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Title: Queen Maria Sophia of Naples, A Forgotten Heroine - Life Stories for Young People
Author: Küchler, Carl
Language: English
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                      [Illustration: _MARIA SOPHIA
                           Queen of Naples_]

                    _Life Stories for Young People_

                           QUEEN MARIA SOPHIA
                               OF NAPLES
                          A FORGOTTEN HEROINE

                     _Translated from the German of
                             Carl Küchler_

                            GEORGE P. UPTON
         _Author of “Musical Memories,” “Standard Operas,” etc.
              Translator of “Memories,” “Immensee,” etc._

                        WITH FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

                      [Illustration: A·C·M^cCLURG]

                          A. C. McCLURG & CO.

                          A. C. McClurg & Co.
                      Published September 24, 1910

                         THE · PLIMPTON · PRESS

                          Translator’s Preface

The story of the exiled Queen of Naples, Maria Sophia, as the title-page
of this little volume sets forth, is the story of a “forgotten heroine.”
In many respects it recalls the story of her sister, Elizabeth of
Hungary, though her fate was not so tragic. She was saved from the fury
of the assassin; but she revealed many of her sister’s attributes—the
same courage, the same beauty, the same gayety of disposition, clouded
in much the same manner, the same love of nature and of animals, the
same love of the people, the same domestic misfortunes. Her
comparatively brief sovereignty included a thrilling period of the
struggle for Italian unity. Her marriage was a brilliant one, her
honeymoon most strange, and her after life most lonely. She was a strong
woman united to a weak man, not of her choice and not honored by her
love. She had many faults, but of her heroism the siege of Gaeta will
always bear witness. The other figures in the story, the fascinating
Lola Montez, Count Cavour, the great statesman, King Victor Emanuel,
King “Bomba,” and the red-shirted Garibaldi, add to its picturesqueness,
and the manners and customs of the court of Bavaria as well as the
sketches of the Wittelsbachs are not without historic interest.

                                                                G. P. U.

Chicago, _July, 1910_.


  Chapter                                                           Page
  I The House of Wittelsbach                                          11
  II Life at Munich and Possenhofen                                   17
  III Political Disturbances in Bavaria                               24
  IV The Wittelsbach Sisters                                          31
  V The Neapolitan Royal Family                                       37
  VI Maria Sophia’s Arrival                                           44
  VII A Strange Honeymoon                                             50
  VIII Accession of Francis II and Maria Sophia                       57
  IX Garibaldi                                                        63
  X The Flight from Naples                                            70
  XI Siege of Gaeta                                                   81
  XII Capitulation                                                    90
  XIII After the Fall of Gaeta                                        98
  XIV Royalty in Exile                                               105
  XV Conclusion                                                      112
    Appendix                                                         121


  Maria Sophia, Queen of Naples                           _Frontispiece_
  Maria Sophia at the Time of Accession                               48
  Francis the Second, King of Naples                                  58
  Francis the Second, in his Sixtieth Year                           114

                      Queen Maria Sophia of Naples

                               Chapter I
                        The House of Wittelsbach

The house of Wittelsbach, one of the most ancient of the royal families
of Europe, was divided, toward the end of the eighteenth century, into
three branches. The old Elector, Karl Theodore, who died in 1799, was
without issue, and his successor, Maximilian of the Pfalz-Zweibrücken
line, became the founder of a new dynasty. Being the third son, there
had seemed little prospect of succeeding to the throne in his earlier
years, most of which were spent in the strictest seclusion at Mannheim
and Zweibrücken. Later, he entered the French army and until the
outbreak of the French Revolution was stationed as colonel at
Strassburg, where the jovial warrior made himself most popular, not only
in military but in social circles.

In 1785 he was married to Princess Augusta of Hesse-Darmstadt, by whom
he had two sons, Ludwig (his successor) and Karl, and three daughters,
one of whom died in childhood. Augusta, the second, married Eugene
Beauharnais, while Charlotte, the youngest, became the fourth wife of
Emperor Francis the First of Austria. Maximilian’s first wife died
early, and in 1796 he formed a second and equally happy alliance with
the Princess Caroline of Baden, who presented him with six daughters, of
whom three became queens of Saxony and Prussia, and the two youngest,
the mothers of Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria and the Empress
Elizabeth, respectively.

The branch of the Wittelsbachs to which Maximilian belonged was divided
into two lines, both descending from the Count Palatine, Christian the
First. A cousin, the Count Palatine Wilhelm of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld,
had hopes of securing the Electoral seat at Munich for himself,
especially as ancient tradition required that a portion of the domain
should fall to the share of the younger branch of the family. As Wilhelm
had but one child, however, a son who was feeble-minded and under
constant guardianship, an agreement was made between the cousins that in
future there should be no division of the Wittelsbach possessions.
Maximilian was to succeed to the Electorship of Bavaria undisturbed, in
return for which the reigning sovereign was to treat the descendants of
Count Wilhelm as his own. The younger branch was to rank equally with
the older and to receive a large share of the ancestral possessions,
with a handsome yearly income and the title of “Dukes in Bavaria.”

In accordance with this agreement, Maximilian became Elector of Bavaria,
which was raised by Napoleon to the dignity of a kingdom in 1806, and in
1818 granted a constitution by its sovereign. Maximilian was much
beloved by his subjects and so simple and patriarchal in his dealings
with them that he was generally known as the “Citizen King.” On his
birthday, October 12, 1825, he was present at a ball given in his honor
by the Russian ambassador, full of life and vigor as usual, and the next
morning was found dead in his severely simple bedchamber at Schloss

Duke Wilhelm of Birkenfeld long survived him, and it now devolved upon
the new King, Ludwig the First, to carry out the family compact.
Meanwhile Wilhelm’s son, Duke Pius, had also died, leaving one son, Duke
Max. Almost from the birth of this prince it had been decided that he
should marry King Maximilian’s youngest daughter Ludovica, who was born
the same year, and on the ninth of September, 1828, the marriage was
duly celebrated, three months before the bridegroom had reached his
twentieth year. Although dictated by family reasons, this marriage
proved a remarkably happy one. The two young people had grown up
together, knowing that they were to be united for life, and were
sincerely attached to each other. Their honeymoon was spent in the
Bavarian Alps with Ludovica’s mother, the widowed Queen Caroline, at her
Summer home at Tegernsee. At the time of the King’s death, two of the
daughters were still unmarried and the constant companions of their
mother, to whom they were devoted, and Ludovica’s marriage made no
change in their life except that a son-in-law was added to the family

Duke Max at that time was called the handsomest prince in Europe. He was
slender and well built, with a distinguished ease of manner and a
graciousness that won the hearts of all with whom he came in contact,
regardless of class or station. Naturally gay and light-hearted, fond of
pleasure and society, an accomplished musician and composer, with a
passion for nature and out-of-door life, it is small wonder that he was
universally adored. Even his mother-in-law, to whose age and habits his
lack of seriousness did not at first especially appeal, was completely
won by his devotion to her and her daughter, and his constant efforts to
divert and entertain them. When the famous violinist, Paganini, came to
Munich, Max invited him to visit the castle at Tegernsee and sent one of
the royal carriages to meet him. He often arranged amateur concerts, to
which all the neighboring families were invited, and whiled away the
long Autumn evenings playing and singing with his friend Petzmacher, the

Ludovica was very different from her husband. She disliked meeting
people, cared nothing for social life or gayety, and had an abhorrence
for noise or confusion of any kind. Max was a great admirer of the fair
sex and made no concealment of the fact. He had the true artist nature,
sanguine, impulsive, and susceptible, and must have caused the Duchess
many unhappy hours, innocent as most of the love affairs attributed to
him seem to have been. Whatever her feelings were, however, she
carefully concealed them from the eyes of the world. To all appearances
the relations between her and her husband were most harmonious. In many
ways, too, their opposite temperaments were of mutual advantage. His
cheerfulness and careless gayety often banished the fits of melancholy
to which she was subject, while her firmness and good sense proved a
balance to his volatile nature, and they were united in their love of
nature and country life.

The first three years of their marriage were childless, but in 1831 the
Duchess presented her husband with an heir, who was named Ludwig, for
the King. As time went on the family circle increased. The oldest
daughter, Hélène, was born in 1834. On Christmas Eve of 1837, Elizabeth
came into the world, followed, in the Summer of 1839, by a second son,
Karl Theodore. On the fourth of October, 1841, at Possenhofen, the
Duchess gave birth to her third daughter, Maria Sophia Amalia, the
future Queen of Naples. Two years later, Mathilde Ludovica was born. On
the twenty-second of February, 1847, the youngest daughter of the ducal
pair, Sophie Charlotte Augusta, made her appearance at Munich, and on
the seventh of December, 1849, their youngest son, Maximilian Emanuel
was born, also in Munich.

Nearly all these children were destined to bring sorrow or anxiety to
their parents. The Duke’s mercurial nature helped him to bear and rise
above these troubles, but they sank deep into Ludovica’s heart. But she
was sustained by her religion and a firm faith in Providence, whose
decrees she bore with dignity and patience. Little as she spoke of it,
devotion to her children was the ruling passion of her life. She never
was diverted, by any consideration, from what she felt to be her duty
toward them; and while her methods of training did not bear equal fruit
with all, they loved her devotedly in return and always regarded her
with the deepest respect and confidence.

                               Chapter II
                     Life at Munich and Possenhofen

Up to the end of the first half of the last century intellectual and
artistic development had made little progress in Bavaria. Weimar had
become famous as the home of Goethe and Schiller, Herder and Wieland,
but Munich was still merely a provincial town, not so large by half as
it is to-day, while the many gardens scattered about among the houses
gave it an almost rustic air. The population consisted chiefly of
artisans, with a few wealthy citizens, the students of the university,
and court _attachés_. Visitors to the capital at that time were few. Of
social life, so called, there was practically none, and the free
mingling of all classes in public places suggested Italian popular life,
especially after King Ludwig’s plans for beautifying the city had begun
to attract thither artists of all countries and ages.

With the kings of Bavaria, however, a new order of things was
instituted. Ludwig the First, who succeeded Maximilian, was far ahead of
most German princes of his time in learning and culture. In early youth
he had made himself conspicuous by his hatred of Napoleon, although the
conqueror had been his father’s friend and ally. At the Congress of
Vienna, Talleyrand had called him a clever madman, and he had been
laughed at for his intense enthusiasm over everything pertaining to
Germanism. His frequent sojourns in Rome were destined to be of the
greatest importance to the art life of Germany, for, on ascending the
throne, he swore to make his capital a city of such prominence that “no
one should know Germany who had not seen Munich”; and to his honor be it
said that he not only kept this vow, but did so with comparatively small
means at his command. Thanks to his zeal and energy the finances of the
country were soon in excellent condition. Most economical as to his own
personal expenses, he devoted large sums to the purchase of rare
treasures for the art collections he had planned for his capital, and
employed a number of distinguished artists and architects to beautify
the city, which now possesses many imperishable reminders of this
art-loving sovereign.

Few royal houses of the present day can furnish examples of such harmony
and attachment between different branches of the family as that of
Wittelsbach exhibited. The relations between King Ludwig and Duke Max
were always most affectionate, and the brothers-in-law had many tastes
and characteristics in common. Both were full of originality and energy,
and both had a genuine love of art, the King having a great fondness for
painting and poetry, while Max devoted himself principally to music. It
was Ludwig the First who instituted the famous artist balls in Munich,
which he and the Duke rarely failed to attend, and there was seldom a
concert given at the Academy of Music where both royal and ducal
families were not to be seen seated in the dress circle just behind the
orchestra. However pressing the affairs of state, the King never failed
to take part in the many religious festivals observed by the Church, and
on All Saints’ Day he invariably made a visit to the cemetery
accompanied by all his relatives.

While Ludwig was busy erecting his magnificent public edifices, Max
employed himself building and rebuilding palaces. Possenhofen, where
most of his children were born, was the favorite residence both of
himself and his family, although they usually spent the Winters in
Munich; and here, in the years 1833-1835 the celebrated architect, Leo
von Klenze, built for them a magnificent residence in the Ludwigstrasse.
Rank and state, however, by no means excluded simple kindliness and true
hospitality from the splendid halls of the Duke and Duchess. They
frequently gave large balls which were eagerly looked forward to by the
younger set in the aristocratic world of Munich. Duke Max always stood
by the door to welcome his guests on these occasions, offering each lady
a bouquet of flowers with true knightly gallantry. Fountains plashed in
the huge ballroom where inviting seats were placed here and there among
groups of splendid foliage plants, while from behind a leafy screen
floated the strains of an orchestra inviting to the dance. All chatted,
laughed, and danced with perfect unconstraint, and the Duke was always
the gayest of the gay, with the right word for every one.

During Lent the Duke and Duchess issued invitations for a series of
concerts. Again the spacious rooms were turned into gardens. Comfortable
chairs were arranged among masses of rose-bushes, and during pauses in
the music refreshments were served and the guests promenaded about
conversing gayly. It was never crowded, never too warm or too cool, in
these splendid salons, and Duke Max’s entertainments were counted as the
choicest pleasures of the Winter.

In the great courtyard of the palace he had a ring made where
exhibitions of fancy riding were given before the ladies of the family
and a few invited guests, Max himself often taking part. This became the
favorite resort of his daughters in Winter, who would spend whole days
there exercising, with their dogs and horses for companions, and it was
here that Elizabeth of Austria and Maria Sophia of Naples acquired the
skill that afterward made them the most perfect horsewomen of their day.

Properly to classify a plant it is necessary to study the soil that has
nourished it. That from which the Wittelsbach sisters sprung was
Bavarian, of course, but more accurately speaking, the region about
Possenhofen and Starnberg Lake, whither the family repaired every year
with the first signs of Spring. The shores of Starnberg are fringed with
castles, among them the solitary Schloss Feldafing, whence King Ludwig
the Second flung himself into the waters of the lake. Back of these are
many small villages interspersed with villas built by artists from
Munich. Between lie stretches of dark pine forest or clumps of lighter
beeches, their branches drooping over the surface of the water, while as
a background to this entrancing scene rise majestic mountain peaks.
Possenhofen was known in the twelfth century as “Pozzo’s Hof.” In the
fifteenth it was presented by the Palatine Friedrich von
Scheyern-Wittelsbach to a neighboring convent, but later it came into
the possession of the Elector Ferdinand Maria of Bavaria, a peace-loving
prince, who made Starnberg Lake the scene of many splendid _fêtes_. In
1834 Duke Max bought the castle, had the outer wall and vaulted gateway
torn down and the moat filled in, thus making room for the large gardens
that now surround Possenhofen. Outwardly the building was allowed to
retain its original form, but the interior was completely changed.
Four-post bedsteads, huge antique stoves, and chests of olden days were
replaced by modern furniture and conveniences. An additional wing or two
made room for guests, and a chapel was built, connecting the ancient
edifice with its newer parts. The castle courtyard and gardens are still
surrounded by a high wall, extending along the shore of the lake, and
this with the old towers forms the last link with those days when
Pozzo’s Hof served not only as a residence for its noble masters, but
also as a stronghold against the enemies of the prince and people.
Inside the wall rises the huge pile of reddish yellow stone, its whole
eastern side covered with a natural mantle of ivy, making an attractive
picture against the fresh green of the park and the gardens, with their
flower-beds and fountains.

