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Considering all things, Coningsby and his friends exhibited a great deal of self-command; but they were gay, even to the verge of frolic. But then the occasion justified it, as much as their youth. All were in high spirits. Madame Colonna declared that she had met nothing in England equal to Montem; that it was a Protestant Carnival; and that its only fault was that it did not last forty days.

Though their fiefs in Romagna and the March were still held but loosely, though their provinces swarmed with petty despots who defied the Papal authority, and though the princely Roman houses of Colonna and Orsini were still strong enough to terrorise the Holy Father in the Vatican, it was now clear that the Papal See must in the end get the better of its adversaries, and consolidate itself into a first-rate Power.

The tradition that they used to meet often in the little Church of Saint Sylvester, behind the Colonna gardens, rests upon the fact that they once held a consultation there in the presence of Francesco d'Olanda, a Portuguese artist, when Vittoria was planning the Convent of Saint Catherine, which she afterwards built not very far away.

He afterwards sent a cordelier to every one of the prisoners to administer the sacraments, and then ordered the Capitol bell to be tolled. At that fatal sound and the sight of the confessors, the Lords no longer doubted of sentence of death being passed upon them. They all confessed except the old Colonna, and many received the communion.

The utter prostration and despair of these dastard criminals so unlike the knightly nobles of France and England, has been painted by the historian in odious and withering colours. The old Colonna alone sustained his impetuous and imperious character.

Had I wished to save the life of this lawless pander to the cruelty of Cosmo, I saw no expedient which would not expose my valued friend to imminent and deadly peril; and could I for a moment hesitate between the chivalrous, the princely Colonna, so unrivalled in form and feature, so elevated and pure in sentiment, so eminently fitted, by his high intelligence, his glowing diction, and his kindling, all-impelling energies, to rouse a better, higher, nobler spirit, in all who came within the sphere of his activity could I pause an instant between this first of nature's nobles and the base Barozzo, who, inaccessible to pity, and fortified against all compunction by years of crime, had, unprovoked, and with the malice of a demon, destroyed the best and bravest of the sons of Florence?

Of those great villas and gardens there remain the Colonna, the Rospigliosi and the Quirinal, by far the largest of the three, and enclosing between four walls an area almost, if not quite, equal to the Pincio. The great palace where twenty-two popes died is inhabited by the royal family of Italy and crowns the height, as the Vatican, far away across the Tiber, is also on an eminence of its own.

Those ever-renewed snatches and remembered refrains of songs, Venetian and Neapolitan, like a sponge passed over a Giorgione, brought out the mellow richness of Italy, and as he paced Broadway and hummed a tender melody, he walked where Vittoria Colonna had trod, and heard the faint beat of oars upon moonlit Como.

'And Madame must be highly gratified by all this? observed Mr. Rigby, with an enquiring accent. He was dying to learn how she had first received the intelligence, and congratulated himself that his absence at his contest had preserved him from the storm. 'Madame Colonna knows nothing of our intentions, said Lord Monmouth.

Colonna ascended a sheep-path, and crossed the mountain to regain his boat, while I returned by a circuitous road to the villa, leaving the governor of Candia and his retinue to the vultures of the Apennine, which, with unerring ken, had espied the dead Greeks, and were already sailing in wide eddies high above the scene of blood.

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