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Title: Wanderings through unknown Austria
Author: Hodgson, Randolph Ll.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: MARY THURN-TAXIS]





  _All rights reserved_



  INTRODUCTION                              1

                   CHAPTER I
  Duino                                     7

                   CHAPTER II
  Duino--_continued_                       17

                   CHAPTER III
  Miramar                                  29

                   CHAPTER IV
  The Timavo and San Giovanni              39

                   CHAPTER V
  A Rainy Day                              51

                   CHAPTER VI
  Aquileia                                 62

                   CHAPTER VII
  Villa Vicentina                          76

                   CHAPTER VIII
  Sagrado and Gradisca                     85

                   CHAPTER IX
  On Ghosts                                96

                   CHAPTER X
  Capodistria                             108

                   CHAPTER XI
  Goritz                                  121

                   CHAPTER XII
  On Nothing at all                       132

  CONCLUSION                              141



  Mary Thurn-Taxis             _Frontispiece_

  Headpiece to Introduction                 1

  Tailpiece to Introduction                 5

  Castle Duino                              6

  Headpiece to Chapter I.                   7

  Duino from the Sea                        8

  Door-knocker                             10

  Boreas                                   12

  The Roman Tower                          14

  Tailpiece to Chapter I.                  16

  The Balcony                              18

  Portrait of Matthew Hofer (Van Dyck)     21

  The Banqueting Hall                      22

  The Riviera                              25

  A Recess in the Library                  26

  Tailpiece to Chapter II.                 28

  Initial Letter to Chapter III.           29

  Miramar                                  32

  The Rising Moon                          36

  Tailpiece to Chapter III.                38

  Initial Letter to Chapter IV.            39

  Springs of the Timavo                    41

  Castle Duino from the Roman Road         48

  Tailpiece to Chapter IV.                 50

  Initial Letter to Chapter V.             51

  The Grotto Room                          53

  Castle Duino from the Moat               57

  The Ruin                                 59

  Tailpiece to Chapter V.                  61

  Initial Letter to Chapter VI.            62

  Fishing Boat (Bragozzo)                  66

  Grado--the Harbour                       67

  The Church at Grado                      68

  Entrance to Castle Duino                 74

  Tailpiece to Chapter VI.                 75

  Initial Letter to Chapter VII.           76

  Little River near Villa Vicentina        78

  Villa Vicentina                          79

  Tailpiece to Chapter VII.                84

  Initial Letter to Chapter VIII.          85

  Palazzo Finetti                          90

  House at Gradisca                        91

  Tomb of Nicolao della Torre              92

  Tailpiece to Chapter VIII.               95

  Initial Letter to Chapter IX.            96

  The White Lady                           98

  The White Lady                           99

  Tin-ho--First-class Mandarin            101

  Tailpiece to Chapter IX.                107

  Initial Letter to Chapter X.            108

  The Town Hall                           115

  Door-knocker                            118

  Café at Capodistria                     119

  Initial Letter to Chapter XI.           121

  A Cast                                  125

  Girl from Duino                         129

  Castle Duino from the Railway           130

  Tailpiece to Chapter XI.                131

  Initial Letter to Chapter XII.          132

  Lawn-tennis Ground                      138

  Entrance to the Village of Duino        139

  Initial Letter to Conclusion            141

  Tailpiece to Conclusion                 143

[Illustration: Wanderings through unknown Austria]


  Here where the world is quiet.


We were talking the other day of the many and interesting books
of travel that have been written lately, books so full of valuable
information and precise descriptions that you almost feel that Inner
Africa and the North Pole are as familiar to you as Piccadilly and
Oxford Street.

"It is a blessing that such books exist," said our host, who has rather
a philosophical turn of mind. "Of course, I never read them; personally,
I think that reading and writing are decidedly a mistake; but if I
_wanted_ to know anything about these countries there would not be the
slightest necessity to travel about; other people have done that for
me. To speak the truth, I do _not_ want to know anything about foreign
parts. One book of Stanley, for instance, is enough to make me hate the
very idea of Inner Africa; and as to the North Pole, I cannot describe
my feelings with regard to the raving lunatics who imagine they have
anything to do there. I am all for a quiet life, you know. I stick to my
principles--the summer in Cairo, the winter in bed."

This speech was received with icy coldness. We are not philosophically
inclined, I am sorry to say, and though I should not much like Inner
Africa on account of the heat, I have always cherished the idea of some
day making a trip to the North Pole.

This I said with my usual diffidence and modesty, but of course I was
hooted by the rest of the company, and one energetic lady explained at
great length that the North Pole is a "humbug." Another lady (the one
who is my collaborator now) confessed a great partiality for travelling.
"Only," she said, "it is not at all necessary to go so far; there are
many wonderful countries in Europe which are very little known. For
instance," she added, turning to me, "I always wonder how very little
you English know of Austria. The fact that Vienna is a pretty town,
where everything English is particularly liked; that Prague is a fine
old city, and that here and there we have first-rate shooting, is about
all that is known of Austria by foreigners. And it is a pity! Who really
has seen the wonderful mountains of the Tyrol, mountains that are just
as fine as any in Switzerland; the charming lakes of the Salzkammergut;
the green valleys of that greenest of lands, Styria? Who has spoken of
the mysterious charm of the great Bohemian forests of oak and pine,
the quaint little towns of Carinthia, the beautiful banks of the blue
Danube? How very few people know the _puzsta_, the immense plains
of Hungary; and who has explored the wildernesses of Galicia and
Transylvania, or the wonderful beauty of the Dalmatian coasts from the
Bocche di Cattaro up to here, where we are on the shores of the Adriatic
Sea? And just here--this little spot so full of memories and classic
associations--who has ever heard even the names of Istria and the
Littoral? And yet how pretty and interesting the scenery is in this
unknown part of Austria. The azure waters of the Adriatic, the wonderful
southern sky, the Italian landscapes, the many relics of old Roman life
and grandeur, everything combines to make this country worthy to be seen
and admired. Do you know," she concluded, "you ought to write a book
about it."

"Write a book!" I exclaimed, duly horrified,--"I, who hate even to write
a letter of ten lines!"

"Writing a book is quite different, I am sure," was the answer; "and
I don't mean a learned, scientific work. Write a simple sketch of this
part of the country. Begin with Duino, where we are now. Then we will
make excursions to other places near here, and you can write about them.
If you will do it, I will try to make the illustrations."

This was another thing; and though our host looked rather gloomy at
the idea of having any book-writing going on under his roof (a thing
decidedly against his principles), I promised I would think about it.
At first I felt very much as an unhappy being feels who is about to make
his first speech; he knows there are lots of things to be said, but for
the life of him he cannot remember what they are.

Now, however, I have written the Introduction and made the first plunge.
I am writing the rest to please my collaborator and myself. I do not
intend to be apologetic. If other people like this scribble, all well
and good; if they do _not_, they should not read it.


[Illustration: CASTLE DUINO]



  Hast thou seen that lordly castle,
    That Castle by the Sea?
  Golden and red above it
    The clouds float gorgeously.



I never read an account of any pile of stones, dignified by the name of
"castle" and situated near the sea, that did not begin with these lines
of Longfellow's. It is not the force of example, however, that makes me
prefix them to this attempt at a description of one, but it is the fact
that they really suit Duino.

It looks lordly and imposing enough standing out grand and massive on
frowning cliffs two hundred feet above the sea, grim and gray, like
some old sentinel keeping a constant watch over the blue waters of the
Adriatic stretching at its feet.

[Illustration: DUINO FROM THE SEA]

The view from it is magnificent: before you the open sea; on both sides,
extending in graceful curves, the coast, amethyst-hued; far on the left
the white houses of Trieste, and rather nearer, the Imperial Castle
of Miramar; on the right, just on the horizon, the tower of Aquileia,
famous in Roman times; and in the dim distance the snow-clad Alps.

From the land side the castle looks perhaps even more stern and severe,
and like the fortress it was in old days. Not a window is to be seen,
only the bare fortifications and the old walls clad with ivy, almost as
old to all appearance as the walls themselves.

What appeals to one most is the restfulness and quiet of the place.
The old castle, with its towers and battlements, its cloisters and
courtyard, stands just as it has stood for centuries. You are out of the
world here, the bustling, hurrying, work-a-day world of to-day, and back
again in a world of two or three hundred years ago.

It is a nice, sad sort of feeling that comes over one: you think of
your debts, of the friends of your youth that are dead and gone, of your
elderly relation from whom you have expectations, and who will _not_
die, and other melancholy things of a like nature; but your troubles
seem far away, and are quite pleasant--"grateful and comforting."

[Illustration: DOOR-KNOCKER]

The place seems peopled with ghosts--ghosts of a bygone age. There is
a legend that on certain nights of the year a troop of phantom horsemen
ride into the courtyard, and even in daylight you almost expect
something of the sort to happen--you listen for the clank of arms and
the ring of the horses' hoofs. Modern dress seems out of place, you feel
you ought to be in armour yourself. Every nook and corner, every stone,
seems to have a story to tell. What a pity they cannot speak and tell
all they have seen!

The castle must have been well-nigh impregnable in the old days, and
probably extended to the ruin one sees on the right, on entering it.

Between the two--the ruin and the inhabited part--there is a sort of
half garden, half wilderness, known as the "Riviera"--a delightful spot.
Ilex, cypresses, laurels, and olive-trees grow in luxuriant profusion.
Little winding paths tempt you to explore them. There is a long, old,
steep flight of steps with the trees meeting over them in a roof of
green leaves, leading down to the sea. Old-fashioned flowers abound, and
grow almost wild--purple irises, great blue periwinkles, honey-scented
"dragons' mouths," and roses of every kind. Butterflies that are rare in
England are common enough here--huge yellow swallow-tails, the graceful
"White Admiral," glorious "Camberwell Beauties" flit from flower to
flower. There are swarms of nightingales; and pigeons and starlings have
formed a perfect colony in the cliff under the ruin; a pair of kestrels
have their nest here too. There are snakes in the long grass, and
bright-coloured lizards bask in the sunshine.

Notice the big doors as you enter the castle--there is "Salve!" on one
of them. It is pleasant to know one is "welcome," but one always is in
Austria--it is the land of hospitality.

[Illustration: BOREAS]

On the other door is an ancient knocker--interesting if you have a
passion for old things. That ugly face over the archway is a portrait of
Mr. Boreas, the personification of the North Wind. He is represented as
continually blowing. As a matter of fact he does blow rather strongly
here, and in the spring almost perpetually.

One of the most picturesque parts of the castle is the old courtyard,
with its big square tower, its glistening statues, its dark cloisters,
its graceful balconies, and with the ivy entwining and creeping over
everything. The tower is said to be Roman. There are rooms here that
have been walled up for centuries and are so still--nobody knows why.
It is said in the village too that somewhere in the tower is "the buried
treasure." I should very much like to find _that_!

Those coats of arms in mosaic on the wall of the covered passage are the
arms of some of the various owners of Duino. "Ditthalm, 1139," is the
earliest date there. War was the principal amusement of those times,
and these first "Lords of Duino" certainly had enough of it. It mattered
little to them which side they were on. If there were a war, or a petty
feud, or anything going on in which hard blows might be struck, there
they were, on one side or the other. They must have been fine fellows in
their way, these old warriors, and have kept the citizens of Trieste and
the neighbouring little towns in a perpetual state of alarm.

[Illustration: THE ROMAN TOWER]

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I had written some beautiful sentiments about the chivalry and
loyalty and manliness of "the men of old." I felt rather pleased with
my handiwork. It was full of nice poetic sentences, with a dash of
enthusiasm, and here and there a fine contempt for our "degenerate
time." So I went to my collaborator and wanted her appreciation. I
cannot say she _did_ appreciate my flight of eloquence--I did not find
her quite so enthusiastic as I had expected.

"Don't be so ridiculous," she exclaimed. "What do we know about the men
of old? I have not the slightest respect for them. I am sure they were
exactly as men are now--if anything I think they were worse; but I
don't know anything about it, and you don't either, so please stop that
nonsense and stick to the present times--they may be 'degenerate,' but
they are much more comfortable."

No, I decidedly think she was _un_sympathetic!

       *       *       *       *       *

Duino changed hands many times. In 1465 it was the property of the
Emperor Frederick III., and in 1508 it belonged to the city of Venice.
In 1669 it came into the possession of the Della Torre (the old Lords
of Milan), and from them it descended to Prince Egon-Carl Hohenlohe, the
father of the present owner, our host.

There is a portrait of Dante in the covered passage. He came to visit
Pagano Della Torre here about the year 1320, and is said to have
frequented the little island near the bathing place in the "Riviera."
The neighbourhood of Duino was very different in his time from what it
is now; tradition says the hills were covered with forests of red pine,
and that the country generally was swarming with game. The game now
is conspicuous by its absence; there is one solitary hare left, which
inhabits Dante's island, by the way.

Poor old Dante! He looks very melancholy and unhappy, but we can most
of us sympathise with him. There are not many of us, however easily the
wheels of life may have run, who do not feel a pang of something like
regret when now and then the thought of some one gone out of our lives
comes over us. Fate plays tricks with us all. Death, the force of
circumstances--it matters little what the cause of our separation was;
we have drifted apart, and there is nothing left us but a memory--a
dream of what might have been.




  Full of long-sounding corridors it was,
    That over-vaulted grateful gloom,
  Thro' which the livelong day my soul did pass,
    Well pleased, from room to room.


