The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 03, 1901, Page 5, Image 5

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'.: The Aged PoritiJrf.'
Tho Pittsburg Post of recent date contained
the following interesting account of the daily life
of Pope Leo XIII.:
The aged pontiff who dwells In tho great Vati
can at Rome, and who rules the neatest sect in tho
world, is nearing the goal where the reaper awaits
him an end Leo XIII. awaits with Christian for
titude and wonderful calm. And yet he is not the
decrepit individual his great age 91 years would
indicate. Neither his public life nor his home life
would suggest that he Stood so near tho brink of
the grave, for even at the best he cannot expect to
live long. The public life all the world knows
his profound knowledge, his blameless life, his
Christian democracy. Not so with the life he
leads hidden away from all but the college of car
dinals, from his physicians and his body atten
dants. It is as a private individual that the pope
is perhaps more interesting than-as a great prelate.
As .the latter, he stands in the light of a prin
ciple -the religious and moral' guide of millions.
As the former, he is an humbToi. man, whose per
fect life has won for him thoi respect of all the
world, irrespective of belief or creed. As the merp
individual he is watched oyer, nursed and cared
for with a vigilance far greater than that ex
tended to the head of a royal house.
As every one knows, the pope makes his home
in the famous Vatican, a magnificent palace in
Rome, surrounded by superb gardens. Since his
accession to tho papacy, Leo XIII. has not left the
confines of the Vatican gardens because of the con
flict between the church of Rome and the Italian
government over the question of temporal power
So great is the Vatican, however, so magniucent its
appointments and art treasures, that so patient and
philosophic a man as Leo XIII. does not feel the
restraint that would seem irksome to most other
u And yet, despite the hundreds of rooms and
salons and immensef 'halls, the pope uses only
three small apartments for himself, and one of
these is the private chapel in which he celebrates
mass every morning, as the church laws demand.
The most interesting of these rop'rt 'is the one in
which he sleeps and worfcs, a email narrow room,
comparatively plainly furnished. In one corner
stands a low bed of magniuu .t mahogany, em
bellished with solid gold and bearing on the foot
piece the inscription in gold, "Leo XIII."
Above the head of the bed hangs a small o.i
painting of the Virgin, and Child, by one of the
old masters. To the side of the bed within reach
stands a low chiffonier;- having no ornamentation
whatever. This serves the double purpose of writ
ing desk and medicine chest. To one side of the
bed is a settee of red velvet, and at the root stands
ar. easy chair. That completes the entire fur
nishing of the room.
The other rooms are a dining-room, also sim
ply furnished, with a Semi-alcove adjoining, which
is used as a reception room for the cardinals and
favored visitors. Beyond is the private chapel,
the mural decorations of which are famed for
their exquisite beauty. The floor is of onyx and
gold abounds. The altar of solid gold is magnifi
cent in the extreme.
In these few rooms the pope lives, save when
in the gardens of the Vatican or when saying
pontifical high mass in St Peter's. He rises be
tween 6 and 8 o'clock in the morning, is dressed
and goes to breakfast, consisting of coffee and
wheat bread. The simple meal over, L goes to
his desk and attends to such business as may be
presented to him by the cardinal camerlengo the
real secretary of the church, and the prelate near
est to the pope. At about 11 o'clock he takes a cup
of bullion in which a raw egg has been beaten.
T- n more work Is done until 2 o'clock, when din
ger is served.
, This meal consists of soup, meat, vegetables
and fruit, neither sweets nor pastries of any kind
being permitted on the papal table. The dinner
The Commoner.
lasts until 3 o'clock, when the pope rises and
passes through tho various corridors and rooms
of the Vatican, where ho greets the prelates and
blesses those who seek his- benediction. At tho
door he enters a sedan chair, in which he Is car
ried by liveried servanda to tho park itself, where
w is transferred Into a carriage, which takes him
some distance away to the spot where the ramble
begins. The pope Is usually dressed In a red cloak
and a red pontificial hat, and is accompanied by
some prelates or by his nephew, Count Pecci, and
a body guard of his Swiss soldiers. In. summer
Leo takes his walks In tho early mornings to avoid
the great heat and works in the evenings.
Returned from his walk tho pope takes a glass
of Bordeaux wine and a cracker, attends to more
work, or indulges in his favorite pastime of versi
fying, and then prepares for bed. Once in his
couch the pope is watched over until he awakens
in the morning. In tho wall opposite the bed Is a
hole, through which every movement of the aped
pontiff can bo seen. His" every breath is noted
his every move anticipateH." "
As often happens, Leo awakens during the
night and rises to work, for hi3 brain is unceas
ingly active. At those times the watchers, his
body servant and physician, keep their respective
eyes at the peephole to see that his holiness does
not tire himself. In that manner he is somewhat
constrained, but even he acknowledges that he is
careless at times and needs a restraining hand.
In fact, there Is a sort of jolly warfare be
tween him and -ib physician. Dr. Laponl, to whom
he has to report himself every day, whether he
wills it or no. Tbe doctor asserts his authority,
however, and like a good patient Leo submits and
laughingly vows that he will outlive all his doc
tors, despite their pills and drugs. ' ' '
Besides these faithful watchers there is an
other, of whom the world knows even less. ' He
stands until relieved, at the piazza rusticucci,
near St. Peter's, and watches a window in the Vati
can. Winter and summer it has been open (since
1878) in the daytime and lit by a lamp by night.
