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[2253]

I grieve to say, the good-natured Pio has shown himself utterly derelict, alike without resolution to abide by the good or the ill. He is now abandoned and despised by both parties. The people do not trust his word, for they know he shrinks from the danger, and shuts the door to pray quietly in his closet, whilst he knows the cardinals are misusing his name to violate his pledges. The cardinals, chased from Rome, talk of electing an anti-Pope; because, when there was danger, he has always yielded to the people, and they say he has overstepped his prerogative, and broken his papal oath. No one abuses him, for it is felt that in a more private station he would have acted a kindly part; but he has failed of so high a vocation, and balked so noble a hope, that no one respects him either. Who would have believed, a year ago, that the people would assail his palace? I was on Monte Cavallo yesterday, and saw the broken windows, the burnt doors, the walls marked by shot, just beneath the loggia, on which we have seen him giving the benediction. But this would never have happened, if his guard had not fired first on the people. It is true it was without his order, but, under a different man, the Swiss would never have dared to incur such a responsibility.

Our old acquaintance, Sterbini, has risen to the ministry. He has a certain influence, from his consistency and independence, but has little talent.

Of me you wish to know; but there is little I can tell you at this distance. I have had happy hours, learned much, suffered much, and outward things have not gone fortunately with me. I have had glorious hopes, but they are overclouded now, and the future looks darker than ever, indeed, quite impossible to my


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