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Title: Pencillings by the Way - Written During Some Years of Residence and Travel in Europe
Author: Willis, N. Parker
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved.  The author's use of accents was retained as printed.
  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.



     PENCILLINGS BY THE WAY:

     WRITTEN
     DURING SOME YEARS OF RESIDENCE AND TRAVEL
     IN
     EUROPE.

     BY
     N. PARKER WILLIS.


     NEW YORK:
     CHARLES SCRIBNER, 124 GRAND STREET.

     MDCCCLX.



     Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
     CHARLES SCRIBNER,

     In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United
     States for the Southern District of New York.



PREFACE.


A word or two of necessary explanation, dear reader.

I had resided on the Continent for several years, and had been a year
in England, without being suspected, I believe, in the societies in
which I lived, of any habit of authorship. No production of mine had
ever crossed the water, and my Letters to the New-York Mirror, were
(for this long period, and I presumed would be forever), as far as
European readers were concerned, an unimportant and easy secret.
Within a few months of returning to this country, the Quarterly Review
came out with a severe criticism on the Pencillings by the Way,
published in the New-York Mirror. A London publisher immediately
procured a broken set of this paper from an American resident there,
and called on me with an offer of £300 for an immediate edition of
what he had--rather less than one half of the Letters in this present
volume. This chanced on the day before my marriage, and I left
immediately for Paris--a literary friend most kindly undertaking to
look over the proofs, and suppress what might annoy any one then
living in London. The book was printed in three volumes, at about $7
per copy, and in this expensive shape three editions were sold by the
original publisher. After his death a duodecimo edition was put forth,
very beautifully illustrated; and this has been followed by a fifth
edition lately published, with new embellishments, by Mr. Virtue. The
only American edition (long ago out of print) was a literal copy of
this imperfect and curtailed book.

In the present complete edition, the Letters objected to by the
Quarterly, are, like the rest, re-published _as originally written_.
The offending portions must be at any rate, harmless, after being
circulated extensively in this country in the Mirror, and prominently
quoted from the Mirror in the Quarterly--and this being true, I have
felt that I could gratify the wish to be put _fairly on trial_ for
these alleged offences--to have a comparison instituted between my
sins, in this respect, and Hamilton's, Muskau's, Von Raumer's,
Marryat's and Lockhart's--and so, to put a definite value and meaning
upon the constant and vague allusions to these iniquities, with which
the critiques of my contemporaries abound. I may state as a fact, that
the only instance in which a quotation by me from the conversation of
distinguished men gave the least offence in England, was the one
remark made by Moore the poet at a dinner party, on the subject of
O'Connell. It would have been harmless, as it was designed to be, but
for the unexpected celebrity of my Pencillings; yet with all my heart
I wished it unwritten.

I wish to put on record in this edition (and you need not be at the
trouble of perusing them unless you please, dear reader!) an extract
or two from the London prefaces to "Pencillings," and parts of two
articles written apropos of the book's offences.

The following is from the Preface to the first London edition:--

"The extracts from these Letters which have appeared in the public
prints, have drawn upon me much severe censure. Admitting its justice
in part, perhaps I may shield myself from its remaining excess by a
slight explanation. During several years' residence in Continental and
Eastern countries, I have had opportunities (as _attaché_ to a foreign
Legation), of seeing phases of society and manners not usually
described in books of travel. Having been the Editor, before leaving
the United States, of a monthly Review, I found it both profitable and
agreeable, to continue my interest in the periodical in which that
Review was merged at my departure, by a miscellaneous correspondence.
Foreign courts, distinguished men, royal entertainments, &c.
&c.,--matters which were likely to interest American readers more
particularly--have been in turn my themes. The distance of America
from these countries, and the ephemeral nature and usual obscurity of
periodical correspondence, were a sufficient warrant to my mind, that
the descriptions would die where they first saw the light, and fulfil
only the trifling destiny for which they were intended. I indulged
myself, therefore, in a freedom of detail and topic which is usual
only in posthumous memoirs--expecting as soon that they would be read
in the countries and by the persons described, as the biographer of
Byron and Sheridan, that these fruitful and unconscious themes would
rise from the dead to read their own interesting memoirs! And such a
resurrection would hardly be a more disagreeable surprise to that
eminent biographer, than was the sudden appearance to me of my own
unambitious Letters in the Quarterly Review.

"The reader will see (for every Letter containing the least personal
detail has been most industriously republished in the English papers)
that I have in some slight measure corrected these Pencillings by the
Way. They were literally what they were styled--notes written on the
road, and despatched without a second perusal; and it would be
extraordinary if, between the liberty I felt with my material, and the
haste in which I scribbled, some egregious errors in judgment and
taste had not crept in unawares. The Quarterly has made a long arm
over the water to refresh my memory on this point. There _are_
passages I would not re-write, and some remarks on individuals which I
would recall at some cost, and would not willingly see repeated in
these volumes. Having conceded thus much, however, I may express my
surprise that this particular sin should have been visited upon _me_,
at a distance of three thousand miles, when the reviewer's own
literary fame rests on the more aggravated instance of a book of
personalities, published under the very noses of the persons
described. Those of my Letters which date from England were written
within three or four months of my first arrival in this country.
Fortunate in my introductions, almost embarrassed with kindness, and,
from advantages of comparison, gained by long travel, qualified to
appreciate keenly the delights of English society, I was little
disposed to find fault. Everything pleased me. Yet in one
instance--one single instance--I indulged myself in stricture upon
individual character, and I _repeat it in this work_, sure that there
will be but one person in the world of letters who will not read it
with approbation--the editor of the _Quarterly_ himself. It was
expressed at the time with no personal feeling, for I had never seen
the individual concerned, and my name had probably never reached his
ears. I but repeated what I had said a thousand times, and never
without an indignant echo to its truth--an opinion formed from the
most dispassionate perusal of his writings--that the editor of that
Review was the most unprincipled critic of his age. Aside from its
flagrant literary injustice, we owe to the _Quarterly_, it is well
known, every spark of ill-feeling that has been kept alive between
England and America for the last twenty years. The sneers, the
opprobrious epithets of this bravo in literature, have been received
in a country where the machinery of reviewing was not understood, as
the voice of the English people, and an animosity for which there was
no other reason, has been thus periodically fed and exasperated. I
conceive it to be my duty as a literary man--I _know_ it is my duty as
an American--to lose no opportunity of setting my heel on the head of
this reptile of criticism."

The following is part of an article, written by myself, on the subject
of personalities, for a periodical in New York:

"There is no question, I believe, that pictures of living society,
where society is in very high perfection, and of living persons, where
they are 'persons of mark,' are both interesting to ourselves, and
valuable to posterity. What would we not give for a description of a
dinner with Shakspeare and Ben Jonson--of a dance with the Maids of
Queen Elizabeth--of a chat with Milton in a morning call? We should
say the man was a churl, who, when he had the power, should have
refused to 'leave the world a copy' of such precious hours. Posterity
will decide who are the great of our time--but they are at least
_among_ those I have heard talk, and have described and quoted, and
who would read without interest, a hundred years hence, a character of
the second Virgin Queen, caught as it was uttered in a ball-room of
her time? or a description of her loveliest Maid of Honor, by one who
had stood opposite her in a dance, and wrote it before he slept? or a
conversation with Moore or Bulwer?--when the Queen and her fairest
maid, and Moore and Bulwer have had their splendid funerals, and are
dust, like Elizabeth and Shakspeare?

"The harm, if harm there be in such sketches, is in the spirit in
which they are done. If they are ill-natured or untrue, or if the
author says aught to injure the feelings of those who have admitted
him to their confidence or hospitality, he is to blame, and it is
easy, since he publishes while his subjects are living, to correct his
misrepresentations, and to visit upon him his infidelities of
friendship.

"But (while I think of it), perhaps some fault-finder will be pleased
to tell me, why this is so much deeper a sin in _me_ than in all other
travellers. Has Basil Hall any hesitation in describing a dinner party
in the United States, and recording the conversation at table? Does
Miss Martineau stick at publishing the portrait of a distinguished
American, and faithfully recording all he says in a confidential
_tête-à-tête_? Have Captain Hamilton and Prince Pukler, Von Raumer and
Captain Marryat, any scruples whatever about putting down anything
they hear that is worth the trouble, or of describing any scene,
private or public, which would tell in their book, or illustrate a
national peculiarity? What would their books be without this class of
subjects? What would any book of travels be, leaving out everybody the
author saw, and all he heard? Not that I justify all these authors
have done in this way, for I honestly think they have stepped over the
line, which I have but trod close upon."

Surely it is the _abuse_, and not the _use_ of information thus
acquired, that makes the offence.

The most formal, unqualified, and severe condemnation recorded against
my Pencillings, however, is that of the renowned Editor of the
Quarterly, and to show the public the immaculate purity of the forge
where this long-echoed thunder is manufactured, I will quote a passage
or two from a book of the same description, by the Editor of the
Quarterly himself. 'Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk,' by Mr. Lockhart,
are three volumes exclusively filled with portraits of persons, living
at the time it was written in Scotland, their conversation with the
author, their manners, their private histories, etc., etc. In one of
the letters upon the 'Society of Edinburgh,' is the following delicate
passage:--

"'Even you, my dear Lady Johnes, are a perfect history in every branch
of knowledge. I remember, only the last time I saw you, you were
praising with all your might the legs of Col. B----, those flimsy,
worthless things that look as if they were bandaged with linen rollers
from the heel to the knee. You may say what you will, but I still
assert, and I will prove it if you please by pen and pencil, that,
with one pair of exceptions, the best legs in Cardigan are Mrs.
P----'s. As for Miss J---- D----'s, I think they are frightful.'...

"Two pages farther on he says:--

"'As for myself, I assure you that ever since I spent a week at Lady
L----'s and saw those great fat girls of hers, waltzing every night
with that odious De B----, I can not endure the very name of the
thing.'

"I quote from the second edition of these letters, by which it appears
that even these are _moderated_ passages. A note to the first of the
above quotations runs as follows:

"'A great part of this letter is omitted in the Second Edition in
consequence of the displeasure its publication gave to certain ladies
in Cardiganshire. As for the gentleman who chose to take what I said
of him in so much dudgeon, he will observe, that I have allowed what I
said to remain _in statu quo_, which I certainly should not have
done, had he expressed his resentment in a proper manner.'

"So well are these unfortunate persons' names known by those who read
the book in England, that in the copy which I have from a circulating
library, they are all filled out in pencil. And I would here beg the
reader to remark that these are private individuals, compelled by no
literary or official distinction to come out from their privacy and
figure in print, and in this, if not in the _taste_ and _quality_ of
my descriptions, I claim a fairer escutcheon than my self-elected
judge--for where is a person's name recorded in my letters who is not
either by tenure of public office, or literary, or political
distinction, a theme of daily newspaper comment, and of course fair
game for the traveller.

"I must give one more extract from Mr. Lockhart's book, an account of
a dinner with a private merchant of Glasgow.

"'I should have told you before, that I had another visiter early in
the morning, besides Mr. H. This was a Mr. P----, a respectable
merchant of the place, also an acquaintance of my friend W----. He
came before H----, and after professing himself very sorry that his
avocations would not permit him to devote his forenoon to my service,
he made me promise to dine with him.... My friend soon joined me, and
observing from the appearance of my countenance that I was
contemplating the scene with some disgust,' (the Glasgow Exchange) 'My
good fellow,' said he, 'you are just like every other well-educated
stranger that comes into this town; you can not endure the first
sight of us mercantile whelps. Do not, however, be alarmed; I will not
introduce you to any of these cattle at dinner. No, sir! You must know
that there are a few men of refinement and polite information in this
city. I have warned two or three of these _raræ aves_, and depend upon
it, you shall have a very snug _day's work_.' So saying he took my
arm, and observing that five was _just on the chap_, hurried me
through several streets and lanes till we arrived in the ----, where
his house is situated. His wife was, I perceived, quite the fine lady,
and, withal, a little of the blue stocking. Hearing that I had just
come from Edinburgh, she remarked that Glasgow would be seen to much
more disadvantage after that elegant city. 'Indeed,' said she, 'a
person of taste, must, of course, find many disagreeables connected
with a residence in such a town as this; but Mr. P----'s business
renders the thing necessary for the present, and one can not make a
silk purse of a sow's ear--he, he, he!' Another lady of the company,
carried this affectation still farther; she pretended to be quite
ignorant of Glasgow and its inhabitants, although she had lived among
them the greater part of her life, and, by the by, seemed no chicken.
I was afterward told by my friend Mr. H----, that this damsel had in
reality sojourned a winter or two in Edinburgh, in the capacity of
_lick-spittle_ or _toad-eater_ to a lady of quality, to whom she had
rendered herself amusing by a malicious tongue; and that during this
short absence, she had embraced the opportunity of utterly forgetting
everything about the West country.

"'The dinner was excellent, although calculated apparently for forty
people rather than sixteen, which last number sat down. While the
ladies remained in the room, there was such a noise and racket of
coarse mirth, ill restrained by a few airs of sickly sentiment on the
part of the hostess, that I really could neither attend to the wine
nor the dessert; but after a little time a very broad hint from a fat
Falstaff, near the foot of the table, apparently quite a privileged
character, thank Heaven! sent the ladies out of the room. The moment
after which blessed consummation, the butler and footman entered, as
if by instinct, the one with a huge punch bowl, _the other with,
&c._'"

I do thank Heaven that there is no parallel in my own letters to
either of these three extracts. It is a thing of course that there is
not. They are violations of hospitality, social confidence, and
delicacy, of which even my abusers will allow me incapable. Yet this
man accuses me of all these things, and so runs criticism!

And to this I add (to conclude this long Preface) some extracts from a
careful review of the work in the North American:--

"'Pencillings by the Way,' is a very spirited book. The letters out of
which it is constructed, were written originally for the New-York
'Mirror,' and were not intended for distinct publication. From this
circumstance, the author indulged in a freedom of personal detail,
which we must say is wholly unjustifiable, and we have no wish to
defend it. This book does not pretend to contain any profound
observations or discussions on national character, political
condition, literature, or even art. It would be obviously impossible
to carry any one of these topics thoroughly out, without spending
vastly more time and labor upon it than a rambling poet is likely to
have the inclination to do. In fact, there are very few men, who are
qualified, by the nature of their previous studies, to do this with
any degree of edification to their readers. But a man of general
intellectual culture, especially if he have the poetical imagination
superadded, may give us rapid sketches of other countries, which will
both entertain and instruct us. Now this book is precisely such a one
as we have here indicated. The author travelled through Europe,
mingling largely in society, and visited whatever scenes were
interesting to him as an American, a scholar, and a poet. The
impressions which these scenes made upon his mind, are described in
these volumes; and we must say, we have rarely fallen in with a book
of a more sprightly character, a more elegant and graceful style, and
full of more lively descriptions. The delineations of manners are
executed with great tact; and the shifting pictures of natural scenery
pass before us as we read, exciting a never-ceasing interest. As to
the personalities which have excited the wrath of British critics, we
have, as we said before, no wish to defend them; but a few words upon
the tone, temper, and motives, of those gentlemen, in their dealing
with our author, will not, perhaps, be considered inappropriate.

"It is a notorious fact, that British criticism, for many years past,
has been, to a great extent, free from all the restraints of a regard
to literary truth. Assuming the political creed of an author, it would
be a very easy thing to predict the sort of criticism his writings
would meet with, in any or all of the leading periodicals of the
kingdom. This tendency has been carried so far, that even discussions
of points in ancient classical literature have been shaped and colored
by it. Thus, Aristophanes' comedies are turned against modern
democracy, and Pindar, the Theban Eagle, has been unceremoniously
classed with British Tories, by the London Quarterly. Instead of
inquiring 'What is the author's object? How far has he accomplished
it? How far is that object worthy of approbation?'--three questions
that are essential to all just criticism; the questions put by English
Reviewers are substantially 'What party does he belong to? Is he a
Whig, Tory, Radical, or is he an American?' And the sentence in such
cases depends on the answer to them. Even where British criticism is
favorable to an American author, its tone is likely to be haughty and
insulting; like the language of a condescending city gentleman toward
some country cousin, whom he is kind enough to honor with his
patronage.

"Now, to critics of this sort, Mr. Willis was a tempting mark. No one
can for a moment believe that the London Quarterly, Frazer's Magazine,
and Captain Marryat's monthly, are honest in the language they hold
toward Mr. Willis. Motives, wide enough from a love of truth, guided
the conduct of these journals. The editor of the London Quarterly, it
is well known, is the author of 'Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk,' a
work full of personalities, ten times more objectionable than
anything to be found in the 'Pencillings.' Yet this same editor did
not blush to write and print a long and most abusive tirade upon the
American traveller, for doing what he had himself done to a much
greater and more reprehensible extent; and, to cap the climax of
inconsistency, republished in his journal the very personalities,
names and all, which had so shocked his delicate sensibilities. It is
much more likely that a disrespectful notice of the London Quarterly
and its editor, in these 'Pencillings,' was the source from which this
bitterness flowed, than that any sense of literary justice dictated
the harsh review. Another furious attack on Mr. Willis's book appeared
in the monthly journal, under the editorial management of Captain
Marryat, the author of a series of very popular sea novels. Whoever
was the author of that article, ought to be held disgraced in the
opinions of all honorable men. It is the most extraordinary tissue of
insolence and coarseness, with one exception, that we have ever seen,
in any periodical which pretended to respectability of literary
character. It carries its grossness to the intolerable length of
attacking the private character of Mr. Willis, and throwing out
foolish sneers about his birth and parentage. It is this article which
led to the well-known correspondence, between the American Poet and
the British Captain, ending in a hostile meeting. It is to be
regretted that Mr. Willis should so far forget the principles of his
New England education, as to participate in a duel. We regard the
practice with horror; we believe it not only wicked, but absurd. We
can not possibly see how, Mr. Willis's tarnished fame could be
brightened by the superfluous work of putting an additional quantity
of lead into the gallant captain. But there is, perhaps, no disputing
about tastes; and, bad as we think the whole affair was, no candid man
can read the correspondence without feeling that Mr. Willis's part of
it, is infinitely superior to the captain's, in style, sense, dignity
of feeling, and manly honor.

"But, to return to the work from which we have been partially drawn
aside. Its merits in point of style are unquestionable. It is written
in a simple, vigorous, and highly descriptive form of English, and
rivets the reader's attention throughout. There are passages in it of
graphic eloquence, which it would be difficult to surpass from the
writings of any other tourist, whatever. The topics our author
selects, are, as has been already stated, not those which require long
and careful study to appreciate and discuss; they are such as the
poetic eye would naturally dwell upon, and a poetic hand rapidly
delineate, in a cursory survey of foreign lands. Occasionally, we
think, Mr. Willis enters too minutely into the details of the
horrible. Some of his descriptions of the cholera, and the pictures he
gives us of the catacombs of the dead, are ghastly. But the manners of
society he draws with admirable tact; and personal peculiarities of
distinguished men, he renders with a most life-like vivacity. Many of
his descriptions of natural scenery are more like pictures, than
sketches in words. The description of the Bay of Naples will occur as
a good example.

"It would be impossible to point out, with any degree of
particularity, the many passages in this book whose beauty deserves
attention. But it may be remarked in general, that the greater part of
the first volume is not so fresh and various, and animated, as the
second. This we suppose arises partly from the fact that France and
Italy have long been beaten ground.

"The last part of the book is a statement of the author's observations
upon English life and society; and it is this portion, which the
English critics affect to be so deeply offended with. The most
objectionable passage in this is the account of a dinner at Lady
Blessington's. Unquestionably Mr. Moore's remarks about Mr. O'Connell
ought not to have been reported, considering the time when, and the
place where, they were uttered; though they contain nothing new about
the great Agitator, the secrets disclosed being well known to some
millions of people who interest themselves in British politics, and
read the British newspapers. We close our remarks on this work by
referring our readers to a capital scene on board a Scotch steamboat,
and a breakfast at Professor Wilson's, the famous editor of Blackwood,
both in the second volume, which we regret our inability to quote."

"Every impartial reader must confess, that for so young a man, Mr.
Willis has done much to promote the reputation of American literature.
His position at present is surrounded with every incentive to a noble
ambition. With youth and health to sustain him under labor; with much
knowledge of the world acquired by travel and observation, to draw
upon; with a mature style, and a hand practised in various forms of
composition, Mr. Willis's genius ought to take a wider and higher
range than it has ever done before. We trust we shall meet him again,
ere long, in the paths of literature; and we trust that he will take
it kindly, if we express the hope, that he will lay aside those
tendencies to exaggeration, and to an unhealthy tone of sentiment,
which mar the beauty of some of his otherwise most agreeable books."



CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE
       LETTER I.

    Getting under Way--The Gulf Stream--Aspect of the Ocean--
    Formation of a Wave--Sea Gems--The Second Mate,                 11

       LETTER II.

    A Dog at Sea--Dining, with a High Sea--Sea Birds--Tandem of
    Whales--Speaking a Man-of-War--Havre,                           18

       LETTER III.

    Havre--French Bed-room--The Cooking--Chance Impressions,        25

       LETTER IV.

    Pleasant Companion--Normandy--Rouen--Eden of Cultivation--St.
    Denis--Entrance to Paris--Lodgings--Walk of Discovery--Palais
    Royal,                                                          30

       LETTER V.

    Gallery of the Louvre--Greenough--Feeling as a Foreigner--
    Solitude in the Louvre--Louis Philippe--The Poles--Napoleon
    II,                                                             40

       LETTER VI.

    Taglioni--French Acting--French Applause--Leontine Fay,         48

       LETTER VII.

    Lelewel--Pére La Chaise--Pauvre Marie--Versailles--The
    Trianons--Josephine's Boudoir--Time and Money at Paris--Wives
    and Fuel--One Price Shops,                                      53

       LETTER VIII.

    Mr. Cooper--Mr. Greenough--Fighting Animals--The Dog Pit--
    Fighting Donkey--Sporting Englishmen,                           63

       LETTER IX.

    Malibran--Paris at a Late Hour--Glass Gallery--Cloud and
    Sunshine--General Romarino--Parisian Students--Tumult Ended,    70

       LETTER X.

    French Children--Royal Equipages--French Driving--City
    Riding--Parisian Picturesque--Beggar's Deception--Genteel
    Beggars,                                                        78

       LETTER XI.

    Madame Mars--Franklin's House--Ball for the Poor--Theatrical
    Splendor--Louis Philippe--Duke of Orleans--Young Queen of
    Portugal--Don Pedro--Close of the Ball,                         86

       LETTER XII.

    Champs Elysées--Louis Philippe--Literary Dinner--Bowring and
    others--The Poles--Dr. Howe's Mission,                          96

       LETTER XIII.

    Club Gambling House--Frascati's--Female Gambler,               103

       LETTER XIV.

    Tuileries--Men of Mark--Cooper and Morse--Contradictions--
    Dinner Hour--How to Dine Well,                                 107

       LETTER XV.

    The Emperor--Turenne--Lady Officer--Gambling Quarrel--Curious
    Antagonists--Influence of Paris,                               114

       LETTER XVI.

    Cholera Gaieties--Cholera Patient--Morning in Paris--Cholera
    Hospital--New Patient--Physician's Indifference--Punch
    Remedy--Dead Room--Non-Contagion,                              121

       LETTER XVII.

    Unexpected Challenge--Court Presentation--Louis Philippe--
    Royal Family at Tea--Countess Guiccioli--Mardi Gras--Bal
    Costumé--Public Masks--Lady Cavalier--Ball at the Palace--
    Duke of Orleans--Dr. Bowring--Celebrated Men--Glass Verandah,  131

       LETTER XVIII.

    Cholera--Social Tea Party--Recipe for Caution--Baths and
    Happiness,                                                     146

       LETTER XIX.

    Bois de Boulogne--Guiccioli--Sismondi--Cooper,                 151

       LETTER XX.

    Friend of Lady Morgan--Dr. Spurzheim--Cast-Taking--De
    Potter--David the Sculptor,                                    156

       LETTER XXI.

    Attractions of Paris--Mr. Cooper--Mr. Rives,                   162

       LETTER XXII.

    Chalons--Sens--Auxerre--St. Bris--Three Views In One--
    Chalons,                                                       166

       LETTER XXIII.

    Boat on the Saone--Scenery above Lyons--Lyons--Churches at
    Lyons--Monastery,                                              173

       LETTER XXIV.

    Travelling Party--Breakfast on the Road--Localities of
    Antiquity--Picturesque Chateau--French Patois,                 179

       LETTER XXV.

    Arles--The Cathedral--Marseilles--Parting with Companions--
    Pass of Ollioules--Toulon--Antibes--Coast of Mediterranean--
    Forced to Return--Lazaretto--Absurd Hindrances--Fear of
    Contagion--Sleep out of Doors--Lazaretto Occupations--
    Delicious Sunday--New Arrivals--Companions--End of
    Quarantine,                                                    185

       LETTER XXVI.

    Nice--Funeral of an Arch-Duchess--Nice to Genoa--Views--
    Entrance to Genoa--Genoa,                                      204

       LETTER XXVII.

    The Venus--The Fornarina--A Coquette and the Arts--A
    Festa--Ascension Day--The Cascine--Madame Catalani,            211

       LETTER XXVIII.

    Titian's Bella--The Grand-Duchess--An Improvisatrice--Living
    in Florence--Lodgings at Florence--Expense of Living,          219

       LETTER XXIX.

    Companions--Scenery of Romagna--Wives--Bologna,                225

       LETTER XXX.

    Gallery at Bologna--A Guido--Churches--Confession--Chapel--
    Festa--Agreeable Manners,                                      231

       LETTER XXXI.

    Regatta--Venetian Sunset--Privileged Admission--Guillotining--
    Bridge of Sighs--San Marc--The Nobleman Beggar,                238

       LETTER XXXII.

    An Evening in Venice--The Streets of Venice--The Rialto--
    Sunset from San Marc,                                          246

       LETTER XXXIII.

    Titian's Pictures--Last Day in Venice,                         251

       LETTER XXXIV.

    Italian Civility--Juliet's Tomb--The Palace of the
    Capuletti--A Dinner,                                           254

       LETTER XXXV.

    Good and Ill-Breeding--Bridal Party,                           259

       LETTER XXXVI.

    Manner of Living--Originals of Novels--Ill,                    262

       LETTER XXXVII.

    The Duke of Lucca--Modena--The Palace--Bologna--Venice
    Again--Its Splendor,                                           266

       LETTER XXXVIII.

    Armenian Island--Agreeable Monk--Insane Hospital--Insane
    Patients--The Lagune--State Galley--Instruments of Torture,    273

       LETTER XXXIX.

    Venice at Evening--The Patriotism of a Noble--Church of St.
    Antony--Petrarch's Cottage and Tomb--Petrarch's Room,          281

       LETTER XL.

    Cultivation of the Fields--The Vintage--Malibran in Gazza
    Ladra--Gallery of the Lambaccari,                              287

       LETTER XLI.

    Sienna--Catholic Devotion--Acquapendente--Lake Bolsena--
    Vintage Festa--Monte Cimino--First Sight of Rome--Baccano,     292

       LETTER XLII.

    St. Peter's--The Apollo Belvidere--Raphael's
    Transfiguration--The Pantheon--The Forum,                      301

       LETTER XLIII.

    The Falls of Tivoli--Villa of Adrian--A Ramble by Moonlight--
    The Cloaca Maxima,                                             307

       LETTER XLIV.

    The Last Judgment--The Music--Gregory the Sixteenth,           312

       LETTER XLV.

    Byron's Statue--The Borghese Palace--Society of Rome,          316

       LETTER XLVI.

    The Climate--Falls of Terni--The Clitumnus--A Lesson not
    Lost--Thrasimene--Florence--Florentine Women--Need of an
    Ambassador,                                                    320

       LETTER XLVII.

    Chat in the Ante-Chamber--Love in High Life--Ball at the
    Palazzo Pitti--The Grand Duke--An Italian Beauty--An English
    Beauty,                                                        329

       LETTER XLVIII.

    Oxen of Italy--Vallombrosa--A Convent Dinner--Vespers at
    Vallombrosa--The Monk's Estimate of Women--Milton's Room--
    Florence,                                                      336

       LETTER XLIX.

    The House of Michael Angelo--Fiesole--San Miniato--Christmas
    Eve--Amusing Scenes in Church,                                 344

       LETTER L.

    Penitential Processions--The Carlist Refugees--The Miracle of
    Rain--The Miraculous Picture--Giovanni Di Bologna--Andrea Del
    Sarto,                                                         350

       LETTER LI.

    The Entertainments of Florence--A Peasant Beauty--The Morality
    of Society--The Italian Cavalier--The Features of Society,     357

       LETTER LII.

    Artists and the French Academy--Beautiful Scenery--Sacred
    Woods of Bolsena,                                              363

       LETTER LIII.

    The Virtuoso of Viterbo--Robberies--Rome as Fancied--Rome as
    Found,                                                         367

       LETTER LIV.

    The Fountain of Egeria--The Pontine Marshes--Mola--The
    Falernian Hills--The Doctor of St. Agatha--The Queen of
    Naples,                                                        372

       LETTER LV.

    St. Peter's--The Fountains--The Obelisk--The Forum--Its
    Memories--The Cenci--Claude's Pictures--Fancies Realized--The
    Last of the Dorias--A Picture by Leonardo Da Vinci--Palace of
    the Cesars--An Hour on the Palatine,                           379

       LETTER LVI.

    Roman Eyes versus Feet--Vespers at Santa Trinita--Roman
    Baths--Baths of Titus--Shelley's Haunt,                        390

       LETTER LVII.

    The Tomb of the Scipios--The Early Christians--The Tomb of
    Metella--Fountain of Egeria--Changed Aspect of Rome,           396

       LETTER LVIII.

    Palm Sunday--A Crowd--The Miserere--A Judas--The Washing of
    Feet--The Dinner,                                              402

       LETTER LIX.

    The Protestant Cemetery--Shelley's Grave--Beauty of the
    Place--Keats--Dr. Bell,                                        409

       LETTER LX.

    Audience with the Pope--Humility and Pride in Contrast--The
    Miserere at St. Peter's--Italian Moonlight--Dancing at the
    Coliseum,                                                      415

       LETTER LXI.

    Easter Sunday--The Pope's Blessing--Illumination of St.
    Peter's--Florentine Sociability--A Marriage of Convenience,    421

       LETTER LXII.

    The Correggio--Austrians in Italy--The Cathedral at Milan--
    Guercino's Hagar--Milanese Coffee,                             427

       LETTER LXIII.

    Still in Italy--Isola Bella--Ascent of the Simplon--Farewell
    to Italy--An American--Descent of the Simplon,                 433

       LETTER LXIV.

    The Cretins--The Goitre--First Sight of Lake Leman--Mont
    Blanc--June in Geneva--The Winkelreid,                         440

       LETTER LXV.

    American and Genevese Steamers--Lilies of the Valley--A
    Frenchman's Apology--Genevese Women--Voltaire's Room,          446

       LETTER LXVI.

    The Jura--Arrival at Morez--Lost my Temper--National
    Characteristics--Politeness versus Comfort,                    452

       LETTER LXVII.

    Lafayette's Funeral--Crossing the Channel--An English Inn--
    Mail Coaches and Horses--A Gentleman Driver--A Subject for
    Madame Trollope,                                               458

       LETTER LXVIII.

    First Dinner in London--The King's Birth-day--A Handsome
    Street--Introduction to Lady Blessington--A Chat about
    Bulwer--The D'Israeli's--Contrast of Criticism--Countess
    Guiccioli--Lady Blessington--An Apology,                       465

       LETTER LXIX.

    An Evening at Lady Blessington's--Fonblanc--Tribute to American
    Authors--A Sketch of Bulwer--Bulwer's Conversation--An Author
    his own Critic,                                                476

       LETTER LXX.

    Ascot Races--Handsome Men--The Princess Victoria--Charles
    Lamb--Mary Lamb--Lamb's Conversation--The Breakfast at Fault,  483

       LETTER LXXI.

    A Dinner at Lady Blessington's--D'Israeli, the Younger--The
    Author of Vathek--Mr. Beckford's Whims--Irish Patriotism--The
    Effect of Eloquence,                                           491

       LETTER LXXII.

    The Opera House--What Books will pay for--English Beauty--A
    Belle's Criticism on Society--Celebrities,                     498

       LETTER LXXIII.

    Breakfast with Proctor--A Story of Hazlitt--Procter as a
    Poet--Impressions of the Man,                                  504

       LETTER LXXIV.

    Moore's Dread of Criticism--Moore's Love of Rank--A generous
    Offer nobly Refused--A Sacrifice to Jupiter--The Election of
    Speaker--Miss Pardoe--Prices of Books,                         509

       LETTER LXXV.

    Dinner at Lady Blessington's--Scott--The Italians--Scott's Mode
    of Living--O'Connell--Grattan--Moore's Manner of Talking--Lady
    Blessington's Tact--Moore's Singing--A Curious Incident--The
    Maid Metamorphosed,                                            517



PENCILLINGS BY THE WAY.



LETTER I.


AT SEA.--I have emerged from my berth this morning for the first time
since we left the Capes. We have been running six or seven days before
a strong northwest gale, which, by the scuds in the sky, is not yet
blown out, and my head and hand, as you will see by my penmanship, are
anything but at rights. If you have ever plunged about in a cold
rain-storm at sea for seven successive days, you can imagine how I
have amused myself.

I wrote to you after my pilgrimage to the tomb of Washington. It was
almost the only object of natural or historical interest in our own
country that I had not visited, and that seen, I made all haste back
to embark, in pursuance of my plans of travel, for Europe. At
Philadelphia I found a first-rate merchant-brig, the Pacific, on the
eve of sailing for Havre. She was nearly new, and had a French
captain, and no passengers--three very essential circumstances to my
taste--and I took a berth in her without hesitation. The next day she
fell down the river, and on the succeeding morning I followed her with
the captain in the steamboat.

Some ten or fifteen vessels, bound on different voyages, lay in the
roads waiting for the pilot boat; and, as she came down the river,
they all weighed anchor together and we got under way. It was a
beautiful sight--so many sail in close company under a smart breeze,
and I stood on the quarter-deck and watched them in a mood of mingled
happiness and sadness till we reached the Capes. There was much to
elevate and much to depress me. The dream of my lifetime was about to
be realized. I was bound to France; and those fair Italian cities,
with their world of association and interest were within the limit of
a voyage; and all that one looks to for happiness in change of scene,
and all that I had been passionately wishing and imagining since I
could dream a day-dream or read a book, was before me with a visible
certainty; but my home was receding rapidly, perhaps for years, and
the chances of death and adversity in my absence crowded upon my
mind--and I had left friends--(many--many--as dear to me, any one of
them, as the whole sum of my coming enjoyment), whom a thousand
possible accidents might remove or estrange; and I scarce knew whether
I was more happy or sad.

We made Cape Henlopen about sundown, and all shortened sail and came
to. The little boat passed from one to another, taking off the pilots,
and in a few minutes every sail was spread again, and away they went
with a dashing breeze, some on one course some on another, leaving us
in less than an hour, apparently alone on the sea. By this time the
clouds had grown black, the wind had strengthened into a gale, with
fits of rain; and as the order was given to "close-reef the
top-sails," I took a last look at Cape Henlopen, just visible in the
far edge of the horizon, and went below.

OCT. 18.--It is a day to make one in love with life. The remains of
the long storm, before which we have been driven for a week, lie, in
white, turreted masses around the horizon, the sky overhead is
spotlessly blue, the sun is warm, the wind steady and fresh, but soft
as a child's breath, and the sea--I must sketch it to you more
elaborately. We are in the Gulf Stream. The water here as you know,
even to the cold banks of Newfoundland, is always blood warm, and the
temperature of the air mild at all seasons, and, just now, like a
south wind on land in June. Hundreds of sea birds are sailing around
us--the spongy sea-weeds, washed from the West Indian rocks, a
thousand miles away in the southern latitudes, float by in large
masses--the sailors, barefoot and bareheaded, are scattered over the
rigging, doing "fair-weather work"--and just in the edge of the
horizon, hidden by every swell, stand two vessels with all sail
spread, making, with the first fair wind they have had for many days,
for America.

This is the first day that I have been able to be long enough on deck
to study the sea. Even were it not, however, there has been a constant
and chilly rain which would have prevented me from enjoying its
grandeur, so that I am reconciled to my unusually severe sickness. I
came on deck this morning and looked around, and for an hour or two I
could scarce realize that it was not a dream. Much as I had watched
the sea from our bold promontory at Nahant, and well as I thought I
knew its character in storms and calms, the scene which was before me
surprized and bewildered me utterly. At the first glance, we were just
in the gorge of the sea; and, looking over the leeward quarter, I
saw, stretching up from the keel, what I can only describe as a hill
of dazzling blue, thirty or forty feet in real altitude, but sloped so
far away that the white crest seemed to me a cloud, and the space
between a sky of the most wonderful beauty and brightness. A moment
more, and the crest burst over with a splendid volume of foam; the sun
struck through the thinner part of the swell in a line of vivid
emerald, and the whole mass swept under us, the brig rising and riding
on the summit with the buoyancy and grace of a bird.

The single view of the ocean which I got at that moment, will be
impressed upon my mind for ever. Nothing that I ever saw on land at
all compares with it for splendor. No sunset, no lake scene of hill
and water, no fall, not even Niagara, no glen or mountain gap ever
approached it. The waves had had no time to "knock down," as the
sailors phrase it, and it was a storm at sea without the hurricane and
rain. I looked off to the horizon, and the long majestic swells were
heaving into the sky upon its distant limit, and between it and my eye
lay a radius of twelve miles, an immense plain flashing with green and
blue and white, and changing place and color so rapidly as to be
almost painful to the sight. I stood holding by the tafferel an hour,
gazing on it with a childish delight and wonder. The spray had broken
over me repeatedly, and, as we shipped half a sea at the scuppers at
every roll, I was standing half the time up to the knees in water; but
the warm wind on my forehead, after a week's confinement to my berth,
and the excessive beauty lavished upon my sight, were so delicious,
that I forgot all, and it was only in compliance with the captain's
repeated suggestion that I changed my position.

I mounted the quarter-deck, and, pulling off my shoes, like a
schoolboy, sat over the leeward rails, and, with my feet dipping into
the warm sea at every lurch, gazed at the glorious show for hours. I
do not hesitate to say that the formation, progress, and final burst
of a sea-wave, in a bright sun, are the most gorgeously beautiful
sight under heaven. I must describe it like a jeweller to you, or I
can never convey my impressions.

First of all, a quarter of a mile away to windward, your eye is caught
by an uncommonly high wave, rushing right upon your track, and heaping
up slowly and constantly as it comes, as if some huge animal were
ploughing his path steadily and powerfully beneath the surface. Its
"ground," as a painter would say, is of a deep indigo, clear and
smooth as enamel, its front curved inward, like a shell, and turned
over at the summit with a crest of foam, flashing and changing
perpetually in the sunshine, like the sudden outburst of a million of
"unsunned diamonds;" and, right through its bosom, as the sea falls
off, or the angle of refraction changes, there runs a shifting band of
the most vivid green, that you would take to have been the cestus of
Venus, as she rose from the sea, it is so supernaturally translucent
and beautiful. As it nears you, it looks in shape like the prow of
Cleopatra's barge, as they paint it in the old pictures; but its
colors, and the grace and majesty of its march, and its murmur (like
the low tones of an organ, deep and full, and, to my ear, ten times as
articulate and solemn), almost startle you into the belief that it is
a sentient being, risen glorious and breathing from the ocean. As it
reaches the ship, she rises gradually, for there is apparently an
under-wave driven before it, which prepares her for its power; and as
it touches the quarter, the whole magnificent wall breaks down beneath
you with a deafening surge, and a volume of foam issues from its
bosom, green and blue and white, as if it had been a mighty casket in
which the whole wealth of the sea, crysoprase, and emerald, and
brilliant spars, had been heaped and lavished at a throw. This is the
"tenth wave," and, for four or five minutes, the sea will be smooth
about you, and the sparkling and dying foam falls into the wake, and
may be seen like a white path, stretching away over the swells behind,
till you are tired of gazing at it. Then comes another from the same
direction, and with the same shape and motion, and so on till the sun
sets, or your eyes are blinded and your brain giddy with splendor.

I am sure this language will seem exaggerated to you, but, upon the
faith of a lonely man (the captain has turned in, and it is near
midnight and a dead calm), it is a mere skeleton, a goldsmith's
inventory, of the reality. I long ago learned that first lesson of a
man of the world, "to be astonished at nothing," but the sea has
overreached my philosophy--quite. I am changed to a mere child in my
wonder. Be assured, no view of the ocean from land can give you a
shadow of an idea of it. Within even the outermost Capes, the swell is
broken, and the color of the water in soundings is essentially
different--more dull and earthy. Go to the mineral cabinets of
Cambridge or New Haven, and look at the _fluor spars_, and the
_turquoises_, and the clearer specimens of _crysoprase_, and _quartz_,
and _diamond_, and imagine them all polished and clear, and flung at
your feet by millions in a noonday sun, and it may help your
conceptions of the sea after a storm. You may "swim on bladders" at
Nahant and Rockaway till you are gray, and be never the wiser.

The "middle watch" is called, and the second mate, a fine rough old
sailor, promoted from "the mast," is walking the quarter-deck,
stopping his whistle now and then with a gruff "How do you head?" or
"keep her up, you lubber," to the man at the helm; the "silver-shell"
of a waning moon, is just visible through the dead lights over my
shoulder (it has been up two hours, to me, and by the difference of
our present merideans, is just rising now over a certain hill, and
peeping softly in at an eastern window that I have watched many a time
when its panes have been silvered by the same chaste alchymy), and so
after a walk on the deck for an hour to look at the stars and watch
the phosphorus in the wake, I think of ----, I'll get to mine own
uneven pillow, and sleep too.



LETTER II.


AT SEA, OCTOBER 20.--We have had fine weather for progress, so far,
running with north and north-westerly winds from eight to ten knots an
hour, and making, of course, over two hundred miles a day. The sea is
still rough; and though the brig is light laden and rides very
buoyantly, these mounting waves break over us now and then with a
tremendous surge, keeping the decks constantly wet, and putting me to
many an uncomfortable shiver. I have become reconciled, however, to
much that I should have anticipated with no little horror. I can lie
in my berth forty-eight hours, if the weather is chill or rainy, and
amuse myself very well with talking bad French across the cabin to the
captain, or laughing at the distresses of my friend and
fellow-passenger, Turk (a fine setter dog, on his first voyage), or
inventing some disguise for the peculiar flavor which that dismal cook
gives to all his abominations, or, at worst, I can bury my head in my
pillow, and brace from one side to the other against the swell, and
enjoy my disturbed thoughts--all without losing my temper, or wishing
that I had not undertaken the voyage.

Poor Turk! his philosophy is more severely tried. He has been bred a
gentleman, and is amusingly exclusive. No assiduities can win him to
take the least notice of the crew, and I soon discovered, that, when
the captain and myself were below, he endured many a persecution. In
an evil hour, a night or two since, I suffered his earnest appeals for
freedom to work upon my feelings, and, releasing him from his chain
under the windlass, I gave him the liberty of the cabin. He slept very
quietly on the floor till about midnight, when the wind rose and the
vessel began to roll very uncomfortably. With the first heavy lurch a
couple of chairs went tumbling to leeward, and by the yelp of
distress, Turk was somewhere in the way. He changed his position, and,
with the next roll, the mate's trunk "brought away," and shooting
across the cabin, jammed him with such violence against the captain's
state-room door, that he sprang howling to the deck, where the first
thing that met him was a washing sea, just taken in at midships, that
kept him swimming above the hatches for five minutes. Half-drowned,
and with a gallon of water in his long hair, he took again to the
cabin, and making a desperate leap into the steward's berth, crouched
down beside the sleeping creole with a long whine of satisfaction. The
water soon penetrated however, and with a "_sacré!_" and a blow that
he will remember for the remainder of the voyage, the poor dog was
again driven from the cabin, and I heard no more of him till morning.
His decided preference for me has since touched my vanity, and I have
taken him under my more special protection--a circumstance which costs
me two quarrels a day at least, with the cook and steward.

The only thing which forced a smile upon me during the first week of
the passage was the achievement of dinner. In rough weather, it is as
much as one person can do to keep his place at the table at all; and
to guard the dishes, bottles, and castors, from a general slide in
the direction of the lurch, requires a sleight and coolness reserved
only for a sailor. "_Prenez garde!_" shouts the captain, as the sea
strikes, and in the twinkling of an eye, everything is seized and held
up to wait for the other lurch in attitudes which it would puzzle the
pencil of Johnson to exaggerate. With his plate of soup in one hand,
and the larboard end of the tureen in the other, the claret bottle
between his teeth, and the crook of his elbow caught around the
mounting corner of the table, the captain maintains his seat upon the
transom, and, with a look of the most grave concern, keeps a wary eye
on the shifting level of his vermicelli; the old weather-beaten mate,
with the alacrity of a juggler, makes a long leg back to the cabin
panels at the same moment, and with his breast against the table,
takes his own plate and the castors, and one or two of the smaller
dishes under his charge; and the steward, if he can keep his legs,
looks out for the vegetables, or if he falls, makes as wide a lap as
possible to intercept the volant articles in their descent. "Gentlemen
that live at home at ease" forget to thank Providence for the
blessings of a permanent level.

OCT. 24.--We are on the Grand Bank, and surrounded by hundreds of
sea-birds. I have been watching them nearly all day. Their
performances on the wing are certainly the perfection of grace and
skill. With the steadiness of an eagle and the nice adroitness of a
swallow, they wheel round in their constant circles with an arrowy
swiftness, lifting their long tapering pinions scarce perceptibly, and
mounting and falling as if by a mere act of volition, without the
slightest apparent exertion of power. Their chief enjoyment seems to
be to scoop through the deep hollows of the sea, and they do it so
quickly that your eye can scarce follow them, just disturbing the
polish of the smooth crescent, and leaving a fine line of ripple from
swell to swell, but never wetting a wing, or dipping their white
breasts a feather too deep in the capricious and wind-driven surface.
I feel a strange interest in these wild-hearted birds. There is
something in this fearless instinct, leading them away from the
protecting and pleasant land to make their home on this tossing and
desolate element, that moves both my admiration and my pity. I cannot
comprehend it. It is unlike the self-caring instincts of the other
families of Heaven's creatures. If I were half the Pythagorean that I
used to be, I should believe they were souls in punishment--expiating
some lifetime sin in this restless metempsychosis.

Now and then a land-bird has flown on board, driven to sea probably by
the gale; and so fatigued as hardly to be able to rise again upon the
wing. Yesterday morning a large curlew came struggling down the wind,
and seemed to have just sufficient strength to reach the vessel. He
attempted to alight on the main yard, but failed and dropped heavily
into the long-boat, where he suffered himself to be taken without an
attempt to escape. He must have been on the wing two or three days
without food, for we were at least two hundred miles from land. His
heart was throbbing hard through his ruffled feathers, and he held his
head up with difficulty. He was passed aft; but, while I was
deliberating on the best means for resuscitating and fitting him to
get on the wing again, the captain had taken him from me and handed
him over to the cook, who had his head off before I could remember
French enough to arrest him. I dreamed all that night of the man "that
shot the albatross." The captain relieved my mind, however, by telling
me that he had tried repeatedly to preserve them, and that they died
invariably in a few hours. The least food, in their exhausted state,
swells in their throats and suffocates them. Poor Curlew! there was a
tenderness in one breast for him at least--a feeling I have the
melancholy satisfaction to know, fully reciprocated by the bird
himself--that seat of his affections having been allotted to me for my
breakfast the morning succeeding his demise.

OCT. 29.--We have a tandem of whales ahead. They have been playing
about the ship an hour, and now are coursing away to the east, one
after the other, in gallant style. If we could only get them into
traces now, how beautiful it would be to stand in the foretop and
drive a degree or two, on a summer sea! It would not be more
wonderful, _de novo_, than the discovery of the lightning-rod, or
navigation by steam! And by the way, the sight of these huge creatures
has made me realize, for the first time, the extent to which the sea
has _grown_ upon my mind during the voyage. I have seen one or two
whales, exhibited in the docks, and it seemed to me always that they
were monsters--out of proportion, entirely, to the range of the ocean.
I had been accustomed to look out to the horizon from land (the
radius, of course, as great as at sea), and, calculating the probable
speed with which they would compass the intervening space, and the
disturbance they would make in doing it, it appeared that in any
considerable numbers, they would occupy more than their share of
notice and sea-room. Now--after sailing five days, at two hundred
miles a day, and not meeting a single vessel--it seems to me that a
troop of a thousand might swim the sea a century and chance to be
never crossed, so endlessly does this eternal horizon open and stretch
away!

OCT. 30.--The day has passed more pleasantly than usual The man at the
helm cried "a sail," while we were at breakfast, and we gradually
overtook a large ship, standing on the same course, with every sail
set. We were passing half a mile to leeward, when she put up her helm
and ran down to us, hoisting the English flag. We raised the
"star-spangled banner" in answer, and "hove to," and she came dashing
along our quarter, heaving most majestically to the sea, till she was
near enough to speak us without a trumpet. Her fore-deck was covered
with sailors dressed all alike and very neatly, and around the gangway
stood a large group of officers in uniform, the oldest of whom, a
noble-looking man with gray hair, hailed and answered us. Several
ladies stood back by the cabin door--passengers apparently. She was a
man of war, sailing as a king's packet between Halifax and Falmouth,
and had been out from the former port nineteen days. After the usual
courtesies had passed, she bore away a little, and then kept on her
course again, the two vessels in company at the distance of half a
pistol shot. I rarely have seen a more beautiful sight. The fine
effect of a ship under sail is entirely lost to one on board, and it
is only at sea and under circumstances like these, that it can be
observed. The power of the swell, lifting such a huge body as lightly
as an egg-shell on its bosom, and tossing it sometimes half out of the
water without the slightest apparent effort, is astonishing. I sat on
deck watching her with undiminished interest for hours. Apart from the
spectacle, the feeling of companionship, meeting human beings in the
middle of the ocean after so long a deprivation of society (five days
without seeing a sail, and nearly three weeks unspoken from land), was
delightful. Our brig was the faster sailer of the two, but our captain
took in some of his canvas for company's sake; and all the afternoon
we heard her half-hour bells, and the boatswain's whistle, and the
orders of the officers of the deck, and I could distinguish very
well, with a glass, the expression of the faces watching our own
really beautiful vessel as she skimmed over the water like a bird. We
parted at sunset, the man-of-war making northerly for her port, and we
stretching south for the coast of France. I watched her till she went
over the horizon, and felt as if I had lost friends when the night
closed in and we were once more

     "Alone on the wide, wide sea."

NOV. 3.--We have just made the port of Havre, and the pilot tells us
that the packet has been delayed by contrary winds, and sails early
to-morrow morning. The town bells are ringing "nine" (as delightful a
sound as I ever heard, to my sea-weary ear), and I close in haste, for
all is confusion on board.



LETTER III.


HAVRE.--This is one of those places which scribbling travellers hurry
through with a crisp mention of their arrival and departure, but, as I
have passed a day here upon customhouse compulsion, and passed it
pleasantly too, and as I have an evening entirely to myself, and a
good fire, why I will order another _pound_ of wood (they sell it like
a drug here), and Monsieur and Mademoiselle Somebodies, "violin
players right from the hands of Paganini, only fifteen years of age,
and miracles of music," (so says the placard), may delight other
lovers of precocious talent than I. Pen, ink, and paper for No. 2!

If I had not been warned against being astonished, short of Paris, I
should have thought Havre quite an affair. I certainly have seen more
that is novel and amusing since morning than I ever saw before in any
seven days of my life. Not a face, not a building, not a dress, not a
child even, not a stone in the street, nor shop, nor woman, nor beast
of burden, looks in any comparable degree like its namesake the other
side of the water.

It was very provoking to eat a salt supper and go to bed in that
tiresome berth again last night, with a French hotel in full view, and
no permission to send for a fresh biscuit even, or a cup of milk. It
was nine o'clock when we reached the pier, and at that late hour there
was, of course, no officer to be had for permission to land; and there
paced the patrole, with his high black cap and red pompon, up and down
the quay, within six feet of our tafferel, and a shot from his
arquebuss would have been the consequence of any unlicensed
communication with the shore. It was something, however, to sleep
without rocking; and, after a fit of musing anticipation, which kept
me conscious of the sentinel's measured tread till midnight, the
"gentle goddess" sealed up my cares effectually, and I awoke at
sunrise--in France!

It is a common thing enough to go abroad, and it may seem idle and
common-place to be enthusiastic about it; but nothing is common or a
trifle, to me, that can send the blood so warm to my heart, and the
color to my temples as generously, as did my first conscious thought
when I awoke this morning. _In France._ I would not have had it a
dream for the price of an empire.

Early in the morning a woman came clattering into the cabin with
wooden shoes, and a _patois_ of mingled French and English--a
_blanchisseuse_--spattered to the knees with mud, but with a cap and
'kerchief that would have made the fortune of a New York milliner.
_Ciel!_ what politeness! and what white teeth and what a knowing row
of papillotes, laid in precise parallel, on her clear brunette
temples.

"_Quelle nouvelle!_" said the captain.

"_Poland est a bas!_" was the answer, with a look of heroic sorrow,
that would have become a tragedy queen, mourning for the loss of a
throne. The French manner, for once, did not appear exaggerated. It
was news to sadden us all. Pity! pity! that the broad Christian world
could look on and see this glorious people trampled to the dust in one
of the most noble and desperate struggles for liberty that the earth
ever saw! What an opportunity was here lost to France for setting a
seal of double truth and splendor on her own newly-achieved triumph
over despotism. The washerwoman broke the silence with "_Any clothes
to wash, Monsieur?_" and in the instant return of my thoughts to my
own comparatively-pitiful interests, I found the philosophy for all I
had condemned in kings--the humiliating and selfish individuality of
human nature! And yet I believe with Dr. Channing on that dogma.

At ten o'clock I had performed the traveller's routine--had submitted
my trunk and my passport to the three authorities, and had got into
(and out of) as many mounting passions at what seemed to me the
intolerable impertinencies of searching my linen, and inspecting my
person for scars. I had paid the porter three times his due rather
than endure his cataract of French expostulation; and with a bunch of
keys, and a landlady attached to it, had ascended by a cold, wet,
marble staircase, to a parlor and bedroom on the fifth floor: as
pretty a place, when you get there, and as difficult to get to as if
it were a palace in thin air. It is perfectly French! Fine, old,
last-century chairs, covered with splendid yellow damask, two sofas of
the same, the legs or arms of every one imperfect; a coarse wood
dressing-table, covered with fringed drapery and a sort of throne
pincushion, with an immense glass leaning over it, gilded probably in
the time of Henri Quatre; artificial flowers all around the room, and
prints of Atala and _Napoleon mourant_ over the walls; windows opening
to the floor on hinges, damask and muslin curtains inside, and boxes
for flower-pots without; a bell-wire that pulls no bell, a bellows too
asthmatic even to wheeze, tongs that refuse to meet, and a carpet as
large as a table-cloth in the centre of the floor, may answer for an
inventory of the "parlor." The bedchamber, about half as large as the
boxes in Rattle-row, at Saratoga, opens by folding doors, and
discloses a bed, that, for tricksy ornament as well as size, might
look the bridal couch for a faery queen in a panorama; the same
golden-sprig damask looped over it, tent-fashion, with splendid
crimson cord, tassels, fringes, etc., and a pillow beneath that I
shall be afraid to sleep on, it is so dainty a piece of needle-work.
There is a delusion about it, positively. One cannot help imagining,
that all this splendor means something, and it would require a worse
evil than any of these little deficiencies of _comfort_ to disturb the
self-complacent, Captain-Jackson sort of feeling, with which one
throws his cloak on one sofa and his hat on the other, and spreads
himself out for a lounge before this mere apology of a French fire.

But, for eating and drinking! if they cook better in Paris, I shall
have my passport altered. The next _prefet_ that signs it shall
substitute _gourmand_ for _proprietaire_. I will profess a palate, and
live to eat. Making every allowance for an appetite newly from sea, my
experience hitherto in this department of science is transcended in
the degree of a rushlight to Arcturus.

I strolled about Havre from breakfast till dinner, seven or eight
hours, following curiosity at random, up one street and down another,
with a prying avidity which I fear travel will wear fast away. I must
compress my observations into a sentence or two, for my fire is out,
and this old castle of a hotel lets in the wind "shrewdly cold," and,
besides, the diligence calls for me in a few hours and one must sleep.

Among my impressions the most vivid are--that, of the twenty thousand
inhabitants of Havre, by far the greater portion are women and
soldiers--that the buildings all look toppling, and insecurely antique
and unsightly--that the privates of the regular army are the most
stupid, and those of the national guard the most intelligent-looking
troops I ever saw--that the streets are filthy beyond endurance, and
the shops clean beyond all praise--that the women do all the buying
and selling, and cart-driving and sweeping, and even shoe-making, and
other sedentary craftswork, and at the same time have (the meanest of
them) an air of ambitious elegance and neatness, that sends your hand
to your hat involuntarily when you speak to them--that the children
speak French, and look like little old men and women, and the horses,
(the famed Norman breed) are the best of draught animals, and the
worst for speed in the world--and that, for extremes ridiculously
near, dirt and neatness, politeness and knavery, chivalry and
_petitesse_, of bearing and language, the people I have seen to-day
_must_ be pre-eminently remarkable, or France, for a laughing
philosopher, is a paradise indeed! And now for my pillow, till the
diligence calls. Good night.



LETTER IV.


PARIS.--It seems to me as if I were going back a month to recall my
departure from Havre, my memory is so clouded with later incidents. I
was awaked on the morning after I had written to you, by a servant,
who brought me at the same time a cup of coffee, and at about an hour
before daylight we were passing through the huge gates of the town on
our way to Paris. The whole business of diligence-travelling amused me
exceedingly. The construction of this vehicle has often been
described; but its separate apartments (at four different prices), its
enormous size, its comfort and clumsiness, and, more than all, the
driving of its postillions, struck me as equally novel and diverting.
This last mentioned performer on the whip and voice (the only two
accomplishments he at all cultivates), rides one of the three wheel
horses, and drives the four or seven which are in advance, as a
grazier in our country drives a herd of cattle, and they travel very
much in the same manner. There is leather enough in two of their
clumsy harnesses, to say nothing of the postillion's boots, to load a
common horse heavily. I never witnessed such a ludicrous absence of
contrivance and tact as in the appointments and driving of horses in a
diligence. It is so in everything in France, indeed. They do not
possess the quality as a nation. The story of the Gascoigne, who saw a
bridge for the first time, and admired the ingenious economy that
placed it across the river, instead of lengthwise, is hardly an
exaggeration.

At daylight I found myself in the _coupé_ (a single seat for three in
the front of the body of the carriage, with windows before and at the
sides), with two whiskered and mustached companions, both very polite,
and very unintelligible. I soon suspected, by the science with which
my neighbor on the left hummed little snatches of popular operas, that
he was a professed singer (a conjecture which proved true), and it was
equally clear, from the complexion of the portfeuille on the lap of
the other, that his vocation was a liberal one--a conjecture which
proved true also, as he confessed himself a _diplomat_, when we became
better acquainted. For the first hour or more my attention was divided
between the dim but beautiful outline of the country by the slowly
approaching light of the dawn, and my nervousness at the distressing
want of skill in the postillion's driving. The increasing and singular
beauty of the country, even under the disadvantage of rain and the
late season, soon absorbed all my attention, however, and my
involuntary and half-suppressed exclamations of pleasure, so unusual
in an Englishman (for whom I found I was taken), warmed the
diplomatist into conversation, and I passed the three ensuing hours
very pleasantly. My companion was on his return from Lithuania, having
been sent out by the French committee with arms and money for Poland.
He was, of course, a most interesting fellow-traveller; and, allowing
for the difficulty with which I understood the language, in the rapid
articulation of an enthusiastic Frenchman, I rarely have been better
pleased with a chance acquaintance. I found he had been in Greece
during the revolution, and knew intimately my friend, Dr. Howe, the
best claim he could have on my interest, and, I soon discovered, an
answering recommendation of myself to him.

The province of Normandy is celebrated for its picturesque beauty, but
I had no conception before of the _cultivated_ picturesque of an old
country. I have been a great scenery-hunter in America, and my eye was
new, like its hills and forests. The massive, battlemented buildings
of the small villages we passed through, the heavy gateways and
winding avenues and antique structure of the distant and half-hidden
châteaux, the perfect cultivation, and, to me, singular appearance of
a whole landscape without a fence or a stone, the absence of all that
we define by _comfort_ and _neatness_, and the presence of all that we
have seen in pictures and read of in books, but consider as the
representations and descriptions of ages gone by--all seemed to me
irresistibly like a dream. I could not rub my hand over my eyes, and
realize myself. I could not believe that, within a month's voyage of
my home, these spirit-stirring places had stood all my lifetime as
they do, and have--for ages--every stone as it was laid in times of
worm-eaten history--and looking to my eyes now as they did to the eyes
of knights and dames in the days of French chivalry. I looked at the
constantly-occurring ruins of the old priories, and the magnificent
and still-used churches, and my blood tingled in my veins, as I saw,
in the stepping-stones at their doors, cavities that the sandals of
monks, and the iron-shod feet of knights in armor a thousand years
ago, had trodden and helped to wear, and the stone cross over the
threshold, that hundreds of generations had gazed upon and passed
under.

By a fortunate chance the postillion left the usual route at Balbec,
and pursued what appeared to be a bye-road through the grain-fields
and vineyards for twenty or twenty-five miles. I can only describe it
as an uninterrupted green lane, winding almost the whole distance
through the bosom of a valley that must be one of the very loveliest
in the world. Imagine one of such extent, without a fence to break the
broad swells of verdure, stretching up from the winding and unenclosed
road on either side, to the apparent sky; the houses occurring at
distances of miles, and every one with its thatched roof covered all
over with bright green moss, and its walls of marl interlaid through
all the crevices with clinging vines, the whole structure and its
appurtenances faultlessly picturesque, and, when you have conceived a
valley that might have contented Rasselas, scatter over it here and
there groups of men, women, and children, the Norman peasantry in
their dresses of all colors, as you see them in the prints--and if
there is anything that can better please the eye, or make the
imagination more willing to fold up its wings and rest, my travels
have not crossed it. I have recorded a vow to walk through Normandy.

As we approached Rouen the road ascended gradually, and a sharp turn
brought us suddenly to the brow of a steep hill, opposite another of
the same height, and with the same abrupt descent, at the distance of
a mile across. Between, lay Rouen. I hardly know how to describe, for
American eyes, the peculiar beauty of this view; one of the most
exquisite, I am told, in all France. A town at the foot of a hill is
common enough in our country, but of the hundreds that answer to this
description, I can not name one that would afford a correct
comparison. The nice and excessive cultivation of the grounds in so
old a country gives the landscape a complexion essentially different
from ours. If there were another Mount Holyoke, for instance, on the
other side of the Connecticut, the situation of Northampton would be
very similar to that of Rouen; but, instead of the rural village, with
its glimpses of white houses seen through rich and luxurious masses of
foliage, the mountain sides above broken with rocks, and studded with
the gigantic and untouched relics of the native forest, and the fields
below waving with heavy crops, irregularly fenced and divided, the
whole picture one of an overlavish and half-subdued Eden of
fertility--instead of this I say--the broad meadows, with the winding
Seine in their bosom, are as trim as a girl's flower-garden, the grass
closely cut, and of a uniform surface of green, the edges of the river
set regularly with willows, the little bright islands circled with
trees, and smooth as a lawn; and instead of green lanes lined with
bushes, single streets running right through the unfenced verdure,
from one hill to another, and built up with antique structures of
stone--the whole looking, in the _coup d'oeil_ of distance, like
some fantastic model of a town, with gothic houses of sand-paper, and
meadows of silk velvet.

You will find the size, population, etc., of Rouen in the guide-books.
As my object is to record impressions, not statistics, I leave you to
consult those laconic chronicles, or the books of a thousand
travellers, for all such information. The Maid of Orleans was burnt
here, as you know, in the fourteenth century. There is a statue
erected to her memory, which I did not see, for it rained; and after
the usual stop of two hours, as the barometer promised no change in
the weather, and as I was anxious to be in Paris, I took my place in
the night diligence and kept on.

I amused myself till dark, watching the streams that poured into the
broad mouth of the postillion's boots from every part of his dress,
and musing on the fate of the poor Maid of Orleans; and then, sinking
down into the comfortable corner of the _coupé_, I slept almost
without interruption till the next morning--the best comment in the
world on the only _comfortable_ thing I have yet seen in France, a
diligence.

It is a pleasant thing in a foreign land to see the familiar face of
the sun; and, as he rose over a distant hill on the left, I lifted the
window of the _coupé_ to let him in, as I would open the door to a
long-missed friend. He soon reached a heavy cloud, however, and my
hopes of bright weather, when we should enter the metropolis,
departed. It began to rain again; and the postilion, after his blue
cotton frock was soaked through, put on his greatcoat over it--an
economy which is peculiarly French, and which I observed in every
succeeding postilion on the route. The last twenty-five miles to Paris
are uninteresting to the eye; and with my own pleasant thoughts, tinct
as they were with the brightness of immediate anticipation, and an
occasional laugh at the grotesque figures and equipages on the road, I
made myself passably contented till I entered the suburb of St. Denis.

It is something to see the outside of a sepulchre for kings, and the
old abbey of St. Denis needs no association to make a sight of it
worth many a mile of weary travel. I could not stop within four miles
of Paris, however, and I contented myself with running to get a second
view of it in the rain while the postilion breathed his horses. The
strongest association about it, old and magnificent as it is, is the
fact that Napoleon repaired it after the revolution; and standing in
probably the finest point for its front view, my heart leaped to my
throat as I fancied that Napoleon, with his mighty thoughts, had stood
in that very spot, possibly, and contemplated the glorious old pile
before me as the place of his future repose.

After four miles more, over a broad straight avenue, paved in the
centre and edged with trees, we arrived at the port of St. Denis. I
was exceedingly struck with the grandeur of the gate as we passed
under, and, referring to the guide-book, I find it was a triumphal
arch erected to Louis XIV., and the one by which the kings of France
invariably enter. This also was restored by Napoleon, with his
infallible taste, without changing its design: and it is singular how
everything that great man touched became his own--for, who remembers
for whom it was raised while he is told who employed his great
intellect in its repairs?

I entered Paris on Sunday at eleven o'clock. I never should have
recognized the day. The shops were all open, the artificers all at
work, the unintelligible criers vociferating their wares, and the
people in their working-day dresses. We wound through street after
street, narrow and dark and dirty, and with my mind full of the
splendid views of squares, and columns, and bridges, as I had seen
them in the prints, I could scarce believe I was in Paris. A turn
brought us into a large court, that of the Messagerie, the place at
which all travellers are set down on arrival. Here my baggage was once
more inspected, and, after a half-hour's delay, I was permitted to get
into a _fiacre_, and drive to a hotel. As one is a specimen of all, I
may as well describe the _Hotel d'Etrangers_, Rue Vivienne, which, by
the way, I take the liberty at the same time to recommend to my
friends. It is the precise centre for the convenience of sight-seeing,
admirably kept, and, being nearly opposite Galignani's, that bookstore
of Europe, is a very pleasant resort for the half hour before dinner,
or a rainy day. I went there at the instance of my friend the
_diplomat_.

The _fiacre_ stopped before an arched passage, and a fellow in
livery, who had followed me from the Messagerie (probably in the
double character of porter and police agent, as my passport was yet to
be demanded), took my trunk into a small office on the left, over
which was written "_Concierge_." This person, who is a kind of
respectable doorkeeper, addressed me in broken English, without
waiting for the evidence of my tongue, that I was a foreigner, and,
after inquiring at what price I would have a room, introduced me to
the landlady, who took me across a large court (the houses are built
_round_ the yard always in France), to the corresponding story of the
house. The room was quite pretty, with its looking-glasses and
curtains, but there was no carpet, and the fireplace was ten feet
deep. I asked to see another, and another, and another; they were all
curtains and looking-glasses, and stone-floors! There is no wearying a
French woman, and I pushed my modesty till I found a chamber to my
taste--a nutshell, to be sure, but carpeted--and bowing my polite
housekeeper out, I rang for breakfast and was at home in Paris.

There are few things bought with money that are more delightful than a
French breakfast. If you take it at your room, it appears in the shape
of two small vessels, one of coffee and one of hot milk, two kinds of
bread, with a thin, printed slice of butter, and one or two of some
thirty dishes from which you choose, the latter flavored exquisitely
enough to make one wish to be always at breakfast, but cooked and
composed I know not how or of what. The coffee has an aroma peculiarly
exquisite, something quite different from any I ever tasted before;
and the _petit-pain_, a slender biscuit between bread and cake, is,
when crisp and warm, a delightful accompaniment. All this costs about
one third as much as the beefsteaks and coffee in America, and at the
same time that you are waited upon with a civility that is worth three
times the money.

It still rained at noon, and, finding that the usual dinner hour was
five, I took my umbrella for a walk. In a strange city I prefer always
to stroll about at hazard, coming unawares upon what is fine or
curious. The hackneyed descriptions in the guidebooks profane the
spirit of a place; I never look at them till after I have found the
object, and then only for dates. The Rue Vivienne was crowded with
people, as I emerged from the dark archway of the hotel to pursue my
wanderings.

A walk of this kind, by the way, shows one a great deal of novelty. In
France there are no shop-_men_. No matter what is the article of
trade--hats, boots, pictures, books, jewellery, anything or everything
that gentlemen buy--you are waited upon by girls, always handsome, and
always dressed in the height of the mode. They sit on damask-covered
settees, behind the counters; and, when you enter, bow and rise to
serve you, with a grace and a smile of courtesy that would become a
drawing-room. And this is universal.

I strolled on until I entered a narrow passage, penetrating a long
line of buildings. It was thronged with people, and passing in with
the rest, I found myself unexpectedly in a scene that equally
surprised and delighted me. It was a spacious square enclosed by one
entire building. The area was laid out as a garden, planted with long
avenues of trees and beds of flowers, and in the centre a fountain was
playing in the shape of a _fleur-de-lis_, with a jet about forty feet
in height. A superb colonnade ran round the whole square, making a
covered gallery of the lower story, which was occupied by shops of the
most splendid appearance, and thronged through its long sheltered
_pavès_ by thousands of gay promenaders. It was the far-famed _Palais
Royal_. I remembered the description I had heard of its gambling
houses, and facilities for every vice, and looked with a new surprise
on its Aladdin-like magnificence. The hundreds of beautiful pillars,
stretching away from the eye in long and distant perspective, the
crowd of citizens, and women, and officers in full uniform, passing
and re-passing with French liveliness and politeness, the long windows
of plated glass glittering with jewellery, and bright with everything
to tempt the fancy, the tall sentinels pacing between the columns, and
the fountain turning over its clear waters with a fall audible above
the tread and voices of the thousands who walked around it--who could
look upon such a scene and believe it what it is, the most corrupt
spot, probably, on the face of the civilized world?



LETTER V.

     THE LOUVRE--AMERICANS IN PARIS--POLITICS, ETC.


The salient object in my idea of Paris has always been the Louvre. I
have spent some hours in its vast gallery to-day and I am sure it will
retain the same prominence in my recollections. The whole palace is
one of the oldest, and said to be one of the finest, in Europe; and,
if I may judge from its impressiveness, the vast inner court (the
_façades_ of which were restored to their original simplicity by
Napoleon), is a specimen of high architectural perfection. One could
hardly pass through it without being better fitted to see the
masterpieces of art within; and it requires this, and all the
expansiveness of which the mind is capable besides, to walk through
the _Musée Royale_ without the painful sense of a magnificence beyond
the grasp of the faculties.

I delivered my passport at the door of the palace, and, as is
customary, recorded my name, country, and profession in the book, and
proceeded to the gallery. The grand double staircase, one part leading
to the private apartments of the royal household, is described
voluminously in the authorities; and, truly, for one who has been
accustomed to convenient dimensions only, its breadth, its lofty
ceilings, its pillars and statuary, its mosaic pavements and splendid
windows, are enough to unsettle for ever the standards of size and
grandeur. The strongest feeling one has, as he stops half way up to
look about him, is the ludicrous disproportion between it and the size
of the inhabiting animals. I should smile to see any man ascend such a
staircase, except, perhaps, Napoleon.

Passing through a kind of entrance-hall, I came to a spacious _salle
ronde_, lighted from the ceiling, and hung principally with pictures
of a large size, one of the most conspicuous of which, "The Wreck,"
has been copied by an American artist, Mr. Cooke, and is now
exhibiting in New York. It is one of the best of the French school,
and very powerfully conceived. I regret, however, that he did not
prefer the wonderfully fine piece opposite, which is worth all the
pictures ever painted in France, "The Marriage Supper at Cana." The
left wing of the table, projected toward the spectator, with seven or
eight guests who occupy it, absolutely stands out into the hall. It
seems impossible that color and drawing upon a flat surface can so
cheat the eye.

From the _salle ronde_, on the right opens the grand gallery, which,
after the lesson I had just received in perspective, I took, at the
first glance, to be a painting. You will realize the facility of the
deception when you consider, that, with a breadth of but forty-two
feet, this gallery is one thousand three hundred and thirty-two feet
(more than a quarter of a mile) in length. The floor is of tesselated
woods, polished with wax like a table; and along its glassy surface
were scattered perhaps a hundred visiters, gazing at the pictures in
varied attitudes, and with sizes reduced in proportion to their
distance, the farthest off looking, in the long perspective, like
pigmies of the most diminutive description. It is like a matchless
painting to the eye, after all. The ceiling is divided by nine or ten
arches, standing each on four Corinthian columns, projecting into the
area; and the natural perspective of these, and the artists scattered
from one end to the other, copying silently at their easels, and a
soldier at every division, standing upon his guard, quite as silent
and motionless, would make it difficult to convince a spectator, who
was led blindfold and unprepared to the entrance, that it was not some
superb diorama, figures and all.

I found our distinguished countryman, Morse, copying a beautiful
Murillo at the end of the gallery. He is also engaged upon a Raffaelle
for Cooper, the novelist. Among the French artists, I noticed several
soldiers, and some twenty or thirty females, the latter with every
mark in their countenances of absorbed and extreme application. There
was a striking difference in this respect between them and the artists
of the other sex. With the single exception of a lovely girl, drawing
from a Madonna, by Guido, and protected by the presence of an elderly
companion, these lady painters were anything but interesting in their
appearance.

Greenough, the sculptor, is in Paris, and engaged just now in taking
the bust of an Italian lady. His reputation is now very enviable; and
his passion for his art, together with his untiring industry and his
fine natural powers, will work him up to something that will, before
long, be an honor to our country. If the wealthy men of taste in
America would give Greenough liberal orders for his time and talents,
and send out Augur, of New Haven, to Italy, they would do more to
advance this glorious art in our country, than by expending ten times
the sum in any other way. They are both men of rare genius, and both
ardent and diligent, and they are both cramped by the universal curse
of genius--necessity. The Americans in Paris are deliberating at
present on some means for expressing unitedly to our government their
interest in Greenough, and their appreciation of his merit of public
and private patronage. For the love of true taste, do everything in
your power to second such an appeal when it comes.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a queer feeling to find oneself a _foreigner_. One cannot
realize, long at a time, how his face or his manners should have
become peculiar; and, after looking at a print for five minutes in a
shop window, or dipping into an English book, or in any manner
throwing off the mental habit of the instant, the curious gaze of the
passer by, or the accent of a strange language, strikes one very
singularly. Paris is full of foreigners of all nations, and of course,
physiognomies of all characters may be met everywhere, but, differing
as the European nations do decidedly from each other, they differ
still more from the American. Our countrymen, as a class, are
distinguishable wherever they are met; not as Americans however, for,
of the habits and manners of our country, people know nothing this
side the water. But there is something in an American face, of which I
never was aware till I met them in Europe, that is altogether
peculiar. The French take the Americans to be English: but an
Englishman, while he presumes him his countryman, shows a curiosity to
know who he is, which is very foreign to his usual indifference. As
far as I can analyze it, it is the independent self-possessed bearing
of a man unused to look up to any one as his superior in rank, united
to the inquisitive, sensitive, communicative expression which is the
index to our national character. The first is seldom possessed in
England but by a man of decided rank, and the latter is never
possessed by an Englishman at all. The two are united in no other
nation. Nothing is easier than to tell the rank of an Englishman, and
nothing puzzles a European more than to know how to rate the
pretensions of an American.

       *       *       *       *       *

On my way home from the Boulevards this evening, I was fortunate
enough to pass through the grand court of the Louvre, at the moment
when the moon broke through the clouds that have concealed her own
light and the sun's ever since I have been in France. I had often
stopped, in passing the sentinels at the entrance, to admire the
grandeur of the interior to this oldest of the royal palaces; but
to-night, my dead halt within the shadow of the arch, as the view
broke upon my eye, and my sudden exclamation in English, startled the
grenadier, and he had half presented his musket, when I apologized and
passed on. It was magically beautiful indeed! and, with the moonlight
pouring obliquely into the sombre area, lying full upon the taller of
the three _façades_, and drawing its soft line across the rich windows
and massive pilasters and arches of the eastern and western, while the
remaining front lay in the heavy black shadow of relief, it seemed to
me more like an accidental regularity in some rocky glen of America,
than a pile of human design and proportion. It is strange how such
high walls shut out the world. The court of the Louvre is in the very
centre of the busiest quarter of Paris, thousands of persons passing
and repassing constantly at the extremity of the long arched
entrances, and yet, standing on the pavement of that lonely court, no
living creature in sight but the motionless grenadiers at either gate,
the noises without coming to your ear in a subdued murmur, like the
wind on the sea, and nothing visible above but the sky, resting like a
ceiling on the lofty walls, the impression of utter solitude is
irresistible. I passed out by the archway for which Napoleon
constructed his bronze gates, said to be the most magnificent of
modern times, and which are now lying in some obscure corner unused,
no succeeding power having had the spirit or the will to complete,
even by the slight labor that remained, his imperial design. All over
Paris you may see similar instances; they meet you at every step:
glorious plans defeated; works, that with a mere moiety of what has
been already expended in their progress, might be finished with an
effect that none but a mind like Napoleon's could have originally
projected.

       *       *       *       *       *

Paris, of course, is rife with politics. There is but one opinion on
the subject of another pending revolution. The "people's king" is
about as unpopular as he need be for the purposes of his enemies; and
he has aggravated the feeling against him very unnecessarily by his
late project in the Tuileries. The whole thing is very characteristic
of the French people. He might have deprived them of half their civil
rights without immediate resistance; but to cut off a strip of the
public garden to make a play ground for his children--to encroach a
hundred feet on the pride of Paris, the daily promenade of the idlers,
who do all the discussion of his measures, it was a little too
venturesome. Unfortunately, too, the offence is in the very eye of
curiosity, and the workmen are surrounded, from morning till night, by
thousands of people, of all classes, gesticulating, and looking at the
palace windows and winding themselves gradually up to the
revolutionary pitch.

In the event of an explosion, the liberal party will not want
partizans, for France is crowded with refugees from tyranny, of every
nation. The Poles are flocking hither every day, and the streets are
full of their melancholy faces! Poor fellows! they suffer dreadfully
from want. The public charity for refugees has been wrung dry long
ago, and the most heroic hearts of Poland, after having lost
everything but life, in their unavailing struggle, are starving
absolutely in the streets. Accident has thrown me into the confidence
of a well-known liberal--one of those men of whom the proud may ask
assistance without humiliation, and circumstances have thus come to my
knowledge, which would move a heart of stone. The fictitious
sufferings of "Thaddeus of Warsaw," are transcended in real-life
misery every day, and by natures quite as noble. Lafayette, I am
credibly assured, has anticipated several years of his income in
relieving them; and no possible charity could be so well bestowed as
contributions for the Poles, starving in these heartless cities.

I have just heard that Chodsko, a Pole, of distinguished talent and
learning, who threw his whole fortune and energy into the late
attempted revolution, was arrested here last night, with eight others
of his countrymen, under suspicion by the government. The late serious
insurrection at Lyons has alarmed the king, and the police is
exceedingly strict. The Spanish and Italian refugees, who receive
pensions from France, have been ordered off to the provincial towns,
by the minister of the interior, and there is every indication of
extreme and apprehensive caution. The papers, meantime, are raving
against the ministry in the most violent terms, and the king is abused
without qualification, everywhere.

I went, a night or two since, to one of the minor theatres to see the
representation of a play, which has been performed for the _hundred
and second time_!--"Napoleon at Schoenbrun and St. Helena." My object
was to study the feelings of the people toward Napoleon II., as the
exile's love for his son is one of the leading features of the piece.
It was beautifully played--most beautifully! and I never saw more
enthusiasm manifested by an audience. Every allusion of Napoleon to
his child, was received with that undertoned, gutteral acclamation,
that expresses such deep feeling in a crowd; and the piece is so
written that its natural pathos alone is irresistible. No one could
doubt for an instant, it seems to me, that the entrance of young
Napoleon into France, at any critical moment, would be universally and
completely triumphant. The great cry at Lyons was "_Vive Napoleon
II.!_"

I have altered my arrangements a little, in consequence of the state
of feeling here. My design was to go to Italy immediately, but affairs
promise such an interesting and early change, that I shall pass the
winter in Paris.



LETTER VI.

     TAGLIONI--FRENCH STAGE, ETC.


I went last night to the French opera, to see the first dancer of the
world. The prodigious enthusiasm about her, all over Europe, had, of
course, raised my expectations to the highest possible pitch. "_Have
you seen Taglioni?_" is the first question addressed to a stranger in
Paris; and you hear her name constantly over all the hum of the
_cafés_ and in the crowded resorts of fashion. The house was
overflowed. The king and his numerous family were present; and my
companion pointed out to me many of the nobility, whose names and
titles have been made familiar to our ears by the innumerable private
memoirs and autobiographies of the day. After a little introductory
piece, the king arrived, and, as soon as the cheering was over, the
curtain drew up for "_Le Dieu et la Bayadere_." This is the piece in
which Taglioni is most famous. She takes the part of a dancing girl,
of whom the Bramah and an Indian prince are both enamored; the former
in the disguise of a man of low rank at the court of the latter, in
search of some one whose love for him shall be disinterested. The
disguised god succeeds in winning her affection, and, after testing
her devotion by submitting for a while to the resentment of his rival,
and by a pretended caprice in favor of a singing girl, who accompanies
her, he marries her, and then saves her from the flames as she is
about to be burned for marrying beneath her _caste_. Taglioni's part
is all pantomime. She does not speak during the play, but her motion
is more than articulate. Her first appearance was in a troop of Indian
dancing girls, who performed before the prince in the public square.
At a signal from the vizier a side pavilion opened, and thirty or
forty bayaderes glided out together, and commenced an intricate dance.
They were received with a tremendous round of applause from the
audience; but, with the exception of a little more elegance in the
four who led the dance, they were dressed nearly alike; and as I saw
no particularly conspicuous figure, I presumed that Taglioni had not
yet appeared. The splendor of the spectacle bewildered me for the
first moment or two, but I presently found my eyes rivetted to a
childish creature floating about among the rest, and, taking her for
some beautiful young _elève_ making her first essays in the chorus, I
interpreted her extraordinary fascination as a triumph of nature over
my unsophisticated taste; and wondered to myself whether, after all, I
should be half so much captivated with the show of skill I expected
presently to witness. _This was Taglioni!_ She came forward directly,
in a _pas seul_, and I then observed that her dress was distinguished
from that of her companions by its extreme modesty both of fashion and
ornament, and the unconstrained ease with which it adapted itself to
her shape and motion. She looks not more than fifteen. Her figure is
small, but rounded to the very last degree of perfection; not a muscle
swelled beyond the exquisite outline; not an angle, not a fault. Her
back and neck, those points so rarely beautiful in woman, are
faultlessly formed; her feet and hands are in full proportion to her
size, and the former play as freely and with as natural a yieldingness
in her fairy slippers, as if they were accustomed only to the dainty
uses of a drawing-room. Her face is most strangely interesting; not
quite beautiful, but of that half-appealing, half-retiring sweetness
that you sometimes see blended with the secluded reserve and
unconscious refinement of a young girl just "out" in a circle of high
fashion. In her greatest exertions her features retain the same timid
half smile, and she returns to the alternate by-play of her part
without the slightest change of color, or the slightest perceptible
difference in her breathing, or in the ease of her look and posture.
No language can describe her motion. She swims in your eye like a curl
of smoke, or a flake of down. Her difficulty seems to be to keep to
the floor. You have the feeling while you gaze upon her, that, if she
were to rise and float away like Ariel, you would scarce be surprised.
And yet all is done with such a childish unconsciousness of
admiration, such a total absence of exertion or fatigue, that the
delight with which she fills you is unmingled; and, assured as you are
by the perfect purity of every look and attitude, that her hitherto
spotless reputation is deserved beyond a breath of suspicion, you
leave her with as much respect as admiration; and find with surprise
that a dancing girl, who is exposed night after night to the profaning
gaze of the world, has crept into one of the most sacred niches of
your memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have attended several of the best theatres in Paris, and find one
striking trait in all their first actors--_nature_. They do not look
like actors, and their playing is not like acting. They are men,
generally, of the most earnest, unstudied simplicity of countenance;
and when they come upon the stage, it is singularly without
affectation, and as the character they represent would appear. Unlike
most of the actors I have seen, too, they seem altogether unaware of
the presence of the audience. Nothing disturbs the fixed attention
they give to each other in the dialogue, and no private interview
between simple and sincere men could be more unconscious and natural.
I have formed consequently a high opinion of the French drama,
degenerate as it is said to be since the loss of Talma; and it is easy
to see that the root of its excellence is in the taste and judgment of
the people. _They applaud judiciously._ When Taglioni danced her
wonderful _pas seul_, for instance, the applause was general and
sufficient. It was a triumph of art, and she was applauded as an
artist. But when, as the neglected bayadere, she stole from the corner
of the cottage, and, with her indescribable grace, hovered about the
couch of the disguised Bramah, watching and fanning him while he
slept, she expressed so powerfully, by the saddened tenderness of her
manner, the devotion of a love that even neglect could not estrange,
that a murmur of delight ran through the whole house; and, when her
silent pantomime was interrupted by the waking of the god, there was
an overwhelming tumult of acclamation that came from the _hearts_ of
the audience, and as such must have been both a lesson, and the
highest compliment, to Taglioni. An actor's taste is of course very
much regulated by that of his audience. He will cultivate that for
which he is most praised. We shall never have a high-toned drama in
America, while, as at present, applause is won only by physical
exertion, and the nice touches of genius and nature pass undetected
and unfelt.

Of the French actresses, I have been most pleased with Leontine Fay.
She is not much talked of here, and perhaps, as a mere artist in her
profession, is inferior to those who are more popular; but she has
that indescribable something in her face that has interested me
through life--that strange talisman which is linked wisely to every
heart, confining its interest to some nice difference invisible to
other eyes, and, by a happy consequence, undisputed by other
admiration. She, too, has that retired sweetness of look that seems to
come only from secluded habits, and in the highly-wrought passages of
tragedy, when her fine dark eyes are filled with tears, and her tones,
which have never the out-of-doors key of the stage, are clouded and
imperfect, she seems less an actress than a refined and lovely woman,
breaking through the habitual reserve of society in some agonizing
crisis of real life. There are prints of Leontine Fay in the shops,
and I have seen them in America, but they resemble her very little.



LETTER VII.

     JOACHIM LELEWEL--PALAIS ROYAL--PERE LA CHAISE--VERSAILLES, ETC.


I met, at a breakfast party, to-day, Joachim Lelewel, the celebrated
scholar and patriot of Poland. Having fallen in with a great deal of
revolutionary and emigrant society since I have been in Paris, I have
often heard his name, and looked forward to meeting him with high
pleasure and curiosity. His writings are passionately admired by his
countrymen. He was the principal of the university, idolized by that
effective part of the population, the students of Poland; and the
fearless and lofty tone of his patriotic principles is said to have
given the first and strongest momentum to the ill-fated struggle just
over. Lelewel impressed me very strongly. Unlike most of the Poles,
who are erect, athletic, and florid, he is thin, bent, and pale; and
were it not for the fire and decision of his eye, his uncertain gait
and sensitive address would convey an expression almost of timidity.
His form, features, and manners, are very like those of Percival, the
American poet, though their countenances are marked with the
respective difference of their habits of mind. Lelewel looks like a
naturally modest, shrinking man, worked up to the calm resolution of a
martyr. The strong stamp of his face is devoted enthusiasm. His eye is
excessively bright, but quiet and habitually downcast; his lips are
set firmly, but without effort, together; and his voice is almost
sepulchral, it is so low and calm. He never breaks through his
melancholy, though his refugee countrymen, except when Poland is
alluded to, have all the vivacity of French manners, and seem easily
to forget their misfortunes. He was silent, except when particularly
addressed, and had the air of a man who thought himself unobserved,
and had shrunk into his own mind. I felt that he was winning upon my
heart every moment. I never saw a man in my life whose whole air and
character were so free from self-consciousness or pretension--never
one who looked to me so capable of the calm, lofty, unconquerable
heroism of a martyr.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Paris is the centre of the world," if centripetal tendency is any
proof of it. Everything struck off from the other parts of the
universe flies straight to the _Palais Royal_. You may meet in its
thronged galleries, in the course of an hour, representatives of every
creed, rank, nation, and system, under heaven. Hussein Pacha and Don
Pedro pace daily the same _pavé_--the one brooding on a kingdom lost,
the other on the throne he hopes to win; the Polish general and the
proscribed Spaniard, the exiled Italian conspirator, the contemptuous
Turk, the well-dressed negro from Hayti, and the silk-robed Persian,
revolve by the hour together around the same _jet d'eau_, and costumes
of every cut and order, mustaches and beards of every degree of
ferocity and oddity, press so fast and thick upon the eye that one
forgets to be astonished. There are no such things as "lions" in
Paris. The extraordinary persons outnumber the ordinary. Every other
man you meet would keep a small town in a ferment for a month.

