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There is another remark of a practical kind which it may be useful to make.

The five conditions on which undenominationalists would insist are in themselves of an abstract nature, and nearly all are negative. Assent to them does not necessarily involve acceptance of every possible institution into the statutes of which they may be embodied, and consequently it would seem to follow that the most reasonable course, at the present stage, would be for Parliament to give these principles into the hands of a competent Commission, with instructions to draw out the constitution of a University for Catholics in Ireland on their lines. The work of that Commission should again come before Parliament, and it would be for all parties then to consider it in the concrete. We should have something definite before us, instead of the vague generalities and mere assertions with which we are now engaged. It is quite possible that in such an institution both denominationalists and undenominationalists, while they saw many concessions to each others' preconceptions, not to say prejudices, might also find in its actual constitution practical compensations for its theoretic shortcomings.

And perhaps the Unionist Government, which undoubtedly has weighty responsibilities not only to Catholics, but to all Ireland, on account of this great domestic question, might do worse than appoint such a Commission, and ask its followers to suspend their judgment until its work came before Parliament for ratification.

The only alternative to such a course seems to be to avow, as leading Ministers have avowed, that the Catholics of Ireland have a grievance and must lie under it. Such an avowal may be all very well, but it raises a deep question as to the moral authority of the Government that makes it, and, if so great a wrong is maintained, must assuredly some day or other bring its own retribution.


Bishop of Limerick.

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UNDER a thin disguise, Vittoria Accoramboni is sacrificed, on the altar of literature, in Webster's White Devil.

The "eternally feminine’ heroine of Italian tradition is outraged in the fiend of the poet's creation. The ominous star,' who blazes across the play, a creature whom one of her critics calls ‘masculine for evil,' is a being as unmanly as she is unwomanly in her virulent invective and diabolic instigation to crimes she leaves others to commit.

But the flesh-and-blood Vittoria is, after all, very human. Wayward, sinful in her life, subject to every penalty of her gifts and charms, but restored to dignity in the Christian note of her tragic death.

The old Umbrian town of Gubbio has altered little in appearance since the middle ages; but the palaces where the nobles then lived are now the dwellings of the poor.

The Palazzo Accoramboni, a dilapidated building, is still pointed out, and here Vittoria and her brothers may have been born.

Their mother, Tarquinia Paluzzi degli Albertoni, a woman no less proud of her Roman patrician birth than contemptuous of her husband's provincial nobility, was the evil genius of her daughter's life.

Writers vie with one another in celebrating Vittoria's charms--the classic regularity of her features, her exquisitely fair skin, her golden hair (she was a blonde of the Venetian type), the calm sweetness of her dignified bearing, her language, wit, and vivid repartee, and her talent of fascination.

Like the Princess in a fairy tale, her suitors were numerous, but we are concerned with only one among them—a suitor her father dreaded, and whose intentions he suspected, but whom Tarquinia was determined her daughter should marry.

Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, was one of the most important men of Italy. He was enormously rich, and his estates were vast. In Rome, where he had three palaces, he was immensely popular for his liberalities and his traditional name,

His castles, scattered far and wide, were cities of refuge to his
Pol. XLV-No. 263



numerous kinsmen, a good many of whom enjoyed, under his protection, an undeserved immunity from the penalties of their civil and political misdeeds.

A man of flagrantly immoral life, he was more than suspected of having, in a passion of jealous rage, strangled his first wife, Isabella dei Medici, with the connivance of her brothers.

It would be difficult to explain the mystery of Bracciano's attraction for such a girl as Vittoria. He was fifty, ill-featured, and so hugely corpulent that he had to be dispensed from the customary obeisances in the Pope's presence, simply because he was too fat to stoop. He suffered, moreover, from a loathsome chronic malady, from which eventually he died.

But, such as he was, the love between him and Vittoria was mutual. Perhaps his devotion was the magnet that attracted her young heart, or his high estate dazzled her. But it seems more likely than either that her mother talked her over.

Ludovico Orsini is the only kinsman of Bracciano who appears in Vittoria's story. He was his great cousin's confidant and ally, and a fierce opponent of his suit to her, on the ground of family dignity.

He had been obliged to fly from Rome after he had murdered Vitelli, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Sbirri, on whom he sprang treacherously in the dark. The crime was an act of vengeance, a brother of Ludovico having been killed in a street brawl.

For the next few years he led the congenial life of a bandit; but, when we first come across him as the opponent of the marriage, he was in the service of the Venetian Seignory, and more or less whitewashed.

Later on, out of consideration for services rendered by his family, the Seignory appointed him Governor of Corfu; but this office, as we shall see, he did not live to fill.

Ludovico's apprehensions and Tarquinia's hopes were alike cut short by an unforeseen event.

To shield his child from Bracciano's alarming attentions, and place her under more potent protection than his own, Accoramboni suddenly made her the wife of Francesco Peretti, a nephew of Cardinal Montalto, afterwards Sixtus the Fifth.