The covered passage before mentioned leads one straight to the principal
staircase. It is a graceful winding staircase, and rare and interesting
prints cover the walls. On the first landing, after passing through
two anterooms (the second of which contains a collection of fine old
Viennese china), one enters the dining-room. It is a large room with a
balcony, from which there is a beautiful view of Miramar and the sea.
There are some most appropriate pictures of eatables by various Dutch
masters on the walls. It was a curious taste of these gentlemen to paint
things to eat. Perhaps they were on the verge of starvation--that
might account for it. I should have thought they might have found more
interesting studies, though, than "gralloched" hares and fishes with
their necks broken. I know nothing of Art (this is constantly dinned
into me), so can speak absolutely without prejudice. An old telescope
that once belonged to Nelson, and was presented by him to Count Della
Torre (Thurn), Admiral of the King of Naples, is in this room. It is a
very good glass; one can see things through it almost as well as with
the naked eye, but it requires some manipulation to get the focus right.

[Illustration: THE BALCONY]

People dine well in Austria, but you get a superabundance of veal. Veal
for lunch, veal for dinner, veal cooked in many ways and concealed under
numerous devices, but always veal. There is a fearful invention called
"Schnitzl" that is the worst form of all. Foreigners say we English live
on beef and mutton, but in Austria they live on veal, so we have the
pull over them in the way of variety. One never sees grown-up cattle
here. Poor things! they don't get the chance of reaching years of
maturity, they are always killed in the first spring of their youth.

Opening into the dining-room is a small drawing-room. This contains
mostly family portraits. The most noticeable among them is the portrait
of the late Princess Hohenlohe. She must have been very beautiful, and
has a very English appearance. She was the last Della Torre.

There are two pictures here that I am convinced are by Morland. No
one knew this before, so I am very proud at having made the
discovery. Some other animal pictures are ascribed to a Venetian
artist--Longhi--portraits of horses. They are extraordinary horses--very
fat, and they appear to have been taught to beg, as they are almost all
standing up on their hind legs. I am told this is a playful habit that
Spanish steeds had.

You go up another flight of stairs and arrive at the door of the
gallery. This is a long passage, especially designed for ghosts to walk
in--not the sort of place one would care to be left alone in after dark.
There are some very fine pictures of the Venetian and Dutch schools
here. One of the best is the "Entrance of the Dogaressa Morosina
Morosini into Venice," by Tintoretto--all the figures are said to be
portraits. At the further end of the gallery is the great banqueting
hall. There is a portrait here by Van Dyck of one Matthew Hofer, a
former owner of Duino. An old chronicle calls him "a tempestuous and
arrogant youth, who had always his hand on his sword, and whose whole
life was a drama of blood." In his portrait he has a proud and handsome
face, with dark melancholy eyes.

The other full-length portraits represent some of the Lords of
Milan--Della Torre--who after many years of unending civil wars were
vanquished by the rival family, the Visconti, and obliged to fly from
Milan. They took refuge near their kinsman, Pagano IV., then Patriarch
of Aquileia, and soon gained wealth and great power in their adopted
country. They were a turbulent and overbearing race, and many are the
tales still told by the people of their violent or heroic deeds.

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF MATTHEW HOFER (Van Dyck)]

Notice the painting of the gentleman on the ferocious-looking horse,
that appears determined to jump on you whichever part of the room
you retire to. He was quite a character, and had a special talent for
eloping with other people's wives. On one occasion he was condemned
to be beheaded, and the soldiers of the Emperor were sent to Duino to
arrest him. He treated them with great hospitality, and gave them a
splendid banquet--probably in this very room. After dinner he retired to
his own apartment, and as all the entrances to the castle were securely
guarded, the unsuspicious soldiers thought nothing of it. Suddenly they
heard a shot from the sea, rushed to find out what it was, and perceived
their former prisoner on board a ship in full sail. Our friend fired
the shot to let his would-be captors know they need not wait for him--a
proof of his kindly and considerate nature! There was an underground
passage leading from the library (the entrance may still be seen) to
the shore. The soldiers did not know this, and their host had omitted to
inform them of the fact.


It is said that he was retaken years afterwards and deprived of his
head; but there is another account that he made a compact with the
devil and escaped again, this time on a black horse, one of His Satanic
Majesty's own particular breed, that carried him safely over the sea to
Aquileia, where horse and rider disappeared, and were seen no more.

The old man on the gray steed who is so cruelly trampling down four poor
individuals very scantily clothed, is Napoleon I. Della Torre. One
story says he rode over his own children in this way, but it is a base
calumny; the children are four cities which he conquered for Milan,
allegorically represented in the picture.

In the library I examined the entrance to the famous underground
passage. You see a trap-door cleverly concealed in the wooden floor,
and on lifting it, a small staircase leads you down to a very diminutive
room, built in the thickness of the massive outer wall. On your left
is the passage. It is very small--in fact, you have to proceed on your
hands and knees, and after a few yards you are stopped by a quantity of
stones and earth.

The father of "our host" wished to have the old passage reopened, and
set people to work, but it seems they were so frightened at finding
a number of human bones mixed with the soil and rubbish, that it was
impossible to persuade them to work on. They said it would be dangerous
to clear it, as the castle would inevitably fall in consequence--a mere
excuse, of course. I think the mysterious passage must descend through
the terrace tower which rises against the middle of the side of the
castle that faces the sea, and come out somewhere in the "Riviera,"
meeting the old staircase spoken of in the preceding chapter.

[Illustration: THE RIVIERA]

I must say this passage interested me much more than all the many books
of the library, but I noticed an enormous old "missal," most elaborately
painted by hand on parchment, a very valuable work of the fifteenth

There is a charming little recess in the library, where there are some
beautiful miniatures, one or two fine old pastels, and some splendid old
china; this corner would be a paradise for an antiquary.


A portrait of "Martin the Giant," a big man clad in armour, looks down
threateningly from one of the dark corners of the room. He was a great
warrior and statesman in his native Lombardy, but finally went off to
the Crusades, and after showing great prowess, is said to have been
taken and skinned alive by the Saracens (1147).

The walls of the drawing-room, next to the library, are covered with
pictures, mostly of religious subjects. I suppose I ought to expatiate
on them, but the artistic side of my nature is exhausted, and I should
probably admire the wrong ones.

What I can safely speak of is the view from the large terrace over the
afore-mentioned tower, where we used to have breakfast. It was charming
to sit there in the early morning and look out upon that grand expanse
of boundless sea, with the little wavelets dancing in the sunshine; it
was almost cool too at that time of the morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here the "energetic lady" remarks in an undertone that at this early
hour she believes I was generally in bed, and that she did not remember
having _once_ seen me at breakfast on the terrace. Fortunately I can
allow such remarks to pass unnoticed.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a mysterious charm about all these old rooms, they are so
quiet, so restful, with their stained floors, their black oak carving,
the tapestried hangings, and the old furniture. There are no bright
colours, everything is subdued; no glare, always a sombre half-light.
One feels inclined to walk softly in them, and speak in whispers, so as
not to disturb their restfulness. There is something almost sad about
their silence; they belong to a time long ago, not to the present day,
and they seem to be waiting--waiting for the years that have passed to
come again.





  And round about his home the glory
    That blushed and bloomed
  Is but a dim-remembered story
    Of the old time entombed.

  E. A. Poe.

On Friday, 31st May, we all went to Miramar, eleven of us. We drove to
Nabresina, the nearest station to Duino, went from there to Miramar by
train (it gave some trouble to the engine-driver, as he had to stop the
train on purpose for us to get out), and then walked from the station
to the castle. It was a stupid way of getting there; it would have been
much better to have driven all the way, but the directress of our party
did not think so. I suppose she thought we should enjoy the various
modes of travelling. It was rather a pity we had not relays of
saddle-horses and bicycles to meet us somewhere--we should have had
still more variety. We might have crawled the last bit too on our hands
and knees, but I didn't think of it at the time. I used to like railway
travelling. When I was very small I could have no greater treat than to
be taken somewhere by train--now I don't. I still like to _see_ a train.
If I am in the country and feel lonely, I walk to the nearest railway
line and wait for an express to rush by. That cheers me. I don't wish
to be in it--the sight of it is enough. It must be an English express,
however; a Continental express merely irritates one, and deepens the
melancholy; I feel I can walk faster than it can travel.

We arrived at the Imperial Castle at last. The gardens are very pretty.
There are numbers of terraces, and flights of steps, and cedar-trees,
and little Italian gardens. There are big palm-trees, and strange
foreign-looking shrubs, and beautiful beds of old-fashioned monthly

       *       *       *       *       *

I had written so far in this chapter when I thought I had better consult
my collaborator. I found her making a sketch in pen and ink. "That is
very nice," I said. "I really know those things are trees."

"I am glad you realise what they are," she answered with icy coldness.
"Won't you read what you have written?"

I did so, and then the storm burst.

"You call _that_ a description of those beautiful gardens!" she said.
"Have you no poetry in your nature? Have you no appreciation of the
beautiful? Why don't you say much more of the terraces, the marble
staircases? Why don't you speak of the funereal cypresses clear-cut
against the sky, the dark green of the ilex contrasting with the gray
of the olives? Why don't you write about the white starry blossom of the
jasmine, the sweet scent of the honeysuckle, the tea-roses creeping up
and festooning the rough stems of the towering palm-trees, and shedding
their perfume on the soft summer air, the glistening of the water in
the fountains, the azure blue of the sea, the whiteness of the marble
statues gleaming through the dark foliage, the mysterious appearance of
the Italian gardens with their staircases leading down to the deep-hued
waters of the Adriatic? Why don't you say something about the liquid
notes of the nightingale, the faint whispering of the trees overhead,
the 'Lovers' Walk?' Oh! you _are_ stupid."

Perhaps I am. I have written all I could remember of our conversation. I
hope she will be satisfied now.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MIRAMAR]

The castle was built about the middle of the present century by the
Emperor Maximilian. We saw the rooms that had been his. They are built
to exactly resemble the cabins on board his ship when he was Admiral of
the Austrian Fleet. Every one knows his tragic story: how he, persuaded
by the promise of French support, went off to be Emperor of Mexico; how
the French deserted him (France has done many things she may well be
ashamed of, but nothing more dastardly than this); how he was captured
by the rebel Mexicans, and finally shot by them. Poor fellow! one would
have thought that with all he had he might have been content without
being Emperor of Mexico. But who knows what dreams of glory and heroic
adventures passed through his brain! He was a poet and an enthusiast,
a man worshipped by the people, and in his veins flowed the blood of
Charles V., who once had been the master of those far countries where
his destiny called him. And what must have been his thoughts when he,
the son of the German Cæsars, stood forsaken and betrayed before the
handful of rebels who put an end to all his golden dreams? In any
case his end was worthy of his noble nature. There is an incident in
connection with it not generally known. One of the few Mexicans who
remained faithful to him was Mejia, one of his generals. He was also
captured by the rebels, and was condemned to be shot with the Emperor,
but with this difference: for the Emperor a company of picked shots had
been selected, and for Mejia they had chosen a number of raw and young
recruits, unaccustomed to the use of the rifle. The Emperor, whose
experienced eye had immediately remarked the cruel intention of the
Mexicans, ordered his companion, as the last boon he could grant him, to
exchange places with him. Mejia obeyed, and was killed instantaneously;
but the Emperor died a lingering and miserable death.

People say he was so disfigured that when his embalmed body arrived in
Vienna, no one, not even the Grand Master of the Court, could be quite
sure of his identity.

I do not admire the castle. It is new, and looks new, and is built in
no particular style, though the first intention was evidently to make
it Gothic. One sees the love of the unfortunate Emperor for Spanish and
Moorish things, by the way in which they are dotted here and there. The
interior too is rather tasteless. There are some fine things, but the
arrangement is bad. A beautiful cabinet that once belonged to Marie
Antoinette is in one of the rooms; it has some wonderful old Wedgwood
china on the doors.

We were shown round by the most melancholy attendant it has ever been my
lot to meet with. He seemed to find it a heartrending business, and his
voice sounded as if he were continually on the verge of tears. I was
quite glad when the inspection was over. I am tender-hearted myself, and
do not like to wantonly distress any one.

After viewing the castle we went out into the gardens again, and (I am
sorry to have to confess it) ate some provisions that we had brought
with us, on one of the flights of marble steps. Then we wandered about
in the gloaming till it was time for our train.

It was a lovely evening:--

  Skies strewn with roses fading, fading slowly,
  While one star, trembling, watched the daylight die.

The nightingale's rich music and the soft murmur of the waves were the
only sounds. All the clamour and bustle of the day were over. The moon
rose and flooded the calm sea with a pathway of melted silver; the stars
came out one by one, and seemed to smile on us. It was the time when all
evil thoughts go out of one's heart, when heaven itself seems nearer
in the dim light. On such an evening I always think of the old familiar
words of the "blessing" after the sermon, "The peace of God, which
passeth all understanding."

