The fear of approaching evil caused the government to forget the respect due to nobility in misfortune and the emperor’s nephew was turned out of the city like a criminal!
Hortense received this intelligence almost with joy. Far from Rome, it seemed to her that he would be safer from the revolution, whose approach she so much dreaded; and it therefore afforded her great satisfaction to send the prince to Florence, to his father, believing that he would there be shielded from the dangerous political calumnies that threatened him in Rome. She therefore permitted him to depart; and how could she have prevented his departure—she, the lone, powerless woman, to whom not even the French ambassador would have accorded protection! No one interceded for her—no one protested against the violent and brutal course pursued toward Louis Napoleon—no one, except the Russian ambassador.
The Emperor of Russia was the only one of all the sovereigns of Europe who felt himself strong enough not to ignore the name of Napoleon, and the consideration due to the family of a hero and of an emperor.
The Emperor of Russia had, therefore, never refused his protection and assistance to the Bonapartes, and his ambassador was now the only one who protested against the violent course taken by the Roman government.
The revolution at last broke forth. Italy arose as France had done, resolved to throw off the yoke of tyranny and oppression, and be free! The storm first broke out in Modena. The duke saw himself compelled to fly, and a provisional government under General Menotti placed itself in his stead. But, while this was taking place in Modena, the populace of Rome was holding high festival in honor of the newly-chosen Pope Gregory XVI., who had just taken his seat in the chair of the deceased Pope Pius VIII., and these festivities, and the Carnival, seemed to occupy the undivided attention of the Romans; under the laughing mask of these rejoicings the revolution hid its grave and threatening visage, and it was not until mardi-gras that it laid this mask aside and showed its true countenance.
The people had been accustomed to throw confectionery and flowers on this day, but this time the day was to be made memorable by a shower of stones and bullets; this time they were not to appear in the harlequin jacket, but in their true form, earnest, grand, commanding, self-conscious, and self-asserting.
But the government had been informed of the intention of the conspirators to avail themselves of the drive to the Corso, to begin the revolution, and this procession was prohibited an hour before the time appointed for its commencement.
The people arose against this prohibition, and the revolution they had endeavored to repress by this means now broke out.
The thunder of cannon and the rattling of musketry now resounded through the streets of Rome, and the people everywhere resisted the papal soldiery with energy and determination.