Vittoria — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 92 pages of information about Vittoria — Volume 4.
’You dedicate your lives
To her, and you will be
The food on which she thrives,
Till her great day arrives
Italia, Italia shall be free!

’She asks you but for faith! 
Your faith in her takes she
As draughts of heaven’s breath,
Amid defeat and death:—­
Italia, Italia shall be free!’

The prima donna was not acting exhaustion when sinking lower in Montini’s arms.  Her bosom rose and sank quickly, and she gave the terminating verse:—­

’I enter the black boat
Upon the wide grey sea,
Where all her set suns float;
Thence hear my voice remote
Italia, Italia shall be free!’

The curtain dropped.



An order for the immediate arrest of Vittoria was brought round to the stage at the fall of the curtain by Captain Weisspriess, and delivered by him on the stage to the officer commanding, a pothered lieutenant of Croats, whose first proceeding was dictated by the military instinct to get his men in line, and who was utterly devoid of any subsequent idea.  The thunder of the house on the other side of the curtain was enough to disconcert a youngster such as he was; nor have the subalterns of Croat regiments a very signal reputation for efficiency in the Austrian Service.  Vittoria stood among her supporters apart; pale, and ’only very thirsty,’ as she told the enthusiastic youths who pressed near her, and implored her to have no fear.  Carlo was on her right hand; Luciano on her left.  They kept her from going off to her room.  Montini was despatched to fetch her maid Giacinta with cloak and hood for her mistress.  The young lieutenant of Croats drew his sword, but hesitated.  Weisspriess, Wilfrid, and Major de Pyrmont were at one wing, between the Italian gentlemen and the soldiery.  The operatic company had fallen into the background, or stood crowding the side places of exit.  Vittoria’s name was being shouted with that angry, sea-like, horrid monotony of iteration which is more suggestive of menacing impatience and the positive will of the people, than varied, sharp, imperative calls.  The people had got the lion in their throats.  One shriek from her would bring them, like a torrent, on the boards, as the officers well knew; and every second’s delay in executing the orders of the General added to the difficulty of their position.  The lieutenant of Croats strode up to Weisspriess and Wilfrid, who were discussing a plan of action vehemently; while, amid hubbub and argument, De Pyrmont studied Vittoria’s features through his opera-glass, with an admirable simple languor.

Wilfrid turned back to him, and De Pyrmont, without altering the level of his glass, said, ’She’s as cool as a lemon-ice.  That girl will be a mother of heroes.  To have volcanic fire and the mastery of her nerves at the same time, is something prodigious.  She is magnificent.  Take a peep at her.  I suspect that the rascal at her right is seizing his occasion to plant a trifle or so in her memory—­the animal!  It’s just the moment, and he knows it.’

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Vittoria — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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