[Illustration: THE RISING MOON]

We had an exciting adventure during our return journey in the train. We
had started, and the conductor was just examining our tickets--having
carefully left the door open--when the Vienna "express" crawled by (I
almost said _tore_, but I cannot tell a lie). Some projecting portion of
it caught our carriage door, sent it to with a violent crash, smashing
the door and half tearing it from its hinges. The crash was like a
cannon-shot, and the explosion was followed by the tinkling of the
shower of broken glass that fell over and around us. For the moment
we could not understand what had happened, and all looked fearfully
around, expecting to see pieces of ourselves lying about the wrecked
compartment. Fortunately, we were all whole and unhurt, however. Of
course, there was the wildest excitement in our railway carriage. "The
Seal" kept congratulating himself on not having been nearer the broken
window, and explaining what dreadful injuries would have ensued for
him if he had been. The directress of our party--the "Energetic
Lady"--abused an unfortunate stationmaster, who came at the next
stoppage to inquire about the accident, in such a way that the poor man
shrank back terrified and in tears. The "Learned Fair Man" started a
scientific theory (in which he dragged in Darwin) to explain the matter;
but the "Learned Dark Man" (with Schopenhauer in the background) had
another scientific explanation exactly the reverse. The "Fat Boy"
thought Anarchists had an especial grudge against himself; the "Thin
Boy" profited by the occasion to bleed copiously from the nose--a
pastime he had indulged in at intervals throughout the whole day, and
the other boy lost immediately the one bag of the party. The two other
ladies, who had not been in the baneful compartment, explained at
great length all their misgivings, presentiments, and extraordinary
perceptions; whilst my collaborator shrieked excitedly--

"There! that's a beautiful incident for the book."

"Bother the book!" I answered with pensive grace.

After this the drive home was dull and uneventful. We were almost
smothered in dust, but that was merely a trifling inconvenience, which
the beauty of the night and the glorious moonlight quite made up for.




  O water whispering
  Still through the dark into mine ears.

  D. G. Rossetti.

I made two excursions to the Timavo and San Giovanni. The first was with
the "Fat Boy." It was a rainy sort of day, and there was nothing to be
done in the way of exercise but to go for a walk, so I beguiled the "Fat
Boy" into accompanying me. I like to take him for walks. I feel I am
doing good to suffering humanity--he may get rid of a little of his
superfluous flesh by the exertion. I cannot say that up to now he
has exhibited much thankfulness for my philanthropic efforts. We took
Pixner, the gamekeeper, and his two dogs with us. Pixner is much looked
up to in the village of Duino as a great traveller and linguist. He
spent one or two years in England as servant to "our host," and was
commonly known there as "Mr. Pig-nose"--his own name being found
difficult to pronounce.

San Giovanni is not far from Duino--only a walk of half an hour or so.
It is classic ground, for does not the world-famed Timavo make here its
appearance into the light of day?

  Antenor potuit mediis elapsus Achivis
  Illyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus
  regna Liburnorum et fontem superare Timavi,
  unde per ora novem vasto cum murmure montis
  it mare proruptum et pelago premit arva sonanti.

  Virgil's _Aeneid_, Book I. 242-246.

The "nine mouths" of Virgil have now sunk to three, however. It is a
most extraordinary thing, this river, all at once, seeming to come from
nowhere, there it is, not a little feeble, trickling streamlet, but a
wide, fast-flowing river. There is no doubt that the original springs
are somewhere underground, and that it runs for a considerable distance
in the bowels of the earth. Every now and then on the neighbouring
hill-side you come to a hole in the ground where you hear the rush of
the water, and the splash if you drop a stone down. The ground about
this neighbourhood is a perfect honeycomb.


Almost all the classic authors speak of the Timavo. I had carefully
compiled a list of these old gentlemen with a kind of history of the
river, but I will spare the reader, and merely say that they believed it
to be the entrance to the Infernal Regions, and that the Argonauts are
said to have come here after they had annexed the Golden Fleece.

After having gazed at the place where the Timavo first appears, we went
on to the little church of San Giovanni. This is very old, and is
built on the foundations of a temple erected by the Greeks in honour of
Diomed--either the Greek hero or the Thracian Diomed who was celebrated
for his horses. The latter gentleman seems to have had a stud in the
neighbourhood of San Giovanni. The horses from this part of the country
were very celebrated, and eagerly sought after for the Olympian games.
It is interesting to note that one of the great annual events here is
the horse-fair of Duino, which takes place in the month of June.

The Romans built a temple on the same site later on, the temple of
the "Speranza Augusta"; and there was another temple--that of the
Nymphs--somewhere near it. Villas and country houses were here in
abundance; it was then quite a fashionable watering-place on account of
the warm springs in the neighbourhood. There is still a miserable little
bathing-place at some distance from San Giovanni, a most abandoned
and dismal-looking house, though the waters have still their ancient
reputation for great healing power.

In Roman times the view from this now solitary spot must have been very
beautiful: the murmuring springs of the Timavo, the great lake (now a
marsh), with its banks bright with glistening white monuments and the
neighbouring boundless forests, which fable said were inhabited by the
most extraordinary creatures.

The wine of the country was very famous. It was the favourite beverage
of Julia (or Livia), the wife of Augustus, who died in Aquileia at the
age of eighty-three. She gave all the credit of her long life to the
wine! Pliny the younger is our informant on this point.

Battles were continually fought on the Timavo towards the end of the
Roman Empire and in the Middle Ages. Its banks were the scene of many
a fierce conflict between the Roman legions and the Barbarians, whilst,
later on, the German Emperors would generally choose this way to sweep
down from the north upon Italy. The Venetian and Imperial troops often
fought here, and the different lords of the land being always at war
with each other, the country round about was kept pretty lively.

The "pigeon-holes" among the rocks are very interesting. They are like
the shafts of extinct volcanoes, and descend to a great depth into
the earth. The pigeons, which are identically the same bird as the
old-fashioned English "Blue-rock," make their nests in the sides. There
is good shooting to be had at these holes in September by lying in wait
for the pigeons as they come home in the evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second time we went by sea, in a diminutive cutter bearing the proud
name of _St. George_. I dislike yachting on the whole--there is always
either too much wind or none at all. In my case it is generally the
latter. It is enough for me to go out in a yacht for a cruise of an hour
or two, and you may be sure that yacht will become becalmed, and the
unhappy people on board will have to choose between a night "on the
ocean wave" and a row home in a small boat. I seem to be a sort of
Jonah, and live in expectation of being thrown overboard every time I
go on a yacht. A steamer does away with the fear of being becalmed, but
then there is the smell of the engines. Do not mistake me, it is not
that I fear sea-sickness,

  For I can weather the roughest gale
    That ever wind did blow.

In fact, I am an excellent sailor.

Once I did feel rather queer, but that was a dispensation of Providence
in fulfilment of the old adage "Pride goes before a fall." I was
crossing the Channel--Dover to Calais. We had a small steamer, a choppy
sea, and there was a young man with a Kodak on board. I abominate
amateur photographers. They are offensive. It is the fact that they
insist on photography being an art that makes them so objectionable.
Photography is _not_ an art. One merely requires a good apparatus and
a knowledge of how to work it, and there you are--a good photographer.
That is _my_ idea on the subject.

Well, this young man was _particularly_ offensive. He wore a
knickerbocker suit, and skipped about with his Kodak and took
"snap-shots" at everything. He did not "speak to the man at the wheel,"
but he "shot" him instead. He photographed the sea, the sky, the
sea-gulls, the passing steamers, his fellow-passengers; but then he
became sea-sick. His Kodak fell from his nerveless hand, and he looked
very ill. I revelled in his misery, I "chortled in my joy"; but the
Fates were on my track. Half an hour before we reached Calais I began
to feel very miserable. I thought I was dying. Somebody came to me,
a sailor, or a steward, or an admiral, or something of that sort, and
asked me if I felt ill. I said I did, that my last hour had come, that I
wanted to throw myself overboard and hasten the end. He would not let
me do this. I should feel all right when we landed, he said. I knew this
was impossible, it was merely uselessly lengthening my sufferings; but,
curiously enough, he was right. At the time I was unable to understand
my misery, but I see through it now. My wretchedness was intended to
teach me a lesson--the lesson of never laughing at people in adversity.
I learnt it, and since then have never suffered evil effects from being
on the sea.

This is a long digression, but I wish to explain the disgust I felt on
our going to San Giovanni by sea. We were not becalmed on this occasion,
but there was next to no wind, the sun was blazing hot, and as we were
constantly tacking, and the _St. George_ is a very small boat, my life
was in perpetual danger from the eccentricities of the boom. I was very
unhappy, and not in the mood to admire the beauties of nature that
were constantly pointed out to me. But Checco was a comfort. Checco
is captain, crew, and cabin-boy combined of the _St. George_, a
great character and a philosopher. A nice-looking man too, tall and
broad-shouldered, with a bronzed skin and snowy white hair (though, in
fact, he is not old) and extraordinarily bright blue eyes--they look as
if all the light and colour of the sea were reflected in them. He is
a proud man is Checco, and generally very silent. He only talks to
particular chums, but then he _does_ talk. The "Fat Boy" is the proud
possessor of his confidence, and to him Checco unfolds his theories; he
even puts the two learned men in the shade with regard to theories. On
this particular occasion he was explaining earthquakes. (There have been
some here lately.) This is what Checco said to the "Fat Boy": "People
are very much afraid of earthquakes, you know. I am not afraid, for
it is no use. What must be, must be. But I say, What is the reason for
them? I will tell you: it is the doing of those mad winds. When I was
young, things were quite different on the sea. The winds blew steadily.
Either it was Bora, or Levante, or Scirocco, or Libeccio, and you knew
how long it would blow in the same direction. It was a pleasure to sail
a boat _then_. But now the winds blow all ways at once, and are always
fighting against one another. The weaker winds _must_ give way, and what
becomes of _them_? They rush into the earth--you know all the holes and
grottoes there are everywhere--and so cause the earthquakes. Yes, you
can believe me, it is all the doing of those mad winds." Checco was
silent and gazed out over the blue sea, and the "Fat Boy" pondered over
his words. Then he began again, still looking at the distant horizon:
"Everything was different when I was a young man--the winds were not
mad, the girls _were_ pretty. When we came out of church on Sundays, and
the girls, as is the fashion, gave the red carnation they wore to the
man they liked best, none of the fellows got as many as I did. But now I
have white hair, you see.... Still none of my boys are as tall as I am,
and I have never tried my whole strength yet."

Then Checco relapsed into silence, and not even the "Fat Boy" could draw
another word from him.


       *       *       *       *       *

We sailed up the Timavo. The wind had freshened, and I must confess it
was really rather pleasant. Wild ducks rose from the reeds with a great
splashing and flapping of wings, and occasionally a snipe would dart
away with its peculiar twisting zigzag flight and harsh cry. At San
Giovanni we landed, and walked home. Our path, for part of the way, lay
along an old Roman road, and then we passed through a little wood
of stunted trees (the last remnant of the "boundless forests" of old
times), which in autumn is one pink carpet of heavily-scented cyclamens.
We skirted the deer park, where some twenty or thirty fallow deer lead a
cheerless existence and are fed on hay all the year round. The ground
in the park is covered with stones, not a blade of grass is to be seen,
only the hardy ilex seems able to flourish on the barren soil.

It has a curious appearance, this little tract of country round
Duino, with its dull gray rocks. A few bushes manage to extract enough
nourishment from somewhere to exist, but every cranny and crevice in the
stones is gay and bright with wild flowers.

Monotonous and almost melancholy is the scenery, and yet it has a charm
of its own; the sun shines so brightly, the sky is so blue; and then
there is always the sea, ever changeful and ever beautiful, and the old
gray castle in the distance, towering above all, and watching over the
silent land.




  The rain came down upon my head
  Unsheltered, and the heavy wind
  Rendered me mad, and deaf, and blind.

  E. A. Poe.

It was not quite so bad as all that. I did not go out in the rain,
and at present I am neither deaf nor blind. I cannot be sure about the
madness. It was very wet, though, but it cleared up before the evening.

A really wet day may be dreary, but still it is rather pleasant to have
one sometimes. The rain affords such a grand excuse to be idle and do
nothing. One can lounge about, and smoke, and read the newspapers or a
novel all day, and justly feel it is quite impossible to be energetic.
I am often told that my besetting sin is laziness. I am not sure whether
it is true, but all I can say is, it is very pleasant to spend a lazy
day occasionally. One must have piles of work waiting to be done, or
it loses its charm. If there is really nothing to do, one is bored, and
wants something to fill up the time.

On this particular day, however, I was not lazy--far from it. We
explored the castle thoroughly from dungeon to attic, with a view to
discovering new beauties for "the book."

I must say that occasionally I almost repent of my rashness in promising
to write this book; my collaborator is so intensely business-like, and
keeps me at it from early morn till dewy eve. I never have a moment's
rest. It somewhat detracts too from the pleasure of going anywhere to
know that you have to write an account of everything you see afterwards.

[Illustration: THE GROTTO ROOM]

We began with the "grotto room." This is a summer drawing-room that we
usually sit in. It is a big room, with a tiled floor and an arched roof;
the latter and the walls are of cement, thickly studded with little bits
of stalactite, that glisten and gleam when the place is lighted up, and
give a fairy-like appearance to it. Birds of paradise and sea-gulls,
suspended by invisible wires, swing from the vaulted roof and appear to
be hovering about the room. Enormous shells, quaint Venetian lamps and
mirrors, funny old china, are scattered all about. There is a curious
old sedan chair standing in one corner, and near it are two pianos. I
never made out the mystery of those two pianos. I believe they are near
relations, and that they would be heart- (or string-) broken if they
were to be separated. There is a massive marble mantelpiece at the
farther end, surmounted by two shields, one bearing the Hohenlohe
leopards, and the other the tower and crossed lilies of the Della Torre.
Altogether it is a quaint room, without any particular order or style,
but very comfortable, and it has one great advantage in being cool. I
have spent many a weary hour here, labouring over these sketches,
or gazing out through the coloured glass at the sea and the glorious

The sunsets at Duino are magnificent--the whole western sky is one
flaming blaze of colour, of every tint, from the deepest crimson to the
faintest daffodil. The most beautiful moment is, I think, when the sun
has sunk to rest behind the distant Alps, that stand out pearly-gray
against the rose-coloured sky, and the sea in the foreground glows like
a huge bowl of melted gold.

