‘You ought to speak of him with more respect,’ said I; ‘I have heard say that he has done good service to your See.’

‘Oh yes,’ said the man in black; ‘he has done good service to our See, that is, in his way; when the neophytes of the Propaganda are to be examined in the several tongues in which they are destined to preach, he is appointed to question them, the questions being first written down for him, or else, he! he! he! - Of course you know Napoleon’s estimate of Mezzofante; he sent for the linguist from motives of curiosity, and after some discourse with him, told him that he might depart; then turning to some of his generals he observed, "Nous avons eu ici un exemple qu’un homme peut avoir beaucoup de paroles avec bien pen d’esprit."’

‘You are ungrateful to him,’ said I; ‘well, perhaps, when he is dead and gone you will do him justice.’

‘True,’ said the man in black; ‘when he is dead and gone, we intend to erect him a statue of wood, on the left-hand side of the door of the Vatican library.’

‘Of wood?’ said I.

‘He was the son of a carpenter, you know,’ said the man in black; ‘the figure will be of wood for no other reason, I assure you; he! he!’

‘You should place another statue on the right.’

‘Perhaps we shall,’ said the man in black; ‘but we know of no one amongst the philologists of Italy, nor, indeed, of the other countries inhabited by the faithful, worthy to sit parallel in effigy with our illustrissimo; when, indeed, we have conquered these regions of the perfidious by bringing the inhabitants thereof to the true faith, I have no doubt that we shall be able to select one worthy to bear him company - one whose statue shall be placed on the right hand of the library, in testimony of our joy at his conversion; for, as you know, "There is more joy," etc.’

‘Wood?’ said I.

‘I hope not,’ said the man in black; ‘no, if I be consulted as to the material for the statue, I should strongly recommend bronze.’

And when the man in black had said this, he emptied his second tumbler of its contents, and prepared himself another.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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