       *       *       *       *       *

I spent yesterday at _Pére la Chaise_, and to day at _Versailles_. The
two places are in opposite environs, and of very opposite
characters--one certainly making you in love with life, the other
almost as certainly with death. One could wander for ever in the
wilderness of art at Versailles, and it must be a restless ghost that
could not content itself with _Pére la Chaise_ for its elysium.

This beautiful cemetery is built upon the broad ascent of a hill,
commanding the whole of Paris at a glance. It is a wood of small
trees, laid out in alleys, and crowded with tombs and monuments of
every possible description. You will scarce get through without being
surprised into a tear; but, if affectation and fantasticalness in such
a place do not more grieve than amuse you, you will much oftener
smile. The whole thing is a melancholy mock of life. Its distinctions
are all kept up. There are the fashionable avenues, lined with costly
chapels and monuments, with the names of the exclusive tenants in
golden letters upon the doors, iron railings set forbiddingly about
the shrubs, and the blessing-scrap writ ambitiously in Latin. The
tablets record the long family titles, and the offices and honors,
perhaps the numberless virtues of the dead. They read like chapters of
heraldry more than like epitaphs. It is a relief to get into the outer
alleys, and see how poverty and simple feeling express what should be
the same thing. It is usually some brief sentence, common enough, but
often exquisitely beautiful in this prettiest of languages, and
expressing always the _kind_ of sorrow felt by the mourner. You can
tell, for instance, by the sentiment simply, without looking at the
record below, whether the deceased was young, or much loved, or
mourned by husband, or parent, or brother, or a circle of all. I
noticed one, however, the humblest and simplest monument perhaps in
the whole cemetery, which left the story beautifully untold; it was a
slab of common marl, inscribed "_Pauvre Marie!_"--nothing more. I have
thought of it, and speculated upon it, a great deal since. What was
she? and who wrote her epitaph? _why_ was she _pauvre Marie_?

Before almost all the poorer monuments is a minature garden with a low
wooden fence, and either the initials of the dead sown in flowers, or
rose-trees, carefully cultivated, trained to hang over the stone. I
was surprised to find, in a public cemetery, in December, roses in
full bloom and valuable exotics at almost every grave. It speaks both
for the sentiment and delicate principle of the people. Few of the
more costly monuments were either interesting or pretty. One struck my
fancy--a small open chapel, large enough to contain four chairs, with
the slab facing the door, and a crucifix encircled with fresh flowers
on a simple shrine above. It is a place where the survivors in a
family might come and sit at any time, nowhere more pleasantly. From
the chapel I speak of, you may look out and see all Paris; and I can
imagine how it would lessen the feeling of desertion and forgetfulness
that makes the anticipation of death so dreadful, to be certain that
your friends would come, as they may here, and talk cheerfully and
enjoy themselves near you, so to speak. The cemetery in summer must be
one of the sweetest places in the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Versailles_ is a royal summer chateau, about twelve miles from Paris,
with a demesne of twenty miles in circumference. Take that for the
scale, and imagine a palace completed in proportion, in all its
details of grounds, ornament, and architecture. It cost, says the
guide book, two hundred and fifty millions of dollars; and, leaving
your fancy to expend that trifle over a residence, which, remember, is
but one out of some half dozen, occupied during the year by a single
family, I commend the republican moral to your consideration, and
proceed with the more particular description of my visit.

My friend, Dr. Howe, was my companion. We drove up the grand avenue on
one of the loveliest mornings that ever surprised December with a
bright sun and a warm south wind. Before us, at the distance of a
mile, lay a vast mass of architecture, with the centre, falling back
between the two projecting wings, the whole crowning a long and
gradual ascent, of which the tri-colored flag waving against the sky
from the central turrets was the highest point. As we approached, we
noticed an occasional flash in the sun, and a stir of bright colors,
through the broad deep court between the wings, which, as we advanced
nearer, proved to be a body of about two or three thousand lancers and
troops of the line under review. The effect was indescribably fine.
The gay uniforms, the hundreds of tall lances, each with its red flag
flying in the wind, the imposing crescent of architecture in which the
array was embraced, the ringing echo of the grand military music from
the towers--and all this intoxication for the positive senses fused
with the historical atmosphere of the place, the recollection of the
king and queen, whose favorite residence it had been (the unfortunate
Louis and Marie Antoinette), or the celebrated women who had lived in
their separate palaces within its grounds, of the genius and chivalry
of Court after Court that had made it, in turn, the scene of their
brilliant follies, and, over all, Napoleon, who _must_ have rode
through its gilded gates with the thought of pride that he was its
imperial master by the royalty of his great nature alone--it was in
truth, enough, the real and the ideal, to dazzle the eyes of a simple
republican.

After gazing at the fascinating show for an hour, we took a guide and
entered the palace. We were walked through suite after suite of cold
apartments, desolately splendid with gold and marble, and crowded with
costly pictures, till I was sick and weary of magnificence. The guide
went before, saying over his rapid rigmarole of names and dates,
giving us about three minutes to a room in which there were some
twenty pictures, perhaps, of which he presumed he had told us all that
was necessary to know. I fell behind, after a while; and, as a
considerable English party had overtaken and joined us, I succeeded in
keeping one room in the rear, and enjoying the remainder in my own
way.

The little marble palace, called "_Petit Trianon_," built for Madame
Pompadour in the garden grounds, is a beautiful affair, full of what
somebody calls "affectionate-looking rooms;" and "_Grand Trianon_,"
built also on the grounds at the distance of half a mile, for Madame
Maintenon, is a very lovely spot, made more interesting by the
preference given to it over all other places by Marie Antoinette. Here
she amused herself with her Swiss village. The cottages and artificial
"mountains" (ten feet high, perhaps) are exceedingly pretty models in
miniature, and probably illustrate very fairly the ideas of a
palace-bred fancy upon natural scenery. There are glens and grottoes,
and rocky beds for brooks that run at will ("_les rivieres à
volonté_," the guide called them), and trees set out upon the crags at
most uncomfortable angles, and every contrivance to make a lovely
lawn as inconveniently like nature as possible. The Swiss families,
however, must have been very amusing. Brought fresh from their wild
country, and set down in these pretty mock cottages, with orders to
live just as they did in their own mountains, they must have been
charmingly puzzled. In the midst of the village stands an exquisite
little Corinthian temple; and our guide informed us that the cottage
which the Queen occupied at her Swiss tea-parties was furnished at an
expense of sixty thousand francs--two not very Switzer-like
circumstances.

It was in the little palace of _Trianon_ that Napoleon signed his
divorce from Josephine. The guide showed us the room, and the table on
which he wrote. I have seen nothing that brought me so near Napoleon.
There is no place in France that could have for me a greater interest.
It is a little _boudoir_, adjoining the state sleeping-room, simply
furnished, and made for familiar retirement, not for show. The single
sofa--the small round table--the enclosing, tent-like curtains--the
modest, unobtrusive elegance of ornaments, and furniture, give it
rather the look of a retreat, fashioned by the tenderness and taste of
private life, than any apartment in a royal palace. I felt unwilling
to leave it. My thoughts were too busy. What was the strongest motive
of that great man in this most affecting and disputed action of his
life?

After having been thridded through the palaces, we had a few moments
left for the grounds. They are magnificent beyond description. We know
very little of this thing in America, as an art; but it is one, I have
come to think, that, in its requisition of genius, is scarce inferior
to architecture. Certainly the three palaces of Versailles together
did not impress me so much as the single view from the upper terrace
of the gardens. It stretches clear over the horizon. You stand on a
natural eminence that commands the whole country, and the plan seems
to you like some work of the Titans. The long sweep of the avenue,
with a breadth of descent that at the first glance takes away your
breath, stretching its two lines of gigantic statues and vases to the
water level; the wide, slumbering canal at its foot, carrying on the
eye to the horizon, like a river of an even flood lying straight
through the bosom of the landscape; the side avenues almost as
extensive; the palaces in the distant grounds, and the strange union
altogether, to an American, of as much extent as the eye can reach,
cultivated equally with the trim elegance of a garden--all these,
combining together, form a spectacle which nothing but nature's
royalty of genius could design, and (to descend ungracefully from the
climax) which only the exactions of an unnatural royalty could pay
for.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think the most forcible lesson one learns at Paris is the value of
time and money. I have always been told, erroneously, that it was a
place to waste both. You could do so much with another hour, if you
had it, and buy so much with another dollar, if you could afford it,
that the reflected economy upon what you _can_ command, is inevitable.
As to the worth of time, for instance, there are some twelve or
fourteen _gratuitous_ lectures every day at the _Sorbonne_, the
_School of Medicine_ and the _College of France_, by men like Cuvier,
Say, Spurzheim, and others, each, in his professed pursuit, the most
eminent perhaps in the world; and there are the Louvre, and the Royal
Library, and the Mazarin Library, and similar public institutions,
all open to gratuitous use, with obsequious attendants, warm rooms,
materials for writing, and perfect seclusion; to say nothing of the
thousand interesting but less useful resorts with which Paris abounds,
such as exhibitions of flowers, porcelains, mosaics, and curious
handiwork of every description, and (more amusing and time-killing
still) the never-ending changes of sights in the public places, from
distinguished foreigners down to miracles of educated monkeys. Life
seems most provokingly short as you look at it. Then, for money, you
are more puzzled how to spend a poor pitiful franc in Paris (it will
buy so many things you want) than you would be in America with the
outlay of a month's income. Be as idle and extravagant as you will,
your idle hours look you in the face as they pass, to know whether, in
spite of the increase of their value, you really mean to waste them;
and the money that slipped through your pocket you know not how at
home, sticks embarrassed to your fingers, from the mere multiplicity
of demands made for it. There are shops all over Paris called the
"_Vingt-cinq-sous_," where every article is fixed at that
price--_twenty five cents_! They contain everything you want, except a
wife and fire-wood--the only two things difficult to be got in France.
(The latter, with or without a pun, is much the _dearer_ of the two.)
I wonder that they are not bought out, and sent over to America on
speculation. There is scarce an article in them that would not be held
cheap with us at five times its purchase. There are bronze standishes
for ink, sand, and wafers, pearl paper-cutters, spice-lamps,
decanters, essence-bottles, sets of china, table-bells of all devices,
mantel ornaments, vases of artificial flowers, kitchen utensils,
dog-collars, canes, guard-chains, chessmen whips, hammers, brushes,
and everything that is either convenient or pretty. You might freight
a ship with them, and all good and well finished, at twenty-five cents
the set or article! You would think the man were joking, to walk
through his shop.



LETTER VIII.

     DR. BOWRING--AMERICAN ARTISTS--BRUTAL AMUSEMENT, ETC.


I have met Dr. Bowring in Paris, and called upon him to-day with Mr.
Morse, by appointment. The translator of the "Ode to the Deity" (from
the Russian of Derzhavin) could not by any accident be an ordinary
man, and I anticipated great pleasure in his society. He received us
at his lodgings in the _Place Vendome_. I was every way pleased with
him. His knowledge of our country and its literature surprised me, and
I could not but be gratified with the unprejudiced and well-informed
interest with which he discoursed on our government and institutions.
He expressed great pleasure at having seen his ode in one of our
schoolbooks (Pierpont's Reader, I think), and assured us that the
promise to himself of a visit to America was one of his brightest
anticipations. This is not at all an uncommon feeling, by the way,
among the men of talent in Paris; and I am pleasingly surprised,
everywhere, with the enthusiastic hopes expressed for the success of
our experiment in liberal principles. Dr. Bowring is a slender man, a
little above the middle height, with a keen, inquisitive expression of
countenance, and a good forehead, from which the hair is combed
straight back all round, in the style of the Cameronians. His manner
is all life, and his motion and gesture nervously sudden and angular.
He talks rapidly, but clearly, and uses beautiful language--concise,
and full of select expressions and vivid figures. His conversation in
this particular was a constant surprise. He gave us a great deal of
information, and when we parted, inquired my route of travel, and
offered me letters to his friends, with a cordiality very unusual on
this side the Atlantic.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a cold but common rule with travellers in Europe to avoid the
society of their own countrymen. In a city like Paris, where time and
money are both so valuable, every additional acquaintance, pursued
either for etiquette or intimacy, is felt, and one very soon learns to
prefer his advantage to any tendency of his sympathies. The
infractions upon the rule, however, are very delightful, and, at the
general _réunion_ at our ambassador's on Wednesday evening, or an
occasional one at Lafayette's, the look of pleasure and relief at
beholding familiar faces, and hearing a familiar language once more,
is universal. I have enjoyed this morning the double happiness of
meeting an American circle, around an American breakfast. Mr. Cooper
had invited us (Morse, the artist, Dr. Howe, a gentleman of the navy,
and myself). Mr. C. lives with great hospitality, and in all the
comfort of American habits; and to find him as he is always found,
with his large family about him, is to get quite back to the
atmosphere of our country. The two or three hours we passed at his
table were, of course, delightful. It should endear Mr. Cooper to the
hearts of his countrymen, that he devotes all his influence, and no
inconsiderable portion of his large income, to the encouragement of
American artists. It would be natural enough, after being so long
abroad, to feel or affect a preference for the works of foreigners;
but in this, as in his political opinions, most decidedly, he is
eminently patriotic. We feel this in Europe, where we discern more
clearly by comparison the poverty of our country in the arts, and
meet, at the same time, American artists of the first talent, without
a single commission from home for original works, copying constantly
for support. One of Mr. Cooper's purchases, the "Cherubs," by
Greenough, has been sent to the United States, and its merit was at
once acknowledged. It was done, however (the artist, who is here,
informs me), under every disadvantage of feeling and circumstances;
and, from what I have seen and am told by others of Mr. Greenough, it
is, I am confident, however beautiful, anything but a fair specimen of
his powers. His peculiar taste lies in a bolder range, and he needs
only a commission from government to execute a work which will begin
the art of sculpture nobly in our country.

       *       *       *       *       *

My curiosity led me into a strange scene to-day. I had observed for
some time among the placards upon the walls an advertisement of an
exhibition of "fighting animals," at the _Barriére du Combat_. I am
disposed to see almost any sight _once_, particularly where it is,
like this, a regular establishment, and, of course, an exponent of the
popular taste. The place of the "_Combats des Animaux_," is in one of
the most obscure suburbs, outside the walls, and I found it with
difficulty. After wandering about in dirty lanes for an hour or two,
inquiring for it in vain, the cries of the animals directed me to a
walled place, separated from the other houses of the suburb, at the
gate of which a man was blowing a trumpet. I purchased a ticket of an
old woman who sat shivering in the porter's lodge; and, finding I was
an hour too early for the fights, I made interest with a
savage-looking fellow, who was carrying in tainted meat, to see the
interior of the establishment. I followed him through a side gate, and
we passed into a narrow alley, lined with stone kennels, to each of
which was confined a powerful dog, with just length of chain enough to
prevent him from reaching the tenant of the opposite hole. There were
several of these alleys, containing, I should think, two hundred dogs
in all. They were of every breed of strength and ferocity, and all of
them perfectly frantic with rage or hunger, with the exception of a
pair of noble-looking black dogs, who stood calmly at the mouths of
their kennels; the rest struggled and howled incessantly, straining
every muscle to reach us, and resuming their fierceness toward each
other when we had passed by. They all bore, more or less, the marks of
severe battles; one or two with their noses split open, and still
unhealed; several with their necks bleeding and raw, and galled
constantly with the iron collar, and many with broken legs, but all
apparently so excited as to be insensible to suffering. After
following my guide very unwillingly through the several alleys,
deafened with the barking and howling of the savage occupants, I was
taken to the department of wild animals. Here were all the tenants of
the menagerie, kept in dens, opening by iron doors upon the pit in
which they fought. Like the dogs, they were terribly wounded; one of
the bears especially, whose mouth was torn all off from his jaws,
leaving his teeth perfectly exposed, and red with the continually
exuding blood. In one of the dens lay a beautiful deer, with one of
his haunches severely mangled, who, the man told me, had been hunted
round the pit by the dogs but a day or two before. He looked up at us,
with his large soft eye, as we passed, and, lying on the damp stone
floor, with his undressed wounds festering in the chilly atmosphere of
mid-winter, he presented a picture of suffering which made me ashamed
to the soul of my idle curiosity.

The spectators began to collect, and the pit was cleared. Two thirds
of those in the amphitheatre were Englishmen, most of whom were
amateurs, who had brought dogs of their own to pit against the regular
mastiffs of the establishment. These were despatched first. A strange
dog was brought in by the collar, and loosed in the arena, and a
trained dog let in upon him. It was a cruel business. The sleek,
well-fed, good-natured animal was no match for the exasperated, hungry
savage he was compelled to encounter. One minute, in all the joy of a
release from his chain, bounding about the pit, and fawning upon his
master, and the next attacked by a furious mastiff, who was taught to
fasten on him at the first onset in a way that deprived him at once of
his strength; it was but a murderous exhibition of cruelty. The
combats between two of the trained dogs, however, were more equal.
These succeeded to the private contests, and were much more severe and
bloody. There was a small terrier among them, who disabled several
dogs successively, by catching at their fore-legs, and breaking them
instantly with a powerful jerk of his body. I was very much interested
in one of the private dogs, a large yellow animal, of a noble
expression of countenance, who fought several times very unwillingly,
but always gallantly and victoriously. There was a majesty about him,
which seemed to awe his antagonists. He was carried off in his
master's arms, bleeding and exhausted, after punishing the best dogs
of the establishment.

The baiting of the wild animals succeeded the canine combats. Several
dogs (Irish, I was told), of a size and ferocity such as I had never
before seen, were brought in, and held in the leash opposite the den
of the bear whose head was so dreadfully mangled.

The door was then opened by the keeper, but poor bruin shrunk from the
contest. The dogs became unmanageable at the sight of him, however,
and, fastening a chain to his collar, they drew him out by main force,
and immediately closed the grating. He fought gallantly, and gave more
wounds than he received, for his shaggy coat protected his body
effectually. The keepers rushed in and beat off the dogs, when they
had nearly finished peeling the remaining flesh from his head; and the
poor creature, perfectly blind and mad with pain, was dragged into his
den again, to await another day of _amusement_!

I will not disgust you with more of these details. They fought several
foxes and wolves afterward, and, last of all, one of the small donkeys
of the country, a creature not so large as some of the dogs, was led
in, and the mastiffs loosed upon her. The pity and indignation I felt
at first at the cruelty of baiting so unwarlike an animal, I soon
found was quite unnecessary. She was the severest opponent the dogs
had yet found. She went round the arena at full gallop, with a dozen
savage animals springing at her throat, but she struck right and left
with her fore-legs, and at every kick with her heels threw one of them
clear across the pit. One or two were left motionless on the field,
and others carried off with their ribs kicked in, and their legs
broken, while their inglorious antagonist escaped almost unhurt. One
of the mastiffs fastened on her ear and threw her down, in the
beginning of the chase, but she apparently received no other injury.

I had remained till the close of the exhibition with some violence to
my feelings, and I was very glad to get away. Nothing would tempt me
to expose myself to a similar disgust again. How the intelligent and
gentlemanly Englishmen whom I saw there, and whom I have since met in
the most refined society of Paris, can make themselves familiar, as
they evidently were, with a scene so brutal, I cannot very well
conceive.



LETTER IX.

     MALIBRAN--PARIS AT MIDNIGHT--A MOB, ETC.


Our beautiful and favorite MALIBRAN is playing in Paris this winter. I
saw her last night in Desdemona. The other theatres are so attractive,
between Taglioni, Robert le Diable (the new opera), Leontine Fay, and
the political pieces constantly coming out, that I had not before
visited the Italian opera. Madame Malibran is every way changed. She
sings, unquestionably, better than when in America. Her voice is
firmer, and more under control, but it has lost that gushing wildness,
that brilliant daringness of execution, that made her singing upon our
boards so indescribably exciting and delightful. Her person is perhaps
still more changed. The round, graceful fulness of her limbs and
features has yielded to a half-haggard look of care and exhaustion,
and I could not but think that there was more than Desdemona's
fictitious wretchedness in the expression of her face. Still, her
forehead and eyes have a beauty that is not readily lost, and she will
be a strikingly interesting, and even splendid creature, as long as
she can play. Her acting was extremely impassioned; and in the more
powerful passages of her part, she exceeded everything I had
conceived of the capacity of the human voice for pathos and melody.
The house was crowded, and the applause was frequent and universal.

Madame Malibran, as you probably know, is divorced from the man whose
name she bears, and has married a violinist of the Italian orchestra.
She is just now in a state of health that will require immediate
retirement from the stage, and, indeed, has played already too long.
She came forward after the curtain dropped, in answer to the continual
demand of the audience, leaning heavily on Rubini, and was evidently
so exhausted as to be scarcely able to stand. She made a single
gesture, and was led off immediately, with her head drooping on her
breast, amid the most violent acclamations. She is a perfect passion
with the French, and seems to have out-charmed their usual caprice.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a lovely night, and after the opera I walked home. I reside a
long distance from the places of public amusement. Dr. Howe and myself
had stopped at a _café_ on the Italian Boulevards an hour, and it was
very late. The streets were nearly deserted--here and there a solitary
cabriolet with the driver asleep under his wooden apron, or the
motionless figure of a municipal guardsman, dozing upon his horse,
with his helmet and brazen armor glistening in the light of the lamps.
Nothing has impressed me more, by the way, than a body of these men
passing me in the night. I have once or twice met the King returning
from the theatre with a guard, and I saw them once at midnight on an
extraordinary patrol winding through the arch into the Place
Carrousel. Their equipments are exceedingly warlike (helmets of
brass, and coats of mail), and, with the gleam of the breast-plates
through their horsemen's cloaks, the tramp of hoofs echoing through
the deserted streets, and the silence and order of their march, it was
quite a realization of the descriptions of chivalry.

We kept along the Boulevards to the Rue Richelieu. A carriage, with
footmen in livery, had just driven up to Frascati's, and, as we
passed, a young man of uncommon personal beauty jumped out and entered
that palace of gamblers. By his dress he was just from a ball, and the
necessity of excitement after a scene meant to be so gay, was an
obvious if not a fair satire on the happiness of the "gay" circle in
which he evidently moved. We turned down the Passage Panorama, perhaps
the most crowded thoroughfare in all Paris, and traversed its long
gallery without meeting a soul. The widely-celebrated _patisserie_ of
Felix, the first pastry-cook in the world, was the only shop open from
one extremity to the other. The guard, in his gray capote, stood
looking in at the window, and the girl, who had served the palates of
half the fashion and rank of Paris since morning, sat nodding fast
asleep behind the counter, paying the usual fatiguing penalty of
notoriety. The clock struck two as we passed the _façade_ of the
Bourse. This beautiful and central square is, night and day, the grand
rendezvous of public vice; and late as the hour was, its _pavé_ was
still thronged with flaunting and painted women of the lowest
description, promenading without cloaks or bonnets, and addressing
every passer-by.

The Palais Royal lay in our way, just below the Bourse, and we entered
its magnificent court with an exclamation of new pleasure. Its
thousand lamps were all burning brilliantly, the long avenues of trees
were enveloped in a golden atmosphere created by the bright radiation
of light through the mist, the Corinthian pillars and arches retreated
on either side from the eye in distinct and yet mellow perspective,
the fountain filled the whole palace with its rich murmur, and the
broad marble-paved galleries, so thronged by day, were as silent and
deserted as if the drowsy _gens d'armes_ standing motionless on their
posts were the only living beings that inhabited it. It was a scene
really of indescribable impressiveness. No one who has not seen this
splendid palace, enclosing with its vast colonnades so much that is
magnificent, can have an idea of its effect upon the imagination. I
had seen it hitherto only when crowded with the gay and noisy idlers
of Paris, and the contrast of this with the utter solitude it now
presented--not a single footfall to be heard on its floors, yet every
lamp burning bright, and the statues and flowers and fountains all
illuminated as if for a revel--was one of the most powerful and
captivating that I have ever witnessed. We loitered slowly down one of
the long galleries, and it seemed to me more like some creation of
enchantment than the public haunt it is of pleasure and merchandise. A
single figure, wrapped in a cloak, passed hastily by us and entered
the door to one of the celebrated "hells," in which the playing scarce
commences till this hour--but we met no other human being.

We passed on from the grand court to the Galerie Nemours. This, as you
may find in the descriptions, is a vast hall, standing between the
east and west courts of the Palais Royal. It is sometimes called the
"glass gallery." The roof is of glass, and the shops, with fronts
entirely of windows, are separated only by long mirrors, reaching in
the shape of pillars from the roof to the floor. The pavement is
tesselated, and at either end stand two columns completing its form,
and dividing it from the other galleries into which it opens. The
shops are among the costliest in Paris; and what with the vast
proportions of the hall, its beautiful and glistening material, and
the lightness and grace of its architecture, it is, even when
deserted, one of the most fairy-like places in this fantastic city. It
is the lounging place of military men particularly; and every evening
from six to midnight, it is thronged by every class of gayly dressed
people, officers off duty, soldiers, polytechnic scholars, ladies, and
strangers of every costume and complexion, promenading to and fro in
the light of the _cafés_ and the dazzling shops, sheltered completely
from the weather, and enjoying, without expense or ceremony, a scene
more brilliant than the most splendid ball-room in Paris. We lounged
up and down the long echoing pavement an hour. It was like some kingly
"banquet hall deserted." The lamps burned dazzlingly bright, the
mirrors multiplied our figures into shadowy and silent attendants, and
our voices echoed from the glittering roof in the utter stillness of
the hour, as if we had broken in, Thalaba-like, upon some magical
palace of silence.

It is singular how much the differences of time and weather affect
scenery. The first sunshine I saw in Paris, unsettled all my previous
impressions completely. I had seen every place of interest through the
dull heavy atmosphere of a week's rain, and it was in such leaden
colors alone that the finer squares and palaces had become familiar to
me. The effect of a clear sun upon them was wonderful. The sudden
gilding of the dome of the Invalides by Napoleon must have been
something like it. I took advantage of it to see everything over
again, and it seemed to me like another city. I never realized so
forcibly the beauty of sunshine. Architecture, particularly, is
nothing without it. Everything looks heavy and flat. The tracery of
the windows and relievos, meant to be definite and airy, appears
clumsy and confused, and the whole building flattens into a solid
mass, without design or beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spent the whole day in a Paris mob. The arrival of General
Romarino and some of his companions from Warsaw, gave the malcontents
a plausible opportunity of expressing their dislike to the measures of
government; and, under cover of a public welcome to this distinguished
Pole, they assembled in immense numbers at the Port St. Denis, and on
the Boulevard Montmartre. It was very exciting altogether. The cavalry
were out, and patroled the streets in companies, charging upon the
crowd wherever there was a stand; the troops of the line marched up
and down the Boulevards, continually dividing the masses of people,
and forbidding any one to stand still. The shops were all shut, in
anticipation of an affray. The students endeavored to cluster, and
resisted, as far as they dared, the orders of the soldiery; and from
noon till night there was every prospect of a quarrel. The French are
a fine people under excitement. Their handsome and ordinarily
heartless faces become very expressive under the stronger emotions;
and their picturesque dresses and violent gesticulation, set off a
popular tumult exceedingly. I have been highly amused all day, and
have learned a great deal of what it is very difficult for a foreigner
to acquire--the language of French passion. They express themselves
very forcibly when angry. The constant irritation kept up by the
intrusion of the cavalry upon the sidewalks, and the rough manner of
dispersing gentlemen by sabre-blows and kicks with the stirrup, gave
me sufficient opportunity of judging. I was astonished, however, that
their summary mode of proceeding was borne at all. It is difficult to
mix in such a vast body, and not catch its spirit, and I found myself,
without knowing why, or rather with a full conviction that the
military measures were necessary and right, entering with all my heart
into the rebellious movements of the students, and boiling with
indignation at every dispersion by force. The students of Paris are
probably the worst subjects the king has. They are mostly young men of
from twenty to twenty-five, full of bodily vigor and enthusiasm, and
excitable to the last degree. Many of them are Germans, and no small
proportion Americans. They make a good _amalgam_ for a mob, dress
being the last consideration, apparently, with a medical or law
student in Paris. I never saw such a collection of atrocious-looking
fellows as are to be met at the lectures. The polytechnic scholars, on
the other hand, are the finest-looking body of young men I ever saw.
Aside from their uniform, which is remarkably neat and beautiful,
their figures and faces seem picked for spirit and manliness. They
have always a distinguished air in a crowd, and it is easy, after
seeing them, to imagine the part they played as leaders in the
revolution of the three days.

Contrary to my expectation, night came on without any serious
encounter. One or two individuals attempted to resist the authority of
the troops, and were considerably bruised; and one young man, a
student, had three of his fingers cut off by the stroke of a dragoon's
sabre. Several were arrested, but by eight o'clock all was quiet, and
the shops on the Boulevards once more exposed their tempting goods,
and lit up their brilliant mirrors without fear. The people thronged
to the theatres to see the political pieces, and evaporate their
excitement in cheers at the liberal allusions; and so ends a tumult
that threatened danger, but operated, perhaps, as a healthful vent for
the accumulating disorders of public opinion.



LETTER X.

     GARDEN OF THE TUILERIES--FASHIONABLE DRIVES--FRENCH
     OMNIBUSES--CHEAP RIDING--SIGHTS--STREET-BEGGARS--IMPOSTORS,
     ETC.


The garden of the Tuileries is an idle man's paradise. Magnificent as
it is in extent, sculptures, and cultivation, we all know that statues
may be too dumb, gravel walks too long and level, and trees and
flowers and fountains a little too Platonic, with any degree of
beauty. But the Tuileries are peopled at all hours of sunshine with,
to me, the most lovely objects in the world--children. You may stop a
minute, perhaps, to look at the thousand gold fishes in the basin
under the palace-windows, or follow the swans for a single voyage
round the fountain in the broad avenue--but you will sit on your hired
chair (at this season) under the shelter of the sunny wall, and gaze
at the children chasing about, with their attending Swiss maids, till
your heart has outwearied your eyes, or the palace-clock strikes five.
I have been there repeatedly since I have been in Paris, and have seen
nothing like the children. They move my heart always, more than
anything under heaven; but a French child, with an accent that all
your paid masters cannot give, and manners, in the midst of its
romping, that mock to the life the air and courtesy for which Paris
has a name over the world, is enough to make one forget Napoleon,
though the column of Vendome throws its shadow within sound of their
voices. Imagine sixty-seven acres of beautiful creatures (that is the
extent of the garden, and I have not seen such a thing as an _ugly_
French child)--broad avenues stretching away as far as you can see,
covered with little foreigners (so they seem to _me_), dressed in gay
colors, and laughing and romping and talking French, in all the
amusing mixture of baby passions and grown-up manners, and answer
me--is it not a sight better worth seeing than all the grand palaces
that shut it in?

The Tuileries are certainly very magnificent, and, to walk across from
the Seine to the Rue Rivoli, and look up the endless walks and under
the long perfect arches cut through the trees, may give one a very
pretty surprise for once--but a winding lane is a better place to
enjoy the loveliness of green leaves, and a single New England elm,
letting down its slender branches to the ground in the inimitable
grace of nature, has, to my eye, more beauty than all the clipped
vistas from the king's palace to the _Arc de l'Etoile_, the _Champs
Elysées_ inclusive.

One of the finest things in Paris, by the way, is the view from the
terrace in front of the palace to this "Arch of Triumph," commenced by
Napoleon at the extremity of the "Elysian Fields," a single avenue of
about two miles. The part beyond the gardens is the _fashionable
drive_, and, by a saunter on horseback to the _Bois de Boulogne_,
between four and five, on a pleasant day, one may see all the dashing
equipages in Paris. Broadway, however, would eclipse everything here,
either for beauty of construction or appointments. Our carriages are
every way handsomer and better hung, and the horses are harnessed more
compactly and gracefully. The lumbering vehicles here make a great
show, it is true--for the box, with its heavy hammer-cloth, is level
with the top, and the coachman and footmen and outriders are very
striking in their bright liveries; but the elegant, convenient,
light-running establishments of Philadelphia and New York, excel them,
out of all comparison, for taste and fitness. The best driving I have
seen is by the king's whips, and really it is beautiful to see his
retinue on the road, four or five coaches and six, with footmen and
outriders in scarlet liveries, and the finest horses possible for
speed and action. His majesty generally takes the outer edge of the
_Champs Elysées_, on the bank of the river, and the rapid glimpses of
the bright show through the breaks in the wood, are exceedingly
picturesque.

There is nothing in Paris that looks so outlandish to my eye as the
common vehicles. I was thinking of it this morning as I stood waiting
for the _St. Sulpice omnibus_, at the corner of the Rue Vivienne, the
great thoroughfare between the Boulevards and the Palais Royal. There
was the hack-cabriolet lumbering by in the fashion of two centuries
ago, with a horse and harness that look equally ready to drop in
pieces; the hand-cart with a stout dog harnessed under the axle-tree,
drawing with twice the strength of his master; the market-waggon,
driven always by women, and drawn generally by a horse and mule
abreast, the horse of the Norman breed, immensely large, and the mule
about the size of a well-grown bull-dog; a vehicle of which I have not
yet found out the name, a kind of demi-omnibus, with two wheels and a
single horse, and carrying nine; and last, but not least amusing, a
small close carriage for one person, swung upon two wheels and drawn
by a servant, very much used, apparently, by elderly women and
invalids, and certainly most admirable conveniences either for the
economy or safety of getting about a city. It would be difficult to
find an American servant who would draw in harness as they do here;
and it is amusing to see a stout, well-dressed fellow, strapped to a
carriage, and pulling along the _pavés_, sometimes at a jog-trot,
while his master or mistress sits looking unconcernedly out of the
window.

I am not yet decided whether the French are the best or the worst
drivers in the world. If the latter they certainly have most
miraculous escapes. A cab-driver never pulls the reins except upon
great emergencies, or for a right-about turn, and his horse has a most
ludicrous aversion to a straight line. The streets are built inclining
toward the centre, with the gutter in the middle, and it is the habit
of all cabriolet-horses to run down one side and up the other
constantly at such sudden angles that it seems to you they certainly
will go through the shop windows. This, of course, is very dangerous
to foot-passengers in a city where there are no side-walks; and, as a
consequence, the average number of complaints to the police of Paris
for people killed by careless driving, is about four hundred annually.
There are probably twice the number of legs broken. One becomes vexed
in riding with these fellows, and I have once or twice undertaken to
get into a French passion, and insist upon driving myself. But I have
never yet met with an accident. "_Gar-r-r-r-e!_" sings out the driver,
rolling the word off his tongue like a bullet from a shovel, but never
thinking to lift his loose reins from the dasher, while the frightened
passenger, without looking round, makes for the first door with an
alacrity that shows a habit of expecting very little from the
_cocher's_ skill.

Riding is very cheap in Paris, if managed a little. The city is
traversed constantly in every direction by omnibuses, and you may go
from the Tuileries to _Père la Chaise_, or from St. Sulpice to the
Italian Boulevards (the two diagonals), or take the "_Tous les
Boulevards_" and ride quite round the city for six sous the distance.
The "_fiacre_" is like our own hacks, except that you pay but "twenty
_sous_ the course," and fill the vehicle with your friends if you
please; and, more cheap and comfortable still, there is the universal
cabriolet, which for "fifteen _sous_ the course," or "twenty the
hour," will give you at least three times the value of your money,
with the advantage of seeing ahead and talking bad French with the
driver.

Everything in France is either _grotesque_ or _picturesque_. I have
been struck with it this morning, while sitting at my window, looking
upon the close inner court of the hotel. One would suppose that a
_pavé_ between four high walls, would offer very little to seduce the
eye from its occupation; but on the contrary, one's whole time may be
occupied in watching the various sights presented in constant
succession. First comes the itinerant cobbler, with his seat and
materials upon his back, and coolly selecting a place against the
wall, opens his shop under your window, and drives his trade, most
industriously, for half an hour. If you have anything to mend, he is
too happy; if not he has not lost his time, for he pays no rent, and
is all the while at work. He packs up again, bows to the _concierge_,
as politely as his load will permit, and takes his departure, in the
hope to find your shoes more worn another day. Nothing could be more
striking than his whole appearance. He is met in the gate, perhaps,
by an old clothes man, who will buy or sell, and compliment you for
nothing, cheapening your coat by calling the Virgin to witness that
your shape is so genteel that it will not fit one man in a thousand;
or by a family of singers, with a monkey to keep time; or a regular
beggar, who, however, does not dream of asking charity till he has
done something to amuse you; after these, perhaps, will follow a
succession of objects singularly peculiar to this fantastic
metropolis; and if one could separate from the poor creatures the
knowledge of the cold and hunger they suffer, wandering about,
houseless, in the most inclement weather, it would be easy to imagine
it a diverting pantomime, and give them the poor pittance they ask, as
the price of an amused hour. An old man has just gone from the court
who comes regularly twice a week, with a long beard, perfectly white,
and a strange kind of an equipage. It is an organ, set upon a rude
carriage, with four small wheels, and drawn by a mule, of the most
diminutive size, looking (if it were not for the venerable figure
crouched upon the seat) like some roughly-contrived plaything. The
whole affair, harness and all, is evidently his own work; and it is
affecting to see the difficulty, and withal, the habitual apathy with
which the old itinerant fastens his rope-reins beside him, and
dismounts to grind his one--solitary--eternal tune, for charity.

Among the thousands of wretched objects in Paris (they make the heart
sick with their misery at every turn), there is, here and there, one
of an interesting character; and it is pleasant to select them, and
make a habit of your trifling gratuity. Strolling about, as I do,
constantly, and letting everybody and everything amuse me that will, I
have made several of these penny-a-day acquaintances, and find them
very agreeable breaks to the heartless solitude of a crowd. There is a
little fellow who stands by the gate of the Tuileries, opening to the
Place Vendome, who, with all the rags and dirt of a street-boy, begs
with an air of superiority that is absolutely patronizing. One feels
obliged to the little varlet for the privilege of giving to him--his
smile and manner are so courtly. His face is beautiful, dirty as it
is; his voice is clear, and unaffected, and his thin lips have an
expression of high-bred contempt, that amuses me a little, and puzzles
me a great deal. I think he must have gentleman's blood in his veins,
though he possibly came indirectly by it. There is a little Jewess
hanging about the Louvre, who begs with her dark eyes very eloquently;
and in the _Rue de la Paix_ there may be found at all hours, a
melancholy, sick-looking Italian boy, with his hand in his bosom,
whose native language and picture-like face are a diurnal pleasure to
me, cheaply bought with the poor trifle which makes him happy. It is
surprising how many devices there are in the streets for attracting
attention and pity. There is a woman always to be seen upon the
Boulevards, playing a solemn tune on a violin, with a child as pallid
as ashes, lying, apparently, asleep in her lap. I suspected, after
seeing it once or twice, that it was wax, and a day or two since I
satisfied myself of the fact, and enraged the mother excessively by
touching its cheek. It represents a sick child to the life, and any
one less idle and curious would be deceived. I have often seen people
give her money with the most unsuspecting look of sympathy, though it
would be natural enough to doubt the maternal kindness of keeping a
dying child in the open air in mid-winter. Then there is a woman
without hands, making braid with wonderful adroitness; and a man
without legs or arms, singing, with his hat set appealingly on the
ground before him; and cripples, exposing their abbreviated limbs,
and telling their stories over and over, with or without listeners,
from morning till night; and every description of appeal to the most
acute sympathies, mingled with all the gayety, show, and fashion, of
the most crowded promenade in Paris.

In the present dreadful distress of trade, there are other still more
painful cases of misery. It is not uncommon to be addressed in the
street by men of perfectly respectable appearance, whose faces bear
every mark of strong mental struggle, and often of famishing
necessity, with an appeal for the smallest sum that will buy food. The
look of misery is so general, as to mark the whole population. It has
struck me most forcibly everywhere, notwithstanding the gayety of the
national character, and, I am told by intelligent Frenchmen, it is
peculiar to the time, and felt and observed by all. Such things
startle one back to nature sometimes. It is difficult to look away
from the face of a starving man, and see the splendid equipages, and
the idle waste upon trifles, within his very sight, and reconcile the
contrast with any belief of the existence of human pity--still more
difficult, perhaps, to admit without reflection, the right of one
human being to hold in a shut hand, at will, the very life and breath
for which his fellow-creatures are perishing at his door. It is this
that is visited back so terribly in the horrors of a revolution.



LETTER XI.

     FOYETIÉR--THE THRACIAN GLADIATOR--MADEMOISELLE MARS--DOCTOR
     FRANKLIN'S RESIDENCE IN PARIS--ANNUAL BALL FOR THE POOR.


I had the pleasure to day of being introduced to the young sculptor
Foyetiér, the author of the new statue on the terrace of the
Tuileries. Aside from his genius, he is interesting from a
circumstance connected with his early history. He was a herd-driver in
one of the provinces, and amused himself in his leisure moments with
the carving of rude images, which he sold for a sous or two on
market-days in the provincial town. The celebrated Dr. Gall fell in
with him accidentally, and felt of his head, _en passant_. The bump
was there which contains his present greatness, and the phrenologist
took upon himself the risk of his education in the arts. He is now the
first sculptor, beyond all competition, in France. His "_Spartacus_,"
the Thracian gladiator, is the admiration of Paris. It stands in front
of the palace, in the most conspicuous part of the regal gardens, and
there are hundreds of people about the pedestal at all hours of the
day. The gladiator has broken his chain, and stands with his weapon
in his hand, every muscle and feature breathing action, his body
thrown back, and his right foot planted powerfully for a spring. It is
a gallant thing. One's blood stirs to look at it.

_Foyetiér_ is a young man, I should think about thirty. He is small,
very plain in appearance; but he has a rapid, earnest eye, and a mouth
of singular suavity of expression. I liked him extremely. His
celebrity seems not to have trenched a step on the nature of his
character. His genius is everywhere allowed, and he works for the king
altogether, his majesty bespeaking everything he attempts, even in the
model; but he is, certainly, of all geniuses, one of the most modest.

       *       *       *       *       *

The celebrated Mars has come out from her retirement once more, and
commenced an engagement at the _Theatre Français_. I went a short time
since to see her play in Tartuffe. This stage is the home of the true
French drama. Here Talma played when he and Mademoiselle Mars were the
delight of Napoleon and of France. I have had few gratifications
greater than that of seeing this splendid woman re-appear in the place
were she won her brilliant reputation. The play, too, was _Moliere's_,
and it was here that it was first performed. Altogether it was like
something plucked back from history; a renewal, as in a magic mirror,
of glories gone by.

I could scarce believe my eyes when she appeared as the "wife of
Argon." She looked about twenty-five. Her step was light and graceful;
Her voice was as unlike that of a woman of sixty as could well be
imagined; sweet, clear, and under a control which gives her a power
of expression I never had conceived before; her mouth had the
definite, firm play of youth; her teeth (though the dentist might do
that) were white and perfect, and her eyes can have lost none of their
fire, I am sure. I never saw so _quiet_ a player. Her gestures were
just perceptible, no more; and yet they were done so exquisitely at
the right moment--so unconsciously, as if she had not meant them, that
they were more forcible than even the language itself. She repeatedly
drew a low murmur of delight from the whole house with a single play
of expression across her face, while the other characters were
speaking, or by a slight movement of her fingers, in pantomimic
astonishment or vexation. It was really something new to me. I had
never before seen a first-rate female player in _comedy_. Leontine Fay
is inimitable in tragedy; but, if there be any comparison between
them, it is that this beautiful young creature overpowers the _heart_
with her nature, while Mademoiselle Mars satisfies the uttermost
demand of the _judgment_ with her art.

       *       *       *       *       *

I yesterday visited the house occupied by Franklin while he was in
France. It is one of the most beautiful country residences in the
neighborhood of Paris, standing on the elevated ground of Passy, and
overlooking the whole city on one side, and the valley of the Seine
for a long distance toward Versailles on the other. The house is
otherwise celebrated. Madame de Genlis lived there while the present
king was her pupil; and Louis XV. occupied it six months for the
country air, while under the infliction of the gout--its neighborhood
to the palace probably rendering it preferable to the more distant
_chateaux_ of St. Cloud or Versailles. Its occupants would seem to
have been various enough, without the addition of a Lieutenant-General
of the British army, whose hospitality makes it delightful at present.
The lightning-rod, which was raised by Franklin, and which was the
first conductor used in France, is still standing. The gardens are
large, and form a sort of terrace, with the house on the front edge.
It must be one of the sweetest places in the world in summer.

       *       *       *       *       *

The great annual ball for the poor was given at the _Academie Royale_,
a few nights since. This is attended by the king and royal family, and
is ordinarily the most splendid affair of the season. It is managed by
twenty or thirty lady-patronesses, who have the control of the
tickets; and, though by no means exclusive, it is kept within very
respectable limits; and, if one is content to float with the tide, and
forego dancing, is an unusually comfortable and well-behaved
spectacle.

I went with a large party at the early hour of eight. We fell into the
train of carriages, advancing slowly between files of dragoons, and
stood before the door in our turn in the course of an hour. The
staircases were complete orangeries, with immense mirrors at every
turn, and soldiers on guard, and servants in livery, from top to
bottom. The long saloon, lighted by ten chandeliers, was dressed and
hung with wreaths as a receiving-room; and passing on through the
spacious lobbies, which were changed into groves of pines and exotics,
we entered upon the grand scene. The _coup d'oeil_ would have
astonished Aladdin. The theatre, which is the largest in Paris, and
gorgeously built and ornamented, was thrown into one vast ball-room,
ascending gradually from the centre to platforms raised at either end,
one of which was occupied by the throne and seats for the king's
family and suite. The four rows of boxes were crowded with ladies, and
the house presented, from the floor to the _paradis_, one glittering
and waving wall of dress, jewelry, and feathers. An orchestra of near
a hundred musicians occupied the centre of the hall; and on either
side of them swept by the long, countless multitudes of people,
dressed with a union of taste and show; while, instead of the black
coats which darken the complexion of a party in a republican country,
every other gentleman was in a gay uniform; and polytechnic scholars,
with their scarlet-faced coats, officers of the "National Guard" and
the "line," gentlemen of the king's household, and foreign ministers,
and _attachés_, presented a variety of color and splendor which
nothing could exceed.

The theatre itself was not altered, except by the platform occupied by
the king; it is sufficiently splendid as it stands; but the stage,
whose area is much larger than that of the pit, was hung in rich
drapery as a vast tent, and garnished to profusion with flags and
arms. Along the sides, on a level with the lower row of boxes,
extended galleries of crimson velvet, festooned with flowers. These
were filled with ladies, and completed a circle about the house of
beauty and magnificence, of which the king and his dazzling suite
formed the _corona_. Chandeliers were hung close together from one end
of the hall to the other. I commenced counting them once or twice, but
some bright face flitting by in the dance interrupted me. An English
girl near me counted fifty-five, and I think there must have been
more. The blaze of light was almost painful. The air glittered, and
the fine grain of the most delicate complexions was distinctly
visible. It is impossible to describe the effect of so much light and
space and music crowded into one spectacle. The vastness of the hall,
so long that the best sight could not distinguish a figure at the
opposite extremity, and so high as to absorb and mellow the vibration
of a hundred instruments--the gorgeous sweep of splendor from one
platform to the other, absolutely drowning the eye in a sea of gay
colors, nodding feathers, jewelry, and military equipment--the
delicious music, the strange faces, dresses, and tongues, (one-half of
the multitude at least being foreigners), the presence of the king,
and the gallant show of uniforms in his conspicuous _suite_, combined
to make up a scene more than sufficiently astonishing. I felt the
whole night the smothering consciousness of senses too narrow--eyes,
ears, language, all too limited for the demand made upon them.

The king did not arrive till after ten. He entered by a silken curtain
in the rear of the platform on which seats were placed for his family.
The "_Vive le Roi_" was not so hearty as to drown the music, but his
majesty bowed some twenty times very graciously, and the good-hearted
queen curtsied, and kept a smile on her excessively plain face, till I
felt the muscles of my own ache for her. King Philippe looks anxious.
By the remarks of the French people about me when he entered, he has
reason for it. I observed that the polytechnic scholars all turned
their backs upon him; and one exceedingly handsome, spirited-looking
boy, standing just at my side, muttered a "_sacré!_" and bit his lip,
with a very revolutionary air, at the continuance of the acclamation.
His majesty came down, and walked through the hall about midnight. His
eldest son, the Duke of Orleans, a handsome, unoffending-looking youth
of eighteen, followed him, gazing round upon the crowd with his mouth
open, and looking very much annoyed at his part of the pageant. The
young duke has a good figure, and is certainly a very beautiful
dancer. His mouth is loose and weak, and his eyes are as opaque as
agates. He wore the uniform of the _Garde Nationale_, which does not
become him. In ordinary gentleman's dress, he is a very authentical
copy of a Bond-street dandy, and looks as little like a Frenchman as
most of Stultz's subjects. He danced all the evening, and selected,
very popularly, decidedly the most vulgar women in the room, looking
all the while as one who had been petted by the finest women in France
(Leontine Fay among the number), might be supposed to look, under such
an infliction. The king's second son, the Duke of Nemours, pursued the
same policy. He has a brighter face than his brother, with hair almost
white, and dances extremely well. The second daughter is also much
prettier than the eldest. On the whole, the king's family is a very
plain, though a very amiable one, and the people seem attached to
them.

These general descriptions, are, after all, very vague. Here I have
written half a sheet with a picture in my mind of which you are
getting no semblable idea. Language is a mere skeleton of such things.
The _Academie Royale_ should be borne over the water like the chapel
of Loretto, and set down in Broadway with all its lights, music, and
people, to give you half a notion of the "_Bal en faveur des
Pauvres_." And so it is with everything except the little histories of
one's own personal atmosphere, and that is the reason why egotism
should be held virtuous in a traveller, and the reason why one cannot
study Europe at home.

After getting our American party places, I abandoned myself to the
strongest current, and went in search of "lions." The first face that
arrested my eye was that of the Duchess D'Istria, a woman celebrated
here for her extraordinary personal beauty.

Directly opposite this lovely dutchess, in the other stage-box, sat
Donna Maria, the young Queen of Portugal, surrounded by her relatives.
The ex-empress, her mother, was on her right, her grandmother on her
left, and behind her some half dozen of her Portuguese cousins. She is
a little girl of twelve or fourteen, with a fat, heavy face, and a
remarkably pampered, sleepy look. She was dressed like an old woman,
and gaped incessantly the whole evening. The box was a perfect blaze
of diamonds. I never before realized the beauty of these splendid
stones. The necks, heads, arms, and waists of the ladies royal were
all streaming with light. The necklace of the empress mother
particularly flashed on the eye in every part of the house. By the
unceasing exclamations of the women, it was an unusually brilliant
show, even here. The little Donna has a fine, well-rounded chin; and
when she smiled in return to the king's bow, I thought I could see
more than a child's character in the expression of her mouth. I should
think a year or two of mental uneasiness might let out a look of
intelligence through her heavy features. She is likely to have it, I
think, with the doubtful fortunes that seem to beset her.

I met Don Pedro often in society before his departure upon his
expedition. He is a short, well-made man, of great personal
accomplishment, and a very bad expression, rather aggravated by an
unfortunate cutaneous eruption. The first time I saw him, I was induced
to ask who he was, from the apparent coldness and dislike with which
he was treated by a lady whose beauty had strongly arrested my attention.
He sat by her on a sofa in a very crowded party, and seemed to be
saying something very earnestly, which made the lady's Spanish eyes
flash fire, and brought a curl of very positive anger upon a pair of
the loveliest lips imaginable. She was a slender, aristocratic-looking
creature, and dressed most magnificently. After glancing at them a
minute or two, I made up my mind that, from the authenticity of his
dress and appointments, he was an Englishman, and that she was some
French lady of rank whom he was particularly annoying with his
addresses. On inquiry, the gentleman proved to be Don Pedro, and the
lady the Countess de Lourle, _his sister_! I have often met her since,
and never without wondering how two of the same family could look so
utterly unlike each other. The Count de Lourle is called the Adonis of
Paris. He is certainly a very splendid fellow, and justifies the
romantic admiration of his wife, who married him clandestinely, giving
him her left hand in the ceremony, as is the etiquette, they say, when
a princess marries below her rank. One can not help looking with great
interest on a beautiful creature like this, who has broken away from
the imposing fetters of a royal sphere, to follow the dictates of
natural feeling. It does not occur so often in Europe that one may not
sentimentalize about it without the charge of affectation.

To return to the ball. The king bowed himself out a little after
midnight, and with him departed most of the fat people, and all the
little girls. This made room enough to dance, and the French set
themselves at it in good earnest. I wandered about for an hour or two;
after wearying my imagination quite out in speculating on the
characters and rank of people whom I never saw before and shall
probably never see again, I mounted to the _paradis_ to take a last
look down upon the splendid scene, and made my exit. I should be quite
content never to go to such a ball again, though it was by far the
most splendid scene of the kind I ever saw.



LETTER XII.

     PLACE LOUIS XV.--PANORAMIC VIEW OF PARIS--A LITERARY CLUB
     DINNER--THE GUESTS--THE PRESIDENT--THE EXILED POLES, ETC.


I have spent the day in a long stroll. The wind blew warm and
delicious from the south this morning, and the temptation to abandon
lessons and lectures was irresistible. Taking the _Arc de l'Etoile_ as
my extreme point I yielded to all the leisurely hinderances of
shop-windows, beggars, book-stalls, and views by the way. Among the
specimen-cards in an engraver's window I was amused at finding, in the
latest Parisian fashion, "HUSSEIN-PACHA, _Dey d'Algiers_."

These delightful Tuileries! We rambled through them (I had met a
friend and countryman, and enticed him into my idle plans for the
day), and amused ourselves with the never-failing beauty and grace of
the French children for an hour. On the inner terrace we stopped to
look at the beautiful hotel of Prince Polignac, facing the Tuileries,
on the opposite bank. By the side of this exquisite little model of a
palace stands the superb commencement of Napoleon's ministerial
hotel, breathing of his glorious conception in every line of its
ruins. It is astonishing what a godlike impress that man left upon all
he touched.

Every third or fourth child in the gardens was dressed in the full
uniform of the National Guard--helmet, sword, epaulets, and all. They
are ludicrous little caricatures, of course, but it inoculates them
with love of the corps, and it would be better if that were synonymous
with a love of liberal principals. The _Garde Nationale_ are supposed
to be more than half "Carlists" at this moment.

We passed out by the guarded gate of the Tuileries to the _Place Louis
XV._ This square is a most beautiful spot, as a centre of unequalled
views, and yet a piece of earth so foully polluted with human blood
probably does not exist on the face of the globe. It divides the
Tuileries from the _Champs Elysées_, and ranges of course, in the long
broad avenue of two miles, stretching between the king's palace and
the _Arc de l'Etoile_. It is but a list of names to write down the
particular objects to be seen in such a view, but it commands, at the
extremities of its radii, the most princely edifices, seen hence with
the most advantageous foregrounds of space and avenue, and softened by
distance into the misty and unbroken surface of engraving. The king's
palace is on one hand, Napoleon's Arch at a distance of nearly two
miles on the other, Prince Talleyrand's regal dwelling behind, with
the church of Madelaine seen through the _Rue Royale_, while before
you, to the south, lies a picture of profuse splendor: the broad
Seine, spanned by bridges that are the admiration of Europe, and
crowded by specimens of architectural magnificence; the Chamber of
Deputies; and the _Palais Bourbon_, approached by the _Pont Louis
XVI._ with its gigantic statues and simple majesty of structure; and,
rising over all, the grand dome of the "_Invalides_," which Napoleon
gilded, to divert the minds of his subjects from his lost battle, and
which Peter the Great admired more than all Paris beside. What a spot
for a man to stand upon, with but one bosom to feel and one tongue to
express his wonder!

And yet, of what, that should make a spot of earth sink to perdition,
has it not been the theatre? Here were beheaded the unfortunate Louis
XVI.--his wife, Marie Antoinette--his kinsman, Philip duke of Orleans,
and his sister Elizabeth; and here were guillotined the intrepid
Charlotte Corday, the deputy Brissot, and twenty of his colleagues,
and all the victims of the revolution of 1793, to the amount of two
thousand eight hundred; and here Robespierre and his cursed crew met
at last with their insufficient retribution; and, as if it were
destined to be the very blood-spot of the earth, here the fireworks,
which were celebrating the marriage of the same Louis that was
afterward brought hither to the scaffold, exploded, and killed
fourteen hundred persons. It has been the scene, also, of several
minor tragedies not worth mentioning in such a connexion. Were I a
Bourbon, and as unpopular as King Philippe I. at this moment, the view
of the Place Louis XV. from my palace windows would very much disturb
the beauty of the perspective. Without an _equivoque_, I should look
with a very ominous dissatisfaction on the "Elysian fields" that lie
beyond.

We loitered slowly on to the _Barrier Neuilly_, just outside of which,
and right before the city gates, stands the Triumphal Arch. It has the
stamp of Napoleon--simple grandeur. The broad avenue from the
Tuileries swells slowly up to it for two miles, and the view of Paris
at its foot, even, is superb. We ascended to the unfinished roof, a
hundred and thirty-five feet from the ground, and saw the whole of the
mighty capital of France at a _coup d'oeil_--churches, palaces,
gardens; buildings heaped upon buildings clear over the edge of the
horizon, where the spires of the city in which you stand are scarcely
visible for the distance.

I dined, a short time since, with the editors of the _Revue
Encyclopedique_ at their monthly reunion. This is a sort of club
dinner, to which the eminent contributors of the review invite once a
month all the strangers of distinction who happen to be in Paris. I
owed my invitation probably to the circumstance of my living with Dr.
Howe, who is considered the organ of American principles here, and
whose force of character has given him a degree of respect and
prominence not often attained by foreigners. It was the most
remarkable party, by far, that I had ever seen. There were nearly a
hundred guests, twenty or thirty of whom were distinguished Poles,
lately arrived from Warsaw. Generals Romarino and Langermann were
placed beside the president, and another general, whose name is as
difficult to remember as his face is to forget, and who is famous for
having been the last on the field, sat next to the head seat. Near him
were General Bernard and Dr. Bowring, with Sir Sidney Smith (covered
with orders, from every quarter of the world), and the president of
Colombia. After the usual courses of a French dinner, the president,
Mons. Julien, a venerable man with snow-white hair, addressed the
company. He expressed his pleasure at the meeting, with the usual
courtesies of welcome, and in the fervent manner of the old school of
French politeness; and then pausing a little, and lowering his voice,
with a very touching cadence, he looked around to the Poles, and began
to speak of their country. Every movement was instantly hushed about
the table--the guests leaned forward, some of them half rising in
their earnestness to hear; the old man's voice trembled, and sunk
lower; the Poles dropped their heads upon their bosoms, and the whole
company were strongly affected. His manner suddenly changed at this
moment, in a degree that would have seemed too dramatic, if the strong
excitement had not sustained him. He spoke indignantly of the Russian
barbarity toward Poland--assured the exiles of the strong sympathy
felt by the great mass of the French people in their cause, and
expressed his confident belief that the struggle was not yet done, and
the time was near when, with France at her back, Poland would rise and
be free. He closed, amid tumultuous acclamation, and all the Poles
near him kissed the old man, after the French manner, upon both his
cheeks.

This speech was followed by several others, much to the same effect.
Dr. Bowring replied handsomely, in French, to some compliment paid to
his efforts on the "question of reform," in England. _Cesar Moreau_,
the great schemist, and founder of the _Academie d'Industrie_, said a
few very revolutionary things quite emphatically, rolling his fine
visionary-looking eyes about as if he saw the "shadows cast before" of
coming events; and then rose a speaker, whom I shall never forget. He
was a young Polish noble, of about nineteen, whose extreme personal
beauty and enthusiastic expression of countenance had particularly
arrested my attention in the drawing-room, before dinner. His person
was slender and graceful--his eye and mouth full of beauty and fire,
and his manner had a quiet native superiority, that would have
distinguished him anywhere. He had behaved very gallantly in the
struggle, and some allusion had been made to him in one of the
addresses. He rose modestly, and half unwillingly, and acknowledged
the kind wishes for his country in language of great elegance. He
then went on to speak of the misfortunes of Poland, and soon warmed
into eloquence of the most vivid earnestness and power. I never was
more moved by a speaker--he seemed perfectly unconscious of everything
but the recollections of his subject. His eyes swam with tears and
flashed with indignation alternately, and his refined, spirited mouth
assumed a play of varied expression, which, could it have been
arrested, would have made a sculptor immortal. I can hardly write
extravagantly of him, for all present were as much excited as myself.
One ceases to wonder at the desperate character of the attempt to
redeem the liberty of a land when he sees such specimens of its
people. I have seen hundreds of Poles, of all classes, in Paris, and I
have not yet met with a face of even common dulness among them.

You have seen by the papers, I presume, that a body of several
thousand Poles fled from Warsaw, after the defeat, and took refuge in
the northern forests of Prussia. They gave up their arms under an
assurance from the king that they should have all the rights of
Prussian subjects. He found it politic afterward to recall his
protection, and ordered them back to Poland. They refused to go, and
were surrounded by a detachment of his army, and the orders given to
fire upon them. The soldiers refused, and the Poles, taking advantage
of the sympathy of the army, broke through the ranks, and escaped to
the forest, where, at the last news, they were armed with clubs, and
determined to defend themselves to the last. The consequence of a
return to Poland would be, of course, an immediate exile to Siberia.
The Polish committee, American and French, with General Lafayette at
their head, have appropriated a great part of their funds to the
relief of this body, and our countryman, Dr. Howe, has undertaken the
dangerous and difficult task of carrying it to them. He left Paris for
Brussels, with letters from the Polish generals, and advices from
Lafayette to all Polish committees upon his route, that they should
put all their funds into his hands. He is a gallant fellow, and will
succeed if any one can; but he certainly runs great hazard. God
prosper him!



LETTER XIII.

     THE GAMBLING-HOUSES OF PARIS.


I accepted, last night, from a French gentleman of high standing, a
polite offer of introduction to one of the exclusive gambling clubs
of Paris. With the understanding, of course, that it was only as a
spectator, my friend, whom I had met at a dinner party, despatched
a note from the table, announcing to the temporary master of
ceremonies his intention of presenting me. We went at eleven, in full
dress. I was surprised at the entrance with the splendor of the
establishment--gilt balustrades, marble staircases, crowds of servants
in full livery, and all the formal announcement of a court. Passing
through several ante-chambers, a heavy folding-door was thrown open,
and we were received by one of the noblest-looking men I have seen in
France--Count ----. I was put immediately at my ease by his dignified
and kind politeness; and after a little conversation in English, which
he spoke fluently, the entrance of some other person left me at
liberty to observe at my leisure. Everything about me had the impress
of the studied taste of high life. The lavish and yet soft disposition
of light, the harmony of color in the rich hangings and furniture,
the quiet manners and subdued tones of conversation, the respectful
deference of the servants, and the simplicity of the slight
entertainment, would have convinced me, without my Asmodeus, that I
was in no every-day atmosphere. Conversation proceeded for an hour,
while the members came dropping in from their evening engagements, and
a little after twelve a glass door was thrown open, and we passed from
the reception-room to the spacious suite of apartments intended for
play. One or two of the gentlemen entered the side rooms for billiards
and cards, but the majority closed about the table of hazard in the
central hall. I had never conceived so beautiful an apartment. It can
be described in two words--_columns_ and _mirrors_. There was nothing
else between the exquisitely-painted ceiling and the floor. The form
was circular, and the wall was laid with glass, interrupted only with
pairs of Corinthian pillars, with their rich capitals reflected and
re-reflected innumerably. It seemed like a hall of colonnades of
illimitable extent--the multiplication of the mirrors into each other
was so endless and illusive. I felt an unconquerable disposition to
abandon myself to a waking revery of pleasure; and as soon as the
attention of the company was perfectly engrossed by the silent
occupation before them, I sank upon a sofa, and gave my senses up for
a while to the fascination of the scene. My eye was intoxicated. As
far as my sight could penetrate, stretched apparently interminable
halls, carpeted with crimson, and studded with graceful columns and
groups of courtly figures, forming altogether, with its extent and
beauty, and in the subdued and skilfully-managed light, a picture
that, if real, would be one of unsurpassable splendor. I quite forgot
my curiosity to see the game. I had merely observed, when my companion
reminded me of the arrival of my own appointed hour for departure
that, whatever was lost or won, the rustling bills were passed from
one to the other with a quiet and imperturbable politeness, that
betrayed no sign either of chagrin or triumph; though, from the fact
that the transfers were in paper only, the stakes must have been
anything but trifling. Refusing a polite invitation to partake of the
supper, always in waiting, we took leave about two hours after
midnight.

As we drove from the court, my companion suggested to me, that, since
we were out at so late an hour, we might as well look in for a moment
at the more accessible "hells," and, pulling the _cordon_, he ordered
to "_Frascati's_." This, you know of course, is the fashionable place
of ruin, and here the heroes of all novels, and the rakes of all
comedies, mar or make their fortunes. An evening dress, and the look
of a gentleman, are the only required passport. A servant in
attendance took our hats and canes, and we walked in without ceremony.
It was a different scene from the former. Four large rooms, plainly
but handsomely furnished, opened into each other, three of which were
devoted to play, and crowded with players. Elegantly-dressed women,
some of them with high pretensions to French beauty, sat and stood at
the table, watching their own stakes in the rapid games with fixed
attention. The majority of the gentlemen were English. The table was
very large, marked as usual with the lines and figures of the game,
and each person playing had a small rake in his hand, with which he
drew toward him his proportion of the winnings. I was disappointed at
the first glance in the faces: there was very little of the high-bred
courtesy I had seen at the club-house, but there was no very striking
exhibition of feeling, and I should think, in any but an extreme case,
the whispering silence and general quietness of the room would
repress it. After watching the variations of luck awhile, however, I
selected one or two pretty desperate losers, and a young Frenchman who
was a large winner, and confined my observation to them only. Among
the former was a girl of about eighteen, a mild, quiet-looking
creature, with her hair curling long on her neck, and hands childishly
small and white, who lost invariably. Two piles of five-franc pieces
and a small heap of gold lay on the table beside her, and I watched
her till she laid the last coin upon the losing color. She bore it
very well. By the eagerness with which, at every turn of the last
card, she closed her hand upon the rake which she held, it was evident
that her hopes were high; but when her last piece was drawn into the
bank, she threw up her little fingers with a playful desperation, and
commenced conversation even gayly with a gentleman who stood leaning
over her chair. The young Frenchman continued almost as invariably to
win. He was excessively handsome; but there was a cold, profligate,
unvarying hardness of expression in his face, that made me dislike
him. The spectators drew gradually about his chair; and one or two of
the women, who seemed to know him well, selected a color for him
occasionally, or borrowed of him and staked for themselves. We left
him winning. The other players were mostly English, and very
uninteresting in their exhibition of disappointment. My companion told
me that there would be more desperate playing toward morning, but I
had become disgusted with the cold selfish faces of the scene, and
felt no interest sufficient to detain me.



LETTER XIV.

     THE GARDEN OF THE TUILERIES--PRINCE MOSCOWA--SONS OF NAPOLEON--
     COOPER AND MORSE--SIR SIDNEY SMITH--FASHIONABLE WOMEN--CLOSE
     OF THE DAY--THE FAMOUS EATING-HOUSES--HOW TO DINE WELL IN PARIS,
     ETC.


It is March, and the weather has all the characteristics of
New-England May. The last two or three days have been deliciously
spring-like, clear, sunny, and warm. The gardens of the Tuileries are
crowded. The chairs beneath the terraces are filled by the old men
reading the gazettes, mothers and nurses watching their children at
play, and, at every few steps, circles of whole families sitting and
sewing, or conversing, as unconcernedly as at home. It strikes a
stranger oddly. With the _privacy_ of American feelings, we cannot
conceive of these out-of-door French habits. What would a Boston or
New York mother think of taking chairs for her whole family, grown-up
daughters and all, in the Mall or upon the Battery, and spending the
day in the very midst of the gayest promenade of the city? People of
all ranks do it here. You will see the powdered, elegant gentleman of
the _ancien régime_, handing his wife or daughter to a straw-bottomed
chair, with all the air of drawing-room courtesy; and, begging pardon
for the liberty, pull his journal from his pocket, and sit down to
read beside her; or a tottering old man, leaning upon a stout Swiss
servant girl, goes bowing and apologizing through the crowd, in search
of a pleasant neighbor, or some old compatriot, with whom he may sit
and nod away the hours of sunshine. It is a beautiful custom,
positively. The gardens are like a constant _féte_. It is a holiday
revel, without design or disappointment. It is a masque, where every
one plays his character unconsciously, and therefore naturally and
well. We get no idea of it at home. We are too industrious a nation to
have idlers enough. It would even pain most of the people of our
country to see so many thousands of all ages and conditions of life
spending day after day in such absolute uselessness.

Imagine yourself here, on the fashionable terrace, the promenade, two
days in the week, of all that is distinguished and gay in Paris. It is
a short raised walk, just inside the railings, and the only part of
all these wide and beautiful gardens where a member of the _beau
monde_ is ever to be met. The hour is four, the day Friday, the
weather heavenly. I have just been long enough in Paris to be an
excellent walking dictionary, and I will tell you who people are. In
the first place, all the well-dressed men you see are English. You
will know the French by those flaring coats, laid clear back on their
shoulders, and their execrable hats and thin legs. Their heads are
fresh from the hair-dresser; their hats are _chapeaux de soie_ or
imitation beaver; they are delicately rouged, and wear very white
gloves; and those who are with ladies, lead, as you observe, a small
dog by a string, or carry it in their arms. No French lady walks out
without her lap-dog. These slow-paced men you see in brown mustaches
and frogged coats are refugee Poles. The short, thick, agile-looking
man before us is General ----, celebrated for having been the last to
surrender on the last field of that brief contest. His handsome face
is full of resolution, and unlike the rest of his countrymen, he looks
still unsubdued and in good heart. He walks here every day an hour or
two, swinging his cane round his forefinger, and thinking, apparently
of anything but his defeat. Observe these two young men approaching
us. The short one on the left, with the stiff hair and red mustache,
is _Prince Moscowa_, the son of Marshal Ney. He is an object of more
than usual interest just now, as the youngest of the new batch of
peers. The expression of his countenance is more bold than handsome,
and indeed he is anything but a carpet knight; a fact of which he
seems, like a man of sense, quite aware. He is to be seen at the
parties standing with his arms folded, leaning silently against the
wall for hours together. His companion is, I presume to say, quite the
handsomest man you ever saw. A little over six feet, perfectly
proportioned, dark silken-brown hair, slightly curling about his
forehead, a soft curling mustache, and beard just darkening the finest
cut mouth in the world, and an olive complexion, of the most golden
richness and clearness--Mr. ---- is called the handsomest man in
Europe. What is more remarkable still, he looks like the most modest
man in Europe, too; though, like most modest _looking_ men, his
reputation for constancy in the gallant world is somewhat slender. And
here comes a fine-looking man, though of a different order of
beauty--a natural son of Napoleon. He is about his father's height,
and has most of his features, though his person and air must be quite
different. You see there Napoleon's beautiful mouth and thinly
chiselled nose, but I fancy that soft eye is his mother's. He is said
to be one of the most fascinating men in France. His mother was the
Countess Waleski, a lady with whom the Emperor became acquainted in
Poland. It is singular that Napoleon's talents and love of glory have
not descended upon any of the eight or ten sons whose claims to his
paternity are admitted. And here come two of our countrymen, who are
to be seen constantly together--_Cooper_ and _Morse_. That is Cooper
with the blue surtout buttoned up to his throat, and his hat over his
eyes. What a contrast between the faces of the two men! Morse with his
kind, open, gentle countenance, the very picture of goodness and
sincerity; and Cooper, dark and corsair-looking, with his brows down
over his eyes, and his strongly lined mouth fixed in an expression of
moodiness and reserve. The two faces, however, are not equally just to
their owners--Morse is all that he looks to be, but Cooper's features
do him decided injustice. I take a pride in the reputation which this
distinguished countryman of ours has for humanity and generous
sympathy. The distress of the refugee liberals from all countries
comes home especially to Americans, and the untiring liberality of Mr.
Cooper particularly, is a fact of common admission and praise. It is
pleasant to be able to say such things. Morse is taking a sketch of
the Gallery of the Louvre, and he intends copying some of the best
pictures also, to accompany it as an exhibition, when he returns. Our
artists do our country credit abroad. The feeling of interest in one's
country artists and authors becomes very strong in a foreign land.
Every leaf of laurel awarded to them seems to touch one's own
forehead. And, talking of laurels, here comes _Sir Sidney Smith_--the
short, fat, old gentleman yonder, with the large aquiline nose and
keen eye. He is one of the few men who ever opposed Napoleon
successfully, and that should distinguish him, even if he had not won
by his numerous merits and achievements the gift of almost every order
in Europe. He is, among other things, of a very mechanical turn, and
is quite crazy just now about a six-wheeled coach, which he has lately
invented, and of which nobody sees the exact benefit but himself. An
invitation to his rooms, to hear his description of the model, is
considered the last new bore.

And now for ladies. Whom do you see that looks distinguished? Scarce
one whom you would take positively for a lady, I venture to presume.
These two, with the velvet pelisses and small satin bonnets, are
rather the most genteel-looking people in the garden. I set them down
for ladies of rank, in the first walk I ever took here; and two who
have just passed us, with the curly lap-dog, I was equally sure were
persons of not very dainty morality. It is precisely _au contraire_.
The velvet pelisses are gamblers from Frascati's, and the two with the
lap-dog are the Countess N. and her unmarried daughter--two of the
most exclusive specimens of Parisian society. It is very odd--but if
you see a remarkably modest-looking woman in Paris, you may be sure,
as the periphrasis goes, that "she is no better than she should be."
Everything gets _travestied_ in this artificial society. The general
ambition seems to be, to appear that which one is not. White-haired
men cultivate their sparse mustaches, and dark-haired men shave.
Deformed men are successful in gallantry, where handsome men despair.
Ugly women dress and dance, while beauties mope and are deserted.
Modesty looks brazen, and vice looks timid; and so all through the
calendar. Life in Paris is as pretty a series of astonishment, as an
_ennuyé_ could desire.

But there goes the palace-bell--five o'clock! The sun is just
disappearing behind the dome of the "Invalides," and the crowd begins
to thin. Look at the atmosphere of the gardens. How deliciously the
twilight mist softens everything. Statues, people, trees, and the long
perspectives down the alleys, all mellowed into the shadowy
indistinctness of fairy-land. The throng is pressing out at the gates,
and the guard, with his bayonet presented, forbids all re-entrance,
for the gardens are cleared at sundown. The carriages are driving up
and dashing away, and if you stand a moment you will see the most
vulgar-looking people you have met in your promenade, waited for by
_chasseurs_, and departing with indications of rank in their
equipages, which nature has very positively denied to their persons.
And now all the world dines and dines well. The "_chef_" stands with
his gold repeater in his hand, waiting for the moment to decide the
fate of the first dish; the _garçons_ at the restaurants have donned
their white aprons, and laid the silver forks upon the napkins; the
pretty women are seated on their thrones in the saloons, and the
interesting hour is here. Where shall we dine? We will walk toward the
Palais Royal, and talk of it as we go along.

That man would "deserve well of his country" who should write a "Paris
Guide" for the palate. I would do it myself if I could elude the
immortality it would occasion me. One is compelled to pioneer his own
stomach through the endless _cartes_ of some twelve eating-houses, all
famous, before he half knows whether he is dining well or ill. I had
eaten for a week at Very's, for instance, before I discovered that,
since Pelham's day, that gentleman's reputation has gone down. He is
a subject for history at present. I was misled also by an elderly
gentleman at Havre, who advised me to eat at _Grignon's_, in the
_Passage Vivienne_. Not liking my first _coquilles aux huitres_, I
made some private inquiries, and found that his _chef_ had deserted
him about the time of Napoleon's return from Elba. A stranger gets
misguided in this way. And then, if by accident you hit upon the right
house, you may be eating for a month before you find out the peculiar
triumphs which have stamped its celebrity. No mortal man can excel in
everything, and it is as true of cooking as it is of poetry. The
"_Rochers de Cancale_," is now the first eating-house in Paris, yet
they only excel in fish. The "_Trois Fréres Provençaux_," have a high
reputation, yet their _cotelettes provençales_ are the only dish which
you can not get equally well elsewhere. A good practice is to walk
about in the Palais Royal for an hour before dinner, and select a
master. You will know a _gourmet_ easily--a man slightly past the
prime of life, with a nose just getting its incipient blush, a
remarkably loose, voluminous white cravat, and a corpulence more of
suspicion than fact. Follow him to his restaurant, and give the
_garçon_ a private order to serve you with the same dishes as the
_bald_ gentleman. (I have observed that dainty livers universally lose
their hair early.) I have been in the wake of such a person now for a
week or more, and I never lived, comparatively, before. Here we are,
however, at the "_Trois Fréres_," and there goes my unconscious model
deliberately up stairs. We'll follow him, and double his orders, and
if we dine not well, there is no eating in France.



LETTER XV.

     HOPITAL DES INVALIDES--MONUMENT OF TURENNE--MARSHAL NEY--A
     POLISH LADY IN UNIFORM--FEMALES MASQUERADING IN MEN'S
     CLOTHES--DUEL BETWEEN THE SONS OF GEORGE IV. AND OF
     BONAPARTE--GAMBLING PROPENSITIES OF THE FRENCH.


The weather still holds warm and bright, as it has been all the month,
and the scarcely "premature white pantaloons" appeared yesterday in
the Tuileries. The ladies loosen their "boas;" the silken greyhounds
of Italy follow their mistresses without shivering; the birds are
noisy and gay in the clipped trees--who that had known February in New
England would recognize him by such a description?

I took an indolent stroll with a friend this morning to the _Hopital
des Invalides_, on the other side of the river. Here, not long since,
were twenty-five thousand old soldiers. There are but five thousand
now remaining, most of them having been dismissed by the Bourbons. It
is of course one of the most interesting spots in France; and of a
pleasant day there is no lounge where a traveller can find so much
matter for thought, with so much pleasure to the eye. We crossed over
by the _Pons Louis Quinze_, and kept along the bank of the river to
the esplanade in front of the hospital. There was never a softer
sunshine, or a more deliciously-tempered air; and we found the old
veterans out of doors, sitting upon the cannon along the rampart, or
halting about, with their wooden legs, under the trees, the pictures
of comfort and contentment. The building itself, as you know, is very
celebrated for its grandeur. The dome of the _Invalides_ rises upon
the eye from all parts of Paris, a perfect model of proportion and
beauty. It was this which Bonaparte ordered to be gilded, to divert
the people from thinking too much upon his defeat. It is a living
monument of the most touching recollections of him now. Positively the
blood mounts, and the tears spring to the eyes of the spectator, as he
stands a moment, and remembers what is around him in that place. To
see his maimed followers, creeping along the corridors, clothed and
fed by the bounty he left, in a place devoted to his soldiers alone,
their old comrades about them, and all glowing with one feeling of
devotion to his memory, to speak to them, to hear their stories
of--"_L'Empereur_" it is better than a thousand histories to make one
_feel_ the glory of "the great captain." The interior of the dome is
vast, and of a splendid style of architecture, and out from one of its
sides extends a superb chapel, hung all round with the tattered flags
taken in _his_ victories alone. Here the veterans of his army worship,
beneath the banners for which they fought. It is hardly appropriate, I
should think, to adorn thus the church of a "religion of peace;" but
while there, at least, we feel strangely certain, somehow, that it is
right and fitting; and when, as we stood deciphering the half-effaced
insignia of the different nations, the organ began to peal, there
certainly was anything but a jar between this grand music,
consecrated as it is by religious associations, and the thrilling and
uncontrolled sense in my bosom of Napoleon's glory. The anthem seemed
to _him_!

The majestic sounds were still rolling through the dome when we came
to the monument of _Turenne_. Here is another comment on the character
of Bonaparte's mind. There was once a long inscription on this
monument, describing, in the fulsome style of an epitaph, the deeds
and virtues of the distinguished man who is buried beneath. The
emperor removed and replaced it by a small slab, graven with the
single word TURENNE. You acknowledge the sublimity of this as you
stand before it. Everything is in keeping with its grandeur. The lofty
proportions and magnificence of the dome, the tangible trophies of
glory, and the maimed and venerable figures, kneeling about the altar,
of those who helped to win them, are circumstances that make that
eloquent word as articulate as if it were spoken in thunder. You feel
that Napoleon's spirit might walk the place, and read the hearts of
those who should visit it, unoffended.

We passed on to the library. It is ornamented with the portraits of
all the generals of Napoleon, save one. _Ney's_ is not there. It
should, and will be, at some time or other, doubtless; but I wonder
that, in a day when such universal justice is done to the memory of
this brave man, so obvious and it would seem necessary a reparation
should not be demanded. Great efforts have been making of late to get
his sentence publicly reversed, but, though they deny his widow and
children nothing else, this melancholy and unavailing satisfaction is
refused them. Ney's memory little needs it, it is true. No visiter
looks about the gallery at the _Invalides_ without commenting
feelingly on the omission of his portrait; and probably no one of the
scarred veterans who sit there, reading their own deeds in history,
looks round on the faces of the old leaders of whom it tells, without
remembering and feeling that the brightest name upon the page is
wanting. I would rather, if I were his son, have the regret than the
justice.

We left the hospital, as all must leave it, full of Napoleon. France
is full of him. The monuments and the hearts of the people, all are
alive with his name and glory. Disapprove and detract from his
reputation as you will (and as powerful minds, with apparent justice,
_have_ done), as long as human nature is what it is, as long as power
and loftiness of heart hold their present empire over the imagination,
Napoleon is immortal.

       *       *       *       *       *

The promenading world is amused just now with the daily appearance in
the Tuileries of a Polish lady, dressed in the Polonaise undress
uniform, decorated with the order of distinction given for bravery at
Warsaw. She is not very beautiful, but she wears the handsome military
cap quite gallantly; and her small feet and full chest are truly
captivating in boots and a frogged coat. It is an exceedingly
spirited, well-charactered face, with a complexion slightly roughened
by her new habits. Her hair is cut short, and brushed up at the sides,
and she certainly handles the little switch she carries with an air
which entirely forbids insult. She is ordinarily seen lounging very
idly along between two polytechnic boys, who seem to have a great
admiration for her. I observe that the Polish generals touch their
hats very respectfully as she passes, but as yet I have been unable to
come at her precise history.

By the by, masquerading in men's clothes is not at all uncommon in
Paris. I have sometimes seen two or three women at a time dining at
the restaurants in this way. No notice is taken of it, and the lady is
perfectly safe from insult, though every one that passes may penetrate
the disguise. It is common at the theatres, and at the public balls
still more so. I have noticed repeatedly at the weekly _soirées_ of a
lady of high respectability, two sisters in boy's clothes, who play
duets upon the piano for the dance. The lady of the house told me they
preferred it, to avoid attention, and the awkwardness of position
natural to their vocation, in society. The tailors tell me it is quite
a branch of trade--making suits for ladies of a similar taste. There
is one particularly, in the _Rue Richelieu_, who is famed for his nice
fits to the female figure. It is remarkable, however, that instead of
wearing their new honors meekly, there is no such impertinent puppy as
a _femme deguisée_. I saw one in a _café_, not long ago, rap the
_garçon_ very smartly over the fingers with a rattan, for overrunning
her cup; and they are sure to shoulder you off the sidewalk, if you
are at all in the way. I have seen several amusing instances of a
probable quarrel in the street, ending in a gay bow, and a "_pardon,
madame!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

There has been a great deal of excitement here for the past two days
on the result of a gambling quarrel. An English gentleman, a fine,
gay, noble-looking fellow, whom I have often met at parties, and
admired for his strikingly winning and elegant manners, lost fifty
thousand francs on Thursday night at cards. The Count St. Leon was the
winner. It appears that Hesse, the Englishman, had drank freely before
sitting down to play, and the next morning his friend, who had bet
upon the game, persuaded him that there had been some unfairness on
the part of his opponent. He refused consequently to pay the debt, and
charged the Frenchman, and another gentleman who backed him, with
deception. The result was a couple of challenges, which were both
accepted. Hesse fought the Count on Friday, and was dangerously
wounded at the first fire. His friend fought on Saturday (yesterday),
and is reported to be mortally wounded. It is a little remarkable that
both the _losers_ are shot, and still more remarkable, that Hesse
should have been, as he was known to be, a natural son of George the
Fourth; and Count Leon, as was equally well known, a natural son of
Bonaparte!

Everybody gambles in Paris. I had no idea that so desperate a vice
could be so universal, and so little deprecated as it is. The
gambling-houses are as open and as ordinary a resort as any public
promenade, and one may haunt them with as little danger to his
reputation. To dine from six to eight, gamble from eight to ten, go to
a ball, and return to gamble till morning, is as common a routine for
married men and bachelors both, as a system of dress, and as little
commented on. I sometimes stroll into the card-room at a party, but I
can not get accustomed to the sight of ladies losing or winning money.
Almost all Frenchwomen, who are too old to dance, play at parties; and
their daughters and husbands watch the game as unconcernedly as if
they were turning over prints. I have seen English ladies play, but
with less philosophy. They do not lose their money gayly. It is a
great spoiler of beauty, the vexation of a loss. I think I never could
respect a woman upon whose face I had remarked the shade I often see
at an English card-table. It is certain that vice walks abroad in
Paris, in many a shape that would seem, to an American eye, to show
the fiend too openly. I am not over particular, I think, but I would
as soon expose a child to the plague as give either son or daughter a
free rein for a year in Paris.



LETTER XVI.

     THE CHOLERA--A MASQUE BALL--THE GAY WORLD--MOBS--VISIT TO THE
     HOTEL DIEU.


You see by the papers, I presume, the official accounts of the cholera
in Paris. It seems very terrible to you, no doubt, at your distance
from the scene, and truly it is terrible enough, if one could realize
it, anywhere; but many here do not trouble themselves about it, and
you might be in this metropolis a month, and if you observed the
people only, and frequented only the places of amusement, and the
public promenades, you might never suspect its existence. The weather
is June-like, deliciously warm and bright; the trees are just in the
tender green of the new buds, and the public gardens are thronged all
day with thousands of the gay and idle, sitting under the trees in
groups, laughing and amusing themselves, as if there were no plague in
the air, though hundreds die every day. The churches are all hung in
black; there is a constant succession of funerals; and you cross the
biers and hand-barrows of the sick, hurrying to the hospitals at every
turn, in every quarter of the city. It is very hard to realize such
things, and, it would seem, very hard even to treat them seriously. I
was at a masque ball at the _Théatre des Varietés_, a night or two
since, at the celebration of the _Mi-Careme_, or half-Lent. There were
some two thousand people, I should think, in fancy dresses, most of
them grotesque and satirical, and the ball was kept up till seven in
the morning, with all the extravagant gaiety, noise, and fun, with
which the French people manage such matters. There was a
_cholera-waltz_, and a _cholera-galopade_, and one man, immensely
tall, dressed as a personification of the _Cholera_ itself, with
skeleton armor, bloodshot eyes, and other horrible appurtenances of a
walking pestilence. It was the burden of all the jokes, and all the
cries of the hawkers, and all the conversation; and yet, probably,
nineteen out of twenty of those present lived in the quarters most
ravaged by the disease, and many of them had seen it face to face, and
knew perfectly its deadly character!

As yet, with few exceptions, the higher classes of society have
escaped. It seems to depend very much on the manner in which people
live, and the poor have been struck in every quarter, often at the
very next door to luxury. A friend told me this morning, that the
porter of a large and fashionable hotel, in which he lives, had been
taken to the hospital; and there have been one or two cases in the
airy quarter of St. Germain, in the same street with Mr. Cooper, and
nearly opposite. Several physicians and medical students have died
too, but the majority of these live with the narrowest economy, and in
the parts of the city the most liable to impure effluvia. The balls go
on still in the gay world; and I presume they _would_ go on if there
were only musicians enough left to make an orchestra, or fashionists
to compose a quadrille. I was walking home very late from a party the
night before last, with a captain in the English army. The gray of
the morning was just stealing into the sky; and after a stopping a
moment in the _Place Vendome_, to look at the column, stretching up
apparently unto the very stars, we bade good morning, and parted. He
had hardly left me, he said, when he heard a frightful scream from one
of the houses in the _Rue St. Honoré_, and thinking there might be
some violence going on, he rang at the gate and entered, mounting the
first staircase that presented. A woman had just opened a door, and
fallen on the broad stair at the top, and was writhing in great agony.
The people of the house collected immediately; but the moment my
friend pronounced the word cholera, there was a general dispersion,
and he was left alone with the patient. He took her in his arms, and
carried her to a coach-stand, without assistance, and, driving to the
_Hotel Dieu_, left her with the _Soeurs de Charité_. She has since
died.

