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"Lo s^taUo c'"> aiuto a salire
These are days of sorrow and mourning in the ancient capital of the warlike subalpine kingdom. Turin veils her face and casts ashes on her head, lor her glory is about to go forth from her gates without prospect of return. Other cities have had misfortunes grievous to endure; plague and pestilence have depopulated them, barbarians have sacked and burned, waters have overwhelmed, and earthquakes have overthrown them : but from disasters and ruin they rose again, prouder and more stately than belore, and past misfortune was soon forgotten in the vigor of revival and the sunshine of success. Turin has no such hope to console her desolation. Harder to bear than the greatest of those calamities is the fate that now befalls her. After being the head of the corner, it is doubly cruel to be cast down and rejected by the build
Nkw Siuuks— Vol. 11., No. 3.
er. After having been for centuries the chosen of kings and courts and senates, it is grievous to dwindle into the insignificant residence of a provincial aristocracy. All these losses, all this humiliation, incurred by no fault, but due to merit, the ungracious guerdon of loyalty, valor, and sell-sacrifice. It is because Piedmont has been ever loyal to its kings, valiant in the field, stout-hearted in adversity, and persevering in its enterprises, that Turin now finds itself on the eve of decapitalisation. Virtue, says the moralist, is its own reward ; and among men such may be the case, but here is a flagrant proof that it id not always so with cities.
The Piedmontese have been called the English of Italy, and they have certainly long been greatly in advance of the rest of the country, thanks to freedom, religious and civil, and to its natural consequence, unrestricted and profitable intercourse with nations more advanced in civilization. The refuge, after 1848, of many of the most enlightened and intel
ligent men of other parts of Italy, Turin's increase in size and prosperity has also borne testimony to the benefits of constitutional government. While deploring the disastrous change now impending over her, one can not but wonder at the persistent conviction the Turinese have cherished, that their city would continue to be the capital of Italy whole and united. This might have been possible, had the peninsula accrued to the house of Savoy by right of conquest. Considering the way in which the kingdom of Italy has been formed, it was unreason able to expect that its numerous famous cities should be content, one and all, to waive their claims and doff their bonnets before a traditionless town in a remote corner of the kingdom, with inhabitants only semi-Italian, and whose habitual discourse is in a harsh and barbarous patois. Such an expectation could hardly, one would think, survive calm reflection. Before Rome, it is true, Turin bowed her head and declared her readiness to resign her supremacy. But the transfer to the Capitol was a remote contingency; who could tell what time would elapse ere the tricolor should wave over the city of the Ca?sars 1 Turin has been called upon for an earlier sacrifice, and, great though it be, it is not to be denied that some compensation has already been afforded. It is no small glory to have been the armed hand, civilized and liberating, which has drawn together the severed portions of the fairest of European lauds, which has combined into one state Tuscany and the Sicilies, Lombardy and the Romagna, extending to them all the benefits of example, and inspiring even the ignorant and degraded Neapolitan with a sense of his inferiority and a desire for improvement. One of the most striking features of the change that has taken place in Southern Italy is the progress of education—many schools now open and well attended, where lately scarcely one was to be found. This is satisfactory to reflect upon, but still, for Piedmont, and especially for Turin, the change of capital is hard to bear, the more so as it was decided only two years ago that, until Rome should be acquired, Turin was the most fitting seat of government. If Tuscany be renow ned in the annals of poetry and the art, Piedmont is no less celebrated for
the military virtues and exploits of its princes and people. We live in an age of steel and steam, when the sword is more often in request than the lyre and the easel, especially in a country whose very existence is still disputed, and whose nearest neighbor is a powerful foe. It m:iy be urged that the arsenal rather than the picture-gallery claims the presence of a soldier-sovereign. Cialdini's arguments in favor of the strategical advantages of Florence find opponents among Italian generals not less experienced than himself, and whose military education has been more regular than his. In short, the Piedmontese have much to urge against the change, and it is natural that they should dispute its propriety and justice. The contrivers of the Convention, the Minghetti Ministry, might have found it difficult fully to prepare the minds of the people of this city for the loss of rank about to befall it; but they should at least have endeavored to break the news to them gently, and to spare them the shock of a sudden announcement If they thought themselves justified in concluding a convention of which the change of capital was a condition, without consulting Parliament as to whether that condition were a proper one, they should have taken