Duke Max and his family may be said to have grown up with this beautiful
spot. Here he brought his bride one bright summer morning; here they
spent their happiest days together, far from the burdensome restrictions
of court etiquette; here their children received their first impressions
of life; and hither they always returned with a feeling of joy and
comfort no other place could offer. The young princesses spent long days
riding and swimming, training their dogs and horses, or clambering about
on the mountain tops. It was this life in the open air that stamped them
with so marked an individuality and gave them their love of freedom and
simplicity. They were quite at home among the country folk and deeply
resented any slight or injury to their mountain friends. In this,
however, they merely followed the example set them by their parents. The
beautiful home at Possenhofen had roots stretching far out into the
countryside, and all who were in trouble hastened at once for help and
comfort to Duchess Max, whose womanly sympathies were by no means
confined to her own family circle.

Her handsome husband was even more popular, and his gay good nature and
easy charm of manner made him adored by all. He was passionately fond of
hunting, and spent whole days tramping about through the mountains alone
with his gun. One evening after a long chase he arrived at a small
tavern, tired and hungry, and his shabby old hunting clothes soiled and
torn. No one recognizing him, he seated himself by the fire, took out
his zither, and began to play. Some wood-cutters were so pleased with
the stranger’s music that they offered to pay him if he would play a few
peasant dances for them. Max cheerfully agreed, and played and sang till
the whole room joined in the sport and coppers rained into the player’s
hat. When the merrymaking was over the musician ordered a meal so little
in keeping with his appearance that the landlady gazed at him in
astonishment, convinced that he was a suspicious character who would
probably attempt to leave without paying for his food, and determined to
keep a watchful eye on him. As soon as he had eaten he began to play
again, and the fun was at its height when a corporal entered and,
recognizing the august guest, saluted him respectfully. It always
annoyed the Duke to have his incognito betrayed, and flinging a gold
piece on the table he hastily departed, to the great relief of the
embarrassed assemblage.

                              Chapter III
                   Political Disturbances in Bavaria

This idyllic life at Possenhofen was interrupted for a time, however, by
the political agitations in Munich. All over Europe the spirit of
revolution was stirring, a spirit that was soon to find expression in a
general outbreak. Nowhere did the royal power seem more secure than in
Bavaria. No monarch was more beloved than Ludwig the First, no people so
universally loyal to the crown as his good-natured, easy-going subjects.
Nevertheless the popular upheaval was here, too, bearing fruit, and a
demand for more share in the government, with a freer constitution, was
becoming general, although the immediate cause of the outbreak in Munich
and the King’s subsequent abdication had seemingly little to do with

About this time a very beautiful and fascinating public dancer, called
Lola Montez, made her appearance there and created a great sensation.
Her origin was obscure and uncertain; but the best authorities seem to
make her the daughter of an Irish officer and a beautiful Spanish woman
of Moorish descent. She was born in Ireland in 1820 and at the age of
seventeen married one Lieutenant James, with whom she went to the West
Indies. She soon left her husband, however, and returned to England,
where she prepared herself to become a dancer. While hardly a regular
beauty, Lola Montez seems to have possessed in the highest degree what
the French call _la beauté du diable_. She had wonderful black hair,
fiery eyes that could change in an instant to melting warmth, a perfect
figure, with hands and feet so small and beautifully shaped that a
duchess might have envied them.

Her first appearance in London met with no great success—a marked
contrast to the enthusiasm she afterward excited everywhere she went.
After a season in Paris she obtained a permanent position at the royal
theatre in Dresden, where she created a tremendous sensation and was
shown great favor by the court. From there she went to Berlin, Warsaw,
and St. Petersburg, making a succession of conquests and also many
enemies by her violent temper and the frequent use she made of her
riding-whip or dagger.

On the tenth of October, 1846, she appeared for the first time at the
court theatre in Munich and immediately became the subject of violent
discussion, some raving over her beauty, her adventures, and her
triumphs, others denouncing her manners and behavior and creating
prejudice against her by reports which even went so far as to call her a
political spy. Instead of the traditional ballet skirts, Lola presented
herself on this occasion in a Spanish costume of silk and lace, diamonds
sparkling here and there upon it, her wonderful blue eyes flashing as
she curtsied low before the King, who was seated in the royal box. She
danced several Spanish dances and all sat spellbound as one charming
pose followed another, fascinated by her supple grace of motion and the
art with which she could suddenly change from glowing passion to the
roguish smiles of an innocent young girl. As soon as she stopped
dancing, however, the charm was broken and hisses were mingled with the

It was Ludwig’s custom to receive all foreign artists in person, before
they could appear at the court theatre. At his interview with Lola
Montez the old man had been completely fascinated by her beauty and
lively conversation, and was soon desperately in love with the clever
dancer, who knew so well how to amuse and entertain him. He was
constantly seen in her company and at all her evening parties, an
intimacy which was not long in arousing the displeasure of his family
and subjects to the highest degree. Public feeling against the hated
dancer soon began to display itself, and in the following Spring she
retired with the King to Würzburg, where she behaved with the same
boldness and indiscretion as in the capital.

One day she made a frightful scene because the guard would not allow her
dog to enter the park where she wished to walk. The officer on duty was
hastily summoned and tried to make her understand that the soldier was
in the right, whereupon she struck him across the face with her
riding-whip. Out of respect for the King, no one ventured to arrest her,
but the officers and citizens of Würzburg were so infuriated she was
forced to leave the city secretly.

The leader of the old Catholic party, Joseph Görres, worked actively
against her, and the press was not slow to fan the flame. Libels and
lampoons were spread broadcast throughout the city, enraging the dancer,
who in revenge forced the King to gratify all her wishes and drew him
ever deeper into her toils. To annoy her enemies, and at the same time
obtain entrance for herself into the highest circles, she persuaded the
King to make her a countess. This he could not do, however, without the
consent of his ministers, who positively refused to agree to such an
act; furthermore they sent a memorandum to the King urging that Lola be
expelled from the kingdom. Ludwig replied to this request by dismissing
not only the entire ministry, but many of their adherents, among whom
were several professors in the university; and from this time on “the
Bavarian Pompadour,” as Lola Montez has been called, became an important
factor in politics.

The university was now like the glowing crater of a volcano whence
issued all the pent-up hatred and discontent, and on the ninth of
February, 1848, came the first great eruption. Lola, whose southern
blood craved excitement, attempted to show herself among the riotous
throngs, but was forced to take refuge in a church, thoroughly
frightened for once. The King was furious when he heard of this, and as
the students had been at the bottom of the demonstration, he ordered the
university closed and all non-resident students sent away from Munich.
The next day the whole body of students marched through the Karlstrasse
to the house of their distinguished chaplain, Professor Thiersch,
singing songs of farewell, and greeted with cheers from every window
they passed. There was a close bond of sympathy between the university
and the citizens, who held a meeting at once, protesting against the
severity of the King’s order and petitioning him to open the university
again. Ludwig promised to take the matter into consideration, and after
a conference with his ministers agreed to yield to the wishes of the
citizens, furthermore proclaiming that the Countess Landsfeld, as Lola
was now called, should be requested to leave Munich. “No one shall come
between me and my people,” he declared. This news was received with
great rejoicing and the house in which the hated favorite lived was
surrounded day and night by curious throngs, anxiously awaiting her
departure. At last, on the morning of the eleventh of February, the
doors were suddenly thrown open by a squad of police, and before the
crowd outside realized what was happening, the coach containing the
Countess had started off at a furious gallop on the road to Blutenburg.
From there she fled to Lindau and thence to England, subsequently making
her way to the United States and later to Australia, where she died in
1861 at the age of forty, after a varied and adventurous career.

The revolution of February, which had already taken place in Paris, was
followed by similar uprisings throughout Europe, and added fuel to the
fire in Bavaria. The citizens of Munich again rose in revolt, and the
Government could no longer remain deaf to their just demands for a more
liberal constitution. The King made some concessions which partially
appeased the loyal Bavarians, and the disturbance seemed about to
subside, when a report that Lola Montez had returned to Munich caused a
fresh outbreak. Official notices were posted that evening on every
street corner, affirming that the Countess Landsfeld had left Karlsruhe
on the fourteenth of March for Frankfort, and had been forbidden ever to
set foot again on Bavarian soil; but the people laughed this to scorn.
The placards were torn down and the insurgents continued their work of

On the eighteenth of March, Munich found itself in a state of siege. Ten
thousand troops were in arms to put an end, if possible, to the
uprising. Many deputations waited on the King and on the States
Assembly, which had convened in the meantime, while the greater part of
the people who had taken no part in the disturbance waited anxiously for
developments. But King Ludwig was unable to crush the rebellion; neither
was he able to reconcile himself to a new system of government. Two days
later Munich was startled by an unexpected event. A proclamation was
issued by the sovereign, announcing his abdication, after a reign of
twenty-three years, in favor of his eldest son, to whom he left the task
of carrying out the reforms demanded by the people. Dumbfounded at this
unforeseen step, the Bavarians, loyal still to the house of Wittelsbach,
were much affected, and many felt remorseful at having rebelled against
their King, who, in spite of his faults, had been a good sovereign and
done much for his country. After his abdication, Ludwig spent the
remainder of his life as a private citizen, partly in Bavaria, partly in
Italy and the south of France, interesting himself still in art and
plans for the further improvement of Munich. He soon regained all his
old popularity, and felt no regrets for the rank and honors he had
renounced. He died in February, 1868; but some years before that event,
an equestrian statue of him was erected in Munich by the grateful people
of that city.

                               Chapter IV
                        The Wittelsbach Sisters

These stirring events naturally had not been without their influence on
Duke Max and his family, although the relations between them and the new
sovereigns were no less cordial and intimate than they had been with the
former ones.

At the time when Duke Max bought Possenhofen the Crown Prince had
acquired the castle of Hohenschwangen in that same region and set a
force of artists and architects at work to make it an ideal home for his
bride. Prince Maximilian had spent the greater part of his youth in
travel, and during a visit to the court of Berlin had first seen his
future wife, then but four years of age. She was a daughter of Prince
Karl of Prussia, and when he again met the Princess Marie as a lovely
girl of sixteen, he fell in love with her on the spot. In the Autumn of
1841 he made a formal offer for her hand, and the marriage took place on
the fifth of October, 1842.

Like the ducal family, the youthful pair spent most of the year at
Hohenschwangen, the two princes hunting and riding together, while a
close friendship developed between the Crown Princess and the Duke’s
young daughters, which was in no way interrupted by her becoming Queen
of Bavaria.

These daughters, the Wittelsbach sisters, were tenderly attached to one
another and there was a strong family resemblance between them. Four had
inherited their parents’ good looks, and Hélène, the oldest, while not
so beautiful as the rest, was clever and clear-headed like her mother.
Elizabeth and Maria both had a share of the family eccentricity; but of
all the eight children, Maria was the only one endowed with Duke Max’s
high spirits and cheerful, sunny nature. She also possessed to a marked
degree the distinguished bearing and grace of movement so characteristic
of the whole race, while added to the gentle sweetness of Elizabeth’s
face, whom she much resembled, was an expression of strength and
firmness unusual in one so young.

The five sisters were brought up in the simplest manner, without regard
to etiquette, and often walked about the streets of Munich without
attendants of any kind. The Duke was much away from home and concerned
himself little with his children’s education, except as to music, sport,
and out-of-door exercise; but Ludovica was constantly with her
daughters, and devoted her whole life to fitting them for the positions
she was ambitious they should occupy.

Elizabeth was famous for her beauty and Hélène for her cleverness, while
Maria was endowed with almost an equal share of both. She was
warm-hearted, sweet-tempered, and incapable of falsehood, but very
impulsive and unable to adapt herself to people; and the Duchess’s
methods of education did little to modify her independence of speech and
action. Like Elizabeth, she was a passionate lover of nature and of
animals; but she was bolder and less sensitive than her sister and early
developed a love of danger and excitement. The happy days of childhood
soon passed, however, and one by one the sisters left the home nest. In
1854 Elizabeth became Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, to the
bitter disappointment of Hélène, who had been selected as bride of
Francis Joseph. The Emperor preferred her younger sister, however, and
in 1858 Hélène consoled herself with the enormously wealthy Hereditary
Prince of Thurn and Taxis, and went to Regensburg to live. Ludwig, the
eldest son, had renounced his right of succession the preceding year to
marry an actress in Augsburg, making Karl Theodore, then in his
twentieth year, the future head of the house. Although the court of
Possenhofen was seemingly of small importance, it enjoyed universal
respect, and the Catholic royal houses of Europe were glad to ally
themselves with it.

In the Autumn of 1858 a messenger arrived from the King of Naples
desiring to know whether the Duke and Duchess would consent to an
alliance between their daughter Maria, then eighteen years old, and his
eldest son. The two families were scarcely acquainted personally, and
the young people had never seen each other, yet the Duke and Duchess
returned an unconditional acceptance of the offer. To be sure, the
Neapolitan Prince was considered a good match, being a Bourbon on his
father’s side and a member of the royal house of Sardinia on his
mother’s, and the heir, moreover, to an ancient and important kingdom in
fair Italy.

On the twenty-second of December, King Ferdinand’s minister, Count
Ludolff, arrived in Munich with a formal proposal of marriage, and after
receiving the young princess’s consent, presented her on a velvet
cushion a portrait of her future husband, a rather pleasant-looking
young man in the uniform of a hussar. Two weeks later the marriage took
place by proxy, as was the custom of the time. On the evening of the
eighth of January, 1859, Maria Sophia Amalia, Duchess in Bavaria, was
solemnly united in wedlock to Francis Maria Leopold, Duke of Calabria
and Crown Prince of the Two Sicilies, in the court chapel at Munich. All
the members of the royal house were present with the entire diplomatic
corps and many nobles and high officials of the State. King Maximilian
and Queen Marie led the bride to the altar, where the bridegroom’s
brother, Prince Leopold (the present Regent of Bavaria), represented him
in his absence. Following this ceremony the King and Queen held a
reception, during which crowds gathered outside the palace windows,
eager for a glimpse of the little bride who had gone about among them
all her life so gayly and familiarly.

On the thirteenth of January, Maria left her parents’ home with many
tears and embraces for the dear ones she was leaving behind. She had
never seen her husband nor any member of his family. Both the land and
people that were to be hers in future were strange to her—an uncertain
fate, indeed, to look forward to! But she was young and light-hearted,
full of hope and courage, and well equipped by nature for the trials
that awaited her. Her brother Ludwig, with several Bavarian ladies and
gentlemen, accompanied her on the journey, besides a Neapolitan court
lady, Nina Rizzo, sent by the Queen of Naples to instruct her in her new
duties. At Vienna a stay of several days was made, owing to news of King
Ferdinand’s illness; but on the thirtieth of January the party resumed
its way with the addition of the Empress Elizabeth, and on the following
day reached Trieste, where they were met by the Duke of Serracapriola,
sent by the King to welcome the future Queen of Naples. This pompous
personage discharged his errand with such ceremonious solemnity that the
simple, unaffected Bavarian princess knew not whether to laugh or cry.