As if one plague were not enough, the city is still alive in the
distant faubourgs with revolts. Last night, the _rappel_ was beat all
over the town, the national guard called to arms, and marched to the
_Porte St. Denis_, and the different quarters where the mobs were
collected.

Many suppose there is no cholera except such as is produced by poison;
and the _Hotel Dieu_, and the other hospitals, are besieged daily by
the infuriated mob, who swear vengeance against the government for all
the mortality they witness.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just returned from a visit to the _Hotel Dieu_--the hospital
for the cholera. Impelled by a powerful motive, which it is not now
necessary to explain, I had previously made several attempts to gain
admission in vain; but yesterday I fell in fortunately with an English
physician, who told me I could pass with a doctor's diploma, which he
offered to borrow for me of some medical friend. He called by
appointment at seven this morning, to accompany me on my visit.

It was like one of our loveliest mornings in June--an inspiriting,
sunny, balmy day, all softness and beauty--and we crossed the
Tuileries by one of its superb avenues, and kept down the bank of the
river to the island. With the errand on which we were bound in our
minds, it was impossible not to be struck very forcibly with our own
exquisite enjoyment of life. I am sure I never felt my veins fuller of
the pleasure of health and motion; and I never saw a day when
everything about me seemed better worth living for. The splendid
palace of the Louvre, with its long _façade_ of nearly half a mile,
lay in the mellowest sunshine on our left; the lively river, covered
with boats, and spanned with its magnificent and crowded bridges on
our right; the view of the island, with its massive old structures
below, and the fine gray towers of the church of _Notre Dame_ rising,
dark and gloomy, in the distance, rendered it difficult to realize
anything but life and pleasure. That under those very towers, which
added so much to the beauty of the scene, there lay a thousand and
more of poor wretches dying of a plague, was a thought my mind would
not retain a moment.

Half an hour's walk brought us to the _Place Notre Dame_, on one side
of which, next this celebrated church, stands the hospital. My friend
entered, leaving me to wait till he had found an acquaintance of whom
he could borrow a diploma. A hearse was standing at the door of the
church, and I went in for a moment. A few mourners, with the
appearance of extreme poverty, were kneeling round a coffin at one of
the side altars; and a solitary priest, with an attendant boy, was
mumbling the prayers for the dead. As I came out, another hearse drove
up, with a rough coffin, scantily covered with a pall, and followed by
one poor old man. They hurried in, and I strolled around the square.
Fifteen or twenty water-carriers were filling their buckets at the
fountain opposite, singing and laughing; and at the same moment four
different litters crossed toward the hospital, each with its two or
three followers, women and children, friends or relatives of the sick,
accompanying them to the door, where they parted from them, most
probably for ever. The litters were set down a moment before ascending
the steps; the crowd pressed around and lifted the coarse curtains;
farewells were exchanged, and the sick alone passed in. I did not see
any great demonstration of feeling in the particular cases that were
before me; but I can conceive, in the almost deadly certainty of this
disease, that these hasty partings at the door of the hospital might
often be scenes of unsurpassed suffering and distress.

I waited, perhaps, ten minutes more. In the whole time that I had been
there, twelve litters, bearing the sick, had entered the _Hotel Dieu_.
As I exhibited the borrowed diploma, the thirteenth arrived, and with
it a young man, whose violent and uncontrolled grief worked so far on
the soldier at the door, that he allowed him to pass. I followed the
bearers to the yard, interested exceedingly to observe the first
treatment and manner of reception. They wound slowly up the stone
staircase to the upper story, and entered the female department--a
long low room, containing nearly a hundred beds, placed in alleys
scarce two feet from each other. Nearly all were occupied, and those
which were empty my friend told me were vacated by deaths yesterday.
They set down the litter by the side of a narrow cot, with coarse but
clean sheets, and a _Soeur de Charité_, with a white cap, and a
cross at her girdle, came and took off the canopy. A young woman, of
apparently twenty-five, was beneath, absolutely convulsed with agony.
Her eyes were started from their sockets, her mouth foamed, and her
face was of a frightful, livid purple. I never saw so horrible a
sight. She had been taken in perfect health only three hours before,
but her features looked to me marked with a year of pain. The first
attempt to lift her produced violent vomiting, and I thought she must
die instantly. They covered her up in bed, and leaving the man who
came with her hanging over her with the moan of one deprived of his
senses, they went to receive others, who were entering in the same
manner. I inquired of my companion how soon she would be attended to.
He said, "possibly in an hour, as the physician was just commencing
his rounds." An hour after this I passed the bed of this poor woman,
and she had not yet been visited. Her husband answered my question
with a choking voice and a flood of tears.

I passed down the ward, and found nineteen or twenty in the last
agonies of death. They lay perfectly still, and seemed benumbed. I
felt the limbs of several, and found them quite cold. The stomach only
had a little warmth. Now and then a half groan escaped those who
seemed the strongest; but with the exception of the universally open
mouth and upturned ghastly eye, there were no signs of much suffering.
I found two who must have been dead half an hour, undiscovered by the
attendants. One of them was an old woman, nearly gray, with a very bad
expression of face, who was perfectly cold--lips, limbs, body, and
all. The other was younger, and looked as if she had died in pain.
Her eyes appeared as if they had been forced half out of the sockets,
and her skin was of the most livid and deathly purple. The woman in
the next bed told me she had died since the _Soeur de Charité_ had
been there. It is horrible to think how these poor creatures may
suffer in the very midst of the provisions that are made professedly
for their relief. I asked why a simple prescription of treatment might
not be drawn up the physicians, and administered by the numerous
medical students who were in Paris, that as few as possible might
suffer from delay. "Because," said my companion, "the chief physicians
must do everything _personally_, to study the complaint." And so, I
verily believe, more human lives are sacrificed in waiting for
experiments, than ever will be saved by the results. My blood boiled
from the beginning to the end of this melancholy visit.

I wandered about alone among the beds till my heart was sick, and I
could bear it no longer; and then rejoined my friend, who was in the
train of one of the physicians, making the rounds. One would think a
dying person should be treated with kindness. I never saw a rougher or
more heartless manner than that of the celebrated Dr. ----, at the
bedsides of these poor creatures. A harsh question, a rude pulling
open of the mouth, to look at the tongue, a sentence or two of
unsuppressed comments to the students on the progress of the disease,
and the train passed on. If discouragement and despair are not
medicines, I should think the visits of such physicians were of little
avail. The wretched sufferers turned away their heads after he had
gone, in every instance that I saw, with an expression of visibly
increased distress. Several of them refused to answer his questions
altogether.

On reaching the bottom of the _Salle St. Monique_, one of the male
wards, I heard loud voices and laughter. I had noticed much more
groaning and complaining in passing among the men, and the horrible
discordance struck me as something infernal. It proceeded from one of
the sides to which the patients had been removed who were recovering.
The most successful treatment has been found to be _punch_, very
strong, with but little acid, and being permitted to drink as much as
they would, they had become partially intoxicated. It was a fiendish
sight, positively. They were sitting up, and reaching from one bed to
the other, and with their still pallid faces and blue lips, and the
hospital dress of white, they looked like so many carousing corpses. I
turned away from them in horror.

I was stopped in the door-way by a litter entering with a sick woman.
They set her down in the main passage between the beds, and left her a
moment to find a place for her. She seemed to have an interval of
pain, and rose up on one hand, and looked about her very earnestly. I
followed the direction of her eyes, and could easily imagine her
sensations. Twenty or thirty death-like faces were turned toward her
from the different beds, and the groans of the dying and the
distressed came from every side. She was without a friend whom she
knew, sick of a mortal disease, and abandoned to the mercy of those
whose kindness is mercenary and habitual, and of course without
sympathy or feeling. Was it not enough alone, if she had been far less
ill, to imbitter the very fountains of life, and kill her with mere
fright and horror? She sank down upon the litter again, and drew her
shawl over her head. I had seen enough of suffering, and I left the
place.

On reaching the lower staircase, my friend proposed to me to look
into the _dead-room_. We descended to a large dark apartment below the
street-level, lighted by a lamp fixed to the wall. Sixty or seventy
bodies lay on the floor, some of them quite uncovered, and some
wrapped in mats. I could not see distinctly enough by the dim light,
to judge of their discoloration. They appeared mostly old and
emaciated.

I can not describe the sensation of relief with which I breathed the
free air once more. I had no fear of the cholera, but the suffering
and misery I had seen, oppressed and half smothered me. Every one who
has walked through an hospital, will remember how natural it is to
subdue the breath, and close the nostrils to the smells of medicine
and the close air. The fact, too, that the question of contagion is
still disputed, though I fully believe the cholera _not_ to be
contagious, might have had some effect. My breast heaved, however, as
if a weight had risen from my lungs, and I walked home, blessing God
for health, with undissembled gratitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

P. S.--I began this account of my visit to the _Hotel Dieu_ yesterday.
As I am perfectly well this morning, I think the point of
non-contagion, in my own case at least, is clear. I breathed the same
air with the dying and the diseased for two hours, and felt of nearly
a hundred to be satisfied of the curious phenomena of the vital heat.
Perhaps an experiment of this sort in a man not professionally a
physician, may be considered rash or useless; and I would not
willingly be thought to have done it from any puerile curiosity. I
have been interested in such subjects always; and I considered the
fact that the king's sons had been permitted to visit the hospital, a
sufficient assurance that the physicians were seriously convinced
there could be no possible danger. If I need an apology, it may be
found in this.



LETTER XVII.

     LEGION OF HONOR--PRESENTATION TO THE KING--THE THRONE OF
     FRANCE--THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCESSES--COUNTESS GUICCIOLI--THE
     LATE DUEL--THE SEASON OF CARNIVAL--ANOTHER FANCY BALL--
     DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC MASKERS--STREET
     MASKING--BALL AT THE PALACE--THE YOUNG DUKE OF ORLEANS--
     PRINCESS CHRISTINE--LORD HARRY VANE--HEIR OF CARDINAL
     RICHELIEU--VILLIERS--BERNARD, FABVIER, COUSIN, AND OTHER
     DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS--THE SUPPER--THE GLASS VERANDAH, ETC.


As I was getting out of a _fiacre_ this morning on the Boulevard, I
observed that the driver had the cross of the legion of honor, worn
very modestly under his coat. On taking a second look at his face, I
was struck with its soldier-like, honest expression; and with the fear
that I might imply a doubt by a question, I simply observed, that he
probably received it from Napoleon. He drew himself up a little as he
assented, and with half a smile pulled the coarse cape of his coat
across his bosom. It was done evidently with a mixed feeling of pride
and a dislike of ostentation, which showed the nurture of Napoleon. It
is astonishing how superior every being seems to have become that
served under him. Wherever you find an old soldier of the "emperor,"
as they delight to call him, you find a noble, brave, unpretending
man. On mentioning this circumstance to a friend, he informed me, that
it was possibly a man who was well known, from rather a tragical
circumstance. He had driven a gentleman to a party one night, who was
dissatisfied with him, for some reason or other, and abused him very
grossly. The _cocher_ the next morning sent him a challenge; and, as
the cross of honor levels all distinctions, he was compelled to fight
him, and was shot dead at the first fire.

Honors of this sort must be a very great incentive. They are worn very
proudly in France. You see men of all classes, with the striped riband
in their button-hole, marking them as the heroes of the three days of
July. The Poles and the French and English, who fought well at Warsaw,
wear also a badge; and it certainly produces a feeling of respect as
one passes them in the street. There are several very young men, lads
really, who are wandering about Paris, with the latter distinction on
their breasts, and every indication that it is all they have brought
away from their unhappy country. The Poles are coming in now from
every quarter. I meet occasionally in society the celebrated Polish
countess, who lost her property and was compelled to flee, for her
devotion to the cause. Louis Philippe has formed a regiment of the
refugees, and sent them to Algiers. He allows no liberalists to remain
in Paris, if he can help it. The Spaniards and Italians, particularly,
are ordered off to Tours, and other provincial towns, the instant they
become pensioners upon the government.

I was presented last night, with Mr. Carr and Mr. Ritchie, two of our
countrymen, to the king. We were very naturally prepared for an
embarrassing ceremony--an expectation which was not lessened, in my
case, by the necessity of a laced coat, breeches, and sword. We drove
into the court of the Tuileries, as the palace clock struck nine, in
the costume of courtiers of the time of Louis the Twelfth, very
anxious about the tenacity of our knee-buckles, and not at all
satisfied as to the justice done to our unaccustomed proportions by
the tailor. To say nothing of my looks, I am sure I should have _felt_
much more like a gentleman in my _costume bourgeois_. By the time we
had been passed through the hands of all the chamberlains, however,
and walked through all the preparatory halls and drawing-rooms, each
with its complement of gentlemen in waiting, dressed like ourselves in
lace and small-clothes, I became more reconciled to myself, and began
to _feel_ that I might possibly have looked out of place in my
ordinary dress. The atmosphere of a court is very contagious in this
particular.

After being sufficiently astonished with long rooms, frescoes, and
guardsmen apparently seven or eight feet high, (the tallest men I ever
saw, standing with halberds at the doors), we were introduced into the
_Salle du Tróne_--a large hall lined with crimson velvet throughout,
with the throne in the centre of one of the sides. Some half dozen
gentlemen were standing about the fire, conversing very familiarly,
among whom was the British ambassador, Lord Grenville, and the
Brazilian minister, both of whom I had met before. The king was not
there. The Swedish minister, a noble-looking man, with snow-white
hair, was the only other official person present, each of the
ministers having come to present one or two of his countrymen. The
king entered in a few moments, in the simple uniform of the line, and
joined the group at the fire, with the most familiar and cordial
politeness; each minister presenting his countrymen as occasion
offered, certainly with far less ceremony than one sees at most
dinner-parties in America. After talking a few minutes with Lord
Grenville, inquiring the progress of the cholera, he turned to Mr.
Rives, and we were presented. We stood in a little circle round him,
and he conversed with us about America for ten or fifteen minutes. He
inquired from what States we came, and said he had been as far west as
Nashville, Tennessee, and had often slept in the woods, quite as
soundly as he ever did in more luxurious quarters. He begged pardon of
Mr. Carr, who was from South Carolina, for saying that he had found
the southern taverns not particularly good. He preferred the north.
All this time I was looking out for some accent in the "king's
English." He speaks the language with all the careless correctness and
fluency of a vernacular tongue. We were all surprised at it. It is
_American_ English, however. He has not a particle of the cockney
drawl, half Irish and half Scotch, with which many Englishmen speak.
He must be the most cosmopolite king that ever reigned. He even said
he had been at Tangiers, the place of Mr. Carr's consulate. After some
pleasant compliments to our country, he passed to the Brazilian
minister, who stood on the other side, leaving us delighted with his
manner; and, probably, in spite of our independence, much more
inclined than before to look indulgently upon his politics. The queen
had entered, meantime, with the king's sister, Lady Adelaide, and one
or two of the ladies of honor; and, after saying something courteous
to all, in her own language, and assuring _us_ that his majesty was
very fond of America, the royal group bowed out, and left us once more
to ourselves.

We remained a few minutes, and I occupied myself with looking at the
gold and crimson throne before me, and recalling to my mind the world
of historical circumstances connected with it. You can easily imagine
it all. The throne of France is, perhaps, the most interesting one in
the world. But, of all its associations, none rushed upon me so
forcibly, or retained my imagination so long, as the accidental drama
of which it was the scene during the three days of July. It was here
that the people brought the polytechnic scholar, mortally wounded in
the attack on the palace, to die. He breathed his last on the throne
of France, surrounded with his comrades and a crowd of patriots. It is
one of the most striking and affecting incidents, I think, in all
history.

As we passed out I caught a glimpse, through a side door, of the queen
and the princesses sitting round a table covered with books, in a
small drawing-room, while a servant, in the gaudy livery of the court,
was just entering with tea. The careless attitudes of the figures, the
mellow light of the shade-lamp, and the happy voices of children
coming through the door, reminded me more of home than anything I have
seen in France. It is odd, but really the most aching sense of
home-sickness I have felt since I left America, was awakened at that
moment--in the palace of a king, and at the sight of his queen and
daughters!

We stopped in the antechamber to have our names recorded in the
visiting-book--a ceremony which insures us invitations to all the
balls given at court during the winter. The first has already appeared
in the shape of a printed note, in which we are informed by the
"aide-de-camp of the king and the lady of honor of the queen," that
we are invited to a ball at the palace on Monday night. To my distress
there is a little direction at the bottom, "_Les hommes seront en
uniforme_," which subjects those of us who are not military, once more
to the awkwardness of this ridiculous court dress. I advise all
Americans coming abroad to get a commission in the militia to travel
with. It is of use in more ways than one.

       *       *       *       *       *

I met the _Countess Guiccioli_, walking yesterday in the Tuileries.
She looks much younger than I anticipated, and is a handsome _blonde_,
apparently about thirty. I am told by a gentleman who knows her, that
she has become a great flirt, and is quite spoiled by admiration. The
celebrity of Lord Byron's attachment would, certainly, make her a very
desirable acquaintance, were she much less pretty than she really is;
and I am told her drawing-room is thronged with lovers of all nations,
contending for a preference, which, having been once given, as it has,
should be buried, I think, for ever. So, indeed, should have been the
Empress Maria Louisa's, and that of the widow of Bishop Heber; and yet
the latter has married a Greek count, and the former a German baron!

       *       *       *       *       *

I find I was incorrect in the statement I gave you of the duel between
Mr. Hesse and Count Leon. The particulars have come out more fully,
and from the curious position of the parties (Mr. Hesse, as I stated,
being the natural son of George the Fourth, and Count Leon of
Napoleon) are worth recapitulating. Count Leon had lost several
thousand francs to Mr. Hesse, which he refused to pay, alleging that
there had been unfair dealing in the game. The matter was left to
arbitration, and Mr. Hesse fully cleared of the charge. Leon still
refused to pay, and for fifteen days practised with the pistol from
morning till night. At the end of this time he paid the money, and
challenged Hesse. The latter had lost the use of his right arm in the
battle of Waterloo, (fighting of course against Count Leon's father),
but accepted his challenge, and fired with his left hand. Hesse was
shot through the body, and has since died, and Count Leon was not
hurt. The affair has made a great sensation here, for Hesse had a
young and lovely wife, only seventeen, and was unusually beloved and
admired; while his opponent is a notorious gambler, and every way
detested. People meet at the gaming-table here, however, as they meet
in the street, without question of character.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carnival is over. Yesterday was "_Mardi Gras_"--the last day of the
reign of Folly. Paris has been like a city of grown-up children for a
week. What with masking all night, supping, or breakfasting, (which
you please), at sunrise, and going to bed between morning and noon, I
feel that I have done my _devoir_ upon the experiment of French
manners.

It would be tedious, not to say improper, to describe all the
absurdities I have seen and mingled in for the last fortnight; but I
must try to give you some idea of the meaning the French attach to the
season of carnival, and the manner in which it is celebrated.

In society it is the time for universal gaiety and freedom. Parties,
fancy balls, and private masques, are given, and kept up till morning.
The etiquette is something more free, and gallantry is indulged and
followed with the privileges, almost, of a Saturnalia. One of the
gayest things I have seen was a fancy ball, given by a man of some
fashion, in the beginning of the season. Most of the _distingués_ of
Paris were there; and it was, perhaps, as fair a specimen of the
elegant gaiety of the French capital, as occurred during the carnival.
The rooms were full by ten. Everybody was in costume, and the ladies
in dresses of unusual and costly splendor. At a _bal costumé_ there
are no masks, of course, and dancing, waltzing, and galopading
followed each other in the ordinary succession, but with all the
heightened effect and additional spirit of a magnificent spectacle. It
was really beautiful. There were officers from all the English
regiments, in their fine showy uniforms; and French officers who had
brought dresses from their far-off campaigns; Turks, Egyptians,
Mussulmans, and Algerine rovers--every country that had been touched
by French soldiers, represented in its richest costume and by men of
the finest appearance. There was a colonel of the English Madras
cavalry, in the uniform of his corps--one mass of blue and silver, the
most splendidly dressed man I ever saw; and another Englishman, who is
said to be the successor of Lord Byron in the graces of the gay and
lovely Countess Guiccioli, was dressed as a Greek; and between the
exquisite taste and richness of his costume, and his really excessive
personal beauty, he made no ordinary sensation. The loveliest woman
there was a young baroness, whose dancing, figure, and face, so
resembled a celebrated Philadelphia belle, that I was constantly
expecting her musical French voice to break into English. She was
dressed as an eastern dancing-girl, and floated about with the
lightness and grace of a fairy. Her motion intoxicated the eye
completely. I have seen her since at the Tuileries, where, in a waltz
with the handsome Duke of Orleans, she was the single object of
admiration for the whole court. She is a small, lightly-framed
creature, with very little feet, and a face of more brilliancy than
regular beauty, but all airiness and spirit. A very lovely,
indolent-looking English girl, with large sleepy eyes, was dressed as
a Circassian slave, with chains from her ankles to her waist. She was
a beautiful part of the spectacle, but too passive to interest one.
There were sylphs and nuns, broom-girls and Italian peasants, and a
great many in rich Polonaise dresses. It was unlike any other fancy
ball I ever saw, in the variety and novelty of the characters
represented, and the costliness with which they were dressed. You can
have no idea of the splendor of a waltz in such a glittering
assemblage. It was about time for an early breakfast when the ball was
over.

The private masks are amusing to those who are intimate with the
circle. A stranger, of course, is neither acquainted enough to amuse
himself within proper limits, nor incognito enough to play his
gallantries at hazard. I never have seen more decidedly _triste_
assemblies than the balls of this kind which I have attended, where
the uniform black masks and dominoes gave the party the aspect of a
funeral, and the restraint made it quite as melancholy.

The public masks are quite another affair. They are given at the
principal theatres, and commence at midnight. The pit and stage are
thrown into a brilliant hall, with the orchestra in the centre; the
music is divine, and the etiquette perfect liberty. There is, of
course, a great deal of vulgar company, for every one is admitted who
pays the ten francs at the door; but all classes of people mingle in
the crowd; and if one is not amused, it is because he will neither
listen nor talk. I think it requires one or two masks to get one's eye
so much accustomed to the sight, that he is not disgusted with the
exteriors of the women. There was something very diabolical to me at
first in a dead, black representation of the human face, and the long
black domino. Persuading one's self that there is beauty under such an
outside, is like getting up a passion for a very ugly woman, for the
sake of her mind--difficult, rather. I soon became used to it,
however, and amused myself infinitely. One is liable to waste his wit,
to be sure; for in a crowd so rarely _bien composée_, as they phrase
it, the undistinguishing dress gives every one the opportunity of
bewildering you; but the feet and manner of walking, and the tone and
mode of expression, are indices sufficiently certain to decide, and
give interest to a pursuit; and, with tolerable caution, one is paid
for his trouble, in nineteen cases out of twenty.

At the public masks, the visitors are not all in domino. One half at
least are in caricature dresses, men in petticoats, and women in boots
and spurs. It is not always easy to detect the sex. An English lady, a
carnival-acquaintance of mine, made love successfully, with the aid of
a tall figure and great spirit, to a number of her own sex. She wore a
half uniform, and was certainly a very elegant fellow. France is so
remarkable indeed, for effeminate-looking men and masculine-looking
women, that half the population might change costume to apparent
advantage. The French are fond of caricaturing English dandies, and
they do it with great success. The imitation of Bond-street dialect in
another language is highly amusing. There were two imitation
exquisites at the "_Varietés_" one night, who were dressed to
perfection, and must have studied the character thoroughly. The whole
theatre was in a roar when they entered. Malcontents take the
opportunity to show up the king and ministers, and these are
excellent, too. One gets weary of fun. It is a life which becomes
tedious long before carnival is over. It is a relief to sit down once
more to books and pen.

The three last days are devoted to street-masking. This is the most
ridiculous of all. Paris pours out its whole population upon the
Boulevards, and guards are stationed to keep the goers and comers in
separate lines, and prevent all collecting of groups on the _pavé_.
People in the most grotesque and absurd dress pass on foot, and in
loaded carriages, and all is nonsense and obscenity. It is difficult
to conceive the motive which can induce grown-up people to go to the
expense and trouble of such an exhibition, merely to amuse the world.
A description of these follies would be waste of paper.

On the last night but one of the carnival, I went to a ball at the
palace. We presented our invitations at the door, and mounted through
piles of soldiers of the line, crowds of servants in the king's
livery, and groves of exotics at the broad landing places, to the
reception room. We were ushered into the _Salle des Marechals_--a
large hall, the ceiling of which rises into the dome of the Tuileries,
ornamented with full-length portraits of the living marshals of
France. A gallery of a light airy structure runs round upon the
capitals of the pillars, and this, when we entered, and at all the
after hours of the ball, was crowded with loungers from the assembly
beneath--producing a splendid effect, as their glittering uniforms
passed and repassed under the flags and armor with which the ceilings
were thickly hung. The royal train entered presently, and the band
struck up a superb march. Three rows of velvet-covered seats, one
above another, went round the hall, leaving a passage behind, and, in
front of these, the queen and her family made a circuit of courtesy,
followed by the wives of the ambassadors, among whom was our
countrywoman, Mrs. Rives. Her majesty went smiling past, stopping here
and there to speak to a lady whom she recognized, and the king
followed her with his eternal and painfully forced smile, saying
something to every second person he encountered. The princesses have
good faces, and the second one has an expression of great delicacy and
tenderness, but no beauty. As soon as the queen was seated, the band
played a quadrille, and the crowd cleared away from the centre for the
dance. The Duke of Orleans selected his partner, a pretty girl, who, I
believe was English, and forward went the head couples to the
exquisite music of the new opera--Robert le Diable.

I fell into the little _cortége_ standing about the queen, and watched
the interesting party dancing the head quadrille for an hour. The Duke
of Orleans, who is nearly twenty, and seems a thoughtless,
good-natured, immature young man, moved about very gracefully with his
handsome figure, and seemed amused, and quite unconscious of the
attention he drew. The princesses were _vis-a-vis_, and the second
one, a dark-haired, slender, interesting girl of nineteen, had a
polytechnic scholar for her partner. He was a handsome,
gallant-looking fellow, who must have distinguished himself to have
been invited to court, and I could not but admire the beautiful
mixture of respect and self-confidence with which he demanded the hand
of the princess from the lady of honor, and conversed with her during
the dance. If royalty does not seal up the affections, I could scarce
conceive how a being so decidedly of nature's best nobility, handsome,
graceful, and confident, could come within the sphere of a
sensitive-looking girl, like the princess Christine, and not leave
more than a transient recollection upon her fancy. The music stopped,
and I had been so occupied with my speculations upon the polytechnic
boy, that I had scarcely noticed any other person in the dance. He led
the princess back to her seat by the _dame d'honneur_, bowing low,
colored a little, and mingled with the crowd. A few minutes after, I
saw him in the gallery, quite alone, leaning over the railing, and
looking down upon the scene below, having apparently abandoned the
dance for the evening. From something in his face, and in the manner
of resuming his sword, I was certain he had come to the palace with
that single object, and would dance no more. I kept him in my eye most
of the night, and am very sure he did not. If the little romance I
wove out of it was not a true one, it was not because the material was
improbable.

As I was looking still at the quadrille dancing before the queen, Dr.
Bowring took my arm and proposed a stroll through the other
apartments. I found that the immense crowd in the _Salle des
Marechals_ was but about one fifth of the assembly. We passed through
hall after hall, with music and dancing in each, all crowded and gay
alike, till we came at last to the _Salle du Tróne_ where the old men
were collected at card-tables and in groups for conversation. My
distinguished companion was of the greatest use to me here, for he
knew everybody, and there was scarce a person in the room who did not
strongly excite my curiosity. One half of them at least were maimed;
some without arms, and some with wooden legs, and faces scarred and
weather-burnt, but all in full uniform, and nearly all with three or
four orders of honor on the breast. You would have held your breath
to have heard the recapitulation of their names. At one table sat
_Marshal Grouchy_ and _General Excelmans_; in a corner stood _Marshal
Soult_, conversing with a knot of peers of France; and in the window
nearest the door, _General Bernard_, our country's friend and citizen,
was earnestly engaged in talking to a group of distinguished-looking
men, two of whom, my companion said, were members of the chamber of
deputies. We stood a moment, and a circle was immediately formed
around Dr. Bowring, who is a great favorite among the literary and
liberal people of France. The celebrated _General Fabvier_ came up
among others, and _Cousin_ the poet. Fabvier, as you know, held a
chief command in Greece, and was elected governor of Paris _pro tem._
after the "three days." He is a very remarkable-looking man, with a
head almost exactly resembling that of the bust of Socrates. The
engravings give him a more animated and warlike expression than he
wears in private. _Cousin_ is a mild, retired-looking man, and was one
of the very few persons present not in the court uniform. Among so
many hundred coats embroidered with gold, his plain black dress looked
singularly simple and poet-like.

I left the diplomatist-poet conversing with his friends, and went back
to the dancing rooms. Music and female beauty are more attractive
metal than disabled generals playing at cards; and encountering in my
way an _attaché_ to the American legation, I inquired about one or two
faces that interested me, and collecting information enough to pass
through the courtesies of a dance, I found a partner and gave myself
up, like the rest, to amusement.

Supper was served at two, and a more splendid affair could not be
conceived. A long and magnificent hall on the other side of the
_Salle du Tróne_ was set with tables, covered with everything that
France could afford, in the royal services of gold and silver, and in
the greatest profusion. There was room enough for all the immense
assemblage, and when the queen was seated with her daughters and
ladies of honor, the company sat down and all was as quiet and well
regulated as a dinner party of four.

After supper the dancing was resumed, and the queen remained till
three o'clock. At her departure the band played _cotillons_ or waltzes
with figures, in which the Duke of Orleans displayed the grace for
which he is celebrated, and at four, quite exhausted with fatigue and
heat, I went with a friend or two into the long glass verandah, built
by Napoleon as a promenade for the Empress Maria Louisa during her
illness, where tea, coffee, and ices were served to those who wished
them after supper. It was an interesting place enough, and had my eyes
and limbs ached less, I should have liked to walk up and down, and
muse a little upon its recollections, but swallowing my tea as hastily
as possible, I was but too happy to make my escape and get home to
bed.



LETTER XVIII.

     CHOLERA--UNIVERSAL TERROR--FLIGHT OF THE INHABITANTS--CASES
     WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE PALACE--DIFFICULTY OF ESCAPE--DESERTED
     STREETS--CASES NOT REPORTED--DRYNESS OF THE ATMOSPHERE--
     PREVENTIVES RECOMMENDED--PUBLIC BATHS, ETC.


_Cholera! Cholera!_ It is now the only topic. There is no other
interest--no other dread--no other occupation, for Paris. The
invitations for parties are _at last_ recalled--the theatres are _at
last_ shut or languishing--the fearless are beginning to be
afraid--people walk the streets with camphor bags and vinaigrettes at
their nostrils--there is a universal terror in all classes, and a
general flight of all who can afford to get away. I never saw a people
so engrossed with one single and constant thought. The waiter brought
my breakfast this morning with a pale face, and an apprehensive
question, whether I was quite well. I sent to my boot-maker yesterday,
and he was dead. I called on a friend, a Hanoverian, one of those
broad-chested, florid, immortal-looking men, of whose health for
fifty years, violence apart, one is absolutely certain, and he was at
death's door with the cholera. Poor fellow! He had fought all through
the revolution in Greece; he had slept in rain and cold, under the
open sky, many a night, through a ten years' pursuit of the profession
of a soldier of fortune, living one of the most remarkable lives,
hitherto, of which I ever heard, and to be taken down here in the
midst of ease and pleasure, reduced to a shadow with so vulgar and
unwarlike a disease as this, was quite too much for his philosophy. He
had been ill three days when I found him. He was emaciated to a
skeleton in that short time, weak and helpless, and, though he is not
a man to exaggerate suffering, he said he never had conceived such
intense agony as he had endured. He assured me, that if he recovered,
and should ever be attacked with it again, he would blow out his
brains at the first symptom. Nothing but his iron constitution
protracted the disorder. Most people who are attacked die in from
three to twenty-four hours.

For myself, I have felt and still feel quite safe. My rooms are in the
airiest quarter of Paris, facing the gardens of the Tuileries, with
windows overlooking the king's; and, as far as _air_ is concerned, if
his majesty considers himself well situated, it would be quite
ridiculous in so insignificant a person as myself to be alarmed. With
absolute health, confident spirits, and tolerably regular habits, I
have usually thought one may defy almost anything but love or a
bullet. To-day, however, there have been, they say, two cases _within
the palace-walls_, members of the royal household, and Casimir Perier,
who probably lives well and has enough to occupy his mind, is very low
with it, and one cannot help feeling that he has no certain exemption,
when a disease has touched both above and below him. I went to-day to
the Messagerie to engage my place for Marseilles, on the way to Italy,
but the seats are all taken, in both mail-post and diligence, for a
fortnight to come, and, as there are no _extras_ in France, one must
wait his turn. Having done my duty to myself by the inquiry, I shall
be content to remain quiet.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just returned from a social tea-party at a house of one of the
few English families left in Paris. It is but a little after ten, and
the streets, as I came along, were as deserted and still as if it were
a city of the dead. Usually, until four or five in the morning, the
same streets are thronged with carriages hurrying to and fro, and
always till midnight the _trottoirs_ are crowded with promenaders.
To-night I scarce met a foot-passenger, and but one solitary cabriolet
in a walk of a mile. The contrast was really impressive. The moon was
nearly full, and high in the heavens, and the sky absolutely without a
trace of a cloud; nothing interrupted the full broad light of the
moon, and the empty streets were almost as bright as at noon-day; and,
as I crossed the _Place Vendome_, I could hear, for the first time
since I have been in Paris, though I have passed it at every hour of
the night, the echo of my footsteps reverberated from the walls
around. You should have been in these crowded cities of Europe to
realize the impressive solemnity of such solitude.

It is said that fifty thousand people have left Paris within the past
week. Adding this to the thousand a day who are struck with the
cholera, and the attendance necessary to the sick, and a thinned
population is sufficiently accounted for. There are, however,
hundreds ill of this frightful disease, whose cases are not reported.
It is only those who are taken to the hospitals, the poor and
destitute, who are numbered in the official statements. The physicians
are wearied out with their _private_ practice. The medical lectures
are suspended, and a regular physician is hardly to be had at all.
There is scarce a house in which some one has not been taken. You see
biers and litters issuing from almost every gate, and the better ranks
are no longer spared. A sister of the premier, M. Perier, died
yesterday; and it was reported at the _Bourse_, that several
distinguished persons, who have been ill of it, are also dead. No one
feels safe; and the consternation and dread on every countenance you
meet, is enough to chill one's very blood. I went out to-day for a
little exercise, not feeling very well, and I was glad to get home
again. Every creature looks stricken with a mortal fear. And this
among a French population, the gayest and merriest of people under all
depressions ordinarily, is too strong a contrast not to be felt
painfully. There is something singular in the air, too; a
disagreeable, depressing dryness, which the physicians say must
change, or all Paris will be struck with the plague. It is clear and
cold, but almost suffocating with dryness.

It is very consoling in the midst of so much that is depressing, that
the preventives recommended against the cholera are so agreeable.
"Live well," say the doctors, "and bathe often. Abstain from excesses,
keep a clear head and good spirits, and amuse yourself as much and as
rationally as possible." It is a very excellent recipe for happiness,
let alone the cholera. There is great room for a nice observance of
this system in Paris, particularly the eating and bathing. The baths
are delightful. You are received in handsome saloons, opening upon a
garden in the centre of the building, ornamented with statues and
fountains, the journals lying upon the sofas, and everything arranged
with quite the luxury of a palace. The bathing-rooms are furnished
with taste; the baths are of marble, and covered inside with
spotlessly white linen cloths; the water is perfumed, and you may lie
and take your coffee, or have your breakfast served upon the mahogany
cover which shuts you in--a union of luxuries which is enough to
enervate a cynic. When you are ready to come out, a pull of the bell
brings a servant, who gives you a _peignoir_--a long linen wrapper,
heated in an oven, in the warm folds of which you are enveloped, and
in three minutes are quite dry. In this you may sit, at your ease,
reading, or musing, or lie upon the sofa without the restraint of a
tight dress, till you are ready to depart; and then four or five
francs, something less than a dollar, pays for all.



LETTER XIX.

     MORNING VIEW FROM THE RUE RIVOLI--THE BOIS DE
     BOULOGNE--GUICCIOLI--SISMONDI THE HISTORIAN, ETC.


It is now the middle of April, and, sitting at my window on the _Rue
Rivoli_, I look through one of the long, clipped avenues of the
Tuileries, and see an arch of green leaves, the sun of eight o'clock
in the morning just breaking through the thin foliage and dappling the
straight, even gravel-walk below, with a look of summer that makes my
heart leap. The cholera has put an end to dissipation, and one gets up
early, from necessity. It is delicious to step out before breakfast,
and cross the street into those lovely gardens, for an hour or two of
fresh air and reflection. It is warm enough now to sit on the stone
benches about the fountains, by the time the dew is dry; and I know
nothing so contemplative as the occupation of watching these royal
swans, in the dreamy, almost imperceptible motion with which they
glide around the edges of the basins. The gold fish swim up and circle
about the breast of the imperial birds with a motion almost as idle;
and the old wooden-legged soldier, who has been made warden of the
gardens for his service, sits nodding on one of the chairs, or drawing
fortifications with his stick in the gravel; and so it happens, that,
in the midst of a gay and busy city one may feel always a luxurious
solitude; and, be he ever so poor, loiter all day if he will, among
scenes which only regal munificence could provide for him. With the
_Seine_ bounding them on one side, the splendid uniform _façade_ of
the _Rue Rivoli_ on the other, the palace stretching across the
southern terrace, and the thick woods of the _Champs Elysées_ at the
opposite gate, where could one go in the world to give his taste or
his eye a more costly or delightful satisfaction?

The _Bois de Boulogne_, about which the Parisians talk so much, is
less to my taste. It is a level wood of small trees, covering a mile
or two square, and cut from corner to corner with straight roads for
driving. The soil is sandy, and the grass grows only in tufts, the
walks are rough, and either muddy or dusty always; and, barring the
equipages and the pleasure of a word in passing an acquaintance, I
find a drive to this famous wood rather a dull business. I want either
one thing or the other--cultivated grounds like the Tuileries, or the
wild wood.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just left the Countess Guiccioli, with whom I have been
acquainted for some two or three weeks. She is very much frightened at
the cholera, and thinks of going to America. The conversation turned
principally upon Shelley, whom of course she knew intimately; and she
gave me one of his letters to herself as an autograph. She says at
times he was a little crazy--"_fou_," as she expressed it--but that
there never was a nobler or a better man. Lord Byron, she says, loved
him like a brother. She is still in correspondence with Shelley's
wife, of whom also she speaks with the greatest affection. There were
several miniatures of Byron hanging up in the room, and I asked her if
any of them were perfect in the resemblance. "No," she said, "this was
the most like him," taking down an exquisitely-finished miniature by
an Italian artist, "_mais il etaît beaucoup plus beau--beaucoup!
beaucoup!_" She reiterated the word with a very touching tenderness,
and continued to look at the picture for some time, either forgetting
our presence, or affecting it. She speaks English sweetly, with a
soft, slow, honeyed accent, breaking into French when ever she gets
too much interested to choose her words. She went on talking in French
of the painters who had drawn Byron, and said the American, West's was
the best likeness. I did not like to tell her that West's picture of
herself was excessively flattered. I am sure no one would know her
from the engraving of it, at least. Her cheek bones are high, her
forehead is badly shaped, and, altogether, the _frame_ of her features
is decidedly ugly. She dresses in the worst taste, too, and yet, with
all this, and poetry and celebrity aside, the Countess Guiccioli is
both a lovely and a fascinating woman, and one whom a man of sentiment
would admire, even at this age, very sincerely, but not for beauty.
She has white and regular teeth, however, and her hair is incomparably
the most beautiful I ever saw. It is of the richest and glossiest
gold, silken and luxuriant, and changes, as the light falls upon it,
with a mellow softness, than which nothing could be lovelier. It is
this and her indescribably winning manner which are lost in a picture,
and therefore, it is perhaps fair that she should be otherwise
flattered. Her drawing-room is one of the most agreeable in Paris at
present, and is one of the chief _agrémens_ which console me for a
detention in an atmosphere so triste as well as dangerous.

       *       *       *       *       *

My bed-room window opens upon the court in the interior of the hotel
Rivoli, in which I lodge. In looking out occasionally upon my very
near neighbors opposite, I have frequently observed a gray-headed,
scholar-like, fine-looking old man, writing at a window in the story
below. One does not trouble himself much about his fellow-lodgers, and
I had seen this gentleman at his work at all hours, for a month or
more, without curiosity enough to inquire even his name. This morning
the servant came in, with a _Mon Dieu!_ and said _M. Sismondi_ was
frightened by the cholera, and was leaving his lodgings at that
moment. The name startled me, and making some inquiries, I found that
my gray-headed neighbor was no other than the celebrated historian of
Italian literature, and that I had been living under the same roof
with him for weeks, and watching him at his classical labors, without
being at all aware of the honor of his neighborhood. He is a kind,
benevolent-looking man, of about sixty, I should think; and always had
a peculiarly affectionate manner to his wife, who, I am told by the
valet, is an Englishwoman. I regretted exceedingly the opportunity I
had lost of knowing him, for there are few writers of whom one retains
a more friendly and agreeable remembrance.

In a conversation with Mr. Cooper, the other day he was remarking of
how little consequence any one individual found himself in Paris,
even the most distinguished. We were walking in the Tuileries, and the
remark was elicited by my pointing out to him one or two celebrated
persons, whose names are sufficiently known, but who walk the public
promenades, quite unnoticed and unrecognised. He said he did not think
there were five people in Paris who knew him at sight, though his
works were advertised in all the bookstores, and he had lived in Paris
one or two years, and walked there constantly. This was putting a
strong case, for the French idolize Cooper; and the peculiarly
translateable character of his works makes them read even better in a
good translation than in the original. It is so all over the
continent, I am told. The Germans, Italians, and Spaniards, prefer
Cooper to Scott; and it is easily accounted for when one remembers how
much of the beauty of the Waverly novels depends on their exquisite
style, and how peculiarly Cooper's excellence lies in his accurate,
definite, tangible descriptions. There is not a more admired author in
Europe than Cooper, it is very certain; and I am daily asked whether
he is in America at present--so little do the people of these crowded
cities interest themselves about that which is immediately at their
elbows.



LETTER XX.

     GENERAL BERTRAND--FRIEND OF LADY MORGAN--PHRENOLOGY--DR.
     SPURZHEIM--HIS LODGINGS--PROCESS OF TAKING A CAST OF THE
     HEAD--INCARCERATION OF DR. BOWRING AND DE POTTER--DAVID THE
     SCULPTOR--VISIT OF DR. SPURZHEIM TO THE UNITED STATES.


My room-mate called a day or two since on General Bertrand, and
yesterday he returned the visit, and spent an hour at our lodgings. He
talked of Napoleon with difficulty, and became very much affected when
my friend made some inquiries about the safety of the body at St.
Helena. The inquiry was suggested by some notice we had seen in the
papers of an attempt to rob the tomb of Washington. The General said
that the vault was fifteen feet deep, and covered by a slab that could
not be moved without machinery. He told us that Madame Bertrand had
many mementoes of the Emperor, which she would be happy to show us,
and we promised to visit him.

At a party, a night or two since, I fell into conversation with an
English lady, who had lived several years in Dublin, and was an
intimate friend of Lady Morgan. She was an uncommonly fine woman, both
in appearance and conversational powers, and told me many anecdotes of
the authoress, defending her from all the charges usually made against
her, except that of vanity, which she allowed. I received, on the
whole, the impression that Lady Morgan's goodness of heart was more
than an offset to her certainly very innocent weaknesses. My companion
was much amused at an American's asking after the "fender in Kildare
street;" though she half withdrew her cordiality when I told her I
knew the countryman of mine who wrote the account of Lady Morgan, of
which she complains so bitterly in the "Book of the Boudoir." It was
this lady with whom the fair authoress "dined in the _Chaussée
d'Antin_," so much to her satisfaction.

While we were conversing, the lady's husband came up, and finding that
I was an American, made some inquiries about the progress of
_phrenology_ on the other side of the water. Like most enthusiasts in
the science, his own head was a remarkably beautiful one; and I soon
found that he was the bosom friend of Dr. Spurzheim, to whom he
offered to introduce me. We made an engagement for the next day, and
the party separated.

My new acquaintance called on me the next morning, according to
appointment, and we went together to Dr. Spurzheim's residence. The
passage at the entrance was lined with cases, in which stood plaster
casts of the heads of distinguished men, orators, poets,
musicians--each class on its particular shelf--making altogether a
most ghastly company. The doctor received my companion with great
cordiality, addressing him in French, and changing to very good
German-English when he made any observation to me. He is a tall,
large-boned man, and resembles Harding, the American artist, very
strikingly. His head is finely marked; his features are bold, with
rather a German look; and his voice is particularly winning, and
changes its modulations, in argument, from the deep, earnest tone of a
man, to an almost child-like softness. The conversation soon turned
upon America, and the doctor expressed, in ardent terms, his desire to
visit the United States, and said he had thought of accomplishing it
the coming summer. He spoke of Dr. Channing--said he had read all his
works with avidity and delight, and considered him one of the clearest
and most expansive minds of the age. If Dr. Channing had not strong
developments of the organs of _ideality_ and _benevolence_, he said,
he should doubt his theory more than he had ever found reason to. He
knew Webster and Professor Silliman by reputation, and seemed to be
familiar with our country, as few men in Europe are. One naturally, on
meeting a distinguished phrenologist, wishes to have his own
developments pronounced upon; but I had been warned by my friend that
Dr. Spurzheim refused such examinations as a general principle, not
wishing to deceive people, and unwilling to run the risk of offending
them. After a half hour's conversation, however, he came across the
room, and putting his hands under my thick masses of hair, felt my
head closely all over, and mentioned at once a quality, which, right
or wrong, has given a tendency to all my pursuits in life. As he knew
absolutely nothing of me, and the gentleman who introduced me knew no
more, I was a little startled. The doctor then requested me to submit
to the operation of having a cast taken of my head, an offer which was
too kind and particular to be declined; and, appointing an hour to be
at his rooms the following day, we left him.

I was there again at twelve, the morning after, and found De Potter
(the Belgian patriot) and Dr. Bowring, with the phrenologist, waiting
to undergo the same operation. The preparations looked very
formidable, A frame, of the length of the human body, lay in the
middle of the room, with a wooden bowl to receive the head, a
mattress, and a long white dress to prevent stain to the clothes. As I
was the youngest, I took my turn first. It was very like a preparation
for being beheaded. My neck was bared, my hair cut, and the long white
dress put on. The back of the head is taken first; and, as I was only
immersed up to the ears in the liquid plaster, this was not very
alarming. The second part, however, demanded more patience. My head
was put once more into the stiffened mould of the first half, and as
soon as I could get my features composed I was ordered to shut my
eyes; my hair was oiled and laid smooth, and the liquid plaster poured
slowly over my mouth, eyes, and forehead, till I was cased completely
in a stiffening mask. The material was then poured on thickly, till
the mask was two or three inches thick, and the voices of those
standing over me were scarcely audible. I breathed pretty freely
through the orifices at my nose; but the dangerous experiment of
Mademoiselle Sontag, who was nearly smothered in the same operation,
came across my mind rather vividly; and it seemed to me that the
doctor handled the plaster quite too ungingerly, when he came to mould
about my nostrils. After a half hour's imprisonment, the plaster
became sufficiently hardened, and the thread which was laid upon my
face was drawn through, dividing the mask into two parts. It was then
gradually removed, pulling very tenaciously upon my eyelashes and
eyebrows, and leaving all the cavities of my face filled with
particles of lime. The process is a tribute to vanity, which one would
not be willing to pay very often.

I looked on at Dr. Bowring's incarceration with no great feeling of
relief. It is rather worse to see than to experience, I think. The
poet is a nervous man; and as long as the muscles of his face were
visible, his lips, eyelids, and mouth, were quivering so violently
that I scarcely believed it would be possible to get an impression of
them. He has a beautiful face for a scholar--clear, well-cut, finished
features, expressive of great purity of thought; and a forehead of
noble amplitude, white and polished as marble. His hair is black and
curling (indicating in most cases, as Dr. Spurzheim remarked, activity
of mind), and forms a classical relief to his handsome temples.
Altogether, his head would look well in a picture, though his ordinary
and ungraceful dress, and quick, bustling manner, rather destroy the
effect of it in society.

De Potter is one of the noblest-looking men I ever saw. He is quite
bald, with a broad, ample, majestic head, the very model of dignity
and intellect. Dr. Spurzheim considers his head one of the most
extraordinary he has met. _Firmness_ is the great development of its
organs. His tone and manner are calm and very impressive, and he looks
made for great occasions--a man stamped with the superiority which
others acknowledge when circumstances demand it. He employs himself in
literary pursuits at Paris, and has just published a pamphlet on "the
manner of conducting a revolution, so that no after-revolution shall
be necessary." I have translated the title awkwardly, but that is the
subject.

I have since heard Dr. Spurzheim lecture twice, and have been with him
to a meeting of the "Anthropological Society" (of which he is the
president and De Potter the secretary), where I witnessed the
dissection of the human brain. It was a most interesting and
satisfactory experiment, as an illustration of phrenology. David the
sculptor is a member of the society, and was present. He looks more
like a soldier than an artist, however--wearing the cross of the
Legion of Honor, with a military frock coat, and an erect, stern,
military carriage. Spurzheim lectures in a free, easy, unconstrained
style, with occasionally a little humor, and draws his arguments from
admitted facts only. Nothing could be more reasonable than his
premises, and nothing more like an axiom than the results, as far as I
have heard him. At any rate, true or false, his theory is one of
extreme interest, and no time can be wasted in examining it; for it is
the study of man, and therefore the most important of studies.

I have had several long conversations with Dr. Spurzheim about
America, and have at last obtained his positive assurance that he
would visit it. He gave me permission this morning to say (what I am
sure all lovers of knowledge will be pleased to hear) that he should
sail for New York in the course of the ensuing summer, and pass a year
or more in lecturing and travelling in the United States. He is a man
to obtain the immediate confidence and respect of a people like ours,
of the highest moral worth, and the most candid and open mind.



LETTER XXI.

     DEPARTURE FROM PARIS--DESULTORY REMARKS.


I take my departure from Paris to-morrow. I have just been making
preparations to pack, and it has given me a fit of bad spirits. I have
been in France only a few months, but if I had lived my life here, I
could not be more at home. In my almost universal acquaintance, I have
of course made pleasant friends, and, however time and travel should
make us indifferent to such volant attachments, I can not now cast off
these threads of intimacy, without pulling a little upon very sincere
feelings. I have been burning the mass of papers and cards that have
accumulated in my drawers; and the sight of these French invitations,
mementoes, as they are, of delightful and fascinating hours, almost
staggers my resolution of departure. It has been an intoxicating time
to me. Aside from lighter attractions, this metropolis collects within
itself so much of the distinction and genius of the world; and gifted
men in Paris, coming here merely for pleasure, are so peculiarly
accessible, that one looks upon them as friends to whom he has become
attached and accustomed, and leaves the sphere in which he has met
them, as if he had been a part of it, and had a right to be regretted.
I do not think I shall ever spend so pleasant a winter again. And then
my local interest is not a light one. I am a great lover of
out-of-doors, and I have ransacked Paris thoroughly. I know it all
from its broad faubourgs to its obscurest _cul de sac_. I have hunted
with antiquaries for coins and old armor; with lovers of adventure for
the amusing and odd; with the curious for traces of history; with the
romantic for the picturesque. Paris is a world for research. It
contains more odd places, I believe, more odd people, and every way
more material for uncommon amusement, than any other city in the
universe. One might live a life of novelty without crossing the
barrier. All this insensibly attaches one. My eye wanders at this
moment from my paper to these lovely gardens lying beneath my window,
and I could not feel more regret if they were mine. Just over the long
line of low clipped trees, edging the fashionable terrace, I see the
windows of the king within half a stone's throw--the windows at which
Napoleon has stood, and the long line of the monarchs of France, and
it has become to me so much a habit of thought, sitting here in the
twilight and musing on the thousand, thousand things linked with the
spot my eye embraces, that I feel as if I had grown to it--as if Paris
had become to me, what it is proverbially and naturally enough to a
Frenchman--"the world."

I have other associations which I part from less painfully, because I
hope at some future time to renew them--those with my own countrymen.
There are few pleasanter circles than that of the Americans in Paris.
Lafayette and his numerous family make a part of them. I could not
learn to love this good man more, but seeing him often brings one's
reverence more within the limits of the affections; and I consider
the little of his attention that has fallen to my share the honored
part of my life, and the part best worth recording and remembering. He
called upon me a day or two ago, to leave with me some copies of a
translation of Mr. Cooper's letter on the finances of our government,
to be sent to my friend Dr. Howe; but, to my regret, I did not see
him. He neglects no American, and is ever busied about some project
connected with their welfare. May God continue to bless him!

And speaking of Mr. Cooper, no one who loves or owns a pride in his
native land, can live abroad without feeling every day what we owe to
the patriotism as well as the genius of this gifted man. If there is
an individual who loves the soil that gave him birth, and so shows it
that we are more respected for it, it is he. Mr. Cooper's position is
a high one; he has great advantages, and he improves them to the
uttermost. His benevolence and activity in all enterprises for the
relief of suffering, give him influence, and he employs it like a true
philanthropist and a real lover of his country. I say this
particularly, though it may look like too personal a remark, because
Americans abroad are _not_ always _national_. I am often mortified by
reproaches from foreigners, quoting admissions made by my countrymen,
which should be the last on their lips. A very distinguished person
told me a day or two since, that "the Americans abroad were the worst
enemies we had in Europe." It is difficult to conceive at home how
such a remark stings. Proportionately, one takes a true patriot to his
heart and I feel it right to say here, that the love of country and
active benevolence of Mr. Cooper distinguish him abroad, even more
than his genius. His house is one of the most hospitable and agreeable
in Paris; and with Morse and the circle of artists and men of
distinction and worth about him, he is an acquaintance sincerely to
regret leaving.

From Mr. Rives, our Minister, I have received every possible kindness.
He has attached me to his legation, to facilitate my access to other
courts and the society of other cities, and to free me from all delays
and annoyances at frontiers and custom-houses. It is a particular and
valuable kindness, and I feel a pleasure in acknowledging it. Then
there is Dr. Bowring, the lover and defender of the United States,
who, as the editor of the Westminster Review, should be well
remembered in America, and of him I have seen much, and from him I
have received great kindness. Altogether, as I said before, Paris is a
home to me, and I leave it with a heavy heart.

I have taken a place on the top of the diligence _for a week_. It is a
long while to occupy one seat, but the weather and the season are
delicious; and in the covered and roomy cabriolet, with the
_conducteur_ for a living reference, and all the appliances for
comfort, I expect to live very pleasantly, night and day, till I reach
Marseilles. _Vaucluse_ is on the way, and I shall visit it if I have
time and good weather, perhaps. At Marseilles I propose to take the
steamboat for Leghorn, and thence get directly to Florence, where I
shall remain till I become familiar with the Italian, at least. I lay
down my pen till all this plan of travel is accomplished, and so, for
the present, adieu!



LETTER XXII.


CHALONS, ON THE SAONE.--I have broken my route to stop at this pretty
town, and take the steamboat which goes down the Saone to Lyons
to-morrow morning. I have travelled two days and nights; but an
excellent dinner and a quickened imagination indispose me for sleep,
and, for want of better amusement in a strange city at night, I will
pass away an hour in transcribing the hurried notes I have made at the
stopping places.

I chose, by advice, the part of the diligence called the
_banquette_--a covered seat over the front of the carriage, commanding
all the view, and free from the dust of the lower apartments. The
_conducteur_ had the opposite corner, and a very ordinary-looking man
sat between us; the seat holding three very comfortably. A lady and
two gentlemen occupied the _coupé_; a dragoon and his family, going to
join his regiment, filled the _rotonde_; and in the interior was a
motley collection, whom I scarce saw after starting; the occupants of
the different parts of a diligence having no more association, even in
a week's travel, than people living in adjoining houses in the city.

We rolled out of Paris by the _faubourg St. Antoine_, and at the end
of the first post passed the first object that interested me--a small
brick pavilion, built by Henri Quatre for the beautiful Gabrielle
d'Estrees. It stands on a dull, level plain, not far from the banks of
the river; and nothing but the fact that it was once occupied by the
woman who most enslaved the heart of the most chivalrous and fickle of
the French monarchs, would call your attention to it for a moment.

For the twenty or thirty miles which we travelled by daylight, I saw
nothing particularly curious or beautiful. The guide-book is very
diffuse upon the chateaux and villages on the road, but I saw nothing
except very ordinary country-houses, and the same succession of small
and dirty villages, steeped to the very chimneys in poverty. If ever I
return to America, I shall make a journey to the west, for the pure
refreshment of seeing industry and thrift. I am sick to the heart of
pauperism and misery. Everything that is near the large towns in
France is either splendid or disgusting. There is no medium in
condition--nothing that looks like content--none of that class we
define in our country as the "respectable."

The moon was a little in the wane, but bright, and the night lovely.
As we got further into the interior, the towns began to look more
picturesque and antique; and, with the softening touch of the
moonlight, and the absence of beggars, the old low-browed buildings
and half-ruined churches assumed the beauty they wear in description.
I slept on the road, but the echo of the wheels in entering a
post-town woke me always; and I rarely have felt the picturesque more
keenly than, at these sudden wakings from dreams, perhaps, of familiar
things, finding myself opposite some shadowy relic of another age; as
if it were by magical transportation, from the fireside to some place
of which I had heard or read the history.

I awoke as we drove into _Sens_ at broad daylight. We were just
passing a glorious old pile of a cathedral, which I ran back to see
while the diligence stopped to change horses. It is of pointed
architecture, black with age, and crusted with moss. It was to this
town that Thomas a Becket retired in disgrace at his difference with
Henry the Second. There is a chapel in the cathedral, dedicated to his
memory. The French certainly should have the credit of leaving things
alone. This old pile stands as if the town in which it is built had
been desolate for centuries: not a letter of the old sculptures
chiselled out, not a bird unnested, not a filament of the gathering
moss pulled away. All looks as if no human hand had been near
it--almost as if no human eye had looked upon it. In America they
would paint such an old church white or red, shove down the pillars,
and put up pews, sell the pictures for fireboards, and cover the
tesselated pavement with sand, or a home-made carpet.

As we passed under a very ancient gate, crowning the old Roman
ramparts of the town, a door opened, and a baker, in white cap and
apron, thrust out his head to see us pass. His oven was blazing
bright, and he had just taken out a batch of hot bread, which was
smoking on the table; and what with the chill of the morning air and
having fasted for some fourteen hours, I quite envied him his
vocation. The diligence, however, pushed on most mercilessly till
twelve o'clock, the French never dreaming of eating before their late
_dejeuner_--a mid-day meal always. When we did get it, it was a dinner
in every respect--meats of all kinds, wine, and dessert, certainly as
solid and various as any of the American breakfasts, at which
travellers laugh so universally.

Auxerre is a pretty town, on a swelling bank of the river Yonne; and I
had admired it as one of the most improved-looking villages of France.
It was not till I had breakfasted there, and travelled a league or two
towards Chalons, that I discovered by the guide book it was the
ancient capital of Auxerrois, a famous town in the time of Julius
Cæsar, and had the honor of being ravaged "at different times by
Attila, the Saracens, the Normans, and the Calvinists, vestiges of
whose devastations may still be seen." If I had not eaten of a
positively modern _paté foie gras_, and an _omelette soufflé_, at a
nice little hotel, with a mistress in a cap, and a coquettish French
apron, I should forgive myself less easily for not having detected
antiquity in the atmosphere. One imagines more readily than he
realizes the charm of mere age without beauty.

We were now in the province of Burgundy, and, to say nothing of the
historical recollections, the vineyards were all about us that
delighted the palates of the world. One does not dine at the _Trois
Fréres_, in the Palais Royal, without contracting a tenderness for the
very name of Burgundy. I regretted that I was not there in the season
of the grape. The vines were just budding, and the _paysans_, men and
women, were scattered over the vineyards, loosening the earth about
the roots, and driving stakes to support the young shoots. At Saint
Bris I found the country so lovely, that I left the diligence at the
post-house, and walked on to mount a long succession of hills on foot.
The road sides were quite blue with the violets growing thickly among
the grass, and the air was filled with perfume. I soon got out of
sight of the heavy vehicle, and made use of my leisure to enter the
vineyards and talk to the people at their work. I found one old man,
with all his family about him; the little ones with long baskets on
their backs, bringing manure, and one or two grown-up boys and girls
raking up the earth with the unhandy hoe of the country, and setting
it firmly around the roots with their wooden shoes. It was a pretty
group, and I was very much amused with their simplicity. The old man
asked my country, and set down his hoe in astonishment when I told him
I was an American. He wondered I was not more burnt, living in such a
hot country, and asked me what language we spoke. I could scarce get
away from his civilities when I bade him "Good day." No politeness
could have been more elegant than the manner and expression of this
old peasant, and certainly nothing could have appeared sincerer or
kinder. I kept on up the hill till I reached a very high point,
passing on my way a troop of Italians, going to Paris with their
organs and shows--a set of as ragged specimens of the picturesque as I
ever saw in a picture. A lovely scene lay before me when I turned to
look back. The valley, on one side of which lies St. Bris, is as round
as a bowl, with an edge of mountain-tops absolutely even all around
the horizon. It slopes down from every side to the centre, as if it
had been measured and hollowed by art; and there is not a fence to be
seen from one side to the other, and scarcely a tree, but one green
and almost unbroken carpet of verdure, swelling up in broad green
slopes to the top, and realizing, with a slight difference, the
similitude of Madame de Genlis, of the place of satiety, eternal green
meadow and eternal blue sky. St. Bris is a little handful of stone
buildings around an old church; just such a thing as a painter would
throw into a picture--and the different-colored grain, and here and
there a ploughed patch of rich yellow earth, and the road crossing
the hollow from hill to hill like a white band; and then for the life
of the scene, the group of Italians, the cumbrous diligence, and the
peasants in their broad straw hats, scattered over the fields--it was
something quite beyond my usual experience of scenery and accident. I
had rarely before found so much in one view to delight me.

After looking a while, I mounted again, and stood on the very top of
the hill; and, to my surprise, there, on the other side lay just such
another valley, with just such a village in its bosom, and the single
improvement of a river--the Yonne stealing through it, with its
riband-like stream; but all the rest of the valley almost exactly as I
have described the other. I crossed a vineyard to get a view to the
southeast, and _once more_ there lay a deep hollow valley before me,
formed like the other two, with its little hamlet and its vineyards
and mountains--as if there had been three lakes in the hills, with
their edges touching like three bowls, and the terrace on which I
stood was the platform between them. It is a most singular formation
of country, really, and as beautiful as it is singular. Each of these
valleys might be ten miles across; and if the dukes of Burgundy in
feudal times rode ever to St. Bris, I can conceive that their dukedom
never seemed larger to them than when crossing this triple apex of
highland.

At Saulieu we left the usual route, and crossed over to Chagny.
Between these two places lay a spot, which, out of my own country, I
should choose before all others for a retreat from the world. As it
was off the route, the guide-book gave me not even the name, and I
have discovered nothing but that the little hamlet is called
_Rochepot_. It is a little nest of wild scenery, a mimic valley shut
in by high overhanging crags, with the ruins of a battlemented and
noble old castle, standing upon a rock in the centre, with the village
of some hundred stone cottages at its very foot. You might stand on
the towers of the ruins, and toss a biscuit into almost every chimney
in the village. The strong round towers are still perfect, and the
turrets and loop-holes and windows are still there; and rank green
vines have overrun the whole mass everywhere; and nothing but the
prodigious solidity with which it was built could have kept it so long
from falling, for it is evidently one of the oldest castles in
Burgundy. I never before saw anything, even in a picture, which
realized perfectly my idea of feudal position. Here lived the lord of
the domain, a hundred feet in the air in his rocky castle, right over
the heads of his retainers, with the power to call in every soul that
served him at a minute's warning, and with a single blast of his
trumpet. I do not believe a stone has been displaced in the village
for a hundred years. The whole thing was redolent of antiquity. We
wound out of the place by a sharp narrow pass, and there, within a
mile of this old and deserted fortress, lay the broad plains of Beaune
and Chagny--one of the most fertile and luxurious parts of France. I
was charmed altogether. How many things I have seen this side the
water that I have made an involuntary vow in my heart to visit again,
and at more leisure, before I die!

From Chagny it was but one post to Chalons, and here I am in a pretty,
busy town, with broad beautiful quays, where I have promenaded till
dark, observing this out-of-doors people; and now, having written a
long letter for a sleepy man, I will get to bed, and redeem some
portion of my two nights' wakefulness.



LETTER XXIII.

     PASSAGE DOWN THE SAONE--AN ODD ACQUAINTANCE--LYONS--CHURCH OF
     NOTRE DAME DE FOURVIERES--VIEW FROM THE TOWER.


I looked out of my window the last thing before going to bed at
Chalons, and the familiar constellation of _Ursa Major_ never shone
brighter, and never made me a more agreeable promise than that of fair
weather the following day for my passage down the Saone. I was called
at four, and it rained in torrents. The steamboat was smaller than the
smallest I have seen in our country, and crowded to suffocation with
children, women, and lap-dogs. I appropriated my own trunk, and
spreading my umbrella, sat down upon it, to endure my disappointment
with what philosophy I might. A dirty-looking fellow, who must have
slept in his clothes for a month, came up, with a loaf of coarse bread
under his arm, and addressed me, to my sufficient astonishment, _in
Latin_! He wanted to sit under my umbrella. I looked at him a second
time, but he had touched my passion. Latin is the only thing I have
been driven to, in this world, that I ever really loved; and the
clear, mellow, unctuous pronunciation of my dirty companion equally
astonished and pleased me. I made room for him on my trunk, and,
though rusted somewhat since I philosophized over Lucretius, we got on
very tolerably. He was a German student, travelling to Italy, and a
fine specimen of the class. A dirtier man I never saw, and hardly a
finer or more intellectual face. He knew everything, and served me as
a talking guide to the history of all the places on the river.

Instead of eating all at once, as we do on board the steamboats in
America, the French boats have a _restaurant_, from which you order
what you please, and at any hour. The cabin was set round with small
tables, and the passengers made little parties, and breakfasted and
dined at their own time. It is much the better method. I descended to
the cabin very hungry about twelve o'clock, and was looking about for
a place, when a French gentleman politely rose, and observing that I
was alone, (my German friend living on bread and water only,)
requested me to join his party at breakfast. Two young ladies and a
lad of fourteen sat at the table, and addressing them by their
familiar names, my polite friend requested them to give me a place;
and then told me that they were his daughters and son, and that he was
travelling to Italy for the health of the younger girl, a pale,
slender creature, apparently about eighteen. I was very well pleased
with my position, and rarely have passed an hour more agreeably.
French girls of the better classes never talk, but the father was very
communicative, and a Parisian, with the cross of the Legion of Honor,
and we found abundance of matter for conversation. They have stopped
at Lyons, where I write at present, and I shall probably join their
party to Marseilles.

The clouds broke away after mid-day, and the banks of the river
brightened wonderfully with the change. The Saone is about the size
of the Mohawk, but not half so beautiful; at least for the greater
part of its course. Indeed, you can hardly compare American with
European rivers, for the charm is of another description, quite. With
us it is nature only, here it is almost all art. Our rivers are
lovely, because the outline of the shore is graceful, and particularly
because the vegetation is luxuriant. The hills are green, the foliage
deep and lavish, the rocks grown over with vines or moss, the
mountains in the distance covered with pines and other forest-trees;
everything is wild, and nothing looks bare or sterile. The rivers of
France are crowned on every height with ruins, and in the bosom of
every valley lies a cluster of picturesque stone cottages; but the
fields are naked, and there are no trees; the mountains are barren and
brown, and everything looks as if the dwellings had been deserted by
the people, and nature had at the same time gone to decay. I can
conceive nothing more melancholy than the views upon the Saone, seen,
as I saw them, though vegetation is out everywhere, and the banks
should be beautiful if ever. As we approached Lyons the river narrowed
and grew bolder, and the last ten miles were enchanting. Naturally the
shores at this part of the Saone are exceedingly like the highlands of
the Hudson above West Point. Abrupt hills rise from the river's edge,
and the windings are sharp and constant. But imagine the highlands of
the Hudson crowned with antique chateaux, and covered to the very top
with terraces and summer-houses and hanging-gardens, gravel walks and
beds of flowers, instead of wild pines and precipices, and you may get
a very correct idea of the Saone above Lyons. You emerge from one of
the dark passes of the river by a sudden turn, and there before you
lies this large city, built on both banks, at the foot and on the
sides of mountains. The bridges are fine, and the broad, crowded
quays, all along the edges of the river, have a beautiful effect. We
landed at the stone stairs, and I selected a hotel by chance, where I
have found seven Americans of my acquaintance. We have been spending
the evening at the rooms of a townsman of mine, very pleasantly.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a great deal of magnificence at Lyons, in the way of quays,
promenades, and buildings; but its excessive filthiness spoils
everything. One could scarce admire a Venus in such an atmosphere; and
you cannot find room to stand in Lyons where you have not some
nauseating odor. I was glad to escape from the lower streets, and
climb up the long staircases to the observatory that overhangs the
town. From the base of this elevation the descent of the river is
almost a precipice. The houses hang on the side of the steep hill, and
their doors enter from the long alleys of stone staircases by which
you ascend. On every step, and at almost every foot of the way, stood
a beggar. They might have touched hands from the quay to the summit.
If they were not such objects of real wretchedness, it would be
laughable to hear the church calendar of saints repeated so volubly.
The lame hobble after you, the blind stumble in your way, the sick lie
and stretch out their hands from the wall, and all begin in the name
of the Virgin Mary, and end with "_Mon bon Monsieur_," and "_un petit
sous_." I confined my charities to a lovely child, that started out
from its mother's lap, and ran down to meet us--a dirty and ragged
little thing, but with the large dark eyes of the province; and a
skin, where one could see it, of the clearest nut-brown teint. Her
mother had five such, and each of them, to any one who loved
children, would have been a treasure of beauty and interest.

It was holy-week, and the church of _Notre Dame de Fourvières_, which
stands on the summit of the hill, was crowded with people. We went in
for a moment, and sat down on a bench to rest. My companion was a
Swiss captain of artillery, who was a passenger in the boat, a very
splendid fellow, with a mustache that he might have tied behind his
ears. He had addressed me at the hotel, and proposed that we should
visit the curiosities of the town together. He was a model of a manly
figure, athletic, and soldier-like, and standing near him was to get
the focus of all the dark eyes in the congregation.

The new square tower stands at the side of the church, and rises to
the height of perhaps sixty feet. The view from it is said to be one
of the finest in the world. I have seen more extensive ones, but never
one that comprehended more beauty and interest. Lyons lies at the
foot, with the Saone winding through its bosom in abrupt curves; the
Rhone comes down from the north on the other side of the range of
mountains, and meeting the Saone in a broad stream below the town,
they stretch off to the south, through a diversified landscape; the
Alps rise from the east like the edges of a thunder-cloud, and the
mountains of Savoy fill up the interval to the Rhone. All about the
foot of the monument lie gardens, of exquisite cultivation; and above
and below the city the villas of the rich; giving you altogether as
delicious a nucleus for a broad circle of scenery as art and nature
could create, and one sufficiently in contrast with the barrenness of
the rocky circumference to enhance the charm, and content you with
your position. Half way down the hill lies an old monastery, with a
lovely garden walled in from the world; and several of the
brotherhood were there, idling up and down the shaded alleys, with
their black dresses sweeping the ground, possibly in holy
contemplation. The river was covered with boats, the bells were
ringing to church, the glorious old cathedral, so famous for its
splendor, stood piled up, with its arches and gray towers, in the
square below; the day was soft, sunny, and warm, and existence was a
blessing. I leaned over the balustrade, I know not how long, looking
down upon the scene about me; and I shall ever remember it as one of
those few unalloyed moments, when the press of care was taken off my
mind, and the chain of circumstances was strong enough to set aside
both the past and the future, and leave me to the quiet enjoyment of
the present. I have found such hours "few and far between."



LETTER XXIV.

     DEPARTURE FROM LYONS--BATTEAUX DE POSTE--RIVER
     SCENERY--VILLAGE OF CONDRIEU--VIENNE--VALENCE--POINT ST.
     ESPRIT--DAUPHINY AND LANGUEDOC--DEMI-FETE DAY, ETC.


I found a day and a half quite enough for Lyons. The views from the
mountain and the river were the only things that pleased me. I made
the usual dry visit to the library and the museum, and admired the
Hotel de Ville, and the new theatre, and the front of the _Maison de
Tolosan_, that so struck the fancy of Joseph II., and having
"despatched the lions," like a true cockney traveller, I was too happy
to escape the offensive smells of the streets, and get to my rooms.
One does not enjoy much comfort within doors either. Lyons is a great
imitation metropolis--a sort of second-hand Paris. I am not very
difficult to please, but I found the living intolerable. It was an
affectation of abstruse cookery throughout. We sat down to what is
called the best table in the place, and it was a series of ludicrous
travesties, from the soup to the salad. One can eat well in the
country, because the dishes are simple, and he gets the natural taste
of things; but to come to a table covered with artificial dishes,
which he has been accustomed to see in their perfection, and to taste
and send away everything in disgust, is a trial of temper which is
reserved for the traveller at Lyons.

The scenery on the river, from Lyons to Avignon, has great celebrity,
and I had determined to take that course to the south. Just at this
moment, however, the Rhone had been pronounced too low, and the
steamboats were stopped. I probably made the last passage by steam on
the Saone, for we ran aground repeatedly, and were compelled to wait
till horses could be procured to draw the boat into deep water. It was
quite amusing to see with what a regular, business-like air, the
postillions fixed their traces to the prow, and whipped into the
middle of the river. A small boat was my only resource, and I found a
man on the quay who plied the river in what is called _batteaux de
poste_, rough shallops with flat bottoms, which are sold for firewood
on their arrival, the rapidity of the Rhone rendering a return against
the current next to impossible. The sight of the frail contrivance in
which I was to travel nearly two hundred miles, rather startled me,
but the man assured me he had several other passengers, and two ladies
among them. I paid the _arrhes_, or earnest money, and was at the
river-stairs punctually at four the next morning.

To my very sincere pleasure the two ladies were the daughters of my
polite friend and fellow passenger from Chalons. They were already on
board, and the little shallop sat deep in the water with her freight.
Besides these, there were two young French chasseurs going home on
leave of absence, a pretty Parisian dress-maker flying from the
cholera, a masculine woman, the wife of a dragoon, and my friend the
captain. We pushed out into the current, and drifted slowly down under
the bridges, without oars the padrone quietly smoking his pipe at the
helm. In a few minutes we were below the town, and here commenced
again the cultivated and ornamented banks I had so much admired on my
approach to Lyons from the other side. The thin haze was just stirring
from the river's surface, the sunrise flush was on the sky, the air
was genial and impregnated with the smell of grass and flowers, and
the little changing landscapes, as we followed the stream, broke upon
us like a series of exquisite dioramas. The atmosphere was like
Doughty's pictures, exactly. I wished a thousand times for that
delightful artist, that he might see how richly the old _chateaux_ and
their picturesque appurtenances filled up the scene. It would have
given a new turn to his pencil.

We soon arrived at the junction of the rivers, and, as we touched the
rapid current of the Rhone, the little shallop yielded to its sway,
and redoubled its velocity. The sun rose clear, the cultivation grew
less and less, the hills began to look distant and barren, and our
little party became sociable in proportion. We closed around the
invalid, who sat wrapped in a cloak in the stern, leaning on her
father's shoulder, and talked of Paris and its pleasures--a theme of
which the French are never weary. Time passed delightfully. Without
being decidedly pretty, our two Parisiennes were quiet-mannered and
engaging; and the younger one particularly, whose pale face and
deeply-sunken eyes gave her a look of melancholy interest, seemed to
have thought much, and to feel, besides, that her uncertain health
gave her a privilege of overstepping the rigid reserve of an unmarried
girl. She talks freely, and with great delicacy of expression and
manner.

We ran ashore at the little village of Condrieu to breakfast. We were
assailed on stepping out of the boat by the _demoiselles_ of two or
three rival _auberges_--nice-looking, black-eyed girls, in white
aprons, who seized us by the arm, and pulled each to her own door,
with torrents of unintelligible _patois_. We left it to the captain,
who selected the best-looking leader, and we were soon seated around a
table covered with a lavish breakfast; the butter, cheese, and wine
excellent, at least. A merrier party, I am sure, never astonished the
simple people of Condrieu. The pretty dress-maker was full of
good-humor and politeness, and delighted at the envy with which the
rural belles regarded her knowing Parisian cap; the chasseurs sang the
popular songs of the army, and joked with the maids of the _auberge_;
the captain was inexhaustibly agreeable, and the hour given us by the
padrone was soon gone. We embarked with a thousand adieus from the
pleased people, and altogether it was more like a scene from Wilhelm
Meister, than a passage from real life.

The wind soon rose free and steady from the north-west, and with a
spread sail we ran past _Vienne_, at ten miles in the hour. This was
the metropolis of my old friends, "the Allobrogues," in Cesar's
Commentaries. I could not help wondering at the feelings with which I
was passing over such classic ground. The little dress-maker was
giving us an account of her fright at the cholera, and every one in
the boat was in agonies of laughter. I looked at the guide-book to
find the name of the place, and the first glance at the word carried
me back to my old school-desk at Andover, and conjured up for a moment
the redolent classic interest with which I read the history of the
land I was now hurrying through. That a laugh with a modern _grisette_
should engross me entirely, at the moment I was traversing such a
spot, is a possibility the man may realize much more readily than the
school-boy. A new roar of merriment from my companions plucked me back
effectually from Andover to the Rhone, and I thought no more of Gaul
or its great historian.

We floated on during the day, passing _chateaux_ and ruins constantly;
but finding the country barren and rocky to a dismal degree, I can not
well imagine how the Rhone has acquired its reputation for beauty. It
has been sung by the poets more than any other river in France, and
the various epithets that have been applied to it have become so
common, that you can not mention it without their rising to your lips;
but the Saone and the Seine are incomparably more lovely, and I am
told the valleys of the Loire are the most beautiful part of France.
From its junction with the Saone to the Mediterranean, the Rhone is
one stretch of barrenness.

We passed a picturesque chateau, built very widely on a rock washed by
the river, called "_La Roche de Glun_," and twilight soon after fell,
closing in our view to all but the river edge. The wind died away, but
the stars were bright and the air mild; and, quite fatigued to
silence, our little party leaned on the sides of the boat, and waited
till the current should float us down to our resting-place for the
night. We reached _Valence_ at ten, and with a merry dinner and supper
in one, which kept us up till after midnight, we got to our coarse but
clean beds, and slept soundly.

The following forenoon we ran under the _Pont St. Esprit_, an
experiment the guide-book calls very dangerous. The Rhone is rapid and
noisy here, and we shot under the arches of the fine old structure
with great velocity; but the "Rapids of the St. Lawrence" are passed
constantly without apprehension by travellers in America, and those of
the Rhone are a mere millrace in comparison. We breakfasted just
below, at a village where we could scarce understand a syllable, the
_patois_ was so decided, and at sunset we were far down between the
provinces of _Dauphiny_ and _Languedoc_, with the villages growing
thicker and greener, and a high mountain within ten or fifteen miles,
covered with snow nearly to the base. We stopped opposite the old
castle of _Rocheméuse_ to pay the _droit_. It was a _demi-fete_ day,
and the inhabitants of a village back from the river had come out to
the green bank in their holyday costume for a revel. The bank swelled
up from the stream to a pretty wood, and the green sward between was
covered with these gay people, arrested in their amusements by our
arrival. We jumped out for a moment, and I walked up the bank and
endeavored to make the acquaintance of a strikingly handsome woman
about thirty, but the _patois_ was quite too much. After several vain
attempts to understand each other, she laughed and turned on her heel,
and I followed the call of the padrone to the batteau. For five or six
miles below, the river passed through a kind of meadow, and an air
more loaded with fragrance I never breathed. The sun was just down,
and with the mildness of the air, and quiet glide of the boat on the
water, it was quite enchanting. Conversation died away, and I went
forward and lay down in the bow alone, with a fit of desperate musing.
It is as singular as it is certain, that the more one enjoys the
loveliness of a foreign land, the more he feels how absolutely his
heart is at home in his own country.



LETTER XXV.

     INFLUENCE OF A BOATMAN--THE TOWN OF ARLES--ROMAN RUINS--THE
     CATHEDRAL--MARSEILLES--THE PASS OF OLLIOULES--THE
     VINEYARDS--TOULON--ANTIBES--LAZARETTO--VILLA FRANCA, ETC.


I entered Avignon after a delicious hour on the Rhone, quite in the
mood to do poetical homage to its associations. My dreams of Petrarch
and Vaucluse were interrupted by a scene between my friend the
captain, and a stout boatman, who had brought his baggage from the
batteau. The result was an appeal to the mayor, who took the captain
aside after the matter was argued, and told him in his ear that he
must compromise the matter, for he _dared not give a judgment in his
favor_! The man had demanded _twelve_ francs where the regulations
allowed him but _one_, and palpable as the imposition was, the
magistrate refused to interfere. The captain curled his mustache and
walked the room in a terrible passion, and the boatman, an herculean
fellow, eyed him with a look of assurance which quite astonished me.
After the case was settled, I asked an explanation of the mayor. He
told me frankly, that the fellow belonged to a powerful class of men
of the lowest description, who, having declared first for the present
government, were and would be supported by it in almost any question
where favor could be shown--that all the other classes of inhabitants
were malcontents, and that, between positive strength and royal favor,
the boatmen and their party had become too powerful even for the
ordinary enforcement of the law.

The following day was so sultry and warm, that I gave up all idea of a
visit to Vaucluse. We spent the morning under the trees which stand
before the door of the _café_ in the village square, and at noon we
took the steamboat upon the Rhone for _Arles_. An hour or two brought
us to this ancient town, where we were compelled to wait till the next
day, the larger boat which goes hence by the mouths of the Rhone to
Marseilles, being out of order.

We left our baggage in the boat, and I walked up with the captain to
see the town. An officer whom we addressed for information on the quay
politely offered to be our guide, and we passed three or four hours
rambling about, with great pleasure. Our first object was the Roman
ruins, for which the town is celebrated. We traversed several streets,
so narrow, that the old time-worn houses on either side seemed to
touch at the top, and in the midst of a desolate and poverty-stricken
neighborhood, we came suddenly upon a noble Roman amphitheatre of
gigantic dimensions, and sufficiently preserved to be a picturesque
ruin. It was built on the terrace of a hill, overlooking the Rhone.
From the towers of the gateway, the view across the river into the
lovely province of Languedoc, is very extensive. The arena is an
excavation of perhaps thirty feet in depth, and the rows of seats, all
built of vast blocks of stone, stretch round it in retreating and
rising platforms to the surface of the hill. The lower story is
surrounded with dens; and the upper terrace is enclosed with a circle
of small apartments, like boxes in a theatre, opening by handsome
arches upon the scene. It is the ruin of a noble structure, and, even
without the help of the imagination, exceedingly impressive. It seems
to be at present turned into a play-ground. The dens and cavities were
full of black-eyed and happy creatures, hiding and hallooing with all
the delightful spirit and gayety of French children. Probably it was
never appropriated to a better use.

We entered the cathedral in returning. It is an antique, and
considered a very fine one. The twilight was just falling; and the
candles burning upon the altar, had a faint, dull glare, making the
dimness of the air more perceptible. I walked up the long aisle to the
side chapel, without observing that my companions had left me, and,
quite tired with my walk, seated myself against one of the Gothic
pillars, enjoying the quiet of the place, and the momentary relief
from exciting objects. It struck me presently that there was a dead
silence in the church, and, as much to hear the sound of English as
for any better motive, I approached the priest's missal, which lay
open on a stand near me, and commenced translating a familiar psalm
aloud. My voice echoed through the building with a fullness which
startled me, and looking over my shoulder, I saw that a simple, poor
old woman was kneeling in the centre of the church, praying alone. She
had looked up at my interruption of the silence of the place, but her
beads still slipped slowly through her fingers, and, feeling that I
was intruding possibly between a sincere worshipper and her Maker, I
withdrew to the side aisle, and made my way softly out of the
cathedral.

Arles appears to have modernized less than any town I have seen in
France. The streets and the inhabitants look as if they had not
changed for a century. The dress of the women is very peculiar; the
waist of the gown coming up to a point behind, between the shoulder
blades, and consequently very short in front, and the high cap bound
to the head with broad velvet ribands, suffering nothing but the jet
black curls to escape over the forehead. As a class, they are the
handsomest women I have seen. Nothing could be prettier than the
small-featured lively brunettes we saw sitting on the stone benches at
every door.

We ran down the next morning, in a few hours to Marseilles. It was a
cloudy, misty day, and I did not enjoy, as I expected, the first view
of the Mediterranean from the mouths of the Rhone. We put quite out
into the swell of the sea, and the passengers were all strewn on the
deck in the various gradations of sickness. My friend the captain, and
myself, had the only constant stomachs on board. I was very happy to
distinguish Marseilles through the mist, and as we approached nearer,
the rocky harbor and the islands of _Chateau d'If_ and _Pomègue_, with
the fortress at the mouth of the harbor, came out gradually from the
mist, and the view opened to a noble amphitheatre of rocky mountains,
in whose bosom lies Marseilles at the edge of the sea. We ran into the
narrow cove which forms the inner harbor, passing an American ship,
the "William Penn," just arrived from Philadelphia, and lying in
quarantine. My blood started at the sight of the starred flag; and as
we passed closer and I read the name upon her stern, a thousand
recollections of that delightful city sprang to my heart, and I leaned
over to her from the boat's side, with a feeling of interest and
pleasure to which the foreign tongue that called me to bid adieu to
newer friends, seemed an unwelcome interruption.

I parted from my pleasant Parisian friend and his family, however,
with real regret. They were polite and refined, and had given me their
intimacy voluntarily and without reserve. I shook hands with them on
the quay, and wished the pale and quiet invalid better health, with
more of feeling than is common with acquaintances of a day. I believe
them kind and sincere, and I have not found these qualities growing so
thickly in the world that I can thrust aside anything that resembles
them, with a willing mistrust.

The quay of Marseilles is one of the most varied scenes to be met with
in Europe. Vessels of all nations come trading to its port, and nearly
every costume in the world may be seen in its busy crowds. I was
surprised at the number of Greeks. Their picturesque dresses and dark
fine faces meet you at every step, and it would be difficult, if it
were not for the shrinking eye, to believe them capable of an ignoble
thought. The mould of the race is one for heroes, but if all that is
said of them be true, the blood has become impure. Of the two or three
hundred I must have seen at Marseilles, I scarce remember one whose
countenance would not have been thought remarkable.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have remained six days in Marseilles by the advice of the Sardinian
consul, who assured me that so long a residence in the south of
France, is necessary to escape quarantine for the cholera, at the
ports or on the frontiers of Italy. I have obtained his certificate
to-day, and depart to-morrow for Nice. My forced _sejour_ here has
been far from an amusing or a willing one. The "_mistral_" has blown
chilly and with suffocating dryness, so that I have scarce breathed
freely since I entered the town, and the streets, though handsomely
laid out and built, are intolerable from the dust. The sun scorches
your skin to a blister, and the wind chills your blood to the bone.
There are beautiful public walks, which, at the more moist seasons,
must be delightful, but at present the leaves on the trees are all
white, and you cannot keep your eyes open long enough to see from one
end of the promenade to the other. Within doors, it is true, I have
found everything which could compensate for such evils; and I shall
carry away pleasant recollections of the hospitality of the Messrs.
Fitch, and others of my countrymen, living here--gentlemen whose
courtesies are well-remembered by every American traveller through the
south of France.

       *       *       *       *       *

I sank into the corner of the _coupé_ of the diligence for Toulon, at
nine o'clock in the evening, and awoke with the gray of the dawn at
the entrance of the pass of _Ollioules_, one of the wildest defiles I
ever saw. The gorge is the bed of a winter torrent, and you travel
three miles or more between two mountains seemingly cleft asunder, on
a road cut out a little above the stream, with naked rock to the
height of two or three hundred feet almost perpendicularly above you.
Nothing could be more bare and desolate than the whole pass, and
nothing could be richer or more delightfully cultivated than the low
valleys upon which it opens. It is some four or five miles hence to
Toulon, and we traversed the road by sunrise, the soft, gray light
creeping through the olive and orange trees with which the fields are
laden, and the peasants just coming out to their early labor. You see
no brute animal here except the mule; and every countryman you meet is
accompanied by one of these serviceable little creatures, often quite
hidden from sight by the enormous load he carries, or pacing patiently
along with a master on his back, who is by far the larger of the two.

