated them. But
Garibaldi was on all occasions most anxious to prevent bloodshed, and
would never fight unless his foes forced him to do so; and it was for
this reason that he had ordered the Calabrians to meet him at Maida,
thereby preventing them from occupying the pass.

Frank, as one of his aides-de-camp, rode with him, the professor
preferring to move forward at the more comfortable pace of the marching
column. Ordering the Calabrians to follow, Garibaldi went on from Maida
to Tyrola, situated on the backbone of the Apennines, and commanding a
view of the sea on either hand. Arriving there, he found that the
Neapolitans were but a mile ahead. He therefore halted for an hour, and
then rode seven miles farther to Samprotro, where he saw the rearguard
of the enemy not more than half a mile ahead. Leaving a few armed
peasants to watch them, Garibaldi and his staff went quietly to bed. In
the morning they again started in pursuit, at the head of two thousand
Calabrians. The peasants brought in news that the enemy had halted at a
village seven miles ahead, and were endeavouring to obtain food. The
Calabrians, when they approached the place, were sent forward as
skirmishers; the head of Cosenz's column was now but a short distance
in the rear. Colonel Peard, who had ridden with Garibaldi, was in
advance, with three Calabrians, when, at a turn of the road, he came
upon seven thousand infantry, cavalry, and artillery, huddled together
without any appearance of regularity.

He rode up at once to the nearest officers, and called upon them to
surrender. They took him to Ghio, their general, who, saying to Peard
that it was not customary to talk so loud before the soldiers, asked him
to step aside; and on being told that he was surrounded, and had no
choice between surrendering and being annihilated, he agreed at once to
send an officer to Garibaldi. While the officer was absent, the
disposition of the troops manifested itself: many of them at once threw
down their arms and accoutrements and started on the road, or made their
way up the hill. In a few minutes the officer returned with Garibaldi's
conditions, which were surrender and disarmament, when the troops would
be allowed to leave, on their promise not to serve again. In an hour
there was not a Neapolitan left in the place; and the Garibaldians, who
had marched thirty miles that day, halted to allow the rest of the
troops to come up.

There was, indeed, no further occasion for haste. It was morally certain
that no battle would be fought before they reached Naples. The
Neapolitan troops were hopelessly dispirited, and the greater part would
gladly have thrown away their arms and returned to their homes; the
minority, who were still faithful to their oath, were bitterly
humiliated at the manner in which large bodies of men had surrendered
without striking a blow, and at the way in which the main force fled, as
hastily as if it had suffered a disgraceful defeat, at the approach of
the Garibaldians. Already Naples was almost in a state of insurrection;
and in the other towns the whole populace had risen, and the Neapolitan
authorities were powerless.

"It is wonderful," Signor Forli, who arrived on the following morning,
said to Frank, "that the Calabrians should have remained passive for a
couple of centuries under the rule of a people so much inferior to
themselves. That Sicily should do so, I am not surprised. Its population
is not to be compared in physique with these grand fellows. Among the
mountains of Sicily, no doubt, there may be a finer type of people than
those of the plains and sea-coast; but, as you have told me, although as
pleased as a crowd of children at a new game, they did little to aid
Garibaldi to free them, and Messina once taken, the number that enlisted
with him was small indeed. Here the population have joined to a man; and
what splendid men they are! Had they all risen together before, there
would have been no need for a Garibaldi. What could an army, however
numerous, of the frivolous population of Naples have done against them?

"There are hundreds of passes and ravines. We have ourselves marched
through a score that might have been held by a handful of determined men
against an army. I believe that it is the fear of cannon rather than of
soldiers that has enabled a decaying power, like that of Naples, to
maintain its hold. Cannon would be useful in a mountainous country for
those who have to defend the passes, but it is of little avail to an
invader: it is notorious that, even on the plains, vastly more men are
killed by bullets than by shell. One thing that no doubt has kept the
Calabrians from rising, as a body, is that blood feuds exist among them,
as in Corsica. The number of crosses that you have seen by the roadside
mark the number of the victims of these quarrels. Each little village
stands apart from the rest, and there has been no centre round which the
country could gather. There has been, in fact, a community of interest,
but no community of feeling; and the consequence is, risings have been
always partial, and there has been nothing like one determined effort by
all Calabria to win its freedom."



CHAPTER XVI.

NAPLES.


The resemblance between Colonel Peard and Garibaldi was so great that,
being similarly dressed, the Englishman, pushing on so far in advance,
was everywhere taken for the general, and he utilised this likeness to
the utmost. The news of his rapid approach hastened the retreat of the
Neapolitans. He sent fictitious telegrams to their generals as from
private friends, magnifying Garibaldi's forces, and representing that he
was taking a line that would cut them off from Naples, and so sent them
hurrying away at full speed and adding to the alarm and confusion of the
government.

"I suppose we had better push on with Garibaldi, grandfather?" Frank
said one day, as they finished an unusually long march.

"Certainly, Frank," Signor Forli said, somewhat surprised; "we shall be
in Naples in another three or four days. I am sure Garibaldi will not
wait for his troops; he was saying to me yesterday that he was most
anxious to enter the city, as he had notice from a friend that Cavour's
party were hard at work trying to organise a general rising of the city
before he arrives, and the issue of a manifesto declaring Victor
Emmanuel king of Italy and inviting him to come at once. This Garibaldi
is determined not to allow. He has from the first always declared that
he came in the name of the king, and that when his work was done he
would hand over Southern Italy to him. You know his loyalty and absolute
disinterestedness; and the idea that he would endeavour to obtain any
advantage for himself is absurd.

"If he had chosen, instead of accepting the dictatorship of Sicily he
could have been elected king; and assuredly it is the same thing here.
He is the people's hero and saviour; the very name of the King of
Sardinia is scarcely known in Sicily, and excites no interest whatever.
It is the same thing in Calabria: the enthusiasm is all for Garibaldi,
and had he consented to accept the crown he would have been elected
unanimously. His wish and hope is to present to Victor Emmanuel Southern
Italy cleared of all enemies, complete and undivided; and yet, rather
than so receive it, Cavour, Farina, and the rest of them are intriguing
at Naples, as they intrigued in Sicily, in order that the king should
appear to take this wide accession of territory as the expression of the
will of the people, and not from the hand of Garibaldi.

"It is pitiful to see such mean jealousy. In time, no doubt, even had
there not been a Garibaldi, this would have come about, but it might
have been fifteen or twenty years hence; and had it been done by means
of a royal army, France and Austria would probably both have interfered
and demanded compensation, and so left Italy still incomplete. It is the
speed with which the change has been effected, and I may say the
admiration with which Europe has viewed it, and the assurance of the
government at Turin that it has had no hand in this business, but has
taken all means in its power to prevent it, that has paralysed
opposition. I trust that all these intrigues will fail, and that
Garibaldi may have the sole honour that he craves--namely, that of
presenting the kingdom of the two Sicilies to Victor Emmanuel. Should
Cavour's intrigues succeed, and Garibaldi be slighted, it will be the
blackest piece of ingratitude history has ever recorded. However, why do
you ask 'shall we go on to Naples?' I thought that you were burning to
get there."

"I am; but you see we are passing, without time for making any
investigations, many places where my father, if alive, may be in prison.
At Potenza, for example, I know that a large number of political
prisoners are confined, and doubtless it is the same at many other
towns. I cannot bear to think of the possibility that he may be in one
of these, and that we have passed him by."

"I can quite understand your feelings, Frank; but you know we are agreed
that it is at Naples we shall most probably find him, if he is still
alive. Bad as the prisons may be in other places, they are more loosely
managed; there would be fewer conveniences for keeping one prisoner
apart from the others, while there are ample opportunities in those of
Naples for many to be kept in secret confinement. Certainly I was so
kept myself at Reggio; but that was a royal fortress, and though used as
a prison for political offenders, there were no malefactors there. In
the jails in the provincial towns this could not be so, and I know that
prisoners are all mixed up together, save those who can afford to pay,
who can live in comparative comfort, while the rest are herded together
anyhow, and can scarcely exist upon the rations allowed to them. The
more I think of it, the more I am convinced that it is at Naples that we
must look for your father. Now that we have arrived at Salerno, and
that, as we hear, the Neapolitan troops are falling back from the
capital, and taking up their position round Capua and Gaeta, there can
be little doubt that Garibaldi will, in a day or two, go forward. There
is, indeed, nothing to prevent you and me from going by train there
to-morrow, if you lay aside that red shirt and scarf, and dress in
clothes that will attract no attention. But I do not see that anything
would be gained by it; you will still have to wait until Garibaldi is
supreme there, and his orders are respected, and you may be sure that,
as soon as he is in power, his first step will be to throw open the
prisons and release all who are charged with political offences, to
order these hideous dungeons to be permanently closed, and to thoroughly
reorganise the system. You have told me that he did this at Palermo, and
he will certainly do the same at Naples."

Four days later the king issued a farewell notice to the people, and
left Naples for Gaeta; and three hours afterwards Romano, his minister,
who had drawn up his farewell, addressed the following telegram to
Garibaldi:--

"To the Invincible Dictator of the two Sicilies.--Naples expects you
with anxiety to confide to you her future destiny.--Entirely yours,
LIBORIO ROMANO."

A subsequent letter informed him that at a meeting of the ministers it
had been decided that the Prince of Alessandria, Syndic of Naples,
should go to Salerno, with the commander of the national guard, to make
the arrangements for his entry into the capital. Garibaldi, however, did
not wait. Were he to arrive at the head of his troops, the Neapolitan
garrisons of the castle and other strong places in the city might oppose
him by force; and, as ever, wishing to avoid bloodshed, he determined to
rely solely upon the populace of Naples. He at once ordered a small
special train to be prepared.

"I am only taking with me," he said to Frank, "a few of my staff. You
will be one of the number: you have a right to it, not only as the
representative of your mother, to whose aid we are largely indebted for
our being now here, but for your own personal services. Signor Forli
shall also go: he stood by me on the walls of Rome twelve years ago, he
has suffered much for his principles, he is your mother's father,
therefore he too shall come."

There were but four carriages on the little train that left at nine
o'clock in the morning on the 7th of September for Naples. Cosenz, and
thirteen members of the staff, represented the national army; the
remaining seats being occupied by various personal friends and two or
three newspaper correspondents.

"'Tis an affair not without risk," Signor Forli said to Frank, as they
walked towards the station. "That the people will receive Garibaldi with
enthusiasm is certain, but the attitude of the troops is very doubtful.
Certainly the flower of the Neapolitan army will have been left in
garrison at Naples; and if but a score of these remain faithful to the
Bourbons, Garibaldi's life may be sacrificed. However, I cannot believe
that Providence will permit one who has done so great and mighty a work
to perish, just at the moment of the completion of his enterprise."