On the first of February, at half-past one, the ceremony of delivering
the bride into the hands of the Neapolitan envoy took place in the
Governor’s palace. Across the centre of the great salon a silken cord
had been stretched, representing the boundary line between Bavaria and
Naples. Beside this were placed a table, covered with red velvet, and
two gilded arm-chairs. The room had folding doors at either end, one of
which was decorated with the colors of Naples and guarded by Neapolitan
marines, while at the other, similarly adorned with Bavarian arms and
banners, stood a band of the royal Bavarian retainers. The Neapolitan
envoy, with two ladies of high rank who had come to act as escort to the
Princess, were stationed on their side of the boundary line with the
Admiral and officers of the ship that was to carry Maria Sophia and her
suite to Naples, while the Duchess and her Bavarian escort entered
through the other door and took their places. The two envoys then
advanced from their respective positions to the silken cord, where they
exchanged documents concerning the marriage. The Count von Rechburg
addressed a few words of farewell to the youthful bride, who rose and
extended her hand for her German attendants to kiss, after which the
Count led her to the middle of the room and gave her into the hands of
the Duke of Serracapriola, who humbly begged her to seat herself in the
Neapolitan arm-chair while he delivered a short address of
congratulation and welcome. This almost mediæval ceremony concluded,
Maria left the salon through the door draped in Neapolitan colors and
went directly on board the _Fulminante_, in the cabin of which the
Empress Elizabeth and Prince Ludwig took an affecting farewell of their
young sister. The greater part of her suite embarked on another vessel,
the _Tancredo_, and an hour later both ships were steaming out of the
harbor of Trieste.

                               Chapter V
                      The Neapolitan Royal Family

King Ferdinand the Second, the reigning Prince of Naples at this time,
came of bad stock. The reign of his grandfather, Ferdinand the First of
Naples and Fourth of the Two Sicilies, of whom King Frederick of Prussia
once aptly remarked that he was more fit for a prison cell than a
throne, had been one long scandal, and his son, Francis the First,
followed faithfully in his father’s footsteps during his short reign
(1825-1830). Ferdinand the Second had naturally a good mind, and at the
time of his accession to the throne had roused great hopes by the
military and financial reforms he introduced and by his wise plans for
developing the resources of his impoverished kingdom. This did not last
long, however, for he soon began to display the same despotic tendencies
that had made his father and grandfather so abhorred by the people, and
the older he grew the more marked these became.

The general movement toward liberty that shook Europe in the nineteenth
century had not been without its effect, both in Naples and Sicily, as
may easily be supposed, considering the harsh rule which the fiery
southerners had been forced to endure so long. Ferdinand had succeeded
in crushing one violent outbreak in 1848; but beneath the ashes the fire
still smouldered, and the inward ferment was constantly increased by the
extreme measures to which “Bomba,”[1] as the King was popularly called,
resorted, to maintain and strengthen his position. He ruled with a
despotism and intolerance that suggested the worst days of the
Inquisition. The prisons were full of political “criminals,” whose only
crime was the holding of liberal views, or the suspicion of doing so,
and these victims were treated with such revolting cruelty as to rouse
the horror of the civilized world. In spite of these things, however,
Bomba was not without some good qualities. In private life he was both
just and temperate, simple in his habits, a good husband and father. He
was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united two years after
his accession to the throne, was the Princess Maria Christina of
Sardinia—Italy’s “Queen Dagmar”—an angel of goodness and piety. The
people called her Saint Christina even during her lifetime, and she was
afterward canonized by the Church of Rome. Such a woman could not but
exert a beneficial influence over her royal husband; but it was
unfortunately of short duration, for she died in 1836, four years after
her marriage, leaving a son two weeks old, the Crown Prince Francis
Maria Leopold.

Ferdinand had no intention of remaining long a widower. He first wished
to marry a daughter of King Louis Philippe of France, but Austria
persuaded England to join in defeating this plan, which would have
resulted in too powerful a union of the reigning Bourbon families. He
then applied for the hand of an Austrian princess, and in 1837 was
married to Maria Theresa, daughter of the Archduke Karl, who presented
him with five sons and four daughters. In spite of her proud name and
lofty lineage, the new Queen was a very ordinary person, though not
without some homely virtues. Her horizon was bounded by her family and
her household, in the duties of which she took an active part, even
mending her children’s clothes with her own hands, it is said; and she
seems to have been utterly lacking in the realization that a queen
should have other and wider duties than those of a housekeeper. In
simplicity of tastes she much resembled her husband, who was most frugal
in his mode of living; but she sometimes went so far that even he was
annoyed, and one day at dinner he remonstrated with her, saying: “Come,
come, Ther! [a nickname he had for her] you will soon be making us wait
on ourselves at table!”

The simplest fare was served in the royal household. Macaroni was one of
the principal articles of diet, and a favorite dish of the King’s was
raw onions, which he peeled with his fingers, declaring that contact
with a knife gave them an unpleasant flavor. The Queen, however, never
liked Neapolitan cooking and always had some substantial German dishes
prepared for herself. She could not speak Italian correctly, but learned
only the Neapolitan dialect, which she pronounced in a most dreadful
way, with her broad German accent. In short, Ferdinand’s second wife was
as unpopular as his first had been popular. She made no effort to win
the love of the people and her homely, plebeian ways were little to the
taste of the gay Neapolitans, who adored glitter and display of any
sort. The King’s favorite recreation was driving. He went out every
afternoon, taking some of his family and usually holding the reins
himself. The royal equipage was always accompanied by a mounted escort,
while horsemen were stationed along the route the King was to take, to
detain all chance travellers until he had passed by, not as a mark of
respect, but as a measure of precaution.

Exemplary as this royal pair may have been from the standpoint of a
private citizen, as far as the education of their children was concerned
they were certainly not successful. The teachers they chose were almost
exclusively bigoted Jesuits. Ferdinand wished his sons to be taught
Latin, French, civil and administrative law, but they received no
military training of any kind. Even sports and physical exercises were
excluded from their plan of education, nor were they permitted to travel
or acquire any knowledge of foreign lands or peoples. Ferdinand’s own
education had been most imperfect. He read little or nothing himself and
wrote his orders, even those pertaining to important affairs of state,
on any scrap of paper that came to hand, sometimes even in the
Neapolitan dialect. He regarded all writers and literary men with
contempt as an inferior and objectionable race of beings—a curious
mixture of pride and prejudice which he also displayed toward people of
other nations. He called the English, fishmongers, the French, barbers,
the Russians, tallow-eaters, etc. Austrians were the only foreigners of
whom he ever spoke with any respect, and that was on his wife’s account.
In his younger days he had possessed a fair share of the Neapolitan
humor, but it soon degenerated into bitterness and sarcasm.

The following anecdote of him is characteristic. Some public festival
was being held in the square in front of the palace and the King was
standing on a balcony with the Crown Prince, then still a child. Gazing
down on the crowds below and thinking perhaps of the high position to
which he would one day be called, the boy turned suddenly to his father
with the question:

“What could a King do with all these people?”

“He could kill them all!” replied Ferdinand, then added solemnly, bowing
low and crossing himself, “He could, my son, but he would not, out of
respect for the holy religion.”

                            * * * * * * * *

Ferdinand the Second’s system of police and priestly rule did not fail
to bear fruit in the shape of numerous uprisings and attempted
assassinations that terrorized the last years of his reign. He knew
himself to be an object of universal hatred and that hundreds were
plotting against his life, and grew more nervous and uneasy every day.
Added to these mental anxieties he had acute physical sufferings. The
unfortunate prince could find no rest, day or night. At the age of
forty-five his hair had turned completely white and he looked like an
old man.

His natural tendency toward bigotry increased with illness and worry and
he became as superstitious as the most orthodox prince of the Middle
Ages. Before mounting a horse he always crossed himself, and he never
met a priest or monk on one of his drives without stopping the carriage
while he alighted and knelt upon the ground until the holy man had
passed. He went frequently to confession and had daily masses read for
himself in all the churches. Every night he prayed, rosary in hand, with
his wife and children, and before retiring would kiss each of the holy
images with which the walls of his bedchamber were adorned. But even
these pious observances failed to bring relief. Conscience tortured him,
and he sought sleep in vain.

The betrothal of his eldest son and heir to the Bavarian Princess
brought a gleam of light into the darkness. The house of Wittelsbach,
besides its high rank and antiquity, was strongly orthodox in its
Catholicism, a most important item in Ferdinand’s eyes; and the alliance
was a strong one politically, for by it his son would become the
brother-in-law of the Emperor of Austria, and closely connected also
with several others of the reigning houses of Europe. In spite of his
state of health, the King had determined to be present at the second and
real wedding of Francis and Maria, and succeeded, indeed, in reaching
Bari, where the ceremony was to take place; but the fatigue and
hardships of a Winter journey over the Apennines were too much for his
strength, and he arrived at Bari so ill and exhausted that there was no
possibility of his being able to assist in the festivities.

The King ill unto death, the country on the verge of revolution, the
royal house and kingdom threatened by enemies at home and abroad—a sorry
state of affairs to greet the fair young Bavarian Princess, entering for
the first time the land of which she was soon to become the sovereign!

                               Chapter VI
                         Maria Sophia’s Arrival

It was on a beautiful Spring morning, the third of February, 1859, that
the Crown Princess approached her new home. All the roads leading to
Bari were filled with curious sightseers, eager for a glimpse of the
bride. All tongues were busy with praises of her beauty and goodness.
Her name was on every lip; but instead of being called the Princess of
Bavaria or Duchess of Calabria, she was and still is familiarly spoken
of in Italy as Maria Sophia, to distinguish her from many of her
predecessors on the throne who had borne the name of Maria. The whole
royal family had journeyed to Bari to welcome her and were lodged on the
first floor of the Intendant’s palace, where apartments had also been
prepared for the Duchess of Calabria and her suite; but in spite of the
joyous air of expectancy that pervaded the town, a dark cloud hung over
the palace itself, owing to the condition of the King, who was confined
to his bed and suffering greatly. He had looked forward with the deepest
pleasure and interest to his son’s marriage, and it was a bitter
disappointment to him not to be present at the wedding ceremonies.

About ten o’clock in the morning, the thunder of cannon proclaimed the
approach of the _Fulminante_ and the _Tancredo_. The troops lined up,
the mayor of Bari and other dignitaries took their places in a pavilion
which had been erected in the middle of the landing stage for the
bride’s reception, while ten state equipages, escorted by a mounted
guard, issued from the palace and drove down to the pavilion, where the
Queen, with her stepson, the Duke of Calabria, and her little daughters,
alighted and boarded a steam launch to go out to meet the Duchess.

On the _Fulminante_, meanwhile, all was stir and excitement. The bride,
as she stood on deck dressed in a handsome travelling costume, looked
more than ever like her sister Elizabeth. She had the same wonderful
dark blue eyes and rich brown hair; and although not so tall as the
Empress, her figure was quite as beautifully formed. On this occasion
her usual expression of childish innocence and gayety had given place to
one of serious expectancy, and she was very pale, a result partly owing
to fatigue, partly to emotions natural to the situation. During the
journey she had plied Nina Rizzo and her new chamberlain with questions
about her future husband; how he looked, how he behaved toward his
parents, his brothers, and his subjects; and she had never tired of
hearing tales of his childhood. To her naive inquiry as to whether
Francis was really as disagreeable as he was said to be in Bavaria, both
had done their best to reassure the Princess by expatiating on his good

It had stormed all night, but the sea now lay calm and smiling as if in
welcome, and it seemed to Maria that she had never seen such a wonderful
blue before. As they drew near the beautiful harbor with the town of
Bari beyond, bathed in Italian sunshine, she was so absorbed in the
enchanting scene that at first she did not notice the approaching
launch. Suddenly she caught sight of Francis standing up in the craft in
his gay hussar uniform, and her face lit up with a joyous smile. She
recognized him at once from his portrait and found him more
agreeable-looking than she had expected. Advancing to the side of the
vessel to meet him as he came aboard, she held out her hand with
charming impulsiveness and said, “Bonjour, François!”

“Bonjour, Marie!” replied the Prince, shyly taking both her hands in his
and kissing her on the forehead. The Queen then embraced the young girl
and presented her to the princesses, Maria inquiring solicitously for
the King and expressing her regret at his absence. She then asked with
great interest about the coast, the town they were approaching, the
vessels in the harbor, and all the new sights and scenes about her. The
young bridegroom, meanwhile, stood silent and embarrassed beside his
stepmother, so overcome with the emotion of meeting his bride and
finding her even more fascinating than he had dared to imagine, that he
was more shy and awkward than usual and could only stammer a few
disjointed words in answer to her questions.

At the landing they were met by the assembled officials and escorted to
the pavilion, where the royal party entered their coaches and drove back
to the palace. Maria’s beauty and girlish charm won instant favor. A
storm of cheers greeted her entrance into the new land; and even after
she had disappeared within the palace, the enthusiastic Italians
continued to shout till she was obliged to come out and show herself
once more on a balcony. The Crown Princess had scarcely time, however,
to acknowledge the people’s homage, before she was summoned to the
King’s bedside. She found him sitting up to greet her, his face deeply
lined with suffering. With all a father’s tenderness, Ferdinand embraced
his new daughter-in-law, shedding tears at this sorrowful meeting, so
different from what he had hoped for, while Maria also wept and returned
the embrace warmly. It was the first time in this foreign land that she
had been welcomed with anything like the affection to which she had been
accustomed at home, and she felt drawn at once to her dying
father-in-law, who had taken her into his heart at their very first
meeting, realizing with pity how thickly strewn with thorns must be the
path in life of this fair young creature who seemed made only for joy
and happiness. Maria had little time to dwell on this scene, however,
for the Queen led her away almost immediately to her chamber, where Nina
Rizzo exchanged her travelling suit for the white satin bridal robe, and
placed on her luxuriant hair—a characteristic of all the Wittelsbach
sisters—a wreath of orange blossoms with a magnificent lace veil which
she had brought with her from home.

An altar had been erected in the banqueting hall, the walls of which
were lined with pictures of the Madonna. Before the altar a throne with
arm-chairs was placed for the princes and princesses. The bishops and
distinguished guests had taken their places and the ceremony was about
to begin, when an incident occurred that made it hard for those present
to preserve their gravity. The Queen’s second son, Alphonso, Count of
Caserta, who though eighteen years old was as wild and ungovernable as a
schoolboy, had succeeded in fastening a long paper train to the uniform
of one of the highest court officials, whose solemn air of
unconsciousness only added to the humor of the situation. One of the
court gentlemen, however, quietly managed to remove the ridiculous
appendage, the victim remaining in blissful ignorance of the trick that
had been played upon him.

                      [Illustration: _MARIA SOPHIA
                     at the time of the accession_]

The young couple entered and took their places before the altar, where
the bishop concluded the ceremony with a solemn address in Italian,
invoking the blessing of God upon them. At the close of the Te Deum an
orchestra struck up the National Hymn and a salvo of artillery announced
to the waiting crowds without that the marriage was completed, while the
bridal pair went at once to the King’s chamber to receive his paternal
blessing. That evening the whole town was brilliantly illuminated, and
the square before the palace was filled with cheering throngs far into
the night; but in spite of these demonstrations there was much secret
uneasiness as to the King’s condition. The excitement of the wedding had
had a bad effect on Ferdinand; though he did all in his power to conceal
his sufferings, and the royal family seemed quite unaware of the
alarming nature of his illness.

When the Count of Caserta’s mischievous prank reached the ears of the
King, he sent for that youth and administered a sharp rebuke, declaring
such a performance could only have been expected of a street urchin.
Three days’ confinement to his room was to be his punishment, but at the
Queen’s intercession the sentence was somewhat lightened.

                              Chapter VII
                          A Strange Honeymoon

The early months of the married life of Francis and Maria Sophia were
similar in many ways to those of Marie Antoinette and Louis the
Sixteenth of France. Francis, like Louis, was awkward, timid, and
doubtful of himself. Although brought up in the land of art and beauty,
he had no taste for such things. Like the King of France, he was honest,
just, and deeply religious, but weak and irresolute, and conspicuously
lacking in those qualities naturally looked for in princes of royal

Equally marked were the points of resemblance between Marie Antoinette
and Maria Sophia. Both were gay, childish, and impulsive, with
remarkable personal courage and a frankness that was as attractive as it
was dangerous; both were too beautiful not to excite envy, and too full
of high spirits not to cause offence. The Wittelsbach Princess, however,
had qualities the Dauphiness lacked—perfect honesty and the robust
health and splendid vitality brought from her Bavarian Alps. She was a
finished horsewoman, a good shot, a tireless walker, and devoted to
out-of-door recreations of all sorts. Her husband, on the other hand,
was grave, silent, and melancholy. Sports had no attraction for him. He
never hunted, and in spite of his hussar uniform the Neapolitans declare
that he was never known to mount a horse. One point, however, they
shared in common—indifference to luxury and love of simplicity.