The vineyards begin to look delightfully; for the thick black stump
which was visible over the fields I have hitherto passed, is in these
warm valleys covered already with masses of luxuriant vine leaves, and
the hill sides are lovely with the light and tender verdure. I saw
here for the first time, the olive and date trees in perfection. They
grow in vast orchards planted regularly, and the olive resembles
closely the willow, and reaches about the same height and shape. The
leaves are as slender but not quite so long, and the color is more
dusky, like the bloom upon a grape. Indeed, at a short distance, the
whole tree looks like a mass of untouched fruit.

I was agreeably disappointed in Toulon. It is a rural town with a
harbor--not the dirty seaport one naturally expects to find it. The
streets are the cleanest I have seen in France, some of them lined
with trees, and the fountains all over it freshen the eye
delightfully. We had an hour to spare, and with Mr. Doyle, an Irish
gentleman, who had been my travelling companion, since I parted with
my friend the Swiss, I made the circuit of the quays. They were
covered with French naval officers and soldiers, promenading and
conversing in the lively manner of this gayest of nations. A handsome
child, of perhaps six years, was selling roses at one of the corners,
and for a _sous_, all she demanded, I bought six of the most superb
damask buds just breaking into flower. They were the first I had seen
from the open air since I left America, and I have not often purchased
so much pleasure with a copper coin.

Toulon was interesting to me as the place where Napoleon's career
began. The fortifications are very imposing. We passed out of the town
over the draw-bridge, and were again in the midst of a lovely
landscape, with an air of bland and exhilarating softness, and
everything that could delight the eye. The road runs along the shore
of the Mediterranean, and the fields are green to the water edge.

We arrived at Antibes to-day at noon, within fifteen miles of the
frontier of Sardinia. We have run through most of the south of France,
and have found it all like a garden. The thing most like it in our
country is the neighborhood of Boston, particularly the undulated
country about Brookline and Dorchester. Remove all the stone fences
from that sweet country, put here and there an old chateau on an
eminence, and change the pretty white mock cottages of gentlemen, for
the real stone cottages of peasantry, and you have a fair picture of
the scenery of this celebrated shore. The Mediterranean should be
added as a distance, with its exquisite blue, equalled by nothing but
an American sky in a July noon--its crowds of sail, of every shape and
nation, and the Alps in the horizon crested with snow, like clouds
half touched by the sun. It is really a delicious climate. Out of the
scorching sun the air is bracing and cool; and though my ears have
been blistered in walking up the hills in a travelling cap, I have
scarcely experienced an uncomfortable sensation of heat, and this in
my winter dress, with flannels and a surtout, as I have worn them for
the six months past in Paris. The air could not be tempered more
accurately for enjoyment. I regret to go in doors. I regret to sleep
it away.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Antibes_ was fortified by the celebrated _Vauban_, and it looks
impregnable enough to my unscientific eye. If the portcullises were
drawn up, I would not undertake to get into the town with the full
consent of the inhabitants. We walked around the ramparts which are
washed by the Mediterranean, and got an appetite in the sea-breeze,
which we would willingly have dispensed with. I dislike to abuse
people, but I must say that the _cuisine_ of Madame Agarra, at the
"Gold Eagle," is rather the worst I have fallen upon in my travels.
Her price, as is usual in France, was proportionably exorbitant. My
Irish friend, who is one of the most religious gentlemen of his
country I ever met, came as near getting into a passion with his
supper and bill, as was possible for a temper so well disciplined. For
myself, having acquired only polite French, I can but "look daggers"
when I am abused. We depart presently for _Nice_, in a ricketty
barouche, with post-horses, the _courier_, or post-coach, going no
farther. It is a roomy old affair, that has had pretensions to style
some time since Henri Quatre, but the arms on its panels are illegible
now, and the ambitious driving-box is occupied by the humble materials
to remedy a probable break-down by the way. The postillion is cracking
his whip impatiently, my friend has called me twice, and I must put up
my pencil.

_Antibes_ again! We have returned here after an unsuccessful attempt
to enter the Sardinian dominions. We were on the road by ten in the
morning, and drove slowly along the shores of the Mediterranean,
enjoying to the utmost the heavenly weather and the glorious scenery
about us. The driver pointed out to us a few miles from Antibes, the
very spot on which Napoleon landed on his return from Elba, and the
tree, a fine old olive, under which he slept three hours, before
commencing his march. We arrived at the _Pont de Var_ about one, and
crossed the river, but here we were met by a guard of Sardinian
soldiers, and our passports were demanded. The commissary came from
the guard-house with a long pair of tongs, and receiving them open,
read them at the longest possible distance. They were then handed back
to us in the same manner, and we were told we could not pass. We then
handed him our certificates of quarantine at Marseilles; but were told
it availed nothing, a new order having arrived from Turin that very
morning, to admit no travellers from infected or suspected places
across the frontier. We asked if there were no means by which we could
pass; but the commissary only shook his head, ordered us not to
dismount on the Sardinian side of the river, and shut his door. We
turned about and recrossed the bridge in some perplexity. The French
commissary at St. Laurent, the opposite village, received us with a
suppressed smile, and informed us that several parties of travellers,
among others an English gentleman and his wife and sister, were at the
_auberge_, waiting for an answer from the Prefect of Nice, having been
turned back in the same manner since morning. We drove up, and they
advised us to send our passports by the postillion, with a letter to
the consuls of our respective nations, requesting information, which
we did immediately.

Nice is three miles from St. Laurent, and as we could not expect an
answer for several hours, we amused ourselves with a stroll along the
banks of the Var to the Mediterranean. The Sardinian side is bold,
and wooded to the tops of the hills very richly. We kept along a mile
or more through the vineyards, and returned in time to receive a
letter from the American consul, confirming the orders of the
commissary, but advising us to return to Antibes, and sail thence for
Villa Franca, a lazaretto in the neighborhood of Nice, whence we could
enter Italy, after _seven days quarantine_! By this time several
travelling-carriages had collected, and all, profiting by our
experience, turned back together. We are now at the "Gold Eagle,"
deliberating. Some have determined to give up their object altogether,
but the rest of us sail to-morrow morning in a fishing-boat for the
lazaretto.

       *       *       *       *       *

LAZARETTO, VILLA FRANCA.--There were but eight of the twenty or thirty
travellers stopped at the bridge who thought it worth while to
persevere. We are all here in this pest-house, and a motley mixture of
nations it is. There are two young Sicilians returning from college to
Messina; a Belgian lad of seventeen, just started on his travels; two
aristocratic young Frenchmen, very elegant and very ignorant of the
world, running down to Italy in their own carriage, to avoid the
cholera; a middle-aged surgeon in the British navy, very cool and very
gentlemanly; a vulgar Marseilles trader, and myself.

We were from seven in the morning till two, getting away from Antibes.
Our difficulties during the whole day are such a practical comparison
of the freedom of European states and ours, that I may as well detail
them.

First of all, our passports were to be vised by the police. We were
compelled to stand an hour with our hats off, in a close, dirty
office, waiting our turn for this favor. The next thing was to get the
permission of the prefect of the _marine_ to embark; and this occupied
another hour. Thence we were taken to the health-office, where a _bill
of health_ was made out for eight persons _going to a lazaretto_! The
padrone's freight duties were then to be settled, and we went back and
forth between the Sardinian consul and the French, disputing these for
another hour or more. Our baggage was piled upon the _charrette_, at
last, to be taken to the boat. The quay is outside the gate, and here
are stationed the _douanes_, or custom-officers, who ordered our
trunks to be taken from the cart, and searched them from top to
bottom. After a half hour spent in repacking our effects in the open
street, amid a crowd of idle spectators, we were suffered to proceed.
Almost all these various gentlemen expect a fee, and some demand a
heavy one; and all this trouble and expense of time and money to make
a voyage of _fifteen miles in a fishing-boat_!

We hoisted the fisherman's latteen sail, and put out of the little
harbor in very bad temper. The wind was fair, and we ran along the
shore for a couple of hours, till we came to Nice, where we were to
stop for permission to go to the lazaretto. We were hailed, off the
mole, with a trumpet, and suffered to pass. Doubling a little point,
half a mile farther on, we ran into the bay of Villa Franca, a handful
of houses at the base of an amphitheatre of mountains. A little round
tower stood in the centre of the harbor, built upon a rock, and
connected with the town by a draw-bridge, and we were landed at a
staircase outside, by which we mounted to show our papers to the
health-officer. The interior was a little circular yard, separated
from an office on the town side by an iron grating, and looking out on
the sea by two embrasures for cannon. Two strips of water and the sky
above was our whole prospect for the hour that we waited here. The
cause of the delay was presently explained by clouds of smoke issuing
from the interior. The tower filled, and a more nauseating odor I
never inhaled. We were near suffocating with the intolerable smell,
and the quantity of smoke deemed necessary to secure his majesty's
officers against contagion.

A cautious-looking old gentleman, with gray hair, emerged at last from
the smoke, with a long cane-pole in his hand, and, coughing at every
syllable, requested us to insert our passports in the split at the
extremity, which he thrust through the gate. This being done, we asked
him for bread. We had breakfasted at seven, and it was now
sundown--near twelve hours fast. Several of my companions had been
seasick with the swell of the Mediterranean, in coming from Antibes,
and all were faint with hunger and exhaustion. For myself, the
villainous smell of our purification had made me sick, and I had no
appetite; but the rest ate very voraciously of a loaf of coarse bread,
which was extended to us with a tongs and two pieces of paper.

After reading our passports, the magistrate informed us that he had no
orders to admit us to the lazaretto, and we must lie in our boat till
he could send a messenger to Nice with our passports and obtain
permission. We opened upon him, however, with such a flood of
remonstrance, and with such an emphasis from hunger and fatigue, that
he consented to admit us temporarily on his own responsibility, and
gave the boatmen orders to row back to a long, low stone building,
which we had observed at the foot of a precipice at the entrance to
the harbor.

He was there before us, and as we mounted the stone ladder he pointed
through the bars of a large inner gate to a single chamber, separated
from the rest of the building, and promising to send us something to
eat in the course of the evening, left us to take possession. Our
position was desolate enough. The building was new, and the plaster
still soft and wet. There was not an article of furniture in the
chamber, and but a single window; the floor was of brick, and the air
as damp within as a cellar. The alternative was to remain out of
doors, in the small yard, walled up thirty feet on three sides, and
washed by the sea on the other; and here, on a long block of granite,
the softest thing I could find, I determined to make an _al fresco_
night of it.

Bread, cheese, wine, and cold meat, seethed, Italian fashion, in
nauseous oil, arrived about nine o'clock; and, by the light of a
candle standing in a boot, we sat around on the brick floor, and
supped very merrily. Hunger had brought even our two French exquisites
to their fare, and they ate well. The navy surgeon had seen service,
and had no qualms; the Sicilians were from a German university, and
were not delicate; the Marseilles trader knew no better; and we should
have been less contented with a better meal. It was superfluous to
abuse it.

A steep precipice hangs immediately over the lazaretto, and the horn
of the half moon was just dipping below it, as I stretched myself to
sleep. With a folded coat under me, and a carpet-bag for a pillow, I
soon fell asleep, and slept soundly till sunrise. My companions had
chosen shelter, but all were happy to be early risers. We mounted our
wall upon the sea, and promenaded till the sun was broadly up, and
the breeze from the Mediterranean sharpened our appetites, and then
finishing the relics of our supper, we waited with what patience we
might the appearance of our breakfast.

       *       *       *       *       *

The magistrate arrived at twelve, yesterday, with a commissary from
Villa Franca, who is to be our victualler during the quarantine. He
has enlarged our limits, by a stone staircase and an immense chamber,
on condition that we pay for an extra guard, in the shape of a
Sardinian soldier, who is to sleep in our room, and eat at our table.
By the way, we _have_ a table, and four rough benches, and these, with
three single mattresses, are all the furniture we can procure. We are
compelled to sleep _across_ the latter of course, to give every one
his share.

We have come down very contentedly to our situation, and I have been
exceedingly amused at the facility with which eight such different
tempers can amalgamate, upon compulsion. Our small quarters bring us
in contact continually, and we harmonize like schoolboys. At this
moment the Marseilles trader and the two Frenchmen are throwing stones
at something that is floating out with the tide; the surgeon has
dropped his Italian grammar to decide upon which is the best shot; the
Belgian is fishing off the wall, with a pin hook and a bit of cheese;
and the two Sicilians are talking _lingua franca_, at the top of their
voices, to Carolina, the guardian's daughter, who stands coquetting on
the pier just outside the limits. I have got out my books and
portfolio, and taken possession of the broad stair, depending on the
courtesy of my companions to jump over me and my papers when they go
up and down. I sit here most of the day laughing at the fun below, and
writing or reading alternately. The climate is too delicious for
discontent. Every breath is a pleasure. The hills of the amphitheatre
opposite to us are covered with olive, lemon, and orange trees; and in
the evening, from the time the land breeze commences to blow off shore
until ten or eleven, the air is impregnated with the delicate perfume
of the orange-blossom, than which nothing could be more grateful. Nice
is called the hospital of Europe; and truly, under this divine sky,
and with the inspiriting vitality and softness of the air, and all
that nature can lavish of luxuriance and variety upon the hills, it is
the place, if there is one in the world, where the drooping spirit of
the invalid must revive and renew. At this moment the sun has crept
from the peak of the highest mountain across the bay, and we shall
scent presently the spicy wind from the shore. I close my book to go
upon the wall, which I see the surgeon has mounted already with the
same object, to catch the first breath that blows seaward.

It is Sunday, and an Italian summer morning. I do not think my eyes
ever woke upon so lovely a day. The long, lazy swell comes in from the
Mediterranean as smooth as glass; the sails of a beautiful yacht,
belonging to an English nobleman at Nice, and lying becalmed just now
in the bay, are hanging motionless about the masts; the sky is without
a speck, the air just seems to me to steep every nerve and fibre of
the frame with repose and pleasure. Now and then in America I have
felt a June morning that approached it, but never the degree, the
fulness, the sunny softness of this exquisite clime. It tranquilizes
the mind as well as the body. You cannot resist feeling contented and
genial. We are all out of doors, and my companions have brought down
their mattresses, and are lying along the shade of the east wall,
talking quietly and pleasantly; the usual sounds of the workmen on the
quays of the town are still, our harbor-guard lies asleep in his boat,
the yellow flag of the lazaretto clings to the staff, everything about
us breathes tranquillity. Prisoner as I am, I would not stir willingly
to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have had two new arrivals this morning--a boat from Antibes, with a
company of players bound for the theatre at Milan; and two French
deserters from the regiment at Toulon, who escaped in a leaky boat,
and have made this voyage along the coast to get into Italy. They knew
nothing of the quarantine, and were very much surprised at their
arrest. They will, probably, be delivered up to the French consul. The
new comers are all put together in the large chamber next us, and we
have been talking with them through the grate. His majesty of Sardinia
is not spared in their voluble denunciations.

Our imprisonment is getting to be a little tedious. We lengthen our
breakfasts and dinners, go to sleep early and get up late, but a
lazaretto is a dull place after all. We have no books except
dictionaries and grammars, and I am on my last sheet of paper. What I
shall do, the two remaining days, I cannot divine. Our meals were
amusing for a while. We have but three knives and four glasses; and
the Belgian, having cut his plate in two on the first day, has eaten
since from the wash-bowl. The salt is in a brown paper, the vinegar in
a shell; and the meats, to be kept warm during their passage by water,
are brought in the black utensils in which they are cooked. Our
tablecloth appeared to-day of all the colors of the rainbow. We sat
down to breakfast with a general cry of horror. Still, with youth and
good spirits, we manage to be more contented than one would expect;
and our lively discussions of the spot on the quay where the table
shall be laid, and the noise of our dinners _en plein air_, would
convince the spectator that we were a very merry and sufficiently
happy company.

I like my companions, on the whole, very much. The surgeon has been in
Canada and the west of New York, and we have travelled the same
routes, and made in several instances, the same acquaintances. He has
been in almost every part of the world also, and his descriptions are
very graphic and sensible. The Belgian talks of his new king Leopold,
the Sicilians of the German universities; and when I have exhausted
all they can tell me, I turn to our Parisians, whom I find I have met
all last winter without noticing them, at the parties; and we discuss
the belles, and the different members of the _beau monde_, with all
the touching air and tone of exiles from paradise. In a case of
desperate ennui, wearied with studying and talking, the sea wall is a
delightful lounge, and the blue Mediterranean plays the witch to the
indolent fancy, and beguiles it well. I have never seen such a
beautiful sheet of water. The color is peculiarly rich and clear, like
an intensely blue sky, heaving into waves. I do not find the
often-repeated description of its loveliness exaggerated.

Our seven days expire to-morrow, and we are preparing to eat our last
dinner in the lazaretto with great glee. A temporary table is already
laid upon the quay, and two strips of board raised upon some ingenious
contrivance, I can not well say what, and covered with all the private
and public napkins that retained any portion of their maiden
whiteness. Our knives are reduced to two, one having disappeared
unaccountably; but the deficiency is partially remedied. The surgeon
has "whittled" a pine knot, which floated in upon the tide, into a
distant imitation; and one of the company has produced a delicate
dagger, that looks very like a keepsake from a lady; and, by the
reluctant manner in which it was put to service, the profanation cost
his sentiment an effort. Its white handle and silver sheath lie across
a plate, abridged of its proportions by a very formidable segment.
There was no disguising the poverty of the brown paper that contained
the salt. It was too necessary to be made an "aside," and lies plump
in the middle of the table. I fear there has been more fun in the
preparation than we shall feel in eating the dinner when it arrives.
The Belgian stands on the wall, watching all the boats from town; but
they pass off down the harbor, one after another, and we are destined
to keep our appetites to a late hour. Their detestable cookery needs
the "sauce of hunger."

The Belgian's hat waves in the air, and the commissary's boat must be
in sight. As we get off at six o'clock to-morrow morning, my portfolio
shuts till I find another resting place, probably Genoa.



LETTER XXVI.

     SHORE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN--NICE--FUNERAL SERVICES OF MARIA
     THERESA, ARCHDUCHESS OF AUSTRIA--PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO--ROAD
     TO GENOA--SARDINIA--PRISON OF THE POPE--HOUSE OF
     COLUMBUS--GENOA.


The health-magistrate arrived at an early hour, on the morning of our
departure from the lazaretto of Villa Franca. He was accompanied by a
physician, who was to direct the fumigation. The iron pot was placed
in the centre of the chamber, our clothes were spread out upon the
beds, and the windows shut. The _chlorin_ soon filled the room, and
its detestable odor became so intolerable that we forced the door, and
rushed past the sentinel into the open air, nearly suffocated. This
farce over, we were permitted to embark, and, rounding the point, put
into Nice.

The Mediterranean curves gracefully into the crescented shore of this
lovely bay, and the high hills lean away from the skirts of the town
in one unbroken slope of cultivation to the top. Large, handsome
buildings face you on the long quay, as you approach; and white
chimneys, and half-concealed parts of country-houses and suburban
villas, appear through the olive and orange trees with which the
whole amphitheatre is covered. We landed amid a crowd of half-naked
idlers, and were soon at a hotel, where we ordered the best breakfast
the town would afford, and sat down once more to clean cloths and
unrepulsive food.

As we rose from the table, a note, edged with black, and sealed and
enveloped with considerable circumstance, was put into my hand by the
master of the hotel. It was an invitation from the governor to attend
a funeral service, to be performed in the cathedral that day, at ten
o'clock, for the "late Queen-mother, Maria Theresa, Archduchess of
Austria." Wondering not a little how I came by the honor, I joined the
crowd flocking from all parts of the town to see the ceremony. The
central door was guarded by a file of Sardinian soldiers; and,
presenting my invitation to the officer on duty, I was handed over to
the master of ceremonies, and shown to an excellent seat in the centre
of the church. The windows were darkened, and the candles of the altar
not yet lit; and, by the indistinct light that came in through the
door, I could distinguish nothing clearly. A little silver bell
tinkled presently from one of the side-chapels, and boys dressed in
white appeared, with long tapers, and the house was soon splendidly
illuminated. I found myself in the midst of a crowd of four or five
hundred ladies, all in deep mourning. The church was hung from the
floor to the roof in black cloth, ornamented gorgeously with silver;
and, under the large dome, which occupied half the ceiling, was raised
a pyramidal altar, with tripods supporting chalices for incense at the
four corners, a walk round the lower base for the priests, and
something in the centre, surrounded with a blaze of light,
representing figures weeping over a tomb. The organ commenced pealing,
there was a single beat on the drum, and a procession entered. It was
composed of the nobility of Nice, and the military and civil officers,
all in uniform and court dresses. The gold and silver flashing in the
light, the tall plumes of the Sardinian soldiery below, the solemn
music, and the moving of the censers from the four corners of the
altar, produced a very impressive effect. As soon as the procession
had quite entered, the fire was kindled in the four chalices; and, as
the white smoke rolled up to the roof, an anthem commenced with the
full power of the organ. The singing was admirable, and there was one
female voice in the choir, of singular power and sweetness.

The remainder of the service was the usual ceremonies of the Catholic
church, and I amused myself with observing the people about me. It was
little like a scene of mourning. The officers gradually edged in
between the seats, and every woman with the least pretension to
prettiness was engaged in anything but her prayers for the soul of the
late Archduchess. Some of these, the very young girls, were pretty;
and the women, of thirty-five or forty apparently, were fine-looking;
but, except a decided air of style and rank, the fairly grown-up
belles seemed to me of very small attraction.

I saw little else in Nice to interest me. I wandered about with my
friend the surgeon, laughing at the ridiculous figures and villainous
uniforms of the Sardinian infantry, and repelling the beggars, who
radiated to us from every corner; and, having traversed the terrace of
a mile on the tops of the houses next the sea, unravelled all the
lanes of the old town, and admired all the splendor of the new, we
dined and got early to bed, anxious to sleep once more between sheets,
and prepare for an early start on the following morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were on the road to Genoa with the first gray of the dawn: the
surgeon, a French officer, and myself, three passengers of a courier
barouche. We were climbing up mountains and sliding down with locked
wheels for several hours, by a road edging on precipices, and overhung
by tremendous rocks, and, descending at last to the sea-level, we
entered _Mentone_, a town of the little principality of _Monaco_.
Having paid our twenty sous tribute to this prince of a territory not
larger than a Kentucky farm, we were suffered to cross his borders
once more into Sardinia, having posted through a whole State in less
than half an hour.

It is impossible to conceive a route of more grandeur than the famous
road along the Mediterranean from Nice to Genoa. It is near a hundred
and fifty miles, over the edges of mountains bordering the sea for the
whole distance. The road is cut into the sides of the precipice, often
hundreds of feet perpendicular above the surf, descending sometimes
into the ravines formed by the numerous rivers that cut their way to
the sea, and mounting immediately again to the loftiest summits. It is
a dizzy business, from beginning to end. There is no parapet, usually,
and there are thousands of places where half a "shie" by a timid
horse, would drop you at once some hundred fathoms upon rocks wet by
the spray of every sea that breaks upon the shore. The loveliest
little nests of valleys lie between that can be conceived. You will
see a green spot, miles below you in turning the face of a rock; and
right in the midst, like a handful of plaster models on a carpet, a
cluster of houses, lying quietly in the warm southern exposure,
embosomed in everything refreshing to the eye, the mountain sides
cultivated in a large circle around, and the ruins of an old castle to
a certainty on the eminence above. You descend and descend, and wind
into the curves of the shore, losing and regaining sight of it
constantly, till, entering a gate on the sea-level, you find yourself
in a filthy, narrow, half-whitewashed town, with a population of
beggars, priests, and soldiers; not a respectable citizen to be seen
from one end to the other, nor a clean woman, nor a decent house. It
is so, all through Sardinia. The towns from a distance lie in the most
exquisitely-chosen spots possible. A river comes down from the hills
and washes the wall; the uplands above are always of the very choicest
shelter and exposure. You would think man and nature had conspired to
complete its convenience and beauty; yet, within, all is misery, dirt,
and superstition. Every corner has a cross--every bench a priest,
idling in the sun--every door a picture of the Virgin. You are
delighted to emerge once more, and get up a mountain to the fresh air.

As we got farther on toward Genoa, the valleys became longer by the
sea, and the road ran through gardens, down to the very beach, of
great richness and beauty. It was new to me to travel for hours among
groves of orange and lemon trees, laden with both fruit and flower,
the ground beneath covered with the windfalls, like an American
apple-orchard. I never saw such a profusion of fruit. The trees were
breaking under the rich yellow clusters. Among other things, there
were hundreds of tall palms, spreading out their broad fans in the
sun, apparently perfectly strong and at home under this warm sky. They
are cultivated as ornaments for the churches on sacred days.

I caught some half dozen views on the way that I shall never get out
of my memory. At one place particularly, I think near Fenale, we ran
round the corner of a precipice by a road cut right into the face of a
rock, two hundred feet at least above the sea; and a long view burst
upon us at once of a sweet green valley, stretching back into the
mountains as far as the eye could go, with three or four small towns,
with their white churches, just checkering the broad sweeps of
verdure, a rapid river winding through its bosom, and a back ground of
the Piedmontese Alps, with clouds half-way up their sides, and snow
glittering in the sun on their summits. Language cannot describe these
scenes. It is but a repetition of epithets to attempt it. You must
come and see them to feel how much one loses to live always at home,
and _read_ of such things only.

The _courier_ pointed out to us the place in which Napoleon imprisoned
the Pope of Rome--a low house, surrounded with a wall close upon the
sea--and the house a few miles from Genoa, believed to have been that
of Columbus.

       *       *       *       *       *

We entered Genoa an hour after sunrise, by a noble gate, placed at the
western extremity of the crescented harbor. Thence to the centre of
the city was one continued succession of sumptuous palaces. We drove
rapidly along the smooth, beautifully paved streets, and my
astonishment was unbroken till we were set down at the hotel.
Congratulating ourselves on the hindrances which had conspired to
bring us here against our will, we took coffee, and went to bed for a
few hours, fatigued with a journey more wearisome to the body than the
mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spent two days in merely wandering about Genoa, looking at the
exterior of the city. It is a group of hills, piled with princely
palaces. I scarce know how to commence a description of it. If there
were but one of these splendid edifices, or if I could isolate a
single palace, and describe it to you minutely, it would be easy to
convey an impression of the surprise and pleasure of a stranger in
Genoa. The whole city, to use the expression of a French guide-book,
"_respire la magnificence_"--breathes of splendor! The grand street,
in which most of the palaces stand, winds around the foot of a high
hill; and the gardens and terraces are piled back, with palaces above
them; and gardens, and terraces, and palaces still above these;
forming, wherever you can catch a vista, the most exquisite rising
perspective. On the summit of this hill stands the noble fortress of
St. George; and behind it a lovely open garden, just now alive with
millions of roses, a fountain playing into a deep oval basin in the
centre, and a view beneath and beyond of a broad winding valley,
covered with the country villas of the nobility and gentry, and
blooming with all the luxuriant vegetation of a southern clime.

My window looks out upon the bay, across which I see the palace of
_Andria Doria_, the great winner of the best glory of the Genoese; and
just under me floats an American flag, at the peak of a Baltimore
schooner, that sails to-morrow morning for the United States. I must
close my letter, to send by her. I shall remain in Genoa a week, and
will write you of its splendor more minutely.



LETTER XXVII.

     FLORENCE--THE GALLERY--THE VENUS DE MEDICIS--THE TRIBUNE--THE
     FORNARINA--THE CASCINE--AN ITALIAN FESTA--MADAME CATALANI.


FLORENCE.--It is among the pleasantest things in this very pleasant
world, to find oneself for the first time in a famous city. We sallied
from the hotel this morning an hour after our arrival, and stopped at
the first corner to debate where we should go. I could not help
smiling at the magnificence of the alternatives. "To the Gallery, of
course," said I, "to see the Venus de Medicis." "To Santa Croce," said
one, "to see the tombs of Michael Angelo, and Alfieri, and
Machiavelli." "To the Palazzo Pitti," said another, "the Grand Duke's
palace, and the choicest collection of pictures in the world." The
embarrassment alone was quite a sensation.

The Venus carried the day. We crossed the Piazza de Granduca, and
inquired for the gallery. A fine court was shown us, opening out from
the square, around the three sides of which stood a fine uniform
structure, with a colonnade, the lower story occupied by shops and
crowded with people. We mounted a broad staircase, and requested of
the soldier at the door to be directed to the presence of the Venus,
without delay. Passing through one of the long wings of the gallery,
without even a glance at the statues, pictures, and bronzes that lined
the walls, we arrived at the door of a cabinet, and, putting aside the
large crimson curtain at the entrance, stood before the enchantress. I
must defer a description of her. We spent an hour there, but, except
that her divine beauty filled and satisfied my eye, as nothing else
ever did, and that the statue is as unlike a thing to the casts one
sees of it as one thing could well be unlike another, I made no
criticism. There is an atmosphere of fame and circumstantial interest
about the Venus, which bewilders the fancy almost as much as her
loveliness does the eye. She has been gazed upon and admired by troops
of pilgrims, each of whom it were worth half a life to have met at her
pedestal. The painters, the poets, the talent and beauty, that have
come there from every country under the sun, and the single feeling of
love and admiration that she has breathed alike into all, consecrate
her mere presence as a place for revery and speculation. Childe Harold
has been here, I thought, and Shelley and Wordsworth and Moore; and,
farther removed from our sympathies, but interesting still, the poets
and sculptors of another age, Michael Angelo and Alfieri, the men of
genius of all nations and times; and, to stand in the same spot, and
experience the same feeling with them, is an imaginative pleasure, it
is true, but as truly a deep and real one. Exceeding, as the Venus
does beyond all competition, every image of loveliness painted or
sculptured that one has ever before seen, the fancy leaves the eye
gazing upon it, and busies itself irresistibly with its pregnant
atmosphere of recollections. At least I found it so, and I must go
there again and again, before I can look at the marble separately,
and with a merely admiring attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three or four days have stolen away, I scarce know how. I have seen
but one or two things, yet have felt so unequal to the description,
that but for my promise I should never write a line about them.
Really, to sit down and gaze into one of Titian's faces for an hour,
and then to go away and dream of putting into language its color and
expression, seems to me little short of superlative madness. I only
wonder at the divine faculty of sight. The draught of pleasure seems
to me immortal, and the eye the only Ganymede that can carry the cup
steadily to the mind. How shall I begin to give you an idea of the
Fornarina? What can I tell you of the St. John in the desert, that can
afford you a glimpse, even, of Raphael's inspired creations?

The _Tribune_ is the name of a small octagonal cabinet in the gallery,
devoted to the masterpieces of the collection. There are five statues,
of which one is the Venus de Medicis; and a dozen or twenty pictures,
of which I have only seen as yet Titian's two Venuses, and Raphael's
St. John and Fornarina. People walk through the other parts of the
gallery, and pause here and there a moment before a painting or a
statue; but in the Tribune they sit down, and you may wait hours
before a chair is vacated, or often before the occupant shows a sign
of life. Everybody seems entranced there. They get before a picture,
and bury their eyes in it, as if it had turned them to stone. After
the Venus, the Fornarina strikes me most forcibly, and I have stood
and gazed at it till my limbs were numb with the motionless posture.
There is no affectation in this. I saw an English girl yesterday
gazing at the St. John. She was a flighty, coquettish-looking
creature, and I had felt that the spirit of the place was profaned by
the way she sailed into the room. She sat down, with half a glance at
the Venus, and began to look at this picture. It is a glorious thing,
to be sure, a youth of apparently seventeen, with a leopard-skin about
his loins, in the very pride of maturing manliness and beauty. The
expression of the face is all human, but wrought to the very limit of
celestial enthusiasm. The wonderful richness of the coloring, the
exquisite ripe fulness of the limbs, the passionate devotion of the
kindling features, combine to make it the faultless ideal of a perfect
human being in youth. I had quite forgotten the intruder, for an hour.
Quite a different picture had absorbed all my attention. The entrance
of some one disturbed me, and as I looked around I caught a glance of
my coquette, sitting with her hands awkwardly clasped over her
guide-book, her mouth open, and the lower jaw hanging down with a
ludicrous expression of unconsciousness and astonished admiration. She
was evidently unaware of everything in the world except the form
before her, and a more absorbed and sincere wonder I never witnessed.

I have been enjoying all day an Italian Festa. The Florentines have a
pleasant custom of celebrating this particular festival,
Ascension-day, in the open air; breakfasting, dining, and dancing
under the superb trees of the Cascine. This is, by the way, quite the
loveliest public pleasure-ground I ever saw--a wood of three miles in
circumference, lying on the banks of the Arno, just below the town;
not, like most European promenades, a bare field of clay or ground,
set out with stunted trees, and cut into rectangular walks, or
without a secluded spot or an untrodden blade of grass; but full of
sward-paths, green and embowered, the underbrush growing wild and
luxuriant between; ivy and vines of all descriptions hanging from the
limbs, and winding about every trunk; and here and there a splendid
opening of velvet grass for half a mile, with an ornamental temple in
the centre, and beautiful contrivances of perspective in every
direction. I have been not a little surprised with the enchantment of
so public a place. You step into the woods from the very pavement of
one of the most populous streets in Florence; from dust and noise and
a crowd of busy people to scenes where Boccacio might have fitly laid
his "hundred tales of love." The river skirts the Cascine on one side,
and the extensive grounds of a young Russian nobleman's villa on the
other; and here at sunset come all the world to walk and drive, and on
festas like this, to encamp, and keep holy-day under the trees. The
whole place is more like a half-redeemed wild-wood in America, than a
public promenade in Europe.

It is the custom, I am told, for the Grand Duke and the nobles of
Tuscany to join in this festival, and breakfast in the open air with
the people. The late death of the young and beautiful Grand-Duchess
has prevented it this year, and the merry-makings are diminished of
one half their interest. I should not have imagined it, however,
without the information. I took a long stroll among the tents this
morning, with two ladies from Albany, old friends, whom I have
encountered accidentally in Florence. The scenes were peculiar and
perfectly Italian. Everything was done fantastically and tastefully.
The tables were set about the knolls, the bonnets and shawls hung upon
the trees, and the dark-eyed men and girls, with their expressive
faces full of enjoyment, leaned around upon the grass, with the
children playing among them, in innumerable little parties, dispersed
as if it had been managed by a painter. At every few steps a long
embowered alley stretched off to the right or left, with strolling
groups scattered as far as the eye could see under the trees, the red
ribands and bright colored costumes contrasting gayly with the foliage
of every tint, from the dusky leaf of the olive to the bright soft
green of the acacia. Wherever there was a circular opening there were
tents just in the edges of the wood, the white festoons of the cloth
hung from the limbs, and tables spread under them, with their
antique-looking Tuscan pitchers wreathed with vines, and tables spread
with broad green leaves, making the prettiest cool covering that could
be conceived. I have not come up to the reality in this description,
and yet, on reading it, it sounds half a fiction. One must be here to
feel how little language can convey an idea of this "garden of the
world."

The evening was the fashionable hour, and, with the addition of Mr.
Greenough, the sculptor, to our party, we drove to the Cascine about
an hour before sunset to see the equipages, and enjoy the close of the
festival. The drives intersect these beautiful grounds irregularly in
every direction, and the spectacle was even more brilliant than in the
morning. The nobility and the gay world of Florence flew past us, in
their showy carriages of every description, the distinguished
occupants differing in but one respect from well-bred people of other
countries--_they looked happy_. If I had been lying on the grass, an
Italian peasant, with my kinsmen and friends, I should not have felt
that among the hundreds who were rolling past me, richer and better
born, there was one face that looked on me contemptuously or
condescendingly. I was very much struck with the universal air of
enjoyment and natural exhilaration. One scarce felt like a stranger in
such a happy-looking crowd.

Near the centre of the grounds is an open space, where it is the
custom for people to stop in driving to exchange courtesies with their
friends. It is a kind of fashionable open air _soirée_. Every evening
you may see from fifty to a hundred carriages at a time, moving about
in this little square in the midst of the woods, and drawing up side
by side, one after another, for conversation. Gentlemen come
ordinarily on horseback, and pass round from carriage to carriage,
with their hats off, talking gayly with the ladies within. There could
not be a more brilliant scene, and there never was a more delightful
custom. It keeps alive the intercourse in the summer months, when
there are no parties, and it gives a stranger an opportunity of seeing
the lovely and the distinguished without the difficulty and restraint
of an introduction to society. I wish some of these better habits of
Europe were imitated in our country as readily as worse ones.

After threading the embowered roads of the Cascine for an hour, and
gazing with constant delight at the thousand pictures of beauty and
happiness that met us at every turn, we came back and mingled in the
gay throng of carriages at the centre. The _valet_ of our lady-friends
knew everybody, and, taking a convenient stand, we amused ourselves
for an hour, gazing at them as they were named in passing. Among
others, several of the Bonaparte family went by in a splendid
barouche; and a heavy carriage, with a showy, tasselled hammer-cloth,
and servants in dashy liveries, stopped just at our side, containing
Madame Catalani, the celebrated singer. She has a fine face yet, with
large expressive features, and dark, handsome eyes. Her daughter was
with her, but she has none of her mother's pretensions to good looks.



LETTER XXVIII.

     THE PITTI PALACE--TITIAN'S BELLA--AN IMPROVISATRICE--VIEW FROM
     A WINDOW--ANNUAL EXPENSE OF RESIDENCE AT FLORENCE.


I have got into the "back-stairs interest," as the politicians say,
and to-day I wound up the staircase of the _Pitti Palace_, and spent
an hour or two in its glorious halls with the younger Greenough,
without the insufferable and usually inevitable annoyance of a
_cicerone_. You will not of course, expect a regular description of
such a vast labyrinth of splendor. I could not give it to you even if
I had been there the hundred times that I intend to go, if I live long
enough in Florence. In other galleries you see merely the Arts, here
you are dazzled with the renewed and costly magnificence of a royal
palace. The floors and ceilings and furniture, each particular part of
which it must have cost the education of a life to accomplish,
bewilder you out of yourself, quite; and, till you can tread on a
matchless pavement or imitated mosaic, and lay your hat on a table of
inlaid gems, and sit on a sofa wrought with you know not what
delicate and curious workmanship, without nervousness or compunction,
you are not in a state to appreciate the pictures upon the walls with
judgment or pleasure.

I saw but one thing well--Titian's BELLA, as the Florentines call it.
There are two famous Venuses by the same master, as you know, in the
other gallery, hanging over the Venus de Medicis--full-length figures
reclining upon couches, one of them usually called Titian's mistress.
The _Bella_ in the Pitti gallery, is a half-length portrait, dressed
to the shoulders, and a different kind of picture altogether. The
others are voluptuous, full-grown women. This represents a young girl
of perhaps seventeen; and if the frame in which it hangs were a
window, and the loveliest creature that ever trod the floors of a
palace stood looking out upon you, in the open air, she could not seem
more real, or give you a stronger feeling of the presence of
exquisite, breathing, human beauty. The face has no particular
character. It is the look with which a girl would walk to the casement
in a mood of listless happiness, and gaze out, she scarce knew why.
You feel that it is the habitual expression. Yet, with all its subdued
quiet and sweetness, it is a countenance beneath which evidently
sleeps warm and measureless passion, capacities for loving and
enduring and resenting everything that makes up a character to revere
and adore. I do not know how a picture can express so much--but it
does express all this, and eloquently too.

In a fresco on the ceiling of one of the private chambers, is a
portrait of the late lamented Grand-duchess. On the mantelpiece in the
Duke's cabinet also is a beautiful marble bust of her. It is a face
and head corresponding perfectly to the character given her by common
report, full of nobleness and kindness. The Duke, who loved her with
a devotion rarely found in marriages of state, is inconsolable since
her death, and has shut himself from all society. He hardly slept
during her illness, watching by her bedside constantly. She was a
religious enthusiast, and her health is said to have been first
impaired by too rigid an adherence to the fasts of the church, and
self-inflicted penance. The Florentines talk of her still, and she
appears to have been unusually loved and honored.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just returned from hearing an _improvisatrice_. At a party last
night I met an Italian gentleman, who talked very enthusiastically of
a lady of Florence, celebrated for her talent of improvisation. She
was to give a private exhibition to her friends the next day at
twelve, and he offered politely to introduce me. He called this
morning, and we went together.

Some thirty or forty people were assembled in a handsome room,
darkened tastefully by heavy curtains. They were sitting in perfect
silence when we entered, all gazing intently on the improvisatrice, a
lady of some forty or fifty years, of a fine countenance, and dressed
in deep mourning. She rose to receive us; and my friend introducing
me, to my infinite dismay, as an _improvisatore Americano_, she gave
me a seat on the sofa at her right hand, an honor I had not Italian
enough to decline. I regretted it the less that it gave me an
opportunity of observing the effects of the "fine phrensy," a pleasure
I should otherwise certainly have lost through the darkness of the
room.

We were sitting in profound silence, the head of the improvisatrice
bent down upon her breast, and her hands clasped over her lap, when
she suddenly raised herself, and with both hands extended, commenced
in a thrilling voice, "_Patria!_" Some particular passage of
Florentine history had been given her by one of the company, and we
had interrupted her in the midst of her conception. She went on with
astonishing fluency, in smooth harmonious rhyme, without the
hesitation of a breath, for half an hour. My knowledge of the language
was too imperfect to judge of the finish of the style, but the
Italians present were quite carried away with their enthusiasm. There
was an improvisatore in company, said to be the second in Italy; a
young man, of perhaps twenty-five, with a face that struck me as the
very _beau ideal_ of genius. His large expressive eyes kindled as the
poetess went on, and the changes of his countenance soon attracted the
attention of the company. She closed and sunk back upon her seat,
quite exhausted; and the poet, looking round for sympathy, loaded her
with praises in the peculiarly beautiful epithets of the Italian
language. I regarded her more closely as she sat by me. Her profile
was beautiful; and her mouth, which at the first glance had exhibited
marks of age, was curled by her excitement into a firm, animated
curve, which restored twenty years at least by its expression.

After a few minutes one of the company went out of the room, and wrote
upon a sheet of paper the last words of every line for a sonnet; and a
gentleman who had remained within, gave a subject to fill it up. She
took the paper, and looking at it a moment or two, repeated the sonnet
as fluently as if it had been written out before her. Several other
subjects were then given her, and she filled the same sonnet with the
same terminations. It was wonderful. I could not conceive of such
facility. After she had satisfied them with this, she turned to me and
said, that in compliment to the American improvisatore she would give
an ode upon America. To disclaim the character and the honor would
have been both difficult and embarrassing even for one who knew the
language better than I, so I bowed and submitted. She began with the
discovery of Columbus, claimed him as her countryman; and with some
poetical fancies about the wild woods and the Indians, mingled up
Montezuma and Washington rather promiscuously, and closed with a
really beautiful apostrophe to liberty. My acknowledgments were
fortunately lost in the general murmur.

A tragedy succeeded, in which she sustained four characters. This, by
the working of her forehead and the agitation of her breast, gave her
more trouble, but her fluency was unimpeded; and when she closed, the
company was in raptures. Her gestures were more passionate in this
performance, but, even with my imperfect knowledge of the language,
they always seemed called for and in taste. Her friends rose as she
sunk back on the sofa, gathered round her, and took her hands,
overwhelming her with praises. It was a very exciting scene
altogether, and I went away with new ideas of poetical power and
enthusiasm.

       *       *       *       *       *

One lodges like a prince in Florence, and pays like a beggar. For the
information of artists and scholars desirous to come abroad, to whom
exact knowledge on the subject is important, I will give you the
inventory and cost of my whereabout.

I sit at this moment in a window of what was formerly the archbishop's
palace--a noble old edifice, with vast staircases and resounding
arches, and a hall in which you might put a dozen of the modern brick
houses of our country. My chamber is as large as a ball-room, on the
second story, looking out upon the garden belonging to the house,
which extends to the eastern wall of the city. Beyond this lies one of
the sweetest views in the world--the ascending amphitheatre of hills,
in whose lap lies Florence, with the tall eminence of _Fiesolé_ in the
centre, crowned with the monastery in which Milton passed six weeks,
while gathering scenery for his Paradise. I can almost count the panes
of glass in the windows of the bard's room; and, between the fine old
building and my eye, on the slope of the hill, lie thirty or forty
splendid villas, half-buried in trees (Madame Catalani's among them),
piled one above another on the steep ascent, with their columns and
porticoes, as if they were mock temples in a vast terraced garden. I
do not think there is a window in Italy that commands more points of
beauty. Cole, the American landscape painter, who occupied the room
before me, took a sketch from it. For neighbors, the Neapolitan
ambassador lives on the same floor, the two Greenoughs in the
ground-rooms below, and the palace of one of the wealthiest nobles of
Florence overlooks the garden, with a front of eighty-five windows,
from which you are at liberty to select any two or three, and imagine
the most celebrated beauty of Tuscany behind the crimson curtains--the
daughter of this same noble bearing that reputation. She was pointed
out to me at the Opera a night or two since, and I have seen as famous
women with less pretensions.

For the interior, my furniture is not quite upon the same scale, but I
have a clean snow-white bed, a calico-covered sofa, chairs and tables
enough, and pictures three deep from the wall to the floor.

For all this, and the liberty of the episcopal garden, I pay _three
dollars a month_! A dollar more is charged for lamps, boots, and
service, and a dark-eyed landlady of thirty-five mends my gloves, and
pays me two visits a day--items not mentioned in the bill. Then for
the feeding, an excellent breakfast of coffee and toast is brought me
for six cents; and, without wine, one may dine heartily at a
fashionable restaurant for twelve cents, and with wine, quite
magnificently for twenty-five. Exclusive of postage and pleasures,
this is all one is called upon to spend in Florence. Three hundred
dollars a year would fairly and largely cover the expenses of a man
living at this rate; and a man who would not be willing to live half
as well for the sake of his art, does not deserve to see Italy. I have
stated these unsentimental particulars, because it is a kind of
information I believe much wanted. I should have come to Italy years
ago if I had known as much, and I am sure there are young men in our
country, dreaming of this paradise of art in half despair, who will
thank me for it, and take up at once "the pilgrim's sandal-shoon and
scollop-shell."



LETTER XXIX.

     EXCURSION TO VENICE--AMERICAN ARTISTS--VALLEY OF FLORENCE--
     MOUNTAINS OF CARRARA--TRAVELLING COMPANIONS--HIGHLAND
     TAVERN--MIST AND SUNSHINE--ITALIAN VALLEYS--VIEW OF THE
     ADRIATIC--BORDER OF ROMAGNA--SUBJECTS FOR THE PENCIL--HIGHLAND
     ITALIANS--ROMANTIC SCENERY--A PAINFUL OCCURRENCE--AN ITALIAN
     HUSBAND--A DUTCHMAN, HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN--BOLOGNE--THE
     PILGRIM--MODEL FOR A MAGDALEN.


I started for Venice yesterday, in company with Mr. Alexander and Mr.
Cranch, two American artists. We had taken the vetturino for Bologna,
and at daylight we were winding up the side of the amphitheatre of
Appenines that bends over Florence, leaving Fiesolé rising sharply on
our right. The mist was creeping up the mountain just in advance of
us, retreating with a scarcely perceptible motion to the summits, like
the lift of a heavy curtain; Florence, and its long, heavenly valley,
full of white palaces sparkling in the sun, lay below us, more like a
vision of a better world than a scene of human passion; away in the
horizon the abrupt heads of the mountains of Carrara rose into the
sky; and with the cool, fresh breeze of the hills, and the excitement
of the pleasant excursion before us, we were three of as happy
travellers probably as were to be met on any highway in this garden of
the world.

We had six companions, and a motley crew they were--a little
effeminate Venetian, probably a tailor, with a large, noble-looking,
handsome contadina for a wife; a sputtering Dutch merchant, a fine,
little, coarse, good-natured fellow, with _his_ wife, and two very
small and very disagreeable children; an Austrian corporal in full
uniform; and a fellow in a straw hat, speaking some unknown language,
and a nondescript in every respect. The women and children, and my
friends, the artists, were my companions inside, the double dicky in
front accommodating the others. Conversation commenced with the
journey. The Dutch spoke their dissonant language to each other, and
French to us, the contadina's soft Venetian dialect broke in like a
flute in a chorus of harsh instruments, and our own hissing English
added to a mixture already sufficiently various.

We were all day ascending mountains, and slept coolly under three or
four blankets at a highland tavern, on a very wild Appenine. Our
supper was gaily eaten, and our mirth served to entertain five or six
English families, whose chambers were only separated from the rough
raftered dining hall by double curtains. It was pleasant to hear the
children and nurses speaking English unseen. The contrast made us
realize forcibly the eminently foreign scene about us. The next
morning, after travelling two or three hours in a thick, drizzling
mist, we descended a sharp hill, and emerged at its foot into a
sunshine so sudden and clear, that it seemed almost as if the night
had burst into mid-day in a moment. We had come out of a black cloud.
The mountain behind us was capped with it to the summit. Beneath us
lay a map of a hundred valleys, all bathed and glowing in unclouded
light, and on the limit of the horizon, far off as the eye could span,
lay a long sparkling line of water, like a silver frame around the
landscape. It was our first view of the _Adriatic_. We looked at it
with the singular and indefinable emotion with which one always sees a
celebrated _water_ for the first time--a sensation, it seems to me,
which is like that of no other addition to our knowledge. The
Mediterranean at Marseilles, the Arno at Florence, the Seine at Paris,
affected me in the same way. Explain it who will, or can!

An hour after, we reached the border of _Romagna_, the dominions of
the Pope running up thus far into the Appenines. Here our trunks were
taken off and searched more minutely. The little village was full of
the dark-skinned, romantic-looking Romagnese, and my two friends,
seated on a wall, with a dozen curious gazers about them, sketched the
heads looking from the old stone windows, beggars, buildings, and
scenery, in a mood of professional contentment. Dress apart, these
highland Italians are like North American Indians--the same copper
complexions, high cheek bones, thin lips, and dead, black hair. The
old women particularly, would pass in any of our towns for
full-blooded squaws.

The scenery, after this, grew of the kind "which savage Rosa
dashed"--the only landscape I ever saw _exactly_ of the tints so
peculiar to Salvator's pictures. Our painters were in ecstasies with
it, and truly, the dark foliage, and blanched rocks, the wild glens,
and wind-distorted trees, gave the country the air of a home for all
the tempests and floods of a continent. The Kaatskills are tame to
it.

The forenoon came on, hot and sultry, and our little republic began to
display its character. The tailor's wife was taken sick; and fatigue,
and heat, and the rough motion of the vetturino in descending the
mountains, brought on a degree of suffering which it was painful to
witness. She was a woman of really extraordinary beauty, and dignified
and modest as few women are in any country. Her suppressed groans, her
white, tremulous lips, the tears of agony pressing thickly through her
shut eyelids, and the clenching of her sculpture-like hands, would
have moved anything but an Italian husband. The little effeminate
villain treated her as if she had been a dog. She bore everything from
him till he took her hand, which she raised faintly to intimate that
she could not rise when the carriage stopped, and threw it back into
her face with a curse. She roused, and looked at him with a natural
majesty and calmness that made my blood thrill. "_Aspetta?_" was her
only answer, as she sunk back and fainted.

The Dutchman's wife was a plain, honest, affectionate creature,
bearing the humors of two heated and ill-tempered children, with a
patience we were compelled to admire. Her husband smoked and laughed,
and talked villainous French and worse Italian, but was glad to escape
to the cabriolet in the hottest of the day, leaving his wife to her
cares. The baby screamed, and the child blubbered and fretted, and for
hours the mother was a miracle of kindness. The "drop too much," came
in the shape of a new crying fit from both children, and the poor
little Dutchwoman, quite wearied out, burst into a flood of tears, and
hiccupped her complaints in her own language, weeping unrestrainedly
for a quarter of an hour. After this she felt better, took a gulp of
wine from the black bottle, and settled herself once more quietly and
resignedly to her duties. We had certainly opened one or two very
fresh veins of human character, when we stopped at the gates.

There is but one hotel for American travellers in Bologna, of course.
Those who have read Rogers's Italy, will remember his mention of "The
Pilgrim," the house where the poet met Lord Byron by appointment, and
passed the evening with him which he describes so exquisitely. We took
leave of our motley friends at the door, and our artists who had
greatly admired the lovely Venetian, parted from her with the regret
of old acquaintances. She certainly was, as they said, a splendid
model for a Magdalen, "majestical and sad," and, always in attitudes
for a picture: sleeping or waking, she afforded a succession of
studies of which they took the most enthusiastic advantage.



LETTER XXX.

     EXCURSION TO VENICE CONTINUED--BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BOLOGNA--
     GALLERY OF THE FINE ARTS--RAPHAEL'S ST. CECILIA--PICTURES OF
     CARRACCI--DOMENICHINOS' MADONNA DEL ROSARIO--GUIDO'S MASSACRE
     OF THE INNOCENTS--THE CATHEDRAL AND THE DUOMO--EFFECTS OF
     THESE PLACES OF WORSHIP, AND THE CEREMONIES, UPON THE MIND--
     RESORT OF THE ITALIAN PEASANTRY--OPEN CHURCHES--
     SUBTERRANEAN-CONFESSION CHAPEL--THE FESTA--GRAND PROCESSIONS--
     ILLUMINATIONS--AUSTRIAN BANDS OF MUSIC--DEPORTMENT OF THE PEOPLE
     TO A STRANGER.


Another evening is here, and my friends have crept to bed with the
exclamation, "how much we may live in a day." Bologna is unlike any
other city we have ever seen, in a multitude of things. You walk all
over it under arcades, sheltered on either side from the sun, the
elegance and ornament of the lines of pillars depending on the wealth
of the owner of the particular house, but columns and arches, simple
or rich, everywhere. Imagine porticoes built on the front of every
house in Philadelphia or New York, so as to cover the sidewalks
completely, and, down the long perspective of every street, continued
lines of airy Corinthian, or simple Doric pillars, and you may faintly
conceive the impression of the streets of Bologna. With Lord Byron's
desire to forget everything English, I do not wonder at his selection
of this foreign city for a residence, so emphatically unlike, as it
is, to everything else in the world.

We inquired out the gallery after breakfast, and spent two or three
hours among the celebrated master-pieces of the _Carracci_, and the
famous painters of the Bolognese school. The collection is small, but
said to be more choice than any other in Italy. There certainly are
five or six among its forty or fifty gems, that deserve each a
pilgrimage. The pride of the place is the St. Cecilia, by Raphael.
This always beautiful personification of music, a woman of celestial
beauty, stands in the midst of a choir who have been interrupted in
their anthem by a song, issuing from a vision of angels in a cloud
from heaven. They have dropped their instruments, broken, upon the
ground, and are listening with rapt attention, all, except the saint,
with heads dropped upon their bosoms, overcome with the glory of the
revelation. She alone, with her harp hanging loosely from her fingers,
gazes up with the most serene and cloudless rapture beaming from her
countenance, yet with a look of full and angelic comprehension, and
understanding of the melody and its divine meaning. You feel that her
beauty is mortal, for it is all woman; but you see that, for the
moment, the spirit that breathes through, and mingles with the harmony
in the sky, is seraphic and immortal. If there ever was inspiration,
out of holy writ, it touched the pencil of Raphael.

It is tedious to read descriptions of pictures. I liked everything in
the gallery. The Bolognese style of color suits my eye. It is rich
and forcible, without startling or offending. Its delicious mellowness
of color, and vigor and triumphant power of conception, show two
separate triumphs of the art, which in the same hand are delightful.
The pictures of Ludovico Carracci especially fired my admiration. And
Domenichino, who died of a broken heart at Rome, because his
productions were neglected, is a painter who always touches me nearly.
His _Madonna del Rosario_ is crowded with beauty. Such children I
never saw in painting--the very ideals of infantile grace and
innocence. It is said of him, that, after painting his admirable
frescoes in the church of St. Andrew, at Rome, which, at the time,
were ridiculed unsparingly by the artists, he used to walk in on his
return from his studio, and gazing at them with a dejected air, remark
to his friend, that he "could not think they were _quite_ so bad--they
_might_ have been worse." How true it is, that, "the root of a great
name is in the dead body."

Guido's celebrated picture of the "Massacre of the Innocents," hangs
just opposite the St. Cecilia. It is a powerful and painful thing. The
marvel of it to me is the simplicity with which its wonderful effects
are produced, both of expression and color. The kneeling mother in the
foreground, with her dead children before her, is the most intense
representation of agony I ever saw. Yet the face is calm, her eyes
thrown up to heaven, but her lips undistorted, and the muscles of her
face, steeped as they are in suffering, still and natural. It is the
look of a soul overwhelmed--that has ceased to struggle because it is
full. Her gaze is on heaven, and in the abandonment of her limbs, and
the deep, but calm agony of her countenance, you see that nothing
between this and heaven can move her more. One suffers in seeing such
pictures. You go away exhausted, and with feelings harassed and
excited.

As we returned, we passed the gates of the university. On the walls
were pasted a sonnet printed with some flourish, in honor of _Camillo
Rosalpina_, the laureate of one of the academical classes.

We visited several of the churches in the afternoon. The cathedral and
the Duomo are glorious places--both. I wish I could convey, to minds
accustomed to the diminutive size and proportions of our churches in
America, an idea of the enormous and often almost supernatural
grandeur of those in Italy. Aisles in whose distance the figure of a
man is almost lost--pillars, whose bases you walk round in wonder,
stretching into the lofty vaults of the roof, as if they ended in the
sky--arches of gigantic dimensions, mingling and meeting with the fine
tracery of a cobweb--altars piled up on every side with gold, and
marble, and silver--private chapels ornamented with the wealth of
nobles, let into the sides, each large enough for a communion--and
through the whole extent of the interior, an unencumbered breadth of
floor, with here and there a solitary worshipper on his knees, or
prostrated on his face--figures so small in comparison with the
immense dome above them, that it seems as if, could distance drown a
prayer, they were as much lost as if they prayed under the open sky!
Without having even a leaning to the Catholic faith, I love to haunt
their churches, and I am not sure that the religious awe of the
sublime ceremonies and places of worship does not steal upon me daily.
Whenever I am heated, or fatigued, or out of spirits, I go into the
first cathedral, and sit down for an hour. They are always dark, and
cool, and quiet; and the distant tinkling of the bell from some
distant chapel and the grateful odor of the incense, and the low,
just audible murmur of prayer, settles on my feelings like a mist, and
softens and soothes and refreshes me, as nothing else will. The
Italian peasantry who come to the cities to sell or bargain, pass
their noons in these cool places. You see them on their knees asleep
against a pillar, or sitting in a corner, with their heads upon their
bosoms; and, if it were as a place of retreat and silence alone, the
churches are an inestimable blessing to them. It seems to me, that any
sincere Christian, of whatever faith, would find a pleasure in going
into a sacred place and sitting down in the heat of the day, to be
quiet and devotional for an hour. It would promote the objects of any
denomination in our country, I should think, if the churches were thus
left always open.

Under the cathedral of Bologna is a _subterranean confession-chapel_
--as singular and impressive a device as I ever saw. It is dark
like a cellar, the daylight faintly struggling through a painted
window above the altar, and the two solitary wax candles giving
a most ghastly intensity to the gloom. The floor is paved with
tombstones, the inscriptions and death's heads of which you feel under
your feet as you walk through. The roof is so vaulted that every tread
is reverberated endlessly in hollow tones. All around are the
confession-boxes, with the pierced plates, at which the priest within
puts his ear, worn with the lips of penitents, and at one of the sides
is a deep cave, far within which, as in a tomb, lies a representation
on limestone of our Saviour, bleeding as he came from the cross, with
the apostles, made of the same cadaverous material, hanging over him!

We have happened, by a fortunate chance, upon an extraordinary day in
Bologna--a _festa_, that occurs but once in ten years. We went out as
usual after breakfast this morning, and found the city had been
decorated over-night in the most splendid and singular manner. The
arcades of some four or five streets in the centre of the town were
covered with rich crimson damask, the pillars completely bound, and
the arches dressed and festooned with a degree of gorgeousness and
taste as costly as it was magnificent. The streets themselves were
covered with cloths stretched above the second stories of the houses
from one side to the other, keeping off the sun entirely, and making
in each street one long tent of a mile or more, with two lines of
crimson columns at the sides, and festoons of gauze, of different
colors, hung from window to window in every direction. It was by far
the most splendid scene I ever saw. The people were all there in their
gayest dresses, and we probably saw in the course of the day every
woman in Bologna. My friends, the painters, give it the palm for
beauty over all the cities they had seen. There was a grand procession
in the morning, and in the afternoon the bands of the Austrian army
made the round of the decorated streets, playing most delightfully
before the principal houses. In the evening there was an illumination,
and we wandered up and down till midnight through the fairy scene,
almost literally "dazzled and drunk with beauty."

The people of Bologna have a kind of earnest yet haughty courtesy,
very different from that of most of the Italians I have seen. They bow
to the stranger, as he enters the _café_; and if they rise before him,
the men raise their hats and the ladies smile and curtsy as they go
out; yet without the least familiarity which could authorize farther
approach to acquaintance. We have found the officers, whom we meet at
the eating-houses, particularly courteous. There is something
delightful in this universal acknowledgment of a stranger's claims on
courtesy and kindness. I could well wish it substituted in our
country, for the surly and selfish manners of people in public-houses
to each other. There is neither loss of dignity nor committal of
acquaintance in such attentions; and the manner in which a gentleman
steps forward to assist you in any difficulty of explanation in a
foreign tongue, or sends the waiter to you if you are neglected, or
hands you the newspaper or his snuff-box, or rises to give you room in
a crowded place, takes away, from me at least, all that painful sense
of solitude and neglect one feels as a stranger in a foreign land.

We go to Ferrara to-morrow, and thence by the Po to Venice. My letter
must close for the present.



LETTER XXXI.

     VENICE--THE FESTA--GONDOLIERS--WOMEN--AN ITALIAN SUNSET--THE
     LANDING--PRISONS OF THE DUCAL PALACE--THE CELLS DESCRIBED BY
     BYRON--APARTMENT IN WHICH PRISONERS WERE STRANGLED--DUNGEONS
     UNDER THE CANAL--SECRET GUILLOTINE--STATE CRIMINALS--BRIDGE OF
     SIGHS--PASSAGE TO THE INQUISITION AND TO DEATH--CHURCH OF ST.
     MARC--A NOBLEMAN IN POVERTY, ETC., ETC.


You will excuse me at present from a description of Venice. It is a
matter not to be hastily undertaken. It has also been already done a
thousand times; and I have just seen a beautiful sketch of it in the
public prints of the United States. I proceed with my letters.

The Venetian _festa_ is a gay affair, as you may imagine. If not so
beautiful and fanciful as the revels by moonlight, it was more
satisfactory, for we could see and be seen, those important
circumstances to one's individual share in the amusement. At four
o'clock in the afternoon, the links of the long bridge of boats across
the Giudecca were cut away, and the broad canal left clear for a mile
up and down. It was covered in a few minutes with gondolas, and all
the gayety and fashion of Venice fell into the broad promenade between
the city and the festal island. I should think five hundred were quite
within the number of gondolas. You can scarcely fancy the novelty and
agreeableness of this singular promenade. It was busy work for the
eyes to the right and left, with the great proportion of beauty, and
the rapid glide of their fairy-like boats. And the _quietness_ of the
thing was so delightful--no crowding, no dust, no noise but the dash
of oars and the ring of merry voices; and we sat so luxuriously upon
our deep cushions the while, threading the busy crowd rapidly and
silently, without a jar or touch of anything but the yielding element
that sustained us.

Two boats soon appeared with wreaths upon their prows, and these had
won the first and second prizes at the last year's _regatta_. The
private gondolas fell away from the middle of the canal, and left them
free space for a trial of their speed. They were the most airy things
I ever saw afloat, about forty feet long, and as slender and light as
they could well be, and hold together. Each boat had six oars, and the
crews stood with their faces to the beak of their craft; slight, but
muscular men, and with a skill and quickness at their oars which I had
never conceived. I realized the truth and the force of Cooper's
inimitable description of the race in the Bravo. The whole of his book
gives you the very air and spirit of Venice, and one thanks him
constantly for the lively interest which he has thrown over everything
in this bewitching city. The races of the rival boats to-day were not
a regular part of the _festa_, and were not regularly contested. The
gondoliers were exhibiting themselves merely, and the people soon
ceased to be interested in them.

We rowed up and down till dark, following here and there the boats
whose freights attracted us, and exclaiming every moment at some new
glimpse of beauty. There is really a surprising proportion of
loveliness in Venice. The women are all large, probably from never
walking, and other indolent habits consequent upon want of exercise;
and an oriental air, sleepy and passionate, is characteristic of the
whole race. One feels that he has come among an entirely new class of
women, and hence, probably, the far-famed fascination of Venice to
foreigners.

The sunset happened to be one of those so peculiar to Italy, and which
are richer and more enchanting in Venice than in any other part of it,
from the character of its scenery. It was a sunset without a cloud;
but at the horizon the sky was dyed of a deep orange, which softened
away toward the zenith almost imperceptibly, the whole west like a
wall of burning gold. The mingled softness and splendor of these skies
is indescribable. Everything is touched with the same hue. A mild,
yellow glow is all over the canals and buildings. The air seems filled
with glittering golden dust, and the lines of the architecture, and
the outlines of the distant islands, and the whole landscape about you
is mellowed and enriched with a new and glorious light. I have seen
one or two such sunsets in America; but there the sunsets are bolder
and clearer, and with much more sublimity--they have rarely the
voluptuous coloring of those in Italy.

It was delightful to glide along over a sea of light so richly tinted,
among those graceful gondolas, with their freights of gayety and
beauty. As the glow on the sky began to fade, they all turned their
prows toward San Marc, and dropping into a slower motion, the whole
procession moved on together to the stairs of the piazzetta; and by
the time the twilight was perceptible, the _cafés_ were crowded, and
the square was like one great _féte_. We passed the evening in
wandering up and down, never for an instant feeling like strangers,
and excited and amused till long after midnight.

After several days' delay, we received an answer this morning from the
authorities, with permission to see the bridge of sighs, and the
prisons of the ducal palace. We landed at the broad stairs, and
passing the desolate court, with its marble pillars and statues green
with damp and neglect, ascended the "giant's steps," and found the
warder waiting for us, with his enormous keys, at the door of a
private passage. At the bottom of a staircase we entered a close
gallery, from which the first range of cells opened. The doors were
broken down, and the guide holding his torch in them for a moment in
passing, showed us the same dismal interior in each--a mere cave, in
which you would hardly think it possible to breathe, with a raised
platform for a bed, and a small hole in the front wall to admit food
and what air could find its way through from the narrow passage. There
were eight of these; and descending another flight of damp steps, we
came to a second range, differing only from the first in their slimy
dampness. These are the cells of which Lord Byron gives a description
in the notes to the fourth canto of Childe Harold. He has transcribed,
if you remember, the inscription from the ceilings and walls of one
which was occupied successively by the victims of the Inquisition. The
letters are cut rudely enough, and must have been done entirely by
feeling, as there is no possibility of the penetration of a ray of
light. I copied them with some difficulty, forgetting that they were
in print, and, comparing them afterward with my copy of Childe Harold,
I found them exactly the same, and I refer you, therefore, to his
notes.

In a range of cells still below these, and almost suffocating from
their closeness, one was shown us in which prisoners were strangled.
The rope was passed through an iron grating of four bars, the
executioner standing outside the cell. The prisoner within sat upon a
stone, with his back to the grating, and the cord was passed round his
neck, and drawn till he was choked. The wall of the cell was covered
with blood, which had spattered against it with some violence. The
guide explained it by saying, that owing to the narrowness of the
passage the executioner had no room to draw the cord, and to expedite
his business his assistant at the same time plunged a dagger into the
neck of the victim. The blood had flowed widely over the wall, and ran
to the floor in streams. With the darkness of the place, the
difficulty I found in breathing, and the frightful reality of the
scenes before me, I never had in my life a comparable sensation of
horror.

At the end of the passage a door was walled up. It led, in the times
of the republic, to dungeons under the canal, in which the prisoner
died in eight days from his incarceration, at the farthest, from the
noisome dampness and unwholesome vapors of the place. The guide gave
us a harrowing description of the swelling of their bodies, and the
various agonies of their slow death. I hurried away from the place
with a sickness at my heart. In returning by the same way I passed the
turning, and stumbled over a raised stone across the passage. It was
the groove of a secret guillotine. Here many of the state and
inquisition victims were put to death in the darkness of a narrow
passage, shut out even in their last moment from the light and breath
of heaven. The frame of the instrument had been taken away; but the
pits in the wall, which had sustained the axe, were still there; and
the sink on the other side, where the head fell, to carry off the
blood. And these shocking executions took place directly before the
cells of the other prisoners, within twenty feet from the farthest. In
a cell close to this guillotine had been confined a state criminal for
sixteen years. He was released at last by the arrival of the French,
and on coming to the light in the square of San Marc was struck blind,
and died in a few days. In another cell we stopped to look at the
attempts of a prisoner upon its walls, interrupted, happily, by his
release. He had sawed several inches into the front wall, with some
miserable instrument, probably a nail. He had afterward abandoned
this, and had, with prodigious strength, taken up a block from the
floor; and, the guide assured us, had descended into the cell below.
It was curious to look around his pent prison, and see the patient
labor of years upon those rough walls, and imagine the workings of the
human mind in such a miserable lapse of existence.

We ascended to the light again, and the guide led us to a massive
door, with two locks, secured by heavy iron bars. It swung open with a
scream, and we mounted a winding stair, and

     "Stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs."

Two windows of close grating looked on either side upon the long canal
below, and let in the only light to the covered passage. It is a
gloomy place within, beautifully as its light arch hangs in the air
from without. It was easy to employ the imagination as we stood on the
stone where Childe Harold had stood before us, and conjured up in
fancy the despair and agony that must have been pressed into the last
glance at light and life that had been sent through those barred
windows. Across this bridge the condemned were brought to receive
their sentence in the Chamber of the _Ten_, or to be confronted with
bloody inquisitors, and then were led back over it to die. The last
light that ever gladdened their eyes came through those close bars,
and the gay Giudecca in the distance, with its lively waters covered
with boats, must have made that farewell glance to a Venetian bitter
indeed. The side next the prison is now massively walled up. We
stayed, silently musing at the windows, till the old cicerone ventured
to remind us that his time was precious.

Ordering the gondola round to the stairs of the piazetta, we strolled
for the first time into the church of San Marc. The four famous bronze
horses stood with their dilated nostrils and fine action over the
porch, bringing back to us Andrea Doria, and his threat; and as I
remembered the ruined palace of the old admiral at Genoa, and glanced
at the Austrian soldier upon guard, in the very shadow of the winged
lion, I could not but feel most impressively the moral of the
contrast. The lesson was not attractive enough, however, to keep us in
a burning sun, and we put aside the heavy folds of the drapery and
entered. How deliciously cool are these churches in Italy! We walked
slowly up toward the distant altar. An old man rose from the base of
one of the pillars, and put out his hand for charity. It is an
incident that meets one at every step, and with half a glance at his
face I passed on. I was looking at the rich mosaic on the roof, but
his features lingered in my mind. They grew upon me still more
strongly; and as I became aware of the full expression of misery and
pride upon them, I turned about to see what had become of him. My two
friends had done each the very same thing, with the same feeling of
regret, and were talking of the old man when I came back to them. We
went to the door, and looked all about the square, but he was no where
to be seen. It is singular that he should have made the same
impression upon all of us, of an old Venetian nobleman in poverty.
Slight as my glance was, the noble expression of sadness about his
fine white head and strong features, are still indelible in my memory.
The prophecy which Byron puts into the mouth of the condemned Doge, is
still true in every particular:--

     ----"When the Hebrew's in thy palaces,
     The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
     Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his;
     When _thy patricians beg their bitter bread_," &c.

The church of San Marc is rich to excess, and its splendid mosaic
pavement is sunk into deep pits with age and the yielding foundations
on which its heavy pile is built. Its pictures are not so fine as
those of the other churches of Venice, but its age and historic
associations make it by far the most interesting.



LETTER XXXII.

     VENICE--SCENES BY MOONLIGHT--THE CANALS--THE ARMENIAN
     ISLAND--THE ISLAND OF THE INSANE--IMPROVEMENTS MADE BY
     NAPOLEON--SHADED WALKS--PAVILION AND ARTIFICIAL
     HILL--ANTIDOTES TO SADNESS--PARTIES ON THE CANALS--NARROW
     STREETS AND SMALL BRIDGES--THE RIALTO--MERCHANTS AND
     IDLERS--SHELL-WORK AND JEWELRY--POETRY AND HISTORY--GENERAL
     VIEW OF THE CITY--THE FRIULI MOUNTAINS--THE SHORE OF ITALY--A
     SILENT PANORAMA--THE ADRIATIC--PROMENADERS AND SITTERS, ETC.


We stepped into the gondola to-night as the shadows of the moon began
to be perceptible, with orders to Giuseppe to take us where he would.
_Abroad in a summer's moonlight in Venice_, is a line that might never
be written but as the scene of a play. You can not miss pleasure. If
it were only the tracking silently and swiftly the bosom of the
broader canals lying asleep like streets of molten silver between the
marble palaces, or shooting into the dark shadows of the narrower,
with the black spirit-like gondolas gliding past, or lying in the
shelter of a low and not unoccupied balcony; or did you but loiter on
in search of music, lying unperceived beneath the windows of a palace,
and listening, half asleep, to the sound of the guitar and the song of
the invisible player within; this, with the strange beauty of every
building about you, and the loveliness of the magic lights and
shadows, were enough to make a night of pleasure, even were no charm
of personal adventure to be added to the enumeration.

We glided along under the Rialto, talking of Belvidera, and Othello,
and Shylock, and, entering a cross canal, cut the arched shadow of the
Bridge of Sighs, hanging like a cobweb in the air, and shot in a
moment forth to the full, ample, moonlit bosom of the Giudecca. This
is the canal that makes the harbor and washes the stairs of San Marc.
The Lido lay off at a mile's distance across the water, and, with the
moon riding over it, the bay between us as still as the sky above, and
brighter, it looked like a long cloud pencilled like a landscape in
the heavens. To the right lay the Armenian island, which Lord Byron
visited so often, to study with the fathers at the convent; and, a
little nearer the island of the Insane--spite of its misery, asleep,
with a most heavenly calmness on the sea. You remember the touching
story of the crazed girl, who was sent here with a broken heart,
described as putting her hand through the grating at the dash of every
passing gondola, with her unvarying and affecting "_Venite per me?
Venite per me?_"

At a corner of the harbor, some three quarters of a mile from San
Marc, lies an island once occupied by a convent. Napoleon rased the
buildings, and connecting it with the town by a new, handsome street
and a bridge, laid out the ground as a public garden. We debarked at
the stairs, and passed an hour in strolling through shaded walks,
filled with the gay Venetians, who come to enjoy here what they find
nowhere else, the smell of grass and green leaves. There is a pavilion
upon an artificial hill in the centre, where the best lemonades and
ices of Venice are to be found; and it was surrounded to-night by
merry groups, amusing themselves with all the heart-cheering gayety of
this delightful people. The very sight of them is an antidote to
sadness.

In returning to San Marc a large gondola crossed us, filled with
ladies and gentlemen, and followed by another with a band of music.
This is a common mode of making a party on the canals, and a more
agreeable one never was imagined. We ordered the gondolier to follow
at a certain distance, and spent an hour or two just keeping within
the softened sound of the instruments. How romantic are the veriest,
every-day occurrences of this enchanting city.

We have strolled to-day through most of the narrow streets between the
Rialto and the San Marc. They are, more properly, alleys. You wind
through them at sharp angles, turning constantly, from the
interruption of the canals, and crossing the small bridges at every
twenty yards. They are dark and cool; and no hoof of any description
ever passing through them, the marble flags are always smooth and
clean; and with the singular silence, only broken by the shuffling of
feet, they are pleasant places to loiter in at noon-day, when the
canals are sunny.

We spent a half hour on the _Rialto_. This is the only bridge across
the grand canal, and connects the two main parts of the city. It is,
as you see by engravings, a noble span of a single arch, built of pure
white marble. You pass it, ascending the arch by a long flight of
steps to the apex, and descending again to the opposite side. It is
very broad, the centre forming a street, with shops on each side,
with alleys outside these, next the parapet, usually occupied by
idlers or merchants, probably very much as in the time of Shylock.
Here are exposed the cases of shell-work and jewelry for which Venice
is famous. The variety and cheapness of these articles are surprising.
The Rialto has always been to me, as it is probably to most others,
quite the core of romantic locality. I stopped on the upper stair of
the arch, and passed my hand across my eyes to recall my idea of it,
and realize that I was there. One is disappointed, spite of all the
common sense in the world, not to meet Shylock and Antonio and Pierre.

             "Shylock and the Moor
     And Pierre cannot be swept or worn away,"

says Childe Harold; and that, indeed, is the feeling everywhere in
these romantic countries. You cannot separate them from the characters
with which poetry or history once peopled them.

At sunset we mounted into the tower of San Marc, to get a general view
of the city. The gold-dust atmosphere, so common in Italy at this
hour, was all over the broad lagunes and the far stretching city; and
she lay beneath us, in the midst of a sea of light, an island far out
into the ocean, crowned with towers and churches, and heaped up with
all the splendors of architecture. The Friuli mountains rose in the
north with the deep blue dyes of distance, breaking up the else level
horizon; the shore of Italy lay like a low line-cloud in the west; the
spot where the Brenta empties into the sea glowing in the blaze of the
sunset. About us lay the smaller islands, the suburbs of the sea-city,
and all among them, and up and down the Giudecca, and away off in the
lagunes, were sprinkled the thousand gondolas, meeting and crossing
in one continued and silent panorama. The Lido, with its long wall
hemmed in the bay, and beyond this lay the wide Adriatic. The floor of
San Marc's vast square was beneath, dotted over its many-colored
marbles with promenaders, its _cafés_ swarmed by the sitters outside,
and its long arcades thronged. One of my pleasantest hours in Venice
was passed here.



LETTER XXXIII.

     PALACES--PALAZZO GRIMANI--OLD STATUARY--MALE AND FEMALE
     CHERUBS--THE BATH OF CLEOPATRA--TITIAN'S PALACE--UNFINISHED
     PICTURE OF THE GREAT MASTER--HIS MAGDALEN AND BUST--HIS
     DAUGHTER IN THE ARMS OF A SATYR--BEAUTIFUL FEMALE HEADS--THE
     CHURCHES OF VENICE--BURIAL-PLACES OF THE DOGES--TOMB OF
     CANOVA--DEPARTURE FOR VERONA, ETC.


We have passed a day in visiting palaces. There are some eight or ten
in Venice, whose galleries are still splendid. We landed first at the
stairs of the _Palazzo Grimani_, and were received by an old family
servant, who sat leaning on his knees, and gazing idly into the canal.
The court and staircase were ornamented with statuary, that had not
been moved for centuries. In the ante-room was a fresco painting by
Georgione, in which there were two _female_ cherubs, the first of that
sex I ever saw represented. They were beautifully contrasted with the
two male cherubs, who completed the picture, and reminded me strongly
of Greenough's group in sculpture. After examining several rooms,
tapestried and furnished in such a style as befitted the palace of a
Venetian noble, when Venice was in her glory, we passed on to the
gallery. The best picture in the first room was a large one by Cigoli,
_the bath of Cleopatra_. The four attendants of the fair Egyptian are
about her, and one is bathing her feet from a rich vase. Her figure is
rather a voluptuous one, and her head is turned, but without alarm, to
Antony, who is just putting aside the curtain and entering the room.
It is a piece of fine coloring, rather of the Titian school, and one
of the few good pictures left by the English, who have bought up
almost all the private galleries of Venice.

We stopped next at the stairs of the noble old _Barberigo_ Palace, in
which Titian lived and died. We mounted the decaying staircases,
imagining the choice spirits of the great painter's time, who had
trodden them before us, and (as it was for ages the dwelling of one of
the proudest races of Venice) the beauty and rank that had swept up
and down those worn slabs of marble on nights of revel, in the days
when Venice was a paradise of splendid pleasure. How thickly come
romantic fancies in such a place as this. We passed through halls hung
with neglected pictures to an inner room, occupied only with those of
Titian. Here he painted, and here is a picture half finished, as he
left it when he died. His famous _Magdalen_, hangs on the wall,
covered with dirt; and so, indeed, is everything in the palace. The
neglect is melancholy. On a marble table stood a plaster bust of
Titian, moulded by himself in his old age. It is a most noble head,
and it is difficult to look at it, and believe he could have painted a
picture which hangs just against it--_his own daughter in the arms of
a satyr_. There is an engraving from it in one of the souvenirs; but
instead of a satyr's head, she holds a casket in her hands, which,
though it does not sufficiently account for the delight of her
countenance, is an improvement upon the original. Here, too, are
several slight sketches of female heads, by the same master. Oh how
beautiful they are! There is one, less than the size of life, which I
would rather have than his Magdalen.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spent my last day in Venice in visiting churches. Their
splendor makes the eye ache and the imagination weary. You would think
the surplus wealth of half the empires of the world would scarce
suffice to fill them as they are. I can give you no descriptions. The
gorgeous tombs of the Doges are interesting, and the plain black
monument over Marino Faliero made me linger. Canova's tomb is
splendid; and the simple slab under your feet in the church of the
Frari, where Titian lies with his brief epitaph, is affecting--but,
though I shall remember all these, the simplest as well as the
grandest, a description would be wearisome to all who had not seen
them. This evening at sunset I start in the post-boat for the
mainland, on my way to the place of Juliet's tomb--Verona. My friends,
the painters, are so attracted with the galleries here that they
remain to copy, and I go back alone. Take a short letter from me this
time, and expect to hear from me by the next earliest opportunity, and
more at length. Adieu.



LETTER XXXIV.

     DEPARTURE FROM VENICE--A SUNSET SCENE--PADUA--SPLENDID
     HOTEL--MANNERS OF THE COUNTRY--VICENZA--MIDNIGHT--LADY
     RETURNING FROM A PARTY--VERONA--JULIET'S TOMB--THE TOMB OF THE
     CAPULETS--THE TOMBS OF THE SCALIGERS--TWO GENTLEMEN OF
     VERONA--A WALKING CHRONICLE--PALACE OF THE CAPULETS--ONLY COOL
     PLACE IN AN ITALIAN CITY--BANQUETING HALL OF THE
     CAPULETS--FACTS AND FICTION, ETC.


We pushed from the post-office stairs in a gondola with six oars at
sunset. It was melancholy to leave Venice. A hasty farewell look, as
we sped down the grand canal, at the gorgeous palaces, even less
famous than beautiful--a glance at the disappearing Rialto, and we
shot out into the Giudecca in a blaze of sunset glory. Oh how
magnificently looked Venice in that light--rising behind us from the
sea--all her superb towers and palaces, turrets and spires, fused into
gold; and the waters about her, like a mirror of stained glass,
without a ripple!

An hour and a half of hard rowing brought us to the nearest land. You
should go to Venice to know how like a dream a reality may be. You
will find it difficult to realize, when you smell once more the fresh
earth and grass and flowers, and walk about and see fields and
mountains, that this city upon the sea exists out of the imagination.
You float to it and about it and from it, in their light craft, so
aerially, that it seems a vision.

With a drive of two or three hours, half twilight, half moonlight, we
entered _Padua_. It was too late to see the portrait of Petrarch, and
I had not time to go to his tomb at Arqua, twelve miles distant, so,
musing on Livy and Galileo, to both of whom Padua was a home, I
inquired for a _café_. A new one had lately been built in the centre
of the town, quite the largest and most thronged I ever saw. Eight or
ten large, high-roofed halls were open, and filled with tables, at
which sat more beauty and fashion than I supposed all Padua could have
mustered. I walked through one after another, without finding a seat,
and was about turning to go out, and seek a place of less pretension,
when an elderly lady, who sat with a party of seven, eating ices,
rose, with Italian courtesy, and offered me a chair at their table. I
accepted it, and made the acquaintance of eight as agreeable and
polished people as it has been my fortune to meet. We parted as if we
had known each other as many weeks as minutes. I mention it as an
instance of the manners of the country.

Three hours more, through spicy fields and on a road lined with the
country-houses of the Venetian nobles, brought us to _Vicenza_. It was
past midnight, and not a soul stirring in the bright moonlit streets.
I remember it as a kind of city of the dead. As we passed out of the
opposite gate, we detained for a moment a carriage, with servants in
splendid liveries, and a lady inside returning from a party, in full
dress. I have rarely seen so beautiful a head. The lamps shone
strongly on a broad pearl fillet on her forehead, and lighted up
features such as we do not often meet even in Italy. A gentleman
leaned back in the corner of the carriage, fast asleep--probably her
husband!

       *       *       *       *       *

I breakfasted at _Verona_ at seven. A humpbacked _cicerone_ there took
me to "Juliet's tomb." A very high wall, green with age, surrounds
what was once a cemetery, just outside the city. An old woman answered
the bell at the dilapidated gate, and, without saying a word, pointed
to an empty granite sarcophagus, raised upon a rude pile of stones.
"Questa?" asked I, with a doubtful look. "Questa," said the old woman.
"Questa!" said the hunchback. And here, I was to believe, lay the
gentle Juliet! There was a raised place in the sarcophagus, with a
hollowed socket for the head, and it was about the measure for a
woman! I ran my fingers through the cavity, and tried to imagine the
dark curls that covered the hand of Father Lawrence as he laid her
down in the trance, and fitted her beautiful head softly to the place.
But where was "the tomb of the Capulets?" The beldame took me through
a cabbage-garden, and drove off a donkey who was feeding on an
artichoke that grew on the very spot. "Ecco!" said she, pointing to
one of the slightly sunken spots on the surface. I deferred my belief,
and paying an extra paul for the privilege of chipping off a fragment
of the stone coffin, followed the cicerone.

The _tombs of the Scaligers_ were more authentic. They stand in the
centre of the town, with a highly ornamental railing about them, and
are a perfect mockery of death with their splendor. If the poets and
scholars whom these petty princes drew to their court had been buried
in these airy tombs beside them, one would look at them with some
interest. _Now_, one asks, "who were the Scaligers, that their bodies
should be lifted high in air in the midst of a city, and kept for
ages, in marble and precious stones?" With less ostentation, however,
it were pleasant to be so disposed of after death, lifted thus into
the sun, and in sight of moving and living creatures.

I inquired for the old palace of the Capulets. The cicerone knew
nothing about it, and I dismissed her and went into a _café_. "Two
gentlemen of Verona" sat on different sides; one reading, the other
asleep, with his chin on his cane--an old, white-headed man, of about
seventy. I sat down near the old gentleman, and by the time I had
eaten my ice, he awoke. I addressed him in Italian, which I speak
indifferently; but, stumbling for a word, he politely helped me out in
French, and I went on in that language with my inquiries. He was the
very man--a walking chronicle of Verona. He took up his hat and cane
to conduct me to _casa Capuletti_, and on the way told me the true
history, as I had heard it before, which differs but little, as you
know, from Shakspeare's version. The whole story is in the annuals.

After a half hour's walk among the handsomer, and more modern parts of
the city, we stopped opposite a house of an antique construction, but
newly stuccoed and painted. A wheelwright occupied the lower story,
and by the sign, the upper part was used as a tavern. "Impossible!"
said I, as I looked at the fresh front and the staring sign. The old
gentleman smiled, and kept his cane pointed at it in silence. "It is
well authenticated," said he, after enjoying my astonishment a minute
or two, "and the interior still bears marks of a palace." We went in
and mounted the dirty staircase to a large hall on the second floor.
The frescoes and cornices had not been touched, and I invited my kind
old friend to an early dinner on the spot. He accepted, and we went
back to the cathedral, and sat an hour in the only cool place in an
Italian city. The best dinner the house could afford was ready when we
returned, and a pleasanter one it has never been my fortune to sit
down to; though, for the meats, I have eaten better. That I relished
an hour in the very hall where the masque must have been held, to
which Romeo ventured in the house of his enemy, to see the fair
Juliet, you may easily believe. The wine was not so bad, either, that
my imagination did not warm all fiction into fact; and another time,
perhaps, I may describe my old friend and the dinner more
particularly.



LETTER XXXV.

     ANOTHER SHORT LETTER--DEPARTURE FROM VERONA--MANTUA--FLEAS--
     FLEAS--MODENA--TASSONI'S BUCKET--A MAN GOING TO EXECUTION--THE
     DUKE OF MODENA--BOLOGNA--AUSTRIAN OFFICERS--THE APPENINES--
     MOONLIGHT ON THE MOUNTAINS--ENGLISH BRIDAL PARTY--PICTURESQUE
     SUPPER, ETC.


I left Verona with the courier at sunset, and was at _Mantua_ in a few
hours. I went to bed in a dirty hotel, the best in the place, and
awoke, bitten at every pore by fleas--the first I have encountered in
Italy, strange as it may seem, in a country that swarms with them. For
the next twenty-four hours I was in such positive pain that my
interest in "Virgil's birthplace" quite evaporated. I hired a
_caleche_, and travelled all night to _Modena_.

I liked the town as I drove in, and after sleeping an hour or two, I
went out in search of "Tassoni's bucket" (which Rogers says _is not
the true one_), and the picture of "_Ginevra_." The first thing I met
was a man going to execution. He was a tall, exceedingly handsome man;
and, I thought, a marked gentleman, even in his fetters. He was one of
the body-guard of the duke, and had joined a conspiracy against him,
in which he had taken the first step by firing at him from a window
as he passed. I saw him guillotined, but I will spare you the
description. The duke is the worst tyrant in Italy, it is well known,
and has been fired at _eighteen times_ in the streets. So said the
cicerone, who added, that "the d----l took care of his own." After
many fruitless inquiries, I could find nothing of "the picture," and I
took my place for Bologna in the afternoon.

