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Eldritch Press >> Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Passages from the French and Italian Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne

(1871, 1883),
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
(1804-1864)

Edited by Sophia Hawthorne,
and with an introduction by George Parsons Lathrop,
Copyright 1871 by James R. Osgood & Co,
Copyright 1883 by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Vol. X of the Riverside Edition,
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company,
1883]

 

 

5

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

* * *

 

 

THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS.

 

WHEN "The Marble Faun" was first published, it attracted American readers, at least, almost as much by its descriptions of Roman ruins and Italian landscape by the delicate and imaginative touch with which it reproduced or gave new meaning to famous works of antique and Renaissance art, as by the weird fascination of its plot and psychological problems. How the author was enabled to impart this additional charm to his work is explained by a perusal of his "French and Italian Note-Books." There the daily experience of his Italian sojourn, and the mute life of painting and sculpture as it stood to be reviewed by his eye, are set down precisely as they presented themselves to him at the time.

Of France he saw but little, and the main portion of these journals is therefore devoted to Italy, where he remained from the end of January, 1858, until the middle of May, 1859. While he was in Rome the second time, his elder daughter, Una, then about sixteen years of age, had a severe attack of Roman fever, and his associations with the place were tinged with gloom.

"I bitterly detest Rome," he wrote to Mr. Fields, "and shall rejoice to bid it farewell forever; and I

 

5

fully acquiesce in all the mischief and ruin that has happened to it, from Nero's conflagration downward. In fact, I wish the very site had been obliterated before I saw it."

But his stay in Florence and at the Villa Montauto had been a pleasurable one, and in part compensated him for the painful impressions left upon his mind by his Roman experience. It will be noticed that he continued to journalize steadily, however, though the vicissitudes of the residence in Rome; although doubtless the entries are not so voluminous as they would have been but for the interruption of illness in his household, and for the fact that he had already begun to outline "The Marble Faun." Notwithstanding an occasional dissatisfaction expressed in the Note-Books and elsewhere, he was very susceptible to the peculiar spell of Italy, and gave himself up to the poetic influences of its scenery and associations. Nor should it be supposed, as it has sometimes been done, because he made no pretension to the title of connoisseur, and in one instance preferred the work of an American painter named Thompson to many of the productions of the old masters, that he did not enter with deep sympathy into the beauty of the historic art which surrounded him. He spent hours at a time, musing and observing, amid its treasures. One who was near him recalls how slowly and thoughtfully he passed, one day, through the gallery of the Capitol

 

7

memoranda, that he kept a pocket-diary while in Rome, in which were recorded the ordinary transactions of each day. This he may have used for reference when writing the more elaborate accounts of what was worth remembering. These last were entered in ordinary thin blank-books with flexible covers. The books are filled with consecutive entries, written almost without the interruption of a single erasure or change of word; and, substantially, the whole of the contents appear in the printed volumes. "French and Italian Note-Books" were transcribed for publication by Mrs. Hawthorne, at London, in the winter of 1870-1871, and appeared in the following autumn, after her death. They end the series of

Hawthorne's journals; since, on his return to America, the Civil War so absorbed his thoughts that he was unable to continue memoranda of this kind.

 

G.P.L.

 

 

 

1858.] FRANCE. 9

PASSAGES FROM
HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS IN FRANCE
AND ITALY.

 

FRANCE.

HÔTEL DE LOUVRE, January 6, 1858.-- On Tuesday morning, our dozen trunks and hall-dozen carpetbags being all ready packed and labelled, we began to prepare for our journey two or three hours before light. Two cabs were at the door by half past six, and at seven we set out for the London Bridge station, while it was still dark and bitterly cold. There were already many people in the streets, growing more numerous as we drove city-ward; and, in Newgate Street, there was such a number of market-carts, that we almost came to a dead lock with some of them. At the station we found several persons who were apparently going in the same train with us, sitting round the fire of the waiting-room. Since I came to England there has hardly been a morning when I should have less willingly bestirred myself before daylight; so sharp and inclement was the atmosphere. We started at half past eight, having taken through tickets to Paris by way of Folkestone and Boulogne. A footwarmer (a long, flat tin utensil, full of hot

 

10 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

water) was put into the carriage just before we started; but it did not make us more than half comfortable, and the frost soon began to cloud the windows, and shut out the prospect, so that we could only glance at the green fields--immortally green, whatever winter can do against them--and, at here and there, a stream or pool with the ice forming on its borders. It was the first cold weather of a very mild season. The snow began to fall in scattered and almost invisible flakes; and it seemed as if we had stayed our English welcome out, and were to find nothing genial and hospitable there any more.

At Folkestone, we were deposited at a railway station close upon a shingly beach, on which the sea broke in foam, and which J----- reported as strewn with shells and star-fish; behind was the town, with an old church in the midst; and, close at hand, the pier, where lay the steamer in which we were to embark. But the air was so wintry, that I had no heart to explore the town, or pick up shells with J----- on the beach; so we kept within doors during the two hours of our stay, now and then looking out of the windows at a fishing-boat or two, as they pitched and rolled with an ugly and irregular motion, such as the British Channel generally communicates to the craft that navigate it.

At about one o'clock we went on board, and were soon under steam, at a rate that quickly showed a long line of the white cliffs of Albion behind us. It is a very dusky white, by the by, and the cliffs themselves do not seem, at a distance, to be of imposing height, and have too even an outline to be picturesque.

As we increased our distance from England, the French coast came more and more distinctly in sight,

 

1858.] FRANCE. 11

with a low, wavy outline, not very well worth looking at, except because it was the coast of France. Indeed, I looked at it but little; for the wind was bleak and boisterous, and I went down into the cabin, where I found the fire very comfortable, and several people were stretched on sofas in a state of placid wretchedness. . . . I have never suffered from sea-sickness, but had been somewhat apprehensive of this rough strait between England and France, which seems to have more potency over people's stomachs than ten times the extent of sea in other quarters. Our passage was of two hours, at the end of which we landed on French soil, and found ourselves immediately in the clutches of the custom house officers, who, however, merely made a momentary examination of my passport, and allowed us to pass without opening even one of our carpetbags. The great bulk of our luggage had been registered through to Paris, for examination after our arrival there.

We left Boulogne in about an hour after our arrival, when it was already a darkening twilight. The weather had grown colder than ever, since our arrival in sunny France, and the night was now setting in, wickedly black and dreary. The frost hardened upon the carriage windows in such thickness that I could scarcely scratch a peep-hole through it; but, from such glimpses as I could catch, the aspect of the country seemed pretty much to resemble the December aspect of my dear native land,--broad, bare, brown fields, with streaks of snow at the foot of ridges, and along fences, or in the furrows of ploughed soil. There was ice wherever there happened to be water to form it.

We had feetwarmers in the carriage, but the cold

 

12 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

crept in, nevertheless; and I do not remember hardly in my life a more disagreeable short journey than this, my first advance into French territory. My impression of France will always be that it is an arctic region. At any season of the year, the tract over which we passed yesterday must be an uninteresting one as regards its natural features; and the only adornment, as far as I could observe, which art has given it consists in straight rows of very stiff-looking and slender-stemmed trees. In the dusk they resembled poplar-trees.

Weary, and frost-bitten,--morally, if not physically,--we reached Amiens in three or four hours, and here I underwent much annoyance from the French railway officials and attendants, who, I believe, did not mean to incommode me, but rather to forward my purposes as far as they well could. If they would speak slowly and distinctly I might understand them well enough, being perfectly familiar with the written language, and knowing the principles of its pronunciation; but, in their customary rapid utterance, it sounds like a string of mere gabble. When left to myself, therefore, I got into great difficulties. . . . It gives a taciturn personage like myself a new conception as to the value of speech, even to him, when he finds himself unable either to speak or understand.

Finally, being advised on all hands to go to the Hôtel de Rhin, we were carried thither in an omnibus, rattling over a rough pavement, through an invisible and frozen town; and, on our arrival, were ushered into a handsome salon, as chill as a tomb. They made a little bit of a wood fire for us in a low and deep chimney-hole, which let a hundred times more heat escape up the flue than it sent into the room.

 

1858.] FRANCE. 13

In the morning we sallied forth to see the Cathedral.

The aspect of the old French town was very different from anything English; whiter, infinitely cleaner; higher and narrower houses, the entrance to most of which seeming to be through a great gateway affording admission into a central court-yard; a public square, with a statue in the middle, and another statue in a neighboring street. We met priests in three-cornered hats, long frock-coats, and knee-breeches; also soldiers and gendarmes, and peasants and children, clattering over the pavements in wooden shoes.

It makes a great impression of outlandishness to see the signs over the shop doors in a foreign tongue. If the cold had not been such as to dull my sense of novelty, and make all my perceptions torpid, I should have taken in a set of new impressions, and enjoyed them very much. As it was, I cared little for what I saw, but yet had life enough left to enjoy the Cathedral of Amiens, which has many features unlike those of English cathedrals.

It stands in the midst of the cold, white town, and has a high-shouldered look to a spectator accustomed to the minsters of England, which cover a great space of ground in proportion to their height. The impression the latter gives is of magnitude and mass; this French Cathedral strikes one as lofty. The exterior is venerable, though but little time-worn by the action of the atmosphere; and statues still keep their places in numerous niches, almost as perfect as when first placed there in the thirteenth century. The principal doors are deep, elaborately wrought, pointed arches; and the interior seemed to us, at the moment, as grand as any that we had seen, and to afford as vast

 

14 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

an idea of included space; it being of such an airy height, and with no screen between the chancel and nave, as in all the English cathedrals. We saw the differences, too, betwixt a church in which the same form of worship for which it was originally built is still kept up, and those of England, where it has been superseded for centuries; for here, in the recess of every arch of the side-aisles, beneath each lofty window, there was a chapel dedicated to some saint, and adorned with great marble sculptures of the crucifixion, and with pictures, execrably bad, in all cases, and various kinds of gilding and ornamentation. Immensely tall wax candles stand upon the altars of these chapels, and before one sat a woman, with a great supply of tapers, one of which was burning. I suppose these were to be lighted as offerings to the saints, by the true believers. Artificial flowers were hung at some of the shrines, or placed under glass. In every chapel, moreover, there was a confessional,--a little oaken structure, about as big as a sentry-box, with a closed part for the priest to sit in, and an open one for the penitent to kneel at, and speak through the open-work of the priest's closet. Monuments, mural and others, to long-departed worthies, and images of the Saviour, the Virgin, and saints, were numerous everywhere about the church; and in the chancel there was a great deal of quaint and curious sculpture, fencing in the Holy of Holies, where the high altar stands. There is not much painted glass; one or two very rich and beautiful rose-windows, however, that looked antique; and the great eastern window, which, I think, is modern. The pavement has, probably, never been renewed, as one piece of work, since the structure was erected, and is foot-worn by the succes stands. There is not much painted glass; one or two very rich and beautiful rose-windows, however, that looked antique; and the great eastern window, which, I think, is modern. The pavement has, probably, never been renewed, as one piece of work, since the structure was erected, and is footworn by the succes-

 

1858.] FRANCE. 15

sive generations, though still in excellent repair. I saw one of the small, square stones in it, bearing the date of 1597, and no doubt there are a thousand older ones. It was gratifying to find the Cathedral in such good condition, without any traces of recent repair; and it is perhaps a mark of difference between French and English character, that the Revolution in the former country, though all religious worship disappears before it, does not seem to have caused such violence to ecclesiastical monuments as the Reformation and the reign of Puritanism in the latter. I did not see a mutilated shrine, or even a broken-nosed image, in the whole Cathedral. But, probably, the very rage of the English fanatics against idolatrous tokens, and their smashing blows at them, were symptoms of sincerer religious faith than the French were capable of. These last did not care enough about their Saviour to beat down his crucified image; and they preserved the works of sacred art, for the sake only of what beauty there was in them.

While we were in the Cathedral, we saw several persons kneeling at their devotions on the steps of the chancel and elsewhere. One dipped his fingers in the holy water at the entrance: by the by, I looked into the stone basin that held it, and saw it full of ice. Could not all that sanctity at least keep it thawed? Priests--jolly, fat, mean-looking fellows, in white robes--went hither and thither, but did not interrupt or accost us.

There were other peculiarities, which I suppose I shall see more of in my visits to other churches, but now we were all glad to make our stay as brief as possible, the atmosphere of the Cathedral being so bleak, and its stone pavement so icy cold beneath our

 

16 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

feet. We returned to the hotel, and the chambermaid brought me a book, in which she asked me to inscribe my name, age, profession, country, destination, and the authorization under which I travelled. After the freedom of an English hotel, so much greater than even that of an American one, where they make you disclose your name, this is not so pleasant.

We left Amiens at half past one; and I can tell as little of the country between that place and Paris, as between Boulogne and Amiens. The windows of our railway carriage were already frosted with French breath when we got into it, and the ice grew thicker and thicker continually. I tried, at various times, to rub a peep-hole through, as before; but the ice immediately shot its crystallized tracery over it again; and, indeed, there was little or nothing to make it worth while to look out, so bleak was the scene. Now and then a château, too far off for its characteristics to be discerned; now and then a church, with a tall gray tower, and a little peak atop; here and there a village or a town, which we could not well see. At sunset, there was just that clear, cold, wintry sky which I remember so well in America, but have never seen in England.

At five we reached Paris, and were suffered to take a carriage to the Hôtel de Louvre, without any examination of the little luggage we had with us. Arriving, we took a suite of apartments, and the waiter immediately lighted a wax candle in each separate room.

We might have dined at the table d'hôte, but preferred the restaurant connected with and within the hotel. All the dishes were very delicate, and a vast

 

1858.] FRANCE. 17

change from the simple English system, with its joints, shoulders, beefsteaks, and chops; but I doubt whether English cookery, for the very reason that it is so simple, is not better for men's moral and spiritual nature than French. In the former case, you know that you are gratifying your animal needs and propensities, and are duly ashamed of it; but, in dealing with these French delicacies, you delude yourself into the idea that you are cultivating your taste while satisfying your appetite. This last, however, it requires a good deal of perseverance to accomplish.

In the Cathedral at Amiens there were printed lists of acts of devotion posted on the columns, such as prayers at the shrines of certain saints, whereby plenary indulgences might be gained. It is to be observed, however, that all these external forms were necessarily accompanied with true penitence and religious devotion.

Hôtel de Louvre, January 8th.--It was so fearfully cold this morning that I really felt little or no curiosity to see the city. . . . Until after one o'clock, therefore, I knew nothing of Paris except the lights which I had seen beneath our window the evening before, far, far downward, in the narrow Rue St. Honoré, and the rumble of the wheels, which continued later than I was awake to hear it, and began again before dawn. I could see, too, tall houses, that seemed to be occupied in every story, and that had windows on the steep roofs. One of these houses is six stories high. This Rue St. Honoré is one of the old streets in Paris, and is that in which Henry IV. was assassinated; but it has not, in this part of it, the aspect of antiquity.

 

18 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

After one o'clock we all went out and walked along the Rue de Rivoli. . . . We are here, right in the midst of Paris, and close to whatever is best known to those who hear or read about it,--the Louvre being across the street, the Palais Royal but a little way off, the Tuileries joining to the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde just beyond, verging on which is the Champs Elysées. We looked about us for a suitable place to dine, and soon found the Restaurant des Echelles, where we entered at a venture, and were courteously received. It has a handsomely furnished saloon, much set off with gilding and mirrors; and appears to be frequented by English and Americans; its carte, a bound volume, being printed in English as well as French. . . .

It was now nearly four o'clock, and too late to visit the galleries of the Louvre, or to do anything else but walk a little way along the street. The splendor of Paris, so far as I have seen, takes me altogether by surprise: such stately edifices, prolonging themselves in unwearying magnificence and beauty, and, ever and anon, a long vista of a street, with a column rising at the end of it, or a triumphal arch, wrought in memory of some grand event. The light stone or stucco, wholly untarnished by smoke and soot, puts London to the blush, if a blush could be seen on its dingy face; but, indeed, London is not to be mentioned with, nor compared even with Paris. I never knew what a palace was till I had a glimpse of the Louvre and the Tuileries; never had my idea of a city been gratified till I trod those stately streets. The life of the scene, too, is infinitely more picturesque than that of London, with its monstrous throng of grave faces and black coats; whereas, there, you see soldiers and priests, policemen

 

1858.] FRANCE. 19

in cocked hats, Zouaves with turbans, long mantles, and bronzed, half Moorish faces; and a great many people whom you perceive to be outside of your experience, and know them ugly to look at, and fancy them villanous. Truly, I have no sympathies towards the French people; their eyes do not win me, nor do their glances melt and mingle with mine. But they do grand and beautiful things in the architectural way; and I am grateful for it. The Place de la Concorde is a most splendid square, large enough for a nation to erect trophies in of all its triumphs; and on one side of it is the Tuileries, on the opposite side the Champs Elysées, and, on a third, the Seine, adown which we saw large cakes of ice floating, beneath the arches of a bridge. The Champs Elysées, so far as I saw it, had not a grassy soil beneath its trees, but the bare earth, white and dusty. The very dust, if I saw nothing else, would assure me that I was out of England.

We had time only to take this little walk, when it began to grow dusk; and, being so pitilessly cold, we hurried back to our hotel. Thus far, I think, what I have seen of Paris is wholly unlike what I expected; but very like an imaginary picture which I had conceived of St. Petersburg,--new, bright, magnificent, and desperately cold.

A great part of this architectural splendor is due to the present Emperor, who has wrought a great change in the aspect of the city within a very few years. A traveller, if he looks at the thing selfishly, ought to wish him a long reign and arbitrary power, since he makes it his policy to illustrate his capital with palatial edifices, which are, however, better for a stranger to look at, than for his own people to pay for.

 

20 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

We have spent to-day chiefly in seeing some of the galleries of the Louvre. I must confess that the vast and beautiful edifice struck me far more than the pictures, sculpture, and curiosities which it contains,--the shell more than the kernel inside; such noble suites of rooms and halls were those through which we first passed, containing Egyptian, and, farther onward, Greek and Roman antiquities; the walls cased in variegated marbles; the ceilings glowing with beautiful frescos; the whole extended into infinite vistas by mirrors that seemed like vacancy, and multiplied everything forever. The picture-rooms are not so brilliant, and the pictures themselves did not greatly win upon me in this one day. Many artists were employed in copying them, especially in the rooms hung with the productions of French painters. Not a few of these copyists were females; most of them were young men, picturesquely mustached and bearded; but some were elderly, who, it was pitiful to think, had passed through life without so much success as now to paint pictures of their own.

From the pictures we went into a suite of rooms where are preserved many relics of the ancient and later kings of France; more relics of the elder ones, indeed, than I supposed had remained extant through the Revolution. The French seem to like to keep memorials of whatever they do, and of whatever their forefathers have done, even if it be ever so little to their credit; and perhaps they do not take matters sufficiently to heart to detest anything that has ever happened. What surprised me most were the golden sceptre and the magnificent sword and other gorgeous relics of Charlemagne,--a person whom I had always associated with a sheepskin cloak. There were suits

 

1858.] FRANCE. 21

of armor and weapons that had been worn and handled by a great many of the French kings; and a religious book that had belonged to St. Louis; a dressing-glass, most richly set with precious stones, which formerly stood on the toilet-table of Catherine di Medici, and in which I saw my own face where hers had been. And there were a thousand other treasures, just as well worth mentioning as these. If each monarch could have been summoned from Hades to claim his own relics, we should have had the halls full of the old Childerics, Charleses, Bourbons and Capets, Henrys and Louises, snatching with ghostly hands at sceptres, swords, armor, and mantles; and Napoleon would have seen, apparently, almost everything that personally belonged to him,--his coat, his cocked hats, his camp-desk, his field-bed, his knives, forks, and plates, and even a lock of his hair. I must let it all go. These things cannot be reproduced by pen and ink.

Hôtel de Louvre, January 9th.-- . . . Last evening Mr. Fezandie called. He spoke very freely respecting the Emperor, and the hatred entertained against him in France; but said that he is more powerful, that is, more firmly fixed as a ruler, than ever the first Napoleon was. We, who look back upon the first Napoleon as one of the eternal facts of the past, a great bowlder in history, cannot well estimate how momentary and unsubstantial the great Captain may have appeared to those who beheld his rise out of obscurity. They never, perhaps, took the reality of his career fairly into their minds, before it was over. The present Emperor, I believe, has already been as long in possession of the supreme power as his uncle

 

22 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

was. I should like to see him, and may, perhaps, do so, as he is our neighbor, across the way.

This morning Miss M-------, the celebrated astronomical lady, called. She had brought a letter of introduction to me, while consul; and her purpose now was to see if we could take her as one of our party to Rome, whither she likewise is bound. We readily consented, for she seems to be a simple, strong, healthy-humored woman, who will not fling herself as a burden on our shoulders; and my only wonder is that a person evidently so able to take care of herself should wish to have an escort.

We issued forth at about eleven, and went down the Rue St. Honoré, which is narrow, and has houses of five or six stories on either side, between which run the streets like a gully in a rock. One face of our hotel borders and looks on this street. After going a good way, we came to an intersection with another street, the name of which I forget; but, at this point, Ravaillac sprang at the carriage of Henry IV. and plunged his dagger into him. As we went down the Rue St. Honoré, it grew more and more thronged, and with a meaner class of people. The houses still were high, and without the shabbiness of exterior that distinguishes the old part of London, being of light-colored stone; but I never saw anything that so much came up to my idea of a swarming city as this narrow, crowded, and rambling street.

Thence we turned into the Rue St. Denis, which is one of the oldest streets in Paris, and is said to have been first marked out by the track of the saint's footsteps, where, after his martyrdom, be walked along it, with his head under his arm, in quest of a burial-place. This legend may account for any crookedness of the

 

1858.] FRANCE. 23

street; for it could not reasonably be asked of a headless man that he should walk straight.

Through some other indirections we at last found the Rue Bergère, down which I went with J----- in quest of Hottinguer & Co., the bankers, while the rest of us went along the Boulevards, towards the Church of the Madeleine. . . . This business accomplished, J----- and I threaded our way back, and overtook the rest of the party, still a good distance from the Madeleine. I know not why the Boulevards are called so. They are a succession of broad walks through broad streets, and were much thronged with people, most of whom appeared to be bent more on pleasure than business. The sun, long before this, had come out brightly, and gave us the first genial and comfortable sensations which we have had in Paris.

Approaching the Madeleine, we found it a most beautiful church, that might have been adapted from Heathenism to Catholicism; for on each side there is a range of magnificent pillars, unequalled, except by those of the Parthenon. A mourning coach, arrayed in black and silver, was drawn up at the steps, and the front of the church was hung with black cloth, which covered the whole entrance. However, seeing the people going in, we entered along with them. Glorious and gorgeous is the Madeleine. The entrance to the nave is beneath a most stately arch; and three arches of equal height open from the nave to the side aisles; and at the end of the nave is another great arch, rising, with a vaulted half-dome, over the high altar. The pillars supporting these arches are Corinthian, with richly sculptured capitals; and wherever gilding might adorn the church, it is lavished like sunshine; and within the sweeps of the

 

24 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

arches there are fresco paintings of sacred subjects, and a beautiful picture covers the hollow of the vault over the altar; all this, besides much sculpture; and especially a group above and around the high altar, representing the Magdalen smiling down upon angels and archangels, some of whom are kneeling, and shadowing themselves with their heavy marble wings. There is no such thing as making my page glow with the most distant idea of the magnificence of this church, in its details and in its whole. It was founded a hundred or two hundred years ago; then Bonaparte contemplated transforming it into a Temple of Victory, or building it anew as one. The restored Bourbon remade it into a church; but it still has a heathenish look, and will never lose it.

When we entered we saw a crowd of people, all pressing forward towards the high altar, before which burned a hundred wax lights, some of which were six or seven feet high; and, altogether, they shone like a galaxy of stars. In the middle of the nave, moreover, there was another galaxy of wax candles burning around an immense pall of black velvet, embroidered with silver, which seemed to cover, not only a coffin, but a sarcophagus, or something still more huge. The organ was rumbling forth a deep, lugubrious bass, accompanied with heavy chanting of priests, out of which sometimes rose the clear, young voices of choristers, like light flashing out of the gloom. The church, between the arches, along the nave, and round the altar, was hung with broad expanses of black cloth; and all the priests had their sacred vestments covered with black. They looked exceedingly well; I never saw anything half so well got up on the stage. Some of these ecclesiastical figures were very stately and

 

1858.] FRANCE. 25

noble, and knelt and bowed, and bore aloft the cross, and swung the censers in a way that I liked to see. The ceremonies of the Catholic Church were a superb work of art, or perhaps a true growth of man's religious nature; and so long as men felt their original meaning, they must have been full of awe and glory. Being of another parish, I looked on coldly, but not irreverently, and was glad to see the funeral service so well performed, and very glad when it was over. What struck me as singular, the person who performed the part usually performed by a verger, keeping order among the audience, wore a gold-embroidered scarf, a cocked hat, and, I believe, a sword, and had the air of a military man.

Before the close of the service a contribution-box--or, rather, a black velvet bag--was handed about by this military verger; and I gave J----- a franc to put in, though I did not in the least know for what.

Issuing from the church, we inquired of two or three persons who was the distinguished defunct at whose obsequies we had been assisting, for we had some hope that it might be Rachel, who died last week, and is still above ground. But it proved to be only a Madame Mentel, or some such name, whom nobody had ever before heard of. I forgot to say that her coffin was taken from beneath the illuminated hall, and carried out of the church before us.

When we left the Madeleine we took our way to the Place de la Concorde, and thence through the Elysian Fields (which, I suppose, are the French idea of heaven) to Bonaparte's triumphal arch. The Champs Elysées may look pretty in summer; though I suspect they must be somewhat dry and artificial at whatever season,--the trees being slender and scraggy, and re-

 

26 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

quiring to be renewed every few years. The soil is not genial to them. The strangest peculiarity of this place, however, to eyes fresh from moist and verdant England, is, that there is not one blade of grass in all the Elysian Fields, nothing but hard clay, now covered with white dust. It gives the whole scene the air of being a contrivance of man, in which Nature has either not been invited to take any part, or has declined to do so. There were merry-go-rounds, wooden horses, and other provision for children's amusements among the trees; and booths, and tables of cakes, and candy-women; and restaurants on the borders of the wood; but very few people there; and doubtless we can form no idea of what the scene might become when alive with French gayety and vivacity.

As we walked onward the Triumphal Arch began to loom up in the distance, looking huge and massive, though still a long way off. It was not, however, till we stood almost beneath it that we really felt the grandeur of this great arch, including so large a space of the blue sky in its airy sweep. At a distance, it impresses the spectator with its solidity; nearer, with the lofty vacancy beneath it. There is a spiral staircase within one of its immense limbs; and, climbing steadily upward, lighted by a lantern which the doorkeeper's wife gave us, we had a bird's-eye view of Paris, much obscured by smoke or mist. Several interminable avenues shoot with painful directness right towards it.

On our way homeward we visited the Place Vendôme, in the centre of which is a tall column, sculptured from top to bottom, all over the pedestal, and all over the shaft, and with Napoleon himself on the summit. The shaft is wreathed round and round-

 

1858.] FRANCE. 27

about with representations of what, as far as I could distinguish, seemed to be the Emperor's victories. It has a very rich effect. At the foot of the column we saw wreaths of artificial flowers, suspended there, no doubt, by some admirer of Napoleon, still ardent enough to expend a franc or two in this way.

 

Hôtel de Louvre, January 10th.--We had purposed going to the Cathedral of Notre Dame to-day, but the weather and walking were too unfavorable for a distant expedition; so we merely went across the street to the Louvre. . . .

Our principal object this morning was to see the pencil drawings by eminent artists. Of these the Louvre has a very rich collection, occupying many apartments, and comprising sketches by Annibal Caracci, Claude, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Michel Angelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, and almost all the other great masters, whether French, Italian, Dutch, or whatever else; the earliest drawings of their great pictures, when they had the glory of their pristine idea directly before their minds' eye,--that idea which inevitably became overlaid with their own handling of it in the finished painting. No doubt, the painters themselves had often a happiness in these rude off-hand sketches, which they never felt again in the same work, and which resulted in disappointment, after they had done their best. To an artist, the collection must be most deeply interesting: to myself, it was merely curious, and soon grew wearisome.

In the same suite of apartments, there is a collection of miniatures, some of them very exquisite, and absolutely lifelike, on their small scale. I observed

 

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two of Franklin, both good and picturesque, one of them especially so, with its cloud-like white hair. I do not think we have produced a man so interesting to contemplate, in many points of view, as he. Most of our great men are of a character that I find it impossible to warm into life by thought, or by lavishing any amount of sympathy upon them. Not so Franklin, who had a great deal of common and uncommon human nature in him.

Much of the time, while my wife was looking at the drawings, I sat observing the crowd of Sunday visitors. They were generally of a lower class than those of week-days: private soldiers in a variety of uniforms, and, for the most part, ugly little men, but decorous and well behaved. I saw medals on many of their breasts, denoting Crimean service; some were the English medal, with Queen Victoria's head upon it. A blue coat, with red, baggy trousers, was the most usual uniform. Some had short-breasted coats, made in the same style as those of the first Napoleon, which we had seen in the preceding rooms. The policemen, distributed pretty abundantly about the rooms, themselves looked military, wearing cocked hats and swords. There were many women of the middling classes; some, evidently, of the lowest, but clean and decent, in colored gowns and caps; and laboring men, citizens, Sunday gentlemen, young artists, too, no doubt looking, with educated eyes, at these art-treasures, and I think, as a general thing, each man was mated with a woman. The soldiers, however, came in pairs or little squads, accompanied by women. I did not much like any of the French faces, and yet I am not sure that there is not more resemblance between them and the American physiognomy, than between the latter

 

1858.] FRANCE. 29

and the English. The women are not pretty, but in all ranks above the lowest they have a trained expression that supplies the place of beauty.

I was wearied to death with the drawings, and began to have that dreary and desperate feeling which has often come upon me when the sights last longer than my capacity for receiving them. As our time in Paris, however, is brief and precious, we next inquired our way to the galleries of sculpture, and these alone are of astounding extent, reaching, I should think, all round one quadrangle of the Louvre, on the basement floor. Hall after hall opened interminably before us, and on either side of us, paved and incrusted with variegated and beautifully polished marble, relieved against which stand the antique statues and groups, interspersed with great urns and vases, sarcophagi, altars, tablets, busts of historic personages, and all manner of shapes of marble which consummate art has transmuted into precious stones. Not that I really did feel much impressed by any of this sculpture then, nor saw more than two or three things which I thought very beautiful; but whether it be good or no, I suppose the world has nothing better, unless it be a few world-renowned statues in Italy. I was even more struck by the skill and ingenuity of the French in arranging these sculptural remains, than by the value of the sculptures themselves. The galleries, I should judge, have been recently prepared, and on a magnificent system,--the adornments being yet by no means completed,--for besides the floor and wall-casings of rich, polished marble, the vaulted ceilings of some of the apartments are painted in fresco, causing them to glow as if the sky were opened. It must be owned, however, that the statuary, often time-worn and darkened from its

 

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original brilliancy by weather-stains, does not suit well as furniture for such splendid rooms. When we see a perfection of modern finish around them, we recognize that most of these statues had been thrown down from their pedestals, hundreds of years ago, and have been battered and externally degraded; and though whatever spiritual beauty they ever had may still remain, yet this is not made more apparent by the contrast betwixt the new gloss of modern upholstery, and their tarnished, even if immortal grace. I rather think the English have given really the more hospitable reception to the maimed Theseus, and his broken-nosed, broken-legged, headless companions, because flouting them with no gorgeous fittings up.

By this time poor J----- (who, with his taste for art yet undeveloped, is the companion of all our visits to sculpture and picture galleries) was wofully hungry, and for bread we had given him a stone,--not one stone, but a thousand. We returned to the hotel, and it being too damp and raw to go to our Restaurant des Echelles, we dined at the hotel. In my opinion it would require less time to cultivate our gastronomic taste than taste of any other kind; and, on the whole, I am not sure that a man would not be wise to afford himself a little discipline in this line. It is certainly throwing away the bounties of Providence, to treat them as the English do, producing from better materials than the French have to work upon nothing but sirloins, joints, joints, steaks, steaks, steaks, chops, chops, chops, chops! We had a soup to-day, in which twenty kinds of vegetables were represented, and manifested each its own aroma; a fillet of stewed beef, and a fowl, in some sort of delicate fricassee. We had a bottle of Chablis, and renewed ourselves, at the

 

1858.] FRANCE. 31

close of the banquet, with a plate of Chateaubriand ice. It was all very good, and we respected ourselves far more than if we had eaten a quantity of red roast beef; but I am not quite sure that we were right. . . .

Among the relics of kings and princes, I do not know that there was anything more interesting than a little brass cannon, two or three inches long, which had been a toy of the unfortunate Dauphin, son of Louis XVI. There was a map,--a hemisphere of the world,--which his father had drawn for this poor boy; very neatly done, too. The sword of Louis XVI., a magnificent rapier, with a beautifully damasked blade; and a jewelled scabbard, but without a hilt, is likewise preserved, as is the hilt of Henry IV.'s sword. But it is useless to begin a catalogue of these things. What a collection it is, including Charlemagne's sword and sceptre, and the last Dauphin's little toy cannon, and so much between the two!

 

Hôtel de Louvre, January 11th.--This was another chill, raw day, characterized by a spitefulness of atmosphere which I do not remember ever to have experienced in my own dear country. We meant to have visited the Hôtel des Invalides, but J----- and I walked to the Rivoli, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, and to the Place de Beaujon, and to the residence of the American Minister, where I wished to arrange about my passport. After speaking with the Secretary of Legation, we were ushered into the minister's private room, where he received me with great kindness. Mr. ---- is an old gentleman with a white head, and a large, florid face, which has an expression of amiability, not unmingled with a certain dignity. He did not rise from his arm-chair to greet

 

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me,--a lack of ceremony which I imputed to the gout, feeling it impossible that he should have willingly failed in courtesy to one of his twenty-five million sovereigns. In response to some remark of mine about the shabby way in which our government treats its officials pecuniarily, he gave a detailed account of his own troubles on that score; then expressed a hope that I had made a good thing out of my consulate, and inquired whether I had received a hint to resign; to which I replied that, for various reasons, I had resigned of my own accord, and before Mr. Buchanan's inauguration. We agreed, however, in disapproving the system of periodical change in our foreign officials; and I remarked that a consul or an ambassador ought to be a citizen both of his native country and of the one in which he resided; and that his possibility of beneficent influence depended largely on his being so. Apropos to which Mr. ---- said that he had once asked a diplomatic friend of long experience what was the first duty of a minister. "To love his own country, and to watch over its interests," answered the diplomatist. "And his second duty?" asked Mr. ----.

"To love and to promote the interests of the country to which he is accredited," said his friend. This is a very Christian and sensible view of the matter; but it can scarcely have happened once in our whole diplomatic history, that a minister can have had time to overcome his first rude and ignorant prejudice against the country of his mission; and if there were any suspicion of his having done so, it would be held abundantly sufficient ground for his recall. I like Mr. ----, a good-hearted, sensible old man.

J----- and I returned along the Champs Elysées, and, crossing the Seine, kept on our way by the river's

 

1858.] FRANCE. 33

brink, looking at the titles of books on the long lines of stalls that extend between the bridges. Novels, fairy-tales, dream books, treatises of behavior and etiquette, collections of bon-mots and of songs, were interspersed with volumes in the old style of calf and gilt binding, the works of the classics of French literature. A good many persons, of the poor classes, and of those apparently well to do, stopped transitorily to look at these books. On the other side of the street was a range of tall edifices with shops beneath, and the quick stir of French life hurrying, and babbling, and swarming along the sidewalk. We passed two or three bridges, occurring at short intervals, and at last we recrossed the Seine by a bridge which oversteps the river, from a point near the National Institute, and reaches the other side, not far from the Louvre.

Though the day was so disagreeable, we thought it best not to lose the remainder of it, and therefore set out to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We took a fiacre in the Place de Carrousel, and drove to the door. On entering, we found the interior miserably shut off from view by the stagings erected for the purpose of repairs. Penetrating from the nave towards the chancel, an official personage signified to us that we must first purchase a ticket for each grown person, at the price of half a franc each. This expenditure admitted us into the sacristy, where we were taken in charge by a guide, who came down upon us with an avalanche or cataract of French, descriptive of a great many treasures reposited in this chapel. I understood hardly more than one word in ten, but gathered doubtfully that a bullet which was shown us was the one that killed the late Archbishop of Paris, on

 

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the floor of the Cathedral. [But this was a mistake. It was the archbishop who was killed in the insurrection of 1848. Two joints of his backbone were also shown.] Also, that some gorgeously embroidered vestments, which he drew forth, had been used at the coronation of Napoleon I. There were two large, full-length portraits hanging aloft in the sacristy, and a gold or silver gilt, or, at all events, gilt image, of the Virgin, as large as life, standing on a pedestal. The guide had much to say about these, but, understanding him so imperfectly, I have nothing to record.

The guide's supervision of us seemed not to extend beyond this sacristy, on quitting which he gave us permission to go where we pleased, only intimating a hope that we would not forget him; so I gave him half a franc, though thereby violating an inhibition on the printed ticket of entrance.

We had been much disappointed at first by the apparently narrow limits of the interior of this famous church; but now, as we made our way round the choir, gazing into chapel after chapel, each with its painted window, its crucifix, its pictures, its confessional, and afterwards came back into the nave, where arch rises above arch to the lofty roof, we came to the conclusion that it was very sumptuous. It is the greatest of pities that its grandeur and solemnity should just now be so infinitely marred by the workmen's boards, timber, and ladders occupying the whole centre of the edifice, and screening all its best effects. It seems to have been already most richly ornamented, its roof being painted, and the capitals of the pillars gilded, and their shafts illuminated in fresco; and no doubt it will shine out gorgeously

 

1858.] FRANCE. 35

when all the repairs and adornments shall be completed. Even now it gave to my actual sight what I have often tried to imagine in my visits to the English cathedrals,--the pristine glory of those edifices, when they stood glowing with gold and picture, fresh from the architects' and adorners' hands.

The interior loftiness of Notre Dame, moreover, gives it a sublimity which would swallow up anything that might look gewgawy in its ornamentation, were we to consider it window by window, or pillar by pillar. It is an advantage of these vast edifices, rising over us and spreading about us in such a firmamental way, that we cannot spoil them by any pettiness of our own, but that they receive (or absorb) our pettiness into their own immensity. Every little fantasy finds its place and propriety in them, like a flower on the earth's broad bosom.

When we emerged from the Cathedral, we found it beginning to rain or snow, or both; and, as we had dismissed our fiacre at the door, and could find no other, we were at a loss what to do. We stood a few moments on the steps of the Hôtel Dieu, looking up at the front of Notre Dame, with its twin towers, and its three deep-pointed arches, piercing through a great thickness of stone, and throwing a cavern-like gloom around these entrances. The front is very rich. Though so huge, and all of gray stone, it is carved and fretted with statues and innumerable devices, as cunningly as any ivory casket in which relics are kept; but its size did not so much impress me. . . .

 

Hôtel de Louvre, January 12th.--This has been a bright day as regards weather; but I have done

 

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little or nothing worth recording. After breakfast, I set out in quest of the consul, and found him up a court, at 51 Rue Cammartin, in an office rather smaller, I think, than mine at Liverpool; but, to say the truth, a little better furnished. I was received in the outer apartment by an elderly, brisk-looking man, in whose air, respectful and subservient, and yet with a kind of authority in it, I recognized the vice-consul. He introduced me to Mr. ----, who sat writing in an inner room; a very gentlemanly, courteous, cool man of the world, whom I should take to be an excellent person for consul at Paris. He tells me that he has resided here some years, although his occupancy of the consulate dates only from November last. Consulting him respecting my passport, he gave me what appear good reasons why I should get all the necessary visés here; for example, that the visé of a minister carries more weight than that of a consul; and especially that an Austrian consul will never visé a passport unless he sees his minister's name upon it. Mr. ---- has travelled much in Italy, and ought to be able to give me sound advice. His opinion was, that at this season of the year I had better go by steamer to Cività Vecchia, instead of landing at Leghorn, and thence journeying to Rome. On this point I shall decide when the time comes. As I left the office the vice-consul informed me that there was a charge of five francs and some sous for the consul's visé, a tax which surprised me,--the whole business of passports having been taken from consuls before I quitted office, and the consular fee having been annulled even earlier. however, no doubt Mr. ---- had a fair claim to my five francs; but, really, it is not half so pleasant to pay a consular fee as it used to be to receive it.

 

1858.] FRANCE. 37

Afterwards I walked to Notre Dame, the rich front of which I viewed with more attention than yesterday. There are whole histories, carved in stone figures, within the vaulted arches of the three entrances in this west front, and twelve apostles in a row above, and as much other sculpture as would take a month to see. We then walked quite round it, but I had no sense of immensity from it, not even that of great height, as from many of the cathedrals in England. It stands very near the Seine; indeed, if I mistake not, it is on an island formed by two branches of the river. Behind it is what seems to be a small public ground (or garden, if a space entirely denuded of grass or other green thing, except a few trees can be called so), with benches, and a monument in the midst. This quarter of the city looks old, and appears to be inhabited by poor people, and to be busied about small and petty affairs; the most picturesque business that I saw being that of the old woman who sells crucifixes of pearl and of wood at the cathedral door. We bought two of these yesterday.

I must again speak of the horrible muddiness, not only of this part of the city, but of all Paris, so far as I have traversed it to-day. My ways, since I came to Europe, have often lain through nastiness, but I never before saw a pavement so universally overspread with mud-padding as that of Paris. It is difficult to imagine where so much filth can come from.

After dinner I walked through the gardens of the Tuileries; but as dusk was coming on, and as I was afraid of being shut up within the iron railing, I did not have time to examine them particularly. There are wide, intersecting walks, fountains, broad basins, and many statues; but almost the whole surface of

 

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the gardens is barren earth, instead of the verdure that would beautify an English pleasure-ground of this sort. In the summer it has doubtless an agreeable shade; but at this season the naked branches look meagre, and sprout from slender trunks. Like the trees in the Champs Elysées, those, I presume, in the gardens of the Tuileries need renewing every few years. The same is true of the human race,--families becoming extinct after a generation or two of residence in Paris. Nothing really thrives here; man and vegetables have but an artificial life, like flowers stuck in a little mould, but never taking root. I am quite tired of Paris, and long for a home more than ever.

MARSEILLES.

Hôtel d'Angleterre, January 15th.-- On Tuesday morning (12th) we took our departure from the Hôtel de Louvre. It is a most excellent and perfectly ordered hotel, and I have not seen a more magnificent hall in any palace than the dining-saloon, with its profuse gilding, and its ceiling, painted in compartments; so that when the chandeliers are all alight, it looks a fit place for princes to banquet in, and not very fit for the few Americans whom I saw scattered at its long tables.

By the by, as we drove to the railway, we passed through the public square where the Bastille formerly stood; and in the centre of it now stands a column, surmounted by a golden figure of Mercury (I think), which seems to be just on the point of casting itself from a gilt ball into the air. This statue is so buoyant, that the spectator feels quite willing to trust it to the viewless element, being as sure that it would be borne up as that a bird would fly.

 

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Our first day's journey was wholly without interest, through a country entirely flat, and looking wretchedly brown and barren. There were rows of trees, very slender, very prim and formal; there was ice wherever there happened to be any water to form it; there were occasional villages, compact little streets or masses of stone or plastered cottages, very dirty and with gable ends and earthen roofs; and a succession of this same landscape was all that we saw, whenever we rubbed away the congelation of our breath from the carriage windows. Thus we rode on, all day long, from eleven o'clock, with hardly a five minutes' stop, till long after dark, when we came to Dijon, where there was a halt of twenty-five minutes for dinner. Then we set forth again, and rumbled forward, through cold and darkness without, until we reached Lyons at about ten o'clock. We left our luggage at the railway-station, and took an omnibus for the Hˆtel de Provence, which we chose at a venture, among a score of other hotels.

As this hotel was a little off the direct route of the omnibus, the driver set us down at the corner of a street, and pointed to some lights, which he said designated the Hôtel de Provence; and thither we proceeded, all seven of us, taking along a few carpet-bags and shawls, our equipage for the night. The porter of the hotel met us near its doorway, and ushered us through an arch, into the inner quadrangle, and then up some old and worn steps,--very broad and appearing to be the principal staircase. At the first landing-place, an old woman and a waiter or two received us; and we went up two or three more flights of the same broad and worn stone staircases. What we could see of the house looked very old, and had the musty odor with which I first became acquainted at Chester.

 

40 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

After ascending to the proper level, we were conducted along a corridor, paved with octagonal earthen tiles; on one side were windows, looking into the court-yard; on the other, doors opening into the sleeping-chambers. The corridor was of immense length, and seemed still to lengthen itself before us, as the glimmer of our conductor's candle went farther and farther into the obscurity Our own chamber was at a vast distance along this passage; those of the rest of the party were on the hither side; but all this immense suite of rooms appeared to communicate by doors from one to another, like the chambers through which the reader wanders at midnight, in Mrs. Radcliffe's romances. And they were really splendid rooms, though of an old fashion, lofty, spacious, with floors of oak or other wood, inlaid in squares and crosses, and waxed till they were slippery, but without carpets. Our own sleeping-room had a deep fireplace, in which we ordered a fire, and asked if there were not some saloon already warmed where we could get a cup of tea.

Hereupon the waiter led us back along the endless corridor, and down the old stone staircases, and out into the quadrangle, and journeyed with us along an exterior arcade, and finally threw open the door of the salle à manger, which proved to be a room of lofty height, with a vaulted roof, a stone floor, and interior spaciousness sufficient for a baronial hall, the whole bearing the same aspect of times gone by that characterized the rest of the house. There were two or three tables covered with white cloth, and we sat down at one of them and had our tea. Finally we wended back to our sleeping-rooms,--a considerable journey, so endless seemed the ancient hotel. I should like to know its history.

 

1858.] FRANCE. 41

The fire made our great chamber look comfortable, and the fireplace threw out the heat better than the little square hole over which we cowered in one saloon at the Hôtel de Louvre.

In the morning we began our preparations for starting at ten. Issuing into the corridor, I found a soldier of the line, pacing to and fro there as sentinel. Another was posted in another corridor, into which I wandered by mistake; another stood in the inner courtyard, and another at the porte-cochère. They were not there the night before, and I know not whence nor why they came, unless that some officer of rank may have taken up his quarters at the hotel. Miss M------- says she heard at Paris that a considerable number of troops had recently been drawn together at Lyons, in consequence of symptoms of disaffection that have recently shown themselves here.

Before breakfast I went out to catch a momentary glimpse of the city. The street in which our hotel stands is near a large public square; in the centre is a bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV.; and the square itself is called the Place de Louis le Grand. I wonder where this statue hid itself while the Revolution was raging in Lyons, and when the guillotine, perhaps, stood on that very spot.

The square was surrounded by stately buildings, but had what seemed to be barracks for soldiers,--at any rate, mean little huts, deforming its ample space; and a soldier was on guard before the statue of Louis le Grand. It was a cold, misty morning, and a fog lay throughout the area, so that I could scarcely see from one side of it to the other.

Returning towards our hotel, I saw that it had an immense front, along which ran in gigantic letters, its

 

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title,--"Hôtel de Provence et des Ambassadeurs." The excellence of the hotel lay rather in the faded pomp of its sleeping-rooms, and the vastness of its salle à manger, than in anything very good to eat or drink.

We left it, after a poor breakfast, and went to the railway-station. Looking at the mountainous heap of our luggage the night before, we had missed a great carpet-bag; and we now found that Miss M-------'s trunk had been substituted for it, and, there being the proper number of packages as registered, it was impossible to convince the officials that anything was wrong. We, of course, began to generalize forthwith, and pronounce the incident to be characteristic of French morality. They love a certain system and external correctness, but do not trouble themselves to be deeply in the right; and Miss M------- suggested that there used to be parallel cases in the French Revolution, when, so long as the assigned number were sent out of prison to be guillotined, the jailer did not much care whether they were the persons designated by the tribunal or not. At all events, we could get no satisfaction about the carpet-bag, and shall very probably be compelled to leave Marseilles without it.

This day's ride was through a far more picturesque country than that we saw yesterday. Heights began to rise imminent above our way, with sometimes a ruined castle wall upon them; on our left, the rail-track kept close to the hills; on the other side there was the level bottom of a valley, with heights descending upon it a mile or a few miles away. Farther off we could see blue hills, shouldering high above the intermediate ones, and themselves worthy to be called mountains. These hills arranged themselves in beautiful groups,

 

1858.] FRANCE. 43

affording openings between them, and vistas of what lay beyond, and gorges which I suppose held a great deal of romantic scenery. By and by a river made its appearance, flowing swiftly in the same direction that we were travelling,--a beautiful and cleanly river, with white pebbly shores, and itself of a peculiar blue. It rushed along very fast, sometimes whitening over shallow descents, and even, in its calmer intervals its surface was all covered with whirls and eddies, indicating that it dashed onward in haste. I do not now know the name of this river, but have set it down as the "Arrowy Rhone." It kept us company a long while, and I think we did not part with it as long as daylight remained. I have seldom seen hill-scenery that struck me more than some that we saw to-day, and the old feudal towers and old villages at their feet; and the old churches, with spires shaped just like extinguishers, gave it an interest accumulating from many centuries past.

Still going southward, the vineyards began to border our track, together with what I at first took to be orchards, but soon found were plantations of olive-trees, which grow to a much larger size than I supposed, and look almost exactly like very crabbed and eccentric apple-trees. Neither they nor the vineyards add anything to the picturesqueness of the landscape.

On the whole, I should have been delighted with all this scenery if it had not looked so bleak, barren, brown, and bare; so like the wintry New England before the snow has fallen. It was very cold, too; ice along the borders of streams, even among the vineyards and olives. The houses are of rather a different shape here than farther northward, their roofs be-

 

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ing not nearly so sloping. They are almost invariably covered with white plaster; the farm-houses have their outbuildings in connection with the dwelling,-- the whole surrounding three sides of a quadrangle.

We travelled far into the night, swallowed a cold and hasty dinner at Avignon, and reached Marseilles sorely wearied, at about eleven o'clock. We took a cab to the Hôtel d'Angleterre (two cabs, to be quite accurate), and find it a very poor place.

To go back a little: as the sun went down, we looked out of the window of our railway-carriage, and saw a sky that reminded us of what we used to see day after day in America, and what we have not seen since; and, after sunset, the horizon burned and glowed with rich crimson and orange lustre, looking at once warm and cold. After it grew dark, the stars brightened, and Miss M------- from her window pointed out some of the planets to the children, she being as familiar with them as a gardener with his flowers. They were as bright as diamonds.

We had a wretched breakfast, and J----- and I then went to the railway-station to see about our luggage. On our walk back we went astray, passing by a triumphal arch, erected by the Marseillaise, in honor of Louis Napoleon; but we inquired our way of old women and soldiers, who were very kind and courteous,--especially the latter,--and were directed aright. We came to a large, oblong, public place, set with trees, but devoid of grass, like all public places in France. In the middle of it was a bronze statue of an ecclesiastical personage, stretching forth his hands in the attitude of addressing the people or of throwing a benediction over them. It was some archbishop, who had distinguished himself by his hu-

 

1858.] FRANCE. 45

manity and devotedness during the plague of 1720. At the moment of our arrival the piazza was quite thronged with people, who seemed to be talking amongst themselves with considerable earnestness, although without any actual excitement. They were smoking cigars; and we judged that they were only loitering here for the sake of the sunshine, having no fires at home, and nothing to do. Some looked like gentlemen, others like peasants; most of them I should have taken for the lazzaroni of this Southern city,--men with cloth caps, like the classic liberty-cap, or with wide-awake hats. There were one or two women of the lower classes, without bonnets, the elder ones with white caps, the younger bareheaded. I have hardly seen a lady in Marseilles; and I suspect, it being a commercial city, and dirty to the last degree, ill-built, narrow-streeted, and sometimes pestilential, there are few or no families of gentility resident here.

Returning to the hotel, we found the rest of the party ready to go out; so we all issued forth in a body, and inquired our way to the telegraph-office, in order to send my message about the carpet-bag. In a street through which we had to pass (and which seemed to be the Exchange, or its precincts), there was a crowd even denser, yes, much denser, than that which we saw in the square of the archbishop's statue; and each man was talking to his neighbor in a vivid, animated way, as if business were very brisk today.

At the telegraph-office, we discovered the cause that had brought out these many people. There had been attempts on the Emperor's life,--unsuccessful, as they seem fated to be, though some mischief was done

 

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to those near him. I rather think the good people of Marseilles were glad of the attempt, as an item of news and gossip, and did not very greatly care whether it were successful or no. It seemed to have roused their vivacity rather than their interest. The only account I have seen of it was in the brief public despatch from the Syndic (or whatever he be) of Paris to the chief authority of Marseilles, which was printed and posted in various conspicuous places. The only chance of knowing the truth with any fulness of detail would be to come across an English paper. We have had a banner hoisted half-mast in front of our hotel to-day as a token, the head-waiter tells me, of sympathy and sorrow for the General and other persons who were slain by this treasonable attempt.

J----- and I now wandered by ourselves along a circular line of quays, having, on one side of us, a thick forest of masts, while, on the other, was a sweep of shops, book-stalls, sailors' restaurants and drinking-houses, fruit-sellers, candy-women, and all manner of open-air dealers and pedlars; little children playing, and jumping the rope, and such a babble and bustle as I never saw or heard before; the sun lying along the whole sweep, very hot, and evidently very grateful to those who basked in it. Whenever I passed into the shade, immediately from too warm I became too cold. The sunshine was like hot air; the shade, like the touch of cold steel,--sharp, hard, yet exhilarating. From the broad street of the quays, narrow, threadlike lanes pierced up between the edifices, calling themselves streets, yet so narrow, that a person in the middle could almost touch the houses on either hand. They ascended steeply, bordered on each side by long, contiguous walls of high houses, and from the time of

 

1858.] THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. 47

their first being built, could never have had a gleam of sunshine in them,--always in shadow, always unutterably nasty, and often pestiferous. The nastiness which I saw in Marseilles exceeds my heretofore experience. There is dirt in the hotel, and everywhere else; and it evidently troubles nobody,--no more than if all the people were pigs in a pigsty.

Passing by all this sweep of quays, J----- and I ascended to an elevated walk, overlooking the harbor, and far beyond it; for here we had our first view of the Mediterranean, blue as heaven, and bright with sunshine. It was a bay, widening forth into the open deep, and bordered with heights and bold, picturesque headlands, some of which had either fortresses or convents on them. Several boats and one brig were under sail, making their way towards the port. I have never seen a finer sea-view. Behind the town there seemed to be a mountainous landscape, imperfectly visible, in consequence of the intervening edifices.

THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

Steamer Calabrese, January 17th.--If I had remained at Marseilles, I might have found many peculiarities and characteristics of that Southern city to notice; but I fear that these will not be recorded if I leave them till I touch the soil of Italy. Indeed, I doubt whether there be anything really worth recording in the little distinctions between one nation and another; at any rate, after the first novelty is over, new things seem equally commonplace with the old. There is but one little interval when the mind is in such a state that it can catch the fleeting aroma of a new scene. And it is always so much pleasanter to enjoy this delicious newness than to attempt arresting

 

48 FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. [1858.

it, that it requires great force of will to insist with one's self upon sitting down to write. I can do nothing with Marseilles, especially here on the Mediterranean, long after nightfall, and when the steamer is pitching in a pretty lively way.

(Later.)--I walked out with J----- yesterday morning, and reached the outskirts of the city, whence we could see the bold and picturesque heights that surround Marseilles as with a semicircular wall. They rise into peaks, and the town, being on their lower slope, descends from them towards the sea with a gradual sweep. Adown the streets that descend these declivities come little rivulets, running along over the pavement, close to the sidewalks, as over a pebbly bed; and though they look vastly like kennels, I saw women washing linen in these streams, and others dipping up the water for household purposes. The women appear very much in public at Marseilles. In the squares and places you see half a dozen of them together, sitting in a social circle on the bottoms of upturned baskets, knitting, talking, and enjoying the public sunshine, as if it were their own household fire. Not one in a thousand of them, probably, ever has a household fire for the purpose of keeping themselves warm, but only to do their little cookery; and when there is sunshine they take advantage of it, and in the short season of rain and frost they shrug their shoulders, put on what warm garments they have, and get through the winter somewhat as grasshoppers and butterflies do,--being summer insects like them. This certainly is a very keen and cutting air, sharp as a razor, and I saw ice along the borders of the little rivulets almost at noonday. To be sure, it is mid-winter, and yet in the sunshine I found myself uncom-

 

1858.] THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. 49

fortably warm, but in the shade the air was like the touch of death itself. I do not like the climate.

There are a great number of public places in Marseilles, several of which are adorned with statues or fountains, or triumphal arches or columns, and set out with trees, and otherwise furnished as a kind of drawing-rooms, where the populace may meet together and gossip. I never before heard from human lips anything like this bustle and babble, this thousand-fold talk which you hear all round about you in the crowd of a public square; so entirely different is it from the dulness of a crowd in England, where, as a rule, everybody is silent, and hardly half a dozen monosyllables will come from the lips of a thousand people. In Marseilles, on the contrary, a stream of unbroken talk seems to bubble from the lips of every individual. A great many interesting scenes take place in these squares. From the window of our hotel (which looked into the Place Royal) I saw a juggler displaying his art to a crowd, who stood in a regular square about him, none pretending to press nearer than the prescribed limit. While the juggler wrought his miracles his wife supplied him with his magic materials out of a box; and when the exhibition was over she packed up the white cloth with which his table was covered, together with cups, cards, balls, and whatever else, and they took their departure.

I have been struck with the idle curiosity, and, at the same time, the courtesy and kindness, of the populace of Marseilles, and I meant to exemplify it by recording how Miss S---- and I attracted their notice, and became the centre of a crowd of at least fifty of them, while doing no more remarkable thing than settling with a cab-driver. But really this pitch and

 

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swell is getting too bad, and I shall go to bed, as the best chance of keeping myself in an equable state.

ROME.

37 Palazzo Larazani, Via Porta Pinciana, January 24th.--We left Marseilles in the Neapolitan steamer Calabrese, as noticed above, a week ago this morning. There was no fault to be found with the steamer, which was very clean and comfortable, contrary to what we had understood beforehand; except for the coolness of the air (and I know not that this was greater than that of the Atlantic in July), our voyage would have been very pleasant; but for myself, I enjoyed nothing, having a cold upon me, or a low fever, or something else that took the light and warmth out of everything.

I went to bed immediately after my last record, and was rocked to sleep pleasantly enough by the billows of the Mediterranean; and, coming on deck about sunrise next morning, found the steamer approaching Genoa. (We saw the city, lying at the foot of a range of hills, and stretching a little way up their slopes, the hills sweeping round it in the segment of a circle, and looking like an island rising abruptly out of the sea; for no connection with the mainland was visible on either side. There was snow scattered on their summits, and streaking their sides a good way down. They looked bold, and barren, and brown, except where the snow whitened them. The city did not impress me with much expectation of size or splendor. Shortly after coming into the port our whole party landed, and we found ourselves at once in the midst of a crowd of cab-drivers, hotel-runners, and commissionaires, who assaulted us with a volley of French,

 

1858.] ITALY. 51

Italian, and broken English, which beat pitilessly about our ears; for really it seemed as if all the dictionaries in the world had been torn to pieces, and blown around us by a hurricane. Such a pother! We took a commissionaire, a respectable-looking man, in a cloak, who said his name was Salvator Rosa; and he engaged to show us whatever was interesting in Genoa.

In the first place, he took us through narrow streets to an old church, the name of which I have forgotten, and, indeed, its peculiar features; but I know that I found it preëminently magnificent,--its whole interior being incased in polished marble, of various kinds and colors, its ceiling painted, and its chapels adorned with pictures. However, this church was dazzled out of sight by the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, to which we were afterwards conducted, whose exterior front is covered with alternate slabs of black and white marble, which were brought, either in whole or in part, from Jerusalem. Within, there was a prodigious richness of precious marbles, and a pillar, if I mistake not, from Solomon's Temple; and a picture of the Virgin by St. Luke; and others (rather more intrinsically valuable, I imagine), by old masters, set in superb marble frames, within the arches of the chapels. I used to try to imagine how the English cathedrals must have looked in their primeval glory, before the Reformation, and before the whitewash of Cromwell's time had overlaid their marble pillars; but I never imagined anything at all approaching what my eyes now beheld: this sheen of polished and variegated marble covering every inch of its walls; this glow of brilliant frescos all over the roof, and up within the domes; these beautiful pictures by great masters,

 

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painted for the places which they now occupied, and making an actual portion of the edifice; this wealth of silver, gold, and gems, that adorned the shrines of the saints, before which wax candles burned, and were kept burning, I suppose, from year's end to year's end; in short, there is no imagining nor remembering a hundredth part of the rich details. And even the Cathedral (though I give it up as indescribable) was nothing at all in comparison with a church to which the commissionaire afterwards led us; a church that had been built four or five hundred years ago, by a pirate, in expiation of his sins, and out of the profit of his rapine. This last edifice, in its interior, absolutely shone with burnished gold, and glowed with pictures; its walls were a quarry of precious stones, so valuable were the marbles out of which they were wrought; its columns and pillars were of inconceivable costliness; its pavement was a mosaic of wonderful beauty, and there were four twisted pillars made out of stalactites. Perhaps the best way to form some dim conception of it is to fancy a little casket, inlaid inside with precious stones, so that there shall not a hair's-breadth be left unprecious-stoned, and then to conceive this little bit of a casket increased to the magnitude of a great church, without losing anything of the excessive glory that was compressed into its original small compass, but all its pretty lustre made sublime by the consequent immensity. At any rate, nobody who has not seen a church like this can imagine what a gorgeous religion it was that reared it.

In the Cathedral, and in all the churches, we saw priests and many persons kneeling at their devotions; and our Salvator Rosa, whenever we passed a chapel or shine, failed not to touch the pavement with one

 

1858.] ITALY. 53

knee, crossing himself the while; and once, when a priest was going through some form of devotion, he stopped a few moments to share in it.

He conducted us, too, to the Balbi Palace, the stateliest and most sumptuous residence, but not more so than another which he afterwards showed us, nor perhaps than many others which exist in Genoa, THE SUPERB. The painted ceilings in these palaces are a glorious adornment; the walls of the saloons, incrusted with various-colored marbles, give an idea of splendor which I never gained from anything else. The floors, laid in mosaic, seem too precious to tread upon. In the royal palace, many of the floors were of various woods, inlaid by an English artist, and they looked like a magnification of some exquisite piece of Tunbridge ware; but, in all respects, this palace was inferior to others which we saw. I say nothing of the immense pictorial treasures which hung upon the walls of all the rooms through which we passed; for I soon grew so weary of admirable things, that I could neither enjoy nor understand them. My receptive faculty is very limited, and when the utmost of its small capacity is full, I become perfectly miserable, and the more so the better worth seeing are the things I am forced to reject. I do not know a greater misery; to see sights, after such repletion, is to the mind what it would be to the body to have dainties forced down the throat long after the appetite was satiated.

All this while, whenever we emerged into the vaultlike streets, we were wretchedly cold. The commissionaire took us to a sort of pleasure-garden, occupying the ascent of a hill, and presenting seven different views of the city, from as many stations. One of the objects pointed out to us was a large yellow house, on

 

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a hill-side, in the outskirts of Genoa, which was formerly inhabited for six months by Charles Dickens. Looking down from the elevated part of the pleasure-gardens, we saw orange-trees beneath us, with the golden fruit hanging upon them, though their trunks were muffled in straw; and, still lower down, there was ice and snow.

Gladly (so far as I myself was concerned) we dismissed the commissionaire, after he had brought us to the hotel of the Cross of Malta, where we dined; needlessly, as it proved, for another dinner awaited us after our return on board the boat.

We set sail for Leghorn before dark, and I retired early, feeling still more ill from my cold than the night before. The next morning we were in the crowded port of Leghorn. We all went ashore, with some idea of taking the rail for Pisa, which is within an hour's distance, and might have been seen in time for our departure with the steamer. But a necessary visit to a banker's, and afterwards some unnecessary formalities about our passports, kept us wandering through the streets nearly all day; and we saw nothing in the slightest degree interesting, except the tomb of Smollett, in the burial-place attached to the English Chapel. It is surrounded by an iron railing, and marked by a slender obelisk of white marble, the pattern of which is many times repeated over surrounding graves.

We went into a Jewish synagogue,--the interior cased in marbles, and surrounded with galleries, resting upon arches above arches. There were lights burning at the altar, and it looked very like a Christian church; but it was dirty, and had an odor not of sanctity.

 

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In Leghorn, as everywhere else, we were chilled to the heart, except when the sunshine fell directly upon us; and we returned to the steamer with a feeling as if we were getting back to our home; for this life of wandering makes a three days' residence in one place seem like home.

We found several new passengers on board, and among others a monk, in a long brown frock of woollen cloth, with an immense cape, and a little black covering over his tonsure. He was a tall figure, with a gray beard, and might have walked, just as he stood, out of a picture by one of the old masters. This holy person addressed me very affably in Italian; but we found it impossible to hold much conversation.

The evening was beautiful, with a bright young moonlight, not yet sufficiently powerful to overwhelm the stars, and as we walked the deck, Miss M------- showed the children the constellations, and told their names. J----- made a slight mistake as to one of them, pointing it out to me as "O'Brien's belt!"

Elba was presently in view, and we might have seen many other interesting points, had it not been for our steamer's practice of resting by day, and only pursuing its voyage by night. The next morning we found ourselves in the harbor of Cività Vecchia, and, going ashore with our luggage, went through a blind turmoil with custom house officers, inspectors of passports, soldiers, and vetturino people. My wife and I strayed a little through Cività Vecchia, and found its streets narrow, like clefts in a rock (which seems to be the fashion of Italian towns), and smelling nastily. I had made a bargain with a vetturino to send us to Rome in a carriage, with four horses, in eight hours;

 

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and as soon as the custom house and passport people would let us, we started, lumbering slowly along with our mountain of luggage. We had heard rumors of robberies lately committed on this route; especially of a Nova Scotia bishop, who was detained on the road an hour and a half, and utterly pillaged; and certainly there was not a single mile of the dreary and desolate country over which we passed, where we might not have been robbed and murdered with impunity. Now and then, at long distances, we came to a structure that was either a prison, a tavern, or a barn, but did not look very much like either, being strongly built of stone, with iron-grated windows, and of ancient and rusty aspect. We kept along by the sea-shore a great part of the way, and stopped to feed our horses at a village, the wretched street of which stands close along the shore of the Mediterranean, its loose, dark sand being made nasty by the vicinity. The vetturino cheated us, one of the horses giving out, as he must have known it would do, half-way on our journey; and we staggered on through cold and darkness, and peril, too, if the banditti were not a myth,--reaching Rome not much before midnight. I perpetrated unheard-of briberies on the custom house officers at the gates, and was permitted to pass through and establish myself at Spillman's Hotel, the only one where we could gain admittance, and where we have been half frozen, and have continued so ever since.

And this is sunny Italy, and genial Rome!

 

Palazzo Larazani, Via Porta Pinciana, February 3d.--We have been in Rome a fortnight today, or rather at eleven o'clock to-night; and I have seldom or never spent so wretched a time anywhere. Our

 

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impressions were very unfortunate, arriving at midnight, half frozen in the wintry rain, and being received into a cold and cheerless hotel, where we shivered during two or three days; meanwhile seeking lodgings among the sunless, dreary alleys which are called streets in Rome. One cold, bright day after another has pierced me to the heart, and cut me in twain as with a sword, keen and sharp, and poisoned at point and edge. I did not think that cold weather could have made me so very miserable. Having caught a feverish influenza, I was really glad of being muffled up comfortably in the fever heat. The atmosphere certainly has a peculiar quality of malignity. After a day or two we settled ourselves in a suite of ten rooms, comprehending one flat, or what is called the second piano of this house. The rooms, thus far, have been very uncomfortable, it being impossible to warm them by means of the deep, old-fashioned, inartificial fireplaces, unless we had the great logs of a New England forest to burn in them; so I have sat in my corner by the fireside with more clothes on than I ever wore before, and my thickest greatcoat over all. In the middle of the day I generally venture out for an hour or two, but have only once been warm enough even in the sunshine, and out of the sun never at any time. I understand now the force of that story of Diogenes when he asked the Conqueror, as the only favor he could do him, to stand out of his sunshine, there being such a difference in these Southern climes of Europe between sun and shade. If my wits had not been too much congealed, and my fingers too numb, I should like to have kept a minute journal of my feelings and impressions during the past fortnight. It would have shown modern

 

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Rome in an aspect in which it has never yet been depicted. But I have now grown somewhat acclimated, and the first freshness of my discomfort has worn off, so that I shall never be able to express how I dislike the place, and how wretched I have been in it; and soon, I suppose, warmer weather will come, and perhaps reconcile me to Rome against my will. Cold, narrow lanes, between tall, ugly, mean-looking, whitewashed houses, sour bread, pavements most uncomfortable to the feet, enormous prices for poor living beggars, pickpockets, ancient temples and broken monuments, and clothes hanging to dry about them; French soldiers, monks, and priests of every degree; a shabby population, smoking bad cigars,--these would have been some of the points of my description. Of course there are better and truer things to be said. . . .

It would be idle for me to attempt any sketches of these famous sites and edifices,--St. Peter's, for example,--which have been described by a thousand people, though none of them have ever given me an idea of what sort of place Rome is. . . .

The Coliseum was very much what I had preconceived it, though I was not prepared to find it turned into a sort of Christian church, with a pulpit on the verge of the open space. . . . The French soldiers, who keep guard within it, as in other public places in Rome, have an excellent opportunity to secure the welfare of their souls.

 

February 7th.--I cannot get fairly into the current of my journal since we arrived, and already I perceive that the nice peculiarities of Roman life are passing from my notice before I have recorded them. It is a

 

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very great pity. During the past week I have plodded daily, for an hour or two, through the narrow, stony streets, that look worse than the worst backside lanes of any other city; indescribably ugly and disagreeable they are, . .. without sidewalks, but provided with a line of larger square stones, set crosswise to each other, along which there is somewhat less uneasy walking. . . . Ever and anon, even in the meanest streets,--though, generally speaking, one can hardly be called meaner than another,--we pass a palace, extending far along the narrow way on a line with the other houses, but distinguished by its architectural windows, iron-barred on the basement story, and by its portal arch, through which we have glimpses, sometimes of a dirty courtyard, or perhaps of a clean, ornamented one, with trees, a colonnade, a fountain, and a statue in the vista; though, more likely, it resembles the entrance to a stable, and may, perhaps, really be one. The lower regions of palaces come to strange uses in Rome. . . . In the basement story of the Barberini Palace a regiment of French soldiers (or soldiers of some kind [1]) seems to be quartered, while, no doubt, princes have magnificent domiciles above. Be it palace or whatever other dwelling, the inmates climb through rubbish often to the comforts, such as they may be, that await them above. I vainly try to get down upon paper the dreariness, the ugliness, shabbiness, un-home-likeness of a Roman street. It is also to be said that you cannot go far in any direction without coming to a piazza, which is sometimes little more than a widening and enlarging of the dingy street, with the lofty façade of a church or basilica on one side, and a fountain in the centre, where the water

[1] We find them to be retainers of the Barberini family, not French.

 

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squirts out of some fantastic piece of sculpture into a great stone basin. These fountains are often of immense size and most elaborate design. . . .

There are a great many of these fountain-shapes, constructed under the orders of one pope or another, in all parts of the city; and only the very simplest, such as a jet springing from a broad marble or porphyry vase, and falling back into it again, are really ornamental. If an antiquary were to accompany me through the streets, no doubt he would point out ten thousand interesting objects that I now pass over unnoticed, so general is the surface of plaster and whitewash; but often I can see fragments of antiquity built into the walls, or perhaps a church that was a Roman temple, or a basement of ponderous stones that were laid, above twenty centuries ago. It is strange how our ideas of what antiquity is become altered here in Rome; the sixteenth century, in which many of the churches and fountains seem to have been built or re-edified, seems close at hand, even like our own days; a thousand years, or the days of the latter empire, is but a modern date, and scarcely interests us; and nothing is really venerable of a more recent epoch than the reign of Constantine. And the Egyptian obelisks that stand in several of the piazzas put even the Augustan or Republican antiquities to shame. I remember reading in a New York newspaper an account of one of the public buildings of that city,--a relic of "the olden time," the writer called it; for it was erected in 1825! I am glad I saw the castles and Gothic churches and cathedrals of England before visiting Rome, or I never could have felt that delightful reverence for their gray and ivy-hung antiquity after seeing these so much older remains. But, indeed,

 

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old things are not so beautiful in this dry climate and clear atmosphere as in moist England. . . .

Whatever beauty there may be in a Roman ruin is the remnant of what was beautiful originally; whereas an English ruin is more beautiful often in its decay than even it was in its primal strength. If we ever build such noble structures as these Roman ones, we can have just as good ruins, after two thousand years, in the United States; but we never can have a Furness Abbey or a Kenilworth. The Corso, and perhaps some other streets, does not deserve all the vituperation which I have bestowed on the generality of Roman vias, though the Corso is narrow, not averaging more than nine paces, if so much, from sidewalk to sidewalk. But palace after palace stands along almost its whole extent,--not, however, that they make such architectural show on the street as palaces should. The enclosed courts were perhaps the only parts of these edifices which the founders cared to enrich architecturally. I think Linlithgow Palace, of which I saw the ruins during my last tour in Scotland, was built by an architect who had studied these Roman palaces. There was never any idea of domestic comfort, or of what we include in the name of home, at all implicated in such structures, they being generally built by wifeless and childless churchmen for the display of pictures and statuary in galleries and long suites of rooms.

I have not yet fairly begun the sight-seeing of Rome. I have been four or five times to St. Peter's, and always with pleasure, because there is such a delightful, summer-like warmth the moment we pass beneath the heavy, padded leather curtains that protect the entrances. It is almost impossible not to be-

 

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lieve that this genial temperature is the result of furnace-heat, but, really, it is the warmth of last summer, which will be included within those massive walls, and in that vast immensity of space, till, six months hence, this winter's chill will just have made its way thither. It would be an excellent plan for a valetudinarian to lodge during the winter in St. Peter's, perhaps establishing his household in one of the papal tombs. I become, I think, more sensible of the size of St. Peter's, but am as yet far from being overwhelmed by it. It is not, as one expects, so big as all out-o'-doors, nor is its dome so immense as that of the firmament. It looked queer, however, the other day, to see a little ragged boy, the very least of human things, going round and kneeling at shrine after shrine, and a group of children standing on tiptoe to reach the vase of holy water. . . .

On coming out of St. Peter's at my last visit, I saw a great sheet of ice around the fountain on the right hand, and some little Romans awkwardly sliding on it. I, too, took a slide, just for the sake of doing what I never thought to do in Rome. This inclement weather, I should suppose, must make the whole city very miserable; for the native Romans, I am told, never keep any fire, except for culinary purposes, even in the severest winter. They flee from their cheerless houses into the open air, and bring their firesides along with them in the shape of small earthen vases, or pipkins, with a handle by which they carry them up and down the streets, and so warm at least their hands with the lighted charcoal. I have had glimpses through open doorways into interiors, and saw them as dismal as tombs. Wherever I pass my summers, let me spend my winters in a cold country.

 

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We went yesterday to the Pantheon. . . .

When I first came to Rome, I felt embarrassed and unwilling to pass, with my heresy, between a devotee and his saint; for they often shoot their prayers at a shrine almost quite across the church. But there seems to be no violation of etiquette in so doing. A woman begged of us in the Pantheon, and accused my wife of impiety for not giving her an alms. . . . People of very decent appearance are often unexpectedly converted into beggars as you approach them; but in general they take a "No" at once.

 

February 9th.--For three or four days it has been cloudy and rainy, which is the greater pity, as this should be the gayest and merriest part of the Carnival. I go out but little,--yesterday only as far as Pakenham's and Hooker's bank, in the Piazza di Spagna, when I read "Galignani" and the American papers. At last, after seeing in England more of my fellow-compatriots than ever before, I really am disjoined from my country.

Today I walked out along the Pincian Hill. . . . As the clouds still threatened rain, I deemed it my safest course to go to St. Peter's for refuge. Heavy and dull as the day was, the effect of this great world of a church was still brilliant in the interior, as if it had a sunshine of its own, as well as its own temperature; and, by and by, the sunshine of the outward world came through the windows, hundreds of feet aloft, and fell upon the beautiful inlaid pavement. . . . Against a pillar, on one side of the nave, is a mosaic copy of Raphael's Transfiguration, fitly framed within a great arch of gorgeous marble; and, no doubt, the indestructible mosaic has preserved it far more com-

 

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pletely than the fading and darkening tints in which the artist painted it. At any rate, it seemed to me the one glorious picture that I have ever seen. The pillar nearest the great entrance, on the left of the nave, supports the monument to the Stuart family, where two winged figures, with inverted torches, stand on either side of a marble door, which is closed forever. It is an impressive monument, for you feel as if the last of the race had passed through that door.

Emerging from the church, I saw a French sergeant drilling his men in the piazza. These French soldiers are prominent objects everywhere about the city, and make up more of its sight and sound than anything else that lives. They stroll about individually; they pace as sentinels in all the public places; and they march up and down in squads, companies, and battalions, always with a very great din of drum, fife, and trumpet; ten times the proportion of music that the same number of men would require elsewhere; and it reverberates with ten times the noise, between the high edifices of these lanes, that it could make in broader streets. Nevertheless, I have no quarrel with the French soldiers; they are fresh, healthy, smart, honest-looking young fellows enough, in blue coats and red trousers; . . . and, at all events, they serve as an efficient police, making Rome as safe as London; whereas, without them, it would very likely be a den of banditti.

On my way home I saw a few tokens of the Carnival, which is now in full progress; though, as it was only about one o'clock, its frolics had not commenced for the day. . . . I question whether the Romans themselves take any great interest in the Carnival. The balconies along the Corso were almost

 

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entirely taken by English and Americans, or other foreigners.

As I approached the bridge of St. Angelo, I saw several persons engaged, as I thought, in fishing in the Tiber, with very strong lines; but, on drawing nearer, I found that they were trying to hook up the branches and twigs, and other driftwood, which the recent rains might have swept into the river. There was a little heap of what looked chiefly like willow twigs, the poor result of their labor. The hook was a knot of wood, with the lopped-off branches projecting in three or four prongs. The Tiber has always the hue of a mud-puddle; but now, after a heavy rain which has washed the clay into it, it looks like pease-soup. It is a broad and rapid stream, eddying along as if it were in haste to disgorge its impurities into the sea. On the left side, where the city mostly is situated, the buildings hang directly over the stream; on the other, where stand the Castle of St. Angelo and the Church of St. Peter, the town does not press so imminent upon the shore. The banks are clayey, and look as if the river had been digging them away for ages; but I believe its bed is higher than of yore.

 

February 10th.--I went out to-day, and, going along the Via Felice and the Via delle Quattro Fontane, came unawares to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. I entered it, without in the least knowing what church it was, and found myself in a broad and noble nave, both very simple and very grand. There was a long row of Ionic columns of marble, twenty or thereabouts on each side, supporting a flat roof. There were vaulted side-aisles, and, at the farther end, a bronze

 

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canopy over the high altar; and all along the length of the side-aisles were shrines with pictures, sculpture, and burning lamps; the whole church, too, was lined with marble: the roof was gilded; and yet the general effect of severe and noble simplicity triumphed over all the ornament. I should have taken it for a Roman temple, retaining nearly its pristine aspect; but Murray tells us that it was founded A. D. 342 by Pope Liberius, on the spot precisely marked out by a miraculous fall of snow, in the month of August, and it has undergone many alterations since his time. But it is very fine, and gives the beholder the idea of vastness, which seems harder to attain than anything else. On the right hand, approaching the high altar, there is a chapel, separated from the rest of the church by an iron paling; and, being admitted into it with another party, I found it most elaborately magnificent. But one magnificence outshone another, and made itself the brightest conceivable for the moment. However, this chapel was as rich as the most precious marble could make it, in pillars and pilasters, and broad, polished slabs, covering the whole walls (except where there were splendid and glowing frescos; or where some monumental statuary or basrelief, or mosaic picture, filled up an arched niche). Its architecture was a dome, resting on four great arches; and in size it would alone have been a church. In the centre of the mosaic pavement there was a flight of steps, down which we went, and saw a group in marble, representing the Nativity of Christ, which, judging by the unction with which our guide talked about it, must have been of peculiar sanctity. I hate to leave this chapel and church, without being able to say any one thing that may reflect a portion of their beauty, or of the

 

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feeling which they excite. Kneeling against many of the pillars there were persons in prayer, and I stepped softly, fearing lest my tread on the marble pavement should disturb them,--a needless precaution, however, for nobody seems to expect it, nor to be disturbed by the lack of it.

The situation of the church, I should suppose, is the loftiest in Rome: it has a fountain at one end, and a column at the other; but I did not pay particular attention to either, nor to the exterior of the church itself.

On my return, I turned aside from the Via delle Quattro Fontane into the Via Quirinalis, and was led by it into the Piazza di Monte Cavallo. The street through which I passed was broader, cleanlier, and statelier than most streets in Rome, and bordered by palaces; and the piazza had noble edifices around it, and a fountain, an obelisk, and two nude statues in the centre. The obelisk was, as the inscription indicated, a relic of Egypt; the basin of the fountain was an immense bowl of Oriental granite, into which poured a copious flood of water, discolored by the rain; the statues were colossal,--two beautiful young men, each holding a fiery steed. On the pedestal of one was the inscription, OPUS PHIDIÆ on the other, OPUS PRAXITELIS. What a city is this, when one may stumble, by mere chance--at a street corner, as it were--on the works of two such sculptors! I do not know the authority on which these statues (Castor and Pollux, I presume) are attributed to Phidias and Praxiteles; but they impressed me as noble and godlike, and I feel inclined to take them for what they purport to be. On one side of the piazza is the Pontifical Palace; but, not being aware of this at the time, I did not look particularly at the edifice.

 

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I came home by way of the Corso, which seemed a little enlivened by Carnival time; though, as it was not yet two o'clock, the fun had not begun for the day. The rain throws a dreary damper on the festivities.

 

February 13th.--Day before yesterday we took J----- and R--- in a carriage, and went to see the Carnival, by driving up and down the Corso. It was as ugly a day, as respects weather, as has befallen us since we came to Rome,--cloudy, with an indecisive wet, which finally settled into a rain; and people say that such is generally the weather in Carnival time. There is very little to be said about the spectacle. Sunshine would have improved it, no doubt; but a person must have very broad sunshine within himself to be joyous on such shallow provocation. The street, at all events, would have looked rather brilliant under a sunny sky, the balconies being hung with bright-colored draperies, which were also flung out of some of the windows. . . . Soon I had my first experience of the Carnival, in a handful of confetti, right slap in my face. . . . Many of the ladies wore loose white dominoes, and some of the gentlemen had on defensive armor of blouses; and wire masks over the face were a protection for both sexes,--not a needless one, for I received a shot in my right eye which cost me many tears. It seems to be a point of courtesy (though often disregarded by Americans and English) not to fling confetti at ladies, or at non-combatants, or quiet by-standers; and the engagements with these missiles were generally between open carriages, manned with youths, who were provided with confetti for such encounters, and with bouquets for the ladies. We had

 

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one real enemy on the Corso; for our former friend Mrs. T---- was there, and as often as we passed and repassed her, she favored us with a handful of lime. Two or three times somebody ran by the carriage and puffed forth a shower of winged seeds through a tube into our faces and over our clothes; and, in the course of the afternoon, we were hit with perhaps half a dozen sugar-plums. Possibly we may not have received our fair share of these last salutes, for J----- had on a black mask, which made him look like an imp of Satan, and drew many volleys of confetti that we might otherwise have escaped. A good many bouquets were flung at our little R---, and at us generally. .. . This was what is called masking-day, when it is the rule to wear masks in the Corso, but the great majority of people appeared without them. . . . Two fantastic figures, with enormous heads, set round with frizzly hair, came and grinned into our carriage, and J----- tore out a handful of hair (which proved to be sea-weed) from one of their heads, rather to the discomposure of the owner, who muttered his indignation in Italian. . . . On comparing notes with J----- and R---, indeed with U-- too, I find that they all enjoyed the Carnival much more than I did. Only the young ought to write descriptions of such scenes. My cold criticism chills the life out of it.

 

February 14th.--Friday, 12th, was a sunny day, the first that we had had for some time; and my wife and I went forth to see sights as well as to make some calls that had long been due. We went first to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which I have already mentioned, and, on our return, we went to the Piazza di Monte Cavallo, and saw those admirable ancient

 

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statues of Castor and Pollux, which seem to me sons of the morning, and full of life and strength. The atmosphere, in such a length of time, has covered the marble surface of these statues with a gray rust, that envelops both the men and horses as with a garment; besides which, there are strange discoloration, such as patches of white moss on the elbows, and reddish streaks down the sides; but the glory of form overcomes all these defects of color. It is pleasant to observe how familiar some little birds are with these colossal statues,--hopping about on their heads and over their huge fists, and very likely they have nests in their ears or among their hair.

We called at the Barberini Palace, where William Story has established himself and family for the next seven years, or more, on the third piano, in apartments that afford a very fine outlook over Rome, and have the sun in them through most of the day. Mrs. S---- invited us to her fancy ball, but we declined.

On the staircase ascending to their piano we saw the ancient Greek basrelief of a lion, whence Canova is supposed to have taken the idea of his lions on the monument in St. Peter's. Afterwards we made two or three calls in the neighborhood of the Piazza di Spagna, finding only Mr. Hamilton Fish and family, at the Hôtel d'Europe, at home, and next visited the studio of Mr. C. G. Thompson, whom I knew in Boston. He has very greatly improved since those days, and, being always a man of delicate mind, and earnestly desiring excellence for its own sake, he has won himself the power of doing beautiful and elevated works. He is now meditating a series of pictures from Shakespeare's "Tempest," the sketches of one or two

 

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Madonna, by Raphael, wrought with a minute faithfulness which it makes one a better man to observe.

Mr. Thompson is a true artist, and whatever his pictures have of beauty comes from very far beneath the surface; and this, I suppose, is one weighty reason why he has but moderate success. I should like his pictures for the mere color, even if they represented nothing. His studio is in the Via Sistina; and, at a little distance on the other side of the same street, is William Story's, where we likewise went, and found him at work on a sitting statue of Cleopatra.

William Story looks quite as vivid, in a graver way, as when I saw him last, a very young man. His perplexing variety of talents and accomplishments--he being a poet, a prose writer, a lawyer, a painter, a musician, and a sculptor--seems now to be concentrating itself into this latter vocation, and I cannot see why he should not achieve something very good. He has a beautiful statue, already finished, of Goethe's Margaret, pulling a flower to pieces to discover whether Faust loves her; a very type of virginity and simplicity. The statue of Cleopatra, now only fourteen days advanced in the clay, is as wide a step from the little maidenly Margaret as any artist could take; it is a grand subject, and he is conceiving it with depth and power, and working it out with adequate skill. He certainly is sensible of something deeper in his art than merely to make beautiful nudities and baptize them by classic names. By the by, he told us several queer stories of American visitors to his studio: one of them, after long inspecting Cleopatra, into which he has put all possible characteristics of her time and nation, and of her own individuality, asked, "Have you baptized your statue yet?" as if the sculptor were

 

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waiting till his statue were finished before he chose the subject of it,--as, indeed, I should think many sculptors do. Another remarked of a statue of Hero, who is seeking Leander by torchlight, and in momentary expectation of finding his drowned body, "Is not the face a little sad?" Another time a whole party of Americans filed into his studio, and ranged themselves round his father's statue, and, after much silent examination, the spokesman of the party inquired, "Well, sir, what is this intended to represent?" William Story, in telling these little anecdotes, gave the Yankee twang to perfection.

The statue of his father, his first work, is very noble,--as noble and fine a portrait-statue as I ever saw. In the outer room of his studio a stone-cutter, or whatever this kind of artisan is called, was at work, transferring the statue of Hero from the plaster-cast into marble; and already, though still in some respects a block of stone, there was a wonderful degree of expression in the face. It is not quite pleasant to think that the sculptor does not really do the whole labor on his statues, but that they are all but finished to his hand by merely mechanical people. It is generally only the finishing touches that are given by his own chisel.

Yesterday, being another bright day, we went to the basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the basilica next in rank to St. Peter's, and has the precedence of it as regards certain sacred privileges. It stands on a most noble site, on the outskirts of the city, commanding a view of the Sabine and Alban hills, blue in the distance, and some of them hoary with sunny snow. The ruins of the Claudian aqueduct are close at hand. The church is connected with the Lateran palace and

 

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museum, so that the whole is one edifice; but the façade of the church distinguishes it, and is very lofty and grand,--more so, it seems to me, than that of St. Peter's. Under the portico is an old statue of Constantine, representing him as a very stout and sturdy personage. The inside of the church disappointed me, though, no doubt, I should have been wonder-struck had I seen it a month ago. We went into one of the chapels, which was very rich in colored marbles; and, going down a winding staircase, found ourselves among the tombs and sarcophagi of the Corsini family, and in presence of a marble Pietà, very beautifully sculptured. On the other side of the church we looked into the Torlonia Chapel, very rich and rather profusely gilded, but, as it seemed to me, not tawdry, though the white newness of the marble is not perfectly agreeable after being accustomed to the milder tint which time bestows on sculpture. The tombs and statues appeared like shapes and images of new-fallen snow. The most interesting thing which we saw in this church (and, admitting its authenticity, there can scarcely be a more interesting one anywhere) was the table at which the Last Supper was eaten. It is preserved in a corridor, on one side of the tribune or chancel, and is shown by torchlight suspended upon the wall beneath a covering of glass. Only the top of the table is shown, presenting a broad, flat surface of wood, evidently very old, and showing traces of dry-rot in one or two places. There are nails in it, and the attendant said that it had formerly been covered with bronze. As well as I can remember, it may be five or six feet square, and I suppose would accommodate twelve persons, though not if they reclined in the Roman fashion, nor if they sat as they

 

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do in Leonardo da Vinci's picture. It would be very delightful to believe in this table.

There are several other sacred relics preserved in the church: for instance, the staircase of Pilate's house up which Jesus went, and the porphyry slab on which the soldiers cast lots for his garments. These, however, we did not see. There are very glowing frescos on portions of the walls; but, there being much whitewash instead of incrusted marble, it has not the pleasant aspect which one's eye learns to demand in Roman churches. There is a good deal of statuary along the columns of the nave, and in the monuments of the side-aisles.

In reference to the interior splendor of Roman churches, I must say that I think it a pity that painted windows are exclusively a Gothic ornament; for the elaborate ornamentation of these interiors puts the ordinary daylight out of countenance, so that a window with only the white sunshine coming though it, or even with a glimpse of the blue Italian sky, looks like a portion left unfinished, and therefore a blotch in the rich wall. It is like the one spot in Aladdin's palace which he left for the king, his father-in-law, to finish, after his fairy architects had exhausted their magnificence on the rest; and the sun, like the king, fails in the effort. It has what is called a porta santa, which we saw walled up, in front of the church, one side of the main entrance. I know not what gives it its sanctity, but it appears to be opened by the pope on a year of jubilee, once every quarter of a century.

After our return . . . I took R--- along the Pincian Hill, and finally, after witnessing what of the Carnival could be seen in the Piazza del Popolo from

 

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that safe height, we went down into the Corso, and some little distance along it. Except for the sunshine, the scene was much the same as I have already described; perhaps fewer confetti and more bouquets. Some Americans and English are said to have been brought before the police authorities, and fined for throwing lime. It is remarkable that the jollity, such as it is, of the Carnival, does not extend an inch beyond the line of the Corso; there it flows along in a narrow stream, while in the nearest street we see nothing but the ordinary Roman gravity.

