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“Hurrah !” exclaimed Torquato, and ran half madly out of the house, to bring the glad tidings to Francilla.
“How long have I been instructing you?” asked one morning the maestro of his barefooted pupil.
6 Eight weeks, signor."
“I am satisfied with you. To-morrow I will present you to the lessee of San Carlo; you will have to undergo your examination. Take care not to disappoint me, and if you are found competent you will at once become a member of the chorus singers, and will—if you are not idlesoon advance to a higher post. But it is proper time now that you should lay aside the lazzarone, and appear decently dressed like a gentleman."
“ But how am I to begin, maestro?"
“ Have you not got a pair of Sunday trousers instead of these dirty sackcloth ones ?”.
“Sunday trousers I only know by name.”
“An English lord once gave me a pair, but I found them so tight that I threw them into the water.”
“ And how about a coat ?”
“ You are not quite wrong there. In hot weather, one certainly runs about more easily without it, but you must know that an artist cannot run about the street like a dirty vagabond. You will find this evening, with the porter below, a regular wardrobe. Don't forget to fetch it, as I shall expect you here to-morrow dressed as a gentleman.”
* Must I also put on boots ?”
“Of course, stupid. Do you think I could present you as a barefooted artist? You must, moreover, wear a hat instead of that cap of yours ;, that white hat yonder, which I no longer wear, will fit you nicely."
“ Thus attired, maestro, my comrades will laugh at me.” “Don't mind them, but do as I bid you.”
The poor lazzerone began to blubber like a baby." The cap," he cried, amidst weeping, “ was given me by Francilla on my last birthday, and I always wear it in remembrance of her.”
“Well, then, wear it at night when nobody sees you.”
Satisfied with the compromise, Torquato went away, and returned in the evening to fetch his wardrobe, which consisted of the left-off clothes of Rossini.
« Ecce," exclaimed the portly Swiss porter, pointing to a large bundle in the corner, “ you will find in it three newly-washed shirt collars, three neckerchiefs, two waistcoats, one belt with steel buckles, three shirts, one pair of winter trousers, two for summer, two pair of boots, a light-green coat, a white felt hat, four pocket-handkerchiefs, and three pairs of old gloves-total, thirty-six pieces, which your patron, St. Januarius, who is
said to have been a regular dandy, might not be ashamed of. The maestro has togged you out quite smartly, and I congratulate you with all my heart. In the May-green coat you will look like St. Pancratius, while the white felt hat will match it admirably.”
“And why do you laugh ?” asked Torquato, taking the bundle under his arm.
" Because it reminds me of the scarecrow we placed in our vineyards to frighten away the birds.”
“I understand you. You just now said I shall look like St. Paneratius, and as that saint, you know, was of a most liberal disposition, I will imitate him also in this particular, and give a most liberal drinking money.” Saying which, he inflicted a most liberal box on the ear of the wag, and ran out amidst the shouts and laughter of the domestics.
Early on the following morning, long before sunrise, the lazzarone made his toilet for the first time in his life under the free canopy of heaven. After a tedious operation of half an hour, he had at last succeeded in transforming himself into a new man. The boots were much too narrow for his feet, and pinched him so as to give him a foretaste of the thumbscrew torture so prevalent in his glorious Naples. The white felt hat was continually slipping from his thick-haired head, while the corners of his stiff collar looked through his neckerchief like two whitewashed milestones, and his two arms, containing the remainder of his wardrobe, were continually dangling at a distance from his body, as if about to sketch a semicircle. Thus attired, he ran, or rather limped, to the lodgings of Francilla, situated in the remotest suburb of the town, and placing himself under her window, gave his usual whistling signal. The girl looked down, and thought at first to see a perfect stranger before her, and when she at last recognised him, she burst out into such a loud laughter that the poor fellow began to feel uneasy, humbled, and hurt :
“By the Holy Virgin,” cried Francilla, almost screaming with mirth, * how you look! Is it now carnival, that you go about in full masquerade! Say, amico, what means all this mummery?”
" Ah, Francisca," sighed the poor boy, glancing at his boots, “only think to be obliged to walk about every day from morning to night in these pinching leather cases, nor to wear any longer the cap you gave me."
“But you always told me that no one has any right to order you to do anything; what induces you, then, to play such foolish tricks of your own accord?"
