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the winter time, and a bitterly cold winter it was.
At L there was an English embassy; and whereas we had only had 50,000 inhabitants at K, we had 80,000 at L. My heart beat with joyful emotion as out of my drawing-room windows I beheld two British youths linked arm in arm and stepping languidly down the pavement in garments vociferous of the genius of Poole. The Germans were all disguised in furs, and were going swiftly up and down the town, with their ears tied down under rabbit-skin pads; whilst these two god-like youths, apparently impervious to heat and cold, sauntered languidly along the pavement, their manly throats bared to the breeze. Instead of a married court, we had a bachelor prince at L, which gave society, so to speak, a lopsided aspect, though it was not, in consequence, without a certain piquancy.
I think it is Thackeray who somewhere tells a story of his having felt himself obliged to cut a friend dead during the space of four years (although the man had once saved his life and lent him 1,7001.,) because he saw him eating peas with his knife. Had one been disposed to take offence at any feats of jugglery with that dangerous weapon at L there would have been ample field for such exception. I remember on one occasion (when it was my inestimable privilege to sup at the serene table,- --an honour to which only twelve could be admitted, because we fed off gold, and the service was only made for a dozen)—I remember, I say, on that august occasion nearly fainting with horror and dismay when I beheld an old man in a gorgeous suit of clothes (painted, padded, dyed, and polished à ravir, and scintillating with orders,) drinking gravy off a knife. A serene highness is, I suppose, pledged to remain serene under any provocation. Our serene highness watched the juggling feat of this old gentleman with perfect placidity, but he ate his own supper after another fashion. But why should I speak of old and ugly men, their feats and failings? Did I not see scores of young and beautiful creatures "doing likewise?" And does not Mr. Thackeray declare, at the same time as he recounts how his sense of duty as an English gentleman forced him to cut the man that ate peas with his knife at some table d'hôte, how he saw the beautiful Hereditary Princess Amalia of PolytausendDonnerwetter use the same weapon in lieu of a fork or spoon at the table of one of her royal relatives, with all the dexterity of an Indian juggler, without blushing?
Two years at L were very much like three years at K. Some slight variations, perhaps, but on the whole no new impressions. We were a little grander at L; we had a diplomatic circle,-exclusive, expensive, ponderous, awful, slow. Officers' wives were not admitted within this magic ring unless they had some special plea to such admission, such as extraordinary birth, wealth, or personal attractions; though this latter would not have counted unless backed up by one or other of the foregoing qualifications. But beyond and without this pompous, expensive, exclusive, slow set to which I have alluded, all was as it had
been at K
"Surely you are unjust," says some candid, impartial friend. I think not. Women have not their proper place in Germany. They are treated as irresponsible beings; they are kept in a state of tutelage, that makes them helpless in emergency and troublesome at a crisis. They have no rational amusements. They are not allowed to share their husbands' and brothers' pursuits. They are thrown back upon themselves or upon each other for society and conversation: they are not their husbands' equals; they do not stand by his side "to warn, to comfort, and command,”—such words would savour to a German wife of blasphemy. They are there to knit and spin, to sew buttons on his shirts and darn his stockings, to iron his collars and pocket-handkerchiefs, and cook his favourite dishes. They are there to drive the "slavey," and do half of the "slavey's" legitimate work. They are there to peel the baked potatoes at supper, and take the scaly armour off the shrimps and prawns. And if they do these things assiduously have they not their reward? Are they not allowed to go to the theatre in the winter, and frequent the coffee-gardens in summer? May they not choose their own gowns (provided they are not too expensive), and have half-a-dozen bosom friends to envy them all these privileges? German girls ought to be companions for German men. They have advantages at school, such as we in England should accept in an ecstasy of gratitude. The same professors that lecture to their brothers and cousins within the university halls or college class-rooms come down from those greater altitudes to teach the young girls and children that we have seen passing to and fro through the streets to school. They are taught regularly, systematically, patiently, conscientiously. A German girl must be dull indeed who is not well-read. Everything is taught, and everything is taught well. Nothing is of itself; a building is not made of one brick, nor a ship of a block of wood; and there are a score of diverse influences working on the outer and inner systems of female education in Germany, of which I have neither time nor space to speak here.