The station-master at Salerno, as soon as the train had started, flashed
the news to the various stations on the road; and the consequence was,
that at every village the people assembled, and when half the journey
was done the crowds were so vast, that they overflowed on to the line,
and the train was brought to a standstill. National guards climbed on to
the roofs of the carriages, and decorated them with flags and
evergreens. At Torre del Greco, Resina, and Portici, progress became
almost impossible, and the train had to proceed at a snail's pace to
Naples. Here the authorities had prevented all access to the station,
but outside the scene was an extraordinary one: horses and carriages,
men and women of the highest and of the lowest classes; national guards
and gendarmes, members of Bertani's and the Cavourian committees, were
all crowded in confusion together. The houses were decorated with flags
and tapestry, and thronged with eager spectators from basement to roof;
and as Missori and three others rode out from the station on horseback,
followed by Garibaldi in an open carriage with Cosenz, and by a dozen
other carriages containing his staff and those who had arrived with him,
the roar of welcome was overpowering.

It was with the greatest difficulty that the horsemen cleared the way;
for all along the road the crowd was as great as at the station. The
attitude of the troops, however, at the various points where they were
massed, was sullen and threatening. At Castel Nuovo the guns were
pointed on the road; the troops stood ready to fire. One shot, and the
course of history might have been changed. Garibaldi ordered his
coachman to drive slower, and sat in his carriage calmly, with his eyes
fixed upon the troops. One officer gave the order to fire; but he was
not obeyed. The calmness and daring of the lion-like face filled the
soldiers with such admiration that, for the moment, their hostility
evaporated; and while some of them saluted as if to a royal personage,
others took off their hats and burst into a cheer. Garibaldi
acknowledged it by lifting his hat, and by a cheery wave of his hand,
and drove on as calmly as before.

In the carriages behind, all had held their breath at the critical
moment.

"What an escape! What an escape!" Signor Forli murmured to Frank, who
was sitting next to him. "Had but one musket been fired, we should all
have been dead men in a minute or two; and, what is of more consequence,
the freeing of Italy must have been postponed for twenty years."

"It was horribly close," Frank said. "I would rather go through ten
hand-to-hand fights, than another time like the last three minutes; it
has made me feel quite queer, and I own that what you say about putting
back Italian freedom for twenty years never entered my mind. The one
thought I had was, that we were all going to be smashed up without
having the chance of striking a single blow. I went through some pretty
sharp fighting at Palermo, but I was always doing something then, and
did not think of the danger. I don't mind saying that I was in a blue
funk just now."

Garibaldi drove straight, as was the custom of kings on first entering
Naples, to the palace of the archbishop. Here the Te Deum was sung; and
he then went on to the palace of Angri, where he and his staff took up
their quarters. Vast crowds assembled outside the palace, and the
general had to appear again and again on the balcony in reply to the
roars of acclamation from the enthusiastic population. General Cosenz,
who was himself a Neapolitan, was appointed to organise a government.
This he did to the general satisfaction--moderate men only being chosen.
Garibaldi requested Admiral Persano in the name of Victor Emmanuel to
take command of the Neapolitan navy, decreeing that it should form part
of the Sardinian squadron; and appointed to the pro-dictatorship the
Marquis of Pallavicini, a staunch friend of the king. He had offered
Signor Forli an apartment in the palace, and as soon as the first
excitement had ceased the latter said to Frank, who had at Salerno
received the portmanteau he had left at Genoa:--

"Let us go out and see the state of the city. But before we do so, you
had best put on your ordinary clothes: we should simply be mobbed if you
were to go out as one of Garibaldi's officers."

"Yes; we have had quite enough of that as we came along," Frank said.
"It will really be a comfort to go about for once in peace and quiet."

They started in a few minutes, leaving the palace by one of the side
entrances, and soon mingled in the crowd. The people seemed half mad
with delight. As soon as the news of Garibaldi's arrival spread through
the town every house was decorated, and the whole population poured out
into the streets. Among the better classes the joy that the government
of the Bourbons had come to an end, and that the constitutional
government, which had done so much for Northern Italy, would succeed the
despotism which had pressed so heavily on all with anything to lose, was
deep and sincere. Among the lower classes the enthusiasm manifested was
but the excitement of some few minutes, and had Francesco returned a
month later, at the head of his victorious troops, they would have
shouted as lustily.

It was a fête, a special fête, and it mattered but little to the fickle
and excitable population what was its cause. But here, as on all
occasions when Italian people give way to bursts of enthusiasm,
foreigners were struck with the perfect good-temper, the orderly
behaviour, and the entire absence of drunkenness, among the population.
In Paris the first step of people excited by a change of government
would have been to fall upon those whom they considered to be the agents
of their oppressors. The gendarmes, who had so long been feared, would
not have dared show themselves in the streets; the emblems of royalty
would have been torn down in the public buildings; the members of the
last government would have been forced to fly for their lives. There was
a little of this in Naples, but, as in Venice, six years later, this
feeling of animosity for the past speedily passed away.

But how faint was the feeling of real patriotism in the minds of the
Neapolitans is shown by the fact that only one inhabitant of the city
joined Garibaldi's army; that not a single house was open for the
reception of his officers or soldiers; that after the battle of Volturno
hundreds of wounded men were left lying all day on the pavements without
aid or nourishment, without a single mattress being found for them to
lie upon, by the inhabitants. Never, except by the King of Italy and the
civil and military authorities of Piedmont to Garibaldi and his
followers, who had won a kingdom for them, was such national ingratitude
displayed as by the people of Naples.

"It is pleasant to see," Signor Forli said, as he and Frank wandered
about; "but it would be far more pleasant if one did not know that it
means absolutely nothing. You have told me that it was the same thing at
Messina: that, in spite of Garibaldi's appeal to the ladies of the
place, they did nothing whatever to aid the wounded in the
hospitals--never contributed so much as a piece of lint or material for
bandages; and, frivolous as the people there are, these in Naples are
worse. If all Italy were like the Neapolitans, the country would not be
worth shedding a drop of blood for. However, one must make some
allowances for them. For centuries they have been slaves rather than
free people; they have had no voice as to their own disposal, they could
not express even an opinion on public affairs, without risking
imprisonment or death; there has been nothing left for them but to amuse
themselves; they have been treated like children at school, and they
have become children. We can only hope that in time, under a free
government, they will grow worthy of freedom, worthy of forming a part
of an Italy to which the Lombards, the Piedmontese, and the Calabrians
belong."

It was already late in the afternoon, and until some of the troops
arrived it would be impossible to take any steps with relation to public
buildings. The castle of St. Elmo, and the prison of Santa Maria, with
many other places, were still in the hands of the Neapolitan soldiers,
whose attitude continued to be hostile, and until these retired nothing
could be done; and it was by no means certain that the guns at St. Elmo,
which completely commanded the town, might not at any moment open fire.

"I can well understand your impatience to get rid of these troops from
the city," Garibaldi said the next morning. "I do not forget, Percival,
the main object that you had in view, and I too long for the time when I
may clasp the hand of my old comrade of South America and Rome. I
promise you that the moment the prisons are evacuated you shall go with
the party who will search them, and search them strictly. You know what
these jailors are: they are the creatures of the worst men of
Francesco's government. By years of cruelty and oppression they have
earned for themselves the hatred of every one within the walls of the
prisons and of their friends and relatives. Our victory means their
dismissal--that is, as soon as the prisons are cleaned from the lowest
dungeons to the roofs. That they shall superintend: it is they who are
responsible for it, and they themselves shall be engaged in the work of
purification. It may well be that they will try to hide the lowest and
worst dungeons from our search, partly from fear that the natural and
righteous indignation excited by the discoveries may end in their being
promptly punished with death for their accumulated crimes, partly in
hopes that the royal troops may yet overcome us and restore Francesco to
his throne; in which case they would receive approval for still
retaining some of the worst victims of the tyranny of his government."

"You may be sure that I shall search them thoroughly, general."

On going out, they found the streets were still thronged by an almost
frenzied populace. These invaded the hotels and cafés, and pressed all
they could lay hands on to join in the demonstrations. A few murders
were perpetrated; the state of things prevailing affording an excellent
opportunity for satisfying private revenge, as it needed only a cry that
the victim was a spy of the government to justify it in the eyes of the
bystanders.

In the quarter nearest to St. Elmo the enthusiasm had a good deal cooled
down, as the fear that the guns of the castle might at any moment open
fire for the time dissipated any desire for marching about and
acclaiming Garibaldi. At four o'clock, however, it was known that two
officers of the castle had gone down to the palace, and at six the
welcome news spread that the garrison had capitulated, and would march
out on the following morning.

Frank had little sleep that night. All along his hopes had been high
that he should find his father here; but now that the question would be
so soon decided, his fears were in the ascendant. He remembered that the
evidence in favour of his father's death was extremely strong, the only
hopeful fact being that his body had not been discovered. So slight did
even his mother and Signora Forli deem the chance of his being alive,
that for two years neither had breathed a word to the other as to the
existence of a possibility that he might be still living. Undoubtedly
the release of his grandfather had increased his own hope, but he felt
now that there was but small ground for the feeling. Had his father been
hidden away in a fortress, he might also have survived; but the
probabilities seemed altogether against this. It was not until midday
that St. Elmo was evacuated, and several companies of the national guard
marched in. A colonel of the staff had, with Frank, been charged with
the duty of searching the dungeons. They had brought with them fifty
lazzaroni, who had been engaged for this repulsive work. A dozen of the
Garibaldian troops were to accompany them; the prison officials were all
ordered to go with the party, and they, as well as the lazzaroni, were
told to bring pails and brooms.

The castle of St. Elmo covers an area of no less than four acres; it was
cut out of the solid rock, and is surrounded by a sunken ditch, sixty or
seventy feet deep, and fifty wide. This great mass of stone is
honeycombed in every direction with a network of corridors and
subterranean apartments, and there is ample space to hold several
thousand prisoners. The upper tiers of chambers were fairly clean; these
were, in fact, the barracks of the troops. The guns looked out from
embrasures. Several batteries of field artillery, with waggons and all
fittings, still remained there, and the chambers were littered with
rubbish of all kinds, discarded by the troops before leaving. It was not
here that prisoners were to be found. The national guard had already
opened the doors of the cells and chambers in the stage below, and had
liberated those confined there; the work of searching those still lower
began at once. The extent was so vast and the windings were so intricate
that the work seemed interminable. In order to make sure that each
passage had been searched, a pail of whitewash was sent for, and a
splash made at each turning. Each story was darker, and the air more
stifling, than that above it, for they were now far below the level of
the castle itself.

Frank had taken the advice of Signor Forli, and had bought several
bundles of the strongest cigars; and he and the officer in command, the
officer of the national guard who attended them and the soldiers all
smoked incessantly. At the worst places the lazzaroni and turnkeys were
set to work with their buckets and brooms. It was not until late in the
evening that they came to the conclusion that every cell and chamber had
been searched. About a hundred and fifty prisoners had been found and
released, but among them Frank looked in vain for his father. The lowest
dungeons of all had been found empty; and this, and the solemn
assurances of all the prison officials, who had been threatened with
instant death should further search discover any prisoners, convinced
him that at any rate his father was not there.