February 15th.-- Yesterday was a bright day, but I did not go out till the afternoon, when I took an hour's walk along the Pincian, stopping a good while to look at the old beggar who, for many years past, has occupied one of the platforms of the flight of steps leading from the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinita di Monti. Hillard commemorates him in his book. He is an unlovely object, moving about on his hands and knees, principally by aid of his hands, which are fortified with a sort of wooden shoes; while his poor, wasted lower shanks stick up in the air behind him, loosely vibrating as he progresses. He is gray, old, ragged, a pitiable sight, but seems very active in his own fashion, and bestirs himself on the approach of his visitors with the alacrity of a spider when a fly touches the remote circumference of his web. While I looked down at him he received alms from three persons, one of whom was a young woman of the lower orders; the other two were gentlemen, probably either English or American. I could not quite make out the principle on which he let some people pass without molestation, while he shuffled from one end

 

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of the platform to the other to intercept an occasional individual. He is not persistent in his demands, nor, indeed, is this a usual fault among Italian beggars. A shake of the head will stop him when wriggling towards you from a distance. I fancy he reaps a pretty fair harvest, and no doubt leads as contented and as interesting a life as most people, sitting there all day on those sunny steps, looking at the world, and making his profit out of it. It must be pretty much such an occupation as fishing, in its effect upon the hopes and apprehensions; and probably he suffers no more from the many refusals he meets with than the angler does, when he sees a fish smell at his bait and swim away. One success pays for a hundred disappointments, and the game is all the better for not being entirely in his own favor.

Walking onward, I found the Pincian thronged with promenaders, as also with carriages, which drove round the verge of the gardens in an unbroken ring.

To-day has been very rainy. I went out in the forenoon, and took a sitting for my bust in one of a suite of rooms formerly occupied by Canova. It was large, high, and dreary from the want of a carpet, furniture, or anything but clay and plaster. A sculptor's studio has not the picturesque charm of that of a painter, where there is color, warmth, and cheerfulness, and where the artist continually turns towards you the glow of some picture, which is resting against the wall. . . . I was asked not to look at the bust at the close of the sitting, and, of course, I obeyed; though I have a vague idea of a heavy-browed physiognomy, something like what I have seen in the glass, but looking strangely in that guise of clay. . . .

It is a singular fascination that Rome exercises

 

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upon artists. There is clay elsewhere, and marble enough, and heads to model, and ideas may be made sensible objects at home as well as here. I think it is the peculiar mode of life that attracts, and its freedom from the inthralments of society, more than the artistic advantages which Rome offers; and, no doubt, though the artists care little about one another's works, yet they keep each other warm by the presence of so many of them.

The Carnival still continues, though I hardly see how it can have withstood such a damper as this rainy day. There were several people--three, I think--killed in the Corso on Saturday: some accounts say that they were run over by the horses in the race; others, that they were ridden down by the dragoons in clearing the course.

After leaving Canova's studio, I stepped into the church of San Luigi de Franchesi, in the Via di Ripetta. It was built, I believe, by Catherine di Medici, and is under the protection of the French government, and a most shamefully dirty place of worship, the beautiful marble columns looking dingy, for the want of loving and pious care. There are many tombs and monuments of French people, both of the past and present,--artists, soldiers, priests, and others, who have died in Rome. It was so dusky within the church that I could hardly distinguish the pictures in the chapels and over the altar, nor did I know that there were any worth looking for. Nevertheless, there were frescos by Domenichino, and oil-paintings by Guido and others. I found it peculiarly touching to read the records, in Latin or French, of persons who had died in this foreign land, though they were not my own country-people, and though I was even less

 

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akin to them than they to Italy. Still, there was a sort of relationship in the fact that neither they nor I belonged here.

 

February 17th.--Yesterday morning was perfectly sunny, and we went out betimes to see churches; going first to the Capuchins', close by the Piazza Barberini.

["The Marble Faun" takes up this description of the church and of the dead monk, which we really saw, just as recounted, even to the sudden stream of blood which flowed from the nostrils, as we looked at him.--ED.]

We next went to the Trinita di Monti, which stands at the head of the steps, leading, in several flights, from the Piazza di Spagna. It is now connected with a convent of French nuns, and when we rang at a side door, one of the sisterhood answered the summons, and admitted us into the church. This, like that of the Capuchins', had a vaulted roof over the nave, and no side-aisles, but rows of chapels instead. Unlike the Capuchins', which was filthy, and really disgraceful to behold, this church was most exquisitely neat, as women alone would have thought it worth while to keep it. It is not a very splendid church, not rich in gorgeous marbles, but pleasant to be in, if it were only for the sake of its godly purity. There was only one person in the nave; a young girl, who sat perfectly still, with her face towards the altar, as long as we stayed. Between the nave and the rest of the church there is a high iron railing, and on the other side of it were two kneeling figures in black, so motionless that I at first thought them statues; but they proved to be two nuns at their devotions; and

 

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others of the sisterhood came by and by and joined them. Nuns, at least these nuns, who are French and probably ladies of refinement, having the education of young girls in charge, are far pleasanter objects to see and think about than monks; the odor of sanctity, in the latter, not being an agreeable fragrance. But these holy sisters, with their black crape and white muslin, looked really pure and unspotted from the world.

On the iron railing above mentioned was the representation of a golden heart, pierced with arrows; for these are nuns of the Sacred Heart. In the various chapels there are several paintings in fresco, some by Daniele da Volterra; and one of them, The Descent from the Cross, has been pronounced the third greatest picture in the world. I never should have had the slightest suspicion that it was a great picture at all, so worn and faded it looks, and so hard, so difficult to be seen, and so undelightful when one does see it.

From the Trinita we went to the Santa Maria del Popolo, a church built on a spot where Nero is said to have been buried, and which was afterwards made horrible by devilish phantoms. It now being past twelve, and all the churches closing from twelve till two, we had not time to pay much attention to the frescos, oil-pictures, and statues, by Raphael and other famous men, which are to be seen here. I remember dimly the magnificent chapel of the Chigi family, and little else, for we stayed but a short time; and went next to the sculptor's studio, where I had another sitting for my bust. After I had been moulded for about an hour, we turned homeward; but my wife concluded to hire a balcony for this last afternoon and

 

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evening of the Carnival, and she took possession of it, while I went home to send to her Miss S---- and the two elder children. For my part, I took R--- and walked, by way of the Pincian, to the Piazza del Popolo, and thence along the Corso, where, by this time, the warfare of bouquets and confetti raged pretty fiercely. The sky being blue and the sun bright, the scene looked much gayer and brisker than I had before found it; and I can conceive of its being rather agreeable than otherwise, up to the age of twenty. We got several volleys of confetti. R--- received a bouquet and a sugar-plum, and I a resounding hit from something that looked more like a cabbage than a flower. Little as I have enjoyed the Carnival, I think I could make quite a brilliant sketch of it, without very widely departing from truth.

 

February 19th.--Day before yesterday, pretty early, we went to St. Peter's, expecting to see the pope cast ashes on the heads of the cardinals, it being Ash-Wednesday. On arriving, however, we found no more than the usual number of visitants and devotional people scattered through the broad interior of St. Peter's; and thence concluded that the ceremonies were to be performed in the Sistine Chapel. Accordingly, we went out of the Cathedral, through the door in the left transept, and passed round the exterior, and through the vast courts of the Vatican, seeking for the chapel. We had blundered into the carriage-entrance of the palace; there is an entrance from some point near the front of the church, but this we did not find. The papal guards, in the strangest antique and antic costume that was ever seen,--a party-colored dress, striped with blue, red, and yellow, white

 

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and black, with a doublet and ruff, and trunk-breeches, and armed with halberds,--were on duty at the gateways, but suffered us to pass without question. Finally, we reached a large court, where some cardinals' red equipages and other carriages were drawn up, but were still at a loss as to the whereabouts of the chapel. At last an attendant kindly showed us the proper door, and led us up flights of stairs, along passages and galleries, and through halls, till at last we came to a spacious and lofty apartment adorned with frescos; this was the Sala Regia, and the antechamber to the Sistine Chapel.

The attendant, meanwhile, had informed us that my wife could not be admitted to the chapel in her bonnet, and that I myself could not enter at all, for lack of a dresscoat; so my wife took off her bonnet, and, covering her head with her black lace veil, was readily let in, while I remained in the Sala Regia, with several other gentlemen, who found themselves in the same predicament as I was. There was a wonderful variety of costume to be seen and studied among the persons around me, comprising garbs that have been elsewhere laid aside for at least three centuries,--the broad, plaited, double ruff, and black velvet cloak, doublet, trunk-breeches, and sword of Queen Elizabeth's time,--the papal guard, in their striped and party-colored dress as before described, looking not a little like harlequins; other soldiers in helmets and jackboots; French officers of various uniform; monks and priests; attendants in old-fashioned and gorgeous livery; gentlemen, some in black dresscoats and pantaloons, others in wide-awake hats, and tweed overcoats; and a few ladies in the prescribed costume of black; so that, in any other country, the scene might

 

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have been taken for a fancy ball. By and by, the cardinals began to arrive, and added their splendid purple robes and red hats to make the picture still more brilliant. They were old men, one or two very aged and infirm, and generally men of bulk and substance, with heavy faces, fleshy about the chin. Their red hats, trimmed with gold-lace, are a beautiful piece of finery, and are identical in shape with the black, loosely cocked beavers worn by the Catholic ecclesiastics generally. Wolsey's hat, which I saw at the Manchester Exhibition, might have been made on the same block, but apparently was never cocked, as the fashion now is. The attendants changed the upper portions of their masters' attire, and put a little cap of scarlet cloth on each of their heads, after which the cardinals, one by one, or two by two, as they happened to arrive, went into the chapel, with a page behind each holding up his purple train. In the mean while, within the chapel, we heard singing and chanting; and whenever the voluminous curtains that hung before the entrance were slightly drawn apart, we outsiders glanced through, but could see only a mass of people, and beyond them still another chapel, divided from the hither one by a screen. When almost everybody had gone in, there was a stir among the guards and attendants, and a door opened, apparently communicating with the inner apartments of the Vatican. Through this door came, not the pope, as I had partly expected, but a bulky old lady in black, with a red face, who bowed towards the spectators with an aspect of dignified complaisance as she passed towards the entrance of the chapel. I took off my hat, unlike certain English gentlemen who stood nearer, and found that I had not done amiss, for it was the Queen of Spain.

 

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There was nothing else to be seen; so I went back through the antechambers (which are noble halls, richly frescoed on the walls and ceilings), endeavoring to get out through the same passages that had let me in. I had already tried to descend what I now suppose to be the Scala Santa, but had been turned back by a sentinel. After wandering to and fro a good while, I at last found myself in a long, long gallery, on each side of which were innumerable inscriptions, in Greek and Latin, on slabs of marble, built into the walls; and classic altars and tablets were ranged along, from end to end. At the extremity was a closed iron grating, from which I was retreating; but a French gentleman accosted me, with the information that the custode would admit me, if I chose, and would accompany me through the sculpture department of the Vatican. I acceded, and thus took my first view of those innumerable art-treasures, passing from one object to another, at an easy pace, pausing hardly a moment anywhere, and dismissing even the Apollo, and the Laocoön, and the Torso of Hercules, in the space of half a dozen breaths. I was well enough content to do so, in order to get a general idea of the contents of the galleries, before settling down upon individual objects.

Most of the world-famous sculptures presented themselves to my eye with a kind of familiarity, through the copies and casts which I had seen; but I found the originals more different than I anticipated. The Apollo, for instance, has a face which I have never seen in any cast or copy. I must confess, however, taking such transient glimpses as I did, I was more impressed with the extent of the Vatican, and the beautiful order in which it is kept, and its great sunny,

 

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open courts, with fountains, grass, and shrubs, and the views of Rome and the Campagna from its windows,--more impressed with these, and with certain vastly capacious vases, and two great sarcophagi,--than with the statuary. Thus I went round the whole, and was dismissed through the grated barrier into the gallery of inscriptions again; and after a little more wandering, I made my way out of the palace. . . .

Yesterday I went out betimes, and strayed through some portion of ancient Rome, to the Column of Trajan, to the Forum, thence along the Appian Way; after which I lost myself among the intricacies of the streets, and finally came out at the bridge of St. Angelo. The first observation which a stranger is led to make, in the neighborhood of Roman ruins, is that the inhabitants seem to be strangely addicted to the washing of clothes; for all the precincts of Trajan's Forum, and of the Roman Forum, and wherever else an iron railing affords opportunity to hang them, were whitened with sheets, and other linen and cotton, drying in the sun. It must be that washerwomen burrow among the old temples. The second observation is not quite so favorable to the cleanly character of the modern Romans; indeed, it is so very unfavorable, that I hardly know how to express it. But the fact is, that, through the Forum, . . . . and anywhere out of the commonest foot-track and road-way, you must look well to your steps. . . . If you tread beneath the triumphal arch of Titus or Constantine, you had better look downward than upward, whatever be the merit of the sculptures aloft. . . .

After a while the visitant finds himself getting accustomed to this horrible state of things; and the

 

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associations of moral sublimity and beauty seem to throw a veil over the physical meannesses to which I allude. Perhaps there is something in the mind of the people of these countries that enables them quite to dissever small ugliness from great sublimity and beauty. They spit upon the glorious pavement of St. Peter's, and wherever else they like; they place paltry-looking wooden confessionals beneath its sublime arches, and ornament them with cheap little colored prints of the crucifixion; they hang tin hearts and other tinsel and trumpery at the gorgeous shrines of the saints, in chapels that are incrusted with gems, or marbles almost as precious; they put pasteboard statues of saints beneath the dome of the Pantheon; in short, they let the sublime and the ridiculous come close together, and are not in the least troubled by the proximity. It must be that their sense of the beautiful is stronger than in the Anglo-Saxon mind, and that it observes only what is fit to gratify it.

Today, which was bright and cool, my wife and I set forth immediately after breakfast, in search of the Baths of Diocletian, and the church of Santa Maria degl' Angeli. We went too far along the Via di Porta Pia, and after passing by two or three convents, and their high garden walls, and the villa Bonaparte on one side, and the villa Torlonia on the other, at last issued through the city gate. Before us, far away, were the Alban hills, the loftiest of which was absolutely silvered with snow and sunshine, and set in the bluest and brightest of skies. We now retraced our steps to the Fountain of the Termini, where is a ponderous heap of stone, representing Moses striking the rock; a colossal figure, not without a certain enormous might and dignity, though rather too evidently

 

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looking his awfullest. This statue was the death of its sculptor, whose heart was broken on account of the ridicule it excited. There are many more absurd aquatic devices in Rome, however, and few better.

We turned into the Piazza di Termini, the entrance of which is at this fountain; and after some inquiry of the French soldiers, a numerous detachment of whom appear to be quartered in the vicinity, we found our way to the portal of Santa Maria degl' Angeli. The exterior of this church has no pretensions to beauty or majesty, or, indeed, to architectural merit of any kind, or to any architecture whatever; for it looks like a confused pile of ruined brickwork, with a façade resembling half the inner curve of a large oven. No one would imagine that there was a church under that enormous heap of ancient rubbish. But the door admits you into a circular vestibule, once an apartment of Diocletian's Baths, but now a portion of the nave of the church, and surrounded with monumental busts; and thence you pass into what was the central hall; now, with little change, except of detail and ornament, transformed into the body of the church. This space is so lofty, broad, and airy, that the soul forthwith swells out and magnifies itself, for the sake of filling it. It was Michel Angelo who contrived this miracle; and I feel even more grateful to him for rescuing such a noble interior from destruction, than if he had originally built it himself. In the ceiling above, you see the metal fixtures whereon the old Romans hung their lamps; and there are eight gigantic pillars of Egyptian granite, standing as they stood of yore. There is a grand simplicity about the church, more satisfactory than elaborate ornament; but the present pope has paved and adorned one of the large chapels

 

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of the transept in very beautiful style, and the pavement of the central part is likewise laid in rich marbles. In the choir there are several pictures, one of which was veiled, as celebrated pictures frequently are in churches. A person, who seemed to be at his devotions, withdrew the veil for us, and we saw a Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, by Domenichino, originally, I believe, painted in fresco in St. Peter's, but since transferred to canvas, and removed hither. Its place at St. Peter's is supplied by a mosaic copy. I was a good deal impressed by this picture,--the dying saint, amid the sorrow of those who loved him, and the fury of his enemies, looking upward, where a company of angels, and Jesus with them, are waiting to welcome him and crown him; and I felt what an influence pictures might have upon the devotional part of our nature. The nail-marks in the hands and feet of Jesus, ineffaceable, even after he had passed into bliss and glory, touched my heart with a sense of his love for us. I think this really a great picture. We walked round the church, looking at other paintings and frescos, but saw no others that greatly interested us. In the vestibule there are monuments to Carlo Maratti and Salvator Rosa, and there is a statue of St. Bruno, by Houdon, which is pronounced. to be very fine. I thought it good, but scarcely worthy of vast admiration. Houdon was the sculptor of the first statue of Washington, and of the bust, whence, I suppose, all subsequent statues have been, and will be, mainly modelled.

After emerging from the church, I looked back with wonder at the stack of shapeless old brickwork that hid the splendid interior. I must go there again, and breathe freely in that noble space.

 

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February 20th.--This morning, after breakfast, I walked across the city, making a pretty straight course to the Pantheon, and thence to the bridge of St. Angelo, and to St. Peter's. It had been my purpose to go to the Fontana Paolina; but, finding that the distance was too great, and being weighed down with a Roman lassitude, I concluded to go into St. Peter's. Here I looked at Michel Angelo's Pietà, a representation of the dead Christ, in his mother's lap. Then I strolled round the great church, and find that it continues to grow upon me both in magnitude and beauty, by comparison with the many interiors of sacred edifices which I have lately seen. At times, a single, casual, momentary glimpse of its magnificence gleams upon my soul, as it were, when I happen to glance at arch opening beyond arch, and I am surprised into admiration. I have experienced that a landscape and the sky unfold the deepest beauty in a similar way; not when they are gazed at of set purpose, but when the spectator looks suddenly through a vista, among a crowd of other thoughts. Passing near the confessionals for foreigners to-day, I saw a Spaniard, who had just come out of the one devoted to his native tongue, taking leave of his confessor, with an affectionate reverence, which--as well as the benign dignity of the good father--it was good to behold. . . .

I returned home early, in order to go with my wife to the Barberini Palace at two o'clock. We entered through the gateway, through the Via delle Quattro Fontane, passing one or two sentinels; for there is apparently a regiment of dragoons quartered on the ground floor of the palace; and I stumbled upon a room containing their saddles, the other day, when seeking for Mr. Story's staircase. The entrance to

 

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the picture gallery is by a door on the right hand, affording us a sight of a beautiful spiral staircase, which goes circling upward from the very basement to the very summit of the palace, with a perfectly easy ascent, yet confining its sweep within a moderate compass. We looked up through the interior of the spiral, as through a tube, from. the bottom to the top. The pictures are contained in three contiguous rooms of the lower piano, and are few in number, comprising barely half a dozen which I should care to see again, though doubtless all have value in their way. One that attracted our attention was a picture of Christ Disputing with the Doctors, by Albert Dürer, in which was represented the ugliest, most evil-minded, stubborn, pragmatical, and contentious old Jew that ever lived under the law of Moses; and he and the child Jesus were arguing, not only with their tongues, but making hieroglyphics, as it were, by the motion of their hands and fingers. It is a very queer, as well as a very remarkable picture. But we passed hastily by this, and almost all others, being eager to see the two which chiefly make the collection famous,--Raphael's Fornarina, and Guido's portrait of Beatrice Cenci. These were found in the last of the three rooms, and, as regards Beatrice Cenci, I might as well not try to say anything; for its spell is indefinable, and the painter has wrought it in a way more like magic than anything else. . . .

It is the most profoundly wrought picture in the world; no artist did it, nor could do it again. Guido may have held the brush, but he painted better than he knew. I wish, however, it were possible for some spectator, of deep sensibility, to see the picture without knowing anything of its subject or history; for,

 

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no doubt, we bring all our knowledge of the Cenci tragedy to the interpretation of it.

Close beside the Beatrice Cenci hangs the Fornarina. . . .

While we were looking at these works Miss M------ unexpectedly joined us, and we went, all three together, to the Rospigliosi Palace, in the Piazza di Monte Cavallo. A porter, in cocked hat, and with a staff of office, admitted us into a spacious court before the palace, and directed us to a garden on one side, raised as much as twenty feet above the level on which we stood. The gardener opened the gate for us, and we ascended a beautiful stone staircase, with a carved balustrade, bearing many marks of time and weather. Reaching the garden-level, we found it laid out in walks, bordered with box and ornamental shrubbery, amid which were lemon-trees, and one large old exotic from some distant clime. In the centre of the garden, surrounded by a stone balustrade, like that of the staircase, was a fish-pond, into which several jets of water were continually spouting; and on pedestals, that made part of the balusters, stood eight marble statues of Apollo, Cupid, nymphs, and other such sunny and beautiful people of classic mythology. There had been many more of these statues, but the rest had disappeared, and those which remained had suffered grievous damage, here to a nose, there to a hand or foot, and often a fracture of the body, very imperfectly mended. There was a pleasant sunshine in the garden, and a spring-like, or rather a genial, autumnal atmosphere, though elsewhere it was a day of poisonous Roman chill.

At the end of the garden, which was of no great extent, was an edifice, bordering on the piazza, called

 

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the Casino, which, I presume, means a garden-house. The front is richly ornamented with bas-reliefs, and statues in niches; as if it were a place for pleasure and enjoyment, and therefore ought to be beautiful. As we approached it, the door swung open, and we went into a large room on the ground floor, and, looking up to the ceiling, beheld Guido's Aurora. picture is as fresh and brilliant as if he had painted it with the morning sunshine which it represents. It could not be more lustrous in its hues, if he had given it the last touch an hour ago. Three or four artists were copying it at that instant, and positively their colors did not look brighter, though a great deal newer than his. The alacrity and movement, briskness and morning stir and glow of the picture are wonderful. It seems impossible to catch its glory in a copy. Several artists, as I said, were making the attempt, and we saw two other attempted copies leaning against the wall, but it was easy to detect failure in just essential points. My memory, I believe, will be somewhat enlivened by this picture hereafter: not that I remember it very distinctly even now; but bright things leave a sheen and glimmer in the mind, like Christian's tremulous glimpse of the Celestial City.

In two other rooms of the Casino we saw pictures by Domenichino, Rubens, and other famous painters, which I do not mean to speak of, because I cared really little or nothing about them. Returning into the garden, the sunny warmth of which was most grateful after the chill air and cold pavement of the Casino, we walked round the laguna, examining the statues, and looking down at some little fishes that swarmed at the stone margin of the pool. There

 

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were two infants of the Rospigliosi family: one, a young child playing with a maid and head-servant; another, the very chubbiest and rosiest boy in the world, sleeping on its nurse's bosom. The nurse was a comely woman enough, dressed in bright colors, which fitly set off the deep hues of her Italian face. An old painter very likely would have beautified and refined the pair into a Madonna, with the child Jesus; for an artist need not go far in Italy to find a picture ready composed and tinted, needing little more than to be literally copied.

Miss M------- had gone away before us; but my wife and I, after leaving the Palazzo Rospigliosi, and on our way home, went into the Church of St. Andrea, which belongs to a convent of Jesuits. I have long ago exhausted all my capacity of admiration for splendid interiors of churches, but methinks this little, little temple (it is not more than fifty or sixty feet across) has a more perfect and gem-like beauty than any other. Its shape is oval, with an oval dome, and, above that, another little dome, both of which are magnificently frescoed. Around the base of the larger dome is wreathed a flight of angels, and the smaller and upper one is encircled by a garland of cherubs,--cherub and angel all of pure white marble. The oval centre of the church is walled round with precious and lustrous marble, of a red-veined variety interspersed with columns and pilasters of white; and there are arches opening through this rich wall, forming chapels, which the architect seems to have striven hard to make even more gorgeous than the main body of the church. They contain beautiful pictures, not dark and faded, but glowing, as if just from the painter's hands; and the shrines are adorned with what-

 

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ever is most rare, and in one of them was the great carbuncle; at any rate, a bright, fiery gem as big as a turkey's egg. The pavement of the church was one star of various-colored marble, and in the centre was a mosaic, covering, I believe, the tomb of the founder. I have not seen, nor expect to see, anything else so entirely and satisfactorily finished as this small oval church; and I only wish I could pack it in a large box, and send it home.

I must not forget that, on our way from the Barberini Palace, we stopped an instant to look at the house, at the corner of the street of the four fountains, where Milton was a guest while in Rome. He seems quite a man of our own day, seen so nearly at the hither extremity of the vista through which we look back, from the epoch of railways to that of the oldest Egyptian obelisk. The house (it was then occupied by the Cardinal Barberini) looks as if it might have been built within the present century; for mediæval houses in Rome do not assume the aspect of antiquity; perhaps because the Italian style of architecture, or something similar, is the one more generally in vogue in most cities.

 

February 21st.--This morning I took my way through the Porta del Popolo, intending to spend the forenoon in the Campagna; but, getting weary of the straight, uninteresting street that runs out of the gate, I turned aside from it, and soon found myself on the shores of the Tiber. It looked, as usual, like a saturated solution of yellow mud, and eddied hastily along between deep banks of clay, and over a clay bed, in which doubtless are hidden many a richer treasure than we now possess. The French once pro-

 

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posed to draw off the river, for the purpose of recovering all the sunken statues and relics; but the Romans made strenuous objection, on account of the increased virulence of malaria which would probably result. I saw a man on the immediate shore of the river, fifty feet or so beneath the bank on which I stood, sitting patiently, with an angling rod; and I waited to see what he might catch. Two other persons likewise sat down to watch him; but he caught nothing so long as I stayed, and at last seemed to give it up. The banks and vicinity of the river are very bare and uninviting, as I then saw them; no shade, no verdure,--a rough, neglected aspect, and a peculiar shabbiness about the few houses that were visible. Farther down the stream the dome of St. Peter's showed itself on the other side, seeming to stand on the outskirts of the city. I walked along the banks, with some expectation of finding a ferry, by which I might cross the river; but my course was soon interrupted by the wall, and I turned up a lane that led me straight back again to the Porta del Popolo. I stopped a moment, however, to see some young men pitching quoits, which they appeared to do with a good deal of skill.

I went along the Via di Ripetta, and through other streets, stepping into two or three churches, one of which was the Pantheon. . . .

There are, I think, seven deep, pillared recesses around the circumference of it, each of which becomes a sufficiently capacious chapel; and alternately with these chapels there is a marble structure, like the architecture of a doorway, beneath which is the shrine of a saint; so that the whole circle of the Pantheon is filled up with the seven chapels and seven shrines. A number of persons were sitting or kneeling around

 

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others came in while I was there, dipping their fingers in the holy water, and bending the knee, as they passed the shrines and chapels, until they reached the one which, apparently, they had selected as the particular altar for their devotions. Everybody seemed so devout, and in a frame of mind so suited to the day and place, that it really made me feel a little awkward not to be able to kneel down along with them. Unlike the worshippers in our own churches, each individual here seems to do his own individual acts of devotion, and I cannot but think it better so than to make an effort for united prayer as we do. It is my opinion that a great deal of devout and reverential feeling is kept alive in people's hearts by the Catholic mode of worship.

Soon leaving the Pantheon, a few minutes' walk towards the Corso brought me to the Church of St. Ignazio, which belongs to the College of the Jesuits. It is spacious and of beautiful architecture, but not strikingly distinguished, in the latter particular, from many others; a wide and lofty nave, supported upon marble columns, between which arches open into the side-aisles, and at the junction of the nave and transept a dome, resting on four great arches. The church seemed to be purposely somewhat darkened, so that I could not well see the details of the ornamentation, except the frescos on the ceiling of the nave, which were very brilliant, and done in so effectual a style, that I really could not satisfy myself that some of the figures did not actually protrude from the ceiling,--in short, that they were not colored bas-reliefs, instead of frescos. No words can express the beautiful effect, in an upholstery point of view, of this kind of decoration. Here, as at the Pantheon, there

 

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were many persons sitting silent, kneeling, or passing from shrine to shrine.

I reached home at about twelve, and, at one, set out again, with my wife, towards St. Peter's, where we meant to stay till after Vespers. We walked across the city, and through the Piazza de Navona, where we stopped to look at one of Bernini's absurd fountains, of which the water makes but the smallest part,--a little squirt or two amid a prodigious fuss of gods and monsters. Thence we passed by the poor, battered-down torso of Pasquin, and came, by devious ways, to the bridge of St. Angelo; the streets bearing pretty much their week-day aspect, many of the shops open, the marketstalls doing their usual business, and the people brisk and gay, though not indecorously so. I suppose there was hardly a man or woman who had not heard mass, confessed, and said their prayers; a thing which--the prayers, I mean--it would be absurd to predicate of London, New York, or any Protestant city. In however adulterated a guise, the Catholics do get a draught of devotion to slake the thirst of their souls, and methinks it must needs do them good, even if not quite so pure as if it came from better cisterns, or from the original fountain head.

Arriving at St. Peter's shortly after two, we walked round the whole church, looking at all the pictures and most of the monuments, . . . and paused longest before Guido's Archangel Michael overcoming Lucifer. This is surely one of the most beautiful things in the world, one of the human conceptions that are imbued most deeply with the celestial. . . .

We then sat down in one of the aisles and awaited the beginning of Vespers, which we supposed would take place at half past three. Four o'clock came,

 

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however, and no Vespers; and as our dinner hour is five, . . . we at last came away without hearing the vesper hymn.

 

February 23d.--Yesterday, at noon, we set out for the Capitol, and after going up the acclivity (not from the Forum, but from the opposite direction), stopped to look at the statues of Castor and Pollux, which, with other sculptures, look down the ascent. Castor and his brother seem to me to have heads disproportionately large, and are not so striking, in any respect, as such great images ought to be. But we heartily admired the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, . . and looked at a fountain, principally composed, I think, of figures representing the Nile and the Tiber, who loll upon their elbows and preside over the gushing water; and between them, against the façade of the Senator's Palace, there is a statue of Minerva, with a petticoat of red porphyry. Having taken note of these objects, we went to the Museum, in an edifice on our left, entering the piazza, and here, in the vestibule, we found various old statues and relics. Ascending the stairs, we passed through a long gallery, and, turning to our left, examined somewhat more carefully a suite of rooms running parallel with it. The first of these contained busts of the Cæsars and their kindred, from the epoch of the mightiest Julius downward; eighty-three, I believe, in all. I had seen a bust of Julius Cæsar in the British Museum, and was surprised at its thin and withered aspect; but this head is of a very ugly old man indeed,--wrinkled, puckered, shrunken, lacking breadth and substance; careworn, grim, as if he had fought hard with life, and had suffered in the conflict; a man

 

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of schemes, and of eager effort to bring his schemes to pass. His profile is by no means good, advancing from the top of his forehead to the tip of his nose, and retreating, at about the same angle, from the latter point to the bottom of his chin, which seems to be thrust forcibly down into his meagre neck,--not that he pokes his head forward, however, for it is particularly erect.

The head of Augustus is very beautiful, and appears to be that of a meditative, philosophic man, saddened with the sense that it is not very much worth while to be at the summit of human greatness after all. It is a sorrowful thing to trace the decay of civilization through this series of busts, and to observe how the artistic skill, so requisite at first, went on declining through the dreary dynasty of the Cæsars, till at length the master of the world could not get his head carved in better style than the figure-head of a ship.

In the next room there were better statues than we had yet seen; but in the last room of the range we found The Dying Gladiator, of which I had already caught a glimpse in passing by the open door. It had made all the other treasures of the gallery tedious in my eagerness to come to that. I do not believe that so much pathos is wrought into any other block of stone. Like all works of the highest excellence, however, it makes great demands upon the spectator. He must make a generous gift of his sympathies to the sculptor, and help out his skill with all his heart, or else he will see little more than a skilfully wrought surface. It suggests far more than it shows. I looked long at this statue, and little at anything else, though, among other famous works, a statue of Antinoüs was in the same room.

 

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I was glad when we left the Museum, which, by the by, was piercingly chill, as if the multitude of statues radiated cold out of their marble substance. We might have gone to see the pictures in the Palace of the Conservatori, and S-----, , whose receptivity is unlimited and forever fresh, would willingly have done so; but I objected, and we went towards the Forum. I had noticed, two or three times, an inscription over a mean-looking door in this neighborhood, stating that here was the entrance to the prison of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul; and we soon found the spot, not far from the Forum, with two wretched frescos of the apostles above the inscription. We knocked at the door without effect; but a lame beggar, who sat at another door of the same house (which looked exceedingly like a liquor shop), desired us to follow him, and began to ascend to the Capitol, by the causeway leading from the Forum. A little way upward we met a woman, to whom the beggar delivered us over, and she led us into a church or chapel door, and pointed to a long flight of steps, which descended through twilight into utter darkness. She called to somebody in the lower regions, and then went away, leaving us to get down this mysterious staircase by ourselves. Down we went, farther and farther from the daylight, and found ourselves, anon, in a dark chamber or cell, the shape or boundaries of which we could not make out, though it seemed to be of stone, and black and dungeon-like. Indistinctly, and from a still farther depth in the earth, we heard voices, one voice, at least,--apparently not addressing ourselves, but some other persons; and soon, directly beneath our feet, we saw a glimmering of light through a round, iron-grated hole in the bottom of the dun-

 

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geon. In a few moments the glimmer and the voice came up through this hole, and the light disappeared, and it and the voice came glimmering and babbling up a flight of stone stairs, of which we had not hitherto been aware. It was the custode, with a party of visitors, to whom he had been showing St. Peter's dungeon. Each visitor was provided with a wax taper, and the custode gave one to each of us, bidding us wait a moment while he conducted the other party to the upper air. During his absence we examined the cell, as well as our dim lights would permit, and soon found an indentation in the wall, with an iron grate put over it for protection, and an inscription above informing us that the Apostle Peter had here left the imprint of his visage; and, in truth, there is a profile there,--forehead, nose, mouth, and chin,--plainly to be seen, an intaglio in the solid rock. We touched it with the tips of our fingers, as well as saw it with our eyes.

The custode soon returned, and led us down the darksome steps, chattering in Italian all the time. It is not a very long descent to the lower cell, the roof of which is so low that I believe I could have reached it with my hand. We were now in the deepest and ugliest part of the old Mamertine Prison, one of the few remains of the kingly period of Rome, and which served the Romans as a state prison for hundreds of years before the Christian era. A multitude of criminals or innocent persons, no doubt, have languished here in misery, and perished in darkness. Here Jugurtha starved; here Catiline's adherents were strangled; and, methinks, there cannot be in the world another such an evil den, so haunted with black memories and indistinct surmises of guilt and suffering. In

 

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old Rome, I suppose, the citizens never spoke of this dungeon above their breath. It looks just as bad as it is; round, only seven paces across, yet so obscure that our tapers could not illuminate it from side to side,--the stones of which it is constructed being as black as midnight. The custode showed us a stone post, at the side of the cell, with the hole in the top of it, into which, he said, St. Peter's chain had been fastened; and he uncovered a spring of water, in the middle of the stone floor, which he told us had miraculously gushed up to enable the saint to baptize his jailer. The miracle was perhaps the more easily wrought, inasmuch as Jugurtha had found the floor of the dungeon oozy with wet. However, it is best to be as simple and childlike as we can in these matters; and whether St. Peter stamped his visage into the stone, and wrought this other miracle or no, and whether or no he ever was in the prison at all, still the belief of a thousand years and more gives a sort of reality and substance to such traditions. The custode dipped an iron ladle into the miraculous water, and we each of us drank a sip; and, what is very remarkable, to me it seemed hard water and almost brackish, while many persons think it the sweetest in Rome. I suspect that St. Peter still dabbles in this water, and tempers its qualities according to the faith of those who drink it.

The staircase descending into the lower dungeon is comparatively modern, there having been no entrance of old, except through the small circular opening in the roof. In the upper cell the custode showed us an ancient flight of stairs, now built into the wall, which used to lead from the Capitol. The whole precincts are now consecrated, and I believe the upper por-

 

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tion, perhaps both upper and lower, are a shrine or a chapel.

I now left S----- in the Forum, and went to call on Mr. J. P. K at the Hôtel d'Europe. I found him just returned from a drive,--a gentleman of about sixty, or more, with gray hair, a pleasant, intellectual face, and penetrating, but not unkindly eyes. He moved infirmly, being on the recovery from an illness. We went up to his saloon together, and had a talk,--or, rather, he had it nearly all to himself,--and particularly sensible talk, too, and full of the results of learning and experience. In the first place, he settled the whole Kansas difficulty; then he made havoc of St. Peter, who came very shabbily out of his hands, as regarded his early character in the Church, and his claims to the position he now holds in it. Mr. K---- also gave a curious illustration, from something that happened to himself, of the little dependence that can be placed on tradition purporting to be ancient, and I capped his story by telling him how the site of my town pump, so plainly indicated in the sketch itself, has already been mistaken in the city council and in the public prints.

 

February 24th.--Yesterday I crossed the Ponte Sisto, and took a short ramble on the other side of the river; and it rather surprised me to discover, pretty nearly opposite the Capitoline Hill, a quay, at which several schooners and barks, of two or three hundred tons' burden, were moored. There was also a steamer, armed with a large gun and two brass swivels on her forecastle, and I know not what artillery besides. Probably she may have been a revenue-cutter.

Returning I crossed the river by way of the island

 

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of St. Bartholomew over two bridges. The island is densely covered with buildings, and is a separate small fragment of the city. It was a tradition of the ancient Romans that it was formed by the aggregation of soil and rubbish brought down by the river, and accumulating round the nucleus of some sunken baskets.

On reaching the hither side of the river, I soon struck upon the ruins of the theatre of Marcellus, which are very picturesque, and the more so from being closely linked in, indeed, identified with the shops, habitations, and swarming life of modern Rome. The most striking portion was a circular edifice, which seemed to have been composed of a row of Ionic columns, standing upon a lower row of Doric, many of the antique pillars being yet perfect; but the intervening arches built up with brickwork, and the whole once magnificent structure now tenanted by poor and squalid people, as thick as mites within the round of an old cheese. From this point I cannot very clearly trace out my course; but I passed, I think, between the Circus Maximus and the Palace of the Cæsars, and near the Baths of Caracalla, and went into the cloisters of the Church of San Gregorlo. All along I saw massive ruins, not particularly picturesque or beautiful, but huge, mountainous piles, chiefly of brickwork, somewhat weed-grown here and there, but oftener bare and dreary. . . . All the successive ages since Rome began to decay have done their best to ruin the very ruins by taking away the marble and the hewn stone for their own structures, and leaving only the inner filling up of brickwork, which the ancient architects never designed to be seen. The consequence of all this is, that, except for the lofty and poetical associations connected with it, and except, too, for the im-

 

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mense difference in magnitude, a Roman ruin may be in itself not more picturesque than I have seen an old cellar, with a shattered brick chimney half crumbling down into it, in New England.

By this time I knew not whither I was going, and turned aside from a broad, paved road (it was the Appian Way) into the Via Latina, which I supposed would lead to one of the city gates. It was a lonely path: on my right hand extensive piles of ruin, in strange shapes or shapelessness, built of the broad and thin old Roman bricks, such as may be traced everywhere, when the stucco has fallen away from a modern Roman house; for I imagine there has not been a new brick made here for a thousand years. On my left, I think, was a high wall, and before me, grazing in the road . . . [the buffalo calf of the "Marble Faun." -- ED.]. The road went boldly on, with a well-worn track up to the very walls of the city; but there it abruptly terminated at an ancient, closed-up gateway. From a notice posted against a door, which appeared to be the entrance to the ruins on my left, I found that these were the remains of Columbaria, where the dead used to be put away in pigeon-holes. Reaching the paved road again, I kept on my course, passing the tomb of the Scipios, and soon came to the gate of San Sebastiano, through which I entered the Campagna. Indeed, the scene around was so rural, that I had fancied myself already beyond the walls. As the afternoon was getting advanced, I did not proceed any farther towards the blue hills which I saw in the distance, but turned to my left, following a road that runs round the exterior of the city wall. It was very dreary and solitary,--not a house on the whole track, with the broad and shaggy Campagna on one side, and

 

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the high, bare wall, looking down over my head, on the other. It is not, any more than the other objects of the scene, a very picturesque wall, but is little more than a brick garden-fence seen through a magnifying-glass, with now and then a tower, however, and frequent buttresses, to keep its height of fifty feet from toppling over. The top was ragged, and fringed with a few weeds; there had been embrasures for guns and eyelet holes for musketry, but these were plastered up with brick or stone. I passed one or two walled-up gateways (by the by, the Porta Latina was the gate through which Belisarius first entered Rome), and one of these had two high, round towers, and looked more Gothic and venerable with antique strength than any other portion of the wall Immediately after this I came to the gate of San Giovanni, just within which is the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and there I was glad to rest myself upon a bench before proceeding homeward.

There was a French sentinel at this gateway, as at all the others; for the Gauls have always been a pest to Rome, and now gall her worse than ever. I observed, too, that an official, in citizen's dress, stood there also, and appeared to exercise a supervision over some carts with country produce, that were entering just then.

 

February 25th.--We went this forenoon to the Palazzo Borghese, which is situated on a street that runs at right angles with the Corso, and very near the latter. Most of the palaces in Rome, and the Borghese among them, were built somewhere about the sixteenth century; this in 1590, I believe. It is an immense edifice standing round the four sides of a quadrangle;

 

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and though the suite of rooms comprising the picture-gallery forms an almost interminable vista, they occupy only a part of the ground floor of one side. We enter from the street into a large court, surrounded with a corridor, the arches of which support a second series of arches above. The picture-rooms open from one into another, and have many points of magnificence, being large and lofty, with vaulted ceilings and beautiful frescos, generally of mythological subjects, in the flat central part of the vault. The cornices are gilded; the deep embrasures of the windows are panelled with wood-work; the doorways are of polished and variegated marble, or covered with a composition as hard, and seemingly as durable. The whole has a kind of splendid shabbiness thrown over it, like a slight coating of rust; the furniture, at least the damask chairs, being a good deal worn, though there are marble and mosaic tables, which may serve to adorn another palace when this one crumbles away with age. One beautiful hall, with a ceiling more richly gilded than the rest, is panelled all round with large looking-glasses, on which are painted pictures, both landscapes and human figures, in oils; so that the effect is somewhat as if you saw these objects represented in the minors. These glasses must be of old date, perhaps coeval with the first building of the palace; for they are so much dimmed, that one's own figure appears indistinct in them, and more difficult to be traced than the pictures which cover them half over. It was very comfortless,--indeed, I suppose nobody ever thought of being comfortable there, since the house was built,--but especially uncomfortable on a chill, damp day like this. My fingers were quite numb before I got half-way through the suite of apartments, in spite of a

 

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brazier of charcoal which was smouldering into ashes in two or three of the rooms. There was not, so far as I remember, a single fireplace in the suite. A considerable number of visitors--not many, however--were there; and a good many artists; and three or four ladies among them were making copies of the more celebrated pictures, and in all or in most cases missing the especial points that made their celebrity and value. The Prince Borghese certainly demeans himself like a kind and liberal gentleman, in throwing open this invaluable collection to the public to see, and for artists to carry away with them, and diffuse all over the world, so far as their own power and skill will permit. It is open every day of the week, except Saturday and Sunday, without any irksome restriction or supervision; and the fee, which custom requires the visitor to pay to the custode, has the good effect of making us feel that we are not intruders, nor received in an exactly elcemosynary way. The thing could not be better managed.

The collection is one of the most celebrated in the world, and contains between eight and nine hundred pictures, many of which are esteemed masterpieces. I think I was not in a frame for admiration to-day, nor could achieve that free and generous surrender of myself which I have already said is essential to the proper estimate of anything excellent. Besides, how is it possible to give one's soul, or any considerable part of it, to a single picture, seen for the first time, among a thousand others, all of which set forth their own claims in an equally good light? Furthermore, there is an external weariness, and sense of a thousand-fold sameness to be overcome, before we can begin to enjoy a gallery of the old Italian masters. . . .

 

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I remember but one painter, Franeia, who seems really to have approached this awful class of subjects (Christs and Madonnas) in a fitting spirit; his pictures are very singular and awkward, if you look at them with merely an external eye, but they are full of the beauty of holiness, and evidently wrought out as acts of devotion, with the deepest sincerity; and are veritable prayers upon canvas.

I was glad, in the very last of the twelve rooms, to come upon some Dutch and Flemish pictures, very few, but very welcome; Rubens, Rembrandt, Vandyke, Paul Potter, Teniers, and others,--men of flesh and blood and warm fists, and human hearts. As compared with them, these mighty Italian masters seem men of polished steel; not human, nor addressing themselves so much to human sympathies as to a formed, intellectual taste.

 

March 1st.--To-day began very unfavorably; but we ventured out at about eleven o'clock, intending to visit the gallery of the Colonna Palace. Finding it closed, however, on account of the illness of the custode, we determined to go to the picture-gallery of the Capitol; and, on our way thither, we stepped into St. Gesù, the grand and rich church of the Jesuits, where we found a priest in white, preaching a sermon, with vast earnestness of action and variety of tones, insomuch that I fancied sometimes that two priests were in the agony of sermonizing at once. He had a pretty large and seemingly attentive audience clustered round him from the entrance of the church, half-way down the nave; while in the chapels of the transepts and in the remoter distances were persons occupied with their own individual devotion. We sat down near

 

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the chapel of St. Ignazio, which is adorned with a picture over the altar, and with marble sculptures of the Trinity aloft, and of angels fluttering at the sides. What I particularly noted (for the angels were not very real personages, being neither earthly nor celestial) was the great ball of lapis lazuli, the biggest in the world, at the feet of the First Person in the Trinity. The church is a splendid one, lined with a great variety of precious marbles, . . . but partly, perhaps, owing to the dusky light, as well as to the want of cleanliness, there was a dingy effect upon the whole. We made but a very short stay, our New England breeding causing us to feel shy of moving about the church in sermon time.

It rained when we reached the Capitol, and, as the museum was not yet open, we went into the Palace of the Conservators, on the opposite side of the piazza. Around the inner court of the ground floor, partly under two opposite arcades, and partly under the sky, are several statues and other ancient sculptures; among them a statue of Julius Cæsar, said to be the only authentic one, and certainly giving an impression of him more in accordance with his character than the withered old face in the museum; also, a statue of Augustus in middle age, still retaining a resemblance to the bust of him in youth; some gigantic heads and hands and feet in marble and bronze; a stone lion and horse, which lay long at the bottom of a river, broken and corroded, and were repaired by Michel Angelo; and other things which it were wearisome to set down. We inquired of two or three French soldiers the way into the picture-gallery; but it is our experience that French soldiers in Rome never know anything of what is around them, not

 

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even the name of the palace or public place over which they stand guard; and though invariably civil, you might as well put a question to a statue of an old Roman as to one of them. While we stood under the loggia, however, looking at the rain plashing into the court, a soldier of the Papal Guard kindly directed us up the staircase, and even took pains to go with us to the very entrance of the picture-rooms. Thank Heaven, there are but two of them, and not many pictures which one cares to look at very long.

Italian galleries are at a disadvantage as compared with English ones, inasmuch as the pictures are not nearly such splendid articles of upholstery; though, very likely, having undergone less cleaning and varnishing, they may retain more perfectly the finer touches of the masters. Nevertheless, I miss the mellow glow, the rich and mild external lustre, and even the brilliant frames of the pictures I have seen in England. You feel that they have had loving care taken of them; even if spoiled, it is because they have been valued so much. But these pictures in Italian galleries look rusty and lustreless, as far as the exterior is concerned; and, really, the splendor of the painting, as a production of intellect and feeling, has a good deal of difficulty in shining through such clouds.

There is a picture at the Capitol, The Rape of Europa, by Paul Veronese, that would glow with wonderful brilliancy if it were set in a magnificent frame, and covered with a sunshine of varnish; and it is a kind of picture that would not be desecrated, as some deeper and holier ones might be, by any splendor of external adornment that could be bestowed on it. It is deplorable and disheartening to see it in faded and

 

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shabby plight,--this joyous, exuberant, warm, voluptuous work. There is the head of a cow, thrust into the picture, and staring with wild, ludicrous wonder at the godlike bull, so as to introduce quite a new sentiment.

Here, and at the Borghese Palace, there were some pictures by Garofalo, an artist of whom I never heard before, but who seemed to have been a man of power. A picture by Marie Sublegras--a miniature copy from one by her husband, of the woman anointing the feet of Christ--is most delicately and beautifully finished, and would be an ornament to a drawing-room; a thing that could not truly be said of one in a hundred of these grim masterpieces. When they were painted life was not what it is now, and the artists had not the same ends in view. . . . It depresses the spirits to go from picture to picture, leaving a portion of your vital sympathy at every one, so that you come, with a kind of half-torpid desperation, to the end. On our way down the staircase we saw several noteworthy bas-reliefs, and among them a very ancient one of Curtius plunging on horseback into the chasm in the Forum. It seems to me, however, that old sculpture affects the spirits even more dolefully than old painting; it strikes colder to the heart, and lies heavier upon it, being marble, than if it were merely canvas.

My wife went to revisit the museum, which we had already seen, on the other side of the piazza; but, being cold, I left her there, and went out to ramble in the sun; for it was now brightly, though fitfully, shining again. I walked through the Forum (where a thorn thrust itself out and tore the sleeve of my talma), and under the Arch of Titus, towards the

 

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Coliseum. About a score of French drummers were beating a long, loud roll-call, at the base of the Coliseum and under its arches; and a score of trumpeters responded to these, from the rising ground opposite the Arch of Constantine; and the echoes of the old Roman ruins, especially those of the Palace of the Cæsars, responded to this martial uproar of the barbarians. There seemed to be no cause for it; but the drummers beat, and the trumpeters blew, as long as I was within hearing.

I walked along the Appian Way as far as the Baths of Caracalla. The Palace of the Cæsars, which I have never yet explored, appears to be crowned by the walls of a convent, built, no doubt, out of some of the fragments that would suffice to build a city; and I think there is another convent among the baths. The Catholics have taken a peculiar pleasure in planting themselves in the very citadels of paganism, whether temples or palaces. There has been a good deal of enjoyment in the destruction of old Rome. I often think so when I see the elaborate pains that have been taken to smash and demolish some beautiful column, for no purpose whatever, except the mere delight of annihilating a noble piece of work. There is something in the impulse with which one sympathizes; though I am afraid the destroyers were not sufficiently aware of the mischief they did to enjoy it fully. Probably, too, the early Christians were impelled by religious zeal to destroy the pagan temples, before the happy thought occurred of converting them into churches.

 

March 3d.--This morning was U--'s birthday, and we celebrated it by taking a barouche, and driv-

 

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ing (the whole family) out on the Appian Way as far as the tomb of Cecilia Metella. For the first time since we came to Rome, the weather was really warm,--a kind of heat producing languor and disinclination to active movement, though still a little breeze which was stirring threw an occasional coolness over us, and made us distrust the almost sultry atmosphere. I cannot think the Roman climate healthy in any of its moods that I have experienced.

Close on the other side of the road are the ruins of a Gothic chapel, little more than a few bare walls and painted windows, and some other fragmentary structures which we did not particularly examine. U-- and I clambered through a gap in the wall, extending from the basement of the tomb, and thus, getting into the field beyond, went quite round the mausoleum and the remains of the castle connected with it. The latter, though still high and stalwart, showed few or no architectural features of interest, being built, I think, principally of large bricks, and not to be compared to English ruins as a beautiful or venerable object.

A little way beyond Cecilia Metella's tomb, the road still shows a specimen of the ancient Roman pavement, composed of broad, flat flagstones, a good deal cracked and worn, but sound enough, probably, to outlast the little cubes which make the other portions of the road so uncomfortable. We turned back from this point, and soon reëntered the gate of St. Sebastian, which is flanked by two small towers, and just within which is the old triumphal arch of Drusus,--a sturdy construction, much dilapidated as regards its architectural beauty, but rendered far more picturesque than it could have been in its best days by a crown of verdure on its head. Probably so much of

 

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the dust of the highway has risen in clouds and settled there, that sufficient soil for shrubbery to root itself has thus been collected, by small annual contributions, in the course of two thousand years. A little farther towards the city we turned aside from the Appian Way, and came to the site of some ancient Columbaria, close by what seemed to partake of the character of a villa and a farm-house. A man came out of the house and unlocked a door in a low building apparently quite modern; but on entering we found ourselves looking into a large, square chamber, sunk entirely beneath the surface of the ground. A very narrow and steep staircase of stone, and evidently ancient, descended into this chamber; and, going down, we found the walls hollowed on all sides into little semicircular niches, of which, I believe, there were nine rows, one above another, and nine niches in each row. Thus they looked somewhat like the little entrances to a pigeon-house, and hence the name of Columbarium. Each semicircular niche was about a foot in its semidiameter. In the centre of this subterranean chamber was a solid square column, or pier, rising to the roof, and containing other niches of the same pattern, besides one that was high and deep, rising to the height of a man from the floor on each of the four sides. In every one of the semicircular niches were two round holes covered with an earthen plate, and in each hole were ashes and little fragments of bones,--the ashes and bones of the dead, whose names were inscribed in Roman capitals on marble slabs inlaid into the wall over each individual niche. Very likely the great ones in the central pier had contained statues, or busts, or large urns; indeed, I remember that some such things were there, as well as bas-reliefs

 

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in the walls; but hardly more than the general aspect of this strange place remains in my mind. It was the Columbarium of the connections or dependants of the Cæsars; and the impression left on me was, that this mode of disposing of the dead was infinitely preferable to any which has been adopted since that day. The handful or two of dry dust and bits of dry bones in each of the small round holes had nothing disgusting in them, and they are no drier now than they were when first deposited there. I would rather have my ashes scattered over the soil to help the growth of the grass and daisies; but still I should not murmur much at having them decently pigeon-holed in a Roman tomb.

After ascending out of this chamber of the dead, we looked down into another similar one, containing the ashes of Pompey's household, which was discovered only a very few years ago. Its arrangement was the same as that first described, except that it had no central pier with a passage round it, as the former had.

While we were down in the first chamber the proprietor of the spot--a half-gentlemanly and very affable kind of person--came to us, and explained the arrangements of the Columbarium, though, indeed we understood them better by their own aspect than by his explanation. The whole soil around his dwelling is elevated much above the level of the road, and it is probable that, if he chose to excavate, he might bring to light many more sepulchral chambers, and find his profits in them too, by disposing of the urns and busts. What struck me as much as anything was the neatness of these subterranean apartments, which were quite as fit to sleep in as most of those occupied by living Romans; and, having undergone no wear and

 

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tear, they were in as good condition as on the day they were built.

In this Columbarium, measuring about twenty feet square, I roughly estimate that there have been deposited together the remains of at least seven or eight hundred persons, reckoning two little heaps of bones and ashes in each pigeon-hole, nine pigeon-holes in each row, and nine rows on each side, besides those on the middle pier. All difficulty in finding space for the dead would be obviated by returning to the ancient fashion of reducing them to ashes,--the only objection, though a very serious one, being the quantity of fuel that it would require. But perhaps future chemists may discover some better means of consuming or dissolving this troublesome mortality of ours.

We got into the carriage again, and, driving farther towards the city, came to the tomb of the Scipios, of the exterior of which I retain no very definite idea. It was close upon the Appian Way, however, though separated from it by a high fence, and accessible through a gateway, leading into a court. I think the tomb is wholly subterranean, and that the ground above it is covered with the buildings of a farm-house; but of this I cannot be certain, as we were led immediately into a dark, underground passage, by an elderly peasant, of a cheerful and affable demeanor. As soon as he had brought us into the twilight of the tomb, he lighted a long wax taper for each of us, and led us groping into blacker and blacker darkness. Even little R--- followed courageously in the procession, which looked very picturesque, as we glanced backward or forward, and beheld a twinkling line of seven lights, glimmering faintly on our faces, and showing nothing beyond. The passages and niches of the tomb

 

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seem to have been hewn and hollowed out of the rock, not built by any art of masonry; but the walls were very dark, almost black, and our tapers so dim that I could not gain a sufficient breadth of view to ascertain what kind of place it was. It was very dark, indeed; the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky could not be darker. The rough-hewn roof was within touch, and sometimes we had to stoop, to avoid hitting our heads; it was covered with damps, which collected and fell upon us in occasional drops. The passages, besides being narrow, were so irregular and crooked, that, after going a little way, it would have been impossible to return upon our steps without the help of the guide; and we appeared to be taking quite an extensive ramble underground, though in reality I suppose the tomb includes no great space. At several turns of our dismal way, the guide pointed to inscriptions in Roman capitals, commemorating various members of the Scipio family who were buried here; among them, a son of Scipio Africanus, who himself had his death and burial in a foreign land. All these inscriptions, however, are copies,--the originals, which were really found here, having been removed to the Vatican. Whether any bones and ashes have been left, or whether any were found, I do not know. It is not, at all events, a particularly interesting spot, being such shapeless blackness, and a mere dark hole, requiring a stronger illumination than that of our tapers to distinguish it from any other cellar. I did, at one place, see a sort of frieze, rather roughly sculptured; and, as we returned towards the twilight of the entrance-passage, I discerned a large spider, who fled hastily away from our tapers--the solitary living inhabitant of the tomb of the Scipios.

 

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One visit that we made, and I think it was before entering the city gates, I forgot to mention. It was to an old edifice, formerly called the Temple of Bacchus, but now supposed to have been the Temple of Virtue and Honor. The interior consists of a vaulted hall, which was converted from its pagan consecration into a church or chapel, by the early Christians; and the ancient marble pillars of the temple may still be seen, built in with the brick and stucco of the later occupants. There is an altar, and other tokens of a Catholic church, and, high towards the ceiling, there are some frescos of saints or angels, very curious specimens of mediæval, and earlier than mediæval art. Nevertheless, the place impressed me as still rather pagan than Christian. What is most remarkable about this spot or this vicinity lies in the fact that the Fountain of Egeria was formerly supposed to be close at hand; indeed, the custode of the chapel still claims the spot as the identical one consecrated by the legend. There is a dark grove of trees, not far from the door of the temple; but Murray, a highly essential nuisance on such excursions as this, throws such overwhelming doubt, or rather incredulity, upon the site, that I seized upon it as a pretext for not going thither. In fact, my small capacity for sightseeing was already more than satisfied.

On account of ---- I am sorry that we did not see the grotto, for her enthusiasm is as fresh as the waters of Egeria's well can be, and she has poetical faith enough to light her cheerfully through all these mists of incredulity.

Our visits to sepulchral places ended with Sciplo's tomb, whence we returned to our dwelling, and Miss M------- came to dine with us.

 

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March 10th.--On Saturday last, a very rainy day, we went to the Sciarra Palace, and took U-- with us. It is on the Corso, nearly opposite to the Piazza Colonna. It has (Heaven be praised!) but four rooms of pictures, among which, however, are several very celebrated ones. Only a few of these remain in my memory,--Raphael's Violin Player, which I am willing to accept as a good picture; and Leonardo da Vinci's Vanity and Modesty, which also I can bring up before my mind's eye, and find it very beautiful, although one of the faces has an affected smile, which I have since seen on another picture by the same artist, Joanna of Arragon. The most striking picture in the collection, I think, is Titian's Bela Donna,--the only one of Titian's works that I have yet seen which makes an impression on me corresponding with his fame. It is a very splendid and very scornful lady, as beautiful and as scornful as Gainsborough's Lady Lyndoch, though of an entirely different type. There were two Madonnas by Guido, of which I liked the least celebrated one best; and several pictures by Garofalo, who always produces something noteworthy. All the pictures lacked the charm (no doubt I am a barbarian to think it one) of being in brilliant frames, and looked as if it were a long, long while since they were cleaned or varnished. The light was so scanty, too, on that heavily clouded day, and in those gloomy old rooms of the palace, that scarcely anything could be fairly made out.

[I cannot refrain from observing here, that Mr. Hawthorne's inexorable demand for perfection in all things leads him to complain of grimy pictures and tarnished frames and faded frescos, distressing beyond measure to eyes that never failed to see everything

 

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before him with the keenest apprehension. The usual careless observation of people both of the good and the imperfect is much more comfortable in this imperfect world. But the insight which Mr. Hawthorne possessed was only equalled by his outsight, and he suffered, in a way not to be readily conceived, from any failure in beauty, physical, moral, or intellectual. It is not, therefore, mere love of upholstery that impels him to ask for perfect settings to priceless gems of art; but a native idiosyncrasy, which always made me feel that "the New Jerusalem," "even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal," "where shall in no wise enter anything that defileth, neither what worketh abomination nor maketh a lie," would alone satisfy him, or rather alone not give him actual pain. It may give an idea of this exquisite nicety of feeling to mention, that one day he took in his fingers a half-bloomed rose, without blemish, and, smiling with an infinite joy, remarked, "This is perfect. On earth a flower only can be perfect."--ED.]

The palace is about two hundred and fifty years old, and looks as if it had never been a very cheerful place; most shabbily and scantily furnished, moreover, and as chill as any cellar. There is a small balcony, looking down on the Corso, which probably has often been filled with a merry little family party, in the carnivals of days long past. It has faded frescos, and tarnished gilding, and green blinds, and a few damask chairs still remain in it.

On Monday we all went to the sculpture-gallery of the Vatican, and saw as much of the sculpture as we could in the three hours during which the public are admissible. There were a few things which I really enjoyed, and a few moments during which I really

 

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seemed to see them; but it is in vain to attempt giving the impression produced by masterpieces of art, and most in vain when we see them best. They are a language in themselves, and if they could be expressed as well any way except by themselves, there would have been no need of expressing those particular ideas and sentiments by sculpture. I saw the Apollo Belvidere as something ethereal and godlike; only for a flitting moment, however, and as if he had alighted from heaven, or shone suddenly out of the sunlight, and then had withdrawn himself again. I felt the Laocoön very powerfully, though very quietly; an immortal agony, with a strange calmness diffused through it, so that it resembles the vast rage of the sea, calm on account of its immensity; or the tumult of Niagara, which does not seem to be tumult, because it keeps pouring on forever and ever. I have not had so good a day as this (among works of art) since we came to Rome; and I impute it partly to the magnificence of the arrangements of the Vatican,--its long vistas and beautiful courts, and the aspect of immortality which marble statues acquire by being kept free from dust. A very hungry boy, seeing in one of the cabinets a vast porphyry vase, forty-four feet in circumference, wished that he had it full of soup.

Yesterday, we went to the Pamfili Doria Palace, which, I believe, is the most splendid in Rome. The entrance is from the Corso into a court, surrounded by a colonnade, and having a space of luxuriant verdure and ornamental shrubbery in the centre. The apartments containing pictures and sculptures are fifteen in number, and run quite round the court in the first piano,--all the rooms, halls, and galleries of beautiful proportion, with vaulted roofs, some of which

 

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glow with frescos; and all are colder and more comfortless than can possibly be imagined without having been in them. The pictures, most of them, interested me very little. I am of opinion that good pictures are quite as rare as good poets; and I do not see why we should pique ourselves on admiring any but the very best. One in a thousand, perhaps, ought to live in the applause of men, from generation to generation, till its colors fade or blacken out of sight, and its canvas rots away; the rest should be put in garrets, or painted over by newer artists, just as tolerable poets are shelved when their little day is over. Nevertheless, there was one long gallery containing many pictures that I should be glad to see again under more favorable circumstances, that is, separately, and where I might contemplate them quite undisturbed, reclining in an easy-chair. At one end of the long vista of this gallery is a bust of the present Prince Doria, a smooth, sharp-nosed, rather handsome young man, and at the other end his princess, an English lady of the Talbot family, apparently a blonde, with a simple and sweet expression. There is a noble and striking portrait of the old Venetian admiral, Andrea Doria, by Sebastian del Piombo, and some other portraits and busts of the family.

In the whole immense range of rooms I saw but a single fireplace, and that so deep in the wall that no amount of blaze would raise the atmosphere of the room ten degrees. If the builder of the palace, or any of his successors, have committed crimes worthy of Tophet, it would be a still worse punishment for him to wander perpetually through this suite of rooms on the cold floors of polished brick tiles or marble or mosaic, growing a little chiller and chiller through

 

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every moment of eternity,--or, at least, till the palace crumbles down upon him.

Neither would it assuage his torment in the least to be compelled to gaze up at the dark old pictures,--the ugly ghosts of what may once have been beautiful. I am not going to try any more to receive pleasure from a faded, tarnished, lustreless picture, especially if it be a landscape. There were two or three landscapes of Claude in this palace, which I doubt not would have been exquisite if they were in the condition of those in the British National Gallery; but here they looked most forlorn, and even their sunshine was sunless. The merits of historical painting may be quite independent of the attributes that give pleasure, and a superficial ugliness may even heighten the effect; but not so of landscapes.

 

Via Porta, Palazzo Larazani, March 11th.--To-day we called at Mr. Thompson's studio, and . . . he had on the easel a little picture of St. Peter released from prison by the angel, which I saw once before. It is very beautiful indeed, and deeply and spiritually conceived, and I wish I could afford to have it finished for myself. I looked again, too, at his Georgian Slave, and admired it as much as at first view; so very warm and rich it is, so sensuously beautiful, and with an expression of higher life and feeling within. I do not think there is a better painter than Mr. Thompson living,--among Americans at least; not one so earnest, faithful, and religious in his worship of art. I had rather look at his pictures than at any except the very finest of the old masters, and, taking into consideration only the comparative pleasure to be derived, I would not except more than one or two of those. In

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painting, as in literature, I suspect there is something in the productions of the day that takes the fancy more than the works of any past age,--not greater merit, nor nearly so great, but better suited to this very present time.

After leaving him, we went to the Piazza di Termini, near the Baths of Diocletian, and found our way with some difficulty to Crawford's studio. It occupies several great rooms, connected with the offices of the Villa Negroni; and all these rooms were full of plaster casts and a few works in marble,--principally portions of his huge Washington Monument, which he left unfinished at his death. Close by the door at which we entered stood a gigantic figure of Mason, in bag-wig, and the coat, waistcoat, breeches, and knee and shoe buckles of the last century,--the enlargement of these unheroic matters to far more than heroic size having a very odd effect. There was a figure of Jefferson on the same scale; another of Patrick Henry, besides a horse's head, and other portions of the equestrian group which is to cover the summit of the monument. In one of the rooms was a model of the monument itself, on a scale, I should think, of about an inch to a foot. It did not impress me as having grown out of any great and genuine idea in the artists's mind, but as being merely an ingenious contrivance enough. There were also casts of statues that seemed to be intended for some other monument referring to Revolutionary times and personages; and with these were intermixed some ideal statues or groups,--a naked boy playing marbles, very beautiful; a girl with flowers; the cast of his Orpheus, of which I long ago saw the marble statue; Adam and Eve; Flora,--all with a good deal of merit, no doubt,

 

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but not a single one that justifies Crawford's reputation, or that satisfies me of his genius. They are but commonplaces in marble and plaster, such as we should not tolerate on a printed page. He seems to have been a respectable man, highly respectable, but no more, although those who knew him seem to have rated him much higher. It is said that he exclaimed, not very long before his death, that he had fifteen years of good work still in him; and he appears to have considered all his life and labor, heretofore, as only preparatory to the great things that he was to achieve hereafter. I should say, on the contrary, that he was a man who had done his best, and had done it early; for his Orpheus is quite as good as anything else we saw in his studio.

People were at work chiselling several statues in marble from the plaster models,--a very interesting process, and what I should think a doubtful and hazardous one; but the artists say that there is no risk of mischief, and that the model is sure to be accurately repeated in the marble. These persons, who do what is considered the mechanical part of the business, are often themselves sculptors, and of higher reputation than those who employ them.

It is rather sad to think that Crawford died before he could see his ideas in the marble, where they gleam with so pure and celestial a light as compared with the plaster. There is almost as much difference as between flesh and spirit.

The floor of one of the rooms was burdened with immense packages, containing parts of the Washington Monument, ready to be forwarded to its destination. When finished, and set up, it will probably make a very splendid appearance, by its height, its

 

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mass, its skilful execution; and will produce a moral effect through its images of illustrious men, and the associations that connect it with our Revolutionary history; but I do not think it will owe much to artistic force of thought or depth of feeling. It is certainly, in one sense, a very foolish and illogical piece of work,--Washington, mounted on an uneasy steed, on a very narrow space, aloft in the air, whence a single step of the horse backward, forward, or on either side, must precipitate him; and several of his contemporaries standing beneath him, not looking up to wonder at his predicament, but each intent on manifesting his own personality to the world around. They have nothing to do with one another, nor with Washington, nor with any great purpose which all are to work out together.

March 14th.--On Friday evening I dined at Mr. T. B. Read's, the poet and artist, with a party composed of painters and sculptors,--the only exceptions being the American banker and an American tourist who has given Mr. Read a commission. Next to me at table sat Mr. Gibson, the English sculptor, who, I suppose, stands foremost in his profession at this day. He must be quite an old man now, for it was whispered about the table that he is known to have been in Rome forty-two years ago, and he himself spoke to me of spending thirty-seven years here, before he once returned home. I should hardly take him to be sixty, however, his hair being more dark than gray, his forehead unwrinkled, his features unwithered, his eye undimmed, though his beard is somewhat venerable. . . .

He has a quiet, self-contained aspect, and, being a bachelor, has doubtless spent a calm life among his

 

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clay and marble, meddling little with the world, and entangling himself with no cares beyond his studio. He did not talk a great deal; but enough to show that he is still an Englishman in many sturdy traits, though his accent has something foreign about it. His conversation was chiefly about India, and other topics of the day, together with a few reminiscences of people in Liverpool, where he once resided. There was a kind of simplicity both in his manner and matter, and nothing very remarkable in the latter. . . .

The gist of what he said (upon art) was condemnatory of the Pre-Raphaelite modern school of painters, of whom he seemed to spare none, and of their works nothing; though he allowed that the old Pre-Raphaelites had some exquisite merits, which the moderns entirely omit in their imitations. In his own art, he said the aim should be to find out the principles on which the Greek sculptors wrought, and to do the work of this day on those principles and in their spirit; a fair doctrine enough, I should think, but which Mr. Gibson can scarcely be said to practise. . . . The difference between the Pre-Raphaelites and himself is deep and genuine, they being literalists and realists, in a certain sense, and he a pagan idealist. Methinks they have hold of the best end of the matter.

March 18th.--To-day, it being very bright and mild, we set out, at noon, for an expedition to the Temple of Vesta, though I did not feel much inclined for walking, having been ill and feverish for two or three days past with a cold, which keeps renewing itself faster than I can get rid of it. We kept along on this side of the Corso, and crossed the Forum, skirting along the Capitoline Hill, and thence towards the

 

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Circus Maximus. On our way, looking down a cross street; we saw a heavy arch, and, on examination, made it out to be the Arch of Janus Quadrifrons, standing in the Forum Boarium. Its base is now considerably below the level of the surrounding soil, and there is a church or basilica close by, and some mean edifices looking down upon it. There is something satisfactory in this arch, from the immense solidity of its structure. It gives the idea, in the first place, of a solid mass constructed of huge blocks of marble, which time can never wear away, nor earthquakes shake down; and then this solid mass is penetrated by two arched passages, meeting in the centre. There are empty niches, three in a row, and, I think, two rows on each face; but there seems to have been very little effort to make it a beautiful object. On the top is some brickwork, the remains of a mediæval fortress built by the Frangipanis, looking very frail and temporary being brought thus in contact with the antique strength of the arch.

A few yards off across the street, and close beside the basilica, is what appears to be an ancient portal, with carved bas-reliefs, and an inscription which I could not make out. Some Romans were lying dormant in the sun, on the steps of the basilica; indeed, now that the sun is getting warmer, they seem to take advantage of every quiet nook to bask in, and perhaps to go to sleep.

We had gone but a little way from the arch, and across the Circus Maximus, when we saw the Temple of Vesta before us, on the bank of the Tiber, which, however, we could not see behind it. It is a most perfectly preserved Roman ruin, and very beautiful, though so small that, in a suitable locality, one would

 

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take it rather for a garden-house than an ancient temple. A circle of white marble pillars, much time-worn and a little battered, though but one of them broken, surround the solid structure of the temple, leaving a circular walk between it and the pillars, the whole covered by a modern roof which looks like wood, and disgraces and deforms the elegant little building. This roof resembles, as much as anything else, the round wicker cover of a basket, and gives a very squat aspect to the temple. The pillars are of the Corinthian order, and when they were new, and the marble snow-white and sharply carved and cut, there could not have been a prettier object in all Rome; but so small an edifice does not appear well as a ruin.

Within view of it, and, indeed, a very little way off, is the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, which likewise retains its antique form in better preservation than we generally find a Roman ruin, although the Ionic pillars are now built up with blocks of stone and patches of brickwork, the whole constituting a church which is fixed against the side of a tall edifice, the nature of which I do not know.

I forgot to say that we gained admittance into the Temple of Vesta, and found the interior a plain cylinder of marble, about ten paces across, and fitted up as a chapel, where the Virgin takes the place of Vesta.

In very close vicinity we came upon the Ponte Rotto, the old Pons Emilius, which was broken down long ago, and has recently been pieced out by connecting a suspension bridge with the old piers. We crossed by this bridge, paying a toll of a baioccho each, and stopped in the midst of the river to look at the Temple of Vesta, which shows well, right on the brink of the Tiber. We fancied, too, that we could

 

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discern, a little farther down the river, the ruined and almost submerged piers of the Sublician bridge, which Horatius Codes defended. The Tiber here whirls rapidly along, and Horatius must have had a perilous swim for his life, and the enemy a fair mark at his head with their arrows. I think this is the most picturesque part of the Tiber in its passage through Rome.

After crossing the bridge, we kept along the right bank of the river, through the dirty and hard-hearted streets of Trastevere (which have in no respect the advantage over those of hither Rome), till we reached St. Peter's. We saw a family sitting before their door on the pavement in the narrow and sunny street, engaged in their domestic avocations,--the old woman spinning with a wheel. I suppose the people now begin to live out of doors. We entered beneath the colonnade of St. Peter's, and immediately became sensible of an evil odor,--the bad odor of our fallen nature, which there is no escaping in any nook of Rome. . . .

Between the pillars of the colonnade, however, we had the pleasant spectacle of the two fountains, sending up their lily-shaped gush, with rainbows shining in their falling spray. Parties of French soldiers, as usual, were undergoing their drill in the piazza. When we entered the church, the long, dusty sunbeams were falling aslantwise through the dome and through the chancel behind it. . . .

 

March 23d.--On the 21st we all went to the Coliseum, and enjoyed ourselves there in the bright, warm sun,--so bright and warm that we were glad to get into the shadow of the walls and under the arches,

 

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though, after all, there was the freshness of March in the breeze that stirred now and then. J----- and baby found some beautiful flowers growing round about the Coliseum; and far up towards the top of the walls we saw tufts of yellow wall-flowers and a great deal of green grass growing along the ridges between the arches. The general aspect of the place, however, is somewhat bare, and does not compare favorably with an English ruin, both on account of the lack of ivy and because the material is chiefly brick, the stone and marble having been stolen away by popes and cardinals to build their palaces. While we sat within the circle, many people, of both sexes, passed through, kissing the iron cross which stands in the centre, thereby gaining an indulgence of seven years, I believe. In front of several churches I have seen an inscription in Latin, "INDULGENTIA PLENARIA ET PERPETUA PRO CUNCTIS MORTUS ET VIVIS"; than which, it seems to me, nothing more could be asked or desired. The terms of this great boon are not mentioned.

Leaving the Coliseum, we went and sat down in the vicinity of the Arch of Constantine, and J----- and R--- went in quest of lizards. J----- soon caught a large one with two tails; one, a sort of afterthought, or appendix, or corollary, to the original tail, and growing out from it instead of from the body of the lizard. These reptiles are very abundant, and J----- has already brought home several, which make their escape and appear occasionally darting to and fro on the carpet. Since we have been here, J----- has taken up various pursuits in turn. First he devoted himself to gathering snail-shells, of which there are many sorts; afterwards he had a fever for marbles, pieces

 

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of which he found on the banks of the Tiber, just on the edge of its muddy waters, and in the Palace of the Cæsars, the Baths of Caracalla, and indeed wherever else his fancy led him; verde antique, rosso antico, porphyry, giallo antico, serpentine, sometimes fragments of bas-reliefs and mouldings, bits of mosaic, still firmly stuck together, on which the foot of a Cæsar had perhaps once trodden; pieces of Roman glass, with the iridescence glowing on them; and all such things, of which the soil of Rome is full. It would not be difficult, from the spoil of his boyish rambles, to furnish what would be looked upon as a curious and valuable museum in America.

Yesterday we went to the sculpture-galleries of the Vatican. I think I enjoy these noble galleries and their contents and beautiful arrangement better than anything else in the way of art, and often I seem to have a deep feeling of something wonderful in what I look at. The Laocoön on this visit impressed me not less than before; it is such a type of human beings, struggling with an inextricable trouble, and entangled in a complication which they cannot free themselves from by their own efforts, and out of which Heaven alone can help them. It was a most powerful mind, and one capable of reducing a complex idea to unity, that imagined this group. I looked at Canova's Perseus, and thought it exceedingly beautiful, but found myself less and less contented after a moment or two, though I could not tell why. Afterwards, looking at the Apollo, the recollection of the Perseus disgusted me, and yet really I cannot explain how one is better than the other.

I was interested in looking at the busts of the Triumvirs, Antony, Augustus, and Lepidus. The

 

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first two are men of intellect, evidently, though they do not recommend themselves to one's affections by their physiognomy; but Lepidus has the strangest, most commonplace countenance that can be imagined,--small-featured, weak, such a face as you meet anywhere in a man of no mark, but are amazed to find in one of the three foremost men of the world. I suppose that it is these weak and shallow men, when chance raises them above their proper sphere, who commit enormous crimes without any such restraint as stronger men would feel, and without any retribution in the depth of their conscience. These old Roman busts, of which there are so many in the Vatican, have often a most life-like aspect, a striking individuality. One recognizes them as faithful portraits, just as certainly as if the living originals were standing beside them. The arrangement of the hair and beard too, in many cases, is just what we see now, the fashions of two thousand years ago having come round again.

 

March 25th.--On Tuesday we went to breakfast at William Story's in the Palazzo Barberini. We had a very pleasant time. He is one of the most agreeable men I know in society. He showed us a note from Thackeray, an invitation to dinner, written in hieroglyphics, with great fun and pictorial merit. He spoke of an expansion of the story of "Blue Beard," which he himself had either written or thought of writing, in which the contents of the several chambers which Fatima opened, before arriving at the fatal one, were to be described. This idea has haunted my mind ever since, and if it had but been my own I am pretty sure that it would develop itself into something

 

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very rich. I mean to press William Story to work it out. The chamber of Blue Beard, too (and this was a part of his suggestion), might be so handled as to become powerfully interesting. Were I to take up the story, I would create an interest by suggesting a secret in the first chamber, which would develop itself more and more in every successive hall of the great palace, and lead the wife irresistibly to the chamber of horrors.

After breakfast, we went to the Barberini Library, passing through the vast hall, which occupies the central part of the palace. It is the most splendid domestic hall I have seen, eighty feet in length at least, and of proportionate breadth and height; and the vaulted ceiling is entirely covered, to its utmost edge and remotest corners, with a brilliant painting in fresco, looking like a whole heaven of angelic people descending towards the floor. The effect is indescribably gorgeous. On one side stands a Baldacchino, or canopy of state, draped with scarlet cloth, and fringed with gold embroidery; the scarlet indicating that the palace is inhabited by a cardinal. Green would be appropriate to a prince. In point of fact, the Palazzo Barberini is inhabited by a cardinal, a prince, and a duke, all belonging to the Barberini family, and each having his separate portion of the palace, while their servants have a common territory and meeting-ground in this noble hall.

After admiring it for a few minutes, we made our exit by a door on the opposite side, and went up the spiral staircase of marble to the library, where we were received by an ecclesiastic, who belongs to the Barberini household, and I believe was horn in it. He is a gentle, refined, quiet-looking man, as well he

 

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may be, having spent all his life among these books, where few people intrude, and few cares can come. He showed us a very old Bible in parchment, a specimen of the earliest printing, beautifully ornamented with pictures, and some monkish illuminations of indescribable delicacy and elaboration. No artist could afford to produce such work, if the life that he thus lavished on one sheet of parchment had any value to him, either for what could be done or enjoyed in it. There are about eight thousand volumes in this library, and, judging by their outward aspect, the collection must be curious and valuable; but having another engagement, we could spend only a little time here. We had a hasty glance, however, of some poems of Tasso, in his own autograph.

We then went to the Palazzo Galitzin, where dwell the Misses Weston, with whom we lunched, and where we met a French abbé, an agreeable man, and an antiquarian, under whose auspices two of the ladies and ourselves took carriage for the Castle of St. Angelo. Being admitted within the external gateway, we found ourselves in the court of guard, as I presume it is called, where the French soldiers were playing with very dirty cards, or lounging about, in military idleness. They were well behaved and courteous, and when we had intimated our wish to see the interior of the castle, a soldier soon appeared, with a large unlighted torch in his hand, ready to guide us. There is an outer wall, surrounding the solid structure of Hadrian's tomb; to which there is access by one or two drawbridges; the entrance to the tomb, or castle, not being at the base, but near its central height. The ancient entrance, by which Hadrian's ashes, and those of other imperial personages, were probably

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brought into this tomb, has been walled up,--perhaps ever since the last emperor was buried here. We were now in a vaulted passage, both lofty and broad, which circles round the whole interior of the tomb, from the base to the summit. During many hundred years, the passage was filled with earth and rubbish, and forgotten, and it is but partly excavated, even now; although we found it a long, long, and gloomy descent by torchlight to the base of the vast mausoleum. The passage was once lined and vaulted with precious marbles (which are now entirely gone), and paved with fine mosaics, portions of which still remain; and our guide lowered his flaming torch to show them to us, here and there, amid the earthy dampness over which we trod. It is strange to think what splendor and costly adornment were here wasted on the dead.

After we had descended to the bottom of this passage, and again retraced our steps to the highest part, the guide took a large cannon-ball, and sent it, with his whole force, rolling down the hollow, arched way, rumbling, and reverberating, and bellowing forth long thunderous echoes, and winding up with a loud, distant crash, that seemed to come from the very bowels of the earth.

We saw the place, near the centre of the mausoleum, and lighted from above, through an immense thickness of stone and brick, where the ashes of the emperor and his fellow-slumberers were found. It is as much as twelve centuries, very likely, since they were scattered to the winds, for the tomb has been nearly or quite that space of time a fortress. The tomb itself is merely the base and foundation of the castle, and, being so massively built, it serves just as

 

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well for the purpose as if it were a solid granite rock. The mediæval fortress, with its antiquity of more than a thousand years, and having dark and deep dungeons of its own, is but a modern excrescence on the top of Hadrian's tomb.

We now ascended towards the upper region, and were led into the vaults which used to serve as a prison, but which, if I mistake not, are situated above the ancient structure, although they seem as damp and subterranean as if they were fifty feet under the earth. We crept down to them through narrow and ugly passages, which the torchlight would not illuminate, and, stooping under a low, square entrance, we followed the guide into a small vaulted room,--not a room, but an artificial cavern, remote from light or air, where Beatrice Cenci was confined before her execution. According to the abbé, she spent a whole year in this dreadful pit, her trial having dragged on through that length of time. How ghost-like she must have looked when she came forth! Guido never painted that beautiful picture from her blanched face, as it appeared after this confinement. And how rejoiced she must have been to die at last, having already been in a sepulchre so long!

Adjacent to Beatrice's prison, but not communicating with it, was that of her step-mother; and next to the latter was one that interested me almost as much as Beatrice's,--that of Benvenuto Cellini, who was confined here, I believe, for an assassination. All these prison vaults are more horrible than can be imagined without seeing them; but there are worse places here, for the guide lifted a trap-door in one of the passages, and held his torch down into an inscrutable pit beneath our feet. It was an oubliette, a dun-

 

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geon where the prisoner might be buried alive, and never come forth again, alive or dead. Groping about among these sad precincts, we saw various other things that looked very dismal; but at last emerged into the sunshine, and ascended from one platform and battlement to another, till we found ourselves right at the feet of the Archangel Michael. He has stood there in bronze for I know not how many hundred years, in the act of sheathing a (now) rusty sword, such being the attitude in which he appeared to one of the popes in a vision, in token that a pestilence which was then desolating Rome was to be stayed.

There is a fine view from the lofty station over Rome and the whole adjacent country, and the abbé pointed out the site of Ardea, of Corioli, of Veii, and other places renowned in story. We were ushered, too, into the French commandant's quarters in the castle. There is a large hall, ornamented with frescos, and accessible from this a drawing-room, comfortably fitted up, and where we saw modern furniture, and a chessboard, and a fire burning clear, and other symptoms that the place had perhaps just been vacated by civilized and kindly people. But in one corner of the ceiling the abbé pointed out a ring, by which, in the times of mediæval anarchy, when popes, cardinals, and barons were all by the ears together, a cardinal was hanged. It was not an assassination, but a legal punishment, and he was executed in the best apartment of the castle as an act of grace.

The fortress is a straight-lined structure on the summit of the immense round tower of Hadrian's tomb; and to make out the idea of it we must throw in drawbridges, esplanades, piles of ancient marble balls for cannon; battlements and embrasures, lying

 

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high in the breeze and sunshine, and opening views round the whole horizon; accommodation for the soldiers; and many small beds in a large room.

How much mistaken was the emperor in his expectation of a stately, solemn repose for his ashes through all the coming centuries, as long as the world should endure! Perhaps his ghost glides up and down disconsolate, in that spiral passage which goes from top to bottom of the tomb, while the barbarous Gauls plant themselves in his very mausoleum to keep the imperial city in awe.

Leaving the Castle of St. Angelo, we drove, still on the same side of the Tiber, to the Villa Pamfili, which lies a short distance beyond the walls. As we passed through one of the gates (I think it was that of San Pancrazio) the abbé pointed out the spot where the Constable de Bourbon was killed while attempting to scale the walls. If we are to believe Benvenuto Cellini, it was he who shot the constable. The road to the villa is not very interesting, lying (as the roads in the vicinity of Rome often do) between very high walls, admitting not a glimpse of the surrounding country; the road itself white and dusty, with no verdant margin of grass or border of shrubbery. At the portal of the villa we found many carriages in waiting, for the Prince Doria throws open the grounds to all comers, and on a pleasant day like this they are probably sure to be thronged. We left our carriage just within the entrance, and rambled among these beautiful groves, admiring the live-oak trees, and the stone pines, which latter are truly a majestic tree, with tall columnar stems, supporting a cloud-like density of boughs far aloft, and not a straggling branch between them and the ground. They stand in straight

 

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rows, but are now so ancient and venerable as to have lost the formal look of a plantation, and seem like a wood that might have arranged itself almost of its own will. Beneath them is a flower-strewn turf, quite free of underbrush. We found open fields and lawns, moreover, all abloom with anemones, white and rose-colored and purple and golden, and far larger than could be found out of Italy, except in hot-houses. Violets, too, were abundant and exceedingly fragrant. When we consider that all this floral exuberance occurs in the midst of March, there does not appear much ground for complaining of the Roman climate; and so long ago as the first week of February I found daisies among the grass, on the sunny side of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. At this very moment I suppose the country within twenty miles of Boston may be two feet deep with snow, and the streams solid with ice.

We wandered about the grounds, and found them very beautiful indeed; nature having done much for them by an undulating variety of surface, and art having added a good many charms, which have all the better effect now that decay and neglect have thrown a natural grace over them likewise. There is an artificial ruin, so picturesque that it betrays itself; weather-beaten statues, and pieces of sculpture, scattered here and there; an artificial lake, with upgushing fountains; cascades, and broad-bosomed coves, and long, canal-like reaches, with swans taking their delight upon them. I never saw such a glorious and resplendent lustre of white as shone between the wings of two of these swans. It was really a sight to see, and not to be imagined beforehand. Angels, no doubt, have just such lustrous wings as those. Eng-

 

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lish swans partake of the dinginess of the atmosphere, and their plumage has nothing at all to be compared to this; in fact, there is nothing like it in the world, unless it be the illuminated portion of a fleecy, summer cloud.

While we were sauntering along beside this piece of water, we were surprised to see U-- on the other side. She had come hither with E---- S---- and her two little brothers, and with our R---, the whole under the charge of Mrs. Story's nursery-maids. U-- and E---- crossed, not over, but beneath the water, through a grotto, and exchanged greetings with us. Then, as it was getting towards sunset and cool, we took our departure; the abbé, as we left the grounds, taking me aside to give me a glimpse of a Columbarium, which descends into the earth to about the depth to which an ordinary house might rise above it. These grounds, it is said, formed the country residence of the Emperor Galba, and he was buried here after his assassination. It is a sad thought that so much natural beauty and long refinement of picturesque culture is thrown away, the villa being uninhabitable during all the most delightful season of the year on acconut of malaria. There is truly a curse on Rome and all its neighborhood.

On our way home we passed by the great Paolina fountain, and were assailed by many beggars during the short time we stopped to look at it. It is a very copious fountain, but not so beautiful as the Trevi, taking into view merely the water-gush of the latter.

 

March 26th.--Yesterday, between twelve and one, our whole family went to the Villa Ludovisi, the entrance to which is at the termination of a street which

 

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passes out of the Piazza Barberini, and it is no very great distance from our own street, Via Porta Pinciana. The grounds, though very extensive, are wholly within the walls of the city, which skirt them, and comprise a part of what were formerly the gardens of Sallust. The villa is now the property of Prince Piombini, a ticket from whom procured us admission. A little within the gateway, to the right, is a casino, containing two large rooms filled with sculpture, much of which is very valuable. A colossal head of Juno, I believe, is considered the greatest treasure of the collection, but I did not myself feel it to be so, nor indeed did I receive any strong impression of its excellence. I admired nothing so much, I think, as the face of Penelope (if it be her face) in the group supposed also to represent Electra and Orestes. The sitting statue of Mars is very fine; so is the Aria and Pætus; so are many other busts and figures.

By and by we left the casino and wandered among the grounds, threading interminable alleys of cypress, through the long vistas of which we could see here and there a statue, an urn, a pillar, a temple, or garden-house, or a basrelief against the wall. It seems as if there must have been a time,--and not so very long ago,--when it was worth while to spend money and thought upon the ornamentation of grounds in the neighborhood of Rome. That time is past, however, and the result is very melancholy; for great beauty has been produced, but it can be enjoyed in its perfection only at the peril of one's life. . . . For my part, and judging from my own experience, I suspect that the Roman atmosphere, never wholesome, is always more or less poisonous.

We came to another and larger casino remote from

 

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the gateway, in which the Prince resides during two months of the year. It was now under repair, but we gained admission, as did several other visitors, and saw in the entrance-hall the Aurora of Guercino, painted in fresco on the ceiling. There is beauty in the design; but the painter certainly was most unhappy in his black shadows, and in the work before us they give the impression of a cloudy and lowering morning, which is likely enough to turn to rain by and by. After viewing the fresco we mounted by a spiral staircase to a lofty terrace, and found Rome at our feet, and, far off, the Sabine and Alban mountains, some of them still capped with snow. In another direction there was a vast plain, on the horizon of which, could our eyes have reached to its verge, we might perhaps have seen the Mediterranean Sea. After enjoying the view and the warm sunshine we descended, and went in quest of the gardens of Sallust, but found no satisfactory remains of them.

One of the most striking objects in the first casino was a group by Bernini,--Pluto, an outrageously masculine and strenuous figure, heavily bearded, ravishing away a little, tender Proserpine, whom he holds aloft, while his forcible gripe impresses itself into her soft virgin flesh. It is very disagreeable, but it makes one feel that Bernini was a man of great ability. There are some works in literature that bear an analogy to his works in sculpture, where great power is lavished a little outside of nature, and therefore proves to be only a fashion, and not permanently adapted to the tastes of mankind.