3 Dark Chapter of Austrian History.
ALTHOUGH modern civilization is a fertile nursery of scoundrelism, it is by no means favourable to the culture of the elevated and picturesque qualities which scoundrels formerly had to affect. In an age when capital is plentiful and easily lured by the promise of great and speedy gains, the field of imposture is widened, and the impostor has chiefly to reach his dupes by vicarious means, to the comparative exclusion of the ancient methods of personal influence and intervention. Accordingly, some of our best swindlers have been mere empirics, who have found their account in meetings, puffs, dividends, and the rest of the recognized machinery for gulling an enlightened public. Except in the case of mere retail practitioners, even courage is now scarcely an essential of success. An era of toleration relieves spiritual necromancers from the awful penalties which once dogged the heels of the apostles of celestial enthusiasm and fraud; while financial knaves, if detected and exposed, far from incurring the due punishment of robbery and cheating, are comforted with general sympathy, perhaps applause, elected to seats in the Imperial Parliament, and encou raged to sin once more.
The archæology of scoundrelism reveals the existence of far other accomplishments than these. As the rascal of the dark ages and the Renaissance could not live upon the many, he had to prey upon the few. To win power and fill his pockets, the contemporary of the basilisk and the cockatrice had to insinuate himself into the confidence of grandees, and, like Solomon's spider, to take hold with his hands in kings' palaces. It was not enough for an artist of this school to study the contents of the lexicon of imposture, and learn tricks of thaumaturgy. He must needs be an astronomer, a poisoner, an alchemist, an experienced and plausible courtier, a gay and travelled cavalier. Then, religious quackery being in those days a potent engine of deceit, his aggressive panoply would have been imperfect without as much theological varnish as might enable him, when occasion required, to propound a new heresy or affect the subtleties of mystic and scholastic lore. Besides, as the players at such games, lay or spiritual, were liable on detection to be roughly handled, perhaps to be thrown into a dungeon below the Tiber or the Seine, or privily poniarded in a corridor of the Escurial or the Louvre, scoundrelism could not be profitably professed without audacity, nerve, and self-command, and other refined attributes which might seem to belong less to imposture than to political and diplomatic skill.
Even cheats like Mesmer and Cagliostro exhibited a higher intelligence, and their deceptions were, both in results and apparatus, of a more pictorial cast than the knaveries of recent times. The scoundrelism of an earlier date is more romantic still, and some of its enigmas are amongst the most exciting curiosities of modern history. The adventurer who will concern us at present would fill a conspicuous place in the history specified by Lord Bacon as wanting for jugglers and mountebanks. This was not the century of Ambrose Paré or the Borgias. That paradise of jealous husbands and amorous matrons had departed. Acqua Tofana, deadly gloves, soap, and flowers, had gone almost out of fashion. But the Cavaliere Borri distilled sweet poison of his own "for the age's tooth." In right of his former reputation and his undoubted talents he deserves far more honourable mention than Cagliostro, and is almost a rival of Simon Magus. His spiritual pretensions were, in fact, not altogether unlike those of the illustrious Gnostic, from whose book the modern Italian evidently borrowed an occasional leaf. We shall first sketch the life of the once famous Cavaliere, and then relate in detail the circumstances which have bound up his name with one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the house of Hapsburg.