At the time of her marriage the Crown Princess could scarcely speak a
word of Italian. Francis’s knowledge of French was very limited, and of
German he was entirely ignorant, so that unrestrained communication
between the young couple was difficult at first. The education of the
Duke of Calabria had done little to prepare him for the lofty position
that awaited him. His stepmother, who completely spoiled her own
children, neglected him shamefully in some ways and was unnecessarily
harsh in others. Overshadowed by his cleverer stepbrothers, who despised
him, and conscious of his own mental and physical deficiencies, the poor
boy had become morbidly shy and reserved. Yet he had many good
qualities. He never forgot the smallest service shown him, and was
invariably kind and courteous even to the humblest. Many tales are told
of his sympathy with the poor and suffering, and even as a child he
would part with his dearest treasure to help any one in distress. But
his appearance was so unprepossessing as to be almost unpleasant; and
the consciousness of this made him appear at his worst with his wife,
whose beauty and vivacity so enthralled him that he became dumb at her
approach and would often hide behind the door when she entered the room,
to avoid speaking to her.

The Neapolitan court was a contrast in more ways than one to the home
Maria Sophia had left, and for which she yearned so longingly. Barely
eighteen years old, overflowing with health and spirits, she found
herself surrounded by an atmosphere of false humility, deceit, and
religious hypocrisy; and although her natural light-heartedness helped
her through many troubles and disappointments in the new life, yet she
could never forget that she was a stranger in a strange land, alone and
almost friendless. Fond as her father-in-law was of her, he was too ill
to be able to do anything toward making her life pleasant, and the
little princesses, while outwardly civil, were stiff and unsympathetic.
With her brothers-in-law she was on a somewhat better footing, for they
were charmed with the zest with which she entered into their sports; but
the Queen from the very first had treated her with the most marked
unfriendliness, correcting her constantly, as if she had been a
schoolgirl, and regarding her most innocent diversions with suspicion.
She even refused to allow her to ride, as she had been used to do at
home; and the young Duchess sorely missed her favorite occupation.

Maria Theresa was a woman of strong will and had been accustomed to
obedience from her family as well as her subjects. She had selected her
most trusted lady-in-waiting to attend her stepson’s wife, hoping that
Nina Rizzo, who was devoted to her mistress, would teach the Crown
Princess to bow to her will as every one else did. But in this she was
mistaken, for though Maria Sophia liked Nina, she remained deaf to all
her exhortations on the subject, firmly determined to preserve her
independence at all costs.

Meanwhile the King grew steadily worse, and the cloud over the palace
darkened. The young princes tried to relieve the gloom and pass away the
time by walks about the town, running races in the palace courtyard, and
playing tricks on the gentlemen of the court, pastimes in which they
were frequently joined by Maria Sophia. One day she went down to the
shore and, with the help of an old boatman, succeeded in catching a
whole basketful of fish which she bore home in triumph and had cooked
for the royal table. Another time she promised her brothers-in-law to
make them some Bavarian pancakes. A portable grate was secured and
placed over a charcoal fire, and the Princess set to work. But no
frying-pan or ladle was to be had. At this moment the mayor of Bari made
his appearance, in gold-laced coat and knee breeches, to pay his
respects at court. Maria Sophia was no longer in a quandary. In her own
lively way she begged the official to go down into the market-place and
get her the needed utensils. The obliging mayor hastened to do her
bidding, and soon returned with the desired articles; but the result of
the Princess’s culinary labors was most unsatisfactory after all, for
the pancakes proved uneatable. Large holes were burned in the tablecloth
and napkins, and amid shouts of laughter Maria Sophia abandoned any
further attempts to shine as a cook in Italy. The mayor carried the
frying-pan and ladle home with him as souvenirs of the merry scene, and
they are still preserved as relics in his family.

Amid the general sadness that prevailed, however, these lively outbreaks
became less and less frequent, and the young Duchess hailed with joy the
news that the court was to move to Caserta. Nina Rizzo had often told
her of the beauties of that place, and she eagerly looked forward to
their departure as an hour of deliverance. The journey was long
deferred, however, as the King’s sufferings were so acute he would not
allow himself to be moved. A monk at length succeeded in persuading the
sick man to consent, and he was carried on a mattress to a steam frigate
which was to convey him from Bari to Portici in order to avoid any stop
at Naples. From Portici to Caserta the five hours’ journey caused the
unfortunate sovereign such torture that the Archbishop of Naples ordered
continuous prayers to be offered for him in all the churches. Once amid
these new surroundings—the lofty halls and salons of the palace, the
enchanting park and gardens—Maria Sophia’s spirits rose, and she felt
almost happy again. But it was not for long. Between the Queen’s
animosity and her husband’s weakness, she soon relapsed into her old
loneliness and helplessness. Almost her only diversion now was her
family of parrots. She had ten, and her laughter over the ludicrous
results of their attempts to speak German was the sole evidence that her
natural gayety was not entirely suppressed and crushed.

Meanwhile the Queen’s supposed treasonable designs were freely discussed
throughout the kingdom. It was said that on the King’s death she
intended to seize the double crown for her own son, and that many of the
police officials were ready to support her plans; also that the Crown
Prince was forcibly excluded from his father’s sick-room. There was no
truth in this latter report, however; for although Francis had indeed
been carefully kept from taking any part in affairs of state hitherto,
now at the eleventh hour, Ferdinand insisted upon having his son with
him constantly, and giving him instructions for future guidance; these
the Crown Prince copied on a sheet of paper and used frequently to
consult after he became King. On the tenth of April Ferdinand made his
last will and testament, leaving equal portions of his property to each
of his children, with a large share to his wife, and a twelfth part to
be divided among religious institutions.

In spite of the statements already published in regard to the amount and
distribution of his estate, Ferdinand was popularly believed to own
enormous sums in private, mainly derived from confiscation of the
property of political criminals. His fortune was said to amount to three
hundred million ducats. As a matter of fact, however, the King’s actual
property was scarcely more than seven million ducats, although he owned
a great number of jewels and other valuables.

On the twelfth of April Ferdinand received the last sacrament; but he
lived on for more than a month. The superstitious Neapolitans expected
his death to occur on the fifteenth of May, the anniversary of the riots
there in 1848, of which the King had taken advantage for his shameful
persecution of his subjects; but it was not till the twenty-second of
May that his sufferings were finally ended. A frightful storm broke out
during the hour of his death and this was looked upon by many as a bad
omen for the new reign.

                              Chapter VIII
                Accession of Francis II and Maria Sophia

Aside from the comparatively small circle at Bari, few of her subjects
had ever seen the new Queen, while Francis himself was almost as little
known to the people. A few days after their accession, the youthful
sovereigns held a levee at the royal palace in Naples. The King in his
hussar uniform, and the Queen in her crown and ermine robes, stood under
a canopy in the centre of the great hall, while all the high officials,
nobles, and dignitaries of the court and kingdom stepped forward to kiss
the hands of Their Majesties. As the gorgeously attired procession wound
its way past the throne, the sudden appearance of a band of poets
striding along in their long black cloaks and broad-brimmed hats formed
such a startling contrast to the rest of the glittering throng that
Maria Sophia burst into an irrepressible peal of laughter which soon
spread to all about her.

Freed at last from the dreadful oppression that had weighed her down as
Crown Princess, she quickly recovered her exuberance of spirits, which
found expression in various ways. The relations between her and her
husband also became much more free and natural after their accession to
the throne. Francis had begun, soon after the wedding, to be in love
with his wife, although he did not show it. The long system of
repression to which he had become accustomed had inflicted permanent
injuries on his sensitive nature; but Maria Sophia’s personal charm was
so great and her gayety so spontaneous that it was impossible for him to
escape her fascination. Under his awkward manner, however, she did not
perceive his dawning love for her, while he felt strange in the world of
lovers and was unable to express his feelings, except by the eagerness
with which he fulfilled her slightest wish. Nor did Maria Sophia
hesitate to use her power. Once her own mistress, she quickly cast off
the yoke laid upon her by the Queen at Bari and Caserta, and gave
unmistakable proof that she, too, had a strong will.

At table she would beg permission to have her favorite dog, Lyonne, in
the room. The King always consented; and the huge Newfoundland with her
four pups would come tearing in and enjoy themselves during the rest of
the meal, leaping madly about the table, and sometimes even upon it, to
the indignation of the court and their mistress’s intense delight.
Photography had recently come into fashion, and she had herself taken in
every possible position and costume, greatly to the disgust of her
mother-in-law, who objected strongly to her continual changes of costume
and her frequent riding excursions. But the time was past when Maria
Sophia allowed herself to be dictated to. Like a young Amazon she dashed
about the streets of Naples, exciting universal admiration and amazement
at her daring horsemanship.

                     [Illustration: _FRANCIS SECOND
                            King of Naples_]

As Crown Prince, Francis the Second had not been unpopular with the
people. His mother had been almost worshipped; and the Neapolitans
pitied the sickly boy whose life, even, so it was said, had been
attempted by his stepmother. But he was utterly lacking in the qualities
necessary for a sovereign. It needed a clear head and a firm hand to
guide the ship of state safely through those stormy seas. His judgment
was sound enough; but he was good-natured to the point of weakness, and
superstitious to an almost fanatical degree. He never let a day pass
without hearing mass, and went regularly to confession. One of his
favorite occupations was to hold long religious conversations with
Father Borelli and other priests who happened to be at court. He talked
much of his dead mother, before whose portrait he would kneel for hours
in prayer, and he would frequently clasp his head in his hands as if in
distress, crying, “Ah, how heavy this crown is!”

One day, soon after his accession, while holding a conference with his
minister of finance, Raymondo del Liguoro, the table at which they sat
moved slightly, and the minister turned to see what had caused it.

“It was I who shook the table,” said the King. “I had a sudden fit of
trembling. That is a bad sign. It means that I shall die soon.”

Liguoro adjured His Majesty to banish such thoughts, as his life was not
his own, but belonged to the people over whom he ruled. “I do not value
either my life or my kingdom very highly,” replied Francis. “I always
think of what is written, ‘The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.’”

                            * * * * * * * *

The dowager Queen was a truly proverbial stepmother. She had never been
able to reconcile herself to having her stepson inherit the united
kingdoms while her own sons had nothing; even during her husband’s
lifetime she had attempted to secure the succession of her eldest boy to
the throne of Sicily. But King Ferdinand would not listen to this. On
his death-bed he had extracted a solemn oath from each member of his
family to support the rightful heir, and after his death the widowed
Queen had flung herself at her stepson’s feet and promised him her
allegiance. That she broke this vow has never been historically
verified, the only proofs having been generously destroyed by King
Francis himself. It happened in this way. Minister Filangieri had long
suspected Maria Theresa of being at the head of a conspiracy to depose
the young sovereign and place her son, the Count of Trani, on the
throne, and at last succeeded in obtaining certain proof of this. He
carried the documents at once to the King; but Francis refused to look
at them. Without a glance he flung them into the fire, saying, “She was
my father’s wife!”

Maria Theresa afterward indignantly denied this, declaring the whole
affair a plot to sow discord between her and the King; but, be that as
it may, there is no doubt that she was greatly to blame for Francis’s
lack of education and training in early youth and childhood. She had
brought him up as if he had been a girl, destined to live in retirement,
rather than as a man who had a lofty mission to fulfil, emphasizing his
natural awkwardness and timidity, and choosing tutors totally unfitted
to prepare his mind for the demands of the times and his future
position. His whole nature had been cowed and stunted in order that he
might be kept subservient to her will.

She had also attempted these tactics with Maria Sophia, but with less
success. The Bavarian Princess was far too self-reliant to submit to any
such yoke. She was quite as strong-willed as her mother-in-law, besides
being far wiser and cleverer. She also had her own political views,
which were directly opposed to those of the dowager Queen. The latter
was full of the old ideas of absolutism and had no sympathy with the new
spirit of liberty, while Maria Sophia openly proclaimed her liberal
opinions and urged the King to grant the country more freedom.

History shows that many women have filled the highest and most important
positions with credit and honor. England has her Elizabeth, Russia her
Catherine, Austria and Hungary their Maria Theresa, Scandinavia its
Margareta. Maria Sophia of Naples is yet another example of feminine
ability and judgment in political affairs. King Francis had no abler
counsellor than his own wife, and had he followed her advice the issue
of events might have been very different. But he was blinded by
prejudice, by family tradition, by his education, and by court
intrigues. As a child he had witnessed the bloody riots in Naples and
been taught to regard such outbreaks as criminal attacks on a divinely
instituted form of government. Even before his illness, Ferdinand had
taken pains to instill his own principles into his son, and almost with
his last breath had urged him never to allow himself to be carried away
by the stream of liberalism that threatened to overflow Italy. Much as
Francis loved and admired his young wife, therefore, he found it
impossible to break away from the despotic ideas in which he had been
steeped from his infancy, and not until it was too late did he realize
the wisdom of her advice.

                               Chapter IX

Meanwhile events were occurring in northern Italy that were to exert a
far-reaching influence on the Kingdom of Naples. The throne of Sardinia
was occupied by a bold and able sovereign, Victor Emanuel of Savoy, who
was fortunate enough to have as his counsellor Cavour, one of the
foremost statesmen of the nineteenth century.

Together with Napoleon the Third, Victor Emanuel had inflicted a series
of defeats on the Austrians early in 1859, breaking their rule in
Lombardy, and thereby giving a tremendous impetus to the spirit of
Italian unity. It was as if the whole country had suddenly awakened to a
realization of the fact that the various States into which Italy had
been divided for centuries really belonged together; and the idea of
uniting them seized the popular mind with irresistible force. It is
interesting to note that the national movement which occurred some ten
years later in Germany had many points of resemblance to this. Both
nations had only of late aspired to greater political importance: both
were good fighters and governed by princes who knew how to wield the
sword themselves, as well as to choose their generals and statesmen. In
both cases the right men appeared at the right moment—Von Moltke and
Bismarck in Germany, Garibaldi and Cavour in Italy. Cavour had several
times attempted to bring about an alliance between Sardinia and Naples
during the reign of Ferdinand; but his offers had been treated with
scorn by that short-sighted monarch. After his death and the brilliant
victory over the Austrians at Magenta, overtures to this end were again
made by Sardinia to the new King of Naples.

On the twenty-fourth of June, 1859, Victor Emanuel sent Salmour, one of
his ablest and most trusted diplomats, to Naples. He reminded Francis of
the ties of blood that bound him to the house of Savoy, and pointed out
the fact that an alliance between the two kingdoms would be security for
the independence of Italy. The plan had been warmly supported by the
press of northern Italy and its popularity was testified to by the
enthusiasm with which Salmour’s arrival was hailed in Naples. But, on
the other hand, it met with powerful opposition at court, especially on
the part of the dowager Queen, who, as an Austrian archduchess, was
bitter against Sardinia for the defeats her native land had suffered at
its hands, and used all her influence to prejudice the weak young King
against the plan. As a result, Salmour was obliged to return without
accomplishing his object and the diplomatic transactions were never made
public. But though Francis might reject the offer of such an alliance,
he could not prevent the idea of a union between northern and southern
Italy meeting with popular favor; and it spread with such lightning
rapidity throughout the two kingdoms that soon only a spark was needed
to kindle public enthusiasm into a blaze. In less than a year from the
time that Francis refused Victor Emanuel’s proposal, that spark appeared
in the form of Garibaldi.

