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who had entered into the plot to poison Sister Calidonia.

Umilia was duly immured, and bore her punishment until the year 1616, at which time the sentence expired. But she was not released for another two years; for she persistently refused to humble herself, or to request that liberation as a grace which was her due in justice. Nor would she submit to the shame of being seen about the convent without her monastic habit. Finally, in 1618, she obtained freedom and restoration to her privileges as a nun of S. Chiara. It may be added, as a last remark, that, when the convent was being set to rights, Umilia's portrait in the character of S. Ursula was ordered to be destroyed, or rendered fit for devout uses by alterations. Any nun who kept it in her cell incurred the penalty of excommunication. In what year Umilia died remains unknown.

The Cenci.

Shifting the scene to Rome, we light upon a group of notable misdeeds enacted in the last half of the sixteenth century, each of which is well calculated to illustrate the conditions of society and manners at that epoch. It may be well to begin with the Cenci tragedy. In Shelley's powerful drama, in Gucrrazzi's tedious novel, and Scolari's digest, the legend of Beatrice Cenci has long appealed to modern sympathy. The real facts, extracted from legal documents and public registers, reduce its poetry of

horror to comparatively squalid prose. Yet, shorn of romantic glamour, the bare history speaks significantly to a student of Italian customs. Monsignore Cristoforo Cenci, who died about the year 1562, was in holy orders, yet not a priest. One of the clerks of the Apostolic Camera, a Canon of S. Peter's, the titular incumbent of a Roman parish, and an occupant of minor offices about the Papal Court and Curia, he represented an epicene species, neither churchman nor layman, which the circumstances of ecclesiastical sovereignty rendered indispensable. Cristoforo belonged to a good family among that secondary Roman aristocracy which ranked beneath the princely feudatories and the Papal bastards. He accumulated large sums of money by maladministration of his official trusts, inherited the estates of two uncles, and bequeathed a colossal fortune to his son Francesco. This youth was the offspring of an illicit connection carried on between Monsignore Cenci and Beatrice Amias during the lifetime of that lady's husband. Upon the death of the husband the Monsignore obtained dispensation from his orders, married Beatrice, and legitimated his son, the inheritor of so much wealth. Francesco was born in 1549, and had therefore reached the age of thirteen when his father died. His mother, Beatrice, soon contracted a third matrimonial union; but during her guardianship of the boy she appeared before the

i Francesco Conci e la sua Famiglia. Per A. Bertolotti, Firenze, 1877.

FRANCESCO CENCI.

347

courts, accused of having stolen clothing from his tutor's wardrobe.

Francesco Cenci disbursed a sum of 33,000 crowns to various public offices, in order to be allowed to enter unmolested into the enjoyment of his father's gains: 3,800 crowns of this sum went to the Chapter of S. Peter's. He showed a certain precocity; for at the age of fourteen he owned an illegitimate child, and was accused of violence to domestics. In 1563 his family married him to Ersilia, a daughter of the noble Santa Croce house, who brought him a fair dowry. Francesco lived for twentyone years with this lady, by whom he had twelve children. Upon her death he remained a widower for nine years, and in 1593 he married Lucrezia Petroni, widow of a Roman called Velli. Francesco's conduct during his first marriage was not without blame. Twice, at least, he had to pay fines for acts of brutality to servants; and once he was prosecuted for an attempt to murder a cousin, also named Francesco Cenci. On another occasion we find him outlawed from the States of the Church. Yet these offences were but peccadilloes in a wealthy Roman baron; and Francesco used to boast that, with money in his purse, he had no dread of justice. After the death of his wife Ersilia, his behavior grew more irregular. Three times between 1591 and 1594 he was sued for violent attacks on servants; and in

• He was afterwards forced, in 1990, to disgorge a second sum of 25.000 crowns.

February of the latter year he remained six months in prison on multiplied charges of unnatural vice. There was nothing even here to single Francesco Cenci out from other nobles of his age. Scarcely a week passed in Rome without some affair of the sort, involving outrage, being brought before the judges. Cardinals, prelates, princes, professional men and people of the lowest rank were alike implicated. The only difference between the culprits was that the rich bought themselves off, while the destitute were burned. Eleven poor Spaniards and Portuguese were sent to the stake in 1578 for an offence which Francesco Cenci compounded in 1594 by the payment of 100,000 crowns. After this warning and the loss of so much money, he

grew more circumspect, married his second wife Lucrezia, and settled down to rule his family. His sons caused him considerable anxiety. Giacomo, the eldest, married against his father's will, and supported

· Prospero Farinaccio, the advocate of Cenci's murderers, was himself tried for this crime (Bertolotti, op. cit. p. 104). The curious story of the Spanish soldiers alluded to above will be found in Mutinelli, Stor. Arc. vol. i. p. 121. See the same work of Mutinelli, vol. i. p. 48, for a similar prosecution in Rome 1566; and vol. iv. p. 152 for another involving some hundred people of condition at Milan in 1679. Compare what Sarpi says about the Florentine merchants and Roman cinedi in his Letters, date 1609, vol. i. p. 288. For the manners of the Neapolitans, Vita di D. Pietro di Toledo (Arch. Stor. It., vol. ix. p. 23). The most scandalous example of such vice in high quarters was given by Pietro de' Medici, one of Duke Cosimo's sons. Gallussi, vol. v. p. 174, and Litta's pedigree of the Medici. The Bandi Lucchesi, ed. S. Bonghi, Bologna, 1863. Pp. 377-381, treats the subject in full; and it has been discussed by Canello, op. cit. pp. 20–23. The Artes Jesuiticæ, op. cit. Articles 62, 120, illustrate casuistry on the topic.

THE SONS OF FRANCESCO CENCI.

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hiinself by forging obligations and raising money. Francesco's displeasure showed itself in several lawsuits, one of which accused Giacomo of having plotted against his life. The second son, Cristoforo, was assassinated by Paolo Bruno, a Corsican, in the prosecution of a love affair with the wife of a Trasteverine fisherman. The third son,

Rocco, spent his time in street adventures, and on one occasion laid his hands on all the plate and portable property that he could carry off from his father's house. This young ruffian, less than twenty years of age, found a devoted friend in Monsignore Querro, a cousin of the family well placed at court, who assisted him in the burglary of the Cenci palace. Rocco was killed by Amilcare Orsini, a bastard of the Count of Pitigliano, in a brawl at night. The young men met, Cenci attended by three armed servants, Orsini by two. A single pass of rapiers, in which Rocco was pierced through the right eye, ended the affair.

In addition to his vindictive persecution of his worthless eldest son, Francesco Cenci behaved with undue strictness to the younger, allowing them less money than befitted their station and treating them with a severity which contrasted comically with his own loose habits. The legend which represents him as an exceptionally wicked man, cruel for cruelty's sake and devoid of natural affection, receives some color from the facts. Yet these alone are not sufficient to justify its darker hues, while they amply

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