Authors: Julia O'Faolain
He went to England after that with Edward Blount, and only came back when he heard that his friend Cesarini was dying of consumption. He was with him at the end, then came to see me, on his way to Imola
to give money to Sister Paola’s old hospital. He set up a secular institution there modelled on those Blount had shown him in London. When he left, he sent me a letter explaining that what he loved in Christianity was the compassionate teaching of Christ. Since this had been sacrificed to the ruthless defence of the Institutional Church, he, from love of Christ, had left it.
I heard no more of him.
Prospero Cardinal Stanga read Lambruschini’s diary with close interest. It had reached him anonymously and, instead of deciding what to do with it, he lingered over familiar names and let memories of old friendships soften him. Prospero was not quite the man he had been, for he was on less good terms with the new regime than with the old one. The new Pope had turned down his plan to resurrect the Sodalitium Pianum and, gently, let him know that such intransigence had had its day. Grassi was dead. Another like-minded Jesuit from the
had had to go to America after an unfortunate confusion over the paper’s funds and Prospero himself was being kept far from the levers of power. The effect of this was that he had grown mild, reflective and a little lonely. The diary’s reference to Nicola reminded him of his own most recent glimpse of him which had been at Pio Nono’s funeral, a troubling occasion where the sight of a face from happier times had flooded him with emotion. Nicola, dressed as a layman, had been standing among the crowd, watching the procession. Starlight gleamed on his silk hat and caught an expression which impelled Prospero to lower his carriage window and, taking advantage of a pause, whisper his name. They were within a foot of each other and he could see Nicola’s cold face perfectly. ‘
,’ whispered Prospero, thinking that the renegade might need to be set at ease.
But it was one of those moments – they were near the Tiber – when the rabble wanted to assault the hearse and it is not easy at such a time to convey feelings of friendship or even of bygones being bygones. Moreover, he was aware of his coachman’s anxieties lest the men close to the carriage have malevolent intentions.
!’ came the shouts. ‘Pitch the carrion in!’
‘Won’t you shake hands with me? Or even,’ he ventured, ‘sit in the carriage for a moment?’
But his hand had not been taken and his carriage shot forward leaving behind that pale, cold face. Why? he wondered. And for most of the funeral, it was not the rabble’s roar which bothered him, but that wounding personal rejection.
Carbonari: a secret political association active in the early 19th century. Their aims varied. In the Papal States, these included reforms, a lay administration and even secession from papal rule by the northern Legations.
Centurioni: a voluntary, part-time police force set up after revolution of 1831 by the then Secretary of State, to keep order and check left-wing secret societies. They were generally acknowledged to be thugs.
Chamberlain: an official attached to the personal service of the Pope.
Coadjutor bishop: one appointed by the Pope to assist a bishop suffering from specified infirmities.
College of Cardinals: the ensemble of seventy cardinals who assisted the Pope in governing the Church.
Conclave: a meeting of all the cardinals to elect a Pope.
Congregations: departments or ministries which assisted the Pope in governing the Church. At the head of each was a prefect, usually a cardinal.
Curia: the authorities and functionaries forming the entourage or court of the Pope.
Encyclical: a circular letter addressed by the Pope to all his bishops.
Fédérés: in the Paris Commune, those members of the National Guard who joined the Communards.
Legations: in the Papal States, the provinces beyond the Apennines under the authority of papal legates. Provinces closer to Rome were governed by delegates. Both legates and delegates were clerics. Cities of the Legations were Ferrara, Bologna, Imola, Ravenna, Forli and Rimini.
Legate: An ecclesiastic representing the Holy See. A legate
– always a cardinal – was an emissary sent, for instance, to govern the northern papal provinces.
Motu Proprio: A papal rescript whose provisions were determined by the Pope personally.
Prelate: After the cardinals, prelates occupied the first rank in the Roman Curia. All bishops possessed the dignity and so did prominent officials of the Curia. Various requirements, financial and otherwise, had to be
satisfied by a man entering the prelacy, though he need not be a priest. Once accepted, he was addressed as Monsignore and wore violet.
Roman Republic: the first Roman Republic, set up by the French in 1798, lasted eighteen months; the second, proclaimed by an elected Constituent Assembly in February 1849, lasted until 2 July.
Titular bishop: one deriving his title from a former bishopric lost – often by Muhammadan conquest – to the Roman Church. Curial officials often received such titles
Ultramontanism: the doctrine of absolute papal supremacy. So called because churchmen north of the Alps looked for orders ‘beyond the mountains’ to Rome.
Zelanti: zealots, bigoted papalists, anti-Liberal and anti-reform.
Julia O’Faolain was born in London in 1932. Educated at University College, Dublin, the University of Rome and the Sorbonne, she worked as a translator and language teacher before becoming a writer. Her works include the short story collections
We Might See Sights! and Other Stories, Man in the Cellar
Daughters of Passion
, and the novels
Godded and Codded, Women in the Wall, No Country for Young Men, The Obedient Wife, The Irish Signorina
The Judas Cloth
. She has edited (with husband Lauro Martines)
Not in God’s Image: Women in History from the Greeks to the Victorians.
As Julia Martines she translated
Two Memoirs of Renaissance Florence: The Diaries of Buonaccorso Pitti and Gregorio Dati.
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