Should a Cardinal arrive after the conclave has assembled, he has the right of admission, and the Marshal without communicates with the Camerlengo within, and arranges a convenient time for the door to be unlocked. The new arrival is met by the whole College, who have assembled in the Royal Hall to welcome him, and advantage is taken of the open door to admit fresh Conclavists and any articles that may be needed, as well as to pass out anyone who through ill health or other reason finds it necessary to leave the Conclave.
The door can also be opened to allow a sick Cardinal to pass out, but he is not allowed to re-enter. Owing to the age and infirmities of many members of the Sacred College, it is not uncommon for some of them to be taken ill, especially in the case of a protracted Conclave in the unhealthy months of the summer, when malaria is apt to be prevalent in Rome. Occasionally Cardinals have died in the Conclave.
The day's routine is almost monastic in its regularity. The first day of the Conclave begin with the Community Mass at eight o'clock, in the Pauline Chapel. This Mass is celebrated by the Dean or Senior Cardinal, and at it all the members of the Sacred College communicate. Afterwards they return to their cells to take the morning collation.
On all other days, each Cardinal says Mass in his cell at whatever time suits him best, but all who are not unwell assist also in the Community Mass, which is said every morning by the Bishop-Sacristan. At its close all proceed to the hall of election, where the morning voting takes place.
About noon, all return to their cells, where dinner is served separately to each, and the short siesta, common in southern countries, follows. After this those who feel disposed take exercise in the corridors or pay visits to each other's cells, until three or four o'clock, when all assemble for the afternoon scrutiny. This is followed by transaction of the miscellaneous business of the Conclave by the various officials, and if anything very important arises a meeting of the College may be held to discuss it.
Towards nine or ten o'clock supper is served, after which the bell rings, and the order, "In cellam, domini""In your cell, my lords"gives the signal for retiring. But a good deal of visiting from cell to cell goes on, and the Conclavistswho are not always as discreet as their masterswander freely about the corridors, discussing the affairs of the day. If a Cardinal wishes to be alone, his servant places at the foot of the cell two bars of wood, somewhat like a St. Andrew's Cross, as a signal that his Eminence is not visible.
Each Cardinal may have his meals sent in from his own house, and by ancient custom no one was supposed to avail himself of his colleague's kitchen. Hence arose some very curious and picturesque customs, still to some extent observed, though the modern tendency is to curtail and simplify them.
Towards noon each day, the Cardinal's gentlemen proceeded to his house and conveyed his dinner to the Vatican in a state coach. They were accompanied by an officer, known as the Seneschal Dapifer, who was charged with the very important duty of seeing that the Cardinal's food was not poisoned! It must be remembered that in the Middle Ages, when political feeling often ran high over the election of the Pope, this precaution was by no means unnecessary. Happily those days have gone by, the Pope is selected for personal saintliness and administrative ability, and political intrigues are practically unknown.
The procession of the dinner-bearing coaches was one of the sights of Rome. The dishes were enclosed in hampers or tin boxes, covered with green or violet drapery, andon arrival at the Vaticanwere carried in state through the entrance halls, preceded by the mace of the Cardinal. The Seneschal Dapifer, bearing a serviette on his shoulder, preceded the dishes, which were duly handed through the turns to Conclavists waiting to receive them.
Before the Cardinal received his dinner, each dish underwent a careful inspection by the prelates on guard, in order that no letter should be concealed in it.
At the Conclave in 1878, only the Cardinal de Hohenlohe had his meals brought in this ceremonious fashion. The other members of the Sacred College availed themselves of the kitchens in the Vatican. Formerly the dinner was restricted to a single dish, and rumour has it that omelette au jambon was invented at a certain Conclave by an ingenious cook, in order to nourish sufficiently the aged Cardinal whom he served. At the present time, this rigour has been greatly modified, but simplicity still marks the bill of fare.