The next day the neighbouring prison of Santa Maria was searched. It had
formerly been a monastery, and the upper cells were lofty and capacious.
The jailors declared, indeed, that these were the only cells, but a
careful search showed a door in the rock. This was burst open, and a
series of subterranean passages was discovered. The jailors declared
that these had never been used in their time, and, they believed, never
before. That they had been used, however, was evident, from the marks
where lamps had been hung on the walls, and by many other signs. No
prisoners were found here, all having been released directly it was
known that the garrison of the castle had capitulated. The search
occupied the whole day, so extensive were the underground galleries; and
a passage was discovered that evidently at one time formed a
communication between St. Elmo and this prison. As he came out into
daylight, Frank staggered, and would have fallen had not one of the
soldiers caught him. He had been ill the night before; and the effects
of the close air, noxious smells, and the work, which had been even more
trying than on the previous day, and his bitter disappointment, had now
completely overcome him. After some water had been dashed in his face
and he had taken a draught of some wine which one of the prison
officials fetched, he partially recovered. He was assisted by two of the
Garibaldians down the road to the town, and then, obtaining a vehicle,
was driven to the palace, and managed with assistance to get up to his
apartment. A minute or two later Signor Forli joined him, one of the
attendants having summoned him as soon as Frank arrived.

"Do not trouble to speak, my dear boy," he said. Frank was lying on the
bed sobbing convulsively. "You have failed--that I can well understand;
but you must not altogether lose heart. We had thought this the most
likely place; but there are still other prisons, and we will not give up
hope until every one of these has been ransacked. I am sorry now that I
did not accompany you, but I am afraid, after what I have gone through
myself, that only a few minutes in one of those places would overpower
me; and I wonder how you, young and strong as you are, were able to
spend two days in such an atmosphere."

"I shall be better to-morrow," Frank said. "That last place was awful;
but I think that it was as much the strong tobacco, as those horrible
stinks, which upset me. It was a choice of two evils; but I would smoke
even worse tobacco if I could get it, if I had to go through it again."

"I will get you a glass of brandy and water, Frank; that will do you
more good than anything."

The next morning Frank was still too unwell to be able to get up; his
failure had completely broken him down, and he felt indisposed to make
the slightest exertion. At twelve o'clock, however, Signor Forli came
in.

"I have a piece of news to give you," he said, "news which affords us
some shadow of hope that you have not failed altogether. Last night I
was talking with the general and one or two of his staff. Garibaldi is,
as you know, intensely interested in your search, and sympathises with
you most warmly. Suddenly he said, 'Is it not possible that he may have
been removed before the king and his court retired?' Had Percival been
found in the prisons, it would have rendered the bad faith and mendacity
of the government more glaring than ever, and would have deprived it of
any little sympathy that was felt for it in England. Therefore, feeling
sure that the prisons would be searched as soon as I entered, Percival,
had he been here, may, with other special prisoners, have been sent to
Capua, which is so strongly fortified a place that they may well believe
it to be impregnable to anything but a long siege by troops possessing a
battering train."

[Illustration: "IT WAS NOT UNTIL NULLO ORDERED FOUR MEN TO LOAD ... THAT
HE WOULD ANSWER"]

Frank sat up. "That is indeed a good idea," he exclaimed. "How stupid of
me not to have thought of questioning the prison people! Yes; it is
quite likely that if any of the prisoners were removed, he would be
one of them."

"I have no doubt you would have thought of it, Frank, if it had not been
that you were completely upset by that strong tobacco. Mind, I don't
blame you for taking it: it is better to be poisoned with nicotine than
by the stenches of a Neapolitan prison. The thought only struck
Garibaldi after we had chatted over the matter for some time. I went
over there this morning with Colonel Nullo. Although the officials at
first asserted that no prisoners had been taken away, they soon
recovered their memories when he said that he would interrogate every
one of the warders separately, and if he found that any prisoners had
been sent away he would have them taken out into the courtyard and shot
for lying to him. They then remembered that four prisoners had been
taken away, but all declared with adjurations to all the saints that
they did not know who they were: they were delivered over to them under
numbers only. One had been there seven years, and two had been there
five years, and one two years. Again threatening to examine all the
turnkeys, he learned that the last prisoner received had been confined
in one of the lower dungeons, where they yesterday asserted that no one
had for years been imprisoned; the other three were also kept in the
most rigid seclusion, but in the upper cells.

"I insisted on seeing the man who had attended on the prisoner kept in
the lower cell. He was a surly ruffian, and it was not until Nullo
ordered four men to load, and to put the fellow with his back to the
wall, that he would answer my questions. He said then that the prisoner
was, he should say, between forty and fifty, but it was not easy to
judge of age after a man had been below there for a few months. He had
never said more than a few words to him, and it had never struck him
that he was not an Italian. I questioned him more closely as to this,
and he admitted that he had sometimes, when he went down, heard the
prisoner singing. He had listened, but could not understand the words,
and they might have been in a foreign language. He had no more interest
in that prisoner than in any other. He supposed, by his being sent down
below there, that it was hoped he would die off as soon as possible.
They seldom lived many months in those dungeons, but this man seemed
tougher than usual, though his strength had failed a good deal lately.
He was able to walk up from his cell to the carriage when he was taken
away. Now we mustn't feel too sanguine, Frank, but although there is no
proof that this prisoner is your father, the evidence, so far as it
goes, is rather in favour of such a supposition than against it."

"It is indeed," Frank said eagerly. "The fact that they put him down
into the cells where, as the man says, it was almost certain he would
soon die, and that when it was found that he had not done so, he was at
the last moment taken away, shows that there was some very strong motive
for preventing the fact that he was a prisoner becoming public; and we
know that they had the very strongest reason in the case of my father.
The age would be about right, and the fact that he was singing would
show, at any rate, that it was some one who was determined not to give
in, but to keep up his spirits till the very last, and I am sure my
father would have done that. Well, I will get up now. I could not lie
here quietly; it would be impossible, after what you have been telling
me."

"I think you are right, Frank. I will have a basin of soup sent in for
you. When you have eaten that, and dressed, we will take a carriage and
go for a long drive by the road along the shore to Pompeii. The
sea-breeze will do you more good than anything, and the lovely view, and
a stroll through Pompeii itself, will distract your thoughts. There is
nothing to be done until Capua is taken, which may not be for a long
time yet. However, events are moving. We hear that Victor Emmanuel and
his government, alarmed at the success of Garibaldi, and feeling that if
they are to have any voice in the matter they must not be content to
rest passive while he is carrying all before him, have resolved upon
taking some part in the affair. Under the pretext that in order to
restore peace and order it is necessary that they should interfere, they
are about to despatch an army to Ancona by sea; and, landing there, will
advance into Central Italy, and act, as they say, as circumstances may
demand. All of which means, that now Garibaldi has pulled the chestnuts
out of the fire for them they will proceed to appropriate them."

"It is too bad!" Frank exclaimed angrily.

"No doubt it is mean and ungracious in the extreme, but Garibaldi will
not feel it as other men would; he is human, and therefore he would like
to present the Kingdom of Naples and the States of Rome, free from the
foreigner, to Victor Emmanuel. But that feeling, natural as it is, is
but secondary to his loyalty to Italy. He desires to see her one under
Victor Emmanuel, and so long as that end is achieved he cares
comparatively little how it comes about. Moreover, he cannot but see
that, though he has accomplished marvels, that which remains to be done
would tax the power of his army to the utmost. The Neapolitans have
still some seventy thousand men, who are encouraged by their king being
among them. They have in Capua a most formidable fortress, which could
defy the efforts of irregular troops, wholly unskilled in sieges and
deficient in heavy guns, for many months. Moreover, it would no longer
be mountain warfare, but we should have to fight in plains where the
enemy's cavalry would give them an enormous advantage. There is another
thing: the intrigues of Cavour's agents here are already giving him very
serious trouble, and this will doubtless increase; therefore I can well
understand that he will be glad rather than otherwise that Sardinia at
last should do her part towards the freeing of Italy, from which she
will benefit so vastly."



CHAPTER XVII.

THE BATTLE OF THE VOLTURNO.


Before starting for his drive Frank telegraphed to his mother: "Have not
found him here. I do not yet despair. Have a faint clue that may lead to
something."

That evening he wrote a long letter, acknowledging that he had been
bitterly disappointed, but saying that Signor Forli had found out that
some of the prisoners had been sent away to Capua before Garibaldi
entered the town, and that he still hoped his father might be among the
number. He gave no detail as to these prisoners, for he was anxious not
to raise hopes that might not be fulfilled; indeed, he had in all his
letters said little on the subject. He knew his mother had refused to
allow herself to cherish any hope, and he had written almost entirely of
matters concerning the events of the march, the country through which he
had travelled, and the scenes in which he had taken a part. He and
Signor Forli had at Salerno received long letters from home full of the
delight which the news of the discovery and release of the latter had
given them. His mother had said:--

"This is a joy indeed, my boy--one that I had never expected, or even
hoped for. But do not let yourself anticipate for a moment that because
this unlooked-for happiness has been given to us our other dear lost one
will similarly be recovered. That my father had been thrown into a
Neapolitan prison we never doubted for a moment; and I believed that,
should he have survived, Garibaldi's success would open his prison
doors. But it is not so in the case of your father. The evidence is
almost overwhelming that he died in the hands of the brigands who
carried him off, and nothing short of knowing that he is alive will
induce me to abandon the conviction I have all along felt that this was
so. I pray you not to indulge in any false hopes, which can but end in
bitter disappointment. You will, of course, search until absolutely
convinced that he is not in any of the prisons of the country. The
search will at least have been useful, for it will remove the last dread
which, in spite of myself, I have occasionally felt ever since he has
been missing, that he has been wearing his life out in one of these
horrible dungeons."

The next ten days passed slowly. Frank and the other members of the
staff had bought fresh horses a few days after the capture of Reggio;
and he was now constantly in the saddle, carrying messages between
Garibaldi's headquarters and the army. Garibaldi himself had been
distracted by the intrigues going on around him, and had been obliged to
go to Sicily. Depretis, who had been appointed head of the government
there, was inclined to the annexational policy, which was opposed by
Crispi and the other Garibaldians, and the consequence was that an
alarming state of affairs existed there. Garibaldi was therefore obliged
to hurry over there himself, and having appointed Mordeni, a determined
partisan of his own, pro-dictator, and arranged affairs generally, he
returned to Naples, where his presence was urgently required.