We went next to see the dungeons. They are by no means cheerful--two
little damp and musty rooms, destitute of furniture, with grated windows
and enormously thick walls--you see their immense thickness when you
enter. The last man who was confined here (it was not so very long ago)
hung himself. He is now said to haunt them. Poor fellow! one cannot
wonder that he should have availed himself of the only possible way of
escape open to him.

We then penetrated a little room where the family archives are kept.
It has a massive iron door, and shelves full of dusty, musty old
parchments. We unearthed a grand treasure here--an old manuscript diary
of a tour through France and Italy at the beginning of this century,
written by an Englishman of the name of Cockburn. Fired by this
discovery we rushed up the tower stairs to another little room, formerly
used as a study by an old priest who had once belonged to the household.
We found it just as he had left it: the chair, the pens, the old
ink-bottle, and he, poor old man, dead years ago! He wrote a book in
Italian about Duino and the neighbourhood. It has been very useful to us
in some respects, though it is very confused.

We came down the tower stairs again, and I was shown the door of the
walled-up rooms; it has been carefully built up flush with the wall, and
recently whitewashed over, so as to conceal it. Then we explored all
the funny little staircases and passages that are everywhere about the
castle, and form a perfect labyrinth.

The rain had cleared off by this time, and the sun was struggling
to show himself through the clouds, so we went out, the "Other Boy"
accompanying us. First we went down into the old moat, long dry and
overgrown with grass and nettles, but in one corner some white lilies
rise pure and stately, and bloom unseen in this neglected spot.
Some fragments of Roman columns have been built into the wall of the
castle--one sees them from the moat. Then we explored some terraces that
are round the outside walls, where enormous yellow roses cling to the
crumbling stones and lemon-scented verbenas grow wild. We made another
interesting discovery here--at least it would be interesting if the
general opinion about it is correct. We found a hole in the wall of the
tower under the terrace. My collaborator maintains it is the beginning
of a ventilating shaft that communicates with the underground passage,
but I am afraid it is nothing but a rat-hole.

We descended some rickety stairs, and after inspecting a sculptured
Madonna, who, half overgrown with ivy, looks down on the occasional
passers-by (people admire her; I do _not_, as she has her nose on one
side), proceeded to the battlements. There are two old field-pieces here
that formerly belonged to the French Republic. They have the _fasces_
engraved upon them and the inscription, "An VII. République francaise 6
Fructidor." I could not discover the history of these guns. I was told a
hazy story about Duino being in the hands of the French in the beginning
of this century; of its being stormed, taken, and partially burnt by the
English, and that the English captain was always drunk; but the story
lacks confirmation--particularly the last part of it.


In any case, the French were here, and took away all the contents of the
armoury. In 1813, too, Trieste being in the possession of the French,
Admiral Freemantle sailed up the Adriatic with some English men-of-war,
whilst General Nugent advanced on the land side with the Austrian
troops. The French commander retired into the citadel, and was there
besieged by the English and Austrians. On October 24th the French

This being so, it is quite possible that there was a siege of Duino, as
it is very strongly situated and has always been an object for attack.
Even as recently as 1866, in the war between Austria and Italy, the
Italians had intended to land at Duino, had not their fleet been
destroyed in the battle of Lissa.

We went down the old staircase to the little bathing-place near Dante's
island. There is a strong wire net in the water to guard against the
sharks. "Our host" disapproves of this net. He maintains that if any one
bathing at Duino is unfortunate enough to be eaten by the one solitary
shark that cruises in the Adriatic, he or she is the victim of such
extraordinary bad luck that it is much better for him or her to be
finished off at once.

Then we wandered through the "Riviera" to the old ruin and the little
sombre wood "sacred to Diana." The ruined castle rises dark and
threatening on a massive and perpendicular rock, which is on three sides
surrounded by the sea. The position is immensely strong--one can only
approach by one little narrow path that could easily have been held in
the old days by two or three resolute men. There is not much to be seen
in the ruin. It is all crumbling to pieces and is half-smothered with
creepers and grass. In one vaulted arch, probably once part of the
chapel, there are faint traces of fresco-painting; and there are one or
two enormous stone bullets lying about that must have been thrown from
some kind of catapult. Every provision was made for a siege. One sees
the old well, which still holds water.

[Illustration: THE RUIN]

Just under the old ruined castle the ground sinks and forms a hollow,
and there a little wood of ilex-trees has grown, through whose dark and
thick evergreen foliage no ray of sunlight seems ever to penetrate. It
is a weird and uncanny sort of place: the trees seem black, the ground
is black, and no grass or flowers grow there. Only on some bit of old
crumbling masonry the ivy has extended a funereal pall. No birds seem
to nestle in this solitary spot, and the earth smells damp, whilst you
shiver a little in the cool shade of the sacred trees. It is peculiarly
quiet and silent under the ilex; and if, sitting there in the long
summer afternoons, you get drowsy and dreamy, thinking perhaps of times
long, long ago, you would not wonder very much if, through the dark
green of the melancholy trees that make a dome of shade over your head,
a white form should glide, swift and silent--glide down from the golden
light beyond into the darkness and gloom of the ilex wood.

Dream or reality, what does it matter, since both pass away in the night
of time, and after a while are remembered no more?

How many may have come under the old, old ilex-trees in drowsy hot
summer afternoons, or later, when the silver moon tried with her
trembling rays to pierce the dark gloom of the wood! how many, each with
his burden of joy or sorrow--gone--forgotten--faded away!

Dream or reality, what does it matter?




  We were a gallant company.


On Tuesday, 4th June, we had a regular "day out." We were twelve--the
original eleven who went to Miramar, with the addition of "our host."
We started at 7.30 in the morning, and this involved getting up at six.
There is nothing I object to more than early rising. Since my earliest
infancy I have always been told what an excellent thing it is to get up
early, and the ancient proverb (which you may have heard)--

  Early to bed and early to rise
  Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise--

has been repeated to me so often that I actually know it by heart. I do
not believe in it, though; I infinitely prefer the sentiments contained
in the old Scotch song--

  I would rather go supperless to my bed
    Than rise in the morning early.

It was not a matter of going supperless to bed in this case, but it
meant (at least to our host and myself--we were late) starting without
breakfast. We rose to the occasion. Rather than keep the rest of the
party waiting, we went without breakfast, and had the satisfaction of
feeling martyrs for the rest of the day.

My collaborator, our host, the Thin Boy, and myself were in the first
carriage. We kept congratulating ourselves and each other on this fact
all the way. There was plenty of dust, clouds of it, and we could dimly
discern the other carriages behind us, and their miserable occupants
being half-smothered, whilst we were in the pure fresh air of the
morning. It was a very pretty drive of about two hours to Aquileia, past
marshy meadows bright with flowers, and vineyards with their graceful
festoons of vines, the fresh and luxuriant green of the plain
contrasting strangely with the gray barrenness of the neighbouring
hills, through the little old-fashioned town of Monfalcone. It is
quite an Italian town, with its big piazza, graceful church tower, and
balconied houses--closely shuttered, of course; the inhabitants seem
to have a horror of fresh air. After Monfalcone the scenery too becomes
quite Italian, though we are still in Austria. The plain continues fresh
and green as ever, but the hills fade away in the blue distance. We
cross that bluest of rivers, the Isonzo, drive between green hedges
fragrant with wild roses and honeysuckle, pass a long, low, house
covered with roses, with a lovely garden and a grass lawn-tennis ground
(the only grass court I have seen on the Continent), go over numerous
little brooks that wind along under the dark shadow of overhanging
bushes, and are generally haunted by promising families of downy yellow
ducklings, and at last reach Aquileia.

Here we had what was a second breakfast to most of the party, of coffee
and rolls. Our host did not eat anything. He said he couldn't eat when
he had risen in "the middle of the night." It was a mild rebuke, but it
passed unnoticed.

We intended to go to Grado before seeing Aquileia, so after this meal we
sought our steamer, a launch that plies daily between the two places. It
did not require much seeking, firstly, because it rested on the placid
waters of the canal close to our "hotel," and, secondly, as it guided
us to its whereabouts, with great consideration, by a series of most
unearthly screams of the whistle, and by disgorging vast quantities of
evil-smelling smoke.

The scenery is rather pretty after leaving Aquileia. High reeds and
grass grow down to the water's edge, larks carol joyously in the sky,
reed-warblers twitter among the rushes, and bright-hued dragonflies dart
hither and thither. There is a smell of new-mown hay in the air (which
causes the Fat Boy to sneeze thirty-seven times without stopping), and
one sees the peasants at work, with the big, gentle, sleepy-looking oxen
drawing the waggons. One soon leaves the canal behind, and comes out
into numberless shallow lagoons of salt water, with dreary sandbanks,
and lonely-looking posts to mark the deeper channels. There are a few
dismal huts on some of the sandbanks, and in one place a church tower
stands alone in its glory--the rest of the church has fallen down. We
saw no living thing there except a solitary eagle. It is a desolate and
melancholy sort of place, and I for one was very glad when we came out
into "blue water" and Grado hove in sight. It forms a pretty picture,
this little Venetian-like town, the blue sea, and the fleet of fishing
boats with their brightly-coloured sails.


Grado is a sea-bathing place, or _would_ be one, if anybody went there.
The bathing sheds are a very imposing-looking building, there is an
excellent sandy beach, the water is lukewarm, and drowning is quite
impossible on account of its shallowness. What Grado wants is a good
waking up. If the inhabitants were a little more speculative; if they
would build a good hotel and open a railway line, etc., it might become
a flourishing place. At present there is no accommodation for visitors,
so no visitors go there. We bathed, of course, all of us, with the
exception of the two learned men, who had different theories with regard
to bathing, and who were disputing thereon. We enjoyed it very much,
except the Seal, who did not take at all kindly to his native element,
and found it cold; he evidently felt, too, that his life was in danger,
as he explained to everyone the dreadful end he might come to if a
larger wave than usual were to carry him away.

[Illustration: GRADO--THE HARBOUR]

After our bath we returned to the hotel, very hungry. Our lunch included
a dish called Risotto, which, I am told, can only be made to perfection
in this part of the world; it is very good. Owing to the bathing and the
lunch, the latter being much prolonged by the voracious appetites of the
"Seal" and the "Fat Boy," we had no time to see the town thoroughly, but
we managed to make a hurried inspection of the church before our steamer
left. It is a fine old building, with two rows of marble columns in the
interior, the capitals of which are all different, and remind one of
those in the church of St. Mark at Venice. The Byzantine pulpit, a
very old episcopal seat behind the altar, and some sarcophagi with
inscriptions and carvings in a little courtyard near the church, are
also interesting.

[Illustration: THE CHURCH AT GRADO]

Our return journey to Aquileia was not exciting. We were all sleepy, and
hot, and rather irritable. On reaching it we proceeded to the hotel, and
refreshed ourselves with sundry cooling drinks, and then set out to view
the town.

Aquileia was founded B.C. 183 or 181, after the second war against
Hannibal. It was one of the twelve fortified towns built to repel the
attacks of the Barbarians, and at the same time such towers as Duino,
Monfalcone, and Sagrado were erected as watch-towers. Aquileia was a
very extensive and important place under the Romans, and possessed a
population of half a million. With the decline of the Roman power the
glory of Aquileia departed. The town withstood many attacks from the
Barbarians, but after a siege of some months it was finally burnt down
and quite destroyed by the Huns under Attila. Some of the inhabitants
escaped to Grado, and others sought refuge among the neighbouring

There is a museum of Roman remains containing a collection of statues,
pottery, glass, etc. The old glass is very beautiful, its colouring
wonderful, and two of the many statues are particularly fine, one of a
Venus or a nymph, very much mutilated, and an almost perfect one of
the family of Tiberius. The rest of the statues and carvings, though
interesting, did not seem to be of great artistic value, still I was
struck by a fine mosaic pavement representing the rape of Europa.

When one reflects that all this collection has been made up of things
(one could almost say) casually found, one can form some idea of the
valuable treasures still left in the soil. Probably Aquileia could rival
Pompeii or Herculaneum--in any case, it was a much more important place.
In the last year or two some Austrian noblemen have begun to interest
themselves in making excavations. It is to be hoped they will continue
the work, and that successful results may follow.

After some time Aquileia was rebuilt, but not on the same extensive
scale. It seems that Charlemagne came to the town for the sake of the
hunting that was to be had in the big forests then existing round Isonzo
and Timavo. Old chronicles say that wild boar, wild goats, and pheasants
were the principal objects of pursuit, but unfortunately there is
no record of the "bags." When one sees the general barrenness of the
country now, it is difficult to believe it was once all one dense forest
through which the great Emperor and his nobles chased the flying game,
whilst the woodland rang with the deep music of the hounds.

The church is extremely old--it dates back to 1031--and the arches
and pillars of the interior are very graceful. There is a most curious
monument in the church--a sort of little temple of white marble
surrounded by marble columns that support a modern wooden roof. The
inside is quite empty--no trace of fittings left. What it was used for
is a riddle not yet solved.

