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mother for Spain.
At the same time a courier was despatched by the marquis with a letter to the French ambassador at Rome-a letter which contained, among other matters of less importance, this statement "Whenever the fleet and the money of Mazarin arrive off Naples, the Neapolitans are ready for revolt."
Employing the money generously presented to her by Marie Arcos in the manner she proposed, Marie Aniello had been able to provide a more comfortable home than they had hitherto known, at Amalfi, and looked
forward to a happy, peaceful life. Unfortunately, hating the imposition of the government almost as much as did her husband, she permitted herself an act of indiscretion which hastened the catastrophe she so much dreaded. Visiting the city on one occasion she contrived to conceal a small quantity of contraband goods in a bundle, made up to represent a young baby. In the innocence of her heart she imagined that this little deceit would delude the officers of customs. An exciseman is all eyes and The trick was discovered; the offender treated with great severity and lodged in goal. A very heavy fine was imposed.
No words can paint the indignation of Masaniello. But angry words, violent denunciations could not move stone walls or iron bars. The fine must be paid or the wife of his bosom die in goal. He sold everything he possessed, and when the penalty was settled and Marie was free she returned to an empty house and a ruined husband.
Masaniello swore to be revenged. It was his voice that was henceforth lifted up the loudest against the Spaniards; it was he who denounced the Duke of Arcos as a tyrant; he was the orator around whom gathered fishermen, artizans, peasants-he was a king among his fellows, but a king without a coin-a Demosthenes, but a Demosthenes who, for his own sake, had better have been dumb.
The feast of St. Januarius was a great day in Naples: the image of the saint was borne in procession through the streets; the blood of the saint miraculously liquified; the duke and all the court went in state to church, and heard the merits of his saintship; but there was a riot—the duke was insulted by the crowd, the procession scattered, and it seemed that other blood besides that of the deceased saint would run freely that day. The author of this tumult was Masaniello. He was a marked man—a man only to be silenced by a long cord and a short shrift. But Masaniello was not to be found.
Shortly after this affair a tax was imposed by the Government on all fruits and vegetables-the chief food of the people during summer. The gardeners of Puzzoli, the brother-in-law of Masaniello at the head, arrived with baskets of figs and prunes at the gate of the city. The guard claimed the tax; the Puzzolians refused to pay; the soldiers attempted to seize the fruit; the peasants resisted there was a struggle, in the midst of which Soudain, Masaniello's brother-in-law, jumped on a bench, crying, "God gives abundance, and the Spaniards dearth; since I must not live by my labour, the poor shall have it rather than the tax-gatherers ;" and, reversing his basket, he scattered all the fruit on the highway. The children rushed forward, scrambling for the best; the officers denounced the peasants-the peasants boldly defended themselves; the storm was rising, when above the din was heard the clear shrill voice of Masaniello. "Gather up these fruits, but eat them not; rather change them into weapons. See here!" He seized a handful of figs, and cast it in the face of the captain of the Guard. The peasants followed his example with fruit and fruit baskets, stones, and whatever else they could readily obtain, they pelted the officers and drove them from the gates.
On the same evening the custom-house in the market-place was reduced to ashes; the incendiary was Masaniello.
At that time there dwelt in Naples a certain Giulio Genoviuo-half chemist, half-alchemist, philosopher and sorcerer, but known as the Oracle of Naples. Perhaps he knew some of the secrets of Hermes, Trismegistus, Albertus Magnus, Agrippa, Paracelsus; perhaps he might have enlightened the world on the subject of opere solis, or operæ lunæ ; he might have talked all the gibberish of Geber; but better than all, he was acquainted with the insurrectionary plots of the populace, the designs of France, the intentions of Mazarin, the mission of Marquis Châtillon. Without looking into a magic glass, or without recourse to the hocus pocus of his trade, he could have told Duke Arcos that an insurrection was on the eve of breaking out, and that Spain would probably lose her hold of Naples. He was in close correspondence with the Marquis Châtillon; he knew that it was the intention of Mazarin to place Henry of Guise on the Neapolitan throne; and it is also supposed that he knew of the private designs of the marquis, who was to be first minister, and who proposed making the hand of Marie Arcos the ransom of her father. Most of all, he knew that the chief leader of the coming revolt was Thomas Aniello.
It is said that when Genovino first communicated this piece of information to the gay, butterfly marquis, and pointed out to him the fisherman who had little but his fine expressive eyes to distinguish him from those of his own condition, the nobleman affected to scorn the idea,-" What, deliver Naples by the hand of a half naked savage; impossible!"
It was the custom in Naples to celebrate the festival of the Virgin of Carmel, by a species of rude tournament held outside the church erected in her honor. A wooden citadel was built in the courtyard, and the youths of Naples divided themselves into two sections, representing, the one party, Christians, the other party, infidels; the former occupying and defending the citadel, the latter endeavouring to obtain possession, and to plant the crescent. above the cross. All Naples gathered to behold the spectacle, and indeed there was no little interest attaching to their playful passage of arms. The Christians with the cross on their shoulders bore themselves bravely, and acted in the spirit of chivalrous daring. The Saracens fought with great determination-they were heroes worthy On the occasion to which reference is now especially made,
Pione, a fellow of Herculean vigour, who
appeared bent on carrying the citadel at all hazards. The beleaguered Christians were hard pressed, and some of them cried they wanted Masaniello for their leader. The cry was electrical; for the conduct of this young man had made his name familiar to all within the city. "Masaniello," they cried; "Masaniello and the Christians." It was a diversion, and the pagan assailants of the citadel were as well pleased to join in it as the defenders-"Long live Masaniello," they shouted; "death to the Spaniards."
Masaniello was present; but he had resolved to quit Naples, to shun the society of the disaffected, to endeavour amid hard toil but domestic peace, to forget the political and social grievances of his people. When, however, he heard his own name coupled with aspiration for liberty, and with threats of vengeance on the oppressor, his enthusiasm returned, Genovino and Châtillon were ready to add fuel to the flame. They touched him, drew him aside, and as the rude play went on Genovino talked with him of all the wrongs which Naples endured, of the glory which would for ever belong to the deliverer, and the certainty of success if the blow were struck with decision.