On the sixth of May, 1860, Garibaldi embarked at Genoa with a thousand
volunteers, and on the eleventh landed at Marsala, on the west coast of
Sicily. Brave and hardy as his followers were, it was a hazardous
undertaking to attempt, with such a force, to attack an army of over one
hundred thousand regular troops; but Garibaldi knew his adversary and
hoped for assistance from the people. On the fourteenth of May he
assumed the dictatorship of the island in the name of Victor Emanuel,
and the next day, with the aid of some hundred revolutionists, defeated
General Laudi’s force of three thousand men who were occupying the
heights of Calatafimi. When the Garibaldians lit their watchfires that
night on the field of victory, they had good cause for rejoicing. The
first battle had been fought and won. The Neapolitan troops were fleeing
in confusion toward Alcamo. The people’s leader had shown that he could
defeat a king’s army, and the Neapolitans had learned to fear the
tri-colored banner and the red shirt. While the Neapolitan generals were
vainly searching for Garibaldi in the mountains, he was already pressing
on towards Palermo, the capital, meeting with strong support from the
people everywhere. After three days of hard fighting before that city,
it capitulated, and was occupied by the revolutionists, although two
weeks elapsed before the dictator could follow up his victory. At the
end of that time he again took the war-path and at Melazzo surprised the
columns of General Bosco, who was in command of the finest and best
disciplined troops in Sicily.

On the twenty-eighth of June the Neapolitans were forced to evacuate
Messina, and a few days later the “red shirts,” whose force had now
increased to about twenty thousand men, camped in the streets of that
city, from Taormina to Capo del Faro. Sicily was won. Garibaldi now
turned his glances toward the mainland, whose mountains towered
threateningly above him across the straits, and on the evening of the
twenty-first of August the banner of Italy floated above the
fortifications of Reggio, the strongest post in Calabria. The defence of
Reggio was the last effort of the royalist army south of Naples.
Defeated and disheartened, they retreated northward, leaving the
fortified towns to vie with one another in throwing open their gates to
the conquerors. The fleet, too, seemed paralyzed. It made no effort to
prevent the passage of Garibaldi’s men from Sicily, but proceeded
northward to Naples without having fired a gun. Europe was dumb with
amazement at the audacity of these champions of liberty. Garibaldi’s
march from the southern extremity of Italy to Naples appeared at that
time, as it still does, like a tale of the imagination. It seemed
incredible that the splendid army created by King Ferdinand with the
labors and sacrifices of thirty years could go to pieces like a building
in an earthquake. Of course there were many reasons for this, but the
chief one was Garibaldi himself. No man could have been better fitted
for the leadership of such a movement. Glowing with patriotism and love
of liberty, inspired with the idea of Italian unity, yet at the same
time a true democrat, friend of the oppressed and foe to tyranny,
disinterested, self-sacrificing, bold, and daring, a knight without fear
and without reproach, he seemed created to be an ideal popular hero.
Wherever he appeared in his red shirt and black felt hat he aroused the
wildest enthusiasm; and popular fancy soon invested him with a halo of
glory almost equal to that of William Tell in Switzerland or Joan of Arc
in France.

By forced marches Garibaldi continued his triumphant progress, giving
the royal troops no time to recover themselves. Twenty days after he had
first set foot on the shores of Naples, he was at Salerno, only a few
miles from the capital. Everywhere he was hailed as a liberator, his
army welcomed with flowers and recruits where they had expected to find
only foes. Well might he have said with Cæsar, “I came, I saw, I

These events created the greatest consternation at the court of Naples,
and many royalists fled the country in terror. The dowager Queen’s
father, Archduke Charles of Austria, had advised King Ferdinand many
years before to fortify Gaeta and Capua strongly, so as to have a safe
retreat in case of revolution; and mindful of her father’s words, Maria
Theresa immediately betook herself to Gaeta with all her children.

On the news of Garibaldi’s landing, Francis had consulted the Duke de
Chambord as to the state of affairs. “With the enemy at the gates, there
is no time for concessions and reforms,” the head of the house of
Bourbon replied. “The King should mount and lead his troops against this
Garibaldi and his followers!” This answer was quite in accordance with
the young Queen’s opinion. She had been strongly in favor of the
alliance with Victor Emanuel; but now that the opportunity for that was
past and the enemy was advancing, it seemed to her there could be no
other course than to take up arms in defence of the kingdom. Mirabeau
declared that Marie Antoinette was the only man about Louis the
Sixteenth, and those who were with Maria Sophia at this time have said
the same of her; for she seemed to be the only one at court who did not
lose her head. She tried in every way to encourage her husband and urge
him to fight; but to her despair Francis seemed incapable of arriving at
any decisive course of action. He wavered to and fro like a reed in the
wind, doubtful of himself and suspicious of all about him; seeking for
support now here, now there, but unable to decide on anything till it
was too late, and the time for parleying was past.

                               Chapter X
                         The Flight from Naples

On the fourth of September news was received that Garibaldi was nearing
Naples with a large army, the number of which was enormously
exaggerated, however. The King hastily summoned a council in the middle
of the night. The only remedy for the situation now would have been to
attempt to block Garibaldi’s approach by attacking him at Salerno, which
was connected with Naples by rail; but General Bosco, who was in favor
of this course, was ill in bed, and his views were not shared by the
other commanders, who feared the revolutionists might effect a landing
nearer the city, thus cutting off the troops from a retreat. They all
agreed that it was better to make Capua and Gaeta the centre of
operations against the enemy, and the only dissenting voice was that of
the aged General Carrascosa, who declared to the King, “If Your Majesty
leaves Naples now, you will never return!”

His words made no impression, however. Francis left it to the generals
to decide; but they refused to take the responsibility.

As a last resort, Maria Sophia pointed out to her husband that it was
his duty to prevent his capital from being destroyed by a bombardment;
and in this appeal she was joined by Cardinal Riario Sforza, who
besought the King to save Naples from fire and sword. He was thinking,
no doubt, of the one hundred and eighty churches within the city walls;
but his words had the desired effect, for Francis had the deepest
reverence for anything that concerned religion. The next morning he
summoned Sforza to the palace and informed him that he had decided to
withdraw the army to a strong position between Capua and Gaeta. At the
same time he requested his trusted counsellor, Spinelli, to assist him
in drawing up a farewell proclamation to the people; and after this had
been accomplished, he went out to drive with the Queen in an open
carriage, escorted by two gentlemen of the court. It was their last ride
through the streets of Naples.

Francis, however, did not betray the slightest anxiety over the
important step he was about to take; and as for the Queen, she was
apparently in her usual spirits, laughing and joking with the King and
her two cavaliers: yet how often in those weary years of exile must
their thoughts have reverted in memory to that scene they now looked
upon with such indifference!

At the end of the Strada di Chiaja, directly in front of the court
apothecary’s shop, the royal carriage was stopped by a long line of
loaded wagons. The apothecary had a sign over his door, bearing the
Bourbon lilies, and a man was now mounted on a ladder busily engaged in
removing it. The Duke of San Donato, who happened to be passing, was
furious at the sight and expressed his anger in no measured terms; but
neither Francis nor Maria Sophia showed the least displeasure. They only
looked at each other and laughed at the apothecary’s foresight. The
following morning the King’s proclamation was displayed on every street
corner in Naples. It was calm and dignified in tone, and expressed less
resentment than resignation. At the same time he issued a protest to all
the foreign powers against Garibaldi’s invasion of his territory,
together with an assertion of his rights. It was no small task to
prepare for so sudden a flight, and there was little sleep that night in
the palace. Huge vans were loaded and sent off secretly under military
guard, and their contents carried early the next morning on board two
steamships which lay at anchor in the harbor; but in the hurry, only
personal belongings were taken, and all the treasures of the palace,
such as the vast quantities of gold and silver plate that had been
accumulated during the hundred and twenty-six years of Bourbon rule in
Naples, were left behind and afterwards confiscated by Garibaldi and
turned over to the provisional Government. All that Francis carried away
with him, except for a chest containing various relics and images of
saints, were a painting of St. Peter, a statue and marble bust of Pope
Pius the Ninth, a Titian portrait of Alexander Farnese, and a Holy
Family by Raphael. Of these, the last was undoubtedly the most valuable;
but even this splendid work of art the young sovereigns did not keep.
The Spanish ambassador, Bermudez de Castro, begged Francis to give it to
him, and the good-natured King consented. De Castro afterward tried to
sell it to the Louvre galleries, but was not satisfied with the price
offered. He then sent it to the South Kensington Museum in London, where
by an unskilful attempt at restoration it lost so much of its beauty and
value that no one would buy it. In his will the ambassador returned it
to the exiled King; but neither Francis nor Maria Sophia ever claimed
it, and the painting still remains at South Kensington.

On the morning of the sixth of September, Francis sent for the commander
of the National Guard, and after expressing his thanks for their loyal
support, repeated the comforting assurance that the troops had received
strict orders to protect the capital. He had prepared a list of those of
his court whom he wished to accompany him to Gaeta; but when the time
came to leave, the royal master of the horse, Count Michaëlo Imperiale,
was the only member of the royal household present. The King was so
touched by his devotion that he presented him on the spot with the Grand
Cross of the Order of San Fernando.

About four o’clock in the afternoon the ministers repaired in a body to
the palace to take leave of their sovereign, whose hand they were to
kiss for the last time under his own roof. Francis tried hard to control
himself, speaking kindly to all, and tenderly embracing his two most
devoted friends, Torella and Spinelli. But the number present was
pitifully small. Those who had received the most favor at the hands of
their sovereigns were as usual the first to desert them. Nor were there
any special manifestations of regret and sympathy among the populace at
the departure of the King and Queen, which was regarded merely as a
measure for assuring the safety of the city, while Garibaldi’s approach
was anticipated with mingled hope and fear.

About half-past six Francis and Maria Sophia left the palace on foot, he
in uniform as usual, she in an ordinary travelling dress and large straw
hat trimmed with flowers. Accompanied by several ladies and gentlemen of
the court, they walked through the palace gardens and down the long
flight of steps that led to the arsenal, the Queen leaning on her
husband’s arm, gay and cheerful as ever in spite of the ominous cloud
that shadowed their departure. Below them lay the Gulf of Naples, smooth
and bright as silver; but in the distance the bare, sombre peak of
Vesuvius rose like a menace amid the smiling beauty of nature. The
firemen of the ship in which the royal party was to embark had had to be
kept on board by force, and some advised the King to place himself under
the protection of some foreign flag, or to escape from the city
secretly. Undecided, as usual, Francis knew neither what he could do,
nor what he ought to do; but the captain of the vessel, who was
thoroughly loyal, finally persuaded him to go on board, urging that it
would be beneath the King’s dignity to flee from his capital like a

Only one Italian vessel accompanied the King, but with it were two
Spanish warships carrying the Austrian, Prussian, and Spanish
ambassadors. The journey was most depressing. It had been decided upon
so suddenly that no one thought of taking such ordinary things as food
or even the few necessaries that would have made them comfortable. It
was a wonderfully beautiful night, and the Queen sat on deck until ten
o’clock, when it grew cold. Worn out with the fatigues and excitement of
the last twenty-four hours, she went into the little deck cabin and lay
down on a sofa. The King did not go to bed at all. Except for a few
words now and then with the Captain, he spent the night silently pacing
up and down the deck, watching the shores of Naples gradually fade from
view, and thinking, who knows what?

About two o’clock he asked whether the Queen had retired, and when told
she was still asleep in the little cabin he went in and stood for a long
time gazing down at her. Then removing his own cloak he gently spread it
over her to protect her from the chill of the night air, and returned to
his silent watch. Early the next morning they entered the harbor of
Gaeta, and were met at the landing by Maria Theresa and her children
with Father Borelli, her confessor. Francis had consulted this priest
some months before as to the advisability of granting his subjects a
more liberal form of government, and Father Borelli had merely echoed
the views of the deceased King, declaring that such a course would only
hasten a revolution, and warning him against it.

“I believe you are right,” Francis answered, “but fear it will be
impossible for me to follow your advice.”

“Then Your Majesty may perhaps remember this day as the last on which I
shall kiss the hand of a King of Naples,” returned the priest.

This conversation now recurred to them both, as Borelli came forward to
greet the King, kissing his hand again and again with tears in his eyes.

“Father,” said Francis, with a melancholy smile, “do you remember what
you said to me on St. John’s Day at Portici?”

“Ah, Your Majesty,” replied Borelli, “even though you should no longer
be a King on earth, you may yet become a saint in heaven.”

                            * * * * * * * *

Francis and Maria Sophia had no sooner left the capital than a
deputation was sent out to welcome the liberator, while the former
minister of foreign affairs prepared an address to Garibaldi, declaring
that Naples was waiting with impatience to greet him as the deliverer of
Italy, and lay the fate of the kingdom in his hands. They did not have
long to wait. The popular hero hastened his advance, and arrived so
quickly that there was barely time to prepare for his reception. There
was little sleep that night in Naples, and the first rays of the morning
sun found the whole city astir. The principal thoroughfares were
thronged with men, most of them armed, for fear of a reactionary
movement. Windows, balconies, even the roofs of houses were crowded with
spectators. Everything conspired to surround Garibaldi and his men with
a halo of romance. Their picturesque garb, rapid conquests, and fiery
proclamations appealed to the imagination of the hot-blooded southerners
and roused them to wildest enthusiasm. Guards had been placed at all the
exits of the railway station, where a large number of prominent citizens
had assembled to welcome the hero. Presently a bell was heard, and a
train drew in. A great shout arose; but it was found to contain only a
band of foreign mercenaries who had recently joined the victorious
party. At noon another bell sounded, and Garibaldi’s approach was
signalled. The train stopped. Thousands of voices joined in the shout of
“Long live Garibaldi!” as two men in red shirts appeared. They were
embraced with such vehemence by the excited Neapolitans that one of
them, who was taken for Garibaldi, barely escaped alive. The great man
himself had gone out by another door, however, and when this was
discovered there was a general stampede to find him. This time they were

Garibaldi’s entry into Naples was as brilliant and spectacular as the
rightful sovereign’s departure had been quiet and unnoticed. A huge
national flag had been unfurled, bearing the arms of the house of Savoy,
with the white horse of Naples and the lion of Venice; and Garibaldi
kissed this with tears rolling down his cheeks, declaring, “Soon we
shall all be united brethren!” while many of the spectators also wept.
He and a few of his companions then entered the open carriages that were
waiting to convey him to the city. Eight thousand of the royal troops
had been left in the citadel and a few outposts to maintain order; but
they had received no orders to resist the revolutionists, and even had
such been the case, it is doubtful if they would have obeyed, so carried
away were they by the tide of popular enthusiasm, as, amid deafening
cheers, the waving of hundreds of tri-colored banners and showers of
blossoms from every window, Garibaldi entered in triumph the gayly
decorated city, while even the skies seemed to share the joy of the
people and smile upon the liberator of “La Bella Napoli.”