I was at Bologna at ten the next morning. As I felt rather indisposed,
I retained my seat with the courier for Florence; and, hungry with
travel and a long fast, went into a _restaurant_, to make the best use
of the hour given me for refreshment. A party of Austrian officers sat
at one end of the only table, breakfasting; and here I experienced the
first rudeness I have seen in Europe. I mention it to show its rarity,
and the manner in which, even among military men, a quarrel is guarded
against or prevented. A young man, who seemed the wit of the party,
chose to make comments from time to time on the solidity of what he
considered my breakfast. These became at last so pointed, that I was
compelled to rise and demand an apology. With one voice, all except
the offender, immediately sided with me, and insisted on the justice
of the demand, with so many apologies of their own, that I regretted
noticing the thing at all. The young man rose, after a minute, and
offered me his hand in the frankest manner; and then calling for a
fresh bottle, they drank wine with me, and I went back to my
breakfast. In America, such an incident would have ended, nine times
out of ten, in a duel.

The two mounted _gens d'armes_, who usually attend the courier at
night, joined us as we began to ascend the Appenines. We stopped at
eleven to sup on the highest mountain between Bologna and Florence,
and I was glad to get to the kitchen fire, the clear moonlight was so
cold. Chickens were turning on the long spit, and sounds of high
merriment came from the rooms above. A _bridal party_ of English had
just arrived, and every chamber and article of provision was engaged.
They had nothing to give us. A compliment to the hostess and a bribe
to the cook had their usual effect, however; and as one of the
dragoons had ridden back a mile or two for my travelling cap, which
had dropped off while I was asleep, I invited them both, with the
courier, to share my bribed supper. The cloth was spread right before
the fire, on the same table with all the cook's paraphernalia, and a
merry and picturesque supper we had of it. The rough Tuscan flasks of
wine and Etruscan pitchers, the brazen helmets formed on the finest
models of the antique, the long mustaches, and dark Italian eyes of
the men, all in the bright light of a blazing fire, made a picture
that Salvator Rosa would have relished. We had time for a hasty song
or two after the dishes were cleared, and then went gayly on our way
to Florence.

Excuse the brevity of this epistle, but I must stop here, or lose the
opportunity of sending. If my letters do not reach you with the utmost
regularity, it is no fault of mine. You can not imagine the difficulty
I frequently experience in getting a safe conveyance.



LETTER XXXVI.

     BATHS OF LUCCA--SARATOGA OF ITALY--HILL SCENERY--RIVER
     LIMA--FASHIONABLE LODGINGS--THE VILLA--THE DUKE'S PALACE--
     MOUNTAINS--VALLEYS--COTTAGES--PEASANTS--WINDING-PATHS--
     AMUSEMENTS--PRIVATE PARTIES--BALLS--FETES--A CASINO--ORIGINALS
     OF SCOTT'S DIANA VERNON AND THE MISS PRATT OF THE
     INHERITANCE--A SUMMER IN ITALY, ETC., ETC.


I spent a week at the baths of Lucca, which is about sixty miles north
of Florence, and the Saratoga of Italy. None of the cities are
habitable in summer, for the heat, and there flocks all the world to
bathe and keep cool by day, and dance and intrigue by night, from
spring to autumn. It is very like the month of June in our country in
many respects, and the differences are not disagreeable. The scenery
is the finest of its kind in Italy. The whole village is built about a
bridge across the river Lima, which meets the Serchio a half mile
below. On both sides of the stream the mountains rise so abruptly,
that the houses are erected against them, and from the summits on both
sides you look directly down on the street. Half-way up one of the
hills stands a cluster of houses, overlooking the valley to fine
advantage, and these are rather the most fashionable lodgings. Round
the base of this mountain runs the Lima, and on its banks for a mile
is laid out a superb road, at the extremity of which is another
cluster of buildings, called the Villa, composed of the duke's palace
and baths, and some fifty lodging-houses. This, like the pavilion at
Saratoga, is usually occupied by invalids and people of more retired
habits. I have found no hill scenery in Europe comparable to the baths
of Lucca. The mountains ascend so sharply and join so closely, that
two hours of the sun are lost, morning and evening, and the heat is
very little felt. The valley is formed by four or five small
mountains, which are clothed from the base to the summit with the
finest chestnut woods; and dotted over with the nest-like cottages of
the Luccese peasants, the smoke from which, morning and evening,
breaks through the trees, and steals up to the summits with an effect
than which a painter could not conceive anything more beautiful. It is
quite a little paradise; and with the drives along the river on each
side at the mountain foot, and the trim winding-paths in the hills,
there is no lack of opportunity for the freest indulgence of a love of
scenery or amusement.

Instead of living as we do in great hotels, the people at these baths
take their own lodgings, three or four families in a house, and meet
in their drives and walks, or in small exclusive parties. The Duke
gives a ball every Tuesday, to which all respectable strangers are
invited; and while I was there an Italian prince, who married into the
royal family of Spain, gave a grand _fete_ at the theatre. There is
usually some party every night, and with the freedom of a
watering-place, they are rather the pleasantest I have seen in Italy.
The Duke's chamberlain, an Italian cavalier, has the charge of a
_casino_, or public hall, which is open day and night for
conversation, dancing and play. The Italians frequent it very much,
and it is free to all well-dressed people; and as there is always a
band of music, the English sometimes make up a party and spend the
evening there in dancing or promenading. It is maintained at the
Duke's expense, lights, music, and all, and he finds his equivalent in
the profits of the gambling-bank.

I scarce know who of the distinguished people I met there would
interest you. The village was full of coroneted carriages, whose
masters were nobles of every nation, and every reputation. The
originals of two well-known characters happened to be there--Scott's
_Diana Vernon_, and the _Miss Pratt_ of the Inheritance. The former is
a Scotch lady, with five or six children; a tall, superb woman still,
with the look of a mountain-queen, who rode out every night with two
gallant boys mounted on ponies, and dashing after her with the spirit
you would bespeak for the sons of Die Vernon. Her husband was the best
horseman there, and a "has been" handsome fellow, of about forty-five.
An Italian abbé came up to her one night, at a small party, and told
her he "wondered the king of England did not marry her." "Miss Pratt"
was the companion of an English lady of fortune, who lived on the
floor below me. She was still what she used to be, a much-laughed-at
but much-sought person, and it was quite requisite to know her. She
flew into a passion whenever the book was named. The rest of the world
there was very much what it is elsewhere--a medley of agreeable and
disagreeable, intelligent and stupid, elegant and awkward. The _women_
were perhaps superior in style and manner to those ordinarily met in
such places in America, and the _men_ vastly inferior. It is so
wherever I have been on the continent.

I remained at the baths a few weeks, recruiting--for the hot weather
and travel had, for the first time in my life, worn upon me. They say
that a summer in Italy is equal to five years elsewhere, in its
ravages upon the constitution, and so I found it.



LETTER XXXVII.

     RETURN TO VENICE--CITY OF LUCCA--A MAGNIFICENT WALL--A
     CULTIVATED AND LOVELY COUNTRY--A COMFORTABLE PALACE--THE DUKE
     AND DUCHESS OF LUCCA--THE APPENINES--MOUNTAIN SCENERY--
     MODENA--VIEW OF AN IMMENSE PLAIN--VINEYARDS AND FIELDS--
     AUSTRIAN TROOPS--A PETTY DUKE AND A GREAT TYRANT--SUSPECTED
     TRAITORS--LADIES UNDER ARREST--MODENESE NOBILITY--SPLENDOR AND
     MEANNESS--CORREGIO'S BAG OF COPPER COIN--PICTURE GALLERY--
     CHIEF OF THE CONSPIRATORS--OPPRESSIVE LAWS--ANTIQUITY--
     MUSEUM--BOLOGNA--MANUSCRIPTS OF TASSO AND ARIOSTO--THE
     PO--AUSTRIAN CUSTOM-HOUSE--POLICE OFFICERS--DIFFICULTY ON
     BOARD THE STEAMBOAT--VENICE ONCE MORE, ETC.


After five or six weeks _sejour_ at the baths of Lucca, the only
exception to the pleasure of which was an attack of the "country
fever," I am again on the road, with a pleasant party, bound for
Venice; but passing by cities I had not seen, I have been from one
place to another for a week, till I find myself to-day in Modena--a
place I might as well not have seen at all as to have hurried
through, as I was compelled to do a month or two since. To go back a
little, however, our first stopping-place was the city of Lucca, about
fifteen miles from the baths; a little, clean, beautiful gem of a
town, with a wall three miles round only, and on the top of it a broad
carriage road, giving you on every side views of the best cultivated
and loveliest country in Italy. The traveller finds nothing so rural
and quiet, nothing so happy-looking, in the whole land. The radius to
the horizon is nowhere more than five or six miles; and the bright
green farms and luxuriant vineyards stretch from the foot of the wall
to the summits of the lovely mountains which form the theatre around.
It is a very ancient town, but the duchy is so rich and flourishing
that it bears none of the marks of decay, so common to even more
modern towns in Italy. Here Cæsar is said to have stopped to
deliberate on passing the Rubicon.

The palace of the Duke is the _prettiest_ I ever saw. There is not a
room in it you could not _live_ in--and no feeling is less common than
this in visiting palaces. It is furnished with splendor, too--but with
such an eye to comfort, such taste and elegance, that you would
respect the prince's affections that should order such a one. The Duke
of Lucca, however, is never at home. He is a young man of twenty-eight
or thirty, and spends his time and money in travelling, as caprice
takes him. He has been now for a year at Vienna, where he spends the
revenue of these rich plains most lavishly. The Duchess, too, travels
always, but in a different direction, and the people complain loudly
of the desertion. For many years they have now been both absent and
parted. The Duke is a member of the royal family of Spain, and at the
death of Maria Louisa of Parma, he becomes Duke of Parma, and the
duchy goes to Tuscany.

From Lucca we crossed the Appenines, by a road seldom travelled,
performing the hundred miles to Modena in three days. We suffered, as
all must who leave the high roads in continental countries, more
privations than the novelty was worth. The mountain scenery was fine,
of course, but I think less so than that on the passes between
Florence and Bologna, the account of which I wrote a few weeks since.
We were too happy to get to Modena.

Modena lies in the vast campagna lying between the Appenines and the
Adriatic--an immense plain looking like the sea as far as the eye can
stretch from north to south. The view of it from the mountains in
descending is magnificent beyond description. The capital of the
little duchy lay in the midst of us, like a speck on a green carpet,
and smaller towns and rivers varied its else unbroken surface of
vineyards and fields. We reached the gates just as a fine sunset was
reddening the ramparts and towers, and giving up our passports to the
soldier on guard, rattled into the hotel.

The town is full of Austrian troops, and in our walk to the ducal
palace we met scarce any one else. The streets look gloomy and
neglected, and the people singularly dispirited and poor. This petty
Duke of Modena is a man of about fifty, and said to be the greatest
tyrant, after Don Miguel, in the world. The prisons are full of
suspected traitors; one hundred and thirty of the best families of the
duchy are banished for liberal opinions; three hundred and over are
now under arrest (among them a considerable number of ladies); and
many of the Modenese nobility are now serving in the galleys for
conspiracy. He has been shot at eighteen times. The last man who
attempted it, as I stated in a former letter, was executed the morning
I passed through Modena on my return from Venice. With all this he is
a fine soldier, and his capital looks in all respects like a garrison
in the first style of discipline. He is just now absent at a chateau
three miles in the country.

The palace is a union of splendor and meanness within. The endless
succession of state apartments are gorgeously draped and ornamented,
but the entrance halls and intermediate passages are furnished with an
economy you would scarce find exceeded in the "worst inn's worst
room." Modena is Corregio's birthplace, and it was from a Duke of
Modena that he received the bag of copper coin which occasioned his
death. It was, I think, the meagre reward of his celebrated "Night,"
and he broke a blood-vessel in carrying it to his house. The Duke has
sold this picture, as well as every other sufficiently celebrated to
bring a princely price. His gallery is a heap of trash, with but here
and there a redeeming thing. Among others, there is a portrait of a
boy, I think by Rembrandt, very intellectual and lofty, yet with all
the youthfulness of fourteen; and a copy of "Giorgione's mistress,"
the "love in life" of the Manfrini palace, so admired by Lord Byron.
There is also a remarkably fine crucifixion, I forget by whom.

The front of the palace is renowned for its beauty. In a street near
it, we passed a house half battered down by cannon. It was the
residence of the chief of a late conspiracy, who was betrayed a few
hours before his plot was ripe. He refused to surrender, and, before
the ducal troops had mastered his house, the revolt commenced and the
Duke was driven from Modena. He returned in a week or two with some
three thousand Austrians, and has kept possession by their assistance
ever since. While we were waiting dinner at the hotel, I took up a
volume of the Modenese law, and opened upon a statute forbidding all
subjects of the duchy to live out of the Duke's territories under pain
of the entire confiscation of their property. They are liable to
arrest, also, if it is suspected that they are taking measures to
remove. The alternatives are oppression here or poverty elsewhere, and
the result is that the Duke has scarce a noble left in his realm.

Modena is a place of great antiquity. It was a strong-hold in the time
of Cæsar, and after his death was occupied by Brutus, and besieged by
Antony. There are no traces left, except some mutilated and uncertain
relics in the museum.

We drove to Bologna the following morning, and I slept once more in
Rogers's chamber at "the Pilgrim." I have described this city, which I
passed on my way to Venice, so fully before, that I pass it over now
with the mere mention. I should not forget, however, my acquaintance
with a snuffy little librarian, who showed me the manuscripts of Tasso
and Ariosto, with much amusing importance.

We crossed the Po to the Austrian custom-house. Our trunks were turned
inside out, our papers and books examined, our passports studied for
flaws--as usual. After two hours of vexation, we were permitted to go
on board the steamboat, thanking Heaven that our troubles were over
for a week or two, and giving Austria the common benediction she gets
from travellers. The ropes were cast off from the pier when a police
retainer came running to the boat, and ordered our whole party on
shore, bag and baggage. Our passports, which had been retained to be
sent on to Venice by the captain, were irregular. We had not passed
by Florence, and they had not the signature of the Austrian
ambassador. We were ordered imperatively back over the Po, with a flat
assurance, that, without first going to Florence, we never could see
Venice. To the ladies of the party, who had made themselves certain of
seeing this romance of cities in twelve hours, it was a sad
disappointment, and after seeing them safely seated in the return
shallop, I thought I would go and make a desperate appeal to the
commissary in person. My nominal commission as _attaché_ to the
Legation at Paris, served me in this case as it had often done before,
and making myself and the honor of the American nation responsible for
the innocent designs of a party of ladies upon Venice, the dirty and
surly commissary signed our passports and permitted us to remand our
baggage.

It was with unmingled pleasure that I saw again the towers and palaces
of Venice rising from the sea. The splendid approach to the Piazzetta;
the transfer to the gondola and its soft motion; the swift and still
glide beneath the balconies of palaces, with whose history I was
familiar; and the renewal of my own first impressions in the surprise
and delight of others, made up, altogether, a moment of high
happiness. There is nothing like--nothing equal to Venice. She is the
city of the imagination--the realization of romance--the queen of
splendor and softness and luxury. Allow all her decay--feel all her
degradation--see the "Huns in her palaces," and the "Greek upon her
mart," and, after all, she is alone in the world for beauty, and,
spoiled as she has been by successive conquerors, almost for riches
too. Her churches of marble, with their floors of precious stones, and
walls of gold and mosaic; her ducal palace, with its world of art and
massy magnificence; her private palaces, with their fronts of inland
gems, and balconies and towers of inimitable workmanship and riches;
her lovely islands and mirror-like canals--all distinguish her, and
will till the sea rolls over her, as one of the wonders of time.



LETTER XXXVIII.

     VENICE--CHURCH OF THE JESUITS--A MARBLE CURTAIN--ORIGINAL OF
     TITIAN'S MARTYRDOM OF ST. LAWRENCE--A SUMMER MORNING--ARMENIAN
     ISLAND--VISIT TO A CLOISTER--A CELEBRATED MONK--THE POET'S
     STUDY--ILLUMINATED COPIES OF THE BIBLE--THE STRANGER'S BOOK--A
     CLEAN PRINTING-OFFICE--THE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE--INNOCENT
     AND HAPPY-LOOKING MANIACS--THE CELLS FOR UNGOVERNABLE
     LUNATICS--BARBARITY OF THE KEEPER--MISERABLE PROVISIONS--
     ANOTHER GLANCE AT THE PRISONS UNDER THE DUCAL PALACE--THE
     OFFICE OF EXECUTIONER--THE ARSENAL--THE STATE GALLERY--THE
     ARMOR OF HENRY THE FOURTH--A CURIOUS KEY--MACHINES FOR
     TORTURE, ETC.


In a first visit to a great European city it is difficult not to let
many things escape notice. Among several churches which I did not see
when I was here before, is that of the _Jesuits_. It is a temple
worthy of the celebrity of this splendid order. The proportions are
finer than those of most of the Venetian churches, and the interior is
one tissue of curious marbles and gold. As we entered, we were first
struck with the grace and magnificence of a large heavy curtain,
hanging over the pulpit, the folds of which, and the figures wrought
upon it, struck us as unusually elegant and ingenious. Our
astonishment was not lessened when we found it was one solid mass of
verd-antique marble. Its sweep over the side and front of the pulpit
is as careless as if it were done by the wind. The whole ceiling of
the church is covered with _sequin gold_--the finest that is coined.
In one of the side chapels is the famous "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence,"
by Titian. A fine copy of it (said in the catalogue to be the
original) was exhibited in the Boston Athenæum a year or two since.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is Sunday, and the morning has been of a heavenly, summer, sunny
calmness, such as is seen often in Italy, and once in a year, perhaps,
in New England. It is a kind of atmosphere, that, to breathe is to be
grateful and happy. We have been to the Armenian island--a little gem
on the bosom of the Lagune, a mile from Venice, where stands the
monastery, to which place Lord Byron went daily to study and translate
with the fathers. There is just room upon it for a church, a convent,
and a little garden. It looks afloat on the water. Our gondola glided
up to the clean stone stairs, and we were received by one of the
order, a hale but venerable looking monk, in the Armenian dress, the
long black cassock and small round cap, his beard long and scattered
with gray, and his complexion and eyes of a cheerful, child-like
clearness, such as regular and simple habits alone can give. I
inquired, as we walked through the cloister, for the father with whom
Lord Byron studied, and of whom the poet speaks so often and so highly
in his letters. The monk smiled and bowed modestly, and related a
little incident that had happened to him at Padua, where he had met
two American travellers, who had asked him of himself in the same
manner. He had forgotten their names, but from his description I
presumed one to have been Professor Longfellow, of Bowdoin University.

The stillness and cleanliness about the convent, as we passed through
the cloisters and halls, rendered the impression upon a stranger
delightful. We passed the small garden, in which grew a stately
oleander in full blossom, and thousands of smaller flowers, in neat
beds and vases, and after walking through the church, a plain and
pretty one, we came to the library, where the monk had studied with
the poet. It is a proper place for study--disturbed by nothing but the
dash of oars from a passing gondola, or the screams of a sea-bird, and
well furnished with books in every language, and very luxurious
chairs. The monk showed us an encyclopædia, presented to himself by an
English lady of rank, who had visited the convent often. His handsome
eyes flashed as he pointed to it on the shelves. We went next into a
smaller room, where the more precious manuscripts are deposited, and
he showed us curious illuminated copies of the Bible, and gave us the
stranger's book to inscribe our names. Byron had scrawled his there
before us, and the Empress Maria Louisa had written hers twice on
separate visits. The monk then brought us a volume of prayers, in
twenty-five languages, translated by himself. We bought copies, and
upon some remark of one of the ladies upon his acquirements, he ran
from one language to another, speaking English, French, Italian,
German, and Dutch, with equal facility. His English was quite
wonderful; and a lady from Rotterdam, who was with us, pronounced his
Dutch and German excellent. We then bought small histories of the
order, written by an English gentleman, who had studied at the island,
and passed on to the printing office--the first _clean_ one I ever
saw, and quite the best appointed. Here the monks print their Bibles,
and prayer-books in really beautiful Armenian type, beside almanacs,
and other useful publications for Constantinople, and other parts of
Turkey. The monk wrote his name at our request (Pascal Aucher) in the
blank leaves of our books, and we parted from him at the water-stairs
with sincere regret. I recommend this monastery to all travellers to
Venice.

On our return we passed near an island, upon which stands a single
building--an insane hospital. I was not very curious to enter it, but
the gondolier assured us that it was a common visit for strangers, and
we consented to go in. We were received by the keeper, who went
through the horrid scene like a regular cicerone, giving us a cold and
rapid history of every patient that arrested our attention. The men's
apartment was the first, and I should never have supposed them insane.
They were all silent, and either read or slept like the inmates of
common hospitals. We came to a side door, and as it opened, the
confusion of a hundred tongues burst through, and we were introduced
into the apartment for women. The noise was deafening. After
traversing a short gallery, we entered a large hall, containing
perhaps fifty females. There was a simultaneous smoothing back of the
hair and prinking of the dress through the room. These the keeper
said, were the well-behaved patients, and more innocent and
happy-looking people I never saw. If to be happy is to be wise, I
should believe with the mad philosopher, that the world and the
lunatic should change names. One large, fine-looking woman took upon
herself to do the honors of the place, and came forward with a
graceful curtesy and a smile of condescension and begged the ladies to
take off their bonnets, and offered me a chair. Even with her
closely-shaven head and coarse flannel dress, she seemed a lady. The
keeper did not know her history. Her attentions were occasionally
interrupted by a stolen glance at the keeper, and a shrinking in of
the shoulders, like a child that had been whipped. One handsome and
perfectly healthy-looking girl of eighteen, walked up and down the
hall, with her arms folded, and a sweet smile on her face, apparently
lost in pleasing thought, and taking no notice of us. Only one was in
bed, and her face might have been a conception of Michael Angelo for
horror. Her hair was uncut, and fell over her eyes, her tongue hung
from her mouth, her eyes were sunken and restless, and the deadly
pallor over features drawn into the intensest look of mental agony,
completing a picture that made my heart sick. Her bed was clean, and
she was as well cared for as she could be, apparently.

We mounted a flight of stairs to the cells. Here were confined those
who were violent and ungovernable. The mingled sounds that came
through the gratings as we passed were terrific. Laughter of a
demoniac wildness, moans, complaints in every language, screams--every
sound that could express impatience and fear and suffering saluted our
ears. The keeper opened most of the cells and went in, rousing
occasionally one that was asleep, and insisting that all should appear
at the grate. I remonstrated of course, against such a piece of
barbarity, but he said he did it for all strangers, and took no notice
of our pity. The cells were small, just large enough for a bed, upon
the post of which hung a small coarse cloth bag, containing two or
three loaves of the coarsest bread. There was no other furniture. The
beds were bags of straw, without sheets or pillows, and each had a
coarse piece of matting for a covering. I expressed some horror at the
miserable provision made for their comfort, but was told that they
broke and injured themselves with any loose furniture, and were so
reckless in their habits, that it was impossible to give them any
other bedding than straw, which was changed every day. I observed that
each patient had a wisp of long straw tied up in a bundle, given them,
as the keeper said, to employ their hands and amuse them. The wooden
blind before one of the gratings was removed, and a girl flew to it
with the ferocity of a tiger, thrust her hands at us through the bars,
and threw her bread out into the passage, with a look of violent and
uncontrolled anger such as I never saw. She was tall and very
fine-looking. In another cell lay a poor creature, with her face
dreadfully torn, and her hands tied strongly behind her. She was
tossing about restlessly upon her straw, and muttering to herself
indistinctly. The man said she tore her face and bosom whenever she
could get her hands free, and was his worst patient. In the last cell
was a girl of eleven or twelve years, who began to cry piteously the
moment the bolt was drawn. She was in bed, and uncovered her head very
unwillingly, and evidently expected to be whipped. There was another
range of cells above, but we had seen enough, and were glad to get out
upon the calm Lagune. There could scarcely be a stronger contrast than
between those two islands lying side by side--the first the very
picture of regularity and happiness, and the last a refuge for
distraction and misery. The feeling of gratitude to God for reason
after such a scene is irresistible.

       *       *       *       *       *

In visiting again the prisons under the ducal palace, several
additional circumstances were told us. The condemned were compelled to
become executioners. They were led from their cells into the dark
passage where stood the secret guillotine, and without warning forced
to put to death a fellow-creature either by this instrument, or the
more horrible method of strangling against a grate. The guide said
that the office of executioner was held in such horror that it was
impossible to fill it, and hence this dreadful alternative. When a
prisoner was about to be executed, his clothes were sent home to his
family with the message, that "the state would care for him." How much
more agonizing do these circumstances seem, when we remember that most
of the victims were men of rank and education, condemned on suspicion
of political crimes, and often with families refined to a most
unfortunate capacity for mental torture! One ceases to regret the fall
of the Venetian republic, when he sees with how much crime and tyranny
her splendor was accompanied.

       *       *       *       *       *

I saw at the arsenal to-day the model of the "Bucentaur," the state
galley in which the Doge of Venice went out annually to marry him to
the sea. This poetical relic (which, in Childe Harold's time, "lay
rotting unrestored") was burnt by the French--why, I can not conceive.
It was a departure from their usual habit of respect to the curious
and beautiful; and if they had been jealous of such a vestige of the
grandeur of a conquered people, it might at least have been sent to
Paris as easily as "Saint Mark's steeds of brass," and would have been
as great a curiosity. I would rather have seen the Bucentaur than all
their other plunder. The arsenal contains many other treasures. The
armor given to the city of Venice by Henry the Fourth is there, and a
curious key constructed to shoot poisoned needles, and used by one of
the Henrys, I have forgotten which, to despatch any one who offended
him in his presence. One or two curious machines for torture were
shown us--mortars into which the victim was put, with an iron armor
which was screwed down upon him till his head was crushed, or
confession stopped the torture.



LETTER XXXIX.

     VENICE--SAN MARC'S CHURCH--RECOLLECTIONS OF HOME--FESTA AT THE
     LIDO--A POETICAL SCENE--AN ITALIAN SUNSET--PALACE OF
     MANFRINI--PESARO'S PALACE AND COUNTRY RESIDENCE--CHURCH OF
     SAINT MARY OF NAZARETH--PADUA--THE UNIVERSITY--STATUES OF
     DISTINGUISHED FOREIGNERS THE PUBLIC PALACE--BUST OF TITUS
     LIVY--BUST OF PETRARCH--CHURCH OF ST. ANTONY DURING MASS--THE
     SAINT'S CHIN AND TONGUE--MARTYRDOM OF ST. AGATHA--AUSTRIAN AND
     GERMAN SOLDIERS--TRAVELLER'S RECORD-BOOK--PETRARCH'S COTTAGE
     AND TOMB--ITALIAN SUMMER AFTERNOON--THE POET'S HOUSE--A FINE
     VIEW--THE ROOM WHERE PETRARCH DIED, ETC.


I was loitering down one of the gloomy aisles of San Marc's church,
just at twilight this evening, listening to the far-off Ave Maria in
one of the distant chapels, when a Boston gentleman, who I did not
know was abroad, entered with his family, and passed up to the altar.
It is difficult to conceive with what a tide the half-forgotten
circumstances of a home, so far away, rush back upon one's heart in a
strange land, after a long absence, at the sight of familiar faces. I
could realize nothing about me after it--the glittering mosaic of
precious stones under my feet, the gold and splendid colors of the
roof above me, the echoes of the monotonous chant through the
arches--foreign and strange as these circumstances all were. I was
irresistibly at home, the familiar pictures of my native place filling
my eye, and the recollections of those whom I love and honor there
crowding upon my heart with irresistible emotion. The feeling is a
painful one, and with the necessity for becoming again a forgetful
wanderer, remembering home only as a dream, one shrinks from such
things. The reception of a letter, even, destroys a day.

       *       *       *       *       *

There has been a grand _festa_ to-day at the _Lido_. This, you know,
is a long island, forming part of the sea-wall of Venice. It is,
perhaps, five or six miles long, covered in part with groves of small
trees, and a fine green sward; and to the Venetians, to whom leaves
and grass are holyday novelties, is the scene of their gayest
_festas_. They were dancing and dining under the trees; and in front
of the fort which crowns the island, the Austrian commandant had
pitched his tent, and with a band of military music, the officers were
waltzing with ladies in a circle of green sward, making altogether a
very poetical scene. We passed an hour or two wandering among this gay
and unconscious people, and came home by one of the loveliest sunsets
that ever melted sea and sky together. Venice looked like a vision of
a city hanging in mid-air.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have been again to that delightful _palace of Manfrini_. The
"Portia swallowing fire," the Rembrandt portrait, the far-famed
"Giorgione, son and wife," and twenty others, which to see is to be
charmed, delighted me once more. I believe the surviving Manfrini is
the only noble left in Venice. _Pesaro_, who disdained to live in his
country after its liberty was gone, died lately in London. His palace
here is the finest structure I have seen, and his country-house on the
Brenta is a paradise. It must have been a strong feeling which exiled
him from them for eighteen years.

In coming from the Manfrini, we stopped at the church of "St. Mary of
Nazareth." This is one of those whose cost might buy a kingdom. Its
gold and marbles oppress one with their splendor. In the centre of the
ceiling is a striking fresco of the bearing of "Loretto's chapel
through the air;" and in one of the corners a lovely portrait of a boy
looking over a balustrade, done by the artist _fourteen years of age_!

       *       *       *       *       *

PADUA.--We have passed two days in this venerable city of learning,
including a visit to Petrarch's tomb at Arqua. The university here is
still in its glory, with fifteen hundred students. It has never
declined, I believe, since Livy's time. The beautiful inner court has
two or three galleries, crowded with the arms of the nobles and
distinguished individuals who have received its honors. It has been
the "cradle of princes" from every part of Europe.

Around one of the squares of the city, stand forty or fifty statues of
the great and distinguished foreigners who have received their
education here. It happened to be the month of vacation, and we could
not see the interior.

At a public palace, so renowned for the size and singular architecture
of its principal hall, we saw a very antique bust of Titus Livy--a
fine, cleanly-chiselled, scholastic old head, that looked like the
spirit of Latin embodied. We went thence to the Duomo, where they show
a beautiful bust of Petrarch, who lived at Padua some of the latter
years of his life. It is a softer and more voluptuous countenance than
is given him in the pictures.

The church of Saint Antony here has stood just six hundred years. It
occupied a century in building, and is a rich and noble old specimen
of the taste of the times, with eight cupolas and towers, twenty-seven
chapels inside, four immense organs, and countless statues and
pictures. Saint Antony's body lies in the midst of the principal
chapel, which is surrounded with relievos representing his miracles,
done in the best manner of the glorious artists of antiquity. We were
there during mass, and the people were nearly suffocating themselves
in the press to touch the altar and tomb of the saint. This chapel was
formerly lit by massive silver lamps, which Napoleon took, presenting
them with their models in gilt. He also exacted from them three
thousand sequins for permission to retain the chin and tongue of St.
Antony, which works miracles still, and are preserved in a splendid
chapel with immense brazen doors. Behind the main altar I saw a
harrowing picture by Tiepoli, of the martyrdom of St. Agatha. Her
breasts are cut off, and lying in a dish. The expression in the face
of the dying woman is painfully well done.

Returning to the inn, we passed a magnificent palace on one of the
squares, upon whose marble steps and column-bases, sat hundreds of
brutish Austrian troops, smoking and laughing at the passers-by. This
is a sight you may see now through all Italy. The palaces of the
proudest nobles are turned into barracks for foreign troops, and there
is scarce a noble old church or monastery that is not defiled with
their filth. The German soldiers are, without exception, the most
stolid and disagreeable looking body of men I ever saw; and they have
little to soften the indignant feeling with which one sees them
rioting in this lovely and oppressed country.

We passed an hour before bedtime in the usual amusement of travellers
in a foreign hotel--reading the traveller's record-book. Walter
Scott's name was written there, and hundreds of distinguished names
besides. I was pleased to find, on a leaf far back, "Edward Everett,"
written in his own round legible hand. There were at least the names
of fifty Americans within the dates of the year past--such a wandering
nation we are. Foreigners express their astonishment always at their
numbers in these cities.

On the afternoon of the next day, we went to Arqua, on a pilgrimage to
Petrarch's cottage and tomb. It was an Italian summer afternoon, and
the Euganean hills were rising green and lovely, with the sun an hour
high above them, and the yellow of the early sunset already commencing
to glow about the horizon.

We left the carriage at the "pellucid lake," and went into the hills a
mile, plucking the ripe grapes which hung over the road in profusion.
We were soon at the little village and the tomb, which stands just
before the church door, "reared in air." The four laurels Byron
mentions are dead. We passed up the hill to the poet's house, a rural
stone cottage, commanding a lovely view of the campagna from the
portico. Sixteen villages may be counted from the door, and the two
large towns of Rovigo and Ferrara are distinguishable in a clear
atmosphere. It was a retreat fit for a poet. We went through the
rooms, and saw the poet's cat, stuffed and exhibited behind a wire
grating, his chair and desk, his portrait in fresco, and Laura's, and
the small closet-like room where he died. It was an interesting visit,
and we returned by the golden twilight of this heavenly climate,
repeating Childe Harold, and wishing for his pen to describe afresh
the scene about us.



LETTER XL.

     EXCURSION FROM VENICE TO VERONA--TRUTH OF BYRON'S DESCRIPTION
     OF ITALIAN SCENERY--THE LOMBARDY PEASANTRY--APPEARANCE OF THE
     COUNTRY--MANNER OF CULTIVATING THE VINE ON LIVING TREES--THE
     VINTAGE--ANOTHER VISIT TO JULIET'S TOMB--THE OPERA AT
     VERONA--THE PRIMA DONNA--ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE--BOLOGNA
     AGAIN--MADAME MALIBRAN IN LA GAZZA LADRA--CHEAP LUXURIES--THE
     PALACE OF THE LAMBACCARI--A MAGDALEN OF GUIDO CARRACCI--
     CHARLES THE SECOND'S BEAUTIES--VALLEY OF THE ARNO--FLORENCE
     ONCE MORE.


Our gondola set us on shore at Fusina an hour or two before sunset,
with a sky (such as we have had for five months) without a cloud, and
the same promise of a golden sunset, to which I have now become so
accustomed, that rain and a dark heaven would seem to me almost
unnatural. It was the hour and the spot at which Childe Harold must
have left Venice, and we look at the "blue Friuli mountains," the
"deep-died Brenta," and the "Rhoetian hill," and feel the truth of
his description as well as its beauty. The two banks of the Brenta are
studded with the palaces of the Venetian nobles for almost twenty
miles, and the road runs close to the water on the northern side,
following all its graceful windings, and, at every few yards,
surprising the traveller with some fresh scene of cultivated beauty,
church, palace, or garden, while the gondolas on the stream, and the
fair "damas" of Italy sitting under the porticoes, enliven and
brighten the picture. These people live out of doors, and the road was
thronged with the _contadini_; and here and there rolled by a
carriage, with servants in livery; or a family of the better class on
their evening walk, sauntered along at the Italian pace of indolence,
and a finer or happier looking race of people would not easily be
found. It is difficult to see the athletic frames and dark flashing
eyes of the Lombardy peasantry, and remember their degraded condition.
You cannot believe it will remain so. If they think at all, they must,
in time, feel too deeply to endure.

The guide-book says, the "traveller wants words to express his
sensations at the beauty of the country from Padua to Verona." Its
beauty is owing to the perfection of a method of cultivation universal
in Italy. The fields are divided into handsome squares, by rows of
elms or other forest trees, and the vines are trained upon these with
all the elegance of holyday festoons, winding about the trunks, and
hanging with their heavy clusters from one to the other, the foliage
of vine and tree mingled so closely that it appears as if they sprung
from the same root. Every square is perfectly enclosed with these
fantastic walls of vine-leaves and grapes, and the imagination of a
poet could conceive nothing more beautiful for a festival of Bacchus.
The ground between is sown with grass or corn. The vines are luxuriant
always, and often send their tendrils into the air higher than the
topmost branch of the tree, and this extends the whole distance from
Padua to Verona, with no interruption except the palaces and gardens
of the nobles lying between.

It was just the season for gathering and pressing the grape, and the
romantic vineyards were full of the happy peasants, of all ages,
mounting the ladders adventurously for the tall clusters, heaping the
baskets and carts, driving in the stately gray oxen with their loads,
and talking and singing as merrily as if it were Arcadia. Oh how
beautiful these scenes are in Italy. The people are picturesque, the
land is like the poetry of nature, the habits are all as they were
described centuries ago, and as the still living pictures of the
glorious old masters represent them. The most every-day traveller
smiles and wonders, as he lets down his carriage windows to look at
the vintage.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have been three or four days in Verona, visiting Juliet's tomb, and
riding through the lovely environs. The opera here is excellent, and
we went last night to see "Romeo and Juliet" performed in the city
renowned by their story. The _prima donna_ was one of those syrens
found often in Italy--a young singer of great promise, with that
daring brilliancy which practice and maturer science discipline, to my
taste, too severely. It was like the wild, ungovernable trill of a
bird, and my ear is not so nice yet, that I even would not rather feel
a roughness in the harmony than lose it. Malibran delighted me more in
America than in Paris.

The opera was over at twelve, and, as we emerged from the crowded
lobby, the moon full, and as clear and soft as the eye of a child,
burst through the arches of the portico. The theatre is opposite the
celebrated Roman amphitheatre, and the wish to visit it by moonlight
was expressed spontaneously by the whole party. The _custode_ was
roused, and we entered the vast arena and stood in the midst, with the
gigantic ranges of stone seats towering up in a receding circle, as if
to the very sky, and the lofty arches and echoing dens lying black and
silent in the dead shadows of the moon. A hundred thousand people
could sit here; and it was in these arenas, scattered through the
Roman provinces, that the bloody gladiator fights, and the massacre of
Christians, and every scene of horror, amused the subjects of the
mighty mistress of the world. You would never believe it, if you could
have seen how peacefully the moonlight now sleeps on the
moss-gathering walls, and with what untrimmed grace the vines and
flowers creep and blossom on the rocky crevices of the windows.

We arrived at Bologna just in time to get to the opera. Malibran in
_La Gazza Ladra_ was enough to make one forget more than the fatigue
of a day's travel. She sings as well as ever and plays much better,
though she had been ill, and looked thin. In the prison scene, she was
ghastlier even than the character required. There are few pleasures in
Europe like such singing as hers, and the Italians, in their excellent
operas, and the cheap rate at which they can be frequented, have a
resource corresponding to everything else in their delightful country.
Every comfort and luxury is better and cheaper in Italy than
elsewhere, and it is a pity that he who can get his wine for three
cents a bottle, his dinner and his place at the opera for ten, and has
lodgings for anything he chooses to pay, can not find leisure, and
does not think it worth the trouble, to look about for means to be
free. It is vexatious to see nature lavishing such blessings on
slaves.

The next morning we visited a palace, which, as it is not mentioned in
the guide-books of travel, I had not before seen--the _Lambaccari_. It
was full of glorious pictures, most of them for sale. Among others we
were captivated with a Magdalen of unrivalled sweetness by _Guido
Carracci_. It has been bought since by Mr. Cabot, of Boston, who
passed through Bologna the day after, and will be sent to America, I
am happy to say, immediately. There were also six of "Charles the
Second's beauties,"--portraits of the celebrated women of that gay
monarch's court, by Sir Peter Lely--ripe, glowing English women, more
voluptuous than chary-looking, but pictures of exquisite workmanship.
There were nine or ten apartments to this splendid palace, all crowded
with paintings by the first masters, and the surviving Lambaccari is
said to be selling them one by one for bread. It is really melancholy
to go through Italy, and see how her people are suffering, and her
nobles starving under oppression.

We crossed the Appenines in two of the finest days that ever shone,
and descending through clouds and mist to the Tuscan frontier, entered
the lovely valley of the Arno, sparkling in the sunshine, with all its
palaces and spires, as beautiful as ever. I am at Florence once more,
and parting from the delightful party with whom I have travelled for
two months. I start for Rome to-morrow, in company with five artists.



LETTER XLI.

     JOURNEY TO THE ETERNAL CITY--TWO ROADS TO ROME--SIENNA--THE
     PUBLIC SQUARE--AN ITALIAN FAIR--THE CATHEDRAL--THE
     LIBRARY--THE THREE GRECIAN GRACES--DANDY OFFICERS--PUBLIC
     PROMENADE--LANDSCAPE VIEW--LONG GLEN--A WATERFALL--A
     CULTIVATED VALLEY--THE TOWN OF AQUAPENDENTE--SAN
     LORENZO--PLINY'S FLOATING ISLANDS--MONTEFIASCONE--
     VITERBO--PROCESSION OF FLOWER AND DANCING GIRLS TO THE
     VINTAGE--ASCENT OF THE MONTECIMINO--THE ROAD OF THIEVES--LAKE
     VICO--BACCANO--MOUNT SORACTE--DOME OF ST. PETER'S, ETC.


I left Florence in company with the five artists mentioned in my last
letter, one of them an Englishman, and the other four pensioners of
the royal academy at Madrid. The Spaniards had but just arrived in
Italy, and could not speak a syllable of the language. The Englishman
spoke everything but French, which he avoided learning _from
principle_. He "hated a Frenchman!"

There are two roads to Rome. One goes by Sienna, and is a day shorter;
the other by Perugia, the Falls of Terni, Lake Thrasymene, and the
Clitumnus. Childe Harold took the latter, and his ten or twelve best
cantos describe it. I was compelled to go by Sienna, and shall return,
of course, by the other road.

I was at Sienna on the following day. As the second capital of
Tuscany, this should be a place of some interest, but an hour or two
is more than enough to see all that is attractive. The public square
was a gay scene. It was rather singularly situated, lying fifteen or
twenty feet lower than the streets about it. I should think there were
several thousand people in its area--all buying or selling, and
vociferating, as usual, at the top of their voices. We heard the
murmur, like the roar of the sea, in all the distant streets. There
are few sights more picturesque than an Italian fair, and I strolled
about in the crowd for an hour, amused with the fanciful costumes, and
endeavoring to make out with the assistance of the eye, what rather
distracted my unaccustomed ear--the cries of the various wandering
venders of merchandise. The women, who were all from the country, were
coarse, and looked well only at a distance.

The cathedral is the great sight of Sienna. It has a rich exterior,
encrusted with curiously wrought marbles, and the front, as far as I
can judge, is in beautiful taste. The pavement of the interior is very
precious, and covered with a wooden platform, which is removed but
once a year. The servitor raised a part of it, to show us the
workmanship. It was like a drawing in India ink, quite as fine as if
pencilled, and representing, as is customary, some miracle of a saint.

A massive iron door, made ingeniously to imitate a rope-netting, opens
from the side of the church into the _library_. It contained some
twenty volumes in black letter, bound with enormous clasps and placed
upon inclined shelves. It would have been a task for a man of moderate
strength to lift either of them from the floor. The little sacristan
found great difficulty in only opening one to show us the letter.

In the centre of the chapel on a high pedestal, stands the original
antique group, so often copied, of the three Grecian Graces. It is
shockingly mutilated; but its original beauty is still in a great
measure discernable. Three naked women are an odd ornament for the
private chapel of a cathedral.[1] One often wonders, however, in
Italian churches, whether his devotion is most called upon by the arts
or the Deity.

As we were leaving the church, four young officers passed us in gay
uniform, their long steel scabbards rattling on the pavement, and
their heavy tread disturbing visibly every person present. As I turned
to look after them, with some remark on their coxcombry, they dropped
on their knees at the bases of the tall pillars about the altar, and
burying their faces in their caps, bowed their heads nearly to the
floor, in attitudes of the deepest devotion. Sincere or not, Catholic
worshippers of all classes _seem_ absorbed in their religious duties.
You can scarce withdraw the attention even of a child in such places.
In the six months that I have been in Italy, I never saw anything like
irreverence within the church walls.

The public promenade, on the edge of the hill upon which the town is
beautifully situated, commands a noble view of the country about. The
peculiar landscape of Italy lay before us in all its loveliness--the
far-off hills lightly tinted with the divided colors of distance, the
atmosphere between absolutely clear and invisible, and villages
clustered about, each with its ancient castle on the hill-top above,
just as it was settled in feudal times, and as painters and poets
would imagine it. You never get a view in this "garden of the world"
that would not excuse very extravagant description.

Sienna is said to be the best place for learning the language. Just
between Florence and Rome, it combines the "_lingua Toscano_," with
the "_bocca Romano_"--the Roman pronunciation with the Florentine
purity of language. It looks like a dull place, however, and I was
very glad after dinner to resume my passport at the gate and get on.

The next morning, after toiling up a considerable ascent, we suddenly
rounded the shoulder of a mountain, and found ourselves at the edge of
a long glen, walled up at one extremity by a precipice with an old
town upon its brow, and a waterfall pouring off at its side, and
opening away at the other into a broad, gently-sloped valley,
cultivated like a garden as far as the eye could distinguish. I think
I have seen an engraving of it in the Landscape Annual. Taken
together, it is positively the most beautiful view I ever saw, from
the road edge, as you wind up into the town of _Acquapendente_. The
precipice might be a hundred feet, and from its immediate edge were
built up the walls of the houses, so that a child at the window might
throw its plaything into the bottom of the ravine. It is scarce a
pistol-shot across the glen, and the two hills on either side lean off
from the level of the town in one long soft declivity to the
valley--the little river which pours off the rock at the very base of
the church, fretting and fuming its way between to the meadows--its
stony bed quite hidden by the thick vegetation of its banks. The bells
were ringing to mass, and the echoes came back to us at long distances
with every modulation. The streets, as we entered the town, were full
of people hurrying to the churches; the women with their red shawls
thrown about their heads, and the men with their immense dingy cloaks
flung romantically over their shoulders, with a grace, one and all,
that in a Parisian dandy, would be attributed to a consummate study of
effect. For outline merely, I think there is nothing in costume which
can surpass the closely-stockinged leg, heavy cloak, and slouched hat
of an Italian peasant. It is added to by his indolent, and,
consequently, graceful motion and attitudes. Johnson, in his book on
the climate of Italy, says their sloth is induced by _malaria_. You
will see a man watching goats or sheep, with his back against a rock,
quite motionless for hours together. His dog feels, apparently, the
same influence, and lies couched in his long white hair, with his eyes
upon the flock, as lifeless, and almost as picturesque, as his master.

The town of San Lorenzo is a handful of houses on the top of a hill
which hangs over Lake Bolsena. You get the first view of the lake as
you go out of the gate toward Rome, and descend immediately to its
banks. There was a heavy mist upon the water, and we could not see
across, but it looked like as quiet and pleasant a shore as might be
found in the world--the woods wild, and of uncommonly rich foliage for
Italy, and the slopes of the hills beautiful. Saving the road, and
here and there a house with no sign of an inhabitant, there can
scarcely be a lonelier wilderness in America. We stopped two hours at
an inn on its banks, and whether it was the air, or the influence of
the perfect stillness about us, my companions went to sleep, and I
could scarce resist my own drowsiness.

The mist lifted a little from the lake after dinner, and we saw the
two islands said by Pliny to have floated, in his time. They look like
the tops of green hills rising from the water.

It is a beautiful country again as you approach Montefiascone. The
scenery is finely broken up with glens formed by columns of basalt,
giving it a look of great wildness. Montefiascone is built on the
river of one of these ravines. We stopped here long enough to get a
bottle of the wine for which the place is famous, drinking it to the
memory of the "German prelate," who, as Madame Stark relates, "stopped
here on his journey to Rome, and died of drinking it to excess." It
has degenerated, probably, since his time, or we chanced upon a bad
bottle.

The walls of _Viterbo_ are flanked with towers, and have a noble
appearance from the hill-side on which the town stands. We arrived too
late to see anything of the place. As we were taking coffee at the
_café_ the next morning, a half hour before daylight, we heard music
in the street, and looking out at the door, we saw a long procession
of young girls, dressed with flowers in their hair, and each playing a
kind of cymbal, and half dancing as she went along. Three or four at
the head of the procession sung a kind of verse, and the rest joined
in a short merry chorus at intervals. It was more like a train of
Corybantes than anything I had seen. We inquired the object of it, and
were told it was a procession _to the vintage_. They were going out to
pluck the last grapes, and it was the custom to make it a festa. It
was a striking scene in the otherwise perfect darkness of the streets,
the torch-bearers at the sides waving their flambeaux regularly over
their heads, and shouting with the rest in chorus. The measure was
quick, and the step very fast. They were gone in an instant. The whole
thing was poetical, and in keeping, for Italy. I have never seen it
elsewhere.

We left Viterbo on a clear, mild autumnal morning; and I think I never
felt the excitement of a delightful climate more thrillingly. The
road was wild, and with the long ascent of the Monte-Cimino before us,
I left the carriage to its slow pace and went ahead several miles on
foot. The first rain of the season had fallen, and the road was moist,
and all the spicy herbs of Italy perceptible in the air. Half way up
the mountain, I overtook a fat, bald, middle-aged priest, slowly
toiling up on his mule. I was passing him with a "_buon giorno_," when
he begged me for my own sake, as well as his, to keep him company. "It
was the worst road for thieves," he said, "in all Italy," and he
pointed at every short distance to little crosses erected at the
road-side, to commemorate the finding of murdered men on the spot.
After he had told me several stories of the kind, he elevated his
tone, and began to talk of other matters. I think I never heard so
loud and long a laugh as his. I ventured to express a wonder at his
finding himself so happy in a life of celibacy. He looked at me slily
a moment or two as if he were hesitating whether to trust me with his
opinions on the subject; but he suddenly seemed to remember his
caution, and pointing off to the right, showed me a lake brought into
view by the last turn of the road. It was _Lake Vico_. From the midst
of it rose a round mountain covered to the top with luxuriant
chestnuts--the lake forming a sort of trench about it, with the hill
on which we stood rising directly from the other edge. It was one
faultless mirror of green leaves. The two hill sides shadowed it
completely. All the views from Monte-Cimino were among the richest in
mere nature that I ever saw, and reminded me strongly of the country
about the Seneca lake of America. I was on the Cayuga at about the
same season three summers ago, and I could have believed myself back
again, it was so like my recollection.

We stopped on the fourth night of our journey, seventeen miles from
Rome, at a place called Baccano. A ridge of hills rose just before us,
from the top of which we were told, we could see St. Peter's. The sun
was just dipping under the horizon, and the ascent was three miles. We
threw off our cloaks, determining to see Rome before we slept, ran
unbreathed to the top of the hill, an effort which so nearly exhausted
us, that we could scarce stand long enough upon our feet to search
over the broad campagna for the dome.

The sunset had lingered a great while--as it does in Italy. Four or
five light feathery streaks of cloud glowed with intense crimson in
the west, and on the brow of Mount Soracte, (which I recognised
instantly from the graphic simile[2] of Childe Harold), and along on
all the ridges of mountain in the east, still played a kind of
vanishing reflection, half purple, half gray. With a moment's glance
around to catch the outline of the landscape, I felt instinctively
where Rome _should_ stand, and my eye fell at once upon "the mighty
dome." Jupiter had by this time appeared, and hung right over it,
trembling in the sky with its peculiar glory, like a lump of molten
spar, and as the color faded from the clouds, and the dark mass of
"the eternal city" itself mingled and was lost in the shadows of the
campagna, the dome still seemed to catch light, and tower visibly, as
if the radiance of the glowing star above fell more directly upon it.
We could see it till we could scarcely distinguish each other's
features. The dead level of the campagna extended between and beyond
for twenty miles, and it looked like a far-off beacon in a dim sea.
We sat an hour on the summit of the hill, gazing into the increasing
darkness, till our eyes ached. The stars brightened one by one, the
mountains grew indistinct, and we rose unwillingly to retrace our
steps to Baccano.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] I remember hearing a friend receive a severe reproof from one of
the most enlightened men in our country, for offering his daughter an
annual, upon the cover of which was an engraving of these same
"Graces."

[2]
     ----"A long swept wave about to break,
     And on the curl hangs pausing."



LETTER XLII.

     FIRST DAY IN ROME--SAINT PETER'S--A SOLITARY MONK--STRANGE
     MUSIC--MICHAEL ANGELO'S MASTERPIECE--THE MUSEUM--LIKENESS OF
     YOUNG AUGUSTUS--APOLLO BELVIDERE--THE MEDICEAN
     VENUS--RAPHAEL'S TRANSFIGURATION--THE PANTHEON--THE
     BURIAL-PLACE OF CARRACCI AND RAPHAEL--ROMAN FORUM--TEMPLE OF
     FORTUNE--THE ROSTRUM--PALACE OF THE CESARS--THE RUINS--THE
     COLISEUM, ETC.


To be rid of the dust of travel, and abroad in a strange and renowned
city, is a sensation of no slight pleasure anywhere. To step into the
street under these circumstances and inquire for the _Roman Forum_,
was a sufficient advance upon the ordinary feeling to mark a bright
day in one's calendar. I was hurrying up the Corso with this object
before me a half hour after my arrival in Rome, when an old friend
arrested my steps, and begging me to reserve the "Ruins" for
moonlight, took me off to St. Peter's.

The façade of the church appears alone, as you walk up the street from
the castle of St. Angelo. It disappointed me. There is no portico,
and it looks flat and bare. But approaching nearer, I stood at the
base of the obelisk, and with those two magnificent fountains sending
their musical waters, as if to the sky, and the two encircling wings
of the church embracing the immense area with its triple colonnades, I
felt the grandeur of St. Peter's. I felt it again in the gigantic and
richly-wrought porches, and again with indescribable surprise and
admiration at the first step on the pavement of the interior. There
was not a figure on its immense floor from the door to the altar, and
its far-off roof, its mighty pillars, its gold and marbles in such
profusion that the eye shrinks from the examination, made their
overpowering impression uninterrupted. You feel that it must be a
glorious creature that could build such a temple to his Maker.

An organ was playing brokenly in one of the distant chapels, and,
drawing insensibly to the music, we found the door half open, and a
monk alone, running his fingers over the keys, and stopping sometimes
as if to muse, till the echo died and the silence seemed to startle
him anew. It was strange music; very irregular, but sweet, and in a
less excited moment, I could have sat and listened to it till the sun
set.

I strayed down the aisle, and stood before the "Dead Christ" of
Michael Angelo. The Saviour lies in the arms of Mary. The limbs hang
lifelessly down, and, exquisitely beautiful as they are, express death
with a wonderful power. It is the best work of the artist, I think,
and the only one I was ever _moved_ in looking at.

The greatest statue and the first picture in the world are under the
same roof, and we mounted to the Vatican. The museum is a wilderness
of statuary. Old Romans, men and women, stand about you, copied, as
you feel when you look on them, from the life; and conceptions of
beauty in children, nymphs, and heroes, from minds that conceived
beauty in a degree that has never been transcended, confuse and
bewilder you with their number and wonderful workmanship. It is like
seeing a vision of past ages. It is calling up from Athens and old
classic Rome, all that was distinguished and admired of the most
polished ages of the world. On the right of the long gallery, as you
enter, stands the bust of the "Young Augustus"--a kind of beautiful,
angelic likeness of Napoleon, as Napoleon might have been in his
youth. It is a boy, but with a serene dignity about the forehead and
lips, that makes him visibly a boy-emperor--born for his throne, and
conscious of his right to it. There is nothing in marble more perfect,
and I never saw anything which made me realize that the Romans of
history and poetry were _men_--nothing which brought them so
familiarly to my mind, as the feeling for beauty shown in this
infantine bust. I would rather have it than all the gods and heroes of
the Vatican.

No cast gives you any idea worth having of the Apollo Belvidere. It is
a god-like model of a man. The lightness and the elegance of the
limbs; the free, fiery, confident energy of the attitude; the
breathing, indignant nostril and lips; the whole statue's mingled and
equal grace and power, are, with all its truth to nature, beyond any
conception I had formed of manly beauty. It spoils one's eye for
common men to look at it. It stands there like a descended angel, with
a splendor of form and an air of power, that makes one feel what he
should have been, and mortifies him for what he is. Most women whom I
have met in Europe, adore the Apollo as far the finest statue in the
world, and most _men_ say as much of the Medicean Venus. But, to my
eye, the Venus, lovely as she is, compares with the Apollo as a
mortal with an angel of light. The latter is incomparably the finest
statue. If it were only for its face, it would transcend the other
infinitely. The beauty of the Venus is only in the limbs and body. It
is a faultless, and withal, modest representation of the flesh and
blood beauty of a woman. The Apollo is all this, and has a _soul_. I
have seen women that approached the Venus in form, and had finer
faces--I never saw a man that was a shadow of the Apollo in either. It
stands as it should, in a room by itself, and is thronged at all hours
by female worshippers. They never tire of gazing at it; and I should
believe, from the open-mouthed wonder of those whom I met at its
pedestal, that the story of the girl who pined and died for love of
it, was neither improbable nor singular.

Raphael's "Transfiguration" is agreed to be the finest picture in the
world. I had made up my mind to the same opinion from the engravings
of it, but was painfully disappointed in the picture. I looked at it
from every corner of the room, and asked the _custode_ three times if
he was sure this was the original. The color offended my eye, blind as
Raphael's name should make it, and I left the room with a sigh, and an
unsettled faith in my own taste, that made me seriously unhappy. My
complacency was restored a few hours after on hearing that the wonder
was entirely in the drawing--the colors having quite changed with
time. I bought the engraving immediately, which you have seen too
often, of course, to need my commentary. The aerial lightness with
which he has hung the figures of the Saviour and the apostles in the
air, is a triumph of the pencil over the laws of nature, that seem to
have required the power of the miracle itself.

I lost myself in coming home, and following a priest's direction to
the Corso, came unexpectedly upon the "Pantheon," which I recognised
at once. This wonder of architecture has no questionable beauty. A
dunce would not need to be told that it was perfect. Its Corinthian
columns fall on the eye with that sense of fulness that seems to
answer an instinct of beauty in the very organ. One feels a fault or
an excellence in architecture long before he can give the feeling a
name; and I can see why, by Childe Harold and others, this heathen
temple is called "the pride of Rome," though I cannot venture on a
description. The faultless interior is now used as a church, and there
lie Annibal Carracci and the divine Raphael--two names worthy of the
place, and the last, of a shrine in every bosom capable of a
conception of beauty. Glorious Raphael! If there was no other relic in
Rome, one would willingly become a pilgrim to his ashes.

With my countryman and friend, Mr. Cleveland, I stood in the Roman
forum by the light of a clear half moon. The soft silver rays poured
in through the ruined columns of the Temple of Fortune and threw our
shadows upon the bases of the tall shafts near the capitol, the
remains, I believe, of the temple erected by Augustus to Jupiter
Tonans. Impressive things they are, even without their name, standing
tall and alone, with their broken capitals wreathed with ivy, and
neither roof nor wall to support them, where they were placed by hands
that have mouldered for centuries. It is difficult to rally one's
senses in such a place, and be awake coldly to the scene. We stood, as
we supposed, in the Rostrum. The noble arch, still almost perfect,
erected by the senate to Septimius Severus, stood up clear and lofty
beside us, the three matchless and lonely columns of the supposed
temple of Jupiter Stator threw their shadows across the Forum below,
the great arch, built at the conquest of Jerusalem to Titus, was
visible in the distance, and above them all, on the gentle ascent of
the Palatine, stood the ruined palace of the Cesars, the sharp edges
of the demolished walls breaking up through vines and ivy, and the
mellow moon of Italy softening rock and foliage into one silver-edged
mass of shadow. It seems as if the very genius of the picturesque had
arranged these immortal ruins. If the heaps of fresh excavation were
but overgrown with grass, no poet nor painter could better image out
the Rome of his dream. It surpasses fancy.

We walked on, over fragments of marble columns turned up from the
mould, and leaving the majestic arches of the Temple of Peace on our
left, passed under the arch of Titus (so dreaded by the Jews), to the
Coliseum. This too is magnificently ruined--broken in every part, and
yet showing still the brave skeleton of what it was--its gigantic and
triple walls, half encircling the silent area, and its rocky seats
lifting one above the other amid weeds and ivy, and darkening the dens
beneath, whence issued the gladiators, beasts, and Christian martyrs,
to be sacrificed for the amusement of Rome. A sentinel paced at the
gigantic archway, a capuchin monk, whose duty is to attend the small
chapels built around the arena, walked up and down in his russet cowl
and sandals, the moon broke through the clefts in the wall, and the
whole place was buried in the silence of a wilderness. I have given
you the features of the scene--I leave you to people it with your own
thoughts. I dare not trust mine to a colder medium than poetry.



LETTER XLIII.

     TIVOLI--RUINS OF THE BATHS OF DIOCLETIAN--FALLS OF
     TIVOLI--CASCATELLI--SUBJECT OF ONE OF COLE'S LANDSCAPES--RUINS
     OF THE VILLAGE OF MECÆNAS--RUINED VILLA OF ADRIAN--THE
     FORUM--TEMPLE OF VESTA--THE CLOACA MAXIMA--THE RIVER JUTURNA,
     ETC.


I have spent a day at Tivoli with Messrs. Auchmuty and Bissell, of our
navy, and one or two others, forming quite an American party. We
passed the ruins of the baths of Diocletian, with a heavy cloud over
our heads; but we were scarce through the gate, when the sun broke
through, the rain swept off over Soracte, and the sky was clear till
sunset.

I have seen many finer falls than Tivoli; that is, more water, and
falling farther; but I do not think there is so pretty a place in the
world. A very dirty village, a dirtier hotel, and a cicerone all rags
and ruffianism, are somewhat dampers to anticipation. We passed
through a broken gate, and with a step, were in a glen of fairy-land;
the lightest and loveliest of antique temples on a crag above, a snowy
waterfall of some hundred and fifty feet below, grottoes mossed to the
mouth at the river's outlet, and all up and down the cleft valley
vines twisted in the crevices of rock, and shrubbery hanging on every
ledge, with a felicity of taste or nature, or both, that is uncommon
even in Italy. The fall itself comes rushing down through a grotto to
the face of the precipice, over which it leaps, and looks like a
subterranean river just coming to light. Its bed is rough above, and
it bursts forth from its cavern in dazzling foam, and falls in one
sparry sheet to the gulf. The falls of Montmorenci are not unlike it.

We descended to the bottom, and from the little terrace, wet by the
spray, and dark with overhanging rocks, looked up the "cavern of
Neptune," a deep passage, through which the divided river rushes to
meet the fall in the gulf. Then remounting to the top, we took mules
to make the three miles' circuit of the glen, and see what are called
the _Cascatelli_.

No fairy-work could exceed the beauty of the little antique Sybil's
temple perched on the top of the crag above the fall. As we rode round
the other edge of the glen, it stood opposite us in all the beauty of
its light and airy architecture; a thing that might be borne, "like
Loretto's chapel, through the air," and seem no miracle.

A mile farther on I began to recognize the features of the scene, at a
most lovely point of view. It was the subject of one of Cole's
landscapes, which I had seen in Florence; and I need not say to any
one who knows the works of this admirable artist, that it was done
with truth and taste.[3] The little town of Tivoli hangs on a jutting
lap of a mountain, on the side of the ravine opposite to your point of
view. From beneath its walls, as if its foundations were laid upon a
river's fountains, bursts foaming water in some thirty different
falls; and it seems to you as if the long declivities were that moment
for the first time overflowed, for the currents go dashing under
trees, and overleaping vines and shrubs, appearing and disappearing
continually, till they all meet in the quiet bed of the river below.
"_It was made by Bernini_," said the guide, as we stood gazing at it;
and, odd as this information sounded, while wondering at a spectacle
worthy of the happiest accident of nature, it will explain the
phenomena of the place to you--the artist having turned a mountain
river from its course, and leading it under the town of Tivoli, threw
it over the sides of the precipitous hill upon which it stands. One of
the streams appears from beneath the ruins of the "Villa of Mecænas,"
which topples over a precipice just below the town, looking over the
campagna toward Rome--a situation worthy of the patron of the poets.
We rode through the immense subterranean arches, which formed its
court, in ascending the mountain again to the town.

Near Tivoli is the ruined villa of Adrian, where was found the Venus
de Medicis, and some other of the wonders of antique art. The sun had
set, however, and the long campagna of twenty miles lay between us and
Rome. We were compelled to leave it unseen. We entered the gates at
nine o'clock, _unrobbed_--rather an unusual good fortune, we were
told, for travellers after dark on that lonely waste. Perhaps our
number deprived us of the romance.

I left a crowded ball-room at midnight, wearied with a day at Tivoli,
and oppressed with an atmosphere breathed by two hundred, dancing and
card-playing, Romans and foreigners; and with a step from the portico
of the noble palace of our host, came into a broad beam of moonlight,
that with the stillness and coolness of the night refreshed me at
once, and banished all disposition for sleep. A friend was with me,
and I proposed a ramble among the ruins.

The sentinel challenged us as we entered the Forum. The frequent
robberies of romantic strangers in this lonely place have made a guard
necessary, and they are now stationed from the Arch of Severus to the
Coliseum. We passed an hour rambling among the ruins of the temples.
Not a footstep was to be heard, nor a sound even from the near city;
and the tall columns, with their broken friezes and capitals, and the
grand imperishable arches, stood up in the bright light of the moon,
looking indeed like monuments of Rome. I am told they are less
majestic by daylight. The rubbish and fresh earth injure the effect.
But I have as yet seen them in the garb of moonlight only, and I shall
carry this impression away. It is to me, now, all that my fancy hoped
to find it--its temples and columns just enough in ruin to be
affecting and beautiful.

We went thence to the Temple of Vesta. It is shut up in the modern
streets, ten or fifteen minutes walk from the Forum. The picture of
this perfect temple, and the beautiful purpose of its consecration,
have been always prominent in my imaginary Rome. It is worthy of its
association--an exquisite round temple, with its simple circle of
columns from the base to the roof, a faultless thing in proportion,
and as light and floating to the eye as if the wind might lift it. It
was no common place to stand beside, and recall the poetical truth
and fiction of which it has been the scene--the vestal lamp cherished
or neglected by its high-born votaries, their honors if pure, and
their dreadful death if faithless. It needed not the heavenly
moonlight that broke across its columns to make it a very shrine of
fancy.

My companion proposed a visit next to the Cloaca Maxima. A _common
sewer_, after the Temple of Vesta, sounds like an abrupt transition;
but the arches beneath which we descended were touched by moonlight,
and the vines and ivy crossed our path, and instead of a drain of
filth, which the fame of its imperial builder would scarce have
sweetened, a rapid stream leaped to the right, and disappeared again
beneath the solid masonry, more like a wild brook plunging into a
grotto than the thing one expects to find it. The clear little river
_Juturna_ (on the banks of which Castor and Pollux watered their
foaming horses, when bringing the news of victory to Rome), dashes now
through the Cloaca Maxima; and a fresher or purer spot, or waters with
a more musical murmur, it has not been my fortune to see. We stopped
over a broken column for a drink, and went home, refreshed, to bed.


FOOTNOTE:

[3] On my way to Rome (near Radicofani, I think), we passed an old
man, whose picturesque figure, enveloped in his brown cloak and
slouched hat, arrested the attention of all my companions. I had seen
him before. From a five minutes' sketch in passing, Mr. Cole had made
one of the most spirited heads I ever saw, admirably like, and worthy
of Caravaggio for force and expression.



LETTER XLIV.

     MASS IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL--THE CARDINALS--THE "LAST
     JUDGMENT"--THE POPE OF ROME--THE "ADAM AND EVE" CHANTING OF
     THE PRIESTS--FESTA AT THE CHURCH OF SAN CARLOS--GREGORY THE
     SIXTEENTH, HIS EQUIPAGE, TRAIN, ETC.


All the world goes to hear "mass in the Sistine chapel," and all
travellers describe it. It occurs infrequently and is performed by the
Pope. We were there to-day at ten, crowding at the door with hundreds
of foreigners, mostly English, elbowed alternately by priests and
ladies, and kept in order by the Swiss guards in their harlequin
dresses and long pikes. We were admitted after an hour's pushing, and
the guard retreated to the grated door, through which no woman is
permitted to pass. Their gay bonnets and feathers clustered behind the
gilded bars, and we could admire them for once without the qualifying
reflection that they were between us and the show. An hour more was
occupied in the entrance, one by one, of some forty cardinals with
their rustling silk trains supported by boys in purple. They passed
the gate, their train bearers lifted their cassocks and helped them to
kneel, a moment's prayer was mumbled, and they took their seats with
the same servile assistance. Their attendants placed themselves at
their feet, and, taking the prayer-books, the only use of which
appeared to be to display their jewelled fingers, they looked over
them at the faces behind the grating, and waited for his Holiness.

The intervals of this memory, gave us time to study the famous
_frescoes_ for which the Sistine chapel is renowned. The subject is
the "Last Judgment." The Saviour sits in the midst, pronouncing the
sentence, the wicked plunging from his presence on the left hand, and
the righteous ascending with the assistance of angels on the right.
The artist had, of course, infinite scope for expression, and the fame
of the fresco (which occupies the whole of the wall behind the altar)
would seem to argue his success. The light is miserable, however, and
incense or lamp-smoke, has obscured the colors, and one looks at it
now with little pleasure. As well as I could see, the figure of the
Saviour was more that of a tiler throwing down slates from the top of
a house in some fear of falling, than the Judge of the world upon his
throne. Some of the other parts are better, and one or two naked
females figures might once have been beautiful, but one of the
succeeding popes ordered them dressed, and they now flaunt at the
judgment-seat in colored silks, obscuring both saints and sinners with
their finery. There are some redeeming frescoes, also by Michael
Angelo, on the ceiling, among them "Adam and Eve," exquisitely done.

The Pope entered by a door at the side of the altar. With him came a
host of dignitaries and church servants, and, as he tottered round in
front of the altar, to kneel, his cap was taken off and put on, his
flowing robes lifted and spread, and he was treated in all respects,
as if he were the Deity himself. In fact, the whole service was the
worship, not of God, but of the Pope. The cardinals came up, one by
one, with their heads bowed, and knelt reverently to kiss his hand and
the hem of his white satin dress; his throne was higher than the
altar, and ten times as gorgeous; the incense was flung toward him,
and his motions from one side of the chapel to the other, were
attended with more ceremony and devotion than all the rest of the
service together. The chanting commenced with his entrance, and this
should have been to God alone, for it was like music from heaven. The
choir was composed of priests, who sang from massive volumes bound in
golden clasps, in a small side gallery. One stood by the book, turning
the leaves as the chant proceeded, and keeping the measure, and the
others clustered around with their hands clasped, their heads thrown
back, and their eyes closed or fixed upon the turning leaves in such
grouping and attitude as you see in pictures of angels singing in the
clouds. I have heard wonderful music since I have been on the
continent, and have received new ideas of the compass of the human
voice, and its capacities for pathos and sweetness. But, after all the
wonders of the opera, as it is learned to sing before kings and
courts, the chanting of these priests transcended every conception in
my mind of music. It was the human voice, cleared of all earthliness,
and gushing through its organs with uncontrollable feeling and nature.
The burden of the various parts returned continually upon one or two
simple notes, the deepest and sweetest in the octave for melody, and
occasionally a single voice outran the choir in a passionate
repetition of the air, which seemed less like musical contrivance,
than an abandonment of soul and voice to a preternatural impulse of
devotion. One writes nonsense in describing such things, but there is
no other way of conveying an idea of them. The subject is beyond the
wildest superlatives.

To-day we have again seen the Pope. It was a festa, and the church of
San Carlos was the scene of the ceremonies. His Holiness came in the
state-coach with six long-tailed black horses, and all his cardinals
in their red and gold carriages in his train. The gaudy procession
swept up to the steps, and the father of the church was taken upon the
shoulders of his bearers in a chair of gold and crimson, and solemnly
borne up the aisle, and deposited within the railings of the altar,
where homage was done to him by the cardinals as before, and the
half-supernatural music of his choir awaited his motions. The church
was half filled with soldiers armed to the teeth, and drawn up on
either side, and his body-guard of Roman nobles, stood even within the
railing of the altar, capped and motionless, conveying, as everything
else does, the irresistible impression that it was the worship of the
Pope, not of God.

Gregory the sixteenth, is a small old man, with a large heavy nose,
eyes buried in sluggish wrinkles, and a flushed, apoplectic
complexion. He sits, or is borne about with his eyes shut, looking
quite asleep, even his limbs hanging lifelessly. The gorgeous and
heavy papal costumes only render him more insignificant, and when he
is borne about, buried in his deep chair, or lost in the corner of his
huge black and gold pagoda of a carriage, it is difficult to look at
him without a smile. Among his cardinals, however, there are
magnificent heads, boldly marked, noble and scholarlike, and I may
say, perhaps, that there is no one of them, who had not nature's mark
upon him of superiority. They are a dignified and impressive body of
men, and their servile homage to the Pope, seems unnatural and
disgusting.



LETTER XLV.

     ROME--A MORNING IN THE STUDIO OF THORWALDSEN--COLOSSAL STATUE
     OF THE SAVIOUR--STATUE OF BYRON--GIBSON'S ROOMS--CUPID AND
     PSYCHE--HYLAS WITH THE RIVER NYMPHS--PALAZZO SPADA--STATUE OF
     POMPEY--BORGHESE PALACE--PORTRAIT OF CESAR BORGIA--DOSSI'S
     PSYCHE--SACRED AND PROFANE LOVE--ROOM DEVOTED TO VENUSES--THE
     SOCIETY OF ROME, ETC.


I have spent a morning in the studio of _Thorwaldsen_. He is probably
the greatest sculptor now living. A colossal statue of Christ, thought
by many to be his masterpiece, is the prominent object as you enter.
It is a noble conception--the mild majesty of a Saviour expressed in a
face of the most dignified human beauty. Perhaps his full-length
statue of Byron is inferior to some of his other works, but it
interested me, and I spent most of my time in looking at it. It was
taken from life; and my friend, Mr. Auchmuty, who was with me, and who
had seen Byron frequently on board one of our ships-of-war at Leghorn,
thought it the only faithful likeness he had ever seen. The poet is
dressed oddly enough, in a morning frock coat, cravat, pantaloons, and
shoes; and, unpromising as these materials would seem, the statue is
classic and elegant to a very high degree. His coat is held by the
two centre buttons in front (a more exquisite cut never came from the
hands of a London tailor), swelled out a little above and below by the
fleshy roundness of his figure; his cravat is tied loosely, leaving
his throat bare (which, by the way, both in the statue and the
original, was very beautifully chiselled); and he sits upon a fragment
of a column, with a book in one hand and a pencil in the other. A man
reading a pleasant poem among the ruins of Rome, and looking up to
reflect upon a fine passage before marking it, would assume the
attitude and expression exactly. The face has half a smile upon it,
and, differing from the Apollo faces usually drawn for Byron, is
finer, and more expressive of his character than any I ever met with.
Thorwaldsen is a Dane, and is beloved by every one for his simplicity
and modesty. I did not see him.

We were afterward at _Gibson's_ rooms. This gentleman is an English
artist, apparently about thirty, and full of genius. He has taken some
portraits which are esteemed admirable; but his principal labor has
been thrown upon the most beautiful fables of antiquity. His various
groups and bas-reliefs of Cupid and Psyche are worthy of the beauty of
the story. His _chef d'oeuvre_, I think, is a group of three
figures, representing the boy, "Hylas with the river nymphs." He
stands between them with the pitcher in his hand, startled with their
touch, and listening to their persuasions. The smaller of the two
female figures is an almost matchless conception of loveliness. Gibson
went round with us kindly, and I was delighted with his modesty of
manner, and the apparently completely poetical character of his mind.
He has a noble head, a lofty forehead well marked, and a mouth of
finely mingled strength and mildness.

We devoted this morning to _palaces_. At the _Palazzo Spada_ we saw
the statue of Pompey, at the base of which Cesar fell. Antiquaries
dispute its authenticity, but the evidence is quite strong enough for
a poetical belief; and if it were not, one's time is not lost, for the
statue is a majestic thing, and well worth the long walk necessary to
see it. The mutilated arm, and the hole in the wall behind, remind one
of the ludicrous fantasy of the French, who carried it to the Forum to
enact "Brutus" at its base.

The _Borghese Palace_ is rich in pictures. The portrait of _Cesar
Borgia_, by Titian, is one of the most striking. It represents that
accomplished villain with rather slight features, and, barring a look
of cool determination about his well-formed lips, with rather a
prepossessing countenance. One detects in it the capabilities of such
a character as his, after the original is mentioned; but otherwise he
might pass for a handsome gallant, of no more dangerous trait than a
fiery temper. Just beyond it is a very strong contrast in a figure of
_Psyche_, by Dossi, of Ferrara. She is coming on tiptoe, with the
lamp, to see her lover. The Cupid asleep is not so well done; but for
an image of a real woman, unexaggerated and lovely, I have seen
nothing which pleases me better than this Psyche. Opposite it hangs a
very celebrated Titian, representing "Sacred and Profane Love." Two
female figures are sitting by a well--one quite nude, with her hair
about her shoulders, and the other dressed, and coiffed _a la mode_,
but looking less modest to my eye than her undraped sister. It is
little wonder, however, that a man who could paint his own daughter in
the embraces of a satyr (a revolting picture, which I saw in the
Barberigo palace at Venice) should fail in drawing the face of
Virtue. The coloring of the picture is exquisite, but the design is
certainly a failure.

The last room in the palace is devoted to Venuses--all very naked and
very bad. There might be forty, I think, and not a limb among them
that one's eye would rest upon with the least pleasure for a single
moment.

The society of Rome is of course changing continually. At this
particular season, strangers from every part of the continent are
beginning to arrive, and it promises to be pleasant. I have been at
most of the parties during the fortnight that I have been here, but
find them thronged with priests, and with only the resident society
which is dull. Cards and conversation with people one never saw
before, and will certainly never see again, are heavy pastimes. I
start for Florence to-morrow, and shall return to Rome for Holy Week,
and the spring months.



LETTER XLVI.

     ITALIAN AND AMERICAN SKIES--FALLS OF TERNI--THE CLITUMNUS--THE
     TEMPLE--EFFECTS OF AN EARTHQUAKE AT FOLIGNO--LAKE
     THRASIMENE--JOURNEY FROM ROME--FLORENCE--FLORENTINE
     SCENERY--PRINCE PONIATOWSKI--JEROME BONAPARTE AND FAMILY--WANT
     OF A MINISTER IN ITALY.


I left Rome by the magnificent "Porta del Popolo," as the flush of a
pearly and spotless Italian sunrise deepened over Soracte. They are so
splendid without clouds--these skies of Italy! so deep to the eye, so
radiantly clear! _Clouds_ make the glory of an American sky. The
"Indian summer" sunsets excepted, our sun goes down in New England,
with the extravagance of a theatrical scene. The clouds are massed and
heavy, like piles of gold and fire, and day after day, if you observe
them, you are literally astonished with the brilliant phenomena of the
west. Here, for seven months, we have had no rain. The sun has risen
faultlessly clear, with the same gray, and silver, and rose tints
succeeding each other as regularly as the colors in a turning prism,
and it has set as constantly in orange, gold, and purple, with scarce
the variation of a painter's pallet, from one day to another. It is
really most delightful to live under such heavens as these; to be
depressed never by a gloomy sky, nor ill from a chance exposure to a
chill wind, nor out of humor because the rain or damp keeps you a
prisoner at home. You feel the delicious climate in a thousand ways.
It is a positive blessing, and were worth more than a fortune, if it
were bought and sold. I would rather be poor in Italy, than rich in
any other country in the world.

We ascended the mountain that shuts in the campagna on the north, and
turned, while the horses breathed, to take a last look at Rome. My two
friends, the lieutenants, and myself, occupied the interior of the
vetturino, in company with a young Roman woman, who was making her
first journey from home. She was going to see her husband. I pointed
out of the window to the distant dome of St. Peter's, rising above the
thin smoke hung over the city, and she looked at it with the tears
streaming from her large black eyes in torrents. She might have cried
because she was going to her husband, but I could not divest myself of
the fact that she was a Roman, and leaving a home that _could_ be very
romantically wept for. She was a fine specimen of this finest of the
races of woman--amply proportioned without grossness, and with that
certain presence or dignity that rises above manners and rank, common
to them all.

We saw beautiful scenery at Narni. The town stands on the edge of a
precipice, and the valley, a hundred feet or two below, is coursed by
a wild stream, that goes foaming along its bed in a long line of froth
for miles away. We dined here, and drove afterward to Terni, where the
voiturier stopped for the night, to give us an opportunity to see the
_Falls_.

We drove to the mountain base, three miles, in an old post barouche,
and made the ascent on foot. A line of precipices extends along from
the summit, and from the third or fourth of these leaps the Velino,
clear into the valley. We saw it in front as we went on, and then
followed the road round, till we reached the bed of the river behind.
The fountain of Egeria is not more secludedly beautiful than its
current above the fall. Trees overhang and meet, and flowers spring in
wonderful variety on its banks, and the ripple against the roots is
heard amid the roar of the cataract, like a sweet, clear voice in a
chorus. It is a place in which you half expect to startle a fawn, it
looks so unvisited and wild. We wound out through the shrubbery, and
gained a projecting point, from which we could see the sheet of the
cascade. It is "horribly beautiful" to be sure. Childe Harold's
description of it is as true as a drawing.

I should think the quantity of water at Niagara would make five
hundred such falls as those of Terni, without exaggeration. It is a
"hell of waters," however, notwithstanding, and leaps over with a
current all turned into foam by the roughness of its bed above--a
circumstance that gives the sheet more richness of surface. Two or
three lovely little streams steal off on either side of the fall, as
if they shrunk from the leap, and drop down, from rock to rock, till
they are lost in the rising mist.

The sun set over the little town of Terni, while we stood silently
looking down into the gulf, and the wet spray reminded us that the
most romantic people may take cold. We descended to our carriage; and
in an hour were sitting around the blazing fire at the post-house,
with a motley group of Germans, Swiss, French, and Italians--a mixture
of company universal in the public room of an Italian albergo, at
night. The coming and going vetturini stop at the same houses
throughout, and the concourse is always amusing. We sat till the fire
burned low, and then wishing our chance friends a happy night, had the
"priests"[4] taken from our beds, and were soon lost to everything but
sleep.

Terni was the Italian Tempe, and its beautiful scenery was shown to
Cicero, whose excursion hither is recorded. It is part of a long, deep
valley, between abrupt ranges of mountains, and abounds in loveliness.

We went to Spoleto, the next morning, to breakfast. It is a very old
town, oddly built, and one of its gates still remains, at which
Hannibal was repulsed after his victory at Thrasimene. It bears his
name in time-worn letters.

At the distance of one post from Spoleto we came to the _Clitumnus_, a
small stream, still, deep, and glassy--the clearest water I ever saw.
It looks almost like air. On its bank, facing away from the road,
stands the temple, "of small and delicate proportions," mentioned so
exquisitely by Childe Harold.

The temple of the Clitumnus might stand in a drawing-room. The stream
is a mere brook, and this little marble gem, whose richly fretted
columns were raised to its honor with a feeling of beauty that makes
one thrill, seems exactly of relative proportions. It is a thing of
pure poetry; and to find an antiquity of such perfect preservation,
with the small clear stream running still at the base of its _façade_,
just as it did when Cicero and his contemporaries passed it on their
visits to a country called after the loveliest vale of Greece for its
beauty, was a gratification of the highest demand of taste. Childe
Harold's lesson,

     "Pass not unblest the genius of the place"

was scarce necessary.[5]

We slept at _Foligno_. For many miles we had observed that the houses
were propped in every direction, many of them in ruins apparently
recent, and small wooden sheds erected in the midst of the squares, or
beside the roads, and crowded with the poor. The next morning we
arrived at St. Angelo, and found its gigantic cathedral a heap of
ruins. Its painted chapels, to the number of fifteen or sixteen, were
half standing in the shattered walls, the altars all exposed, and the
interior of the dome one mass of stone and rubbish. It was the first
time I had seen the effects of an _earthquake_. For eight or ten miles
further, we found every house cracked and deserted, and the people
living like the settlers in a new country, half in the open air. The
beggars were innumerable.

We stopped the next night on the shores of lake Thrasimene. For once
in my life, I felt that the time spent at school on the "dull drilled
lesson," had not been wasted. I was on the battle ground of
Hannibal--the "_locus aptus insidiis_" where the consul Flaminius was
snared and beaten by the wily Carthaginian on his march to Rome. I
longed for my old copy of Livy "much thumbed," that I might sit on
the hill and compare the image in my mind, made by his pithy and
sententious description, with the reality.

The battle ground, the scene of the principal slaughter, was beyond
the _albergo_, and the increasing darkness compelled us to defer a
visit to it till the next morning. Meantime the lake was beautiful. We
were on the eastern side, and the deep-red sky of a departed sunset
over the other shore, was reflected glowingly on the water. All around
was dark, but the light in the sky and lake seemed to have forgotten
to follow. It is a phenomenon peculiar to Italy. The heavens seem
"dyed" and steeped in the glory of the sunset.

We drank our host's best bottle of wine, the grape plucked from the
battle ground; and if it was not better for the Roman blood that had
manured its ancestor, it was better for some other reason.

Early the next morning we were on our way, and wound down into the
narrow pass between the lake and the hill, as the sun rose. We crossed
the _Sanguinetto_, a little stream which took its name from the
battle. The principal slaughter was just on its banks, and the hills
are so steep above it, that everybody who fell near must have rolled
into its bed. It crawls on very quietly across the road, its clear
stream scarce interrupted by the wheels of the vetturino, which in
crossing it, passes from the Roman states into Tuscany. I ran a little
up the stream, knelt and drank at a small gurgling fall. The blood of
the old Flaminian Cohort spoiled very delicious water, when it mingled
with that brook.

We were six days and a half accomplishing the hundred and eighty miles
from Rome to Florence--slow travelling--but not too slow in Italy,
where every stone has its story, and every ascent of a hill its twenty
matchless pictures, sprinkled with ruins, as a painter's eye could not
imagine them. We looked down on the Eden-like valley of the Arno at
sunrise, and again my heart leaped to see the tall dome of Florence,
and the hills all about the queenly city, sparkling with palaces and
bright in a sun that shines nowhere so kindly. If there is a spot in
the world that could wean one from his native home, it is Florence!
"Florence the fair," they call her! I have passed four of the seven
months I have been in Italy, here--and I think I shall pass here as
great a proportion of the rest of my life. There is nothing that can
contribute to comfort and pleasure, that is not within the reach of
the smallest means in Florence. I never saw a place where wealth made
less distinction. The choicest galleries of art in the world, are open
to all comers. The palace of the monarch may be entered and visited,
and enjoyed by all. The ducal gardens of the Boboli, rich in
everything that can refine nature, and commanding views that no land
can equal, cooled by fountains, haunted in every grove by statuary,
are the property of the stranger and the citizen alike. Museums,
laboratories, libraries, grounds, palaces, are all free as Utopia. You
may take any pleasure that others can command, and have any means of
instruction, as free as the common air. Where else would one live so
pleasantly--so profitably--so wisely.

The society of Florence is of a very fascinating description. The
Florentine nobles have a _casino_, or club-house, to which most of the
respectable strangers are invited, and balls are given there once a
week, frequently by the duke and his court, and the best society of
the place. I attended one on my first arrival from Rome, at which I
saw a proportion of beauty which astonished me. The female
descendants of the great names in Italian history, seem to me to have
almost without exception the mark of noble beauty by nature. The
loveliest woman in Florence is a _Medici_. The two daughters of
_Capponi_, the patriot and the descendant of patriots, are of the
finest order of beauty. I could instance many others, the mention of
whose names, when I have first seen them, has made my blood start. I
think if Italy is ever to be redeemed, she must owe it to her
daughters. The men, the brothers of these women, with very rare
exceptions, look like the slaves they are, from one end of Italy to
the other.

One of the most hospitable houses here, is that of Prince Poniatowski,
the brother of the hero of Poland. He has a large family, and his
_soirées_ are thronged with all that is fair and distinguished. He is
a venerable, grayheaded old man, of perhaps seventy, very fond of
speaking English, of which rare acquisition abroad he seems a little
vain. He gave me the heartiest welcome as an American, and said he
loved the nation.

I had the honor of dining, a day or two since, with the Ex-King of
Westphalia, Jerome Bonaparte. He lives here with the title of Prince
Montfort, conferred on him by his father-in-law, the king of
Wurtemburg. Americans are well received at this house also; and his
queen, as the prince still calls her, can never say enough in praise
of the family of Mr. H., our former secretary of legation at Paris. It
is a constantly recurring theme, and ends always with "_J'aime
beaucoup les Americains_." The prince resembles his brother, but has a
milder face, and his mouth is less firm and less beautiful than
Napoleon's. His second son is most remarkably like the emperor. He is
about ten years of age; but except his youth, you can detect no
difference between his head and the busts of his uncle. He has a
daughter of about twelve, and an elder son at the university of
Sienna. His family is large as his queen still keeps up her state,
with the ladies of honor and suite. He never goes out, but his house
is open every night, and the best society of Florence may be met there
almost at the _prima sera_, or early part of the evening.

