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the other, that he was likewise about to delude the ex-viceroy, and that Naples would soon be relieved both of insolent Spaniards and rebellious serfs. These letters were shown to the marquis, who protested that they were forgeries. This refuge of his would not have saved his life, had not Marie Arcos implored the mercy of the governor, and even her prayer might have been disregarded, but for the fact that she was held as a hostage for Masaniello's own wife.
A letter received from his wife, written in the Castel Nuovo, besought Masaniello to treat the ladies with all honour, assuring him that she was herself well treated and would soon be permitted to join him. Marie Arcos she had ascertained from a portrait to be the young and beautiful lady who had befriended her in the church of the Virgin of Carmel.
The letter, accompanied by an official document from the ex-viceroy, promising to exchange prisoners, changed the whole conduct of Masaniello. He furnished the duchess and her daughter with proper attire, and restored to them certain jewels which had been taken from the palace and had fallen into his hands. He also lodged them in appropriately furnished apartments and placed proper attendants at their service. As for Châtillon he was confined in a room in the castle, from which he found means to escape that night.
On the next day a deputation was sent to the ex-viceroy, commanded to treat on what was supposed to be, in popular belief, the charter granted by Charles V. to the kingdom of Naples. It was certainly true that Charles had granted certain privileges to the Neapolitans which had been denied them by his successor, but they were not in any way so great as the minister of Masaniello demanded. The ex-viceroy received the deputation with all respect. Had they arrived from the accredited agents of some powerful monarch, they could not have been more courteously entertained. The fisherman-elected to governorship by the public voicewas always spoken of by the ex-viceroy as Signor Masaniello. His bravery and prudence were alike extolled, and the members of the deputation were doubtless of opinion that the late viceroy himself was a far more agreeable person than they had ever supposed. The terms of the treaty were that Marie Aniello should be exchanged for the duchess and Marie Arcos, that the restoration should take place with becoming ceremony on the previous day, and that all honour should be paid to the ladies on both sides. It was further agreed that full immunity should be granted to all persons engaged in the late revolt; that all obnoxious taxes-which, indeed, in
cluded all fiscal imposts-should be at once and for ever abolished, and that Signor Masaniello should be perpetual Governor of Naples under authority of his serene majesty Philip. IV. of Spain and his excellency the viceroy.
The deputation were ignorant that the "Imbecile," the rat-catcher, had that morning conveyed letters of assurances to the viceroy that a fleet and army under Don John of Austria would shortly be in the Bay of Naples to execute royal authority and suppress the rebellion.
Terms of the treaty having been agreed on, and mutual courtesies exchanged, the deputation returned to Naples, and bells were rung and salvoes of artillery discharged; all the city rejoiced, excepting the "Band of Death," and especially Luzzano their lieutenant. He troubled his long black moustache considerably that day,-a habit with him when annoyed. So on the day following there were public rejoicings throughout the city, and in gorgeous procession Masaniello, clothed in a doublet of gold with a cloak of crimson velvet, and a plumed hat, jewelled, rode by the side of the ladies, and conducted them amidst the greatest enthusiasm to the church of Carmel. There they were met by the Cardinal Archbishop and a long train of ecclesiastics with all becoming homage, and there also they were formally introduced to the ex-viceroy; and best of all for the poor Fisherman, Marie, his beloved wife, was given to his embrace. There was a solemn service, high mass, and a sermon, and after this a public proclamation of the treaty, and official signing and other stately routine, and then after that a grand procession through the city, where the wife of Masaniello saw many terrible evidences of what had occurred, and in the conduct of her husband-so unlike the simple fisherman to whom she had plighted her troth-she noticed a terrible change, for which at the time she had no means of accounting. Luzzano troubled his
moustache, and swore no good would come of this.
In the records of famous sieges we often read of the besieged and the besiegers undermining one another, burrowing in the earth like moles and forming subterraneous passages beneath subterraneous passages, and secret penetralia-storehouses of explosive powder-beneath all these. It was
so with the plots and counter plots which at that time undermined Naples. Masaniello stands alone as the man who was honest. He meant freedom to the oppressed, death to the despot, and he was not subtle enough to compete with friends or foes. He, poor simple soul, was working on the surface in the open day, but there were men of pick and
shovel deep down in the darkness. Here had Châtillon been swearing that the French meant nothing but friendly alliance, and here was Guise approaching to claim the crown. Here was Arcos swearing to a new and liberal constitution, and here was Don John with fourteen ships and six thousand men coming to tear the constitution into fragments and to give those who had complained good cause of complaint. To and fro among them all goes greasy, tattered Basilo, looking for rats;—and eyeing them all askance is Luzzano-lieutenant of the Band of Death, who sees himself and his brave companions in arms slighted by this peace and pageant, and the very aim and object of the revolt hopelessly defeated.