He refused to occupy the royal palace which had been so lately vacated
by the sovereigns, but drove on to a smaller one, generally used for the
accommodation of foreign princes, where he took up his quarters. Vast
crowds surged about the building, shouting for the Dictator, till at
length one of the revolutionists appeared on a balcony, then another,
and finally the hero himself. Again a storm of cheers broke forth, and,
unable to make himself heard above the uproar, he leaned over the iron
railing and gazed down at the throng below. His usually ruddy face was
pale with emotion, and wore a look of sadness curiously in contrast to
the feverish joy of his admirers; but there was a gleam in his eye that
betrayed the fires that glowed within. He lifted his hand to command
silence, then began in tones so clear and distinct that not a syllable
escaped the ear:

“Neapolitans! This is a solemn and memorable day. After long years of
oppression under the yoke of tyranny, you are to-day a free people. I
thank you in the name of all Italy. You have completed a great work, not
only for your countrymen but for all mankind, whose rights you have
upheld. Long live freedom! the dearer to Italy, since she, of all
nations, has suffered the most. Long live Italy!”

The shout was taken up by thousands of throats and, their “Viva Italia!”
could have been heard from one end of the city to the other.

That afternoon Garibaldi visited the cathedral and was greeted with even
greater enthusiasm than in the morning. At night every house was
illuminated, and a torch-light procession paraded through the principal
streets, which were filled with excited throngs rushing about, every man
with a flag in one hand and a sword or a knife in the other, shouting
and embracing one another for joy. Garibaldi was the idol of the hour,
and Naples was his completely.

But here and there were still a few who remained loyal to the reigning
family and were anxious as to their fate. Francis, in his haste, had
neglected to remove his private fortune of eleven million ducats—the
dowry Queen Maria Christina had brought with her from Sardinia—from the
Bank of Naples where it was kept. When Garibaldi learned this he sent
for the man to whom the receipt had been entrusted, an officer of the
royal household named Rispoli, and forced him to give up the document,
which, afterward, he handed over to the new government.

Poor Rispoli, who was devoted to his master, was so overcome at being
deprived of his trust that he was stricken with apoplexy and died the
following day.

                               Chapter XI
                             Siege of Gaeta

It is probable that Francis at the time of his departure from Naples had
no definite ideas as to how far he should offer resistance to the course
of events. His friends urged him to wait quietly till the first wave of
enthusiasm had passed, hoping he might then return to the throne as a
member of an Italian confederation. From Gaeta he went with his brothers
to Capua, where their presence did much to restore unity among the royal
troops and revive their sinking courage, and where he was speedily
joined by all who had anything to gain by adhering to the Bourbon cause
or were too deeply compromised to venture to remain in Naples under the
new regime. A much more valuable addition to the King’s forces, however,
was a large number of volunteers from southern Germany, who had hastened
to the aid of their fair countrywoman, and to whose valor it was largely
owing that they were able to hold out so long.

The arsenal and other stores in Naples had fallen into the hands of the
enemy; but after Francis had collected and organized his troops beyond
the Volturno, he found himself with fifty thousand well provisioned and
equipped men at his command. Fired now for the first time with true
martial spirit, he determined to cut his way through Garibaldi’s forces
to Naples, where, he was assured by secret agents, the fickle populace
would welcome him back with open arms. On the first of October, at
daybreak, accordingly, the attack was begun; but the royal troops were
defeated and driven back across the Volturno, the gates of Capua being
thrown open at five o’clock that afternoon to admit the fugitives.

Victor Emanuel had already determined to take a hand in affairs,
although Naples had voted unanimously for the annexation of the Two
Sicilies to an “Italia una,” and was by this time well on his way
thither to assist in the reorganization of this new portion of his
domains. The news of his approach spread terror and despair among the
King’s forces; but Francis and his generals decided to await the enemy
in a strong position on the further bank of the Garigliano, where on the
twenty-eighth of October they were fortunate enough to repel an attack.
But the advantage was a brief one. Capua soon had to be abandoned and,
led by Victor Emanuel himself, the Piedmontese crossed the Garigliano,
forcing the Neapolitans to retire within the shelter of Gaeta.

This town, often called from its location the Gibraltar of Italy, is one
of the most strongly fortified places on the peninsula, and has played a
prominent part in the wars of southern Italy. The Bay of Gaeta not only
compares well with the gulf of Naples in beauty, but as a harbor is even
better adapted to commerce, being both larger and deeper. The town is
situated some sixteen miles from Naples, ten from Capua, three from the
boundaries of what were then the Papal States, and seventeen from Rome;
forming with San Germano and Capua a trio of defences capable of
offering a long and stout resistance.

Gaeta at this time had a population of about fifteen thousand. It was a
gay and picturesque little town, irregularly but not unattractively
built, with well-paved if somewhat steep and narrow streets. Tradition
points to a neighboring grove as the spot where Cicero was murdered by
Antony’s orders; and between the citadel and the shore are some ruins
called by the people the tower of Roland, where a friend of the Emperor
Augustus was buried. The town and the citadel are situated on two rocky
heights, separated by a steep cleft, the greater part of the town
occupying the southernmost of these, while on the northern and much the
larger one, rises the citadel with its fortifications. Both are
practically inaccessible from the sea, while the west side of the neck
of land, that connects the mainland with the outer point, also falls
away steeply. Small villages line the shore; and still farther to the
south, where the coast recedes so deeply that the bay lies between it
and Gaeta, is the town of Mola, where the Piedmontese established their
headquarters. It would seem that Victor Emanuel’s generals, made
over-confident by the easy victories they had met with thus far in the
Kingdom of Naples, scarcely looked for any serious resistance here.

But supported by a French fleet which protected the coast, by the
presence of a well equipped and disciplined army, and above all by his
heroic wife, Francis had at length determined to hold out in spite of
everything. In the citadel, besides the King and Queen, were Maria
Theresa with her five sons and four daughters, the youngest of whom was
not yet three years old; the King’s two uncles, the Prince of Capua and
the Count of Trapani; a few faithful friends who had followed their
sovereign, and all the diplomatic corps, with the exception of the
English and French ambassadors, who had received explicit orders from
their Governments to remain in Naples to report what was passing there.
All communication between Francis and the Emperor Napoleon, therefore,
had to be carried on through the French admiral.

In spite of their recent experiences, the royal family did not seem to
realize at first the seriousness of the situation. Gaeta had a garrison
of twenty-one thousand men, and the citadel was well supplied with
ammunition, while provisions for the army could easily be obtained from
the Papal States, through the ports of Terracina and Civita Vecchia. The
Count of Trapani was in nominal command, but the real leader of the
defence was General Bosco. At the time of his surrender to Garibaldi in
Sicily, this able officer had sworn not to take up arms for six months;
but this period had now elapsed, and his return inspired the royal
family with hope and confidence.

On the thirteenth of November, 1860, the bombardment of Gaeta was begun
by the Piedmontese, whose fire was vigorously returned from the citadel.
A week later the dowager Queen retired to Rome with her younger
children, and on the same day the diplomats took their departure, all
except the Spanish ambassador, Bermudez de Castro, who was a personal
friend of the King. Even the Archbishop of Gaeta deserted the sinking
ship, though his place should have been now, more than ever, with his
flock. Francis tried to persuade Maria Sophia to leave him, and go to
her home in Bavaria while it was yet possible, but she absolutely
refused. More closely drawn to her husband in this time of danger than
ever before, she announced her firm intention of remaining with him to
the last, even though abandoned by all the world.

Europe had held but a poor opinion of Francis the Second during his
short reign. His weakness and cowardice had been openly criticised;
while in Naples itself he had been variously nicknamed “Bombino,”
“Franciscillo,” and “Il Re Imbecile.” But in misfortune all his better
qualities came to the surface. At Gaeta, no longer distracted by
conflicting counsels, he became firmer and more manly, while his
readiness to sacrifice all personal feeling to what he believed to be
his duty, and his generosity toward those who should have been his foes,
could not but command respect. For example, two Piedmontese merchantmen
took refuge in the harbor of Gaeta one terribly stormy night; but
instead of seizing them and their cargoes, as would have been his right,
he permitted them to leave the bay the next morning, unmolested. He was
constantly visiting the outworks, inspecting the work, and doing his
best to keep up the courage of his men, in which he was bravely assisted
by his two elder half-brothers; but the Queen surpassed them all in
courage, scorning every danger and discomfort and looking death calmly
in the face. Every day and often at night she visited the hospitals,
carrying food, medicines, and fruit, doing all she could to relieve the
sufferers, and shrinking from no wound, however terrible. Once during
the illness of one of the Sisters of Mercy, Maria Sophia took her place
as nurse, and though shells were falling so thick about the hospital
tent that her life was in constant danger, she refused to leave her
post. The soldiers were always rejoiced to see her and would follow her
about with their eyes in the most adoring way. They gloried in their
beautiful, spirited young Queen, dashing about on her horse from one to
another of the hastily improvised hospitals that were set up on the
different batteries.

The Piedmontese noticed that at the sound of a certain bell there always
seemed to be some commotion in the citadel of the besieged city, and
curious to know the meaning of it, some officers in one of the nearest
outposts fixed their field-glasses on the fortress at that particular
time. Much to their surprise they discovered a young woman in the
Calabrian costume, moving about among the guns and encouraging the
artillerymen, quite regardless of the storm of shells that was falling
about her. It was Maria Sophia, making her daily visit to the so-called
“Queen’s Battery” to watch the firing from there, and a striking picture
she made in her long cloak and Calabrian hat, gay and smiling as ever,
glorying apparently in danger, and careless of her own fate.

It had been agreed that a black flag should be hoisted while the Queen
was making her rounds among the wounded, and the sign was at first
respected by the enemy, but Maria Sophia herself paid no attention to it
as she rode calmly about her business even in those fortifications
exposed to the heaviest fire. One day a bomb fell so close to her feet
that she would certainly have been torn to pieces had not an officer
seized her in his arms and swung her behind a projecting wall. Another
day, while standing in one of the window embrasures in the citadel,
talking with the Spanish ambassador, a shell burst so near that the
window panes were shattered and the Queen’s face was cut by the flying
glass. But she only laughed, saying, “It is unkind of the enemy to leave
me nowhere in peace. They have just driven me from one place, and now
will not let me stay here, either.”

“Ah, but you have had your wish granted, madame,” replied the
Ambassador, “you wanted to see a ball as close as possible.”

“Yes, and I also wished for a slight wound,” added the Queen gayly.

                            * * * * * * * *

From Gaeta Francis had issued another proclamation to his subjects,
protesting against the new order of things, and avowing his good faith
toward them and the constitution he had granted them, in spite of all
that had happened; but though widely distributed, it was powerless to
stem the current of events. As we have seen, the King had lost many
opportunities of securing an advantage at the beginning of the war. By
retreating to Gaeta he was placed in the curious position, for a
commander, of having cut himself off from two-thirds of his army. He had
given orders for the majority of these to slip away across the Roman
borders, hoping they might be reassembled later, to form the nucleus for
an uprising in the Abruzzo Mountains. Reports, however, of the terrible
treatment received by prisoners at the hands of the Piedmontese so
alarmed the soldiers that they made no attempt to escape till it was too
late, and the few that did reach Roman territory were promptly disarmed.
The French fleet, lying in the Bay of Gaeta, had proved of inestimable
value in protecting the city from attack by sea. The friendly attitude
of the Admiral also made it possible for the King’s friends to furnish
him with provisions, while the supply ships carried many of the
Neapolitan troops away from Gaeta, landing them at Civita Vecchia and
Terracina. In this way the garrison was reduced to fifteen thousand men;
but even so, the food supply soon began to fall short.

As early as the twenty-second of November, a journalist wrote in his
diary that provisions of all kinds had doubled in price, and the
situation grew worse and worse as time went on. Rice, beans, even bread,
were almost impossible to obtain, and macaroni and potatoes were sold
for thrice their usual value. Fish and meat were to be had only by the
officers in small quantities and of the poorest quality. Then an
epidemic of typhus fever broke out, which soon filled every bed in the
hospitals. The King and Queen did all in their power to obtain
nourishing food for the sick and wounded, sending fish and other
delicacies procured for their own table to the Sisters of Mercy to be
distributed in the hospitals.

                              Chapter XII

The siege of Gaeta lasted from the thirteenth of November, 1860, to the
thirteenth of February, 1861, a space of three months. With the new year
it was pushed with redoubled vigor. Both town and citadel were exposed
to incessant fire, and the noise was so deafening that people had to
scream to make themselves heard. Not a single building remained intact.
Many lives were lost by exploding shells or falling houses, and the
whole place presented a scene of utter destruction. The Piedmontese have
been accused of sparing neither church nor hospital, and the sick and
wounded, as well as their nurses, were exposed to the same dangers as
the rest of the inhabitants. The Red Cross Society was not in existence
at that time; but the terrible experiences of the wounded in the wars of
northern Italy the preceding year led to the formation of that
association three years later.

The enemy’s fire now began to be directed chiefly against the citadel
where the royal family were known to reside, and the officers begged the
King and Queen to move to a place of greater safety. One of the
casemates of an adjoining battery was accordingly prepared for their
occupancy, and here in this small damp vault they lived for the
remainder of the siege, with the princes, the few members of the court
who had remained loyal, and some of the officers. The casemate was
divided by thin wooden partitions into a number of small chambers, each
containing a bed, one chair, and a small table. The narrow passage
connecting these cells was always crowded with people waiting to speak
to the officers and servants who had long since laid aside all badges of
royal service.

A low door led to the square chamber occupied by the Queen, which was
furnished in addition with a couch and a _prie-dieu_; a small recess
adjoining having been made into a dressing-room. As a protection against
shells or flying missiles, a heavy oak beam had been placed diagonally
across the tiny window overlooking the street; a precaution which made
the room so dark a light had to be kept burning day and night. The
little air that penetrated to the cell was thick with smoke and tainted
with foul odors, while the ceaseless thunder of cannon directly above
must have made it a far from pleasant place of residence. Yet from this
gloomy vault Maria Sophia wrote her parents not to worry about her, for
under the circumstances she was doing very well. She bore all these
dangers and hardships with the same cheerful courage she had shown from
the first, tending the wounded, inspiring the soldiers by her presence
among them in the smoke of battle—the soul, in short, of the defence,
and a splendid example of bravery and fortitude. Through the efforts of
the French admiral, a ten days’ truce was arranged, and the Neapolitans
hastened to take advantage of it to procure a supply of provisions from
Terracina and to strengthen their batteries, while the officers tried to
encourage the garrison by reports of speedy assistance from without. On
the sixteenth of January the sound of guns was heard again; but this
time it was not those of the besieging army, but of the French fleet
which had not yet left the harbor, although the Emperor Napoleon had
notified Francis that it would be impossible for him to continue the
neutrality he had hitherto maintained. Decorated from deck to mast-head
with flags, the foreign squadron was saluting the King in honor of his
twenty-fifth birthday, the last he was ever to spend within the
boundaries of his kingdom.

Three days later the truce was declared at an end, and in the
beleaguered city all eyes were fixed anxiously upon the fleet. Although
there were rumors in the air of its departure, the people still hoped
they might be false as so many others had proved. About two o’clock,
however, smoke was seen rising from one of the vessels, and it was soon
evident that the whole squadron was getting up steam. One after another
lifted anchor and began to move; and an hour later the huge flagship,
_La Bretagne_, glided majestically past the lighthouse on the outermost
point of the harbor, leaving the last of the Italian Bourbons to his
fate. With the French fleet, vanished the last hope of rescue; and from
this time until the end of the siege, nearly a month later, Gaeta was
completely cut off from the rest of the world, and surrounded on all
sides by the enemy. With the increase of famine and sickness the
situation grew daily worse. Help from without could no longer be looked
for, and rumors of treachery began to be heard among the troops. The
barracks were damp, the hospitals overflowing, and they were tired of a
struggle that could have but one end. The King and his brothers worked
bravely to keep up the courage of the garrison, and the Queen was
untiring in her efforts to relieve the sick and suffering; but even they
had lost hope.