[Illustration: POSITION ROUND CAPUA]

The Neapolitan army at Capua had been very largely reinforced, and had
taken post along the river Volturno. Turr, who was in command of the
Garibaldian army, had in consequence, taken up a defensive position at
Madelone, Caserta and Aversa, thereby barring any advance on the part of
the royal army. The latter's position was an extremely formidable one:
its right rested on Gaeta near the sea, and forty thousand men were
massed on the right bank of the Volturno, a river which was here from
fifty to a hundred yards in width, their left was at Cajazzo, in the
mountains of the Abruzzi, where the inhabitants were favourable to the
royal cause.

Capua itself, on the left bank of the river, afforded them a means of
moving forward to the attack of the Garibaldians. Three sides of its
fortifications were surrounded by the river, which here makes a great
loop, and around the town twenty thousand men were massed, one half of
whom were in position in front of it. The only bridge across the river
was at Capua, but there was a ferry near Caserta. The position was so
threatening that Turr, who had under him about seventeen thousand men,
pushed a force up to the town of Santa Maria and the heights of
Sant'Angelo, both of which points were occupied after a skirmish.

On the 17th, six hundred men were sent off to march far up the river, to
cross it, and to throw themselves into the mountains above Cajazzo,
which was occupied by two thousand two hundred men with four guns.
Garibaldi arrived at Caserta on the night of the 18th, but did not
interfere with Turr's command. In order to attract the attention of the
enemy, and keep them from sending reinforcements to Cajazzo, it was
arranged that a feint should be made against Capua: two battalions were
to advance from Aversa to menace the southwest of that town, six
battalions were to advance directly against it from Santa Maria, and
Ebor's brigade was to march to Sant'Angelo, and then to drive the
Neapolitans on their left into Capua, and to extend on the right along
the hills as far as the road to Cajazzo.

The movement was completely successful. Cajazzo was captured, and the
force in front of Capua obliged to retire under the guns of the citadel.
Some loss, however, was sustained, owing to the division from Santa
Maria, instead of returning as soon as the work was done, being kept for
four hours under the fire of the guns of the fortress, owing to a
misconception of orders. The positions now taken were occupied in
strength. The next day, six hundred and fifty men were sent off to
Cajazzo to strengthen the small force of three hundred there, as the
place was attacked by no fewer than twelve thousand Neapolitan troops.
Although without artillery, the town was desperately defended for four
hours. The barricades at the end of the main streets were held, in spite
of repeated attacks and the fire from eight guns. Not until two hundred
of the little force had fallen, did the Garibaldians fall back, and they
succeeded in crossing the river at the ferry, covered by two companies
and a couple of guns, which had been posted at that point to prevent the
Neapolitans from crossing.

There was an interval now: the Garibaldians were far too weak to attack
their numerous enemy, posted in an almost impregnable position.
Garibaldi was so much harassed by the political intriguers, that he left
Caserta every morning long before daybreak, and remained the whole day
at a cottage on the heights of San Antonio. He had already done all in
his power to satisfy the royal party that he had no intention of
favouring a republic. Bertram, who had done so much for him as chief
organiser and agent, was requested to leave Rome. Mazzini also was sent
away, and other appointments were made, showing how bent he was on
handing over his conquest to Victor Emmanuel. There can be no doubt now
that it would have been far better had he from the first abandoned his
wish not to present his conquests to the king until they were completed.
Had he, on his arrival at Messina, at once declared Victor Emmanuel king
of the island, and requested him to take possession, he would have
allayed the jealousy and suspicion with which his movements were viewed
by Cavour and the Piedmontese ministry.

A similar course, as soon as Naples was occupied, would have had a still
greater effect, and both Garibaldi himself and his brave followers would
have been spared the bitter humiliations and the gross display of
ingratitude, which, however, disgraced those who inflicted them far more
than those so undeservedly treated.

Turr remained idle during the next six days, and beyond throwing up two
or three small intrenchments, did nothing to strengthen the position. In
fact, it was daily becoming more probable that there would be no further
fighting. Cialdini's division had landed near Alcona, had defeated the
army of Lamoriciere, and was advancing westwards without opposition.
Fanti, with another army, had crossed the northern frontier of the
Neapolitan territory, and was marching south. Thus, in a short time, the
Neapolitans would be surrounded by three armies, and would be forced to
lay down their arms.

On the 29th it became evident that a considerable movement was in
progress on the other side of the river and fort. Forty thousand men
were being concentrated at Capua and Cajazzo.

Garibaldi's force, available in case of attack, was about twenty-four
thousand men, of whom thirteen thousand were Northern Italians, eleven
thousand Calabrians and Sicilians, and one inhabitant of Naples. Of
these, two thousand five hundred were with Conti at Aversa, and over
seven thousand at Caserta; the remainder being at Santa Maria,
Sant'Angelo, the village of Santa Lucia, and Madalone. The position
occupied was nearly thirty miles long, but the reserves at Caserta and
Madalone, lying behind the centre, could be despatched speedily to any
point required. Frank had come out with Garibaldi to Caserta, and spent
the whole of his time riding between the different points occupied, with
communications from Garibaldi to his generals.

At three o'clock on the morning of October 1st, Garibaldi started as
usual for the front. Frank, with two or three of the younger
staff-officers, rode, and three carriages carried the general and the
older members of the staff. They had scarcely left the town when a
scattered fire of musketry was heard near Santa Maria. This rapidly
increased in volume; and soon afterwards the guns at Sant'Angelo opened
vigorously. When approaching the town, a mounted soldier, riding at a
furious gallop, overtook them. He was the bearer of a message that a
telegram had just been received from Bixio, who was in command at
Madalone, saying that he was being assailed in great force. This was
even more serious than the attack in front, for, if successful, it would
have cut the communication between the Garibaldians and Naples.

Galloping on to Santa Maria, Garibaldi sent a telegram to Sartori, who
commanded at Caserta, to tell him to hold a brigade in readiness to
support Bixio if the latter was pressed; and that Turr, with the rest of
the reserves, was to hold himself in readiness to move to the front, but
was only to send forward a single brigade, till quite assured of Bixio's
success. At Santa Maria were the greater part of the old cacciatori,
with four thousand other good troops, and Garibaldi felt confident that
the town was in no danger of being taken. He accordingly started at once
for Sant'Angelo, which was the key of his position. Morning had broken
now, but a heavy mist, rising from the low ground near the river,
rendered it impossible to see more than a few yards. The din of conflict
was prodigious. The Garibaldian guns at Santa Maria kept up a desultory
fire, answered by those of the Neapolitans, and the rattle of musketry
was incessant ahead, and, as it seemed, the fight was raging all round;
but it was impossible to tell whether Santa Lucia and other posts to the
right were also attacked. Suddenly a volley was fired from an invisible
enemy within a hundred yards. The balls whistled overhead.

"This is uncomfortable," Frank said to the officer riding next to him.
"They have evidently broken through our line connecting Sant'Angelo with
Santa Maria. If we had had a few earthworks thrown up this would not
have happened. Now they will be able to take Sant'Angelo in rear; and,
what is much more important, we may at any moment run right into the
middle of them, and the loss of Garibaldi would be more serious than
that of all our positions put together."

The Neapolitans had indeed issued out in three columns. One of them,
pushing out under cover of the deep water-courses, had broken through
the weak line, had captured a battery of four guns and a barricade, and
had then mounted one of the spurs of Tifata and taken Sant'Angelo in
rear; while a second column, attacking it in front, had captured another
four-gun battery and a barricade two hundred and fifty yards below the
village on the Capua road, and had taken two or three hundred prisoners,
the rest of Medici's division taking up their position in and around the
abbey, which stood on the hillside above the village.

[Illustration: Map of the BATTLE of the VOLTURNO

October 1860.]

Three of the guides, who had accompanied Garibaldi to carry messages,
and the three mounted staff officers, took their place in front of the
carriages in readiness to charge should they come suddenly upon the
enemy, and so give time to their occupants to escape. The horses were
all galloping at full speed; and though occasionally caught sight of by
the enemy, and exposed to a fire, not only of musketry but of round
shot, they remained uninjured until two-thirds of the distance to
Sant'Angelo, which Garibaldi believed to be still in possession of his
troops, had been covered. Presently, however, they saw, but sixty or
seventy yards away, a strong body of Neapolitans on the road.

"Turn off to the right!" Garibaldi shouted. As the carriage left the
road a round shot struck one of the horses. Garibaldi and the other
occupants at once jumped out, and shouting to the carriages behind to
follow them, ran across the fields. Fortunately there was a deep
watercourse close by; and the others, leaving their carriages, all ran
down into this. The mist was too thick for the movement to be observed,
and the Neapolitans kept up a heavy fire in the direction in which they
had seen the carriages through the mist. As soon as they entered the
watercourse Garibaldi told Frank and his companions to dismount, as,
although the bank was high enough to conceal the men on foot, those on
horseback could be seen above it. All ran along at the top of their
speed. As they did so, Frank told his companions and the guides, if they
came upon any force of the enemy, to throw themselves into their saddles
again and charge, so as to give time to the general to turn off and
escape.

They had gone but a few hundred yards when a party of the enemy, who
were standing on the left bank of the watercourse, ran suddenly down
into it. Frank and the others sprang into their saddles, and with a
shout rode at them; there was a hurried discharge of musketry, and then
they were in the midst of the Neapolitans. These were but some twenty in
number. They had already emptied their muskets, but for a minute there
was a hand-to-hand contest. The horsemen first used their revolvers with
deadly effect, and then fell on with their swords so fiercely that the
survivors of their opponents scrambled out of the watercourse and fled,
just as Garibaldi and his staff ran up to take part in the conflict. It
was well for the general that he had found the road to the village
blocked, for, had he ridden straight on, he must have been captured by
the enemy, who were already in full possession of it, with the exception
of the abbey church and a few houses round it, and the slope of the
hill.

Two of the mounted party were missing. One of the guides had fallen when
the Neapolitans fired, and an officer had been killed by the thrust of a
bayonet. One of Garibaldi's party was also missing; but whether he had
been killed by a chance shot or had fallen behind and been taken
prisoner none knew. As they ascended the slope of the hill they got
above the mist, and could now see what had happened. A part of the
column that had broken through the line of outposts had pressed on some
distance, and then moved to its left, until in the rear of Sant'Angelo,
where its attack had taken the defenders wholly by surprise. The force
had then mounted the hill, and from there opened fire upon the defenders
of the abbey and the houses round it.

These were stoutly held. The houses were solidly-built structures in
which resided the priests and servitors of the church, and the only road
leading up from the village to it was swept by two
twenty-four-pounders, while from the windows of the houses and from the
roof of the abbey a steady musketry fire was maintained. Garibaldi
ordered Frank to gallop to the pass, a short distance behind the
village, where two companies of Genoese carbineers and two mountain
howitzers were posted, and to direct them to mount the hill and take up
a position on the heights above that occupied by the enemy. With a cheer
the men ran forward as soon as they received the order. Ignorant of what
was taking place in front, but certain from the roar of battle that it
was raging round the village, they had been eager to advance to take
part in the struggle; but their orders to hold the pass had been
imperative, as their presence here was indispensable to cover the
retreat of the Garibaldians in Sant'Angelo, and to check pursuit until
reinforcements came up from the rear.