The young man was gentle and inoffensive, but in no wise equal in intelligence, or even in birth, to his bride. But, at least for a time, he was a rapturously happy husband. No doubt Vittoria was kind to him. It is the instinctive graciousness of such women that makes everybody like them, and they disdain no one's homage.

Montalto had summoned his sister Camilla, and her son Francesco, from their humble home in Grottomare, to live with him in his Roman Palace.

Into this household, dull, economical, bourgeois, unlike anything she had ever seen, Vittoria was abruptly introduced. But to reign

there as Queen, to be treated like a being of superior order, to win every one's heart, satisfied her, just at first.

The great Cardinal himself became devoted to her, and his affection, sorely tried in the sequel, never altered.

We can picture him as the host who welcomed the bride to his house. A man of about sixty, his head large and a little sunk between his shoulders, his small brown eyes flashing beneath arched, shaggy brows, the face rigid and impassive in repose, but perpetually changing with the play of constantly varying feeling, now gay, genial, affectionate, now terrible with anger.

Everyone knows the legends of the irascibility of Sixtus the Fifth, and it requires no great stretch of imagination to suppose that, when his old-fashioned peasant sister objected to the costly luxuries and refinements the Cardinal bought to please Vittoria, stormy scenes followed.

But other times, other manners. By and by it would be Camilla herself, the Holy Father's sister, who should be charged with trespassing on his bounty, and keeping up ludicrous state.

Vittoria, herself, squandered away her marriage portion on rich toilettes and company. Still worse, she was always surrounded by


Little wonder that another daughter-in-law of Camilla, Maria Damasceni, a paragon of domestic virtue, was soon constantly held up to Vittoria as a model and became her aversion.

Tarquinia was at the bottom of most of the trouble. With what mad end in view she best knew herself, she never let her daughter's interest in the Duke die. Vittoria's maid was her accomplice, a woman afterwards accused of having attracted Bracciano to her mistress by means of a love philtre, and even of having poisoned Maria Damasceni for her.

One charge was as false as the other. Maria died of a slow decline, not from poison.

Neither of these trumped-up charges was, however, even thought of until a crime that horrified the whole of Rome, and justified almost any suspicion, was committed.

One night a pressing message was brought to the gentle, homeabiding Francesco Peretti, entreating him to go out at once to speak to his wife's brother, Marcello, on urgent business. As Marcello was under a cloud, he could only venture out in the dark. The choice of night was therefore not in any way suspicious. But Francesco's mother, foreboding evil, threw herself at her son's feet, and besought bim not to leave the house.

He persisted, went out, and next day was brought home dead, his body riddled with balls.

Under the weak rule of Gregory the Thirteenth, similar crimes were of common occurrence in Rome, pressed to the very gates by

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hordes of bandits recruited from the streets of the city. But the assassination was something more than a family tragedy, exceptional in atrocity and treachery.

Marcello's hand had done the deed, but no one doubted that the Duke was the murderer. Tarquinia, too, it was whispered, was in the plot.

The Duke was formidable. To bring the crime home to him would be to risk plunging the city into the horrors of sanguinary faction warfare, in which, on one or other side, every inhabitant would be implicated, and the end of which it was impossible to forecast.

In this suspense, Cardinal Montalto became the point of anxiety. A consistory had been fixed to take place immediately after the murder. Would Montalto attend, and would he insist on justice ?

Time at least would be gained if, on the plea of grief, he absented himself from the consistory.

He attended it, however, but made no allusion to the crime, except to answer condolences. Afterwards the Pope received him in private, and then he broke down; still he accused no one, demanded no enquiry.

To save appearances, Gregory took the initiative, and volunteered promises of rigid enquiry, and that the offenders should be brought to justice.

This promise was fulfilled exactly in the spirit that gave it birth.

Investigations were made, and duly reported. Then the report was locked up in the Fortress of St. Angelo; and an individual, utterly guiltless of the crime, was accused of it.

The accused man suffered no penalty for the crime committed by another. Before the warrant for his arrest was issued, the fact that he was out of reach had been taken into due account. At a previous date, he had committed certain other crimes, and he was known to be still in the place of refuge to which he had then betaken himself. But the fictitious charge against him was bolstered up by a fable. Pallientieri, it was alleged, killed Peretti in self-defence; he knew Peretti intended to kill him at the first opportunity.

This story was too monstrous for any one to swallow. Every one, who knew anything about Francesco Peretti, knew him to be the least bloodthirsty of men; a man without a grudge against any one, a man whose only offence was his wife's beauty.

Montalto was an apparently calm spectator of this travesty of justice. He said, afterwards, that at the time he left the matter in God's hands.'

In his own household he tried to forget his personal grief in comforting the widow and his sister. But even there he was in a difficult position.

Before the tragedy, Camilla was prejudiced against her daughter

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