 

March 27th.--Yesterday forenoon my wife and I went to St. Peter's to see the pope pray at the chapel

 

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of the Holy Sacrament. We found a good many people in the church, but not an inconvenient number; indeed, not so many as to make any remarkable show in the great nave, nor even in front of the chapel. A detachment of the Swiss Guard, in their strange, picturesque, harlequin-like costume, were on duty before the chapel, in which the wax tapers were all lighted, and a prie-dieu was arranged near the shrine, and covered with scarlet velvet. On each side, along the breadth of the side-aisle, were placed seats, covered with rich tapestry or carpeting; and some gentlemen and ladies--English, probably, or American--had comfortably deposited themselves here, but were compelled to move by the guards before the pope's entrance. His holiness should have appeared precisely at twelve, but we waited nearly half an hour beyond that time; and it seemed to me particularly ill-mannered in the pope, who owes the courtesy of being punctual to the people, if not to St. Peter. By and by, however, there was a stir; the guard motioned to us to stand away from the benches, against the backs of which we had been leaning; the spectators in the nave looked towards the door, as if they beheld something approaching; and first, there appeared some cardinals, in scarlet skull-caps and purple robes, intermixed with some of the Noble Guard and other attendants. It was not a very formal and stately procession, but rather straggled onward, with ragged edges, the spectators standing aside to let it pass, and merely bowing, or perhaps slightly bending the knee, as good Catholics are accustomed to do when passing before the shrines of saints. Then, in the midst of the purple cardinals, all of whom were gray-haired men, appeared a stout old man, with a white skull-cap,

 

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a scarlet, gold-embroidered cape falling over his shoulders, and a white silk robe, the train of which was borne up by an attendant. He walked slowly, with a sort of dignified movement, stepping out broadly, and planting his feet (on which were red shoes) flat upon the pavement, as if he were not much accustomed to locomotion, and perhaps had known a twinge of the gout. His face was kindly and venerable, but not particularly impressive. Arriving at the scarlet-covered prie-dieu, he kneeled down and took off his white skull-cap; the cardinals, also kneeled behind and on either side of him, taking off their scarlet skull-caps; while the Noble Guard remained standing, six on one side of his holiness and six on the other. The pope bent his head upon the prie-dieu, and seemed to spend three or four minutes in prayer; then rose, and all the purple cardinals, and bishops, and priests, of whatever degree, rose behind and beside him. Next, he went to kiss St. Peter's toe; at least I believe he kissed it, but I was not near enough to be certain; and lastly, he knelt down, and directed his devotions towards the high altar. This completed the ceremonies, and his holiness left the church by a side door, making a short passage into the Vatican.

I am very glad I have seen the pope, because now he may be crossed out of the list of sights to be seen. His proximity impressed me kindly and favorably towards him, and I did not see one face among all his cardinals (in whose number, doubtless, is his successor) which I would so soon trust as that of Pio None.

This morning I walked as far as the gate of San Paolo, and, on approaching it, I saw the gray sharp pyramid of Caius Cestius pointing upward close to the

 

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two dark-brown, battlemented Gothic towers of the gateway, each of these very different pieces of architecture looking the more picturesque for the contrast of the other. Before approaching the gateway and pyramid, I walked onward, and soon came in sight of Monte Testaccio, the artificial hill made of potsherds. There is a gate admitting into the grounds around the hill, and a road encircling its base. At a distance, the hill looks greener than any other part of the landscape, and has all the curved outlines of a natural hill, resembling in shape a headless sphinx, or Saddleback Mountain, as I used to see it from Lenox. It is of very considerable height,--two or three hundred feet, at least, I should say,--and well entitled, both by its elevation and the space it covers, to be reckoned among the hills of Rome. Its base is almost entirely surrounded with small structures, which seem to be used as farm-buildings. On the summit is a large iron cross, the Church having thought it expedient to redeem these shattered pipkins from the power of paganism, as it has so many other Roman ruins. There was a pathway up the hill, but I did not choose to ascend it under the hot sun, so steeply did it clamber up. There appears to be a good depth of soil on most parts of Monte Testaccio, but on some of the sides you observe precipices, bristling with fragments of red or brown earthenware, or pieces of vases of white unglazed clay; and it is evident that this immense pile is entirely composed of broken crockery, which I should hardly have thought would have aggregated to such a heap had it all been thrown here,--urns, teacups, porcelain, or earthen,--since the beginning of the world.

I walked quite round the hill, and saw, at no great

 

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distance from it, the enclosure of the Protestant burial-ground, which lies so close to the pyramid of Caius Cestius that the latter may serve as a general monument to the dead. Deferring, for the present, a visit to the cemetery, or to the interior of the pyramid, I returned to the gateway of San Paolo, and, passing through it, took a view of it from the outside of the city wall. It is itself a portion of the wall, having been built into it by the Emperor Aurelian, so that about half of it lies within and half without. The brick or red stone material of the wall being so unlike the marble of the pyramid, the latter is as distinct, and seems as insulated, as if it stood alone in the centre of a plain; and really I do not think there is a more striking architectural object in Rome. It is in perfect condition, just as little ruined or decayed as on the day when the builder put the last peak on the summit; and it ascends steeply from its base, with a point so sharp that it looks as if it would hardly afford foothold to a bird. The marble was once white, but is now covered with a gray coating like that which has gathered upon the statues of Castor and Pollux on Monte Cavallo. Not one of the great blocks is displaced, nor seems likely to be through all time to come. They rest one upon another, in straight and even lines, and present a vast smooth triangle, ascending from a base of a hundred feet, and narrowing to an apex at the height of a hundred and twenty-five, the junctures of the marble slabs being so close that, in all these twenty centuries, only a few little tufts of grass, and a trailing plant or two, have succeeded in rooting themselves into the interstices.

It is good and satisfactory to see anything which, being built for an enduring monument, has endured

 

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so faithfully, and has a prospect of such an interminable futurity before it. Once, indeed, it seemed likely to be buried; for three hundred years ago it had become covered to the depth of sixteen feet, but the soil has since been dug away from its base, which is now lower than that of the road which passes through the neighboring gate of San Paolo. Midway up the pyramid, cut in the marble, is an inscription in large Roman letters, still almost as legible as when first wrought.

I did not return through the Paolo gateway, but kept onward, round the exterior of the wall, till I came to the gate of San Sebastiano. It was a hot and not a very interesting walk, with only a high bare wall of brick, broken by frequent square towers, on one side of the road, and a bank and hedge or a garden wall on the other. Roman roads are most inhospitable, offering no shade, and no seat, and no pleasant views of rustic domiciles; nothing but the wheel track of white dust, without a footpath running by its side, and seldom any grassy margin to refresh the wayfarer's feet.

 

April 3d.--A few days ago we visited the studio of Mr. ----, an American, who seems to have a good deal of vogue as a sculptor. We found a figure of Pocahontas, which he has repeated several times; another, which he calls The Wept of the Wish-ton-Wish, a figure of a smiling girl playing with a cat and dog, and a school-boy mending a pen. These two last were the only ones that gave me any pleasure, or that really had any merit; for his cleverness and ingenuity appear in homely subjects, but are quite lost in attempts at a higher ideality. Nevertheless, he has

 

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a group of the Prodigal Son, possessing more merit than I should have expected from Mr. ----, the son reclining his head on his father's breast, with an expression of utter weariness, at length finding perfect rest, while the father bends his benign countenance over him, and seems to receive him calmly into himself. This group (the plaster-cast standing beside it) is now taking shape out of an immense block of marble, and will be as indestructible as the Laocoön; an idea at once awful and ludicrous, when we consider that it is at best but a respectable production. I have since been told that Mr. ---- had stolen, adopted, we will rather say, the attitude and idea of the group from one executed by a student of the French Academy, and to be seen there in plaster. [1]

Mr. ---- has now been ten years in Italy, and, after all this time, he is still entirely American in everything but the most external surface of his manners; scarcely Europeanized, or much modified even in that. He is a native of ----, but had his early breeding in New York, and might, for any polish or refinement that I can discern in him, still be a country shopkeeper in the interior of New York State or New England. How strange! For one expects to find the polish, the close grain and white purity of marble, in the artist who works in that noble material; but, after all, he handles clay, and, judging by the specimens I have seen here, is apt to be clay, not of the finest, himself. Mr. ---- is sensible, shrewd, keen, clever; an ingenious workman, no doubt; with tact enough, and not destitute of taste; very agreeable and lively in his conversation, talking as fast and as naturally as a brook runs, without the slightest affectation. His

[1] We afterwards saw it in the Medici Casino.

 

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naturalness is, in fact, a rather striking characteristic, in view of his lack of culture, while yet his life has been concerned with idealities and a beautiful art. What degree of taste he pretends to, he seems really to possess, nor did I hear a single idea from him that struck me as otherwise than sensible.

He called to see us last evening, and talked for about two hours in a very amusing and interesting style, his topics being taken from his own personal experience, and shrewdly treated. He spoke much of Greenough, whom he described as an excellent critic of art, but possessed of not the slightest inventive genius. His statue of Washington, at the Capitol, is taken precisely from the Phidian Jupiter; his Chanting Cherubs are copied in marble from two figures in a picture by Raphael. He did nothing that was original with himself. . . . Today we took R---, and went to see Miss ----, and as her studio seems to be mixed up with Gibson's, we had an opportunity of glancing at some of his beautiful works. We saw a Venus and a Cupid, both of them tinted; and, side by side with them, other statues identical with these except that the marble was left in its pure whiteness.

We found Miss ---- in a little upper room. She has a small, brisk, wide-awake figure, not ungraceful; frank, simple, straightforward, and downright. She had on a robe, I think, but I did not look so low, my attention being chiefly drawn to a sort of man's sack of purple or plum-colored broadcloth, into the side-pockets of which her hands were thrust as she came forward to greet us. She withdrew one hand, however, and presented it cordially to my wife (whom she already knew) and to myself, without waiting for an introduction. She had on a shirt-front, collar, and

 

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cravat like a man's, with a brooch of Etruscan gold, and on her curly head was a picturesque little cap of black velvet, and her face was as bright and merry, and as small of feature, as a child's. It looked in one aspect youthful, and yet there was something worn in it too. There never was anything so jaunty as her movement and action; she was very peculiar, but she seemed to be her actual self, and nothing affected or made up; so that, for my part, I gave her full leave to wear what may suit her best, and to behave as her inner woman prompts. I don't quite see, however, what she is to do when she grows older, for the decorum of age will not be consistent with a costume that looks pretty and excusable enough in a young woman.

Miss ---- led us into a part of the extensive studio, or collection of studios, where some of her own works were to be seen: Beatrice Cenci, which did not very greatly impress me; and a monumental design, a female figure,--wholly draped even to the stockings and shoes,--in a quiet sleep. I liked this last. There was also a Puck, doubtless full of fun; but I had hardly time to glance at it. Miss ---- evidently has good gifts in her profession, and doubtless she derives great advantage from her close association with a consummate artist like Gibson; nor yet does his influence seem to interfere with the originality of her own conceptions. In one way, at least, she can hardly fail to profit,--that is, by the opportunity of showing her works to the throngs of people who go to see Gibson's own; and these are just such people as an artist would most desire to meet, and might never see in a lifetime, if left to himself. I shook hands with this frank and pleasant little person, and took leave, not without purpose of seeing her again.

 

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Within a few days, there have been many pilgrims in Rome, who come hither to attend the ceremonies of Holy Week, and to perform their vows, and undergo their penances. I saw two of them near the Forum yesterday, with their pilgrim staves, in the fashion of a thousand years ago. . . . I sat down on a bench near one of the chapels, and a woman immediately came up to me to beg. I at first refused; but she knelt down by my side, instead of praying to the saint prayed to me; and, being thus treated as a canonized personage, I thought it incumbent on me to be gracious to the extent of half a paul. My wife, some time ago, came in contact with a pickpocket at the entrance of a church; and, failing in his enterprise upon her purse, he passed in, dipped his thieving fingers in the holy water, and paid his devotions at a shrine. Missing the purse, he said his prayers, in the hope, perhaps, that the saint would send him better luck another time.

 

April 10th.--I have made no entries in my journal recently, being exceedingly lazy, partly from indisposition, as well as from an atmosphere that takes the vivacity out of everybody. Not much has happened or been effected. Last Sunday, which was Easter Sunday, I went with J----- to St. Peter's, where we arrived at about nine o'clock, and found a multitude of people already assembled in the church. The interior was arrayed in festal guise, there being a covering of scarlet damask over the pilasters of the nave, from base to capital, giving an effect of splendor, yet with a loss as to the apparent dimensions of the interior. A guard of soldiers occupied the nave, keeping open a wide space for the passage of a procession

 

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that was momently expected, and soon arrived. The crowd was too great to allow of my seeing it in detail; but I could perceive that there were priests, cardinals, Swiss guards, some of them with corselets on, and by and by the pope himself was borne up the nave, high over the heads of all, sitting under a canopy crowned with his tiara. He floated slowly along, and was set down in the neighborhood of the high altar; and the procession being broken up, some of its scattered members might be seen here and there, about the church, officials, in antique Spanish dresses; Swiss guards, in polished steel breastplates; serving men, in richly embroidered liveries; officers, in scarlet coats and military boots; priests, and divers other shapes of men; for the papal ceremonies seem to forego little or nothing that belongs to times past, while it includes everything appertaining to the present. I ought to have waited to witness the papal benediction from the balcony in front of the church; or, at least, to hear the famous silver trumpets, sounding from the dome; but J----- grew weary (to say the truth, so did I), and we went on a long walk, out of the nearest city gate, and back through the Janiculum, and, finally, homeward over the Ponte Rotto. Standing on the bridge, I saw the arch of the Cloaca Maxima, close by the Temple of Vesta, with the water rising within two or three feet of its keystone.

The same evening we went to Monte Cavallo, where, from the gateway of the Pontifical Palace, we saw the illumination of St. Peter's. Mr. Akers, the sculptor, had recommended this position to us, and accompanied us thither, as the best point from which the illumination could be witnessed at a distance, without the incommodity of such a crowd as would be assembled

 

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at the Pincian. The first illumination, the silver one, as it is called, was very grand and delicate, describing the outline of the great edifice and crowning dome in light; while the day was not yet wholly departed. As ---- finally remarked, it seemed like the glorified spirit of the Church, made visible, or, as I will add, it looked as this famous and never-to-be-forgotten structure will look to the imaginations of men, through the waste and gloom of future ages, after it shall have gone quite to decay and ruin: the brilliant, though scarcely distinct gleam of a statelier dome than ever was seen, shining on the background of the night of Time. This simile looked prettier in my fancy than I have made it look on paper.

After we had enjoyed the silver illumination a good while, and when all the daylight had given place to the constellated night, the distant outline of St. Peter's burst forth, in the twinkling of an eye, into a starry blaze, being quite the finest effect that I ever witnessed. I stayed to see it, however, only a few minutes; for I was quite ill and feverish with a cold,--which, indeed, I have seldom been free from, since my first breathing of the genial atmosphere of Rome. This pestilence kept me within doors all the next day, and prevented me from seeing the beautiful fireworks that were exhibited in the evening from the platform on the Pincian, above the Piazza del Popolo.

On Thursday, I paid another visit to the sculpture-gallery of the Capitol, where I was particularly struck with a bust of Cato the Censor, who must have been the most disagreeable, stubborn, ugly-tempered, pig-headed, narrow-minded, strong-willed old Roman that ever lived. The collection of busts here and at the Vatican are most interesting, many of the individual

 

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heads being full of character, and commending themselves by intrinsic evidence as faithful portraits of the originals. These stone people have stood face to face with Cæsar, and all the other emperors, and with statesmen, soldiers, philosophers, and poets of the antique world, and have been to them like their reflections in a mirror. It is the next thing to seeing the men themselves.

We went afterwards into the Palace of the Conservatori, and saw, among various other interesting things, the bronze wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, who sit beneath her dugs, with open mouths to receive the milk.

On Friday, we all went to see the Pope's Palace on the Quirinal. There was a vast hall, and an interminable suite of rooms, cased with marble, floored with marble or mosaics or inlaid wood, adorned with frescos on the vaulted ceilings, and many of them lined with Gobelin tapestry; not wofully faded, like almost all that I have hitherto seen, but brilliant as pictures. Indeed, some of them so closely resembled paintings, that I could hardly believe they were not so; and the effect was even richer than that of oil-paintings. In every room there was a crucifix; but I did not see a single nook or corner where anybody could have dreamed of being comfortable. Nevertheless, as a stately and solemn residence for his holiness, it is quite a satisfactory affair. Afterwards, we went into the Pontifical Gardens, connected with the palace. They are very extensive, and laid out in straight avenues, bordered with walls of box, as impervious as if of stone,--not less than twenty feet high, and pierced with lofty archways, cut in the living wall. Some of the avenues were overshadowed with trees,

 

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the tops of which bent over and joined one another from either side, so as to resemble a side-aisle of a Gothic cathedral. Marble sculptures, much weather-stained, and generally broken-nosed, stood along these stately walks; there were many fountains gushing up into the sunshine; we likewise found a rich flower-garden, containing rare specimens of exotic flowers, and gigantic cactuses, and also an aviary, with vultures, doves, and singing birds. We did not see half the garden, but, stiff and formal as its general arrangement is, it is a beautiful place,--a delightful, sunny, and serene seclusion. Whatever it may be to the pope, two young lovers might find the Garden of Eden here, and never desire to stray out of its precincts. They might fancy angels standing in the long, glimmering vistas of the avenues.

It would suit me well enough to have my daily walk along such straight paths, for I think them favorable to thought, which is apt to be disturbed by variety and unexpectedness.

 

April 12th.--We all, except R---, went to-day to the Vatican, where we found our way to the Stauze of Raphael, these being four rooms, or halls, painted with frescos. No doubt they were once very brilliant and beautiful; but they have encountered hard treatment since Raphael's time, especially when the soldiers of the Constable de Bourbon occupied these apartments, and made fires on the mosaic floors. The entire walls and ceilings are covered with pictures; but the handiwork or designs of Raphael consist of paintings on the four sides of each room, and include several works of art. The School of Athens is perhaps the most celebrated; and the longest side of the lar-

 

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gest hall is occupied by a battle-piece, of which the Emperor Constantine is the hero, and which covers almost space enough for a real battlefield. There was a wonderful light in one of the pictures,--that of St. Peter awakened in his prison, by the angel; it really seemed to throw a radiance into the hall below. I shall not pretend, however, to have been sensible of any particular rapture at the sight of these frescos; so faded as they are, so battered by the mischances of years, insomuch that, through all the power and glory of Raphael's designs, the spectator cannot but be continually sensible that the groundwork of them is an old plaster wall. They have been scrubbed, I suppose,--brushed, at least,--a thousand times over, till the surface, brilliant or soft, as Raphael left it, must have been quite rubbed off, and with it all the consummate finish, and everything that made them originally delightful. The sterner features remain, the skeleton of thought, but not the beauty that once clothed it. In truth, the frescos, excepting a few figures, never had the real touch of Raphael's own hand upon them, having been merely designed by him, and finished by his scholars, or by other artists.

The halls themselves are specimens of antique magnificence, paved with elaborate mosaics; and wherever there is any woodwork, it is richly carved with foliage and figures. In their newness, and probably for a hundred years afterwards, there could not have been so brilliant a suite of rooms in the world.

Connected with them--at any rate, not far distant--is the little Chapel of San Lorenzo, the very site of which, among the thousands of apartments of the Vatican, was long forgotten, and its existence only known by tradition. After it had been walled up, however,

 

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beyond the memory of man, there was still a rumor of some beautiful frescos by Fra Angelico, in an old chapel of Pope Nicholas V., that had strangely disappeared out of the palace, and, search at length being made, it was discovered, and entered through a window. It is a small, lofty room, quite covered over with frescos of sacred subjects, both on the walls and ceiling, a good deal faded, yet pretty distinctly preserved. It would have been no misfortune to me, if the little old chapel had remained still hidden.

We next issued into the Loggie, which consist of a long gallery, or arcade or colonnade, the whole extent of which was once beautifully adorned by Raphael. These pictures are almost worn away, and so defaced as to be untraceable and unintelligible, along the side wall of the gallery; although traceries of Arabesque, and compartments where there seem to have been rich paintings, but now only an indistinguishable waste of dull color, are still to be seen. In the coved ceiling, however, there are still some bright frescos, in better preservation than any others; not particularly beautiful, nevertheless. I remember to have seen (indeed, we ourselves possess them) a series of very spirited and energetic engravings, old and coarse, of these frescos, the subject being the Creation, and the early Scripture history; and I really think that their translation of the pictures is better than the original. On reference to Murray, I find that little more than the designs is attributed to Raphael, the execution being by Giulio Romano and other artists.

Escaping from these forlorn splendors, we went into the sculpture-gallery, where I was able to enjoy, in some small degree, two or three wonderful works of art; and had a perception that there were a thou-

 

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sand other wonders around me. It is as if the statues kept, for the most part, a veil about them, which they sometimes withdraw, and let their beauty gleam upon my sight; only a glimpse, or two or three glimpses, or a little space of calm enjoyment, and then I see nothing but a discolored marble image again. The Minerva Medica revealed herself to-day. I wonder whether other people are more fortunate than myself, and can invariably find their way to the inner soul of a work of art. I doubt it; they look at these things for just a minute, and pass on, without any pang of remorse, such as I feel, for quitting them so soon and so willingly. I am partly sensible that some unwritten rules of taste are making their way into my mind; that all this Greek beauty has done something towards refining me, though I am still, however, a very sturdy Goth. . . .

 

April 15th.--Yesterday I went with J----- to the Forum, and descended into the excavations at the base of the Capitol, and on the site of the Basilica of Julia. The essential elements of old Rome are there: columns, single, or in groups of two or three, still erect, but battered and bruised at some forgotten time with infinite pains and labor; fragments of other columns lying prostrate, together with rich capitals and friezes; the bust of a colossal female statue, showing the bosom and upper part of the arms, but headless; a long, winding space of pavement, forming part of the ancient ascent to the Capitol, still as firm and solid as ever; the foundation of the Capitol itself wonderfully massive, built of immense square blocks of stone, doubtless three thousand years old, and durable for whatever may be the lifetime of the world;

 

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the Arch of Septimius Severus, with bas-reliefs of Eastern wars; the Column of Phocas, with the rude series of steps ascending on four sides to its pedestal; the floor of beautiful and precious marbles in the Basilica of Julia, the slabs cracked across,--the greater part of them torn up and removed, the grass and weeds growing up through the chinks of what remain; heaps of bricks, shapeless bits of granite, and other ancient rubbish, among which old men are lazily rummaging for specimens that a stranger may be induced to buy,--this being an employment that suits the indolence of a modern Roman. The level of these excavations is about fifteen feet, I should judge, below the present street which passes through the Forum, and only a very small part of this alien surface has been removed, though there can be no doubt that it hides numerous treasures of art and monuments of history. Yet these remains do not make that impression of antiquity upon me, which Gothic ruins do. Perhaps it is so because they belong to quite another system of society and epoch of time, and in view of them, we forget all that has intervened betwixt them and us; being morally unlike and disconnected with them, and not belonging to the same train of thought; so that we look across a gulf to the Roman ages, and do not realize how wide the gulf is. Yet in that intervening valley lie Christianity, the Dark Ages, the feudal system, chivalry and romance, and a deeper life of the human race than Rome brought to the verge of the gulf.

To-day we went to the Colonna Palace, where we saw some fine pictures, but, I think, no masterpieces. They did not depress and dishearten me so much as the pictures in Roman palaces usually do; for they

 

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were in remarkably good order as regards frames and varnish; indeed, I rather suspect some of them had been injured by the means adopted to preserve their beauty. The palace is now occupied by the French Ambassador, who probably looks upon the pictures as articles of furniture and household adornment, and does not choose to have squares of black and forlorn canvas upon his walls. There were a few noble portraits by Vandyke; a very striking one by Holbein, one or two by Titian, also by Guercino, and some pictures by Rubens, and other forestieri painters, which refreshed my weary eyes. But what chiefly interested me was the magnificent and stately hall of the palace; fifty-five of my paces in length, besides a large apartment at either end, opening into it through a pillared space, as wide as the gateway of a city. The pillars are of giallo antico, and there are pilasters of the same all the way up and down the walls, forming a perspective of the richest aspect, especially as the broad cornice flames with gilding, and the spaces between the pilasters are emblazoned with heraldic achievements and emblems in gold, and there are Venetian looking-glasses, richly decorated over the surface with beautiful pictures of flowers and Cupids, through which you catch the gleam of the mirror; and two rows of splendid chandeliers extend from end to end of the hall, which, when lighted up, if ever it be lighted up, now-a-nights, must be the most brilliant interior that ever mortal eye beheld. The ceiling glows with pictures in fresco, representing scenes connected with the history of the Colonna family; and the floor is paved with beautiful marbles, polished and arranged in square and circular compartments; and each of the many windows is set in a great architectural frame of pre-

 

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cious marble, as large as the portal of a door. The apartment at the farther end of the hall is elevated above it, and is attained by several marble steps, whence it must have been glorious in former days to have looked down upon a gorgeous throng of princes, cardinals, warriors, and ladies, in such rich attire as might be worn when the palace was built. It is singular how much freshness and brightness it still retains; and the only objects to mar the effect were some ancient statues and busts, not very good in themselves, and now made dreary of aspect by their corroded surfaces,--the result of long burial under ground.

In the room at the entrance of the hall are two cabinets, each a wonder in its way,--one being adorned with precious stones; the other with ivory carvings of Michel Angelo's Last Judgment, and of the frescos of Raphael's Loggie. The world has ceased to be so magnificent as it once was. Men make no such marvels nowadays. The only defect that I remember in this hall was in the marble steps that ascend to the elevated apartment at the end of it; a large piece had been broken out of one of them, leaving a rough irregular gap in the polished marble stair. It is not easy to conceive what violence can have done this, without also doing mischief to all the other splendor around it.

 

April 16th.--We went this morning to the Academy of St. Luke (the Fine Arts Academy at Rome) in the Via Bonella, close by the Forum. We rang the bell at the house door; and after a few moments it was unlocked or unbolted by some unseen agency from above, no one making his appearance to admit us.

 

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We ascended two or three flights of stairs, and entered a hall, where was a young man, the custode, and two or three artists engaged in copying some of the pictures. The collection not being vastly large, and the pictures being in more presentable condition than usual, I enjoyed them more than I generally do; particularly a Virgin and Child by Vandyke, where two angels are singing and playing, one on a lute and the other on a violin, to remind the holy infant of the strains he used to hear in heaven. It is one of the few pictures that there is really any pleasure in looking at. There were several paintings by Titian, mostly of a voluptuous character, but not very charming; also two or more by Guido, one of which, representing Fortune, is celebrated. They did not impress me much, nor do I find myself strongly drawn towards Guido, though there is no other painter who seems to achieve things so magically and inscrutably as he sometimes does. Perhaps it requires a finer taste than mine to appreciate him; and yet I do appreciate him so far as to see that his Michael, for instance, is perfectly beautiful.-- . In the gallery there are whole rows of portraits of members of the Academy of St. Luke, most of whom, judging by their physiognomies, were very commonplace people; a fact which makes itself visible in a portrait, however much the painter may try to flatter his sitter. Several of the pictures by Titian, Paul Veronese, and other artists, now exhibited in the gallery, were formerly kept in a secret cabinet in the Capitol, being considered of a too voluptuous character for the public eye. I did not think them noticeably indecorous, as compared with a hundred other pictures that are shown and looked at without scruple,--Calypso and her Nymphs

 

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a knot of nude women by Titian, is perhaps as objectionable as any. But even Titian's flesh tints cannot keep, and have not kept, their warmth through all these centuries. The illusion and lifelikeness effervesces and exhales out of a picture as it grows old; and we go on talking of a charm that has forever vanished.

From St. Luke's we went to San Pietro in Vincoli, occupying a fine position on or near the summit of the Esquiline mount. A little abortion of a man (and, by the by, there are more diminutive and ill-shapen men and women in Rome than I ever saw elsewhere, a phenomenon to be accounted for, perhaps, by their custom of wrapping the new-born infant in swaddling-clothes), this two-foot abortion hastened before us, as we drew nigh, to summon the sacristan to open the church door. It was a needless service, for which we rewarded him with two baiocchi. San Pietro is a simple and noble church, consisting of a nave divided from the side-aisles by rows of columns, that once adorned some ancient temple; and its wide, unencumbered interior affords better breathing space than most churches in Rome. The statue of Moses occupies a niche in one of the side-aisles on the right, not far from the high altar. I found it grand and sublime, with a beard flowing down like a cataract; a truly majestic figure, but not so benign as it were desirable that such strength should be. The horns, about which so much has been said, are not a very prominent feature of the statue, being merely two diminutive tips rising straight up over his forehead, neither adding to the grandeur of the head, nor detracting sensibly from it. The whole force of this statue is not to be felt in one brief visit, but I agree with an English gentleman

 

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who, with a large party, entered the church while we were there, in thinking that Moses has "very fine features,"--a compliment for which the colossal Hebrew ought to have made the Englishman a bow.

Besides the Moses, the church contains some attractions of a pictorial kind, which are reposited in the sacristy, into which we passed through a side door. The most remarkable of these pictures is a face and bust of Hope, by Guido, with beautiful eyes lifted upwards; it has a grace which artists are continually trying to get into their innumerable copies, but always without success; for, indeed, though nothing is more true than the existence of this charm in the picture, yet if you try to analyze it, or even look too intently at it, it vanishes, till you look again with more trusting simplicity.

Leaving the church, we wandered to the Coliseum, and to the public grounds contiguous to them, where a score and more of French drummers were beating each man his drum, without reference to any rub-a-dub but his own. This seems to be a daily or periodical practice and point of duty with them. After resting ourselves on one of the marble benches, we came slowly home, through the Basilica of Constantine, and along the shady sides of the streets and piazzas, sometimes, perforce, striking boldly through the white sunshine, which, however, was not so hot as to shrivel us up bodily. It has been a most beautiful and perfect day as regards weather, clear and bright, very warm in the sunshine, yet freshened throughout by a quiet stir in the air. Still there is something in this air malevolent, or, at least, not friendly. The Romans lie down and fall asleep in it, in any vacant part of the streets, and wherever they can find any

 

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spot sufficiently clean, and among the ruins of temples. I would not sleep in the open air for whatever my life may be worth.

On our way home, sitting in one of the narrow streets, we saw an old woman spinning with a distaff; a far more ancient implement than the spinning-wheel, which the housewives of other nations have long since laid aside.

 

April 18th.--Yesterday, at noon, the whole family of us set out on a visit to the Villa Borghese and its grounds, the entrance to which is just outside of the Porta del Popolo. After getting within the grounds, however, there is a long walk before reaching the casino, and we found the sun rather uncomfortably hot, and the road dusty and white in the sunshine; nevertheless, a footpath ran alongside of it most of the way through the grass and among the young trees. It seems to me that the trees do not put forth their leaves with nearly the same magical rapidity in this southern land at the approach of summer, as they do in more northerly countries. In these latter, having a much shorter time to develop themselves, they feel the necessity of making the most of it. But the grass, in the lawns and enclosures along which we passed, looked already fit to be mowed, and it was interspersed with many flowers.

Saturday being, I believe, the only day of the week on which visitors are admitted to the casino, there were many parties in carriages, artists on foot, gentlemen on horseback, and miscellaneous people, to whom the door was opened by a custode on ringing a belL The whole of the basement floor of the casino, comprising a suite of beautiful rooms, is filled with stat-

 

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uary. The entrance hall is a very splendid apartment, brightly frescoed, and paved with ancient mosaics, representing the combats with beasts and gladiators in the Coliseum, curious, though very rudely and awkwardly designed, apparently after the arts had begun to decline. Many of the specimens of sculpture displayed in these rooms are fine, but none of them, I think, possess the highest merit. An Apollo is beautiful; a group of a fighting Amazon, and her enemies trampled under her horse's feet, is very impressive; a Faun, copied from that of Praxiteles, and another who seems to be dancing, were exceedingly pleasant to look at. I like these strange, sweet, playful, rustic creatures, . . . linked so prettily, without monstrosity, to the lower tribes.... Their character has never, that I know of, been wrought out in literature; and something quite good, funny, and philosophical, as well as poetic, might very likely be educed from them.

The faun is a natural and delightful link betwixt human and brute life, with something of a divine character intermingled.

The gallery, as it is called, on the basement floor of the casino, is sixty feet in length, by perhaps a third as much in breadth, and is (after all I have seen at the Colonna Palace and elsewhere) a more magnificent hall than I imagined to be in existence. It is floored with rich marble in beautifully arranged compartments, and the walls are almost entirely cased with marble of various sorts, the prevailing kind being giallo antico, intermixed with verde antique, and I know not what else; but the splendor of the giallo antico gives the character to the room, and the large and deep niches along the walls appear to be lined with the same material. Without coming to Italy,

 

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one can have no idea of what beauty and magnificence are produced by these fittings up of polished marble. Marble to an American means nothing but white limestone.

This hall, moreover, is adorned with pillars of Oriental alabaster, and wherever is a space vacant of precious and richly colored marble it is frescoed with arabesque ornaments; and over the whole is a coved and vaulted ceiling, glowing with picture. There never can be anything richer than the whole effect. As to the sculpture here it was not very fine, so far as I can remember, consisting chiefly of busts of the emperors in porphyry; but they served a good purpose in the upholstery way. There were also magnificent tables, each composed of one great slab of porphyry; and also vases of nero antico, and other rarest substance. It remains to be mentioned that, on this almost summer day, I was quite chilled in passing through these glorious halls; no fireplace anywhere; no possibility of comfort; and in the hot season, when their coolness might be agreeable, it would be death to inhabit them.

Ascending a long winding staircase, we arrived at another suite of rooms, containing a good many not very remarkable pictures, and a few more pieces of statuary. Among the latter is Canova's statue of Pauline, the sister of Bonaparte, who is represented with but little drapery, and in the character of Venus holding the apple in her hand. It is admirably done, and, I have no doubt, a perfect likeness; very beautiful too; but it is wonderful to see how the artificial elegance of the woman of this world makes itself perceptible in spite of whatever simplicity she could find in almost utter nakedness. The statue does not afford pleasure in the contemplation.

 

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In one of these upper rooms are some works of Bernini; two of them, Æneas and Anchises, and David on the point of slinging a stone at Goliath, have great merit, and do not tear and rend themselves quite out of the laws and limits of marble, like his later sculpture. Here is also his Apollo overtaking Daphne, whose feet take root, whose finger-tips sprout into twigs, and whose tender body roughens round about with bark, as he embraces her. It did not seem very wonderful to me; not so good as Hillard's description of it made me expect; and one does not enjoy these freaks in marble.

We were glad to emerge from the casino into the warm sunshine; and, for my part, I made the best of my way to a large fountain, surrounded by a circular stone seat of wide sweep, and sat down in a sunny segment of the circle. Around grew a solemn company of old trees,--ilexes, I believe,--with huge, contorted trunks and evergreen branches. . . deep groves, sunny openings, the airy gush of fountains, marble statues, dimly visible in recesses of foliage, great urns and vases, terminal figures, temples,--all these works of art looking as if they had stood there long enough to feel at home, and to be on friendly and familiar terms with the grass and trees. It is a most beautiful place, . . . and the Malaria is its true master and inhabitant!

April 22d.--We have been recently to the studio of Mr. Brown, [1] the American landscape-painter, and were altogether surprised and delighted with his pictures. He is a plain, homely Yankee, quite unpolished by his many years' residence in Italy; he talks un-

 

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grammatically, and in Yankee idioms; walks with a strange, awkward gait and stooping shoulders; is altogether unpicturesque, but wins one's confidence by his very lack of grace. It is not often that we see an artist so entirely free from affectation in his aspect and deportment. His pictures were views of Swiss and Italian scenery, and were most beautiful and true. One of them, a moonlight picture, was really magical,--the moon shining so brightly that it seemed to throw a light even beyond the limits of the picture,--and yet his sunrises and sunsets, and noontides too, were nowise inferior to this, although their excellence required somewhat longer study, to be fully appreciated. I seemed to receive more pleasure from Mr. Brown's pictures than from any of the landscapes by the old masters; and the fact serves to strengthen me in the belief that the most delicate if not the highest charm of a picture is evanescent, and that we continue to admire pictures prescriptively and by tradition, after the qualities that first won them their fame have vanished. I suppose Claude was a greater landscape-painter than Brown; but for my own pleasure I would prefer one of the latter artist's pictures,--those of the former being quite changed from what he intended them to be by the effect of time on his pigments. Mr. Brown showed us some drawings from nature, done with incredible care and minuteness of detail, as studies for his paintings. We complimented him on his patience; but he said, "Oh, it's not patience,--it's love!" In fact, it was a patient and most successful wooing of a beloved object, which at last rewarded him by yielding itself wholly.

We have likewise been to Mr. B----'s [1] studio,

 

[1] Now dead.

 

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where we saw several pretty statues and busts, and among them an Eve, with her wreath of fig-leaves lying across her poor nudity; comely in some points, but with a frightful volume of thighs and calves. I do not altogether see the necessity of ever sculpturing another nakedness. Man is no longer a naked animal; his clothes are as natural to him as his skin, and sculptors have no more right to undress him than to flay him.

Also, we have seen again William Story's Cleopatra,--a work of genuine thought and energy, representing a terribly dangerous woman; quiet enough for the moment, but very likely to spring upon you like a tigress. It is delightful to escape to his creations from this universal prettiness, which seems to be the highest conception of the crowd of modern sculptors, and which they almost invariably attain.

Miss Bremer called on us the other day. We find her very little changed from what she was when she came to take tea and spend an evening at our little red cottage, among the Berkshire hills, and went away so dissatisfied with my conversational performances, and so laudatory of my brow and eyes, while so severely criticising my poor mouth and chin. She is the funniest little old fairy in person whom one can imagine, with a huge nose, to which all the rest of her is but an insufficient appendage; but you feel at once that she is most gentle, kind, womanly, sympathetic, and true. She talks English fluently, in a low quiet voice, but with such an accent that it is impossible to understand her without the closest attention. This was the real cause of the failure of our Berkshire interview; for I could not guess, half the time, what she was saying, and, of course, had to take an uncertain

 

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aim with my responses. A more intrepid talker than myself would have shouted his ideas across the gulf; but, for me, there must first be a close and unembarrassed contiguity with my companion, or I cannot say one real word. I doubt whether I have ever really talked with half a dozen persons in my life, either men or women.

To-day my wife and I have been at the picture and sculpture galleries of the Capitol. I rather enjoyed looking at several of the pictures, though at this moment I particularly remember only a beautiful face of a man, one of two heads on the same canvas, by Vandyke. Yes; I did look with new admiration at Paul Veronese's Rape of Europa. It must have been, in its day, the most brilliant and rejoicing picture, the most voluptuous, the most exuberant, that ever put the sunshine to shame. The bull has all Jupiter in him, so tender and gentle, yet so passionate, that you feel it indecorous to look at him; and Europa, under her thick, rich stuffs and embroideries, is all a woman. What a pity that such a picture should fade, and perplex the beholder with such splendor, shining through such forlornness!

We afterwards went into the sculpture-gallery, where I looked at the Faun of Praxiteles, and was sensible of a peculiar charm in it; a sylvan beauty and homeliness, friendly and wild at once. The lengthened, but not preposterous ears, and the little tail, which we infer, have an exquisite effect, and make the spectator smile in his very heart. This race of fauns was the most delightful of all that antiquity imagined. It seems to me that a story, with all sorts of fun and pathos in it, might be contrived on the idea of their species having become intermingled with the human race; a fam-

 

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ily with the faun blood in them having prolonged itself from the classic era till our own days. The tail might have disappeared, by dint of constant intermarriages with ordinary mortals; but the pretty hairy ears should occasionally reappear in members of the family; and the moral instincts and intellectual characteristics of the faun might be most picturesquely brought out, without detriment to the human interest of the story. Fancy this combination in the person of a young lady!

I have spoken of Mr. Gibson's colored statues. It seems (at least Mr. Nichols tells me) that he stains them with tobacco juice. . . . Were he to send a Cupid to America, he need not trouble himself to stain it beforehand.

 

April 25th.--Night before last, my wife and I took a moonlight ramble through Rome, it being a very beautiful night, warm enough for comfort, and with no perceptible dew or dampness. We set out at about nine o'clock, and, our general direction being towards the Coliseum, we soon came to the Fountain of Trevi, full on the front of which the moonlight fell, making Bernini's sculptures look stately and beautiful, though the semicircular gush and fall of the cascade, and the many jets of the water, pouring and bubbling into the great marble basin, are of far more account than Neptune and his steeds, and the rest of the figures. . . .

We ascended the Capitoline Hill, and I felt a satisfaction in placing my hand on those immense blocks of stone, the remains of the ancient Capitol, which form the foundation of the present edifice, and will make a sure basis for as many edifices as posterity

 

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may choose to rear upon it, till the end of the world. It is wonderful, the solidity with which those old Romans built; one would suppose they contemplated the whole course of Time as the only limit of their individual life. This is not so strange in the days of the Republic, when, probably, they believed in the permanence of their institutions; but they still seemed to build for eternity in the reigns of the emperors, when neither rulers nor people had any faith or moral substance, or laid any earnest grasp on life.

Reaching the top of the Capitoline Hill, we ascended the steps of the portal of the Palace of the Senator, and looked down into the piazza, with the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the centre of it. The architecture that surrounds the piazza is very ineffective; and so, in my opinion, are all the other architectural works of Michel Angelo, including St. Peter's itself, of which he has made as little as could possibly be made of such a vast pile of material. He balances everything in such a way that it seems but half of itself.

We soon descended into the piazza, and walked round and round the statue of Marcus Aurelius, contemplating it from every point and admiring it in all.

On these beautiful moonlight nights, Rome appears to keep awake and stirring, though in a quiet and decorous way. It is, in fact, the pleasantest time for promenades, and we both felt less wearied than by any promenade in the daytime, of similar extent, since our residence in Rome. In future, I mean to walk often after nightfall.

Yesterday, we set out betimes, and ascended the dome of St. Peter's. The best view of the interior of the church, I think, is from the first gallery beneath the

 

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dome. The whole inside of the dome is set with mosaic-work, the separate pieces being, so far as I could see, about half an inch square. Emerging on the roof we had a fine view of all the surrounding Rome, including the Mediterranean Sea in the remote distance. Above us still rose the whole mountain of the great dome, and it made an impression on me of greater height and size than I had yet been able to receive. The copper ball at the summit looked hardly bigger than a man could lift; and yet, a little while afterwards, U--, J----- , and I stood all together in that ball, which could have contained a dozen more along with us. The esplanade of the roof is, of course, very extensive; and along the front of it are ranged the statues which we see from below, and which, on nearer examination, prove to be roughly hewn giants. There is a small house on the roof, where, probably, the custodes of this part of the edifice reside; and there is a fountain gushing abundantly into a stone trough, that looked like an old sarcophagus. It is strange where the water comes from at such a height. The children tasted it, and pronounced it very warm and disagreeable. After taking in the prospect on all sides we rang a bell, which summoned a man, who directed us towards a door in the side of the dome, where a custode was waiting to admit us. Hitherto the ascent had been easy, along a slope without stairs, up which, I believe, people sometimes ride on donkeys. The rest of the way we mounted steep and narrow staircases, winding round within the wall, or between the two walls of the dome, and growing narrower and steeper, till, finally, there is but a perpendicular iron ladder, by means of which to climb into the copper ball. Except through small windows and peep-holes,

 

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there is no external prospect of a higher point than the roof of the church. Just beneath the ball there is a circular room capable of containing a large company, and a door which ought to give access to a gallery on the outside; but the custode informed us that this door is never opened. As I have said, U--, J-----, and I clambered into the copper ball, which we found as hot as an oven; and, after putting our hands on its top, and on the summit of St. Peter's, were glad to clamber down again. I have made some mistake, after all, in my narration. There certainly is a circular balcony at the top of the dome, for I remember walking round it, and looking, not only across the country, but downwards along the ribs of the dome; to which are attached the iron contrivances for illuminating it on Easter Sunday . . . .

Before leaving the church we went to look at the mosaic copy of The Transfiguration, because we were going to see the original in the Vatican, and wished to compare the two. Going round to the entrance of the Vatican, we went first to the manufactory of mosaics, to which we had a ticket of admission. We found it a long series of rooms, in which the mosaic artists were at work, chiefly in making some medallions of the heads of saints for the new church of St. Paul's. It was rather coarse work, and it seemed to me that the mosaic copy was somewhat stiffer and more wooden than the original, the bits of stone not flowing into color quite so freely as paint from a brush. There was no large picture now in process of being copied; but two or three artists were employed on small and delicate subjects. One had a Holy Family of Raphael in hand; and the Sibyls of Guercino and Domenichino were hanging on the wall,

 

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apparently ready to be put into mosaic. Wherever great skill and delicacy, on the artists' part, were necessary, they seemed quite adequate to the occasion; but, after all, a mosaic of any celebrated picture is but a copy of a copy. The substance employed is a stone-paste, of innumerable different hues, and in bits of various sizes, quantities of which were seen in cases along the whole series of rooms.

We next ascended an amazing height of staircases, and walked along I know not what extent of passages, . . . till we reached the picture-gallery of the Vatican, into which I had never been before. There are but three rooms, all lined with red velvet, on which hung about fifty pictures, each one of them, no doubt, worthy to be considered a masterpiece. In the first room were three Murillos, all so beautiful that I could have spent the day happily in looking at either of them; for, methinks, of all painters he is the tenderest and truest. I could not enjoy these pictures now, however, because in the next room, and visible through the open door, hung The Transfiguration. Approaching it, I felt that the picture was worthy of its fame, and was far better than I could at once appreciate; admirably preserved, too, though I fully believe it must have possessed a charm when it left Raphael's hand that has now vanished forever. As church furniture and an external adornment, the mosaic copy is preferable to the original, but no copy could ever reproduce all the life and expression which we see here. Opposite to it hangs The Communion of St. Jerome, the aged, dying saint, half torpid with death already, partaking of the sacrament, and a sunny garland of cherubs in the upper part of the picture, looking down upon him, and quite comforting

 

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the spectator with the idea that the old man needs only to be quite dead in order to flit away with them. As for the other pictures I did but glance at, and have forgotten them.

The Transfiguration is finished with great minuteness and detail, the weeds and blades of grass in the foreground being as distinct as if they were growing in a natural soil. A partly decayed stick of wood with the bark is likewise given in close imitation of nature. The reflection of a foot of one of the apostles is seen in a pool of water at the verge of the picture. One or two heads and arms seem almost to project from the canvas. There is great lifelikeness and reality, as well as higher qualities. The face of Jesus, being so high aloft and so small in the distance, I could not well see; but I am impressed with the idea that it looks too much like human flesh and blood to be in keeping with the celestial aspect of the figure, or with the probabilities of the scene, when the divinity and immortality of the Saviour beamed from within him through the earthly features that ordinarily shaded him. As regards the composition of the picture, I am not convinced of the propriety of its being in two so distinctly separate parts,--the upper portion not thinking of the lower, and the lower portion not being aware of the higher. It symbolizes, however, the spiritual shortsightedness of mankind that, amid the trouble and grief of the lower picture, not a single individual, either of those who seek help or those who would willingly afford it, lifts his eyes to that region, one glimpse of which would set everything right. One or two of the disciples point upward, but without really knowing what abundance of help is to be had there.

 

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April 27th.--To-day we have all been with Mr. Akers to some studios of painters; first to that of Mr. Wilde, an artist originally from Boston. His pictures are principally of scenes from Venice, and are miracles of color, being as bright as if the light were transmitted through rubies and sapphires. And yet, after contemplating them awhile, we became convinced that the painter had not gone in the least beyond nature, but, on the contrary, had fallen short of brilliancies which no palette, or skill, or boldness in using color, could attain. I do not quite know whether it is best to attempt these things. They may be found in nature, no doubt, but always so tempered by what surrounds full before our eyes, that we question the accuracy of a faithful reproduction of them on canvas. There was a picture of sunset, the whole sky of which would have outshone any gilded frame that could have been put around it. There was a most gorgeous sketch of a handful of weeds and leaves, such as may be seen strewing acres of forest-ground in an American autumn. I doubt whether any other man has ever ventured to paint a picture like either of these two, the Italian sunset or the American autumnal foliage. Mr. Wilde, who is still young, talked with genuine feeling and enthusiasm of his art, and is certainly a man of genius.

We next went to the studio of an elderly Swiss artist, named Müller, I believe, where we looked at a great many water-color and crayon drawings of scenes in Italy, Greece, and Switzerland. The artist was a quiet, respectable, somewhat heavy-looking old gentleman, from whose aspect one would expect a plodding pertinacity of character rather than quickness of sen-

 

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sibility. He must have united both these qualities, however, to produce such pictures as these, such faithful transcripts of whatever Nature has most beautiful to show, and which she shows only to those who love her deeply and patiently. They are wonderful pictures, compressing plains, seas, and mountains, with miles and miles of distance, into the space of a foot or two without crowding anything or leaving out a feature, and diffusing the free, blue atmosphere throughout. The works of the English water-color artists which I saw at the Manchester Exhibition seemed to me nowise equal to these. Now, here are three artists, Mr. Brown, Mr. Wilde, and Mr. M¨ller, who have smitten me with vast admiration within these few days past, while I am continually turning away disappointed from the landscapes of the most famous among the old masters, unable to find any charm or illusion in them. Yet I suppose Claude, Poussin, and Salvator Rosa must have won their renown by real achievements. But the glory of a picture fades like that of a flower.

Contiguous to Mr. Müller's studio was that of a young German artist, not long resident in Rome, and Mr. Akers proposed that we should go in there, as a matter of kindness to the young man, who is scarcely known at all, and seldom has a visitor to look at his pictures. His studio comprised his whole establishment; for there was his little bed, with its white drapery, in a corner of the small room, and his dressing-table, with its brushes and combs, while the easel and the few sketches of Italian scenes and figures occupied the foreground. I did not like his pictures very well, but would gladly have bought them all if I could have afforded it, the artist looked so cheerful,

 

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patient, and quiet, doubtless amidst huge discouragement. He is probably stubborn of purpose, and is the sort of man who will improve with every year of his life. We could not speak his language, and were therefore spared the difficulty of paying him any compliments; but Miss Shepard said a few kind words to him in German, and seemed quite to win his heart, insomuch that he followed her with bows and smiles a long way down the staircase. It is a terrible business, this looking at pictures, whether good or bad, in the presence of the artists who paint them; it is as great a bore as to hear a poet read his own verses. It takes away all my pleasure in seeing the pictures, and even makes me question the genuineness of the impressions which I receive, from them.

After this latter visit Mr. Akers conducted us to the shop of the jeweller Castellani, who is a great reproducer of ornaments in the old Roman and Etruscan fashion. These antique styles are very fashionable just now, and some of the specimens he showed us were certainly very beautiful, though I doubt whether their quaintness and old-time curiousness, as patterns of gewgaws dug out of immemorial tombs, be not their greatest charm. We saw the toilet-case of an Etruscan lady,--that is to say, a modern imitation of it,--with her rings for summer and winter, and for every day of the week, and for thumb and fingers; her ivory comb; her bracelets; and more knick-knacks than I can half remember. Splendid things of our own time were likewise shown us; a necklace of diamonds worth eighteen thousand scudi, together with emeralds and opals and great pearls. Finally we came away, and my wife and Miss Shepard were taken up by the Misses Weston, who drove with them

 

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to visit the Villa Albani. During their drive my wife happened to raise her arm, and Miss Shepard espied a little Greek cross of gold which had attached itself to the lace of her sleeve.-. . Pray Heaven the jeweller may not discover his loss before we have time to restore the spoil! He is apparently so free and careless in displaying his precious wares,--putting inestimable gems and brooches great and small into the hands of strangers like ourselves, and leaving scores of them strewn on the top of his counter,--that it would seem easy enough to take a diamond or two; but I suspect there must needs be a sharp eye somewhere. Before we left the shop he requested me to honor him with my autograph in a large book that was full of the names of his visitors. This is probably a measure of precaution.

 

April 30th.--I went yesterday to the sculpture-gallery of the Capitol, and looked pretty thoroughly through the busts of the illustrious men, and less particularly at those of the emperors and their relatives. I likewise took particular note of the Faun of Praxiteles, because the idea keeps recurring to me of writing a little romance about it, and for that reason I shall endeavor to set down a somewhat minutely itemized detail of the statue and its surroundings. . . .

We have had beautiful weather for two or three days, very warm in the sun, yet always freshened by the gentle life of a breeze, and quite cool enough the moment you pass within the limit of the shade. . . .

In the morning there are few people there (on the Pincian) except the gardeners, lazily trimming the borders, or filling their watering-pots out of the marble-brimmed basin of the fountain; French soldiers,

 

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in their long mixed-blue surtouts, and wide scarlet pantaloons, chatting with here and there a nursery-maid, and playing with the child in her care; and perhaps a few smokers, . . . choosing each a marble seat or wooden bench in sunshine or shade as best suits him. In the afternoon, especially within an hour or two of sunset, the gardens are much more populous, and the seats, except when the sun falls full upon them, are hard to come by. Ladies arrive in carriages, splendidly dressed; children are abundant, much impeded in their frolics, and rendered stiff and stately by the finery which they wear; English gentlemen, and Americans with their wives and families; the flower of the Roman population, too, both male and female, mostly dressed with great nicety; but a large intermixture of artists, shabbily picturesque; and other persons, not of the first stamp. A French band, comprising a great many brass instruments, by and by begins to play; and what with music, sunshine, a delightful atmosphere, flowers, grass, well-kept pathways, bordered with box-hedges, pines, cypresses, horse-chestnuts, flowering shrubs, and all manner of cultivated beauty, the scene is a very lively and agreeable one. The fine equipages that drive round and round through the carriage-paths are another noticeable item. The Roman aristocracy are magnificent in their aspect, driving abroad with beautiful horses, and footmen in rich liveries, sometimes as many as three behind and one sitting by the coachman.

 

May 1st.--This morning, I wandered for the thousandth time through some of the narrow intricacies of Rome, stepping here and there into a church. I do not know the name of the first one, nor had it

 

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anything that in Rome could be called remarkable, though, till I came here, I was not aware that any such churches existed,--a marble pavement in variegated compartments, a series of shrines and chapels round the whole floor, each with its own adornment of sculpture and pictures, its own altar with tall wax tapers before it, some of which were burning; a great picture over the high altar, the whole interior of the church ranged round with pillars and pilasters, and lined, every inch of it, with rich yellow marble. Finally, a frescoed ceiling over the nave and transepts, and a dome rising high above the central part, and filled with frescos brought to such perspective illusion that the edges seem to project into the air. Two or three persons are kneeling at separate shrines; there are several wooden confessionals placed against the walls, at one of which kneels a lady, confessing to a priest who sits within; the tapers are lighted at the high altar and at one of the shrines; an attendant is scrubbing the marble pavement with a broom and water,--a process, I should think, seldom practised in Roman churches. By and by the lady finishes her confession, kisses the priest's hand, and sits down in one of the chairs which are placed about the floor, while the priest, in a black robe, with a short, white, loose jacket over his shoulders, disappears by a side door out of the church. I, likewise, finding nothing attractive in the pictures, take my departure. Protestantism needs a new apostle to convert it into something positive. . . .

I now found my way to the Piazza Navona. It is to me the most interesting piazza in Rome; a large oblong space, surrounded with tall, shabby houses, among which there are none that seem to be palaces.

 

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The sun falls broadly over the area of the piazza, and shows the fountains in it: one, a large basin with great sea-monsters, probably of Bernini's inventions, squirting very small streams of water into it; another of the fountains I do not at all remember; but the central one is an immense basin, over which is reared an old Egyptian obelisk, elevated on a rock, which is cleft into four arches. Monstrous devices in marble, I know not of what purport, are clambering about the cloven rock or burrowing beneath it; one and all of them are superfluous and impertinent, the only essential thing being the abundant supply of water in the fountain. This whole Piazza Navona is usually the scene of more business than seems to be transacted anywhere else in Rome; in some parts of it rusty iron is offered for sale, locks and keys, old tools, and all such rubbish; in other parts vegetables, comprising, at this season, green peas, onions, cauliflowers, radishes, artichokes, and others with which I have never made acquaintance; also, stalls or wheelbarrows containing apples, chestnuts (the meats dried and taken out of the shells), green almonds in their husks, and squash seeds,--salted and dried in an oven,--apparently a favorite delicacy of the Romans. There are also lemons and oranges; stalls of fish, mostly about the size of smelts, taken from the Tiber; cigars of various qualities, the best at a baioccho and a half apiece; bread in loaves or in small rings, a great many of which are strung together on a long stick, and thus carried round for sale. Women and men sit with these things for sale, or carry them about in trays, or on boards on their heads, crying them with shrill and hard voices. There is a shabby crowd and much babble; very little picturesqueness of costume

 

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or figure, however, the chief exceptions being, here and there, an old white-bearded beggar. A few of the men have the peasant costume,--a short jacket and breeches of light blue cloth and white stockings,--the ugliest dress I ever saw. The women go bare-headed, and seem fond of scarlet and other bright colors, but are homely and clumsy in form. The piazza is dingy in its general aspect, and very dirty, being strewn with straw, vegetable tops, and the rubbish of a week's marketing; but there is more life in it than one sees elsewhere in Rome.

On one side of the piazza is the Church of St. Agnes, traditionally said to stand on the site of the house where that holy maiden was exposed to infamy by the Roman soldiers, and where her modesty and innocence were saved by miracle. I went into the church, and found it very splendid, with rich marble columns, all as brilliant as if just built; a frescoed dome above; beneath, a range of chapels all round the church, ornamented not with pictures but bas-reliefs, the figures of which almost step and struggle out of the marble. They did not seem very admirable as works of art, none of them explaining themselves or attracting me long enough to study out their meaning but, as part of the architecture of the church, they had a good effect. Out of the busy square two or three persons had stepped into this bright and calm seclusion to pray and be devout for a little while; and, between sunrise and sunset of the bustling market-day, many doubtless snatch a moment to refresh their souls.

In the Pantheon (to-day) it was pleasant looking up to the circular opening, to see the clouds flitting across it, sometimes covering it quite over, then per-

 

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mitting a glimpse of sky, then showing all the circle of sunny blue. Then would come the ragged edge of a cloud, brightened throughout with sunshine, passing and changing quickly,--not that the divine smile was not always the same, but continually variable through the medium of earthly influences. The great slanting beam of sunshine was visible all the way down to the pavement, falling upon motes of dust or a thin smoke of incense imperceptible in the shadow. Insects were playing to and fro in the beam, high up toward the opening. There is a wonderful charm in the naturalness of all this; and one might fancy a swarm of cherubs coming down through the opening and sporting in the broad ray, to gladden the faith of worshippers on the pavement beneath; or angels bearing prayers upward, or bringing down responses to them, visible with dim brightness as they pass through the pathway of heaven's radiance, even the many hues of their wings discernible by a trusting eye; though, as they pass into the shadow, they vanish like the motes. So the sunbeam would represent those rays of divine intelligence which enable us to see wonders and to know that they are natural things.

Consider the effect of light and shade in a church where the windows are open and darkened with curtains that are occasionally lifted by a breeze, letting in the sunshine, which whitens a carved tombstone on the pavement of the church, disclosing, perhaps, the letters of the name and inscription, a death's-head, a crosier, or other emblem; then the curtain falls and the bright spot vanishes.

 

May 8th.--This morning my wife and I went to breakfast with Mrs. William Story at the Barberini

 

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Palace, expecting to meet Mrs. Jameson, who has been in Rome for a month or two. We had a very pleasant breakfast, but Mrs. Jameson was not present on account of indisposition, and the only other guests were Mrs. A---- and Mrs. H----, two sensible American ladies. Mrs. Story, however, received a note from Mrs. Jameson, asking her to bring us to see her at her lodgings; so in the course of the afternoon she called for us, and took us thither in her carriage. Mrs. Jameson lives on the first piano of an old palazzo on the Via di Ripetta, nearly opposite the ferry-way across the Tiber, and affording a pleasant view of the yellow river and the green bank and fields on the other side. I had expected to see an elderly lady, but not quite so venerable a one as Mrs. Jameson proved to be; a rather short, round, and massive personage, of benign and agreeable aspect, with a sort of black skullcap on her head, beneath which appeared her hair, which seemed once to have been fair, and was now almost white. I should take her to be about seventy years old. She began to talk to us with affectionate familiarity, and was particularly kind in her manifestations towards myself, who, on my part, was equally gracious towards her. In truth, I have found great pleasure and profit in her works, and was glad to hear her say that she liked mine. We talked about art, and she showed us a picture leaning up against the wall of the room; a quaint old Byzantine painting, with a gilded background, and two stiff figures (our Saviour and St. Catherine) standing shyly at a sacred distance from one another, and going through the marriage ceremony. There was a great deal of expression in their faces and figures; and the spectator feels, moreover, that the artist must have

 

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been a devout man,--an impression which we seldom receive from modern pictures, however awfully holy the subject, or however consecrated the place they hang in. Mrs. Jameson seems to be familiar with Italy, its people and life, as well as with its picture-galleries. She is said to be rather irascible in her temper; but nothing could be sweeter than her voice, her look, and all her manifestations to-day. When we were coming away she clasped my hand in both of hers, and again expressed the pleasure of having seen me, and her gratitude to me for calling on her; nor did I refrain from responding Amen to these effusions.

Taking leave of Mrs. Jameson, we drove through the city, and out of the Lateran Gate; first, however, waiting a long while at Monaldini's bookstore in the Piazza di Spagna for Mr. Story, whom we finally took up in the street, after losing nearly an hour.

Just two miles beyond the gate is a space on the green Campagna where, for some time past, excavations have been in progress, which thus far have resulted in the discovery of several tombs, and the old, buried, and almost forgotten, church or basilica of San Stefano. It is a beautiful spot, that of the excavations, with the Alban hills in the distance, and some heavy, sunlighted clouds hanging above, or recumbent at length upon them, and, behind, the city and its mighty dome. The excavations are an object of great interest both to the Romans and to strangers, and there were many carriages and a great many visitors viewing the progress of the works, which are carried forward with greater energy than anything else I have seen attempted at Rome. A short time ago the ground in the vicinity was a green

 

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surface, level, except here and there a little hillock, or scarcely perceptible swell; the tomb of Cecilia Metella showing itself a mile or two distant, and other rugged ruins, of great tombs rising on the plain. Now the whole site of the basilica is uncovered, and they have dug into the depths of several tombs, bringing to light precious marbles, pillars, a statue, and elaborately wrought sarcophagi; and if they were to dig into almost every other inequality that frets the surface of the Campagna, I suppose the result might be the same. You cannot dig six feet downward anywhere into the soil, deep enough to hollow out a grave, without finding some precious relic of the past; only they lose somewhat of their value when you think that you can almost spurn them out of the ground with your foot. It is a very wonderful arrangement of Providence that these things should have been preserved for a long series of coming generations by that accumulation of dust and soil and grass and trees and houses over them, which will keep them safe, and cause their reappearance above ground to be gradual, so that the rest of the world's lifetime may have for one of its enjoyments the uncovering of old Rome.

The tombs were accessible by long flights of steps, going steeply downward, and they were thronged with so many visitors that we had to wait some little time for our own turn. In the first into which we descended we found two tombs side by side, with only a partition wall between; the outer tomb being, as is supposed, a burial-place constructed by the early Christians, while the adjoined and minor one was a work of pagan Rome about the second century after Christ. The former was much less interesting than

 

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the latter. It contained some large sarcophagi, with sculpture upon them of rather heathenish aspect; and in the centre of the front of each sarcophagus was a bust in bas-relief, the features of which had never been wrought, but were left almost blank, with only the faintest indications of a nose, for instance. It is supposed that sarcophagi were kept on hand by the sculptors, and were bought ready made, and that it was customary to work out the portrait of the deceased upon the blank face in the centre; but when there was a necessity for sudden burial, as may have been the case in the present instance, this was dispensed with.

The inner tomb was found without any earth in it, just as it had been left when the last old Roman was buried there; and it being only a week or two since it was opened, there was very little intervention of persons, though much of time, between the departure of the friends of the dead and our own visit. It is a square room, with a mosaic pavement, and is six or seven paces in length and breadth, and as much in height to the vaulted roof. The roof and upper walls are beautifully ornamented with frescos, which were very bright when first discovered, but have rapidly faded since the admission of the air, though the graceful and joyous designs, flowers, and fruits and trees, are still perfectly discernible. The room must have been anything but sad and funereal; on the contrary, as cheerful a saloon, and as brilliant, if lighted up, as one could desire to feast in. It contained several marble sarcophagi, covering indeed almost the whole floor, and each of them as much as three or four feet in length, and two much longer. The longer ones I did not particularly examine, and they seemed compara-

 

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tively plainer; but the smaller sarcophagi were covered with the most delicately wrought and beautiful bas-reliefs that I ever beheld; a throng of glad and lovely shapes in marble clustering thickly and chasing one another round the sides of these old stone coffins. The work was as perfect as when the sculptor gave it his last touch; and if he had wrought it to be placed in a frequented hall, to be seen and admired by continual crowds as long as the marble should endure, he could not have chiselled with better skill and care, though his work was to be shut up in the depths of a tomb forever. This seems to me the strangest thing in the world, the most alien from modern sympathies. If they had built their tombs above ground, one could understand the arrangement better; but no sooner had they adorned them so richly, and furnished them with such exquisite productions of art, than they annihilated them with darkness. It was an attempt, no doubt, to render the physical aspect of death cheerful, but there was no good sense in it.

We went down also into another tomb close by, the walls of which were ornamented with medallions in stucco. These works presented a numerous series of graceful designs, wrought by the hand in the short space (Mr. Story said it could not have been more than five or ten minutes) while the wet plaster remained capable of being moulded; and it was marvellous to think of the fertility of the artist's fancy, and the rapidity and accuracy with which he must have given substantial existence to his ideas. These too--all of them such adornments as would have suited a festal hall--were made to be buried forthwith in eternal darkness. I saw and handled in this tomb a great thigh-bone, and measured it with my own; it

 

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was one of many such relics of the guests who were laid to sleep in these rich chambers. The sarcophagi that served them for coffins could not now be put to a more appropriate use than as wine-coolers in a modern dining-room; and it would heighten the enjoyment of a festival to look at them.

We would gladly have stayed much longer; but it was drawing towards sunset, and the evening, though bright, was unusually cool, so we drove home; and on the way, Mr. Story told us of the horrible practices of the modern Romans with their dead,--how they place them in the church, where, at midnight, they are stripped of their last rag of funeral attire, put into the rudest wooden coffins, and thrown into a trench,--a half-mile, for instance, of promiscuous corpses. This is the fate of all, except those whose friends choose to pay an exorbitant sum to have them buried under the pavement of a church. The Italians have an excessive dread of corpses, and never meddle with those of their nearest and dearest relatives. They have a horror of death, too, especially of sudden death, and most particularly of apoplexy; and no wonder, as it gives no time for the last rites of the Church, and so exposes them to a fearful risk of perdition forever. On the whole, the ancient practice was, perhaps, the preferable one; but Nature has made it very difficult for us to do anything pleasant and satisfactory with a dead body. God knows best; but I wish He had so ordered it that our mortal bodies, when we have done with them, might vanish out of sight and sense, like bubbles. A person of delicacy hates to think of leaving such a burden as his decaying mortality to the disposal of his friends; but, I say again, how delightful it would be, and how helpful towards our faith in a

 

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blessed futurity, if the dying could disappear like vanishing bubbles, leaving, perhaps, a sweet fragrance diffused for a minute or two throughout the death-chamber. This would be the odor of sanctity! And if sometimes the evaporation of a sinful soul should leave an odor not so delightful, a breeze through the open windows would soon waft it quite away.

Apropos of the various methods of disposing of dead bodies, William Story recalled a newspaper paragraph respecting a ring, with a stone of a new species in it, which a widower was observed to wear upon his finger. Being questioned as to what the gem was, he answered, "It is my wife." He had procured her body to be chemically resolved into this stone. I think I could make a story on this idea: the ring should be one of the widower's bridal gifts to a second wife; and, of course, it should have wondrous and terrible qualities, symbolizing all that disturbs the quiet of a second marriage,--on the husband's part, remorse for his inconstancy, and the constant comparison between the dead wife of his youth, now idealized, and the grosser reality which he had now adopted into her place; while on the new wife's finger it should give pressures, shooting pangs into her heart, jealousies of the past, and all such miserable emotions.

By the by, the tombs which we looked at and entered may have been originally above ground, like that of Cecilia Metella, and a hundred others along the Appian Way; though, even in this case, the beautiful chambers must have been shut up in darkness. Had there been windows, letting in the light upon the rich frescos and exquisite sculptures, there would have been a satisfaction in thinking of the existence of so

 

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much visual beauty, though no eye had the privilege to see it. But darkness, to objects of sight, is annihilation, as long as the darkness lasts,

 

May 9th.--Mrs. Jameson called this forenoon to ask us to go and see her this evening; . .-so that I had to receive her alone, devolving part of the burden on Miss Shepard and the three children, all of whom I introduced to her notice. Finding that I had not been farther beyond the walls of Rome than the tomb of Cecilia Metella, she invited me to take a drive of a few miles with her this afternoon. . . . The poor lady seems to be very lame; and I am sure I was grateful to her for having taken the trouble to climb up the seventy steps of our staircase, and felt pain at seeing her go down them again. It looks fearfully like the gout, the affection being apparently in one foot. The hands, by the way, are white, and must once have been, perhaps now are, beautiful. She must have been a perfectly pretty woman in her day,--a blue or gray eyed, fair-haired beauty. I think that her hair is not white, but only flaxen in the extreme.

At half past four, according to appointment, I arrived at her lodgings, and had not long to wait before her little one-horse carriage drove up to the door, and we set out, rumbling along the Via Scrofa, and through the densest part of the city, past the theatre of Marcellus, and thence along beneath the Palatine Hill, and by the Baths of Caracalla, through the gate of San Sebastiano. After emerging from the gate, we soon came to the little Church of "Dominè, quo vadis?" Standing on the spot where St. Peter is said to have seen a vision of our Saviour bearing his cross, Mrs. Jameson proposed to alight; and, going in, we

 

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saw a cast from Michel Angelo's statue of the Saviour; and not far from the threshold of the church, yet perhaps in the centre of the edifice, which is extremely small, a circular stone is placed, a little raised above the pavement, and surrounded by a low wooden railing. Pointing to this stone, Mrs. Jameson showed me the prints of two feet side by side, impressed into its surface, as if a person had stopped short while pursuing his way to Rome. These, she informed me, were supposed to be the miraculous prints of the Saviour's feet; but on looking into Murray, I am mortified to find that they are merely facsimiles of the original impressions, which are treasured up among the relics of the neighboring Basilica of San Sebastiano. The marks of sculpture seemed to me, indeed, very evident in these prints, nor did they indicate such beautiful feet as should have belonged to the bearer of the best of glad tidings.

Hence we drove on a little way farther, and came to the Basilica of San Sebastiano, where also we alighted, and, leaning on my arm, Mrs. Jameson went in. It is a stately and noble interior, with a spacious unencumbered nave, and a flat ceiling frescoed and gilded. In a chapel at the left of the entrance is the tomb of St. Sebastian,--a sarcophagus containing his remains, raised on high before the altar, and beneath it a recumbent statue of the saint pierced with gilded arrows. The sculpture is of the school of Bernini,--done after the design of Bernini himself, Mrs. Jameson said, and is more agreeable and in better taste than most of his works. We walked round the basilica, glancing at the pictures in the various chapels, none of which seemed to be of remarkable merit, although Mrs. Jameson pronounced rather a favorable

 

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verdict on one of St. Francis. She says that she can read a picture like the page of a book; in fact, without perhaps assuming more taste and judgment than really belong to her, it was impossible not to perceive that she gave her companion no credit for knowing one single simplest thing about art. Nor, on the whole, do I think she underrated me; the only mystery is, how she came to be so well aware of my ignorance on artistical points.

In the basilica the Franciscan monks were arranging benches on the floor of the nave, and some peasant children and grown people besides were assembling, probably to undergo an examination in the catechism, and we hastened to depart, lest our presence should interfere with their arrangements. At the door a monk met us, and asked for a contribution in aid of his church, or some other religious purpose. Boys, as we drove on, ran stoutly along by the side of the chaise, begging as often as they could find breath, but were constrained finally to give up the pursuit. The great ragged bulks of the tombs along the Appian Way now hove in sight, one with a farm-house on its summit, and all of them preposterously huge and massive. At a distance, across the green Campagna on our left, the Claudian aqueduct strode away over miles of space, and doubtless reached even to that circumference of blue hills which stand afar off, girdling Rome about. The tomb of Cecilia Metella came in sight a long while before we reached it, with the warm buff hue of its travertine, and the gray battlemented wall which the Gaeteni erected on the top of its circular summit six hundred years ago. After passing it, we saw an interminable line of tombs on both sides of the way, each of which might, for aught I know,

 

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have been as massive as that of Cecilia Metella, and some perhaps still more monstrously gigantic, though now dilapidated and much reduced in size. Mrs. Jameson had an engagement to dinner at half past six, so that we could go but a little farther along this most interesting road, the borders of which are strewn with broken marbles, fragments of capitals, and nameless rubbish that once was beautiful. Methinks the Appian Way should be the only entrance to Rome, through an avenue of tombs.

The day had been cloudy, chill, and windy, but was now grown calmer and more genial, and brightened by a very pleasant sunshine, though great dark clouds were still lumbering up the sky. We drove homeward, looking at the distant, dome of St. Peter's, and talking of many things,--painting, sculpture, America, England, spiritualism, and whatever else came up. She is a very sensible old lady, and sees a great deal of truth; a good woman, too, taking elevated views of matters; but I doubt whether she has the highest and finest perceptions in the world. At any rate, she pronounced a good judgment on the American sculptors now in Rome, condemning them in the mass as men with no high aims, no worthy conception of the purposes of their art, and desecrating marble by the things they wrought in it. William Story, I presume, is not to be included in this censure, as she had spoken highly of his sculpturesque faculty in our previous conversation. On my part, I suggested that the English sculptors were little or nothing better than our own, to which she acceded generally, but said that Gibson had produced works equal to the antique,--which I did not dispute, but still questioned whether the world needed Gibson, or was any the better for

 

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him. We had a great dispute about the propriety of adopting the costume of the day in modern sculpture, and I contended that either the art ought to be given up (which possibly would be the best course), or else should be used for idealizing the man of the day to himself; and that, as Nature makes us sensible of the fact when men and women are graceful, beautiful, and noble, through whatever costume they wear, so it ought to be the test of the sculptor's genius that he should do the same. Mrs. Jameson decidedly objected to buttons, breeches, and all other items of modern costume; and, indeed, they do degrade the marble, and make high sculpture utterly impossible. Then let the art perish as one that the world has done with, as it has done with many other beautiful things that belonged to an earlier time.

It was long past the hour of Mrs. Jameson's dinner engagement when we drove up to her door in the Via Ripetta. I bade her farewell with much good feeling on my own side, and, I hope, on hers, excusing myself, however, from keeping the previous engagement to spend the evening with her, for, in point of fact, we had mutually had enough of one another for the time being. I am glad to record that she expressed a very favorable opinion of our friend Mr. Thompson's pictures.

 

May 12th.--To-day we have been to the Villa Albani, to which we had a ticket of admission through the agency of Mr. Cass (the American Minister). We set out between ten and eleven o'clock, and walked through the Via Felice, the Piazza Barberini, and a long, heavy, dusty range of streets beyond, to the Porta Salara, whence the road extends, white and

 

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sunny, between two high blank walls to the gate of the villa, which is at no great distance. We were admitted by a girl, and went first to the casino, along an aisle of overshadowing trees, the branches of which met above our heads. In the portico of the casino, which extends along its whole front, there are many busts and statues, and, among them, one of Julius Cæsar, representing him at an earlier period of life than others which I have seen. His aspect is not particularly impressive; there is a lack of chin, though not so much as in the older statues and busts. Within the edifice there is a large hall, not so brilliant, perhaps, with frescos and gilding as those at the Villa Borghese, but lined with the most beautiful variety of marbles. But, in fact, each new splendor of this sort outshines the last, and unless we could pass from one to another all in the same suite, we cannot remember them well enough to compare the Borghese with the Albani, the effect being more on the fancy than on the intellect. I do not recall any of the sculpture, except a colossal bas-relief of Antinoüs, crowned with flowers, and holding flowers in his hand, which was found in the ruins of Hadrian's Villa. This is said to be the finest relic of antiquity next to the Apollo and the Laocoön; but I could not feel it to be so, partly, I suppose, because the features of Antinoüs do not seem to me beautiful in themselves; and that heavy, downward look is repeated till I am more weary of it than of anything else in sculpture. We went up stairs and down stairs, and saw a good many beautiful things, but none, perhaps, of the very best and beautifullest; and second-rate statues, with the corroded surface of old marble that has been dozens of centuries, under the ground, depress the spirits of

 

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the beholder. The bas-relief of Antinoüs has at least the merit of being almost as white and fresh, and quite as smooth, as if it had never been buried and dug up again. The real treasures of this villa, to the number of nearly three hundred, were removed to Paris by Napoleon, and, except the Antinoi¨s, not one of them ever came back.

There are some pictures in one or two of the rooms, and among them I recollect one by Perugino, in which is a St. Michael, very devout and very beautiful; indeed, the whole picture (which is in compartments, representing the three principal points of the Saviour' s history) impresses the beholder as being painted devoutly and earnestly by a religious man. In one of the rooms there is a small bronze Apollo, supposed by Winckelmann to be an original of Praxiteles; but I could not make myself in the least sensible of its merit.

The rest of the things in the casino I shall pass over, as also those in the coffee-house,--an edifice which stands a hundred yards or more from the casino, with an ornamental garden, laid out in walks and flower-plats between. The coffee-house has a semicircular sweep of porch with a good many statues and busts beneath it, chiefly of distinguished Romans. In this building, as in the casino, there are curious mosaics, large vases of rare marble, and many other things worth long pauses of admiration; but I think that we were all happier when we had done with the works of art, and were at leisure to ramble about the grounds. The Villa Albani itself is an edifice separate from both the coffee-house and casino, and is not opened to strangers. It rises, palace-like, in the midst of the garden, and, it is to be hoped, has some possibil-

 

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ity of comfort amidst its splendors. Comfort, however, would be thrown away upon it; for, besides that the site shares the curse that has fallen upon every pleasant place in the vicinity of Rome, . . . it really has no occupant except the servants who take care of it. The count of Castelbarco, its present proprietor, resides at Milan. The grounds are laid out in the old fashion of straight paths, with borders of box, which form hedges of great height and density, and as even as a brick-wall at the top and sides.. There are also alleys forming long vistas between the trunks and beneath the boughs of oaks, ilexes, and olives; and there are shrubberies and tangled wildernesses of palm, cactus, rhododendron, and I know not what; and a profusion of roses that bloom and wither with nobody to pluck and few to look at them. They climb about the sculpture of fountains, rear themselves against pillars and porticos, run brimming over the walls, and strew the paths with their falling leaves. We stole a few, and feel that we have wronged our consciences in not stealing more. In one part of the grounds we saw a field actually ablaze with scarlet poppies. There are great lagunas; fountains presided over by naiads, who squirt their little jets into basins; sunny lawns; a temple,. so artificially ruined that we half believed it a veritable antique; and at its base a reservoir of water, in which stone swans seemed positively to float; groves of cypress; balustrades and broad flights of stone stairs, descending to lower levels of the garden; beauty, peace, sunshine, and antique repose on every side; and far in the distance the blue hills that encircle the Campagna of Rome. The day was very fine for our purpose; cheerful, but not too bright, and tempered by a breeze that seemed even a little too

 

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cool when we sat long in the shade. We enjoyed it till three o'clock.

At the Capitol there is a sarcophagus with a most beautiful bas-relief of the discovery of Achilles by Ulysses, in which there is even an expression of mirth on the faces of many of the spectators. And to-day at the Albani a sarcophagus was ornamented with the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis.

Death strides behind every man, to be sure, at more or less distance, and, sooner or later, enters upon any event of his life; so that, in this point of view, they might each and all serve for bas-reliefs on a sarcophagus; but the Romans seem to have treated Death as lightly and playfully as they could, and tried to cover his dart with flowers, because they hated it so much.

 

May 15th.--My wife and I went yesterday to the Sistine Chapel, it being my first visit. It is a room of noble proportions, lofty and long, though divided in the midst by a screen or partition of white marble, which rises high enough to break the effect of spacious unity. There are six arched windows on each side of the chapel, throwing down their light from the height of the walls, with as much as twenty feet of space (more I should think) between them and the floor. The entire walls and ceiling of this stately chapel are covered with paintings in fresco, except the space about ten feet in height from the floor, and that portion was intended to be adorned by tapestries from pictures by Raphael, but, the design being prevented by his immature death, the projected tapestries have no better substitute than paper-hangings. The roof, which is flat at top, and coved or vaulted at the sides, is painted in compartments by Michel Angelo, with

 

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frescos representing the whole progress of the world, and of mankind, from its first formation by the Almighty . . . till after the flood. On one of the sides of the chapel are pictures by Perugino, and other old masters, of subsequent events in sacred history; and the entire wall behind the altar, a vast expanse from the ceiling to the floor, is taken up with Michel Angelo's summing up of the world's history and destinies in his Last Judgment.

There can be no doubt that while these frescos continued in their perfection, there was nothing else to be compared with the magnificent and solemn beauty of this chapel. Enough of ruined splendor still remains to convince the spectator of all that has departed; but methinks I have seen hardly anything else so forlorn and depressing as it is now, all dusky and dim, even the very lights having passed into shadows, and the shadows into utter blackness; so that it needs a sunshiny day, under the bright Italian heavens, to make the designs perceptible at all. As we sat in the chapel there were clouds flitting across the sky; when the clouds came, the pictures vanished; when the sunshine broke forth, the figures sadly glimmered into something like visibility,--the Almighty moving in chaos,--the noble shape of Adam, the beautiful Eve; and, beneath where the roof curves, the mighty figures of sibyls and prophets, looking as if they were necessarily so gigantic because the thought within them was so massive. In The Last Judgment the scene of the greater part of the picture lies in the upper sky, the blue of which glows through betwixt the groups of naked figures; and above sits Jesus, not looking in the least like the Saviour of the world, but, with uplifted arm, denouncing

 

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eternal misery on those whom He came to save. I fear I am myself among the wicked, for I found myself inevitably taking their part, and asking for at least a little pity, some few regrets, and not such a stern denunciatory spirit on the part of Him who had thought us worth dying for. Around him stand grim saints, and, far beneath, people are getting up sleepily out of their graves, not well knowing what is about to happen; many of them, however, finding themselves clutched by demons before they are half awake. It would be a very terrible picture to one who should really see Jesus, the Saviour, in that inexorable judge; but it seems to me very undesirable that He should ever be represented in that aspect, when it is so essential to our religion to believe Him infinitely kinder and better towards us than we deserve. At the last day--I presume, that is, in all future days, when we see ourselves as we are--man's only inexorable judge will be himself, and the punishment of his sins will be the perception of them.

In the lower corner of this great picture, at the right hand of the spectator, is a hideous figure of a damned person, girdled about with a serpent, the folds of which are carefully knotted between his thighs, so as, at all events, to give no offence to decency. This figure represents a man who suggested to Pope Paul Ill, that the nudities of The Last Judgment ought to be draped, for which offence Michel Angelo at once consigned him to hell. It shows what a debtor's prison and dungeon of private torment men would make of hell if they had the control of it. As to the nudities, if they were ever more nude than now, I should suppose, in their fresh brilliancy, they might well have startled a not very squeamish eye. The effect, such as it is, of

 

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this picture, is much injured by the high altar and its canopy, which stands close against the wall, and intercepts a considerable portion of the sprawl of nakedness with which Michel Angelo has filled his sky. However, I am not unwilling to believe, with faith beyond what I can actually see, that the greatest pictorial miracles ever yet achieved have been wrought upon the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

In the afternoon I went with Mr. Thompson to see what bargain could be made with vetturinos for taking myself and family to Florence. We talked with three or four, and found them asking prices of various enormity, from a hundred and fifty scudi down to little more than ninety; but Mr. Thompson says that they always begin in this way; and will probably come down to somewhere about seventy-five. Mr. Thompson took me into the Via Portoghese, and showed me an old palace, above which rose--not a very customary feature of the architecture of Rome--a tall, battlemented tower. At one angle of the tower we saw a shrine of the Virgin, with a lamp, and all the appendages of those numerous shines which we see at the street corners, and in hundreds of places about the city. Three or four centuries ago this palace was inhabited by a nobleman who had an only son, and a large, pet monkey, and one day the monkey caught the infant up and clambered to this lofty turret, and sat there with him in his arms grinning and chattering like the Devil himself. The father was in despair, but was afraid to pursue the monkey lest he should fling down the child from the height of the tower and make his escape. At last he vowed that if the boy were safely restored to him he would build a shine at the summit of the tower, and cause it to be kept as a sacred place

 

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forever. By and by the monkey came down and deposited the child on the ground; the father fulfilled his vow, built the shrine, and made it obligatory on all future possessors of the palace to keep the lamp burning before it. Centuries have passed, the property has changed hands; but still there is the shrine on the giddy top of the tower, far aloft over the street, on the very spot where the monkey sat, and there burns the lamp, in memory of the father's vow. This being the tenure by which the estate is held, the extinguishment of that flame might yet turn the present owner out of the palace.

 

May 21st.--Mamma and I went, yesterday forenoon, to the Spada Palace, which we found among the intricacies of Central Rome; a dark and massive old edifice, built around a court, the fronts giving on which are adorned with statues in niches, and sculptured ornaments. A woman led us up a staircase, and ushered us into a great, gloomy hall, square and lofty, and wearing a very gray and ancient aspect, its walls being painted in chiaro-oscuro, apparently a great many years ago. The hall was lighted by small windows, high upward from the floors, and admitting only a dusky light. The only furniture or ornament, so far as I recollect, was the colossal statue of Pompey, which stands on its pedestal at one side, certainly the sternest and severest of figures, and producing the most awful impression on the spectator. Much of the effect, no doubt, is due to the sombre obscurity of the hall, and to the loneliness in which the great naked statue stands. It is entirely nude, except for a cloak that hangs down from the left shoulder; in the left hand, it holds a globe; the right arm is extended.

 

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The whole expression is such as the statue might have assumed, if, during the tumult of Cæsar's murder, it had stretched forth its marble hand, and motioned the conspirators to give over the attack, or to be quiet, now that their victim had fallen at its feet. On the left leg, about midway above the ankle, there is a dull, red stain, said to be Cæsar's blood; but, of course, it is just such a red stain in the marble as may be seen on the statue of Antinoüs at the Capitol. I could not see any resemblance in the face of the statue to that of the bust of Pompey, shown as such at the Capitol, in which there is not the slightest moral dignity, or sign of intellectual eminence. I am glad to have seen this statue, and glad to remember it in that gray, dun, lofty hall; glad that there were no bright frescos on the walls, and that the ceiling was wrought with massive beams, and the floor paved with ancient brick.

From this anteroom we passed though several saloons containing pictures, some of which were by eminent artists; the Judith of Guido, a copy of which used to weary me to death, year after year, in the Boston Athenæum; and many portraits of Cardinals in the Spada family, and other pictures by Guido. There were some portraits, also of the family, by Titian, some good pictures by Guercino; and many which I should have been glad to examine more at leisure; but, by and by, the custode made his appearance, and began to close the shutters, under pretence that the sunshine would injure the paintings,--an effect, I presume, not very likely to follow after two or three centuries' exposure to light, air, and whatever else might hurt them. However, the pictures seemed to be in much better condition, and more enjoyable, so far as they had merit, than those in most Roman pic-

 

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ture-galleries; although the Spada Palace itself has a decayed and impoverished aspect, as if the family had dwindled from its former state and grandeur, and now, perhaps, smuggled itself into some out-of-the-way corner of the old edifice. If such be the case, there is something touching in their still keeping possession of Pompey's statue, which makes their house famous, and the sale of which might give them the means of building it up anew; for surely it is worth the whole sculpture-gallery of the Vatican.

In the afternoon Mr. Thompson and I went, for the third or fourth time, to negotiate with vetturinos.

So far as I know them they are a very tricky set of people, bent on getting as much as they can, by hook or by crook, out of the unfortunate individual who falls into their hands. They begin, as I have said, by asking about twice as much as they ought to receive; and anything between this exorbitant amount and the just price is what they thank Heaven for, as so much clear gain. Nevertheless, I am not quite sure that the Italians are worse than other people even in this matter. In other countries it is the custom of persons in trade to take as much as they can get from the public, fleecing one man to exactly the same extent as another; here they take what they can obtain from the individual customer. In fact, Roman tradesmen do not pretend to deny that they ask and receive different prices from different people, taxing them according to their supposed means of payment; the article supplied being the same in one case as in another. A shopkeeper looked into his books to see if we were of the class who paid two panis, or only a paul and a half, for candles; a charcoal-dealer said that seventy baiocchi was a very reasonable sum for us to pay for

 

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charcoal, and that some persons paid eighty; and Mr. Thompson, recognizing the rule, told the old vetturino that "a hundred and fifty scudi was a very proper charge for carrying a prince to Florence, but not for carrying me, who was merely a very good artist." The result is well enough; the rich man lives expensively, and pays a larger share of the profits which people of a different system of trade-morality would take equally from the poor man. The effect on the conscience of the vetturino, however, and of tradesmen of all kinds, cannot be good; their only intent being, not to do justice between man and man, but to go as deep as they can into all pockets, and to the very bottom of some.

We had nearly concluded a bargain, a day or two ago, with a vetturino to take or send us to Florence, via Perugia, in eight days, for a hundred scudi; but he now drew back, under pretence of having misunderstood the terms, though, in reality, no doubt, he was in hopes of getting a better bargain from somebody else. We made an agreement with another man, whom Mr. Thompson knows and highly recommends, and immediately made it sure and legally binding, by exchanging a formal written contract, in which everything is set down, even to milk, butter, bread, eggs, and coffee, which we are to have for breakfast; the vetturino being to pay every expense for himself, his horses, and his passengers, and include it within ninety-five scudi, and five crowns in addition for buonmano . . . .

 

May 22d.--Yesterday, while we were at dinner, Mr. ---- called. I never saw him but once before, and that was at the door of our little red cottage in Lenox; he sitting in a wagon with one or two of the

 

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Sedgwicks, merely exchanging a greeting with me from under the brim of his straw hat, and driving on. He presented himself now with a long white beard, such as a palmer might have worn as the growth of his long pilgrimages, a brow almost entirely bald, and what hair he has quite hoary; a forehead impending, yet not massive; dark, bushy eyebrows and keen eyes, without much softness in them; a dark and sallow complexion; a slender figure, bent a little with age; but at once alert and infirm. It surprised me to see him so venerable; for, as poets are Apollo's kinsmen, we are inclined to attribute to them his enviable quality of never growing old. There was a weary look in his face, as if he were tired of seeing things and doing things, though with certainly enough still to see and do, if need were. My family gathered about him, and he conversed with great readiness and simplicity about his travels, and whatever other subject came up; telling us that he had been abroad five times, and was now getting a little homesick, and had no more eagerness for sights, though his "gals" (as he called his daughter and another young lady) dragged him out to see the wonders of Rome again. His manners and whole aspect are very particularly plain, though not affectedly so; but it seems as if in the decline of life, and the security of his position, he had put off whatever artificial polish he may have heretofore had, and resumed the simpler habits and deportment of his early New England breeding. Not but what you discover, nevertheless, that he is a man of refinement, who has seen the world, and is well aware of his own place in it. He spoke with great pleasure, of his recent visit to Spain. I introduced the subject of Kansas, and methought his face forthwith assumed

 

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something of the bitter keenness of the editor of a political newspaper, while speaking of the triumph of the administration over the free-soil opposition. I inquired whether he had seen S----, and he gave a very sad account of him as he appeared at their last meeting, which was in Paris. S----, he thought, had suffered terribly, and would never again be the man he was; he was getting fat; he talked continually of himself, and of trifles concerning himself, and seemed to have no interest for other matters; and Mr. ---- feared that the shock upon his nerves had extended to his intellect, and was irremediable. He said that S---- ought to retire from public life, but had no friend true enough to tell him so. This is about as sad as anything can be. I hate to have S---- undergo the fate of a martyr, because he was not naturally of the stuff that martyrs are made of, and it is altogether by mistake that he has thrust himself into the position of one. He was merely, though with excellent abilities, one of the best of fellows, and ought to have lived and died in good fellowship with all the world.