The movement was unobserved by the enemy, who were fully occupied in
their attempts to capture the abbey; and it was not until the two
companies were established on a ridge well above that occupied by the
Neapolitans, and opened a heavy musketry fire, aided by their two guns,
that the latter were aware that they had been taken in rear. Their
position was altogether untenable, as they were unable to reply
effectively to the fire of their opponents, and, descending the slopes,
they joined their comrades in the village. Several desperate attacks
were made upon the abbey, but each was repulsed with heavy loss; and as
the carbineers had now moved lower down, and their guns commanded the
village, the Neapolitans lost heart and fell back.

A battalion of Garibaldi's bersaglieri now came up. They were commanded
by Colonel Wyndham, and occupied the village as the Neapolitans fell
back, quickened their retreat, and then, descending to the four-gun
battery that had first been taken, turned the guns, which the enemy had
forgotten to spike, upon them.

In the meantime the fighting had been fierce round Santa Maria. At first
the Garibaldians had been hard pressed, and the Neapolitans had carried
all before them, until they came under the fire of the batteries placed
on the railway and in front of the gate facing Capua. These were well
served, and although the assailants several times advanced with both
cavalry and infantry, they never succeeded in getting within a hundred
yards of the guns. The left wing, however, swept round the town, and
captured all the out-buildings, except a farmhouse, which was gallantly
defended by a company of Frenchmen.

On the right the Neapolitans fared still more badly, for when their
attack upon the battery failed, the Garibaldian force at San Tamaro,
nearly three thousand five hundred strong, advanced and took them in
flank, and drove them back with heavy loss. By eight o'clock the attack
had ceased all along the line; but as the enemy, while falling back,
preserved good order, no attempt was made to follow them.

The battle had lasted four hours, and the Garibaldians were now
strengthened by the arrival of a brigade with four guns from Caserta,
where the news had just arrived that Bixio was confident of being able
to hold his ground at Madalone. Two of the newly-arrived regiments were
ordered to endeavour to reopen communications with Sant'Angelo, and
fighting went on with the force still threatening Santa Maria; these,
after suffering heavy loss, the Garibaldians, at ten o'clock, drove some
distance back, and captured three guns and many prisoners.

At eleven a fresh attack was made, Count Trani, one of the King's
brothers, having brought some fresh battalions from the town. This
attack was also repulsed, the Garibaldians maintaining their strong
positions. But the Neapolitan troops were still full of spirit, and at a
quarter-past one made another determined effort: their field batteries
advanced within three hundred yards of the town, and their cavalry
charged almost up to the railway battery, but were received with so
heavy an infantry fire by the troops protecting the guns, that they were
forced to fall back. The infantry, however, pressed on, covered by a
storm of fire from their field artillery, while the guns of Capua aided
them by firing shell into the town. The Garibaldians serving the guns at
the gate and at the railway suffered very heavily, but volunteers from
the infantry regiments took their place, although at one time their fire
was arrested by the explosion of a magazine which killed many of the
men, and dismounted two or three of the guns.

All this time, fighting was going on fiercely round Sant'Angelo. The two
regiments that had been sent out from Santa Maria to open communications
with the village had been unable to effect their object, the enemy's
force being too strong for them to move far from the town. At eleven
o'clock, the Neapolitans being largely reinforced, made a fresh attack
on the battery and barricades in front of Sant'Angelo, and an obstinate
struggle took place here; but superior force triumphed, and the royal
troops again captured the battery, killing or taking prisoners almost
the whole of the force that defended it.

Infantry and cavalry then advanced against the village; but the
Garibaldians, having their leader among them, fought with extraordinary
bravery, and for three hours maintained themselves, as did those in the
abbey, although the enemy brought up their cannon and rocket batteries
to within a short distance of it. The walls of the abbey were, however,
so massive that even the artillery failed to make much impression upon
them. Seeing that the assault upon Santa Maria had been repulsed,
Garibaldi sallied out with his entire force, retook the houses that had
been captured by the enemy, drove them back to the battery, and at last
captured this also. Knowing that some of the reserve would soon be up,
Garibaldi at half-past two rode out from the rear of Sant'Angelo, and
making a wide détour, entered Santa Maria, and at once ordered a general
advance. Ebor's brigade sallied out by the Capua gate, and advanced
against the Carthusian convent and cemetery on the Capuan road, while a
brigade moved out to endeavour once more to clear the way to
Sant'Angelo.

The former attack was successful. A small squadron of Hungarian hussars
charged three squadrons of the enemy's dragoons, defeated them, and
captured the two guns that accompanied them. The infantry went on at a
run, but it required an hour's hard fighting to gain possession of the
convent and cemetery. By this time five thousand men with thirteen guns
had arrived from Caserta, and the advance became general. Medici issued
out from Sant'Angelo, and the whole force from Santa Maria advanced, the
Neapolitans falling back from all points; and by five o'clock the whole
had re-entered Capua, abandoning all their positions outside it, and the
Garibaldian sentries were posted along the edge of a wood half a mile
from the ramparts. Until the arrival of the five thousand men of the
reserve, the Garibaldians had throughout the day, although but nine
thousand five hundred strong, maintained themselves successfully
against thirty thousand men supported by a powerful artillery.

At Madalone Bixio had routed seven thousand men who had advanced against
his position, and had captured four guns. The only reverse sustained was
at Castel Morone, which was garrisoned by only two hundred and
twenty-seven men of one of Garibaldi's bersaglieri regiments. They held
out for some hours against a Neapolitan column three thousand strong,
and then, having expended all their ammunition, were obliged to
surrender. The battle of the Volturno cost the Garibaldians one thousand
two hundred and eighty killed and wounded, and seven hundred taken
prisoners, while the enemy lost about two thousand five hundred killed
and wounded, five hundred prisoners, and nine guns. At two o'clock a
detachment of Sardinian artillery, which, with a regiment of
bersaglieri, had been landed a few days before at Garibaldi's request,
had arrived at Santa Maria, and did good service by taking the places of
the gunners who had been almost annihilated by the enemy's fire. The
bersaglieri did not arrive at Caserta till the battle was over. Wearied
by the day's fight, the Garibaldians, as soon as the long work of
searching for and bringing in the wounded was over, lay down to sleep.

Frank and the two other aides-de-camp of Garibaldi were, however,
aroused, within an hour of their lying down. The news had arrived that
the Neapolitan column, which had captured Castel Morone had suddenly
appeared on the heights above Caserta: their number was estimated at
three thousand. Orders were sent to Bixio to occupy a strong position.
Columns were directed to start from Sant'Angelo and Santa Maria for
Caserta, while another brigade was to reinforce the garrison of Santa
Lucia. At two in the morning Garibaldi himself started for Caserta, and
moved out with two thousand five hundred Calabrians and four companies
of Piedmontese bersaglieri. The latter soon found themselves obliged to
take off their knapsacks, hats, and useless accoutrements, finding
themselves, picked men as they were, unable to keep up with the
Garibaldians, clad only in shirt and trousers, and carrying nothing but
ninety rounds of ammunition.

There was but little fighting. The Garibaldians lost but seven or eight
men, among whom were three Piedmontese, who were the first men of the
Sardinian army to shed their blood for the emancipation of Naples. By
evening over two thousand five hundred prisoners were taken, and this
number was doubled in the course of the next few days by the capture of
a large portion of the force which, after being defeated by Bixio in
their attempt to seize Madalone, had scattered over the country
pillaging and burning. Thus, including the fugitives who escaped, the
Neapolitan army was weakened by the loss of nearly ten thousand men. The
explanation of the singular attack upon Caserta, after the defeat of the
Neapolitan army, was that, after capturing Castel Morone, their
commander had received a despatch stating that a complete defeat had
been inflicted on Garibaldi, and urging him to cut off the retreat of
the fugitives by occupying Caserta.

Now that the work was over, and that there was nothing to be done until
the royal army advanced from Ancona, and, brushing aside all opposition,
arrived to undertake the siege of Capua, Frank broke down. He had not
fully recovered from the effects of the two long days spent in the
pestilential atmosphere of the prisons; but had stuck to his work until
the Neapolitans surrendered; then he rode up to Garibaldi, and said,--

"General, I must ask you to spare me from my duties, for I feel so
strangely giddy that I can scarce keep my seat."

"You look ill, lad. Hand your horse over to one of the guides. I have
sent for my carriage; it will be up in a few minutes. Sit down in the
shade of that tree. I will take you down to Caserta with me, and one of
Bixio's doctors shall see you at once."

On arriving at Caserta, the doctor at once pronounced that it was a case
of malarial fever, the result of the miasma from the low ground,
increased, no doubt, by over-fatigue. Garibaldi immediately ordered
another carriage to be brought round, instructed two of his men to take
their places in it with Frank, and despatched a telegram to Professor
Forli at Naples, telling him to have four men in readiness to carry him
up to his room as soon as he reached the palace, and to have a doctor in
waiting. Frank was almost unconscious by the time he arrived at the
city. Everything was ready, and he was soon undressed and in bed, ice
applied to his head, and a draught of medicine poured down his throat.
In a week the fever left him, but he was so much weakened that it was
another fortnight before he could move about again unassisted.

"You have lost nothing: things have been very quiet," his grandfather
said. "To-day the voting takes place. Of course that is a mere farce,
and the country will declare for Victor Emmanuel by a thousand votes to
one. Medici has been occupied in putting down an insurrection in the
mountains, and Cialdini has won two battles on his way west; and a large
Piedmontese force has landed here, and undertaken the work of the
garrison."

"How long will it be before Cialdini arrives with his army before
Capua?"

"I should think that it would be another week."

"I must be able to go forward again by that time," Frank said. "I must
be at Capua when it is taken."

"I quite understand your feelings, and I am eager to be there myself;
but we must have patience. The Neapolitans have withdrawn their forces
from Cajazzo, and the country round, into the town. There are now some
nine thousand men there, and if the commander is obstinate he ought to
be able to defend the place for some months. Still I grant that
obstinacy has not been the strong point of the Neapolitan generals
hitherto; though it must be said that their troops fought gallantly the
other day, coming back again and again to the attack. But the commander
of the town, however brave he may be, must see that even if he can hold
out for the next ten years he would not benefit Francesco. The game is
already hopelessly lost. The Garibaldians, single-handed, have proved
themselves capable of defeating the Neapolitan troops; and with the army
that Cialdini has brought from Ancona, and that which has marched down
from the north, the cause is beyond hope. The army now in Gaeta and the
garrison of Capua alone remain in arms; and I should say that, ere
another fortnight has passed, Francesco is likely to have left this
country for ever."