Very interesting is a small chapel with the tombs of the four Della
Torre who were Patriarchs of Aquileia. The power of the Patriarchs
lasted for fourteen centuries. They were not only very great Church
dignitaries, but possessed immense secular influence, and in spite of
their peaceful profession were brave warriors. The Lords of Duino were
generally their firm allies. We read that when Bertram, Patriarch of
Aquileia, defeated the troops of Goritz at Osoppo (1340) he himself
celebrated mass in his camp in full armour, it being Christmas Eve.
Hence arose the custom, long existing in this part of the country, that
on that night the priest should bless the people with the cross of the
sword. It was to visit one of the Della Torre, who lies buried here,
that Dante in 1320 came to Duino, which was at that time a dependency of
the Patriarch of Aquileia.

A crypt is under the church, containing the relics of various saints.
Formerly an immense treasure was there too, but it is said that about
1820 an organised band of some hundreds of people from Udine and Goritz
made a raid on the church and stole all that was left of it. The most
valuable part, and among other treasures a copy of the Gospel of St.
Mark, written in the fifth century, had been taken away long before,
and is to be seen now in the neighbouring town of Cividale, where the
Patriarchs had in later time transported their seat. Some old Byzantine
fresco-paintings of saints are at the east end, very much faded, but
still discernible. On the roof above them are some hideous modern
abominations. It is a great pity that in the last century all the old
frescoes were whitewashed over, and in some places _repainted_. Now
people are trying to discover the old paintings, but it will be a long
and difficult task. The font is outside the church. It is enclosed in
a circular wall, and is of unusual size--a relic of Roman times, as it

We were completely exhausted after going round the town, and returned
to the hotel with the ladies, clamouring for ices. I think we spent the
greater part of this day in eating and drinking.

After all, it was an impression of sadness that I took with me as we
left the town behind us. Turning round, one could only see a few humble
peasants' houses rising gray and desolate against the golden glory of
the setting sun. No trace of gorgeous temples, of thronged streets,
of the mighty legions who started from this very spot to vanquish the
Barbarians and to conquer new and immense lands for Rome.

No trace of the great Emperor's passage as, surrounded by his fantastic
knights, he hunted the deer through the vast forests.

Nothing even of feudal times. The luxurious palace of the Patriarchs
has disappeared, their armies gone, their treasure dispersed; only a few
tombs remain in a silent and deserted church.

And yet, if energy and intelligence were to be expended in this
abandoned spot where now the peasant drives his plough, a new world
would rise in all the glory of white marble limbs--a new world, and yet
so old! Shaking off the sleep of centuries from their solemn eyes, the
gods and the nymphs, the heroes and the statesmen would live again,
and once more Aquileia would rise from her ashes, the proud daughter of
Imperial Rome.


The drive home in the cool of the evening--a wonderful soft June
evening--was very pleasant. The air was heavy with sweet scents, the
sun was setting in a crimson sky and flooding the green vineyards with
golden rays, whilst the dark shadows grew longer and longer, and the
blue mists veiled the distant hills. But our peaceful enjoyment was
spoiled by the gloominess of "our host," who, having met a bicycle on
the way, failed absolutely and entirely to recover his equanimity. He
talked to us with great eloquence on the subject (bicycles are against
his principles), but we gradually grew more and more sleepy, and only
the view of the old castle rising dark against the paling sky (and the
hope of our dinner) had the power to rouse our despondent and drooping
spirits again.




      Gray twilight pour'd
    On dewy pastures, dewy trees,
  Softer than sleep--all things in order stored,
    A haunt of ancient Peace.


My collaborator and I drove to Villa Vicentina on Friday, June 7th.
We took a lady who is possessed with the photographic mania with us,
thinking she might be useful, and the Other Boy to carry her camera,
etc. There was no rising at unearthly hours in the morning this time--we
started at a respectable hour in the afternoon. The early part of our
drive was along the same road by which we went to Aquileia--the long
white road bordered with poplars leading through the marshes. After
passing through Monfalcone and crossing the bridge over the Isonzo,
however, we turned to the right. Hedges of acacia shadowed the road; the
flowers are over, here, by June, but the leaves have still their first
freshness, the beautiful tender green that the sun seems to love to
illumine and brighten into golden yellow. We crossed a little river,
a placid stream fringed with graceful willows and bordered with blue
forget-me-nots, flowing through the level meadows and sweet-smelling
vineyards, and at last came to the gate of Villa Vicentina. The house
stands some distance from the road in a large park that, with its huge
trees and rich grass, reminds one of dear old England. The trees are
really magnificent, mostly white poplars ("the light quivering aspen"),
venerable oaks, and towering sombre pines. We got out of our carriage,
and walked part of the way to the house

  Mid mystic trees, where light falls in
    Hardly at all.

I like big trees, particularly on a hot day; it is so cool and pleasant
under their green shade, where no sunlight comes but in little chequered
patches here and there, when outside everything is bathed in the
scorching rays, and you see the air tremulous with heat.


The Villa Vicentina formerly belonged to Princess Baciocchi, the sister
of Napoleon I. Her daughter left it to the late Prince Imperial, and
after his death it became the property of the Empress Eugénie. She never
comes here--it is left in charge of an old caretaker and his wife, who,
with another lady, possibly their daughter, and a female servant,
appear to form the establishment. There is nothing particular about the
house--it is an ordinary country villa. All the finer things have been
taken away too, but there are still some bits of interesting furniture.

[Illustration: VILLA VICENTINA]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a strange feeling, not without a tinge of sadness, that stole
over one whilst going up and down the deserted staircases and peeping
into the empty rooms. Here and there a marble bust with the classic
profile of the Buonapartes, an engraving, a faded water-colour, on the
scanty remnants of furniture the Imperial eagle, some old firearms, the
slender hand of beautiful Pauline Borghese cast in marble, a few bits
of rare china, and everywhere the peculiar smell of damp and age that
pervades long-unused houses. Where are the eagles now that once spread
their wings over all Europe? Where are the famous beauties? Where are
the glorious dreams?

  But where are the snows of yester-year?

       *       *       *       *       *

To be truthful, this last bit is not mine. My collaborator has just been
worrying the life out of me to make me grow enthusiastic about Napoleon,
but it is useless--quite useless. I am _not_ enthusiastic about him, nor
about his eagles, nor about his dreams. In fact, I cannot bear him, and
he and Wagner make my life a burden. I do not admire them--I wish they
had never existed. When those two unhappy beings are mentioned I know
people will "jump on" me and abuse me. I bear it all as a martyr, but I
absolutely cannot write with enthusiastic admiration about "old Nap" or
stay in the room when there is Wagner music going on. So my collaborator
has found it necessary to add these lines to my sketch. I do not call
this fair, for when _I_ write something _she_ does not like, I have no
rest till it is cut out. I know that some time or other Wagner will be
brought in somehow, and I protest against it even now. It is a comfort
that "our host" is of my opinion about Wagner. He says that he has
lost all respect for him since he once went to see some Zulus that were
exhibited somewhere, and found that those simple and unsophisticated
savages with their war-music could make ever so much more noise than a
whole orchestra playing Wagner. He says, too, that, after all, he only
once went to a Wagner opera, and discovered that the unhappy tenor or
baritone was obliged to make a whole shoe on the stage. No humbug, you
know. He had to begin from the beginning and to make that whole shoe
(a real serviceable article--no pretence about it) to perfection and to
sing all the time till he had finished it. Our host could not stand it.
He left the house to give the poor man a chance, and when he came back
after two hours, there was the unhappy fellow still hammering away at
his shoe, singing quite feebly, for he had no breath left in him. This
time he went away for good, and never went to a Wagner opera again.

There! that has done me good.

       *       *       *       *       *

The gardens are beautiful--nice old-fashioned gardens where one could
wander about all day with pleasure. There is a pretty conservatory with
some wonderful climbing geraniums. What delighted us most was a little
walk about a hundred yards long, and quite straight, with a trellis-work
covered with creepers--a perfect tunnel. At the farther end is an old
stone table and seat, where we intended to have tea. It was a charming
spot, but unfortunately we were almost devoured by mosquitoes--they
seem to be particularly ferocious and bloodthirsty there. The
lady-photographer took some photographs, but I am sorry to say _she_ is
an utter fraud. Generally there is nothing at all on the plate, and
if there is, you are quite at a loss to know whether the photograph
represents a landscape, a dog, or a flash of lightning.

We had brought a huge basket, like a Noah's ark, with us, which
contained the "tea-things." My collaborator told me during the drive
that they (the tea-things) had originally been packed in a much larger
basket, but that she (with characteristic thoughtfulness) had taken them
all out and repacked them again in this "small" one. Personally I had
looked forward to tea all afternoon. It was very hot, and I was thirsty,
so it was with feelings of joyous expectancy that I began unpacking the
following articles:--

1. Two forks.

2. Some butter (in a liquid state) wrapped up in white paper.

3. The poems of Rossetti (neatly bound).

4. Three drawing pencils.

5. Two cups (without saucers).

6. A telescope.

7. Three tablets of Pears' soap (unscented).

8. A little bottle containing something--we didn't dare to open it. I
fancy it was poison, and had some connection with photography.

9. A bottle of milk (sour).

10. Two enormous bottles of spirit of wine (to boil the kettle).

11. No kettle!

12. No tea!!

Happily the "Photographic Lady" (who considers tea a diabolical
beverage) had some cake and some cherries mixed up with her apparatus,
so, after all, our "tea" was rather a success--our tea on the old stone
bench of Villa Vicentina, where the mosquitoes flourish!

There is a tree in the garden that was brought from the Emperor's grave
in St. Helena. This is the end of the chapter. I finish it up quickly,
or my collaborator will have a fit of enthusiasm again.




  Blossoms of grape-vines scent the sunny air.


The usual quartette went to Sagrado and Gradisca--two little
Italian-like towns--on Saturday, 15th June.

There is one great drawback about Duino--there are only two roads. One
goes to Trieste and the other doesn't. It is rather monotonous always
driving along the same road. Familiarity breeds contempt, and even
poplar-trees and marshes pall on one in time. However, "what can't be
cured must be endured," and if you do not want to go to Trieste you must
go the other way, even if it has grown almost too familiar. We branched
off on a new road after passing through Monfalcone, and soon came to
Sagrado. It is quite a little place, more of a village than a town, but
there is an old villa standing in a large park, which was the attraction
here. Two magnificent cypresses stand at the entrance-gate, one on each
side, and the park is beautiful, full of fine trees, especially oaks
overgrown with ivy. It forms a great contrast to the surrounding
country, which towards Duino is barren and stony in the extreme. One has
a magnificent view from the villa. It stands on a hill, and the valley
of the Isonzo stretches below it. Far on the left one catches a glimpse
of the sea. Before one, far as the eye can reach, is the plain, covered
with vineyards, like waves of a billowy sea of emerald green, with tiny
villages nestling here and there (the "Photographic Lady" says you can
count two thousand of them, but I am afraid some untruthful person has
imposed on her credulity), and the blue river winding through it, like
some giant snake; and on the right, rising higher and higher as they
fade away into the shadowy distance, are the snow-capped Alps.

The house is an old villa of the Italian style, with stuccoed walls, and
on the floor the pretty Italian "terrazzi." In the hall, just when you
enter, one is struck by four quaint old pictures of four men almost
life-size; they are dressed in the peasant's costume of the country, of
last century, and each holds a little money-bag in his hand. It seems
that these worthy people were four farmers, who, when a former owner of
the property (one of the Della Torre) was in financial difficulties and
on the verge of ruin, came forward and paid off his debts. In gratitude
to them he had their portraits painted and put in his entrance-hall.
What a pity it is that people don't do this sort of thing nowadays! If
any one feels inclined to follow the example of the four farmers and pay
off _my_ debts, I will faithfully promise to have his photograph
taken and placed on my writing-table. I am only sorry I cannot rise to
oil-paintings and entrance-halls.

From the pretty marble staircase you enter a charming drawing-room
in the Italian Louis XVI. style. The walls are green marmorino, with
ornaments of white stucco, and big mirrors let into them. There is
a very large dining-hall of great height, with its walls and ceiling
painted in fresco. No one lives in the villa at present.

The gardens must have been very pretty--all terraces and
staircases--when they were kept in the style of the time. They are
rather neglected now, and seem to be only inhabited by a perfect army
of nightingales. A queer little red house is at the farther end of
the garden, with a crypt under it and an imitation tomb. The walls are
covered with mottoes--Greek, Latin, French, etc., and there is one in
English: "Happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy of pomp and
noise." The individual who built the house must have been very much
struck by this last motto, for it seems that he used to live in this
little dismal-looking place all alone, in the one room over the crypt,
leaving his smiling villa untenanted at the top of the hill.

We had tea in the park. It is a great mistake to wander about to find
a suitable spot for tea--you are sure to pick out the worst possible
place. It is much better to stop under the first shady tree one comes
to, and to sit down there. On this occasion the ladies chose the
situation, and when tea was about half over we found we were sitting on
an ant-heap. It was hardly worth moving then, though, so we stayed where
we were, and pretended to be very much interested in the movements of
the ants. I made the tea. I have a way of my own for making it, which
is, I believe, sometimes practised by homeless wanderers in foreign
countries--it is very superior to civilised methods. I am not selfish,
and I have not taken out a patent for it, so I have no objection to
presenting my method to the world, free, gratis, and for nothing. This
is my recipe. Boil the water in the kettle, and when fiercely boiling
put in your tea (one teaspoonful for each person and one for the kettle)
and stir up the mixture. Let it go on boiling for a few seconds, and
then pour out and drink. You will find you have excellent tea in this
way. _N.B._--It is as well to have a strainer with you to get rid of the

My collaborator had often stayed at the villa as a child, and had hosts
of acquaintances. I was interested to know who the various ladies and
gentlemen who kept addressing her were, but her explanations were so
confusing that I soon gave up inquiring. I remember that one lady was
"the sister-in-law of a gardener, who was the step-brother of a cousin
of the late wife of the man with the wig, who was the old butler." I
cannot grasp such involved relationships--they are too much for _my_
intellect. I made the acquaintance of the "man with the wig" afterwards.
We called to ask him to order supper to be ready for us at the little
inn when we came back from Gradisca. Then we drove on to Gradisca.
You cross the Isonzo to get there, and there is a lovely view from
the bridge, of the blue river and the distant Alps. Gradisca is a nice
little old-fashioned town. The inhabitants are evidently not accustomed
to visitors, and we caused an immense sensation. The "Photographic Lady"
took several photographs, and she was always the centre of an admiring
crowd. They were rather disappointed, I fancy, not to see any results
then and there. They caused the lady great annoyance by going and
standing before the camera to get a better view of the performance--in
fact, she got quite angry, and abused them in all the four languages of
the country.

