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by Judge Harris, and by the U.S. attorney. Asa Hutchinson

source:Battle-experiencededit:twotime:2023-11-29 17:20:17

Her resolve had not been carried out without difficulty. She had still frequented the opera at Milan; she had still been seen occasionally in the saloons of the noblesse; she had caused herself to be carried in and out from her carriage, and that in such a manner as in no wise to disturb her charms, disarrange her dress, or expose her deformities. Her sister always accompanied her and a maid, a manservant also, and on state occasions, two. It was impossible that her purpose could have been achieved with less: and yet, poor as she was, she had achieved her purpose. And then again the more dissolute Italian youths of Milan frequented the Stanhope villa and surrounded her couch, not greatly to her father's satisfaction. Sometimes his spirit would rise, a dark spot would show itself on his cheek, and he would rebel; but Charlotte would assuage him with some peculiar triumph of her culinary art, and all again would be smooth for a while.

by Judge Harris, and by the U.S. attorney. Asa Hutchinson

Madeline affected all manner of rich and quaint devices in the garniture of her room, her person, and her feminine belongings. In nothing was this more apparent than in the visiting card which she had prepared for her use. For such an article one would say that she, in her present state, could have but small need, seeing how improbable it was that she should make a morning call; but not such was her own opinion. Her card was surrounded by a deep border of gilding; on this she had imprinted, in three lines:-

by Judge Harris, and by the U.S. attorney. Asa Hutchinson

La Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni. - Nata Stanhope.

by Judge Harris, and by the U.S. attorney. Asa Hutchinson

And over the name she had a bright gilt coronet, which certainly looked very magnificent. How she had come to concoct such a name for herself it would be difficult to explain. Her father had been christened Vesey, as another man is christened Thomas; and she had no more right to assume it than would have the daughter of a Mr Josiah Jones to call herself Mrs Josiah Smith, on marrying a man of the latter name. The gold coronet was equally out of place, and perhaps inserted with even less excuse. Paul Neroni had not the faintest title to call himself a scion of even Italian nobility. Had the pair met in England Neroni would probably have been a count; but they had met in Italy, and any such pretence on his part would have been simply ridiculous. A coronet, however, was a pretty ornament, and if it could solace a poor cripple to have such on her card, who could begrudge it to her?

Of her husband, or of his individual family, she never spoke; but with her admirers she would often allude in a mysterious way to her married life and isolated state, and, pointing to her daughter, would call her the last of the blood of the emperors, thus referring Neroni's extraction to the old Roman family from which the worst of the Caesars sprang.

The 'Signora' was not without talent, and not without a certain sort of industry; she was an indomitable letter writer, and her letters were worth the postage: they were full of wit, mischief, satire, love, latitudinarian philosophy, free religion, and, sometimes, alas! loose ribaldry. The subject, however, depended entirely on the recipient, and she was prepared to correspond with any one, but moral young ladies or stiff old women. She wrote also a kind of poetry, generally in Italian, and short romances, generally in French. She read much of a desultory sort of literature, and as a modern linguist had really made great proficiency. Such was the lady who had now come to wound the hearts of the men of Barchester.

Ethelbert Stanhope was in some respects like his younger sister, but he was less inestimable as a man than she was as a woman. His great fault was an entire absence of that principle which should have induced him, as the son of a man without fortune, to earn his own bread. Many attempts had been made to get him to do so, but these had all been frustrated, not so much by idleness on his part, as by a disinclination to exert himself in any way not to his taste. He had been educated at Eton, and had been intended for the Church, but had left Cambridge in disgust after a single term, and notified to his father his intention to study for the bar. Preparatory to that, he thought it well that he should attend a German university, and consequently went to Leipzig. There he remained two years, and brought away a knowledge of German and a taste for the fine arts. He still, however, intended himself for the bar, took chambers, engaged himself to sit at the feet of a learned pundit, and spent a season in London. He there found that all his aptitudes inclined him to the life of an artist, and he determined to live by painting. With this object he retired to Milan, and had himself rigged out for Rome. As a painter he might have earned his bread, for he wanted only diligence to excel; but when at Rome his mind was carried away by other things: he soon wrote home for money, saying that he had been converted to the Mother Church, that he was already an acolyte of the Jesuits, and that he was about to start with others to Palestine on a mission for converting Jews. He did go to Judea, but being unable to convert the Jews, was converted by them. He again wrote home, to say that Moses was the only giver of perfect laws to the world, that the coming of the true Messiah was at hand, that great things were doing in Palestine, and that he had met one of the family of Sidonis, a most remarkable man, who was now on his way to Western Europe, and whom he had induced to deviate from his route with the object of calling at the Stanhope villa. Ethelbert then expressed his hope that his mother and sisters would listen to this wonderful prophet. His father he knew could not do so from pecuniary considerations. This Sidonia, however, did not take so strong a fancy to him as another of that family once did to a young English nobleman. At least he provided him with no hope of gold as large as lions; so that the Judaised Ethelbert was again obliged to draw on the revenues of the Christian Church.

It is needless to tell how the father swore that he would send no more money and receive no Jew; nor how Charlotte declared that Ethelbert could not be left penniless in Jerusalem; and how 'La Signora Neroni' resolved to have Sidonia at her feet. The money was sent, and the Jew did come. The Jew did come, but he was not at all to the taste of 'la Signora'. He was a dirty little old man, and though he had provided no golden lions, he had, it seems, relieved young Stanhope's necessities. He positively refused to leave the villa till he got a bill from the doctor on his London bankers.

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