WHO IS SAINT EUGENE?–THE YOUNG NOBLEMAN IN EXILE

1791 – beginning of 11 years of emigration in Nice, Turin, Venice, Naples and Palermo – years of flight and fear and changing fortunes.

“As he had been declared under arrest by the revolutionaries, on his return from his mission to the Estates General, my father left France and went to Nice and soon from there he sent me his brother to bring me to him …
There really must have been a genuine fear of the threat made to do away with the children of the nobility, for my mother to have consented to let me undertake this journey even before I had quite got over an illness that had taken a lot out of me…
I was not yet nine years old. All I could do was to keep the secret as a grown-up would have done. This was enjoined upon me, and faithfully observed…

VENICE

One day I was amusing myself at the window that gave on to the house of the Zinelli family opposite. D. Bartolo appeared on his side, and addressing me said: “Master Eugene, aren’t you afraid of wasting your time in idleness in this way at the window?” – “Alas, sir, I replied, it is indeed a pity, but what can I do? You know I am a foreigner, and I haven’t any books at my disposition.” That was the opening he wanted: “That’s no problem, my dear child, you see me here actually in my library, where there are many books in Latin, Italian, French even, if you want them.”
“There is nothing I would like better”, I answered. Immediately D. Bartolo undid the bar that held the shutters of the window, and placing on it a book, passed it over to me across the little street that separated us. .. From this time on, every day over a period of four years, I went after Mass to be with these most benevolent teachers …

His mother and sister returned to France, and his parents divorced – all Eugene’s efforts to reunite his parents were in vain

NAPLES

My stay in Naples, was for me an oppressive year of very gloomy monotony…

PALERMO

Providence, which has always watched over me since my youngest years as an infant, gave me entry into a Sicilian family, in which I was accepted from the first as a child of the house. This was the family of the Duke of Cannizzaro… From this time until my return to France, I was one of the family: my place was always set at their table; I followed them to the country in the summer, and everything in the house was at my service as it was for their own children, who considered themselves my brothers.”

Diary of the exile in Italy (1791-1802), E.O. XVIThis entry was posted in DIARY. Bookmark the permalink.

Posted on May 20, 2014 by franksantucci by franksantucci posted in omioikia with permission

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