* Tricks, Francilla? No, it is the wish of my maestro, good Signor Rossini, who intends to place me in the Opera, that I may earn enough money to marry and make a lady of you."
* He is, indeed, a generous gentleman, and since it is his wish that you should dress more decently, you must, indeed, obey him.”
But what am I to do with this bundle here?” * What does it contain ?" * The rest of my wardrobe which the maestro gave me.”
* Leave it with me, and whenever you want some from it come here, give your usual whistle, and I will throw it down to you."
“You are an angel, and, but for the deuced boots, I might be the happiest creature in the world.”
In a moment the lovely girl was down at his side with two nosegays in hand :
“ Now give me the bundle, and take the nosegays; one is for our dear friend, and the other for you, carissimo mio. Addio, addio, until this evening at the Villa Reale.”
Avoiding the public places where he might be met by any of his companions, our metamorphosed friend made his way to the mansion of Signor Barbaja, whom he found already in the apartment of Rossini, waiting his
“The fellow looks like a grasshopper," observed Barbaja to Rossini, in a low voice.
"Pray speak more respectfully of my pupil. He will soon give you a song, and you will hear one of the most admirable tenor voices. Now, Torquato, approach and lay on, keep proper time, and avoid false notes.” Saying which, Rossini took his seat at the piano, and, after some prelude, the lazzarone began Lindoro's air, “ Languir per una bella— ;" but hardly had he proceeded a dozen of notes, when Rossini stopped, and turning with a scowl to the singer, said: “ What is the matter with you, boy? You sing to-day worse than ever; your voice trembles.”
“I suspect," said Barbaja, laughingly, “the stupid fellow is afraid of
“Oh no,” stammered piteously Torquato; “I cannot sing while my boots pinch me so very much."
The two glanced at them, and both began heartily to laugh.
" Why, blockhead,” said Rossini, “ you have put them on wrongly; the right boot on the left foot, and the left on the right !"
“Ah, if that is the case, allow me to take them off altogether, and I am sure I shall sing all the better without them."
“By all means,” said Barbaja ; " and I have no objection to your taking off even your coat, which seems equally to inconvenience you."
Torquato did as allowed, and resumed his song with such power, expression, and melting melody as to astonish both his hearers.
“ You have done well,” said Barbaja, after the song was finished. “I engage you at once as a member of the chorus, and you may occupy for the present a small back room in my house."
“But what pay is he to have?” asked Rossini.
A few months afterwards, when Rossini's “Othello” was first given at the San Carlo, our lazzarone sang, under the assumed name of Nozzari, the principal air in the opera. His debut as solo singer was so successful, that Barbaja engaged him as first tenor for five years, at a salary of four thousand scudi per annum.
MOTTOES AND COGNIZANCES OF THE PRINCE AND
PRINCESS OF WALES.*
The date at which the ostrich plume and the motto “ Ich dien” were first assumed by the heirs-apparent to the English throne, their first known cognizance being on the tomb of the Black Prince, in Canterbury Cathedral (1376), was the age of mottoes, poesies, and rebus. As much ingenuity was exercised in the framing of these mottoes as has since been expended in the attempts made to expound them. Thus, in this instance, we have Cambden, about two hundred years after the assumption of the motto, arguing that it was assumed by the Black Prince upon John, King of Bohemia, whose cognizance it then was, falling at Creçy, and that as a trophy and sign of victory. Planché, however, says upon this that *Cambden himself did not credit this part of the story, for he goes on to state that the prince himself adjoined the old English word ic dien (thegn), that is, 'I serve,' according to that of the apostle, 'the heir while he is a childe, differeth nothing from a servant.'".
Sir N. H. Nicolas subsequently found on the tomb of the Black Prince the word Houmout, which he considered to be the most important portion of the legend, and which Gosling had already read as significative of “high spirited,' or an 'intrepid warrior.' Rouge Dragon adopted Sir N. H. Nicolas's views as to Ich dien and Houmout forming one complete motto, which he read as “I serve with a high spirit.” (Costumes, p. 182.)
* This portentous word,” to use the language of Dr. William Bell, “ is of very comprehensive compass, and, like the shake of Lord Burleigh's wig, carries with it most prodiguous meaning.” As a Welsh badge, no wonder the inhabitants of the principality have tried to appropriate it. Mr. C. Evans appears to have been one of the first to argue that Ich dien was genuine Welsh, bating the improper spelling of the first word, which ought to be “ vch,” and which “Vch dien” he translated as “ Triumphant in death,” a motto pronounced as highly befitting a Christian prince. Upon this, Sir Francis Palgrave remarked, that "it is only a Cambro Briton who can deny that . Ich dien' is German."