Mr. ---- was not in the least degree excited about this or any other subject. He uttered neither passion nor poetry, but excellent good sense, and accurate information on whatever subject transpired; a very pleasant man to associate with, but rather cold, I should imagine, if one should seek to touch his heart with one's own. He shook hands kindly all round, but not with any warmth of gripe; although the ease of his deportment had put us all on sociable terms with him.

At seven o'clock, we went by invitation to take tea with Miss Bremer. After much search, and lumbering painfully up two or three staircases in vain, and

 

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at last going about in a strange circuity, we found her in a small chamber of a large old building, situated a little way from the brow of the Tarpeian Rock. It was the tiniest and humblest domicile that I have seen in Rome, just large enough to hold her narrow bed, her tea-table, and a table covered with books,--photographs of Roman ruins, and some pages written by herself. I wonder whether she be poor. Probably so; for she told us that her expense of living here is only five pauls a day. She welcomed us, however, with the greatest cordiality and ladylike simplicity, making no allusion to the humbleness of her environment (and making us also lose sight of it, by the absence of all apology) any more than if she were receiving us in a palace. There is not a better bred woman; and yet one does not think whether she has any breeding or no. Her little bit of a round table was already spread for us with her blue earthenware teacups; and after she had got through an interview with the Swedish Minister, and dismissed him with a hearty pressure of his hand between both her own, she gave us our tea, and some bread, and a mouthful of cake. Meanwhile, as the day declined, there had been the most beautiful view over the Campagna, out of one of her windows; and, from the other, looking towards St. Peter's, the broad gleam of a mildly glorious sunset; not so pompous and magnificent as many that I have seen in America, but softer and sweeter in all its changes. As its lovely hues died slowly away, the half-moon shone out brighter and brighter; for there was not a cloud in the sky, and it seemed like the moonlight of my younger days. In the garden, beneath her window, verging upon the Tarpeian Rock, there was shrubbery and one large tree, softening the

 

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brow of the famous precipice, adown which the old Romans used to fling their traitors, or sometimes, indeed, their patriots.

Miss Bremer talked plentifully in her strange manner,--good English enough for a foreigner, but so oddly intonated and accented, that it is impossible to be sure of more than one word in ten. Being so little comprehensible, it is very singular how she contrives to make her auditors so perfectly certain, as they are, that she is talking the best sense, and in the kindliest spirit. There is no better heart than hers, and not many sounder heads; and a little touch of sentiment comes delightfully in, mixed up with a quick and delicate humor and the most perfect simplicity. There is also a very pleasant atmosphere of maidenhood about her; we are sensible of a freshness and odor of the morning still in this little withered rose,--its recompense for never having been gathered and worn, but only diffusing fragrance on its stem. I forget mainly what we talked about,--a good deal about art, of course, although that is a subject of which Miss Bremer evidently knows nothing. Once we spoke of fleas,--insects that, in Rome, come home to everybody's business and bosom, and are so common and inevitable that no delicacy is felt about alluding to the sufferings they inflict. Poor little Miss Bremer was tormented with one while turning out our tea.

She talked, among other things, of the winters in Sweden, and said that she liked them, long and severe as they are; and this made me feel ashamed of dreading the winters of New England, as I did before coming from home, and do now still more, after five or six mild English Decembers.

By and by, two young ladies came in,--Miss

 

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Bremer's neighbors, it seemed,--fresh from a long walk on the Campagna, fresh and weary at the same time. One apparently was German, and the other French, and they brought her an offering of flowers, and chattered to her with affectionate vivacity; and, as we were about taking leave, Miss Bremer asked them to accompany her and us on a visit to the edge of the Tarpeian Rock. Before we left the room, she took a bunch of roses that were in a vase, and gave them to Miss Shepard, who told her that she should make her six sisters happy by giving one to each. Then we went down the intricate stairs, and, emerging into the garden, walked round the brow of the hill, which plunges headlong with exceeding abruptness; but, so far as I could see in the moonlight, is no longer quite a precipice. Then we reëntered the house, and went up stairs and down again, through intricate passages, till we got into the street, which was still peopled with the ragamuffins who infest and burrow in that part of Rome. We returned through an archway, and descended the broad flight of steps into the piazza of the Capitol; and from the extremity of it, just at the head of the long graded way, where Castor and Pollux and the old milestones stand, we turned to the left, and followed a somewhat winding path, till we came into the court of a palace. This court is bordered by a parapet, leaning over which we saw the sheer precipice of the Tarpeian Rock, about the height of a four-story house. . . On the edge of this, before we left the court, Miss Bremer bade us farewell, kissing my wife most affectionately on each cheek, . . . and then turning towards myself, . . . she pressed my hand, and we parted, probably never to meet again. God bless her

 

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good heart! . . . She is a most amiable little woman, worthy to be the maiden aunt of the whole human race. I suspect, by the by, that she does not like me half so well as I do her; it is my impression that she thinks me unamiable, or that there is something or other not quite right about me. I am sorry if it be so, because such a good, kindly, clear-sighted, and delicate person is very apt to have reason at the bottom of her harsh thoughts, when, in rare cases, she allows them to harbor with her.

To-day, and for some days past, we have been in quest of lodgings for next winter; a weary search, up interminable staircases, which seduce us upward to no successful result. It is very disheartening not to be able to place the slightest reliance on the integrity of the people we are to deal with; not to believe in any connection between their words and their purposes; to know that they are certainly telling you falsehoods, while you are not in a position to catch hold of the lie, and hold it up in their faces.

This afternoon we called on Mr. and Mrs. ---- at the Hôtel de l'Europe, but found only the former at home. We had a pleasant visit, but I made no observations of his character save such as I have already sufficiently recorded; and when we had been with him a little while, Mrs. Chapman, the artist's wife, Mr. Terry, and my friend, Mr. Thompson, came in.--received them all with the same good degree of cordiality that he did ourselves, not cold, not very warm, not annoyed, not ecstatically delighted; a man, I should suppose, not likely to have ardent individual preferences, though perhaps capable of stern individual dislikes. Bat I take him, at all events, to be a very upright man, and pursuing a narrow track of integ-

 

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rity; he is a man whom I would never forgive (as I would a thousand other men) for the slightest moral delinquency. I would not be bound to say, however, that he has not the little sin of a fretful and peevish habit; and yet perhaps I am a sinner myself for thinking so.

 

May 23d.--This morning I breakfasted at William Story's, and met there Mr. Bryant, Mr. T---- (an English gentleman), Mr. and Mrs. Apthorp, Miss Hosmer, and one or two other ladies. Bryant was very quiet, and made no conversation audible to the general table. Mr. T---- talked of English politics and public men; the "Times" and other newspapers, English clubs and social habits generally; topics in which I could well enough bear my part of the discussion. After breakfast, and aside from the ladies, he mentioned an illustration of Lord Ellenborough's lack of administrative ability,--a proposal seriously made by his lordship in reference to the refractory Sepoys.

We had a very pleasant breakfast, and certainly a breakfast is much preferable to a dinner, not merely in the enjoyment while it is passing, but afterwards. I made a good suggestion to Miss Hosmer for the design of a fountain,--a lady bursting into tears, water gushing from a thousand pores, in literal translation of the phrase; and to call the statue Niobe, all Tears. I doubt whether she adopts the idea; but Bernini would have been delighted with it. I should think the gush of water might be so arranged as to form a beautiful drapery about the figure, swaying and fluttering with every breath of wind, and re-arranging itself in the calm; in which case, the lady

 

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might be said to have "a habit of weeping." Apart, with William Story, he and I talked of the unluckiness of Friday, etc. I like him particularly well.

We have been plagued to-day with our preparations for leaving Rome to-morrow, and especially with verifying the inventory of furniture, before giving up the house to our landlord. He and his daughter have been examining every separate article, down even to the kitchen skewers, I believe, and charging us to the amount of several scudi for cracks and breakages, which very probably existed when we came into possession. It is very uncomfortable to have dealings with such a mean people (though our landlord is German),--mean in their business transactions; mean even in their beggary; for the beggars seldom ask for more than a mezzo baioccho, though they sometimes grumble when you suit your gratuity exactly to their petition. It is pleasant to record that the Italians have great faith in the honor of the English and Americans, and never hesitate to trust entire strangers, to any reasonable extent, on the strength of their being of the honest Anglo-Saxon race.

This evening, U-- and I took a farewell walk in the Pincian Gardens to see the sunset; and found them crowded with people, promenading and listening to the music of the French band. It was the feast of Whitsunday, which probably brought a greater throng than usual abroad.

When the sun went down, we descended into the Piazza del Popolo, and thence into the Via Ripetta, and emerged through a gate to the shore of the Tiber, along which there is a pleasant walk beneath a grove of trees. We traversed it once and back again, look-

 

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ing at the rapid river, which still kept its mud-puddly aspect even in the clear twilight, and beneath the brightening moon. The great bell of St. Peter's tolled with a deep boom, a grand and solemn sound; the moon gleamed through the branches of the trees above us; and U-- spoke with somewhat alarming fervor of her love for Rome, and regret at leaving it. We shall have done the child no good office, in bringing her here, if the rest of her life is to be a dream of this "city of the soul," and an unsatisfied yearning to come back to it. On the other hand, nothing elevating and refining can be really injurious, and so I hope she will always be the better for Rome, even if her life should be spent where there are no pictures, no statues, nothing but the dryness and meagreness of a New England village.

JOURNEY TO FLORENCE.

Cività Castellana, May 24th.--We left Rome this morning, after troubles of various kinds, and a dispute in the first place with Lalla, our female servant, and her mother. . . . Mother and daughter exploded into a livid rage, and cursed us plentifully,--wishing that we might never come to our journey's end, and that we might all break our necks or die of apoplexy,--the most awful curse that an Italian knows how to invoke upon his enemies, because it precludes the possibility of extreme unction. However, as we are heretics, and certain of damnation therefore, anyhow, it does not much matter to us; and also the anathemas may have been blown back upon those who invoked them, like the curses that were flung out from the balcony of St. Peter's during Holy Week and wafted by heaven's breezes right into the faces of some priests who stood near the pope. Next we had a disagree-

 

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ment with two men who brought down our luggage, and put it on the vetturo; . . . and, lastly, we were infested with beggars, who hung round the carriages with doleful petitions, till we began to move away; but the previous warfare had put me into too stern a mood for almsgiving, so that they also were doubtless inclined to curse more than to bless, and I am persuaded that we drove off under a perfect shower of anathemas.

We passed through the Porta del Popolo at about eight o'clock; and after a moment's delay, while the passport was examined, began our journey along the Flaminian Way, between two such high and inhospitable walls of brick or stone, as seem to shut in all the avenues to Rome. We had not gone far before we heard military music in advance of us, and saw the road blocked up with people, and then the glitter of muskets, and soon appeared the drummers, fifers, and trumpeters, and then the first battalion of a French regiment, marching into the city, with two mounted officers at their head; then appeared a second and then a third battalion, the whole seeming to make almost an army, though the number on their caps showed them all to belong to one regiment,--the 1st; then came battery of artillery, then a detachment of horse,--these last, by the crossed keys on their helmets, being apparently papal troops. All were young, fresh, good-looking men, in excellent trim as to uniform and equipments, and marched rather as if they were setting out on a campaign than returning from it; the fact being, I believe, that they have been encamped or in barracks within a few miles of the city. Nevertheless, it reminded me of the military processions of various kinds which so often, two thousand years ago

 

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and more, have entered Rome over the Flaminian Way, and over all the roads that led to the famous city,--triumphs oftenest, but sometimes the downcast train of a defeated army, like those who retreated before Hannibal. On the whole, I was not sorry to see the Gauls still pouring into Rome; but yet I begin to find that I have a strange affection for it, and so did we all,--the rest of the family in a greater degree than myself even. It is very singular, the sad embrace with which Rome takes possession of the soul. Though we intend to return in a few months, and for a longer residence than this has been, yet we felt the city pulling at our heartstrings far more than London did, where we shall probably never spend much time again. It may be because the intellect finds a home there more than in any other spot in the world, and wins the heart to stay with it, in spite of a good many things strewn all about to disgust us.

The road in the earlier part of the way was not particularly picturesque,--the country undulated, but scarcely rose into hills, and was destitute of trees; there were a few shapeless ruins, too indistinct for us to make out whether they were Roman or mediæval. Nothing struck me so much, in the forenoon, as the spectacle of a peasant woman riding on horseback as if she were a man. The houses were few, and those of a dreary aspect, built of gray stone, and looking bare and desolate, with not the slightest promise of comfort within doors. We passed two or three locandas or inns, and finally came to the village (if village it were, for I remember no houses except our osteria) of Castel Nuovo di Porta, where we were to take a déjeuner la fourchette, which was put upon the table between twelve and one. On this journey, accord-

 

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ing to the custom of travellers in Italy, we pay the vetturino a certain sum, and live at his expense; and this meal was the first specimen of his catering on our behalf. It consisted of a beefsteak, rather dry and hard, but not unpalatable, and a large omelette; and for beverage, two quart bottles of red wine, which, being tasted, had an agreeable acid flavor. . . . The locanda was built of stone, and had what looked like an old Roman altar in the basement-hall, and a shrine, with a lamp before it, on the staircase; and the large public saloon in which we ate had a brick floor, a ceiling with crossbeams, meagrely painted in fresco, and a scanty supply of chairs and settees.

After lunch, we wandered out into a valley or ravine near the house, where we gathered some flowers, and J----- found a nest with the young birds in it, which, however, he put back into the bush whence he took it.

Our afternoon drive was more picturesque and noteworthy. Soracte rose before us, bulging up quite abruptly out of the plain, and keeping itself entirely distinct from a whole horizon of hills. Byron well compares it to a wave just on the bend, and about to break over towards the spectator. As we approached it nearer and nearer, it looked like the barrenest great rock that ever protruded out of the substance of the earth, with scarcely a strip or a spot of verdure upon its steep and gray declivities. The road kept trending towards the mountain, following the line of the old Flaminian Way, which we could see, at frequent intervals, close beside the modern track. It is paved with large flag-stones, laid so accurately together, that it is still, in some places, as smooth and even as the floor of a church; and everywhere the tufts of grass find it

 

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difficult to root themselves into the interstices. Its course is straighter than that of the road of today, which often turns aside to avoid obstacles which the ancient one surmounted. Much of it, probably, is covered with the soil and overgrowth deposited in later years; and, now and then, we could see its flag-stones partly protruding from the bank through which our road has been cut, and thus showing that the thickness of this massive pavement was more than a foot of solid stone. We lost it over and over again; but still it reappeared, now on one side of us, now on the other; perhaps from beneath the roots of old trees, or the pasture-land of a thousand years old, and leading on towards the base of Soracte. I forget where we finally lost it. Passing through a town called Rignano, we found it dressed out in festivity, with festoons of foliage along both sides of the street, which ran beneath a triumphal arch, bearing an inscription in honor of a ducal personage of the Massinii family. I know no occasion for the feast, except that it is Whitsuntide. The town was thronged with peasants, in their best attire, and we met others on their way thither, particularly women and girls, with heads bare in the sunshine; but there was no tiptoe jollity, nor, indeed, any more show of festivity than I have seen in my own country at a cattle-show or muster. Really, I think, not half so much.

The road still grew more and more picturesque, and now lay along ridges, at the bases of which were deep ravines and hollow valleys. Woods were not wanting; wilder forest than I have seen since leaving America, of oak-trees chiefly; and, among the green foliage, grew golden tufts of broom, making a gay and lovely combination of hues. I must not forget to mention

 

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the poppies, which burned like live coals along the wayside, and lit up the landscape, even a single one of them, with wonderful effect. At other points, we saw olive-trees, hiding their eccentricity of boughs under thick masses of foliage of a livid tint, which is caused, I believe, by their turning their reverse sides to the light and to the spectator. Vines were abundant, but were of little account in the scene. By and by we came in sight of the high, flat table-land, on which stands Cività Castellana, and beheld, straight downward, between us and the town, a deep level valley, with a river winding through it; it was the valley of the Treja. A precipice, hundreds of feet in height, falls perpendicularly upon the valley, from the site of Cività Castellana; there is an equally abrupt one, probably, on the side from which we saw it; and a modern road, skilfully constructed, goes winding down to the stream, crosses it by a narrow stone bridge, and winds upward into the town. After passing over the bridge, I alighted, with J----- and R---, and made the ascent on foot, along walls of natural rock, in which old Etruscan tombs were hollowed out. There are likewise antique remains of masonry, whether Roman, or of what earlier period, I cannot tell. At the summit of the acclivity, which brought us close to the town, our vetturino took us into the carriage again, and quickly brought us to what appears to be really a good hotel, where all of us are accommodated with sleeping-chambers in a range, beneath an arcade, entirely secluded from the rest of the population of the hotel. After a splendid dinner (that is, splendid, considering that it was ordered by our hospitable vetturino), U-- , Miss Shepard, J-----, and I walked out of the little town, in the opposite direc-

 

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tion from our entrance, and crossed a bridge at the height of the table-land, instead of at its base. On either side, we had a view down into a profound gulf, with sides of precipitous rock, and heaps of foliage in its lap, through which ran the snowy track of a stream; here snowy, there dark; here hidden among the foliage, there quite revealed in the broad depths of the gulf. This was wonderfully fine. Walking on a little farther, Soracte came fully into view, starting with bold abruptness out of the middle of the country; and before we got back, the bright Italian moon was throwing a shower of silver over the scene, and making it so beautiful that it seemed miserable not to know how to put it into words; a foolish thought, however, for such scenes are an expression in themselves, and need not be translated into any feebler language. On our walk, we met parties of laborers, both men and women, returning from the fields, with rakes and wooden forks over their shoulders, singing in chorus. It is very customary for women to be laboring in the fields.

TO TERNI.--BORGHETTO.

May 25th.--We were aroused at four o'clock this morning; had some eggs and coffee, and were ready to start between five and six; being thus matutinary, in order to get to Terni in time to see the falls. The road was very striking and picturesque; but I remember nothing particularly till we came to Borghetto, which stands on a bluff, with a broad valley sweeping round it, through the midst of which flows the Tiber. There is an old castle on a projecting point; and we saw other battlemented fortresses, of mediæval date, along our way, forming more beautiful ruins than any

 

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of the Roman remains to which we have become accustomed. This is partly, I suppose, owing to the fact that they have been neglected, and allowed to mantle their decay with ivy, instead of being cleaned, propped up, and restored. The antiquarian is apt to spoil the objects that interest him.

Sometimes we passed through wildernesses of various trees, each contributing a different hue of verdure to the scene; the vine, also, marrying itself to the fig-tree, so that a man might sit in the shadow of both at once, and temper the luscious sweetness of the one fruit with the fresh flavor of the other. The wayside incidents were such as meeting a man and woman borne along as prisoners, handcuffed, and in a cart; two men reclining across one another, asleep, and lazily lifting their heads to gaze at us as we passed by; a woman spinning with a distaff as she walked along the road, An old tomb or tower stood in a lonely field, and several caves were hollowed in the rocks, which might have been either sepulchres or habitations, Soracte kept us company, sometimes a little on one side, sometimes behind, looming up again and again, when we thought that we had done with it, and so becoming rather tedious at last, like a person who presents himself for another and another leave-taking after the one which ought to have been final. Honeysuckles sweetened the hedges along the road.

After leaving Borghetto, we crossed the broad valley of the Tiber, and skirted along one of the ridges that border it, looking back upon the road that we had passed, lying white behind us. We saw a field covered with buttercups, or some other yellow flower, and poppies burned along the roadside, as they did yesterday, and there were flowers of a delicious blue, as if the

 

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blue Italian sky had been broken into little bits, and scattered down upon the green earth. Otricoli by and by appeared, situated on a bold promontory above the valley, a village of a few gray houses and huts, with one edifice gaudily painted in white and pink. It looked more important at a distance than we found it on our nearer approach. As the road kept ascending, and as the hills grew to be mountains, we had taken two additional horses, making six in all, with a man and boy running beside them, to keep them in motion. The boy had two club feet, so inconveniently disposed that it seemed almost inevitable for him to stumble over them at every step; besides which, he seemed to tread upon his ankles, and moved with a disjointed gait, as if each of his legs and thighs had been twisted round together with his feet. Nevertheless, he had a bright, cheerful, intelligent face, and was exceedingly active, keeping up with the horses at their trot, and inciting them to better speed when they lagged. I conceived a great respect for this poor boy, who had what most Italian peasants would consider an enviable birthright in those two club feet, as giving him a sufficient excuse to live on charity, but yet took no advantage of them; on the contrary, putting his poor misshapen hoofs to such good use, as might have shamed many a better provided biped. When he quitted us, he asked no alms of the travellers, but merely applied to Gaetano for some slight recompense for his well-performed service. This behavior contrasted most favorably with that of some other boys and girls, who ran begging beside the carriage door, keeping up a low, miserable murmur, like that of a kennel-stream, for a long, long way. Beggars, indeed, started up at every point, when we stopped for a mo-

 

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ment, and whenever a hill imposed a slower pace upon us; each village had its deformity or its infirmity, offering his wretched petition at the step of the carriage; and even a venerable, white-headed patriarch, the grandfather of all the beggars, seemed to grow up by the roadside, but was left behind from inability to join in the race with his lightfooted juniors. No shame is attached to begging in Italy. In fact, I rather imagine it to be held an honorable profession, inheriting some of the odor of sanctity that used to be attached to a mendicant and idle life in the days of early Christianity, when every saint lived upon Providence, and deemed it meritorious to do nothing for his support.

Murray's guide-book is exceedingly vague and unsatisfactory along this route; and whenever we asked Gaetano the name of a village or a castle, he gave some one which we had never heard before, and could find nothing of in the book. We made out the river Nar, however, or what I supposed to be such, though he called it Nera. It flows through a most stupendous mountain-gorge; winding its narrow passage between high hills, the broad sides of which descend steeply upon it, covered with trees and shrubbery that mantle a host of rocky roughnesses, and make all look smooth. Here and there a precipice juts sternly forth. We saw an old castle on a hill-side, frowning down into the gorge; and farther on, the gray tower of Narni stands upon a height, imminent over the depths below, and with its battlemented castle above, now converted into a prison, and therefore kept in excellent repair. A long winding street passes through Narni, broadening at one point into a marketplace, where an old cathedral showed its venerable front,

 

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and the great dial of its clock, the figures on which were numbered in two semicircles of twelve points each; one, I suppose, for noon, and the other for midnight. The town has, so far as its principal street is concerned, a city-like aspect, with large, fair edifices, and shops as good as most of those at Rome, the smartness of which contrasts strikingly with the rude and lonely scenery of mountain and stream, through which we had come to reach it. We drove through Narni without stopping, and came out from it on the other side, where a broad, level valley opened before us, most unlike the wild, precipitous gorge which had brought us to the town. The road went winding down into the peaceful vale, through the midst of which flowed the same stream that cuts its way between the impending hills, as already described. We passed a monk and a soldier,--the two curses of Italy, each in his way,--walking sociably side by side; and from Narni to Terni I remember nothing that need be recorded.

Terni, like so many other towns in the neighborhood, stands in a high and commanding position, chosen, doubtless, for its facilities of defence, in days long before the mediæval warfares of Italy made such sites desirable. I suppose that, like Narni and Otricoli, it was a city of the Umbrians. We reached it between eleven and twelve o'clock, intending to employ the afternoon on a visit to the famous falls of Terni; but, after lowering all day, it has begun to rain, and we shall probably have to give them up.

 

Half past eight o'clock.--It has rained in torrents during the afternoon, and we have not seen the cascade of Terni; considerably to my regret, for I

 

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think I felt the more interest in seeing it, on account of its being artificial. Methinks nothing was more characteristic of the energy and determination of the old Romans, than thus to take a river, which they wished to be rid of, and fling it over a giddy precipice, breaking it into ten million pieces by the fall. . . . We are in the Hôtel delle tre Colonne, and find it reasonably good, though not, so far as we are concerned, justifying the rapturous commendations of previous tourists, who probably travelled at their own charges. However, there is nothing really to be complained of, either in our accommodations or table, and the only wonder is how Gaetano contrives to get any profit out of our contract, since the hotel bills would alone cost us more than we pay him for the journey and all. It is worth while to record as history of vetturino commissary customs, that for breakfast this morning we had coffee, eggs, and bread and butter; for lunch an omelette, some stewed veal, and a dessert of figs and grapes, besides two decanters of a light-colored acid wine, tasting very like indifferent cider; for dinner, an excellent vermicelli soup, two young fowls, fricasseed, and a hind quarter of roast lamb, with fritters, oranges and figs, and two more decanters of the wine aforesaid.

This hotel is an edifice with a gloomy front upon a narrow street, and enterable through an arch, which admits you into an enclosed court; around the court, on each story, run the galleries, with which the parlors and sleeping-apartments communicate. The whole house is dingy, probably old, and seems not very clean; but yet bears traces of former magnificence; for instance, in our bedroom, the door of which is ornamented with gilding, and the cornices

 

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with frescos, some of which appear to represent the cascade of Terni, the roof is crossed with carved beams, and is painted in the interstices; the floor has a carpet, but rough tiles underneath it, which show themselves at the margin. The windows admit the wind; the door shuts so loosely as to leave great cracks; and, during the rain to-day, there was a heavy shower through our ceiling, which made a flood upon the carpet. We see no chambermaids; nothing of the comfort and neatness of an English hotel, nor of the smart splendors of an American one; but still this dilapidated palace affords us a better shelter than I expected to find in the decayed country towns of Italy. In the album of the hotel, I find the names of more English travellers than of any other. nation except the Americans, who, I think, even exceed the former; and, the route being the favorite one for tourists between Rome and Florence, whatever merit the inns have is probably owing to the demands of the Anglo-Saxons. I doubt not, if we chose to pay for it, this hotel would supply us with any luxury we might ask for; and perhaps even a gorgeous saloon and state bedchamber.

After dinner, J----- and I walked out in the dusk to see what we could of Terni. We found it compact and gloomy (but the latter characteristic might well enough be attributed to the dismal sky), with narrow streets, paved from wall to wall of the houses, like those of all the towns in Italy; the blocks of paving-stone larger than the little square torments of Rome. The houses are covered with dingy stucco, and mostly low, compared with those of Rome, and inhospitable as regards their dismal aspects and uninviting doorways. The streets are intricate as well as narrow;

 

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insomuch that we quickly lost our way, and could not find it again, though the town is of so small dimensions that we passed through it in two directions, in the course of our brief wanderings. There are no lamp-posts in Terni; and as it was growing dark and beginning to rain again, we at last inquired of a person in the principal piazza, and found our hotel, as I expected, within two minutes' walk of where we stood.

FOLIGNO.

May 26th.--At six o'clock this morning we packed ourselves into our vettura, my wife and I occupying the coup´, and drove out of the city gate of Terni, There are some old towers near it, ruins of I know not what, and care as little, in the plethora of antiquities and other interesting objects. Through the arched gateway, as we approached, we had a view of one of the great hills that surround the town, looking partly bright in the early sunshine, and partly catching the shadows of the clouds that floated about the sky. Our way was now through the Vale of Terni, as I believe it is called, where we saw somewhat of the fertility of Italy: vines trained on poles, or twining round mulberry and other trees, ranged regularly like orchards; groves of olives and fields of grain. There are interminable shrines in all sorts of situations; some under arched niches, or little penthouses, with a brick-tiled roof, just large enough to cover them; or perhaps in some bit of old Roman masonry, on the wall of a wayside inn, or in a shallow cavity of the natural rock, or high upward in the deep cuts of the road; everywhere, in short, so that nobody need be at a loss when he feels the religious sentiment stir within him. Our way soon began to wind among the hills, which rose steep

 

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and lofty from the scanty, level space that lay between; they continually thrust themselves across the passage, and appeared as if determined to shut us completely in. A great hill would put its foot right before us; but, at the last moment, would grudgingly withdraw it, and allow us just room enough to creep by. Adown their sides we discerned the dry beds of mountain torrents, which had lived too fierce a life to let it be a long one. On here and there a hill-side or promontory, we saw a ruined castle or a convent, looking from its commanding height upon the road, which very likely some robber-knight had formerly infested with his banditti, retreating with his booty to the security of such strongholds. We came, once in a while, to wretched villages, where there was no token of prosperity or comfort; but perhaps there may have been more than we could appreciate, for the Italians do not seem to have any of that sort of pride which we find in New England villages, where every man, according to his taste and means, endeavors to make his homestead an ornament to the place. We miss nothing in Italy more than the neat doorsteps and pleasant porches and thresholds and delightful lawns or grass-plots, which hospitably invite the imagination into a sweet domestic interior. Everything, however sunny and luxuriant may be the scene around, is especially dreary and disheartening in the immediate vicinity of an Italian home.

At Strettura (which, as the name indicates, is a very narrow part of the valley) we added two oxen to our horses, and began to ascend the Monte Somma, which, according to Murray, is nearly four thousand feet high, where we crossed it. When we came to the steepest part of the ascent, Gaetano, who exercises

 

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a pretty decided control over his passengers, allowed us to walk; and we all, with one exception, alighted, and began to climb the mountain on foot. I walked on briskly, and soon left the rest of the party behind, reaching the top of the pass in such a short time that I could not believe it, and kept onward, expecting still another height to climb. But the road began to descend, winding among the depths of the hills as heretofore; now beside the dry, gravelly bed of a departed stream, now crossing it by a bridge, and perhaps passing through some other gorge, that yet gave no decided promise of an outlet into the world beyond. A glimpse might occasionally be caught, through a gap between the hill-tops, of a company of distant mountain peaks, pyramidal, as these hills are apt to be, and resembling the camp of an army of giants. The landscape was not altogether savage: sometimes a hill-side was covered with a rich field of grain, or an orchard of olive-trees, looking not unlike puffs of smoke, from the peculiar hue of their foliage; but oftener there was a vast mantle of trees and shrubbery from top to bottom, the golden tufts of the broom shining out amid the verdure, and gladdening the whole. Nothing was dismal except the houses; those were always so, whether the compact, gray lines of village hovels, with a narrow street between, or the lonely farm-house, standing far apart from the road, built of stone, with window-gaps high in the wall, empty of glass; or the half-castle, half-dwelling, of which I saw a specimen or two, with what looked like a defensive rampart, drawn around its court. I saw no look of comfort anywhere; and continually, in this wild and solitary region, I met beggars, just as if I were still in the streets of Rome. Boys and girls kept beside me, till

 

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they delivered me into the hands of others like themselves; hoary grandsires and grandmothers caught a glimpse of my approach, and tottered as fast as they could to intercept me; women came out of the cottages with rotten cherries on a plate, entreating me to buy them for a mezzo baioccho; a man at work on the road, left his toil to beg, and was grateful for the value of a cent; in short, I was never safe from importunity, as long as there was a house or a human being in sight.

We arrived at Spoleto before noon, and while our déjeuner was being prepared, looked down from the window of the inn into the narrow street beneath, which, from the throng of people in it, I judged to be the principal one: priests, papal soldiers, women with no bonnets on their heads; peasants in breeches and mushroom hats; maids and matrons, drawing water at a fountain; idlers, smoking on a bench under the window; a talk, a bustle, but no genuine activity. After lunch we walked out to see the lions of Spoleto, and found our way up a steep and narrow street that led us to the city gate, at which, it is traditionally said, Hannibal sought to force an entrance, after the battle of Thrasymene, and was repulsed. The gateway has a double arch, on the inner one of which is a tablet, recording the above, tradition as an unquestioned historical fact. From the gateway we went in search of the Duomo or Cathedral, and were kindly directed thither by an officer, who was descending into the town from the citadel, which is an old castle, now converted into a prison. The Cathedral seemed small, and did not much interest us, either by the Gothic front or its modernized interior. We saw nothing else in Spoleto, but went back to the inn and

 

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resumed our journey, emerging from the city into the classic valley of the Clitumnus, which we did not view under the best of auspices, because it was overcast, and the wind as chill as if it had the east in it. The valley, though fertile, and smilingly picturesque, perhaps, is not such as I should wish to celebrate, either in prose or poetry. It is of such breadth and extent, that its frame of mountains and ridgy hills hardly serve to shut it in sufficiently, and the spectator thinks of a boundless plain, rather than of a secluded vale. After passing Le Vene, we came to the little temple which Byron describes, and which has been supposed to be the one immortalized by Pliny. It is very small, and stands on a declivity that falls immediately from the road, right upon which rises the pediment of the temple, while the columns of the other front find sufficient height to develop themselves in the lower ground. A little farther down than the base of the edifice we saw the Clitumnus, so recently from its source in the marble rock, that it was still as pure as a child's heart, and as transparent as truth itself. It looked airier than nothing, because it had not substance enough to brighten, and it was clearer than the atmosphere. I remember nothing else of the valley of Clitmunus, except that the beggars in this region of proverbial fertility are wellnigh profane in the urgency of their petitions; they absolutely fall down on their knees as you approach, in the same attitude as if they were praying to their Maker, and beseech you for alms with a fervency which I am afraid they seldom use before an altar or shrine. Being denied, they ran hastily beside the carriage, but got nothing, and finally gave over.

I am so very tired and sleepy that I mean to men-

 

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tion nothing else to-night, except the city of Trevi, which, on the approach from Spoleto, seems completely to cover a high, peaked hill, from its pyramidal tip to its base. It was the strangest situation in which to build a town, where, I should suppose, no horse can climb, and whence no inhabitant would think of descending into the world, after the approach of age should begin to stiffen his joints. On looking back on this most picturesque of towns (which the road, of course, did not enter, as evidently no road could), I saw that the highest part of the hill was quite covered with a crown of edifices, terminating in a church tower; while a part of the northern side was apparently too steep for building; and a cataract of houses flowed down the western and southern slopes. There seemed to be palaces, churches, everything that a city should have; but my eyes are heavy, and I can write no more about them, only that I suppose the summit of the hill was artificially tenured, so as to prevent its crumbling down, and enable it to support the platform of edifices which crowns it.

 

May 27th.--We reached Foligno in good season yesterday afternoon. Our inn seemed ancient; and, under the same roof, on one side of the entrance, was the stable, and on the other the coach-house. The house is built round a narrow court, with a well of water at bottom, and an opening in the roof at top, whence the staircases are lighted that wind round the sides of the court, up to the highest story. Our dining-room and bedrooms were in the latter region, and were all paved with brick, and without carpets; and the characteristic of the whole was exceeding plainness and antique clumsiness of fitting up. We found

 

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ourselves sufficiently comfortable, however; and, as has been the case throughout our journey, had a very fair and well-cooked dinner. It shows, as perhaps I have already remarked, that it is still possible to live well in Italy, at no great expense, and that the high prices charged to the forestieri at Rome and elsewhere are artificial, and ought to be abated. . . .

The day had darkened since morning, and was now ominous of rain; but as soon as we were established, we sallied out to see whatever was worth looking at. A beggar boy, with one leg, followed us, without asking for anything, apparently only for the pleasure of our company, though he kept at too great a distance for conversation, and indeed did not attempt to speak.

We went first to the Cathedral, which has a Gothic front, and a modernized interior, stuccoed and whitewashed, looking as neat as a New England meeting-house, and very mean, after our familiarity with the gorgeous churches in other cities. There were some pictures in the chapels, but, I believe, all modern, and I do not remember a single one of them. Next we went, without any guide, to a church attached to a convent of Dominican monks, with a Gothic exterior and two hideous pictures of Death,--the skeleton leaning on his scythe, one on each side of the door. This church, likewise, was whitewashed, but we understood that it had been originally frescoed all over, and by famous hands; but these pictures, having become much injured, they were all obliterated, as we saw,--all, that is to say, except a few specimens of the best preserved, which were spared to show the world what the whole had been. I thanked my stars that the obliteration of the rest had taken place before our visit; for

 

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if anything is dreary and calculated to make the beholder utterly miserable, it is a faded fresco, with spots of the white plaster dotted over it.

Our one-legged boy had followed us into the church, and stood near the door till he saw us ready to come out, when he hurried on before us, and waited a little way off to see whither we should go. We still went on at random, taking the first turn that offered itself, and soon came to another old church,--that of St. Mary within the Walls,--into which we entered, and found it whitewashed, like the other two. This was especially fortunate, for the door-keeper informed us that, two years ago, the whole church (except, I suppose, the roof, which is of timber) had been covered with frescos by Pinturicchio, all of which had been ruthlessly obliterated, except a very few fragments. These he proceeded to show us; poor, dim ghosts of what may once have been beautiful,--now so far gone towards nothingness that I was hardly sure whether I saw a glimmering of the design or not. By the by, it was not Pinturicchio, as I have written above, but Giotto, assisted, I believe, by Cimabue, who painted these frescos. Our one-legged attendant had followed us also into this church, and again hastened out of it before us; and still we heard the dot of his crutch upon the pavement, as we passed from street to street. By and by a sickly-looking man met us, and begged for "qualche cosa"; but the boy shouted to him "Niente!" whether intimating that we would give him nothing, or that he himself had a prior claim to all our charity, I cannot tell. However, the beggarman turned round, and likewise followed our devious course. Once or twice we missed him; but it was only because he could not walk so fast as we; for he

 

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appeared again as we emerged from the door of another church. Our one-legged friend we never missed for a moment; he kept pretty near us,--near enough to be amused by our indecision whither to go; and he seemed much delighted when it began to rain, and he saw us at a loss how to find our way back to the hotel. Nevertheless, he did not offer to guide us; but stumped on behind with a faster or slower dot of his crutch, according to our pace. I began to think that he must have been engaged as a spy upon our movements by the police, who had taken away my passport at the city gate. In this way he attended us to the door of the hotel where the beggar had already arrived. The latter again put in his doleful petition; the one-legged boy said not a word, nor seemed to expect anything, and both had to go away without so much as a mezzo baioccho out of our pockets. The multitude of beggars in Italy makes the heart as obdurate as a paving-stone.

We left Foligno this morning, and, all ready for us at the door of the hotel, as we got into the carriage, were our friends, the beggar-man and the one-legged boy; the latter holding out his ragged hat, and smiling with as confident an air as if he had done us some very particular service, and were certain of being paid for it, as from contract. It was so very funny, so impudent, so utterly absurd, that I could not help giving him a trifle; but the man got nothing,--a fact that gives me a twinge or two, for he looked sickly and miserable. But where everybody begs, everybody, as a general rule, must be denied; and, besides, they act their misery so well that you are never sure of the genuine article.

 

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PERUGIA.

May 28th.--As I said last night, we left Foligno betimes in the morning, which was bleak, chill, and very threatening, there being very little blue sky anywhere, and the clouds lying heavily on some of the mountain-ridges. The wind blew sharply, right in U--'s face and mine, as we occupied the coupé, so that there must have been a great deal of the north in it. We drove through a wide plain--the Umbrian valley, I suppose--and soon passed the old town of Spello, just touching its skirts, and wondering how people, who had this rich and convenient plain from which to choose a site, could think of covering a huge island of rock with their dwellings,--for Spello tumbled its crooked and narrow streets down a steep descent, and cannot well have a yard of even space within its walls. It is said to contain some rare treasures of ancient pictorial art.

I do not remember much that we saw on our route. The plains and the lower hill-sides seemed fruitful of everything that belongs to Italy, especially the olive and the vine. As usual, there were a great many shrines, and frequently a cross, by the wayside. Hitherto it had been merely a plain wooden cross; but now almost every cross was hung with various instruments, represented in wood, apparently symbols of the crucifixion of our Saviour,--the spear, the sponge, the crown of thorns, the hammer, a pair of pincers, and always St. Peter's cock, made a prominent figure, generally perched on the summit of the cross.

From our first start this morning we had seen mists in various quarters, betokening that there was rain in those spots, and now it began to spatter in our own

 

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faces, although within the wide extent of our prospect we could see the sunshine falling on portions of the valley. A rainbow, too, shone out, and remained so long visible that it appeared to have made a permanent stain in the sky.

By and by we reached Assisi, which is magnificently situated for pictorial purposes, with a gray castle above it, and a gray wall around it, itself on a mountain, and looking over the great plain which we had been traversing, and through which lay our onward way. We drove through the Piazza Grande to an ancient house a little beyond, where a hospitable old lady receives travellers for a consideration, without exactly keeping an inn.

In the piazza we saw the beautiful front of a temple of Minerva, consisting of several marble pillars, fluted, and with rich capitals supporting a pediment. It was as fine as anything I had seen at Rome, and is now, of course, converted into a Catholic church.

I ought to have said that, instead of driving straight to the old lady's, we alighted at the door of a church near the city gate, and went in to inspect some melancholy frescos, and thence clambered up a narrow street to the Cathedral, which has a Gothic front, old enough, but not very impressive. I really remember not a single object that we saw within, but am pretty certain that the interior had been stuccoed and whitewashed. The ecclesiastics of old time did an excellent thing in covering the interiors of their churches with brilliant frescos, thus filling the holy places with saints and angels, and almost with the presence of the Divinity. The modern ecclesiastics do the next best thing in obliterating the wretched remnants of what has had its day and done its office. These frescos

 

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might be looked upon as the symbol of the living spirit that made Catholicism a true religion, and glorified it as long as it did live; now the glory and beauty have departed from one and the other.

My wife, U--, and Miss Shepard now set out with a cicerone to visit the great Franciscan convent, in the church of which are preserved some miraculous specimens, in fresco and in oils, of early Italian art; but as I had no mind to suffer any further in this way, I stayed behind with J----- and R--, who were equally weary of these things.

After they were gone we took a ramble through the city, but were almost swept away by the violence of the wind, which struggled with me for my hat, and whirled R--- before it like a feather. The people in the public square seemed much diverted at our predicament, being, I suppose, accustomed to these rude blasts in their mountain-home. However, the wind blew in momentary gusts, and then became more placable till another fit of fury came, and passed as suddenly as before. We walked out of the same gate through which we had entered,--an ancient gate, but recently stuccoed and whitewashed, in wretched contrast to the gray, venerable wall through which it affords ingress,--and I stood gazing at the magnificent prospect of the wide valley beneath. It was so vast that there appeared to be all varieties of weather in it at the same instant; fields of sunshine, tracts of storm,--here the coming tempest, there the departing one. It was a picture of the world on a vast canvas, for there was rural life and city life within the great expanse, and the whole set in a frame of mountains,--the nearest bold and distinct, with the rocky ledges showing through their sides, the distant ones blue and dim,--so far stretched this broad valley.

 

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When I had looked long enough,--no, not long enough, for it would take a great while to read that page,--we returned within the gate, and we clambered up, past the Cathedral, and into the narrow streets above it. The aspect of everything was immeasurably old; a thousand years would be but a middle age for one of those houses, built so massively with huge stones and solid arches, that I do not see how they are ever to tumble down, or to be less fit for human habitation than they are now. The streets crept between them, and beneath arched passages, and up and down steps of stone or ancient brick, for it would be altogether impossible for a carriage to ascend above the Grand Piazza, though possibly a donkey or a chairman's mule might find foothold. The city seems like a stony growth out of the hill-side, or a fossilized city,--so old and singular it is, without enough life and juiciness in it to be susceptible of decay. An earthquake is the only chance of its ever being ruined, beyond its present ruin. Nothing is more strange than to think that this now dead city--dead, as regards the purposes for which men live nowadays--was, centuries ago, the seat and birthplace almost of art, the only art in which the beautiful part of the human mind then developed itself. How came that flower to grow among these wild mountains? I do not conceive, however, that the people of Assisi were ever much more enlightened or cultivated on the side of art than they are at present. The ecclesiastics were then the only patrons; and the flower grew here because there was a great ecclesiastical garden in which it was sheltered and fostered. But it is very curious to think of Assisi, a school of art within, and mountain and wilderness without.

 

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My wife and the rest of the party returned from the convent before noon, delighted with what they had seen, as I was delighted not to have seen it. We ate our déjeuner, and resumed our journey, passing beneath the great convent, after emerging from the gate opposite to that of our entrance. The edifice made a very good spectacle, being of great extent, and standing on a double row of high and narrow arches, on which it is built up from the declivity of the hill.

We soon reached the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, which is a modern structure, and very spacious, built in place of one destroyed by an earthquake. It is a fine church, opening out a magnificent space in its nave and aisles; and beneath the great dome stands the small old chapel, with its rude stone walls, in which St. Francis founded his order. This chapel and the dome appear to have been the only portions of the ancient church that were not destroyed by the earthquake. The dwelling of St. Francis is said to be also preserved within the church; but we did not see it, unless it were a little dark closet into which we squeezed to see some frescos by La Spagna. It had an old wooden door, of which U-- picked off a little bit of a chip, to serve as a relic. There is a fresco in the church, on the pediment of the chapel, by Overbeck, representing the Assumption of the Virgin. It did not strike me as wonderfully fine. The other pictures, of which there were many, were modern, and of no great merit.

We pursued our way, and came, by and by, to the foot of the high hill on which stands Perugia, and which is so long and steep that Gaetano took a yoke of oxen to aid his horses in the ascent. We all, except my wife, walked a part of the way up, and I

 

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myself, with J----- for my companion, kept on even to the city gate,--a distance, I should think, of two or three miles at least. The lower part of the road was on the edge of the hill, with a narrow valley on our left; and as the sun had now broken out, its verdure and fertility, its foliage and cultivation, shone forth in miraculous beauty, as green as England, as bright as only Italy. Perugia appeared above us, crowning a mighty hill, the most picturesque of cities; and the higher we ascended, the more the view opened before us, as we looked back on the course that we had traversed, and saw the wide valley, sweeping down and spreading out, bounded afar by mountains, and sleeping in sun and shadow. No language nor any art of the pencil can give an idea of the scene. When God expressed himself in the landscape to mankind, He did not intend that it should be translated into any tongue save his own immediate one. J----- meanwhile, whose heart is now wholly in snail-shells, was rummaging for them among the stones and hedges by the roadside; yet, doubtless, enjoyed the prospect more than he knew. The coach lagged far behind us, and when it came up, we entered the gate, where a soldier appeared, and demanded my passport. We drove to the Grand Hôtel de France, which is near the gate, and two fine little boys ran beside the carriage, well dressed and well looking enough to have been a gentleman's sons, but claiming Gaetano for their father. He is an inhabitant of Perugia, and has therefore reached his own home, though we are still little more than midway to our journey's end.

Our hotel proves, thus far, to be the best that we have yet met with. We are only in the outskirts of Perugia; the bulk of the city, where the most inter-

 

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esting churches and the public edifices are situated, being far above us on the hill. My wife, U--, Miss Shepard, and H---- streamed forth immediately, and saw a church; but J-----, who hates them, and I, remained behind; and, for my part, I added several pages to this volume of scribble.

This morning was as bright as morning could be, even in Italy, and in this transparent mountain atmosphere. We at first declined the services of a cicerone, and went out in the hopes of finding our way to whatever we wished to see, by our own instincts. This proved to be a mistaken hope, however; and we wandered about the upper city, much persecuted by a shabby old man who wished to guide us; so, at last, Miss Shepard went back in quest of the cicerone at the hotel, and, meanwhile, we climbed to the summit of the hill of Perugia, and, leaning over a wall, looked forth upon a most magnificent view of mountain and valley, terminating in some peaks, lofty and dim, which surely must be the Apennines. There again a young man accosted us, offering to guide us to the Cambio, or Exchange; and as this was one of the places which we especially wished to see, we accepted his services. By the by, I ought to have mentioned that we had already entered a church (San Luigi, I believe), the interior of which we found very impressive, dim with the light of stained and painted windows, insomuch that it at first seemed almost dark, and we could only see the bright twinkling of the tapers at the shrines; but, after a few minutes, we discerned the tall octagonal pillars of the nave, marble, and supporting a beautiful roof of crossed arches. The church was neither Gothic nor classic, but a mixture of both, and most likely barbarous; yet it had a

 

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grand effect in its tinted twilight, and convinced me more than ever how desirable it is that religious edifices should have painted windows.

The door of the Cambio proved to be one that we had passed several times, while seeking for it, and was very near the church just mentioned, which fronts on one side of the same piazza. We were received by an old gentleman, who appeared to be a public officer, and found ourselves in a small room, wainscoted with beautifully carved oak, roofed with a coved ceiling, painted with symbols of the planets, and arabesqued in rich designs by Raphael, and lined with splendid frescos of subjects, scriptural and historical, by Perugino. When the room was in its first glory, I can conceive that the world had not elsewhere to show, within so small a space, such magnificence and beauty as were then displayed here. Even now, I enjoyed (to the best of my belief, for we can never feel sure that we are not bamboozling ourselves in such matters) some real pleasure in what I saw; and especially seemed to feel, after all these ages, the old painter's devout sentiment still breathing forth from the religious pictures, the work of a hand that had so long been dust.

When we had looked long at these, the old gentleman led us into a chapel, of the same size as the former room, and built in the same fashion, wainscoted likewise with old oak. The walls were also frescoed, entirely frescoed, and retained more of their original brightness than those we had already seen, although the pictures were the production of a somewhat inferior hand, a pupil of Perugino. They seemed to be very striking, however, not the less so, that one of them provoked an unseasonable smile. It was the

 

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Decapitation of John the Baptist; and this holy personage was represented as still on his knees, with his hands clasped in prayer, although the executioner was already depositing the head in a charger, and the blood was spouting from the headless trunk, directly, as it were, into the face of the spectator.

While we were in the outer room, the cicerone who first offered his services at the hotel had come in; so we paid our chance guide, and expected him to take his leave. It is characteristic of this idle country, however, that if you once speak to a person, or connect yourself with him by the slightest possible tie, you will hardly get rid of him by anything short of main force. He still lingered in the room, and was still there when I came away; for, having had as many pictures as I could digest, I left my wife and U-- with the cicerone, and set out on a ramble with J----- . We plunged from the upper city down through some of the strangest passages that ever were called streets; some of them, indeed, being arched all over, and, going down into the unknown darkness, looked like caverns; and we followed one of them doubtfully, till it opened out upon the light. The houses on each side were divided only by a pace or two, and communicated with one another, here and there, by arched passages. They looked very ancient, and may have been inhabited by Etruscan princes, judging from the massiveness of some of the foundation stones. The present inhabitants, nevertheless, are by no means princely,--shabby men, and the careworn wives and mothers of the people,--one of whom was guiding a child in leading-strings through these antique alleys, where hundreds of generations have trod before those little feet. Finally, we came out

 

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through a gateway, the same gateway at which we entered last night.

I ought to have mentioned, in the narrative of yesterday, that we crossed the Tiber shortly before reaching Perugia, already a broad and rapid stream, and already distinguished by the same turbid and mudpuddly quality of water that we see in it at Rome. I think it will never be so disagreeable to me hereafter, now that I find this turbidness to be its native color, and not (like that of the Thames) accruing from city sewers or any impurities of the lowlands.

As I now remember, the small Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli seems to have been originally the house of St. Francis.

 

May 29th.--This morning we visited the Church of the Dominicans, where we saw some quaint pictures by Fra Angelico, with a good deal of religious sincerity in them; also a picture of St. Columbo, by Perugino, which unquestionably is very good. To confess the truth, I took more interest in a fair Gothic monument, in white marble, of Pope Benedict XII., representing him reclining under a canopy, while two angels draw aside the curtain, the canopy being supported by twisted columns, richly ornamented. I like this overflow and gratuity of device, with which Gothic sculpture works out its designs, after seeing so much of the simplicity of classic art in marble.

We then tried to find the Church of San Pietro in Martire, but without success, although every person of whom we inquired immediately attached himself or herself to us, and could hardly be got rid of by any efforts on our part. Nobody seemed to know the church we wished for, but all directed us to another

 

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Church of San Pietro, which contains nothing of interest; whereas the right church is supposed to contain a celebrated picture by Perugino.

Finally, we ascended the hill and the city proper of Perugia (for our hotel is in one of the suburbs), and J----- and I set out on a ramble about the city. It was market-day, and the principal piazza, with the neighboring streets, was crowded with people. . . .

The best part of Perugia, that in which the grand piazzas and the principal public edifices stand, seems to be a nearly level plateau on the summit of the hill; but it is of no very great extent, and the streets rapidly run downward on either side. J----- and I followed one of these descending streets, and were led a long way by it, till we at last emerged from one of the gates of the city, and had another view of the mountains and valleys, the fertile and sunny wilderness in which this ancient civilization stands.

On the right of the gate there was a rude country-path, partly overgrown with grass, bordered by a hedge on one side, and on the other by the gray city wall, at the base of which the track kept onward. We followed it, hoping that it would lead us to some other gate by which we might reënter the city; but it soon grew so indistinct and broken, that it was evidently on the point of melting into somebody's olive-orchard or wheat-fields or vineyards, all of which lay on the other side of the hedge; and a kindly old woman of whom I inquired told me (if I rightly understood her Italian) that I should find no further passage in that direction. So we turned back, much broiled in the hot sun, and only now and then relieved by the shadow of an angle or a tower.

A lame beggar-man sat by the gate, and as we

 

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passed him J----- gave him two baiocchi (which he himself had begged of me to buy an orange with), and was loaded with the pauper's prayers and benedictions as we entered the city. A great many blessings can be bought for very little money anywhere in Italy; and whether they avail anything or no, it is pleasant to see that the beggars have gratitude enough to bestow them in such abundance.

Of all beggars I think a little fellow, who rode beside our carriage on a stick, his bare feet scampering merrily, while he managed his steed with one hand, and held out the other for charity, howling piteously the while, amused me most.

PASSIGNANO.

May 29th.--We left Perugia at about three o'clock to-day, and went down a pretty steep descent; but I have no particular recollection of the road till it again began to descend, before reaching the village of Mugione. We all, except my wife, walked up the long hill, while the vettura was dragged after us with the aid of a yoke of oxen. Arriving first at the village, I leaned over the wall to admire the beautiful paese ("le bel piano," as a peasant called it, who made acquaintance with me) that lay at the foot of the hill, so level, so bounded within moderate limits by a frame of hills and ridges, that it looked like a green lake. In fact, I think it was once a real lake, which made its escape from its bed, as I have known some lakes to have done in America.

Passing through and beyond the village, I saw, on a height above the road, a half-ruinous tower, with great cracks running down its walls, half-way from top to bottom. Some little children had mounted the

 

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hill with us, begging all the way; they were recruited with additional numbers in the village; and here, beneath the ruinous tower, a madman, as it seemed, assaulted us, and ran almost under the carriage-wheels, in his earnestness to get a baioccho. Ridding ourselves of these annoyances, we drove on, and, between five and six o'clock, came in sight of the Lake of Thrasymene, obtaining our first view of it, I think, in its longest extent. There were high hills, and one mountain with its head in the clouds, visible on the farther shore, and on the horizon beyond it; but the nearer banks were long ridges, and hills of only moderate height. The declining sun threw a broad sheen of brightness over the surface of the lake, so that we could not well see it for excess of light; but had a vision of headlands and islands floating about in a flood of gold, and blue, airy heights bounding it afar. When we first drew near the lake, there was but a narrow tract, covered with vines and olives, between it and the hill that rose on the other side. As we advanced, the tract grew wider, and was very fertile, as was the hill-side, with wheat-fields, and vines, and olives, especially the latter, which, symbol of peace as it is, seemed to find something congenial to it in the soil stained long ago with blood. Farther onward, the space between the lake and bill grew still narrower, the road skirting along almost close to the water-side; and when we reached the town of Passignano there was but room enough for its dirty and ugly street to stretch along the shore. I have seldom beheld a lovelier scene than that of the lake and the landscape around it; never an uglier one than that of this idle and decaying village, where we were immediately surrounded by beggars of all ages, and by

 

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men vociferously proposing to row us out upon the lake. We declined their offers of a boat, for the evening was very fresh and cool, insomuch that I should have liked an outside garment,--a temperature that I had not anticipated, so near the beginning of June, in sunny Italy. Instead of a row, we took a walk through the village, hoping to come upon the shore of the lake in some secluded spot; but an incredible number of beggar-children, both boys and girls, but more of the latter, rushed out of every door, and went along with us, all howling their miserable petitions at the same moment. The village street is long, and our escort waxed more numerous at every step, till Miss Shepard actually counted forty of these little reprobates, and more were doubtless added afterwards. At first, no doubt, they begged in earnest hope of getting some baiocchi; but, by and by, perceiving that we had determined not to give them anything, they made a joke of the matter, and began to laugh and to babble, and turn heels over head, still keeping about us, like a swarm of flies, and now and then begging again with all their might. There were as few pretty faces as I ever saw among the same number of children; and they were as ragged and dirty little imps as any in the world, and, moreover, tainted the air with a very disagreeable odor from their rags and dirt; rugged and healthy enough, nevertheless, and sufficiently intelligent; certainly bold and persevering too; so that it is hard to say what they needed to fit them for success in life. Yet they begin as beggars, and no doubt will end so, as all their parents and grandparents do; for, in our walk through the village, every old woman and many younger ones held out their hands for alms, as if they had all been famished. Yet these

 

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people kept their houses over their heads; had firesides in winter, I suppose, and food out of their little gardens every day; pigs to kill, chickens, olives, wine, and a great many things to make life comfortable. The children, desperately as they begged, looked in good bodily case, and happy enough; but, certainly, there was a look of earnest misery in the faces of some of the old women, either genuine or exceedingly well acted.

I could not bear the persecution, and went into our hotel, determining not to venture out again till our departure; at least not in the daylight. My wife, and the rest of the family, however, continued their walk, and at length were relieved from their little pests by three policemen (the very images of those in Rome, in their blue, long-skirted coats, cocked chapeaux-bras, white shoulder-belts, and swords), who boxed their ears, and dispersed them. Meanwhile, they had quite driven away all sentimental effusion (of which I felt more, really, than I expected) about the Lake of Thrasymene.

The inn of Passignano promised little from its outward appearance; a tall, dark old house, with a stone staircase leading us up from one sombre story to another, into a brick-paved dining-room, with our sleeping-chambers on each side. There was a fireplace of tremendous depth and height, fit to receive big forest-logs, and with a queer, double pair of ancient andirons, capable of sustaining them; and in a handful of ashes lay a small stick of olive-wood,--a specimen, I suppose, of the sort of fuel which had made the chimney black in the course of a good many years. There must have been much shivering and misery of cold around this fireplace. However, we needed no fire

 

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now, and there was promise of good cheer in the spectacle of a man cleaning some lake-fish for our dinner, while the poor things flounced and wriggled under the knife.

The dinner made its appearance, after a long while, and was most plentiful, . . . so that, having measured our appetite in anticipation of a paucity of food, we had to make more room for such overflowing abundance.

When dinner was over, it was already dusk, and before retiring I opened the window, and looked out on Lake Thrasymene, the margin of which lies just on the other side of the narrow village street. The moon was a day or two past the full, just a little clipped on the edge, but gave light enough to show the lake and its nearer shores almost as distinctly as by day; and, there being a ripple on the surface of the water, it made a sheen of silver over a wide space.

AREZZO.

May 30th.-- We started at six o'clock, and left the one ugly street of Passignano before many of the beggars were awake. Immediately in the vicinity of the village, there is very little space between the lake in front and the ridge of hills in the rear; but the plain widened as we drove onward, so that the lake was scarcely to be seen, or often quite hidden among the intervening trees, although we could still discern the summits of the mountains that rise far beyond its shores. The country was fertile, presenting, on each side of the road, vines trained on fig-trees; wheat-fields and olives, in greater abundance than any other product. On our right, with a considerable width of plain between, was the bending ridge of hills that shut

 

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in the Roman army, by its close approach to the lake at Passignano. In perhaps half an hour's drive, we reached the little bridge that throws its arch over the Sanguinetto, and alighted there. The stream has but about a yard's width of water; and its whole course, between the hills and the lake, might well have been reddened and swollen with the blood of the multitude of slain Romans. Its name put me in mind of the Bloody Brook at Deerfield, where a company of Massachusetts men were massacred by the Indians.

The Sanguinetto flows over a bed of pebbles; and J----- crept under the bridge, and got one of them for a memorial; while U--, Miss Shepard, and R--- plucked some olive twigs and oak leaves, and made them into wreaths together,--symbols of victory and peace. The tower, which is traditionally named after Hannibal, is seen on a height that makes part of the line of enclosing hills. It is a large, old castle, apparently of the Middle Ages, with a square front, and a battlemented sweep of wall. The town of Torres (its name, I think), where Hannibal's main army is supposed to have lain while the Romans came through the pass, was in full view; and I could understand the plan of the battle better than any system of military operations which I have hitherto tried to fathom. Both last night and to-day, I found myself stirred more sensibly than I expected by the influences of this scene. The old battle-field is still fertile in thoughts and emotions, though it is so many ages since the blood spilt there has ceased to make the grass and flowers grow more luxuriantly. I doubt whether I should feel so much on the field of Saratoga or Monmouth; but these old classic battle-fields belong to the whole world, and each man feels as if his own fore-

 

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fathers fought them. Mine, by the by, if they fought them at all, must have been on the side of Hannibal; for, certainly, I sympathized with him, and exulted in the defeat of the Romans on their own soil. They excite much the same emotion of general hostility that the English do. Byron has written some very fine stanzas on the battle-field,--not so good as others that he has written on classical scenes and subjects, yet wonderfully impressing his own perception of the subject on the reader. Whenever he has to deal with a statue, a ruin, a battle-field, he pounces upon the topic like a vulture, and tears out its heart in a twinkling, so that there is nothing more to be said.

If I mistake not, our passport was examined by the papal officers at the last custom house in the pontifical territory, before we traversed the path through which the Roman army marched to its destruction. Lake Thrasymene, of which we took our last view, is not deep set among the hills, but is bordered by long ridges, with loftier mountains receding into the distance. It is not to be compared to Windermere or Loch Lomond for beauty, nor with Lake Champlain and many a smaller lake in my own country, none of which, I hope, will ever become so historically interesting as this famous spot. A few miles onward our passport was countersigned at the Tuscan custom house, and our luggage permitted to pass without examination on payment of a fee of nine or ten pauls, besides two pauls to the porters. There appears to be no concealment on the part of the officials in thus waiving the exercise of their duty, and I rather imagine that the thing is recognized and permitted by their superiors. At all events, it is very convenient for the traveller.

 

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We saw Cortona, sitting, like so many other cities in this region, on its hill, and arrived about noon at Arezzo, which also stretches up a high hill-side, and is surrounded, as they all are, by its walls or the remains of one, with a fortified gate across every entrance.

I remember one little village, somewhere in the neighborhood of the Clitumnus, which we entered by one gateway, and, in the course of two minutes at the utmost, left by the opposite one, so diminutive was this walled town. Everything hereabouts bears traces of times when war was the prevalent condition, and peace only a rare gleam of sunshine.

At Arezzo we have put up at the Hôtel Royal, which has the appearance of a grand old house, and proves to be a tolerable inn enough. After lunch, we wandered forth to see the town, which did not greatly interest me after Perugia, being much more modern and less picturesque in its aspect. We went to the Cathedral,--a Gothic edifice, but not of striking exterior. As the doors were closed, and not to be opened till three o'clock, we seated ourselves under the trees, on a high, grassy space, surrounded and intersected with gravel-walks,--a public promenade, in short, near the Cathedral; and after resting ourselves here we went in search of Petrarch's house, which Murray mentions as being in this neighborhood. We inquired of several people, who knew nothing about the matter; one woman misdirected us, out of mere fun, I believe, for she afterwards met us and asked how we had succeeded. But finally, through ----'s enterprise and perseverance, we found the spot, not a stone's-throw from where we had been sitting.

Petrarch's house stands below the promenade which

 

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I have just mentioned, and within hearing of the reverberations between the strokes of the Cathedral bell. It is two stories high, covered with a light-colored stucco, and has not the slightest appearance of antiquity, no more than many a modern and modest dwelling-house in an American city. Its only remarkable feature is a pointed arch of stone, let into the plastered wall, and forming a framework for the doorway. I set my foot on the doorsteps, ascended them, and Miss Shepard and J----- gathered some weeds or blades of grass that grew in the chinks between the steps. There is a long inscription on a slab of marble set in the front of the house, as is the fashion in Arezzo when a house has been the birthplace or residence of a distinguished man.

Right opposite Petrarch's birth-house--and it must have been the well whence the water was drawn that first bathed him--is a well which Boccaccio has introduced into one of his stories. It is surrounded with a stone curb, octagonal in shape, and evidently as ancient as Boccaccio's time. It has a wooden cover, through which is a square opening, and looking down I saw my own face in the water far beneath.

There is no familiar object connected with daily life so interesting as a well; and this well of old Arezzo, whence Petrarch had drank, around which he had played in his boyhood, and which Boccaccio has made famous, really interested me more than the Cathedral. It lies right under the pavement of the street, under the sunshine, without any shade of trees about it, or any grass, except a little that grows in the crevices of its stones; but the shape of its stonework would make it a pretty object in an engraving. As I lingered round it, I thought of my own town-

 

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pump in old Salem, and wondered whether my townspeople would ever point it out to strangers, and whether the stranger would gaze at it with any degree of such interest as I felt in Boccaccio's well. Oh, certainly not; but yet I made that humble town-pump the most celebrated structure in the good town. A thousand and a thousand people had pumped there, merely to water oxen or fill their teakettles; but when once I grasped the handle, a rill gushed forth that meandered as far as England, as far as India, besides tasting pleasantly in every town and village of our own country. I like to think of this, so long after I did it, and so far from home, and am not without hope of some kindly local remembrance on this score.

Petrarch's house is not a separate and insulated building, but stands in contiguity and connection with other houses on each side; and all, when I saw them, as well as the whole street, extending down the slope of the hill, had the bright and sunny aspect of a modern town.

As the Cathedral was not yet open, and as ---- and I had not so much patience as my wife, we left her and Miss Shepard, and set out to return to the hotel. We lost our way, however, and finally had to return to the Cathedral, to take a fresh start; and as the door was now open we went in. We found the Cathedral very stately with its great arches, and darkly magnificent with the dim rich light coming through its painted windows, some of which are reckoned the most beautiful that the whole world has to show. The hues are far more brilliant than those of any painted glass I saw in England, and a great wheel window looks like a constellation of many-colored gems. The old English glass gets so smoky and dull

 

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with dust, that its pristine beauty cannot any longer be even imagined; nor did I imagine it till I saw these Italian windows. We saw nothing of my wife and Miss Shepard; but found afterwards that they had been much annoyed by the attentions of a priest who wished to show them the Cathedral, till they finally told him that they had no money with them, when he left them without another word. The attendants in churches seem to be quite as venal as most other Italians, and, for the sake of their little profit, they do not hesitate to interfere with the great purposes for which their churches were built and decorated; hanging curtains, for instance, before all the celebrated pictures, or hiding them away in the sacristy, so that they cannot be seen without a fee.

Returning to the hotel, we looked out of the window, and, in the street beneath, there was a very busy scene, it being Sunday, and the whole population, apparently, being astir,--promenading up and down the smooth flag-stones, which made the breadth of the street one sidewalk, or at their windows, or sitting before their doors.

The vivacity of the population in these parts is very striking, after the gravity and lassitude of Rome; and the air was made cheerful with the talk and laughter of hundreds of voices. I think the women are prettier than the Roman maids and matrons, who, as I think I have said before, have chosen to be very uncomely since the rape of their ancestresses, by way of wreaking a terrible spite and revenge.

I have nothing more to say of Arezzo, except that, finding the ordinary wine very bad, as black as ink, and tasting as if it had tar and vinegar in it, we called for a bottle of Monte Pulciano, and were exceedingly gladdened and mollified thereby.

 

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INCISA.

We left Arezzo early on Monday morning, the sun throwing the long shadows of the trees across the road, which at first, after we had descended the hill, lay over a plain. As the morning advanced, or as we advanced, the country grew more hilly. We saw many bits of rustic life,--such as old women tending pigs or sheep by the roadside, and spinning with a distaff; women sewing under trees, or at their own doors; children leading goats, tied by the horns, while they browse; sturdy, sunburnt creatures, in petticoats, but otherwise manlike, at work side by side with male laborers in the fields. The broad-brimmed, high-crowned hat of Tuscan straw is the customary female head-dress, and is as unbecoming as can possibly be imagined, and of little use, one would suppose, as a shelter from the sun, the brim continually blowing upward from the face. Some of the elder women wore black felt hats, likewise broad-brimmed; and the men wore felt hats also, shaped a good deal like a mushroom, with hardly any brim at all. The scenes in the villages through which we passed were very lively and characteristic, all the population seeming to be out of doors: some at the butcher's shop, others at the well; a tailor sewing in the open air, with a young priest sitting sociably beside him; children at play; women mending clothes, embroidering, spinning with the distaff at their own door-steps; many idlers, letting the pleasant morning pass in the sweet-do-nothing; all assembling in the street, as in the common room of one large household, and thus brought close together, and made familiar with one another, as they can never be in a different system of society. As usual, along the

 

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road, we passed multitudes of shrines, where the Virgin was painted in fresco, or sometimes represented in bas-reliefs, within niches, or under more spacious arches. It would be a good idea to place a comfortable and shady seat beneath all these wayside shrines, where the wayfarer might rest himself, and thank the Virgin for her hospitality; nor can I believe that it would offend her, any more than other incense, if he were to regale himself, even in such consecrated spots, with the fragrance of a pipe or cigar.

In the wire-work screen, before many of the shrines, hung offerings of roses and other flowers, some wilted and withered, some fresh with that morning's dew, some that never bloomed and never faded,--being artificial. I wonder that they do not plant rose-trees and all kinds of fragrant and flowering shrubs under the shrines, and twine and wreathe them all around, so that the Virgin may dwell within a bower of perpetual freshness; at least put flower-pots, with living plants, into the niche. There are many things in the customs of these people that might be made very beautiful, if the sense of beauty were as much alive now as it must have been when these customs were first imagined and adopted.

I must not forget, among these little descriptive items, the spectacle of women and girls bearing huge bundles of twigs and shrubs, or grass, with scarlet poppies and blue flowers intermixed; the bundles sometimes so huge as almost to hide the woman's figure from head to heel, so that she looked like a locomotive mass of verdure and flowers; sometimes reaching only half-way down her back, so as to show the crooked knife slung behind, with which she had been reaping this strange harvestsheaf. A Pre-Raphaelite painter

 

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--the one, for instance, who painted the heap of autumnal leaves, which we saw at the Manchester Exhibition--would find an admirable subject in one of these girls, stepping with a free, erect, and graceful carriage, her burden on her head; and the miscellaneous herbage and flowers would give him all the scope he could desire for minute and various delineation of nature.

The country houses which we passed had sometimes open galleries, or arcades, on the second story and above, where the inhabitants might perform their domestic labor in the shade and in the air. The houses were often ancient, and most picturesquely timestained, the plaster dropping in spots from the old brickwork; others were tinted of pleasant and cheerful hues; some were frescoed with designs in arabesques, or with imaginary windows; some had escutcheons of arms painted on the front. Wherever there was a pigeon-house, a flight of doves were represented as flying into the holes, doubtless for the invitation and encouragement of the real birds.

Once or twice I saw a bush stuck up before the door of what seemed to be a wine-shop. If so, it is the ancient custom, so long disused in England, and alluded to in the proverb, "Good wine needs no bush." Several times we saw grass spread to dry on the road, covering half the track, and concluded it to have been cut by the roadside for the winter forage of his ass by some poor peasant, or peasant's wife, who had no grass land, except the margin of the public way.

A beautiful feature of the scene to-day, as the preceding day, were the vines growing on fig-trees (?), [1]

 

[1] This interrogation-mark must mean that Mr. Hawthorne was not sure they were fig-trees.--ED.

 

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and often wreathed in rich festoons from one tree to another, by and by to be hung with clusters of purple grapes. I suspect the vine is a pleasanter object of sight under this mode of culture than it can be in countries where it produces a more precious wine, and therefore is trained more artificially. Nothing can be more picturesque than the spectacle of an old grapevine, with almost a trunk of its own, clinging round its tree, imprisoning within its strong embrace the friend that supported its tender infancy, converting the tree wholly to its own selfish ends, as seemingly flexible natures are apt to do, stretching out its innumerable arms on every bough, and allowing hardly a leaf to sprout except its own. I must not yet quit this hasty sketch, without throwing in, both in the early morning, and later in the forenoon, the mist that dreamed among the hills, and which, now that I have called it mist, I feel almost more inclined to call light, being so quietly cheerful with the sunshine through it. Put in, now and then, a castle on a hilltop; a rough ravine, a smiling valley; a mountain stream, with a far wider bed than it at present needs, and a stone bridge across it, with ancient and massive arches,--and I shall say no more, except that all these particulars, and many better ones which escape me, made up a very pleasant whole.

At about noon we drove into the village of Incisa, and alighted at the albergo where we were to lunch. It was a gloomy old house, as much like my idea of an Etruscan tomb as anything else that I can compare it to. We passed into a wide and lofty entrance-hall, paved with stone, and vaulted with a roof of intersecting arches, supported by heavy columns of stuccoed-brick, the whole as sombre and dingy as can well be.

 

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This entrance-hall is not merely the passageway into the inn, but is likewise the carriage-house, into which our vettura is wheeled; and it has, on one side, the stable, odorous with the litter of horses and cattle, and on the other the kitchen, and a common sitting-room. A narrow stone staircase leads from it to the dining-room, and chambers above, which are paved with brick, and adorned with rude frescos instead of paper-hangings. We look out of the windows, and step into a little iron-railed balcony, before the principal window, and observe the scene in the village street. The street is narrow, and nothing can exceed the tall, grim ugliness of the village houses, many of them four stories high, contiguous all along, and paved quite across; so that nature is as completely shut out from the precincts of this little town as from the heart of the widest city. The walls of the houses are plastered, gray, dilapidated; the windows small, some of them drearily-closed with wooden shutters, others flung wide open, and with women's heads protruding; others merely frescoed, for a show of light and air. It would be a hideous street to look at in a rainy day, or when no human life pervaded it. Now it has vivacity enough to keep it cheerful. People lounge round the door of the albergo, and watch the horses as they drink from a stone trough, which is built against the wall of the house, and filled with the unseen gush of a spring.

At first there is a shade entirely across the street, and all the within-doors of the village empties itself there, and keeps up a babblement that seems quite disproportioned even to the multitude of tongues that make it. So many words are not spoken in a New England village in a whole year as here in this single

 

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day. People talk about nothing as if they were terribly in earnest, and laugh at nothing as if it were an excellent joke. As the hot noon sunshine encroaches on our side of the street, it grows a little more quiet. The loungers now confine themselves to the shady margin (growing narrower and narrower) of the other side, where, directly opposite the albergo, there are two cafés and a wine-shop, "vendeta di pane, vino, ed altri generi," all in a row with benches before them. The benchers joke with the women passing by, and are joked with back again. The sun still eats away the shadow inch by inch, beating down with such intensity that finally everybody disappears except a few passers by. Doubtless the village snatches this half-hour for its siesta. There is a song, however, inside one of the cafés, with a burden in which several voices join. A girl goes through the street, sheltered under her great bundle of freshly cut grass. By and by the song ceases, and two young peasants come out of the café, a little affected by liquor, in their shirt-sleeves and bare feet, with their trousers tucked up. They resume their song in the street, and dance along, one's arm around his fellow's neck, his own waist grasped by the other's arm. They whirl one another quite round about, and come down upon their feet. Meeting a village maid coming quietly along, they dance up and intercept her for a moment, but give way to her sobriety of aspect. They pass on, and the shadow soon begins to spread from one side of the street, which presently fills again, and becomes once more, for its size, the noisiest place I ever knew. We had quite a tolerable dinner at this ugly inn, where many preceding travellers had written their

 

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condemnatory judgments, as well as a few their favorable ones, in pencil, on the walls of the dining-room.

TO FLORENCE.

At setting off [from Incisa], we were surrounded by beggars as usual, the most interesting of whom were a little blind boy and his mother, who had besieged us with gentle pertinacity during our whole stay there. There was likewise a man with a maimed hand, and other hurts or deformities; also, an old woman who, I suspect, only pretended to be blind, keeping her eyes tightly squeezed together, but directing her hand very accurately where the copper shower was expected to fall. Besides these, there were a good many sturdy little rascals, vociferating in proportion as they needed nothing. It was touching, however, to see several persons--themselves beggars for aught I know--assisting to hold up the little blind boy's tremulous hand, so that he, at all events, might not lack the pittance which we had to give. Our dole was but a poor one, after all, consisting of what Roman coppers we had brought into Tuscany with us; and as we drove off, some of the boys ran shouting and whining after us in the hot sunshine, nor stopped till we reached the summit of the hill, which rises immediately from the village street. We heard Gaetano once say a good thing to a swarm of beggar-children, who were infesting us, "Are your fathers all dead?"--a proverbial expression, I suppose. The pertinacity of beggars does not, I think, excite the indignation of an Italian, as it is apt to do that of Englishmen or Americans. The Italians probably sympathize more, though they give less. Gaetano is very gentle in his modes of repelling them, and, indeed,

 

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never interferes at all, as long as there is a prospect of their getting anything. Immediately after leaving Incisa, we saw the Arno, already a considerable river, rushing between deep banks, with the greenish hue of a duck-pond diffused through its water. Nevertheless, though the first impression was not altogether agreeable, we soon became reconciled to this hue, and ceased to think it an indication of impurity; for, in spite of it, the river is still, to a certain degree, transparent, and is, at any rate, a mountain-stream, and comes uncontaminated from its source. The pure, transparent brown of the New England rivers is the most beautiful color; but I am content that it should be peculiar to them. Our afternoon's drive was through scenery less striking than some which we had traversed, but still picturesque and beautiful. We saw deep valleys and ravines, with streams at the bottom; long, wooded hill-sides, rising far and high, and dotted with white dwellings, well towards the summits. By and by, we had a distant glimpse of Florence, showing its great dome and some of its towers out of a sidelong valley, as if we were between two great waves of the tumultuous sea of hills; while, far beyond, rose in the distance the blue peaks of three or four of the Apennines, just on the remote horizon. There being a haziness in the atmosphere, however, Florence was little more distinct to us than the Celestial City was to Christian and Hopeful, when they spied at it from the Delectable Mountains. Keeping steadfastly onward, we ascended a winding road, and passed a grand villa, standing very high, and surrounded with extensive grounds. It must be the residence of some great noble; and it has an

 

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avenue of poplars or aspens, very light and gay, and fit for the passage of the bridal procession, when the proprietor or his heir brings home his bride; while, in another direction from the same front of the palace, stretches an avenue or grove of cypresses, very long, and exceedingly black and dismal, like a train of gigantic mourners. I have seen few things more striking, in the way of trees, than this grove of cypresses. From this point we descended, and drove along an ugly, dusty avenue, with a high brick wall on one side or both, till we reached the gate of Florence, into which we were admitted with as little trouble as custom house officers, soldiers, and policemen can possibly give. They did not examine our luggage, and even declined a fee, as we had already paid one at the frontier custom house. Thank Heaven, and the Grand Duke! As we hoped that the Casa del Bello had been taken for us, we drove thither in the first place, but found that the bargain had not been concluded. As the house and studio of Mr. Powers were just on the opposite side of the street, I went to it, but found him too much engrossed to see me at the moment; so I re-turned to the vettura, and we told Gaetano to carry us to a hotel. He established us at the Albergo della Fontana, a good and comfortable house. . . . Mr. Powers called in the evening,--a plain personage, characterized by strong simplicity and warm kindliness, with an impending brow, and large eyes, which kindle as he speaks. He is gray, and slightly bald, but does not seem elderly, nor past his prime. I accept him at once as an honest and trustworthy man, and shall not vary from this judgment. Through his good offices, the next day, we engaged the Casa del

 

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Bello, at a rent of fifty dollars a month, and I shall take another opportunity (my fingers and head being tired now) to write about the house, and Mr. Powers, and what appertains to him, and about the beautiful city of Florence. At present, I shall only say further, that this journey from Rome has been one of the brightest and most uncareful interludes of my life; we have all enjoyed it exceedingly, and I am happy that our children have it to look back upon.

June 4th.-- At our visit to Powers's studio on Tuesday, we saw a marble copy of the fisher-boy holding a shell to his ear, and the bust of Proserpine, and two or three other ideal busts; various casts of most of the ideal statues and portrait busts which he has executed. He talks very freely about his works, and is no exception to the rule that an artist is not apt to speak in a very laudatory style of a brother artist. He showed us a bust of Mr. Sparks, by Persico,--a lifeless and thoughtless thing enough, to be sure,--and compared it with a very good one of the same gentleman by himself; but his chiefest scorn was bestowed on a wretched and ridiculous image of Mr. King, of Alabama, by Clarke Mills, of which he said he had been employed to make several copies for Southern gentlemen. The consciousness of power is plainly to be seen, and the assertion of it by no means withheld, in his simple and natural character; nor does it give me an idea of vanity on his part to see and hear it. He appears to consider himself neglected by his country,--by the government of it, at least,--and talks with indignation of the byways and political intrigue which, he thinks, win the rewards that ought to be bestowed exclusively on merit. An appropriation of twenty-five

 

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thousand dollars was made, some years ago, for a work of sculpture by him, to be placed in the Capitol; but the intermediate measures necessary to render it effective have been delayed; while the above-mentioned Clarke Mills--certainly the greatest bungler that ever botched a block of marble--has received an order for an equestrian statue of Washington. Not that Mr. Powers is made bitter or sour by these wrongs, as he considers them; he talks of them with the frankness of his disposition when the topic comes in his way, and is pleasant, kindly, and sunny when he has done with it. His long absence from our country has made him think worse of us than we deserve; and it is an effect of what I myself am sensible, in my shorter exile: the most piercing shriek, the wildest yell, and all the ugly sounds of popular turmoil, inseparable from the life of a republic, being a million times more audible than the peaceful hum of prosperity and content which is going on all the while. He talks of going home, but says that he has been talking of it every year since he first came to Italy; and between his pleasant life of congenial labor, and his idea of moral deterioration in America, I think it doubtful whether he ever crosses the sea again. Like most exiles of twenty years, he has lost his native country without finding another; but then it is as well to recognize the truth,--that an individual country is by no means essential to one's comfort. Powers took us into the farthest room, I believe, of his very extensive studio, and showed us a statue of Washington that has much dignity and stateliness. He expressed, however, great contempt for the coat and breeches, and masonic emblems, in which he had

 

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been required to drape the figure. What would he do with Washington, the most decorous and respectable personage that ever went ceremoniously through the realities of life? Did anybody ever see Washington nude? It is inconceivable. He had no nakedness, but I imagine he was born with his clothes on, and his hair powdered, and made a stately bow on his first appearance in the world. His costume, at all events, was a part of his character, and must be dealt with by whatever sculptor undertakes to represent him. I wonder that so very sensible a man as Powers should not see the necessity of accepting drapery, and the very drapery of the day, if he will keep his art alive. It is his business to idealize the tailor's actual work. But he seems to be especially fond of nudity, none of his ideal statues, so far as I know them, having so much as a rag of clothes. His statue of California, lately finished, and as naked as Venus, seemed to me a very good work; not an actual woman, capable of exciting passion, but evidently a little out of the category of human nature. In one hand she holds a divining rod. "She says to the emigrants," observed Powers, "'Here is the gold, if you choose to take it.'" But in her face, and in her eyes, very finely expressed, there is a look of latent mischief, rather grave than playful, yet somewhat impish or sprite-like; and, in the other hand, behind her back, she holds a bunch of thorns. Powers calls her eyes Indian. The statue is true to the present fact and history of California, and includes the age-long truth as respects the "auri sacra fames." . . . .

When we had looked sufficiently at the sculpture, Powers proposed that we should now go across the street and see the Casa del Bello. We did so in a

 

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body, Powers in his dressing-gown and slippers, and his wife and daughters without assuming any street costume.

The Casa del Bello is a palace of three pianos, the topmost of which is occupied by the Countess of St. George, an English lady, and two lower pianos are to be let, and we looked at both. The upper one would have suited me well enough; but the lower has a terrace, with a rustic summer-house over it, and is connected with a garden, where there are arbors and a willow-tree, and a little wilderness of shrubbery and roses, with a fountain in the midst. It has likewise an immense suite of rooms, round the four sides of a small court, spacious, lofty, with frescoed ceilings and rich hangings, and abundantly furnished with arm-chairs, sofas, marble tables, and great looking-glasses. Not that these last are a great temptation, but in our wandering life I wished to be perfectly comfortable myself, and to make my family so, for just this summer, and so I have taken the lower piano, the price being only fifty dollars per month (entirely furnished, even to silver and linen). Certainly this is something like the paradise of cheapness we were told of, and which we vainly sought in Rome. . . .

To me has been assigned the pleasantest room for my study; and when I like I can overflow into the summer-house or an arbor, and sit there dreaming of a story. The weather is delightful, too warm to walk, but perfectly fit to do nothing in, in the coolness of these great rooms. Every day I shall write a little, perhaps,--and probably take a brief nap somewhere between breakfast and tea,--but go to see pictures and statues occasionally, and so assuage and mollify myself a little after that uncongenial life of the con-

 

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sulate, and before going back to my own hard and dusty New England.

After concluding the arrangement for the Casa del Bello, we stood talking a little while with Powers and his wife and daughter before the door of the house, for they seem so far to have adopted the habits of the Florentines as to feel themselves at home on the shady side of the street. The out-of-door life and free communication with the pavement, habitual apparently among the middle classes, reminds me of the plays of Molière and other old dramatists, in which the street or the square becomes a sort of common parlor, where most of the talk and scenic business of the people is carried on.

June 5th.--For two or three mornings after breakfast I have rambled a little about the city till the shade grew narrow beneath the walls of the houses, and the heat made it uncomfortable to be in motion. To-day I went over the Ponte Carraja, and thence into and through the heart of the city, looking into several churches, in all of which I found people taking advantage of the cool breadth of these sacred interiors to refresh themselves and say their prayers. Florence at first struck me as having the aspect of a very new city in comparison with Rome; but, on closer acquaintance, I find that many of the buildings are antique and massive, though still the clear atmosphere, the bright sunshine, the light, cheerful hues of the stucco, and--as much as anything else, perhaps--the vivacious character of the human life in the streets, take away the sense of its being an ancient city. The streets are delightful to walk in after so many penitential pilgrimages as I have made over

 

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those little square, uneven blocks of the Roman pavement, which wear out the boots and torment the soul. I absolutely walk on the smooth flags of Florence for the mere pleasure of walking, and live in its atmosphere for the mere pleasure of living; and, warm as the weather is getting to be, I never feel that inclination to sink down in a heap and never stir again, which was my dull torment and misery as long as I stayed in Rome. I hardly think there can be a place in the world where life is more delicious for its own simple sake than here.

I went to-day into the Baptistery, which stands near the Duomo, and, like that, is covered externally with slabs of black and white marble, now grown brown and yellow with age. The edifice is octagonal, and on entering, one immediately thinks of the Pantheon,--the whole space within being free from side to side, with a dome above; but it differs from the severe simplicity of the former edifice, being elaborately ornamented with marble and frescos, and lacking that great eye in the roof that looks so nobly and reverently heavenward from the Pantheon. I did little more than pass through the Baptistery, glancing at the famous bronze doors, some perfect and admirable casts of which I had already seen at the Crystal Palace.

The entrance of the Duomo being just across the piazza, I went in there after leaving the Baptistery, and was struck anew--for this is the third or fourth visit--with the dim grandeur of the interior, lighted as it is almost exclusively by painted windows, which seem to me worth all the variegated marbles and rich cabinet-work of St. Peter's. The Florentine Cathedral has a spacious and lofty nave, and side-aisles divided from it by pillars; but there are no chapels

 

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along the aisles, so that there is far more breadth and freedom of interior, in proportion to the actual space, than is usual in churches. It is woful to think how the vast capaciousness within St. Peter's is thrown away, and made to seem smaller than it is by every possible device, as if on purpose. The pillars and walls of this Duomo are of a uniform brownish, neutral tint; the pavement, a mosaic work of marble; the ceiling of the dome itself is covered with frescos, which, being very imperfectly lighted, it is impossible to trace out. Indeed, it is but a twilight region that is enclosed within the firmament of this great dome, which is actually larger than that of St. Peter's, though not lifted so high from the pavement. But looking at the painted windows, I little cared what dimness there might be elsewhere; for certainly the art of man has never contrived any other beauty and glory at all to be compared to this.

The dome sits, as it were, upon three smaller domes,--smaller, but still great,--beneath which are three vast niches, forming the transepts of the Cathedral and the tribune behind the high altar. All round these hollow, dome-covered arches or niches, are high and narrow windows crowded with saints, angels, and all manner of blessed shapes, that turn the common daylight into a miracle of richness and splendor as it passes through their heavenly substance. And just beneath the swell of the great central dome is a wreath of circular windows quite round it, as brilliant as the tall and narrow ones below. It is a pity anybody should die without seeing an antique painted window, with the bright Italian sunshine glowing through it. This is "the dim, religious light" that Milton speaks of; but I doubt whether he saw these windows when

 

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he was in Italy, or any but those faded or dusty and dingy ones of the English cathedrals, else he would have illuminated that word "dim" with some epithet that should not chase away the dimness, yet should make it shine like a million of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and topazes,--bright in themselves, but dim with tenderness and reverence, because God himself was shining through them. I hate what I have said.

All the time that I was in the Cathedral the space around the high altar, which stands exactly under the dome, was occupied by priests or acolytes in white garments, chanting a religious service.

After coming out, I took a view of the edifice from a corner of the street nearest to the dome, where it and the smaller domes can be seen at once. It is greatly more satisfactory than St. Peter's in any view I ever had of it,--striking in its outline, with a mystery, yet not a bewilderment, in its masses and curves and angles, and wrought out with a richness of detail that gives the eyes new arches, new galleries, new niches, new pinnacles, new beauties, great and small, to play with when wearied with the vast whole. The hue, black and white marbles, like the Baptistery, turned also yellow and brown, is greatly preferable to the buff travertine of St. Peter's.

From the Duomo it is but a moderate street's length to the Piazza del Gran Duca, the principal square of Florence. It is a very interesting place, and has on one side the old Governmental Palace,--the Palazzo Vecchio,--where many scenes of historic interest have been enacted; for example, conspirators have been hanged from its windows, or precipitated from them upon the pavement of the square below.

It is a pity that we cannot take as much interest

 

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in the history of these Italian Republics as in that of England, for the former is much the more picturesque and fuller of curious incident. The sobriety of the Anglo-Saxon race--in connection, too, with their moral sense--keeps them from doing a great many things that would enliven the page of history; and their events seem to come in great masses, shoved along by the agency of many persons, rather than to result from individual will and character. A hundred plots for a tragedy might be found in Florentine history for one in English.

At one corner of the Palazzo Vecchio is a bronze equestrian statue of Cosmo di Medici, the first Grand Duke, very stately and majestic; there are other marble statues--one of David, by Michel Angelo--at each side of the palace door; and entering the court I found a rich antique arcade within, surrounded by marble pillars, most elaborately carved, supporting arches that were covered with faded frescos. I went no farther, but stepped across a little space of the square to the Loggia di Lanzi, which is broad and noble, of three vast arches, at the end of which, I take it, is a part of the Palazzo Uffizzi fronting on the piazza. I should call it a portico if it stood before the palace door; but it seems to have been constructed merely for itself, and as a shelter for the people from sun and rain, and to contain some fine specimens of sculpture, as well antique as of more modern times. Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus stands here; but it did not strike me so much as the cast of it in the Crystal Palace.

A good many people were under these great arches some of whom were reclining, half or quite asleep, on the marble seats that are built against the back of the

 

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loggia. A group was reading an edict of the Grand Duke, which appeared to have been just posted on a board, at the farther end of it; and I was surprised at the interest which they ventured to manifest, and the freedom with which they seemed to discuss it. A soldier was on guard, and doubtless there were spies enough to carry every word that was said to the ear of absolute authority. Glancing myself at the edict, however, I found it referred only to the furtherance of a project, got up among the citizens themselves, for bringing water into the city; and on such topics, I suppose, there is freedom of discussion.

