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“Pluck them away instantly, I say,” roared Woodrooffe. “Why do you hesitate? Do you sympathise with these heretics?"
Gently, sirs, gently,” said Rogers. “See ye not she faints. Farewell, dear wife, he continued, kissing her marble cheek. “You can take her now. She will not struggle more. Be of good cheer, my children. We shall meet again in heaven. Once more, farewell."
As his swooning wife and weeping children were taken away, he covered his face with his hands, and wept aloud, but, roused by the angry voice of the sheriff, he lifted up his head, and, brushing the tears from his eyes, marched with firm footsteps into the ring, in the midst of which was planted the stake. No sooner had he come there than a priest advanced towards him, and, holding up & crucifix, besought him to repent.
But Rogers pushed him aside, and, turning to the assemblage, called out, with a loud voice,
“Good people, having taught you nothing but God's holy word, and such lessons as I have learnt from His blessed book, the Holy Bible, I am come hither to seal my faith-with my blood.”
“ Have done, thou false knave?” cried Woodrooffe, “or I will have thy lying tongue torn from thy throat. Make ready. Thou hast detained us long enough.”
"Nay, treat him not thus harshly," interposed the priest. “Again, I implore you to renounce your errors.”
“You waste time with him, good father,” cried the sheriff.
“Not so," rejoined the priest. “ Perchance, even now, Heaven may soften his heart.”
"I pray you let me be,” said Rogers, taking a Prayer-book from his breast, and turning the leaves.
“Thou shalt not read that book," cried the sheriff, snatching it from him. “I will cast it into the fire with thee. Make ready, I say."
On this Rogers went up to the stake, and pressing his lips fervently to it, exclaimed, “Welcome the cross of Christ! Welcome eternal life!”
On turning round, he would have addressed a few more words to the people, but the sheriff, perceiving his design, authoritatively forbade him.
Then one of the men standing near the stake came up and besought his forgiveness.
“Forgiveness for what?” rejoined Rogers. “Thou hast done me no injury that I know of.”
“I am one of those appointed to burn you,” replied the man.
“Nay, then, I freely forgive thee, good fellow," replied Rogers. “And I will give thee thanks also, if thou wilt heap plenty of wood about me.”
With that, he took off his gown and doublet, and bestowed them
upon the man. Then, kneeling down by the stake, he passed a few moments in deep and earnest prayer; after which he arose, and said, in a firm voice, “I am ready." .
Thereupon, a smith and his man, who were in attendance with the sheriffs, stepped forward, and putting the chain around him, fastened it at the back of the stake. An iron hoop was likewise passed around his body, and nailed to the post.
Then the men with the prongs began to pile the fagots around him, mingling them with bundles of reeds.
“Are your fagots dry?” he inquired, as they were thus engaged.
* Ay, marry are they,” replied the man to whom he had given his cloak and doublet. “You shall not be long a-burning, I'll warrant you."
When sufficient fagots had been heaped around him, Sheriff Woodrooffe called for torches, which were brought, but ere they could be applied, the priest again interposed. “Hold yet a moment,” he exclaimed.
Then advancing towards the martyr, who, chained to the stake and half covered by the fagots, regarded him steadily, he displayed a warrant to him, and said, “Here is the Queen's pardon. Recant, I conjure thee, and thou shalt be spared."
“ Away with thee, tempter !” exclaimed Rogers. “I take you all to witness," he added, with a loud voice, that I die in the Protestant faith.”
“ Kindle the pile instantly !” vociferated the sheriff.
Three blazing torches were then applied to the bundles of reeds, and the next moment the flames leaped up and enveloped the martyr.
Many of the beholders shouted and exulted at the terrific spectacle, but groans and lamentations burst from others.
Then the flame fell for a moment, and the serene countenance of the martyr could be descried, his lips moving in prayer. But not a groan or a cry escaped him.
The fagots now began to crackle and blaze. The flames mounted higher and higher, and again wrapped the martyr from view.