"Quite so, grandfather," Frank replied; "that is what I have been
thinking for the last week, and that is why I am so anxious to go
forward again as soon as possible."

"That you shall certainly do; at any rate you have a few more days to
stay here, then we will get a carriage and go to Santa Lucia, lying high
in the mountains. The change to the splendid air there will benefit you,
while a stay at Santa Maria or Caserta would at once throw you back."



CHAPTER XVIII.

CAPUA.


Garibaldi had been remaining quietly at Caserta when, on the 24th, he
received a message from Cialdini inviting him to cross the river and be
in readiness to co-operate in a general action, which might possibly be
brought on the next day. A bridge had to be thrown over the Volturno,
but at five the following morning he crossed with five thousand men. He
found that a strong Neapolitan force had fallen back, in the direction
of Gaeta, on the previous evening. Missori was sent on with the guides
to reconnoitre, and at Teano found the escort of the Neapolitan general,
who had gone on to hold a conference with Cialdini. At five in the
evening Garibaldi advanced eight miles farther in that direction, and
bivouacked in the open air for the night. Scarcely had he resumed his
march, at daybreak the next morning, when he met the advance-guard of
the Piedmontese. The force marched off the road and encamped while
Garibaldi and his staff rode on to meet the king and his general.

The latter was first encountered, and the heartiest greeting was
exchanged between him and Garibaldi, for they were old friends. They
then rode together to meet Victor Emmanuel, whose greeting with
Garibaldi was extremely cordial. They rode together till the afternoon;
Garibaldi went with his column to Calvi, and on the 28th retired to
Caserta. On the news reaching Naples, Frank, who by this time had almost
recovered, drove to Santa Lucia. The Piedmontese and Garibaldians had
now taken up their position on the south side of Capua, the former
occupying their old positions at Santa Maria and Sant'Angelo, while the
Piedmontese occupied the ground between the former town and La Forresta;
the Piedmontese general, Delia Rocca, being in command of the whole. The
troops were at once set to work to construct batteries, and a strong
chain of outposts was pushed forward to within five hundred yards of the
fortifications, to check the frequent sorties made by the Neapolitans.
The latter were still resolute, and several fierce fights took place. At
four o'clock in the afternoon of November 1st the batteries opened fire,
and the guns of the fortress replied vigorously, the bombardment being
maintained until dark. Preparations were made for an assault on the
following morning. In the evening, however, the Swiss general, Du
Cornet, sent in to capitulate, and his surrender was accepted on the
condition that he and his garrison should be allowed to march out with
the honours of war. Frank and the professor had driven early that
morning from Santa Lucia, and had taken up their post high up on Mount
Tifata, whence they could obtain a view of the city and surrounding
country.

They drove back when the bombardment ceased. Early the next morning they
set out again, and, meeting an officer, were informed that Capua had
surrendered. Signor Forli had two days previously gone down to Caserta
and seen Garibaldi, and had asked him to give Frank a letter of
introduction to General Cialdini, requesting him to allow him to enter
with the first party to search the prisons of Capua.

"That I will do right willingly," Garibaldi said. "Indeed, as I rode
with him two days ago, we naturally talked over the past; and I
mentioned to him that I in no small degree owed the success of my
expedition to the large sum of money sent to me by Madame Percival, the
wife of the gentleman whose murder by brigands had created so much stir
two and a half years ago. He remembered the circumstances perfectly; and
I told him that her son had accompanied me throughout, and had greatly
distinguished himself, even among the gallant men who accompanied me. I
mentioned to him that he had still hopes that his father had not been
murdered, and might be found in a Neapolitan prison, and gave him his
reason for hoping that he might yet be found in Capua. I need not,
therefore, write a long letter."

The general at once sat down and wrote a note to Cialdini, introducing
Frank to him, and asking that he might be nominated to accompany the
officer charged with the duty of examining the prisons of Capua. As
soon, therefore, as they learned that the garrison had capitulated,
Signor Forli and Frank drove to La Fortuna, where Cialdini's
headquarters were. Frank sent in his card and Garibaldi's letter, and
after waiting a few minutes was shown into his room.

"I am glad to see you, Captain Percival," the governor said warmly.
"Garibaldi was speaking to me of you in the highest terms, and
interested me much in the quest you are making for your father. A party
of our troops will enter the town to take possession of the magazines,
and see that order is maintained until the evacuation of the town by the
garrison, which will indeed commence this afternoon. I shall myself be
entering in a couple of hours' time; and the best way will be for you to
ride in with me. I will provide you with a horse; and it will save time
and relieve you of your anxiety if I send an officer with you to the
prisons, ordering that you shall at once have every facility given you
for ascertaining whether your father is among those confined there."

"I thank you greatly, general," Frank said. "I will not trouble you
about the horse, but will, with your permission, drive in in the
carriage I have outside. My mother's father, whom I found in prison at
Reggio, is with me; and should I be happy enough to find my father, we
can then take him away at once."

"Very well, we will arrange it so. Colonel Pasta, please write out an
order to the governor of the state prisons in Capua to offer every
facility to Captain Percival to visit the jails and inspect the
prisoners, with power to liberate his father at once should he find him
there. It will save trouble altogether if, when we enter the town, you
at once ride with his carriage to the prisons, and see that this order
is complied with. You will also, before you set out, give orders to the
officer commanding the escort to allow the carriage to follow him.

"I heartily wish you success in your search," he said, turning to Frank,
and again shook him warmly by the hand.

Signor Forli was much pleased when Frank told him the result of his
interview. "However, my dear Frank," he said, "I pray you not to allow
yourself to be buoyed up with any strong hope: if you do you may only be
bitterly disappointed. You must remember, too, that even should we not
find him here, we may discover him at Gaeta."

"I will try not to let myself hope too much," Frank replied; "but at the
same time I own that the description you obtained of one of the
prisoners sent on here from Naples has given me a strong hope that it is
my father. Should it not be so, I will not despair altogether, but will
look forward to the search at Gaeta. If that does not succeed I fear
that it will be no good to hope any longer, for all the prisons south of
Naples have been opened long before now, and had my father been confined
in one of them, I feel sure that, if able, he would at once have made
his way to Naples to see Garibaldi, and obtain from him funds to enable
him to return home."

Leaving the carriage, they endeavoured to obtain some food, for they had
only taken some coffee and milk and a piece of bread before starting.
They found it, however, almost impossible to do so--everything in the
place had been eaten up; but after some search they succeeded in getting
a bottle of wine and a small piece of bread at one of the cafés. Having
taken this, they went back to the carriage, and sat there until they saw
the general and his staff come out from headquarters and mount. Just as
they were starting, an officer rode up to the carriage.

"I have orders, sir, to permit you to follow in rear of the escort, and
to enter the city with them. Will you please drive on at once?"

An hour later they entered Capua. Shortly before an Italian brigade had
marched in, placed guards at the gates and all the public buildings, and
relieved the Neapolitan sentries on the ramparts. Cialdini dismounted at
the palace of the governor, and ten minutes later Colonel Pasto rode up
to the carriage. He was accompanied by a gentleman on foot, who
introduced himself to Signor Forli as a member of the Municipal body,
and, taking a seat, directed the driver to the state prison, Colonel
Pasto riding by the side of the carriage. When they arrived at the gate,
where two of the bersaglieri were on guard, they alighted, and Colonel
Pasto knocked at the gate, which was at once opened.

"I wish to see the governor of the jail," he said.

The warder at once led the way to the governor's residence, followed by
the colonel, Frank, and Signor Forli. The governor bowed, with evident
trouble in his face, as they entered.

"This officer," the colonel said, "is the bearer of an order from
General Cialdini, to search the prison thoroughly for the person of
Captain Percival, a British subject, believed to be confined here, and
to free him at once if he is so. I also require a full list of all
prisoners confined here, with a statement of the charges on which they
have been imprisoned. To-morrow the place will be searched from top to
bottom, and all prisoners--I believe that no criminals are confined
here--will be released."

"I have no such person as Captain Percival here," the official said
humbly.

"Not under that name, perhaps," Frank said. "I demand, sir, in the first
place, to see the four prisoners who were brought here from Naples on
the 5th or 6th of September. If Captain Percival is not one of the four,
though I am convinced that he is so, I will postpone a general search
until I make it with the Royal officials to-morrow."

The governor looked somewhat surprised at the knowledge possessed by the
young officer; however, he only said, "I will take you to them at once,
sir; they are together, and, as you will see, comfortably lodged."

"I can believe that they are so at present," Frank said sternly, "and
have been, perhaps, for the past twenty-four hours"; for he felt sure
that as soon as it was known that the general was about to capitulate,
all the prisoners from the lower dungeons would be hastily removed to
better quarters.

"I will accompany you so far, Captain Percival," Colonel Pasto said,
"in order that I may inform General Cialdini if you have met with
success in your search."

Led by the governor, they left the apartment, entered the prison itself,
and followed him down several corridors. One of the warders, by his
orders, followed him with a bunch of keys. Frank was very pale, his face
was set, and he was evidently trying to nerve himself to bear
disappointment. Signor Forli walked with his hand on his shoulder, as if
to assure him of his sympathy, and to aid him to support joy or
disappointment. Colonel Pasto, deeply interested in the drama, walked a
pace or two behind them. At last the turnkey stopped before a door,
inserted a key in the lock, and opened it. The governor entered, with
the words, "These are the four prisoners, sir."

Frank paused for a moment, took a long breath, and then entered. Three
men were lying on pallet-beds; the fourth, who had been seated, rose as
they entered. It was on him that Frank's eyes first fell, and then
paused in doubt: the man's hair was long and streaked with grey, he wore
long whiskers, beard and moustache, his face was very white and his
figure somewhat bent. He was very thin, and his eyes seemed unnaturally
large in the drawn, haggard face. As his eyes fell upon the uniforms of
the Piedmontese and Garibaldian officers, he held out his arms and cried
hoarsely: "I was right, then; we heard the firing yesterday, and knew
that the town was attacked, and when we were taken from our foul
dungeons and brought up here, I felt sure that deliverance was at hand.
Ah, Forli," he broke off, as his eyes fell on the professor, "this is
all that was wanted to complete my joy. You too are rescued!" and
bursting into tears he sank back upon his pallet and covered his face
with his thin hands.

[Illustration: "HE WENT UP TO PERCIVAL AND PUT HIS HAND ON HIS
SHOULDER"]

The professor laid his hand on Frank's shoulder, as the latter was about
to dart forward.

"Stay a minute or two, lad," he whispered--"it may be too much for him,"
and he went up to Percival and put his hand on his shoulder. "It is a
joyful occasion indeed, Leonard," he said. "You are free. Save for the
Papal States and Venice, all Italy is free. I have other good news for
you. Muriel, your boy and my wife are all well, and will soon be able to
rejoin you."