[Illustration: PALAZZO FINETTI]

[Illustration: HOUSE AT GRADISCA]

There is a fine old palace in Gradisca that once belonged to the Della
Torre. The whole of this part of the country seems to have belonged to
them, and everywhere--in churches, on old houses, over doors--you see
the tower with crossed lilies that was their coat of arms. In this
particular house I was struck by a charming courtyard with graceful
"loggia" and a flight of steps from both sides to the ground.


We went to see two churches. The first contained nothing interesting,
but the second is worth seeing. There is a tomb there erected to the
memory of Nicolao Della Torre in a private burial-chapel. The monument
is very large, with a recumbent figure of the gentleman lying in full
armour. He must have been of unusual size, with a fine regular face and
a long flowing beard, and is very much like the portraits of Martin
the Giant. He, too, fought against the infidels, being General of the
Imperial troops that protected the Hungarian frontier against the Turks.
He was badly wounded in one of the battles, but his end was not so
tragic as that of his ancestor, and he now lies peacefully in the
little church of Gradisca, enjoying at last the strange old motto of his

The stuccoed ceiling of the chapel, which seems to be particularly fine,
was pointed out to me, but somehow I had had too much of churches and
monuments for one day, so I was not so appreciative as I suppose I ought
to have been. In any case, I was again the victim of sundry abuse.

After all this sight-seeing it was a pleasure to wander quietly and
aimlessly through the quaint little streets, meeting only an occasional
donkey or dirty baby, who stared very much, whilst at the windows one
would sometimes catch a glimpse of a pair of big black eyes following
one curiously from behind a row of red carnations. We admired the
old walls of the town, which was strongly fortified in ancient
times--enormous black walls with battlements, and beneath them a sort
of green lawn shadowed by numerous chestnut-trees, the fashionable
promenade of the high life of Gradisca.

We drove back to Sagrado and had supper in the little inn. The "man with
the wig" waited on us with a beaming face. I did not feel at all happy,
for we had the most horrid wine it has ever been my lot to drink. It
is the wine of the country, and said to be the pure juice of the grape
(everything nasty seems to be "the pure juice of the grape"). One drinks
it diluted with water, and it has a most extraordinary bitter taste. The
ladies assured me that I should soon grow accustomed to it, and then I
should never like any other wine as well. I had my own opinion on the
subject, but I had to smile and look pleasant.

We drove home in the evening. I had foretold a thunderstorm all the
afternoon, but had been laughed to scorn by everybody. My prophecies
were correct, however, for we had hardly left Sagrado when the storm
began. I never saw more vivid lightning--the whole sky was lighted up by
it, and it was almost incessant. The weird effect was increased, too, by
the fireflies--there must have been millions of them flitting hither and
thither, like the lost souls of the departed. We had a great argument
as to whether we should remain at Monfalcone till the storm had passed
over. The ladies were in favour of waiting, the coachman and I were
for going on, and the boy was neutral, being fast asleep. Our eloquence
prevailed--we hurried on. It was a desperate race, but we had the
satisfaction of beating the worst of the storm by some ten seconds.

After all, I did not think much of Sagrado and Gradisca, and I can only
say I hope people will be as bored in reading this chapter as I have
been in writing it.




  All houses wherein men have lived and died
    Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
  The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
    With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

  We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
    Along the passages they come and go,
  Impalpable impressions on the air,
    A sense of something moving to and fro.

  There are more guests at table than the hosts
    Invited; the illuminated hall
  Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
    As silent as the pictures on the wall.


Ghosts! There is a charm in the very word. Tales of gruesome
apparitions told over a blazing fire at Christmas-time come back to
one--tales told long years ago, when, after hearing them, one was almost
afraid to go to bed; when one started at every shadow on the stairs and
imagined it was some dark denizen of the spirit world come to carry us
off; when, being fairly in bed and the light out, we drew the sheets
over our heads to shut out the phantoms that appeared in the darkness.

From my earliest childhood I was always a firm believer in ghosts--the
good old-fashioned ghost, I mean,--the unhappy lady or gentleman who
appears at twelve o'clock at night with wailings and groans, and rattles
chains and carries his or her head under his or her arm. That is the
sort of ghost _I_ like.

I have a contempt for the feeble ghost of to-day--the spirit that raps
on tables and moves chairs, that writes letters backwards that no one
can read, and never shows itself or behaves in a rational manner. The
modern ghost is very degenerate.

[Illustration: THE WHITE LADY]

My collaborator is a member of the Society for Psychical Research, so I
must be careful what I say, or I shall be abused again. We had a grand
_séance_ on the evening of 16th June. It was held in the "Emperor's
Room"--so called because the Emperor Leopold I. is said to have slept
there. His portrait is painted on the ceiling, which, by the way, is
of wonderful Venetian stucco, with cupids and garlands of fruits and
flowers all over it. It is a haunted room. It is not the Emperor that
appears here, however, but a much more interesting sort of person--the
White Lady. She had a cruel husband who threw her down the cliff under
the ruin. Her body may still be seen, as she was turned into stone, a
gigantic woman wrapped in a long white garment--everlastingly climbing
up the cliff, but never getting any higher. Her spirit returns to the
castle and searches for her lost children. On nights when the moon
is full one can hear the rustling of her robes, as she wanders
disconsolately about in the "Emperor's Room."

[Illustration: THE WHITE LADY]

We carried out our _séance_ on the most approved methods. Eight of
us--my collaborator, the Energetic Lady, the Photographic Lady, Miss
Umslopogaas, the two learned men, the Seal, and myself--sat round a
little oval table with both our hands on it, and clasped each other's
little fingers. The learned Dark Man calculated that there were eighty
fingers on that table. "Better eighty fingers on one table than eighty
tables on one finger" remarked our host. He was rather a nuisance (our
host, I mean), as he insisted on walking about the room and smoking
cigarettes. He also kept turning up the lamp (ghosts dislike much
light, and it is necessary to respect their feelings) to see how we were
getting on.


There was also a dog in the room. This dog rejoices in the name of
"Tin-ho"--he is a Chinese animal. I believe he is the last of his race,
or something of that sort, and is the most cherished possession of the
Energetic Lady. He is one of the banes of my life--he, Napoleon I., and
Wagner. I like animals--in fact, I love them--especially cats and
dogs. But _this_ dog is too much for me. I have made the most friendly
overtures to him. I have called him by the most endearing terms. I have
even learned some Italian (he only understands that language) especially
for his benefit, and have said _poverissima bellissima_ to him with a
pathos that would have moved a stone statue to tears. But it is of no
use. He is as unfriendly as ever, and treats me with contempt. Now I
kick him, whenever the Energetic Lady is not anywhere near him, which is
not very often, by the way.

I have not explained yet who Miss Umslopogaas is. She is a lady who is
staying here, and her proper name is difficult to pronounce--at least,
I cannot conquer it. I began by calling her Miss Asparagus, but that
sounds too much like a vegetable, and is familiar besides. Umslopogaas
is quite as much like what I can imagine her real name to be, and has
the advantage of sounding more foreign.

Well, we sat round that table for an hour and a half. My collaborator
was delighted at the beginning--she was sure the Seal was a perfect
medium, as he trembled all over and felt cold. (I have my own private
opinion about it.) The table, too, moved occasionally (no wonder, when
the Seal was shaking like an aspen leaf), so she was convinced something
was about to happen.

At last something did happen!

An unearthly shriek rang through the haunted chamber. There was a sound
of scuffling and struggling, a smothered exclamation.

The Photographic Lady leaped a foot from her chair and showed a tendency
to go into hysterics. The Seal's teeth chattered with fright.

But, after all, it was only our host who had trodden on the dog.

We sat on. The Photographic Lady flirted with the learned Fair Man, and
Miss Umslopogaas pinched the little finger of the learned Dark Man; but
no ghost appeared. I think there were too many of us, or we were not
serious enough, or the vagaries of our host and the dog were too much
for the spirits. But, in any case, our _séance_ was a failure, and we
had no manifestations at all.

We gave it up then, and took to telling ghost-stories. The Photographic
Lady related an experience of her own. Some three or four years ago she
went into the great banqueting hall in the evening, and there saw the
figure of a man. He was of immense height, elderly, and with a long
flowing beard, and his face was vividly impressed on her memory. He
advanced towards her, and then suddenly disappeared. According to her
own account she was not at all frightened. At the time she did not know
who it was, but on visiting the church at Gradisca some time later, she
recognised the ghost at once as the Della Torre who is carved in stone
on the tomb there, an ancestor of her own.

The Energetic Lady had had a strange experience in the same room. She
was there alone, and a _chair_ began to move about of its own accord.
It moved forwards--it moved backwards--it moved sideways, and then in
a slow and stately manner it waltzed round and round. With her usual
energy, she chased it, caught it, _sat down_ on it, but it continued
its antics, she still sitting on it. She said it was an uncomfortable
sensation and confessed to feelings of alarm--in fact, she left the
apartment in haste.

At this point the Seal said he should retire, as he did not like to talk
of such things. Miss Umslopogaas also took her departure--she did not
consider ghosts quite proper. She thought they should not appear in
people's bedrooms uninvited. Some of them were so insufficiently clothed

The two learned men disputed on ghosts generally. They had different
theories on the matter.

My collaborator listened with a look of supreme contempt. She does not
care to relate _her_ experiences to the common herd. I was so crushed by
her superior manner that I was too modest to tell any story. I never saw
a ghost myself, but an intimate friend of mine has had that pleasure.

Our host was not bashful, however. This is what _he_ said: "I like
ghosts, because they never come. If there are ten persons in a room,
eight are fools, one is a rascal, the tenth might be all right ... but
_he_ is generally dead. I have no objection to _his_ coming. Still, as
'Happiness is of a retired nature,' I think him very considerate never
to do so."

I did not see any point in this, but every one else seemed to find it
very amusing.

Suddenly the great clock in the tower began striking--slowly--twelve!

Then we all went to bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are all haunted by ghosts--ghosts of old friends, old scenes. We sit
alone, and the past rises up before us. They are all with us again--the
friends of our childhood, of our school-days, of our "Varsity" life.
Once more we feel the warm clasp of their hands, once more we hear the
merry voices and look into the kindly faces we knew long years ago.

Picture follows picture.

We see the old garden where we played as children, our brothers and
sisters, our child-friends, the old house, the flowers, the green lawn.
It is all so familiar, and yet it was all so long ago.

The scene changes: a long, low room, desks hacked with pocket-knives and
stained with ink, a hot, drowsy afternoon, a hum of voices, the master's
desk, the master himself in cap and gown, a crowd of boys.

The scene changes again. Stately buildings appear before us, old courts
and cloisters, the gleam of the river. Old familiar sounds ring in
our ears: the thud of the oars in the rowlocks, the click of the
cricket-bat, the tramp of feet on the football field.

Fair faces pass before us too. We hear the rustle of their dresses,
their girlish laughter, their soft voices, we see the bright eyes that
look into ours, the rosy lips that murmured words we shall never forget.

  There are things of which I may not speak;
    There are dreams that cannot die!
  There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,
  And bring a pallor into the cheek,
    And a mist before the eye.
      And a verse of a sweet old song
      Is haunting my memory still:
    A boy's will is the wind's will,
  And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.

Where are they all--those friends of other days?

Gone--some dead--all scattered; we have lost sight of most of them. Some
are sleeping on distant battlefields or beneath the waves of the hungry
sea, some are preaching their message of peace in busy town or quiet
village, some fighting with disease and death in the crowded hospitals
of great cities, some working their way upwards through dusty law-courts
or in foreign lands. But here--in Shadow-Land--they one and all come
back to us.




    Happy star reign now!
  Here comes Bohemia.

  (_The Winter's Tale_).

This chapter is remarkable, since it introduces a new and interesting
character to the public, to wit the "Gentle Lunatic," who rushed down
upon us from the wild and boundless forests of Bohemia.

We journeyed to Capodistria on Saturday, 22nd June, the "Gentle One"
filling the place of the "Other Boy" in the usual quartette.

We left Duino at 8 o'clock in the morning (another early start), and
drove to Nabresina; from thence we went to Trieste by train. Our train
was half an hour late, for which we abused the "Photographic Lady," as
she had made all the arrangements for the journey.

It is marvellous how our arrangements always go wrong! We have tried all
the ladies in turn as superintendent-in-chief: the "Energetic One,"
who did not want any railway guide or any advice, but knew everything
generally; the "Photographic Lady," who smothered herself and
everybody else with books, time-tables, etc., asked every one's opinion
collectively and singly, and made an elaborate plan beforehand; my
collaborator, who did not care a rap how things went, supposed they
would be sure to come right somehow, and when they did _not_, said it
was destiny; but none of them answered. We were always in a hopeless
muddle, either starting too soon, or too late, or not at all.

