The Daughter of an Empress eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 430 pages of information about The Daughter of an Empress.

“Health!” said he.  “Ah, Lorenzo, that word reminds me of a lost paradise.  The avenging angel has driven me from it, and I shall never see it again.”

“Say not so!” begged Lorenzo, secretly wiping a tear from his cheek.  “No, say not so, you will certainly recover!”

“Yes, recover!” replied the pope.  “For death is a recovery, and in the end perhaps the most real.”

They silently walked on, and making a path through the bushes, they at length arrived at the place, with the construction of which Lorenzo had some months before surprised the pope, and which Ganganelli had since named the “Franciscan Place.”

“So,” joyfully exclaimed Lorenzo, while the exhausted pope glided down upon the grass-bank—­“so, brother Clement, now let us be cheerful!  You know that here we have nothing more to do with the pope.  You have yourself declared that here you would be brother Clement, and nothing more; now brother Clement was always a healthy man, full of juvenile spirits and strength.”

“Ah, my friend,” responded Ganganelli, “I fear the pope has secretly followed brother Clement even to this place, and even here no longer leaves him free!  No, no, it is no longer brother Clement who sits groaning here, it is the vicegerent of God, the father of Christendom, the holy and blessed pope!  And if you knew, Lorenzo, what this vicegerent of God has to suffer and bear, how his blood like streams of fire runs through his veins, carbonizing his entrails and parching the roof of his mouth, so that the tongue fast cleaves to it, and he has no longer the power to complain of his misery!  And such a crushed earth-worm this miserable, infatuated people call the vicegerent of God, before whom they bow in the dust!  Ah, foolish children, are you not yourselves disgusted with your masquerade, and do you not blush for this jest?”

“See you not,” said Lorenzo, with forced cheerfulness, “that since you are here you have, against your will, again become brother Clement, and inveigh against God’s vicegerent who holds his splendid court in the Vatican and Quirinal!  Yes, yes that was what brother Clement used to do in the Franciscan convent; he was always scolding about the pope.”

“And yet he let men befool him and make a pope of him,” said Ganganelli.  “Ah, Lorenzo, they were indeed good purposes that decided me, and good and holy resolutions were in me when I bore this crown of St. Peter for the first time.  Ah, I was then so young, not in years, but in hopes and illusions.  I was so enthusiastic for the good and noble, and I wished to serve it, to honor and glorify it in the name of God!”

“And in the end you have done so!” solemnly responded Lorenzo.

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The Daughter of an Empress from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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