June 7th.--Saturday evening we walked, with U-- and J-----, into the city, and looked at the exterior of the Duomo with new admiration. Since my former view of it, I have noticed--which, strangely enough, did not strike me before--that the façade is but a great, bare, ugly space, roughly plastered over, with the brickwork peeping through it in spots, and a faint, almost invisible fresco of colors upon it. This front was once nearly finished with an incrustation of black and white marble, like the rest of the edifice; but one of the city magistrates, Benedetto Uguacione, demolished it three hundred years ago, with the idea of building it again in better style. He failed to do so, and ever since the magnificence of the great church has been marred by this unsightly roughness of what should have been its richest part; nor is there, I suppose, any hope that it will ever be finished now. The campanile, or bell-tower, stands within a few paces of the Cathedral, but entirely disconnected from it, rising to a height of nearly three hundred feet, a square tower of light marbles, now discolored by time.

 

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It is impossible to give an idea of the richness of effect produced by its elaborate finish; the whole surface of the four sides, from top to bottom, being decorated with all manner of statuesque and architectural sculpture. It is like a toy of ivory, which some ingenious and pious monk might have spent his lifetime in adorning with scriptural designs and figures of saints; and when it was finished, seeing it so beautiful, he prayed that it might be miraculously magnified from the size of one foot to that of three hundred. This idea somewhat satisfies me, as conveying an impression how gigantesque the campanile is in its mass and height, and how minute and varied in its detail. Surely these mediæval works have an advantage over the classic. They combine the telescope and the microscope.

The city was all alive in the summer evening, and the streets humming with voices. Before the doors of the cafés were tables, at which people were taking refreshment, and it went to my heart to see a bottle of English ale, some of which was poured foaming into a glass; at least it had exactly the amber hue and the foam of English bitter ale; but perhaps it may have been merely a Florentine imitation.

As we returned home over the Arno, crossing the Ponte di Santa Trinita, we were struck by the beautiful scene of the broad, calm river, with the palaces along its shores repeated in it, on either side, and the neighboring bridges, too, just as perfect in the tide beneath as in the air above,--a city of dream and shadow so close to the actual one. God has a meaning, no doubt, in putting this spiritual symbol continually beside us.

Along the river, on both sides, as far as we could see, there was a row of brilliant lamps, which, in the

 

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far distance, looked like a cornice of golden light; and this also shone as brightly in the river's depths. The hues of the evening, in the quarter where the sun had gone down, were very soft and beautiful, though not so gorgeous as thousands that I have seen in America. But I believe I must fairly confess that the Italian sky, in the daytime, is bluer and brighter than our own, and that the atmosphere has a quality of showing objects to better advantage. It is more than mere daylight; the magic of moonlight is somehow mixed up with it, although it is so transparent a medium of light

Last evening, Mr. Powers called to see us, and sat down to talk in a friendly and familiar way. I do not know a man of more facile intercourse, nor with whom one so easily gets rid of ceremony. His conversation, too, is interesting. He talked, to begin with, about Italian food, as poultry, mutton, beef, and their lack of savoriness as compared with our own; and mentioned an exquisite dish of vegetables which they prepare from squash or pumpkin blossoms; likewise another dish, which it will be well for us to remember when we get back to the Wayside, where we are overrun with acacias. It consists of the acacia-blossoms in a certain stage of their development fried in olive-oil. I shall get the receipt from Mrs. Powers, and mean to deserve well of my country by first trying it, and then making it known; only I doubt whether American lard, or even butter, will produce the dish quite so delicately as fresh Florence oil.

Meanwhile, I like Powers all the better, because he does not put his life wholly into marble. We had much talk, nevertheless, on matters of sculpture, for he drank a cup of tea with us, and stayed a good while.

 

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He passed a condemnatory sentence on classic busts in general, saying that they were conventional, and not to be depended upon as true representations of the persons. He particularly excepted none but the bust of Caracalla; and, indeed, everybody that has seen this bust must feel the justice of the exception, and so be the more inclined to accept his opinion about the rest. There are not more than half a dozen--that of Cato the Censor among the others--in regard to which I should like to ask his judgment individually. He seems to think the faculty of making a bust an extremely rare one. Canova put his own likeness into all the busts he made. Greenough could not make a good one; nor Crawford, nor Gibson. Mr. Hart, he observed,--an American sculptor, now a resident in Florence,--is the best man of the day for making busts. Of course, it is to be presumed that he excepts himself; but I would not do Powers the great injustice to imply that there is the slightest professional jealousy in his estimate of what others have done, or are now doing, in his own art. If he saw a better man than himself, he would recognize him at once, and tell the world of him; but he knows well enough that, in this line, there is no better, and probably none so good. It would not accord with the simplicity of his character to blink a fact that stands so broadly before him.

We asked him what he thought of Mr. Gibson's practice of coloring his statues, and he quietly and slyly said that he himself had made wax figures in his earlier days, but had left off making them now. In short, he objected to the practice wholly, and said that a letter of his on the subject had been published in the London "Athenæum," and had given great

 

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offence to some of Mr. Gibson's friends. It appeared to me, however, that his arguments did not apply quite fairly to the case, for he seems to think Gibson aims at producing an illusion of life in the statue, whereas I think his object is merely to give warmth and softness to the snowy marble, and so bring it a little nearer to our hearts and sympathies. Even so far, nevertheless, I doubt whether the practice is defensible, and I was glad to see that Powers scorned, at all events, the argument drawn from the use of color by the antique sculptors, on which Gibson relies so much. It might almost be implied, from the contemptuous way in which Powers spoke of color, that he considers it an impertinence on the face of visible nature, and would rather the world had been made without it; for he said that everything in intellect or feeling can be expressed as perfectly, or more so, by the sculptor in colorless marble, as by the painter with all the resources of his palette. I asked him whether he could model the face of Beatrice Cenci from Guido's picture so as to retain the subtle expression, and he said he could, for that the expression depended entirely on the drawing, "the picture being a badly colored thing." I inquired whether he could model a blush, and he said "Yes"; and that he had once proposed to an artist to express a blush in marble, if he would express it in picture. On consideration, I believe one to be as impossible as the other; the life and reality of the blush being in its tremulousness, coming and going. It is lost in a settled red just as much as in a settled paleness, and neither the sculptor nor painter can do more than represent the circumstances of attitude and expression that accompany the blush. There was a great deal of truth in what

 

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Powers said about this matter of color, and in one of our interminable New England winters it ought to comfort us to think how little necessity there is for any hue but that of the snow.

Mr. Powers, nevertheless, had brought us a bunch of beautiful roses, and seemed as capable of appreciating their delicate blush as we were. The best thing he said against the use of color in marble was to the effect that the whiteness removed the object represented into a sort of spiritual region, and so gave chaste permission to those nudities which would otherwise suggest immodesty. I have myself felt the truth of this in a certain sense of shame as I looked at Gibson's tinted Venus.

He took his leave at about eight o'clock, being to make a call on the Bryants, who are at the Hôtel de New York, and also on Mrs. Browning at Casa Guidi.

June 8th.--I went this morning to the Uffizzi gallery. The entrance is from the great court of the palace, which communicates with Lung' Arno at one end, and with the Grand Ducal Piazza at the other. The gallery is in the upper story of the palace, and in the vestibule are some busts of the princes and cardinals of the Medici family,--none of them beautiful, one or two so ugly as to be ludicrous, especially one who is all but buried in his own wig. I at first travelled slowly through the whole extent of this long, long gallery, which occupies the entire length of the palace on both sides of the court, and is full of sculpture and pictures. The latter, being opposite to the light, are not seen to the best advantage; but it is the most perfect collection, in a chronological series, that I have seen,--comprehending specimens of all the masters

 

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since painting began to be an art. Here are Giotto, and Cimabue, and Botticelli, and Fra Angelico, and Filippo Lippi, and a hundred others, who have haunted me in churches and galleries ever since I have been in Italy, and who ought to interest me a great deal more than they do. Occasionally to-day I was sensible of a certain degree of emotion in looking at an old picture; as, for example, by a large, dark, ugly picture of Christ bearing the cross and sinking beneath it, when, somehow or other, a sense of his agony and the fearful wrong that mankind did (and does) its Redeemer, and the scorn of his enemies, and the sorrow of those who loved him, came knocking at my heart and got entrance there. Once more I deem it a pity that Protestantism should have entirely laid aside this mode of appealing to the religious sentiment.

I chiefly paid attention to the sculpture, and was interested in a long series of busts of the emperors and the members of their families, and some of the great men of Rome. There is a bust of Pompey the Great, bearing not the slightest resemblance to that vulgar and unintellectual one in the gallery of the Capitol, altogether a different cast of countenance. I could not judge whether it resembled the face of the statue, having seen the latter so imperfectly in the duskiness of the hall of the Spada Palace. These, I presume, are the busts which Mr. Powers condemns, from internal evidence, as unreliable and conventional. He may be right,--and is far more likely, of course, to be right than I am,--yet there certainly seems to be character in these marble faces, and they differ as much among themselves as the same number of living faces might. The bust of Caracalla, however, which Powers excepted from his censure, certainly does give

 

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stronger assurance of its being an individual and faithful portrait than any other in the series. All the busts of Caracalla--of which I have seen many--give the same evidence of their truth; and I should like to know what it was in this abominable emperor that made him insist upon having his actual likeness perpetuated, with all the ugliness of its animal and moral character. I rather respect him for it, and still more the sculptor, whose hand, methinks, must have trembled as he wrought the bust. Generally these wicked old fellows, and their wicked wives and daughters, are not so hideous as we might expect. Messalina, for instance, has small and pretty features, though with rather a sensual development of the lower part of the face. The busts, it seemed to me, are usually superior as works of art to those in the Capitol, and either better preserved or more thoroughly restored. The bust of Nero might almost be called handsome here, though bearing his likeness unmistakably.

I wish some competent person would undertake to analyze and develop his character, and how and by what necessity--with all his elegant tastes, his love of the beautiful, his artist nature--he grew to be such a monster. Nero has never yet had justice done him, nor have any of the wicked emperors; not that I suppose them to have been any less monstrous than history represents them; but there must surely have been something in their position and circumstances to render the terrible moral disease which seized upon them so generally almost inevitable. A wise and profound man, tender and reverent of the human soul, and capable of appreciating it in its height and depth, has a great field here for the exercise of his powers. It has struck me, in reading the history of the Italian repub-

 

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lics, that many of the tyrants, who sprung up after the destruction of their liberties, resembled the worst of the Roman emperors. The subject of Nero and his brethren has often perplexed me with vain desires to come at the truth.

There were many beautiful specimens of antique, ideal sculpture all along the gallery,--Apollos, Bacchuses, Venuses, Mercurys, Fauns,--with the general character of all of which I was familiar enough to recognize them at a glance. The mystery and wonder of the gallery, however, the Venus di Medici, I could nowhere see, and indeed was almost afraid to see it; for I somewhat apprehended the extinction of another of those lights that shine along a man's pathway, and go out in a snuff the instant he comes within eyeshot of the fulfilment of his hopes. My European experience has extinguished many such. I was pretty well contented, therefore, not to find the famous statue in the whole of my long journey from end to end of the gallery, which terminates on the opposite side of the court from that where it commences. The ceiling, by the by, through the entire length, is covered with frescos, and the floor paved with a composition of stone smooth and polished like marble. The final piece of sculpture, at the end of the gallery, is a copy of the Laocoön, considered very fine. I know not why, but it did not impress me with the sense of mighty and terrible repose--a repose growing out of the infinitude of trouble--that I had felt in the original. Parallel with the gallery, on both sides of the palace-court, there runs a series of rooms devoted chiefly to pictures, although statues and bas-reliefs are likewise contained in some of them. I remember an unfinished bas-relief by Michel Angelo of a Holy

 

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Family, which I touched with my finger, because it seemed as if he might have been at work upon it only an hour ago. The pictures I did little more than glance at, till I had almost completed again the circuit of the gallery, through this series of parallel rooms, and then I came upon a collection of French and Dutch and Flemish masters, all of which interested me more than the Italian generally. There was a beautiful picture by Claude, almost as good as those in the British National Gallery, and very like in subject; the sun near the horizon, of course, and throwing its line of light over the ripple of water, with ships at the strand, and one or two palaces of stately architecture on the shore. Landscapes by Rembrandt; fat Graces and other plump nudities by Rubens; brass pans and earthen pots and herrings by Teniers and other Dutchmen; none by Gerard Dow, I think, but several by Miens; all of which were like bread and beef and ale, after having been fed too long on made dishes. This is really a wonderful collection of pictures; and from first to last--from Giotto to the men of yesterday--they are in admirable condition, and may be appreciated for all the merit that they ever possessed.

I could not quite believe that I was not to find the Venus di Medici; and still, as I passed from one room to another, my breath rose and fell a little, with the half-hope, half-fear, that she might stand before me. Really, I did not know that I cared so much about Venus, or any possible woman of marble. At last, when I had come from among the Dutchmen, I believe, and was looking at some works of Italian artists, chiefly Florentines, I caught a glimpse of her through the door of the next room. It is the best room of the

 

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series, octagonal in shape, and hung with red damask, and the light comes down from a row of windows, passing quite round, beneath an octagonal dome. The Venus stands somewhat aside from the centre of the room, and is surrounded by an iron railing, a pace or two from her pedestal in front, and less behind. I think she might safely be left to the reverence her womanhood would win, without any other protection. She is very beautiful, very satisfactory; and has a fresh and new charm about her unreached by any cast or copy. The hue of the marble is just so much mellowed by time, as to do for her all that Gibson tries, or ought to try to do for his statues by color, softening her, warming her almost imperceptibly, making her an inmate of the heart, as well as a spiritual existence. I felt a kind of tenderness for her; an affection, not as if she were one woman, but all womanhood in one. Her modest attitude, which, before I saw her, I had not liked, deeming that it might be an artificial shame, is partly what unmakes her as the heathen goddess, and softens her into woman. There is a slight degree of alarm, too, in her face; not that she really thinks anybody is looking at her, yet the idea has flitted through her mind, and startled her a little. Her face is so beautiful and intellectual, that it is not dazzled out of sight by her form. Methinks this was a triumph for the sculptor to achieve. I may as well stop here. It is of no use to throw heaps of words upon her; for they all fall away, and leave her standing in chaste and naked grace, as untouched as when I began.

She has suffered terribly by the mishaps of her long existence in the marble. Each of her legs has been broken into two or three fragments, her arms have

 

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been severed, her body has been broken quite across at the waist, her head has been snapped off at the neck. Furthermore, there have been grievous wounds and losses of substance in various tender parts of her person. But on account of the skill with which the statue has been restored, and also because the idea is perfect and indestructible, all these injuries do not in the least impair the effect, even when you see where the dissevered fragments have been reunited. She is just as whole as when she left the hands of the sculptor. I am glad to have seen this Venus, and to have found her so tender and so chaste. On the wall of the room, and to be taken in at the same glance, is a painted Venus by Titian, reclining on a couch, naked and lustful.

The room of the Venus seems to be the treasure-place of the whole Uffizzi Palace, containing more pictures by famous masters than are to be found in all the rest of the gallery. There were several by Raphael, and the room was crowded with the easels of artists. I did not look half enough at anything, but merely took a preliminary taste, as a prophecy of enjoyment to come.

As we were at dinner to-day, at half past three, there was a ring at the door, and a minute after our servant brought a card. It was Mr. Robert Browning's, and on it was written in pencil an invitation for us to go to see them this evening. He had left the card and gone away; but very soon the bell rang again, and he had come back, having forgotten to give his address. This time he came in; and he shook hands with all of us, children and grown people, and was very vivacious and agreeable. He looked younger and even handsomer than when I saw him in London,

 

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two years ago, and his gray hairs seemed fewer than those that had then strayed into his youthful head. He talked a wonderful quantity in a little time, and told us--among other things that we should never have dreamed of that Italian people will not cheat you, if you construe them generously, and put them upon their honor.

Mr. Browning was very kind and warm in his expressions of pleasure at seeing us; and, on our part, we were all very glad to meet him. He must be an exceedingly likeable man. . . They are to leave Florence very soon, and are going to Normandy, I think he said, for the rest of the summer.

The Venus di Medici has a dimple in her chin.

 

June 9th.--We went last evening, at eight o'clock, to see the Brownings; and, after some search and inquiry, we found the Casa Guidi, which is a palace in a street not very far from our own. It being dusk, I could not see the exterior, which, if I remember, Browning has celebrated in song; at all events, Mrs. Browning has called one of her poems "Casa Guidi Windows."

The street is a narrow one; but on entering the palace, we found a spacious staircase and ample accommodations of vestibule and hall, the latter opening on a balcony, where we could hear the chanting of priests in a church close by. Browning told us that this was the first church where an oratorio had ever been performed. He came into the anteroom to greet us, as did his little boy, Robert, whom they call Pennini for fondness. The latter cognomen is a diminutive of Apennino, which was bestowed upon him at his first advent into the world because he was so very small,

 

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there being a statue in Florence of colossal size called Apennino. I never saw such a boy as this before; so slender, fragile, and spirit-like,--not as if he were actually in ill health, but as if he had little or nothing to do with human flesh and blood. His face is very pretty and most intelligent, and exceedingly like his mother's. He is nine years old, and seems at once less childlike and less manly than would befit that age. I should not quite like to be the father of such a boy, and should fear to stake so much interest and affection on him as he cannot fail to inspire. I wonder what is to become of him,--whether he will ever grow to be a man,--whether it is desirable that he should. His parents ought to turn their whole attention to making him robust and earthly, and to giving him a thicker scabbard to sheathe his spirit in. He was born in Florence, and prides himself on being a Florentine, and is indeed as un-English a production as if he were native of another planet.

Mrs. Browning met us at the door of the drawing-room, and greeted us most kindly,--a pale, small person, scarcely embodied at all; at any rate, only substantial enough to put forth her slender fingers to be grasped, and to speak with a shrill, yet sweet, tenuity of voice. Really, I do not see how Mr. Browning can suppose that he has an earthly wife any more than an earthly child; both are of the elfin race, and will flit away from him some day when he least thinks of it. She is a good and kind fairy, however, and sweetly disposed towards the human race, although only remotely akin to it. It is wonderful to see how small she is, how pale her cheek, how bright and dark her eyes. There is not such another figure in the world; and her black ringlets cluster down into her

 

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neck, and make her face look the whiter by their sable profusion. I could not form any judgment about her age; it may range anywhere within the limits of human life or elfin life. When I met her in London at Lord Houghton's breakfast-table, she did not impress me so singularly; for the morning light is more prosaic than the dim illumination of their great tapestried drawing-room; and, besides, sitting next to her, she did not have occasion to raise her voice in speaking, and I was not sensible what a slender voice she has. It is marvellous to me how so extraordinary, so acute, so sensitive a creature can impress us, as she does, with the certainty of her benevolence. It seems to me there were a million chances to one that she would have been a miracle of acidity and bitterness.

We were not the only guests. Mr. and Mrs. E----, Americans, recently from the East, and on intimate terms with the Brownings, arrived after us; also Miss F. H---- , an English literary lady, whom I have met several times in Liverpool; and lastly came the white head and palmer-like beard of Mr. ---- with his daughter. Mr. Browning was very efficient in keeping up conversation with everybody, and seemed to be in all parts of the room and in every group at the same moment; a most vivid and quick-thoughted person, logical and common-sensible, as, I presume, poets generally are in their daily talk. Mr. ----, as usual, was homely and plain of manner, with an old-fashioned dignity, nevertheless, and a remarkable deference and gentleness of tone in addressing Mrs. Browning. I doubt, however, whether he has any high appreciation either of her poetry or her husband's, and it is my impression that they care as little about his.

 

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We had some tea and some strawberries, and passed a pleasant evening. There was no very noteworthy conversation; the most interesting topic being that disagreeable and now wearisome one of spiritual communications, as regards which Mrs. Browning is a believer, and her husband an infidel. Mr. ---- appeared not to have made up his mind on the matter, but told a story of a successful communication between Cooper the novelist and his sister, who had been dead fifty years. Browning and his wife had both been present at a spiritual session held by Mr. Hume, and had seen and felt the unearthly hands, one of which had placed a laurel wreath on Mrs. Browning's head. Browning, however, avowed his belief that these hands were affixed to the feet of Mr. Hume, who lay extended in his chair, with his legs stretched far under the table. The marvellousness of the fact, as I have read of it, and heard it from other eye-witnesses, melted strangely away in his hearty gripe, and at the sharp touch of his logic; while his wife, ever and anon, put in a little gentle word of expostulation.

I am rather surprised that Browning's conversation should be so clear, and so much to the purpose at the moment, since his poetry can seldom proceed far without running into the high grass of latent meanings and obscure allusions.

Mrs. Browning's health does not permit late hours, so we began to take leave at about ten o'clock. I heard her ask Mr. ---- if he did not mean to revisit Europe, and heard him answer, not uncheerfully, taking hold of his white hair, "It is getting rather too late in the evening now." If any old age can be cheerful, I should think his might be; so good a man, so cool, so calm, so bright, too, we may say. His life

 

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has been like the days that end in pleasant sunsets. He has a great loss, however, or what ought to be a great loss,--soon to be encountered in the death of his wife, who, I think, can hardly live to reach America. He is not eminently an affectionate man. I take him to be one who cannot get closely home to his sorrow, nor feel it so sensibly as he gladly would; and, in consequence of that deficiency, the world lacks substance to him. It is partly the result, perhaps, of his not having sufficiently cultivated his emotional nature. His poetry shows it, and his personal intercourse, though kindly, does not stir one's blood in the least.

Little Pennini, during the evening, sometimes helped the guests to cake and strawberries; joined in the conversation, when he had anything to say, or sat down upon a couch to enjoy his own meditations. He has long curling hair, and has not yet emerged from his frock and short hose. It is funny to think of putting him into trousers. His likeness to his mother is strange to behold.

June 10th.--My wife and I went to the Pitti Palace to-day; and first entered a court where, yesterday, she had seen a carpet of flowers, arranged for some great ceremony. It must have been a most beautiful sight, the pavement of the court being entirely covered by them, in a regular pattern of brilliant hues, so as really to be a living mosaic. This morning, however, the court had nothing but its usual stones, and the show of yesterday seemed so much the more inestimable as having been so evanescent. Around the walls of the court there were still some pieces of splendid tapestry which had made part of

 

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yesterday's magnificence. We went up the staircase, of regally broad and easy ascent, and made application to be admitted to see the grand ducal apartments. An attendant accordingly took the keys, and ushered us first into a great hall with a vaulted ceiling, and then though a series of noble rooms, with rich frescos above the mosaic floors, hung with damask, adorned with gilded chandeliers, and glowing, in short, with more gorgeousness than I could have imagined beforehand, or can now remember. In many of the rooms were those superb antique cabinets which I admire more than any other furniture ever invented; only these were of unexampled art and glory, inlaid with precious stones, and with beautiful Florentine mosaics, both of flowers and landscapes,--each cabinet worth a lifetime's toil to make it, and the cost a whole palace to pay for it. Many of the rooms were covered with arras, of landscapes, hunting-scenes, mythological subjects, or historical scenes, equal to pictures in truth of representation, and possessing an indescribable richness that makes them preferable as a mere adornment of princely halls and chambers. Some of the rooms, as I have said, were laid in mosaic of stone and marble, otherwise in lovely patterns of various woods; others were covered with carpets, delightful to tread upon, and glowing like the living floor of flowers which my wife saw yesterday. There were tables, too, of Florentine mosaic, the mere materials of which--lapis lazuli, malachite, pearl, and a hundred other precious things--were worth a fortune, and made a thousand times more valuable by the artistic skill of the manufacturer. I toss together brilliant words by the handful, and make a rude sort of patchwork, but can record no adequate idea of what

 

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I saw in this suite of rooms; and the taste, the subdued splendor, so that it did not shine too high, but was all tempered into an effect at once grand and soft,--this was quite as remarkable as the gorgeous material. I have seen a very dazzling effect produced in the principal cabin of an American clipper-ship quite opposed to this in taste.

After making the circuit of the grand ducal apartments, we went into a door in the left wing of the palace, and ascended a narrow flight of stairs,--several tortuous flights indeed,--to the picture-gallery. It fills a great many stately halls, which themselves are well worth a visit for the architecture and frescos; only these matters become commonplace after travelling though a mile or two of them. The collection of pictures--as well for their number as for the celebrity and excellence of many of them--is the most interesting that I have seen, and I do not yet feel in a condition, nor perhaps ever shall, to speak of a single one. It gladdened my very heart to find that they were not darkened out of sight, nor apparently at all injured by time, but were well kept and varnished, brilliantly framed, and, no doubt, restored by skilful touches if any of them needed it. The artists and amateurs may say what they like; for my part, I know no drearier feeling than that inspired by a ruined picture,--ruined, that is by time, damp, or rough treatment,--and I would a thousand times rather an artist should do his best towards reviving it, than have it left in such a condition. I do not believe, however, that these pictures have been sacrilegiously interfered with; at all events, I saw in the masterpieces no touch but what seemed worthy of the master-hand.

 

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The most beautiful picture in the world, I am convinced, is Raphael's Madonna della Seggiola. I was familiar with it in a hundred engravings and copies, and therefore it shone upon me as with a familiar beauty, though infinitely more divine than I had ever seen it before. An artist was copying it, and producing certainly something very like a fac-simile, yet leaving out, as a matter of course, that mysterious something that renders the picture a miracle. It is my present opinion that the pictorial art is capable of something more like magic, more wonderful and inscrutable in its methods than poetry, or any other mode of developing the beautiful. But how does this accord with what I have been saying only a minute ago? How then can the decayed picture of a great master ever be restored by the touches of an inferior hand? Doubtless it never can be restored; but let some devoted worshipper do his utmost, and the whole inherent spirit of the divine picture may pervade his restorations likewise.

I saw the Three Fates of Michel Angelo, which were also being copied, as were many other of the best pictures. Miss Fanny Howorth, whom I met in the gallery, told me that, to copy the Madonna della Seggiola, application must be made five years beforehand, so many are the artists who aspire to copy it. Michel Angelo's Fates are three very grim and pitiless old women, who respectively spin, hold, and cut the thread of human destiny, all in a mood of sombre gloom, but with no more sympathy than if they had nothing to do with us. I remember seeing an etching of this when I was a child, and being struck, even then, with the terrible, stern, passionless severity, neither loving us nor hating us, that characterizes

 

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these ugly old women. If they were angry, or had the least spite against human kind, it would render them the more tolerable. They are a great work, containing and representing the very idea that makes a belief in fate such a cold torture to the human soul. God give me the sure belief in his Providence!

In a year's time, with the advantage of access to this magnificent gallery, I think I might come to have some little knowledge of pictures. At present I still know nothing; but am glad to find myself capable, at least, of loving one picture better than another. I cannot always "keep the heights I gain," however; and after admiring and being moved by a picture one day, it is within my experience to look at it the next as little moved as if it were a tavern-sign. It is pretty much the same with statuary; the same, too, with those pictured windows of the Duomo, which I described so rapturously a few days ago. I looked at them again the next morning, and thought they would have been hardly worthy of my eulogium, even had all the separate windows of the Cathedral combined their narrow lights into one grand, resplendent, many-colored arch at the eastern end. It is a pity they are so narrow. England has many a great chancel-window that, though dimmer in its hues, dusty, and perhaps made up of heterogeneous fragments, eclipses these by its spacious breadth.

From the gallery, I went into the Boboli Gardens, which are contiguous to the palace; but found them too sunny for enjoyment. They seem to consist partly of a wilderness; but the portion into which I strayed was laid out with straight walks, lined with high box-hedges, along which there was only a narrow margin of shade. I saw an amphitheatre, with a wide sweep

 

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of marble seat around it, enclosing a grassy space, where, doubtless, the Medici may have witnessed splendid spectacles.

 

June 11th.--I paid another visit to the Uffizzi gallery this morning, and found that the Venus is one of the things the charm of which does not diminish on better acquaintance. The world has not grown weary of her in all these ages; and mortal man may look on her with new delight from infancy to old age, and keep the memory of her, I should imagine, as one of the treasures of spiritual existence hereafter. Surely, it makes me more ready to believe in the high destinies of the human race, to think that this beautiful form is but nature's plan for all womankind, and that the nearer the actual woman approaches it, the more natural she is. I do not, and cannot, think of her as a senseless image, but as a being that lives to gladden the world, incapable of decay and death; as young and fair to-day as she was three thousand years ago, and still to be young and fair as long as a beautiful thought shall require physical embodiment. I wonder how any sculptor has had the impertinence to aim at any other presentation of female beauty. I mean no disrespect to Gibson or Powers, or a hundred other men who people the world with nudities, all of which are abortions as compared with her; but I think the world would be all the richer if their Venuses, their Greek Slaves, their Eves, were burnt into quicklime, leaving us only this statue as our image of the beautiful. I observed to-day that the eyes of the statue are slightly hollowed out, in a peculiar way, so as to give them a look of depth and intelligence. She is a miracle. The sculptor must have wrought religiously,

 

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and have felt that something far beyond his own skill was working through his hands. I mean to leave off speaking of the Venus hereafter, in utter despair of saying what I wish; especially as the contemplation of the statue will refine and elevate my taste, and make it continually more difficult to express my sense of its excellence, as the perception of it grows upon me. If at any time I become less sensible of it, it will be my deterioration, not any defect in the statue.

I looked at many of the pictures, and found myself in a favorable mood for enjoying them. It seems to me that a work of art is entitled to credit for all that it makes us feel in our best moments; and we must judge of its merits by the impression it then makes. and not by the coldness and insensibility of our less genial moods.

After leaving the Uffizzi Palace, . . . I went into the Museum of Natural History, near the Pitti Palace. It is a very good collection of almost everything that Nature has made,--or exquisite copies of what she has made,--stones, shells, vegetables, insects, fishes, animals, man; the greatest wonders of the museum being some models in wax of all parts of the human frame. It is good to have the wholeness and summed-up beauty of woman in the memory, when looking at the details of her system as here displayed; for these last, to the natural eye, are by no means beautiful. But they are what belong only to our mortality. The beauty that makes them invisible is our immortal type, which we shall take away with us. Under glass cases, there were some singular and horribly truthful representations, in small wax figures, of a time of pestilence; the hasty burial, or tossing into one common sepulchre, of discolored corpses,--a very ugly piece

 

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of work, indeed. I think Murray says that these things were made for the Grand Duke Cosmo; and if so, they do him no credit, indicating something dark and morbid in his character.

 

June 13th.--We called at the Powers's yesterday morning to leave R--- there for an hour or two to play with the children; and it being not yet quite time for the Pitti Palace, we stepped into the studio. Soon Mr. Powers made his appearance, in his dressing-gown and slippers and sculptor's cap, smoking a cigar. . . . He was very cordial and pleasant, as I have always found him, and began immediately to be communicative about his own works, or any other subject that came up. There were two casts of the Venus di Medici in the rooms, which he said were valuable in a commercial point of view, being genuine casts from the mould taken from the statue. He then gave us a quite unexpected but most interesting lecture on the Venus, demonstrating it, as he proceeded, by reference to the points which he criticised. The figure, he seemed to allow, was admirable, though I think he hardly classes it so high as his own Greek Slave or Eve; but the face, he began with saying, was that of an idiot. Then, leaning on the pedestal of the cast, he continued, "It is rather a bold thing to say, is n't it, that the sculptor of the Venus di Medici did not know what he was about?"

Truly, it appeared to me so; but Powers went on remorselessly, and showed, in the first place, that the eye was not like any eye that Nature ever made; and, indeed, being examined closely, and abstracted from the rest of the face, it has a very queer look,--less like a human eye than a half-worn buttonhole! Then

 

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he attacked the ear, which, he affirmed and demonstrated, was placed a good deal too low on the head, thereby giving an artificial and monstrous height to the portion of the head above it. The forehead met with no better treatment in his hands, and as to the mouth, it was altogether wrong, as well in its general make as in such niceties as the junction of the skin of the lips to the common skin around them. In a word, the poor face was battered all to pieces and utterly demolished; nor was it possible to doubt or question that it fell by its own demerits. All that could be urged in its defence--and even that I did not urge--being that this very face had affected me, only the day before, with a sense of higher beauty and intelligence than I had ever then received from sculpture, and that its expression seemed to accord with that of the whole figure, as if it were the sweetest note of the same music. There must be something in this; the sculptor disregarded technicalities, and the imitation of actual nature, the better to produce the effect which he really does produce, in somewhat the same way as a painter works his magical illusions by touches that have no relation to the truth if looked at from the wrong point of view. But Powers considers it certain that the antique sculptor had bestowed all his care on the study of the human figure, and really did not know how to make a face. I myself used to think that the face was a much less important thing with the Greeks, among whom the entire beauty of the form was familiarly seen, than with ourselves, who allow no other nudity.

After annihilating the poor visage, Powers showed us his two busts of Proserpine and Psyche, and continued his lecture by showing the truth to nature with

 

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which these are modelled. I freely acknowledge the fact; there is no sort of comparison to be made between the beauty, intelligence, feeling, and accuracy of representation in these two faces and in that of the Venus di Medici. A light--the light of a soul proper to each individual character--seems to shine from the interior of the marble, and beam forth from the features, chiefly from the eyes. Still insisting upon the eye, and hitting the poor Venus another and another and still another blow on that unhappy feature, Mr. Powers turned up and turned inward and turned outward his own Titanic orb,--the biggest, by far, that ever I saw in mortal head,--and made us see and confess that there was nothing right in the Venus and everything right in Psyche and Proserpine. To say the truth, their marble eyes have life, and, placing yourself in the proper position towards them, you can meet their glances, and feel them mingle with your own. Powers is a great man, and also a tender and delicate one, massive and rude of surface as he looks; and it is rather absurd to feel how he impressed his auditor, for the time being, with his own evident idea that nobody else is worthy to touch marble. Mr. B---- told me that Powers has had many difficulties on professional grounds, as I understood him, and with his brother artists. No wonder! He has said enough in my hearing to put him at swords' points with sculptors of every epoch and every degree between the two inclusive extremes of Phidias and Clarke Mills.

He has a bust of the reigning Grand Duchess of Tuscany, who sat to him for it. The bust is that of a noble-looking lady; and Powers remarked that royal personages have a certain look that distinguishes them from other people, and is seen in individuals of no

 

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lower rank. They all have it; the Queen of England and Prince Albert have it; and so likewise has every other Royalty, although the possession of this kingly look implies nothing whatever as respects kingly and commanding qualities. He said that none of our public men, whatever authority they may have held, or for whatever length of time, possess this look, but he added afterwards that Washington had it. Commanders of armies sometimes have it, but not in the degree that royal personages do. It is, as well as I could make out Powers's idea, a certain coldness of demeanor, and especially of eye, that surrounds them with an atmosphere through which the electricity of human brotherhood cannot pass. From their youth upward they are taught to feel themselves apart from the rest of mankind, and this manner becomes a second nature to them in consequence, and as a safeguard to their conventional dignity. They put themselves under glass, as it were (the illustration is my own), so that, though you see them, and see them looking no more noble and dignified than other mortals, nor so much so as many, still they keep themselves within a sort of sanctity, and repel you by an invisible barrier. Even if they invite you with a show of warmth and hospitality, you cannot get through. I, too, recognize this look in the portraits of Washington; in him, a mild, benevolent coldness and apartness, but indicating that formality which seems to have been deeper in him than in any other mortal, and which built up an actual fortification between himself and human sympathy. I wish, for once, Washington could come out of his envelopment and show us what his real dimensions were.

Among other models of statues heretofore made,

 

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Powers showed us one of Melancholy, or rather of Contemplation, from Milton's "Penseroso"; a female figure with uplifted face and rapt look, "communing with the skies." It is very fine, and goes deeply into Milton's thought; but, as far as the outward form and action are concerned, I remember seeing a rude engraving in my childhood that probably suggested the idea. It was prefixed to a cheap American edition of Milton's poems, and was probably as familiar to Powers as to myself. It is very remarkable how difficult it seems to be to strike out a new attitude in sculpture; a new group, or a new single figure.

One piece of sculpture Powers exhibited, however, which was very exquisite, and such as I never saw before. Opening a desk, he took out something carefully enclosed between two layers of cotton wool, on removing which there appeared a little baby's hand most delicately represented in the whitest marble; all the dimples where the knuckles were to be, all the creases in the plump flesh, every infantile wrinkle of the soft skin, being lovingly recorded. "The critics condemn minute representation," said Powers; "but you may look at this through a microscope and see if it injures the general effect." Nature herself never made a prettier or truer little hand. It was the hand of his daughter,----"Luly's hand," Powers called it,--the same that gave my own such a frank and friendly grasp when I first met "Luly." The sculptor made it only for himself and his wife; but so many people, he said, had insisted on having a copy, that there are now forty scattered about the world. At sixty years, Luly ought to have her hand sculptured again, and give it to her grandchildren with the baby's hand of five months old. The baby-hand that had done noth-

 

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ing, and felt only its mother's kiss; the old lady's hand that had exchanged the love-pressure, worn the marriage-ring, closed dead eyes,--done a lifetime's work, in short. The sentiment is rather obvious, but true nevertheless.

Before we went away, Powers took us into a room apart--apparently the secretest room he had--and showed us some tools and machinery, all of his own contrivance and invention. "You see I am a bit of a Yankee," he observed.

This machinery is chiefly to facilitate the process of modelling his works, for--except in portrait-busts--he makes no clay model as other sculptors do, but models directly in the plaster; so that instead of being crumbled, like clay, the original model remains a permanent possession. He has also invented a certain open file, which is of great use in finishing the surface of the marble; and likewise a machine for making these files and for punching holes through iron, and he demonstrated its efficiency by punching a hole through an iron bar, with a force equivalent to ten thousand pounds, by the mere application of a part of his own weight. These inventions, he says, are his amusement, and the bent of his nature towards sculpture must indeed have been strong, to counteract, in an American, such a capacity for the contrivance of steam-engines. . . .

I had no idea of filling so many pages of this journal with the sayings and characteristics of Mr. Powers; but the man and his talk are fresh, original, and full of bone and muscle, and I enjoy him much.

We now proceeded to the Pitti Palace, and spent several hours pleasantly in its saloons of pictures. I never enjoyed pictures anywhere else as I do in Flor-

 

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ence. There is an admirable Judith in this gallery by Allori; a face of great beauty and depth, and her hand clutches the head of Holofernes by the hair in a way that startles the spectator. There are two peasant Madonnas by Murillo; simple women, yet with a thoughtful sense of some high mystery connected with the baby in their arms.

Raphael grows upon me; several other famous painters--Guido, for instance--are fading out of my mind. Salvator Rosa has two really wonderful landscapes, looking from the shore seaward; and Rubens too, likewise on a large scale, of mountain and plain. It is very idle and foolish to talk of pictures; yet, after poring over them and into them, it seems a pity to let all the thought excited by them pass into nothingness.

The copyists of pictures are very numerous, both in the Pitti and Uffizzi galleries; and, unlike sculptors, they appear to be on the best of terms with one another, chatting sociably, exchanging friendly criticism, and giving their opinions as to the best mode of attaining the desired effects. Perhaps, as mere copyists, they escape the jealousy that might spring up between rival painters attempting to develop original ideas. Miss Howorth says that the business of copying pictures, especially those of Raphael, is a regular profession, and she thinks it exceedingly obstructive to the progress or existence of a modern school of painting, there being a regular demand and sure sale for all copies of the old masters, at prices proportioned to their merit; whereas the effort to be original insures nothing, except long neglect, at the beginning of a career, and probably ultimate failure, and the necessity of becoming a copyist at last. Some artists em-

 

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ploy themselves from youth to age in nothing else but the copying of one single and self-same picture by Raphael, and grow at last to be perfectly mechanical, making, I suppose, the same identical stroke of the brush in fifty successive pictures.

The weather is very hot now,--hotter in the sunshine, I think, than a midsummer day usually is in America, but with rather a greater possibility of being comfortable in the shade. The nights, too, are warm, and the bats fly forth at dusk, and the fireflies quite light up the green depths of our little garden. The atmosphere, or something else, causes a sort of alacrity in my mind and an affluence of ideas, such as they are; but it does not thereby make me the happier. I feel an impulse to be at work, but am kept idle by the sense of being unsettled with removals to be gone through, over and over again, before I can shut myself into a quiet room of my own, and turn the key. I need monotony, too, an eventless exterior life, before I can live in the world within.

 

June 15th.--Yesterday we went to the Uffizzi gallery, and, of course, I took the opportunity to look again at the Venus di Medici after Powers's attack upon her face. Some of the defects he attributed to her I could not see in the statue; for instance, the ear appeared to be in accordance with his own rule, the lowest part of it being about in a straight line with the upper lip. The eyes must be given up, as not, when closely viewed, having the shape, the curve outwards, the formation of the lids, that eyes ought to have; but still, at a proper distance, they seemed to have intelligence in them beneath the shadow cast by the brow. I cannot help thinking that the sculptor

 

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intentionally made every feature what it is, and calculated them all with a view to the desired effect. Whatever rules may be transgressed, it is a noble and beautiful face,--more so, perhaps, than if all rules had been obeyed. I wish Powers would do his best to fit the Venus's figure (which he does not deny to be admirable) with a face which he would deem equally admirable and in accordance with the sentiment of the form.

We looked pretty thoroughly through the gallery, and I saw many pictures that impressed me; but among such a multitude, with only one poor mind to take note of them, the stamp of each new impression helps to obliterate a former one. I am sensible, however, that a process is going on, and has been ever since I came to Italy, that puts me in a state to see pictures with less toil, and more pleasure, and makes me more fastidious, yet more sensible of beauty where I saw none before. It is the sign, I presume, of a taste still very defective, that I take singular pleasure in the elaborate imitations of Van Mieris, Gerard Dow, and other old Dutch wizards, who painted such brass pots that you can see your face in them, and such earthen pots that they will surely hold water; and who spent weeks and months in turning a foot or two of canvas into a perfect microscopic illusion of some homely scene. For my part, I wish Raphael had painted The Transfiguration in this style, at the same time preserving his breadth and grandeur of design; nor do I believe that there is any real impediment to the combination of the two styles, except that no possible space of human life could suffice to cover a quarter part of the canvas of The Transfiguration with such touches as Gerard Dow's. But one

 

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feels the vast scope of this wonderful art, when we think of two excellences so far apart as that of this last painter and Raphael. I pause a good while, too, before the Dutch paintings of fruit and flowers, where tulips and roses acquire an immortal bloom, and grapes have kept the freshest juice in them for two or three hundred years. Often, in these pictures, there is a bird's-nest, every straw perfectly represented, and the stray feather, or the down that the mother-bird plucked from her bosom, with the three or four small speckled eggs, that seem as if they might be yet warm. These pretty miracles have their use in assuring us that painters really can do something that takes hold of us in our most matter-of-fact moods; whereas, the merits of the grander style of art may be beyond our ordinary appreciation, and leave us in doubt whether we have not befooled ourselves with a false admiration.

Until we learn to appreciate the cherubs and angels that Raphael scatters through the blessed air, in a picture of The Nativity, it is not amiss to look at a Dutch fly settling on a peach, or a humblebee burying himself in a flower.

It is another token of imperfect taste, no doubt, that queer pictures and absurd pictures remain in my memory, when better ones pass away by the score. There is a picture of Venus, combing her son Cupid's head with a small-tooth comb, and looking with maternal care among his curls; this I shall not forget. Likewise, a picture of a broad, rubicund Judith, by Bardone,--a widow of fifty, of an easy, lymphatic, cheerful temperament, who has just killed Holofernes, and is as self-complaisant as if she had been carving a goose. What could possibly have stirred up this pud-

 

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ding of a woman (unless it were a pudding-stick) to do such a deed! I looked with much pleasure at an ugly, old, fat, jolly Bacchus, astride on a barrel, by Rubens; the most natural and life-like representation of a tipsy rotundity of flesh that it is possible to imagine. And sometimes, amid these sensual images, I caught the divine pensiveness of a Madonna's face, by Raphael, or the glory and majesty of the babe Jesus in her arms, with his Father shining through him. This is a sort of revelation, whenever it comes.

This morning, immediately after breakfast, I walked into the city, meaning to make myself better acquainted with its appearance, and to go into its various churches; but it soon grew so hot, that I turned homeward again. The interior of the Duomo was deliciously cool, to be sure,--cool and dim, after the white-hot sunshine; but an old woman began to persecute me, so that I came away. A male beggar drove me out of another church; and I took refuge in the street, where the beggar and I would have been two cinders together, if we had stood long enough on the sunny sidewalk. After my five summers' experience of England, I may have forgotten what hot weather is; but it does appear to me that an American summer is not so fervent as this. Besides the direct rays, the white pavement throws a furnace-heat up into one's face; the shady margin of the street is barely tolerable; but it is like going through the ordeal of fire to cross the broad bright glare of an open piazza. The narrow streets prove themselves a blessing at this season, except when the sun looks directly into them; the broad eaves of the houses, too, make a salvage of shade, almost always. I do not know what becomes of the street-merchants at the noontide of

 

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these hot days. They form a numerous class in Florence, displaying their wares--linen or cotton cloth, threads, combs, and all manner of haberdashery--on movable counters that are borne about on wheels. In the shady morning, you see a whole side of a street in a piazza occupied by them, all offering their merchandise at full cry. They dodge as they can from shade to shade; but at last the sunshine floods the whole space, and they seem to have melted away, leaving. not a rag of themselves or what they dealt in.

Cherries are very abundant now, and have been so ever since we came here, in the markets and all about the streets. They are of various kinds, some exceedingly large, insomuch that it is almost necessary to disregard the old proverb about making two bites of a cherry. Fresh figs are already spoken of, though I have seen none; but I saw some peaches this morning, looking as if they might be ripe.

 

June 16th.--Mr. and Mrs. Powers called to see us last evening. Mr. Powers, as usual, was full of talk, and gave utterance to a good many instructive and entertaining ideas.

As one instance of the little influence the religion of the Italians has upon their morals, he told a story of one of his servants, who desired leave to set up a small shrine of the Virgin in their room--a cheap print, or bas-relief, or image, such as are sold everywhere at the shops--and to burn a lamp before it; she engaging, of course, to supply the oil at her own expense. By and by, her oil-flask appeared to possess a miraculous property of replenishing itself, and Mr. Powers took measures to ascertain where the oil came from. It turned out that the servant had all the time

 

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been stealing the oil from them, and keeping up her daily sacrifice and worship to the Virgin by this constant theft.

His talk soon turned upon sculpture, and he spoke once more of the difficulty imposed upon an artist by the necessity of clothing portrait statues in the modern costume. I find that he does not approve either of nudity or of the Roman toga for a modern statue; neither does he think it right to shirk the difficulty--as Chantrey did in the case of Washington--by enveloping him in a cloak; but acknowledges the propriety of taking the actual costume of the age and doing his best with it. He himself did so with his own Washington, and also with a statue that he made of Daniel Webster. I suggested that though this costume might not appear ridiculous to us now, yet, two or three centuries hence, it would create, to the people of that day, an impossibility of seeing the real man through the absurdity of his envelopment, after it shall have entirely grown out of fashion and remembrance; and Webster would seem as absurd to them then as he would to us now in the masquerade of some by-gone day. It might be well, therefore, to adopt some conventional costume, never actual, but always graceful and noble. Besides, Webster, for example, had other costumes than that which he wore in public, and perhaps it was in those that he lived his most real life; his dressing-gown, his drapery of the night, the dress that he wore on his fishing excursions; in these other costumes he spent three fourths of his time, and most probably was thus arrayed when he conceived the great thoughts that afterwards, in some formal and outside mood, he gave forth to the public. I scarcely think I was right, but am not sure of the contrary. At any

 

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rate, I know that I should have felt much more sure that I knew the real Webster, if I had seen him in any of the above-mentioned dresses, than either in his swallow-tailed coat or frock.

Talking of a taste for painting and sculpture, Powers observed that it was something very different and quite apart from the moral sense, and that it was often, perhaps generally, possessed by unprincipled men of ability and cultivation. I have had this perception myself. A genuine love of painting and sculpture, and perhaps of music, seems often to have distinguished men capable of every social crime, and to have formed a fine and hard enamel over their characters. Perhaps it is because such tastes are artificial, the product of cultivation, and, when highly developed, imply a great remove from natural simplicity.

This morning I went with U-- to the Uffizzi gallery, and again looked with more or less attention at almost every picture and statue. I saw a little picture of the golden age, by Zucchero, in which the charms of youths and virgins are depicted with a freedom that this iron age can hardly bear to look at. The cabinet of gems happened to be open for the admission of a privileged party, and we likewise went in and saw a brilliant collection of goldsmiths' work, among which, no doubt, were specimens from such hands as Benvenuto Cellini's. Little busts with diamond eyes; boxes of gems; cups carved out of precious material; crystal vases, beautifully chased and engraved, and sparkling with jewels; great pearls, in the midst of rubies; opals, rich with all manner of lovely lights. I remember Benvenuto Cellini, in his memoirs, speaks of manufacturing such playthings as these.

 

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I observed another characteristic of the summer streets of Florence to-day; tables, movable to and fro, on wheels, and set out with cool iced drinks and cordials.

 

June 17th.--My wife and I went, this morning, to the Academy of Fine Arts, and, on our way thither, went into the Duomo, where we found a deliciously cool twilight, through which shone the mild gleam of the painted windows. I cannot but think it a pity that St. Peter's is not lighted by such windows as these, although I by no means saw the glory in them now that I have spoken of in a record of my former visit. We found out the monument of Giotto, a tablet, and portrait in bas-relief, on the walk near the entrance of the Cathedral, on the right hand; also, a representation, in fresco, of a knight on horseback, the memorial of one John Hawkwood, close by the door, to the left. The priests were chanting a service of some kind or other in the choir, terribly inharmonious, and out of tune. . . .

On reaching the Academy, the soldier or policeman at the entrance directed us into the large hall, the walls of which were covered on both sides with pictures, arranged as nearly as possible in a progressive series, with reference to the date of the painters; so that here the origin and procession of the art may be traced through the course of, at least, two hundred years. Giotto, Cimabue, and others of unfamiliar names to me, are among the earliest; and, except as curiosities, I should never desire to look once at them, nor think of looking twice. They seem to have been executed with great care and conscientiousness, and the heads are often wrought out with minuteness and

 

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fidelity, and have so much expression that they tell their own story clearly enough; but it seems not to have been the painter's aim to effect a lifelike illusion, the background and accessories being conventional. The trees are no more like real trees than the feather of a pen, and there is no perspective, the figure of the picture being shadowed forth on a surface of burnished gold. The effect, when these pictures, some of them very large, were new and freshly gilded, must have been exceedingly brilliant, and much resembling, on an immensely larger scale, the rich illuminations in an old monkish missal. In fact, we have not now, in pictorial ornament, anything at all comparable to what their splendor must have been. I was most, struck with a picture, by Fabriana Gentile, of the Adoration of the Magi, where the faces and figures have a great deal of life and action, and even grace, and where the jewelled crowns, the rich embroidered robes, and cloth of gold, and all the magnificence of the three kings, are represented with the vividness of the real thing: a gold sword-hilt, for instance, or a pair of gold spurs, being actually embossed on the picture. The effect is very powerful, and though produced in what modern painters would pronounce an unjustifiable way, there is yet pictorial art enough to reconcile it to the spectator's mind. Certainly, the people of the Middle Ages knew better than ourselves what is magnificence, and how to produce it; and what a glorious work must that have been, both in its mere sheen of burnished gold, and in its illuminating art, which shines thus through the gloom of perhaps four centuries.

Fra Angelico is a man much admired by those who have a taste for Pre-Raphaelite painters; and, though I take little or no pleasure in his works, I can see that

 

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there is great delicacy of execution in his heads, and that generally he produces such a Christ, and such a Virgin, and such saints, as he could not have foreseen, except in a pure and holy imagination, nor have wrought out without saying a prayer between every two touches of his brush. I might come to like him, in time, if I thought it worth while; but it is enough to have an outside perception of his kind and degree of merit, and so to let him pass into the garret of oblivion, where many things as good, or better, are piled away, that our own age may not stumble over them. Perugino is the first painter whose works seem really worth preserving for the genuine merit that is in them, apart from any quaintness and curiosity of an ancient and new-born art. Probably his religion was more genuine than Raphael's, and therefore the Virgin often revealed herself to him in a loftier and sweeter face of divine womanhood than all the genius of Raphael could produce. There is a Crucifixion by him in this gallery, which made me partly feel as if I were a far-off spectator,--no, I did not mean a Crucifixion, but a picture of Christ dead, lying, with a calm, sweet face, on his mother's knees [" a Pietà"].

The most inadequate and utterly absurd picture here, or in any other gallery, is a head of the Eternal Father, by Carlo Dolce; it looks like a feeble saint, on the eve of martyrdom, and very doubtful how he shall be able to bear it; very finely and prettily painted, nevertheless.

After getting through the principal gallery we went into a smaller room, in which are contained a great many small specimens of the old Tuscan artists, among whom Fra Angelico makes the principal figure. These

 

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pictures are all on wood, and seem to have been taken from the shrines and altars of ancient churches; they are predellas and triptychs, or pictures on three folding tablets, shaped quaintly, in Gothic peaks or arches, and still gleaming with backgrounds of antique gold. The wood is much worm-eaten, and the colors have often faded, or changed, from what the old artists meant them to be; a bright angel darkening into what looks quite as much like the Devil. In one of Fra Angelico's pictures,--a representation of the Last Judgment,--he has tried his saintly hand at making devils indeed, and showing them busily at work, tormenting the poor, damned souls in fifty ghastly ways. Above sits Jesus, with the throng of blessed saints around him, and a flow of tender and powerful love in his own face, that ought to suffice to redeem all the damned, and convert the very fiends, and quench the fires of hell. At any rate, Fra Angelico had a higher conception of his Saviour than Michel Angelo.

 

June 19th.--This forenoon we have been to the Church of St. Lorenzo, which stands on the site of an ancient basilica, and was itself built more than four centuries ago. The façade is still an ugly height of rough brickwork, as is the case with the Duomo, and, I think, some other churches in Florence; the design of giving them an elaborate and beautiful finish having been delayed from cycle to cycle, till at length the day for spending mines of wealth on churches is gone by. The interior had a nave with a flat roof, divided from the side-aisles by Corinthian pillars, and, at the farther end, a raised space around the high altar. The pavement is a mosaic of squares of black and white marble, the squares meeting one another

 

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cornerwise; the pillars, pilasters, and other architectural material, is dark brown or grayish stone; and the general effect is very sombre, especially as the church is somewhat dimly lighted, and as the shrines along the aisles, and the statues, and the monuments of whatever kind, look dingy with time and neglect. The nave is thickly set with wooden seats, brown and worn. What pictures there are, in the shrines and chapels, are dark and faded. On the whole, the edifice has a shabby aspect. On each side of the high altar, elevated on four pillars of beautiful marble, is what looks like a great sarcophagus of bronze. They are, in fact, pulpits, and are ornamented with mediæval bas-reliefs, representing scenes in the life of our Saviour. Murray says that the resting-place of the first Cosmo di Medici, the old banker, who so managed his wealth as to get the posthumous title of "father of his country," and to make his posterity its reigning princes, is in front of the high altar, marked by red and green porphyry and marble, inlaid into the pavement. We looked, but could not see it there.

There were worshippers at some of the shrines, and persons sitting here and there along the nave, and in the aisles, wrapt in devotional thought, doubtless, and sheltering themselves here from the white sunshine of the piazzas. In the vicinity of the choir and the high altar, workmen were busy repairing the church, or perhaps only making arrangements for celebrating the great festival of St. John.

On the left hand of the choir is what is called the old sacristy, with the peculiarities or notabilities of which I am not acquainted. On the right hand is the new sacristy, otherwise called the Capella dei Deposité, or Chapel of the Buried, built by Michel Angelo, to

 

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contain two monuments of the Medici family. The interior is of somewhat severe and classic architecture, the walls and pilasters being of dark stone, and surmounted by a dome, beneath which is a row of windows, quite round the building, throwing their light down far beneath, upon niches of white marble. These niches are ranged entirely around the chapel, and might have sufficed to contain more than all the Medici monuments that the world would ever care to have. Only two of these niches are filled, however. In one of them sits Giuliano di Medici, sculptured by Michel Angelo,--a figure of dignity, which would, perhaps, be very striking in any other presence than that of the statue which occupies the corresponding niche. At the feet of Giuliano recline two allegorical statues, Day and Night, whose meaning there I do not know, and perhaps Michel Angelo knew as little. As the great sculptor's statues are apt to do, they fling their limbs abroad with adventurous freedom. Below the corresponding niche, on the opposite side of the chapel, recline two similar statues, representing Morning and Evening, sufficiently like Day and Night to be their brother and sister; all, in truth, having sprung from the same father. . . .

But the statue that sits above these two latter allegories, Morning and Evening, is like no other that ever came from a sculptor's hand. It is the one work worthy of Michel Angelo's reputation, and grand enough to vindicate for him all the genius that the world gave him credit for. And yet it seems a simple thing enough to think of or to execute; merely a sitting figure, the face partly overshadowed by a helmet, one hand supporting the chin, the other resting on the thigh. But after looking at it a little while, the spec-

 

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tator ceases to think of it as a marble statue; it comes to life, and you see that the princely figure is brooding over some great design, which, when he has arranged in his own mind, the world will be fain to execute for him. No such grandeur and majesty has elsewhere been put into human shape. It is all a miracle; the deep repose, and the deep life within it. It is as much a miracle to have achieved this as to make a statue that would rise up and walk. The face, when one gazes earnestly into it, beneath the shadow of its helmet, is seen to be calmly sombre; a mood which, I think, is generally that of the rulers of mankind, except in moments of vivid action. This statue is one of the things which I look at with highest enjoyment, but also with grief and impatience, because I feel that I do not come at all which it involves, and that by and by I must go away and leave it forever. How wonderful! To take a block of marble, and convert it wholly into thought, and to do it through all the obstructions and impediments of drapery; for there is nothing nude in this statue but the face and hands. The vest is the costume of Michel Angelo's century. This is what I always thought a sculptor of true genius should be able to do,--to show the man, of whatever epoch, nobly and heroically, through the costume which he might actually have worn.

The statue sits within a square niche of white marble, and completely fills it. It seems to me a pity that it should be thus confined. At the Crystal Palace, if I remember, the effect is improved by a free surrounding space. Its naturalness is as if it came out of the marble of its own accord, with all its grandeur hanging heavily about it, and sat down there beneath its weight. I cannot describe it. It is like try-

 

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ing to stop the ghost of Hamlet's father by crossing spears before it.

Communicating with the sacristy is the Medicean Chapel, which was built more than two centuries ago, for the reception of the Holy Sepulchre; arrangements having been made about that time to steal this most sacred relic from the Turks. The design failing, the chapel was converted by Cosmo II. into a place of sepulture for the princes of his family. It is a very grand and solemn edifice, octagonal in shape, with a lofty dome, within which is a series of brilliant frescos, painted not more than thirty years ago. These pictures are the only portion of the adornment of the chapel which interferes with the sombre beauty of the general effect; for though the walls are incrusted, from pavement to dome, with marbles of inestimable cost, and it is a Florentine mosaic on a grander scale than was ever executed elsewhere, the result is not gaudy, as in many of the Roman chapels, but a dark and melancholy richness. The architecture strikes me as extremely fine; each alternate side of the octagon being an arch, rising as high as the cornice of the lofty dome, and forming the frame of a vast niche. All the dead princes, no doubt, according to the general design, were to have been honored with statues within this stately mausoleum; but only two--those of Ferdinand I. and Cosmo II.--seem to have been placed here. They were a bad breed, and few of them deserved any better monument than a dung-hill; and yet they have this grand chapel for the family at large, and yonder grand statue for one of its most worthless members. I am glad of it; and as for the statue, Michel Angelo wrought it through the efficacy of a kingly idea, which had no reference to the individual whose name it bears.

 

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In the piazza, adjoining the church, is a statue of the first Cosmo, the old banker, in Roman costume, seated, and looking like a man fit to hold authority. No, I mistake; the statue is of John di Medici, the father of Cosmo, and himself no banker, but a soldier.

 

June 21st.--Yesterday, after dinner, we went with the two eldest children to the Boboli Gardens. . . . We entered by a gate, nearer to our house than that by the Pitti Palace, and found ourselves almost immediately among embowered walks of box and shrubbery, and little wildernesses of trees, with here and there a seat under an arbor, and a marble statue, gray with ancient weather-stains. The site of the garden is a very uneven surface, and the paths go upward and downward, and ascend, at their ultimate point, to a base of what appears to be a fortress, commanding the city. A good many of the Florentines were rambling about the gardens, like ourselves: little parties of school-boys, fathers and mothers, with their youthful progeny; young men in couples, looking closely into every female face; lovers, with a maid or two attendant on the young lady. All appeared to enjoy themselves, especially the children, dancing on the esplanades, or rolling down the slopes of the hills; and the loving pairs, whom it was rather embarrassing to come upon unexpectedly, sitting together on the stone seat of an arbor, with clasped hands, a passionate solemnity in the young man's face, and a downcast pleasure in the lady's. Policemen, in cocked hats and epaulets, cross-belts, and swords, were scattered about the grounds, but interfered with nobody, though they seemed to keep an eye on all. A sentinel stood in the hot sunshine, looking down over the garden from the ramparts of the fortress.

 

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For my part, in this foreign country, I have no objection to policemen or any other minister of authority; though I remember, in America, I had an innate antipathy to constables, and always sided with the mob against law. This was very wrong and foolish, considering that I was one of the sovereigns; but a sovereign, or any number of sovereigns, or the twenty-millionth part of a sovereign, does not love to find himself, as an American must, included within the delegated authority of his own servants.

There is a sheet of water somewhere in the Boboli Gardens, inhabited by swans; but this we did not see. We found a smaller pond, however, set in marble, and surrounded by a parapet, and alive with a multitude of fish. There were minnows by the thousand, and a good many gold-fish; and J-----, who had brought some bread to feed the swans, threw in handfuls of crumbs for the benefit of these finny people. They seemed to be accustomed to such courtesies on the part of visitors; and immediately the surface of the water was blackened, at the spot where each crumb fell, with shoals of minnows, thrusting one another even above the surface in their eagerness to snatch it. Within the depths of the pond, the yellowish-green water--its hue being precisely that of the Arno--would be reddened duskily with the larger bulk of two or three gold-fishes, who finally poked their great snouts up among the minnows, but generally missed the crumb. Beneath the circular margin of the pond there are little arches, into the shelter of which the fish retire, when the noonday sun burns straight down into their dark waters. We went on through the garden-paths, shadowed quite across by the high walls of box, and reached an esplanade, whence we had a good

 

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view of Florence, with the bare brown ridges on the northern side of the Arno, and glimpses of the river itself, flowing like a street, between two rows of palaces. A great way off, too, we saw some of the cloudlike peaks of the Apennines, and, above them, the clouds into which the sun was descending, looking quite as substantial as the distant mountains. The city did not present a particularly splendid aspect, though its great Duomo was seen in the middle distance, sitting in its circle of little domes, with the tall campanile close by, and within one or two hundred yards of it, the high, cumbrous bulk of the Palazzo Vecchio, with its lofty, machicolated, and battlemented tower, very picturesque, yet looking exceedingly like a martin-box, on a pole. There were other domes and towers and spires, and here and there the distinct shape of an edifice; but the general picture was of a contiguity of red, earthen roofs, filling a not very broad or extensive valley, among dry and ridgy hills, with a river-gleam lightening up the landscape a little. U-- took out her pencil and tablets, and began to sketch the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio; in doing which, she immediately became an object of curiosity to some little boys and larger people, who failed not, under such pretences as taking a grasshopper off her dress, or no pretence at all, to come and look over her shoulder. There is a kind of familiarity among these Florentines, which is not meant to be discourteous, and ought to be taken in good part.

We continued to ramble through the gardens, in quest of a good spot from which to see the sunset, and at length found a stone bench, on the slope of a hill, whence the entire cloud and sun scenery was fully presented to us. At the foot of the hill were statues,

 

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and among them a Pegasus, with wings outspread; and, a little beyond, the garden-front of the Pitti Palace, which looks a little less like a state prison here than as it fronts the street. Girls and children, and young men and old, were taking their pleasure in our neighborhood; and, just before us, a lady stood talking with her maid. By and by, we discovered her to be Miss Howorth. There was a misty light, streaming down on the hither side of the ridge of hills, that was rather peculiar; but the most remarkable thing was the shape into which the clouds gathered themselves, after the disappearance of the sun. It was like a tree, with a broad and heavy mass of foliage, spreading high upward on the sky, and a dark and well-defined trunk, which rooted itself on the verge of the horizon.

This morning we went to the Pitti Palace. The air was very sultry, and the pavements, already heated with the sun, made the space between the buildings seem like a close room. The earth, I think, is too much stoned out of the streets of an Italian city,--paved, like those of Florence, quite across, with broad flag-stones, to the line where the stones of the houses on each side are piled up. Thunder rumbled over our heads, however, and the clouds were so dark that we scarcely hoped to reach the palace without feeling the first drops of the shower. The air still darkened and darkened, so that by the time we arrived at the suite of picture-rooms the pictures seemed all to be changed to Rembrandts; the shadows as black as midnight, with only some highly illuminated portions gleaming out. The obscurity of the atmosphere made us sensible how splendid is the adornment of these saloons. For the gilded cornices shone out, as did the gilding

 

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of the arches and wreathed circles that divide the ceiling into compartments, within which the frescos are painted, and whence the figures looked dimly down, like gods out of a mysterious sky. The white marble sculptures also gleamed from their height, where winged cupids or cherubs gambolled aloft in bas-reliefs; or allegoric shapes reclined along the cornices, hardly noticed, when the daylight comes brightly into the window. On the walls, all the rich picture-frames glimmered in gold, as did the framework of the chairs, and the heavy gilded pedestals of the marble, alabaster, and mosaic tables. These are very magnificent saloons; and since I have begun to speak of their splendor, I may as well add that the doors are framed in polished, richly veined marble, and the walls hung with scarlet damask.

It was useless to try to see the pictures. All the artists engaged in copying laid aside their brushes; and we looked out into the square before the palace, where a mighty wind sprang up, and quickly raised a prodigious cloud of dust. It hid the opposite side of the street, and was carried, in a great dusky whirl, higher than the roofs of the houses, higher than the top of the Pitti Palace itself. The thunder muttered and grumbled, the lightning now and then flashed, and a few rain-drops pattered against the windows; but, for a long time, the shower held off. At last it came down in a stream, and lightened the air to such a degree that we could see some of the pictures, especially those of Rubens, and the illuminated parts of Salvator Rosa's, and, best of all, Titian's Magdalen, the one with golden hair clustering round her naked body. The golden hair indeed, seemed to throw out a glory of its own. This Magdalen is very coarse and

 

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sensual, with only an impudent assumption of penitence and religious sentiment, scarcely so deep as the eyelids; but it is a splendid picture, nevertheless, with those naked, lifelike arms, and the hands that press the rich locks about her, and so carefully permit those voluptuous breasts to be seen. She a penitent! She would shake off all pretence to it as easily as she would shake aside that clustering hair. . . . Titian must have been a very good-for-nothing old man.

I looked again at Michel Angelo's Fates to-day; but cannot satisfactorily make out what he meant by them. One of them--she who holds the distaff--has her mouth open, as if uttering a cry, and might be fancied to look somewhat irate. The second, who holds the thread, has a pensive air, but is still, I think, pitiless at heart. The third sister looks closely and coldly into the eyes of the second, meanwhile cutting the thread with a pair of shears. Michel Angelo, if I may presume to say so, wished to vary the expression of these three sisters, and give each a different one, but did not see precisely how, inasmuch as all the fatal Three are united, heart and soul, in one purpose. It is a very impressive group. But, as regards the interpretation of this, or of any other profound picture, there are likely to be as many interpretations as there are spectators. It is very curious to read criticisms upon pictures, and upon the same face in a picture, and by men of taste and feeling, and to find what different conclusions they arrive at. Each man interprets the hieroglyphic in his own way; and the painter, perhaps, had a meaning which none of them have reached; or possibly he put forth a riddle without himself knowing the solution. There is such a necessity, at all events, of helping the painter out

 

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with the spectator's own resources of feeling and imagination, that you can never be sure how much of the picture you have yourself made. There is no doubt that the public is, to a certain extent, right and sure of its ground, when it declares, through a series of ages, that a certain picture is a great work. It is so; a great symbol, proceeding out of a great mind; but if it means one thing, it seems to mean a thousand, and, often, opposite things.

 

June 27th.--I have had a heavy cold and fever almost throughout the past week, and have thereby lost the great Florentine festivity, the Feast of St. John, which took place on Thursday last, with the fire-works and illuminations the evening before, and the races and court ceremonies on the day itself. However, unless it were more characteristic and peculiar than the Carnival, I have not missed anything very valuable.

Mr. Powers called to see me one evening, and poured out, as usual, a stream of talk, both racy and oracular in its character. Speaking of human eyes, he observed that they did not depend for their expression upon color, nor upon any light of the soul beaming through them, nor any glow of the eyeball, nor upon anything but the form and action of the surrounding muscles. He illustrates it by saying, that if the eye of a wolf, or of whatever fiercest animal, could be placed in another setting, it would be found capable of the utmost gentleness of expression. "You yourself," said he, "have a very bright and sharp-look sometimes; but it is not in the eye itself." His own eyes, as I could have sworn, were glowing all the time he spoke; and, remembering how many times I have

 

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seemed to see eyes glow, and blaze, and flash, and sparkle, and melt, and soften; and how all poetry is illuminated with the light of ladies' eyes; and how many people have been smitten by the lightning of an eye, whether in love or anger, it was difficult to allow that all this subtlest and keenest fire is illusive, not even phosphorescent, and that any other jelly in the same socket would serve as well as the brightest eye. Nevertheless, he must be right; of course he must, and I am rather ashamed ever to have thought otherwise. Where should the light come from? Has a man a flame inside of his head? Does his spirit manifest itself in the semblance of flame? The moment we think of it, the absurdity becomes evident. I am not quite sure, however, that the outer surface of the eye may not reflect more light in some states of feeling than in others; the state of the health, certainly, has an influence of this kind.

I asked Powers what he thought of Michel Angelo's statue of Lorenzo di Medici. He allowed that its effect was very grand and mysterious; but added that it owed this to a trick,--the effect being produced by the arrangement of the hood, as he called it, or helmet, which throws the upper part of the face into shadow. The niche in which it sits has, I suppose, its part to perform in throwing a still deeper shadow. It is very possible that Michel Angelo may have calculated upon this effect of sombre shadow, and legitimately, I think; but it really is not worthy of Mr. Powers to say that the whole effect of this mighty statue depends, not on the positive efforts of Michel Angelo's chisel, but on the absence of light in a space of a few inches. He wrought the whole statue in harmony with that small part of it which he leaves to the spectator's im-

 

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agination, and if he had erred at any point, the miracle would have been a failure; so that, working in marble, he has positively reached a degree of excellence above the capability of marble, sculpturing his highest touches upon air and duskiness.

Mr. Powers gave some amusing anecdotes of his early life, when he was a clerk in a store in Cincinnati. There was a museum opposite, the proprietor of which had a peculiar physiognomy that struck Powers, insomuch that he felt impelled to make continual caricatures of it. He used to draw them upon the door of the museum, and became so familiar with the face that he could draw them in the dark; so that, every morning, here was this absurd profile of himself greeting the museum-man when he came to open his establishment. Often, too, it would reappear within an hour after it was rubbed out. The man was infinitely annoyed, and made all possible efforts to discover the unknown artist, but in vain; and finally concluded, I suppose, that the likeness broke out upon the door of its own accord, like the nettle-rash. Some years afterwards, the proprietor of the museum engaged Powers himself as an assistant; and one day Powers asked him if he remembered this mysterious profile. "Yes," said he, "did you know who drew them?" Powers took a piece of chalk, and touched off the very profile again, before the man's eyes. "Ah," said he, "if I had known it at the time, I would have broken every bone in your body!"

Before he began to work in marble, Powers had greater practice and success in making wax figures, and he produced a work of this kind called The Infernal Regions, which he seemed to imply had been very famous. He said he once wrought a face in wax

 

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which was life itself, having made the eyes on purpose for it, and put in every hair in the eyebrows individually, and finished the whole with similar minuteness; so that, within the distance of a foot or two, it was impossible to tell that the face did not live.

I have hardly ever before felt an impulse to write down a man's conversation as I do that of Mr. Powers. The chief reason is, probably, that it is so possible to do it, his ideas being square, solid, and tangible, and therefore readily grasped and retained. He is a very instructive man, and sweeps one's empty and dead notions out of the way with exceeding vigor; but when you have his ultimate thought and perception, you feel inclined to think and see a little further for yourself. He sees too clearly what is within his range to be aware of any region of mystery beyond. Probably, however, this latter remark does him injustice. I like the man, and am always glad to encounter the millstream of his talk. . . . Yesterday he met me in the street (dressed in his linen blouse and slippers, with a little bit of a sculptor's cap on the side of his head), and gave utterance to a theory of colds, and a dissertation on the bad effects of draughts, whether of cold air or hot, and the dangers of transfusing blood from the veins of one living subject to those of another. On the last topic, he remarked that if a single particle of air found its way into the veins, along with the transfused blood, it caused convulsions and inevitable death; otherwise the process might be of excellent effect.

Last evening, we went to pass the evening with Miss Blagden, who inhabits a villa at Bellosguardo, about a mile outside of the walls. The situation is very lofty, and there are good views from every win-

 

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dow of the house, and an especially fine one of Florence and the hills beyond, from the balcony of the drawing-room. By and by came Mr. Browning, Mr. Trollope, Mr. Boott and his young daughter, and two or three other gentlemen. . . .

Browning was very genial and full of life, as usual, but his conversation has the effervescent aroma which you cannot catch, even if you get the very words that seem to be imbued with it. He spoke most rapturously of a portrait of Mrs. Browning, which an Italian artist is painting for the wife of an American gentleman, as a present from her husband. The success was already perfect, although there had been only two sittings as yet, and both on the same day; and in this relation, Mr. Browning remarked that P----, the American artist, had had no less than seventy-three sittings of him for a portrait. In the result, every hair and speck of him was represented; yet, as I inferred from what he did not say, this accumulation of minute truths did not, after all, amount to the true whole.

I do not remember much else that Browning said, except a playful abuse of a little King Charles spaniel, named Frolic, Miss Blagden's lap-dog, whose venerable age (he is eleven years old) ought to have pleaded in his behalf. Browning's nonsense is of very genuine and excellent quality, the true babble and effervescence of a bright and powerful mind; and he lets it play among his friends with the faith and simplicity of a child. He must be an amiable man. I should like him much, and should make him like me, if opportunities were favorable.

I conversed principally with Mr. Trollope, the son, I believe, of the Mrs. Trollope to whom America owes

 

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more for her shrewd criticisms than we are ever likely to repay. Mr. Trollope is a very sensible and cultivated man, and, I suspect, an author: at least, there is a literary man of repute of this name, though I have never read his works. He has resided in Italy eighteen years. It seems a pity to do this. It needs the native air to give life a reality; a truth which I do not fail to take home regretfully to myself, though without feeling much inclination to go back to the realities of my own.

We had a pleasant cup of tea, and took a moonlight view of Florence from the balcony. .

 

June 28th.--Yesterday afternoon, J----- and I went to a horse-race, which took place in the Corso and contiguous line of streets, in further celebration of the Feast of St. John. A crowd of people was already collected, all along the line of the proposed race, as early as six o'clock; and there were a great many carriages driving amid the throng, open barouches mostly, in which the beauty and gentility of Florence were freely displayed. It was a repetition of the scene in the Corso at Rome, at Carnival time, without the masks, the fun, and the confetti. The Grand Duke and Duchess and the Court likewise made their appearance in as many as seven or eight coaches-and-six, each with a coachman, three footmen, and a postilion in the royal livery, and attended by a troop of horsemen in scarlet coats and cocked hats. I did not particularly notice the Grand Duke himself; but, in the carriage behind him, there sat only a lady, who favored the people along the street with a constant succession of bows, repeated at such short intervals, and so quickly, as to be little more than nods; there-

 

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fore not particularly graceful or majestic. Having the good fortune to be favored with one of these nods, I lifted my hat in response, and may therefore claim a bowing acquaintance with the Grand Duchess. She is a Bourbon of the Naples family, and was a pale, handsome woman, of princely aspect enough. The crowd evinced no enthusiasm, nor the slightest feeling of any kind, in acknowledgment of the presence of their rulers; and, indeed, I think I never saw a crowd so well behaved; that is, with so few salient points, so little ebullition, so absolutely tame, as the Florentine one. After all, and much contrary to my expectations, an American crowd has incomparably more life than any other; and, meeting on any casual occasion, it will talk, laugh, roar, and be diversified with a thousand characteristic incidents and gleams and shadows, that you see nothing of here. The people seems to have no part even in its own gatherings. It comes together merely as a mass of spectators, and must not so much as amuse itself by any activity of mind.

The race, which was the attraction that drew us all together, turned out a very pitiful affair. When we had waited till nearly dusk, the street being thronged quite across, insomuch that it seemed impossible that it should be cleared as a race-course, there came suddenly from every throat a quick, sharp exclamation, combining into a general shout. Immediately the crowd pressed back on each side of the street; a moment afterwards, there was a rapid pattering of hoofs over the earth with which the pavement was strewn, and I saw the head and back of a horse rushing past. A few seconds more, and another horse followed; and at another little interval, a third. This was all that

 

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we had waited for; all that I saw, or anybody else, except those who stood on the utmost verge of the course, at the risk of being trampled down and killed. Two men were killed in this way on Thursday, and certainly human life was never spent for a poorer object. The spectators at the windows, to be sure, having the horses in sight for a longer time, might get a little more enjoyment out of the affair. By the by, the most picturesque aspect of the scene was the life given to it by the many faces, some of them fair ones, that looked out front window and balcony, all along the curving line of lofty palaces and edifices, between which the race-course lay; and from nearly every window, and over every balcony, was flung a silken texture, or cloth of brilliant hue, or piece of tapestry or carpet, or whatever adornment of the kind could be had, so as to dress up the street in gala attire. But the Feast of St. John, like the Carnival, is but a meagre semblance of festivity, kept alive factitiously, and dying a lingering death of centuries. It takes the exuberant mind and heart of a people to keep its holidays alive.

I do not know whether there be any populace in Florence, but I saw none that I recognized as such, on this occasion. All the people were respectably dressed and perfectly well behaved; and soldiers and priests were scattered abundantly among the throng. On my way home, I saw the Teatro Goldoni, which is in our own street, lighted up for a representation this Sunday evening. It shocked my New England prejudices a little.

This forenoon, my wife and I went to the Church of Santa Croce, the great monumental deposit of Florentine worthies. The piazza before it is a wide, grav-

 

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elled square, where the liberty of Florence, if it really ever had any genuine liberty, came into existence some hundreds of years ago, by the people's taking its own rights into its hands, and putting its own immediate will in execution. The piazza has not much appearance of antiquity, except that the façade of one of the houses is quite covered with ancient frescos, a good deal faded and obliterated, yet with traces enough of old glory to show that the colors must have been well laid on.

The front of the church, the foundation of which was laid six centuries ago, is still waiting for its casing of marbles, and I suppose will wait forever, though a carpenter's staging is now erected before it, as if with the purpose of doing something.

The interior is spacious, the length of the church being between four and five hundred feet. There is a nave, roofed with wooden cross-beams, lighted by a clere-story and supported on each side by seven great pointed arches, which rest upon octagonal pillars. The octagon seems to be a favorite shape in Florence. These pillars were clad in yellow and scarlet damask, in honor of the Feast of St. John. The aisles, on each side of the nave, are lighted with high and somewhat narrow windows of painted glass, the effect of which, however, is much diminished by the flood of common daylight that comes in through the windows of the clere-story. It is like admitting too much of the light of reason and worldly intelligence into the mind, instead of illuminating it wholly through a religious medium. The many-hued saints and angels lose their mysterious effulgence, when we get white light enough, and find we see all the better without their help.

 

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The main pavement of the church is brickwork; but it is inlaid with many sepulchral slabs of marble, on some of which knightly or priestly figures are sculptured in bas-relief. In both of the side-aisles there are saintly shrines, alternating with mural monuments, some of which record names as illustrious as any in the world. As you enter, the first monument on your right is that of Michel Angelo, occupying the ancient burial site of his family. The general design is a heavy sarcophagus of colored marble, with the figures of Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture as mourners, and Michel Angelo's bust above, the whole assuming a pyramidal form. You pass a shrine, within its framework of marble pillars and a pediment, and come next to Dante's monument, a modern work, with likewise its sarcophagus, and some huge, cold images weeping and sprawling over it, and an unimpressive statue of Dante sitting above.

Another shrine intervenes, and next you see the tomb of Alfieri, erected to his memory by the Countess of Albany, who pays, out of a woman's love, the honor which his country owed him. Her own monument is in one of the chapels of the transept.

Passing the next shrine you see the tomb of Macchiavelli, which, I think, was constructed not many years after his death. The rest of the monuments, on this side of the church, commemorate people of less than world-wide fame; and though the opposite side has likewise a monument alternating with each shrine, I remember only the names of Raphael Morghen and of Galileo. The tomb of the latter is over against that of Michel Angelo, being the first large tomb on the left-hand wall as you enter the church. It has the usual heavy sarcophagus, surmounted by a bust

 

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of Galileo, in the habit of his time, and is, of course, duly provided with mourners in the shape of Science or Astronomy, or some such cold-hearted people. I wish every sculptor might be at once imprisoned for life who shall hereafter chisel an allegoric figure; and as for those who have sculptured them heretofore, let them be kept in purgatory till the marble shall have crumbled away. It is especially absurd to assign to this frozen sisterhood of the allegoric family the office of weeping for the dead, inasmuch as they have incomparably less feeling than a lump of ice, which might contrive to shed a tear if the sun shone on it. But they seem to let themselves out, like the hired mourners of an English funeral, for the very reason that, having no interest in the dead person, nor any affections or emotions whatever, it costs them no wear and tear of heart.

All round both transepts of the church there is a series of chapels, into most of which we went, and generally found an inscrutably dark picture over the altar, and often a marble bust or two, or perhaps a mediæval statue of a saint, or a modern monumental bas-relief in marble, as white as new-fallen snow. A chapel of the Bonapartes is here, containing memorials of two female members of the family. In several chapels, moreover, there were some of those distressing frescos by Giotto, Cimabue, or their compeers, which, whenever I see them,--poor, faded relics, looking as if the Devil had been rubbing and scrubbing them for centuries, in spite against the saints,--my heart sinks and my stomach sickens. There is no other despondency like this; it is a new shade of human misery,) akin to the physical disease that comes from dry-rot in a wall. These frescos are to a church what dreary, old

 

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remembrances are to a mind; the drearier because they were once bright: Hope fading into Disappointment, Joy into Grief, and festal splendor passing into funereal duskiness, and saddening you all the more by the grim identity that you find to exist between gay things and sorrowful ones. Only wait long enough, and they turn out to be the very same.

All the time we were in the church some great religious ceremony had been going forward; the organ playing and the white-robed priests bowing, gesticulating, and making Latin prayers at the high altar, where at least a hundred wax tapers were burning in constellations. Everybody knelt except ourselves, yet seemed not to be troubled by the echoes of our passing footsteps, nor to require that we should pray along with them. They consider us already lost irrevocably, no doubt, and therefore right enough in taking no heed of their devotions; not but what we take so much heed, however, as to give the smallest possible disturbance. By and by we sat down in the nave of the church, till the ceremony should be concluded; and then my wife left me to go in quest of yet another chapel, where either Cimabue or Giotto, or both, have left some of their now ghastly decorations. While she was gone I threw my eyes about the church, and came to the conclusion that, in spite of its antiquity, its size, its architecture, its painted windows, its tombs of great men, and all the reverence and interest that broods over them, it is not an impressive edifice. Any little Norman church in England would impress me as much, and more. There is something, I do not know what, but it is in the region of the heart, rather than in the intellect, that Italian architecture, of whatever age or style, never seems to reach.

 

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Leaving the Santa Croce, we went next in quest of the Riccardi Palace. On our way, in the rear of the Grand Ducal Piazza, we passed by the Bargello, formerly the palace of the Podestà of Florence, and now converted into a prison. It is an immense square edifice of dark stone, with a tall, lank tower rising high above it at one corner. Two stone lions, symbols of the city, lash their tails and glare at the passers-by; and all over the front of the building windows are scattered irregularly, and grated with rusty iron bars; also there are many square holes, which probably admit a little light and a breath or two of air into prisoners' cells. It is a very ugly edifice, but looks antique, and as if a vast deal of history might have been transacted within it, or have beaten, like fierce blasts, against its dark, massive walls, since the thirteenth century. When I first saw the city it struck me that there were few marks of antiquity in Florence; but I am now inclined to think otherwise, although the bright Italian atmosphere, and the general squareness and monotony of the Italian architecture, have their effect in apparently modernizing everything. But everywhere we see the ponderous Tuscan basements that never can decay, and which will look, five hundred years hence, as they look now; and one often passes beneath an abbreviated remnant of what was once a lofty tower, perhaps three hundred feet high, such as used to be numerous in Florence when each noble of the city had his own warfare to wage; and there are patches of sculpture that look old on houses, the modern stucco of which causes them to look almost new. Here and there an unmistakable antiquity stands in its own impressive shadow; the Church of Or San Michele, for instance, once a market, but which grew to be a church

 

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by some inherent fitness and inevitable consecration. It has not the least the aspect of a church, being high and square, like a mediæval palace; but deep and high niches are let into its walls, within which stand great statues of saints, masterpieces of Donatello, and other sculptors of that age, before sculpture began to be congealed by the influence of Greek art.

The Riccardi Palace is at the corner of the Via Larga. It was built by the first Cosmo di Medici, the old banker, more than four centuries ago, and was long the home of the ignoble race of princes which he left behind him. It looks fit to be still the home of a princely race, being nowise dilapidated nor decayed externally, nor likely to be so, its high Tuscan basement being as solid as a ledge of rock, and its upper portion not much less so, though smoothed into another order of stately architecture. Entering its court from the Via Larga, we found ourselves beneath a pillared arcade, passing round the court like a cloister; and on the walls of the palace, under this succession of arches, were statues, bas-reliefs, and sarcophagi, in which, first, dead Pagans had slept, and then dead Christians, before the sculptured coffins were brought hither to adorn the palace of the Medici. In the most prominent place was a Latin inscription of great length and breadth, chiefly in praise of old Cosmo and his deeds and wisdom. This mansion gives the visitor a stately notion of the life of a commercial man in the days when merchants were princes; not that it seems to be so wonderfully extensive, nor so very grand, for I suppose there are a dozen Roman palaces that excel it in both these particulars. Still, we cannot but be conscious that it must have been, in some sense, a great man who thought of founding a homestead like this,

 

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and was capable of filling it with his personality, as the hand fills a glove. It has been found spacious enough, since Cosmo's time, for an emperor and a pope and a king, all of whom have been guests in this house. After being the family mansion of the Medici for nearly two centuries, it was sold to the Riccardis, but it was subsequently bought of them by the government and it is now occupied by public offices and societies.

After sufficiently examining the court and its antiquities, we ascended a noble staircase that passes, by broad flights and square turns, to the region above the basement. Here the palace is cut up and portioned off into little rooms and passages, and everywhere there were desks, inkstands, and men, with pens in their fingers or behind their ears. We were shown into a little antique chapel, quite covered with frescos in the Giotto style, but painted by a certain Gonzoli. They were in pretty good preservation, and, in fact, I am wrong in comparing them to Giotto's works, inasmuch as there must have been nearly two hundred years between the two artists. The chapel was furnished with curiously carved old chairs, and looked surprisingly venerable within its little precinct.

We were next guided into the grand gallery, a hall of respectable size, with a frescoed ceiling, on which is represented the blue sky, and various members of the Medici family ascending through it by the help of angelic personages, who seem only to have waited for their society to be perfectly happy. At least, this was the meaning, so far as I could make it out. Along one side of the gallery were oil-pictures on looking-glasses, rather good than otherwise; but Rome, with her palaces and villas, takes the splendor out of all this sort of thing elsewhere.

 

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On our way home, and on our own side of the Ponte Vecchio, we passed the Palazzo Guicciardini, the ancient residence of the historian of Italy, who was a politic statesman of his day, and probably as cruel and unprincipled as any of those whose deeds he has recorded. Opposite, across the narrow way, stands the house of Macchiavelli, who was his friend, and, I should judge, an honester man than he. The house is distinguished by a marble tablet, let into the wall, commemorative of Macchiavelli, but has nothing antique or picturesque about it, being in a contiguous line with other smooth-faced and stuccoed edifices.

 

June 30th.--Yesterday, at three o'clock P. M., I went to see the final horse-race of the Feast of St. John, or rather to see the concourse of people and grandees whom it brought together. I took my stand in the vicinity of the spot whence the Grand Duke and his courtiers view the race, and from this point the scene was rather better worth looking at than from the street-corners whence I saw it before. The vista of the street, stretching far adown between two rows of lofty edifices, was really gay and gorgeous with the silks, damasks, and tapestries of all bright hues, that flaunted from windows and balconies, whence ladies looked forth and looked down, themselves making the liveliest part of the show. The whole capacity of the street swarmed with moving heads, leaving scarce room enough for the carriages, which, as on Sunday, passed up and down, until the signal for the race was given. Equipages, too, were constantly arriving at the door of the building which communicates with the open loggia, where the Grand Ducal party sit to see and to be seen. Two sentinels were standing at the

 

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door, and presented arms as each courtier or ambassador, or whatever dignity it might be, alighted. Most of them had on gold-embroidered court-dresses; some of them had military uniforms, and medals in abundance at the breast; and ladies also came, looking like heaps of lace and gauze in the carriages, but lightly shaking themselves into shape as they went up the steps. By and by a trumpet sounded, a drum beat, and again appeared a succession of half a dozen royal equipages, each with its six horses, its postilion, coachman, and three footmen, grand with cocked hats and embroidery; and the gray-headed, bowing Grand Duke and his nodding Grand Duchess as before. The Noble Guard ranged themselves on horseback opposite the loggia; but there was no irksome and impertinent show of ceremony and restraint upon the people. The play-guard of volunteer soldiers, who escort the President of the United States in his Northern progresses, keep back their fellow-citizens much more sternly and immitigably than the Florentine guard kept back the populace from its despotic sovereign.

This morning J----- and I have been to the Uffizzi gallery. It was his first visit there, and he passed a sweeping condemnation upon everything he saw, except a fly, a snail-shell, a caterpillar, a lemon, a piece of bread, and a wineglass, in some of the Dutch pictures. The Venus di Medici met with no sort of favor. His feeling of utter distaste reacted upon me, and I was sensible of the same weary lack of appreciation that used to chill me through, in my earlier visits to picture-galleries; the same doubt, moreover, whether we do not bamboozle ourselves in the greater part of the admiration which we learn to bestow. I

 

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looked with some pleasure at one of Correggio's Madonnas in the Tribune,--no divine and deep-thoughted mother of the Saviour, but a young woman playing with her first child, as gay and thoughtless as itself. I looked at Michel Angelo's Madonna, in which William Ware saw such prophetic depth of feeling; but I suspect it was one of the many instances in which the spectator sees more than the painter ever dreamed of.

Straying through the city, after leaving the gallery, we went into the Church of Or San Michele, and saw in its architecture the traces of its transformation from a market into a church. In its pristine state it consisted of a double row of three great open arches, with the wind blowing through them, and the sunshine falling aslantwise into them, while the bustle of the market, the sale of fish, flesh, or fruit went on within, or brimmed over into the streets that enclosed them on every side. But, four or five hundred years ago, the broad arches were built up with stone-work; windows were pierced through and filled with painted glass; a high altar, in a rich style of pointed Gothic, was raised; shrines and confessionals were set up; and here it is, a solemn and antique church, where a man may buy his salvation instead of his dinner. At any rate, the Catholic priests will insure it to him, and take the price. The sculpture within the beautifully decorated niches, on the outside of the church, is very curious and interesting. The statues of those old saints seem to have that charm of earnestness which so attracts the admirers of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

It appears that a picture of the Virgin used to hang against one of the pillars of the market-place while it

 

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was still a market, and in the year 1291 several miracles were wrought by it, insomuch that a chapel was consecrated for it. So many worshippers came to the shrine that the business of the market was impeded, and ultimately the Virgin and St. Michael won the whole space for themselves. The upper part of the edifice was at that time a granary, and is still used for other than religious purposes. This church was one spot to which the inhabitants betook themselves much for refuge and divine assistance during the great plague described by Boccaccio.

