Page:Margaret Fuller by Howe, Julia Ward, Ed. (1883).djvu/208

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SIEGE OF ROME.

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abandon him unless a certain sum of money should be sent in prepayment of her services. This it seemed at first impossible to do; but after a while the money was sent, and the evil day adjourned for a time.

Margaret's letters of the 10th of June speak of a terrible battle recently fought between the French troops and the defenders of Rome. The Italians, she says, fought like lions, making a stand for honour and conscience' sake, with scarcely any prospect of success. 'The attack of the enemy was directed with a skill and order which Margaret was compelled to admire. The loss on both sides was heavy, and the assailants, for the moment, gained no inch of ground.” But this was only the beginning of the dread trial. By the 20th of June the bombardment had become heavy. On the night of the 21st a practicable breach was made, and the French were within the city. The defence, however, was valiantly continued until the 30th, when Garibaldi informed the Assembly that further resistance would be usrless. Conditions of surrender were then asked for and refused. Garibaldi himself was denied a safe-conduct, and departed with his troops augmented by a number of soldiers from other regiments. This was on July 2nd, after it became known that the French array would take possession on the morrow. Margaret followed the departing troops as far as the Place of St. John Lateran. Never had she seen a sight beautiful, so romantic, and so sad."

The grand piazza had once been the scene of Rienzi's triumph: “The sun was setting, the crescent moon rising, the flower of the Italian youth were marshalling in that solemn place. They had all put on the beautiful dress of the Garibaldi legion,—the tunic of bright red cloth, the Greek cap, or round hat with puritan plume.