At this moment the sheriff threw the Prayer-book into the fire, commanding the assistants to heap on fresh fagots as fast as the others were consumed; and this was continued till the sufferer was reduced to ashes.
Thus died the Proto-martyr of the Protestant Church.
A VISIT TO CAPRERA.
Is the early days of February last, I made up my mind to pay a visit to my old chief in his island home. The next ship of the Rubattino Company, which would touch at Maddalena, the nearest island to Caprera, left Genoa on February 13th, and on the 15th, between eight and nine in the morning, we anchored, after a frightfully stormy passage, in the harbour of Maddalena. The first thing I noticed was the large sailingboat belonging to Menotti Garibaldi, who had come across from Caprera with Ricciotti, and two other companions, to wait for the Sardegna. Menotti came on board, and welcomed us. He wished first to unload the goods brought for him, and then take us over to Caprera.
We went ashore, where we had matters to arrange with the customs, who keep up an insupportable surveillance over the trade with Caprera, and found, to our horror, that Bruzzesi, my old comrade in arms of 1860, whom I had met again on board the steamer, had great difficulty in preventing a silver crown of honour, intended as a Christmas present for Garibaldi, from being temporarily sent to Cagliari. After this was settled, the customs officers demanded dues to the amount of forty-eight francs upon it, but eventually consented to take six.
At length, Menotti sent to tell us that he was ready to start, but, owing to the stormy weather, could only take Bruzzesi and myself with him. Shortly after twelve o'clock we stepped into the boat, and, after an hour and a half's sail, ran in between the reefs facing the palace of Caprera, and effected our landing
I hastened with Bruzzesi up the beach, gazing at the windmill and the stone house, with its older northern wing, and the newly-built façade looking towards the south. The part of the island which belongs to Garibaldi, and all its dependencies, have been so repeatedly described, that I need not enter into any formal details; still, I will ask my readers to accompany me through the rooms. We went through the front door into that part of the old building which formerly served as salon; from there we went through the kitchen to the back part of the house, and passed into the sanctuary of the patient. He at once drew me down to him, and kissed me: I could not doubt but that I was a welcome guest. I had no chance of delivering my numerous messages, for questions and answers rapidly pressed upon each other. I remained for nearly an hour alone with Garibaldi, while Bruzzesi merely went backwards and forFards.
Instead of attempting here to repeat all that we said to each other, I will describe how I found the general. He was much better than I had expected, at least, judging from the photograph which represents him on his sick-bed. The face was that of the Dictator of the Two Sicilies in 1860. Perchance there was a grey hair the more here and there, but I can hardly say that I noticed one more. The expression of the counteDance was cheerful. He was lying on a bed, or a species of sofa, provided with a movable reading-desk: over the red shirt he wore a dress
ing-gown of his own fashioning, a poncho of Turkish stuff, with a green ground, and a fez-like low cap on his head. The room is the same he has occupied always, in the older part of the house, cheerful, and having a southern aspect. Tables, with letters, books, a barometer, a thermometer, &c., stand on either side of the bed.
We had not been long together, when Garibaldi asked about Poland : what news I had? what I thought of the business ? how Prussia and Germany would behave in the matter ?
We returned to this subject at least five times during my stay at Caprera, sometimes when alone, at others in company. It would be a difficult task for me to repeat the different conversations fully, and hence I will only give a general idea of them.
“ The daily papers," I said, “ though generally favourable to the Polish insurrection, are tolerably united in predicting no favourable issue for it.” Here Garibaldi interrupted me with the remark that most of the papers had in 1860 declared the landing at Massala an act of folly which could not possibly be crowned with success.