 

July 2d.--We set out yesterday morning to visit the Palazzo Buonarotti, Michel Angelo's ancestral home.. .. It is in the Via Ghibellina, an ordinary-looking, three-story house, with broad-brimmed eaves, a stuccoed front, and two or three windows painted in fresco, besides the real ones. Adown the street, there is a glimpse of the hills outside of Florence. The sun shining heavily directly upon the front, we rang the door-bell, and then drew back into the shadow that fell from the opposite side of the street. After we had waited some time a man looked out from an upper window, and a woman from a lower one, and informed us that we could not be admitted now, nor for two or three months to come, the house being under repairs. It is a pity, for I wished to see Michel Angelo's sword and walking-stick and old slippers, and whatever other of his closest personalities are to be shown. . . .

We passed into the Piazza of the Grand Duke, and looked into the court of the Palazzo Vecchio, with its beautifully embossed pillars; and, seeing just beyond the court a staircase of broad and easy steps, we ascended it at a venture. Upward and upward we went,

 

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flight after flight of stairs, and through passages, till at last we found an official who ushered us into a large saloon. It was the Hall of Audience. Its heavily embossed ceiling, rich with tarnished gold, was a feature of antique magnificence, and the only one that it retained, the floor being paved with tiles and the furniture scanty or none. There were, however, three cabinets standing against the walls, two of which contained very curious and exquisite carvings and cuttings in ivory; some of them in the Chinese style of hollow, concentric balls; others, really beautiful works of art: little crucifixes, statues, saintly and knightly, and cups enriched with delicate bas-reliefs. The custode pointed to a small figure of St. Sebastian, and also to a vase around which the reliefs seemed to assume life. Both these specimens, he said, were by Benvenuto Cellini, and there were many others that might well have been wrought by his famous hand. The third cabinet contained a great number and variety of crucifixes, chalices, and whatever other vessels are needed in altar service, exquisitely carved out of amber. They belong to the chapel of the palace, and into this holy closet we were now conducted. It is large enough to accommodate comfortably perhaps thirty worshippers, and is quite covered with frescos by Ghirlandaio in good preservation, and with remnants enough of gilding and bright color to show how splendid the chapel must have been when the Medicean Grand Dukes used to pray here. The altar is still ready for service, and I am not sure that some of the wax tapers were not burning; but Lorenzo the Magnificent was nowhere to be seen.

The custode now led us back through the Hall of Audience into a smaller room, hung with pictures,

 

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chiefly of the Medici and their connections, among whom was one Carolina, an intelligent and pretty child, and Bianca Capella.

There was nothing else to show us except a very noble and most spacious saloon, lighted by two large windows at each end, coming down level with the floor, and by a row of windows on one side just beneath the cornice. A gilded framework divides the ceiling into squares, circles, and octagons, the compartments of which are filled with pictures in oil; and the walls are covered with immense frescos, representing various battles and triumphs of the Florentines. Statues by Michel Angelo, John of Bologna, and Bandinelli, as well historic as ideal, stand round the hall, and it is really a fit theatre for the historic scenes of a country to be acted in. It was built, moreover, with the idea of its being the council-hall of a free people; but our own little Faneuil, which was meant, in all simplicity, to be merely a spot where the townspeople should meet to choose their selectmen, has served the world better in that respect. I wish I had more room to speak of this vast, dusky, historic hall. [This volume of journal closes here.]

 

July 4th, 1858.--Yesterday forenoon we went to see the Church of Santa Maria Novella. We found the piazza, on one side of which the church stands, encumbered with the amphitheatrical ranges of wooden seats that had been erected to accommodate the spectators of the chariot-races, at the recent Feast of St. John. The front of the church is composed of black and white marble, which, in the course of the five centuries that it has been built, has turned brown and yellow. On the right hand, as you approach, is a long

 

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colonnade of arches, extending on a line with the façade, and having a tomb beneath every arch. This colonnade forms one of the enclosing walls of a cloister. We found none of the front entrances open, but on our left, in a wall at right angles with the church, there was an open gateway, approaching which, we saw, within the four-sided colonnade, an enclosed green space of a cloister. This is what is called the Chiostro Verde, so named from the prevailing color of the frescos with which the walls beneath the arches are adorned.

This cloister is the reality of what I used to imagine when I saw the half-ruinous colonnades connected with English cathedrals, or endeavored to trace out the lines along the broken wall of some old abbey. Not that this extant cloister, still perfect and in daily use for its original purposes, is nearly so beautiful as the crumbling ruin which has ceased to be trodden by monkish feet for more than three centuries. The cloister of Santa Maria has not the seclusion that is desirable, being open, by its gateway, to the public square; and several of the neighbors, women as well as men, were loitering within its precincts. The convent, however, has another and larger cloister, which I suppose is kept free from interlopers. The Chiostro Verde is a walk round the four sides of a square, beneath an arched and groined roof. One side of the walk looks upon an enclosed green space with a fountain or a tomb (I forget which) in the centre; the other side is ornamented all along with a succession of ancient frescos, representing subjects of Scripture history. In the days when the designs were more distinct than now, it must have been a very effective way for a monk to read Bible history, to see its personages

 

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and events thus passing visibly beside him in his morning and evening walks. Beneath the frescos on one side of the cloistered walk, and along the low stone parapet that separates it from the grass-plat on the other, are inscriptions to the memory of the dead who are buried underneath the pavement. The most of these were modern, and recorded the names of persons of no particular note. Other monumental slabs were inlaid with the pavement itself. Two or three Dominican monks, belonging to the convent, passed in and out, while we were there, in their white habits.

After going round three sides, we came to the fourth, formed by the wall of the church, and heard the voice of a priest behind a curtain that fell down before a door. Lifting it aside, we went in, and found ourselves in the ancient chapter-house, a large interior formed by two great pointed arches crossing one another in a groined roof. The broad spaces of the walls were entirely covered with frescos that are rich even now, and must have glowed with an inexpressible splendor, when fresh from the artists' hands, five hundred years ago. There is a long period, during which frescos illuminate a church or a hall in a way that no other adornment can; when this epoch of brightness is past, they become the dreariest ghosts of perished magnificence. . . . This chapter-house is the only part of the church that is now used for the purposes of public worship. There are several confessionals, and two chapels or shrines, each with its lighted tapers. A priest performed mass while we were there, and several persons, as usual, stepped in to do a little devotion, either praying on their own account, or uniting with the ceremony that was going forward. One man was followed by two little dogs, and in the midst of

 

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his prayers, as one of the dogs was inclined to stray about the church, he kept snapping his fingers to call him back. The cool, dusky refreshment of these holy places, affording such a refuge from the hot noon of the streets and piazzas, probably suggests devotional ideas to the people, and it may be, when they are praying, they feel a breath of Paradise fanning them. If we could only see any good effects in their daily life, we might deem it an excellent thing to be able to find incense and a prayer always ascending, to which every individual may join his own. I really wonder that the Catholics are not better men and women.

When we had looked at the old frescos, . . . we emerged into the cloister again, and thence ventured into a passage which would have led us to the Chiostro Grande, where strangers, and especially ladies, have no right to go. It was a secluded corridor, very neatly kept, bordered with sepulchral monuments, and at the end appeared a vista of cypress-trees, which, indeed, were but an illusory perspective, being painted in fresco. While we loitered along . . . the sacristan appeared and offered to show us the church, and led us into the transept on the right of the high altar, and ushered us into the sacristy, where we found two artists copying some of Fra Angelico's pictures. These were painted on the three wooden leaves of a triptych, and, as usual, were glorified with a great deal of gilding, so that they seemed to float in the brightness of a heavenly element. Solomon speaks of "apples of gold in pictures of silver." The pictures of Fra Angelico, and other artists of that age, are really pictures of gold; and it is wonderful to see how rich the effect, and how much delicate beauty is attained (by Fra Angelico at least) along with it. His miniature-heads

 

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appear to me much more successful than his larger ones. In a monkish point of view, however, the chief value of the triptych of which I am speaking does not lie in the pictures, for they merely serve as the framework of some relics, which are set all round the edges of the three leaves. They consist of little bits and fragments of bones, and of packages carefully tied up in silk, the contents of which are signified in Gothic letters appended to each parcel. The sacred vessels of the church are likewise kept in the sacristy. . . .

Reëntering the transept, our guide showed us the chapel of the Strozzi family, which is accessible by a flight of steps from the floor of the church. The walls of this chapel are covered with frescos by Orcagna, representing around the altar The Last Judgment, and on one of the walls heaven and the assembly of the blessed, and on the other, of course, hell. I cannot speak as to the truth of the representation; but, at all events, it was purgatory to look at it. . . .

We next passed into the choir, which occupies the extreme end of the church behind the great square mass of the high altar, and is surrounded with a double row of ancient oaken seats of venerable shape and carving. The choir is illuminated by a threefold Gothic window, full of richly painted glass, worth all the frescos that ever stained a wall or ceiling; but these walls, nevertheless, are adorned with frescos by Ghirlandaio, and it is easy to see must once have made a magnificent appearance. I really was sensible of a sad and ghostly beauty in many of the figures; but all the bloom, the magic of the painter's touch, his topmost art, have long ago been rubbed off, the white plaster showing through the colors in spots, and even in large spaces. Any other sort of ruin acquires a

 

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beauty proper to its decay, and often superior to that of its pristine state; but the ruin of a picture, especially of a fresco, is wholly unredeemed; and, moreover, it dies so slowly that many generations are likely to be saddened by it.

We next saw the famous picture of the Virgin by Cimabue, which was deemed a miracle in its day, . . . and still brightens the sombre walls with the lustre of its gold ground. As to its artistic merits, it seems to me that the babe Jesus has a certain air of state and dignity; but I could see no charm whatever in the broad-faced Virgin, and it would relieve my mind and rejoice my spirit if the picture were borne out of the church in another triumphal procession (like the one which brought it there), and reverently burnt. This should be the final honor paid to all human works that have served a good office in their day, for when their day is over, if still galvanized into false life, they do harm instead of good. . . . The interior of Santa Maria Novella is spacious and in the Gothic style, though differing from English churches of that order of architecture. It is not now kept open to the public, nor were any of the shrines and chapels, nor even the high altar itself, adorned and lighted for worship. The pictures that decorated the shrines along the side-aisles have been removed, leaving bare, blank spaces of brickwork, very dreary and desolate to behold. This is almost worse than a black oil-painting or a faded fresco. The church was much injured by the French, and afterwards by the Austrians, both powers having quartered their troops within the holy precincts. Its old walls, however, are yet stalwart enough to outlast another set of frescos, and to see the beginning and the end of a new school of painting as

 

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long-lived as Cimabue's. I should be sorry to have the church go to decay, because it was here that Boccaccio's dames and cavaliers encountered one another, and formed their plan of retreating into the country during the plague. . . .

At the door we bought a string of beads, with a small crucifix appended, in memory of the place. The beads seem to be of a grayish, pear-shaped seed, and the seller assured us that they were the tears of St. Job. They were cheap, probably because Job shed so many tears in his lifetime.

It being still early in the day, we went to the Uffizzi gallery, and after loitering a good while among the pictures, were so fortunate as to find the room of the bronzes open. The first object that attracted us was John of Bologna's Mercury, poising himself on tiptoe, and looking not merely buoyant enough to float, but as if he possessed more than the eagle's power of lofty flight. It seems a wonder that he did not absolutely fling himself into the air when the artist gave him the last touch. No bolder work was ever achieved; nothing so full of life has been done since. I was much interested, too, in the original little wax model, two feet high, of Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus. The wax seems to be laid over a wooden framework, and is but roughly finished off. . . .

In an adjoining room are innumerable specimens of Roman and Etruscan bronzes, great and small. A bronze Chimera did not strike me as very ingeniously conceived, the goat's head being merely an adjunct, growing out of the back of the monster, without possessing any original and substantive share in its nature. The snake's head is at the end of the tail. The object most really interesting was a Roman eagle, the

 

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standard of the Twenty-fourth Legion, about the size of a blackbird.

 

July 8th.--On the 6th we went to the Church of the Annunziata, which stands in the piazza of the same name. On the corner of the Via dei Servi is the palace which I suppose to be the one that Browning makes the scene of his poem, "The Statue and the Bust," and the statue of Duke Ferdinand sits stately on horseback, with his face turned towards the window, where the lady ought to appear. Neither she nor the bust, however, was visible, at least not to my eyes. The church occupies one side of the piazza, and in front of it, as likewise on the two adjoining sides of the square, there are pillared arcades, constructed by Brunelleschi or his scholars. After passing through these arches, and still before entering the church itself, you come to an ancient cloister, which is now quite enclosed in glass as a means of preserving some frescos of Andrea del Sarto and others, which are considered valuable.

Passing the threshold of the church, we were quite dazzled by the splendor that shone upon us from the ceiling of the nave, the great parallelograms of which, viewed from one end, look as if richly embossed all over with gold. The whole interior, indeed, has an effect of brightness and magnificence, the walls being covered mostly with light-colored marble, into which are inlaid compartments of rarer and richer marbles. The pillars and pilasters, too, are of variegated marbles, with Corinthian capitals, that shine just as brightly as if they were of solid gold, so faithfully have they been gilded and burnished. The pavement is formed of squares of black and white marble. There

 

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are no side-aisles, but ranges of chapels, with communication from one to another, stand round the whole extent of the nave and choir; all of marble, all decorated with pictures, statues, busts, and mural monuments; all worth, separately, a day's inspection. The high altar is of great beauty and richness, . . . and also the tomb of John of Bologna in a chapel at the remotest extremity of the church. In this chapel there are some bas-reliefs by him, and also a large crucifix, with a marble Christ upon it. I think there has been no better sculptor since the days of Phidias. . . .

The church was founded by seven gentlemen of Florence, who formed themselves into a religious order called "Servants of Mary." Many miraculous cures were wrought here; and the church, in consequence, was so thickly hung with votive offerings of legs, arms, and other things in wax, that they used to tumble upon people's heads, so that finally they were all cleared out as rubbish. The church is still, I should imagine, looked upon as a place of peculiar sanctity; for while we were there it had an unusual number of kneeling worshippers, and persons were passing from shrine to shrine all round the nave and choir, praying awhile at each, and thus performing a pilgrimage at little cost of time and labor. One old gentleman, I observed, carried a cushion or pad, just big enough for one knee, on which he carefully adjusted his genuflections before each altar. An old woman in the choir prayed alternately to us and to the saints, with most success, I hope, in her petitions to the latter, though certainly her prayers to ourselves seemed the more fervent of the two.

When we had gone entirely round the church, we

 

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came at last to the chapel of the Annunziata, which stands on the floor of the nave, on the left hand as we enter. It is a very beautiful piece of architecture,--a sort of canopy of marble, supported upon pillars; and its magnificence within, in marble and silver, and all manner of holy decoration, is quite indescribable. It was built four hundred years ago, by Pietro di Medici, and has probably been growing richer ever since. The altar is entirely of silver, richly embossed. As many people were kneeling on the steps before it as could find room, and most of them when they finished their prayers, ascended the steps, kissed over and over again the margin of the silver altar, laid their foreheads upon it, and then deposited an offering in a box placed upon the altar's top. From the dulness of the chink in the only case when I heard it, I judged it to be a small copper coin.

In the inner part of this chapel is preserved a miraculous picture of the Santissima Annunziata, painted by angels, and held in such holy repute that forty thousand dollars have lately been expended in providing a new crown for the sacred personage represented. The picture is now veiled behind a curtain; and as it is a fresco, and is not considered to do much credit to the angelic artists, I was well contented not to see it.

We found a side door of the church admitting us into the great cloister, which has a walk of intersecting arches round its four sides, paved with flat tombstones, and broad enough for six people to walk abreast. On the walls, in the semicircles of each successive arch, are frescos representing incidents in the lives of the seven founders of the church, and all the lower part of the wall is incrusted with marble inscriptions to

 

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the memory of the dead, and mostly of persons who have died not very long ago. The space enclosed by the cloistered walk, usually made cheerful by green grass, has a pavement of tombstones laid in regular ranges. In the centre is a stone octagonal structure, which at first I supposed to be the tomb of some deceased mediæval personage; but, on approaching, I found it a well, with its bucket hanging within the curb, and looking as if it were in constant use. The surface of the water lay deep beneath the deepest dust of the dead people, and thence threw up its picture of the sky; but I think it would not be a moderate thirst that would induce me to drink of that well.

On leaving the church we bought a little gilt crucifix. . . .

On Sunday evening I paid a short visit to Mr. Powers, and, as usual, was entertained and instructed with his conversation. It did not indeed, turn upon artistical subjects; but the artistic is only one side of his character, and, I think, not the principal side. He might have achieved valuable success as an engineer and mechanician. He gave a dissertation on flying-machines, evidently from his own experience, and came to the conclusion that it is impossible to fly by means of steam or any other motive power now known to man. No force hitherto attained would suffice to lift the engine which generated it. He appeared to anticipate that flying will be a future mode of locomotion, but not till the moral condition of mankind is so improved as to obviate the bad uses to which the power might be applied. Another topic discussed was a cure for complaints of the chest by the inhalation of nitric acid; and he produced his own apparatus for that purpose, being merely a tube inserted into a bottle

 

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containing a small quantity of the acid, just enough to produce the gas for inhalation. He told me, too, a remedy for burns accidentally discovered by himself; viz., to wear wash-leather, or something equivalent, over the burn, and keep it constantly wet. It prevents all pain, and cures by the exclusion of the air. He evidently has a great tendency to empirical remedies, and would have made a natural doctor of mighty potency, possessing the shrewd sense, inventive faculty, and self-reliance that such persons require. It is very singular that there should be an ideal vein in a man of this character.

This morning he called to see me, with intelligence of the failure of the new attempt to lay the electric cable between England and America; and here, too, it appears the misfortune might have been avoided if a plan of his own for laying the cable had been adopted. He explained his process, and made it seem as practicable as to put up a bell-wire. I do not remember how or why (but appositely) he repeated some verses, from a pretty little ballad about fairies, that had struck his fancy, and he wound up his talk with some acute observations on the characters of General Jackson and other public men. He told an anecdote, illustrating the old general's small acquaintance with astronomical science, and his force of will in compelling a whole dinner-party of better instructed people than himself to succumb to him in an argument about eclipses and the planetary system generally. Powers witnessed the scene himself. He thinks that General Jackson was a man of the keenest and surest intuitions, in respect to men and measures, but with no power of reasoning out his own conclusions, or of imparting them intellectually to other persons. Men

 

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who have known Jackson intimately, and in great affairs, would not agree as to this intellectual and argumentative deficiency, though they would fully allow the intuitive faculty. I have heard General Pierce tell a striking instance of Jackson's power of presenting his own view of a subject with irresistible force to the mind of the auditor. President Buchanan has likewise expressed to me as high admiration of Jackson as I ever heard one man award to another. Surely he was a great man, and his native strength, as well of intellect as character, compelled every man to be his tool that came within his reach; and the more cunning the individual might be, it served only to make him the sharper tool.

Speaking of Jackson, and remembering Raphael's picture of Pope Julius II., the best portrait in the whole world, and excellent in all its repetitions, I wish it had been possible for Raphael to paint General Jackson!

Referring again to General Jackson's intuitions, and to Powers's idea that he was unable to render a reason to himself or others for what he chose to do, I should have thought that this very probably might have been the case, were there not such strong evidence to the contrary. The highest, or perhaps any high administrative ability is intuitive, and precedes argument, and rises above it. It is a revelation of the very thing to be done, and its propriety and necessity are felt so strongly that very likely it cannot be talked about; if the doer can likewise talk, it is an additional and gratuitous faculty, as little to be expected as that a poet should be able to write an explanatory criticism on his own poem. The English overlook this in their scheme of government, which

 

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requires that the members of the national executive should be orators, and the readiest and most fluent orators that can be found. The very fact (on which they are selected) that they are men of words makes it improbable that they are likewise men of deeds. And it is only tradition and old custom, founded on an obsolete state of things, that assigns any value to parliamentary oratory. The world has done with it, except as an intellectual pastime. The speeches have no effect till they are converted into newspaper paragraphs; and they had better be composed as such, in the first place, and oratory reserved for churches, courts of law, and public dinner-tables.

 

July 10th.--My wife and I went yesterday forenoon to see the Church of San Marco, with which is connected a convent of Dominicans. . . . The interior is not less than three or four hundred years old, and is in the classic style, with a flat ceiling, gilded, and a lofty arch, supported by pillars, between the nave and choir. There are no side-aisles, but ranges of shrines on both sides of the nave, each beneath its own pair of pillars and pediments. The pavement is of brick, with here and there a marble tombstone inlaid. It is not a magnificent church; but looks dingy with time and apparent neglect, though rendered sufficiently interesting by statues of mediæval date by John of Bologna and other old sculptors, and by monumental busts and bas-reliefs: also, there is a wooden crucifix by Giotto, with ancient gilding on it; and a painting of Christ, which was considered a wonderful work in its day. Each shrine, or most of them, at any rate, had its dark old picture, and there is a very old and hideous mosaic of the Virgin and two saints, which I

 

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looked at very slightly, with the purpose of immediately forgetting it. Savonarola, the reforming monk, was a brother of this convent, and was torn from its shelter, to be subsequently hanged and burnt in the Grand Ducal Piazza. A large chapel in the left transept is of the Salviati family, dedicated to St. Anthony, and decorated with several statues of saints, and with some old frescos. When we had more than sufficiently examined these, the custode proposed to show us some frescos of Fra Angelico, and conducted us into a large cloister, under the arches of which, and beneath a covering of glass, he pointed to a picture of St. Dominic kneeling at the Cross. There are two or three others by the angelic friar in different parts of the cloister, and a regular series, filling up all the arches, by various artists. Its four-sided, cloistered walk surrounds a square, open to the sky as usual, and paved with gray stones that have no inscriptions, but probably are laid over graves. Its walls, however, are incrusted, and the walk itself is paved, with monumental inscriptions on marble, none of which, so far as I observed, were of ancient date. Either the fashion of thus commemorating the dead is not ancient in Florence, or the old tombstones have been removed to make room for new ones. I do not know where the monks themselves have their burial-place; perhaps in an inner cloister which we did not see. All the inscriptions here, I believe, were in memory of persons not connected with the convent.

A door in the wall of the cloister admitted us into the chapter-house, its interior moderately spacious, with a roof formed by intersecting arches. Three sides of the walls were covered with blessed white-wash; but on the fourth side, opposite to the entrance,

 

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was a great fresco of the Crucifixion, by Fra Angelico, surrounded with a border or pictured framework, in which are represented the heads of saints, prophets, and sibyls, as large as life. The cross of the Saviour and those of the thieves were painted against a dark red sky; the figures upon them were lean and attenuated, evidently the vague conceptions of a man who had never seen a naked figure. Beneath, was a multitude of people, most of whom were saints who had lived and been martyred long after the Crucifixion; and some of these had wounds from which gilded rays shone forth, as if the inner glory and blessedness of the holy men blazed through them. It is a very ugly picture, and its ugliness is not that of strength and vigor, but of weakness and incompetency. Fra Angelico should have confined himself to miniature heads, in which his delicacy of touch and minute labor often produce an excellent effect. The custode informed us that there were more frescos of this pious artist in the interior of the convent, into which. I might be allowed admittance, but not my wife. I declined seeing them, and heartily thanked Heaven for my escape.

Returning through the church, we stopped to look at a shrine on the right of the entrance, where several wax candles were lighted, and the steps of which were crowded with worshippers. It was evidently a spot of special sanctity, and, approaching the steps, we saw, behind a gilded framework of stars and protected by glass, a wooden image of the Saviour, naked, covered with spots of blood, crowned with thorns, and expressing all the human wretchedness that the carver's skill could represent. The whole shrine, within the glass, was hung with offerings, as well of silver and gold as of tinsel and trumpery, and the body of Christ glis-

 

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tened with gold chains and ornaments, and with watches of silver and gold, some of which appeared to be of very old manufacture, and others might be new. Amid all this glitter the face of pain and grief looked forth, not a whit comforted. While we stood there, a woman, who had been praying, arose from her knees and laid an offering of a single flower upon the shrine.

The corresponding arch, on the opposite side of the entrance, contained a wax-work within a large glass case, representing the Nativity. I do not remember how the Blessed Infant looked, but the Virgin was gorgeously dressed in silks, satins, and gauzes, with spangles and ornaments of all kinds, and I believe brooches of real diamonds on her bosom. Her attire, judging from its freshness and newness of glitter, might have been put on that very morning.

 

July 13th.--We went for the second time, this morning, to the Academy of Fine Arts, and I looked pretty thoroughly at the Pre-Raphaelite pictures, few of which are really worth looking at nowadays. Cimabue and Giotto might certainly be dismissed, henceforth and forever, without any detriment to the cause of good art. There is what seems to me a better picture than either of these has produced, by Bonamico Buffalmacco, an artist of about their date or not long after. The first real picture in the series is The Adoration of the Magi, by Gentile da Fabriano, a really splendid work in all senses, with noble and beautiful figures in it, and a crowd of personages, managed with great skill. Three pictures by Perugino are the only other ones I cared to look at. In one of these, the face of the Virgin, who holds the dead Christ on her knees, has a deeper expression of woe than can ever

 

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have been painted since. After Perugino the pictures cease to be interesting; the art came forward with rapid strides, but the painters and their productions do not take nearly so much hold of the spectator as before. They all paint better than Giotto and Cimabue,--in some respects better than Perugino; but they paint in vain, probably because they were not nearly so much in earnest, and meant far less, though possessing the dexterity to express far more. Andrea del Sarto appears to have been a good painter, yet I always turn away readily from his pictures. I looked again, and for a good while, at Carlo Dolce's portrait of the Eternal Father, for it is a miracle and masterpiece of absurdity, and almost equally a miracle of pictorial art. It is the All-powerless, a fair-haired, soft, consumptive deity, with a mouth that has fallen open through very weakness. He holds one hand on his stomach, as if the wickedness and wretched of mankind made him qualmish; and he is looking down out of heaven with an expression of pitiable appeal, or as if seeking somewhere for assistance in his heavy task of ruling the universe. You might fancy such a being falling on his knees before a strong-willed man, and beseeching him to take the reins of omnipotence out of his hands. No wonder that wrong gets the better of right, and that good and ill are confounded, if the Supreme Head were as here depicted; for I never saw, and nobody else ever saw, so perfect a representation of a person burdened with a task infinitely above his strength. If Carlo Dolce had been wicked enough to know what he was doing, the picture would have been most blasphemous,--a satire, in the very person of the Almighty, against all incompetent rulers, and against the rickety machine and crazy action of the

 

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universe. Heaven forgive me for such thoughts as this picture has suggested! It must be added that the great original defect in the character as here represented is an easy good-nature. I wonder what Michel Angelo would have said to this painting.

In the large, enclosed court connected with the Academy there are a number of statues, bas-reliefs, and casts, and, what was especially interesting, the vague and rude commencement of a statue of St. Matthew by Michel Angelo. The conceptions of this great sculptor were so godlike that he seems to have been discontented at not likewise possessing the godlike attribute of creating and embodying them with an instantaneous thought, and therefore we often find sculptures from his hand left at the critical point of their struggle to get out of the marble. The statue of St. Matthew looks like the antediluvian fossil of a human being of an epoch when humanity was mightier and more majestic than now, long ago imprisoned in stone, and half uncovered again.

July 16th.--We went yesterday forenoon to see the Bargello. I do not know anything more picturesque in Florence than the great interior court of this ancient Palace of the Podestà, with the lofty height of the edifice looking down into the enclosed space, dark and stern, and the armorial bearings of a long succession of magistrates carved in stone upon the walls, a garland, as it were, of these Gothic devices extending quite round the court. The best feature of the whole is the broad stone staircase, with its heavy balustrade, ascending externally from the court to the iron-grated door in the second story. We passed the sentinels under the lofty archway that communicates with the

 

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street, and went up the stairs without being questioned or impeded. At the iron-grated door, however, we were met by two officials in uniform, who courteously informed us that there was nothing to be exhibited in the Bargello except an old chapel containing some frescos by Giotto, and that these could only be seen by making a previous appointment with the custode, he not being constantly on hand. I was not sorry to escape the frescos, though one of them is a portrait of Dante.

We next went to the Church of the Badia, which is built in the form of a Greek cross, with a flat roof embossed and once splendid with now tarnished gold. The pavement is of brick, and the walls of dark stone, similar to that of the interior of the Cathedral (pietra serena), and there being, according to Florentine custom, but little light, the effect was sombre, though the cool gloomy dusk was refreshing after the hot turmoil and dazzle of the adjacent street. Here we found three or four Gothic tombs, with figures of the deceased persons stretched in marble slumber upon them. There were likewise a picture or two, which it was impossible to see; indeed, I have hardly ever met with a picture in a church that was not utterly wasted and thrown away in the deep shadows of the chapel it was meant to adorn. If there is the remotest chance of its being seen, the sacristan hangs a curtain before it for the sake of his fee for withdrawing it. In the chapel of the Bianco family we saw (if it could be called seeing) what is considered the finest oil-painting of Fra Filippo Lippi. It was evidently hung with reference to a lofty window on the other side of the church, whence sufficient light might fall upon it to show a picture so vividly painted as this is, and as most of

 

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Fra Filippo Lippi's are. The window was curtained, however, and the chapel so dusky that I could make out nothing.

Several persons came in to say their prayers during the little time that we remained in the church, and as we came out we passed a good woman who sat knitting in the coolness of the vestibule, which was lined with mural tombstones. Probably she spends the day thus, keeping up the little industry of her fingers, slipping into the church to pray whenever a devotional impulse swells into her heart, and asking an alms as often as she sees a person of charitable aspect.

From the church we went to the Uffizzi gallery, and reinspected the greater part of it pretty faithfully. We had the good fortune, too, again to get admittance into the cabinet of bronzes, where we admired anew the wonderful airiness of John of Bologna's Mercury, which, as I now observed, rests on nothing substantial, but on the breath of a zephyr beneath him. We also saw a bronze bust of one of the Medici by Benvenuto Cellini, and a thousand other things the curiosity of which is overlaid by their multitude. The Roman eagle, which I have recorded to be about the size of a blackbird, I now saw to be as large as a pigeon.

On our way towards the door of the gallery, at our departure, we saw the cabinet of gems open, and again feasted our eyes with its concentrated brilliancies and magnificences. Among them were two crystal cups, with engraved devices, and covers of enamelled gold, wrought by Benvenuto Cellini, and wonderfully beautiful. But it is idle to mention one or two things, when all are so beautiful and curious; idle, too, because language is not burnished gold, with here and

 

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there a brighter word flashing like a diamond; and therefore no amount of talk will give the slightest idea of one of these elaborate handiworks.

 

July 27th.--I seldom go out nowadays, having already seen Florence tolerably well, and the streets being very hot, and myself having been engaged in sketching out a romance, [1] which, whether it will ever come to anything, is a point yet to be decided. At any rate, it leaves me little heart for journalizing and describing new things; and six months of uninterrupted monotony would be more valuable to me just now, than the most brilliant succession of novelties.

Yesterday I spent a good deal of time in watching the setting out of a wedding party from our door; the bride being the daughter of an English lady, the Countess of ---- . After all, there was nothing very characteristic. The bridegroom is a young man of English birth, son of the Countess of St. G----, who inhabits the third piano of this Casa del Bello. The very curious part of the spectacle was the swarm of beggars who haunted the street all day; the most wretched mob conceivable, chiefly women, with a few blind people, and some old men and boys. Among these the bridal party distributed their beneficence in the shape of some handfuls of copper, with here and there a half-paul intermixed; whereupon the whole wretched mob flung themselves in a heap upon the pavement, struggling, fighting, tumbling one over another, and then looking up to the windows with petitionary gestures for more and more, and still for more. Doubtless, they had need enough, for they looked thin, sickly, ill-fed, and the women ugly to the last degree.

 

[1] The Marble Faun.--ED.

 

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The wedding party had a breakfast above stairs, which lasted till four o'clock, and then the bridegroom took his bride in a barouche and pair, which was already crammed with his own luggage and hers. . . . He was a well-looking young man enough, in a uniform of French gray with silver epaulets; more agreeable in aspect than his bride, who, I think, will have the upper hand in their domestic life. I observed that, on getting into the barouche, he sat down on her dress, as he could not well help doing, and received a slight reprimand in consequence. After their departure, the wedding guests took their leave; the most noteworthy person being the Pope's Nuncio (the young man being son of the Pope's Chamberlain, and one of the Grand Duke's Noble Guard), an ecclesiastical personage in purple stockings, attended by two priests, all of whom got into a coach, the driver and footmen of which wore gold-laced cocked hats and other splendors.

To-day I paid a short visit to the gallery of the Pitti Palace. I looked long at a Madonna of Raphael's, the one which is usually kept in the Grand Duke's private apartments, only brought into the public gallery for the purpose of being copied. It is the holiest of all Raphael's Madonnas, with a great reserve in the expression, a sense of being apart, and yet with the utmost tenderness and sweetness; although she drops her eyelids before her like a veil, as it were, and has a primness of eternal virginity about the mouth. It is one of Raphael's earlier works, when he mixed more religious sentiment with his paint than afterwards. Perugino's pictures give the impression of greater sincerity and earnestness than Raphael's, though the genius of Raphael often gave him miraculous vision.

 

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July 28th.--Last evening we went to the Powers's, and sat with them on the terrace, at the top of the house, till nearly ten o'clock. It was a delightful, calm, summer evening, and we were elevated far above all the adjacent roofs, and had a prospect of the greater part of Florence and its towers, and the surrounding hills, while directly beneath us rose the trees of a garden, and they hardly sent their summits higher than we sat. At a little distance, with only a house or two between, was a theatre in full action, the Teatro Goldoni, which is an open amphitheatre, in the ancient fashion, without any roof. We could see the upper part of the proscenium, and, had we been a little nearer, might have seen the whole performance, as did several boys who crept along the tops of the surrounding houses. As it was, we heard the music and the applause, and now and then an actor's stentorian tones, when we chose to listen. Mrs. P---- and my wife, U-- and Master Bob, sat in a group together, and chatted in one corner of our aerial drawing-room, while Mr. Powers and myself leaned against the parapet, and talked of innumerable things. When the clocks struck the hour, or the bells rung from the steeples, as they are continually doing, I spoke of the sweetness of the Florence bells, the tones of some of them being as if the bell were full of liquid melody, and shed it through the air on being upturned. I had supposed, in my lack of musical ear, that the bells of the Campanile were the sweetest; but Mr. Powers says that there is a defect in their tone, and that the bell of the Palazzo Vecchio is the most melodious he ever heard. Then he spoke of his having been a manufacturer of organs, or, at least, of reeds for organs, at one period of his life. I wonder what he has

 

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not been! He told me of an invention of his in the musical line, a jew's-harp with two tongues; and by and by he produced it for my inspection. It was carefully kept in a little wooden case, and was very neatly and elaborately constructed, with screws to tighten it, and a silver centre-piece between the two tongues. Evidently a great deal of thought had been bestowed on this little harp; but Mr. Powers told me that it was an utter failure, because the tongues were apt to interfere and jar with one another, although the strain of music was very sweet and melodious-- as he proved, by playing on it a little--when everything went right. It was a youthful production, and he said that its failure had been a great disappointment to him at the time; whereupon I congratulated him that his failures had been in small matters, and his successes in great ones.

We talked, furthermore, about instinct and reason, and whether the brute creation have souls, and, if they have none, how justice is to be done them for their sufferings here; and Mr. Powers came finally to the conclusion that brutes suffer only in appearance, and that God enjoys for them all that they seem to enjoy, and that man is the only intelligent and sentient being. We reasoned high about other states of being; and I suggested the possibility that there might be beings inhabiting this earth, contemporaneously with us, and close beside us, but of whose existence and whereabout we could have no perception, nor they of ours, because we are endowed with different sets of senses; for certainly it was in God's power to create beings who should communicate with nature by innumerable other senses than those few which we possess. Mr. Powers gave hospitable reception to this

 

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idea, and said that it had occurred to himself; and he has evidently thought much and earnestly about such matters; but is apt to let his idea crystallize into a theory, before he can have sufficient data for it. He is a Swedenborgian in faith.

The moon, had risen behind the trees while we were talking, and Powers intimated his idea that beings analogous to men--men in everything except the modification necessary to adapt them to their physical circumstances--inhabited the planets, and peopled them with beautiful shapes. Each planet, however, must have its own standard of the beautiful, I suppose; and probably his sculptor's eye would not see much to admire in the proportions of an inhabitant of Saturn.

The atmosphere of Florence, at least when we ascend a little way into it, suggests planetary speculations. Galileo found it so, and Mr. Powers and I pervaded the whole universe; but finally crept down his garret-stairs, and parted, with a friendly pressure of the hand.

VILLA MONTAUTO.
MONTE BENI.

August 2d.--We had grown weary of the heat of Florence within the walls, . . . there being little opportunity for air and exercise except within the precincts of our little garden, which, also, we feared might breed malaria, or something akin to it. We have therefore taken this suburban villa for the two next months, and, yesterday morning, we all came out hither. J----- had preceded us with B. P----. The villa is on a hill called Bellosguardo, about a mile be-

 

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yond the Porta Romana. Less than half an hour's walk brought us, who were on foot, to the iron gate of our villa, which we found shut and locked. We shouted to be let in, and, while waiting for somebody to appear, there was a good opportunity to contemplate the external aspect of the villa. After we had waited a few minutes, J----- came racing down to the gate, laughing heartily, and said that Bob and he had been in the house, but had come out, shutting the door behind them; and as the door closed with a spring-lock, they could not get in again. Now as the key of the outer gate as well as that of the house itself was in the pocket of J-----'s coat, left inside, we were shut out of our own castle, and compelled to carry on a siege against it, without much likelihood of taking it, although the garrison was willing to surrender. But B. P---- called in the assistance of the contadini who cultivate the ground, and live in the farm-house close by; and one of them got into a window by means of a ladder, so that the keys were got, the gates opened, and we finally admitted. Before examining any other part of the house, we climbed to the top of the tower, which, indeed, is not very high, in proportion to its massive square. Very probably, its original height was abbreviated, in compliance with the law that lowered so many of the fortified towers of noblemen within the walls of Florence. . . . The stairs were not of stone, built in with the original mass of the tower, as in English castles, but of now decayed wood, which shook beneath us, and grew more and more crazy as we ascended. It will not be many years before the height of the tower becomes unattainable. . . . Near at hand, in the vicinity of the city, we saw the convent of Monte Olivetto, and other structures that looked

 

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like convents, being built round an enclosed square; also numerous white villas, many of which had towers, like that we were standing upon, square and massive, some of them battlemented on the summit, and others apparently modernized for domestic purposes. Among them U-- pointed out Galileo's tower, whither she made an excursion the other day. It looked lower than our own, but seemed to stand on a higher elevation. We also saw the duke's villa, the Poggio, with a long avenue of cypresses leading from it, as if a funeral were going forth. And having wasted thus much of description on the landscape, I will finish with saying that it lacked only water to be a very fine one. It is strange what a difference the gleam of water makes, and how a scene awakens and comes to life wherever it is visible. The landscape, moreover, gives the beholder (at least, this beholder) a sense of oppressive sunshine and scanty shade, and does not incite a longing to wander through it on foot, as a really delightful landscape should. The vine, too, being cultivated in so trim a manner, does not suggest that idea of luxuriant fertility, which is the poetical notion of a vineyard. The olive orchards have a pale and unlovely hue. An English view would have been incomparably richer in its never-fading green; and in my own country, the wooded hills would have been more delightful than these peaks and ridges of dreary and barren sunshine; and there would have been the bright eyes of half a dozen little lakes, looking heavenward within an extent like that of the Val d'Arno.

By and by mamma's carriage came along the dusty road, and passed through the iron gateway, which we had left open for her reception. We shouted down to her and R---, and they waved their handkerchiefs

 

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upward to us; and, on my way down, I met R--- and the servant coming up through the ghostly rooms.

The rest of the day we spent mostly in exploring the premises. The house itself is of almost bewildering extent, insomuch that we might each of us have a suite of rooms individually. I have established myself on the ground-floor, where I have a dressing-room, a large vaulted saloon, hung with yellow damask, and a square writing-study, the walls and ceilings of the two latter apartments being ornamented with angels and cherubs aloft in fresco, and with temples, statues, vases, broken columns, peacocks, parrots, vines, and sunflowers below. I know not how many more saloons, anterooms, and sleeping-chambers there are on this same basement story, besides an equal number over them, and a great subterranean establishment. I saw some immense jars there, which I suppose were intended to hold oil; and iron kettles, for what purpose I cannot tell. There is also a chapel in the house, but it is locked up, and we cannot yet with certainty find the door of it, nor, even in this great wilderness of a house, decide absolutely what space the holy precincts occupy. Adjoining U--'s chamber, which is in the tower, there is a little oratory, hung round with sacred prints of very ancient date, and with crucifixes, holywater vases, and other consecrated things; and here, within a glass case, there is the representation of an undraped little boy in wax, very prettily modelled, and holding up a heart that looks like a bit of red sealing-wax. If I had found him anywhere else, I should have taken him for Cupid; but, being in an oratory, I presume him to have some religious signification. In the servants' room a crucifix hung on one side of the bed, and a little vase for holy water,

 

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now overgrown with a cobweb, on the other; and, no doubt, all the other sleeping apartments would have been equally well provided, only that their occupants were to be heretics.

The lower floor of the house is tolerably furnished, and looks cheerful with its frescos, although the bare pavements in every room give an impression of discomfort. But carpets are universally taken up in Italy during summer-time. It must have been an immense family that could have ever filled such a house with life. We go on voyages of discovery, and when in quest of any particular point, are likely enough to fetch up at some other. This morning I had difficulty in finding my way again to the top of the tower. One of the most peculiar rooms is constructed close to the tower, under the roof of the main building, but with no external walls on two sides! It is thus left open to the air, I presume for the sake of coolness. A parapet runs round the exposed sides for the sake of security. Some of the palaces in Florence have such open loggias in their upper stories, and I saw others on our journey hither, after arriving in Tuscany.

The grounds immediately around the house are laid out in gravel-walks, and ornamented with shrubbery, and with what ought to be a grassy lawn; but the Italian sun is quite as little favorable to beauty of that kind as our own. I have enjoyed the luxury, however, almost for the first time since I left my hill-top at the Wayside, of flinging myself at full length on the ground without any fear of catching cold. Moist England would punish a man soundly for taking such liberties with her greensward. A podere, or cultivated tract, comprising several acres, belongs to the villa, and seems to be fertile, like all the surrounding coun-

 

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try. The possessions of different proprietors are not separated by fences, but only marked out by ditches; and it seems possible to walk miles and miles, along the intersecting paths, without obstruction. The rural laborers, so far as I have observed, go about in their shirt-sleeves, and look very much like tanned and sunburnt Yankees.

Last night it was really a work of time and toil to go about making our defensive preparations for the night; first closing the iron gate, then the ponderous and complicated fastenings of the house-door, then the separate barricadoes of each iron-barred window on the lower floor, with a somewhat slighter arrangement above. There are bolts and shutters, however, for every window in the house, and I suppose it would not be amiss to put them all in use. Our garrison is so small that we must depend more upon the strength of our fortifications than upon our own active efforts in case of an attack. In England, in an insulated country house, we should need all these bolts and bars, and Italy is not thought to be the safer country of the two.

It deserves to be recorded that the Count Montauto, a nobleman, and seemingly a man of property, should deem it worth while to let his country seat, and reside during the hot months in his place in the city, for the consideration of a comparatively small sum a month. He seems to contemplate returning hither for the autumn and winter, when the situation must be very windy and bleak, and the cold deathlike in these great halls; and then, it is to be supposed, he will let his palace in town. The Count, through the agency of his son, bargained very stiffly for, and finally obtained, three dollars in addition to the sum which we at first

 

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offered him. This indicates that even a little money is still a matter of great moment in Italy. Signor del Bello, who, I believe, is also a nobleman, haggled with us about some cracked crockery at our late residence, and finally demanded and received fifty cents in compensation. But this poor gentleman has been a spendthrift, and now acts as the agent of another.

 

August 3d.--Yesterday afternoon William Story called on me, he being on a day or two's excursion from Siena, where he is spending the summer with his family. He was very entertaining and conversative, as usual, and said, in reply to my question whether he were not anxious to return to Cleopatra, that he had already sketched out another subject for sculpture, which would employ him during next winter. He told me, what I was glad to hear, that his sketches of Italian life, intended for the "Atlantic Monthly," and supposed to be lost, have been recovered. Speaking of the superstitiousness of the Italians, he said that they universally believe in the influence of the evil eye. The evil influence is supposed not to be dependent on the will of the possessor of the evil eye; on the contrary, the persons to whom he wishes well are the very ones to suffer by it. It is oftener found in monks than in any other class of people; and on meeting a monk, and encountering his eye, an Italian usually makes a defensive sign by putting both hands behind him, with the forefingers and little fingers extended, although it is a controverted point whether it be not more efficacious to extend the hand with its outspread fingers towards the suspected person. It is considered an evil omen to meet a monk on first going out for the day. The evil eye may be classified with the phe-

 

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nomena of mesmerism. The Italians, especially the Neapolitans, very generally wear amulets. Pio Nono, perhaps as being the chief of all monks and other religious people, is supposed to have an evil eye of tenfold malignancy; and its effect has been seen in the ruin of all schemes for the public good so soon as they are favored by him. When the pillar in the Piazza di Spagna, commemorative of his dogma of the Immaculate Conception, was to be erected, the people of Rome refused to be present, or to have anything to do with it, unless the pope promised to abstain from interference. His holiness did promise, but so far broke his word as to be present one day while it was being erected, and on that day a man was killed. A little while ago there was a Lord Clifford, an English Catholic nobleman, residing in Italy, and, happening to come to Rome, he sent his compliments to Pio Nono, and requested the favor of an interview. The pope, as it happened, was indisposed, or for some reason could not see his lordship, but very kindly sent him his blessing. Those who knew of it shook their heads, and intimated that it would go ill with his lordship now that he had been blessed by Pio Nono, and the very next day poor Lord Clifford was dead! His holiness had better construe the scriptural injunction literally, and take to blessing his enemies.

I walked into town with J----- this morning, and, meeting a monk in the Via Fornace, I thought it no more than reasonable, as the good father fixed his eyes on me, to provide against the worst by putting both hands behind me, with the forefingers and little fingers stuck out.

In speaking of the little oratory connected with U--'s chamber, I forgot to mention the most re-

 

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markable object in it. It is a skull, the size of life (or death). . . . This part of the house must be very old, probably coeval with the tower. The ceiling of U--'s apartment is vaulted with intersecting arches; and adjoining it is a very large saloon, likewise with a vaulted and groined ceiling, and having a cushioned divan running all round the walls. The windows of these rooms look out on the Val d'Arno.

The apartment above this saloon is of the same size, and hung with engraved portraits, printed on large sheets by the score and hundred together, and enclosed in wooden frames. They comprise the whole series of Roman emperors, the succession of popes, the kings of Europe, the doges of Venice, and the sultans of Turkey. The engravings bear different dates between 1685 and thirty years later, and were executed at Rome.

 

August 4th.--We ascended our tower yesterday afternoon to see the sunset. In my first sketch of the Val d'Arno I said that the Arno seemed to hold its course near the bases of the hills. I now observe that the line of trees which marks its current divides the valley into two pretty equal parts, and the river runs nearly east and west. . . . At last, when it was growing dark, we went down, groping our way over the shaky staircases, and peeping into each dark chamber as we passed. I gratified J----- exceedingly by hitting my nose against the wall. Reaching the bottom, I went into the great saloon, and stood at a window watching the lights twinkle forth, near and far, in the valley, and listening to the convent bells that sounded from Monte Olivetto, and more remotely still. The stars came out, and the constellation of the Dipper

 

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hung exactly over the Val d'Arno, pointing to the North Star above the hills on my right.

 

August 12th.--We drove into town yesterday afternoon, with Miss Blagden, to call on Mr. Kirkup, an old Englishman who has resided a great many years in Florence. He is noted as an antiquarian, and has the reputation of being a necromancer, not undeservedly, as he is deeply interested in spirit-rappings, and holds converse, through a medium, with dead poets and emperors. He lives in an old house, formerly a residence of the Knights Templars, hanging over the Arno, just as you come upon the Ponte Vecchio; and, going up a dark staircase and knocking at a door on one side of the landing-place, we were received by Mr. Kirkup. He had had notice of our visit, and was prepared for it, being dressed in a blue frock-coat of rather an old fashion, with a velvet collar, and in a thin waistcoat and pantaloons fresh from the drawer; looking very sprucely, in short, and unlike his customary guise, for Miss Bladgen hinted to us that the poor gentleman is generally so untidy that it is not quite pleasant to take him by the hand. He is rather low of stature, with a pale, shrivelled face, and hair and beard perfectly white, and the hair of a particularly soft and silken texture. He has a high, thin nose, of the English aristocratic type; his eyes have a queer, rather wild look, and the eyebrows are arched above them so that he seems all the time to be seeing something that strikes him with surprise. I judged him to be a little crack-brained, chiefly on the strength of this expression. His whole make is delicate, his hands white and small, and his appearance and manners those of a gentleman, with rather more embroid-

 

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ory of courtesy than belongs to an Englishman. He appeared to be very nervous, tremulous, indeed, to his fingers' ends, without being in any degree disturbed or embarrassed by our presence. Finally, he is very deaf; an infirmity that quite took away my pleasure in the interview, because it is impossible to say anything worth while when one is compelled to raise one's voice above its ordinary level.

He ushered us through two or three large rooms, dark, dusty, hung with antique-looking pictures, and lined with bookcases containing, I doubt not, a very curious library. Indeed, he directed my attention to one case, and said that he had collected those works, in former days, merely for the sake of laughing at them. They were books of magic and occult sciences. What he seemed really to value, however, were some manuscript copies of Dante, of which he showed us two: one, a folio on parchment, beautifully written in German text, the letters as clear and accurately cut as printed type; the other a small volume, fit, as Mr. Kirkup said, to be carried in a capacious mediæval sleeve. This also was on vellum, and as elegantly executed as the larger one; but the larger had beautiful illuminations, the vermilion and gold of which looked as brilliant now as they did five centuries ago. Both of these books were written early in the fourteenth century. Mr. Kirkup has also a plaster cast of Dante's face, which he believes to be the original one taken from his face after death; and he has likewise his own accurate tracing from Giotto's fresco of Dante in the chapel of the Bargello. This fresco was discovered through Mr. Kirkup's means, and the tracing is particularly valuable, because the original has been almost destroyed by rough usage in drawing out

 

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a nail that had been driven into the eye. It represents the profile of a youthful but melancholy face, and has the general outline of Dante's features in other portraits.

Dante has held frequent communications with Mr. Kirkup through a medium, the poet being described by the medium as wearing the same dress seen in the youthful portrait, but as bearing more resemblance to the cast taken from his dead face than to the picture from his youthful one.

There was a very good picture of Savonarola in one of the rooms, and many other portraits, paintings, and drawings, some of them ancient, and others the work of Mr. Kirkup himself. He has the torn fragment of an exquisite drawing of a nude figure by Rubens, and a portfolio of other curious drawings. And besides books and works of art, he has no end of antique knick-knackeries, none of which we had any time to look at; among others some instruments with which nuns used to torture themselves in their convents by way of penance. But the greatest curiosity of all, and no antiquity, was a pale, large-eyed little girl, about four years old, who followed the conjurer's footsteps wherever he went. She was the brightest and merriest little thing in the world, and frisked through those shadowy old chambers, among the dead people's trumpery, as gayly as a butterfly flits among flowers and sunshine.

The child's mother was a beautiful girl named Regina, whose portrait Mr. Kirkup showed us on the wall. I never saw a more beautiful and striking face claiming to be a real one. She was a Florentine, of low birth, and she lived with the old necromancer as his spiritual medium. He showed us a journal, kept

 

 

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during her lifetime, and read from it his notes of an interview with the Czar Alexander, when that potentate communicated to Mr. Kirkup that he had been poisoned. The necromancer set a great value upon Regina, . . . and when she died he received her poor baby into his heart, and now considers it absolutely his own. At any rate, it is a happy belief for him, since he has nothing else in the world to love, and loves the child entirely, and enjoys all the bliss of fatherhood, though he must have lived as much as seventy years before he began to taste it.

The child inherits her mother's gift of communication with the spiritual world, so that the conjurer can still talk with Regina through the baby which she left, and not only with her, but with Dante, and any other great spirit that may choose to visit him. It is a very strange story, and this child might be put at once into a romance, with all her history and environment: the ancient Knight Templar palace, with the Arno flowing under the iron-barred windows, and the Ponte Vecchio, covered with its jewellers' shops, close at hand; the dark, lofty chambers with faded frescos on the ceilings, black pictures hanging on the walls, old books on the shelves, and hundreds of musty antiquities, emitting an odor of past centuries; the shrivelled, white-bearded old man, thinking all the time of ghosts, and looking into the child's eyes to seek them; and the child herself springing so freshly out of the soil, so pretty, so intelligent, so playful, with never a playmate save the conjurer and a kitten. It is a Persian kitten, and lay asleep in a window; but when I touched it, it started up at once in as gamesome a mood as the child herself.

The child looks pale, and no wonder, seldom or

 

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never stirring out of that old palace, or away from the river atmosphere. Miss Blagden advised Mr. Kirkup to go with her to the seaside or into the country, and he did not deny that it might do her good, but seemed to be hampered by an old man's sluggishness and dislike of change. I think he will not live a great while, for he seems very frail. When he dies, the little girl will inherit what property he may leave. A lady, Catharine Fleming, an Englishwoman, and a friend of Mr. Kirkup, has engaged to take her in charge. She followed us merrily to the door, and so did the Persian kitten, and Mr. Kirkup shook hands with us, over and over again, with vivacious courtesy, his manner having been characterized by a great deal of briskness throughout the interview. He expressed himself delighted to have met me (whose books he had read), and said that the day would be a memorable one to him,--which I did not in the least believe.

Mr. Kirkup is an intimate friend of Trelawney, author of "Adventures of a Younger Son," and, long ago, the latter promised him that, if he ever came into possession of the family estate, he would divide it with him. Trelawney did really succeed to the estate, and lost no time in forwarding to his friend the legal documents, entitling him to half of the property. But Mr. Kirkup declined the gift, as he himself was not destitute, and Trelawney had a brother. There were two pictures of Trelawney in the saloons, one a slight sketch on the wall, the other a half-length portrait in a Turkish dress; both handsome, but indicating no very amiable character. It is not easy to forgive Trelawney for uncovering dead Byron's limbs, and telling that terrible story about them,--equally disgraceful to himself, be it truth or a lie.

 

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It seems that Regina had a lover, and a sister who was very disreputable. . . . It rather adds than otherwise to the romance of the affair,--the idea that this pretty little elf has no right whatever to the asylum which she has found. Her name is Imogen.

The small manuscript copy of Dante which he showed me was written by a Florentine gentleman of the fourteenth century, one of whose ancestors the poet had met and talked with in Paradise.

 

August 19th.--Here is a good Italian incident, which I find in Valery. Andrea del Castagno was a painter in Florence in the fifteenth century; and he had a friend, likewise a painter, Domenico of Venice. The latter had the secret of painting in oils, and yielded to Castagno's entreaties to impart it to him. Desirous of being the sole possessor of this great secret, Castagno waited only the night to assassinate Domenico, who so little suspected his treachery, that he besought those who found him bleeding and dying to take him to his friend Castagno, that he might die in his arms. The murderer lived to be seventy-four years old, and his crime was never suspected till he himself revealed it on his death-bed. Domenico did actually die in Castagno's arms. The death scene would have been a good one for the latter to paint in oils.

 

September 1st.--Few things journalizable have happened during the last month, because Florence and the neighborhood have lost their novelty; and furthermore, I usually spend the whole day at home, having been engaged in planning and sketching out a romance. I have now done with this for the present,

 

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and mean to employ the rest of the time we stay here chiefly in revisiting the galleries, and seeing what remains to be seen in Florence.

Last Saturday, August 28th, we went to take tea at Miss Blagden's, who has a weekly reception on that evening. We found Mr. Powers there, and by and by Mr. Boott and Mr. Trollope came in. Miss ---- has lately been exercising her faculties as a spiritual writing-medium; and, the conversation turning on that subject, Mr. Powers related some things that he had witnessed through the agency of Mr. Hume, who had held a session or two at his house. He described the apparition of two mysterious hands from beneath a table round which the party were seated. These hands purported to belong to the aunt of the Countess Cotterel, who was present, and were a pair of thin, delicate, aged, ladylike hands and arms, appearing at the edge of the table, and terminating at the elbow in a sort of white mist. One of the hands took up a fan and began to use it. The countess then said, "Fan yourself as you used to do, dear aunt"; and forthwith the hands waved the fan back and forth in a peculiar manner, which the countess recognized as the manner of her dead aunt. The spirit was then requested to fan each member of the party; and accordingly, each separate individual round the table was fanned in turn, and felt the breeze sensibly upon his face. Finally, the hands sank beneath the table, I believe Mr. Powers said; but I am not quite sure that they did not melt into the air. During this apparition, Mr. Hume sat at the table, but not in such a position or within such distance that he could have put out or managed the spectral hands; and of this Mr. Powers satisfied himself by taking precisely the same posi-

 

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tion after the party had retired. Mr. Powers did not feel the hands at this time, but he afterwards felt the touch of infant hands, which were at the time invisible. He told of many of the wonders, which seem to have as much right to be set down as facts as anything else that depends on human testimony. For example, Mr. K----, one of the party, gave a sudden start and exclamation. He had felt on his knee a certain token, which could have been given him only by a friend, long ago in his grave. Mr. Powers inquired what was the last thing that had been given as a present to a deceased child, and suddenly both he and his wife felt a prick, as of some sharp instrument, on their knees. The present had been a penknife. I have forgotten other incidents quite as striking as these; but, with the exception of the spirit-hands, they seemed to be akin to those that have been produced by mesmerism, returning the inquirer's thoughts and veiled recollections to himself, as answers to his queries. The hands are certainly an inexplicable phenomenon. Of course, they are not portions of a dead body, nor any other kind of substance; they are impressions on the two senses, sight and touch, but how produced I cannot tell. Even admitting their appearance,--and certainly I do admit it as freely and fully as if I had seen them myself,--there is no need of supposing them to come from the world of departed spirits.

Powers seems to put entire faith in the verity of spiritual communications, while acknowledging the difficulty of identifying spirits as being what they pretend to be. He is a Swedenborgian, and so far prepared to put faith in many of these phenomena. As for Hume, Powers gives a decided opinion that he is a knave, but thinks him so organized, nevertheless, as

 

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to be a particularly good medium for spiritual communications. Spirits, I suppose, like earthly people, are obliged to use such instruments as will answer their purposes; but rather than receive a message from a dead friend through the organism of a rogue or charlatan, methinks I would choose to wait till we meet. But what most astonishes me is the indifference with which I listen to these marvels. They throw old ghost-stories quite into the shade; they bring the whole world of spirits down amongst us, visibly and audibly; they are absolutely proved to be sober facts by evidence that would satisfy us of any other alleged realities; and yet I cannot force my mind to interest myself in them. They are facts to my understanding, which, it might have been anticipated, would have been the last to acknowledge them; but they seem not to be facts to my intuitions and deeper perceptions. My inner soul does not in the least admit them; there is a mistake somewhere. So idle and empty do I feel these stories to be, that I hesitated long whether or no to give up a few pages of this not very important journal to the record of them.

We have had written communications through Miss ---- with several spirits; my wife's father, mother, two brothers, and a sister, who died long ago, in infancy; a certain Mary Hall, who announces herself as the guardian spirit of Miss; and, queerest of all, a Mary Runnel, who seems to be a wandering spirit, having relations with nobody, but thrusts her finger into everybody's affairs. My wife's mother is the principal communicant; she expresses strong affection, and rejoices at the opportunity of conversing with her daughter. She often says very pretty things; for instance, in a dissertation upon heavenly music; but

 

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there is a lack of substance in her talk, a want of gripe, a delusive show, a sentimental surface, with no bottom beneath it. The same sort of thing has struck me in all the poetry and prose that I have read from spiritual sources. I should judge that these effusions emanated from earthly minds, but had undergone some process that had deprived them of solidity and warmth. In the communications between my wife and her mother, I cannot help thinking that (Miss ---- being unconsciously in a mesmeric state) all the responses are conveyed to her fingers from my wife's mind. . . .

We have tried the spirits by various test questions, on every one of which they have failed egregiously. Here, however, the aforesaid Mary Runnel comes into play. The other spirits have told us that the veracity of this spirit is not to be depended upon; and so, whenever it is possible, poor Mary Runnel is thrust forward to bear the odium of every mistake or falsehood. They have avowed themselves responsible for all statements signed by themselves, and have thereby brought themselves into more than one inextricable dilemma; but it is very funny, where a response or a matter of fact has not been thus certified, how invariably Mary Runnel is made to assume the discredit of it, on its turning out to be false. It is the most ingenious arrangement that could possibly have been contrived; and somehow or other, the pranks of this lying spirit give a reality to the conversations which the more respectable ghosts quite fail in imparting.

The whole matter seems to me a sort of dreaming awake. It resembles a dream, in that the whole material is, from the first, in the dreamer's mind, though concealed at various depths below the surface; the

 

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dead appear alive, as they always do in dreams; unexpected combinations occur, as continually in dreams; the mind speaks through the various persons of the drama, and sometimes astonishes itself with its own wit, wisdom, and eloquence, as often in dreams; but, in both cases, the intellectual manifestations are really of a very flimsy texture. Mary Runnel is the only personage who does not come evidently from dream-land; and she, I think, represents that lurking scepticism, that sense of unreality, of which we are often conscious, amid the most vivid phantasmagoria of a dream. I should be glad to believe in the genuineness of these spirits, if I could; but the above is the conclusion to which my soberest thoughts tend. There remains, of course, a great deal for which I cannot account, and I cannot sufficiently wonder at the pigheadedness both of metaphysicians and physiologists, in not accepting the phenomena, so far as to make them the subject of investigation.

In writing the communications, Miss ---- holds the pencil rather loosely between her fingers; it moves rapidly, and with equal facility whether she fixes her eyes on the paper or not. The handwriting has far more freedom than her own. At the conclusion of a sentences, the pencil lays itself down. She sometimes has a perception of each word before it is written; at other times, she is quite unconscious what is to come next. Her integrity is absolutely indubitable, and she herself totally disbelieves in the spiritual authenticity of what is communicated through her medium.

 

September 3d.--We walked into Florence yesterday, betimes after breakfast, it being comfortably cool, and a gray, English sky; though, indeed, the clouds

 

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had a tendency to mass themselves more than they do on an overcast English day. We found it warmer in Florence, but not inconveniently so, even in the sunniest streets and squares.

We went to the Uffizzi gallery, the whole of which, with its contents, is now familiar to us, except the room containing drawings; and our to-day's visit was especially to them. The door giving admittance to them is the very last in the gallery; and the rooms, three in number, are, I should judge, over the Loggia de Lanzi, looking on the Grand Ducal Piazza. The drawings hang on the walls, framed and glazed; and number, perhaps, from one to two hundred in each room; but this is only a small portion of the collection, which amounts, it is said, to twenty thousand, and is reposited in portfolios. The sketches on the walls are changed, from time to time, so as to exhibit all the most interesting ones in turn. Their whole charm is artistic, imaginative, and intellectual, and in no degree of the upholstery kind; their outward presentment being, in general, a design hastily shadowed out, by means of colored crayons, on tinted paper, or perhaps scratched rudely in pen and ink; or drawn in pencil or charcoal, and half rubbed out; very rough things, indeed, in many instances, and the more interesting on that account, because it seems as if the artist had bestirred himself to catch the first glimpse of an image that did but reveal itself and vanish. The sheets, or sometimes scraps of paper, on which they are drawn, are discolored with age, creased, soiled but yet you are magnetized by the hand of Raphael, Michel Angelo, Leonardo, or whoever may have jotted down those rough-looking master-touches. They certainly possess a charm that is lost in the finished pic-

 

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ture; and I was more sensible of forecasting thought, skill, and prophetic design, in these sketches than in the most consummate works that have been elaborated from them. There is something more divine in these; for I suppose the first idea of a picture is real inspiration, and all the subsequent elaboration of the master serves but to cover up the celestial germ with something that belongs to himself. At any rate, the first sketch is the more suggestive, and sets the spectator's imagination at work; whereas the picture, if a good one, leaves him nothing to do; if bad, it confuses, stupefies, disenchants, and disheartens him. First thoughts have an aroma and fragrance in them, that they do not lose in three hundred years; for so old, and a good deal more, are some of these sketches.

None interested me more than some drawings, on separate pieces of paper, by Perugino, for his picture of the mother and friends of Jesus round his dead body, now at the Pitti Palace. The attendant figures are distinctly made out, as if the Virgin, and John, and Mary Magdalen had each favored the painter with a sitting; but the body of Jesus lies in the midst, dimly hinted with a few pencil marks.

There were several designs by Michel Angelo, none of which made much impression on me; the most striking was a very ugly demon, afterwards painted in the Sistine Chapel. Raphael shows several sketches of Madonnas,--one of which has flowered into the Grand Duke's especial Madonna at the Pitti Palace, but with a different face. His sketches were mostly very rough in execution; but there were two or three designs for frescos, I think, in the Vatican, very carefully executed; perhaps because these works were mainly to be done by other hands than his own. It

 

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seems to me that the Pre-Raphaelite artists made more careful drawings than the later ones; and it rather surprised me to see how much science they possessed.

We looked at few other things in the gallery; and, indeed, it was not one of the days when works of art find me impressible. We stopped a little while in the Tribune, but the Venus di Medici seemed to me today little more than any other piece of yellowish white marble. How strange that a goddess should stand before us absolutely unrecognized, even when we know, by previous revelations, that she is nothing short of divine! It is also strange that, unless when one feels the ideal charm of a statue, it becomes one of the most tedious and irksome things in the world. Either it must be a celestial thing or an old lump of stone, dusty and time-soiled, and tiring out your patience with eternally looking just the same. Once in a while you penetrate through the crust of the old sameness, and see the statue forever new and immortally young.

Leaving the gallery we walked towards the Duomo, and on our way stopped to look at the beautiful Gothic niches hollowed into the exterior walls of the Church of San Michele. They are now in the process of being cleaned, and each niche is elaborately inlaid with precious marbles and some of them magnificently gilded; and they are all surmounted with marble canopies as light and graceful as frostwork. Within stand statues, St. George, and many other saints, by Donatello and others, and all taking a hold upon one's sympathies, even if they be not beautiful. Classic statues escape you with their slippery beauty, as if they were made of ice. Rough and ugly things can be clutched. This is nonsense, and yet it means something. . . . The streets were thronged and vociferative

 

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with more life and outcry than usual. It must have been marketday in Florence, for the commerce of the streets was in great vigor, narrow tables being set out in them, and in the squares, burdened with all kinds of small merchandise, such as cheap jewelry, glistening as brightly as what we had just seen in the gem-room of the Uffizzi; crockery ware; toys, books, Italian and French; silks; slippers; old iron; all advertised by the dealers with terribly loud and high voices, that reverberated harshly from side to side of the narrow streets. Italian street-cries go through the head, not that they are so very sharp, but exceedingly hard, like a blunt iron bar.

We stood at the base of the Campanile, and looked at the bas-reliefs which wreathe it round; and, above them, a row of statues; and from bottom to top a marvellous minuteness of inlaid marbles, filling up the vast and beautiful design of this heaven-aspiring tower. Looking upward to its lofty summit,--where angels might alight, lapsing downward from heaven, and gaze curiously at the bustle of men below,--I could not but feel that there is a moral charm in this faithful minuteness of Gothic architecture, filling up its outline with a million of beauties that perhaps may never be studied out by a single spectator. It is the very process of nature, and no doubt produces an effect that we know not of. Classic architecture is nothing but an outline, and affords no little points, no interstices where human feelings may cling and overgrow it like ivy. The charm, as I said, seems to be moral rather than intellectual; for in the gem-room of the Uffizzi you may see fifty designs, elaborated on a small scale, that have just as much merit as the design of the Campanile. If it were only five inches

 

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long, it might be a case for some article of toilet; being two hundred feet high, its prettiness develops into grandeur as well as beauty, and it becomes really one of the wonders of the world. The design of the Pantheon, on the contrary, would retain its sublimity on whatever scale it might be represented.

Returning homewards, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, and went to the Museum of Natural History, where we gained admittance into the rooms dedicated to Galileo. They consist of a vestibule, a saloon, and a semicircular tribune, covered with a frescoed dome, beneath which stands a colossal statue of Galileo, long-bearded, and clad in a student's gown, or some voluminous garb of that kind. Around the tribune, beside and behind the statue, are six niches,--in one of which is preserved a forefinger of Galileo, fixed on a little gilt pedestal, and pointing upward, under a glass cover. It is very much shrivelled and mummylike, of the color of parchment, and is little more than a finger-bone, with the dry skin or flesh flaking away from it; on the whole, not a very delightful relic; but Galileo used to point heavenward with this finger, and I hope has gone whither he pointed.

Another niche contains two telescopes, wherewith he made some of his discoveries; they are perhaps a yard long, and of very small calibre. Other astronomical instruments are displayed in the glass cases that line the rooms; but I did not understand their use any better than the monks, who wished to burn Galileo for his heterodoxy about the planetary system. . . .

After dinner I climbed the tower. . . . Florence lay in the sunshine, level, compact, and small of compass. Above the tiled roofs rose the tower of Palazzo Vecchio, the loftiest and the most picturesque, though

 

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built, I suppose, with no idea of making it so. But it attains, in a singular degree, the end of causing the imagination to fly upward and alight on its airy battlements. Near it I beheld the square mass of Or San Michele, and farther to the left the bulky Duomo, and the Campanile close beside it, like a slender bride or daughter; the dome of San Lorenzo too. The Arno is nowhere visible. Beyond, and on all sides of the city, the hills pile themselves lazily upward in ridges, here and there developing into a peak; towards their bases white villas were strewn numerously, but the upper region was lonely and bare.

As we passed under the arch of the Porta Romana this morning, on our way into the city, we saw a queer object. It was what we at first took for a living man, in a garb of light reddish or yellowish red color, of antique or priestly fashion, and with a cowl falling behind. His face was of the same hue, and seemed to have been powdered, as the faces of maskers sometimes are. He sat in a cart, which he seemed to be driving into the city with a load of earthen jars and pipkins, the color of which was precisely like his own. On closer inspection, this priestly figure proved to be likewise an image. of earthenware, but his lifelikeness had a very strange and rather ghastly effect. Adam, perhaps, was made of just such red earth, and had the complexion of this figure.

 

September 7th.--I walked into town yesterday morning, by way of the Porta San Frediano. The gate of a city might be a good locality for a chapter in a novel, or for a little sketch by itself, whether by painter or writer. The great arch of the gateway, piercing through the depth and height of the massive

 

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masonry beneath the battlemented summit; the shadow brooding below in the immense thickness of the wall, and beyond it the vista of the street, sunny and swarming with life; outside of the gate, a throng of carts, laden with fruits, vegetables, small flat barrels of wine, waiting to be examined by the custom house officers; carriages too, and foot-passengers entering, and others swarming outward. Under the shadowy arch are the offices of the police and customs, and probably the guard-room of the soldiers, all hollowed out in the mass of the gateway. Civil officers loll on chairs in the shade, perhaps with an awning over their heads. Where the sun falls aslantwise under the arch a sentinel, with musket and bayonet, paces to and fro in the entrance, and other soldiers lounge close by. The life of the city seems to be compressed and made more intense by this barrier; and on passing within it you do not breathe quite so freely, yet are sensible of an enjoyment in the close elbowing throng, the clamor of high voices from side to side of the street, and the million of pretty sights, actions, traffics, and personalities, all so squeezed together as to become a great whole.

The street by which I entered led me to the Carraja Bridge; crossing which, I kept straight onward till I came to the Church of Santa Maria Novella. Doubtless, it looks just the same as when Boccaccio's party stood in a cluster on its broad steps arranging their excursion to the villa. Thence I went to the Church of St. Lorenzo, which I entered by the side door, and found the organ sounding and a religious ceremony going forward. It is a church of sombre aspect, with its gray walls and pillars, but was decked out for some festivity with hangings of scarlet damask and gold. I

 

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sat awhile to rest myself, and then pursued my way to the Duomo. I entered, and looked at Sir John Hawkwood's painted effigy, and at several busts and statues, and at the windows of the chapel surrounding the dome, through which the sunshine glowed, white in the outer air, but a hundred-hued splendor within. I tried to bring up the scene of Lorenzo di Medici's attempted assassination, but with no great success; and after listening a little while to the chanting of the priests and acolytes, I went to the Bank. It is in a palace of which Raphael was the architect, in the Piazza Gran Duca.

I next went, as a matter of course, to the Uffizi gallery, and, in the first place, to the Tribune, where the Venus di Medici deigned to reveal herself rather more satisfactorily than at my last visit. . . I looked into all the rooms, bronzes, drawings, and gem--room; a volume might easily be written upon either subject. The contents of the gem-room especially require to be looked at separately in order to convince one's self of their minute magnificences; for, among so many, the eye slips from one to another with only a vague outward sense that here are whole shelves full of little miracles, both of nature's material and man's workmanship. Greater [larger] things can be reasonably well appreciated with a less scrupulous though broader attention; but in order to estimate the brilliancy of the diamond eyes of a little agate bust, for instance, you have to screw your mind down to them and nothing else. You must sharpen your faculties of observation to a point, and touch the object exactly on the right spot, or you do not appreciate it at all. It is a troublesome process when there are a thousand such objects to be seen.

 

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I stood at an open window in the transverse corridor, and looked down upon the Arno, and across at the range of edifices that impend over it on the opposite side. The river, I should judge, may be a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards wide in its course between the Ponte alle Grazie and the Ponte Vecchio; that is, the width between strand and strand is at least so much. The river, however, leaves a broad margin of mud and gravel on its right bank, on which waterweeds grow pretty abundantly, and creep even into the stream. On my first arrival in Florence I thought the goose-pond green of the water rather agreeable than otherwise; but its hue is now that of unadulterated mud, as yellow as the Tiber itself, yet not impressing me as being enriched with city sewerage like that other famous river. From the Ponte alle Grazie downward, half-way towards the Ponte Vecchio, there is an island of gravel, and the channel on each side is so shallow as to allow the passage of men and horses, wading not overleg. I have seen fishermen wading the main channel from side to side, their feet sinking into the dark mud, and thus discoloring the yellow water with a black track visible, step by step, through its shallowness. But still the Arno is a mountain stream, and liable to be tetchy and turbulent like all its kindred, and no doubt it often finds its borders of hewn stone not too far apart for its convenience.

Along the right shore, beneath the Uffizi and the adjacent buildings, there is a broad paved way, with a parapet; on the opposite shore the edifices are built directly upon the river's edge, and impend over the water, supported upon arches and machiolations, as I think that peculiar arrangement of buttressing arcades is called. The houses are picturesquely various in

 

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height, from two or three stories to seven; picturesque in hue likewise,--pea-green, yellow, white, and of aged discoloration,--but all with green blinds; picturesque also in the courts and galleries that look upon the river, and in the wide arches that open beneath, intended perhaps to afford a haven for the household boat. Nets were suspended before one or two of the houses, as if the inhabitants were in the habit of fishing out of window. As a general effect, the houses, though often palatial in size and height, have a shabby, neglected aspect, and are jumbled too closely together. Behind their range the city swells upward in a hillside, which rises to a great height above, forming, I believe, a part of the Boboli Gardens.

I returned homewards over the Ponte Vecchio, which is a continuous street of ancient houses, except over the central arch, so that a stranger might easily cross the river without knowing it. In these small, old houses there is a community of goldsmiths, who set out their glass cases, and hang their windows with rings, bracelets, necklaces, strings of pearl, ornaments of malachite and coral, and especially with Florentine mosaics; watches, too, and snuff-boxes of old fashion or new; offerings for shrines also, such as silver hearts pierced with swords; an infinity of pretty things, the manufacture of which is continually going on in the little back-room of each little shop. This gewgaw business has been established on the Ponte Vecchio for centuries, although, long since, it was an art of far higher pretensions than now. Benvenuto Cellini had his workshop here, probably in one of these self-same little nooks. It would have been a ticklish affair to be Benvenuto's fellow-workman within such narrow limits.

 

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Going out of the Porta Romana, I walked for some distance along the city wall, and then, turning to the left, toiled up the hill of Bellosguardo, through narrow zigzag lanes between high walls of stone or plastered brick, where the sun had the fairest chance to frizzle me. There were scattered villas and houses, here and there concentrating into a little bit of a street, paved with flag-stones from side to side, as in the city, and shadowed quite across its narrowness by the height of the houses. Mostly, however, the way was inhospitably sunny, and shut out by the high wall from every glimpse of a view, except in one spot, where Florence spread itself before my eyes, with every tower, dome, and spire which it contains. A little way farther on my own gray tower rose before me, the most welcome object that I had seen in the course of the day.

 

September 10th.--I went into town again yesterday, by way of the Porta San Frediano, and observed that this gate (like the other gates of Florence as far as I have observed) is a tall, square structure of stone or brick, or both, rising high above the adjacent wall, and having a range of open loggie in the upper story. The arch externally is about half the height of the structure. Inside, towards the town, it rises nearly to the roof. On each side of the arch there is much room for offices, apartments, storehouses, or whatever else. On the outside of the gate, along the base, are those iron rings and sockets for torches, which are said to be the distinguishing symbol of illustrious houses. As contrasted with the vista of the narrow, swarming street through the arch from without, the view from the inside might be presented with a glimpse of the free blue sky.

 

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I strolled a little about Florence, and went into two or three churches; into that of the Aununziata for one. I have already described this church, with its general magnificence, and it was more magnificent than ever to-day, being hung with scarlet silk and gold-embroidery. A great many people were at their devotions, thronging principally around the Virgin's shrine. I was struck now with the many bas-reliefs and busts in the costume of their respective ages, and seemingly with great accuracy of portraiture, in the passage leading from the front of the church into the cloisters. The marble was not at all abashed nor degraded by being made to assume the guise of the mediæval furred robe, or the close-fitting tunic with elaborate ruff, or the breastplate and gorget, or the flowing wig, or whatever the actual costume might be; and one is sensible of a rectitude and reality in the affair, and respects the dead people for not putting themselves into an eternal masquerade. (The dress of the present day will look equally respectable in one or two hundred years.

The Fair is still going on, and one of its principal centres is before this church, in the Piazza of the Annunziata. Cloth is the chief commodity offered for sale, and none of the finest; coarse, unbleached linen and cotton prints for country-people's wear, together with yarn, stockings, and here and there an assortment of bright-colored ribbons. Playthings, of a very rude fashion, were also displayed; likewise books in Italian and French; and a great deal of iron-work. Both here and in Rome they have this odd custom of offering rusty iron implements for sale, spread out on the pavements. There was a good deal of tinware, too, glittering in the sunshine, especially around the pedes-

 

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tal of the bronze statue of Duke Ferdinand, who curbs his horse and looks down upon the bustling piazza in a very stately way. . . . The people attending the fair had mostly a rustic appearance; sunburnt faces, thin frames; no beauty, no bloom, no joyousness of young or old; an anxious aspect, as if life were no easy or holiday matter with them; but I should take them to be of a kindly nature, and reasonably honest. Except the broad-brimmed Tuscan hats of the women, there was no peculiarity of costume. At a careless glance I could very well have mistaken most of the men for Yankees; as for the women, there is very little resemblance between them and ours,--the old being absolutely hideous, and the young ones very seldom pretty. It was a very dull crowd. They do not generate any warmth among themselves by contiguity; they have no pervading sentiment, such as is continually breaking out in rough merriment from an American crowd; they have nothing to do with one another; they are not a crowd, considered as one mass, but a collection of individuals. A despotic government has perhaps destroyed their principle of cohesion, and crumbled them to atoms. Italian crowds are noted for their civility; possibly they deserve credit for native courtesy and gentleness; possibly, on the other hand, the crowd has not spirit and self-consciousness enough to be rampant. I wonder whether they will ever hold another parliament in the Piazza of Santa Croce!

I paid a visit to the gallery of the Pitti Palace. There is too large an intermixture of Andrea del Sarto's pictures in this gallery; everywhere you see them, cold, proper, and uncriticisable, looking so much like first-rate excellence, that you inevitably quarrel with your own taste for not admiring them. . . .

 

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It was one of the days when my mind misgives me whether the pictorial art be not a humbug, and when the minute accuracy of a fly in a Dutch picture of fruit and flowers seems to me something more reliable than the master-touches of Raphael. The gallery was considerably thronged, and many of the visitors appeared to be from the country, and of a class intermediate between gentility and labor. Is there such a rural class in Italy? I saw a respectable-looking man feeling awkward and uncomfortable in a new and glossy pair of pantaloons not yet bent and creased to his natural movement.

Nothing pleased me better to-day than some amber cups, in one of the cabinets of curiosities. They are richly wrought, and the material is as if the artist had compressed a great deal of sunshine together, and, when sufficiently solidified, had moulded these cups out of it and let them harden. This simile was suggested by ----.

Leaving the palace, I entered the Boboli Gardens, and wandered up and down a good deal of its uneven surface, through broad, well-kept edges of box, sprouting loftily, trimmed smoothly, and strewn between with cleanly gravel; skirting along plantations of aged trees, throwing a deep shadow within their precincts; passing many statues, not of the finest art, yet approaching so near it as to serve just as good a purpose for garden ornament; coming now and then to the borders of a fish-pool, or a pond, where stately swans circumnavigated an island of flowers,--all very fine and very wearisome. I have never enjoyed this garden; perhaps because it suggests dress-coats, and such elegant formalities.

 

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September 11th.--We have heard a good deal of spirit matters of late, especially of wonderful incidents that attended Mr. Hume's visit to Florence, two or three years ago. Mrs. Powers told a very marvellous thing; how that when Mr. Hume was holding a seance in her house, and several persons present; a great scratching was heard in a neighboring closet. She addressed the spirit, and requested it not to disturb the company then, as they were busy with other affairs, promising to converse with it on a future occasion. On a subsequent night, accordingly, the scratching was renewed, with the utmost violence; and in reply to Mrs. Powers's questions, the spirit assured her that it was not one, but legion, being the ghosts of twenty-seven monks, who were miserable and without hope! The house now occupied by Powers was formerly a convent, and I suppose these were the spirits of all the wicked monks that had ever inhabited it; at least, I hope that there were not such a number of damnable sinners extant at any one time. These ghostly fathers must have been very improper persons in their lifetime, judging by the indecorousness of their behavior even after death, and in such dreadful circumstances; for they pulled Mrs. Powers's skirts so hard as to break the gathers. . . . It was not ascertained that they desired to have anything done for their eternal welfare, or that their situation was capable of amendment anyhow; but, being exhorted to refrain from further disturbance, they took their departure, after making the sign of the cross on the breast of each person present. This was very singular in such reprobates, who, by their own confession, had forfeited all claim to be benefited by that holy symbol: it curiously suggests that the forms of relig-

 

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ion may still be kept up in purgatory and hell itself. The sign was made in a way that conveyed the sense of something devilish and spiteful; the perpendicular line of the cross being drawn gently enough, but the transverse one sharply and violently, so as to leave a painful impression. Perhaps the monks meant this to express their contempt and hatred for heretics; and how queer, that this antipathy should survive their own damnation! But I cannot help hoping that the case of these poor devils may not be so desperate as they think. They cannot be wholly lost, because their desire for communication with mortals shows that they need sympathy, therefore are not altogether hardened, therefore, with loving treatment, may be restored.

A great many other wonders took place within the knowledge and experience of Mrs. P----. She saw, not one pair of hands only, but many. The head of one of her dead children, a little boy, was laid in her lap, not in ghastly fashion, as a head out of the coffin and the grave, but just as the living child might have laid it on his mother's knees. It was invisible, by the by, and she recognized it by the features and the character of the hair, through the sense of touch. Little hands grasped hers. In short, these soberly attested incredibilities are so numerous that I forget nine tenths of them, and judge the others too cheap to be written down. Christ spoke the truth, surely, in saying that men would not believe, "though one rose from the dead." In my own case, the fact makes absolutely no impression. I regret such confirmation of truth as this.

Within a mile of our villa stands the Villa Columbaria, a large house, built round a square court. Like

 

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Mr. Powers's residence, it was formerly a convent. It is inhabited by Major Gregorie, an old soldier of Waterloo and various other fights, and his family consists of Mrs. ----, the widow of one of the major's friends and her two daughters. We have become acquainted with the family, and Mrs. ----, the married daughter, has lent us a written statement of her experiences with a ghost, who has haunted the Villa Columbaria for many years back. He had made Mrs. ---- aware of his presence in her room by a sensation of extreme cold, as if a wintry breeze were blowing over her; also by a rustling of the bed-curtains; and, at such times, she had a certain consciousness, as she says, that she was not ALONE. Through Mr. Hume's agency the ghost was enabled to explain himself, and declared that he was a monk, named Giannana, who died a very long time ago in Mrs. ----'s present bed-chamber. He was a murderer, and had been in a restless and miserable state ever since his death, wandering up and down the house, but especially haunting his own death-chamber and a staircase that communicated with the chapel of the villa. All the interviews with this lost spirit were attended with a sensation of severe cold, which was felt by every one present. He made his communications by means of table-rapping, and by the movements of chairs and other articles, which often assumed an angry character. The poor old fellow does not seem to have known exactly what he wanted with Mrs. ----, but promised to refrain from disturbing her any more, on condition that she would pray that he might find some repose. He had previously declined having any masses said for his soul. Rest, rest, rest, appears to be the continual craving of unhappy spirits; they do not venture to ask for posi-

 

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tive bliss: perhaps, in their utter weariness, would rather forego the trouble of active enjoyment, but pray only for rest. The cold atmosphere around this monk suggests new ideas as to the climate of Hades. If all the aforementioned twenty-seven monks had a similar one, the combined temperature must have been that of a polar winter.

Mrs. ---- saw, at one time, the fingers of her monk, long, yellow, and skinny; these fingers grasped the hands of individuals of the party, with a cold, clammy, and horrible touch.

After the departure of this ghost other seances were held in her bedchamber, at which good and holy spirits manifested themselves, and behaved in a very comfortable and encouraging way. It was their benevolent purpose, apparently, to purify her apartments from all traces of the evil spirit, and to reconcile her to what had been so long the haunt of this miserable monk, by filling it with happy and sacred associations, in which, as Mrs. ---- intimates, they entirely succeeded.

These stories remind me of an incident that took place at the Old Manse, in the first summer of our marriage. . . .

 

September 17th.--We walked yesterday to Florence, and visited the Church of St. Lorenzo, where we saw, for the second time, the famous Medici statues of Michel Angelo. I found myself not in a very appreciative state, and, being a stone myself, the statue of Lorenzo was at first little more to me than another stone; but it was beginning to assume life, and would have impressed me as it did before if I had gazed long enough. There was a better light upon the face, un-

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der the helmet, than at my former visit, although still the features were enough overshadowed to produce that mystery on which, according to Mr. Powers, the effect of the statue depends. I observe that the costume of the figure, instead of being mediæval as I believe I have stated, is Roman; but, be it what it may, the grand and simple character of the figure imbues the robes with its individual propriety. I still think it the greatest miracle ever wrought in marble.

We crossed the church and entered a cloister on the opposite side, in quest of the Laurentian Library. Ascending a staircase we found an old man blowing the bellows of the organ, which was in full blast in the church; nevertheless he found time to direct us to the library door. We entered a lofty vestibule, of ancient aspect and stately architecture, and thence were admitted into the library itself; a long and wide gallery or hall, lighted by a row of windows on which were painted the arms of the Medici. The ceiling was inlaid with dark wood, in an elaborate pattern, which was exactly repeated in terra-cotta on the pavement beneath our feet. Long desks, much like the old-fashioned ones in schools, were ranged on each side of the mid aisle, in a series from end to end, with seats for the convenience of students; and on these desks were rare manuscripts, carefully preserved under glass; and books, fastened to the desks by iron chains, as the custom of studious antiquity used to be. Along the centre of the hall, between the two ranges of desks, were tables and chairs, at which two or three scholarly persons were seated, diligently consulting volumes in manuscript or old type. It was a very quiet place, imbued with a cloistered sanctity, and remote from all street-cries and rumble of the city,--odorous of old

 

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literature,--a spot where the commonest ideas ought not to be expressed in less than Latin.

The librarian--or custode he ought rather to be termed, for he was a man not above the fee of a paul--now presented himself, and showed us some of the literary curiosities; a vellum manuscript of the Bible, with a splendid illumination by Ghirlandaio, covering two folio pages, and just as brilliant in its color as if finished yesterday. Other illuminated manuscripts--or at least separate pages of them, for the volumes were kept under glass, and not to be turned over--were shown us, very magnificent, but not to be compared with this of Ghirlandaio. Looking at such treasures I could almost say that we have left behind us more splendor than we have kept alive to our own age. We publish beautiful editions of books, to be sure, and thousands of people enjoy them; but in ancient times the expense that we spread thinly over a thousand volumes was all compressed into one, and it became a great jewel of a book, a heavy folio, worth its weight in gold. Then, what a spiritual charm it gives to a book to feel that every letter has been individually wrought, and the pictures glow for that individual page alone! Certainly the ancient reader had a luxury which the modern one lacks. I was surprised, moreover, to see the clearness and accuracy of the chirography. Print does not surpass it in these respects.

The custode showed us an ancient manuscript of the Decameron; likewise, a volume containing the portraits of Petrarch and of Laura, each covering the whole of a vellum page, and very finely done. They are authentic portraits, no doubt, and Laura is depicted as a fair-haired beauty, with a very satisfactory

 

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amount of loveliness. We saw some choice old editions of books in a small separate room; but as these were all ranged in shut bookcases, and as each volume, moreover, was in a separate cover or modern binding, this exhibition did us very little good. By the by, there is a conceit struggling blindly in my mind about Petrarch and Laura, suggested by those two lifelike portraits, which have been sleeping cheek to cheek through all these centuries. But I cannot lay hold of it.

 

September 21st.--Yesterday morning the Val d'Arno was entirely filled with a thick fog, which extended even up to our windows, and concealed objects within a very short distance. It began to dissipate itself betimes, however, and was the forerunner of an unusually bright and warm day. We set out after breakfast and walked into town, where we looked at mosaic brooches. These are very pretty little bits of manufacture; but there seems to have been no infusion of fresh fancy into the work, and the specimens present little variety. It is the characteristic commodity of the place; the central mart and manufacturing locality being on the Ponte Vecchio, from end to end of which they are displayed in cases; but there are other mosaic shops scattered about the town. The principal devices are roses,--pink, yellow, or white,--jasmines, lilies of the valley, forget-me-nots, orange blossoms, and others, single or in sprigs, or twined into wreaths; parrots, too, and other birds of gay plumage,--often exquisitely done, and sometimes with precious materials, such as lapis lazuli, malachite, and still rarer gems. Bracelets, with several different, yet relative designs, are often very beautiful. We find,

 

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at different shops, a great inequality of prices for mosaics that seemed to be of much the same quality.

