festival of San Carlo Borromeo, the veiling of a nun, the worship of the wooden image called “the most Holy Child," idolatrous, Margaret thinks, as that of the Capitoline Jove, the blessing of the animals, the festival of the Magi at the Propaganda,—these events are all described by her with much good thought and suggestion.
She saw the Pope occasionally at the grand ceremonies of the Church, and saw the first shadow fall upon his popularity, partly in consequence of some public utterances of his which seemed to Margaret "deplorably weak in thought and absolute in manner," and which she could not but interpret as implying that wherever reform might in future militate against sacerdotal traditions, it would go to the wall, in order that the priest might triumph.
The glorious weather had departed almost as soon as she had sung its praises, namely, on the 18th of December; after which time her patience was sorely tried by forty days of rain, accompanied by "abominable reeking odours, such as blessed cities swept by the sea-breeze never know." We copy from one of her letters a graphic picture of this time of trial:—
“It has been dark all day, though the lamp has only been lit half an hour. The music of the day has been, first, the atrocious arias which last in the Corso till near noon. Then came the wicked organ-grinder, who, apart from the horror of the noise, grinds exactly the same obsolete abominations as at home or in England, the 'Copenbagen Waltz,' 'Home, Sweet Home,' and all that! The cruel chance that both an English mylady and a councillor from the provinces live opposite, keeps him constantly before my window, hoping for bajocchi.