having taken leave of a silly English fellow - a limping parson of the name of Platitude, who, they said, was thinking of turning Papist, and was much in his company; I was standing behind the pillar of a piazza, and as he passed he was laughing heartily. O he was a strange fellow, that same red-haired acquaintance of ours!

‘After we had been at Rome about six weeks our old friend the priest of Naples arrived, but without his subordinate, for whose services he now perhaps thought that he had no occasion. I believe he found matters in our family wearing almost as favourable an aspect as he could desire: with what he had previously taught them and shown them at Naples and elsewhere, and with what the red- haired confederate had taught them and shown them at Rome, the poor young ladies had become quite handmaids of superstition, so that they, especially the youngest, were prepared to bow down to anything, and kiss anything, however vile and ugly, provided a priest commanded them; and as for the old governor, what with the influence which his daughters exerted, and what with the ascendency which the red-haired man had obtained over him, he dared not say his purse, far less his soul, was his own. Only think of an Englishman not being master of his own purse! My acquaintance, the lady’s maid, assured me that, to her certain knowledge, he had disbursed to the red-haired man, for purposes of charity, as it was said, at least one thousand pounds during the five weeks we had been at Rome. She also told me that things would shortly be brought to a conclusion - and so indeed they were, though in a different manner from what she and I and some other people imagined; that there was to be a grand festival, and a mass, at which we were to be present, after which the family were to be presented to the Holy Father, for so those two priestly sharks had managed it; and then . . . she said she was certain that the two ladies, and perhaps the old governor, would forsake the religion of their native land, taking up with that of these foreign regions, for so my fellow-servant expressed it, and that perhaps attempts might be made to induce us poor English servants to take up with the foreign religion, that is herself and me, for as for our fellow-servant, the other maid, she wanted no inducing, being disposed body and soul to go over to it. Whereupon I swore with an oath that nothing should induce me to take up with the foreign religion; and the poor maid, my fellow-servant, bursting into tears, said that for her part she would die sooner than have anything to do with it; thereupon we shook hands and agreed to stand by and countenance one another: and moreover, provided our governors were fools enough to go over to the religion of these here foreigners, we would not wait to be asked to do the like, but leave them at once, and make the best of our way home, even if we were forced to beg on the road.

‘At last the day of the grand festival came, and we were all to go to the big church to hear the mass. Now it happened that for some time past I had been much afflicted with melancholy, especially when I got up of a morning, produced by the strange manner in which I saw things going on in our family; and to dispel it in some degree, I had been in the habit of taking a dram before breakfast. On the morning in question, feeling particularly low spirited when I thought of the foolish step our governor would probably take before evening, I took two drams before breakfast; and after breakfast, feeling my melancholy still continuing, I took another, which produced a slight effect upon my head, though I am convinced nobody observed it.

‘Away we drove to the big church; it was a dark misty day, I remember, and very cold, so that if anybody had noticed my being slightly in liquor, I could have excused myself by saying that I had merely taken a glass to fortify my constitution against the weather; and of one thing I am certain, which is, that such an excuse would have stood me in stead with our governor, who looked, I thought, as if he had taken one too; but I may be mistaken, and why should I notice him, seeing that he took no notice of me? so away we drove to the big church, to which all the population of the place appeared to be moving.

‘On arriving there we dismounted, and the two priests, who were with us, led the family in, whilst I followed at a little distance, but quickly lost them amidst the throng of people. I made my way, however, though in what direction I knew not, except it was one in which everybody seemed striving, and by dint of elbowing and pushing I at last got to a place which looked like the aisle of a cathedral, where the people stood in two rows, a space between being kept open by certain strangely-dressed men who moved up and down with rods in their hands; all were looking to the upper end of this place or aisle; and at the upper

  By PanEris using Melati.

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