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head next the wall, when what should we find
but a large hole through which all the wine had
been abstracted. Who had done it? The crowd
outside quickly hit upon the culprit, for we
heard them cry, "That's Polzue! Bravo, Polzue!"
We examined the remains of the seals upon the
door, and satisfied ourselves they had not been
tampered with, and for a long time could not
make out how the rascal had managed to suck
the monkey, as sailors call it. But when we
went next door the mystery was explained.
Polzue was a little cobbler who assisted in rolling
the hogshead into the store, and had watched
his opportunity to break through the lath and
plaster partition dividing the store from his
shop. Some months previously he had left the
town, and glad all parties were to get rid of
him, for he had taken to habits of drunkenness,
and made himself a nuisance to the neighbourhood.
But he had first finished our hogshead
of claret.

Uncle Sam enjoyed the joke amazingly, but
Lawyer Tregarthen and the exciseman felt much
hurt, and threatened all the terrors of the law and
the revenue. "Who drank the claret?" has
passed into a proverb in our little out-of-the-
way Cornish town ever since.


THE Baron Bureaucrat, Envoy Extraordinary
of the Most Christian King, is of the mystic
"bund" diplomatic, and an accredited chrysalis
living in a cocoon of protocols. Periodically,
he takes his turn on the crank plenipotential,
and regularly lets himself be tightened into a
gorgeous prison jacket, like Mr. Reade's criminals,
choking splendidly. I am bound to say
having seen him on public occasions, with the
gold daubed on profusely, and the orders nailed
on firmly to his wooden chest, and the stiff patent
saw which he wears as collarthat he makes up
as about the best doll of the party.

The order of precedence throws him next to
the great Panjam of France. He is, in a manner,
handcuffed to that awful representative; and
the eldest son of the Church and the most
Christian king may be said to be chummed
together, vicariously.

Curious to say, though the noble baron has
been sojourning here in Rome, some six or eight
months, we cannot be taken to be officially cognisant
of his being. We have all seen him doing his
puppet's business in the public shows in which
parts he is more than respectablebut we cannot
be said to be aware of his existence. He
has not been born to us plenipotentially; and
until he has passed through the formal rite
customary, we shall obstinately disbelieve in him.

At last, on one clear night, a carriage trundles
me noisily into the broad Piazza di Venezia,
where the genuine plenipotentiary dwells in
state, and where the possible one has cons,
to undergo the probationary rite. There is to
be jubilee to-night. The newly-made ambassador
will be at home to all the world. Decent apparel
is the only necessary passport.

I suppose there is no accredited man of
protocols who lays his head in so grand and
mediæval a fortress as that Palazzo di Venezia.
To look on that bare still waste of wall, capped
with battlements, stretching away down a
whole side of an open square, and then running
on still further down a narrow squeezed passage
where you cannot pursue it furthera great blank
chilling bit of desolation, with tremendous
accommodation in the way of chambers,
dungeons, chapels, and what notthis spectacle
is, in the open daylight, one of the most sombre
and suggestive; for it sets us galloping back a
byroad ot history (without reference to the crimson
Koran of Murray the prophet) to the fiercer
days when it harboured the representative of
the magnificent Lion of St. Mark. But at
night, as I see it now from the carriage window,
it rises, a dark mysterious fastness, its
battlements standing out clear and defined
against a dull blue sky, wonderfully like to the
operatic castles disclosed at the opening of the
third act, where the wicked Basso lives, and the
two sentries pace to and fro, with their tin armour
glinting fitfully in the moonlight. Every window
has a line of flaring lamps upon its sill, which
marks out so many yellow bands, and lights the
old grey waste in a sort of mournful fashion.
In front, in the open place, crammed thickly
with the dark figures ot the populace, are two
enormous orchestras garnished with wildly
flickering torches, and crowded with good players,
discoursing exquisite operatic music under the
moonlight. The strangest, most Dantesque effect,
for one looking from the carriage! A true
mediæval, semi-barbaric savour in this kind of feudal
entertainment of the populace. For, it is
rigorously enacted that these noble signors, while
doing honour to the higher classes, must also
furnish Panem et circenses, in this musical shape,
to the mob. Very weird-like and fitful show
the ranks of faces looking upwards, turned to
flaming red in the glare of the torches; and
the musicians raised aloft among the lights;
and the carriages rolling in and out at the fiery
archwaya perfect blaze of illuminationand
the pale horsemen in their white cloaks, like
mounted Dominicans, plunging among the dark
figures, shouting hoarsely, and flashing their
swords; the old fortress looming out solemnly
behind. A scattering of gravel, a tramping
of restive horses, a banging of steps, and I
am discharged at the fiery arch in a miscellany
of guards, servants, and scarlet carpeting, and
blaze of light.

Ranks of the great Liveried look down expectant
from the top of the scarlet stair, up which
make progress, a company of golden puppets
illustrious Panjamsmilitary, civil, and with
a sprinkling of the great Diplomatic Beflapped
while, at the top, the Liveried Interest waves you
on gracefully into the illuminated corridor.

I rub my eyes. Am I being taken bodily
to Dublin "Kestle" and the Lord "Lift'nint?"
or will this gallery lead me out with a surprise
into familiar "Patrick's" Hall? Or how is
this sudden gush of court suits, the real steel