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Bianča, went every night, after the family were retired to rest, to Buonaventuri's chamber, in the merchant's house, by means of the little back-door, which she left a-jar, and by which also she returned before day, withont being seen by any body. After this had continued for some time, custom made her less cautious ; and, one night she stayed with her husband till the morning was farther advanced than usual. A baker's boy, who was going by with bread, perceived the back-door, by which Bianca had come out, to be open, and, supposing this had happened by accident, shut it. The lady arrived a few minutes afterward, and found it fast. In the consternation which this accident produced, she returned to the house she had just quitted, and was let in by her husband, to whom she related what had happened. As the safety of both was now in danger, they retired to the house of another Florentine, where they remained concealed till they found an opportunity of escaping to Florence. In this city they lived, for some time, in great privacy, fearing the Republic of Venice should, at the solicitations of Capello, have had them pursued. i Francis Maria, the great Duke of Tuscany at that time, was a native of france, son of Cosmo I. and father of Mary de Medicis. He had married Jane of Austria daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand, and widow of the King of Hungary. She was a Princess of great virtues ; but, being at that time past her youth, the Duke neglected her for other women. One of the officers of his court was the confident of his pleasures, who had a wife no less zealous to make herself useful.
The arrival of the fair Venetian was soon known in Florence. The report of her adventure and her beauty excited the Duke's curiosity, and he resolved to spare no pains to gratify it. He used to walk every day before the house where she lived ; and upon seeing her at the window, became violently enamoured. His confidant was immediately employed, and he engaged his wife to assist in the project, who began her manoeuvres by sending a message that she had something of consequence to communicate to her, and for that purpose invited her to dinner. Buonaventuri was some time in suspense whether he should súffer his wife to receive the invitation ; but the lady's rank, and his want of some powerful protection, overcame his doubts.
Bianca was received with great kindness and the most flattering attention ; she was prevailed on to relate the story of her dis'tresses, and was heard with an appearance of the most tender concern. She was asked if she had no desire to make her court to the grand-Duke; who, on his part, was impatient to become acquainted with her, having already found an opportunity to see and admire her. Bianca had neither fortitude nor virtue to resist the temptation ; and, the Duke coming in at the instant, the liberality of his offers, and his promising to advance her husband, gained him a complete victory.
The husband did not think it prudent to break a connexion which might be so advantageous to him ; and matters were soon settled to the satisfaction of both parties. The Duke gave them a magnificent house near the bridge over the river Arpo, called Ponte della Trinita, (which house is vow Il Palazzo Ricardi) and was to be admitted at all hours, without any interruption from the husband.
Buonaventuri solaced himself for the loss of Bianca by forming new connexions and associating with the nobility ; but becoming, by the change of his fortune, insolent and presumptuous, and having insisted, one day, on an interview with his wife, when it was not agreeable to her, he was, the same night, by her order, assassinated.
The only obstacle to the complete enjoyment of her wishes being thus removed, she lost all reserve, , and appeared in public with a magnificent equipage, setting honour and shame at defiance. Jane, the Grand-Duchess, was extremely mortified at the conduct of the Duke, and provoked at the pride of her rival; she suppressed her grief, till, at length, it put an end to her Jife.
The Grand Duchess's death opened new views to the ambition of Bianca, who had acquired such an ascendancy over the Duke, that he was wholly subservient to her will; and she now exerted all her art to induce him to marry her. The Cardinal Ferdinand de Medici, who was next heir to the Dukedom, if his brother died without issue, opposed the marriage in vain, and Bianca, in a short time, became Grand-Duches of Tuscany.
After some time, she wished for a child, that it might inherit the Grand-Duke's dominions. She had masses said and astrologers consulted, but, these and many other expedients proving ineffectual, she resolved to feign pregnancy, and introduce a spurious child, of which she would at least have the honour. To assist her in the execution of this projeet, she applied to a Cordelier, of the monastery of Ogni Sancti ; who readily undertaking the affair, she feigned nausea, and the usual symtoms of pregnancy, took to her bed, and received the compliments of the court. Her pretended reckoning being out, she suddenly alarmed her people in the night, complained of labour pains, and enquired impatiently for her cunfessor. The cardinal, who suspected her artifice, had, watched so diligently that he knew all her motions; and, as soon as he was informed that her confessor was sent for, repaired to her anti-chamber, where he walked backwards and forwards repeating his Breviary. The Duches, hearing he was there, sent him a message, intreating he would retire, because she could not bear he should hear the cries that might be forced from her by her pains. The Cardinal answered “let her Highness think only of her own business, as I do of mine."
As soon as the confessor arrived, the Cardinal ran to him, crying out “Welcome, my dear father; the Grand Duchess is in labour, and has great need of your assistance:" at the same time, catching him in his arms and embracing him, he perceived a jolly bay, just born, which the good father had in his sleeves. He took the child from him, and cried out, loud enough to be heard by the Duchess, “God be praised, the Princess is happily delivered of a son :” at the same time, shewing him to all who were present.