measures to conciliate public opinion. But nothing of the kind was done—not so much a* a newspaper article in any of the numerous journals then subsidized with the funds of the State. It is still a matter of dispute how the news got out As many believe, the present Secretary of Legation at Paris, a proteye of Cavour's, and who in September last was doing duty at the Italian Foreign Office, communicated it to a friend of his, the editor of a Turin morning paper. The Secretary and the editor are both Jews, and a considerable intimacy existed between them. According to another and more accredited version, Minghetti himself, with characteristic levity and want of foresight, authorized the publication of the change of capital, which was suddenly announced by the halfpenny journal referred to. One morning the Turinese read at every street corner the totally unexpected intelligence that their capital was to be reduced to a provincial town. It is hardly worth while to mention the story circulated at certain Turinese tea-tables, to the effect j that the king's favorite, the well-known i Kosina, to whom he is reported to be privately married, taunted an uncivil • shopkeeper with the coming change. By whomsoever first betrayed, the news came out abruptly, and the shock was electric. But there was no danger of serious disturbances as its consequence, and it was the fault of the authorities, of! the poltroonery of some and the folly of others, that Turin's streets were stained j with blood. "Who would have sup
Eosed," a member of the late cabinet was eard to say, "that the Turinese would' have risen in insurrection'?" They did • nothing of the sort; there was not an attempt at a barricade, and not a firearm was captured from the rioters, if such they may be called, who were chiefly mere lads urged on by a small number of misehievious democratic agents, and whose utmost misdeeds consisted in a few shouts and volleys of stones. In the days of Cavour a more serious demonstration was met by a glance from the window, a smile, and the jest, "My Turinese are merry to-night." But Cavour was of different stuff from the Minghettis, Peruzzis, and Spaventas. Such measures as were taken were calculated rather to provoke and irritate than to soothe.
Instead of allowing the effervescence to subside of itself as it would have done, gendarmes were suffered and encouraged to fire on the people. Numerous victims testified to the combined cowardice, incapacity, and recklessness of human life which distinguished some of the men highest in authority at that disastrous conjuncture. The shameful and most unnecessary massacres of the 21st and 22d of September will long be remembered with indignation and rage in Turin, where they cost the Ministers their places and the King his popularity. Tu.ning from these melancholy memories, let us enter a room whose aspect is probably familiar to not a few who read these pages. A spacious oblong hall, overloaded with decoration in the most superlative modern Italian style. The walls disappear under color and gilding, corpulent Cupids clamber and gambol over them in all directions, resting upon arabesques and clinging to iriv':in;h, while vi'ivLint drrj-o-is re.ir
themselves among wreaths of roses. The arched embrasures of the windows, which, owing to the near approach of adjacent walls, admit, at the brightest season, only a subdued light, are profusely gilt, and partly filled with crimson draperies. The decorators were evidently resolved to leave no plain service whereon to rest the eye: walls and ceiling alike are crowded with figures, flowers, fanciful borders, and elaborate adornments, until the beholder is dazzled and bewildered, and suffers his weary gaze to fall upon the floor, or to stray through the window to the time-stained and weather-worn walls, balconies, and external staircases of the unpretending dwellings outside. Only a professional gilder could estimate the amount, of the precious metal that has been expended upon those walls and cornices; the carmine upon the cheeks of the Cupids would supply the whole corjig de ballet of the Teatro Regio for a long season; rumor tells of the enormous sums, the scores of thousands of francs, that have been disbursed to the cunning artists and artificers who have made this great saloon the gaudiest in Europe. The triumph of their art, the ne plus ultra of their achievements, is displayed upon the ceiling, where all the gods of Olympus are assembled at their revels; where Jupiter 1 quaffs nectar from the hand of Hebe, ; while jealous Juno bends her brows, and the bird of Jove, red lightning in ite clutch, seems to menace the mortals assembled below. It is towards six of the clock ; dinner is in full progress at Tronibetta's; the session is at its height; the hotel is full to its very roof, partly with passing foreigners, but still more with the senators and deputies who have ! come together from all parts of Italy. ! Down the center of the vast room runs the long table ef Mte, prolonged by cross ! tables at the further end, and showing 'not a single vacant place. The hall is sufficiently wide to allow of rows of small tables along each of its sides, and at these dine solitary guests, or groups of from two to four persons. The gilt : chandeliers suspended from the roof and j distributed profusely round the room flame with gas, while a huge vase in the 1 middle of the table supports a system of w.'ixlicjhts. It is t':e l>.: '..e-t Iw.ir of t!m