Francesco Giuseppe Borri was born at Milan in 1627. He came of an ancient family, and claimed descent from Burrhus, the governor of Nero. He studied at Rome, in the Jesuits' seminary, where he was noted for his quickness, his memory, his love of turbulence and intrigue. Afterwards becoming attached to the Papal court, he devoted himself to the cultivation of chemistry and medicine, tempering the monotony of such severe pursuits by the joys of licentious pastime. In 1654 his excesses brought him into collision with the officers of justice, to escape whose grasp he was obliged to fly for sanctuary to a church. Soon he attempted to efface by hypocrisy and imposture the consequences and remembrances of his vices. Abandoning the companions of his former carnal pleasures, he assumed a severe and devout mien, and performed his religious duties with punctuality and ostentation. Next, he privately opened himself to a few inner friends. He was the depositary of the secrets and had been chosen as the instrument of the Most High. Lamenting the corruption of manners which polluted Rome and Europe, he comforted his sectaries with the assurance that God would soon establish a reign of purity upon the earth. He himself was to be the unworthy agent of this glorious change. In the blessed time that was coming all the world would be one sheep-fold, of which the only shepherd would be the Pope. Whoever resisted this inevitable dispensation, would be destroyed by the shepherd. He, Borri, was predestined to be general in command of the carnal armies of the new spiritual fold. Military succour would not fail him, for he had been promised the aid of a competent force of angels, and could particularly rely on the Archangel Michael. Besides, he had other resources in reserve. He was on the eve of discovering the philosopher's stone, and by help of this magic implement
his coffers would never be empty. In the beginning of his spiritual life he had seen a vision and heard a voice. In the night watches it had been revealed to him that he should become a prophet, in sign whereof there appeared to him a palm, all encircled with a glory, as of Paradise. After that the Archangel Michael took post in his heart, and angels came in troops to teach him the secrets of heaven.
But on the death of Pope Innocent X., his successor Alexander VII. revived the tribunals which inquired into the lives and doctrines of innovators and heretics, and seemed determined to purify the faith. Under these altered circumstances of church discipline, Borri despaired of being able to add to his proselytes, and retired to Milan. There he collected a congregation of devotees, who, having sworn secrecy to him, heard the secrets of his mission. He expounded to them how the Son of God had created beings in order to rival his Father, how the Virgin proceeded from the bosom of the Divine nature-how she was a goddess, conceived by inspiration (uninspirata filia), equal in all things to the Son, and present in the sacrament of the eucharist-how in her the Holy Spirit was incarnate. The second and third persons of the Trinity were inferior to the Father. The fall of Lucifer was a punishment for his refusal to worship the Son and the Virgin. The rebel angels had been employed by God to create the elements and the beasts. The soul of beasts is an emanation from the substance of the bad angels, and therefore mortal. Borri likewise taught his disciples certain vows, as suggested by the Archangel Michael. They pledged themselves to poverty,-as a corollary to which every disciple had to deposit all his money in the hands of Borri himself. The sectaries also promised zeal for the propagation of the kingdom of God. The Most High was to reign in person by the aid of Borri, who had received from heaven a sword, on the hilt of which were stamped the seven intelligences. Even the Pope must be slain, if the mark of redemption were not found on his forehead. In celestial revelations, God had granted to Borri a power like that which had been conferred on St. Paul: hence he was authorized to censure the successor of St. Peter. He admitted novices by the imposition of hands, praying the Trinity to receive them into the religion of the Evangelical Nationalists. He likewise called his disciples the Reasonable (Ragionevoli), and ordered his priests, in saying mass, to add to the canon the formula " Uninspirata Figlia."
To such speculations Borri soon added a political element. He prepared to harangue the people of Milan on the abuses of their government, to excite them to insurrection, then to capture the city and the adjoining territories, whence, if opportunity offered, he might set forth on fresh schemes of conquest. But certain of the Ragionevoli were seized by the officers of the Inquisition, as well as some papers which Borri, on hearing of their mishap, had deposited for safety in a nunnery. Hereupon he fled from the city, when the Inquisition delivered judgment in his case, declared him contumacious, and condemned him to be burnt in effigy, together with his books. This sentence was carried out at Rome, in the