We went to the Uffizzi gallery, and found it much thronged with the middle and lower classes of Italians; and the English, too, seemed more numerous than I have lately seen them. Perhaps the tourists have just arrived here, starting at the close of the London season. We were amused with a pair of Englishmen who went through the gallery; one of them criticising the pictures and statues audibly, for the benefit of his companion. The critic I should take to be a country squire, and wholly untravelled; a tall, well-built, rather rough, but gentlemanly man enough; his friend, a small personage, exquisitely neat in dress, and of artificial deportment, every attitude and gesture appearing to have been practised before a glass. Being but a small pattern of a man, physically and intellectually, he had thought it worth while to finish himself off with the elaborateness of a Florentine mosaic; and the result was something like a dancing-master, though without the exuberant embroidery of such persons. Indeed, he was a very quiet little man, and, though so thoroughly made up, there was something particularly green, fresh, and simple in him. Both these Englishmen were elderly, and the smaller one had perfectly white hair, glossy and silken. It did not make him in the least venerable, however, but took his own character of neatness and prettiness. He carried his well-brushed and glossy hat in his hand in such a way as not to ruffle its surface; and I wish I could put into one word or one sentence the pettiness, the minikin-finical effect of this little man; his self-consciousness so lifelong, that, in some sort, he forgot himself even in the midst of it; his propriety, his

 

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cleanliness and unruffledness; his prettiness and nicety of manifestation, like a bird hopping daintily about.

His companion, as I said, was of a completely different type; a tall, gray-haired man, with the rough English face, a little tinted with port wine; careless, natural manner, betokening a man of position in his own neighborhood; a loud voice, not vulgar, nor outraging the rules of society, but betraying a character incapable of much refinement. He talked continually in his progress through the gallery, and audibly enough for us to catch almost everything he said, at many yards' distance. His remarks and criticisms, addressed to his small friend, were so entertaining, that we strolled behind him for the sake of being benefited by them; and I think he soon became aware of this, and addressed himself to us as well as to his more immediate friend. Nobody but an Englishman, it seems to me, has just this kind of vanity,--a feeling mixed up with scorn and good-nature; self-complacency on his own merits, and as an Englishman; pride at being in foreign parts; contempt for everybody around him; a rough kindliness towards people in general. I liked the man, and should be glad to know him better. As for his criticism, I am sorry to remember only one. It was upon the picture of the Nativity, by Correggio, in the Tribune, where the mother is kneeling before the Child, and adoring it in an awful rapture, because she sees the eternal God in its baby face and figure. The Englishman was highly delighted with this picture, and began to gesticulate, as if dandling a baby, and to make a chirruping sound. It was to him merely a representation of a mother fondling her infant. He then said, "If I could have my choice of the pictures and statues in

 

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the Tribune, I would take this picture, and that one yonder" (it was a good enough Enthronement of the Virgin, by Andrea del Sarto) "and the Dancing Faun, and let the rest go." A delightful man; I love that wholesome coarseness of mind and heart, which no education nor opportunity can polish out of the genuine Englishman,--a coarseness without vulgarity. When a Yankee is coarse he is pretty sure to be vulgar too.

The two critics seemed to be considering whether it were practicable to go from the Uffizzi to the Pitti gallery; but "it confuses one," remarked the little man, "to see more than one gallery in a day." (I should think so,--the Pitti Palace tumbling into his small receptacle on the top of the Uffizzi.) "It does so," responded the big man, with heavy emphasis.

 

September 23d.--The vintage has been going on in our podere for about a week, and I saw a part of the process of making wine, under one of our back windows. It was on a very small scale, the grapes being thrown into a barrel, and crushed with a sort of pestle; and as each estate seems to make its own wine, there are probably no very extensive and elaborate appliances in general use for the manufacture. The cider-making of New England is far more picturesque; the great heap of golden or rosy apples under the trees, and the cider-mill worked by a circumgyratory horse, and all agush with sweet juice. Indeed, nothing connected with the grape-culture and the vintage here has been picturesque, except the large inverted pyramids in which the clusters hang; those great bunches, white or purple, really satisfy my idea both as to aspect and taste. We can buy a large basketful

 

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for less than a paul; and they are the only things that one can never devour too much of--and there is no enough short of a little too much--without subsequent repentance. It is a shame to turn such delicious juice into such sour wine as they make in Tuscany. I tasted a sip or two of a flask which the contadini sent us for trial,--the rich result of the process I had witnessed in the barrel. It took me altogether by surprise; for I remembered the nectareousness of the new cider, which I used to sip through a straw in my boyhood, and I never doubted that this would be as dulcet, but finer and more ethereal; as much more delectable, in short, as these grapes are better than puckery cider apples. Positively, I never tasted anything so detestable, such a sour and bitter juice, still lukewarm with fermentation: it was a wail of woe, squeezed out of the wine-press of tribulation, and the more a man drinks of such, the sorrier he will be.

Besides grapes, we have had figs, and I have now learned to be very fond of them. When they first began to appear, two months ago, they had scarcely any sweetness, and tasted very like a decaying squash: this was an early variety, with purple skins. There are many kinds of figs, the best being green-skinned, growing yellower as they ripen; and the riper they are, the more the sweetness within them intensifies, till they resemble dried figs in everything, except that they retain the fresh fruit-flavor; rich, luscious, yet not palling. We have had pears, too, some of them very tolerable; and peaches, which look magnificently, as regards size and downy blush, but have seldom much more taste than a cucumber. A succession of fruits has followed us, ever since our arrival in Florence: first, and for a long time, abundance of cher-

 

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ries; then apricots, which lasted many weeks, till we were weary, of them; then plums, pears, and finally figs, peaches, and grapes. Except the figs and grapes, a New England summer and autumn would give us better fruit than any we have found in Italy.

Italy beats us, I think, in mosquitoes; they are horribly pungent little satanic particles. They possess strange intelligence, and exquisite acuteness of sight and smell,--prodigious audacity and courage to match it, insomuch that they venture on the most hazardous attacks, and get safe off. One of them flew into my mouth, the other night, and stung me far down in my throat; but luckily I coughed him up in halves. They are bigger than American mosquitoes, and if you crush them, after one of their feasts, it makes a terrific blood-spot. It is a sort of suicide--at least, a shedding of one's own blood--to kill them; but it gratifies the old Adam to do it. It shocks me to feel how revengeful I am; but it is impossible not to impute a certain malice and intellectual venom to these diabolical insects. I wonder whether our health, at this season of the year, requires that we should be kept in a state of irritation, and so the mosquitoes are Nature's prophylactic remedy for some disease; or whether we are made for the mosquitoes, not they for us. It is possible, just possible, that the infinitesimal doses of poison which they infuse into us are a homoeopathic safeguard against pestilence; but medicine never was administered in a more disagreeable way.

The moist atmosphere about the Arno, I suppose, produces these insects, and fills the broad, ten-mile valley with them; and as we are just on the brim of the basin, they overflow into our windows.

 

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September 25th.--U-- and I walked to town yesterday morning, and went to the Uffizzi gallery. It is not a pleasant thought that we are so soon to give up this gallery, with little prospect (none or hardly any, on my part) of ever seeing it again. It interests me and all of us far more than the gallery of the Pitti Palace, wherefore I know not, for the latter is the richer of the two in admirable pictures. Perhaps it is the picturesque variety of the Uffizzi--the combination of painting, sculpture, gems, and bronzes--that makes the charm. The Tribune, too, is the richest room in all the world; a heart that draws all hearts to it. The Dutch pictures, moreover, give a homely, human interest to the Uffizzi; and I really think that the frequency of Andrea del Sarto's productions at the Pitti Palace--looking so very like masterpieces, yet lacking the soul of art and nature--have much to do with the weariness that comes from better acquaintance with the latter gallery. The splendor of the gilded and frescoed saloons is perhaps another bore; but, after all, my memory will often tread there as long as I live. What shall we do in America?

Speaking of Dutch pictures, I was much struck yesterday, as frequently before, with a small picture by Teniers the elder. It seems to be a pawnbroker in the midst of his pledges; old earthen jugs, flasks, a brass kettle, old books, and a huge pile of worn-out and broken rubbish, which he is examining. These things are represented with vast fidelity, yet with bold and free touches, unlike the minute, microscopic work of other Dutch masters; and a wonderful picturesqueness is wrought out of these humble materials, and even the figure and head of the pawnbroker have a strange grandeur.

 

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We spent no very long time at the Uffizzi, and afterwards crossed the Ponte alle Grazie, and went to the convent of San Miniato, which stands on a hill outside of the Porta San Gallo. A paved pathway, along which stand crosses marking stations at which pilgrims are to kneel and pray, goes steeply to the hill-top, where, in the first place, is a smaller church and convent than those of San Miniato. The latter are seen at a short distance to the right, the convent being a large, square battlemented mass, adjoining which is the church, showing a front of aged white marble, streaked with black, and having an old stone tower behind. I have seen no other convent or monastery that so well corresponds with my idea of what such structures were. The sacred precincts are enclosed by a high wall, gray, ancient, and luxuriously ivy-grown, and lofty and strong enough for the rampart of a fortress. We went through the gateway and entered the church, which we found in much disarray, and masons at work upon the pavement. The tribune is elevated considerably above the nave, and accessible by marble staircases; there are great arches and a chapel, with curious monuments in the Gothic style, and ancient carvings and mosaic works, and, in short, a dim, dusty, and venerable interior, well worth studying in detail. . . . The view of Florence from the church door is very fine, and seems to include every tower, dome, or whatever object emerges out of the general mass.

September 28th.--I went to the Pitti Palace yesterday, and the Uffizzi today, paying them probably my last visit, yet cherishing an unreasonable doubt whether I may not see them again. At all events, I

 

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have seen them enough for the present, even what is best of them; and, at the same time, with a sad reluctance to bid them farewell forever, I experience an utter weariness of Raphael's old canvas, and of the time-yellowed marble of the Venus di Medici. When the material embodiment presents itself outermost, and we perceive them only by the grosser sense, missing their ethereal spirit, there is nothing so heavily burdensome as masterpieces of painting and sculpture. I threw my farewell glance at the Venus di Medici today with strange insensibility.

The nights are wonderfully beautiful now. When the moon was at the full, a few nights ago, its light was an absolute glory, such as I seem only to have dreamed of heretofore, and that only in my younger days. At its rising I have fancied that the orb of the moon has a kind of purple brightness, and that this tinge is communicated to its radiance until it has climbed high aloft and sheds a flood of white over bill and valley. Now that the moon is on the wane, there is a gentler lustre, but still bright; and it makes the Val d'Arno with its surrounding hills, and its soft mist in the distance, as beautiful a scene as exists anywhere out of heaven. And the morning is quite as beautiful in its own way. This mist, of which I have so often spoken, sets it beyond the limits of actual sense and makes it ideal; it is as if you were dreaming about the valley,--as if the valley itself were dreaming, and met you half-way in your own dream. If the mist were to be withdrawn, I believe the whole beauty of the valley would go with it.

Until pretty late in the morning we have the comet streaming through the sky, and dragging its interminable tail among the stars. It keeps brightening from

 

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night to night, and I should think must blaze fiercely enough to cast a shadow by and by. I know not whether it be in the vicinity of Galileo's tower, and in the influence of his spirit, but I have hardly ever watched the stars with such interest as now.

 

September 29th.--Last evening I met Mr. Powers at Miss Blagden's and he talked about his treatment by our government in reference to an appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars made by Congress for a statue by him. Its payment and the purchase of the statue were left at the option of the President, and he conceived himself wronged because the affair was never concluded. . . . As for the President, he knows nothing of art, and probably acted in the matter by the advice of the director of public works. No doubt a sculptor gets commissions as everybody gets public employment and emolument of whatever kind from our government, not by merit or fitness, but by political influence skilfully applied. As Powers himself observed, the ruins of our Capitol are not likely to afford sculptures equal to those which Lord Elgin took from the Parthenon, if this be the system under which they are produced. . . . I wish our great Republic had the spirit to do as much, according to its vast means, as Florence did for sculpture and architecture when it was a republic; but we have the meanest government and the shabbiest, and--if truly represented by it--we are the meanest and shabbiest people known in history. And yet the less we attempt to do for art the better, if our future attempts are to have no better result than such brazen troopers as the equestrian statue of General Jackson, or even such naked respectabilities as Greenough's Washington.

 

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There is something false and affected in our highest taste for art; and I suppose, furthermore, we are the only people who seek to decorate their public institutions, not by the highest taste among them, but by the average at best.

There was also at Miss Blagden's, among other company, Mr. ----, an artist in Florence, and a sensible man. I talked with him about Hume. the medium, whom he had many opportunities of observing when the latter was in these parts. Mr. says that Hume is unquestionably a knave, but that he himself is as much perplexed at his own preternatural performances as any other person; he is startled and affrighted at the phenomena which he produces. Nevertheless, when his spiritual powers fall short, he does his best to eke them out with imposture. This moral infirmity is a part of his nature, and I suggested that perhaps if he were of a firmer and healthier moral make, if his character were sufficiently sound and dense to be capable of steadfast principle, he would not have possessed the impressibility that fits him for the so-called spiritual influences. Mr. ---- says that Louis Napoleon is literally one of the most skilful jugglers in the world, and that probably the interest he has taken in Mr. Hume was caused partly by a wish to acquire his art.

This morning Mr. Powers invited me to go with him to the Grand Duke's new foundry, to see the bronze statue of Webster, which has just been cast from his model. It is the second cast of the statue, the first having been shipped some months ago on board of a vessel which was lost; and, as Powers observed, the statue now lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere in the vicinity of the telegraphic cable.

 

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We were received with much courtesy and emphasis by the director of the foundry, and conducted into a large room walled with bare, new brick, where the statue was standing in front of the extinct furnace: a majestic Webster indeed, eight feet high, and looking even more colossal than that. The likeness seemed to me perfect, and, like a sensible man, Powers has dressed him in his natural costume, such as I have seen Webster have on while making a speech in the open air at a mass meeting in Concord,--dress-coat buttoned pretty closely across the breast, pantaloons and boots,--everything finished even to a seam and a stitch. Not an inch of the statue but is Webster; even his coat-tails are imbued with the man, and this true artist has succeeded in showing him through the broadcloth as nature showed him. He has felt that a man's actual clothes are as much a part of him as his flesh, and I respect him for disdaining to shirk the difficulty by throwing the meanness of a cloak over it, and for recognizing the folly of masquerading our Yankee statesman in a Roman toga, and the indecorousness of presenting him as a brassy nudity.

It would have been quite as unjustifiable to strip him to his skeleton as to his flesh. Webster is represented as holding in his right hand the written roll of the Constitution, with which he points to a bundle of fasces, which he keeps from falling by the grasp of his left, thus symbolizing him as the preserver of the Union. There is an expression of quiet, solid, massive strength in the whole figure; a deep pervading energy, in which any exaggeration of gesture would lessen and lower the effect. He looks really like a pillar of the state. The face is very grand, very Webster; stern and awful, because he is in the act of meet-

 

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ing a great crisis, and yet with the warmth of a great heart glowing through it. Happy is Webster to have been so truly and adequately sculptured; happy the sculptor in such a subject, which no idealization of a demigod could have supplied him with. Perhaps the statue at the bottom of the sea will be cast up in some future age, when the present race of man is forgotten, and if so, that far posterity will look up to us as a grander race than we find ourselves to be. Neither was Webster altogether the man he looked. His physique helped him out, even when he fell somewhat short of its promise; and if his eyes had not been in such deep caverns their fire would not have looked so bright.

Powers made me observe how the surface of the statue was wrought to a sort of roughness instead of being smoothed, as is the practice of other artists. He said that this had cost him great pains, and certainly it has an excellent effect. The statue is to go to Boston, and I hope will be placed in the open air, for it is too mighty to be kept under any roof that now exists in America. . . .

After seeing this, the director showed us some very curious and exquisite specimens of castings, such as baskets of flowers, in which the most delicate and fragile blossoms, the curl of a petal, the finest veins in a leaf, the lightest flower-spray that ever quivered in a breeze, were perfectly preserved; and the basket contained an abundant heap of such sprays. There were likewise a pair of hands, taken actually from life, clasped together as they were, and they looked like parts of a man who had been changed suddenly from flesh to brass. They were worn and rough and unhandsome hands, and so very real, with all their veins

 

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and the pores of the skin, that it was shocking to look at them. A bronze leaf, cast also from the life, was as curious and more beautiful.

Taking leave of Powers, I went hither and thither about Florence, seeing for the last time things that I have seen many times before : the market, for instance, blocking up a line of narrow streets with fruit-stalls, and obstreperous dealers crying their peaches, their green lemons, their figs, their delicious grapes, their mushrooms, their pomegranates, their radishes, their lettuces. They use one vegetable here which I have not known so used elsewhere: that is, very young pumpkins or squashes, of the size of apples, and to be cooked by boiling. They are not to my taste, but the people here like unripe things,--unripe fruit, unripe chickens, unripe lamb. This market is the noisiest and swarmiest centre of noisy and swarming Florence, and I always like to pass through it on that account.

I went also to Santa Croce, and it seemed to me to present a longer vista and broader space than almost any other church, perhaps because the pillars between the nave and aisles are not so massive as to obstruct the view. I looked into the Duomo, too, and was pretty well content to leave it. Then I came homeward, and lost my way, and wandered far off through the white sunshine, and the scanty shade of the vineyard walls, and the olive-trees that here and there branched over them. At last I saw our own gray battlements at a distance, on one side, quite out of the direction in which I was travelling, so was compelled to the grievous mortification of retracing a great many of my weary footsteps. It was a very hot day. This evening I have been on the tower-top star-gazing, and looking at the comet, which waves along the sky like

 

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an immense feather of flame. Over Florence there was an illuminated atmosphere, caused by the lights of the city gleaming upward into the mists which sleep and dream above that portion of the valley, as well as the rest of it. I saw dimly, or fancied I saw, the hill of Fiesole on the other side of Florence, and remembered how ghostly lights were seen passing thence to the Duomo on the night when Lorenzo the Magnificent died. From time to time the sweet bells of Florence rang out, and I was loath to come down into the lower world, knowing that I shall never again look heavenward from an old tower-top in such a soft calm evening as this. Yet I am not loath to go away; impatient rather; for, taking no root, I soon weary of any soil in which I may be temporarily deposited. The same impatience I sometimes feel or conceive of as regards this earthly life. . . .

I forgot to mention that Powers showed me, in his studio, the model of the statue of America, which he wished the government to buy. It has great merit, and embodies the ideal of youth, freedom, progress, and whatever we consider as distinctive of our country's character and destiny. It is a female figure, vigorous, beautiful, planting its foot lightly on a broken chain, and pointing upward. The face has a high look of intelligence and lofty feeling; the form, nude to the middle, has all the charms of womanhood, and is thus warmed and redeemed out of the cold allegoric sisterhood who have generally no merit in chastity, being really without sex. I somewhat question whether it is quite the thing, however, to make a genuine woman out of an allegory: we ask, Who is to wed this lovely virgin? and we are not satisfied to banish her into the realm of chilly thought. But I

 

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liked the statue, and all the better for what I criticise, and was sorry to see the huge package in which the finished marble lies bundled up, ready to be sent to our country,--which does not call for it.

Mr. Powers and his two daughters called to take leave of us, and at parting I expressed a hope of seeing him in America. He said that it would make him very unhappy to believe that he should never return thither; but it seems to me that he has no such definite purpose of return as would be certain to bring itself to pass. It makes a very unsatisfactory life, thus to spend the greater part of it in exile. In such a case we are always deferring the reality of life till a future moment, and, by and by, we have deferred it till there are no future moments; or, if we do go back, we find that life has shifted whatever of reality it had to the country where we deemed ourselves only living temporarily; and so between two stools we come to the ground, and make ourselves a part of one or the other country only by laying our bones in its soil. It is particularly a pity in Powers's case, because he is so very American in character, and the only convenience for him of his Italian residence is, that here he can supply himself with marble, and with workmen to chisel it according to his designs.

SIENA.

October 2d.--Yesterday morning, at six o'clock, we left our ancient tower, and threw a parting glance--and a rather sad one--over the misty Val d'Arno. This summer will look like a happy one in our children's retrospect, and also, no doubt, in the years that remain to ourselves; and, in truth, I have found it a peaceful and not uncheerful one.

 

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It was not a pleasant morning, and Monte Morello, looking down on Florence, had on its cap, betokening foul weather, according to the proverb. Crossing the suspension-bridge, we reached the Leopoldo railway without entering the city. By some mistake,--or perhaps because nobody ever travels by first-class carriages in Tuscany,--we found we had received second-class tickets, and were put into a long, crowded carriage, full of priests, military men, commercial travellers, and other respectable people, facing one another lengthwise along the carriage, and many of them smoking cigars. They were all perfectly civil, and I think I must own that the manners of this second-class would compare favorably with those of an American first-class one.

At Empoli, about an hour after we started, we had to change carriages, the main train proceeding to Leghorn. . . . My observations along the road were very scanty: a hilly country, with several old towns seated on the most elevated hill-tops, as is common throughout Tuscany, or sometimes a fortress with a town on the plain at its base; or, once or twice, the towers and battlements of a mediæval castle, commanding the pass below it. Near Florence the country was fertile in the vine and olive, and looked as unpicturesque as that sort of fertility usually makes it; not but what I have come to think better of the tint of the olive-leaf than when I first saw it. In the latter part of our journey I remember a wild stream, of a greenish hue, but transparent, rushing along over a rough bed, and before reaching Siena we rumbled into a long tunnel, and emerged from it near the city. . .

We drove up hill and down (for the surface of Siena seems to be nothing but an irregularity) through

 

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narrow old streets, and were set down at the Aquila Neva, a grim-looking albergo near the centre of the town. Mrs. S---- had already taken rooms for us there, and to these we were now ushered up the highway of a dingy stone staircase, and into a small, brick-paved parlor. The house seemed endlessly old, and all the glimpses that we caught of Siena out of window seemed more ancient still. Almost within arm's reach, across a narrow street, a tall palace of gray, time-worn stone clambered skyward, with arched windows, and square windows, and large windows and small, scattered up and down its side. It is the Palazzo Tolomci, and looks immensely venerable. From the windows of our bedrooms we looked into a broader street, though still not very wide, and into a small piazza, the most conspicuous object in which was a column, bearing on its top a bronze wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. This symbol is repeated in other parts of the city, and seems to indicate that the Sienese people pride themselves in a Roman origin. In another direction, over the tops of the houses, we saw a very high tower, with battlements projecting around its summit, so that it was a fortress in the air; and this I have since found to be the Palazzo Publico. It was pleasant, looking downward into the little old piazza and narrow streets, to see the swarm of life on the pavement, the life of to-day, just as new as if it had never been lived before; the citizens, the priests, the soldiers, the mules and asses with their panniers, the diligence lumbering along, with a postilion in a faded crimson coat bobbing up and down on the off-horse. Such a bustling scene, vociferous, too, with various street-cries, is wonderfully set off by the gray antiquity of the town, and makes the town look older than if it were a solitude.

 

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Soon Mr. and Mrs. Story came, and accompanied us to look for lodgings. They also drove us about the city in their carriage, and showed us the outside of the Palazzo Publico, and of the Cathedral, and other remarkable edifices. The aspect of Siena is far more picturesque than that of any other town in Italy, so far as I know Italian towns; and yet, now that I have written it, I remember Perugia, and feel that the observation is a mistake. But at any rate Siena is remarkably picturesque, standing on such a site, on the verge and within the crater of an extinct volcano, and therefore being as uneven as the sea in a tempest; the streets so narrow, ascending between tall, ancient palaces, while the side streets rush headlong down, only to be threaded by sure-footed mules, such as climb Alpine heights; old stone balconies on the palace fronts; old arched doorways, and windows set in frames of Gothic architecture; arcades, resembling canopies of stone, with quaintly sculptured statues in the richly wrought Gothic niches of each pillar,--everything massive and lofty, yet minutely interesting when you look at it stone by stone. The Florentines, and the Romans too, have obliterated, as far as they could, all the interest of their mediæval structures by covering them with stucco, so that they have quite lost their character, and affect the spectator with no reverential idea of age. Here the city is all overwritten with black-letter, and the glad Italian sun makes the effect so much the stronger.

We took a lodging, and afterwards J----- and I rambled about, and went into the Cathedral for a moment, and strayed also into the Piazza del Campo, the great public square of Siena. I am not in the mood for further description of public places now, so

 

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shall say a word or two about the old palace in which we have established ourselves. We have the second piano, and dwell amid faded grandeur, having for our saloon what seems to have been a ball-room. It is ornamented with a great fresco in the centre of the vaulted ceiling, and others covering the sides of the apartment, and surrounded with arabesque frameworks, where Cupids gambol and chase one another. The subjects of the frescos I cannot make out, not that they are faded like Giotto's, for they are as fresh as roses, and are done in an exceedingly workmanlike style; but they are allegories of Fame and Plenty and other matters, such as I could never understand. Our whole accommodation is in similar style,--spacious, magnificent, and mouldy.

In the evening Miss S---- and I drove to the railway, and on the arrival of the train from Florence we watched with much eagerness the unlading of the luggage-van. At last the whole of our ten trunks and tin bandbox were produced, and finally my leather bag, in which was my journal and a manuscript book containing my sketch of a romance. It gladdened my very heart to see it, and I shall think the better of Tuscan promptitude and accuracy for so quickly bringing it back to me. (It was left behind, under one of the rail carriage seats.) We find all the public officials, whether of railway, police, or custom house, extremely courteous and pleasant to encounter; they seem willing to take trouble and reluctant to give it, and it is really a gratification to find that such civil people will sometimes oblige you by taking a paul or two aside.

 

October 3d.--I took several strolls about the city

 

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yesterday, and find it scarcely extensive enough to get lost in; and if we go far from the centre we soon come to silent streets, with only here and there an individual; and the inhabitants stare from their doors and windows at the stranger, and turn round to look at him after he has passed. The interest of the old town would soon be exhausted for the traveller, but I can conceive that a thoughtful and shy man might settle down here with the view of making the place a home, and spend many years in a sombre kind of happiness. I should prefer it to Florence as a residence, but it would be terrible without an independent life in one s own mind.

U-- and I walked out in the afternoon, and went into the Piazza del Campo, the principal place of the city, and a very noble and peculiar one. It is much in the form of an amphitheatre, and the surface of the ground seems to be slightly scooped out, so that it resembles the shallow basin of a shell. It is thus a much better site for an assemblage of the populace than if it were a perfect level. A semicircle or truncated ellipse of stately and ancient edifices surround the piazza, with arches opening beneath them through which streets converge hitherward. One side of the piazza is a straight line, and is occupied by the Palazzo Publico, which is a most noble and impressive Gothic structure. It has not the mass of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, but is more striking. It has a long battlemented front, the central part of which rises eminent above the rest, in a great square bulk, which is likewise crowned with battlements. This is much more picturesque than the one great block of stone into which the Palazzo Vecchio is consolidated. At one extremity of this long front of the Palazzo Pub-

 

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lico rises a tower, shooting up its shaft high, high into the air, and bulging out there into a battlemented fortress, within which the tower, slenderer than before, climbs to a still higher region. I do not know whether the summit of the tower is higher or so high as that of the Palazzo Vecchio; but the length of the shaft, free of the edifice, is much greater, and so produces the more elevating effect. The whole front of the Palazzo Publico is exceedingly venerable, with arched windows, Gothic carvings, and all the old-time ornaments that betoken it to have stood a great while, and the gray strength that will hold it up at least as much longer. At one end of the façade, beneath the shadow of the tower, is a grand and beautiful porch, supported on square pillars, within each of which is a niche containing a statue of mediæval sculpture.

The great Piazza del Campo is the marketplace of Siena. In the morning it was thronged with booths. and stalls, especially of fruit and vegetable dealers; but as in Florence, they melted away in the sunshine, gradually withdrawing themselves into the shadow thrown from the Palazzo Publico.

On the side opposite the palace is an antique fountain of marble, ornamented with two statues and a series of bas-reliefs; and it was so much admired in its day that its sculptor received the name "Del Fonte." I am loath to leave the piazza and palace without finding some word or two to suggest their antique majesty, in the sunshine and the shadow; and how fit it seemed, notwithstanding their venerableness, that there should be a busy crowd filling up the great, hollow amphitheatre, and crying their fruit and little merchandises, so that all the curved line of stately old edifices helped to reverberate the noise. The life of to-day, within the shell of a time past, is wonderfully fascinating.

 

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Another point to which a stranger's footsteps are drawn by a kind of magnetism, so that he will be apt to find himself there as often as he strolls out of his hotel, is the Cathedral. It stands in the highest part of the city, and almost every street runs into some other street which meanders hitherward. On our way thither, U-- and I came to a beautiful front of black and white marble, in somewhat the same style as the Cathedral; in fact, it was the baptistery, and should have made a part of it, according to the original design, which contemplated a structure of vastly greater extent than this actual one. We entered the baptistery, and found the interior small, but very rich in its clustered columns and intersecting arches, and its frescos, pictures, statues, and ornaments. Moreover, a father and mother had brought their baby to be baptized, and the poor little thing, in its gay swaddling-clothes, looked just like what I have seen in old pictures, and a good deal like an Indian pappoose. It gave one little slender squeak when the priest put the water on its forehead, and then was quiet again. We now went round to the façade of the Cathedral. It is of black and white marble, with, I believe, an intermixture of red and other colors; but time has toned them down, so that white, black, and red do not contrast so strongly with one another as they may have done five hundred years ago. The architecture is generally of the pointed Gothic style, but there are likewise carved arches over the doors and windows, and a variety which does not produce the effect of confusion,--a magnificent eccentricity, an exuberant imagination flowering out in stone. On high, in the great peak of the front, and throwing its colored radiance into the nave within, there is a round window

 

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of immense circumference, the painted figures in which we can see dimly from the outside. But what I wish to express, and never can, is the multitudinous richness of the ornamentation of the front; the arches within arches, sculptured inch by inch, of the deep doorways; the statues of saints, some making a hermitage of a niche, others standing forth; the scores of busts, that look like faces of ancient people gazing down out of the Cathedral; the projecting shapes of stone lions,--the thousand forms of Gothic fancy, which seemed to soften the marble and express whatever it liked, and allow it to harden again to last forever. But my description seems like knocking off the noses of some of the busts, the fingers and toes of the statues, the projecting points of the architecture, jumbling them all up together, and flinging them down upon the page. This gives no idea of the truth, nor, least of all, can it shadow forth that solemn whole, mightily combined out of all these minute particulars, and sanctifying the entire space of ground over which this cathedral front flings its shadow, or on which it reflects the sun. A majesty and a minuteness, neither interfering with the other, each assisting the other; this is what I love in Gothic architecture. We went in and walked about; but I mean to go again before sketching the interior in my poor water-colors.

 

October 4th.--On looking again at the Palazzo Publico, I see that the pillared portal, which I have spoken of, does not cover an entrance to the palace, but is a chapel, with an altar, and frescos above it. Bouquets of fresh flowers are on the altar, and a lamp burns, in all the daylight, before the crucifix. The chapel is quite unenclosed, except by an openwork

 

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balustrade of marble, on which the carving looks very ancient. Nothing could be more convenient for the devotions of the crowd in the piazza, and no doubt the daily prayers offered at the shrine might be numbered by the thousand,--brief, but I hope earnest,--like those glimpses I used to catch at the blue sky, revealing so much in an instant, while I was toiling at Brook Farm. Another picturesque thing about the Palazzo Publico is a great stone balcony, quaintly wrought, about midway in the front and high aloft, with two arched windows opening into it.

After another glimpse at the Cathedral, too, I realize how utterly I have failed in conveying the idea of its elaborate ornament, its twisted and clustered pillars, and numberless devices of sculpture; nor did I mention the venerable statues that stand all round the summit of the edifice, relieved against the sky,--the highest of all being one of the Saviour, on the top-most peak of the front; nor the tall tower that ascends from one side of the building, and is built of layers of black and white marble piled one upon another in regular succession; nor the dome that swells upward close beside this tower.

Had the Cathedral been constructed on the plan and dimensions at first contemplated, it would have been incomparably majestic; the finished portion, grand as it is, being only what was intended for a transept. One of the walls of what was to have been the nave is still standing, and looks like a ruin, though, I believe, it has been turned to account as the wall of a palace, the space of the never-completed nave being now a court or street.

The whole family of us were kindly taken out yesterday, to dine and spend the day at the Villa Belvi-

 

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dere with our friends Mr. and Mrs. Story. The vicinity of Siena is much more agreeable than that of Florence, being cooler, breezier, with more foliage and shrubbery both near at hand and in the distance; and the prospect, Mr. Story told us, embraces a diameter of about a hundred miles between hills north and south. The Villa Belvidere was built and owned by an Englishman now deceased, who has left it to his butler, and its lawns and shrubbery have something English in their character, and there was almost a dampness in the grass, which really pleased me in this parched Italy. Within the house the walls are hung with fine old-fashioned engravings from the pictures of Gainsborough, West, and other English painters. The Englishman, though he had chosen to live and die in Italy, had evidently brought his native tastes and peculiarities along with him. Mr. Story thinks of buying this villa: I do not know but I might be tempted to buy it myself if Siena were a practicable residence for the entire year; but the winter here, with the bleak mountain-winds of a hundred miles round about blustering against it, must be terribly disagreeable.

We spent a very pleasant day, turning over books or talking on the lawn, whence we could behold scenes picturesque afar, and rich vineyard glimpses near at hand. Mr. Story is the most variously accomplished and brilliant person, the fullest of social life and fire, whom I have ever met; and without seeming to make an effort, he kept us amused and entertained the whole day long; not wearisomely entertained neither, as we should have been if he had not let his fountain play naturally. Still, though he bubbled and brimmed over with fun, he left the impression on me that . . .

 

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there is a pain and care, bred, it may be, out of the very richness of his gifts and abundance of his outward prosperity. Rich, in the prime of life, . . . and children budding and blossoming around him as fairly as his heart could wish, with sparkling talents,--so many, that if he choose to neglect or fling away one, or two, or three, he would still have enough left to shine with,--who should be happy if not he?

Towards sunset we all walked out into the podere, pausing a little while to look down into a well that stands on the verge of the lawn. Within the spacious circle of its stone curb was an abundant growth of maidenhair, forming a perfect wreath of thickly clustering leaves quite round, and trailing its tendrils downward to the water, which gleamed beneath. It was a very pretty sight. Mr. Story bent over the well and uttered deep, musical tones, which were reverberated from the hollow depths with wonderful effect, as if a spirit dwelt within there, and (unlike the spirits that speak through mediums) sent him back responses even profounder and more melodious than the tones that awakened them. Such a responsive well as this might have been taken for an oracle in old days.

We went along paths that led from one vineyard to another, and which might have led us for miles across the country. The grapes had been partly gathered, but still there were many purple or white clusters hanging heavily on the vines. We passed cottage-doors, and saw groups of contadini and contadine in their festal attire, and they saluted us graciously; but it was observable that one of the men generally lingered on our track to see that no grapes were stolen, for there were a great many young people

 

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and children in our train, not only our own, but some from a neighboring villa. These Italian peasants are a kindly race, but, I doubt, not very hospitable of grape or fig.

There was a beautiful sunset, and by the time we reached the house again the comet was already visible amid the unextinguished glow of daylight. A Mr. and Mrs. B ----, Scotch people from the next villa, had come to see the Storys, and we sat till teatime reading, talking, William Story drawing caricatures for his children's amusement and ours, and all of us sometimes getting up to look at the comet, which blazed brighter and brighter till it went down into the mists of the horizon. Among the caricatures was one of a Presidential candidate, evidently a man of very malleable principles, and likely to succeed.

Late in the evening (too late for little Rosebud) we drove homeward. The streets of old Siena looked very grim at night, and it seemed like gazing into caverns to glimpse down some of the side streets as we passed, with a light burning dimly at the end of them. It was after ten when we reached home, and climbed up our gloomy staircase, lighted by the glimmer of some wax moccoli which I had in my pocket.

 

October 5th.--I have been two or three times into the Cathedral; . . . the whole interior is of marble, in alternate lines of black and white, each layer being about eight inches in width and extending horizontally. It looks very curiously, and might remind the spectator of a stuff with horizontal stripes. Nevertheless, the effect is exceedingly rich, these alternate lines stretching away along the walls and round the clustered pillars, seen aloft, and through the arches;

 

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everywhere, this inlay of black and white. Every sort of ornament that could be thought of seems to have been crammed into the Cathedral in one place or another: gilding, frescos, pictures; a roof of blue, spangled with golden stars; a magnificent wheel window of old painted glass over the entrance, and another at the opposite end of the Cathedral; statues, some of marble, others of gilded bronze; pulpits of carved marble; a gilded organ; a cornice of marble busts of the popes, extending round the entire church; a pavement, covered all over with a strange kind of mosaicwork in various marbles, wrought into marble pictures of sacred subjects; immense clustered pillars supporting the round arches that divide the nave from the side-aisles; a clere-story of windows within pointed arches,--it seemed as if the spectator were reading an antique volume written in black-letter of a small character, but conveying a high and solemn meaning. I can find no way of expressing its effect on me, so quaint and venerable as I feel this cathedral to be in its immensity of striped waistcoat, now dingy with five centuries of wear. I ought not to say anything that might detract from the grandeur and sanctity of the blessed edifice, for these attributes are really uninjured by any of the Gothic oddities which I have hinted at.

We went this morning to the Institute of the Fine Arts, which is interesting as containing a series of the works of the Sienese painters from a date earlier than that of Cimabue. There is a dispute, I believe, between Florence and Siena as to which city may claim the credit of having originated the modern art of painting. The Florentines put forward Cimabue as the first artist, but as the Sienese produce a picture,

 

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by Guido da Siena, dated before the birth of Cimabue, the victory is decidedly with them. As to pictorial merit, to my taste there is none in either of these old painters, nor in any of their successors for a long time afterwards. At the Institute there are several rooms hung with early productions of the Sienese school, painted before the invention of oil-colors, on wood shaped into Gothic altar-pieces. The backgrounds still retain a bedimmed splendor of gilding. There is a plentiful use of red, and I can conceive that the pictures must have shed an illumination through the churches where they were displayed. There is often, too, a minute care bestowed on the faces in the pictures, and sometimes a very strong expression, stronger than modern artists get, and it is very strange how they attained this merit while they were so inconceivably rude in other respects. It is remarkable that all the early faces of the Madonna are especially stupid, and all of the same type, a sort of face such as one might carve on a pumpkin, representing a heavy, sulky, phlegmatic woman, with a long and low arch of the nose. This same dull face continues to be assigned to the Madonna, even when the countenances of the surrounding saints and angels are characterized with power and beauty, so that I think there must have been some portrait of this sacred personage reckoned authentic, which the early painters followed and religiously repeated.

At last we came to a picture by Sodoma, the most illustrious representative of the Sienese school. It was a fresco; Christ bound to the pillar, after having been scourged. I do believe that painting has never done anything better, so far as expression is concerned, than this figure. In all these generations since it was

 

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painted it must have softened thousands of hearts, drawn down rivers of tears, been more effectual than a million of sermons. Really, it is a thing to stand and weep at. No other painter has done anything that can deserve to be compared to this.

There are some other pictures by Sodoma, among them a Judith, very noble and admirable, and full of a profound sorrow for the deed which she has felt it her mission to do.

 

Aquila Nera, October 7th.--Our lodgings in Siena had been taken only for five days, as they were already engaged after that period; so yesterday we returned to our old quarters at the Black Eagle.

In the forenoon J----- and I went out of one of the gates (the road from it leads to Florence) and had a pleasant country walk. Our way wound downward, round the hill on which Siena stands, and gave us views of the Duomo and its campanile, seemingly pretty near, after we had walked long enough to be quite remote from them. Sitting awhile on the parapet of a bridge, I saw a laborer chopping the branches off a poplar-tree which he had felled; and, when it was trimmed, he took up the large trunk on one of his shoulders and carried it off, seemingly with ease. He did not look like a particularly robust man; but I have never seen such an herculean feat attempted by an Englishman or American. It has frequently struck me that the Italians are able to put forth a great deal of strength in such insulated efforts as this; but I have been told that they are less capable of continued endurance and hardship than our own race. I do not know why it should be so, except that I presume their food is less strong than ours. There was no other

 

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remarkable incident in our walk, which lay chiefly through gorges of the hills, winding beneath high cliffs of the brown Siena earth, with many pretty scenes of rural landscape; vineyards everywhere, and olive-trees; a mill on its little stream, over which there was an old stone bridge, with a graceful arch; farmhouses; a villa or two; subterranean passages, passing from the roadside through the high banks into the vineyards. At last we turned aside into a road which led us pretty directly to another gate of the city, and climbed steeply upward among tanneries, where the young men went about with their well-shaped legs bare, their trousers being tucked up till they were strictly breeches and nothing else. The campanile stood high above us; and by and by, and very soon, indeed, the steep ascent of the street brought us into the neighborhood of the Piazza del Campo, and of our own hotel. . . . From about twelve o'clock till one, I sat at my chamber window watching the specimens of human life as displayed in the Piazza Tolomei. [Here follow several pages of moving objects.] . . . Of course, a multitude of other people passed by, but the curiousness of the catalogue is the prevalence of the martial and religious elements. The general costume of the inhabitants is frocks or sacks, loosely made, and rather shabby; often, shirt-sleeves; or the coat hung over one shoulder. They wear felt hats and straw. People of respectability seem to prefer cylinder hats, either black or drab, and broadcloth frock-coats in the French fashion; but, like the rest, they look a little shabby. Almost all the women wear shawls. Ladies in swelling petticoats, and with fans, some of which are highly gilded, appear. The people generally are not tall, but have a sufficient breadth of

 

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shoulder; in complexion, similar to Americans; bearded, universally. The vehicle used for driving is a little gig without a top; but these are seldom seen, and still less frequently a cab or other carriages. The gait of the people has not the energy of business or decided purpose. Everybody appears to lounge, and to have time for a moment's chat, and a disposition to rest, reason or none.

After dinner I walked out of another gate of the city, and wandered among some pleasant country lanes, bordered with hedges, and wearing an English aspect; at least, I could fancy so. The vicinity of Siena is delightful to walk about in; there being a verdant outlook, a wide prospect of purple mountains, though no such level valley as the Val d'Arno; and the city stands so high that its towers and domes are seen more picturesquely from many points than those of Florence can be. Neither is the pedestrian so cruelly shut into narrow lanes, between high stone walls, over which he cannot get a glimpse of landscape. As I walked by the hedges yesterday I could have fancied that the olive-trunks were those of apple-trees, and that I were in one or other of the two lands that I love better that Italy. But the great white villas and the farm-houses were unlike anything I have seen elsewhere, or that I should wish to see again, though proper enough to Italy.

 

October 9th.--Thursday forenoon, 8th, we went to see the Palazzo Publico. There are some fine old halls and chapels, adorned with ancient frescos and pictures, of which I remember a picture of the Virgin by Sodoma, very beautiful, and other fine pictures by the same master. The architecture of these old rooms is

 

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grand, the roofs being supported by ponderous arches, which are covered with frescos, still magnificent, though faded, darkened, and defaced. We likewise saw an antique casket of wood, enriched with gilding, which had once contained an arm of John the Baptist,--so the custode told us. One of the halls was hung with the portraits of eight popes and nearly forty cardinals, who were natives of Siena. I have done hardly any other sightseeing except a daily visit to the Cathedral, which I admire and love the more the oftener I go thither. Its striped peculiarity ceases entirely to interfere with the grandeur and venerable beauty of its impression; and I am never weary of gazing through the vista of its arches, and noting continually something that I had not seen before in its exuberant adornment. The pavement alone is inexhaustible, being covered all over with figures of life-size or larger, which look like immense engravings of Gothic or Scriptural scenes. There is Absalom hanging by his hair, and Joab slaying him with a spear. There is Samson belaboring the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. There are armed knights in the tumult of battle, all wrought with wonderful expression. The figures are in white marble, inlaid with darker stone, and the shading is effected by means of engraved lines in the marble, filled in with black. It would be possible, perhaps, to print impressions from some of these vast plates, for the process of cutting the lines was an exact anticipation of the modern art of engraving. However, the same thing was done--and I suppose at about the same period--on monumental brasses, and I have seen impressions or rubbings from those for sale in the old English churches.

Yesterday morning, in the Cathedral, I watched a

 

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woman at confession, being curious to see how long it would take her to tell her sins, the growth of a week perhaps. I know not how long she had been confessing when I first observed her, but nearly an hour passed before the priest came suddenly from the confessional, looking weary and moist with perspiration, and took his way out of the Cathedral. The woman was left on her knees. This morning I watched another woman, and she too was very long about it, and I could see the face of the priest behind the curtain of the confessional, scarcely inclining his ear to the perforated tin through which the penitent communicated her outpourings. It must be very tedious to listen, day after day, to the minute and commonplace iniquities of the multitude of penitents, and it cannot be often that these are redeemed by the treasure-trove of a great sin. When her confession was over the woman came and sat down on the same bench with me, where her broad-brimmed straw hat was lying. She seemed to be a country woman, with a simple, matronly face, which was solemnized and softened with the comfort that she had obtained by disburdening herself of the soil of worldly frailties and receiving absolution. An old woman, who haunts the Cathedral, whispered to her, and she went and knelt down where a procession of priests were to pass, and then the old lady begged a crazia of me, and got a half-paul. It almost invariably happens, in church or cathedral, that beggars address their prayers to the heretic visitor, and probably with more unction than to the Virgin or saints. However, I have nothing to say against the sincerity of this people's devotion. They give all the proof of it that a mere spectator can estimate.

 

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Last evening we all went out to see the comet, which then reached its climax of lustre. It was like a lofty plume of fire, and grew very brilliant as the night darkened.

October 10th.--This morning too we went to the Cathedral, and sat long listening to the music of the organ and voices, and witnessing rites and ceremonies which are far older than even the ancient edifice where they were exhibited. A good many people were present, sitting, kneeling, or walking about,--a freedom that contrasts very agreeably with the grim formalities of English churches and our own meeting-houses. Many persons were in their best attire; but others came in, with unabashed simplicity, in their old garments of labor, sunburnt women from their toil among the vines and olives. One old peasant I noticed with his withered shanks in breeches and blue yarn stockings. The people of whatever class are wonderfully tolerant of heretics, never manifesting any displeasure or annoyance, though they must see that we are drawn thither by curiosity alone, and merely pry while they pray. I heartily wish the priests were better men, and that human nature, divinely influenced, could be depended upon for a constant supply and succession of good and pure ministers, their religion has so many admirable points. And then it is a sad pity that this noble and beautiful cathedral should be a mere fossil shell, out of which the life has died long ago. But for many a year yet to come the tapers will burn before the high altar, the Host will be elevated, the incense diffuse its fragrance, the confessionals be open to receive the penitents. I saw a father entering with two little bits of boys, just big enough to toddle along,

 

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holding his hand on either side. The father dipped his fingers into the marble font of holy water,--which, on its pedestals, was two or three times as high as those small Christians,--and wetted a hand of each, and taught them how to cross themselves. When they come to be men it will be impossible to convince those children that there is no efficacy in holy water, without plucking up all religious faith and sentiment by the roots. Generally, I suspect, when people throw off the faith they were born in, the best soil of their hearts is apt to cling to its roots.

Raised several feet above the pavement, against every clustered pillar along the nave of the Cathedral, is placed a statue of Gothic sculpture. In various places are sitting statues of popes of Sienese nativity, all of whom, I believe, have a hand raised in the act of blessing. Shines and chapels, set in grand, heavy frames of pillared architecture, stand all along the aisles and transepts, and these seem in many instances to have been built and enriched by noble families, whose arms are sculptured on the pedestals of the pillars, sometimes with a cardinal's hat above to denote the rank of one of its members. How much pride, love, and reverence in the lapse of ages must have clung to the sharp points of all this sculpture and architecture! The Cathedral is a religion in itself,--something worth dying for to those who have an hereditary interest in it. In the pavement, yesterday, I noticed the gravestone of a person who fell six centuries ago in the battle of Monte Aperto, and was buried here by public decree as a meed of valor.

This afternoon I took a walk out of one of the city gates, and found the country about Siena as beautiful in this direction as in all others. I came to a little

 

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stream flowing over into a pebbly bed, and collecting itself into pools, with a scanty rivulet between. Its glen was deep, and was crossed by a bridge of several lofty and narrow arches like those of a Roman aqueduct. It is a modern structure, however. Farther on, as I wound round along the base of a hill which fell down upon the road by precipitous cliffs of brown earth, I saw a gray, ruined wall on the summit, surrounded with cypress-trees. This tree is very frequent about Siena, and the scenery is made soft and beautiful by a variety of other trees and shrubbery, without which these hills and gorges would have scarcely a charm. The road was thronged with country people, mostly women and children, who had been spending the feast-day in Siena; and parties of boys were chasing one another though the fields, pretty much as boys do in New England of a Sunday, but the Sienese lads had not the sense of Sabbath-breaking like our boys. Sunday with these people is like any other feast-day, and consecrated to cheerful enjoyment. So much religious observance, as regards outward forms, is diffused through the whole week that they have no need to intensify the Sabbath except by making it gladden the other days.

Returning through the same gate by which I had come out, I ascended into the city by a long and steep street, which was paved with bricks set edgewise. This pavement is common in many of the streets, which, being too steep for horses and carriages, are meant only to sustain the lighter tread of mules and asses. The more level streets are paved with broad, smooth flag-stones, like those of Florence,--a fashion which I heartily regret to change for the little penitential blocks of Rome. The walls of Siena in their present

 

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state, and so far as I have seen them, are chiefly brick; but there are intermingled fragments of ancient stonework, and I wonder why the latter does not prevail more largely. The Romans, however,--and Siena had Roman characteristics,--always liked to build of brick, a taste that has made their ruins (now that the marble slabs are torn off) much less grand than they ought to have been. I am grateful to the old Sienese for having used stone so largely in their domestic architecture, and thereby rendered their city so grimly picturesque, with its black palaces frowning upon one another from arched windows, across narrow streets, to the height of six stories, like opposite ranks of tall men looking sternly into one another's eyes.

 

October 11th.--Again I went to the Cathedral this morning, and spent an hour listening to the music and looking through the orderly intricacies of the arches, where many vistas open away among the columns of the choir. There are five clustered columns on each side of the nave; then under the dome there are two more arches, not in a straight line, but forming the segment of a circle; and beyond the circle of the dome there are four more arches, extending to the extremity of the chancel. I should have said, instead of "clustered columns," as above, that there are five arches along the nave supported by columns. This Cathedral has certainly bewitched me, to write about it so much, effecting nothing with my pains. I should judge the width of each arch to be about twenty feet, and the thickness of each clustered pillar is eight or ten more, and the length of the entire building may be between two and three hundred feet; not very large, certainly, but it makes an impression of grandeur independent of size. . . .

 

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I never shall succeed even in reminding myself of the venerable magnificence of this minster, with its arches, its columns, its cornice of popes' heads, its great wheel-windows, its manifold ornament, all combining in one vast effect, though many men have labored individually, and through a long course of time, to produce this multifarious handiwork and headwork.

I now took a walk out of the city. A road turned immediately to the left as I emerged from the city, and soon proved to be a rustic lane leading past several villas and farm-houses. It was a very pleasant walk, with vineyards and olive-orchards on each side, and now and then glimpses of the towers and sombre heaped-up palaces of Siena, and now a rural seclusion again; for the hills rise and the valleys fall like the swell and subsidence of the sea after a gale, so that Siena may be quite hidden within a quarter of a mile of its wall, or may be visible, I doubt not, twenty miles away. It is a fine old town, with every promise of health and vigor in its atmosphere; and really, if I could take root anywhere, I know not but it could as well be here as in another place. It would only be a kind of despair, however, that would ever make me dream of finding a home in Italy; a sense that I had lost my country through absence or incongruity, and that earth is not an abiding-place. I wonder that we Americans love our country at all, it having no limits and no oneness; and when you try to make it a matter of the heart, everything falls away except one's native State; neither can you seize hold of that unless you tear it out of the Union, bleeding and quivering. Yet, unquestionably, we do stand by our national flag as stoutly as any people in the world, and I myself have felt the heart throb at sight of it as sensibly

 

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as other men. I think the singularity of our form of government contributes to give us a kind of patriotism, by separating us from other nations more entirely. If other nations had similar institutions,--if England, especially, were a democracy,--we should as readily make ourselves at home in another country as now in a new State.

 

October 12th.--And again we went to the Cathedral this forenoon, and the whole family, except myself, sketched portions of it. Even Rosebud stood gravely sketching some of the inlaid figures of the pavement. As for me, I can but try to preserve some memorial of this beautiful edifice in ill-fitting words that never hit the mark. This morning visit was not my final one, for I went again after dinner and walked quite round the whole interior. I think I have not yet mentioned the rich carvings of the old oaken seats round the choir, and the curious mosaic of lighter and darker woods, by which figures and landscapes are skilfully represented on the backs of some of the stalls. The process seems to be the same as the inlaying and engraving of the pavement, the material in one case being marble, in the other wood. The only other thing that I particularly noticed was, that in the fonts of holy water at the front entrance, marble fish are sculptured in the depths of the basin, and eels and shell-fish crawling round the brim. Have I spoken of the sumptuous carving of the capitals of the columns? At any rate I have left a thousand beauties without a word. Here I drop the subject. As I took my parting glance, the Cathedral had a gleam of golden sunshine in its far depths, and it seemed to widen and deepen itself, as if to convince me of my

 

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error in saying, yesterday, that it is not very large. I wonder how I could say it.

After taking leave of the Cathedral, I found my way out of another of the city gates, and soon turned aside into a green lane. . . . Soon the lane passed through a hamlet consisting of a few farm-houses, the shabbiest and dreariest that can be conceived, ancient, and ugly, and dilapidated, with iron-grated windows below, and heavy wooden shutters on the windows above,--high, ruinous walls shutting in the courts, and ponderous gates, one of which was off its hinges. The farm-yards were perfect pictures of disarray and slovenly administration of home affairs. Only one of these houses had a door opening on the road, and that was the meanest in the hamlet. A flight of narrow stone stairs ascended from the threshold to the second story. All these houses were specimens of a rude antiquity, built of brick and stone, with the marks of arched doors and windows where a subsequent generation had shut up the lights, or the accesses which the original builders had opened. Humble as these dwellings are,--though large and high compared with rural residences in other countries,--they may very probably date back to the times when Siena was a warlike republic, and when every house in its neighborhood had need to be a fortress. I suppose, however, prowling banditti were the only enemies against whom a defence would be attempted. What lives must now be lived there,--in beastly ignorance, mental sluggishness, hard toil for little profit, filth, and a horrible discomfort of fleas; for if the palaces of Italy are overrun with these pests, what must the country hovels be! . . .

We are now all ready for a start tomorrow.

 

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RADICOFANI.

October 13th.--We arranged to begin our journey at six. . . . It was a chill, lowering morning, and the rain blew a little in our faces before we had gone far, but did not continue long. The country soon lost the pleasant aspect which it wears immediately about Siena, and grew very barren and dreary. Then it changed again for the better, the road leading us through a fertility of vines and olives, after which the dreary and barren hills came back again, and formed our prospect throughout most of the day. We stopped for our déjeuner á la fourchette at a little old town called San Querico, which we entered through a ruined gateway, the town being entirely surrounded by its ancient wall. This wall is far more picturesque than that of Siena, being lofty and built of stone, with a machicolation of arches running quite round its top, like a cornice. It has little more than a single street, perhaps a quarter of a mile long, narrow, paved with flag-stones in the Florentine fashion, and lined with two rows of tall, rusty, stone houses, without a gap between them from end to end. The cafés were numerous in relation to the size of the town, and there were two taverns,--our own, the Eagle, being doubtless the best, and having three arched entrances in its front. Of these, the middle one led to the guests' apartments, the one on the right to the barn, and that on the left to the stable, so that, as is usual in Italian inns, the whole establishment was under one roof. We were shown into a brick-paved room on the first floor, adorned with a funny fresco of Aurora on the ceiling, and with some colored prints, both religious and profane. . . .

 

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As we drove into the town we noticed a Gothic church with two doors of peculiar architecture, and while our déjeuner was being prepared we went to see it. The interior had little that was remarkable, for it had been repaired early in the last century, and spoilt of course; but an old triptych is still hanging in a chapel beside the high altar. It is painted on wood, and dates back beyond the invention of oil-painting, and represents the Virgin and some saints and angels. Neither is the exterior of the church particularly interesting, with the exception of the carving and ornaments of two of the doors. Both of them have round arches, deep and curiously wrought, and the pillars of one of the two are formed of a peculiar knot or twine in stone-work, such as I cannot well describe, but it is both ingenious and simple: These pillars rest on two nondescript animals, which look as much like walruses as anything else. The pillars of the other door consist of two figures supporting the capitals, and themselves standing on two handsomely carved lions. The work is curious, and evidently very ancient, and the material a red freestone.

After lunch, J----- and I took a walk out of the gate of the town opposite to that of our entrance. There were no soldiers on guard, as at city gates of more importance; nor do I think that there is really any gate to shut, but the massive stone gateway still stands entire over the empty arch. Looking back after we had passed through, I observed that the lofty upper story is converted into a dove-cot, and that pumpkins were put to ripen in some open chambers at one side. We passed near the base of a tall, square tower, which is said to be of Roman origin. The little town is in the midst of a barren region, but its im-

 

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mediate neighborhood is fertile, and an olive-orchard, venerable of aspect, lay on the other side of the pleasant lane with its English hedges, and olive-trees grew likewise along the base of the city wall. The arched machicolations, which I have before mentioned, were here and there interrupted by a house which was built upon the old wall or incorporated into it; and from the windows of one of them I saw ears of Indian corn hung out to ripen in the sun, and somebody was winnowing grain at a little door that opened through the wall. It was very pleasant to see the ancient warlike rampart thus overcome with rustic peace. The ruined gateway is partly overgrown with ivy.

Returning to our inn, along the street, we saw ---- sketching one of the doors of the Gothic church, in the midst of a crowd of the good people of San Querico, who made no scruple to look over her shoulder, pressing so closely as hardly to allow her elbow-room. I must own that I was too cowardly to come forward and take my share of this public notice, so I turned away to the inn and there awaited her coming. Indeed, she has seldom attempted to sketch without finding herself the nucleus of a throng.

 

VITERBO.

The Black Eagle, October 14th.--Perhaps I had something more to say of San Querico, but I shall merely add that there is a stately old palace of the Piccolomini close to the church above described. It is built in the style of the Roman palaces, and looked almost large enough to be one of them. Nevertheless, the basement story, or part of it, seems to be used as a barn and stable, for I saw a yoke of oxen in the entrance. I cannot but mention a most wretched team

 

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of vettura-horses which stopped at the door of our albergo: poor, lean, downcast creatures, with deep furrows between their ribs; nothing but skin and bone, in short, and not even so much skin as they should have had, for it was partially worn off from their backs. The harness was fastened with ropes, the traces and reins were ropes; the carriage was old and shabby, and out of this miserable equipage there alighted an ancient gentleman and lady, whom our waiter affirmed to be the Prefect of Florence and his wife.

We left San Querico at two o'clock, and followed an ascending road till we got into the region above the clouds; the landscape was very wide, but very dreary and barren, and grew more and more so till we began to climb the mountain of Radicofani, the peak of which had been blackening itself on the horizon almost the whole day. When we had come into a pretty high region we were assailed by a real mountain tempest of wind, rain, and hail, which pelted down upon us in good earnest, and cooled the air a little below comfort. As we toiled up the mountain its upper region presented a very striking aspect, looking as if a precipice had been smoothed and squared for the purpose of rendering the old castle on its summit more inaccessible than it was by nature. This is the castle of the robber-knight, Ghino di Tacco, whom Boccaccio introduces into the Decameron. A freebooter of those days must have set a higher value on such a rock as this than if it had been one mass of diamond, for no art of mediæval warfare could endanger him in such a fortress. Drawing yet nearer, we found the hill-side immediately above us, strewn with thousands upon thousands of great fragments of stone. It looked as

 

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if some great ruin had taken place there, only it was too vast a ruin to have been the dismemberment and dissolution of anything made by man.

We could now see the castle on the height pretty distinctly. It seemed to impend over the precipice; and close to the base of the latter we saw the street of a town on as strange and inconvenient a foundation as ever one was built upon. I suppose the inhabitants of the village were dependants of the old knight of the castle; his brotherhood of robbers, as they married and had families, settled there under the shelter of the eagle's nest. But the singularity is, how a community of people have contrived to live and perpetuate themselves so far out of the reach of the world's help, and seemingly with no means of assisting in the world's labor. I cannot imagine how they employ themselves except in begging, and even that branch of industry appears to be left to the old women and the children. No house was ever built in this immediate neighborhood for any such natural purpose as induces people to build them on other sites. Even our hotel, at which we now arrived, could not be said to be a natural growth of the soil; it had originally been a whim of one of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany,--a hunting-palace,--intended for habitation only during a few weeks of the year. Of all dreary hotels I ever alighted at, methinks this is the most so; but on first arriving I merely followed the waiter to look at our rooms, across stone-paved basement-halls dismal as Etruscan tombs; up dim staircases, and along shivering corridors, all of stone, stone, stone, nothing but cold stone. After glancing at these pleasant accommodations, my wife and I, with J-----, set out to ascend the hill and visit the town of Radicofani.

 

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It is not more than a quarter of a mile above our hotel, and is accessible by a good piece of road, though very steep. As we approached the town we were assailed by some little beggars; but this is the case all through Italy, in city or solitude, and I think the mendicants of Radicofani are fewer than its proportion. We had not got far towards the village when, looking back over the scene of many miles that lay stretched beneath us, we saw a heavy shower apparently travelling straight towards us over hill and dale. It seemed inevitable that it should soon be upon us, so I persuaded my wife to return to the hotel; but J----- and I kept onward, being determined to see Radicofani with or without a drenching. We soon entered the street; the blackest, ugliest, rudest old street, I do believe, that ever human life incrusted itself with. The first portion of it is the over-brimming of the town in generations subsequent to that in which it was surrounded by a wall; but after going a little way we came to a high, square tower planted right across the way, with an arched gateway in its basement story, so that it looked like a great short-legged giant striding over the street of Radicofani. Within the gateway is the proper and original town, though indeed the portion outside of the gate is as densely populated, as ugly, and as ancient, as that within.

The street was very narrow, and paved with flagstones not quite so smooth as those of Florence; the houses are tall enough to be stately, if they were not so inconceivably dingy and shabby; but, with their half-dozen stories, they make only the impression of hovel piled upon hovel,--squalor immortalized in undecaying stone. It was now getting far into the twilight, and I could not distinguish the particularities

 

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of the little town, except that there were shops, a café or two, and as many churches, all dusky with age, crowded closely together, inconvenient, stifled, too, in spite of the breadth and freedom of the mountain atmosphere outside the scanty precincts of the street. It was a death-in-life little place, a fossilized place, and yet the street was thronged, and had all the bustle of a city; even more noise than a city's street, because everybody in Radicofani knows everybody, and probably gossips with everybody, being everybody's blood relation, as they cannot fail to have become after they and their forefathers have been shut up together within the narrow walls for many hundred years. They looked round briskly at J----- and me, but were courteous, as Italians always are, and made way for us to pass through the throng as we kept on still ascending the steep street. It took us but a few minutes to reach the still steeper and winding pathway which climbs towards the old castle.

After ascending above the village, the path, though still paved, becomes very rough, as if the hoofs of Ghino di Tacco's robber cavalry had displaced the stones and they had never been readjusted. On every side, too, except where the path just finds space enough, there is an enormous rubbish of huge stones, which seems to have fallen from the precipice above, or else to have rained down out of the sky. We kept on, and by and by reached what seemed to have been a lower outwork of the castle on the top; there was the massive old arch of a gateway, and a great deal of ruin of man's work, beside the large stones that here, as elsewhere, were scattered so abundantly. Within the wall and gateway just mentioned, however, there was a kind of farm-house, adapted, I suppose, out of the

 

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old ruin, and I noticed some ears of Indian corn hanging out of a window. There were also a few stacks of hay, but no signs of human or animal life; and it is utterly inexplicable to me where these products of the soil could have come from, for certainly they never grew amid that barrenness.

We had not yet reached Ghino's castle, and, being now beneath it, we had to bend our heads far backward to see it rising up against the clear sky while we were now in twilight. The path upward looked terribly steep and rough, and if we had climbed it we should probably have broken our necks in descending again into the lower obscurity. We therefore stopped here, much against J-----'s will, and went back as we came, still wondering at the strange situation of Radicofani; for its aspect is as if it had stepped off the top of the cliff and lodged at its base, though still in danger of sliding farther down the hill-side. Emerging from the compact, grimy life of its street, we saw that the shower had swept by, or probably had expended itself in a region beneath us, for we were above the scope of many of the showery clouds that haunt a hill-country. There was a very bright star visible, I remember, and we saw the new moon, now a third towards the full, for the first time this evening. The air was cold and bracing.

But I am excessively sleepy, so will not describe our great dreary hotel, where a blast howled in an interminable corridor all night. It did not seem to have anything to do with the wind out of doors, but to be a blast that had been casually shut in when the doors were closed behind the last Grand Duke who came hither and departed, and ever since it has been kept prisoner, and makes a melancholy wail along the cor-

 

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ridor. The dreamy stupidity of the conceit proves how sleepy I am.

SETTE VENE.

October 15th.--We left Radicofani long before sunrise, and I saw that ceremony take place from the coupé of the vettura for the first time in a long while. A sunset is the better sight of the two. I have always suspected it, and have been strengthened in the idea whenever I have had an opportunity of comparison. Our departure from Radicofani was most dreary, except that we were very glad to get away; but the cold discomfort of dressing in a chill bedroom by candlelight, and our uncertain wandering through time immense hotel with a dim taper in search of the breakfast-room, and our poor breakfast of eggs, Italian bread, and coffee,--all these things made me wish that people were created with roots like trees, so that they could not befool themselves with wandering about. However, we had not long been on our way before the morning air blew away all our troubles, and we rumbled cheerfully onward, ready to encounter even the papal custom house officers at Ponte Centino. Our road thither was a pretty steep descent. I remember the barren landscape of hills, with here and there a lonely farm-house, which there seemed to be no occasion for, where nothing grew.

At Ponte Centino my passport was examined, and I was invited into an office where sat the papal custom house officer, a thin, subtle-looking, keen-eyed, sallow personage, of aspect very suitable to be the agent of a government of priests. I communicated to him my wish to pass the custom house without giving the officers the trouble of examining my luggage. He

 

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inquired whether I had any dutiable articles, and wrote for my signature a declaration in the negative; and then he lifted a sand-box, beneath which was a little heap of silver coins. On this delicate hint I asked what was the usual fee, and was told that fifteen pauls was the proper sum. I presume it was entirely an illegal charge, and that he had no right to pass any luggage without examination; but the thing is winked at by the authorities, and no money is better spent for the traveller's convenience than these fifteen pauls. There was a papal military officer in the room, and he, I believe, cheated me in the change of a Napoleon, as his share of the spoil. At the door a soldier met me with my passport, and looked as if he expected a fee for handing it to me, but in this he was disappointed. After I had resumed my seat in the coupé, the porter of the custom house--a poor, sickly looking creature, half dead with the malaria of the place--appeared, and demanded a fee for doing nothing to my luggage. He got three pauls, and looked but half contented. This whole set of men seem to be as corrupt as official people can possibly be; and yet I hardly know whether to stigmatize them as corrupt, because it is not their individual delinquency, but the operation of a regular system. Their superiors know what men they are, and calculate upon their getting a living by just these means. And, indeed, the custom house and passport regulations, as they exist in Italy, would be intolerable if there were not this facility of evading them at little cost. Such laws are good for nothing but to be broken.

We now began to ascend again, and the country grew fertile and picturesque. We passed many mules and donkeys, laden with a sort of deep firkin on each

 

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side of the saddle, and these were heaped up with grapes, both purple and white. We bought some, and got what we should have thought an abundance at small price, only we used to get twice as many at Montauto for the same money. However, a Roman paul bought us three or four pounds even here. We still ascended, and came soon to the gateway of the town of Acquapendente, which stands on a height that seems to descend by natural terraces to the valley below. . . .

French soldiers, in their bluish-gray coats and scarlet trousers, were on duty at the gate, and one of them took my passport and the vetturino's, and we then drove into the town to wait till they should be viséd. We saw but one street, narrow, with tall, rusty, aged houses, built of stone, evil smelling; in short, a kind of place that would be intolerably dismal in cloudy England, and cannot be called cheerful even under the sun of Italy. . . . Priests passed and burly friars, one of whom was carrying a wine-barrel on his head. Little carts, laden with firkins of grapes, and donkeys with the same genial burden, brushed past our vettura, finding scarce room enough in the narrow street. All the idlers of Acquapendente--and they were many-assembled to gaze at us, but not discourteously. Indeed, I never saw an idle curiosity exercised in such a pleasant way as by the country-people of Italy. It almost deserves to be called a kindly interest and sympathy, instead of a hard and cold curiosity, like that of our own people, and it is displayed with such simplicity that it is evident no offence is intended.

By and by the vetturino brought his passport and my own, with the official visé and we kept on our way, still ascending, passing through vineyards and olives, and

 

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meeting grape-laden donkeys, till we came to the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo, a place built by Pius VI. as the refuge for the people of a lower town which had been made uninhabitable by malaria. The new town, which I suppose is hundreds of years old, with all its novelty shows strikingly the difference between places that grow up and shape out their streets of their own accord, as it were, and one that is built on a settled plan of malice aforethought. This little rural village has gates of classic architecture, a spacious piazza, and a great breadth of straight and rectangular streets, with houses of uniform style, airy and wholesome looking to a degree seldom seen on the Continent. Nevertheless, I must say that the town looked hatefully dull and ridiculously prim, and of the two, I had rather spend my life in Radicofani. We drove through it, from gate to gate, without stopping, and soon came to the brow of a hill, whence we beheld, right beneath us, the beautiful lake of Bolsena; not exactly at our feet, however, for a portion of level ground lay between, haunted by the pestilence which has depopulated all these shores, and made the lake and its neighborhood a solitude. It looked very beautiful, nevertheless, with a sheen of a silver and a gray like that of steel as the wind blew and the sun shone over it; and, judging by my own feelings, I should really have thought that the breeze from its surface was bracing and healthy.

Descending the hill, we passed the ruins of the old town of San Lorenzo, of which the prim village on the hill-top may be considered the daughter. There is certainly no resemblance between parent and child, the former being situated on a sort of precipitous bluff, where there could have been no room for piazzas and spacious streets, nor accessibility except by mules,

 

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donkeys, goats, amid people of Alpine habits. There was an ivy-covered tower on the top of the bluff, and some arched cavern mouths that looked as if they opened into the great darkness. These were the entrances to Etruscan tombs, for the town on top had been originally Etruscan, and the inhabitants had buried themselves in the heart of the precipitous bluffs after spending their lives on its summit.

Reaching the plain, we drove several miles along the shore of the lake, and found the soil fertile and generally well cultivated, especially with the vine, though there were tracts apparently too marshy to be put to any agricultural purpose. We met now and then a flock of sheep, watched by sallow-looking and spiritless men and boys, who, we took it for granted, would soon perish of malaria, though, I presume, they never spend their nights in the immediate vicinity of the lake. I should like to inquire whether animals suffer from the bad qualities of the air. The lake is not nearly so beautiful on a nearer view as it is from the hill above, there being no rocky margin, nor bright, sandy beach, but everywhere this interval of level ground, and often swampy marsh, betwixt the water and the hill. At a considerable distance from the shore we saw two islands, one of which is memorable as having been the scene of an empress's murder, but I cannot stop to fill my journal with historical reminiscenses.

We kept onward to the town of Bolsena, which stands nearly a mile from the lake, and on a site higher than the level margin, yet not so much so, I should apprehend, as to free it from danger of malaria. We stopped at an albergo outside of the wall of the town, and before dinner had time to see a good deal

 

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of the neighborhood. The first aspect of the town was very striking, with a vista into its street through the open gateway, and high above it an old, gray, square-built castle, with three towers visible at the angles, one of them battlemented, one taller than the rest, and one partially ruined. Outside of the town-gate there were some fragments of Etruscan ruin, capitals of pillars and altars with inscriptions; these we glanced at, and then made our entrance through the gate.

There it was again,--the same narrow, dirty, time-darkened street of piled-up houses which we have so often seen; the same swarm of ill-to-do people, grape-laden donkeys, little stands or shops of roasted chestnuts, peaches, tomatoes, white and purple figs; the same evidence of a fertile land, and grimy poverty in the midst of abundance which nature tries to heap into their hands. It seems strange that they can never grasp it.

We had gone but a little way along this street when we saw a narrow lane that turned aside from it and went steeply upward. Its name was on the corner,--the Via di Castello,--and as the castle promised to be more interesting than anything else, we immediately began to ascend. The street--a strange name for such an avenue--clambered upward in the oddest fashion, passing under arches, scrambling up steps, so that it was more like a long irregular pair of stairs than anything that Christians call a street; and so large a part of it was under arches that we scarcely seemed to be out of doors. At last U--, who was in advance, emerged into the upper air, and cried out that we had ascended to an upper town, and a larger one than that beneath.

 

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It really seemed like coming up out of the earth into the midst of the town, when we found ourselves so unexpectedly in upper Bolsena. We were in a little nook, surrounded by old edifices, and called the Piazza del Orologio, on account of a clock that was apparent somewhere. The castle was close by, and from its platform there was a splendid view of the lake and all the near hill-country. The castle itself is still in good condition, and apparently as strong as ever it was as respects the exterior walls; but within there seemed to be neither floor nor chamber, nothing but the empty shell of the dateless old fortress. The stones at the base and lower part of the building were so massive that I should think the Etrurians must have laid them; and then perhaps the Romans built a little higher, and the mediæval people raised the battlements and towers. But we did not look long at the castle, our attention being drawn to the singular aspect of the town itself, which--to speak first of its most prominent characteristic--is the very filthiest place, I do believe, that was ever inhabited by man. Defilement was everywhere; in the piazza, in nooks and corners, strewing the miserable lanes from side to side, the refuse of every day, and of accumulated ages. I wonder whether the ancient Romans were as dirty a people as we everywhere find those who have succeeded them; for there seems to have been something in the places that have been inhabited by Romans, or made famous in their history, and in the monuments of every kind that they have raised, that puts people in mind of their very earthiness, and incites them to defile therewith whatever temple, column, ruined palace, or triumphal arch may fall in their way. I think it must be an hereditary trait, probably weakened and

 

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robbed of a little of its horror by the influence of milder ages; and I am much afraid that Cæsar trod narrower and fouler ways in his path to power than those of modern Rome, or even of this disgusting town of Bolsena. I cannot imagine anything worse than these, however. Rotten vegetables thrown everywhere about, musty straw, standing puddles, running rivulets of dissolved nastiness,--these matters were a relief amid viler objects. The town was full of great black hogs wallowing before every door, and they grunted at us with a kind of courtesy and affability as if the town were theirs, and it was their part to be hospitable to strangers. Many donkeys likewise accosted us with braying; children, growing more uncleanly every day they lived, pestered us with begging; men stared askance at us as they lounged in corners, and women endangered us with slops which they were flinging from doorways into the street. No decent words can describe, no admissible image can give an idea of this noisome place. And yet, I remember, the donkeys came up the height loaded with fruit, and with little flat-sided barrels of wine; the people had a good atmosphere--except as they polluted it themselves--on their high site, and there seemed to be no reason why they should not live a beautiful and jolly life.

I did not mean to write such an ugly description as the above, but it is well, once for all, to have attempted conveying an idea of what disgusts the traveller, more or less, in all these Italian towns. Setting aside this grand characteristic, the upper town of Bolsena is a most curious and interesting place. It was originally an Etruscan city, the ancient Volsinii, and when taken and destroyed by the Romans was said to contain two thousand statues. Afterwards the Ro-

 

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mans built a town upon the site, including, I suppose, the space occupied by the lower city, which looks as if it had brimmed over like Radicofani, and fallen from the precipitous height occupied by the upper. The latter is a strange confusion of black and ugly houses, piled massively out of the ruins of former ages, built rudely and without plan, as a pauper would build his hovel, and yet with here and there an arched gateway, a cornice, a pillar, that might have adorned a palace.

The streets are the narrowest I have seen anywhere,--of no more width, indeed, than may suffice for the passage of a donkey with his panniers. They wind in and out in strange confusion, and hardly look like streets at all, but, nevertheless, have names printed on the corners, just as if they were stately avenues. After looking about us awhile and drawing half-breaths so as to take in the less quantity of gaseous pollution, we went back to the castle, and descended by a path winding downward from it into the plain outside of the town-gate.

It was now dinner-time, . . . and we had, in the first place, some fish from the pestiferous lake; not, I am sorry to say, the famous stewed eels which, Dante says, killed Pope Martin, but some trout. . . . By the by, the meal was not dinner, but our midday colazione. After despatching it, we again wandered forth and strolled round the outside of the lower town, which, with the upper one, made as picturesque a combination as could be desired. The old wall that surrounds the lower town has been appropriated, long since, as the back-wall of a range of houses; windows have been pierced through it; upper chambers, and loggie have been built upon it; so that it looks something like a long row of rural dwellings with one con-

 

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tinuous front or back, constructed in a strange style of massive strength, contrasting with the vines that here and there are trained over it, and with the wreaths of yellow corn that hang from the windows. But portions of the old battlements are interspersed with the line of homely chambers and tiled house-tops. Within the wall the town is very compact, and above its roofs rises a rock, the sheer, precipitous bluff on which stands the upper town, whose foundations impend over the highest roof in the lower. At one end is the old castle, with its towers rising above the square battlemented mass of the main fortress, and if we had not seen the dirt and squalor that dwells within this venerable outside, we should have carried away a picture of gray, grim dignity, presented by a long past age to the present one, to put its mean ways and modes to shame. ---- sat diligently sketching, and children came about her, exceedingly unfragrant, but very courteous and gentle, looking over her shoulders, and expressing delight as they saw each familiar edifice take its place in the sketch. They are a lovable people, these Italians, as I find from almost all with whom we come in contact; they have great and little faults, and no great virtues that I know of; but still are sweet, amiable, pleasant to encounter, save when they beg, or when you have to bargain with them.

We left Bolsena and drove to Viterbo, passing the gate of the picturesque town of Montefiascone, over the wall of which I saw spires and towers, and the dome of a cathedral. I was sorry not to taste, in its own town, the celebrated est, which was the death-draught of the jolly prelate. At Viterbo, however, I called for some wine of Montefiascone, and had a

 

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little straw-covered flask, which the waiter assured us was the genuine est-wine. It was of golden color, and very delicate, somewhat resembling still champagne, but finer, and requiring a calmer pause to appreciate its subtle delight. Its good qualities, however, are so evanescent, that the finer flavor became almost imperceptible before we finished the flask.

Viterbo is a large, disagreeable town, built at the foot of a mountain, the peak of which is seen through the vista of some of the narrow streets. . . .

There are more fountains in Viterbo than I have seen in any other city of its size, and many of them of very good design. Around most of them there were wine-hogsheads, waiting their turn to be cleansed and rinsed, before receiving the wine of the present vintage. Passing a doorway, J----- saw some men treading out the grapes in a great vat with their naked feet. . . .

Among the beggars here, the loudest and most vociferous was a crippled postilion, wearing his uniform jacket, green, faced with red; and he seemed to consider himself entitled still to get his living from travellers, as having been disabled in the way of his profession. I recognized his claim, and was rewarded with a courteous and grateful bow at our departure.

To beggars--after my much experience both in England and Italy--I give very little, though I am not certain that it would not often be real beneficence in the latter country. There being little or no provision for poverty and age, the poor must often suffer. Nothing can be more earnest than their entreaties for aid; nothing seemingly more genuine than their gratitude when they receive it. They return you the value of their alms in prayers, and say, "God will

 

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accompany you." Many of them have a professional whine, and a certain doleful twist of the neck and turn of the head, which hardens my heart against them at once. A painter might find numerous models among them, if canvas had not already been more than sufficiently covered with their style of the picturesque. There is a certain brick-dust colored cloak worn in Viterbo, not exclusively by beggars, which, when ragged enough, is exceedingly artistic.

ROME.

68 Piazza Poli, October 17th.--We left Viterbo on the 15th, and proceeded, through Monterosi, to Sette Vene. There was nothing interesting at Sette Vene, except an old Roman bridge, of a single arch, which had kept its sweep, composed of one row of stones, unbroken for two or more thousand years, and looked just as strong as ever, though gray with age, and fringed with plants that found it hard to fix themselves in its close crevices.

The next day we drove along the Cassian Way towards Rome. It was a most delightful morning, a genial atmosphere; the more so, I suppose, because this was the Campagna, the region of pestilence and death. I had a quiet, gentle, comfortable pleasure, as if, after many wanderings, I was drawing near Rome, for, now that I have known it once, Rome certainly does draw into itself my heart, as I think even London, or even little Concord itself, or old sleepy Salem, never did and never will. Besides, we are to stay here six months, and we had now a house all prepared to receive us; so that this present approach, in the noontide of a genial day, was most unlike our first one, when we crept towards Rome through the wintry

 

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midnight, benumbed with cold, ill, weary, and not knowing whither to betake ourselves. Ah! that was a dismal time! One thing, however, that disturbed even my present equanimity a little was the necessity of meeting the custom house at the Porta del Popolo; but my past experience warranted me in believing that even these ogres might be mollified by the magic touch of a scudo; and so it proved. We should have escaped any examination at all, the officer whispered me, if his superior had not happened to be present; but, as the case stood, they took down only one trunk from the top of the vettura, just lifted the lid, closed it again, and gave us permission to proceed. So we came to 68 Piazza Poli, and found ourselves at once at home, in such a comfortable, cosey little house, as I did not think existed in Rome.

I ought to say a word about our vetturino, Constantino Bacci, an excellent and most favorable specimen of his class; for his magnificent conduct, his liberality, and all the good qualities that ought to be imperial, S----- called him the Emperor. He took us to good hotels, and feasted us with the best; he was kind to us all, and especially to little Rosebud, who used to run by his side, with her small white hand in his great brown one; he was cheerful in his deportment, and expressed his good spirits by the smack of his whip, which is the barometer of a vetturino's inward weather; he drove admirably, and would rumble up to the door of an albergo, and stop to a hair's-breadth, just where it was most convenient for us to alight; he would hire postilions and horses, where other vetturini would take nothing better than sluggish oxen, to help us up the hilly roads, so that sometimes we had a team of seven; he did all that we could possibly require of him, and

 

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was content, and more, with a buon mano of five scudi, in addition to the stipulated price. Finally, I think the tears had risen almost to his eyelids when we parted with him.

Our friends, the Thompsons, through whose kindness we procured this house, called to see us soon after our arrival. In the afternoon, I walked with Rosebud to the Medici Gardens, and, on our way thither, we espied our former servant, Lalla, who flung so many and such bitter curses after us, on our departure from Rome, sitting at her father's fruit-stall. Thank God, they have not taken effect. After going to the Medici, we went to the Pincian Gardens, and looked over into the Borghese grounds, which, methought, were more beautiful than ever. The same was true of the sky, and of every object beneath it; and as we came homeward along the Corso, I wondered at the stateliness and palatial magnificence of that noble street. Once, I remember, I thought it narrow, and far unworthy of its fame.

In the way of costume, the men in goatskin breeches, whom we met on the Campagna, were very striking, and looked like Satyrs.

 

October 21st.--. . . I have been twice to St. Peter's and was impressed more than at any former visit by a sense of breadth and loftiness, and, as it were, a visionary splendor and magnificence. I also went to the Museum of the Capitol; and the statues seemed to me more beautiful than formerly, and I was not sensible of the cold despondency with which I have so often viewed them. Yesterday we went to the Corsini Palace, which we had not visited before. It stands in the Trastevere, in the Longara, and is a

 

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stately palace, with a grand staircase, leading to the first floor, where is situated the range of picture-rooms. There were a good many fine pictures, but none of them have made a memorable impression on my mind, except a portrait by Vandyke, of a man in point-lace, very grand and very real. The room in which this picture hung had many other portraits by Holbein, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, and other famous painters, and was wonderfully rich in this department. In another, there was a portrait of Pope Julius II., by Raphael, somewhat differing from those at the Pitti and the Uffizzi galleries in Florence, and those I have seen in England and Paris; thinner, paler, perhaps older, more severely intellectual, but at least as high a work of art as those.

The palace has some handsome old furniture, and gilded chairs, covered with leather cases, possibly relics of Queen Christina's time, who died here. I know not but the most curious object was a curule chair of marble, sculptured all out of one piece, and adorned with bas-reliefs. It is supposed to be Etruscan. It has a circular back, sweeping round, so as to afford sufficient rests for the elbows; and, sitting down in it, I discovered that modern ingenuity has not made much real improvement on this chair of three or four thousand years ago. But some chairs are easier for the moment, yet soon betray you, and grow the more irksome.

We strolled along Longara, and found the piazza of St. Peter's full of French soldiers at their drill. . . We went quite round the interior of the church, and perceiving the pavement loose and broken near the altar where Guido's Archangel is placed, we picked up

 

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some bits of rosso antico and gray marble to be set in brooches, as relics.

We have the snuggest little set of apartments in Rome, seven rooms, including an antechamber; and though the stairs are exceedingly narrow, there is really a carpet on them,--a civilized comfort of which the proudest palaces in the Eternal City cannot boast. The stairs are very steep, however, and I should not wonder if some of us broke our noses down them. Narrowness of space within doors strikes us all rather ludicrously, yet not unpleasantly, after being accustomed to the wastes and deserts of the Montauto Villa. It is well thus to be put in training for the over-snugness of our cottage in Concord. Our windows here look out on a small and rather quiet piazza, with an immense palace on the left hand, and a smaller yet statelier one on the right; and just round the corner of the street, leading out of our piazza, is the Fountain of Trevi, of which I can hear the plash in the evening, when other sounds are hushed.

Looking over what I have said of Sodoma's Christ Bound, at Siena, I see that I have omitted to notice what seems to me one of its most striking characteristics,--its loneliness. You feel as if the Saviour were deserted, both in heaven and earth; the despair is in him which made him say, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Even in this extremity, however, he is still Divine, and Sodoma almost seems to have reconciled the impossibilities of combining an omnipresent divinity with a suffering and outraged humanity. But this is one of the cases in which the spectator's imagination completes what the artist merely hints at.

Mr. ----, the sculptor, called to see us, the other

 

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evening, and quite paid Powers off for all his trenchant criticisms on his brother artists. He will not allow Powers to be an artist at all, or to know anything of the laws of art, although acknowledging him to be a great bust-maker, and to have put together the Greek Slave and the Fisher-Boy very ingeniously. The latter, however (he says), is copied from the Apollino in the Tribune of the Uffizzi; and the former is made up of beauties that had no reference to one another; and he affirms that Powers is ready to sell, and has actually sold, the Greek Slave, limb by limb, dismembering it by reversing the process of putting it together,--a head to one purchaser, an arm or a foot to another, a hand to a third. Powers knows nothing scientifically of the human frame, and only succeeds in representing it, as a natural bone-doctor succeeds in setting a dislocated limb, by a happy accident or special providence. (The illustration was my own, and adopted by Mr. ----.) Yet Mr. ---- seems to acknowledge that he did succeed. I repeat these things only as another instance how invariably every sculptor uses his chisel and mallet to smash and deface the marble-work of every other. I never heard Powers speak of Mr. ----, but can partly imagine what he would have said.

Mr. ---- spoke of Powers's disappointment about the twenty-five-thousand-dollar appropriation from Congress, and said that he was altogether to blame, inasmuch as he attempted to sell to the nation for that sum a statue which, to Mr. ----'s certain knowledge, he had already offered to private persons for a fifth part of it. I have not implicit faith in Mr. ----'s veracity, and doubt not Powers acted fairly in his own eyes.

 

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October 23d.--I am afraid I have caught one of the colds which the Roman air continually affected me with last winter; at any rate, a sirocco has taken the life out of me, and I have no spirit to do anything. This morning I took a walk, however, out of the Porta Maggiore, and looked at the tomb of the baker Eurysaces, just outside of the gate,--a very singular ruin, covered with symbols of the man's trade in stonework, and with bas-reliefs along the cornice, representing people at work making bread. An inscription states that the ashes of his wife are likewise reposited there, in a bread-basket. The mausoleum is perhaps twenty feet long, in its largest extent, and of equal height; and if good bakers were as scarce in ancient Rome as in the modern city, I do not wonder that they were thought worthy of stately monuments. None of the modern ones deserve any better tomb than a pile of their own sour loaves.

I walked onward a good distance beyond the gate alongside of the arches of the Claudian aqueduct, which, in this portion of it, seems to have had little repair, and to have needed little, since it was built. It looks like a long procession, striding across the Campagna towards the city, and entering the gate over one of its arches; within the gate, I saw two or three slender jets of water spurting from the crevices; this aqueduct being still in use to bring the Acqua Felice into Rome.

Returning within the walls, I walked along their inner base to the Church of St. John Lateran, into which I went, and sat down to rest myself, being languid and weary, and hot with the sun, though afraid to trust the coolness of the shade. I hate the Roman atmosphere; indeed, all my pleasure in getting back

 

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all my home-feeling--has already evaporated, and what now impresses me, as before, is the languor of Rome,--its weary pavements, its little life, pressed down by a weight of death.

Quitting St. John Lateran, I went astray, as I do nine times out of ten in these Roman intricacies, and at last, seeing the Coliseum in the vista of a street, I betook myself thither to get a fresh start. Its round of stones looked vast and dreary, but not particularly impressive. The interior was quite deserted; except that a Roman, of respectable appearance, was making a pilgrimage at the altars, kneeling and saying a prayer at each one.

Outside of the Coliseum, a neat-looking little boy came and begged of me; and I gave him a baioccho, rather because he seemed to need it so little than for any other reason. I observed that he immediately afterwards went and spoke to a well-dressed man, and supposed that the child was likewise begging of him. I watched the little boy, however, and saw that, in two or three other instances, after begging of other individuals, he still returned to this well-dressed man; the fact being, no doubt, that the latter was fishing for baiocchi through the medium of his child,--throwing the poor little fellow out as a bait, while he himself retained his independent respectability. He had probably come out for a whole day's sport; for, by and by, he went between the arches of the Coliseum, followed by the child, and taking with him what looked like a bottle of wine, wrapped in a handkerchief.

 

November 2d.--The weather lately would have suited one's ideal of an English November, except that

 

 

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there have been no fogs; but of ugly, hopeless clouds, chill, shivering winds, drizzle, and now and then pouring rain, much more than enough. An English coal fire, if we could see its honest face within doors, would compensate for all the unamiableness of the outside atmosphere; but we might ask for the sunshine of the New Jerusalem, with as much hope of getting it. It is extremely spirit-crushing, this remorseless gray, with its icy heart; and the more to depress the whole family, U-- has taken what seems to be the Roman fever, by sitting down in the Palace of the Cæsars, while Mrs. S---- sketched the ruins.

[During four months of the illness of his daughter, Mr. Hawthorne wrote no word of Journal.--ED.]

 

February 27th, 1859.--For many days past, there have been tokens of the coming Carnival in the Corso and the adjacent streets; for example, in the shops, by the display of masks of wire, pasteboard, silk, or cloth, some of beautiful features, others hideous, fantastic, currish, asinine, huge-nosed, or otherwise monstrous; some intended to cover the whole face, others concealing only the upper part, also white dominos, or robes bedizened with gold-lace and theatric splendors, displayed at the windows of mercers or flaunting before the doors. Yesterday, U-- and I came along the Corso, between one and two o'clock, after a walk, and found all these symptoms of impending merriment multiplied and intensified; . . . rows of chairs, set out along the sidewalks, elevated a foot or two by means of planks; great baskets, full of confetti, for sale in the nooks and recesses of the streets; bouquets of all qualities and prices. The Corso was becoming pretty well thronged with people; but, until

 

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two o'clock, nobody dared to fling as much as a rosebud or a handful of sugar-plums. There was a sort of holiday expression, however, on almost everybody's face, such as I have not hitherto seen in Rome, or in any part of Italy; a smile gleaming out, an aurora of mirth, which probably will not be very exuberant in its noontide. The day was so sunny and bright that it made this opening scene far more cheerful than any day of the last year's Carnival. As we threaded our way through the Corso, U-- kept wishing she could plunge into the fun and uproar as J----- would; and for my own part, though I pretended to take no interest in the matter, I could have bandied confetti and nosegays as readily and as riotously as any urchin there. But my black hat and grave talma would have been too good a mark for the combatants, . . . so we went home before a shot was fired. .