"A minute, Forli--give me a minute," Captain Percival said, in a low
voice. "I should not have broken down thus. It is almost too much,
coming all at once, after so long a time of waiting."

Two of the other prisoners had half risen at Signor Forli's words; the
other was too weak to do more than turn his face towards them.

"The news is true, gentlemen," Colonel Pasto said. "To-morrow, you and
all within this prison will be free men. Capua has surrendered, and we
have but just entered the town. As there are still nine thousand of the
Neapolitan troops here, there are many arrangements to be made, and we
must find some place for you all until you can be sent to your homes. It
is impossible to search the jails until to-morrow, but you need not
regard yourselves any longer as prisoners. I have orders from General
Cialdini to the governor here, that you shall in the meantime be well
and plentifully fed, so as to prepare you for leaving this place.

"You hear, sir," he said, turning to the governor. "You will procure,
regardless of expense, every luxury possible, with a proper supply of
good wine; and see that all have a thoroughly good meal this afternoon,
and another this evening. I request that you will, without delay, have
every prisoner informed of what has happened, and that he will to-morrow
be released."

"I will see that it is done, colonel," the governor said. "I will at
once give the necessary orders.

"Perhaps it will be better, sir," he went on, speaking to Signor Forli,
"that your friend should take something before he leaves. I have
pleasure in placing my private room at your disposal, and will order
some refreshment to be served there immediately."

Captain Percival now rose to his feet with an effort. "I am afraid I
shall have to be carried, Forli," he said, with an attempt at a smile.
"I was able to walk across the room this morning, but your news has, for
the present, demolished what little strength I had left."

"You had better sit down, Captain Percival," the colonel said. "The
governor will doubtless send some men with a stretcher at once, and I
need hardly assure you how great a pleasure it has been to me to be
employed on so successful a mission. I shall tell General Cialdini that
you have been found." And so saying, after shaking hands with Captain
Percival and the other prisoners, he left the room with the governor.

Frank also went outside, as, seeing how weak his father was, he quite
recognised the wisdom of Signor Forli's advice that he should not be
told too much at once; and, indeed, he felt that he could no longer
suppress his own emotions. Leaning against the wall in the passage, he
cried like a child.

Assisted by Signor Forli, Percival went round and shook hands with the
other three prisoners.

"I was right, you see," he said: "I told you last night, when we were
all brought up here, that our deliverance was at hand, but I hardly
thought that it could be so near. Soon you too will see your friends,
from whom you have been kept a much longer time than I have.

"We have only met once before," he said to the professor, "when nearly
two months ago we were all brought out and placed in a vehicle together,
and driven here. On the way we told each other what our real names were,
and the addresses of our friends, so that if by some miracle one of us
should issue alive from our horrible dungeons, we might let the friends
of the others know how and where they had died. Thank God, we shall now
all be bearers of good news."

"I fear that I shall never be so," the weakest of them said, feebly.

"Do not think that," Signor Forli said cheerfully: "good food, fresh
air, and, more than all, freedom, will do wonders for you. I, like
yourselves, have been a special prisoner in a fortress for upwards of
three years, and you see me now as strong and as well as I was when I
entered it. Make up your mind that you will get well and cheat these
tyrants, who had thought to kill you by inches."

Four of the jailors now entered; one of them carried a stretcher,
another had a bottle of excellent wine and four large glasses, which he
filled and handed to the prisoners.

"This is the first taste of freedom," one said, as he emptied his glass.
"There, friend," he went on, as one of the jailors partly lifted the
sick man and placed the glass to his lips, "that is your first step
towards health and strength. I can feel it already tingling in my veins,
which years ago a glass of pure spirit would hardly have done. No, we
will take no more now," he said, as one of the men was about to refill
his glass. "Leave it here; another glass now would intoxicate me, after
five years on water alone and starvation diet."

Captain Percival was now placed on the stretcher and carried out; Frank
fell in with Signor Forli as he followed the party. "Unless you are
going to tell him soon," he said, "I must go; I cannot stand it, being
so close to him."

"I will tell him as soon as we are alone," the professor said: "he has
calmed down, and that glass of wine will do him a world of good."

On arriving at the governor's room, Captain Percival was placed in an
easy chair, and the jailors left. Frank went to the window and looked
out.

"I can hardly believe that it is not all a dream, Forli. The strangest
part is that, while I had hoped to open your prison doors, you have
opened mine."

"You are wrong, Leonard: the same person who opened my doors has opened
yours; as you set out to find me, so another set out to find us both."

Captain Percival looked at him wonderingly.

"Of whom are you speaking, Forli? My head is not very clear at present.
But who could have been looking for us both? You don't mean Garibaldi?"

"No, no, Leonard; truly he has opened the doors to all prisoners, but he
was not searching for any one in particular. When I tell you that Muriel
sent out to Garibaldi the sum that you had put aside for that purpose,
and that she and my wife had never altogether lost hope that you and I
were both still alive, whom should she send out with it, and to search
for you, but----"

"You don't mean Frank? You cannot mean him: he is only a boy at school."

"He is nearly seventeen now, and there are hundreds of younger lads who,
like him, have done their duty as men. Yes, it is Frank. I would not
tell you at first; one shock was enough at a time. Frank, my boy, you
have your reward at last."

Frank turned and ran towards his father. The latter rose from his seat.

"My boy, my dear lad!" he cried, as he held out his arms, "this is too
much happiness!"

It was some minutes before either father or son could speak coherently;
and fortunately, just as Frank placed his father in the chair, one of
the attendants brought in a basin of clear soup, two cutlets, an
omelette, and a bottle of wine, saying that the governor had sent them
from his own table, with his compliments.

Captain Percival smiled faintly when the man left the room.

"It is my last meal in prison, and if it had been sent to me a week ago
I should have declined to eat it, for I should have made sure that it
was poisoned; however, as it is, I will take it with thankfulness."

"Yes, and you must eat as much as you can," Forli said. "You have got a
drive before you: we shall take you straight up to Santa Lucia, where we
have rooms; the mountain air has done wonders for Frank, who has had a
touch of these marsh fevers. It would be difficult to find a place in
Capua now, so the sooner you are out of it the better."

Captain Percival took a mouthful or two of soup and then stopped.

"That won't do, Leonard--that won't do; you really must make an effort.
Do it in Italian fashion: pour a glass of wine into it; if you will take
that, I will let you off the meat."

"I could not touch it whether you let me off or not. I have not touched
meat for two years and a half, and I shall be some time taking to it
again."

He finished the soup, and then, upon the insistence of Signor Forli,
took some of the omelette.

"Now," the latter said, "we will be off. When we came in here, we told
the driver to find some place where he could take the horses out and
feed them, and then come here and wait for us. I suppose we must get
somebody to let us out of the prison."

Frank rang the bell. When the attendant came in, he said, "Please tell
the governor that we are now leaving, and that we shall be obliged if he
would send down an official to the gate to let us out."

The governor himself came in two minutes later; the gate was close by
the entrance to his house; and Signor Forli said,--"I will go out first,
sir, and fetch our carriage round, if you will be good enough to give
orders that the gate is to be kept open until I return, and to order the
warder there to allow Captain Percival to pass out with us." Ten minutes
later they were on their way. Captain Percival would not be laid on a
stretcher again, but leaning upon his father-in-law and son, was able to
walk to the carriage.

"I have a flask of brandy-and-water in my pocket, Leonard, and if you
feel faint you must take a little."

Very few words were spoken on the journey. Frank sat by the side of his
father and held his hand in his own, and it was not long before Captain
Percival fell asleep. The excitement of the past thirty-six hours had
for a time given him a fictitious strength; and now the sense of
happiness and of freedom, aided, no doubt, by the unaccustomed meal and
the wine he had taken, took the natural effect, and after trying in vain
to question Frank as to what had taken place, he dozed off.

"That is the best thing for him," Signor Forli said in low tones, when
he saw that Captain Percival was asleep, "I hope he will not wake up
till we arrive at Santa Lucia. He has borne it better than I expected.
It has, of course, pulled him down a great deal more than it did me. A
strong and active man must naturally feel solitary confinement much more
than one who seldom takes any exercise beyond half an hour's walk in the
streets of London; who is, moreover, something of a philosopher, and who
can conjure up at will from his brain many of his intimate friends. I
have no doubt he will sleep soundly to-night, and I trust--though of
this I do not feel quite sure--that he will be a different man in the
morning. Of course it may be the other way, and that when the effect of
the excitement has passed off he will need a great deal of careful
nursing before he begins to gain strength. At any rate, I shall go into
Naples to-morrow and send a telegram to your mother, and tell her to
come over with my wife at once. It would be of no use going down to
Caserta; the wires will be so fully occupied by the military and royal
telegrams that there will be little chance of a private message getting
through. They are sure to start directly they get my message, and may be
here in three or four days. I shall advise them to come viâ Marseilles;
for, as the train service is sure to be upset, they might be a good deal
longer coming by land, besides the annoyance of long detentions and
crowded trains; for you may be sure that there will be a rush from the
north to come down to witness the king's entrance into Naples."

"I think that will be a very good plan indeed," Frank agreed; "and the
knowledge that they are coming will, I should think, do a great deal of
good to my father."

Darkness had fallen long before they reached Santa Lucia. The village
was still full of soldiers. As he leapt out from the carriage Frank
called to four of them standing near to help in carrying his father
upstairs; and so soundly was Captain Percival sleeping, that this was
managed and he was laid on the bed without his fairly waking, though he
half opened his eyes and murmured something that Frank could not catch.

"We will not try to take his things off," Signor Forli said, "but just
throw a blanket lightly over him now. I will remain here while you go
down and get some supper. You had better stay in the room with him all
night; there is no getting hold of another bed, but----"

"I shall do just as well without a bed," Frank said; "since I landed at
Marsala I have hardly slept in one; besides, I don't fancy that I shall
sleep much, anyhow. I have plenty to think about and to thank God for,
and if my father moves I shall be at his bedside in a moment. It is
likely enough that he will not have the least idea where he is."

"Quite so, Frank. When you come up from supper bring an extra candle
with you: you had better keep a light burning all night."

Captain Percival, however, did not wake up until it was broad daylight.
He looked round in a bewildered way until his eyes rested upon Frank,
who was seated close to his bedside.

"That settles it," he said with a smile, holding out his hand to him. "I
could not make out where I was. I remember leaving Capua in a carriage,
and nothing more; I must have slept like a log, as you got me out of the
carriage and up here without my waking."

"I think it was the professor's fault chiefly, father, in making you
take that second glass of wine in your soup. You see you were altogether
unaccustomed to it, and being so weak, that and all the excitement
naturally overpowered you. However, I think it a capital thing that it
did. You had twelve hours' good sleep, and you look all the better for
it. I will tell Signor Forli you are awake. He has peeped in three or
four times to see how you are going on."

He went out for a minute, and a little later the professor came in with
a large cup of hot milk.

