When I looked again a very brilliant group was come into view—four bishops in rochets and violet, with large pectoral crosses. These walked very proud and prelatical, looking disdainfully at the people who roared at the burlesque; and behind them, again, four more in gilded mitres. (I do not know what this generation knew of Catholic bishops; for not one in a thousand of them had ever set eyes on one.)
After a little space followed six cardinals in scarlet, very gorgeous, with caps and trains of the same colour. These swept along, looking to neither right nor left, followed by a lean man in a black silk suit and gown, skulking and bending, bearing a glass retort in one hand, and a phial, with a label flying from it, in the other. On this was written, I heard afterwards, the words “Jesuit-Powder”; but I could not read it from where I was.
Then at last the tail of the procession began to come into view.
Two priests, in great white copes, bore aloft each a tall cross; and behind them I could see through the flare and reek of the torches, a vast scarlet chair advancing above the heads of the people. It was borne on a platform, and was embroidered all over with gold and silver bullion. Upon the platform itself were four boys, two and two, on either side of the throne, in red skull-caps and cassocks and short white surplices, each with a tall red cross held in the inner hand, and a bloodstained dagger in the other, which they waved now and again. Upon the throne itself sat a huge effigy. It was dressed in a scarlet robe, embroidered like the throne; its feet in gold embroidered slippers were thrust forward on a cushion; its hands in rich gloves were clasped to the arms of the chair; and its grinning waxen face, very pale, was surmounted by a vast tiara on which were three crowns, one above the other. Round the neck hung a gold cross and chain; and a pair of great keys hung down on one side. A devil in tight fitting black, with a masked face, and long sprouting nails, with a tail hung behind him, and two tall horns on his head, rolled his eyes from side to side, and whispered continually into the ear of the effigy from behind the throne. A great mob of people and torches and guards came shouting on behind. And when I saw that, a kind of despair came upon me. If that, thought I, is what my countrymen think of Catholics and the Holy Father, what use to strive any more for their conversion?
* * * * *
By the time that the tail had come up, the rest of the procession was disposed round the bonfire, leaving a broad space in the midst where the throne and effigy might be set down.