The Grand Duchess, enraged to distraction at this insult, determined tu be revenged on the Cardinal, and soon got an opportunity. The Duchess and he were on a country party at Poggio Caiano, one of the Duke's villa's : the Cardinal was very fond of blanc mange, and the Duchess had strong poison mixed with a dish of it, and placed near him at table ; but he, notwithstand. ing the most pressing solicitations of the Duchess, would not taste it. “ Well, (said the Duke) if the Cardinal will not eat of it, I will :" and he took a large quantity of it on his plate, and ate it. The Duchess, from her extreme agitation, lost her speech, and in despair, snatched the remainder of the poisoned dish, ate it, and both she and the Duke died together, on the 21st of October, 1587.
The Cardinal succeeded to the Dukedom, by the name of Ferdinand I. and reigned thirty years.
Much has been written to explain and to teach the art of storytelling ; but no science is more difficult to attain, nor can it be taught by any settled rules. If the teller can but contrive to keep the attention of his audience awake, to the end of his tale, he has certainly gained a great point, let the method he has taken be what it will ? and if he can add to their attention some emotions of pleasure, or of surprise, he may justly be deemed a good storyteller. Seneca, who certainly may be cited as eminent in this art, will afford a beautiful example of this species of triumph over
the expectations of his hearers. He tells us of the son of an eminent and opulent Roman knight, to whom the wretched Emperor Caligula took such an aversion, merely from envy to . the superior graces of his person and dress, that he ordered him for execution. Not contented with this, he had the wanton cruelty to insist on the father's presence at an entertainment, while he knew his sun was suffering death. He did more ; he drank to him in full bowls, having first placed a spy, who might watch and report every change of his countenance. The wretched parent commanded his features, and formed them to express content, and even hilarity ; nay, he entered into the spirit of the feast wore the convivial chaplet, and though old and infirm, be vied with the most robust of the guests in every joyous excess. “ You ask me,” here observes Seneca, “how and wberefore he acted this strange part. I answer, Habehat alterum," "He had ano
Here, by a single, and very short sentence, the passions of the hearers, which must have been highly excited against the parent, for his mean and odious dissimulation, are now as strongly roused in his favour, whose care for the surviving son (the life of whom would have been forfeited by the least cloud on the father's countenance) had forced him to stifle every feeling of nature, and to wear the mask of joy, while his heart was agonized with every throb of parental wretchedness.
A single ill-chosen word is sometimes fatal to the effect of a really pathetic tale. Dr. Cook, in his Travels through Russia, (a valuable and entertaining work) affords more than one insistance of this error, which, however, in one who had resided a long term of years out of his native country, is very pardonable. He describes the cruelties exercised by the Russian troops at the storning of Ocksakow, in 1737, and interests his reader strenuously in favour of a gallant Scots Lieutenant, a Mr. Innes, who flew from place to place, to check the barbarity of the private soldiers, and, at the extreme hazard of his life, put to death a grenadier, who, o in a ridiculous manner, was basely diverting himself with the agonies of a poor little innocent, whom he had just pierced with his bayonet."
Sometimes the distress of the tale will unfortunately chance to be of a species so awkward and ridiculous that where the audience ought, by the laws of narration, to be most bitterly affected, the smile will unkindly supercede the tear. A refuge officer, who lived to a great age at Bristol under the title of Captian Calmite, took great delight in recounting to his neighbours, the misfortunes of his early years. His favourite tale was that of his captivity at Algiers. His stature, it must be observed, was most singularly diminutive, and his strength of body small in proportion. To such a oné, no severe tasks of labour could be assigned, even by the most barbarous task-master. - What were then the cruelties he had to relate ? “I was treated," he used to say to his young friends, “ like a brute animal. They could not make me tug at the oar ; they could not make me drag heavy stones ; they made me, then-they made me sit, day after day and night after night, in one cruel constricted posture-to hatch young turkeys !"
FESTIVAL OF THE ROSE, AT SALENCY, IN PICARDY.
There is still a part of the world where simple genuine virtue receives public honours-it is in a village of Picardy, a place far distant from the politeness and luxury of great cities. There, an affecting ceremony, which draws tears from the spectators, a solemnity, awful from its venerable antiquity, and salutary influence, has been preserved notwithstanding the revolutions of twelve centuries ; there, the simple lustre of the flowers with which innocence is annually crowned is at once the reward, the encouragement, and the emblem. Here, indeed, ambition preys upon the young heart, but it is a gentle ambition; the prize is a hat, decorated with roses. The preparations for a public decision, the pomp of the festival, the concourse of people which it assembles, their attention fixed upon modesty, which does itself honour by its blushes, the simplicity of the reward, an emblem of those virtues by which it is obtained, the affectionate friendship of those rivals, who, in heightening the triumph of their Queen, conceal, in the bottom of their worthy hearts, the timid hope of reigning in their turn: all these circumstances united, gave a pleasing and affecting pomp to this singular ceremony, which causes every heart to palpitate, every eye to sparkle with
tears of delight, and makes wisdom the object of passion. To be irreproachable is not sufficient, there is a kind of nobleness, of which proofs are required ; a nobleness, not of rank and dignity, but of worth and innocence. These proofs must include several generations, both on the father and mother's side ; so that a whole family is crowned upon the head of one; the triumph of one is the glory of the whole ; and the old man in grey hairs, who