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Italian Law And Justice
by [?]

My Garibaldian friend has returned, but only to bid me good-bye and be off again. The Government, it would seem, are rather uneasy as to the movements of the “Beds,” and quietly intimated to my friend that they were sure he had something particular to do–some urgent private affairs–at Geneva; and, like the well-bred dog in the story, he does not wait for any further suggestions, but goes at once.

He revenged himself, however, all the time at breakfast, by talking very truculently before the waiters of what would happen when Garibaldi took the field again, and how miserably small Messrs Batazzi & Co. would look under the circumstances. Indeed, as he warmed with his subject, he went the length of declaring that, without a very ample apology for the events of Aspromonte, he did not believe Garibaldi would consent to take Venice, or drive the French out of Rome.

With a spirit of tantalising he prolonged this same breakfast for upwards of two hours, during which the officer of the gendarmerie came and went, and came again, very eager to see him depart, but evidently with instructions neither to molest nor interfere with him.

“Just look at that beggar,” cried the Garibaldian; “if he has come in here once during the last hour, he has come a dozen times, and all on my account! And I mean to smoke three ‘cavours’ over my anisetto before I leave. Waiter, tell the vetturino he’ll have plenty of time to throw a feed to his cattle before I start. You know,” added he, “if I was disposed to be troublesome, I’d not budge: I’d write up to Turin to the Legation and claim British protection; and I’d have these fellows on the hip, for they stupidly gave me a reason for my expulsion. They said I was conspiring. Now I could say, Prove it; and if we only went to law, it would take ten or twelve years to decide it.”

My companion now went on to show that, by a small expenditure of money and a very ordinary exercise of ingenuity, a lawsuit need never end in Italy. “First of all, you could ask the opposite party, Who was his advocate? and on his naming him, you could immediately set to work to show that this man was a creature so vile and degraded, no man with the commonest pretension to honesty would dream of employing him. The history of his father could be adduced, and any private little anecdotes of his mother would find a favourable opportunity for mention. Though a mere skirmish, if judiciously managed, this will occupy a week or two, and at the same time serve to indicate that you mean to show fight; for by this time the ‘Legale’s’ blood will be up, and he is certain to make reprisals on your man, so that for a month or so you and the other principal are in the position of men who, having come out to fight a duel, are first gratified with the spectacle of a row between the seconds. However, at last it is arranged that the lawyers are worthy of each other; and the next step is to demand the names of all the witnesses. This opens a campaign of unlimited duration, for, as nobody is rash enough to trust himself or his cause to real and bona-fide testimony, witnesses are usually selected amongst the most astute and ready-witted persons of your acquaintance.” “Oh,” cried I, “this is a little too strong, isn’t it?” “Let me give you an instance,” said he, good-humouredly, and not in the least disposed to be displeased with my expression of distrust. “Some time back an American gentleman took up his abode for some weeks on the Chiaja at Naples, and in the same house there lived an Italian, with whom, from frequently meeting on the stairs and corridors, a sort of hat-touching acquaintance had grown up. At length one day, as the American was passing hastily out, the Italian accosted him with a courteous bow and smile, and said, ‘When will it be your perfect convenience, signor, to repay me that little loan of two hundred ducats it was my happy privilege to have lent you last month?’