Page:Margaret Fuller by Howe, Julia Ward, Ed. (1883).djvu/211

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



Rieti, and her boy there. Thither she sped without delay, arriving just in time to save the life of the neglected and forsaken child, whose wicked nurse, uncertain of further payment, had indeed abandoned him. His mother found him “worn to a skeleton, too weak to smile, or lift his little wasted hand.” Four weeks of incessant care and nursing brought, still in wan feebleness, his first returning smile.

All that Margaret had already endured seemed to her light in comparison with this. In the Papal States, woman had clearly fallen behind even the standard of the she-wolf.

After these painful excitements came a season of blessed quietness for Margaret and her dear ones. Angelo regained his infant graces, and became full of life and baby glee. Margaret's marriage was suitably acknowledged, and the pain and trouble of such a concealment were at end. The disclosure of the relation naturally excited much comment in Italy and in America. In both countries there were some, no doubt, who chose to interpret this unexpected action on the part of Margaret in a manner utterly at variance with the whole tenor and spirit of her life. The general feeling was, however, quite otherwise; and it is gratifying to find that, while no one could have considered Margaret's marriage an act of worldly wisdom, it was very generally accepted by her friends as only another instance of the romantic disinterestedness which had always been a leading trait in her character.

Writing to an intimate friend in America, she remarks: "What you say of the meddling curiosity of people repels me; it is so different here. When I made my appearance with a husband, and a child of a year old, nobody did the least act to annoy me. All