While allowing this, I expressed the opinion that the papers based their presuppositions on the general state of Europe, which must have a decided influence on the fate of this insurrection in a continental and enclosed country. “The dangers, however, which I feared," I went on to say, “lay principally among the Poles themselves. In the first place, the insurrection had hitherto been one of desperation, and consequently had no regular organisation ; but this organisation it must strive after, if it would triumph. Into whose hands would the organisation fall? I am very much afraid that it will lapse again, as it has done so often, to the aristocratic clerical party, and thus, in all probability, become utterly dependent on Napoleon. Such a result, however, would have the necessary effect of perceptibly cooling the sympathies of Europe for the cause of Poland. What I fear even more, though, is the false application of the principle of nationality, which the Poles will make, perhaps even before they have achieved any certain success. The old frontiers' is one of the Polish hallucinations, but it is a perfect impossibility to restore them, say, as against Germany. Apart from the fact that the principle of nationality is not the highest thing, but that liberty stands far above it, the principle of nationality would be outraged by the demand of mathematical frontiers, such as they existed a hundred years ago, without taking into consideration that the frontiers of civilisation, the only real ones, have been entirely changed. If the old frontiers of Poland, such as they were before the first partition, were to be restored, enormous districts would be torn from Germany which have become entirely Germanised. But to make such a sacrifice on the chance of Poland becoming a mere vassal of France, would be not only absurd but unjust, and opposed to the best interests of liberty and civilisation."
Garibaldi replied that his views were identical with mine, and promised that he would take the first opportunity of exhorting the Poles to guard against the insidious efforts of the reaction, and regard the neighbouring nations as the true friends they were.
" And what will Prussia do ?” he asked next.
" In Prussia," I replied, “a distinction must be drawn greater than elsewhere between government and people. The Prussian nation is occupied with the task of establishing and settling its internal liberty. Through the great intelligence which pervades all strata of society, and the path which the government has selected, it sees, however, that it can leave the greater portion of the task to the ministry. It stands on the watch, and notices how the ministers rush from one unreasonable entanglement into another, and work so zealously to make themselves unpopular. The Prussian press, with the exception of a few reactionary organs, will write most determinedly against any interference of Prussia in the subjugation of Poland, and the ministers will end by being in perfect opposition to the wishes of the people. It is, however, impossible to mobilise any large body of troops for a lengthened period without raising taxes or loans. But these the Chamber of Deputies will not vote, of that I feel assured, and thus the ministry will be placed in a cleft stick, from which they will not easily escape.”
Garibaldi, who was but little acquainted with these facts, and they are, indeed, generally unknown in Italy, understood them, however, at once. He asked me whether it would not be possible to send arms and men out of Prussia into Poland, for the purpose of strengthening the revolution. I replied that this, though difficult, was not impossible, but to what extent it might happen would depend on the position the Poles assumed towards the Germans. The Germans, as a nation, were too nobly-minded to let themselves be turned against the efforts of the Poles, but they would assuredly become lukewarm unless the Poles recognised the enormous difference existing between the German nation and the German governments. If I add that we also talked of the relations of Hungary to Poland, the preceding will contain pretty nearly all that was said about the Polish cause.
Our first conversation was temporarily interrupted by my being summoned to dinner. The order of the day at Caprera, as regards eating and drinking, is this, that in the morning, between seven and eight o'clock, every one goes down to the salon to drink his coffee; at twelve or one the principal meal of the day collects all those who may be staying at the Palazzo Garibaldi; and at seven P.M. supper is served in the same way. Garibaldi does not at present appear at the meals in the salon, but eats on his sofa. During meals all are gay and cheerful; there is no lack of provisions. Caprera itself supplies a few vegetables, but the staple is game, from the adjoining island of Sardinia; and then, too, there are numerous hampers of fruit, preserves, and good wine, sent by friends on the continent. There is only one great want, that of ready money; but no one misses it, for you feel on the island in the happy state of the natural man. Many a sum which comes to Caprera only appears there to leave the island at once for charitable purposes. Two hundred francs which I had brought from a kind lady for the prisoners and wounded of Aspromonte, and more especially for the unhappy deserters from the regular army, immediately departed for their destination.
Garibaldi bad requested me to regard his house as my own, and directed Pietro to give me and Bruzzesi a room. It was on the first floor of the double building. My next step was to have a conference with