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formidable Duke of Bracciano was the murderer,
if not by his own hand, by that of his hired
assassins. Here, then, was a rare opportunity
of observing the character and tendencies of the
man who was expected to be shortly pope.
Would grief and natural indignation be allowed
to have their natural course? Would the future
pope throw down the gauntlet to the most
powerful and audacious subject in Rome?


ALLOW me to introduce myselffirst,

No landlord is my friend and brother, no
chambermaid loves me, no waiter worships me,
no boots admires and envies me. No round of
beef or tongue or ham is expressly cooked for
me, no pigeon-pie is especially made for me, no
hotel-advertisement is personally addressed to
me, no hotel-room tapestried with great-coats
and railway-wrappers is set apart for me, no
house of public entertainment in the United
Kingdom greatly cares for my opinion of its
brandy or its sherry. When I go upon my
journeys, I am not usually rated at a low figure
in the bill; when I come home from my journeys,
I never get any commission. I know nothing
about prices, and should have no idea, if I were
put to it, how to wheedle a man into ordering
something he doesn't want. As a town
traveller, I am never to be seen driving a vehicle
externally like a young and volatile pianoforte
van, and internally like an oven in which a
number of flat boxes are baking in layers. As
a country traveller, I am rarely to be found in a
gig, and am never to be encountered by a pleasure
train, waiting on the platform of a branch
station, quite a Druid in the midst of a light
Stonehenge of samples.

And yetproceeding now, to introduce
myself positivelyI am both a town traveller and
a country traveller, and am always on the road.
Figuratively speaking, I travel for the great
house of Human Interest Brothers, and have
rather a large connexion in the fancy goods
way. Literally speaking, I am always wandering
here and there from my rooms in Covent-garden,
Londonnow about the city streets: now, about
the country bye-roadsseeing many little things,
and some great things, which, because they
interest me, I think may interest others.

These are my brief credentials as the
Uncommercial Traveller. Business is business, and
I start.

NEVER, had I seen a year going out, or going
on, under quieter circumstances. Eighteen
hundred and fifty-nine had but another day to live,
and truly its end was Peace on that sea-shore
that morning.

So settled and orderly was everything seaward,
in the bright light of the sun and under the
transparent shadows of the clouds, that it was
hard to imagine the bay otherwise, for years past
or to come, than it was that very day. The

Tug-steamer lying a little off the shore, the
Lighter lying still nearer to the shore, the boat
alongside the Lighter, the regularly turning
windlass aboard the Lighter, the methodical
figures at work, all slowly and regularly heaving
up and down with the breathing of the sea, all
seemed as much a part of the nature of the
place as the tide itself. The tide was on the
flow, and had been for some two hours and a
half; there was a slight obstruction in the sea
within a few yards of my feet: as if the stump
of a tree, with earth enough about it to keep
it from lying horizontally on the water, had
slipped a little from the landand as I stood
upon the beach and observed it dimpling the
light swell that was coming in, I cast a stone
over it.

So orderly, so quiet, so regular the rising
and falling of the Tug-steamer, the Lighter, and
the boatthe turning of the windlassthe
coming in of the tide that I myself seemed,
to my own thinking, anything but new to the
spot. Yet, I had never seen it in my life, a
minute before, and had traversed two hundred
miles to get at it. That very morning I had
come bowling down, and struggling up, hill-
country roads; looking back at snowy summits;
meeting courteous peasants, well to do, driving
fat pigs and cattle to market; noting the neat
and thrifty dwellings, with their unusual quantity
of clean white linen, drying on the bushes;
having windy weather, suggested by every
cotter's little rick, with its thatch straw-
ridged and extra straw-ridged into overlapping
compartments, like the back of a rhinoceros.
Had I not given a lift of fourteen miles to the
Coast-Guardsman (kit and all), who was coming
to his spell of duty there, and had we not just
now parted company? So it was; but the
journey seemed to glide down into the placid
sea, with other chafe and trouble, and for the
moment nothing was so calmly and monotonously
real under the sunlight as the gentle rising and
falling of the water with its freight, the regular
turning of the windlass aboard the Lighter, and
the slight obstruction so very near my feet.

O reader, haply turning this page by the fireside
at Home and hearing the night wind rumble
in the chimney, that slight obstruction was the
uppermost fragment of the Wreck of the Royal
Charter, Australian trader and passenger ship,
Homeward bound, that struck here on the terrible
morning of the twenty-sixth of last October,
broke into three parts, went down with her
treasure of at least five hundred human lives, and
has never stirred since!

From which point, or from which, she drove
ashore, stern foremost; on which side, or on
which, she passed the little Island in the bay, for
ages henceforth to be aground certain yards
outside her; these are rendered bootless questions
by the darkness of that night and the darkness
of death. Here she went down.

Even as I stood on the beach, with the words
"Here she went down!" in my ears, a diver in
his grotesque dress, dipped heavily over the side
of the boat alongside the Lighter, and dropped