All correspondence between Napoleon and King Francis had ceased on the
twelfth of December, but about the middle of January a vessel arrived
from France bringing a confidential letter from the Empress Eugénie to
Maria Sophia. In it she declared frankly and without circumlocution that
it would be as well to abandon the defence of Gaeta which had cost so
many lives, since it would be quite useless to look for aid from any
European power—the latter sentence underlined.

This left no room for misunderstanding. At last the King realized that
his cause was lost—that all his wife’s splendid energy and the loyalty
of his troops had been wasted in a hopeless struggle. On the
twenty-seventh of January he received a letter from Napoleon informing
him that the French corvette, _La Movette_, had been prepared for the
accommodation of Their Majesties in case of the surrender of Gaeta, and
would remain in the Bay of Naples awaiting their orders. The town was
now only a smoking heap of ruins. The explosion of powder magazines had
caused even greater destruction than the enemy’s guns, and the casemate
in which the royal family had taken refuge might be destroyed at any
moment should the siege be continued. The garrison was reduced to twelve
thousand men with over twelve hundred in the various hospitals, most of
them victims of the epidemic of typhus which had proved so fatal. Among
those who had succumbed already to the disease were four of the King’s
generals and the priest, Father Borelli, who had remained in Gaeta to
minister to the sick and wounded.

Francis hesitated no longer, but sent a message to the Piedmontese
commander-in-chief requesting an armistice to arrange articles of
capitulation. The terms were as follows: the garrison should retain
their military honors, but remain prisoners until the surrender of
Messina and the citadel Del Tronto. When this had taken place, both
officers and men were to receive full pay with the choice of entering
the Piedmontese army or returning to their homes, all who were honorably
discharged to be pensioned. The King and Queen, with the rest of the
royal family, were to be permitted to embark on the French vessel which
had been placed at their disposal, with as many persons as they wished
to take with them in their suite.

The capitulation was signed on the thirteenth of February, and the next
morning at eight o’clock _La Movette_ entered the Bay of Gaeta. The
troops were already drawn up in long lines, extending from the casemate
occupied by the King and Queen to the landing; their tattered clothes
and wasted forms bearing witness to these last terrible months.
Misfortune had formed a close bond between the survivors of the siege,
and as the soldiers presented arms to their sovereigns for the last
time, their cheeks were wet with tears.

An eyewitness of the departure of Francis the Second and Maria Sophia
from Gaeta has described the touching scene. The King was in uniform,
with sword and spurs, the Queen wearing the round Calabrian hat shown in
the photograph taken of her at that time. The deposed monarch was deadly
pale, and as gaunt as any of his soldiers. “As for the Queen,” declared
this observer, “I could not see how she looked, my eyes were so blinded
with tears.”

The people had gathered in crowds, every face showing traces of the
suffering they had undergone; but all seemed to forget their own
troubles in the misfortunes of their sovereigns. When the King and Queen
appeared, their emotion burst all bounds. Many wept aloud as they
pressed forward to kiss the hand of the Queen with far greater warmth
and enthusiasm than was shown by the people of Bari when they greeted
her arrival as a bride on the shores of Italy, two years before. Only
two short years, and yet how much had been crowded into them! And how
different that day from this!

Francis had already issued a parting proclamation to his troops,
thanking them in touching terms for their devotion to him and to the
honor of the army; and as _La Movette_, flying the banner of the
Bourbons, glided slowly out of the harbor, a unanimous and deafening
shout of “Evviva il Re!” was their last farewell to the exiled
sovereign. The French on the corvette welcomed their guests with royal
honors, the officers in full uniform and the sailors lined up on deck to
receive them. With the King and Queen were the Counts of Trani and
Caserta and three of the Neapolitan generals. During the journey from
Gaeta to Terracina, Francis and his brothers showed the greatest
calmness, conversing cheerfully with their suite, and the French
officers could not refrain from expressing their admiration at the
King’s dignified acceptance of his fate. Maria Sophia had remained alone
on the after deck, leaning over the railing, her eyes fixed on the
cliffs of Gaeta. The smiling landscape seemed an irony of her mood. A
gloomy sky would have been more suited to the thoughts that filled her
bosom. She remembered with what noble aims she had come to this new
land, what fine resolutions to share in all works for promoting the
welfare of the people over whom she had been called to rule—and what had
been the result? Even her labors at Gaeta had been in vain.

As _La Movette_ passed the battery “Santa Maria,” a royal salute was
fired, and soon after the corvette rounded the point and Gaeta was lost
to sight. The crew hauled down the Bourbon lilies and hoisted the French
tri-color—Maria Sophia was no longer a Queen. She turned away with a
chill at her heart. The deck was empty and a cold wind had suddenly
arisen, banishing the warmth of the sunshine and sending a shiver
through her from head to foot.

                              Chapter XIII
                        After the Fall of Gaeta

The news of the fall of Gaeta was hailed with joy by the fickle
Neapolitans, who seized the occasion as a welcome excuse for more
parades and festivities, with dancing and singing from morning till
night. The day after the departure of Francis and Maria Sophia, the
garrison evacuated the town. Officers and soldiers laid down their arms
before the walls of the citadel, and the fortifications were occupied by
the Piedmontese. Soon after, the citadel Del Tronto opened its gates to
Victor Emanuel’s troops, and with the surrender of Messina on the first
of March, the Bourbon lilies disappeared from southern Italy.

On the fifteenth of February, the exiles landed at Terracina, heavy at
heart, and were escorted by a company of French dragoons to Rome, where
they took up their residence in the Palazzo Farnese as guests of Pope
Pius the Ninth. Maria Sophia was not a devout Catholic like her husband.
She had not wished to go to Rome, and found no comfort in the Holy
Father’s friendship. The dowager Queen was also living in Rome with her
children, and the close companionship into which the exiles were thus
forced by circumstances did not tend to improve the relations between
the ex-Queen and her mother-in-law.

In times of trouble we naturally turn to our kin for sympathy, and Maria
Sophia was seized with desperate longing for her mother and her Bavarian
home. Early in April, therefore, she set out for Possenhofen,
accompanied by General Bosco. The two years she had spent in Naples had
been far from happy. She returned a queen without a crown, deprived of
all save honor. But the familiar scenes and faces, and above all the
comfort of pouring out her heart to the strong, noble mother, who had
suffered so much herself, restored her courage, and she soon became her
cheerful, lively self once more, her eyes sparkling with animation, full
of spirit and energy.

The young Queen’s heroic behavior during the defence of Gaeta had taken
Europe by storm. Her praises were on every tongue, and the beauty, the
courage, the warm-heartedness of the “Heroine of Gaeta” were lauded in
prose and verse. She was deluged with tokens of admiration and sympathy,
among which were a gold laurel wreath from the princesses of Germany and
a sword of honor from the women of Paris. The dowager Queen, Maria
Theresa, had not yet given up hope that she and her children might
return to Naples. Since Francis the Second had proved himself incapable
of maintaining his place on Ferdinand’s throne, she was more determined
than ever that her own eldest son should occupy it; and in order to
prevent any opposition on the part of the Wittelsbach and Hapsburg
families, she succeeded in arranging a marriage between the Count of
Trani and Maria Sophia’s sister Mathilde soon after the arrival of the
exiles in Rome, neither of the young people’s wishes in the matter
having been consulted in the least. Maria Sophia returned to Rome after
a month’s stay with her parents, and in May the bridegroom went to
Munich to meet his unknown bride. This prince was far more attractive
than his stepbrother in outward appearance, having a frank, winning
manner and the utmost propriety of behavior. The wedding was put off for
a month, that the young people might become better acquainted, the Count
accompanying the ducal family to Possenhofen, where he occupied a
neighboring villa on Starnberg Lake.

On the sixth of June, 1861, the ceremony took place in the ducal palace
at Munich, and the next morning the newly married pair set out on their
wedding journey, escorted as far as Zürich by the bride’s parents and
sisters. At Marseilles a Spanish warship was waiting to convey them to
Civita Vecchia, where they were warmly welcomed by the ex-King and Queen
of Naples, who accompanied them back to Rome.

Immediately after the fall of Gaeta, Francis had despatched a letter to
the Emperor Napoleon, thanking him for the friendly interest he had
shown and expressing his appreciation of the courteous treatment he and
his wife had received from the officers of _La Movette_. As yet the
exiled sovereign scarcely knew how his position was regarded by the
European powers; Victor Emanuel had already assumed the title of King of
Italy, and this moved Francis to issue a circular urging them to
discountenance any pretensions on the part of the King of Sardinia.

It is doubtful whether he had at first any idea of continuing the
struggle, but he had no sooner arrived in Rome than he became the centre
of a counter revolution planned by the Legitimist and Papist party, the
object of which was to make Naples again an absolute monarchy, this
being regarded as the surest safeguard of the Pope’s temporal power in
Rome. The dowager Queen contributed a large share of her property to aid
this undertaking, and Francis himself gave all he could spare of the
little he had been able to retain of his private fortune. But all in
vain. The attempt was unsuccessful and the Bourbon cause in Italy
hopelessly lost.

Maria Sophia took no part in these efforts to recover the lost crown.
She had no confidence in her husband’s ability and strongly disapproved
of her mother-in-law’s intrigues. As Queen of the Two Sicilies she had
boldly put aside everything that interfered with her personal liberty;
but under these changed conditions and the protection of the papal power
she had no longer the right to assert her independence or resent the
elder woman’s jealous opposition. The monotony and inactivity to which
she was doomed in Rome were torture to her energetic spirit, and she
became nervous and irritable. By way of retaliation and diversion she
resorted to all sorts of tricks and foolish pranks, which enraged her
mother-in-law and were little becoming a queen on whom the eyes of
Europe had been so recently fixed with admiration and respect.

But this unnatural life had much more serious results also. Meeting, as
she constantly did, men far more clever and attractive than the ex-King
of Naples, it was not strange that the latter should have suffered in
comparison, although, had he shown his love for her in the early days of
their married life, she might still have preferred him to others. Her
husband’s apparent coldness, however, had chilled the warmth of her
impulsive nature and turned her affections back upon herself. With such
a temperament and capacity for love, these pent-up emotions could not
fail to find an outlet sooner or later. A Belgian officer won her heart;
and Maria Sophia, full of life and ardor, forgot her dignity as Queen,
remembering only that she was young, a woman desperately craving
affection, alone in a dull, joyless court, where the life was
intolerable to her.

Less than a year after the heroic defence of Gaeta it was said that the
ex-Queen of Naples was suffering from a disease of the lungs, and much
alarm was felt for her health. Early in the Summer she left Rome,
accompanied by the Count and Countess of Trani, and went to Possenhofen,
where the family was once more reunited. Fate had not dealt kindly with
the Wittelsbach sisters. It was no secret that the Empress of Austria’s
happiness was wrecked and her health deranged, and Hélène of Thurn and
Taxis had fared little better. Elizabeth’s marriage to Francis Joseph
had crushed her ambitious hopes, and the disappointment had embittered
her whole life, although it had made no difference in the affectionate
relations between the sisters, Hélène having left her own home to
accompany the invalid Empress to Madeira. Mathilde of Trani had been
married only a year; but the temperaments of the Count and Countess were
totally unsuited to each other. The young couple had no permanent place
of residence, no prospects for the future, and the present was full of

It was generally known that the climate and life in Rome had seriously
affected the health of the ex-Queen of Naples; but a mother’s sharp eyes
soon discovered that there was a deeper source of trouble. This
daughter, who had inherited all her father’s brilliancy and charm, was
especially dear to the Duchess Ludovica, and as she had always shared
her child’s joys, she now comforted her in her hour of despair. Early in
August Maria Sophia left Possenhofen for a sojourn at the baths of
Soden, which it was hoped would benefit her health, and after a visit to
her eldest sister at Taxis, returned to Bavaria with her mother and the
Empress Elizabeth. Francis still loved his wife deeply, in spite of the
blow his faith in her had received, and both he and her own family tried
to persuade her to return to him; but her health was still so poor she
had little wish to expose herself again to the climate of Rome. In
October she retired to an Ursuline convent at Augsburg, much against the
wishes of her family, who feared it would appear to the world like a
permanent separation from her husband. They begged her at least to come
to Munich and live; but the quiet convent life suited Maria and she
refused to leave her peaceful retreat.

Next to the Duchess Ludovica, her most frequent visitor at Augsburg was
Queen Marie of Bavaria, who had always been her closest friend, and it
was she who finally persuaded her cousin to exchange the convent for a
residence in Munich. In January, 1863, Maria Sophia moved to the Schloss
Biederstein, situated close to the English gardens and one of the most
beautiful spots in the Bavarian capital. Again and again the ex-King of
Naples made offers of reconciliation, and at length his patience and
devotion touched his wife’s heart. Possibly, also, her eyes were
gradually opened to the silent martyrdom he, on his own part, had
endured so long and which she at the time had little understood or
appreciated. It was not until two or three months later, however, that
she finally decided to return to Italy. On the thirteenth of April she
arrived once more in Rome, where she was warmly welcomed by her husband
and all the friends of the exiled family, after an absence of nearly a

                              Chapter XIV
                            Royalty in Exile

Of all the sovereigns of Europe, Maximilian of Baden had been the most
loyal champion of King Francis’s cause. Neither Garibaldi’s triumphant
progress, nor Victor Emanuel’s victories, nor the unanimous shouts of
six million people for “Italia una” could reconcile him to the new state
of affairs. He had been ill for a long time, and in the Autumn of 1863
his physicians recommended a sojourn in the south. So strong was his
feeling, however, against the new ruler of Italy, that rather than pass
through any part of his dominions, he travelled by way of Switzerland to
Marseilles, and there boarded a vessel that would land him in papal

The voyage was terribly rough and the King suffered so acutely with
seasickness that it brought on an attack of his old complaint. Fearful
of the consequences of continuing the voyage, his physician declared he
must be taken ashore at all costs; but the sea was too high to permit of
the vessel’s landing, so the suffering monarch had to be lowered into an
open boat on a mattress and rowed ashore by two sailors. Fortunately,
they succeeded in reaching land safely near San Stefano, where they were
met by the French consul, and King Max, more dead than alive, was cared
for so attentively that he was able to continue his journey to Civita
Vecchia by carriage the next morning, arriving in Rome the following
day. Here he took up his residence in the Villa Mattei, and his health
began to improve at once.

Maria Sophia was overjoyed to see her cousin again. She herself was far
from well, and had been urged by her physicians to leave Rome; but Max,
to whom she was devoted, begged her to remain, and she yielded to his
wishes. In December, however, her condition became so alarming that
Francis was forced to leave with her at once for Venice, a change of air
being absolutely necessary if her life was to be preserved. The ex-King
realized at last that it was out of the question for his wife to live in
Rome, and henceforth they spent only the winter months there. In the
purer air of Venice she soon began to gain strength and was able once
more to enjoy her favorite recreations. The relations between Maria
Sophia and her husband had much improved, and while he had no sympathy
with her tastes, nor was able to join her in her rides, he no longer
opposed her in the indulgence of them.