The Grand Duke is about to be married, and the court is to be
unusually gay in the carnival. Our countryman, Mr. Thorn, was
presented some time since, and I am to have that honor in two or three
days. By the way, we feel exceedingly in Italy the want of a
_minister_. There is no accredited agent of our government in Tuscany,
and there are rarely less than three hundred Americans within its
dominions. Fortunately the Marquis Corsi, the grand chamberlain of the
duke, offers to act in the capacity of an ambassador, and neglects
nothing for our advantage in such matters, but he never fails to
express his regret that we should not have some _chargé d'affaires_ at
his court. We have officers in many parts of the world where they are
much less needed.


FOOTNOTES:

[4] The name of a wooden frame by which a pot of coals is hung between
the sheets of a bed in Italy.

[5] As if everything should be poetical on the shores of the
Clitumnus, the beggars ran after us in quartettes, singing a chaunt,
and sustaining the four parts as they ran. Every child sings well in
Italy; and I have heard worse music in a church anthem, than was made
by these half-clothed and homeless wretches, running at full speed by
the carriage-wheels. I have never met the same thing elsewhere.



LETTER XLVII.

     FLORENCE--GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY--THE GRAND CHAMBERLAIN--PRINCE
     DE LIGNE--THE AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR--THE MARQUIS
     TORRIGIANI--LEOPOLD OF TUSCANY--VIEWS OF THE VAL
     D'ARNO--SPLENDID BALL--TREES OF CANDLES--THE DUKE AND
     DUCHESS--HIGHBORN ITALIAN AND ENGLISH BEAUTIES, ETC., ETC.


I was presented to the grand Duke of Tuscany yesterday morning, at a
private audience. As we have no minister at this court, I drove alone
to the ducal palace, and, passing through the body-guard of young
nobles, was met at the door of the ante-chamber by the Marquis Corsi,
the grand chamberlain. Around a blazing fire, in this room, stood five
or six persons, in splendid uniforms, to whom I was introduced on
entering. One was the Prince de Ligne--traveling at present in Italy,
and waiting to be presented by the Austrian ambassador--a young and
remarkably handsome man of twenty-five. He showed a knowledge of
America, in the course of a half hour's conversation, which rather
surprised me, inquiring particularly about the residences and
condition of the United States' ministers whom he had met at the
various courts of Europe. The Austrian ambassador, an old,
wily-looking man, covered with orders, joined in the conversation and
asked after our former minister at Paris, Mr. Brown, remarking that he
had done the United States great credit, during his embassy. He had
known Mr. Gallatin also, and spoke highly of him. Mr. Van Buren's
election to the vice-presidency, after his recall, seemed greatly to
surprise him.

The Prince was summoned to the presence of the Duke, and I remained
some fifteen minutes in conversation with a venerable and
noble-looking man, the Marquis Torrigiani, one of the chamberlains.
His eldest son has lately gone upon his travels in the United States,
in company with Mr. Thorn, an American gentleman living in Florence.
He seemed to think the voyage a great undertaking. Torrigiani is one
of the oldest of the Florentine nobles, and his family is in high
esteem.

As the Austrian minister came out, the Grand Chamberlain came for me,
and I entered the presence of the Duke. He was standing quite alone in
a small, plain room, dressed in a simple white uniform, with a star
upon his breast--a slender, pale, scholar-like looking young man, of
perhaps thirty years. He received me with a pleasant smile, and
crossing his hands behind him, came close to me, and commenced
questioning me about America. The departure of young Torrigiani for
the United States pleased him, and he said he should like to go
himself--"but," said he, "a voyage of three thousand miles and
back--_comment faire!_" and he threw out his hands with a look of mock
despair that was very expressive. He assured me he felt great pleasure
at Mr. Thorn's having taken up his residence in Florence. He had sent
for his whole family a few days before, and promised them every
attention to their comfort during the absence of Mr. Thorn. He said
young Torrigiani was _bien instruit_, and would travel to advantage,
without doubt. At every pause of his inquiries, he looked me full in
the eyes, and seemed anxious to yield me the _parole_ and listen. He
bowed with a smile, after I had been with him perhaps half an hour,
and I took my leave with all the impressions of his character which
common report had given me, quite confirmed. He is said to be the best
monarch in Europe, and it is written most expressively in his mild,
amiable features.

The Duke is very unwilling to marry again, although the crown passes
from his family if he die without a male heir. He has two daughters,
lovely children, between five and seven, whose mother died not quite a
year since. She was unusually beloved, both by her husband and his
subjects, and is still talked of by the people, and never without the
deepest regret. She was very religious, and is said to have died of a
cold taken in doing a severe penance. The Duke watched with her day
and night, till she died; and I was told by the old Chamberlain, that
he cannot yet speak of her without tears.

With the new year, the Grand Duke of Tuscany threw off his mourning.
Not from his countenance, for the sadness of that is habitual; but his
equipages have laid off their black trappings, his grooms and
outriders are in drab and gold, and, more important to us strangers in
his capital, the ducal palace is aired with a weekly reception and
ball, as splendid and hospitable as money and taste can make them.

Leopold of Tuscany is said to be the richest individual in Europe. The
Palazzo Pitti, in which he lives, seems to confirm it. The exterior is
marked with the character of the times in which it was built, and
might be that of a fortress--its long, dark front of roughly-hewn
stone, with its two slight, out-curving wings, bearing a look of more
strength than beauty. The interior is incalculably rich. The suite of
halls on the front side is the home of the choicest and most extensive
gallery of pictures in the world. The tables of inlaid gems and
mosaic, the walls encrusted with relievos, the curious floors, the
drapery--all satiate the eye with sumptuousness. It is built against a
hill, and I was surprised, on the night of the ball, to find myself
alighting from the carriage upon the same floor to which I had mounted
from the front by tediously long staircases. The Duke thus rides in
his carriage to his upper story--an advantage which saves him no
little fatigue and exposure. The gardens of the Boboli, which cover
the hill behind, rise far above the turrets of the palace, and command
glorious views of the Val d'Arno.

The reception hour at the ball was from eight to nine. We were
received at the steps on the garden side of the palace, by a crowd of
servants, in livery, under the orders of a fat major-domo, and passing
through a long gallery, lined with exotics and grenadiers, we arrived
at the anteroom, where the Duke's body-guard of nobles were drawn up
in attendance. The band was playing delightfully in the saloon beyond.
I had arrived late, having been presented a few days before, and
desirous of avoiding the stiffness of the first hour of presentation.
The rooms were in a blaze of light from eight _trees_ of candles,
cypress-shaped, and reaching from the floor to the ceiling, and the
company entirely assembled, crowded them with a dazzling show of
jewels, flowers, feathers, and uniforms.

The Duke and the Grand Duchess (the widow of the late Duke) stood in
the centre of the room, and in the pauses of conversation, the
different ambassadors presented their countrymen. His highness was
dressed in a suit of plain black, probably the worst made clothes in
Florence. With his pale, timid face, his bent shoulders, an
inexpressibly ill-tied cravat, and rank, untrimmed whiskers, he was
the most uncourtly person present. His extreme popularity as a monarch
is certainly very independent of his personal address. His
mother-in-law is about his own age, with marked features, full of
talent, a pale, high forehead, and the bearing altogether of a queen.
She wore a small diadem of the purest diamonds, and with her height
and her flashing jewels, she was conspicuous from every part of the
room. She is a high Catholic, and is said to be bending all her powers
upon the re-establishment of the Jesuits in Florence.

As soon as the presentations were over, the Grand Duke led out the
wife of the English ambassador, and opened the ball with a waltz. He
then danced a quadrille with the wife of the French ambassador, and
for his next partner selected an _American lady_--the daughter of
Colonel T----, of New York.

The supper rooms were opened early, and among the delicacies of a
table loaded with everything rare and luxurious, were a brace or two
of pheasants from the Duke's estates in Germany. Duly flavored with
_truffes_, and accompanied with Rhine wines, which deserved the
conspicuous place given them upon the royal table--and in this letter.

I hardly dare speak of the degree of _beauty_ in the assembly; it is
so difficult to compare a new impression with an old one, and the
thing itself is so indefinite. But there were two persons present
whose extreme loveliness, as it is not disputed even by admiring envy,
may be worth describing, for the sake of the comparison.

The Princess S---- may be twenty-four years of age. She is of the
middle height, with the slight stoop in her shoulders, which is rather
a grace than a fault. Her bust is exquisitely turned, her neck slender
but full, her arms, hands, and feet, those of a Psyche. Her face is
the abstraction of highborn Italian beauty--calm, almost to
indifference, of an indescribably _glowing paleness_--a complexion
that would be alabaster if it were not for the richness of the blood
beneath, betrayed in lips whose depth of color and fineness of curve
seem only too curiously beautiful to be the work of nature. Her eyes
are dark and large, and must have had an indolent expression in her
childhood, but are now the very seat and soul of feeling. A constant
trace of pain mars the beauty of her forehead. She dresses her hair
with a kind of characteristic departure from the mode, parting its
glossy flakes on her brow with nymph-like simplicity, a peculiarity
which one regrets not to see in the too Parisian dress of her person.
In her manner she is strikingly elegant, but without being absent, she
seems to give an unconscious attention to what is about her, and to be
gracious and winning without knowing or intending it, merely because
she could not listen or speak otherwise. Her voice is sweet, and, in
her own Italian, mellow and soft to a degree inconceivable by those
who have not heard this delicious language spoken in its native land.
With all these advantages, and a look of pride that nothing could
insult, there is an expression in her beautiful face that reminds you
of her sex and its temptations, and prepares you fully for the history
which you may hear from the first woman that stands at your elbow.

The other is that English girl of seventeen, shrinking timidly from
the crowd, and leaning with her hands clasped over her father's arm,
apparently listening only to the waltz, and unconscious that every eye
is fixed upon her in admiration. She has lived all her life in Italy,
but has been bred by an English mother, in a retired villa of the Val
d'Arno--her character and feelings are those of her race, and nothing
of Italy about her, but the glow of its sunny clime in the else
spotless snow of her complexion, and an enthusiasm in her downcast eye
that you may account for as you will--it is not English! Her form has
just ripened into womanhood. The bust still wants fullness, and the
step confidence. Her forehead is rather too intellectual to be
maidenly; but the droop of her singularly long eye-lashes over eyes
that elude the most guarded glance of your own, and the modest
expression of her lips closed but not pressed together, redeem her
from any look of conscious superiority, and convince you that she only
seeks to be unobserved. A single ringlet of golden brown hair falls
nearly to her shoulder, catching the light upon its glossy curves with
an effect that would enchant a painter. Lilies of the valley, the
first of the season, are in her bosom and her hair, and she might be
the personification of the flower for delicacy and beauty. You are
only disappointed in talking with her. She expresses herself with a
nerve and self-command, which, from a slight glance, you did not
anticipate. She shrinks from the general eye, but in conversation she
is the high-minded woman more than the timid child for which her
manner seems to mark her. In either light, she is the very presence of
purity. She stands by the side of her not less beautiful rival, like a
Madonna by a Magdalen--both seem not at home in the world, but only
one could have dropped from heaven.



LETTER XLVIII.

     VALLOMBROSA--ITALIAN OXEN--CONVENT--SERVICE IN THE
     CHAPEL--HOUSE OCCUPIED BY MILTON.


I left Florence for Vallombrosa at daylight on a warm summer's
morning, in company with four ladies. We drove along the northern bank
of the Arno for four or five miles, passing several beautiful villas,
belonging to the Florentine nobles; and, crossing the river by a
picturesque bridge, took the road to the village of Pelago, which lies
at the foot of the mountain, and is the farthest point to which a
carriage can mount. It is about fourteen miles from Florence, and the
ascent thence to the convent is nearly three.

We alighted in the centre of the village, in the midst of a ragged
troop of women and children, among whom were two idiot beggars; and,
while the preparations were making for our ascent, we took chairs in
the open square around a basket of cherries, and made a delicious
luncheon of fruit and bread, very much to the astonishment of some two
hundred spectators.

Our conveyances appeared in the course of half an hour, consisting of
two large baskets, each drawn by a pair of oxen and containing two
persons, and a small Sardinian pony. The ladies seated themselves with
some hesitation in their singular sledges; I mounted the pony, and we
made a dusty exit from Pelago, attended to the gate by our gaping
friends, who bowed, and wished us the _bon viaggio_ with more
gratitude than three Tuscan _crazie_ would buy, I am sure, in any
other part of the world.

The gray oxen of Italy are quite a different race from ours, much
lighter and quicker, and in a small vehicle they will trot off five or
six miles in the hour as freely as a horse. They are exceedingly
beautiful. The hide is very fine, of a soft squirrel gray, and as
sleek and polished often as that of a well-groomed courser. With their
large, bright, intelligent eyes, high-lifted heads, and open nostrils,
they are among the finest-looking animals in the world in motion. We
soon came to the steep path, and the facility with which our singular
equipages mounted was surprising. I followed, as well as I could, on
my diminutive pony, my feet touching the ground, and my balance
constantly endangered by the contact of stumps and stones--the
hard-mouthed little creature taking his own way, in spite of every
effort of mine to the contrary.

We stopped to breathe in a deep, cool glen, which lay across our path,
the descent into which was very difficult. The road through the bottom
of it ran just above the bank of a brook, into which poured a pretty
fall of eight or ten feet, and with the spray-wet grass beneath, and
the full-leaved chestnuts above, it was as delicious a spot for a rest
in a summer noontide as I ever saw. The ladies took out their pencils
and sketched it, making a group themselves the while, which added all
the picture wanted.

The path wound continually about in the deep woods, with which the
mountain is covered, and occasionally from an opening we obtained a
view back upon the valley of the Arno, which was exceedingly fine. We
came in sight of the convent in about two hours, emerging from the
shade of the thick chestnuts into a cultivated lawn, fenced and mown
with the nicety of the grass-plot before a cottage, and entering upon
a smooth, well-swept pavement, approached the gate of the
venerable-looking pile, as anxious for the refreshment of its
far-famed hospitality as ever pilgrims were.

An old cheerful-looking monk came out to meet us, and shaking hands
with the ladies very cordially, assisted in extracting them from their
cramped conveyances. He then led the way to a small stone cottage, a
little removed from the convent, quoting gravely by the way the law of
the order against the entrance of females over the monastic threshold.
We were ushered into a small, neat parlor, with two bedrooms
communicating, and two of the servants of the monastery followed, with
water and snow-white napkins, the _padre degli forestieri_, as they
called the old monk, who received us, talking most volubly all the
while.

The cook appeared presently with a low reverence, and asked what we
would like for dinner. He ran over the contents of the larder before
we had time to answer his question, enumerating half a dozen kinds of
game, and a variety altogether that rather surprised our ideas of
monastical severity. His own rosy gills bore testimony that it was not
the kitchen of Dennis Bulgruddery.

While dinner was preparing, Father Gasparo proposed a walk. An avenue
of the most majestic trees opened immediately away from the little
lawn before the cottage door. We followed it perhaps half a mile round
the mountain, threading a thick pine forest, till we emerged on the
edge of a shelf of greensward, running just under the summit of the
hill. From this spot the view was limited only by the power of the
eye. The silver line of the Mediterranean off Leghorn is seen hence on
a clear day, between which and the mountain lie sixty or seventy
miles, wound into the loveliest undulations by the course of the Arno.
The vale of this beautiful river, in which Florence stands, was just
distinguishable as a mere dell in the prospect. It was one of the
sultriest days of August, but the air was vividly fresh, and the sun,
with all the strength of the climate of Italy, was unoppressive. We
seated ourselves on the small fine grass of the hillside, and with the
good old monk narrating passages of his life, enjoyed the glorious
scene till the cook's messenger summoned us back to dinner.

We were waited upon at table by two young servitors of the convent,
with shaven crowns and long black cassocks, under the direction of
Father Gasparo, who sat at a little distance, entertaining us with his
inexhaustible stories till the bell rung for the convent supper. The
dinner would have graced the table of an emperor. Soup, beef, cutlets,
ducks, woodcocks, followed each other, cooked in the most approved
manner, with all the accompaniments established by taste and usage;
and better wine, white and red, never was pressed from the Tuscan
grape. The dessert was various and plentiful; and while we were
sitting, after the good father's departure, wondering at the luxuries
we had found on a mountain-top, strong coffee and _liqueurs_ were set
before us, both of the finest flavor.

I was to sleep myself in the convent. Father Gasparo joined us upon
the wooden bench in the avenue, where we were enjoying a brilliant
sunset, and informed me that the gates shut at eight. The vesper-bell
soon rung, echoing round from the rocks, and I bade my four companions
good night, and followed the monk to the cloisters. As we entered the
postern, he asked me whether I would go directly to the cell, or
attend first the service in the chapel, assisting my decision at the
same time by gently slipping his arm through mine and drawing me
toward the cloth door, from which a strong peal of the organ was
issuing.

We lifted the suspended curtain, and entered a chapel so dimly lit,
that I could only judge of its extent from the reverberations of the
music. The lamps were all in the choir, behind the altar, and the
shuffling footsteps of the gathering monks approached it from every
quarter. Father Gasparo led me to the base of a pillar, and telling me
to kneel, left me and entered the choir, where he was lost in the
depth of one of the old richly-carved seats for a few minutes,
appearing again with thirty or forty others, who rose and joined in
the chorus of the chant, making the hollow roof ring with the deep
unmingled base of their voices.

I stood till I was chilled, listening to the service, and looking at
the long line of monks rising and sitting, with their monotonous
changes of books and positions, and not knowing which way to go for
warmth or retirement. I wandered up and down the dim church during the
remaining hour, an unwilling, but not altogether an unamused spectator
of the scene. The performers of the service, with the exception of
Father Gasparo, were young men from sixteen to twenty; but during my
slow turns to and fro on the pavement of the church, fifteen or twenty
old monks entered, and, with a bend of the knee before the altar went
off into the obscure corners, and knelt motionless at prayer, for
almost an hour. I could just distinguish the dark outline of their
figures when my eye became accustomed to the imperfect light, and I
never saw a finer spectacle of religious devotion.

The convent clock struck ten, and shutting up their "clasped missals,"
the young monks took their cloaks about them, bent their knees in
passing the altar, and disappeared by different doors. Father Gasparo
was the last to depart, and our footsteps echoed as we passed through
the long cloisters to the cell appropriated for me. We opened one of
some twenty small doors, and I was agreeably surprised to find a
supper of cold game upon the table, with a bottle of wine, and two
plates--the monk intending to give me his company at supper. The cell
was hung round with bad engravings of the Virgin, the death of
martyrs, crosses, &c., and a small oaken desk stood against the wall
beneath a large crucifix, with a prayer-book upon it. The bed was
high, ample, and spotlessly white, and relieved the otherwise
comfortless look of a stone floor and white-washed walls. I felt the
change from summer heat to the keen mountain air, and as I shivered
and buttoned my coat, my gay guest threw over me his heavy black cowl
of cloth--a dress that, with its closeness and numerous folds, would
keep one warm in Siberia. Adding to it his little black scull-cap, he
told me, with a hearty laugh, that but for a certain absence of
sanctity in the expression of my face, and the uncanonical length of
my hair, I looked the monk complete. We had a merry supper. The wine
was of a choicer vintage than that we had drank at dinner, and the
father answered, upon my discovery of its merits, that he _never
wasted it upon women_.

In the course of the conversation, I found out that my entertainer was
a kind of butler, or head-servitor of the convent, and that the great
body of the monks were of noble lineage. The feeling of pride still
remains among them from the days when the Certosa of Vallombrosa was a
residence for princes, before its splendid pictures were pillaged by a
foreign army, its wealth scattered, and its numbers diminished. "In
those days," said the monk, "we received nothing for our hospitality
but the pleasure it gave us"--relieving my mind, by the remark, of
what I looked forward to at parting as a delicate point.

My host left me at midnight, and I went to bed, and slept under a
thick covering in an Italian August. "The blanched linen, white and
lavendered," seemed to have a peculiar charm, for though I had
promised to meet my excluded companions at sunrise, on the top of the
mountain, I slept soundly till nine, and was obliged to breakfast
alone in the refectory of the convent.

We were to dine at three, and start for Florence at four the next day,
and we spent our morning in traversing the mountain paths, and getting
views on every side. Fifty or a hundred feet above the convent,
perched on a rock like an eyry, stands a small building in which
Milton is supposed to have lived, during his six weeks sojourn at the
convent. It is now fitted up as a nest of small chapels--every one of
its six or eight little chambers having an altar. The ladies were not
permitted to enter it. I selected the room I presumed the poet must
have chosen--the only one commanding the immense view to the west,
and, looking from the window, could easily feel the truth of his
simile, "thick as leaves in Vallombrosa." It is a mountain of foliage.

Another sumptuous dinner was served, Father Gasparo sitting by, even
more voluble than before, the baskets and the pony were brought to the
door, and we bade farewell to the old monk with more regret than a
day's acquaintance often produces. We reached our carriage in an hour,
and were in Florence at eight--having passed, by unanimous opinion,
the two brightest days in our calendar of travel.



LETTER XLIX.

     HOUSE OF MICHAEL ANGELO--THE ANCIENT CHURCH OF SAN
     MINIATO--MADAME CATALANI--WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR--MIDNIGHT MASS,
     ETC.


I went with a party this morning to visit _the house of Michael
Angelo_. It stands as he lived in it, in the Via Ghibellini, and is
still in possession of his descendants. It is a neat building of three
stories, divided on the second floor into three rooms, shown as those
occupied by the painter, sculptor, and poet. The first is panelled and
painted by his scholars after his death--each picture representing
some incident of his life. There are ten or twelve of these, and
several of them are highly beautiful. One near the window represents
him in his old age on a visit to "Lorenzo the Magnificent," who
commands him to sit in his presence. The Duke is standing before his
chair, and the figure of the old man is finely expressive.

The next room appears to have been his parlor, and the furniture is
exactly as it stood when he died. In one corner is placed a bust of
him in his youth, with his face perfect; and opposite, another, taken
from a cast after his nose was broken by a fellow painter in the
church of the Carmine. There are also one or two portraits of him, and
the resemblance through them all, shows that the likeness we have of
him in the engravings are uncommonly correct.

In the inner room, which was his studio, they show his pallet,
brushes, pots, maul-sticks, slippers, and easel--all standing
carelessly in the little closets around, as if he had left them but
yesterday. The walls are painted in fresco, by Angelo himself, and
represent groups of all the distinguished philosophers, poets and
statesmen of his time. Among them are the heads of Petrarch, Dante,
Galileo, and Lorenzo de Medici. It is a noble gallery! perhaps a
hundred heads in all.

The descendant of Buonarotti is now an old man, and fortunately rich
enough to preserve the house of his great ancestor as an object of
curiosity. He has a son, I believe studying the arts at Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a beautiful hill which ascends directly from one of the southern
gates of Florence, stands a church built so long ago as at the close
of the first century. The gate, church, and hill, are all called San
Miniato, after a saint buried under the church pavement. A large, and
at present flourishing convent, hangs on the side of the hill below,
and around the church stand the walls of a strong fortress, built by
Michael Angelo. A half mile or more south, across a valley, an old
tower rises against the sky, which was erected for the observations of
Galileo. A mile to the left, on the same ridge, an old villa is to be
seen in which Boccaccio wrote most of his "Hundred Tales of Love."
The Arno comes down from Vallombrosa, and passing through Florence at
the foot of San Miniato, is seen for three miles further on its way to
Pisa; the hill, tower, and convent of Fiesole, where Milton studied
and Catiline encamped with his conspirators, rise from the opposite
bank of the river; and right below, as if you could leap into the
lantern of the dome, nestles the lovely city of Florence, in the lap
of the very brightest vale that ever mountain sheltered or river ran
through. Such are the temptations to a _walk in Italy_, and add to it
the charms of the climate, and you may understand one of a hundred
reasons why it is the land of poetry and romance, and why it so easily
becomes the land of a stranger's affection.

The villas which sparkle all over the hills which lean unto Florence,
are occupied mainly by foreigners living here for health or luxury,
and most of them are known and visited by the floating society of the
place. Among them are Madame Catalani, the celebrated singer, who
occupies a beautiful palace on the ascent of Fiesole, and Walter
Savage Landor, the author of the "Imaginary Conversations," as refined
a scholar perhaps as is now living, who is her near neighbor. A
pleasant family of my acquaintance lives just back of the fortress of
San Miniato, and in walking out to them with a friend yesterday, I
visited the church again, and remarked more particularly the features
of the scene I have described.

The church of San Miniato was built by Henry I. of Germany, and
Cunegonde his wife. The front is pretty--a kind of mixture of Greek
and Arabic architecture, crusted with marble. The interior is in the
style of the primitive churches, the altar standing in what was called
the _presbytery_, a high platform occupying a third of the nave, with
two splendid flights of stairs of the purest white marble. The most
curious part of it is the rotunda in the rear, which is lit by five
windows of transparent oriental alabaster, each eight or nine feet
high and three broad, in single slabs. The sun shone full on one of
them while we were there, and the effect was inconceivably rich. It
was like a sheet of half molten gold and silver. The transparency of
course was irregular, but in the yellow spots of the stone the light
came through like the effect of deeply stained glass.

A partly subterranean chapel, six or eight feet lower than the
pavement of the church, extends under the presbytery. It is a
labyrinth of marble columns which support the platform above, no two
of which are alike. The ancient cathedral of Modena is the only church
I have seen in Italy built in the same manner.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _midnight mass_ on "Christmas eve," is abused in all catholic
countries, I believe, as a kind of saturnalia of gallantry. I joined a
party of young men who were leaving a ball for the church of the
Annunciata, the fashionable rendezvous, and we were set down at the
portico when the mass was about half over. The entrances of the open
vestibule were thronged to suffocation. People of all ages and
conditions were crowding in and out, and the sound of the distant
chant at the altar came to our ears as we entered, mingled with every
tone of address and reply from the crowd about us. The body of the
church was quite obscured with the smoke of the incense. We edged our
way on through the press, carried about in the open area of the church
by every tide that rushed in from the various doors, till we stopped
in a thick eddy in the centre, almost unable to stir a limb. I could
see the altar very clearly from this point, and I contented myself
with merely observing what was about me, leaving my motions to the
impulse of the crowd.

It was a curiously mingled scene. The ceremonies of the altar were
going on in all their mysterious splendor. The waving of censers, the
kneeling and rising of the gorgeously clad priests, accompanied
simultaneously by the pealing of solemn music from the different
organs--the countless lights burning upon the altar, and, ranged
within the paling, a semicircle of the duke's grenadiers, standing
motionless, with their arms presented, while the sentinel paced to and
fro, and all kneeling, and grounding arms at the tinkle of the slight
bell--were the materials for the back-ground of the picture. In the
immense area of the church stood perhaps, four thousand people, one
third of whom, doubtless, came to worship. Those who did and those who
did not, dropped alike upon the marble pavement at the sound of the
bell; and then, as I was heretic enough to stand, I had full
opportunity for observing both devotion and intrigue. The latter was
amusingly managed. Almost all the pretty and young women were
accompanied by an ostensible duenna, and the methods of eluding their
vigilance in communication were various. I had detected under a
_blond_ wig, in entering, the young ambassador of a foreign court, who
being _cavaliere servente_ to one of the most beautiful women in
Florence, certainly had no right to the amusement of the hour. We had
been carried up the church in the same tide, and when the whole crowd
were prostrate, I found him just beyond me, slipping a card into the
shoe of an uncommonly pretty girl kneeling before him. She was
attended by both father and mother apparently, but as she gave no sign
of surprise, except stealing an almost imperceptible glance behind
her, I presumed she was not offended. I passed an hour, perhaps, in
amused observation of similar matters, most of which could not be well
described on paper. It is enough to say, that I do not think more
dissolute circumstances accompanied the worship of Venus in the most
defiled of heathen temples.



LETTER L.

     FLORENCE--VISIT TO THE CHURCH OF SAN GAETANO--PENITENTIAL
     PROCESSIONS--THE REFUGEE CARLISTS--THE MIRACLE OF RAIN--CHURCH
     OF THE ANNUNCIATA--TOMB OF GIOVANNI DI BOLOGNA--MASTERPIECE OF
     ANDREA DEL SARTO, ETC., ETC.


I heard the best passage of the opera of "Romeo and Juliet"
delightfully played in the church of _San Gaetano_ this morning. I was
coming from the _café_, where I had been breakfasting, when the sound
of the organ drew me in. The communion was administering at one of the
side chapels, the showy Sunday mass was going on at the great altar,
and the numerous confession boxes were full of penitents, _all
female_, as usual. As I took a seat near the communicants, the sacred
wafer was dipped into the cup and put into the mouth of a young woman
kneeling before the railing. She rose soon after, and I was not
lightly surprised to find it was a certain errand-girl of a bachelor's
washerwoman, as unfit a person for the holy sacrament as wears a
petticoat in Florence.

I was drawn by the agreeable odor of the incense to the paling of the
high altar. The censers were flung by unseen hands from the doors of
the sacristy at the sides, and an unseen chorus of boys in the choir
behind, broke in occasionally with the high-keyed chant that echoes
with its wild melody from every arch and corner of these immense
churches. It seems running upon the highest note that the ear can
bear, and yet nothing could be more musical. A man knelt on the
pavement near me, with two coarse baskets beside him, and the traces
of long and dirty travel from his heels to his hips. He had stopped in
to the mass, probably, on his way to market. There can be no greater
contrast than that seen in Catholic churches, between the splendor of
architecture, renowned pictures, statues and ornaments of silver and
gold, and the crowd of tattered, famished, misery-marked worshippers
that throng them. I wonder it never occurs to them, that the costly
pavement upon which they kneel might feed and clothe them.[6]

Penitential processions are to be met all over Florence to-day, on
account of the uncommon degree of sickness. One of them passed under
my window just now. They are composed of people of all classes, upon
whom it is inflicted as a penance by the priests. A white robe covers
them entirely, even the face, and, with their eyes glaring through the
two holes made for that purpose, they look like processions of
shrouded corpses. Eight of the first carry burning candles of six feet
in length, and a company in the rear have the church books, from which
they chant, the whole procession joining in a melancholy chorus of
three notes. It rains hard to-day, and their white dresses cling to
them with a ludicrously ungraceful effect.

Florence is an unhealthful climate in the winter. The tramontane winds
come down from the Appenines so sharply, that delicate constitutions,
particularly those liable to pulmonary complaints, suffer invariably.
There has been a dismal mortality among the Italians. The Marquis
Corsi, who presented me at court a week ago (the last day he was out,
and the last duty he performed), lies in state, at this moment, in the
church of Santa Trinita, and another of the duke's counsellors of
state died a few days before. His prime minister, Fossombroni, is
dangerously ill also, and all of the same complaint, the _mal di
petto_, as it is called, or disease of the lungs. Corsi is a great
loss to Americans. He was the grand chamberlain of court, wealthy and
hospitable, and took particular pride in fulfilling the functions of
an American ambassador. He was a courtier of the old school,
accomplished, elegant, and possessed of universal information.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _refugee Carlists_ are celebrating to-day, in the church of Santa
Maria Novella, the anniversary of the death of _Louis XVI_. The bishop
of Strasbourg is here, and is performing high mass for the soul of the
"_martyr_," as they term him. Italy is full of the more aristocratic
families of France, and it has become _mauvais ton_ in society to
advocate the present government of France, or even its principles.
They detest Louis Philippe with the virulence of a deadly private
enmity, and declare universally, that they will exile themselves till
they can return to overthrow him. Among the refugees are great numbers
of young men, who are sent away from home with a chivalrous devotion
to the cause of the Duchess of Berri, which they avow so constantly in
the circles of Italian society, that she seems the exclusive heroine
of the day. There was nothing seen of the French exquisites in
Florence for a week after she was taken. They were in mourning for the
misfortune of their mistress.

       *       *       *       *       *

All Florence is ringing with _the miracle_. The city fountains have
for some days been dry, and the whole country was suffering for rain.
_The day before the moon changed_, the procession began, and the day
after, when the sky was full of clouds, the holy picture in the church
of the Annunciata, "painted by St. Luke himself," was solemnly
uncovered. The result was the present miracle of _rain_, and the
priests are preaching upon it from every pulpit. The _padrone_ of my
lodgings came in this morning, and told me the circumstances with the
most serious astonishment.

I joined the crowd this morning, who are still thronging up the _via
de Servi_ to the church of the Annunciata at all hours of the day. The
square in front of the church was like a fair--every nook occupied
with the little booths of the sellers of rosaries, saints books, and
pictures. We were assailed by a troop of pedlars at the door, holding
leaden medals and crucifixes, and crying, at the top of their voices,
for _fidele Christiani_ to spend a crazie for the love of God.

After crowding up the long cloister with a hundred or two of wretches,
steaming from the rain, and fresh from every filthy occupation in the
city, we were pushed under the suspended leather door, and reached the
nave of the church. In the slow progress we made toward the altar, I
had full opportunity to study the fretted-gold ceiling above me, the
masterly pictures in the side chapels, the statuary, carving, and
general architecture. Description can give you no idea of the waste
of splendor in these places.

I stood at last within sight of the miraculous picture. It is painted
in fresco, above an altar surrounded with a paling of bronze and
marble projecting into the body of the church. Eight or ten massive
silver lamps, each one presented by some _trade_ in Florence, hung
from the roof of the chapel, burning with a dusky glare in the
daylight. A grenadier, with cap and musket, stood on each side of the
bronze gate, repressing the eager rush of the crowd. Within, at the
side of the altar, stood the officiating priest, a man with a look of
intellect and nobleness on his fine features and lofty forehead, that
seemed irreconcilable with the folly he was performing. The devotees
came in, one by one, as they were admitted by the sentinel, knelt,
offered their rosary to the priest, who touched it to the frame of the
picture with one hand, and received their money with the other, and
then crossing themselves, and pressing the beads to their bosom,
passed out at the small door leading into the cloisters.

As the only chance of seeing the picture, I bought a rosary for two
crazie (about three cents), and pressed into the throng. In a half
hour it came to my turn to pass the guard. The priest took my silver
paul, and while he touched the beads to the picture, I had a moment to
look at it nearly. I could see nothing but a confused mass of black
paint, with an indistinct outline of the head of the Madonna in the
centre. The large spiked rays of glory standing out from every side
were all I could see in the imperfect light. The richness of the
chapel itself, however, was better worth the trouble to see. It is
quite encrusted with silver. Silver _bassi relievi_, two silver
candelabra, six feet in height, two very large silver statues of
angels, a _ciborio_ (enclosing a most exquisite head of our Saviour,
by _Andrea del Sarto_), a massive silver cornice sustaining a heavily
folded silver curtain, and silver lilies and lamps in any quantity all
around. I wonder, after the plundering of the church of San Antonio,
at Padua, that these useless riches escaped Napoleon.

How some of the priests, who are really learned and clever men, can
lend themselves to such barefaced imposture as this miracle, it is
difficult to conceive. The picture has been kept as a doer of these
miracles, perhaps for a century. It is never uncovered in vain.
Supernatural results are certain to follow, and it is done as often as
they dare to make a fresh draught on the credulity and money of the
people. The story is as follows: "A certain Bartolomeo, while painting
a fresco of the annunciation, being at a loss how to make the
countenance of the Madonna properly seraphic, fell asleep while
pondering over his work; and, on waking, found it executed in a style
he was unable to equal." I can only say that St. Luke, or the angel,
or whoever did it, was a very indifferent draughtsman. It is ill
drawn, and whatever the colors might have been upon the pallet of the
sleepy painter, they were not made immortal by angelic use. It is a
mass of confused black.

I was glad to get away from the crowd and their mummery, and pay a new
tribute of reverence at the tomb of _Giovanni di Bologna_. He is
buried behind the grand altar, in a chapel ornamented at his own
expense, and with his own inimitable works. Six bas-reliefs in bronze,
than which life itself is not more natural, represent different
passages of our Saviour's history. They were done for the Grand Duke,
who, at the death of the artist, liberally gave them to ornament his
tomb. After the authors of the Venus and the Apollo Belvidere, John of
Bologna is, in my judgment, the greatest of sculptors. His _mounting
Mercury_, in the Florence gallery, might have been a theft from heaven
for its divine beauty.

In passing out by the cloisters of the adjoining convent, I stopped a
moment to see the fresco of the _Madonna del Sacco_, said to have been
the masterpiece of _Andrea del Sarto_. Michael Angelo and Raphael are
said to have "gazed at it unceasingly." It is much defaced, and
preserves only its graceful drawing. The countenance of Mary has the
_beau reste_ of singular loveliness. The models of this delightful
artist (who, by the way, is buried in the vestibule of this same
church), must have been the most beautiful in the world. All his
pictures move the heart.


FOOTNOTE:

[6] The Tuscans, who are the best governed people in Italy, pay
_twenty per cent._ of their property in taxes--paying the whole value
of their estates, of course, in five years. The extortions of the
priests, added to this, are sufficiently burdensome.



LETTER LI.

     FLORENTINE PECULIARITIES--SOCIETY--BALLS--DUCAL
     ENTERTAINMENTS--PRIVILEGE OF STRANGERS--FAMILIES OF HIGH
     RANK--THE EXCLUSIVES--SOIREES--PARTIES OF A RICH
     BANKER--PEASANT BEAUTY--VISITERS OF A BARONESS--AWKWARD
     DEPORTMENT OF A PRINCE--A CONTENTED MARRIED LADY--HUSBANDS,
     CAVALIERS, AND WIVES--PERSONAL MANNERS--HABITS OF SOCIETY,
     ETC.


I am about starting on my second visit to Rome, after having passed
nearly three months in Florence. As I have seen most of the society of
this gayest and fairest of the Italian cities, it may not be
uninteresting to depart a little from the traveller's routine by
sketching a feature or two.

Florence is a resort for strangers from every part of the world. The
gay society is a mixture of all nations, of whom one third may be
Florentine, one third English, and the remaining part equally divided
between Russians, Germans, French, Poles, and Americans. The English
entertain a great deal, and give most of the balls and dinner parties.
The Florentines seldom trouble themselves to give parties, but are
always at home for visits in the _prima sera_ (from seven till nine),
and in their box at the opera. They go, without scruple, to all the
strangers' balls, considering courtesy repaid, perhaps, by the weekly
reception of the Grand Duke, and a weekly ball at the club-house of
young Italian noblemen.

The ducal entertainments occur every Tuesday, and are the most
splendid of course. The foreign ministers present all of their
countrymen who have been presented at their own courts, and the
company is necessarily more select than elsewhere. The Florentines who
go to court are about seven hundred, of whom half are invited on each
week--strangers, when once presented, having the double privilege of
coming uninvited to all. There are several Italian families, of the
highest rank, who are seen only here; but, with the single exception
of one unmarried girl, of uncommon beauty, who bears a name celebrated
in Italian history, they are no loss to general society. Among the
foreigners of rank, are three or four German princes, who play high
and waltz well, and are remarkable for nothing else; half a dozen
star-wearing dukes, counts, and marquises, of all nations and in any
quantity, and a few English noblemen and noble ladies--only the latter
nation showing their blood at all in their features and bearing.

The most exclusive society is that of the Prince Montfort (Jerome
Bonaparte), whose splendid palace is shut entirely against the
English, and difficult of access to all. He makes a single exception
in favor of a descendant of the Talbots, a lady whose beauty might be
an apology for a much graver departure from rule. He has given two
grand entertainments since the carnival commenced, to which nothing
was wanting but people to enjoy them. The immense rooms were flooded
with light, the music was the best Florence could give, the supper
might have supped an army--stars and red ribands entered with every
fresh comer, but it looked like a "banquet hall deserted." Some thirty
ladies, and as many men, were all that Florence contained worthy of
the society of the Ex-King. A kinder man in his manners, however, or
apparently a more affectionate husband and father, I never saw. He
opened the dance by waltzing with the young Princess, his daughter, a
lovely girl of fourteen, of whom he seems fond to excess, and he was
quite the gayest person in the company till the ball was over. The
Ex-Queen, who is a miracle of size, sat on a divan, with her ladies of
honor about her, following her husband with her eyes, and enjoying his
gayety with the most childish good humor.

The Saturday evening _soirées_, at Prince Poniatowski's (a brother of
the hero), are perhaps as agreeable as any in Florence. He has several
grown-up sons and daughters married, and, with a very sumptuous palace
and great liberality of style, he has made his parties more than
usually valued. His eldest daughter is the leader of the fashion, and
his second is the "cynosure of all eyes." The old Prince is a tall,
bent, venerable man, with snow-white hair, and very peculiarly marked
features. He is fond of speaking English, and professes a great
affection for America.

Then there are the _soirées_ of the rich banker, Fenzi, which, as they
are subservient to business, assemble all ranks on the common
pretensions of interest. At the last, I saw, among other curiosities,
a young girl of eighteen from one of the more common families of
Florence--a fine specimen of the peasant beauty of Italy. Her heavily
moulded figure, hands, and feet, were quite forgiven when you looked
at her dark, deep, indolent eye, and glowing skin, and strongly-lined
mouth and forehead. The society was evidently new to her, but she had
a manner quite beyond being astonished. It was the kind of _animal
dignity_ so universal in the lower classes of this country.

A German baroness of high rank receives on the Mondays, and here one
sees foreign society in its highest coloring. The prettiest woman that
frequents her parties, is a Genoese marchioness, who has _left her
husband_ to live with a Lucchese count, who has _left his wife_. He is
a very accomplished man, with the look of Mephistopheles in the
"Devil's Walk," and she is certainly a most fascinating woman. She is
received in most of the good society of Florence--a severe, though a
very just comment on its character. A Prince, the brother of the King
of ----, divided the attention of the company with her last Monday. He
is a tall, military-looking man, with very bad manners, ill at ease,
and impudent at the same time. He entered with his suite in the middle
of a song. The singer stopped, the company rose, the Prince swept
about, bowing like a dancing-master, and, after the sensation had
subsided, the ladies were taken up and presented to him, one by one.
He asked them all the same question, stayed through two songs, which
he spoiled by talking loudly all the while, and then bowed himself out
in the same awkward style, leaving everybody more happy for his
departure.

One gains little by his opportunities of meeting Italian ladies in
society. The _cavaliere servente_ flourishes still as in the days of
Beppo, and it is to him only that the lady condescends to _talk_.
There is a delicate, refined-looking, little marchioness here, who is
remarkable as being the only known Italian lady without a cavalier.
They tell you, with an amused smile, "that she is content with her
husband." It really seems to be a business of real love between the
lady of Italy and her cavalier. Naturally enough too--for her parents
marry her without consulting her at all, and she selects a friend
afterward, as ladies in other countries select a lover who is to end
in a husband. The married couple are never seen together by any
accident, and the lady and her cavalier never apart. The latter is
always invited with her as a matter of course, and the husband, if
there is room, or if he is not forgotten. She is insulted if asked
without a cavalier, but is quite indifferent whether her husband goes
with her or not. These are points _really settled_ in the policy of
society, and the rights of the cavalier are specified in the marriage
contracts. I had thought, until I came to Italy, that such things were
either a romance, or customs of an age gone by.

I like very much the personal manners of the Italians. They are mild
and courteous to the farthest extent of looks and words. They do not
entertain, it is true, but their great dim rooms are free to you
whenever you can find them at home, and you are at liberty to join the
gossiping circle around the lady of the house, or sit at the table and
read, or be silent unquestioned. You are _let alone_, if you seem to
choose it, and it is neither commented on, nor thought uncivil, and
this I take to be a grand excellence in manners.

The society is dissolute, I think, almost without an exception. The
English fall into its habits, with the difference that they do not
conceal it so well, and have the appearance of knowing its
wrong--which the Italians have not. The latter are very much shocked
at the want of propriety in the management of the English. To suffer
the particulars of an intrigue to get about is a worse sin, in their
eyes, than any violation of the commandments. It is scarce possible
for an American to conceive the universal corruption of a society
like this of Florence, though, if he were not told of it he would
think it all that was delicate and attractive. There are external
features in which the society of our own country is far less
scrupulous and proper.



LETTER LII.

     SIENNA--POGGIOBONSI--BONCONVENTO--ENCOURAGEMENT OF FRENCH
     ARTISTS BY THEIR GOVERNMENT--ACQUAPENDENTE--POOR BEGGAR, THE
     ORIGINAL OF A SKETCH BY COLE--BOLSENA--VOLSCENIUM--SCENERY--
     CURIOUS STATE OF THE CHESTNUT WOODS.


SIENNA.--A day and a half on my second journey to Rome. With a party
of four nations inside, and two strangers, probably Frenchmen, in the
cabriolet, we have jogged on at some three miles in the hour, enjoying
the lovely scenery of these lower Appenines at our leisure. We slept
last night at Poggiobonsi, a little village on a hill-side, and
arrived at Sienna for our mid-day rest. I pencil this note after an
hour's ramble over the city, visiting once more the cathedral, with
its encrusted marbles and naked graces, and the shell-shaped square in
the centre of the city, at the rim of which the eight principal
streets terminate. There is a fountain in the midst, surrounded with
_bassi relievi_ much disfigured. It was mentioned by Dante. The
streets were deserted, it being Sunday, and all the people at the
Corso, to see the racing of horses without riders.

BONCONVENTO.--We sit, with the remains of a traveller's supper on the
table--six very social companions. Our cabriolet friends are two
French artists, on their way to study at Rome. They are both
pensioners of the government, each having gained the annual prize at
the academy in his separate branch of art, which entitles him to five
years' support in Italy. They are full of enthusiasm, and converse
with all the amusing vivacity of their nation. The academy of France
send out in this manner five young men annually, who have gained the
prizes for painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and engraving.

This is the place where Henry the Seventh of Germany was poisoned by a
monk, on his way to Rome. The drug was given to him in the communion
cup. The "Ave Marie" was ringing when we drove into town, and I left
the carriage and followed the crowd, in the hope of finding an old
church where the crime might have been committed. But the priest was
mumbling the service in a new chapel, which no romance that I could
summon would picture as the scene of a tragedy.

       *       *       *       *       *

ACQUAPENDENTE.--While the dirty customhouse officer is deciphering our
passports, in a hole a dog would live in unwillingly, I take out my
pencil to mark once more the pleasure I have received from the
exquisite scenery of this place. The wild rocks enclosing the little
narrow valley below, the waterfalls, the town on its airy perch above,
the just starting vegetation of spring, the roads lined with
snowdrops, crocuses and violets, have renewed, in a tenfold degree,
the delight with which I saw this romantic spot on my former journey
to Rome.

We crossed the mountain of Radicofani yesterday, in so thick a mist
that I could not even distinguish the ruin of the old castle, towering
into the clouds above. The wild, half-naked people thronged about us
as before, and I gave another paul to the old beggar with whom I
became acquainted by Mr. Cole's graphic sketch. The winter had,
apparently, gone hard with him. He was scarce able to come to the
carriage window, and coughed so hollowly that I thought he had nearly
begged his last pittance.

BOLSENA.--we walked in advance of the vetturino along the borders of
this lovely and beautiful lake till we are tired. Our artists have
taken off their coats with the heat, and sit, a quarter of a mile
further on, pointing in every direction at these unparalleled views.
The water is as still as a mirror, with a soft mist on its face, and
the water-fowl in thousands are diving and floating within gunshot of
us. An afternoon in June could not be more summer-like, and this, to a
lover of soft climate, is no trifling pleasure.

A mile behind us lies the town, the seat of ancient _Volscinium_, the
capital of the Volscians. The country about is one quarry of ruins,
mouldering away in the moss. Nobody can live in health in the
neighborhood, and the poor pale wretches who call it a home are in
melancholy contrast to the smiling paradise about them. Before us, in
the bosom of the lake, lie two green islands, those which Pliny
records to have floated in his time and one of which, _Martana_, a
small conical isle, was the scene of the murder of the queen of the
Goths, by her cousin Theodatus. She was taken there and strangled. It
is difficult to imagine, with such a sea of sunshine around and over
it, that it was ever anything but a spot of delight.

The whole neighborhood is covered with rotten trunks of trees--a thing
which at first surprised me in a country where wood is so economised.
It is accounted for in the French guide-book of one of our party by
the fact, that the chestnut woods of Bolsena are considered sacred by
the people, from their antiquity, and are never cut. The trees have
ripened and fallen and rotted thus for centuries--one cause, perhaps,
of the deadly change in the air.

The vetturino comes lumbering up, and I must pocket my pencil and
remount.



LETTER LIII.

     MONTEFIASCONE--ANECDOTE OF THE WINE--VITERBO--MOUNT
     CIMINO--TRADITION--VIEW OF ST. PETER'S--ENTRANCE INTO ROME--A
     STRANGER'S IMPRESSIONS OF THE CITY.


MONTEFIASCONE.--We have stopped for the night at the hotel of this
place, so renowned for its wine--the remnant of a bottle of which
stands, at this moment, twinkling between me and my French companions.
The ladies of our party have gone to bed, and left us in the room
where sat _Jean Defoucris_, the merry German monk, who died of excess
in drinking the same liquor that flashes through this straw-covered
flask. The story is told more fully in the French guide-books. A
prelate of Augsbourg, on a pilgrimage to Rome, sent forward his
servant with orders to mark every tavern where the wine was good with
the word _est_, in large letters of chalk. On arriving at this hotel,
the monk saw the signal thrice written over the door--_Est! Est! Est!_
He put up his mule, and drank of Montefiascone till he died. His
servant wrote his epitaph, which is still seen in the church of St.
Florian:--

     "Propter minium EST, EST,
     Dominus meus mortuus EST!"

"_Est, Est, Est!_" is the motto upon the sign of the hotel to this
day.

       *       *       *       *       *

In wandering about Viterbo in search of amusement, while the horses
were baiting, I stumbled upon the shop of an antiquary. After looking
over his medals, Etruscan vases, cameos, &c., a very interesting
collection, I inquired into the state of trade for such things in
Viterbo. He was a cadaverous, melancholy looking old man, with his
pockets worn quite out with the habit of thrusting his hands into
them, and about his mouth and eye there was the proper virtuoso
expression of inquisitiveness and discrimination. He kept also a small
_café_ adjoining his shop, into which we passed, as he shrugged his
shoulders at my question. I had wondered to find a vender of costly
curiosities in a town of such poverty, and I was not surprised at the
sad fortunes which had followed upon his enterprise. They were a base
herd, he said, of the people, utterly ignorant of the value of the
precious objects he had for sale and he had been compelled to open a
_café_, and degrade himself by waiting on them for a contemptible
_crazie_ worth of coffee, while his lovely antiquities lay
unappreciated within. The old gentleman was eloquent upon his
misfortunes. He had not been long in trade, and had collected his
museum originally for his own amusement. He was an odd specimen, in a
small way, of a man who was quite above his sphere, and suffered for
his superiority. I bought a pretty _intaglio_, and bade him farewell,
after an hour's acquaintance, with quite the feeling of a friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mount Cimino rose before us soon after leaving Viterbo, and we walked
up most of the long and gentle ascent, inhaling the odor of the spicy
plants for which it is famous, and looking out sharply for the
brigands with which it is always infested. English carriages are
constantly robbed on this part of the route of late. The robbers are
met usually in parties of ten and twelve, and, a week before we
passed, Lady Berwick (the widow of an English nobleman, and a sister
of the famous Harriet Wilson) was stopped and plundered in broad
mid-day. The excessive distress among the peasantry of these
misgoverned States accounts for these things, and one only wonders why
there is not even more robbing among such a starving population. This
mountain, by the way, and the pretty lake below it, are spoken of in
the Æneid: "_Cimini cum monte locum_," etc. There is an ancient
tradition, that in the crescent-shaped valley which the lake fills,
there was formerly a city, which was overwhelmed by the rise of the
water, and certain authors state that when the lake is clear, the
ruins are still to be seen at the bottom.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun rose upon us as we reached the mountain above Baccano, on the
sixth day of our journey, and, by its clear golden flood, we saw the
dome of St. Peter's, at a distance of sixteen miles, towering amid the
campagna in all its majestic beauty. We descended into the vast plain,
and traversed its gentle undulations for two or three hours. With the
forenoon well advanced, we turned into the valley of the Tiber, and
saw the home of Raphael, a noble chateau on the side of a hill, near
the river, and, in the little plain between, the first peach-trees we
had seen, in full blossom. The tomb of Nero is on one side of the
road, before crossing the Tiber, and on the other a newly painted and
staring _restaurant_, where the modern Roman cockneys drive for punch
and ices. The bridge of Pontemolle, by which we passed into the
immediate suburb of Rome, was the ancient _Pons Æmilius_, and here
Cicero arrested the conspirators on their way to join Catiline in his
camp. It was on the same bridge, too, that Constantine saw his famous
vision, and gained his victory over the tyrant Maxentius.

Two miles over the _Via Flaminia_, between garden walls that were
ornamented with sculpture and inscription in the time of Augustus,
brought us to the _Porta del Popolo_. The square within this noble
gate is modern, but very imposing. Two streets diverge before you, as
far away as you can see into the heart of the city, a magnificent
fountain sends up its waters in the centre, the façades of two
handsome churches face you as you enter, and on the right and left are
gardens and palaces of princely splendor. Gay and sumptuous equipages
cross it in every direction, driving out to the villa Borghese, and up
to the Pincian mount, the splendid troops of the Pope are on guard,
and the busy and stirring population of modern Rome swell out to its
limit like the ebb and flow of the sea. All this disappoints while it
impresses the stranger. He has come to Rome--but it was _old_ Rome
that he had pictured to his fancy. The Forum, the ruins of her
temples, the palaces of her emperors, the homes of her orators, poets,
and patriots, the majestic relics of the once mistress of the world,
are the features in his anticipation. But he enters by a modern gate
to a modern square, and pays his modern coin to a whiskered officer of
customs; and in the place of a venerable Belisarius begging an obolus
in classic Latin, he is beset by a troop of lusty and filthy
lazzaroni entreating for a _baioch_ in the name of the Madonna, and in
effeminate Italian. He drives down the Corso, and reads nothing but
French signs, and sees all the familiar wares of his own country
exposed for sale, and every other person on the _pave_ is an
Englishman, with a narrow-rimmed hat and whalebone stick, and with an
hour at the Dogama, where his baggage is turned inside out by a snuffy
old man who speaks French, and a reception at a hotel where the porter
addresses him in his own language, whatever it may be; he goes to bed
under Parisian curtains, and tries to dream of the Rome he could not
realize while awake.



LETTER LIV.

     APPIAN WAY--TOMB OF CECILIA METELLA--ALBANO--TOMB OF THE
     CURIATII--ARICIA--TEMPLE OF DIANA--FOUNTAIN OF EGERIA--LAKE OF
     NEMI--VELLETRI--PONTINE MARSHES--CONVENT--CANAL--TERRACINA--
     SAN FELICE--FONDI--STORY OF JULIA GONZAGA--CICERO'S GARDEN AND
     TOMB--MOLA--MINTURNA--RUINS OF AN AMPHITHEATRE AND TEMPLE--
     FALERNIAN MOUNT AND WINE--THE DOCTOR OF ST. AGATHA--CAPUA--
     ENTRANCE INTO NAPLES--THE QUEEN.


With the intention of returning to Rome for the ceremonies of the holy
week, I have merely passed through on my way to Naples. We left it the
morning after our arrival, going by the "Appian way" to mount Albano,
which borders the Campagna on the south, at a distance of fifteen
miles. This celebrated road is lined with the ruined tombs of the
Romans. Off at the right, some four or five miles from the city, rises
the fortress-like _tomb of Cecilia Metella_, so exquisitely mused upon
by Childe Harold. This, says Sismondi, with the tombs of Adrian and
Augustus, became fortresses of banditti, in the thirteenth century,
and were taken by Brancallone, the Bolognese governor of Rome, who
hanged the marauders from the walls. It looks little like "a woman's
grave."

We changed horses at the pretty village of Albano, and, on leaving it,
passed an ancient mausoleum, believed to be the tomb of the Curiatii
who fought the Horatii on this spot. It is a large structure, and had
originally four pyramids on the corners, two of which only remain.

A mile from Albano lies Aricia, in a country of the loveliest rural
beauty. Here was the famous temple of Diana, and here were the lake
and grove sacred to the "virgin huntress," and consecrated as her home
by peculiar worship. The fountain of Egeria is here, where Numa
communed with the nymph, and the lake of Nemi, on the borders of which
the temple stood, and which was called _Diana's mirror_ (_speculum
Dianæ_), is at this day, perhaps, one of the sweetest gems of natural
scenery in the world.

We slept at Velletri, a pretty town of some twelve thousand
inhabitants, which stands on a hill-side, leaning down to the Pontine
marshes. It was one of the grand days of carnival, and the streets
were full of masks, walking up and down in their ridiculous dresses,
and committing every sort of foolery. The next morning, by daylight,
we were upon the Pontine marshes, the long thirty miles level of which
we passed in an unbroken trot, one part of a day's journey of
seventy-five miles, done by the _same horses_, at the rate of six
miles in the hour! They are small, compact animals, and look in good
condition, though they do as much habitually.

At a distance of fifteen miles from Velletri, we passed a convent,
which is built opposite the spot where St. Paul was met by his
friends, on his journey from the seaside to Rome. The canal upon which
Horace embarked on his celebrated journey to Brundusium, runs
parallel with the road for its whole distance. This marshy desert is
inhabited by a race of as wretched beings, perhaps, as are to be found
upon the face of the earth. The pestiferous miasma of the pools is
certain destruction to health, and the few who are needed at the
distant post-houses, crawl out to the road-side like so many victims
from a pest-house, stooping with weakness, hollow-eyed, and apparently
insensible to everything. The feathered race seems exempt from its
influence, and the quantities of game of every known description are
incredible. The ground was alive with wild geese, turkeys, pigeons,
plover, ducks, and numerous birds we did not know, as far as the eye
could distinguish. The travelling books caution against sleeping in
the carriage while passing these marshes, but we found it next to
impossible to resist the heavy drowsiness of the air.

At Terracina the marshes end, and the long avenue of elms terminates
at the foot of a romantic precipice, which is washed by the
Mediterranean. The town is most picturesquely built between the rocky
wall and the sea. We dined with the hollow murmur of the surf in our
ears, and then, presenting our passports, entered the kingdom of
Naples. This Terracina, by the way, was the ancient _Anxur_, which
Horace describes in his line--

     "Impositum late saxis candentibus Anxur."

For twenty or thirty miles before arriving at Terracina, we had seen
before us the headland of Circoeum, lying like a mountain island off
the shore. It is usually called San Felice, from the small town seated
upon it. This was the ancient abode of the "daughter of the sun," and
here were imprisoned, according to Homer, the champions of Ulysses,
after their metamorphoses.

From Terracina to Fondi, we followed the old Appian way, a road hedged
with flowering myrtles and orange trees laden with fruit. Fondi itself
is dirtier than imagination could picture it, and the scowling men in
the streets look like myrmidons of Fra Diavolo, their celebrated
countryman. This town, however, was the scene of the romantic story of
the beautiful Julia Gonzaga, and was destroyed by the corsair
Barbarossa, who had intended to present the rarest beauty of Italy to
the Sultan. It was to the rocky mountains above the town that she
escaped in her night-dress, and lay concealed till the pirate's
departure.

In leaving Fondi, we passed the ruined walls of a garden said to have
belonged to Cicero, whose tomb is only three leagues distant. Night
came on before we reached the tomb, and we were compelled to promise
ourselves a pilgrimage to it on our return.

We slept at Mola, and here Cicero was assassinated. The ruins of his
country-house are still here. The town lies in the lap of a graceful
bay, and in all Italy, it is said, there is no spot more favored by
nature. The mountains shelter it from the winds of the north; the soil
produces, spontaneously, the orange, the myrtle, the olive, delicious
grapes, jasmine, and many odoriferous herbs. This and its neighborhood
was called, by the great orator and statesman who selected it for his
retreat, "the most beautiful patrimony of the Romans." The
Mediterranean spreads out from its bosom, the lovely islands near
Naples bound its view, Vesuvius sends up its smoke and fire in the
south, and back from its hills stretches a country fertile and
beautiful as a paradise. This is a place of great resort for the
English and other travellers in the summer. The old palaces are turned
into hotels, and we entered our inn through an avenue of shrubs that
must have been planted and trimmed for a century.

       *       *       *       *       *

We left Mola before dawn and crossed the small river Garigliano as the
sun rose. A short distance from the southern bank, we found ourselves
in the midst of ruins, the golden beams of the sun pouring upon us
through the arches of some once magnificent structure, whose area is
now crossed by the road. This was the ancient Minturna, and the ruins
are those of an amphitheatre, and a temple of Venus. Some say that it
was in the marshes about the now waste city, that the soldier sent by
Sylla to kill Marius, found the old hero, and, struck with his noble
mien, fell with respect at his feet.

The road soon enters a chain of hills, and the scenery becomes
enchanting. At the left of the first ascent lies the Falernian mount,
whose wines are immortalized by Horace. It is a beautiful hill, which
throws round its shoulder to the south, and is covered with vineyards.
I dismounted and walked on while the horses breathed at the post-house
of St. Agatha, and was overtaken by a good-natured-looking man,
mounted on a mule, of whom I made some inquiry respecting the modern
Falernian. He said it was still the best wine of the neighborhood, but
was far below its ancient reputation, because never kept long enough
to ripen. It is at its prime from the fifteenth to the twentieth year,
and is usually drank the first or second. My new acquaintance, I soon
found, was the physician of the two or three small villages nested
about among the hills and a man of some pretensions to learning. I was
delighted with his frank good-humor, and a certain spice of drollery
in his description of his patients. The peasants at work in the fields
saluted him from any distance as he passed; and the pretty contadini
going to St. Agatha with their baskets on their heads, smiled as he
nodded, calling them all by name, and I was rather amused than
offended with the inquisitiveness he manifested about my age, family,
pursuits, and even morals. His mule stopped of its own will, at the
door of the apothecary of the small village on the summit of the hill,
and as the carriage came in sight the doctor invited me, seizing my
hand with a look of friendly sincerity, to stop at St. Agatha on my
return, to shoot, and drink Falernian with him for a month. The
apothecary stopped the vetturino at the door; and, to the astonishment
of my companions within, the doctor seized me in his arms and kissed
me on both sides of my face with a volume of blessings and
compliments, which I had no breath in my surprise to return. I have
made many friends on the road in this country of quick feelings, but
the doctor of St. Agatha had a readiness of sympathy which threw all
my former experience into the shade.

We dined at Capua, the city whose luxuries enervated Hannibal and his
soldiers--the "_dives, amorosa, felix_" Capua. It is in melancholy
contrast with the description now--its streets filthy, and its people
looking the antipodes of luxury. The climate should be the same, as we
dined with open doors, and with the branch of an orange tree heavy
with fruit hanging in at the window, in a month that with us is one of
the wintriest.

From Capua to Naples, the distance is but fifteen miles, over a flat,
uninteresting country. We entered "this third city in the world" in
the middle of the afternoon, and were immediately surrounded with
beggars of every conceivable degree of misery. We sat an hour at the
gate while our passports were recorded, and the vetturino examined,
and then passing up a noble street, entered a dense crowd, through
which was creeping slowly a double line of carriages. The mounted
dragoons compelled our postillion to fall into the line, and we were
two hours following in a fashionable corso with our mud-spattered
vehicle and tired horses, surrounded by all that was brilliant and gay
in Naples. It was the last day of carnival. Everybody was abroad, and
we were forced, however unwillingly to see all the rank and beauty of
the city. The carriages in this fine climate are all open, and the
ladies were in full dress. As we entered the Toledo, the cavalcade
came to a halt, and with hats off and handkerchiefs flying in every
direction about them, the young new-married Queen of Naples rode up
the middle of the street preceded and followed by outriders in the
gayest livery. She has been married about a month, is but seventeen,
and is acknowledged to be the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. The
description I had heard of her, though very extravagant, had hardly
done her justice. She is a little above the middle height, with a fine
lift to her head and neck, and a countenance only less modest and
maidenly than noble.



LETTER LV.

     ROME--FRONT OF ST. PETER'S--EQUIPAGES OF THE CARDINALS--
     BEGGARS--BODY OF THE CHURCH--TOMB OF ST. PETER--THE
     TIBER--FORTRESS-TOMB OF ADRIAN--JEWS' QUARTER--FORUM BARBERINI
     PALACE--PORTRAIT OF BEATRICE CENCI--HER MELANCHOLY
     HISTORY--PICTURE OF THE FORNARINA--LIKENESS OF GIORGIONE'S
     MISTRESS--JOSEPH AND POTIPHAR'S WIFE--THE PALACES DORIA AND
     SCIARRA--PORTRAIT OF OLIVIA WALDACHINI--OF "A CELEBRATED
     WIDOW"--OF SEMIRAMIS--CLAUDE'S LANDSCAPES--BRILL'S--
     BRUGHEL'S--NOTTI'S "WOMAN CATCHING FLEAS"--DA VINCI'S QUEEN
     GIOVANNA--PORTRAIT OF A FEMALE DORIA--PRINCE DORIA--PALACE
     SCIARRA--BRILL AND BOTH'S LANDSCAPES--CLAUDE'S--PICTURE OF
     NOAH INTOXICATED--ROMANA'S FORNARINA--DA VINCI'S TWO PICTURES.


Drawn in twenty different directions on starting from my lodgings this
morning, I found myself, undecided where to pass my day, in front of
St. Peter's. Some gorgeous ceremony was just over, and the sumptuous
equipages of the cardinals, blazing in the sun with their mountings of
gold and silver, were driving up and dashing away from the end of the
long colonnades, producing any effect upon the mind rather than a
devout one. I stood admiring their fiery horses and gay liveries, till
the last rattled from the square, and then mounted to the deserted
church. Its vast vestibule was filled with beggars, diseased in every
conceivable manner, halting, groping, and crawling about in search of
strangers of whom to implore charity--a contrast to the splendid
pavement beneath and the gold and marble above and around, which would
reconcile one to see the "mighty dome" melted into alms, and his
holiness reduced to a plain chapel and a rusty cassock.

Lifting the curtain I stood in the body of the church. There were
perhaps twenty persons, at different distances, on its immense floor,
the farthest off (_six hundred and fourteen feet from me!_) looking
like a pigmy in the far perspective. St. Peter's is less like a church
than a collection of large churches enclosed under a gigantic roof.
The chapels at the sides are larger than most houses of public worship
in our country, and of these there may be eight or ten, not included
in the effect of the vast interior. One is lost in it. It is a city of
columns and sculpture and mosaic. Its walls are encrusted with
precious stones and masterly workmanship to the very top, and its
wealth may be conceived when you remember that, standing in the centre
and raising your eyes aloft, there are _four hundred and forty feet_
between you and the roof of the dome--the height, almost of a
mountain.

I walked up toward the tomb of St. Peter, passing in my way a solitary
worshipper here and there, upon his knees, and arrested constantly by
the exquisite beauty of the statuary with which the columns are
carved. Accustomed as we are in America, to churches filled with
pews, it is hardly possible to imagine the noble effect of a vast
mosaic floor, unencumbered even with a chair, and only broken by a few
prostrate figures, just specking its wide area. All Catholic churches
are without fixed seats, and St. Peter's seems scarce measurable to
the eye, it is so far and clear, from one extremity to the other.

I passed the hundred lamps burning over the tomb of St. Peter, the
lovely female statue (covered with a bronze drapery, because its
exquisite beauty was thought dangerous to the morality of the young
priests), reclining upon the tomb of Paul III., the ethereal figures
of Canova's geniuses weeping at the door of the tomb of the Stuarts
(where sleeps the pretender Charles Edward), the thousand thousand
rich and beautiful monuments of art and taste crowding every corner of
this wondrous church--I passed them, I say, with the same lost and
unexamining, unparticularizing feeling which I cannot overcome in this
place--a mind borne quite off its feet and confused and overwhelmed
with the tide of astonishment--the one grand impression of the whole.
I dare say, a little more familiarity with St. Peter's will do away
the feeling, but I left the church, after two hours loitering in its
aisles, despairing, and scarce wishing to examine or make a note.

Those beautiful fountains, moistening the air over the whole area of
the column encircled front!--and that tall Egyptian pyramid, sending
up its slender and perfect spire between! One lingers about, and turns
again and again to gaze around him, as he leaves St. Peter's, in
wonder and admiration.

I crossed the Tiber, at the fortress-tomb of Adrian, and thridding the
long streets at the western end of Rome, passed through the Jews'
quarter, and entered the Forum. The sun lay warm among the ruins of
the great temples and columns of ancient Rome, and, seating myself on
a fragment of an antique frieze, near the noble arch of Septimius
Severus, I gazed on the scene, for the first time, by daylight. I had
been in Rome, on my first visit, during the full moon, and my
impressions of the Forum with this romantic enhancement were vivid in
my memory. One would think it enough to be upon the spot at any time,
with light to see it, but what with modern excavations, fresh banks of
earth, carts, boys playing at marbles, and wooden sentry-boxes, and
what with the Parisian promenade, made by the French through the
centre, the imagination is too disturbed and hindered in daylight. The
moon gives it all one covering of gray and silver. The old columns
stand up in all their solitary majesty, wrecks of beauty and taste;
silence leaves the fancy to find a voice for itself; and from the
palaces of the Cesars to the prisons of the capitol, the whole train
of emperors, senators, conspirators, and citizens, are summoned with
but half a thought and the magic glass is filled with moving and
re-animated Rome. There, beneath those walls, on the right, in the
Mamertine prisons, perished Jugurtha (and there, too, were imprisoned
St. Paul and St. Peter), and opposite, upon the Palatine-hill, lived
the mighty masters of Rome, in the "palaces of the Cesars," and
beneath the majestic arch beyond, were led, as a seal of their
slavery, the captives from Jerusalem, and in these temples, whose
ruins cast their shadows at my feet, walked and discoursed Cicero and
the philosophers, Brutus and the patriots, Catiline and the
conspirators, Augustus and the scholars and poets, and the great
stranger in Rome, St. Paul, gazing at the false altars, and burning in
his heart to reveal to them the "unknown God." What men have crossed
the shadows of these very columns! and what thoughts, that have moved
the world, have been born beneath them!

The Barberini palace contains three or four masterpieces of painting.
The most celebrated is the portrait of Beatrice Cenci, by Guido. The
melancholy and strange history of this beautiful girl has been told in
a variety of ways, and is probably familiar to every reader. Guido saw
her on her way to execution, and has painted her as she was dressed,
in the gray habit and head-dress made by her own hands, and finished
but an hour before she put it on. There are engravings and copies of
the picture all over the world, but none that I have seen give any
idea of the excessive gentleness and serenity of the countenance. The
eyes retain traces of weeping, but the child-like mouth, the soft,
girlish lines of features that look as if they never had worn more
than the one expression of youthfulness and affection, are all in
repose, and the head is turned over the shoulder with as simple a
sweetness as if she had but looked back to say a good-night before
going to her chamber to sleep. She little looks like what she was--one
of the firmest and boldest spirits whose history is recorded. After
murdering her father for his fiendish attempts upon her virtue, she
endured every torture rather than disgrace her family by confession,
and was only moved from her constancy, at last, by the agonies of her
younger brother on the rack. Who would read capabilities like these,
in these heavenly and child-like features?

I have tried to purchase the life of the Cenci, in vain. A bookseller
told me to-day, that it was a forbidden book, on account of its
reflections upon the pope. Immense interest was made for the poor
girl, but, it is said, the papal treasury ran low, and if she was
pardoned, the large possessions of the Cenci family could not have
been confiscated.

The gallery contains also, a delicious picture of the Fornarina by
Raphael himself, and a portrait of Giorgione's mistress, as a
Carthaginian slave, the same head multiplied so often in his and
Titian's pictures. The original of the admirable picture of Joseph and
the wife of Potiphar, is also here. A copy of it is in the gallery of
Florence.

I have passed a day between the two palaces Doria and Sciarra, nearly
opposite each other in the Corso at Rome. The first is an immense
gallery of perhaps a thousand pictures, distributed through seven
large halls, and four galleries encircling the court. In the first
four rooms I found nothing that struck me particularly. In the fifth
was a portrait, by an unknown artist, of Olivia Waldachini, the
favorite and sister-in-law of Pope Innocent X., a handsome woman, with
that round fulness in the throat and neck, which (whether it existed
in the originals, or is a part of a painter's ideal of a woman of
pleasure), is universal in portraits of that character. In the same
room was a portrait of a "celebrated widow," by Vandyck,[7] a had-been
beautiful woman, in a staid cap (the hands wonderfully painted), and a
large and rich picture of Semiramis, by one of the Carraccis.

In the galleries hung the landscapes by Claude, famous through the
world. It is like roving through a paradise, to sit and look at them.
His broad green lawns, his half-hidden temples, his life-like
luxuriant trees, his fountains, his sunny streams--all flush into the
eye like the bright opening of a Utopia, or some dream over a
description from Boccaccio. It is what Italy might be in a golden
age--her ruins rebuilt into the transparent air, her woods unprofaned,
her people pastoral and refined, and every valley a landscape of
Arcadia. I can conceive no higher pleasure for the imagination than to
see a Claude in travelling through Italy. It is finding a home for
one's more visionary fancies--those children of moonshine that one
begets in a colder clime, but scarce dares acknowledge till he has
seen them under a more congenial sky. More plainly, one does not know
whether his abstract imaginations of pastoral life and scenery are not
ridiculous and unreal, till he has seen one of these landscapes, and
felt _steeped_, if I may use such a word, in the very loveliness which
inspired the pencil of the painter. There he finds the pastures, the
groves, the fairy structures, the clear waters, the straying groups,
the whole delicious scenery, as bright as in his dreams, and he feels
as if he should bless the artist for the liberty to acknowledge freely
to himself the possibility of so beautiful a world.

We went on through the long galleries, going back again and again to
see the Claudes. In the third division of the gallery were one or two
small and bright landscapes, by Brill, that would have enchanted us if
seen elsewhere; and four strange pictures, by Breughel, representing
the four elements, by a kind of half-poetical, half-supernatural
landscapes, one of which had a very lovely view of a distant village.
Then there was the famous picture of the "woman catching fleas" by
Gherardodelle Notti, a perfect piece of life. She stands close to a
lamp, with a vessel of hot water before her, and is just closing her
thumb and finger over a flea, which she has detected on the bosom of
her dress. Some eight or ten are boiling already in the water, and the
expression upon the girl's face is that of the most grave and
unconscious interest in her employment. Next to this amusing picture
hangs a portrait of Queen Giovanna, of Naples, by Leonardo da Vinci, a
copy of which I had seen, much prized, in the possession of the
archbishop of Torento. It scarce looks like the talented and ambitious
queen she was, but it does full justice to her passion for amorous
intrigue--a face full of the woman.

The last picture we came to, was one not even mentioned in the
catalogue, an old portrait of one of the females of the Doria family.
It was a girl of eighteen, with a kind of face that in life must have
been extremely fascinating. While we were looking at it, we heard a
kind of gibbering laugh from the outer apartment, and an old man in a
cardinal's dress, dwarfish in size, and with deformed and almost
useless legs, came shuffling into the gallery, supported by two
priests. His features were imbecility itself, rendered almost horrible
by the contrast of the cardinal's red cap. The _custode_ took off his
hat and bowed low, and the old man gave us a half-bow and a long laugh
in passing, and disappeared at the end of the gallery. This was the
Prince Doria, the owner of the palace, and a cardinal of Rome! the
sole remaining representative of one of the most powerful and
ambitious families of Italy! There could not be a more affecting type
of the great "mistress of the world" herself. Her very children have
dwindled into idiots.

We crossed the Corso to the _Palace Sciarra_. The collection here is
small, but choice. Half a dozen small but exquisite landscapes, by
Brill and Both, grace the second room. Here are also three small
Claudes, very, very beautiful. In the next room is a finely-colored
but most indecent picture of Noah intoxicated, by Andrea Sacchi, and a
portrait by Giulio Romano, of Raphael's celebrated Fornarina, to
whose lovely face one becomes so accustomed in Italy, that it seems
like that of an acquaintance.

In the last room are two of the most celebrated pictures in Rome. The
first is by Leonardo da Vinci, and represents Vanity and Modesty, by
two females standing together in conversation--one a handsome, gay,
volatile looking creature, covered with ornaments, and listening
unwillingly to what seems a lecture from the other, upon her foibles.
The face of the other is a heavenly conception of woman--earnest,
delicate, and lovely--the idea one forms to himself, before
intercourse with the world, gives him a distaste for its purity. The
moral lesson of the picture is more forcible than language. The
painter deserved to have died, as he did, in the arms of an emperor.

The other picture represents two gamblers cheating a youth, a very
striking picture of nature. It is common from the engravings. On the
opposite side of the room, is a very expressive picture, by Schidone.
On the ruins of an old tomb stands a skull, beneath which is
written--"_I, too, was of Arcadia_;" and, at a little distance, gazing
at it in attitudes of earnest reflection, stand two shepherds, struck
simultaneously with the moral. It is a poetical thought, and wrought
out with great truth and skill.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our eyes aching and our attention exhausted with pictures, we drove
from the Sciarra to the ruined palaces of the Cesars. Here, on an
eminence above the Tiber, with the Forum beneath us on one side, the
Coliseum on the other, and all the towers and spires of modern and
Catholic Rome arising on her many hills beyond, we seated ourselves on
fragments of marble, half buried in the grass, and mused away the
hours till sunset. On this spot Romulus founded Rome. The princely
Augustus, in the last days of her glory, laid here the foundations of
his imperial palace, which, continued by Caligula and Tiberius, and
completed by Domitian, covered the hill, like a small city. It was a
labyrinth of temples, baths, pavilions, fountains, and gardens, with a
large theatre at the western extremity; and adjoining the temple of
Apollo, was a library filled with the best authors, and ornamented
with a colossal bronze statue of Apollo, "of excellent Etruscan
workmanship." "Statues of the fifty daughters of Danaus Siuramdert
surrounded the portico" (of this same temple), "and opposite them were
equestrian statues of their husbands." About a hundred years ago,
accident discovered, in the gardens buried in rubbish, a magnificent
hall, two hundred feet in length and one hundred and thirty-two in
breadth, supposed to have been built by Domitian. It was richly
ornamented with statues, and columns of precious marbles, and near it
were baths in excellent preservation. "But," says Stark, "immense and
superb as was this first-built palace of the Cesars, Nero, whose
extravagance and passion for architecture knew no limits, thought it
much too small for him, and extended its edifices and gardens from the
Palatine to the Esquiline. After the destruction of the whole, by
fire, sixty-five years after Christ, he added to it his celebrated
'Golden House,' which extended from one extremity to the other of the
Coelian Hill."[8]

The ancient walls, which made the whole of the Mount Palatine a
fortress, still hold together its earth and its ruins. It is a broad
tabular eminence, worn into footpaths which wind at every moment
around broken shafts of marble, fragments of statuary, or broken and
ivy-covered fountains. Part of it is cultivated as a vineyard, by the
degenerate modern Romans, and the baths, into which the water still
pours from aqueducts encrusted with aged stalactites are public
washing-places for the contadini, eight or ten of whom were splashing
away in their red jackets, with gold bodkins in their hair, while we
were moralizing on their worthier progenitors of eighteen centuries
ago. It is a beautiful spot of itself, and with the delicious soft
sunshine of an Italian spring, the tall green grass beneath our feet,
and an air as soft as June just stirring the myrtles and jasmines,
growing wild wherever the ruins gave them place, our enjoyment of the
overpowering associations of the spot was ample and untroubled. I
could wish every refined spirit in the world had shared our pleasant
hour upon the Palatine.


FOOTNOTES:

[7] So called in the catalogue. The custode, however, told us it was a
portrait of the wife of Vandyck, painted as an old woman to mortify
her excessive vanity, when she was but twenty-three. He kept the
picture until she was older, and, at the time of his death, it had
become a flattering likeness, and was carefully treasured by the
widow.

[8] The following description is given of this splendid palace, by
Suetonius. "To give an idea of the extent and beauty of this edifice,
it is sufficient to mention, that in its vestibule was placed his
colossal statue, one hundred and twenty feet in height. It had a
triple portico, supported by a thousand columns, with a lake like a
little sea, surrounded by buildings which resembled cities. It
contained pasture-grounds and groves in which were all descriptions of
animals, wild and tame. Its interior shone with gold, gems, and
mother-of-pearl. In the vaulted roofs of the eating-rooms were
machines of ivory, which turned round and scattered perfumes upon the
guests. The principal banqueting room was a rotunda, so constructed
that it turned round night and day, in imitation of the motion of the
earth." When Nero took possession of this fairy palace, his only
observation was--"Now I shall begin to live like a man."



LETTER LVI.

     ANNUAL DOWRIES TO TWELVE GIRLS--VESPERS IN THE CONVENT OF
     SANTA TRINITA--RUINS OF ROMAN BATHS--A MAGNIFICENT MODERN
     CHURCH WITHIN TWO ANCIENT HALLS--GARDENS OF MECÆNAS--TOWER
     WHENCE NERO SAW ROME ON FIRE--HOUSES OF HORACE AND
     VIRGIL--BATHS OF TITUS AND CARACALLA.


The yearly ceremony of giving dowries to twelve girls, was performed
by the Pope, this morning, in the church built over the ancient temple
of Minerva. His Holiness arrived, in state, from the Vatican, at ten,
followed by his red troop of cardinals, and preceded by a clerical
courier, on a palfrey, and the body-guard of nobles. He blessed the
crowd, right and left, with his three fingers (precisely as a Parisian
dandy salutes his friend across the street), and, descending from his
carriage (which is like a good-sized glass boudoir upon wheels), he
was received in the papal sedan, and carried into the church by his
Swiss bearers. My legation button carried me through the guard, and I
found an excellent place under a cardinal's wing, in the penetralia
within the railing of the altar. Mass commenced presently, with a
chant from the celebrated choir of St. Peter's. Room was then made
through the crowd, the cardinals put on their red caps, and the small
procession of twelve young girls entered from a side chapel, bearing
each a taper in her hand, and robed to the eyes in white, with a
chaplet of flowers round the forehead. I could form no judgment of
anything but their eyes and feet. A Roman eye could not be otherwise
than fine, and a Roman woman's foot could scarce be other than ugly,
and, consequently, there was but one satin slipper in the group that a
man might not have worn, and every eye I could see from my position,
might have graced an improvisatrice. They stopped in front of the
throne, and, giving their long tapers to the servitors, mounted in
couples, hand in hand, and kissed the foot of his Holiness, who, at
the same time, leaned over and blessed them, and then turning about,
walked off again behind the altar in the same order in which they had
entered.

The choir now struck up their half-unearthly chant (a music so
strangely shrill and clear, that I scarce know whether the sensation
is pleasure or pain), the Pope was led from his throne to his sedan,
and his mitre changed for a richly jewelled crown, the bearers lifted
their burden, the guard presented arms, the cardinals summoned their
officious servants to unrobe, and the crowd poured out as it came.

This ceremony, I found upon inquiry, is performed every year, _on the
day of the annunciation_--just nine months before Christmas, and is
intended to commemorate the incarnation of our Saviour.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I was returning from a twilight stroll upon the Pincian hill this
evening, the bells of the convent of Santa Trinita rung to vespers. I
had heard of the singing of the nuns in the service at the convent
chapel, but the misbehavior of a party of English had excluded
foreigners, of late, and it was thought impossible to get admittance.
I mounted the steps, however, and rung at the door. It was opened by a
pale nun, of thirty, who hesitated a moment, and let me pass. In a
small, plain chapel within, the service of the altar was just
commencing, and, before I reached a seat, a low plaintive chant
commenced, in female voices from the choir. It went on with occasional
interruptions from the prayers, for perhaps an hour. I can not
describe the excessive mournfulness of the music. One or two familiar
hymns occurred in the course of it, like airs in a recitative, the
same sung in our churches, but the effect was totally different. The
neat, white caps of the nuns were just visible over the railing before
the organ, and, as I looked up at them and listened to their
melancholy notes, they seemed, to me, mourning over their exclusion
from the world. The small white cloud from the censer mounted to the
ceiling, and creeping away through the arches, hung over the organ
till it was lost to the eye in the dimness of the twilight. It was
easy, under the influence of their delightful music, to imagine within
it the wings of that tranquilizing resignation, one would think so
necessary to keep down the heart in these lonely cloisters.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most considerable ruins of ancient Rome are those of the _Baths_.
The Emperors Titus, Caracalla, Nero, and Agrippa, constructed these
immense places of luxury, and the remains of them are among the most
interesting and beautiful relics to be found in the world. It is
possible that my readers have as imperfect an idea of the extent of a
Roman bath as I have had, and I may as well quote from the information
given by writers on antiquities. "They were open every day, to both
sexes. In each of the great baths, there were sixteen hundred seats of
marble, for the convenience of the bathers, and three thousand two
hundred persons could bathe at the same time. There were splendid
porticoes in front for promenade, arcades with shops, in which was
found every kind of luxury for the bath, and halls for corporeal
exercises, and for the discussion of philosophy; and here the poets
read their productions and rhetoricians harangued, and sculptors and
painters exhibited their works to the public. The baths were
distributed into grand halls, with ceilings enormously high and
painted with admirable frescoes, supported on columns of the rarest
marble, and the basins were of oriental alabaster, porphyry, and
jasper. There were in the centre vast reservoirs, for the swimmers,
and crowds of slaves to attend gratuitously upon all who should come."

The baths of Diocletian (which I visited to-day), covered an enormous
space. They occupied seven years in building, and were the work of
_forty thousand Christian slaves, two thirds of whom died of fatigue
and misery_! Mounting one of the seven hills of Rome, we come to some
half-ruined arches, of enormous size, extending a long distance, in
the sides of which were built two modern churches. One was the work of
Michael Angelo, and one of his happiest efforts. He has turned two of
the ancient halls into a magnificent church, in the shape of a Greek
cross, leaving in their places eight gigantic columns of granite.
After St. Peter's it is the most imposing church in Rome.

We drove thence to the baths of Titus, passing the site of the
ancient gardens of Mecænas, in which still stands the tower from which
Nero beheld the conflagration of Rome. The houses of Horace and Virgil
communicated with this garden, but they are now undistinguishable. We
turned up from the Coliseum to the left, and entered a gate leading to
the baths of Titus. Five or six immense arches presented their front
to us, in a state of picturesque ruin. We took a guide, and a long
pole, with a lamp at the extremity, and descended to the subterranean
halls, to see the still inimitable frescoes upon the ceilings. Passing
through vast apartments, to the ruined walls of which still clung,
here and there, pieces of the finely-colored stucco of the ancients,
we entered a suite of long galleries, some forty feet high, the arched
roofs of which were painted with the most exquisite art, in a kind of
fanciful border-work, enclosing figures and landscapes, in as bright
colors as if done yesterday. Farther on was the niche in which was
found the famous group of Laocoon, in a room belonging to a
subterranean palace of the emperor, communicating with the baths. The
Belvedere Meleager was also found here. The imagination loses itself
in attempting to conceive the splendor of these under-ground palaces,
blazing with artificial light, ornamented with works of art, never
equalled, and furnished with all the luxury which an emperor of Rome,
in the days when the wealth of the world flowed into her treasury,
could command for his pleasure. How short life must have seemed to
them, and what a tenfold curse became death and the common ills of
existence, interrupting or taking away pleasures so varied and
inexhaustible.

These baths were built in the last great days of Rome, and one reads
the last stages of national corruption and, perhaps, the secret of her
fall, in the character of these ornamented walls. They breathe the
very spirit of voluptuousness. Naked female figures fill every
plafond, and fauns and satyrs, with the most licentious passions in
their faces, support the festoons and hold together the intricate
ornament of the frescoes. The statues, the pictures, the object of the
place itself, inspired the wish for indulgence, and the history of the
private lives of the emperors and wealthier Romans shows the effect in
its deepest colors.

We went on to the baths of Caracalla, the largest ruins of Rome. They
are just below the palaces of the Cesars, and ten minutes' walk from
the Coliseum. It is one labyrinth of gigantic arches and ruined halls,
the ivy growing and clinging wherever it can fasten its root, and the
whole as fine a picture of decay as imagination could create. This was
the favorite haunt of Shelley, and here he wrote his fine tragedy of
Prometheus. He could not have selected a more fitting spot for
solitary thought. A herd of goats were climbing over one of the walls,
and the idle boy who tended them lay asleep in the sun, and every
footstep echoed loud through the place. We passed two or three hours
rambling about, and regained the populous streets of Rome in the last
light of the sunset.



LETTER LVII.

     SUMMER WEATHER IN MARCH--BATHS OF CARACALLA--BEGINNING OF THE
     APPIAN WAY--TOMB OF THE SCIPIOS--CATACOMBS--CHURCH OF SAN
     SEBASTIANO--YOUNG CAPUCHIN FRIAR--TOMBS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN
     MARTYRS--CHAMBER WHERE THE APOSTLES WORSHIPPED--TOMB OF
     CECILIA METELLA--THE CAMPAGNA--CIRCUS OF CARACALLA OR
     ROMULUS--TEMPLE DEDICATED TO RIDICULE--KEATS'S GRAVE--FOUNTAIN
     OF EGERIA--THE WOOD WHERE NUMA MET THE NYMPH--HOLY WEEK.


The last days of March have come, clothed in sunshine and summer. The
grass is tall in the Campagna, the fruit-trees are in blossom, the
roses and myrtles are in full flower, the shrubs are in full leaf, the
whole country about breathes of June. We left Rome this morning on an
excursion to the "Fountain of Egeria." A more heavenly day never
broke. The gigantic baths of Caracalla turned us aside once more, and
we stopped for an hour in the shade of their romantic arches, admiring
the works, while we execrated the character of their ferocious
builder.

