Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/160

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Via della Scala,
Tuesday, April 24th, 1859.

Florence to Octavia.

There is great excitement in the town; a great many people about, and a great many gens d'armes. It seems the troops here want to go off to the war; and the Grand Duke does not know what to do; the soldiers are in great excitement, and it was said if he did not let them go there would be a revolution, or something or other to-day.

The poor old Hyena does not know what to do, he has too many keepers. I believe the end will be he will abdicate, and leave the management of affairs to his sons. Many people are going: and still more are talking about it, because of the war and the unsettled state of affairs. I cannot say I feel at all afraid, I feel so perfectly safe. I am in the hands of One who knows what is best. In case of a revolution, everyone seems to think there would be no danger for private individuals. The Italians, especially the Florentines, are a good people, passionate, but not bloodthirsty and savage like the French. It would certainly be very shocking to be among scenes of violence; and I do hope the French will not come here, on any excuse. Of course there is no knowing.

Wednesday, April 25th, 1859.

Well here we are without a government! Old Hyena has decamped, and all the family. The accounts at present are rather confused; but it seems the troops said they would go to the war, and it would be the worse for the Grand Duke if he did not let them; so he was obliged to consent: but then the people wanted a