We were very much annoyed by the dilatory conduct of our train, even
when it arrived at Nabresina. It is extraordinary the length of time
it takes to start a continental train! A bell rings violently and then
tolls _one_. This is to inform the passengers that the train is in the
station. A long interval follows. The bell rings more violently than
before and then tolls _two_. This shows that in the course of time the
train will proceed. There is no hurry, however. You have plenty of time
still to make a substantial meal and pay calls on any friends you may
have in the neighbourhood of the station. The bell rings a third time
and tolls _three_. The conductor suggests the advisability of taking
your seat, the engine-driver and stoker go for their last drink, and the
stationmaster begins to play with a little horn he wears suspended round
his neck. The conductors--there are generally two or three of them on
each train--having ascertained that none of the passengers have any
particular wish to remain any longer, step out upon the platform, shout
_ready_, and blow whistles. The stationmaster, with an air of immense
importance, sounds his toy trumpet, the engine utters a scream of
defiance to the world generally, and after a decent interval, to avoid
the semblance of haste, the train crawls out of the station. It is an
imposing ceremony, but as it is repeated at every small station on the
line, it grows somewhat monotonous and makes railway-travelling rather
a formidable and lengthy business. At last, however, our train, having
rested sufficiently, proceeded slowly on its journey, and we arrived in
the course of time at Trieste.

We drove to the Hotel Delorme, and ordered lunch to be ready in an hour.
The "Gentle Lunatic" announced his intention of going to find some tame
turtles. He said he meant to buy a dozen, and we could take them home in
our pockets. He could dispose of six, and we three should have two each.
We argued and remonstrated, but it was of no use--he went.

Meanwhile the two ladies and I set out to see the Church of St. Just, a
very fine church--in fact, one of the oldest Christian basilicae. It is
a great pity that the beautiful old columns are covered with red damask.
They look like a forest of pillars, and divide the church into five
aisles. Two of the many altars are bright with very ancient Byzantine
gold-grounded mosaics.

The "Photographic Lady" took a photograph of the interior and carried
on a flirtation with a young verger, to whom she promised a photograph,
whether of herself or the church we were unable to discover. We were
then joined by the "Gentle One," who was quite heart-broken, as he had
not been able to find his turtles.

Trieste is a nice town. It is a pity it is not a pleasure resort instead
of a mercantile place, as it is beautifully situated on green hills
sloping quite gently down to the sea; the surroundings are pretty, and
brightened with villas and flower-covered cottages.

We went on to Capodistria by steamer. There was a very motley crowd of
passengers on board--peasants returning from market, business people
bound for an afternoon's pleasure-seeking, persons of all sorts
and conditions. The "Photographic Lady" was delighted that, in one
particular at least, her researches with regard to our arrangements were
correct--namely, that the steamer had left Trieste at one o'clock. To
prove her accuracy, she asked the "G. L." soon after starting to tell
her the time. But his answer was somewhat vague, and his method of
ascertaining the time appeared to us peculiar. He took out his watch,
looked at it for a long time, gazed fixedly at the sun, shut his eyes,
seemed by the contortion of his features to be going through some
abstruse calculation, and then said it was between one and two o'clock.
This nettled the lady, and she replied rather warmly that she wanted
to know the _exact time_. With a mournful smile he took out his watch
again, went through the previous programme, and gave the same answer.
At this we all insisted on seeing his watch for ourselves, and then the
mystery was explained. It had no glass! it had no hands! We suggested
that such a watch must be rather inconvenient, but he assured us it was
the best watch he had ever had in his life; for more than ten years
it had been in this state, during which time it had gone absolutely
perfectly, and had never needed the slightest attention beyond winding

It took us three-quarters of an hour to reach Capodistria. It looks
very quaint and old-fashioned this little out-of-the-way town, with
its red-roofed houses, blue sky above, and blue sea all around, and the
great gaunt prison lighted up by the golden rays of the sun, and forming
a bright patch of yellow in the landscape. My collaborator says the
prison spoils the appearance of the town, but I maintain that it forms a
pleasing contrast to the old gray walls of the houses.

Capodistria was formerly Byzantine, but in 1278 it became Venetian.
Under the Republic of Venice it was a very flourishing place, and is
said to have been the richest town in Istria. There were many wealthy
patrician families, renowned for their luxurious living, inhabiting it.
With the fall of the Venetian Republic, Capodistria declined, and it is
now a small unimportant town. It was formerly known by the name of "the
Gentlewoman of Istria."

On arriving, we found that we had made a mistake of two hours in the
time of the return steamer, a discovery that threw all our plans out
of gear, but we comforted ourselves with the reflection that it gave
us more time to see the place. We engaged a chariot and drove off to
inspect the town. It was a remarkable conveyance. The "G. L." selected
it, and it appeared as if he had chosen the dirtiest he could find. It
was small too. We could only just squeeze in, and were very much cramped
for room; but any trifling defects in the carriage were amply made up
for by the horse. This was indeed a noble animal, and high spirited in
the extreme; the driver too was perfectly reckless, so we dashed off at
the rate of some sixty miles an hour, the chariot pitching and tossing
like a small boat in an angry sea.

The "piazza" is quite the sight of Capodistria, and is very picturesque.
A church stands on one side of it, and before one is an old Town Hall,
turreted on both sides, with graceful Venetian windows, innumerable
inscriptions, coats-of-arms, and other carvings, and the whole crowned
by the Venetian lion. A pretty outer staircase with little marble
columns runs along part of the front of the building, and under it there
is a deep and sombre archway, through which one sees a narrow street,
with great, high, irregularly built houses almost meeting above it.

[Illustration: THE TOWN HALL]

I believe we went to see three churches in this little town, but I have
seen such a superabundance of churches lately, that I cannot remember
the characteristic features of any of the three. I know that in one
there was a quantity of fine old silver, and that we were shown round
another by a most obsequious monk, clad in russet brown, who explained
its beauties to us in a confidential manner. I remember, too, that we
saw some pictures. In one church (the "G. L." says it was in the big
one on the piazza) there was a very fine one of Benedetto Carpaccio--the
Madonna in the company of some saints, and with two little angels
playing the banjo (it may be a guitar) at her feet. In the church
where we interviewed the monk there was a big altar-piece of Cima da
Conegliano, very much spoilt by having been restored, and a most curious
picture of Vittore Carpaccio, with a garland of angels' heads (hundreds
of them), some painted in natural colours and some bright _red_.
(Red-headed angels--this is art!)

By the way, I was told that in Venice there is a very old picture
attributed to the same Carpaccio, and said to represent the Lords of
Duino taking tribute from the town of Zara; the Lords of Duino, in
quaint armour, with their ladies and soldiers, on the one side of
the picture; on the other, the representatives of the vanquished town
bringing gold, etc., and in the background a turreted castle--Duino, and
a town near it--Trieste. As Carpaccio was a native of Capodistria, it is
very probable that he painted this triumph of some of the most powerful
barons of his country.

After this came more sight-seeing. We visited a funny old
drinking-fountain known as the "Bridge" (why, I know not), and watched
the women drawing water.

It is a sleepy and dull little town, with small streets and dark
forbidding-looking houses. There are hardly any shops, but in one
quaint sort of jeweller's stall the fashionable ornaments of Istria were
pointed out to me. These are ear-rings--little crowned negroes' heads in
black and white enamel, and the height of fashion among the fishermen is
to wear both in one ear.

One sees very few people in the streets. Here and there a dark-eyed
girl strolling along with the peculiar shuffling gait caused by the
"zoccoli"--the wooden slippers of the Venetian women.

[Illustration: DOOR-KNOCKER]

Everywhere are relics of Venice--the carved cisterns on the piazzas, the
winged lions on the houses, where you find inscriptions bearing some
of the most illustrious names of the Republic, but everywhere, too,
silence, abandonment, and decay. There are some fine old palaces,
but the windows are shut, and they seem deserted. On one we admired a
wonderful old bronze knocker of most refined workmanship, and as the
house with its arched windows and marble balconies looked particularly
nice, we explored the interior. There, too, we found the large Venetian
entrance-hall and an imposing-looking staircase, but no soul appeared.

Then we repaired to a _café_ on the piazza. It was formerly an open
"loggia," but between the stately marble columns some mean commercial
soul has put glass windows, and the interior is dishonoured by the usual
little marble tables and black leather seats. The ladies ordered coffee
and sponge-cakes, I drank beer, and the "Gentle Lunatic" asked for a cup
of hot water--his favourite drink.


One of the "G. L.'s" passions is his liking for low acquaintances.
Hardly had we finished our repast and gone out, before he formed a
new friendship of this kind. An old beggar with a long gray beard
approached, and the two immediately fraternised. They sat down on a
stone bench together, and discussed politics and literature. In the
meantime another beggar came up, whom the first beggar introduced as
"the greatest poet of Capodistria." The poet was proud, however, and
evidently averse to becoming intimate with strangers; at any rate, after
having received with lofty condescension the "tip" diffidently offered
to him by the "G. L.," he went majestically off. It was with the
greatest difficulty that we finally separated the two friends, who
parted with mutual expressions of everlasting esteem.

We then once more mounted our chariot, and betook ourselves to the

So good-bye to "the Gentlewoman of Istria," lying placidly asleep by the
blue waters of the Adriatic. Though changed and abandoned, you can still
distinguish some of the charms that won for her that poetic name. May
she dream of the glorious time long ago--the glorious time of her youth,
when she was growing and blooming in the shade of the mighty wings that
Saint Mark's lion was once spreading over land and sea!




  In the greenest of our valleys.

  E. A. Poe.

On Monday, 24th June, we went to Goritz--my collaborator, the "Gentle
Lunatic," and I. Our party had already broken up--the "Energetic Lady"
and the "Seal," Miss Umslopogaas, the two learned men, the Thin Boy,
the Other Boy, even "our host"--all had gone. And now we left too. My
collaborator was going on to Venice from Goritz, and the G. L. and I,
after picking up the Fat Boy at Nabresina, were going to Vienna by the
night train.

We drove to Monfalcone, and then went on by rail.

Goritz is charmingly situated in the smiling valley of the Isonzo.
I have spoken of the beauty of this valley before, but never does it
strike one so pleasantly as when one approaches Goritz. It is a forest
of vineyards surrounded by tier upon tier of majestic mountains, that
rise higher and higher, until they are lost to sight among the clouds,
and in the centre of the mass of greenery, on the banks of the blue
river, nestles the little town.

Not much is known of the early history of Goritz. From the twelfth
century, however, it seems to have played an important part in the
history of the country, and the Counts of Goritz stand out prominently
as a powerful and warlike family, second in importance only to the
Patriarchs of Aquileia. They were celebrated for their munificence and
for the splendour of the tournaments promoted by them. By the way,
an old chronicle says that in 1224 a great tournament, arranged by
Mainardo II., Count of Goritz, was held at Trieste. To this came Ulrich
of Lichtenstein, the German Minnesänger, who always went about dressed
as Venus. Unfortunately the details of his dress are wanting.

After the extinction of the family, Goritz came into the possession of
the Emperors. The Venetians attempted to conquer it, and indeed appear
to have held it for a short time. The town seems to have kept up
its reputation of gaiety, as later chronicles speak of the lavish
hospitality of the nobility residing there.

It is now quite a lively little place, with broad streets and good
shops, and its outskirts are one charming garden full of pretty villas.
There is not much to be seen in the way of antiquities--an old castle,
by no means beautiful, perched on a hill, and some churches.

It was a very hot day. It is all very well to talk poetically of the
sunny South, but for my part I wish it was not so confoundedly warm. We
were taken to an antiquary's shop by my collaborator, and spent most
of the morning there--she in looking over the things in a business-like
manner, the G. L. in wandering aimlessly around, and I in sitting on the
back stairs. (I found it the coolest place.)

We lunched with Count and Countess C., and, to speak truly, my
pleasantest recollections of Goritz are associated with that lunch. I
must say I had spent rather a miserable sort of morning, what with the
heat and the antiquary's shop, but these troubles were soon forgotten on
our arriving at their house.

It is an old-fashioned, rambling house, with low, dim rooms, furnished
with a charming disregard to all pretence at style--old carved furniture
side by side with little modern round tables, and valuable paintings of
the last century hanging by oleographs of to-day. Every room, too, is
a menagerie--dogs, cats, monkeys, snakes, birds of all sorts, are
everywhere. I like a house of this kind--there is an entire absence
of that bugbear _Art_ (art with a big capital "A," you know), and most
charming of all are its inhabitants. They are brother and sister,
and both on the verge of eighty, the Countess the personification of
goodness and the Lady Bountiful of the town, and the Count a curious
mixture of the beau of the beginning of the century, poet, artist,
and philosopher rolled into one. In spite of their age they both look
marvellously young, and are more gay and active than the majority of
young people I know.

We ate our lunch--which was excellent, by the way--in a little cool room
that opens into the garden. The latter is as quaint as the house--roses
and red currants grow together in luxuriant profusion. There is a
delightful little arbour overgrown with white jasmine, and an old flight
of steps that leads up to what was probably once a fortification, but
is now a fine bed of cabbages with a border of hollyhocks, and the whole
overshadowed by an enormous cherry-tree. Just outside the garden rises
a big modern building, and from this, every now and then, a chorus of
sweet girlish voices floated forth upon the still summer air. They were
factory girls spinning silk, I was told, and singing over their work.