This is the beginning of the ancient Appian Way, and, a little
farther on, sunk in the side of a hill near the road, is the beautiful
doric tomb of the Scipios. We alighted at the antique gate, a kind of
portico, with seats of stone beneath, and reading the inscription,
"_Sepulchro degli Scipioni_" mounted by ruined steps to the tomb. A
boy came out from the house, in the vineyard above, with candles, to
show us the interior, but, having no curiosity to see the damp cave
from which the sarcophagi have been removed (to the museum), we sat
down upon a bank of grass opposite the chaste façade, and recalled to
memory the early-learnt history of the family once entombed within.
The edifice (for it is more like a temple to a river-nymph or a dryad
than a tomb) was built by an ancestor of the great Scipio Africanus,
and here was deposited the noble dust of his children. One feels, in
these places, as if the improvisatore's inspiration was about him--the
fancy draws, in such vivid colors, the scenes that have passed where
he is standing. The bringing of the dead body of the conqueror of
Africa from Rome, the passing of the funeral train beneath the
portico, the noble mourners, the crowd of people, the eulogy of
perhaps some poet or orator, whose name has descended to us--the air
seems to speak, and the gray stones of the monument against which the
mourners of the Scipios have leaned, seem to have had life and
thought, like the ashes they have sheltered.

We drove on to the _Catacombs_. Here, the legend says, St. Sebastian
was martyred and the modern church of St. Sebastiano stands over the
spot. We entered the church, where we found a very handsome young
capuchin friar, with his brown cowl and the white cord about his
waist, who offered to conduct us to the catacombs. He took three
wax-lights from the sacristy, and we entered a side door, behind the
tomb of the saint, and commenced a descent of a long flight of stone
steps. We reached the bottom and found ourselves upon damp ground,
following a narrow passage, so low that I was compelled constantly to
stoop, in the sides of which were numerous small niches of the size of
a human body. These were the tombs of the early Christian martyrs. We
saw near a hundred of them. They were brought from Rome, the scene of
their sufferings, and buried in these secret catacombs by the small
church of, perhaps, the immediate converts of St. Paul and the
apostles. What food for thought is here, for one who finds more
interest in the humble traces of the personal followers of Christ, who
knew his face and had heard his voice, to all the splendid ruins of
the works of the persecuting emperors of his time! Most of the bones
have been taken from their places, and are preserved at the museum, or
enclosed in the rich sarcophagi raised to the memory of the martyrs in
the Catholic churches. Of those that are left we saw one. The niche
was closed by a thin slab of marble, through a crack of which the monk
put his slender candle. We saw the skeleton as it had fallen from the
flesh in decay, untouched, perhaps, since the time of Christ.

We crossed through several cross-passages, and came to a small
chamber, excavated simply in the earth, with an earthern altar, and an
antique marble cross above. This was the scene of the forbidden
worship of the early Christians, and before this very cross, which
was, perhaps, then newly selected as the emblem of their faith, met
the few dismayed followers of Christ, hidden from their persecutors,
while they breathed their forbidden prayers to their lately crucified
Master.

We reascended to the light of day by the rough stone steps, worn deep
by the feet of those who, for ages, for so many different reasons,
have passed up and down; and, taking leave of our capuchin conductor,
drove on to the next object upon the road--the _tomb of Cecilia
Metella_. It stands upon a slight elevation, in the Appian Way, a
"stern round tower," with the ivy dropping over its turrets and waving
from the embrasures, looking more like a castle than a tomb. Here was
buried "the wealthiest Roman's wife," or, according to Corinne, his
unmarried daughter. It was turned into a fortress by the marauding
nobles of the thirteenth century, who sallied from this and the tomb
of Adrian, plundering the ill-defended subjects of Pope Innocent IV.
till they were taken and hanged from the walls by Brancaleone, the
Roman senator. It is built with prodigious strength. We stooped in
passing under the low archway, and emerged into the round chamber
within, a lofty room, open to the sky, in the circular wall of which
there is a niche for a single body. Nothing could exceed the delicacy
and fancy with which Childe Harold muses on this spot.

The lofty turrets command a wide view of the Campagna, the long
aqueducts stretching past at a short distance, and forming a chain of
noble arches from Rome to the mountains of Albano. Cole's picture of
the Roman Campagna, as seen from one of these elevations, is, I think,
one of the finest landscapes ever painted.

Just below the tomb of Metella, in a flat valley, lie the extensive
ruins of what is called the "circus of Caracalla" by some, and the
"circus of Romulus" by others--a scarcely distinguishable heap of
walls and marble, half buried in the earth and moss; and not far off
stands a beautiful ruin of a small temple dedicated (as some say) to
_Ridicule_. One smiles to look at it. If the embodying of that which
is powerful, however, should make a deity, the dedication of a temple
to _ridicule_ is far from amiss. In our age particularly, one would
think, the lamp should be relit, and the reviewers should repair the
temple. Poor Keats sleeps in his grave scarce a mile from the spot, a
human victim sacrificed, not long ago, upon its highest altar.

In the same valley almost hidden with the luxuriant ivy waving before
the entrance, flows the lovely _Fountain of Egeria_, trickling as
clear and musical into its pebbly bed as when visited by the enamored
successor of Romulus twenty-five centuries ago! The hill above leans
upon the single arch of the small temple which embosoms it, and the
green soft meadow spreads away from the floor, with the brightest
verdure conceivable. We wound around by a half-worn path in descending
the hill, and, putting aside the long branches of ivy, entered an
antique chamber, sprinkled with quivering spots of sunshine, at the
extremity of which, upon a kind of altar, lay the broken and defaced
statue of the nymph. The fountain poured from beneath in two streams
as clear as crystal. In the sides of the temple were six empty niches,
through one of which stole, from a cleft in the wall, a little stream,
which wandered from its way. Flowers, pale with growing in the shade,
sprang from the edges of the rivulet as it found its way out, the
small creepers, dripping with moisture, hung out from between the
diamond-shaped stones of the roof, the air was refreshingly cool, and
the leafy door at the entrance, seen against the sky, looked of a
transparent green, as vivid as emerald. No fancy could create a
sweeter spot. The fountain and the inspiration it breathed into Childe
Harold are worthy of each other.

Just above the fountain, on the crest of a hill, stands a thick grove,
supposed to occupy the place of the consecrated wood, in which Numa
met the nymph. It is dark with shadow, and full of birds, and might
afford a fitting retreat for meditation to another king and lawgiver.
The fields about it are so thickly studded with flowers, that you
cannot step without crushing them, and the whole neighborhood seems a
favorite of nature. The rich banker, Torlonia, has bought this and
several other classic spots about Rome--possessions for which he is
more to be envied than for his purchased dukedom.

All the travelling world assembles at Rome for the ceremonies of the
holy week. Naples, Florence, and Pisa, send their hundreds of annual
visitors, and the hotels and palaces are crowded with strangers of
every nation and rank. It would be difficult to imagine a gayer or
busier place than this usually sombre city has become within a few
days.



LETTER LVIII.

     PALM SUNDAY--SISTINE CHAPEL--ENTRANCE OF THE POPE--THE
     CHOIR--THE POPE ON HIS THRONE--PRESENTING THE
     PALMS--PROCESSION--BISHOP ENGLAND'S LECTURE--HOLY TUESDAY--THE
     MISERERE--ACCIDENTS IN THE CROWD--TENEBRÆ--THE EMBLEMATIC
     CANDLES--HOLY THURSDAY--FRESCOES OF MICHAEL ANGELO--"CREATION
     OF EVE"--"LOT INTOXICATED"--DELPHIC SYBIL--POPE WASHING
     PILGRIMS' FEET--STRIKING RESEMBLANCE OF ONE TO JUDAS--POPE AND
     CARDINALS WAITING UPON PILGRIMS AT DINNER.


Palm Sunday opens the ceremonies. We drove to the Vatican this
morning, at nine, and, after waiting a half hour in the crush, kept
back, at the point of the spear, by the Pope's Swiss guard, I
succeeded in getting an entrance into the Sistine chapel. Leaving the
ladies of the party behind the grate, I passed two more guards, and
obtained a seat among the cowled and bearded dignitaries of the church
and state within, where I could observe the ceremony with ease.

The Pope entered, borne in his gilded chair by twelve men, and, at the
same moment, the chanting from the Sistine choir commenced with one
long, piercing note, by a single voice, producing the most impressive
effect. He mounted his throne as high as the altar opposite him, and
the cardinals went through their obeisances, one by one, their trains
supported by their servants, who knelt on the lower steps behind them.
The palms stood in a tall heap beside the altar. They were beautifully
woven in wands of perhaps six feet in length, with a cross at the top.
The cardinal nearest the papal chair mounted first, and a palm was
handed him. He laid it across the knees of the Pope, and, as his
holiness signed the cross upon it, he stooped, and kissed the
embroidered cross upon his foot, then kissed the palm, and taking it
in his two hands, descended with it to his seat. The other forty or
fifty cardinals did the same, until each was provided with a palm.
Some twenty other persons, monks of apparent clerical rank of every
order, military men, and members of the Catholic embassies, followed
and took palms. A procession was then formed, the cardinals going
first with their palms held before them, and the Pope following, in
his chair, with a small frame of palmwork in his hands, in which was
woven the initial of the Virgin. They passed out of the Sistine
chapel, the choir chanting most delightfully, and, having made a tour
around the vestibule, returned in the same order.

The ceremony is intended to represent the entrance of the Saviour into
Jerusalem. Bishop England, of Charleston, South Carolina, delivered a
lecture at the house of the English cardinal Weld, a day or two ago,
explanatory of the ceremonies of the Holy week. It was principally an
apology for them. He confessed that, to the educated, they appeared
empty, and even absurd rites, but they were intended not for the
refined, but the vulgar, whom it was necessary to instruct and impress
through their outward senses. As nearly all these rites, however,
take place in the Sistine chapel, which no person is permitted to
enter who is not furnished with a ticket, and in full dress, his
argument rather fell to the ground.

With all the vast crowd of strangers in Rome, I went to the Sistine
chapel on _Holy Tuesday_, to hear the far-famed _Miserere_. It is sung
several times during the holy week, by the Pope's choir, and has been
described by travellers, of all nations, in the most rapturous terms.
The vestibule was a scene of shocking confusion, for an hour, a
constant struggle going on between the crowd and the Swiss guard,
amounting occasionally to a fight, in which ladies fainted, children
screamed, men swore, and, unless by force of contrast, the minds of
the audience seemed likely to be little in tune for the music. The
chamberlains at last arrived, and two thousand people attempted to get
into a small chapel which scarce holds four hundred. Coat-skirts, torn
cassocks, hats, gloves, and fragments of ladies' dresses, were thrown
up by the suffocating throng, and, in the midst of a confusion beyond
description, the mournful notes of the _tenebræ_ (or lamentations of
Jeremiah) poured in full volume from the choir. Thirteen candles
burned in a small pyramid within the paling of the altar, and twelve
of these, representing the apostles, were extinguished, one by one (to
signify their desertion at the cross), during the singing of the
_tenebræ_. The last, which was left burning, represented the mother of
Christ. As the last before this was extinguished, the music ceased.
The crowd had, by this time, become quiet. The twilight had deepened
through the dimly-lit chapel, and the one solitary lamp looked lost at
the distance of the altar. Suddenly the _miserére_ commenced with one
high prolonged note, that sounded like a wail; another joined it, and
another and another, and all the different parts came in, with a
gradual swell of plaintive and most thrilling harmony, to the full
power of the choir. It continued for perhaps half an hour. The music
was simple, running upon a few notes, like a dirge, but there were
voices in the choir that seemed of a really supernatural sweetness. No
instrument could be so clear. The crowd, even in their uncomfortable
positions, were breathless with attention, and the effect was
universal. It is really extraordinary music, and if but half the rites
of the Catholic church had its power over the mind, a visit to Rome
would have quite another influence.

The candles were lit, and the motley troop of cardinals and red-legged
servitors passed out. The harlequin-looking Swiss guard stood to their
tall halberds, the chamberlains and mace-bearers, in their cassock and
frills, took care that the males and females should not mix until they
reached the door, the Pope disappeared in the sacristy, and the gay
world, kept an hour beyond their time, went home to cold dinners.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ceremonies of _Holy Thursday_ commenced with the mass in the
Sistine chapel. Tired of seeing genuflections, and listening to a
mumbling of which I could not catch a syllable, I took advantage of my
privileged seat, in the Ambassador's box, to lean back and study the
celebrated frescoes of Michael Angelo upon the ceiling. A little
drapery would do no harm to any of them. They illustrate, mainly,
passages of scripture history, but the "creation of Eve," in the
centre, is an astonishingly fine representation of a naked man and
woman, as large as life; and "Lot intoxicated and exposed before his
two daughters," is about as immodest a picture, from its admirable
expression as well as its nudity, as could easily be drawn. In one
corner there is a most beautiful draped figure of the _Delphic
Sybil_--and I think this bit of heathenism is almost the only very
decent part of the Pope's most consecrated chapel.

After the mass, the host was carried, with a showy procession, to be
deposited among the thousand lamps in the Capella Paolina, and, as
soon as it had passed, there was a general rush for the room in which
the Pope was to _wash the feet of the pilgrims_.

Thirteen men, dressed in white, with sandals open at the top, and caps
of paper covered with white linen, sat on a high bench, just under a
beautiful copy of the last supper of Da Vinci, in gobelin tapestry. It
was a small chapel, communicating with the Pope's private apartments.
Eleven of the pilgrims were as vulgar and brutal-looking men as could
have been found in the world; but of the two in the centre, one was
the personification of wild fanaticism. He was pale, emaciated, and
abstracted. His hair and beard were neglected, and of a singular
blackness. His lips were firmly set in an expression of severity. His
brows were gathered gloomily over his eyes, and his glances,
occasionally sent among the crowd, were as glaring and flashing as a
tiger's. With all this, his countenance was lofty, and if I had seen
the face on canvas, as a portrait of a martyr, I should have thought
it finely expressive of courage and devotion. The man on his left
wept, or pretended to weep, continually; but every person in the room
was struck with his extraordinary resemblance to _Judas_, as he is
drawn in the famous picture of the Last Supper. It was the same marked
face, the same treacherous, ruffian look, the same style of hair and
beard, to a wonder. It is possible that he might have been chosen on
purpose, the twelve pilgrims being intended to represent the twelve
apostles of whom Judas was one--but if accidental, it was the most
remarkable coincidence that ever came under my notice. He looked the
hypocrite and traitor complete, and his resemblance to the Judas in
the picture directly over his head, would have struck a child.

The Pope soon entered from his apartments, in a purple stole, with a
cape of dark crimson satin, and the mitre of silver-cloth, and,
casting the incense into the golden censer, the white smoke was flung
from side to side before him, till the delightful odor filled the
room. A short service was then chanted, and the choir sang a hymn. His
Holiness was then unrobed, and a fine napkin, trimmed with lace, was
tied about him by the servitors, and with a deacon before him, bearing
a splendid pitcher and basin, and a procession behind him, with large
bunches of flowers, he crossed to the pilgrims' bench. A priest, in a
snow-white tunic, raised and bared the foot of the first. The Pope
knelt, took water in his hand, and slightly rubbed the instep, and
then drying it well with a napkin, he kissed it.

The assistant-deacon gave a large bunch of flowers and a napkin to the
pilgrim, as the Pope left him, and another person in rich garments,
followed, with pieces of money presented in a wrapper of white paper.
The same ceremony took place with each--one foot only being honored
with a lavation. When his Holiness arrived at the "Judas," there was a
general stir, and every one was on tip-toe to watch his countenance.
He took his handkerchief from his eyes, and looked at the Pope very
earnestly, and when the ceremony was finished, he seized the sacred
hand, and, imprinting a kiss upon it, flung himself back, and buried
his face again in his handkerchief, quite overwhelmed with his
feelings. The other pilgrims took it very coolly, comparatively, and
one of them seemed rather amused than edified. The Pope returned to
his throne, and water was poured over his hands. A cardinal gave him a
napkin, his splendid cape was put again over his shoulders, and, with
a paternoster the ceremony was over.

Half an hour after, with much crowding and several losses of foothold
and temper, I had secured a place in the hall where the apostles, as
the pilgrims are called after the washing, were to dine, waited on by
the Pope and cardinals. With their gloomy faces and ghastly white caps
and white dresses, they looked more like criminals waiting for
execution, than guests at a feast. They stood while the Pope went
round with a gold pitcher and basin, to wash their hands, and then
seating themselves, his Holiness, with a good-natured smile, gave each
a dish of soup, and said something in his ear, which had the effect of
putting him at his ease. The table was magnificently set out with the
plate and provisions of a prince's table, and spite of the thousands
of eyes gazing on them, the pilgrims were soon deep in the delicacies
of every dish, even the lachrymose Judas himself, eating most
voraciously. We left them at their dessert.



LETTER LIX.

     SEPULCHRE OF CAIUS CESTIUS--PROTESTANT BURYING GROUND--GRAVES
     OF KEATS AND SHELLEY--SHELLEY'S LAMENT OVER KEATS--GRAVES OF
     TWO AMERICANS--BEAUTY OF THE BURIAL PLACE--MONUMENTS OVER TWO
     INTERESTING YOUNG FEMALES--INSCRIPTION ON KEATS' MONUMENT--THE
     STYLE OF KEATS' POEMS--GRAVE OF DR. BELL--RESIDENCE AND
     LITERARY UNDERTAKINGS OF HIS WIDOW.


A beautiful pyramid, a hundred and thirteen feet high, built into the
ancient wall of Rome, is the proud _Sepulchre of Caius Cestius_. It is
the most imperishable of the antiquities, standing as perfect after
eighteen hundred years as if it were built but yesterday. Just beyond
it, on the declivity of a hill, over the ridge of which the wall
passes, crowning it with two mouldering towers, lies the _Protestant
burying-ground_. It looks toward Rome, which appears in the distance,
between Mount Aventine and a small hill called Mont Testaccio, and
leaning to the southeast, the sun lies warm and soft upon its banks,
and the grass and wild flowers are there the earliest and tallest of
the Campagna. I have been here to-day, to see the graves of _Keats_
and _Shelley_. With a cloudless sky and the most delicious air ever
breathed, we sat down upon the marble slab laid over the ashes of poor
Shelley, and read his own lament over Keats, who sleeps just below, at
the foot of the hill. The cemetery is rudely formed into three
terraces, with walks between, and Shelley's grave and one other,
without a name, occupy a small nook above, made by the projections of
a mouldering wall-tower, and crowded with ivy and shrubs, and a
peculiarly fragrant yellow flower, which perfumes the air around for
several feet. The avenue by which you ascend from the gate is lined
with high bushes of the marsh-rose in the most luxuriant bloom, and
all over the cemetery the grass is thickly mingled with flowers of
every die. In his preface to his lament over Keats, Shelley says, "he
was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the Protestants,
under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls
and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of
ancient Rome." It is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter
with violets and daisies. "_It might make one in love with death, to
think that one should be buried in so sweet a place._" If Shelley had
chosen his own grave at the time, he would have selected the very spot
where he has since been laid--the most sequestered and flowery nook of
the place he describes so feelingly. In the last verses of the elegy,
he speaks of it again with the same feeling of its beauty:--

             "The spirit of the spot shall lead
       Thy footsteps to a slope of green access,
       Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead,
     A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread.

       "And gray walls moulder round, on which dull time
       Feeds like slow fire upon a hoary brand:
       And one keen pyramid, with wedge sublime,
       Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
       This refuge for his memory, doth stand
       Like flame transformed to marble; and _beneath
       A field is spread, on which a newer band
       Have pitched, in heaven's smile, their camp of death_,
     Welcoming him we lose, with scarce extinguished breath.

     "Here pause: these graves are all _too young as yet
       To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
       Its charge to each_."

Shelley has left no poet behind, who could write so touchingly of his
burial-place in turn. He was, indeed, as they have graven on his
tombstone, "_cor cordium_"--the heart of hearts. Dreadfully mistaken
as he was in his principles, he was no less the soul of genius than
the model of a true heart and of pure intentions. Let who will cast
reproach upon his memory, I believe, for one, that his errors were of
the kind most venial in the eye of Heaven, and I read, almost like a
prophesy, the last lines of his elegy on one he believed had gone
before him to a happier world:

       "Burning through the inmost veil of heaven,
     The soul of Adonais, like a star,
     Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are."

On the second terrace of the declivity, are ten or twelve graves, two
of which bear the names of Americans who have died in Rome. A portrait
carved in bas-relief, upon one of the slabs, told me, without the
inscription, that one whom I had known was buried beneath.[9] The
slightly rising mound was covered with small violets, half hidden by
the grass. It takes away from the pain with which one stands over the
grave of an acquaintance or a friend, to see the sun lying so warm
upon it, and the flowers springing so profusely and cheerfully. Nature
seems to have cared for those who have died so far from home, binding
the earth gently over them with grass, and decking it with the most
delicate flowers.

A little to the left, on the same bank, is the new-made grave of a
very young man, Mr. Elliot. He came abroad for health, and died at
Rome, scarce two months since. Without being disgusted with life, one
feels, in a place like this, a certain reconciliation, if I may so
express it, with the thought of a burial--an almost willingness, if
his bed could be laid amid such loveliness, to be brought and left
here to his repose. Purely imaginary as any difference in this
circumstance is, it must, at least, always affect the sick powerfully;
and with the common practice of sending the dying to Italy, as a last
hope, I consider the exquisite beauty of this place of burial, as more
than a common accident of happiness.

Farther on, upon the same terrace, are two monuments that interested
me. One marks the grave of a young English girl,[10] the pride of a
noble family, and, as a sculptor told me, who had often seen and
admired her, a model of high-born beauty. She was riding with a party
on the banks of the Tiber, when her horse became unmanageable, and
backed into the river. She sank instantly, and was swept so rapidly
away by the current, that her body was not found for many months. Her
tombstone is adorned with a bas-relief, representing an angel
receiving her from the waves.

The other is the grave of a young lady of twenty, who was at the baths
of Lucca, last summer, in pursuit of health. She died at the first
approach of winter. I had the melancholy pleasure of knowing her
slightly, and we used to meet her in the winding path upon the bank of
the romantic river Lima, at evening, borne in a sedan, with her mother
and sister walking at her side, the fairest victim consumption ever
seized. She had all the peculiar beauty of the disease, the
transparent complexion, and the unnaturally bright eye, added to
features cast in the clearest and softest mould of female loveliness.
She excited general interest even among the gay and dissipated crowd
of a watering place; and if her sedan was missed in the evening
promenade, the inquiry for her was anxious and universal. She is
buried in a place that seems made for such as herself.

We descended to the lower enclosure at the foot of the slight
declivity. The first grave here is that of _Keats_. The inscription on
his monument runs thus: "_This grave contains all that was mortal of a
young English poet, who, on his death-bed, in the bitterness of his
heart at the malicious power of his enemies, desired these words to be
engraved on his tomb_: HERE LIES ONE WHOSE NAME WAS WRITTEN IN WATER."
He died at Rome in 1821. Every reader knows his history and the cause
of his death. Shelley says, in the preface to his elegy, "The savage
criticism on his poems, which appeared in the Quarterly Review,
produced the most violent effect on his susceptible mind; the
agitation thus originated ended in a rupture of a blood-vessel in the
lungs; a rapid consumption ensued, and the succeeding acknowledgments,
from more candid critics, of the true greatness of his powers, were
ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted." Keats was, no
doubt, a poet of very uncommon promise. He had all the wealth of
genius within him, but he had not learned, before he was killed by
criticism, the received, and, therefore, the best manner of producing
it for the eye of the world. Had he lived longer, the strength and
richness which break continually through the affected style of
Endymion and Lamia and his other poems, must have formed themselves
into some noble monuments of his powers. As it is, there is not a poet
living who could surpass the material of his "Endymion"--a poem, with
all its faults, far more full of beauties. But this is not the place
for criticism. He is buried fitly for a poet, and sleeps beyond
criticism now. Peace to his ashes!

Close to the grave of Keats is that of Dr. Bell, the author of
"Observations on Italy." This estimable man, whose comments on the
fine arts are, perhaps, as judicious and high-toned as any ever
written, has left behind him, in Naples (where he practised his
profession for some years), a host of friends, who remember and speak
of him as few are remembered and spoken of in this changing and
crowded portion of the world. His widow, who edited his works so ably
and judiciously, lives still at Naples, and is preparing just now a
new edition of his book on Italy. Having known her, and having heard
from her own lips many particulars of his life, I felt an additional
interest in visiting his grave. Both his monument and Keats's are
almost buried in the tall flowering clover of this beautiful place.


FOOTNOTES:

[9] Mr. John Hone, of New York.

[10] An interesting account of this ill-fated young lady, who was on
the eve of marriage, has appeared in the Mirror.



LETTER LX.

     PRESENTATION AT THE PAPAL COURT--PILGRIMS GOING TO
     VESPERS--PERFORMANCE OF THE MISERERE--TARPEIAN ROCK--THE
     FORUM--PALACE OF THE CESARS--COLISEUM.


I have been presented to the Pope this morning, in company with
several Americans--Mr. and Mrs. Gray, of Boston, Mr. Atherton and
daughters, and Mr. Walsh of Philadelphia, and Mr. Mayer of Baltimore.
With the latter gentleman, I arrived rather late, and found that the
rest of the party had been already received, and that his Holiness was
giving audience, at the moment, to some Russian ladies of rank. Bishop
England, of Charleston, however, was good enough to send in once more,
and, in the course of a few minutes, the chamberlain in waiting
announced to us that _Il Padre Santo_ would receive us. The ante-room
was a picturesque and rather peculiar scene. Clusters of priests, of
different rank, were scattered about in the corners, dressed in a
variety of splendid costumes, white, crimson, and ermine, one or two
monks, with their picturesque beards and flowing dresses of gray or
brown, were standing near one of the doors, in their habitually humble
attitudes; two gentlemen mace-bearers guarded the door of the entrance
to the Pope's presence, their silver batons under their arms, and
their open breasted cassocks covered with fine lace; the deep bend of
the window was occupied by the American party of ladies, in the
required black veils; and around the outer door stood the helmeted
guard, a dozen stout men-at-arms, forming a forcible contrast to the
mild faces and priestly company within.

The mace-bearers lifted the curtain, and the Pope stood before us, in
a small plain room. The Irish priest who accompanied us prostrated
himself on the floor, and kissed the embroidered slipper, and Bishop
England hastily knelt and kissed his hand, turning to present us as he
rose. His Holiness smiled, and stepped forward, with a gesture of his
hand, as if to prevent our kneeling, and, as the bishop mentioned our
names, he looked at us and nodded smilingly, but without speaking to
us. Whether he presumed we did not speak the language, or whether he
thought us too young to answer for ourselves, he confined his
inquiries about us entirely to the good bishop, leaving me, as I
wished, at leisure to study his features and manner. It was easy to
conceive that the father of the Catholic church stood before me, but I
could scarcely realize that it was a sovereign of Europe, and the
temporal monarch of millions. He was dressed in a long vesture of
snow-white flannel, buttoned together in front, with a large crimson
velvet cape over his shoulders, and band and tassels of silver cloth
hanging from beneath. A small white scull-cap covered the crown of his
head, and his hair, slightly grizzled, fell straight toward a low
forehead, expressive of good-nature merely. A large emerald on his
finger, and slippers wrought in gold, with a cross on the instep,
completed his dress. His face is heavily moulded, but unmarked, and
expressive mainly of sloth and kindness; his nose is uncommonly large,
rather pendant than prominent, and an incipient double chin, slightly
hanging cheeks, and eyes, over which the lids drop, as if in sleep, at
the end of every sentence, confirm the general impression of his
presence--that of an indolent and good old man. His inquiries were
principally of the Catholic church in Baltimore (mentioned by the
bishop as the city of Mr. Mayer's residence), of its processions, its
degree of state, and whether it was recognised by the government. At
the first pause in the conversation, his Holiness smiled and bowed,
the Irish priest prostrated himself again, and kissed his foot, and,
with a blessing from the father of the church, we retired.

On the evening of holy Thursday, as I was on my way to St. Peter's to
hear the _miserere_ once more, I overtook the procession of pilgrims
going up to vespers. The men went first in couples, following a cross,
and escorted by gentlemen penitents covered conveniently with
sackcloth, their eyes peeping through two holes, and their
well-polished boots beneath, being the only indications by which their
penance could be betrayed to the world. The pilgrims themselves,
perhaps a hundred in all, were the dirtiest collection of beggars
imaginable, distinguished from the lazars in the street, only by a
long staff with a faded bunch of flowers attached to it, and an
oil-cloth cape stitched over with scallop-shells. Behind came the
female pilgrims, and these were led by the first ladies of rank in
Rome. It was really curious to see the mixture of humility and pride.
There were, perhaps, fifty ladies of all ages, from sixteen to fifty,
walking each between two filthy old women who supported themselves by
her arms, while near them, on either side of the procession, followed
their splendid equipages, with numerous servants, in livery, on foot,
as if to contradict to the world their temporary degradation. The
lady penitents, unlike the gentlemen, walked in their ordinary dress.
I had several acquaintances among them; and it was inconceivable, to
me, how the gay, thoughtless, fashionable creatures I had met in the
most luxurious drawing-rooms of Rome, could be prevailed upon to
become a part in such a ridiculous parade of humility. The chief
penitent, who carried a large, heavy crucifix at the head of the
procession, was the Princess ----, at whose weekly soirees and balls
assemble all that is gay and pleasure-loving in Rome. Her two nieces,
elegant girls of eighteen or twenty, walked at her side, carrying
lighted candles, of four or five feet in length, in broad day-light,
through the streets!

The procession crept slowly up to the church, and I left them kneeling
at the tomb of St. Peter, and went to the side chapel, to listen to
the _miserere_. The choir here is said to be inferior to that in the
Sistine chapel, but the circumstances more than make up for the
difference, which, after all, it takes a nice ear to detect. I could
not but congratulate myself, as I sat down upon the base of a pillar,
in the vast aisle, without the chapel where the choir were chanting,
with the twilight gathering in the lofty arches, and the candles of
the various processions creeping to the consecrated sepulchre from the
distant parts of the church. It was so different in that crowded and
suffocating chapel of the Vatican, where, fine as was the music, I
vowed positively never to subject myself to such annoyance again.

It had become almost dark, when the last candle but one was
extinguished in the symbolical pyramid, and the first almost painful
note of the _miserere_ wailed out into the vast church of St. Peter.
For the next half hour, the kneeling listeners, around the door of the
chapel, seemed spell-bound in their motionless attitudes. The darkness
thickened, the hundred lamps at the far-off sepulchre of the saint,
looked like a galaxy of twinkling points of fire, almost lost in the
distance; and from the now perfectly obscured choir, poured, in
ever-varying volume, the dirge-like music, in notes inconceivably
plaintive and affecting. The power, the mingled mournfulness and
sweetness, the impassioned fulness, at one moment, and the lost,
shrieking wildness of one solitary voice, at another, carry away the
soul like a whirlwind. I have never been so moved by anything. It is
not in the scope of language to convey an idea to another of the
effect of the _miserere_.

It was not till several minutes after the music had ceased, that the
dark figures rose up from the floor about me. As we approached the
door of the church, the full moon, about three hours risen, poured
broadly under the arch of the portico, inundating the whole front of
the lofty dome with a flood of light, such as falls only on Italy.
There seemed to be no atmosphere between. Daylight is scarce more
intense. The immense square, with its slender obelisk and embracing
crescents of colonnade, lay spread out as definitely to the eye as at
noon, and the two famous fountains shot up their clear waters to the
sky, the moonlight streamed through the spray, and every drop as
visible and bright as a diamond.

I got out of the press of carriages, and took a by-street along the
Tiber, to the Coliseum. Passing the Jews' quarter, which shuts at dark
by heavy gates, I found myself near the Tarpeian rock, and entered the
Forum, behind the ruins of the temple of Fortune. I walked toward the
palace of the Cesars, stopping to gaze on the columns, whose shadows
have fallen on the same spot, where I now saw them, for sixteen or
seventeen centuries. It checks the blood at one's heart, to stand on
the spot and remember it. There was not the sound of a footstep
through the whole wilderness of the Forum. I traversed it to the arch
of Titus in a silence, which, with the majestic ruins around, seemed
almost supernatural--the mind was left so absolutely to the powerful
associations of the place.

Ten minutes more brought me to the Coliseum. Its gigantic walls,
arches on arches, almost to the very clouds, lay half in shadow, half
in light, the ivy hung trembling in the night air, from between the
cracks of the ruin, and it looked like some mighty wreck in a desert.
I entered, and a hundred voices announced to me the presence of half
the fashion of Rome. I had forgotten that it was _the mode_ "to go to
the Coliseum by moonlight." Here they were dancing and laughing about
the arena where thousands of Christians had been torn by wild beasts,
for the amusement of the emperors of Rome; where gladiators had fought
and died; where the sands beneath their feet were more eloquent of
blood than any other spot on the face of the earth--and one sweet
voice proposed a dance, and another wished she could have music and
supper, and the solemn old arches re-echoed with shouts and laughter.
The travestie of the thing was amusing. I mingled in the crowd, and
found acquaintances of every nation, and an hour I had devoted to
romantic solitude and thought passed away, perhaps, quite as
agreeably, in the nonsense of the most thoughtless triflers in
society.



LETTER LXI.

     VIGILS OVER THE HOST--CEREMONIES OF EASTER SUNDAY--THE
     PROCESSION--HIGH MASS--THE POPE BLESSING THE PEOPLE--CURIOUS
     ILLUMINATION--RETURN TO FLORENCE--RURAL FESTA--HOSPITALITY OF
     THE FLORENTINES--EXPECTED MARRIAGE OF THE GRAND DUKE.


ROME, 1833.--This is Friday of the holy week. The host, which was
deposited yesterday amid its thousand lamps in the Paoline chapel, was
taken from its place this morning, in solemn procession, and carried
back to the Sistine, after lying in the consecrated place twenty-four
hours. Vigils were kept over it all night. The Paoline chapel has no
windows, and the lights are so disposed as to multiply its receding
arches till the eye is lost in them. The altar on which the host lay
was piled up to the roof in a pyramid of light, and with the prostrate
figures constantly covering the floor, and the motionless soldier in
antique armor at the entrance, it was like some scene of wild romance.

The ceremonies of Easter Sunday were performed where all others should
have been--in the body of St. Peter's. Two lines of soldiers, forming
an aisle up the centre, stretched from the square without the portico
to the sacred sepulchre. Two temporary platforms for the various
diplomatic corps and other privileged persons occupied the sides, and
the remainder of the church was filled by thousands of strangers,
Roman peasantry, and contadini (in picturesque red boddices, and with
golden bodkins through their hair), from all the neighboring towns.

A loud blast of trumpets, followed by military music, announced the
coming of the procession. The two long lines of soldiers presented
arms, and the esquires of the Pope entered first, in red robes,
followed by the long train of proctors, chamberlains, mitre-bearers,
and incense-bearers, the men-at-arms, escorting the procession on
either side. Just before the cardinals, came a cross-bearer, supported
on either side by men in showy surplices carrying lights, and then
came the long and brilliant line of white-headed cardinals, in scarlet
and ermine. The military dignitaries of the monarch preceded the Pope,
a splendid mass of uniforms, and his Holiness then appeared,
supported, in his great gold and velvet chair, upon the shoulders of
twelve men, clothed in red damask, with a canopy over his head,
sustained by eight gentlemen, in short, violet-colored silk mantles.
Six of the Swiss guard (representing the six Catholic canons) walked
near the Pope, with drawn swords on their shoulders, and after his
chair followed a troop of civil officers, whose appointments I did not
think it worth while to enquire. The procession stopped when the Pope
was opposite the "chapel of the holy sacrament," and his Holiness
descended. The tiara was lifted from his head by a cardinal, and he
knelt upon a cushion of velvet and gold to adore the "sacred host,"
which was exposed upon the altar. After a few minutes he returned to
his chair, his tiara was again set on his head, and the music rang
out anew, while the procession swept on to the sepulchre.

The spectacle was all splendor. The clear space through the vast area
of the church, lined with glittering soldiery, the dazzling gold and
crimson of the coming procession, the high papal chair, with the
immense fan-banners of peacock's feathers, held aloft, the almost
immeasurable dome and mighty pillars, above and around, and the
multitudes of silent people, produced a scene which, connected with
the idea of religious worship, and added to by the swell of a hundred
instruments of music, quite dazzled and overpowered me.

The high mass (performed but three times a year) proceeded. At the
latter part of it, the Pope mounted to the altar, and, after various
ceremonies, elevated the sacred host. At the instant that the small
white wafer was seen between the golden candlesticks, the two immense
lines of soldiers dropped upon their knees, and all the people
prostrated themselves at the same instant.

This fine scene over, we hurried to the square in front of the church,
to secure places for a still finer one--that of the Pope blessing the
people. Several thousand troops, cavalry and footmen, were drawn up
between the steps and the obelisk, in the centre of the piazza, and
the immense area embraced by the two circling colonnades was crowded
by, perhaps, a hundred thousand people, with eyes directed to one
single point. The variety of bright costumes, the gay liveries of the
ambassadors' and cardinals' carriages, the vast body of soldiery, and
the magnificent frame of columns and fountains in which this gorgeous
picture was contained, formed the grandest scene conceivable.

In a few minutes the Pope appeared in the balcony, over the great
door of St. Peter's. Every hat in the vast multitude was lifted and
every knee bowed in an instant. _Half a nation prostrate together, and
one gray old man lifting up his hands to heaven and blessing them!_

The cannon of the castle of St. Angelo thundered, the innumerable
bells of Rome pealed forth simultaneously, the troops fell into line
and motion, and the children of the two hundred and fifty-seventh
successor of St. Peter departed _blessed_.

In the evening all the world assembled to see the illumination, which
it is useless to attempt to describe.

The night was cloudy and black, and every line in the architecture of
the largest building in the world was defined in light, even to the
cross, which, as I have said before, is at the height of a mountain
from the base. For about an hour it was a delicate but vast structure
of shining lines, like a drawing of a glorious temple on the clouds.
At eight, as the clock struck, flakes of fire burst from every point,
and the whole building seemed started into flame. It was done by a
simultaneous kindling of torches in a thousand points, a man stationed
at each. The glare seemed to exceed that of noonday. No description
can give an idea of it.

I am not sure that I have not been a little tedious in describing the
ceremonies of the holy week. Forsyth says in his bilious book, that he
"never could read, and certainly never could write, a description of
them." They have struck me, however, as particularly unlike anything
ever seen in our own country, and I have endeavored to draw them
slightly and with as little particularity as possible. I trust that
some of the readers of the Mirror may find them entertaining and
novel.

       *       *       *       *       *

FLORENCE, 1833.--I found myself at six this morning, where I had found
myself at the same hour a year before--in the midst of the rural festa
in the Cascine of Florence. The Duke, to-day, breakfasts at his farm.
The people of Florence, high and low, come out, and spread their
repasts upon the fine sward of the openings in the wood, the roads are
watered, and the royal equipages dash backward and forward, while the
ladies hang their shawls in the trees, and children and lovers stroll
away into the shade, and all looks like a scene from Boccaccio.

I thought it a picturesque and beautiful sight last year, and so
described it. But I was a stranger then, newly arrived in Florence,
and felt desolate amid the happiness of so many. A few months among so
frank and warm-hearted a people as the Tuscans, however, makes one at
home. The tradesman and his wife, familiar with your face, and happy
to be seen in their holyday dresses, give you the "_buon giorno_" as
you pass, and a cup of red wine or a seat at the cloth on the grass is
at your service in almost any group in the _prato_. I am sure I should
not find so many acquaintances in the town in which I have passed my
life.

A little beyond the crowd, lies a broad open glade of the greenest
grass, in the very centre of the woods of the farm. A broad fringe of
shade is flung by the trees along the eastern side, and at their roots
cluster the different parties of the nobles and the ambassadors. Their
gayly-dressed _chasseurs_ are in waiting, the silver plate quivers and
glances, as the chance rays of the sun break through the leaves over
head, and at a little distance, in the road, stand their showy
equipages in a long line from the great oak to the farmhouse.

In the evening, there was an illumination of the green alleys and the
little square in front of the house, and a band of music for the
people. Within, the halls were thrown open for a ball. It was given by
the Grand Duke to the Duchess of Litchtenberg, the widow of Eugene
Beauharnois. The company assembled at eight, and the presentations
(two lovely countrywomen of our own among them), were over at nine.
The dancing then commenced, and we drove home, through the fading
lights still burning in the trees, an hour or two past midnight.

The Grand Duke is about to be married to one of the princesses of
Naples, and great preparations are making for the event. He looks
little like a bridegroom, with his sad face, and unshorn beard and
hair. It is, probably, not a marriage of inclination, for the fat
princess expecting him, is every way inferior to the incomparable
woman he has lost, and he passed half the last week in a lonely visit
to the chamber in which she died, in his palace at Pisa.



LETTER LXII.

     BOLOGNA--MALIBRAN--PARMA--NIGHTINGALES OF
     LOMBARDY--PLACENZA--AUSTRIAN SOLDIERS--THE
     SIMPLON--MILAN--RESEMBLANCE TO PARIS--THE
     CATHEDRAL--GUERCINO'S HAGAR--MILANESE COFFEE.


MILAN.--My fifth journey over the Apennines--dull of course. On the
second evening we were at Bologna. The long colonnades pleased me less
than before, with their crowds of foreign officers and ill-dressed
inhabitants, and a placard for the opera, announcing Malibran's last
night, relieved us of the prospect of a long evening of weariness. The
divine music of _La Norma_ and a crowded and brilliant audience,
enthusiastic in their applause, seemed to inspire this still
incomparable creature even beyond her wont. She sang with a fulness,
an abandonment, a passionate energy and sweetness that seemed to come
from a soul rapt and possessed beyond control, with the melody it had
undertaken. They were never done calling her on the stage after the
curtain had fallen. After six re-appearances, she came out once more
to the footlights, and murmuring something inaudible from her lips
that showed strong agitation, she pressed her hands together, bowed
till her long hair, falling over her shoulders, nearly touched her
feet, and retired in tears. She is the siren of Europe for me!

I was happy to have no more to do with the Duke of Modena, than to eat
a dinner in his capital. We did "not forget the picture," but my
inquiries for it were as fruitless as before. I wonder whether the
author of the Pleasures of Memory has the pleasure of remembering
having seen the picture himself! "Tassoni's bucket which is not the
true one," is still shown in the tower, and the keeper will kiss the
cross upon his fingers, that Samuel Rogers has written a false line.

At Parma we ate parmesan and saw _the_ Correggio. The angel who holds
the book up to the infant Saviour, the female laying her cheek to his
feet, the countenance of the holy child himself, are creations that
seem apart from all else in the schools of painting. They are like a
group, not from life, but from heaven. They are superhuman, and,
unlike other pictures of beauty which stir the heart as if they
resembled something one had loved or might have loved, these mount
into the fancy like things transcending sympathy, and only within
reach of an intellectual and elevated wonder. This is the picture that
Sir Thomas Lawrence returned six times in one day to see. It is the
only thing I saw to admire in the Duchy of Maria Louisa. An Austrian
regiment marched into the town as we left it, and an Italian at the
gate told us that the Duchess had disbanded her last troops of the
country, and supplied their place with these yellow and black Croats
and Illyrians. Italy is Austria now to the foot of the Apennines--if
not to the top of Radicofani.

Lombardy is full of nightingales. They sing by day, however (as not
specified in poetry). They are up quite as early as the lark, and the
green hedges are alive with their gurgling and changeful music till
twilight. Nothing can exceed the fertility of these endless plains.
They are four or five hundred miles of uninterrupted garden. The same
eternal level road, the same rows of elms and poplars on either side,
the same long, slimy canals, the same square, vine-laced, perfectly
green pastures and cornfields, the same shaped houses, the same-voiced
beggars with the same sing-song whine, and the same villanous
Austrians poring over your passports and asking to be paid for it,
from the Alps to the Apennines. It is wearisome, spite of green leaves
and nightingales. A bare rock or a good brigand-looking mountain would
so refresh the eye!

At Placenza, one of those admirable German bands was playing in the
public square, while a small corps of picked men were manoeuvred.
Even an Italian, I should think, though he knew and felt it was the
music of his oppressors, might have been pleased to listen. And
pleased they seemed to be--for there were hundreds of dark-haired and
well-made men, with faces and forms for heroes, standing and keeping
time with the well-played instruments, as peacefully as if there were
no such thing as liberty, and no meaning in the foreign uniforms
crowding them from their own pavement. And there were the women of
Placenza, nodding from the balconies to the white mustaches and padded
coats strutting below, and you would never dream Italy thought herself
wronged, watching the exchange of courtesies between her dark-eyed
daughters and these fair-haired coxcombs.

We crossed the Po, and entered Austria's _nominal_ dominions. They
rummaged our baggage as if they smelt republicanism somewhere, and
after showing a strong disposition to retain a volume of very bad
poetry as suspicious, and detaining us two long hours, they had the
modesty to ask to be paid for letting us off lightly. When we
declined it, the _chef_ threatened us a precious searching "_the next
time_." How willingly I would submit to the annoyance to have that
_next time_ assured to me! Every step I take toward the bounds of
Italy, pulls so upon my heart!

As most travellers come into Italy over the Simplon, Milan makes
generally the first enthusiastic chapter in their books. I have
reversed the order myself, and have a better right to praise it from
comparison. For exterior, there is certainly no city in Italy
comparable to it. The streets are broad and noble, the buildings
magnificent, the pavement quite the best in Europe, and the Milanese
(all of whom I presume I have seen, for it is Sunday, and the streets
swarm with them), are better dressed, and look "better to do in the
world" than the Tuscans, who are gayer and more Italian, and the
Romans, who are graver and vastly handsomer. Milan is quite like
Paris. The showy and mirror-lined _cafés_, the elegant shops, the
variety of strange people and costumes, and a new gallery lately
opened in imitation of the glass-roofed _passages_ of the French
capital, make one almost feel that the next turn will bring him upon
the Boulevards.

The famous cathedral, nearly completed by Napoleon, is a sort of
Aladdin creation, quite too delicate and beautiful for the open air.
The filmly traceries of gothic fretwork, the needle-like minarets, the
hundreds of beautiful statues with which it is studded, the intricate,
graceful, and bewildering architecture of every window and turret, and
the frost-like frailness and delicacy of the whole mass, make an
effect altogether upon the eye that must stand high on the list of new
sensations. It is a vast structure withal, but a middling easterly
breeze, one would think in looking at it, would lift it from its base
and bear it over the Atlantic like the meshes of a cobweb. Neither
interior nor exterior impresses you with the feeling of awe common to
other large churches. The sun struggles through the immense windows of
painted glass, staining every pillar and carved cornice with the
richest hues, and wherever the eye wanders it grows giddy with the
wilderness of architecture. The people on their knees are like
paintings in the strong artificial light, the checkered pavement seems
trembling with a quivering radiance, the altar is far and indistinct,
and the lamps burning over the tomb of Saint Carlo, shine out from the
centre like gems glistening in the midst of some enchanted hall. This
reads very like rhapsody, but it is the way the place impressed me. It
is like a great dream. Its excessive beauty scarce seems constant
while the eye rests upon it.

The _Brera_ is a noble palace, occupied by the public galleries of
statuary and painting. I felt on leaving Florence that I could give
pictures a very long holyday. To live on them, as one does in Italy,
is like dining from morn till night. The famous Guercino, is at Milan,
however, the "Hagar," which Byron talks of so enthusiastically, and I
once more surrendered myself to a cicerone. The picture catches your
eye on your first entrance. There is that harmony and effect in the
color that mark a masterpiece, even in a passing glance. Abraham
stands in the centre of the group, a fine, prophet-like, "green old
man," with a mild decision in his eye, from which there is evidently
no appeal. Sarah has turned her back, and you can just read in the
half-profile glance of her face, that there is a little pity mingled
in her hard-hearted approval of her rival's banishment. But Hagar--who
can describe the world of meaning in her face? The closed lips have
in them a calm incredulousness, contradicted with wonderful nature in
the flushed and troubled forehead, and the eyes red with long weeping.
The gourd of water is hung over her shoulder, her hand is turning her
sorrowful boy from the door, and she has looked back once more, with a
large tear coursing down her cheek, to read in the face of her master
if she is indeed driven forth for ever. It is the instant before pride
and despair close over her heart. You see in the picture that the next
moment is the crisis of her life. Her gaze is straining upon the old
man's lips, and you wait breathlessly to see her draw up her bending
form, and depart in proud sorrow for the wilderness. It is a piece of
powerful and passionate poetry. It affects you like nothing but a
reality. The eyes get warm, and the heart beats quick, and as you walk
away you feel as if a load of oppressive sympathy was lifting from
your heart.

I have seen little else in Milan, except Austrian soldiers, of whom
there are fifteen thousand in this single capital! The government has
issued an order to officers not on duty, to appear in citizen's dress,
it is supposed, to diminish the appearance of so much military
preparation. For the rest, they make a kind of coffee here, by boiling
it with cream, which is better than anything of the kind either in
Paris or Constantinople; and the Milanese are, for slaves, the most
civil people I have seen, after the Florentines. There is little
English society here; I know not why, except that the Italians are
rich enough to be exclusive and make their houses difficult of access
to strangers.



LETTER LXIII.

     A MELANCHOLY PROCESSION--LAGO MAGGIORE--ISOLA BELLA--THE
     SIMPLON--MEETING A FELLOW-COUNTRYMAN--THE VALLEY OF THE RHONE.


In going out of the gates of Milan, we met a cart full of peasants,
tied together and guarded by _gens d'armes_, the fifth sight of the
kind that has crossed us since we passed the Austrian border. The poor
fellows looked very innocent and very sorry. The extent of their
offences probably might be the want of a passport, and a desire to
step over the limits of his majesty's possessions. A train of
beautiful horses, led by soldiers along the ramparts, the property of
the Austrian officers, were in melancholy contrast to their sad faces.

The clear snowy Alps soon came in sight, and their cold beauty
refreshed us in the midst of a heat that prostrated every nerve in the
system. It is only the first of May, and they are mowing the grass
everywhere on the road, the trees are in their fullest leaf, the frogs
and nightingales singing each other down, and the grasshopper would be
a burden. Toward night we crossed the Sardinian frontier, and in an
hour were set down at an auberge on the bank of Lake Maggiore, in the
little town of Arona. The mountains on the other side of the broad
and mirror-like water, are speckled with ruined castles, here and
there a boat is leaving its long line of ripples behind in its course,
the cattle are loitering home, the peasants sit on the benches before
their doors, and all the lovely circumstances of a rural summer's
sunset are about us, in one of the very loveliest spots in nature. A
very old Florence friend is my companion, and what with mutual
reminiscences of sunny Tuscany, and the deepest love in common for the
sky over our heads, and the green land around us, we are noting down
"red days" in our calendar of travel.

We walked from Arona by sunrise, four or five miles along the borders
of Lake Maggiore. The kind-hearted peasants on their way to the market
raised their hats to us in passing, and I was happy that the greeting
was still "_buon giorno_." Those dark-lined mountains before us were
to separate me too soon from the mellow accents in which it was
spoken. As yet, however, it was all Italian--the ultra-marine sky, the
clear, half-purpled hills, the inspiring air--we felt in every pulse
that it was still Italy.

We were at Baveno at an early hour, and took a boat for _Isola Bella_.
It looks like a gentleman's villa afloat. A boy would throw a stone
entirely over it in any direction. It strikes you like a kind of toy
as you look at it from a distance, and getting nearer, the illusion
scarcely dissipates--for, from the water's edge, the orange-laden
terraces are piled one above another like a pyramidal fruit-basket,
the villa itself peers above like a sugar castle, and it scarce seems
real enough to land upon. We pulled round to the northern side, and
disembarked at a broad stone staircase, where a cicerone, with a look
of suppressed wisdom, common to his vocation, met us with the offer of
his services.

The entrance-hall was hung with old armor, and a magnificent suite of
apartments above, opening on all sides upon the lake, was lined
thickly with pictures, none of them remarkable except one or two
landscapes by the savage Tempesta. Travellers going the other way
would probably admire the collection more than we. We were glad to be
handed over by our pragmatical custode to a pretty contadina, who
announced herself as the gardener's daughter, and gave us each a bunch
of roses. It was a proper commencement to an acquaintance upon Isola
Bella. She led the way to the water's edge, where, in the foundations
of the palace, a suite of eight or ten spacious rooms is constructed
_a la grotte_--with a pavement laid of small stones of different
colors, walls and roof of fantastically set shells and pebbles, and
statues that seem to have reason in their nudity. The only light came
in at the long doors opening down to the lake, and the deep leather
sofas, and dark cool atmosphere, with the light break of the waves
outside, and the long views away toward Isola Madra, and the far-off
opposite shore, composed altogether a most seductive spot for an
indolent humor and a summer's day. I shall keep it as a cool
recollection till sultry summers trouble me no more.

But the garden was the prettiest place. The lake is lovely enough any
way; but to look at it through perspectives of orange alleys, and have
the blue mountains broken by stray branches of tulip-trees, clumps of
crimson rhododendron, and clusters of citron, yellower than gold; to
sit on a garden-seat in the shade of a thousand roses, with
sweet-scented shrubs and verbenums, and a mixture of novel and
delicious perfumes embalming the air about you, and gaze up at snowy
Alps and sharp precipices, and down upon a broad smooth mirror in
which the islands lie like clouds, and over which the boats are
silently creeping with their white sails, like birds asleep in the
sky--why (not to disparage nature), it seems to my poor judgment, that
these artificial appliances are an improvement even to Lago Maggiore.

On one side, without the villa walls, are two or three small houses,
one of which is occupied as a hotel; and here, if I had a friend with
matrimony in his eye, would I strongly recommend lodgings for the
honeymoon. A prettier cage for a pair of billing doves no poet would
conceive you.

We got on to Domo d'Ossola to sleep, saying many an oft-said thing
about the entrance to the valleys of the Alps. They seem common when
spoken of, these romantic places, but they are not the less new in the
glow of a first impression.

We were a little in start of the sun this morning, and commenced the
ascent of the Simplon by a gray summer's dawn, before which the last
bright star had not yet faded. From Domo d'Ossola we rose directly
into the mountains, and soon wound into the wildest glens by a road
which was flung along precipices and over chasms and waterfalls like a
waving riband. The horses went on at a round trot, and so skilfully
are the difficulties of the ascent surmounted, that we could not
believe we had passed the spot that from below hung above us so
appallingly. The route follows the foaming river Vedro, which frets
and plunges along at its side or beneath its hanging bridges, with the
impetuosity of a mountain torrent, where the stream is swollen at
every short distance with pretty waterfalls, messengers from the
melting snows on the summits. There was one, a water-_slide_ rather
than a fall, which I stopped long to admire. It came from near the
peak of the mountain, leaping at first from a green clump of firs,
and descending a smooth inclined plane, of perhaps two hundred feet.
The effect was like drapery of the most delicate lace, dropping into
festoons from the hand. The slight waves overtook each other and
mingled and separated, always preserving their elliptical and foaming
curves, till, in a smooth scoop near the bottom, they gathered into a
snowy mass, and leaped into the Vedro in the shape of a twisted shell.
If wishing could have witched it into Mr. Cole's sketch-book, he would
have a new variety of water for his next composition.

After seven hours' driving, which scarce seemed ascending but for the
snow and ice and the clear air it brought us into, we stopped to
breakfast at the village of Simplon, "three thousand, two hundred and
sixteen feet above the sea level." Here we first realized that we had
left Italy. The landlady spoke French and the postillions German! My
sentiment has grown threadbare with travel, but I don't mind
confessing that the circumstance gave me an unpleasant thickness in
the throat. I threw open the southern window, and looked back toward
the marshes of Lombardy, and if I did not say the poetical thing, it
was because

     "It is the silent grief that cuts the heart-strings."

In sober sadness, one may well regret any country where his life has
been filled fuller than elsewhere of sunshine and gladness; and such,
by a thousand enchantments, has Italy been to me. Its climate is life
in my nostrils, its hills and valleys are the poetry of such things,
and its marbles, pictures, and palaces, beset the soul like the very
necessities of existence. You can exist elsewhere, but oh! you _live_
in Italy!

I was sitting by my English companion on a sledge in front of the
hotel, enjoying the sunshine, when the diligence drove up, and six or
eight young men alighted. One of them, walking up and down the road to
get the cramp of a confined seat out of his legs, addressed a remark
to us in English. We had neither of us seen him before, but we
exclaimed simultaneously, as he turned away, "That's an American."
"How did you know he was not an Englishman?" I asked. "Because," said
my friend, "he spoke to us without an introduction and without a
reason, as Englishmen are not in the habit of doing, and because he
ended his sentence with 'sir,' as no Englishman does except he is
talking to an inferior, or wishes to insult you. And how did you know
it?" asked he. "Partly by instinct," I answered, "but more, because
though a traveller, he wears a new hat that cost him ten dollars, and
a new cloak that cost him fifty, (a peculiarly American extravagance,)
because he made no inclination of his body either in addressing or
leaving us, though his intention was to be civil, and because he used
fine dictionary words to express a common idea, which, by the way,
too, betrays his southern breeding. And if you want other evidence, he
has just asked the gentleman near him to ask the conducteur something
about his breakfast, and an American is the only man in the world who
ventures to come abroad without at least French enough to keep himself
from starving." It may appear ill-natured to write down such
criticisms on one's own countryman; but the national peculiarities by
which we are distinguished from foreigners, seemed so well defined in
this instance, that I thought it worth mentioning. We found afterward
that our conjecture was right. His name and country were on the brass
plate of his portmanteau in most legible letters, and I recognized it
directly as the address of an amiable and excellent man, of whom I
had once or twice heard in Italy, though I had never before happened
to meet him. Three of the faults oftenest charged upon our countrymen,
are _over-fine clothes_, _over fine-words_, and _over-fine_, or
_over-free manners_!

From Simplon we drove two or three miles between heaps of snow, lying
in some places from ten to six feet deep. Seven hours before, we had
ridden through fields of grain almost ready for the harvest. After
passing one or two galleries built over the road to protect it from
the avalanches where it ran beneath the loftier precipices, we got out
of the snow, and saw Brig, the small town at the foot of the Simplon,
on the other side, lying almost directly beneath us. It looked as if
one might toss his cap down into its pretty gardens. Yet we were four
or five hours in reaching it, by a road that seemed in most parts
scarcely to descend at all. The views down the valley of the Rhone,
which opened continually before us, were of exquisite beauty, The
river itself, which is here near its source, looked like a meadow
rivulet in its silver windings, and the gigantic Helvetian Alps which
rose in their snow on the other side of the valley, were glittering in
the slant rays of a declining sun, and of a grandeur of size and
outline which diminished, even more than distance, the river and the
clusters of villages at their feet.



LETTER LXIV.

     SWITZERLAND--LA VALAIS--THE CRETINS AND THE GOITRES--A
     FRENCHMAN'S OPINION OF NIAGARA--LAKE LEMAN--CASTLE OF
     CHILLON--ROCKS OF MEILLERIE--REPUBLICAN AIR--MONT
     BLANC--GENEVA--THE STEAMER--PARTING SORROW.


We have been two days and a half loitering down through the Swiss
canton of Valais, and admiring every hour the magnificence of these
snow-capped and green-footed Alps. The little chalets seem just lodged
by accident on the crags, or stuck against slopes so steep, that the
mowers of the mountain-grass are literally let down by ropes to their
dizzy occupation. The goats alone seem to have an exemption from all
ordinary laws of gravitation, feeding against cliffs which it makes
one giddy to look on only; and the short-waisted girls dropping a
courtesy and blushing as they pass the stranger, emerge from the
little mountain-paths, and stop by the first spring, to put on their
shoes and arrange their ribands coquetishly, before entering the
village.

The two dreadful curses of these valleys meet one at every step--the
_cretins_, or natural fools, of which there is at least one in every
family; and the _goitre_ or swelled throat, to which there is hardly
an exception among the women. It really makes travelling in
Switzerland a melancholy business, with all its beauty; at every turn
in the road, a gibbering and moaning idiot, and in every group of
females, a disgusting array of excrescences too common even to be
concealed. Really, to see girls that else were beautiful, arrayed in
all their holyday finery, but with a defect that makes them monsters
to the unaccustomed eye, their throats swollen to the size of their
heads, seems to me one of the most curious and pitiable things I have
met in my wanderings. Many attempts have been made to account for the
growth of the _goitre_, but it is yet unexplained. The men are not so
subject to it as the women, though among them, even, it is frightfully
common. But how account for the continual production by ordinary
parents of this brute race of _cretins_? They all look alike,
dwarfish, large-mouthed, grinning, and of hideous features and
expression. It is said that the children of strangers, born in the
valley, are very likely to be idiots, resembling the cretin exactly.
It seems a supernatural curse upon the land. The Valaisians, however,
consider it a blessing to have one in the family.

The dress of the women of La Valais is excessively unbecoming, and a
pretty face is rare. Their manners are kind and polite, and at the
little _auberges_, where we have stopped on the road, there has been a
cleanliness and a generosity in the supply of the table, which prove
virtues among them, not found in Italy.

At Turtmann, we made a little excursion into the mountains to see a
cascade. It falls about a hundred feet, and has just now more water
than usual from the melting of the snows. It is a pretty fall. A
Frenchman writes in the book of the hotel, that he has seen Niagara
and Trenton Falls, in America, and that they do not compare with the
cascade of Turtmann!

From Martigny the scenery began to grow richer, and after passing the
celebrated Fall of the Pissevache (which springs from the top of a
high Alp almost into the road, and is really a splendid cascade), we
approached Lake Leman in a gorgeous sunset. We rose a slight hill, and
over the broad sheet of water on the opposite shore, reflected with
all its towers in a mirror of gold, lay the _castle of Chillon_. A
bold green mountain, rose steeply behind, the sparkling village of
Vevey lay farther down on the water's edge; and away toward the
sinking sun, stretched the long chain of the Jura, teinted with all
the hues of a dolphin. Never was such a lake of beauty--or it never
sat so pointedly for its picture. Mountains and water, chateaux and
shallops, vineyards and verdure, could do no more. We left the
carriage and walked three or four miles along the southern bank, under
the "Rocks of Meillerie," and the spirit of St. Preux's Julie, if she
haunt the scene where she caught her death, of a sunset in May, is the
most enviable of ghosts. I do not wonder at the prating in albums of
Lake Leman. For me, it is (after Val d'Arno from Fiesoli) the _ne plus
ultra_ of a scenery Paradise.

We are stopping for the night at St. Gingoulf, on a swelling bank of
the lake, and we have been lying under the trees in front of the hotel
till the last perceptible teint is gone from the sky over Jura. Two
pedestrian gentlemen, with knapsacks and dogs, have just arrived, and
a whole family of French people, including parrots and monkeys, came
in before us, and are deafening the house with their chattering. A cup
of coffee, and then good night!

My companion, who has travelled all over Europe on foot, confirms my
opinion that there is no drive on the continent, equal to the forty
miles between the rocks of Meillerie and Geneva, on the southern bank
of the Leman. The lake is not often much broader than the Hudson, the
shores are the noble mountains sung so gloriously by Childe Harold;
Vevey, Lausanne, Copet, and a string of smaller villages, all famous
in poetry and story, fringe the opposite water's edge with cottages
and villages, while you wind for ever along a green lane following the
bend of the shore, the road as level as your hall pavement, and green
hills massed up with trees and verdure, overshadowing you continually.
The world has a great many sweet spots in it, and I have found many a
one which would make fitting scenery for the brightest act of life's
changeful drama--but here is one, where it seems to me as difficult
not to feel genial and kindly, as for Taglioni to keep from floating
away like a smoke-curl when she is dancing in La Bayadere.

We passed a bridge and drew in a long breath to try the difference in
the air--we were in the _republic_ of Geneva. It smelt very much as it
did in the dominions of his majesty of Sardinia--sweet-briar,
hawthorn, violets and all. I used to think when I first came from
America, that the flowers (republicans by nature as well as birds)
were less fragrant under a monarchy.

Mont Blanc loomed up very white in the south, but like other
distinguished persons of whom we form an opinion from the description
of poets, the "monarch of mountains" did not seem to me so _very_
superior to his fellows. After a look or two at him as we approached
Geneva, I ceased straining my head out of the cabriolet, and devoted
my eyes to things more within the scale of my affections--the scores
of lovely villas sprinkling the hills and valleys by which we
approached the city. Sweet--sweet places they are to be sure! And
then the month is May, and the straw-bonneted and white-aproned girls,
ladies and peasants alike, were all out at their porches and
balconies, lover-like couples were sauntering down the park-lanes,
_one_ servant passed us with a tri-cornered blue billet-doux between
his thumb and finger, the nightingales were singing their very hearts
away to the new-blown roses, and a sense of summer and seventeen, days
of sunshine and sonnet-making, came over me irresistibly. I should
like to see June out in Geneva.

The little steamer that makes the tour of Lake Leman, began to "phiz"
by sunrise directly under the windows of our hotel. We were soon on
the pier, where our entrance into the boat was obstructed by a weeping
cluster of girls, embracing and parting very unwillingly with a young
lady of some eighteen years, who was lovely enough to have been wept
for by as many grown-up gentlemen. Her own tears were under better
government, though her sealed lips showed that she dared not trust
herself with her voice. After another and another lingering kiss, the
boatman expressed some impatience, and she tore herself from their
arms and stepped into the waiting batteau. We were soon along side the
steamer, and sooner under way, and then, having given one wave of her
handkerchief to the pretty and sad group on the shore, our fair
fellow-passenger gave way to her feelings, and sinking upon a seat,
burst into a passionate flood of tears. There was no obtruding on such
sorrow, and the next hour or two were employed by my imagination in
filling up the little drama, of which we had seen but the touching
conclusion.

I was pleased to find the boat (a new one) called the "Winkelreid," in
compliment to the vessel which makes the same voyage in Cooper's
"Headsman of Berne." The day altogether had begun like a chapter in a
romance.

     "Lake Leman wooed us with its crystal face,"

but there was the filmiest conceivable veil of mist over its unruffled
mirror, and the green uplands that rose from its edge had a softness
like dreamland upon their verdure. I know not whether the tearful girl
whose head was drooping over the railing felt the sympathy, but I
could not help thanking nature for her, in my heart, the whole scene
was so of the complexion of her own feelings. I could have "thrown my
ring into the sea," like Policrates Samius, "to have cause for sadness
too."

The "Winkelreid" has (for a republican steamer), rather the
aristocratical arrangement of making those who walk _aft_ the funnel
pay twice as much as those who choose to promenade _forward_--for no
earthly reason that I can divine, other than that those who pay
dearest have the full benefit of the oily gases from the machinery,
while the humbler passenger breathes the air of heaven before it has
passed through that improving medium. Our youthful Niobe, two French
ladies not particularly pretty, an Englishman with a fishing-rod and
gun, and a coxcomb of a Swiss artist to whom I had taken a special
aversion at Rome, from a criticism I overheard upon my favorite
picture in the Colonna, my friends and myself, were the exclusive
inhalers of the oleaginous atmosphere of the stern. A crowd of the
ark's own miscellaneousness thronged the forecastle--and so you have
the programme of a day on Lake Leman.



LETTER LXV.

     LAKE LEMAN--AMERICAN APPEARANCE OF THE GENEVESE--STEAMBOAT OF
     THE RHONE--GIBBON AND ROUSSEAU--ADVENTURE OF THE
     LILIES--GENEVESE JEWELLERS--RESIDENCE OF VOLTAIRE--BYRON'S
     NIGHT-CAP--VOLTAIRE'S WALKING-STICK AND STOCKINGS.


The water of Lake Leman looks very like other water, though Byron and
Shelley were nearly drowned in it; and Copet, a little village on the
Helvetian side, where we left three women and took up one man (the
village ought to be very much obliged to us), is no Paradise, though
Madame de Stael made it her residence. There _are_ Paradises, however,
with very short distances between, all the way down the northern
shore; and angels in them, if women are angels--a specimen or two of
the sex being visible with the aid of the spyglass, in nearly every
balcony and belvidere, looking upon the water. The taste in
country-houses seems to be here very much the same as in New England,
and quite unlike the half-palace, half-castle style common in Italy
and France. Indeed the dress, physiognomy, and manners of old Geneva
might make an American Genevese fancy himself at home on the Leman.
There is that subdued decency, that grave respectableness, that
black-coated, straight-haired, saint-like kind of look which is
universal in the small towns of our country, and which is as unlike
France and Italy, as a playhouse is unlike a Methodist chapel. You
would know the people of Geneva were Calvinists, whisking through the
town merely in a diligence.

I lost sight of the town of Morges, eating a tête-à-tête breakfast
with my friend in the cabin. Switzerland is the only place out of
America where one gets cream for his coffee. I cry, Morges mercy on
that plea.

We were at Lausanne at eleven, having steamed forty miles in five
hours. This is not quite up to the thirty-milers on the Hudson, of
which I see accounts in the papers, but we had the advantage of not
being blown up, either going or coming, and of looking for a
continuous minute on a given spot in the scenery. Then we had an iron
railing between us and that portion of the passengers who prefer
garlic to lavender-water, and we achieved our breakfast without losing
our tempers or complexions, in a scramble. The question of superiority
between Swiss and American steamers, therefore, depends very much on
the value you set on life, temper, and time. For me, as my time is not
measured in "diamond sparks," and as my life and temper are the only
gifts with which fortune has blessed me, I prefer the Swiss.

Gibbon lived at Lausanne, and wrote here the last chapter of his
History of Rome--a circumstance which he records with affection. It is
a spot of no ordinary beauty, and the public promenade, where we sat
and looked over to Vevey and Chillon, and the Rocks of Meillerie, and
talked of Rousseau, and agreed that it was a scene, "_faite pour une
Julie, pour une Claire, et pour un Saint Preux_," is one of the
places, where, if I were to "play statue," I should like to grow to my
seat, and compromise, merely, for eyesight. We have one thing against
Lausanne, however,--it is up hill and a mile from the water; and if
Gibbon walked often from Ouchet at noon, and "larded the way" as
freely as we, I make myself certain he was not the fat man his
biographers have drawn him.

There were some other circumstances at Lausanne which interested
_us_--but which criticism has decided can not be obtruded upon the
public. We looked about for "Julie" and "Clare," spite of Rousseau's
"_ne les y cherchez pas_," and gave a blind beggar a sous (all he
asked) for a handful of lilies-of-the-valley, pitying him ten times
more than if he had lost his eyes out of Switzerland. To be blind on
Lake Leman! blind within sight of Mont Blanc! We turned back to drop
another sous into his hat, as we reflected upon it.

The return steamer from Vevey (I was sorry not to go to Vevey for
Rousseau's sake, and as much for Cooper's), took us up on its way to
Geneva, and we had the advantage of seeing the same scenery in a
different light. Trees, houses, and mountains, are so much finer seen
_against_ the sun, with the deep shadows toward you!

Sitting by the stern, was a fat and fair Frenchwoman, who, like me,
had bought lilies, and about as many. With a very natural facility of
dramatic position, I imagined it had established a kind of sympathy
between us, and proposed to myself, somewhere in the fair hours, to
make it serve as an introduction. She went into the cabin after a
while, to lunch on cutlets and beer, and returned to the deck without
her lilies. Mine lay beside me, within reach of her four fingers; and,
as I was making up my mind to offer to replace her loss, she coolly
took them up, and without even a French monosyllable, commenced
throwing them overboard, stem by stem. It was very clear she had
mistaken them for her own. As the last one flew over the tafferel, the
gentleman who paid for _la biere et les cottelettes_, husband or
lover, came up with a smile and a flourish, and reminded her that she
had left her bouquet between the mustard and the beer bottle.
_Sequiter_, a scene. The lady apologized, and I disclaimed; and the
more I insisted on the delight she had given me by throwing my pretty
lilies into Lake Leman, the more she made herself unhappy, and
insisted on my being inconsolable. One should come abroad to know how
much may be said upon throwing overboard a bunch of lilies!

The clouds gathered, and we had some hopes of a storm, but the
"darkened Jura" was merely dim, and the "live thunder" waited for
another Childe Harold. We were at Geneva at seven, and had the whole
population to witness our debarkation. The pier where we landed, and
the new bridge across the outlet of the Rhone, are the evening
promenade.

The far-famed jewellers of Geneva are rather an aristocratic class of
merchants. They are to be sought in chambers, and their treasures are
produced box by box, from locked drawers, and bought, if at all,
without the pleasure of "beating down." They are, withal, a
gentlemanly class of men; and, of the principal one, as many stories
are told as of Beau Brummel. He has made a fortune by his shop, and
has the manners of a man who can afford to buy the jewels out of a
king's crown.

We were sitting at the _table d'hote_, with about forty people, on the
first day of our arrival, when the servant brought us each a
gilt-edged note, sealed with an elegant device; invitations, we
presumed, to a ball, at least. Mr. So-and-so (I forget the name),
begged pardon for the liberty he had taken, and requested us to call
at his shop in the Rue de Rhone, and look at his varied assortment of
bijouterie. A card was enclosed, and the letter in courtly English. We
went, of course; as who would not? The cost to him was a sheet of
paper, and the trouble of sending to the hotel for a list of the new
arrivals. I recommend the system to all callow Yankees, commencing a
"pushing business."

Geneva is full of foreigners in the summer, and it has quite the
complexion of an agreeable place. The environs are, of course,
unequalled, and the town itself is a stirring and gay capital, full of
brilliant shops, handsome streets and promenades, where everything is
to be met but pretty women. Female beauty would come to a good market
anywhere in Switzerland. We have seen but one pretty girl (our Niobe
of the steamer), since we lost sight of Lombardy. They dress well
here, and seem modest, and have withal an air of style; but of some
five hundred ladies, whom I may have seen in the valley of the Rhone
and about this neighborhood, it would puzzle a modern Appelles to
compose an endurable Venus. I understand a fair countryman of ours is
about taking up her residence in Geneva; and if Lake Leman does not
"woo her," and the "live thunder" leap down from Jura, the jewellers,
at least, will crown her queen of the Canton, and give her the tiara
at cost.

I hope "Maria Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs" will forgive me for having
gone to _Ferney_ in an _omnibus_! Voltaire lived just under the Jura,
on a hill-side, overlooking Geneva and the lake, with a landscape
before him in the foreground, that a painter could not improve, and
Mont Blanc and its neighbor mountains, the breaks to his horizon. At
six miles off, Geneva looks very beautifully, astride the exit of the
Rhone from the lake; and the lake itself looks more like a broad
river, with its edges of verdure and its outer-frame of mountains. We
walked up an avenue to a large old villa, embosomed in trees, where an
old gardener appeared, to show us the grounds. We said the proper
thing under the tree planted by the philosopher, fell in love with the
view from twenty points, met an English lady in one of the arbors, the
wife of a French nobleman to whom the house belongs, and were bowed
into the hall by the old man and handed over to his daughter to be
shown the curiosities of the interior. These were Voltaire's rooms,
just as he left them. The ridiculous picture of his own apotheosis,
painted under his own direction, and representing him offering his
Henriade to Apollo, with all the authors of his time dying of envy at
his feet, occupies the most conspicuous place over his chamber-door.
Within was his bed, the curtains nibbled quite bare by relic-gathering
travellers; a portrait of the Empress Catharine, embroidered by her
own hand, and presented to Voltaire; his own portrait and Frederick
the Great's, and many of the philosophers', including Franklin. A
little monument stands opposite the fireplace, with the inscription,
"_mon esprit est partout, et mon coeur est ici_." It is a snug
little dormitory, opening with one window to the west; and, to those
who admire the character of the once illustrious occupant, a place for
very tangible musing. They showed us afterward his walking-stick, a
pair of silk-stockings he had half worn, and a night-cap. The last
article is getting quite fashionable as a relic of genius. They show
Byron's at Venice.



LETTER LXVI.

     PRACTICAL BATHOS OF CELEBRATED PLACES--TRAVELLING COMPANIONS
     AT THE SIMPLON--CUSTOM-HOUSE COMFORTS--TRIALS OF
     TEMPER--CONQUERED AT LAST!--DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF FRANCE,
     ITALY, AND SWITZERLAND--FORCE OF POLITENESS.


Whether it was that I had offended the genius of the spot, by coming
in an omnibus, or from a desire I never can resist in such places, to
travesty and ridicule the mock solemnities with which they are
exhibited, certain it is that I left Ferney, without having
encountered, even in the shape of a more serious thought, the spirit
of Voltaire. One reads the third canto of Childe Harold in his
library, and feels as if "Lausanne and Ferney" _should_ be very
interesting places to the traveller, and yet when he is shown Gibbon's
bower by a fellow scratching his head and hitching up his trousers the
while, and the nightcap that enclosed the busy brain from which sprang
the fifty brilliant _tomes_ on his shelves, by a country-girl, who
hurries through her drilled description, with her eye on the silver
_douceur_ in his fingers, he is very likely to rub his hand over his
eyes, and disclaim, quite honestly, all pretensions to enthusiasm. And
yet, I dare say, I shall have a great deal of pleasure in remembering
that I _have been_ at Ferney. As an English traveller would say, "I
have _done_ Voltaire!"

Quite of the opinion that it was not doing justice to Geneva to have
made but a three days' stay in it, regretting not having seen Sismondi
and Simond, and a whole coterie of scholars and authors, whose home it
is, and with a mind quite made up to return to Switzerland, when my
_beaux jours_ of love, money, and leisure, shall have arrived, I
crossed the Rhone at sunrise, and turned my face toward Paris.

The Simplon is much safer travelling than the pass of the Jura. We
were all day getting up the mountains by roads that would make me
anxious, if there were a neck in the carriage I would rather should
not be broken. My company, fortunately, consisted of three Scotch
spinsters, who would try any precipice of the Jura, I think, if there
were a lover at the bottom. If the horses had backed in the wrong
place, it would have been to all three, I am sure, a deliverance from
a world in whose volume of happiness,

                             "their leaf
     By some o'er-hasty angel was misplaced."

As to my own neck and my friend's, there is a special providence for
bachelors, even if they were of importance enough to merit a care.
Spinsters and bachelors, we all arrived safely at Rousses, the
entrance to France, and here, if I were to write before repeating the
alphabet, you would see what a pen could do in a passion.

The carriage was stopped by three custom-house officers, and taken
under a shed, where the doors were closed behind it. We were then
required to dismount and give our honors that we had nothing new in
the way of clothes; no "jewelry; no unused manufactures of wool,
thread, or lace; no silk of floss silk; no polished metals, plated or
varnished; no toys, (except a heart each); nor leather, glass, or
crystal manufactures." So far, I kept my temper.

Our trunks, carpet-bags, hat-boxes, dressing-cases, and
_portfeuilles_, were then dismounted and critically examined--every
dress and article unfolded; shirts, cravats, unmentionables and all,
and searched thoroughly by two ruffians, whose fingers were no
improvement upon the labors of the washerwoman. In an hour's time or
so we were allowed to commence repacking. Still, I kept my temper.

We were then requested to walk into a private room, while the ladies,
for the same purpose, were taken, by a woman, into another. Here we
were requested to unbutton our coats, and, begging pardon for the
liberty, these courteous gentlemen thrust their hands into our
pockets, felt in our bosoms, pantaloons, and shoes, examined our hats,
and even eyed our "pet curls" very earnestly, in the expectation of
finding us crammed with Geneva jewelry. Still, I kept my temper.

Our trunks were then put upon the carriage, and a sealed string put
upon them, which we were not to cut till we arrived in Paris. (Nine
days!) They then demanded to be paid for the sealing, and the fellows
who had unladen the carriage were to be paid for their labor. This
done, we were permitted to drive on. Still, I kept my temper!

We arrived, in the evening, at Morez, in a heavy rain. We were sitting
around a comfortable fire, and the soup and fish were just brought
upon the table. A soldier entered and requested us to walk to the
police-office. "But it rains hard, and our dinner is just ready." The
man in the mustache was inexorable. The commissary closed his office
at eight, and we must go instantly to certify to our passports, and
get new ones for the interior. Cloaks and umbrellas were brought, and,
_bon gre_, _mal gre_, we walked half a mile in the mud and rain to a
dirty commissary, who kept us waiting in the dark fifteen minutes, and
then, making out a description of the person of each, demanded half a
dollar for the new passport, and permitted us to wade back to our
dinner. This had occupied an hour, and no improvement to soup or fish.
Still, I kept my temper--rather!

The next morning, while we were forgetting the annoyances of the
previous night, and admiring the new-pranked livery of May by a
glorious sunshine, a civil _arretez vous_ brought up the carriage to
the door of _another custom-house_! The order was to dismount, and
down came once more carpet-bags, hat-boxes, and dressing-cases, and a
couple of hours were lost again in a fruitless search for contraband
articles. When it was all through, and the officers and men _paid_ as
before, we were permitted to proceed with the gracious assurance that
we should not be troubled again till we got to Paris! I bade the
commissary good morning, felicitated him on the liberal institutions
of his country and his zeal in the exercise of his own agreeable
vocation, and--I am free to confess--lost my temper! Job and
Xantippe's husband! could I help it!

I confess I expected better things of _France_. In Italy, where you
come to a new dukedom every half-day, you do not much mind opening
your trunks, for they are petty princes and need the pitiful revenue
of contraband articles and the officer's fee. Yet even they leave the
person of the traveller sacred; and where in the world, except in
France, is a party, travelling evidently for pleasure, subjected
_twice at the same border_ to the degrading indignity of a search! Ye
"hunters of Kentucky"--thank heaven that you can go into Tennessee
without having your "plunder" overhauled and your pockets searched by
successive parties of scoundrels, whom you are to pay "by order of the
government," for their trouble!

       *       *       *       *       *

The Simplon, which you pass in a day, divides two nations, each
other's physical and moral antipodes. The handsome, picturesque, lazy,
unprincipled Italian, is left in the morning in his own dirty and
exorbitant inn; and, on the evening of the same day, having crossed
but a chain of mountains, you find yourself in a clean auberge,
nestled in the bosom of a Swiss valley, another language spoken around
you, and in the midst of a people, who seem to require the virtues
they possess to compensate them for more than their share of
uncomeliness. You travel a day or two down the valley of the Rhone,
and when you are become reconciled to _cretins_ and _goitres_, and
ill-dressed and worse formed men and women, you pass in another single
day the chain of the Jura, and find yourself in France--a country as
different from both Switzerland and Italy, as they are from each
other. How is it that these diminutive cantons preserve so completely
their nationality? It seems a problem to the traveller who passes from
one to the other without leaving his carriage.

One is compelled to like France in spite of himself. You are no sooner
over the Jura than you are enslaved, past all possible ill-humor, by
the universal politeness. You stop for the night at a place, which, as
my friend remarked, resembles an inn only in its _in_-attention, and
after a bad supper, worse beds, and every kind of annoyance, down
comes my lady-hostess in the morning to receive her coin, and if you
can fly into a passion with _such_ a cap, and _such_ a smile, and
_such_ a "_bon jour_," you are of less penetrable stuff than man is
commonly made of.

I loved Italy, but detested the Italians. I detest France, but I can
not help liking the French. "Politeness is among the virtues," says
the philosopher. Rather, it takes the place of them all. What can you
believe ill of a people whose slightest look toward you is made up of
grace and kindness.

We are dawdling along thirty miles a day through Burgundy, sick to
death of the bare vine-stakes, and longing to see a festooned vineyard
of Lombardy. France is such an ugly country! The diligences lumber by,
noisy and ludicrous; the cow-tenders wear cocked hats; the beggars are
in the true French extreme, theatrical in all their misery; the
climate is rainy and cold, and as unlike that of Italy as if a
thousand leagues separated them, and the roads are long, straight,
dirty, and uneven. There is neither pleasure nor comfort, neither
scenery nor antiquities, nor accommodations for the weary--nothing but
_politeness_. And it is odd how it reconciles you to it all.



LETTER LXVII.

     PARIS AND LONDON--REASONS FOR LIKING PARIS--JOYOUSNESS OF ITS
     CITIZENS--LAFAYETTE'S FUNERAL--ROYAL RESPECT AND
     GRATITUDE--ENGLAND--DOVER--ENGLISH NEATNESS AND COMFORT, AS
     DISPLAYED IN THE HOTELS, WAITERS, FIRES, BELL-ROPES,
     LANDSCAPES, WINDOW-CURTAINS, TEA-KETTLES, STAGE-COACHES,
     HORSES, AND EVERYTHING ELSE--SPECIMEN OF ENGLISH RESERVE--THE
     GENTLEMAN DRIVER OF FASHION--A CASE FOR MRS. TROLLOPE.


It is pleasant to get back to Paris. One meets everybody there one
ever saw; and operas and coffee, Taglioni and Leontine Fay, the belles
and the Boulevards, the shops, spectacles, life, lions, and lures to
every species of pleasure, rather give you the impression that,
outside the barriers of Paris, time is wasted in travel.

What pleasant idlers they look! The very shopkeepers seem standing
behind their counters for amusement. The soubrette who sells you a
cigar, or ties a crape on your arm (it was for poor old Lafayette), is
coiffed as for a ball; the _frotteur_ who takes the dust from your
boots, sings his lovesong as he brushes away, the old man has his
bouquet in his bosom, and the beggar looks up at the new statue of
Napoleon in the Place Vendome--everybody has some touch of fancy, some
trace of a heart on the look-out, at least, for pleasure.

I was at Lafayette's funeral. They buried the old patriot like a
criminal. Fixed bayonets before and behind his hearse, his own
National Guard disarmed, and troops enough to beleaguer a city, were
the honors paid by the "citizen king" to the man who had made him! The
indignation, the scorn, the bitterness, expressed on every side among
the people, and the ill-smothered cries of disgust as the two _empty_
royal carriages went by, in the funeral train, seemed to me strong
enough to indicate a settled and universal hostility to the
government.

I met Dr. Bowring on the Boulevard after the funeral was over. I had
not seen him for two years, but he could talk of nothing but the great
event of the day--"You have come in time," he said, "to see how they
carried the old general to his grave! What would they say to this in
America? Well--let them go on! We shall see what will come of it? They
have buried Liberty and Lafayette together--our last hope in Europe is
quite dead with him!"

       *       *       *       *       *

After three delightful days in Paris we took the northern diligence;
and, on the second evening, having passed hastily through Montreuil,
Abbeville, Boulogne, and voted the road the dullest couple of hundred
miles we had seen in our travels, we were set down in Calais. A stroll
through some very indifferent streets, a farewell visit to the last
French _café_, we were likely to see for a long time, and some
unsatisfactory inquiries about Beau Brummel, who is said to live here
still, filled up till bedtime our last day on the continent.

The celebrated Countess of Jersey was on board the steamer, and some
forty or fifty plebeian stomachs shared with her fashionable ladyship
and ourselves the horrors of a passage across the channel. It is
rather the most disagreeable sea I ever traversed, though I _have_
seen "the Euxine," "the roughest sea the traveller e'er ----s," etc.,
according to Don Juan.

I was lying on my back in a berth when the steamer reached her
moorings at Dover, and had neither eyes nor disposition to indulge in
the proper sentiment on approaching the "white cliffs" of my
fatherland. I crawled on deck, and was met by a wind as cold as
December, and a crowd of rosy English faces on the pier, wrapped in
cloaks and shawls, and indulging curiosity evidently at the expense of
a shiver. It was the first of June!

My companion led the way to a hotel, and we were introduced by
_English_ waiters (I had not seen such a thing in three years, and it
was quite like being waited on by gentlemen), to two blazing coal
fires in the "coffee room" of the "Ship." Oh what a comfortable place
it appeared! A rich Turkey carpet snugly fitted, nice-rubbed mahogany
tables, the morning papers from London, bellropes that _would_ ring
the bell, doors that _would_ shut, a landlady that spoke English, and
was kind and civil; and, though there were eight or ten people in the
room, no noise above the rustle of a newspaper, and positively, rich
red damask curtains, neither second-hand nor shabby, to the windows! A
greater contrast than this to the things that answer to them on the
continent, could scarcely be imagined.

_Malgré_ all my observations on the English, whom I have found
elsewhere the most open-hearted and social people in the world, they
are said by themselves and others to be just the contrary; and,
presuming they were different in England, I had made up my mind to
seal my lips in all public places, and be conscious of nobody's
existence but my own. There were several elderly persons dining at the
different tables; and one party, of a father and son, waited on by
their own servants in livery. Candles were brought in, the different
cloths were removed; and, as my companion had gone to bed, I took up a
newspaper to keep me company over my wine. In the course of an hour,
some remark had been addressed to me, provocative of conversation, by
almost every individual in the room! The subjects of discussion soon
became general, and I have seldom passed a more social and agreeable
evening. And so much for the first specimen of English reserve!

The fires were burning brilliantly, and the coffee-room was in the
nicest order when we descended to our breakfast at six the next
morning. The tea-kettle sung on the hearth, the toast was hot, and
done to a turn, and the waiter was neither sleepy nor uncivil--all,
again, very unlike a morning at a hotel in _la belle_ France.

The coach rattled up to the door punctually at the hour; and, while
they were putting on my way-worn baggage, I stood looking in
admiration at the carriage and horses. They were four beautiful bays,
in small, neat harness of glazed leather, brass-mounted, their coats
shining like a racer's, their small, blood-looking heads curbed up to
stand exactly together, and their hoofs blacked and brushed with the
polish of a gentleman's boots. The coach was gaudily painted, the only
thing out of taste about it; but it was admirably built, the
wheel-horses were quite under the coachman's box, and the whole
affair, though it would carry twelve or fourteen people, covered less
ground than a French one-horse cabriolet. It was altogether quite a
study.

