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BLACK CHAMBER AGAIN.
A FEW days after the incidents just narrated, the following
letters were opened in the Black Chamber of the General Post-Office.
The first was from the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs of
Castelcicala to the representative of that state at the British court:-
"The undersigned is desired by his lordship the Marquis
of Gerrano, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to inform your excellency that the
information you forwarded relative to the Englishwoman Eliza Sydney, has failed
to produce the desired effect. Your excellency stated that Mrs. Arlington, the
correspondent of the said Eliza Sydney, was the mistress of the Earl of
Warrington; and that Eliza Sydney herself had been confined for two years in a
criminal prison in England. Your excellency moreover forwarded the English
newspapers of the time, containing a full and detailed report of her crime and
trial. These statements have failed to produce any effect in a certain quarter,
in consequence of the infatuation of a high personage In respect to this Eliza
Sydney, and the apparent frankness (as the Marquis of Gerrano has learnt) with
which she avowed the entire history of her past life to the high personage
alluded to. It is now of the greatest consequence that your excellency should
ascertain whether Eliza Sydney's conduct has ever been tainted with
incontinence; whether, in a word, she has not indulged in immoral and vicious
courses. The result of your excellency's inquiries must be forwarded by courier
delay; as you will perceive, by the inclosed copy of a ducal
ordinance issued this morning, that the infatuation above alluded to grows to a
very dangerous point.
"The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to
state that the Marquis of Gerrano is greatly afflicted at the perverse and
obstinate conduct of the Prince Alberto, in steadily refusing the offers of a
pension for life made by the Government of his reigning Highness through your
Excellency. The Marquis of Gerrano desires your Excellency to redouble your
assiduity in inducing the Prince to accept the terms proposed, for which purpose
a farther delay of three months will be granted; and should his reply then
continue unfavourable, the Government of his Highness will adopt measures to
ensure the succession to the ducal throne of Castelcicala to a Neapolitan
"The undersigned renews his expressions of perfect
consideration toward your Excellency.
"Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
"July 13, 1839."
The following is a copy of the ducal
ordinance to which reference was made in the above letter:-
ANGELO III., BY THE GRACE OF GOD, GRAND DUKE OF CASTELCICALA.
"To all present and to come, Greeting:
"We hare ordered and do order that which follows:-
"1. The style and title of Marchioness
of Ziani are conferred upon the Signora Eliza Sydney.
"II. A pension of one thousand ducats annuallv shall be
paid to the Marchionees of Ziani from the public treasury.
"III. Our Minister Secretary of State for the Department
of the Interior will execute the first article of this ordinance; and our
Minister Secretary of State for the Department of Finance will execute the
"By the Grand Duke, ANGELO III.
MARQUIS OF VINCENZA,
"Minister of the Interior.
COUNT FP MARCOTTI,
"Minister of Finance.
"July 13. 1839.
The next letter, read in the Black Chamber upon this
occasion, ran as follows:-
"I received your charming letters, my
dearest Diana, and return you my most sincere thanks for the kind expressions of
love and friendship which they contain, and for the advice which you proffer me.
You moreover inform me that you have shown my letters of March, April, and May,
to the Earl of Warrington; and that his lordship approves of the cautious manner
in which I have acted, and recommends me to accept the honourable offer of
marriage made to me by his Highness Angelo III. He [-250-]
assured you that his highness never once insulted me by hinting at the
possibility of a connexion upon any other terms than those of marriage; and when
he proposed a morganatic union, it was merely in accordance with the practice of
many European sovereigns. I however expressed myself firmly to his
serene highness upon this head, stating that, although a morganatic marriage was
perfectly valid so far as the religious ceremonies went, still it was not
strictly legal, and would not please those who wished me well in England.
