Vittoria — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 575 pages of information about Vittoria Complete.
She felt as one in a war-chariot, who has not time to cast more than a glance on the fallen.  At the place where the ferry is, she was rejoiced by hearing positive news of the proximity of the Royal army.  There were none to tell her that Charles Albert had here made his worst move by leaving Vicenza to the operations of the enemy, that he might become master of a point worthless when Vicenza fell into the enemy’s hands.  The old Austrian Field-Marshal had eluded him at Mantua on that very night when Vittoria had seen his troops in motion.  The daring Austrian flank-march on Vicenza, behind the fortresses of the Quadrilateral, was the capital stroke of the campaign.  But the presence of a Piedmontese vanguard at Rivoli flushed the Adige with confidence, and Vittoria went on her way sharing the people’s delight.  She reached Brescia to hear that Vicenza had fallen.  The city was like a landscape smitten black by the thunder-cloud.  Vittoria found Countess Ammiani at her husband’s tomb, stiff, colourless, lifeless as a monument attached to the tomb.

CHAPTER XXXV

CLOSE OF THE LOMBARD CAMPAIGN—­VITTORIA’S PERPLEXITY

The fall of Vicenza turned a tide that had overflowed its barriers with force enough to roll it to the Adriatic.  From that day it was as if a violent wind blew East over Lombardy; flood and wind breaking here and there a tree, bowing everything before them.  City, fortress, and battle-field resisted as the eddy whirls.  Venice kept her brave colours streaming aloft in a mighty grasp despite the storm, but between Venice and Milan there was this unutterable devastation,—­so sudden a change, so complete a reversal of the shield, that the Lombards were at first incredulous even in their agony, and set their faces against it as at a monstrous eclipse, as though the heavens were taking false oath of its being night when it was day.  From Vicenza and Rivoli, to Sommacampagna, and across Monte Godio to Custozza, to Volta on the right of the Mincio, up to the gates of Milan, the line of fire travelled, with a fantastic overbearing swiftness that, upon the map, looks like the zig-zag elbowing of a field-rocket.  Vicenza fell on the 11th of June; the Austrians entered Milan on the 6th of August.  Within that short time the Lombards were struck to the dust.

Countess Ammiani quitted Brescia for Bergamo before the worst had happened; when nothing but the king’s retreat upon the Lombard capital, after the good fight at Volta, was known.  According to the king’s proclamation the Piedmontese army was to defend Milan, and hope was not dead.  Vittoria succeeded in repressing all useless signs of grief in the presence of the venerable lady, who herself showed none, but simply recommended her accepted daughter to pray daily.  “I can neither confess nor pray,” Vittoria said to the priest, a comfortable, irritable ecclesiastic, long attached to the family, and little able to deal

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Vittoria — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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