After the rejoicings were over Masaniello returned with his wife to the house he had occupied in the market, and there she saw with fear and grief the cause of the strange change which she had observed in him throughout the day. He was insane. Her voice soothed him; but when that influence was not exerted he would become frantic, dangerous to himself, dangerous to others, even dangerous to her whom he loved better than life. It was with difficulty she induced him to leave the house in the market, where he was continually beset by enthusiastic multitudes whom he was called on to address and with whom he was still an idol. The populace could not ascertain within a few hours how hollow was the truce they had made. But in the peaceful tranquillity of Amalfi to which Masaniello was induced to retire, Marie hoped and prayed for his restoration. Alas! for her, the Dictator of the people was not permitted the indulgence of rest or peace. The French emissaries were still endeavouring to incite the people to revolt against the Spaniards; the Spaniards, it was said, were only waiting an opportunity to devastate the country and take vengeance on all who had been engaged in the late revolt. Masaniello was summoned to Naples as its Governor. He returned, accompanied by his wife and her brother, but he was a changed man. Received by the Spanish authorities with all honour, and by the populace with enthusiasm, he cast aside the simplicity of his former life and played the despot with no feeble power.
Expressing indignation at the murmurs of the people, accusing them both of ingratitude and treachery, he beheaded one hundred of them in a single day. He then ordained silence on all political matters on pain of death; a particular length of garment for women on pain of so many stripes; a fixed price for bread under heavy penalties. He resolved on converting his house into a palace, and for this purpose ordered the demo
lition of all the buildings in the neighbourhood. When he passed through the city he commanded a blood-red flag to be borne before him, and the bells to be sounded from all the churches, as they were when the Host was carried in procession. He introduced a poll tax, payable at sight, and erected public gibbets in all the chief places of the city. Invited by Duke Arcos to a public entertainment, he accused the viceroy of an attempt to poison him. From being the leader and the true friend of the people he became their worst foe. He was an Ishmael-his hand against every man -and as a very natural result every man's hand was soon against him. Some forsook him and went over to the cause of France; others adhered to the Spaniards; others again supported Luzzano-lieutenant of the Company of Death-the recognised leader of the revolutionary party.
The end of Masaniello the tyrant was at hand. Those who knew the man sincerely pitied him, for he was mad-mad as ever was raging lunatic shut up within four stone walls. But mad or sane mattered not to those who suffered from his cruelty.
Two or three days sufficed so to arouse the indignation of the Neapolitans that, headed by Luzzano, they beset the house of the governor. Masaniello was sitting with his wife, soothed by her voice as she talked or sang to him, when the tramp of feet, the clash of arms aroused him. He rose, gazed wildly around him, and essayed to go forth, but Marie restrained him by soft persuasion, trembling for the result. She heard his name coupled with cries of vengeance; he heard his name only, and supposed, as the flush came on his cheek and his eyes kindled, that they called him to be their leader-that they summoned him as their champion.
A few heavy blows on the door, and the house was flooded with "avengers." They called to him to come forth, and Marie in vain attempted to restrain him. He would listen to no entreaty-it was the call of duty-the voice of God-he passed by her and stood, she still clinging to him, before the infuriated multitude. They were flushed with passion-they were bent on his destruction-some new atrocity had recently been committed in his name-the fleet of Don John was in sight -they regarded him now as a traitor as well as a tyrant-and nothing but his blood would satisfy their vengeance.
Masaniello stood before them calmly, saying:
"What would you, my faithful people-what would you with me?” A butcher struck at him with a cleaver-a sturdy Vulcan brandished his sledge-a fellow in the front took steady aim and fired his arquebus.
Masaniello fell mortally wounded.
"Traitors-ungrateful men-my well-beloved-my people!"
They were his last words.
So perished this fisherman-a brave true man at heart, but with no capacity for government.
The avengers rejoiced over the body of the man who had been their idol. So fickle is popular applause, that, as he fell, while shouts of triumph rang through his home, there were those who repented of the deed, and would, had it been possible, have restored the murdered man to life. Under the iron rule of the Spaniards, which was speedily restored,