Meanwhile the Schleswig-Holstein affair had become a burning question in
Germany. King Frederick the Seventh of Denmark had died, and in the
latter part of November news was received in Munich of Prussia’s protest
against his successor, the Duke of Augustenburg. Public feeling ran
high, and the issue of events was anxiously awaited. Under these
circumstances the people of Bavaria felt the need of their sovereign’s
presence among them and King Max was obliged to leave Rome. Although so
much improved in health that his physicians held out hope of a permanent
cure, he was still too ill to travel. He suffered a relapse soon after
reaching home, and died three months later, deeply mourned both by his
subjects and his family.

                            * * * * * * * *

In the Autumn of 1867 an epidemic of cholera broke out in Italy. The
dowager Queen insisted on remaining in her Albanian villa, though all
her children had hastily left the country. Deserted by her family and
her court, the widow of Ferdinand the Second fell a victim to the
scourge. Even the servants had fled, and the only person with her at her
death was an old Neapolitan nobleman who had been a friend of her
husband’s. Although Maria Theresa’s star had long since set, he remained
faithful to the last, tending and caring for her while she lay ill, and
accompanying her body—the only mourner—to its last resting-place in the
neighboring churchyard.

The relations between Francis and Maria Sophia had never been actually
unpleasant; but after the death of the Queen dowager, they became more
attached to each other. Together they made frequent visits to their
various relatives or entertained them in Rome during the Winters. The
Empress Elizabeth especially was a frequent visitor. These two sisters,
as unlike in character as in their circumstances, had never lost any of
their sisterly affection for each other. Maria Sophia was with the
Empress in Hungary when her youngest daughter, Marie Valerie, was born
in 1868, and had shared her joy in that happy event. With it, however,
was a feeling of sadness for herself, childless and, in a way, homeless.
Children of her own would have given life a new aspect to her, and she
felt she would have been a different woman. But it was not her way to
indulge in vain regrets. She had long been indifferent toward the world;
her only interest now was in her dogs and horses, and she would spend
whole days in the saddle, riding the wildest and most ungovernable
animals. Once, on one of these rides, she met with an accident, from the
effects of which she was long in recovering, and her husband’s quiet
devotion during this time furnished a proof of his affection for her
that drew them still closer together.

Maria Sophia’s joy was boundless when, on Christmas Eve, 1869, after ten
years of married life, she gave birth to a daughter in Rome. Four days
later, the little princess was christened, Pius the Ninth, who performed
the ceremony himself, acting as godfather, and the Empress Elizabeth as
godmother. She received the names Maria Christina Louisa Pia, for her
two grandmothers and the Holy Father. But the happiness of the ex-King
and Queen was destined to be of short duration, for their only child
lived but three months. She died in the following March, and was buried
in Rome.

                            * * * * * * * *

The withdrawal of the French troops from Rome in 1870 to take part in
the war against Germany, put an end to the temporal power of the Popes.
Pius the Ninth was forced to relinquish the Quirinal to the same bold
conqueror who had deprived Francis and Maria Sophia of their kingdom,
and thereafter they had no permanent residence in Rome. As long as the
Duke and Duchess Max lived, they spent the summers in Bavaria,
travelling about from place to place during the Winter. The greater part
of Francis the Second’s property, some twenty million lire, had been
confiscated by the new Italian Government, which offered to refund it on
condition of his formally renouncing all rights to the crown he had
already lost; but this he refused to do. “A man does not sell his
honor,” was his unfailing reply. Eventually he was paid back his
mother’s dowry; but the immense sum that King Ferdinand had settled on
his eldest son at the time of his marriage to Maria Sophia was
appropriated by Victor Emanuel, as were the contents of the royal
palace. Many of the paintings and works of art are still shown at “Capo
di Monte” in Naples, to the indignation of many of the sovereigns of

Although the climate of Rome had never agreed with Maria Sophia, both
she and her husband often declared that they had never really known the
terrors of exile till they were forced to leave Italy. Francis never
quite gave up hope that some turn of events would pave the way for his
return to his own and his father’s throne; but the heroine of Gaeta
never looked backward. The pomp and show of royalty had never appealed
to her, and she indulged in no vain regrets.

The lives of the Wittelsbach sisters had proved a source of grief and
anxiety to their parents. Hélène, left a widow in 1867, after ten years
of unhappy married life, had managed the vast estates of the Thurn and
Taxis family with great ability during the minority of her eldest son,
Maximilian. This prince, a most promising youth, died in 1885, at the
early age of twenty-three, and the blow almost cost his despairing
mother her reason, while the following year, Count Ludwig of Trani
drowned himself in one of the Swiss lakes.

The youngest daughter of the ducal pair, Sophie Charlotte, had been
first betrothed to Ludwig the Second of Bavaria; but the King jilted his
cousin in the most heartless fashion, and she afterward married
Ferdinand d’Alençon, an uncle of Louis Philippe of France. Banished from
France with the rest of the house of Orleans, the Duke and Duchess spent
their time travelling from place to place, and Sophie was sickly and
discontented, a victim to fits of melancholia. By his death on the
fourteenth of November, 1888, good Duke Max was spared the tragedy of
Mayerling, where his favorite grandson and the hope of the Austrian
Empire, Rudolf of Hapsburg, met with a violent and mysterious death
three months later. On the twenty-fourth of January, 1890, the Duchess
Ludovica was seized with an attack of influenza at her palace in Munich,
which developed into pneumonia. The physicians at once pronounced her
condition serious on account of her advanced age, and the absent
daughters were telegraphed for. Sophie was already in Munich, as were
the three sons. The next afternoon the Duchess grew so much worse that
the sacrament was administered; but in spite of the evident approach of
death the indomitable old lady refused to go to bed. She insisted upon
remaining in the reclining chair which she had occupied from the
beginning of her illness, and where she soon sank into unconsciousness,
passing away quietly at four o’clock in the morning, surrounded by
children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, at the age of
eighty-three. The death of the Duchess Ludovica was an irreparable loss
to her family. They had leaned on her in joy as in sorrow, and as long
as she lived she had held them together, widely scattered as they were,
with a firm and loving hand. Her children’s troubles and pleasures had
been her own, and their devotion, her joy and reward.

                               Chapter XV

After the funeral of the Duchess Ludovica, Maria Sophia returned to
Paris, where the ex-King of Naples had bought a residence some years
before, and where they were living very quietly, seeing no one but old
friends or relatives. Her grief at her mother’s loss was deep and
sincere, and for a time she was inconsolable. For her it meant the
severing of all the old ties and associations; and henceforth she rarely
visited the home of her childhood.

A few months later Hélène of Thurn and Taxis died after a long and
painful illness, at the age of fifty-eight. The Empress Elizabeth had
hastened to her and was with her when she died, but none of the three
younger sisters were able to be present.

In the Autumn of 1894 the ex-King of Naples went to the baths at Arco in
the Tyrol for his health, while his wife remained in Paris. Francis had
suffered for several years with an incurable complaint, and it was
reported that his illness had recently taken a serious turn; but this
had been denied. Death came sooner than any one expected, however, to
the unfortunate monarch, for he expired on the twenty-seventh of
December—alone, as he had lived. Maria Sophia started at once for Arco
on the news of his illness, but arrived too late to find him alive.

Not a flag was lowered in the kingdom of his fathers to mark the death
of Francis the Second of Naples, nor was his body even allowed to rest
in the land he had loved. In all his vicissitudes, the long years of
exile, and the hours of loneliness and pain, Italy had been ever in his
heart. Through all his wanderings he had been haunted by memories of the
blue skies and sunny gardens of his childhood days. His love for his
native land extended even beyond the grave, for in his will he
bequeathed a million lire to charitable institutions in Naples and

Duke Karl Theodor and his wife, with several other members of Maria
Theresa’s family, hastened at once to Arco to comfort Maria Sophia and
be present at the ex-King’s funeral. It took place on the third of
January, 1895, and was attended by a large number of royalties and other
distinguished personages.

In the bright Winter sunshine the body of Francis the Second was borne
to the cathedral where it was to be laid to rest. The narrow streets
were thronged with black-garbed men and women, and bells were tolled in
all the churches, while the trumpets of the two battalions of Austrian
Jägers sent by the Emperor Francis Joseph, to pay the last honors to the
deceased sovereign, sounded a farewell. At the door of the church the
procession was met by the ex-Queen with her sisters, Mathilde and
Sophie, with several of her sisters-in-law, and other noble ladies who
formed the band of mourners. The services lasted five hours, and were
conducted by the Archbishop of Trent; but at last all was ended, the dim
cathedral was left silent and empty, and only the sound of tolling bells
echoed mournfully through the wintry air.

The life of Francis the Second of Naples was one of renunciation. Little
sympathy or affection fell to his lot. He was arbitrary where he should
have been yielding, and yielding where he should have been firm; yet
during his short reign he was one of the most conspicuous figures in
European politics, and he had carried a kingdom with him in his
downfall. He was a good man and a good Christian, and, in spite of his
shortcomings, a real hero; for while his heart was bleeding, he bore his
sorrows in silence and hid his sufferings from the world.

                            * * * * * * * *

Although Maria Sophia had never really loved her husband, a close and
sincere friendship had grown up between them, and she truly mourned his
death. After the funeral she returned with her brother and his wife to
Munich, where for a time she occupied her old residence, the Schloss
Biederstein; but now that she was alone the thought of living there was
unbearable to her.

                     [Illustration: _FRANCIS SECOND
                         in his sixtieth year_]

The claims of the ex-King to the throne of Naples passed at his death to
Alfonzo, Count of Caserta; and while Francis had left his wife a large
sum of money, the bulk of his fortune had been bequeathed to this
brother whose marriage had been blessed with ten children. The residence
in Paris occupied by the royal pair had been included in this; and as
Maria Sophia wished to be free to live her own life, she bought an
estate at Neuilly-sur-Seine, where she lives quite alone the greater
part of the year. She rarely goes to Bavaria, but spends a few weeks
each winter at Arco. It was her intention originally to have her
husband’s body removed to her family burial-place in Tegernsee; but the
last King of Naples still sleeps before the high altar in the cathedral
of the little Tyrolean town. This quiet spot has grown dear to the
ex-Queen, and she mixes freely and pleasantly with the people who go
there for the baths. She is still a distinguished woman,—distinguished
in the best sense of the word,—with much of that charm that is like a
reflection of the past. Most of her time, however, she devotes to the
real passion of her life, her farm, where she raises thoroughbred dogs
and horses. Maria Sophia is not a recluse; but she lives in a world of
her own, and cares for animals more than for people. In former days her
sisters used often to visit her at Neuilly, the Duchess d’Alençon then
living in Paris, and the Empress Elizabeth and Countess of Trani
frequently stopping there on their journeys.

The portraits of these four sisters plainly show their differences of
character. Mathilde of Trani is the picture of discontent and
disillusionment; Elizabeth is the mourner; Sophie d’Alençon is resigned
and weary of the world, while Maria, unlike all the others, looks
bravely out at life, despite her years.

She accepted the decrees of fate with courage and fortitude, and bore
her troubles more philosophically than her sisters, therefore she has
kept her cheerfulness and serenity, and much of her former beauty. She
is always active, for she still feels young. But her solitary life and
her preference for the society of animals to people, show that the life
of this gayest and soundest of the Wittelsbach sisters has also been a

                            * * * * * * * *

Three years after the death of the ex-King of Naples, another terrible
misfortune occurred in the family. On the fourth of May, 1897, the
French capital was the scene of a most frightful catastrophe. The ladies
of the French aristocracy were holding a bazaar for charity, in a
building which had been roughly and carelessly constructed, and lined
with booths in which many prominent society women sold wares donated for
the purpose. A kinematograph had also been installed to add to the
entertainment. In the middle of the afternoon, when the crowd was
greatest, a lamp attached to this suddenly burst, and in an instant the
whole building was in flames. The exits were insufficient and hard to
find, and scores of people perished.

Among the most prominent of the workers was Sophie, Duchess d’Alençon,
who was a devout Catholic and had devoted the latter years of her life
almost entirely to charity. Witnesses of the scene of horror who escaped
with their lives have told of the Duchess’s heroism in attempting to
save others, forgetful of her own danger. One lady tried to carry her
out by force; but she broke away, and dashing back into the flames, took
her place in her own booth again, calmly assisting in getting the young
girls into a place of safety.

All that night it was hoped that she, too, had succeeded in making her
escape. But the next day a wedding ring, bearing the name of Ferdinand
d’Alençon, was found in the ruins and all hope of finding her alive was
abandoned. Her body, burned beyond all recognition, was afterward
identified by a dentist who had supplied her with some false teeth
shortly before. Maria Sophia was in Neuilly at the time of the accident,
and her appearance with the Duke d’Alençon, at the requiem mass held in
memory of the dead in the Church of St. Philippe de Rule, was her last
public appearance in the world. When the Empress Elizabeth, who fell by
the hand of an assassin on the shore of Lake Geneva a year later, was
laid away in the vault of the Capucins at Vienna, Maria Sophia was
unable to be present. Only in spirit could she bid farewell to this
favorite sister, under whose cold and reserved exterior had beaten a
warm and loving heart.

                            * * * * * * * *

Many years have passed since the Rose of Starnberg Lake was planted at
the foot of Vesuvius, many since Francis the Second’s tottering throne
collapsed, burying the hopes of a lifetime. But time has treated Maria
Sophia gently. If she has wept bitter tears, the world has seen no trace
of them. Her smile is still that of the beautiful young Queen of Naples,
and she has kept that youth of the heart that never fades. But what her
thoughts are as she goes about among her pets, no one knows. Does she
still see Gaeta at times behind its dark, receding cliffs? Perhaps, for
it was there that she displayed for the first and only time the gifts
with which Providence had endowed her, and the supreme moments of life
one does not forget.

The romance of Maria Sophia’s life ended at Gaeta: forced from the
world’s stage with all the splendid promise of her youth unfulfilled,
she has never since taken part in the affairs of men. Yet she is not
morbid or unhappy. She looks back upon her life without bitterness, and
if her heart has longings, it is not for her vanished crown and sceptre.

The struggle for Italian unity has given place to other and newer events
in the world’s history. The Queen of Naples has hidden her royal honors
under the modest title of Duchess of Castro. When she dies, an almost
forgotten episode will be revived and the “Heroine of Gaeta” recalled to
the memory of men; but only the gray-haired soldiers who knew and served
under the young Queen will remember how gay and brilliant she was, will
see her again in all her fresh young beauty.

Maria Sophia was a heroine but for a day; but time has no power to touch
her memory. Clothed in the radiance of perpetual youth, she stands a
glowing figure in the annals of history.


[1]The nickname of King Bomba was given to Ferdinand after the
   bombardment of Messina in Sicily, but also referred to the huge,
   unwieldy figure that he acquired, especially in the later years of
   his life.


The following is a chronological statement of the principal events
connected with this narrative:

    1807     Birth of Garibaldi.
    1810     Birth of Ferdinand the Second.
    1836     Birth of Francis the Second.
    1859     Death of Ferdinand the Second.
    1859     Francis the Second succeeds to the Throne.
    1859     Beginning of the Italian Revolution.
    1859     Battles of Magenta and Solferino.
    1860     Garibaldi Dictator of Sicily.
    1860     Garibaldi enters Naples.
    1860     Francis the Second driven from Naples.
    1860     Annexation of Central Italy to Sardinia.
    1860     Outbreak of Revolution in Lower Italy.
    1861     Surrender of Gaeta.
    1861     Victor Emanuel proclaimed King of Italy.
    1862     Garibaldi invades Sicily.
    1862     Garibaldi defeated and retires.
    1866     French Garrison withdrawn from Rome.
    1870     Victor Emanuel occupies Rome.
    1882     Death of Garibaldi.

                     LIFE STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

                    _Translated from the German by_
                            GEORGE P. UPTON

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