We mounted to the top of the coach; "all right," said the ostler, and
away shot the four fine creatures, turning their small ears, and
stepping together with the ease of a cat, at ten miles in the hour.
The driver was dressed like a Broadway idler, and sat in his place,
and held his "ribands" and his tandemwhip with a confident air of
superiority, as if he were quite convinced that he and his team were
beyond criticism--and so they were! I could not but smile at
contrasting his silence and the speed and ease with which we went
along, with the clumsy, cumbrous diligence or vetturino, and the
crying, whipping, cursing and ill-appointed postillions of France and
Italy. It seems odd, in a two hours' passage, to pass over such strong
lines of national difference--so near, and not even a shading of one
into the other.

England is described always very justly, and always in the same words:
"it is all one garden." There is not a cottage between Dover and
London (seventy miles), where a poet might not be happy to live. I saw
a hundred little spots I coveted with quite a heart-ache. There was no
poverty on the road. Everybody seemed employed, and everybody
well-made and healthy. The relief from the deformity and disease of
the wayside beggars of the continent was very striking.

We were at Canterbury before I had time to get accustomed to my seat.
The horses had been changed twice; the coach, it seemed to me, hardly
stopping while it was done; way-passengers were taken up and put down,
with their baggage, without a word, and in half a minute; money was
tossed to the keeper of the turnpike gate as we dashed through; the
wheels went over the smooth road without noise, and with scarce a
sense of motion--it was the perfection of travel.

The new driver from Canterbury rather astonished me. He drove into
London every day, and was more of a "_swell_." He owned the first team
himself, four blood horses of great beauty, and it was a sight to see
him drive them! His language was free from all slang, and very
gentlemanlike and well chosen, and he discussed everything. He found
out that I was an American, and said we did not think enough of the
memory of Washington. Leaving his bones in the miserable brick tomb,
of which he had descriptions, was not, in his opinion, worthy of a
country like mine. He went on to criticise Julia Grisi (the new singer
just then setting London on fire), hummed airs from "_Il Pirati_," to
show her manner; sang an English song like Braham; gave a decayed
Count, who sat on the box, some very sensible advice about the
management of a wild son; drew a comparison between French and Italian
women (he had travelled); told us who the old Count was in very
tolerable French, and preferred Edmund Kean and Fanny Kemble to all
actors in the world. His taste and his philosophy, like his driving,
were quite unexceptionable. He was, withal, very handsome, and had the
easy and respectful manners of a well-bred person. It seemed very odd
to give him a shilling at the end of the journey.

At Chatham we took up a very elegantly dressed young man, who had come
down on a fishing excursion. He was in the army, and an Irishman. We
had not been half an hour on the seat together, before he had
discovered, by so many plain questions, that I was an American, a
stranger in England, and an acquaintance of a whole regiment of his
friends in Malta and Corfu. If this had been a Yankee, thought I, what
a chapter it would have made for Basil Hall or Madame Trollope! With
all his inquisitiveness I liked my companion, and half accepted his
offer to drive me down to Epsom the next day to the races. I know no
American who would have beaten _that_ on a stage-coach acquaintance.



LETTER LXVIII.

     FIRST VIEW OF LONDON--THE KING'S BIRTHDAY--PROCESSION OF MAIL
     COACHES--REGENT STREET--LADY BLESSINGTON--THE ORIGINAL
     PELHAM--BULWER, THE NOVELIST--JOHN GALT--D'ISRAELI, THE AUTHOR
     OF VIVIAN GREY--RECOLLECTIONS OF BYRON--INFLUENCE OF AMERICAN
     OPINIONS ON ENGLISH LITERATURE.


LONDON.--From the top of Shooter's Hill we got our first view of
London--an indistinct, architectural mass, extending all round to the
horizon, and half enveloped in a dim and lurid smoke. "That is St.
Paul's!--there is Westminster Abbey!--there is the tower of London!"
What directions were these to follow for the first time with the eye!

From Blackheath (seven or eight miles from the centre of London), the
beautiful hedges disappeared, and it was one continued mass of
buildings. The houses were amazingly small, a kind of thing that would
do for an object in an imitation perspective park, but the soul of
neatness pervaded them. Trelises were nailed between the little
windows, roses quite overshadowed the low doors, a painted fence
enclosed the hand's breadth of grass-plot, and very, oh, _very_ sweet
faces bent over lapfuls of work beneath the snowy and looped-up
curtains. It was all home-like and amiable. There was an
_affectionateness_ in the mere outside of every one of them.

After crossing Waterloo Bridge, it was busy work for the eyes. The
brilliant shops, the dense crowds of people, the absorbed air of every
passenger, the lovely women, the cries, the flying vehicles of every
description, passing with the most dangerous speed--accustomed as I am
to large cities, it quite made me dizzy. We got into a "jarvey" at the
coach-office, and in half an hour I was in comfortable quarters, with
windows looking down St. James street, and the most agreeable leaf of
my life to turn over. "Great emotions interfere little with the
mechanical operations of life," however, and I dressed and dined,
though it was my first hour in London.

I was sitting in the little parlor alone over a fried sole and a
mutton cutlet, when the waiter came in, and pleading the crowded state
of the hotel, asked my permission to spread the other side of the
table for a clergyman. I have a kindly preference for the cloth, and
made not the slightest objection. Enter a fat man, with top-boots and
a hunting-whip, rosy as Bacchus, and excessively out of breath with
mounting one flight of stairs. Beefsteak and potatoes, a pot of
porter, and a bottle of sherry followed close on his heels. With a
single apology for the intrusion, the reverend gentleman fell to, and
we ate and drank for a while in true English silence.

"From Oxford, sir, I presume," he said at last, pushing back his
plate, with an air of satisfaction.

"No, I had never the pleasure of seeing Oxford."

"R--e--ally! may I take a glass of wine with you, sir?"

We got on swimmingly. He would not believe I had never been in England
till the day before, but his cordiality was no colder for that. We
exchanged port and sherry, and a most amicable understanding found its
way down with the wine. Our table was near the window, and a great
crowd began to collect at the corner of St. James' street. It was the
king's birth-day, and the people were thronging to see the nobility
come in state from the royal _levee_. The show was less splendid than
the same thing in Rome or Vienna, but it excited far more of my
admiration. Gaudiness and tinsel were exchanged for plain richness and
perfect fitness in the carriages and harness, while the horses were
incomparably finer. My friend pointed out to me the different liveries
as they turned the corner into Piccadilly, the duke of Wellington's
among others. I looked hard to see His Grace; but the two pale and
beautiful faces on the back seat, carried nothing like the military
nose on the handles of the umbrellas.

The annual procession of mail-coaches followed, and it was hardly less
brilliant. The drivers and guard in their bright red and gold
uniforms, the admirable horses driven so beautifully, the neat
harness, the exactness with which the room of each horse was
calculated, and the small space in which he worked, and the
compactness and contrivance of the coaches, formed altogether one of
the most interesting spectacles I have ever seen. My friend, the
clergyman, with whom I had walked out to see them pass, criticised the
different teams _con amore_, but in language which I did not always
understand. I asked him once for an explanation; but he looked rather
grave, and said something about "gammon," evidently quite sure that my
ignorance of London was a mere quiz.

We walked down Piccadilly, and turned into, beyond all comparison,
the most handsome street I ever saw. The Toledo of Naples, the Corso
of Rome, the Kohl-market of Vienna, the Rue de la Paix and Boulevards
of Paris, have each impressed me strongly with their magnificence, but
they are really nothing to Regent-street. I had merely time to get a
glance at it before dark; but for breadth and convenience, for the
elegance and variety of the buildings, though all of the same scale
and material, and for the brilliancy and expensiveness of the shops,
it seemed to me quite absurd to compare it with anything between New
York and Constantinople--Broadway and the Hippodrome included.

It is the custom for the king's tradesmen to illuminate their shops on
His Majesty's birth-night, and the principal streets on our return
were in a blaze of light. The crowd was immense. None but the lower
order seemed abroad, and I cannot describe to you the effect on my
feelings on hearing my language spoken by every man, woman, and child,
about me. It seemed a completely foreign country in every other
respect, different from what I had imagined, different from my own and
all that I had seen; and, coming to it last, it seemed to me the
farthest off and strangest country of all--and yet the little sweep
who went laughing through the crowd, spoke a language that I had heard
attempted in vain by thousands of educated people, and that I had
grown to consider next to unattainable by others, and almost useless
to myself. Still, it did not make me feel at home. Everything else
about me was too new. It was like some mysterious change in my own
ears--a sudden power of comprehension, such as a man might feel who
was cured suddenly of deafness. You can scarcely enter into my
feelings till you have had the changes of French, Italian, German,
Greek, Turkish, Illyrian, and the mixtures and dialects of each, rung
upon your hearing almost exclusively, as I have for years. I wandered
about as if I were exercising some supernatural faculty in a dream.

A friend in Italy had kindly given me a letter to Lady Blessington,
and with a strong curiosity to see this celebrated lady, I called on
the second day after my arrival in London. It was "deep i' the
afternoon," but I had not yet learned the full meaning of "town
hours." "Her ladyship had not come down to breakfast." I gave the
letter and my address to the powdered footman, and had scarce reached
home when a note arrived inviting me to call the same evening at ten.

In a long library lined alternately with splendidly bound books and
mirrors, and with a deep window of the breadth of the room, opening
upon Hyde Park, I found Lady Blessington alone. The picture to my eye
as the door opened was a very lovely one. A woman of remarkable beauty
half buried in a fauteuil of yellow satin, reading by a magnificent
lamp, suspended from the centre of the arched ceiling; sofas, couches,
ottomans, and busts, arranged in rather a crowded sumptuousness
through the room; enamel tables, covered with expensive and elegant
trifles in every corner, and a delicate white hand relieved on the
back of a book, to which the eye was attracted by the blaze of its
diamond rings. As the servant mentioned my name, she rose and gave me
her hand very cordially, and a gentleman entering immediately after,
she presented me to her son-in-law, Count D'Orsay, the well-known
Pelham of London, and certainly the most splendid specimen of a man,
and a well-dressed one that I had ever seen. Tea was brought in
immediately, and conversation went swimmingly on.

Her ladyship's inquiries were principally about America, of which,
from long absence, I knew very little. She was extremely curious to
know the degrees of reputation the present popular authors of England
enjoy among us, particularly Bulwer, Galt, and D'Israeli (the author
of Vivian Grey.) "If you will come to-morrow night," she said, "you
will see Bulwer. I am delighted that he is popular in America. He is
envied and abused by all the literary men of London, for nothing, I
believe, except that he gets five hundred pounds for his books and
they fifty, and knowing this, he chooses to assume a pride (some
people call it puppyism), which is only the armor of a sensitive mind,
afraid of a wound. He is to his friends, the most frank and gay
creature in the world, and open to boyishness with those who he thinks
understand and value him. He has a brother Henry, who is as clever as
himself in a different vein, and is just now publishing a book on the
present state of France. Bulwer's wife, you know, is one of the most
beautiful women in London, and his house is the resort of both fashion
and talent. He is just now hard at work on a new book, the subject of
which is the last days of Pompeii. The hero is a Roman dandy, who
wastes himself in luxury, till this great catastrophe rouses him and
develops a character of the noblest capabilities. Is Galt much liked?"

I answered to the best of my knowledge that he was not. His life of
Byron was a stab at the dead body of the noble poet, which, for one, I
never could forgive, and his books were clever, but vulgar. He was
evidently not a gentleman in his mind. This was the opinion I had
formed in America, and I had never heard another.

"I am sorry for it," said Lady B., "for he is the dearest and best
old man in the world. I know him well. He is just on the verge of the
grave, but comes to see me now and then, and if you had known how
shockingly Byron treated him, you would only wonder at his sparing his
memory so much."

"_Nil mortuis nisi bonum_," I thought would have been a better course.
If he had reason to dislike him, he had better not have written since
he was dead.

"Perhaps--perhaps. But Galt has been all his life miserably poor, and
lived by his books. That must be his apology. Do you know the
D'Israeli's in America?"

I assured her ladyship that the "Curiosities of Literature," by the
father, and "Vivian Grey and Contarini Fleming," by the son, were
universally known.

"I am pleased at that, too, for I like them both. D'Israeli the elder,
came here with his son the other night. It would have delighted you to
see the old man's pride in him. He is very fond of him, and as he was
going away, he patted him on the head, and said to me, "take care of
him, Lady Blessington, for my sake. He is a clever lad, but he wants
ballast. I am glad he has the honor to know you, for you will check
him sometimes when I am away!" D'Israeli, the elder, lives in the
country, about twenty miles from town, and seldom comes up to London.
He is a very plain old man in his manners, as plain as his son is the
reverse. D'Israeli, the younger, is quite his own character of Vivian
Grey crowded with talent, but very _soignè_ of his curls, and a bit of
a coxcomb. There is no reserve about him, however, and he is the only
_joyous_ dandy I ever saw."

I asked if the account I had seen in some American paper of a literary
celebration at Canandaigua, and the engraving of her ladyship's name
with some others upon a rock, was not a quiz.

"Oh, by no means. I was equally flattered and amused by the whole
affair. I have a great idea of taking a trip to America to see it.
Then the letter, commencing 'Most charming Countess--for charming you
must be since you have written the conversations of Lord Byron'--oh,
it was quite delightful. I have shown it to everybody. By the way, I
receive a great many letters from America, from people I never heard
of, written in the most extraordinary style of compliment, apparently
in perfectly good faith. I hardly know what to make of them."

I accounted for it by the perfect seclusion in which great numbers of
cultivated people live in our country, who having neither intrigue,
nor fashion, nor twenty other things to occupy their minds as in
England, depend entirely upon books, and consider an author who has
given them pleasure as a friend. America, I said, has probably more
literary enthusiasts than any country in the world; and there are
thousands of romantic minds in the interior of New England, who know
perfectly every writer this side the water, and hold them all in
affectionate veneration, scarcely conceivable by a sophisticated
European. If it were not for such readers, literature would be the
most thankless of vocations. I, for one, would never write another
line.

"And do you think these are the people who write to me? If I could
think so, I should be exceedingly happy. People in England are refined
down to such heartlessness--criticism, private and public, is so
interested and so cold, that it is really delightful to know there is
a more generous tribunal. Indeed, I think all our authors now are
beginning to write for America. We think already a great deal of your
praise or censure."

I asked if her ladyship had known many Americans.

"Not in London, but a great many abroad. I was with Lord Blessington
in his yacht at Naples, when the American fleet was lying there, eight
or ten years ago, and we were constantly on board your ships. I knew
Commodore Creighton and Captain Deacon extremely well, and liked them
particularly. They were with us, either on board the yacht or the
frigate every evening, and I remember very well the band playing
always, "God save the King," as we went up the side. Count d'Orsay
here, who spoke very little English at that time, had a great passion
for Yankee Doodle, and it was always played at his request."

The Count, who still speaks the language with a very slight accent,
but with a choice of words that shows him to be a man of uncommon tact
and elegance of mind, inquired after several of the officers, whom I
have not the pleasure of knowing. He seemed to remember his visits to
the frigate with great pleasure. The conversation, after running upon
a variety of topics, which I could not with propriety put into a
letter for the public eye, turned very naturally upon Byron. I had
frequently seen the Countess Guiccioli on the Continent, and I asked
Lady Blessington if she knew her.

"No. We were at Pisa when they were living together, but, though Lord
Blessington had the greatest curiosity to see her, Byron would never
permit it. 'She has a red head of her own,' said he, 'and don't like
to show it.' Byron treated the poor creature dreadfully ill. She
feared more than she loved him."

She had told me the same thing herself in Italy.

It would be impossible, of course, to make a full and fair record of a
conversation of some hours. I have only noted one or two topics which
I thought most likely to interest an American reader. During all this
long visit, however, my eyes were very busy in finishing for memory,
a portrait of the celebrated and beautiful woman before me.

The portrait of Lady Blessington in the Book of Beauty is not unlike
her, but it is still an unfavorable likeness. A picture by Sir Thomas
Lawrence hung opposite me, taken, perhaps, at the age of eighteen,
which is more like her, and as captivating a representation of a just
matured woman, full of loveliness and love, the kind of creature with
whose divine sweetness the gazer's heart aches, as ever was drawn in
the painter's most inspired hour. The original is now (she confessed
it very frankly) forty. She looks something on the sunny side of
thirty. Her person is full, but preserves all the fineness of an
admirable shape; her foot is not crowded in a satin slipper, for which
a Cinderella might long be looked for in vain, and her complexion (an
unusually fair skin, with very dark hair and eyebrows), is of even a
girlish delicacy and freshness. Her dress of blue satin (if I am
describing her like a milliner, it is because I have here and there a
reader of the Mirror in my eye who will be amused by it), was cut low
and folded across her bosom, in a way to show to advantage the round
and sculpture-like curve and whiteness of a pair of exquisite
shoulders, while her hair dressed close to her head, and parted simply
on her forehead with a rich _ferroniere_ of turquoise, enveloped in
clear outline a head with which it would be difficult to find a fault.
Her features are regular, and her mouth, the most expressive of them,
has a ripe fulness and freedom of play, peculiar to the Irish
physiognomy, and expressive of the most unsuspicious good humor. Add
to all this a voice merry and sad by turns, but always musical, and
manners of the most unpretending elegance, yet even more remarkable
for their winning kindness, and you have the most prominent traits of
one of the most lovely and fascinating women I have ever seen.
Remembering her talents and her rank, and the unenvying admiration she
receives from the world of fashion and genius, it would be difficult
to reconcile her lot to the "doctrine of compensation."

There is one remark I may as well make here, with regard to the
personal descriptions and anecdotes with which my letters from England
will of course be filled. It is quite a different thing from
publishing such letters in London. America is much farther off from
England than England from America. You in New York read the
periodicals of this country, and know everything that is done or
written here, as if you lived within the sound of Bow-bell. The
English, however, just know of our existence, and if they get a
general idea twice a year of our progress in politics, they are
comparatively well informed. Our periodical literature is never even
heard of. Of course there can be no offence to the individuals
themselves in anything which a visitor could write, calculated to
convey an idea of the person or manners of distinguished people to the
American public. I mention it lest, at first thought, I might seem to
have abused the hospitality or frankness of those on whom letters of
introduction have given me claims for civility.



LETTER LXIX.

     THE LITERATI OF LONDON.


Spent my first day in London in wandering about the finest part of the
West End. It is nonsense to compare it to any other city in the world.
From the Horse-Guards to the Regent's Park alone, there is more
magnificence in architecture than in the whole of any other metropolis
in Europe, and I have seen the most and the best of them. Yet this,
though a walk of more than two miles, is but a small part even of the
fashionable extremity of London. I am not easily tired in a city; but
I walked till I could scarce lift my feet from the ground, and still
the parks and noble streets extended before and around me as far as
the eye could reach, and strange as they were in reality, the names
were as familiar to me as if my childhood had been passed among them.
"Bond Street," "Grosvenor Square," "Hyde Park," look new to my eye,
but they sound very familiar to my ear.

The equipages of London are much talked of, but they exceed even
description. Nothing can be more perfect, or apparently more simple
than the gentleman's carriage that passes you in the street. Of a
modest color, but the finest material, the crest just visible on the
panels, the balance of the body upon its springs, true and easy, the
hammercloth and liveries of the neatest and most harmonious colors,
the harness slight and elegant, and the horses "the only splendid
thing" in the establishment--is a description that answers the most of
them. Perhaps the most perfect thing in the world, however, is a St.
James's-street stanhope or cabriolet, with its dandy owner on the
whip-seat, and the "tiger" beside him. The attitudes of both the
gentleman and the "gentleman's gentleman" are studied to a point, but
nothing could be more knowing or exquisite than either. The whole
affair, from the angle of the bell-crowned hat (the prevailing fashion
on the steps of Crockford's at present), to the blood legs of the
thorough-bred creature in harness, is absolutely faultless. I have
seen many subjects for study in my first day's stroll, but I leave the
men and women and some other less important features of London for
maturer observation.

In the evening I kept my appointment with Lady Blessington. She had
deserted her exquisite library for the drawing-room, and sat, in
fuller dress, with six or seven gentlemen about her. I was presented
immediately to all, and when the conversation was resumed, I took the
opportunity to remark the distinguished coterie with which she was
surrounded.

Nearest me sat _Smith_, the author of "Rejected Addresses"--a hale,
handsome man, apparently fifty, with white hair, and a very
nobly-formed head and physiognomy. His eye alone, small and with lids
contracted into an habitual look of drollery, betrayed the bent of his
genius. He held a cripple's crutch in his hand, and though otherwise
rather particularly well dressed, wore a pair of large India rubber
shoes--the penalty he was paying, doubtless, for the many good dinners
he had eaten. He played rather an _aside_ in the conversation,
whipping in with a quiz or a witticism whenever he could get an
opportunity, but more a listener than a talker.

On the opposite side of Lady B. stood Henry Bulwer, the brother of the
novelist, very earnestly engaged in a discussion of some speech of
O'Connell's. He is said by many to be as talented as his brother, and
has lately published a book on the present state of France. He is a
small man, very slight and gentleman-like, a little pitted with the
small-pox, and of very winning and persuasive manners. I liked him at
the first glance.

His opponent in the argument was Fonblanc, the famous editor of the
Examiner, said to be the best political writer of his day. I never saw
a much worse face--sallow, seamed and hollow, his teeth irregular, his
skin livid, his straight black hair uncombed and straggling over his
forehead--he looked as if he might be the gentleman

     Whose "coat was red, and whose breeches were blue."

A hollow, croaking voice, and a small, fiery black eye, with a smile
like a skeleton's, certainly did not improve his physiognomy. He sat
upon his chair very awkwardly, and was very ill-dressed, but every
word he uttered, showed him to be a man of claims very superior to
exterior attractions. The soft musical voice, and elegant manner of
the one, and the satirical, sneering tone and angular gestures of the
other, were in very strong contrast.

A German prince, with a star on his breast, trying with all his might,
but, from his embarrassed look, quite unsuccessfully, to comprehend
the drift of the argument, the Duke de Richelieu, whom I had seen at
the court of France, the inheritor of nothing but the name of his
great ancestor, a dandy and a fool, making no attempt to listen, a
famous traveller just returned from Constantinople; and the splendid
person of Count D'Orsay in a careless attitude upon the ottoman,
completed the _cordon_.

I fell into conversation after a while with Smith, who, supposing I
might not have heard the names of the others, in the hurry of an
introduction, kindly took the trouble to play the dictionary, and
added a graphic character of each as he named him. Among other things
he talked a great deal of America, and asked me if I knew our
distinguished countryman, Washington Irving. I had never been so
fortunate as to meet him. "You have lost a great deal," he said, "for
never was so delightful a fellow. I was once taken down with him into
the country by a merchant, to dinner. Our friend stopped his carriage
at the gate of his park, and asked us if we would walk through his
grounds to the house. Irving refused and held me down by the coat, so
that we drove on to the house together, leaving our host to follow on
foot. 'I make it a principle,' said Irving, 'never to walk with a man
through his own grounds. I have no idea of praising a thing whether I
like it or not. You and I will do them to-morrow morning by
ourselves.'" The rest of the company had turned their attention to
Smith as he began his story, and there was a universal inquiry after
Mr. Irving. Indeed the first question on the lips of every one to whom
I am introduced as an American, are of him and Cooper. The latter
seems to me to be admired as much here as abroad, in spite of a common
impression that he dislikes the nation. No man's works could have
higher praise in the general conversation that followed, though
several instances were mentioned of his having shown an unconquerable
aversion to the English when in England. Lady Blessington mentioned
Mr. Bryant, and I was pleased at the immediate tribute paid to his
delightful poetry by the talented circle around her.

Toward twelve o'clock, "Mr. Lytton Bulwer" was announced, and enter
the author of Pelham. I had made up my mind how he _should_ look, and
between prints and descriptions thought I could scarcely be mistaken
in my idea of his person. No two things could be more unlike, however,
than the ideal Mr. Bulwer in my mind and the real Mr. Bulwer who
followed the announcement. _Imprimis_, the gentleman who entered was
not handsome. I beg pardon of the boarding-schools--but he really _was
not_. The engraving of him published some time ago in America is as
much like any other man living, and gives you no idea of his head
whatever. He is short, very much bent in the back, slightly
knock-kneed, and, if my opinion in such matters goes for anything, as
ill-dressed a man for a gentleman, as you will find in London. His
figure is slight and very badly put together, and the only commendable
point in his person, as far as I could see, was the smallest foot I
ever saw a man stand upon. _Au reste_, I liked his manners extremely.
He ran up to Lady Blessington, with the joyous heartiness of a boy let
out of school; and the "how d'ye, Bulwer!" went round, as he shook
hands with everybody, in the style of welcome usually given to "the
best fellow in the world." As I had brought a letter of introduction
to him from a friend in Italy, Lady Blessington introduced me
particularly, and we had a long conversation about Naples and its
pleasant society.

Bulwer's head is phrenologically a fine one. His forehead retreats
very much, but is very broad and well marked, and the whole air is
that of decided mental superiority. His nose is aquiline, and far too
large for proportion, though he conceals its extreme prominence by an
immense pair of red whiskers, which entirely conceal the lower part of
his face in profile. His complexion is fair, his hair profuse, curly,
and of a light auburn, his eye not remarkable, and his mouth
contradictory, I should think, of all talent. A more good-natured,
habitually-smiling, nerveless expression could hardly be imagined.
Perhaps my impression is an imperfect one, as he was in the highest
spirits, and was not serious the whole evening for a minute--but it is
strictly and faithfully _my impression_.

I can imagine no style of conversation calculated to be more agreeable
than Bulwer's. Gay, quick, various, half-satirical, and always fresh
and different from everybody else, he seemed to talk because he could
not help it, and infected everybody with his spirits. I can not give
even the substance of it in a letter, for it was in a great measure
local or personal. A great deal of fun was made of a proposal by Lady
Blessington to take Bulwer to America and show him at so much a head.
She asked me whether I thought it would be a good speculation. I took
upon myself to assure her ladyship, that, provided she played
_showman_ the "concern," as they would phrase it in America, would be
certainly a profitable one. Bulwer said he would rather go in disguise
and hear them abuse his books. It would be pleasant, he thought, to
hear the opinions of people who judged him neither as a member of
parliament nor a dandy--simply a book-maker. Smith asked him if he
kept an amanuensis. "No," he said, "I scribble it all out myself, and
send it to the press in a most ungentlemanlike hand, half print and
half hieroglyphic, with all its imperfections on its head, and correct
in the proof--very much to the dissatisfaction of the publisher, who
sends me in a bill of sixteen pounds six shillings and fourpence for
extra corrections. Then I am free to confess I don't know grammar.
Lady Blessington, do you know grammar? I detest grammar. There never
was such a thing heard of before Lindley Murray. I wonder what they
did for grammar before his day! Oh, the delicious blunders one sees
when they are irretrievable! And the best of it is, the critics never
get hold of them. Thank Heaven for second editions, that one may
scratch out his blots, and go down clean and gentleman-like to
posterity!" Smith asked him if he had ever reviewed one of his own
books. "No--but I _could_! And then how I should like to recriminate
and defend myself indignantly! I think I could be preciously severe.
Depend upon it nobody knows a book's defects half so well as its
author. I have a great idea of criticising my works for my posthumous
memoirs. Shall I, Smith? Shall I, Lady Blessington?"

Bulwer's voice, like his brother's, is exceedingly lover-like and
sweet. His playful tones are quite delicious, and his clear laugh is
the soul of sincere and careless merriment.

It is quite impossible to convey in a letter scrawled literally,
between the end of a late visit and a tempting pillow, the evanescent
and pure spirit of a conversation of wits. I must confine myself, of
course, in such sketches, to the mere sentiment of things that concern
general literature and ourselves.

"The Rejected Addresses" got upon his crutches about three o'clock in
the morning, and I made my exit with the rest, thanking Heaven, that,
though in a strange country, my mother tongue was the language of its
men of genius.



LETTER LXX.

     LONDON--VISIT TO A RACE-COURSE--GIPSIES--THE PRINCESS
     VICTORIA--SPLENDID APPEARANCE OF THE ENGLISH NOBILITY--A
     BREAKFAST WITH ELIA AND BRIDGET ELIA--MYSTIFICATION--CHARLES
     LAMB'S OPINION OF AMERICAN AUTHORS.


I have just returned from _Ascot races_. Ascot Heath, on which the
course is laid out, is a high platform of land, beautifully situated
on a hill above Windsor Castle, about twenty-five miles from London. I
went down with a party of gentlemen in the morning and returned at
evening, doing the distance, with relays of horses in something less
than three hours. This, one would think, is very fair speed, but we
were passed continually by the "bloods" of the road, in comparison
with whom we seemed getting on rather at a snail's pace.

The scenery on the way was truly English--one series of finished
landscapes, of every variety of combination. Lawns, fancy-cottages,
manor-houses, groves, roses and flower-gardens make up England. It
surfeits the eye at last. You could not drop a poet out of the clouds
upon any part of it I have seen, where, within five minutes' walk, he
would not find himself in Paradise.

We flew past Virginia Water and through the sun-flecked shades of
Windsor Park, with the speed of the wind. On reaching the Heath, we
dashed out of the road, and cutting through fern and brier, our
experienced whip put his wheels on the rim of the course, as near the
stands as some thousands of carriages arrived before us would permit,
and then, cautioning us to take the bearings of our position, lest we
should lose him after the race, he took off his horses, and left us to
choose our own places.

A thousand red and yellow flags were flying from as many snowy tents
in the midst of the green heath; ballad-singers and bands of music
were amusing their little audiences in every direction; splendid
markees covering gambling-tables, surrounded the winning-post; groups
of country people were busy in every bush, eating and singing, and the
great stands were piled with row upon row of human heads waiting
anxiously for the exhilarating contest.

Soon after we arrived, the King and royal family drove up the course
with twenty carriages, and scores of postillions and outriders in red
and gold, flying over the turf as majesty flies in no other country;
and, immediately after, the bell rang to clear the course for the
race. _Such_ horses! The earth seemed to fling them off as they
touched it. The lean jockeys, in their party-colored caps and jackets,
rode the fine-limbed, slender creatures up and down together, and then
returning to the starting-post, off they shot like so many arrows from
the bow.

_Whiz!_ you could tell neither color nor shape as they passed across
the eye. Their swiftness was incredible. A horse of Lord
Chesterfield's was rather the favorite; and for the sake of his
great-grandfather, I had backed him with my small wager, "Glaucus is
losing," said some one on the top of a carriage above me, but round
they swept again, and I could just see that one glorious creature was
doubling the leaps of every other horse, and in a moment Glaucus and
Lord Chesterfield had won.

The course between the races is a promenade of some thousands of the
best-dressed people in England. I thought I had never seen so many
handsome men and women, but particularly _men_. The nobility of this
country, unlike every other, is by far the manliest and finest looking
class of its population. The _contadini_ of Rome, the _lazzaroni_ of
Naples, the _paysans_ of France, are incomparably more handsome than
their superiors in rank, but it is strikingly different here. A set of
more elegant and well-proportioned men than those pointed out to me by
my friends as the noblemen on the course, I never saw, except only in
Greece. The Albanians are seraphs to look at.

Excitement is hungry, and, after the first race, our party produced
their baskets and bottles, and spreading out the cold pie and
champaign upon the grass, between the wheels of the carriages, we
drank Lord Chesterfield's health and ate for our own, in an _al
fresco_ style worthy of Italy. Two veritable Bohemians, brown,
black-eyed gipsies, the models of those I had seen in their wicker
tents in Asia, profited by the liberality of the hour, and came in for
an upper crust to a pigeon pie, that, to tell the truth, they seemed
to appreciate.

Race followed race, but I am not a contributor to the Sporting
Magazine, and could not give you their merits in comprehensible terms
if I were.

In one of the intervals, I walked under the King's stand, and saw Her
Majesty, the Queen, and the young Princess Victoria, very distinctly.
They were listening to a ballad-singer, and leaning over the front of
the box with an amused attention, quite as sincere, apparently, as any
beggar's in the ring. The Queen is the plainest woman in her
dominions, beyond a doubt. The Princess is much better-looking than
the pictures of her in the shops, and, for the heir to such a crown as
that of England, quite unnecessarily pretty and interesting. She will
be sold, poor thing--bartered away by those great dealers in royal
hearts, whose grand calculations will not be much consolation to her,
if she happens to have a taste of her own.

       *       *       *       *       *

[The following sketch was written a short time previous to the death
of Charles Lamb.]

     Invited to breakfast with a gentleman in the temple to meet
     Charles Lamb and his sister--"Elia and Bridget Elia." I never
     in my life had an invitation more to my taste. The essays of
     Elia are certainly the most charming things in the world, and
     it has been for the last ten years, my highest compliment to
     the literary taste of a friend to present him with a copy. Who
     has not smiled over the humorous description of Mrs. Battle?
     Who that has read Elia would not give more to see him than all
     the other authors of his time put together?

     Our host was rather a character. I had brought a letter of
     introduction to him from Walter Savage Landor, the author of
     Imaginary Conversations, living at Florence, with a request
     that he would put me in the way of seeing one or two men about
     whom I had a curiosity, Lamb more particularly. I could not
     have been recommended to a better person. Mr. R. is a
     gentleman who, everybody says, _should have been_ an author,
     but who never wrote a book. He is a profound German scholar,
     has travelled much, is the intimate friend of Southey,
     Coleridge, and Lamb, has breakfasted with Goëthe, travelled
     with Wordsworth through France and Italy, and spends part of
     every summer with him, and knows everything and everybody that
     is distinguished--in short, is, in his bachelor's chambers in
     the temple, the friendly nucleus of a great part of the talent
     of England.

     I arrived a half hour before Lamb, and had time to learn some
     of his peculiarities. He lives a little out of London, and is
     very much of an invalid. Some family circumstances have tended
     to depress him very much of late years, and unless excited by
     convivial intercourse, he scarce shows a trace of what he was.
     He was very much pleased with the American reprint of his
     Elia, though it contains several things which are not
     his--written so in his style, however, that it is scarce a
     wonder the editor should mistake them. If I remember right,
     they were "Valentine's Day," the "Nuns of Caverswell," and
     "Twelfth Night." He is excessively given to mystifying his
     friends, and is never so delighted as when he has persuaded
     some one into the belief of one of his grave inventions. His
     amusing biographical sketch of Liston was in this vein, and
     there was no doubt in anybody's mind that it was authentic,
     and written in perfectly good faith. Liston was highly enraged
     with it, and Lamb was delighted in proportion.

     There was a rap at the door at last, and enter a gentleman in
     black small-clothes and gaiters, short and very slight in his
     person, his head set on his shoulders with a thoughtful,
     forward bent, his hair just sprinkled with gray, a beautiful,
     deep-set eye, aquiline nose, and a very indescribable mouth.
     Whether it expressed most humor or feeling, good nature or a
     kind of whimsical peevishness, or twenty other things which
     passed over it by turns, I can not in the least be certain.

     His sister, whose literary reputation is associated very
     closely with her brother's, and who, as the original of
     "Bridget Elia," is a kind of object for literary affection,
     came in after him. She is a small, bent figure, evidently a
     victim to illness, and hears with difficulty. Her face has
     been, I should think, a fine and handsome one, and her bright
     gray eye is still full of intelligence and fire. They both
     seemed quite at home in our friend's chambers, and as there
     was to be no one else, we immediately drew round the breakfast
     table. I had set a large arm chair for Miss Lamb. "Don't take
     it, Mary," said Lamb, pulling it away from her very gravely,
     "it appears as if you were going to have a tooth drawn."

     The conversation was very local. Our host and his guest had
     not met for some weeks, and they had a great deal to say of
     their mutual friends. Perhaps in this way, however, I saw more
     of the author, for his manner of speaking of them and the
     quaint humor with which he complained of one, and spoke well
     of another was so in the vein of his inimitable writings, that
     I could have fancied myself listening to an audible
     composition of a new Elia. Nothing could be more delightful
     than the kindness and affection between the brother and the
     sister, though Lamb was continually taking advantage of her
     deafness to mystify her with the most singular gravity upon
     every topic that was started. "Poor Mary!" said he, "she hears
     all of an epigram but the point." "What are you saying of me,
     Charles?" she asked. "Mr. Willis," said he, raising his voice,
     "admires _your Confessions of a Drunkard_ very much, and I was
     saying that it was no merit of yours, that you understood the
     subject." We had been speaking of this admirable essay (which
     is his own), half an hour before.

     The conversation turned upon literature after a while, and our
     host, the templar, could not express himself strongly enough
     in admiration of Webster's speeches, which he said were
     exciting the greatest attention among the politicians and
     lawyers of England. Lamb said, "I don't know much of American
     authors. Mary, there, devours Cooper's novels with a ravenous
     appetite, with which I have no sympathy. The only American
     book I ever read twice, was the 'Journal of Edward Woolman,' a
     quaker preacher and tailor, whose character is one of the
     finest I ever met with. He tells a story or two about negro
     slaves that brought the tears into my eyes. I can read no
     prose now, though Hazlitt sometimes, to be sure--but then
     Hazlitt is worth all modern prose writers put together."

     Mr. R. spoke of buying a book of Lamb's, a few days before,
     and I mentioned my having bought a copy of Elia the last day I
     was in America, to send as a parting gift to one of the most
     lovely and talented women in our country.

     "What did you give for it?" said Lamb.

     "About seven and sixpence."

     "Permit me to pay you that," said he, and with the utmost
     earnestness he counted out the money upon the table.

     "I never yet wrote anything that would sell," he continued. "I
     am the publisher's ruin. My last poem won't sell a copy. Have
     you seen it, Mr. Willis?"

     I had not.

     "It's only eighteen pence, and I'll give you sixpence toward
     it;" and he described to me where I should find it sticking up
     in a shop-window in the Strand.

     Lamb ate nothing, and complained in a querulous tone of the
     veal pie. There was a kind of potted fish (of which I forget
     the name at this moment), which he had expected our friend
     would procure for him. He inquired whether there was not a
     morsel left perhaps in the bottom of the last pot. Mr. R. was
     not sure.

     "Send and see," said Lamb, "and if the pot has been cleaned,
     bring me the cover. I think the sight of it would do me good."

     The cover was brought, upon which there was a picture of the
     fish. Lamb kissed it with a reproachful look at his friend,
     and then left the table and began to wander round the room
     with a broken, uncertain step, as if he almost forgot to put
     one leg before the other. His sister rose after a while, and
     commenced walking up and down, very much in the same manner,
     on the opposite side of the table, and in the course of half
     an hour they took their leave.

     To any one who loves the writings of Charles Lamb with but
     half my own enthusiasm, even these little particulars of an
     hour passed in his company, will have an interest. To him who
     does not, they will seem dull and idle. Wreck as he certainly
     is, and must be, however, of what he was, I would rather have
     seen him for that single hour, than the hundred and one sights
     of London put together.



LETTER LXXI.

     DINNER AT LADY BLESSINGTON'S--BULWER, D'ISRAELI, PROCTER,
     FONBLANC, ETC.--ECCENTRICITIES OF BECKFORD, AUTHOR OF
     VATHEK--D'ISRAELI'S EXTRAORDINARY TALENT AT DESCRIPTION.


Dined at Lady Blessington's, in company with several authors, three or
four noblemen, and a clever exquisite or two. The authors were Bulwer,
the novelist, and his brother, the statist; Procter (better known as
Barry Cornwall), D'Israeli, the author of Vivian Grey; and Fonblanc,
of the Examiner. The principal nobleman was Lord Durham, and the
principal exquisite (though the word scarce applies to the magnificent
scale on which nature has made him, and on which he makes himself),
was Count D'Orsay. There were plates for twelve.

I had never seen Procter, and, with my passionate love for his poetry,
he was the person at table of the most interest to me. He came late,
and as twilight was just darkening the drawing-room, I could only see
that a small man followed the announcement, with a remarkably timid
manner, and a very white forehead.

D'Israeli had arrived before me, and sat in the deep window, looking
out upon Hyde Park, with the last rays of daylight reflected from the
gorgeous gold flowers of a splendidly embroidered waistcoat. Patent
leather pumps, a white stick, with a black cord and tassel, and a
quantity of chains about his neck and pockets, served to make him,
even in the dim light, rather a conspicuous object.

Bulwer was very badly dressed, as usual, and wore a flashy waistcoat
of the same description as D'Israeli's. Count D'Orsay was very
splendid, but very undefinable. He seemed showily dressed till you
looked to particulars, and then it seemed only a simple thing, well
fitted to a very magnificent person. Lord Albert Conyngham was a dandy
of common materials; and my Lord Durham, though he looked a young man,
if he passed for a lord at all in America, would pass for a very
ill-dressed one.

For Lady Blessington, she is one of the most handsome, and, quite the
best-dressed woman in London; and, without farther description, I
trust the readers of the Mirror will have little difficulty in
imagining a scene that, taking a wild American into the account, was
made up of rather various material.

The blaze of lamps on the dinner table was very favorable to my
curiosity, and as Procter and D'Israeli sat directly opposite me, I
studied their faces to advantage. Barry Cornwall's forehead and eye
are all that would strike you in his features. His brows are heavy;
and his eye, deeply sunk, has a quick, restless fire, that would have
arrested my attention, I think, had I not known he was a poet. His
voice has the huskiness and elevation of a man more accustomed to
think than converse, and it was never heard except to give a brief and
very condensed opinion, or an illustration, admirably to the point, of
the subject under discussion. He evidently felt that he was only an
observer in the party.

D'Israeli has one of the most remarkable faces I ever saw. He is
lividly pale, and but for the energy of his action and the strength of
his lungs, would seem a victim to consumption. His eye is black as
Erebus, and has the most mocking and lying-in-wait sort of expression
conceivable. His mouth is alive with a kind of working and impatient
nervousness, and when he has burst forth, as he does constantly, with
a particularly successful cataract of expression, it assumes a curl of
triumphant scorn that would be worthy of a Mephistopheles. His hair is
as extraordinary as his taste in waistcoats. A thick heavy mass of jet
black ringlets falls over his left cheek almost to his collarless
stock, while on the right temple it is parted and put away with the
smooth carefulness of a girl's, and shines most unctiously,

     "With thy incomparable oil, Macassar!"

The anxieties of the first course, as usual, kept every mouth occupied
for a while, and then the dandies led off with a discussion of Count
D'Orsay's rifle match (he is the best rifle-shot in England), and
various matters as uninteresting to transatlantic readers. The new
poem, Philip Van Artevald's, came up after a while, and was very much
over-praised (_me judice_). Bulwer said, that as the author was the
principle writer for the Quarterly Review, it was a pity it was first
praised in that periodical, and praised so unqualifiedly. Procter said
nothing about it, and I respected his silence; for, as a poet, he must
have felt the poverty of the poem, and was probably unwilling to
attack a new aspirant in his laurels.

The next book discussed was Beckford's Italy, or rather the next
author, for the _writer_ of Vathek is more original, and more talked
of than his books, and just now occupies much of the attention of
London. Mr. Beckford has been all his life enormously rich, has
luxuriated in every country with the fancy of a poet, and the refined
splendor of a Sybarite, was the admiration of Lord Byron, who visited
him at Cintra, was the owner of Fonthill, and, _plus fort encore_, his
is one of the oldest families in England. What could such a man
attempt that would not be considered extraordinary!

D'Israeli was the only one at table who knew him, and the style in
which he gave a sketch of his habits and manners, was worthy of
himself. I might as well attempt to gather up the foam of the sea, as
to convey an idea of the extraordinary language in which he clothed
his description. There were, at least, five words in every sentence
that must have been very much astonished at the use they were put to,
and yet no others apparently, could so well have conveyed his idea. He
talked like a race-horse approaching the winning-post, every muscle in
action, and the utmost energy of expression flung out in every burst.
It is a great pity he is not in parliament.[11]

The particulars he gave of Beckford, though stripped of his gorgeous
digressions and parentheses, may be interesting. He lives now at Bath,
where he has built a house on two sides of the street, connected by a
covered bridge _a la Ponte de Sospiri_, at Venice. His servants live
on one side, and he and his sole companion on the other. This
companion is a hideous dwarf, who imagines himself, or is, a Spanish
duke; and Mr. Beckford for many years has supported him in a style
befitting his rank, treats him with all the deference due to his
title, and has, in general, no other society (I should not wonder,
myself, if it turned out to be a woman); neither of them is often
seen, and when in London, Mr. Beckford is only to be approached
through his man of business. If you call, he is not at home. If you
would leave a card or address him a note, his servant has strict
orders not to take in anything of the kind. At Bath, he has built a
high tower, which is a great mystery to the inhabitants. Around the
interior, to the very top, it is lined with books, approachable with a
light spiral staircase; and in the pavement below, the owner has
constructed a double crypt for his own body, and that of his dwarf
companion, intending, with a desire for human neighborhood which has
not appeared in his life, to leave the library to the city, that all
who enjoy it shall pass over the bodies below.

Mr. Beckford thinks very highly of his own books, and talks of his
early production (Vathek), in terms of unbounded admiration. He speaks
slightingly of Byron, and of his praise, and affects to despise
utterly the popular taste. It appeared altogether, from D'Israeli's
account, that he is a splendid egotist, determined to free life as
much as possible from its usual fetters, and to enjoy it to the
highest degree of which his genius, backed by an immense fortune, is
capable. He is reputed, however, to be excessively liberal, and to
exercise his ingenuity to contrive secret charities in his
neighborhood.

Victor Hugo and his extraordinary novels came next under discussion;
and D'Israeli, who was fired with his own eloquence, started off,
_apropos des bottes_, with a long story of an empalement he had seen
in Upper Egypt. It was as good, and perhaps as authentic, as the
description of the chow-chow-tow in Vivian Grey. He had arrived at
Cairo on the third day after the man was transfixed by two stakes
from hip to shoulder, and he was still alive! The circumstantiality of
the account was equally horrible and amusing. Then followed the
sufferer's history, with a score of murders and barbarities, heaped
together like Martin's Feast of Belshazzer, with a mixture of horror
and splendor, that was unparalleled in my experience of improvisation.
No mystic priest of the Corybantes could have worked himself up into a
finer phrensy of language.

Count D'Orsay kept up, through the whole of the conversation and
narration, a running fire of witty parentheses, half French and half
English; and with champaign in all the pauses, the hours flew on very
dashingly. Lady Blessington left us toward midnight, and then the
conversation took a rather political turn, and something was said of
O'Connell. D'Israeli's lips were playing upon the edge of a champaign
glass, which he had just drained, and off he shot again with a
description of an interview he had had with the agitator the day
before, ending in a story of an Irish dragoon who was killed in the
peninsula. His name was Sarsfield. His arm was shot off, and he was
bleeding to death. When told that he could not live, he called for a
large silver goblet, out of which he usually drank his claret. He held
it to the gushing artery and filled it to the brim with blood, looked
at it a moment, turned it out slowly upon the ground, muttering to
himself, "If that had been shed for old Ireland!" and expired. You can
have no idea how thrillingly this little story was told. Fonblanc,
however, who is a cold political satirist, could see nothing in a
man's "decanting his claret," that was in the least sublime, and so
Vivian Grey got into a passion, and for a while was silent.

Bulwer asked me if there was any distinguished literary American in
town. I said, Mr. Slidell one of our best writers, was here.

"Because," said he, "I received, a week or more ago, a letter of
introduction by some one from Washington Irving. It lay on the table,
when a lady came in to call on my wife, who seized upon it as an
autograph, and immediately left town, leaving me with neither name nor
address."

There was a general laugh and a cry of "Pelham! Pelham!" as he
finished his story. Nobody chose to believe it.

"I think the name _was_ Slidell," said Bulwer.

"Slidell!" said D'Israeli, "I owe him two-pence, by Jove!" and he went
on in his dashing way to narrate that he had sat next Mr. Slidell at a
bull-fight in Seville, that he wanted to buy a fan to keep off the
flies, and having nothing but doubloons in his pocket, Mr. S. had lent
him a small Spanish coin to that value, which he owed him to this day.

There was another general laugh, and it was agreed that on the whole
the Americans were "_done_."

Apropos to this, D'Israeli gave us a description in a gorgeous,
burlesque, galloping style, of a Spanish bull-fight; and when we were
nearly dead with laughing at it, some one made a move, and we went up
to Lady Blessington in the drawing-room. Lord Durham requested her
ladyship to introduce him, particularly, to D'Israeli (the effect of
his eloquence). I sat down in the corner with Sir Martin Shee, the
president of the Royal Academy, and had a long talk about Allston and
Harding and Cole, whose pictures he knew; and "somewhere in the small
hours," we took our leave, and Procter left me at my door in Cavendish
street weary, but in a better humor with the world than usual.


FOOTNOTE:

[11] I have been told that he stood once for a London borough. A
coarse fellow came up at the hustings, and said to him, "I should like
to know on what ground you stand here, sir?" "On my head, sir!"
answered D'Israeli. The populace had not read Vivian Grey, however,
and he lost his election.



LETTER LXXII.

     THE ITALIAN OPERA--MADEMOISELLE GRISI--A GLANCE AT LORD
     BROUGHAM--MRS. NORTON AND LORD SEFTON--RAND, THE AMERICAN
     PORTRAIT PAINTER--AN EVENING PARTY AT BULWER'S--PALMY STATE OF
     LITERATURE IN MODERN DAYS--FASHIONABLE NEGLECT OF FEMALES--
     PERSONAGES PRESENT--SHIEL THE ORATOR, THE PRINCE OF MOSCOWA,
     MRS. LEICESTER STANHOPE, THE CELEBRATED BEAUTY, ETC., ETC.


Went to the opera to hear Julia Grisi. I stood out the first act in
the pit, and saw instances of rudeness in "Fop's-alley," which I had
never seen approached in three years on the continent. The high price
of tickets, one would think, and the necessity of appearing in full
dress, would keep the opera clear of low-bred people; but the conduct
to which I refer seemed to excite no surprise and passed off without
notice, though, in America, there would have been ample matter for at
least, four duels.

Grisi is young, very pretty, and an admirable actress--three great
advantages to a singer. Her voice is under absolute command, and she
manages it beautifully, but it wants the infusion of Malibran. You
merely feel that Grisi is an accomplished artist, while Malibran melts
all your criticism into love and admiration. I am easily moved by
music, but I came away without much enthusiasm for the present passion
of London.

The opera-house is very different from those on the continent. The
stage only is lighted abroad, the single lustre from the ceiling just
throwing that _clair obscure_ over the boxes, so favorable to Italian
complexions and morals. Here, the dress circles are lighted with
bright chandeliers, and the whole house sits in such a blaze of light
as leaves no approach even, to a lady, unseen. The consequence is that
people here dress much more, and the opera, if less interesting to the
_habitué_, is a gayer thing to the many.

I went up to Lady Blessington's box for a moment, and found
Strangways, the traveller, and several other distinguished men with
her. Her ladyship pointed out to me Lord Brougham, flirting
desperately with a pretty woman on the opposite side of the house, his
mouth going with the convulsive twitch which so disfigures him, and
his most unsightly of pug-noses in the strongest relief against the
red lining behind. There never was a plainer man. The Honorable Mrs.
Norton, Sheridan's daughter, and poetess, sat nearer to us, looking
like a queen, certainly one of the most beautiful women I ever looked
upon; and the gastronomic and humpbacked Lord Sefton, said to be the
best judge of cookery in the world, sat in the "dandy's omnibus," a
large box on a level with the stage, leaning forward with his chin on
his knuckles, and waiting with evident impatience for the appearance
of Fanny Elssler in the _ballet_. Beauty and all, the English
opera-house surpasses anything I have seen in the way of a spectacle.

An evening party at Bulwer's. Not yet perfectly initiated in London
hours, I arrived, not far from eleven, and found Mrs. Bulwer alone in
her illuminated rooms, whiling away an expectant hour in playing with
a King Charles spaniel, that seemed by his fondness and delight to
appreciate the excessive loveliness of his mistress. As far off as
America, I may express, even in print, an admiration which is no
heresy in London.

The author of Pelham is a younger son and depends on his writings for
a livelihood, and truly, measuring works of fancy by what they will
bring, (not an unfair standard perhaps), a glance around his luxurious
and elegant rooms is worth reams of puff in the quarterlies. He lives
in the heart of the fashionable quarter of London, where rents are
ruinously extravagant, entertains a great deal, and is expensive in
all his habits, and for this pay Messrs. Clifford, Pelham, and
Aram--(it would seem), most excellent good bankers. As I looked at the
beautiful woman seated on the costly ottoman before me, waiting to
receive the rank and fashion of London, I thought that old
close-fisted literature never had better reason for his partial
largess. I half forgave the miser for starving a wilderness of poets.

One of the first persons who came was Lord Byron's sister, a thin,
plain, middle-aged woman, of a very serious countenance, and with very
cordial and pleasing manners. The rooms soon filled, and two professed
singers went industriously to work in their vocation at the piano;
but, except one pale man, with staring hair, whom I took to be a poet,
nobody pretended to listen.

Every second woman has some strong claim to beauty in England, and the
proportion of those who just miss it, by a hair's breadth as it
were--who seem really to have been meant for beauties by nature, but
by a slip in the moulding or pencilling are imperfect copies of the
design--is really extraordinary. One after another entered, as I stood
near the door with my old friend Dr. Bowring for a nomenclator, and
the word "lovely" or "charming," had not passed my lips before some
change in the attitude, or unguarded animation had exposed the flaw,
and the hasty homage (for homage it is, and an idolatrous one, that we
pay to the beauty of woman), was coldly and unsparingly retracted.
From a goddess upon earth to a slighted and unattractive trap for
matrimony is a long step, but taken on so slight a defect sometimes,
as, were they marble, a sculptor would etch away with his nail.

I was surprised (and I have been struck with the same thing at several
parties I have attended in London), at the neglect with which the
female part of the assemblage is treated. No young man ever seems to
dream of speaking to a lady, except to ask her to dance. There they
sit with their mamas, their hands hung over each other before them in
the received attitude; and if there happens to be no dancing (as at
Bulwer's), looking at a print, or eating an ice, is for them the most
enlivening circumstance of the evening. As well as I recollect, it is
better managed in America, and certainly society is quite another
thing in France and Italy. Late in the evening a charming girl, who is
the reigning belle of Naples, came in with her mother from the opera,
and I made the remark to her. "I detest England for that very reason,"
she said frankly. "It is the fashion in London for the young men to
prefer everything to the society of women. They have their clubs,
their horses, their rowing matches, their hunting and betting, and
everything else is a _bore_! How different are the same men at Naples!
They can never get enough of one there! We are surrounded and run
after,

     "'Our poodle dog is quite adored,
     Our sayings are extremely quoted,'

"and really, one feels that one _is_ a belle." She mentioned several
of the beaux of last winter who had returned to England. "Here I have
been in London a month, and these very men that were dying for me, at
my side every day on the _Strada Nuova_, and all but fighting to dance
three times with me of an evening, have only left their cards! Not
because they care less about me, but because it is 'not the
fashion'--it would be talked of at the club, it is 'knowing' to let us
alone."

There were only three men in the party, which was a very crowded one,
who could come under the head of _beaux_. Of the remaining part, there
was much that was distinguished, both for rank and talent. Sheil, the
Irish orator, a small, dark, deceitful, but talented-looking man, with
a very disagreeable squeaking voice, stood in a corner, very earnestly
engaged in conversation with the aristocratic old Earl of Clarendon.
The contrast between the styles of the two men, the courtly and mild
elegance of one, and the uneasy and half-bred, but shrewd earnestness
of the other, was quite a study. Fonblanc of the Examiner, with his
pale and dislocated-looking face, stood in the door-way between the
two rooms, making the amiable with a ghastly smile to Lady Stepney.
The 'bilious Lord Durham,' as the papers call him, with his Brutus
head, and grave, severe countenance, high-bred in his appearance,
despite the worst possible coat and trowsers, stood at the pedestal of
a beautiful statue, talking politics with Bowring; and near them,
leaned over a chair the Prince Moscowa, the son of Marshal Ney, a
plain, but determined-looking young man, with his coat buttoned up to
his throat, unconscious of everything but the presence of the
Honorable Mrs. Leicester Stanhope, a very lovely woman, who was
enlightening him in the prettiest English French, upon some point of
national differences. Her husband, famous as Lord Byron's companion in
Greece, and a great liberal in England, was introduced to me soon
after by Bulwer; and we discussed the Bank and the President, with a
little assistance from Bowring, who joined us with a paean for the old
general and his measures, till it was far into the morning.



LETTER LXXIII.

     BREAKFAST WITH BARRY CORNWALL--LUXURY OF THE FOLLOWERS OF THE
     MODERN MUSE--BEAUTY OF THE DRAMATIC SKETCHES GAINS PROCTOR A
     WIFE--HAZLITT'S EXTRAORDINARY TASTE FOR THE PICTURESQUE IN
     WOMEN--COLERIDGE'S OPINION OF CORNWALL.


Breakfasted with Mr. Procter (known better as Barry Cornwall). I gave
a partial description of this most delightful of poets in a former
letter. In the dazzling circle of rank and talent with which he was
surrounded at Lady Blessington's, however, it was difficult to see so
shrinkingly modest a man to advantage, and with the exception of the
keen gray eye, living with thought and feeling, I should hardly have
recognised him, at home, for the same person.

Mr. Procter is a barrister; and his "whereabout" is more like that of
a lord chancellor than a poet proper. With the address he had given me
at parting, I drove to a large house in Bedford square; and, not
accustomed to find the children of the Muses waited on by servants in
livery, I made up my mind as I walked up the broad staircase, that I
was blundering upon some Mr. Procter of the exchange, whose respect
for his poetical namesake, I hoped would smooth my apology for the
intrusion. Buried in a deep morocco chair, in a large library,
notwithstanding, I found the poet himself--choice old pictures,
filling every nook between the book-shelves, tables covered with
novels and annuals, rolls of prints, busts and drawings in all
corners; and, more important for the nonce, a breakfast table at the
poet's elbow, spicily set forth, not with flowers or ambrosia, the
canonical food of rhymers, but with cold ham and ducks, hot rolls and
butter, coffee-pot and tea-urn--as sensible a breakfast, in short, as
the most unpoetical of men could desire.

Procter is indebted to his poetry for a very charming wife, the
daughter of Basil Montague, well known as a collector of choice
literature, and the friend and patron of literary men. The exquisite
beauty of the Dramatic Sketches interested this lovely woman in his
favor before she knew him, and, far from worldly-wise as an attachment
so grounded would seem, I never saw two people with a more habitual
air of happiness. I thought of his touching song,

     "How many summers, love,
     Hast thou been mine?"

and looked at them with an inexpressible feeling of envy. A beautiful
girl, of eight or nine years, the "golden-tressed Adelaide," delicate,
gentle and pensive, as if she was born on the lip of Castaly, and knew
she was a poet's child, completed the picture of happiness.

The conversation ran upon various authors, whom Procter had known
intimately--Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Keats, Shelley, and others, and of
all he gave me interesting particulars, which I could not well repeat
in a public letter. The account of Hazlitt's death-bed, which appeared
in one of the magazines, he said was wholly untrue. This extraordinary
writer was the most reckless of men in money matters, but he had a
host of admiring friends who knew his character, and were always ready
to assist him. He was a great admirer of the picturesque in women. He
was one evening at the theatre with Procter, and pointed out to him an
Amazonian female, strangely dressed in black velvet and lace, but with
no beauty that would please an ordinary eye. "Look at her!" said
Hazlitt, "isn't she fine!--isn't she magnificent? Did you ever see
anything more Titianesque?"[12]

After breakfast, Procter took me into a small closet adjoining his
library, in which he usually writes. There was just room enough in it
for a desk and two chairs, and around were piled in true poetical
confusion, his favorite books, miniature likenesses of authors,
manuscripts, and all the interesting lumber of a true poet's corner.
From a drawer, very much thrust out of the way, he drew a volume of
his own, into which he proceeded to write my name--a collection of
songs, published since I have been in Europe, which I had never seen.
I seized upon a worn copy of the Dramatic Sketches, which I found
crossed and interlined in every direction. "Don't look at them," said
Procter, "they are wretched things, which should never have been
printed, or at least with a world of correction. You see how I have
mended them; and, some day, perhaps, I will publish a corrected
edition, since I can not get them back." He took the book from my
hand, and opened to "The Broken Heart," certainly the most
highly-finished and exquisite piece of pathos in the language, and
read it to me with his alterations. It was to "gild refined gold, and
paint the lily." I would recommend to the lovers of Barry Cornwall, to
keep their original copy, beautifully as he has polished his lines
anew.

On a blank leaf of the same copy of the Dramatic Sketches, I found
some indistinct writing in pencil, "Oh! don't read that," said
Procter, "the book was given me some years ago, by a friend at whose
house Coleridge had been staying, for the sake of the criticisms that
great man did me the honor to write at the end." I insisted on reading
them, however, and his wife calling him out presently, I succeeded in
copying them in his absence. He seemed a little annoyed, but on my
promising to make no use of them in England, he allowed me to retain
them. They are as follows:

     "Barry Cornwall is a poet, _me saltem judice_, and in that
     sense of the word, in which I apply it to Charles Lamb and W.
     Wordsworth. There are poems of great merit, the authors of
     which, I should not yet feel impelled so to designate.

     "The faults of these poems are no less things of hope than the
     beauties. Both are just what they ought to be: i. e. _now_.

     "If B. C. be faithful to his genius, it in due time will warn
     him that as poetry is the identity of all other knowledge, so
     a poet can not be a great poet, but as being likewise and
     inclusively an historian and a naturalist in the light as well
     as the life of philosophy. All other men's worlds are his
     chaos.

     "Hints--Not to permit delicacy and exquisiteness to seduce
     into effeminacy.

     "Not to permit beauties by repetition to become mannerism.

     "To be jealous of fragmentary composition as epicurism of
     genius--apple-pie made all of quinces.

     "Item. That dramatic poetry must be poetry hid in thought and
     passion, not thought or passion hid in the dregs of poetry.

     "Lastly, to be economic and withholding in similes, figures,
     etc. They will all find their place sooner or later, each in
     the luminary of a sphere of its own. There can be no galaxy in
     poetry, because it is language, _ergo_, successive, _ergo_
     every the smallest star must be seen singly.

     "There are not five metrists in the kingdom whose works are
     known by me, to whom I could have held myself allowed to speak
     so plainly; but B. C. is a man of genius, and it depends on
     himself (_competence protecting him from gnawing and
     distracting cares_), to become a rightful poet--i. e. a great
     man.

     "Oh, for such a man; worldly prudence is transfigured into the
     high spiritual duty. How generous is self-interest in him,
     whose true self is all that is good and hopeful in all ages as
     far as the language of Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, is the
     mother tongue.

     "A map of the road to Paradise, drawn in Purgatory on the
     confines of Hell, by S. T. C. July 30, 1819."

I took my leave of this true poet after half a day passed in his
company, with the impression that he makes upon every one--of a man
whose sincerity and kind-heartedness were the most prominent traits in
his character. Simple in his language and feelings, a fond father, an
affectionate husband, businessman of the closest habits of
industry--one reads his strange imaginations, and passionate,
high-wrought, and even sublimated poetry, and is in doubt at which
most to wonder--the man as he is, or the poet as we know him in his
books.


FOOTNOTE:

[12] The following story has been told me by another gentleman.
Hazlitt was married to an amiable woman, and divorced after a few
years, at his own request. He left London, and returned with another
wife. The first thing he did, was to send to his first wife to borrow
five pounds! She had not so much in the world, but she sent to a
friend (the gentleman who told me the story), borrowed it, and sent it
to him! It seems to me there is a whole drama in this single fact.



LETTER LXXIV.

     AN EVENING AT LADY BLESSINGTON'S--ANECDOTES OF MOORE, THE
     POET--TAYLOR, THE PLATONIST--POLITICS--ELECTION OF
     SPEAKER--PRICES OF BOOKS.


I am obliged to "gazette" Lady Blessington rather more than I should
wish, and more than may seem delicate to those, who do not know the
central position she occupies in the circle of talent in London. Her
soirées and dinner-parties, however, are literally the single and only
assemblages of men of genius, without reference to party--the only
attempt at a republic of letters in the world of this great, envious,
and gifted metropolis. The pictures of literary life, in which my
countrymen would be most interested, therefore, are found within a
very small compass, presuming them to prefer the brighter side of an
eminent character, and presuming them (_is_ it a presumption?), not to
possess that appetite for degrading the author to the man, by an
anatomy of his secret personal failings, which is lamentably common in
England. Having premised thus much, I go on with my letter.

I drove to Lady Blessington's an evening or two since, with the usual
certainty of finding her at home, as there was no opera, and the equal
certainty of finding a circle of agreeable and eminent men about her.
She met me with the information that Moore was in town, and an
invitation to dine with her whenever she should be able to prevail
upon "the little Bacchus" to give her a day. D'Israeli, the younger,
was there, and Dr. Beattie, the king's physician (and author,
unacknowledged, of "The Heliotrope"), and one or two fashionable young
noblemen.

Moore was naturally the first topic. He had appeared at the opera the
night before, after a year's ruralizing at "Sloperton cottage," as
fresh and young and witty as he ever was known in his youth--(for
Moore must be sixty at least). Lady B. said the only difference she
could see in his appearance, was the loss of his curls, which once
justified singularly his title of Bacchus, flowing about his head in
thin, glossy, elastic tendrils, unlike any other hair she had ever
seen, and comparable to nothing but the rings of the vine. He is now
quite bald, and the change is very striking. D'Israeli regretted that
he should have been met, exactly on his return to London, with the
savage but clever article in Fraser's Magazine on his plagiarisms.
"Give yourself no trouble about that," said Lady B., "for you may be
sure he will never see it. Moore guards against the sight and
knowledge of criticism as people take precautions against the plague.
He reads few periodicals, and but one newspaper. If a letter comes to
him from a suspicious quarter, he burns it unopened. If a friend
mentions a criticism to him at the club, he never forgives him; and,
so well is this understood among his friends, that he might live in
London a year, and all the magazines might dissect him, and he would
probably never hear of it. In the country he lives on the estate of
Lord Lansdowne, his patron and best friend, with half a dozen other
noblemen within a dinner-drive, and he passes his life in this
exclusive circle, like a bee in amber, perfectly preserved from
everything that could blow rudely upon him. He takes the world _en
philosophe_, and is determined to descend to his grave perfectly
ignorant, if such things as critics exist." Somebody said this was
weak, and D'Israeli thought it was wise, and made a splendid defence
of his opinion, as usual, and I agreed with D'Israeli. Moore deserves
a medal, as the happiest author of his day, to possess the power.

A remark was made, in rather a satirical tone, upon Moore's
worldliness and passion for rank. "He was sure," it was said, "to have
four or five invitations to dine on the same day, and he tormented
himself with the idea that he had not accepted perhaps the most
exclusive. He would get off from an engagement with a Countess to dine
with a Marchioness, and from a Marchioness to accept the later
invitation of a Duchess; and as he cared little for the society of
men, and would sing and be delightful only for the applause of women,
it mattered little whether one circle was more talented than another.
Beauty was one of his passions, but rank and fashion were all the
rest." This rather left-handed portrait was confessed by all to be
just, Lady B. herself making no comment upon it. She gave, as an
offset, however, some particulars of Moore's difficulties from his
West Indian appointment, which left a balance to his credit.

"Moore went to Jamaica with a profitable appointment. The climate
disagreed with him, and he returned home, leaving the business in the
hands of a confidential clerk, who embezzled eight thousand pounds in
the course of a few months and absconded. Moore's politics had made
him obnoxious to the government, and he was called to account with
unusual severity; while Theodore Hook, who had been recalled at this
very time from some foreign appointment, for a deficit of twenty
thousand pounds in his accounts, was never molested, being of the
ruling party, Moore's misfortune awakened a great sympathy among his
friends. Lord Lansdowne was the first to offer his aid. He wrote to
Moore, that for many years he had been in the habit of laying aside
from his income eight thousand pounds, for the encouragement of the
arts and literature, and that he should feel that it was well disposed
of for that year, if Moore would accept it, to free him from his
difficulties. It was offered in the most delicate and noble manner,
but Moore declined it. The members of "White's" (mostly noblemen)
called a meeting, and (not knowing the amount of the deficit)
subscribed in one morning twenty-five thousand pounds and wrote to the
poet, that they would cover the sum, whatever it might be. This was
declined. Longman and Murray then offered to pay it, and wait for
their remuneration from his works. He declined even this, and went to
Passy with his family, where he economized and worked hard till it was
cancelled."

This was certainly a story most creditable to the poet, and it was
told with an eloquent enthusiasm, that did the heart of the beautiful
narrator infinite credit. I have given only the skeleton of it. Lady
Blessington went on to mention another circumstance, very honorable to
Moore, of which I had never before heard. "At one time two different
counties of Ireland had sent committees to him, to offer him a seat in
parliament; and as he depended on his writings for a subsistence,
offering him at the same time twelve hundred pounds a year, while he
continued to represent them. Moore was deeply touched with it, and
said no circumstance of his life had ever gratified him so much. He
admitted, that the honor they proposed him had been his most cherished
ambition, but the necessity of receiving a pecuniary support at the
same time, was an insuperable obstacle. He could never enter
parliament with his hands tied, and his opinions and speech fettered,
as they would be irresistibly in such circumstances." This does not
sound like "jump-up-and-kiss-me Tom Moore," as the Irish ladies call
him; but her ladyship vouched for the truth of it. It was worthy of an
old Roman.

By what transition I know not, the conversation turned on Platonism,
and D'Israeli, (who seemed to have remembered the shelf on which
Vivian Grey was to find "the latter Platonists" in his father's
library) "flared up," as a dandy would say, immediately. His wild,
black eyes glistened, and his nervous lips quivered and poured out
eloquence; and a German professor, who had entered late, and the
Russian Chargé d'affaires who had entered later, and a whole
ottoman-full of noble exquisites, listened with wonder. He gave us an
account of Taylor, almost the last of the celebrated Platonists, who
worshipped Jupiter, in a back parlor in London a few years ago, with
undoubted sincerity. He had an altar and a brazen figure of the
Thunderer, and performed his devotions as regularly as the most pious
_sacerdos_ of the ancients. In his old age he was turned out of the
lodgings he had occupied for a great number of years, and went to a
friend in much distress to complain of the injustice. He had "only
attempted to worship his gods, according to the dictates of his
conscience." "Did you pay your bills?" asked the friend. "Certainly."
"Then what is the reason?" "His landlady had taken offence at his
_sacrificing a bull to Jupiter in his back parlor_!"

The story sounded very Vivian-Greyish, and everybody laughed at it as
a very good invention; but D'Israeli quoted his father as his
authority, and it may appear in the Curiosities of Literature--where,
however, it will never be so well told, as by the extraordinary
creature from whom we had heard it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_February 22d, 1835._--The excitement in London about the choice of a
Speaker is something startling. It took place yesterday, and the party
are thunderstruck at the non-election of Sir Manners Sutton. This is a
terrible blow upon them, for it was a defeat at the outset; and if
they failed in a question where they had the immense personal
popularity of the late Speaker to assist them, what will they do on
general questions? The House of Commons was surrounded all day with an
excited mob. Lady ---- told me last night that she drove down toward
evening, to ascertain the result (Sir C. M. Sutton is her
brother-in-law), and the crowd surrounded her carriage, recognizing
her as the sister of the tory Speaker, and threatened to tear the
coronet from the panels. "We'll soon put an end to your coronets,"
said a rapscallion in the mob. The tories were so confident of success
that Sir Robert Peel gave out cards a week ago, for a soirée to meet
Speaker Sutton, on the night of the election. There is a general
report in town that the whigs will impeach the Duke of Wellington!
This looks like a revolution, does it not? It is very certain that the
Duke and Sir Robert Peel have advised the King to dissolve parliament
again, if there is any difficulty in getting on with the government.
The Duke was dining with Lord Aberdeen the other day, when some one at
table ventured to wonder, at his accepting a subordinate office in the
cabinet he had himself formed. "If I could serve his majesty better,"
said the patrician soldier, "I would ride as king's messenger
to-morrow!" He certainly is a remarkable old fellow.

Perhaps, however, literary news would interest you more. Bulwer is
publishing in a volume, his papers from the New Monthly. I met him an
hour ago in Regent-street, looking what is called in London,
"_uncommon seedy_!" He is either the worst or the best dressed man in
London, according to the time of day or night you see him. D'Israeli,
the author of Vivian Grey, drives about in an open carriage, with Lady
S----, looking more melancholy than usual. The absent baronet, whose
place he fills, is about bringing an action against him, which will
finish his career, unless he can coin the damages in his brain. Mrs.
Hemans is dying of consumption in Ireland. I have been passing a week
at a country house, where Miss Jane Porter, Miss Pardoe, and Count
Krazinsky (author of the Court of Sigismund), are domiciliated for the
present. Miss Porter is one of her own heroines, grown old--a still
handsome and noble wreck of beauty. Miss Pardoe is nineteen,
fair-haired, sentimental, and has the smallest feet and is the best
waltzer I ever saw, but she is not otherwise pretty. The Polish Count
is writing the life of his grandmother, whom I should think he
strongly resembled in person. He is an excellent fellow, for all that.
I dined last week with Joanna Baillie, at Hampstead--the most charming
old lady I ever saw. To-day I dine with Longman to meet Tom Moore, who
is living _incog._ near this Nestor of publishers at Hampstead. Moore
is fagging hard on his history of Ireland. I shall give you the
particulars of all these things in my letters hereafter.

Poor Elia--my old favorite--is dead. I consider it one of the most
fortunate things that ever happened to me, to have seen him. I think
I sent you in one of my letters an account of my breakfasting in
company with Charles Lamb and his sister ("Bridget Elia") at the
Temple. The exquisite papers on his life and letters in the Athenæum,
are by Barry Cornwall.

Lady Blessington's new book makes a great noise. Living as she does,
twelve hours out of the twenty-four, in the midst of the most
brilliant and mind-exhausting circle in London, I only wonder how she
found the time. Yet it was written in six weeks. Her novels sell for a
hundred pounds more than any other author's except Bulwer. Do you know
the _real_ prices of books? Bulwer gets _fifteen_ hundred pounds--Lady
B. _four_ hundred, Honorable Mrs. Norton _two_ hundred and fifty, Lady
Charlotte Bury _two_ hundred, Grattan _three_ hundred and most others
below this. D'Israeli can not sell a book _at all_, I hear. Is not
that odd? I would give more for one of his novels, than for forty of
the common _saleable_ things about town.

The authoress of the powerful book called Two Old Men's Tales, is an
old unitarian lady, a Mrs. Marsh. She declares she will never write
another book. The other was a glorious one, though!



LETTER LXXV.

     LONDON--THE POET MOORE--LAST DAYS OF SIR WALTER SCOTT--MOORE'S
     OPINION OF O'CONNELL--ANACREON AT THE PIANO--DEATH OF BYRON--A
     SUPPRESSED ANECDOTE.


I called on Moore with a letter of introduction, and met him at the
door of his lodgings. I knew him instantly from the pictures I had
seen of him, but was surprised at the diminutiveness of his person. He
is much below the middle size, and with his white hat and long
chocolate frock-coat, was far from prepossessing in his appearance.
With this material disadvantage, however, his address is
gentleman-like to a very marked degree, and, I should think no one
could see Moore without conceiving a strong liking for him. As I was
to meet him at dinner, I did not detain him. In the moment's
conversation that passed, he inquired very particularly after
Washington Irving, expressing for him the warmest friendship, and
asked what Cooper was doing.

I was at Lady Blessington's at eight. Moore had not arrived, but the
other persons of the party--a Russian count, who spoke all the
languages of Europe as well as his own; a Roman banker, whose dynasty
is more powerful than the pope's; a clever English nobleman, and the
"observed of all observers," Count D'Orsay, stood in the window upon
the park, killing, as they might, the melancholy twilight half hour
preceding dinner.

"Mr. Moore!" cried the footman at the bottom of the staircase, "Mr.
Moore!" cried the footman at the top. And with his glass at his eye,
stumbling over an ottoman between his near-sightedness and the
darkness of the room, enter the poet. Half a glance tells you that he
is at home on a carpet. Sliding his little feet up to Lady Blessington
(of whom he was a lover when she was sixteen, and to whom some of the
sweetest of his songs were written), he made his compliments, with a
gayety and an ease combined with a kind of worshipping deference, that
was worthy of a prime-minister at the court of love. With the
gentlemen, all of whom he knew, he had the frank merry manner of a
confident favorite, and he was greeted like one. He went from one to
the other, straining back his head to look up at them (for, singularly
enough, every gentleman in the room was six feet high and upward), and
to every one he said something which, from any one else, would have
seemed peculiarly felicitous, but which fell from his lips, as if his
breath was not more spontaneous.

Dinner was announced, the Russian handed down "milady," and I found
myself seated opposite Moore, with a blaze of light on his Bacchus
head, and the mirrors, with which the superb octagonal room is
pannelled, reflecting every motion. To see him only at table, you
would think him not a small man. His principal length is in his body,
and his head and shoulders are those of a much larger person.
Consequently he _sits tall_, and with the peculiar erectness of head
and neck, his diminutiveness disappears.

The soup vanished in the busy silence that beseems it, and as the
courses commenced their procession, Lady Blessington led the
conversation with the brilliancy and ease, for which she is remarkable
over all the women of her time. She had received from Sir William
Gell, at Naples, the manuscript of a volume upon the last days of Sir
Walter Scott. It was a melancholy chronicle of imbecility, and the
book was suppressed, but there were two or three circumstances
narrated in its pages which were interesting. Soon after his arrival
at Naples, Sir Walter went with his physician and one or two friends
to the great museum. It happened that on the same day a large
collection of students and Italian literati were assembled, in one of
the rooms, to discuss some newly-discovered manuscripts. It was soon
known that the "Wizard of the North" was there, and a deputation was
sent immediately, to request him to honor them by presiding at their
session. At this time Scott was a wreck, with a memory that retained
nothing for a moment, and limbs almost as helpless as an infant's. He
was dragging about among the relics of Pompeii, taking no interest in
anything he saw, when their request was made known to him through his
physician. "No, no," said he, "I know nothing of their lingo. Tell
them I am not well enough to come." He loitered on, and in about half
an hour after, he turned to Dr. H. and said, "who was that you said
wanted to see me?" The doctor explained. "I'll go," said he, "they
shall see me if they wish it;" and, against the advice of his friends,
who feared it would be too much for his strength, he mounted the
staircase, and made his appearance at the door. A burst of
enthusiastic cheers welcomed him on the threshold, and forming in two
lines, many of them on their knees, they seized his hands as he
passed, kissed them, thanked him in their passionate language for the
delight with which he had filled the world, and placed him in the
chair with the most fervent expressions of gratitude for his
condescension. The discussion went on, but not understanding a
syllable of the language, Scott was soon wearied, and his friends
observed it, pleaded the state of his health as an apology, and he
rose to take his leave. These enthusiastic children of the south
crowded once more around him, and with exclamations of affection and
even tears, kissed his hands once more, assisting his tottering steps,
and sent after him a confused murmur of blessings as the door closed
on his retiring form. It is described by the writer as the most
affecting scene he had ever witnessed.

Some other remarks were made upon Scott, but the _parole_ was soon
yielded to Moore, who gave us an account of a visit he made to
Abbotsford when its illustrious owner was in his pride and prime.
"Scott," he said, "was the most manly and natural character in the
world. You felt when with him, that he was the soul of truth and
heartiness. His hospitality was as simple and open as the day, and he
lived freely himself, and expected his guests to do so. I remember him
giving us whiskey at dinner, and Lady Scott met my look of surprise
with the assurance that Sir Walter seldom dined without it. He never
ate or drank to excess, but he had no system, his constitution was
herculean, and he denied himself nothing. I went once from a dinner
party with Sir Thomas Lawrence to meet Scott at Lockhart's. We had
hardly entered the room when we were set down to a hot supper of roast
chickens, salmon, punch, etc., etc., and Sir Walter ate immensely of
everything. What a contrast between this and the last time I saw him
in London! He had come down to embark for Italy--broken quite down in
mind and body. He gave Mrs. Moore a book, and I asked him if he would
make it more valuable by writing in it. He thought I meant that he
should write some verses, and said, 'Oh I never write poetry now.' I
asked him to write only his own name and hers, and he attempted it,
but it was quite illegible."

Some one remarked that Scott's life of Napoleon was a failure.

"I think little of it," said Moore; "but after all, it was an
embarrassing task, and Scott did what a wise man would do--made as
much of his subject as was politic and necessary, and no more."

"It will not live," said some one else; "as much because it is a bad
book, as because it is the life of an individual."

"But _what_ an individual!" Moore replied. "Voltaire's life of Charles
the Twelfth was the life of an individual, yet that will live and be
read as long as there is a book in the world, and what was he to
Napoleon?"

O'Connell was mentioned.

"He is a powerful creature," said Moore, "but his eloquence has done
great harm both to England and Ireland. There is nothing so powerful
as oratory. The faculty of '_thinking on his legs_,' is a tremendous
engine in the hands of any man. There is an undue admiration for this
faculty, and a sway permitted to it, which was always more dangerous
to a country than anything else. Lord Althorp is a wonderful instance
of what a man may do _without_ talking. There is a general confidence
in him--a universal belief in his honesty, which serves him instead.
Peel is a fine speaker, but, admirable as he had been as an
oppositionist, he failed, when he came to lead the house. O'Connell
would be irresistible were it not for the two blots on his
character--the contributions in Ireland for his support, and his
refusal to give satisfaction to the man he is still coward enough to
attack. They may say what they will of duelling, it is the great
preserver of the decencies of society. The old school, which made a
man responsible for his words, was the better. I must confess I think
so. Then, in O'Connell's case, he had not made his vow against
duelling when Peel challenged him. He accepted the challenge, and Peel
went to Dover on his way to France, where they were to meet; and
O'Connell pleaded his wife's illness, and delayed till the law
interfered. Some other Irish patriot, about the same time, refused a
challenge on account of the illness of his daughter, and one of the
Dublin wits made a good epigram on the two:--

     "'Some men, with a horror of slaughter,
       Improve on the scripture command,
     And 'honor their'----wife and daughter--
       That their days may be long in the land.'

"The great period of Ireland's glory was between '82 and '98, and it
was a time when a man almost lived with a pistol in his hand.
Grattan's dying advice to his son, was, 'Be always ready with the
pistol!' He, himself never hesitated a moment. At one time, there was
a kind of conspiracy to fight him out of the world. On some famous
question, Corrie was employed purposely to bully him, and made a
personal attack of the grossest virulence. Grattan was so ill, at the
time, as to be supported into the house between two friends. He rose
to reply; and first, without alluding to Corrie at all, clearly and
entirely overturned every argument he had advanced, that bore upon the
question. He then paused a moment, and stretching out his arm, as if
he would reach across the house, said, 'For the assertions the
gentleman has been pleased to make with regard to myself, my answer
_here_, is _they are false_! elsewhere, it would be--_a blow!_ They
met, and Grattan shot him through the arm. Corrie proposed another
shot, but Grattan said, 'No! let the curs fight it out!' and they were
friends ever after. I like the old story of the Irishman, who was
challenged by some desperate blackguard. 'Fight _him_!' said he, 'I
would sooner go to my grave without a fight! Talking of Grattan, is it
not wonderful that, with all the agitation in Ireland, we have had no
such men since his time? Look at the Irish newspapers. The whole
country in convulsions--people's lives, fortunes, and religion, at
stake, and not a gleam of talent from one year's end to the other. It
is natural for sparks to be struck out in a time of violence, like
this--but Ireland, for all that is worth living for, _is dead_! You
can scarcely reckon Shiel of the calibre of her spirits of old, and
O'Connell, with all his faults, stands 'alone in his glory.'"

The conversation I have thus run together is a mere skeleton, of
course. Nothing but a short-hand report could retain the delicacy and
elegance of Moore's language, and memory itself cannot embody again
the kind of frost-work of imagery, which was formed and melted on his
lips. His voice is soft or firm as the subject requires, but perhaps
the word _gentlemanly_ describes it better than any other. It is upon
a natural key, but, if I may so phrase it, it is _fused_ with a
high-bred affectation, expressing deference and courtesy, at the same
time, that its pauses are constructed peculiarly to catch the ear. It
would be difficult not to attend to him while he is talking, though
the subject were but the shape of a wine-glass.

Moore's head is distinctly before me while I write, but I shall find
it difficult to describe. His hair, which curled once all over it in
long tendrils, unlike anybody else's in the world, and which probably
suggested his _sobriquet_ of "Bacchus," is diminished now to a few
curls sprinkled with gray, and scattered in a single ring above his
ears. His forehead is wrinkled, with the exception of a most prominent
development of the organ of gayety, which, singularly enough, shines
with the lustre and smooth polish of a pearl, and is surrounded by a
semicircle of lines drawn close about it, like entrenchments against
Time. His eyes still sparkle like a champaign bubble, though the
invader has drawn his pencillings about the corners; and there is a
kind of wintry red, of the tinge of an October leaf, that seems
enamelled on his cheek, the eloquent record of the claret his wit has
brightened. His mouth is the most characteristic feature of all. The
lips are delicately cut, slight and changeable as an aspen; but there
is a set-up look about the lower lip, a determination of the muscle to
a particular expression, and you fancy that you can almost see wit
astride upon it. It is written legibly with the imprint of habitual
success. It is arch, confident, and half diffident, as if he were
disguising his pleasure at applause, while another bright gleam of
fancy was breaking on him. The slightly-tossed nose confirms the fun
of the expression, and altogether it is a face that sparkles, beams,
radiates,--everything but _feels_. Fascinating beyond all men as he
is, Moore looks like a worldling.

This description may be supposed to have occupied the hour after Lady
Blessington retired from the table; for, with her, vanished Moore's
excitement, and everybody else seemed to feel, that light had gone out
of the room. Her excessive beauty is less an inspiration than the
wondrous talent with which she draws from every person around her his
peculiar excellence. Talking better than anybody else, and narrating,
particularly, with a graphic power that I never saw excelled, this
distinguished woman seems striving only to make others unfold
themselves; and never had diffidence a more apprehensive and
encouraging listener. But this is a subject with which I should never
be done.

We went up to coffee, and Moore brightened again over his
_chasse-café_, and went glittering on with criticisms on Grisi, the
delicious songstress now ravishing the world, whom he placed above all
but Pasta; and whom he thought, with the exception that her legs were
too short, an incomparable creature. This introduced music very
naturally, and with a great deal of difficulty he was taken to the
piano. My letter is getting long, and I have no time to describe his
singing. It is well known, however, that its effect is only equalled
by the beauty of his own words; and, for one, I could have taken him
into my heart with my delight. He makes no attempt at music. It is a
kind of admirable recitative, in which every shade of thought is
syllabled and dwelt upon, and the sentiment of the song goes through
your blood, warming you to the very eyelids, and starting your tears,
if you have soul or sense in you. I have heard of women's fainting at
a song of Moore's; and if the burden of it answered by chance, to a
secret in the bosom of the listener, I should think, from its
comparative effect upon so old a stager as myself, that the heart
would break with it.

We all sat around the piano, and after two or three songs of Lady
Blessington's choice, he rambled over the keys awhile, and sang "When
first I met thee," with a pathos that beggars description. When the
last word had faltered out, he rose and took Lady Blessington's hand,
said good-night, and was gone before a word was uttered. For a full
minute after he had closed the door, no one spoke. I could have
wished, for myself, to drop silently asleep where I sat, with the
tears in my eyes and the softness upon my heart.

     "Here's a health to thee, Tom Moore!"

       *       *       *       *       *

I was in company the other evening where Westmacott, the sculptor, was
telling a story of himself and Leigh Hunt. They were together one day
at Fiesole, when a butterfly, of an uncommon sable color, alighted on
Westmacott's forehead, and remained there several minutes. Hunt
immediately cried out, "The spirit of some dear friend is departed,"
and as they entered the gate of Florence on their return, some one met
them and informed them of the death of Byron, the news of which had at
that moment arrived.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just time before the packet sails to send you an anecdote, that
is _bought out_ of the London papers. A nobleman, living near Belgrave
square, received a visit a day or two ago from a police officer, who
stated to him, that he had a man-servant in his house, who had escaped
from Botany Bay. His Lordship was somewhat surprised, but called up
the male part of his household, at the officer's request, and passed
them in review. The culprit was not among them. The officer then
requested to see the _female_ part of the establishment; and, to the
inexpressible astonishment of the whole household, he laid his hand
upon the shoulder of the _lady's confidential maid_, and informed her
she was his prisoner. A change of dress was immediately sent for, and
miladi's dressing-maid was re-metamorphosed into an effeminate-looking
fellow, and marched off to a new trial. It is a most extraordinary
thing, that he had lived unsuspected in the family for nine months,
performing all the functions of a confidential Abigail, and very much
in favor with his unsuspecting mistress, who is rather a serious
person, and would as soon have thought of turning out to be a man
herself. It is said, that the husband once made a remark upon the
huskiness of the maid's voice, but no other comment was ever made,
reflecting in the least upon her qualities as a member of the _beau
sexe_. The story is quite authentic, but hushed up out of regard to
the lady.





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