 

March 7th.--I, as well as the rest of the family, have followed up the Carnival pretty faithfully, and enjoyed it as well, or rather better, than could have been expected; principally in the street, as a mere looker-on,--which does not let one into the mystery of the fun,--and twice from a balcony, where I threw confetti, and partly understood why the young people like it so much. Certainly, there cannot well be a more picturesque spectacle in human life, than that stately, palatial avenue of the Corso, the more picturesque because so narrow, all hung with carpets and Gobelin tapestry, and the whole palace-heights alive with faces; and all the capacity of the street thronged with the most fantastic figures that either the fancies of folks alive at this day are able to contrive, or that live traditionally from year to year. . . . The Prince

 

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of Wales has fought manfully through the Carnival with confetti and bouquets, and U-- received several bouquets from him, on Saturday, as her carriage moved along.

 

March 8th.--I went with U-- to Mr. Motley's balcony, in the Corso, and saw the Carnival from it yesterday afternoon; but the spectacle is strangely like a dream, in respect to the difficulty of retaining it in the mind and solidifying it into a description. I enjoyed it a good deal, and assisted in so far as to pelt all the people, in cylinder hats with handsful of confetti. The scene opens with a long array of cavalry, who ride through the Corso, preceded by a large band, playing loudly on their brazen instruments. . . . There were some splendid dresses, particularly contadina costumes of scarlet and gold, which seem to be actually the festal attire of that class of people, and must needs be so expensive that one must serve for a lifetime, if indeed it be not an inheritance. . . .

 

March 9th.--I was, yesterday, an hour or so among the people on the sidewalks of the Corso, just on the edges of the fun. They appeared to be in a decorous, good-natured mood, neither entering into the merriment, nor harshly repelling; and when groups of maskers overflowed among them, they received their jokes in good part. Many women of the lower class were in the crowd of by-standers; generally broad and sturdy figures, clad evidently in their best attire, and wearing a good many ornaments; such as gold or coral beads and necklaces, combs of silver or gold, heavy ear-rings, curiously wrought brooches, perhaps cameos or mosaics, though I think they prefer purely metallic

 

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work to these. One ornament very common among them is a large bodkin, which they stick through their hair. It is usually of silver, but sometimes it looks like steel, and is made in the shape of a sword,--a long Spanish thrusting-sword, for example. Dr. Franco told us a story of a woman of Trastevere, who was addressed rudely at the Carnival by a gentleman; she warned him to desist, but, as he still persisted, she drew the bodkin from her hair, and stabbed him to the heart.

By and by I went to Mr. Motley's balcony, and looked down on the closing scenes of the Carnival. Methought the merry-makers labored harder to be mirthful, and yet were somewhat tired of their eight play-days; and their dresses looked a little shabby, rumpled, and draggled; but the lack of sunshine--which we have had on all the preceding days--may have produced this effect. The wheels of some of the carriages were wreathed round and spoked with green foliage, making a very pretty and fanciful appearance, as did likewise the harnesses of the horses, which were trimmed with roses. The pervading noise and uproar of human voices is one of the most effective points of the matter; but the scene is quite indescribable, and its effect not to be conceived without both witnessing and taking part in it. If you merely look at it, it depresses you; if you take even the slightest share in it, you become aware that it has a fascination, and you no longer wonder that the young people, at least, take such delight in plunging into this mad river of fun that goes roaring between the narrow limits of the Corso.

As twilight came on, the moccoli commenced, and, as it grew darker, the whole street twinkled with lights,

 

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which would have been innumerable if every torch-bearer had not been surrounded by a host of enemies, who tried to extinguish his poor little twinkle. It was a pity to lose so much splendor as there might have been; but yet there was a kind of symbolism in the thought that every one of those thousands of twinkling lights was in charge of somebody, who was striving with all his might to keep it alive. Not merely the street-way, but all the balconies and hundreds of windows were lit up with these little torches; so that it seemed as if the stars had crumbled into glittering fragments, and rained down upon the Corso, some of them lodging upon the palace fronts, some falling on the ground. Besides this, there were gas-lights burning with a white flame; but this illumination was not half so interesting as that of the torches, which indicated human struggle. All this time there were myriad voices shouting, "SENZA MOCCOLO!" and mingling into one long roar. We, in our balcony, carried on a civil war against one another's torches, as is the custom of human beings, within even the narrowest precincts; but after a while we grew tired, and so did the crowd, apparently; for the lights vanished, one after another, till the gas-lights--which at first were an unimportant part of the illumination--shone quietly out, overpowering the scattered twinkles of the moccoli. They were what the fixed stars are to the transitory splendors of human life.

Mr. Motley tells me that it was formerly the custom to have a mock funeral of Harlequin, who was supposed to die at the close of the Carnival, during which he had reigned supreme, and all the people, or as many as chose, bore torches at his burial. But this being considered an indecorous mockery of popish

 

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funereal customs, the present frolic of the moccoli was instituted,--in some sort, growing out of it.

All last night, or as much of it as I was awake, there was a noise of song and late revellers in the streets; but to-day we have waked up in the sad and sober season of Lent.

It is worthy of remark, that all the jollity of the Carnival is a genuine ebullition of spirit, without the aid of wine or strong drink.

 

March 11th.--Yesterday we went to the Catacomb of St. Calixtus, the entrance to which is alongside of the Appian Way, within sight of the tomb of Cecilia Metella. We descended not a very great way under ground, by a broad flight of stone steps, and, lighting some wax tapers, with which we had provided ourselves, we followed the guide through a great many intricate passages, which mostly were just wide enough for me to touch the wall on each side, while keeping my elbows close to my body; and as to height, they were from seven to ten feet, and sometimes a good deal higher. . . . It was rather picturesque, when we saw the long line of our tapers, for another large party had joined us, twinkling along the dark passage, and it was interesting to think of the former inhabitants of these caverns. . . . In one or two places there was the round mark in the stone or plaster where a bottle had been deposited. This was said to have been the token of a martyr's burial-place, and to have contained his blood. After leaving the Catacomb, we drove onward to Cecilia Metella's tomb, which we entered and inspected. Within the immensely massive circular substance of the tomb was a round, vacant space, and this interior vacancy was open at the top, and had

 

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nothing but some fallen stones and a heap of earth at the bottom.

On our way home we entered the Church of "Domme, quò Vadis," and looked at the old fragment of the Appian Way where our Saviour met St. Peter, and left the impression of his feet in one of the Roman paving-stones. The stone has been removed, and there is now only a fac-simile engraved in a block of marble, occupying the place where Jesus stood, it is a great pity they had not left the original stone; for then all its brother-stones in the pavement would have seemed to confirm the truth of the legend.

While we were at dinner, a gentleman called and was shown into the parlor. We supposed it to be Mr. May; but soon his voice grew familiar, and my wife was sure it was General Pierce, so I left the table, and found it to be really he. I was rejoiced to see him, though a little saddened to see the marks of care and coming age, in many a whitening hair, and many a furrow, and, still more, in something that seemed to have passed away out of him, without leaving any trace. His voice, sometimes, sounded strange and old, though generally it was what it used to be. He was evidently glad to see me, glad to see my wife, glad to see the children, though there was something melancholy in his tone, when he remarked what a stout boy J----- had grown. Poor fellow! he has neither son nor daughter to keep his heart warm. This morning I have been with him to St. Peter's, and elsewhere about the city, and find him less changed than he seemed to be last night; not at all changed in heart and affections. We talked freely about all matters that came up; among the rest, about the project--recognizable by many tokens--for bringing

 

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him again forward as a candidate for the presidency next year. He appears to be firmly resolved not again to present himself to the country, and is content to let his one administration stand, and to be judged by the public and posterity on the merits of that. No doubt, he is perfectly sincere; no doubt, too, he would again be a candidate, if a pretty unanimous voice of the party should demand it. I retain all my faith in his administrative faculty, and should be glad, for his sake, to have it fully recognized; but the probabilities, as far as I can see, do not indicate for him another presidential term.

 

March 15th.--This morning I went with my wife and Miss Hoar to Miss Hosmer's studio, to see her statue of Zenobia. We found her in her premises, springing about with a bird-like action. She has a lofty room, with a skylight window; it was pretty well warmed with a stove, and there was a small orange-tree in a pot, with the oranges growing on it, and two or three flower-shrubs in bloom. She herself looked prettily, with her jaunty little velvet cap on the side of her head, whence came clustering out her short brown curls; her face full of pleasant life and quick expression; and though somewhat worn with thought and struggle, handsome and spirited. She told us that "her wig was growing as gray as a rat."

There were but very few things in the room; two or three plaster-busts, a headless cast of a plaster statue, and a cast of the Minerva Medica, which perhaps she had been studying as a help towards the design of her Zenobia; for, at any rate, I seemed to discern a resemblance or analogy between the two.

 

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Zenobia stood in the centre of the room, as yet unfinished in the clay, but a very noble and remarkable statue indeed, full of dignity and beauty. It is wonderful that so brisk a woman could have achieved a work so quietly impressive; and there is something in Zenobia's air that conveys the idea of music, uproar, and a great throng all about her; whilst she walks in the midst of it, self-sustained, and kept in a sort of sanctity by her native pride. The idea of motion is attained with great success; you not only perceive that she is walking, but know at just what tranquil pace she steps, amid the music of the triumph. The drapery is very fine and full; she is decked with ornaments; but the chains of her captivity hang from wrist to wrist; and her deportment--indicating a soul so much above her misfortune, yet not insensible to the weight of it--makes these chains a richer decoration than all her other jewels. I know not whether there be some magic in the present imperfect finish of the statue, or in the material of clay, as being a better medium of expression than even marble; but certainly I have seldom been more impressed by a piece of modern sculpture. Miss Hosmer showed us photography of her Puck--which I have seen in the marble--and likewise of the Will-o'-the-Wisp, both very pretty and fanciful. It indicates much variety of power that Zenobia should be the sister of these, which would seem the more natural offspring of her quick and vivid character. But Zenobia is a high, heroic ode.

On my way up the Via Babuino, I met General Pierce. We have taken two or three walks together, and stray among the Roman ruins, and old scenes of history, talking of matters in which he is

 

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personally concerned, yet which are as historic as anything around us. He is singularly little changed; the more I see him, the more I get him back, just such as he was in our youth. This morning, his face, air, and smile were so wonderfully like himself of old, that at least thirty years are annihilated.

Zenobia's manacles serve as bracelets; a very ingenious and suggestive idea.

 

March 18th.--I went to the sculpture-gallery of the Capitol yesterday, and saw, among other things, the Venus in her secret cabinet. This was my second view of her: the first time, I greatly admired her; now, she made no very favorable impression. There are twenty Venuses whom I like as well, or better. On the whole, she is a heavy, clumsy, unintellectual, and commonplace figure; at all events, not in good looks to-day. Marble beauties seem to suffer the same occasional eclipses as those of flesh and blood. We looked at the Faun, the Dying Gladiator, and other famous sculptures; but nothing had a glory round it, perhaps because the sirocco was blowing. These halls of the Capitol have always had a dreary and depressing effect upon me, very different from those of the Vatican. I know not why, except that the rooms of the Capitol have a dingy, shabby, and neglected look, and that the statues are dusty, and all the arrangements less magnificent than at the Vatican. The corroded and discolored surfaces of the statues take away from the impression of immortal youth, and turn Apollo [1] himself into an old stone; unless at rare intervals, when he appears transfigured by a light gleaming from within.

[1] The Lycian Apollo.

 

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March 23d.--I am wearing away listlessly these last precious days of my abode in Rome. U--'s illness is disheartening, and by confining ----, it takes away the energy and enterprise that were the spring of all our movements. I am weary of Rome, without having seen and known it as I ought, and I shall be glad to get away from it, though no doubt there will be many yearnings to return hereafter, and many regrets that I did not make better use of the opportunities within my grasp. Still, I have been in Rome long enough to be imbued with its atmosphere, and this is the essential condition of knowing a place; for such knowledge does not consist in having seen every particular object it contains. In the state of mind in which I now stand towards Rome, there is very little advantage to be gained by staying here longer.

And yet I had a pleasant stroll enough yesterday afternoon, all by myself, from the Corso down past the Church of St. Andrea della Valle,--the site where Cæsar was murdered,--and thence to the Farnese Palace, the noble court of which I entered; thence to the Piazza Cenci, where I looked at one or two ugly old palaces, and fixed on one of them as the residence of Beatrice's father; then past the Temple of Vesta, and skirting along the Tiber, and beneath the Aventine, till I somewhat unexpectedly came in sight of the gray pyramid of Caius Cestius. I went out of the city gate, and leaned on the parapet that encloses the pyramid, advancing its high, unbroken slope and peak, where the great blocks of marble still fit almost as closely to one another as when they were first laid; though, indeed, there are crevices just large enough for plants to root themselves, and flaunt and trail over the face of this great tomb; only a little

 

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verdure, however, over a vast space of marble, still white in spots, but pervadingly turned gray, by two thousand years' action of the atmosphere. Thence I came home by the Coelian, and sat down on an ancient flight of steps under one of the arches of the Coliseum, into which the sunshine fell sidelong. It was a delightful afternoon, not precisely like any weather that I have known elsewhere; certainly never in America, where it is always too cold or too hot. It resembles summer more than anything which we New-Englanders recognize in our idea of spring, but there was an indescribable something, sweet, fresh, gentle, that does not belong to summer, and that thrilled and tickled my heart with a feeling partly sensuous, partly spiritual.

I go to the bank and read "Galignani" and the American newspapers; thence I stroll to the Pincian or to the Medici Gardens; I see a good deal of General Pierce, and we talk over his presidential life, which, I now really think, he has no latent desire nor purpose to renew. Yet he seems to have enjoyed it while it lasted, and certainly he was in his element as an administrative man; not far-seeing, not possessed of vast stores of political wisdom in advance of his Occasions, but endowed with a miraculous intuition of what ought to be done just at the time for action. His judgment of things about him is wonderful, and his Cabinet recognized it as such; for though they were men of great ability, he was evidently the master-mind among them. None of them were particularly his personal friends when he selected them; they all loved him when they parted; and he showed me a letter, signed by all, in which they expressed their feelings of respect and attachment at the close of his adminis-

 

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tration. There was a noble frankness on his part that kept the atmosphere always clear among them, and in reference to this characteristic, Governor Marcy told him that the years during which he had been connected with his Cabinet had been the happiest of his life. Speaking of Caleb Cushing, he told me that the unreliability, the fickleness, which is usually attributed to him is an actual characteristic, but that it is intellectual, not moral. He has such comprehensiveness, such mental variety and activity, that, if left to himself, he cannot keep fast hold of one view of things, and so cannot, without external help, be a consistent man. He needs the influence of a more single and stable judgment to keep him from divergency, and, on this condition, he is a most inestimable coadjutor. As regards learning and ability, he has no superior.

Pierce spoke the other day of the idea among some of his friends that his life had been planned, from a very early period, with a view to the station which he ultimately reached. He smiled at the notion, said that it was inconsistent with his natural character, and that it implied foresight and dexterity beyond what any mortal is endowed with. I think so too; but nevertheless, I was long and long ago aware that he cherished a very high ambition, and that, though he might not anticipate the highest things, he cared very little about inferior objects. Then as to plans, I do not think that he had any definite ones; but there was in him a subtle faculty, a real instinct, that taught him what was good for him,--that is to say, promotive of his political success,--and made him inevitably do it. He had a magic touch, that arranged matters with a delicate potency, which he himself hardly recognized; and he wrought through other minds so

 

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that neither he nor they always knew when and how far they were under his influence. Before his nomination for the presidency I had a sense that it was coming, and it never seemed to me an accident. He is a most singular character; so frank, so true, so immediate, so subtle, so simple, so complicated.

I passed by the tower in the Via Portoghese to-day, and observed that the nearest shop appears to be for the sale of cotton or linen cloth. . . . The upper window of the tower was half open; of course, like all, or almost all, other Roman windows, it is divided vertically, and each half swings back on hinges. . . .

Last week a fritter establishment was opened in our piazza. It was a wooden booth erected in the open square, and covered with canvas painted red, which looked as if it had withstood much rain and sunshine. In front were three great boughs of laurel, not so much for shade, I think, as ornament. There were two men, and their apparatus for business was a sort of stove, or charcoal furnace, and a frying-pan to place over it; they had an armful or two of dry sticks, some flour, and I suppose oil, and this seemed to be all. It was Friday, and Lent besides, and possibly there was some other peculiar propriety in the consumption of fritters just then. At all events, their fire burned merrily from morning till night, and pretty late into the evening, and they had a fine run of custom; the commodity being simply dough, cut into squares or rhomboids, and thrown into the boiling oil, which quickly turned them to a light brown color. I sent J----- to buy some, and, tasting one, it resembled an unspeakably bad doughnut, without any sweetening. In fact, it was sour, for the Romans like their

 

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bread, and all their preparations of flour, in a state of acetous fermentation, which serves them instead of salt or other condiment. This fritter-shop had grown up in a night, like Aladdin's palace, and vanished as suddenly; for after standing through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it was gone on Monday morning; and a charcoal-strewn place, on the pavement where the furnace had been, was the only memorial of it. It was curious to observe how immediately it became a lounging-place for idle people, who stood and talked all day with the fritter-friers, just as they might at any old shop in the basement of a palace, or between the half-buried pillars of the Temple of Minerva, which had been familiar to them and their remote grandfathers.

 

April 14th.--Yesterday afternoon I drove with Mr. and Mrs. Story and Mr. Wilde to see a statue of Venus, which has just been discovered, outside of the Porta Portese, on the other side of the Tiber. A little distance beyond the gate we came to the entrance of a vineyard, with a wheel-track through the midst of it; and, following this, we soon came to a hill-side, in which an excavation had been made with the purpose of building a grotto for keeping and storing wine. They had dug down into what seemed to be an ancient bath-room, or some structure of that kind, the excavation being square and cellar-like, and built round with old subterranean walls of brick and stone. Within this hollow space the statue had been found, and it was now standing against one of the walls, covered with a coarse cloth, or a canvas bag. This being removed, there appeared a headless marble figure, earth-stained, of course, and with a slightly

 

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corroded surface, but wonderfully delicate and beautiful, the shape, size, and attitude, apparently, of the Venus di Medici, but, as we all thought, more beautiful than that. It is supposed to be the original from which the Venus di Medici was copied. Both arms were broken off, but the greater part of both, and nearly the whole of one hand, had been found, and these being adjusted to the figure, they took the well-known position before the bosom and the middle, as if the fragmentary woman retained her instinct of modesty to the last. There were the marks on the bosom and thigh where the fingers had touched; whereas in the Venus di Medici, if I remember rightly, the fingers are sculptured quite free of the person. The man who showed the statue now lifted from a corner a round block of marble, which had been lying there among other fragments, and this he placed upon the shattered neck of the Venus; and behold, it was her head and face, perfect, all but the nose! Even in spite of this mutilation, it seemed immediately to light up and vivify the entire figure; and, whatever I may heretofore have written about the countenance of the Venus di Medici, I here record my belief that that head has been wrongfully foisted upon the statue; at all events, it is unspeakably inferior to this newly discovered one. This face has a breadth and front which are strangely deficient in the other. The eyes are well opened, most unlike the buttonhole lids of the Venus di Medici; the whole head is so much larger as to entirely obviate the criticism that has always been made on the diminutive head of the Di Medici statue. If it had but a nose! They ought to sift every handful of earth that has been thrown out of the excavation, for the nose and the missing hand and fingers must

 

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needs be there; and, if they were found, the effect would be like the reappearance of a divinity upon earth. Mutilated as we saw her, it was strangely interesting to be present at the moment, as it were, when she had just risen from her long burial, and was shedding the unquenchable lustre around her which no eye had seen for twenty or more centuries. The earth still clung about her; her beautiful lips were full of it, till Mr. Story took a thin chip of wood and cleared it away from between them.

The proprietor of the vineyard stood by; a man with the most purple face and hugest and reddest nose that I ever beheld in my life. It must have taken innumerable hogsheads of his thin vintage to empurple his face in this manner, He chuckled much over the statue, and, I suppose, counts upon making his fortune by it. He is now awaiting a bid from the papal government, which, I believe, has the right of preëmption whenever any relics of ancient art are discovered. If the statue could but be smuggled out of Italy, it might command almost any price. There is not, I think, any name of a sculptor on the pedestal, as on that of the Venus di Medici. A dolphin is sculptured on the pillar against which she leans. The statue is of Greek marble. It was first found about eight days ago, but has been offered for inspection only a day or two, and already the visitors come in throngs, and the beggars gather about the entrance of the vineyard. A wineshop, too, seems to have been opened on the premises for the accommodation of this great concourse; and we saw a row of German artists sitting at a long table in the open air, each with a glass of thin wine and something to eat before him; for the Germans refresh nature ten times to other persons once.

 

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How the whole world might be peopled with antique beauty if the Romans would only dig!

 

April 19th.--General Pierce leaves Rome this morning for Venice, by way of Ancona, and taking the steamer thence to Trieste. I had hoped to make the journey along with him; but U--'s terrible illness has made it necessary for us to continue here another month, and we are thankful that this seems now to be the extent of our misfortune. Never having had any trouble before that pierced into my very vitals, I did not know what comfort there might be in the manly sympathy of a friend; but Pierce has undergone so great a sorrow of his own, and has so large and kindly a heart, and is so tender and so strong, that he really did me good, and I shall always love him the better for the recollection of his ministrations in these dark days. Thank God, the thing we dreaded did not come to pass.

Pierce is wonderfully little changed. Indeed, now that he has won and enjoyed--if there were any enjoyment in it--the highest success that public life could give him, he seems more like what he was in his early youth than at any subsequent period. He is evidently happier than I have ever known him since our college days; satisfied with what he has been, and with the position in the country that remains to him, after filling such an office. Amid all his former successes,--early as they came, and great as they were,--I always perceived that something gnawed within him, and kept him forever restless and miserable. Nothing he won was worth the winning, except as a step gained toward the summit. I cannot tell how early he began to look towards the presidency; but I

 

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believe he would have died an unhappy man without it. And yet what infinite chances there seemed to be against his attaining it! When I look at it in one way, it strikes me as absolutely miraculous; in another, it came like an event that I had all along expected. It was due to his wonderful tact, which is of so subtle a character that he himself, is but partially sensible of it.

I have found in him, here in Rome, the whole of my early friend, and even better than I used to know him; a heart as true and affectionate, a mind much widened and deepened by his experience of life. We hold just the same relation to each other as of yore, and we have passed all the turning-off places, and may hope to go on together still the same dear friends' as long as we live. I do not love him one whit the less for having been President, nor for having done me the greatest good in his power; a fact that speaks eloquently in his favor, and perhaps says a little for myself. If he had been merely a benefactor, perhaps I might not have borne it so well; but each did his best for the other as friend for friend.

 

May 15th.--Yesterday afternoon we went to the Barberini picture-gallery to take a farewell look at the Beatrice Cenci, which I have twice visited before since our return from Florence. I attempted a description of it at my first visit, more than a year ago, but the picture is quite indescribable and unaccountable in its effect, for if you attempt to analyze it you can never succeed in getting at the secret of its fascination. Its peculiar expression eludes a straightforward glance, and can only be caught by side glimpses, or when the eye falls upon it casually as it were, and

 

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without thinking to discover anything, as if the picture had a life and consciousness of its own, and were resolved not to betray its secret of grief or guilt, though it wears the full expression of it when it imagines itself unseen. I think no other such magical effect can ever have been wrought by pencil. I looked close into its eyes, with a determination to see all that there was in them, and could see nothing that might not have been in any young girl's eyes; and yet, a moment afterwards, there was the expression--seen aside, and vanishing in a moment--of a being unhumanized by some terrible fate, and gazing at me out of a remote and inaccessible region, where she was frightened to be alone, but where no sympathy could reach her. The mouth is beyond measure touching; the lips apart, looking as innocent as a baby's after it has been crying. The picture never can be copied. Guido himself could not have done it over again. The copyists get all sorts of expression, gay as well as grievous; some copies have a coquettish air, a half-backward glance, thrown alluring at the spectator, but nobody ever did catch, or ever will, the vanishing charm of that sorrow. I hated to leave the picture, and yet was glad when I had taken my last glimpse, because it so perplexed and troubled me not to be able to get hold of its secret.

Thence we went to the Church of the Capuchins, and saw Guido's Archangel. I have been several times to this church, but never saw the picture before, though I am familiar with the mosaic copy at St. Peter's, and had supposed the latter to be an equivalent of the original. It is nearly or quite so as respects the general effect; but there is a beauty in the Archangel's face that immeasurably sur-

 

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passes the copy,--the expression of heavenly severity, and a degree of pain, trouble, or disgust, at being brought in contact with sin, even for the purpose of quelling and punishing it. There is something finical in the copy, which I do not find in the original. The sandalled feet are here those of an angel; in the mosaic they are those of a celestial coxcomb, treading daintily, as if he were afraid they would be soiled by the touch of Lucifer.

After looking at the Archangel we went down under the church, guided by a fleshy monk, and saw the famous cemetery, where the dead monks of many centuries back have been laid to sleep in sacred earth from Jerusalem. . . .

FRANCE.

Hôtel des Colonies, Marseilles, May 29th, Saturday.--Wednesday was the day fixed for our departure from Rome, and after breakfast I walked to the Pincian, and saw the garden and the city, and the Borghese grounds, and St. Peter's in an earlier sunlight than ever before. Methought they never looked so beautiful, nor the sky so bright and blue. I saw Soracte on the horizon, and I looked at everything as if for the last time; nor do I wish ever to see any of these objects again, though no place ever took so strong a hold of my being as Rome, nor ever seemed so close to me and so strangely familiar. I seem to know it better than my birthplace, and to have known it longer; and though I have been very miserable there, and languid with the effects of the atmosphere, and disgusted with a thousand things in its daily life, still I cannot say I hate it, perhaps might fairly own a love for it. But life being too short for such ques-

 

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tionable and troublesome enjoyments, I desire never to set eyes on it again. . . .

We traversed again that same weary and dreary tract of country which we passed over in a winter afternoon and night on our first arrival in Rome. It is as desolate a country as can well be imagined, but about midway of our journey we came to the seashore, and kept very near it during the rest of the way. The sight and fragrance of it were exceedingly refreshing after so long an interval, and U-- revived visibly as we rushed along, while J----- chuckled and contorted himself with ineffable delight.

We reached Cività Vecchia in three or four hours, and were there subjected to various troubles. . . . All the while Miss S------ and I were bothering about the passport, the rest of the family sat in the sun on the quay, with all kinds of bustle and confusion around them; a very trying experience to U-- after the long seclusion and quiet of her sick-chamber. But she did not seem to suffer from it, and we finally reached the steamer in good condition and spirits. . . .

I slept wretchedly in my short and narrow berth, more especially as there was an old gentleman who snored as if he were sounding a charge; it was terribly hot too, and I rose before four o'clock, and was on deck amply in time to watch the distant approach of sunrise. We arrived at Leghorn pretty early, and might have gone ashore and spent the day. Indeed, we had been recommended by Dr. Franco, and had fully purposed to spend a week or ten days there, in expectation of benefit to U--'s health from the sea air and sea bathing, because he thought her still too feeble to make the whole voyage to Marseilles at a stretch. But she showed herself so strong that we

 

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thought she would get as much good from our three days' voyage as from the days by the sea-shore. Moreover, . . . we all of us still felt the languor of the Roman atmosphere, and dreaded the hubbub and crazy confusion of landing at an Italian port. . . . So we lay in the harbor all day without stirring from the steamer. . . It would have been pleasant, however, to have gone to Pisa, fifteen miles off, and seen the leaning tower; but, for my part, I have arrived at that point where it is somewhat pleasanter to sit quietly in any spot whatever than to see whatever grandest or most beautiful thing. At least this was my mood in the harbor of Leghorn. From the deck of the steamer there were many things visible that might have been interesting to describe: the boats of peculiar rig, and covered with awning; the crowded shipping; the disembarkation of horses from the French cavalry, which were lowered from steamers into gondolas or lighters, and hung motionless, like the sign of the Golden Fleece, during the transit, only kicking a little when their feet happened to graze the vessel's side. One horse plunged overboard, and narrowly escaped drowning. There was likewise a disembarkation of French soldiers in a train of boats, which rowed shoreward with sound of trumpet. The French are concentrating a considerable number of troops at this point.

Our steamer was detained by order of the French government to take on board despatches; so that, instead of sailing at dusk, as is customary, we lay in the harbor till seven of the next morning. A number of young Sardinian officers, in green uniform, came on board, and a pale and picturesque-looking Italian, and other worthies of less note,--English, American, and

 

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of all races,--among them a Turk with a little boy in Christian dress; also a Greek gentleman with his young bride.

At the appointed time we weighed anchor for Genoa, and had a beautiful day on the Mediterranean, and for the first time in my life I saw the real dark blue of the sea. I do not remember noticing it on my outward voyage to Italy. It is the most beautiful hue that can be imagined, like a liquid sky; and it retains its lustrous blue directly under the side of the ship, where the water of the mid-Atlantic looks greenish. . . . We reached Genoa at seven in the afternoon. . . . Genoa looks most picturesquely from the sea, at the foot of a sheltering semicircle of lofty hills; and as we lay in the harbor we saw, among other interesting objects, the great Doria Palace, with its gardens, and the Cathedral, and a heap and sweep of stately edifices, with the mountains looking down upon the city, and crowned with fortresses. The variety of hue in the houses, white, green, pink, and orange, was very remarkable. It would have been well to go ashore here for an hour or two and see the streets,--having already seen the palaces, churches, and public buildings at our former visit,--and buy a few specimens of Genoa goldsmiths' work; but I preferred the steamer's deck, so the evening passed pleasantly away; the two lighthouses at the entrance of the port kindled up their fires, and at nine o'clock the evening gun thundered from the fortress, and was reverberated from the heights. We sailed away at eleven, and I was roused from my first sleep by the snortings and hissings of the vessel as she got under way.

At Genoa we took on board some more passengers, an English nobleman with his lady being of the num-

 

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ber. These were Lord and Lady J----, and before the end of our voyage his lordship talked to me of a translation of Tasso in which he is engaged, and a stanza or two of which he repeated to me. I really liked the lines, and liked too the simplicity and frankness with which he spoke of it to me, a stranger, and the way he seemed to separate his egotism from the idea which he evidently had that he is going to make an excellent translation. I sincerely hope it may be so. He began it without any idea of publishing it, or of ever bringing it to a conclusion, but merely as a solace and occupation while in great trouble during an illness of his wife, but he is gradually come to find it the most absorbing occupation he ever undertook; and as Mr. Gladstone and other high authorities give him warm encouragement, he now means to translate the entire poem, and to publish it, with beautiful illustrations, and two years hence the world may expect to see it. I do not quite perceive how such a man as this--a man of frank, warm, simple, kindly nature, but surely not of a poetical temperament, or very refined, or highly cultivated--should make a good version of Tasso's poems; but perhaps the dead poet's soul may take possession of this healthy organization, and wholly turn him to its own purposes.

The latter part of our voyage to-day lay close along the coast of France, which was hilly and picturesque, and as we approached Marseilles was very bold and striking. We steered among the rocky islands, rising abruptly out of the sea, mere naked crags, without a trace of verdure upon them, and with the surf breaking at their feet. They were unusual specimens of what hills would look like without the soil, that is to them what flesh is to a skeleton. Their shapes were

 

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often wonderfully fine, and the great headlands thrust themselves out, and took such hues of light and shade that it seemed like sailing through a picture. In the course of the afternoon a squall came up and blackened the sky all over in a twinkling; our vessel pitched and tossed, and a brig a little way from us had her sails blown about in wild fashion. The blue of the sea turned as black as night, and soon the rain began to spatter down upon us, and continued to sprinkle and drizzle a considerable time after the wind had subsided. It was quite calm and pleasant when we entered the harbor of Marseilles, which lies at the foot of very fair hills, and is set among great cliffs of stone. I did not attend much to this, however, being in dread of the difficulty of landing and passing through the custom house, with our twelve or fourteen trunks and numberless carpet-bags. The trouble vanished into thin air, nevertheless, as we approached it, for not a single trunk or bag was opened, and, moreover, our luggage and ourselves were not only landed, but the greater part of it conveyed to the railway without any expense. Long live Louis Napoleon, say I. We established ourselves at the Hôtel des Colonies, and then Miss S------, J-----, and I drove hither and thither about Marseilles, making arrangements for our journey to Avignon, where we mean to go to-day. We might have avoided a good deal of this annoyance; but travellers, like other people, are continually getting their experience just a little too late. It was after nine before we got back to the hotel and took our tea in peace.

 

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AVIGNON.

Hôtel de l'Europe, June 1st.--I remember nothing very special to record about Marseilles; though it was really like passing from death into life, to find ourselves in busy, cheerful, effervescing France, after living so long between asleep and awake in sluggish Italy. Marseilles is a very interesting and entertaining town, with its bold surrounding heights, its wide streets,--so they seemed to us after the Roman alleys,--its squares, shady with trees, its diversified population of sailors, citizens, Orientals, and what not; but I have no spirit for description any longer; being tired of seeing things, and still more of telling myself about them. Only a young traveller can have patience to write his travels. The newest things, nowadays, have a familiarity to my eyes; whereas in their lost sense of novelty lies the charm and power of description.

On Monday (30th May), though it began with heavy rain, we set early about our preparations for departure, . . . and, at about three, we left the Hôtel des Colonies. It is a very comfortable hotel, though expensive. The Restaurant connected with it occupies the enclosed court-yard and the arcades around it; and it was a good amusement to look down from the surrounding gallery, communicating with our apartments, and see the fashion and manner of French eating, all the time going forward. In sunny weather a great awning is spread over the whole court, across from the upper stories of the house. There is a grass plat in the middle, and a very spacious and airy dining-saloon is thus formed.

Our railroad carriage was comfortable, and we found

 

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in it, besides two other Frenchwomen, two nuns. They were very devout, and sedulously read their little books of devotion, repeated prayers under their breath, kissed the crucifixes which hung at their girdles, and told a string of beads, which they passed from one to the other. So much were they occupied with these duties, that they scarcely looked at the scenery along the road, though, probably, it is very rare for them to see anything outside of their convent-walls. They never failed to mutter a prayer and kiss the crucifix whenever we plunged into a tunnel. If they glanced at their fellow-passengers, it was shyly and askance, with their lips in motion all the time, like children afraid to let their eyes wander from their lesson-book. One of them, however, took occasion to pull down R---'s dress, which, in her frisky movements about the carriage, had got out of place, too high for the nun's sense of decorum. Neither of them was at all pretty, nor was the black stuff dress and white muslin cap in the least becoming; neither were their features of an intelligent or high-bred stamp. Their manners, however, or such little glimpses as I could get of them, were unexceptionable; and when I drew a curtain to protect one of them from the sun, she made me a very courteous gesture of thanks.

We had some very good views both of sea and hills; and a part of our way lay along the banks of the Rhone. . . . By the by, at the station at Marseilles, I bought the two volumes of the "Livre des Merveilles," by a certain author of my acquaintance, translated into French, and printed and illustrated in very pretty style. Miss S------- also bought them, and, in answer to her inquiry for other works by the same author, the bookseller observed that "she did not think

 

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Monsieur Nathaniel had published anything else." The Christian name seems to be the most important one in France, and still more especially in Italy.

We arrived at Avignon, Hôtel de l'Europe, in the dusk of the evening. . . . The lassitude of Rome still clings to us, and I, at least, feel no spring of life or activity, whether at morn or eve. In the morning we found ourselves very pleasantly situated as regards lodgings. The gallery of our suite of rooms looks down as usual into an enclosed court, three sides of which are formed by the stone house and its two wings, and the third by a high wall, with a gateway of iron between two lofty stone pillars, which, for their capitals, have great stone vases, with grass growing in them, and hanging over the brim. There is a large plane-tree in one corner of the court, and creeping plants clamber up trellises; and there are pots of flowers and bird-cages, all of which give a very fresh and cheerful aspect to the enclosure. The court is paved with small round stones; the omnibus belonging to the hotel, and all the carriages of guests, drive into it; and the wide arch of the stable door opens under the central part of the house. Nevertheless, the scene is not in all respects that of a stable-yard; for gentlemen and ladies come from the salle à manger and other rooms, and stand talking in the court, or occupy chairs and seats there; children play about; the hostess or her daughter often appears and talks with her guests or servants; dogs lounge, and, in short, the court might well enough be taken for the one scene of a classic play. The hotel seems to be of the first class, though such would not be indicated, either in England or America, by thus mixing up the stable with the lodgings. I have taken two or three rambles about the

 

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town, and have climbed a high rock which dominates over it, and gives a most extensive view from the broad table-land of its summit. The old church of Avignon--as old as the times of its popes, and older--stands close beside this mighty and massive crag. We went into it, and found it a dark old place, with broad, interior arches, and a singularly shaped dome; a venerable Gothic and Grecian porch, with ancient frescos in its arched spaces; some dusky pictures within; an ancient chair of stone, formerly occupied by the popes, and much else that would have been exceedingly interesting before I went to Rome. But Rome takes the charm out of all inferior antiquity, as well as the life out of human beings.

This forenoon, J----- and I have crossed the Rhone by a bridge, just the other side of one of the city gates, which is near our hotel. We walked along the riverside, and saw the ruins of an ancient bridge, which ends abruptly in the midst of the stream; two or three arches still making tremendous strides across, while the others have long ago been crumbled away by the rush of the rapid river. The bridge was originally founded by St. Benedict, who received a Divine order to undertake the work, while yet a shepherd-boy, with only three sons in his pocket; and he proved the authenticity of the mission by taking an immense stone on his shoulder, and laying it for the foundation. There is still an ancient chapel midway on the bridge, and I believe St. Benedict lies buried there, in the midst of his dilapidated work. The bridge now used is considerably lower down the stream. It is a wooden suspension-bridge, broader than the ancient one, and doubtless more than supplies its place; else, unquestionably, St. Benedict would think it necessary to re-

 

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pair his own. The view from the inner side of this ruined structure, grass-grown and weedy, and leading to such a precipitous plunge into the swift river, is very picturesque, in connection with the gray town and above it, the great, massive bulk of the cliff, the towers of the church, and of a vast old edifice, shapeless, ugly, and venerable, which the popes built and occupied as their palace, many centuries ago. . . .

After dinner, we all set out on a walk, in the course of which we called at a bookseller's shop, to show U-- an enormous cat, which I had already seen. It is of the Angora breed, of a mottled yellow color, and is really a wonder; as big and broad as a tolerably sized dog, very soft and silken, and apparently of the gentlest disposition. I never imagined the like, nor felt anything so deeply soft as this great beast. Its master seems very fond and proud of it; and great a favorite as the cat is, she does not take airs upon herself, but is gently shy and timid in her demonstrations.

We ascended the great Rocher above the palace of the popes, and on our way looked into the old church, which was so dim in the decline of day that we could not see within the dusky arches, through which the chapels communicated with the nave. Thence we pursued our way up the farther ascent, and, standing on the edge of the precipice,--protected by a parapet of stone, and in other places by an iron railing,--we could look down upon the road that winds its dusky track far below, and at the river Rhone, which eddies close beside it. This is indeed a massive and lofty cliff, and it tumbles down so precipitously that I could readily have flung myself from the bank, and alighted on my head in the middle of the river. The Rhone

 

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passes so near its base that I threw stones a good way into its current. We talked with a man of Avignon, who leaned over the parapet near by, and he was very kind in explaining the points of view, and told us that the river, which winds and doubles upon itself so as to look like at least two rivers, is really the Rhone alone. The Durance joins with it within a few miles below Avignon, but is here invisible.

 

Hôtel de l'Europe, June 2d.--This morning we went again to the Duomo of the popes; and this time we allowed the custode, or sacristan, to show us the curiosities of it. He led us into a chapel apart, and showed us the old Gothic tomb of Pope John XXII., where the recumbent statue of the pope lies beneath one of those beautiful and venerable canopies of stone which look at once so light and so solemn. I know not how many hundred years old it is, but everything of Gothic origin has a faculty of conveying the idea of age; whereas classic forms seem to have nothing to do with time, and so lose the kind of impressiveness that arises from suggestions of decay and the past.

In the sacristy the guide opened a cupboard that contained the jewels and sacred treasures of the church, and showed a most exquisite figure of Christ in ivory, represented as on a cross of ebony; and it was executed with wonderful truth and force of expression, and with great beauty likewise. I do not see what a full-length marble statue could have had that was lacking in this little ivory figure of hardly more than a foot high. It is about two centuries old, by an unknown artist. There is another famous ivory statuette in Avignon which seems to be more celebrated

 

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than this, but can hardly be superior. I shall gladly look at it if it comes in my way.

Next to this, the prettiest thing the man showed us was a circle of emeralds, in one of the holy implements; and then he exhibited a little bit of a pope's skull; also a great old crosier, that looked as if made chiefly of silver, and partly gilt; but I saw where the plating of silver was worn away, and betrayed the copper of its actual substance. There were two or three pictures in the sacristy, by ancient and modern French artists, very unlike the productions of the Italian masters, but not without a beauty of their own.

Leaving the sacristy, we returned into the church, where U-- and J----- began to draw the pope's old stone chair. There is a beast, or perhaps more than one, grotesquely sculptured upon it; the seat is high and square, the back low and pointed, and it offers no enticing promise to a weary man.

The interior of the church is massively picturesque, with its vaulted roof, and a stone gallery, heavily ornamented, running along each side of the nave. Each arch of the nave gives admittance to a chapel, in all of which there are pictures, and sculptures in most of them. One of these chapels is of the time of Charlemagne, and has a vaulted roof of admirable architecture, covered with frescos of modern date and little merit. In an adjacent chapel is the stone monument of Pope Benedict, whose statue reposes on it, like many which I have seen in the Cathedral of York and other old English churches. In another part we saw a monument, consisting of a plain slab supported on pillars; it is said to be of a Roman or very early Christian epoch. In another chapel was a figure of

 

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Christ in wax, I believe, and clothed in real drapery; a very ugly object. Also, a figure reposing under a slab, which strikes the spectator with the idea that it is really a dead person enveloped in a shroud. There are windows of painted glass in some of the chapels; and the gloom of the dimly lighted interior, especially beneath the broad, low arches, is very impressive.

While we were there some women assembled at one of the altars, and went through their acts of devotion without the help of a priest; one and another of them alternately repeating prayers, to which the rest responded. The murmur of their voices took a musical tone, which was reverberated by the vaulted arches.

U-- and I now came out; and, under the porch, we found an old woman selling rosaries, little religious books, and other holy things. We bought two little medals of the Immaculate Virgin, one purporting to be of silver, the other of gold; but as both together cost only two or three sous, the genuineness of the material may well be doubted. We sat down on the steps of a crucifix which is placed in front of the church, and the children began to draw the porch, of which I hardly know whether to call the architecture classic or Gothic (as I said before); at all events it has a venerable aspect, and there are frescos within its arches by Simone Memmi. . . . The popes' palace is contiguous to the church, and just below it, on the hill-side. It is now occupied as barracks by some regiments of soldiers, a number of whom were lounging before the entrance; but we passed the sentinel without being challenged, and addressed ourselves to the concierge, who readily assented to our request to be shown through the edifice. A French gentleman and lady, likewise, came with similar purpose, and went

 

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the rounds along with us. The palace is such a confused heap and conglomeration of buildings, that it is impossible to get within any sort of a regular description. It is a huge, shapeless mass of architecture and if it ever had any pretence to a plan, it has lost it in the modern alterations. For instance, an immense and lofty chapel, or rather church, has had two floors, one above the other, laid at different stages of its height; and the upper one of these floors, which extends just where the arches of the vaulted roof begin to spring from the pillars, is ranged round with the beds of one of the regiments of soldiers. They are small iron bedsteads, each with its narrow mattress, and covered with a dark blanket. On some of them lay or lounged a soldier; other soldiers were cleaning their accoutrements; elsewhere we saw parties of them playing cards. So it was wherever we went among those large, dingy, gloomy halls and chambers, which. no doubt, were once stately and sumptuous, with pictures, with tapestry, and all sorts of adornment that the Middle Ages knew how to use. The windows threw a sombre light through embrasures at least two feet thick. There were staircases of magnificent breadth. We were shown into two small chapels, in different parts of the building, both containing the remains of old frescos wofully defaced. In one of them was a light, spiral staircase of iron, built in the centre of the room as a means of contemplating the frescos, which were said to be the work of our old friend Giotto. . . . Finally, we climbed a long, long, narrow stair, built in the thickness of the wall, and thus gained access to the top of one of the towers, whence we saw the noblest landscapes, mountains, plains, and the Rhone, broad and bright, winding hither and thither, as if it had lost its way.

 

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Beneath our feet was the gray, ugly old palace, and its many courts, just as void of system and as inconceivable as when we were burrowing through its bewildering passages. No end of historical romances might be made out of this castle of the popes; and there ought to be a ghost in every room, and droves of them in some of the rooms; for there have been murders here in the gross and in detail, as well hundreds of years ago, as no longer back than the French Revolution, when there was a great massacre in one of the courts. Traces of this bloody business were visible in actual stains on the wall only a few years ago.

Returning to the room of the concierge, who, being a little stiff with age, had sent an attendant round with us, instead of accompanying us in person, he showed us a picture of Rienzi, the last of the Roman tribunes, who was once a prisoner here. On a table, beneath the picture, stood a little vase of earthenware containing some silver coin. We took it as a hint, in the customary style of French elegance, that a fee should be deposited here, instead of being put into the hand of the concierge; so the French gentleman deposited half a franc, and I, in my magnificence, twice as much.

 

Hôtel de l'Europe, June 6th.--We are still here, I have been daily to the Rocher des Doms, and have grown familiar with the old church on its declivity. I think I might become attached to it by seeing it often. A sombre old interior, with its heavy arches, and its roof vaulted like the top of a trunk; its stone gallery, with ponderous adornments, running round three sides. I observe that it is a daily custom of the

 

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old women to say their prayers in concert, sometimes making a pilgrimage, as it were, from chapel to chapeL The voice of one of them is heard running through the series of petitions, and at intervals the voices of the others join and swell into a chorus, so that it is like a river connecting a series of lakes; or, not to use so gigantic a simile, the one voice is like a thread, on which the beads of a rosary are strung.

One day two priests came and sat down beside these prayerful women, and joined in their petitions. I am inclined to hope that there is something genuine in the devotion of these old women.

The view from the top of the Rocher des Doms (a contraction of Dominès) grows upon me, and is truly magnificent; a vast mountain-girdled plain, illuminated by the far windings and reaches of the Rhone. The river is here almost as turbid as the Tiber itself; but, I remember, in the upper part of its course the waters are beautifully transparent. A powerful rush is indicated by the swirls and eddies of its broad surface.

Yesterday was a race day at Avignon, and apparently almost the whole population and a great many strangers streamed out of the city gate nearest our hotel, on their way to the race-course. There were many noticeable figures that might come well into a French picture or description; but only one remains in my memory,--a young man with a wooden leg, setting off for the course--a walk of several miles, I believe--with prodigious courage and alacrity, flourishing his wooden leg with an air and grace that seemed to reminder it positively flexible. The crowd returned towards sunset, and almost all night long the streets and the whole air of the old town were full of song and

 

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merriment. There was a ball in a temporary structure, covered with an awning, in the Place d'Horloge, and a showman has erected his tent and spread forth his great painted canvases, announcing an anaconda and a sea-tiger to be seen. J----- paid four sous for admittance, and found that the sea-tiger was nothing but a large seal, and the anaconda altogether a myth.

I have rambled a good deal about the town. Its streets are crooked and perplexing, and paved with round pebbles for the most part, which afford more uncomfortable pedestrianism than the pavement of Rome itself. It is an ancient-looking place, with some large old mansions, but few that are individually impressive; though here and there one sees an antique entrance, a corner tower, or other bit of antiquity, that throws a venerable effect over the gray commonplace of past centuries. The town is not overclean, and often there is a kennel of unhappy odor. There appear to have been many more churches and devotional establishments under the ancient dominion of the popes than have been kept intact in subsequent ages; the tower and façade of a church, for instance, form the front of a carpenter's shop, or some such plebeian place. The church where Laura lay has quite disappeared, and her tomb along with it. The town reminds me of Chester, though it does not in the least resemble it, and is not nearly so picturesque. Like Chester, it is entirely surrounded by a wall; and that of Avignon--though it has no delightful promenade on its top, as the wall of Chester has--is the more perfectly preserved in its mediæval form, and the more picturesque of the two. J----- and I have once or twice walked nearly round it, commencing from the gate of Ouelle, which is very near our hotel. From

 

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this point it stretches for a considerable distance along by the river, and here there is a broad promenade, with trees, and blocks of stone for seats; on one side "the arrowy Rhone," generally carrying a cooling breeze along with it; on the other, the gray wall, with its battlements and machicolations, impending over what was once the moat, but which is now full of careless and untrained shrubbery. At intervals there are round towers swelling out from the wall, and rising a little above it. After about half a mile along the river-side the wall turns at nearly right angles, and still there is a wide road, a shaded walk, a boulevard; and at short distances are cafés, with their little round tables before the door, or small shady nooks of shrubbery. So numerous are these retreats and pleasaunces that I do not see how the little old town can support them all, especially as there are a great many cafés within the walls. I do not remember seeing any soldiers on guard at the numerous city gates, but there is an office in the side of each gate for levying the octroi, and old women are sometimes on guard there.

This morning, after breakfast, J----- and I crossed the suspension-bridge close by the gate nearest our hotel, and walked to the ancient town of Villeneuve, on the other side of the Rhone. The first bridge leads to an island, from the farther side of which another very long one, with a timber foundation, accomplishes the passage of the other branch of the Rhone. There was a good breeze on the river, but after crossing it we found the rest of the walk excessively hot. This town of Villeneuve is of very ancient origin, and owes its existence, it is said, to the famous holiness of a female saint, which gathered round her abode and burial-place a great many habitations of people who

 

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reverenced her. She was the daughter of the King of Saragossa, and I presume she chose this site because it was so rocky and desolate. Afterwards it had a long mediæval history; and in the time of the Avignon popes, the cardinals, regretful of their abandoned Roman villas, built pleasure houses here, so that the town was called Villa Nuova. After they had done their best, it must have seemed to these poor cardinals but a rude and sad exchange for the Borghese, the Albani, the Pamfili Doria, and those other perfectest results of man's luxurious art. And probably the tradition of the Roman villas had really been kept alive, and extant examples of them all the way downward from the times of the empire. But this Villeneuve is the stoniest, roughest town that can be imagined. There are a few large old houses, to be sure, but built on a line with shabby village dwellings and barns, and so presenting little but samples of magnificent shabbiness. Perhaps I might have found traces of old splendor if I had sought for them; but, not having the history of the place in my mind, I passed through its scrambling streets without imagining that Princes of the Church had once made their abode here. The inhabitants now are peasants, or chiefly such; though, for aught I know, some of the French noblesse may burrow in these palaces that look so like hovels.

A large church, with a massive tower, stands near the centre of the town; and, of course, I did not fail to enter its arched door,--a pointed arch, with many frames and mouldings, one within another. An old woman was at her devotions, and several others came in and knelt during my stay there. It was quite an interesting interior; a long nave, with six pointed

 

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arches on each side, beneath which were as many chapels. The walls were rich with pictures, not only in the chapels, but up and down the nave, above the arches. There were gilded virgins, too, and much other quaint device that produced an effect that I rather liked than otherwise. At the end of the church, farthest from the high altar, there were four columns of exceedingly rich marble, and a good deal more of such precious material was wrought into the chapels and altars. There was an old stone seat, also, of some former pope or prelate. The church was dim enough to cause the lamps in the shrines to become points of vivid light, and, looking from end to end, it was a long, venerable, tarnished, Old-World vista, not at all tampered with by modern taste.

We now went on our way through the village, and, emerging from a gate, went clambering towards the castle of St. André, which stands, perhaps, a quarter of a mile beyond it. This castle was built by Philip le Bel, as a restraint to the people of Avignon in extending their power on this side of the Rhone. We happened not to take the most direct way, and so approached the castle on the farther side, and were obliged to go nearly round the hill on which it stands, before striking into the path which leads to its gate. It crowns a very bold and difficult hill, directly above the Rhone, opposite to Avignon,--which is so far off that objects are not minutely distinguishable,--and looking down upon the long, straggling town of Villeneuve. It must have been a place of mighty strength in its day. Its ramparts seem still almost entire, as looked upon from without, and when, at length, we climbed the rough, rocky pathway to the entrance, we found the two vast round towers, with their battle-

 

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mented summits and arched gateway between them, just as perfect as they could have been five hundred or more years ago. Some external defences are now, however, in a state of ruin; and there are only the remains of a tower, that once arose between the two round towers, and was apparently much more elevated than they. A little in front of the gate was a monumental cross of stone; and in the arch, between the two round towers, were two little boys at play; and an old woman soon showed herself, but took no notice of us. Casting our eyes within the gateway, we saw what looked a rough village street, betwixt old houses built ponderously of stone, but having far more the aspect of huts than of castle-halls. They were evidently the dwellings of peasantry, and people engaged in rustic labor; and no doubt they have burrowed into the primitive structures of the castle, and, as they found convenient, have taken their crumbling materials to build barns and farm-houses. There was space and accommodation for a very considerable population; but the men were probably at work in the fields, and the only persons visible were the children aforesaid, and one or two old women bearing bundles of twigs on their backs. They showed no curiosity respecting us, and though the wide space included within the castle-rampart seemed almost full of habitations ruinous or otherwise, I never found such a solitude in any ruin before. It contrasts very favorably in this particular with English castles, where, though you do not find rustic villages within the warlike enclosure, there is always a padlocked gate, always a guide, and generally half a dozen idle tourists. But here was only antiquity, with merely the natural growth of fungous human life upon it.

 

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We went to the end of the castle court and sat down, for lack of other shade, among some inhospitable nettles that grew close to the wall. Close by us was a great gap in the ramparts,--it may have been a breach which was once stormed through; and it now afforded us an airy and sunny glimpse of distant hills. . . . J----- sketched part of the broken wall, which, by the by, did not seem to me nearly so thick as the walls of English castles. Then we returned through the gate, and I stopped, rather impatiently, under the hot sun, while J----- drew the outline of the two round towers. This done, we resumed our way homeward, after drinking from a very deep well close by the square tower of Philip le Bel. Thence we went melting through the sunshine, which beat upward as pitilessly from the white road as it blazed downwards from the sky. . . .

GENEVA.

Hôtel d'Angleterre, June 11th.-- We left Avignon on Tuesday, 7th, and took the rail to Valence, where we arrived between four and five, and put up at the Hôtel de la Poste, an ancient house, with dirty floors and dirt generally, but otherwise comfortable enough. . . . Valence is a stately old town, full of tall houses and irregular streets. We found a Cathedral there, not very large, but with a high and venerable interior, a nave supported by tall pillars, from the height of which spring arches. This loftiness is characteristic of French churches, as distinguished from those of Italy. . . . We likewise saw, close by the Cathedral, a large monument with four arched entrances meeting beneath a vaulted roof; but, on inquiry of an old priest and other persons, we could get no account of it, except

 

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that it was a tomb, and of unknown antiquity. The architecture seemed classic, and yet it had some Gothic peculiarities, and it was a reverend and beautiful object. Had I written up my Journal while the town was fresh in my remembrance, I might have found much to describe; but a succession of other objects have obliterated most of the impressions I have received here. Our railway ride to Valence was intolerably hot. I have felt nothing like it since leaving America, and that is so long ago that the terrible discomfort was just as good as new. . . .

We left Valence at four, and came that afternoon to Lyons, still along the Rhone. Either the waters of this river assume a transparency in winter which they lose in summer, or I was mistaken in thinking them transparent on our former journey. They are now turbid; but the hue does not suggest the idea of a running mud-puddle, as the water of the Tiber does. No streams, however, are so beautiful in the quality of their waters as the clear, brown rivers of New England. The scenery along this part of the Rhone, as we have found all the way from Marseilles, is very fine and impressive; old villages, rocky cliffs, castellated steeps, quaint chateaux, and a thousand other interesting objects.

We arrived at Lyons at five o'clock, and went to the Hôtel de l'Universe, to which we had been recom- mended by our good hostess at Avignon. The day had become showery, but J----- and I strolled about a little before nightfall, and saw the general charac- teristics of the place. Lyons is a city of very stately aspect, hardly inferior to Paris; for it has regular streets of lofty houses, and immense squares planted with trees, and adorned with statues and fountains.

 

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New edifices of great splendor are in process of erection; and on the opposite side of the Rhone, where the site rises steep and high, there are structures of older date, that have an exceedingly picturesque effect, looking down upon the narrow town.

The next morning I went out with J----- in quest of my bankers, and of the American Consul; and as I had forgotten the directions of the waiter of the hotel, I of course went astray, and saw a good deal more of Lyons than I intended. In my wanderings I crossed the Rhone, and found myself in a portion of the city evidently much older than that with which I had previously made acquaintance; narrow, crooked, irregular, and rudely paved streets, full of dingy business and bustle,--the city, in short, as it existed a century ago, and how much earlier I know not. Above rises that lofty elevation of ground which I before noticed; and the glimpses of its stately old buildings through the openings of the street were very picturesque. Unless it be Edinburgh, I have not seen any other city that has such striking features. Altogether unawares, immediately after crossing the bridge, we came upon the Cathedral; and the grand, time-blackened Gothic front, with its deeply arched entrances, seemed to me as good as anything I ever saw,--unexpectedly more impressive than all the ruins of Rome. I could but merely glance at its interior; so that its noble height and venerable space, filled with the dim, consecrated light of pictured windows, recur to me as a vision. And it did me good to enjoy the awfulness and sanctity of Gothic architecture again, after so long shivering in classic porticos. . . .

We now recrossed the river. . . . The Frank methods and arrangements in matters of business seem to

 

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be excellent, so far as effecting the proposed object is concerned; but there is such an inexorable succession of steel-wrought forms, that life is not long enough for so much accuracy. The stranger, too, goes blindfold through all these processes, not knowing what is to turn up next, till, when quite in despair, he suddenly finds his business mysteriously accomplished. . . .

We left Lyons at four o'clock, taking the rail way for Geneva. The scenery was very striking throughout the journey; but I allowed the hills, deep valleys, high impending cliffs, and whatever else I saw along the road, to pass from me without an ink-blot. We reached Geneva at nearly ten o'clock. . . . It is situated partly on low, flat ground, bordering the lake, and behind this level space it rises by steep, painfully paved streets, some of which can hardly be accessible by wheeled carriages. The prosperity of the town is indicated by a good many new and splendid edifices, for commercial and other purposes, in the vicinity of the lake; but intermixed with these there are many quaint buildings of a stern gray color, and in a style of architecture that I prefer a thousand times to the monotony of Italian streets.. Immensely high, red roofs, with windows in them, produce an effect that delights me. They are as ugly, perhaps, as can well be conceived, but very striking and individual. At each corner of these ancient houses frequently is a tower, the roof of which rises in a square pyramidal form, or, if the tower be round, in a round pyramidal form. Arched passages, gloomy and grimy, pass from one street to another. The lower town creeps with busy life, and swarms like an ant - hill; but if you climb the half-precipitous streets, you find yourself among ancient and stately mansions, high roofed, with

 

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a strange aspect of grandeur about them, looking as if they might still be tenanted by such old magnates as dwelt in them centuries ago. There is also a Cathedral, the older portion exceedingly fine; but it has been adorned at some modern epoch with a Grecian portico,--good in itself, but absurdly out of keeping with the edifice which it prefaces. This being a Protestant country, the doors were all shut,--an inhospitality that made me half a Catholic. It is funny enough that a stranger generally profits by all that is worst for the inhabitants of the country where he himself is merely a visitor. Despotism makes things all the pleasanter for the stranger. Catholicism lends itself admirably to his purposes.

There are public gardens (one, at least) in Geneva. . . . Nothing struck me so much, I think, as the color of the Rhone, as it flows under the bridges in the lower town. It is absolutely miraculous, and, beautiful as it is, suggests the idea that the tubs of a thousand dyers have emptied their liquid indigo into the stream. When once you have conquered and thrust out this idea, it is an inexpressible delight to look down into this intense, brightly transparent blue, that hurries beneath you with the speed of a race-horse.

The shops of Geneva are very tempting to a traveller, being full of such little knick-knacks as he would be glad to carry away in memory of the place: wonderful carvings in wood and ivory, done with exquisite taste and skill; jewelry that seems very cheap, but is doubtless dear enough, if you estimate it by the solid gold that goes into its manufacture; watches, above all things else, for a third or a quarter of the price that one pays in England, looking just as well, too, and probably performing the whole of a watch's duty

 

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as uncriticisably. The Swiss people are frugal and inexpensive in their own habits, I believe, plain and simple, and careless of ornament; but they seem to reckon on other people's spending a great deal of money for gewgaws. We bought some of their wooden trumpery, and likewise a watch for U--. . . . Next to watches, jewelry, and wood-carving, I should say that cigars were one of the principal articles of commerce in Geneva. Cigar-shops present themselves at every step or two, and at a reasonable rate, there being no duties, I believe, on imported goods. There was no examination of our trunks on arrival, nor any questions asked on that score.

VILLENEUVE.

Hôtel de Byron, June 12th.-- Yesterday afternoon we left Geneva by a steamer, starting from the quay at only a short distance from our hotel. The forenoon had been showery; but the sun now came out very pleasantly, although there were still clouds and mist enough to give infinite variety to the mountain scenery. At the commencement of our voyage the scenery of the lake was not incomparably superior to that of other lakes on which I have sailed, as Lake Windermere for instance, or Loch Lomond, or our own Lake Champlain. It certainly grew more grand and beautiful, however, till at length I felt that I had never seen anything worthy to be put beside it. The southern shore has the grandest scenery; the great hills on that side appearing close to the water's edge, and after descending, with headlong slope, directly from their rocky and snow-streaked summits down into the blue water. Our course lay nearer to the northern shore, and all our stopping-places were on that side. The

 

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first was Coppet, where Madame de Staël or her father, or both, were either born or resided or died, I know not which, and care very little. It is a picturesque village, with an old church, and old, high-roofed, red-tiled houses, the whole looking as if nothing in it had been changed for many, many years. All these villages, at several of which we stopped momentarily, look delightfully unmodified by recent fashions. There is the church, with its tower crowned by a pyramidal roof, like an extinguisher; then the chateau of the former lord, half castle and half dwelling-house, with a round tower at each corner, pyramid topped; then, perhaps, the ancient town-house or Hôtel de Ville, in an open paved square; and perhaps the largest mansion in the whole village will have been turned into a modern inn, but retaining all its venerable characteristics of high, steep sloping roof, and antiquated windows. Scatter a delightful shade of trees among the houses, throw in a time-worn monument of one kind or another, swell out the delicious blue of the lake in front, and the delicious green of the sunny hill-side sloping up and around this closely congregated neighborhood of old, comfortable houses, and I do not know what more I can add to this sketch. Often there was an insulated house or cottage, embowered in shade, and each seeming like the one only spot in the wide world where two people that had good consciences and loved each other could spend a happy life. Half-ruined towers, old historic castles, these, too, we saw. And all the while, on the other side of the lake, were the high hills, sometimes dim, sometimes black, sometimes green, with gray precipices of stone, and often snow-patches, right above the warm sunny lake whereon we were sailing.

 

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We passed Lausanne, which stands upward, on the slope of the hill, the tower of its Cathedral forming a conspicuous object. We mean to visit this to-morrow; so I may pretermit further mention of it here. We passed Vevay, and Clarens, which, methought, was particularly picturesque; for now the hills had approached close to the water on the northern side also, and steep heights rose directly above the little gray church and village; and especially I remember a rocky cliff which ascends into a rounded pyramid, insulated from all other peaks and ridges. But if I could perform the absolute impossibility of getting one single outline of the scene into words, there would be all the color wanting, the light, the haze, which spiritualizes it, and moreover makes a thousand and a thousand scenes out of that single one. Clarens, however, has still another interest for me; for I found myself more affected by it, as the scene of the love of St. Preux and Julia, than I have often been by scenes of poetry and romance. I read Rousseau's romance with great sympathy, when I was hardly more than a boy; ten years ago, or thereabouts, I tried to read it again without success; but I think, from my feeling of yesterday, that it still retains its hold upon my imagination.

Farther onward, we saw a white, ancient-looking group of towers, beneath a mountain, which was so high, and rushed so precipitately down upon this pile of building as quite to dwarf it; besides which, its dingy whiteness had not a very picturesque effect. Nevertheless, this was the Castle of Chillon. It appears to sit right upon the water, and does not rise very loftily above it. I was disappointed in its aspect, having imagined this famous castle as situated upon a rock, a hundred, or, for aught I know, a thou-

 

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sand feet above the surface of the lake; but it is quite as impressive a fact--supposing it to be true--that the water is eight hundred feet deep at its base. By this time, the mountains had taken the beautiful lake into their deepest heart; they girdled it quite round with their grandeur and beauty, and, being able to do no more for it, they here withheld it from extending any farther; and here our voyage came to an end. I have never beheld any scene so exquisite; nor do I ask of Heaven to show me any lovelier or nobler one, but only to give me such depth and breadth of sympathy with nature, that I may worthily enjoy this. It is beauty more than enough for poor, perishable mortals. If this be earth, what must heaven be!

It was nearly eight o'clock when we arrived; and then we had a walk of at least a mile to the Hôtel Byron. . . . I forgot to mention that in the latter part of our voyage there was a shower in some part of the sky, and though none of it fell upon us, we had the benefit of those gentle tears in a rainbow, which arched itself across the lake from mountain to mountain, so that our track lay directly under this triumphal arch. We took it as a good omen, nor were we discouraged, though, after the rainbow had vanished, a few sprinkles of the shower came down.

We found the Hôtel Byron very grand indeed, and a good one too. There was a beautiful moonlight on the lake and hills, but we contented ourselves with looking out of our lofty window, whence, likewise, we had a sidelong glance at the white battlements of Chillon, not more than a mile off, on the water's edge. The castle is wofully in need of a pedestal. If its site were elevated to a height equal to its own, it would make a far better appearance. As it now is, it looks,

 

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to speak profanely of what poetry has consecrated, when seen from the water, or along the shore of the lake, very like an old whitewashed factory or mill.

This morning I walked to the Castle of Chillon with J-----, who sketches everything he sees, from a wild flower or a carved chair to a castle or a range of mountains. The morning had sunshine thinly scattered through it; but, nevertheless, there was a continual sprinkle, sometimes scarcely perceptible, and then again amounting to a decided drizzle. The road, which is built along on a little elevation above the lake shore, led us past the Castle of Chillon; and we took a side-path, which passes still nearer the castle gate. The castle stands on an isthmus of gravel, permanently connecting it with the mainland. A wooden bridge, covered with a roof, passes from the shore to the arched entrance; and beneath this shelter, which has wooden walls as well as roof and floor, we saw a soldier or gendarme who seemed to act as warder. As it sprinkled rather more freely than at first, I thought of appealing to his hospitality for shelter from the rain, but concluded to pass on.

The castle makes a far better appearance on a nearer view, and from the land, than when seen at a distance, and from the water. It is built of stone, and seems to have, been anciently covered with plaster, which imparts the whiteness to which Byron does much more than justice, when he speaks of "Chillon's snow-white battlements." There is a lofty external wall, with a cluster of round towers about it, each crowned with its pyramidal roof of tiles, and from the central portion of the castle rises a square tower, also crowned with its own pyramid to a considerably greater height than the circumjacent ones. The whole

 

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are in a close cluster, and make a fine picture of ancient strength when seen at a proper proximity; for I do not think that distance adds anything to the effect. There are hardly any windows, or few, and very small ones, except the loopholes for arrows and for the garrison of the castle to peep from on the sides towards the water; indeed, there are larger windows, at least in the upper apartments; but in that direction, no doubt, the castle was considered impregnable. Trees here and there on the land side grow up against the castle wail, on one part of which, moreover, there was a green curtain of ivy spreading from base to battlement. The walls retain their machicolations, and I should judge that nothing had been [altered], nor any more work been done upon the old fortress than to keep it in singularly good repair. It was formerly a castle of the Duke of Savoy, and since his sway over the country ceased (three hundred years at least), it has been in the hands of the Swiss government, who still keep some arms and ammunition there.

We passed on, and found the view of it better, as we thought, from a farther point along the road. The rain-drops began to spatter down faster, and we took shelter under an impending precipice, where the ledge of rock had been blasted and hewn away to form the road. Our refuge was not a very convenient and comfortable one, so we took advantage of the partial cessation of the shower to turn homeward, but had not gone far when we met mamma and all her train. As we were close by the castle entrance, we thought it advisable to seek admission, though rather doubtful whether the Swiss gendarme might not deem it a sin to let us into the castle on Sunday. But he very readily admitted us under his covered drawbridge, and called an

 

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old man from within the fortress to show us whatever was to be seen. This latter personage was a staid, rather grim, and Calvinistic-looking old worthy; but he received us without scruple, and forthwith proceeded to usher us into a range of most dismal dungeons, extending along the basement of the castle, on a level with the surface of the lake. First, if I remember aright, we came to what he said had been a chapel, and which, at all events, looked like an aisle of one, or rather such a crypt as I have seen beneath a cathedral, being a succession of massive pillars supporting groined arches,--a very admirable piece of gloomy Gothic architecture. Next, we came to a very dark compartment of the same dungeon range, where he pointed to a sort of bed, or what might serve for a bed, hewn in the solid rock, and this, our guide said, had been the last sleeping-place of condemned prisoners on the night before their execution. The next compartment was still duskier and dismaller than the last, and he bade us cast our eyes up into the obscurity and see a beam, where the condemned ones used to be hanged. I looked and looked, and closed my eyes so as to see the clearer in this horrible duskiness on opening them again. Finally, I thought I discerned the accursed beam, and the rest of the party were certain that they saw it. Next beyond this, I think, was a stone staircase, steep, rudely cut, and narrow, down which the condemned were brought to death; and beyond this, still on the same basement range of the castle, a low and narrow [corridor] through which we passed, and saw a row of seven massive pillars, supporting two parallel series of groined arches, like those in the chapel which we first entered. This was Bonnivard's prison, and the scene of Byron's poem.

 

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The arches are dimly lighted by narrow loopholes, pierced through the immensely thick wall, but at such a height above the floor that we could catch no glimpse of land or water, or scarcely of the sky. The prisoner of Chillon could not possibly have seen the island to which Byron alludes, and which is a little way from the shore, exactly opposite the town of Villeneuve. There was light enough in this long, gray, vaulted room, to show us that all the pillars were inscribed with the names of visitors, among which I saw no interesting one, except that of Byron himself, which is cut, in letters an inch long or more, into one of the pillars next to that to which Bonnivard was chained. The letters are deep enough to remain in the pillar as long as the castle stands. Byron seems to have had a fancy for recording his name in this and similar ways; as witness the record which I saw on a tree of Newstead Abbey. In Bonnivard's pillar there still remains an iron ring, at the height of perhaps three feet from the ground. His chain was fastened to this ring, and his only freedom was to walk round this pillar, about which he is said to have worn a path in the stone pavement of the dungeon; but as the floor is now covered with earth or gravel, I could not satisfy myself whether this be true. Certainly six years, with nothing else to do in them save to walk round the pillar, might well suffice to wear away the rock, even with naked feet. This column, and all the columns, were cut and hewn in a good style of architecture, and the dungeon arches are not without a certain gloomy beauty. On Bonnivard's pillar, as well as on all the rest, were many names inscribed; but I thought better of Byron's delicacy and sensitiveness for not cutting his name into that very pillar. Perhaps, knowing nothing of

 

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Bonnivard's story, he did not know to which column he was chained.

Emerging from the dungeon-vaults, our guide led us through other parts of the castle, showing us the Duke of Savoy's kitchen, with a fireplace at least twelve feet long; also the judgment-hall, or some such place, hung round with the coats of arms of some officers or other, and having at one end a wooden post, reaching from floor to ceiling, and having upon it the marks of fire. By means of this post, contumacious prisoners were put to a dreadful torture, being drawn up by cords and pulleys, while their limbs were scorched by a fire underneath. We also saw a chapel or two, one of which is still in good and sanctified condition, and was to be used this very day, our guide told us, for religious purposes. We saw, moreover, the duke's private chamber, with a part of the bedstead on which he used to sleep, and be haunted with horrible dreams, no doubt, and the ghosts of wretches whom he had tortured and hanged; likewise the bed-chamber of his duchess, that had in its window two stone seats, where, directly over the head of Bonnivard, the ducal pair might look out on the beautiful scene of lake and mountains, and feel the warmth of the blessed sun. Under this window, the guide said, the water of the lake is eight hundred feet in depth; an immense profundity, indeed, for an inland lake, but it is not very difficult to believe that the mountain at the foot of which Chillon stands may descend so far beneath the water. In other parts of the lake and not distant, more than nine hundred feet have been sounded. I looked out of the duchess's window, and could certainly see no appearance of a bottom in the light blue water.

 

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The last thing that the guide showed us was a trap-door, or opening, beneath a crazy old floor. Looking down into this aperture we saw three stone steps, which we should have taken to be the beginning of a flight of stairs that descended into a dungeon, or series of dungeons, such as we had already seen. But inspecting them more closely, we saw that the third step terminated the flight, and beyond was a dark vacancy. Three steps a person would grope down, planting his uncertain foot on a dimly seen stone; the fourth step would be in the empty air. The guide told us that it used to be the practice to bring prisoners hither, under pretence of committing them to a dungeon, and make them go down the three steps, and that fourth fatal one, and they would nevermore be heard of; but at the bottom of the pit there would be a dead body, and in due time a mouldy skeleton, which would rattle beneath the body of the next prisoner that fell. I do not believe that it was anything more than a secret dungeon for state prisoners whom it was out of the question either to set at liberty or bring to public trial. The depth of the pit was about forty-five feet. Gazing intently down, I saw a faint gleam of light at the bottom, apparently coming from some other aperture than the trap-door over which we were bending, so that it must have been contemplated to supply it with light and air in such degree as to support human life. U-- declared she saw a skeleton at the bottom; Miss S------ thought she saw a hand; but I saw only the dim gleam of light.

There are two or three courts in the castle, but of no great size. We were now led across one of them, and dismissed out of the arched entrance by which we had come in. We found the gendarme still keep-

 

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ing watch on his roofed drawbridge, and as there was the same gentle shower that had been effusing itself all the morning, we availed ourselves of the shelter, more especially as there were some curiosities to examine. These consisted chiefly of wood carvings,--such as little figures in the national costume, boxes with wreaths of foliage upon them, paper knives, the chamois goat admirably well represented. We at first hesitated to make any advances towards trade with the gendarme because it was Sunday, and we fancied there might be a Calvinistic scruple on his part about turning a penny on the Sabbath; but from the little I know of the Swiss character, I suppose they would be as ready as any other men to sell not only such matters, but even their own souls, or any smaller--or shall we say greater--thing on Sunday, or at any other time. So we began to ask the prices of the articles, and met with no difficulty in purchasing a salad spoon and fork, with pretty bas-reliefs carved on the handles, and a napkin-ring. For Rosebud's and our amusement, the gendarme now set a musical-box agoing; and as it played a pasteboard figure of a dentist began to pull the tooth of a pasteboard patient, lifting the wretched simulacrum entirely from the ground, and keeping him in this horrible torture for half an hour. Meanwhile, mamma, Miss Shepard, U--, and J----- sat down all in a row on a bench and sketched the mountains; and as the shower did not cease, though the sun most of the time shone brightly, we were kept actual prisoners of Chillon much longer than we wished to stay.

We took advantage of the first cessation,--though still the drops came dimpling into the water that rippled against the pebbles beneath the bridge,--of

 

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the first partial cessation of the shower, to escape, and returned towards the hotel, with this kindliest of summer rains falling upon us most of the way. . . . In the afternoon the rain entirely ceased, and the weather grew delightfully radiant, and warmer than could well be borne in the sunshine. U-- and I walked to the village of Villeneuve,--a mile from the hotel,--and found a very commonplace little old town of one or two streets, standing on a level, and as uninteresting as if there were not a hill within a hundred miles. It is strange what prosaic lines men thrust in amid the poetry of nature. . . .

 

Hôtel de l'Angleterre, Geneva, June 14th.-- Yesterday morning was very fine, and we had a pretty early breakfast at Hôtel Byron, preparatory to leaving it. This hotel is on a magnificent scale of height and breadth, its staircases and corridors being the most spacious I have seen; but there is a kind of meagreness in the life there, and a certain lack of heartiness, that prevented us from feeling at home. We were glad to get away, and took the steamer, on our return voyage, in excellent spirits. Apparently it had been a cold night in the upper regions, for a great deal more snow was visible on some of the mountains than we had before observed; especially a mountain called "Diableries" presented a silver summit, and broad sheets and fields of snow. Nothing ever can have been more beautiful than those groups of mighty hills as we saw them then, with the gray rocks, the green slopes, the white snow-patches and crests, all to be seen at one glance, and the mists and fleecy clouds tumbling, rolling, hovering about their summits, filling their lofty valleys, and coming down

 

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far towards the lower world, making the skyey aspects so intimate with the earthly ones, that we hardly knew whether we were sojourning in the material or spiritual world. It was like sailing through the sky, moreover, to be borne along on such water as that of Lake Leman,--the bluest, brightest, and profoundest element, the most radiant eye that the dull earth ever opened to see heaven withal. I am writing nonsense, but it is because no sense within my mind will answer the purpose.

Some of these mountains, that looked at no such mighty distance, were at least forty or fifty miles off, and appeared as if they were near neighbors and friends of other mountains, from which they were really still farther removed. The relations into which distant points are brought, in a view of mountain scenery, symbolize the truth, which we can never judge within our partial scope of vision, of the relations which we bear to our fellow-creatures and human circumstances. These mighty mountains think that they have nothing to do with one another, each seems itself its own centre, and existing for itself alone; and yet, to an eye that can take them all in, they are evidently portions of one grand and beautiful idea, which could not be consummated without the lowest and the loftiest of them. I do not express this satisfactorily, but have a genuine meaning in it nevertheless.

We passed again by Chillon, and gazed at it as long as it was distinctly visible, though the water view does no justice to its real picturesqueness, there being no towers nor projections on the side towards the lake, nothing but a wall of dingy white, with an indentation that looks something like a gateway. About an hour

 

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and a half brought us to Ouchy, the point where passengers land to take the omnibus to Lausanne. The ascent from Ouchy to Lausanne is a mile and a half, which it took the omnibus nearly half an hour to accomplish. We left our shawls and carpet-bags in the salle à manger of the Hôtel Faucon, and set forth to find the Cathedral, the pinnacled tower of which is visible for a long distance up and down the lake. Prominent as it is, however, it is by no means very easy to find it while rambling through the intricate streets and declivities of the town itself, for Lausanne is the town, I should fancy, in all the world the most difficult to go directly from one point to another. It is built on the declivity of a hill, adown which run several valleys or ravines, and over these the contiguity of houses extends, so that the communication is kept up by means of steep streets and sometimes long weary stairs, which must be surmounted and descended again in accomplishing a very moderate distance. In some inscrutable way we at last arrived at the Cathedral, which stands on a higher site than any other in Lausanne. It has a very venerable exterior, with all the Gothic grandeur which arched mullioned windows, deep portals, buttresses, towers, and pinnacles, gray with a thousand years, can give to architecture. After waiting awhile we obtained entrance by means of an old woman, who acted the part of sacristan, and was then showing the church to some other visitors.

The interior disappointed us; not but what it was very beautiful, but I think the excellent repair that it was in, and the puritanic neatness with which it is kept, does much towards effacing the majesty and mystery that belong to an old church. Every inch of wall and column, and all the mouldings and tracery,

 

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and every scrap of grotesque carving, had been washed with a drab mixture. There were likewise seats all up and down the nave, made of pine wood, and looking very new and neat, just such seats as I shall see in a hundred meeting-houses (if ever I go into so many) in America. Whatever might be the reason, the stately nave, with its high-groined roof, the clustered columns and lofty pillars, the intersecting arches of the side-aisles, the choir, the armorial and knightly tombs that surround what was once the high altar, all produced far less effect than I could have thought beforehand.

As it happened, we had more ample time and freedom to inspect this Cathedral than any other that we have visited, for the old woman consented to go away and leave us there, locking the door behind her. The others, except Rosebud, sat down to sketch such portions as struck their fancy; and for myself, I looked at the monuments, of which some, being those of old knights, ladies, bishops, and a king, were curious from their antiquity; and others are interesting as bearing memorials of English people, who have died at Lausanne in comparatively recent years. Then I went up into the pulpit, and tried, without success, to get into the stone gallery that runs all round the nave; and I explored my way into various side apartments of the Cathedral, which I found fitted up with seats for Sabbath schools, perhaps, or possibly for meetings of elders of the Church. I opened the great Bible of the church, and found it to be a French version, printed at Lille some fifty years ago. There was also a liturgy, adapted, probably, to the Lutheran form of worship. In one of the side apartments I found a strong box, heavily clamped with iron, and having a contriv-

 

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ance, like the hopper of a mill, by which money could be turned into the top, while a double lock prevented its being abstracted again. This was to receive the avails of contributions made in the church; and there were likewise boxes, stuck on the ends of long poles, wherewith the deacons could go round among the worshippers, conveniently extending the begging-box to the remotest curmudgeon among them all. From the arrangement of the seats in the nave, and the labels pasted or painted on them, I judged that the women sat on one side and the men on the other, and the seats for various orders .of magistrates, and for ecclesiastical and collegiate people, were likewise marked out.

I soon grew weary of these investigations, and so did Rosebud and J-----, who essayed to amuse themselves with running races together over the horizontal tombstones in the pavement of the choir, treading remorselessly over the noseless effigies of old dignitaries, who never expected to be so irreverently treated. I put a stop to their sport, and banished them to different parts of the Cathedral; and, by and by, the old woman appeared again, and released us from durance. . . .

While waiting for our déjeuner, we saw the people dining at the regular table d'hôte of the hotel, and the idea was strongly borne in upon me, that the professional mystery of a male waiter is a very unmanly one. It is so absurd to see the solemn attentiveness with which they stand behind the chairs, the earnestness of their watch for any crisis that may demand their interposition, the gravity of their manner in performing some little office that the guest might better do for himself, their decorous and soft steps; in short, as I

 

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sat and gazed at them, they seemed to me not real men, but creatures with a clerical aspect, engendered out of a very artificial state of society. When they are waiting on myself, they do not appear so absurd; it is necessary to stand apart in order to see them properly.

We left Lausanne--which was to us a tedious and weary place--before four o'clock. I should have liked well enough to see the house of Gibbon, and the garden in which he walked, after finishing "The Decline and Fall"; but it could not be done without some trouble and inquiry, and as the house did not come to see me, I determined not to go and see the house. There was, indeed, a mansion of somewhat antique respectability, near our hotel, having a garden and a shaded terrace behind it, which would have answered accurately enough to the idea of Gibbon's residence. Perhaps it was so; far more probably not.

Our former voyages had been taken in the Hirondelle; we now, after broiling for some time in the sunshine by the lake-side, got on board of the Aigle, No. 2. There were a good many passengers, the larger proportion of whom seemed to be English and American, and among the latter a large party of talkative ladies, old and young. The voyage was pleasant while we were protected from the sun by the awning overhead, but became scarcely agreeable when the sun had descended so low as to shine in our faces or on our backs. We looked earnestly for Mont Blanc, which ought to have been visible during a large part of our course; but the clouds gathered themselves hopelessly over the portion of the sky where the great mountain lifted his white peak; and we did not see it, and probably never shall. As to the meaner mountains, there

 

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were enough of them, and beautiful enough; but we were a little weary, and feverish with the heat. . . . I think I had a headache, though it is so unusual a complaint with me that I hardly know it when it comes. We were none of us sorry, therefore, when the Eagle brought us to the quay of Geneva, only a short distance from our hotel. . . .

To-day I wrote to Mr. Wilding, requesting him to secure passages for us from Liverpool on the 15th of next month, or 1st of August. It makes my heart thrill, half pleasantly, half otherwise; so much nearer does this step seem to bring that home whence I have now been absent six years, and which, when I see it again, may turn out to be not my home any longer. I likewise wrote to Bennoch, though I know not his present address; but I should deeply grieve to leave England without seeing him. He and Henry Bright are the only two men in England to whom I shall be much grieved to bid farewell; but to the island itself I cannot bear to say that word, as a finality. I shall dreamily hope to come back again at some indefinite time; rather foolishly, perhaps, for it will tend to take the substance out of my life in my own land. But this, I suspect, is apt to be the penalty of those who stay abroad, and stay too long.

HAVRE.

Hôtel Wheeler, June 22d.--We arrived at this hotel last evening from Paris, and find ourselves on the borders of the Petit Quay Notre Dame, with steamers and boats right under our windows, and all sorts of dock-business going on briskly. There are barrels, bales, and crates of goods; there are old iron cannon for posts.; in short, all that belongs to the

 

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Wapping of a great seaport. . . . The American partialities of the guests [of this hotel] are consulted by the decorations of the parlor, in which hang two lithographs and colored views of New York, from Brooklyn and from Weehawken. The fashion of the house is a sort of nondescript mixture of Frank, English, and American, and is not disagreeable to us after our weary experience of Continental life. The abundance of the food is very acceptable, in comparison with the meagreness of French and Italian meals; and last evening we supped nobly on cold roast beef and ham, set generously before us, in the mass, instead of being doled out in slices few and thin. The waiter has a kindly sort of manner, and resembles the steward of a vessel rather than a landsman; and, in short, everything here has undergone a change, which might admit of very effective description. I may now as well give up all attempts at journalizing. So I shall say nothing of our journey across France from Geneva.

To-night we shall take our departure in a steamer for Southampton, whence we shall go to London; thence, in a week or two, to Liverpool; thence to Boston and Concord, there to enjoy--if enjoyment it prove--a little rest and a sense that we are at home.

[More than four months were now taken up in writing "The Marble Faun," in great part at the seaside town of Redcar, Yorkshire, Mr. Hawthorne having concluded to remain another year in England, chiefly to accomplish that romance. In Redcar, where he remained till September or October, he wrote no journal, but only the book. He then went to Leamington, where he finished "The Marble Faun" in March, and there is a little journalizing soon after leaving Redcar.--ED.]

 

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ENGLAND.

Leamington November 14th, 1859.-- J----- and I walked to Lillington the other day. Its little church was undergoing renovation when we were here two years ago, and now seems to be quite renewed, with the exception of its square, gray battlemented tower, which has still the aspect of unadulterated antiquity. On Saturday J----- and I walked to Warwick by the old road, passing over the bridge of the Avon, within view of the castle. It is as fine a piece of English scenery as exists anywhere,--the quiet little river shadowed with drooping trees, and, in its vista, the gray towers and long line of windows of the lordly castle, with a picturesquely varied outline; ancient strength, a little softened by decay. . . .

The town of Warwick, I think, has been considerably modernized since I first saw it. The whole of the central portion of the principal street now looks modern, with its stuccoed or brick fronts of houses, and, in many cases, handsome shop windows. Leicester Hospital and its adjoining chapel still look venerably antique; and so does a gateway that half bestrides the street. Beyond these two points on either side it has a much older aspect. The modern signs heighten the antique impression.

 

February 5th, 1860.-- Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch are staying for a little while at Mr. B----'s, at Coventry, and Mr. B---- called upon us the other day, with Mr. Bennoch, and invited us to go and see the lions of Coventry; so yesterday U-- and I went. It was not my first visit, therefore I have little or nothing to record, unless, it were to describe a ribbon-factory into

 

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which Mr. B---- took us. But I have no comprehension of machinery, and have only a confused recollection of an edifice of four or five stories, on each floor of which were rows of huge machines, all busy with their iron hands and joints in turning out delicate ribbons. It was very curious and unintelligible to me to observe how they caused different colored patterns to appear, and even flowers to blossom, on the plain surface of a ribbon. Some of the designs were pretty, and I was told that one manufacturer pays 500 pounds annually to French artists (or artisans, for I do not know whether they have a connection with higher art) merely for new patterns of ribbons. The English find it impossible to supply themselves with tasteful productions of this sort, merely from the resources of English fancy. If an Englishman possessed the artistic faculty to the degree requisite to produce such things, he would doubtless think himself a great artist, and scorn to devote himself to these humble purposes. Every Frenchman is probably more of an artist than one Englishman in a thousand.

We ascended to the very roof of the factory, and gazed thence over smoky Coventry, which is now a town of very considerable size, and rapidly on the increase. The three famous spires rise out of the midst, that of St. Michael being the tallest, and very beautiful. Had the day been clear, we should have had a wide view on all sides; for Warwickshire is well laid out for distant prospects, if you can only gain a little elevation from which to see them.

Descending from the roof, we next went to see Trinity Church, which has just come through an entire process of renovation, whereby much of its pristine beauty has doubtless been restored; but its venerable

 

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awfulness is greatly impaired. We went into three churches, and found that they had all been subjected to the same process. It would be nonsense to regret it, because the very existence of these old edifices is involved in their being renewed; but it certainly does deprive them of a great part of their charm, and puts one in mind of wigs, padding, and all such devices for giving decrepitude the aspect of youth. In the pavement of the nave and aisles there are worn tombstones, with defaced inscriptions, and discolored marbles affixed against the wall; monuments, too, where a mediæval man and wife sleep side by side on a marble slab; and other tombs so old that the inscriptions are quite gone. Over an arch, in one of the churches, there was a fresco, so old, dark, faded, and blackened, that I found it impossible to make out a single figure or time slightest hint of the design. On the whole, after seeing the churches of Italy, I was not greatly impressed with these attempts to renew the ancient beauty of old English minsters; it would be better to preserve as sedulously as possible their aspect of decay, in which consists the principal charm. .

On our way to Mr. B----'s house, we looked into the quadrangle of a charity-school and old men's hospital, and afterwards stepped into a large Roman Catholic church, erected within these few years past, and closely imitating the mediæval architecture and arrangements. It is strange what a plaything, a trifle, an unserious affair, this imitative spirit makes of a huge, ponderous edifice, which if it had really been built five hundred years ago would have been worthy of all respect. I think the time must soon come when this sort of thing will be held in utmost scorn, until the lapse of time shall give it a claim to respect. But,

 

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methinks, we had better strike out any kind of architecture, so it be our own, however wretched, than thus tread back upon the past.

Mr. B---- now conducted us to his residence, which stands a little beyond the outskirts of the city, on the declivity of a hill, and in so windy a spot that, as he assured me, the very plants are blown out of the ground. He pointed to two maimed trees whose tops were blown off by a gale two or three years since; but the foliage still covers their shortened summits in summer; so that he does not think it desirable to cut them down.

In America, a man of Mr. B----'s property would take upon himself the state and dignity of a millionaire. It is a blessed thing in England, that money gives a man no pretensions to rank, and does not bring the responsibilities of a great position.

We found three or four gentlemen to meet us at dinner,--a Mr. D---- and a Mr. B----, an author, having written a book called "The Philosophy of Necessity," and is acquainted with Emerson, who spent two or three days at his house when last in England. He was very kindly appreciative of my own productions, as was also his wife, next to whom I sat at dinner. She talked to me about the author of "Adam Bede," whom she has known intimately all her life.

Miss Evans (who wrote "Adam Bede") was the daughter of a steward, and gained her exact knowledge of English rural life by the connection with which this origin brought her with the farmers. She was entirely self-educated, and has made herself an admirable scholar in classical as well as in modern languages. Those who knew her had always recognized her wonderful endowments, and only watched to see

 

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in what way they would develop themselves. She is a person of the simplest manners and character, amiable and unpretending, and Mrs. B------ spoke of her with great affection and respect.. . . Mr. B----, our host, is an extremely sensible man; and it is remarkable how many sensible men there are in England,--men who have read and thought, and can develop very good ideas, not exactly original, yet so much the product of their own minds that they can fairly call them their own. . . .

 

February 18th.--. . . This present month has been somewhat less dismal than the preceding ones; there have been some sunny and breezy days when the