Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 497 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.

CHAPTER IX.

The excitement which had reigned in Rome for weeks past was destined to end almost as suddenly as it had begun.  The events which followed the 22d of October have been frequently and accurately described; indeed, if we consider the small number of the troops engaged and the promptness with which a very limited body of men succeeded in quelling what at first appeared to be a formidable revolution, we are surprised at the amount of attention which has been accorded to the little campaign.  The fact is that although the armies employed on both sides were insignificant, the questions at stake were enormous, and the real powers which found themselves confronted at Monte Rotondo and Mentana were the Kingdom of Italy and the French Empire.  Until the ultimatum was presented to Italy by the French Minister on the 19th of October, Italy hoped to take possession of Rome on the pretext of restoring order after allowing it to be subverted by Garibaldi’s guerillas.  The military cordon formed by the Italian army to prevent Garibaldi’s crossing the frontier was a mere show.  The arrest of the leader himself, however it was intended by those who ordered it, turned out in effect to be a mere comedy, as he soon found himself at liberty and no one again attempted to seize him.  When France interfered the scale turned.  She asserted her determination to maintain the Convention of 1864 by force of arms, and Italy was obliged to allow Garibaldi to be defeated, since she was unable to face the perils of a war with her powerful neighbour.  If a small body of French troops had not entered Rome on the 30th of the month, the events of 1870 would have occurred three years earlier, though probably with different results.

It being the object of the general commanding the Pope’s forces to concentrate a body of men with whom to meet Garibaldi, who was now advancing boldly, the small detachments, of which many had already been sent to the front, were kept back in Rome in the hope of getting together something like an army.  Gouache’s departure was accordingly delayed from day to day, and it was not until the early morning of the 3d of November that he actually quitted Rome with the whole available corps of Zouaves.  Ten days elapsed, therefore, after the events last described, during which time he was hourly in expectation of orders to march.  The service had become so arduous within the city that he could scarcely call a moment his own.  It was no time to think of social duties, and he spent the leisure he had in trying to see Faustina Montevarchi as often as possible.

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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