He Was Armed, But I Took
Him Unawares, And Was Full Of Youth And Vigor.
I gave him repeated
blows to make sure work, and laid him lifeless at my feet.
When I was satisfied that I had done for him, I returned with all haste
to the village, but had the ill-luck to meet two of the sbirri as I
entered it. They accosted me and asked if I had seen their chief. I
assumed an air of tranquillity, and told them I had not. They continued
on their way, and, within a few hours, brought back the dead body to
Prossedi. Their suspicions of me being already awakened, I was arrested
and thrown into prison. Here I lay several weeks, when the prince, who
was Seigneur of Prossedi, directed judicial proceedings against me. I
was brought to trial, and a witness was produced who pretended to have
seen me not far from the bleeding body, and flying with precipitation,
so I was condemned to the galleys for thirty years.
"Curse on such laws," vociferated the bandit, foaming with rage; "curse
on such a government, and ten thousand curses on the prince who caused
me to be adjudged so rigorously, while so many other Roman princes
harbor and protect assassins a thousand times more culpable. What had I
done but what was inspired by a love of justice and my country? Why was
my act more culpable than that of Brutus, when he sacrificed Caesar to
the cause of liberty and justice?"
There was something at once both lofty and ludicrous in the rhapsody of
this robber chief, thus associating himself with one of the great names
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