Dr. William Bell agrees, however, with Sir N. H. Nicolas and Mr. Planché that the motto is Flemish; that it must be read Houmout; that it appear as one sentence, and that it was in the Black Prince an adaptation from his mother, Queen Philippa, Countess of Hainault, as an act of filial piety, and which she herself assumed as a mark of humility and devotion to her husband, our heroic Edward III. ; but he divides Houmout into two words, and reads them thus : Hou mout ich dien; in plain Eng
* New Readings for the Motto of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and his Plume of Ostrich Feathers. By Dr. William Bell.
New Readings for the Motto and Armorial Bearings of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, &c. Part II. By Dr. William Bell, Author of “Shakspeare's Puck and his Folkslore."
The Ancestry of the Princess Alexandra of Glücksburg, and her Cognizance of the Nettle Leaf. Supplemental to Mottoes and Crests of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Printed for the Author, 31, Burton-street, Euston-square.
lish, “ How must I serve?” This is certainly a sad falling off from the grandiose ideas associated with the first reading, “ Magnanimitas, fastus, sablatio animi, celsitus animi,” or from the Welsh version, “ Triumphant in death,” but it is not so much so when viewed in connexion with Queen Philippa's motto, as an expression of humble thankfulness for benefits conferred, and as a sequence the grateful query, "What service may I render?” in return for the same.
Dr. Bell also agrees with Sir N. H. Nicolas and with Mr. Planché that the badge of a plume of three ostrich feathers had no connexion with the battles either of Creçy or Poitiers, but that the emblem was derived from the county or province of Ostrevant (John of Bohemia's badge was, in fact, the pinion of a vulture), and was further a rebus of Queen Philippa's hereditary title as Countess of Ostrevant, which she bore before her marriage. The province of Ostrevant was a portion of the dukedom or county of Hennegau, betwixt Douay and Valenciennes, and took its name from having formed the eastern boundary of the Frankish kingdom of Neustria. The abbess of the convent of Denain bore the empty title of Countess of Ostrevant, and the archdeaconship of Ostrevant ennobled a canonry in the cathedral of Arras, till the French revolution swept away alike cathedral and dignity in one undistinguishable ruin. Ostrevant, Dr. Bell reads as Austrasia, Austria, or Autriche, and these again as Autruche, or estrich, called by Shakspeare estridge:
All plum'd like estridges, that with the wind,
i Hen. IV., iv. 1. Vant was the fan of our ancestral dames, who at the court of Edward III. used ostrich feathers for that purpose. (Corryat's Crudities, vol. i. p. 40.) Hence the three feathers may have typified the three bants—Ostrevant, or Ostrebant, Brabant, and Teisterbant. Dr. Bell goes even farther than this. The Emperor Louis of Bavaria, he asserts, juggled Queen Philippa, and in her right, Edward III., her husband, out of their claim to a por. tion of some of the finest provinces of the Netherlands, upon the plea that William IV., dying without male issue, Holland, Zealand, Hennegau, and Friesland escheated to the empire as fiefs; but the possession of the ostrich feathers constitutes, he argues, an inchoate right to the old title and land of what was once Ostrevant. Not so much, we should say, as that the provinces on the tributaries to the Scheldt are geographically, hydrographically, and ethnologically Flemish, and not French
In the second part of his work, Dr. Bell devotes his attention to the quarterings of the Prince of Wales's arms as a Duke of Saxony of the elder branch, and of which one or two ordinaries have been debatable points amongst German antiquaries for the last two hundred years. These are, first, the Crown of Rue; and second, the Black Hen. The origin of the first cognizance has been attributed to the Emperor Frederic, by throwing his chaplet as a mark of difference on the shield of Bernhard von Ascanien, Duke of Saxony. Hönn deemed this heraldic charge to be rather a chaplet than a rue crown, or perhaps a circular bend. Hoffmeister describes it as the ducal diadem with which the princes adorned their head coverings, consisting of a simple circlet, ornamented at its top with leaves like those of the vine; similar ornamentations being found in