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A Village Commune, Vol. II. Ouida, 1839–1908.
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page: 353

CHAPTER XXXVII.

AT this moment Santa Rosalia pays two francs a day for Pippo, who has to be kept at the public cost at the asylum of St. Bonifaccio in the city. He is an imbecile, and at times violent, but his old frame is tough; he does not die. At times he weeps for days together, and then they punish him. He is always searching for a lost key.

Viola was so unnerved and distracted at the calamity befallen her grandfather that she fell into a fever, which, coupled with her page: 354 distress of mind, killed her as it killed young Mercédes of Spain: but Viola was not so soon forgotten and replaced. The little ‘bimbo,’ bereft of his young mother, soon followed her to her grave. Carmelo, maddened with grief, joined himself to some few fiery and chafing spirits, nourished like himself on the bitterness of endless wrong; they tried to burn down the communal palace which held all those accursed documents against the poor, and, failing, were taken prisoners, and after a long trial sent to the galleys. The Italian and English press described them as a band of ignorant and brutal socialists; and then no one remembered them any more. They are in the mines of Sardinia.

Demetrio Pastorini died broken‐hearted; his sons were unable to compete with the steam‐mill, and sold the old place to the commune for a pittance; they are some of page: 355 them day‐labourers, and some are taken as conscripts.

Cecco is dead, and his sons are also conscripts. Gigi Canterelli, having the municipality against him, became bankrupt, and is now a beggar; the old convent on the hill is a factory where the women and children earn a few centimes a day with loss of all their health. The little house of the Madonna has been bought and enlarged by Bindo Terri, who has married well and entered into a wine business with the money he saved in his service of the State. His brother succeeded to his uniform and sword, and is as like him as one ferret is like another.

Messer Gaspardo Nellemane meanwhile flourishes like a green bay‐tree in the service of the State: he is full of ambition, and in all probability will live to attain all his aims and die in all honour.

page: 356

Santa Rosalia soon became too small to hold so great a man.

He has been translated to Rome.

When the Dissidenti become the Possidenti he will be with them in power. If, on the other hand, the Right return to office, Messer Nellemane will know how to take profit from the fact that he has always been moderate; he has been always on the side of order and the law.

Whatever party reign at Montecitorio it will be said of him, ‘Verily he has his reward.’

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