[Illustration: A CAST]

After lunch we adjourned to the Count's study--the most remarkable
room in the house perhaps. It is lower than the street, very large and
vaulted, full of old furniture and curiosities of every kind; here and
there casts of famous sculptures, very white against the dark walls; on
the many tables a litter of books and papers, except on one, where we
were told to admire a collection of paper-knives.

It is an extraordinary thing that passion for collections. I knew a man
once who collected _pipes_. He had one hundred and sixty-three when I
saw him last, and he had stolen them all. I have no sympathy with this
sort of thing, and quite disapproved of his actions--in fact, I withdrew
from his acquaintance. I have too much affection for my own pipes
to know such people. The "Gentle One" told me that a friend of his
collected _old hats_. He labelled each hat with the name of its former
owner, and studied his character from his head-covering. He knew a
family too who collected buttons. They were accustomed to secretly steal
them from their visitors' overcoats, with a view to scientifical and
psychological research--of course!

Now I collect money. Do not think me a miser. I do not hoard it up--I
spend it. I shall be delighted to receive help with my collection. I
have no false pride--any contribution, however small, will be thankfully
received, and acknowledged by return of post.

In the afternoon the "Gentle Lunatic" and I drove round to inspect the
place. We made a sort of grand tour of the town, and then went out to a
little village from which there is a view. It is a lovely view, too. You
stand on a hill and look down into a valley, or rather glen; far below
one flows the Isonzo, bluer than any sea or any sky, winding along, with
a little cascade here and there, between banks thickly covered with oak
woods, whilst above everything tower the mountains. Another interesting
place near Goritz is the church and convent of Castagnavizza, not on
account of the buildings, which are nothing remarkable, but because the
last princes of the French Royal Family are buried there. They all lie
in a little chapel (a Della Torre burial-ground, by the way), in simple
coffins--Charles X. and his sons, the unfortunate Duchess of Angoulême,
and, last of all, the Count and Countess of Chambord. It is a very
gloomy vault, and one cannot help thinking of all the splendour and
glory of Versailles, of all the memories of that long lineage of kings,
and contrasting them with this their last resting-place, so humble and
forsaken in a strange land--the royal lilies withered in a foreign soil.

After this visit one is glad to get out into the sunshine again and to
ramble through the streets of the gay little town.

There are four languages generally spoken in Goritz--Italian, Slav,
Friulan, and German. Friulan is an extraordinary language, a sort of
Italian dialect, only spoken in the Friul, as the neighbourhood of
Goritz is called. German is, of course, the State language, but Italian
is universally spoken all over the Littoral. The lower classes do
not understand a word of German, and I have found that hardly any one
understands _my_ German. I had a forcible illustration of this not
long ago. I was lunching with the Gentle Lunatic at a hotel, when an
acquaintance of his came in and sat at our table. With my accustomed
modesty, I said little or nothing until the G. L. suggested that I might
air some of my German. I promptly opened conversation with a sentence
I had learned from an exercise book--"The dog is more faithful than the
cat." It was perhaps not the sort of remark one would as a rule make
to a stranger, but I thought he would in all probability agree with my
sentiments, and then it was one of the few complete German sentences I
knew. The reply, however, was not what I expected. Instead of answering,
"Yes, but have you seen the penknife of my grandmother's female
gardener?" or something of that sort, he turned to the Gentle One--"Tell
him," he said, "I am very sorry, but I have forgotten all my English."
It was a crushing blow--he had mistaken my best German sentence for

[Illustration: GIRL FROM DUINO]

The people of the Littoral are of the Italian type. Many of the women
are very handsome, and they have almost all fine eyes, large and black,
and soft and velvety-looking. They hold themselves very well too,
probably from being accustomed to carry baskets and bundles on their
heads. Only the better class women wear hats. The peasants wear nothing
but their own luxuriant hair, or merely a coloured kerchief thrown
gracefully over their heads. The height of fashion at present is a black
kerchief with large red spots. The people generally are a good-natured,
cheerful race. "They are dirty, they are rough and ready, but they have
the heart in the right place," as the G. L.'s English butler says, and
his words exactly describe them.


We stopped at an open-air _café_ in driving back and drank some beer,
and then we returned to Count C.'s and ate ices. Beer and ices are _not_
a nice mixture. Don't try it if you have not already done so.

We saw my collaborator off, and then started ourselves for Vienna. The
railway line runs quite close to Duino, so we had one more glimpse of
the old castle from the train. There had been a thunder-storm in the
afternoon, and the sky was still covered with black clouds. The sea was
leaden-coloured and the far horizon blotted out by thick gray mist and
rain streaks, but as we flattened our noses against the window-pane
to "take a last fond look," one bright ray from the setting sun shone
through the darkness of the thunder-clouds. It brightened the old gray
walls of the castle, and bathed them in rosy light; it lingered lovingly
round the great Roman tower, and lit up the red and white Hohenlohe
banner that floated in the breeze.

And so I saw Duino for the last time.




  Story! God bless you! I have none to tell, sir.

My collaborator is to blame for this chapter. She found that when the
eleven chapters already written and the Introduction and the Conclusion
(reckoning the two last as chapters) were added together, the result
would be thirteen. And so I am to write one more, and there is nothing
to write about. I feel myself to be a martyr offered up on the altar of

Superstition is all very well, but I think it can be carried too far.
I was a victim to this fatal number 13 only the other day. I came in to
lunch rather late, and was just going to sit down, when the "Energetic
Lady" jumped up from the table with a howl of despair, taking her plate
with her, and began to eat at a sideboard. She had seen that when I
sat down there would be thirteen at table. Of course, I could not allow
_her_ to be made uncomfortable, so the result was that I had to go and
sit at a little table by myself, and eat my lunch in lonely misery. I
have known people too (I will not mention names) who would not start on
a journey, or arrive at a place--in fact, I believe they absolutely
do nothing--on the thirteenth of the month. I am rather superstitious
myself about some things. I confess I always throw three grains of
salt over my left shoulder if I should by any chance spill some; also
I always tap my first and fourth fingers on something wooden, and
say "unberufen" when I have made some such remark as "I have not had
toothache for more than three years"; and then I invariably take off
my hat to a single magpie. But then you cannot call these things
superstitions--they are merely the force of habit.

"For use almost can change the stamp of nature," as Shakespeare says.

Speaking of superstitions reminds me that I have known people who
believe implicitly in dreams. I have a near relation who says he always
dreams that he has a tooth pulled out before the death of any one of the
family or of an intimate friend.

I had a curious dream the other night. I dreamed I was sitting in a
little room with a big sheet of paper before me, on which was written in
large letters, "On the Philosophy of Life." I was to write an article on
the subject. I had absolutely no ideas about the Philosophy of Life, and
felt very miserable. Whilst I was pondering over it the door opened, and
in came _Slip_. Slip is a small fox terrier, and a particular friend
of mine. I cannot say he looks very reputable--he has a sort of rakish
appearance about him, and is, in fact, a great rascal, always up to
any mischief, with funny ears that flap about when he runs, and small
eyes--he always shuts one and winks at you when he feels in safe
society. So in came Slip, winking and smiling as dogs can smile, and I
asked him immediately for _his_ ideas on the subject. I was not at all
surprised when he began to speak and answered as follows: "Don't
you worry your head about things of that sort. Men are never true
philosophers--we dogs know that well. Take your pipe and your cap and
let's go for a stroll. It's a glorious evening, and I know a particular
spot where there are rabbits. Bother the 'Philosophy of Life.' Tell me
rather why rabbits, and rats too, have such confoundedly small holes?
Come along, old fellow!" He made some steps towards the door, wagging
his little stump of a tail and flapping his funny ears with a knowing
look; but all at once he stopped, turned back, came to me, took me
by the hand, and winking more than ever, said confidentially in an
undertone, "But believe me, my friend, _women_ are at the root of all

I awoke, and am still pondering over that dream.

By the way, I heard a touching anecdote about a dog the other day. It is
quite true. I knew the dog well--in fact, we were on the most intimate
terms. He was a pug, and a very ancient one, and for some time had been
in failing health. His constitution was breaking up, but no one imagined
that his end was so near. This dog had a wife, but she lived at a house
some little distance from his home. One night the dog became worse--as a
matter of fact he was dying. Though he must have felt that his last hour
had come, that poor dog dragged himself to the abode of his wife, up a
flight of stairs,

  And there by her side
  He lay down and died.

(This poetry is original.) Did you ever hear of a more touching
exhibition of domestic affection?

Some of my best friends have been dogs. A dog never bothers nor worries
one, nor tells one things for one's good, nor remarks how foolish one
was to do so and so, nor says, "You see if you had only taken my advice
that would never have happened." And who can enter into all one's moods
better than a dog? You want to go out, you feel gay and joyous--doggie
is game enough, and frisks and barks around you. You want to sit quietly
by the fire and think--doggie will sit quietly by the fire and think
too. And when you feel utterly miserable and wish you were dead, who
comes and licks your hand and looks up with silent sympathy in his
big, honest, loving brown eyes, which say as plainly as eyes can speak,
"Never mind, old chap, you always have me, you know. _I_ shall never
leave you."

Dear faithful old doggie! They say you have only instinct and no soul,
and will never go to heaven--more's the pity--but if ever there was a
true friend you are one.

  Faäithful an' true--them words be i'
  Scriptur--an faäithful an' true
  Ull be fun' upo' four short legs ten
  Times fur one upo' two.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LAWN-TENNIS GROUND]

I remember that I have not said anything about the tennis-court at
Duino. It was formerly a riding-school, but the roof has been taken
off, and the walls make excellent "fielders." Here we were accustomed
to disport ourselves every evening. It was interesting to notice the
various _characteristic_ (that word will please my collaborator--she
says one ought always to notice the characteristic features of
everything) styles of play: the "Energetic Lady," with her dress pinned
up, a large white hat on her head, and a look of intense determination
on her face; the "Photographic Lady" progressing about the court with a
series of little jumps and bounds, and expressing her feelings by sundry
squeaks and screams; my collaborator "serving" with tremendous vigour,
but leaving all the after play to her partner and Destiny; Miss
Umslopogaas not playing at all, but looking on sweetly with great
success; our host playing brilliantly as long as the ball came
obligingly to him, but never running at all (a thing distinctly against
his principles); the "Gentle Lunatic" rushing madly about; the "Seal" in
gorgeous apparel, trotting along with bristling moustache, and revenging
his failures on the unoffending balls; the ponderous "Fat Boy" with the
ground shaking and trembling beneath his elephantine tread; the "Thin
Boy" tying himself into intricate knots; the "Other Boy" posing in
various elegant statue-like attitudes; and the two learned men, each
with a distinct but equally unsuccessful theory.


Lawn-tennis is very popular in Austria, and quite a fashionable game;
whilst (alas!) the glorious games of cricket and football are almost
unknown. No wonder, though; cricket and football must be begun in one's
earliest boyhood, and boys here are so overburdened with learning
that they have very little time for out-of-door sports. I think the
educational system on the Continent is a great mistake. They cram all
sorts of knowledge into the heads of the miserable children, never
thinking of their bodily development and health. What is the result?
Every other child one meets wears spectacles, and the sickly appearance
of schoolboys generally is something depressing.

  All work and no play
  Makes Jack a dull boy.

Make a note of this, all ye professors and schoolmasters! The moral
side, too, is, as a rule, not enough thought of. Surely to teach a boy
to fear God, honour the King, Queen, Emperor, or whatever the ruling
power is, to be a gentleman, and speak the truth, are, after all, more
important factors in his education than all the languages and sciences
under the sun.

There! I have preached my little sermon, so will finish the chapter.
There is not much in it about "Nothing at all." It would be rather an
interesting subject. I will write about it some other time.


    What ...
  I did not well I meant well.

  Shakespeare (_The Winter's Tale_).

And now these sketches are finished, and there is nothing left but to
take farewell. It is always painful to say good-bye, whether to friends
or places.

Life is a curious drama, and the scenes change very quickly. Accident,
destiny, fate (call it what you like) sends us to some place; we stay
there a few days, or weeks, or years; we make friends, we are on the
most intimate terms with them; something calls us away; we never
return to the well-known spot, and the friends there pass out of our
lives--place and friends alike are but a memory.

Memories! how they crowd in on us, and how each year adds to their
number! Look back down the fading river of years, and see how they stand
out--monuments of bygone days--till they are finally lost in the sea of
forgetfulness. Thank God, the pleasant ones last the longest! It seems
as if old Time loves to wipe out the painful recollections, and to keep
the pleasant ones ever fresh and green.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am writing in a railway carriage. The "Gentle Lunatic" is snoring
sweetly on the seat opposite me, and the train is taking us every minute
farther and farther from Duino.

Good-bye, old castle! May your old walls withstand the wear and tear of
many another century. They have been very happy days that I have spent
in them, but they are all over. Only in dreams shall I behold your old
battlements and towers, the sea in all its blueness breaking at your
feet, the sun setting in a sky of golden glory and gilding your gray
stones with its dying rays.

Good-bye to all the friends who have made up our party! If ever these
sketches should be printed, and you should read them, I hope you will
none of you be offended at anything I have written. In case you should
be so, I apologise most humbly beforehand, and trust you will forgive

And to you, my collaborator, I must also say good-bye for the present.

To you I dedicate these little sketches. If they bring back to you one
pleasant thought of the days in Duino,

  Where the world is quiet,

they will have fulfilled their mission.


_Printed by_ R. & R. Clark, Limited, _Edinburgh_.

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