That denotes, he knows, that I co XIII. lives. But
let that window be closed or dark and the caribi
nier will know at onfre that the soul of the pontiff
ha3 gone to that' bourne from which no traveller
Aside from these phases of the pope's private
life and the fact that he was 91 years of age on the
2d of March, some incidents of his early life, be
fore he became even a priest, are cf much Interest.
To begin, he was born in 1810 at Carpiento, Italy,
and christened Vincentio. This name he bore, un
til he was graduated as a doctor of laws, when he
took the n?.me of Joachim (Pecci. Long before
this time, however, he haa become famous
throughout Italy for his brilliant proficiency in
Latin and mathematics. The pope, attracted by
the young man's abilities, used 3 Is influence to ob
tain the finest teachers for him. At 28 the future
pope became civil governs of the province of
Benevant, which was at that time Infested wltn
murderous robber bands. From the first he ruled
with energy and firmness and in a few months
had cleared- the province of the malefactors. Five
years later he was ordained a priest, and three
j ears after was made apostolic delegate to the pro
vince of Perugia. Shortly after ho was made
archbishop, and in 1853, at the age of 43, ho be
camo a cardinal.
The most important event in Cardinal Pecci's
life took place February 7, 1878. At that time
Pius IX. ruled the church, and Pecci acted as car
dinal camerlengo. At 3 o'clock ixvtho xnomixg cf
that day Pius, who had been ill for some time,
called cardinals about him and asked, for a con
fessor. A humble Augustine monk, dressed in
somber black, was called in and shrived the dying
pontiff. Two hours later Pius was dead.
At 7 o'clock in the morning the cardinal
camerlengo entered the papal bedchamber and re-
moved tho white veil hiding t 3 face of the dead
"Giovanni Mantai! Giovanni Mantal, speak!"
called Cardinal Pecci to tho dead hguro. No an
swer camo from tho cold lips, and tho cardinal
tapped thrice upon tho forehead of tho former popo
with a silver mallet and pronounced him dead.
Then ho drew from his flngor tho fisher ring, sym
bolic of tho Apostle Peter.
Six days lator Cardinal Camorlongo Pecci was
elected popo, and on March 3, when G8 yearn of ago,
he was crowned with great po; p and splendor at
St. Peter's.
A Valuable Tree.
There Is an orange tree" at tho agricultural de
partment which, tradition says, has produced rev
enue sufficient to meet all tho expenses of that de
partment for tho last thirty years. Its history is
in' cresting. About 1870 an American woman told
Mr. Saunders, tho expert on pomology for tho de
partment, that she had enjoyed tho most delicious
oranges while In the vicinity of the City of Bahla,
Brazil, and believed he would do well to procurd
some of the budded fruit as an experiment In this
The secretary of agriculture requested our con
sul at that point to send him twelve budded trees.
They came In duo time, and were In turn budded
on small seedlings for distribution. This is orio
great tree that survived, and, while they did not
thrive in Florida, they did on tho Pacific coast,
and today the navel or Bahia orange, the father of
that industry in California, owes its existence to
the single tree now standing In the glass house
In the agricultural grounds.
Of the crop of about 20,000 carloads for 1901
at lqast 15,000 of them were of the navel variety,
while the revenue varies from $3,000,o0 to $5,000,
000 a year. The statement of this fact, a single
tree having produced sufficient revenue to sustain
the department for a period of thirty years, never
falls to awe the tourist, and causes him to beg for
a single leaf from the wonderful money tree;
Chicago Tribune.
"' A Dissenting Opinion.
The Ram's Horn haBvhevcr shared the optim
istic estimate of this Filipino chief which is held
by those who liken him to our Washington, but to
his own people he is a Washington, or a BolLvar.
In all fairness and good sense we ought to try and
look at his capture if possible as his countrymen
may look at it and as wo would have looked at
It one hundred and thirty years ago. .Suppose
some English officer, Andre for example, had gath
ered a company of Mohawks who knew the coun
try trails and together with Benedict Arnold, be
fore his treason was known, had started out for
Valley Forge where Washington was in retreat
with his shattered army. Suppose under the guise
of friendship and loyalty and with the announce
ment that the English officer was being fetched as
a prisoner access were gained to Washington'
quarters and that brave general were made a
prisoner and dragged to a British frigate, would we
as Americans think any more of Arnold and Andre
than we do now? Or would there be any self-respecting
Englishman now-a-days who would bo
overproud of his countryman's daring exploit one
hundred and thirty years ago? Or does any one
fancy that one hundred and thirty years hence, as
the dusky youth of the Philippines spell out their
lessons in reading and. geograp!':'" and history they
will think any more highly of the Christian civili
zation which reigned in the North American con
tinent In 1901? Let us not at all be misunderstood
Our aim Is not at Funston; we like him, he is
the kind of man whom we would love to follow in
a high cause. But we pity him, and we regret
that circumstances have involved him In a policy
of which ho may be the unconscious abettor or tho
unwilling victim. The Ram's Horn.
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