"You are looking fifty per cent. better, Leonard," he said. "You had
better begin by drinking this, and then I should recommend you to get
rid of those rags you have on, and to have a good wash. I am going into
Naples, and will bring you some clothes. You certainly could not get
into my coat, but I will lend you a shirt, and that is all that you will
want, for you had better lie in bed to-day and listen to Frank's account
of his adventures, having a nap occasionally when you feel tired, and
taking as much soup as you can get down, with perhaps a slice of
chicken."

"What are you going to Naples for?"

"I am going to send the good news to Muriel, and to tell her and my wife
to come over at once and help you to build up your strength again. I
won't say come over to nurse you, for I think you can do without
that,--all you want is building up."

Before he started the professor showed them the telegram he had written
out.

"It is rather long," he said, "but a pound or two one way or the other
makes little difference." It ran: "Prepare yourself for good news, and
don't read farther till you have done so. Thank God, Frank's search has
been successful. I dared not tell you when I last wrote that I had found
a clue, lest it should only give rise to false hopes. However, it led
us to our goal. Leonard is recovered and free. He is weak, but needs
nothing but good food and your presence. Start with Annetta at once;
come straight to Marseilles and take the first steamer to Naples. You
will find us at the Hotel d'Italie, where I shall have rooms ready for
you."

After Signor Forli left, Frank told the story of his adventures bit by
bit, insisting upon his father taking rest and food three or four times.

The professor returned late in the evening. "I have got rooms at the
hotel," he said; "and it is lucky that I did not put off going down till
to-morrow, for telegrams are coming in from all parts of Italy to secure
accommodation. However, fortunately there were still some good rooms
left when I arrived there, and I need not say that I did not haggle over
terms, outrageous as they were on the strength of the coming crowd. Your
father is going on all right, I hope?"

"Very well indeed, I think. I only talked for about half an hour at a
time; he has slept a good deal, and he has eaten well, his voice is
stronger, and there is a little colour in his cheeks; he was terribly
white before."

"That was from being kept in the dark, Frank, as much as from illness."

They went upstairs together. "I hear a good account of you, Leonard,"
the professor said, "so I will give you what I have in my pocket, which
I should otherwise have kept till to-morrow morning." He took out a
piece of thin paper, handed it to Captain Percival, and held the candle
close, so that he should read the contents. It was but a few words, but
it took some time in the reading, for the invalid's eyes were blinded
with tears. When he had read it, he dropped it on the coverlet and put
his hands over his face, while the bed shook with his deep sobs. Frank
took up the paper and ran his eye over it.

"The good God be praised for all His mercies! Oh, my husband, I can say
no more now. Mother and I start to-night for Marseilles.--Your most
happy and loving wife."

Two days later the party left for Naples. That morning Garibaldi, to
whom Frank had sent a message on the morning after his return from
Capua, drove up to Santa Lucia to see his old friend.

"I am almost as pleased, Percival," he said, after a silent hand-grip
had been exchanged, "to have freed you as I am to have freed Italy, a
matter in which the money your wife sent me in your name had no slight
share. You have reason to be proud of your son: he has shown throughout
the expedition a courage and coolness equal to that of any of my
veterans. He captured the first Neapolitan standard that was taken, and
has rendered me innumerable services as my aide-de-camp. You are looking
better than I expected."

"I should be an ungrateful brute, if I were not getting better, after
all my son has gone through to rescue me, and the feeding up that I have
had since I came here."

"You must have suffered intensely, Percival?"

"It has been pretty hard. I have all the time been in solitary
confinement in filthy holes, where scarce a ray of daylight penetrated.
I have had nothing but either the blackest of bread or roasted maize to
eat, but I have been kept up throughout by the conviction that ere very
long there must be an upheaval: things could not go on as they were. I
knew that my own letters had excited a general feeling of horror at the
accounts of the dungeons in which political prisoners were confined, and
I determined to make the best of matters. A year ago--at least, I
suppose that it is about a year, for I have lost count of time--a fresh
hope was given me, when one of my jailors, who was at heart a good
fellow, and occasionally ventured to say a few words to me, told me that
the Sardinians, with the help of France, had recovered Lombardy from
Austria, and that Tuscany and other Papal States had all revolted and
joined Sardinia. That gave me fresh hope and courage. I felt that things
could not long remain so, and that the south would soon follow the
example of the north. I felt sure that you had borne your part in the
struggle with the Austrians, and that, just as you headed the Roman
insurrection, you would certainly throw yourself heart and soul into a
rising in the south. I hear now, from my son, that in fact the whole has
been entirely your work."

"I have done what I could," Garibaldi said, "and well have I been
rewarded by the gratitude of the people. But I see already that the
jealousy of the Piedmontese is carrying them beyond all bounds, and that
I shall soon be back in Caprera. But that matters not: I shall be happy
in the thought that I have earned the gratitude of all Italy, and that
the work I have done can never be undone. The king is a brave and
gallant gentleman, but he is prejudiced by the lies of the men round
him, who cannot forgive me for having done what should have been their
work. It is a pity, but it matters but little. I fought for the cause
and not for myself, and my only regret is that my brave companions
should suffer by the jealousy and ill-humour of a handful of miserables.
I shall be in Naples in a few days, and hope to find a still further
improvement in your condition."

The long drive to Naples had no ill effect whatever, and Captain
Percival was able to walk from the carriage up to his room, leaning
upon Frank's arm. They learned that it would be two days before the next
steamer from Marseilles arrived, and these were passed by Captain
Percival in the carriage, driving slowly backwards and forwards along
the promenade by the sea, sometimes halting for an hour or two, while he
got out and walked for a time, and then sat down on a seat, enjoying
intensely the balmy air and the lovely view. He was now able to dispense
altogether with Frank's assistance. His hair had been cut short, and his
face clean-shaved with the exception of his moustache, for, as he said,
"he hardly knew his own face with all that hair on, and he wanted his
wife to see him again as he was when he left her." His cheeks were still
very thin and hollow, but the sun and sea air had removed the deadly
pallor, and the five days of good feeding had already softened the
sharpness of the outlines of his face.

On the day when the steamer was due he remained down at the sea until
she was sighted. Then he returned to the hotel with Signor Forli,
leaving Frank to meet the ladies when they landed and to bring them up
to the hotel. Garibaldi had run down to Naples on the previous day, and
spent some hours in endeavouring to smooth matters between the
contending factions, and had given Frank an order to the officers of the
custom-house to pass the baggage of Signora Forli and Mrs. Percival
unopened. The greeting between Frank and his mother and the Signora was
a rapturous one. Not many words were spoken, for both ladies were so
greatly affected that they hurried at once into the carriage. Frank saw
the small amount of baggage that they had brought handed up, and then
jumped in.

"How is he looking?" Mrs. Percival asked anxiously.

"Of course he is looking thin, mother. He was very weak when we found
him, five days ago; but he has picked up a good deal since then, and in
another fortnight he will be walking about with you just as of old."

"You are looking thin yourself, Frank--very thin. My father mentioned in
his letter that you had had a touch of fever."

"Yes, it was rather a sharp touch; but, as you see, I am all right now,
though I have not yet returned to duty. I was able to take a part in the
battle of Volturno, but collapsed after it was over."

"And your grandfather has not changed much, you said?" the Signora
asked.

"He has borne it marvellously," Frank said. "As I told you in my letter,
he has kept himself up by going through all the authors he knew by
heart. You know what a marvellous memory he has, and of course that
helped him immensely. Of all the prisoners we have released, there was
not one who was so well and strong as he was. I really don't think that
you will find any change in him since you saw him last--except that, of
course, his hair is rather greyer. Father is a good deal greyer, mother.
I think that, perhaps, it is the result of there being so little light
in the places where he has been kept. Here is the hotel. Now I will take
you up to them, and will leave you there while I come down and see after
your traps. I should doubt whether any English ladies ever arrived at
Naples before with so little luggage."

He spoke cheerfully, for both his mother and the Signora were so much
agitated that he was afraid of their breaking down before they got
upstairs. On reaching the door he opened it, and, closing it quickly
behind him, went away. It was a quarter of an hour before he returned to
the room. All had now recovered from the effects of their first
meeting.

"We have already settled, Frank, that we will start for home at once.
Your grandfather says that he has ascertained that a steamer will leave
to-morrow for England; and we mean to go all the way by sea. It will do
your father good, and you too, for your grandfather says the doctor told
him that, although you have got rid of the fever altogether, you need
change to set you up thoroughly, and that a sea voyage would be the best
thing for you. And, as we are all good sailors, it will be the
pleasantest way as well as the best. Fortunately your work is done here.
The fighting is over, and even if it were not, you have done your share.
You have not told us much about that in your letters, but Garibaldi
spoke of you in the highest terms to your father; and your grandfather
learned, from some of your comrades, what you really did at Calatafimi
and Palermo."

"I did just what the others did, mother, and was luckier than most of
them, though I was laid up there for a month with the wound I got; but I
don't see how I could start to-morrow without leave, and, at any rate,
without thanking Garibaldi for his kindness."

"Well, then, you must run over to Caserta and see him this evening. The
railway is open, is it not? It is only a run of half an hour or so."

"Very well, mother, I will do that; and very likely he will be over in
the morning. He comes here nearly every day, and if he had not intended
doing so to-morrow, I am sure he would come, if only to see you and the
signora, and to say good-bye to father and the professor. About what
time does the steamer start?"

"At one o'clock."

"Oh, that will leave plenty of time; the general is always up at three
in the morning."

Frank was not mistaken: at eight o'clock Garibaldi arrived at the hotel
and spent half an hour with them. He delighted Mrs. Percival by the
manner in which he spoke of Frank, saying that no one had distinguished
himself more during the campaign.

The voyage to England was pleasant and uneventful, and by the time they
arrived at home, Captain Percival was almost himself again, while Frank
had entirely shaken off the effects of his illness. It had been agreed
that he should not return to Harrow; six months of campaigning had
ill-fitted him for the restrictions of school life, and it was arranged
that he should be prepared for Cambridge by a private tutor. He finally
passed creditably, though not brilliantly, through the University. He
and his family had the pleasure of meeting Garibaldi when the latter
paid a visit to London, four years after the close of the campaign; and
the general, in spite of his many engagements, spent one quiet evening
with his friends at Cadogan Place.

Four years later Frank married, and his father settled upon him his
country estate, to which, since his return to England, he had seldom
gone down, for, although his general health was good, he never
sufficiently recovered from the effects of his imprisonment to be strong
enough again to take part in field sports. He lived, however, to a good
old age, and it is not very long since he and his wife died within a few
days of each other. The professor and Signora Forli had left them
fifteen years before.

THE END.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

the enemey=> the enemey {pg 140}

who assuredy=> who assuredy {pg 192}

guerillas=> guerrillas {pg 203}

the the entrance=> the entrance {pg 244}

fictitous=> fictitous {pg 342}





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