"In my last letter I informed you that some one had
represented to the Grand Duke my misfortunes in England. Happily this
announcement failed to produce any change In his conduct or views with regard to
me, as I had previously made him acquainted with all those particulars of my own
"In a word, my dearest Diana, his Serene Highness has
offered me his hand, - offered to raise me to a seat by his side on the ducal
throne, -offered to make me his bride in sight of the world. Could I
refuse? or why should I? You ask me if I can love his Serene Highness? Ah! how
can I help revering one who shows such love for me? And then, human nature has
its weak points; and rank, honour, wealth, and distinction cannot fail to
attract even one naturally so retiring as myself. Oh! how pleasant will it be to
possess riches and influence for the mere purpose of doing good!
"Well, then - all is decided I am to be Grand Duchess of
Castelcicala. The marriage is to take place in six weeks from the present date.
The daughters of General Grachia are to be my bridesmaids. As a preliminary step
towards this high honour, the Grand Duke has conferred upon me a title and a
pension. To the world I am now the Marchioness of Ziani: to you, Diana, I am
still, and always shall be - Eliza Sydney.
"I was surprised to learn from you that the villain
Montague Greenwood has succeeded in obtaining a seat in the English Parliament.
Ever since I have had power and wealth in the prospective, I have meditated upon
the best means of protecting others from that villany which he designed against
me, but which Providence so signally frustrated. At length I thought of a plan,
and despatched a trusty person to England a few days ago to execute it. This
person has instructions from me to call upon you on his arrival in England, and
communicate to you my scheme. He is also the bearer of a trifling token of my
sincere friendship and gratitude towards you, dear Diana, and which little token
I hope you will accept for my sake.
"I need scarcely say that you will oblige me by
tendering my best thanks to the Earl of Warrington for the kind advice he sent
me through you, and renew to him the expression of my eternal gratitude for all
he has done for me.
"You shall hear again shortly from your devoted and
"July 13, 1839."
The third letter read upon this occasion, was addressed to
Count Alteroni, Richmond, and ran in the following manner:-
"July 13, 1839.
"Things, my lord, are growing towards a crisis in this
country. No. 29 is literally infatuated with No. 1. He has this morning created
her a marchioness; and in a month or six weeks he will, it is said, espouse her.
There is no possibility of preventing this, No. 29 being quite despotic; and now
his foolish ministers see their mistake in having maintained him in his
absolutism, and refused the country a constitution.
"Number 29, you will understand," interrupted
the Examiner, "evidently means the Grand Duke; and No. 1 represents Eliza
The clerk who read the letter continued as follows:-
"The ministers know not what to do. They are at their
wits' end. I know for a fact that they obtained from England certain information
relative to No. 1, which proved that she had been in a criminal gaol; but No. 29
made no account of it. No. 1 is very beautiful; fascinating in manners; somewhat
shy and reserved; and yet amiable. She is also accomplished. When she first came
to Montoni she spoke the Italian language imperfectly: she now speaks it
fluently ;- and this knowledge she has acquired in a few months. There can be no
doubt that she will exercise an immense influence over No. 29, if she choose to
make use of it. And who knows what a woman, suddenly rising from private life is
the first ducal throne in this world, may do? She does not, however, seem to be
ambitious. Nevertheless, something ought to be done. If this marriage take
place, you are well aware that issue may follow, for No.1 is young; and in
thatcase * * * * I really think that if your lordship were to land
suddenly upon the Castelcicalan coast, without delay, this union might be
prevented. I hinted to your lordship in my last letter the immense ascendancy
gained by No. 1 over No. 29: your lordship's reply astonished me. Your lordship
states that if No. 29 choose to marry according to his fancy, no human power has
a right to control him. With due deference, is not this carrying liberality of
opinion a little too far? Your lordship expresses a determination to trust to
the issue of events, and do nothing that may stand the chance of plunging the
country into a civil war. These self-denying sentiments are no doubt highly
patriotic and noble ;- but is it in human nature to resign without a struggle? *
* * * * In any case I am your lordship's faithful servant, and am anxious
only to execute your lordship's wishes. I therefore await your lordship's
"You have taken copies of these
letters?" said the Examiner.
"Yes, sir," replied the clerk thus addressed.
"Then let them be immediately conveyed to the office of
the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as their contents are highly
And this order was forthwith obeyed.
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