Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
The heart of Peter Innocent Bon, cardinal prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda, was filled with happiness that was almost childlike in its simplicity. After thirty years, he was to see his native Venice once more, for brilliant, vain Pius VI, about to visit its lagoons and golden palaces, had named the aged cardinal a member of his suite. Peter Innocent, in 1782, was in the eighty-first year of his life. A shy, mild man, he seldom appeared in the rich vestments of his office, but went inconspicuously about Rome in the gray-brown garb of the Franciscan Friars Minor, a robe suited to the humility of a follower of St. Francis.
Only one small regret marred Peter Innocent’s pleasure as he viewed again the city of his youth. Pius was traveling in state, and he and many of his suite were accompanied by their nephews. Peter Innocent had no nephews; his brother had fathered only daughters and his sisters were in holy orders. Seeing the satisfaction that other churchmen found in the company of their young kinsmen, he wished that he too might have enjoyed such comfort in his old age. Prayers, fasting, and pilgrimages to holy shrines, however, had given him no nephew of his own, and the thought of parenthood would have been as foreign to the chastity of his mind as to that of his body.
During the Venetian visit, Pius treated Peter Innocent with particular graciousness and asked him to represent the pontiff at the singing of a new cantata at the...
(The entire section is 1179 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Venetian Glass Nephew Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!